Annals of the Famine in Ireland, in 1847, 1848 and 1849
Annals of the Famine in Ireland still has the power to shock and sadden even though the events described are ever-receding further into the past. When you read, for example, of the poor widowed mother who was caught trying to salvage a few potatoes from her landlord's field, and what the magistrate discovered in the pot in her cabin, you cannot help but be apalled and distressed. The author was eye-witness to many such heart-breaking cases of hunger and destitution, and suffered sorely from it. Had she not been so strong-minded and of such sound constitution then she would most certainly have struggled to cope as she did. But no better description of her character and purpose can be had than from the Introduction to the American edition of her book:
"Mrs. Asenath Nicholson, the author of the following pages, is a native of Vermont, where she is extensively known, (by her maiden name of Hatch,) as an able teacher. She is also widely known as for many years the keeper of a boarding house in this city, (on the Vegetarian principle,) which used to be the resort of hundreds of choice spirits from all parts of the country, including most of the names of those who were engaged in measures of social reform. She is a woman of great acuteness of intellect, and of the most self-sacrificing benevolence, with great independence of mind and force of character.
Her visits to Ireland and labors there are but the workings of her character; and those who are best acquainted with her wonder neither at her courage nor at her adventurous and untiring charity.
Her first work on Ireland—"The Stranger's Welcome," narrates her travels and observations prior to the Great Famine of 1847. It was republished in this city some years ago. The present work recites some of the scenes which she witnessed during that calamitous season. Her heart was in a continual agony, and her limbs wearied by incessant toils to relieve if it could be only a small part of the misery she witnessed. In answer to appeals on her behalf, some funds were placed at her disposal from this country, by friends who knew how effectively they would be employed in her hands. The tale of woe should be read by the whole American people; it will have a salutary effect upon their minds, to appreciate more fully the depth of oppression and wretchedness from which the Irish poor escape in coming to this land of plenty."
This digital edition has had the text carefully corrected and reset from the original. It includes proper contents navigation and is available in .mobi format for Kindle, .epub format, and as a PDF. A sample of the PDF that includes the contents pages and first chapter can be downloaded by clicking on the "Download a sample file" link under the seller details.
Asenath Nicholson's previous work on the Irish poor, as mentioned above, is also available for download:— Ireland's Welcome to the Stranger.