The History of the Great Irish Famine of 1847 (3rd ed.) (1902) eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 704 pages of information about The History of the Great Irish Famine of 1847 (3rd ed.) (1902).

All this notwithstanding, the Famine was but very partially stayed:  on it went, deepening, widening, desolating, slaying, with the rapidity and certainty which marked the progress of its predecessor, the Blight.  The numbers applying for work without being able to obtain it, were fearfully enormous.  From a memorandum supplied by the Board of Works to Sir Randolph Routh, the head of the Commissariat Department, dated the 17th of December, we learn that the labourers then employed were about 350,000, whilst the number on Relief Lists (for employment) was about 500,000,—­that is, there were 150,000 persons on the lists seeking work, who could not, or at least who did not, get it.  Those 150,000 may be taken to represent at least half a million of starving people;—­how many more were there at the moment, whose names never appeared on any list, except the death-roll!


[139] Commissariat Series of Blue Books, Correspondence, vol.  I., pp. 80 and 83.

[140] Ib. p. 98.

[141] Morning Chronicle quoted in Freeman’s Journal of October 7th, 1846.  The Standard, commenting on a letter which appeared in the Times shortly before on the same subject, and written in the same spirit of hostility to the Irish people, says it would be “indecent” at any time; at present it is “intolerably offensive” and “greatly mischievous.”  “That the Irish are not naturally an idle race,” continues the Standard, “every man may satisfy himself in London streets, and in the streets of all our great towns, where nearly all the most toilsome work is performed by Irish labourers.”

[142] Letter in Commissariat Series of Blue Books, vol.  I., p. 360.

[143] Ib. p. 349.

[144] Afterwards Sir Thomas Redington, Knt.

[145] Mr. Brett, County Surveyor of Mayo to the Board of Works.  Board of Works Series of Blue Books, vol.  L, p. 125.

[146] “Employment, with wages in cash is the general outcry.”—­Com.  Gen. Hewitson to Mr. Trevelyan; Commissariat Series, p. 12.

[147] “Those at taskwork had fivepence, and in some cases as low as threepence per diem.  In other cases, again, an opposite extreme existed, and as much as two shillings and twopence per diem was found in two instances to have been paid ...  I fear there was not, in all cases, sufficient sympathy for the present sufferings of the poor—­a feeling quite compatible with a firm and honest discharge of duty.  This inflames the minds of the people against the system generally, and they become victims alike to their own intemperance, and the mismanagement of those placed over them.  Throughout the country, in the majority of cases, disturbances are attributable wholly, or in a great degree, to such errors, overseers acting more as slave-drivers than as the messengers of benevolence to an afflicted but warm-hearted people.”—­A Twelvemonth’s Residence in Ireland during the Famine and the Public Works, with suggestions to meet the coming crisis.  By William Henry Smith, C.E., late conducting Engineer of Public Works.  London, 1848; p. 94.

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The History of the Great Irish Famine of 1847 (3rd ed.) (1902) from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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