On December 4, 1840, the Freeman's Journal published its opinion that emigrants would be going into actual physical slavery and a "pestilential" climate.
"Now that negro slavery is abolished ... and that the liberated black labourers are found a little stubborn in the hands of their old taskmasters, it appears that an ingenious contrivance has been resorted to. ... They (the planters) supposed that the Irish peasantry were, as of old, without the pale of humanity, and probably not much thought of in the English Parliament. What is the fact? Why a large ship is at this very moment lying at the quay of Limerick and is being freighted with a cargo of our wretched, deluded countrymen, who are induced to go out ... to the pestilential shores of Jamaica, there to be indentured in the manner of the negro apprentices to the old slave-owners for a term of years, and all for the generous consideration of a free passage and their diet on the voyage!"
On December 9, 1840, the Nenagh Guardian wrote:
"We do not lose a moment in cautioning our countrymen", it said, against being inveigled "under insidious promises" into any agreement to go to Jamaica, and " ... we tell our peasantry if they go there, it will be a land of disease and death. Every experiment that has THIRTY-FIVE been tried has proved that the burning sun of Jamaica will not suit white labourers, and we could tell appalling instances of the way in which former emigrants have been swept off. But, independently of all this, the scheme put forth is, we hesitate not to say, most unfavourable to the emigrantmay be likely to reduce him to the condition of being little better than a slave. By whom is it hatched? By the Jamaica House of Assembly - a body who have gained unenviable notoriety by their determined support of slavery, and, now that the black man has been wrenched from theiigrasp, would gladly set the iron heel of oppression even on the poor Irish. We tell our countrymen that if they listen to these proposals that they will bitterly rue their steps - that we have seen the handbills put forth which though plausible, are utterly unintelligible, and that they impose certain restrictions on the emigrant, which if he violates, he is liable to be thrown into prison for debt, to be mulct, and left a wanderer and houseless on a strange land; added to this, disease and death will be his almost certain inheritance. Privations at home are betterthan death and misery in a foreign land."
The Limerick Standard of December 31, 1840, described the emigration scheme as "without doubt, the most atrocious of the public swindlings, of which the present day is so prolific".