CELT document E810001-002

John Griscom's letters from Ireland

John Griscom

John Griscom's letters from Ireland





[...] 4th. At 8 A. M. the Irish coast was in sight, and we had lost the view of that we had left. At 10 we entered the bay of Belfast, passed the castle and town of Carrickfergus, and approached Belfast about noon. The country on the bay is hilly, and appeared very populous; the fields were remarkably green, and the houses being mostly white, gave to the morning scene a chequered and animating aspect. A large ship rode at anchor in the bay, which, as we neared her, struck my fancy as the most beautiful in form and finish that I had seen in Europe; and I was about to give the highest credit to the Irish as ship-builders, when, on passing near her stern, the word "Philadelphia" undeceived me, and renewed my confidence in the skill and talent of my native land.

The part of the town that lies adjacent to the river, had a neglected and uncomfortable appearance. An excessive crowd was assembled about the wharves to witness the arrival of the steam-boat, which is still  p.421 so great a novelty, as to excite unbounded curiosity. There was certainly in this assemblage a much greater proportion of ragged and miserable objects than I had witnessed any where, except in some of the Italian villages. But the interior of the town agreeably disappointed me. It is almost wholly built of brick, plain, but neat; and the streets, it must be acknowledged, are cleaner than those of New-York. This indeed, is but negative praise; but I think there are not many towns in England preserved in more cleanly order, than are the principal streets and places of Belfast. The population is about 40,000. The houses are mostly four stories high, the first floor being nearly level with the street. The latter are wider than in English towns of equal date. Eight or ten families of Friends reside here, from some of whom, particularly those of T. and J. B***, I have met with much hospitality.



My dear **** and *****,
On the 5th I breakfasted half a mile from the town, at the country residence of a Friend J. B***, very pleasantly situated, and improved with as much taste and attention to the comforts of life, as one would find in a place of similar rank in the south of England. The number and condition of the cottages of the poor in the vicinity of the town, sink, however,  p.422 in the scale of comparison. Street begging is not at present permitted. The poor are not supported by tax, but assisted by voluntary contributions. There is an alms-house on the border of the town, in which 350 are maintained, and not less than a thousand out-door poor receive assistance. The charities of Belfast must, of course, be bestowed with great liberality; and it appears to me that this mode of relief, unless managed with extreme caution, may become as blindly systematic as poor laws themselves, or even more so, and operate as unfavourably on the economy of the poor.

The fields are delightfully green, and the blossoms are just beginning to appear.

Intending to visit the northern coast, a friend introduced me to Dr. M'D******, one of the principal physicians of the place, a man of science, ready intelligence, and philanthropy. He gave me much useful information and plain directions with respect to the route northward, and its most interesting objects. We went into the Lancasterian school, supported by subscription and donation for the benefit of the poor It consisted of 500 boys and 250 girls, in a large and commodious building. The children were generally barefooted, and on leaving the school, I observed that they were also destitute of covering for their heads. Their clothing corresponded with these evidences of poverty. My young friend, W. B***, who takes an active part in these institutions, conducted me next to the penitentiary, or house of correction for vagrants and disorderly people. It contains thirty-two prisoners, one half of whom are women. They are employed in weaving,  p.423 and are subjected to a diet almost exclusively of potatoes and milk. The gaoler was very talkative, and self conceited.

The Linen Hall of Belfast is an appropriate ornament, not only to the town, but to the whole northern section of this great linen country. It is a large quadrangle, with a central hollow square. It contains a good library, and news room; thus combining literature with business, in a manner exceedingly creditable to the proprietors. The most valuable of the English and Scotch literary journals form a part of the pabulum animi, of these Irish Linen Drapers, demonstrating an improved and cultivated taste, and perhaps evincing their nearness to Scotland. Nothing can exceed the neatness and beauty with which the packages of linen are folded, and arranged in the various rooms of this extensive building Great attention is paid to the external decoration of the pieces, such as tying them up in handsome strings or ribbands, stamping them with beautiful devices, and attaching the maker, or vender's name, engraved, and surrounded with an elegant vignette. These ornamental doings, I was told, are very expensive, but quite indispensable in the goods destined for the American market. Unless they look well, and have a beautiful gloss, they meet with a dull sale; the quality of the cloth having much less to do with the demand, than the superficial appearance. In England, the merchants and consumers have learned better; and no such expensive putting up is practised with the goods sent to the neighbouring markets. It is a fact which ought to be well understood by the consumers of linen, that the gloss or  p.424 glazing is produced by a violent mechanical friction and stamping upon the surface of the stuff, while it is firmly stretched over a hard unyielding substance. This is done by wooden beams, armed with smooth flint stones, and for no other purpose than to give it a beautiful appearance. It is nevertheless injurious to the cloth, abrading the surface and weakening its texture. It will not be long, I hope, before the corrected taste of American purchasers, will enable the Irish manufacturers to dispense with this useless and injurious process, for how perfect soever the glazing of linen may be, it all disappears in the first washing and shrinking, before the goods are made up into garments.

The desire to emigrate to America continues strongly to prevail; and the freight of this native live stock is a fertile sourceof gain to shipping merchants. The competition in these adventures is so great, that the price of a passage is reduced to £2, or even lower. But the abuses practised upon the ignorance of the lower order of emigrants are painful to humanity. I was informed, by a respectable merchant, that 400 passengers (including children) are sometimes crowded into a ship of 320 tons. The poor creatures listen with eagerness to any one who tells a favourable story of America, and thus blindly sacrifice their health and comfort in pursuit of the imaginary happiness and liberty they are to enjoy in the open fields and forests of the new world. These crowded masses are sent to the British dominions only, for such a degraded intercourse is not suffered with the United States, there being a stipulation to prevent such abuses.

At the invitation of Dr. M'D***** I went to a  p.425 meeting of the Literary Society of Belfast, held this evening at the house of Dr. K*****, one of the professors in the Literary Institution. The meetings are held periodically at the houses of the members in rotation, the host himself being chairman for the evening. About twelve members were present. Tea was handed round; after which a paper was read by one of the members, a teacher in the Institution. It consisted of a well written statement of the theory and principal phenomena of the tides of the ocean, much in the form of a popular lecture. Dr. K. as chairman, called upon each of the members, in succession, for their strictures upon the paper. Several of them, during the reading, took notes, and afterwards offered criticisms, and discussed the merits of the essay, with great candour and good feeling. A paper, I understand, is required at every meeting from some one of the members; but they are not confined to original observations. Such a regulation is certainly well adapted to extend and perfect the scientific knowledge of those concerned.

6th. The ground on which the town of Belfast is built belongs to the Marquis of Donegal. It is rented on long leases, renewable at the expiration of the term at the option of the lessee, agreeably to a determinate scale of rates. The Marquis resides at his seat, in the vicinity of the town. The income of his estate is about £60,000 per annum, but it is much involved in consequence of his adventures in early life, in that most disastrous of all sinking funds, the gaming table. It is now, I am told, in the hands of assignees, with a view of redeeming it from the effects of those early encroachments. He is allowed about one-fifth  p.426 of the whole income, for his annual expenses. This sum, nearly double the salary of the highest officer in the pay of our government, one would think sufficient for all the reasonable wants of the greatest lord in the land; but it is so often exceeded as to occasion, I am told, not unfrequently, the seizure of his carriage in the street, until some trifling debt is satisfied.

The "Academic Institution," which I visited this morning, at the invitation of Dr. M'Knight, professor of chemistry, is a large and becoming structure, in a pleasant situation, and pretty well supplied with apparatus, both philosophical and chemical. The building cost £ 16,000, the amount of which was raised by subscription, a fact certainly very creditable to the liberality of the town. This enterprise was seconded by the government in a grant of £1500 a year, which placed the institution in a flourishing condition. But can it be believed that so serviceable and useful a grant as this could have been given upon any specific condition, or with reference to any terms of political submissiveness to the views of ministers.? Yet I was informed, by persons of strict veracity, that this grant of £1500 was withheld, in consequence of a toast given by one of the inhabitants at a meeting on St. Patrick's day, at which one of the ministers chose to take offence, and because a manager, who was present, did not leave the table. The toast, (which had reference to the condition of the emigrant Irish in the United States,) was simply this: “May the political exiles of Erin receive that protection under the Republican Eagle, which has been denied them under the paw of the Monarchical Lion.” If this be the naked fact, it is surely a deep reflection upon the  p.427 good sense and dignity of those who could thus wreak their private vengeance at the expense of youth and innocence, and the literary prosperity of one of the finest cities of Ireland. They offered afterwards to renew the grant, on condition of being allowed to have a share in the direction of the institution. This proposal the members are too independent to submit to; and, though the offending manager has withdrawn himself from the board, the institution is still left to struggle under the embarrassment occasioned by an insignificant and unwitting remark, made, probably, in a moment of excitement, over the wine of a dinner party.

At noon I took the coach for Colerain, for the purpose of viewing the northern coast. The country through which I rode was pleasant, and under good cultivation. The town of Antrim, though it gives name to the county, has a poor appearance, the greater part of it consisting of miserable, wretched huts, filled with ragged and barefooted children. Its situation in the vicinity of Lough Neagh is very fine. There is much boggy land in this waste, and the piles of turf, used for fuel, make a conspicuous figure as one travels the road. We passed the site of Shane's Castle, the seat of Lord O'Neil, which was burned a few years ago. In the little town of Ballymena we stopped to dinner. It was much such a repast, and served up nearly in the same way as a traveller would meet with on one of the stage roads of New-Jersey or Connecticut, and the price demanded was also much the same, namely, three shillings, Irish. A rosy-faced girl, neatly dressed, and apparently the daughter of some respectable citizen of Ballymena, got into the  p.428 coach and rode some distance, affording me the only inside company I have had during the day. There have been several outside passengers, but as the weather is rather unpleasantly cool, I did not think it best to venture on the top. My fair companion appeared sociable, and much disposed to answer my inquiries with politeness. “Are the people in this neighbourhood,” said I, “mostly Protestants, or Catholics?” “Indade, sir,” said she, “but they're just mixed together.” In adverting to the great number of children we saw before the cottages, I asked her if it was common here to marry young. “Yes, indeed,” she replied, “the lower classes do, and that accounts very well, you know, for the great population of Ireland. The union,” she said, “is considered here as injurious to the country. The nobility sweep up all the money they can, and just spend it in England.” We arrived at Colerain at 10, and obtained pretty good quarters at the stage inn. At the supper table I found that an English gentleman, who had rode from Belfast on the outside, was bound, like myself, to the Giant's Causeway; and we concluded to take a postchaise early in the morning, and, if practicable, return in the evening.

