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Extracted | from The Ocean Plague by a Cabin Passenger, Boston, 1848, pages 118-123 | from The Cork Examiner

Emigration to The United States in 1847

March 10, 1847 Cork Examiner
DESTITUTE EMIGRANTS—The ship Medemseh, from Liverpool, and bound to New York, which lately put into this port for repairs, now lies at Cove, having on board a large number of emigrants chiefly of the lowest order, in the most destitute and debilitated condition. They are almost totally unprovided with clothing, without sufficient provisions, having consumed a great part of their scanty store while out, and scarcely with strength remaining to leave the hold. It reflects disgrace upon the regulations of the Government that creatures in this condition should be suffered to proceed to sea, with no other dependence against a long and enfeebling voyage than the kindness of persons whose treatment of their passengers, on an average, is hardly less brutal than that experienced from the masters of slave-ships.
No harm, in this instance, could arise from the Government giving relief, in a disaster, which to the poor emigrants, was entirely unforeseen; and they have an agent in the port, charged with the special duty of protecting the interests of this deserving, but much abused, and unfriended class. And yet, some time ago, when the sympathy of that officer was excited for a case of similar distress, he was left to beg a subscription of the inhabitants of this city, to help a number of disabled emigrants to their destination.

April 5, 1847 Cork Examiner
EMIGRATION—The quays are crowded every day with the peasantry from all quarters of the country, who are emigrating to America, both direct from this port, and "cross channel" to Liverpool, as the agents here cannot produce enough of ships to convey the people from this unhappy country. Two vessels—the Fagabelac and Coolock—were despatched this week, the former with 208, the latter with 110 passengers. There are two other ships on the berth—the Wandsworth for Quebec, and the Victory for New York; both are intended to sail on Tuesday next. There are nearly 1,200 passengers booked in these vessels.
An extensive agent here has gone to Liverpool, with the view of chartering ten large vessels to take out upwards of 1,300 families which are about leaving one estate in Ireland—partly at the expense of their landlord, and partly at their own. When a ship is put on the berth here, she is filled in a day or two, and the agents say if they had 100 ships, they would not be sufficient to meet the demand. —Freeman.

May 19, 1847 Cork Examiner
SUFFERINGS OF EMIGRANTS IN NEW YORK—The paupers who have recently arrived from Europe give a most melancholy account of their sufferings. Upwards of eighty individuals, almost dead with the ship fever, were landed from one ship alone, while twenty-seven of the cargo died on the passage, and were thrown into the sea. They were one hundred days tossing to and fro upon the ocean, and for the last twenty days their only food consisted of a few ounces of meal per day, and their only water was obtained from the clouds.
The miseries which these people suffer are brought upon themselves, for they have no business to leave their country without at least a sufficient quantity of food to feed them while making the passage. —New York Sun

June 18, 1847 Cork Examiner
Extract of a private letter from New York—JUNE 1ST, 1847—"Ship fever is now very prevalent here. It is, properly speaking, a most malignant kind of yellow fever. In almost every vessel that arrives several persons are afflicted with it, in consequence of which all the hospitals are full. The Board of Health are fitting up temporary places for the reception of patients. From the numbers that have been attacked, it is feared, that the fever will spread through the City as soon as the warm weather sets in.
At present it is confined to the neighbourhood of emigrant boarding houses. Dr. Van Buren, who has been stationed at the quarantine ground, has died of it, and several of the doctros that have been attending the Marine hospitals are ill with it. 567 have died on the passages from Great Britain to New York, since the 1st of January."

July 5, 1847 Cork Examiner
The United States frigate Macedonian, laden with benevolent contributions for the poor of Ireland, sailed from New York for Cork, on the 15th instant. Her cargo consists of 30 packages of clothing, 210 tierces of rice, 6 tierces of peas, 1,132 bags of oats, 1,115 bags of corn, 2,103 bags of beans, 1,047 bags meal, 122 barrels of beans, 8 barrels of rye, 7 barrels of potatoes, 84 barrels of corn, 4 barrels of beef, 6 barrels of pork, 13 barrels of flour, 5,178 barrels of meal, and 10 chests of tea. This is quite a large cargo, and will be received with much joy by the people for whom it is intended.

July 19, 1847 Cork Examiner (from the American Papers)
IMMIGRANTS—There arrived at Quarantine, on Saturday, the schooner Boston, with 31 immigrant passengers; brig Russia, from Galway, with 80 (several sick); bark Abbot, Lord, from Liverpool, with 179; on Sunday, the brig C. Rogers, from Cork, with 59; and Monday morning, the brig Wasega, from Kilrush, Ireland, with 80, total 420. Up to Monday there were 237 inmates of the hospitals at Deer Island, which number will probably be increased by the vessels just arrived. —Since the 20th of May there have been 312 in the hospital there, 55 of whom have been discharged, as well, and 20 have died. At the Almshouse there have been no attacks of ship fever for the last five days; and those sick are mostly convalescent. We are sorry to learn that a young son of the late superintendent is very low of this disorder, and fears are entertained of a fatal result.

