صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني



ten years, from 1841 to 1851, they destroyed two hundred and sixty-nine thousand, two hundred and fifty-three dwellings, or cabins; and in 1849, they evicted fifty thousand families.



HE horror with which these statements are received implies the question" Has nothing been done to modify the barbarity of such proceedings ?" There are on record eighteen attempts to this effect. The last was made by the enactment of a law pretending to be more thorough than the Commission of 1844; for, although that Commission was charged by the British government to make inquiry into the relations existing between landlord and tenant, it was composed of landlords; and, although it established the existence of great misery and abuses, the Commission reported that there would be danger for the just rights of property to grant "Tenant Right" in full. They recommended the fusion of small farms as "absolutely necessary;" but, since this plan would necessitate the expulsion of over 190,000 families—at least a million of people they seriously recommended emigration as the most reliable remedy.

In 1847, a Special Committee of the House of Lords on this same subject, after covering the whole ground, reached the fundamental conclusion that it was necessary, in some way or other, to reduce the population. The great famine began in 1846, and it is a fact that should never be forgotten, that, during the whole period of this famine, which was prolonged five years, Ireland produced enough to feed and clothe double the number of its inhabitants. Had not the breadstuffs and provisions raised in Ireland been carried off to enrich bloated proprietors, and stolen by the Established Church, the word "famine" would never have been spoken on the island during that period. But the Royal Commission decided that it was better to send a million of Irishmen to other parts of the world than to stop robbing them of bread. What the government,



however, failed to achieve by any remedy whatever, was partly done by terrible necessity. Hundreds of thousands of the wretched peasants rushed in crowds on board rotten ships, and set sail for eternal exile.* Many of them were rotten coffin

*To show, on pretty high authority, what was the condition of Ireland, even in February of the year 1865, Mr. Maguire, an Irish member of the House of Commons, in the debate on the Queen's Speech, said: "He could not concur in that portion of the Speech which declared that Ireland partook of the general prosperity of the country. What was the fact at present as regarded emigration? They had one hundred and twenty thousand people crossing the ocean last year, despite the bad trade that interrupted commerce by the war which raged on the continent to which they turned their steps. Must there not be something wrong to account for this, and was it not the duty of the government to endeavor to remove it? If the government took the question up as they ought, he believed they could stop the tide of emigration, which was sweeping away not only the bone and sinew of the country, but a good deal of the strength of the empire. If leases were given to the tenant farmers, or if the law stepped in and gave a liberal measure of compensation for improvements, it would stop the tide of emigration, and the people of Ireland would be happy and contented, instead of what he knew them to be, and was sorry to be obliged to say they were, deeply discontented; and he was ready to say, with the honorable member for Cork (Mr. V. Scully), deeply disaffected. He solemnly and sincerely declared that there was in Ireland discontent and disaffection, which nothing under heaven but just laws could change. The Lord Lieutenant, a few days ago, expressed his deep regret that the people were leaving the country in such numbers, and carried with them a feeling of hostility to the British government. Let them look at the case straight in the face, and not shrink from a consideration of the question. The feeling carried to America by Irishmen would have an influence upon the policy of American statesmen. The Irish emigrants, and their children born in the United States, outnumbered the population of Ireland. They were active and energetic, and many of them commanded the press and the platform. They were animated by hatred of England; and he asked them into what calamities might they not precipitate the two countries. He hoped that the government, instead of troubling themselves about complications in distant parts of Europe, would endeavor to heal the sore that existed in the heart of the empire. Royal visits would not meet the wants of Ireland. They would only be as courtplaster over a deep seated ulcer. The Irish people would be glad to see her Majesty, or any member of her family; but the starving people who saw the utter hopelessness of any effort for which there was no reward, did not want the sunshine of royalty, or the glitter of pageantry; what they wanted was just laws, that would liberate their arms, and give them a field for their exertions."



ships, which were never seen again. The British government thus got rid, for a time, of those who survived or escaped starvation, English law coming to the assistance of famine, and famine to the assistance of English law.

At the end of these five famine years, it was found that there were two millions of Irishmen less-a million and a half having died of hunger and plague, and half a million having emigrated. No other instance is known in history parallel to this, except in the East Indies, where, as a rule, millions starve in the midst of abundance.

