February 1847

February 1, 1847

INQUESTS have been held here, and the verdict in each of three melancholy cases was "death by starvation. A family of the CRONINS, consisting of father, mother, and some, lived at a place called the Windmill, about a mile from the town of Youghal. On the night of Tuesday last, the mother, MARGARET, and her son, PATRICK, died in the same bed with the father, MICHAEL, whom hunger had rendered so helpless that he could give them no assistance in their last struggle, nor even make their case known to the neighbours. "The verdict was death by starvation." In the past week there was revealed another case of a still more horrible nature.

A person named Thomas Miller, from Ring, a place on the extreme coast, opposite Cable Island, came with his wife to Youghal, where they both offered for sale at an Apothecary's shop, the dead body of a male child, aged seven years. The authorities were informed of the circumstance, and the parties were arrested. Upon being interrogated, they coolly acknowledged that this child was a nephew of theirs, who had died in their house, and that they brought him to the Doctors to get something for the body that would keep the life in themselves and their children.

The description they gave of their suffering was frightful in the extreme. On more than one occasion they had determined to kill and eat the cat, only they feared it would poison them. The verdict in the case of this child, too, was "death by starvation." Such is the state of things in that locality; and while death is doing its work, about two hundred of the wretched tenants of Lord Ponsonby, in that neighbourhood, have been just served with notices of ejectment. What will become of the frame of Society? We shall give details in our next.

February 5, 1847

SERGEANT GEALE, appeared before the bench this morning, and related a very distressing case of destitution. On last evening, a poor man was passing down Clarence Street with two children on his back; and from their colour and appearance it seemed that they were in a dying condition. Sergeant Geale was apprised of the circumstance, and found the children in a house in the neighbourhood, lying on a heap of shavings. One of them a little girl of three years old, appeared to be just dead, and, according to the Constable's evidence, has since died; and the other a boy of six years old, was conveyed to the infirmary, where Dr. Rountree said it was almost useless to receive him, as he was also reduced to the last extremity.

The medical gentleman who had visited them gave it as his unqualified opinion that the younger child's death had resulted from starvation, and the other would in all probability die from the same cause. Their bodies presented a most emaciated appearance, being, according to the Constable's statement, nothing but skin and bone. The father stated he was from the neighbourhood of Bandon, where he had been unable to procure any employment, either from the farmers of the district or on the public works in the neighbourhood.

Mr. J. J. O'Brien observed that there were hundreds of similar cases of which the police had no information.

February 8, 1847

On Saturday a deputation, consisting of the principal Master Bakers in the city, waited on the Magistrates at the Police-office, and stated that in consequence of the present alarming height to which the disturbances in the city have risen, they should be compelled to close their shops and sell no more bread unless the court would ensure to them the protection of the military and police force. The court requested the deputation to attend at the office at 3 o'clock, at which time they would be able to enter into such arrangements as to secure to their body the required protection.

At the hour appointed, the Mayor, Mr. Fagan, and Mr. Lyons, together with Col. Beresford and Captain Price, County Inspector, were in attendance, and it was then agreed on that a party of the military should assemble at Tuckey-street guard-house every morning, at 11 o'clock, and then in company with a body of the police force, to patrol through the city until night, the shops of the bakers not to be opened until after the hour first mentioned. The deputation then withdrew, declaring themselves satisfied with this arrangement, which was carried into effect for the first time this morning.

February 10, 1847

Cork, Feb. 4, 1847
SIR-- The Evening Post is running wild after what it calls a SOCIAL REVOLUTION, and is endeavouring by inferences and quotations to prove the potato defunct in Ireland. There is a story told of a man who was witless enough to "count the number of his chickens, even before the eggs were laid;" but his conduct was just as philosophical as that of the Post, and its admirers, who are telling the country that the Potato Crop of '47 will be a failure, before the ordinary time for planting it has arrived.

The farmers can well afford to laugh at such philosophical alarmists, and what is more, they are doing so. The other day one of these learned gentry was strongly advising a person who was about to plant some acres of potatoes, not far from the city, not to do so, when the latter replied-- "I am determined, sir, to put my seed potatoes in the ground, trusting to Providence for the result. If we trust in the statements of men who, with all their learning, can't tell the cause of the failure, before we trust in God's goodness, we cannot expect a blessing." That was manly and pious, and sets an example no farmer need be ashamed to fellow.

February 15, 1847

SIR-- It is with extreme regret that I find it necessary to bring under the notice of the public, through your invaluable journal, the awful misery and destitution that prevails throughout the entire of this district.

