|MALLOW SOUP DEPOT
|A meeting of the Soup Committee was held on Thursday to receive the
resignation of Mr. Wm. Fitzmaurice, Secretary, and to audit his accounts.
Present—Rev. S. A. Hamilton, Rector of Mallow (chairman) Rev. D. M. Collins
P.P.—Rev. Justin M'Carthy, Rev. John M'Carthy, C.C. Rev. P. A. Going, Clk. ;
Messrs. J. Bourke, T. Roche, R. Winn, James Roche, R. B. Barry, M. Ahern, Robert
Proposed by Rev. D. M. Collins P.P. and seconded by John Bourke Esq., and
carried unanimously— Resolved—That the best thanks of the committee are due
and hereby given to Mr. Wm. Fitzmaurice for the satisfactory state of his
accounts and for his attention to the onerous duties of Secretary. A vote of
thanks on the motion of Rev. Mr. Collins was also passed to Sir John M'Neil for
his very liberal donation of ten pounds. Sir John has no connection whatever
|M A L L O W .
| MALLOW, MONDAY
NIGHT.—To give you some idea of the mortality in this
neighbourhood, I will quote you the words of Mr. Winn, P.L.G., this day, at the
meeting of the Town Commissioners.
| He said, that “on Saturday the dogs rooted up a corpse
in the graveyard and were eating it—that people came by night, and bury their
friends by stealth—that in many cases, the coffins are not two inches
below the surface.”
| As for Coroners Inquests, Mr. Jones is out every day.
| About 6 o'clock this evening, the bodies of five paupers
were brought on the Workhouse Cart to be interred in the graveyard. This
graveyard is in the centre of the town. What a pleasant reflection for the
inhabitants of Mallow during “the dog days.”
|Y O U G H A L .
INQUESTS—DEATHS FROM STARVATION—
A CORPSE FOR SALE.
| On Friday last, D. Geran, Esq., Coroner, held an Inquest
at Youghal, on the body of a boy seven years old named Wm. Miller. The corpse
was taken by the Police while exposed for sale. The following jury were
summoned upon the occasion. William Walsh, Thomas Dee, John Forde, John Annour,
Leonard Parker, Thomas Treacy, Patrick Brien, Edward Kelly, William Cunningham,
Thomas O'Neill, Edward Condon, and Thomas Garivan.
| Mr. John D. Ronayne being sworn, deposed as follows. I am
an Apothecary in the town of Youghal ; was in my own shop about one o'clock in
the afternoon of Wednesday, the 27th inst., a man, now in Court, whose name I
don't know, came into my shop, and asked me did I want to buy a corpse ?
I asked was it a man or a woman ? He first said it was a man, and then that it
was a boy. I asked the age, and he said seven or eight years old ; asked was the
boy coffined and buried ? and he said he was ; asked where the boy was from ? he
said from the West, asked was he his own child ? he replied not ; at this moment
I was called into my house, and on my return back to the shop the man was gone.
In the interim, I saw a Policeman passing bye ; I called him, mentioned the
circumstance, and desrcibed the man who was in my shop. In about ten minutes
after the Policeman returned with the prisoner, and asked me was that the man
that offered to sell the body ? and I said it was. In about three hours
afterwards, on the same day, I saw the body of a boy about seven years old in
the Police Barracks, Youghal. I never knew anything of the kind to have occurred
in Youghal before, nor even knew of the sale of bodies there.
| Mochael Mangan, Sub-Constable, sworn.—I was passing the
town of Youghal at midday on the 27th inst., another Sub-Constable gave prisoner
in charge to me ; observed a woman, now in Court, standing close by—she had on
her back a basket and her cloak over it ; asked what was in the basket ; she
said “nothing ;” removed the cloak, and took a little straw out of the mouth
of the basket ; and there found, doubled together, the dead body of a boy, about
seven years old ; the man and woman were arrested, and brought back to the
Barrack ; did not know them ; while under way to the Barrack the male prisoner
wanted to state something to me ; cautioned him not to do so, as I would bring
it in evidence against him ; on coming into the barracks ; took the basket, with
the corpse in it, off the woman's back ; the male prisoner began to state a
second time why he brought the child for sale ; was cautioned against doing so,
but perservered. He stated that the child was sickly some time before he died ;
that it was want that compelled him (prisoner) and his wife to
offer for sale the dead body ; admitted the child did not belong to himself
; that he was an illegitimate child, belonging to a sister-in-law of his ; and
he reared the child for the last six years, and that his mother went to England.
