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SWIFTY
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February 10, 1846

 

IRELAND. (From Our Own Correspondent.)

 

DUBLIN,Feb. 8

 

THE DISTRESS

 

I regret to say that there is not the slightest mitgation in the accounts of the destitution received today. We are now in the midst of a second winter, the frost and snow of Christmas having apparently reset in with equal if not increased severity, so that any prospect of amelioration is just now as remote as ever. The progress of distress in the county of Cork may be learned frm the Southern Reporter of Saturday:

 

"The duty of publishing reports of the inquests held on persons who have 'died by starvation' has now become so frequent, and such numbers are daily reaching us from every part of the county, that the limits of our space to not admit of their publication. Our reporter sends particulars of 15 of such cases from Bantry yesterday, and mentions that 20 more had occurred during the week, but inquests could not be held; and we received this morning from Mallow reports of 11 inquests held by Mr. Richard Jones on persons who had died from want of food. Communications pour in from every district, a tithe of which we could not find room for, stating similar appalling facts. Our reporters are daily occupied in attending meetings throughout the county, and there are as many applications to that effect as would require a corps equal to the Times, and a sheet of equal size, to present a daily record of."


April 20, 2010 at 3:42 AM Flag Quote & Reply

SWIFTY
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Posts: 1033

 

February 10, 1846

IRELAND. (From Our Own Correspondent.)

 

DUBLIN,Feb. 8

 

THE IRISH POOR LAW -- OUTDOOR RELIEF

 

 

A large body of the Roman Catholic clergy of the united dioceses of Cloyne and Ross, have originated a movement in favour of the extension of the English Poor Law to this country, so as to insure the right of outdoor relief, not merely to the infirm, the blind, and the half, but to the ablebodied labourer driven to the verge of destitution by a chain of circumstances over which, it might be, he could have not control.

 

The following requisition, bearing the signatures of 18 priests, appears in the Cork Reporter:

 

"We, the undersigned, respectfully request a meeting of our brothers, the Roman Catholic clergy, at Fermoy, on Thursday, the 11th inst., to consider the propriety of petitioning Parliament for outdoor relief for the ablebodied as well as for the infirm poor of Ireland, and for an enactment affording cheap and speedy means to enforce such a right."


April 20, 2010 at 3:43 AM Flag Quote & Reply

SWIFTY
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March 20, 1846

IRELAND. (From Our Own Correspondent.)

 

DUBLIN, March 18.

 

THE APPREHENDED SCARCITY.

 

 

The Cork Reporter of yesterday has a long article complaining of the "evils of delay," and asserting, that while parties in the state and elsewhere are squabbling among themselves as to what is to be deemed the starvation test, sickenss and famine are already doing their work.

 

"The afflicting spectacle," says the Reporter, "of man and wife borne to the grave from fever was witnessed in our streets yesterday. The melancholy procession and the cry by whichthey were followed, sufficiently attested the class to which they belonged -- they were of the poor. Three of their orphans are struggling with the same malady and remain in the same buliding from which they were removed. How many,let us ask, must perish before any of the four bills laterlypassed is in operation, or any of the food in hand distributed? Are we to have nothing and hear of nothing but precautions? Will the Fabian policy conquer hunger and subdue in pestilence? As yet no family has had a meal of the state-imported corn. It is here -- it is on the way -- it is grinding -- sailing -- travelling from one estuary to another. It is talked of -- one day it is off the harbour, another at the quays; the next it is reloaded and wafted won the river, and the last announcement left it off the coast of Dingle, where the ship that bore it loomed through the mist like the Flying Dutchman, disappearing, perhaps, to attract the anxious gaze of the watchers on some other shore. We have the substantial proof of food being really here in the daily marching and counter-marching of marines and regulars, but beyond that we have no gratification. The people do not well know how to apply or where to come to; the distant parishes have heard rumors, but yet require information. They have received hints and read letters once or twice, but there is no public proclamation of the terms on which they are to apply for sustenance. They have goneon eating or fasting on the tainted potato, imbibing mortal disease, and have sickened, died or starved, while the machinery of grand jury and other intervention was preparing. Food and employment ought to be afforded at once, instantly. We have said so over and over; we repeated the warning until we grew tired of the reiteration."

 

After briefly noticing the fever report recently laid upon the table of the House of Commons, the Reporter thus continues:

 

"Unsound potatoes have bred typhus. The sick are in some cases quintupled; contagion is fearful; even the word we fear to write -- cholera is apprehended. Why is this? Where is it to end? Precautions were taken. Every wise and sufficient antidote was contemplated. The plans were faultless, the scheme of the campaign against the double foe of famine and pestilence was without a flaw. Sir R. Peel assures us he had foreseen all that was to happen, but how many are they whohave gone to the grave through the wards of the hospitals while he and his colleagues were quarreling and pondering, resigning and resuming office? We repeat our question: what is the number of dead we must first count over before food will begin to be distributed?"

 

And by way of bearing out the foregoing remarks, the following correspondence is quoted:

 

"Mayor's office, Cork, March 11, 1846.

 

"My Lord -- I take the liberty of addressing your Excellency in compliance witha resolution adopted by the trustees of the Poor Relief Fund of this city, and as the chariman of the meeting held on Friday last. It is unnecessary for me to go into the numerous and most painful details of the deep distress of the poor of Cork, and of its alarming progress; but I am directed lay before your excellency the humbel prayers of the committee, that immediate measures may be taken for a general issue and sale of Indian corn and oatmeal to the pooreer classes, who are at this moment for the most part subsisting on rotten potatoes, and among whom disease is already making fearful ravages.

 

"I have the honour to be, my Lord

 

"Your obedient and humble servant

 

"A.F. ROCHER, Mayor of Cork

 

"To His Excellency William Lord Heytesbury

 

"Lieutenant Governor and General Governor of Ireland, Dublin Castle."

 

___________________________________________________________________________________

 

"Dublin Castle, March 14, 1846

 

"Sir, -- I am commanded by the Lord Lieutenant to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 12th , and to acquaint you , that by his Excellency's directions, your communication, with its accompanying resolutions of the trustees of the Poor Relief Fund of the city of Cork, has been sent to the commissioners for inquiring into all matters relating to the failure of the potato crop, for their consideration.

 

"I have the honour to be, Sir,

 

"Your obedient servant.

 

"Richard Pennefather."

 

With respect to the scarcity or failure of the potato crop, another Cork paper (the Constitution) contains the fllowing cautious statement:

 

"Amid all the talk which we hear about potatoes, we find nothing to guide us to a satisfactory estimate, or even conjecture, as to the actual supply in the country. On one hand we have nothing but fearful forebodings -- the stock is exhausted and famine stares us in the face; on the other, we are told of stores that will bring us safely through the season, and that the noise about scarcity is only a political device. Applied to different districts there may be truth in both. Throughout the controversy we have endeavored to to steer clear of extremes. We have given no credence to the exaggerations of even officals information, but have endeavored to set before our readers as they came in our way, such accounts as from the opportunities of the writers, appeared most worthy of attention. We believe the fact to be that in some places there is a sufficiency -- in others, the reverse; and we are not without hope that with the precautions taken by Government, we shall be able to struggle on until the new crop comes in. But on the part of the poor, the struggle will be severe. Even at present, the price is beyond their reach; but this is in a great measure owing to the habit of forestalling. The potatoes are purchased before they enter the market, and there retailed to the consumer at an enormous profit. Thus while they bring in the market from 9d to 11d per weight, they are selling from the boats at 7 d. . . . During the week a gentleman, observing four cartloads of fine-looking potatoes in the street, asked the owner the price. The answer was, 'Sir, we couldn't sell them under sixpence;' yet though offered at those terms, theyhad been brought from within a mile of Mallow. The consumer, however, was probably nothing better for the moderationof the owner, for we dare say they fell into the hands of the forestaller, and were by him sold at nearly double the sixpence. We mention these facts, as it is well that, while we take all prudent precautions to meet any danger of which there may be reasonable apprehension, people should be warned against lending themselves to either pecuniary or political designs by exciting fears and spreading alarms for which there is no foundation."

 

A MEETING

 

The proceedings of an anti-famine meeting, held at Mallow on Saturday, were diversified toward their conclusion by the following dialogue: --

 

"EDMUND WALSH, a working farmer, addressing the meeting from one of the galleries, said that he was turned out of his land by Mr. Pierce Nagle, though hehad paid his rent, and it was the adopting of such courses as this toward the poor tenants that injured the country.

 

"REV. MR. M'CARTHY -- How many were ejected from that property for the last 10 years?

 

"WALSH -- I suppose 50 or 60 families.

 

"MR. M'CARTHY -- Is this Mr. Nagle, of Annakissy?

 

"WALSH -- It is.

 

"MR. M'CARTHY -- Were they put out for non-payment of rent?

 

"WALSH -- No; they all paid their rent; I was only a yearly tenant, and my term was expired.

 

"MR. M'CARTHY -- Is your rent paid?

 

"WALSH -- It is, Sir.

 

"MR. GIBSON thought such matters as these were worthy of inquiry, but this was not the place to entertain them.


April 20, 2010 at 3:45 AM Flag Quote & Reply

SWIFTY
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March 20, 1846

IRELAND. (From Our Own Correspondent.)

 

DUBLIN, March 18.

