Appearance of the People

The hotel keeper was in the habit of collecting a few shillings from lodgers and travelers, and distributing them in pennies, to the starving, in the morning. These recipients were as ravenous as hungry lions and tigers, as void of reason, and more disgusting to the sight. If man is to be guided by reason, then when reason is extinct, upon what can he fall back? If the instinct that is planted in man is the image of God, in which He is made, then where this God is extinguished there can be nothing but a wreck—a mass of neither man nor brute; for if he have lost the image of God, and has not the instinct of animals, he stands out an unnatural growth, to be wondered at rather than admired. I could scarcely believe that these creatures were my fellow-beings. Never had I seen slaves so degraded; and here I learnt that there are many pages in the volume of slavery, and that every branch of it proceeds from one and the same root, though it assumes different shapes. These poor creatures are in as virtual bondage to their landlords and superiors as is possible for mind or body to be. They cannot work unless they bid them; they cannot eat unless they feed them; and they cannot get away unless they help them.

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

Annals of the Famine in Ireland

Read Annals of the Famine in Ireland at your leisure and help support this free Irish library.

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.