The social revolution in Ireland.
--A writer in Fraser's Magazine
has examined the census tables of Ireland
with excellent results.
By comparisons of data and diligent investigation, he has arrived at the pleasing conclusion that an important social revolution is going on in that country.
He sums up his argument as follows:
The evidences of this social revolution are visible in every corner of Ireland
It is not that the observer from England
, who comes from a land of ancient civilization, of enormous wealth, and of an united people — whose pleasant landscapes have long worn the joyous aspects of wealth and content — will not find even now many signs in Ireland
of bad agriculture and mournful poverty.
All Castle Rackrents have not disappeared; the plow has not completely effaced the thick hamlets of paupers and cottiers which formerly overspread the country; in many districts the state of husbandry is still comparatively barbarous and imperfect; and lanes of beggars may still be found along the skirts of most Irish cities.
But compared with the Ireland
of 1841, the Ireland
of this present year is a land of smiling opulence and comfort, where the crooked has been made straight, and the rough places plain, and there is no sound of misery and complaining.
In every county the traveler can find vast tracts which have been wasted by the crowds of wretched peasants who squatted upon them, now spread out into prosperous farms, in the occupation of a solvent tenantry, and rich with the wealth of a real husbandry — Along the river's extensive districts, once barren swamps and abandoned to the wild duck, are now enclosures, waving with corn or thickly pastured by herds of cattle.
The fields seem to have enlarged their limits, to have got rid of their labyrinths of fences, and to spread a larger surface to the tiller; and new mansions and solid homesteads arise frequently upon the landscape.
And while you hear that the rich are richer, and that the rent of the farmer is lighter, you see that the peasantry are no longer the half-clad savages they lately were, but are decently dressed, and almost everywhere fed on a better diet than the potato.
The statistics of Ireland
, published by government, concur fully in these conclusions. --The area of cultivation has increased one-seventh, being now more than fifteen millions against thirteen millions of acres.
Since 1817, there has been an increase of six hundred thousand acres in the area actually under the plow, and of more than twelve hundred thousand acres in the lands appropriated to green cropping.
The value of the live stock of Ireland
has advanced in twenty years from nineteen million four hundred thousand pounds to more than thirty-five million and a half--a growth of prosperity very expressive of the change in the landed system of the nation, and rivalling that of our foreign commerce.