CELT document T790001-001

Caspar Voght's Account of Ireland: Fragments from a Traveller's Diary (1794)

Caspar Voght

Schilderung von Irland, Bruchstücke aus dem Tagebuche eines Reisenden

Edited by August Hennings

Whole text


Account of Ireland: Fragments from a Traveller's Diary

Autumn 1794

From Edinburgh, an extremely perfect country road led us through the verdant Lowther Hills. It is a gently rolling area covered with crops and pastures. Every 500 yards there is a neat small farmhouse with its hay ricks and granaries, sheltered in the shade of a few trees planted on the windward side of each house.  p.567 Everybody's farmland is situated in the neighbourhood. This saves an infinite amount of time and fertilizer, enabling a close and daily view, quite apart from the moral advantage due to a greater domesticity, a greater distance from the tavern, and a reduction of quarrels and gossip between neighbours. In some countries, it was and still is necessary for the owners to move away from their lands, and to crowd together in villages and hamlets, as long as the police do not, or only incompletely, take care of public safety.

We left the mail coach road to visit the richest lead works in Europe, the Leadhills. 1 No other mineral gives the soil such a ghastly appearance as the lead, suffocating all vegetation. The mountains turn brownish, the earth ashen grey. As we approached, we saw the vapour coming up from the huts, we were surrounded by countless hills of cinder and lead slags, and deadly pale people covered in ash and dust, who were wandering among those barren ruins of mountains. On the ridge of the lower mountains, where never a single blade of grass has grown, and hardly any trees survive, there are the huts of these workers, who, for six hours out of twenty-four, work in the underground shafts and tunnels, the greatest depth of which is now  p.568 140 fathoms below ground. And yet these people are happy: as happy as any people of the lowest classes I have seen anywhere, and happy because they are enlightened. The late Lord Hopetoun built a church for them, and their good fate gave them a good minister, who became their schoolmaster. Lord Hopetoun persuaded them to contribute sixpence from their weekly wages to a library of now 800 volumes, mainly books on mining, mineralogy, chemistry, history, some volumes of sermons and some of poetry. They run this library through deputies and are incredibly well educated. Many of them have invented machines. The houses look tidy inside, and only rarely would you see a drunk person. For fifty years there has not been the slightest unrest, something which is not unusual with other mountain farmers, since they receive somewhat arbitrary wages.

I like to dwell on this picture. It reminds me of Colebrookdale2, where the Quakers' diligence had prompted a great enlightenment among the workers, and everything was quiet, in spite of the fact that Wilkieson, just four English miles away, had to put cannons in front of his gate to defend himself against his own workers. I love these examples of  p.569 the undeniable truth that enlightenment makes the lower classes happier, better, calmer, and more measured, if this enlightenment illuminates their ideas about objects that are closest to them, about their condition, their work, their tools, their rights (with the limitations that their state constitution gives them), about their duties, as their state constitution imposes them, and finally about the doctrine of bliss, which renders their true happiness, their peace of mind, their contentedness, as independent as possible of outer circumstances. I love these examples supporting my own opinion that in the very nature of the employment of these people there is no obstacle to gaining this knowledge, and even to making great progress in it. And that the most enlightened man is the best citizen, and that nothing is as dangerous to every government as poor, ignorant and superstitious underlings, because precisely these people are those who are most likely to be discontented with their lot, easily misled, and therefore may easily be made a tool in an agitator's hands.

The number of workers is three hundred, and including women and children they number about a thousand.

We left them to go to Port Patrick, a place that is made up of a few fishing huts,  p.570 a tavern and the houses of the customs officials. A three-hour crossing took us to Donaghadee in Ireland. The view of the Scottish coast was beautiful. We were asked for our passports. Ours had been issued by the Lord Mayor in London; at first they made a fuss about letting us travel. Ten guineas had to be deposited for the coach we had taken with us from England, and these were to be paid back when we returned it. Our journey continued over hills with lean soil, all of which are nevertheless cultivated: good potatoes, miserable oats, the pastures overshadowed by ragwort; the huts made of mud, many without windows, some newer cottages of stone. On the lake shore, a lot of mineral alkali is burned from the kelp. There are many lime kilns in the neighbourhood.

We often encountered Irish carts, the axle of which usually rotates with the wheel and which are almost as low as wheelbarrows. The driver sits at right angle on the horse's back, the backrest of the seats is arranged lengthwise across the cart, as in our Wurstwagen. 3 In all the provincial towns of Ireland, the ladies go visiting in such carts. The Irish hold them in high regard, since a horse may comfortably pull a load of  p.571 1200 lb. in this manner. But they can hardly be used anywhere else than on the extremely flat and solid Irish roads.

In the beautiful valley of Belfast lies the town of the same name at the foot of a long, high mountain range, on both sides of which a lot of factories and country houses are to be seen. The roads were exceptionally good. It was Sunday night when we arrived. The women who met us at the city gates were for the most part pretty. Belfast now has 25,000 inhabitants and, like almost all Irish cities, it is growing rapidly. The people living in its environs are all members of the Anglican Church, but in the city almost all are Dissenters. The Catholics make up about a tenth. They let each other use their own churches and live in perfect harmony. However, the Dissenters seem to be stout Republicans.

During the American war of Independence, pirates came to the city, and the General could not offer more than nine dragoons and twelve invalids. The inhabitants decided to defend themselves and within a fortnight 700 men had been dressed and armed at their expense. In a short time, the number of Volunteers in the north of Ireland rose to 60,000, appearing dangerous to the administration  p.572 which had them dissolved by Act of Parliament. They kept their guns and know how to use them. If the French landed, no one would be able to defend themselves better than they.

Though there is no lack of employment, even for women and children, the workers live in a miserable state, dress in rags, live in poor conditions and squalor. They drink to an appalling extent, especially Usquebaugh, i.e. brandy distilled with cloves. In former times, market villages fought with their neighbours on market days. The Volunteers have civilized these people a little bit.

Some wheat and barley, and a lot of oats and potatoes are grown, but no clover is cultivated, and no attention is given to proper crop rotation. The fences are bad, and you would only rarely find a well-kept place owned by a lord of the manor. So-called gentlemen farmers, educated country people who have improved conditions in England and Scotland so much, are scarce: anyone who is wealthy lives in England. It is estimated that for this reason, £1,000,000 sterling flow out of the country every year.

Begging and greed for money are general characteristics of the lower classes. Nowhere else are there such picturesquely hideous beggars, such ragged  p.573 people, such badly kept horses and torn horse-gear, such a general resentment. It may be true, as we were told in England, that whole loads of old clothes are being sent over from which the Irish fashion new ones.

The harp is still the national instrument. Some wandering harpists are excellent. The organist Weir has a collection of Erse songs he is going to have printed.

From here we started our journey to the Giant's Causeway. Four nags slowly pulled us over the high Black Mountain, their harness was tied together in some places and tore more than once, until so many straw ropes were wrapped around it that it finally got the required durability. In the Scottish Highlands we saw poverty, but of a respectable kind, people content with the little that life had in store for them, and often still hospitable in spite of it, but here: slovenly beggars. In Antrim the entrance to our inn was very dirty and so was the chamber we were given. The Randallstown inn was a desolate robbers' castle. We were shown into a salon without curtains, or any other sign of habitability. The windows  p.574 were broken. Broken chairs and a few old tables stood in the corners, like in a lumber room. We ordered a fire to be lit, stopped the windows up as best we could, and thanked God that we were not out on the Irish Sea in this storm. There were only two miserable beds for the three of us. With our clothes we blocked the holes in the windows. The innkeeper had run away some time ago, and there were only women in the house. For a long time it had not occurred to anyone to stay here, and apart from that not many travellers frequent this part of Ireland.

In a cabin on our way to Ahogill we saw potatoes lying around. The woman urged us to enter. Some stones were laid around the hearth, and on these the children were sitting, next to a dirty bed, and there were a few shelves for kitchen utensils. Behind the bed there was oat straw for the seven children, including a baby. A cauldron of potatoes with a little salt served them for breakfast, for lunch porridge cooked in milk, and sometimes meat. The children were dirty and in rags. They complained that they could not earn any money and that their lord was always absent; they had nothing against the French coming, as things could not get any worse for them. These people all speak English,  p.575 the proper language of the country is only spoken in the West.

Hoardings for emigration to America were common. On a beautiful trail, four miserable nags carried us with great effort to Ballymoney. There was no one in the village who could serve as outrider, so we took a cobbler's apprentice who had never sat on horseback. The horses didn't want to pull the carriage and were about to turn back every moment. On our way we saw workers walking to work dressed in rags of twenty kinds of fabric and colours, and naked children wearing a rotten piece of sackcloth around their loins. Has England spoiled me, or have I really never seen so much misery before? God forbid that I should not understand that you can be happy in poverty (except for the dirt). — But these people are unhappy, grumpy, greedy, beggary, and sots.

Drunkenness is the most appalling poison of every social institution, at the same time consequence and cause of their disruption. Misery makes you a drunkard. Drunkenness makes you miserable. This sad circle keeps repeating itself.

Poor Ireland has once seen better days. Monuments so ancient that their origin is lost in time prove it.  p.576 We had better horses and drivers for the last eight miles. And here we are now, sitting in front of a peat fire in a dirty cabin. Wind and rain are hitting our low window, and we can hear the mighty crashing of the ocean waves against the basalt rocks of the Giant's Causeway. There is no shelter for our carriage, and in this small village they are so concerned about theft that the grooms advised us to have the empty carriage, from which we carefully removed everything, guarded tonight.

The island of Ragh Erin, usually called Rathlin on the maps, and opposite the Causeway, seems to be torn off from this rocky coast. 130 families, together amounting to 1200 people, live on this island. They complain bitterly about the lack of a doctor. They earn their livelihood by burning kelp and a little market-gardening. They speak of Ireland as of a wild and foreign country. “May you die in Ireland!” is their greatest curse. That is where they banish their delinquents. And this island lies three miles off the coast! Their tradition tells so many cruel stories about the Campbells, a Scottish clan, that they do not allow anyone of this name to settle on the island.


Early on a bright morning we were at the sea shore. The powers of the wind, rain and sea have destroyed the downward path that the Bishop of Derry had had made a few years ago. Due to the persistent rain the ground had become so slippery that to descend we required the help of the five ragged fellows who usually act as travellers' guides and had already walked a quarter of an hour beside our carriage. After we had climbed down for ten minutes, we had the delightful spectacle before our eyes. On the left the promontory and the cliffs of Portrush; on the right the causeway leading into the sea, and consisting of more than thirty thousand basalt columns, which are tetragonal, pentagonal, and hexagonal. The high banks with their several rows of high columns form a large bay, whose profile is beautifully jagged. Some pillars stand alone, others are half broken, still others are lying on the side. Behind the grey rocks of the shore, the sun illuminated the causeway and the mighty waves were rolling in slowly like mountains, and in their bulging refracted the rays of the sun in all the colours of the rainbow, before tumbling down and crashing against the rocks. Thin white foam splashed tree-high into the air  p.578 as the water turned to dust: a new wave approached, overwhelming the returning one and furiously both struck against the dam, driving the dispersed water several hundred feet up the rocks. From there it dissolves into foam, flowing down in a hundred cascades, once the wave recedes. The wind lifts up the foam that collects in the bays, whirling it around like thick snowflakes. For a long time we stood there and watched the wonderful spectacle, lit up by the morning sun rising behind the rocks. I have often seen the sea, but never this swell against the shore that the ocean shows against this island in western winds when the tide returns. No wonder, considering that the basin is here 900 German miles wide, 4 and is not disturbed by any land mass in its constant quest to maintain balance, and in its struggle against tides and winds. Hence the unbelievably long waves, resembling big mountain ridges.

We found the depiction of the dam in Hamilton's description 5 extremely accurate and the location and condition of the minerals just as he described it. We climbed around on all sides, and from there over steep rocks we approached Couns Cave. I've never seen the sea more picturesque;  p.579 the scale of the scene is almost always too large. Its extension takes away from the intensity of the effect. Here we were surrounded by steep, towering cliffs. With enormous power, high waves struck the narrow bay formed of high rocks, which were interrupted in many places at the entrance, standing in the sea like single pyramids. How impetuously the sea roared , striking against the rock as if to burst its prison, and again dispersing in a fine white dust, in which the sun created a steady rainbow! A quiet picture, and such a contrast to the wild scene! One then descends into a forty-foot-deep cave, down a vertical rock, where the guides “hand you down” in the literal sense of the word. Into its second wide entrance the sea rushes impetuously, where the dying wave loses itself silently in the cave's dark end.

Saturated with magnificent scenes of nature we continued our journey. The traveller pays very dearly for satisfying his curiosity. There is nothing more fraudulent than this miserable people. They all work hand in glove with each other to plunder the poor traveller once he falls into their hands. Miles are double billed. Every six to seven English miles horses are fed and the feed paid for so that  p.580 surely the carters and wagoners may feed their horses ten times free of charge in the house afterwards. They are unreliable, and deafen everybody with their yelling like the poor people in Italy.