 

 

With respect to the scarcity or failure of the potato crop, another Cork paper (the Constitution) contains the fllowing cautious statement:

 

"Amid all the talk which we hear about potatoes, we find nothing to guide us to a satisfactory estimate, or even conjecture, as to the actual supply in the country. On one hand we have nothing but fearful forebodings -- the stock is exhausted and famine stares us in the face; on the other, we are told of stores that will bring us safely through the season, and that the noise about scarcity is only a political device. Applied to different districts there may be truth in both. Throughout the controversy we have endeavored to to steer clear of extremes. We have given no credence to the exaggerations of even officals information, but have endeavored to set before our readers as they came in our way, such accounts as from the opportunities of the writers, appeared most worthy of attention. We believe the fact to be that in some places there is a sufficiency -- in others, the reverse; and we are not without hope that with the precautions taken by Government, we shall be able to struggle on until the new crop comes in. But on the part of the poor, the struggle will be severe. Even at present, the price is beyond their reach; but this is in a great measure owing to the habit of forestalling. The potatoes are purchased before they enter the market, and there retailed to the consumer at an enormous profit. Thus while they bring in the market from 9d to 11d per weight, they are selling from the boats at 7 d. . . . During the week a gentleman, observing four cartloads of fine-looking potatoes in the street, asked the owner the price. The answer was, 'Sir, we couldn't sell them under sixpence;' yet though offered at those terms, theyhad been brought from within a mile of Mallow. The consumer, however, was probably nothing better for the moderationof the owner, for we dare say they fell into the hands of the forestaller, and were by him sold at nearly double the sixpence. We mention these facts, as it is well that, while we take all prudent precautions to meet any danger of which there may be reasonable apprehension, people should be warned against lending themselves to either pecuniary or political designs by exciting fears and spreading alarms for which there is no foundation."


April 20, 2010 at 3:46 AM Flag Quote & Reply

SWIFTY
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APPREHENDED DISTURBANCES. March 27, 1846.

IRELAND. (From Our Own Correspondent.)

 

DUBLIN, March 23.

 

 

"Apprehension" of all kinds (of fever and famine inclusive) seem to be the order of the day in Ireland. The intelligence from Limerick this morning prognosticates an early outbreak in the "city of the violated treaty," induced partly (and not unnaturally) by the rapid decrease of the people's food, and partly by the repugnance of the paupers of the workhouse to the "partial" use of Indian meal as an article of diet. This is really, and inall conscience, "too bad." Bread made of this flour has been for some days on sale in the metropolis, and from its wholsome and nutritious qualities, as well as its cheapness, meets with a rapid consumption among all classes, proving a most fortunate speculation for such bakers as have laid in large stocks of this species of grain. The Limerick Reporter of yesterday thus alludes to the anticipated disturbances and actual revolt of the inmates of the poorhouses: --

 

"For the last few days symptoms of an outbreak for food have manifested themselves in this city; and we believe it was actually arranged that it should have taken place yesterday. To anticipate the brewing mischief the Commissary General ordered the Indian meal to be sold to the people; and yesterday, at the Exchange, it was retailed at 1 d. per pound, under the superintendence of the police. Not more than two pounds of it would be sold to any person at a time. Some of the poor seemed most anxious to get it, while others said it was 'nothign better than sawdust.' We understand that many are dissatisfied that it was not distributed gratuitously; while some say this would be no great compliment, for that it is hardlyworth giving away. They say, too, that if it were not for the meanced emeute not a grain of the meal would be sold for the the next two months, and that it would have the effect of preventing them from carrying their plans into execution. Among the precautions that have been taken to meet any infraction of the public peace, special constables have been sworn in, andthere can be manner of doubt that every available force will be be brought operation against lawless violence. It was with unfeigned regret we learned yesterday that workhouse paupers -- men, women and children -- turned out in the morning (when it was presented to them for the first time for breakfast) against the uses of stirabout, consisting of half oatmeal and half Indian corn. A ton of the llatter had been purchased from Mr. John Norris Russell, at 10l., in order to try it. It was mixed with half oatmeal, and made into hasty pudding, and when it was served up nearly all the women, most of the children and every man, save seven, refused to eat it. Tha this was the result of a conspiracy there can be no doubt, for the majority of those who refused to eat it did not taste it to try whether they would like it or not; but having made up their minds beforehand, they determined to fast rather than to eat it. We think the master and the guardians will be sadly wanting in their duty if they do permit them to adopt their own alternative, until they are brought to these senses, except such as the medical gentleman will say it does not agree with."


April 20, 2010 at 3:47 AM Flag Quote & Reply

SWIFTY
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"Famine" and Its Remedy. December 16, 1846.

 

Under the imposing heads of "Fearful Facts," and "Hungers, Cold, Disease and Deaths," the Wexford Independent gives a most alarming account of the state of part of that county. Here is an extract:

 

"Our accounts from the northern parts of this country are most deplorable. What the poor people earn on the public works is barely sufficient to support them. All their earnings go for food; and the consequence is, that they have nothing left to procure clothing. Since the extreme cold set in, sickness and death have accordingly followed in its train. Inflammation of the lungs, fevers, and other maladies, resulting from excessive privation, have been bearing away their victims. Many have died in the course of last week; and the illness in every case was traceable to the want of clothing and firing, if not of sufficient food."


April 20, 2010 at 3:49 AM Flag Quote & Reply

SWIFTY
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Posts: 1033

 

January 11, 1847

IRELAND. (From Our Own Correspondent.)

 

DUBLIN, Jan. 8

 

STATE OF THE WEST RIDING OF CORK.

 

 

The last accounts from this distress are of a most dismal character. Ten additional deaths by starvation have occurred in the barony of Bantry. The melancholy details are thus furnished by a correspondent of the Cork Reporter:

 

"Bantry, Jan. 5. -- It is my painful duty to inform you of six inquests held here this day, before Mr. Samuel Hutchins and Mr. Richard White, magistrates for the county.

 

"The jury unanimously agreed without a moment's hesitation, that the following persons came to their deaths by starvation, vis:

 

"Catherine Sheehan, a child, two years old, who died on the 26th of December last, and had lived for several days previous to her death on sea weed, part of which was produced by Dr. McCarthy, who held a port mortem examination on her body. The other details in this case are most heart-rending.

 

"Michael Sullivan died at Skahana, on or about the 4th of December, from the effects of eating too hearty a meal, whichhe had received through charity, after being previously exhausted from overlong fasting.

 

"Richard Finn was conveyed into this town on the 14th of December, in a car, for the purpose of taking him to the workhouse, when in the street, the Very Rev. Thomas Barry, parish priest, was obliged to hear confession before the public, and before he had time to complete his sacred duties the poor man expired.

 

"John Driscoll was working on one of the public works on the 29th of December; on his return home he fell exhausted for want of foo, and was found dead in the mountain of Glounlough on the following morning. His wife proved that he had eaten nothing for two days previous to his death, except a small quantity of boiled wheat, and that he frequently had a similar fast.

 

"Jeremiah Carthy entered the shop of Mr. Robert Vickery, of this town, when he fell senseless, and died in three hours after at the workhouse, though being kindly attended to by the Rev. Mr. Freeman. Dr. Jagoe, and the family, before his removal.

 

"Michael Linehan was found dead on the lands of Ibane on the 18th of December last. He was on his way home from Bantry after purchasing some food for his mother and brother (which were all his family) who were then lying in fever; there were some turnip peels or skins found in his stomach.

 

"Head-constable Grant then stated to the magistrates that there were three other similar cases, but the bench considering it too late to proceed withhearing them, they were postponed for a future day.

 

"While the Court was sitting the Very Rev. Thomas Barry reported another victim who had fallen on entering the workhouse, before he had time to administer the sacraments to him.

 

"I regret that time does not permit me at present to give you the evidence in detail, as that of the Very Rev. Mr. Barry, and Rev. Mr. Freeman, as well as that of Doctors Jagoe and M'Carthy, would be read with painful and melancholy interest.

 

"I close with sending you the remonstrances of the jury, as handed in by their foreman, Mr. E. O'Sullivan.

 

"'That we feel it is our duty to state, under the correction of the Court, that it is our opinion that if the Government of the country shall persevere in its determination of refusing to use the means available to it for the purpose of lowering the price of food, so as to place it within the reach of the labouring poor, the result will be a sacrifice of human life from starvation to a frightful extent, and endangerment of property and of the public peace.

 

"E. O'Sullivan, Foreman

 

"Saml. Hutchins, Justice of the Peace

 

"Richd. White, Justice of the Peace

 

FURTHER RISE INTHE PRICES OF GRAIN

 

Notwithstanding the unprecedented arrivals of grain into the port of Dublin, prices still continue to advance. At the Corn Exchange today considerable excitement prevailed and wheat, according to official market note, went up 1s.6d. . . . As befroe remarked, the supplies are pouring in from all quarters; the river is filled with shipping, containing cargoes of flour and other breadstuffs, and the greatest inconvenience is felt from the want of sufficient storage to remedy which temporary sheds have been erected along the north wall at the Custom-house; but even with this makeshift the accommodation is extremely defective. It is the opinion of some of the leading factors here that there will be no material (if any) reduction in the price of bread for two months to come; but that about the middle of March the foreign arrivals must tell, and that speculators may as well be prepared in time for a tremendous reaction.

