The Plague of Dogs

John Francis Maguire
CHAPTER IX (8) start of chapter

Nor are the Bishop's reasons for thus preaching a war of extermination exhausted in the passage quoted; he condemns the use of dogs in drawing firewood, the dogs being assisted in their labour by stalwart men yoked to the same car. The Bishop wisely remarks that one horse would do the work of one hundred dogs, and be always useful; and the man who could not keep a horse might hire his neighbour's for a few days, at an expense far less than what he wastes in boots and clothes. The Bishop apprehends that his remarks may prove unpalatable; but he has the interests of the people too much at heart to conceal his sentiments on a subject of such vital importance to them, and he asserts that 'religion, education, civilisation are all suffering from this curse of dogs, worse than all the plagues of Egypt to this unfortunate country.' The lectures from which these strong passages are quoted were delivered in 1860; but I am not aware how far he was successful in turning the public sentiment in favour of sheep and against their implacable enemy, 'the noble Newfoundland.' The reader will perceive that this Irish Bishop is as vigorous as a reformer of abuse and promoter of material improvement, as he is energetic as a founder of religious and educational institutions, and builder of cathedrals. There is a genuine ring in this comprehensive counsel: 'My earnest advice would be, kill the dogs, introduce settlers, encourage domestic manufactures, home-made linen and home-spun cloth, and Newfoundland will become the Paradise of the working man.'

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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