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Irish Race in the Past and the Present
by Aug. J. Thebaud
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Hence it is the cardinal church upon which the whole spiritual edifice called the diocese is hinged. Therefore is it the natural resort of the whole flock, as well as of the pastor himself. This will explain the vastness of those edifices which strike us with wonder in old established Catholic countries. In accordance with their primitive intention and purpose, there should be in them standing and kneeling room for all who have a right to enter there; and it is purely on account of the impossibility of exactly fulfilling this intent that the edifice is allowed to be built smaller. We are thus enabled to understand why the great temple which is the centre-spot of Catholic worship can contain only fifty thousand worshippers at a time, and why many other sacred edifices consecrated to episcopal functions can find room for no more than twenty or thirty thousand.

But even those structures, which strike with wonder the puny minds of this "advanced" age, have consumed centuries in their construction, and the number and the faith of those who raised them were, we may say, exceptional in the life of the Church. There were no dissenters in those days; and, as all were possessed of a firm faith, all labored with a common will and contributed with a common pleasure to their construction.

Times having changed for the worse, the same ardor and generosity could not be looked for; but something at least was required which should give some idea of the old, splendor and vastness. So, throughout all the new dioceses projects were set on foot for raising real cathedrals, which should quite overshadow the buildings hitherto known by that name.

Thus, a cathedral was promised to New York City, three hundred and thirty feet in length, and one hundred and seventy-two in breadth across the transept; while that of Philadelphia was soon completed, and all might gaze on the massive and majestic edifice, by the side of which every other public building in a city containing eight hundred thousand souls appeared dwarfish and unsubstantial. Boston was soon to behold within its walls a Catholic cathedral, three hundred and sixty-four feet long, and one hundred and forty broad in the transept, though the same diocese was already filled with large stone churches, built solely by the resources of the immigrants.

The Archbishop of New York, when preaching the sermon at the laying of the foundation-stone of this edifice in 1867, was able to say in the presence of many who might have borne personal testimony to the truth of his words: "There are those most probably within the sound of my voice who can remember when there was but one Catholic church in Boston, and when that sufficed, or had to suffice, not alone for this city, but for all New England; and how is it now? Churches and institutions multiplied, and daily continuing to multiply on every side, in this city, throughout this State, in all or nearly all the cities and States of New England; so that at this day no portion of our country is enriched with them in greater proportionate number, none where they have grown up to a more flourishing condition, none where finished with more artistic skill, or presenting monuments of more architectural taste and beauty."

Had any one predicted this to the good and gifted Bishop Cheverus, when leaving America for France, he might perhaps have not refused altogether to believe or hope for it, but he would certainly have pronounced it a real and undoubted miracle of God, to happen within a century.

But the Archbishop of New York, in that same sermon, pointed out the true cause, when he attributed it to "God's blessing," and to "the never-ceasing tide of immigration that has been and still continues to be setting toward the American shores."

The history of the Church certainly contains many a page where the traces of the finger of God are clearly marked; nay, we may say that such traces are apparent throughout, as we know that God alone could have originated, spread out, supported, multiplied, and perpetuated the Church through all the centuries of her existence; but it is doubtful if in all her annals a single page shows where the action of Providence is more clearly visible, as it was least expected, than in the few facts just cursorily and briefly enumerated.

Yet have we mentioned only a part of the work to which the poor immigrants were called to contribute immediately after their arrival, and at the vastness of which they never murmured nor lost heart, as though a greater burden had been laid upon them than human shoulders could endure.

The worship of God and the care of souls were the first things to be attended to, and, with these, other necessary objects were not to be neglected. There was the care of the poor, whom the Church of Christ was the first public body to think of relieving; the tending of the sick in hospitals, where their own clergy might not only have access, but where it should be made sure that the management be one of true Christian charity and tenderness; the orphan children, always so numerous under circumstances like those of the present, were to be saved from falling into the hands of sectarians, and being educated by them, as were formerly the Catholic wards, in hatred of their own faith, and of the customs, habits, and modes of thought of their ancestors. This last great and incalculable source of loss to the Church was to be put a stop to at once, if not completely— for that was then impossible—at least as perfectly as zeal, generosity, and true love of souls, could effect. All these works required money, an incalculable amount; as it was not in a single city, not in a small particular State, but throughout the whole Union, through as many cities as it contains, that the undertaking was to be straightway set on foot and simultaneously acted upon.

Nor was the question one of the erection of buildings merely, but also of the support of an immense number of inmates, and of their constant support without a single day's intermission. Who can calculate the sums required for such immediate and most pressing needs?

In a nation where Christianity has been long established, taxes imposed upon all for the constructing, repairing, maintaining, and carrying on so many and such large establishments are easily collected. For all are bound by law to contribute to such purposes, and the question generally reduces itself merely to a continuance of the support of institutions long standing, and which can be no longer in need of the large disbursements necessary at the first period of their existence. But here it was a question of providing, without any other law than that of love, without the help of any other tax-gatherer than the voluntary collector, for all those necessities at once, including the vast outlays requisite for the first establishment of those institutions, and imposing, by that very act, the necessity and duty of supporting forever all the inmates gathered together at the cost of so much care and expense, within those walls consecrated to religion and charity. The government had no share whatever in it; too happy were they at the government interposing no obstacle to its carrying out! That was all they asked for on its part—non-interference.

On this subject, Mr. Maguire remarks justly, without, however, bringing the matter of expenditure into sufficient prominence:

"For the glorious Church of America many nations have done their part. The sacred seed first planted by the hand of the chivalrous Spaniard has been watered by the blood of the generous Gaul; to the infant mission the Englishman brought his steadfastness and resolution, the Scotchman, in the northeast, his quiet firmness, . . . the Irishman his faith, the ardor of his faith. And, as time rolled on, and wave after wave of immigration brought with it more and more of the precious life- blood of Europe, from no country was there a richer contribution of piety and zeal, of devotion and self-sacrifice, than from that advanced outpost of the Old World, whose western shores first break the fury of the Atlantic; to whose people Providence appears to have assigned a destiny grand and heroic—of carrying the civilization of the Cross to remote lands and distant nations. What Ireland has done for the American Church, every bishop, every priest, can tell. Throughout the vast extent of the Union there is scarcely a church, an academy, a hospital, or a refuge, in which the piety, the learning, the zeal, the self- sacrifice, of the Irish—of the priest or the professor, of the Sisters of every order or denomination—are not to be traced; there is scarcely an ecclesiastical seminary for English- speaking students in which the great majority of those now preparing for the service of the sanctuary do not belong, if not by birth, at least by blood, to that historic land to which the grateful Church of past ages accorded the proud title, Insula Sanctorum."

To this may be added the remark that it is still further beyond doubt that all the establishments mentioned, almost without one exception, owe their existence, at least partially, and very often entirely, to the generous and never-failing contributions of the Irish.

The Rev. C. G. White, in his "Sketch of the Origin and Progress of the Catholic Church in the United States of America," which is appended to the translation of Darras's "History of the Catholic Church," says still more positively:

"In recording this consoling advancement of Catholicity throughout the United States, especially in the North and West, justice requires us to state that it is owing in a great measure to the faith, zeal, and generosity of the Irish people who have immigrated to these shores, and their descendants. We are far from wishing to detract from the merit of other nationalities; but the vast influence which the Irish population has exerted in extending the domain of the Church is well deserving of notice, because it conveys a very instructive lesson. The wonderful history of the Irish nation has always forced upon us the conviction that, like the chosen generation of Abraham (previous to their rejection of the Messiah, of course), they were destined, in the designs of Providence, to a special mission for the preservation and propagation of the true faith. This faith, so pure, so lovely, so generous, displays itself in every region of the globe. To its vitality and energy must we attribute, to a very great extent, the rapid increase in the number of churches and other institutions which have sprung up and are still springing up in the United States, and to the same source are the clergy mainly indebted for their support in the exercise of their pastoral ministry. It cannot be denied, and we bear a cheerful testimony to the fact, that hundreds of clergymen, who are laboring for the salvation of souls, would starve, and their efforts for the cause of religion would be in vain, but for the generous aid they receive from the children of Erin, who know, for the most part, how to appreciate the benefits of religion, and who therefore joyfully contribute of their worldly means to purchase the spiritual blessings which the Church dispenses."