 

FOOD RIOTS IN DUBLIN

 

Before 8 o'clock this morning a mob consisting of between 40 and 50 persons, many of them boys, commenced an attack upon the bakers' shops in the neighborhood of summer hill, Britain Street and Abbey Street. Owing to the early hour and the unexpectedness of the outbreak, they were enabled to carry on their depredations without let or hindance. The rioters had the appearance of country people, and came from the northern outlets of the city. When they had reached Abbey Street two policemen interfered,and endeavored to disperse the crowd, but without any effect, several men exclaiming that they had been without food for 24 hours, and that bread they should have. They then marched in "close order" toward Mary's Abbey, where they are great numbers of provision and cookshops, but I have not heard to what farther extent they continued their attacks.

 

OUTDOOR RELIEF

 

The guardians of the Balrothery union (county of Dublin) led on by Mr. G.A. Hamilton, M.P., have taken a bold step, by the adoption at a special meeting on Wednesday, of the two following resolutions:

 

"Resolved: That the workhouse being now fully occupied, there being no fewer than 499 inmates (the house being calculated for only 400), and great destitution prevailing in many parts of the union, the master be instructed, in any case in which a destitute person may present himself with a guardian's order for provisional admission, before sending such person away to give him a meal, consisting of a dinner's ration to be eaten in the house, and to charge same against the union at large.

 

"Resolved: That it is also expedient that a room should be procured in the differing districts withinthe union where destitution previals; that suchroom be declared a poorhouse, under the 35th section of the Irish Poor Law, 1 and 2 Vctoria, chapter 56, for the purpose of affording additional relief under the present very extraordinary circumstances of the coutnry. That the guardians makea list of the destitute in those districts, that that after due inquiry, provisional order be given entitling such persons a meal to be eaten in the rom so declared a poor house, within each district. The meal to consist of a pint of soup or mil, and 1 1/2 lb. of brown bread for adults, and for children in proportion. That it be fully understood that htis mode of relief is only intended to meet the present distressing emergency and that it shall cease with the emergency, or when there is accommodation in the house. That a copy of this resolution be sent to the Poor Law Commissioners . . .

 

PROGRESS OF DISTRESS

 

January 9

 

From the intelligence received today it appears that the list of districts suffering under extreme destitution must be now added the Queen's County, Carlow Sentinel, a journal, it should be borne in mind, but little inclined to cast undeserved blame upon the landed proprietors:

 

"With feelings of deep regret for the welfare of the extensive district of Ballickmoylter, comprising the large baroney of Slievemarigue, we learn that all hopes have vanished of actual provision for the wants of the population, unless the Government come forward and that speedily, with liberal measures of relief. In these times for they are times of peril -- men must speak out; and we shall do our duty fearlessly in calling on the non-residential proprieters to come forward and to lend their cooperation or they will, when too late, regret the consequences of their neglect. In the Ballickmoyler district, Queen's County, a few have, it is true, contributed; but where are the names of the Earl Kenmore, or of the Earl of Portarlington, upon whose estates a vast mass of hideous poverty exists? We have not heard that 1s of their money has yet been contributed, although their agents draw large sums from the extensive estates of these two noblemen in the awfully distressed district to which we refer. We have heard, but cannot say the rumour is true, that Sir Charles Coote, M.P., has only forwarded the relief fund the paltry sum of 10l. Can this be true? We really cannot credit the assertion that a wealthy baronet, of large estate in a barony of the country which he represents, with a vast means of pauperism in the district, and a great number of starving people on his estate, would only contribute a sum of 10l.! If he has been so fortunate as to send 1s. more we shall apologize for our error in the cause of humanity and the poor of our country. Our readers should fully comprehend the causes why we dwell on a subject of so much importance in this district of the Queen's County. . . .


April 20, 2010 at 3:50 AM Flag Quote & Reply

SWIFTY
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Posts: 1033

 

January 11, 1847

IRELAND. (From Our Own Correspondent.)

 

PROGRESS OF DISTRESS

 

January 9

 

 

From the intelligence received today it appears that the list of districts suffering under extreme destitution must be now added the Queen's County, Carlow Sentinel, a journal, it should be borne in mind, but little inclined to cast undeserved blame upon the landed proprietors:

 

"With feelings of deep regret for the welfare of the extensive district of Ballickmoylter, comprising the large baroney of Slievemarigue, we learn that all hopes have vanished of actual provision for the wants of the population, unless the Government come forward and that speedily, with liberal measures of relief. In these times for they are times of peril -- men must speak out; and we shall do our duty fearlessly in calling on the non-residential proprieters to come forward and to lend their cooperation or they will, when too late, regret the consequences of their neglect. In the Ballickmoyler district, Queen's County, a few have, it is true, contributed; but where are the names of the Earl Kenmore, or of the Earl of Portarlington, upon whose estates a vast mass of hideous poverty exists? We have not heard that 1s of their money has yet been contributed, although their agents draw large sums from the extensive estates of these two noblemen in the awfully distressed district to which we refer. We have heard, but cannot say the rumour is true, that Sir Charles Coote, M.P., has only forwarded the relief fund the paltry sum of 10l. Can this be true? We really cannot credit the assertion that a wealthy baronet, of large estate in a barony of the country which he represents, with a vast means of pauperism in the district, and a great number of starving people on his estate, would only contribute a sum of 10l.! If he has been so fortunate as to send 1s. more we shall apologize for our error in the cause of humanity and the poor of our country. Our readers should fully comprehend the causes why we dwell on a subject of so much importance in this district of the Queen's County. . . .


April 20, 2010 at 3:52 AM Flag Quote & Reply

SWIFTY
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Posts: 1033

 

DISTRESS IN CORK. January 18, 1847.

 

 

A letter addressed to the Cork Examiner, dated Ballydehob, Jan. 10, and bearing the signature of "Jeremiah O'Callaghan," says --

 

"Since my last report, deaths are fearfully on the increase in this locality. Four have died in the immediate vicinity of this village within the last few days. In the mountain districts they die unknown, unpitied and in most instances unburied for weeks. Yesterday a man was discovered half concealed in a pigstye, in such a revolting condition that humanity would shrink at a description of the body. It was rapidly decomposing; but no neighbor has yet offered his services to cover the loathesome remains. Death has taken forcible possession of every cabin. Poor Coughlan, of the Board of Works, was crawling home a few nights ago, when hunger and exhaustion seized him within a few yards of his house, where was found the following morning, a frightening example of road mortality. If the present system of roadmaking be obstinately perservered in, West Carberry may be properly designated a universal grave-yard. I have just learned that in the neighborhood of Crookhaven they are buried within the walls of their huts. They have in most cases forgotten the usual ceremony of interment. The living are so consumed by famine they are unable to remove the dead. The Examiner could scarcely contain the names of all who have perished for the last month. I shall trouble you with no more particulars; but send you the gross number of victims when I write again."


April 20, 2010 at 3:52 AM Flag Quote & Reply

SWIFTY
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January 10, 1847 Cork Examiner

 

Melancholy indeed are the latest accounts from all parts of this extensive county. From Bantry, Skibbereeen, Crookhaven, Castletown, and Tracton, in Cork and in Dingle, in Kerry, the reports present the same gloomy features. The intelligence from these scenes of misery are summed up by the Cork Examiner as follows: the details from Bantry were forwarded yesterday:

 

"SKIBBEREEN. In the parish of Kilmore 14 died on Sunday; 3 of these wer buried in coffins, 11 were buried without other covering than the rages they wore when alive. And on gentleman, a good and charitable man, speaking of this case, says 'The distress is so appalling, that we must throw away all feelings of delicacy;' and another says, 'I would rather give 1s. to a starving man than 4s.6d. for a coffin.'

 

"140 died in the Skibbereen Workhouse in one way; 3 have died in one day! And Mr. M'Carthy Downing states that 'they came into the house merely and solely for the purpose of getting a coffin.'

 

"The Rev. Mr. Clancy visits a farm, and there, in one house, 'he administered the last rites of religion to six persons.' On a subsequent occasion, he 'prepared for death a father and daughter lying in the same bed.'

 

"The Rev. Mr. Caulfield sees '13 members of one family lying down in fever.'

 

"The Rev. Mr. Fitzpatrick retires to rest at 3 o'clock in the morning, and ries after a couple hours' heavy sleep. It is the same with his coadjudicators.

 

"Dr. Donovan solemnly assures a public meeting that the people are 'dropping in dozens about them.'

 

"Mr. Marmion says that work on the public road is even more destructive than fever; for the unfed wretches have not energy enough to keep their blood in circulation, and they drop down from the united effects of cold and hunger -- never to rise again.

 

"Mr. M'Carthy Downing proclaims a fact damning the character of the Skibbereen landlords. For two months past the secretary of the Relief Committee has been importuning the landlords of the district; and with what result, think you, reader? Out of four parishes, comprising the relief district, but nine subscriptions have been received, after two months' begging. Mr. Downing excepts these landlords who reside in the town, whose contributions have been generous -- even excessive.

 

"Although it may seem to some out of place, still here we shall mention a fact that has this moment come to our knowledge. Lord Midleton's agent (Mr. Foley) assembled his Lordship's tenants a day or two ago, and allowed them on behalf of his Lordship, from 25 to 75 per cent in their rents! the poorer tenants paying but one-fourth of the whole rent; and so on, up to the comfortable farmers, who have large holdings, and who have been allowed one-fourth for their losses.

