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auburn, his beard mostly unshaven, and his hands of a singu- of importance among the neighbours. A man named Frank lar delicacy and whiteness, owing, I dare say, as much to the Thomas, the same in whose house Mickey M'Grory held the soft and easy nature of his employment, as to his infirm health. first dance at which I ever saw him, as detailed in a former In every thing else he was as sensible, sober, and rational as number of this Journal—this man, I say, had a child sick, any other man; but on the topic of fairies, the man's mania but of what complaint I cannot now remember, nor is it of was peculiarly strong and immoveable. Indeed, I remember any importance. One of the gables of Thomas's house was that the expression of his eyes was singularly wild and hollow, built against or rather into a Forth or Rath called Towny, or and his long narrow temples sallow and emaciated.
properly Tonagh Forth. It was said to be haunted by the Now, this man did not lead an unhappy life, nor did the fairies, and what gave it a character peculiarly wild in my malady he laboured under seem to be productive of either eyes, was, that there were on the southern side of it two or pain or terror to him, although one might be apt to imagine three little green mounds, which were said to be the graves of otherwise. On the contrary, he and the fairies maintained unchristened children, over which it was considered dangerous the most friendly intimacy, and their dialogues—which I fear and unlucky to pass. At all events, the season was midwere wofully one-sided ones—must have been a source of great summer; and one evening about dusk, during the illness of pleasure to him, for they were conducted with much mirth the child, the noise of a handsaw was heard upon the Forth. and laughter, on his part at least.
This was considered rather strange, and after a little time, a “Well, Frank, when did you see the fairies ?"
few of those who were assembled at Frank Thomas's went to “ Whist! there's two dozen of them in the shop (the weav- see who it could be that was sawing in such a place, or what ing shop) this minute. There's a little ould fellow sittin' on they could be sawing at so late an hour, for every one knew the top of the sleys, an' all to be rocked while I'm weavin' that there was none in the whole country about them who The sorrow's in them, but they're the greatest little skamers would dare to cut down the few whitethorns that grew upon alive, so they are. See, there's another of them at my dress- the forth. On going to examine, however, judge of their surin' noggin. Go out o' that, you shingawn; or, bad cess to me prise, when, after surrounding and searching the whole place, if you don't, but I'll lave you a mark. Hal cut, you thief they could discover no trace of either saw or sawyer. In fact, you!"
with the exception of themselves, there was no one, either “ Frank, aren't you afear'd o' them?"
natural or supernatural, visible. They then returned to the “ Is it me? Arra, what ud I be afear'd o'them for ? Sure house, and had scarcely sat down, when it was heard again they have no power over me.
within ten yards of them. Another examination of the pre"And why haven't they, Frank ?".
mises took place, but with equal success. Now, however, while “ Becaise I was baptized against them.”
standing on the forth, they heard the sawing in a little hol“ What do you mean by that ?"
low, about a hundred and fifty yards below them, which was Why, the priest that christened me was tould by my father completely exposed to their view, but they could see nothing. to put in the prayer against the fairies-an’ a priest can't A party of them immediately went down to ascertain if possirefuse it when he's axed—an' he did so. Begorra, it's well for ble what this singular noise and invisible labour could mean; me that he did—(let the tallow alone, you little glutton—see, but on arriving at the spot, they heard the sawing, to which there's a weeny thief o' them aitin' my tallow)—becaise, see, it was their intention to make me king o' the fairies: You Forth abuvadded hammering and driving of nails, upon the
, whils who “ Is it possible?"
hear it in the hollow. On comparing notes, they resolved to “Devil a lie in it. Sure you may ax them, an' they'll tell send down to Billy Nelson's for Frank Martin, a distance you."
only of about eighty or ninety yards. He was soon on the spot, “ What size are they, Frank ?".
