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extracted from 1847-1849 Colonization Circulars' No.s 7-9

Hints to Emigrants to the North American Provinces ca. 1847-1849

1.   Caution against proceeding to New Brunswick &c. via Quebec: Emigrants whose destination may be New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, or Nova Scotia, are particularly cautioned against taking passage to Quebec, as there are no regular means of conveyance from that port to any of the Lower Provinces. The charge of passage by occasional schooners, is to Miramichi, New Brunswick, 15s. (shillings), to Prince Edward Island, 20s. (shillings), to Halifax, Nova Scotia, 25s. (shillings), each adult, without provisions ; length of passage from ten to twenty days. The route to St. John, New Brunswick is much more difficult, as vessels seldom leave Quebec direct for that port, and the general mode of conveyance is by schooner to Miramichi, and thence by land. Several weeks may elapse without a vessel offering for any of these ports.
2.   Caution to keep Contact Tickets:— Emigrants ought to keep possession of their contract tickets, as otherwise, in the event of the ship's being prevented by any accident from reaching her destination, or of the passengers, for any other reason, not being landed at the place named in the tickets, they may have a difficulty in obtaining a return of their passage money, to which in that case they would by law be entitled.
3.   Caution to provide mean for subsistence and transport after arrival:— Many emigrants having latterly been found to rely on public funds for their assistance in the colonies, they are hereby warned that they have no claim of right on such fund, and that they should provide themselves with sufficient means of their own for their subsistence and conveyance into the interior from the port where they land.
     In Canada, a recent law expressly prohibits relief from the Emigrant Tax fund, excepting in cases of sickness on the part of destitute emigrants.
4.   Tools:— It is not generally considered desirable that agricultural labourers should take out implements of husbandry, as these can be easily procured in the colonies ; but artisans are recommended to take such tools as they may possess, if not very bulky.
5.   Time to arrive in the Colony:— The best period is early in May, so as to be in time to take advantage of the spring and summer work, and to get settled before the winter sets in.
6.   Average Length of Passage:
To Quebec 46 days
Prince Edward Island (say) 40 days
Nova Scotia 38 days
    By the Passengers' Act, provisions are however required to be laid in for 70 days to which period passengers are sometimes protracted.
7.   Maintenance on arrival, &c.:— Passengers are entitled by law to be maintained on board in the same manner as during the passage for 48 hours after arrival, unless within that time the ship should quit the port in the prosecution of her voyage. The water of the river St. Lawrence is stated to have a strong tendency to produce bowel complaints in strangers. It should at first, therefore, be drunk as sparingly as possible.
8.   Colonial Tax on Emigrants:

By a Colonial Law of 1849 the capitation tax of the previous year has been modified and reduced. It is now 7s.6d. currency, payable by the master, for every passenger of 15 or upwards, and 5s. currency for each person between 5 and 15 ; children under 5 are exempted. If embarked, however, without the sanction of Her Majesty's Government, ascertained by a certificate from an officer of Customs at the port of embarkation, the tax is 10s. currency for every passenger.


New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.—
By recent Acts of the Colonial Legislatures, to be in force for a limited period, a tax of 10s. is levied for each emigrant in ships reported by the master to the colonial authorities on arrival between the 1st April and 1st September in any year. If the report of arrival be made between 1st September and 1st October the tax is increased to 15s. a head, and if between the 1st October and the 1st of the ensuing April, to 20s. An additional rate is charged, as in the case of Canada, for emigrants on board ships placed in quarantine, except for purposes of cleaning or observation : this rate is 5s. a head ; and if the ship be detained in quarantine more than 10 days, a further sum of 5s.