 

"And not only has his Lordship done so much, but he will do more -- immediately recommence the quay at Cove, which will afford large employment to tradesmen and labourers, and at a rate of wages that will allow them to live.

 

"As a commentary on certain facts stated by Mr. Downing of a noble proprietor of this country, who holds land in Skibbereen -- Lord Banden -- we may mention that last year -- when the distress was only partial, and there were no coffinless dead -- Lord Midleton subscribed to all the committees on his estates.

 

"We heartily cry, God bless Lord Midleton!

 

"DINGLE-- The Rev. Mr. Gayer of Dingle in a letter says, 'The people there are dying by inches; that he wonders they are so patient as to lie down and die without breaking open the Government stores, and that two-thirds of the population will perish if food be not cheapened there.

 

"The name of the reverend writer is familiar to our readers in connexion with a recent press prosecution. His 'wonder' at the patience of the stricken wretches speaks volumes for their condition.

 

"CROOKHAVEN -- A correspondent writing to us from this locality says, 'There have been 16 deaths from starvation in this locality in the last seven days, all leaving widows and orphans.

 

"TRACTON -- The affecting letter of the Rev. Mr. Corkran will be read with deep interest. It informs us that 16 deaths from starvation have occurred in ten days. This within a dozen miles of the southern capital of Ireland!

 

"Stretched on a bed of straw lies a dying husband and father; and grouped around that coudh are a wretched wife and children, who devour wild weeds themselves, that they might leave the only remaining morsel of food to the dying man!

 

"Is this tide of horro to roll on unchecked? Will the Imperial rulers of this slavish province wait until one-half of the 'Irish savages' be swept away? For to this it will soon come."

 

 


April 20, 2010 at 3:54 AM Flag Quote & Reply

SWIFTY
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Posts: 1033

 

EXCERPTED FROM THE LIMERICK CHRONICLE. February 5, 1847.

 

THE IRISH FAMINE -- " The starved dogs are being killed like vermin in several parts of this county, as these animals have attacked the barks of trees, bereft of their usual sustenance."

 



February 6, 1847  Derry Journal

 

A monthly agricultural report published in the Derry Journal thus refers to the culture ofthe potato in the province of Ulster:

 

"In consequence of the failure of the potato crop, for the last two seasons, farmers appear inclined to plant earlier; and we have already observed what may be considered, for this season, extensive preparations for proceeding with that operation. In some localities, such as Inch, and the parish of Ardstraw, a sufficiency of seed may be calculated on; but in most districts the want of the requisite amount of seed, and also the deficiency of manure, on the part of the cottiers, who to help themselves through the present distress, have disposed of their manure heaps, and who have hitherto been the greatest producers of this crop, induce us to believe that not more than half of the crop planted last year will be put down this season. . . .

 

"The wheat crop at one time showed signs of recovering that unhealthfulness which we noticed in our last report; but we regret to say that latterly it has retrograded in most fields, which the excessive rains only can account for. The plants are generally thin on the ground, and their appearance anything but vigorous; but a good spring may yet bring this crop into a promising condition. Owing to the favourable weather at the commencement of the month, a considerable breadth of ground was put down with springsown wheat; and we should think that by this time there is a full average of that grain committed to the soil."

 

 



April 20, 2010 at 3:57 AM Flag Quote & Reply

SWIFTY
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February 6, 1847 Belfast Chronicle

 

The country grain markets continue to decline. The reports today from Limerick, Clonmetl, Waterford, Derry, and Belfast, are all in favour of the consumer, and, from the immense importations of breadstuffs and other provisions into the Irish ports, it is to be hoped that prices will be kept to their average level, and that the gloomy predictions of a reaction in favour of the speculators will be falsified. The following gratifying announcement appeared int he Belfast Chronicle of yesterday:

 

"The import of breadstuffs and provisions generally into Belfast has been ona very extensive scale during the last ten days. Almost every steamer which arrives from Liverpool, Glasgow or Adrossen brings, as the most important portion of her cargo, Indian corn and meal, peas and flour; and, in addition to our regular traders, we had on Sunday two other steamers of large tonnage, the Princess Royal and Town of Drogheda, which disembarked a great bulk of provisions. Donegal quay was literally a curiosity on Monday -- from the water's edge all across to the stores it was densely covered with bags of Indian corn, sacks of peas, and barrels of flour, and the passenger could with difficulty make his way through the narrow passes and labyrinthine windings of this accumulation of good things. In addition to these arrivals coastwise, immense quantities are being daily landed from foreign ports, the latest of these being the Chusan, from New Orleans, with nearly 9000 bushels of Indian corn, arrived here on Monday and a number of other vessels from Philadelphia, Nantes, Venice, St. Michael's, & c. More are expected, and as a considerable reaction has already taken place in the markets, we think it highly improbably that prices of grain will tend yet lower."


April 20, 2010 at 3:59 AM Flag Quote & Reply

SWIFTY
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February 19, 1847 Mayo Constitution

THE DISTRESS

 

 

The following melancholy details of the rapid progress of starvation in the west are copied from the Mayo Constitution of yesterday:

 

"In the neighborhood of Newport, on Sunday morning last, a poor man, named Mulloy, was found on the road side. His emaciated frame betokened that his death was the result of want. He was a native of Burrishcole. On Friday last a poor man died at Deradda, near Newport, of actual hunger, leaving a family to follow in rapid succession. On Saturday, a poor man was also found expiring from exhaustion at Rooskeen, and notwithstanding relief being brought, the poor man died, food having come too late! In the neighborhood of Breaffy, near this town, the following deaths have occurred from starvation and disease: Michael M'Enally, of Roemon, on the 12th; Peter Sworde, of Deerinachrisham, on the 12th; his wife on the 12th; james Gavan, of Ballyshawn, on the 8th; his wife on the 10th. On Sunday, the 7th inst., Mr. Alkinson, coroner, held an inquest on the body of Patrick Maughan, at Ceonarrow. The deceased has left a family, who are in the most indigent state. The jury verdict was "Death by starvation." In this village there is not a family that do not appear likely to fall victim to famine. On the same day, on the body of James Brislane, at Kilrimmin. The deceased was put on the public works a few days previous to his death, and was hastening on Saturday evening to the office of the pay-clerk, but being very weak from want of food, he fell on the way, and was found dead next morning. Verdict -- "death by starvation." On Monday, the 8th, on the body of Pat Howley, at Smisfield. The deceased was employed on the public works, and was found lying on the road, where he had fallen, by a person passing by; when removed to the nearest habitation he died shortly after. Verdict -- "Death by starvation." On the same day on the body of William Sheridan, at Cloondes. The deceased had been in a great state of destitution, and going from one village to another he he fell into a small rivulet which he attempted to cross, and from his debility was unable to extricate himself! Verdict -- "Death by drowning, but attributed to starvation." This coroner states that there were 12 more inquests reported in his district, but which from indispostiion he has beenunable to attend. During the past week Mr. O'Grady, coronorer, held inquests on the following persons: Anne Philibin, Patt Hemnon, Francis Gannon, Jordan Morrison, Anne Teatum, Patrick Corey, Thomas Costello . . .


April 20, 2010 at 4:01 AM Flag Quote & Reply

SWIFTY
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March 8, 1847

 

IRELAND

 

DUBLIN, March 1 THE FAMINE.

 

The Galway papers of Saturday bring lamentable reports of the spread of destitution in that county. A Roman Catholic clergyman (the Rev. Mr. Newel) thus writes of the state of Oranmore and the surrounding district:

 

"The wholesale destruction of human life, occurring here from want of the necessities of life, is fast approximating to what we have read and heard of Skibbereen a few weeks ago, and we shuddered to have to record deaths from starvation by 'units,' but now, alas, we have to compute them by dozens! No less than 54 individuals (men, women, children) have perished of want since December last in th parishes of Oranmore and Ballinacourty; and if the Government, from any compunctious feelings, shall required to ascertain, through their "Relief Commissionerss,' the number of starved wretches provided for in the grave, I shall be able to furnish them with a truly black list, well authenticated, showing the names, and residences of the person victimised here, to the so much spoken of political economy of our rulers. Hitherto, the Relig Committee here have given coffins for the interment of starved dead -- but they are becoming so numerous now that it has been resolved, instead of procuring the common decency of burial for the dead, to reserve the relief fund for the support of the living. I fear much that the want of coffins for the burial of the dead will cause them to be unburied, and to generate infection, more disastrous to human life than the wantof food itself. The unusual occurrence here of a human being having been interred without the decency of a coffin took place (as I have heard) in the parish of Ballinacourty a few days ago, when the corpse, after five or six days unburied, was at last sacked up in a coarse canvas and deposited in its parent earth. Another horrifying circumstance occurred near Oranmore, of a poor wretched woman named Redington, perishing during the night time, and in the morning her lifeless body was found partially devoured by rats."