To this we may add that what Mr. White so expressly states of the generous support given by the Irish people to the clergy is equally true when extended to the thousand inmates of orphan asylums, reformatories, schools, convents, and of all the charitable institutions generally which are specially fostered by the Church for the common good of humanity. To quote only one fact recorded in a note to Mr. Maguire's book, a Sister of Mercy tells us what the Irish working-class has done for the order in Cincinnati: "The convent, schools, and House of Mercy, in which the good works of our Institute are progressing, were purchased in 1861 at a considerable outlay. This, together with the repairs, alterations, furnishing, etc., was defrayed by the working-class of Irish people, who have been and are to us most devoted, and by their generosity have enabled us up to the present time to carry out successfully our works of mercy and charity."

It may be stated, without fear of contradiction, that the same thing might be asserted by the superior of almost every Catholic establishment in the country, were an opportunity afforded them of coming forward in like manner.

All this is well known to those who are in the least acquainted with the history and workings of those institutions; but very little noise is made about it, according to the rule of the Gospel which recommends us to do good in such a manner that "the left hand may not know what the right hand doeth." Nothing is more Christian than such silent approval, and the eternal reward, which must follow, is so overwhelmingly great that the applause of the world may well be disregarded. But as constant good offices are apt to beget indifference in those who benefit most by them, there are not wanting some good people who seem to labor under the impression that really the Irish deserve scarcely any thanks; that every thing which they do comes so naturally from them, it is only what one could expect as a matter of course, and that, it being nothing more, after all, than their simple duty, it becomes a very ordinary thing.

It may be superfluous to say that if all this was expected from them, and if it be, as it really is, after all only a very ordinary thing on their part, this fact is precisely what makes them a most extraordinary people, as expectations of this nature which may be most natural are of that peculiar kind of "great expectations" magnificent in prospect, but very delusive in fact; and certainly they would not be looked for as a matter of course in any other nation. Let any one reflect on the few details here furnished, let him add others from his own information, and the whole thing will appear, as it truly is, most wonderful, and only to be explained by the great and merciful designs of God, as Dr. White has just indicated— designs intrusted on this occasion to faithful servants whose generous hearts and pure souls opened up to the mission intrusted to them, to its glorious fulfilment so far, and to a greater unfolding still in time to come.

In order to understand, as ought to be understood, more fully the weight of the burden they so cheerfully undertook to bear, a few reflections on the subject of religious and charitable institutions will not be considered out of place.

The Romans—those master-organizers, who reduced to a perfect system every branch of government, legislation, war, and religion—never abandoned, never intrusted to the initiative of the people, the care of providing the means for any thing which the state ought to supply. The public religious establishments were all endowed, the colleges of the priests enjoyed large revenues, and the expenses of worship were supplied from the same source. To the fisc in general belonged the duty of supporting the armories, the courts of law, and the large establishments provided for the comfort and instruction of the people, the baths, libraries, and regular amusements. The private munificence of emperors, great patricians, and conquerors, undertook to supply occasional shows of an extraordinary character in the theatres, amphitheatre, and the circus.

There was no room left for charity in the whole plan. Indeed, the meaning of that word was unknown to them; for it cannot be properly applied to the regular distribution of money or cereals to the plebs; as this was one of those generosities which are necessary, and was only practised in order to keep the lower orders of citizens in idle content and out of mischief, as you would a wild animal which you dare not chain: you must feed him. The really poor, the saves, the maimed, the helpless, were left to their hard fate, they being apparently unworthy of pity because they excited no fear.

Yet the system was fruitful in its results. As soon as Christianity was seated on the throne, nothing was easier than to transfer the immense sums contributed by regular funds, or which were the product of taxes, from one object to another; and thus the Christian clergy and churches were supported as had been the colleges and temples of the pagan priests, by the revenues derived from large estates attached to the various corporations. Thus did Constantine and his successors become the munificent benefactors of the Church in Rome and through-out the whole empire.

Meanwhile, the 11 collections of money" among the faithful, which were first organized, as we read in the epistles of the apostles, and afterward systematized still better in Rome under the first popes, soon grew into disuse, at least to the extent to which they once prevailed; the new charitable institutions, such as the care of the poor, of widows and orphans, being under- taken by the Church at large, while the expenses of the whole were defrayed by the revenues accruing from the donations of princes, or the bequests of wealthy Christians.

The consequence was that, throughout the whole Christian world, all religious, literary, and charitable institutions enjoyed large revenues, and there was no need of applying to the generosity of the common people for contributions.

After the successful invasion of the barbarians, the same system held good; and history records how richly endowed were the churches built, the monasteries founded, the universities and colleges opened, by the once ferocious Franks, Germans, or Northmen even, tamed and subdued by the precepts and practices of Christianity.

We know how the immense wealth, which had been devoted to such holy purposes by the wise generosity of rulers or rich nobles, became in course of time an eyesore and object of envy to the worldly, and that the chief incentive to the '~ Reformers" for doing their work of 11 reformation" thoroughly was the prospect of the golden harvest to be reaped by the destruction of the Catholic Church.

But the very large amounts required to satisfy the aspirations introduced into the heart of humanity, by the religion of Christ, may give us an adequate idea of what Christian civilization really costs. It is foolish to imagine a sane man really believing that those generous founders of pious institutions, who devote by gift or bequest, such large estates and revenues to the various

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We cannot afford to transfer any more of his experiences among the Irish. From all his accounts, they are the same in London as everywhere else, most firmly attached to Catholicity, and, as a general rule, most exemplary in the performance of their religious obligations.

It is fitting, however, to give the conclusion of a long description of what he saw among them while visiting them in the company of a clergyman: "The religious fervor of the people whom I saw was intense. At one house that I entered, the woman set me marvelling at the strength of her zeal, by showing me how she continued to have in her sitting-room a sanctuary to pray every night and morning, and even during the day when she felt weary and lonesome."

II. Passing from religion to morality, let us look at this writer again: "Only one-tenth, at the outside, of the couples living together and carrying on the costermongering trade (among the English) are married. . . . Of the rights of legitimate or illegitimate children, the English costermongers understand nothing, and account it a mere waste of money to go through the ceremony of wedlock, when a pair can live together, and be quite as well regarded by their fellows without it. The married women associate with the unmarried mothers of families without scruple. There is no honor attached to the married state and no shame to concubinage.

"As regards the fidelity of these women, I was assured that in any thing like good times they were rigidly faithful to their paramours; but that, in the worst pinch of poverty, a departure from this fidelity—if it provided a few meals or a fire—was not considered at all heinous."

Further details may be read in the book quoted from, which would scarcely come well in these pages, though quite appropriate to the most interesting work in which they appear. From the whole, it is only too clear that the class of people referred to is profoundly immoral and corrupt, their very poverty only hindering them from indulging in an excess of libertinism.

On the other hand, when Mr. Mayhew speaks of the street Irish in London, he is most emphatic in his praise of the purity of the women in particular, and the care of the parents in general to preserve the virtue of their daughters, in the midst of the frightful corruption ever under their eyes. The only remark he passes of a disparaging character is the following:

"I may here observe"—referring to the statement that Irish parents will not expose their daughters to the risk of what they consider corrupt influences—"that, when a young Irish woman does break through the pale of chastity, she often becomes, as I was assured, one of the most violent and depraved of, perhaps, the most depraved class."

It is evident, from the mere form in which this phrase is put, that such a thing is of very rare occurrence, and that the violence and depravity spoken of offer all the stronger contrast to the general purity of the whole class, and are merely the result of the open and unreserved character of the race.