To get the best deal one should rent horses for the whole time, and arrange with the wagoner to let him take care of everything. When you have time to travel so slowly, you have to travel on horseback.

Between the rocks we found a pair of old horses and skeletons of others. Here the barbarians abandon the nags they no longer need, letting them starve to death when they cannot find any more food between the stones.

The whole area covered by the basalt area amounts to over 400 English square miles. 6 Would not the basalt be very useful for decorations when cast into moulds, since it melts and dries quickly?

The Bishop of Derry and the Marquess of Waterford are the only two nobles who spend their money in this area. The inhabitants of Antrim are deemed to be stout Republicans, like almost all Dissenters who make up nine tenths of the local population. The Catholics are not, since they won the right  p.581 to earn their livelihood in the cities in the professions, in law, and to rent land for a period of more than 19 years. They still do not have the right to carry arms, buy property or hold civic office. Every year, 6,000 to 10,000 people emigrate from these areas via Londonderry to America. The reason that the inhabitants of Antrim are miserable is partly that they further subdivide their small plots of land, often of six acres. Every little mishap ruins them, and they render their little plot completely useless by growing oats all the time. A factory worker should have either 25 to 30 acres or only a garden.

As soon as an Irishman has £500 to £600 sterling, that is, as much as an English tenant must have to take over a lease, he stops tilling the land; rides, hunts, drinks and wears a laced hat with a worn out trimmed dress until his money is squandered. The Irish have been restless, choleric and haughty from the times when their wars imparted this character to them. And the Spaniards were quite alike after they had chased the Moors out. They despise diligence, thriftiness and all the blessings that inevitably come from the perfect  p.582 security of one's own property. Of course, I mean security in the broadest, noblest sense of the word, according to which it forms the basis of external rights and the principle of the social contract. At the same time the latter is aimed at securing the products of powers and abilities to be developed in future. This security requires the following conditions.

  1. That the value of the product be determined by freest possible competition.
  2. That the choice of objects of one's activity be neither limited by custom nor law, any more than the good of society inevitably requires; i.e. that there be no prejudice against any station, and that excellence in every station is given public respect.
  3. That the nature of enjoyment of what has been thus acquired be not limited by anything but by generally binding laws aiming to uphold morality and happiness of society.

In my view, no country in Europe is as close as England to this stage of universal bliss; only based on this have I hitherto been able to explain the marvels of the industry I observed there daily, such as the lack of happiness and morality, in those countries where the attainment,  p.583 the possession and enjoyment of one's own property are less assured.

In Derry, many merchants have made their fortunes in the American War, but on the whole they are very ignorant: the largest number of its inhabitants are Anglicans or Dissenters. The Catholics, who do not own property, are very restless and desire a change. This also applies to the country people, who cannot improve their situation despite all their work, but are squeezed out by the landowners' stewards. They had planted a Tree of Liberty and are now being patrolled by a garrison of 1200 men. In the evening everyone in the alleys is called by the sentinels. Four months ago, two Dutchmen who were making sketches of the city view were arrested. There was nobody available who could understand their documents issued in French. They were closely guarded for five days, their windows boarded up, and nobody was allowed to see them. I had gone to the coffee house — my foreign looks also aroused some suspicion, and if we had not had a letter of recommendation for well-known merchants, we might not have fared any better.

The new Volunteers here, as in Belfast, were very different from the older Volunteers and these  p.584 have been disbanded. A regiment of Volunteers is now being set up. Thirty years ago, the Hearts of Steel were Catholics who joined forces because they wanted to put an end to the pressure under which they lived, and the Hearts of Oak were Protestants who refused to pay tithes.

The bishop is highly praised. His see earns him £10,000 sterling which he spends in Ireland on construction projects, whether absent or not.

Only a few years ago Ireland was granted the freedom to allow return shipments from other locations to be shipped directly to Ireland and to import foreign goods from England. The country's trade has flourished since then.

Not far from Derry on the island of Inch herring used to be caught in great numbers, often 100,000 a day. Now the shoals of herring are no more. According to legend, about 15 years ago the Irish were engaging in their faction fights at a fair as usual, where blood was said to have flown into the sea, and since then no herrings have appeared. I could gladly accept all the legends that may be used for such a philanthropic interpretation.

Many beautiful environs lead to Strabane, but an eye spoilt in England  p.585 takes offence at the inappropriate use of labour. I would prefer to see areas suitable for cultivation not being farmed at all, rather than poorly. The former can improve much once you start cultivating them. The latter have little prospect of betterment, the soils are spent, due to lack of money, skill and diligence. It becomes necessary for the poor to use short-term opportunities, and thus they almost always do the opposite of what they ought to do to enjoy greater advantages in future. In Strabane no saddle horse for the servant was to be had; one of the stage-coachmen was arguing with the others which of them was supposed to drive; he did not want to let his horses go, unharnessing them again. The landlady could not do anything with him. A great commotion arose, a gathering of the idles, just like in similar cases in France. Finally we were able to move on — after threatening to beat and shoot in the Irish way which in England would have earned us a criminal trial; that is, if we had got away with our lives there and then. It will be extremely challenging to get used to the total dissimilarity of these two peoples. — The same language with only a distance  p.586 of four hours between them; yet there is nothing similar in customs and character!

The path meandered through hills and valleys. What a garden this might be, if a few million pounds sterling were spent on farming! A few miles from Omagh we drove through Lord Mountjoy's park. 7. We had not seen a decorated landscape in a long time, and whether Messieurs Knight and Prince like it or not, it seemed very lovely to us. The lawn is more beautiful than in England, thanks to the clement climate; it demonstrates how beautiful this land could become if attention were given to it.

We had got stuck between the fields. A farmer we talked to said to us with great kindness: “Gentlemen, you seem to be strangers. I'll go with you.” He left his work and took us a good bit farther.

I have never seen a country made up of so many rolling hills as this island. How beautiful it could be! In the village of Belleek the river Erne falls down in more than twenty streams, in different directions, over scattered limestone rocks, whose ruins are covered with  p.587 bushes and herbs and whose fractures are very picturesque. The whole ensemble represents one of the wildest areas.

In Church Hill, people do not look quite as ragged; this is probably a consequence of the longer-term lease contracts here. But still, here, as everywhere else, where agriculture is poor and industry is scarce, the difference between good and bad land is enormous. Here, as in the whole north of Ireland, the land is rented by land jobbers. The inertia is so great that people who pay 4 1/2 shillings in perpetual ground rent for land that is worth 21 shillings are actually becoming impoverished. It will take at least two generations to develop the strengths of men who have lost their energy due to the faults of the constitution, but once the strength has awakened, only time will tell what their further progress may be.

We met some sick poor who people carried around on a wooden stretcher to beg for them. Nowhere else can there be more differing and horrible ways of begging than here. Where even the common farmer looks lean, pale, and dishevelled, how wretched must the misery be to arouse compassion!


In a near and very rocky area close to Ballyshannon the river Erne tumbles into the sea. In low water, the fall may be about thirty feet high. The river is three hundred feet wide. However, it is not so much the effervescence and foaming of the great mass of water, the widest we have seen, that is striking, but the beautiful spectacle of a stream pouring into the ocean in a single fall. The majesty of one scene is lost in the other one. To the right, the pyramidal town rising above the rocks, an old picturesque bridge with high Gothic pillars, and the wide river that comes crashing down foaming and raging through the wide opening of the bare rock. On the left, nothing but the sea, behind whose purple surface the sun was setting.

In Belleek we found an Englishman with a small lease in this area. The daily wage here is on average sixpence, but inertia increases it to 18 pence. I cannot repeat it enough: only a nation's developed strengths do constitute its power. A state with one million Englishmen is equivalent to two millions of Scots and five millions of Irish. What conquests might a state make by educating and training  p.589 its citizens — it is so inevitable, so delightful! Bacon was probably right: “Knowledge is power”.

Horses, carts and harnesses are in such a bad condition that it is very expensive to rent a cart for money. Where a horse and cart are good, they are not expensive; where they are bad, they are. The soil in this whole area is limestone and yet nobody uses lime as a fertilizer. No one sows turnips, for fear they might to be stolen, and for the same reason no one plants trees either. Sometimes my heart is heavy when I think that in some parts of Holstein it may be no better than in Ireland. I remember very well that our own farmers do not grow cabbage for the same reason. The farms do not look any better than in Limmaradaz. 8 A farmer will hardly grow six acres of potatoes and understand so well how to feed them. Are not the villages still stripped of woods because the people do not own the hard wood? Are not estates bought for less money than an English farmer requires to lease them?

Nobody in Ireland improves the soil. Neither the landlord, who is not there, nor the land jobber, who has no advantage, nor the tenant, who, instead of being able to invest money, is always in arrears with his  p.590 lease, and besides is bound to perform a lot of services for the land jobber and the owner.

They started building a canal to Ballyshannon that would have created a shipping route of fifty miles, if it had been continued for three more miles. £10,000 sterling. were subscribed, but the payment was difficult and it was not possible to *use it as collateral to borrow money*, as in England. The government contributes a third. 9 At every step you see that all ranks of life lack money. All the land is cultivated, but four oat crops deplete it, and a full harvest of weeds renders it totally useless. The fields are fenced in, but there are holes in every fence, and furze grows on the dilapidated walls. The poor man works only to pay his rent and tithe, and to live in penury, in his cabin made of mud and sods, to go in rags, and to eat and drink milk and potatoes. If he has all this, he does not ask for more, and goes for a walk. Therefore he does not live any better whether he pays four shillings or a guinea per acre; and that is why at any given moment you can see a dozen people standing together chatting. They have got used to this miserable life due to their previous feudal constitution,  p.591 due to wars whose protagonists have contempt for the working class and due to the cruel laws against the Catholics that have condemned two million people to constant poverty. However, had this miserable life not become a habit for them, with its consequences of sluggishness, thievery, beggary, even so they would not be able to do any more, since they do not have the means of saving so much as to put even a small leasehold in order. There is little farm work for them, and no other manufacture but the linen trade. The owner should be able to invest at least five pounds sterling in each acre of average farm land, fence it in, level, drain and fertilize it, let it lie fallow, grow turnips, hoe it and then lease it at 20 shillings. This would help both owner and tenant. The poor tenant could pay more rent, get on in life and then improve his land himself.

Among these rags, in these smoky mud cabins, a beautiful generation is growing up, and a more numerous one than anywhere in the world. Everyone is poor; so there is no obstacle to marriage. They have got all the potatoes and milk they want. Their children eat all day long. There is nothing prettier, nothing healthier, nothing happier than these children,  p.592 as Albano painted them, or Corregio when he depicted angels. These little angels, who are often completely naked and mostly without a shirt, always only half dressed in a few rags, are so beautiful that you want to kiss them. And so is the whole generation, there are almost no ugly women and a lot of them are very beautiful, and there are many beautiful youths. But when they grow up, their country cannot feed them any more, that is, cannot utilise their manpower for production, although the daily wages are extremely inexpensive, and the whole province of Ulster produces no more than about four times as much oats as they sow. And all this, because every year £1,000,000 is spent outside the country; and because whoever has a few hundred pounds is ashamed of being a farmer, which is considered the most miserable business. How easy it would be to make these people happy, who are used to such hard and fruitless work! Easier than making our own happy, since they are much smarter and livelier than our Holstein farmers. But they regard their masters and ministers as leeches. They know them only through the tithe tenants, and those through their stewards. There is no country riper for rebellion, and more inclined to it, than Ireland.

What a paradise this could be, if there were a dozen trees standing next to each cabin! The park of Castle Caldwell10 has been neglected. There are two beautiful foothills  p.593 extending into a lake, and covered with beautiful trees. One is three miles long. At the end of the other there is a beautiful pavilion offering magnificent views of the lake. Everywhere a lot of large blackberries were growing. After Enniskillen the way almost always leads over hills and through valleys along the lake. The many beautiful islands, the serene meadows on the shore, the manifold vegetation of the foothills, and many an inviting resting place for tired souls fill the mind with lovely images.

Lord Belmont's park is located in a beautiful valley. The surrounding hills are covered with woodland, many places have splendid views of the lake; the house now under construction is the most beautiful and noble I have seen for a long time. Three miles downriver around Lisbellaw there is Lord Ross's island, Belleisle, one of the most beautiful in Lough Erne. The trees are very large and beautiful. The grounds themselves are neglected. You have one of the best views once you step out of the wood sheltering the lake. All these wooded islands are more beautiful than words can describe.

Along the way we observed, all day long, miserable houses populated by the most beautiful people.  p.594 Some were cabins with seven children sitting on the earth around a pot of potatoes, with a pig in their midst; then there was another one with a dozen children grouped quaintly around a bowl of blackberries in front of the door. Sometimes a more cleanly dressed woman (whose beauty may have forget us her clothes) who emerged from such a hut was in striking contrast with the poverty and filth surrounding her. We found a torn down hut, where the man was putting up a two-foot thick wall of clay and rushes, hoping to complete in the evening the building he had torn down in the morning. He paid £1 sterling for the site to build the cabin and for 5 rods of land 11 to grow potatoes. We saw a lot of such temporary cabins on the way — they are only one step up from those of the Tartars.

