He had owned cows and been comfortably | sovereign and had 67. promised. off till the bad times came.

[ocr errors]


then," at length she burst out, "then it's Again I advised her to go into the work- the Lord himself as has sent you to me house for a few weeks until they could be this day - praised be his holy name." emigrated; but no, it was not until I again This was our first case. Well, for the visited them six weeks later, that finding sequel. The next morning I left Glendathem all suffering from "coulds" caused lough; and, just as I was leaving, I by the dampness of the housheen- all thought I saw the same woman, and it resources having failed they consented flashed across me that I had been de at last to enter within the dreaded walls. ceived, for I knew she lived six miles I must not dwell over other scenes of away; so I stopped. "Well, what, are this day's work; only let me say that you here again?" "Yes, sir, I have everywhere the desperate poverty and spent the night with my sister taking earnestness of the people to be assisted leave of her; a poor creature with a long to emigrate were more and more appar-wake' family. She lives just below, and


[ocr errors]

I could not pass Miss Mullarchy without speaking to them again. Now, I am going back to Cashel." So, as our road was the same, I told the driver to give her a seat. When we came to the high

Taking a stroll on my return to be rid of the stiffness caused by a long car journey, I met the relieving officer of the district, who was seeking me. A woman (always the first here) had come beseech-road a poor woman, with a face so like ing and imploring help from him. She Hannah Flaherty's, was there, that I had sold her little heifer and all her be- said, "That must be your sister." "Yes, longings and just raised enough where- indeed, yer honor, she's coming to take with to buy the tickets, costing 167., which lave of me. The poor 'wake' creature, she produced, for her husband, herseif, with a' waker' husband, and seven poor and her child for the steamer on Friday,' wake' children. I've been crying the and hadn't a 66 penny" to take them fifty night to see them and not a sixpence in miles to Galway, or pay for the "kit," or the house to buy a bit of meal" (rather to "lave a halfpenny" when they landed begging I thought). "I told you, sir, that -would I give her help? They were I was going to Mr. Macready's last night, most industrious people, he said; the hus- for sure I lived there as cook, and good band a "splendid " workman; and the Mr. Macready he gave me a sovereign, woman was here; would I see her? Yes; yer honor; but this poor sister is so badly and a very tidy, pleasant-looking young off, yer honor, I couldn't tell you the woman was introduced. Relieving offi- half of her poverty,' that I must leave her cer: "Now, tell the gentleman the story; that pound. I cannot leave her without, every word must be truth. Whist, what's and it's you I have to thank for it. Yes, the use of crying? Don't you see the God be praised for it." Then our roads kind gentleman means to help you? he's diverged. taking down the notes ;" and so I had the story over again. "Well, how much would it be?" Well, indeed, if a sovereign could be had it would be great help. There was the car to Galway a pound, and they were very short of clothing, and they had nothing for the journey nor on landing, and they had friends in Ameriky (burst of tears stopped by relieving officer) somewhere, Alleghany County, Pennsylvania." Well, how would they get there? She didn't know, but if the good God helped them to Boston, she must lave that. Then I summed up the very lowest that all these would cost, and hearing from the landlady of the hotel that her story was quite true, and that she had been a servant with her, I told her I could give 67. for the whole, so that they might not be stranded in the streets of Boston. She hardly took it seriously at first; it seemed so unreal. She had asked for a

At Clifden on the following day I had numerous applications from people who had crowded into the town, and there I wrote the committee at home in the following terms:

It is becoming more evident that the fear I entertained before leaving home, of the inability of the people to pay half the fares, is a correct one. I have had many instances of it to-day in this place, and it will be needful for me to have the instructions of the committee as to my course of action in the event of the union declining to advance the other half. . . The need for help and the desire for it are, if possible, greater than I anticipated; nor is the absolute poverty of the mass of the people one whit less, when I come to investigate the cases separately as I have done to-day. It is really decent hard-working little farmer was recompitiable. Take this as an instance: A most mended to me for one of Mr. Sweetman's farms. This is his case: John Sullivan, 40 years of age, has a little farm in co-partnership

