A graceful Gift

John Francis Maguire
CHAPTER II (13) start of chapter

The Sisters in Charlottetown, as I have said, teach in a free school which is not attached to their residence; and when the hard winter sets in, and the snow lies deep on the ground for months, the journey to and from the external school is not a little trying to delicate women. To provide against this inconvenience, and enable the Sisters to visit the sick, and transact their business with greater expedition and safety, the Catholics of the town presented them with an elegant close carriage and harness, all finished in the most admirable style of local workmanship; and this thoughtful present was accompanied with an address, which, written and read by an excellent Irishman (the Hon. Edward Wheelan), was a model of simplicity and brevity. The gift was received in a corresponding spirit to that in which it had its origin, and was acknowledged with graceful warmth on behalf of the gratified community. Among the deputation were such genuine Irish names as Brennan, Reddin, Connolly, Murphy, McCarron, McKenna, Wheelan, Riley, McQuaid, and Gaffney—all 'racy of the soil.'

A poor man might do much worse than turn his face to Prince Edward Island, where land can be had cheap, and where, to use the emphatic words of the Governor, 'the farmers clamour for help.' Here, however, as throughout the British provinces, I found the tendency of the young of both sexes was towards the United States, which offered the resistless attraction of higher wages and a wider field for individual enterprise.

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