Prince Edward Island.—
The tax, according to the latest information, is two dollars, or 10s. currency (equal to about 8s.4d. sterling), on each adult coming from the United Kingdom, reckoning every person above fourteen, and two children between seven and fourteen, and three children under seven years of age, as an adult. No charge is made on children under one year of age. The tax is doubled if the emigrants arrive after the 1st of September, and trebled if after the 1st of October. The Act to be in force for two years

    In each of the Colonies the tax is made payable by the master of the ship.
9.   Caution not to refuse good wages:— Until emigrants become acquainted with the labour of the country, their services are of comparatively small value to their employers. They should therefore be careful not to fall into the common error of refusing reasonable wages on their first arrival.
10.   Route for Emigrants to Canada:— Emigrants intending to settle in Canada will find it in all respects more advantageous to proceed by Quebec.
     As there is competition among the Steam-boat Companies at Quebec and the Forwarding Companies at Montreal, emigrants should exercise caution before agreeing for their passage, and should avoid those persons who crowd on board ships and steam-boats, offering their services to get passages. &c.
     Emigrants destined for Upper Canada are advised not to pause at Quebec or Montreal, but to proceed at once on their journey. If, however, they require advice or direction, they should apply only to the Government Agents, who will furnish gratuitously all requisite information.
    The following is the usual route for emigrants from Quebec, as far as Hamilton:
         Steamers leave Quebec for Montreal every afternoon at five o'clock (Sundays excepted), calling at Three Rivers, Port St. Francis and Sorel, and arrive early the next morning. * On reaching Montreal, emigrants proceeding further west should go at once to the emigrants' sheds at the entrance of the Lachine Canal, where shelter and medical advice, if required, may be obtained gratis. The Royal mail steamers leave the Lower Canal Basin every day at half-past 10 o'clock for Kingston, calling at all the intermediate places on the route, and completing the passage in about 26 hours. The mail steamers leave Kingston every morning after the arrival of the boats from Montreal, calling at Coburg [sic], Port Hope, Toronto, Hamilton, Niagara and Queenston. The steerage passage by this line of steamers, from Quebec to Hamilton, a distance of 580 miles, is 27s.6d. currency, or 22s. sterling ; time, 3 days.
     Steamers and screw propellers leave Montreal every afternoon for Toronto and Hamilton, and all the intermediate landing-places, passage from Montreal to Toronto or Hamilton 15s. currency, or 12s. sterling each adult ; and occasionally, during the summer of 1848, this class of steamers was running direct between Quebec and Hamilton. They are longer on the route than the mail steamers ; but emigrants are carried much cheaper, and they avoid all the expense of trans-shipment. The steamer "Free Trader," made several trips in 1848, from Quebec to Chicago, on Lake Michigan, a distance of more than 1800 miles without trans-shipment, and several additional vessels are expected to be on this route in 1849. They offer great advantages to emigrants proceeding to the Western States, as they make the route of the St. Lawrence much shorter and cheaper than by way of the United States.
     Steamers leave Montreal daily for Bytown, through the Rideau Canal, to Kingston. This route is seldom used but by travellers to the Ottawa or Bathurst district.
     The probable expense of provisions may be taken at 1s. per day ; making the expense from Quebec to Hamilton, about 30s. currency per adult.
     Emigrants will, on application to the Government Agents at Montreal, Kingston, and Toronto, obtain permission to stop in the emigrant sheds, and thus avoid the expense of lodging, which is from 4d. to 6d. per night.
    Table of Distances, Fares, and other Particulars relating to the Route from Quebec to Hamilton
Usual Route for
tance in
for each
for Per-
on the
From Quebec to Montreal, calling at Three Rivers, about 90 miles : Port St. Francis, 99 miles : and Sorel, 135 180 5s.
(2s.6d. in
July, 1844)
No charge Abt. 14 hours
* From Montreal to Kingston
(via Bytown, 120 miles)
247 4s. 2s.6d.
per cwt.
Abt. 6 days
From Kingston to any Port of the Bay of Quinté 35 to 70 2s. 2s.6d.
per cwt.
Abt. 6 days
From Kingston to Cobourg, or Port Hope 90 5s. 2s.6d.
per cwt.
Abt. 9 hours
From Kingston to Toronto 180 7s.6d 2s.6d.
per cwt.
Abt. 18 hours
From Kingston to Hamilton 220 10s. 2s.6d.
per cwt.
Abt. 22 hours
Total from Quebec to Hamilton 667 19s. 2s.6d.
per cwt.
Abt. 8 days
* The completion hitherto maintained upon this portion of the main Canadian route has very much influenced the fare for this passage ; but it has seldom exceeded 3s.9d. currency in the steerage, and during the greater part of the season of 1848 it was as low as 6d. sterling each person.

