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Stephen De Vere's Diary - Vol 1

[several illegible lines written above]




S. De. V. P. O’Neill & wife J. Hanly J. Hanly

Roger Kennedy J. Fitzgerald Johnny McDonagh

Thursday evening, April 29, 1847.

We arrived in London for railway

From Bristol, & embarked in Bark Birman

Hopped down that night to Gravesend

Hanly ill



Gravesend taking in powder

Dined on shore with Stephen S. Rice.

Hanly still ill


Saturday May 1st



Wednesday June 9

Off Cape Breton in sight
of land. Having reached banks of

Newfoundland June 3rd

Saturday June 12 1847

West of Cape Gaspe

About 250 miles from Quebec

Dead calm. Thick & incessant

Fog. Sudden tremendous squalls

From north – lasted about 5

Minutes. Ship in great

Danger. Main royal &

All studding sails set.

Gradually righted.


Sunday June 13.

Took pilot on

Board in the morning.

River narrows – vast

Woods from mountain tops

To the shore with white

Rocks & gleams of snow

Between – crowds of

Ships taking out cargoes

Of corn for Europe.


Wednesday 16th June.

Arrived at Grosse isle

Quarantine about 7 am

Detained waiting for dr

Till evening, when he

inspected & gave us clean

bill of health – abt. 40 ships

detained there – villages of white

tents on shore for the sick.

Daily mortality about 150

One ship, Sisters of Liverpool, in

With all passengers & crew in fever

Of this ship, all but the Cap’n and one girl died.

Laid alongside of “Jessy” in which

Many ill. Water covered with beds

Cooking utensils refuse of the dead.

Ghastly appearance of boats full of

sick going ashore never to return.

Several died between ship and shore.

Wives separated from husbands, children

From parents. Ascertained by

subsequent enquiry that funds

in agents hands altogether

insufficient for care.

Medical attendance bad.

Exemplary conduct of Catholic



Thursday 17th June

Towed by steamer arrived in

Quebec. Remain on board till Saturday when engaged lodgings at the

O’Connells, Champlain Street 5 ? per day

For each.. beef & mutton 6 per lb—

Lower town principally Canadian

Streets dirty, crooked, narrow, hot.

All under guns of fortress – immense

Flight of steps to Upper Town

Where stone buildings & good shops – cheating Canadians.

Fortifications of great strength

Admirable state of repair

two regiments insufficient to man

guns – Irish population well

affected to England. Irish &

Canadians dislike one another.

Two companies of firemen by

Voluntary enrolment. Occasional

Drill. Exempt from juries

Entitled to protection in case of war

For families within fortress

Country round Quebec very poor

No corn. Picturesque scenery

Rolling ground. Soft perfumed soil

Of short poor grass. Lawns with

Occasional thickets of dwarf

Spruce firs. Like a most

Beautiful pleasure ground

Of vast extent.

Canadian country houses

Beautifully neat – do not

Use beds but sleep on the

Floor in summer

Canadian horses small but

Very hardy & kind generally

Stallions. Fast trotters

Admirable drivers.

Lodged complaint before Buchanan

Agst. Capt. Guthrie for false measures

of water. Capt. wants to compromise.

I refused except in presence of

Buchanan – accompanied Capt.

Before him – made him pay

£10 which I handed to Revd.

McMahon PP. for the use

Of destitute Emigrants. Revd

Acknowledged in newspapers.

Admitted to news room – English

Papers – Limerick Chronicles.

Wrote to my mother, Mick,

Stephen, Aubrey – saw many

Persons who had been working

Under my orders last winter.

All employed at about 5/ per day.

Enormous wages offered for

Loading infected ships.

8 to 10/ per day.

Price of provisions very high,

No money laid by – no work in

Winter, when people go up the

Country for work.

Left letter of directions for Mick

At Buchanan’s office.

He related his plan which he had

Proposed to Gov. General for colonisation.

Govt. to take charge of emigrants

Capital & provide cheap and well

Regulated passage – when assisted

Out, give them the worth of the

Balance in a plain log house and

A quantity of land. States that

£50 will send out a man

with wife & 3 children. Give

provisions for 15 months

utensils, 50 acres land and seed.

I suggested that to emigrants

Capital should be required in addition

A certain contribution from the

landlords. & that in place

of giving wild land & a stock of

provisions, that a portion of the money

should be advanced by the government & employed

a year before in cultivating a few acres, round

each log house, to be built

along the Halifax railroad or

elsewhere. Thus affording

employment to labourers now,

and giving the settler his supply of

food not in his store room

but on his own ground &

immediate employment to reap his

own harvest. Buchanan spoke

more favorably of the project

of the Halifax railway.

P. neill wife ill.

Thursday 24th June 5pm. 1847.

Left Quebec by John Mann steamer.

Magnificent American river steamers.

Great comfort for deck passengers.

Rapid pace. Reached Montreal at 6am.

180 miles – Rafts going down river

with shanties built upon them

great improvement of cultivation as

we ascend the river

took two rooms in Quebec suburb

at £1 per week room for self at

Daily’s hotel presented letters of introduction

To Viger Descartiers [?]

McGill visits in return Provisions

Somewhat cheaper than Quebec

Frightful mortality Emigrant

Sheds hospitals & generally

Throughout the town

Pat Neill’s wife still ill

Medical attendance cheap 2/

English per visit, a few pence for

Medicine attendance careful

& respectable clothes washing 60 or 70 shirts


Monday, 28th June

Accompanied by Roger and Hanley

Started to visit friends at Troy NY.

Lake Champlain by steamer, passing

Burlington to Whitehall

(ferry steamer to Laprarie railroad

to St. John’s rough & slow)

Fare to St. John’s ½ dollar to Whitehall.

½ dollar thence by canal to Troy.

¼ dollar left Montreal 12 noon.

Arrived at Whitehall 6am Troy 10am

Lower part of Lake Champlain very

Fine & full wooded – banks very low

and lower stems of trees and brushwood.

covered with water – widens as you

pass the lines, as you approach

Burlington, Vermont, shores become

bolder & more varied & beautiful

rocky wooded islands. Burlington

a flourishing, new looking town.

