Posted by: irishhungercomm | May 20, 2013

IRISH FAMINE RELIEF – THE West Australian – PERTH, TUESDAY, FEB. 10, 1880.

* Note: Formatted close to the original article.

The West Australian (Perth, WA : 1879 – 1954), Tuesday 10 February 1880, page 2
National Library of Australia

THE West Australian.

PERTH, TUESDAY, FEB. 10, 1880.


VERY quaint, and somewhat profane in
sound, though not in the remotest degree
in intention, were the words with which
ROWLAND HILL once opened a charity sermon:
” ‘ He that giveth to the Lord,
” lendeth to the poor, and it shall be
” returned to him after many days.’
” This is the text, my brethren ; if you
” like the security, down with the dust !”
Happily, we can say with some confidence
that this is a security en which
our fellow colonists and Australians generally
are willing to risk a good deal.

They are ever found ready to give both
out ol their abundance and out of their
need to succour distress and to help in
misfortune. Therefore we are able to
come forward today without hesitation,
in full reliance that we shall meet with a
hearty response, and appeal to our readers
on behalf of the thousands now
starving in Ireland.
The telegrams so frequently coming
in with regard to this terrible distress,
give but a faint idea of the actual misery
that exists-a misery that is fast gaining
ground and threatens to assume proportions
scarcely less fearful in extent than
the horrors of 1847. Our sister colonies,
whom we are always so anxious to
imitate, are coming generously to the
fore, with an amount of enthusiasm
which ensures a splendid ultimate issue.
“Whether we should copy their politics,
or not, is a question we are fighting today-
let us all join hands and agree, as
us agree, as we copy their munificent charity ! Men
whose hearts beat in the unison of a
free-flowing sympathy in the presence of
a great disaster, will fight less bitterly
over the politics that divide them, and
the joint work of relieving the destitute
will preserve the disputants from the
curse of malign passion.
Our former Governor, Sir ARTHUR
KENNEDY, in presiding lately at a meet
of the Queensland Irish Famine Relief
Committee, delivered an eloquent and
soul-stirring speech, in which he described
the sickening details of that terrible
Irish potato famine, during which he
served as a Commissioner, and we quote
from it portions which we think will be
of interest to our readers, and will enable
them to realise more fully the horrors of
a disaster which threatens to be equally
great :
“I was there” Bays Sir Arthur Kennedy
” through the whole of that terrible time I saw
the famine iu its worst character in those
parts of Ireland where it appeared in its worst
aspect. I can never forget it. To see the
frightful ravages which it committed amongst
all, both young and old, was something to try
the strongest, and it tried me severely. I came
here not to instruct you, because you are probably
better informed than I am. I have read
all that has appeared in print on the subject,
and know all that is likely to happen. Starvation
does not come from a nation during a famine
as it does on board ship, in the camp, or else.
where. From the youngest child to the oldest
woman you see them sink gradually like dying
fish. I have seen children dying at the portals
of my own cottage while I was working amongst
them ; and I am sure there are at the present
time a large number of Irish-men, women, and
children-to whom such relief as we propose to
give will be very needful indeed. The wisest
administration of public funds can never reach
a number of cases. It must be done by private
means and private hands-by such subscriptions
as I hope Queensland and the whole of Australia
will send amongst the sufferers. It is a
matter admitting of no question among right
thinking men. We know people are starving,
-and we come here for the purpose of taking
steps to save human life. It is no imaginary
evil. It is a public and not a religious matter.
(Applause.) I have seen people of every creed,
age, and quality dying side by side, and when
we know that this distress exists it is our duty
to afford help.”
For the last three years Ireland has suffered
from exceptionally bad harvests, and the heavy
rains of the autumn just passed have flooded
vast acres of the country to an extent without
parallel in the memory of anyone now living.
The results are, that the staple food of tens of
thousands of the people-the potato crop-has
rotted in the ground ; the wheat and oat crops
have been laid by the wind and rain, and have
almost totally failed ; hay harvesting and turf
cutting have been impossible, and thus, without
food or fuel, thousands of our,fellow-subjects in
Ireland are exposed to all the rigor of an unusually
severe winter.
Great and noble efforts are being made
in England to afford relief to these starving
multitudes, efforts made in spite of
all the misery and want existing nearer
home. And we who do not know the
meaning of these words, living in a land
which, if not flowing with mild and honey,
at any rate gives bread to all abundantly
and where real poverty is never known
let us rouse ourselves and do the same.
Let us remember that the honour of our
colony is at stake, and show ourselves
worthy of the name of Australians which
we are proud to bear.
There are hundreds of Irishmen and
descendants of Irishmen among us, many
of them successful men, and holding
social and official positions which command
wide influence. And although the ,
duty of ministering to the sick and relieving
the dying is one that belongs to
no race and no creed exclusively, but has
always been acknowledged by Englishmen
with a wide catholicity of feeling
which we all no doubt will be ready to
manifest-still it seems to us that it is
the more particular province of Irishmen,
as it should also be their more particular
pleasure, to organize the movement
which we trust will be made for
the purpose of joining with our fellow
countrymen throughout the empire in
this good work.
But what is done should be done at
once. Even our action may mean life or
death to men, women, and children, now
struggling with the grim hunger-fiend,
now perishing of starvation and of cold.
Let us each therefore, according to his
means,-both the richer man and the
poorer-give what he can spare, and let
us give quickly, for . Who gives quickly
gives twice.’


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