But the whole world knows that chastity is the rule, and perhaps the most special virtue of the Irish, a fact which their worst enemies have been compelled to confess. In this same work of Mr. Mayhew's a still more surprising fact than the last—for that is acknowledged by all—is brought into astonishing prominence; a fact opposed to the general opinion of their friends even, and yet supported by incontrovertible evidence. It relates to another contrast between the English and Irish costermongers on the score of temperance.

III. The result arrived at by his inquiries among liquor-dealers in that part of London inhabited by about equal numbers of both nationalities, Mr. Mayhew gives us as twenty to one in favor of the Irish with respect to the consumption of liquor. In most "independent," that is to say, "not impoverished" Irish families, water is the only beverage at dinner, with punch afterward; and estimating the number of teetotallers, among the English at three hundred, there are six hundred among the Irish, who constitute, it may be remembered, only one-third of the whole costermonger class, and those Irish teetotallers, having taken the pledge under the sanction of their priests, look upon it as a religious observance and keep it rigidly. The number of Irish teetotallers has been considerably increased since Mr. Mayhew made his returns, in consequence of the energetic crusade entered upon against drink by the zealous London clergy, under the powerful lead of Archbishop Manning.

It is true that an innkeeper told Mr. Mayhew that "he would rather have twenty poor Englishmen drunk in his tap-room than a couple of poor Irishmen, who will quarrel with anybody, and sometimes clear the room." But this remark, if it shows any thing, shows only how and why the Irish have obtained that reputation of being a nation of drunkards, which is slanderous and false. IV. Yet another, and perhaps as surprising a result as any, is the contrast between both classes of people with respect to economy and foresight: The English street-sellers are found everywhere spending all their income in the satisfaction often of brutish appetites; the Irish, on the contrary, save their money, either for the purpose of transmitting it to their poor relatives in Ireland, or bringing up their children properly, or- -if they are young—to provide for their marriage-expenses and home. Such cares as these never seem to afflict the English costermonger. So strongly did Mr. Mayhew find these characteristics marked among the Irish, that he is at times inclined to accuse them of carrying them too far, even to the display of a sordid and parsimonious spirit. According to him, they apply to the various "unions," or to the parish, even when they have money, or sometimes go with wretched food, dwelling, or clothing, in order to have a small fund laid by, in case of any emergency arising.

But the general result of his observations is clear: that the Irish are most provident and far-seeing; a surprising statement, doubtless, to the generality of Mr. Mayhew's readers, but one which, after all, only accords with the testimony of many unexceptionable witnesses of their life in other countries. And, if in England, in London especially, they at times appear sordid in their economy, is not this the very natural result of the misery they had previously endured in their own impoverished land, and therefore a proof that, at least, they have profited by the terrible ordeals through which they were compelled to pass?

We have spoken only of the Irish in London; the same facts are most probably true of them in all the large cities of Great Britain. Unfortunately, Mr. Mayhew's most interesting work has found no imitators in other parts of the kingdom. F. Perraud's remarks, however, in his "Ireland under English Rule," extend almost over the whole country.

After giving his own experience, and that of many others whom he had consulted, or whose works he had read; after having set forth the dangers which beset the Irish in that (to them) "most foreign country"—England—and also the success which had attended the labors of many proselytizing agents among them, and even in some cases the progress of immorality in their midst resulting from the innumerable seductions to which they were exposed, a success and a progress which Mr. Mayhew's personal observation would lead us to think the good father has exaggerated, he concludes as follows:

"We must not overlook the fact that the Irish emigration to England and Scotland produces in many individual cases results which cannot be too deeply deplored.

"But there, also, as well as in America and Australia, through the economy of an admirable providence, God makes use of those Irish immigrants for the propagation and extension of the Catholic faith in the midst of English and Scotch Protestantism. What progress has not the Catholic religion made within the last thirty years in England? And might not the Catholics say to their separated brethren what Tertullian said to the Caesars of the third century: 'Our religion is but of yesterday; and behold, we fill your towns, your councils, your camps, your tribes, your decuriae, the palace, the senate, the forum . . . . You have persecuted us during centuries, and behold, we spring up afresh from the blood of martyrs!'

"At the beginning of the reign of George III., England and Scotland scarcely contained sixty thousand Catholics who had remained true to the faith of their fathers. Their number in 1821 was, according to the official census, five hundred thousand. In 1842, they were estimated at from two million to two million five hundred thousand. At present (1864) they number nearly four million, and of this total amount the single city of London figures for more than two hundred and fifty thousand."

In a note he adds the following figures, furnished him by Dr. Grant, the late Bishop of Southwark:

Total No. of Catholics. No. of Irish. Manchester . . . . . . . . . . . 80,000 . . . . . . 60,000 Liverpool . . . . . . . . . . 130,000 . . . . . . 85,000 Birmingham . . . . . . . . . . . 30,000 . . . . . . 20,000 Preston . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24,000 . . . . . . 4,300 Wigan . . . . . . . . . . . 18,000 . . . . . . 6,000 Bolton . . . . . . . . . . . 12,000 . . . . . . 4,000 St. Helen's (Lancashire) . . . . 10,000 . . . . . . 6,000 Edinburgh . . . . . . . . . . . 50,000 . . . . . . 35,000 Glasgow . . . . . . . . . . 127,000 . . . . . . 90,000

"Finally, we must not forget that about one-half the army and navy is composed of Irish Catholics.

"In 1792 England and Wales counted no more than thirty-five chapels; in 1840 the number amounted to five hundred, among which were vast and splendid churches, such as St. George's, Southwark, and the Birmingham Cathedral. At present (1864) the number is nearly one thousand.

"In connection with the movement of individual conversions, which yearly brings within our ranks from those of Protestantism the most upright, the sincerest, the best-disposed souls, the Irish immigration in England is then destined to play an important part in the so desirable return of that great island to the faith which she received in the sixth century from St. Gregory the Great and St. Austin of Canterbury," and, let us add, from Aidan and his Irish monks of Lindisfarne and Iona, as Montalembert has shown.

If we examine closely the figures just furnished by F. Perraud, and consider that the number of Catholics in Great Britain was only five hundred thousand in 1821, which, following his calculation, mounted to four million in 1864, if we look closely into the gradations of the increase marked in the various censuses taken between those dates, we shall find that the Irish immigration has indeed played a most important part in the return of England toward Catholicity. We are surprised to find that he seems to estimate the number of Irish in England at only one million; there can be no doubt that they and their offspring compose the majority of Catholics there, and that many of the Englishmen who come back to the true faith are induced by their example and influence, particularly among the lower orders, and that the real work of the conversion of the English nation rests in the hands of the Irish immigrants. Mr. Mayhew has informed us of the disposition of the English costermongers on religious matters.

We have now examined the three great waves which bore the Irish to foreign countries; the lesser streamlets, which wandered away into other English colonies, may be dismissed, as to trace and follow up their course would involve more time and trouble than they really call for. We now see the Irish race disseminated in large groups over many and vast territories; and, although the home population has been considerably diminished by that great exodus, and is now reduced to about five millions, nevertheless, to count them as they are dispersed throughout the world, their number is far higher than it has ever been before; and we now proceed to offer some considerations tending to show the effects of that vast emigration on the resurrection of the race, and on the future progress of the country from which the race comes.

First, then, emigration has given Ireland and Irishmen an importance in the eyes of the world which they and it would never have acquired unless that emigration had taken place; so that England, on whom in a great measure their future fate depends, is now compelled to respect and render them justice; and justice is all that is wanting to bring about their complete resurrection.

In order to form a true idea on this point, it is necessary to consider them in their twofold aspect, as emigrants to the United States, residing under and citizens of a government distinct from that of England; and, secondly, in countries which are under the control of Great Britain, one of these being England itself.

In the Union they become for the greater part citizens of the country which they have made their home, and the first condition necessary for the obtaining of this right of citizenship is the renunciation of all allegiance to their former English rulers. The readiness and joy even with which they perform this task need no mention. But, as Christians, the new obligations under which they bind themselves involve something more than the mere oath of allegiance; the spirit no less than the letter of the oath prescribes that they acknowledge no other country as theirs than that which offered them a refuge, and consequently, by the very fact of becoming American citizens, they cease to be Irishmen.

