By Alan O'Day
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Extra info for A Survey of the Irish in England (1872)
If the Irish suffered unduly, as Introduction xxxi they did at Wigan, from a bias in the franchise and registration regulations, Heinrick thought that in most towns their entitlement to the ballot did not differ markedly from the English. He believed that one in seven of the whole Irish number was qualified for the franchise. Irish weakness, Heinrick, suggested arose from an absence of organization. 77 Endemic poor organization had to be overcome. In certain places, Heinrick insisted, the root of the difficulty lay in an insufficient Irish middle-class to provide essential leadership, though, as he noted, its existence in London did not produce cohesive organization.
A few of those who knew their power and appreciated the force of example and union, resolved to remove this unnatural intellectual estrangement, and combine the Gaelic element in the British metropolis with the view of revealing the beauties of its ancient lore and literature - reviving the old language so as to prevent its extinction, and bringing the public acquainted with Celtic history, archaeology, philosophy, philology, and antiquarian remains. The result was the establishment of the Celtic Society of London, which has, since its foundation, little more than six months since, brought together and combined in its members and its management men whose names are a guarantee for ability and energy, zeal and progress.
And yet our people are in every moral attribute infinitely superior to the race among whom their lot is cast. I shall have more to add in a future paper on this head, and wish for the present to confine myself to a contrast of the phases of Irish life to be found in London and a reference to the Irish influences which aid the Imperial system in accomplishing results alike destructive of prosperity at home and of the lives and morals of the expatriated people. I will merely say, then, that poverty more than any other social cause tends to the moral degradation of the Irish people in the English towns, and particularly in London.