MORE IMMIGRANTS—The arrivals on Tuesday at Quarantine, amounted to 309— 200 in the Coquimbo from Limerick; 74 in the Almira from Cork; and 35 in the Emily from Waterford. They are represented as being in a more healthy condition than most of the previous arrivals. No death has occurred, except in one instance where the individual jumped overboard. —Whig.
The arrivals at quarantine on Wednesday amounted to 364-- in the Mary Ann from Liverpool, 185; Bevis from Dublin, 40; Louisiana from Cork, 102; Lucy Ann, Liverpool, 37. There was no sickness or deaths aboard the first and none reported in the others.

August 4, 1847 Cork Examiner

Passengers should leave Cork on Saturday, 7th August, at 12 o'Clock Noon.
For Passage apply to Messrs. HARNDEN, & Co., or D. KENNELLY & Co., Maylor Street, Cork.
To be succeeded by the "Train Line" Packet, "OCEAN MONARCH," 1900 Tons, on the 20th of August.

September 1, 1847 Cork Examiner
EMIGRANT DISASTERS—The last American mail brings further distressing accounts of the sufferings of the emigrants arriving in Canada. After the first embarrassment, caused by the sudden outburst of a fierce plague, some amendment occurred in the reception given to the sufferers at Montreal, but the prospect was still darkening, and matters becoming worse there. Thirteen ships arrived in one week at Grosse Island, all, to a greater or less extent, afflicted with fever.
The greatest disaster from disease upon the deep, as yet recorded, befel the "Virginius," which left this port (Liverpool) This vessel lost 156 out of 496 passengers, with all but two of the crew, and forty of the survivors died soon after reaching the shore. She was a long time at sea, and was short of provisions.

The health of New York continued good, owing in a great measure to the activity with which the emigrants were pushed on from the towns on the sea, and prevented from generating pestilence by stopping there; but they carried it inwards, and at Albany upon the river Hudson, the chief mortality arose from the disease thus introduced.
The difference between the healthiness of the emigrants to the United States and those to British America is accounted for by the inferiority of the ships sailing to the latter country, which made them more eagerly sought for by the humblest class on account of the lower fare. From the nature of the trade in which they are engaged, the transport of timber, the risk of their failing in open sea is diminished one-half, by the whole voyage to Europe, as with such a cargo they weather it out while a plank sticks together. This circumstance causes less attention to be paid to their sea-worthiness, since they are laden half the way with what can't sink, and the other with a freight, which is thought no loss if it do.
Apart from the crowded state of these wretched ships, and their insecurity for life, the constant wet on board of them, and their other defective qualities have contributed to render the unhappy passengers still more certainly a prey to infectious distemper.

September 8, 1847 Cork Examiner
EMIGRATION — THE UNITED STATES [Communicated] We are glad to learn that, owing to the decrease of fever in Boston and New York, the quarantine regulations are now suspended there— this argues well for the sanitory regulations put in force by the Americans during the fearful contagion that so lately visited them. Since last week there has been no quarantine observed on passengers at Liverpool. Of course this does not include Quebec and the ports of British North America, where for the want of such timely precautions as the authorities of the State insisted upon, such gross mortality now prevails.

"Emigration to New York.-We have received from Senator Folsom a printed copy of the report forwarded to the Legislature by the Commissioners of Emigration at this port. It is dated October 1st, 1847. The board of Commissioners having been organized on the 8th May last, Robert Taylor being appointed agent, and William F. Havermeyer, president-proceeded immediately to take charge of the sick and destitute emigrants. Having filled the Quarantine hospitals, all the spare rooms connected with the City Almshouse department were hired at a dollar per week for each destitute emigrant, and a dollar and a half per week for the sick. But the introduction of fever patients at the Almshouse was attended with too much risk, and buildings were erected for their accommodation on Staten Island. These being still inadequate, the buildings on the Long Island Farms were leased, but the fear of contagion so alarmed the neighborhood, that the buildings were burned by incendiaries.

The United States Government at once granted their warehouses at Quarantine for the accommodation of the sick. They were soon filled, as all the principal hospitals, public and private, to which the Commissioners had to resort. At this crisis, a large stone building was leased on Ward's Island, which with buildings subsequently added to it, afforded ample accommodation for the thousands dependent upon their benevolent undertaking.

"Many were destitute of clothing, and from May to September, ten thousand three hundred and eight articles of dress were made at Ward's Island and furnished to them, by direction of the Commissioners. Hundreds have been provided with employment in the interior of the state, and many forwarded West at the expense of the Commissioners.

"The number of passengers who arrived from May 5th to Sept. 30th, inclusive, and for whom commutation money was paid, or bonds given, was 101,546, of whom only 25 were bonded.

"Of said passengers there were natives of

Germany, 43,208 Italy, 130
Ireland, 40,820 Sweden, 119
England and Wales, 6,501 Spain, 72
Holland, 2,966 Denmark, 51
France, 2,633 Portugal, 31
Scotland, 1,856 Poland, 21
Switzerland, 1,506 East Indies, 6
Norway, 881 Turkey, 1
Belgium, 478 South America, 1
West Indies, 265    

Of which number there were

Forwarded from the city Temporarily relieved Sent to Hospitals Sent to Alms house
427 217 5,148 713

Total, 6,505, of whom were Irish 3,792.