But their oath does not bind them to forget their former country, as little as it forbids them to benefit it as far as lawfully lies in their power. Far otherwise. Their new allegiance would indeed be a poor thing if, in its very conception, it could only bind hearts so cold as to renounce at once all affection for the land of their birth, and banish in a day memories that the day before were sacred. This is not required of them; and, were it, they could never so understand their allegiance. They remain, and justly, firmly attached to Ireland, and look anxiously for any lawful occasion on which they may manifest their affection by their acts.

Meanwhile, in their new country, position, influence, wealth, consideration, often fall to their lot; their numbers swell, and they become an important factor in the republic. Something of the power wielded by the great nation of which they are now citizens attaches to them, and shows them to the astonished gaze of England under a totally new and unexpected aspect. In war, the effect is most telling, and, even so far back as 1812, the part played by "saucy Jack" Barry, for instance, already gave rise to very grave considerations and forebodings on the part of British statesmen. But, even in time of peace, the high position held by many Irishmen in the United States, and the aggregate voice of a powerful party, where every tongue has a vote, cannot fail to tell advantageously on questions referring to their former country.

Can it be imagined that this exercises no influence on the treatment of Ireland by the ruling power? To afford a true conception of the alteration brought about by Irish emigration, suppose for an instant the ruling power using again its old recklessness in abusing Ireland—not that we imagine the English statesmen of to-day capable of such a thing and anxious to restore what, happily, has passed away forever—but merely to show the utter impossibility of such a contingency again arising, suppose one of the old penal laws to be again enacted and sanctioned by a British sovereign, what would the effect be on the multitude of Irishmen now living in America? What, independently of the Irish, would be the effect on all the organs, worthy of the name, of public opinion in America? How would the great majority of the members, not of Congress only, but of the Legislature of each State, speak? Public opanion is now the ruler of the world, and when public opinion declares against a flagrant and crying injustice, its voice must be heard, its mandate obeyed, and lawlessness cease. This extreme and, as we believe, impossible example, is merely adduced as a proof of the advantage which Ireland has reaped from the dispersion of her scattered children—an advantage falling back on her own head, in return, perhaps, for the mission they are working.

But, over and above the supposition of such an extreme case, there is surely a silent power in the mere standing of millions of free men who would resent, as done to themselves, a recurrence of an attack on their old country. And there are, beyond question, three millions of former Irishmen, citizens to- day of the United States, on whom the glance of many an English statesman, with any just pretension to the name, must fall. Therefore do we say that now England must respect Ireland.

That respect is daily heightened by the greater comfort and easier circumstances, though still far too wretched on the whole, of the Irish at home, which have been mainly brought about by the help received from their exiled countrymen. As was seen, the old policy of their oppressors had for chief object the pauperization of the country, and, as was also seen, that policy was eminently successful. We know how deeply the effects of that former policy are still felt, and how far from completion still is justice in that regard; how they still complain, and with only too much reason, of many laws which are as so many gyves still binding them down in their old degradation; but, of this, the following chapter will speak.

Yet, it is undeniable that their situation is considerably improved, and that the excessive sufferings which formerly seemed their privilege, are scarcely possible in our days. This change in their circumstances for the better may be ascribed to a variety of causes, one of which, we acknowledge, has been the repairing of many previous injustices. But we must acknowledge also that the main lever in a nation's resurrection, once the ground is cleared round about—her treasury—has, as far as Ireland is concerned, been chiefly replenished from abroad. Absentee landlords still drain the country; but the money which has gone into it has been certainly owing greatly to the immense sums transmitted yearly from America by the exiles, all of which has certainly not returned to the place from which it went out. It is impossible to estimate the amount which was kept in Ireland and that which floated back, but the balance must be considerably on the side of what remained, as the distress at home was so great, and in millions of instances immediate relief came from the distant friends who had acquired a competency in their new country, and, knowing the dire distress of their relatives at home, sent generally what they could spare, by the speediest means at their command.

There is no doubt that thousands of families have thus been benefited by that first sad emigration of their friends, and that the visible improvement in the condition of the Irish at home is in a great measure due to it. We hear, moreover, that the working of the new "Encumbered Estates Court " has already placed in the hands of native Irishmen many parcels of the lands of their fathers, and probably many of the ample estates belonging to what was the Irish Church Establishment, which are to be sold, will find their way back in the same manner.

The Irish are thus being slowly reinstated in possession of their own soil, and, that once accomplished, the respect of England is secured—respectability in England being in its essence equivalent to real estate.

Thus is the uprising of the nation being gradually, silently, but surely brought about by the emigration to the United States; and this effect is considerably heightened when the emigration to countries under English control is taken into consideration— Canada, Australia, England itself.

In those places the same results followed which we have just witnessed in the United States, but another and far greater result remains for them. Not only did they slowly aid in awakening the respect for their countrymen at home in the English breast by their own rising importance and improved condition, but in Canada and Australia they possess a privilege which, in the British Isles, is theirs only in theory, but abroad becomes a very powerful fact.

Ever since the Union of 1800, the Irish are supposed to form a part and parcel of the empire at home, and to have fair representation of their native country in the members they return to the Imperial Parliament. But it is well known that the Irish influence in that Parliament is almost null, and that their presence there frequently is productive of no other result than to countenance laws injurious to their own country. Does, can Ireland hope to derive any political or social benefit from her representatives in London beyond whatever may accrue to her from their vain remonstrances and ineffective speeches? But in the colonial Parliaments the case is very different.

It is not our desire to be understood as saying that Irishmen, by meddling with politics, can effect a certain improvement in their condition and that of their country, beyond giving tokens of the life which is in them. We believe, on the contrary, that too great an eagerness in such pursuits has injured them on many occasions; and they ought to beware of flattering themselves that they are rising because their votes are clamored for, and they themselves exhorted to enter into the contest as fierce partisans. This, too often, leads them into making themselves the mere tools of shrewd men.

But, in the colonies, they muster in considerable force, and, with prudence and sagacity, may have their desires and measures fairly considered and conceded; for, unfortunately, the style of measures fair and favorable to them as Irishmen and Catholics, is completely at variance with that of those opposed to them, whom, go where they will, they encounter, and always in the same form. In Ireland, they are at liberty, apparently, to do the same by reason of their superiority in point of numbers; the result of the late Galway elections proves what a farce is this show of liberty, and even the members whom they would and do sometimes elect possess a very feeble influence, or none, in what is called the Imperial Parliament. But, in the colonies, if they, as electors, outnumber their political opponents, they can and must return the majority to the House of Representatives and of officers to the various departments of the colonial administration. Such is the law of election in really representative governments which are truly free; the majority of electors returns the majority to the government; and rightly so. Of course, there is room here, particularly where the majority happens to be Irish, for a vast quantity of frothy bluster about drilled and intimidated voters, and all that sort of thing. With that we have no concern at present, and merely remark en passant that it is a pity a little more of it was not wasted on the recent Galway elections, already alluded to, on both sides; and for the rest, that the world has not yet been apprised of Irish majorities in the Australian Parliament abusing their power by either accidental or systematic misrule; and it may, therefore, be safely conceded that, on the whole, the government has rested in safe hands. However, what concerns us at present is the state of Canada and Australia, where, among the highest public dignitaries, are found men who are Irish, not simply by birth, but in feeling and in truth. And the conclusion which we wish to draw from that fact is, that Ireland is greatly benefited by the high positions which her sons assume in those distant colonies; and probably no one will be rash enough to deny or controvert in any way this point.