and without a moment's hesitation solved the enigma. “ Oh, little wee fellows, with green coats an' the purtiest “'Tis the fairies,” said he. “ I see them, and busy cralittle shoes ever you seen. There's two o' them—both ould thurs they are.” acquaintances o' mine_runnin' along the yarn beam. That “ But what are they sawing, Frank ?" ould fellow with the bob wig is called Jim Jam, an' the other They are makin' a child's coffin,” he replied ; "they have chap with the three-cocked hat is called Nickey Nick. Nickey the body already made, an' they're now nailin' the lid toplays the pipes. Nickey, give us a tune, or I'll malivogue gether.' you-come now, 'Lough Erne Shore.' Whist, now--listen !” That night the child certainly died, and the story goes,
The poor fellow, though weaving as fast as he could all the that on the second evening afterwards, the carpenter who was time, yet bestowed every possible mark of attention to the called upon to make the coffin brought a table out from music, and seemed to enjoy it as much as if it had been real. Thomas's house to the forth, as a temporary bench; and it is But who can tell whether that which we look upon as a priva. said that the sawing and hammering necessary for the comtion may not after all be a fountain of increased happiness, pletion of his task were precisely the same which had been greater perhaps than any which we ourselves enjoy? I forget heard the evening but one before_neither more nor less. I who the poet is who says,
remember the death of the child myself, and the making of its Mysterious are thy laws ;
coffin, but I think that the story of the supernatural carpenter The vision's finer than the view ;
was not heard in the village for some months after its interHer landscape Nature never drew
ment. So fair as fancy draws.
Frank had every appearance of a hypochondriac about him. Many a time when a mere child not more than six or seven
At the time I saw him, he might be about thirty-four years of years of age, have I gone as far as Frank's weaving-shop, age, but I do not think, from the debility of his frame and infirm in order, with a heart divided between curiosity and fear, to health, that he has been alive for several years. He was an listen to his conversation with the good people. From morn-object of considerable interest and curiosity, and often have ing till night his tongue was going almost as incessantly as
I been present when he was pointed out to strangers as “the his shuttle; and it was well known that at night, whenever
man that could see the good people.” With respect to his soluhe awoke out of his sleep, the first thing he did was to put tion of the supernatural noise, that is easily accounted for, out his hand and push them as it were off his bed.
This superstition of the coffin-making is a common one, and “Go out o' this, you thieves you--go out o' this, now, an'
to a man like him, whose mind was familiar with it, the illlet me alone. Nickey, is this any time to be playin' the pipes, ness of the child would naturally suggest the probability of and me wants to sleep? Go off, now—_troth if yez do, you'll its death, which he immediately associated with the imagery see what I'll give yez to-morrow. Sure I'll be makin' new
and agents to be found in his unhappy malady. dressins; and if yez behave dacently, maybe I'll lave yez the scrapin' o' the pot. There now. Och! poor things, they're dacent crathurs. Sure they're all gone barrin poor Red-cap,
ANTIQUITY OF RAILWAYS AND Gas._Railways were used that doesn't like to lave me,” And then the harmless monomaniac would fall back into what we trust was an innocent them in 1671 in his journey to this country. A Mr Spedding,
in Northumberland in 1633, and Lord Keeper North mentions slumber.
coal-agent to Lord Lonsdale, at Whitehaven, in 1765, had the About this time there was said to have occurred a very gas from his lordship’s coal-pits conveyed by pipes into his remarkable circumstance, which gave poor Frank a vast deal office, for the purpose of lighting it, and proposed to the ma• The dressings are a species of sizy flummery, which is brushed into the streets to light the town, which they refused.-Carlisle
gistrates of Whitehaven to convey the gas by pipes through the yarn to keep the thread round and even, and to prevent it from being frayed by the friction of the reed.
THE HUNGARIAN NOBILITY.— There is no country under from which a small draught was about to separate them, heaven where nobility is at so low a par, or rather perhaps I They afterwards drank a prodigious quantity of water ; and should say, on so unequal a basis ; and I was so much amused when I next went out, the dose had done its deadly work. I by the classification lately bestowed on it by a humorous cannot tell how far justice was truly administered, but there friend of mine, to whom I had frankly declared my inability was a great appearance of it; and I must say that I never to disentangle its mazes, that I will give it in his own words. in any court saw a greater display of decorum and dignity.
