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

John Mitchel
Author’s Edition (undated)

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—and let the begging-box pass on. Neither as loans nor as alms will we take that which is our own. We spit upon the benevolence that robs us of a pound, and flings back a penny in charity. Contribute, now, if you will—these will be your thanks!

"But who has craved this charity? Why, the Queen of England, and her Privy Council, and two officers of her government, named Trevelyan and Burgoyne! No Irishman that we know of has begged alms from England.

"But the English insist on our remaining beggars. Charitable souls that they are, they like better to give us charity than to let us earn our bread! And consider the time when this talk of almsgiving begins:—our 'abundant harvest,' for which they are to thank God to-morrow, is still here; and there has been talk of keeping it here. So they say to one another—'Go to; let us promise them charity and church-subscriptions: they are a nation of beggars; they would rather have alms than honest earnings; let us talk of alms, and they will send us the bread from their tables, the cattle from their pastures, the coats from their backs!'

"We charge the 'Government,' we charge the Cabinet Council at Osborne House, with this base plot. We tell our countrymen that a man named Trevelyan, a Treasury Clerk—the man who advised and administered the Labour Act—that this Trevelyan has been sent to Ireland, that he, an Englishman, may send over, from this side the Channel, a petition to the charitable in England. We are to be made to beg, whether we will or no. The Queen begs for us; the Archbishop of Canterbury begs for us: and they actually send a man to Ireland that a veritable Irish begging-petition may not be a-wanting.

"From Salt-hill Hotel, at Kingstown, this piteous cry goes forth to England. 'In justice,' Trevelyan says, 'to those who have appointed a general collection in the churches on the 17th, and still more in pity to the unhappy people in the western districts of Ireland,' he implores his countrymen to have mercy; and gets his letter published in the London papers (along with another from Sir John Burgoyne), to stimulate the charity of those good and well-fed Christians who will enjoy the luxury of benevolence to-morrow.

"Once more, then, we scorn, we repulse, we curse, all English alms: and only wish these sentiments of ours could reach before noon to-morrow every sanctimonious thanksgiver in England, Scotland, Wales, and Berwick-upon-Tweed."

In the same number, the Nation took the pains to collect and present statistics, by which it appeared that every day, one day with another, twenty large steamships, not counting sailing vessels, left Ireland for England, all laden with that "abundant harvest"—for which the English, indeed, might well give thanks in their churches.

Another example will finish the subject of alms. At a meeting of the Irish Confederation, it was determined to pass a resolution of thanks to those foreign nations, especially the Americans, who would have fed our people if they could ...continue reading »

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