7th. The postmaster of Colerain, on whom I called last evening, relative to the road, invited me to breakfast, and frankly gave me all the information I desired. Our first direction was to Portrush, a village situated on a small but romantic peninsula upon the northern coast. It is a port of entry, and occasionally clears out a vessel for America. The revenue officer, Mr. N*** to whom [ was verbally recommended by Dr. M'D******, readily took my word for it, conducted  p.429 ducted us to his house, seated myself and companion :by his wife at the breakfast table, and entered with such warmth into my wishes as to give me the most favourable impression of Irish hospitality. He took us on the rocks, led us to the brink of yawning precipices, and related the adventures of unfortunate mariners who had been shipwrecked on these rocks. From his sensible and judicious remarks, I obtained much useful and interesting information relative to this remarkable region. His wife and daughter produced, for my amusement, their store of shells, and supplied me with several curious varieties. His wife informed me that she had lived in almost all parts of Ireland,having changed herplace of residence twenty-seven times.

We stopped, on our way to the Causeway, to view the ruins of the castle of Dunluce. The appearance of this castle, and its singularly romantic situation, combine to render it one of the most impressive objects of antiquity that has fallen in my route. Its position is on an isolated rock, which projects into the sea, and is separated from the main by a deep chasm: over this chasm is a narrow wall, which furnishes the only means of approach to the castle. There was formerly another similar wall at a short distance from this, parallel to it, so that by laying boards over them a bridge might be expeditiously formed for the passage of the garrison.

The Castle is built of columnar basalt, many joints of which are so placed as to show their polygonal sections. The walls are very thick; the rooms small, and some of them in distinct preservation, though the edifice is in a state of majestic dilapidation.  p.430 The rock on which it stands appears to have been separated from the main land by a convulsion of the earth, and also to have been perforated entirely through at the bottom, forming a cavern which extends from the shore quite through the rock to the sea, resembling, in some respects, the Napoleon galleries, in the route over the Simplon.

The solemn roar of the waves as they rush through this cavern, and the thick winnows of foam and seaweed collected in it, heightened the picture which the imagination was prone to form of the uses to which this huge pile must have been applied in centuries past, when this castle was the residence of chivalrous bravery, and one of the strongest fastnesses of those neighbouring chieftains, whose conterminous empires had no other security than the number, fidelity, and hardihood of their dependants. There is, I understand, much obscurity resting upon the history of this castle; but from the contents of a manuscript cited by Dr. Hamilton, in his account of Antrim, it appeared to have belonged originally to an Irish chief called M'Quillan, who, from an excess of hospitality towards a Colonel McDonald, who came from Scotland in the year 1580, to assist Tyrconnell against great O'Neil, invited him to make the castle his winter quarters, and to board his highlanders among the tenantry of the domain. M'Donald gladly accepted the offer; but in the course of the winter he seduced M'Quillan's daughter, and privately married her. A quarrel too arose between a highlander and one of McQuillan's militia, or Gallogloghs, in which the latter was killed. This so incensed the Irish, that in a council which they held, it was resolved that each  p.431 Galloglogh should kill his Highlander by night, and their lord and master with them: but M'Donald's wife discovered the plot, and told it to her husband. The Highlanders, therefore, took the alarm and fled in the night time to the island of Raghery, situated just off the coast. This island not being inhabited, they were obliged, it is said, to feed on colts' flesh. But from this time, the McDonalds and M'Quillans entered on a war, and continued in occasional acts of hostility, during the remainder of the century. The authority of the English over Ireland, in the reign of James I. proved adverse to M'Quillan. The king favoured his countryman M'Donald, and poor M'Quillan became so greatly reduced, that his name and authority were eventually lost. 1 On our way to the Giant's Causeway, we stopped at the village of Bushmills, about two miles distant from it, and procured a guide. The coast from Portrush westward, for many miles, is extremely precipitous, sometimes presenting an abrupt and almost perpendicular declivity of several hundred feet. On approaching the spot which attracts so many foreigners, and respecting which so much has been said and written, I found that my preconceived notions of it, were much at variance with truth, and that I had formed no just conception of its actual features. It had always presented itself to my imagination, as an elevated pile of basaltic rocks, which extended a mile or two into the sea, and on the top of which a carriage might drive directly from the shore for a considerable distance, or until the surface became too rough and too much sunk for its  p.432 further progress. Such was the expectation which seemed naturally to associate with the idea of a causeway. My surprise, therefore, was great, on finding, that in order to tread upon the Giant's Causeway, or even to obtain a view of it, it was necessary to descend a steep and lofty hill, by an artificial road, which winds irregularly from the height of the table land to the sea shore, and which is altogether impassable for carriages. In our progress, the guide (John Currie) conducted us to the cave of Portcoon, a very large and extended cavern in the side of the rocky barrier, and into which the surf of the ocean plunges with loud detonations, and leaves behind it yast piles of foam, as light as gossamer. This cave penetrates the rock to the depth, I believe, of nearly 200 feet. When we had fairly entered it, two guns were fired at the same moment, by a couple of boys who had followed us for that purpose. The noise and reverberation were almost deafening. A carriage road was made more than twenty years ago, by the bishop of Derry, to the very edge of the causeway, but it has been suffered to get quite out of repair. The owner of the land built a wall to intercept the approach of strangers, and erected a house near it, intending to exact a fee for the privilege of seeing the causeway, — but the county defeated him, by laying a public road through his wall to the causeway.

Arrived at the famous spot, it presents a curious and picturesque, rather than a sublime object of contemplation. The whole coast in this region, is basaltic, a formation which extends to the western islands, and forms the predominant rock in many parts of Scotland. This rock, it is well known, has  p.433 a remarkable tendency, at the period of its aggregation, to arrange itself in enormous crystalline masses, consisting of prismatic blocks of various lengths, from a few inches, to twenty, thirty, or more feet; and differing equally in thickness. The causeway consists entirely of these prismatic blocks, placed one upon another so as to form columns, all the blocks belonging to the same column being of the same shape and thickness, and each of them being a little convex at the lower end and concave at the upper, so as to fit exactly to each other, leaving a joint, which is indeed very perceptible, but too close for the water to penetrate. The convexity and concavity do not extend to the extreme edge of the pillars, there being in general a flat portion round each end. Each pair of contiguous blocks, is likewise fastened together by a remarkable, natural ligature. A tongue or projection of considerable thickness, ascends from one angle of the lower block and is fastened to the upper, appearing to form a part of the crystalline substance of each block; but upon being struck with a heavy hammer, these connecting pieces readily separate from the blocks, and it is easy to perceive that they are not integral portions of the prisms, but have been merely applied very closely in contact, except at one point, which is the base of the spar. These jointed columns of basalt are mostly erect, but in some instances inclined. The most surprising feature of this great mass of columns, is their exact conformation, and the wonderful precision with which they are compacted together. It is computed that there are in the whole causeway about 30,000 pillars, standing nearly perpendicular  p.434 to the horizon, and so nicely adjusted to each other, that the tops throughout a great extent, resemble a tessellated pavement. There is, however, a good deal of irregularity of surface, the columns in some spots rising above the general level. On the eastern side there is one remarkable range, called the Giants' Loom, in which the tallest of the pillars is 33 feet high, exhibiting about the same number of visible joints, of two feet in diameter. But the diameters of the pillars throughout the causeway, vary from fifteen to twenty-six inches.

The number of sides of these articulated prisms, varies from three to nine. There is, however, in the whole extent of the causeway, but one triangular pillar, and but three of nine sides. The total number, too, of pillars of four and eight sides, bears but a small proportion to the whole mass; of which it may be safely computed that ninety-nine out of an hundred have either five, six, or seven sides; and of these the hexagonal columns are by far the most numerous. The length of the joints varies from four inches to four feet. In order that space should be entirely filled up by the union of polygonal columns, whose sides are equilateral it is easy for the geometrician to demonstrate that no description of figures would answer, except squares and hexagons. One part of the causeway is appropriately called the honey-comb, from its consisting like the cells of the bee, of six-sided figures; — but to compensate for this want of regularity in the number of sides of the general mass, the diameters of different pillars, and the sides of the same pillar are of various dimensions; and it will soon be observed, that the contiguous sides of the several  p.435 pillars, are almost always of equal dimensions. In the few instances in which this is not the case, one side is always coincident and coextensive with two opposite ones, and in no case does the angle of one pillar enter into, or indent the side of an adjoining one.

The extent of the grand causeway from the gateway at the south end, to the more northeasterly point left bare by neap tides is 660 feet, and its width is 405 feet. The depth to which the pillars descend has not been ascertained, nor is it known how far they reach under the waters of the ocean. The whole mass of pillars which form this great natural curiosity is divided into three distinct parts, or moles, called the little, the middle, and the grand causeway. These parts are separated by whyn-dykes, a kind of wall formed of small triangular basaltic prisms, arranged horizontally. There are ten or a dozen of these curious walls in the vicinity of the causeway, which extend from the cliffs into the sea. A fine spring of fresh water rises in the midst of the causeway, the water of which flows in a limpid current over three hexagonal blocks.

The stratum of the causeway rests upon a bed of red ochre. There are indeed strata of basaltes beneath the red ochre, but none of a columnar figure. Under the term basalt many mineralogists comprehend those varieties which are called Trap, Whinstone, and Greenstone. These, however, are of a coarser texture, and contain very commonly cavities or nodules of some other minerals. Zeolite and chalcedony are found in fine variety at this place.


To the east of the causeway is a beautiful colonnade of basaltic pillars, which is known to form part of the same stratum. It consists of about fifty columns, the middle ones being forty feet in length, and the rest diminishing gradually to the end. It is called the organ, from its resemblance to the pipes of that instrument. But this majestic arrangement of columnar basalt is by no means confined to this immediate neighbourhood. About a mile to the eastward is a cape called Pleaskin, which presents a remarkable and magnificent view of the same symmetrical structure. It is a high and prominent headland, around the base of which are strewn, in vast irregular heaps, fragments of rocks that have tumbled from the cliffs above. Over these enormous masses of debris, are two strata of perpendicular pillars, one above the other, with a thick intervening bed of irregular or amorphous trap. These beautiful colonnades are precisely similar in texture and structure to the causeway, and are, in fact, only a more elevated part of the same formation. Over the upper row of these columns is a thin bed of irregular basalt, and on that, a light covering of earth, which forms the upper surface of this bold and majestic cape. The coast for many miles eastward, exhibits, I was informed, the same precipitous and romantic character, with a frequent occurrence of basaltic stratification. There is so much iron, it is said, in the composition of the basalt of these columns, as to render it magnetic; and in consequence of their upright position, they possess a decided polarity.