Allan's Views on the Niger. “ The nobility of Hungary are of three orders—the mighty, the moderate, and the miserablethe Esterhazys, the Batthy- THE PLANING-MACHINE ROOM IN MESSRS FAWCETT AND anyis, and such like, are the capital of the column-the Co.'s ENGINE FACTORY, LIVERPOOL.—In this room are vashäft is built of the less wealthy and influential ; and the luable and elaborately contrived machines for the planing or base (and a very substantial one it is) is a curious congeries
levelling of large plates, or other pieces of iron or brass, so of small landholders, herdsmen, vine-growers, waggoners, as to give them a smooth, true, and polished surface. The and pig-drivers. Nay, you may be unlucky enough to get a article or piece to be planed is securely fixed by screw-bolts, nemes as a servant; and this is the most unhappy dilemma of &c, to a horizontal iron table, perforated witń holes for the all, for you cannot solace yourself by beating him when he insertion of the bolts from beneath it in any required point, offends you, as he is protected by his privileges, and he ap- to suit the size or form of the article. This table, when put peals to the Court of the Comitat for redress. The country in motion, travels backwards and forwards with its load on is indebted to Maria Theresa for this pleasant confusion; two iron rails, or parallel slides. Over the centre is perpenwho, when she repaid the valour of the Hungarian soldiers
dicularly fixed what is called the “planing tool," an instruwith a portion of their own land, and a name to lend it grace, ment made of steel, somewhat in the form of a hook, with forgot that many of these individuals were probably better the point so inclined as to present itself towards the surface swordsmen than proprietors; and instead of limiting their of the metal to be planed, as it approaches it on the table, so patent of nobility to a given term of years, laid the founda
as, when all is adjusted, to plough or plane it in narrow tion of a state of things as inconvenient as it is absurd.”
streaks or shavings as it passes under it. The extremity of I was immediately reminded by his closing remark of a the tool is about half an inch to three quarters in breadth, most ridiculous scene, which, although in itself a mere trifle,
and being of a round form at the under side, and ground or went far to prove the truth of his position. My readers are bevelled on the upper, presents a sort of point. If a plate probably aware that none pay tolls in Hungary save the pea- of iron is to be planed, the operation commences on the outer sants; and it chanced that on one occasion, when we were edge, and each movement backwards and forwards of the passing from Pesth to Buda over the bridge of boats, the
table places it in such a position under the tool, that another carriage was detained by some accidental stoppage just beside
small parallel cut is made throughout its whole length. The the tollkeeper's lodge, when our attention was arrested by a tool, in ordinary machines of this kind, is fixed so that it vehement altercation between the worthy functionary, its oc- cuts only in one direction, as the plate is drawn against its cupant, and a little ragged urchin of 11 or 12 years of age, who edge or point, which is raised to allow of the backward mohad, as it appeared, attempted to pass without the preliminary tion of the plate. A new patent has however been obtained ceremony of payment.
for a great improvement in this respect by Mr Whitworth, of The tollkeeper handled the supposed delinquent with some
Manchester, and several of his machines are on Messrs Fawroughness as he demanded his fee ; but the boy stood his cett and Co.'s premises. In these, by a peculiarly beautiful ground stoutly, and asserted his free right of passage as a contrivance, the cutting instrument, the moment the plate nobleman! The belligerent party pointed to the heel-less passes under it, “jumps” up a little in the box or case to shoes and ragged jerkin of the culprit, and smiled in scorn. I which it is attached, and instantly “turns abodt” in the opThe lad for all reply bade him remove his hand from his collar, i posite direction, and commences cutting away, so that both and let him pass at his peril; and the tone was so assured backwards and forwards the operation goes on without loss in which he did so, that the tollkeeper became grave, and of time The workmen very quaintly and appropriately call • looked somewhat doubtful; when just at the moment up this new planing tool “ Jim Crow.” A workman attends to walked a sturdy peasant, who, while he paid his kreutzer, salu- each of the machines ; and when the piece to be cut is fixed ted the young nobleman, and settled the point.
with great exactness on the moving table by a spirit-level, It was really broad farce. The respectably clad and comfortable looking functionary loosed his hold in a moment, and the machinery work evenly and correctly. Where a very
he has nothing to do but to watch that it remain so, and that the offending hand, as it released the collar of the captive, smooth surface is required, the operation of planing is relifted his hat, while he poured out his excuses for an over- peated, and two plates thus finished will be so truly level, zeal, arising from his ignorance of the personal identity of that they will adhere together. It should be added, that so this young scion of an illustrious house, who was magnani- perfect are these machines, that in addition to planing horimously pleased to accept the apology, and to raise his own zontally, they may be so adjusted as to plane perpendicularly, dilapidated cap in testimony of his greatness of soul, as he
or at any given angle. walked away in triumph. Cruikshank would have had food for a chef d'æuvre.--Miss Pardoe's Hungary.
