IN 1501, Gasper de Cortereal, the Portuguese navigator, visited Conception Bay, and gave to it the name which it bears, after the miraculous conception of the Virgin Mary. He also gave the present names of many of the coves and headlands.
A colony was attempted to be established at Musquito Cove, Conception Bay, so early as the reign of James I. By letters patent, dated 27th April, 1610, a company of English gentlemen (among whom were the celebrated Sir Francis Bacon, Lord Northampton, and Sir Francis Tan-field) were granted all that part of the island lying between Cape Bonavista and Cape St. Mary. These gentlemen sent a company of emigrants, under the direction of John Guy, to plant a colony in the newly-granted territory. Guy was a Bristol merchant, and set sail from that city in 1610, with three ships and thirty-nine persons, as governor of the colony. He arrived at Mosquito Cove after a short passage, where he erected a dwelling-house, storehouse, &c., and planted a small fort of three cannon. He remained here two years, and opened a very promising intercourse with the native Indians, and in his getters to England, describes the climate as not so cold as that of England, and that the brooks had not been frozen during the depth of winter. William Colston, however, who was left in charge of the colony after Guy’s return to England, did not speak so well of it. Six of the emigrants were seized with scurvy and died.
In the summer of 1612, Guy returned to the colony, and by judiciously treating the sick they soon regained their health. It is said vegetables were at this period raised, among which were turnips, which were given to the sick. Guy made a journey along the coast, where he met with a number of Red Indians, shortly after which the colony was abandoned.
Conception Bay is the most thickly settled and best cultivated part of Newfoundland. Few bays surpass it in beauty and grandeur of scenery.
Harbour Grace is the capital of Conception Bay, and the next Town to St. John’s. It is called the ” Brighton of Newfoundland,” on account of its beauty. The harbour is seven miles long, at the entrance are some islands, entirely composed of fine roofing slate, on one of those islands .a splendid Light-house is erected, there is also a harbour light. According to the census of 1857, the population of Harbour Grace was 5,095. There are four churches, one Episcopalian, one Roman Catholic, one Wesleyan Methodist, and one Presbyterian. There is also a stone Court House and Gaol, which was erected in 1830, with stone obtained from Kelley’s Island. The first Court House in Conception Bay was erected about the year 1808, a few years previous to which, Judge Reeves, the first Chief Justice of Newfoundland, visited Harbour Grace and examined into a most disgraceful state of things, as respected the administration of justice there. The Courts were then conducted by floating and resident surrogates, generally naval officers.
The following is an account of the public meeting held, with the amount of money raised for the erection of the Court House and Gaol in 1807 :
” At a meeting of the magistrates and merchants in the District of Harbour Grace, in Conception Bay, in order for raising a subscription, &c., for the purpose of building a Court-house and Jail in Harbour Grace, it was fully resolved that the sum of twenty shillings be levied on every thousand quintals of fish catched and shipped off in Conception Bay ; and each merchant holds himself responsible for the amount of the collections as annexed to his name, which sums the said merchants are to be reimbursed by leving the sum of two shillings on every hundred quintals on each person or planter of whom they receive the said quantity of fish, which the magistrates hereby give the authority to do.
” And it is further -resolved, that every servant employed in the fishery is to pay one shilling for every ten pounds wages, the same as the last season ; and that all publicans, shop-keepers, coopers, and persons not carrying on the fishery, shall pay respectively as follows :Every shop-keeper, the sum of one guinea and-a-half; every cooper carrying on his trade on his own ac-count, the sum of one guinea; every publican not carrying on the fishery, the sum of one guinea ; and such other persons that are employed in the fishery, the sum of half a guinea. And it is also further resolved, that all chartered vessels that shall load in Conception Bay, and not belonging to the merchants as their own property, that each vessel so chartered shall pay the sum of ten shillings and sixpence for one season only.
Harbour Grace has two principal streets running through it, called Water and Harvey Streets. There are some brick and stone buildings on Water Street.
The Church of England of Harbour Grace is the first stone church ever built in Newfoundland. The following is an extract from the scroll read on the occasion of the laying of the foundation stone, by John Stark, Esq.. Chair-man of the Building Committee, and Chief Clerk and Registrar of the Northern Circuit Court, which was deposited in a bottle beneath the foundation stone.
