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French Agent's Report 1872
The following is taken from the French Agent's report for the 1872 immigration report for Canada. This reports includes cost of passage on "feeder ships" and transatlantic ships, and rail fares to emigration ports. The Cunard Line 'feeder' ship which may have been used Havre-Liverpool British Queen and the Inman Line 'feeder' ships may have been City of Halifax and/or City of Durham.
"From France, emigrants cannot be shipped directly to Canada; they must go by way of Liverpool or by way of New York to reach their destination. The agents of the Canadian Government, who are also agents of the Messrs. Allan, have naturally shipped their passengers to Quebec by way of Liverpool. The price of passage from Havre to Quebec, from the 1st of March to the 30th of June last, was 130 francs per adult, during the following four months 110 francs, and from the 1st of November to the 31st of December the price of passage from Havre to Portland was 145 francs.
The price of assisted passages was uniformly maintained at 146.20 francs according to conditions previously agreed on. The above prices include the cost of passage by steamer from Havre to Liverpool–which is 26.85 francs, but regarding emigrants from Paris we must add 9.35 francs, for transport by railway to Havre.
Several of the principal trans-atlantic lines run steamers from Havre to Liverpool in connection with their ocean steamships. The Allan Line has not yet organized this service, but its relations with the Inman and Cunard Companies secure favorable conditions for its passengers. Steamers of the Inman Service have been principally used this last summer. They are well constructed, fast, and possess all the necessary comfort for a voyage which is only of about fifty hours duration.
Emigrants leave Paris four days before the day of their departure from Liverpool, and by virtue of a special agreement with some of the hotel keepers at Havre, their expenses in that city are only from 3 to 4 francs per diem; but from the moment they step on board of the steamer all expenses are borne by the Steamship Company, which is also responsible for all hotel expenses at Liverpool until their departure for America. All these details are completely arranged, and are of such a nature as to prevent imposition of a serious nature.
In France the authorities very minutely watch over the interest of emigrants, even of those who come from other countries and merely pass through it. The Commissioners appointed at Paris and Havre attend the arrival and departure of each batch of emigrants. Their diet and the means to ensure their health on board the steamers are carefully attended to. The same care and attention is displayed at the hotels which receive them. The Commissioners always enquire of the emigrants themselves as to any complaints they wish to make.
The owners of steamers at Havre derive great advantages from this transport of emigrants, and consequently do everything in their power to increase the traffic. They have the greater reason to watch over this important branch of their business, as formerly this port was held in very bad reputation by shippers on the Continent. Switzerland, for 15 years, has cautioned its inhabitants to choose another route, but this could not be permanent, and Havre has not been long in attaching to itself the principal part of the emigration which should come to it from the North and East of France, from Switzerland and the borders of the Rhine, and even from Italy.
These steamship companies of Havre have been powerfully aided in this matter by the Eastern and Western Railway Companies, which give great advantage to emigrants both by the reduction of the fare and in carrying baggage,–thus, the ordinary fare from Strasbourg to Havre, third class, is 47.20 francs, whilst to emigrants it was reduced to 30? francs; from Paris to Havre the reduction was equally great, viz: from 15.45 francs to 3.35?(smeared) francs; at the same time there is an allowance of 200lbs. Instead of 60lbs. Of baggage in favor of the emigrant; in excess of 60lbs. Ordinary passengers used to pay at a very high rate.
The liberal measures above mentioned taken by the French Companies have greatly contributed to the success of the Havre route, and the more so as similar measures have all been introduced by foreign Railway Companies,–for example, emigrants from Strasbourg who choose the Antwerp route, have to pay the ordinary fare, 21.75 francs for ??? which appears to be the ordinary weight of baggage carried by each emigrant, or at 10 francs for 200 lb. the weight allowed by the French Railway Companies.
Mr. Berns, Canadian Government Agent, at Antwerp, in Belgium, registered 318 emigrants for Canada during the last year. The Official Reports for the past year only mention 85. The result as regards France is highly satisfactory. This success is due to the activity displayed by Mr. Berns and his agents, who are placed in all parts of the country, as also to the vigorous and healthy impulse given the movement by Mr. Barnard and the Abbé Verbist.
It is needless to repeat the remarks which Mr. Bern's report will contain respecting the emigrants despatched, their occupation, social condition, &c. Belgium emigration to Canada is by way of Antwerp, Grimsby and Liverpool. The price of passage from Antwerp to Quebec was 160 francs. The Port of Antwerp, one of the most considerable on the Continent has, nevertheless, not the same importance as in the past with regard to emigration. The advantages offered by the French Railroads, and the direct lines of steamships between France and North and South America, have diverted a large number who formerly went by way of Belgium. There might, however, be an improvement in this trade, owing to the establishment of new and direct Trans-Atlantic lines, which are spoken of as probable, and which would be largely subsidized for carrying the mails. Belgian legislation is still very imperfect, and offers to emigrants less advantages then are offered from French, English and German Ports. This matter is said to be the object of special attention, and it may be expected that the arrangements will soon be perfect.
Mr. Bern's Agency at Strasbourg has forwarded to Canada 96 emigrants. They are composed almost totally of young men, who propose to send for their relations as soon as they are comfortably settled in their new country. This number is not large, if we compare it with the total emigration from Alsace and Lorraine, which was for the past year about 300,000 persons, but it should be stated that many from the latter Provinces have taken their tickets for Canada at Paris or Antwerp. Further, there is a powerful cause which to a great extent prevents this emigration in Canada. For about thirty years the population has flowed yearly by thousands towards the United States. All those who now emigrate have relations or friends already settled there, and they naturally follow them. Of the above 96, 57 went by way of Antwerp, and 37 by way of Paris.
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