[ocr errors]

with another man, for which 7. a year are
paid; has one cow value 67., one filly value 27.,
and could sell his "crops" if he left for 57. or
6.; but that is all- every penny
" he has.
There are three years rent unpaid and 87. or
9. due to the shop: that is a "great throuble."
Has been accustomed to go to Scotland, and
now has two boys and one girl there earning
about 8s. to 125. a week each. He is buying
potatoes every week for his family to live upon.
The total land under. tillage does not exceed
two acres. All he could possibly do would be
to find clothing and perhaps a car to Galway
-fifty miles-part to ride and part to walk.
His family consists of three boys and six girls:
thus there are eleven in all. Now a greater
kindness could not be done than to remove this
industrious, decent fellow, struggling against
poverty, and whose only fault is the size of his
family. To place him on one of Mr. Sweet-
man's farms in Minnesota would cost nearer
100%. than 50%; but could we invest the money

Leaving the further procuring of names in the hands of Mr. Burke, the clerk of the union and the relieving officers, I visited Letterfrack, and the northern division of the union, where I spent a day or two. In a letter to the committee embodied the results of my inquiries thus far in these four heads :

(1.) The great demand on the part of the
people for emigration.

(2.) The extreme poverty of large masses of
the small cultivators of land.
(3.) And as resulting from this, the necessity

which exists to give them assistance. to an extent varying from the whole to one-half the sum required, and which must, I believe, be left to the discretion of those on the spot.

And it must be added


That it is yet uncertain whether the guardians will give their share of the amount required.

At Westport, County Mayo, I again met Mr. H. A. Robinson, the local government inspector, who, since we parted. a week ago, had been visiting the most northerly and the poorest portion of his district — Belmullet and Newport. He had made various inquiries in reference to the feeling of the people; everywhere he had found the grearest desire to avail themselves of any opportunity to emigrate. He had taken down a few names of applicants who were able to pay a small sum or half of the amount for the passages which were assisted. But he felt satisfied that very few persons could avail themselves of the offer of the fund if the rule was strictly adhered to, of finding any large proportion, especially for


[blocks in formation]
[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

the larger farms; in addition to which the soil is so inferior that not more than three acres of wheat are grown in the four unions, and the Griffiths' valuation of the land does not exceed one shilling and sixpence per acre.

We thus have, in round numbers, a population of eighty-two thousand persons, with no local employment, living on twelve thousand six hundred holdings of the average annual value of 47. 12s. each, the total acreage of land under oats and barley being fifteen thousand, and of po- A visit unexpectedly paid to Mulranny, tatoes and other green crops eighteen in the centre of the Newport union, gave thousand two hundred, or one acre and a me an opportunity which tested more than fraction of the one crop, and one acre anything I had yet seen the force of the and a half of the other crop. And this popular feeling in favor of emigration. average, be it remembered, includes all | In passing through the district a few days

previously, Mr. Robinson had mentioned | for the transport of the emigrants became the possibility of some assistance being evident. With the long land carriage by given, and as Mr. Vesey Stoney, of Ros- car or cart to Galway the nearest railway, turk Castle, was not only a considerable and the further long railway journey to resident proprietor, but a guardian, taking Liverpool or Queenstown, I became conmuch interest in the work, I called upon vinced that Galway was the true place for him to obtain information. As I entered the embarkation of the emigrants. The the courtyard of his residence I noticed difficulty to be encountered was this a considerable number of persons col- that one company, the Allan line, alone lected, and soon found they had come to put into Galway for passengers, and only inquire of Mr. Stoney and have their once a fortnight. The best season for names taken down for emigration—a landing passengers before the hot weather process which occupied Mr. Stoney and was rapidly passing; it was imperative, myself nearly seven hours. Numbers of therefore, that with this or other compathese people had walked ten, fifteen, and nies arrangements should be come to twenty miles, from the further shores of which would allow of our people leaving Achill and other remote places. And in considerable numbers at an early date. this, be it remembered, from one small Then, again, although the Clifden guarportion only of the Newport union. Al- dians had agreed to borrow, considerable together about three hundred names were difference of opinion as to what was abrecorded. solutely needful for the proper emigration Returning again to Clifden I ascertained of the people existed. To the union emithat a week's investigation by the guar-gration simply meant the largest number dians respecting the desire of the people to emigrate had revealed this striking state of affairs: :

[blocks in formation]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


350 32 183

222 1,276

It will thus be seen [so I wrote to the committee] that the result of a very incomplete inquiry shows that over 1,000 persons are anxiously wishing to emigrate from Clifden union. It is not likely that on scrutinizing the lists the whole will be found suitable persons, but the single fact that one-fifth of the population of this town the market town of Connemara-have asked to be assisted, is the strongest illustration that can be given of the poverty and absence of employment in the district. I have already stated to the guardians that I shall not feel at liberty to assist more than a very small number from the town, not considering them to belong to the class of small holders of land. The relieving officers state that a further inquiry would produce nearly as many more names. In general the people will need to have assistance for clothing as well as fares, necessarily involving a heavy

cost per head.

