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people, their slovenly habits, and of wealthy farmers in Ireland built, gross superstition.
of the same materials as the cabins Nothing, however, can be more of cottiers, because that class almost erroneous than to infer all these from invariably affect poverty, when they the appearance of the houses; for, are comparatively rich. They do this had the cabins been all whitewashed for many reasons ; but more particuand surrounded with trees-had the larly to deceive their landlord respectdunghills been removed to the rear, ing the produce of their lands, and to and a little attention paid to the avoid the payment of fines on the lawn—casual visitors would be im- expiration of their leases. I have pressed with very different senti- known several of them, in various ments; they would draw inferences parts of the country, who would not quite opposite to those which, at permit their sons and daughters to present, naturally arise from appa- wear any clothes but those of the rent wretchedness; though it must coarsest kind, lest their landlord, who be evident, to any reflecting man, lived hard by, should consider a dress that the addition of trees and white- of shop cloth an evidence of their wash could neither add to nor dimi- farms being let too cheap. nish the enjoyments of the inmates. I was once at a wedding, where We are all the creatures of habit; the fortune of the bride was four hun. and the Irish peasant, accustomed to dred pounds, yet the bridegroom his simple dwelling, feels no incon- wore a felt hat, because his landlord venience from its dreary aspect. To was present. Without any motives him it is a home of comfort; it is of this pature, however, the people associated, in his mind, with tender were, until very lately, all dressed in ties and past recollections; and he their own manufactures; and, though finds in its very mud walls and this commendable and primeval custhatched roof-its rude hearth, and tom has been, within these few years, carthen floor--mute incentives to departed from by the wealthier farmlove it. Those only who have seen ers, it still prevails among the lower the cottier forced to quit his cabin classes, unless the Sunday dress of can know how ardently these poor the females forms an exception. The people feel attached to the place growing vanity has also imparted a where they have resided for any desire for slated houses, among those length of time. The bulk of man- who can, or think they can, afford to kind have scarcely any idea of ' fine build them ; but still the thatched views' and enchanting prospects.' houses prevail; and, if they are unMountain and valley, hill and plain, sightly, it must be confessed they are are all one to them; and, as orna- warmer in winter, and colder in summents of any kind are merely artifi, mer, than houses covered with either cial luxuries, those who have never slate or tile; while they are much experienced a desire to possess them more easily erected. can certainly feel no inconvenience But, if the habitations of the Irish froin their absence. Recommend an peasantry are rude and inelegant, so Irish landlord to remove his dung- are the dwellings of the same class hill, and plant flowers before his door, in other countries. With the excepand he will look on you as one in- tion of certain parts of England and sane ; because, in the estimation of Holland, the cottages of the poor his neighbours, a large dunghill, kept are, throughout the world, what is square, is the best evidence of his generally called miserable, Ameindustry, wealth, and management. rica, France, Spain, Scotland, &c. Such a man will, and perhaps with form no exception to this rule; and reason too, rather see the exhala- yet the people of these countries are tions rise from a heap of manure, comparatively happy. It follows, than inhale the odour of a moss therefore, of course, that, if the
Irish peasantry are miserable, the That which proceeds from either cause is not to be found in their the negligence or habit of some, is cabins; neither are these cabins the the consequence of policy in others. consequence of misery, since they For this reason we find the dwellings are inhabited by those who could ings.*
afford to build more splendid dwell-sumption ; for, of these two articles,
scarcely any is exported, and wheaten Poets tell us that the business of bread only is used in towns. Had life is love. The greater part of man- they visited the kitchens of the kind, however, seem to think other- homely farmers, they might have seen wise; for nearly all their time is spent evidence of animal food; for I have in providing the means of gratifying frequently stood under the chimney hunger and thirst. They generally of the cultivator of thirty or forty estimate human happiness by the acres of land, while there hung over quantity and quality of food which in- my head, suspended in the smoke, as dividuals consume, and regard the much bacon as would stock a London man who has plenty to eat and drink, cheesemonger's shop. and little to do, as enjoying the high- It may surprise the English reader est state of mundane felicity. Those to hear, although nothing is more who call the Irish peasantry, half- true, that in several parts of Ireland starved have never been across Saint it is customary for a farmer to kill an George's Channel ; or, at least, have ox at Christmas, for the sole use of never had any intercourse with the his family; and I can tell him that poorer classes.