The planet revolves for ever in its appointed orbit; and the AFRICAN ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE.„On coming out tained that the perturbations of its course are all compen,
noblest triumph of mechanical philosophy is to have ascerof my hut at Fandah one morning, I saw the king seated at
sated within determined periods, and its movement exempted the gate of his palace, surrounded by his great men, admi- from decay. But man, weak and erring though he be, is still nistering justice. At a little distance, on the grass, were two men and two women, who were charged with robbery. I ever in one unvarying path of moral action. The combina
progressive in his moral nature. He does not move round for The evidence had already been gone through before my arrival. The king was the principal speaker, and when he system, but also the continually advancing improvement be.
tions of his history exhibit not only the unity of the material paused, the whole court murmured approbation.
The younger woman made a long defence, and quite astonished longing to beings of a higher order.-Miller's “Modern History
philosophically considered,” me by her volubility, variety of intonation, and graceful action. The appeal, however, seemed to be in vain ; for when To PREVENT HORSES' FEET FROM CLOGGING UP WITH she had finished, the king, who had listened with great pa- Snow.-One pound of lard, half a pound of tar, and two tience, passed sentence in a speech of considerable length, ounces of resin, simmered up together. Stop the horses’ delivered with great fluency and emphasis. In many parts he feet, just before starting; with this, which will prevent the was much applauded, except by the poor wretches, who heard feet from balling.–Suffolk Chronicle. their doom with shrieks of despair. The king then retired,
Conscience is merely our own judgment of the moral rectithe court broke up, and the people dispersed. None remained tude or turpitude of our own actions.—Locke. but the prisoners and a decrepit old man, who, with many threats and some ceremony, administered a small bowl of
Printed and published every Saturday by GUNN and CAMERON, at the Office poison, prepared, I believe, from the leaves of a venerable
of the General Advertiser, No. 6, Church Lane, College Green, Dublin.tree in the neighbourhood, which was hooped and propped all Agents :- R. GROOMBRIDGE, Panyer Alley, Paternoster Row, London ; round. The poor creatures received the potion on their
SIMMs and DINHAM, Exchange Street, Manchester ; C. Davies, North knees, and before they could be induced to swallow it, cast
John Street, Liverpool; SLOCOMBE & Simms, Leeds, Frases and
CRAWFORD, George Street, Edinburgh ; and David ROBERTSON, Trog. many a lingering look and last farewell on the beautiful world
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 27, 1841.
BIRD'S-EYE VIEW OF A UNION WOBKHOUSE FOR THE ACCOMMODATION OF EIGHT HUNDRED
PERSONS OR UPWARDS.
The entrance front building, forming a distinct structure, is placed about serving the food from the kitchen ; the two rooms for boys and girls will 150 feet in advance of the main building, and consists of one foor (above the also serve the purpose of a chapel, if required. ground), on which the Board-room and clerk's office are placed ; under- The Infirmary is placed at the back of the building, occupying a position neath these are the waiting-hall, in which applicants for relief are received, distinct from the wards of the house, and sufficiently convenient for the and a room for a porter, who has charge of the paupers on their admission, supply of food from the kitchen offices without entailing the necessity of for the purpose of seeing that they are washed, cleaned, and clothed in the a separate establishment. workhouse dress; he is therefore placed near the probationary wards. Dis- Wards are placed on each end of the infirmary buildings for idiots, epitinct wards are also provided for vagrants receiving temporary relief. This leptics, and lunatics, in which cells are provided for those for whom occaarrangement of the probationary and vagrant wards secures the vicinity of sional restraint is unavoidable, or whose habits render distinct accommodation the body of the house from the risk of infection from persons previous to necessary. their being examined and declared free from disease
The arrangement of the building is made with true regard to ventilation. The main building is separated from the entrance front by a courtyard At each end, in the centre of the building, a large hall, containing a superand garden, which divide the two front yards for the boys and girls; the ficial area of 426 feet, is carried up to the roof of the house, on which is centre of the main building contains the master's house, which is placed im- constructed a large ventilator, containing windows hung on centres, and inediately among all classes, and from which ready access is had to any of moveable with a line, to admit any circulation or change of air required. the rooms ; the kitchen offices are close under the master and matron's in- The several rooms throughout are arranged to open at once into the landspection, as well as the several stores.
