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  1. #1
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    Default Remittance Men and Women

    Not all black sheep were convicts, it was very common to send remittance men and women often with their families overseas to get them away from the area where they had disgraced themselves.

    A place of residence was bought and regular sums of money deposited in the bank to keep them away. Administration of this was generally arranged with a firm of lawyers, who perhaps kept a friendly or fatherly eye on them.

    The reason they were banished could be because they had drug or alcohol or gambling problems.
    Health Reasons.
    Career not approved of by family.
    Married outside their station in life.
    Married outside their race.
    Some family land dispute.
    Possibly for some reason I haven't even thought of an embarrassment to a family who could afford the out of sight out of mind policy and pay for it.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Heather Barford View Post
    Not all black sheep were convicts, it was very common to send remittance men and women often with their families overseas to get them away from the area where they had disgraced themselves.

    A place of residence was bought and regular sums of money deposited in the bank to keep them away. Administration of this was generally arranged with a firm of lawyers, who perhaps kept a friendly or fatherly eye on them.

    The reason they were banished could be because they had:
    Drug or alcohol or gambling problems.
    Health Reasons.
    Career not approved of by family.
    Married outside their station in life.
    Married outside their race.
    Some family land dispute.
    Possibly for some reason I haven't even thought of an embarrassment to a family who could afford the out of sight out of mind policy and pay for it.
    Not much has changed since those days, eh?

  3. #3
    Mutley
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    I believe some were the younger sons of titled families who would not be in line for inheritance.

    I am sure there was a rather nice poem once written about the Remittance Man but I cannot think of the name of the author?

  4. #4
    Mutley
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    I seem to remember the poem was written by a man and he was a Remittance Man ......
    I'll have to go search, I'll be back.
    I'm not sure why it stuck in my memory and how far back from where I remember it, briefly

  5. #5
    Mutley
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    The Rhyme of the Remittance Man by Robert W. Service




    There's a four-pronged buck a-swinging in the shadow of my cabin,
    And it roamed the velvet valley till to-day;
    But I tracked it by the river, and I trailed it in the cover,
    And I killed it on the mountain miles away.
    Now I've had my lazy supper, and the level sun is gleaming
    On the water where the silver salmon play;
    And I light my little corn-cob, and I linger, softly dreaming,
    In the twilight, of a land that's far away.
    Far away, so faint and far, is flaming London, fevered Paris,
    That I fancy I have gained another star;
    Far away the din and hurry, far away the sin and worry,
    Far away God knows they cannot be too far.
    Gilded galley-slaves of Mammon how my purse-proud brothers taunt me!
    I might have been as well-to-do as they
    Had I clutched like them my chances, learned their wisdom, crushed my fancies,
    Starved my soul and gone to business every day.
    Well, the cherry bends with blossom and the vivid grass is springing,
    And the star-like lily nestles in the green;
    And the frogs their joys are singing, and my heart in tune is ringing,
    And it doesn't matter what I might have been.
    While above the scented pine-gloom, piling heights of golden glory,
    The sun-god paints his canvas in the west,
    I can couch me deep in clover, I can listen to the story
    Of the lazy, lapping water it is best.
    While the trout leaps in the river, and the blue grouse thrills the cover,
    And the frozen snow betrays the panther's track,
    And the robin greets the dayspring with the rapture of a lover,
    I am happy, and I'll nevermore go back.
    For I know I'd just be longing for the little old log cabin,
    With the morning-glory clinging to the door,
    Till I loathed the city places, cursed the care on all the faces,
    Turned my back on lazar London evermore.
    So send me far from Lombard Street, and write me down a failure;
    Put a little in my purse and leave me free.
    Say: "He turned from Fortune's offering to follow up a pale lure,
    He is one of us no longer let him be."
    I am one of you no longer; by the trails my feet have broken,
    The dizzy peaks I've scaled, the camp-fire's glow;
    By the lonely seas I've sailed in yea, the final word is spoken,
    I am signed and sealed to nature. Be it so.

  6. #6
    Mutley
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    Looking Robert up in wikipedia it seems he was a Lancashire lad and not a Remittance Man
    so my apologies for high jacking this thread.

    However, I've enjoyed reading both the poems, (thanks Graham) it has made a change.

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    Thank you for this info - my Aunt spent the last 4 weeks of her life in a Nursing Home and she told me just before she died that her Grandfather had been a 'Remittance Man' - I had no idea what it was at the time. He had married my Great Grandmother in December, and after a honeymoon, they were on a sailing ship to NZ. In the 'bits and pieces' of old letters etc which I later found when researching, I found record of the Captain of the vessel having detailed the birth of a baby to his couple (it did not survive) I am therefore of the opinion that my Great Grandmother was pregnant at time of marriage, and so they were 'banished' to the Antipodes. Would a pregnancy be enough to upset the family's applecart in 1870? The groom was from farming family in Glos. and the bride daughter of a 'Brewer and Malster'.
    Quentin

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    Mutley: he deserved to be sent far, far away just for the crime of rhyming "failure" with "pale lure" - it's patently obvious he intended "Australia" to be in there but thought better of it. But not better enough!

    In the days before unemployment benefits, a fair few British remittance men in New Zealand became tramps. Alcohol was a common cause. Most countries have somewhat stiffer emigration conditions these days, however, and Britain is forced keep her embarrassments at home, or at least let them wander the EU countries.

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    Default Characters that made life interesting.

    Yes I guess that was a long time ago as our country has always been forerunners in welfare reform (good and bad) in the mid 1920's when the first effects of the world economic depression was felt throughout the country and the money earned from exports fell and the number of unemployed rose the government of the times introduced many unpopular measures including relief work, low paid jobs such as chipping weeds from the side of the road, this measure was very unpopular men took to the road in droves at this time (we have had similar schemes since over the decades "Task Force Green" the last one I remember where you got additional money on your benefit for doing some government or council directed work.

    I was given a book in 1977 called Roughnecks, Rollingstones & Rouseabouts by John A. Lee a Radio announcer who had a program in the late 1930's on a Sunday night by the same name he asked listeners for material and the letters just poured in telling about the good and bad times from the 1860's onward. I remember during the Second World War we seemed to have a lot of swaggers call into our home which was situated on the main highway. My grandmother who lived in a house with a 2 acre section, a big vege garden and lots of lawn trees and shrubs, was always delighted to get a bit of garden dug or some additional wood chopped in return for a free meal. One day this tramp came in just before lunch and asked for a handout, my grandmother suggested he chop a bit of wood for kindling or dig a bit of garden. He flatly refused said he had a sore back, anyway, he stood there talking for a while and when my grandmother, made some bread and jam sandwiches for us to eat she put about 4 doorsteps (thick bread butter and jam) on a plate and handed them to him to sit and eat on the white scrubbed doorstep. (we only had 4 stools at the kitchen table and these were occupied.) he turned round and said to her " lady arn't I good enough to eat with you? Boy did that make her mad she grabbed up the kitchen broom one of those straw ones you imagine witches flying on. The plate and sandwiches went flying and she chased him all the way up the long driveway this little five foot Scottish lady and this tall skinny tramp a memory that will stay with me forever.
    Funny enough we never got another tramp after that, someone said they leave a pile of stones or some mark to let others know a place that makes them welcome. He must have left a sign, mad women lives here.

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