Lake narrows & becomes more winding

and very picturesque

as you come to Whitehall

canal thence to Troy, through

rich and highly cultivated country

along broad & shallow &

rapid waters of the upper


Before it reaches Troy it meets

the Erie canal. Immense



Tuesday 29 June


Troy is beautifully

situated on the Hudson which

divides the city – connection by

covered wooden bridge of

immense length – objection of

the Irish to paying toll in a

free country. Well built

city. Public buildings along

streets of wooden white houses

beautifully clean. Rows of

flourishing trees at both

sides of streets give a

cool shade. We are

most hospitably received.

P. Burns house. Extreme

comfort & cleanliness. Every

house – its clock – admirable

diet. Kindness of old to

new immigrants, even when

in fever. Surrounded once

more by my own people.

Their good clothing, respectable

appearance – manners independent,

easy, affectionate,

& respectful.


Wednesday 30 June


Visit the great naill & rod

factory two miles from

Troy – enormous which

labour of men attending

furnaces most severe.

They work alternate hours

with no clothes but a

pair of light drawers.

rivers of perspiration flowing

from their bronzed skins

beautiful machinery [?] by which

a bar of iron being held to

mouth of each machine,

a continuous stream of

finished nails power forth

below like corn from

thrashing machine.

Thursday 1st July 1847


Visit paper factory &

Start by canal on return at

11pm comfortable night

on board canal boat

Friday 2nd July breakfast

Whitehall – Friday night

On Lake Champlain chill

& heavy J Hamly complains

of a chill – breakfast

at St. John’s reach Montreal

at 12 noon Saturday

determined to start for

Toronto Monday

L’homme propose, mais

Dieu dispose

4th July

J Hamly ill – send for

Dr so he declares it to be

Cold & hopeless he may be able

to travel on Monday.


Monday 5th July.

Hanly not better – in

Evening much worse – dreadful

Headache & pains in neck

& back. Dreaded fever.


Tuesday 6th July.

Send off my party to

Toronto remaining myself

To take care of patient.

Help Roger to inform

the rest in case it should

take the fever, but do

not allow him to see the

patient – wrote a codicil

to my will, addressed to

Samuel [?] Gerrard, and old

Gentleman of great intel-

ligence & kindness.

Thermometer in shade 100

In sun 125.


Wednesday, 7th July.

Hanly rather better.

Hottest day yet

Thermometer in sun at

Noon up to the top of the

Tube at 135 & then

Rapidly rising – no air

Thursday 8th July

Hanly almost recovered

Recd a letter from Mary Suey ment-

ioning the happy news of Mick’s

wife having had a daughter

both thriving well.

Heat greater than yesterday.

Therm. Up to 125 shade.

Friday 9th July

Hamly going on very favorably

Had a relapse towards evening


Saturday 10th July

Hanly better again

Write to Michael Ma

Go with Roger at night to

The circus. Intense heat there.

Sunday 11th July

Hanly up recovered

Peter Bridgeman arrived

Here yesterday. Attended

Divine service at St. Patrick’s

Church. Sermon by Bishop Phelan

Of Toronto who attributed

Misfortunes of Ireland to

The atrocious avarice of the


Heat…… Somewhat

moderated by a gentle breeze.

People who have lived here

all their lives

Great mortality amongst the

Catholic clergy. Impossible to

find nurses. Grey Nuns

undertake it all not knowing

how many dead! 48 now ill.

Blessed nuns able to leave

convent to take

charge of sick orphans of

Quebec & Montreal steamers

Ill of fever.

say they never knew such

unmitigated heat


Monday 12 July

Engage place to Toronto for three – 15 Dollars


Given Peter Bridgman 2 dollars

to forward him to Troy,

To Billy Havarashik 8 dollars

To Mr Jackson balance full – 11 ½ dollars

Stage to Lachine – long and

Lumbering shore. Railroad in

Progress. Beauharnois canal

Looks admirable work and machinery

Steamer going down the rapids.

Cornwall canal by night. Much

Larger and finer work – cannot

Bear heat of the fur cloak sleeping

On deck. Thence up to Prescott

Can stem the rapids. Numerous

Wooded islands deeply indented

Can make you think of a series

Of beautiful lakes but that the

Rapidity of the current preserves

The river character. Narrow channel

Of expansive lakes shows

Lame heat[?] wooded particularly

at American side which

in the advantage over ours

in picturesque beauty because

less cultivated.

Lombardy poplars, weeping elms

Summach underwood general

Want of fine timber, which it

Appears was cut as here or there

Bare clad and half scorched

Stems of great height remain

Giving to the deepest woods a

Desolate appearance.


Everything in America speaks

A land of timber – roads

Struts pavements bridges

Houses long ranges of wharved

Roofs of shingles balconied

Cottages etc


And yet firewood is at Montreal

One of the most expensive

Articles of household economy


July 13th, Tuesday


From Brockville to Kingston

This an archipelago of islands

Perfect labyrinth. The larger ones

With large trees, the smaller ones

With brushwood & dwarf pines

Landed in one. Beautiful andromeda.

narrow channels where

hardly room for steamers

suddenly spreading out

great inland seas, & then as

suddenly contracted

lavish profusion of vegetation

the most barren rock has

its tree – tree arboretum

at Kingston change steamers.

New fortifications Kingston

In a great scale for the

Protection of harbour

Immense crowd of

German and Irish

Emigrants on board of the

Worst description great

Apparent disease

Pay difference for cabin

Passage to Toronto $6

Pass Cobourg and Port Hope

At night.


Wednesday July 14th

Arrive at Toronto at

11am after long search

succeed in finding

Neil. They have engaged 2

Unfurnished rooms in an

Airy country situation at

$2 ½ per month.

Magnificent Catholic

Cathedral now building

Brick with cut stone door

-ways etc…


Thursday July 15th

Call on Mr. Hidder.

Comm. Of the Canada C.

Arrange money matters.

Then £1300 lodged in

London has become by

Interest & exchange £1583 Cd.

I draw £100cy out of

This send draught to S. Gerrard

Of £26 -- £20 to repay his

Loan to me & £6 to pay

Boyce the gunsmith. The

Letter enclosing the draft was

Marked money letter &

Posted on Friday.

Friday July 16, 1847.


Start by stage with

P. Neill at 10am for Bradford

Simes W. Guaillinsburg [?]


Beautiful butterflies brilliant

Bird with blacklaps to casing

Bright scarlet head and neck.

