The following articles are transcribed by Teena from the Banner of Ulster, Dublin Evening Mail, Dublin Mercantile Advertiser, Freeman’s Journal, Northern Whig, Tyrone Constitution. (unless otherwise noted)
Armagh Guardian 3 Feb.1846 – The Potato Disease and It’s Remedies
The Rev. J. W. DEVLIN, Vicar of Stanford, Norfolk, has kindly forwarded us a copy of Dr. BUCKLAND’s lecture on this subject, which we willingly insert. The paper has been sent to all the parochial clergy of England, with a view to its publicity, and in order to the carrying out the learned Professor’s philanthropic intentions. The document will both interesting and advantageous to our readers; Dr. BUCKLAND’s attention was first called to this vegetable malady when he was in Paris early in September last, where he found great apprehensions on account of a disease affecting generally the potatoes all over France, and still more destructively in Belgium. From his place at the Institute, on the 8th Sept., he heard communications by Professor Payen and on the 15th Sept., by Professor Payen, Professor Pouchet, and other scientific observers, on this subject. He also attended a meeting of the Royal Agricultural Society of Paris, summoned for the special purpose of investigating the cause, and suggesting remedies for this wide-spread vegetable disease, from which great fears were entertained of a deficiency of food during the approaching winter.
In the middle of October he witnessed the diseased state of one-third the potato crop as they were dug up in allotments of the poor on good but undrained land, at Drayton Manor, in Staffordshire. About the same time he saw alarming confirmations of the universality of the disease in England, Scotland, and Ireland. And being invited to present a prize in Chemistry to a medical pupil in Queen’s College, Birmingham, on the 28th September, he felt it his duty to awaken public attention to the great danger of scarcity next winter and spring unless immediate steps be taken, ere it is too late, to stop the progress of this disease.
The fine weather in November has partially arrested the destruction, even of the infected potatoes, but when wet weather comes, it will go on with fatal rapidity, unless means be taken “instantly” to arrest it. People are unwilling to believe in the general extent of the evil, though everyone knows it in his own village. The potatoes rot faster and sooner from wet lands than dry; but there is scarcely one parish where the tubers have entirely escaped. The early crops have suffered least, some of them not at all, having had more time to ripen than the later crops. Hot sun blasts, and frosts, and rain, during summer, having destroyed the leaves, the tubers have not been completely formed, and are loaded with a morbid dropsical excess of water, which, unless they are kept dry, acts on the imperfect cells and fibres of the potato, and brings on premature decay or wet rot, which destroys the tuber.
The potato (solunum tuberosum) was first imported to this country by Harriott, the companion of Raleigh, from Virginia, where its native name was Openawk. It had before been brought to Spain from Quito, where its native name was Papas, which the Spaniards converted to Battata. It was first cultivated in Ireland by Sir R. Southwell, and in Sir W. Raleigh’s garden at Youghal, where his gardener, assuming that the seed balls were the object of its cultivation, condemned them as uneatable fruit. A ship wrecked near the mouth of the Ribble, first brought them to Lancashire. For more than a century they were grown only in gardens, in 1732, the first field crop was planted in Scotland. Many hybrid varieties have been obtained from seed, and all these are further propagated by tubers. There is no foundation for the opinion that degeneracy has taken place, and there is no occasion to get new varieties from fresh seed, in consequence of the imperfect ripening, which has led to wet rot in the present year. The disease is not new, it is frequent in Canada, wherever a frost in summer kills the leaves before the tuber is perfect. Loss of the leaves has also caused the decay of the potatoes by wet rot in the present year, over nearly all Europe, and in parts of North America. This disease has never yet occurred so generally since the potato was brought from America, but it has been locally subject to imperfect formation called the ‘Curl’, arising probably from want of lime in the soil, and to a rot, or decay, of the sets when planted in wet soil or in wet weather; the remedy for which is to shake the tubers cut for setting, in a sieve of quick lime, until it forms a skin over the cut surface; it is still better to plant only small potatoes uncut, as should be done next year.
The juices of the potato plant and its tubers are acrid, but being soluble in water, they are dissolved in boiling, their nature is also changed by heat, both in boiling and roasting, so that (like arrow-root, which is starch from the root of the acrid and poisonous Arum,) the potato, though acrid when raw, becomes innocuous and nutritious, by the action of heat. Potatoes, therefore, should “never be given to hogs or cattle raw”.
Liebig has shewn in his ‘Organic Chemistry’ that it is one function of the vegetable kingdom to prepare the elements of flesh and blood for the use of animals. The carbon or charcoal, which is indispensable to the act of breathing, but contributes little to muscle or bone, abounds in potatoes, rice, sago, sugar, brandy, and beer, while the cereal grains of wheat, barley, rye, and oats, and seeds of leguminous plants, especially peas and beans, are loaded with the constituents of muscle and bone, ready prepared to form and maintain the muscular fibre of the body of animals, eg; gluten, phosphorous, lime, magnesia, sulphur, &c. Hence, the rapid restoration of the shrunk muscle of the exhausted post-horse by a good feed of oats and beans. Hence the sturdy grow of the Scotch children on oat-cake and porridge, and of broth made of the meal of parched or kiln dried peas, on this a man can live and do good work for three half-pence a day; while the children of the rich who are pampered on the finest wheat flour, (without the pollard or bran) and on sago, rice, butter, and sugar, become fat and sleek, and would often die, sometimes they do, from such non-nutritious food, but for the mixture of milk and eggs they eat in cakes and puddings. The best biscuits for children have an admixture of burnt bones, and the flour of beans is often mixed by bakers with that of wheat in bread, and (bating the fraud), the bread is better and more strengthening than if made entirely of wheat. Potatoes contain but little nutriment in proportion to their bulk, they are chiefly made of water and charcoal; so that an Irishman, living exclusively on potatoes, and eating daily 8lbs, would get more nourishment from 2 pounds of brown bread (which gives more strength than white bread) or from 2 pounds of oatmeal, and from less than 2lbs pounds of peas and beams; and as about 6 potatoes of middling size, go to a pound, an Irishman will eat daily 48 potatoes, and a family of seven, 336 potatoes. Hence the great value of the exuviae of an Irish hovel and its pig-sty, for the manuring of next year’s crop.
Before potatoes were known, the food of the English peasantry and of soldiers was oatmeal, barley bread and peas. Sir W. Betham has found in Dublin, records of a vessel that was wrecked in the 15th century near Liverpool, loaded with peas from Ireland for the army in England. In Holinshead’s Chronicle we read this passage: “A large mouth in mine opinion, and not to eat peasen with ladies of time.” Peas were then the food of ladies, and also of monasteries. Friar Tuck laid before his Prince, as his first dish, ‘parched peas’. An old labourer at Axbridge complained to his master, Mr Symons (who died in 1844,) that labourers feeding on potatoes could not do now so good a day’s work as when he was young, and when they ‘fed on peas.” “Peas, sir,” said he, “stick to the ribs.” He uttered the very truths of organic chemistry.
In Beans, we have vegetable “caseine,” or the peculiar element of cheese. What is more restorative or more grateful to man, when fatigued by labour or a long walk? As we heat or toast it, it melts, and ere it reaches our mouth, is drawn into strings of almost ready-made muscular fibre; and who has ever dined fully as not to have room left for little bit of cheese?
Economic farmers should feed their growing, but not their fattening hogs, on beans, and finish them on potatoes mixed with barley meal; their flesh is hard, and the fat not solid, and melts in boiling, if fed to the last on beans.
What is so restorative as beans to the jaded hack or the exhausted race horse. Sepoys on long voyages live ‘exclusively’ on peas. The working and healthy man and beast want muscle, and want not fat; fat incumbers and impedes activity, and every excess of it is disease. We seldom see a fat labourer or a fat soldier, except among the serjeants, who sometimes eat or drink too much. Landlords and brewers men get too fat on beer.
Charcoal which, next to water, forms the chief ingredient in potatoes, is subsidiary to life, though not to strength. The same is true of the charcoal which is the main ingredient of rice, sago, starch, sugar, butter, and fat. The woman at Tutbury, who pretended to fast for many days and weeks, sustained life secretly by sucking handkerchiefs charged with sugar or starch. During the manufacturers distress in Lancashire, five years ago, many of the poor remained in bed, covered with blankets, where warmth and the absence of exercise, lessened materially the need of food. When Sir John Franklin and his polar party travelled on snow nearly a fortnight without food, they felt no pain of hunger after the second day; they became lean and weak by severe exercise and cold, but sustained life by drinking warm water, and sleeping in blankets with their feet round a fire; alas! a knowledge of such facts may become needful and useful in the approaching winter.
I have stated that the cause of the potato disease was atmospheric, viz; quick and sudden changes from hot sunshine to cold and rain in August; this chilled and killed the leaves and stalks of one-third, sometimes, one-half the crop. Plants grown under the shelter of woods, trees, and bushes, escaped in fields, whereof the unsheltered plants suffered; the dying leaf and stalk was forthwith occupied by one of the many forms of microscopic fungi, which nature has provided to quicken the decay of all kinds of vegetables. One these (uredo segetum) forms smutt balls in wheat; a growth of black fungus changing the flour within the husk into a mass of microscopic mushrooms, or sporidia, mixed with fine fibres. Every one of these sporidia contains millions of small spawn or sporules; this smut has a bad smell which is washed off by water; and when mixed, as it sometimes must be, with bread, is innocuous. Good farmers steep their seed wheat in lime water, or sulphuric acid, to kill the spawn of this fungus that may be outside the grain. All kinds of uredo follow but do not cause disease or decay of vegetable matter. Each species of tree has its peculiar fungi which grow not on it while alive and healthy. A biscuit or loaf in a close damp closet, is in a few days, entirely changed into a mass of mould, ie; into millions of fungi; the same happens to mouldy cheese, and other dried animal substances. Exact accounts and figures of the wheat fungi were published by Sir J. Banks. Red snow is caused by a red species of ‘uredo’ (U.nivasl) in the same family of fungi. The uredo of the potato is one of the prettiest little fungi in the world; Professor Pouchet traces it through four stages of decay, which end in putrid decomposition;
1 He finds brown granules on the membranous tissue which forms the starch-cells within the potato.
2. The tissue gets brown, the granules darker and more numerous, and the membranes contract.
3. The granules get still darker, and the membranes break up into rags.
4. The tissue is destroyed, and reduced to fine granules.
Throughout all these stages of decay of the tissue, the starch remains unchanged; it may be collected sweet and good, even from the putrid stage, if washed in three or four waters.
“The Potato Rot is going on here,” writes Mr. Josiah Parker from Devon, (Nov. 10) like a mill-race.” It is going on also in Scotland and Ireland fearfully. (Armagh Guardian)
15 Oct. 1845 – the Potatoe disease
Derry- We have heard with extreme pain that the decay in the potato crop, of our exemption, from which we lately boasted, has exhibited itself pretty extensively in this locality. In some instances, whole fields have been lost, which a week or two ago appeared to be in a healthy state. The disease has been confined in some places to the late set potatoes, while the early ones have escaped. From every part of the country complaints are now heard of the failure of the potato crop, and we fear that the calamity will be attended with the most deplorable consequences, unless means are taken by the government to provide an additional supply of food at a cheap rate for the poorer classes (Derry Sentinel)
15 Oct. 1845
It is observed by some of our correspondents that the water in which potatoes are boiled has an offensive odour, and advice is given how to proceed in such cases. We, too, must offer a word of counsel. All potatoes which render offensive the water in which they are boiled are beginning to decay. The disease is present, although it may not be visible and we doubt whether any precautions can prevent their putrifying after a few weeks. Such potatoes should not be stored, but consumed immediately; and those only put away for the winter in which no such symptoms are discoverable. A few samples can easily be boiled for the purpose of ascertaining the condition of the crop. The practice of storing potatoes in “pits” is one which though very convenient, requires great care in such seasons as the present; it is the custom in many parts of the country, and especially with small fields or patches of potatoes, to collect them as soon as dug up, into a heap in the centre of the field, where space has previously been partially dug out to receive them; and when the whole is thus collected together, they are covered over with earth pressed smooth with the spade on the sides. We cannot too strongly urge on all who are now taking up potatoes the importance of keeping them out of the earth for a few days previously to storing them, of drying them as much as possible, and sorting out all that appear in any way diseased. Considering the infectious nature of the potato rot, and the rapidity with which it sometimes spreads, the extra time and trouble consumed in doing this will be well bestowed. if it enables us to save a portion of the crop The custom of storing the potatoes in the same field in which they have grown is decidedly objectionable; being very likely to develop rot in them, in all cases where the rot has manifested itself, even though but to a slight extent; it is far better to store the sound potatoes in a separate piece of ground. If this cannot be done, the risk of danger may probably be diminished by lining the sides and bottom of the place dug to receive them with newly burnt charcoal to a depth of 3 or 4 inches; it is, however, by far better not to store them in the field where they grew.
It seldom happens that any notable epidemic in animal or vegetable organisms is so clearly traceable to its causes as the potato murrain. We see, nevertheless, that there is a diversity of opinion as to the share in the operation to be assigned to the several agencies. It cannot be wet alone, for much wetter summers have occurred within these few years without harm to the potato crop. It cannot be cold only, because the average temperature has certainly not fallen below the rate of districts and counties where the vegetable is always successfully cultivated; nor has there been, as your correspondents observe, any remarkable development of sensible electricity. But of all the incentives to a healthy vegetation, what has been so much wanting for the last two months of July and August as light? not merely of bright sunshine, for of that there was hardly any, but even the ordinary quantity of daylight was wanting; so dense and black was the overcast day after day through this long period, a time when the vegetable world is in expectation, and generally in the enjoyment of its fullest share of both of light and heat. The transient warmth of June gave a predisposition to disease, by imparting greater sensitiveness or excitability to the plant. Doubtless another ingredient in the mischief was the absence of the usual ground-warmth that cherishes the vegetation of a more favoured season. There is every reason to believe that the calorific rays penetrate the clouds and impinge on the soil when the general diffusion of sunlight is not correspondingly powerful. Every practical gardener will observe that at the end of even a very dull day, in the middle of summer, the temperature of the soil on the surface far exceeds the warmth of the air, and even surprises him its excess over the temperature of the same soil in the morning. It will be said that in a dull day there is less radiation from the surface than in a clear one, and thence the accumulated warmth. It may be doubted if the difference in the ratio of light and warmth as transmitted through a cloudy atmosphere can be so accounted for, and the subject requires further investigation. Were it not for this aptitude to receive the warmth of the sun in the absence of the strong light of that luminary, it must be supposed that the soil must have been far below the average warmth during the past summer; so far as to be productive of still more extensive mischief than has yet accrued from it. (Gardener’s Chronicle)
17 Oct. 1845 Potato Blight
Londonderry, Oct. 15th – We regret to say that, since our last, we have received accounts of this alarming disease prevailing to a greater extent than had been expected, within a circle of 20 miles, or so, around this city. In what may be called the neighbourhood, several fields have suffered from the attacks; and about Dungiven and in various parts of Ennishowen, the loss which it has caused is very great.
Banbridge Oct. 14th – Three weeks ago our neighbourhood was happily blessed, in consequence of being free from the dreadful malady, which was reported as having ruined the principal part of the potato crop in foreign countries. However, we lament to find that, within these last eight or ten days, the epidemic has made its appearance over the whole of this part of the country to an alarming extent. You could scarcely meet a farmer, who does not state that his potatoes are diseased, in the proportion of 1 to 4, and, in many instances 1 to 2. We have conversed with several respectable farmers, not only in this immediate neighbourhood, but also the counties of Armagh and Tyrone, all of whom give it as their opinion, that so rapid is the spread of the disease that it infects a field in almost the unprecedented period of 24 hours. I spoke to one farmer, who had 8 different kinds of seed planted in one field, and on the disease making its appearance he immediately tried all the sorts, and found them deficient to at least one-third of the whole, and gives it his opinion, that, if the disease go on progressively, in the course of one month, he will not have one sound potato. Our market thronged every day with potatoes, which would have given 3d. per stone about three weeks ago. At present they would not, in many instances, be purchased even at 1d. per stone.
Clogher, Oct, 16th – In this neighbourhood a great quantity of the potatoes are diseased. We have known them to be sound enough in the evening, and to be rotten the next morning. There is scarcely a field in this part of the country in which some of them are not damaged.
10 Jan. 1846 Letter to the Editor of the Sentinel
Though the excitement consequent on the potato disease has considerably decreased, perhaps you may not think the following practical remarks unworthy a place in your influential journal. I had nearly three hundred barrels pitted and covered with clay in the usual way. On trying them a few weeks after I found them fast decaying. I then had them picked and removed to the houses, spreading them thinly on every floor that could possibly be spared, turning them over with a wooden shovel twice week and latterly, as they became dry, once a week. This has had the effect of arresting the disease.Those that were sound continue so and have every appearance of keeping the usual length of time. I am convinced that the usual deep covering of clay over the pits is a very bad thing this season and the farmers who adhere to the old practice of covering their pits in that way will, in short time, have very few potatoes left for any purpose. I grew a few acres on a bog last season and I have not been able to discover one tainted potato in them. I had them put in narrow pits and thatched with straw, which I consider the safest method of keeping any kind of potatoes this season. It admits a free circulation of air and at the same time, if properly thatched, will completely defend them from frost or rain.
I think one of the safest plans will be to plant at least one-third of next year’s crop immediately. It will afford two chances viz; you have the benefit of the first bud of the potato, which is always the most vigorous and should the seed fail, there will be sufficient time for replanting, as any defect the seed will be quite apparent before the usual time of planting.
Should these few lines be any use in securing what remains of the present potato crop, or directing attention to prepare in time for next season’s, my object will attained.
l remain, Mr. Editor, your very obedient servant. K. W.
(The above remarks are from the pen of highly scientific farmer, steward to a large land proprietor in the county of Donegal. We are aware that the plan adopted by him has been carried out by 2 gentlemen in this neighbourhood and with complete success, scarcely an unsound potato being in their pits.)
Death from Poison
On the night of Thursday the 8th instant, the widow of the late James CARLIN, bellman of the town Strabane, put a period on her existence. In the early part of the day she called at the shop of Mr. M’KEE, grocer and druggist, for a pennyworth of arsenic, which he refused to give her; she, however, subsequently procured it from an apothecary in town, on the allegation of wanting it for the purpose of killing rats and, as he had given her a like quantity about fortnight before and had known her for a long period, he had no hesitation in selling it to her on this occasion. After she had used it at night, she told the people in the house where she lodged what she had done, and wished them send for Dr. MITCHELL. They, however, did not believe her, conceiving that she was sick from drinking ardent spirits, to which she was much addicted; but on observing her very ill about 10 o’clock, p.m., Dr. MICHELL was sent for and promptly attended. It was, however, then too late. as on his arrival, found her quite dead. She was in indigent circumstances and being past the prime of life, it might have had a bad effect on her mind. Her husband died within the last three weeks. (Londonderry Sentinel)
Friday 27 March 1846 Famine and Destitution in Ireland
Even in Ulster (says the Dublin Evening Post) where, we are told, the peasantry are so much better off than in the other provinces and where, in some places, there is much better cultivation, whilst employment is much more diffused by manufactures, yet in this favoured province, famine stalks abroad, and pestilence is appearing. This is the case, to some extent, even in Antrim and Armagh, but to a much greater in Cavan and Donegal, where the consumption of diseased potatoes is producing dysentery and fever. (Elgin Courier Scotland)
13 May 1846 Destitution In Ulster
Downpatrick – On Tuesday, the 5th instant, pursuant to a requisition to the Seneschel, Hugh WALLACE Esq., a public meeting of the inhabitants of this town was held, to take into consideration the best means of affording relief during the ensuing summer to the poor of Downpatrick. The Seneschal having read the requisition, S. H. ROWAN Esq. proposed the first resolution, to the effect that owing to the high price of potatoes, great distress prevails among the working classes, and that it was necessary that something should be done to afford them assistance. This was seconded by the Reverend B. M’AULEY P.P., who remarked that the clergy and several gentlemen had divided the town into districts and made an examination of the condition of the poor and found distress to prevail to an alarming extent. Numbers of the poor were actually starving. The reverend gentleman detailed some heart-rending instances of individual distress. The resolution was passed unanimously. The second resolution was proposed by James QUAIL Esq., and seconded by Hugh CROSSKERY Esq. that a subscription be entered into to raise funds to meet the approaching distress – unanimously agreed to. (Banner of Ulster)
24 Jul. 1846
We cannot conceal the fact, we have again been visited by the potato blight of last year. Strabane, Cloglher, and even in our own neighbourhood, great quantities of the reds, blacks, burrowses, and kidney sorts are found to be diseased. This is sad news, so early in the season. The cups and all hardy sorts are still safe. It will be seen, from our farmers column, in another page, that the failure appears general over Ireland, while the reports from England, Scotland, and the Continent are equally desponding.
Sat. 25 Jul. 1846
Monaghan, July 23rd
Complaints are very general in this neighbourhood respecting the potato crop. Wherever the tuber is full formed, the disease of last year has appeared, and where the tuber is yet young stalks show all those symptoms of decay which preceded the ravages of disease. The flax crop, too, we hear from many quarters, is attacked with some vegetable distemper, the root and several inches of the stalk next it becoming hard, brittle, and incapable of conveying nourishment through the plant.
Omagh, July 24th
We cannot longer conceal the fact we have again been visited by the potato blight of last year. Round by Strabane, Clogher, and even in our own neighbourbood, great quantities of the reds, blacks, burrowses, and kidney sorts are found to be diseased. This is sad news, so early in the season. The cups and all hardy sorts are still safe.
Ballyshannon, July 24th
We regret to state, that in many places throughout this county, disease of an alarming nature has made its appearance in the growing crops; the staks in many cases appear healthy and strung at top, but at the bottom they are decayed, and the potatoes in a putrid state.
Londonderry, July 24th
In our own dintrict, embracing the counties of Derry, Donegal, and Tyrone, complaints and fears of a failure in the potato crop are very prevalent. A Cavan correspondent says“ I regret that l am obliged to report very unfavourably on the potato crop in this county, the disease having made its appearance to a most alarming extent.
Monday 10 Aug, 1846 – To the Editor of the Freeman’s Journal
Belturbet, 7th August, 1846
Sir – I have just returned after a tour of inspection into the present appearance, and future prospect, of the potato crop in this entire thickly cultivated neighbourhood. Suffice it to say, it is indeed, frightful the mainstay of the poor man is gone and unless unremitting attention be paid by the government to this melancholy fact, nothing but starvation stares the population in the face.
It may, indeed, be unprofitable to the authorities to commence on a most extensive scale, public works and the reclaiming of waste lands, but unless they do so immediately, their ‘only hope’ is gone; they have no money, and unless they get employment (immediate and extensive) they will be unable to purchase, no matter where it comes from.
I really believe, from the most minute inspection (speaking literally) that on 1st of November next, there will not be a potato in Ireland, as if even disease did not exist at all, what is now grown would not last longer, supposing they were sound and healthy, than that period.
It is only waste of time talking of the effects of electric fluid, or the many supposed causes of the blight. Let scientific men look after those things for the future, but the present is what the government must look to; let distillation from grain be forthwith stopped and if whiskey must be made, it can be done as in former years, from sugar. If the rich must have this intoxicating luxury, let them pay for it, but not be allowed to destroy the only food now remaining for the poor. – “The Corn.”
I remain, Sir, you obedient servant
Fri. 14 Aug. 1846 Potato Rot
In our last we noticed this sad calamity. No language can depict the deplorable state of the potato crop in this district;scarcely any have escaped. Fields are clearing that the ground may be got in readiness for other crops, and all that they dig, would not bring their day’s pay at market. Instances of this have come within our knowledge. They have fallen at market from 8d. to 2d. per stone, from the quantities hurried in. It is now positively ascertained that the lightning has done all the mischief. Thorn hedges, and every other description of tree, have been burned, and linen left out at night to bleach has dropped into holes.
18 Aug. 1846
The late warm weather has ripened the grain crops very rapidly. Wheat, barley and oats are now being cut in every quarter round Omagh and near Strabane, a large proportion of the grain is already in stocks. As in other parts of the country, the flax crop has been short, in many cases rather thin, but, it is believed, the quality will be very superior. We regret to be forced to add that the potato rot continues to spread; even where the tops do not appear to be much injured, the potatoes are found to be scarcely worth digging. Several varieties are already totally lost! and even the hardiest sorts are failing fast. It has been strongly recommended to dig all those that are any size, to place the good ones in layers, so not to touch each other, covering the layers with sand or dry clay to exclude the air; and this we conceive to be the most rational plan we have yet heard of, and the most likely one to preserve the roots. Small ones so preserved, will make excellent seed.
The Potato Disease –
The following is an extract of a letter from a gentleman in Armagh
“In reference to the potato blight, it is truly distressing in this neighbourhood. Our markets are daily glutted, and there are few carts in which tainted potatoes are not to be seen. I have observed several fields in the vicinity of this city, all in the most beautiful bloom last week, and giving hope of a most luxuriant crop, but in a few days they became withered, as if by the keen frost of October.
One field in particular, Cork-reds, was green and healthy looking on Wednesday, and the succeeding Saturday evening the same field had one half, as it were, burned away, while the other side presented their former luxuriant appearance.
This shows that electricity must be the cause, and if any doubt existed on the subject, it should cease when the fact is known that scarcely a night passes, that there are not continuous flashes of lightning, and in some cases, it has been observed rolling along the earth like balls of fire. Many farmers were in great hope that late crops were safe; but one with whom I was in conversation yesterday, told me he feared his entire stock was diseased. This, I would hope, will not be general case. All the grain crops around this quarter look well; wheat in particular. Oats and barley present a full average. Flax is pulling well.
