Introduction to the American Edition

Asenath Nicholson

Mrs. Asenath Nicholson, the author of the following pages, is a native of Vermont, where she is extensively known, (by her maiden name of Hatch,) as an able teacher. She is also widely known as for many years the keeper of a boarding house in this city, (on the Vegetarian principle,) which used to be the resort of hundreds of choice spirits from all parts of the country, including most of the names of those who were engaged in measures of social reform. She is a woman of great acuteness of intellect, and of the most self-sacrificing benevolence, with great independence of mind and force of character.

Her visits to Ireland and labors there are but the workings of her character; and those who are best acquainted with her wonder neither at her courage nor at her adventurous and untiring charity.

Her first work on Ireland—"The Stranger's Welcome," narrates her travels and observations prior to the Great Famine of 1847. It was republished in this city some years ago. The present work recites some of the scenes which she witnessed during that calamitous season. Her heart was in a continual agony, and her limbs wearied by incessant toils to relieve if it could be only a small part of the misery she witnessed. In answer to appeals on her behalf, some funds were placed at her disposal from this country, by friends who knew how effectively they would be employed in her hands. The tale of woe should be read by the whole American people; it will have a salutary effect upon their minds, to appreciate more fully the depth of oppression and wretchedness from which the Irish poor escape in coming to this land of plenty.

For the sake of giving a wider circulation to the material facts of the Famine and its effects, the American publisher has thought it advisable to omit some chapters which were contained in the English edition, giving a history of Ireland from the conquest by Henry II. of England; as this information can be obtained in other works.

J. L.

New York, April, 1851.