ing of the stone stairs, which are carried up in this space. The several doors The wash-house and kitchen offices are placed in a situation distinct have semicircular arches above them to be opened as occasion may require ; from the paupers in the yards, and none but those immediately employed and which, without producing any strong current, would always effect an in them have access thereto; on each side the master's house are placed the extensive ventilation during the occupation of the rooms. The usual manrooms for children, who have separate staircases, used also by the master ner of ventilating the common sleeping rooms, is by placing the windows and matron ; the extreme wings contain on the ground floor rooms for the on each side of the room, which are very useful, but chiefly so after the old and infirm people, and some accommodation also for the able-bodied, paupers have left the apartment. The windows throughout are constructed which class, however, being employed (the women in the wash-house, &c., with the upper part hinged, and to fall inside, which allows them to be and the men at a milí, in breaking stones, or other useful occupation,) the opened during rainy weather. same extent of day room is not requisite. The chapel and dining hall an- Cast-iron air-gratings are to be inserted in small Aues formed in the swers three purposes, inasmuch as it also serves, by means of a double par- walls, and fixed a few inches above the floors, for obtaining, when required, tition, for day rooms for able-bodied men and women, should occasion re- an admission of external air. quire it. The situation of this building as a dining-hall is, from its central A A A A, yards. B, women's yard. C, men's yard. D, girls' yard. position, best suited for all classes, and is most convenient as regards the E, garden. F, boys' yard. G and H, small yards.
THE DESTITUTE POOR OF IRELAND. WHEN we call to mind the interminable discussions which , escaping from a dark, close wood, in which there was neither only a few years ago were usual in every society, as to the path nor direction, into an open country, with the bright ca. necessity, or advantages, or practicability, of a poor-law sys- nopy of heaven above, and our desired destination, or the tem in Ireland, and then transfer our attention to the actual sure road conducting to it, plainly in view. progress which has been made in carrying into effect a cer- To devise, and, much more, to bring into operation, a legaltain, defined, and enacted arrangement, it is something like lized system of poor relief suited to the wants and circum
stances of Ireland, will, when duly considered, appear to houses, if obtainable. Their expectations on this head, have been a truly great and formidable undertaking. Innu- however, were very far from being realized. It seems merable plans had been set forth from time to time for this tain that the opinion originally formed as to the excess of purpose, anterior to the act passed among the first of her barrack accommodation in Ireland was unfounded, there present Majesty's reign; but it may well be questioned if there being in fact no more than the exigencies of the public service was any one of them which would not on trial have proved to require; and of barracks, eventually, they obtained but one, be a complete failure. Into that speculation, however, we situate in the town of Fermoy, which is now in process of have no occasion to enter at present, as there is now a law, conversion into a workhouse for that Union. In other l'nions, having its machinery already so near to completion, that it old houses and other buildings were carefully surveyed ; but must be in full effect at no distant day throughout the whole in no one instance, says Mr Wilkinson, the intelligent and country, to the provisions and execution of which it will be skilful architect of the Commissioners, have premises of this at once more interesting and more profitable to direct our kind been found eligible in point of economy or convenience attention.
of arrangement, the sums asked in nearly every instance We may confidently attribute whatever facilities have been having been far beyond the value for the purpose of conserfound to attend the practical introduction of the law into sion. As a general result, the only old buildings which have Ireland, to the fact that its management was entrusted in the been actually converted, or are now in process of conversion, first instance to a Commission; that the Commissioners into workhouses, are, in Dublin, the House of Industry for were men already perfectly conversant with the subject, and the North Union, and the Foundling Hospital for the South ; that they were invested with sufficient powers to accomplish in Fermoy the barrack already mentioned; and the House of the object. No better machinery could have been devised, Industry in Clonmel. and we shall soon be enabled to perceive that it has not dis- The number of new buildings contracted for, and in proappointed the expectations to which it might fairly have given gress, was in March last 64; the notices for contracts since
published amount to 50; so that building arrangements reThe first great object which presented itself for considera- main to be made for only 16 Unions. tion, in connection with the act of Parliament, may be sup- In the appendix to the last Annual Report of the Commisposed to have been the division of the country into suitable sioners there is a tabular statement, showing at one view districts for the administration of the system. It required the number and names of the Unions which have been declared a new series of boundaries for its own provisions and purposes, up to April last-the area in statute acres, and population of as the proposed relief was to be afforded territorially, accord-each-the number of Guardians respectively-with other paring to none of the existing divisions, either parochial, ba- ticulars, including indeed every thing necessary to afford saronial, or by counties. The Commissioners were empowered tisfactory information on the subject; and, but that it would to “unite such and so many townlands as they might think occupy a great deal of space, we would gladly transfer it to fit to be a Union for the relief of the destitute poor;" and our columns. the subject was one that evidently demanded the most serious Having thus briefly noticed the three leading points indisexamination.
