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•? ^^ 

Cfie RISH 



Clean literature and clean 
womanhood are the keystones 
of civilization: — this aphoris- 
tically defines the ideals of 
The Devin-Adair imprint. 




" Inflamed with the study of learning 
and the admiration of virtue; stirred 
up with high hopes of living to be 
brave men and worthy patriots, dear 
to God and famous to all ages." 
— Milton. 



Copyright. 1918, by 
The Devin-Adair Compant 

All rights reserved by the Devin-Adair Company 




Foreword vii 

Appreciation xv 

I. Saints and Scholars . . 3 

II. Undying Nationhood . . 15 

III. The Leaven of Democracy 33 

IV. The Sea-divided Gael . . 53 
V. Wit and Grit 73 

VI. Irish Idealism , . . • 95 


By Joseph I. C. Clarke 
President-General of the American Irish His- 
torical Society 

EVERYBODY with a heart that 
beats with the love of humanity at 
large, no less than the Irish themselves, 
will find joy and refreshment in this 
demonstration by our author of a theme 
so unconsciously daring as "Why God 
Loves the Irish." His treatment of the 
problem involved amply relieves the Al- 
mighty of making the slightest mistake 
in His well-known preference for the 
branch of the Celtic race which made 
Ireland its home and a fresh point of 
departure for capturing the esteem and 


love and good things of the rest of the 

In the clearer light of the higher 
thought things steal upon the vision that 
to the grosser senses in the poorer glow 
of what is aptly called "common" sense 
had an altogether different aspect. 
There are Irish writers who pass their 
time dwelling on the misfortunes of their 
race. Not so Mr. Desmond. He sees 
something better, something finer, some- 
thing infinitely cheering in it all. And 
he tells it in his own way, making the 
reader his accomplice before he is aware 
of it. When he has won you to admira- 
tion by some startling fact in the world- 
round Irish story, he drops in an Irish 
anecdote, a welcome quip, a bit of quot- 
ed epigram that wakens a laugh or at 
least a sympathetic smile to testify to 


your enjoyment. And the modest bulk 
of his book shows that he has trusted to 
the force and cogency and not the ex- 
hausting length of his argument. Read 
it and discover it all. 

The author's theme will awaken many 
grave minds to some wrestling with the 
olden question of the human aspect of 
God's providence. How many have 
avoided seeking a conclusion thereon, 
and have left it among the unsolvable 
mysteries I Even those who, in the rap- 
tures of piety, adore the Creator as 
the divine, all embracing principle of 
love and question not His duress to His 
creatures, seek no solution this side of 
the grave of the hard fate meted out so 
often to His deserving children. Our 
author does not refer the question to the 
next world so far as the Irish are con- 


cemed, and he has perspicacity enough 
to see that by a parallel road the Jews, 
so long-suffering through the ages, are 
marching along with the Celts of Ire- 
land to new and greater victories than 
marked their story of old. The process 
modernises the equation. 

A learned Japanese chemist has been 
lately proclaiming that the subtle fla- 
vors of all our staple foods are simply 
slight variants of a single definite sub- 
stance whose presence is to be accounted 
for as Dame Nature's sly recommenda- 
tion to the human palate of all things 
truly edible. No doubt at all the ingre- 
dients of the Irish soul include a similar 
essence, and its richness is to my mind 
one of the proofs of what our author so 
powerfully and merrily contends for — 
the love of God for the Irish. 



One of the great defenses of the Irish 
even in Ireland's darkest century was 
their sense of humor. And what an as- 
set is an indestructible cheerfulness ! He 
who laughs at fate will outlive it. He 
surely has something beside, some su- 
perior fibre of being that will tell in 
time. But God's love of the Irish, de- 
spite their material plight and their long 
cheerless outlook to other eyes, was 
shown when He imbedded in their na- 
ture courage, devotion to ideals, and a 
love of learning that never was crushed 
out and failed not even when access to 
the founts of knowledge was denied 
them for a couple of hundred years. 
Here, then, was a stored soul energy, a 
latent brilliancy of intellect, both await- 
ing a providential lifting of the weight 
of oppression. It came, as it had to 



The Irish who left Ireland soon 
proved that the Celt had conquering ele- 
ments and winning qualities to make 
rosy his way. What figure of power 
and intellect Irishmen have made in 
the world, and particularly in our great 
Republic of America, must answer, in 
the light of fame, for such rude con- 
quest as the peoples, luckier materially, 
have made in masses with the sword. 
The American Irish have a record to be 
proud of. How aptly our author quotes 
Chesterton: "Rome has conquered na- 
tions, but Ireland has conquered 

One joins heartily in the author's 
glorying in the risen fortunes of the 
Gael and his pervasive and cheery pres- 
ence in posts of honor and emolument all 
round the globe — posts won by brain- 


power and sustained by physical power 
that is and has been his trade-mark — 
the invariable accompaniment of the 
stalwart reproductiveness of his race. 
Nothing that I know of has touched this 
off more happily than the lines in T. 
C. Irwin's wonderful "Potato-Digger's 

As the great sun sets in glory furled. 

Faith, it's grand to think as I watch his face. 

If he never sets on the English world. 
He never, lad, sets on the Irish race. 



By Maurice Francis Egan 

Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipo- 
tentiary of the United States to 

COMING back to God's own coun- 
try, not in the best of health or 
spirits, I find a glimpse of real enjoy- 
ment in Desmond's "Why God Loves 
the Irish." Much of my early educa- 
tion had taught me that God loved the 
Jews, — in Philadelphia we still read the 
Old Testament, — but I had never been 
taught that He specially loved the Irish, 
though I knew that they loved Him, — 
principally because they felt that one 
day He would properly chastise the 


English! But that is past now; and 
Desmond has made me understand seri- 
ously why God loves the Irish ; for one 
reason they are in love with perfection 
and consequently, in love with God. 

Every Irish father who wants his 
children to be proud of the good blood 
in them would do well to buy this little 
volume; it will make better Americans 
of them, and make them understand 
that they must live up to the traditions 
of a great race. 

I am filled with envy when I think 
that it is a descendant of those foreign- 
ers, the Desmonds, who is moved to 
write this enchanting book. It ought to 
Have been an out-and-out Celt; — but, 
nevertheless, it will help people, like the 
O'Sullivans and the MacEgans and the 
Murphys and the O'Reillys, to forget 


that these Desmonds were ever Nor- 

It is no use for men of Irish blood to 
imagine that their children will under- 
stand the value of the qualities of that 
blood, unless they are taught something 
of its glories. 

Let me thank you for sending the vol- 
ume to me; it will save me the wear and 
tear of choosing proper Christmas and 
birthday gifts for the rest of my life. 


'*The nations have fallen, and thou still art 
Thy sun is but rising, when others are set; 
And tho' slavery's cloud o'er thy morning 
hath hung, 
The full noon of freedom shall beam round 
thee yet. 
Erin, O Erin, tho' long in the shade. 
Thy star will shine out when the proudest 

shall fade." 

— Moore, 




WE spent a few hours with 
Michael Davitt, one afternoon, 
during his last visit to this country. The 
conversation drifted to the topic nearest 
his heart — the future of the Irish people 
the world over, and especially their so- 
cial betterment. 

Some facts of the United States cen- 
sus were then fresh in our mind, in con- 
nection with a study we were making 
of Irish immigration. We thought it 
would interest Mr. Davitt to have the 
figures of the United States census, 
showing that Irish- Americans, propor- 



tionately, led all other Americans in one 
special vocation — that of teaching. 

There were fifty per cent, more Irish- 
Americans acting as guardians of the 
law in the capacity of policemen, than 
there were Irish- American liquor deal- 
ers. And there were three times as 
many Irish-American teachers as there 
were Irish- American policemen. 

This information was very pleasing 
to Mr. Davitt, who said: 

"It is racial! It is characteristic! It 
is the old function of the Celt reassert- 
ing itself. We were once 'the Isle of 
Saints and Scholars.' We taught Eu- 
rope. They tried to degrade us with 
penal laws and landlordism, but these 
things are passing and we are reassert- 
ing ourselves. We belong in the school- 
rooms of the world!" 


It is a far cry from the twentieth back 
to the seventh and ninth centuries, when 
Ireland was "the light of Western Eu- 
rope" ; but the testimony in the case may 
be found in the pages of many erudite 
German and French writers. 

