Selection of Parochial Examinations Relative to the Destitute Classes in Ireland. From the Evidence Received by his Majesty’s Commissioners for Enquiring into the Condition of the Poorer Classes in Ireland. By Authority.
Original First Edition. Dublin, Milliken and Son [and B.Fellowes, London], 1835. Octavo. 430 pages [plus a four-page catalogue of “Important Works Relating to Ireland, printed for or sold by Milliken and Son”, bound before the publication] / [plus a four-page “Appeal in [sic] Behalf of the Association Incorporated for Discountenancing Vice &c.”]. Original Hardcover / Publisher’s rare, printed spine-binding. In protective Mylar. Unusually excellent, actually stunning interior condition, with some minor signs of external wear only. Extremely rare publication.
This very rare book, the first edition of the Eye-Witness-Report of the “Royal Commission for inquiring into the condition of the poorer classes in Ireland” is one of the most important sources for living-conditions of the Irish population in the 19th century and it is recording the Status of the Poor in Ireland, 10 years prior to the Irish Potato Famine [Gorta Mór], in all of its shocking detail. The Commission’s “Roadmap”-Introduction is signed [in print] by Henry Bathurst, 3rd Earl Bathurst, who spearheaded the Commission shortly before his death and sent the Commission-members on their way with a stern and meaningful address.
The 1835-Report is exceptional in regard to the serious inquiries, actually “interviews”, taken by important and respected members of 19th century Society and Establishment in England, Scotland and Ireland. The publication reports on the situation of “Deserted and Orphan Children”, “Bastardy”, “Widows with young Children”, “Impotent through Age”, “Sick Poor”, “Able-Bodied out of Work” [listing Irish subjects from the Parish of Kilcrest as example for their misery, like Farmer Andrew Barrett, Schoolmaster Patrick Cassidy, Farmer John Coy, Mason Michael Grady, Weaver Peter Leonard, Baker James Mac Tighe, Beggar Terence O’Loughlin, Carpenter John Sharpe, Farmer Michael Smyth etc.] / lists further “Vagrants” / Vagrancy [Homelessness]” etc.
The commission has visited and names families in Parishes up and down the Country of Ireland, from Skull [Schull] in West Carbery [West Cork] to Londonderry back to Valencia Island, Cong to Tipperary and inquired at remote locations as far as the “Parish of Valencia – Island of Valencia”, where they interviewed Rev. Mr. Day, Rector of Valencia Island / The Commission visited further for example: Parishes of Tralee and Ardfert with Baronies of Clanmaurice and Trughenackmy, Parish Kilrea including the town of Kilrea, Parish of Kilkeever – Barony of Murrisk, Parishes of Fahan, upper and lower, Town of Buncrana – Barony of Ennishowen. Parish of Tomfinloe, Barony of Bunratty, Parish of Dingle – Barony of Corkaguiney, Parish of Kilfarboy, including the town of Miltown Malbay, Union of Kilcock, Town of Ballina and Ardnaree – Barony of Trawley, Parishes of Glenavy Union, Parish of Cong etc. etc.
The reports are detailed and personal and give an insight into the early 19th century diets of beggars etc. [″page 379: “The form in which relief is given to beggars is in potatoes, fragments of meat and vegetables left at dinner…”]
From the Preface of Commissioner Bathurst: “We would be graciously pleased to issue a Commission to inquire into the condition of the Poorer Classes of our Subjects in Ireland, and into the various Institutions at present established by Law for their Relief; Know ye, that we, reposing great trust and confidence in your intelligence, discretion and diligence, having authorized and appointed and by these Presents do authorize and appoint you the said Richard Archbishop of Dublin, Daniel Murray, Charles Vignoles, Richard More O’Ferrall, James Carlile, Fenton Hort, John Corrie, James Naper, and William Battie Wrightson, to inquire into the condition of the Poorer Classes of our Subjects in Ireland….[…]…and we do further by these presents ….. full power and authority to cause all persons to bring and produce upon Oath before you, or any one or more of you, all and singular Records, Books, Papers and other Writings touching the premises….[..]” [Bathurst]