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Non quia vexari quemquam et jucunda voluptas,
Ad summas emergere opes rerum que potiri.” More than ten years ago, when contemplating the prospect then before us, we ventured thus to speak :
"Hour after hour to our view the horizon appears brightening with the illumination of a light, that, it may be, has not yet arisen : but fast and certain follows the sunrise on the dawn. Already can we feel its harbinger, the breath of knowledge, abroad, disper-ing by degrees the mists and vapours of the night - the obscurity which concealed deformity, the indistinctness that gave greatness to self-seeking and meanness. With hope, therefore, do we look from the present into the future-hope, perchance not undarkened with apprehensions, but still with apprehensions soothed and softened by the charity which, believing and enduring all things, would fain perceive in the gradual diffusion of good principles, in the humanising effects of extended education and improved literature, in the growing strength and energy of the champions of truth, indications and sources of that peace and happiness which shall yet overshadow the land."
What was then our future is now our present; nor have our anticipations altogether failed to be realised. Notwithstanding that on the approach of day a dark cloud suddenly arose, to hide the brightness of the sunrise, and plunge the country in gloom, yet the shadow is passing away - may we not even say, is now past? We are now in the broad light of the morning, and can hope for a glorious noon. Education has, indeed, been largely extended. The love of literature has struck its roots deeply into the hearts of the country, and has not failed to fructify in the increase as well as the improvement of literature. And with literature has come knowledge, and with knowledge has come truth. There remains now but little of our predictions to be realised. The full triumph of truth, truth that will make the soul free, and bring lasting peace and prosperity to the nation.
And now for our FUTURE.
Of the Future, who can speak otherwise than with diffidence ? Man's vision is but short and imperfect when he looks forward. The wisdom of Him, around whose throne are clouds and darkness, has wrapped the future in the impenetrable veil that pavilions His own brightness. All that we can do is to be true of purpose, to be firm of heart, to be resolute, industrious, self-reliant and hopeful. The principles and mode of action that have heretofore made our efforts successful, are, we believe, the best means of sustaining us in our present position, and of elevating us to a higher one. We have pledged ourselves to a good work. We will endeavour to redeem that pledge, and carry out the great object of our being. Our chiefest aim—let us rather say our sole purpose_is our country's good. Were we to descend to a lower ambition, that of self-aggrandisement, or the furtherance of mere party or local views, we should be false to our mission, and ultimately fail, even in our paltry object. To expound and enforce to the best of our ability, true, enlightened and impartial views in politics and in religion; to maintain our own principles, and to be at the same time tolerant and
considerate with regard to those who differ from us; to elevate the literature of our country; to develop her resources, and to stimulate her exertions—these are the true objects of our periodical, the very life and soul that should animate her, the very end and purpose of her being. Failing in this, she fails in everything that is worth struggling for. That we have ever aimed at this, that, whatever may have been our short-comings, we have in part accomplished it, we cannot but believe, for we have the assurance of our own position to warrant us in the belief-the testimony of many, who differ from us on particular subjects and controverted points, to sustain us. In the course that we have hitherto prescribed to ourselves we shall still continue, endeavouring to keep pace with the improved knowledge and enlightened progress of the age in which we live; endeavouring to see the truth, and express it fearlessly; offering no compromise of principle, making no sacrifice of consistency. And so, striving to earn the support of all who love our country, and would see it taking its rightful position amongst the nations of the world, we hesitate not to call upon thein for continued favour and increased support.
And now our self-examination is over. We have rendered our account of the Past; we have stated our position in the PRESENT, and declared our intentions for the FUTURE. If in so doing we have been led to speak much of ourselves, we trust that the necessity of the case will plead in extenuation for so doing. It is not easy to do all this in a spirit of truth and candour, without seeming to do it in a spirit of self-laudation and egotism.
