Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

After the Hector: The Scottish Pioneers of Nova Scotia and Cape Breton 1773-1852

Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

After the Hector: The Scottish Pioneers of Nova Scotia and Cape Breton 1773-1852

Article excerpt

Lucille H. Campey, After the Hector: The Scottish Pioneers of Nova Scotia and Cape Breton 1773-1852 (Toronto: Natural Heritage Books 2004), xviii + 376pp. Paper. ISBN 1-896219-95-0.

This book brings a fresh approach to the subject of Scottish emigration in the period after the early settlers arrived in Canada on The Hector in 1773. The author has researched this subject thoroughly and concentrates on the Scots from the Highlands and Islands who settled in Nova Scotia with family and neighbours from their own Scottish Gaelic-speaking communities.

The author explores the complex background to emigration, exposing as an oversimplification the idea that all emigrants from the Highlands and Islands were forcibly removed from their homes. Despite the infamous record of many such evictions, it is made clear that informed decisions to emigrate were also made by families, sometimes even by whole communities. It is arguable of course that they had little or no choice but to emigrate, by virtue of the bleak economic conditions, with failed harvests and rising rents. So although they struggled to raise the money needed for fares, in reality they had no other option. Campey also argues with the notion that conditions on the ships were universally dreadful. Facilities for the passengers were far from luxurious as they were primarily cargo ships, but they were generally in good seaworthy condition. She makes the point that 'these conditions would have been nothing new to the emigrants as poor sanitary conditions and overcrowding was what most emigrants were used to' (p. …

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