No people in the this class of people entertain their world-and I say it froni extensive friends-and, in their vocabulary, observation--consume larger quanti- every one who honours them with a ties of wholesome food. A labourer's visit, is a friend-in a manner, and family in Munster sit down to a kish with an elegance, that must surprise of potatoes, which contain nearly as those who are unacquainted with their much of that useful esculent as are politeness and resources, dressed in a day for all the inhabitants All, however, are not thus affluent. of Bedford Square ; and that they The Irish labourer, or, as he is called, are never stinted must be evident --the Irish cottier, is a man literally from the abundance which they leave steeped to the lips in grinding poverfor the pig
ty: he, indeed, earns his bread by the Neither is it true that the Irish sweat of his brow, and is the very peasantry live exclusively on potá- child of Want. Still, unless where he toes. Nothing can be more erroneous is peculiarly unfortunate, or where than such a supposition. No farmer he is not thoughtless and improvident, will attempt to place a dinner of pota- he is not worse situated than the la toes only before his labourers; and, bourer in other countries. He is cerduring spring and larvest, the break- tainly better off than the English fast invariably consists of bread or labourer; and, contrary to an opinion sturabout. The latter is the dish in I once entertained, I am confident he general use for this early meal, in the eats and drinks better, works less, kitchen of the better sort of farmers, and consumes even more animal food, throughout the year. It is to me sur- though his family may not; for he prising that so many travellers should generally dines at his master's table. have asserted that the Irish peasan- Instances of great distress among this try eat nothing but potatoes, since it class are undoubtedly frequent. They was impossible for them to have tra- are so every where; but, in nine cases velled two miles in any direction with out of ten in Ireland, the object of out seeing wind and water mills, em- relief will be found in the vicinity of ployed exclusively in the manufacture towns, and not in the country. of barley and oatmeal for home con- It is likewise worthy of remark,
* Mr. Walsh, in his History of Dublin,' speaking of the turf-cutter's cabins in the bog of Allen, says, 'The wretched manner in which the lower class of the inhabitants of this country is lodged has been long a subject of reproach to us, as a civilized people ; and it must be acknowledged that rack-rents and unfeeling landlords are among the efficient causes of the evil : that it may, however, be sometimes traced to other sources, is evident from a contemplation of the present scene; the proprietors of these hovels eam an easy subsistence ; nay, some are comparatively opulent, and one was pointed out to me, by a person of credibility, who had saved above one hundred pounds; and yet his habitation, the only one le possessed, was perfectly similar to that of his neighbours.'-Vol. ii. p. 1230.
that distress-unlike the same thing I don't wish it should be inferred in other places_is, of late, ostenta- that, because Paddy drinks whiskeytious in Ireland. The prevalence of and who could live in Ireland without an opinion respecting the misery of drinking it?- he is intemperate. On the people has banished the former the contrary, few are more abstemious, spirit of independence; and few labour. He will refrain for months from his ing men now consider themselves dis- favourite potation; not because he graced by accepting charity. Distress thinks it prudent to do so, but beis, therefore, frequently assumed ; cause opportunity does not serve. and I know, from personal observa- At fair, or patron, he never thinks of tion, that some years ago, in Dublin, saying No to the invitation of a friend, it was usual for room-keepers to con- and frequently gets intoxicated more ceal their furniture and clothes when from the warmth of his feelings, and some benevolent gentlemen under- goodness of his heart, than from any took to seek out objects entitled to extraordinary love he bears to the charity. Of the late distress in the native. At such a moment he is by South' I know nothing personally ; no means inclined to keep the peace but that something similar to this towards all his majesty's subjects ; conduct of the room-keepers took and hence the returns of persons complace strikes me as probable, since I mitted and convicted in Ireland, in find that half the population of a 1823, present the singular contrast of county* received charitable relief - hundreds being arraigned for riots, a thing unknown there before or since. assaults, &c. whilst not more than
