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The Emigrants’ Monument At Point St. Charles
by [?]

Monument to Irish Emigrants.

It will be in the recollection of many of our readers that during the famine years of 1847 and 1848 there was an unusual emigration from Ireland to Canada and the United States. Numbers of those who thus left their native land expired from ship fever, caused by utter exhaustion, before they reached the American continent; others only arrived there to die of that fatal disease. The Canadian Government made extensive efforts to save the lives of the poor emigrants. A large proportion were spared, but at Montreal, where the Government erected temporary hospitals, on an immense scale, upwards of 6000 of these poor people died. Their remains were interred close to the hospitals, at a place that is now mainly covered with railway buildings, and in close proximity to the point whence the Victoria Bridge projects into the St. Lawrence. All traces of the sad events of that disastrous period would have been obliterated but for the warm and reverential impulses of Mr. James Hodges, the engineer and representative of Messrs. Peto, Brassey & Betts in Canada. Through his instrumentality, and by his encouragement, the workmen at the bridge came to the determination of erecting a monument on the spot where the poor Irish emigrants were interred. An enormous granite boulder, of a rough conical shape, weighing 30 tons, was dug up in the vicinity, and was placed on a base of cut stone masonry, twelve feet square by six feet high. The stone bears the following inscription: “To preserve from desecration the remains of 6000 emigrants who died from ship fever in 1847 and 1848 this monument is erected by workmen in the employment of Messrs. Peto, Brassey, & Betts, engaged in the construction of the Victoria Bridge, 1859.” Several addresses were delivered on the occasion, and in the course of that made by the Bishop of Montreal he alluded in feeling terms to the many good deeds for which the Dame of his friend, Mr. James Hodges, will be gratefully remembered in Canada. Thanks to the latter, the plot of ground on which the monument is raised is set apart for ever, so that the remains of those interred there will henceforth be sacred from any irreverent treatment.


A kindly thought, a generous deed,
Ye gallant sons of toil!
No nobler trophy could ye raise
On your adopted soil
Than this monument to your kindred dead,
Who sleep beneath in their cold, dark bed.

Like you they left their fatherland,
And crossed th’ Atlantic’s foam
To seek for themselves a new career,
And win another home;
But, alas for hearts that had beat so high!
They reached the goal, but only to die.

Let no rich worldling dare to say:
“For them why should we grieve?
But paupers–came they to our shores,
Want, sickness, death to leave?”
Each active arm, jail of power and health,
And each honest heart was a mine of wealth.

‘Twas a mournful end to day-dreams high,
A sad and fearful doom–
To exchange their fever-stricken ships
For the loathsome typhus tomb;
And, ere they had smiled at Canada’s sky,
On this stranger land breathe their dying sigh.

The strong man in the prime of life,
Struck down in one short hour,
The loving wife, the rose-cheeked girl,
Fairer than opening flower,
The ardent youth, with fond hopes elate,–
O’ertaken all by one common fate.

Long since forgotten–here they rest,
Sons of a distant land,–
The epochs of their short career
Mere footprints on life’s sand;
But this stone will tell through many a year,
They died on our shores, and they slumber here.