The country from Toronto

Northwards to Holland landing

Where the stage stops, exhibits

The back country in every stage

Of improvement. You have

the wild forest – trees of

enormous height & girth, but

furnished with few & short

branches – groves of the graceful

hemlock and balsam spruce

a rich thicket underwood of

hemlock and aborite, here

called the cedar – occasional

elms as tall and straight as

the pines – Ash, walnut, beech,

sugar maple, thickets of

sumach with leaves of great

size, crowned with spikes of

crimson flowers. Then the past

stages of improvement where the

underwood has been cut down

and lucent round the stems of

the giant pines, now dead &

blackened – all around the scene

of smoking desolation

Great trees lying over the ground –

Then, the rich crops of corn

Growing amongst the bare

Trunks. In the neat stage

The trees have been cut down

To within about 3 feet of

the surface with luxuriant

drops of meadow between

the logs piled into burned

fences & for log huts

or shanties – lastly the

rich & highly cultivated farms (always however

backed by the eternal forest)

with its neat farm house

framed, whitewashed, & its

flourishing orchard –

government are making

a great road from Toronto to

Holland landing – The Engineers’

Object appearing to be to

Make it as straight as

Possible in defiance of the

Difficulties presented by a

Varied surface. The cuttings

& fillings are as great as

upon an English railroad

line. It is a remarkable

fact that not one 20th

of the laborers who might

be profitably employed are

at work upon it. It would be

better and cheaper to employ

the poor Emigrants than

to forward them form

hospital to hospital.

Dine at Holland landing

And walked over to Bradford

21 miles, through clouds of

musquitoes arrived

9 pm sleep there.


Saturday July 17

Start on foot in search

Of Mr. John Rose, Col.

Licensed Militia, great

Difficulty in finding

Out where he lives. At last

A man points out to me

Some pines overlapping the

Surrounding forest, near

which he tells me I will

find his house. No road

or … path. I explore

the wood and at last reach

the pines, see a little boy hut

smaller than any Irish hovel. A

dirty stockingless capless old

woman is washing at the door.

Enquire for Col. Ross’s house.

She tells me I am in it and that

[she is] his wife. Blown a horn

calls him in. His son is at

work today with a neighbouring

farmer for a patch of meadow.

The coll. is in possession of 200

Acres here of which he has

Cleared about 30 – he & his wife

& son have been down with

fever and ague – no wonder

in the thick of a swampy

forest with a broad fat marsh

almost always covered with

water separating him from the

sluggish Holland river.

I return to Bradford walked on

To Holland Landing. Between those

Places the road winds through the

Forest, crossing Holland river

[illegible word] by a rough plank bridge

nearly a mile long. The underwood

is cut & the trees dead and scorched

at both sides of the road, so that

there is no shelter from the rays

of the burning sun which

are inflected by the knee deep

hot white sand which formed

the road – not a breath of air

can penetrate this forest, the

swampy soil of which

is completely covered with beds

of the red epilobium

beautiful little pink andromeda

delay under such a sun would be

fatal -- I rush parting on

reel into Holland landing

& recover myself with 3 or

4 cups of Holland tea,

the best drink in great

heat – at 2 oc 6pm get

into the stage – tremendous

rain, thunders & lightening.

At 12 at night reach Toronto

Tired but in perfect health.

The present state of the road is

Clearly shown by it having

Taken a four horse stage

With 6 passengers 10 hours to

Go 32 miles.

Sunday July 18th


Divine service


Monday July 19th


Wrote a paper describing

the treatment of passengers

on board emigrant ships

with sundry suggestions for

ensuring better arrangements

gave to Frank [?] Widder

Commissioner of Canada West who was

Much pleased with it &

Took it up warmly. Drank

Tea at Mr. O’Briens – found out


Tuesday July 20th


afterwards that he showed it to John

Marshall of Marshall & Co.

Wednesday July 21st.


Toronto. Tremendous

Storm of thunder and lightening

Great fire in town.


Thursday July 22nd


Had the great delight

Of receiving a letter from MM

Dated June 27th promising to

Sail July 15th.


Friday July 23rd.


Received of the

Emigration office an old

Letter from MM dated

May 20th Received a letter

From S. Gerrard acknowledging

receipt of £26. & advising me to

invest capital in Montreal

Bank stock. Determined to

leave for London U.C. on

Monday, Please God.


Saturday, July 24th.


Roger not well. Send

For Dr. the evening who says

It is an attack of lake fever

Not much chance of starting

On Monday. From all the

Accounts I have been able

to gather in the last two

days, it seems to me that

Guelph will be a better

Temporary look out residence

Than London, healthier,

Cheaper, easier…


Sunday July 25th


My birthday, my only

Pleasure writing a long letter

To my mother, Roger’s fever heavy.


Tuesday, July 27th


Roger passed a bad night.

Decidedly worse today.


Wednesday July 28th


Roger had a good night &

Is better pulse slower less

Heat of the skin & restful

An offer is made to some angry people to

Engage them by a rich farmer. They refer

The matter to me. I explain to them

That if on my arrival at my

Ultimate destination I cannot employ

Them myself it will be necessary for them

To provide temporary

Employment for themselves that

In case of their doing so & my

Being afterwards able to employ them

Would cheerfully do so –

That it is very uncertain whether

I can this year procure land

To employ them upon – but that

I left the adoption or rejection

Of the present offer to themselves

They refused to accept it.

Thursday July 29th


Roger passed a tolerably good

Night but is very weak. I was

Obliged to give him half a glass

Of port wine every four hours

Today he seems stronger, but the

Fever still runs very high.


Friday July 30th


Sat up with Roger last night

Giving him wine or broth every

Two hours. This morning he is

Decidedly stronger & the fever lower


Saturday July 31st


Roger exceptionally weak

Send for priest, who administers

Rules of the Church after confession

Towards evening he seems to

rally a little – certainly is stronger

& his head clearer


Sunday August 1st


Divine service. Roger

Passed a good night, & is stronger

Today – suffers much from cough &

Oppression which is Herrick says

Is entirely owing to congestion of the

Lungs, the result of weakness not disease.


Monday August 2nd


The Dr. declared Roger to be much

Better today, fever going off – sat

Up again with him all night

Reading Amelia. This day &

Yesterday very hot, causing an

Increase of the fever during the

Day – pulse 100

Tuesday August 3rd


Roger passed a good night pulse this

Morning 90 less traces of fever

During the day. J. Hamly ill bowel attack.