And now the real tug of war began. With the numerous applications before me, the necessity of at once entering into arrangements with steamship companies

at the smallest cost. To the committee, with higher views of all that emigration involves, a very different idea presented itself. It had been laid down as an axiom than the landing emigrants without that emigration meant something more friends or funds to proceed to proper fields of labor; and to carry this into effect a much larger expenditure per head was needed than the guardians might fairly consider necessary. Many questions thus arose which, spite of scores of telegrams and letters, it became impossible to explain. Hence I concluded to take the long twenty-four hours' journey to London and meet the committee, and then proceed to Liverpool to arrange with Mr. Melly for the ships required. Before doing so - in some degree owing to the extreme pressure on the part of the people, who, having had their names taken down, thought, like children, they were certain to leave in a day or two- I arranged with the agent of the Allan Line for one hundred and fifty fares for the first steamer leaving Galway, April 28. The selection of the names, and the amount of clothing needed by each, had all to be taken into account; then, when selected, the personal visits to many of the houses, or inspection of those selected who came in from the country districts for the tickets for clothing, had all to be gone through, with the indefatigable clerk

of the union.

Then came the formidable question of how the people living in these remote hamlets and out-of-the-world corners were to be gathered together and forwarded to

Galway, a distance of fifty miles or more, | anticipated, and it was not until about four that the tug was under way which had to convey the emigrants to the Allan s.s. "Austrian,"-lying in the harbor nearly a mile away.

on a given day. Long cars, or short cars, omnibuses, and carts, all had to be requisitioned; but the arrangements I had necessarily to leave in the hands of my local assistants.

After arranging matters with the committee in London and in Liverpool, and (thanks to Mr. Melly) with the Beaver Company for two vessels to call at Galway during the ensuing month, the one for two hundred and fifty and the other three hundred and fifty families, I returned to Galway on the 26th of April in time to receive the first consignment of Connemara emigrants.

It was, of course, needful that having so long a land journey to take, the emigrants should leave Clifden or other portions of the union the day previously to the sailing of the steamer. And it may well be understood how, the morning after my return to Galway, the telegram from Mr. Burke, "Emigrants left Clifden in good spirits and with cheers at eight this morning," was a great relief. But this was only one contingent, others were to meet the Clifden party from Renvyle and Roundstone, and Recess was appointed as the rendezvous. Here, again, although there were one or two missing sheep, and others had been put in their places, owing to their extreme anxiety to leave, the telegram came, "All are leaving at the time appointed." It was a genuine April day. Heavy squalls of wind and hail swept over the mountains of Connemara, and drenched many to the skin. But at the last halting-place, sixteen miles from Galway, I had arranged that they should be supplied with tea, etc., etc., and again my indefatigable assistant telegraphed, "All right; hope to be in Galway at nine." Here lodgings had been provided, and it was late before each contingent with its weary horses came in and finally settled for the night. Some, indeed, who had charge of the baggage, did not arrive until early morning, and the rumble of carts in the street attracting my attention, I saw with the daybreak the last of the stragglers coming in.

The confusion attending the sailing of these steamers from Galway is intolerable. Although there were a sufficient number of constabulary in the town to have kept a city in order, no effort was made. În addition to the two hundred Connemara men, women, and children, one hundred and fifty other emigrants were leaving. These and their numerous friends, together with their onlookers attracted by curiosity, combined to form a gathering, its numbers only equalled by its confusion. It was necessary at the last moment to make some final additions to the letters, lists, and instructions sent out with the ship, and under the protection of an umbrella I sat on one of the blocks of stone intended for the new harbor, using another for a table, the vast throng eddy ing round me like a whirlpool. At first some of the beggars (so numerous here) came asking for money; but convinced that I was in earnest when I bid them begone, some undertook the duty of special constables, and as each fresh beggar approached warned him off with the upbraiding appeal, "Cannot ye see that the gentleman is engaged and has nothing for ye?"

At length the bell of the tug gave its final ring, and they were off; and thus our first shipment of families, two hundred persons, was set forth on its voyage to the New World.

