Remittances Home

John Francis Maguire

Remittances Home—Something of the Angel still—How the Family are brought out—Remittances—A 'Mercenary'—A Young Pioneer—A Poor Irish Widow—Self-sacrifice—The Amount sent

IT is difficult to realise to the mind the magnitude of the pecuniary sacrifices made by the Irish in America, either to bring out their relatives to their adopted country, or to relieve the necessities and improve the circumstances of those who could not leave or who desired to remain in the old country. To say that they have thus disposed of a sum equal to Twenty-four Millions of British money, or, supposing there to have been no depreciation of the currency of the United States, One Hundred and Twenty Millions of Dollars, scarcely conveys the true idea of the vastness of the amount of money sent within a quarter of a century by one branch of the same great family to the other. But if it were asserted—as it might be with the most perfect accuracy—that the amount of money sent across the ocean by the Irish in America and Australia within that time would have paid for more than two-thirds of all the property that passed through the Court of Encumbered Estates in Ireland—property represented by an annual income or rental exceeding 2,000,000l.—the mind might possibly appreciate the prodigious magnitude of this heart-offering of one of the most generous and self-sacrificing of all the families of the human race. As a mere fact, more than 24,000,000l. have been sent by the Irish to pay for passages and outfits and fares to distant places; to enable those 'at home' to pay a high rent, perhaps in a time of scarcity; to support parents too old, or too feeble, or too prejudiced, to venture across the sea; or to secure the safety and education of brothers and sisters yet too young to brave the perils of a protracted voyage and a long journey in a strange country.

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