” Here stood St. Paul’s Church, which was burnt to the ground by the great fire at Harbour-Grace, on the 18th August, 1832erected on the site of the first church built in the year 1794 ; and the corner stone of this New Stone Church is now laid by His Excellency Henry Prescott, Esq., Companion of the Most Honourable Military Order of the Bath, Governor and Commander-in-Chief in and over the Island of Newfoundland and its dependencies, and Vice-Admiral of the same, on Tuesday the twenty-eighth day of July, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and thirty-five, and in the sixth year of the Reign of his present Majesty William the Fourth of Great Britain and Ireland King.”
The land on which the Church was erected, together with the Burial Ground and Parsonage lands, was the gift of the late Charles Garland, Esq., J.P., of Harbour Grace, and grandfather of Wm. C. St. John, Esq., late Editor of the ” Conception Bay Herald.”
In 1849, the Methodist Chapel was destroyed by fire. A larger and finer wooden building has since been erected.
The Roman Catholics have also erected a large stone church, which is now a cathedral, Harbour Grace being now the seat of the Roman Catholic Bishopric,
On the 18th of August, 1832, Harbour Grace was visited by a destructive fire, by which ninety-six buildings and the Episcopal Church, were destroyed. In 1844 it was visited by another fire, when twenty-five houses were burnt, and property to the amount of $30,000 was consumed; and in 1858, nearly the whole town was destroyed. In 1833, several awful murders took place here, the perpetrators of which were discovered and executed.
The Circuit Court sits twice a year at Harbour Grace, presided over by one of the three Judges of the Supreme Court. Quarter Sessions of the Magistrates’ Court is also holden, and one of the Police Magistrates is in daily attendance at the Police Office. There are two resident Police Magistrates, a Clerk of the Peace, a Sheriff, and a Clerk of the Supreme Court. There are three medical men. Here are located two of the most enterprising, as well as the largest mercantile establishments in Newfoundland, owned by Ridley & Sons,* and Punton & Munn, now John Munn & Co. Both houses take a deep interest in all political and social improvements, and contribute much to the prosperity and welfare of the town. These houses are largely embarked in the seal and cod fisheries, and issue an extensive supply on credit to persons engaged in the Labrador cod-fishery. There is great rivalry between the two houses. But then the influence of commerce is peaceful. The mercenary gospel of the ledger denounces the god of war, and charges to his account a vast waste of blood and treasure, to the debit of profit and loss.
Commerce is favourable to the full development of the resources of every land, and calls to its aid all the light and knowledge which art and science can render. Wherever merchants divested of caste, have given a tune to society, civilization and refinement have had a dwelling-place ; the standard of learning has been higher than in communities where agriculture and the mechanic arts have been solely cultivated ; and religion now follows where commercial enterprise leads the way. There are several other smaller merchants at Harbour Grace, besides the two large houses above mentioned. Since the establishment of the Local Legislature, Harbour Grace has always returned one of her townsmen to the House of Assembly. The first member was Peter Brown, Esq. ; since that, Thos. Ridley, James L. Prender, John Munn, and others. Harbour Grace has been the birth-place of the press in Conception Bay. Formerly the ” Mercury,” the ” Herald,” and the ” Conception Bay Man,” were published here. The name of the paper at present published in Harbour Grace, is the ” Standard,” Mr. Archibald Munn being editor and proprietor. There is an excellent Grammar School at Harbour Grace, well furnished with books, maps, and philosophical apparatus, in which a large number of children is educated. This school is presided over by Professor Roddick, a highly intelligent Scotchman, formerly teacher of the classics in the High and Lower School of the Mechanics’ Institute, Liverpool, England. There is also a very excellent School belonging to the Episcopal Church. The Roman Catholics have also a very large School, and there is a female school supported by the Government ; besides these public schools there are some private ones. There is also a small Custom-House.
Since the election riots in 1840, a small company of the military had been stationed at Harbour Grace, and when it was in contemplation to remove them to St. John’s, so anxious were the people to retain them, that they petitioned the Home Government for them to remain. Harbour Grace has a Commercial Society and Public Reading Room. There are also the Benevolent Irish Society; Dorcas Society; Temperance Society; Marine Insurance Society; and a Volunteer Company. There is a post office and a telegraph office. The town next in importance to Harbour Grace is Carbonear, which ranked a little higher in population in 1845, and until within the last few years, always stood higher as a place of commerce. The census of 1857 gives Carbonear a population of 4,808. The manufacture of oil clothing here amounts to over 83,000,
When the French fleet attacked and destroyed St. John’s in 1696, the British settlers at Carbonear successfully resisted Iberville, the French commander. Again, in 1706, when St. Ovide, the commander of the French fleet, destroyed every other British settlement in the island, Carbonear defended itself and repelled the agressor. In 1762, however, in common with all other parts of the island, this hitherto impregnable fortress was taken by the French. In 1762, Charles Garland, Esq., of Harbour Grace, supported a detachment of men, whom he garrisoned on Carbonear Island, at the mouth of the harbour. Mr. Garland paid, fed, and supported these men, when provisions were scarce and dear. He also raised a number of sailors for the temporary use of the navy. The writer has often seen some of the cannon and the remains of the fortifications erected on Carbonear Island.
