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indulges in the same system of circles. He tells us it is intense competition produces want of employment, that starvation, that discontent, disturbance, insecurity, and so on. “It is an unhappy circle of mischief, out of which all political disturbances have arisen.”. To such plausible-looking theories, I altogether object : though they look well in print and sound like sense and philosophy, like all circles and ciphers, they are hollow and valueless. To the statements on which they depend, I would give a positive denial, and equally false are the theories deduced from them.
There is a fearful amount of insecurity of life and property here, as I shall show, but it is not such as these writers would suggest. The kind of insecurity they would have to be believed exists only in a comparatively small portion of Ireland, and there it is greatly exaggerated, and would at once disappear under wise and humane legislation. Did such exist, we want neither capital nor employment; nor our people industry, intelligence, knowledge or virtue. I put these statements in opposition to the cant phrases and stereotyped slang which are made an excuse for the enactment of coercive, and the maintenance of mischievous and oppressive, laws,—and I engage to maintain this truth.
First. I have said that the accusation of insecurity of property and disobedience to the laws applies only to a comparatively small portion of Ireland : that portion comprises parts of the midland counties of Tipperary, Roscommon, King's County, and the inland portions of Waterford, Clare, Galway, and Limerick : though extending through so many counties, it does not contain, probably, more than 1,000,000 inhabitants. It has always been the battle-ground of Ireland, and exhibits the same mixture of races, and something of the reckless and unsettled habits, and love of change and adventure, which characterise other districts. There, first feudalism was brought into contact with clanship, and after fearful struggles partially displaced it; and there, in after years, the naturalised Saxon combated for the liberties of Ireland with later invaders, and was himself displaced for the more ready tools of government. To these circumstances we may perhaps trace its present condi. tion. But even this part of Ireland is greatly falsified. The people are physically the finest in Ireland ; and, mentally, not inferior to any; they have all the generosity, ardour, and attachment of the Irish character, and more of independence and manliness. Under a just and kindly government they would be sure to become industrious, careful, and happy.
Of the rest of Ireland, so far as the people are concerned, there is no place on earth where there is more security : there is a degree of moral elevation and depth of religious feeling, especially in the South, rarely to be met with, which is the best of all securities ; with this there is a cheerfulness of disposition, and a power of endurance under privation and suffering, quite unknown in England. With the exception of a few petty larceny cases, which have their obvious origin in want and distress, our courts are all but idle ; at neither of the four last assizes in the city of Cork were there more than six or eight criminal cases for trial, and amongst the whole but one of an aggravated character. The same is true of the county : in neither has there been business for a second jury. In the adjoining county of Kerry there is the same absence of crime of an aggravated character. There has not been a capital conviction in either for eleven years ; yet these two counties alone possess a larger population than the whole of the disturbed districts, as they are called. Such, also, is the condition of the Western counties of Connaught—although the people are the poorest on earth—of the whole of the counties of Wicklow, Kildare, Meath, Dublin, Louth, &c. : in one of these at a late assizes there was not a single case for trial. Such, also, is the condition of large portions of those counties where the sacrifice of life has been, alas ! too frequent-even of Tipperary itself. Of the Province of Ulster I need not speak ; even the most prejudliced writers speak of it as the abode of industry, prosperity, and of all the advantages of advanced civilisation ; yet the counties of Ulster contain 2,500,000 of the population of the country-fully onethird.
It is plain, then, that, with the exception of a comparatively small portion, Ireland enjoys a high moral position, and that the general charge is false, that life and property are insecure. Of this unsettled portion I have said nothing, either in contradiction of the reports generally circulated concerning it, or in extenuation of its faults. I know the facts to be greatly exaggerated in the shape in which they are given to the public, but it would require an amount of detail altogether inconsistent with my present purpose to place them in their true light; yet, taking them at their worst and from the most prejudiced sources, they give no foundation to the prevälent opinions with regard to Ireland generally. And yet, were it otherwise, could it be wondered at? We should remember we are speaking of a country, one-half of whose population are always on the verge of destitution, one-third, for three months of the year, absolute paupers ; without any means of supporting existence but the charity of neighbours just one degree better off than themselves. I know it is thought by some that these things are exaggerated—that such a condition of the people is too monstrous to be believed ; but, no; it is fearfully true. I will give just one case; but it is a faithful sample of two-thirds of Ireland: it is from the Report of the Committee appointed to inquire into the amount of distress in the neighbourhood of Mallow, a place looked upon as rather better-conditioned than the average of our rural districts; Mallow being one of our most thriving inland towns, lying within twenty miles of the city of Cork, and possessing considerably over the average number of resident gentry; in fact, the place where any one acquainted with the South of Ireland would expect to find least distress. Here five townlands had been carefully gone over, the inhabitants personally visited, and an accurate report made out, the sum of which is—that of a population of 1,322, 721 are in a state of great destitution ; many of them living on nettles and corn kale ;-and even of the farmers, who are not mentioned in this number as destitute, few have more than will give themselves and their dependents one meal of potatoes a-day until the new crops are in. Even in the cities, and of those who are at work, thousands are unable to earn more than will purchase a sufficiency of the worst possible description of human food, without one penny to pay for clothes or lodging.
