21 AUGUST 1852, Page 13


Wmin yet the Fishery question occasioned some public apprehen- sion that feeling was &eepened by considerations thrown out re- specting the Irish element in the people of the -United States ; and not altogether without reason. The Irish have, for years, been poured into the -Union at the rate of tens of thousands, and lately by hundreds of thousands ; and the members of the Union of Irish descent, increasing at that rapid rate, are already estimated at many millions—by some at seven or eight, or -even ten: The Irish emigrants mostly leave their own countrywith feelings of anger, if not hatred, against England; and if the instigation of the priest against Protestant England becomes less potent on the othq side of the Atlantic, it is in part supplied by the Republican dislike to Monarchy ; the Irish, it is to be observed, taking kindly to the antagonistic extreme in their new land.

There is without doubt considerable truth in such representa- tions: the Irish are increasing very rapidly in the Union. In New York they can muster a formidable body, as they showed in the Native American riots. They are flocking to the further settle- ments, and the Valley of the Mississippi may be in great part peopled by the Celtic race. In Boston they have multiplied so greatly, that the Corporation part of the town, Boston proper, we have been assured, may almost be said to remain in their hands. And they are filled with indignation against England ; to whom they ascribe not only the "seven centuries of wrong," but the re- sults of their own shortcomings. This feeling bursts forth in such

incidents as the welcome to Francis Meagher, in the riot to rescueKaine, or in Irish efforts to stimulate the Fishery dispute. Ac-

cording to the proportionate increase by population a few more years will see this element greatly augmented. Indeed, the Yan- kees proper have already been awakened to that fact, and Anglo- Saxon jealousy created the Native American party, with the spe- cial mission of counteracting the Irish in the elections, in obtain- ing too speedy admission as immigrants to the privileges of citizen- ship, and if necessary in personal contest. Recently, the Native American party appears to have lost ground, probably because observation mitigated the jealous appre- hensions which called it into being. For various reasons it may be doubted whether the,Irish will continue to form so distinctive and powerful an element as might at first be supposed by the rate of increase to the population direct from the Irish

stook. In the first place the future increase can hardly be sufficient to swamp the Ingle-Saxon element. If the whole population of Ireland were now added to the Union, the gross number of pure and derivative Irish would not amount to a majority; and if the Irish are fertile in offspring, Anglo-Saxons are not sterile. In the second place, there is nothing to keep the two races apart; and in the mixture of races, that which pos- sesses the less inherent force will ultimately merge in the otter. On the other hand, the strongly-marked characteristics of Protest- ant Ulster, and of many Roglish families long resident in Ireland, prove how stubborn the Anglo-Saxon element is' even where it forms but a small minority in the midst of the Celts. Morally, the altered condition of the Irish in America is very plain : al- though the number of Irish descent is estimated at ten millions, the Raman Catholics in the Union cannot muster a million—they are usually computed at 700,000. In other words, more than nine-tenths of them cease to be Romanists. Various causes have been assigned for this vast conversion —more easy material cir- cumstances, with a corresponding robnetness in the tone of mind ; thorough freedom of religion, with absence of an invidious and wrongous state establishment ; more diffused education; the bracing breezes of the Atlantic in the transit; the elevation of the "common Irish" as compared with their priest; greater distance from the Pope. We do not ascribe much to the salt wind, nor dis- tinctively to education; in the latter case, because education is considerably diffused in Ireland itself, and is indeed already telling with very manifest effect on the baser influences of the priest. But whatever the causes may be, the priests themselves are so conscious of the result, that in Ireland they have made it an argument against emigration ; pointing to the United States as a wicked place where the faithful stray from the true faith. They might rather say, that America is a ground on which the Irish are Saxonized. Although these considerations may well mitigate the fears as to the ultimate subjugation of all America to the Celtic race—to which result very lugubrious prophets have alluded !—and the conversion of that powerful continent into an avenging scourge against England, they do not contravene the very just strictures passed upon successive Governments for neglecting to lend that just influence to the stream of emigration, which might direct it to dominions still attached to the British crown, rather than to those alienated from it. Such a direction might convert the great out- going body into a reinforcement of the loyal rather than the hostile population. The Irish, if duly cultivated, naturally incline to loyalty; and the Celts generally are disposed to monarchic insti- tutions. The Scotch Highlander is faithful to his chief; and the Frenchman cannot, to this day, adapt himself to a republic. The direction of the stream might be for the benefit of the Irish them- saires. We have heard the remark made by most intelligent and trustworthy observers, that the Irish in the Union do not get on so well as their German or Anglo-Saxon fellow-citizens. Not only is it so where they remain in large towns—as in New York, and literally pig together after the true Irish fashion; nor on rail- ways, where they are kept in gangs, and cling to their faction- fights ; but it is also the ease, to a minor degree, in veritable settle- ments. The fact contrasts with the undeniable testimony of Mr. Cunard and other witnesses before the Commissioners on the Quebec Railway, who testified to the perfect success of Irish emi- grants in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. The grand argument against such direction —and no man has paraded it more than Lord John Russell,—has been, that the Irish sent over con- siderable sums for the passage of their relatives ; and that State assistance might dry up that source of spontaneous emigration : but what then ? Surely any sum which can be raised among newly. settled emigrants cannot be too great for this Imperial State to spend in relieving Ireland by such mode as would cultivate a province to support English constitution and influence, rather than leaving the country to empty itself in recruiting an alien and pos- sibly a hostile population. The argument only shows how much ideas of positive statesmanship and practical government are in abeyance. For the present, then, we must passively witness the process of perverse recruitment, and instead of hoping to see it better-directed, must console ourselves with hopes that the results will not be so bad as some of us fear.