페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub
[blocks in formation]

CENSUS. The population returns of Great Britain, Ireland, and the United States, have been so far completed as to present general results, and these are of a most extraordinary nature. There was, perhaps, never a time when, in consequence of the extraordinary events of the fifth decade of the first half of the present century, so much interest has been manifested on both sides of the Atlantic to learn the progress of the population in both countries. The British census was taken March 31, 1851, and already 60,000,000 printed returns, of 40,000 enumerators, are condensed, and the results presented to the public, as soon as are those of the United States marshals, whose work was completed in June, 1850. It is the case, that the United States census is very comprehensive, embracing upwards of one hundred questions to each individual, but from the manner in which it has been performed, no confidence whatever can be placed in it, beyond the mere number of persons. After much inquiry in New-York city, the present writer could not ascertain that any questions were asked at all beyond the numbers, sexes, and ages in each house. The births, deaths, nativities, occupations, &c., were not inquired after at all, within the range of our acquaintance. We trust, in other parts of the country, more care has been taken; but in the census from which so much was expected, little or no confidence can be placed, as we before stated, beyond the mere enumeration of numbers. The general results of these in Great Britain, Ireland, and in the United States, are sufficiently startling. They are as follows: -UNITED STATES.

GREAT BRITAIN, IRELAND.
Blacks.

Whites.
1,001,436.. 4,304,489.. 10,472,048. 5,191,240
1810......

.1,382,810... 5,862,004. .11,964,303. .5,937,856
1820.. . 1,781,885. 7,872,711.. ..14,161,839. .6,801,827
1830......2,328,642.. . 10,537,378... ..16,366,811.. -7,734,065
1840... ..2,273,703.. .14,189,555.. ..19,064,761... 8,175,124

1850... .3,227,312. ..20,070,186.. ...20,919,531......6,515,794 From these general figures, it appears that the blacks in the United States were 23.4 per cent. of the whites in 1800, and are now 16 per cent. only, having declined 7.4 per cent. in 50 years. This has arisen not from any tardiness of increase on the part of that race, which has swollen 225 per cent. in numbers, while the Irish, who are the bond race of great Bri

1800......

tain, increased but 60 per cent. in 40 years, and had since retrograded, showing a decline from 1820; but from the rapid increase of the whites, which has multiplied on our soil fourfold, while the free race of Great Britain has only doubled. The black race on the American continent is the only one, the progress of which, as exhibited in the figures, approximates the natural course. The figures for the whites of the Union are swollen by the large immigration, which, in a lesser degree, diminishes those for Great Britain and Ireland. It is no doubt true, that the black race multiplies in a state of servitude to American citizens much faster than they would under any other similar circumstances. The black slaves of Great Britain, Spain, and France, never throve, to any great extent, because of the barbarity with which they were treated. The well known brutality of the English character, and which has become proverbial throughout the world for the treatment of dumb animals, was markedly conspicuous in the usage of slaves. In the first thirty years of the present century, eight bloody insurrections took place in the West Indies, solely in consequence of the physical sufferings of the blacks, under the brutal treatment they suffered from their English masters; and those repeated insurrections were the main cause of ultimate abolition, a cause which does not, and can never, exist in the United States, where the physical happiness of the blacks is so marked in their swelling numbers. Whenever the blacks are left to their own resources, they decline in numbers; a fact which the statistics of all countries where emancipation has taken place makes but too evident.

In the northern United States, where the numbers of free blacks are constantly receiving accessions by the emancipation and escape of slaves, there is a positive decline in numbers : thus, in the official returns for Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, and New York, the number of blacks in 1840, was 64,018, and in 1850, the number had fallen to 62,366, there being a decline of males in each state; and as a considerable portion of those now at the north had escaped from the south, it follows that the real increase of slaves is greater than shown in the figures, and the multiplication of free blacks is less. Nevertheless, the aggregate increase of the bond race in America is as three to one of the bond race of Great Britain. This relative difference of increase may be taken as an index of the comparative well being of the two races. But the superiority of condition shown by the blacks arises from the administrative care of individual white masters, while much of the distress of the Irish arises from the ruthless oppression of the British rulers. The blacks in America have, in the last ten years, increased 353,608, or 12 per cent., while the population of Ireland has decreased 1,659,330, or 20 per cent. In the previous decade, Ireland increased 9 per cent. ; a natural increase of 8 per cent. in the last decade would have given a population of 8,861,807; and as the actual population is but 6,515,794, there remains 2,346,013 persons to be accounted for. In the decade ending with 1840, 752,315 persons emigrated from the United Kingdom; of these nine tenths were Irish. In the decade ending with 1850, 1,684,892 persons emigrated from the United Kingdom. Of that number 1,100,000 were from Ireland; and of the remaining 584,000, it has been estimated 100,000 were Irish emigrants from England. This gives together, 1,200,000 Irish who have left the United Kingdom, against 670,000 in the previous decade. Now, as in that decade, the population, notwithstanding that emigration, increased 9 per cent., there remains but 530,000 of the 2,346,013 to be accounted for by emi

Wales.