 

A letter from Loughrea, published in the Galway Mercury, contains the following passage. The writer evidently labours under the anti-Russell mania:

 

"The distress in Loughrea at present is at its utmost height; and any alleviation of that daily increasing distress need not be expected, at least from the Whig Government. That such is the general and growing opinion of almost the entire rural population might be easily inferred from the expressions of unqualified condemnation which were given vent to by all of them with whom I, on this day, happened to hold any conversation. They believe that the Government are determined to systematically put to death one half of the people. With such an opinion daily gaining ground, it is not easy to calculate how long, or why, the Whigs ought to remain in place and power. Under their regime provisions have risen to double the famine price. On this day (Thursday) wheat has been sold at from 55s. to 60s. per barrel, and oats reached up to the enormous price of from 29s. to 30s. per barrel, and who can tell but that, a few markets hence, the above articles may reach so high as to be almost above purchase. It is no wonder then that the people should be panic-stricken, especially when the wisest and best amongst us has no hope in the Whig Administration."


April 20, 2010 at 4:03 AM Flag Quote & Reply

SWIFTY
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THE STATE OF THE SKIBBEREEN UNION.

May 23, 1849

 

 

This wretched union still perceveres its melancholy notoriety. According to the Cork Examiner:

 

"It is nearly 7000l. in debt to merchants for food; and while over 22,000 hungry paupers yearn for bread, which must be provided for them or they perish, there is not the least probability of a rate being collected from the farmers and occupiers who still remain in the countyry. We do most earnestly and in the name of humanity call on Government to take the case of Skibbereen, with its 22,000 paupers, and its bankrupt landlords, farmers and shopkeepers, into immediate consideration, and at once relieve the board from its embarrassment and this destitute from the near prospect of starvation and death. The Government must consider that beyond the credit of a single week's food once respectable house -- Messrs Gould and Co. -- have refused to grant, and that contractors are perfectly justified by the state of things int he neighboring town of Bantry,where all seems in hopeless ruin, in refusing to risk even a shilling's worth of their property on the faith of any board of guardians, be they paid or elected, the officers of the Government, or the representatives of the people."

 

The Central Relief Committe, through whose exertions so much good was achieved in the years 46-7, have recommenced operations, and in an address to the country, issued this day, they call for assistance to enable them to relieve "the utter destitution of 1849 -- a destitution far surpassing anything this country has yet endured."

 

The accounts this morning from Clare and Galway are scarcely less afflicting than those from Ballinrobe and Skibbereen.


--

 

WHEN GENOCIDE BECAME "FAMINE" : IRELAND, 1845 - 1850

This petition seeks your support for a campaign to:

* Persuade relevant authors, editors and website content providers to stop using the word ‘Famine’ for what took place in Ireland between 1845 and 1850, and start using terms such as, "The Great Hunger" or 'An tOcras Mór

PETITION LINK- TO CHANGE THE WORD FAMINE http://www.petitions24.com/when_famine_became_genocide_ireland_1845_-_1850


April 20, 2010 at 4:05 AM Flag Quote & Reply

chris
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Posts: 1

Christine Purcell

The Irish Potato Famine, 1847

The potato was not native to Ireland. It is believed that Sir Walter Raleigh brought the tuber to the island from the New World around 1570. No one could foresee that its arrival was the first ingredient in a recipe that would simmer for 275 years and produce a disaster: the deaths of thousands, the devastation of the Irish economy and the Irish Diaspora that scattered the Irish people around the globe.

An Irish newspaper annouces... See more... See more

the arrival of the blight

September 13, 1845

At first, the potato seemed heaven-sent. It thrived in the damp Irish climate, was easy to grow and produced a high yield per acre. In the period from 1780 to 1845 it helped double the Irish population from 4 to 8 million. However, with this population explosion came an increased demand for land. The only solution was to divide the available parcels into ever smaller plots for each succeeding generation. Soon, the diminished size of these plots dictated the planting of potatoes as it was the only crop that could produce a sufficient yield of food on such limited acreage. By 1840, fully 1/3 of Ireland's population was totally dependent on the potato for its nourishment. It was a dependency that teetered on the brink of starvation and created a time bomb that needed only the slightest spark to explode.

The spark that lit the fuse was the arrival in September 1845 of the potato blight. Brought ashore from the cargo holds of ships, the blight quickly made its way to the potato fields where it spread havoc. One third of the crop was lost that year. This escalated to a loss of 3/4 of the crop in each of the two succeeding years. The small farmers suffered immediately. Starvation combined with an increased susceptibility to diseases such as typhus, dysentery and cholera devastated the population. The reaction of the British government was inadequate. By 1848, the worst was over but the devastation lingered on for a number of years. It is estimated that between 500,000 and 1.5 million people died as a result of the famine while over one million fled the country. By 1911, Ireland's population had dropped to four million.

"I saw the dying, the living, and the dead, lying indiscriminately upon the same floor."

James Mahoney was an artist living in Cork, Ireland. In early 1847 he was asked by the Illustrated London News to tour the surrounding countryside and report on what he saw. The resulting articles and illustrations did much to alert the British public of the crisis. We join Mahoney's account as he journeys to the village of Skibbereen in the south of Ireland

"I started from Cork, by the mail, for Skibbereen and saw little until we came to Clonakilty, where the coach stopped for breakfast; and here, for the first time, the horrors of the poverty became visible, in the vast number of famished poor, who flocked around the coach to beg alms: amongst them was a woman carrying in her arms the corpse of a fine child, and making the most distressing appeal to the passengers for aid to enable her to purchase a coffin and bury her dear little baby. This horrible spectacle induced me to make some inquiry about her, when I learned from the people of the hotel that each day brings dozens of such applicants into the town.

After leaving Clonakilty, each step that we took westward brought fresh evidence of the truth of the reports of the misery, as we either met a funeral or a coffin at every hundred yards, until we approached the country of the Shepperton Lakes. Here, the distress became more striking, from the decrease of numbers at the funerals, none having more than eight or ten attendants, and many only two or three

We next reached Skibbereen... We first proceeded to Bridgetown...and there I saw the dying, the living, and the dead, lying indiscriminately upon the same floor, without anything between them and the cold earth, save a few miserable rags upon them. To point to any particular house as a proof of this would be a waste of time, as all were in the same state; and, not a single house out of 500 could boast of being free from death and fever, though several could be pointed out with the dead lying close to the living for the space of three or four, even six days, without any effort being made to remove the bodies to a last resting place.

After leaving this abode of death, we proceeded to High-street, or Old Chapel-lane and there found one house, without door or window, filled with destitute people lying on the bare floor; and one, fine, tall, stout country lad, who had entered some hours previously to find shelter from the piercing cold, lay here dead amongst others likely soon to follow him. The appeals to the feelings and professional skill of my kind attendants here became truly heart-rending; and so distressed Dr. Donovan, that he begged me not to go into the house, and to avoid coming into contact with the people surrounding the doorway...

Next morning...I started for Ballidichob, and learned upon the road that we should come to a hut or cabin in the parish of Aghadoe, on the property of Mr. Long, where four people had lain dead for six days; and, upon arriving at the hut, the abode of Tim Harrington, we found this to be true; for there lay the four bodies, and a fifth was passing to the same bourne. On hearing our voices, the sinking man made an effort to reach the door, and ask for drink or fire; he fell in the doorway; there, in all probability to die; as the living cannot be prevailed to assist in the interments, for fear of taking the fever.

We next got to Skull, where, by the attention of Dr. Traill, vicar of the parish (and whose humanity at the present moment is beyond all praise), we witnessed almost indescribable in-door horrors. In the street, however, we had the best opportunity of judging of the condition of the people; for here, from three to five hundred women, with money in their hands, were seeking to buy food; whilst a few of the Government officers doled out Indian meal to them in their turn. One of the women told me she had been standing there since daybreak, seeking to get food for her family at home.

This food, it appeared, was being doled out in miserable quantities, at 'famine prices,' to the neighbouring poor, from a stock lately arrived in a sloop, with a Government steamship to protect its cargo of 50 tons; whilst the population amounts to 27,000; so that you may calculate what were the feelings of the disappointed mass.

Again, all sympathy between the living and the dead seems completely out of the question... I certainly saw from 150 to 180 funerals of victims to the want of food, the whole number attended by not more than 50 persons; and so hardened are the men regularly employed in the removal of the dead from the workhouse, that I saw one of them, with four coffins in a car, driving to the churchyard, sitting upon one of the said coffins, and smoking with much apparent enjoyment. The people also say that whoever escapes the fever is sure of falling sick on the road (the Public Works), as they are, in many instances, compelled to walk from three to six miles, and sometimes a greater distance, to work, and back again in the evening, without partaking of a morsel of food. Added to this, they are, in a great number of instances, standing in bogs and wet places, which so affects them, that many of the poor fellows have been known to drop down at their work."

The Vicar sits while Mullins lies in

the corner. Mullins died and 3 days

later, so too did the Vicar.

The editors of the London Telegraph make a comment on Mahoney's observations:

"A specimen of the in-door horrors of Scull may be seen in the annexed sketch of the hut of a poor man named Mullins, who lay dying in a corner upon a heap of straw.

April 20, 2010 at 6:45 AM Flag Quote & Reply

SWIFTY
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Posts: 1033

 

From the Irish Famine Commission Papers

 

 

Relief Commission written between 1844-1847.

 

The remit of the Relief Commission was to advise the government as to the extent of potato loss and distress within Ireland, to oversee the storage and distribution of Indian corn and meal and to direct, support and co-ordinate the activities of local relief committees. The Commission collected information from all local official sources regarding the advance of the potato disease and the condition of the populace. Reports were received from lieutenants of counties, resident magistrates, poor law guardians, the constabulary and the coast guard. These were collated and used to calculate the probable extent of food shortages.