pensably preliminary to the working of the poor-law, namely, The principle of forming the Unions was that which the Ist, the Unions, or districts within which each local adminis. Commissioners had previously adopted in England, namely, tration is to be comprised ; 2lly, the Guardians, or local admithat the Union should consist of a market-town as a centre, nistrators of the law; and, 3dly, the Workhouses or buildings and the district of country surrounding and depending on it, designed for the reception of the destitute poor, it only reand extending to about ten miles round it in all directions. mains to add a few observations relative to certain topics on The size of Unions was indeed a subject which caused a good which there has been a good deal of discussion, and concerndeal of anxious consideration. People, generally speaking, ing which a clear opinion has not yet been arrived at by were at first desirous of having smaller Unions--not taking many. into account, that by increasing the number of Unions, more In the first place, there has been much misconception as to expense would be incurred, as the larger the Union, the the true nature of the work which the act of Parliament desmaller is the establishment charge in proportion. However, volved upon the Commissioners of Poor-Laws. That such is the Commissioners, guided by local facilities, formed Unions the case, is evident from the many applications which have of townlands already combined by social affinities as well as been made to them from time to time to afford relief in differgeographical position, and have thus exceeded the number at ent districts under various circumstances of distress, as first estimated on a theoretical scale. The number declared though the Commissioners possessed any general powers for up to the 25th of March last is 104, and 26 more, it is sup- this purpose. The applications were not indeed at all surposed, will comprise the whole of Ireland, and constitute the prising. • Hunger,” saith the proverb, “will break through entire.
stone walls ;” and it was not to be expected that those who The most important subject which demanded attention was witnessed and deeply sympathised with numerous and touchthe construction of a governing power for each Union, in ing instances of extreme destitution would be very nice in conformity with the terms and intention of the act of Parlia- scanning the phraseology or exact intendments of an act of ment. It was to consist of a Board of Guardians, one- Parliament. However, in reality the Commissioners bad no third being resident magistrates, and the remainder freely power to act in any manner different from that which the elected by the rate-payers. The Commissioners were autho- legislative chart, if we may use the phrase, had prescribed to rised to fix the number for each Union, and they were of them. Their mission was to fulfil the great work of founding opinion that a number of elected Guardians, varying from and bringing into operation an extensive system of poor relief, 16 to 24, would be best calculated for carrying out the not to distribute a bounty, or immediately to afford relief in provisions of the act. These, with the addition of one- any specific case of distress, however urgent. Their task wis third, composed of the local magistrates, who are Guardians formidable and onerous; and if the accomplishment of it has ex officio, would, it was calculated, give to each Union a appeared to some to have been tedious in its course, it may Board of from 21 to 32 members, which would be sufficient well be asked, wherein has there been a failure of any means for deliberation, and yet not so numerous as to impede effi- necessary to the end, or by what better means could the work cient action. With regard to the actual elections, now nu- have been made to advance more speedily and more securely merous, which have taken place, the Commissioners in their to completion, than by those which have been emploved? The last Report express their regret that much excitement and law, it may be said, has as yet been brought to bear on the discordant feeling should have been exhibited in some instan- wants of the poor only in the Unions of Cork and Dublin. ces; but at the same time they declare their belief, that, as True ; but for this the law itself, or that process which it a general result, efficient Boards of Guardians have been made imperative in order to effect the essential and solid purconstituted.