The Potato Crop
The potato crops throughout the three kingdoms have turned out an utter failure; the blight is not partial here or there, but one universal destruction seems to have swept over them wherever the sweet esculent was cultivated. Nor is the ravages of the disease confined to the United Kingdom; we believe the accounts from all parts of Europe, and, in fact from all parts of the world, in which the potato was planted, tend to the same melancholy story; the loss of the crop. We heretofore notified the sad ravages made by disease in the early crops throughout the country, and the insufficient produce compared with former seasons. Matters so far from mending are daily growing worse, and the fields that, but last week, looked green and healthful, and promised the husbandman a rich reward for his labours, are now burned up and withered away. In a field of this kind, 8 men were put to work yesterday, and the result of the days labour amounted in the whole, to not more than 30 stone weight of saleable potatoes. The cost of digging, picking, and carriage amounted to 9s. 6d., and the price of the potatoes at 4½d. per stone, just came to 11s. 3d., leaving the grower 1s. 9d. for his seed, ground, and tillage. We could mention many instances of this kind. It is much to be feared that the late sown crops will be a total loss, as the stalks are already more or less affected, and the tubers are not well formed; if vegetation ceases with the partial Injury of the stalk, there can be no crop.
31 Aug.1846 parliament
A petition to government from the magistrates, clergy and landholders of the Counties Tyrone and Fermanagh on the subject of apprehended distress from deficiency of the potato and oat crops is in course of signature and among suggestions towards the alleviation of the wants of the lower order, directs her Majesty’s advisers to an existing evil, likely materially to aggravate that distress – the immense number of dogs throughout Ireland on food on which the poor subsist – and prays for the introduction of a tax on dogs thus supported. At a time like the present, every possible saving of food should be effected and this suggestion, therefore, would, if acted on, be of advantage.
The Earl of RODEN brought before their lordships, the state of the potato crop failure and the deficiency in the oat crop also. His Lordship referred to the coast Fisheries and suggested that facilities be set on foot for their encouragement, and the transfer of supplies to the interior of the country His lordship also expressed a hope that in the present deep distress those having property in Ireland would come to it and reside, and encourage and assist their dependents. (Enniskillen Chronicle and Erne Packet)
5 Sept. 1846 County of Antrim, Belfast
What we have anticipated has taken place and, though far from being alarmists, we cannot but confer that the fearful extent to which decomposition has even already spread among what has been for years the poor man’s food, the sole subsistence of millions of our countrymen, is calculated to excite the deepest anxiety. No part of Ireland appears to have escaped the present terrific infliction. Every where, from the alluvial plains that border the lower Shannon, to the mountain potato grounds of Mayo and Donegal, our letters tell us, that the disease is making rapid progress. We had ourselves lately an opportunity of observing the state of the fields in most of our northern counties and also along the road from Newry to Limerick and on every part of our journey, we could not, indeed, discover a single exception: the potato crops had assumed either the blackish hue of death, or presented the spotted appearance on the leaves and stem, which marks the first inroads of the disease. Repeated examinations and inquiries convinced us that this blight could not have been produced, as Mr. Smith, of Deanston, wished to persuade the members of the Royal Agricultural Society, at the late council dinner at Limerick, by “a night’s frost” but, that the extensive destruction of the plant, which used to afford the poor cottier so much grateful food, was occasioned by the same cause which last year acted upon it, in so many parts of the world, and which, in our opinion, renders the produce of the diseased plant most objectionable for human sustenance. What will be the result of this destruction of the staple food of Ireland (and we fear, if the disease progresses, as it has for some weeks past, an almost total destruction of the crop must be apprehended), is a question of the gravest importance, and demands the immediate and careful consideration of the Government, that the evil which has come upon us may be mitigated by prudent arrangements. Last year the destruction of the potato crop was comparatively limited; many parts of the country remained quite free from disease and large prices were realised by farmers in several districts, but this season we have been unable to learn that a single field has escaped. It was imagined by many persons that some guide to the explanation of the nature of the disease would be found in the comparative immunity from attack of the crops planted in certain descriptions of soil, but this year no kind of soil or situation seems to afford protection – the red and the black bog, the sandy shore and the heavy clay, the exposed mountain side and the sheltered valley, are all alike at the present hour, covered with decomposing crops. We are acquainted with situations along the sandy coast of the county of Down, where, last year, a large sum of money was made by the sale of sound potatoes, as the crop exhibited no marks of the disease, but where, at present, the fields are covered with blackened tops. Nor is the case different in elevated mountain districts; for we were lately informed by a gentleman, who is one of the best practical farmers in his part of the country, that on the Wicklow mountains, at an elevation of one thousand feet above the level of the sea, where last year his crop was perfectly free from taint, the fields are now extensively affected. There is, in fact, no part of Ireland free and in every situation, and on every geological formation, the rot proceeds unchecked. The rapidity with which the disease extends its ravages is one of its most remarkable features. We know many cases where the fresh and luxuriant tops, which seemed to promise a most profitable crop, were, on a single night, bent down with disease, blackened, and apparently deprived of vitality. (Northern Whig)
7 Sept. 1846 The State of Fermanagh
There are not less than perhaps 2,000 souls in Enniskillen at this moment, in a state bordering on starvation, to say nothing of the entire county. How are they to exist, even for a week, in the present state of the markets? without any means of procuring food. Diseased potatoes 8 pence a stone and meal 2s. the peck? The first consequences are already breaking out and to what extent they will reach no one can say. We have heard that in the commencement of the week just past, 3 dairies near Tamlaght in the neighborhood this town, not more than 3 miles distant, were in the night time, broken open and four tubs of butter carried off; two from a poor widow , named FAGAN, thus depriving her of her sole means of support. One of the other sufferers is a named FOSNEY and tthe third name we have not heard. In addition to this, a sheep belong to Mr. James MACARTNEY was taken off his lands in the vicinity of the town. And about 1 o’clock yesterday morning, Constable MOSSOP and party while on patrol, took up a woman at Drumlion, with a quantity cabbages, onions, young celery and other vegetables which were discovered to have been taken from the garden Mr. GAMBLE, Graan,(?) nearly 2 miles off. We have been informed that some days since, at a fair, in an adjoining county, farmers had poured in their sheep for sale, afraid to keep them, under the conviction that as famine sets in they would be forcibly taken away, from the threats that have been publicly used. (Enniskillen Chronicle and Erne Packet)
8 Sept. 1846
Armagh Agricultural Report for August
In the early part of August, a considerable fall of rain took place, but, happily, its ravages were partial, and confined mostly to low grounds in the vicinity of mountainous districts. During most of the last three weeks of August, a vast breadth of wheat, barley, and oats, was cut down and now housed, or safe in the haggard; while in districts where the hay harvest was usually late, the fortnight of August gave farmers a fine opportunity of saving it; and the crop has been both more abundant, and better quality, than in former seasons. From about the 10th to the 24th, the potato blight became more extensively observable than in the previous month of July. All soils, dry and wet, levels and slopes, seemed to be equally affected. Potatoes planted in the “lazy bed,” or the old Irish ridge-way, were equally rotted and fetid in smell, as those in drills, or in soils of the most improved mode of culture. Mostly every potato field the eye could light on, the haulms, or stalks, had the appearance of having been blighted by frost and in most instances, the petals of the blossoms of the late planted potatoes were observed to wither and shed, in the course of a few hours, at times, by day and by night, while the leaves of whole fields, which appeared in the morning and in the evening verdant, luxuriant, and healthy, were found, in a few hours, to have turned black and withered and the tubers, when taken up, either hard and sticky, and the farinaceous matter completely destroyed, or, in other instances, spongy, damp, and, when boiled and cut, resembling soft soap. During the past month, more land has been laid down for the cultivation of turnips and cabbages, as food for both man and beast, than has ever been appropriated to such purposes, in these countries before. One intelligent farmer assures us, that when he found his early potatoes gone in August, which he hoped would have made what is called “champ” for his servants and labourers, mixed with beans and peas, he substituted turnips, of which he had an extensive and flourishing crop, mashed with salt and pepper, and served up with a little melted butter and oatmeal cake, which he found they relished much better than the potato, and we question was it not a more nourishing, palatable, and whole some food. We have been informed, from sources on which we can rely, that throughout this and the surrounding Counties, during the past month, farmers have been most active in sowing and planting substitutes, where they have found the potato have failed. August is called the mellow and golden month. In it everything of agricultural produce, in the grain and fruit way, wears a rich, ripe and yellow hue; and seldom have we observed better prospects of a golden harvest than in the past month, with the exception of the potato failure, and a partial failure of the bean crop, in some districts.
5 November 1846
Destitution in Monaghan
The Northern Standard says it will take upwards a quarter of a million sterling to relieve the destitute in Monaghan before the nest harvest time. At Aughnacloy, in that county, parties of fellows are scouring the country in that neighbourhood, visiting the houses of gentlemen and farmers, demanding money and food. Similar parties are parading through various parts of the country levying contributions. Threatening notices were, last week, posted at and in the neighbourhood of Fort Johnston, threatening death to Mr JOHNSTON if he would receive any rent, or any tenant who would dare to pay any. Mr. JOHNSTON has made a reduction in his rents of fifteen per cent. (Wiltshire Independent England)
9 Nov. 1846
County of Monaghan
The Northern Standard says – Will it be believed that upwards of 5,000 persons in the barony of Monaghan alone, have sought employment upon public works and such is the state of destitution, notwithstanding the severity of the scrutiny, that the above number appears upon the relief lists passed and admitted, as totally destitute and fit objects for charitable relief. This is a terrible and startling fact. How are those 5,000 to be provided for until next August. There yet fully 1,000 more to be admitted, making 6,000 human brings, with families dependent upon their labour for support, for in very few instances have two members of one family been admitted. Six thousand pounds have been already assessed, but how long will that pay 6,000 labourers at an average from 1s. to 1s. 4d. day, deducting the expense of implements, overseers and other incidental expenditures, certainly not for nearly a month when the whole body gets to work. If they were at work now, it would not last a fortnight. It is therefore necessary that preparations be at once made for presentment sessions for allocating money to draining labour, that no more of the wealth of the country be expended upon roads. If the gentry wait until this £6,000 is spent and the people thrown in a body out of work, peace cannot be preserved without extreme measures,and to meet the immediate pressure more money must be granted for wasteful labour.
County of Cavan
At the Ballieborough relief committee on Monday, John YOUNG Esq. M.P., presiding, the following resolution was adopted;
That as the danger of disturbance is imminent, for the people are starving and as great delay has occurred in setting the people to work, more than month having elapsed since the extraordinary presentment sessions were held and no sufficient relief having yet been afforded and as much of the delay appears to be attributable to the meagre and insufficient staff employed by government and to the want of a sufficient number of competent persons to make sections and line off the works proposed to be executed, the committee consider the appointment of several additional engineers, or competent assistant engineers, absolutely necessary in this barony, in order that greater facilities and adequate employment may be afforded. The committee select the following, from a number of similar occurrences, to show the extent of destitution and distress existing at present. On this morning, when the small number to whom tickets have as yet been given went to work, a large multitude assembled to prevent them, and would have driven them from the ground but for the Rev. Mr. FOY’S interference and it is quite certain that the peace of this hitherto quiet county cannot be preserved if all the people are not employed forthwith.
County of Donegal Relief Committees
The Ballyshannan Herald says – Throughout almost the entire county of Donegal relief committees have been formed for the purpose of purchasing provisions and selling them out at first cost to those whose means will not allow them to purchase at the prices of the merchants and traders. A sum of about £2,000 has been raised for the parishes Killaghtee and Kellybegs, part of which has been given the way of loans, and part in the way of donations. The clergymen of the different denominations, the resident gentry and merchants, are co-operating seriously in this good work. On Monday last a meeting took place Killybegs, which was attended by Sir J. STEWART, lieutenant of the county; Captain NESBITT Woodhill, Ardara; the Rev. Joseph WALSH, the Rev. William LODGE and the Rev. Edward LABATT. These excellent gentlemen are particularly active on behalf of the poor, having made arrangements for bringing a cargo of meal to Killybegs, which is expected to arrive immediately. In Mountcharles the Rev. A. MONTGOMERY, Leonard CORNWALL Esq. and the clergymen and merchants are likewise using great exertions to meet the present crisis. (The Evening Chronicle)
24th Nov. 1846
Abatement of Rents
Captain HAMILTON, of Killileagh Cosile, has in consequence of the failure of the potato crop, made the following liberal reductions to his tenantry without solicitation; Tenants paying £40 and upwards annually, 10 per cent; £30 not exceeding £40, 15 percent; £20, not exceeding £30, 20 per cent; £15, not exceeding £20, 25 per cent; £10, not exceeding £15, 30 per cent. Some holders paying less than £10, will have their individual cases taken into consideration. Townparks let at 50s., 10 percent.; under 50s., 5 per cent. In order to encourage drainage on the estate, Captain HAMILTON will pay for all drains opened before the 1st May next. Captain HAMILTON who has lately retired from the army and come to reside on his estate has, by this and other acts of liberality and kindness, evinced every disposition as a landlord to follow the footsteps of his predecessors, and thereby encourage a most respectable and industrious tenantry. The lady of the late Chief Baron WOULFE, and her sister. Miss HAMILL, have given instructions to their agent, William STARKEY Esq., of this town, to make the following abatements for the current year to their tenants in the barony of Lecale, in this county (Down) 20 per cent, on rents under and up to £10 a year; 10 per cent, on rents from £10 to £30 inclusive; 5 per cent, rents from £30 to £50 inclusive. Those tenants who do not pay their Nov. 1846 rents, on or before the 25th March, 1847, will not be allowed the abatement.
The Earl of Ranfurley has directed his benevolent agent, Robert WRAY Esq , to make the following reductions to the tenants on the Dungannon estate, of their rents payable to May 1846; Labourers cottages and gardens, where the rent does not exceed £1., the full year’s rent; rent not exceeding £20, 20 per cent; rents not exceeding £30. 10 per cent; No abatement will be made in the case of tenants holding in perpetuity, or holding town parks or tenements, or to holders of leases dated in the year 1795, or any year preceding. Though there will be a reduction on the full year’s rent, no part of it will be made on the half year, due May last. This instance of liberality on the part of his lordship cannot be said to be an unusual display, called forth the exigencies of the present season of distress, as it is, but, in accordance with his general character. Not only this year, but in many previous years, he has given constant employment to no less than 250 labourers and we understand that his respected agent has bestowed, during the last year, a sum of £600, in premiums, to deserving tenants, for improvements, besides annually bestowing food and clothing to the poor.
We understand that James SCOTT, of Bloomhill, Esq., in the neighbourhood of Dungannon, has made the following reduction to the tenants his estate; On all large farms, 25 per cent.; on all middle sized farms, 50 per cent.; and all cottiers, with house and garden not exceeding one acre, free of rent for this year. Mr. SCOTT is also extremely careful in providing employment for every tenant on his estate whose circumstances require it, or who is willing to accept it.
7 Dec. 1846
…. in consequence of the present crowded state of the Enniskillen graveyard, a motion was made by Stewart BETTY Esq. at the workhouse on Tuesday last, for having part of the yard at the Poor-house appropriated for the burial of the pauper poor and a letter from the Rev. Mr. MAUDE, rector of Enniskillen, made known to the board the willingness of the Lord Bishop of Clogher, to attend and consecrate the part selected for that purpose.
Price of Food
Notwithstanding the great influx of provisions from the trans- Atlantic world into the English markets of late, our market has felt no material change. On the contrary, every thing may be said to be selling at starvation prices and the meal mongers calculate on higher prices still. Ulster canal boats arrive from Belfast twice every week, laden with Indian corn, we may say exclusively and yet there is not the slightest symptom of any decrease in the price of this article. The Company’s boats are so engrossed by the meal-mongers of this district, that the respectable merchants and traders are beginning to exclaim against the disappointments they have experienced.
Return of destitute labourers employed under the Board of Works, in the county of Cavan
Virginia district – 442
Ballyjamesduff district -1,060
Mullagh district – 771
Clonkee – 1,520
Tullygarvey – 1,922
Cavan District – 1,261
Stradone district – 592
Ballyhaise district – 342
Crossdoney district – 1,153
Drumlumman district 751
Mount Nugent district – 640
Lower Loughtee 1,537
Ballyconneil district – 1,441
Swanlinbar district – 375
Enniskillen Chronicle and Erne Packet
16 Dec. 1846
Increase of crime in Tyrone – We are sorry to remark that the fears which we formerly expressed of evil-disposed persons taking advantage of these times of comparative distress as a pretext for deeds of robbery and outrage, would appear to be justified even in our own county. On Tuesday last, four persons were lodged in the jail of this town, on a charge of having feloniously entered some houses in the neighbourhood of Fintona, from which they stole bread, whiskey, and tobacco. On the same day nine men and women were transmitted from Dungannon bridewell to our jail, charged with having stolen oats, turnips, yarn, and several other articles. It is feared that our calendar at next assizes will be unusually heavy.
26 Dec. 1846 Dreadful Constitution of the Country (Ireland)
As the winter advances the state of the country and our prospects for the future become still more appalling. In many of the districts, numbers of the people are actually famishing. Popular outbreaks and plunders of provisions are becoming more frequent, and even in the northern provinces those evidences of social disorganization are now apparent. Altogether the condition of this country cannot contemplated without the most serious apprehension; and north, south, east, and west, you behold the spread of destitution, with scarce a ray of hope for present amelioration.
(Hereford Times England)
26 Dec.1846 Food Riots in Belfast.
At nine o’clock this (Friday) morning, a mob. consisting of about 200 persons, surrounded Mr. Bernard HUGHES’s bakery, Donegall street, uttering the most violent language. A number of the ring leaders entered the shop and said, ” Give us bread, or we shall take it by force.” Mr. HUGHES refused. Upon this, the men became very violent in their demands and doubtless would have fulfilled their threat, had not Mr. James STANFIELD contributed 5s. for the purchase of bread to quiet their violence. Another gentleman gave 2s. The amount contributed was expended in the purchase of bread, which was afterwards distributed amongst the mob. This repressed their violence in Donegall street; but, instead of separating, they proceeded in a body to the Church street public bakery. The ringleaders, with their furious partisans, crowded the shop and demanded bread, otherwise they would take it by violence from the shelves. It was ultimately determined that bread to the amount of 20s. should be distributed among the mob, to quiet them. The county police arrived and took the leaders into custody and lodged them in the cells of the police office. They had previously destroyed a bread-cart at Pinkerton’s Row and, after clearing it of bread, not only smashed the cart, but beat the driver. The ringleaders were tried this morning, at the police court, when James M’CULLOUGH and James MASON were each fined 20s. and costs, or to be imprisoned one fortnight. Henry MASON, the leader, was fined 40s. and costs, or to be imprisoned one month. The prisoners at the police court and the mob who created those riots, were not natives of Belfast, but persons brought here to labour on the public works. One of the persons most clamarous for food during the several assaults on the bakeries, when fined in 20s. and costs, paid £1. 2s. 8d. for his liberation in half an hour afterwards. (Sheffield Independent England)
29 Dec. 1846
Death by Starvation
With feelings of the deepest sorrow we state, that within a few miles of this city, there has fallen a victim to starvation; such is the fact and we greatly fear it is, but the precursor of many, for no idea can be formed of the amount of destitution and misery in many parts of the county. Deceased was of the name of TOMLINSON, of the neighbourhood of Tartaraghan. It appeared on the inquest held by George HENRY Esq., coroner, that he and his wife and 3 children had existed for some months past on miserable food given them by the farmers of the place; that for days previous to his death, the whole family had nothing to eat except raw kale and turnips, without a particle of meal or other food and further, that he died begging a drink of water with meal on it. He was a man of only 45 years of age, strong and healthy previous to this winter. Oh, God! that in a Christian county – a county where there is as much provision stored, as would feed the greater portion of the North for months – there should be permitted such a stain upon humanity, as to allow a fellow creature to die of hunger – we shudder at the thought, but cannot forbear impeaching our rulers, who have given the food of the people into the hands of forestallers, and left us at the mercy of men whose selfishness would make blacker the darkness of that region where a drop of water will be craved in vain. Armagh Guardian.
Of the vessels which arrived on the river on Monday, and which were by no means numerous, in consequence of adverse winds and other maritime causes, 13 were from Ireland, laden almost entirely with provisions of various descriptions, the produce of that country. Their collective cargoes comprised 8,675 quarters of oats, 227 hampers and bales of hams, 31 packages of linens, 130 of middles, 1,216 hampers and bales of bacon, 2,742 packages of pork, 3,014 casks of butter, 40 packages of waste, 402 casks and hampers of beef, 150 casks of porter and of ale, 425 packages of lard, 70 of eggs, 41 of paper, 40 of general provisions, 26 packages of fowls, 32 boxes of preserved soup, 40 pigs, 10 oxen, 240 sheep, several packages of whiskey, biscuits, and a variety of other articles of lesser importance. This extensive influx of provisions from the sister island into the British metropolis in one day was not preceded by a dearth of arrivals from the same quarter, as they had been of the usual average character, and therefore, without any intention other than that of recording the extent of commercial traffic existing between the two portions of the United Kingdom for such productions of the Irish soil, we deem it proper to make allusion of the fact, as being of exceeding interest and importance. Of these arrivals, 7 were from Limerick, 1 from Sligo, 1 from Belfast, 1 from Dublin, 2 from Tralee, and one from Cork. (reported in the ‘Times’) (Dublin Evening Packet)
6 Jan. 1847
A Fermanagh paper gives a lamentable account of the rapid progress of distress in that county and that it is not exaggerated is fully attested by the simple fact of there being at the present moment, over 1,000 inmates in the poor-house of Enniskillen, 600 or 700 of whom have entered within the last 2 months and this influx has taken place, notwithstanding, the vast number employed on the public works at present in progress. (The Scotsman)
6 Jan. 1847
A Fermanagh paper gives a lamentable account of the rapid progress of distress in that county and that it is not exaggerated is fully attested by the simple fact of there being at the present moment, over 1,000 inmates in the poor-house of Enniskillen, 600 or 700 of whom have entered within the last 2 months and this influx has taken place, notwithstanding, the vast number employed on the public works at present in progress. (The Scotsman)
12 Jan. 1847 The Potato
The questions with the potato disease are wearing out, it is obvious from the diminished room which they are filling in the public journals. The mischief is felt to be past present remedy; the discovery of its cause with any certainly, seems equally hopeless, all inquiry as to that subject ending in a negative and the world has wisely resigned itself to its fate. “What can’t be cured must be endured” and the potato disease belongs to that class of evils. We might, therefore, be excused from occupying further space with this inquiry, were it not that in Ireland and the Highlands, the people still cling with affection to their remembrance of the days when potatoes were always sound, and indulge in a hope that the worst of the disaster is passed by. We trust that it may be, but we have no warrant for security on that point. On the contrary we regard the issue of the next potato crop as so uncertain, that it would be political insanity to encourage those who rely upon it for a maintenance to trust to it, yet for the third time. Such experiments, which, when they fail, carry ruin and famine among millions, are not what a prudent man would advocate.
We hold to our old advice; not to replant potatoes, but to substitute some other crop not likely to perish, oats, rye, peas, beans, turnips, beet-root, parsnips, carrots, jerusalem artichokes, cabbage, wheat, anything that can, with certainty, be relied upon. We repeat this, although we know that such advice is unpalatable and even our correspondent tells us, unsuitable to the necessities of many parts of Ireland, for the sake, therefore, of those whose opulence, speculation, rashness, or necessity, may induce them to carry on in the cultivation of the potato, we beg to address the following remarks, in the hope and belief that if they are attended to, they will diminish the risk of this dangerous crop;
Firstly as to sets – On no account use as sets any potatoes that have been kept in clamps or pits in the customary manner. The risk of employing such seed is tenfold greater than that of potatoes left in the ground. If, however, the potatoes were clamped in solid earth, in the manner previously recommended, then our objection does not apply. The best seed is that which has been left in the ground undug; of which we have reason to believe that a considerable quantity may be found by diligent search. It does not matter that such potatoes are small, they are sound and good. But the value of these sets will be destroyed, if they are taken out the ground before they are wanted – “they should set again the very day that they are taken up”, this is important and may not be neglected with impunity. We should therefore say “get the land that is to be planted ready immediately”; when the furrows are drawn, or the lazy beds prepared, then search for the buried potatoes, gather them up in small baskets and set them immediately. It is as safe to expose a new-born infant to a hard frost, as to leave these potatoes exposed to the sun and air. Perhaps, when the potato fields of last year have remained undug, it may answer to clean the land and then to leave it as is, provided examination shows that sets enough are in the soil. Have nothing to do with seedlings and the dreams of enthusiasts who imagine potato seed capable of working miracles. It will do no more than potato sets, and perhaps less.
Secondly, Manure – Use none. For the next crop trust to the land as it is. It is not true, indeed, that guano, or any other artificial manure, has caused the disease; that is nonsense, as every Irish farmer very well knows. But it does appear that strong manures have been frequently accompanied by a greater tendency to take the disease than has existed in their absence. It is said that a dressing of 2cwt. of salt has been useful; we cannot corroborate the assertion.A better dressing may perhaps be sulphate of magnesia, for those who can get it.