Wednesday August 4th


Roger passed another less comfortable

Night, but today his pulse and

His strength are improving. Hanly still

Unwell & very feverish tonight

Pulse 160. Wrote to Mr. Allison

To forward letters. Sent 4 dollars to

W. Hunt. Dr called in well

Satisfied with Roger’s progress. Says

J.H. must be minded lest fever

Might supervene – orders him

Half oz castor oil & 35 drops laudanum

Thursday August 5th


Roger going on very favorably

Hanly suffering form diarrhea all


Friday August 6th


Attended divine service at 7am.

Roger going on favorably. Hanly

Rather better finished Tom Jones.

How infinitely superior the humour

Of Fielding to that of Sterne! Of the

One natural; of the other laboured

And affected.


Saturday, August 7th.


Morning service. Roger recovering

Fast. Hanly better. During the

Whole day expected with the

Intense anxiety the arrival

Of the English mail which I hoped would

Bring a letter from Mick to

Announce his departure

Mail arrived late in the evening

Alas; no letters.


Sunday August 8th


Morning service. Invalids going on



Monday August 9th


Morning service. Roger recovering.

Hamly still the same. I visit

Meat waggoner at Emigrant Office who

Will take 12 cut. Luggage & 5 people to

New London for £8 cy


Tuesday Aug 10th.

Morning service. Hanly better. Roger

Very well.

Wednesday Aug 11th


Morning service. Invalids improving


Thursday Aug 12th


Morning service, patients better, but

towards evening Hanly had slight

return of dysentery. Paid Dr

Henrick in full $10 in addition $2

paid before – chancer.


Friday Aug 13th

Morning service. Hanly better again today

Had a letter from John Burns mentioning

that he had a letter from Mick

dated July 12th


Saturday Aug 14th


Morning service. Patients better.

Roger still very weak.

SundayAug 15th


Morning serivce. Patients better. Very hot.


Monday Aug 16th


Morning service. Patients better. Conversation

with Mr. Widder – got from him a

cheque on London for €100….

Interview as to the

prospects of Emigration with Mr


London. Gave a subscription €5

for the widows and orphans emigrants

fund. Very hot.


Tuesday Aug 17th


Great thunder, lightening. First

wet day since our arrival in



Morning service. Wednesday August 18th.


Roger stil very weak but improving.

Cannot yet be moved.

Thursday Aug 19th 1847


Morning serv. Roger gaining strength.

Hanly nearly well.


Friday August 20th.


No morning service. Long walk on the country instead.


Saturday Aug. 21st.

Hanley well again.

No morning service. Clergyman sick.

Walk out beyond Dan bridge. Soil

richer, but low and damp, liable to ague.


Sunday August 22nd.

Morning service.


Monday August 23rd


No morning service. Gave Mr. Elmsley

a subscription of $4 for the organ

of Toronto Cathedral.

Tuesday August 24th


No morning service. Clergy all sick but

The Bishop who has to attend the

Hospital and emigrant sheds 10

Deaths in hospital yesterday

Anxiously expecting arrival of

English mail. Arrives

Alas! Alas! No letters Shakespear.


Wednesday August 25th


No morning service.

Alas, alas, alas. No letters. Shakespear


Thursday August 26tth


Write to Vere. Desire newspapers +

letters to be directed to the

care of E. McElderry, Toronto.


Friday August 27th


No morning service. Alas, no letters.

Mme. Pindar arrives, having left home

15th June. Gave her 2 dollars & a letter

to McElderry asking him to

procure work for her little boys.


Saturday Aug, 28th.


No morning service. Alas! No letters. Shakespear


Sunday, August 29th


Early morning service.


Monday August 30th


Morning service. No letters, no letters

Roger complains of bowel complaint.

I determine to start for Troy tomorrow.



Tuesday, August 31st.


Morning service. No letters. No letters.

Roger complains of having a complaint

& determined for Troy tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 1st.

  [note about repayment of debt]  

Morning service. Rogers complaint

Is increased & threatens dysentery.

I call on Dr. Herrick. I do not

Think Roger well enough to leave him

Alas. Alas alas. no letters.

Tommy find $3 in the street,which

he brings to me. I put up a

notice. Owner claims & receives.


Thursday, Sept. 2nd.


Morning serv. Roger much better.

At ½ past 11 board… Steamer American

For Rochester US… for Troy

My principal object being to see

Mick’s letter to J. Burns, hoping it

may give me some means of gauging

the time of his sailing.

Cabin fare $3 ½. Steerage $2.

touch at Windsor Harbour.

Darling tour.

Bond heat. Port Hope. Coburg.

The captain tells me that an Engineers

Party of 13 men went out lately to

Survey and value the lands in the neighbour

Of a govt. canal near Peterboro

In one week the party returned

the officer of the men dangerously

ill, leaving two corpses, and having

buried two. This is a canal

made by flooding, not excavation.


Friday Sept 3rd.


At 4pm, stop in [?] river, close

Under the magnificent falls.

Custom house officer at ½ 4 at

5 reach Rochester (mile and a half by

omnibus – York shilling).

I eat enormous table d’hote breakfast.

My impressions hitherto of the

Americans is that they are the

Hungriest, the dirtiest, the most

Dishonest & altogether the meanest people

I have ever seen. They are so

Entirely absorbed in the pursuit of

Wealth that they have no time

For the courtesies, the decencies

Of life. They cry “O my ducats”! without “O my daughter”!

They seem to rely

Wholly on themselves, never

Brushing with their neighbours. Their

Dishonesty is audacious, because

They are too vain to attempt

To conceal it; & whilst they are

Cheating you, they do not even pay

You the poor compliment of

Trying to deceive you. Proud

Of their country, (because she be-

Longs to themselves) they are most

Proud of her meanest vices.

An expert windbag is honoured and

As smart man

Their dress is exaggerated, uncouth

& ill matched; finery

they poke about with their long hair

breathing necks, like a cur seeking for a

bone, & if they catch your eye, right

themselves into a swagger; they

peer through you with their hungry

eyes, but would fain have you believe

that they do not care to look at you,

they combine the contemplative

chicanery of a Jewish shopseller

with the shameful roguery of

roulette bully – They do not even

deserve credit for the boldness

their commercial speculations

because the great stake, character,

never depends upon the issue of

language, the noblest gift of God, they use but for

a boast, and sneer, or a lie.

