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"Irish Volunteers" and "Cotton Famine"-April 1863

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  • Cathy Joynt Labath
    Burlington Weekly Hawkeye Burlington, Des Moines, Iowa Saturday, April 18, 1863 IRISH VOLUNTEERS. - The Liverpool Albion of the 19th of March says: For some
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 29, 2004
      Burlington Weekly Hawkeye
      Burlington, Des Moines, Iowa
      Saturday, April 18, 1863

      IRISH VOLUNTEERS. - The Liverpool Albion of the 19th of March says: "For
      some time past it has been observed that from this port and also from Cork,
      there has been a considerable, rather, indeed, a large emigration of strong,
      active young men, chiefly Irish, for New York. The extent to which this draft
      has been and is still carried gives rise to suspicion that these young men are
      in reality recruits for the Federal army. This suspecion [sic] is further
      countenanced by the well known fact that for a long time past agents of the
      Federal Government have been at work in Ireland, endeavoring surreptitiously to
      obtain recruits. The Federal Government makes so much noise about our alleged
      assistance to the Confederates that it would be as well their own proceedings
      were watched more closely. We believe that Government is in possession of facts
      confirmatory of the rumor respecting the movements of Federal agents in

      The Distress in Ireland.
      Mr. Hugh McCall, publisher of one of the Belfast journals, thus writes to
      the London Times regarding the distress existing in the north of Ireland:
      You are aware, sir, that a number of noble-hearted men in New York and
      Philadelphia, in addition to the gifts of money contributed to Lancashire,
      recently loaded three vessels with different varieties of food and sent them to
      Liverpool, the flour, Indian corn, and provisions which formed their cargoes to
      be distributed among the sufferers by the cotton famine. Under the auspices of a
      leading mercantile house in Liverpool, the Committee of the Lisburn Cotton
      Operatives' Relief Fund, applied to Mr. Daniel James, Chairman of the Liverpool
      Committee of the International Relief Committee, for a portion of the cargo of
      the good ship George Griswold, and after some correspondence on the subject,
      having given full statements of the great extent of country over which our
      relief districts ran, we had the gratification to learn that 700 barrels of
      flour had been allocated to our Committee. Besides that munificent gift, our
      friends in Liverpool sent over last week 167 bags of Indian corn, with a request
      that one portion of the lot should be handed over to the poor weavers of
      Ballymacarett, another to the Committee of the distressed operatives in
      Newtownards, and the remainder to be kept for the use of the poor people in and
      around Lisburn.
      It may be asked what have we been doing with the funds so amply poured in on
      us, for the aid of the suffering? In reply I have to state that we have at
      present an aggregate of above 1000 families on the inspectors' and sub
      committees' books.- These people receive weekly rations of meal and coal, and in
      a great many cases they have been supplied with blankets. Others again have
      obtained from the ladies' committee various articles of clothing, the total
      number of persons so attended to being about 600. I regret to state, in
      reference to the condition of the great mass of operatives in this quarter, that
      it is not only much more unsatisfactory than it was at the commencement of the
      year, but that, so far as can be seen into the future, there is little hope for
      improvement- at least for a long time to come. The Belfast manufacturers are
      doing very little in the way of production, and the Glasgow houses, who have
      agents for the giving out of work here, have been gradually lessening their
      extent of business.
      In the rural districts many weavers are getting work in fields, but even in
      that case an evil arises in their competing in the labor market with the
      ordinary class of farm operatives, thus in some degree bringing down the latter
      to the level of their own state. Weavers who are employed cannot earn more than
      that which would give a 6d a head to their families. I have before me a list
      supplied by one of the members of the ladies' committee and one of the 30
      persons named in that list, only one is reported as earning 7s. a week of
      gross-say about ?s. net income. Several of them range so low as 3s. and others
      again only 2s. 6d. a week. Embroiderers, who in brisk times could have made 5s.
      or 6s. and in a few cases, 8s. shillings weekly, at the sewed muslin work, could
      barely realize half the lowest of those sums; and another class, the tambourers,
      cannot exceed 1s. 6d. a week on the average. In this I refer to the employed,
      who would now be about one in ten of those in constant work some years ago.
      Were it not for the comparative prosperity existing in the several
      departments of the linen trade, the state of the people as a whole would be
      lamentable in the extreme. Even as it is, the cotton weavers are much worse off
      than they were in the spring of 1857.

      Cathy Joynt Labath
      Iowa Old Press
      Ireland Old News
      Irish in Iowa
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