Can it be a matter of surprise, that to the untutored fishermen of this part of the island, an assemblage of rocks, adjusted to each other with such wonderful precision, as are those of the causeway, and advancing directly from the promontory into the sea, and stretching toward the western islands, should have been regarded as the work of art? It would indeed require a vast accumulation of strength to execute such a piece of work by human hands. But among a people whose imaginations were prone to supply what their experience could not enable them to realize, it was easy to find a substitute for their own deficient strength, in such an undertaking as this. The traditions of the country came to their aid; and Fin M'Cool, the celebrated hero of ancient Ireland, became the giant, under whose forming hand this curious structure was erected. The discovery that a pile of similar pillars existed somewhere on the western coast of Scotland, would naturally enough give countenance to the rude idea, that this mole had once formed a connection between the opposite shores; and thus it was, that this remarkable projection acquired the name of Giant's Causeway. The island of Raghery, which lies six or seven miles from the northern coast, contains likewise some curious arrangements of basalt. This island is about five miles in length, and three quarters of a mile in breadth. It supports about 1200 inhabitants; a surprising population for its small extent and bleak exposure. They are said to be a simple, laborious, and honest race of people, and possessing a remarkable attachment to their island. In conversation they always talk of Ireland as a foreign kingdom,  p.438 and have, in reality, scarcely any intercourse with it, except in the way of trade. A common and heavy curse among them is, — “May Ireland be your hinder end.” They never attempt to better their fortunes by settling in the neighbouring towns of Antrim. An important source of gain to them is the manufacture of kelp from the sea-weeds which they gather from the rocks at low water. This business is conducted by women and children while the men are employed in fishing, agriculture, or hunting the nests of sea-fowls among the crags and precipices. The whole annual rent of the island is £600; and the sales of their kelp alone, which is purchased by the bleachers of the north of Ireland, has amounted to more than £525.

No quadrupeds are found on this island, except rats and mice. Neither foxes, hares, rabbits, badgers, &c. which abound on the neighbouring shore, were there known, until hares were introduced by the proprietor. Litigation is said to be little known in Raghery. The inhabitants speak of their landlord by the name of master, and the simplicity of their manners is such as to render the interference of the civil magistrate unnecessary. The seizure of a cow or horse for a few days, to bring the defaulter to a sense of duty, — or, in criminal cases, a copious draught of salt water, form the chief penalties of the island. If the offender become irreclaimable, banishment to Ireland is the dernier resort, and soon frees the community of its unworthy member. The Irish language chiefly prevails in the island. Robert Bruce was once obliged to take shelter in Raghery, and the remains of a fortress are yet visible, which  p.439 was celebrated for the defence which it afforded to that renowned hero of Scotland. 2 One little bay in the vicinity of the causeway is called Porto na Spania, from the circumstance of its having occasioned the shipwreck of one of the Spanish armada, which, mistaking the basaltic pillars of that spot, for the towers of Dunluce castle, approached so near for the purpose of bombarding it, as to run on the rocks. Some remains of the wreck, it is said, still exist, as well as of the bones of those who perished.

The underlying stratum of the whole northern coast of Antrim, appears to be limestone or chalk. This substance makes its appearance in various places, rising occasionally into cliffs, and then sinking entirely out of sight, yielding, as it were, to the incumbent pressure of the basaltic strata which rest upon it. At the promontory of Bengore, which abounds in every part with pillars of basalt, the chalk is completely lost for three miles. This alternation of chalky cliffs and basaltic promontories, gives to the whole district of this coast, a geological character of the deepest interest. The abruptness and nakedness of the precipices expose to view, with great distinctness, the various strata which they contain; and it is soon perceived that the deeper the pillars of basalt descend, the more perfect is their prismatic form and arrangement. The material of these columns is pretty easily distinguished as a mineral from every other. Its colour is a dark iron gray, its texture is fine grained, of a crystalline appearance, and it is sufficiently hard to strike fire with steel. It is susceptible of a good  p.440 polish, and is free from laminae or fissures, and has no tendency to split or break in one direction rather than another. When exposed to a high heat it undergoes complete fusion, and forms a black glass; and the admirable experiments of Sir James Hall and G. Watt have shown that, when melted into a glass, it will, by slow cooling, resume the stony structure. The quantity of iron which enters into its composition, varies, according to different chemists, from 8 to 25 per cent. Siliceous and argillaceous earths constitute its principal mass. Its unyielding and durable nature is evinced by the very slight appearance of decomposition, notwithstanding the great exposure of the causeway to the continual action of a boisterous ocean, and a humid climate. The external surface becomes a little blackened, but the form and junction of the pillars are probably as perfect now, as they were a thousand years ago. The more elevated columns of Pleaskin, and the neighbouring coast, are indeed occasionally dislodged from their height, by the crumbling nature of the slaty basis on which they rest, and fall with tremendous force into the ocean. The congelation of water which finds its way into the fissures of the mass, doubtless accelerates the progress of destruction.

Ochres of several colours, prevail amid the basaltic beds, both on the coast, and in different parts of the country. Hematites, various kinds of clay, steatites, petrosilex, chalcedony, gypsum, and zeolite, are also found among the coarser basalt. From the shivered fragments, too, of the harder portions, a gritty powder results, which resembles the puzzolana or terras of volcanic countries. The soil of this part  p.441 of the county, which results from the destruction of these harsh materials, is unkind and sterile, but is greatly improved by the use of lime.

White lime-stone, of a peculiar character, emerges from the superincumbent basalt, in various places. It has the appearance of indurated chalk, and is found in several parts of the county. It contains nodules of dark flint, and is found enclosing a number of marine reliquia, particularly belemnites, asteriae, and pectenites. The lime-stone, in the immediate vicinity of the basalt, is more soft and friable than in situations more remote; and the strata, in these cases, which appear to have been in their primitive position horizontal, are found much confused and displaced. Beneath the perfect pillars, they seem to have vanished altogether. 3 It is well known that the advocates of the volcanic theory of the earth, derive their strongest arguments from the composition, structure, relative position, and accompaniments of basaltic rocks. These furnish the sheet-anchor of the igneous theory. And, as far as my very limited observations in this region enable me to judge, I should conclude that actual appearances lend no small support to the opinion that fire has been an agent in these formations. That it has been the entire solvent of basalt, and the only cause of the columnar structure and arrangement, I should by no means contend. Much of the controversy between Neptunists and Volcanists, has long appeared to me to be idle and fruitless. When we know that either aqueous or igneous solution may be adequate to the production of most, if not all, of the crystalline forms observable  p.442 among rocks, it seems to me to argue little else than a blind adherence to a favourite hypothesis, to exclude entirely from the primitive agency of their formation, either of those powers, which we know are still operative in the changes which are going forward in different parts of the earth. Geologists, indeed, have very much given up the race of speculation, and wisely devote their attention to the observance of facts. Coal is dug from the sides of the precipice near the causeway, in moderate quantity, and is used by the neighbouring cottagers for fuel. It does not appear to be a complete fossil, but rather to owe its carbonized form and consistency, to the partial agency of fire, or that of sulphuric acid.

At Ballycastle, about two miles from the causeway, are coal mines which have been wrought to a considerable extent. In the year 1770, the miners, in pushing forward an adit toward the bed of coal at an explored part of the cliffy unexpectedly broke through the rock into a narrow passage, so much contracted and choked up, as to render it impossible for the workmen to force themselves through, to examine it further. Two lads were therefore made to creep in with candles, to explore the cavern. They pressed forward, but going too far, their candles became extinct, and they were totally unable to find their way back. Alarmed for their safety, fresh hands were collected, and by working incessantly, in the course of twenty-four hours the passage was opened, so as to admit some of the most active among the miners. The lads were found in a distant chamber of the cavern: and on searching this subterranean wonder, it  p.443 was ascertained to be a complete gallery, which had been driven forward many hundred yards to the bed of coal, and that it branched off into numerous chambers, where miners had carried on their different works. In short it was an extensive mine, wrought by people as expert in the business as the present generation. Some remains of the tools, and even of the baskets used in the works, were discovered, but so decayed that on being touched, they immediately crumbled to pieces. That this mine is of great antiquity, is evident from the fact that there does not remain the most remote tradition of it in the country. The sides and pillars too, of the mine, were found covered with sparry incrustations, which indicate a very long period of repose. The inhabitants of the place attribute this work to the Danes; but these people were never in quiet and undisturbed possession of Ireland. In short, not only this ancient mine, but various other vestiges of the arts, lead to the conclusion, that there was an age, antecedent to all written or traditionary history, when Ireland enjoyed a very considerable share of civilization. From recorded evidence it appears certain, that this mine could not have been wrought at any period subsequent to the reign of Elizabeth; that is, later than 1602; and it would be very difficult to find, in the annals of Ireland, during the preceding ages, any moment of time at which either the means or necessity of the kingdom, could have admitted of such works, until we get beyond the turbulent chaos of events which succeeded the eighth century. 4

On leaving the causeway, I clambered up the precipice,  p.444 by a winding and very steep path, and not without difficulty and danger, especially as the ground was rendered slippery by a shower. My fears in this ascent, were not diminished by a story which one of the men related, of an incident that occurred some years ago in this vicinity. 5 An honest and clever labourer, whose name was Adam Morning, cultivated a very small farm adjoining the precipice, and held, by the tenure of his land, about twenty or thirty square yards of barren rock, on the margin of the water. Here he and his wife often resorted to collect sea-weed, which they converted into kelp, and sold to the neighbouring bleachers. Their struggles to maintain a livelihood on their little farm, had for several years been scarcely sufficient to preserve them above want, in consequence of unfavourable seasons. They were one day engaged in gathering sea-weed, and had been talking cheerfully on the revival of their hopes, from the appearance of a more promising harvest, when, to save time, Adam ascended to the cottage to eat his own dinner, and to bring her accustomed scanty meal to his wife. He had been gone some time, when his wife heard a slight noise among the rocks above, and looking up saw something dark, which she supposed to be a black sheep, that had slipped and fallen in descending the precipice. She went on with her work, but her husband staying longer than she expected, her fears were excited, and she thought best to examine more particularly into the cause of the sound she had heard. On ascending to the place, judge of her feelings, when she found that the black object she had seen, was her poor husband,  p.445 who, in his anxiety to rejoin his companion, had slipped and tumbled headlong among the rocks, and lay lifeless on the spot. The afflicted woman strove in vain to carry his body up the hill. She was obliged to leave him, and seek the assistance of her neighbours, who promptly afforded her all the aid in their power, in so melancholy a catastrophe. It is not very uncommon for cattle, as they are grazing above, to fall down the hill, and injure themselves. I saw a cow which had fallen twice, and knocked one of her horns off each time.

The view of the coast from the precipice which overlooks the causeway, presents a series of objects on which the eye delights to dwell. In no part of the world, perhaps, is the wild sublimity of nature subjected by nature herself to an appearance which so much resembles art; thus contrasting her most fantastic and magnificent forms, with the symmetry and beauty which are found in those minute and delicate productions which are so much admired in our cabinets and museums of natural history.

The coast further westward, I am informed, becomes still more bold and romantic. At Fairhead, a promontory about eight miles from the causeway, the rocks raise their lofty summits more than 500 feet above the sea; and the columnar masses at this place exceed 200 feet in length.