Two words more and we have done. 1. Should the disease again appear, do not cut off or pull up the haulm; that practice certainly does no good and it as certainly does harm, by diminishing the crop. 2. In attempting to render the potato again fit for a field crop, attend, above all things, to autumn planting, and follow exactly the rules laid down by Mr. Shepherd in his invaluable communication. Remember, too, that experience has shown conclusively, that if the recommendations as to this matter urged upon the country by the Government Commissioners in their report, dated Nov. 7. 1845, had but been attended to, Ireland would not be in its present miserable condition. (Gardiners Chronicle)
20 Jan. 1847 Destitution in the Dioceses of Derry and Raphoe
Diocesan Relief Committee
The calamity in which the whole of Ireland more or less participates, has affected most parts of the county of Donegal, with peculiar severity. The liberality of the National Club in London, having placed at the disposal of the Bishop of the united dioceses, a sum of £240, to be distributed by him in proportion to the exigencies of the several parties, his Lordship accordingly formed a committee consisting of his clergy in Derry and its neighbourhood, to assist him in the ministration of this bounty, and of such other means as the same body or others, may confide to his hands, for the same object. The committee held their first meeting at the Deanery House on Friday last, the Bishop in the chair, when reports were received and read from all the parishes in the united diocese. The details contained in many of these reports, for which we regret that our limits preclude the possibility of giving extracts, exhibited an amount of wretchedness and destitution, hardly, we believe, to be equaled by the condition of any other part of Ireland. The committee found it difficult to make a selection of the worst cases and after minute investigation, allocated the amount placed at their disposal to the following parishes, leaving untouched many districts, which, if the funds were on a larger scale, would be entitled to share in the distribution, viz: Tullaghabegly £10; Raymunterdony £10; Mevagh £10; Kilmacrenan £10; Gartan £10; Clondevadock. £10; Leck £10; Innishkeel, ££10; Templecrone. ££10; Kilcar £10; Donegal £10; Lettermacaward £8; Glencolumbkill £8; Killybegs £8; Inver £8; Kiilaghtee £8; Killymard £8; Kilbarrow, £8; Desertegney £8; Lower Moville £8; Upper Moville £5; Convoy £5; Ardara £5; Raphoe £5; Carndonagh £5 ; Leckpatrick £5; Lower Longfield £5; Bellaghy £5; Castledawson, £5.
Coffins for the Poor
In consequence of the great difficulty of collecting the assessments usually laid on by the Vestry for providing coffins &c., the amount payable by each person being so small, as scarcely to be worth the expenses attending it, the last Easter vestry resolved to discontinue the practice and great inconvenience, and, in many cases, imposition from persons collecting subscriptions, being the result, it was resolved of the Clergy of different denominations, at meeting held on Monday last, in the Corporation Hall, the Rev. Mr. STACK in the chair, that a collection should be made, simultaneously, in all the places of worship in the city, without distinction sect or creed, and the proceeds to be handed to a treasurer, to be afterwards appointed by the clergy, to be applied to the above purpose, under such regulation as they may agree on.
There is a rapid advance in the price of this article. The 40 puncheons of grain whisky offered at auction by Mr. WALTERS, at Messrs. R. & W. J. M’Intire’s stores, Londonderry, on Thursday last, were disposed of at 5s 3d. and 5s per gallon, in bond, excise gauge 1845. (Derry Journal)
16 Jan. 1847 Omagh Work-house Increase of Destitution
In addition to the 88 persons admitted during the week ending 2nd instant, we understand that 107 were admitted at the meeting of the Board on Friday, when 37 were provisionally entered on the books, so that far above the 800, which the house was built to accommodate, are now inmates of that establishment. Most of those lately admitted were in an awful state of filth and destitution, which may in a great measure, account for the number of deaths that are weekly taking place.
23 Jan. 1847 American Projects for Irish Emigration
We are enabled to share, on the authority of private letters from respectable parties in New York, that a plan for enabling the destitute Irish to emigrate, on an extensive scale, from their present wretched habitations to the delightful valley of the Mississippi, is in contemplation in that City. The outlines of the project are these – A large monied company is to be formed in New York. By this company ten good ships at least will be provided to bring out Irish families, for the purpose of forming a colony in the valley of the Mississippi. The company will have responsible agents both in Ireland and America, it will supply to each family so brought out one hundred acres of land, implements of tillage, and everything necessary for their new condition, during the first twelve months. The remuneration from the colony to the company would be by yearly installments, extending over several years, in order to make the repayment of the expenses incurred easy to the settlers. It is believed that by this means of transit 10,000 souls could be removed from the shores of Ireland to the banks ol the Mississippi.
The subscription of the Society of Friends in England, for the relief of the Irish, amounts to £22.000, which averages for each family 5£, rich and poor. The have set a noble example. (Coleraine Chronicle)
28 Jan. 1847 letter from a correspondent
In reference to a letter from Dungannon, which appeared in the last Telegraph, stating that “fever of a malignant character is now rife in the workhouse” and that it is called “black fever,’’ and in order to prevent unnecessary alarm, it may be right to state one or two mitigating circumstances.
In the first place, the disease is not actually in the workhouse, but in the fever hospital near that locality, a circumstance which limits the contagion very considerably, and, in the next place, although it is true that the physician, who attended there, has been taken off after the short illness of 9 days, yet all are not carried off in so short a time.
The Master of the workhouse, who is stated to be “ill of the same disease,” was 2 or 3 weeks unwell, but is now in a state of recovery. There is, therefore, some ground to hope that the disease is not one of an unusually pestilential character.
These corrections are made with a view to allay fear, for timid persons, by their apprehensions, become predisposed to catch infectious diseases. The Guardians and responsible officers can best speak as to the treatment of the poor within the workhouse; outside of it, all here know that every exertion is being made for the alleviation of distress.
Public works are on foot by which several hundreds are furnished with the means of earning an independent support. A Relief committee is in operation, which supplies about 350 families weekly with meal, at one penny per pound. A soup kitchen is established, in which 2 large boilers have been fitted up by the same committee; and soup, made from the very best meat, is distributed to the multitudes, at one half-penny per quart.
Besides, a society called “The Sick and Indigent Room-keepers Society”, which was established here some years ago, has been revived. By the regulations of this society, the town is formed into districts and where sickness, or destitution, is discovered, it is immediately reported and the requisite relief administered. This society is solely under the management of the ladies of Dungannon; they subscribe and collect the funds for its support and not only so, but they act as visitors of the several districts. They do not depute their servants to go into the haunts of distress; they go themselves to those missions of mercy; they enter the lanes and the alleys and wherever the sick, wherever the indigent are found, they administer prompt relief. This is a most useful society, for there are many retiring, bashful strugglers, who shrink from begging and who would pine away in silence, did not the benevolent seek them out and afford them gracious relief. Dungannon, Jan. 2nd (Newry Telegraph)
20 Feb. 1847
On Thursday last, an inquest was held, by George HENRY Esq., in Mr. M’KENNA’s, Barrack street, on the body of man named Jacob COPLETON, who had been employed for some time back, at the Public Works at Curney hill, this County. The Jury returned a verdict of “died by starvation.” We understand there were 4 or 5 other inquests held during the week, and in each case a verdict of death by starvation was returned. (Armagh Guardian)
27 Feb. 1847
On the 14th instant an inquest was held on the body of a man named John TRAINER, the townland Cavan, the neighbourhood of Fintona, before Joseph ORR Esq., coroner, and a respectable jury, who unanimously returned a verdict that deceased “died from starvation.'”
27 Feb. 1847
Death by Destitution
A coroner’s inquest was held in the police barrack of Tynan, Friday, the 19th inst., on the body of a poor man named M’BRIDE, from the neighbourhood of Keady. According to the testimony of Dr. HUSTON (to whom the greatest praise is due for his exertions to relieve the destitute in his locality), his death was caused by dysentery, originally brought on by destitution. This poor man was found on the road side near the village on the day previous to his death, and brought to the barrack by the direction of Dr. HUSTON, where, notwithstanding every attention being paid him by the doctor and constabulary, he only survived until the following day. (Armagh Guardian)
27 Feb. 1847
How to Make a Little Money Go A Long Way
Good Breakfast, Dinner. or Super
Put 1 lb. of rice and 1 lb. Scotch barley into 2 Gals. of water, and boil them gently for 4 hours over a low fire, then add 4 oz. of treacle, and 1 oz of salt, and let the whole simmer for half an hour. It will produce 16 lbs of good food.
A Savoury Dish
Put 1 lb. of rice into 5 pints of cold water, boil it gently for 2 hours, by which time it will be a thick paste, then add 2pints of skim miik and 2 oz of strong Cheshire cheese, grated flue, a little pepper and salt, and boil the whole very gently for another hour. It will produce 9lbs of macaroni rice
Put 1lb rice into 5 pints of cold water, and boil it gently for 2 hours, till it is a thick paste, then add 2 pints skim milk, 4ozs. of treacle, and boil all very gently for another hour. It will make 9lbs. sweet rice.
Tie 1lb rice in pudding bag so loose as to be capable of holding 5lbs. Let it boil gently till it swells enough to quite fill the bag. Turn it out and pour 2oz treacle over it.
The expense of any of these dishes is less than one penny a pound.
Pea Soup without meat
Take a pint of whole peas, and let them soak all night. Next day put them into 3 quarts of boiling water, and let them boil till tender, then mash them together so as to form a paste, and put them back into the water along with quantity of turnips and carrots. all cut into dice with some sliced onions. Let the soup simmer gently for 2 hours, then thicken with oatmeal: season with pepper and salt. (Weekly Vindicator)
2 Mar. 1847
deaths by starvation
Armagh – Three weeks ago a woman named CLEMENTS, with her four children, left the Armagh workhouse. Since that time inquests have been held on the bodies of all the children, (the last on Thursday) and the verdict in each case ” Died by disease, in consequence of destitution” On the day previous an inquest was held in Charter School lane, on the body of a man named MULVANY, who was reduced to a perfect skeleton; verdict “Died by destitution.” He had voluntarily left the workhouse only a few days before.
An inquest was held last week in the townland of Oughill, on the body of a woman who died of starvation. She had been missing for two or three days, when her neighbours, becoming alarmed as to her fate, burst open the door of her hut, and found her lying dead at the place where the fire ought to be. Our correspondent informs us that there are many similar cases in the neighbourhood, as many as four corpses being found at a time in the same house.
Last week, in the townland of Cavankilkeeran, County Tyrone, a man named WOODS died of starvation. He was found dead in his house, on Wednesday, stretched on a little straw, a horrifying spectacle, surrounded by four miserable children, and was allowed to remain in that state until Saturday, when the inhabitants of Aughnacloy subscribed the price of a coffin, and buried him the day after. We are informed that previous to his death, the landlord, (a middleman,) subjected him to very rigorous extremes, in order to dispossess him. (Armagh Guardian)
3 Mar. 1847 The Emigrants Farewell
Farewell! humble home,
Where first I drew breath;
Farewell! each trickling stream.
Farewell! the purple heath.
Affliction’s on the land,
With hunger thousands rave;
Famine, with giant hand,
Sweeps thousands to the grave.
To God, who ordered all,
I willingly submit;
We all are slender reeds,
And bend as He sees fit.
Again, I say farewell!
Thou’rt fading from my sight
Erin, native land, adieu!
Eternally, good night
signed by an intending emigrant
On Saturday last, the committee of this excellent Association met in the Corporation hall. There was read an interesting letter, as to the state of the people in the district of Malin, from the Rev. J. CANNING; and the Rev. Mr. M’CLURE, who had visited some of the distressed districts of Ennishowen, at the request of the ladies, reported that he had travelled with Mr. CANNING, of Malin, through the extensive parish of Clonmany. The people there have, in former years, depended for their support almost entirely on potatoes, using sea-weed for manure. The population of the parish is about 7000, and out of these, from 3,000 to 4,000 require public relief. Scarcely one fourth the land has ever been tilled; the farms are very small, and little or no progress has yet been made this year in the cultivation of the ground. It had been reported that there were still a great quantity of potatoes in Clonmany; but as far as he could ascertain, there are not more than 40 or 50 sacks in the parish. About 150 persons are engaged in the public works, earning from 9d. to 11d. per day, but nearly 1000 and among them, a number of females, are ready to be employed, while there are many incapable of labour.
Mrs. YOUNG of Clonmany Glebe, is employing about 50 young females knitting. Mr. M’CLURE gave an account of several poor families whose homes he had visited. In one cluster of small houses, on the face of hill, inhabited by 16 families, several cases of fever were found; it appeared that 6 deaths had taken place within the last few weeks; and in another cluster of houses, at a little distance, there had been 10 deaths in the same period. The people are suffering with great patience; they are thankful for the smallest piece of bread. They seldom ask for anything, and are quite free from that boldness to be seen among street beggars. The people of Clonmany have, for this season, hitherto been supported, principally, by meal, purchased with grants from the Central and Belfast Relief Funds; and the subscriptions sent there are quite inadequate to meet the wants of such multitudes. No soup kitchen has been established. Mr. M’CLURE also reported that in Malin, Carndonagh, and Culduff, every effort is being made by the gentry and clergy of all denominations; that they are most harmonious in their proceedings, and are vieing with each other who can labour most for the relief of the destitute. He also visited the families of the fishermen who were lately lost off Glengad, and recommended a grant to be made for them to the Culdaff relief committee.
The distressing state f the counrty is causing great numbers of our agricultural population to emigrate. We learn from the Liverpool Standard of Tuesday that since the commencement of the year, no fewer than 9,000 persons, natives of Ireland, have sailed from that port, for America. Several families have left this for Liverpool and Glasgow for similar purpose during the week, and they were generally respectable-looking farming people. Some of the landlords in different parts of the country are supplying the cottiers on their estates with means to enable them to cross the Atlantic.
Londonderry Post Office
We subjoin a list of American letters, addressed to the following persons, in which have not been called for at the Derry Post Office, in the hope that this paragraph may come under the observation of the parties, as some of them very probably contain remittances from their friends.
James SCOTT, care of Patrick CEARNS Mainsfield county Derry
John DUNLAVEY, Enoch post office, Co. Monaghan
Daniel HIGGINS Moneyaraghe, Co. Tyrone
Michael BARRETT Belenso post office, Derry
two letters for Mr. John BLACK, Londonderry post-office
the executors of the late Robert A. ROSS linen-bleacher and ship owner Londonderry.
We would impress upon all emigrants to be particular in having their letters properly directed, and not only to be satisfied in putting the name of the nearest post-town, but those of the parish and townland, in which their friends reside, upon their letters.
Derry gaol – state of the calendar
There were 67 criminals in gaol yesterday evening for trial at the coming assizes. This number is nearly treble what was tried in the 2 preceding assizes; but we are happy to say that no crime of a very aggravated nature appears on the calendar, lf we except the murder of Toal M’ANNULLA by John M’KEEVER, a dumb youth, which occurred at Moneymore, and one or two cases of manslaughter. The great increase of crime has taken place in petty thefts, several being charged with stealing turnips, corn, potatoes &c.
6 Mar. 1847
Death from Starvation
On the 24th ultimo, an inquest was held at Carrickmore, before Joseph ORR Esq., coroner, and a respectable jury, on the body of a man named Patrick CAMPBELL, who was found dead on a part of the Sultan mountains, in the parish of Termonmaguirk. After a patient investigation the jury returned a verdict of “died from fatigue and want of food.”
13 Mar. 1847 The Progress of Starvation
The Irish provincial papers continue to supply lamentable accounts of starvation and death. We select the most prominent of these statements.
County of Antrim – The reporter of the Banner of Ulster, after giving several instances of extreme distress under which the people of the north are suffering, states that in the town of Derrymacash, from “the 1st of January last, to the 20th of February, the number of deaths in this townland alone exceeded 400”; and, almost in every instance, the illness by which they were swept away could be traced to originate in want of food!
County of Armagh – lt is stated that nearly 400 paupers have died in the Lurgan Union workhouse during the last eight weeks. In Armagh, there is some dread that mortality will spread beyond its usual limits in the workhouse there. Typhus fever has appeared and the medical attendant is, at present, ill of the disease. On Wednesday (last week), the remains of 14 of the paupers were lying in the dead-house (Illustrated London News)
27 Mar. 1847
A report has been recently resolved by the secretary of the Irish Evangelical Society from Messrs. GAWAY and FORDYCE, one of the society’s deputations…
Writing from Donegal the gentlemen say – Even the small farmers, in nine cases out of ten, are absolutely without resources for the present, or the future. Many of those who were deemed in superior circumstances are now grinding and eating their seed corn, whilst the people dwelling along the coast at Mount Charles, Dunkaneely, Kilear, Irishkeel, and about Killybegs, may be seen on the sea-shore gathering sea-weed and shell fish to support existence. The poverty here is abject and universal and is accompanied by its fearful concomitants, typhus fever and dysentery. The poor house was full on Saturday when we visited it, but the board was about to admit 20 more. Road-making is going on, but not to an extent sufficient to give employment to a tithe of those who are seeking it. Many who are taken on are so exhausted from want of food that they died at their labour. Death is making frightful ravages amongst the poor. Last week there were 14 deaths in the union house. Just as we write 4 coffins are being carried by the paupers. It ought to be remarked, however, that almost all the disease of the country is collected into the poor houses and also, that the aged and infirm will not enter them until they are reduced to the last extremity, and beyond the restorative power either of food or medicine. We have been struck with one remarkable proof of the influence of the famine on all the domestic animals, even the cats and dogs, wherever we go, are nothing but skin and bone. To add to the distress of the poor, the markets are infested by multitudes of heartless fore-stallers who purchase up the food and hide it expecting higher prices by-and bye, At Dunkaneely, the relief committee sells meals once a week at a slight reduction to those who can procure tickets and some come 4 or 5 miles, and have to wait from morning until 10 or 11 at night before they can get near enough to the office, through the crowd, to obtain a supply for their famishing households. At Port, 2 miles from Dunkaneely, the father of a family of 3 children was found dead in the arms of his wife. She had sat behind him on his wretched pallet of straw, to support his head in his agony. Worn out by previous watching, she had fallen asleep whilst discharging this duty, and thus the living and the dead were discovered, alike insensible, by the neighbours next day. They had had no food for many hours previously and, to the honour of human nature be it recorded, a poor fellow who had heard the piteous tale, and who had himself just obtained a little bread, after a 24 hour fast, instantly started off and gave it all to the three starving and fatherless children. Many instances of such heroic self-denial and noble sympathy cast a bright ray on the gloomy mass of wretchedness you sent us to survey. There is great danger that we may be unjust in casting too much blame on the landlords for the present state of things. They cannot get any rents; the income of many of them is merely nominal. Many are making extraordinary efforts to lighten the pressure of this awful calamity, Mr. JOHNSON of Rhanary, Mr. BROKE and others, amongst whom Mr. HAMILTON of St. Ernans, deserves honourable mention; he is employing several hundreds in sub-soiling with the spade and in draining. The deputation then gave 2 or 3 instances of the melancholy condition of the people and melancholy it is in the extreme. Numbers who are ashamed to beg by day are driven forth by the pangs of hunger at night, and may be seen prowling about the houses of those in better circumstances, looking for the offal and refuse of the households. Colonel CONOLLY M.P., is highly spoken of for his beneficence to his poor tenantry and neighbours in the district.
13 Apr. 1847
The Workhouse of this Union being all but full, and much sickness and mortality having been the result of over-crowding in other houses, the Guardians are obliged to stop all admissions by provisional orders, and can only admit on Saturdays when the Board is sitting. There being 300 cases of fever in the house, admission of fever cases are also stopped for the present. Sickness and mortality are rapidly diminishing.
Remaining on the 3rd April, 1106; since admitted, 59; Died, 19; Discharged, 48; Remaining, 1098.
On Thursday last Mr. James STANLEY Jr., of the Armagh Windmill, advertised Indian meal for sale at £12 10s. per ton.
We are happy to learn that a conconsignmcnt of ten barrels of flour has been forwarded to the Rev. Samuel SHAW of Moy, from Liverpool, for distribution among the destitute poor of that locality.
Death by Destitution
On the 4th inst., an inquest was held before Joseph ORR Esq., coroner, on the body of a man named HACKET who was found lying dead in afield at Augher, Co. Tyrone. On examination it appeared that deceased had been employed the Public Works, and that he had received his weeks wages the day before his death of 4s 1½ d. of which was found on his person. It is, therefore, supposed that had been worn down previous to receiving his wages, as the ravages of famine and want were visible in his attenuated frame. The jury were unanimous in returning the verdict of “death by destitution”.
State of Armagh Gaol
There were 267 prisoners in our county gaol on Saturday last, so crowded were they, that in many cases they were obliged to lie 4 in a bed. The completion of the new addition, now favourably progressing, will, under the present aspect of things, be most desirable.
On the 10th Instant, at Drumlargue, near Keady, of fever, Mr. Thomas STUART aged 46 years. Mr. STUART had just disposed of his land and effects, for the purpose of emigrating to America with his wife and 9 children, when he was seized with the sickness which ended his mortally.
Of fever, at the Enniskillen Workhouse, Mr. David VAUGHAN where he had filled the office of wardmaster, to which situation he had been, but recently elected.
12 Jun. 1847 Death by Starvation
On Saturday last 5th inst. a shockingly emaciated old man, who, from his ragged and squalid appearance and his being not known in the neighbourhood, must have been one of the itinerant beggars, was found dead in a pig-sty belonging to a farmer named M’GUINNESS at Clonfad, near Clones, adjoining this county. Decomposition having set in when the body was found, there exists no doubt but it must have lain there for at least 7 or 8 days previously, particularly M’GUINNESS had been from home during the time and the house unoccupied. lt appeared so obvious that starvation was the cause of his death, the authorities did not deem it necessary to have an inquest held the body. (Northern Standard)
On the afternoon of Monday last, a storm of thunder and lightning took place in the neighbourhood of Milford (County Donegal) accompanied with a tremendous shower of hail, which did extreme injury to the grain and flax crops in that locality. In many fields the tops of the flax were out off, as if “they had been mowed down by some sharp instrument” and so terrific was the hail, that the windows of the houses were broken in all directions. In the workhouse ten panes of glass were smashed, while so great was the force with which some of the hailstones were projected, that in several instances they passed quite through the glass, without shattering it, as if they had been so many balls discharged from a gun. The potato crop suffered severely.
A fine specimen of new potatoes, of the ash-leaf kidney kind, was shown us on Wednesday last, by the Rev. Thomas STACK, of this town, grown on his land, having been planted in an open field on the first week in March. They are quite sound and healthy, without the slightest symptom of disease.
21 Jan. 1847 Medical Report of the Newry Fever Hospital and Dispensary for the Year 1846
Of the 1970 cases cured, there were 454 fever – simple, continued, typhus, and remittent; 497 of diseases digestive organs – of tongue, mouth, stomach, intestines and liver, including 303 of dysentery; 107 of diseases of lungs, wind pipe, other organs of respiration; 12 of cancers; 19 of diseases of brain, spinal marrow and nerves, apoplexy, paralysis, convulsions, neuralgia, &c.; 67 of rheumatism; 28 of fractures and dislocations; 33 diseases eye; 9 of diseases ear; 73 of cutaneous diseases; 15 severe burns and scalds; 35 of diseases peculiar females; 20 of dropsies; 34 of scrophulous diseases; 12 of diseases of dentition; 13 haemorrhoids and excrescences; 11 of inflammation of veins and cellular membrane; 130 of wounds, ulcers, abscesses, carbuncles, &c. 24 erysipelas, measles, and scarletina; 105 of diseases of urinary and generative organs; 175 of labor; 34 of small-pox; 26 of worms; 17 of hooping-cough; 2 strangulated rupture; 3 purpura haemorrhagia; 35 of diseases bones and joints; 9 of polypus; and 3 excessive drunkenness – the latter cured by means stomach pump.
Of the 57 deaths, there were 14 from fever; 24 from dysentery; 8 from pulmonary consumption; 2 from dropsy; 1 from purpura hemorrhagia; 2 from small pox; 1 from bronchitis; 1 from obstruction of bowels; 1 from ovarian dropsy; 1 from severe burn; 1 from inflammation of lungs; and 1 from disease of joint.
It appears that during this year, 536 persons were admitted into hospital, and 2184 received dispensary assistance; whereas, in the year 1845, the number admitted into hospital was only 290, and that on the dispensary books,1668. The increase of patients in both these institutions is therefore very considerable.
During the first few months of the year, there was nothing remarkable either the amount or the description of illness that came under my observation, but, in the course of the summer and autumn, fever of typhus character became more than ordinarily common, and from that time up the present it has evinced a decided tendency to increase. About the beginning of December, all the beds in hospital being occupied, and the pressure for admission continuing urgent, without waiting for the permission of the Committee, I took the liberty of having provided an additional supply of beds. These, also, were speedily filled and a short time before Christmas the Hospital contained about 60 patients, almost all of whom laboring under typhus. But, notwithstanding this untoward claim upon its accommodation, in no instance was a fever case refused admittance.
The type of the disease is a low, though generally not severe, form of typhus, but livid spots are usually present. The mortality is by no means great in the young and middle-aged, but in those advanced in life it is very considerable. Stimulants are early required, bleeding and lowering medicine would not be borne. From every circumstance connected with this disease, I fear the chief cause of its prevalence is but too apparent, for the histories of all the epidemic fevers to which this country has been subjected, clearly prove that they present, in common, the very same features, and “no matter how climate altered, or seasons revolved, how summer or winter rolled on; so sure as want appeared, so certainly did pestilence follow.” And although the poor of this neighborhood have not been in the same deplorable state of destitution as those of other places, still it is feared that even here, a deficiency of proper food, has had some share in contributing to the increase of fever. In 1817 and 1818, the years of the last general epidemic fever this country – years like the present one, characterized by a great deficiency of food, it is well known that a million and half of persons suffered from fever ; and that of these, at least 65,000 died. I have been induced to mention these facts, to show the imperative necessity which at present exists, not only for supporting soup kitchens, and in every way in our power providing food for the hungry, but also for putting the medical charities of this country in such a state of efficiency, as will enable them to respond effectually to whatever calls may be made upon them and to exhibit forcibly their real value in alleviating and controlling disease.
The next important disease I have to mention is dysentery. This disease commenced here early in September and prevailed largely till the beginning of December, when it began to decline. Nearly 400 cases of it came under my care. It is still frequently met with and occasionally in the same degree of severity as at first. Miserable dwellings, wretched clothing, and the want of suitable food, all combined to render it a disease most distressing to the poor, and comparatively unsatisfactory, as regarded the medical treatment. It was undoubtedly epidemic in its character, but exposure to cold or wet, especially after comparative warmth, and unwholesome food, seemed peculiarly favorable to its production. In badly ventilated apartments, a low fever frequently accompanied it, which was apparently infectious. In old persons and infants the mortality was great.