If Ireland were independent, she would be armed, and not garrisoned by foreign troops. She would not be exposed to be placed, as has so often been the case, under martial law, all of whose rigors are inflamed by upwards of thirty different Coercion Acts, passed during the present century. Once independent, Ireland would almost entirely cease to emigrate. As it is, the thing promises to be so thoroughly overdone, and real cstate will become of so little value in Ireland, that cupidity can grasp no more.



ES, exile is the last vicissitude of martyred Ireland. Jean de Paris finely says: "Placed high in rank among the most enlightened nations of Europe, she left, in early times, a luminous track in the history of Christian civilization. Suddenly violence, aided by treason, made her the slave of the stranger. Since then, her virtues became the cause of her misfortunes. Faithful to the creed of her fathers, she is persecuted by an apostate people. Faithful to the loyalist cause, her people were massacred, her plains devastated by the regicide troops of Cromwell, and, still later, her generous blood was shed for the ungrateful Catholic Stuarts. It is no longer possible for a nation to enjoy at the same time, the benefits of oppression, and the advantages of a reputation for liberality. The complaints of her people are heard to-day from one end of



the earth to the other. Neither the loftiest mountains, nor the murmurs of two oceans, can prevent the cry of anguish arising from trampled nationalities, in reaching ears that sympathize with her sufferings." Lord Macaulay said that Ireland and Poland were universally considered as two sisters in misfortune. Great Britain may in vain throw between Ireland and us her majestic shadow, and trouble the air with her powerful voice; but the moans of Ireland are heard in every farmhouse, in every home in North America. When England took the liberty of inspecting the dungeons of the late infamous tyrant of Naples, he told her to turn back and see the soil of Ireland, strewed with the bleaching bones of thousands of human creatures who had died of hunger, the victims of artificial famine. When England asks for privileges for Christians in a Mahometan country, for Protestant missionaries and preachers in Rome, the Pope or the Grand Turk can say: เ Go back to Ireland and behold that monstrous intolerancean Anglican clergy richly supported by money extorted from poor Catholic Ireland." When Englishmen blame Austria for not restoring liberal institutions to Hungary, Cæsar can say: “Give back to Ireland her independence, and her parliament;" and yet we learn that the Grand Turk has struck a blow against the supremacy of the hierarchy of his empire; and the Emperor of Austria has restored to Hungary her parliament. No; Ireland does not willingly surrender her harvests to England. England robs them. Having no industry, Ireland must pay her rent to England in produce. Her political, industrial and social life centre in England. Nine-tenths of the landlords of Ireland reside on English soil. In England, the produce of Irish harvests is spent-luxury for England, poverty for Ireland. England is the only market Ireland has. England gives nothing, and takes all; Ireland gives all, and receives nothing. Of course, British cupidity must leave something, in order that starvation may not become universal and complete; and the man who cultivates for the foreigner, the land of his ancestors, has a sort of acknowledged right to



potatoes. To show how universally true all this is, the demonstration is at hand. A horrible famine spreads its black shadow of death over a whole country, through the first failure of the potato crop. No other nation ever existed where a famine was caused by the failure of so inconsiderable an article of human diet.

I thought I would print here a living picture of these five terrible famine years; but I have not the heart to do it. We all know that people died literally by thousands at the roadsides, and in their cabins. Whole families perished. Multitudes remained without burial. The parishes had no funds to pay for coffins. The poor-houses became hospitals, where the dying man lay struggling in the agonies of death by the side of a cold corpse. In the county of Mayo, the most fortunate. victims fed on their asses and horses.

And yet this was not a famine which means, in the proper sense of that term, a calamity sent by the Almighty upon the fruits of the earth. It was all legal assassination-foulest of all murder-cruelest of exile by enforced emigration. Would not a coroner's jury of Americans, sitting at an inquest over such dead, be compelled by their oaths as honest men, to render a verdict of wilful murder against the Queen of England?

All remember the horror which struck through the Christian and heathen world after news of the first six months of the famine had been winged to other nations. The peoples of Europe sent alms-the Turks opened their hearts and hands; while ship after ship, freighted generously from the American shores, in sailing into Irish harbors, passed fleets of English vessels carrying away from a dying people the fruits of their own labor. God in heaven! Ireland, with all the sweat of her manly brow; Ireland, crushed so long, and so deeply, by such heartless foreign masters; Ireland, who had given her riches, her labor, her life-such an Ireland as this to be compelled, in the last agonies of hunger, to accept charity from democrats on the one side, and the worshippers of a false prophet on the other!

But all this may be disposed of by statesmanship with a single wave of the hand-" there are reasons of state for all

« السابقةمتابعة »