We stopped at the cottage of a labourer, who had just recovered from an injury, received as he was procuring coal for fuel, on the side of a hill which overhangs the causeway. A stone from above fell upon his head, and knocked him down the precipice. He was taken home apparently lifeless; but a surgeon  p.446 was speedily procured, who, as the man himself informed me, took seventeen pieces of fractured bone from his skull, and by a course of judicious treatment, restored him to perfect health. This man has a wife and three children. Their mud cottage, covered with straw, consisted of two apartments, one of which served as a place of lumber, or outer kitchen, and the other as the common dwelling. The floors of both were the naked earth, worn into numerous unevennesses. A bed of tolerably decent appearance, a few old chairs, a table, and a chest were the furniture of the inner chamber, while the anti-chamber was graced with a spinning-wheel, and a few kitchen utensils. This man, however, was considered as above mediocrity in point of comfort and good living.

The village of Bushmills consists almost entirely of mud houses with thatched roofs. We were furnished, nevertheless, at Gamble's inn, with a dinner of fine fresh salmon, roast pork, butter, potatoes, and cheese for two shillings and two-pence each. The northern coast is famous for salmon. The river Bann, which passes through Colerain, and conveys the waters of Lough Neagh to the ocean, is probably unrivalled in the plenteousness of this kind of fishery. The muscular vigour which this remarkable fish exerts in ascending the rapids and falls of this and other streams, is one of the most singular facts in ichthyology.

8th. Colerain appears to be very agreeably situated on the Bann, and is noted for its linen manufacture. But not wishing to remain there, I took the coach at half past ten last evening, and reached Belfast this morning to breakfast. My young friend B. and his sister,  p.447 in a morning excursion on horseback, met me on the road, and kindly escorted me home.

After a few calls, and an early dinner, I proceeded; under the auspices of two friends, to Lisburn, a pleasant town, seven miles from Belfast. The principal object of curiosity here is Coulston's manufactory of damask table cloths, into which we had no difficulty in gaining admittance. It belongs to four brothers, all unmarried men, and is unquestionably the most extensive and perfect factory of this kind in Europe. It occupies about eighty looms, and two hundred people. The diversity of the figures, and the elegance and precision with which they are wrought by the loom into the body of the cloth, and distinguished by a colour varying so little from that which surrounds it, render this species of art one of the most ingenious and delicate which the loom affords. The adjustment of the threads, preparatory to the weaving, so as to mark out each contour of the figure is a special part of the art. It is managed by a man and a boy, the former giving vocal directions to the latter, which, to an unpractised ear, sets all gibberish at defiance, and can hardly fail to excite the risibility of strangers. It is perfectly intelligible, however, to the boy, who follows the directions with his fingers with astonishing agility. They showed me the American coat of arms, and other devices, on cloths intended for the United States market. Some of the articles designed for the Prince Regent were singularly fine and beautiful. I could not but regret that the proprietors should deem it necessary to confine their workmen in such low, confined, and crowded rooms, with no floor but the earth, damp and unventilated.  p.448 The plea is, that dampness is essential to the operation of the looms; but I cannot but believe that this object might be obtained without so great an exposure of the health of the labourer. A more comfortable arrangement of rooms would doubtless be more costly; but why should the profits of a few be put in opposition to the health and lives of many? I have nowhere in England, or even on the continent, seen such an apparent destitution of comfort among the labourers of a manufactory. The price of a tablecloth, four yards and a half long, and three yards wide, is here about £3 sterling.

We had time before dark to visit a boarding-school at Prospect-Hill, a short walk from Lisburn. It is an institution belonging to the Society of Friends, devoted to the education of the children of such of its members as are not in circumstances to pay a full price for their instruction and maintenance. As the management of this school affords an instance of Irish economy, I may be allowed to mention some of the particulars of its expenditure and income. It is under the superintendence of a respectable man and his wife, who employ such instructers as the school may require. It contains at present 46 scholars, viz. 21 boys, and 25 girls. The cost of each to the parents for board, clothing, and instruction is but £4 Irish, per annum; but, to the institution, the whole expense of their maintenance is £16 10s. The deficiency of £12 10s. is partly derived from the farm, and the rest supplied by the funds of the society. The farm consists of twenty acres of land, and from this is obtained more milk and butter, and as much wheat as is sufficient for the whole institution. Of  p.449 oats, potatoes, and meal, it does not afford quite enough for the whole consumption. The breakfast of the children consists uniformly of a hasty-pudding of oatmeal, (which they call stir-about) and milk; and their supper, with few exceptions, of potatoes and milk. Two days in the week they have for dinner boiled beef and soup, thickened with barley, potatoes, and other vegetables; twice they dine on potatoes, butter and milk; once on soup, butter and potatoes; once on bread and soup; and once on cold meat stewed, with potatoes. Three times in a week the children have a piece of bread given them at four in the afternoon. They appeared very healthy, and the physician, I was told, has paid no visits for two years. The beds are made of straw, which is frequently changed, and kept perfectly clean. The potatoes are cooked by steam. The scholars are taught reading, writing, arithmetic, and some geography; and the females learn to sew, mark, and knit. In the course of the last year the work done by the female pupils amounted to £7, over that which was requisite for the house. I know of no instance, in which good instruction, sufficient for the ordinary duties of a mechanical, agricultural, or even mercantile profession, is obtained at a cheaper rate.

9th. An intelligent friend, J. R*********, at whose house I was kindly entertained last night, brought me this morning in his jaunting car to Lurgan, a town about a mile from the south end of Lough Neagh. The country appeared to be very fertile, but the cottages of the peasantry are very poor; many of them, miserable hovels of mud, with the most deplorable appearances of wretchedness. One small door is the  p.450 only place of exit, both for the family and the smoke of the turf fire. The walls around the door, on the outside, are blackened with it; no floor but the bare earth, and nothing to sleep on but a little straw; and even this is often the common property of the younger inhabitants and the pigs, which seem, from the freedom with which they go in and out, to form a part of the family. The children, which are seen in suflicient numbers around these hovels, are almost naked, and yet their countenances wear the bloom of health. They become so accustomed to smoke and dirt, that they acquire an habitual indifference to its appearance and effects, and will make no exertion themselves to live in greater decency and comfort, when it is in their power.

The degrading effects of long continued oppression upon the minds and character of men; and of men, too, naturally high-minded, generous, and easily susceptible of all the finer impulses of our nature, are probably no where more manifest than in the Irish peasantry. My friend informed me that a spirited landholder in this neighbourhood, on coming into his estate, was resolved that his tenants should not exhibit such a picture of wretchedness as is usually seen; and he accordingly erected decent stone cottages, with wooden floors, glass windows, good chimnies, and strictly enjoined it on his tenants to keep them clean. But he found it in vain to attempt to change their habits. The hogs were suffered to come in and out; and his cottages, though more respectable exteriorly, were soon upon a level with those of his neighbours in their interior appearance. There is an evident repugnance in these poor people to live  p.451 in a style of greater neatness than their acquaintance, for it subjects them to remarks and observations of an unfriendly character among their equals.

We stopped in our ride at the door of a female friend, who tenanted a cottage of a larger and more respectable size than ordinary. I remarked, as usual, that the floor was the bare ground, and expressed regret at the poverty which it indicated. My companion told me that this person must be worth at least £3000, and, of course, that it was by no means her poverty which prevented her from putting a wooden floor in her house, but the fear of incurring the imputation of pride, among those whom it was her interest to stand well with.

It is universally admitted, however, that the condition of the peasantry in this part of the island is much better than in the south. The farms in the north are generally very small, varying from ten to twenty acres. The tenants are manufacturers, or pursue some trade in addition to the farm, particularly weaving. In the south, the labourers are more uniformly Catholics, and the resources of the loom are comparatively rare.

The superior moisture of the climate requires a tillage different from that which is practised in the United States. The land is ploughed into ridges of about five feet in breadth, harrowed, sown with the grain, and again harrowed. The space between the ridges is then trenched with a spade, or shovel, the earth being scattered over the grain. The trenches are made so deep as to extend a little below the soil and the clay, thus raised, and thrown on the ridges,  p.452 becomes converted into mould, and gradually contributes to deepen and enrich the soil.

We passed, in our morning's ride, through the town of Moira, which gives title to an Earl, who is the present governor general of India. It is a miserable, decayed village; the seat of the earl is also in a state of dilapidation, all owing, as I was informed, to the devastations of the gaming table.

At Lurgan I was introduced to a family of Friends, consisting of the father and mother, and fourteen children, seven sons and seven daughters. The mother nursed them all herself, and is still handsome and blooming. The oldest is about twenty-four and the youngest two and a half years old. Lurgan is a market town, and I had an opportunity this morning of witnessing the bustle of an Irish country market. The most curious part of it, was the manner in which flax and linen cloth, the great staple of the north, are bought and sold. The spinners come to the market to buy flax and tow, and to dispose of their yarn to the weavers; and the latter to buy yarn and to sell their cloth to the bleachers. A particular area, enclosed by a wall and opened and shut at a precise hour, is appropriated to the bleachers. They mount upon a ridge of stone blocks, with a pen and ink in their hands, and the weavers crowd around them, presenting their pieces of linen, and clamouring with impatience to get a chance of exhibiting their goods. The experienced purchasers judge, with surprising quickness, of the value of the linen. When the offered price is acceded to, the buyer marks it with his pen, attaches his signature, and after the market is over, meets his customers  p.453 at the inn where he puts up, and finishes the transaction. Vast quantities of potatoes and fresh pork were displayed in the market. The former could be bought at the very low price of three pence per stone, or twenty and a half cents per bushel. That a country, where wholesome provisions are so plentiful and cheap should exhibit so much poverty and wretchedness, seems, at first view, to present a paradox in political economy. It is conceived by some, that the fertility of the soil and the great facility with which provisions, and especially potatoes may be raised, are among the causes of the distress and suffering of the lower classes. Confirmed as the poor of this island are in the habit of living in dirt and privation, and knowing that they can subsist on potatoes alone, and that the soil, with very little trouble, will produce a sufficiency for their maintenance, they have become, it has been said, habitually indisposed to make those exertions, and to practise that foresight and economy, which, were the land less productive, and the provision absolutely necessary to subsistence, more precarious, they might probably be compelled to observe. Such I know are the reasons assigned by some respectable writers, and Malthus among the rest, for the miserable condition of the Irish peasantry. But allowing this argument all the weight that it can possibly claim, it only goes to prove that the habits of the poor are exceedingly degraded. The causes of this degradation, and of course the primary causes of their sufferings, must, I think, be of a different nature.

Lurgan is probably one of the most respectable villages, for its size, in the island; and yet there were  p.454 more rags and poverty in the street than I recollect to have seen any where in England or Scotland. Ballad singers and venders of stories, and dying confessions, were heard in the streets, showing a depraved, or at least, an unenlightened taste among the people, which would scarcely be found in any part of the United States.

A friend conducted me to the seat, and through the grounds of — Brownlow, whose son is at present member of parliament for the county. It is delightfully situated near Lough Neagh, and finely diversified with lawns, avenues, and groves of large trees. A small lake in the park discharges its transparent waters into the large lake, and serves by its streamlets and bridges to give an enchanting variety to the place. The grounds abound in hares, which are seen in flocks of some hundreds, the owner not suffering them to be killed.

Lough Neagh contains about 100,000 English acres of surface, and is connected with Belfast by a canal, and with Newry by another.

