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Letter from Sir James Matheson

Letter from Sir James Matheson

A letter from Sir James Matheson, Proprietor of the Lews, to AC Buchanan, Emigration Department, Quebec. See also the conditions of emigration.

Stornoway, Island of Lewis, October 10, 1851.

Dear Sir,

My friend, Mr JE Mathieson of Glasgow, has sent me from time to time copies of the letters which you had the goodness to write to him respecting the emigrants from this island, and I cannot deny myself the gratification of writing to offer you my most grateful thanks for the very kind interest you have evinced in their welfare, and for the care you have taken in seeing that my instructions regarding them were properly carried into effect.

I consider it a most fortunate circumstance for this country, that the care of the emigrants on arriving in the new world should be under the control of one so well qualified by his sound judgment and kindness of heart to watch over and promote their best interests.

It is the greatest relief to my mind that the emigrants to the Eastern Townships have through your means been so well provided with employment.

I have lately made an arrangement with the Free Church to send out the Reverend Ewen M'Lean, a clergy man of this island, to reside at whatever place the largest number of them may be settled, for the due administration of the ordinances of religion, which I trust will tend to their comfort and edification. At the same time I am informed, and am well convinced, that it is not for their interest that many of them should remain together, but rather that they should be dispersed and absorbed among the general mass of the population, as the best means of eradicating those habits of indolence and inertness to which their impoverished condition must in some measure be attributed.

By a letter to my factor from his brother, Mr Hugh Munro M'Kenzie, who accompanied one body of the emigrants as far as Quebec, I am much surprised to learn that he heard at Toronto those bound for that place had spread a false report of their having been promised land, and had conveyed an impression to a philanthropic body of gentlemen composing the St Andrew's Society that they were badly used in not having received any such grant.

I have, therefore, considered it advisable to address the enclosed open letter to Mr Macpherson, whose name has been mentioned to me as a member of the society, which I shall feel much obliged if you will have the kindness to forward, after perusal.

I remain, &c.
(Signed) James Matheson

A.C. Buchanan, Esq.,


Title: Letter from Sir James Matheson
Record Type: Stories, Reports and Traditions
Type: Letter
Date: 1851
Record Maintained By: HC
Subject Id: 49142