[We Read in the Toronto Globe]The Illustrated London News, vol. 47, no. 1329, p. 175.
August 19, 1865
We read in the Toronto Globe:--"The disproportion of numbers in the male and female population of all rapidly-settled new territories of the west has often been commented upon, and a large amount of gratuitous and disinterested advice has been from time to time tendered to the excessive female population of eastern districts in reference to emigration. One of the results of the war in the United States has been to cause a large preponderance of single ladies throughout almost all portions of the Union east of the Rocky Mountains, and the attention of social economists has been directed to the question of how such a large number of widows and orphans are to procure a comfortable living and avoid becoming burdens to the neighbourhoods in which they respectively dwell. Governor Andrews, of Massachusetts, in his last message to the Legislature of that State, suggested the propriety of some steps being taken in regard to the surplus women, but nothing was done. His words, however, seem to have met with a response from the other side of the continent. In Washington territory the single men outnumber the single women by eighty to one, there being less than one hundred single women in the domain. The authorities of that territory, having their attention called to the subject by Governor Andrew's remarks, have undertaken to provide a free passage and good fare from New York to Washington territory for 300 widows and orphans of Union soldiers killed in the war. The Hon. A. S. Mercer, of that territory, has arrived in New York to superintend the movement and see that none but the most respectable parties avail themselves of the offer. The steamer is to sail from New York for Panama on the 22nd of next month. All grown-up girls and women accepting the offer are guaranteed respectable employment at four dollars in gold per week, immediately on their arrival, so long as they choose to avail themselves of it. Although the voluntary transportation of 300 women from the Atlantic to the Pacific coast is but a drop in the bucket towards equalising the sexes in either portion of the country, yet it is the beginning of a very interesting movement, and is sufficiently extensive for experimental purposes. Should it prove successful, it will soon be repeated on a larger scale, and engaged in, not only by other western territories at their own expense, but with the active co-operation of the States overburdened with surplus female population."