DISTRESS IN THE WEST

Pilot, Volume 25, Number 18, 3 May 1862

Article from the Boston College Libraries website

DISTRESS IN THE WEST.

To the Editor of the Freeman. My Dear Sir :—I must again raise my voice in favor of my distressed people. Since I last wrote to you I received only 3s. for their relief. Heaven sees it pains me from circumstances to write this letter, but I must write it from a strong sense of duty—the duty which justice and charity demand,irrespective of the duty my people demand of me as their pastor. There was a Relief Committee formed here before Christmas, of which I was not a member—ne matter why. They commenced relief, so called, with giving coal by tickets, at Is. a cwt., and meal at Is. per stona. I was obliged to employ the laborers of this little town or village of Oughterard for nearly three months, to enable them to buy this coal and meal, until all my funds were exhausted. The Relief Committee, go called (against whom, indeed, I don’t speak, though differing from me in creed, except one, I believe all its members to be humane) confine their charity now in giving relief to laborers alone in cutting turf. Charity—l mean the act of alms, or relief in amy shape—though not possibly universal, may still not degenerate to be particular. There is no coal here now, no meal for the last fortnight, except the few tickets for meal which were at the disposal of the Protestant Rector, the Rtv. Mr. Brownrigg. Now, let us see how stands the cause of’ relief to the distressed here. The laborers in this little town, and in a few villages around, aie employed all well. I trust they shall have relief in that respect for some months, but not in summer, in which they suffer most. But who, I ask in sadness, is to give relief or assistance to the distressed in the many distant villages ?—who to the poor tradesman, to the widow, the orphan, and the sick ?—who to supply them with seed potatoes and manure, and to clothe their naked children ? These are the classes of -the people in most want, and who don’t get relief. I shall mention one circumstance or fact out of many, which will illustrate what I assert. A decent tenant farmer —his name McDonough—respectable in his state of life, and middling comfortable up to this, living in a village six miles distant from Oughterard, applied to me on Thursday last for two hundred of meal to support himself, his wife, and four children. I was astonished, He assured me—and knowing his honest, truthful character,! believed every word he said —he had not one potato in his house nor a pint of meal. He had no potatoes or corn to sow his soil find land. He said he knew not in the world what to and workhouse was altogether out of the question for him, I need not say a word more, though my house from morning to noon and night is, I may say the word, besieged by applicants for relief. With grateful thanks for your many favors and kindnessess, I am, my dear sir, very faithfully yours,

M. A. KAVANAGE, P. P.

Kilcummin, Oughterard.

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