The Second Man and Woman

John Francis Maguire
CHAPTER III (6) start of chapter

The second woman settler merits special notice, were it only to prove, to would-be sceptics, that the relations between the landlord and the tenant in the old country have really something to do with the Irish peasant's migration to the New World.

Mr. and Mrs. Crehan, of Galway, had been tenants on a certain property in that county; and this property having, in some way respecting which Mrs. Crehan was a little bewildering in her explanation, come into the possession of a gentleman with a fine old Galwegian name, the tribulation of the Crehans commenced. The first thing done by the new landlord was to raise the rent on his tenants, the second to deprive them of their mountain pasture, the third to cut off the shore and its seaweed from their free use, and the fourth to persecute a cherished pig with degrading pound, and its indignant owners with harassing fines. It is the last drop that causes the glass to overflow; and possibly the wrongs inflicted on the mend of the family and traditional rentpayer filled to overflowing the brimming measure of their woes; for the Crehans made up their minds to go somewhere—anywhere—'to the end of the world'—rather than remain in a state of abject vassalage, dependent on the caprice or avarice of the gentleman with the fine old Galwegian name, 'and a holy Roman, too, if you plaze,' as Mrs. Crehan scoffingly assured me. The Parish Priest was consulted by the afflicted pair; and he, having seen the letters of the Bishop of St. John, which had been published in the Irish papers, advised them to proceed at once to New Brunswick, and take land for themselves and their children in the Johnville settlement, 'where no man or no law can take it from you or them,' added their counsellor. The advice was instantly adopted by the Crehans, to whom the now wiser landlord would have been glad to let a much larger farm than that whose rent he had so arbitrarily raised. But it was too late; and so, after paying, 'to the last farthing, everything they owed in the world,' they took ship for St. John with their large family of children, their hard-earned savings, and, what they prized scarcely less, a letter from their Parish Priest to the Bishop.

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