Cause of Poverty of the Irish in Halifax

John Francis Maguire
CHAPTER I (10) start of chapter

Of the entire number of inmates in this Halifax institution, about two-thirds are Irish; and according to the united testimony of the secretary and two gentlemen of local eminence, the greater number of them owed their social ruin to the one fruitful cause of evil to the Irish race—that which tracks them across the ocean, and follows them in every circumstance and condition of life—that which mars their virtues and magnifies their failings—that which is in reality the only enemy they have occasion to dread, for it is the most insidious, the most seductive, and the most fatal of all—drink. Remarking on the fact mentioned, the gentleman by whom I was accompanied, a man of long and varied experience, said:—'All can do well here if they only abstain from drink, or if they will drink in moderation; but drink is the ruin of men here, just as in the old country. No matter how a man starts, though without a cent in his pocket, he can make money here, provided he is well-conducted, and does not drink.' Happily, however, the number of the victims was but small.

The Irish in America, first published in 1868, provides an invaluable account of the extreme difficulties that 19th Century Irish immigrants faced in their new homeland and the progress which they had nonetheless made in the years since arriving on a foreign shore. A new edition, including additional notes and an index, has been published by Books Ulster/LibraryIreland:

Paperback: 700+ pages The Irish in America

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