| Richard Ronanyne, Esq., M.D., sworn—On Monday last was
called on to make an examination on the body of a male child, apparently between
7 and 8 years of age—went to the Police Barrack at Youghal, was pointed out
the body, doubled up in a basket, and covered with straw ; there were no marks
of violence on the body ; on opening it I found the contents of the chest and
abdomen perfectly healthy, but there was not a particle of food in the
stomach or intestines, nor a particle of adipose or fatty matter ; from all
these circumstances, together with the extremely emaciated appearance of the
child, is of the opinion he died from hunger.
| The Coroner asked was there any more witnesses, and none
appearing, Thomas Miller, the person charged, asked permission to say a few
words. The Coroner cautioned him against saying anything that would criminate
| Miller, a poor emaciated looking-man, who was in custody
of the police, then came forward and stated —I lived with Mr. Gaggan, of
Greenland for the last ten years ; and since the potatoes failed I got 8d. per
day, and that was not able to support my family, being six in number. When the
public works commenced Mr. Gaggin [sic] knocked off all his men but two. I went
then to the public works, earned about five shillings a week, and that would
not give my family a meal a day when things got dear. I had to break off
from work from want of food ; I went to beg for food among the neighbours, and
sent my wife to be taken, in my place for a couple of days at the works —she
was refused. I went back to the works again on the following Monday, and was
without food from Monday morning till the following Thursday on the works ;
I used to take a drink of spring water sometimes and faint every night with
weakness, and then turn into bed, not having light or fire, and I left the
work on Friday to go a second time a begging. I went to Ballymacoda, to the
relief committee, the gentlemen were coming out, I saw there Mr. Fitzgerald and
Mr. Egar, the rector of the parish. Mr. Fitzgerald asked me why I was not at
work ? I said I was not able, Mr. Egar looked at me, and said “I was not able
to work from starvation.” Mr. Egar rode on, and told me to follow after ; I
followed, till he came to a house where he sold bread at half price, at
Ballymacoda ; he told me to rap at the door ; the woman came out, and Mr. Egar
ordered me 2s. worth of bread ; I got it and went home. Having so much bread to
share among my children on Friday, I went to the works on Saturday. I was paid
my wages on the following Wednesday, 4s., and of this I had to pay 3s. 6d. to
Pat Griffin, of Ring, who passed his word for meal for me the week before. I had
only 6d. left going home, and took with me the worth of it in bread. I shared
the bread among my children, and God knows how little of it I left myself ;
the day following I saw the children had nothing, till my wife went when
the tide was out to cut Doolamaun (sea weed) off the rocks ; she brought
it home, boiled it, put a little salt on it, and on this we were living for
days before the child, William Miller, died. I went to work again, on last
Tuesday morning and on returning in the evening the child was dead. This
statement I am ready to make on oath ; and if you doubt me, ask the Rev. Mr.
Egar of Lisquinlan, or Mr. Fitzgerald of Ballykennely, and with the exception of
the charge now against me, nothing was ever laid before to my charge.
| The prisoner's wife, a wretched care worn looking woman,
with an infant at her breast—said—The reason I was selling the child was from
want, and I would do anything to keep the life in my children and in myself
; and this I shall publicly say, however I may be punished by law. A couple of
days before the child died, I went to my master's son, John Gaggin of Greenland,
for a few turnips to eat ; he said the last of them were in the [illegible] for
the horses ; I went then and stole a few [illegible] of boiled turnips for the
children ; Mr. Gaggin saw me, and told me never to do it again. I was not able
to sweep the house from weakness, and would eat the cat through hunger.
| The Coroner addressed the jury, and told them that
exposing for sale a dead body was an indictable offence that would come before
another tribunal. It was for the jury to enquire how, and in what manner, the
boy Wm. Miller, came by his death. The principle evidence was that of the
Doctor, and upon his testimony the jury should return their verdict.