Let us, however, acknowledge and bow willingly do we make the acknow. ledgment!—that all our intentions would have been unavailing, all our exertions fruitless, had we not been sustained by a spirit of nationality, that, however it may slumber for a time, is never dead amongst us ; had we not been supported by the hands and hearts of our own people, and the voice of public opinion in our favour. Ireland has now her own literature, her own vehicle of thought, her own exponent of feeling. Whatever may happen, of one thing we feel assured, that she will never again lapse into silence. If our zeal should grow cold, our ability become paralysed, or our industry falter, the want that we have in our day supplied and satisfied will never again be known amongst us; the spirit, once vivified and informed, never shall die within us; the voice that has been heard shall never be silenced. Meantime, we shall press forward, rallying around us many a good and a true heart, many a ready pen, many a keen wit, many a bright genuis ; and as recurring months shall again and again bring round new years, it is the dearest wish of our hearts that our periodical may still be found flourishing. In this there can be no selfish feeling; individual feelings and individual interests, sink and become absorbed in a spirit of patriotism. Who or what are we who write and labour to-day? To-morrow our hands may forget their cunning, our hearts may be cold in death. But when we are laid in our graves, the same holy fire which it has been our privilege to kindle and keep alive shall be transmitted to our successors. So may that future, which per. chance is denied to us, be realised to our children and our children's children, and the work of our hands and the thoughts of our hearts be long perpetuated and improved in the pages of The DUBLIN UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE !
"Set a stout heart to a steep brae," says the Scottish proverb, and over many a sore pinch, moral and physical, has the truth that therein lies triumpbantly borne our northern fellow-subjects during their toilsome wayfaring from the barbarisin and misery of the first balf of the eighteenth century, to the civilisation and prosperity that at the present day distinguish Scotland among the nations. Stout hearts did it all, and how much was done, is it not told by Fletcher of Saltoun, on the one hand, and by the teeming fields of the Lothians, the busy banks and waters of the Clyde, the factories of Renfrew, the forges of Lanark, and, better than all, by the schools in every parish of the kingdom, on the other ? Against the obstacles of an ungrateful climate, a stubborn soil, popular igno. rance, feudal oppression, and govern ment neglect, the stout native heart of Scotland set itself, and overcame them all. “We have no hesitation in affirm. ing," says a competent, and not un friendly judge, “ that no settled country, of which we have any au. thentic accounts, ever made half the progress in civilisation and the accu mulation of wealth, that Scotland has done since 1763, and especially since 1787." Stout hearts, we again say, have done it all; and in application of the moral, we venture to ask our own dear fellow.countrymen, what there is in the air, the soil, the nature of the people, or the political condition of Ireland, to prevent like influences from producing like effects within her boundaries? It is true that difficulties and perils thickly beset the path of the Irish regenerator, whether his course be guided by philanthropy or utilita. rianism; but where is the example in which manly courage and resolution have been brought to bear upon obstacles and dangers, with prudence and perseverance, and yet have failed in sur mounting or eluding them? The ques. tionopeus a widerfield of inquiry than it isour present object to explore; instead. therefore, of entering upon the weari. some task of discussing the causes of the failure of the thousand and one plans that have been conceived and put
into execution for the regeneration of Ireland, we shall endeavour to bring within the familiar cognisance of our readers, a modern instance, in which a steep and rugged Irish brae has been manfully and successfully encountered by a stout Irish heart. But let there be no mistake; the story of Gweedore in. cludes no panacea for the Irish difficulty ; the lesson it teaches is for all mankind, and for all time. Its subject is the power of kindness, reason, and firmness over the heart of man. Applied at home, it but shows that the native prejudices, the indolence, and the ob. stinacy of the merest Celt, are not al. together beyond those influences that work marvels upon the rest of the human race,
