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Banner: Moving Here, Staying Here. The Canadian Immigrant Experience

The Documentary TrailTraces of the PastFind an Immigrant
Free From Local Prejudice
A National Open-Door Policy
Filling the Promised Land
A Preferred Policy
A Depressing Period

Right of Passage


Stephen De Vere's Report on an 1847 Voyage, The Elgin-Grey Papers, 1846-1852, pages 1339-1347.
In spite of laws and regulations, thousands of immigrants, especially those from Ireland, found themselves in what were often referred to as �coffin ships� -- small, over-crowded vessels that were ill-equipped for the long ocean voyage. In 1847, Stephen De Vere, an Irish MP, took passage in such a ship to see for himself the horrid conditions that often went unreported and unresolved. His scathing report reached the hands of Colonial Secretary Earl Grey, who immediately referred it to Lord Elgin, Governor General of the Canadas, in the hope that these inhumane conditions could be eliminated. The dream of starting a new life in a new land was all too often a dreadful and deadly experience, as documented by De Vere.

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