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literature relieved them from the tedium that characterized most
co-operative colonies. Soon their numbers increased to five hundred by
accessions which, with few exceptions, were French.

But Cabet was not a practical leader. His pamphlet published in German
in 1854, entitled _If I had half a million dollars_, reveals the
naïveté of his mind. He wanted to find money, not to make it. The
society soon became involved in a controversy in which Cabet's
immediate following were outnumbered. The minority petulantly stopped
working but continued to eat. "The majority decided that those who
would not work should not eat ... and gave notice that those who
absented themselves from labor would be cut off from rations."[20] As
a result, Cabet, in 1856, was expelled from his own Icaria! With 170
faithful adherents he went to St. Louis, and there a few days later he
died. The minority buried their leader, but their faith in communal
life survived this setback. At Cheltenham, a suburb of St. Louis, they
acquired a small estate, where proximity to the city enabled the
members to get work. Here they lived together six years before
division disrupted them permanently.

At Nauvoo in the meantime there had been other secessions, and the
property, in 1857, was in the hands of a receiver. The plucky and
determined remnant, however, removed to Iowa, where on the prairie
near Corning they planted a new Icaria. Here, by hard toil and in
extreme poverty, but in harmony and contentment, the communists lived
until, in 1876, the younger members wished to adopt advanced methods
in farming, in finance, and in management. The older men, with wisdom
acquired through bitter experience, refused to alter their methods.
The younger party won a lawsuit to annul the communal charter. The
property was divided, and again there were two Icarias, the "young
party" retaining the old site and the "old party" moving on and
founding New Icaria, a few miles from the old. But Old Icaria was soon
split: one faction removed to California, where the Icaria-Speranza
community was founded; and the other remained at Old Icaria. Both came
to grief in 1888. Finally in 1895 New Icaria, then reduced to a few
veterans, was dissolved by a unanimous vote of the community.

* * * * *

In 1854 Victor Considérant, the French socialist, planted a
Fourieristic phalanx in Texas, under the liberal patronage of J.B.A.
Godin, the godfather of Fourierism in France who founded at Guise the
only really successful phalanx. A French communistic colony was also
attempted at Silkville, Kansas. But both ventures lasted only a few
years. Since the subsidence of these French communistic experiments,
there have been many sporadic attempts at founding idealistic
communities in the United States. Over fifty have been tried since the
Civil War. Nearly all were established under American auspices and did
not lure many foreigners.


FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 15: As is usual among people who pride themselves on their
peculiarities there were variations of opinion among these sects which
led to schisms. The Mennonites contained at one time no less than
eleven distinct branches, among them the Amish, Old and New, whose
ridiculous singularity of dress, in which they discarded all ornaments
and even buttons, earned them the nickname "Hooks and Eyes." But no
matter how aloof these sects held themselves from the world, or what
asceticism they practiced upon themselves, or what spiritual and
economic fraternity they displayed to each other, they possessed a
remarkable native cunning in bargaining over a bushel of wheat or a
shoat, and for a time most of their communities prospered.]

[Footnote 16: Under the communal contract, which was later upheld by
the Supreme Court of the United States, members agreed to merge their
properties and to renounce all claims for services; and the community,
on its part, agreed to support the members and to repay without
interest, to any one desiring to withdraw, the amount he had put into
the common fund.]

[Footnote 17: _Communistic Societies of the United States_, by Charles
Nordhoff, p. 73.]

[Footnote 18: The largest membership was attained in 1827, when 522
were enrolled. There were 391 in 1836; 321 in 1846; 170 in 1864; 146
in 1866; 70 in 1879; 34 in 1888; 37 in 1892; 10 in 1897; 8 in 1902,
only two of whom were men; and in 1903, three women and one man. The
population of Economy, however, was always much larger than the
communal membership.]

[Footnote 19: _The New Harmony Movement_, by G.B. Lockwood, p. 83.]

[Footnote 20: _Icaria, A Chapter in the History of Communism_, by
Albert Shaw, p. 58.]




