Famine distress & Typhus Fever at Erris

20th June 1822
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The near-famines of the early 19th century in Ireland were generally accompanied by an outbreak of typhus fever. In 1821 and 1822, the potato crop failed in Munster and Connaught...

Roscommon & Leitrim Gazette - Saturday 29 June 1822

PROVINCIAL: CASTLEBAR, JUNE 20

It is not in the power language to paint the distress and misery of the starving inhabitants of Erris: thousands of them have subsisted for some weeks past upon seaweed and wild vegetable substances, and are firmly persuaded if they continue much longer in this situation that the living will scarcely be sufficient to bury the dead.

To augment their misery, that dreadful malady, the Typhus Fever, is beginning to spread its desolating terrors every direction; and so great is the apathy of the poor famished creatures, that they hail its appearance amongst them to put an end to the keener sufferings of hunger and want. The most munificent gift of Mrs Palmer ...

Roscommon & Leitrim Gazette - Saturday 13 July 1822

LETTERS RECEIVED AT THE MANSION HOUSE, DUBLIN. 

We regret to say, that a letter From Erris, County Mayo, received from T. Everard Esq., forwarding a statement by Mr James McDonough who resides in the district, contained the afflicting account, that a man, his wife and nine children all died for want food. On this information being communicated, the Mansion House Committee immediately directed a further supply to be forwarded to that neighbourhood. Grattan and Mr Latouche having also sent a list of the Fever cases to the Board of Health, entreating their attention thereto and speedy assistance. 

From Denis Bingham, Esq., June 21, Bingham Castle, Erris, County Mayo.— I assure you that thousands have, for weeks past, subsisted upon seaweed, wild vegetable substances, and rotten fish, which has brought on a Typhus Fever and a violent dysentery, and I am firmly persuaded by the shocking appearance the objects that present themselves to my view every day, that if Government does not send speedy succour, the living will scarcely be able to bury the dead.— For instance, about two days ago, four men could not be collected to bury a poor Creature that died for want of food. They are swelling and getting black the face, and medical assistance nearer than Ballina or Castlebar, except what I give the poor. Would it not be one of the most charitable acts of your Committee or the Government, to establish a small Dispensary, there is not one Apothecary’s shop within the Barony ?” 

From the Rev. A. Thomas, June 26, Foxford.—l am glad the Mansion House Committee have come to the resolution not to desire the oatmeal (they sent) to be sold.; the quantity we can give each is, indeed, a trifle—scarcely able to keep life— and when a price is required, the creatures are obliged to sell their little articles of furniture and wearing apparel, to raise money usurious terms to procure their proportion,  Distress and Fever, with all the dreadful consequences; are, I lament to say, on the increase. The number of beggars in this little town is incredible. We have a soup-shop, by which we feed about 400persons daily; but I am sorry to say we will be obliged to give this up -for want of means.” 

From the Rev. C. Seymour, County Galway, June 21 – Fifteen persons have died the parish of Ballynakill, within these two days; and several in the parish of Ballindoone; and Moines; all for want of Food!!! Four times that number are afflicted with Fever and are past recovery, and the rites of the Church have been administered to them by the Clergy.”