As the first of the two steamers engaged in Liverpool was to sail from Galway in a week, but little time was left for carrying out the multifarious arrangements connected with the bringing up of the larger contingent of three hundred for that boat. I had now, however, the advantage of the assistance of my friend Mr. Hodgkin, who shares with Mr. S. C. Buxton the office of Hon. secretary to the fund. Returning to Clifden we had four days of continuous work, frequently interrupted by the guardians, shopkeepThe night, indeed, for those who super-ers, and others who were opposed to the intended was a short one, for ship lists of passengers and lists for the kind Philadelphia friends who have so willingly responded to my appeal for assistance on the arrival of the emigrants in America, had to be prepared, and many other points had to be considered. The sailing of the vessel was later on the following day than

work. The mornings were spent in the board-room of the workhouse, where each applicant was seen, the lists verified, fur. ther inquiries made, the amount of clothing needed recorded, and subsequently the voucher for the amount to any shopkeeper in the town and one for the steamer also given.

Some of the guardians usually came and either consented or made objections to the names, as the case might be. I had asked several of them privately, as jointly interested in the work, to form a little committee for discussing the names, but as each seemed to have his own special object in view, this was not responded to, though they subsequently passed a minute complaining that this was not done! The usual objection to the departure of any family was that they owed them money. But how this was to be paid by people who, whether evicted or not, were three or four years in arrears for rent, and owed as much to the shops, it was hard to say. Certainly some were successfully squeezed by the sale of the little crops on the ground, or some pig, or articles of furniture. Some shopkeepers applied to me to pay off the debts; others absolutely forbade their debtors to leave until a settlement was effected.

During one of these days I had a call from my old friend Dean Manus, whose acquaintance I had made in 1847. Although very infirm in many ways, his memory generally is good, and he retains much of the eloquence for which he was remarkable, addressing the guardians on the importance of co-operating in the work of emigration, of which he heartily approved.

Now and then a neighbouring priest called, or sent a few names for whom he wished to claim attention, or the medical officers who took a warm interest in the work. On one occasion a deputation of shopkeepers waited upon me with an address, to which I listened with all due respect; and, having the list in hand to which they objected, I begged them to point out the names of those objected to. After carefully scanning it, one was selected as unsuitable, etc., etc., and I care fully made a note of it; but, after further inquiries, I was informed by the party complaining that the person challenged was not the man he supposed.

At length, however the difficulties were again overcome; the lists closed, the clothing distributed, and each relieving officer told off to his work with the number of the contingent he was required to have ready on the following day. Late in the evening I drove the thirty-five miles to Oughterard, changing horses once by the way. To any one visiting Connemara, let me recommend the cleanliness and simple hospitality of the little inn at Oughterard kept by Miss Murphy. To

have a welcome, however late you may arrive, is not universal.

The agent of the Beaver Line was waiting at Galway when I arrived the following morning, the 5th of May. The "Nepigon," he told me, was expected in the harbor by five the next morning, and, under these circumstances, it was no small satisfaction to see our little army arriving, and to know that most of them were safely in their lodging between eight and ten o'clock. The lists which had been prepared for the steamer and sending abroad showed that there were fiftyeight families and a number of single persons, making a total of three hundred and forty-five persons, young and old.

The following are the chief places to which they were booked: Boston, Philadelphia, Pittsburg, Detroit, New York State, and others to less-known places in the United States and to Toronto in Canada.

At an early hour the following day the streets of Galway were alive with groups of emigrants, many, probably, surveying the quaint old capital of their county for the first and last time.

[ocr errors]

Happily, Galway was still asleep; and, beyond a few early risers and officials, the only crowd on the quay on that bright cool morning consisted of our own people. They were in excellent spirits. Some were, no doubt, anxious about the places to which they were going, and as they could not read I had many requests that I would give them my assurance that the ticket was "all right" we are dependent solely on your honor." A few wished to have their destinations exchanged, even at the last moment; and in one or two cases Mr. Wilson, the agent of the company, with great courtesy complied with my request on their behalf. I went off to the steamer with the first party, as the tug required two journeys to take the number, assisted by Father Stephen, whom I had met in Mayo in 1880, and who, hearing of the work going on, had kindly come over from Athenry to offer his services. In addition to the captain and officers, who did their utmost to assist in every way, Mr. Melly had allowed his head clerk, Mr. Tillman, to come round in the steamer, and to him we were indebted for the very efficient arrangement and berthing of the emigrants in the portion of the vessel specially devoted to the Galway people.

Before leaving the quay I had noticed that some of the emigrants, notwithstand

« VorigeDoorgaan »