|C O R K U N I O NF E V E R .|
|THE Fever which afflicts the lower classes is beginning to reach the upper, as we have long warned the public. We regret to hear that Mr. LAWRANCE is at present ill with fever ; and that Mr. BURKE, the Commissioner, is also afflicted with the same disease. The necessary contact with the unfortunate people that crowd the gates of the Workhouse has been the undoubted cause ; and in all probability will be the cause of great danger to the guardians, if something be not done to prevent it. It has been suggested that Mr. MORGAN'S house at Buckingham Place be still retained, and that the business of the Guardians be transacted there. This house had been taken for the Police of the Depot in Barrack Street, when the latter place was contemplated as a ward of the Workhouse. We think the above suggestion worth the consideration of the Guardians.|
D I S T R E S S I N T H E C I T Y .
ILLUSTRATED BY A DESCRIPTION OF A HOUSE IN HARPUR'S LANE, AND ONE IN ALBERT ROW,
|HAVING frequently heard, from Reporters of this Journal, instances of the deepest distress among the working classes of this City, one of the Editors resolved on judging, by personal inspection, as to whether the reports of the existing distress were, or were not, exaggerated.
The following is that Gentleman's narrative of his first short visit of inspection, limited to
two housesone, in Harpur's- lane, off Paul-Street, in the parish of SS. Peter and Paulthe other, in a narrow Court off Harpur's-lane, and called Albert Row. By the facts simply detailed in that narrative, the reader may form something like an accurate idea of the condition to which the industrious classes are reduced, and the charitable be induced to place funds within reach of those who visit the vast abodes of poverty, and are best qualified to administer reliefnamely, the Sisters of Charity and Mercy, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, and the members of that admirable and in every sense efficient body, the Constabulary. The following is the narrative:
Being desirous to judge for myself of the condition of the poor who dwell in the narrow streets and lanes of this city, and to catch, as it were, a glimpse of what misery of which I had heard so many mournful accounts, I made an appointment with Constable Burchell, one of the most intelligent officers of the City Constabulary, for an early hour last Saturday, that we might together visit some few of the many houses of which he had given me a previous general description. The Constable was true to his appointment ; and we immediately proceeded to the scene of our enquiries. Arriving at Harpur's Lane, we entered house, No. 24.
|ROOM ON THE GROUND FLOOR|
| This, like all the apartments in the house, which
was one of two stories, did not exceed 5 feet by 9 in measurement ; it was tenanted by a labouring man, named Michael Ahern, his wife and two children. The husband was out, endeavouring to procure a morsel of food for his family ; but near the fire, composed of a few cinders, sat the wretched-looking mother, and two sickly children, who were looking vacantly at the fire, there being about them none of that restless activity common to children of their yearspoverty and hunger had made them prematurely grave. Ahern had been idle since before Christmas ; and since then they had been eking out existence by pledging every pledgeable article in their possessionclothes and furniture, bed and bed clothesthe very shirt off the husband's backthe cloak off the wifeevery little rag belonging to the children, upon which a penny could be raisedall went for a scanty meal of food. Constable Burchell assured me that when he first visited the house, the condition of this as well as the other rooms was disgusting and offensive in the extreme, sufficient to generate and spread disease around. Being provided with a certain portion of a fund contributed by the Society of Friends, Constable Burchell promised such relief as bedding and fuel could afford, on condition that the apartment should be immediately cleaned, washed out, and whitewashed, he providing lime for that purpose.Any description of relief was greedily seized on ; and, in a few days after his first visit, the wretched apartment, and its inside windowless, airless dog-holefor even now it is no bettershewed symptoms of improvement, the inducement being so powerful as to conquer the sullen apathy of despairing poverty. The entire goods and chattels of this room would not fetch two pence, were they put up for sale ; and the only food in the possession of the mother of the poor tamed-down children, was about a table-spoonful of yellow meal. Ascending the stairs, we came to what I shall call|
|NO. 1. ROOM ON THE FIRST FLOOR.|
