Very large numbers of people began to depart the British Isles for the New Worlds after about 1770. This was a pioneering movement, a rehearsal for modern international migration. This book contends that emigration history is not seamless, that it contains large shifts over time and place, and that the modern scale and velocity of mobility have very particular historical roots. The Isle of Man is an ideal starting point in the quest for the engines and mechanisms of emigration, and a particular version of the widespread surge in British emigration in the 1820s. West Sussex was much closer to the centres of the expansionary economy in the new age. North America was the earliest and the greatest theatre of oceanic emigration in which the methods of mass migration were pioneered. Landlocked Shropshire experienced some of the earliest phases of British industrialisation, notably in the Ironbridge/Coalbrookdale district, deep inland on the River Severn. The turmoil in the agrarian and demographic foundations of life reached across the British archipelago. In West Cork and North Tipperary, there was clear evidence of the great structural changes that shook the foundations of these rural societies. The book also discusses the sequences and effects of migration in Wales, Swaledale, Cornwall, Kent, London, and Scottish Highlands. It also deals with Ireland's place in the more generic context of the origins of migration from the British Isles. The common historical understanding is that the pre-industrial population of the British Isles had been held back by Malthusian checks.
Islands of exit
Emigrants wrote home and told of their reactions to their great act of transoceanic relocation. Their correspondence is the closest evidence of their innermost
Thomas Kelly was an emigrant from Doolough, Jurby, on the IsleofMan.
He had left for Ohio in the United States by way of Liverpool, the rapidly rising
emigrant port, in July 1827, accompanied by his wife, father, sister, five daughters
and ten other Manx people. During the voyage, marked by severe weather, he
lost his two-year-old daughter. Kelly was a
held major responsibility for
the IsleofMan camps, although the Scottish Office appears to
have looked after those in Scotland. The Foreign Office particularly
concerned itself with communication with Germany and other belligerent states through the embassies which looked after German
interests. In order to help co-ordinate its activities, it established a
Prisoners and Aliens Department just after war broke out for the
purpose of dealing with prisoner questions as well as working with
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the IsleofMan, the Iberian, Italian and Scandinavian peninsulas, Iceland and Greece.
g Taxpayers of this nationality as a percentage of those with known nationality.
h Details for Derbyshire and Oxfordshire are known only from the enrolled accounts, which do not specify nationalities.
The numbers, distribution and economic status of the Irish within England have attracted a certain amount of discussion from historians. Kevin Down and Art Cosgrove have noted the concerns expressed in the Irish Parliament during the later Middle Ages about the effects of
by the recognition of shell shock.16 Perhaps in the same way as shell
shock became the symbol of those traumatized by First World War
conflict, barbed wire disease played the same role for men who
could not cope with confinement. Leslie Baily, the biographer of
J. T. Baily, who helped to alleviate conditions on the IsleofMan
on behalf of the Society of Friends, described the symptoms as
‘moroseness, avoidance of others, and an aimless promenading up
and down the barbed-wire boundary of the compound, like a wild
animal in a cage. The consequences might be
Britain and Germany demonstrates.
A focus upon Britain reveals two clear patterns in the memory
of German prisoners. Although the Germanophobia of the First
World War and inter-war years remained potent, it did not prevent
the publication of a handful of volumes on the experiences of individual internees. These included translations of German works.
After 1945, while academic historians began to turn their attention
to Great War internment, local historians focused upon some of the
camps which emerged, above all those on the IsleofMan, particularly Knockaloe, which
. Internees had access to religious books
here. Bible classes took place every week in five of the six compounds in Camp I. In addition the YMCA held a weekly meeting,
while prisoners could also speak to the pastor.20
Some figures exist to demonstrate the extent to which prisoners
participated in organized religious activity. Although they do not
lead to definite conclusions, they tend to suggest a fairly low rate
of attendance at services. The Home Office believed that the IsleofMan camps contained ‘about 9,000 baptised Roman Catholics . . .
of whom about 2,000 avail
walk, Blundell felt it necessary to warn those who saw him for the ﬁrst time
since the outbreak of war to ‘not you feare for … the thing is no Goblin; but
the very party we talk on’.67 To avoid imprisonment he left his estate in the
hands of his wife and sister and spent two periods of less than a year during
1646 and 1648 in exile on the IsleofMan and a brief, unspeciﬁed, period
living a low-key existence in Wales, though concern for his estate at Crosby
quickly drew him back home.68 While he adopted the name Cicely Burton
in two of his surviving letters to
, several specialist camps, especially in London, employed
civilians for specific firms. Finally, some internees, particularly
on the IsleofMan, became engaged in work outside the camps.
In Knockaloe thousands of men refused to work. Whereas those
‘whose day is filled with useful work are contented . . . those who
lead an idle life are invariably discontented and their health sooner
or later suffers in consequence’. They presented ‘a pitiful sight’ and
many passed their time ‘gambling, smoking or quarrelling’.45
A United States Embassy report on Douglas from May 1916
perceptible exiting of small numbers
over many years. But, over the long run, they accumulated into massive
aggregate migrations – and indeed drained the countryside. This
was achieved mainly by internal migration, but it also fed emigration.
Three variants of the rural emigration process spring to mind: the IsleofMan, the Western Highlands of Scotland and Swaledale in North