THE IRISH QUESTION.
TO THB EDITOR. Sir, —"Irishman's" own letters contain the misstatements, exaggerations, and distorted truths ; hence his cowardice in withholding his name I reiterate that the national schools I attended were mere apologies. The one in my nativo village was managed by the priest; its teacher, though very indifferent, was, porhaps, worth her L2O per annum, but the priest's housekeeper had a youog relative who wanted a situation, and she had to go to make room for this girl, who was her inferior in every sense. So mother sent me to the next school—one managed by the Hod. John Wilson Fitzpatrick, to which I had to walk more than three Irish miles, and when I got there was left for the most pi»rt moping at my desk. Fitzpatrick's management consisted of his wife and daughters coming occasionally to hear us read and sing ' God Save the Queen,' and so he managed the four schools on his estates. He didn't want tho children educated ; he knew they would then agitate constitutionally for reduced rent?. Drawing and physical science wero never heard of in them. My husband attended the Protestant school of the Rev. Mr Drew in Belfast, and the only physical science taught there was to clap bands and sing ' Oh that, will ke joyful.' The other branches were nearly as much neglected, so his parents sent him to the Catholic school with no better results. I repeat that the Government want to keep the masses in ignorance, or why are the schools not free, compulsory, and managed by the parents ? This is question No, 1; please answer it, Mr "Irishman"—you eay you want something to reply to. Question No. 2 is: Why did you leave th« prosperous (?) North to got a living ? for you certainly hail from there when you say the national schools were not attended by Catholics. Again and again have I seen the poor children sent away when they couldn't pay the fee, And how could they, when. a>
family of ten or twelve had to find food, fuel, clothing, and rent out of a shilling per day ? Yet this distorter of the truth dares to Bay that the schools in Ireland surpass those of New Zealand. It is utterly false to say "it is the Catholics who are ignoran f ." I met many ignorant ProtestaDts in Ireland who, at the bidding of the parson kept their children from the national schools, managed by priests, and have met many out of Ireland, and hailing from all countries. I always try to avoid invidious comparisons, but, Mr Editor, with your permission, I shall give one on this subject. The priests, whatever their faults, at least instruct their flocks in the knowledge of God, a Saviour, and a hereafter, ■ which is more than can be said for the parsons, as witness an example taken, from tUe works of Dickens—England's moral novelist—in the character of 'Jo, the Crossing Sweeper,' who was so ignorant that ho not only knew nothing of God or a Saviour, but he could not tell his right hand from his left—ignorance impossible to find in Ireland, and all thanks to the priesthood. So much for the schools; a few words for our inspector, who was an English Protestant, named Lane, and so illiterate that he aspirated his h's. Some of the lads were splendid specimens of the genus homo, and he would pat them on the cheek and say " Hireland, where the Hirish live." No doubt he was, to use the words of Dean Swift, " wondering they looked so much superior to himself" ; but what behests of the castle he or some of his friends must have done to be rewarded with an inspectorship for poor Ireland ! "Irishman's" knowledge of Irish history is very meagre indeed, notwithstanding all his boasted education, when he only picked it up in connection with other histories. Question No. 3: Why did they not teach you some in your Protestant schools, where the priests could not interfere ? The Home Rule leaders are agitating to remove the very evils " Irishman" complains of—viz., one class starving while another is saving, and yet another living in luxury in London on their rents; but his dense head cannot seo when he refutes his own assertions.
Happy the country which has no history ; but poor Ireland has too much, mostly of a painful nature, and no part more so than 1798, when the people were goaded into rebellion by the brutal soldiery, with the understanding of the powers that were, in order to give some pretext for the so-called union. And Scullabogue, which was not presided over by Father Murphy (see Mitchell's history), dwarfs beside the atrocities of the North Cork Militia and other yeomanry corps.—l am, etc., Kate Kossbotham. Leith Valley, August 10. P. S.—Looking back at my school days, inefficient and insufficient teacherß were the greatest wants. Think of a third-class teacher and one monitress for 150 girls ! And so it was in tho boys' school. Question No. 4: Why do the Government not give enough first-class teachers and pay them properly ; ond in the northern towns build two schools to hold, say, 500 each, instead of one of I,ooo—when the parson could manage one and the priest the other ? Believe me, if the parents had tho management these things would be done.—K.R.
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THE IRISH QUESTION., Evening Star, Issue 7984, 13 August 1889
THE IRISH QUESTION. Evening Star, Issue 7984, 13 August 1889
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