Front Page Titles (by Subject) Chapter IX.: IRISH DISAFFECTION. - Illustrations of Political Economy, vol. 3
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Chapter IX.: IRISH DISAFFECTION. - Harriet Martineau, Illustrations of Political Economy, vol. 3 
Illustrations of Political Economy (3rd ed) in 9 vols. (London: Charles Fox, 1832). Vol. 3.
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The rumour of the intention of the whiteboys to break the gaol, or otherwise rescue the prisoners, was unfounded. Since the new works were begun on Mr. Tracey's estate, the numbers of the disaffected in the district had lessened considerably, and those who remained were for the most part employed on distant expeditions. Dan had been out of his own neighbourhood so long that he heard of Dora's capture only a few days before her trial, his father-in-law having failed in his attempt to give him immediate intelligence of the event. The exasperated husband vowed, as soon as he learned her sentence, to move heaven and earth to rescue her; and all that one man could do to this end he did: but he was not heartily seconded by his companions; they considering the attempt too hazardous for their present force, and not seeing that this case required their interference more than many which were presented to their observation every day. If their attempt had been agreed upon and planned ever so wisely, it would have been baffled by the fears of the magistrates, who, alarmed by the rumours afloat, determined to send the convicts round by sea to the port where the convict-ship awaited them, instead of having them traverse the island. A small vessel was secretly engaged to wait off the coast at the nearest point, to receive the convicts, before it should be known that they had left the gaol.
Father Glenny, who was aware of the scheme, and therefore prepared to make his parting visit at the right time to the unhappy outcasts from his flock, repaired to Mr. Tracey's when his painful duty was done, dispirited, and eager for some relief from the harrowing thoughts which the various interviews had left behind. Mr. Tracey invited him to inspect the works, and see what had been done thereby for the estate and for the people. They rode to the shore just as the labourers were leaving work, and at the proper time for conversing with some of them respecting their prospects, and the hopes and views with which they were about to begin life in another land. An ardent desire to emigrate was found to prevail: a desire arising out of hatred to middlemen and tithe-proctors, discontent with as much as they knew of the law, and despair of permanently improving their condition at home. They acknowledged their landlord's justice in enabling them to remove advantageously, smiled at the victory over Mr. Orme, on which they prided themselves as a grand parting achievement, and spoke with gratitude of the kindness of Mr. Rosso's family during their time of sore distress; but the only person among their superiors in whom they seemed to place implicit confidence was Father Glenny. To him they said little of the barrier which they believed to separate the rich and the poor in Ireland: on him no man among them looked with an evil eye; against him were directed no remarks that there was one sort of justice for the powerful and another for the helpless. Their affection being strong in proportion as it was concentrated, they almost adored their priest, and swore that when their wives and children should have followed them abroad, Father Glenny would be the only tie to their native district which they would be unwilling to break.
“How different an embarkation will theirs be!” he observed to his companion, when he had given his blessing and passed on along the ridge of the cliff. “How different a departure from that of their brethren who are sent away as criminals! Here, the husband goes in hope of soon welcoming his family to a home of better promise than they leave; there a wife is carried away alone, in disgrace, severed for ever from her husband and her child. It makes one thoughtful to consider that the least painful of these departures might possibly have been rendered unnecessary by a wiser social management; but, as for the the other, we ought to kneel in the dust, crying for mercy, till Heaven shall please to remove from us the scourge of crime, and the heart-withering despair which follows it. If you had seen and heard what I have seen and heard this day, you would tremble at the retribution which is sent upon the people and their rulers. Let us pray day and night to avert it!”
“And in the intervals of our prayers, father, let us exert ourselves to avert it by removing the abuses from which it springs. Instead of applying palliatives, let us go to the root of the evil.
Instead of providing a legal relief for our poor, which must in time become a greater burden than we now labour under, we must remove the weights which oppress their industry, guard against the petty tyranny under which they suffer, and all the while, persevere in educating, and still educating, till they shall be able to assist our reforms; to understand the law beneath which they live; instead of defying it, to respect the government (by that time more efficient to secure the objects at which it aims); and to act upon the belief that men of various creeds and ranks and offices may dwell together without enmity. May not all this come of education, coupled with political reforms, and sanctioned by the blessing we pray for?”
