THE state of this Union at present seems disastrous. From the small occupiers it has become almost impossible to obtain the rates; and in one district it appears that the collector’s authority had to be reinforced by no less than two hundred policemen, in order to force from the poor the means of relief for the poorer. A correspondent states that the workhouse is full, and that, in consequence of this, the guardians have taken a store in the town; whence poor people are marched there twice a-day for their meals, as a kind of test, before giving them out-door relief.
It strikes us forcibly that there is a want of feeling evident in the proceeding referred to. It is difficult to see what use can be proposed from this discipline of marshalling forlorn creatures for such a purpose. Most certainly, if people have been reduced to such distress, they ought to have at least the right of hiding their wretchedness in a workhouse, or elsewhere, and not to have it submitted to the keenest of aggravations.
However, the plan adopted accords with the wisdom of the Commissioners, who have always insisted upon the poor being disgraced before they are relieved. In accordance with this principle, those functionaries have never given credit to the Irish peasantry for their better habits; but have acted on the unjust assumption that they were ready to become, as if they were not made, a race of ignominious paupers. But in the present case, the degradation of the poor is not even rewarded; the rations which they receive consisting in some extraordinary kind of food, which is stated to be insufficient for their maintenance.
Such a state of things is but a repetition of the misery of last year, in which rate-payers were begarred, and still the poor died. It appears hard, in the meantime, to reconcile the declarations of persons professing to raise the condition of the labourer, with the distribution of those indescribable rations. The present may, perhaps, be considered a matter of no importance. But illustrating, as it does, a system upon which the poor of this country have been degraded, we use it to express our opinion that the destitute have a right to what they receive without the infamous forms above mentioned, all the Commissioners in existence to the contrary notwithstanding.