O Mick, Mick, when shall I

see your mild, honest face?

When shall I again hear your

voice, gentle, modest, but firm?

Start from Rochester by railroad

at 11am. Fare to Troy 9 ½

Railroad rough & slow. Get off

the rails. Curious effect of

railroad (perception of art passing)

then a wild forest splendid

& comfortable carriage or cars.

Distance to Troy 250 miles.


Saturday Sept. 4th


Arrive in Troy at 7am.

Fine welcome from all friends

There. Hospitality.

Sunday Sept. 5th 1847


Morning service with John Burns. Long

visit to old Mrs. Howard. Most

oppressive heat. Give $4 to J Burns.


Monday Sept. 6th


Receive a note from Pat Neill

Today that there is a home

letter for me at Toronto.

I start on my return at 7pm.

By railway – 6 miles out of Try.

We run over a cow. Engines got

off the rails is broken – hadn’t

got off to the other side; we

must have been initially

carried down an awful precipice

(within two feet of the rail) &

[illegible word]; I thank God for his

mercy, at last another

Engine arrives – we get in

To Schenectady at 11pm

The western train from

Albany being long passed, I

Remain here, miserable quarters

At small inn, which I prefer

To a room at the grand

Hotel, to be there with

4 yankees

Thursday 7 Sept.


Started by railway at 8 ½ am

Travelling execrably slow and rough


Wednesday Sept. 8th


Reach Rochester at 7 ½ am

Start by steamer “America” at

9am. Make Cobourg at 4pm.

Tremendous storm into which we

Seem to plunge, & bury ourselves

The heart of enormous clouds which

Seems all fire within arrive at

Toronto in the middle of the night


Thursday Sept 9


Thank God, I have at last received

Most satisfactory letters. My mother

Is well & all at home. Her letter

Is dated July 26th.

Another from my dear Mick

Dated Aug 4th, in which he says that he

Is to sail in Anne of Limerick on

7th of August. May God grant him a happy

voyage – I find Roger much recovered,

but John Hanly again sick,

since Sunday, of a [?] attack.

I write, as the English mail goes

Out tomorrow, to my mother,

[?] I write also to John Burns…

In the evening,

Unexpectedly, a long print

Letter from Mary Suey and my

Mother dated August 15th

mentioning that Mick &

Stephen had sailed on Monday 9th august in the Anne.


Friday Sept. 10th


John Hanly passed a very unquiet

& feverish night. I

fear his attack will prove a

serious one. The doctor declared

his illness to be bilious fever.

Roger walks out for the first time.


Saturday Sept. 11th.


No morning service today or yesterday.

John Hanly passed a quiet night &

Is less feverish this morning.

Paid Mr Callaghan $5 in full for

rent to 8th September at 2 ½ [illegible currency] per month

Paid Mrs Gogarty $5 in full for

Firewood, washing, tailoring


Sunday Sept. 12th.

35th day.

Mass servd. J.H. passed a quiet

Night, & deemed better today.


Monday Sept. 13th.

36th day.

Morning service. J.H. passed a very bad night.

This morning fever is

Diminished pulse under 90 but

Weakness and emaciation much increased.

I left ¼ dollar with J. Fitzg. & one dollar

With P. Neill that Mrs Pindar will be

[illegible word] before this day terminates.

Dr visits & says that the fever is

Assumed to be typhoid. Orders

[stranded lines: High pitch of roofs, gables, galleries

Columbine weeping elm]  

him weak brandy + water every two

hours – Gave Pat Neill on acct.$50

Paid William, teamster $12 on acct.

Dispatches for Neill & wife. Then Hanly

& Roger on their way to London. C.W.

Left about 12 O.C.

Dr visits again.


Tuesday September 14th

37th day

Morning service. Hanly better, up with

him nearly all night – in the course

of the day typhoid type seems more

confirmed – diarrhea – by the doctor’s

directions I give him 5 grams of

soup & opium pill at 6 O.C. pm

watch whart. Shakespear.

Write to P. Neill a bulletin of H’s health.

Wednesday Sept. 15th

38th day.

Morning service. Compassion & communion.

Hanly passed better night. J.R.

& I up with him all night night, passes

the day on whole better.

Watch wharf. Give him the opium

pill again as last night. Shakespear


Thursday Sept 16th

39th day.

Morning service. Hanly passed the night

decidedly better. Watch wharf.

McElderry tells me that he proposes

to build permanent brick buildings

instead of sheds. Also that next

year there will be a steamboat opposition on the river, consequently lower terms and less crowding. Admits that Govt. this year is in the hands of one person for river transmission. I ask why did not government put on emigrant steamers of their own.

He says that were it not for the fear of disease, the supplying of ordinary labour market here would absorb emigration double this year.

Friday Sept. 17th

40th day.


Morning service. Watch wharf.

J.H. passes a pretty quiet

Night, the fever is going off

Puls 95.


Saturday Sept. 18th

41st day.

Morning service. Hanly passed a bad night. Much trouble with very violent cough and suppression pulse 100 profuse perspiration all night. He improved during the day.

Watch wharf. McElderry mentions that the farmers in the country are raising subscriptions to send back the emigrants into Toronto.

Sunday Sept. 19th

42nd Day.


Morning service. J.R & H had good & is

much better this morning. Wrote to

Buchanan for news of the Anne.

Some passengers arrive from the Jane

Black which was to have sailed 7th August.


Monday Sept 20th.

43rd day. Fever almost gone.

Morning service. J.H. much better.

Agreed with Callaghan for the hire of his

Other lodgings at the rate of $3 per month

Or carefully in proportion. Gave Mrs

Pindar one dollar. Was informed by one

of the passengers of the Jane Black that

Anne passed them at Kilrush.

Received letter from P. Neill by Williams’s

return wagon stating safe arrival

Paid Williams full bill £5.10

He allows for 5/ what Pat Neill

gave him on the road. Shakespear


Tuesday Sept 21st

44th day.

Morning service. J.H. much better. I buy

a [?] coat for little family and a cap

for myself. Shakespear.


Wednesday Sept. 22nd.

45th day.

Morning service. Paid off Dr Herrick for

Attendance on H. $10 Due to give

Dobler [?] for milk this day $2.4

which I paid him. Shakespear.


Thursday Sept 23rd

46th day

Morning service. J.H. up better…

Friday Sept 24th 1847.

47th day.