"Adding to the above 256 emigrants who were in Hospital at the time the Commissioners entered upon their duties, we have 6,761, the total number under their care up to the date of this report.

"Of these, seven hundred and three died between the 8th of May and the 1st October. The names, ages, and places of birth, of the dead, are not given. This is an oversight which ought to be corrected.

"It seems, also, that no provision was made for the erection of any memorial over their graves."-New York Paper.

"Ship Fever.-The British ship India, Gray, (late Thompson), arrived yesterday from Liverpool, after a passage of 57 days. Captain Thompson died of the ship fever on the 14th inst., (January, 1848) and during the passage 39 of the passengers died of the same disease. The chief officer of the ship, and a large number of the passengers are now sick. When the India left Liverpool she had two hundred and seventy passengers."-New York Express.

"The British Ship Viceroy, arrived at New Orleans on the 5th instant, with 286 immigrants.

"Fourteen had died on the passage, and many others were very sick, and sent to the Charity Hospital. The Orizaba, which arrived from Liverpool on the 31st ult., had shipped 170; 24 of whom died, and most of the rest were sent to the Hospital."-Boston Mail, Jan. 19th, 1848.

"Report of Deer Island Hospital, Boston, for the week ending January 26th, 1848.

Number remaining as per last week's report, 311  
Admitted since, 28  
Total, --- 339
Discharged, 36  
Died, 13 49
Remaining,   290
Whole number admitted to this date,   2,230
Whole number buried on the Island,   347
Of whom were brought from the ship dead,   20
Died the day of their reception,   8
In carriage,   2

-Boston Journal.

"Foreign Emigrants.-A communication from the State Department was laid before the House of Representatives on Friday last, reporting the number of passengers who arrived from foreign countries on shipboard, during the year ending the 30th of September last. The number of males was 139,166; females, 99,325; sex not reported, 989; total, 239,480. The prospect is that the nubmer will be much larger the present year.

"Of the above number of passengers, 145,838 landed in New York; 20,848 in Massachusetts; 5,806 in Maine; 14,777 in Pennsylvania; 12,018 in Maryland; 34,803 in Louisiana, and 3,873 in Texas."-Boston Journal.

September 6, 1847 Cork Examiner
The Saunders of Friday furnishes us with an affecting statement of the privations and wretched condition of a steamboat-load of unfortunate people who were flung, as it were, on the Quays of Dublin, having been driven from the hospitable shores of our "sister" England. This ship-load of Irish destitution was composed of Irish reapers and Irish paupers; the latter of whom were grabbed up by the humane officials of generous England, and thrust on board a steamer, without provision for the voyage, or shelter against the inclemency of the weather, and the exposure of a wild night and an open deck. So that England was freed from the human rubbish, what cared the merciful Poor-law authorities and their tender-hearted officials! If the wretches died on the voyage, it was only one of those casualties which daily happen; and "we all must pay the grand debt, sooner or later."

The sick, the feeble, the fevered, the starving, were accordingly gathered from various places, from Rochdale as well as Liverpool; a loaf was placed in their trembling hands; and thus fortified against cold and hunger, they were shipped for the land of rags and starvation. The Saunders tells us that a boy died of fever on the passage; and that a reaper died soon after the arrival of the vessel at the Quay in Dublin. In each case the wanton and reckless exercise of authority, and the operation of a brutal law, accelerated the deaths of these new victims of English rule.

And yet, we are told that both countries are one and inseparable, while the people of this unhappy land are driven from the shores of England as soon as they are stricken by poverty or disease! When do we hear of an Englishman or a Scotchman being treated in a similar manner by the Poor-law authorities of this country? When do Irishmen drive from amongst them a stranger who has grown grey with toil in their service? When do they hunt out a fellow creature afflicted by the hand of GOD? Thank Heaven! we have not as yet become as heartless and merciless as our civilised and enlightened Saxon neighbours, who think it no crime, but a praiseworthy act of prudence, to send back to his native land a worn-out Irish mechanic, who has expended all his strength, and industry, and skill in adding to the wealth of England— no violation of Christian charity to deny shelter and succour to a fever-stricken brother. . .

December 29, 1847 Cork Examiner
The late severe weather has compelled several packets and other vessels to put into Cove for refuge, some of them bound for North America with emigrants, whose stores, never abundant, have been so far used as not to be sufficient to carry them to the end of their voyage. It is stated that there are now in the port few short of a thousand of these unhappy people, suffering all the present and with the prospect of the greater, misery, that may be supposed in their totally friendless and destitute state.

An appeal has been set on foot to aid them to their destination; and certainly no claim calls more strongly upon the feelings of compassion. The assistance is of a kind that will not be asked again, as it was entirely unforseen that it would be required by the sufferers. When it is remembered that so many of their class have already died from want of the means to bear up against the hardships of their journey, the question, in the present case, is not so much of their degree of comfort, as of their existence; and depends on their being relieved now, when only they can receive relief.


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