| The jury, after a short consultation, returned a verdict—Death
| Same day, inquests were held on the bodies of Margaret and
Patrick Croneen, mother and son, who died at the Windmill, near Youghal. It
appeared on evidence that the parties lived for days upon turnips, and
latterly on the putrid remains of a pig, that died on the premises of a
neighbouring farmer, and for days before death they had nothing to eat.
| The Jury at once returned their verdict, finding that
Margaret and Patrick Croneen died from starvation.
|TO THE EDITOR OF THE CORK EXAMINER
|St. Mary's, Stonehouse, Plymouth
Jan. 27, 1847
|DEAR SIR,—I herewith enclose three Post-office orders for £12 10s. to be
distributed amongst the poor of Cork, this sum, is the contribution of my poor
Congregation, who principally belong to Cork County. I have therefore sent the
small sum, which I wish was 600 times as much to you for the benefit of the
famishing poor of Cork.
I am, dear Sir, your humble servt,
|The sum so benevolently contributed by the congregation of the Rev. Mr.
Riley, has been disposed of as follows:—
|Society of St. Vincent de Paul....................£2 10 0
Hospital.............................................2 0 0
£2 to each of the four Soup
Depots..............8 0 0
£12 10 0
|The money was distributed in the City, as destitute creatures from all parts
of the country throng into Cork.
|THE CONVICT PATRICK O'BRIEN
|In the Queen's Bench's on Friday, their lordships gave judgement on the writ
of error in the case of Patrick O'Brien, who had been convicted at the last
assises [sic] for the county of Clare for the wilful murder of his wife.
It has been argued in support of the writ of error, that the counts were
inconsistent in ascribing the death to three causes, which were, it had been
urged, contradictory. The Chief Justice gave judgement (which was concurred in
by Judges Perrin and Crampton), confirming the judgement of the assize court.
The prisoner was then re-committed to the custody of the gaoler of the county
Clare, and will be sent back there, sentence of death and execution having been
previously passed on him at the assizes.
|RATHCORMAC AND GURTROE DISTRICT.
HUNDREDS OF ITS INHABITANTS IN
ABSOLUTE DANGER OF STARVATION.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE CORK EXAMINER.
| DEAR SIR—In
my former communication I attempted to direct your most earnest attention to the
extreme and wide-spread destitution which prevails in this locality— and
promised to state some facts illustrative of the sad and sickening scenes of
starvation, pestilence and death which are making a frightful progress. It would
be unwarrantable to trespass unnecessarily upon the already crowded columns of
your journal. I shall therefore endeavour to be plain and succinct.
| All our calamities can be directly traced to the want of
timely and extensive employment. I am in a position to prove that in the parish
of Rathcormac, exclusivley of Gurtroe, there are 4,000 human beings entirely
depending for subsistence upon daily wages. Work for 337 men has been obtained
on roads—and as I remarked in a former letter, there is not a man engaged in
the fields. Starvation, pestilence, and death are and must be the inevitable
consequence. The melancholy truth is frightfully exemplified in the following
| John Walsh of Knocknilboulig, with his wife and four
children, all attacked with dysentery. The Rev. Mr. O'Donovan, P.P., found them
stretched on some filthy moist straw, with no covering beyond the remnant of an
old rug, and the wretched rags which they wore by day. When first seen they had
been thirty-six hours and tasted nothing but cold water. The floor from the
nature of the disease they were affected with was in such a state that too
minute description would be downright disgusting.
| James Mackey of Barrynihash, whose wife was sick of fever,
complained of headache—his legs all swollen and numerous small blisters on
them—was one of a great number of men, who in consequence of a line of road
being closed, were thrown out of work, and several weeks elapsed before
employment could be obtained for them. Being in the mean time obliged to subsist
upon small quantities of turnips and other very inferior food, their
constitutions were so worn, that when work was obtainable they became totally
unable to struggle against the bad weather to which they were exposed on the
| Denis Sullivan of Glenigaul was similarly circumstanced
—for five weeks he supported himself, his wife and six children by begging—five
of his famishing children got sick of low fever—three died within seven days—the
fourth is not likely to survive many hours—a greater picture of human misery
could not be seen than their father, scarcely able to crawl, with his legs all
swollen, supporting himself with a spade handle, bearing on his back, tied with
a suggaun, the wretched coffin which contained the remains of his child,
to the nearest churchyard.
