In 1851 several shiploads of emigrants left Lewis for Canada. The arrival and departure of the Barlow was delayed for a month, causing desperation amongst the prospective emigrants, but she eventually sailed at the end of June from Loch Roag. The following is from the Diary of John Munro Mackenzie, Chamberlain of the Lews.
Wednesday 18 June
Sent Express to Harris to tell Revd Mr McLean of the sailing of the “Barlow” and cart for his luggage – Went to the Custom House to arrange for the Comptroller’s going to Loch Roag tomorrow to clear out the “Barlow” and inspect the Emigrants, had to deposit £5 to pay his expenses etc – The Steamer arrived & by her Mr Morison with the Emigrant Contract tickets having only left here on Friday evening – The Owner of the Barlow with a surgeon for her also arrived.
Thursday 19 June
Went to office and arranged various matters – Left for Callanish accompanied by Dr Miller & the Comptroller to see the Barlow off – Attended meeting of Poor Law Board of Uig at Callanish – Proceeded to Tolsta Chaolais and went on board the “Barlow” off that place, remained on board until 11pm arranging with passengers, inspecting stores with Comptroller, berths etc etc. The greater number of the passengers are now on board.
Friday 20 June
Went on board the “Barlow” at 10am and was engaged making up lists of the passengers & Contract tickets – Mustered the whole of the Emigrants and examined them by families & individually in presence of the Custom House & Medical Officers, the owner giving them Contract tickets as they past along – After this was finished the Rev Mr Campbell of Uig gave them a long address and baptized a number of children young and old – I thereafter distributed some clothing to the poorest of the Emigrants who were very il off, being some of what had remained unsold, the Emigrants with the exception of a few families were very respectably clothed and seemed very happy & contented – The Comptroller worked with us all night to get the Ships papers ready for sailing in the morning – He found there was 8 bolls of oatmeal short and would not let the vessel sail till this was got fortunately at Callanish – The number on board is 287 souls equal to 221 ½ Statute passengers-
Saturday 21 June
On board the “Barlow” & having got all ready she weighed anchor at 6am. I took leave of the passengers which was very affecting – They thanked me over & over again & tho’ sorry to part seemed pleased with the change they were about to make & with the ship & Captain – The Owner & Captain have really done everything in their power to accommodate & please – Left the “Barlow” off Carloway where we landed at 7am. We soon lost sight of the ship she having a fair wind and plenty of it – Proceeded to Callanish and having rested and breakfasted left for Stornoway. Called at the Castle & saw what was doing there in my absence – Had meeting with Rev Mr McLean who offered to go with the few Emigrants left by the “Barlow”, about 30, if Sir James would defray the travelling expenses & passage of himself and family in addition to his salary being the rate at which we could have got him out by the “Barlow” had he gone by that vessel which he could have done if he pleased – I do not see what great good he can now do by going as the people will be scattered all over the Canadas by the time he would get out.
Monday 23 June
Settled with the Owner of the Barlow and gave him an order on Mr IE Matheson of Glasgow for £698.11/5 being the balance of freight due him.