Achill

I passed the Christmas and New Year's-day in Achill, in the colony of Mr. Nangle, and to the honor of the inhabitants would say, they did not send me to Molly Vesey's to lodge; but more than one family offered to entertain me. Mr. Nangle I heard preach again, and as he figured considerably in the first volume of my work, it may be said here that he refused any reconciliation, did not speak though a good opportunity presented; and when he was expostulated with by a superintendent of his schools, who informed him that I had visited numbers of them, and put clothes upon some of the most destitute, he coolly replied, "If she can do any good I am glad of it."

He had eleven schools scattered through that region, reading the scriptures, and learning Irish; but all through these parts might be seen the fallacy of distributing a little over a great surface. The scanty allowance given to children once a day, and much of this bad food, kept them in lingering want, and many died at last. So with workmen. Mr. Nangle had many men working in his bogs, near Mr. Savage, and so scantily were they paid—sometimes but three-pence and three-pence-halfpenny a day—that some at least would have died but for the charity of Mrs. Savage. These men had families to feed, and must work till Saturday, then go nine miles into the colony to procure the Indian meal for the five days' work. This he truly called giving his men "employ."

Another sad evil prevalent in nearly all the relief-shops was, damaged Indian meal. And here without any personality, leaving the application where it belongs, having a knowledge of the nature of this article, it is placed on record, that the unground corn that was sent from America, and bought by the Government of England, and carried round the coast and then ground in the mills, which did not take off the hull, much of it having been damaged on the water, became wholly unfit for use, and was a most dangerous article for any stomach. Many of the shops I found where this material was foaming and sputtering in kettles over the fire, as if a handful of soda had been flung in, and sending forth an odor really unpleasant; and when any expostulation was made, the answer was, "They're quite glad to get it," or, "We use such as is put into our hands—the government must see to that." Such meal, a good American farmer would not give to his swine unless for physic, and when the half-starved poor, who had been kept all their life on potatoes, took this sour, mouldy, harsh food, dysentery must be the result. One of the Dublin Relief Committee stated, that the government had kindly offered to save them the trouble of carriage by taking the American donations, as they arrived, and giving them an equiyalent of that which was already on the coast, which they had purchased: this equivalent was the corn above-mentioned, and the American donations were in the best possible order, and the very article to which the poor were entitled.

Let the policemen speak if they will speak, and testify, if many an injured ton of meal has not been flung into the sea in the night, from ports in Ireland, which was sent for the poor, and by neglect spoiled, while the objects for whom it was intended died without relief. The novel prudence, too, which prevailed nearly everywhere, was keeping the provisions for next week while the people were dying this, lest they should come short of funds, to buy more, or no more would be given them.

Read "Annals of the Famine in Ireland" at your leisure

Annals of the Famine in Ireland

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This book still has the power to shock and sadden even though the events described are ever-receding further into the past. When you read, for example, of the poor widowed mother who was caught trying to salvage a few potatoes from her landlord's field, and what the magistrate discovered in the pot in her cabin, you cannot help but be apalled and distressed.

The text of this new edition has professionally been reset and an index added to the paperback.


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