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Scotland in the nineteenth century November 29, 2005

Posted by Iglika in L'Écosse victorienne.

This bibliography provides swift and informative access to information relating to Scottish affairs in Parliamentary papers.

The material covered includes the reports of Royal Commissions and Select Committees, Annual Reports and Statistical Returns drawn from both Command papers and Sessional papers.



8. Emigration (Scotland). Report on the applicability of emigration to relief of distress in the Highlands. Accounts and Papers, 1841.
Vol. XXVII, 3p. (Sessional no. 60)

A report from T. F. Elliot, the Agent General for Emigration, to the Secretary of State for the Colonies.

Elliot considered that the only way to relieve the distress in the Highlands was through large scale emigration.

The most suitable place would be North America as in Australia the large scale of the emigration planned would make the new immigrants too large a percentage of the population.

In Canada careful planning was necessary as extra labour was only needed in the interior. Also some of the new immigrants would be old and sick or young, and of little use to the colony. This would necessitate extra hospital facilities and money to move the immigrants inland and establish them. For this reason money was needed from Parliament before the emigration began; in 1826 a Committee had calculated £60 per family might be needed.

9. Returns of emigration during the year 1842. Accounts and Papers, 1843.
Vol. XXXIV, 7p. (Sessional no. 90)

The return give the total number of Scottish emigrants for the year 1842, the port from which they left and the country to which they went.

10. Passengers Act. Report from the Select Committee. Proceedings, minutes of evidence, appendix and index, 1851.
Vol. XIX, 951p. (Sessional no. 632)
Chairman: Sidney Herbert.

“… appointed to enquire into the workings of the Passengers Act, and to report whether any, and what, further protection is required by emigrants during the passage or at the port of embarkation…”

The Committee found that the vast majority of emigrants left from the port of Liverpool, 174,188 out of 280,849 who emigrated in 1850. Of these 257,663 went to America.

[page 278]

The Scottish ports of the west coast also had a very brisk emigration trade which peaked in the spring months of April, May and June.

Thomas Hunter, a Greenock merchant, gave evidence on the Scottish emigration trade (pp. 554-581). Two-thirds of the emigrants from Greenock were Scots, mainly mechanics and small farmers, the rest were Irish from Belfast and Londonderry. They were directed to Greenock by Scottish agents in Ireland.

Although rations were provided on the voyage, most Scots brought extra provisions with them from their farm or croft and did their cooking individually or in small groups (sample ships menu p. 556).

The Greenock ships were generally smaller than those from Liverpool carrying 200-300 passengers and a cargo of iron. On return voyages this was replaced by North American timber.

A large number of the Scottish emigrants were Highlanders from the Duke of Argyll’s property who wished to go to Canada, also there were a number of mechanics from Edinburgh, Glasgow and Berwick. Some of the Highlanders were given reduced rates to enable them to join relations already abroad.


1. Railways. Second report from the Select Committee. Minutes of evidence, appendix and index, 1839.

Vol. X, 542p. (Sessional no. 517)
Chairman: Lord Seymour.

The Committee reported on the financial situation of the different rail companies, the method of taxing railways by the number of passengers they carried and the different legislative powers given to the various rail companies.

The Garnkirk and Glasgow Rail Company had petitioned for a change in the way it paid its taxes on passenger traffic so as to be able to keep its fares competitive; the railway mainly being used by labourers, it was not able to increase them. The railway had been successful in opening up new coal fields and had reduced prices in Glasgow, greatly increasing the city’s trade (pp. 140-143). The Edinburgh and Dalkeith Railway also had problems in keeping its fares low enough to attract the poorer passengers (p. 133).

Table of duties of different Scottish railways comparing them with England (p. 134).

2. Railways. Fifth report from the Select Committee. Minutes of evidence, appendix and index, 1840.
Vol. XIII, 535p. (Sessional no. 474)
Chairman: Lord Seymour.

The report was largely concerned with the problems Scottish rail companies were having paying taxes on their passenger services.

W.F.L. Carnegie, Chairman of the Forfar and Arbroath Railway Company (pp. 281-84), gave evidence on his railway. The line carried three classes of passengers and a large quantity of goods, with the goods making up the bulk of the returns.

The passenger fares were 1st, 2s.; 2nd, 1s. 6d.; 3rd, 1s. and the company was taxed one-eighth of 1d. per mile.

George Duncan, director of the Dundee and Arbroath line, gave evidence on his company which had partially opened in October, 1839 and by 1840 had 16 miles of track and was nearly complete (pp. 284-7). The company had three classes of passengers: 1st class paid 2s. 6d.; 2nd, 2s.; 3rd, 1s. 6d. compared with the coaches which charged 8s. inside and 5s. outside and the stage coach, 6s. and 4s.

[page 316]

George Kinlock gave evidence on the Dundee and Newtyle Railway Company of which he was chairman (pp. 287-88).

Captain Huish gave evidence on the Glasgow, Paisley and Greenock Railway Company (pp. 238-240). The Scottish railways were believed to carry more working class passengers than the English companies and were, on average, cheaper because of the low density of population and the poverty of the people of the country through which they passed.

The 1st class carriage was described as holding 18 people; it had windows and lined interior with springs and buffers. The 2nd class carriage had no windows but shutters and no buffer springs; it also held 18 people but cost half as much to build. The 3rd class carriage was open with no protection and held 80.

3. Railways. Report of the Officers of the Railway Department to the Right Honourable, the Earl of Ripon, President of the Board of Trade. Accounts and Papers, Appendix, 1842.
Vol. XLI, 318p. (Sessional no. 360)

The returns included information on the Scottish railways: the Glasgow and Ayr Railway, the Edinburgh and Glasgow, the Glasgow, Paisley and Greenock, the Arbroath and Forfar and the Dundee and Arbroath railway (pp. 196-214).

The returns were concerned with applications by these lines to the Board of Trade for permission to open.

The Edinburgh and Glasgow railway was expected to be finished on 27th September 1841, 46 miles long from the Haymarket Edinburgh to Queen Street Glasgow with an extension expected to North Border, Glasgow where it would connect with other lines. The gauge was four foot eight and a half inches with six inches between the t

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