* 1848 note: During the year 1846, owing to the completion of the Beauharnois and St. Lawrence Canals, a shorter route was opened from Montreal to Kingston, and steamers now perform the distance regularly in about 28 hours, without any increase in the charge for passage. The whole distance from Quebec to Hamilton by this route appears to be 571 miles, and is performed in about 72 to 80 hours, a less time than required to go from Montreal to Kingston by the Rideau Canal route. The cost of passage is 30s. currency, or 24s. sterling for each adult.

         From Kingston to Darlington, Whitby, or Bond Head, 8s.9d., Oakville, 12s.6d. To Niagara or Queenston, 13s.9d., [for 1848, From Kingston to Darlington, Whitby, or Windsor, 120 miles, 6s.3d. to Niagara 7s.6d...] and to Ports Burwell and Stanley, on Lake Erie, by schooners through the Welland Canal, 7s.6d. to 10s. Land carriage from 1d. to 2d. per mile. The rates here given are for adults above 12 years ; for children between twelve and three years of age, half price is charged, and children under three years go free. One cwt. of luggage allowed to each passenger.
     Owing to the completion in the present season (1849), emigrants now being carried from Quebec to Toronto for 7s.6d. currency, and to Hamilton for 10s. currency.
11.   Route from New York to Canada:— The following information respecting this route has been furnished through Her Majesty's Consul at New York, by a firm in that city.
    Canada, via Rochester ; by fast Steam-boat daily from New York, thence by Railroad, or Erie Canal, to Rochester, and daily line of Steam-boats on Lake Ontario, every evening, at 7 o'clock, during the Summer months, and 6 o'clock during the Spring and Autumn.
From New York Fast Steamboat
and Erie Canal
Fast Steamboat
and Railroad
Time Cost Time Dis-
to Cobourg or Port Hope including Peterboro' (rear of Cobourg) Six to
16s.8d. 2½ to
3 Days
400 to
to Bond Head and Darlington 17s.8½d 26s.6d.
to Whitby (Windsor, Scarboro' and Pickering) 17s.8½d 26s.6d.
to Toronto, Newmarket &c. 17s.8½d 28s.7d.
to Hamilton, Paris, Guelph and London 19s.9½d 29s.7½d
to Queenston, including Port Robinson on Welland Canal 20s.10d 29s.7½d.
    Passengers on the canal are allowed fire and water without extra charge ; board on the canal one cent (equal to ½d.) a mile. Cabin passage about double the above rates. Forty lbs. baggage on the canal, and 100 lbs. on the lakes and rivers allowed free to each adult passenger. Extra baggage, including river, canal and lake fare, (75 cents to 1 dollar) 3s.1½d. to 4s.2d. per 100 lbs. for the whole route. On the railroad emigrants' baggage goes entirely free. All baggage transhipped at Albany from steam-boat to canal or railroad, also at Rochester to the lakes.
    Opening / Closing Dates of the Ports / Canals in Canada and the Hudson River, Erie Canal and Lake Erie
12.   Expense or erecting a log hut:— The cost of a log hut, such as settlers usually erest, may be stated at from £5 to £12. But when the chief part of the work is performed by the emigrant himself, the cost is much less. These huts, if properly constructed, are very warm and comfortable.


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