At least one historian has speculated about the ‘excitement’ that would have gripped the individuals and families who had resolved to leave for America during 1718.26 In addition to raising money to pay for their voyage, packing, and securing sufficient provisions, there would have been the need to dispose of possessions and items that were not be transported to the ‘New World’. Among the items which many migrants apparently took with them, were their looms and spinning wheels (though this seems questionable given the ease with which these items could be manufactured).27
The belief that Providence was calling them to a new land encouraged unrealistic expectations in many Scots-Irish migrants, which shipping agents did nothing to diminish. As one historian has observed: ‘Their imagined America seemed to offer economic opportunities they had come to expect, religious freedom they had never enjoyed, and the unity they had lost.’28
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26 Bolton (1967), p. 130.
27 McCourt (1999), p. 307
28 Griffin (2001), p. 97.