Were it possible to calculate to what extent of destitution the insufficiency of food brought the people of this district, it would be found that we have a greater amount of deaths, and a greater prevalence of disease than other parts of Ireland. In fact it beggars description and outrivals Skibbereen.

Every day is seen issuing from the Workhouse gate the dead-cart with three, four, or five of its dead inmates. This day the number of persons dead in the twenty-four hours were six. In its gloomy dead-house, at this moment, may be seen ten dead carcasses-- nine inmates of the house, and one man found dead on a road leading to the town and sent into the Workhouse by the police authorities for the purpose of holding an inquest. This man died of starvation.

The deaths at the Workhouse are nothing, comparatively speaking, to the immense number outside its doors. Every exertion that can by any possibility be made has been made by the ladies of the town for the purpose of lessening the wants of the people, yet all to no purpose. --Their funds are insufficient to afford anything like relief.

Mr. Editor, it would be well if the attention of the Government were directed towards this particular locality. If something is not done, and that quickly, two-thirds of the population must unquestionably perish. It would also be well to solicit from all those persons who are disposed to alleviate the miseries of the people, and stay the hand of death, some trifling donations to carry out the benevolent intentions of the ladies of this town.

The poor of this town have lost one of their best friends, Mrs. Margaret Carberry. She died on the 2nd instant, from the effects of a fall. In a season of plenty, or otherwise, her hand was always extended towards the poor. --She is looked upon as a great public loss.

I remain, Mr. Editor, your's, very respectfully,

R. C. W.

February 17, 1847

Skibbereen, Feb. 13, 1847.

SIR.-- After an absence of a few weeks this town appeared to me the region of the dead rather than the habitation of human beings. Those who were able to move about a few weeks since may be now seen crouched at some hall-door where they are frequently found dead. --The dead are tripling the dying; fever is also doing the work of destruction here. Whilst writing this, a man has just died in the street and many dead are now being removed to the workhouse.

Mortality has spread the gloom of dismay even on the wealthy. A gentleman has informed me that there are thirty dead bodies now awaiting interment in the neighbouring parishes of Kilmaccabee and Kilfachnabeg. There is an inquest to be held here to-day, on the body of a young man who sought shelter in a boiler belonging to the soup house and died.


February 22, 1847

Skibbereen, Feb. 15, 1847.

SIR.-- You will be rejoiced to hear that even in Skibbereen there has been an effort made to help ourselves-- by the exertions of two individuals-- Mr. Hughes, of the commissariat Department, and Mr. Doyle, Controller of Customs. A meeting of some of the resident gentlemen took place in the Grand Jury Room, on the 4th inst., to take into consideration a plan for the formation of a company on this coast of Carbery, to purchase and export Fish. After some preliminary business was gone through, it was agreed to form a committee to enter into a correspondence with the authorities, in order to procure a clause to be inserted in one of the bills now before Parliament, to hold each subscriber responsible only for the number and amount that he shall have actually subscribed for. Wishing every success to his undertaking, as affording a prospect of employment for our poor fishermen, I remain, Sir, your's sincerely,


February 26, 1847

We learn that the Government have resolved forthwith to dispatch M. Soyer, the chef de cuisine of the Reform Club, to Ireland, with ample instructions to provide his soups for the starving millions of Irish people. Pursuant to this wise and considerate resolve, artificers are at present busied day and night, constructing the necessary kitchens, apparatus, &c, with which M. Soyer starts for Dublin direct to the Lord Lieutenant. His plans have been examined both by the authorities at the Board of Works and the Admiralty, and have, after mature consideration, been deemed quite capable of answering the object sought.

The soup has been served to several of the best judges of the noble art of gastronomy at the Reform Club, not as soup for the poor, but as a soup furnished for the day in the carte. The members who partook of it declared it excellent. Among these may be mentioned Lord Titchfield and Mr. O'Connell. M. Soyer can supply the whole poor of Ireland, at one meal for each person, once a day. He has informed the executive that a bellyful of his soup, once a day, together with a biscuit, will be more than sufficient to sustain the strength of a strong and healthy man.

The food is to be "consumed on the premises." Those who are to partake enter at one avenue, and having been served they retire at another, so that there will be neither stoppage nor confusion. To the infant, the sick, the aged, as well as to distant districts, the food is to be conveyed in cars furnished with portable apparatus for keeping the soup perfectly hot. It would be premature to enter into further details. M. Soyer has satisfied the Government that he can furnish enough and to spare of most nourishing food for the poor of these realms, and it is confidently anticipated that there will soon be no more deaths from starvation in Ireland.