WELSH EMIGRATION TO THE U.S.A. DURING THE MID-NINETEENTH CENTURY* AMONG the nationalities that formed the heavy wave of American immigration from the 'hungry forties' to the mid- 1850s,1 probably none warrants basic historical research more than the Welsh. The mid-century Welsh migrants are discussed in the general surveys of Welsh migration,? as well as in the even broader histories of British migration;3 but we still lack a clear and consistent view of who these people were and why they became migrants. In particular, it is still not known whether they were of agricultural or industrial backgrounds. Maldwyn Jones has asserted that 'until the Civil War the exodus from Wales was overwhelmingly one of agriculturalists from the rural counties of the west and north';4 while Alan Conway has concluded that 'from mid-century on, [the Welsh movement] was predominantly but not exclusively an industrial emigration, primarily from the iron and steel and coalmining regions of South Wales'.5 Scholars do agree that the Welsh never emigrated in the massive numbers of the Irish and Germans, mainly because growing industrial work in south Wales and England drew off prospective emigrants. Yet the size of the mid-century The author is indebted to Professor Charlotte Erickson of the University of Cambridge and Dudley Baines of the London School of Economics for their advice and criticism, the National Immigration Archives at the Balch Institute in Philadelphia for supplying raw data from the port of New York, and Richard O'Redly of the London School of Economics and Samuel Anema of Calvin College for computer assistance. 1 According to the published American statistics, total immigration from Europe rose from under 75,000 in 1844 to nearly 230,000 in 1847, nearly 370,000 in 1851, and over 400,000 in 1854. See Historical Statistics of the United States: Colonial Times to 1957 (Washington: Bureau of the Census; 2nd pr., 1961), pp. 56-57. 2 Alan Conway, 'Welsh Emigration to the United States', in Perspectives in American History, Vol. 7 (Cambridge, Mass., 1973), pp. 177-271; idem, The Welsh in America: Letters from the Immigrants (Minneapolis, 1961); R. T. Berthoff, 'Welsh', in S. Thernstrom (ed.), Harvard Encyclopedia of American Ethnic Groups (Cambridge, Mass., 1980), pp. 1011-17; E. G. Hartmann, Americans from Wales (Boston, 1967). According to David Williams, Welsh emigrants went 'almost without exception' to the United States: see A History of Modern Wales (London 1950; repr. 1951), p. 214. 3 R. T. Berthoff, British Immigrants in Industrial America, 1790-1950 (London, 1953; repr., New York, 1968); M. A. Jones, 'The background to Emigration from Great Britain in the Nineteenth Century', in Perspectives in American History, Vol. 7 (Cambridge, Mass., 1973), pp. 3-92; Brinley Thomas, Migration and Economic Growth (London, 1954; repr., 1973). 4 Jones, 'From the Old Country to the New: The Welsh in Nineteenth-Century America', Flintshire Historical Soc. Publications, Vol. 27 (1975-76), pp. 85-100. Jones cites Bob Owen, 'Ymfudo o Sir Aberteifi i Unol Daleitbiau America o 1654 hyd 1860', Ceredigion, Vol. 2 (1954), p. 168. See also a similar statement in Jones, 'The Background to Emigration from Great Britain', p. 80. 5 'Welsh Emigration to the United States', p. 192. 6 Brinley Thomas, 'Wales and the Atlantic Economy', Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Vol. 6 (November 1959), pp. 169-92, esp. pp. 175, 191. See also Conway, 'Welsh Emigration', p. 264. Dudley Baines has argued that by the 1860s the majority of the rural Welsh internal migrants preferred to go to England rather than south Wales, mainly because of the greater accessibility of England's industrial areas. Baines, Migration in a mature economy: Emigration and internal migration in England and Wales, 1861-1900 (Cambridge, 1985), pp. 277-78.