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Immigration Report of 1865 for Nova Scotia
Source: Journals of the Assembly of Nova Scotia, 1866



Halifax, 17th February, 1866


In presenting my report of the business transacted by the immigration office since February, 1865, for the information of His Excellency the Lieutenant Governor, and the members of the Legislature, I am much gratified by having it in my power to remark a decided gradual progress in this department, with much better prospects of an extended immigration of valuable settlers—mechanics, miners, tradesmen, and laborers—than have hitherto appeared in any previous year

The arrivals of immigrants direct to Halifax since my last report have been by the

Spirit of the Ocean in May, and the Forest Queen in June last, both from London; the David McNutt from Glasgow, in October; with the passengers who remained here from the wrecked steamer Circassian, instead of proceeding with the others to New York; and those who have remained also from the Hamburgh ship Donou are from Mecklenburg, all farm laborers, hard-working and industrious, and fit for any out-door work.

By the Spirit of the Ocean there were eighteen passengers.

By the Forest Queen, twelve.

By the David McNutt, eight.

By the Circassian, twenty-eight.

By the Donou, one hundred and two; with eight who came to Halifax from Scotland by way of St. John, New Brunswick.

On the 27th September I addressed circulars to the managers and agents of the coal mines, enquiring what prospects they had for employment of additional work-men of every class, the rates of wages they were giving, and the number of dwellings they might be prepared to furnish for families of immigrants within a given period, with any other information that they might consider of consequence to be given in Europe; and on the 1st November I sent circulars to all the mines (both coal and gold mines), also to the proprietors of manufactories, requesting a return of any immigrants who may have come into their service during the course of the year. Also on the same date I sent circulars to the collectors at all the out-ports, requesting a return of any immigrants arriving in their districts during the past year. From the replies received, I am enabled to furnish the subsequent information.

From the coal mines I had generally full and satisfactory replies to my first circular; and the amount is that nearly 600 coal cutters, or colliers, are at present wanted, besides what may be required in summer for mines now opening. Some say, indirectly, that they will have plenty employment for all classes of workmen. The wages paid to colliers, or coal cutters, are $2 per day of eight hours; but good workmen, who work by the piece, or quality they turn out, earn from $2.50 to $4 per day. Carpenters and blacksmiths are paid at the rate of $1.50. Laborers from $1 to $1.20, and boys from 40 to 70 cents per day. Masons and bricklayers, too, would be sure to get employment at wages equal to or exceeding those of carpenters and blacksmiths. All the mining companies are prepared to furnish houses for the families of every man they employ at nominal rents, and several have many houses already built, but not yet occupies; these are reported to be comfortable and commodious----Board and lodging for single men can be had at from $2 to $2.50 per week.

At some of the mines the men employed are reported to be very unreliable, and good men are very scarce, and hard to get; consequently a better class is much wanted. Some of the mines are situated in the midst of fine agricultural districts, and provisions are cheap at all.

To my circular of 1st November, I had very few replies from the gold mines. I regret to say that by far the most paid no attention to my application; indeed, few did. But many of the agents at the coal mines, and all the collectors at the out-ports, responded readily.

From the replies, it appears that there are at least twenty-five immigrants arrived this year at the coal mines; but only eleven, with fourteen children, are ascertained to be at the gold mines, and there is no return from any of the manufactories. There have been no arrivals last year at any of the out-ports except Digby, Port Hawkesbury, Margaree, Lingan, Little Glace Bay, and Port Richmond.

Very few of the immigrants who came last year required any pecuniary aid, and those who received such, with two exceptions, have already refunded the trifles advanced. Suitable employment was rapidly found for all, and those who brought means have settled

themselves satisfactorily.

At Digby there were only two immigrants.

At Port Hawkesbury, twenty-one.

At Margaree, five.

At Lingan, five.

At Little Glace Bay, eight.

At Port Richmond, two.

The demand for agricultural laborers in the counties mentioned, in my last report continues to increase. Female domestic servants are wanted almost everywhere and boys and girls over fifteen years of age by farmers in many districts for training to farm work. I have had several letters during the course of last year from farmers, mechanics, miners and tradesmen in England, Scotland and Ireland, and a few also from the United States, immigrants there, making various enquiries about the province in regard to their own pursuits; all of which I have punctually and fully answered, and I trust satisfactorily. I have also had some enquiries about missing relatives, which occasioned a little correspondence with the immigration agent at St. John, N. B., and with the commissioners of emigration at New York. In the months of May and October I had advertisements for miners and laborers inserted in several of the newspapers circulating in the mining districts of Scotland and England, stating rates of wages and prospects in Nova Scotia. I trust that they have had some good effect, an that the evidence of it may soon be apparent.

