Irish Famine Report from Roscommon (1846)

From Transactions of the Central Relief Committee of the Society of Friends during the Famine in Ireland in 1846 and 1847

Extracts from Joseph Crosfield's Report of his journey in company with William Forster, made to the London Relief Committee of the Society of Friends.

Roscommon, 3rd of 12th Month, 1846.

On the line of road between Athlone and Roscommon, the number of men and boys at work indicated the extent of distress in this region; there being no fewer than 900 upon the fifteen miles between these two towns; the total number receiving pay from government in the county of Roscommon being not less than 40,000. Many of these persons rent land, from one to five or six acres each; but from their crops of potatoes having altogether failed, they are in no better condition than the common labourers. The price of provisions is extremely high in this part of the country, the poor paying 2s. 9d. per stone of 14 lbs. for meal, and, when they buy it in smaller quantities, giving at the rate of 3s. 4d. per stone for it; so that a man who has a wife and family of five or six children to support out of 8d. per day, is scarcely removed from starvation. Government in this part of the country is paying the labourers 8d. per day subsistence money; but when the work that they have performed shall be measured and apportioned, there will probably be a farther small sum for them to receive.