These two diseases, fever and dysentery, were those which naturally increased our list of patients and in consequence of the inordinate demand for medical assistance, on both hospital and dispensary, the usual supply of recommendatory tickets was found inadequate. Early in October, therefore, by the directions of the committee, the subscribers were furnished with a further supply. This extra number was entirely requisite, as I believe at present tickets are procurable only with very considerable difficulty.
During the summer months, small-pox was somewhat prevalent; 36 cases came under my care. With 2 exceptions, vaccination had not been previously resorted to and in the 2 cases in which the operation had been performed, the disease was extremely mild. Whereas in the other cases, it was generally severe and 2 terminated fatally.
J. MORRISON M.D., (Ex) Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, &c. (Newry Telegraph)
3 Apr. 1847
Ireland is now, in one sense, in the midst in another sense, we fear, in the beginning of a calamity the like of which the world has never seen. Four millions of people, the majority of whom were always upon the verge of utter destitution, have been suddenly deprived of the sole article of their ordinary food. Without any of the ordinary channels of commercial intercourse, by which such a loss could be supplied, the country has had no means of replacing the withdrawal of this perished subsistence and the consequence has been that in a country that is called, civilised, under the protection of the mightiest monarchy upon earth and almost within a day’s communication of the capital of the greatest and richest empire in the world, thousands of our fellow creatures are, each day, dying of starvation and the wasted corpses of many left unburied in their miserable hovels, to be devoured by the hungry swine, or to escape this profanation, only to diffuse among the living the malaria of pestilence and death. (Dublin University Magazine)
6 Apr. 1847 (some) statements taken from the report of A. C. BUCHANAN Esq., chief emigration agent at Quebec,in a series of papers relative to emigration to the British Colonies of North America (Parliamentary, No. 120, presented last February.)
The emigrant on engaging his passage is informed that he will receive a pound of oatmeal, flour, or biscuit, each day during his passage, but on getting to sea finds that one-half of this allowance is replaced by Indian corn meal. This description of food although highly valuable, under different circumstances, is not proper for issue throughout along voyage, to people who have been wholly unaccustomed to its use and who do not know, how indeed, to prepare it. Dr. DOUGLASS has found that a great extent of sickness prevailed in the vessels in which the meal was used.
‘there was a large number of the Irish emigrants in a state of destitution as to clothes and bedding, far exceeding anything I ever before witnessed’ (Freeman’s Journal)
24 Apr. 1847
Famine and pestilence
A correspondent in Ballyjamesduff, county Cavan, from whom we recently received a communication, writes again to say ” Sir, in my last letter I gave you a cheering account of the cultivation of the land in this district. I have now to turn to the dark side of the picture and describe (if language can give any adequate idea) the deplorable condition of the inhabitants. Some notion of the fearful extent of destitution may be conveyed by stating that 3,000 destitute labourers were employed for the last 3 months in this district. Within the last fortnight 2,400 of that number have been thrown out of employment. 500 of them by the reduction of 20 percent and the remainder, 1,900, by the suspension of work, the money being exhausted. The consequence of this state of things is dreadful; coffins, funerals and ghastly spectres are to be seen on every side The patience of the sufferers seems to be worn out.”
The following deplorable case occurred in the county of Down “In one of my previous journeys” (writes the reporter of the Banner of Ulster) through this county I mentioned Shane-hill and the neighbourhood, as presenting features of intense distress, but I then had no conception that I would have to investigate a case, the actual horrors of which rival the worst details connected with Skibbereen or Schell. In the townland of Ballydugan (Co. Down) there resided a man named Thomas M’MURRAY and his family, consisting of a wife, a daughter, and two sons. They had been weavers but, like many others, want came to the door, dysentery followed semi-starvation, and the climax was fever. At the time when the last of the family, who had previously borne up, felt compelled to bend to the stroke of illness, there was but one pallet for the entire five. They lingered on for days as they best could, until, on Sabbath fortnight, the father died among his family. For five days the corpse lay among its living children and although application was made in the interim to the workhouse for a shell, that favour was refused. Since then, on Monday se’nnight, the mother and daughter were buried together, and on Friday the two sons were interred in the same grave, one of them having lain dead from the morning of the previous Tuesday. The workhouse of the union at present contains only about 600 inmates and for some weeks past no additional admissions have been allowed, or this family and the deplorable spectacle I have mentioned, might have never been placed on record.”
Every succeeding day the demon famine is assuming a more hideous, a more awful aspect, stalking abroad with a giant’s stride, and like the destroying angel of old, laying all waste before him. Those who confine themselves to the towns, and whose observation in this way must consequently be limited, can scarcely give any credence to the frightful statements in the newspapers. They deduce their conclusions from what they see in the narrow circle around them. Those may talk gravely about “exaggeration” and value themselves on not being so credulous forsooth as to believe the tales of misery they read and hear, but if they would go into the country, or even into the lanes and obscure places of the towns they live in, they would require no more evidence as to the truthfulness of the picture. Those ideas have been suggested to us by scenes which we have witnessed through the country and in some of the country towns, during the last week. Whether we direct our mind’s eye to what we saw and heard at Belturbet, Newtownbutler, or Rosslea, our feelings are equally shocked at the contemplation. In each, the mortality is dreadful and the victims are carried off by various agencies. Some are dying of inanition and its consequent debility; others of dysentery and others of fever &c., but starvation is the primary cause.
The Rev. John LESLIE has been doing invaluable good on his Kineraigie estate, county Donegal, through his nephew, J. BEERS Esq., who constantly resides on the property and is indefatigable in his exertions to improve the condition of the tenants and relieve the distressed. Three hundred pounds worth of seed oats has been divided among the smaller landholders, to be repaid in small installments; and all classes of tenants supplied (gratuitously) with turnip, parsnip and mangel wurzul and other garden seeds, with printed instructions for cultivating them; and premiums are to be given for the largest and best cultivated green crops, according to the size of their farms. In addition to the foregoing, a very large reduction has been made in the year’s rent, and encouragement given to emigrate; and the sum of £60 to assist the working classes and cottiers, all whom are now very extensively employed in draining on the estate.
During the last week we have been through the rural districts of a considerable portion of this county (Fermanagh) and having minutely examined the various crops, together with having collected all the information in our power from intelligent farmers, we are enabled to say that upon the whole the prospect is, so far as can be judged at this period of the season, rather cheering. The wheat crop is in general looking healthy and luxuriant, but in wet, swampy lands it presents a very languid appearance, but it is expected that when the sunny weather begins to prevail and the superabundant moisture is exhaled, even this sickly portion of it will become prolific and good. The appearance of the oat crop was never more excellent. In many parts, where it was sown in proper time, the grass-corn is actually covering the earth and at a distance appears ranker and even more vigorous in the blade, than the wheat. In a word, the farmers, so far as we have been enabled to inquire, are almost unanimous in the opinion that, oats had not, during any of the preceding years, promised so well in the month of April. The bere crop appears incomparably the worst of any we have seen and what is an infallible indication of its badness, the farmers are in general complaining of it. The people are planting potatoes much more generally and upon a far more extensive scale than the most sanguine had expected. Strange and almost incredible as it may appear, there are numbers who have been in a state of destitution bordering upon starvation, during the greater part of the year, who are now sowing the potatoes they had hoarded up for the purpose. Such Is the great tenacity with which the peasantry endeavour to preserve that once valuable esculent. We regret to say that the hopes entertained in the country as to the future growth of the potato are, and with too much reason, mingled with serious fears. In many farms the disease seems to have commenced its ravages. In various instances the stems, after they appear above the surface, begin to assume a sickly appearance and on examination are found black at the lower extremity and presenting strong symptoms of decay.
The tide of emigration from this county (Armagh) not only continues, but appears to increase and, as in other parts, is made up of the flower of the people, the sober and the industrious.
Since the commencement of the season up to Friday, fourteen vessels have sailed from Belfast for America with emigrants. Of this number, ten sailed for the United States, taking with them 1,551 passengers and four for Canada, with 976 passengers.
As the immigration into Liverpool of the population of Ireland becoming increasingly interesting to those ratepayers who are burthened with their support, and to the country at large, whose charity is taxed with their habits of mendicity, we have considered it our duty to endeavour to arrive at as correct statistical details as is possible of the number which have reached our shores during the present year, and the proportion, of which we have been relieved by their subsequent emigration to the United States and Canada;
arrivals from 13th to end of January – 16,686
estimate from commencement to 13th Jan. – 8,000
arrivals in February – 27,548
March – 50,102
Apr. 1st – 1,088
Apr. 2nd – 2,070
Apr. 3rd – 860
Apr. 4th – 3,804
Apr. 5th – 620
Apr. 6th – 2,2?0 (2 thousand, 2 hundred and ?)
Apr. 7th – 1,484
Apr. 8th – 1,671
Apr. 9th – 2,156
Apr. 10th – 2,720
Apr. 11th – 3,704
Apr. 13th – 2,313
Apr. 14th – 2,707
Apr. 15th – 1,858
Apr. 16th – 1,787
Apr. 17th – 2,338
Apr. 18th – 2.703
Grand total from January 1st – 138,528.
The emigration during the same period has been as follows, viz;
to 1st Apr. – 29,201
from 1st Apr to this date – 43,149
of which we may set down 40,400 as natives of Ireland, leaving 3,149 as the emigration from this country and Scotland, and 98,528 persons as the number remaining in Liverpool in a state of pauperism or mendicancy, waiting for vessels to emigrate, or gone into the interior of the country.
Undoubtedly a large portion of the last quoted number (98,528) are intending to emigrate and are only kept here by the scarcity of shipping. As a large number of emigrant vessels went out on Tuesday and the following days, up to yesterday, and nearly the whole of those loading are engaged, we may not be far wrong in calculating that the number thus waiting is about equal to the arrivals since the 11th, or 17,500 persons. This will still leave the large number of 80,000 persons to be otherwise accounted for.
It is remarked that the class of persons recently arriving have been principally composed of the middle and substantial farmer class and we quote the proportion of the sexes and of children for the last 7 days, to show the valuable sort of population which we are losing and America and Canada gaining. Thus the men arrived from the 11th to the 18th were 9,326; the women. 5,171 and the children, 3,003; the first outnumbering the two latter. Such emigrants must be generally the young and the able, not the mere out-scourings of a famishing country.
It would be an interesting object of inquiry, if it could be ascertained, what amount of bullion is withdrawn from the country by such parties. Of course, we can only be allowed a guess and we shall, perhaps, not be far wrong if we set down as the lowest average sum for each male emigrant at 10£. In many cases it must be much higher. Taking five-eighths of the whole number gone to be males, we have thus 350,000£ in gold to be added to the exports, which constitute the Bank of England’s ascertained deficiency. (The Warder)
17 April 1847 Wreck of an Emigrant Vessel
It is our painful duty to record the loss upon our coast of the American ship “Rochester” Captain TRUEMAN, burden 800 tons, which left Liverpool on Sunday morning, bound to New York, with about 300 emigrants, and struck at 6 o’clock on Tuesday a.m. Happily the lives of all on board have been providentially saved. She was wrecked upon one of those banks which render this part of our coast (Blackwater) so dangerous, especially to strangers. It was a painful sight to witness so many poor persons, as they landed from the Arklow boats which took them out of the wreck, bereft of all the little store which they possessed upon the earth. Our kind-hearted and respected townsman, Mr. Thomas BRENAN exerted himself to the utmost in securing what luggage still remained and with the assistance of that efficient public officer, head Constable NICHOLSON, who, with his men displayed the greatest attention to the wants and comforts of the distressed emigrants, had the unhappy sufferers placed in the spacious yard adjoining his stores until they could be assembled together and brought to a place of shelter and warmth. He had coals and straw immediately dispatched to the old workhouse, where several other humane and benevolent individuals administered food and fire to those who had been for nearly 2 days and a night without sustenance. Our excellent Vice Lieutenant, Mr. C. A. WALKER and Sir Francis LeHUNT rendered all the advice and assistance that the catastrophe demanded. Mr. Richard DEVEREUX, with his usual humanity, the Rev. Messrs. WHITE, LACY and DILLON, Mr. HUGHES, Alderman WALSH, Mr. Robert SPARROW, Mr. Wm. WALKER, Mr. Thomas NAYLOR, Mr. HOGAN, Dr. BOXWELL and many others were occupied throughout the entire day and evening in serving out warm soup from the public kitchen, bread, tea, beer, &c., to the grateful sufferers. We fear, to say the least, that there must have been gross neglect on the part of the Captain and crew, and hope that a scrutinizing investigation will take place into their conduct. The calamity has been felt the more severely in our town, as the event took place while the Relief committee were sitting and obliged them to postpone for that day the further consideration of the claims of the poor in our locality, in order to render the rights of hospitality to those who were now thrown in so helpless a condition upon our shores. (Wexford Independent)
3rd May 1847
Spread of Fever – Death of Lord Lurgan
There are again painful and alarming accounts of the increase of pestilence, very generally, throughout the country and the mortality is spreading amongst the upper classes. Amongst the victims to the pestilence now prevailing, I have to announce, with deep sorrow, the name of Lord Lurgan, who, as Charles BROWNLOW, had so nobly distinguished himself by the surrender of early prejudices in promoting the great measure of Catholic emancipation and who as a resident nobleman, has long been a model for Irish landlords.
from the Telegraph I take the following – With unaffected sorrow we announce the demise of the Honourable Charles BROWNLOW, Baron Lurgan. The melancholy event, the effect of an attack of typhus fever, took place yesterday (Friday) morning, at Lurgan Castle. The deceased nobleman has ever been one of the most deservedly esteemed resident landlords in Ulster. We speak the sentiments of all who knew him, or knew of his worth, when we say that Lord Lurgan’s death will be felt as a public calamity. His lordship was in his 52nd year, having been born in 1795. He was created peer by the Whig administration of the day, in 1839, and was a Privy councillor and deputy-lieutenant for the county Armagh. He is succeeded in his title and estates by his son the Honourable Charles BROWNLOW, now in his 17th year.
The Irish Fever Act
Referring to the new Fever Act, the Evening Post says – the efforts of the government have been well seconded by the Central Board of health. The Act only reached Dublin, yeesterday morning and we have reason to know that the Central Board of Health were occupied for several hours yesterday in issuing the necessary certificates and instructions, for carrying out the enactments of the bill. In various district of the country the poor-law guardiansand the relief committees are increasing the accommodation for fever patients. In Belfast and Lisburn, and other parts of the northern province, fever prevails to an alarming extent.
The Relief Measures
The accounts of the arrangements to put the Relief Act in operation are decidedly more favourable. In various districts the relief committees are acting with some degree of vigour, and in some places rations are already distributed to the destitute. Considerable alarm prevails, on account of the apprehended great increase of the destitute from the stoppage of the public works and in all quarters there are bitter complaints about the enormous amount of the increased taxation. (The Evening Chronicle)
8 May 1847
Destitution in the Diocese of Raphoe
The Right Rev. Doctor M’GETTIGAN has in the course of the last three weeks visited the several parishes in the diocese of Raphoe and handed to each of the parochial relief committees a sum of 5£, which, with two private donations of 30£. amounted to 200£, and gave strict orders that relief be distributed to every really destitute person irrespective of creed, class, or denomination. Very great distress and destitution were seen to be prevalent in almost every locality, but especially visible in those places where no exertions were being made to prepare the ground for seed.
Emigration from Londonderry – The emigrants who have left this port for the United States of America and Upper and Lower Canada since the commencement of the season amount to the large number of 5,003. We have not been able to get a correct return of the number who left this to proceed via Liverpool and Glasgow for North America, but we are sure we are below the mark when we compute them to have amounted to 3,500 persons, giving a total of above 8,000 and from the crowds who daily throng our streets inquiring for vessels to carry them from famine-stricken Ireland, it is calculated that close on 8,000 more will have left before the month of September next. We understand that in every seaport town in the kingdom emigration is proceeding on an unusually extensive scale.
Destitution in Fermanagh – If any doubts at all exist as to the wretched condition of the peasantry of this county, a single glance at the interior of the board room on Tuesday last, would have convinced the most sceptical. Hundreds of wretched creatures actually burst into the room at one time and several guardians were of opinion that the police should be sent for to keep order. It was melancholy to witness the condition of the poor creatures; poverty and sickness vividly depicted in every countenance. Indeed, it is no enviable position to be a poor law guardian at the present moment. Two members of the board are already prostrated by fever and our only surprise is that many more are not attacked, when it was distinctly stated by Doctor NIXON on Tuesday, that several of the paupers introduced into the room, were actually suffering from fever at the time. The board of guardians are doing their work nobly. As we anticipated in our last, the resolution for burying the paupers without coffins, was negatived, we might say, by one universal voice.
Fever – This destructive epidemic is still fearfully on the increase. On Tuesday night, there were 340 patients in the General Hospital. The house surgeon has given up his room for the accommodation of the patients and every corner of the building is now devoted to the urgent necessaries of the poor.
Day Asylum -The great diminution of paupers who used to infest our streets shows to demonstration that the Day asylum has opened its gates for their reception. It is really astonishing how many poor creatures take refuge in this place. The number that has been admitted, each day, during the week ending on Friday night, is as follows; Saturday 916; Sunday 869; Monday 864; Tuesday 902, Wednesday 871 ; Thursday 825; Friday 813. Total 6,060. There were 1,903 persons in the Belfast union work-house on Saturday last.
19 May 1847
Fever in Monaghan
Fever is rapidly compassing us about. Our poorhouse is crammed with a sickly and dying mass of wretches, huddled together for want of accommodation, there being above 200 in the house more than it can properly accommodate. In the gaol six unfortunates are crammed into a cell 6 feet by 9 – the fever hospital has triple its number of patients and the town is infested with crowds of mendicant vagrants from every quarter of the island, steeped in the lowest depths of filth and destitution. (Northern Standard)
Fever in the Omagh Union Workhouse
We regret to learn that fever continues to spread in the workhouse. From the report of the medical attendant, Dr. WHITE, made during the last week, it appears that there are at present in the 2 probationary wards 55 cases of fever and 15 cases in the male idiot ward, making in all 70 cases of fever in the house. Fifty-five of the inmates who had been suffering from this disease have become convalescent, and there have been but 3 deaths during the past week. (Tyrone Constitution)
Victims the prevailing Fever
The Rev. A. PATTERSON of Ballymena and the Rev. James PATTERSON of Rich-Hill
It is with the deepest regret that we announce the death of the Rev. Alexander PATTERSON of Ballymena. This most amiable and excellent minister breathed his last yesterday (Monday) about half-past 12 o’clock, at noon. The disease, which cut him off so prematurely, was typhus fever. He fell a victim the 11th day from the commencement of the attack. We believe he was in the 46th year of his age. We believe that Mr. PATTERSON of Ballemena, is the 5th minister of the Irish Assembly who, within the last 2 months, has fallen a victim to the prevailing epidemic. In our paper Friday it was our melancholy duty to announce the death the Rev James PATTERSON of Rich-hill, who expired the 7th instant. Mr. PATTERSON, Rich-hill, was by birth a Scotchman, and was cut down in the prime of life.
25 May 1847
Death by Starvation – A young woman named Mary Anne ACHESON of the parish of Killeshandra, county Cavan, was found dead on the road side, a few perches from the hut in which she lived, on Monday se’nnight and horrible to relate her body was dreadfully mutilated by dogs. An inquest was held and a verdict returned of “Death by starvation.”
Suicide in Rural District – On the 14th instant, a poor labourer named WILLIAMSON, living at Bawn, near Carranteel county Tyrone, committed suicide by hanging himself. Nothing has transpired which might be supposed as a cause for the committal of the deed, unless the extreme poverty of the man, who has left a wife and family to deplore his untimely end. At an inquest on the body, a verdict in accordance with these facts was returned.
Using Threatening Language – On Sunday last, two fellows named John QUIN and James STEWART were brought before Wm. PATON Esq. J.P., for having used threatening language to the town beadles and after being examined were both committed to take their trial for vagrancy at the Quarter sessions. One of the vags (vagrants?) was of a party for whom Mr. MAGOWAN lately paid 11s. to have them removed from Armagh to their own locality. We hope the assistant Barrister may teach them how to conduct themselves in future.
Charlemont Relief Committee – The Charlemont relief committee have given notice, that they will not in future dispense relief to any persons whose houses are not thoroughly purified and whitewashed, for which purpose lime is gratuitously supplied. None will receive relief who do not come with cleanly persons. They have further given notice that they are authorised by Act 10, Vic., chap. 22, sec. 9, “to direct that all streets, lanes, and courts, and all houses and all rooms therein, and all yards, gardens, or places belonging to such houses, shall be cleansed and purified and that all nuisances prejudicial to health, shall be removed therefrom.” They, therefore, request that all manure-heaps, cess pools, and other nuisances forthwith be removed to a sufficient distance from the dwellings, and from the public and bye-roads. If this be not done, measures will be adopted by the committee and its officers to enforce the same and any person obstructing the parties they employ, will subject themselves to a penalty of £5, or 1 month imprisonment in gaol.
Fever of a very malignant type still continues to progress in Moy, Charlemont, and their vicinities. The chief symptoms are total prostration of thought; great stupor, with coldness of the hands and feet; and a black and fetid purging of which the sick are insensible. A short but formidable catalogue.
Death by Whiskey – On Wednesday, the 19th inst. an inquest was held at Aughnacloy, before Edward MOORE Esq. J.P., on the body of William ARMSTRONG, an itinerant hat-dresser, who had been journeying through town. On a post mortem examination on the body by Dr. SCOTT, it was discovered that there was no food in the stomach, and that death was caused by taking some strong drink, while the body was in a weak state, brought about the exertion of traveling and want of sufficient food for some time previous. In accordance with these facts, the jury returned a verdict of “Death by taking spirituous liquour while weak from want of food.”
21 Jun. 1847
Arrivals from Ireland (Ireland food products to England)
The change of wind has effected the arrival of vessels from all parts, which had been delayed by the contrary state in which it has remained almost stationary for some time past, but in no particular has it been more conspicnously evinced than in the arrivals from the sister island. No less than 17 vessels arrived in the Thames on Monday from Ireland, laden with grain and provisions, including the following;
the Mayflower, from Cork, with 650 qrs. of beans
the Rebecca, from the same port, 560 qrs. of beans
the Clementina, from Limerick, 1,000 quarters of oats
Ganges, from Limerick, 225 quarters of wheat, and 456 sacks of flour
the Grace, from Limerick, 740 qrs. of wheat
the Friends, from Limerick, 505 quarters of oats 65 and qrs. of wheat
the Aurea, from Ballina, 715 quarters of wheat
the Elizabeth, from Londonderry, 30 cwt. of oats, and 220 tierces and 60 brls. of pork
the Dolphin, from Sligo, 925 brls. of flour
the Adroit, from Sligo, qrs of oats, and 78 cwt. of pens
the Ardent from Sligo, 500 qrs. of wheat
the Erin Lass from Galway, 285 quarters of beans and 350 quarters of wheat
the Preussicher Adler, from Cork, 341 boxes of eggs, 644 firkins of butter, 825 boxes of soap, 400 barrels of meal and flour, 119 casks of general provisions, 47 casks of hams, 107 bales of bacon, 130 casks lard, 90 of salmon, 50 boxes of lemons, 32 calves, 72 head of cattle and various other articles the Citizen, from Dublin, 111 casks of bacon, 14 casks of lard, 6 of ham, 70 of pork, 155 of paper, 88 boxes of eggs 24 tasks whiskey and 41 of porter
the Frith, from Galway, 1,000 quarters of oats
the Victoria, from Galway, 250 quarters of rye, 160 of peas 700 barrels of flour, 60 bags of beans, 20 of rice, 53 packages of bacon, 63 of middles, 44 of pork and 18 of bacon and lard
the Perthshire, from Galway, 750 quarters of wheat.
These numerous arrivals had not been preceded by dearth of importations from that country, for there was during the past week, a more than proportionately large quantity of supplies from Ireland, at the ports of London and Liverpool, in comparison with those which took place during the period from foreign states.
Ballymena Quarter Sessions
The Quarter sessions are being held in this town at present, and both the calendar and civil bill list are very heavy, there being of the latter 800, and 130 prisoners in the Bridewell for trial. The offences with which they stand charged are chiefly larceny, and in this class of crimes, there are several prisoners to be tried for sheep stealing, a crime which has of late been carried on to a very great extent in the lower part this county, there having been, in a very short space time, upwards 130 sheep stolen. It is hoped that as some of those who have convicted have had severe sentences passed upon them, their confederates who are still at large, will be deterred from a crime so injurious to the farmer who is struggling for his maintenance. One man was transported for 13 years who had been convicted of the offence.
William O’HARA was put on his trial. It appeared from the evidence of William ALDCOCK gamekeeper to H.H.H O’HARA Esq. of Craigbilly House, who appeared to prosecute, that on the evening of the 13th instant, he observed 4 snares set in the preserves of his master, in which were 2 hares dead and having called in the aid of his assistant gamekeeper and placed him in such position as to see any person who might come to take away the hares, watched the other himself and about 11 o’clock at night, observed the prisoner cautiously proceed to one of the hares and remove it from the snare and reset it. As he was about to leave the place with the hare, he made him a prisoner, and handed him over to the police. He was found guilty of the offence and sentenced to pay a fine of £10 and imprisoned for 2 months and in default of payment to be imprisoned for 1 month longer. This sentence will, we have no doubt, be a damper to those who have been engaged in the practice of night poaching. (Belfast commercial chronicle)
30 Jun 1847
Wreck of an Emigrant Vessel, Dreadful Loss of Life
the Quebec Gazette of June 11 says – ln a letter dated Cape Rosier, May 19th, which appeared in our paper Monday last, announcing the melancholy fate of the brig ‘Carricks’, R. THOMPSON master, from Sligo, which was lost near that place with all her passengers except 48, and one boy belonging her crew, the number of passengers was stated to be 167; so that 119 of them would appear to have perished, and, with the boy, in all 120 persons. In looking over a file of Irish papers received last mail, we have met with an extract from a Sligo paper, according to which the number drowned, including the boy, would be 129, instead of 120, unless the ill-fated ship had already lost some of her passengers before the awful catastrophe by which so many of the poor people sent out free by Lord Palmerston were consigned to a watery grave.
