Emigration to America

Justin McCarthy
Chapter XI | Start of Chapter

After the failure of the rebellion of 1848 the Irish national cause, so far as Parliamentary life was concerned, became a continuous struggle for the amelioration of the Irish land tenure system and for a nearer approach to religious equality.

The effects of the famine were long felt, and emigration to America grew more and more. Those who emigrated were for the most part the young, strong, and enterprising, and those left behind were the least capable of effecting the industrial and social regeneration of Ireland. The population of the country declined steadily year after year, and has been declining to the present day. A new Ireland sprang up in America, where the Irish emigrants found profitable work on the expanses of land and in the great cities and towns. Irishmen of capacity began to take influential positions and to hold high offices in the most prosperous and progressive States. The population of Ireland now is probably hardly more than a quarter of what it was in O'Connell's earlier days, and emigration goes steadily on. Ireland still sent her representatives to the House of Commons, but they found work enough to do there in the effort to obtain legislation for the benefit or the rescue of the Irish tenant, and for many years little was heard about the legislative Union between Great Britain and Ireland. Nothing more was heard of Repeal, and the watchword "Home Rule" had not yet been adopted.