| The tenants of this room were a blind man, named Connolly, his wife, and three children ; the father was seated on an old trunkthe children were squatted on the ground ; and one of them was evidently in a dying state. Also, a second family, consisting of a woman, Mary Crowly, and two children, she having recently buried a third. Thus, in this narrow chamber, there were eight human beings, three adults and five children. Beyond two sops of straw, the old trunk on which the blind man sat, and a broken water vessel, there was not an article of furniture in the possession of these two families. A day or two since, Mary Crowly had sold two stools for as much as gave her family a meal of bread and soup. When I visited them, their wretchedness was extreme ; they knew not how to face the morrow. The son, on whom the blind man and his wife hitherto depended for subsistence, listed last week, and with him went their only means of support. Mary Crowly was out, having gone to purchase a quart of soup for her children. Owing to the judicious benevolence of the excellent Society of Friends, and the exertions of their almoner in the case, Constable Burchell, the walls were whitewashed, and the remains of a coal fire glimmered in the grate.|
|ROOM NO. 2.|
| On opening the door of this room, which was on the same landing place, the smell was peculiarly offensive, arising not from the wretchedness of the room itself, but from the filthy rags hanging on the wasted bodies of its inmates. What must it have been before the walls were whitewashed, and its occupants were arroused to the exertion of removing impurities? The miserable master of this apartment was an old man, Michael Campbell, a lady's shoemaker, whose spectral appearance was at once startling and unnatural. He was seated on a stool ; and his covering was confined to the remains of an old coat, or jacket, tightly pinned over his emaciated frame, to hide the absence of a shirt, and to keep off the cold ; and instead of the usual garment to cover the lower limbs, he had, fastened round him, an apron made out of coarse packing- cloth. His wild uncombed locks hung round his shrivelled but intelligent features, and imparted a gloomy light to his preternaturally bright eyes, in which the fire of hunger gleamed visibly. So reduced was his body, that the head seemed out of all proportion. Besides this poor old manonce a decent tradesman there were, in this room, his wife, a son, and two daughters. The old woman, on being questioned, said that they were perishing unknown to the world; and she vowed solemnly to God that she and her family did not eat any food yesterday; and that only for the coal the Constable gave them, they would be worse off. Mr. Dixon, for whom both father and son were in the habit of working, mentioned the distressing case of this afflicted family to members of the Society of Friends, who provided them with a straw bed, some coals, and a ticket authorising the bearer to receive a quart of soup from the depot in Adelaide-street. The filthy remains of a sop of straw, on which, and without any covering, the family lay before, was removedthe walls were whitewashedand a little fire shone again in the narrow grate. But what is a quart of soup five times in the week, to six starving human beings? Whitewashed walls and clean straw cannot supply the great animal wantfood ; and without it this poor family, like a great many others in the city, are perishing. The only covering to the bed was a piece of matting ; save this piece of matting, there were no bed clothes. And the furniture, if so it might be called, was such as could not find a purchaser. This family entirely depended on a chance day's work at the most unprofitable of all tradesladies shoe-making a trade rendered still more ruinous to the poor operative by the general depression of the times. The son, whose appearance was only less miserable than that of his father, was employed on a pair of small boots ; and upon the receipt of the scanty earnings of that son, the family depended for food, fuel, and the rent of their narrow apartment.The daughters, whose gentle features were at once expressive of intelligence and want, would not be received at school, their clothes were so bad.|
|ROOM, NO. 3.|
| This room was not more than 5 feet wide, and little more than that number of feet in length. At the upper end, on a heap of straw, lay a girl of eleven years of age, suffering from dysentery, and groaning piteously in her agony. Besides this poor child, the room was occupied by her father and mother, and three other childrenthe whole family making six in all. The father's name was Patrick Quin, who came to this city, from Fermoy, some time before last Christmas ; since when he has been only occasionally employed ; and for 5 weeks he has been totally idle, his family being consequently bereft of their usual means of support. I asked her how did she contrive to live ; and her answer was I could not tell you how I lived, only 'twas God himself that supported me'tis a hard question for me to answer. She told me, also, that she attributed the disease under which her daughter suffered to her having partaken of the only food in her power to give her childrena pennyworth of boiled cabbage, which she was compelled to divide amongst them. And the Constable assured me that, a few day's before, he saw her boiling three leaves of cabbage for her familytheir only meal that day! The sick child has been visited repeatedly by Dr. Fowler, whose humanity and attention to the poor are beyond all praise, but which find their fittest reward in the heart-felt prayers of such afflicted mothers as Johanna Quin, who, while blessing his name, was anxiously expecting his consoling visit to her suffering little one.|