 

Local relief committees were established on foot of instructions issued by the Relief Commission in February 1846. These were voluntary bodies consisting of local dignitaries, county officials, poor law guardians and clergymen. Their main duties were to encourage local employment, raise subscriptions and to purchase and distribute Indian corn from the depots established by the Relief Commission. The relief committees were financed by local voluntary subscriptions and could apply to the Lord Lieutenant for grants in proportion to the money subscribed locally. The Relief Commission instructed local committees to publish their subscription lists so as to discourage non-compliance by recalcitrant landowners. They were also directed to maintain lists of residents in every townland, noting the personal circumstance of each and were allowed to issue tickets of employment for public works. This function passed subsequently to the Board of Works, following allegations of mismanagement and the relief committees were limited to compiling lists of those eligible for employment. By August 1846, some 650 committees had been established. The majority were in the south and west of the country. There were fewer in the midlands and east and none in Armagh, Fermanagh, Londonderry and Tyrone. Local committees were also reorganised on foot of the Temporary Relief Act, 1847.

 

The Relief Commission was one of the main components of the Peel administration's official response to the Famine. The replacement of Peel with the Whig administration of Lord John Russell and the deepening crisis saw the other components of relief - the public works and the poor law system - assume greater significance and limited the role of the Commission as the central relief authority.

 

I most humbly beg leave to state that I have seven in family and the oldest of them thirteen years old only - I had got but 12 day employment from the commencement of the publick work up to this day which obliged me to sell every little article in my house and even to the blalnket on my bed for 1/3 of the value. Now I am called on the Cloonlustle (?) line my earning there won't support my family half the time but I trust your honor will look to me with a pitiful eye to put my little care in Backers forth line which would help me to support my little family. I can further state that I closed up my door and surrendered myself to the mercy of the Great God and did not know when His visit might call on myself and my little family being so weak with the starvation we met with, but the Great God was little good to me so far that Dan Gilmore of Garra and the two Thos. Buckley of Ballina and J. Gilmore of Ballina saw my miserable situation, and knowing I closed my door to die with starvation they alone managed (?) to step forward and relieved me with food.

 

John Hynes, Parish of Killian, Galway to Rev. T. Moran

Irish Famine Relief Commission Papers, 1844-1847


 

I most humbly beg leave to state that I have seven in family and the oldest of them thirteen years old only - I had got but 12 day employment from the commencement of the publick work up to this day which obliged me to sell every little article in my house and even to the blalnket on my bed for 1/3 of the value. Now I am called on the Cloonlustle (?) line my earning there won't support my family half the time but I trust your honor will look to me with a pitiful eye to put my little care in Backers forth line which would help me to support my little family. I can further state that I closed up my door and surrendered myself to the mercy of the Great God and did not know when His visit might call on myself and my little family being so weak with the starvation we met with, but the Great God was little good to me so far that Dan Gilmore of Garra and the two Thos. Buckley of Ballina and J. Gilmore of Ballina saw my miserable situation, and knowing I closed my door to die with starvation they alone managed (?) to step forward and relieved me with food.

 

John Hynes, Parish of Killian, Galway to Rev. T. Moran

Irish Famine Relief Commission Papers, 1844-1847

I most humbly beg leave to state that I have seven in family and the oldest of them thirteen years old only - I had got but 12 day employment from the commencement of the publick work up to this day which obliged me to sell every little article in my house and even to the blalnket on my bed for 1/3 of the value. Now I am called on the Cloonlustle (?) line my earning there won't support my family half the time but I trust your honor will look to me with a pitiful eye to put my little care in Backers forth line which would help me to support my little family. I can further state that I closed up my door and surrendered myself to the mercy of the Great God and did not know when His visit might call on myself and my little family being so weak with the starvation we met with, but the Great God was little good to me so far that Dan Gilmore of Garra and the two Thos. Buckley of Ballina and J. Gilmore of Ballina saw my miserable situation, and knowing I closed my door to die with starvation they alone managed (?) to step forward and relieved me with food.

 

John Hynes, Parish of Killian, Galway to Rev. T. Moran

Irish Famine Relief Commission Papers, 1844-1847



 

 


--

 

WHEN GENOCIDE BECAME "FAMINE" : IRELAND, 1845 - 1850

This petition seeks your support for a campaign to:

* Persuade relevant authors, editors and website content providers to stop using the word ‘Famine’ for what took place in Ireland between 1845 and 1850, and start using terms such as, "The Great Hunger" or 'An tOcras Mór

PETITION LINK- TO CHANGE THE WORD FAMINE http://www.petitions24.com/when_famine_became_genocide_ireland_1845_-_1850


April 24, 2010 at 4:26 AM Flag Quote & Reply

SWIFTY
Site Owner
Posts: 1033

 

The Famine--"The Times"--and Donegal


In the past number of weeks this Home Page has been publishing a series of articles dealing with conditions throughout Donegal as described by Thomas Campbell Foster, an English barrister commissioned by "The Times" of London during the harvest season of 1845 which marked the onslaught of the potato crop failure of that and succeeding years, culminating in the Irish Famine, with all the disastrous consequences that flowed from its horrors, horrors all too familiar to present-day television viewers of scenes from Ethiopia, Rwanda, and elsewhere.

 

As narrated in the first of these articles, Foster's visit to Donegal in September 1845 was followed within a matter of weeks by a news report in "The Ballyshannon Herald" of September 29 of that year, stating:

 

"The potato crop looks most luxuriant but some are

complaining that a disease has prevailed to a partial

extent...."

 

That "partial extent" was a most optimistic report, as succeeding months revealed.

 

Writing from Gweedore on September 6, Foster gave an entirely different picture of conditions from that which he drew earlier at Glenties and Dungloe. Here everything was depicted as ushering in the millennium, all due to the exertions of one caring, compassionate, resident landlord, Lord George Hill, who, seven years earlier, in 1848, "purchased several small properties in this neighbourhood, which, in the aggregate, amounted to upwards of 23,000 acres....The neighbourhood abounds with wild and magnificent mountain scenery; and at the period in question, though thickly populated in patches, was almost wholly uncultivated. Vast tracts of land capable of improvement and profitable cultivation were mere bog wastes, like many other portions of this county."

 

Foster took considerable pains to detail conditions in this area prior to Lord Hill's purchase of his estate, using extracts from a memorial drawn up in 1837 by the resident schoolmaster, one Patrick McKye, who sought to impress upon the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland the stark poverty of its people.

 

KcKye brought to his task the experience of a well-travelled man of his times. In his memorial he stated: "....the parishioners of this parish of West Tullaghabegley, in the barony of Kilmacrennan, and county of Donegal, are in the most needy, hungry, and naked condition of any people that ever came within the precincts of my knowledge, although I have travelled a part of nine counties in Ireland, also a part of England and Scotland, together with a part of British America; I have likewise perambulated 2,253 miles through some of the United States, and never witnessed the tenth part of such hunger, hardship, and nakedness."

 

McKye cited statistics in support of his case. Using the census of 1831 he gave the population as 9,049, with "but one cart and one plough, 20 shovels, 32 rakes, 2 feather beds, and 8 chaff beds."

 

"None of their married or unmarried women can afford more than one shift, and some cannot afford any; more than one-half of both men and women cannot afford shoes to their feet, nor can many of them afford a second bed, but whole families of sons and daughters of mature age indiscriminately lie together with their parents.

 

"They have no means of harrowing their land but with meadow rakes. Their farms are so small that from four to ten farms can be harrowed in a day with one rake.

 

"Their beds are straw, green and dried rushes, or mountain bent; their bedclothes are either coarse sheets, or no sheets, and ragged filthy blankets; and, worse than all I have mentioned, there is a general prospect of starvation."

 

Eight short years later, according to Foster, under the benevolent direction of Lord George Hill a transformation had been wrought.

 

Hill's estate in Gweedore has been the subject of a number of studies in recent years. Back in 1845 Foster relied greatly on Hill's own account of his management, which Hill prepared and published in a booklet, titled "Facts from Gweedore". Foster also gave his own eye-witness evidence, in his own characteristic fashion, as follows:

 

"The people here are for the most part the aboriginal Irish, and speak the Erse language. Lord George Hill learned their language, mixed among them, and taught them by example to do what he told them. Near the mouth of the river he built a corn store to receive all their produce; if they wished to sell it. To meet their numerous wants, and to save them from extortion, he built a shop at the store, and the people, having sold their corn at one side can obtain at the other any article of crockery, grocery, saddlery, ironmongery, timber, iron, ropes, meal, leather, woollen goods, or useful medicines, which they may require, at the market prices of Londonderry. This is the only market for their goods, and the only shop at which they can purchase anything for twenty miles round. A dispensary was also built, and a sessions-house erected. A quay was made for vessels to unload at the store, and a corn-mill erected. Then followed a school, in which I yesterday saw some 30 as neatly-dressed and clean-looking children as can be seen in England."

 

Undoubtedly these were all progressive and much-needed measures in the climate of the times, and Hill deserved his own and Foster's pat on the back. Viewed through late twentieth-century eyes, what Hill had was a company town, with a company store.