The Miracle, which left Liverpool towards the end of March, with 400 emigrants, was, the night of the 9th of May, wrecked off the Magdalen Islands, and 70 of the emigrants were drowned. The survivors were conveyed to Picton. Twenty of the unfortunate emigrants had previously perished from fever. (Kings County Chronicle)
30 June 1847
The chief topic of conversation at that city, (Montreal Canada) was the sickness at Grosse Island. The latest accounts from that place state that the number of ships still there was about thirty. The number of deaths for the week ending June 8, was 110. It was reported that 120 burials had taken place in Grosse Isle on the 9th Jun.
A letter from our correspondent at Mirimachi states that the ship ‘Loosthank’, Captain Thorn, bound from Liverpool to Quebec, with 350 passengers, out 49 days, put in there in distress, 117 passengers having died on the passage and the crew not able to work the ship. She was to proceed on her voyage as soon as the crew recovered. (The Evening Chronicle)
10 Jul. 1847 Emigration
The demand is stronger than ever for the attention of Government to the condition of the emigrant-ships. We admit that since the public notice was called to this subject an increased inspection has been ordered and a better class of ships has been employed. Still there is another point, of not less importance, which requires immediate remedy. It is the qualification of the captains of those vessels. Within about six weeks, on one track, the neighbourhood of the St. Lawrence, no less than four emigrant ships have been cast away. The ships were sound, the voyage was prosperous, no vessel foundered at sea, but from the moment they came in sight of landm all was destruction. The Carrick, a brig between 200 and 300 tons burden, on the 19th May encountered a gale At 2 in the next morning, she ran upon a dangerous shoal and in 2 hours she was no more. Out of 200 emigrants on board, the tremendous portion of 178 were drowned.
Another emigrant ship, the Imogen, 348 tons burden, on the 20th of May, ran ashore in thick fog. She had 175 emigrants on board, who were fortunately saved. Another, the Zenobia, was lost on the same shore. She had 300 emigrants on board. Another, the Miracle, was lost, with sixty of her passengers.
Another instance of calamity arises from disease. The ship Loosthunke, from Dublin to Quebec, put into Miramichi on the 10th of June, having lost 117 passengers by fever, and in want of medical assistance and fresh provisions; the remainder of the emigrants, 300, were more or less attacked and the crew were disabled. The fever appears to have broken out on board before the vessel departure from Dublin. On the arrival of the vessel, the passengers were landed at the quarantine station, and 40 more deaths had occurred since the arrival, and many more were expected. We take this account, of course, as it comes from Quebec and we cannot sufficiently express our astonishment at the particulars. In the first place, that 467 human beings should be crowded on board any transport vessel for a voyage across the Atlantic, and, in the next, that the vessel should have been suffered to sail when the fever had actually broken out on board. The consequence is the loss of 157 lives already. Surely this might have been prevented by the exercise of a rational superintendence on the part of the Government officers. In the wrecked vessels 138 lives were lost. If those statements are true, they call imperiously for the most immediate and active supervision. There has been some late attempt at the examination of the captains of merchant ships and transports, but must not only be persevered in, but it must be made strict and indispensable. No captain should be suffered to command anything beyond a coasting sloop until he had been of a certain number of year’s standing as mate, could give certificates of steadiness and sobriety, and could also go through a strict nautical examination. The merchant service would also derive signal advantage from a college for practical instruction in navigation, where young men intended for the merchant service should have a sound education in all matters related to seamanship, should acquire some knowledge of ship-building, the general management of a ship afloat, and the conduct of a ship’s discipline. Ship-building, the management of the steam-engine, and the theory of steam, might be added to the necessary knowledge of maritime science. Geography and astronomy, courses of lectures on the principles of commerce, the products of ditferent countries, the habits of those countries and their languages, might complete the round of their practical knowledge; while, if the college should be situated on the Thames, practical navigation would be easy of access, and ought to be diligently employed. Thus, in the course of a few years, the merchant service would have a trusty and intelligent race to whom the command of their vessel might be safely given. A superior order of persons would be brought into the service, and the expense of an education of this kind would be amply repaid, alike to the individual, the merchant and the community.
12 Jul. 1847
The provincial journals contain the most cheering intelligence of the progress of the crops. A gentleman who has been making an official tour in the north and north-west, embracing Londonderry, Donegal, Tyrone, Armagh, and other counties, reports that the system of husbandry has improved to a degree scarcely credible. Green cropping has increased an extent really wonderful and the face of the country presents an aspect totally different from its appearance in any previous year. The flax crops in Ulster are much more limited in breadth, wheat, oats, barley, rye and turnips and other green crops, are cultivated to a vast extent, and promise to be a very abundant produce. In several counties, a large portion of the soil may pass out of the hands of its present holders, but the ground-work of permanent agricultural improvement has been established and the country itself must experience the benefits of the change. Regarding the potato crop there are statements of disease in isolated cases, but the alarm has altogether ceased and the new potatos, good in quality, are daily becoming cheaper and more plentiful.
At meeting of the Chemico-Agricultural Society of Ulster various statements were read relative to the potato crop. They were of a conflicting character, some insisting that the blight had re-appeared, while others repudiated its existence. Dr. KIRKPATRICK, principal of the Templemoyle School, heard nothing of the infection in his neighhourhood, while another doctor had seen several instances of disease, especially in the produce of french seed, Mr. ANDREWS, of Comber, an eminent agriculturist, stated the results of his observation, that in the tender descriptions there had commenced a discolouration in the stem and that, notwithstanding the progress lately made by the more forward shoots, the plants to which he referred had made no progress. He did not undertake to say that it was the disease of last year, though there had been unmistakable cases of that description in his neighbourhood. Dr. HODGES, an able agricultural chemist, confirmed the views of Mr. ANDREWS (Bell’s Weekly Messenger)
14 Aug. 1847 Agricultural intelligence
Hint to Potato Growers
Those who are now digging new potatoes should, after raising the stalk, take off only the large potatoes, and immediately put back the stalk into the ground, leaving on it the small potatoes not then worth removing; these small tubers will then continue to grow, so that none will be allowed to go to waste.
It appears from the observations of most parties interested in the matter, that the potato blight commences at the time of flowering or of perfecting the fruit. Is it not probable, presuming this to be the case, that this may arise from the energies of the plant being exhausted in the endeavour to form and ripen its seed, and if so, is it not a fair experiment to remove the flower-head altogether from the plant, or, if too late for this, the young Potato-apple. I would strongly recommend this to the attention of all the cultivators of the potato both here and in Ireland and Scotland.
1st Sept. 1847
The accounts which daily reach as, from all parts of the country, leave no doubt as to the extensive prevalence of the fatal epidemic of last year, and though many of the lately planted fields are still apparently untouched, yet little hope is entertained of their ultimate escape. We have heard of one or two instances of partial disease amongst turnips. (Londonderry Journal)
10 Sept.1847 – Correspondence
the Poor of Drumquin district to the Editor of the Tyrone Constitution
Sir – Permit me, through the columns of your widely circulated paper, to make a few statements bearing upon Drumquin Relief Committee of the Omagh Union.
During the months of January, February, March, and April last, this electoral division was in a very deplorable state with famine, (fever, and dysentery.) I am now happy to state that, from the relief afforded the destitute, under the inspection of the bon Captain DALY, who deserves the greatest praise for his humane and gentlemanly conduct, our poor are now assuming their former healthy appearance and fever and dysentery are almost gone from this district. It was also very pleasing to observe the unanimity and harmony which prevailed among the members of the commitee and the clergy of the different denominations, though nothing more than that, was anticipated from the fact that the Rev. Mr. LEATHEM was the chairman of that committee. A gentleman who has bestowed the greater portion of his valuable time, not only since the out-door relief commenced, but since famine first made its appearance in the country, endeavouring to make provision for the starving pour and alleviate their sufferings. The Rev. John DAVIDSON, Presbyterian minister, and the Rev. Chas. MORRIS R.C.C.. have gained the esteem of the gentry of the country and the blessings of the poor, for their unremitting assiduity in making provision for the poor, hundreds of which were saved from starvation by their exertions. I have had ample opportunity in witnessing the good arising from the relief given to the poor, as I was in attendance of the sick poor, in their houses, morning, noon, and night. Your obedient servant,
Wallace SPROULE, Drumquin Relief Committee-room
4 Dec. 1847
MASSACRE OF IRISH EMIGRANTS
We here received the following letter from trustworthy corespondent in America
To the Editor of the Nation
Being but recently arrived from Lower Canada, I think it my duty to call your attention to the infamous sacrifice of the lives of the Irish emigrant population during the present year in British America. We understood that Lord John Russell had declared, from his place in parliament, that the British government would be prepared to give the emigrant every assistance on his landing in Canada. We believed that every provision would be ready for the accommodation of the sick the Grossc Isle quarantine station and that the quarantine laws would be so carried out as to provide for the health of the emigrant and, at the same time, preserve the colony from the danger of infection.
According to this view, the declaration with which Lord John Russell had accompanied his promise – namely, that the government would give no assistance to the emigrant in his passage to the New World, appeared unwise, as it was manifest that the refusal to enable the emigrant to cross the Atlantic, and land in strength and health, must (should his lordship’s promise be fulfilled) cause expenditure in medical attendance to the sick, and aid to those left destitute on their recovery from sickness, equivalent to any saving in government supervision at the time of embarkation and aid upon the passage across the Atlantic. We were, however, mistaken, the promise held out by the head of the government was boldly violated.
There is always a hospital capable of containing 250 patients at Grosse Isle (the quarantine ground some 30 miles below Quebec); there is there a doctor, appointed by government, a Scotch gentleman, named DOUGLAS, with, I believe, one or 2 assistants; and an emigrant office under the control of an emigrant agent in Quebec. The doctor at the quarantine ground possesses sort of monopoly in the sale of various articles to the sick and in fact, were he governed by self interest would find a decided pecuniary advantage, in being as little watched, as little assisted, and as much left alone as possible in the discharge of his avocations. Of course Doctor DOUGLAS was not at all actuated by such considerations in declaring, quite in accordance with the policy of the government, which had left him without resources at the opening of the river navigation, that he did not require aid, that he anticipated a greater emigration, but no more sickness, than in ordinary years, and that with 1 additional assistant, 2 additional hospital nurses, and a few additional beds and blankets, he would be prepared to meet the incoming emigration.
The emigration was not only unusually large, but had set in earlier and the navigation had opened later than customary, so that many a passenger ship had been detained (some of them for a long period) in the ice; the emigrants were, consequently, in the utmost destitution and had endured the greatest privations in closely crowded ship; and being left without guidance or instruction, drank freely of the river water, which, according to its invariable effect upon strangers, promoted severe diarrhea. The result was that the survivors (for numbers had been already been consigned to the deep) were in a frightful state of fever and dysentery. It was when every effort had been made to lull the province into false security, and while the government ‘medicus’ at Grosse Isle was boasting his capacity to grapple with the emergency, that the long retarded flood of Irish emigration burst upon the colony. In a short period between 1,200 and 1,300 sick were placed on an island affording accommodation for only 250.
The result can be better imagined than described. As many more were sick on board ships in the quarantine waters. The state of these floating charnel-houses beggars all description; filth and disease in the steerage, death in the hold, death on the decks, death on the companion ladders! Where was the emigration agent? Where was the government assistance? Where was medical aid? Where was Russell’s promise? It is not too much to say that for some period and that not a short one, the sick were abandoned at Grosse Isle, with the earth for their couch, the waters for their grave, and Heaven for their canopy and their winding sheet. At length assistants were procured and sheds were erected and provisions given out; still the emigrants were destined to a frightful residence, in want of air, in want of room, in want of sufficient attendance; and the convalescent were doomed to imprisonment upon an island, the only cleared space in which you left them for exercise was the teeming graveyard, inasmuch as the meadows which might have afforded them recreation were strictly forbidden them by the doctor, lest they should tread down the grass which nourished his cows!
But if the state of affairs at Grosse Isle was frightful, that further up the country was worse. The quarantine laws were virtually abolished to save the government from the consequences of their brutal neglect, with the consent of the people of Canada, who, with the most disinterested humanity, preferred braving all the dangers of infection to, (by insisting on quarantine regulations), dooming the emigrants to that which they deemed inevitable death. The result was that emigrants were scattered throughout the whole length of Canada, from the quarantine ground at Grosse Isle to the extreme confines of the wilderness of Huron. Everywhere the population suffered from contagion and sickness.
The convalescent, weakened and shaken by their sickness, were almost disabled from exertion and then, sufferings, despite the charity and kindness shown towards them by the population of Canada, were, you may readily conceive, most dreadful. I was told by the best authorities that the whole Irish emigration was stricken with fever, and that probably one-fifth of the whole perished. I do not know, neither do care, what the government estimates the subject to have been, but I believe from the most competent authorities (and my means of information were extensive), that from 60,000 to 75,000 Irish emigrants landed in Canada and that from 12,000 to 15,000 perished, besides great sickness and mortality suffered by our own population, in both provinces. How many of the Irish in Canada perished by the visitation of God? how many by wilfull and culpable neglect? And who is responsible for the blood thus consumed by the slow fire of want and disease, if not Lord John Russell, Prime Minister of England!
I am, Sir, yours respectfully,
8 Jan. 1848 Quarter Sessions and number of ejectments
Ballymena – 200 ejectments
Clogher – 21 “
Omagh – 36 “
Ballieborough – 39
22 Jan. 1848 – Eviction of Tenantry a Chief Cause of Social Evil
Some of the Ulster landlords seemed resolved to test the truth of the prophecy contained in the report of Lord Devon’s commission, that should they imitate their brethren elsewhere in their modeof dealing with their tenantry, “they will soon “in the North have another Tipperary.” On all hands it has been confessed that the northern have hitherto differed from the southern counties mainly in two things; there were comparatively few evictions and there were still fewer praedial crimes – The ill-disposed had more rarely pretexts for violence, and the well-disposed had more seldom any silent misgivings as to the intentions of the lords of the soil. The hard toiling man lay down and slept in peace, for his farm was cropped and its lease was safe and he felt as secure of a renewal when it expired, or compensation for “going out,” as he did of reaping the corn he had sown, or pulling the flax he had planted. And if an idler were out o’nights and found companions like himself, more bent on adventurous mischief than persevering industry, their furtive step was generally directed, as that of thieves is wont to be, to the solitary house, or the unguarded “ byre,” for the sake of pelf and plunder. Even of such offences there were not a greater number than might found in thickly-peopled English counties; and of sympathy with the authors of them there was naturally none. Above all, the taking of human life for any cause was comparatively rare. The deadly hate, the ferocious threat, the noonday assault, the neutral or favouring presence of others, and the ill-suppressed sympathy in the fate rather of the culprit than his victim – from all these poisonous elements Ulster was happily free; and the main cause of such a difference was too palpable to be doubted or disguised. A single extract from the statistic annals of the two regions will put the matter clearly.
We select for comparison two districts, each of which contains upwards of a million and a half of cultivated acres, and as nearly as possible, the same number of inhabitants.
In the one, consisting of four northern counties, we find 171,314 holdings; in the other, consisting of three southern counties, we find only 114,898. But instead of a greater number of defendants in the ejectment in the former in twelve months, calculated on an average of five successive years, we find it strikingly less; and when we cast our eyes at the average number of “homicides with felonious intent”, the proportion differs in a still more instructive ratio.
Northern Counties population 1,080,510
Donegal tenants 45,898; ejected 713; murders 3
Down tenants 69,515; ejected 819; murders 3
Londonderry tenants 24,350; ejected 619; murders 1½
Monaghan tenants 31,551; ejected 417; murders 1½
totals = tenants 171,314; ejected 2,648; murders 9
Southern Counties population 1,003,585
Clare tenants 28,259; ejected 1,504; murders 10;
Limerick tenants 30,750; ejected 1,143; murders 8;
Tipperary tenants 55,888; ejected 2,384; murders 20;
totals = tenants 114,897; ejected 5,031; murders 38;
No words of ours could give additional force to the conviction which these eloguent figures are calculated to produce on every unprejudiced mind. As far as the question of sanguinary outrages is concerned, they tend to show that these cannot be ascribed to the prevalence of small holdings, or to greater density of population. But they serve to point out truly that the origin of crime is to be traced to social and moral causes – to the discordant and anomalous working of the relations between class and class, and to the existence of mutual distrust and enmity. Hitherto the northern counties have been comparatively free from this fearful bane. ‘Why’ they were so, it would take long to tell. Sympathy of creed between the owners and occupiers of the soil had no doubt considerable influence in mitigating the disposition to oppress and the morbid suspicion of oppression – itself an almost equal evil. But other influences, far more potential, worked together for the tenant’s good, the great good of making him feel secure of his possession. From the days of the plantation of Ulster in the 17th century, property has been much more divided there, than in many other parts of the country. There were then created, it is true, vast estates, several of which still remain, but it was part of the policy of that measure to foster the creation of derivative interests, with freehold tenure, under the great proprietors. A resident middle class was thereby in some degree created, and although it has in recent times become the fashion to denounce all who fall under the name of middlemen, it is certain that no modification of society is less adapted for the promotion of social and political progress or peace, than one which is reduced to the two extremes of absentee lords in fee of vast domains, and occupying tenants without permanent tenure.
In Ulster the landlord class has for many generations been more varied in degree, and more numerous as a whole. A tenant who could not get on well under one proprietor, had a fair chance of obtaining a farm from another. It was long customary for the lesser proprietary, who themselves held by “leases of lives renewable for ever”, to grant the actual tillers of the ground an equivalent tenure. When the lives in their own leases dropped, it was frequently found that those in the tenants were the same; and the renewals of both are in general contemporaneous. As for “tenant right” of which we have lately heard so much – that was a touch more modern expedient, arising out of circumstances of comparatively recent date. Its meaning and importance have been not a little misstated and mistaken. But the power to sell the goodwill of a farm, to whatever extent it may exist, proves the habitual recognition, on the part of the landlords, of the equitable, if not the legal, claim of the tenantry to be suffered, if he wished toretain possession. The crusade against population and the theory of consolidation of farms, were as yet unknown and when industry had accumulated capital in trade or the linen manufacture, and invested its earnings in the purchase of land, the number of landlords was only further augmented, but the standing policy of their order was not changed. “Live and let thrive” was the common law of Ulster.
Far different has too long been the unhappy condition of the south and west. No part of the tenantry there had even the bonds of sectarian sympathy to unite them with the lords of the soil. Estates in general were less broken up; there were at one time many middlemen, but these persons usually held by profitable, but expirable leases; their object was to make the most of their time, and undoubtedly, their exactions from their subtenants were as great as might have been expected. To a considerable extent, however, these have been swept away. The ‘whole’ of the rent paid by the occupiers now goes to the landlord, often an absentee and he, in return, is at utter war with them. When the middleman’s lease dropped, he refused to renew their tenure, or offered them such short leases as would deprive them of the elective franchise and stifle within them any design of making permanent improvements by draining, building, planting, or otherwise. Hence distrust and crime.
Yet with the bitter fruits of this ruioous warfare before their eyes, the landlords of Ulster appear inclined to imitate the example of their Munster brethren. At the quarter sessions of a single district in the county Donegal the other day, no fewer than 319 decrees in ejectment were obtained; and from various other quarters the same tidings of disquiet came. Verily we may fear that in hitherto peaceful and improving Ulster, there vet may be another Tipperary. (Weekly Vindicator)
22 Jan. 1848
Illness in the County Antrim
Fever and influenza, to a serious extent and of a malignant kind, are now prevailing in many parts of the county Antrim. From some districts applications have been forwarded to Belfast for nurses to attend the fever patients. In several localities the medical men are hardly ever in bed attending the sick, and in others, they are unable attend near the number of applicants.
Extra Assessment of the County Antrim
The court of Queen’s Bench have ordered that a sum of £4,200 be levied off this county with the present county cess, and that the same be repaid the government at the next assizes. This sum was expended by the Belfast and Lisburn Boards of health, during the recent calamitous visitation of fever and though undoubtedly large, was imperatively required under the circumstances of the case. (Weekly Vindicator)
5 Feb. 1848 Three Deaths by Starvation
An inquest was held this week in Smithborough, on the body of John CASEY, who was found dead in Cortrasna. It seems the deceased had been in the village on the evening of the 31st ult., seeking some aid and in great distress. He left the village and was found the next morning, apparently having through weakness fallen and injured his head. A verdict was returned accordingly. The poor creature had collected some cabbages, and bits of the vegetables were in his mouth. On Wednesday last, a man named Thomas CLEMENTS, from the neighbourhood of Ballintoppen, died of sheer want and starvation in Smithborough and some weeks ago a man named LITTLE, also died at the back of one of the houses, starvation and destitution were the causes of his death likewise. (Northern Standard)
14 April 1848 Dungannon Quarter Sessions
There were upwards of 1,400 civil bills entered, and 99 ejectments.
Bernard M’GURK for stealing a quantity of oatmeal, the properly of the board of guardians of Clogher union – to be transported for 7 years.
Ellen GLENN larceny of calico submitted – to be imprisoned 3 months with hard labour.
John CRUTH for stealing a quantity of wearing apparel from Derrycreevy submitted – to be imprisoned for 6 months.
Owen M’GEOGH and James M’NAMEE for stealing butter, the property of John KANE of Dungannon. – M’GEOGH to be imprisoned for 6 months, with hard labour ; M’NAMEE to be transported for 7 years.
James SMITH for receiving said butter, knowing same to be stolen – to be imprisoned for 12 months.
William M’CAMBLY for stealing oats, the property of George SLEVIN Esq. Dungannon – to be imprisoned 6 months with hard labour
James DEVLIN for stealing meal and loaf, the property of P. M’GILL at Crevagh – to be imprisoned for 3 months.
James WELSH for stealing a loaf of bread from Alicia GALLAGHER submitted – to be imprisoned for 3 months.
Anne REID for stealing meat at Derrylatinea – submitted – to be imprisoned 1 month
James M’COWMILL and John HUGHES or a stealing goose, the properly of Thomas DOHERTY Lisnaveeny – each to be transported for 7 years.
William LAVELLE for stealing a bag of oats – to be imprisoned 3 months, with hard labour each alternate week.
John QUIN, John M’ELHONE and Boyd FLEMING for rescuing two horses from Alexander TIPPING bailiff, in Stewartstown; also for assault. QUIN and M’ELHONE submitted – each to be imprisoned one fortnight. The jury not being able agree the case of Boyd FLEMING was rebound to appear for trial at the ensuing Strabane sessions.
(transcriber note- often if rent was due (or by cause of a bankrupt) landlords / agents / bailiffs would seize the assets of the person.)
Mary M’CULLAGH larceny – to be imprisoned 1 week.
26 Aug. 1848
Extracts from letters written by persons having every possible means of information, unhappily place the question beyond the necessity of further inquiry (the question if the potato rot is at least as great as it was in 1845 or equal to that of 1846)
Hitherto, as was to be expected, the north of Ireland, like Scotland, has presented little cause for alarm; but accounts are becoming worse, even from the most northern counties. Take Donegall. The accounts, now reaching to August 5, run thus “Disease is very much on the increase; many fields, lately free from any symptoms, are now much affected. A small farmer has about two acres completely gone. I saw 2 stone of them the other day when there was not more than a third fit for use. Glenties. The crop continues to maintain, upon the whole, a promising appearance; in some places however, there are unmistakeable symptoms of the presence of the disease, and the most that can be reasonably hoped, now is, that bulk of crop may not be attacked it.
They write from Lisburn (August 8th) that the disease is rapidly extending in Antrim and adjacent counties; at the date of the letter it was estimated to have affected visibly, 1-10th of the crop. In Derry, matters were better (Coleraine, August 5th), there being little more than reports, which were, however, on the increase; the weather had been dark and showery. In Tyrone, disease was spreading rapidly near Strabane (Aug. 8), since the beginning of the week. And in Down, the disease among potatoes appeared to be rapidly increasing. And so it is all throughout Ireland, where not a shadow of doubt remains, that Government will have again to deal with a winter of hideous destitution. And so it will continue until an effectual stop be put to the cultivation of the potato, instead of sound, wholesome food, which can be depended upon with reasonable confidence. (Gardeners Chronicle)
Saving the Potato Crop
lt has surprised me that it does not appear to have occurred to those who cultivate the potato to act upon the fact that the disease does not appear till the season is well advanced, and till the growth of the tubers has almost ceased. The early variety I have long been in the habit of cultivating for my table has withstood the disease perfectly, and this season, the crop has been excellent. This variety ripens early, and I attribute its safety to the crop being taken up as soon the leaves begin to colour. At this date (Aug. 9th), my crop is housed for the winter. Having heard that the disease or symptoms of it had been observed at no great distance, I thought fit to take up seedlings, of which I have taken up about 40 varieties, and every one has attained, what I believe to be, its natural size, and they are quite large enough. Had I allowed them to remain in the ground till October, or until their leaves and stems had withered, I do not believe the crop would have been in any degree heavier. Though I cannot affirm it from experience, it seems probable that after the blossoms appear, the tubers cease to advance.
Now, if farmers would take up their potatoes the instant they heard the disease reported to be anywhere, or as soon as tubers attained sufficient size, the crop might be entirely saved.
G.S. MACKENZIE Bart.
