The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Daily News (Kingston, ON), Aug. 12, 1854

Full Text


Emigration - Inhumanity

We find the following in the Prescott Telegraph. It is very evident that the people of Prescott have been guilty of gross inhumanity. They deliberately refused burial to the dead, or relief to the dying! - an act which one would hardly expect to see in barbarous, leave alone a civilized country. How different was the course pursued here in the case of the Brantford to that adopted at Prescott, as described by the Telegraph. The Brantford, with her sick, dying and dead, was not ordered by the people here to "put off to some other place," as was done in the case of the Champion by the humane Levites of Prescott. The dead were properly buried, the sick carefully tended, and the boat purified before she was permitted to proceed to "some other place." Let us hope that not one of those concerned in this Prescott outrage may have in his dying hour occasion to feel the full weight of what must be to him the fearfully retributive sentence - "with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again!"

A Fracas - On Friday morning last the steamer Champion brought up from Montreal a large number of emigrants, on their way to "the west;" amongst them were a number sick with cholera, and several (how many, could not be ascertained,) dead bodies. The emigrants were transhipped to the lake steamer Magnet, when the captain of the Champion undertook to land the sick and the dead upon the wharf, leaving them upon the town, without being willing to pay any of the expenses of burial, etc. The Board of Health being made aware of this, the members went down, and in going on board to find out the state of matters, were roughly treated by the crew, and actually driven off vi, et armis. They then refused to allow any of the emigrants to be landed, and (having procured assistance from the townspeople,) compelled the boat to put off and carry the sick and dead to some other place. Considerable excitement prevailed about the wharf for a short time, and axe handles, cord-wood, etc. were brandished menacingly at the refractory crew. However it was soon over.

We cannot see the propriety of allowing the steam boats to leave their sick and dead upon our town, as they pass up the river. The steam boats contract, and are paid to convey their passengers to certain points. Their business is to make money out of them, and they are the only parties that do make money out of them. They have no medical men on board of the boats, as they ought to have; they huddle together several hundred poor, worn-out, half-demented creatures, between decks, with scarcely any ventilation, and the least possible accommodation for their comfort; and they ought to be forced to take care of them in case of necessity. The towns along the river have no means at their disposal to pay the expense of providing for sick strangers, and all that has been and will be done, must be purely through feelings of humanity.

We do not mean to say that our townspeople did right in refusing assistance to the sick on the occasion referred to above. The sick stranger in a strange land certainly claims our sympathy and care; and we understand the deceased emigrants on board the Champion would have been taken care of by the town, had the officers of the boat not behaved improperly; perhaps, however, some blame lies on both sides.

As the Government has encouraged emigration by the St. Lawrence, we think they ought to have made provision for the health and comfort of the emigrants on their way through the country. They must yet pay the expenses incurred through the season, as they have no right to expect the municipalities to make additions to their already heavy taxes for such purposes. If emigration be any advantage to the Province, - and everybody admits that it is, - then it is the duty of the Government to regulate, superintend, and control it, that it may not become burdensome to the inhabitants, or a sure road to death to the emigrants themselves. The sufferings of the poor creatures during the present season are beyond description.

Media Type:
Item Type:
Date of Original:
Aug. 12, 1854
Local identifier:
Language of Item:
Rick Neilson
Copyright Statement:
Public domain: Copyright has expired according to the applicable Canadian or American laws. No restrictions on use.
Maritime History of the Great Lakes
WWW address
Powered by / Alimenté par VITA Toolkit

My favourites lets you save items you like, tag them and group them into collections for your own personal use. Viewing "My favourites" will open in a new tab. Login here or start a My favourites account.

Daily News (Kingston, ON), Aug. 12, 1854