Forced Emigration from Ireland, 1735-43

The following information is from Emigrants from Ireland, 1735-1743: A Transcription of the Report of the Irish House of Commons into Enforced Emigration to America by Frances McDonnell, Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., Baltimore, Maryland, copyright 1992.

According to McDonnell's introduction, over 60,000 men, women, and children were involuntarily transported from England, Scotland, and Ireland to the American colonies in the 17th and 18th centuries. The vast majority of these deportees were felons, although some were political or religious dissidents. Irish courts ordered approximately 4,000 prisoners be forcibly emigrated to America.

McDonnell continues, stating that the kidnapping and shipment of children to America and their sale as indentured servants began to cause concern, and in 1743 the Irish government established a committee to examine in detail the whole system of transportation. As a part of that committee's work, lists of prisoners who were emigrated to America during the previous few years were presented. From these lists, we can find three names of interest from the Province of Leinster:

County Westmeath

Date of court session  Person ordered transported  Crime
12 March 1738Thomas SlevanVagabond
22 April 1742Patrick SlevinGrand Larceny

County Longford

Date of court session  Person ordered transported  Crime
7 August 1738Patrick SlevinVagabond

McDonnell's comment concerning the kidnapping of children and their subsequent sale in indenture should be of interest to descendants of John Slavin of County Tyrone. According to a 1963 edition of F.L. Slaven's A History of the Slaven Family, one of the stories of John's emigration to America fits the kidnapping scenario: "The first member of the Irish family to come to America was John Slavin, who was born in County Tyrone, Ulster, Ireland, in 1723, and came America in 1740, at the age of 17 years. He was of the Presbyterian faith and by trade, in Ireland, a weaver. . . The descendants of Reuben and Henry say that John Slavin was an Irish gentleman's son and was attending college in Dublin. His father was visiting him on his way home from Liverpool on a business trip. His father was interested in silk weaving and was going to introduce it Ireland. John Slavin and his father and three or four of his college friends were walking on the quay at noon, one day, when they saw a ship to the colonies. The captain asked the boys if they would like to come aboard and John's father gave his permission. When they were aboard the captain gave orders to sail to the open sea. When the ship arrived in New York, the captain produced forged papers and tried to hold the boys for three more years but John and one friend, named Stewart, escaped from the ship. They were unable to free the other boys. John and his friend obtained work in Philadelphia as weavers and later went on to Virginia. . . "