CHAPTER V

THE IRISH INVASION


After the Revolution, immigrants began to filter into America from
Great Britain and continental Europe. No record was kept of their
arrival, and their numbers have been estimated at from 4000 to 10,000
a year, on the average. These people came nearly all from Great
Britain and were driven to migrate by financial and political
conditions.

In 1819 Congress passed a law requiring Collectors of Customs to keep
a record of passengers arriving in their districts, together with
their age, sex, occupation, and the country whence they came, and to
report this information to the Secretary of State. This was the
Federal Government's first effort to collect facts concerning
immigration. The law was defective, yet it might have yielded valuable
results had it been intelligently enforced.[21]

From all available collateral sources it appears that the official
figures greatly understated the actual number of arrivals. Great
Britain kept an official record of those who emigrated from her ports
to the United States and the numbers so listed are nearly as large as
the total immigration from all sources reported by the United States
officials during a time when a heavy influx is known to have been
coming from Germany and Switzerland.

Inaccurate as these figures are, they nevertheless are a barometer
indicating the rising pressure of immigration. The first official
figures show that in 1820 there arrived 8385 aliens of whom 7691 were
Europeans. Of these 3614, or nearly one-half, came from Ireland. Until
1850 this proportion was maintained. Here was evidence of the first
ground swell of immigration to the United States whose subsequent
waves in sixty years swept to America one-half of the entire
population of the Little Green Isle. Since 1820 over four and a
quarter million Irish immigrants have found their way hither. In 1900
there were nearly five million persons in the United States descended
from Irish parentage. They comprise today ten per cent of our foreign
born population.

The discontent and grievances of the Irish had a vivid historical
background in their own country. There were four principal causes
which induced the transplanting of the race: rebellion, famine,
restrictive legislation, and absentee landlordism. Every uprising of
this bellicose people from the time of Cromwell onward had been
followed by voluntary and involuntary exile. It is said that
Cromwell's Government transported many thousand Irish to the West
Indies. Many of these exiles subsequently found their way to the
Carolinas, Virginia, and other colonies. After the great Irish
rebellion of 1798 and again after Robert Emmet's melancholy failure in
the rising of 1803 many fled across the sea. The Act of Union in 1801
brought "no submissive love for England," and constant political
agitations for which the Celtic Irish need but little stimulus have
kept the pathway to America populous.

The harsh penal laws of two centuries ago prescribing transportation
and long terms of penal servitude were a compelling agency in driving
the Irish to America. Illiberal laws against religious nonconformists,
especially against the Catholics, closed the doors of political
advancement in their faces, submitted them to humiliating
discriminations, and drove many from the island. Finally, the selfish
Navigation Laws forbade both exportation of cattle to England and the
sending of foodstuffs to the colonies, dealing thereby a heavy blow to
Irish agriculture. These restrictions were followed by other
inhibitions until almost every industry or business in which the Irish
engaged was unduly limited and controlled. It should, however, not be
forgotten that these restrictions bore with equal weight upon the
Ulster settlers from Scotland and England, who managed somehow to
endure them successfully.

Absentee landlordism was oppressive both to the cotter's body and to
his soul, for it not only bound him to perpetual poverty but kindled
within him a deep sense of injustice. The historian, Justin McCarthy,
says that the Irishman "regarded the right to have a bit of land, his
share, exactly as other people regard the right to live." So political
and economic conditions combined to feed the discontent of a people
peculiarly sensitive to wrongs and swift in their resentments.

But the most potent cause of the great Irish influx into America was
famine in Ireland. The economist may well ascribe Irish failure to the
potato. Here was a crop so easy of culture and of such nourishing
qualities that it led to overpopulation and all its attendant ills.
The failure of this crop was indeed an "overwhelming disaster," for,
according to Justin McCarthy, the Irish peasant with his wife and his
family lived on the potato, and whole generations grew up, lived,
married, and passed away without ever having tasted meat. When the
cold and damp summer of 1845 brought the potato rot, the little,
overpopulated island was facing dire want. But when the next two years
brought a plant disease that destroyed the entire crop, then famine
and fever claimed one quarter of the eight million inhabitants. The
pitiful details of this national disaster touched American hearts.
Fleets of relief ships were sent across from America, and many a
shipload of Irish peasants was brought back. In 1845 over 44,821 came;
1847 saw this number rise to 105,536 and in the next year to 112,934.
Rebellion following the famine swelled the number of immigrants until
Ireland was left a land of old people with a fast shrinking
population.

