October 10, 1847

Famine in Ireland

The contrast of the two plates in this page suggests reflections anything but complimentary to Irish gratitude. On one hand, we behold the operation of the arrangements of a wise and humane Government for supplying a destitute and famine-stricken population with the means of existence. The wheels of the meal cart creak under the burden which is to relieve hundreds of human beings from the horrors of starvation. A gallant and devoted body of Light Dragoons are taken from their ordinary duties to escort the supply in safety to its destination.

Look on that picture-- and on this. A band of lawless ruffians, who would rather spill human blood to purchase a meal than till the generous earth for the sake of its abundance; this band, armed with such weapons of offence as violence or robbery have placed within their reach, positively await the coming of the supplies that they may feed their own wants even at the risk of their lives, and despoil the famished creatures for whom the succour is intended. We fear such spectacles are more frequent than even the reports from Ireland lead us to suppose. They present a very gloomy picture of the state of society, and almost serve to justify the penuriousness that would deny assistance to one-half of Ireland, on the ground of the crimes and indolence of the other half.