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THE POOR RELATION. A timely note of warning has been sounded respecting the prophesied Irish famine. The failure of the potato crop may lead to distress in some quarters of the island, but it yet re- mains to be seen how far the other crops will be able to compensate for the light yield of tubers. Ireland has during a long series of years become so accustomed to regard herself as the poor relation of Great Britain that the slightest reverse in harvesting operations is deemed sufficient to warrant the establishment of a Distress Fund, on which the poor people are to subsist through the long winter months. A section of the agitators who flourish in the distressful isle make much political capital out of the sufferings of their fellowcountrymen, and experience has taught us to fear that the Irish peasantry are too ready to rest on their oars and await the arrival of the relief money, rather than make the best of their remaining resources. There is a good deal of truth underlying the Irish bull perpetrated by the car-driver, who when asked about the harvest prospects, replied that the poor peasants would have a bad time of it, unless there was a famine We aro glad to see by latest reports that the distress predicted for the coming winter has been apparently exaggerated. At a recent meeting of the Mallow Board of Guardians a resolution was passed relating to the appre- hended famine, and setting forth that 80 per cent. of the crops had been lost, reducing the maioritv of the people to the verge of destitu- tion. Even in Ireland, the happy home of hyperbole, this assertion is regarded as too extreme in its pessimism. At Saturday's meeting of the same Board of Guardians a Mr. LONGFIELD got up, and denounced the resolution in question as unjustifiable and con- veying a false impression of the state of things existing there. Personally, he said he had got in all his oats, and had harvested a very good crop. There was certainly an amount of late hay which was very bad. He had enquired of several and found it was an extraordinarily good years for oats. He considered the resolution unneces- sary, as he did not believe that eight per cent. of the crops were lost. Another member, a Mr. NEWMAN, ridiculed the alleged loss of 80 per cent. of the crops, and very sensibly uttered the warning that if they sent the Local Government Board such a mis- leading statement, they could not expect the Board to do anything for them when they really needed help. So strong in his denuncia- tion of the resolution passed at the previous meeting waxed Mr. NEWMAN that he said he thought the CLERK was mad when he received | a copy of the resolution from him through the post. Other members, taking a slightly less roseate view of the situation, still thought the Board had leant to#irds exaggeration in its description of the prospects, and eventually a member gave notice of his intention to rescind the resolution. Reports from other parts of Ireland confirm the impression that the other crops have not proved anything like a complete failure, and the fact of an Irish board of guardians considering the reported state of affairs exaggerated is sufficient to make people on this side of the water pause before they launch upon any far-reaching scheme of relief. We have not forgotten yet tho time when under similar circumstances seed potatoes and other relief were administered by a charitable English people, the seed potatoes were eaten and the /public-houses multiplied under the sudden prosperity of the peasantry in receipt of outside aid. If it is proved that privation i& really existent or imminent, we doubt not that the British people and the British Government, always the first to stretch out a helping hand to a. suffering population, regardless of nationality or creed, will do their duty and send over substantial assistance with no niggardly or stinting limitations. What has to be established first of all, however, is that a proper case has been made out for relief. The system of doles, a most popular one in the Nationalist camp, is calculated to foster a spirit of dependence among the working-classpopulation.a spirit that grows with what it feeds on' until the thrift and industry that ought to characterise the people are wholly subverted. If the whole unvarnished truth is told, Ireland's plight is not so bad after all. While gruesome and exaggerated pictures are drawn of & potato famine, nothing is said about the abundant fishing harvest that has been. obtained on the western coast. A Blue Book, just published, containing the reports of inspectors of Irish fisheries for last year, shews that while there were 6,551 boats actually engaged in capturing the enormously rich harvest of the sea on the western caast during 1895. next year there were only two additional boats employed in the industry. The value, of the sea fish caught during last year in the Irish waters stood at E36a,000, an increase of £ 37,000; yet, despite thia huge rise in the worth of the fisheries so little enterprise is manifested by the inhabi- tanta, that only two additional boats are put on. The herring and mackerel fishing proved particularly remunerative, and it is not unnaturally held to be a reproach to the Irish people that no more is done to develop this paying branch of industry, where nature seems to be on their side. Government has done something to help the poor fishermen to get better gear and boats, but where it is shewn that the fishing has been yielding a large return, it is not too much to expect that the people will do something to help themaatoea.


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