Assisted Emigration from the Shirley Estate in County Monaghan, 1846-1853
By Jane Lyons:

The following discusses something of emigration from all of Ireland, before
the dates mentioned - the paper it is taken from deals only with the Shirley
estate in Co. Monaghan.
'Assisted Emigration from the Shirley Estate, 1843-54: by Patrick J. Duffy,
published in 'The Clogher Record', Vol. XIV, No. 2.  p. 7-63


INTRODUCTION
Much, but not enough, has been written about assisted emigration from
nineteenth century Ireland - that is, emigration which was largely paid for
by government or private individuals or institutions, but chiefly by
landlords. The ideological implications of emigration have been the same for
the nineteenth century and today: it is what might be described as a
political and social 'hot potato'.
Encouraging people to leave Ireland is a very risky undertaking. Even at the
height of the massive outmovement in the 1840s, the official agencies of
public opinion were at least ambivalent, and at most opposed to emigration
and this attitude continued throughout the remainder of the nineteenth
century. The editorial policy of the Freeman's Journal, for example,
disapproved of the flow of people out of the homeland, but at the same time
the paper carried many advertisements for shipping lines to America as well
as articles of advice to potential emigrants. The Catholic Church was
opposed to the emigration, as evidenced in the pronouncements of some of the
hierarchy, but at the same time many individual clergy on the ground in
destitute rural parishes encouraged members of their flock to leave. Fr
Patrick Moynagh from the parish of Donagh in north Monaghan, for example,
helped many people to emigrate to Canada in the 1830s and 40s.
 As the nineteenth century progressed and as emigration to North America
proceeded, information and knowledge of emigrant destinations and
opportunities increased. Certainly by the mid-nineteenth century, America
beckoned more and more brightly to all from cottier to cabinet minister with
its promise of a solution to the increasing 'impoverishment of the Irish
countryside. The Devon Commission (in 1845) was frequently preoccupied with
the disposition of the Irish to emigrate - often commenting on the
reluctance of Catholics to leave home and the readiness of Protestants to
go, a reflection no doubt of earlier and more established emigration
traditions and contacts among Ulster's Protestant population. But the
willingness of the Irish generally to emigrate became a feature of comment
more and more frequently in pre-famine years, and this change in attitude
was significantly related to the growing volume of outmigration and the
increasing intensity of the information feedback to Ireland.
By the 1820s, official government attitudes to emigration from Ireland had
come full circle from the early eighteenth century, when emigration was
frowned upon as a loss to the home economy. In the 1730s and again in the
1780s, emigration was prohibited or severely restricted. In 1783, for
example, the Irish Parliament outlawed the emigration of certain artisan
classes. Landowners were universally opposed to emigration  which depleted
their tenantry and often took away their best tenants. In the early 1700s, a
great many families, mostly Protestant tenants, had left the Clones area
much to the annoyance of estate agents.  The post-war crisis after 1815
permanently changed the attitude of the political establishment to
emigration, especially emigration to British north America. In keeping with
changed perspectives on the population explosion spreading throughout
industrialising Europe following the writings of Thomas Malthus, emigration
of the poor was especially seen as an economic and social safety valve. In
Victorian England it was viewed as a 'method of procuring social order at a
minimum of cost' Part of the reason for official encouragement of emigration
was the increasing pressure on the English economy by escalating numbers of
impoverished labourer and
Emigration from the Shirley Estate 1843-54. pauper immigrants from Ireland.
Many of these, added to native paupers, were a growing burden on the Poor
relief system in England. Liverpool was becoming a distinctively Irish city
with large communities of Irish poor. South Ulster especially had a strong
seasonal labour connection with the north of England and Wales which made
people very familiar with these places. By the 1840s, the correspondence on
the Farney emigrants shows many of them passing back and forth across to
Liverpool by steamer from Dundalk and Newry with considerable ease.


Some references:
R J Dickson, Ulster Emigration to colonial America 1718-1785, Belfast, 1966,
186.
See Clogher Record 1962, 201.
D McLoughlin, Information flows and Irish emigration: the image of America
in Ireland 1820-1870, unpublished MA thesis, Maynooth College, 1983, 78.
Malthus in fact recommended state assistance to emigrants from Ireland in
the 1820s. Following the establishment of the workhouses in Ireland, paupers
were frequently assisted to emigrate by the Boards of Guardians: see P.
Livingstone, 'Castleblayney Poor Law Union 1839-49' Clogher Record V (1964),
239-241.


Send e-mail to Al Lewis and Jane Lyons
Back to Bytown or Bust - History and Genealogy in the Ottawa area