Monthly Archives: October 1847


WE would call the earnest attention of all classes in the community to the details of the subjoined letter, which has been sent to us for insertion by a well-known correspondent, in whose truth and accuracy we place the fullest reliance. The letter gives a plain and simple narrative of an act of extermination– by which 53 heads of families, comprising 269 souls, were cast forth from their holdings, and flung as an additional burden on the fearfully-taxed industry of the country. We look upon all comment as superfluous, as such facts are a thousand times more convincing in their eloquence than any words we could use, and impress on the mind of every man who reads them the paramount necessity which there exists for effecting a radical change in the present laws governing the tenure of land in Ireland.

What language could convey even the remotest idea of the misery of the 269 wretches who have been thus deprived of all means of supporting existence by their industry, and banished from the humble homes endeared to them by associations of the strongest and most holy? — Their only hope of keeping body and soul together is in the workhouse relief, which they are now legally qualified– by utter destitution– to receive. Had these people Tenant Right, they could sell the possession of the land to a solvent tenant, together with the improvements they had made, and thus not only pay the landlord his arrears of rent, but preserve themselves from beggary. . .


SIR,– We are only at the termination of a frightful famine, and to all appearances at the commencement of a worse one. Good God, are we again to witness the dreadful scenes that have only just passed over us, are we again to behold our poor fellow-creatures moving like mere shadows through the streets, falling on the high roads from hunger and starvation, and dropping down at our very doors? Are our exemplary clergymen and liberal gentlemen to place their lives in jeopardy as they have heretofore done, in visiting the sick cabin of the poor man, extending with their own hands relief, and endeavouring to afford consolation before the soul had taken its departures from the entirely starved and emaciated frame?

I just now want to draw public attention to a disgraceful practice that was carried on during the period of awful distress, when nothing should sway people from relieving the destitute, the practice of proselytizing, a new accompaniment of famine. The duties that devolved on the priest were indeed laborious, inasmuch as they had to combat against famine, disease, and death, on the one hand, and on the other, against those proselytizers, (justly termed soul-jobbers).

In every locality where this nefarious system worked, the proselytizing school consisted of about a dozen of the poorest children of the place, a Bible master or mistress was procured to diffuse knowledge to hungry stomachs. The pottage pot was superintended and conducted by the female proselytizer, and its salubrious contents distributed every day after five or six hours of lecturing, charitable donations were lavished in purchasing up bibles, paying the master or mistress so much per week, and as a matter of course, adding a little to their own private funds.

Is it not melancholy to know that all this was in operation when famine and disease desolated the land. Now another year’s famine is impending; and I ask what will be done with those two traffickers, the proselytizer and the corn merchant? I can tell you they are ripe for another opportunity, and that will very shortly be at hand. In the mean time public opinion ought to be brought to bear on them. Their very names should be set forth on the wings of the press as individuals base and degraded, to an extent, unmatched in any other country calling itself civilized.

–I am, your’s &c.

Macroom, October 18th, 1847.         A. D. F.


SIR– I was greatly surprised to find that the committals to our city prisons were so numerous, and that the crimes attributed to the parties were, for street begging. –We are bound by the present law to give out-door relief when the workhouse is full– not before– but surely it ought to be taken into consideration the difference in charge between the gaol and the workhouse. All persons committed for street begging to gaol, must be fed on gaol allowance– at the exclusive charge of the over-taxed citizens of Cork, while those sent to the workhouse would have the cost charged half to the landlord and half to the ratepayer; and again, the cost per head, would be much less in the workhouse to what is paid for gaol allowance.

If beggars are to be imprisoned let them be sent to the workhouse, not sent to gaol, where the allowance given acts as a premium rather than a punishment. Our Magistrates should look to this, and not add to our present taxation, which many will shortly be unable to pay.

Your obedient servant,



PORTSMOUTH, OCT 15.– Several of the store ships and steam vessels employed last winter and spring on the coasts of Ireland and Scotland in the distribution of meal and other descriptions of provisions, brought a considerable quantity back to the government stores, it not having been purchased. An order has been issued for the authorities at the Clarence-yard to take up about one thousand two hundred tons of shipping to convey meal and biscuit to Galway and other parts of Ireland, to be placed in depots, should the boards of guardians of the different district poorhouses require supply. The vessels will be loaded, and sent over in the ensuing week. The stores at the Clarence-yard are filled with Indian meal, &c.


In Mayo and some other parts of the western province there appears to be a regular scramble for the crops between the chief landlords (who are generally weighed down by embarrassments), the middlemen, and the farmers– large and small. In all directions keepers are watching the crops, to prevent their removal; and the peasantry, upon the other hand, are exerting their ingenuity to make away with the produce, whilst the collectors of the poor-rate find it almost impossible to obtain anything for the support of the destitute.

The result of all this contention is, that little, either of rents or rates, is paid. I know of one instance where an agent– himself a man of station and property– has determined to abandon the agency of an estate in Mayo, the rental of which is £10,000 per annum, on account of the impossibility of collecting rents from the multitude of small occupiers. Of this extensive estate some thousands of acres are held by persons in the rank of gentry, who pay a very small acreable rent, and who, in ordinary years, have derived large incomes from the sub-tenants. Those parties are paying their rents pretty well, because, if arrears were allowed to accumulate, the sort of estate they possess would be lost by ejectment.