I dined and lodged at the house of a friend, J. C******, about five miles from Lurgan, whose residence is one of the neatest and most pleasant rural spots I have any where visited. His house, ground, manner of living, and intelligent conversation, gave me a very favourable opinion of the taste and character of an Irish country gentleman. He has a bleaching establishment at a short distance from his dwelling, the operation of which he superintends. The chlorate of lime, (or bleaching powder,) is made in a close room, the lime being spread on the floor and stirred frequently by rakes, which pass through the walls.  p.455 In the summer season they do not use much of this material, but depend chiefly on alkaline washings, and exposure to the sun and air. The process of stamping the linen on wooden cylinders, folding, pressing, and making it up into pieces, is carried on in this factory in great perfection. The noise produced by the stampers is almost deafening, and the violent friction which the linen undergoes, one would think sufficient to destroy the cohesion of its fibres, and greatly to weaken its strength.

The fruit and flower garden of this residence, is situated, as is usual in this part of Europe, so as to leave a fine lawn contiguous to the house free from enclosures, and ornamented with trees and shrubbery. In this respect, the taste for rural improvement in America, will admit of an almost total change for the better. We are very much in the Dutch way of crowding together gardens and out-houses, and making them, for the sake of convenience, contiguous to the main dwelling, to the destruction of all neatness, and too often of health and comfort. The garden here is surrounded, and also divided into two parts, by a high wall, for the advantage of fruit. It contains a neat conservatory.

10th. At Banbridge, a thriving town, two and a half miles from where I slept, I joined the coach this morning for Dublin. The town of Newry, at which we soon arrived, is built of stone, and has rather a dull and uninteresting appearance. The church is a neat edifice. My only companion from this place in the inside of the coach, proved to be a very intelligent and affable gentleman, and as I afterwards learned, an eminent surgeon of Dublin. He  p.456 had been to Belfast on a professional visit, and is an intimate friend of Dr. M'D****** of that place, whose politeness I have reason to acknowledge. At Drogheda, an old and uncomfortable looking town, we were surrounded with the most numerous and sturdy swarm of beggars, that I have ever encountered. Women in tatters, with children in their arms, men on crutches, old and young, jostled each other to approach the sides of the coach, each striving to be heard in the recital of his tale of distress, and in various and ludicrous attitudes, saluting each of us, as our looks were turned to them, with “God bless your honour; a happy journey to your honour, and a long life to you; and will your honour's honour plase to bestow a little charity upon a poor cratur, who has not tasted a bit to-day.” It is distressing to witness scenes of this kind; but begging, when thus permitted, becomes in reality, so much of a trade that one does not know how much of such apparent wretchedness, is to be ascribed to an affectation of misery; and hence it seems impossible to bestow indiscriminate charity, without encouraging dissimulation and dishonesty.

The country on this road is rather hilly. On approaching the metropolis we passed a mount, which, as my surgical companion informed me, is the resort of those who resolve to settle their personal quarrels, by the humane and equitable decision of powder and ball! He told me, that he was once called upon as a surgeon, to attend in an affair of that kind. One of the antagonists was shot through the head, and fell; and the rest all ran away and left him. Rencounters of this kind, he informed me, are not unfrequent.  p.457 Surely among every enlightened, Christian people, we may pronounce that temper and disposition to be truly ferocious, which cannot be satisfied without attempting to revenge a private, and, perhaps, an insignificant quarrel, by seeking the blood of a fellow creature, and with a murderous hand exposing its own life, and in all probability, the future happiness of an innocent family. How long will this practice, worthy of a Vandal age, continue to be the opprobrium of Christendom?

It was dark when we entered the city, and at Gresham's hotel in Sackville-street, I found accommodations and attendance which might satisfy the most fastidious traveller.



My dear ****,
A LETTER delivered last evening, introduced me to the family of *. ********, with whom I have spent most of this day, (the 11th,) which is the first of the week. There is but one meeting of Friends in this city, which I have twice attended, the first beginning at ten, and the second at two o'clock. Dinner is not taken till after the second meeting. About 120 families comprise the whole of the Society of Friends in Dublin. Their dress, manners, and general appearance remind me forcibly of Philadelphia. In intelligence,  p.458 and various marks of good taste, there appears to be a near equality in the society of the two cities.

12th. Every stranger must he impressed at his first arrival in Dublin, with the elegance of its principal streets and squares, and the magnificence of its public buildings. In respect to the latter, there are few towns in Europe that vie with it. It is not in the religious edifices, that the skill of the architect, and the funds of the nation, have been so liberally bestowed, but in those buildings which belong more immediately to the government. The post office, the parliament house, (now converted into the bank of Ireland,) and above all, the custom house, have not, I should presume to say, been surpassed in any city of Europe, in buildings of a similar kind.

Sackville-street is really the most spacious in point of width; and as it regards the buildings, hotels, shops, &c. which line it on each side, it is one of the noblest, in the British dominions. It contains the post office, a new edifice, and probably the most elegant and costly in the world, of those which have been erected for the same purpose. It is of beautiful granite, three stories high. The front is decorated with six Corinthian pillars, supporting a grand portico, under which is the front entrance to the different departments. From the court yard, there are arched passages into other streets, whence the mail coaches enter to receive their different bags. The cost of this building was £80,000 sterling. In Dublin, as well as in London and Paris, boxes are placed in different parts of the city, for receiving letters; producing a great convenience and saving of time, to those who live remote from the general office. The small  p.459 additional expense which this occasions, is doubtless more than compensated by the facilities it affords to correspondence.

Nearly opposite the post office, in the middle of the street, is a pillar erected in honour of Lord Nelson. It is 144 feet high. A flight of 169 steps conducts to the top, whence the eye has a fine view of the city and bay. On the top is a gallery, and a statue of Nelson thirteen feet in height, leaning on the capstan of a ship. The pillar is surrounded by iron pallisades and lamps. But I am mistaken, if men of judgment do not, hereafter, pronounce that it was at least a bad taste which placed such a huge pile of materials in such a position, as to obstruct the view of one of the finest streets in the kingdom.

The linen hall in which the staple of Ireland is exhibited in all its varieties, is, as might be supposed, a very extensive building, comprehending numerous apartments appropriated to different divisions of this important trade.

The house of industry, or principal alms-house of Dublin is a very large establishment, and contains at present about 2500 paupers. Many of them are kept at work. The children are separated from the adults, and are regularly instructed in work and the elements of learning. The schools are conducted upon a plan composed of the systems of Bell and Lancaster. The sexes are taught in separate apartments. Each bed in the dormitory, the cleanliness of which is truly praise-worthy, is covered by a quilt made by the scholars. The children, though healthy, and in good condition, had a remarkable cast of countenance;  p.460 far less animated and intelligent than those in common domestic society. They live much on potatoes, about five tons of which are consumed per diem in the whole house. The different buildings of this extensive charity bear the names of Richmond, Wentworth, &c. who were lords lieutenant of Ireland at the time they were respectively erected.

The “Dublin Institution”, to which I have been introduced to-day, consists of a library and newsroom, in Sackville-street, both well supplied. In the latter I found several files of recent New-York papers; which, at this distance of space and time from the place of my residence could not fail to afford an acceptable relish. The cup was not unmixed with bitter, from observing an account of the death of one or two intimate and valued friends.

13th. The Pauper Lunatic Asylum, which I have visited to-day, contains 230 patients , and such is the skill and judgment with which it is conducted, there is not one of this large family of mad people in close confinement. No irons are employed. The large leathern glove which confines the hands as in a close muff, but which is so made as to prevent the appearance of constraint, is the principal coercion employed; moral government supplies the rest; and this owes its perfection mainly to the personal qualifications of Grace, the present manager. The patients are divided into three classes, incurables, ordinary, and convalescent; each of which occupies distinct apartments. The building is a quadrangle, surrounding a large hollow square, which is divided by cross galleries into four courts, and on the outside  p.461 are five yards, with a good garden in front. Scarcely any noise was to be heard in the house. The rooms occupied by the convalescent patients are rendered as cheerful as possible, by introducing whatever will supply the patient with safe and agreeable employment, or contribute to his amusement. The building is not of so convenient a structure as the more modern asylums of Glasgow and Wakefield, but its defect is very much compensated by excellent management; and it certainly holds up an example of this kind of charity which is worthy of the Irish metropolis.

14th. At a breakfast this morning at the house of Dr. T*****, a good mineralogist, I met Drs. O**** and S*****, the latter of whom delivers lectures on natural history in Trinity College. Dr. T****** and his wife are natives of India, and the children of Hindoo mothers, their fathers being Europeans.

Their complexions are of an agreeable ruddy brunette, with eyes dark and sparkling, but expressive of much good nature and intelligence.

Drs. O. and T. accompanied me to Sir Patrick Dunn's hospital, a building recently erected on the borders of the city, and intended, in addition to the accommodation of 100 patients, or, if necessity requires, 130, as a supplement to the medical school of Trinity College. The building is rather an elegant structure, and cost £40,000. It contains, for the purpose of instruction, a lecture-room, and a medical library. The fever ward is remarkably well ventilated. I attended two lectures in succession on Materia Medica and Physiology, by Drs. Crampton and Boyton, both of whom confined themselves chiefly to the reading of their notes. At half past twelve we went to the  p.462 anatomical museum of Trinity College, and heard a lecture from Dr. Macartney, to whom I was introduced. In the centre of the museum is suspended the skeleton of a grampus, fifteen or twenty feet in length. The preparations in this museum are numerous and valuable: among them are two rare and celebrated specimens. One of these is the skeleton of one Clark, a native of Cork, who it is said was a young man of surprising strength and agility; but having once lain all night in a field, after indulging in great dissipation, the left parts of his body began to ossify, and the process continued, by slow degrees, until every part grew into a bony substance, excepting his skin, eyes, and entrails. His joints became stiffened, so that he could neither bend his body, lie down, nor rise up, without assistance: when placed upright, like a statue, he could stand; but could move no more than if dead. His teeth were joined, and formed into one entire bone, so that it became necessary to break a hole through them to convey liquid substances, to preserve a miserable life. His tongue lost its use, and his sight left him sometime before he expired. This preparation shows the progress of this singular instance of disease, a parallel to which is not perhaps to be found in any other collection.

The other is the skeleton of a giant, who attained the height of seven feet in his sixteenth year. As the story goes, he was an orphan, that fell into the hands of Bishop Berkley, and who, with the view of making an experiment in physiology, trained the boy for the purpose of accelerating and extending his growth. His name was Magrath. He was carried through several parts of Europe, and exhibited as the Irish  p.463 giant; but he was so dizorganised, that he gradually sunk into imbecility of body and mind, and died of old age at twenty.

Dr. Macartney is a man of superior attainments in his profession. Most of the articles on Physiology, in Rees's Cyclopedia, are from his pen.