 

The only obstacles to these wondrous improvements, according to both Foster and Hill, were the aboriginal Irish. As stated by Foster: "The people, utterly ignorant and both mentally and physically degraded, resolutely opposed every step to improvement."

 

Contrasted with his experiences in Glenties and Dungloe, Foster described his visits to tenant cotters in Gweedore. "I yesterday went through some of the cottages the tenants of which had won premiums for them. There was no dirt, no filth. They were well built and whitewashed. The crockery (they never had anything beyond an iron pot before) was neatly arranged; there was no smoke in the houses; and, what was worth more than all, the women showed their houses with pride, and were delighted at the commendations they received, and the men seemed no less proud of their little farms, and showed their crops of turnips, oats, and improvements, with evident pleasure."

 

Curiously, Foster did not mention anything about the potato harvest, soon to be killed by blight, but did note otherwise apparently abundant crops.

 

"Two and a half years ago 500l. worth of oats were sold by the tenants at the market price at the store; last year 1,300l. worth was sold; and this year there is a vastly increased produce. Large quantities of kelp have also been bought from them to encourage their industry."

 

Nor did Foster have anything bad to say about the hotel where he stayed, another Lord Hill project, and from which he observed: "At the river-side facing the hotel I saw about 30 men at work, lowering the bed of the river. The men, generally, are small in stature; but I never saw more diligent labourers. These men, who, four years ago, did not know how to use a spade except in their own way, and who were annually starving, are now working well, doing their best, and receiving good wages."

 

Foster's snapshot of conditions in Gweedore in 1845 depicted one happy family with one happy landlord, and the unstated promise of an Irish utopia in the making. Before the end of the century the Gweedore evictions painted a much grimmer picture, leading to the death of R.I.C. police-inspector Martin and the trial of Father McFadden on a charge of murder. Hill's Garden of Eden had vanished. Today, Foster's pen-picture is all that remains of it.

 

Some Footnotes

The Harpoon Gun

As an aside to Foster's harping on the lack of local enterprise, a return to Arthur Young's "A Tour in Ireland" cited last week, uncovers a reference to one resident of Kilmacrennan, Thomas Nesbit, not a native name. To him Young gave recognition for the invention of the whaling gun harpoon, and asserted:

 

"From many experiments, he brought the operation to such a success that, for some years, he never missed a whale, nor failed of holding her by the harpoon; he had for some time ill success, from firing when too near, for the harpoon does not then fly true, but at 14 or 15 yards distance, which is what he would chuse (sic), it flies straight; he has killed several at 25 yards."

 

Young added:

 

"I have been the more particular in giving an account of this undertaking because the Society for the Encouragement of Arts, &c. at London, has long since given premiums for the invention of the gun harpoon, supposing it to be original."

 

One wonders if Nesbit's invention is still remembered in Kilmacrennan.

 

The Irish Holocaust

 

On January 8, 1947, verdicts of "death by starvation" were returned at five inquests held at Bantry, Co. Kerry. This was a common verdict whenever inquests were held. In hundreds of thousands of cases no inquests were conducted, the volume of deaths making it impossible to hold them.

 

The five Bantry inquests are singled out for attention simply because they were followed shortly by portions of a letter published in the "Cork Examiner":

 

"Each day brings with it its own horrors. The mind recoils from the contemplation of the scenes we are compelled to witness every hour. Ten inquests in Bantry--there should have been at least two hundred inquests. Every day, every hour produces its own victims--holocausts offered at the shrine of political economy."

 

The present writer is indebted to John O'Rourke for including this quotation in his book "The Great Irish Famine", cited previously. To my belief, its use in January 1847 was the first time "holocaust" was applied to the Irish Famine, forerunner of another holocaust of more recent memory, during the Second World War.

 

Burial Methods

 

As noted at the start of this issue, television viewers worldwide have been witnesses to the horrific consequences of famine and genocide in Africa and Europe in recent decades. All remember the pictures of mass graves, corpses piled on corpses.

In Ireland, during the Famine, so many graveyards were so quickly filled up that burial pits were opened to receive the bodies of the dead. At first, an attempt was made to provide coffins for all. It was an impossible task. Mass burials demanded new methods, which led to the creation of the hinged coffin, reusable and recyclable.

 

"In Donegal," wrote R. J. McHugh in "The Great Famine, Studies in Irish History 1845-52", editors R. Dudley Edwards and T. Desmond Williams (1956), "such coffins are called comhunracha measóige, coffins with moveable bottoms like panniers, and are described as having one side fastened by a couple of loops of rope with a bolt across underneath secured by another rope-loop which could be untied easily."

 

An even more efficient corpse disposal system was devised by digging pits near hospitals and workhouses.

 

"People dying in Castlerea [Co. Galway] workhouse were put into a room along whose sloping floor-boards they could be slid into a grave-pit outside the gable; the gable grew black from the lime used and was called the Black Gable The terror which such places inspired was one reason for people's hatred of the workhouse."

 

McHugh, and his fellow contributors, have preserved these and other contemporary records of such burial practices.

 

"To Hell or to Canada"

 

The voluminous material already available at this time of the 150th commemoration of the Irish Famine can be overwhelming. New sources of contemporary information are being discovered monthly, if not weekly. Horror is piled on graphic horror, until the whole becomes unwholesome to those of weak stomach.

 

It is, therefore, a relief to unearth from O'Rourke's almost 600 pages (see Number 1), reference to a proposed mass emigration scheme, under which 2,000,000 (two million) Catholics were to be transported from Ireland to Canada within a period of three years. This was seriously put forward in the spring of 1847, and the attached 51-page memorial was signed by:

 

"one archbishop (denomination undetermined), four marquises, seven earls, three viscounts, thirteen barons, nine baronets, eighteen members of parliament, and several deputy-lieutenants."

 

One of the signatories was the self-same Lord George Hill, Foster's much vaunted landlord of Gweedore.

 

Given the demographics of the time, had the scheme been implemented, Irish might now be one of Canada's official languages. (See "An Attempt to make Gaelic Canada's third Official Language" in "The Untold Story: The Irish in Canada", Celtic Arts of Canada, 1988.

 

For the famine stricken people of Ireland, it was a New World twist on Cromwell's oft-quoted diktat, "To Hell or to Connacht!"

 

Foster's "Winged Art"

 

This series was prompted by a reading of T. C. Foster's 1846 book on conditions in Ireland as he protrayed them for the readers of "The Times" newspaper, the then principal organ of the English ruling class.

 

The first number said of Foster:

 

"He was a keen observer and a good reporter."

 

How he came to be a good reporter has just come to this writer's notice, in fact, on Sunday, 21/04/96.

 

As recorded by E. C. Large in his book "The Advance of the Fungi", Jonathan Cape Ltd. (1940), reprinted by Dover Publications Inc., New York (p.22):

 

"Mr. Foster was called to the Bar in the following year (1846); he had a judicial mind and had recently perfected a new system of shorthand, very useful for the recording of facts."

 

As one who has spent a working lifetime writing shorthand, I hasten to share this knowledge of Foster's accomplishment with a global fraternity of court, newspaper and parliamentary reporters.

 

 

 

"The Times" and Donegal Navigation


--

 

WHEN GENOCIDE BECAME "FAMINE" : IRELAND, 1845 - 1850

This petition seeks your support for a campaign to:

* Persuade relevant authors, editors and website content providers to stop using the word ‘Famine’ for what took place in Ireland between 1845 and 1850, and start using terms such as, "The Great Hunger" or 'An tOcras Mór

PETITION LINK- TO CHANGE THE WORD FAMINE http://www.petitions24.com/when_famine_became_genocide_ireland_1845_-_1850


May 31, 2010 at 12:22 PM Flag Quote & Reply

SWIFTY
Site Owner
Posts: 1033

 

The Famine--"The Times"--and Donegal


The fourth and final letter written in County Donegal by Thomas Campbell Foster, appointed commissioner by "The Times" of London to inquire into "the condition of the people of Ireland" in 1845, just prior to the potato crop failure and the succeeding horrors of the Irish Famine, was datelined Dunfanaghy, September 10.

 

Just nineteen days later, on September 29, "The Ballyshannon Herald's" harvest report noted an average wheat crop, an abundant oats crop, more than an average crop of barley of excellent quality, and the turnip crop "looking well". The next sentence in its report began: "The potato crop looks most luxuriant but some are complaining that a disease has prevailed to a partial extent", chilling words when read in retrospect with full knowledge of the deaths, sufferings, emigration, and land clearances that followed.

 

Some present-day revisionist historians dispute the contention that, all during the Famine years, food produced in abundance in Ireland was shipped out of the country to pay rents to, in most cases, absentee landlords. Foster's letters from Donegal and other areas of the country, written at the time of the first failure of the potato crop, are contemporary evidence to the contrary. There was abundant other food, but not for the starving Irish of Donegal, Fermanagh, Leitrim, Connacht, Munster, and parts of Leinster.

 

Whatever his other qualifications might have been, Foster was a meticulous recorder of statistics, and his measurements of food production were based not only on his own observations but also on estate managers' records, records that cannot conceal the man-made nature of the Famine.

 

The potato blight affected practically all of Europe, but continental populations were not dying by the scores, the hundreds, and the thousands as a result. Other food, if not abundant, was at least sufficient to make up the shortfall, and that other food was not shipped abroad to pay absentee landlords in England.

