It was a general complaint against the poor-house, under its former governors, “That the number of poor in this city did not lessen by taking three hundred into the house, and all of them recommended under the minister’s and churchwardens’ hands of the several parishes”: and this complaint must still continue, although the poor-house should be enlarged to contain three thousand, or even double that number.
The revenues of the poor-house, as it is now established, amount to about two thousand pounds a-year; whereof two hundred allowed for officers, and one hundred for repairs, the remaining seventeen hundred, at four pounds a-head, will support four hundred and twenty-five persons. This is a favourable allowance, considering that I subtract nothing for the diet of those officers, and for wear and tear of furniture; and if every one of these collegiates should be set to work, it is agreed they will not be able to gain by their labour above one-fourth part of their maintenance.
At the same time, the oratorial part of these gentlemen seldom vouchsafe to mention fewer than fifteen hundred or two thousand people, to be maintained in this hospital, without troubling their heads about the fund. * * * *
I have been lately looking over the advertisements in some of your Dublin newspapers, which are sent me to the country, and was much entertained with a large list of denominations of lands, to be sold or let. I am confident they must be genuine; for it is impossible that either chance or modern invention could sort the alphabet in such a manner as to make those abominable sounds; whether first invented to invoke or fright away the devil, I must leave among the curious.
If I could wonder at anything barbarous, ridiculous, or absurd, among us, this should be one of the first. I have often lamented that Agricola, the father-in-law of Tacitus, was not prevailed on by that petty king from Ireland, who followed his camp, to come over and civilize us with a conquest, as his countrymen did Britain, where several Roman appellations remain to this day, and so would the rest have done, if that inundation of Angles, Saxons, and other northern people, had not changed them so much for the worse, although in no comparison with ours. In one of the advertisements just mentioned, I encountered near a hundred words together, which I defy any creature in human shape, except an Irishman of the savage kind, to pronounce; neither would I undertake such a task, to be owner of the lands, unless I had liberty to humanize the syllables twenty miles round. The legislature may think what they please, and that they are above copying the Romans in all their conquests of barbarous nations; but I am deceived, if anything has more contributed to prevent the Irish from being tamed, than this encouragement of their language, which might be easily abolished, and become a dead one in half an age, with little expense, and less trouble.