Dr. Stokes conducted me through the museum of the college, a fine room 60 by 40 feet, and furnished with a good collection of natural curiosities, especially of Irish antiquities and fossils. Dr. S. has published a catalogue of the minerals in this museum, which occupies an octavo volume. Among the zoological articles is a cameleopard. Two Egyptian mummies, and a great variety of dresses, implements, &c. from China and the South Pacific, are also here collected.

The buildings of Trinity College make a plain and rather antiquated, but respectable appearance. They are almost all of brick, except the front which is of Portland stone. The general structure is that of a parallelogram 300 feet in front, and 600 deep, which is divided into two nearly equal squares. The south side of the inner square is entirely taken up by the library, the great room of which is 210 feet long, 40 wide, and 40 high. The galleries are ornamented with the busts of a number of ancient as well as modern philosophers, in white marble. The park attached to the college, contains about eight acres. The number of students resident in this university is generally about six or seven hundred; and instruction is given to at least an equal number who board in the town. The medical classes appeared to contain about seventy. There are, in the whole, twelve or  p.464 thirteen professors. Twenty-two fellowships are also provided for. The jaunting car of a worthy friend, S. B*****, conveyed me to his residence, to dinner, several miles from the city, where I found a hospitable and truly intelligent family, in whose society I enjoyed a most agreeable evening. Conversation seldom languishes on occasions like this, for in the absence of incidental or ordinary topics, the curiosity and interest so much cherished by people of enlightened minds in every part of Europe in relation to America, — the varying shades of our manners, laws, diction, &c. and particularly the progress of improvements in the recently settled states, furnish inexhaustible sources of inquiry and anecdotal remark.

15th. Rising early, I had a delightful morning ride with my friend B*****, and two of his sons, to Dunleary, a promontory at the mouth of the Liffy. At this place the government is now constructing a pier of stone, designed to extend a great distance into the channel, for purposes similar to the breakwater of Plymouth, to protect vessels from the sweeping winds which drive across the Irish channel. It already extends 1500 feet from the shore, and is rapidly advancing. The granite of which it is composed, is blasted in the neighbourhood, and brought in low trucks upon iron railways, to the spot where it is to be added to the general mass. These rail roads afford such facilities to the transportation, that a single horse, and a very poor one too, will draw nine or ten tons. The stones are lifted on the trucks by large cranes. The design of this work, and the style of its execution, are very interesting, and quite in character with the  p.465 munificence and enterprise which are so conspicuous a feature in the public works of Dublin and its vicinity.

On returning to the city we stopped at the school and buildings of the Education Society, Kildare-street; a laudable and important institution for extending the blessings of education amongst the poor of Ireland. My friend B***** is an active and devoted manager; and with him, I believe, the concern originated. This society extends its patronage to schools in all parts of Ireland, without distinction of sect, except to such as refuse to conform to its prescribed regulations; one of which is, that the sacred Scriptures, without note or comment, shall be read in the schools. It has printed a great number of books for the use of schools, which it disposes of at a very cheap rate. The school supported by the society is justly styled a model school: it now contains 420 boys, and 190 girls, all of whom pay one penny per week. The principal school-room is 86 by 56 feet, with a ceiling of 20 feet, supported by two rows of cast iron pillars, all neatly painted. The floor is level, with a large platform at one end, four steps high, with ample book cases. Each school-room is furnished with a clock. It is conducted principally on the system of Lancaster, but with some useful modifications. The neatness and convenience of the buildings, and the good order and management which prevail in this school, render it altogether, in my estimation, the first of the kind in Europe. The society is supported by a government grant of £6000 a year, 6 and by donations and subscriptions.


The buildings cost £12000, and the amount of business which the society is engaged in, requires the regular employment of three clerks. About 300,000 cheap books, comprising twenty different kinds, have been disposed of in different parts of the island.

In its labours to diffuse learning, it has to encounter a host of prejudice from the Catholic priests; but it has the satisfaction to find that these are gradually yielding to the progress of light and knowledge. The Irish language still prevails to such an extent, I am informed, that there are a million and a half of people in the kingdom that cannot hold a conversation in English.

From this interesting and well-conducted institution 7 I went to the house of the Dublin Society. This is the simple but emphatic name of a company associated expressly for promoting scientific and  p.467 liberal knowledge among its members, and with a consequent view of exciting a more refined and philosophic spirit throughout the capital and nation. The plan of the society is so well approved, that it receives £10,000 a year from government. It has recently purchased, at a cost of £20,000, the superb mansion of the Duke of Leinster, in Kildare-street. A lofty hall, which is first entered, contains several statues and busts, among which is a fine statue of Belvidere, and a bust of the Prince Regent. A double flight of stairs leads to the several apartments of the museum, which includes a valuable collection in the several branches of natural history. In mineralogy it is uncommonly rich. One collection, the Leskean, was purchased by the society for £1250, and is arranged according to the Wernerian system. But the most interesting part of the mineralogical cabinet is a collection brought from Greenland by Charles Giesecke, a German, I believe, who spent about seven years in Greenland for the purpose of obtaining a knowledge of the minerals, natural history, and curiosities, of that frozen region. Giesecke is now professor of mineralogy in this institution. He has placed in one of the apartments, the Greenland hut in which he lodged, with his bed, made of the skin of a white bear, and the various utensils and articles of apparel that served him during his long residence in the arctic regions. A model of a sledge drawn by three dogs, and of a male and female Greenlander in full dress, render this exhibition of arctic manners still more complete. This enterprising traveller and naturalist is now absent in Germany, with the view of  p.468 adding to the cabinets of this society. The library occupies a spacious and elegant room, which was formerly the picture gallery of the Duke of Leinster.

The lecture room is sufficiently large to accommodate 300 persons. I attended a lecture on optics by Professor Lynch. Among the apparatus, I had the pleasure of seeing the famous lens made by Parker of London, and which came into the hands of Richard Kirwan. Professor Griffith, who superintends the geological department, conducted me over the house. He has in hand, an immense geological map of Ireland, with a drawing of the causeway and adjacent strata. The Dublin Society comprehends about 500 members. The spirit and liberality with which its concerns appear to be managed, the elegance of its apartments, and the richness of its collections, are worthy of all praise. The society give premiums for improvements in agriculture, manufactures, chemistry, mechanics, and the fine arts, and on appointed days in each week, the museum may be seen without charge.

I dined with Dr. O****, with an agreeable and very intelligent party, consisting of several medical and other gentlemen of the city. The conversation turned incidentally on craniology, materialism, and a future state; and I had the satisfaction to find, that scepticism appeared to have no place in the minds of any individual of the company.

16th. In the possession of a young friend, J. P**, with whom I took breakfast this morning, I found a neat collection of philosophical apparatus, designed for his own instruction, and that of his intimate  p.469 friends. As an instance of private taste, in one whose occupation does not necessarily lead to those objects, I cannot but think it worthy of commendatory notice. Such pursuits, while they give precision to the views in relation to the phenomena of nature, cannot but tend to strengthen the virtuous energies of character.

The city of Dublin, until recently, has been noted for the disgusting numbers, and the hardy importunity of the beggars that infest its streets. The almost universal opinion of the necessity of applying some new remedy, to so wide spread and alarming an evil, led to the formation of a society, about eighteen months ago, for the suppression of mendicity in the metropolis. It was a truly formidable undertaking; but the evil had acquired such magnitude, that men were found who were willing to cope with the monster, and exert their utmost to accomplish his final overthrow. In the first report which the society published, for 1818, it is stated, that “The city presented a spectacle, at once afflicting and disgusting to the feelings of its inhabitants; the doors of carriages and shops, to the interruption of business, were beset by crowds of unfortunate and clamorous beggars, exhibiting misery and decrepitude in a variety of forms, and frequently carrying about in their persons and garments, the seeds of contagious disease: themselves the victims of idleness, their children were taught to look to begging, as affording the only means of subsistence; every artifice was resorted to by the practised beggar to extort alms, and refusal was frequently followed by imprecations and threats. The benevolent were imposed upon — the modest shocked — the reflecting grieved — the timid  p.470 alarmed. In short, so distressing was the whole scene, and so intolerable the nuisance, that its suppression became a matter of necessity.”

To attempt, however, to cut off so numerous a class of people from their principal resource, without providing an adequate substitute, would have been a gross violation of humanity. The city was therefore divided into sixty walks, and two persons appointed to each walk, to collect subscriptions to a fund for furnishing employment for all who could work, and subsistence for those that could not support themselves. It was found, unfortunately, that no authority existed in the police for arresting the sturdy beggar, other than that of arraigning him as a vagrant, and subjecting him to the penalties of the law as a criminal; and none were willing to adopt so harsh a remedy. It was feared too, by many, who were otherwise friendly to the measure of an universal suppression of mendicity, that any mode which could be devised to obtain voluntary contributions, must terminate in establishing a compulsory tax in the shape of poor rates, and thus prove the means of bringing upon the city the accumulating disadvatages and evils of the English system. Many supposed it would be impossible to clear the streets of beggars; and others believed, that if means were systematically employed to furnish them with labour, it would tend to relax their dependence on their own foresight, and by interfering with the business of the industrious poor, eventually increase the number of dependents on public bounty. These objections and anticipations, greatly increased the difficulties which the society had to encounter, and at last they found themselves  p.471 under the necessity of relinquishing the plan altogether, or of commencing their operations, with the very inadequate fund of £1600.

Trusting to the gradual removal of these difficulties, and a more bountiful supply from the public, they entered upon their duties, gave extensive publicity to their plan, and succeeded in registering 7500 beggars, of whom 2251 were sent to their friends in England, Scotland, and the country parts of Ireland, and about 2800 were deemed proper objects of relief. The plan has been successful in clearing the streets; so far, that at present, one is less importuned here than in London or Manchester. But the committee of management continued to be so straitened for funds, that at one time they were obliged to resort to the measure of turning out the inmates of their workhouse, and moving them, in a quiet procession through the streets, to exhibit to the citizens the number and description of objects that were dependent on public charity. This excited a considerable sensation, produced some funds, and occasioned resolutions to be passed in various parishes, approving of the objects of the association. But in less than two months it became necessary to call a public meeting, and adopt more active measures of relief. These, together with public concerts, and some very liberal donations, have enabled the committee to struggle, with much difficulty, through a year's existence; and, whether the scheme is destined to a much longer duration, appears, at present, extremely uncertain. It is at least to be earnestly hoped, that the city will not allow the plan to be wholly given up; but, that at least the virtuous poor will continue to be so assisted, as to prevent  p.472 the necessity of a resort to their former degrading and demoralizing habits of street mendicity. The employment which the association has found most advantageous is the spinning of coarse yarn.

They support a school of 280 children, in which the elements of learning are alternated with knitting, and such other manual exercises as are found most useful. A large apartment, formerly the lecture-room of the Dublin Society, is appropriated to the female spinners; but a more miserable, turbulent, and uncouth assemblage of human beings I never saw, excepting, perhaps, in some of the lunatic hospitals of the continent. The society is obliged to employ collectors of the public charity, whom they send out as often as the state of their funds make it necessary; and to whom they have to allow two and a half per cent, of the amount collected, as the price of their exertions. They call on every body that is able to pay any thing. Such are the difficulties which have here presented themselves in the way of preventing public mendicity, and affording an adequate relief to the really necessitous poor, without resorting to a government tax. And such, it is probable, to a greater or less extent, will be the difficulty in every large city excepting in those places where the poor can be brought within the province of religious superintendence, and their wants supplied by contributions, made under the authority of religious societies.

