At the end of April 1851, following his tour of the island to assess the number of tenants who were to be helped to emigrate to Canada, the Chamberlain John Munro Mackenzie travelled to Glasgow, in the company of Sir James Matheson and his wife who were proceeding to London, to make the arrangements. Mackenzie had considerable difficulty finding ships to engage, but had secured the Marquis of Stafford to take 500 emigrants, many of them from Uig, and also bought bread, meal, tinware and bedding, and tried to arrange a contract to have the emigrants moved “up the country” on arrival in Quebec. The Marquis of Stafford was one of half a dozen ships that took Lewis families to Canada that year. The following is from Mackenzie’s Diary of 1851.
Friday 16 May
On board the Marquis of Stafford in the Sound of Bernera — The great part of the Emigrants in the upper part of Uig have shipped their luggage — Sent John Mackenzie ground officer over the Carloway district to tell the Emigrants from quarter to be on board with their luggage tomorrow, and all north of Galson to be at the Port of Ness all ready to come on board at 3am Tuesday morning. Sent notice to Tolsta that the Steamer will call off that place early on Tuesday and the emigrants to be all ready — Wrote to Stornoway for various articles required for Emigrants.
Saturday 17 May
The passengers are still coming very slowly on board with their luggage, sent John McDonald to Tolsta Cailish & Carloway to push them off with their luggage — Wrote full instruction for Mr Cameron for his guidance in treating with Messrs Leid & Murray for forwarding the Emigrants from Quebec up the Country… Gave instructions to the mate to allow no more luggage to come on board as all the remaining room will be required for the Emigrants at Ness.
Monday 19 May
Left home accompanied by Mr Cameron at 6.30am for Callanish breakfasted there and took boat for the Sound of Bernera, having a gale of wind ahead and a heavy sea, did not get to the Steamer till 2pm. Mr Murray of Leid & Murray with his brother arrived at the Steamer soon after, also Dr Millar & the Rev Mr Campbell. The Emigrants having come on board an allowance of biscuit equal to one pound per adult passenger was served out, with tinware to each passenger who had money to pay for it — After this was done the Rev Mr Campbell gave the Emigrants a suitable address with prayer & praise — Had to refuse the greater number of the Emigrants from Bernera to keep room for those at Ness and Tolsta — Having got all on board who had sent their luggage last week sailed from the Sound of Bernera at 12pm — with 400 emigrants on board.