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power is contracted, so that men who in less affluent times might have been born to the inheritance of genius, become dwarfed, and are mere talented users of the ready appliances of advanced civilization. Any smart journeyman can design for us a goodly house, rain-proof and storm-proof, in which we can live comfortably with our family and dependents. Considerable knowledge is necessary to do so much; we question not how it has been acquired; we profit by it largely. But who shall venture to say, that there was not a quality far more akin to genius in the brain of the old Grecian, who planned and invented a way of making his little hut impervious to bad weather, and lifted the roof of it on genuine Doric pillars ? A clever schoolboy can repeat problems in astronomy, and solve them too, 'never doubting; and can map out the orbits of stars and systems, and explain laws, and make calculations, in a manner astounding indeed if one but think of it. Yet who will sit down by the young urchin, well crammed though he be, and fancy himself in the presence of a great intelligence ? Rather, if he want good company, and need communion with the highest intellect, he will go back a few centuries, and grapple with the thought of a Kepler or a Galileo, who in his day was certain of far less than our precocious schoolboy ; or he will travel back over weary thousands of years, until he find himself with the Chaldean Shepherds who named the Constellations.
We hold it, therefore, a more fortunate and a better thing to stand in the dawning of a great hope, watching the growth of some vital principle; so that we feel, in every movement of the world about us, the stir of strong, fresh life, and catch, ever and anon, a glimpse of coming
brightness, through the long shadows and partial obscurity of a morning slowly creeping into day. Now, all is hope and prophecy. Later, the meridian glory may overshine the world; but the next change must then be a gathering darkness. What if it really be the goodliest fate to live in such a dawning of new life? What if we but open our eyes, and find that, by kind Providence, our own lot of life is cast even in so precious a moment?
A certain benevolent individual, wishing well, no doubt, to Ireland, said, once upon a time, that the best thing that could happen would be a complete submersion of the island
for a few hours. To give the gentleman his dne, when he set about wishing he did not stop at a tritle. Future comimentators may dispute about the vocation of that prophet; it may be questioned wbether he was not an accessary before the fact ; we care not. Ireland has but risen from a very sea of tribulation. All that she has suffered for generations of oppression, opprobious tyranny, degrading thraldom, and fiendish persecution, need not now be dwelt on. Friends she had in the days of her deepest sorrow; advocates in i he momentof her lowest degradation ; defenders in her sorest need; worthy sons, not a few, to lead the forlorn hope of her nationality. But martyrs they were as much as heroes ; martyrs, alas! too often, “by the pang without the palm.” Their labours have not yet borne the rich harvest of such a seed. There was not one, we fancy, of all those noble souls who, in his dying hour, could find any greater consolation than that which the recollection of a weary, heroic life could give; not one of all those conld say that his work was accomplished, and all that gained for which he lived and worked, in such vicissitude of trial and circumstance.
To go but a short time back, Grattan fought hand to hand with systematised injustice, until there was no longer ground to stand on. The senator and the patriot sadly enough followed the remnant of an Irish Legislature, and witnessed its annihilation in the proud and unscrupulous majority of an Imperial Parliament. The fight was overthe field with the oppressor. Curran confronted corruption in the Senate, and the very demons of hate and injustice in the courts of law. Government, Acts of Parliainent, unrighteous custom, dominant sectarianism, were all against him. He shook the Commons with the thunders of his denunciations, and made the unjust judge writhe upon thie bench, and grow pale in the gaze of his victims. But to what good? Evil has had its way. The dispirited, worn out advocate lingered a few years, and died ; still bereft of his great hope, in the company of strangers. Emmet and Fitzgerald are names of blood and tears : non ragionam di lor. O'Connell went through a life of labour, turmoil, pressing care, which would have broken the heart of a giant; and died at last, having conquered much, but not all; weary enough, we dare say, and sore, too, with the Brutus stab of his own disciples. Then came fainine, pestilence, the reign of terror and of death. No longer patriotie fury of Conciliation Hall, or the shouts of millions on the hill sides of Tara; but instead, the death moan of stricken households, the hurrying of despair and disease, and a nameless desolation to the swarming lazars of the poorhouse. The noyades and massacres of a French Revolution destroyed the population of cities; the snows of a Russian campaign buried alive whole legions; earthquakes and plagues have desolated states. The victims of these are counted by thousands. By millions we reckon the multitudes whoin the accursed misgovernment of a party left to die on the highways, and in the ditches of Ireland, while there were ships in England's harbours, and stores in her granaries, which would have fed three kingdoms. There was no Joseph in Egypt in those days.