Scotland.

Islands,

Ireland.

Total.

1811..... 1821....

gration; the balance is 1,816,013 souls who have perished by famine and distress. It is no doubt the case, that of these a considerable number have gone into the other British islands; but this branch of migration must have been less than usual, for the reason that the increase of the United Kingdom is also less in all its divisions than in former periods. In the official aggregate returns, the population of the United Kingdom for 1850, was 20,919,531, including army, navy, seamen, &c., against 18,655,981, exclusive of these men in public employ; making allowance for them, the population was as follows, for several periods : POPULATION OF THE UNITED KINGDOM OF GREAT BRITAIN AND IRELAND,

England. 1801 .8,331,434....541,546....1,599,068

5,191,240. ..16,663,288 . 9,538,827....611,278.... 1,813,688

5,937,856. ..17,902,156 .11,261,437....717,438....2,093,457....89,508...6,301,827. ...20,963,666 1831 13,091,005. .806,182....2,365,114...103,7 10...7,734,365. ..24,100,375 1841. .14,995,508....911,312. 2,628,957...124,079...8,175,124. .26,839,889 1851.. .16,594,275..1,011,556 2,870,784...142,916...6,515,794. ..27,135,315

Thus, exclusive of Ireland, the increase in the ten years ending with 1840, was 2,298,750, or 16 per cent., and in the last ten years, 2,263,550, or 12 per cent. only. In this diminished ratio of increase for the other British Islands, there remains no room to account for the depopulation of Ireland by emigration thither, and there are nearly 2,000,000 souls, or one out of every four of the population of one of the British Islands who have died by famine and distress, through consequence of the “ most Christian and philanthropic” government of modern times. The distress which has overwhelmed Ireland, has etidently, to a considerable extent, affected the United Kingdom; because, with all its accession of Irishmen, flying from the famine of their own country, it has not maintained its ratio of increase. The awful scenes that have presented themselves in Ireland, harrowing as they have been by reports, which the English government organs have alleged to be overstated, must have far exceeded in horror the most highly colored descriptions. The frightful fact presents itself in official figures, that, notwithstanding all the donations of the civilized world, and the awakened sympathies of all Christian countries, one out of every four Irishmen has perished by famine around the hearths of that canting race who have filled the world with sympathy for distant blacks. Of the Irish emigration, the far greater part has consisted of adults in the prime of life; it has therefore contributed to reduce the population by retarding increase almost as much as by actual diminution. These facts, combined with the augmented population of the Irish towns, would seem to indicate, that notwithstanding the awful ravages of the years of famine and pestilence, “evictions” have had quite as much to do with the unpeopling of Ireland as either hunger or disease.

It is appalling to reflect on the amount of suffering and misery which has brought about these results. The mortality among Irish emigrants on shipboard, in Canada, and New-Brunswick, and New-York, was, for three or four years, scarcely less in amount, and more terrible in form, than in Ireland itself. The surcharge of destitute Irish families in the most squalid and unhealthy quarters of English and Scotch towns, and their accumula tion in Irish towns, where (except in Belfast) there is no employment for them, is suggestive of images of heart-rending distress. The folly and

[ocr errors]

apathy of long years of bad government and social mismanagement have been awfully visited on that ill-fated country.

The “clearances” and “evictions" which were productive of so much misery, are now by the census summed up in their results; and it appears that, in addition to 1,200,000 persons driven out of the country into exile, nearly 2,000,000 had died by the way-side. That is to say, starvation and disease have destroyed more than have emigrated; although the

Times,” for obvious reasons, seeks to make the latter the prominent cause of the depopulation.

The soil of Ireland, for a long series of years, had been cultivated in patches, of which the maximum yield in potatoes, in a good year, would suffice to feed the occupier, and, by harvest work on the lands of others, he could generally manage to pay the exorbitant rents required to meet the extravagant wants of absent owners. At least half-a-million ablebodied Irishmen were in the habit of migrating annually to England, in order, by work during the harvest, to earn the rent due upon their little potato patches, which were the sole support of their families. The land owners and agents were too shrewd to grant long leases of these lands, but they were annually in the market, to exact the maximum rent that could be obtained from starving millions who had no hope but in the occupancy of a potato patch. Lands so occupied, and cultivated under such circumstances, run out” speedily, as a matter of course, and when the potato blight swept away the crops for which the enormous rents were undertaken, and the occupier found himself at once without food for his family or rent for his landlord—without the ability to stay or the means to fly-he encountered the mandate to quit the premises. All those who could command the necessary sum of money emigrated; and the returns of the emigration commissioners show that nearly $5,000,000 per annum were remitted from America, by friends of the destitute, to assist them in escaping death by starvation at home. Those utterly destitute were, by the bailiff, driven from the huts, the women and children dragged out, and the cabin levelled with the ground by fire or otherwise.

