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- Fredericton Emigrant Society
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On 26 November 1819, a meeting was held at the courthouse in Fredericton, York County, New Brunswick, to consider the situation of emigrants residing in the town. Many of them had large families, were unemployed, had no means of support, and were ill. A committee consisting of Judge Bliss, Samuel Denny Street, Peter Fraser, and Jedediah Slason with the overseers of the poor was appointed to inquire into the condition of the emigrants and suggest the best means of granting them relief.
On 29 November 1819, the committee reported that several inhabitants were "uncomfortably lodged" and unprepared for the coming winter. The committee recommended opening an employment or labour bureau and recommended that relief to emigrants should be extended by the overseers of the poor and that an association be established to aid emigrants "from the Mother Country."
The meeting immediately resolved to establish the Fredericton Emigrant Society for the purpose of affording employment, information, and assistance to destitute settlers in Fredericton and the neighbouring area. It was intended that the society furnish employment for those able to work, places of employment for those who wished to go into service, and information to those who had the means of settling. Subscriptions were set at $4.00 "at the least payable annually" or £10 paid in advance.
At a meeting of subscribers held in early December 1819, officers were appointed: President, Sir Robert French, vice-presidents, Judge Saunders and Judge Bliss; secretary, Antony Lockwood; and treasurer, George F. Street. The executive was assisted by a committee which included: the Attorney-General, Samuel Denny Street, William F. Odell, Peter Fraser, E. Miller, H. Smith, Jedediah Slason, Mr. Ring, Mr. Needham, and James Taylor. As well, a building was procured and repaired for the reception of the sick in a remote part of the town.
Initially, the society catered primarily to the needs of Welsh emigrants, although Scottish, Irish, and English settlers also received assistance. At a meeting of the Cardigan Society (Welsh), held at the Jerusalem Coffee House on 13 December 1819, members voted unanimously to merge with the Fredericton Emigrant Society. Eventually the Fredericton group received a grant of £100 from the House of Assembly to assist with relief efforts. Although the society continued to exist until at least 1841, apparently it ceased to grant direct aid about November 1820.
Thomas, Peter, Strangers From a Secret Land: The Voyages of the Brig Albion and the Founding of the First Welsh Settlements in Canada, 1986
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