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have 70 and 78 out of every 100 families engaged in agriculture, while Leinster has only 59, and Ulster 60 ; and the two former provinces have 51 and 53 per cent. of the inhabitants occupying the very lowest class of house accommodation, while the numbers in Leinster and Ulster are only 35 and 33 per cent. respectively. The difference as respects education is equally great ; 64 per cent. of the male inhabitants of Connaught, over five years of age, being unable either to read or write, and the number in the other three provinces being 52 per cent. for Munster, 35 per cent. for Ulster, and 38 per cent. for Leinster. There appears to be a very close connexion between the amount of education and the quality of house accommodation. The greater number of early marriages in the western province is a feature worthy of particular notice, as is also the shorter average duration of human life. On the latter subject, the commissioners for taking the census make the following remarks :“The remarkable difference in the duration of life, “in favor of Leinster and Ulster over Connaught “and Munster, is too striking to be overlooked. The “latter are the most exclusively agricultural, and “from the analogy of Great Britain should on that “account seem likely to present the longest, rather “ than the shortest, average duration of existence. “We fear, however, that the very low state, as to “food and accommodation, of the rural population “of these provinces, would be found, by a more “searching inquiry and comparison, to place them, “in a sanatary point of view, more nearly equal “with the crowded inhabitants of the western parts “of England and Scotland, rather than the healthy “rustics of the English and Scotch agricultural
Want of industry in Ireland–Ascribed by some to the race, by others to the religion of the people—Futility of these assumptions—Irishmen succeed in America—Why not at home?—Large remittances from America—Security of property essential to industry—Long enjoyed by England—Contrast presented by the history of Ireland—Degrading effects of penal laws—Discouragement of the woollen manufactures— Repeal of these impolitic laws—Their effects still felt—Political agitation unfavourable to industry—General improvement during the past sixty years—Condition of the labouring class not improved—Their privations—Their emigration to England—Their condition must be raised—This is an imperial question.
THE people of Ireland have been accused of idleness and improvidence. These vices are attributed by many to the prevalent creed; and their supineness and want of industry are laid at the door of their religion. Others speak of them as the inherent characteristics of the Celtic race. By the first, they are looked upon as almost incurable, while the religious belief of the people is unchanged. If the opinion of the latter be correct, the case must be considered hopeless, as it is evident no change of race can take place. The carefully irrigated and fertile plains of Lombardy; the high cultivation of the vale of the Arno, densely peopled with industrious, contented, and thriving inhabitants; and the skill and industry which maintain the agriculture of Flanders among the first in Europe—an example worthy of imitation by Protestant England—may well prove that their religion offers no insuperable barrier; and that if the inhabitants of some of the Roman Catholic states of Europe are less industrious than their Protestant neighbours, we must look to something else than their creed for a sufficient explanation of the cause. The inferiority of the Celtic race is a gratuitous assumption, not easy of proof; but even if this be admitted, those who on that account consider the Irish as unimprovable, forget the great admixture of races which has taken place in this country. Most of the maritime cities were Danish colonies. A large proportion of the Norman or early English settlers intermarried with the original inhabitants, and their descendants having remained Roman Catholics, are now considered as mere Irish. There is now no apparent distinction between a Fitzgerald, a Burke, a Grace, or a Lacy, and the purest Milesian family. It is sufficient, as respects these charges, to say that they are useless taunts; that it is impracticable, under present circumstances, to change either the people themselves or their religion; that being in the country, they must be taken for better for worse; and that fair means, the removal of impolitic restrictions, and the extended influence of education are more likely to improve them, than the rough usage which has been already tried, or the injurious language which is now too often used. But the subject is worthy of closer examination. We see that Irishmen succeed in America. Why do they not thrive at home 2 In America they are certainly on a level with all their neighbours; they have a fair field and no favour; and there they are industrious, and reap the fruits of their industry, in the acquisition of property and the respect of their fellow-citizens. Here the labourer earns a bare subsistence, by precarious employment at low wages, with but little hope of improvement, and consequently but littlestimulus to exertion. When he crosses the Atlantic, the improved chances of suc cess arouse his energy, he assumes a new character, he feels the necessity of exertion, and proves himself equal to his new position. It has been asserted that even in America the Irish are to be known by their idleness, their want of cleanliness, and their improvident habits. It is true, there are many who never rise out of the faults of early life; but that these are exceptional cases, that the great majority are industrious and Saving, is proved by the amount of remittances in sums, small in themselves, but large in the aggregate, made by Irish emigrants to their friends and