"Till the Norse invasion broke over 
Ireland, at the end of the eighth cen- 
tury, the Irish Church was, both in 
learning and in missionary enthusiasm, 
the pioneer of European progress," says 
Prof. J. Howard Masterman, M. A. of 
Oxford, in his "Rights and Responsi- 
bihties of National Churches," p. 5 

This time the wise men came from the 
West, and not only as missionaries, but 
as teachers. Irish bishops occupied sees 
in France, Germany, Switzerland, and 
Italy, a chain of Irish monasteries ex- 


tended from Brittany to Bulgaria, and 
the names of more than two hundred 
Irish saints went upon the calendar of 

The Irish saint next in repute to St. 
Patrick — St. Columbkille — made lona 
the island fortress of western Christian- 
ity, from which, for a hundred years, is- 
sued a stream of missionaries and teach- 
ers. It was upon his visit to this spot, 
many centuries later, that Dr. Johnson 
wrote the resounding words : "That man 
is little to be envied whose patriotism 
would not gain force on the plains of 
Marathon or whose piety would not 
grow warmer among the ruins of lona." 

Northern England, as well as Scot- 
land, was evangelized by Irish monks, 
and hundreds of English students 
crossed the Irish Sea to study in Irish 


colleges. By what perverse fate do 
we find other Englishmen, a thousand 
years later, coming to Ireland to stamp 
out her fires of learning by acts of Par- 
liament ! The penal laws not only ban- 
ished the priest, but they outlawed the 
schoolmaster. The rudiments of educa- 
tion had to be retained by stealth : 

Within the lonely rath, beneath the moun- 
tain fern, 
The schoolmaster and scholar met, felo- 
niously to learn. 

This incorrigible people could not be 
reduced to ignorance, because they 
could not forget their heritage of learn- 
ing and the tradition that they once held 
the intellectual hegemony of Europe. 
So to-day and in the years immediately 
preceding the present great European 


war, our immigration officials report 
that of the army of Irish immigrants 
landing at our ports, but slightly over 
one per cent, are illiterate. 

Our literature teems with eulogies of 
the Puritans and the Huguenots, be- 
cause of the sturdy moral qualities they 
developed out of trials and persecu- 
tions. The Irish and the Jews passed 
through far more drastic ordeals; but 
because there is not that clear thinking 
which perceives, above all prejudice, 
that the admirable thing is the heroism 
of the struggle, rather than one's par- 
ticular liking for the principles or the 
beliefs preserved, the Irishman and the 
Jew have not been adequately appreci- 
ated. They do not, however, themselves 
fail in mutual recognition of the higher 
altitudes they occupy. 



A Jewish mayor in an Iowa city made 
the opening address at St. Patrick's 
church fair. He paralleled what the 
Jews and the Irish had endured to pre- 
serve their faiths. He grew eloquent 
over the fidelity of the Irish; like the 
Jews, they had sat by the rivers of 
Babylon and wept as they remembered 
Zion. "And, my friends, let me say, in 
conclusion, that I was born a Jew, I 
have lived a Jew, and in all probability 
I will die a Jew; but if ever I should 
have occasion to change my religion, I 
would become an Irish Catholic." 

The Irish race preferred their con- 
science arid their religion to peace and 
prosperity. That is, fundamentally, 
the preference which leads a man of 
honor to adhere to his principles even at 
the cost of advancement and emolu- 




ment. In the valuations of citizenship, 
one such man is worth ten other men of 
sordid motive and apathetic spirit. The 
ordeal by which the Irish as a race have 
proven themselves — their steadfastness 
to their beliefs — should justify a high 
appraisal of their qualifications for citi- 
zenship, particularly in the matter of 
moral courage. And this has been ex- 
emplified wherever the Irishman has 
been put to the test ; this glory has been 
upon his head: that of a man whose 
courage in the hour of danger can al- 
ways be relied upon. 

If an oppressed people feel that they 
are standing up for a spiritual as well 
as a temporal cause, not only is their re- 
sistance more heroic, but the ordeal is 
better endured. There is less damage to 
the character and morale of a race thus 


tried in a furnace of persecution seven 
times heated. 

Their religion conserved for the Irish 
the soul of civilization; and so long as 
they held to it, their tyrants found it im- 
possible to press them down into a con- 
dition of abject slavery. Had the op- 
pressors succeeded in stifling the reli- 
gion of the Irish, the consequences 
would have been most disastrous. The 
character of the nation would have been 
lowered. The renegade spirit would 
run into all other convictions and rela- 

Their morality has been preserved, as 
well as their manliness, by fidelity to 
faith. Their wonderful power of re- 
cuperation amid the surroundings of 
liberty and progress is due to the latent 



civilization contained in their virile 

An Irish American priest, Father 
Shealy, puts the case this way: "The 
one awful failure to a nation is to fall 
from her ideals, to give up striving, to 
sell her soul to power and avarice or 
aught that serves the sordid sway of 
pride and passion. That, indeed, is fail- 
ure which succeeds at the price of virtue 
and honor. 

"Ireland might have been rich and 
favored. She might have merged her 
identity and her faith in an alien empire 
and alien worship. But she fought and 
died; she starved and agonized; and in 
defeat she has conquered. Her spirit 
still lives on." 





SUPPOSE that the well-prepared 
mvasion of France in those weeks 
following August 1, 1914, had not been 
turned back at the battle of the Marne, 
and that the blond superman of the 
north had come to possess and perma- 
nently rule over the fair fields of 

In the course of a century the Ger- 
man schoolmaster might be teaching 
Europe that this great conquest was the 
triumph of the civilization of the Elbe 
and the Vistula over the disorganized 
civilization of the Seine, — Teutonic effi- 


ciency prevailing as a question of su- 
perior Kultur over Gallic individualism 
and decadence. 

Let the centuries roll on, and how the 
past glories of the conquered fade and 
are obliterated under the mastership of 
those who are making history, — and 
writing it! "Where, to-day, are the 
great cities of antiquity?" exclaimed an 
Irish orator, — "perished so utterly that 
it is doubtful whether they ever ex- 
isted." A thousand years hence. Na- 
poleon might be a legend, Austerlitz or 
Jena smiled at as myths, and the salons 
of Paris and the art galleries of Ver- 
sailles as forgotten as "the harp that 
once thro' Tara's halls the soul of music 

How easily might the theory come 
to prevail among the dominant Ger- 


mans of A. D. 3000 that the rebellious 
French, reduced economically to hewers 
of wood and drawers of water, were 
totally unfit for self-government ! 

This is the situation from which the 
Irish have been emerging. The British 
middle class, who, according to Mat- 
thew Arnold, * 'exhibit a narrow range 
of intellectual knowledge, a stunted 
sense of beauty, and a low standard of 
manners," have always felt divinely 
called to impose their will as a benevo- 
lent despotism upon the Irish. 

At a time when Edmund Burke was 
hailed as a great statesman, when 
George III. had publicly thanked him 
for his "Reflections on the French Rev- 
olution," and that book was lying on the 
table of every great house in England, 
Burke, with his increased prestige, was 


besought by an Irish friend to use his 
opportunity and do something for Ire- 
land ; but he rephed that as regards Ire- 
land he was absolutely without in- 
fluence. They would let him help rule 
England and rearrange Europe, but 
they would not take a suggestion from 
this cleverest of Irishmen as to Irish 
affairs. That epitomizes the reason- 
ableness of English doubt of Irish fit- 
ness for self-government. 

As late as 1825, Sydney Smith de- 
clared that "the moment the very name 
of Ireland is mentioned, the English 
seem to bid adieu to common feeling, 
common prudence, and common sense, 
and to act with the barbarity of tyrants 
and the fatuity of idiots." 

"It is," said Judge Morris (once head 
of the Irish bench), "the case of a very 


unimaginative people attempting to 
govern a very imaginative and clever 
people, and you see the result." Eng- 
land finds Ireland intractable, — 

The lovely and the lonely bride 

That we have wedded, but have never won. 

Victory is not always an essential to 
glory, otherwise the heroism at Ther- 
mopylae would not have been the pride 
of Greece for all generations. 

The Irish, as a nation, have not fared 
fortunately in the jostle of times and 
events. Ireland has been described as 
"the Niobe of nations," 

Childless and crownless in her voiceless 

But there must be stamina in a race 
that, banished and massacred, hunted 


and famine-plagued, has kept the flag 
of its nationality flying through so many 
vicissitudes; notwithstanding which, it 
still has the vitality of a new life about 

'Beauty's ensign yet is crimson In her lips 

and in her cheek, 
And death's pale flag is not advanced 


The late Governor Robert L. Taylor, 
of Tennessee, after a survey of Ire- 
land's heroic stmggle for nationality, 
has this appreciation: 

"If I were a sculptor I would chisel 
in marble my ideal of a hero. I would 
make it the figure of an Irishman sac- 
rificing his hopes and his life on the 
altar of his country, and I would carve 


on its pedestal the name of Robert 

"If I were a painter I would make 
the canvas eloquent with the deeds of 
the bravest people who ever lived, whose 
proud spirit no power can ever conquer 
and whose loyalty and devotion to the 
hopes of free government no tyrant can 
ever crush. And I would write under 
the picture 'Ireland.' 

"If I were a poet, I would touch the 
heart of humanity with the mournful 
threnody of Ireland's wrongs and 
Erin's woes. I would weave the sham- 
rock and the rose into garlands of glory 
for the Emerald Isle, the land of mar- 
tyrs and memories, the cradle of heroes, 
the nursery of liberty." 

A great American commander was 


much applauded for fighting it out on 
one line "if it took all summer." The 
Irish have backed the principle of Home 
Rule through forty summers of hope 
and winters of disappointment, "never 
doubting that the clouds would break." 
If this is not an evidence of the real 
moral force of the race, where is there a 
better test? IMany things happened to 
turn them from their stern chase; but 
their tenacity of purpose never wavered. 
Even their enemies must concede them 
the distinction implied. 

The Ulster Irish also are a tenacious 
people. They come of Covenanter 
stock. They showed it at the siege of 
Derry. But Ulster tenacity is faced 
by Irish Nationalist tenacity — older, 
stronger, deeper, more patient, and — ' 



It is not improbable that northeast 
Ulster may change its views in the com- 
ing years. There are many broad and 
patriotic Irish Protestants. They dom- 
inated the situation as patriotic Irish- 
men in 1782, and they yielded scores 
of heroes in 1798. The tenacity of 
the north-of-Ireland Protestants may 
change its base and display itself in bet- 
ter policies. 

But the tenacity of the Irish Nation- 
alist will never let go of its cherished 
aim and purpose. It is destined to be 
the triumphant tenacity — *'face for- 
ward" for all time, resolving, 

Never to look behind me for an hour, 
To wait in weakness and to walk in power. 
But always fronting onward to the light. 
Always and always facing toward the right, 


Robbed, starved, defeated, fallen, wide 

On with what strength I ha^e. 

John Mitchel, himself an Ulster Pro- 
testant, wrote; "The passionate aspi- 
ration of Ireland for freedom will out- 
live the British Empire." 

Marshall P. Wilder, famous among 
New Yorkers as an after-dinner 
speaker, often repeated an Irishman's 
toast to an English friend: "Here's to 
you, as good as you are; and here's to 
me, as bad as I am. But as good as you 
are and as bad as I am, I am as good 
as you are as bad as I am." This senti- 
ment may be applied to the government 
of Ireland. Let the Irish try it them- 
selves. Let them have riotous elections 
if necessary. Let them have Kilkenny 


parliaments. Let the Speaker of the 
House use a shillalah for a gavel. Let 
the honorable member from Donny- 
brook "hurl the foul insinuations of the 
honorable member from Drogheda back 
into the throat of the cowardly de- 

Even so. With all this lack of de- 
corum, the Irish could not make a worse 
failure of the government of Ireland 
than have the English. Even in the 
enlightened nineteenth century the 
English attempt to govern Ireland has 
been a record of coercion and famine, 
eviction and depopulation, jury-pack- 
ing, suppression of public meetings, and 
the jailing of Ireland's best patriots. 
No ; even a Donnybrook fair would rule 
Ireland with better wisdom and better 



In the dawning of a better England, 
the Irishman has been called to rule 
nearly every portion of the British Em- 
pire except his native soil. Speaking 
at Quebec in 1878, Lord Dufferin, an 
Irishman, then Governor-General of 
Canada, genially observed: 

"There is no doubt that the world is 
best administered by Irishmen. Things 
never went better with us, either at 
home or abroad, than when Lord Pal- 
merston ruled Great Britain, Lord 
Mayo governed India, Lord Monck di- 
rected the destinies of Canada, and the 
Robinsons, the Kennedys, the Laffans, 
the Callaghans, the Gores, the Hennes- 
sys administered the affairs of our Aus- 
tralian colonies and West Indian pos- 




So, in the process of the solution of 
the Irish land question, the final and 
drastic measure of relief came through 
the constructive talent of George 
Wyndham, a great-grandson of an 
Irish rebel of 1798. Mr. Wyndham's 
Land Act of 1903, says Sir Horace 
Plunkett, was put through Parliament 
by "the masterly tact, temper and abil- 
ity" with which he handled the situa- 

There is a story of the father of Han- 
nibal, the Carthaginian general, that he 
took his son into one of the temples of 
the African city and induced him to 
swear upon the altar never to make 
peace with the Roman people, but to 
wage incessant warfare against them 
until their pride should be humbled. 

History tells us how well Hannibal 


kept his promise. He laid plans for 
years. Then he swept the Romans out 
of Spain. He crossed the Alps and 
routed one Roman army after another 
until his soldiers were in sight of the 
walls of Rome. Had he gone right 
ahead and not paused before attacking 
the ancient London, he might have con- 
quered effectually. 

Hannibal's purpose of enmity is 
cherished by every descendant of the 
Irish race without the formula of an 
oath. Everywhere to meddle with the 
designs of England ; everywhere to beat 
down her power; everywhere to nullify 
her treaties and to interfere with her 
friendships; everywhere to injure her 
commerce — such is the instinctive spirit 
of the race. It is a taste for world-wide 



In the seat of peace tumultuous wars 
Shall kin with kin, and kind with kind con- 
Prevent it, resist it, let it not be so. 
Lest child, child's children cry against you, 
Woe ! — Shakespeare, 

Anglo-Saxons may talk of a "com- 
mon Shakespeare," and great leaders 
may speak of a *'kin beyond the sea," 
but the presence of an element running 
into the millions ; following the English- 
man everywhere; becoming more intel- 
ligent and more effective ; more wealthy 
and more astute; holding the bal- 
ance of power in English-speaking leg- 
islatures, and stealing into the courts 
and navies of great nations, cannot be 
overlooked. There is an "irrepressible 
conflict." There must be a final settle- 


the leaven of 



EVERYBODY recalls "II Bacio," 
a famous waltz song composed by 
Arditi in the middle of the last cen- 
tury. He tells us that this wistful 
melody came to him during a vacation 
among the hills and valleys of western 

He jotted it down on an envelope 
and later finished it at the request of 
a great soprano whose engagement he 
was managing in England and who 
wished a new song. The song was an 
instant success. Arditi did not grow 


rich out of it, but it made him famous. 
The music pubhshers reaped the har- 
vest. Flaxman, who bought the French 
rights, made one hundred thousand dol- 
lars out of the winsome song, and he 
pointed to a fine building in Paris as a 
monument to his profits. 

How many other melodies have 
sounded and sobbed through the iEo- 
lian harp of the Irish hills and valleys, 
to be caught up and made world-pos- 
sessions, but without credit! How 
many fine fancies, how many germinal 
ideas, how many moving thoughts have 
come to mankind in like manner from 
the life and lore of the same people! 

Henry George got the germ of his 

"Progress and Poverty" from the 

writings of the Irish recluse, J. Fintan 

Lalor. Karl Marx came to London in 



the mid-60's to write his bible of So- 
cialism from texts found in the works 
of the Irishman, William Thomson, — 
so says Dr. Anton Menger, professor 
of jurisprudence in the University of 
Vienna. Neal Dow, the father of pro- 
hibition, is quoted as saying that he got 
his inspiration from Father Mathew. 

And so we may conjecture with 
more or less plausibility "adown the 
ages": Copernicus may have studied 
that old ecclesiastical controversy of 
the eighth century, wherein the Irish 
bishop, Virgilius, argued the sphericity 
of the earth ; Columbus may have been 
inspired by the "Voyages of St. Bren- 
dan," of which there were many trans- 
lations in his time; and Dante, as a 
widely read man, may have been famil- 
iar with the legend of St. Patrick's 


Purgatory, which might well have sug- 
gested the * 'Inferno." 

A brilliant Irish-American, Ignatius 
Donnelly, has complained that the 
greater part of history is simply "re- 
corded legends," while the rest repre- 
sents merely "the passions of factions, 
the hates of sects, or the servility and 
venality of historians." In our age we 
are rewriting history in a more instruc- 
tive vein. 

Some very practical economic topics 
are illustrated by the experience of Ire- 
land. The question of protection and 
free trade has two epochs of Irish his- 
tory related to it — that of 1782, when 
the Volunteers inscribed on their can- 
non, "Free Trade or — !" and that of 
1846, when the Irish famine compelled 


Sir Robert Peel to give up the time- 
honored EngHsh poHcy of protection. 
The gravest social question of our 
time — the land question — is studied in 
the Irish agitation of the past forty 
years. The always curious topic of 
emigration is examined under condi- 
tions close at hand in the exodus of 
three or four million people from Ire- 
land during the last sixty years. The 
student of political agitation will find 
a picturesque interest in the monster 
meetings organized by Daniel O 'Cou- 
ncil, where as many as four hundred 
thousand people assembled and dis- 
persed with gravity and order; and the 
student of social betterment, a like im- 
pressive subject in the crusade of Fa- 
ther Mathew, who in a few years 


pledged two millions of his countrymen 
to total abstinence. 

We do not assmne to argue that Irish 
history has exceptional features of in- 
terest, although this may well be 
claimed. What seems a reasonable po- 
sition to take, however, is to assert that 
this study enlightens the reader respect- 
ing some of the profoundest topics in 
the world's history, and that, aside from 
more direct considerations, it well de- 
serves attention. 

The more direct considerations are 
found in the fact that the Irish element 
constitutes a large infusion in the Amer- 
ican nation, and we study the history 
of the American people best when we 
follow them back to their ancestral 

The Irish undoubtedly have a reli- 


gious mission, but they also have a polit- 
ical mission. If in one direction they 
are the modern pioneers of Christianity, 
in another direction they are the reli- 
able auxiliaries of the democratic 

About the year 1680, we find the term 
*'Tory" in English politics, and applied 
to public men who favored leniency to 
the Catholics. The name "Tory" orig- 
inated in Ireland; it was applied in the 
sixteenth century to a kind of White- 
boy or Ribbonman banditti of that day. 

Could the spirit of Patrick Sarsfield 
come back to-day, it would surprise him 
to find the Irish, once the allies of the 
Tories, now so solidly against them. 
Or could Oliver Cromwell revisit the 
glimpses of the moon, he would be 
equally surprised to find the Irish vot- 


ing with the English party which traces 
its ancestry back to the Roundheads of 
the Long Parliament. 

The explanation is that the Irish race, 
originally royalist in sympathy, due to 
their clan system and the evil star of 
the Stuarts, have been driven by cir- 
cumstances into the great democratic 
movement of modern times. 

Edmund Burke was a Whig. Whig 
leaders like Fox and Sheridan were 
more friendly to Ireland and Catholic 
emancipation than the Tory leaders. 
O'Connell, on entering the British Par- 
liament, allied himself with the Whigs 
or Liberals under the Melbourne min- 
istry (1836-41), and he opposed the 
succeeding Tory administration of Sir 
Robert Peel. He found the Whigs 
more disposed to do justice to Ireland. 


Lecky, in his "History of England in 
the Eighteenth Century" (chapter 
viii.), mentions the prediction (made 
at the time of the Union), that the 
Irish members would range themselves 
on the side of "the powers that be" and 
increase the influence of the Crown; 
and he thus proceeds: 

"It need scarcely be added that the 
influence of Irish representation has 
proved the exact opposite of what had 
been predicted. A majority of Irish 
members turned the balance in favor 
of the great democratic reform bill of 
1832; and from that day there has 
scarcely been a democratic measure 
which they have not powerfully assisted. 
When, indeed, we consider the votes 
they have given, the principles they have 


been the means of introducing into Eng- 
lish legislation, and the influence they 
have exercised on the House of Com- 
mons, it is probably not too much to say 
that their presence in the British Par- 
liament has proved the most powerful 
of all agents in accelerating the demo- 
cratic transformation of English poli- 

Most of the great Irish relief meas- 
ures of the last fifty years were brought 
in by Gladstone and his Liberal fol- 

The Irish are a clear-minded people, 
and they see that democratic measures 
like the extension of the suffrage and 
the overthrow of the Lords strengthen 
them as a force in British politics, and 
lead to the gradual improvement of their 


industrial and political status. They 
are also a logical people, and therefore 
recognize their duty to support liberal, 
democratic, and humanitarian measures, 
wherever and for whomsoever these 
boons are invoked, as the following epi- 
sode will illustrate : 

Many years ago, when Negro slavery 
existed in the British colonies of the 
West Indies, a little party of three men 
in the British Parliament began to agi- 
tate, in season and out of season, for 
Negro emancipation. Daniel O'Con- 
nell, with the few Irish members who 
supported him, threw his strength to 
this little party on every division. There 
was a West Indian interest pledged to 
maintain Negro slavery, and this inter- 
est counted twenty-seven votes in Par- 
liament. They came to O'Connell and 


offered to throw their twenty-seven 
votes to him on every Irish question if 
he would oppose Negro emancipation. 

"It was," said Wendell Phillips, "a 
terrible temptation. How many a so- 
called statesman would have yielded! 
O'Connell said: ^Gentlemen, God 
knows I speak for the saddest nation the 
sun ever sees, but may my right hand 
forget its cunning and my tongue cleave 
to the roof of my mouth, if to serve Ire- 
land, even Ireland, I forget the Negro 
one single hour!' " 

There spoke the consistent lover of 
liberty, the statesman who carried good 
morals into politics; for, as Edmund 
Burke says, "politics are morals in their 
larger development." It is too costly 
a price to pay if one conviction must 
be debauched in order that another con- 


viction may prosper. Need we wonder 
that the profoundest of English poets, 
Coleridge, was moved to say, having 
O'Connell in mind: 

"O for a great man — for one really 
great man who could feel the power 
and weight of a principle and unflinch- 
ingly put it into action! See how tri- 
umphant in debate and action O'Con- 
nell is! Why? Because he asserts a 
broad principle and acts upon it — ^rests 
all his weight on it and has faith in it." 

The high ideals of the great Irish 
Liberator have been cherished by his 

"In many ways I greatly admire and 
sympathize with the Irish party. They 
are brilliant parliamentarians. Both as 
orators and as tacticians they are supe- 



rior, far superior, to any other group in 
the House of Commons. Although the 
majority of them are poor men, ... no 
breath of corruption has ever touched 
their honor." 

So wrote Sydney Brooks, an English 
journalist, in the March, 1909, "North 
American Review," in No. X. of a se- 
ries of articles entitled, "The New Ire- 
land." These articles are substantially 
anti-Home Rule and anti-Nationalist, 
though intermixed with many judicious 

"But," somebody will ask, "how about 
the Irish-American politician in our 
American cities?" 

Lincoln Steffens, whose study of "the 
graft evil" has made him a national au- 
thority on the subject, telling the story 


of his investigations in "McClure's 
Magazine," says: 

"When I set out on my travels, an 
honest New Yorker told me honestly 
that I would find that the Irish — the 
Catholic Irish — ^were at the bottom of it 
all, everywhere. 

"The first city I went to was St. 
Louis, a German city. The next was 
Minneapolis, a Scandinavian city with 
a leadership of New Englanders. Then 
I came to Pittsburgh — Scotch Presby- 
terian — and that was what my New 
England friend was. 'Ah, but they are 
all foreign populations,' I heard. The 
next city was Philadelphia, the purest 
American community of all, and this 
was most hopeless. And after that came 
Chicago and New York, both mongrel- 


bred, but the one a triumph of reform, 
and the other the best example of good 
government that I had seen. The * for- 
eign element' excuse is one of the hypo- 
critical lies that save us from the clear 
sight of ourselves." 

Bryce, in his "American Common- 
wealth" (volume II., page 241), has a 
paragraph of like tenor: 

"The immigrants," he says, "are not 
so largely responsible for the faults of 
American politics as the stranger might 
be led, by the language of many Amer- 
icans, to believe. There is a disposition 
on the part of Americans to use them, 
and especially the Irish, much as the cat 
is used in the kitchen to account for 
the disappearance of eatables. The 
cities, no doubt, suffered from the immi- 


grants — but New York was not an 
Eden before the Irish came." 

When it comes to a proper study of 
graft in its entirety, a much larger rec- 
ord must be brought into evidence than 
the municipal graft record. Take the 
amount of graft put away by Tweedism 
in New York; multiply it by ten; then 
add the amount of graft to the discredit 
of the Philadelphia ring, and multiply 
that total by ten, and you will come no- 
where near the total amount of graft 
put away by the financial magnates of 
the United States in constructing new 
lines and buying and selling and bond- 
ing small roads to the systems they con- 
trolled. And these big graft manipula- 
tors uniformly have names that are de- 
cidedly not Irish. 





THE Irish are gone with a ven- 
geance," said "The London 
Times" jubilantly in the year following 
the Irish famine. "In a short time a 
Catholic Celt will be as rare on the 
banks of the Shannon as a Red Indian 
on the shores of Manhattan." Never- 
theless, two generations later, the Celt 
is still numerous on the banks of the 
Shannon and on the banks of the 
Thames also; and more numerous on 
the shores of Manhattan than the Red 
Indian ever was. 

Nor does he forget Ireland wherever 


he goes. He has indeed "gone with a 
vengeance," but in a sense quite differ- 
ent than that of "The London Times." 
As a poet (Thomas D'Arcy McGee) of 
that great migration wrote : 

Hail to our Celtic brethren, wherever they 
may be. 

In the far woods of Oregon, or o'er the 
Atlantic sea — 

Whether they guard the banner of St. George 
in Indian vales, 

Or spread beneath the nightless North ex- 
perimental saQs — 
One in name and in fame 
Are the sea-divided Gaels. 

A greeting and a promise unto them all we 

Their character our charter is, their glory 

is our end ; 
Their friend shall be our friend, our foe 

whoe'er assails 



The past or future honors of the far-dis- 
persed Gaels : 
One in name and in fame 
Are the sea-divided Gaels. 

More Irish immigrants came to 
America in the mid-third of the nine- 
teenth century (1847-80), than the 
total population of the colonies at the 
beginning of the Revolution. Nine- 
teenth century Irish immigration ex- 
ceeded numerically the northern migra- 
tions that overturned the Roman Em- 

Irish immigration, coming, as it did, 
almost exclusively to the northern 
States, gave the North its preponder- 
ance in Congress and broke down the 
sectional equilibrium upon which the in- 
stitution of slavery rested. Know- 
Nothingism, which sought to shut out 


the immigrant or prevent his naturaliza- 
tion, was eagerly welcomed by the 
South, but it was too late. 

Draper ("American Civil War," I, 
446) puts this opinion in the mouth of 
a slaveholder: "The mistake with us 
has been that it was not made a felony 
to bring in an Irishman when it was 
made piracy to bring in an African." 
So there was a direct relationship be- 
tween the Irish famine and the Eman- 
cipation Proclamation. Except for 
Irish immigration, the American Negro 
would have clanked his chains for a gen- 
eration longer. 

No immigrant to our shores has been 
more willing to forswear allegiance to 
foreign kings and Kulturs than the 
Irish, and none has been more ready to 
enter upon the full duties of his Ameri- 


can citizenship. He has never shown 
himself apathetic or indifferent on elec- 
tion day. He votes early — and no 
doubt, if it were legally required, he 
would vote often. Nor does he decline 
civic responsibilities. On this score 
there is, at times, complaint from people 
who would never face a mob or fight 
a fire, that there are too many Irish in 
the police and fire departments. Such 
is also the case if you will examine the 
army and navy enlistments when the 
country is in danger and it is necessary 
to fill up the ranks ; but there is no com- 
plaint about this. 

Many years ago, John Randolph of 
Roanoke said: "I have seen a white 
crow and heard of black swans, but an 
Irish opponent of American liberty I 
never either saw or heard of." Irish- 


Americans have never produced any 
Benedict Arnolds or Aaron Burrs. 
They have never raised the red flag 
above the Stars and Stripes. They have 
come upon the platform of democracy 
with both feet and two fists. Their 
Americanism is heart-whole, without re- 
serve, jubilant, riant, and scintillant. 

An Irish alderman at a Forefathers' 
dinner in Boston preached the duty of 
patriotism: "Every man," he said, — 
"every man should love his native land, 
whether he was born there or not." 

Later immigrations have learned this 
lesson from the Irishman's daughter 
teaching in the public schools. In New 
York a little son of Italy, twelve years 
old, came to his teacher and asked if 
he could not have his name changed. 


"Why do you want to change your 
name?" the teacher asked. 

"I want to be an American. I live 
in America now." 

"What American name would you 

"I have it here," he said, handing the 
teacher a scrap of paper on which was 
written, "Patrick Dennis McCarthy." 

This seems to illustrate Chesterton's 
remark : "Rome has conquered nations, 
but Ireland has conquered races." The 
Irish are a socially expansive people, be- 
cause neighborly by nature, and always 
ready to sympathize and serve. 

"The endowments of the Celt sup- 
plement those of the Saxon," said Gold- 
win Smith. "What the Saxon lacks in 
liveliness, grace, and warmth, the Celt 
supplies. The two races, blended, pro- 


duce a great and gifted nation." The 
melting-pot has been blending this im- 
migration for two centuries, and it is 
not improbable that a third of the Amer- 
ican people to-day have Irish blood in 
their veins. 

At times an able lawyer, who wins 
a notable case by a brilliant speech, is 
found crediting it to *'the dash of Irish" 
in his ancestry. The newspapers speak 
of the same fighting blood helping a 
public man through a plucky battle for 
principle or preferment; and again we 
hear of the beautiful American actress 
"with the Irish eyes," or of some charm- 
ing woman whose wit and vivacity, ac- 
cording to the society reporter, "come 
naturally from an Irish grandmother." 

In like manner, Irvin Cobb, arguing 
that the Celtic strain is strong among 


the people of the South, says: "The 
soft speech of the Southerner; his warm 
heart and his hot head, his readiness to 
begin a fight and to forgive his opponent 
afterwards ; his veneration for woman's 
chastity and his love for the ideals of 
his native land — all these are heritages 
of his Irish ancestry, transmitted to him 
through two generations." 

It seems invidious, when appraising 
Irish ability, to distinguish by counties 
or dates of settlement what is after all 
quite evenly distributed. Especially is 
this so with respect to so loosely applied 
a designation as "Scotch-Irishman" — if 
indeed this individual may not be a 
cousin of Sarah Gamp's friend, Mrs. 
Harris — "which there ain't no such per- 
son." Austin O'Malley is somewhat 
justified in defining "Scotch Irish" as a 


"term used in American obituary no- 
tices to convey the information that a 
Connaughtman died a Freemason." 

Fifty years ago it was a matter of 
regret with those who had the welfare of 
the Irish-American element at heart, 
that Irish immigration remained so 
largely in the cities. We have since 
learned to qualify this regret upon these 
considerations: (1) Urban settlement 
obeyed an economic law to which all im- 
migrations submitted, the later immi- 
grations even in a larger percentage 
than the Irish. (2) In the heyday of 
Irish immigration (1845-60) but one- 
fifth of the American population dwelt 
in cities; now fully half our population 
is urban. (3) Cities are no longer the 
charnel-houses of population. Under 
improved sanitary conditions, cities are 


about as healthful as rural districts; 
there is little difference in the birth and 
death rates. (4) Racial segregation is 
less possible and Americanization more 
feasible under the condition of city life. 
And this, of course, is an all-round ben- 

A glance at the place-names will show 
that Irish immigration has widely dis- 
tributed itself throughout the United 
States. There are scores of American 
Dublins, Waterfords and Belfasts; at 
least a thousand American place-names 
begin with Mac or O ; and, in all, nearly 
seven thousand cities, counties, villages 
and rivers attest by their names that the 
Celt has been there as a pioneer and 

William Butler Yeats, the Irish poet, 
who visited this country some years ago, 


declared that the most striking thing he 
saw here was the number of fat Irish- 
men. They are often fine-looking fel- 
lows, and we can see nothing unpatriotic 
in a people, so long exposed to famine, 
finally exhibiting unmistakable evi- 
dences of being well nourished. 

"Englishmen, Scotchmen, Jews, do 
well in Ireland — Irishmen never," says 
George Moore. "Even the patriot has 
to leave Ireland to get a hearing." 
There is some truth in this remark. It 
is not best even for an Irish-American 
to confine himself to an Irish- American 
community. The Irish race is really a 
leaven. It is needed to lift the world. 
It must not segregate itself ; lumped and 
isolated, it misses its best incentives. 
But, of course, its prosperity when 
transplanted is also largely due to bet- 


ter civic conditions and escape from op- 
pressive laws and institutions. 

Macaulay illustrates this in the fol- 
lowing passage referring to the status 
of the Irish who migrated to the con- 
tinent of Europe in the eighteenth cen- 

"There were, indeed," he says, "Irish 
Roman Catholics of great ability, en- 
ergy, and ambition; but they were to 
be found everywhere except in Ireland 
— at Versailles and St. Ildefonso, in the 
armies of Frederic and in the armies 
of Maria Theresa. One exile became 
a Marshal of France. Another became 
Prime Minister of Spain. If he had 
stayed in his native land he would have 
been regarded as an inferior by all the 
ignorant and worthless squireens who 


had signed the declaration against tran- 
substantiation. In his palace at Madrid 
he had the pleasure of being assiduously- 
courted by the ambassadors of King 
George II., and of bidding defiance in 
high terms to the ambassadors of 
George III. Scattered over all Europe 
were to be found brave Irish generals, 
dexterous Irish diplomats, Irish counts, 
Irish barons, Irish Knights of St. Louis 
and St. Leopold, of the White Eagle 
and the Golden Fleece, who if they had 
remained in the house of bondage could 
not have been ensigns of marching regi- 
ments or freemen of petty corpora- 

We may, in this connection, recall the 
story of an Irish schoolmaster, who was 
examining a class in geography. "Now, 


my lad," he said to a clever little chap, 
"tell us what latitude is." The clever 
little chap smiled and winked. "Lati- 
tude?" he said. "Oh, sir, there's none 
o' that in Ireland; sure the English 
won't allow us any, sir." 

Their national vicissitudes have been 
parturitions out of which the interna- 
tional importance of the Irish race has 
developed. It is probable that in 1900 
there were nearly as many Irish-born 
persons, and twice as many of Irish par- 
entage, living outside of Ireland as with- 
in the native isle of the race. 

So the whole world and all nineteenth 
century history are dotted with distin- 
guished names of this expatriate people. 
O'Higgins commands the Chilean army, 
Plunkett is governor of New Zealand, 
Duffy is an Australian premier, O'Do- 


herty is archbishop of Manila, Hen- 
nessy is governor of Hong Kong, 
O'Donnell is premier of Spain, Taafe 
is premier of Austria, MacMahon is 
president of the French Republic, 
O'Connor is British ambassador to Tur- 
key, Lord Russell of Killowen is chief 
justice of England, Fitzpatrick is chief 
justice of Canada, Walsh is governor 
of Massachusetts, Glynn is governor of 
New York, Sheridan is commander-in- 
chief of the American army, and Irish 
grandsires have furnished five presi- 
dents of the United States. 

An American bishop has written a 
book on the "Religious Mission of the 
Irish Race." The Irish have done more 
to spread the Catholic Church in the last 
hundred years than all its missionary 
forces in three hundred years. They 


have built a thousand churches in the 
great South Sea continent of Australia. 
They have thrown a million of their 
race into England to begin its recon- 
quest to the faith. They have made 
the Catholic Church numerically by far 
the largest and most influential Chris- 
tian denomination in the United States. 
While there are to-day twenty-five 
Catholic bishops in Ireland, there are 
more than a hundred Catholic bishops 
with Irish names in other parts of the 

St. Patrick's Day is, in our time, the 
most widely celebrated of national an- 
niversaries. The salvo with which it 
opens in Dublin is caught up in Paris 
by descendants of the Irish Brigade, 
echoed by students of the Irish College 
in Rome and by bands of Irish soldiers 


in Cairo; Bombay is a-wearing of the 
green, Melbourne is in gala attire, San 
Francisco is in mass meeting assembled, 
and a hundred other cities bear along 
the chorus to New York and Boston. 

One may adapt Webster's famous 
passage to the progress of this Irish 
feast day — it follows the sun, and keeps 
company with the hours, until the whole 
world is circled around with the min- 
strel strains of Ireland. 





npHAT the Irish, with their tradi- 
-*- tions of learning, are an intellec- 
tual people, that they are unswerving in 
their faith and undying in their national 
spirit, are matters sufficiently recalled 
in the foregoing paragraphs. It ap- 
pears, too, that they are enlisted as 
avant-couriers and leaders in the great 
democratic movement of our age and 
that their history touches some of the 
interesting problems of modern prog- 
ress. Furthermore, the destiny of these 
people has brought them to wield an in- 
ternational influence. These are among 


the larger counts in the ease which may 
be pressed in the forum of the world's 
opinion in behalf of the Irish. 

There are other merits that will be 
conceded without argument. Irish 
bravery, Irish music and Irish wit, for 
instance, are universally celebrated. 
We need not, therefore, pause long 
upon these attributes. 

It will be sufficient, as to the first, to 
quote what the correspondent of the 
London "Times," who was an eye-wit- 
ness, wrote of the charge of Meagher's 
Irish Brigade at the Battle of Fred- 
ericksburg : 

"Never at Fontenoy, at Albuera, or 
at Waterloo was more undaunted cour- 
age displayed by the sons of Erin than 
during those six frantic dashes which 


they directed against the almost impreg- 
nable position of their foe. . . . That 
any mortal man could have carried the 
position, defended as it was, it seems 
idle to believe. But the bodies which 
lie in dense masses within forty yards 
of the muzzles of Colonel .Walton's guns 
are the best evidences what manner of 
men they were who pressed on to death 
with the dauntlessness of a race which 
has gained glory on a thousand bat- 
tle-fields and never more richly de- 
served it than at the foot of Marye's 
Heights, December 13, 1862." 

The flags of some nations bear the 
figure of a cross or a crown, a sword, a 
scepter or a star. The Irish is the only 
flag that enthrones a musical instru- 
ment. Dante is quoted (by Galilei) as 


saying that Ireland gave Italy the 
harp; and the harp, of course, is the 
mother of the pianoforte. Mason, a 
musical authority, asserts that "it is a 
matter of certitude that Ireland gave 
Germany her first lessons in musical 
art." Italy and Germany, the leaders 
in modern music, may have sat at the 
feet of the old Irish bards. It is not 
unfitting: the Brehons and the bards, 
the lawgivers and the ballad-makers, 
were the virtual rulers of ancient Ire- 

Just as many of the marble palaces 
of Renaissance Rome were builded out 
of stone taken from the ruins of the 
Coliseum, so many of the ballads of the 
modern world were gathered from the 
rich and generous store of Irish folk 
songs. "Robin Adair" has been traced 


to the older Irish "Aileen Aroon" of 
the fifteenth century. Burns' inimit- 
able words are often set to Irish bardic 
airs. Our "Yankee Doodle" adopts the 
tune of "All the Way to Galway" and 
ever and anon popular songs of the day 
get their lilt from the Irish, as in the 
case of "Sweet Marie" and "Baby 
Mine," which sing again with little al- 
teration the ballad of the Shan van 
Voght. No wonder Stephen Foster, 
our most famous song writer, who im- 
mortalized himself in "My Old Ken- 
tucky Home," "Nelly Bly," "Massa's 
in the Cold, Cold Ground," etc., was of 
Irish parentage. 

A whole literature of music has 

grown up around Moore's "Last Rose 

of Summer." Mendelssohn put it in 

his "Fantasia," Flotow introduces it in 



his **Marta," and even Beethoven has a 
setting of it. How often Patti won an 
ovation with this her favorite ballad! 

All the armies of the world have 
swung forward to the rhythm of "Gar- 
ryowen" — "the finest marching tune in 
the world," according to Col. Roosevelt. 

We are apt to forget that "Maritana" 
and other popular operas are by Irish 
composers, although Balfe, the author 
of "The Bohemian Girl," and Sullivan, 
of comic opera fame, are better identi- 
fied. Signor Foli, the sweet singer, 
needed only slightly to Italianize his 
Irish name, but Victor Herbert, Amer- 
ica's favorite visiter of light operas, like 
Saint-Gaudens, the sculptor, is not read- 
ily supposed to be of Irish birth. Amer- 
ican audiences have enjoyed no better 
voices than those of Plunket Green and 


John McCormack, no finer organ rendi- 
tions than those of Dudley Buck and 
Brendan Rogers ; and Patrick Sarsfield 
Gilmore's magnificent band is the mem- 
ory of a generation. 

It seems to be agreed that the old 
Gaels were a serious-minded race ; even 
their minstrelsy was plaintive. That the 
modern Irish are a witty people would 
seem to bear out the theory of Burton's 
"Anatomy" that melancholy is the 
mother of wit. The Irish have learned 
to be cheerful through tribulation. 
Their optimism is born of their sorrows. 
Otherwise their wit would be "dour" 
like that of the Scotch. It is best ex- 
hibited in the satire of Swift, the comedy 
of Sheridan, the repartee of Curran, the 
epigram of George Bernard Shaw, and 
the drollery of "Mr. Dooley." 


The pat answer which has been de- 
fined as "an Irish come-back" is more 
typical of Irish wit than the bull. Bulls, 
which are common to the humor of all 
lands, usually indicate slow comprehen- 
sion or lax thinking. But the Irish bull 
is often an instance of thought over- 
leaping itself, a flash of perspicacity. 

An Irish M.P. once set the English 
press laughing by his picture of the des- 
olation of a certain district in misgov- 
erned Ireland. He said there was "no 
living creature on it except the sea gulls 
that flew over it." The picture of a 
deserted farm was in his mind, and the 
sea gulls flying landward from an ap- 
proaching storm heightened the sense 
of desolation. He was really an im- 
pressionist, too far in advance of his 
audience in over-vaulting thought. 


When a shrewd doctor says that 
"warm stockings are the best chest pro- 
tectors," we recognize a forcible and pic- 
turesque statement ; when Napoleon de- 
clared that "most people dig their 
graves with their teeth," we see a 
pointed truth. But when a Kerry doc- 
tor remarks dryly that "people are 
dying this winter that never died be- 
fore," we see a merry Irish "bull." The 
statement, properly interpreted, is that 
people who withstood all former trying 
spells of cold weather are succumbing 
to this spell, begor! The Kerry man 
has stated the matter with piquancy. A 
witty Dublin lawyer remarks: "Eng- 
lishmen also make bulls; but the Irish 
bull is always pregnant." 

Blarney is one of the best native prod- 
ucts of the Emerald Isle, and there is 


no tariff on it. Irish immigration has 
brought it over duty free, to add to the 
gayety of the nation. Recently on a 
crowded street car in Chicago, an Irish- 
man gave up his seat to a lady. She 
was Irish, too, and did not neglect to 
thank him. "Thank you kindly," said 
she. "You're a jewel." "No, indeed," 
said he, " 'tis a jeweler I am — I set jew- 

Blarney is the art of implying a com- 
pliment with such delicacy and wit that \ 
the lady will not feel embarrassed. A 
gallant Irish colonel sat next to a charm- 
ing suffragette at a dinner party. She 
overwhelmed him with her conversation, 
but at last checking herself, she said: 
"I have talked so much, you must think 
I am in love with the sound of my own 
voice." "Well, now, ma'am," said the 


gallant colonel, "I knew you liked mu- 

Students of sociology find a test of 
the degree of civilization in the esteem 
and respect shown woman. That is an 
ideal state where innocence may dwell 
unscathed and purity go about without 
guardianship. An incident related in 
Warner's "History of Ireland" is thus 
rendered in one of Moore's Melodies : 

Rich and rare were the gems she wore, 
And a bright gold ring on her wand she 

But oh ! her beauty was far beyond 
Her sparkling gems or snow-white wand. 

"Lady ! dost thou not fear to stray 
So lone and lovely through this bleak way ? 
Are Erin's sons so good or so cold 
As not to be tempted by woman or gold?" 


"Sir Knight ! I feel not the least alarm, 
No son of Erin will offer me harm — 
For though they love women and golden 

Sir Knight! they love honor and virtue 

A chivalrous respect for women is a 
generally admitted virtue of the Irish- 
man everywhere. "The Irish peasant is 
a natural gentleman," said the late 
George W. Steevens (a Londoner who 
came to Ireland as the correspondent of 
a Tory newspaper). But why not, in 
a paradise of fair women, argues Mr. 
Steevens (in "Things Seen"): 

"The only thing more beautiful than 
the Irish land is the Irish women; even 
\ when they are old . . . the grace and 
the wonderful eyes and the courteous, 
modest, liquid speech compel the hom- 
age you would not pay to diamonds." 



Where women are thus fair and men 
chivalrous, we have a nation richly 
blessed in faithful wives and true hus- 
bands, good sons and loving daughters. 
It is doubtful whether anything more 
tender and endearing has ever been 
written to the memory of a father, than 
the following poem by Katherine Ty- 
nan, which forms a prelude to her 
"Twenty-five Years' Reminiscences." 
Here the Irish daughter's heart-love 
goes forth to her comrade father, her 
remembrance of him fixed in the setting 
of the grey hills and green valleys of the 
Irish home-land. 

You were a part of the green country, 
Of the grey hills and the quiet places. 
They are not the same, the fields and the 
Without the lost and beloved faces. 
And you were a part of the sweet country. 


There's a road that winds by the foot of 

the mountains 
Where I run in my dreams and you come 

to meet me, 
With your blue eyes and your cheeks' old 

The old fond smile that was quick to greet 

They are not the same, the fields and the 


There is something lost, there is something 
The birds are singing, the streams are 
The sun's the same and the wind in the 
But o'er your grave are the shadows 
The soul is missing, and all is lonely. 

It is what they said: you were part of the 
You were never afraid of the wind and 



I can hear in dreams the feet of your pony, 

You and your pony coming together. 
You will drive no more through the pleasant 

You were a part of the fields and mountains, 

Everyone knew you, everyone loved you, 

All the world was your friend and neighbour, 

The women smiled and the men approved 


They are not the same, the fields and the 


I sigh no more for the pleasant places, 
The longer I've lost you the more I miss 

My heart seeks you in dreams and shadows. 
In dreams I find you, in dreams I kiss you. 

And wake, alas ! to the lonely places. 

Robert Louis Stevenson once said: 

"If Ireland were a volcanic island and 

should sink in the sea some night, the 

world would be bereft of more than half 



its poetic and imaginative people." The 
Irish have "as fair and bounteous a har- 
vest of myth and romance as ever 
flourished among any race," and of this 
Shakespeare in his * 'Midsummer 
Night's Dream" and Spenser in his 
"Faerie Queene" bear testimony. 

Oscar Wilde said of his countrymen: 
"We are the greatest talkers since 
the Greeks." Such expressions as 
"He's a very conversable person," "You 
wouldn't be tired listening to him," are 
caught up from the mouths of the peas- 
ants. Michael Miskell refuses a proffer 
of tobacco and says: "All I am crav- 
ing for is the talk." Lady Gregory de- 
clares she was often proud, when at 
Westminster, to see the House fill up 
when an Irish IM.P. rose to talk. 


But has the race the every-day vir- 
tues, the staying qualities that win the 
victories of peace? In this connection 
some one has characterized the Celtic 
state of mind as a "vehement reaction 
against the despotism of fact." But 
this is not necessarily futility or incon- 
sequence ; often it is the temper that gets 
the world out of ruts. Such was the 
state of mind of Napoleon when he said, 
"There shall be no Alps"; and of Co- 
lumbus, when he ordered his crew to 
"Sail on! Sail on!" though 

Before him not the ghost of shores — 
Before him only shoreless seas. 

In our generation we speak much 
about efficiency. When America, in 
1898, declared war against Spain, a red- 
headed Irish- American named Rowan 


was asked to deliver a letter to Garcia, 
the rebel Cuban leader, then roving 
somewhere in the interior of the island. 
In four days Rowan landed in Cuba, 
got through the Spanish lines, plunged 
into the jungle to find the elusive rebel 
leader, and in three weeks came out at 
the other end of the island, having suc- 
cessfully "carried the message to Gar- 
cia." He did not ask where he should 
find Garcia, or how he should get to 
him, or what was in the letter. He just 
went and did the business. Rowan was 
of the type of efficient men that all big 
enterprises are looking for — men who 
* 'deliver the goods." 

riannagan, a merchandise broker in 

a western city, who retired some years 

ago with a comfortable fortune, likes to 

recall that his books would show deal- 



ings with a wide variety of customers, 
including the Cohens and the MacPher- 
sons. And he has some satisfaction in 
citing his own case as a pretty fair test 
of trading efficiency: An Irishman who 
could buy merchandise from a Jew and 
sell it to a Scotchman at a profit. . 

"Pat's pick built our railroads; his 
brain now directs what his brawn pro- 
duced." James J. Hill, son of an Irish- 
Canadian farmer, came to the United 
States to develop a great railway sys- 
tem in the West, and Thomas Shaugh- 
nessy (now Lord Shaughnessy), an 
Irish-American, dropped a petty polit- 
ical position in an American city to be- 
come a financial and industrial magnate 
in Canada. How many such instances 
in American industrial history! The 
United States Steel Corporation, em- 


ploying 270,000 men and capitalized at 
a billion, is the largest industrial organ- 
ization in the world, and at its head as 
president and general manager is an 
Irish-American, James Farrell, who 
started in the mills as a laborer. 

These men were not mere millionaires 
or adepts in high finance; they were pio- 
neers of enterprise, captains of industry 
and builders of empire, — ^men whose 
character and ability win respect quite 
apart from their money, their success, 
or their position. 





rriHE Irish, of course, have the de- 
-*• f ects of their qualities, — and other 
defects besides. All of which, however, 
lie close to the surface. These faults 
we are not celebrating in this presenta- 
tion. We are guided by the policy of 
the French, who in their art galleries, 
in the great halls devoted to battle 
scenes, show us Marengo and Jena and 
Austerlitz, but no pictures of Waterloo. 
French defeats are not commemorated 
by the French. 

In a treatise on "Prejudice," one of 
the governing laws of that unjust atti- 


tude of mind might be outlined as hav- 
ing special reference to minorities and 
so-called smaller peoples. 