 

Foster's letter from Dunfanaghy was the ninth in the series. In all, he wrote forty articles, the last dated London, February 25, 1846. His Dunfanaghy survey departed from previous assessments of local conditions in the areas he visited. In effect, it amounted to an attempt to justify his own prejudiced opinions of the qualities of native Irish tenants and workers as opposed to those of the English and Scottish farmers holding lands seized from the native Irish during the Plantation of Ulster.

 

Fully aware of the controversy likely to erupt on revealing his findings, he endeavoured to sideline criticism by claiming, early in his letter:

 

"I enter on this inquiry with perfect impartiality--for I have no possible interest in upholding an opinion either one way or the other, and only seek the conclusion to which common sense points."

 

How far did Mr. Foster's conclusions go to uphold his "perfect impartiality" and common sense? A few excerpts from his ninth letter are illuminating:

 

"I know right well that I write on tender ground, and that I lay myself open to the charge of 'national prejudice' if I write a syllable in favour of the population of the north-east of Ireland. But I do not come to bandy compliments, but to ascertain facts and to state them. It is the nature of the men on the east coast of Ireland, by their activity, their enterprise, their intelligence, and their industry, to rise to wealth and prosperity--to push themselves--to accomplish greatness. It is their history in every quarter of the known world where they have been placed. It is the nature of the men on the west coast [i.e. Donegal] to cling with strong affection and prejudice to old habits, to their land, to their kindred. Enterprise is forced upon them; they do not seek it as one of the pleasures of existence. The middle classes live by subletting, and subletting, and again subletting the land at increased rentals. This is the extent of their enterprise."

 

He added an observation on the poorer classes:

 

"As they increase, they divide and subdivide the patch of land they possess; they submit to live on poorer and poorer food; still they cling to the land, and subdivide it with their children till rent no longer exists, the land will not keep them, and all starve together. Their highest ambition is to obtain 'a blanket and a shelter for Sally,' and potatoes for themselves and their children. This was positively the fact at Tanniwilly, near Killybegs, in this county, on a property belonging to the Board of Education. The people being left to themselves subdivided land till they could pay no rent, and at length it would not keep them, and they were found a year or two ago by the Poor Law Commissioners lying in their huts, without food or clothes, all starving together in the most frightful state of destitution. There are numerous instances of the same result when the inhabitants of the west coast are left to themselves; leave the people on the east coast to themselves and they are sure to prosper."

 

There it was, plain and simple. To Foster, reporting to the readers of "The Times" newspaper from "the wretched place where I now write", Dunfanaghy, it was due to the nature of the Irish people in Donegal that they starved, and due to the nature of planters in Antrim, Down and elsewhere that they prospered. He gave no other account of conditions in Dunfanaghy.

 

Foster's comments on Muff are found in his next (tenth) letter, written at "Londonderry, September 13", three days later. Since this series of articles is focused on his reports on conditions in Donegal, his descriptions of Derry City are omitted. However, dealing with the surrounding countryside Foster had nothing but praise for "the twelve chief companies of London" by whose efforts the city and surrounding territories were planted with English settlers. Here are his findings, again in his own words:

 

"The companies, by managing the greater part of the country around by intelligent agents--along with the gentry, who are mostly here resident, and vie with them--have completely changed the aspect of everything, as compared with more western districts. Good farm houses, large squared fields, good fences, and abundant crops, exhibit ample evidence of the benefits derivable from the application of capital and enlightened industry.

 

"I had the opportunity, on Thursday, of passing through a large district of country, the greater part of which is the property of the Grocers' Company. About seven miles from this town that company has erected a well-built village called Muff. Everything about it had the peaceful, industrious, well-cultivated, and cleanly aspect which distinguishes the better parts of England. Nothing could be more luxuriant and beautiful than the crops of wheat, just ripe for the sickle. This estate is managed by Mr. Wiggins, an Englishman, who is the agent of the company. The Drapers' Company have also a very well managed estate, which is superintended by Mr. Miller, an Irishman. The Fishmongers' Company are also equally well spoken of in their management, and several of the companies are following their example."

 

Foster concluded:

 

"How clearly does all this indicate that the evils which oppress other parts of Ireland--which convert its fertile lands into deserts, and its people into starving and turbulent men--are social? The thriving population and generally high state of cultivation of the county of Derry, arising from the well-directed application of the capital of the landlords, and of the intelligent industry of the people, exist under the same laws with, and not many miles apart from, the starvation and wretchedness and waste lands of the Rosses and the Island of Arran, in Donegal."


May 31, 2010 at 12:25 PM Flag Quote & Reply

SWIFTY
Site Owner
Posts: 1033

 

In his last report before departing Ireland, datelined Dublin, January 6, 1846, Foster endeavoured to undertake "a calm review of my five months' tour in Ireland, now drawing to a close." Want of employment, want of capital, and the role of landlords and their agents, the middle-men, were subjects of his review, and he found the practices of the middle-men particularly deplorable. However, his greatest plea was for law and order. Here is Foster at his most revealing:

 

"The outrages and shootings (in) Tipperary and some adjacent counties are disgraceful to the nation--they mark the existence amongst the people of the most cowardly and savage brutality. It is folly to apply to such a society the humane and moderate provisions of laws adapted only for a peaceful and orderly and independent community."

 

Now well launched, he continued: "A free and liberal Government--mild and humane laws, which depend as much upon the co-operation and aid of the people as upon the law or the Government--are only fitted for an enlightened and orderly and just community; they are hopeless and mischievous in a cowardly, a savage, a brutalized, and an ignorant one. Such a people will bear and require a more despotic rule.

 

"Fine the community for every crime, and enforce the fine. If crime still goes on, send another thousand policemen into the county, and make the county bear the whole expense....

 

"If a criminal is sentenced to transportation pack him off at once. Do not give him time in gaol to leave behind him amongst his friends a legacy of revenge. Punish every crime with a fitting punishment. What cares the man who can gloat over revenge, perpetrated or determined upon, for a three months' imprisonment? Cat-o-nine-tail him at a cart's tail throughout the chief town of the neighbourhood--hold him up to the scorn and derision of his neighbours for having been a cowardly brute with just courage enough to skulk behind a hedge and try to shoot an unconscious victim, or knock him senseless with a stone from behind.

 

"At the termination of his imprisonment give him a repetition of the same dose, and send him home to his friends to doctor his back for him. A few such examples as these would have a thousand times greater effect than all the rewards and proclamations in the world.

 

"Strive by overwhelming force to make the punishment of crime certain, and make its punishment terrible. If an outcry is raised against you by vagabonds and the press of the "Vindicator" class, never mind it; uphold what is good in the community, and the clamour of the worthless will not injure you.

 

"With a firm and determined hand put down agitation, whether that agitation be Orange or Repeal. If necessary, fear not to do it despotically. Remember you are dealing with a people who in the mass are almost uncivilized. Like children they require governing with the hand of power. They require authority, and will bear it. A more enlightened community would not require it and would not bear it."

 

One wonders if Mr. Foster, proponent of cat-o-nine-tail floggings, would find the Irish people one hundred and fifty years on a civilized, enlightened community.

 

In its own official "The History of the Times", vol. II, 1841-1884, published in 1939, Foster's commission was commemorated largely in the context of the unrelenting hostility shown by "The Times" towards the Irish Liberator, Daniel O'Connell. The following extract shows that the hostility continued beyond the grave and into the 20th century:

 

"During the autumn and winter Foster's articles began to appear regularly, each, as a rule, occupying a whole page of the paper. They showed a patient exactitude in description of the social conditions wherever he travelled, and a marked absence of political or religious partiality. O'Connell immediately fell upon Foster, denouncing him at the Repeal meetings in Conciliation Hall as 'the gutter commissioner of 'the infamous Times'. There followed a furious controversy, which Foster brought to a climax by descending upon O'Connell's own property at Darrynane, and sending to The Times a minute and merciless description of the squalor in which the Liberator's tenants lived. Writing of the poorest part of the property, called Darrynane Beg, he said, inter alia, "The distress of the people was horrible. There is not a pane of glass in the parish, nor a window of any kind in half the cottages."

 

These words were made the target of the full fury of O'Connell's wrath. "The miscreant says there is not a pane of glass in the parish of Darrynane Beg," he declaimed to a cheering audience in Conciliation Hall. "I wish to the Lord he had as many pains in his belly!"

 

Something like an international controversy was soon raging about whether there was a pane of glass in Darrynane Beg.

 

"The Times" sent Russell (its own reporter) to make a report on O'Connell's property. According to the newspaper's official history, Russell:

 

"...spent three days at Darrynane, was shown around by Maurice O'Connell, the Liberator's eldest son, and confirmed the accuracy of Foster's account. The Times solemnly announced the vindication of its Commissioner; O'Connell soared to fresh heights of patriotic wrath. Two gutter Commissioners improved the quantity but not the quality. "The calumnies against me occupy not a line less that six mortal columns of The Times newspaper. Six columns! Why, you would not have the heart to throw at the dog of your enemy such a violent instrument or weapon as six columns of The Times newspaper."

 

O'Connell's sarcasm was lost on "The Times" even as late as 1939.


May 31, 2010 at 12:27 PM Flag Quote & Reply

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