The plan of maintenance and superintendence suggested by Dr. Chalmers, is probably the least exceptionable, and the most effectual that ever has been devised; but it evidently requires the agency of a moral and religious community; and can only be practised  p.473 in situations, not only where the common feelings of the people are in its favour, but where a sufficient number of individuals can be found, who, from philanthropic and religious motives, will be willing to volunteer their services in this arduous duty. But where, excepting in Scotland, can these be obtained?

Notwithstanding the urgent necessity of such a reform as that undertaken in Dublin, there are not, I am informed, more than twenty persons who take an active interest in the concern. Under all circumstances of the case, it appears to me to be an important and unsolved problem in political economy, whether a poor tax, divested, as far as possible, of all liability of abuse, and unaccompanied by statutes which give the poor a legal and positive claim upon it, may not prove, upon the whole, the most equitable, moral, and efficient mode of relief Its numerous and vast abuses in England, or, in other words, the very injudicious administration of the law, may have been the means of bringing it under undeserved censure and reproach. This is a question which it is highly important for tlie United States to reflect and decide upon, with the utmost circumspection. 8


Dr. O**** accompanied me to the Bank of Ireland, an elegant edifice, on one corner of the College green, and opposite to Trinity College. The Irish notes are executed in a superior style, and are all finished within the Bank, by an apparatus of singular ingenuity. A remarkably neat steam-engine, of eight horse power, is employed in printing the notes, and grinding the materials for the ink or paint. The printing press is a beautiful piece of mechanism. The notes are all numbered by machinery, and with a precision and rapidity that could not well be attained by mere manual dexterity. It is effected by boys. The numbers are all on the outside or circumference of wheels, contained in a box. There are two sets of them on the same axis, in order to impress two notes at the same time. The wheels project upwards through a cavity in the plates, which cover the box. The note is pressed down by a short lever, governed by the hand; and by the raising of the lever a ratchet is moved, which turns the wheels so as to bring the next number before the opening in the plate. In this manner, without unlocking the box, or touching the wheels, numbers, from one to ten thousand, are brought to bear with unerring regularity on the notes  p.475 in succession. This mode of numbering notes is the invention, I was told, of — Bramah, but modified and improved by — Oldham, the engineer of this bank. The border round the Irish notes is also executed by machinery. This bank, with its court-yards, covers more than an acre and a half of ground. It is built of Portland stone, and is a more elegant edifice than the Bank of England. It has a grand portico on College Green of 147 feet, with columns of the Ionic order. The cash-office is larger than that of the bank in London. The doors, desks, and offices, are of mahogany throughout the bank, and very neatly executed. The building is supplied with reservoirs of water, and with several fire-engines, one of which requires thirty men. Near the hall, on one side, is an armoury with a large stand of arms, and the officers and clerks form a corps of yeomanry, ready to repel any invasion upon this grand depository of Irish wealth. Whether such a precaution as this is deemed necessary in similar institutions, in other parts of Europe, I have not learned; but I question whether our half score of banks in New-York, with their twelve millions of capital, could muster two muskets a piece in the way of protection.

The apartment of the late house of lords, now used as a court of proprietors, remains as it was left at the time of the union. A beautiful marble statue of the present king, clothed in his parliamentary robes, has been since erected here. It was executed by Bacon, junior, and cost £2000. There is also a fine bust of the Duke of Wellington.

The Custom-House of Dublin is another and still more extraordinary evidence of the taste and magnificence  p.476 of the government. It was finished in 1791, after being ten years in building. Its length is 375 feet, and depth 209, with four distinct fronts, and a majestic dome in the centre, 125 feet high, on which is a female statue of commerce, sixteen feet in height. The south front is entirely of Portland stone, and the other three of white mountain granite. The two chief commissioners of the revenue, and the two secretaries, have their dwellings within the walls. A great variety of emblematic figures, statues, &c. ornament the fronts and other parts of this building. The long room is 70 feet by 65, and 30 feet in height. The whole cost of this stately edifice has been named to me at £500,000, but this is, perhaps, too high an estimate. But if it cost half of this sum, and it certainly did not fall short of it, such an instance of public liberality is rarely to be found, even in the most commercial cities.

Close to the eastern front is a broad wharf, and a wet dock, capable of containing forty sail of shipping.

The Royal Exchange, though built many years antecedent to the Custom-House, is also a noble and costly building, with a lofty dome, Corinthian columns, pilasters, and other architectural ornaments. Opposite one of the fronts is a brass statue of George III. on a white marble pedestal. Beside these, another edifice has been erected near the College green, called the Commercial Buildings, by a company of merchants for transacting some particular branches of business. It is spacious and neat, with an extensive coffee-room, broker's offices, stock exchange, &c. fitted up in good style. This edifice alone, must have cost more than all the public buildings in the most  p.477 commercial city of the United States, exclusively appropriated to commercial objects.

The castle of Dublin, the residence of the lord lieutenant, is situated in a central part of the city. It is an ancient edifice, but is superior in beauty to the palace of St. James. It is divided into two courts or squares, an upper and lower. The castle is entirely surrounded by a wall. The lord lieutenant enjoys, by Act of Parliament, a salary of £30,000; more than five times the sum which the constitution of the United States allows to the President.

The seat of public justice in Dublin is a large pile of buildings, called the Four Courts, on the margin of the Liffey, which is here only a wide canal. In the middle is a circular hall 64 feet in diameter, the crowded resort of lawyers, loungers, and occasionally of light-fingered gentry, notwithstanding the imposing terrors of judge and jury immediately within their notice. The whole length of the four courts is 433 feet. I had not an opportunity to attend to any of the pleadings.

I went to see, in one of the public buildings, (the Rotunda) an exhibition of flowers under the direction of the Horticultural society. The gifts of Flora, prepared by the emulous skill of gardiners and gentlemen in the city and neighbourhood, are arranged on this occasion with singular taste and effect. Prizes are adjudged to the finest specimens. Such a procedure excites competition, and doubtless tends to the progress of horticultural improvement.

Dr. Cleghorn, the state physician, to whom I was introduced by a friend in Edinburgh, accompanied  p.478 me, this morning, to such of the hospitals as my limited time would permit me to look into. The first we visited was Swift's Hospital, founded by the celebrated dean, and for the support of which he bequeathed £11,000. The trustees purchased an estate of £400 a year, and the funds have since been considerably increased by legacies. It is chiefly an asylum for lunatics and idiots. It contains 50 patients, who pay a guinea a week, and 100 paupers. The maniacs' rooms are ranged along the galleries, and kept in a cleanly and becoming condition. A mild system of treatment is adopted: chains are not admitted as means of coercion. The women and men are in separate divisions of the building, and there are gardens in which the patients take recreation. The sums received from the pay patients nearly supports the hospital.

We went from this place to the Foundling Hospital, an institution of more than a hundred years standing. It is appropriated to the same purpose as the Enfans trouvés of Paris and other cities of the continent, and is, I presume, the only hospital in Great Britain devoted to this object. It is a large and well supported establishment, although its tendency, in relation to public morals, is considered, I believe, by most people, as of no dubious character. The sum of at least £10,000, is collected annually from the citizens of Dublin, for the support of this hospital. A cradle was formerly kept at the gate, as at Milan, into which children were placed from without, and received into the house without any questions. But this has been wisely abandoned, and strict inquiry is now made into the parentage of the children and their  p.479 claims to the charity. They are taken in sometimes, from the distance of 100 miles. During the twenty-one years ending the eighth of July, 1818, as Dr. C. ascertained by the books, there have been admitted 43,254 children, of which 11,613 have died in the house. Of these, 524 were the innocent victims of a disease, dishonourably transmitted to them by their parents. When an infant is brought in, it is stripped, washed, and one of its arms is tatooed, or marked with its name, &c. by pricking into the skin, an ink composed of a mixture of India ink, indigo, and a little gunpowder. It is kept at wet nurse in the house, until a suitable nurse is provided from the country; and of these there is generally a redundancy of applications. They remain with their country nurses eleven years, for which the hospital pays £4 a year. They are then brought back and supported in the house, until a suitable place is provided for them, as apprentices or servants. In the hospital they are kept alternately at school and at work. There are now in the house about 1100. We went into the schools and workshops, and candour obliges me to confess, that I consider the institution, in general, as under very enlightened and judicious management. In the girls' school were 400 pupils, and in the boys' 300., They are taught principally on Bell's system. We heard some of the classes read in the Scriptures, and answer questions on what they had read, dictated by the monitors. Both the questions and answers afforded evidence of superior mental training. The employments consist chiefly of carding, spinning, weaving, tayloring, and shoemaking. The clothes  p.480 and shoes used in the hospital, are all made in the shops of the establishment. Some of the boys, about twelve years old, were weaving broadcloth. To encourage them in habits of industry, they are allowed to possess one-sixth of their earnings, and some of them by this means have on hand more than £6. The chapel of the institution may be called elegant. The refectory is large, convenient, and clean. When assembled at their meals, a boy mounts into a pulpit, and says grace, after which about twenty of them sing a short hymn. The kitchen is kept in very cleanly order, and the peas soup destined for dinner, was of an excellent quality. The girls were mostly employed in spinning stocking yarn. The nursery is very clean. The cradles are made with a double head, to accommodate each two infants. A clock is kept in the nursery, on which is inscribed these words.

“For the benefit of infants protected by this hospital, lady Arabella Denny presents this clock, to mark, that, as children who are fed by the spoon, must have but a small quantity of food at a time, it must be offered frequently. For which purpose this clock strikes every twenty minutes, at which notice all the infants that are not asleep must be directly fed.”

It was not until within about four years, that the governors of this hospital, were empowered by act of parliament to exclude the admission of infants at any season of the year, and to require that every admission should be accompanied by a certificate from the minister and churchwardens of the parish, stating that they had not been able to discover the parents, or either of them; or, that the parent or parents, were not in circumstances sufficient to maintain such child.  p.481 They were induced to petition for this authority, in consequence of the very crowded state of the hospital, and the excessive mortality among the infants soon after their admission, arising from the great exposure of the little sufferers, brought at all seasons of the year, and in all kinds of weather, by hired carriers, and often from the distance of more than 100 miles. It is surprising, that notwithstanding the manifest humanity of the act, which authorised the governors to restrict such an indiscriminate admission, a petition was presented to the lord lieutenant the next year, by the mayor, sheriiffs, and citizens of Dublin, complaining of the restriction, and craving the interference of the viceroy, to induce the governors of the Foundling Hospital to relax in their regulations, and intimating that there was reason to believe that infanticide had been the consequence. The governors, however, are so thoroughly convinced of the superior humanity of commencing a system of restriction, which shall finally lead to the entire abolition of the institution, that they returned an energetic reply to the lord lieutenant, in which they state their unequivocal opinion, that the difficulty of conducting such institutions, and the evils resulting from them, prove that they are, on the whole, injurious to the morals, and consequently to the happiness of society; and that their eflfects in saving life, are, upon the whole, under the best management, extremely doubtful.

