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Title: Things as They Are in The United States.
CollectionIrish Emigration Database
Sender Genderunknown
Sender Occupationunknown
Sender Religionunknown
OriginAlbany, New York, USA
Recipient Genderunknown
Relationshipre emigration
SourceThe Armagh Guardian, Friday, July 3, 1857.
ArchiveThe Central Library, Belfast.
Doc. No.9410498
Partial Date
Doc. TypeEMG
LogDocument added by LT/JW, 24:10:1994.
Word Count1583

We earnestly recommend the following article to the careful
perusal of those of our readers who are bit by the emigration
mania. It is extracted from an admirably conducted
agriculture and family paper, styled " The Country Gentleman
", published at Albany, N.Y., and the statements contained in
it are, therefore, doubly entitled to due consideration. We,
too, have thousands of " productive acres " which " are left
behind , abandoned and uncared for; " and we are decidedly of
the opinion that everyone should think twice ere they abandon
" ould Ireland " for any foreign land.


We recollect of no time when such an universal stampede of
men of all professions and pursuits to the Western States has
been made as the present spring. The stampede has been going
on these three years, for that matter, but the present
appears to be its culminating period. A land and a
speculative furore has apparently taken possession of every
man who has a dollar of money in his pocket, or the credit
wherewith to get it. Old, middle-aged, and young, it is all
the same, one universal rush to the West to engage in land
purchases and speculations. The calamities of twenty-one or
twenty-two years ago from the same cause have been forgotten.
Two-thirds the age of a generation have been invented, and
the present adventurers can see no sort of a parallel between
the times then and now.
We are neither a grumbler nor an " old fogy
". On the other hand, we are of a hopeful temperament, loving
to look on the bright side of the picture rather than on the
dark, and trusting, Micawber-like, for "something to turn up"
that will make every bad-looking case better than it now
appears. But the aspect of the times is fearful - not for the
industrious community who stay at home and attend to their
pursuits whatever they may be, but for those who are seized
with the insane spirit of land speculation, and the victims
who have entrusted their money to them. With them a fearful
crash is at hand - averted, it may be, for a twelve-month but
none the less fearful, or deeply calamitous. Let us look. We
have enjoyed years of profound peace with all the world, save
the episode of a Mexican war, which served only as pastime to
the uneasy spirits who chose to take a hand in it in place of
other mischief. California has opened to us her treasures,
and poured into our coffers gold enough, if it had been well
husbanded, to pay every foreign debt we owed, give a spur to
every species of industry and make us financially the most
independant species on the globe. But no; that would not do.
We went railroad-mad to start with. Three roads were built
where one was needed, with the consequence that they were
mostly bankrupt before their owners found out whether the
business of the country required him or not. Look at them.
New England laid over with rails like new work, and not half
a dozen lines among them paying running expenses and a
dividend at all. New York has a score of them or more, with a
hundred millions invested, and not over two or three lines
paying an honest dividend. Ohio just so; and every western
and southern state beyond and below in the same deficient
category, or merely kept alive as bubbles for the " den of
thieves " in Wall Street to gamble on. Here have gone
millions on millions of our wealth and labour - sunk in
hopeless, irredeemable loss. They have benefitted the
country, to be sure, in the rise of farms, but even that rise
in value has stimulated many of their owners to increased
expenditure, and the creation of debts that in numberless
cases will result in ruin. A few railroads would have been
largely valuable, an income to their stockholders, and a
benefit to the community. But as they are they must result in
loss and calamity to their owners. Next came the public lands
and speculations in them. The new railroads opened the way
there. It is of no use to tell how these lands are sought and
found, and pounced on, and bought and sold, and run over ,
and staked out, and then abandoned, so far as anything like
permanent settlement is concerned , for other public land
away beyond them, to be treated the same way in turn.
Thousands of families, to be sure, settle upon them, many to
become uneasy and homesick, and pine for their old deserted
dwelling-places, and after years of discomfort, with patient
industry, get into something like a liveable condition again,
and make a wholesome productive community at last. This would
all be well too, in moderation. But the tendency is to grab
all creation in the way of land, land, land! - and land out
west in the hands of speculators is only considered good to
build cities and villages upon, through every one of which a
new railroad is to run, and make it the central point of the
whole universe - according to the story of its proprietors.
Now, how works the thing? The whole county mist is alive with
emigrants. How many of them, except a small percentage of
our native people and the ignorant foreigners who settle down
in agricultural communities really go to work at sober
farming? The local markets there tell you. Beef and pork at a
shilling a pound, even in Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa and
Minnesota; potatoes a dollar a bushel; corn the same; oats
half as much; hay thirty dollars a ton, flour eight dollars a
barrel; butter two shillings a pound, and every eatable for
man or beast, in the same proportion, showing distinctly that
instead of working, the community at large is spectating and
" prospecting ". Lands of greater agricultural value are
cheaper in Western New York, Ohio and Michigan, than in
Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota. But New York, Ohio
and Michigan are known only as states that the emigrating
hordes go from, and as sources from which to draw their money
for new speculations. Millions of productive acers [acres?]
are left behind, with abundance of wood and water in a
healthy climate, abandoned and uncared for, to rush out to
the bleak prairie with neither wood or water in sight, and
for years to absorb the money obtained from the yielding and
despised acres left behind.
Such is the present state of things. There are redeeming
expectations to all this wild, helter-skelter picture we
admit. But such is the general view, and as calamitous in
results to come, unless suddenly checked as true to fact. Nor
is this the worst. Back of all is the reckless extravagance
of our whole population in living, dress, house-building,
furniture and everything touching life as it goes. It is
useless to enumerate. Look about you and see see it in
everything, out of doors - "upstairs, and the ladies chamber"
especially. The servant girls wear silks; their mistresses
wear brocade and jewellery, while the household daughters go
hopping, ride in gilded carriages, smash over the keys of the
piano, or snap the strings of the guitar, making night
hideous with discord for the particular benefit of troops of
bewhiskered and worthless music masters and jewelled
So much for
private life. Morally and religiously , how is it? We build
costly churches for proud and lazy worshippers - not of God,
but of Mammon - where the poor cannot enter, but perchance,
be driven to perdition, that pride of the eye and lust of the
flesh may be gratified in their richer neighbours. Our
dyspeptic and effeminate preachers, to work off the sinful
effects of hot morning rolls, heavy dinners, and late
suppers, must " go abroad " during the summer, with an extra
allowance for expenses, while their frivolous congregations
go skylarking about the watering-places, climb the White
Mountains, or play the fool generally. Such is town life, and
the sturdy, honest bumpkins of the country, gazing on at such
riotous living, drop the hoe and leave the plough, go into
town, turn clerk in a fancy store, enter a lawyer's or a
doctor's office, and in a majority of cases turn out
swindler, thief, or vagabond; as their ability, taste, or
luck shall determine. Even the agricultural societies are
becoming debauched. Our annual exhibitions are turned into
horse-races and trotting matches, where the boys " cut up ",
and the girls, on the backs of fact [fat?] nags, scamper over
the ground like circus women, under the hurrahs of ribald
men, and idlers, and loafers, without moral courage enough to
put a stop to such nonsense, and restore those valuable
institutions to their original interest and utility.
This, our readers will exclaim, is a one-sided
view of the case, and the very worst that can be said, if
true at all. Very well; we will see. Let them gainsay it if
they can. We have viewed the whole subject, seen and felt
both sides of it, and know the facts. We are a farmer, love
the soil, and own and cultivate enough of it to satisfy any
moderate ambition; And for the edification of those who
choose to grumble at our talk, just tell them, by the way,
that we have more to say about it hereafter.