The truth is, that by emigration Ireland has suddenly expanded into vast regions formerly ignorant of her name; regions which swell the power and wealth of England, and which are destined to play a very important part in her future history. In these districts Irishmen have found a new country; something of the ubiquity of the English belongs to them, and the influence, power, and weight, thus thrown into their hands, need no further comment. To show this in extenso would be only to travel over ground already trodden in previous pages, enumerating the various countries they have touched upon in their Exodus. Thus have our seemingly long digressions had a very direct object in view, and served powerfully to solve our original question. We may now see that the resurrection of Ireland was intimately involved in the emigration of her children; that much of what has already taken place to aid in that resurrection may be ascribed to this emigration, and that much brighter days are yet in store for the nation, resulting mainly from this constant and powerful cause. Let no one, then, lament the perseverance of those hardy wanderers who, though their country has already been depleted by millions, still leave her to the figure of seventy thousand annually. It seems that in Ireland much surprise is expressed at the movement never ceasing. Providence will end it in its own good time; if God still allows it, it is surely for the accomplishment of his own mighty and benevolent designs.

To conclude, then, this long chapter, there is only one question to be put, which demands a few words, but words, in our opinion at least, of vast importance, and which we would give all that is ours to give, to see promptly and energetically attended to: Has Ireland profited by this so-often mentioned emigration to the extent she should have profited? And what ought Irishmen to do in order to increase the advantages derived from it?

We must confess that, up to the present, the benefit is far from what it ought to have been, and the cause of this lies in want of organization and association. They have seemed to let God work for them without any cooperation on their part; for God's, as we saw, was the plan, and he forced them, as it were, to carry out his design. They went at the work blindly, merely following the impulse of circumstances, with no preparatory organization, and less still of association. And even now, when they are spread out over such vast territories in such mighty multitudes, as yet they have given no sign of the least desire of attempting even something like a combined effort to accelerate the work of Providence. The only signs of life so far given have been violent and spasmodic, directly opposed to the genius of the race, which, as we have endeavored to prove, has nothing revolutionary in its character, and is not given to dark plots and godless conspiracies.

Unfortunately, also, they do not seem naturally adapted to a spirit of steady and long-continued or systematic association. In this, chiefly, does their race differ from the Scandinavian stock, which is grafted on system, combination, and steadiness, in pursuit of the object in hand.

But why not begin, at least, to make an effort in that direction? The Latin races, in which runs so much Celtic blood, are powerful to organize, as the Romans of old, and the French and Spaniards of to-day, have so often proved. The Irish have been infused with plenty of foreign blood, after their many national catastrophes, although we believe that their primitive characteristics have always overcome all foreign elements introduced among them; and, what the race could scarcely attempt ages ado, is possible now. Moreover, there is nothing in the leanings of race which may not be overcome, and sure without any radical change a nation can adapt itself to the necessities of the time, and to altered circumstances. Let the Irish see what they might effect toward the resurrection of their native country, if they only seriously began at last to organize and associate for that purpose. They would thus turn the immense forces of their nation, now scattered over the world, to the real advantage of their birthplace. In union is strength; but union can only be promoted by association, particularly when the elements to be united are so far apart.

For such an object do we believe that God gave man in these late days the destroyers of space—the steam-engine and the electric telegraph. Those powerful agents of unification were unknown to mankind until God decreed that his children dispersed through the earth should be more compactly united. To the Catholic they were given, in the first place, to serve God's first purpose by making the Church firmer in her unity and more effective in the propagation of truth; but, after all, the mission of the Irish to-day is only a branch of the mission of the Church, and, if only on that account, are the missionaries deserving of all honor and respect.

If in the designs of Providence the time has at last arrived for the dwelling of the children of Japhet in the tents of Sem, and for putting an end to the terrible evils dating from the dispersion at Babel and the confusion of tongues, the object of these great scientific discoveries is still more apparent. At all events, organization and association are clearly needed for the resurrection of Ireland, and the sooner a step is taken in that direction the better.

But, what association would we propose? What should be its immediate and most practicable objects? These questions we do not feel competent to answer. Let Irishmen be once convinced that organization is the great lever to work for the raising up of their down-trodden nation, and they will know best how to use this powerful instrument. The leaders of the nation in that holy enterprise should, in our own opinion, be its spiritual leaders. They know their country, and they love it; they undoubtedly possess the confidence of their countrymen: they, then, should be the natural originators of those great schemes. And what other leaders does Ireland possess, what body like them, acceptable to the nation, and neither to be bought by money nor office?

This first remark naturally presupposes another: that the object of those associations, being approved of by the religious guides of the people, cannot be other than holy, and consequently require no secrecy of any kind. They must be patent to the world, as not being antagonistic to any established law or authority. Every man desirous of becoming a member of the association should know beforehand what is proposed to be done, and how far his consent is to be given.

One other important point strikes us: the centre of organization should be in Ireland. Ireland is to be benefited by it, and there the effort should naturally begin, where its results will fall. As for the particular direction which those efforts should take, the detail of the whole enterprise, the plan of the campaign—all this lies beyond us, and a sketch of it would most probably be a mere chimera.

One concluding word may be said, however, on a subject which has often been present to the writer's mind: The fearful oppression of the nation began by robbing the people of their lands and making them paupers: one of the first aims of association, then, should evidently be the raising of the people up by the restoration, in great part at least, of the soil to the native race.

It is not our purpose to propose a new confiscation now, by way of remedying the old ones; but England has allowed them to buy back the land of their fathers in the "Encumbered Estates Courts, "and by the law recently passed which disestablished the Irish Protestant Church? Is there no room for a plan whereby Irishmen, who have grown rich in foreign countries, may become purchasers of the land thus offered for sale? And, in reply to the natural and powerful objection to such a plan on the score of distance from their native land, and the natural repugnance to return and live there, and break up new ties, which are now old, and have made them what they are, could not the fathers spare one son at least, whom they might devote to the noble purpose of becoming Irish again, and settling on an Irish estate, and marrying there? This would seem an easy and simple manner of recreating a Catholic gentry in the island.

This is merely a hint thrown out to exemplify what we mean by associations for the purpose of raising Ireland up again; the many possible objects of national organization will occur to any mind giving a moment's reflection to it. This subject will occupy our attention at greater length in the next chapter.



CHAPTER XVI.

MORAL FORCE ALL-SUFFICIENT FOR THE RESURRECTION OF IRELAND

This chapter will be devoted to the island itself. For many centuries it was happy in its seclusion and separation from the rest of Europe: in these days it necessarily forms a part of the whole mass of Japhetic races; its isolation is no longer possible; and, in the opinion of many, it is destined once again to become a spot illustrious and happy. The consideration of how that lustre and happiness are to come upon it is the only task still left us.

Whoever takes into consideration the advantages it already enjoys, and compares its present situation with that of a hundred years back, cannot fail to be struck with the remarkable change for the better which has taken place between the two periods. Ireland still suffers, and suffers sorely, and the world still speaks with justice of her wrongs; but, in whatever light they may appear to those who love their country, no one can pretend that it still groans under the weight of tyranny which has formed the burden of her history. And, while acknowledging this beneficial change in her condition, they must wonder at the same time how small was the share which the natives themselves had in bringing it about, although their activity never relaxed, and they had great and good men working for their cause. What, in truth, did it?

The first point which claims our attention is how effectually the moral force of what is called liberal thought dealt a death- blow to the penal laws half a century before any of them were erased from the statute book.

Liberal thought may be said to have originated in England, whence it passed over to France, to be disseminated and take root throughout Europe by means of the mighty influence then exercised by the great nation. The chief object which animated the minds of those who first labored for its admission into modern European principles is not for us to consider here. There is no doubt that this chief object was of a loosening and deleterious nature: namely, to ruin Christian faith, to change all the old social and political axioms held by Christendom, and to create a new society imbued with what now goes by the name of modern ideas. It is not necessary to point out the frightful imprudence as well as criminality of many of those who were the pioneers of the movement. We must only take the new principles as a great fact, destined yet to effect a radical change in the ideas of men of all races, a change already begun in Europe.

Liberal thought, we say, originated in England; and it would be easy to show that there it was the result partly of Protestantism, partly of indifferentism, the ultimate consequence of the great principle of private judgment.

