THE IRISH RELIEF FUND—A LIVELY REPLY.
To the Editor.
Sik, —I have read in your recent issues your correspondents’ letters concerning the Irish Relief Fund, in which my conduct is characterised as “ inhuman and disgraceful.” Isay “ my conduct ” because I am one of the Commitee, and charges made promiscuously against that body generally must refer to individual members particularly. I cannot allow such to pass without making a few remarks thereon ; therefore I wish your readers to remember that when the Ashburton Relief Committee were appointed it was about the beginning of harvest, and nearly every person knows—although the Ashburton people did not seem to know—that a farmer’s duties at that time are most arduous. I was appointed one of the Committee to canvass for subscriptions, without ever having been asked whether I was willing to undertake such a duty. That duty meant riding forty or fifty miles at a most unfavorable time. The sympathy of the meeting was very strong, as far as words went ; but there it seems to have ended. But the laziness of the Ashburton portion since that time seems to have come out much stonger, except where selfinterest is concerned, for not one amongst thorn could hud time (of course, that is how they put it) to solicit subscriptions within the narrow bounds of the Borough ; but they must appoint someone for that purpose and pay him for it—out of the subscriptions, I presume. Their unreasonablones to expect a farmer to canvass, as I have said, and at such a time, while the promoters wore lounging in their easy chairs and issuing their orders, must be apparent to anyone. Their indolence, I think, in that matter became infectious. I showed my paper to many. They pitied the poor Irish, but they gave me nothing—- “ A man may hae an hon-j-t he-rt. Though pooriuh hourly stare h : m ; A man may tak a neibor’s part, Yet hae na cash to spare him.” I then paid my subscription to Friedlander Bros , and told them how matters stood, which I thought would be sufficient. But a short time ago I received a letter, very much to my surprise, from the Borough clerk, asking for my subscriptions. As I had no money to give, 1 did not think it worth while to send back their piece of paper. I am neither a Oonnaughtman nor an Irishman, and may be somewhat destitute of the ‘ ‘ sympathetic glow.” But so far, no call upon me for aid, even for the relief of the heathen, as clergymen call them—not for their conversion, but for providing the necessaries of life—has ever been made to me in vain. But Mr. Flagherty Pat O’Reilly, the gnarled limb of the law, says my conduct is “ inhuman,” and “ Subscriber ” says that I am a “ disgrace to humanity.” But hold—l wonder if there is libel in
that? That brings me in mind of Mr. Branson and his preference the other day for an ugly black dog heft re a strapping servant girl, He must lea cold son of clay. His mother “ honest woman, may think shame. That he’s connected with her.” Had lie been- bred to the plough, I h .ve no doubt but ho would have sung “ The gust of joy, the balm c f y.’cc, The oOul of life, the Heaven below, Is rapture giving woman.” I deny that my conduct has been disgraceful., and as “Subscriber” wants my name published, I give it here in full. For some time back, I have been under the delusion that my contribution had assisted to feed and clothe some poor family. But where is it ?In the bank. Think of that, you subscribers. It is many a day since I saw the London Punch, and I was not aware that “ the starving Irish are deemed fit subjects for a joke.” I cannot join in it. If they are so, I th’nk it is most likely to be among the members of Mr. O’Reilly’s profession. It the people of Ireland arc allowed to die of starvation it is a disgrace to the English Government, and shows the necessity of reform, towards which lam willing to give another pound for that purpose. As a finish, I will venture to say that if Mr. Ivess had been in Ashburton, with his warm love for his countrymen and his enthusiasm in this cause, the Irish Relief Committee would not have gone to sleep as they have done, nor I been under such a delusion as I have been, and the disgrace would have been attached to the proper persons, and Mr. O’Reilly and “Subscriber” saved the trouble of trying to saddle it upon such as your humble servant James Brown. Wakanui.
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