A very extensive emigration took place last summer from England and Scotland to the United States. This was induced by agents sent over from America who engaged men and women for special employment, advancing their passage money to America ; the amount, by contract, to be gradually deducted from their earnings after arrival. I proposed a similar measure to the contractors on the line of railway from Truro to Pictou in May, offering to place the business in the hands of persons on whom perfect reliance could be had, should it meet their approval; but received no answer.

I have had many applications lately for shoemakers and tailors, and some from the country for brickmakers. A few of those who wrote from Scotland are of the latter class, and I think are likely to come.

A society was formed in May in Annapolis county, for the purpose of developing the resources of that county and making them known abroad. I offered my services to co-operate with them by forwarding every information with which they furnished me to societies and people of influence in Great Britain. But I had no commands from them.

Now that the Government has appointed emigration agents in London, Liverpool and Glasgow, I trust that we shall have this spring and summer a far more extensive immigration of useful people than has ever yet been witnessed in the province. I am in regular active correspondence with these gentlemen, who appear zealously disposed to forward the work committed to them and undertaken by them, under the facilities afforded for the conveyance of immigrants. But it will be absolutely necessary that the Government should be more liberal in expenditure in the immigration department, and grant such sums as may be found necessary in promoting emigration from Europe. The agent at Liverpool writes to me: " It will be absolutely necessary for me to appoint agents throughout the mining districts, to circulate the books and papers that I have prepared, without which I should not expect to get one dozen of emigrants in a year." "Were I not to adopt this course, it would be perfectly useless to think of procuring emigrants. I must have people who will go among the miners, and talk to them, and show them the advantages they may count upon in Nova Scotia, and to keep me constantly advised as to what is doing, without which it would be dangerous to provide a ship for the conveyance of passengers." And the agent at Glasgow says: " I will continue to keep the subject before the public as I have done for some time; but, as I have previously stated, I think the Government of Nova Scotia should at once advance some funds to enable me to make their wishes known, by means of advertisements, lectures &c. In the mean time, I continue to keep the colony, and its advantages as a home for British emigrants, before the public."

I sent in January 4000 copies of a large poster bill, relating the advantages and requirements of the province, to the emigration agents, to be distributed in London, Liverpool, Glasgow, and Dublin, and throughout the county towns, with the same number of cards, to the same effect, to be hung up in countinghouses, workshops, reading rooms, and bar rooms; also 4000 copies of extracts from the immigration act, relating to the sale of crown lands on credit to immigrants, with 1800 copies of the "Hand-book for Emigrants to Nova Scotia," for distribution. The whole number of these pamphlets, published in 1864, which I noticed in my report last year as having been well received and approved of at home, is now nearly exhausted, and more are wanted in England. I would, therefore, recommend that another edition, with the requisite alterations and some additional information should be soon published.

The list of properties for sale kept in my office is now attracting more attention; hardly a week passes without some new notices of properties or farms for sale coming in, and frequently persons call to look over the lists, to whom I give every information contained in the letters received, with the names and addresses of the advertisers, with whom they may transact and conclude bargains.

I would earnestly urge on the Government the propriety of having suitable tracts of land for settlement, selected, surveyed, and runout in lots of 100 acres on the only tract as yet set apart for settlement, which is situated between Musquodoboit and Tangier Harbor. But there are several other districts in which as good, if not better, tracts can be so appropriated in the counties of Digby, Kings, Annapolis, Lunenburg, Hants, Colchester, Cumberland, and in the island of Cape Breton, as mentioned in my report of February, 1864. As there is no officer named in the act on whom devolves the duty of recommending any such lands, I would suggest that in the 3d section it should be stated that " wherever tracts of land are ascertained by the immigration agent to suitable for settlement, it shall be lawful for the Commissioner of Crown Lands, when so instructed," &c.

Many complaints have been made that natives of the province have been excluded from participation in lands under the revised immigration act of 1864, to which they were entitled by the original act of 1863. I therefore submit that in the 4 th section of the act, "natives of the province" may be included with immigrants arriving in the province and that corresponding alterations may be accordingly made in 7 th and 8 th sections.

If main roads were made through these lands set apart for settlement under the immigration act, and natives of the province entitled to share in the benefit of the act, many industrious young men would be induced to settle on them; and not only thereby render the locality more agreeable to strangers, by being in their vicinity, but also be of much service to them, as they will require both instruction and aid in reclaiming land from the forest.

I would also recommend what I formerly suggested, that the Government should have small clearings of one acre made on some of the lots of crown land and erect on them log houses of cheap construction for immigrant settlers, that settler might have a shelter for himself and his family on arriving. Great advantages would result from this. There are many competent and industrious people who may have hardly sufficient to secure a passage across the Atlantic for themselves and families, to whom such accommodation would be a very great boon; and the expense necessary to clear the acre and build the log house might be made a charge upon the soil, giving the settler a credit to pay up the outlay thus incurred. One advantage accruing from this plan would be in furnishing farmers and his family, who have much to learn in a new country, and some trials to endure before they can possess a comfortable home.