This became manifest in Great Britain, from the beginning of the eighteenth century, and, as was previously shown, what is called the British Constitution was the result and outgrowth of deep political thought matured in minds indifferent to religion, of men who were as little Protestants as any thing else. But they were deeply possessed by a sense of conservatism and moderation in the application of the most radical principles, which later on the fiery Gallic mind carried to their final and most disastrous consequences.

But, in whatever garb it may have appeared, liberalism was clearly the essence of the British Constitution, as established after all the civil and dynastic wars of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The leaders of the English nation happened at the time to be fully wedded to aristocratic ideas, and accordingly they refused to recognize all the consequences of their principles, and to see them carried out to the full.

It was admitted that the king reigned, but did not govern; that the nation governed by its representatives; that those representatives were created by election; that a nation could not be taxed without its free consent; that thought, religious thought chiefly, was free; that toleration, therefore, could admit of no exception in point of religious doctrine; and all the other modern principles which have at length been admitted, though not always observed, as governmental axioms by all European nations.

As long as those axioms were in the close keeping of English patricians, some of their consequences were far from being fully evolved; but certain Frenchmen, Voltaire among others, happening to cross the Straits of Dover, returned with them, and, the wretched government of Louis XV being not only too weak to withstand, but even conniving at, the boldness of the new philosophers, the French language, which was then spoken all over Europe, carried with it from mouth to mouth the new and fascinating doctrine of the emancipation of thought.

None of those writers, indeed, undertook to plead the cause of unfortunate Ireland. Voltaire threw the whole of France into agitation, nay, all Europe, to the wilds of Russia, by taking up the case of the Protestant Calas, who was condemned to death and executed unjustly, as it seems, for the supposed murder of a son who was inclined to embrace Catholicity; but never a word did he speak of the suffering which at that time had settled down over the whole Irish nation solely for the crime of its religious convictions.

Nevertheless, toleration became the catchword with all. It rang out loudly from a thousand French pamphlets and ponderous tomes; it was caught up and echoed back from England; it penetrated the unkindly atmosphere of Russia even, and was silently pondered over under the rule of an unbelieving despot.

It was impossible for Ireland not to derive some benefit from all this. It took a long time, indeed, for emancipation of thought to cross that narrow channel which divided the "sister" islands; for, at the precise period when the doctrine was loudest in France, the most atrocious penal laws were being executed in Ireland, and there seemed no hope for the suffering nation.

But, toward the end of that eventful eighteenth century, the breath of that magic word, toleration, at last was felt on the shores of Erin. When it was in the mouths of all Europe, when English clergymen had thoroughly imbibed the new doctrine, when even Scotch ministers began to thaw under its genial influence, and become "liberal theologians," how could an Irish magistrate think of hanging a friar, or transporting a priest, or imposing a heavy fine on a Catholic who committed the heinous offence of hearing mass, or absenting himself from the services of the Established Church? At last, the "Mass-rock" was no longer the only spot whereon the divine victim of expiation could be offered up; and it soon came to be known that, to by-lanes and obscure houses in the cities numbers of persons flocked on Sundays, presided over by their own Sogarth Aroon. On one occasion, already noticed, the floor of a rickety house, where they were worshipping, gave way, to the killing and maiming of many; thenceforth, Catholics were allowed to assemble in public to the knowledge of all, and, though "discoverers" were still legally entitled to denounce and prosecute them, there was small chance of a verdict against them. Thus was it owing to a great moral force—whether good or bad is not the question now—that the penal laws first became obsolete; and Irishmen had absolutely nothing whatever to do in the matter. Not a single pamphlet, demanding toleration, and proclaiming the rights of religious freedom, ever, to our knowledge, issued from the Irish press at the time. No book, written by an Irish author, advocating the same, was ever printed clandestinely, as were so many French books, at first appearing in Holland, or covertly in France, with a false title-page.

When the Volunteer movement took place, toleration was in full sway in Ireland. As was seen, the question debated in the Dungannon Convention referred solely to the extension of the elective franchise to Catholics; and, though this was unjustly denied them by the majority of the Volunteers, under the guidance of the leaders of the movement, there was no question of any longer refusing to the native Irish Catholics the right of practising their religion freely. This the moral sense of the century had secured to them.

The attainment of the political franchise was also the result of purely moral force, though it required a much longer time in its acquisition, as it was a question, not merely of a right individual in its nature, as all natural religious rights are, but one affecting external society, and productive of material results of great import.

In this the Irish were not merely passive; they launched themselves heart and soul on the sea of political agitation. From 1810 to 1829, the Catholic Association, which embraced men of all classes of society, was incessant in its clamor for emancipation. The chief object of this association being the political franchise, it was felt by all that, sooner or later, that privilege must be granted. Meanwhile, the secular enemies of Ireland were not idle. Emancipation—that is the political franchise— they called a "Utopian dream," which they asserted England could not grant. Was it not directly opposed to the coronation-oath, nay, to the English Constitution? The king himself was, and publicly declared himself to be, of this opinion. According to your thorough-bred Englishman, the state would rather spend its last shilling, and sacrifice its last man, than suffer it. How many spoke thus, even up to the very day on which Wellington, changing his mind perforce, at last proposed the measure!

All this opposition was perhaps only to be expected; but the strange thing was that many excellent patriotic Irishmen, Catholics, laymen as well as clerics and prelates, were opposed to the agitation set on foot by O'Connell and his friends; they also thought it a "Utopian dream," likely only to bring new calamities upon their country. They seemed not to see that the refusal of emancipation meant in fact the continuance of the small Protestant minority as the ruling power—the state—in Ireland, which, owing to moral force, was no longer so, save in theory. In fact, already the majority, that is, almost the whole of Ireland, was an immense power. Its members were at liberty to combine openly, to show themselves, to speak, to write, to agitate; they were, in a word, a people, and the Protestant minority no longer really constituted the state.

It is true that the majority of Irishmen had for centuries continued to act unanimously in their resistance to oppression; as was seen, they had been a people from the moment that the English kings and Parliaments strove to coerce their religious faith, and more particularly from the destruction of clanship. They were truly a nation, though without a government of their own, and for the greater part of the time bending under the most intolerable tyranny. Religion had given them one thought and one heart. And now that, owing to the mighty, the irresistible moral force of liberalism, they could no longer be openly persecuted for wishing to remain Catholics, the question arose: Were they still to be absolutely nothing in the state? This was the real demand of the Catholic Association, and every one ought to have seen its importance and the certainty of success.

Nevertheless, a great number of sincere Irishmen did not see the question in this light, and were covertly or openly opposed to the agitation. Ireland appeared to be divided just at a momentous crisis.

The leaders of the association were not themselves altogether agreed as to the best mode of putting their question. Some were for armed opposition, thinking they could beat England in the open field. But the great originator and leader of the movement sternly opposed so mad a proposition. He was for moral force, seeing how clearly and irresistibly, even if unwittingly, it was working for their cause. In spite of all adverse circumstances, although the English party and the English nation stood up en masse against him, although many Irishmen refused to join in the agitation, while some of his best friends wished to risk all in a desperate venture, he stood calm, firm, and so confident of success, that he caused himself to be returned as member for the County Clare to the English Parliament, before even emancipation had given him the right of candidature. It was immediately after this "unconstitutional" election that the boon of emancipation was suddenly granted, contrary to all expectation and probability, and O'Connell proudly took his seat among the representatives of Ireland in the Imperial Parliament.

If this measure was not carried by a purely moral force, it is hard to see how that phrase can be applied to any thing in this world. This is not the place to write a history of that memorable struggle. It is still fresh in the memory of many living men. We merely draw a conclusion from what has happened in our own time, and one which may be said to be a clear inference from the circumstances of the case, and to which no one can offer any serious objection. This conclusion is, the omnipotence of moral force in gaining for Ireland so much of liberty, of political, and social privileges, as was finally granted her.

