|Emigrants below decks on the|
'Each adult will be provided with an intermediate passage, including provisions on a liberal dietary scale, for the sum of 19 pounds, or a steerage passage for 10 pounds, and on arrival in Natal have secured to him twenty acres of freehold land.' Passage monies had to be paid in advance and a passenger should take with him knife, fork, tablespoon, teaspoon, metal plate, a hook-pot, a mug and bedding. The scale of provisions for each class of passenger was stated.
Among Byrne's 20 ships, 15 sailed from London, three from Liverpool and two from Glasgow. All were sailing vessels, mostly barques or brigs of low tonnage. The smallest were the Wanderer (the first to arrive at Natal, on 12 May 1849) and the Sandwich (carrying only 12 passengers and arriving 27 July 1850; these vessels were 173 and 180 tons respectively. The largest was the Minerva, a former East Indiaman, at 987 tons, and the Unicorn, 946 tons.
They carried on average 150 settlers with their baggage, agricultural implements and other possessions. Some of the ships had schoolmasters and clergymen on board and under the Passenger Acts of 1849 each ship was obliged to carry a doctor. A number of children, elderly people and the sickly died on the long voyages of three or four months' duration, but most passengers arrived in good health and spirits. Despite Atlantic gales and baffling winds all the ships save two arrived safely at Port Natal, anchored outside the harvour in the roadstead, and disembarked their passengers in boats. The two exceptions were the Minerva and the British Tar, both hit by sudden storms and wrecked shortly after arrival - the immigrants survived.
This was the beginning rather than the end of the settlers' vicissitudes. Their story is eloquently told in A F Hattlersley's numerous works on the topic, and passenger lists as well as details of each voyage can be found in J Clark's Natal Settler Agent.
The mammoth project undertaken by Shelagh Spencer in her British Settlers in Natal: a Biographical Register 1824-1857, is as yet incomplete. Seven volumes arranged alphabetically by surname are currently available, so far up to names beginning with 'G'. Even if your ancestor's biography has not yet appeared, the index to each section is worth checking for incidental references to the name occurring elsewhere in the text.
W J Irons's Christian Emigration and Colonization Scheme piggy-backed on the Byrne scheme, about 400 Wesleyan Methodists being shipped on some of Byrne's vessels and settling at Verulam on the Natal North Coast. Similarly, Byrne's ship the Lady Bruce carried a group of settlers from the Duke of Buccleuch's estate in Hampshire. All these settlers are listed in Clark's book mentioned above.
Original passenger lists for Byrne arrivals are held at Pietermaritzburg Archives Repository under the archives of the European Immigration Department (EI) and some other sources.
Other private schemes were a spin-off from Byrne's enterprise: among them were those of John Lidgett and Richard Hackett, bringing Wesleyans in the ships Hebrides, Herald, John Bright, Choice and Nile. The Haidee also brought Wesleyans, from Yorkshire, through the efforts of Henry Boast. Other immigrants arrived on the Ballangeich and Justina, arranged by George Murdoch and Richard Pelly. In 1856 Alexander McCorkindale's group of approximately 80 immigrants came out on the Portia.
These settler parties were all of much smaller size than Byrne's, but together helped to build up Natal's colonial population.
http://sa-passenger-list.za.net/Particularly informative on the ship Haidee and its passengers