The million-peopled city
The Numbers of the Irish of London who can read English and Irish respectively estimated.
It is a common mistake to suppose that the Irish in London cannot read. This is by no means the case. Since the Government schools have been established, and the efforts of religious Societies have been enlarged, education in has become much more general, especially among the Roman Catholics; and the priests, who before opposed schools, have been brought to give their patronage to schools of a certain order, in which the scholars are, at all events, taught to read. The extent to which this is operating, even in the more Popish parts, is evident from the mere statement that these Government schools of were alone, in , 4,548, which (as the number of parishes in is only 2,422), is nearly two schools to every parish, besides 124 workhouse schools. The Government schools, moreover, increase annually, although the population decreases. During that year they had increased 133, and the number of children had increased 30,616, making more than a million of children who were under instruction, by far the larger proportion of whom are Roman Catholic. Indeed, at the Training Establishment in , of 272 teachers who were that year being trained as school-masters and mistresses, 214 were Papists. And all this, it is to be
|remembered, is additional to a great variety of other educa- tional efforts, some of which are on a large scale. The consequence is, that there are very few of the Irish emigrants under 20 years of age who cannot read English, and of those above 20, the male population can now also very generally read. The reading of Irish is a higher advance in know- ledge. Probably not more than a fourth of those who can read English can read Irish, although Irish is the language which this class ordinarily speak among themselves, and which they know much better than English. The Irish language is one of a somewhat learned character, and is decidedly more difficult than the English. This in itself clearly shows that the nation speaking it could not have been originally of an illiterate order. The peculiarity in Irish of spelling the words so differently to their pronuncia- tion, and of altering the accents and inflexions in the different dialects of the different provinces, without altering the written word, adds to the difficulty of reading Irish in the Irish character. Fully as large a proportion, however, of the Irish of London, especially under 20 years of age, can read English, as of the English poor,-probably a larger proportion. For the purpose of avoiding the taking of Protestant tracts, the Irish will, however, feign that they cannot read them.|