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restrictions which now hinder its improvement and lessen its value; if, by increased freedom of action, industry be encouraged, and a wider field opened for the employment of capital; then, as the darkest hour precedes the morning, so this hour of unexampled distress and suffering will yet be remembered, as that from which the bright day of improvement first began to dawn. But we must pass through much further suffering before we can hope for prosperity. Many will be reduced to poverty. The necessity of economy will be forced upon all classes. They will have less to spend, and must therefore be saving. The gentry must learn to do without many of their accustomed luxuries. The comforts of the middle classes will be abridged, and in some cases they will be forced to assume a lower station. The poor will find it extremely difficult to support themselves at all. In the end, all will find their level, and we may trust that an improved and sounder state of society will be the result.

Great improvements are required. The disproportion between the number of labourers and the demand for labour must be removed. The wages of labour must be raised. The truck system, the system of paying in potatoes, must be abolished, and wages invariably paid in the current coin of the realm. The labourer must be better fed, better clothed,

better housed, and then he will be able to do more and better work, and will be worth his increased wages. Education must be more extensively diffused; not merely the knowledge of letters, but that religious and moral culture which may better enable us to perform the duties of our stations, and that industrial instruction which will make every man more skilful in his particular branch of business. Especially do our farmers need instruction. Great improvements in farming are necessary, if we are ever to support our peasantry in comfort. The land now under cultivation must be drained, properly manured, and properly tilled; and much land that is now waste, must, by careful and persevering industry, be brought into cultivation, or otherwise made subservient to the support of man. The cultivator of the ground must be placed in that position, in which he will have full security for the value of his labour and the outlay of his capital; and the owner of the land will then have the best security against the deterioration of his property. Above all, the supremacy of law must be upheld, not by the coercion of armed force, or the establishment of martial law, but by increasing the number of those who are interested in its maintenance, and by promoting a sound public spirit, which shall aid its execution instead of opposing it. These are among the improved circum

stances, to obtain which should be the endeavour of those who desire the welfare of Ireland, and which we may hope will produce that peaceful industry and contentment, and those kindly feelings among the various classes of society, which are at once the most valuable result and the surest pledge of prosperity.

It is easy to point out the wants of the country, and to state the various conditions of prosperity; but it is a very different matter to show how these improvements can be effected. Various plans have been proposed. Almost every one who writes about Ireland has some remedy of his own. Commission after commission has been appointed, and a great mass of information obtained. Many suggestions have been made in the reports of these commissions, and some of the suggested measures have been tried, and are now in operation.

It may be useful to bestow a little attention on some of the subjects which have been placed before the public as remedial measures, with a view of considering how far they are capable of meeting the present difficulty, and whether they do not require other changes to facilitate their effective operation.

In noticing the wants of Ireland, and the means of improvement, Education claims the first place. The subject has long been prominently before the

public, and its importance, as a means of elevating the character of the people, is universally recognized. A reference to the statistical tables given in the appendix, will shew the great deficiency which exists even in the mere rudiments. Less than one-tenth of the female population of Connaught, over five years of age, are able to read and write; and even in Down, the most favored county, the number of females, above five years old, who can read and write, is scarcely more than one-fourth of the whole. There is certainly great room for improvement in this respect. A very large number of persons in Connaught cannot speak English, or speak it only imperfectly; these of course cannot read or write, except in a very few instances. However, the knowledge of the English tongue is rapidly spreading into the most remote districts; and, with the present increased facilities of communication, it will probably penetrate into every part of the country before many years elapse.

To be able to read and write, although very valuable as affording the means of further improvement, is certainly but a part of the instruction which ought, and which may well be given in the schools throughout the country; and even the most extended intellectual cultivation is greatly deficient, without that moral and religious

care which alone can be relied on for the improvement of national character.

Nevertheless, the power of reading and writing is in itself highly important. The acquisition of these arts stimulates thought, and cultivates the mind; the possession of them gives new means for the attainment of knowledge, and of wealth. Their diffusion through a community constitutes an important addition to the people's means of subsistence, increasing their power of helping themselves. Habits of order, obedience, and attention, which are valuable in all situations in life, are frequently acquired at school. Some good moral instructions may also be impressed on the memory, but the right education of the feelings, the most valuable moral impressions, are only to be acquired in a well-regulated home.

In the present condition of Ireland, with so large a number of labourers whose want of skill greatly lessens the value of their labour, industrial instruction seems of the greatest importance. This subject has engaged the attention of the National Board of Education. Several agricultural schools established by them are now in operation, and it is intended to establish others. From these schools much benefit may be expected. Perhaps when their usefulness is more fully proved, a trial may be made of industrial instruction in other

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