Morning service. Cashed Widder’s cheque

in Bank of Upper Canada. £100.


Saturday Sept. 26th

48th day.

Morning service. Hanly recovering.


Sunday, Sept. 26th

49th day.


Morning service. J.H. not quite so well. A slight attack of dysentery during the night. The weather for the last fortnight has been becoming very cool. Hear with great concern that Buchanan is very ill of fever at Quebec. Also that Bishop Power has taken fever here. English mail in the evening. Tremendous storm

of thunder and lightning which continued all night. Never did I witness such a storm. The forked lightening every minute dancing from heaven to earth, illuming the darkness with a red glare, the way the lightening ladders from heaven to earth were seen, of all colours, sometimes golden yellow, sometimes violet, sometimes purple blue, sometimes intense vermillion, and then the thunder simultaneously with the lightening, bursting, crashing rending passing shaking the whole city with its metallic danger, and sometimes

succeeded at certain distances by single explosions. Like the successive firing of some enormous artillery. The mere sound of the rain was frightful, bewildering.


Monday Sept. 27th

50th day.

Morning service. Fine hot day. J.H. walks

out. I take a long walk into the bush

& am caught in the evening in a violent

thunder storm with drenching rain.

Blue lobelia – cineraria wild.


Tuesday Sept. 28th

51st day


I do not attend morning service, being

threatenend with dysentery – take

2 [illegible entry[ & op[ium] pill. Thunder storm

Large rings of lightning.

O my brothers when shall I see you again.

O Michael my own adopted brother.

Kingston boat does not come in till

Ten o.c pm. Alas no brothers.


Wednesday Sept. 29th

52nd day


Morning service. Bishop Power very ill of typhus fever. Kingston boat 2pm no account of my dear brothers. Give $25 to John Hanly and J. Fiztgerald for their journey to be accountable for.


Thursday Sept. 30th.


Morning service. No other man present being capable I am obliged to act as clerk. John Hanly & J. Fitzgerald start for Hamilton on their way to London by steamer at 8am. Fare to Hamilton 3/9 each

Kingston boat arrives at 3 O.C. pm

Alas, no news of my dear brothers.

Sent to the post office in the evening

to get a letter from Quebec dated

Aug 23rd. All well at home.

Had the inexpressible relief

of receiving a letter from the

Emigration Office Quebec

to announce the arrival of the



Friday October 1st

54th day


Morning service. Rev. Michael Power DD. Cath bishop of Toronto died this morning.

He was a man of great generosity and nobleness, most kindly and charitable in a true and most extended kindly sense, an humble Christian. By his example, his justice, his unfailing attention to the duties of his high station, & the strictness of his discipline,

he brought into perfect order a diocese which he found almost in anarchy. His death is attributable, under providence, to the noble and devoted zeal with which, since the illness of so many of his clergy, he has visited the beds of every sick and dying emigrant. He did not spare himself, but God has spared him a longer sojourn on earth. He was a man of no political party, of no religious bigotry. He was too strong-minded to be a bigot, & too wise to be a partisan. He was therefore respected and beloved by men of all creeds and parties. May Almighty God have Mercy on his soul.

Kingston boat arrives at 4pm.

My dear brothers are not on board.


Saturday Oct. 2nd 1847


55th day.


Morning service. Rec. 2 letters from J. Hanly and J. Fitzgerald. Have arrived in London at 10am Friday. Safe.

Happiness of happiness! At 4pm dear Michael and Stephen with little Catharine Biddy and baby arrived safe and well for which I humbly thank the Almighty God.

They bring me letters from my dear mother, Ellen and Aubrey, of rather old date, of numerous little gifts and tokens of love. Oh, could they but know with what a

heart, glowing with unchanged love, I received them. One most valuable gift was my dear father’s “Mary Tudor”.


Sunday October 3rd.


Divine service with my own dear brethren.


Monday Oct. 4th.


Make some purchases of winter clothing for Mick & Stephen.


Tuesday Oct. 5th.


Start from Toronto at 8am with Mick, Stephen, Biddy & Baby, Little Johnny and Mary Griffith and Catharine by steamer to Hamilton. Fare 3/9 each. Reach Hamilton about 12 oclock.

Start from Hamilton at 6 ½ pm by stage. Fare 21 each.

Before leaving Toronto I pay Callaghan $3 in full for rent and give Mrs. Fogarty $5.


Wednesday Oct. 6th


Reach London about 12 noon. Find all there quite well. Am much pleased with my cottage, containing parlour, kitchen, cellar, 4 good tea rooms garden stable yard well all for £12. 10 for 6 months


Thursday Oct. 7th.


Make some purchases of furniture. Excellent French

Seats 15/ each. Large parlour table of black walnut £1.10.0.

Weather very dark & wet

Land stands high on a sandy plane. The river divided the plane from the woodland; town shows all the symptoms of youth but an evident disposition to improve.


Friday Oct. 8th.

Put up a cooking stove for which I

pay $22.


Saturday Oct. 9th

Write to my mother, Vere, and

Mary Sue.


Sunday Oct 10th.

Divine service with my dear brothers.

Dine with Mr. Dagg.

Monday Oct. 11th


Dispatch home letters. The priest calls on me.


Tuesday Oct. 12th


Bought a pony mare rode out


Wednesday Oct. 13th


Went out shooting a long expedition through the bush – met or shot only a few black squirrels will make a capital pie.

One my return find little Catharine ill

Very feverish. Mr Goring calls on me.


Thursday Oct. 14th


Pay for the pony $65. Snow on the ground. Catharine’s fever better.

Dr. Goring calls.


Friday Oct. 15th


Snow again but warm. Sit with open [illegible line]

Saturday Oct. 16th

Bought 24 bushels of oats at 10s = $4

My dear brother Mick is feverish and generally unwell. May the almighty God be the guardian and protector of the finest fellow that ever drew breath in this world – of one with whom I feel my fate to be inseparably bound.

The dr declares his illness emigrant fever.


Sunday Oct. 7th


Dear Michael somewhat better today, but decidedly in fever. Little Catharine’s fever very heavy today. I read prayers to my boys church service being of St. Thomas.


Morning Oct 18th


Patients much the same. I buy a young and fine mulch cow with a fine calf for $15 £3.0.0

Tuesday Oct. 19th 1847


Patients better [note about purchasing flour]


Wednesday Oct. 20th.


