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vering exertions. It evinced the zeal and humane consideration of men who felt that the lives of millions were at stake. The result has been of the utmost value to the country. The famine was effectually stayed. The people in most places recovered their former strength and appearance. Fever and dysentery, the consequence of previous suffering, still continued to prevail in many parts; but the mortality was greatly lessened. These good results were effected at much less cost than that of the public works, which left somany of the very destitute totally unrelieved. The time approached at which the act would expire. The coming harvest, affording employment and reducing the price of food, rendered the cessation of relief safer than might have been anticipated. Orders were therefore given to lessen the numbers receiving rations gradually, retaining for the last the widow and orphan, and those disabled by infirmity or sickness; and finally, orders were given to close all relief under this act, in some of the best circumstanced unions, on the 15th August ; and in the rest, according to their ability, on the 29th of August or the 12th of September. There were three unions, Antrim, Belfast, and
“ these trials, he has put into the ground an acre and a half of oats, half an “acre of potatoes, and three roods of turnips. “Oh sir,’ said he, “must “I sell my life and the life of my children next year, to keep them alive “ now P’ ”
Newtownards, which made no application for assistance, their local resources enabling them to support their own poor. In the union of Larne, application was made on account of one electoral division only. These unions lie contiguous to each other, being in the counties of Antrim and Down. In general, the management of measures for relief of distress appears to have been much better in Ulster than any of the other provinces, certainly better than in Munster or Connaught. There is a middle class in the greater part of Ulster, and they have been thus enabled to co-operate efficiently, whether for the distribution of private charity, or for the administration of the legal relief.” In Connaught it was often impracticable to obtain any co-operation. Those who wished to assist in relieving the destitute were generally obliged to labour single-handed, having no one near them. This has been and is a great difficulty,
* Although none of the unions in Leinster or Munster were able to support the poor within their limits, during this period of severe pressure, without assistance under the Temporary Act, yet in many places the law was very well administered. The measures taken by private committees, previous to the passing of that act, were also marked in several cases by the active and benevolent co-operation of a middle class. The arrangements adopted by the relief committee for the parish of Castletown, in the Queen's County, furnish an interesting evidence of this. Subscriptions were collected by them to the amount of £176 10s. 6d., the largest contribution being £20 from a non-resident proprietor, and a large portion being in small sums, varying from twenty shillings down to two shillings and sixpence. Subscriptions are acknowledged from almost every one in the parish above immediate want. A committee of thirty-seven persons was appointed, some being particularly named for the care of each townland, many of the committee being small farmers, holders of ten to fifteen acres. They state that, after much consideration, they decided to afford relief to the distressed, by a weekly allowance of money, and they give some very cogent reasons for
their decision. The money was distributed on each townland by the members of the committee, specially appointed to attend to it, to whom all the recipients of relief were personally known. They kept a tabular statement, showing the weekly allowances on each townland, and the number of families and individuals relieved. The average distribution was £17 12s. per week, for the four weeks ending the 22nd of January. And the average number relieved each week was 200 families, consisting of 921 persons, so that the weekly allowance was about four pence halfpenny for each individual. The exertions of this efficient and intelligent committee appear to have been very successful. The following statement of the arrangements adopted in Werburgh's parish, Dublin, show that a similar mode of arrangement is equally applicable to a town or city: “The parish was divided into districts containing certain streets and “ lanes; two visitors were appointed for each district; who went to “every room, cellar, &c., and closely examined into the condition and “circumstances of every individual or family. Their reports to a ge“neral committee were entered in a book, in which was noted down the “street, number, what part of house, name, number in family, occupa“tion, circumstances, and which had also ruled columns for the weekly “assistance granted to each. The name of each was read out in open “committee, and the amount of relief (for a week) decided on—that “relief being in the shape of an order for food; the order being initialed “by the chairman, the visitor was then at liberty to issue it. Five provi“sion dealers were selected, who resided in the parish, and the party “relieved was at liberty to take his ticket to any of the five, thus leaving “him to select and purchase from the dealer who gave him the best “value. We considered this to be more economical than if we had pur“chased food, and kept up a staff of officers to distribute it, besides do“ing a positive good to a class of people who would themselves have be“come paupers if they had lost their trade. At every subsequent weekly “meeting of the committee the entire list was gone through, the visitors “reporting upon each case, and stating whether the relief should be “continued for another week, increased, or diminished; or (in case the
and can only be removed by such legal changes, as may enable those who do not choose to reside, to dispose of their property to others more willing or more able to perform its duties. The following statement of the numbers receiving rations, and the total expenditure under the act, in each of the four provinces, compared with the amount of population and the annual value assessed for poor-rate, may serve to illustrate the comparative means and destitution of each pro
Vince : *
Population. Valuation. o: o: Essore Ulster ... 2,386,373 ... 3,320,133 ... 346,517 ... £170,598 Leinster ... 1,973,731 ... 4,624,542 ... 450,606 ... 308,068 Munster ... 2,396,161 ... 3,777, 103 ... 1,013,826 ... 671,554 Connaught ... 1,418,859 ... 1,465,643 ... 745,652 ... 526,048
8,175,124 13,187,421 2,556,601 361,676,268
“ party had obtained employment, or removed out of the parish) be dis“continued. This system worked most satisfactorily.” * The total expenditure under the act appears, by the Seventh Report of the Relief Commissioners, to have amounted, when that report was made up, to £1,616,268 lls. 7d., which sum they state may be altered in a trifling degree by the payment of some small outstanding checks before their accounts are finally closed. The statement given above is as close an estimate of the number of rations given out, and the expenditure in each separate province, as the writer is enabled to make, from the information as yet furnished by the relief commissioners. It is probably sufficiently exact for practical purposes.
State of the country on expiration of temporary relief act—Plentiful harvest—Difficulties of the country lessened but not ended—Prevalence of disease—Want of clothing–Domestic manufactures—Sources of employment—Totally insufficient for the number of labourers— Extent of destitution–Condition of the western coast of Ireland— Great wretchedness of the people—Aggravated by the present calamity —Consequent apathy—Inevitably resulting from their hopeless condition—Anxiety for employment—Great diminution in the number of marriages—Prevalence of crime and pretence of poverty.
The first year of difficulty has terminated. One third of the people had been reduced to destitution by the loss of the potato crop, and the partial failure of the oat harvest. Of these many have died; many of those who could raise the requisite funds have emigrated to America; others have removed to England; the rest have been kept alive by employment on public works, by private local charity, by local subscriptions, by contributions from all parts of the world, and finally, by the most extensive system of gratuitous distribution of food of which history affords any record. This distribution has now ceased. The relief commissioners have gradually reduced, and finally