The Dark Shadow

John Francis Maguire
CHAPTER VIII (17) start of chapter

There is a shadow, a dark shadow, in this bright picture of prosperity and progress—the spirit of bigotry—the spirit of unnatural hate. It is expressed in one pregnant word—Orangeism. Pity indeed that it should exist in that land of free institutions and good laws. Pity that it should mar its peace, or retard its progress. Pity that, from any reason, motive, or object, it should be encouraged by any class. Pity that it is not trampled inexorably under foot, not by harsh enactment, but by the good sense and right feeling of the wise and the patriotic, acting on the public mind of the Protestant portion of the community. Its influence is felt in every department of public and private life, if not in all, at least in too many districts of Upper Canada. Its baneful presence is perceptible in the heart of the country as in the city and the town. I know that many good and enlightened Protestant Irishmen—men who are staunch to their faith, for which they would face any danger or endure any sacrifice—deplore the existence of this, one of the deadly curses of our Irish people, and do all they possibly can to neutralise its venom, and counteract its evil influence. I believe it to be a barrier to the progress —the more rapid progress—of Canada; it not only checks emigration, but it also induces migration; it prevents many from coming, and—often unconsciously—it impels many to leave. What Canada requires, in order to realise the hopes of her statesmen and her patriots, is more men and women, more millions—not of the kid-glove school, but of the strong, the vigorous, and the resolute—of the same class as those who have reclaimed her wastes, built up her cities, and constructed her highways—those sons and daughters of toil, without whose fructifying labour there can be no progress, no civilisation. Undoubtedly great and prosperous as is this sturdiest of the offspring of the mother country, she requires some additional millions of human beings ere she expands in reality to the full measure of her new-coined designation—the Dominion of Canada. And it is neither wise nor patriotic, in any class or section of the population, from any motive or object whatever, to foster or encourage, in the very heart of the body politic, a source of evil which bears sufficiently bitter fruit at the other side of the Atlantic and at both sides of the Boyne—but which, by the waters of the St. Lawrence and the Ottawa, should be doomed to wither beneath public contempt.

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

ebook: The Irish in America