Up last night with Mick, who is not better today. Catharine I fear worse. Towards night gets into stupor. I send for the Doctor who thinks her in very imminent danger. I send for the priest who attends promptly and finds her very sensible.


Thursday Oct. 21st.


Mick much the same today. The Dr. is satisfied with his stats. Catharine’s head has been relieved by mustard plasters applied to the stomach but she is evidently weaker. Dr. orders her [illegible word] and broth. Up all night.

Friday Oct. 22nd.


Pulse still 120

Catharine’s state is more satisfactory today.

There is no improvement in Mick, but the Dr. apprehended no danger. Pulse about 110 with hot skin and impaired memory. Up all night with him.


Saturday Oct. 23rd.


Catharine better. Mick in great nervous despondency & suffering much from cough with bloody expectoration [?] Dr. however does not think him worse. Great meeting for raising first sod of Western railway which is done by Col. Talbot. Up all night.


Sunday Oct. 24th.


Divine service. Catharine going on very favourably. Mick had a good night but is rather less well today, as he suffers somewhat from strangling incessant pain today. Up all night with Mick whose fever was very heavy,

but with some perspiration.


Monday Oct. 25th.


Michael decidedly worse all day.

Pulse 116. Skin hot and dry – much

Stupor. He passed a wretched night.


Tuesday Oct. 26th.


Priest visits dear Mick in the morning, after which he becomes rapidly better. Pulse falling from 116 to 104 in two hours, & his intellect greatly cleared. Dr. declared the crisis to be over and that he considers him out of danger. Orders wine and other stimulants. I thank God for his great mercy. I

care not what may be my own fate, if my dear brother be spared. Up all night.


Wednesday Oct. 27th.


The improvement of Mick continues all day. Pulse 100. He passes a tranquil night.


Thursday Oct. 28th.

Patient improving. Stimulant hourly treatment still continues.


Friday Oct. 29th.


Patient improving.


Saturday Oct. 30th.


Patient rapidly recovering. Mick’s pulse steady at 70.

Sunday Oct. 31st, 1847.


Divine service. Both patients going on very well.

Pat Neill J Hanly & J Fitzgerald went to work at railroad on Friday and Roger commenced on Saturday at 3/? Per day.

I inform them that I shall expect a payment from each of one dollar a week towards household expenses which they admit to be most moderate.


Monday Nov. 1st.


Patients recovering. I invite

the priest to open a subscription for building a new church, the present one being quite insufficient and scandalously bad. I subscribe $10 and each of my men $1.


Tuesday Nov. 2nd


Patients improving. Michael’s wife becomes ill and Dr. fears it is fever. Towards evening she improves.


Wednesday Nov 3rd.


Michael’s wife quite well. Weather very hot. Indian summer. Open windows all night. Thermometer 70 in the shade. Michael up and returns to his own room

Agree to pay May Griffin $4 a month.

The cost of the London Windsor railway for the first ten miles out of London will be at the rate of $35,000 per mile.


Thursday Nov. 4th.


My patients going on favorably.


Friday Nov. 5th.


I pay the Dr. in full for his attendance and medicine. $30. I have been much pleased with his skill and attendance. He informs me that the Board of Health here has been closed by the government and that no new cases can be admitted into the hospital. In going Dr. Lee

home [Rate of payment] from govt. $5 per day for attending the hospital. Poor Dr. Lee died of typhus fever last week.


Saturday Nov. 6th.


I drive to St. Thomas with Mr. O’Dwyer. Country flat, poor, & undrained & half civilized. St. Thomas is a stand still of a settled place. Capital inn. Pleasant evening. Mr. O’Dwyer recounts his dispute with the Cath. Bishop Power who seems to have treated him in a haughty and impolite manner. He forbade

him to accept a salary of $30 from the Govt. for attending the military hospital. O’Dwyer therefore allowed the money to accumulate in the paymaster’s hands and some claim of it. He says what use are those bishops – they are only tyrants – one can do the business of the diocese very well without them. I have heard nearly the same language and found the same feeling amongst the Irish clergy. I regret to hear of poor McElderry’s death of fever at Toronto.

Oreglau[?] in his letter to Gregory Thaummaterys [?] to borrow from the pagan philosophers all that may tend to the glory of God as the Jews used the spoils of the Egyptians for the adornment of the temple.


“La methode d’etait d’instruire d’abord

Ceux qui venarient l’ecouter de ce quil y

Avait de bon dans la philosophie paienne

Afin de les conduire par depuis a la

Connaissance du Christianne

Vt. St. Clement alex

Dect. p. 75.


Pour le lour faire aimer et leur inspirer

Le desrie du l’ambrueyer il instait pour

Certain points de morals que de couvent

Les lumieres naturelles et que se trouvent

Sensés dans les cevits des philosophes

Sunday Nov. 7th


Divine service at St. Thomas.

Ill feeling between priest and flock in consequence of nonpayment of any dues. A meeting is held after mass where it is agreed that the collection of clergy’s dues shall be vested in trustees who are to assess the congregation individually. Pews to be thrown open and pew rents abandoned. Strong expectation expressed that the priest shall never again find it necessary to speak of money matters from the altar. All right.

American sailors’ phrase

paying one’s debts with the main



Monday Nov 8th


Return to London. All well. Thank God.


Tuesday Nov. 9th.


Confession. Jubilee begins.


Wednesday Nov. 10th.


Confession. Bought ½ ton of hay. $3


Thursday Nov. 11th.


The Indian Summer appeared ended, the thermometer having suddenly fallen from 70 in the shade to below the freezing point. People in this climate seem remarkably free from colds – not a cough in a congregation. Letters from my mother and Aubrey, Willy from Callas dated respectively Sept. 13, 27th, + July 9th. Mick walked out.

All well at home.

Friday Nov. 12th.


Letters again from home. Oct. 12th. Receive report from Emigration committee. Very cold. Warm weather again.


Saturday Nov. 13th.


Mr. O’Dwyer acting on my earnest suggestions publicly renounced the present building of his own house and devoted the funds already subscribed for that purpose of the building of the new Church.


Sunday Nov. 14th.


Divine service. Wrote a long letter to my mother describing the physical and moral state of Canada.


Monday Nov. 15th.


Dispatch letters to my mother, Mary Suey, and Mr Foley.


Tuesday Nov. 16th.