Armagh – We regret to state that in this district the disease in the potato crop is progressing. Still, we incline to the belief that the calamity will not extend to the crop generally, and that therefore, there are no grounds for great alarm. The produce of the plant was never so luxuriant, so that we would have an average crop even supposing one half to affected by disease. In this opinion we are strengthened by Colonel BLACKER, whose testimony is formed after lengthened experience. That gentleman assures us that the black appearance of the stalk is no cause of alarm, as it is occasioned by drought, and he has carefully examined and found the tubers perfectly sound while the stalks were blackened. While the farmer finds the stalk to break like a stick he may depend on the tubers being good, but if it be tough and bend before breaking, the tubers are bad. The stalks in that case should be pulled up, and the ground carefully covered, lest the influence of the atmosphere penetrate through the interstices after pulling. A portion of the Colonel’s Crop, grown from seed, which he brought from Paris last autumn, is affected, while up to the present the Ballygawley Pinks, and another kind imported from England, are untouched.
Markethill -The potato blight seems greatly on the increase in this neighbourhood. Cups suffered most, and Ballygawley Pinks least.
Coleraine – lt is now beyond doubt, that the potato crop is, in general, much affected. Within the last few days, several fields in this immediate neighbourhood, which hitherto showed no unhealthy symptoms, suffered most severely from the blight, the blackened stalks and withered leaves being the melancholy indication of the loss of this useful root. A small portion of the new potatoes brought to market are tainted, and almost unfit for human food. The cereal crops in this district are, however, above average, and progress to maturity, notwithstanding the weather has not been favourable for ripening. Wheat harvest has already commenced, and, in the course of a few days, will be general. Coleraine Chronicle.
Kilrea – There is no potato field, in the neighbourhood of Kilrea, which is not infected with the disease, and, in every instance, the tubers are more or less affected.
The rapid destruction of the potato, during the last few days, is equal to that of 1846. Fields yesterday green and healthy are today black, blighted and withered, the tuber already generally affected, and if the rot proceeds with equal intensity for another fortnight, there will not be one-fourth of the crop then sound. We have conversed with many farmers on this important subject, some say a third, and others, that half the roots, are diseased, and the heavy smell of decomposition is again felt in the fields. We have, ourselves, travelled this week, through the Counties of Antrim, Down, Louth, Armagh, and Monaghan, and did not see a single field where the blight was not; and universal destruction seems to be sent upon the land. The wheat crop will not be near average; the head short and the grain light. The flax crop is very small; and the stock of corn in the country, from last year’s crop, is almost exhausted. (Belfast Protestant Journal)
11 Sept. 1848
from the agricultural report for August
There has been quite too much rain and too low a temperature during the month of August, succeeded, we are happy to say, for the last few days by the most beautiful harvest weather;
Hitherto we have held the opinion that the potato disease will be much like that of last year. In both years, it showed on the general crop at precisely the same time, and passed on destroying the growth, in about the same number of days – that is, from the 1st of August, when the first spot appeared on the leaf, until about the 2nd or 3rd September, when all vegetation had ceased. All the apppearances this year, thus far, are precisely similar, and, up to a few days since, all the appearances of disease in the tubers, were precisely similar also; but we fear, both from inspection and from many inquiries of those who are close observers, that for the last four or five days, the disease in the tubers has been much on the increase. The potatoes, too, coming too market are now much diseased. The potato blight sets all current theories and calculations at defiance. During the very wet weather of the week ending on the 26th August, the stalks and roots both held their own; they were not worse than they were the week before; but, no sooner had the fine weather set in, than both began to decay rapidly. The growth is now quite over; and if the rot progresses, as we learn it is this day doing, we fear the very worst of the whole crop. We are only certain of one thing, and that is, that potatoes never can, and never should be, depended on as the chief support of the people of Ireland in future. With respect the turnip crop, we have heard it stated that not more than one-third of the seed was sold in Londonderry this year, that was sold in the last. If this is true, and we suspect it is, the quantity of turnips will be very small, as the crop generally is very deficient. Some good cultivators, where the land is dry, have succeeded with their crops; but, on the whole, there will not be the third of an average. The wet and cold of August have been detrimental to them unless good and dry ground, and under suitable culture. (Derry Journal)
30 Dec. 1848
Dreadful Murder at Letterkenny
it is with feelings of the deepest pain we record the fect that a most cold-blooded and determined murder was committed last night week, very early on Saturday morning last, in the town of Letterkenny. The victim was a Protestant gentleman, named Samuel DAVIS, surgeon, a native and resident of the town. Dr. DAVIS was an amiable and most benevolent man. His practice was confined principally to the middle and lower classes, and his services were frequently rendered gratuitously to the poor. His political opinions were of the class usually denominated liberal and he was esteemed a most popular man. The house of the deceased is in the public street, and his hall door, where the deed of blood was committed, more exposed and under view from a greater number of points than any other in the entire town.
It appears that the Doctor was absent from home, during the whole of the day preceding his murder, (yesterday week) and he did not return till about midnight, before which hour 2 men called separately enquiring for him. On his way home, after visiting some of his patients it is supposed, he was met by 2 persons in the market square, who accompanied him to his house and obtained medicine from him. No suspicion of guilt whatever attaches to the 2 latter individuals. Having fastened the hall door, he was returning into the shop, when a double knock was heard, whereupon he went back to the door and re-opened it and immediately after a shot was heard by Mrs. DAVIS and the servant, who were in the kitchen and on the latter going to the door, he found his master lying behind it, a lifeless corpse, but the assassin had fled. The wound which caused his death, was on the upper part of the sternum or breast, to the left, where a large bullet and 6 slugs entered; the bullet passed through the body, coming out near the top of the left shoulder, behind, and completely lacerating some of the principal blood-vessels, causing instantaneous death. The police having been promptly apprised of the dreadful occurrence were immediately on the alert, and scoured the neighbourhood in search of the assassin, but without success. At early hour in the morning that active and intelligent magistrate, John Vandeleur STEWART Esq., was on the spot, with his usual zeal and promptitude, investigating the matter, but nothing has yet transpired to throw light upon it. An inquest was likewise held on Saturday by Charles H. SWEENY Esq., coroner, assisted by John V. STEWART Esq. J.P., John CHAMBERS Esq. J.P., and William WRAY J.P. and a respectable jury, and the details were thus stated;
William M’LAUGHLIN, the servant, the principal witness examined – he deposed that he an occassional servant or caretaker about Dr. DAVIS’S house when he would be absent from it; he was sent for by Mrs. DAVIS on yesterday (Friday morning) to come to the house; the doctor was absent all day as it was the large Christmas market-day of Letterkenny; about 9 o’clock in the evening, a man, tall and thin appearance, knocked at the door and when witness opened same he appeared not willing to come forward, but said he wanted the doctor to go to a sick call at the new mill; witness told him the doctor was not in; in about half an hour after another man, stouter in make and taller, came and told witness the same thing, when witneas said ‘as you’re in such a hurry about the doctor come in and see the mistress, and maybe she can tell you where to find him,’ which the person refused to do. About 12 o’clock a voice was heard at the back door, saying, ‘Mrs. O’DONNELL is dying of cramp in her stomach, and will not live fifteen minutes and is the doctor come?’ Shortly afterwards the doctor came in, accompanied by, as witness believes, a man named James BIRNIE, carpenter, and his son, when, having made up some medicine for them, he let them out of the door, and was proceeding down the hall, witness having a view from the kitchen straight to the hall, being on the same flat, and in direct line, when a smart rap was heard, and the doctor wheeled on his step, and placed the candle down, and went to the door; witness heard the bolt drawn, the door opened, and about a minute from the doctor’s touching the door he heard the report of a gun or pistol, upon which his mistress, who was in the kitchen at the time, said, go up and see if the doctor is out after some of those foolish boys who fired to frighten him. Witness was unwilling, and argued with the mistress for about 5 minutes, when he did go up and found the Doctor dead; his weight in falling against the door having closed it again; he was shot through the breast, the bullet passed through his body, and carried part of the chain of his watch which he wore round his neck with it, and through a board behind him, and finally lodged in the wail.
The bullet was produced at the inquest and had part of the gold watch guard of the deceased battered into it. The verdict of the jury was in accordance with the facts sworn to, namely, that the deceased died from a gun shot wound inflicted by some person or persons unknown.
The brother of the deceased gentleman arrived from Liverpool on Tuesday and the funeral took place at half-past 12 o’clock the next day. It was one of tbe largest ever seen in the town. It was attended by the following magistrates of the district, viz. Sir James STEWART Bart.; J. V. STEWART, John BEERS, John CHAMBERS, Wm. WRAY and John SPROULE, Esqrs., with scarfs, also the clergymen of all denominations. At the conclusion of the burial service, the Rev. R. SMITH made an impressive allusion to the awful and untimely death of the deceased.
This atrocious outrage, occurring in a locality heretofore remarkable for its perfect tranquillity, has naturally produced an extraordinary sensation, and various conjectures have been circulated to its cause, which is still involved in mystery. The magistrates of the district, who are pre-eminently distinguished for intelligence and discernment, have been prosecuting their inquiries on the subject during the week, but the result has not been permitted to transpire, lest it should tend to defeat the ends of justice.
A proclamation from Dublin Castle arrived at Letterkenny on Thursday, offering reward of £100 for the discovery of the assassin. There will be a meeting of the magistrates of the county held next week, when it is expected that private subscriptions of a large amount will be offered for the apprehension of the murderer, in addition to the Government reward.
We are sure that no exertion will be spared by the gentry of Donegal to prevent the introduction of that system of Thuggism into their hitherto peaceable county which disgraces the south of Ireland. There was an impression abroad that this foul outrage might have been committed at the instigation of some of the relations of the deceased, with whom he had a protracted suit in the court of chancery, but we believe there are not the slightest grounds for entertaining such suspicion. The litigation in question has been brought to a close and we understand, that every decision in the matter was adverse to the deceased and in favour of those opposed to him, and that his death at this moment is calculated to injure rather than promote their interests. Another reason assigned for the perpetration of this fearful crime is that the unfortunate gentleman thought proper to dispute the principle of fixity of tenure, which has been advocated with the most pernicious effect in some quarters and to exercise his legitimate rights as a landlord. He had a small estate in the mountain districts of Glenswilly, worth about £200 per annum. From this property, it is said, he evicted two families about a fortnight ago and had made arrangements to proceed at the approaching quarter sessions, on more ejectment processes. For this offence against the agrarian code, it is believed, his life has paid the forfeit. It is not alleged that he was a bad landlord; on the contrary he bore the reputation of being kind-hearted and indulgent one, but all his suavity of manner, benevolence of disposition, professional consideration for the wants of the poor, his political liberality, and good landlordism could not protect him from the bullet of the assassin, and he was cut off in the midst of his usefulness, at the meridian of life, from a loving wife, and wide circle of admiring friends, because he would not allow a number of individuals to hold possession of his property without yielding him any return for it.
Diabolical Attempt to Destroy a whole Family in Donegal
A correspondent writing from Donegal, states that on the night of Tuesday last, one of the most daringly atrocious outrages, ever committed in any neighbourhood, was attempted at Ardnamona, the residence of C. G. WRAY esq. About 11 o’clock on the night mentioned, some wretches placed two small kegs of gunpowder immediately under the front and lower windows of Mr. WRAY’S dwelling house. Along with the gunpowder were placed a variety of dangerous missiles, including old smoothing-irons, pieces of broken pots, the lower part of a turf spade, &c., so to make the work of destruction sure. Mr. WRAY and his family had retired to their bedrooms, about quarter of an hour before the gunpowder was ignited, and the explosion destroyed the hall door, the furniture in the parlour, smashed the windows, and did considerable damage to the bedroom in which Mr. WRAY happened to be at the time, but most providentially without injuring any individual, although 9 persons, including a son of the late Col. WALLER of Armagh, were in the house at the time. Mr. WRAY is a gentleman who is held in universal estimation and before this occurrence, no one imagined that he had an enemy in the world. The supposed cause is his refusing to continue tenants upon a property, with whose management he entrusted, some persons from whom no rent could be obtained. Whatever may be the ostensible pretext, outrages of this most barbarous character must be put down by the strong arm of power and we trust that every good member of society in that neighbourhood will come promptly forward and will adopt vigorous measures for the discovery and signal punishment of the rufflans by whom this deed has been perpetrated. It is only by putting down the beginnings of crime that the peace of society can be effectually consulted.
Christmas day in the Londonderry Workhouse
Monday last (Christmas day), the paupers in the workhouse; in number 734, men, women, and children, partook of a comfortable breakfast of tea, bread, and butter and a good and plentiful dinner of spiced beef, soup and potatoes. The cooking department was ably superintended by Miss M’CANDLESS, the matron and the soup, which was excellent, could not have failed to have pleased the most fastidious epicure.
The matron presided over the girls, and the schoolmaster over the boys, who dined about an hour earlier than the rest of the paupers. Several of the Guardians visited the workhouse while they were at dinner and they expressed themselves highly pleased with the judicious arrangements which the master had made for the comfort of the paupers on this occasion. After dinner, the Master kindly permitted all the paupers to assemble in the boys schoolroom, where they enjoyed themselves in dancing.
till the unwelcome bell summoned them to bed,
And that Christmas for another year had fled.
Ballymoney workhouse Christmas Treat
The Rev. J. Ferguson CREERY, Protestant chaplain, gave the inmates of this workhouse (to the number of nearly 700) a Christmas treat, in the shape of a plentiful supply of tea, with the usual substantial accompaniments. The poor people were much gratified at this attention on the part of the Rev. gentleman, who took advantage of the occasion to address to them a few appropriate remarks. Mr. HOPKINS also added some good advice, and Mr. BOGLE, the master of the workhouse, returned Mr. CREERY the thanks of the inmates, for his liberality and kindness.
Sale or the Tolls on the Markets
On Friday week the tolls of the following markets from 1st January 1849, were put up to competition by the Corporation, Mr. M’MURRAY being the auctioneer. The following were declared the purchasers John MILLS, for the fish and vegetable markets £73; Anthony DEVIN, for the stalls and standings £80; Edward LYNCH for the potato market £110; John MURRAY for the cattle market £127; Croker MILLER Esq., for the butchers market £75.
24 Dec. 1848
State of County Cavan
Here is the state of Cavan, as described by the Anglo Celt – What a melancholy picture does Cavan present at this present moment! A half-starved, half-clothed peasantry, kept alive by a growing poor-rate, the land un-tilled, the labourer’s idle, farmers sinking into paupers, landlords melting away into thin air. Are there any landlords in Cavan? Yes, a half-dozen perhaps – or is it maybe some 8 stout-hearted gentlemen, who still reside on their estates and manage, God knows how, to hold their heads above water. The rental of the country is large, but the proprietary is small, and at least if we may judge from appearances and ‘de non apparentibus et non existentibus cadem (?) est ratio.’ We must not be understood as wishing to lay under one sweeping censure all the land, lords now absent from their post. Nothing could be more unjust. Some of them are kept away by circumstances over which they have not, nor ever had, the slightest control. How could the most self-denying landlord who had an estate, say of ten thousand a year, mortgaged to three-fourths of its value, stand against the taxation consequent upon the potato blight? The utmost such man could do would be to make the best fight he could for a short time (the struggle could not be long) and fall like Caesar at the foot of Pompey’s statue, decently.
We could name some who have so fallen; men whose bitterest regrets, amid their miserably straitened circumstances, are not for themselves but for their impoverished tenantry, whose condition they had vainly strained every nerve to ameliorate. But truth compels us to add that there is a class of landlords in this country who, though they might do much to alleviate the sufferings of their tenantry, prefer to do nothing. They calculate, very justly, that the present state of things cannot last. The poor-rate is increasing, and will increase, perhaps for a few more years, to nearly the entire absorption of the rental. But what of that? They have other resources and can live out the crisis. In the mean time, there is a soul of goodness in things of evil. Farms are in process of consolidation. Nominal landlords are being used up, and are slowly making way for men of capital and enterprise. Paupers are dying off, or emigrating. In a few years, more of their estates will be ripe for improvement, but the surplus population must wither off the land first. Is this the cold-blooded policy of the landlords of the Cross bane division of the Ballieborough union? Our readers are aware that the farmers of that division met some time ago, and passed a series of resolutions calling upon their landlords to enter into voluntary taxation with them, for the purpose of employing the able bodied poor at some remunerative labour. Here was a manly effort, the right direction, originating with the farmers. It ought to have originated with the landlords. But though they forgot, or neglected their duty, they ought to have been at least thankful to their tenants for putting them in mind of it, particularly when it jumped with their interest. Nevertheless, not one of them, with the exception of Mr. JOHNSON, condescended to reply to the meeting, or to take the slightest notice of a movement, which they ought to have encouraged by every means in their power. (Bell’s New Weekly Messenger)
2 Jan. 1849 Emigration – The Ship ‘Surinam’ Sufferings of the Passengers and Crew
The following letter has been addressed to us by one of the passengers on board the Surinam emigrant ship, which left this port for New York on the 11th November
To The Editor of the Pilot
On Board the Surinam
Cove of Cork Harbour
28th December, 1848
l must inform you that I sailed from the North Wall, Dublin, on the 11th of November, on board the emigrant ship Surinam, Captain KNOX, with 120 passengers, for New York and a more uncomfortable or inconvenient ship could not be selected for such a purpose. It was leaky almost in every part; it used to admit the rain and sea through its chinks in such abundance that were often obliged to leave our berths and sit up in the cold all night. Our wearing apparel and bed clothes were continually wet. It is really inhuman on the part of the authorities to permit such vessels to be employed for such purposes; but I suppose anything is good enough for the poor Irish. Your being at all times the faithful guardian and watchful sentinel of the Irish people induces me to acquaint you with the privation and hardship which a portion of your poor countrymen were subject to for more than six weeks, on board the above vessel, hoping it may serve as a warning to all persons who may in future be obliged to emigrate from Ireland. We were almost famished for want of fuel to cook our hurried meals. We made repeated application to the master to have this remedied, but to no avail, though the act, 11 Victoria, sec. 13 cap. 6. renders it imperative on every master of an emigrant ship to provide plenty of fuel for the passengers, and a competent person to act as cook, neither of which was complied with. About 9 o’clock every morning a miserable fire would be lighted for us, with about as much coal as would fill a small bedroom grate, so that about 12 o’clock you might expect to get a sort of breakfast cooked and if we could get one meal of this sort each day, we would think ourselves happy. But our sufferings at night were of a much more painful nature. We were hungry and cold by day – by night we were hungry, wet, and cold. On the morning of the 12th November we doubled Cape Clear, and got fairly into the Atlantic, when we were met with a violent head wind, which continued to blow with unabated fury till Sunday night, the 10th December. We were then about the 27 degree. Between 12 and 1 o’clock a dreadful gale blew against us with great fury, flittering into shreds our main, foretop, and mizen sails, and sent them adrift, which left us in a very pitiable state. The ship was obliged to let “lie to” till the noonday, when the captain endeavoured to continue his course, at which time the wheel chains were carried away. Instant destruction would be inevitable were they not replaced by repairing them with the weather tackle. At 2 o’clock on Tuesday morning, to add to our misfortune, we discovered that she became leaky, and had four feet and a half of water made before it was observed, which destroyed all the property belonging to the passengers in the hold, leaving many of them in a deplorable condition; and worse than all, the most part of the fresh water was destroyed. At 3 o’clock, p.m. on Tuesday, the captain, seeing that it was totally impossible to make head against such a wind and terrible sea, put about and made direct for Cork. All the passengers were obliged to work at the pumps from the 12th to the 28th December day and night, without cessation. The weather was so dreadful and the sea so high that we were obliged to lashed to the pumps, lest we should be washed overboard. Any language that I can command is totally inadequate to convey to you an idea of all we suffered in this respect. Day and night we had to work at the pumps with wet clothes on – no fire to warm or dry us. Oh! how often did I hear the poor emigrants bewail, in the bitterness of their heart, the fate that drove them to such misery, and exclaim against unjust and oppressive laws that empowered heartless landlords to expel them from their little homesteads as wanderers on the cold and bleak world, to endure such privations as I have attempted to describe.
I will give you one true and melancholy instance of what I have witnessed. A poor fellow named William MURTAGH, who held a few acres of land under Mr. _ of _ near Dublin, was after being dispossessed by the agent, who accompanied the bailiffs. MURTAGH assured me that when the agent (who also sports a military title) commenced his campaign, he had about a half a stone of potatoes boiling for his wife and seven children, and implored of the agent to desist till they would partake of their scanty meal, but he remained inexorable, took the little pot off the fire, and left it in the yard. I am going (said poor MURTAGH) to a strange, but hospitable land, without a shilling in my pocket, carrying with me that natural hatred, that undying hostility, towards the government that arms heartless men to perpetrate such acts of cruelty. Here we are now, after being seven long and dreary weeks tossed about on the ocean, without knowing what will become of us, the greater portion of us not having a shilling to purchase a second sea store and not having any home to return to, you will admit we are in a deplorable condition.
Yours faithfully, “AN EXILE”
1 Mar. 1849
Important to Emigrants
The Supreme Court of the United States, in session at Washington, has come to a decision of vast importance to the State of New York, and to all the States upon the seaboard. That decision is that the passenger tax is unconstitutional and cannot be levied on either the emigrants or the owners of vessels, and therefore, cannot be levied at all. The ground of the decision is that no State can pass a law to obstruct the commerce legalised by the laws the Union. This will, of course, reduce the passage money for emigrants and give an impetus to emigration. The Court were nearly equally divided. Formal judgment will not be delivered till about another month, which will be the end of the term.
A Monaghan correspondent states that on Monday night last a house, part of a model farm belonging to James HAMILTON Esq., was maliciously set on fire, and before it was observed the whole property was consumed. It is difficult to account for the outrage, Mr. HAMILTON having, with many other acts of benevolence, expended large sums in the establishment of a model farm of 9 or 10 acres, for the sole benefit and instruction of his tenantry. A tenant had been previously evicted from the farm owing upwards of three and a half years rent.
Blessings of Free Trade
We have drawn our most extensive sources of employment in this vicinity from the manufacture of grain. Our large water power has been almost exclusively used for this purpose. What now is the condition of this, to us, all important branch of trade? Many of our bolting-mills are altogether idle- a large proportion of them are at half work. The flour of the countries we have enumerated is now brought to our doors in a manufactured state, depriving the farmer of his accustomed market, and creating a competition with which it impossible for the home manufacturer to cope; thus also depriving the artisan and the man depending his daily labor of their wonted sources of employment. There is also another loss which might not at first strike the general reader; it is the injury sustained by the public, and the poor in particular, through the want of the offal generated by a home manufacture of wheat; a means by which the feeding of cattle and pigs was rendered cheap and feasible, even to those in the humblest circumstances and the interests of the mercantile and agricultural communities were largely sustained. Take bran as an instance. This important adjunct to the food of cattle, when wheat sold high in consequence of the protection duty, was to be had at a few pence per stone; now in consequence of the small quantity of corn ground in this country and the introduction of the ready manufactured foreign flour, it is raised to an enormous price, so that this valuable assistant to the agriculturist, so important for the feeding of cattle, particularly since the failure of the potatoes, is now altogether lost. These are the benefits which our legislators foolishly throw away by encouraging the foreign markets to the prejudice of our own. The fact is, that we are depending altogether on our agricultural produce, and this free trade must naturally destroy us.
Belfast Cholera Report
The following is the report for the last 4 days
Friday, new cases 7; died 6; recovered10;
Saturday, new cases 7; died3; recovered 6;
Sunday, new cases, 11; died 1; recovered 5;
Yesterday, new cases, 28; died 4; recovered 16;
Tuesday, new cases, 18; died 1; discharged cured 8;
total cases in Belfast 634; died 211; discharged cured 283; remaining under treatment 140.
It has been a matter of common remark, for the last four or five weeks, that the cases on Sundays and Mondays amount to more than double, sometimes three-fifths, of the number of cases on the other days of the week, a circumstance evidently attributable to the fatal dissipation in lower classes on Saturday nights and during the Lord’s day.
Insolvent Debtor’s Court
On Wednesday last Mr. Commissioner CURRAN held a court of insolvency in Armagh County court-house. There were 31 applicants of whom 21 were discharged, six had their cases adjourned to the next commission, 3 cases were adjourned to next commission and one is to apply in Dublin to be discharged.
Arrest of Beggars
Two thousand six hundred and eighty-nine beggars were taken into custody of the Dublin police, from the 1st Jan. to 24th February 1849, both days inclusive.
An inquest was held on the 27th ult., at Ballyworkan, near Tandragee, before Edward D. ATKINSON Esq., coroner, on the infant child of a woman named Jane ADDIS, when the jury returned a verdict of “death from a want of nourishment.”
It appeared on the inquiry that the child’s mother (who was an unmarried woman) had been turned out of her brother’s house on last Saturday evening, about quarter of an hour before the child’s birth, when she was received into a house adjoining, the owner of which, however, was so poor as to be unable to afford to the mother and child the treatment they required; that the child did not get any nourishment until Sunday evening, when a neighbor woman came in and finding how matters were, went home and brought some bread, with which she fed the child twice; that its food disagreed with, and it got no more, and died the next morning. It appeared, also, that the neighbors on hearing of the woman’s distress, subscribed and bought food, and sent it to the house on Sunday night; but, through motives of false delicacy, the woman, in whose house ADDIS lay, had it conveyed to the brother’s house, where nearly the entire of the food so bought was eaten, and from Monday evening the sick woman had not got anything to eat!
Number of paupers admitted into the workhouse during the week ended Saturday 24th of February 37; discharged 48; died 7. Number remaining in the house on the above date, aged and infirm men 92; women 122; able-bodied men 70; women 350; boys 225; girls 341; infants 53. Total 1,357. Average cost of a pauper per week, including all classes, 1s. 1¾ d. Number out-door relief same date, 2336; average cost, 5¾d.
