Prosperity of the Irish on Prince Edward Island

John Francis Maguire
CHAPTER II (4) start of chapter

In no one proof of progress or evidence of solid and substantial comfort were the Irish settlers behind their Scotch or English or native-born neighbours. Their land was in as good condition, there was as great activity in clearing, their cattle were as numerous and as valuable, their hay and their potatoes were as good and as abundant; there was not even the suspicion of inferiority in any respect whatever, whether of capacity or in success.

I had the satisfaction of seeing the interior of several of the dwellings of my countrymen—men who were indebted wholly to their industry and energy for all that they possessed; and the interior in no way belied the promise of the exterior. Homely comfort was the prevailing characteristic. In Ireland these men would be described as 'warm farmers,' or 'strong farmers.' Not a few of them had bought the fee-simple of their farms at a moderate price, and they then held them by a title as good as that by which Queen Victoria holds her crown. Were there nothing in the name or in the manner of the settler to denote his origin, the little library—the dozen or twenty of Irish books—stirring prose or passionate poetry —would be evidence sufficient of his nationality. The wrongs, the sorrows, the ancient glories, the future hopes of Ireland—these are the most acceptable themes to the expatriated children of the Irish race.

There was life and bustle in every direction, the farmers being hard at work getting in their potatoes, which were large and perfectly sound; and in this agreeable work men and women were actively engaged.

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