Captain Rock to Vere Foster, Belfast.

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Document ID 9511124
Date 02-11-1880
Document Type Letters (Other)
Archive Public Record Office, Northern Ireland
Citation Captain Rock to Vere Foster, Belfast.; PRONI D 3618/; CMSIED 9511124
 [*Is response to this article*]


From the beginning of the world Emigration has been the
normal mode of relief for an overcrowded poulation. If
Adam and Eve's descendants had not swarmed from the
little corner of the world which they first occupied
into other unoccupied lands, they would have died of
starvation in their original abode, and Ireland to this
day would be an undiscovered and uninhabited island.
             Ireland, itself, is now overcrowded while there
are still hundreds of millions of unoccupied fertile
land in America, and other parts of the world, to which
many millions of Irish men and women have already
proceeded with great advantage to themselves.
             No doubt much could be, and should be, done by
Government and otherwise to render the condition of
the people more comfortable in this their native
country and congenial climate,not by inciting to, or
legalizing, robbery and ruin of present owners, but by
simplifying and cheapening the transfer of land;by
abolishing the laws of entail and primogeniture; by
altering the laws of inheritance so that fee simple
proprietors of land must eventually be multiplied
forty-fold; and by giving remunerative employment in
reclamation of waste lands, in drainage, in more
profitable cultivation, in mining and manufacturing
industries, etcetera, but while the grass grows the
steed may starve, and while awaiting the enactment and
operation of such measures as above referred to, which
would tend to a peaceful development of all the
resources of the country, and to greater diffusion of
comfort, happiness, and contentment, great numbers of
people in all parts of Ireland, but especially in the
West, will continue in their present misery unless some
immediate drastic remedy shallbe resorted to. Even if
those measures should soon be carried out, the
population of Ireland is so extraordinarily prolific
that it would very soon afterwards again overtake and
outstrip the means of comfortable subsistence in this
little country.
             One thing seems clear, that the present low wages,
high rents, and poverty of the agricultural population
of the West of Ireland, are chiefly caused by excessive
competition for employment and excessive sub-division
of, and competition for, land. If remunerative
employment cannot be provided for the redundant
population, resort should be had to emigration. The
poor, who most need to emigrate, cannot find the means
of doing so. Therefore, the Government and the gentry
should help them , in concert with the Colonial
Governments, and with organised charitable associations
for their reception in America and elsewhere; but the
greatest obstacle to such assistance is the opposition
of the greater part of the Irish Press, its sickly
sentimental lamentations over the exodus of the
population, and its childish denunciation of all who
advocate assisted emigration as a means of bettering
the condition of the people. I hope the Press will
soon be converted to wise and more patriotic counsels.
      Meanwhile, in the case of girls over 18 years of
age and under 30, in Connaught and the counties of
Donegal and Clare, well recommended by their clergy,
and who are not already provided with pre-paid passage
tickets, and are not able to fully pay their passages
or to proceed to America, without my assistance, I
will until further notice, help such girls  with œ2
each, in the hope that on numerous instances the
remainder of the necessary cost will be subscribed or
otherwise obtained. Particulars of name, age, townland
and parish, should be furnished to me, and I will then
issue vouchers as hitherto value œ2 each, in reduction
of the cost of passage tickets of the persons approved
by me. These vouchers should be presented to the
Steamship Company at the port of embarkation, before
embarkation of the persons named in the vouchers, as
they will be of no use afterwards.
Belfast, September 1880.

Notice - I will not sanction, and I will not pay, any
advances of money made on my account in anticipation
of my approval, or my grants; nor will I pay any money
whatever except to the Steamship Companies in Liverpool
or Glasgow, nor will I sanction any payment of cash by
those Companies to passengers or local agents or other
persons in exchange for my vouchers.

[ Captain Rock to Vere Foster ]

Foster you damn old flunkey, you of your nonsense
again in Connaught, if so a messenger will be
despatched to your house in Belfast and your passage
paid to where Irish are a long time going [---?] to
Hell. [Those?] [-?] [f---?] miscreant that would send
the fair daughters of Eire to be victims of stray dogs
like you.