|When they leftOn April 7, 1836, the
parish of Downton saw almost 10% of it's population leave in a parish sponsored
emigration to the wilds of Upper Canada.
220 souls from the Wiltshire parish of Downton, along with 59 others from Standlynch
and Whiteparish left on the 380 ton King William, which was chartered on behalf of
the parish with the express purpose of carrying the emigrants to Canada.
The emigrants, being mostly poor agricultural labourers, left being anxious to
join friends and relatives who went to Upper Canada on the American ship Louisa the
previous year, and who sent back good reports from either Bathurst district or Lake
|Why they leftThe agricultural
depression of the late 1820s remained into the mid 1830s. Thousands of agricultural
labourers were jobless throughout England. Wiltshire was particularily hard hit.
There were between 50 and 100 men who were permanently out of work.
The harvest from 1828-1830 had been poor. The parish put the men to work on the roads
or in gravel pits.
From 1830-1836, things only got worse, and there was no end in sight. Although there
was plenty of land in the parish to support people, the wisdom of the day said that
pauperism was a character defect, so society could offer no permanent help.
|How they leftHis Majesty's
Government changed the law to allow a parish to borrow funds to pay for the passage of
paupers to a British colony.
The government began to recognize emigration as a solution to society's ills, the poor
classes would be better off in the colonies.
Downton borrowed 1000 pounds, on which Lord Radnor agreed to pay interest.
With the help of John Denham Pinnock, Esq. Agent General for Emigration, a suitable
ship was found.
It arrived in Quebec the week ending May 28th, according to A.C. Buchanan Acting Chief
Agent of Emigration at Quebec.