January 10, 1847
Melancholy indeed are the latest accounts from all parts of this extensive county. From Bantry, Skibbereeen, Crookhaven, Castletown, and Tracton, in Cork and in Dingle, in Kerry, the reports present the same gloomy features. The intelligence from these scenes of misery are summed up by the Cork Examiner as follows: the details from Bantry were forwarded yesterday:
"SKIBBEREEN. In the parish of Kilmore 14 died on Sunday; 3 of these wer buried in coffins, 11 were buried without other covering than the rages they wore when alive. And on gentleman, a good and charitable man, speaking of this case, says 'The distress is so appalling, that we must throw away all feelings of delicacy;' and another says, 'I would rather give 1s. to a starving man than 4s.6d. for a coffin.'
"140 died in the Skibbereen Workhouse in one way; 3 have died in one day! And Mr. M'Carthy Downing states that 'they came into the house merely and solely for the purpose of getting a coffin.'
"The Rev. Mr. Clancy visits a farm, and there, in one house, 'he administered the last rites of religion to six persons.' On a subsequent occasion, he 'prepared for death a father and daughter lying in the same bed.'
"The Rev. Mr. Caulfield sees '13 members of one family lying down in fever.'
"The Rev. Mr. Fitzpatrick retires to rest at 3 o'clock in the morning, and ries after a couple hours' heavy sleep. It is the same with his coadjudicators.
"Dr. Donovan solemnly assures a public meeting that the people are 'dropping in dozens about them.'
"Mr. Marmion says that work on the public road is even more destructive than fever; for the unfed wretches have not energy enough to keep their blood in circulation, and they drop down from the united effects of cold and hunger -- never to rise again.
"Mr. M'Carthy Downing proclaims a fact damning the character of the Skibbereen landlords. For two months past the secretary of the Relief Committee has been importuning the landlords of the district; and with what result, think you, reader? Out of four parishes, comprising the relief district, but nine subscriptions have been received, after two months' begging. Mr. Downing excepts these landlords who reside in the town, whose contributions have been generous -- even excessive.
"Although it may seem to some out of place, still here we shall mention a fact that has this moment come to our knowledge. Lord Midleton's agent (Mr. Foley) assembled his Lordship's tenants a day or two ago, and allowed them on behalf of his Lordship, from 25 to 75 per cent in their rents! the poorer tenants paying but one-fourth of the whole rent; and so on, up to the comfortable farmers, who have large holdings, and who have been allowed one-fourth for their losses.
"And not only has his Lordship done so much, but he will do more -- immediately recommence the quay at Cove, which will afford large employment to tradesmen and labourers, and at a rate of wages that will allow them to live.
"As a commentary on certain facts stated by Mr. Downing of a noble proprietor of this country, who holds land in Skibbereen -- Lord Banden -- we may mention that last year -- when the distress was only partial, and there were no coffinless dead -- Lord Midleton subscribed to all the committees on his estates.
"We heartily cry, God bless Lord Midleton!
"DINGLE-- The Rev. Mr. Gayer of Dingle in a letter says, 'The people there are dying by inches; that he wonders they are so patient as to lie down and die without breaking open the Government stores, and that two-thirds of the population will perish if food be not cheapened there.
"The name of the reverend writer is familiar to our readers in connexion with a recent press prosecution. His 'wonder' at the patience of the stricken wretches speaks volumes for their condition.
"CROOKHAVEN -- A correspondent writing to us from this locality says, 'There have been 16 deaths from starvation in this locality in the last seven days, all leaving widows and orphans.
"TRACTON -- The affecting letter of the Rev. Mr. Corkran will be read with deep interest. It informs us that 16 deaths from starvation have occurred in ten days. This within a dozen miles of the southern capital of Ireland!
"Stretched on a bed of straw lies a dying husband and father; and grouped around that coudh are a wretched wife and children, who devour wild weeds themselves, that they might leave the only remaining morsel of food to the dying man!
"Is this tide of horro to roll on unchecked? Will the Imperial rulers of this slavish province wait until one-half of the 'Irish savages' be swept away? For to this it will soon come."