British Colonial Developments, 1774-1834

By Vincent Harlow; Frederick Madden | Go to book overview

judged it to be my duty to take precautions which would at least remedy some of the evils attending this delusion.

I therefore directed the Board of Customs to issue orders to their port officers not to clear out a vessel carrying emigrants, till they are furnished with a list and description of the intended emigrants, and till they are satisfied that a sufficient quantity of water and provisions is laid in according to the number of people and probable duration of the voyage. This has been generally complied with, but some merchants of Greenock have refused to give any satisfaction on the above points, and threaten, if the vessels are not cleared out, to abandon vessel and cargo to the Crown. I wish therefore to have your Grace's directions, whether any of these precautions should be enforced or not. . . .


8
REPORT OF THE HIGHLAND SOCIETY OF SCOTLAND, 18031

Emigration

The most important of the Society's proceedings, during the period comprehended in this account, were those which it deemed necessary to take respecting emigration from the Highlands and Islands, and other parts of the country, which at this time began to revive with a spirit more universal and determined than at any former period. . . .

The committee, after this interesting and perfectly ascertained narrative, proceeded to point out certain measures which they conceived it the duty of the Society humbly to recommend for the adoption of Government, for the extenuation at least, if not prevention of the evil in question. The first of those measures, which they suggested, was calculated to prevent the miseries and frequent death of such persons, as the situation of the country in its present state, defective as it is to a certain degree in the means of subsistence, and opportunities for industry, induce, or oblige to leave it. This was a law to regulate the conveyance and accommodation of the passengers in such voyages. The particulars to which those regulations were meant to refer, as absolutely necessary to the preservation of the health and lives of the emigrants, and which at present are so neglected as miserably to impair the one, and endanger the other, were stated by the committee to be,

1st, The size and tonnage of the vessels. A striking comparison was drawn under this head, between the ships in which the emigrants are

____________________
1
Prize Essays and Transactions of the Highland Society of Scotland, Edin. 1803, vol. ii, p. vii. Copies of this Report went to Dundas and to the Treasury and the Home Department. The Chairman of the Committee of the Society was Henry Mackenzie, the Scots novelist, who in 1804 was appointed, through Dundas and George Rose, as Comptroller of Taxes for Scotland.

-397-

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