Report of the Select Committee - The Last Conquest of Ireland (Perhaps)

John Mitchel
Author’s Edition (undated)

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William the Third, and against the power of Britain in '98;—but to describe how the spirit of a country has been broken and subdued by beggarly famine;—how her national aspirations have been, not choked in her own blood, nobly shed on the field, but strangled by red tape;—how her life and soul have been ameliorated and civilized out of her;—how she died of political economy, and was buried under tons of official stationery;—this is a dreary task, which I wish some one else had undertaken.

As it has been commenced, however, let the world hear the end. There began to be an eager desire in England to get rid of the Celts by emigration; for though they were perishing fast of hunger and typhus, they were not perishing fast enough. It was inculcated by the English Press that the temperament and disposition of the Irish people fitted them peculiarly for some remote country in the East, or in the West,—in fact, for any country but their own;—that Providence had committed some mistake in causing them to be born in Ireland. As usual, the Times was foremost in finding out this singular freak of nature! Says the Times (Feb. 22, 1847):—

"Remove Irishmen to the banks of the Ganges, or the Indus—to Delhi, Benares, or Trincomalee,—and they would be far more in their element there than in the country to which an inexorable fate has confined them."

Again, a Mr Murray, a Scotch banker, writes a pamphlet upon the proper measures for Ireland. "The surplus population of Ireland," says Mr Murray, "have been trained precisely for those pursuits which the unoccupied regions of North America require." Which might appear strange to anybody but a respectable banker—a population expressly trained, and that precisely, to suit any country except their own.

But these are comparatively private and individual suggestions. In April of this year, however, six Peers and twelve Commoners, who called themselves Irish, but who included amongst them such "Irishmen" as Dr Whately and Mr Godley, laid a scheme before Lord John Russell for the transportation of one million and a-half of Irishmen to Canada, at a cost of nine millions sterling, to be charged on "Irish property," and to be paid by an income-tax.

Again, within the same year, a few months later, a "Select Committee"—and a very select one—of the House of Lords, brings up a report on "Colonization from Ireland." Their lordships report that all former committees on the state of Ireland (with one exception) had agreed at least on this point—that it was necessary to remove the "excess of labour." They say— ...continue reading »

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