Near Armagh there still stands an old fort on a hill, and a tower of approximately one hundred feet in height whose diameter does not exceed four or five feet. Now and again you come across towers like this. They seem to be of great antiquity. According to legend the Danes are their creators. It is incomprehensible what uses they might have served. They are so narrow  p.595 that they could never have served for defence, but at best as watch towers.

In this whole area there is a lot of linen weaving and spinning, but people go to ruin because they are also farming besides husbandry, having to neglect one work over the other. After all I have seen, I am firmly of the opinion that the manufacturing worker should have nothing but a garden that his wife and children work, and it would be even better, if he has plenty, that he did not need it. The greatest possible degree of distributing forces procures the best and most abundant products in the easiest way. This has been understood only in England.

Everyone suffers a lot from the tithe collectors, and they are depicted as true bloodsuckers. No one is allowed to bring in his harvest before the collectors have received the tithe. Thus, the crops often remain unharvested for ten to twelve days and are spoiled, because the poor farmer could not or did not want to give the collector what he demanded, to get the crop in sooner. The poorest areas of Ireland are the south western ones, Connaught in particular. Almost all are Catholics, and due to the severe and intolerant laws, there is no schoolmaster within twenty English square miles. The barbarity, the  p.596 ignorance and misery can only be comprehended from this. The “hearth money”, a small charge raised on every fireplace, was unaffordable for some and drove them to desperation. Some of my acquaintances who rode through these areas found only empty villages and were unable to find somebody giving directions for half a day. The unfortunate inhabitants had fled because they had taken them for tax collectors.

Halfway to Drogheda there is Collon, the estate of the Speaker of the Irish House of Commons, Mr Foster. 12 Thirty years ago it consisted of 5,000 acres of moorland, which yielded three to four shillings in rent. He operated twenty-seven lime kilns for several years, the lime and coals for which were brought in from South Wales. He paid £700 p.a. for the firing alone, and sixty to seventy men worked for him in the limestone quarry. He fenced all the land into fields of about ten acres each. The fences together amounted to 70,000 rods. Fertilizing with lime alone cost him £30,000 sterling. He encouraged and supported his tenants to continue with the improvements. 13 He offered to compensate them for any damage they would suffer as a consequence of following his principles. Never was a claim of this kind submitted to him. He built a pleasant  p.597 village and attracted thirty French and English immigrant families. His tenants took courage, and continued the progress of improvement by themselves. Now the rent is 20 shillings per acre.

It is strange what a striking resemblance all these Irish have to people in some provinces of the former France. Religion, poverty, and ease of sustenance are the same, the presumption of the upper classes, and the impossibility of asserting their rights against them are the same. Both people are garrulous, funny, unreliable, lively, boastful, negligent, reckless, cruel to the cattle, and dressed in rags; and no other people is readier for revolution!

A large part of the inhabitants were opposed to conceding Catholics the right to vote in parliamentary elections and to be elected to the Grand Jury. They believe that all those political rights would give the majority of Catholics the means to overturn the ecclesiastical and political constitution and then to declare their liberty. If they could not attain this through continued concessions, constant unrest would have to be feared.

An argument against the Union with Great Britain is that it would increase absentee landlords. An argument in favour of it: that it would secure the constitution against the majority of Catholics, that it would attract more English money to Ireland, strengthen factories, trade, agriculture, facilitate road building and canal projects.


For healthy ideas about domestic and foreign trade England has to thank first and foremost the author of the Wealth of Nations. 14 He was the first to state what everyone now believes, i.e. that it is in the interest of every state that all states produce as many goods as possible; 15 everyone what they do best, and that every state is in the best position to do so when in all matters a free competition determines the prices and thus decides what could be advisable to produce.

It is a comforting sensation for the philanthropist when he sees that ultimately, a healthy self-interest even creates fairness, that it is wise to be virtuous, and that men have higher motivations when they  p.599 are more enlightened. Who can reconsider the course of mankind since the fifteenth century without seeing the signs of a progression, which so clearly exceeds everything that the history known to us documents, and so clearly points the way humanity must go in the happier nineteenth century!

I read Foster's vote against the rights to be conceded to the Catholics. It was particularly based on the bad situation of the Protestants, which could only be avoided by a union, especially if the Catholics were given the right to be elected to Grand Juries and to vote in parliamentary elections. Admittedly, this does present difficulties, but making good any injustice committed does, and yet there is nothing better than making good quickly, and merely to make the arrangements according to circumstances. All these reasons are the same, which those people interested in the slave trade, and some of our own nobles, are reiterating in favour of serfdom. It is forgiveable that they have too much weight in their eyes. But it must seem a miserable circular argument when they claim that men are degraded, and therefore they must be treated badly. Because is it not the treatment that degrades them?


However, it is Foster to whom we owe the freedom of trade, the reduced premium on importing grain in Dublin and the same grain laws as in England. He told us a lot about the peasants' habit of living in dirt, even if they can be better off. One of his wealthy tenants slept with his wife under the roof beam, where the turkeys used to sit at night. The reason he gave was because the turkeys would be warmer there and would not be stolen. He said the daily wage was five pence, but one would rather give an Englishman twelve pence which demonstrates the decline among the people. He is the head of the Dublin Society, which is compiling a complete collection of all agricultural implements, giving presentations on the mechanics of carts and ploughs, collecting grass varieties and giving public lectures about the time of their maturity, quality of hay, etc. They have also offered great awards for agriculture.

Near Collon lies the battlefield on the Boyne, where King William III won the decisive victory over the forces of King James II. The Protestants had gathered on a hill during the battle and were anxiously awaiting its outcome, which was to decide their own  p.601 fate. To commemorate this battle, an obelisk was erected on a rocky outcrop on the banks of the river, which is well situated. 16

One thing struck me in Dublin and in the great institutions devoted to the increase and convenience of trade, considering the enormous sums of money the Parliament spends annually on canals and other public undertakings, and considering the high awards that the Dublin Society distributes to encourage agriculture. In view of the many things the government undertakes to further these objects, it has struck me quite forcefully how inexpedient all these efforts are. In England, not a tenth of all of this has happened, and yet England is the country of industry, Ireland the land of misery and sluggishness. This is the case with almost all countries on the Continent because nothing but civil liberty and equality can create industry and, after a certain period of time, will infallibly do so.

What makes this truth is even more striking is the fact that, in proportion, Ireland has much less heath and non-arable land than in England, and that the soil as a whole is much better. They do not know either sand or stiff clay.  p.602 Vegetation is much richer and the advantages that harbours, rivers and lakes bestow are greater.

And that is not all; there are even comparatively more great land improvers in Ireland than in England. It is neither these, nor the hundreds of enlightened, industrious people — but rather the one million that makes the country rich or poor, happy or unhappy. Neither Watt, nor Arkwright, nor Wedgwood, make the English rich. Ensure that the millions of people in Germany enjoy all the advantages of life, and the next generation will bring forth and enhance the Watts, Arkwrights and Wedgwoods, putting their ingenuity to good use, the same people who at present
“waste their sweetness in the desert air” 17

It is a silly and idle thought that one or ten so-called great men may bring about the prosperity of a nation, other than by slowly influencing its spirit. 18 It is the mind of the nation that furthers its prosperity and that educates and develops itself, if only the obstacles of our skewed social order were out of the way.  p.603 The education of mankind corresponds to that of man. The free development of his forces makes the man. But what would the tutors have to boast about to the parents, and the ministers to their good prince? One has to blow one's own trumpet; and you need an enlightened audience to ensure loud salesmanship does not trump modest art with its claim to more happiness.

The Irish roads in general are very good, but on the main road from Belfast to Dublin, Cork, Waterford, Limerick they are excellent, the inns as good as in England. Wherever the privileged rich and nobles live, go, or drive, everything is of an excellent standard —, only where those who make up the nation live, i.e. the natives, in contrast you will see want and misery. The contrast with blissful England is beyond description, where all the comforts of life are enjoyed in full measure by the nation and where the enjoyment of the luxuries that industry offers brings so much advantage, and contributes so much to the benefit of the state.

On our way to Limerick the farmhouses are better and the leases bigger; there is less misery but less people, and they are less pretty. Frequently ruins of castles and abbeys are seen,  p.604 among which is the mansion begun by the unfortunate Strafford. Closer to Limerick there are many country houses on the fertile bank of the Shannon. The major part of the land is used for grazing the oxen fattened for the slaughterhouses.

In Limerick there is an alley that is one mile long, very dirty and surprisingly full of people. Ten thousand men from this area had been recruited and were busy exercising. The new city is well settled, some houses are quite nice. In particular the grain and meat stores are surprisingly large. The most eminent merchant in this place is a Catholic. If the Catholic farmer has so far been kept in constant misery by shameful laws that have existed for so long, the Catholic merchant is much better off. The majority in the country by which alone the seller can get rich is Catholic, and will buy only from their fellow believers. They work better for them, they pay them in all those bad cases where only the Protestants lose out. They practice among themselves all the virtues of loyalty and affection, which unites men who live under the same pressure, such as the Jews in our own country. Even the rich among them  p.605 live just as miserly. Apart from the desire to become rich, each of them desires to further his party using his wealth. There are 60,000 people living in Limerick. We met many beautiful women, all of them of one kind of beauty: with small white, round faces, fine features, and elegant body shapes.

It takes a day's journey from Limerick to reach the Killorery lake 19; one of the most majestic views in nature. It is really surprising to find here, in a wild corner of Ireland, facilities for the pleasurable enjoyment of the lake, which you will not find anywhere else in Europe, such as comfortable shallops of different sizes, experienced skippers you can trust to navigate safely through some dangerous places on this lake, two fairly good French horn players, who also play all sorts of other instruments, and small cannons to listen to the echo; pavilions on the islands, where you can have your breakfast and lunch provided on these pilgrimages, which last all day long. Lord Kenmare, who owns the largest part of the area around the lake and the lake itself, had all this arranged.

In the park you can walk beside the clear, gushing stream, on both sides  p.606 surrounded by steep wooded hills. It then runs down all the way through its rocky bed, in a thousand little cascades. The blend of the countless ripples is like the piano of an orchestra of a thousand voices, in wonderful harmony with the wild surroundings. You believe to hear it one by one — you listen, losing yourself in the chorus. We walked to the lake through an oak wood, continuing for three miles along it to the ruins of a respectable abbey erected in 1440 during the reign of Henry VI. It was situated on a beautiful green hill on the lake, hidden in the shade of venerable old ash trees, one of which measured twelve feet in circumference. Dense climbing ivy had made all the corners smooth. Plants of every kind sprang up everywhere in this humid clime from the ruins, and covering the walls almost completely, they made the building look very quaint. Over this the destroyed walls and towers evoked “The last mournful graces of decay” 20. Skulls and bones were lying around in heaps. The place in front of the abbey is still used for burials. A corpse was brought here accompanied by great screaming and howling, according to the country's custom. The man was from one of the great old Irish families who  p.607 lost all their possessions in the former disturbances, but are very much respected among the local people. Some of his wealthy relatives did not want to let him be buried here because he was poor. This gave rise to a very lively dispute, of which we could not understand anything, because it was conducted in the Irish language which is very common here. The more unhappily man lives, the more important death becomes to him; however he is consoled by the thought that here at least he will have the same rights as his oppressor, and hopes for a time when the situation will be reversed. The most miserable poor in Hamburg saved their hard-earned shillings for their coffins, relieving their sufferings with the thought that they would be carried out of their alleyway with a certain solemnity. The cloisters enclosed a quadrangular square with a yew tree, whose trunk was two feet thick and fourteen feet tall, and whose branches made a perfect cover over the square. Under its shadows there was an eerie visible darkness. John Drake, who was from a very good English family, lived here for fourteen years as a complete hermit and only left this place a few years ago.


In Colonel Herbert's park you have a wonderful view over the abbey to the middle lake, in a beautiful alternation of meadows and wood, hill and valley. Magnificent groves of ashes, hollies, and arbutus trees with flowers and fruit. A flat bank, well cultivated, on the right hand side, on the left the rocky brown cliffs surrounding the upper lake, whose high mountains may be glimpsed behind the brown masses like small light clouds. In front of the house there was a beautiful green plain (which they call lawn), marble cliffs in red and white, but terribly bold masses, projecting into the lake, everywhere where a single little plant was able to root, covered with shrubs of all kinds. The mild climate, the humid air and frequent rainfall are extremely beneficial to the vegetation of the perennials and grasses. You do not have any idea of the beauty of the verdant colours unless you have seen Ireland. The beautiful English lawn is dull and grey in comparison. The rich, well-rounded growth of each perennial is unbelievable. The vigorous vegetation on the cliffs is characteristic: each one is covered in ivy and arbutus, a dense forest, wonderfully interwoven with leaves and trunks, often strangely twisting to grasp with their roots a crag, or to offer their  p.609 foliage to the reviving light. Plants from southern climes are native here, like in Montpellier, especially the arbutus tree, which is difficult to keep even in the gardens of southern England. Trees droop their branches down into the lake. Heather grows eight feet tall. Beautifully overgrown bays present an exquisite contrast with the bare mountains. This is untamed nature in its highest abundance. I have only seen such picturesque scenes in Italy.

