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The churches and emigration from nineteenth-century Ireland

The book knits together two of the most significant themes in the social and cultural history of modern Ireland - mass emigration and religious change - and aims to provide fresh insight into both. It addresses the churches' responses to emigration, both in theory and in practice. The book also assesses how emigration impacted on the churches both in relation to their status in Ireland, and in terms of their ability to spread their influence abroad. It first deals with the theoretical positions of the clergy of each denomination in relation to emigration and how they changed over the course of the nineteenth century, as the character of emigration itself altered. It then explores the extent of practical clerical involvement in the temporal aspects of emigration. This includes attempts to prevent or limit it, a variety of facilitation services informally offered by parish clergymen, church-backed moves to safeguard emigrant welfare, clerical advice-giving and clerically planned schemes of migration. Irish monks between the fifth and eighth centuries had spread Christianity all over Europe, and should act as an inspiration to the modern cleric. Tied in with this reading of the past, of course, was a very particular view of the present: the perception that emigration represented the enactment of a providential mission to spread the faith.

3 Before the discontinuity and the start of modern times British origins The beginnings of mass emigration, we contend, were located in the British Isles in the 1820s, but the scale of the discontinuity requires a measure of the circumstances before the change. Was mass emigration a gradual progression or a bolt from the blue? The answer will relate to the likely causes, critical in the present quest. A radical shift in the velocity and volume of general mobility was a sine qua non of mass emigration. The mobility of the population was significant for many

in The genesis of international mass migration

emigration ships. Only later – after the mid-nineteenth century – did mass emigration become an overwhelmingly urban and industrial phenomenon. Until then the migrants derived from the fields and rural communities which were subject to new circumstances. The Isle of Man, Guernsey, Shropshire, Staffordshire, West Sussex and Wiltshire each yielded migrants, internally and externally: each saw new levels of change and mobility. They responded to some new turmoil, some torque within the system, which was expressed in the dislocation and re-distribution of the people near and

in The genesis of international mass migration
Abstract only

importation of new inhabitants, but to the multiplication of the species’.2 Indeed Atlantic emigration in 1776 was in free-fall, severely disrupted by the American Revolution. There were many harbingers of mass emigration – not only the Pilgrims but many other contingents in the following century: thousands of the German redemptioners, many Scots, Ulster Irish and Cornish; but these were not sustained movements on the scale achieved at the end of eighteenth century and after. There had been a preliminary upsurge in the late 1760s, notably from Ulster which was most likely

in The genesis of international mass migration

. Certainly a new context for mass emigration from northern Scotland had emerged by the second half of the eighteenth century and the foundations of Highland communities in North Carolina, Georgia and New York from the 1730s created the basis for ‘chain migration’. The commercial relationship between Scotland and North America was also revolutionised by the remarkable success of Glasgow in the tobacco trade from the 1730s. The American trades helped to provide the transport infrastructure for large-scale emigration from Scotland as most Highland communities were within

in Clanship to crofters’ war
Open Access (free)

Francisco’s prominent ‘labour priest’ Peter Yorke forcefully impressed upon Maynooth’s Walter McDonald, when the latter visited America in 1900 – looked to Ireland and her church as to the ‘rising sun’; to them it was the revered monarch of an English-speaking Catholic kingdom.10 Though Yorke was chiding McDonald and the Irish church for not fully appreciating this fact, as Chapter Five demonstrated, it had in fact constructed and developed a powerful and widely accepted narrative of a ‘spiritual empire’ arising out of mass emigration. In that sense, the tensions the

in Population, providence and empire

10 The Australasian case A new theatre of British emigration The transition to mass emigration by the 1830s coincided with the extension of the British emigrant flows to their furthest extremity, the Antipodes. Australia became a new theatre of migration which reflected the new circumstances of expatriation. It was colonised from the British Isles in two distinct phases – from the 1780s by convicts and then, in new free mode, in the 1830s. These distinctive flows coincided with decisive changes in Britain itself, exposing the mechanisms and propensities as they

in The genesis of international mass migration
The pastoral responses of the Irish churches to emigration

Education in Dublin in 1842. Therefore, while the notion that mass emigration from Ireland began in the 1840s is certainly outmoded, it would seem that the formal, organised involvement of the Irish churches in the religious care of diaspora communities was largely a mid-nineteenth century phenomenon. Before then, for most Irish emigrants, it was an ambition realised only occasionally and sometimes almost incidentally. There were several spurs to this concert of new and renewed activity, but the pleas of the destination churches loomed large. These were often the

in Population, providence and empire
Open Access (free)

-way relationship between the sending society and the outflow. Specifically, it seeks to ascertain and compare how the Irish 1 Roddy_Population_Printer.indd 1 15/09/2014 11:47 Introduction Catholic, Presbyterian and Anglican churches responded to sustained emigration from their congregations during the nineteenth century, and in turn how they were affected by it, and, just as importantly, how they believed themselves to be affected by it. The book therefore knits together two of the most significant themes in the social and cultural history of modern Ireland – mass emigration

in Population, providence and empire

circumstances, some clearly more desperate than others, some with a determination to improve or rescue the basic conditions of their lives and setting up for the next generation – emigration undertaken to avoid relative and absolute decline in status. But, even so, only a small proportion of such people actually emigrated. Within the British and European accounts of mass emigration there has been every variety of motivation. Political exile can be found in all decades; evictions caused people to depart; social and religious utopianism was recurrent; escaping military service

in The genesis of international mass migration