Emigration, its Dangers by Sea and Land - Irish in America

John Francis Maguire
1868
CHAPTER X (2) start of chapter

Different indeed, in most of its features, is the emigration of to-day from that of thirty, or twenty, or even a dozen years since. A quarter of a century since, and much later still, the emigrant seemed marked out, as it were, as the legitimate object of plunder and oppression; and were not the frauds of which these helpless people were made the constant victims matters of public record, and against which Legislatures at both sides of the ocean struggled, and for a time ineffectually, one could scarcely credit the lengths to which those who lived upon plunder carried their audacity. Little did the intending emigrants know of the difficulties and dangers that lay in their path in every stage of their momentous journey by land and water, by city and by sea. Little knew the poor mother, as she imparted her last benediction to her 'boy and girl'—the adventurous pioneers of the family—the perils that lay in her children's way; how fraud and robbery, and in friendly guise too, would track them across the ocean, perhaps sail with them in the same ship, even lie with them in the same berth; and how nothing short of the interposition of a merciful Providence could save them from utter and irremediable ruin.