A boat manned with six rowers and two oboists, and provided with cold meals, rowed us to an island densely overgrown with beautiful trees. In high Glena, there is a strong current rushing through an old picturesque bridge. We had to get out there and the crew pulled the boat through the bridge against the current. The lake became narrower and the rocks peeped archly through their colourful coverings. The canal makes a turn just in front of a rock called Eagle's Nest. This rock seems to be low when seen from every other point of the lake, here however extremely beautiful and large; almost perpendicular, with protruding masses in the middle; and bold outlines. The grey rock towers ferociously, yet majestically over the dense forest which grows to half its steep height. The sun was behind the rock  p.610 and on the blue ground the white clouds were floating past the peaks. There was silence everywhere. All you could hear was the ripple of the waves and beating of the oars. What a silence! In this scene! So we glided down at the foot of the mountain; we stopped. This rock and nowhere else must be home to the nymph. Everywhere else you go, she only repeats the sound, while in this mysterious quiet place she echoes it louder, and incomprehensibly more beautiful. We sat down on a rock directly opposite; the horns were placed there. We could barely hear their soft sounds; but behind the rocks they resounded like a piano of many horns, so solemnly, so drawn out, fading into distant echoes like harmonica tones. A cannon was fired: we heard the sound as if it were coming from behind the rocks, much stronger, and then in five staggered repetitions like rolling thunder in the furthest mountains, where it lost itself like waves beating against the hollow shore. The sound of the music is unspeakably beautiful. We often had them repeat it faster, slower, softer or louder. The soft, slow sounds, with long pauses in between, had the greatest effect, because the imperceptible crescendo of the echoed sound at last gave it such a strength, with so much tenderness, richness and roundedness as no instrument can achieve.


After this concert, which alone is worth the journey, we passed a three-mile-long scene of manifold bare rocks, ferociously jumbled together almost without a tree. We caught some nice red-spotted trout with the fishing rod. Our oboists played Irish songs, which are melancholic and mournful like the Scottish ones, yet they are not as uniform, but have more variety and harmony. We saw five or six different mountain abysses . The rugged peaks towered one above the other. An incredible number of islands. All the rock masses up to the water were replete with flowers and foliage, yellow and green, and the evergreen arbutus with its white flowers and red berries, made a lovely foreground. The sun illuminated the rock scene. The white chamois climbed around the peaks of the blue mountains. 21

The upper lake we reached now is only small and completely surrounded by cliffs; it has many islands. We got out on one of these. A wealthy man from Cork dwells here in a small house. Accompanied by a single servant, he spends the whole day either in the mountains shooting goats  p.612 and birds, or fishing on the lake, as long as the season allows.

We hurried back to the lower lake, glid quietly on to the Eagle's Nest, with fog behind and a bright foreground before us. No brush stroke can depict the romantic impression the different densities of air create in those lakes surrounded by rocks, when unexpectedly the sun rays break through their openings. The mountains were emerging ever closer. Everything around us so very silent! Nothing but the murmur of the brooks, bird song, fish splashing on the fishing rod, sometimes the beautiful double echo of the horn. We shot through with the current under the bridge where we had previously got out at an incredible speed, sank, rose up again, and saw the bridge far behind us, with trees and rocks seeming to flee behind.

On the lower lake a magnificent scene unfolds. The broad lake, on the left Glena and Tomis, is covered with thick, lush woodland for three miles. A delightful mixture of verdure stretches down to the water; with the clear green of the beech trees appearing behind the dark oak leaves. A beautiful rainbow travelled with us for an hour. At the foot of this large forest lies a lovely  p.613 white rural cottage. We got off in the woods, and over a rough path led, over rocks jumbled together, to a cascade that churns down the cliffs from the forest, perhaps sixty feet high in more than five falls, and then, deep down in Glena, runs over large masses of rocks into the lake with a thunderous noise. We rowed to Inisfallen. What an island! It has surpassed my ideal. The words do not recall the idea, and I cannot associate it with any known expression. A green not found on the palette of any painter: rich, like the lush nature in its most fertile moments, rounding off all forms, and yet picturesque, inviting trees and groves, a lovely mix of hills and vales. These are the words to fashion a fair description. I know what they mean, but no one who has not seen it knows that. I myself did not know it until I saw it. Each stroke of the oars revealed a different scene. We walked around the island, rowed around it again. The night came. Rain clouds drove us back. I cut myself a cane from an arbutus tree: it is to remind me often of the day when I enjoyed natural beauties that words cannot describe.


In Millstreet, a traveller told us that in Connaught he happened to be mistaken for a hearth money collector 22; the village inhabitants were hiding behind hedges and in ditches with their iron pots, almost the only utensil they own. The hatred among the lower classes for the Spokesman and the Chancellor is common. They have been accused of preventing the benefits of the repeal of the harsh laws against the Catholics. Grattan is held in high esteem; the Duke of Leinster is generally popular. The dissatisfaction is so great that the people would like to unite with the French. The land owners or their stewards do not value the work of those poor dwelling in temporary cabins higher than sixpence a day, and on the other hand they charge them so much for their little potato plot that the poor live for six months on potatoes, herrings and water. Their condition is a perfect slavery, because a cottager who has left his master is not given shelter by anyone else. They also work like slaves, which means badly. We saw a man supposed to collect stones from a field and doing his work seated. People like these are those who emigrate.


Thereby the country loses nothing, and the individual gains. It would be very unwise to prevent emigration even if it were not the most blatant injustice.

A funeral procession passed through a village. The coffin stood on a carriage; next to it two women were sitting, constantly beating either the coffin or their chests with loud wails. A great number of men and women followed them. As soon as one of them was tired of the horrible screaming, she sat upon a cart or on horseback. Wherever the procession passes by, people join in, they just ask if it is a woman or a man, and then join in the wailing, which is a eulogy of the unknown deceased. They only need to know one fact: that he or she has lived and is now dead. Each time they reach the next village, the people from the last village go back.

A man who lived fifteen miles away from Killarney told us that if a farmer has any money, he prefers investing it over improving the soil. “That is just like at home,” I sighed. If he can spend a few hundred pounds, he neglects his own station in life and squanders his money. Vanity everywhere. A respectable middle class does not exist. To do nothing, and not  p.616 wishing to do better for oneself — that is the common mindset. Only the women work hard; everything is dirty, reckless, hilarious, inconsequential, biting, cruel, miserable and funny; everything is only half done, everyone wants to better himself, but is grovelling and fearful of his superior.

From the hill, the view of Cork, the river and the green hills with their country houses gracing the banks is magnificent. The city is big. The old part is dirty, especially at slaughtering time, and the new one very well built. Like in Dublin, the new Volunteers have been here too. The people are outraged at the imposition of the tithe. Others are outraged at insufficient representation. Everyone is ashamed of his station in life, and therefore does not really know what he wants, and the majority is miserable, full of resentment about long-suffered religious pressure. There are only 15,000 militia men in the country, and those might not even fight against the French — certainly not against their own fellow citizens.

The local Protestants are afraid that the Catholics may become too powerful. These are not satisfied with what they have been granted. The government has tried to win them over by these concessions. But they are complaining about the unequal parliamentary representation. There  p.617 are over a hundred “rotten boroughs” 23 in Ireland. All the Revenue Officers have seats in Parliament, which is not the case in England. All proposals to limit pensions and other charges are consistently voted down.

On the way to Passage there were several houses built of sods; next to them usually a beggar sits, asking for alms with loud wails. The carter said that these were “occasional houses” these people had built by the side of the roads. He said they moved from one place to another, and their business was “a very good trade”. A beggar woman of this kind had collected so much that she invested £300 sterling for interest, which she has used for her daughter's dowry. The daughter continues this old craft.

At Kilworth the beautiful land of Tipperary begins, which extends for twenty-four miles to Clonmel, where Sterne was born. The inhabitants' wealth is greater here, their cabins are better, and so is all their equipment, an indisputable consequence of the common wheat cultivation. We soon found that we were on a big mail coach road. The inns were good, the innkeepers attentive, chaises and horses promptly attended to, and the roads excellent.


The rented houses on the banks of the Suir looked clean and comfortable, and there are a lot of “gentlemans' houses”. The lawn is really beautiful. On the quay in Waterford the Suir is approximately a hundred feet wide. The shores on the other side are steep cliffs, or green hills criss-crossed by hedges. A wooden bridge was built by Cox from Boston, the same man who constructed the bridge in Derry. 24 An inscription tells you that it is 830 feet long, 40 feet wide, has 43 piers of oak, and is 37 feet under water at low tide; that it was built without the help of Parliament by private subscription for 30,000 £ sterling, begun in August 1792 and finished in April 1793, in a such a memorable year for the good of Ireland due to abolition of the religious pressure under which the Catholics lived. 25 The view from either side of the bridge towards the high cliffs enclosing the river and the city is as delightful as the one-mile-long quay. If these hills were planted with trees, this location would be one of the most beautiful in the world.

People, wherever you can, plant trees, and your descendants will thank you for it. Build roads and canals, and you are doing more good for your native country than the boldest imagination can hope.


The inhabitants are for the most part Catholics and very quiet.

In Carlow I could not get a Cork banknote of £10 sterling changed. We found ourselves in no small embarrassment. Finally we met a Quaker who was the local pharmacist. In his whole house everything was spotlessly clean, as if we had been in England. He said to me: “Friend, I'll not leave thee in distress. I do not know the note, but thou doest bear an honest face,” gave us the money, and asked us to have lunch with him. The name of this good Quaker is James Pough.

What a ride to Lucan, from the Phoenix Park down into a valley through which the Liffey meanders so secretly, so quietly! The hills gently rise on both sides, here you see a pasture planted with trees and shrubbery, and there picturesque cliffs or green hills and dense woodland growing up to the water's edge, the most abundant decoration in nature! Rocks covered with crowded vegetation, rock overgrown with forest, flowers appearing above rocks of marble. Here you see a smoking ironworks lying in the shadow of dark  p.620 beech trees, there a peaceful dairy farm, now you can see a cotton factory, where the dazzling white contrasts with the green, now the more decorated part of an English park, here a little village with smoking chimneys, there a lovely country house; here an orchard, there a herd of horned cattle; here sheep, there thick shrubbery, through which the river rushes, here magnificent trees under whose canopy it meanders out of sight. All this is graced by manifold rural bridges, by frequent small falls of the Liffey, some romantic islands inhabited by fishermen ... and then there is the magical touch of the ivy, a plant you do not really know until you have seen it here. Here it breaks up all smooth surfaces, rounds all edges, creating a lot of light and shade on everything, covering the high oak trunks with its thick dark green, trailing here over the dilapidated wall, there over the thatched roof, frequently offering you its thousand blossoms in many bushes projecting a foot wide. And over all this the warm fluid hue poured out by a beautiful mild autumn day, on which the still water surface reflects the picture of the shore in embellished fashion. Oh my friends, where are you? I admired Dublin's buildings and did I not miss you there, but here! It is happiness I feel, and I would prefer to feel it with  p.621 you! It is these scenes “that beggar description”, because there are not one but a thousand, because every step grants you a new one, still gently interlaced with the memory of the previous and preparing a new one, to which it is enticing you. This is like the life of the blissful. Who can describe the “ronde dance of the ever-youthful joys” 26 already embracing a new one with the arm from which the previous one slips away.

In Cartown the Duke of Leinster has a park of 900 acres, but without very old trees and with little variety of terrain. It is a large beautiful house with a number of good paintings. He overlooks 60,000 acres of his property from a tower. He is a good, plain, very popular man. Connolly's house, Castleton27, three miles from there is one of the most beautiful private homes in Great Britain. You can tell that the owner's uncle built it on his return from Italy.

The Glen of the Dargle was still one of the most beautiful scenes we had to see before leaving Ireland. Again, there is nothing but rocks, shrubbery, trees, and water; but what can Nature not create from all these? How easily, in her infinite diversity, this artist achieves with such little  p.622 means such amazing effects! The Glen is a beautiful vale of the utmost gentleness and calmness, gradually narrowing, with dense wood covering the heights down to the depths; one can hear the Dargle rushing, until you can see it from a cleared space on a rock, foaming over cliffs 150 feet below. In a lovely spot on the opposite hill lies the thatched cottage of patriot Grattan. Then the path leads through a holy darkness to a bark-covered hut, where you are surrounded by overgrown rocks, and nearer to the river; and down at the water you will find and the most romantic of all scenes, the richest of all the decorations. The most exuberant imagination could not conjure this up, the most daring describer must not dare express it. Everything is incredible, the whole and the detail. What I had seen condensed into one image by the artists' fancy, what I had seen arranged in nature by the creator — that was what I wanted to reflect on, so as to arrive at a comparison, but in vain. Nothing in my soul has ever been like it. Bold yet gentle, grand and yet so tranquil! The nymphs of the grottoes must be eavesdropping on the shepherd who, unaware of his own elation, is singing songs of praise. How softly must the despondent's weary head sink down in these cool shadows, at the mother's all-loving  p.623 bosom. Here, or nowhere, the inner mind of a high-minded man must feel immortal in tune with the harmony of nature.

