666 APPENDIX to FIRST REPORT from the COMMISSIONERS for inquiring Vagrancy.
Munster, County Cork.
Examinations taken by Thomas Martin, Esq.
John Lalor, Esq.
East Carbery, (West Division.)
West Carbery, (West Division.)
at all approaching the same value.
When the witnesses-were asked, whether they would prefer a tax, if a fair share were made to fall on the landlords, a few only answered in the affirmative.
Galway, however, was of opinion that " the whole of the farmers would if they had time to consider on it, prefer such an arrangement, and also that a parochial tax would make the landlord more circumspect, and avoid choosing-pauper tenants."
J\Jr M-Cabe quite agreed with the sentiments expressed by Mr.
Galway, and added, " that overÂ¬ bidding for farms would certainly be checked by a system of parochial relief."
Two principal motives are supposed to prompt the donor to the bestowing relief.
The first is a natural feeling of compassion for persons who he is inclined to believe are labourÂ¬ ing under privation, or are likely, if he does not aid them, to be soon reduced to great disÂ¬ tress.
The second is a religious conviction, that the giving of alms will not be unproductive of advantage to the souls of the donor and of his friends.
Many conceive that the praver of the grateful beggar has much value, even in a worldly point of view; and Dr.
Fitzo-ibbon observes, " that he has seen a beggar detained after he had received alms, in order that he might repeat a prayer for his benefactor and his benefactor's friends.
I have heard a man say," adds Dr.
Fitzgibbon, " that without a prayer, an alms would not be worth a button."
Wood states "that labourers have frequently told him, that the chief benefit in giving alms lay in the prayer which was given in return for them."
Wood further observed, "that with some people the terror or dread of the beggar's malediction operated veiy powerfully;" whilst on the contrary, Callinan said, "I give it for God's sake, and I would not give it for cursing, if they were to keep at it till morning."
The effects of vagrancy are not confined to the individuals who adopt it as a mode of gaining a subsistence ; they extend very sensibly to the physical and moral condition of the labouring classes in general.
Many cases are known to the witnesses where diseases have been communicated by mendicants to persons of the houses where the former have been lodged for a night.
One has been already detailed in the words of Mr.
Galway, and the Rev.
Molony alludes to the subject again.
" Rather a remarkable instance of the kind," says he, " occurred about the year 1821 or 1822 : a young man, a vagrant, who carried about him the seeds of fever, left the disease in no less than seven houses where he had received shelter; out of these houses 20 persons were seized by the disease."
The man who takes the mendicant into his house is sometimes plundered by his guest, and thefts of this nature are mentioned by the witnesses.
Molony says, " A woman applied to me to hear her confession, saying that she was about to have a serious operation performed on her arm.
When she was leaving me, she said that she was in great distress, and wanted something to buy meal; I gave her a shilling; she went away to a house where she obtained a lodging, and that night she disappeared, and took away with her everything she could lay her hands on."
It appears that similar cases are much talked of when they take place, and excite a great deal of attention.
This may be a proof that they are not of very frequent occurrence.
Molony goes on to say
" that begging has unquestionably a demoralizing tendency.
Those who continue it for any length of time must ultimately lose all sense of decency; however, from the peculiar circumstances in which the people live, it produces a much less amount of moral evil than one has reason to expect.
Many who are driven to mendicancy by the pressure of distress, preserve their honesty as completely as those who are farthest removed from similar necessities."
Contemplating the formation of houses of industry as a mode of suppressing or dimiÂ¬ nishing the existing amount of vagrancy, the witnesses thought that if it were not deemed necessary to separate the various members of a family previous to their admission into such establishments, immense numbers would go into them, and that even with a rule of separaÂ¬ tion, many would not hesitate to take advantage of them during the summer months.
Thomas Fitzgerald, a labourer out of employment, at first said, when spoken to on this subject, that he and his family would be very glad to go into a house of industry; but when it was explained to him that he must not expect to be permitted to enjoy without restricÂ¬ tion the society of his wife and children, he exclaimed, " I would not go in if I were to be separated from my wife and children; no man that has feelings would do it."
Persons who attended the Examination.
James Barry, parish priestâ€”Rev.
John Barry, catholic curate.â€”John
Brooks, farmer, pays l I.
per annum rent.â€”Bartholomew
Donovan, ar-mer, pays 301, per annum rent.â€”Mr.
Alexander English, churchwarden last year.â€”James
Levis, farmer, pays 331, per annum rent.â€”Cornelius
Mahony, farmer, pays 101, per annum rent.â€”James
Mahony, quarryman and labourer.â€”John
iluaPH , quarryman and labom*er.â€”Richard
Salter, farmer, pays 14J.
per annum rent.â€”will
â€” Shannon, farmer, pays 36Z.
per annum rent.â€”Mr.
James Swanton, merchant.â€”James
-> quarryman and labourer.â€”John
Sullivan, quarryman and labourer.â€”Rev.
John 1 Rim protestant curate.â€”Timothy
The parish of Skull contained, according to the census of 1831, 14,269 inhabitants.
The following evidence was taken at the town of Ballydehob, situated at the eastern extrem y the parish, and containing, according to the census, 601 inhabitants.
^ The witnesses speak of two descriptions of vagrants; those who leave this Pa"*?
&T]Jh in other places, and those who come from strange parishes, and pass through t 1 p
Respecting the former, the Rev.
James Barry makes the following ieumiÂ°fheve