Bountied European Immigration

Topics: Overseas Chinese, Jamaica, Chinese Jamaican Pages: 5 (1757 words) Published: April 22, 2013
Known as bountied European immigration, this practice commenced in May of 1834 with the arrival of 64 Germans after a 108-day journey from the town of Bremen. They were recruited by the brother of Mr. Solomon Myers, the German Jewish owner of a coffee estate in St. George's (now part of Portland). Myers received financial support from the Jamaican Assembly to cover shipping costs and help settle his first group near Buff Bay in a district that became known as Bremen Valley. It failed miserably. Many of the 25 men, 18 women and 21 children left, some moving on to Clarendon to join the police. So Myers tried a second time, importing 506 Germans again from Bremen with the Assembly's support. After 37 days, they arrived in Port Royal in December 1834. Myers kept 20 for himself and divided the remainder among planters from St. Ann's Bay, Montego Bay, Manchester, St. Elizabeth and Clarendon. At this time, other planters began to import Europeans from England, Scotland and Ireland. Like the Germans, many did not wind up staying in agricultural work. They moved into domestic service and left the interior for towns. By the end of 1834, the Assembly appointed a recruiter, a Prussian named William Lemonius. He was charged with organizing the importation of German and English labourers and work towards the establishment of a colonial government project involving three European Townships in the island's interior. In 1835 the third wave of Germans arrived, again from Bremen. Of this 532, almost half were sent to form the Cornwall township of Seaford Town, the first of three townships slated for settlement, even though only 17 of the cottages slated to be ready for them on arrival were completed. More joined them in 1836 from the second lot organized by Lemonius. The other two townships were earmarked for Middlesex in St. Ann, near to the St. Mary border and Altamont on the Portland coast. |[pic] |

|Many of the homes in Seaford Town |
|were built with cellars, typical of|
|architecture found in rural |
|Germany. |

The township plan was to be regulated by the Immigration Act of 1836 which stipulated the terms and conditions of indentureship. These included the importer's being responsible for shipping, food and other needs of the immigrants, the fact that on completion of 6 months of residence, the importer would receive £12 for all persons 12 years or older and £8 for those under 12 and that all immigrants would be exempt from taxation whiles during their period of indenture. In 1840 the Act increased the amount of financial assistance given to the planters (which was often used to cover shipping costs) and limited the indentureship to a period of one year. By 1841, however, the European Immigration policy was deemed a failure. The Germans had failed to entice the ex-slaves to perform harder. In fact, they were envious of the ex-slaves' access to their own provision grounds and tended to work less industriously as a result (Hall, p. 54). By 1842 the authority to appoint recruiting agents in Europe had ended, penalties were instated against those who employed immigrants in unhealthy situations and the government's expenditure on immigration was limited to £20,000 a year, a reduction of £30,000 from 1840 (Hall, p. 52-53). The Government had begun to look elsewhere in earnest for sources of labour, namely China and India. |[pic] |

|The town museum houses artefacts from early life in |
|Seaford Town, such as pots, mortars and a wooden bathtub|
|carved from the trunk of a tree. There is also a |
|painting of the ship that is said to have brought the |
|first settlers from Germany. |

Seaford Town, named after Lord Seaford, is found in the Westmoreland Hills some 25 miles from Montego Bay. The first set of immigrants to settle in...
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