Fine warm weather. Visit railroad superintendent and Yankee Boston

conversed with. He depreciates the

enormous price of landhere on

stakes that you can purchase, much

finer land in State N.Y. for $2

per acre than for $10 here. States

there it costs 11 cents per bushel

carry wheat to Buffalo, that the

cost of transport from here will be

about the same, but Canadian

corn then subject to New York duty

States then when he left

wheat selling at N. York at [illegible] figure per bushel

& found it here selling at 4/6.

He has been concerned in the making

of many [illegible phrase] railroads. They are

paying at least 5 percent.

Rumour of railroads greatly

increased the western emigration

which by [illegible phrase]

had enormously increased

commerce. Many people

thought the Erie canal would have been

replaced by the western railway.

Far from it its traffic has doubled.

It is now choked with

western produce and is required

to be doubled in width. The colonisation of wild land

through which railways progress very remarkable

and value of land greatly enhanced. System of wooded

rails bad. Better to lay down iron at once. If Canadian people do not

take stock of railway Yankees will.

Wed Nov. 17th


Went to visit a farm offered for sale

within 3 miles of London. It consists

of 50 acres, of which about 10 cleared

and about 10 more partially cleared. A very small two windows wooden house.

Soil very poor wet low sandy ill

fenced – not one acre really arable. This

farm will feed some 5 or 6 head of

cattle during the summer, but give

no hay. Price £300.

Near it is a farm belonging

to Mr. Wright, a Quaker, well

laid out, about 4 excellent houses & offices.

Land sandy, subsoil shallow, but fine.

I was told he was rich and asked had

he made his money by his land.

Answered with a laugh, no by lending

his money at 20 percent.

Thursday Nov 18th.


Friday Nov. 19th.


Beautiful weather.


Saturday, Nov. 20th.


Hard frost. Therm. 22 at 9am.

At 10am it has risen again to 36.

Mr. O’Dwyer tells anecdote of Tipperary man who came out here and bought 100 acres of remote wild land on which he built a miserable hut. He wrote to his sisters comfortably off at home to come out here where they can find him like another Count Dallen [?]. Upon arriving this year they proceeded on the wings of hope to his estate, which they found to consist of the hut only, he having sold the land again to procure the bread of idleness [?]

They spent a week “scorching” and roaring about the shanty

and returned to London. They are very glad to enter into service with two farmers at $4 per month.

A family from Mayo came out this year apparently in the most abject poverty. They consisted of a father mother uncle a little boy about 12 years old. There were transmitted to Toronto at the govt. expense. The mother was there taken into hospital suffering from a rapid cancer in the breast. She soon died. The father, uncle, little boy took a poor lodging close to me. I frequently met them and the father complaining to me of dysentery. I recommended him to send for a doctor, but he said he was too poor. He at last went into hospital, and died, from want of care in the early stage of the disease, leaving his little son in possession

of 300 sovereigns tied up in an old rag, which had, during the voyage, been tied under the mother’s breast and had produced the cancer of which she died.


Sunday Nov. 21st.


Divine service. Therm. 52. Shade.

Mick unwell with bowel complaint.


Monday Nov. 22nd.


Mick still unwell….Therm. in shade 65 at 2pm.


Tuesday Nov. 23rd.


Dr. attends. Mick’s wife unwell. Dr. fears fever. Bought a very handsome sleigh, with bear skin for £8 & a good set of harnesses for £3.10.

In the evening P. Neill informs me that he has hired himself to a farmer for driving his teams

and to reside in his house for $10 per month, and that he is to go him tomorrow morning. I tell him that I consider his conduct and sudden leaving the house as altering my domestic arrangements without previously consulting me, most disrespectful. He replies with cool impertinence. For some time back the manner of P. O’Neill J Hanly & R Kennedy has been most disrespectful to me, and they have announced to others their determination never to work for me except at $10 a month, to provide for themselves as

soon as they have earned enough money to leave this. It is fortunate for me that I did not purchase a farm in the expectation of their performing their contract.


Wednesday Nov. 24th.


Mick and his wife much better.

P. Neill goes to his new master. Went out to shoot and shot a woodpecker and a goose. Seen the process of burning charcoal. Enormous logs being piled up into a huge cone and then covered with sandy earth and set on fire. The priest has a number of free labourers employed in taking up stone for the new church on a plot of 10 acres appropriated by govt. about 2 miles from the town to the Cath. Church. Amongst them

were about 30 soldiers allowed by the Coll. to work. N.B. He allows soldiers to work for hire after parade [illegible word] their wages to [illegible figure]

Her stories are rounded masses of

granite of no great size, no quarry

arable soil, [illegible phrase], Therm. 55.


Thursday 25

Small shady snow. Therm 37.

Wrote to Widder for £50 – enclosing receipt.


Friday Nov. 26th


Heavy snow showers all day.. Therm 25

I put a frame of glass in my window

Shelves into my presses, and build a shed for my sleigh.

At 8pm Therm. at 10. – frame of

Glass 10 x8. Cast 2/3

Roger J Hanly & J Fitzgerald were discharged

tonight from the railroad. The number of men being reduced for

the winter. I fear the opening of this work was but a demonstration to get the stock broker.

My dear mother’s birthday.


Saturday Nov. 27th

Snowing heavily. Therm. in morning

25. The milk taken out by railway men

for their dinner yesterday was frozen

at 12 oc. Sleighing commonest


Sunday Nov. 28th

Heavy snow. Therm. 26. I inform P. Neill

that it is very doubtful whether I will take land

at all it being so high, that I shall

certainly take none this winter, that has

V. the other boys, if they cannot get day

work, must engage with the farmers as

I cannot afford to keep them idle.

I pay P. Neill in full for his oats £7…

At 2pm Therm. 20. Sleigh northwards but

no sensation of cold when out.

Monday Nov 29th. 1847


Therm at am 7 being a fall of 58 since this day week. The ice thick in my jug this morning. Take my first drive in a sleigh.


Tuesday Nov 30th


I inform the boys that they must look out for employment. P. Neill asks me to keep his wife here, he paying $1 per week for her board. I decline.

Preparing dispatch for Elliot. During the night it begins to thaw.


Wednesday Dec. 1st.


Dispatch my letter to Elliot, and a copy to my mother with a note to [name illegible] to pay Mary Grattin $4.

Therm. 42


End of journal [p. 118 of 168]