poses which it had in view, is alone answerable. Tho third important object which demanded attention, Unions, Guardians, Workhouses, and Assessment, must, by was the procuring of suitable workhouses for the several the terms of the act, in every instance precede relief. By Unions. The Commissioners were of opinion that one cen- the 41st section it is enacted, “That when the Commissioners tral workhouse, of a size sufficient for the whole of the Union, shall have declared the workhouse of any Union to be fit for would be best; but for the sake of hastening the practical the reception of destitute poor, and not before, it shall be lawbenefits of the act, and to save expense as much as possible, ful for the Guardians, with the approbation of the Commisthey were disposed to avail themselves of existing build- sioners, to take order for relieving and setting to work therein ings nearly central, capable of being converted into worka I destitute poor persons." Thus it appears that until a work
house be provided, the practical benefits of the act cannot doubted if things would go on in the same quiet and businessbe obtained.
like manner if Guardian meetings were to be open to the It may be premature at present to speak of the interior public; and if there be any evil connected with the exclusion economy of the workhouse, but we may shortly refer to the complained of, we may safely conjecture, at least, that it is leading views put forth by the Commissioners on the subject. | the lesser of two_less than that which would arise from the They disapprove, then, we collect in the first place, of more jarrings and discord of party on a subject which, above any land being occupied in connection with the house than may be other, calls for unanimity, and should awaken only the feelings sufficient for the purpose of a garden, or than can be con- of a common benevolence and patriotism. veniently managed by the boys, or the aged and infirm men. We may now advert, in the last place, to the ameliorations Employment for the able-bodied is to be provided within in our social condition which may be expected to arise when the workhouse, to which they are to be strictly confined so the new system shall have been put fully in operation. In the long as they remain dependent on the Union for support. first place, a reproach will be wiped away from our country, This, in the opinion of the Commissioners, given in their Fifth which certainly existed against it so long as it could be said Annual Report, “ Should be of such a nature as to be irksome, that no law existed in it for the relief of the poor. Destituand to awaken or increase a dislike to remain in the work- tion will then be provided for, and mendicancy will be without house, for which purpose corn-mills will probably be found, excuse. It is true that there is no direct provision in the act as in England, to be the most effective. With the aged and for the restraint of beggary, but a legalized provision for the infirm the case is somewhat different: they should all be em- destitute is indirectly a law against it, and must operate most ployed, but their employment need not partake so much of powerfully as such. When people are taxed to maintain the the character of a test: and with the children the test is al- poor, they naturally become unwilling to open their pursetogether inapplicable; so long as they remain in the work. strings, unless with great reluctance, at the solicitation of house, they should be taught and trained to become useful mendicants; the trade of mendicancy declines; and those who members of the community; and for this purpose an acre or would still cling to it are forced, if of the class of the abletwo of garden ground, in which the boys may work and ac-bodied, to apply themselves to some means of profitable inquire habits of industry, as well as skill and strength for dustry, or to resort to the workhouse for subsistence. The manual labour, will be found extremely useful.”
Poor-Relief Act is thus, indirectly, a law against mendicancy, With regard to diet, they observe in their Sixth Report, that, and in this point of view is calculated to work most benefias a general rule, it is unquestionably desirable that the cially, and greatly to alter the face of things in Ireland. workhouse diet should be, on the whole, inferior to that of But it is also a law of positive economy to the country, the labouring classes of the surrounding district; yet that it The support of the destitute not being abandoned to casual is not on this circumstance alone, or even in any very great charity, but conducted systematically by persons appointed to degree, that the efficiency of the workhouse depends. On bestow their exclusive attention to it, and all rateable parties the contrary, say they, “We are satisfied that the diet, cloth being under a legal obligation to contribute in due proportion ing, bedding, and other merely physical comforts, may in to their circumstances, there cannot be a doubt that a less the workhouse be better than in the neighbouring cottages, expenditure will suffice under such management for the and yet that none but the really destitute poor will seek for maintenance of the really destitute than if the work were admission into the workhouse, provided that order and dis- left to mere voluntary benevolence, and no means existed of cipline be strictly maintained therein. It is in truth the re- compelling all classes fairly to share the burden among gularity, order, strict enforcement of cleanliness, constant them. occupation, the preservation of decency and decorum, and Many persons have felt a terror at the idea of the taxation exclusion of all the irregular habits and tempting excitements they supposed they should have to suffer under a poor-law ; of life, on which reliance must mainly be placed for deterring but the great probability, nay, almost the certainty of the individuals, not actually and unavoidably destitute, from seek- matter, is, that it will be a considerable saving to them. The ing refuge within the workhouse, and not upon the absence present rate in Dublin is ls. in the pound for the year, on a of mere physical comforts. This is the view by which the very moderate valuation, and much more than half the rate is legislature appears to have been governed in adopting the ge- borne by landlords.* This, however, appears to be beyond the neral principles of the Irish poor relief act; and to this view intention of the law as to town property, for which inordinate we consider it to be essential that the dietaries and the rents are not usually obtained; but the result is within the other regulations of the workhouse should conform.”