In 1775, in a dreadful storm which devastated the whole coast of Newfoundland, Carbonear and Harbour Grace suffered severely in loss of fishing craft and men. It is said upwards of a hundred boats, with their crews, were lost in one cove. During the above year, Harbour Grace and Carbonear were constantly annoyed by American privateers, but were kept at a distance by the commanding batteries on the cliffs. Owing to the general depression of trade on the close of the war, and great privation consequent on the destruction of St. John’s by the great fires in the winter of 1816, and other causes, some of the inhabitants of Carbonear and Harbour Grace were in a destitute condition. Numbers, rendered destitute by want, began to break open the merchants’ stores.
Volunteer companies were immediately embodied and armed, to prevent further depredations, and committees of relief were formed to issue small quantities of food at stated periods. This winter is universally designated by the old inhabitants of Carbonear as the ” Winter of the Rais.” In 1856, a destructive conflagration destroyed a great part of the town of Carbonear.
Carbonear was once a town of great commercial importance. The merchants at one period used to send to St. John’s to purchase fish and oil to load their vessels. It is said that two of the Carbonear merchants, George and James Kemp, retired to England with a fortune of £30,000 or $150.000 each. These persons at one time owned the greatest proportion of the landed property in the town of Poole, county of Dorset, England. John Gosse, Esq., of the well-known firm of Gosse, Pack and Fryer, it is said also accumulated a fortune at Carbonear, and retired to Poole, and many others.
The principal mercantile establishments of Carbonear at the present time are those of John Rorke who has been many years a member of the Legislature, J. and S. Maddock, Benjamin Gould, and others.
Robert Pack, Esq., the principal of the house of Pack, Gosse and Fryer, had lived at Carbonear the greater part of his life, and had largely contributed to its prosperity. He was one of the members sent by the unanimous votes of the people to the first Legislature of Newfoundland, and was subsequently twice returned ; he declined, how-ever, at the last election to take his seat. By his devotion to agriculture he set an example worthy of imitation. About twenty-five years ago, Mr. Pack commenced the cultivation of a large tract of land in the neighbourhood of the town of Carbonear, which he soon brought into a well-cultivated farm. He subsequently built a splendid cottage on it, surrounded by gardens, walks, and trees. He made it his permanent residence up to the time of his death a few years ago. He was identified with the general interests of the country from a boy, and for fifty years was a principal in one of the oldest and largest mercantile establishments in Newfoundland. He spent a fortune in developing the agricultural capabilities of the soil.
Carbonear has three places of worship. One Church of England, a new and elegant building, erected mainly through the exertions of the Rev. Wm. Hoyles ; one new Methodist Church, which is the largest belonging to that body in the island ; and one Roman Catholic. It has a court-house, a police magistrate and constables, a clerk of the peace, and a custom-house officer.
Out of the four members for the district of Conception Bay, Carbonear has always sent one. There are several private and public schools. The Government School is conducted by Professor O’Donovan, formerly a tutor in Trinity College, Dublin. – He is a good-natured, intelligent Irishman. There is a well-conducted Methodist school, also an excellent school belonging to the Church of England, and another under the direction of the Roman Catholics. There is a post-office and telegraph office. A. newspaper called ” The Star,” was established at Carbonear in 1830, which was succeeded some years after by ” The Sentinel,” both, however, are now defunct. Through the efforts of the late Thomas Chancey, Esq., then a leading merchant, a commercial society was formed in 1834, this also has become defunct.
For many years Carbonear was blessed with a valuable circulating library, established mainly by the late John Elson, Esq., a gentlemen of extensive literary acquirements, and one of the principals in the respectable and long-established house of Slade, Elson & Co. P. II. Gosse, Esq., M.R. S., was in this establishment several years, afterwards one of the English naturalists, and author of several valuable works.