|ROOM, NO. 4.|
| Jerry Connor, a salmon-fisher, with a wife and two children, and a poor creature to whom they had given shelter, tenanted this roomone end of which was occupied by a small bundle of straw upon which Connor's family sleptthe other, by the still smaller sop on which Jane Reardon lay. The only difference between these two lowly couches was, that the former boasted of about a yard square of worn and discoloured blanket ; while the latter was divested of every description of covering. I asked her what covered her at night, and her answer wasWhat you see now on my bonesthat's all my covering day and night. She had been left in care of the sickly children, both father and mother being out in quest of food.|
|ROOM ON THE SECOND FLOOR.|
| Of the four rooms on the second floor, and equal in size to those of the first, but one was occupied ; the tenants being two sisters, Anne and Katherine Kearney. These two women had evidently seen better days, which could be judged of not alone by their conversation, but by the painful affectation of decency and order in the midst of privations the most terrible. Their father died last Christmas, since when they endeavoured to live, and pay seven pence a week for their room, by plain workbuying a little muslin, and making it up in caps. By this industry, and the gradual sacrifice of every article of dress, that would enable them to appear in the street, they have been able to ward off positive starvation. Could they but raise a few shillings, to purchase a stock of muslin and trimming lace, they would consider themselves happy. They gave me a heart-rending description of their trial and sufferings ; yet, still, in every word there was thankfullness to God for having allowed them to bear up against their misery ; and hope, struggling amidst the shadowings of despair, for the future.
Having now visited all the tenanted rooms in this house of woe, I passed, with the Constable, through an archway, and entered a narrow court, called Albert Row ; which seemed swarming with a dense poor population. We entered only one house
|No. 7, ALBERT ROW.|
| We did not wait to inspect the ground-floor, but ascended to the first floor. We entered a room on the right, in which a subtile [sic] but abominable odour was instantly perceptiblethe cause of which was explained at a glance ; for on a table, in a corner of the room, rested a coffin without a lid, in which the naked and fast decaying corpse of a very young child lay exposed. The happy infant had been dead for three days, but, owing to the excessive poverty of its parents, could not be provided with a coffin. They were about carrying it to the grave in a kind of salt boxa long, narrow deal box, which I preceived in another corner of the room ; but from this they were saved by the charity of a generous neighbour, whose name is Tucker, and who made them a coffin gratuitously. Inhaling this foul air, whose every breath was poisonous, two families occupied this chamber of death and sickness ; for, in a closet at one side, there were two bedseach tenanted by a sick woman. When I say two beds, let me be understood as meaning a truckle bed, and a heap of strawthe latter without any covering that I could see. I shall not describe the wretchedness of this apartment, but shall merely state that John Buckley, the head of one family, was a labourer from Aghabologue, who, with a wife and child, has been in Cork for the last six months, having been for that time mostly out of employment that Con. Hooley and his wife, the other inmates of the room, are from Rathcormacthat he is a labourer, has been seven weeks in Cork, and mostly idle for that time. Here, then, in this narrow space, were grouped hunger, want, disease, and death! Hooley took out a stool on Friday, to raise a penny by its sale ; but he could not find a purchaser, and returned home hungry and in despair. His wife is suffering from dysentry, her suffering being painfully aggravated by the friction of the straw on which her unprotected body lies.|
|ANOTHER ROOM ON THE SAME FLOOR.|
| This was also occupied by two familiesthose of John Crowley, a carpenter, and John Swiney, a tailor. Swiney died last Sunday in the Union Workhouse, and his widow was lying on straw in a dark closet, her moaning being but too audible. Two daughters survive, one of whom, now and then, is fortunate enought to get a job of tailoring from the cheap clothes shops on the Coal-quay ; but owing to the badness of the times, this resource is scanty and uncertain. Crowly [sic], the carpenter, is the head of a large family, consisting of a wife, two children, and two sisters in law. He has been out of employment for seven months ; since when his sufferings and those of his wretched companions have been fearful and incessant.
