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Miscellany: Condition Of Ireland

Miscellany: Condition Of Ireland image
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We find the following in a letter written very lutely from Ireland lo the Liberator, by Fredcrick Douglass, the self-emnncipated slave - It presente a darkor picture tliun wc supposed the wliole truth would warrant. "The limitó of a single letter are insuificient to allow iniy thing likc a fauliiul descriplion ol those painful exiiibitibnsof human iniaery, which tnect tho eyo of a strangor alniost at evry step. I spent neariy six weeks iu Dublin, and the scones 1 there witnessed wcro such aa to make me Milush, and hang iny head to think myself n man.' I speak truly when I s.iy, I dreaded to go out of the house. The streots were nlnioat literally alive with beggars, dieplaying the greaiest wictchedness - eome of them mere stump6 ttf men, without feet, without legs, without liands, without arma - and others still more hor ribly deformed. with crooked fimbs, down upon their hanja and knees, thcir feet lnpped around each other, and lnid upon their backs, pressing thcir way through the muddy streeteand merciless crowd. casting sad looks to the right and left, in the hope of catching the eye of a passing stranger - the citizens gcnerally having set thcir faces ngainst giving to beggara. I have had more than a dozen around me at one time, men, women and children, all telling a talo of wo which would move any but a heart of iron. - Womon, barefooted and bareheaded, and only covered by rags which icemcd to be held together by the very lirt and fihh with which they were covered - inany of these had infants in their nrnis, vh.O8e emaciated forms, sunken eycs and pallid chceks, told too plainly thnt they had nurscd till they had nurscd in vain. In sucli a group you may hcar all lorinn of nppoal, enticaty, and cxpostulntion. A half o dozen voices have broken upon my ear at once: - 'Will your honor please to give me a penny to buy some bread?' 'May the Lord blcss you, give the poor old woman n Iittle sixpencc.' 'For the love of God, leave U8 a few pennies - we will divide them amongst us.' Oh! my poor child, it must starve, ïor iiod's sake give me a penny. More power to you ! I know your honor will leave the poor creaturesomething. Ah, do I and I will pray for you as long as I live.' Kor a tim I gave wny to my feelings, bat reoson reminded me that eucba comee wust only add anothcr to he nlrcady long list of beggnrs, nnd was oftencompelled to pnss.ns if I hecded not and ielt not. I fenr il had n hardening efi'cct upon my heart, as 1 found it much ensier to pass without giving to the last Ueggar, thon the first. The spectacle that ofiected me most, and made the most vivid impression on iny niind, of the extreme poverty and wretchedness of the poor of Dubün. was the frequency with which I met liitle chüdren in the etreet at a late hour of the night, covered with filthy rogs, nml seatcd iipnn cold stone stops, or in corners leaning ngainst brick walls, fast asleep, with none tolook upon them, none to care for ihem. If they have parents thcy have becoine vieions, and have abandoned them. Poor creatures ! they are Ieft without help, to fmd their way thto' a frowning world - n world that seems to regard them as intriidfis. and:obe punished os Huch. God help the poor ! An infidel inight aak, in view of these facts, with confusing effect - where s your religión that takes eare for the poor- for he widow and the fatherlcss - where nre its vonnes- what are they doing? The unswer to tliis wnild be, if proporly given. wasting their encries in uselcss debate on hollow creeds and points of doctrine, which. when sctiled, .ncither makc one hair whito nor black. In conversation with ome who were such rigid adherents to their aith that they would senreo bo eecn in compnny vith who difierod irom them in any point of tlieir creed, I hnvo fieard them quote the text n palliation o1' their negleet, 'The poor shall not case out of tho land'! During my stny in Dubin, I took ocension tu vicit the huts of the poor n its vicinity - nnd of uil places to witness huïan inisery, ignorancc, ileyradation, hlth and vrctclicdness, an Irish hut is pre eminent. It eems to be eonstructed to i)romotc the very reerse of evcry thing liko domcsiic comfort, if were to describo one, it would appear about six eet higli, occupying a sjacc of ground about ten eet square, covcredor ihatched witlj straw - a nud chimnoy nt one end, reacliing ubout a fooi bovè the roof - without ;ipartinents or divisions f nny kind - without floor, wiihout windows, tid 8ometimes witliout a chimney - .1 piece ol iue bonrd laid 011 the top of a box or an old chest - n pile of strnw covered with diity gurnieuts, vhieli il would puzzle any 0110 to determine the rigin.oj part of any 0110 of them - a piciure repesenting tlic crucilixiou of Chrisi, pnsted on the tost conspicuoua place on tiie Wall - a few broten 8tuck up in a corner - an iron pot, or ie half of an iron pot, in one corner of the cliimey - a little peal in the fuc-plaec, aggravating 011e occnsionally with nglimpae of fire. bul sending out very littlc heat - a man and hifi vvifo andlive childreu, and a pig. In front of tlie doorway, and wiihin a step ol it, is a lióle threo or fonr fcut dccp, and (en ür twelve feet in circumfercnco; into this hole all tlic lililí and dirt of the li ti t are put, for carcful prcscrvation. This ia frequcnlly covored wiili a scum, which at timet stands in bubbles, as decomposition gocs o. - Mero you linve an Irish hut or cabin, such ns mil-ions o( the pooplc of Ircland live in. And sotne livn in worso tlian tlu-se. Men and woíueri, (iiurried and single, old and youne, lic down togcihcr, n inuch ihe saine dcgiadation as the A merican sla vee. J sec mucli here to remind me uf niy foriner condition, and í conlesá I should be ashamed to lift up my voice against American slavory, but that 1 know the cause of hunianity isone the world over. He who really and truly l'eels for ihc American slavc, cannot steel liis hearl to ihc woes of oihers; and lic who ihinkb himscll an obolitionist, yct cannot enter into the wrongs of others, lias yet to lind a inte foundation íor hia autislavcry faith. 13ut, 10 the subjeet. The immediole, and it nny b? the nnin cause of tho extreme poverty and bcggary in Irchind, is intomperance. This may !e seen in tho fact tliai most beggars drink whiskey. The tnird doy afiei linding in Dublin, 1 met a man in onc of the tnoBt public streeis, with a white cIjiIi on the upper part of hit. face. He was feeling lus way with a cano in one hand, and ihe oiher hand was extended, eoliciting aid. I lis feeblc step and singular appearance led me to inquire into his history. I was informed that he had been a very intempcrate man, and thaion onc occasion he wns drunk. and lyiug in the strects. VVhile in this stnte of insensibility, a liog with it8 fatiga loro oíT his noae, and a part of his face! I looked undcr the cloth, and saw ihe horrible spectacle of a living man with the face of a skeleton. Drunken nej-8 3 still rile in lrelnnd. The temperance cause has done rnucli - is doing much - hut thcre is much inore to do, and, as yet, comparntively few to do it. A great part of the Roman Catholie clefgy do nothmg about it, while the Protejtant8 may bc snid to hatc the cause. I have been frequéhtly advised to have nothing to do with it, ag it would only in jure the anti-slavery cause. Jt wan most consoling to mo to find tlat ihose pjr8ons who were most interested in the antislnvery cause in t'ie Uniied States, werc the same that distingiiishcd themselves as the trucst and warmist advocates of temporalice and every other rightcotis rclorm at home."