We walked along a beautiful path to Powerscourt park. An incredible verdure! It seems as if all the trees had twice as many and twice as strong branches and twice as large leaves as in England. Everything that is capable of growth, competes and forms smooth masses of incredible richness. You walk along the river bank between two large mountains. The further away from the house, the wilder the area, but lush and luxuriant, just as Vaillant describes the forests of the Cape, 28 which no human foot had ever entered. Trees growing on other trees, and forest out of rock. Four times we crossed the raging stream. The water swelled with each second fed by the muddy flood into the clear stream. We had another mile to go to the cascade. The footbridge formerly in place at the fifth crossing had been washed away a few years ago and, in the Irish way, had not been restored. These forest streams often grow up to 20 feet in a short time, and we did not feel like spending a rainy night in the forest, nor like seeing the waters tumble down, whose floods would wash us away as soon as we dare cross.  p.624 So we returned to dry ourselves and berated those barbarians, who do not make these beautiful scenes any easier accessible, and the unfortunate fact that we had just picked this very day. The river is said to fall down from steep cliffs, at an altitude of 200 feet in a narrowing vale. On a velvety lawn at the foot of the fall stands an oak grove between whose trunks and leaves you can spot the silvery fall in the background. This must give the cascade a flair quite apart.

In Dublin we visited a rich old Catholic, the foremost merchant in Ireland. 29 One recognizes in him a man educated under oppression and realizes that this country does not yet know how to honour industry and honesty in every walk of life. He showed us his store houses, which including the farms occupy two and a half acres of land, with the joy of a man who likes to prove to strangers how much more he is worth than he is respected. Often this made me recall some of our honest Jews who, of course, are not suffering by far such oppression and injustice as the Catholics in Ireland. Equipped with a light in our hand we walked around in the underground wine vaults, where our walk could have lasted a few hours, and where we would have got lost without a guide.


James Keogh30 and Byrne had been sent to London by the Catholic Assembly two years ago to bring about the repeal of the unworthy laws that the Irish Parliament, ruled by party spirit, did not want to abolish, and have now been sent out again as emissaries to convey the Catholics' complaints about Lord Fitzwilliam's removal to the king. Henry Flood31 had also been employed in these transactions and had written quite a bit to illustrate the Catholics' situation.

These men spoke fervently about the cause of the misery in Ireland, and probably also with the one-sidedness that is to be expected of people who have spent their whole lives describing this misery, who are not entirely satisfied with the concessions given them, who despair of the obstacles the present administration is putting in their way. These men are in a sad situation, between a government which considers them to be the leaders of the dissatisfied, and some millions of half-freed serfs who very soon will consider these very men as bought, when they oppose themselves to an anarchy they did not intend, but which will always come about as a consequence of the leniency of the weaker oppressor against the stronger oppressed,  p.626 when fear rather than justice is the motive for leniency, and when one does not know how to concede without being asked that which later you do not dare refuse.

They complained that Mr. Foster and Lord Fitzgibbon, with their party and the aristocrats, had deliberately caused unrest in order to move the government not to grant more concessions to the Catholics, that is, to the nation, and to create an opportunity to even take away and restrict what the government had previously conceded to them according to their words. The latter was done by this party firstly, by protecting all oppressors; secondly, by retaining the strict enforcement of the conditions; thirdly, when the militia was recruited, by not making known at the outset how many men were required, but to deliberately foster the belief that they would all be recruited, so as to have an opportunity to call the gathering of the unfortunates who fled their homes a rebellion, and to have shots fired at them. Fourthly, in the inquest that followed, by having encouraged the statements of the most notorious criminals against those leaders of the riots who had been most active in the so-called emancipation of the Catholics. Fifthly, by never having used means of instruction and  p.627 such people who could have exerted an influence on these people and thus by depriving itself of all its influence on the crowd, which is now so dissatisfied that 5,000 French could land and march through the whole of Ireland. 32 They accuse the present administration of wrongly portraying the people's character : their carelessness, laziness, drunkenness, discontent, ignorance, and rather than alleviating it, to use it in order to oppress and degrade this mass of the nation, portraying them as extremely dangerous so as to make themselves indispensable. They contend that this party would use the basest means to arrest the most respectable Catholics using bought witnesses, that they would have used the last concessions as a signal of persecution and would have attacked even Byrne and Keogh, had they believed that it could have been done without creating public unrest.

They say that the Irishman would be industrious if he were given free rein to become wealthy through his application, which is the sole condition under which that other 33 nation would work harder.  p.628 Now, however, they say that the language spoken to the people literally means this: “be good and hard-working, you do not believe how (hard) the Englishman works; you are not supposed to earn anything by working, but you do not believe how rich the English become.” They assert that the Irishman would like to work if he could only obtain a day's wages to sustain him better, and that he would walk for three or four miles to get a job. It is said that some people have walked a hundred miles to the province of Leinster, where they were paid wages of one shilling a day, and that thousands go to England at harvest time to bring back three or four guineas.

In the southern provinces they say there is more money around since more grain has been cultivated, but the tenant has not become much richer by it, because his rent is regularly being increased. If the product price fell, the tenant would be ruined. In England, there is nowhere an increase in rent unless impartial men and the tenant himself approve of it, for every landowner values too much the respect and love of the people among whom he lives. The Englishman wants everyone to live a happy life. In Ireland the leases are short, maybe only a year; the tenant and landowner  p.629 are not connected to each other by a social bond, but regard each other with the same hostility as the usurer and the borrower. Every lease is announced by public notice. Nothing but the bid is relevant, and this is driven as high as possible by all kinds of artifices. And then they are complaining that the tenant is not diligent! If you loaned a merchant money at four percent interest, and once he had gained ten percent, you increased the interest to eight percent for the next year, then who would make any effort to be diligent?

They also say that the Irishman is only dissatisfied when he is oppressed and ill-treated, but that he is more grateful than any other man for good treatment (which I have often experienced), that he loves those nobles who do not press him, such as the Duke of Leinster, Lord Glendower, Earl Moira's brother. 34 The Irish people's ignorance is said to be due to the fact that the Catholic schoolmasters are only been able to teach without fear of prison for a short time; formerly in some places there was no schoolmaster for thirty square miles.

The fact is that the smaller number of Protestants, against whose will the emancipation has been established, exerts all the influence on the government, and not only does this party use many  p.630 unfair means to prevent the effect of those fair and prudent regulations, but even good people go along with them because they are concerned that the Catholics are hatching plans to obtain complete rule which they would carry out as soon as they could. Would that a number of gentle yet effective regulations could delay this revolution until a more respectable property and the consequences of a better education would divert the Catholics from the desire for revenge and the zeal of fanaticism!

The Dublin Society, whose secretary is D. Lyster, 35 has done a surprising amount of work. Provided it were well written, its story would be an extremely interesting book. Initially it only had £1,000 sterling annually and achieved more with that amount than afterwards, when it received £10,000 from Parliament. At first it concentrated particularly on agriculture, but between 1760 and 1770 it worked almost exclusively on behalf of manufactories. In this area it frequently committed mistakes, as any government will which wants to foster any trade trade or factory unable to succeed on its own and sustain itself. Not to govern too much is a golden rule, but it conflicts too much with all the frailties of the human soul to be able to  p.631 be observed by the governing bodies. When Colbert36 wanted to improve the French industry, he called deputies from Caen, Bordeaux, Rouen, Marseille, and asked them what he could do for them. Their answer was: “Laissez nous faire.” Since Foster has been Speaker of the House of Commons, the Government has done more than ever for agriculture. It has a perfect collection of plants and agricultural implements; a Botanical Garden for the farmer; it has experiments conducted with cultivating, ploughing and fertilising, and it grants awards. In my opinion, these are of little consequence; they do not compensate the small farmer for what he undertakes, the large farmer does not need them; in addition, here as everywhere else, they are almost always obtained by fraud. They should be honourable and encourage the rich tenant to conduct experiments. There is something really pathetic in these bungling little attempts at improvement! Let a country have the highest security and the freest use of its property; bring about by words, deeds and education that everybody may learn how much he may gain in his station of life from his own industriousness. Let those who wield influence on public morale due to their situation consider how much a people may gain in power and happiness that increases its crop yield by a seventh, that refines wool by fifty percent,  p.632 that breeds heavier cattle; that reduces the mortality of their livestock and the amount of those animals kept for luxury and prejudice only whose food could feed people. By building canals the people would increase factory sales and simultaneously facilitate factory equipment. By using land routes they would save time and energy and bring about a general spreading of ideas, which is even more important than distributing food. Then public love and respect would soon reward the man who devoted his time and energy to multiplying, improving or facilitating the production of any kind of goods. General industry, if undisturbed by anything in its natural energy, would utilize any currently neglected corner, and in several places those miracles would arise by which in England seven million people have made the whole world their interest-bearers.

The many public institutions in Ireland, as everywhere else, are proof that is is wrong to regard palliative measures as remedies, and wrong to desire to make what ought to be the effect of the nation's spirit a means of awakening this spirit. Nowhere are there more charities, and yet nowhere is there more begging. Nowhere else has so much public money been spent on public buildings and canals, and distributed among the people,  p.633 and nowhere are there more paupers. 37 Nowhere else are there more premiums for forcing manufactories and factories — nowhere else is there less industry. If the spirit of industry existed among the popular classes, there would be no need for awards; if the poor found work according to their strength, they would not need public alms. If impoverishment was prevented, less poor houses (i.e. charities) were needed. Now let us take one step further: If everybody were completely secure in the free enjoyment of his acquisitions, and the government would never interfere with this, if no taxes were paid whose advantage would not also benefit the working poor as a result of increased circulation; if the man were honoured who does credit to his class, then factories and manufactories would emerge by themselves. Failed attempts make the work of a successor easier; after several failed ventures permanent establishments will emerge. The restless striving, constant daily effort and energy of a man who works for his own advancement make possible for the individual what the state, who wants to attempt it for its own account, can  p.634 never achieve. Then, if work had a value adequate to its intention, if efforts were appreciated precisely, if a man were to enjoy more, in the same measure as he worked more and better, workers would emerge, and, what is invaluable, the desire and habit of working a lot and well. If physical and moral education had given the poor the strength and the means to do so, and if instruction and some institutions (which at present do not exist) had taught them to make gainful use of what they have acquired, impoverishment would be a rare sight.

Time and energies are everything, their product constitutes the huge capital on which mankind lives; these are what is paid with every act of purchase, and what materializes with every act of enjoyment. Their prudent use makes happy people, thriving states; their neglect unhappy creatures, and poor countries.

Nothing, nothing at all can bring about the exercise of these energies but an education which provides the means, complete freedom in the use of these energies; security, honour, peace in the enjoyment of the acquisition.

Anyone who proposes something else is one of  p.635 the thousands of political mountebanks who sell their quack medicine to the morons.

1) By education I understand attention to the preservation of health and to healthy food — instruction in the language, in writing, arithmetic, as well as mechanics and chemistry in so far as they ought to be applied to all the ordinary activities of common life — a knowledge of your particular business, facilitated by the appropriate institutions in every possible way — a knowledge of the laws pertinent to one's life, and a strong awareness of moral principles (internal right) which complement these laws (regulations of external right). 38

2) Freedom in all use of these powers, where they do not interfere with the rights of another person; I mean general external rights, as opposed to monopolies, which only by a corrupt use of language have been called rights. It is one of the thousand bad consequences of a feudal government no longer suitable for better times, that its natural external law only applies in so far as it is confirmed by so-called time-honoured rights and privileges, that everything that is reasonably free, has become so by this exception, and all things except for the few objects of industry which are an invention of later times, are corporations,  p.636 guilds, or monopolies by other names.

3) Safety in enjoyment. — Neither the state nor even less any private individual must be allowed to attack the smallest nor greatest property; but at the same time civic honours must be attainable in every class — nothing is to have a bearing on the influence of any man in civil affairs other than his ability and the public respect for his character. —

If by these measures the crops are only increased by a fifth, if by doing so the worker only works one hour more per day; and if his work only gets better by ten percent in the same time; if the rich man obtains good interest for his capital, and the man of talent obtains a sure reward for his effort — if that spirit had a daily and lasting effect, what could not such a nation achieve! What have the English not been capable of doing! But until these safe and only measures have acted on the people's spirit, the state must indeed undertake something to alleviate the present evil, and use palliative measures to mitigate the symptoms that would in turn affect the condition of the disease itself. Though here too, if the  p.637 the state did too much, the damage would be greater than if it did not act at all. The poorer class must now be the subject of all its efforts.