The effect of permanent poverty, two appear to have been convicted in and a want of sufficient food, is a po- some counties for larceny ;-a fact pulation stinted in their growth, defi- which speaks volumes in favour of cient in strength, and dishonest in the untamed spirit of the people, their habits. Paddy, it will be readily while it demonstrates their superior admitted, is neither feeble nor de honesty, and absence of motives to formed; and the criminal records of temptation. his country show that a more honest Those who attribute all the miserural population than that of Ireland ries of Ireland to the want of capital does not exist on the face of the earth: are certainly wrong as far as it reunless in “ troubled times, it is not spects agriculture. I do not mean to usual for the peasantry to place locks say that the people adopt the best on their doors, while no one ever methods of husbandry ; but, whatever thinks of employing watchmen to the defect may be, it proceeds more guard exposed property. The moral from an ignorance of a better system feeling and religious impressions of than from any want of money. Few, the people are certainly great pre- very few, of those farmers who cultiventives of crime; but, even these, vate any quantity of land above twenty powerful as they are, would, I fear, acres, are without a cool hundred or be insufficient, did the whole popula- two,' deposited in some secret place. tion labour, as somo have stated, un- It is by no means uncommon for one der unmitigated distress. Their bois, of these small proprietors to give his terous mirth, their attachment to rural daughter a hundred or a hundred and sports, and their frequent quarrels, fifty pounds for a portion on her marare unanswerable proofs of a freedom riage; and those who may doubt the from tantalizing poverty; for those truth of my statement will find, in who have nothing but misery at home Mr. Wakefield, abundant proofs of will seldom be found partaking of small farmers having guineas buried rustic sports abroad. I mention fre- in the ground. During the late war quent quarrels, because Paddy, much it appears, from Custom-house reas he loves fighting, is by no means turns, that the gold iinported into pugnacious, unless when primed, as Ireland exceeded the exports more he says himself, with whiskey; and, than two-thirds. Such was then the plentiful as that article is, it is seldom anxiety of the peasantry to possess to be procured without money. guineas, that I have known as high as
thirty-three shillings frequently given and cast accounts, at one of the comfor one. Since then the country has mon schools. I could multiply innot been so prosperous; but, previous stances in hundreds to prove that in to the rise in the price of farm pro- general the Irish farmers are not deduce, the independence of this class ficient in capital: and, though it must may be inferred from the fact that it be confessed that they are not the was, in several places, quite common best husbandmen, yet they are by no to see the corn of two, three, and even means either so slovenly, or so ignoof seven years' growth, lying in stacks rant of agricultural science, as is gein the yard. In 1807, I spent nearly nerally supposed. the whole year in the county of Wex- It is a fact, however-and the sooner ford, and the greater part of that time the Irish peasantry are informed of it in the baronies of Forth and Bargie, the better—that it is in their own where I found this to be almost uni- power to add considerably to their versally the case. I shall mention an comforts. The cottier who should instance. In the parish of Duncor- make his acre of land produce four mick, in Bargie, I could see, by only times the quantity of vegetables which turning round, the houses of seven- it does at present would be increasing teen farmers ;* every one of whom his stock of happiness; and, if by had hundreds of barrels of old corn in making his pig eat more potatoes, and their yards, or, as they call them, his family less, he procured meat for haggards: none of these occupied his dinner, he would be increasing the more than from thirty to sixty acres sum of human enjoyment. Yet hapof poor ground; for this part of Ire- piness, after all, is so fugacious, that land owes none of its prosperity to it is not easy to say what policy or the goodness of the soil. There was what conduct will best secure it. Pernot a magistrate, and of course not a haps that principle, which impels resident proprietor, within eight or every man" to study his own adnine miles ; yet crime was almost un vantage, is sufficient to promote the known, and of absolute poverty there best interests of society; and that it was scarcely any.
is better to undermine bad habits by Comparative wealth is frequently the force of public opinion than by found in Ireland, in conjunction with positive laws. It is, however, in the apparent poverty. Mr. Wakefield, power of the legislature to add consispeaking of a tenant of Admiral Pak- derably to the happiness of the Irish enham, says—He is an old man; has peasantry : but this is a subject on made a fortune, and can give his which I have promised not to touch. daughter two thousand pounds ; yet In the course of next month, howshe was feeding the pigs, dressed in a ever, I shall point out the feeling, the linsey gown, without shoe or stocking. opinions, and the persons, on which She has been taught to read, write, wise laws would have a salutary effect.
LETTER FROM A LONDON STUDENT.NO, IV.