“It was a piteous spectacle, on Thursday, in the midst of the pouring rain, to see children led by their parents out from their houses into the street; to see mothers kneel down on the wet ground, and, holding their children up to heaven, beg relief from the Almighty, and strength to endure their afflictions. The cries of bereaved men and women, running half frantic through the streets, or cowering from the rain and wind under the shelter of their poor furniture, piled confusedly about, were affecting in the extreme. To see, amid all this misery, ten or twelve burly ruffians from Nenagh, assailing the houses with crow-bars, and to hear their cries of exultation as a wall yielded to their assaults, or a roof tumbled down with a crash, the spectator should be callous, that could avoid being greatly affected by the scene. I should suppose that the entire number turned out of their houses on Thursday would reach one hundred and fifty families, or six hundred individuals. Of this number I could learn that about thirty families, or, on an average of four to each family, about one hundred and twenty persons, were to be allowed other dwellings in the village. So that four hundred and eighty persons, or one hundred and twenty families, would thus appear to be thrown on the waves of the world,' as some of the unfortunate people themselves stated it. I wont attempt to describe what is indescribablethe soul-harrowing condition of the poor wretches in the wigwams, at the time I was leaving Toomevara, eight o'clock in the evening.”—TIPPERARY VINDICATOR.

“The practice of the depopulating whole neighborhoods, in emulation of the example so lately set by the Hon. and Rev. Massy Dawson, has been again resorted to, this week, by the Hon. Col. Sewell

, according to whose ukase, his agent, Mr. John Kelly, of Woodmount, levelled Fifty-six houses at Creggs, near Ballygar, in this county. Fifty-six families turned out, roofless and foodless, to perish by the way-side, without a single penny from the Hon. Colonel to provide even a single meal on their melancholy exodus!"

“ The work of extermination is proceeding, with all its concomitant horrors, throughout this unfortunate country. I have just heard that two hundred persons have been cast out from the Dawson property, in the Glen of Aherlow, and a very large number cleared out from no less than seven properties in the neighborhood of Slievenamon."

"The Archbishop of Tuam says: 'On the morning of last Saturday, on setting out from Headsford, the corpse of a young man, who died of hunger on the preceding night, was seen stretched on the road-side. I saw the scenes of eviction and desolation, as I traversed the parish to the shores of Lough Corrib. I could not believe that any one parish could exhibit so many monuments of heartless cruelty. It is no wonder if death, in every form of disease and starvation, followed in the train of this depopulating system. The misery, however, was deepening as we advanced; and the wretchedness of the poor of this remote and much-neglected region is such that I will not occupy the time, nor harrow the feelings of the reader, by its description.'

"In the Kilrush Union, county of Clare, several of the evicted tenantry are living in turf-pits, scooped out of the bogs, and covered in at the top with some branches of trees. From these cavities the smoke, at times, is seen ascending, and the passer-by would hardly have known that the bog was inhabited by a subterranean population. In one locality there are as many as twenty of these bog-dungeons, with families in them. Your correspondent lately heard one of the highest employees of the poor-law staff give a dreadfully graphic picture of the scene he had witnessed in Kilrush. He had got down into one of these bogdungeons, in which a family were lying in fever, and he succeeded in moving some of them, but the odor of the place was so overpowering that he was compelled to retreat."

" In the district of Dunharrow, on nearly all the properties of that barony, there is scarcely a sign of a human habitation, except in the dilapidated ruins of what, at no distant day, were happy homes.' The Derry Castle and the Coumbeg, and several other properties, are almost altogether depopulated. It is melancholy to pass through the country, and see none of those evidences of life which a few years ago cheered the traveler, and made him rejoice at the appearance of the people. Between Nenagh and Cloughjordan-a distance of about six miles-nearly all the houses have been tumbled down, and that line of road presents an equally gloomy and terrible aspect. Between Cloughjordan and Borrisokane the Rev. Mr. 'Prench ejected forty families, comprising about two hundred and fifty souls, from the property called Forty Acres. The houses are removed—a fence wall has been built around the property by the stones that were taken from those houses! A Mr. Ely has ejected and tumbled down the houses of a great number of persons, also in the same district; but the houses are left standing, and seem, as if they were the DEBRIS left after the cannonading of some hostile army. Between Borrissokane and Nenagh, the work of destruction has also been progressing, to some extent. It sickens the heart when one looks

upon

the country-desolate as if the scythe of death had mowed down the population. Miles may be traveled, and scarcely a human being can be seen, except some tottering starveling endeavoring to make his way to the relieving officer! In many places the poor are living on nettles, which they endeavor to bite and eat; and in other places they drain the streams of water-cresses to appease the ravages of hunger."

These were some of the processes by which the depopulation of Ireland has been effected.

The accounts which from time to time appeared during the height of the distress were treated as exaggerations by the London Times, but

« 이전계속 »