LEAVING CALAIS - LETTERS

Correspondence

Theses letters are some of the correspondence that flowed across the English Channel from late March to June 1848. They relate to the Lacemakers of Calais, their attempts to obtain assistance to migrate to Australia, the British Government's support and their passage across the Channel and on to Australia.

Hard times ...

Letter - Bonham to Palmerston re hard times

21 March 1848 Edward Bonham wrote to the British Foreign Secretary advising of the now desperate plight of the English lace workers in Calais, their bleak prospects in both Calais and Britain, and their desire to migrate to any of the British colonies but that they did "not come under the description of emigrants to whom a free passage is offered".

The memorial and a list ...

Letter - Bonham to Palmerston re memorial

22 March 1848 (No 1) enclosing the memorial, the numbers requesting migration assistance and further comment on their destitute state.

Over the next few days ...

Letter - Bonham to Palmerston

22 March 1848 (No 2) describing the conduct of the meeting including the French workers support for their English coworkers.

Letter - Bonham to Palmerston

24 March 1848 acknowledging receipt of funds to assist the British workers

At the end of March, further correspondence ...

Letter - Downing Street (Earl Grey) to Committee of Relief

27 March 1848 The Government was aware of the limits placed on assistance available to the workers wishing to migrate to Australian Colonies, but offered support for the lacemakers request.

Letter - Downing Street (Earl Grey) to Committee of Relief

27 March 1848 Further support from Earl Grey of the lace workers request to emigrate and a suggestion that details of the trades and calling of those desiring to emigrate be obtained.and .

Letter - Office of Colonial Lands and Emigration to Committee of Relief

27 March 1848 The Emigration Commissioners outline the type of emigrants wanted by the Colonies, a request that a contribution of funds be sought to decrease the call on the colonial funds which are listed per person and a statement that passage for a large group pf emigrants could not occur before the middle or end of April .

Bonham's report of the influx of British workers from other towns ...

Letter - Bonham to Palmerston

31 March 1848 Bonham states that Calais is receiving British families almost daily from Lille and other towns and he is sending them back to England as soon as he can get them on a boat rather than keep them in Calais. He also reports on the deteriorating situation in Lille where mobs threatened to burn factories. Meanwhile in Calais some make-work jobs had been found for those willing to work.

In April the correspondence related to the money for support of the unemployed workers and getting them from Calais to England to embark for Australia and the continued stream of British workers to Calais from other towns ...

Letter - Bonham to Bidwell

06 April 1848 re monetary support for Agincourt passengers

Letter - Office of Colonial Lands and Emigration to Calais

28 April 1848 Advice that Harpley will be at Deptford and ready to sail "early next week" and that the passengers should be sent over and the steamer will go alongside to allow direct transfer of the passengers.

In May the correspondence mostly related to the process of getting the immigrants from Calais to England to embark for Australia ...

Letter of Thanks - Harpley passengers to the British Government and others

12 May 1848

Letter - Bonham to Palmerston re "Letter of Thanks" and the remaining would-be immigrants

13 May 1848

Letter - Bonham to Palmerston and the remaining would-be immigrants

31 May 1848 Bonham proposed to hire a vessel to carry the final group of workers from Calais directly to the Agincourt lying in the Thames.

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