It is now, we regret to say, nearly a quarter of a century since we took horse, at six o'clock one fine summer's morning, in the small town of Letterkenny, and with « back turned to Britain, and face to the west," we bent our course toward the Bloody Fores land, the extreme north-western head. land of the county of Donegal. It was late in the afternoon of the same day, when, under the direction of a guide, we arrived at the lead-mine of Kildrum, close to the north-eastern verge of the district of country now known as the Gweedore estate of Lord George Hill. Although the mine was then in active work, the only mode of approaching it, or of transporting the ore for shipment at Ballyness Bay, was by a road little better than the track of a mountain stream, over which it required some nerve to ride upon the well-accustomed and sure-footed horses of the country. The district, includ. ing more than twenty-three thousand acres, and inhabited by upwards of three thousand persons, will be found on the map, in a nook lying between the point of the Bloody Fore. land on the north, the estuary of the Gweedore on the south, and the conical mountain of Arrigal on the south-east. It has a coast line of several miles in length, washed by the Atlantic Ocean, and garnished by a number of picturesque islands. It was then disjoined from the world, rather than connected
with it, by the track terminating at inserted. Between these, slighter wil. Kildrum mine, and by two other lines lows are interwoven, so as to form a of disjunction, one of which, passing basket-work bulwark, of about six along the coast from Ballyness Bay to inches in depth. The ribs are then Clady Bridge, was indeed called a brought together at the place where road, but was altogether impassable the keel ought to be, and being inter. by any variety of wheeled carriage. twined, are strengthened by laths crossThis, nevertheless, was the channel ing them from stem to stern, and lash, of the whole traffic of the district. ed at each crossing with cords of horseThrough it flowed the export trade in hair. The frame being thus completed, oats and poteen whiskey; and it served it is "skinned" with a horse or cow. equally for the reflux of articles of hide, or now, in the progress of civi. import, then consisting almost exclu lisation, with a covering of tarred can. sively of leather for brogues, iron for vas. The gallant ship is then finished, horse-shoes, and boards and nails for and ready to brave the dangers of the coffins. Inward and outward, the ocean. It is fitted with neither beam transit of these important goods was nor thwart, but accomodates its crew carried on upon the backs of men and in that primitive posture which men horses; and the experienced observer and inonkeys assumed before the invencould always trace the destination of tion of chairs, and the continued use of the last exotic luxury enjoyable by a which by modern tailors proves the un. resident of Gweedore, in the furrows broken succession of that ancient craft. left by the corners of the coffin boards, Squatted on the floor of his corragh, as, with one extremity tied over the it behoves the adventurous navigator shoulders of a pony, the other was to remain perfectly steady. If he suffered, in contemptuous disregard of throws but a very little too much of the laws of friction, to trail along the his weight to one side, he will be up. mountain path. On the southern bor- set; if he extend his leg with Celtic der, an adventurous traveller on foot energy, he will, in all probability, or horseback might wade waist-deep drive his foot through the slight parover the bar formed by the meeting of tition that separates him from the the river with the sea in the estuary deep. In using the short paddle, then, of the Gweedore ; but as this passage, with which the corragh is propelled, figuratively called “the ferry,” could the utmost caution is required, and yet only be effected at certain periods of the burthens with which it is occathe tide, and was often dangerous, in sionally freighted are really extraor. consequence of the shifting nature of dinary. A load of turf, a keg of whisthe sands, it was not available as a key, a cow, are no unusual freight; path for even that limited commerce to nay, an adventure is related by Lord which we bave alluded. Seawards, the George Hill,* in which a man and natives indulged their wandering im his wife not only crossed from the pulses by excursions to the islands in island of Arranmore to the mainland their neighbourhood, in boats so pri. in a corragh, filled with turf, and with mitive in construction and character as a horse standing on top, but actuto deserve a particular description. ally succeeded in getting the borse inThe corragh is an oval vessel, of wick board, after he had been washed off by er work, not unlike a large round-bot- a sea at a considerable distance from tomed cradle, without a head. It is the shore. about nine feet in length, over all, It is not difficult to conceive that three feet in width, and two feet in many strange features must character. depth. It has no keel ; and in the ise the moral and social condition of a process of building, the order of pro. people thus separated from the world cedure is the opposite of that adopted in aboriginal wildness; but a slight in ordinary naval architecture. The preliminary glance at the aspect of gunwale is laid down first, and con. physical nature, with which they are sists of a flat oval frame, perforated confronted from the cradle to the grave, with holes, at regular distances, into will, perhaps, help to render some of which the ribs-stout willow rods—are their strangest peculiarities intelligible,
* "Facts from Gweedore. Dublin. 1846.
