GENIRE-L Archives

Archiver > GENIRE > 2003-03 > 1046827003

From: "Cathy Joynt Labath" <>
Subject: !! Ballina Chronicle; May 2, 1849 #2 "Cholera"
Date: Tue, 4 Mar 2003 19:16:43 -0600

Wednesday, May 2, 1849

(From the Dublin Evening Packet)
It is certainly from no wish to excite unnecessary alarm in the breasts
of our readers, much less to exaggerate the multitudinous evils that now
afflict the humbler classes in the western province, that we so often recur
to the distressing subject indicated by the heading of the present article.
We cannot, however get rid of it, even if we would. It haunts the
imagination in a variety of phases, and forces itself upon the thoughts of
every man who has a heart to feel for the woes of his fellow creatures. If
this be a weakness, we only share it in common with the humane portion of
the public press throughout the United Kingdom.
Ballinrobe, we fear, is doomed to desolation. In the Packet of Tuesday
was inserted a letter from the Rev. Mr. Anderson, descriptive of the awful
state of affairs in that devoted locality.- Should any doubt exist as to the
truth of that gentleman's statement, it will be removed by a communication
from another resident of the same town, which appeared yesterday in the
columns of the Freeman's Journal. From this correspondent we learn that, in
addition to the other calamities, the unions have been visited by the
cholera, and that no preparation whatever had been made to arrest the
progress of so awful a scourge. Many weeks since, the writer informs us, the
Central Board of Health had been applied to to adopt some measures for
meeting the justly apprehended contingency; but though hopes were held out
to the inhabitants that the precautionary steps would be taken under the
direction of the central authorities, nothing has yet been done, and the
poor people are left to take care of themselves, as best they may, in a
crowded and filthy town. If this representation be correct, and that timely
intimation of the coming danger had been regularly forwarded to the
gentlemen composing the Board, they will find it a difficult matter to
justify their conduct to the satisfaction of the Government or the country.
But to whatever quarter the blame attaches, the consequence is
deplorable enough. The deaths from cholera on Friday last- and it is yet
only in its infancy-are enough to show the frightful ravages that may be
expected to follow when the disease shall have taken root among a famishing
population. We have said that the Rev. Mr. Anderson's statement has been
fully confirmed by the letter subsequently received from the scene of
suffering. Indeed it is more than confirmed, for whereas the number of
starvation deaths mentioned by the Rector amounts only to eighty-seven for
the week, it is set down by the second witness of ONE HUNDRED AND
FIFTY-SEVEN! But the discrepancy can be easily accounted for without in the
slightest degree impeaching the veracity of either party. The fact is that
in order to screen the Commissioners, and keep the public in the dark as to
the real extent of the mortality, many of the workhouse officers through the
South and West make it common practice to falsify the returns.
We have been speaking to a most respectable Protestant Rector, not
residing very remote from the district in question, and he positively
assured us, not later than Tuesday last, that in many of the Mayo
Workhouses, so many as three, four, and in the case of children, even more
are heaped together in one coffin, and returned as a single death! This may
appear altogether incredible to strangers; but we can only repeat that our
informant is a gentleman of the strictest probity and could have no more
motive whatever for misleading us. Besides, when all the able-bodied
labourers find sufficient employment in digging pits rather than graves for
the dead, and carpenters are busily at work, night and morning, during the
entire week, Sunday not excepted, it is really difficult to ascertain the
correct number. Conversing with the same clergyman about the extent of the
mortality in Mayo-taking into consideration the havoc of the last three
years-we happened to use the term decimation, when he instantly exclaimed-
'What decimation? You may rely on it, every fourth inhabitant is gone! And
what can be expected in reference to the dreary future, when, as it
positively asseverated, "the Vice Guardians had not one pound of provisions
on the morning of Friday last , nor money to purchase any, nor credit nor
contractor to keep the life in the bodies of twenty-seven thousand human
beings? What wonder then, that the wretched creatures should have already
begun to fly form the lazar-houses as they did in hundreds during the past
week, and roam about the roads, fields, and ditches, in quest of something
to subsist upon!

ENNIS UNION- Every cholera hospital in this union was closed by order
of the guardians on Wednesday last. Dr. Cullinan informed the board that the
state of the Ennis fever hospital was very unsatisfactory, the greatest
disorder and confusion prevailing there. The salary of the Roman Catholic
chaplain to the workhouse, in consequence of extra duties in attending the
fever and cholera hospitals was increased £20.
Mr. Kernan, resident magistrate, Galway, is recovered from an attack of
Since Wednesday there were 600 cases of cholera and 30 deaths at
Cholera has entirely disappeared from Rathkeale,-The following is a
return of the entire cases in the workhouse cholera hospital up to Saturday.
Admitted, 494; died, 78; discharged, 100; remaining, 100.
Cholera and fever are spreading through the electoral divisions of
Kilfinny and Croagh.
There have been no new cases in Nenagh during the last few days.
Kilkee is entirely free from cholera.
Fatal cases of cholera have appeared in Tralee, Tarbert, Miltown,
Killarney and Brosna.

[Note: for more articles on Cholera 1849 (mostly in the U.S.) see ]

Cathy Joynt Labath
Ireland Newspaper Abstracts

This thread: