Gladstone and Irish Grievances

Gladstone and Irish Grievances

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Excerpt from Gladstone and Irish Grievances: An Essay on the Irish Land Laws, Tenures and Grievances; Their Proposed Solution; The Gladstone Coercion Act and Land Bill; And the Land League

Americans are by nature generous, grateful, considerate and tenacious. They love liberty and hate oppression: they are cool and cautious, hence slow to change opinions once formed. Their European knowledge being derived almost exclusively from English authors, who, either from ignorance or prejudice, misrepresent everything anti-English, it is not surprising to find frequently the American mind poisoned against the staunchest friends and the best interests of the Republic. The education and training of the average American youth are such as to render him quick and self-reliant, but he is very rarely correctly informed upon European questions. He studies too many things to be more than ordinarily proficient in anything. Nor is this true only of those compelled to earn their livelihood at an early age, but also of many of the members of the learned professions. How many even among the graduates of colleges have read the Penal Code, or know the true history of Ireland? Yet how often have we heard these very men declaim against the turbulence and ignorance of the Irish?

How many of them picture Irish gentlemen in the persons of their coachmen, or Irish ladies in the persons of their cooks? How many form sweeping opinions of the Irish from reports in the daily press of arrests and convictions among the criminal classes? How many look upon the swaggering official occasionally met at the City Hall as the true representative of Irish gentility, or recognize in the blatant assemblyman at Albany the true type of Irish culture?

Yet it is as unjust to judge the Irish by such persons as it would be to measure the intelligence of Americans by that of the backwoodsman of the North, or that of the emancipated slave of the South. Is it fair to compare the lettered American with the unlettered Irishman; the professional with the layman; the cultured with the uncultured; the mechanic with the unskilled laborer?

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