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Title: David Carmichael to the Editor of the Northern Whig.
CollectionIrish Emigration Database
FileCarmichael, David/45
SenderCarmichael, David
Sender Gendermale
Sender Occupationmerchant?
Sender Religionunknown
OriginMillisle, Donaghadee, Co. Down, N.Ireland
Recipienteditor of the Northern Wig
Recipient Gendermale
SourceThe Tyrone Constitution, Omagh, 7 October 1864.
ArchiveThe Linenhall Library, Belfast.
Doc. No.9410097
Partial Date
Doc. TypeLET
LogDocument added by LT, 10:10:1994.
Word Count687
(To the Editor of the Northern Whig)

SIR - The columns of the Times have been lately teeming
with letters from a great variety of correspondents,
engaged with the editor in the discussion of that ever
recurring topic, 'Ireland's Miseries; their cause and
cure'. We have the landlord, clergyman, merchant,
and almost every class in the community represented,
each claiming to give a reason for his country's misfortunes.
One ascribes it to England's past misgovernment, another
to the existence of the Established Church, one to the
incurable perversity of the Celtic race, another to the
combinations of workmen, agrarian outrages, the shooting
of landlords and agents - all tending to frighten capitalists
from investing their money among us.
In these and many other reasons, too numerous to
recapitulate here, there may be more or less of truth;
but their authors entirely overlook the great and principal
one - the introduction and working of Free-trade.
The mere mention of such a thing at this stage of the
world's history will no doubt surprise a number of
people who have given little consideration to the subject;
and I would scarcely have ventured to do so had I not
heard a gentleman, more capable of forming a sound
opinion, giving expression to the same idea.
'What!' it will be said, 'has prosperity not flowed upon
us like a river, unimpeded by our expensive wars in
Russia, India, and China, and unchecked by the still
greater calamities that have befallen our best customers
in other lands? On every side what indications there
are of our vast and accumulating wealth. Witness the
ease with which we bear our enormous burdens of
taxation; and observe the triumph of our commerce
over every country which has not proceeded in the same
path. And to what other reason can all this be
attributed than the great and mighty influence of
Justly, indeed, may this be affirmed; and not for a
moment could the truth of the conclusion be disputed
when applied to the nation as a whole, but utterly
astray when applied to the purely agricultural portions
of Ireland, and the poorer districts of Scotland and
England. These have passed through the severest
trails that have ever befallen a country, when both
landlords and tenants succumbed to a pressure the weight
of which may be estimated by its effects in compelling
millions of the population to seek subsistence in other
employments, and in setting on foot an exodus such as
the world has probably never witnessed before. Owing to
a variety of causes it might well be said Free-trade is
only now beginning to be really felt by the farmer with
a power that is unmistakably injurious to his special
interest. In consequence of deficient harvests abroad
for a series of years, and a great impulse to
consumption at home, resulting from the immense
development of our manufactures, prices have been
maintained at a range that can never be hoped for again;
while the foreigner, stimulated by the high price of
butter, cheese, beef, and pork, obtainable from our
well-paid artisans, has now learned to raise in abundance,
and of a quality which is rapidly approaching the very best
that can be produced at home. Aided by near proximity to
large centres of industry, having the advantage of capitial,
and the application of the same on scientific principles
to larger farms - moreover, possessed of indomitable
perseverance - the English and Scotch farmer may hold out
when the Irish must give way, if not possessed of similar
advantages. In laying at the door of Free-trade part of
the cause of Ireland's miseries, I am not to be supposed
for an instant as lamenting the departure of the old
system of protection, but merely pointing out the
impossibility of Ireland, in her present condition
successfully competing with the great steppes
of Russia and prairies of America.
Unwilling to trespass further on your space, I may
allude at another time to a few of the palliatives
recommended for staying the exodus and inaugurating a
new era of plenty and prosperity in our afflicted
country - I am, yours, etc., DAVID CARMICHAEL.
Millisle, Donaghadee.