logoLetter from Canada


Although most Manx emigrated to Ohio, Canada was a popular destination for many British and Irish settlers in the 1820-1840 period. Several books were written giving details and extolling the attractions - this letter is similar to many of these books. Some statistics for the period 1829 to 1840 were quoted in a House of Commons' report - during this period some 293,721 emigrated to Canada of whom 173,766 were from Ireland (the exactitude of these figures is amazing!). In 1832 some 51,746 emigrated (28,204 Irish), in 1831 50,254 (34,133 Irish) but in 1838 due to disturbances only 3,266 emigrated. By comparison during the period 1828 to 1840 some 315,223 people from the Britsh Isles emigrated to New York.

Many Manx settlers to Ohio later moved to the Canadian side of the Great Lakes.


Lower Canada , Montreal , 28th Aug 1827

DEAR SIR, - I observe by the United States journals, that a considerable emigration has taken place from the Isle of Man, for the Ohio, Indiana, and the other southern states; were the good people of your island acquainted with certain circumstances, I conceive they would change their course, and I now address myself to you with that view, having no doubt that your journals will be willing to publish this communication. Those states are generally unhealthy, subject to the attacks of yellow fever, fever and ague, and other destructive diseases, by which a great part of the new settlers suffer considerably - add to this, lands are high, taxes very heavy, and the distance from any market very great. In this quarter we have a new country opened which includes all the lands on the south side of the river St.Lawrence, commnencing at the boundary line of the French Canadian settlements, about ten miles from the St.Lawrence; to the United States lines of New York, Vermont, and New Hanpshire, commonly called English Canada, or the eastern townships, and situated in the district of three rivers, and Montreal. It consists of about eighty townships, each township divided into ten ranges of thirty lots each, each lot containing two hundred and ten acres, including ten acres for highways. This country contains about ten thousand square miles, and is well watered by the rivers St. Francis and Nicolet, and several small lakes and streams which run into the above rivers, all of them abounding with fish of various kinds . Its soil is not surpassed bar any part of North America; none in the United states can be compared with it. The climate also, may be considered the most healthy in America, being free from all infectious disorders. Several churches and schoolhouses are already erected, and clergymen of the Protestant denomination, appointed and paid by government. It affords timber of the following-; species, sugar maple, birds-eye maple, cherry, birch, beech, pine, and cedar; from the maple, large quantities of sugar are yearly made, in the months of March and April. most of the townships have some settlers, say from ten to one hundred families, who have emigrated from the United States. Of late years a few Scotch and Irish have purchased farms of the first settlers, and are doing well. Several villages are to be found on the St.Francis The distance from Three Rivers to the United States line, is near one hundred miles,and the roads pass through the centre of this country. The distance from Quebec and Montreal relay be considered about the same, and even now those markets are chiefly supplied with beef, mutton, pork, poultry, butter and cheese, from these new settlements. Those who clear wild lands make pottash with the ashes which pays the expenses of clearing.

The usual price to clear one acre, is twelve dollars or fiftyfour shillings sterling. Able general price of the first quality of wild land is two dollars, or nine shillings sterling per acre, on a credit of ten years, paying; interest at 6 per Cent per annum ~ A great proportion of the lands is still held by government, that part contains no settlements, and is in the rear of the rivers. No land in this country are subject to any tax, the Canadas being free from taxation. Improved farms with a log-house and barn, are often sold for twenty to forty shillings sterling per acre. The winter generally commences the end of November, when the ground is covered in snow, and the rivers frozen over; and the spring opens about the end of March, giving the farmer about three months fine winter roads, to take to market the fruits of his labours, draw out, fencing, and prepare for the ensuing spring work - a blessing which other countries do not possess, and which proves a great advantage to the farmer. I should here remark that all kinds of cattle can be stalled, fed and fattened in six weeks, on potatoes, turnips, carrots, pumpkins, and Indian corn, in the winter, without water, and be in better order than three months feeding in summer, with water. The price of sheep is generally four shillings and six pence sterling; cows, from two to three pounds; oxen, from five to ten pounds, the pair; horses from ten to twenty pounds the pair; swine according to size. The most flourishing villages are, Sherbrooke, and Richmond; the most flourishing townships, Shipton, Melborne, Windsor, Oxford, Ascott, Compton, Eaton, Barnstead, Hereford, and Stanstead. This country enjoys the benefit of the English laws. I should recommend to emigrants intended for Canada, to come out to Quebec, and proceed to Three Rivers, by steamboat, from thence cross the St.lawrence, and proceed to the St. Francis. It would be a great saving to them if the vessel were bound to Three Rivers, which is one day's sail up from Quebec.

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© F.Coakley , 2001