control of the Guardians, who may revise the valuation whenWith these general views no reflecting person will, we ever they propose to levy a new rate. should think, be disposed to quarrel.
The expense of the relief, even under higher rates, would A good deal of discussion has taken place as to the regula- be less, far less, on those who have hitherto supported the tion which prohibits strangers, and particularly reporters of poor, than the outlay which they have annually made for that the press, from attending the meetings of Guardians. How-object ; and now they will have the satisfaction of knowing ever, we in Ireland have nothing specially to complain of in that what they give is given to the destitute poor; that all is this respect, as the same rule exists in England, and has not well applied, none misspent, and every part so economized in been atiended there by any public inconvenience. The ques distribution, that the sum contributed relieves a greater numtion properly is, why the rule should be different here? The ber of poor than the larger sum formerly given in alms. Guardians, it must be understood, are under no obligation of It must also be considered, that the poorer classes subsistsecrecy. They are quite at liberty to note, report, and pub- ing by labour will be relieved by the workhouses from the lish at their own discretion; the rule merely excludes stran- continual encroachments of beggars on their scanty meals, gers, and of course reporters who are not Guardians, from and the still more scanty means of lodging possessed by them. the Board. The Commissioners in their Sixth Report very truly say that “the presence of strangers would be a re- * As the principle on which the tenant is entitled to make deductions straint upon the deliberations of the Guardians ; while the
from rent, on account of the poor rate, is not clearly understood by many,
the following explanation is given :knowledge that their proceedings were to be published would This tax being imposed on the annual value of each tenement, say a rate certainly conduce to debate and display, and obstruct the dis
of 5d, on £5), £00, or whatever the valuation may amount to, the tenant is
to deduct one-half of the rate, say 24 d., from every pound in the year's rent. patch of business. A desire for popularity would be awakened, The rate is imposed for a year; it may happen that no further rate will be and individual Guardians would too probably be led to ad- necessary in the year, or it may occur that three or four rates will be necesdress themselves to the passions of their hearers, or to party
sary; still each rate is for the year, and is either the whole amount required
or an instalment. In any event it is levied on a year's value; and landlords or sectarian feelings prevalent without doors, rather than to are to allow their tenants one half of each rate of 5d., 6d., or whatever it may the sober disposal of the business in hand. Prejudices would be, out of every pound in the year's rent, when receiving either a balf be excited, passions inflamed, personalities would arise, and year's, quarter's, month's, or week's gale.
Suppose the annual value is £50, the rent being also £50, the rate of 5d. will the most respectable members of the Board, who, from their amount to £1, Os. 1 d., and in paying a half year's rent of £25, the tenant property, position, and habits of business, would be best en- must deduct fifty times 2 d., or 10s. 5d., being half the tax paid. titled and best fitted to take part in and guide its proceedings, more than half the umount of the tax
If the year's rent be greater than the annual value, the tenant will deduct
Thus, a rate of 5d. on an annual would be borne down by clamour, or wearied by lengthened value of £50, being, as already stated, £1, (s. 100.. if the annual rent be £8), discussion, if not finally compelled to abandon their post.”.
the tenant will deduct from the first gale falling due after the rate is declared It was no easy matter to have brought this great work of annual rent be less ihan the value, say £10, the deduction will be only forty
On the other hand, if the
by the Guardians, eighty times 2%d. or 16s. 8d. a statutablo poor relief to its present advanced state, with times 29 d., or 8s. 4d. out exciting stronger feelings of opposing party than any therefore a rate declared in April 1840 attaches to rent then accruing, but
The lenant and landlord become liable to the rate at the same moment ; which fortunately have yet been elicited; but it may well be not to a gale previously due.