Photo of Grosse Ile, near Quebec City

Grosse Ile, near Quebec City

Lower Canada (Quebec)

“Never shall I forget the extraordinary spectacle that first met our sight… A crowd of many hundred Irish emigrants had been landed during the present and former day; and all this motley crew who were not confined by sickness to the sheds (which greatly resembled cattle-pens) were employed in washing clothes… The men and boys were in the water, while the women (were) running to and fro, screaming and scolding in no measured terms. The confusion of Babel was among them…each shouting…in his or her uncouth dialect… The people who covered the island appeared perfectly destitute of shame… Many were almost naked, still more but partially clothed. We turned in disgust from the revolting scene…”

– Susanna Moodie, Roughing It in the Bush (1852)