The million-peopled city
The Causes of the Extensive Immigration of Irish to London in Recent Years.
The causes which have led to such multitudes of Irish coming to this country of late years, are thus enumerated in the for :
" 1. The recent famine in their own land; 2. The act of landlords and Poor-law officers, who have sent over here those in a pauper condition; 3. The act of the priests, who have told the people that work was plentiful here, and wages better than in ; 4. The competition between the steam-boat companies, which has reduced the rate of passage to so extremely small a sum; 5. The increasing number of Irish labourers employed in the docks and various manufac- tories, through the willingness of the Irish labourer to work for less than the English, and his ability to live on a cheaper description of food; 6. The desire on the part of those who come over to get over their relations and friends also."
From such causes as these the number of inhabited houses in in was 281,104 less than in ,-a dimi- nution of 21 per cent. !
" The great influx of the Irish into London was in the year of the famine, . .. 'Between the 13th January and the 13th December, both inclusive,' writes Mr. Rushton, the Liverpool magistrate, to , in April, , '296,231 persons landed in from London. Of this vast number, about 130,000 emigrated to the, some 50,000 were passengers on business, and the remainder (161,231) were paupers, half-naked and starving, . . . and became immediately on landing appli- cants for parish relief.' . . . Of the immigration, direct by the vessels trading from to London, there are no returns such as have been collected by Mr. Rushton for , but the influx is comparatively small, on account of the greater length and cost of the voyage. During the last year, I am informed that 15,000 or 16,000 passengers were brought from to London direct, and in addition to these, 600 more were brought over from in con- nexion with the arrangements for emigration to and consigned to the emigration agent here. Of the
|15,000 (taking the mean between the two numbers above given), 1,000 emigrated to .. . Besides these there are the numbers who make their way up to London, tramping it from the several provincial ports- namely, , , , and ."|
It might have been supposed that the immigration of Irish would have ceased to a great extent after the year of the famine. Such has, however, not been the case in so marked a manner as might have been anticipated, for in Irish emigration amounted to 257,372. And the reason has been that the potato crop, on which depends as its staple supply of food, has never since reco- vered from the injury of that year. It has not yielded since as it did before. The opposition between the steam-com- panies' vessels has also been so great since, that steerage passengers from to London, who now are charged 10s. 6d. for their passage, were a year or two since brought over for 1s. a-head; and, indeed, at length one company, in order to obtain more passengers than the other, brought them over gratis; nor satisfied even with this, they at length offered the premium of a loaf of bread as a reward to all who would patronize their boats rather than the boats of the rival company. At that time the in were known to have sent over the paupers for the purpose of getting rid of them. The two steam-boat com- panies have now coalesced, and the opposition between them has consequently ceased.
 " London Labour and the London Poor," vol. i., pp. 112, 113.