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19th Century Emigration to the North Americas

The cost of passage

In 1827 the British government repealed the Passenger Acts, which had greatly inflated the cost of fares. That year, over 20,000 Irish took advantage of the cheaper rates. New, less stringent regulations were introduced in 1828 and between that date and 1837 almost 400,000 Irish immigrated to North America.
By 1831 the standard fare from Ireland to Canada (depending on season, route taken, and shipping line) had fallen from an average of between four and ten pounds sterling to just one pound ten shillings.
Although the Canadian route was relatively inexpensive, it was considered very hazardous. The death rate could be extremely high, whether from shipwreck or ship's fever. Nevertheless, many who would have preferred to go to America chose this route because it was all they could afford and they later travelled overland to the United States.
Letter from John McBride, Quebec, to his family in Banbridge, Co. Down, June 1819.
Letter from John McBride, Quebec, to his family in Banbridge, Co. Down, June 1819. He chose to travel to Canada because it was a less expensive route to the Americas -

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transcript of letter from John McBride, Quebec, to his family in Banbridge, Co. Down, June 1819 (18KB) Adobe PDF formatted document Opens a new browser window.
An alternative was to travel to Liverpool (in England) which cost a few shillings at most, and then try to raise the passage money to America - the fare from Liverpool to New York averaged between two and three pounds. Many of those who chose this route never left England.
Advertisement for the Emigrant's Directory and Guide.
Advertisement for the 'Emigrant's Directory and Guide'. There were several guides of this nature published, not all of them reliable.

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transcript of an advertisement for the 'Emigrant's Directory and Guide' (14KB) Adobe PDF formatted document Opens a new browser window.
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