Sunday, 15 April 2018

Remittance Men

My short article Canada's Silver Spoon British Migrants is published on the site for the Secret Lives conference, 31 August - 2 September 2018.


Unknown said...

I'm intrigued by the term "remittance man". The definition given by songwriter Jimmy Buffett is "the black sheep of the family clan", which certainly fits with your story. Do you know the origin of the term?

JDR said...

"Strictly speaking, a remittance man was any individual who received an allowance—a remittance —from family or friends at home. In its literal sense, the term applied to a great many of the young gentlemen who came to Canada before 1900 (who) received remittances from their families during the early stages of their careers in Canada. In popular usage, however, the term “remittance man” meant bounder, scapegrace, and ne’er-do-well; it implied a social outcast, an emigrant who had been exiled to the colonies and who was paid to remain there because he was an embarrassment to his family in Britain.
The Australians coined the term “remittance man” in the 1880s, but the phrase soon became popular with Canadians as well."

from Gentleman Emigrants, by Patrick A. Dunae ISBN 0888943245 9780888943248

Gail B said...

We have a major remittance man in our family history. My husband's line, I dare say, in fact my husband's name. In 1796 the Prince Regent, later George Fourth, paid this ancestor to get out of London and never darken his door again. He scurred north to Bury St. Edmunds and caused a fair amount of trouble there too. He was paid handsomely to leave london and received an annuity for the rest of His life, direct from Carleton House. Pages and pages of reliable sources on this.

Black sheep? I dunno.

Gail B in St. C.