Table of Contents:
Federal Enlistment in Ireland.On Saturday last 600 able bodied young men left the North Wall for New York. They had been collected from this city and the suburban districts, and were brought to the quays in groups of four, ten, fifteen, or twenty. Wherever in the neighborhood of Dublin laborers' work was proceeding there the Federal agent appeared, picked out the strongest men, talked them over, and generally succeeded in buying their lives. The men are not told in express words that they must enlist in the Federal armies, but they know very well what they are required to do, and what they must do. They are ostensibly engaged to work the construction of a railway for three months. The whereabouts of the railway we have been unable to discover.--Their passage, clothes, and food are paid for, and they are nominally allowed a dollar a day until the expiration of three months. Their accounts will be settled, and the cost of their passage, clothes, and keep, is to be deducted from the money due from the quarter's service. When that settlement is made the men "may enlist in the Federal armies if they please," or, if they prefer it, they may seek work. The Northerners are a sharp people, and they take good care that the "three months men" must enlist in the Federal army to keep themselves from prison. For on arriving at New York the "emigrants" are placed by themselves either on some island or in an isolated depot. While there they must buy food, water, boots, and clothing. They are charged ten dollars for what is worth two. Temptations are offered to them of every kind. If they have no money, so much the better. An accommodating dealer in greenbacks attends every company, and cashes their notes in advance at an enormous percentage. On the expiration of the three months the emigrant has had some experience in digging trenches, more in drill, but he is overwhelmed with debt. He has been exposed to the rapacity of a swarm of harpies and to a legion of seducers. He is told he may find employment where he pleases, when has paid his debts. In his difficulty he is offered £165 in greenbacks, a sum which will clear off his liabilities, and give him some capital to commence a new score, until that too is wasted, and then he "Is sent to the front" There never was devised a more iniquitous scheme of deception, and, unhappily, never was a wicked device so successful. Misguided young men are hired and then plundered, and they are plundered to compel them to enlist. When they are once regularly enlisted they have nothing before them but death — death either in the sudden shock of battle, for they will be placed, as usual, in the van or on the forlorn hope; or death after lingering suffering when they have been abandoned wounded on the field; or death by fever, which kills them off like flies in pestilential hospitals, whose very walls are impregnated with disease. Out of every hundred men who leave their sweethearts, their families, and their work behind them, not ten will be alive at this time next year, and of these more than half will be maimed and crippled for the brief term of their days. A more deadly war was never waged than that between the North and the South--deadly by wounds, deadly by hardships; deadly by disease; and in this war five Irishmen have been slain for one native American. It is such an emigration as this that dilettanti professors pronounce to be the hope of Ireland and the blessing of the people. The opinions of these theorists might be laughed at were they not indicative of something which is very sad. All those who pronounce this emigration to be good are persons well known for their connection with Government. It follows, then, that the Government will never interfere to prevent that which their scribes are required to represent as a blessing. A ship is seized because there is a suspicion that it is intended for the use of the Confederates. Her owner is called upon to produce proof that she is designed for some non belligerent state. Yet a ship is useless without men and stores and arms; but within bow shot of the Castle of Dublin, under the very eyes of Her Majesty's Government, bodies of 600 men, whose walk and movement betray that they have undergone some preliminary drilling in this country, are marched to the transport ship, bound for the great seaport of the Northern belligerent.--If the destination of a ship must be known, why not the destination of regiments of 600 men? Why are not the captains of emigrant ships compelled to give bonds to guarantee the peaceable character of the employment for which these emigrants are designed? Our Consuls in the American cities could readily ascertain how these emigrants were distributed, and the Federal Government, grateful as they should be for many favors, ought to engage to enlist in their armies no emigrant from these countries until a year after his arrival. There is employment now for every able bodied man in Ireland. Many of these men who departed on Saturday held situations, some of them to our knowledge, under public bodies, at salaries of from 15s. to 18s. a week. There is a good prospect of still better remuneration now that so many sources of employment are being gradually opened. But where will laborers be found? Where peasants to till the soil? Where soldiers whom we may soon need? The blind apathy of Government sees not the cruel deportation of the strength of the land, or, perceiving that the flight of "emigrants" occurs when they are at the helm, proclaim loudly that the depopulation of a country is the greatest of blessings.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.