The whole number of infants admitted during the first four months of 1812, 1813, and 1814, and the proportion of them which died in the nursery, are as follows:  p.482

Infants admittedDied in nursery

This shows a mortality of nearly one half, arising, in a great measure, from the enfeebled and destitute condition of the little sufferers, from the disgraceful manner in which they are sent to the hospital; and it appears to afford a most ample justification of the restriction adopted by the governors. Hence it would appear evident that notwithstanding the great attention that is paid to the health, and instruction, of the children received into this charity, its general influence on the community must be regarded as decidedly unfavourable to morals and humanity. The governors have not found, upon the strictest investigation, that the removal of the cradle, and the closing of their gates during the inclement months, and the requiring of a certificaate as indispensable to admission, have given rise to any considerable number of authenticated cases of infanticide. But even if this did occur much more frequently than is alleged by the supporters of the institution, they fall very far short of the deaths that are occasioned by depriving the infants of the natural and congenial sympathies of the mother.

There are six or eight hospitals in this city, in addition to those I have mentioned, some of which were founded, and are still supported, by the munificence of individuals. A house of recovery for persons afflicted with fever was erected in 1802, which has proved to be of extensive benefit. The only conditions of admission are fever and poverty. The patients are  p.483 removed from their own uncomfortable dwellings in a carriage hung on springs, supported by two men; and, in the hospital, every attention is paid to cleanliness, ventilation, and fumigation.

A school for the deaf and dumb is about to be established in the neighbourhood of the city. 9

Few cities are superior to Dublin in the elegance of its public squares. Two of them, St. Stephen's Green, and Merrion Square, may vie with any of the public squares of London, or of any other city that I have seen. The former contains seventeen acres, and the houses around it are generally handsome. It is neatly enclosed, and improved by spacious gravel walks. In the centre is an equestrian statue, in bronze, of George II.

Having secured a passage in the Pelham packet for Holyhead, I left Dublin in a long coach for Howth, the place whence the packets for England depart, seven miles from the city. The packets are small, but their accommodations are pretty good. It was near night when we got on board, and I had but just time before retiring to the birth assigned me, to ascertain that there were several very gentlemanly and polite persons on board, among whom was Hans Hamilton, member of parliament for Dublin, and the Bishop of Drumore.

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Title (uniform): John Griscom's letters from Ireland

Author: John Griscom

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Electronic edition compiled by: Beatrix Färber

Proof corrections by: Beatrix Färber

Funded by: University College, Cork, School of History

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1. First draft.

Extent: 19470 words

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Publisher: CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts: a project of University College Cork

Address: College Road, Cork, Ireland — http://www.ucc.ie/celt

Date: 2016

Distributor: CELT online at University College, Cork, Ireland.

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John Griscom (1774–1852), was an US educator. He started teaching chemistry in 1803 and worked as a professor of chemistry at various University colleges in New York. He was a member of the Quakers, and also engaged in philanthropical work, founding the the New York Society for the Prevention of Pauperism, and, a few years after his journey to Europe, he established the New York High School for Boys in 1825. He also founded the Society for the Reformation of Juvenile Delinquents, and the House of Refuge, and was a founding member of the New York Academy of Medicine (1846). His correspondence (between 1804 and 1851) is kept in the New York Public Library.
This account was first brought to our notice by Dr C.J. Woods, formerly of the RIA.

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  • See below.

Works by or about John Griscom

  1. Richard Wiggins, The New-York expositor, or, Fifth book: being a collection of the most useful words in the English language: by Richard Wiggins: to which is added A vocabulary of scientific terms: by John Griscom: the whole selected, divided, accentuated and explained: with references to a key for their pronunciation: chiefly on the authorities of Johnson and Walker: for the use of schools (New York 1811).
  2. John Griscom, Hints relative to the most eligible method of conducting meteorological observations: read before the Literary and Philosophical Society of New-York on the eight of December 1814 (New York 1815).
  3. John Griscom, Considerations relative to an establishment for perfecting the education of young men: within the Society of Friends. In a letter from a member of the Society in New-York, to several others in Philadelphia (New York 1815).
  4. John Griscom, Geographical questions: containing, a copious and minute reference to the different parts of the globe: with a table of all the most considerable towns, rivers, mountains, capes, and islands. A table of latitudes and longitudes, and a comparative view of ancient and modern geography (NewYork 1816).
  5. John Griscom, Monitorial instruction: an address pronounced at the opening of the New-York high-school, with notes and illustrations (New York 1825).
  6. John Griscom, An address to the members of the Society of Friends / by the Association of Friends for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery, and Improving the Condition of the Free People of Color (Philadelphia 1843).
  7. Memoir of John Griscom, LL.D: late professor of chemistry and natural philosophy: with an account of the New York High School, Society for the Prevention of Pauperism, the House of Refuge, and other institutions (New York 1859).
  8. Edgar F. Smith, John Griscom, 1774–1852: chemist (Philadelphia 1852).

Further reading

  1. William Hamilton, Letters concerning the northern coast of the county of Antrim, containing observations on the antiquities, manners, and customs of that country (…) illustrated by an accurate map of the County of Antrim, and views of the most interesting objects on the coast (Dublin 1786; various reprints 1790, 1822).
  2. Sir Richard Colt Hoare, Journal of a Tour in Ireland, AD 1806 (Dublin and London 1807).
  3. Anne Plumptre, Narrative of a residence in Ireland during the Summer of 1814, and that of 1815 (London 1817). [Available on CELT.]
  4. John Christian Curwen, Observations on the state of Ireland, principally directed to its agriculture and rural population; in a series of letters, written on a tour through that country. Printed for Baldwin, Cradock, and Joy. 2 vols. (London 1818).
  5. C. J. Woods, Travellers' accounts as source material for Irish historians (Dublin 2009).

The edition used in the digital edition

Griscom, John (1823). A year in Europe. Comprising a Journal of Observations in England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Switzerland, the North of Italy, and Holland. In 1818 and 1819.‍ 1st ed. 562 pages. New York: Collins & Co. and E. Bliss & E. White.

You can add this reference to your bibliographic database by copying or downloading the following:

  title 	 = {A year in Europe. Comprising a Journal of Observations in England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Switzerland, the North of Italy, and Holland. In 1818 and 1819.},
  author 	 = {John Griscom},
  edition 	 = {1},
  note 	 = {562 pages},
  publisher 	 = {Collins \& Co. and E. Bliss \& E. White},
  address 	 = {New York},
  date 	 = {1823}


Encoding description

Project description: CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts

Sampling declarations

The present text covers pages 420–483.

Editorial declarations

Correction: Text has been proof-read twice and parsed.

Normalization: The electronic text represents the edited text. Place-names are encoded.

Quotation: Direct speech is tagged q.

Hyphenation: Soft hyphens are silently removed.

Segmentation: div0=the correspondence; div1=the individual letter. Page-breaks are marked pb n="".

Standard values: Dates are standardized in the ISO form yyyy-mm-dd.

Interpretation: Dates are tagged.

Reference declaration

A canonical reference to a location in this text should be made using “Entry”, eg Entry 36.

Profile description

Creation: by John Giscom 4 April to 16 April 1818

Language usage

  • The text is in nineteenth-century English. (en)
  • A few words are in French. (fr)
  • A few words are in Latin. (la)
  • One word is in Italian. (it)

Keywords: letter; prose; travel; Quakers; Society of Friends; Giant's Causeway; geology; linen industry; Belfast; Lurgan; Dublin; house of industry; Pauper Lunatic Asylum; Trinity College; Dublin Society; Foundling Hospital; 19c; John Griscom

Revision description

(Most recent first)

  1. 2019-06-05: Changes made to div0 type. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
  2. 2016-07-26: SGML and HTML files created. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
  3. 2016-07-21: TEI header created; bibliographic details added. File parsed and validated. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
  4. 2016-07-20: File proofed (2). (ed. Beatrix Färber)
  5. 2016-07-16: File proofed (1), structural and content encoding applied. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
  6. 2016-07-15: Text captured. (text capture Beatrix Färber)

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page of the print edition

folio of the manuscript

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 999 line number of the print edition (in grey: interpolated)

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  1. W. Hamilton's Letters on the County of Antrim🢀

  2. Hamilton's Letters🢀

  3. Hamilton's Letters🢀

  4. Hamilton's Antrim🢀

  5. Also stated in Hamilton's Letters🢀

  6. Now, (1823) £10,000. 🢀

  7. This institution continues to be very flourishing. By the report of last year, (1822) it appears that tlie society had extended aid to 272 schools during the preceding year, and that there were in connection with the society, 513 schools, in which about 40,000 children were receiving instruction. The society awards gratuities to the masters and mistresses of such schools, in all parts of the island, as appear, upon the inspection of an agent, who visits them under the appointment of the society, to be conducted with skill and fidelity. This salutary measure has the effect of exciting emulation among the teachers, and thereby increasing their diligence and exertions.
    In the publication and circulation of cheap books, of an improved character, for the use of the lower orders, the efforts of the society have been remarkably successful. They have nearly expelled from the trade of country shops and hawkers, the ribaldry and pernicious books which formerly constituted the greater portion of the reading of the lower orders.
    The price of their cheap books is £6 per thousand, in quires. They have published forty varieties of five sheet books, and eight varieties of two sheet books. The number of copies printed and published, in 1821, was about 200,000. 🢀

  8. By the interesting report of the Dublin association for the suppression of mendicity, for 1821, it appears, that the institution has been able to surmount the difficulties which threatened its existence, and is advancing prosperously in the important objects it had undertaken. The report states, that the striking features in the system are, 1st. That the management of the establishment is gratuitous. 2dly. That the poor, seeking relief, must purchase it by their labour, in every case where their health and strength will permit their being employed. The committee express it as their opinion, that should the public cease to feel a lively interest in the conduct of the institution — should it at any time receive pecuniary assistance from the government of the country — or, on the other hand, should it ever become a comfortable and alluring retreat for the distressed — or should labour, infit cases, be dispensed with — then, instead of being what it now is, a great public benefit, it would degenerate into a great public nuisance.
    It appears also, by the report, that the number of the poor on the books of the Society in Jan. 1822, was less by 219 than in Jan. 1821; and that in 1821 the lowest number was 274 less than it was in 1820. The expenditure also in 1821 was more than £1000 less than in 1820. It is thus evident, that the effect of furnishing employment to the poor that can work, and affording assistance to those that are incapable of it, is to diminish, gradually, the number of those who depend upon the charity of others; and, at the same time, to free the streets from the nuisance of mendicity. 🢀

  9. This Institution contains, at present, forty-five pupils. 🢀


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