I descended to the ground floor, where the appearances of the rooms at each side of the narrow entrance was as nearly as possible similar to the rooms overhead. Constable Burchell wished me to accompany him to other houses, in which, he assured me, I would witness sights of still greater misery ; but having exhausted the little stock of silver I brought with me, I did not like to contemplate wretchedness which I could not, even by the smallest trifle, momentarily relieve. Besides, I was anxious to give a rapid sketch of the plain facts as I saw them, so that the readers of the Cork Examiner might, as it were, lift up the latch with me, and view the interiors of a few of those abodes of abject miseryof hopeless, utter destitutionwith which this afflicted city abounds. The apartments I have imperfectly described, the destitution I have glanced at, exist within a stone's throw of the finest street of Cork. Is not the misery of these poor people worthy sympathy and commisseration?
It was with difficulty that Constable Burchell and I could leave the wretched court, so urgent were the entreaties of a number of half famished women, to come and visit their housesto see their childrento witness their want! Some cried out, Sergeant, when will I get the bed? others asked, won't you give me the morsel of coal? From their questions and entreaties we at last got free, with the exception of one or two of the most importunate, whom no answer would satisfy, no promise appease.
I now conclude my narrative by again alluding to the benefit conferred by the fund placed at the disposal of the Police. It has been the means of warding off disease, and inducing habits of cleanliness, besides affording substantial relief, by replacing filthy straw by a clean bed, and giving fuel to creatures who hitherto suffered additional tortures from the inclemency of the season. But still the grand want foodremains to the poor. Who shall supply that want?
TO THE EDITOR OF THE CORK EXAMINER
|Leads Cottage, Parish of Ahina, |
March 10th, 1847.
| DEAR SIRI cannot better explain to you and to the public the horrors of our situation here, and the awful amount of mortality amongst the people, than by furnishing a list of the persons who, at this moment, lie dead from famine and its consequences, within the short distance of two miles from my houseand whose surviving relatives have not, in a single instance, the means of purchasing coffins for their interment. I am ready to swear upon my solemn oath to the truth of what I will state. My account will not therefore be spiced with one atom of exaggeration. The entire number is eleven. Their names and the townland where they lived, are as follows:Roger Cunningham, of Ballyvougan. His brother who has a wife and six children, is not expected to live two days.A lad of the name of Drew, at Coolgarivehis brother died about a week since ; a third is illTimothy Kelleher, of Carraghavadra. A lad of the name of Haly, from Cappanagroun. He lay dead in the same bed with his father who, is all but dead, while I administered to the latter the rites of the church.Denis and James Long, of Leadavullen, father and son. Ellen Leary, and Daniel Murphy, aunt and nephew, of Laharan. This Murphy family lost three others within the last two months. John Murphy, the father, I fear is past recoveryHe has dropsyJames Murphy, of ShanakilWidow Foley, of Derriroe.The husband of this woman died a week since.One of her children is ill and not expected to recover.The eleventh is the widow of Nevill, of Carrigthomas. These deaths have occurred in the southern portion of my Parish. Not having this day seen my Curate who resides in the north, I cannot say what numbers lie dead there. From the destitution that I know prevails in the locality, I cannot however doubt it furnishes its quantum, to this sad catalogue. Three others are dead from feverbut as they do not come under the class who have died from hunger, though they decidedly got contagion from themI have not included them in the above list.
The Rev. Mr. Mahony's portion of Aghabologue, is I have this day learned from one of his indefatigable Curates, the Rev. Mr. Duanein no less frightful a state.
So bad were things in his Parish and mineeven three weeks sincethat we both resolved with the full concurrence of our respective Relief Committees, to proceed to England, and there make a personal appeal to our humane fellow subjects, in behalf of our famine stricken flock. I had to give up the notion of the journey, at least for some time. If I went now, the valuable life of my already over-worked Curate, must be sacrificed, or the people left to die without the rites of the church, and the consolations of religion.
Poor Mr. Mahony who has two Curates, and could therefore be absent for a short timehas left on his mission of charity.
