March 20, 1846
IRELAND. (From Our Own Correspondent.)
DUBLIN, March 18.
With respect to the scarcity or failure of the potato crop, another Cork paper (the Constitution) contains the fllowing cautious statement:
"Amid all the talk which we hear about potatoes, we find nothing to guide us to a satisfactory estimate, or even conjecture, as to the actual supply in the country. On one hand we have nothing but fearful forebodings -- the stock is exhausted and famine stares us in the face; on the other, we are told of stores that will bring us safely through the season, and that the noise about scarcity is only a political device. Applied to different districts there may be truth in both. Throughout the controversy we have endeavored to to steer clear of extremes. We have given no credence to the exaggerations of even officals information, but have endeavored to set before our readers as they came in our way, such accounts as from the opportunities of the writers, appeared most worthy of attention. We believe the fact to be that in some places there is a sufficiency -- in others, the reverse; and we are not without hope that with the precautions taken by Government, we shall be able to struggle on until the new crop comes in. But on the part of the poor, the struggle will be severe. Even at present, the price is beyond their reach; but this is in a great measure owing to the habit of forestalling. The potatoes are purchased before they enter the market, and there retailed to the consumer at an enormous profit. Thus while they bring in the market from 9d to 11d per weight, they are selling from the boats at 7 d. . . . During the week a gentleman, observing four cartloads of fine-looking potatoes in the street, asked the owner the price. The answer was, 'Sir, we couldn't sell them under sixpence;' yet though offered at those terms, theyhad been brought from within a mile of Mallow. The consumer, however, was probably nothing better for the moderationof the owner, for we dare say they fell into the hands of the forestaller, and were by him sold at nearly double the sixpence. We mention these facts, as it is well that, while we take all prudent precautions to meet any danger of which there may be reasonable apprehension, people should be warned against lending themselves to either pecuniary or political designs by exciting fears and spreading alarms for which there is no foundation."