Clearances' Emigrant Ships
Hercules, James, Kingston, Lady Kennedy, Liscard, Macdonald, Militiades, Sillery, Prince of Wales, Rambler, Sarah
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Emigrant Ships


At Campbelton the people joined other emigrants from Harris ansd Skye aboard the frigate Hercules. She sailed on 26 December. When she stopped at Queenstown for water and mails, there were already smallpox belox decks.)
Source: The Highland Clearances by John Prebble, page 264, 270


When the little brig James reached Halifax in 1826 every person on board, crew or passenger, was ill with Typhus.
Source: The Highland Clearances by John Prebble, page 194 John Gray

Australia was happy to welcome the emigrants, and those whom the Society sent later in the Militiades, the John Gray, the Chance Gray, the Chance and the Flora. They were offered immediate employment. In sheep-stations. ( Circa 1851?)
Source: The Highland Clearances by John Prebble, page 205


In 1836 the Colonial Office was told (and this after the passing of a third Emigration Act) that when the Ceres and the Kingston arrived at Nova Scotia the former was without water, and the latter had enough for a day only. The Kingston, with 340 passengers, was carrying far more than the legal number, and aboard the Ceres the rotten wood of temporary berths had collapsed, killing two children. Despite certain suffering, and possible death, many people without the passage money stowed away aboard the emigrant ships. his happened so frequently that Customs officers took constables and coastguards aboard when they checked the sailing-lists, and they searched each ship before it sailed.
Source: The Highland Clearances by John Prebble, page 195

Lady Kennaway

Gentlemen who took cabin passage on the emigrant ships published accounts of their voyage for the entertainment of their friends and the education of their descendants. Jon Hood, of Stonebridge in Berwickshire, sailed for New South Wales on the Lady Kennaway in 1841. He paid 50 pounds for his passage, and found the food ('Roast mutton, boiled mutton, mutton-pies, sheep's head; pork roasted, fried, boiled and broiled') tolerable, and even enjoyable after a while. The claret was good too, and after tea every afternoon the cabin passengers sat on deck to await the coming of " brilliant stars and moonlight''. It was unfortunate that he found it difficult to sleep to sleep at nights for the noise, which the steerage passengers made, and the lack of proper segregation for their women was deplorable. " I am told that in some emigrant ships even partitions are dispensed with, that decency is entirely disregarded, and that a sentry and lights are the only protection.
Source: The Highland Clearances by John Prebble, page 196-197


In 1849, forty or fifty families had been unable to find room on the Liscard, which took the Glenelg people to Quebec. They had sold most of what they possessed, and were now living close to starvation on the edge of Loch Hourn. Mulock called the heads of these families together, and asked them if they were indeed willing emigrants. " With one voice they assured me that nothing short of the impossibility of obtaining land or employment at home could drive them to seek the doubtful benefits of a foreign shore. So far from the emigrations being a spontaneous movement springing out of the wishes of the tenantry, I aver it to be the product of desperation, the calamitous light of hopeless oppression visiting their sad hearts."
Source: The Highland Clearances by John Prebble, page 243


The evicted tenants left for Canada aboard the ship Macdonald in the summer of 1785, and although the nineteen cabin passengers (tacksmen and their families) may have enjoyed the voyage, it must have been a sickening hell for the five hundred and twenty sub-tenants and cotters crammed below decks. They were leaving one Glengarry for another, for this was the name given to a Canadian settlement made by earlier Macdonell exiles who had left the United States at the end of the American Revolution. Traveling in the Macdonald with his parish was the Reverend Alexander Macdonell, an iron and devoted man in the tradition of those Catholic priests who had stood in line with the clansmen at Culloden. He built his own church of Canadian timber, called it the Blue Chapel, preached and prayed in the Gaelic, and stayed with the exiles until he died.
Source: The Highland Clearances by John Prebble, page 138


Australia was happy to welcome the emigrants, and those whom the Society sent later in the Militiades, the John Gray, the Chance Gray, the Chance and the Flora. They were offered immediate employment. In sheep-stations. ( Circa 1851?)
Source: The Highland Clearances by John Prebble, page 205

Prince of Wales

It carried in 1813 people, Gunns from Kildonan, to Canada. Seven of them applied for grants of land in Selkirk settlement. Selkirk took 100 of them and these made the party that sailed from Stromness on The Prince of Wales, in convoy with the Eddystone which arrived with servants and officials of the Selkirk's settlement, and under the protection of a sloop-of-war. Selkirk was no philanthropist; he made it clear that the sea-passage would cost each emigrant 10 pounds. The money was paid, and many of the people were able to bank more with Selkirk, to be drawn upon when they reached Canada.
Source: The Highland Clearances by John Prebble, page 68


The Inverness Journal certainly had no kindly feelings when it reported the departure of one hundred and thirty emigrants who left Thurso in October 1807, aboard the brig Rambler. "Most criminal infatuation!" it declared, " that can thus lead men to emigrate from their native homes into a state of voluntary banishment, peril and toil the most laborious, to a country where they have not only to till but make the field, half of which exertion and labour would have made the country they thus abandon pregnant with every blessing.' When it later announced the wreck of the Rambler, with the loss of all but three of the emigrants, the Journal did not say that this was probably Divine Judgement, but it did choose the occasion to lament the fact that so many people were leaving Scotland 'when recruits for our standing army and militia are hard to find'.
Source: The Highland Clearances by John Prebble, page 189-190


In the summer of 1801, George Dunoon advertised the sailing of the Sarah and the Dove from Fort William for Pictou. Had the laws then governing slave-ships applied to these emigrant vessels, they would not have been allowed to carry more than 489 passengers. Dunoon filled the tiny holds with 700, emigrants from Lord Reay's country, from the clan-lands of Seaforth, Fraser and Cameron. If they believed his promise that in Nova Scotia they would find a tree that supplied fuel, soap and sugar (he probably meant the maple) they may have found the nightmare voyage endurable, but it is unlikely. Forty-nine people died on the Sarah alone, and the suffering of all was so terrible that it was remembered in Nova Scotia for more than a century.

Two years after the departure of the Sarah and the Dove Thomas Thelford... did a report and he urged that something be done to prevent over-crowding to guarantee adequate provisions for all the emigrants. The passenger Act of 1803 which followed, produced some odd responses...
Source: The Highland Clearances by John Prebble, page 193-194


At the end of August 1853, the government transport Sillery came to Isleornsay on Skye, and waited there for the people to be ferried across the sound of Sleat from Knoydart. The evictions began soon after her arrival, and Mrs Macdonnell came up from Edinburgh to Invergarry, to be near should there be papers to sign or orders to give. Under the direction of Grant, parties of men with axes, crow-bars, and hammers, visited each township,, and daily the Sillery's boats rocked across the bronze sea to Inverie, Sandaig, Doune, and Airor. Four hundred people were cleared from their homes, and those who refused to go in the boats ran to the hills and hid in the caves.

....Allan Macdonell a widower with four children said that he did not wish to emigrate, and would not go aboard the Sillery.

... Charles Mackinnon, who was seventy and lived alone, was waiting at his door for the factor. Grant asked him when he was going. "As soon as I can,' said Mackinnon. He put on his bonnet and plaid and walked away from the boats, up into the hills. Alexander Macdonel carried his pregnant wife to the shelter of a bush, refusing to put her aboard the Sillery when she was so close to labor.

...The Sillery sailed. The russet Highland autumn was over.
Source: The Highland Clearances by John Prebble, pages 276, 277, 278, 283

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