A Poor Protestant

Asenath Nicholson
Chapter XXV (18) | Start of Chapter

I found myself surrounded by a group of listeners, all Protestants. One aged man, who had renounced Popery, entered, and the meekness of his appearance distinguished him from the ordinary Christian. He was truly "meek and lowly." I presented him an Irish Testament, which he could read well, and he received it with the greatest gratitude. Reader, he was a beggar, going from cabin to cabin to ask his potatoe; one of the members of Christ's body, and a member of a rich Protestant church! Here was Christ presenting himself; and they all recognised him as a rare example; yet they sent him, poorly clad, hungry, and weary, from door to door—asking for what? A potatoe! Look at this, ye proud professed disciples of the Lord Jesus, and say, "What will ye do in the end thereof?"

I found these cabiners warm-hearted, and a tidy industrious people. The poor widow where I first stopped supported a family by weaving, working from sun to sun for ten-pence a day at the loom. I was escorted through the neighborhood, invited to stay all night, and in the evening read to both Catholics and Protestants. The hearing of the ear is certainly given in these places, if not the understanding of the heart. I blessed God, after I passed away, that I had fresh proof that all was not lost that was done for these poor people.

Ireland’s Welome to the Stranger is one of the best accounts of Irish social conditions, customs, quirks and habits that you could wish for. The author, Mrs Asenath Nicholson, was an American widow who travelled extensively in Ireland on the eve of the Great Famine and meticulously observed the Irish peasantry at work and play, as well as noting their living conditions and diet. The book is also available from Kindle.