There is a prevailing notion that this influx after the great famine
was the commencement of Irish migration. In reality it was only the
climax. Long before this, Irishmen were found in the colonies, chiefly
as indentured servants; they were in the Continental Army as valiant
soldiers; they were in the western flux that filled the Mississippi
Valley as useful pioneers. How many there were we do not know. As
early as 1737, however, there were enough in Boston to celebrate St.
Patrick's Day, and in 1762 they poured libations to their favorite
saint in New York City, for the _Mercury_ in announcing the meeting
said, "Gentlemen that please to attend will meet with the best Usage."
On March 17, 1776, the English troops evacuated Boston and General
Washington issued the following order on that date:

Parole Boston

Countersign St. Patrick

The regiments under marching orders to march tomorrow
morning. By His Excellency's command.

Brigadier of the Day

GEN. JOHN SULLIVAN.

Thus did the Patriot Army gracefully acknowledge the day and the
people.

In 1784, on the first St. Patrick's Day after the evacuation of New
York City by the British, there was a glorious celebration "spent in
festivity and mirth." As the newspaper reporter put it, "the greatest
unanimity and conviviality pervaded" a "numerous and jovial company."

Branches of the Society of United Irishmen were formed in American
cities soon after the founding of the order in Ireland. Many veterans
of '98 found their way to America, and between 1800 and 1820 many
thousand followed the course of the setting sun. Their number cannot
be ascertained; but there were not a few. In 1818 Irish immigrant
associations were organized by the Irish in New York, Philadelphia,
and Baltimore to aid the newcomers in finding work. Many filtered into
the United States from Canada, Newfoundland, and the West Indies.
These earlier arrivals were not composed of the abjectly poor who
comprised the majority of the great exodus, and especially among the
political exiles there were to be found men of some means and
education.

America became extremely popular in Ireland after the Revolution of
1776, partly because the English were defeated, partly because of
Irish democratic aspirations, but particularly because it was a land
of generous economic and political possibilities. The Irish at once
claimed a kinship with the new republic, and the ocean became less of
a barrier than St. George's Channel.

"The States," as they were called, became a synonym of abundance. The
most lavish reports of plenty were sent back by the newcomers - of meat
daily, of white bread, of comfortable clothing. "There is a great many
ill conveniences here," writes one, "but no empty bellies." In England
and Ireland and Scotland the number of poor who longed for this
abundance exceeded the capacity of the boats. Many who would have
willingly gone to America lacked the passage money. The Irish peasant,
born and reared in extreme poverty, was peculiarly unable to scrape
together enough to pay his way. The assistance which he needed,
however, was forthcoming from various sources. Friends and relatives
in America sent him money; in later years this practice was very
common. Societies were organized to help those who could not help
themselves. Railroad and canal companies, in great need of labor,
imported workmen by the thousands and advanced their passage money.
And finally, the local authorities found shipping their paupers to
another country a convenient way of getting rid of them. England
early resorted to the same method. In 1849 the Irish poor law
guardians were given authority to borrow money for such "assistance,"
as it was called. In 1881 the Land Commission and in 1882 the
Commissioner of Public Works were authorized to advance money for this
purpose. In 1884 and 1885 over sixteen thousand persons were thus
assisted from Galway and Mayo counties.