In some parts of Leinster the opposition to rents is quite as formidable as in Mayo, with this difference, that the Leinster farmers are generally able to pay, only that they are prevented by an organised system of resistance. Up to this time this vicious confederacy has not extended much beyond the districts of the King’s county, bordering upon Tipperary. –Morning Chronicle correspondent.


Kanturk, Oct. 13, 1847
DEAR SIR– There was an awful meeting of the poor population of the neighbourhood, at the poor-house, this day. It being board day, there were a good number of the Guardians met. The hungry creatures became so clamourous for food, that the soldiers were obliged to be sent for. One of these poor fellows touched, either by intention or otherwise, one of the ex-officios; he was immediately put into irons.

There were 400 admitted this day. There was also a large concern taken, that would accommodate 300 more. In addition to this, the consumption for out-door relief for the week will be over 40 tons of meal. This will give an idea of our situation in Duhallow. We are entering on a season of the most fearful foreboding; the poor without clothes, food, or shelter– no friend scarcely to feel for them except the kind-hearted landlord, who orders them off his lands, and out of his sight, that he might not see nor hear from them.

I forgot to tell you that a deputation from the Board of Guardians waited on the Commissioners, and on the Lord Lieutenant, to know if anything would be done in the way of assisting them, either by a loan or in the shape of employment. The answer from both was the same, although at separate interviews, and that was, to go home, to pay the poor-rates and to collect their rents, and pay every fraction of the loan received from the government. I leave you to judge, Mr. Editor, whether they needed the advice about the rents.



Boherbee, 5th Oct., 1847
SIR– A novel circumstance took place here yesterday, the true particulars of which, I beg leave to send you, as concisely as I possibly can, leaving others to comment as they like.

About ten o’clock a party of the military from Kanturk marched up to the Ration-house in this village, accompanied by the Relieving Officer of the district. On their arrival, the Officer in command of the party sent word to the Police station; Constable McEnnery and his men were immediately on the spot; a horse and cart stood at the door of the Ration-house, all for the purpose of conveying a few sacks of the relief meal, which remained there since the preceding Saturday, back into Kanturk.

Upon the door being opened, as if seized with phrenzy and wishing to put themselves in the way of the bayonet or the bullet, in order to avoid death by famine, a few men rushed in, possessed themselves of the house, nor suffered a man to enter, until the Police, after the lapse of some hours, and making many bold sallies in vain, abandoned the siege. The soldiers marched off, but not without receiving loud and continued cheers from the famine-stricken multitude for their good conduct on the occasion; after which the meal was delivered up to the relieving officer for distribution.

This strange proceeding was occasioned by a slight interruption to the relieving officer in the discharge of his duty on Saturday last. It appearing to some persons that he was acting with partiality, some wild fellows made a rush and took out two or three sacks of the meal which were immediately rescued by the men of Boherbee and its vicinity, and returned to the relieving officer, who continued dealing it out uninterruptedly until evening, when he slipped slyly away, leaving many starving creatures with nothing but hunger for supper, and leaving the meal in question in the ration-house, where it lay unmolested, though unguarded, until Monday. I have only to say that dangerous was the proceeding and entirely strange at Boherbee, and that it speaks trumpet-tongued for the efficiency of relieving officers.

I have the honour to be, Sir, your devoted servant,



FRIDAY MORNING, OCT. 1ST.– As a pendant to the Clonakilty case of Landlordism which appeared in your last publication, I pray you will give insertion to the following distressing case which I heard this morning. –These outrages on humanity and right should be exposed to public view, that opinion may raise its potent voice and put the perpetrators down.

Joe Bennett, his wife and seven children, are lying in fever at the hospital in Curriglass, within a mile of Tallow, one lame child is left the sole occupant of his desolate cottage, five or six acres of luxuriant corn waved in his fields, but the agent of Mrs. Bowles (his landlady who I am informed lives in Youghal) had the crop cut down and canted– sold of course for near half its value. The man recovered, he visited his deserted home and despoiled fields– not a potato, nor a grain of corn to feed his family should they recover were left. He got a relapse with four of his children, and now they all lie in hospital with little hope of recovery. He was worth three or four hundred pounds five years ago, when he took the farm, and would have been able to pay the rent if his crop was sold in the legitimate course by himself. Hoping you will not deem it intrusion on my part in bringing this case before you,

I remain &c.,

F. P.


ALREADY many of the outlets of the city begin to be thronged with groups of poor people from different parts of the country, who come in here as a sort of harbour of refuge. Their arrival must be consequent on the stoppage of harvest labour, for there is no other work for them just now. When the numbers begin so early to accumulate amongst us, a month or two will have augmented them to a serious degree; we will then have to be going over our resources, as to how we shall either feed or get rid of them. Would it not be well to take time by the forelock –venienti occurrite morbo– and see how we are to deal with the influx of paupers that now threaten from the country districts? 300 country paupers arrived the week before last to the Lee Ward, and 399 for the past week. In St. Patrick’s Ward, the arrivals for the past week were 314.