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They were often regarded as 'permanent deadweight' who could contribute little to their future well-being and be better off in North America or the colonies. Most of the assisted emigrants experienced harsh conditions in North America. While some were well cared for, such as the Peter Robinson settlers to Ontario between 1823 and 1835, and the Tuke emigrants who were encouraged to settle in Canada and the mid-western states of the United States in the 1880s, others had more difficult encounters. Those who were assisted by landlords such as the marquis of Lansdowne and Lord Palmerston were sent to Quebec, New York and St John and had to look after themselves from the time of disembarkation. Many of the assisted emigrants settled in Five Points in New York where they lived in squalid conditions, but through perseverance and hard work bettered themselves. The majority of these emigrants were happy to leave Ireland in the hope of a better life in North America.
Gerard Moran is the former coordinator of History at the European School, Uccle, Brussels. He now lectures in the department of history at NUI, Galway. He has written extensively on nineteenth-century Ireland.