Irish who settle on the Land

John Francis Maguire

Irish who settle on the Land—Their Success—Their Progress in St. John—Three Irishmen—A Small Beginning—Testimony of a Belfast Independent—Position of Irish Catholics—The Church in New Brunswick—A Sweet Bit—Missionary Zeal—Catholicity in St. John—Past and Present

THERE are large districts in New Brunswick almost exclusively occupied by Irish Catholics, who have been from twenty to forty years in the province. Many and anxious were the enquiries which I made in every quarter, from persons in various conditions of life, and holding opposite opinions on most public questions; and it is but simple justice to the representatives of the Irish race in that portion of the American continent to state, that the universal testimony was in favour of their thrift, industry, energy, and honesty. This was the testimony, not merely of members of their own Church, who might naturally be inclined to exaggerate the merits, or to deal leniently with the demerits, of those of their own faith and country; it was the testimony of Scotch Presbyterians, English Protestants, and the aristocratic descendants of the original colonists. I have been repeatedly assured that the Irish were amongst the best settlers in the province; and were I, from a feeling of false delicacy, to refrain from repeating this creditable judgment in their favour, I should be doing them a grievous wrong, and denying them a merit freely accorded to them by those who, however individually just and fair-minded, entertain no special love either for their country or their creed.

As a rule, then, admitting of rare exceptions, the Irish who settle on the land, and devote themselves to its cultivation, do well, realise property, accumulate money, surround themselves with solid comforts, and bring up their families respectably.

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