The population alone does not constitute the country's wealth, otherwise Ireland would be rich; it does not constitute a country's happiness, otherwise Ireland would be happy. It is not true that the population only grows in places where more people live next to each other and can advance. For although 20,000 Irish people emigrate every year, the number of people is increasing, and the proportion of births to the whole population is greater than anywhere else. Well-trained and well-applied efforts are what creates perfection and happiness. By doing so, between five and seven million people (Price defends the first and Chalmers the second estimate 39) raise an annual tribute from all over the world to whom they give enjoyment in exchange for their money, having produced happiness in unprecedented measure, having grown rich harvests on poor fields, and ploughed through the soil of the earth to increase the value of exploited metals often by a thousandfold.

It is, however, an interesting question as to why the population of Ireland is so large. 40 In a survey made in the parishes  p.638 of Castle Caldwell, the average family size in each cabin was 6 1/2.

And then again this is a humiliating proof of our barbarity and corrupt ways. The fact that there are only a few shortcomings less than in other European cities cancels out all the ill effects of misery and oppression regarding the population.

There are no such Poor Laws in Ireland as in England that prevent a pauper from living where he could earn something as a day labourer, because [in England] the parish has the right to reject a man whom it would have to sustain if he were impoverished. The Irishman moves with his wife and child from one end of the island to the other, if he can earn more.

2) Nothing prevents them from emigrating, and since it is their custom to emigrate, there cannot easily be too many people anywhere. If only the short-sighted politicians who, by prohibiting the people from emigrating, want to take away the first and foremost of all their rights: to leave the society in which they no longer feel happy, would consider that they cannot take better care themselves of the increasing number of people than by allowing the dissatisfied to make room for  p.639 new births. If they were but to consider the important circumstance that this freedom would give them a surer barometer of their subjects' happiness and prosperity than any economic calculation! Increasing the population by banning emigration is just as if you wanted to make a country rich or foster agriculture by banning the export of grain and metals.

3) What by our customs have become the necessities of a happy life has not yet become necessary here. If they have a cabin, a cow and a pig, they get married, and the most beautiful part of life is not spent as a celibate. The state gets many and beautiful children. It is one of the hardest tasks of political economy to determine the point up to which it would be desirable that customs make certain conventions a prerequisite for marital life. Too many conventions will create a lot of celibate people and corrupt the customs; too few will kill the incentive for activity, which is more important than anything else, and without which the seed of our ability to strive for perfection cannot grow. I think this is not possible without regard to local conditions. Climate, form of government, education, industry capital,  p.640 the manner in which these powers are used, the whole situation of the country, the kind of products, must indicate what is desirable and determine the extent to which it can be made possible. If you could impart to the Irishman the desire, and give him the means, to keep his little cabin tight and tidy, to cultivate his garden well, to feed his cow well, to fatten his pig, to dress himself and his family cleanly; if he had the prospect of being able to arrange all this a little better and more comfortably with a little more and better work, everything would be achieved.

4) Nature speaks so loudly everywhere where abuses hallowed by habit do not stand in her way. Thus, the ease with which two young people are allowed to enter matrimony has made the habit of marrying young so commonplace that it is almost as rare to see unmarried farm hands, coachmen, gardeners and servants in Ireland, as married ones back home. It is strange that the Irishman, who thinks he is being oppressed in a thousand other ways, considers one oppression we daily commit to be as unjust as it truly is, namely to make it impossible for such a large number of people to obey the first law that nature has so unmistakably linked to both our sensuality  p.641 and our sympathetic feelings. Who is the human being who is not completely indifferent to human happiness and who can observe without sorrow the unfortunate consequences this compulsion has had for character and morality, for health and domestic happiness and for the people in almost all modern civilized nations?

5) In Ireland, the beginning of every marriage is happy, and in no other country does the honeymoon last so long and is so fully enjoyed. But soon the consequences of the lack of industriousness, whose causes I have often mentioned, become apparent; and after a few years all the flowers that seemed to bud from these cabins have withered. Dullness and misery have taken the place of courage and optimism, and in fifteen years' time the fruits of these marriages must for the most part emigrate, just as trees grown from seeds must be transplanted from their garden beds if they are not to become stunted. The fact that the children still prosper despite their parents' misery is due to one positive cause. This is the common potato farming and the habit of giving the children their fill of milk and potatoes every day. The pot of boiled potatoes is there all day. The jug  p.642 of milk is always full; and anyone who ever thought about the means that are able to generate a healthy human race must be aware of how much the fact that in the first twelve years of his life a child has neither suffered from hunger nor from an excess of indigestible foods, contributes to a full and undisturbed bodily development. I have to add that Ireland is the only country where potatoes make up nine tenths of all food, and that according to a calculation of the average, compiled from several places in the north of Ireland, a man consumes on average eight lb. of potatoes a day.

Would not many a statesman or scholar, many a politician and businessman, smile pityingly when I told him what I believe to be perfectly true: that the choice of foods has such a great influence on a nation's happiness that the loss of all the colonies of the English would not cause them a tenth as much harm as the loss of the potato and beet cultivation, or that whoever could conquer all those colonies for Ireland would be less beneficial to the country than if he could introduce the use of beer instead of whiskey and brandy.


One of the many oppressions Ireland has endured, and one of the examples of the errors of judgement inherent in the system of monopolies of trade, which Hume and Smith41 have expounded in all its harmfulness for about thirty years, but which unfortunately still accounts for the profound wisdom of most European cabinets, is the negotiation with Ireland about its increasing number of wool manufactories. No country is more suitable than Spain, none has better wool. In 1698 the English House of Commons asked King William III to disrupt this manufacture. He promised to do so, forcing the Irish to impose a high customs duty on the export of their own products. In 1699 they had to ban the export completely except to England, where a customs duty equivalent to a ban had previously been imposed on the import.

If there were any more empirical evidence required that any industrious country would do well to allow all foreign manufactories to compete with their own, the following might be said:]

1) It is the surest way to make their own manufactories and factories as good and competitive as possible and to make their manufacturers use all their energies for this purpose:

2) The country itself will thereby learn in the surest manner how to invest its capital and energies with benefit,  p.644 and turn back from any wrong application of the same, and saving capital for other investments by buying more cheaply from others those goods which resulted too expensive by domestic production.

3) It increases the sales of its own native products to the same extent as his neighbours increase their own wealth: If all this still required any proof, I would refer to the fact that English exports to Ireland have grown to the same extent as Ireland's prosperity and industry.

The government spends large sums of money on public institutions, and yet harvests are poor in this country — the people are miserable and everything, as it must have become only too clear from what has been said so far, is so because the law protects neither person nor property with the same rigour. Hence we see,

1) The disastrous middlemen. 2) the absentees, 3) a depression of the country in general, a despondency across all the classes. Therefore, against the majority of the nation, laws were allowed to subsist for a hundred years, which will forever be the shame of humanity. By them all the capital was driven away, and all energies which alone are the cause of a large product were paralysed.


Enough has been said about the first causes or consequences of oppression. Now I must say something about the laws concerning Catholics that you need to know if you want to understand the situation of this country. The barbaric laws, whereby Catholics were to be converted or at least subjugated, which the minority imposed on a majority three times their number, had the following consequences:

  1. All Catholics were disarmed.
  2. Their children could not study at the university in Dublin (the only one in the kingdom). No Catholic university or grammar school was allowed to be established; — and no fixed income was given to any Catholic schoolmaster. By this arrangement three quarters of the nation were condemned to ignorance, even though it may not have been much worse than that prevailing in some areas of the continent; but nowhere has it been demonstrated so clearly how unhappy this ignorance makes you, how agitated and how inclined to turmoil ignorant people are.
  3. They were not allowed to buy land.
  4. Once the son of a Catholic father renounced his religion, he took possession of all his father's property, leaving his father with only a pension.
  5.  p.646
  6. No Catholic was allowed to have a lease exceeding 31 years.
  7. If any Catholic had a lease for which he paid less than two thirds of its value (this value having increased by his own diligence) the first Protestant who made it known it could take over the lease.
  8. Priests who read Mass were deported, and when they returned, they were hanged.
  9. A Catholic who owned a horse valued at over five pounds had to sell it for this price to whoever made it known.
  10. They were not allowed to borrow money on collateral.

In addition, they were neither allowed to sit on any jury nor to be a member of any municipality.

The landowners, who like to dispose of many votes, therefore did not give the lease to any Catholics, or took it back at the time of parliamentary elections. Therefore you cannot imagine a greater tyranny than that of the unworthy landlords. If his tenant farmers are Catholics, such an owner is a despot who knows no law but his own will. 42 The habit here goes much further than the law. The insolence of the lords is like the subservience of the vassal, who speaks a despised  p.647 language, adheres to an odious religion and is without weapons. — The former cannot invent commands that the latter does not have to obey. Even the lives of these people are only feebly protected by law. If a judge permitted a complaint, he could not be certain not to be challenged by the defendant.

That is how it often was, though not always; but as Young puts it very well: ‘What is liberty but a cruel mockery, if its blessings are received as the favour of kindness, instead of being the inheritance of right?’ (Arthur Young, A Tour in Ireland p. 167.) 43

The slave becomes cruel — so were the White Boys, who were again cruelly treated and finally hanged without any trial.

Since 1782, various of these laws have been repealed. In 1792 the last ones were abolished, except for the rights to own arms, to be members of the magistrate, and to vote for parliament and other offices which the Catholics have not yet been granted.

I have already mentioned how the Protestant Party reacted to this and how they tried to prevent de facto what the law had conceded — and how this generated enough Catholic resentment to lead to fears of an outbreak. Such was the state of affairs when the Duke of Portland with his entire party  p.648 joined Pitt, on condition that Ireland be left to him and the Catholics be fully emancipated. To this end Lord Fitzwilliam was sent in Lord Westmoreland's stead, the nation approved contributions, and was awaiting the promised total liberation when Lord Fitzwilliam was recalled. He did not believe that he could enforce his measures without relieving the Beresfords and their followers, the heads of the Protestant ascendancy, of their posts. — this party has always been royalist and during the king's illness had shown great devotion to him, and they were what they call “staunch friends of government”. Pitt neither wanted to drop them nor was he allowed to, and the Lord Lieutenant was sacrificed to them. Now the people became angry, threw stones at the leaders of this party and attacked their houses. The Catholics gathered in all the cities, sending addresses to the king, delivered by Mr. Byrne and Mr. Keogh, but received no reply. The Duke of Leinster, Mr. Connolly, Mr. Grattan spoke out in favour of the Catholics, and now it really looks more dangerous in Ireland than ever.


These major causes that corrupt the character and customs of the nation, scaring off industry and capital, are exacerbated by the following:
1) Unwisely granting premiums that have put the country into debt and diverted the industry away from its truly beneficial channels — money that has been ill-spent on bridges where there are no rivers, on canals where there is no water, on ports where there are no ships, on customs houses where there is no trade, and on churches where there are no congregations.
2) The manner of operating the linen manufactures, which in its present state, instead of multiplying the products of the soil, is reducing them considerably.
3) The unfortunate attempt to prevent emigration, that has been ongoing for five years.
4) The restrictions the trade suffers due to the English.
All this has prevented Ireland from becoming what it must become. — But the benefits of the roads, navigable rivers and canals, have had such a great effect that since 1748 the interest rate of land has doubled, exports to England have doubled and the linen export has tripled.

Hopefully, a large part of the obstacles to Ireland's progress will soon be  p.650 removed. For whatever the Ministry's wish, or however great its attachment to the leaders of the Protestant party, Lord Camden will still have to concede everything that Lord Fitzwilliam wanted to concede. It would be fortunate for both countries if this could bring about a Union which alone would settle the controversial political relations of these countries, and would make Ireland as happy over the next generations as England is now. In that case new capital flows would stimulate the industry, all forces would have an effect in all directions, bringing certainty of their acquisition and quiet enjoyment of the goods acquired — diligence would discover a thousand new sources of income that at the moment no statistician can dream of. Then a class would emerge which makes up the strength of England — the yeomanry — owners of the farmsteads or dairies in which they live, wealthy tenants whose capital in livestock, agricultural implements and seeds is a sizeable asset in itself — a class not yet to be found in Ireland. Merchants and manufacturers would emerge in great numbers, a class that is so necessary to increase, multiplicate and exchange the farmers' products — and that now barely exists. The so-called  p.651 esquires, the gentry, and their sons, who now mainly hunt, gamble and incur debts, considering such a life to be honourable, and industrious efforts to be ungentlemanlike, would be useful, and every rank of life would be honoured. The middlemen would have to resort to a less pernicious business. The worker would recognise the value of his time, and stop being curious and lazy, wasting his time with chattering and gaping as soon as the supervisor turns his back. It is not uncommon to see a weaver leave his loom to run after a fox hunt. Theft would not be so commonplace, not every newly planted tree would be stolen, no sheaf at night taken from the field, and cultivation of orchard fruits in a field would not be made impossible. Grovelling flattery, cunning, lies, would no longer be a common feature in the character of the nation; drunkenness would no longer be the only joy of a people that has come to appreciate domestic comforts. Their fairs would no longer end in horrific faction fights between two parties, each time costing some their life and many their health. I remember that Dr. Monro44 recommended a very good book by a wound doctor from Limerick on head wounds 45, who  p.652 tells of his experience in the preface and says that during twenty years of practice he has listed 1,500 cases, all of which were so bad that his good fellow countrymen had to call him to heal them from the consequences of their own bravura. They would at last, like the English, love their laws and like them, assist in applying them, instead of trying to bypass and oppose them in such a way that a company of soldiers with planted bayonets is hardly able to do what an unarmed constable in London does. Prosperity, domestic happiness and general quietness would be the consequences of such an union.