| The Widow Doyle, of Readothigh, is another instance,
though unfortunately not an extraordianry one, of the starvation and pestilence
which actually threaten to desolate the district. The Rev. Mr. O'Donovan found
her and her four children in burning fever, huddled together in a rotten sop of
straw, nearly naked. The rain came down in torrents through the thatch. There
was not a spark of fire in the miserable hovel. They had not tasted food for
three days. The dread of contagion frightened the neighbours from visiting them.
The father of this family was the very first victim of starvation in the parish.
| These are a few amongst several melancholy cases wtih
which I have been acquainted. They will suffice to convey an idea of the
condition of the peasantry. I could adduce one hundred other cases, equally
mournful, and resulting from a similar cause. But the misery and degradation
which they would depict, could present no distinguishing features from those I
have detailed. There is famine and disease almost in every house. The fever
hospital, which was built to accomodate fifteen patients, has thirty creatures
crammed into it ; fifty or sixty have been sent to our alarmingly crowded
Workhouse. It is impossible to predict where the calamity is to terminate.
| Our local exertions, the contributions of Landlords
connected with the district, and the efforts of the Relief Committee to
alleviate the awful distress, are interesting subjects, which I trust will be
elucidated by some other pen.
| I remain, dear Sir, most respectfully,
| Rathcormac, Jan. 31st, 1847
|DEATHS FROM STARVATION IN THE CITY.
C O R O N E R ' S I N Q U E S T .
|ALTHOUGH it has been our sad duty to record numerous
“deaths from starvation,” which have of late given so awful a notoriety to
the south and west of the County of Cork, still we have not, ere the present
time, in the performance of our melancholy avocation, been compelled to
chronicle the fact that two deaths from the want of the merest necessities of
life, have occurred in our city within the few preceding days—the undoubted
and unimpeachable verdict of a Coroner's Jury attesting to the truth of this
startling and truly horrifying fact. An inquest was held on Monday last at one
o'clock, in the Shandon Guard House, before Mr. Coroner Jones and a most
respectable Jury, on view of the bodies of two young boys, named Denis and John
Crowly, who were found dead on Sunday morning in a garret, situate near the Old
Market Place, off Mallow Lane, in our City.
| Mathias Crowly, a ghastly and famished-looking poor
wretch, about 40 years of age, and apparently once of large and robust frame,
but now reduced by hunger, and cold, and other privations, almost to a skeleton,
was sworn and examined, and deposed as follows :—Denis and John Crowly, the
deceased boys, were his children ; they were aged resepctively three and five
years ; before he came to Cork lived in the parish of Glountane, near Mallow, in
this County ; had left it more than three months ago for want of anything to
earn and came to Cork from hearing the report “that there was plenty to earn
there ;” held no ground in Glountane ; his wife and four children two of whom
are since dead, came with him to Cork, and was some days without eating a meal ;
his wife and children had no means of support except from him, or whatg they
sometimes picked up by begging ; after he came to Cork his wife and children
went into the Workhouse ; but she stopped there only for three or four days, as
Denis Crowly was ill when she went in, and was threatening to show the small
pox, and the women there told her if she did not remove them “that they would
all die upon her ;” that was more than three weeks ago, since which time he
did not get a day's work, and for the three months that he was in the city, only
was employed for 7 days ; his son John, after bein removed from the Workhouse,
shewed the small pox ; a doctor came to see him one day, but told his wife that
he could not do anything for him ; the wife was not able to go out to beg for
some weeks, as she had to mind the children, who were so ill ; used to get,
after being out all the day, only three half-pence, and sometimes two pence,
with which he bought bread to feed a family of six in number ; upon his oath did
not get one good meal for the last month, before the one he got the previous
night from the police ; seldom got even a bad meal more than once a day, nor did
his wife or children get enough to last ; often stinted himself, so that the
children should have the more ; Denis was recovered from the small pox more than
a week before his death, and was able to eat if he got it ; the other child had
the same disease previous to his death ; frequently heard deceased saying “they
were dying of the hunger ;” had no bed, and all slept together ; had no
covering except an old thin quilt ; had to lie down on the floor upon a little
sop of straw ; Denis died on Friday morning, and his brother died on the
| Dr. W. Beamish being sworn, deposed that he had examined
the two bodies ; the younger one had some small pox pustules out on him ; they
both presented the appearance of emaciation to the greatest extent he had ever
witnessed ; there were no marks of violence on either body ; made a dissection
of the younger, and examined the stomach, which he found contracted, and totally
destitute of every appearance of food ; the intestines presented no appearance
of disease ; the omentum was completely deficient ; and there was not a particle
of fat to be discovered on any part of the body ; from the appearance had no
doubt in his mind that the cause of death was from starvation.