Compiled from Notes by Lord George Hill, M R.I.A."
and will certainly not lessen the for- fiorine grass, that mark out the farm midable appearance of the obstacles in of the Gweedore Hotel, as an oasis in the way of their improvement. For the surrounding desert. To the peowild and varied grandeur, as set forth ple themselves, and to the former proin the most imposing combination of prietors, the difficulty seemed absomountain, lake, rock, moor, river, and lutely insurmountable. In this, as in sea, the scenery of Gweedore is unsur. many other instances, nature, showing passed in Donegal, as that of the whole herself to them only in her more rugcounty is, in our estimation, unequalled ged and massive forms, probably apin Ireland. In the back ground, is a peared too mighty and too inexorable mountain range of rugged, primitive to be contended with; and so, yielding rock, standing out from which, in grand without a struggle, the population distinctness, the white, sharp, conical crowded toward the shore, where peak of Arrigal rises abruptly to the patches of limestone soil, and the occaheight of 2,462 feet above the level of sional contributions of the ocean, in the sea. In front is the Atlantic Ocean, sea-weed for manure, and in shell-fish, rolling in a long, calm, heavy swell, or dilosk and sloake, for food,offered them a breaking in savage fury upon head. precarious subsistence. Frequent faland and cliff, the monotony of its migh- mines thioned their numbers from time ty mass of waters ever varied by the nu. to time ; yet they multiplied, though merous picturesque islands and rocks their fickle benefactress, now in angry that stud the coast. At the foot of mood, sent her blighting foam over Arrigal, in a deep and picturesque val. their potato-gardens; and, again, in ley, now civilised by the residence and equally destructive good humour, replantations of Mrs. Russell, is the beau- strained the fury that, in rolling moun. tiful Lough of Dunlewy, mother of the tains of sea-weed upon the coast, would Clady river, whose dark brown, quiet have supplied the chief requisite of stream, rolling tranquilly over a chan. their simple agriculture. In spite of nel of granite for about eight miles, storm and calm, however, they did signalises the moment of its dissolu- multiply, until standing-room became tion in the ocean, by breaking, in a scanty ; and here, as in other parts of small but brilliant fall, over the lime. Ireland, the competition for land be. stone rocks of Bunbeg. Between came the pivot of a long train of social, mountain and shore, at the period of moral, and political evils. the early visit to which we have allud Foremost among these mischievous ed, and, indeed, up to the commence- results, and itself a powerful cause of ment of Lord George Hill's operations, mischief, was the system known in Irean extensive tract of bog lay absolutely land as rundale, which, in Gweedore, waste and neglected. The undulating was in the fullest force and operation. surface of this desert, throughout, and Under this form of tenure, each town. the natural outfall for its drainage ap land was held in joint and common parently afforded by the Clady river, tenancy by all its occupiers. These, in a great portion of its extent, in the course of generation, and of might have led the casual observer to the partition of families, often increaseasy conclusions as to the facility of ed from one or two original tenants, to its reclamation, had not the extreme some twenty or thirty separate holders. shortness of the heath upon its surface, The custom of gavelkind prevailed and the constant wetness of its spongy as completely as the honourable memsubstance, told a different tale. The ber for Manchester himself could deimpermeable nature of the underlying sire: the right of primogeniture was granite rock does, in fact, materially absolutely disregarded; and nothing interfere with all plans for its cultiva- was entailed upon descendants but tion; and it is only by the expensive grinding and growing poverty. A operation of forming an artificial, po curious spectacle was then afforded by rous substratum, by a liberal intermix the struggle between, what Dr. Chal. ture of granite gravel with the bog, mers called the “ natural sense of prothat it can be made available for the perty," and the tyranny of popular growth of any useful crop. That, when custom. The one strove against a 80 treated, it is not deficient in fer complete community of possession, tility, is abundantly proved by the well. while the other proscribed any aristo. grown trees, shrubs, and vegetables, cracy of industry. It was found ne. no less than by the splendid crops of cessary to divide the tillage-lando