I have been very prolix about the sad situation in Ireland, about its cause, and likewise the cause of the progress the nation has, over the last fifty years, owed to individual circumstances. But the disparity between two countries lying in such close proximity, which have so much in common with each other, seemed to me to be the more informative, the easier it was to find the causes of this disparity, and the more, it seems to me, it can contribute not inconsiderably to a science which, like physics and chemistry, must be based on experience — but in  p.653 which experiences are difficult to have and occasions to have them so rare, that excepting a few attempts, prejudices or speculative theory have so far guided general opinion, which have the same relationship with the knowledge of the laws of nature regarding the happiness of mankind in society as the scholastic fantasies of the ancients with the present state of physics.

Blessed is the people where everyone is certain that those who use their best efforts will do well, where the diligent one will be supported, because industriousness is his capital, honesty his guarantor, economy his educational virtue, where, even though strange mishaps may affect an individual, the brother lends him a hand, and leads him to where he is given loving support. You may say that these are a philanthropist's dreams — but no, I have described the Quakers; — so close to us are the things we deem so far away.

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Title statement

Title (uniform): Caspar Voght's Account of Ireland: Fragments from a Traveller's Diary (1794)

Title (original, German): Schilderung von Irland, Bruchstücke aus dem Tagebuche eines Reisenden

Editor: August Hennings

Author: Caspar Voght

Responsibility statement

Electronic edition translated, proof-read and annotated by: Beatrix Färber

Translation proof-read by: Dorothy Convery

Funded by: University College, Cork, School of History

Edition statement

1. First draft.

Extent: 22330 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: 2018

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

CELT document ID: T790001-001

Availability: Available with prior consent of the CELT project for purposes of academic research and teaching only.

Notes statement

I would like to thank Dorothy Convery for proof-reading the translation. Biographical Note: The German Wikipedia has an excellent article about Caspar Voght junior. The English Wikipedia article is also good, though not as full as the German version.

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Internet Links

  • The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography is available online http://www.oxforddnb.com/ for checking information on notable people mentioned by Voght. Wikipedia is also very useful.

Literature, including that mentioned by Voght

  1. Thomas Prior, A List of the Absentees of Ireland, and the Yearly Value of their Estates and Incomes spent Abroad. With Observations on the present State and Condition of that Kingdom. (London 1729).
  2. Adam Smith, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (London 1776).
  3. John Locke, Essay concerning human understanding. 3 vols. new corrected edition (Edinburgh 1777).
  4. Richard Price, An essay on the population of England: from the Revolution to the present time. With an appendix, containing remarks on the account of the population, trade, and resources of the Kingdom (...) (second impression, London 1780).
  5. Arthur Young, A Tour in Ireland, with general observations on the present state of that kingdom in 1776–78, (London [etc.] 1780; Reprinted London [etc.] 1887). Available online at CELT. [A translation into German, 'Reisen durch Irrland', was published in Leipzig in 1780.]
  6. M. Schenk (ed), K. G. Küttners Briefe über Irland an seinen Freund, den Herausgeber (Leipzig 1785). Available online at CELT.
  7. 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).
  8. George Chalmers, Estimate of the comparative strength of Great-Britain, (new ed. London 1791).
  9. François de Vaillant (Levaillant), Voyage de Monsieur Le Vaillant dans l'intérieur de l'Afrique par le Cap de Bonne-Espérance, dans les années 1780, 81, 82, 83, 84 & 85, (Paris 1790.)
  10. Sylvester O'Halloran, A new treatise on the different disorders arising from external injuries to the head (London 1793).
  11. John Phillips, A general history of inland navigation, foreign and domestic: Containing a complete account of the canals already executed in England, with considerations on those projected. To which are added, practical observations. The whole illustrated with a map of all the canals in England, and other useful plates. A new edition corrected. With an addenda, which completes the history to 1792 (London 1793).
  12. Letter from Jane Adams, containing a private narrative of the rebellion of 1798, in: Thomas Crofton, Croker, Researches in the south of Ireland illustrative of the scenery, architectural remains, and the manners and superstitions of the peasantry, with an appendix containing a private narrative of the rebellion of 1798; introduction by Kevin Danaher (Shannon 1969). Available online at CELT.
  13. Alice Effie Murray, A History of the Commercial Relations between Great Britain and Ireland, London 1903, 1907. (Reprinted New York 1970). Available online at CELT.
  14. Henry Fitz-Patrick Berry, A History of the Royal Dublin Society (London 1915).
  15. M. A. Busteed, Castle Caldwell, County Fermanagh: life on a west Ulster estate, 1750–1800 (Dublin 2006).
  16. Sean J. Murphy, "The Gardiner Family, Dublin, and Mountjoy, County Tyrone", in Studies in Irish Genealogy and Heraldry (Windgates 2010) 28–35.

About Caspar Voght

  1. Caspar Voght, Account of the management of the poor in Hamburgh, since the year 1788. In a letter to some friends of the poor in Great Britain. (Edinburgh 1795). Available at the Bibliotheca Augustana (https://www.hs-augsburg.de/~harsch/germanica/Chronologie/18Jh/Voght/vog_intr.html)
  2. Über den Ton der Gesellschaft in Edingburg [Winter 94/95]. Aus dem Tagebuch eines Reisenden, in: Der Genius der Zeit, 8 (Mai bis August 1796) 946–979.
  3. Bilder aus vergangener Zeit nach Mittheilungen aus großentheils ungedruckten Familienpapieren, zusammengestellt von Gustav Poel. Erster Teil: 1760–1787 (Hamburg 1884) 73–120.
  4. Otto Rüdiger, Caspar von Voght. Ein Hamburgisches Lebensbild. (Hamburg 1901). Printed in Gothic typeface, available online at archive.org.
  5. Caspar Voght, Lebensgeschichte, (Hamburg: Alfred Jansen 1917). (Hamburgische Hausbibliothek). Available online in digitised form (in Gothic typeface/Fraktur) at Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek Hamburg, http://digitalisate.sub.uni-hamburg.de/nc/detail.html?tx_dlf%5Bid%5D=21984&tx_dlf%5Bpage%5D=1&tx_dlf%5Bpointer%5D=0.
  6. Georg Herman Sieveking, 'Das Handlungshaus Voght und Sieveking', Zeitschrift des Vereins für Hamburgische Geschichte 17 (1912) 54–128.
  7. Paul Theodor Hoffmann, 'Die Briefe der Frau v. Staël an Caspar Voght von 1808 bis 1811', in: Altonaische Zeitschrift 7 (1938) 23–76.
  8. Heinrich Johann Sieveking (1871–1945), 'Caspar Voght, der Schöpfer des Jenisch-Parks, ein Vermittler zwischen deutscher und französischer Literatur', Zeitschrift des Vereins für Hamburgische Geschichte 40 (1949) 89–123, reprinted in Verena Fink, Die Bibliothek des Caspar Voght, 35–73.
  9. Kurt Detlev Möller, 'Caspar v. Voght, Bürger und Edelmann, 1752–1839', Zeitschrift des Vereins für Hamburgische Geschichte 43 (1956) 166–193.
  10. Caspar Voght, Caspar Voght und sein Hamburger Freundeskreis: Briefe aus einem tätigen Leben, Teil 1 (Briefe aus den Jahren 1792 bis 1821 an Magdalena Pauli, geb, Poel), bearbeitet von Kurt Detlev Möller. Aus seinem Nachlaß herausgegeben von Annelise Tecke (Hamburg: Hans Christians 1959); Teil 2 (Briefe aus den Jahren 1785 bis 1812 an Johanna Margaretha Sieveking, geb. Reimarus), bearbeitet von Annelise Tecke (Hamburg: Hans Christians 1964); Teil 3 (Reisejournal 1807/1809) bearbeitet von Annelise Tecke (Hamburg: Hans Christians 1967).
  11. Gerhard Ahrens, Caspar Voght und sein Mustergut Flottbek. Englische Landwirtschaft in Deutschland am Ende des 18. Jahrhunderts. (Hamburg 1969) (Beiträge zur Geschichte Hamburgs, hgg. vom Verein f. Hamburgische Geschichte, Bd. 1).
  12. Alfred Aust, Mir ward ein schönes Los. Liebe und Freundschaft im Leben des Reichsfreiherrn Caspar von Voght. (Hamburg: Hans Christians 1972) 11–38.
  13. Franklin Kopitzsch, Grundzüge einer Sozialgeschichte der Aufklärung in Hamburg und Altona (=Beiträge zur Geschichte Hamburgs, Bd. 21) (Hamburg 1982).
  14. Angela Kulenkampff: Caspar Voght und Flottbek: ein Beitrag zum Thema 'Aufklärung und Empfindsamkeit' In: Zeitschrift des Vereins für Hamburgische Geschichte, Hamburg, 78 (1992) 67–102.
  15. Susanne Woelk, Der Fremde unter den Freunden. Biographische Studien zu Caspar von Voght (Hamburg: Weidmann 2000).
  16. Caspar Voght: Lebensgeschichte, herausgegeben und mit einem Vorwort von Charlotte Schoell-Glass, Hamburg 2001.
  17. Eoin Bourke, Poor Green Erin (Frankfurt am Main 2011), esp. 13–47 [with English translation of some extracts from Voght's journal].
  18. Katrin Schmersahl: Voght, Caspar. In: Hamburgische Biografie. Vol 6, Göttingen 2012, 350–352.
  19. Verena Fink (ed), Die Bibliothek des Caspar Voght (1752–1839) (Petersberg; Michael Imhof 2014).
  20. Hans-Jörg Czech, Kerstin Petersmann, Nicole Tiedemann-Bischop, Altonaer Museum/Historische Museen Hamburg (eds), Caspar Voght (1752–1839): Weltbürger vor den Toren Hamburgs (Petersberg; Michael Imhof 2014).
  21. Tamara Zwick, 'A private repulsion toward Public Women in the Letters of Caspar von Voght and Germaine de Staël', in: Jason Coy, Benjamin Marschke, Jared Poley, Claudia Verhoeven (eds), Kinship, Community and Self: Essays in Honor of David Warren Sabean (New York 2014) 202–214.
  22. Otto Kluth (ed), La Correspondance de Madame de Staël et du baron Voght (Geneva 1958).
  23. Various writings by Voght in German are available at the Bibliotheca Augustana, and in English the "Account of the Management of the Poor in Hamburgh, between the Years 1788 and 1794" (https://www.hs-augsburg.de/~harsch/augustana.html).
  24. For Voght's entry in the Deutsche Biographie see https://www.deutsche-biographie.de/pnd118768956.html

The edition used in the digital edition

‘Schilderung von Irland, Bruchstücke aus dem Tagebuche eines Reisenden. Im Herbst 1794’. In: Der Genius der Zeit‍ 8. Ed. by August Hennings, pp. 566–653.

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

  editor 	 = {Caspar Voght},
  title 	 = {Schilderung von Irland, Bruchstücke aus dem Tagebuche eines Reisenden. Im Herbst 1794},
  journal 	 = {Der Genius der Zeit},
  editor 	 = {August Hennings},
  address 	 = {Altona},
  publisher 	 = {J. F. Hammerich},
  date 	 = {Mai bis August 1796},
  volume 	 = {8 },
  pages 	 = {566–653}


Encoding description

Project description: CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts

Sampling declarations

The present text contains an English translation of the whole article, supplemented by authorial footnotes, Hennings' footnotes, and explanatory footnotes added at CELT. To our knowledge this is the first complete English translation, published exclusively on CELT. The translation started as an experiment, based on the commercial translation software available at www.deepl.com, with the objective of assessing its suitability for a literary text. It was then edited, proofread and rechecked. The translation aims to be fairly literal, but Voght wrote these notes quickly and his style of writing is sometimes disjointed, in which cases sentences have been completed. He often mentions the German term Manufactur which has been translated manufactory and was commonly used by his contemporaries.

Editorial declarations

Correction: Text has been checked and proofread twice. All corrections and supplied text are tagged. Text supplied by the CELT editor is marked sup resp="BF". Where Voght misspelled English and Irish names, these have been corrected.

