The Last Conquest of Ireland (Perhaps)

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the contrary, having been, since that day, twice broken, conquered, and utterly ruined, it may seem that the English have a patent-right in our history, as well as in everything else of ours, and must not be interrupted or controverted.

Yet there are some circumstances which perplex an inquirer who derives his information from the English periodical press. That an island which is said to be an antegral part of the richest empire on the globe—and the most fertile portion of that empire;—with British Constitution, Habeas Corpus, Members of Parliament, and Trial by Jury—should in five years lose two and a half millions of its people (more than one-fourth) by hunger, and fever the consequence of hunger, and flight beyond sea to escape from hunger,—while that empire of which it is said to be a part, was all the while advancing in wealth, prosperity, and comfort, at a faster pace than ever before,—is a matter that seems to ask elucidation.

In the year 1841, Ireland, a country precisely half the size of the State of Georgia, had a population of 8,175,124. The natural rate of increase of population in Ireland, through all her former troubles, would have given upwards of nine millions in. 1851; but in 1851 the Census Commissioners find in Ireland but 6,515,794 living souls. (Thom's Official Directory.)

Another thing, which to a spectator must appear anomalous, is that during each of those five years of "famine," from '46 to '51—that famine-struck land produced more than double the needful sustenance for all her own people; and of the best and choicest kind. Governor Wise, of Virginia, was in Brazil while the ends of the earth were resounding with the cry of Irish starvation; and was surprised to see unloaded at Rio abundance of the best quality of packed beef from Ireland. That the people who were dying of hunger did, in each year of their agony, produce upon Irish ground, of wheat and other grain, and of cattle and poultry, more than double the amount that they could all by any gluttony devour, is a fact that must be not only asserted, but proved beyond doubt.

That with one hundred and five members in the Parliament of the "United Kingdom," the Irish people (supposing them to suffer any grievance or injustice) could get no redress; that with the British Constitution, Habeas Corpus, and Trial by Jury, as aforesaid, most Irishmen you meet with in America tell you there is no Law or Justice to be had in Ireland;—that to the benevolent exertions on a vast scale, which English periodicals assure us were made by the Imperial Government to rescue the perishing Irish from their sufferings, that people, though ...continue reading »

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Page 8

The Last Conquest of Ireland (Perhaps)

by John Mitchel


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