Long before the great Irish famine of 1846-47 America appeared like a
mirage, and wondering peasants in their dire distress exaggerated its
opulence and opportunities. They braved the perils of the sea and
trusted to luck in the great new world. The journey in itself was no
small adventure. There were some sailings directly from Ireland; but
most of the Irish immigrants were collected at Liverpool by agents not
always scrupulous in their dealings. A hurried inspection at Liverpool
gained them the required medical certificates, and they were packed
into the ships. Of the voyage one passenger who made the journey from
Belfast in 1795 said: "The slaves who are carried from the coast of
Africa have much more room allowed them than the immigrants who pass
from Ireland to America, for the avarice of captains in that trade is
such that they think they can never load their vessels sufficiently,
and they trouble their heads in general no more about the
accommodation and storage of their passengers than of any other lumber
aboard." When the great immigrant invasion of America began, there
were not half enough ships for the passengers, all were cruelly
overcrowded, and many were so filthy that even American port officials
refused a landing before cleansing. Under such conditions sickness was
a matter of course, and of the hordes who started for the promised
land thousands perished on the way.[22]

Hope sustained the voyagers. But what must have been the
disappointment of thousands when they landed! No ardent welcome
awaited them, nor even jobs for the majority. Alas for the rosy dreams
of opulence! Here was a prosaic place where toil and sweat were the
condition of mere existence. As the poor creatures had no means of
moving on, they huddled in the ports of arrival. Almshouses were
filled, beggars wandered in every street, and these peasants
accustomed to the soil and the open country were congested in the
cities, unhappy misfits in an entirely new economic environment.
Unskilled in the handicrafts, they were forced to accept the lot of
the common laborer. Fortunately, the great influx came at the time of
rapid turnpike, canal, and railroad expansion. Thousands found their
way westward with contractors' gangs. The free lands, however, did not
lure them. They preferred to remain in the cities. New York in 1850
sheltered 133,000 Irish. Philadelphia, Boston, New Orleans,
Cincinnati, Albany, Baltimore, and St. Louis, followed, in the order
given, as favorite lodging places, and there was not one rapidly
growing western city, such as Buffalo, Cleveland, Detroit, and
Chicago, that did not have its "Irish town" or "Shanty town" where the
immigrants clung together.

Their brogue and dress provoked ridicule; their poverty often threw
them upon the community; the large percentage of illiteracy among them
evoked little sympathy; their inclinations towards intemperance and
improvidence were not neutralized by their great good nature and
open-handedness; their religion reawoke historical bitterness; their
genius for politics aroused jealousy; their proclivity to unite in
clubs, associations, and semi-military companies made them the objects
of official suspicion; and above all, their willingness to assume the
offensive, to resent instantly insult or intimidation, brought them
into frequent and violent contact with their new neighbors. "America
for Americans" became the battle cry of reactionaries, who organized
the American or "Know-Nothing" party and sought safety at the polls.
While all foreign elements were grouped together, indiscriminately, in
the mind of the nativist, the Irishman unfortunately was the special
object of his spleen, because he was concentrated in the cities and
therefore offered a visual and concrete example of the danger of
foreign mass movements, because he was a Roman Catholic and thus
awakened ancient religious prejudices that had long been slumbering,
and because he fought back instantly, valiantly, and vehemently.

Popular suspicion against the foreigner in America began almost as
soon as immigration assumed large proportions. In 1816 conservative
newspapers called attention to the new problems that the Old World
was thrusting upon the New: the poverty of the foreigner, his low
standard of living, his illiteracy and slovenliness, his ignorance of
American ways and his unwillingness to submit to them, his
clannishness, the danger of his organizing and capturing the political
offices and ultimately the Government. In addition to the alarmist and
the prejudiced, careful and thoughtful citizens were aroused to the
danger. Unfortunately, however, religious antagonisms were aroused
and, as is always the case, these differences awakened the profoundest
prejudices and passions of the human heart. There were many towns in
New England and in the West where Roman Catholicism was unknown except
as a traditional enemy of free institutions. It is difficult to
realize in these days of tolerance the feelings aroused in such
communities when Catholic churches, parochial schools, and convents
began to appear among them; and when the devotees of this faith
displayed a genius for practical politics, instinctive distrust
developed into lively suspicion.