Would it be wonderful if, under such circumstances, outrage and anarchy, vice and crime should exist to a considerable extent ? But they do not. You enter one of the abodes of wretchedness by which we are surrounded, you hear neither repinings nor discontent ; the wife or mother, if there be such, gives utterance to none but sounds of trust and gratitude ; and they are neither cant phrases nor religious slang, learned by rote to be parroted forth at a fitting opportunity, but the sincere and earnest breathings of the heart. The children evince a degree of mirthfulness almost incredible undersuch circumstances; while the father, the poordrudge who has worked his day for the miserable pittance that half supports them, has enough of the mother's piety, and of the children's cheerfulness to enable him to bear his lot without repining, and to "preserve him alike from despondency and vice. Surely “God tempers the wind to the shorn lamb: " but He does more ; He gives to his stricken children hopes and consolations which
brighten the darkest lot. It is not from such a people rebellion and outrage are to be feared : let the hand of love and gentleness be extended towards them, and there will be a sure return of trust and gratitude: it is only a continuation of wrong and oppression which can goad them to resistance.
Is it thus untrue that insecurity of life and property exists in Ireland ?
I have already asserted that it does insecurity is the rule, security the exception : not confined to this or that district, but overspreading the whole country. But it is not the insecurity of the capitalist or the landholder, but of the peasant, of the broken-down tiller of the soil. It is not the insecurity of a few proprietors, but of millions of the people, the great mass of those whose toil feeds a rapacious oligarchy. The farmer knows not from one season to another whether he will be allowed to till that ground which yields to him a miserable and precarious support; nay, he knows not when he has ploughed the land, and put in the seed, and watched over it with patient longing, whether he shall dare to reap where he has sown : ay, he may reap too; he may plough, and sow, and
reap, and winnow, but he dare not eat the fruit. The old law said : “Ye shall not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. But the new law saith to the human labourer: " Thou shalt not eat of the results of thy industry.” The curse on man at first was : “By the sweat of thy brow shalt thou eat bread ;" but the Irish peasant is doubly cursed, for, though the sweat drop from his brow like rain, bread he dare not eat; his corn and his cattle feed the blacksmith of Birmingham, and the weaver of Manchester,—(blessings on them both, they are fast growing into men!)—but the down-trodden peasant of Erin may roam over her green fields, and mark the young corn shoot up, and gather into ear and ripen, but it blooms not for him : by him stands the agent of his foreign landlord, to snatch from him the fruits which his toil has wrested from the worn out and overdone soil ; and if the result is not satisfactory, he turns him out to starve by the wayside, to make room for the more profitable more profitable, because more justly treated. Nay, he sends him not out alone ; his neighbour, who would have shared with him his last potato, is cast out too ; and as extermination is the object-as the beggars would be troublesome about the estate-whoever gives shelter to the desolate wanderers, even in a shealing on a barren
moor, is" visited with the terrors of the law, that most fearful engine of oppression to the friendless peasant !
Security of life and property!-it is a mockery in Ireland ; amongst the millions of her children, there is no such thing. Do we require proof?-Every day's report brings with it the harrowing details ; now it is the occupants of a single cabin, now those of a village, who are robbed of their all, and turned out to starve. Proof,—you see it in the squalid rags of thousands who flock to reap your own fields in the harvest time—you see it in the thousands who throng the quays of your maritime ports, to seek that security in foreign lands, which is not granted to them on the soil which their fathers reclaimed from the mountain side and the barren moor, and of which, in many cases, they were also the lords.
Let us dwell a little longer on this proof of insecurity-I mean emigration. There is no man on earth so wedded to his home as the Irishman. The Englishman or the Scotchman leaves his native place with comparative indifference : with us it is a life-struggle ; the instinct of love and country is stronger than in most men, the domestic affections are more intense and sacred, and the social feelings of friendship and relationship are more powerful and binding ; hence, the departure of a body of emigrants is one of the most harrowing scenes the eye can light upon, even in this land of suffering ; the wailing and lamentations of some, the calm, subdued grief of others, the wild over-acted merriment of others, put on to conceal their anguish, and cheer the spirit of some one left behind,- but through which you see the starting tears. How often have I seen strong men weeping scalding tears upon the shoulders of their friends, aged men and women struck down under the bereavement of losing the last remnants of their families ! I shall never forget one aged woman: she sat upon a beam, her straining eyes riveted upon the receding emigrant ship, and as it left her sight she raised one long dismal scream of anguish, the dreadful music of a breaking heart. Her tale was sad but short. Her “ two fine boys” had gone to America three years before, and her niece and daughter, the last remnants of her family, were departing, and she was left alone, with no refuge but the work. house, or the charity of her neighbours. These emigrants no country need be ashamed of; they are healthy, robust, intelligent, and industrious, careful even to parsimony, and what is of more value, they are chaste, temperate, and virtuous. Would such men