I pray God he may succeed in a degree commensurate with his great zeal, and his generous and apostolic devotion to the interests and preservation of his destitute parishioners. I shall make no apology for requesting you to publish this. I am scarcely able to write I am so bewildered. In the name of the God of Charity, I crave assistance for my perishing people, of all who shall see this letter and have the means to contribute towards their relief.
| Faithfully, dear Sir, |
|WE would earnestly direct the attention of his Worship the Mayor to the annoyance to the citizens, created by boys whipping their tops on the public pathways of the City. It is a shocking nuisance. The police should receive directions to prevent it. We sincerely hope his Worship will give orders to the head constables at their different houses, to this effect.|
DEATH OF JAMES NICHOLAS MURPHY, ESQ.
|WITH the sincerest regret we learn that this gifted and truly amiable young gentleman, the second son of Nicholas Murphy, Esq., of Clifton, died this day, after a short but painful illness ; we believe rheumatic fever. Highly gifted, with a cultivated mind, and a kindly and gentle disposition, he was such a son as an honoured father might justly be proud of, and whose loss must be looked upon as one of the heaviest afflictions to which the parent's heart can be subjected. Mr. Murphy, like his eldest, and now sorrowing brother, was ever actively though unostentatiously prominent in all works of charity ; and the Society of St. Vincent de Paul has lost in him one of its most enthusiastic and devoted members. May he rest in peace. Amen.|
DEATH OF MR. JOHN SEYMOUR, JUN.
|OUR readers will learn with sorrow that this most respectable young man and gifted musician is no more. A few weeks since, we recorded the death of his worthy father ; to-day we deplore the death of the son. Both fell victims to that scourge of our cityfever. We have long known and respected the worth of father and son, and we now sincerely sympathise with the disconsolate widow and mother, daughters and sisters, thus bereft of their loving and affectionate protectorstheir chief, if not only means, of support. Mr. SEYMOUR died last night. May he rest in peace.Amen.|
MOST IMPORTANTPUBLIC WORKS.
|Office of Public Works, 12th March, 1847 |
| SIR,The commissioners have received instructions from the Lords Commissioners of her Majesty's Treasury, directing that the following notice be immediately given:
That from Saturday, the 20th March, the number of persons employed on the relief works will be reduced not less than 20 per cent., and that the remainder will be further diminished by successive reductions, in the proportions and at the times to be hereafter fixed, until a new system of relief under the 10th Vict. chap. 7, shall have been brought full into operation.
For the purpose of carrying the above instructions into effect, you will make arrangements with the relief inspecting officers of the Poor Law Union in which each work is situate.
For the discharge on the 20th March, of all persons at present employed holding ten acres of land and upwards, even if they should exceed the proportion of twenty per cent.
If the number of such persons should not amount to the proportion above stated, those persons are to be discharged who hold the largest amount of land (although less than ten acres), or of other property of any description.
And as at this season of the year, it is desirable that every inducement should be held out to labourers to return to the ordinary occupations of the country, or that those who cannot obtain labour should be relieved under the provisions of the 10th Vic., cap. 7.
The Commissioners deem it necessary to discontinue the system of task work, after the 20th instant, and employ labourers of every description, at a rate of daily wages, under that at present given by farmers in surrounding districts.
You will enforce strict and constant attendance of the labourers from six a.m. to six p.m., by directing the overseer of such work to call the roll every morning at six o'clock, and from every person who does not attend at that hour, deduct a quarter of a day's pay ; from those who do not appear before nine o'clock, deduct half a day's pay.Those who come after that hour will not be employed during the day. The roll will also be called at six p.m., and no payment for that day will be allowed to any person who does not appear.
You will discharge all children under nine years of age, and all women who are not supporters of families.
You will, as far as possible, discontinue the employment of all horses or asses.
|By order, |
JOS. C. WALKER, Secretary.
| MORE CONVERSIONS TO THE CATHOLIC CHURCH. Letters from Rome to this country mention that the Rev. Mr. Horne, late of Southampton, was, with his daughter, received into the Roman communion by Cardinal Acton on the 13th ult., and that two other clergymen of the Established Church had made, what is called in the Romish Church, their public act of conformity.Morning Post.|