This victory won for the Irish Catholics the acknowledgment on the part of England that they were a factor in the state. The next question which naturally presented itself was, "What was to be their exact position in the state?"

There are many answers to this, even in modern ideas. In purely democratic countries suffrage is universal, all have a political vote, and the majority is supposed to rule. In countries where the government is oligarchical or aristocratic, rank, wealth, and position, are "privileged;" the great mass is deprived of a vote. Yet, even in those countries, in accordance with the modern idea, blood is not every thing; a certain number of plebeians are admitted to a share in public affairs, and their number is greater or smaller as the struggle, which is always going on between the few and the many, wavers to this side or to that. Thus, in the English Parliament there is often an "electoral" or "reform" question discussed and agitated. But the leaders of the Catholic Association boldly advocated a question prior to those—what at the time was called the repeal of the Union, and is now known as "home-rule."

Must Ireland continue to be governed by laws enacted in England? The number of her special representatives is comparatively so small, her Catholic aspirations meet with such deaf ears in the majority of the members, that, as long as Ireland is without her own Parliament, she cannot be called a free country.

Moreover, according to modern ideas, self-government seems to be admitted as an axiom; all countries have a right to it, under the limitation of constitutional enactments, either in "confederacies" or in "imperial states." Why should Ireland alone be deprived of such a boon?

It is known how O'Connell suddenly grasped the question and mastered it. His first repeal association was suppressed on the instant by a proclamation of the Irish Secretary. O'Connell bowed to the proclamation, and for the first organization substituted another called "the Irish Volunteers for the Repeal of the Union." This met with the same fate as the first. The great agitator then took refuge in "repeal breakfasts," and declared his intention, if the government "thought fit to proclaim down breakfasts, to resort to a political lunch, and, if political luncheon be equally dangerous to the peace of the viceroy, he would have political dinners; if the dinners be proclaimed, we must, said he, like certain sanctified dames, resort to tea and tracts."

The "breakfasts" were suppressed, and O'Connell was arrested. The prosecution, however, was soon abandoned, and for the moment, despairing of success in advocating repeal, he came down to the "Reform party," from which he obtained at first some great advantages for Ireland—the administration of Lord Mulgrave, the best the island had known for centuries, and the appointment of many Catholics to high offices in the state.

It is not necessary to relate the circumstances which finally drove O'Connell back upon his original plan, and the formation, in April, 1840, of the "Loyal National Repeal Association."

Within a short time three million associates were contributing annually to the national fund, and a scene was witnessed which the most devoted lover of Erin could never have anticipated. It would be useless to search the annals of mankind for a more startling exhibition of purely moral force. The causes of its failure will appear causes altogether of a temporary and unexpected character, when we come to examine them.

But the stupendous spectacle itself was enough to impress the beholder with the irresistible effect which it could not fail to produce. A whole nation obedient to the voice of one man! —and that a man who had never been invested with a state dignity, proud only of having once represented a poor Irish county in the English Parliament; who was eminently a man of the people, identified in every way with the people, speaking a language they could all understand, speaking to hundreds of thousands who had come at his call to listen to him: at one time nearly a million of them surrounded him on the hill of Tara.

Had a demagogue stood in his place, how could he have resisted the temptation of using such power to effect a thorough revolution? O'Connell had only to utter the word, and those immense masses of men would have swept the whole island as with a besom of destruction. The impetuosity of the Irish character when placed in such circumstances is well known, and O'Connell knew it better than any man living at the time. He showed himself truly heroic in the constant moderation of his words, even in scenes the most exciting, when a look from him might have lashed the nation into madness.

To bring out more clearly the stamp and greatness of the man, compare his conduct with that of the leaders in the great French Revolution of 1793. Not one of them ever possessed a tithe, not merely of the great Irishman's honesty of purpose, but even of his real authority over the people; yet, what frightful convulsions did they not bring upon the state in the days of their brief popularity? Throughout the whole repeal movement, when millions of people obeyed implicitly one leader, ready to do his will at any moment, there was never a single breach of the peace, never an attempt at outrage, never a threat of retaliation.

The only difficulty is where to bestow the greater admiration, on O'Connell or the people; for, if O'Connell towered almost above humanity in his never-varying moderation, with such a powerful engine in his hands, the people offered a spectacle which would be looked for in vain elsewhere in the history of man, that of a whole nation swayed by the most excited feelings, one in thought, in aims, in the bitter memory of the past, conscious of their irresistible power in the present, yet never yielding to passion, but dispersing quietly after listening to the impassioned harangues of their leader, to return to their homes and resume their ordinary occupations. Any impartial man, who has read history at all, must acknowledge that this spectacle is unexampled, and in itself vindicates the Irish character from the foolish aspersions so lavishly cast upon it, and so thoughtlessly repeated still.

One great fact was brought out by those demonstrations which afterward appeared so barren of result, namely, the existence of a nation full of life and energy, of a surprising vigor, and at the same time governed by stern principles as well as swayed by emotion. It would be idle to pretend that they were a non-entity, save as forming a part of the British Empire, existing on sufferance as it were, merely to add to the greatness and the glory of the English nation. They possessed a life of their own. That life had, as was seen, been instilled into them by their religious convictions alone; it had lain dormant for more than a century; and now it burst forth in the view of the world, to proclaim that the Irish nation still existed. And this wonderful resurrection was due to moral force alone.

Though the Irish people then appeared so different from that humbled, crushed mass of oppressed beings, who, a hundred years before, lay so completely at the mercy of their masters, it was, nevertheless, the same people, and the difference was purely one of circumstances. Had they been allowed in the previous century to manifest their feelings, as a happy change in the state of affairs now permitted them, they would assuredly have acted in exactly the same manner. And this reflection tends to confirm the opinion, several times here expressed, that the Irish people existed all along, and that the most adverse circumstances had never succeeded in destroying it.

Meanwhile, O'Connell was the sovereign of that nation, and one whose power over his subjects was greater than that of any of the kings or emperors who occupied the various thrones of Europe at the time. Later events proved how precarious was the authority of all those who appeared to hold the fate of millions in their hands; the authority of O'Connell alone was deeply rooted in the heart of his nation. From the humble position of a Kerry lawyer, he had gradually risen to the proud preeminence which he occupied in the eyes of Europe, and he owed it solely to that moral force of which he was so sincere an advocate, and which he knew so well how to wield.

But how came all the high hopes then so ardently entertained by the friends of Ireland to be so suddenly dashed to the ground, and O'Connell to die of a broken heart?

It seems, indeed, to be the opinion of Irishmen even, that O'Connell's theory was faulty; that moral force alone could not restore Ireland to her lawful position among nations; that, in fact, he failed by his very moderation, and that the bitterness which clouded his last days was the natural consequence of his false and delusive expectations. Such seems now to be the almost universal opinion.

Yet, in all his wonderful career, only one fault can be brought against him. Yielding, on one occasion, in 1843, to the exuberance of his feelings, "he committed himself to a specific promise that within six months repeal would be an accomplished fact."

This promise, rashly given, and showing no result, is said to have cooled down the enthusiasm of the people, who, from that time, lost confidence in their leader; and to this alone is the utter failure of the great agitation ascribed.

But there is so little of real truth in this assertion that, when, on his well-known imprisonment, after the law lords, in the British House of Peers, declared that the conviction of O'Connell and his colleagues was wrong, he was restored to liberty, the writer just quoted confesses that "overwhelming demonstrations of unchanged affection and personal attachment poured in upon him from his countrymen. Their faith in his devotion to Ireland was increased a hundred-fold."

It is true that the same writer, Mr. A.M. O'Sullivan, adds that "their faith in the efficiency of his policy, or the surety of his promise, was gone;" but to reconcile this phrase with what precedes it, it must not be taken absolutely. The want of faith here spoken of was restricted to the members of a new party, which had been organized chiefly during the imprisonment of the great leader, the "Young Ireland party," the new advocates of physical force against England, composed of the ardent and, most surely, well-intentioned young men, who failed so egregiously a few years later.