Normalization: The electronic text represents the edited text. The spacing out of text passages in the printed edition has been ignored in the CELT edition.

Quotation: Direct speech is rendered q. One quotation from Arthur Young's Tour in Ireland is tagged using the cit element.

Hyphenation: Soft hyphens are silently removed. Words containing a hard or soft hyphen crossing a page-break or line-break have been placed on the line on which they start.

Segmentation: div0= the journal; page-breaks are marked pb n=""/.

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

Profile description

Creation: The original was written in 1794

Date: 1794

Language usage

  • The text is in English. (en)
  • A small number of words is in German. (de)
  • Some words are in Latin. (la)
  • An occasional phrase is in French. (fr)

Keywords: travel; description; prose; Ireland; manners and customs; economy; agriculture; land improvement; 18c; translation

Revision description

(Most recent first)

  1. 2019-05-13: Minor edits made. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
  2. 2018-04-15: Corrections and two footnotes added. More bibliographical items added. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
  3. 2018-04-10: English translation proof-read and corrected. (ed. Dorothy Convery)
  4. 2018-02-28: File proofed (2). More bibliographical details added; file parsed; SGML and HTML versions created. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
  5. 2018-02-21: Translation finished; XML markup completed. TEI header created based on companion file. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
  6. 2018-02-05: Translation started; XML markup added in line with companion file. (ed. Beatrix Färber)

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D790001-001: Schilderung von Irland, Bruchstücke aus dem Tagebuche eines Reisenden (in German)

Source document


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  1. Today the estate covers approx.19,500 acres. “It is owned by two Trusts, the Leadhills Trust and Glengeith Trust.
    It is an upland estate community surrounding the village of Leadhills and bounding the village of Elvanfoot. It is a fragile habitat with a delicately balanced mix of land uses.
    Its primary land use today is sheep farming and shooting, although it does include areas of woodland management. It has a rich history of mining, and the legacy of this is still evident today in the remains on the landscape and the ongoing management implications.
    The Estate has a small number of houses and commercial properties to let to local residents. It also provides the home for a diverse number of leisure and tourism activities, ranging from outdoor activities such as walking, fishing and golfing, to a steam railway, skiing and gold panning.” See https://leadhillsestate.co.uk/. [BF] 🢀

  2. A village in the Ironbridge Gorge in Shropshire, England, with a long tradition of iron ore smelting. In the eighteenth century, the local iron works were in the possession of several noted Quaker families involved in the English industrial revolution. [BF] 🢀

  3. “Wurstwagen ... art langer kutschen, in welchen mehrere personen der länge nach mit gegen einander gekehrtem rücken sitzen, Voigtel wb. (1793)” (“a type of long cart, in which several people are seated lengthwise and back to back”,) Digitaler Grimm (http://woerterbuchnetz.de/cgi-bin/WBNetz/wbgui_py?sigle=DWB&mode=Vernetzung&lemid=GW29360#XGW29360). [BF] 🢀

  4. In Voght's time one German mile (Deutsche Landmeile) used in Denmark, Hamburg and Prussia measured 7.5325 kilometres. His claim that the basin (Bassin) is approx. 6880 kilometres wide is unfathomable and must be an error. 🢀

  5. 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; several reprints 1790, 1822). Voght had the 1790 edition in his private library (Cf. Fink 2014, item 1209.) [BF] 🢀

  6. It is unclear which area Voght was speaking of and how he arrived at this figure. 🢀

  7. Luke Gardiner, Baron Mountjoy (from 1795 Viscount Mountjoy), Earl of Blessington, who died in the rebellion of 1798. The park described here was Blessington. Lord Mountjoy also owned land in what is today Northern Ireland. Much of it was sold in the nineteenth century. Gardiner had to give the property up to George Forbes, the Earl of Granard, after Forbes had sued him. (Source: Sean J. Murphy, "The Gardiner Family, Dublin, and Mountjoy, County Tyrone", in Studies in Irish Genealogy and Heraldry (Windgates 2010), pp. 28–35 and online at http://homepage.eircom.net/~seanjmurphy/studies/gardiner.pdf.) [BF] 🢀

  8. Sic. Likely a misreading by the editor for Limavady [BF] 🢀

  9. Voght had a considerable interest in canals. A 1793 edition of John Phillips' General history of inland navigation, foreign and domestic was in his private library (cf. Fink 2014), item no. 236–237, p. 87). The book contained an extract of Arthur Young's on canal building in Ireland (pp 562–571), which is however not reproduced in the CELT edition. 🢀

  10. This castle is situated four miles outside Belleek, in what is now Castle Caldwell Forest Park, a nature reserve on a small peninsula at the west end of Lower Lough Erne, in County Fermanagh, in Northern Ireland. It was built 1612–19, during the Ulster Plantations by the planter family Blennerhassett. At the time of Arthur Young and Voght, it was in possession of the Caldwell family. [BF] 🢀

  11. Voght is probably using the Hamburg measure Rute (Ruthe) here. There were two varieties used, Marschrute of 16 feet and Geestrute of 14 feet. The English rod is 16.5 feet. [BF]  🢀

  12. Voght misspells the name regularly as “Forster”. John Foster, first Baron Oriel (1740–1828), was Speaker of the Irish House of Commons, 1785 to 1801. [BF] 🢀

  13. Compare the description in Arthur Young, Tour in Ireland, CELT-edition, p. 45f. [BF] 🢀

  14. Adam Smith (1723–1790); Professor of Moral Philosophy and economic theorist; this work was first issued in March 1776 with an imprint of 500 copies. Voght had a copy of the London 1793 edition in his large private library (cf. Fink 2014, item 258–260). [BF] 🢀

  15. That it is in the interest of every human being that all the people of every trade, and all the businesses produce as many goods as possible. Therefore: no prohibitions, no contraband, no high customs duties, no monopolies, no privileges, no guild. (Editor's note.) 🢀

  16. Arthur Young, Tour, described the scene as follows: “To the field of battle on the Boyne. The view of the scene from a rising ground which looks down upon it is exceedingly beautiful, being one of the completest landscapes I have seen. It is a vale, losing itself in front between bold declivities, above which are some thick woods and distant country. Through the vale the river winds and forms an island, the point of which is tufted with trees in the prettiest manner imaginable; on the other side a rich scenery of wood, among which is Dr. Norris's house. To the right, on a rising ground on the banks of the river, is the obelisk, backed by a very bold declivity. Pursued the road till near it, quitted my chaise, and walked to the foot of it. It is founded on a rock which rises boldly from the river. It is a noble pillar, and admirably placed. I seated myself on the opposite rock, and indulged the emotions which, with a melancholy not unpleasing, filled my bosom, while I reflected on the consequences that had sprung from the victory here obtained. Liberty was then triumphant. May the virtues of our posterity secure that prize which the bravery of their ancestors won! Peace to the memory of the Prince to whom, whatever might be his failings, we owed that day memorable in the annals of Europe!” p. 44–45 of the CELT edition. [BF] 🢀

  17. Voght quotes Thomas Gray (1716–1771) from the poem Elegy written in a Country Churchyard (http://www.thomasgray.org/cgi-bin/display.cgi?text=elcc). [BF] 🢀

  18. Wishing to create trade and industry by means of laws and rules is even sillier and more idle. Laws by do not create anything, neither customs, nor wealth. They merely keep both in order. (Editor's note.) 🢀

  19. Voght misheard the name, apparently the upper lake of Killarney is meant. Cf. A Description of Killarney (Dublin 1776), p. 30f. of the CELT edition. [BF] 🢀

  20. Cited from the poem Epistle to Mr Pope, from a young gentleman at Rome, 1730, by George Lord Lyttleton (1709–1773). [BF] 🢀

  21. These were not chamois but (feral) goats; the chamois are (and were) not native to Ireland, apart from that their coat is brown, not white. For information on feral Irish goats see http://www.oldirishgoatsociety.com. [BF] 🢀

  22. Either Voght or the editor, August Hennings, made a slip here, writing “Einwohner” (inhabitant) instead of “Einnehmer” (collector). [BF] 🢀

  23. Rotten boroughs existed in Great Britain and Ireland as a consequence of the voting system. These boroughs were thinly populated and had more seats in Parliament than what corresponded to the number of voters living in them, since the size of the boroughs had not been adapted over hundreds of years to the changing population. In a “rotten borough” only a few people, called “forty-shilling freeholders” were allowed to vote, and their vote could be bought more easily. They were so named because they rented or owned land of that value. [BF] 🢀

  24. Lemuel Cox, American architect, 1736–1806. Construction of the bridge was commenced in 1793. For details see “Cox, Lemuel ” im Dictionary of Irish Architects unter http://www.dia.ie/. For more information about the bridge, see http://www.askaboutireland.ie/reading-room/environment-geography/transport/waterford-bridges/waterford-city-bridges/. [BF] 🢀

  25. Voght must have confused the dates while taking notes. The bridge was begun on 13 April 1793 and opened to the public on 18 January 1794. [BF] 🢀

  26. I.e. “Reihentanz von ewig jungen Freuden”, cited from the poem Die Seligkeit der Liebenden (1776) by Ludwig Heinrich Christoph Hölty (1748–1776); see also http://www.deutsche-liebeslyrik.de/holty.htm [BF] 🢀

  27. or Castletown. [BF] 🢀

  28. François de Vaillant (Levaillant) (1753–1824), Voyage de Monsieur Le Vaillant dans l'intérieur de l'Afrique par le Cap de Bonne-Espérance, dans les années 1780, 81, 82, 83, 84 & 85, published in Paris 1790. Voght had this book in his private library (cf Fink 2014, item 1269–70). [BF] 🢀

  29. He has been identified by Eoin Burke, Poor Green Erin, p. 65, as John Keogh. [BF] 🢀

  30. recte John Keogh (1740–1817), an Irish merchant, speculator and Civil Rights activist. [BF] 🢀

  31. “Antony Food” in the German edition. [BF] 🢀

  32. Now the number of troops in Ireland has greatly increased, and many precautions have been taken that make an attack of this kind appear unlikely. (C. Voght) 🢀

  33. “iene” in the German edition, perhaps in error for “jede”, “any”? [BF] 🢀

  34. Perhaps this was John Theophilus Rawdon (1756-1808), the second earl's younger brother. (See http://www.thepeerage.com/p2761.htm#i27602). Who is meant by “Lord Glendower” remains unclear. [BF] 🢀

  35. Rev. Dr Thomas Lyster, Assistant Secretary from 1774 to his death in 1808. [BF] 🢀

  36. Jean-Baptiste Colbert, Marquis de Seignelay (1619–1683), French statesman, Minister of Finances in the government of Louis XIV and founder of mercantilism. He improved French manufacturing and promoted trade. [BF] 🢀

  37. It is more natural to let the people have their own earned money than to redistribute among them monies extorted from them previously. [BF] 🢀

  38. Voght refers here to the so-called natural law discussed in contemporary philosophy, for example by Francis Hutcheson (1694–1746), whose longest book, A System of Moral Philosophy was published posthumously by his son in London in 1755, and appeared in the following year in German translation by Gotthold Ephraim Lessing as Sittenlehre der Vernunft and by the Scot Thomas Reid (1710–1796), founder of the Scottish philosophy of “Common Sense” and author of An Inquiry Into the Human Mind on the Principles of Common Sense 1764; the German version was translated after the third impression and published in 1782 as Thomas Reid's Untersuchung über den menschlichen Geist, nach den Grundsätzen des gemeinen Menschenverstandes. Voght had the fourth impression (London 1785) of the English original in his private library (cf Fink 2014, item 163). Reid's ideas were opposed to those of David Hume and George Berkeley. [BF] 🢀

  39. This is possibly Richard Price, An essay on the population of England: from the Revolution to the present time. With an appendix, containing remarks on the account of the population, trade, and resources of the Kingdom (...), (second impression, London 1780). The second is most likely George Chalmers, Estimate of the comparative strength of Great-Britain, (new ed. London 1791) which Voght had in his large private library (cf. Fink 2014, item 191). [BF] 🢀

  40. One calculates an amount of four million people, three million of which are Catholics. (Voght) 🢀

  41. David Hume (1711–1776) and Adam Smith (1723–1790), colleagues at Glasgow University and close friends, and eminent scholars of the Scottish Enlightenment. [BF] 🢀

  42. Voght here echoes John Locke's Essay concerning human understanding, maybe unawares [“If man were independent he could have no law but his own will no end but himself. He would be a god to himself and the satisfaction of his own will the sole measure and end of all his actions.”]. This book was in his private library (cf Fink (2014), items 146–148, p. 82). 🢀

  43. The exact quote is: “What is liberty but a farce and a jest, if its blessings are received as the favour of kindness and humanity, instead of being the inheritance of right?” [BF] 🢀

  44. Alexander Monro secundus (1733–1817), Scottish anatomist, professor at Edinburgh University. [BF] 🢀

  45. Sylvester O'Halloran, (1728–1807), A new treatise on the different disorders arising from external injuries to the head (London 1793). [BF] 🢀


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