Cholera Newry (capitals inserted by transcriber)
Of the 9 cases remaining at our last report, 3 have since died. The disease we are happy to announce has already assumed a milder form, forasmuch as though there were 10 new cases Tuesday and 5 yesterday, not one of these has eventuated in death.It should ever be borne in mind that the opinion of the faculty is, that the disease, alarming indeed, from the usual rapidity of its course, IS NOT CONTAGIOUS.* This should tend materially to abate the alarm unnecessarily prevalent. We may add that in consequence of Dr. MORRISON having resigned his appointment as cholera physician, the following medical gentlemen have been appointed to act, in his stead, by the cholera committee of the Board of Guardians; Dr. ERSKINE, Dr. DAVIS, Dr. MOLLOW, Surgeon John SAVAGE. The medicine to be supplied by Surgeon BLACK.
* transcriber note- Cholera is highly contagious. It was transferred person to person by infected fecal matter entering a mouth or by water or food contaminated with it. The organisms survives well in salty waters and can contaminate humans that contact or swim in the water. (bathing in our ancestors days, was often by swimming)
1st Mar. 1849
Preparation for the Harvest
A correspondent writing on this subject says-
I have seen a variety of letters from different parts of the country, which, upon the whole, give a much less discouraging account of the progress made in spring cultivation than might have been expected, after such protracted and wide spread destitution. In Ulster and Leinster, with some really serious exceptions in the latter province, tillage is in forward state and grain and green crops are put down in a manner far superior to the cultivation of former years. A large quantity of potatoes also is planted, the early sowing having been generally adopted, as experience has proved the comparative safety of that crop when put down before the end of February. (Shipping and Mercantile Gazette )
One hundred and sixty-eight young women, selected by Lieutenant HENRY R.N., from the different unions in Ireland sailed from the North Wall for Plymouth, on Wednesday evening. Their destination is Australia.
12 May 1849
A Sign of the Times – Waste Lands
ln the district country lying between Knappa and Benburb, about 3 miles, there are no less than 7 townlands covering an area of one thousand acres, totally unoccupied. Some 2 or 3 years ago this same district was inhabited by a comparatively wealthy population. Many other places are similarly circumstanced; so that our brethren in the south and west are not likely to have all the waste land to themselves- the baneful effects of legislative blundering, increasing our taxation while decreasing our means of paying it, are beginning to exhibit themselves in the Black North. (Weekly Vindicator)
8 Jun. 1849
death by Starvation
An inquest was held last Saturday on the body of a man named Patrick MURTA, who lived Derryhaw, near Middletown, in this county. (Co. Armagh) Amongst the witnesses examined were T. J.TENISON Esq., J.P., and Mr. John GAMBLE, who knew the deceased to have been industrious man, using every effort to obtain sustenance, but unable to get employment to keep him alive. From Dr. CLARKE’s statement of the emaciated state of the body of the unfortunate man, in conjunction with other evidence, the jury unanimously gave it their verdict that death was caused by starvation.
As much anxiety is felt concerning this crop in consequence of slight symptoms of blight having been observed in one or two localities, we may state for the information of the public, that in this and the surrounding district, the crop never looked better, nor more healthy. Our informants being respectable, disinterested parties, the information may be relied on and the hopes of the people are well grounded, for with the blessing of providence, there will shortly be an abundant supply of good potatoes.
During the last few days, we are sorry to say, several cases of cholera have occurred in this town (Newry). They have not all taken place in one neighbourhood, but in quarters widely apart from each other and, which is rather remarkable, all the parties attacked are females. (Armagh Guardian)
9 Jun. 1849 – Distressing case of Eviction near Buncrana
A report having reached Buncrana, on the evening of Wednesday last, that a girl, naned Biddy M’LAUGHLIN of Leophin, on the property of George HARVEY Esq., had been beaten almost to death by two bailiffs, in the employment of John MILLER Esq., the agent, in an attempt to drive her from the premises of which the family she belonged had been lately dispossessed. I hastened to the spot to inform myself of the circumstances.
I found the girl lying in a wretched little shed, built up within the open wallsteads of the house, from which the family had been lately evicted. She appeared terribly bruised and wounded; but, in order to understand the full hardship of the case, I must relate briefly the history of the eviction, from its commencement. Nancy M‘LAUGHLIN, alias M’GINNESS, a widow with 6 orphans, one of them the patient in question, occupied a small farm of land in the aforesaid townland. A short time ago, she was served with notice to quit, and was evicted at law. She owed, to be sure, some arrears of rent, but she had tendered what would put her on a level with the other tenants on the property. This offer was refused and when she found that her extermination had been determined on, she took the steamer in Derry, for Liverpool, with scarcely a penny in her pocket, above her passage money, with a view to make her way to Cheltenham, where her landlord George HARVEY Esq., resided, and lay her case before him in person.
She had no money to travel by railroad, and set out on foot from Liverpool, in the direction of London. According to her own statement, “she travelled one hundred miles in this direction, with swollen and bleeding feet, and subsisting for three days at a time on one pound of Indian meal,” when, partly from exhaustion, and partly from the advice of some humane persons she met with, she came to the resolution of acquainting her landlord, by letter, of her whereabouts and her errand. She remained at the end of her journey for 2 days or so, in expectation of an answer, and some help to carry her back to Ireland; and, receiving neither, she set out again on foot, with heavy heart, to retrace her steps, and visit her starving orphans and her cheerless home; not without a hope that the returning clemency of her agent might greet her with better news on her arrival.
In the meantime, and during the mother’s absence, it had been intimated, I am informed, to the daughter (the now patient) that she might sell the lands to the highest and best bidder. An auction was accordingly called, but, the very day advertised for the sale, and at the hour when some of the neighbours were assembling for the purpose of bidding for it, the sub-sheriff, with his posse, came down, dispossessed the family, unroofed the house, tore out doors and windows, and left the wretched orphans without a shelter under the canopy of Heaven.
It was in this roofless and dilapidated condition that the poor broken-hearted mother found her habitation on her return and in this condition I found it on the evening have alluded to. The girl was lying, as I said before, in a wretched little shed, which the family had constructed out of the sticks and thatch around them, against one of the standing gables of the open wall-steads. It was about 7 or 8 feet square, and 5 feet high, with a squalid bed and bedstead at one end, and a bundle of dirty straw at the other; and in this, the entire family, male and female, were obliged to spend their days and nights, in the most revolting discomfort. As I stepped over a heap of rubbish, to enter the little shed, my attention was directed by some of the children to large marks of blood upon the stones, where their sister, they said, had fallen and fainted, under the blows of the merciless bailiffs. She presented herself a horrid sight, her hair appeared clotted with blood, her mouth was severely wounded, there were one or two painful contusions on her head, and 4 or 5 bloody marks on her neck, as if some person, in his endeavours to strangle her, had torn her with his nails. The poor sheet she lay upon was many parts stained and stiff with her blood. I must give here, her own relation of the whole affair, from the notes I took on the occasion of my visit.
About 12 or 1 o’clock in the day ( Wednesday, ult.,) while her mother was at the market in Derry, she went to carry water from a small brook beside the house, when a bailiff of Mr. MILLER’s, named M’LAUGHLIN, in company with another named KELLY, came to her and said they came to plant the site of her residence with trees. She said she should hold by the place while she had life, They then moved up to the house together, and one of the bailiffs attempting to throw down with a crowbar the little shed where she lived, she seized upon him with considerable violence, and endeavoured to prevent him. She struggled with him and the other bailiff for some time, when one of them threw her down, trampled on her, kicked her, and commenced, to use her own expression, to ‘shatter’ her with a stone, but at this time she was blind and stunned, and almost senseless, and could only say that after this, she felt both of them kicking her at the same time.
After all was over, one of the bailiffs, as the other children testified to me, threw a coal into the straw in the corner of the shed, to burn all within it. The neighbours who gathered to offer their condolence to the family, in my time there, gave as their apology for not running to the poor girl’s rescue, that they were afraid, if they interfered, that they themselves might be dispossessed, and treated with similar severity.
As I was returning, at about half-past 12 in the morning, I met a body of the constabulary police of Buncrana going down to apprehend the half-murdered girl and the other children who were in the shed with her. On account of the state in which they found the beaten girl, they allowed her to remain; but they brought with them as prisoners two little boys, one of them, it appeared to me, about 14 and the other, 12 years of age, and on their way, meeting the mother, who was returning from the market in Derry, and who had been totally unconscious of all that happened they apprehended her also, and “without any magistrate’s warrant”, as they admitted themselves, and (_?) by verbal directions, lodged the three in the bridewell of Buncrana.
The prisoners were shortly after liberated, but on tomorrow, I learn, the wretched family are to come and appear, and make a defence at the suit of the 2 bailiffs. The widow and her children must stand in court as culprits, before their agent, perhaps acting as their judge, and hear the story of their guilt related by the officers of the agent, in all the fullness of truth but the proceedings in the court tomorrow I shall supply you with for your next publication. (more below) (Coleraine Chronicle)
12 Jun. 1849
Very few, if any, new potatoes have, up to the present, come into the market, which have been grown out of hot-beds. In some tubers of this kind we have seen evidences of an unsound condition, but we will not take it on ourselves to say that these were signs of the “disease” and it must also be recollected that “forced” potatoes have, in all years, been of an uncertain and inferior quality. Rumours have also been afloat that in many places the stalks have given signs of, the blight; from some of the districts in which this is alleged to have happened, we have received private accounts; and whilst in most cases there are no grounds at all for the statement, in a few, the only foundation for it, is the fact, that some of the leaves were slightly discoloured from the effects of a few inclement nights at the latter end of May; quite a common occurrence and not at all sufficient to justify any serious apprehensions.
Throughout this country there never was a finer appearance, and we have letters from Tyrone, Derry, Sligo and Leitrim, which give the most cheering accounts of the crops.
In the north of Ireland, the weather, during the week, has been sunny and brilliant, though the wind has frequently ranged from the north. The crops are progressing in the most favourable way. New potatoes are quite common in the Belfast market and are selling at 5d. and 6d. per pound. They seem clean and healthy. There is a decided failure, everywhere, in the gooseberry crop; as well as in cherries and plums.This arises from the late frosts, with which we are still visited.
the Potato Disease
We have heard of one case in the neighbourhood of Derry, in which suspicious appearances existed, but nothing of a decisive character has come under our own observation. On the contrary, we yesterday had an opportunity of inspecting two exceedingly fine samples of new potatoes, both of which had grown in the neighbourhood of Derry, and they were not only wholly free from disease, but as healthy in all respects as we have ever seen potatoes at this early season. The first sample was of the ash-leafed kidney variety, and had been grown in the garden of Harvey NICHOLSON Esq.; the second belonged to a kind called “Forty- folds” and had been raised at Brookhall, the residence of Major MILLS. New potatoes, of a very superior quality, were selling here yesterday, at 8d. per quart.
14 July 1849
Buncrana Petty sessions July 5th
Bailiffs of of Geo. HARVEY Esq., of Linsford House v. Biddy M’LAUGHLIN and other children of the evicted Widow M’LAUGHLIN, of Leophin.
The hearing of this very singular and distressing case, took place on Thursday last, the 5th inst. It was thought there would be a cause and cross cause, but the evicted party, careless of consequences, neglected to summon.
The magistrates present on the bench;
Colonel JONES, Fahan
Mr. BATT, of Rathmullan
Mr. MILLER, agent to George HARVEY Esq.
The defendants were Biddy M’LAUGHLIN, the beaten girl, of middle size and about 18 years of age; her sister Mary, a small girl of about 15, and James, her brother, a ragged little fellow, about 10.
Daniel M’LAUGHLIN , one of the plaintiffs, was sworn and examined – He went down, in company with Billy KELLY to Leophin, on the morning of the affray, by order Mr. MILLER, the agent, to throw down the standing ruins of Widow M’LAUGHLIN’s late residence and to remove whatever house furniture might be there; met the defendant, Biddy M’LAUGHLIN, some distance from the ruins where the family had taken shelter and told her what he was about to do; she followed him to the shed and took up a spade, with which she struck him; he then wrested the spade from her and defendant seized a scythe hook, which he also wrested from her, when one of the family struck him with a stone in the hand and cut him; on this he made for a coal to set fire to the place, when defendant, Bridget, seized him hard and fast and pitched him out of the doorway.
Billy KELLY, the other plaintiff, gave similar evidence to M’LAUGHLIN
Mr. MACKLIN then opened the case for the defence in a lucid and forcible speech. He said he had competent witnesses to prove that one of the prosecutors, at least, had transgressed the bounds of his duty in a very brutal manner and that the defendant Biddy had been inhumanly treated. Two of these were eye-witnesses to the treatment the girl received; the third was the mother, who would depose to the state she found her daughter in on the evening in question. This poor woman had, on that day, been in Derry, marketing, and in the evening was on her way home, when she met the police conducting 2 of her children, prisoners to Buncrana. She was made a prisoner herself, on the spot, although absent all day from home, and without any magistrate’s warrant, was confined in bridewell. But this was a subject for another investigation and did not affect the present case.
Patrick M’LAUGHLIN, a very intelligent looking lad, stated he saw Billy KELLY lift a spade and throw it after defendant Mary so violently that if it had taken her, it would certainly have killed her; saw Dan M’LAUGHLIN coming out of the wallsteads and washing his head at a little brook; he was bleeding, but it ceased after washing; heard him on returning quickly to the wallsteads, swear he would have revenge; saw him after this return to the doorway leading defendant Biddy by the hand; she was bleeding frightfully; her face was all blood; it came streaming out of one wound, about the thickness of your finger; when Dan M’LAUGHLIN let go her hand she fell, to all appearance dead upon the ground and lay there; he was immediately beside her and thought her dead; on this both bailiffs walked off.
Nancy M’LAUGHLIN, the mother, sworn and examined. Had been in Derry on the day in question; was returning home, when she met the Buncrana police, having with them two of her children prisoners; they would not allow her to go the length of her daughter, but took her prisoner, brought her back to the town, and lodged herself and the children in bridewell.
Dr. WADDY, on the evening in question, found the girl lying on a pallet in the little shed; her head was altogether covered with blood and her lip was completely severed; she complained of several contusions on her head and sides, under which she winced on the touch; her neck exhibited the marks of fingers, as of person who had caught her violently; did not believe her life in danger; did not think it necessary to bleed her.
The case here closed and the magistrates gave judgment That James and Mary M’LAUGHLIN be dismissed and that Biddy M’LAUGHLIN, the girl who had been beaten, pay a fine of 10s. or be confined in jail for a fortnight.
We deeply regret to say that in the course of the week, four decided cases of Indian cholera occurred in one house in Derry, and another, in connection with them, in the town of Newtownlimavady.
On Tuesday se’nnight, a man of the name of QUIGG, who dealt in old clothes and belonged to Newtownlimavady, arrived in Derry by the steamer from Liverpool, and took up his abode in a lodging-house in Foyle-st., kept by Mrs. HARRIET. Without complaining much he retired to bed and nothing was heard of him till next forenoon, when groans proceeded from his room, and he was found writhing on the floor and labouring under all the symptoms of the fell disease. He received the best medical treatment, but aid came to him in vain. He died on Thursday morning. His wife arrived from Newtownlimavadv, and though fully warned, insisted on removing the body, which was then uncoffined, to her house at town. There she would have it waked, and, ”Pining the lid of the coffin, she kissed the lips of the dead man. On Saturday morning cholera seized her, and, in a few hours, she was no more.
Friday last Mrs. HARRIET fell herself indisposed, but not so much but she was able to look after her household affairs, and was prevailed on to attend the Flower Show held that day. In the evening, however, strong symptoms of cholera appeared on her; the disease baffled all the medical skill that could be applied to subdue it and Saturday morning she expired. Two maid servants, who were of her household, were also attacked and they were at once removed to the workhouse infirmary and, under medical treatment, we understand they are recovering.
We have heard of no other case in this city and are assured that no other, besides that of Mrs. QUIGG, has occurred in Newtownlimavady. (Coleraine Chronicle)
21 August 1849
The Tyrone Constitution regrets to state that during the last week, symptoms of a recurrence of the potato blight have greatly increased in this neighbourhlood. The leaves and stalks exhibit the same blackened appearance, accompanied, in many cases, with a foetid smell from the fields. As yet the roots seem to be untouched.
8 Sept. 1849
Evictions in Ulster
The territory of Farney in the county of Monaghan was for centuries a debateable land between the Irish of Ulster and the English of the Pale. The MacMAHONS were a stubborn race and fought long and bravely for the patrimony of their fathers. But time and the ceaseless border contests had thinned their ranks sorely and there were, but very few people left to resist the robbery when Elizabeth of England made the attainder of Shank O’NEILL a pretext for granting the entire county of Farney to Walter first Earl of Essex. The keen eye of the Earl had long before dwelt greedily on the rich acres and many military advantages of this important district and he never bated his solicitations at court until full powers for its possession and protection were accorded him. But he died before he had done more than take possession of his new fief, and the MacMAHONS, now by force and again as tenants held possession of it during the long minority and even to the death of his son, the splendid courtier, whose life and death alike deeply stain the memory of Elizabeth. As he died attainted of treason, his estates were escheated to the crown, but the attainder was reversed upon the accession of James I, and Farney again passed into the hands his son, upon whose death without issue the inheritance of his estates devolved upon his sister Frances, Marchioness of Hertford and his nephew Sir Robert SHIRLEY. It is by the right of direct descent from the latter that Mr. Evelyn SHIRLEY is now quietly reproducing in Farney by perfectly legal means the calamities which only protracted and desperate warfare could create there some centuries ago, and endeavouring as far as he can to render it once more waste and depopulate.
During the year 1846, 1847, and 1848, Mr. SHIRLEY practised extermination to an enormous extent, when we consider the small size of the entire district of which he only possesses one-half. The number of parties ejected from their holdings may have been something less than 300 per annum, averaging year with year. The Tenant right was, in some of these cases allowed, and in others, the parties ejected were furnished with the means of emigration. But this year ejectment is done on a wider, less decent, and more economical scale.
Mr. SHIRLEY has served on the relieving officers of his district, through his agent, notice his intention to execute 245 evictions, and the Guardians of Carrickmacross union are already making preparations for the accommodation of Mr. SHIRLEY’s 1225 paupers, this being the estimated number of human beings whom he is driving out to eat the bitter bread of public charity. While we are writing this perchance, even while it is being read, for this wholesale eviction is no one day’s work. Mr. SHIRLEY is turning out hordes of helpless men, women, and children on the wide world, and levelling with the earth the simple homes where their people dwelt and died.
This individual is of English birth and blood. He has not one Irish feeling, nor, it would seem, one generous sympathy in his heart. He only knows that he and his absentee progenitors have been for centuries accustomed to draw a certain annual rental necessary to their support in English luxury from Irish soil, and that for the last few years this rental has run a considerable risk of diminution. He is fully resolved to preserve this rental in its integrity. He has not reduced his rents, that under the calamities which have affiicted them his tenantry might have a chance of existence. He has been strict to the gale day, and where his debtor proved bankrupt claimed literally his “pound of flesh”.
He would probably never have inquired how his ancestors acquired the right to this same rental had not his son in account of Farney* published some years since, investigated the whole title and showed up (ingenuous youth!) the weary tissue of bloodshed and villainy, in which it is written that Farney became tbe prey of England, and tbe SHIRLEYS. If Evelyn Philip is ever tempted to continue the History of his father’s territory we will give him some hints towards its proper execution. He would, of course, include in the chapter on “Antiquities”, an account of the hundreds of levelled cabins whose shattered walls blacken mournfully all over the estate. He would undoubtedlv furnish a classified catalogue of the evictions, detailing the names and number in family, causes of eviction, (perverse politics, sickness, starvation, &c.), the subsequent fate of the parties, (gaol, workhouse, exile, grave), the number of consolidations and other improvements effected in the estate thereby. He will not fail to chronicle the murmuring among the tenants of the neighbouring well managed estates against the rates levied for the support of the SHIRLEY paupers, nor the grumblings on the same score among the struggling shopkeepers of Carrickmacross. He cannot forget to notice the fact, that after three hundred years of possession of Farney, his father has in the year 1849, made it the same wild waste that its first English possessor found it; nor may he omit to celebrate the grasping skill equal to that of his ancestor, the first Essex, and the savage truculence worthy of his kinsman, the murderer Ferrers, which have wrought in a Christian country and with the aid of human laws such inexpiable evil.
But we ourselves will save him much of this trouble. Mr. SHIRLEY is now on the pillory of the public, and most assuredly he shall not leave it until pelted with every fact connected with this accursed business. Each disclosure connected with the case, its extent, its occurrence in a tenant-right county, and on the estate of an English landlord, the total absence of all effort to render the terms of tenancy even tolerable, the stupid malignity which seems to have sat in projection over the entire undertaking; each new light, in fact, in which it is regarded renders it only the more necessary, that there should be at once, and on the spot, an accurate investigation of all the circumstances.
For that purpose one of the staff of the ‘Nation’ will during the ensuing week visit Farney and report upon the condition to which Mr. SHIRLEY has reduced his share of it. The brave men of Farney need not fear that the persecution to which they have been subjected will pass unexposed, even in those days of apathy, and the English exterminator shall learn that though he need not dread in Monaghan the “wild justice” of Tipperary, there are other laws, to which he is amenable.
* Some account of the territory or dominion of Farney, by Evelyn Philip Shirley, A.M., M.P., London 1845. This work is dedicated to Evelyn John Shirley, M.P., D.C.L. (father of the author who has done so much improve the district.)
Dublin Weekly Nation
11 Sept. 1849
Evictions- Their Process
It is hard to reconcile the principle of landlord paternity with the practice of such proprietors as the Lord of Farney. Mr Evelyn SHIRLEY is highly indignant with us because we refused him credit for having erected a fair mansion in which he considerately resides a few months in the year, thus blunting the edge of our accusation that Mr. SHIRLEY was “a steady absentee.” We see no reason whatever to witdraw the record. Surely, he cannot claim the distinction of a resident landlord, even though he has built a fine house and employed a great number of labourers on his portion of the million loan. If he gave employment to the extent he alleges, that still leaves the question, much in the same position in which it was. Many of the steadiest absentees have done the same, quite as much for their own, as their tenants profit; and we are not quite certain whether a migratory run to Monaghan for a few months in the year be productive of all that good for which Mr. SHIRLEY takes credit.
This we know, however, beyond the possibility of cavil, that Mr. SHIRLEY stands firmly by the “Farney evictions.” He is prepared, to justify them ‘a Voutrance’. The two hundred and sixty notices, then, were no weak invention of the “Radical” papers. Every one of them is an admitted fact, and the aggregate sweep of more than a thousand individuals from his Farney territory is vindicated by this considerate lord, of a thousand vassals. The reflecting member for West Sussex, more zealous than his host, volunteered a statement that all we asserted on the authority of the Carrickmacross Board of Guardians was “false.” Mr. BRUIN, or FREWIN, had no milder phrase to express his profound indignation. But if he had first communicated with Mr. SHIRLEY, instead of that hasty note from the coffee-room of the Bilton, he would have discovered, that the “falsehoods” were incontrovertible facts. Mr. SHIRLEY is our authority. The Mail, whose discipline in landlord defence is so perfect amid a crowd of irrelevancies, is compelled to admit the grand sweep of the Farney tenants. All, says Mr. SHIRLEY, were in arrears and for three and four years. How many? what portion of the whole? We would wish to have that question answered.
But admitting every one of the two- and- sixty odd heads of families to have been in the maximum arrear, instead of the minimum, is that a reason why Mr. SHIRLEY should be allowed to step in and appropriate the labour, capital and industry of many generations? What compensation was made to these poor men, or such of them as were occupiers of land for the unprotected outlay of many years? Oh yes! Emigration was offered them, one pound or so ‘per capita’ to bear them away forever from Farney in order that Mr. SHIRLEY may speculate, like Lord Lucan, in consolidated hamlets and far-reaching pastures! It is unnecessary to state that we are influenced by no feelings of hostility to Mr. SHIRLEY. We wish to fasten public attention on the destructive practice which he stands up to justify. For the first time since the great confiscations, which gave Mr. Evelyn SHIRLEY’S ancestors livery and seizure of this wide territory of Farney, has Ulster been visited with such comprehensive ruin by a single proprietor. It is this isolation that renders the act so remarkable, and fixes popular attention. There have been “sweeps” in the north before this, but none ever brushed away such a mass of helpless misery, as the lord of Farney. The example is contagious and unless a powerful check be interposed at present by public feeling and hereafter by legislation, other northern landlords might walk in the beneficent footsteps of Mr. John Evelyn SHIRLEY. (Freeman’s Journal)
14 Sept. 1849 (extracts from) The 2nd annual report of the Commissioners for Administering the Laws for the relief of the poor in Ireland
Think of the position of a country of about 8,000,000 inhabitants, with 950,196 of them sustained by rates expensively levied off the property and industry of the rest. Yet this was the number in receipt of workhouse and outdoor relief on the 30th Jun.1849; the date to which the commissioners have brought down their report. To any one who knows Ireland it is unnecessary to suggest the huge number of persons that are as poor as those in actual receipt of charity from the guardians of their unions, but who eke out a miserable subsistence by begging, by vending small wares, by the wretched wages of occasional employment, and, finally, by thievery. The gaols throughout Ireland are little better than auxiliary poor-houses, hundreds of unfortunate creatures having sought them as asylums preferable to the work houses.
The returns of the number of inmates in the Irish work-houses commence on the 15th Apr. 1848 and end 30th Jun. 1849. From these we learn that on the first-named day there were 126,051 persons in these buildings, sustained at an average weekly cost of 1s. 6¾d. each. Of able-bodied men, there were 11,172, and women of the same class, 25,112; children under 15 years of age, 51,406; sick in the hospitals, 21,585, &c. The deaths in the week were 1,295, or 10 one-third to the 1,000. As the season advanced the proportion of deaths decreased, but not so the amount of pauperism, for on the 29th July 1848, the number of paupers in the workhouse was 127,264, while the proportion of deaths was 3⅛ in the 1,000.