Before concluding, I beg again to revert to the advantage of dispatching an agent annually to Britain, whose attention should be strictly confined to the duties of emigration agent alone. He should possess an intimate knowledge of the views of the Government and people of this province on the subject of immigration. He should traverse the mother country, and by personal representations to individuals, to societies, and to bodies of men desirous to emigrate, might induce valuable settlers to come to Nova Scotia ; amongst others. Mechanics and small farmers, possessing a few hundred pounds each, who are the people most desirable for us. He could facilitate, in many cases, arrangements for the transit of passengers (acting always in conjunction with the agents now appointed) and in some cases for the purchase of lands in this province. He might also arouse many parties in the mother country to take an interest in the province , or in emigration to it. Resident agents at different ports, who have their own separate business to attend to, cannot be expected to perform these duties ; and every effort should be made, as so many inducements are held out by other colonies, several of which give assisted passages to emigrants.

I trust that the advantage of a special agent will be shown by the success of Captain F. A. Liebman, who has just left for Germany, for the purpose of procuring able and industrious emigrants from thence for Nova Scotia. I have furnished him with all the necessary papers to aid him in his work, and he informs me that the emigrants by the Donau have written to their friends, recommending them to follow them to this country, they being so much pleased with their reception and prospects here.

Annexed are copiers of a minute of Council and advertisement respecting immigrants.

I have the honor to be


Your most obedient humble servant


The Hon. Charles Tupper, M. D., Provincial Secretary


[Minute of Council.]

The Executive Council, in committee on the subject of immigration, report for the approval of his Excellency-the Lieutenant Governor, the following minute:

That owing to the great scarcity of labor for mining and agricultural purposes, and in relation to the construction of our public works, the Executive Council are of opinion that the prosperity of the country may be increased, and a large saving of public money effected, by the introduction of able-bodied immigrants at the present time; and with that object and for the purpose of diffusing information touching the resources of this province and of contributing to lessen their passage money of immigr4ants to this country, propose

That an advance be made to Captain Liebman of $200 towards his expenses in visiting Germany as an immigration agent, and, until further notification, he be entitled to receive $10 for each able-bodied immigrant landed in this province ;

That Henry Boggs, esquire, in London, Alexander Campbell, in Glasgow; and James R. DeWolf, in Liverpool, be appointed immigration agents for Nova Scotia, with the understanding that they are to receive $10 for every able-bodied immigrant landed in this province, until notified to the contrary.

All of which is respectfully submitted.







To Emigrants.----Tradesmen and Laborers Wanted in the Province of Nova Scotia.

Nova Scotia is the nearest part of the American continent to Europe: about 2230 miles distant from Ireland, and probably 2000 miles nearer than the sections of the United States now open for settlement. It abounds in mineral wealth, of which coal may be considered the most valuable; and the gold mines are likely to prove as remunerative, if not more so, than those in Australia. During the year 1865, the gold produced from the mines, as reported to the commissioner of mines and minerals, averages $2.13 or 8s 6d. stg. per day for every man employed.

The soils of the province vary in quality; but the least valuable, which are on the Atlantic coast, still present many attractions to the farmer. Nearly all the interior is capable of profitable cultivation, and the alluvial soils will bear continued cropping without manure for a long period. As a grazing country, it stands unrivalled, among the provinces and states of the eastern part of North America.

The climate is agreeable, and extremely healthy, more so than any other part of North America. The weather is warmer in summer and colder in winter than in England. Not so warm as Italy in the former season, nor so cold as Sweden and Denmark in the latter. The province produces all the grain, roots, and fruits which grow in the middle and northern parts of Europe.

The population consists chiefly of the descendants of immigrants from England, Scotland, and Ireland, and partly of those from France and Germany. They are engaged principally in farming and the fisheries, and now mining is becoming a most important branch of business. The commerce of the province is rapidly advancing, and the revenue yearly increasing.

Farming, lumbering, fruit-growing, and the fisheries, have been the most important industrial pursuits, and mining may now be classed with them.

Labor, both at the mines and for agricultural purposes, is very scarce, and wages are high.

Unoccupied lands are granted by the Government, at the price of £8 16s. stg. for the hundred acres. Immigrants may have them on a credit of two and three years.

Ninety-three miles of railway are completed, and in operation.

Fifty miles are in process of construction; and over

One hundred and fifty miles additional are now under contract. These works are creating an excessive demand for labor, skilled and unskilled. Laborers are paid in specie, at the rate of 4s. stg., a day; masons, 8s. a day, and other mechanics in proportion. Boarding may be had at from 8s. to 10s. stg., per week.

The Queen of Great Britain is sovereign of the province, and the local government is modeled after the British system. The utmost freedom prevails in religion and politics.

For further particulars, apply to the following emigration agents for Nova Scotia:


S Crosby Square, London

J. R. DEWOLF, Esq.,

Tower Chambers, Liverpool


Sentinel Office, Glasgow.


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