What was the local authorities’ attitude towards emigration?

The Hanoveranian authorities of the 18th century considered the emigration movement to be of concern to them, and thus tried to take control of it, according to their interests. Depending on the situation, the state would tolerate, favour, or try to prevent emigration.

If those willing to emigrate were persons lacking the means of subsistence, one was eager to let them go, if they had paid their debt and redeemed their obligations towards their landlord. Documents show that the authorities would even cover part of the travel expenses. Before such persons would become a financial burden to their hometown, the authorities found it to be more advantageous, if they left the country in good time. On the other hand, government officials tried to convince those willing to emigrate to stay in the country, if they were tradesmen or merchants.
What was the local authorities’ attitude towards emigration?

The Hanoveranian authorities of the 18th century considered the emigration movement to be of concern to them, and thus tried to take control of it, according to their interests. Depending on the situation, the state would tolerate, favour, or try to prevent emigration.

If those willing to emigrate were persons lacking the means of subsistence, one was eager to let them go, if they had paid their debt and redeemed their obligations towards their landlord. Documents show that the authorities would even cover part of the travel expenses. Before such persons would become a financial burden to their hometown, the authorities found it to be more advantageous, if they left the country in good time. On the other hand, government officials tried to convince those willing to emigrate to stay in the country, if they were tradesmen or merchants.

© 2009, CHIN-Canadian Heritage Information Network. All Rights Reserved.

Redemption of Obligations Towards the Landlord

Christoph Hippe and Hans Henrich Ahrens emigrated from Gladebeck (District of Northeim) to Nova Scotia in 1753. The illustration shows a list of all their obligations towards the landlord and the proportionate redemption fee.

Main State Archives Hannover

© 2009, CHIN-Canadian Heritage Information Network. All Rights Reserved.


Letter

Excerpts from a letter by the Hanoveranian authorities, 1753.

Main State Archives Hannover

Han. 74 Northeim, Nr. 2383
© 2009, CHIN-Canadian Heritage Information Network. All Rights Reserved.


Since under the present conditions at the local mine, the people can no longer be provided with sufficient work, creating, therefore, a surplus of residents, permission authorized by the Royal and Principality Government has been granted that up to 130 of the local residents could emigrate on their own free will, and, in order to give them support therein, their travel costs to Hamburg have been paid, and, to prevent any disarray, local government servants, among them the clerk Schacht, have been ordered to lead them.
Since under the present conditions at the local mine, the people can no longer be provided with sufficient work, creating, therefore, a surplus of residents, permission authorized by the Royal and Principality Government has been granted that up to 130 of the local residents could emigrate on their own free will, and, in order to give them support therein, their travel costs to Hamburg have been paid, and, to prevent any disarray, local government servants, among them the clerk Schacht, have been ordered to lead them.

© 2009, CHIN-Canadian Heritage Information Network. All Rights Reserved.

Which route did the emigrants travel?

In the 18th century, emigration involved many difficulties and often was irrevocable. The decision to emigrate was certainly made easier, if one could join a group of fellow-countrymen. Hanoveranian documents from the years 1752 and 1753 mention groups of 150 and 300 persons.

Setting out from the south of the Principality, one had to travel for several rough weeks on an unsurfaced road all the way to Hamburg - the most important German emigration port. Larger groups were often accompanied by a government official, who would then entrust the group to an emigration agent in Hamburg. On an emigrant ship, the voyage to Halifax began.
Which route did the emigrants travel?

In the 18th century, emigration involved many difficulties and often was irrevocable. The decision to emigrate was certainly made easier, if one could join a group of fellow-countrymen. Hanoveranian documents from the years 1752 and 1753 mention groups of 150 and 300 persons.

Setting out from the south of the Principality, one had to travel for several rough weeks on an unsurfaced road all the way to Hamburg - the most important German emigration port. Larger groups were often accompanied by a government official, who would then entrust the group to an emigration agent in Hamburg. On an emigrant ship, the voyage to Halifax began.

© 2009, CHIN-Canadian Heritage Information Network. All Rights Reserved.

Drawing of Sailing-Vessel

Vertical section of an emigrant sailing-vessel, 1854

Sketch: Manfred von Vulte

© 2009, CHIN-Canadian Heritage Information Network. All Rights Reserved.


The emigrant Johann Michael Schmidt describes the passage to Halifax in the year 1752:

The name of the ship that carried us across the great sea was Goehl, and in Rotterdam 262 went on board. During the voyage, 12 children were born, which, with one exception, all died. Of the 262 souls mentioned above, 53 died at sea, and the remaining 210 landed safely in Halifax. There was room for 183 in the freight compartment and 53 beds... We spent 14 weeks at sea, not counting the time we spent on the ship in Rotterdam and then in Halifax, before we were brought on land, which then came to 22 weeks altogether.
The emigrant Johann Michael Schmidt describes the passage to Halifax in the year 1752:

The name of the ship that carried us across the great sea was Goehl, and in Rotterdam 262 went on board. During the voyage, 12 children were born, which, with one exception, all died. Of the 262 souls mentioned above, 53 died at sea, and the remaining 210 landed safely in Halifax. There was room for 183 in the freight compartment and 53 beds... We spent 14 weeks at sea, not counting the time we spent on the ship in Rotterdam and then in Halifax, before we were brought on land, which then came to 22 weeks altogether.

© 2009, CHIN-Canadian Heritage Information Network. All Rights Reserved.

Learning Objectives

The learner will:
  • Describe how Hanoveranian authorities controlled emigration in the mid-18th century
  • Describe the route taken by emigrants from Hanover bound for Halifax around 1750
  • Describe some details of the ocean voyage from Rotterdam to Halifax for emigrants around 1750
  • Empathize with the hardship endured by emigrants from Lower Saxony to Nova Scotia around 1750

Teachers' Centre Home Page | Find Learning Resources & Lesson Plans