The specter of ecclesiastical authority reared itself, and the
question of sharing public school moneys with parochial schools and of
reading the Bible in the public schools became a burning issue. Here
and there occurred clashes that were more than barroom brawls.
Organized gangs infested the cities. Both sides were sustained and
encouraged by partisan papers, and on several occasions the antagonism
spent themselves in riots and destruction. In 1834 the Ursuline
convent at Charlestown, near Boston, was sacked and burned. Ten years
later occurred the great anti-Irish riots in Philadelphia, in which
two Catholic churches and a schoolhouse were burned by a mob inflamed
to hysteria by one of the leaders who held up a torn American flag and
shouted, "This is the flag that was trampled on by Irish papists."
Prejudice accompanied fear into every city and "patented citizens"
were often subject to abuse and even persecution. Tammany Hall in New
York City became the political fortress of the Irish. Election riots
of the first magnitude were part of the routine of elections, and the
"Bloody Sixth Ward Boys" were notorious for their hooliganism on
election day.

The suggestions of the nativists that paupers and criminals be
excluded from immigration were not embodied into law. The movement
soon was lost in the greater questions which slavery was thrusting
into the foreground. When the fight with nativism was over, the Irish
were in possession of the cities. They displayed an amazing aptitude
for political plotting and organization and for that prime essential
to political success popularly known as "mixing." Policemen and
aldermen, ward heelers, bosses, and mayors, were known by their
brogue. The Irish demonstrated their loyalty to the Union in the Civil
War and merged readily into American life after the lurid prejudices
against them faded.

Unfortunately, a great deal of this prejudice was revived when the
secret workings of an Irish organization in Pennsylvania were
unearthed. Among the anthracite coal miners a society was formed,
probably about 1854, called the Molly Maguires, a name long known in
Ireland. The members were all Irish, professed the Roman Catholic
faith, and were active in the Ancient Order of Hibernians. The Church,
the better class of Irishmen, and the Hibernians, however, were
shocked by the doings of the Molly Maguires and utterly disowned them.
They began their career of blackmail and bullying by sending threats
and death notices embellished with crude drawings of coffins and
pistols to those against whom they fancied they had a grievance,
usually the mine boss or an unpopular foreman. If the recipient did
not heed the threat, he was waylaid and beaten and his family was
abused. By the time of the Civil War these bullies had terrorized the
entire anthracite region. Through their political influence they
elected sheriffs and constables, chiefs of police and county
commissioners. As they became bolder, they substituted arson and
murder for threats and bullying, and they made life intolerable by
their reckless brutality. It was impossible to convict them, for the
hatred against an informer, inbred in every Irishman through
generations of experience in Ireland, united with fear in keeping
competent witnesses from the courts. Finally the president of one of
the large coal companies employed James McParlan, a remarkably clever
Irish detective. He joined the Mollies, somehow eluded their
suspicions, and slowly worked his way into their confidence. An
unusually brutal and cowardly murder in 1875 proved his opportunity.
When the courts finished with the Mollies, nineteen of their members
had been hanged, a large number imprisoned, and the organization was
completely wiped out.

Meantime the Fenian movement served to keep the Irish in the public
eye. This was no less than an attempt to free Ireland and disrupt the
British Empire, using the United States as a fulcrum, the Irish in
America as the power, and Canada as the lever. James Stephens, who
organized the Irish Republican Brotherhood, came to America in 1858 to
start a similar movement. After the Civil War, which supplied a
training school for whole regiments of Irish soldiers, a convention of
Fenians was held at Philadelphia in 1865 at which an "Irish Republic"
was organized, with a full complement of officers, a Congress, a
President, a Secretary of the Treasury, a Secretary of War, in fact, a
replica of the American Federal Government. It assumed the highly
absurd and dangerous position that it actually possessed sovereignty.
The luxurious mansion of a pill manufacturer in Union Square, New
York, was transformed into its government house, and bonds,
embellished with shamrocks and harps and a fine portrait of Wolfe
Tone, were issued, payable "ninety days after the establishment of the
Irish Republic." Differences soon arose, and Stephens, who had made
his escape from Richmond, near Dublin, where he had been in prison,
hastened to America to compose the quarrel which had now assumed true
Hibernian proportions. An attempt to land an armed gang on the Island
of Campo Bello on the coast of New Brunswick was frustrated; invaders


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