“Heaven grant it may!” exclaimed the priest, who was now attentively observing some one who was sitting on the sunny side of a fence which ran to the very verge of the rock. It was an old man, with a babe on his knee, to whom he was alternately talking and singing in a feeble, cracked voice. His song was of the sea, to which he looked perpetually, and over which the setting sun was trailing a long line of glistering gold, to the great delight of the infant as well as its guardian.
“It is Sullivan!” exclaimed the priest, “and it is poor Dora's child that he holds on his knee. True it is that God feeds the young ravens that cry. Yonder babe has thriven in this desert as if its nightly rest were on its mother's bosom. The old man, too, looks cheerily. You will not take advantage, my son, of his having ventured above ground in a still hour like this. You will not bid the law take its course on one whose gray hairs came before his crimes began?”
“Not for the world,” said Tracey. “Shall we alight and speak to him, or would it alarm him too much?”
They drew near while still unobserved by the old man, whose noisy sport hindered his hearing their footsteps. At this moment, a small vessel appeared from behind a projecting rock, her sails filled with a fresh north wind, and appearing of a snowy whiteness as they caught the sunlight. When she shot across the golden track, the babe sprang and crowed in the old man's arms.
“The saints' blessing on ye, my jewel!” cried he, in almost equal glee. “It's there you would be, dancing on the blue waves, instead of in my old arms, that will scarcely hold you in more than an unbroken colt, my pretty one! There she goes, my darling,
“Sullivan!” cried the priest, who could no longer endure this ill-timed mirth.
The old man scrambled up in a moment, and made his obeisance before the mournful gravity of his pastor.
“Sullivan!” continued Father Glenny, “Do you know that vessel? You cannot be aware what freight it bears! You——”
“I know now all about it,” replied the old man, pettishly. “How could your reverence expect my old eyes to see so far off what ship Dora was on board of? And what makes your reverence bring his honour to be a spy on an old man's disgrace, unless he comes to catch me, and send me after Dora.' Tis near the hour when foxes and justices come out after their prey. You may have me for the catching, your honour; and much good may it do you to have got me.”
He would not listen to a word Mr. Tracey had to say, but went on addressing the child, as if no one had been present, his glee being, how-ever, all turned to bitterness.
“Agh, my jewel! and you knew more nor I, while you sprung as a lamb does when the ewe bleats. Stretch your arms, my darling, for your mother is there; and fain would I bid ye begone to her, though it would leave me alone in the wide world, where there's not a thing my eyes love but you, babby dear!”
And so he went on, sitting doggedly down with his back to the gentlemen, who retreated, intending to come again the next day, when he might be in a more communicative mood. At some distance they looked once more behind them, and saw that another man had joined Sullivan, and was standing over him, pointing to the receding vessel.
“It is Dan!” cried the priest, quickly turning his horse and riding back. Before he could reach the spot, Dan had snatched a hasty kiss of his infant, and disappeared. The old man's countenance was now fallen, and his tone subdued.
“You will never see Dan more,” said he, “though you may hear much of him. The just and merciful will never see his face again, and he has forsworn his priest. Where he will show himself from this time, it will be in the dead of the night, with a crape on his face and a pike in his hand. They that have made him mad must put up with a madman's deeds.”
“Mad!” cried Tracey.
“He means exasperated,” replied the priest. “Dan hoped to the last to rescue his wife, and the failure has made him desperate.”
“I'm alone now in the world entirely,” muttered Sullivan, rocking the now wearied infant to sleep. “Barring this orphan's, I shall see little of the face of man. It was the face of a devil that bent over us just now. Long may it be before it scares us again.”
Sullivan said truly, that Dan would henceforth be heard of and not seen by any but the victims of his violence. He who was once the pride is now the scourge of the Glen of the Echoes.