Pursuant to this law, there is, in dis- 
paragement, a constant disposition to 
reason from the particular to the gen- 
eral, to establish a universal conclusion 
out of a few more or less isolated preju- 
dicial facts. Prejudice, being by nature 
cowardly, will not so conclude as to a 
nationality strong and dominant for the 
moment — like, say, the British or the 
German; but it will be very ready to 
deal its summary injustice to the Irish, 
the Bohemians, or the Jews, 

So minorities, suffering from such dis- 
paragement, need for their own protec- 
tion to welcome praises and eulogiums, 
to celebrate their victories, and to sing 
their patriotic anthems. 


* 'Nations, like individuals, derive sup- 
port and strength from the feeling that 
they belong to an illustrious race, that 
they are the heirs of their greatness 
and ought to be the perpetuators of 
their glory." 

Even some Irishmen have, uncon- 
sciously, imbibed the Saxon contempt 
for Irish ways and Irish points of view. 
Austin O'Malley has this circumstance 
in mind when he wittily remarks : "God 
is good to the Irish, but no one else is; 
not even the Irish" ("Keystones of 
Thought," p. 188). The finer values in 
Irish character and Celtic intellect have 
been misprized. Racial pride must re- 
assert its inheritance. 

Americans ought to know something 
of English capacity for disparagement. 
English critics and travellers, from Syd- 


ney Smith to Mrs. Trollope and Charles 
Dickens, with singular unanimity, at 
least down to the end of our Civil War, 
have found fault with our institutions 
and our manners, our tendencies and our 
twang, our politics and our personal ap- 
pearance, leaving us hardly a merit to 
stand upon. 

The English talent for disparagement 
fairly exceeds itself when it undertakes 
the task of explaining British misrule 
of Ireland by blaming it all upon the 
character and disposition and what-not- 
else of the Irish. As for instance : "The 
Irishman," says the English historian 
Froude, "is a chronic rebel." Upon 
which Horace Greeley remarks, "A 
rebel is a man with sense enough to 
know when he is oppressed." That has 
been common sense in Ireland. 


When Ireland was a nation her ideals 
of expansion were intellectual and 
moral, not military or commercial. She 
did not bring Christianity to France and 
Germany by conquest, nor civilization 
by the mailed fist. 

We have wronged no race, we have robbed 

no land. 
We have never oppressed the weak. 
And this, in the face of Heaven, is the nobler 

thing to speak, 

says John Boyle O'Reilly. 

The Irish invasion of Europe was an 
invasion of teachers and missionaries. 
They stood for the things of the soul 
and their distinction was spiritual-mind- 
edness. This devotion to idealism goes 
everywhere with their wanderings in the 
modern world. The Irish element is 


not only an evangelizer, but it is every- 
where in the forward line for civil lib- 
erty and social and economic equality. 

Back in the thirteenth century, one of 
the great scholars of that age was 
crowned as "the Subtle Doctor." Duns 
Scotus, whose Celticism is undoubted, 
here exhibited a characteristic of the ra- 
cial intellect. Sometimes touched with 
emotion, it is more apt to be inspired by 
imagination and mysticism, — the crav- 
ing for the deeper insight and the vision 
beyond the mist. The Irish mind, nev- 
ertheless, delights in reasoning and crit- 
icism ; it is quick, sharp, and active, keen 
in analysis and rapid and ready in com- 
bining and correlating. 

The dominant note in Celtic litera- 
ture, according to Matthew Arnold, is 
sentiment. The Irish temperament is 


poetic. It looks for abiding good. It 
craves the love that does not alteration 
find. It seeks the eternal verities — as 
in the old Irish song rendered to us by 
Gerald Griffin: 

Castles are sacked in war, 
Chieftains are scattered far; 
Truth is a fixed star, 
Eileen Aroon. 

When Moore wrote "Erin, the tear 
and the smile in thine eyes," he compre- 
hended the eternal dualism of the Irish 
temperament. We understand men and 
we understand races best when we un- 
derstand their moods. Here is a little 
poem from the pen of Theodosia Garri- 
son (in *'McClure's Magazine") which 
is a flashlight into the depths of the 
Irish heart: 



Katie had the grand eyes, and Delia had a 
way with her, 
And Mary had the saint's face, and Mag- 
gie's waist was neat. 
But Sheila had the merry heart that traveled 
all the day with her. 
That put the laughing on her lips and 
dancing in her feet. 

I've met with martyrs in my time, and faith, 
they make the best of it, 
But 'tis the uncomplaining ones that wear 
a sorrow long. 
'Twas Sheila had the better way, and that's 
to make a jest of it. 
To call her trouble out to dance and step 
it with a song. 

Eh! but Sheila had the laugh the like of 
drink to weary ones 
(I've never heard the beat of it, for all I've 
wandered wide). 
And out of all the girls I know — the tender 
ones, the dreary ones — 


'Twas only Sheila of the laugh that broke 
her heart and died! 

Kate Douglas Wiggin, in a good- 
humored book of Irish travel, gives us 
an inn-keeper's leisurely philosophy: 

"At Brodigan's all the clocks are from 
ten to twenty minutes fast or slow. 

" *How do you catch trains?' I asked 
Mr. Brodigan. 

" 'Sure, that's not an every-day mat- 
ter, and why be foosthering over it? 
But we do four times out five, ma'am.' 

" *How do you like it the fifth time, 
when you miss it?' 

" *Sure, it's no more throuble to miss 
it the wan time than to hurry five times. 
A clock is an overrated piece of furni- 
ture, to my mind, Mrs. Beresford, 
ma'am.' " 



There is a moderating counsel in this 
point of view for all of us in this age 
and clime of hurry. We have all sorts 
of time-saving devices — telephones and 
telegraphs, automobiles which *'eat up 
distances" and get us there in a flash. 
But, nevertheless, with all the time we 
save, we have no time to spare ; we never 
are at leisure. 

If we would abate our eagerness for 
the latest extra and find time to talk 
with the octogenarians in our midstp we 
might enrich rather than addle our 
minds, and enlarge rather than narrow 
our outlooks. 

Shane Leslie, speaking of *'the ould 
knowledge," once common among the 
Irish people, — meaning such knowledge 
as stopping the flow of blood by some 
charm, or finding an herb to cure a fever, 


or divining signs or portents — says that 
only those born before the famine year 
(1847) have any remnants of this "ould 
knowledge." It has passed and is pass- 

Now this may be only one instance 
of the loss of old traditions and touches, 
some of them really valuable: the 
charming manners of the ancient re- 
gime, the leisure of the stage coach days, 
the ability to wonder and admire, the 
spirit of fealty, "the unbought grace 
of life." 

There is a pragmatic and utilitarian 
view of things ; and there is also a poetic 
and mystic view. It is for us to learn 
which is the truer and wiser interpreta- 

One man goes through the crowded 
streets and sees only the carriages of 


the rich and the grandeur of the show 
windows ; another sees only the faces of 
the passers-by and the joy or the trag- 
edy revealed in their eyes ; one is moved 
by the spirit of greed, the other by the 
emotion of charity. How much more 
an angel would see than a mere grubber, 
and how much higher the angelic in- 
terpretation ! 

Many elements enter into the vision 
we get of things ; there is association and 
memory, there are moods, experiences, 
and temperaments. There is also un- 
doubtedly the influence of hereditary 

Those who inherit something of the 
Celtic way of looking upon life may 
be less practical; but they clothe their 
perceptions with pleasing glamours or 
with witching and eerie backgrounds 


that give a peculiar zest and flavor, and 
perhaps a fuller meaning, to many 
things. We need, in this very practical 
age, to appreciate rather than to dis- 
parage this unworldly Irish way of look- 
ing at things. We need to cherish this 
gift of the Celt as something which truly 
enriches life. 

What sort of people have been bred 
out of such traits, such trials, such 
ideals, and such a history ; and how shall 
we forecast their future? The literary 
daughter of a distinguished Irish- 
American soldier of our Civil War 
(Colonel Guiney) gives us this answer 
in a paragraph, written with a fine in- 
tuition : 

"Time, which was expected to bring 
about no Ireland, has in reality engen- 


dered a national life more intense than 
ever. The physical strength, the pa- 
tience and passion of the common 
people; the grace, loyalty, and play of 
thought of gentlemen, have in that na- 
tional life come together. Unique pa- 
trician wit, delicacy of feeling, knightly 
courtesy have run out of their allotted 
conduits and they color the speech of 
beggars. Distinction of all sorts 
sprouts in the unlikeliest places. Vio- 
lent Erin produces ever and anon the 
gentlest philosophers; recluse Erin 
sends forth the consummate cosmopol- 
itan, hunted and jealous Erin holds up 
on its top stalk the open lily of liberal- 

"Courteous, facile, sweet. 
Hating the solemn vice of greatness — 


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