S. W. Sprague, afterwards a Wesleyan Methodist minister, P. Tocque, afterwards a Church of England clergyman, and about a dozen merchants, received their training in this establishment. Owing to Mr. Elson’s sequestered habits, his worth as a man of general literature was known to but few in the community in which he lived. Had his lot been cast among other influences than those by which he was surrounded, he would have shone most conspicuously as a public man.
The library, after many years of usefulness, was finally broken up, and no effort has since been made to establish another. There is, however, a valuable and extensive Methodist Sunday-school library, and a large number of standard works are yearly added to it, by means of an annual public collection. There is also an excellent Church of England library. These libraries, however, reach very few of other denominations. It is to be regretted that in a community so large as Carbonear a public circulating library is not re-established.
Books have been termed ” the monuments of vanished minds,” and a circulating library pronounced ” an ever-green tree of knowledge, which blossoms all the year.” Dr. Channing, one of the greatest American writers, says :
” It is chiefly through books that we enjoy intercourse with superior minds, and these invaluable means of communication are in the reach of all. In the best books great men talk to us, give us their most precious thoughts, and pour their souls into ours. God be thanked for books. They are the voices of the distant and the dead, and make us heirs of the spiritual life of past ages. Books are the true levellers. They give to all, who will faithfully use them, the society, the spiritual presence, of the best and greatest of our race. No matter how poor I am. No matter, though the prosperous of my own time will not enter my obscure dwelling. If the sacred writers will enter and take up their abode under my roof,–if Milton will cross my threshold to sing to me of Paradise, and Shakspeare to open to me the worlds of imagination and the workings of the human heart, and Franklin to enrich me with his practical wisdom, I shall not pine for intellectual companionship ; and I may become a cultivated man, though excluded from what is called the best society in the place where I live.”
There is a benevolent Irish Society at Carbonear, also a Methodist Total Abstinence Society, a Bible Society, and two medical men The next important town is Brigus, which contains a population of about 1,779, from which an important seal and cod fishery is carried on. Formerly Charles Cozens, Esq., the late stipendiary magistrate, carried on a very extensive mercantile establishment. He also cultivated a large farm. The Messrs. Munden, Norman, Percey, Wheelan, Bartlett, and Roberts reside here, who are some of the richest planters in Newfoundland. Brigus is well cultivated, and, for the extent of population, has a number of good residences. There is no large mercantile establishment at present at Brigus. The last belonged to Robert Brown, Esq., who has removed to St. John’s. Nearly the whole trade of Brigus has been re-moved to St. John’s and Harbour Grace. There are three churches, one Episcopal, one Methodist, and one Roman Catholic. There is a Court-house, a stipendiary magistrate, and a clerk of the peace. Quarter Sessions of the Peace are holden here ; John C. Nuttall, Esq., is collector of customs. There is a post-office and a telegraph office. There is one large public school, belonging to the Episcopalians, and also one Roman Catholic school.
Not far from Brigus, at places called Turk’s Head and English Head, Copper mines are being worked, they have produced three tons of good ore. The next important town is Port-de-Grave, which is situate on a very long, narrow, bleak promontory. It and the neighbouring coves con r in a population of 1,973. There are three places of worship, one Episcopalian, one Methodist, and one Roman Catholic. There are two Public Schools, which belong to the Episcopalians and the Methodists. There are here several merchants who carry on the seal and cod fisheries to a considerable extent. The next place of importance is Bay Roberts. There was formerly a large mercantile establishment, a branch of the firm of Pack, Gosse, and Fryer, conducted by a very intelligent English gentleman, William Green, Esq., son-in-law of Mr. Pack. James Cormack, Esq., a smart and well-informed Irishman, also carried on a very respectable trade, and Mr. McLellan did a considerable business. (These firms are now defunct.) The Episcopalians, Methodists and Roman Catholics each have a church here. There are two Public Schools, be-longing to the Episcopalians and Roman Catholics. The Hon. C. F. Bennett, of St. John’s, commenced the working of a very extensive slate-quarry here some years ago. Bay Roberts has a population of 2,300.
There is a Methodist Church and a School here, and a number of respectable planters.* Formerly large mercantile establishments were conducted here, but the buildings are now almost in ruins. The view of land and water, on the top of the hill between Brigus and Cupids, is as fine a landscape as can well be imagined. The next place of importance is Spaniard’s Bay. Here William Donnolly, Esq., for many years carried on a large and profitable business, previous to his removal to Harbour Grace. Spainards’ Bay has one Episcopal, and one Roman Catholic Church, and two schools belonging to the respective denominations.
