Margaret Anne Cusack
start of chapter | Chapter XXXVII. concluded

Such is a brief outline, and scarcely even an outline, of the present history of Ireland, in which the hearts of so many of our people are in one country, while their bodies are in another. There is another phase of this present history on which I could have wished to have dwelt much longer; I mean the political union between America and Ireland. So long as Irish emigration continues—I should rather say, so long as real Irish grievances are permitted to continue—so long will this state of things be dangerous to England. Justice to Ireland may be refused with impunity just so long as there is peace between England and America; but who shall dare predict how long that peace will continue, when, as must assuredly happen in a few short years, the Irish in America, or their direct descendants, shall form the preponderating class, and therefore guide the political affairs of that mighty people?

The maps which are appended to this edition of the Illustrated History of Ireland, will, it is hoped, be found not only interesting, but important. Irishmen in America will see, by a glance at the map of family names, the territories in Ireland formerly held by their ancestors. Statistics showing the fearful depopulation of the country, which, notwithstanding all the boasts of those who advocated it, has not benefited those who remain, will be found in another map. The third map is not less important; by that will be seen the immense preponderance of Catholics to Protestants; and it will suggest, no doubt, to thoughtful minds, the injustice of sacrificing the multitude to the individual few.

A few words must also be said about the two full-page illustrations which have been added to this Edition. One of the most important events in the life of O'Connell has been chosen for the one; and, alas! one of the most frequent occurrences in Irish history, from the first English invasion to the present day, has been chosen for the other. In the engraving of O'Connell it was impossible to preserve the likeness, as the expression demanded by the incident could not be produced from any of the portraits extant; with regard to the eviction scene, it is unfortunately true to the life. Those who have read Mr. Maguire's Irish in America, will recognize the special subject represented. Those who read the Irish local papers of the day, may continually peruse accounts of evictions; but only an eyewitness can describe the misery and despair of the unfortunate victims. When shall the picture be reversed? When will Irishmen return from America, finding it possible to be as free and as prosperous here? Finding that a man who is willing to toil may obtain a fair remuneration for his labour, and that a man may have the rights of men;—then, and not till then, may we hope that Irish history will, for the future, be a record of past injustice, amply compensated for by present equity.