This party was the chief cause of O'Connell's failure, coupled with the awful famine which followed soon after, and left the Irish small desire for political agitation with grim Death staring them in the face, and the main question before them one of avoiding starvation and utter ruin.

Both causes, however, were purely of a temporary nature, and the efficacy of moral force remained strong as ever, and, in fact, the only thing possible.

The Young Ireland party could not exist long, as its avowed policy was so rash, so ill-founded, and poorly carried out, that the mere breath of British power was enough to dissipate it hopelessly in a moment. Moreover, it placed itself in open antagonism to the mass of the Catholic clergy, and appeared to have so ill studied the history of the country that its members did not know the real power which religion exercised over their countrymen. They could not but fail, and their futile attempt only served to render worse the condition of the country they were ready to die for.

It would be enough to add here, of other subsequent attempts of the same nature, that no real hope for the complete resurrection of Ireland could be looked to from such abortive and stillborn conspiracies; especially when the alliance entered into by some of them with the revolutionary party of European socialists and atheists is taken into account, men from whom nothing but disorder, anarchy, and crime, can be expected. Thus, those who wish well to the Irish cause have only moral force to fall back upon.

It is needless to do more than mention the passing nature of the frightful calamity of famine and consequent expatriation, which have been sufficiently dwelt upon. The Irish race has passed through ordeals more trying than either of these; it has survived them, and increased in numbers after all previous calamities, as it doubtless will after this last, when God thinks proper to abate in the people the eagerness they still feel for leaving their native country.

All the progress made by Ireland, so far, is due, therefore, solely to the kind action of Divine Providence, which is generally called the "logic of events," aided by men endowed with prudence and energy. It would be superfluous for our purpose to detail at length several other progressive steps made subsequently, which the mad attempt of the party of physical force would have effectually prevented if open tyranny were as easy a thing in these days as it once was. The establishment of the "Encumbered Estates Courts," and the disestablishment of the Irish Protestant Church, are the chief measures alluded to: the first so fruitful of good to Ireland since its adoption, and the second destined to be no less so. It is useless to remark that physical force had nothing to do with their introduction, and that the British statesmen who advocated and carried them through were swayed only by that unseen power which is said by Holy Scripture to "hold the heart of kings in its hands." Let the Irish do their part, and Heaven will continue to smile on them.

Since it is to this unseen power that all the improvement now visible in the condition of the Irish nation is due, it is only natural to expect from it every thing that is still wanting. For we are far from thinking that nothing more is to be done, and that all to be desired has been obtained. That the nation is still dissatisfied, is plain enough; and it must be right in not feeling contented with the various measures for its improvement tendered it so far. The voice of its natural leaders—of the prelates and clergy-proclaims that there are many things to change, and many new measures to be introduced.

The first and foremost of these is a thorough remedy for the disgraceful state of pauperism to which the great majority of the Irish nation is yet reduced. That pauperism was wilfully established, and this national crime of England stands unatoned for still. It would be unjust to say that the policy which produced it is pursued to-day by the English Government; we sincerely believe, on the contrary, that the state of things which has existed for the last two centuries is seriously deplored by many of those who, under God, hold in their keeping the destiny of millions of men. But it is surprising that so many projects, so many attempts at legislation, the writing of so many wise books, discussions so many and so exhaustive of the evil, should all result in leaving the evil almost as it stood.

If we listen to those who know Ireland perfectly, who have either spent their lives in the country, or traversed its surface leisurely and intelligently, it would seem as though the old descriptions of her in the time of her greatest misfortunes would still be appropriate and true.

"No devastated province of the Roman Empire," said Father Lavelle, but yesterday, in his "Irish Landlord," "ever presented half the wretchedness of Ireland. At this day, the mutilated Fellah of Egypt, the savage Hottentot and New-Hollander, the live chattel of Cuba, enjoy a paradise in comparison with the Irish peasant, that is to say, with the bulk of the Irish nation."

But, as this short passage deals only in generalities, and as there may be some suspicion of the warm nature of the writer having given a higher color to his words than was warranted by the facts, let us listen to the less impassioned utterances of travellers who have recently visited the island: let us see the Irish at home in their towns and in the country.

I. In towns and cities: The most Rev. Archbishop of Dublin, writing in 1857 to Lord St. Leonards, on the state of his flock in Dublin, says: "Were your lordship to visit some of the ruined lanes and streets of Dublin, your heart would thrill with horror at the picture of human woe which would present itself."

And in a pastoral letter, November 27,1861, he spoke of "tens of thousands of human beings, destitute of all the comforts of life, who are to be met with at every step in all great towns and cities. If you enter the wretched abodes where they live, you will find that they have no fuel, that they are unprovided with beds and other furniture, and that generally they have not a single blanket to protect them from the cold."

Abbe Perraud, after a thorough examination of the subject, wrote, in 1864, in "Ireland under English Rule:"

"The poor quarters of Cork, Limerick, and Drogheda, present the same spectacle as Dublin, and justify the sad proverbial celebrity of 'Irish rags.' Dirt, negligence, and want of care, doubtless, go a long way in giving to destitution in Ireland its repulsive and hideous form; but who is unaware that continued and hopeless destitution engenders, as of necessity, listlessness and carelessness, and that, to enter into a struggle with poverty, there must be at least some chance of carrying off the victory?"

A German Protestant, Dr. Julius Rodenberg, writing in 1861, expressed his astonishment at the sight of Ireland's poverty, as he saw it in the streets of Dublin, although he had doubtless read a great deal about it previously. "You are in a country," he says, "whence people emigrate by thousands, while fields, of such an extent and power of production as would support them all, lie fallow."

And with respect to the progress already made, M. de Beaumont had remarked many years before that in Ireland a certain relative progress was quite compatible with the continued existence of pauperism among the lower classes. "One single cause," he remarks, "suffices to explain why the agricultural population becomes poorer, while the prosperity of the rich is on the increase: it is that all improvement in the land is profitable solely to the proprietor, who exacts more rent from the farmer in proportion as he works the land into a better state."

Since M. de Beaumont wrote, the pauperism in the cities has assumed a more wretched and repulsive form, in consequence of the crowding there of poor peasants who had been evicted from their small farms and fled to the nearest city or town with the hope of finding there at least charity.

"For the last ten years," wrote Abbe Perraud, in 1864, "there has been taking place in the large cities an accumulation of poor as fatal to their health as to their morality. They are mostly country people whom eviction has driven from the country, who have been unable to emigrate, and who were unwilling to shut themselves up immediately in the workhouses. The resources they procure for themselves, by doing odd work, are so completely insufficient, that it is impossible to be surprised at their destitution."

Dr. Rodenberg, describing the state of the poor country people crowded in the "Liberties of Dublin," says of the rooms in which they live: "In those holes the most wretched and pitiable laborers imaginable live; they often lie by hundreds together on the bare ground."

Such citations might be sadly multiplied, but those given are sufficient as descriptive of the state of the poor Irish in the cities. Let us now see how the peasants live in the country in many parts of Ireland:

II. "The destitution of the agricultural classes," writes Abbe Perraud, from personal observation, "in order to be rightly appreciated, must be seen in the boggy and mountainous regions of Munster, of Connaught, and of the western portion of Ulster.

"The ordinary dwelling of the small tenant, of the day-laborer, in that part of Ireland, answers with the utmost precision the description of it twenty years ago given by M. de Beaumont: 'Let the reader picture to himself four walls of dried mud, which the rain easily reduces to its primitive condition; a little thatch or a few cuts of turf form the roof; a rude hole in the roof forms the chimney, and more frequently there is no other issue for the smoke than the door of the dwelling itself. One solitary room holds father, mother, grandfather, and children. No furniture is to be seen; a single litter, usually composed of grass or straw, serves for the whole family. Five or six half- naked children may be seen crouching over a poor fire. In the midst of them lies a filthy pig, the only inhabitant at its ease, because its element is filth itself.'

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