A very night of sorrow darkened the land, and silence has reigned ever since. Those that wish to have it so, assert that there is now no patriotic feeling, no nationality in the country; that politics, and all that sort of thing, are at an end ; that the people are minding their business, and will soon get comfortable, well fed, content. “ You have no Dan O'Connell," say they, “to agitate for you ; no one makes fine speeches about you now; your patriotism is dead; you are quelled utterly!"
But is it all over indeed, the blood and sweat of all these valiant men gone for nought? We say no; most assuredly, no. It is not the silence of despair that wraps the land, but the silence of the seed time, before the hurrying feet of the reapers, and the joyous gathering of the harvest, make a welcome inroad on the stillness. Yes, it is even so. The seed is scattered; the husbandmen are gone; there is no inore talking. The people are left to themselves, and toGod. But is there nothing doing? Nothing! Pause a moment, and you may feel the grass grow under your feet, so instinct with life is the very ground you tread on.
No agitation on the surface certainly ; no possing show, but beneath a great, dumb, ever-growing power, which shall soon be a nationality the world may wonder at.
When we speak here of the people of Ireland, we mean not the few native-born hundreds who talk and write, make money and spend it; not the select circle whom people meet in genteel society, dine with, dance with, and to go the devil with - who calculate the country's prosperity by the balance sheet of their rent-rolls, and its progress in civilization by the attendance at levees and drawingrooms, and the increased demand for fashionable country-houses—who, going to church, if they are orthodox by the law. piously detest all manner of Papists and Dissenters, affectionately recommending a friendly aggression on themselves and their doctrines; or who, if they be born “ Papists," strain every point to observe an amiable conformity, and are so “liberal," so free from all rough corners, that in polite society no one would know them from unbelievers. This class, which may be called the upper branch of the middle order in Ireland, is thoroughly contemptible, and uneducated in every true sense. Their ambition is to ape the attitude of their masters; they have come in too close contact with a race alien in every way ; they have touched what was to them contamination ; they are neither sterling Saxon, nor honest Irish ; they are a mongrel breed, and flunkeyism is their code of law, the profession and practice of their creed. When, therefore, there is question of the people of Ireland, we do not make allusion to those, but to the thousands of real men, who, far below them in the social scale, do the rough work of life, and toil hard for mere dry bread, but who have living souls for all that, and are the very heart of the nation.
It seems to us that it was because this great myriad race was left too much out of the calculations of former patriots, that so much good work was marred, or entirely wasted. Perhaps there was scarcely help for it. A nation of slaves may rise for revenge, but cannot stand up for freedom. Self-consciousness and self-reliance have first to be learnt, and O'Connell had not yet come to teach that lesson. Too much labour went in vain efforts to make the dry branch bud into life. Now let the dry branch wither; there is sap still at the root for healthy offshoots. For once, let us begin at the beginning.
And are the great mass of the people standing still in all that regards true progress ? Are they following crooked roads, or travelling they know not whither ? Very far from all that. There is more of hardy, earnest, eager life in this class in Ireland at the present day, than any one not
actually living among them could easily believe. There is a spirit of self-development among them, and a system of education at work, silently, it might be said unconsciously, moulding a very facile material into a most solid vigorous nationality. Since green grass first grew on the island there was never such
hope as now. Thrice blessed those who outlive some few years more of toil and weary waiting, and witness the first grand outburst of a nation's 'selfassertion !
The immense educational power at work in Ireland, is the real preparation for this consumation, and forms the solid basis of the superstructure. Whatever may be said of the colleges and middle-class schools, there can be but one opinion of the training pursued by those who have charge of the great mass of the population. The mechanical part is excellent, and there is a very necessary vigilance exercised by those who have even a higher responsibiliy, than the schoolmaster. Mere intellectual culture is a poor provision for any class ; without much in addition it is especially pernicious for the lower orders, who are not amenable to those influences, so subtile yet so powerful, which often act as a needful check upon the rank above them. The vexations and defects of the so-called “National System,” which cause so much irritation, and hinder so materially the benefit which a systein truly national would accomplish, are neutralized in a great measure, by the watchful care of the clergy and the religious orders, who so often are the guardians and correspondents of these schools. The objections urged against the system are to be traced, rather to a justifiable fear of the mischief, which surely would ensue, if the administration of the charge fell into unfit hands, than to any wrong that has actually been done. Fortunately there are vigilant eyes abroad-laborious hands and real energy at work ; and, so controlled, the national system is a help, and to say the least, in the present state of affairs, a great convenience. The great advantage, however, is with the Christian Brothers. They reject the national system altogether, use their own method, and compose their own books; and let anyone who visits their schools, and listens to an examination of their classes, say whether the fifteen thousand “monks' boys," as they are called, do not, with their ready answers, bright intelligent