At the head of Conception Bay are Holyrood and Harbour Main, containing a population of about 800 each. At Chapel Cove, an abundance of Limestone is found. The lands are extensively cultivated, and large quantities of vegetables are raised. There is a Roman Catholic Church in each place with schools.
The original inhabitants of these places were rom England and Jersey, and their descendants informed me that they had been brought up in the Church of England, but owing to their not being visited by any Protestant Minister they were induced to join the Roman Catholic Church. Mr. Ezekiel, an English Jew, informed me that he had joined the Roman Catholic Church for the same reason. He is now dead, and, I believe, has left a numerous family. These places are now principally inhabited by persons from the ” Emerald Isle ” and natives. On the north shore of Conception Bay the principal places are Broad Cove, Black Head, Adam’s Cove, Western Bay, Ochre Pit Cove, Northern Bay Island Cove, Bay-de-Verds, and Grates’ Cove at Island Cove. Some years ago a mercantile business was carried on by Richard Rankin, Esq., an intelligent Englishman, who afterwards became the resident Stipendiary Magistrate at Bay-de-Verds. Thirty-three seal nets are employed catching seals. One Packet Boat plies from each of the harbours of Harbour Grace, Carbonear and Brigus, to Portugal Cove, for the conveyance of mails and passengers en route to St. John’s.
A small steam-boat has taken the place of the sailing packets.
The cod-fishery in Conception Bay commences about the beginning of June, and ends about the last of September, after which the potatoes are usually dug and put in the cellar for the winter. From this period the great mass of the fishermen are idle five months, owing to the want of manufactures or employment other than the fishery. Single men usually become ” winter dieters ” (that is, they pay for their board until March), or they engage them-selves as winter servants, when they are employed hauling wood for fuel from the woods ; for which, in most cases, they only receive their board for wages. On the first of March all is hustle and animation, preparing for the seal fishery. Persons are seen corning in from all parts of the country, some by land, with their bats, sealing-gun, and bundles of clothing over their shoulders ; others come in skiffs, loaded with clothes, boxes, bags, guns, and gaff’s. From the 1st to about the 10th of March, the streets of Harbour Grace, Carbonear, Bay Roberts, and Brigus, are crowded with groups of hardy seal-hunters. Some are employed bending sails and fixing the rigging of the vessel; some making oars and preparing the sealing-punts or skiffs ; others collecting stones for ballast, filling the water casks and cleaving wood ; while others are employed putting on board the provisions necessary for the voyage. The shouting, whistling, and clatter of tongues, presents almost a scene of Babel. In severe winters the harbours are frozen, when a channel through the ice has to be cut for the egress of vessels. Many men and vessels are lost in the prosecution of this voyage. Sometimes vessels are crushed between large masses of ice called ” rollers,” at other times they get in contact with islands of ice. The seal-fishery is a constant scene of bloodshed and slaughter. Here you behold a heap of seals which have only received a slight dart from the gaff, writhing, and crimsoning the ice with their blood, rolling from side to side in dying agony. There you see another lot, while the last spark of life is not yet extinguished, being stripped of their skins and fat, their startlings and heavings making the unpractised hand shrink with horror to touch them. In the prosecution of the seal fishery the Sabbath is violated to a great extent. In pursuing this branch of commercial enterprise, some have been suddenly raised from comparative poverty to wealth and affluence. On the other hand, persons of means have embarked in the voyage, and have been as suddenly reduced to poverty. Several steamers are now sent to the seal fisheries from Harbour Grace. Fortune at best is but a fickle goddess, but she will always have devotees worshipping at her altars. For a more detailed account of the seal fisheries, see ” Fisheries.” A Magnetic Telegraph has been established from Conception Bay to St. John’s.
In 1836, the population of Conception Bay was 23,215. The agricultural produce then was 746,869 bushels of potatoes ; 4,184 bushels of oats and other grain ; 940 tons hay ; acres of land in cultivation, 2,873. Of live stock there were 638 horses ; 1,034 neat cattle ; 1,632 hogs ; and 1,187 sheep.
There were also 80 schools, with 4,563 scholars ; and 5,493 dwelling houses. There were 12,043 acres of land under cultivation.
Ship-building has been principally carried on at Carbonear and Harbour Grace. Within the last few years, several large, substantial, and beautiful model vessels have been built at Harbour Grace by the enterprising mercantile houses of the Messrs. Ridley and Munn ; and at Carbonear by Messrs. Rorke, and others.
