Alms for Ireland during the Famine - The Last Conquest of Ireland (Perhaps)

John Mitchel
Author’s Edition (undated)

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The present writer, as another citizen of Dublin, seconded Mr O'Grorman's resolution, and the report of my observations has these sentences:—

"I have listened with pain and disappointment to the proceedings of a meeting purporting to be a meeting of the citizens of Dublin, called at such a crisis, and to deliberate upon so grave a subject, yet at which the resolutions and speakers, as with one consent, have carefully avoided speaking out what nine-tenths of us feel to be the plain truth in this matter. But the truth, my lord, must be told—and the truth is, that Ireland starves and perishes simply because the English have eaten us out of house and home. Moreover, that all the legislation of their Parliament is, and will be, directed to this one end—to enable them hereafter to eat us out of house and home as heretofore. It is for that sole end they have laid their grasp upon Ireland, and it is for that, and that alone, they will try to keep her."

Greatly to the consternation of the quiet and submissive gentlemen who had convened the meeting, O'Gorman's resolution was adopted by overwhelming acclamation.

Take another illustration of the spirit in which British charity was received by the Irish people. The harvest of Ireland was abundant and superabundant in 1847, as it had been the year before. The problem was, as before, to get it quietly and peacefully over to England. Therefore the Archbishop of Canterbury issued a form of thanksgiving for an "abundant harvest," to be read in all churches on Sunday, the 17th of October. One Trevelyan, a Treasury clerk, had been sent over to Ireland on some pretence of business; and the first thing he did when he landed was to transmit to England an humble entreaty that the Queen would deign to issue a royal "Letter," asking alms in all those churches on the day of thanksgiving. The petition was complied with; the Times grumbled against these eternal Irish beggars; and the affair was thus treated in the Nation, which certainly spoke for the people more authentically then any other journal:—

"Cordially, eagerly, thankfully we agree with the English Times in this one respect:—there ought to be no alms for Ireland.

"It is an impudent proposal, and ought to be rejected with scorn and contumely. We are sick of this eternal begging. If but one voice in Ireland should be raised against it; that voice shall be ours. To-morrow, to-morrow, over broad England, Scotland, and Wales, the people who devour our substance from year to year, are to offer up their canting thanksgivings for our 'abundant harvest,' and to fling us certain crumbs and crusts of it for charity. Now, if any church-going Englishman will hearken to us; if we may be supposed in any degree to speak for our countrymen, we put up our petition thus: Keep your alms, ye canting robbers;—button your pockets upon the Irish plunder that is in them; ...continue reading »

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