| In answer to the Coroner, Dr. Beamish said that although
he had not made a post mortem examination on the other body, yet from the
external appearances, he had no hesitation in saying that the death of the
second boy was caused by the same as the other, namely, want of proper food.
| Dr. Beamish further added, that of the two children yet
living, one was afflicted with the small pox, and the other was very emaciated,
and that something should be done for them quickly. In conclusion, the learned
gentleman stated that in the whole course of his professional career, where he
was often necessitated to visit the most wretched abodes of misery, that he
never saw anything he could compare to the sight that met him on entering the
miserable place where the bodies lay.
| Head Constable Ewen Porter, of the Shandon station, in
compliance with the wish expressed by the Jury, was next sworn and examined, and
deposed as follows—On Sunday morning at half past ten o'clock, a man came to
the station, and informed him that there were two children dead, near the Old
Market Place, and enquired of him how he could procure the price of a coffin, as
he was totally destitute ; went up to the place and saw the two children dead ;
it was in a wretched garrett, in an old house, about nine feet by seven ; there
was not a stick of furniture to be seen ; neither was there fire nor a single
particle of food in the place ; the two children yet alive were lying on the
floor on a sop of straw covered by an old quilt, the head of one of them being
in close contact with the feet of its dead brother ; the dead children had only
their day clothes on, which were in a most ragged state ; the man who called on
him at the station, was present with his wife and whom he knows now to be the
father of the boys ; enquired of him whether he had any food and he replied not,
and stated that he, his wife and the four children were obliged, for warmth, to
sleep together on the same little handful of straw ; brough the man down to the
Lower Shandon Soup Depot, and got him 7 quarts of soup, giving also one shilling
to the wretched wife to buy bread ; a gentleman, who was there at the time, Mr.
James Hegarty, gave her some money also the Rev. Mr. Russell visited the place
also with him and remarked to him, on coming out, “that no such case occurred
even in Skibbereen ;” acting on the advice of the Rev. Mr. Foley, he attended
on the previous day a meeting that was held at the Shandon Station, and the
gentlemen present subscribed money very liberally, with which he relieved on
that day over 180 persons ; never saw such destitution in his life ; but in all
cases they were from the county ; thought it right, from the awful circumstances
atending the present case, to call the Coroner's attention to it.
| Sergeant Gale also detailed several cases of the most
fearful destitution, which had come under his own observation, and Mr. John
Gallway requested of him to inform him of the names and residences of the
parties, that he might bring the cases before the Society, to which he belonged—he
meant the admirable Society of Saint Vincent de Paul, which he knew, although
they had but limited funds, would endeavour to mitigate such fearful misery.
| The Coroner briefly summed up, calling their attention to
the nature of the testimony of the Doctor, when the Jury, without the least
hesitation, returned the following verdict :—“That we find that the said
Denis and John Crowly came to their deaths from the want of the common
necessities of life.”
| The gentlemen comprising the Jury, who expressed several
times during the investigation, their anxiety that the details should go fully
before the public, that something must be done to arrest such fearful
destitution as that elicited before them that day, subscribed most liberally
before they retired, for the relief of poor Crowly and his family, and the
Coroner made an award of Ten Shillings for the same charitable purpose, the
money to be entrusted to Sergeant Porter.