In the mouth of the bay, about 50 miles from Carbonear, is the island of Baccahew (called Baccaloas) by Cabot when he discovered Newfoundland. This was the name Cabot gave to all the land he discovered, which signified cod-fish in the Indian tongue. The small Island of Baccahew has long been celebrated for it birds and eggs. This island is much frequented in the spring and summer for the purpose of procuring the eggs of the sea birds which breed there. Their eggs are obtained by letting persons down from the top of the cliffs by ropes. The daring adventurers soon lose sight of their companions, as they pass down the perpendicular walls and overhanging parts of the cliffs, when they reach the terraces, which are often more than two feet wide, they cast off the rope, and having procured a load of eggs, they signify to their companions on the top their desire to be drawn up by pulling the rope. This occupation is attended with great danger and sometimes men have been killed. A light house was erected not long ago at the north end of the Island.
The number of vessels employed in the Seal Fishery throughout Conception Bay in 1834, was 218 ; in 1837, 206 ; and in 1838, 200 vessels.
In the year 1869 Messrs. Ridleys fitted out a steamer for the seal fishery, which returned with 17,000 seals the first trip, and 6,000 the second trip.
The following is the number of vessels fitted out for the seal fishery from Conception Bay, in the undermentioned years :
Years. Vessels.Tons. Men. Years. Vessels.Tons. Men.
1839 174 14704 4818 1846 175 15176 5214
1840 169 14036 4674 1847 161 13989 4924
1841 157 12440 4431 1848 148 13515 4842
1842 177 14655 5040 1849 149 14765 5113
1843 180 14877 5098 1853 184 19235 6964
1845 202 16971 5628
In 1873, Ridley & Sons, and John Munn & Co., of Harbour Grace, employed three steamers in the seal fishery, besides a number of sailing vessels. The number of seals manufactured throughout Conception Bay, in 1839, was 112,676 ; and in 1845 there were about 50,000 manufactured ; while at Carbonear alone, in the year 1832, there were 124,417 seals manufactured, and at the same place, in 1824, there were 101,316 manufactured. Nearly the whole of the sealing vessels are employed during the summer in the Labrador cod fishery. There is also a great number of smaller craft employed in the fisheries, besides about 3,000 large fishing boats. The foreign trade of Conception Bay employs about 100 vessels, from 90 to up-wards of 200 tons.
At Kelly’s Island, and Little Belle Isle, excellent, fine-grained, grit-stone is abundantly found, and from the stratification and natural cleavage is set, with scarcely any dressing, for building. The island of Big Belle Isle is about nine miles long and three broad. On either end of the island is a village. Here there are some well-cultivated farms. The soil of Belle Isle is said to be richer than any other part of Conception Bay. During the past few years several families of natives and others belonging to Carbonear and Harbour Grace, emigrated to various parts of the United States, many of whom have since returned. It is not often that Newfoundlanders leave their country. They are fond of home. The writer cannot describe the painful emotions he felt, when, for the last time, he saw the dim shores of his native land die away in the distance; a thousand fond recollections clustered around his heart, of home and distant friends.
The number of emigrants annually arriving at Newfoundland used to be between 300 and 400, principally from Ireland. A few years ago more than double the above number used to arrive in a year. Now none.
” The natal soil, to all how strangely sweet,
The place where first he breathed, who can forget ; Whate’er the cause, man still adores
The soil that gave him birth.
And tho’ awhile for distant shores
He quits his native earth,
He loves, gray-haired, to walk the shade
Where first he saw the sky,
And on the spot where first he played,
To lay him down and die.”
The following statistics are from the Emigration Commissioners’ last Report :
” The great impulse given to emigration dates from the year 1847. In the forty-three years, from 1815 to 1857 inclusive, there emigrated from the United Kingdom, 4,683,194 persons.
” Of these there went to “The United States 2,830,687
” To British North America 1,170,342
” To Australia and New Zealand 613,615
” To other places 68,560
” Of the whole emigration, more than one-half, viz., 2,444, 802, emigrated in the eight years from 1847 to 1854 inclusive. In 1855 and 1856 the emigration fell to 176,807 and 176,554 respectively, principally in consequence of the demand for the army and navy, and the departments connected with them, during the Russian war. In 1857 the numbers rose again to 212, 875. The increase was, to some extent, checked by the recruiting for the army in India. During the first three months of 1858 the number of emigrants amounted to only 19,146 ; this being the smallest emigration for the same period in any year since 1856. The decrease was chiefly owing to the demand for recruits.”