During the months of August and September there was a slight falling off in the number in the workhouses, but the following couple of months again saw them packed to over flowing. From the 1st Oct. 1848, to the 16th Jun. 1849, there was a steady increase in the number of paupers – each week showing an addition to that which preceded it. On that day the total numbers was 227,329; the deaths being 8⅛ in the 1,000. The following week there were 4,000 less; and the week ending 30th June there was a still greater reduction on that number, of 12,552; the gross being 214,867. We are told that, from the last day to which these returns weremade up to the present, there has been a steady daily diminution in the number of poor in the workhouses.
On the 15th Apr, 1848, there were on the outdoor relief lists 675,114 persons, whose weekly support cost £17,221 0s. 5d. On the 22nd Jul. following, the numbers amounted to 825,234, their weekly support being £21,870 13s. 6d. As the autumn advanced, the lists were reduced until the 7th October, when the numbers were only 199,603, whose weekly support amounted to £5,925 4s. 2d. But thenceforward the same rate of increase observable in the workhouse took place out of doors. On the 30th Jun. 1849, the numbers receiving outdoor relief was 768,902, at a weekly cost of £21,253 0s. 7d.
There was a progressive increase of the numbers relieved in the workhouses to the 24th Jun. 1848 and of the numbers on the outdoor relief lists to the 1st July and that after the last of those dates, the numbers both of outdoor and indoor poor rapidly declined until the end of September. In the last annual report, it was stated, that 176 inquests, in which the verdicts “alleged death through want” were reported by the constabulary to have been held from the 30th Sept.1847, to the 22nd Apr. 1848, inclusive. From the later date to the 29th Sept. 1848, the number of such reports was 72.
Comparing the cost of food given in out-door relief with the number relieved, and with the contract prices, it appears that the quantity given to each individual was, on an average of all classes, rather less than 1lb of Indian meal per day, and the cost about 6½ per week, adult persons receiving at least 1lb and when working a larger allowance, but not exceeding 1¾lb. At the rate of 1lb per day, a sum of £1 would furnish food, the chief necessary of life, for a space of 34 weeks. We believe that the food furnished at this low cost to the destitute poor of the distressed unions in the summer of 1848 was at that season an effectual relief to a large mass of the population who received it; and we regard as strong confirmations of that belief the decline of the rate of mortality in the workhouses, and the decrease in the number of reported inquests already adverted to.
At the season of the year referred to, the weather is more favourable to those who, in addition to want of food, are unprovided for or ill-provided with shelter, fuel, and clothing; and epidemic disease is, partly perhaps, through the same causes, less frequent and less severe in its visitations. The great want, therefore, at this season of the year is the want of food; and making due allowances for such abuses as may have prevailed in the dispensation of relief to large numbers of claimants, there is just reason to think that the large issues of Indian meal and other food, which were sustained during so considerable a part of the years 1847 and 1848, were the cause of an immense saving of human life, while the more effectual relief afforded in the workhouses to 130,000 inmates daily was the means of rescuing many from the effects of long privation, followed by disease, which, but for the relief afforded in the workhouses, would probably have been fatal. we have had the satisfaction of finding that at no one point of time during the whole year 1847-8 more than 63,000 able-bodied males were engaged on the relief works under the poor-law throughout the whole of Ireland.
We have to report with satisfaction the steady progress of the emigration of orphan girls from the Irish workhouses to the Australian colonies, which we undertook in pursuance of your Excellency’s command, and which we first commenced in the spring of 1848. Since that time the number of those emigrants shipped from Plymouth for Sydney and Adelaide has been 2,219, at a cost to the unions of about £5 per head for outfit and conveyance to Plymouth, the remaining cost being defrayed from the colonial funds.
the Disastrous Year 1848
“At the close of July, and at the beginning of August, the usual appearance of blight in the potato crop was reported from many parts of the country; and although the blight was by no means so general as in1846, it proved far worse than that of 1847, and there is no doubt that a large proportion of the crop relied on for food in this country was again destroyed. The price of sound potatoes had risen to 8d. per stone of 14 lbs. so early as October, at which price the ordinary wages of unskilled labour, where any wages for it can be obtained, would not enable an average family to live on this description of food. It was very soon apparent, therefore, that another and severer season of distress must be expected.
About the end of October the out-relief lists, which had been reduced from more than 830,000 in July, to less than 200,000 on the 1st October, again began to increase; and early in November, workhouse showed a very large accession of inmates, with an increased rate of mortality By the 30th Dec., the number of out relief was nearly 400,000 and at the same date the number in the workhouses was nearly 200,000, with a rate of mortality of nearly 6½ per 1,000 weekly.
The earlier months of the year 1849 were marked by a great degree of suffering on the part of the population of the western and south western districts than any period since the fatal season of 1846-7. Exhaustion of resources, by the long continuance of adverse circumstances, caused a large accession to the ranks of the destitute. Clothing had been worn out or parted with to provide food, or seed in seed time; and the loss of cabins and small holdings of land, either by eviction or voluntary abandonment, rendered many thousands of families shelterless, and destitute of fuel as well as food; These circumstances, combined with the inclement weather which prevailed in the beginning of the spring, were not so effectually met by the system of outdoor relief to the able bodied as we earnestly desired they should be. In unions where the workhouses were full houseless persons receiving outdoor relief were compelled to part with a portion of their food for lodging. The cabins of the country became crowded with ill-fed ill-clothed, sickly people; and epidemic disease, whether originally induced by these or other causes, found large numbers predisposed to receive it, and to sink under its attacks. Thus a great proportion of those who died in the workhouses at this period were found to have suffered from fever and dysentery – the victims consisting chiefly of inmates recently admitted, and who had entered the workhouse after sufrering extreme privations, or in an advanced stage of disease. (Belfast Newsletter)
18 Sept. 1849
Act for the protection and Relief of the Destitute poor evicted from their dwellings” has been printed, in conformity with an order of the House of Commons. The following is a summary of this return;
Ulster Province Counties; their population in 1841, and the total number of persons evicted.
Antrim, 60,875 – 202 evicted
Armagh, 232,393 – 475 “
Cavan, 243,158 – 301 “
Donegal, 296,448 – 372 “
Down, 361,446; persons evicted 176 “
Fermanagh,156,481 – 103 “
Londonderry, 222,174 – 236 “
Monaghan, 200,442 – 156 “
Tyrone, 312,956 – 263 “
total population in 1841 in Ulster 2,386,373 and total of those evicted 2,284.
Leinster was the least of the 4 provinces and had a total population in 1841 of 1,973,731 and the number evicted 1,955. Highest was the Province of Muster with a total population in 1841 of 2,396,161 and those evicted 6,077)
We select the following as some of the more extensive cases of eviction as given in this return;
– ln the union of Armagh, 30 persons evicted at the suit of W. M’Geoagh BOND Esq.
– In the union of Ballymena (County Antrim), 40 by the agent to Lord O’NEILL
– In the union of Ballyshannon (Donegal), 40 by the agent of Col. CONOLLY
– In the union of Banbridge (County Down) 26 by the agent to the Marquess of Downshire; 43 by the agent to Count de SALIS
– In the union of Castleblaney (Armahh) 55 by J. M’WATTY Esq., for Walter M’Geoagh BOND Esq., and 21 by the same gentleman for T. P. BALL Esq.
– In the union of Cavan, 60 by the agent to Robert HUTTON Esq.
– In the union of Donegal 60 by the trustee of H.G. S. MURRAY Esq.
– In the union of Glenties (Donegal), 39 by T. WILSON Esq., agent to Lord CROFTON
– In the union of Magherafelt (Londonderry) 55 by R. SPOTSWOOD Esq., agent to the Marquess of Londonderry and Sir R. BATESON; 27 by the agent to G. A. HUTCHINSON Esq., and 27 by the agent to the Drapers Company.
– In the union of Strabane (Tyrone), 28 by the agent to the Marquess of Abercorn; 24 by the owner, Isabella MATHEWSON.
17 Sept. 1849
Since the issue of our monthly report the progress of the potato blight has been rapid, beyond that of any year since 1846. The growth of the crop may be now said to be over, but that would be of comparatively little consequence, as they are in most places pretty well grown; but the disease has set in so fast on the roots, that we fear the worst consequences may be expected. During the past week we had the close night and morning fogs, which have always been the precursor of this sad calamity. However, the weather has changed since Monday, and copious rains on Monday night and Tuesday morning may, perhaps, somewhat check the destruction which now threatens the entire crop. Derry Journal
17 Sept. 1849
The Potato Failure
We regret to say that the evidences of extensive blight of the potato crop have been more marked and serious, within the last few days. If immediate precaution be not generally adopted, we fear that a considerable portion of the crop will become wholly unfit for food. The disease is now generally believed to be generated from atmospheric causes, and we would recommend the farmers dig the potatoes, which seem to have arrived at maturity, without delay.
17 Sept. 1849
the Potato crop
There have been more symptoms of disease during the last week in this neighbourhood, than for the fortnight previous. This may be accounted for the very wet weather we have had. Still, we do not apprehend any very serious loss of the crop, which is most abundant. Monaghan Standard
29 Sept. 1849 The Potato Crop
We observed last week that the accounts from the provinces were daily bringing worse accounts of the gradual extension of the disease over the potato crop, that from the same districts the tone of the intelligence had changed within the week, from hopefulness, to alarm for the safety of the whole crop. The same progressive characteristic of bad news is perceptible since throughout the present week.
From the north we are informed by the Northern Standard – the disease is doubtless progressing principally in heavy lands and every place where water lies. It is difficult to make any calculation at present, but upon an average, we would say about two per cent, is already lost. What more may go it is impossible to say, though in some instances, whole fields do not exhibit a diseased root.
Our (Anglo Celt) correspondents in different parts say the disease is rapidly progressing in this crop. One gentleman near Londonderry says – If the disease continue to advance for the next few weeks, as it has done for the last two, we may expect another ’46.
In the neighbourhood of Cavan, the crop is much injured, but not extensively as it appears to be in other localities.
We (Newry Examiner) lament to state that our accounts of the potato crop continue unfavourable.
There are some more varying reports. Thus the Armagh Chronicle states the potato disease still extends, but the fine weather has checked the rapidity which characterised its progress during the past. It is still hoped that nothing like the destruction of last year’s potato crop will be experienced this year.
The Ballyshannon Herald remarks – We occasionally hear complaints of disease having appeared in potatoes in some districts, but the consequent failure is very limited. We have not heard of the complete destruction of any one crop in an entire field in any part of this, or the neighbouring counties. A few unsound potatoes here and there are the only proofs of disease.
The Vindicator (Belfast) observes – The reports which have reached us of the potato crop during the last few days are of the most discouraging nature. The disease has attacked, in its most virulent shape, the late crop. The only chance that now remains is centered in the early sowing, which had attained maturity, before the disease made its appearance. (Dublin Weekly Nation)
6 Oct. 1849
The accounts received during the week continue like those of the 2 previous weeks, to represent the potato disease as increasing, though they vary very much to its actual extent. The Northern Whig says “the potatoes are bad everywhere.” remain stationary.” The Armagh Guardian of the 29th – We regret to observe that the potato disease has been rather on the increase, but not to any alarming extent as of yet, or so exceedingly fatal as it had been for the last two years.
A correspondent of the Examiner says, notwithstanding the very sanguine hopes generally entertained that the potato crop would, for this season at least, have continued unaffected the mysterious operation of nature, which has been so detrimental to it for several years past. I regret to have to inform you that there is no possible ground for indulging in the expectation. On Monday the 10th, I possessed a field of potatoes as promising and sound as could be wished for. On the following day I was absent from home. Wednesday morning, to my great astonishment, I observed what had been a verdant and healthful field of potatoes when I had last viewed it, universally blacker than the ink with which I write.
The Ballyshannon Herald says – “ The disease in the potato is unmistakeable, but certainly not to the extent generally believed – we do not think there is, on an average, more than a peck in a barrel diseased and even those, if the rot dues not progress, will not be entirely useless, as they are quite sound enough for pig feeding. We not think that out of a rood of ground which produced ten barrels of potatoes, there were nine stone completely rotten. In many fields the crop is as fine as could be wished for. The diseased potatoes are selling in our market at 1d. per stone – sound ones from 2d. to 4d.
The potato crop in the county of Cavan is seriously damaged, and the disease is rapidly progressing. From what we have seen during the week we roughly estimate the loss the entire crop will sustain at one-third, if not more. Wheat is injured by the smut in many places.
(Dublin Weekly Nation)
6 Oct. 1849 The land Question – the Prospects and Duties of Farmers
Well, the Queen’s visit is now an historic fact, and right loyally and enthusiastically she was received. We rejoice that her Majesty has thus honoured Ireland and in a manner that became the Sovereign of Britain; but, alas, the prophecies of the ‘Times’ have proved but a shadow or a dream and what demonstrates the blindness or vanity of the London “seer” is, that Ireland’s wounds have bled too profusely and too long, to be “bound up and modified” by the unguents of state quackery. The evils that oppress her, socially and politically, are too old and inveterate too deeply seated in the social fabric – to be checked by baby-powders and charmed away by the strategy of pantomime. Famine is again rife in the south and west and multitudes pining away in nakedness, hunger and disease, are descending into a premature grave. The potato blight, in all the malignity of its early manifestation, has returned and who can forecast the consequences of this tremendous visitation.
It is not too much to say that, by that stroke alone, the poor man’s earthly hope, the support of the tenant and the rent of the landlord, from small holders at least, have been swept away. Tenant industry languishes, for it has no reasonable encouragement and no legal protection from the grasp of greedy oppression and the farmer, bereft of independence and competence, feels that his class, in many cases, have neither title nor tenure, except to be worked, taxed and teased at the sovereign will and pleasure of his lord and master. They see a a colossal pauperism rising up around them, standing side by side with a land-aristocracy, almost as dependent as its fellow and both to be supported by the earnings of a common ‘industry’ and when their scanty means are continuously exhausted by the poor law taxation, county rates, and landlord’s dues, the only alternative, and it is a hard one which is left them, is eviction and the poorhouse, or emigration if they can. Hence, while there are thousands of acres of “waste lands” inviting the hand of the husbandman in his own land, the work of eviction goes on and a tide of emigration has swept and almost left desolate villages and districts, carrying to the shores of America, our enterprise, strength, and youth – which starved and pined at home – like the birds moved by instinct, taking flight from northern inhospitable regions and seeking a home in some more congenial clime.
In Ulster, too, the crisis has come and many of the farmers, depressed by a series of adversities, are now on the verge of bankruptcy and utter ruin. The failure of the potato crop, which they had grown so largely, free trade, and the consequent low prices of corn, wheat and other articles of farm produce, increasing poor rates and exorbitant rents, have embarrassed and overwhelmed them in inextricable difficulties. These potent influences have “changed everything but the law, the landlord, and the land taxes”, which last have been growing in magnitude and weight, till, like the last straw on the camel, they have broken the back of “the beast of burden.” It is true, our Ulster farmers have not had recourse to deeds of violence, or to the evasion or resistance of law, as have their southern neighbours, in similar difficulties; no, they have borne their hardships with unexampled patience, kid breasted the adverse waves with inimitable courage and constancy. They have, in many instances, permitted the cottiers under them to occupy their cabins without rent for years, when it would have been their interest to have ejected them, thus affording a practical reproof to those large proprietors who visited, with eviction and heartless severity, those tenants, who, in spite of their best exertions, had fallen into arrears. And what reward or encouragement have these men received? Did the government give them justice? – a legal title to their own improvements and tenant-right property, and protection from the rod of oppression and covetousness. Did the landlords, as a class, compassionate them in their altered fortunes? And, imitating the wisdom of the ” unjust steward,” who forgave his lord’s debtors fifty and twenty per cent, of the amount of oil and wheat they owed and have they said to their tenantry, “We reduce your rents a half, a third, or a fourth (as the case may be) to enable you and your families to live.” There have been noble exceptions, but the majority, noble in birth and title, but with little nobility besides – have exhibited neither the wisdom nor the mercy commended in the parable; nor has the boasted Establishment proved the poor man’s friend, or pleaded the claims of the farmer and the cause of right against might, “mercy and not sacrifice”. The ally and the dependent on Irish landlordism, she has seldom lifted her voice in remonstrance and admonition to the noble proprietors within her pale teaching them to “do justice, love mercy,” and “hide not themselves from their own flesh.” Her “liturgy” and “collects” seldom speak in this strain, “Cursed be he that removeth his neighbour’s land-mark, and all the people shall say, “Amen.”
But while British justice is tardy, and landlord clemency tardier, Ireland is sinking, degraded, poverty-stricken, bankrupt in means and character, below the level even of Spain or Sicily. Yet, in the face of all this misery and degradation, with nearly a million paupers, the farmers all but beggared, and the policy of rack-rents, evictions, and consequent crime going on in full force, our rulers and statesmen speak with wonderful self-complacency of “our glorious institutions,” and the “protection” of the constitution and the laws, with a degree of infatuation far beyond that of the careworn sailor who sings, himself asleep in a leaky ship, with the “breakers ahead.” Still, our friends, the farmers, must not despair. Let them gravely ask their masters what they mean. Let them meet in each townland for mutual conference, and, as brethren in adversity, compare their grievances, and devise righteous measures of redress, Let them, without respect to agents and underlings, wait on their landlords personally, by deputation and petition, for a reduction of rent suitable to their changed condition and such as their grandfathers paid; Let them tell parliament the tale of their wrongs and sufferings and their reasonable demands will ultimately be conceded; but if not, they will, at least, have the satisfaction of having done their duty to themselves, their families and their country.
In Cavan, the Anglo Celt informs us, that Mr. NESBITT, of Castleraghan, who in the spring gave his tenants “seed, oats, and other grain, gratis”, had a few days ago made an abatement of 15 per cent. although the holdings were let at a moderate rent before, considering what is exacted on other estates in this county.
A Precocious Thief
A very young lad, named Daniel GRIBBEN came before the Bench at our police Court onSaturday, charged by a respectable looking woman named Letitia KIRKPATRICK, dealer, with a daring robbery. It appeared that, in company with some other young criminals, the prisoner entered her shop, and under pretence of making some purchase, thrust his hand into the drawer whence he abstracted a quantity of coppers. The case was extremely clear and the prisoner who, notwithstanding his youth, is well known to the police, had nothing to offer in his defence. He was sentenced to 3 months imprisonment and to be well whipped 3 times. It appears that this is his 6th conviction during the year for different petty offences. He is in appearance, as unmistakeable a specimen of the “flash” genus, as could bo well imagined, with a countenance in which cunning and daring are equally stamped. The prosecutrix mentioned a number of the expressions which she had occasionally heard used among the company with which she had habitually observed the prisoner. One of them is worth of mention. Passing before the shop on one occasion, he was accosted by a comrade, “Where have you been?’’ replied the prisoner, pointing to witnesses’ goods, “I’ve just been taking this gentleman’s stock”, meaning that he had laid his eye upon the articles most easily removed. It is to be hoped that the whipping system will be attended with salutary effects, in such cases as this, where the dread of mere imprisonment has proved so utterly ineffectual.
The Rev. Mr. DORAN of Loughbrickland, has purchasod 20,000 acres, at two dollars an acre, in the State of New York, Catewragus <sic> county, (USA) for the purpose of colonising it.
Reduction of Rents at Castleblaney – A correspondent informs us that Hamilton and Andrew M’MATH Esqrs., in addition to supplies of turnip seed, flaxseed, and other encouragements, given to their tenantry, near Castleblayney, have made a reduction of 20 percent upon their rents, although the latter had been considerably lower than Mr. Griffith’s valuation.
Evictions in Ulster
The Newry Telegraph says that 15 families were, on Thursday last, evicted in Milltown and the townlands in the immediate vicinity of Lough Neagh. The evicted parties were very poor, and utterly unable to pay rent or till the land which they held.
An Extraordinary Turnip
A turnip, grown on the farm of J. CROMIE Esq., Cromore, has been left at our office by his land steward, Mr. YOUNG, the singular growth which has astonished all who have seen it. It is a perfect representation of the human hand. The fingers are well represented by five roots, both in shape and size. Nails are also represented, but not so perfectly are the other parts of the hand. It is the most wonderful ‘nitendus naturoe’ of the vegetable world we have ever seen, and is worthy of a place in the British Museum. Coleraine Chronicle & Banner of Ulster
29 Nov. 1849
Reduction of Rents
John BIRNEY Esq. of Lisburn, County Down has granted 25 percent, of a reduction in the rents of his properties, in the parish of Clogher and County Tyrone, for the present year. This is not the first instance of considerate liberality towards his tenants on the part of this gentlemen. In the year 1846 he forgave all arrears to his tenantry. He also gives them all kinds of seeds every year and pays all poor rates.
Sir William VERNER Bart., on the repesentation of his agent, James CROSSLE Esq. he directed that a general reduction of 20 percent, should made in his rents, and that considerable allowances should be given to those who had suffered from the loss of cattle. Mr. CROSSLE with that benevolent liberality which has rendered his name justly popular in Tyrone, has himself given a sum of £100, to be added to the sums allowed by the landlord and distributed amongst the more distressed tenants on the estate.
Messrs. John and Wm. TREDENNICK of Camlin, in the County Donegal, have reduced the rents of their property in the parish of Cappagh, near Omagh, at a rate of 3s. 6d. in the pound. In the year 1846. the most frightful of the potato blight, they reduced their rents on the same property 6s. on the pound; in the year 1847 they made a reduction of 2s; and they have followed up this humane course by the above reduction for the present year. The tenantry on the Messrs. TREDENNICK property are lease holders, which renders the liberality of the landlords still more praiseworthy.
Conway R. DOBBS Esq., Carrickfergus Castle, we understand has made a reduction of 35 per cent, to the tenantry on his Ballynure estate, of their rents for the current year.
John S. MOORE Esq. of Shannongrove, has made a reduction of rents on his property, in the townlands of Dunaven, Derryogue, Maughramurphy, and Bucknagh in County Down, from 10 to 15 shillings per acre, according to the quality of the land.
The Rev. J. C. GORDON, Dellamount, has reduced the rents to his tenantry Drumalig from 10 to 25 percent. The Rev. gentleman also granted three barrels of lime to the acre at May last.
29 Nov. 1849
Grand Banquet to the Potato
That highly respected vegetable, the potato, being now, it is hoped, thoroughly re-established in health, it was determined, by a few leading members of the vegetable kingdom, to offer a banquet to the worthy and convalescent root on his happy recovery. The arrangements for the dinner were on a scale of great liberality and the guests included all the principal vegetables. The invitations had been carried out by an efficient corps of scarlet runners and the onion occupied the chair.
He was supported on his right by the head of the asparagus family, while salad occupied a bowl at the other end of the table, and was dressed in his usual manner.
The potato, though just out of his bed, was looking remarkably well, and wore his jacket, there being nothing to mark his recent illness, except perhaps a little apparent blackness round one of his eyes. After the cloth had been removed.
The onion got up to propose as a toast, “the potato, their much respected guest.” (Immense cheering.) He, the onion, had known the potato from infancy and, though they had not always been associated in life, they had frequently met at the same table. They had sometimes braved together the same broils, and had found tbemselves often together in such a stew, (he alluded to the Irish stew,) had brought them, for the time being, into an alliance of the very closest kind. He, the onion, was delighted to see the potato once more restored to his place in society, for he, the onion, could say, without flattery, that society had endeavored to supply the place of the potato in vain. (Hear, hear.) They had heard of rice having been suggested to take the place of his honourable friend, but the suggestion was really ridiculous. ‘risum, teactis, —nica’ (?) was all that he, the onion, had to say to that. (Loud laughter, in which all but the melon joined.)
He, the onion, would detain them no longer, but would conclude by proposing ”health, long life and prosperity to the potato.”
The toast was received with enthusiasm by all, but the cucumber, whose coolness seemed to excite much disgust among his brother vegetables. The onion had, in fact, affected many of those present to tears; and the celery, who sat next to the horseradish, hung down his head in an agony of sensibility. When the cheering had partially subsided, the potato rose, but that was only the signal for renewed enthusiasm; and it was some minutes before silence was restored. At length the potato proceeded nearly as follows;
“Friends and fellow vegetables. lt is with difficulty I express the feeling with which I have come here today. Having suffered for the last three or four years from grievous disease, which seemed to threaten me with total dissolution, it is with sincere affection I find myself once more among you, in the vigour of health. (Cheers.) I should be insensible to kindness were I to forget the anxious inquiries that have been made as to the state of my health by those who have held me in esteem, and sometimes in steam. (A laugh, in which all but the melon joined.) I cannot boast a long line of ancestors. I did not, like some of you, come in with the Conqueror, but I came in the train of civilization, amidst the memorable luggage of Sir Walter Raleigh, in company with my right hon. friend the tobacco, who is not now present, but who often helps the philosopher to take a bird’s eye view of some of the finest subjects for reflection. (Immense cheering, and a nod of assent from the turnip top.) Though I may be a foreigner, I may justly say that I have taken root in the soil, and though I may not have the grace of the cucumber, who seems to have some here in no enviable frame, (loud cheers) I believe I have done as much good as any living vegetable, for, though almost always at the rich mans table, I am seldom absent from the poor man’s humble board. (Tremendous applause.) But (continued the potato) let me not get flowery or mealy, mouthed, for there is something objectionable in each extreme. I have undergone many vicissitudes in the course of my existence. I have been served up. ay, and served out (a smile) in all sorts of ways. I have been roasted by some; I have been basted by others; and I have had my jacket rudely torn off back by many, who knew not the treatment I deserved. But this meeting, friends, repays me for all. Excuse me if my eyes are watery. (Sensation.) l am not very thin skinned; but I feel deeply penetrated by our kindness this day.’ The potato resumed his seat, amid the most tumultuous cheering, which lasted for a considerable time. (Punch Londonderry Standard)
12 Dec. 1849
A pamphlet written by a workhouse Officer of the Cavan Union announces that Two thousand, two hundred, nine, human beings died within the walls of the poor-house in 2 years, ending 29th Sept. last (Limerick and Clare Examiner)