Scots who opted for pioneer life in Prince Edward Island are the subject of this book. Being the first of the “northern” colonies to be sold off in its entirety to proprietors in the late eighteenth century, P.E.I. acquired its Scots earliest, doing so even before the start of the American War of Independence in 1775. The colonization of Prince Edward Island by Scots takes us back to a period when the process of emigration and settlement were in their infancy.
The Pioneer Scots of Prince Edward Island should command our respect. They showed tremendous courage and determination and most were successful.
Previous studies of early Scottish emigration to the New World have tended to concentrate on the miseries of evictions and the destruction of old communities. In this groundbreaking study of the influx of Scots to Prince Edward Island, the widely held assumption that emigration was solely a flight from poverty is challenged. By uncovering previously unreported ship crossings, as well as a wide range of manuscripts and underused sources such as customs records and newspaper shipping reports, the book provides the most comprehensive account to date of the influx of Scots to the Island. “A Very Fine Class of Immigrants” is essential reading for individuals wishing to trace family links or deepen their understanding of how and why the Island came to acquire its distinctive Scottish communities. And by accessing, for the first time, shipping sources like Lloyd's List and the Lloyd's Shipping Register, the author brings a new dimension to our understanding of emigrant travel. Lucille H. Campey demonstrates that far from sailing on disease-ridden leaky tubs, as popularly imagined, the Island's Pioneer Scots usually crossed the Atlantic on the best available ships of the time.