Leamington. had not been so fortunate as to get You wonder, you say, at my si: under a cloud (the first that has been lence;
and I wonder no less that you seen for several weeks), I should not should expect me to write in such hot have been able now to tell you
in weather as we have lately suffered what part of the world my destiny has under. Why it is almost impossible thrown me. You will not be surthat any man could undergo the fa- prised at the date of my letter, betigue of holding a pen in such wea- cause you know that I am easily inther-still less that he should be able duced to ramble; and you will imato use that pen: even a feather, gine that I could not stay in London weight was insupportable ; and, if I during the hot weather.' I came to
These seventeen farmers lived within a circle of two miles. Whoever stands at the cross of Strakaan may see them
all ; and, if he wishes for further particulars, my friend, the Rev. Mr. John Barry, P.P. of Rathangan, will, I have no doubt, communicate them,
London with O'Brady, whom you The hotels at Leanington are very know, and who is in pursuit of a lady full, but there are many houses to whose estates he has fallen despe- let; that is to say, there is a great rately in love with. He offers to concourse of visitors, but few people lay odds that she is Mrs. O'Brady who mean to make a long stay. How within six weeks; and if you, or any long ! may be here I can't tell. I of your readers, are disposed to ac- came here out of mere ennui, and to cept them, there is no time to be keep O'Brady company; but, as malost, for he has begun the attack trimony is a mighty silly affair to all with great vigour, and, I think, with third persons, I do not promise that I a very reasonable prospect of success. shall stay here a long time. At present
I detest this kind all kinds) of the originality of the company amuses watering-places; and Leamington is me; and I have a lingering wish to see not one of the best, even ainong bad how O'Brady, who used to exclaim ones. It is but lately that it has so much against matrimony, will concome into any kind of repute ; and duct himself, and whether he realize even now its fame is of a so-so cha- the hopes of success which he so racter. Some patriotic shoemaker, warmly indulges in. whose name I forget, but whose me. Never, since the day in which the mory is held in such veneration by Patriarch Noah shut up a specimen the grateful people here that they of all created animals in his floating think of building altars to him, was menagerie, has been so incongruous the first to bring it into notice. He a collection of beings as I saw gatherprocured subscriptions from the ed together at the table d'hote, on the neighbouring gentry, in order to first day ! joined it. The loudest make the warm springs available for talker, and the most important perthe use of the poor allicted with sonage, is the Dowager Countess of chronic diseases, in the cure of which Die-hard, who, for the last five-andit had been found very successful. twenty years, has been keeping poor After him the great lessee of Drury Burton out of an establishment she is Lane shed the influence of his diga entitled to for life, and of which he nity and power upon it. Under his will have the succession that is to auspices reading-rooms and assem- say, all that his friends, the Jews,will bly-rooms,--and boarding houses, leave him. By virtue of her long resprung up as quickly as changes of sidence here she sits at the top of the scene in one of his own pantomimes. table; and, as I am a very late arrival, By dint of puffing he raised it into I am so happy as to be quartered at something like fame; and, as the re- the other end. The table is pretty port runs, even made money by his long; and, although I must ascend speculations. At all events he made in rotation as the upper guests drop Leamington a great place among very off, and as new ones arrive, I console little ones, and even flattered himself myself with the hope that I shall quit that it would divide the favours of the the place altogether before my destiny fashionable world with Cheltenham. shall have tontined me up to her This, however, has not come to pass ; ladyship. Blind and stupid as she is, and, between ourselves, I don't think she contrived to learn my name; and, it ever will. The vicinity of Birming- upon the strength of having met me ham is againstits being generally liked. once the house of a distant relation To the great hardwaremen of that of mine, upon whom she was then most renowned town it is of course a inflicting a visit, she had me appreperfect paradise of delight; but still hended by her maid, and carried bethere is a kind of plated look about it, fore her, to talk about all friends in to my thinking, a sort of counterfeit Ireland. I made a point of not knowshining, which is very much against ing any thing about it; and, after its chance of becoming any better being quite teased out by her imperthan it is at present. It shall be, if its tinence, I revenged myself, and siadmirers like, to Brummagem what lenced her, by telling her that her Cheltenham is to the rest of the kinsman, Burton, was quite well, and world; but beyond that it must not (God forgive me !) that he had repretend:
cently come into possession of a good