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Title: Rev Robert Gage, Rathlin, To McManus, Relief Commissioner
CollectionIrish Emigration Database
FileGage, Revd Robert/69
SenderRev Robert Gage
Sender Gendermale
Sender Occupationclergyman
Sender Religionunknown
OriginRathlin Island, N.Ireland
RecipientMr McManus
Recipient Gendermale
SourceT.1883/65: Copied by Permission of D B McLaughlin Esq #TYPE LET Rev Robert Gage, Rathlin Island, To McManus, Relief Commissioner, [Londonderry?]. 3rd May 1847.
ArchivePublic Record Office Northern Ireland.
Doc. No.8811041
Partial Date
Doc. TypeLET
Log05:12:1988 GC created 22:10:1990 GC input 23:10:19
Word Count982
TranscriptRathlin Island
May 3rd 1847

My Dear Sir
I have received and laid before
our Relief Committee, your form of the 26th
Ult covering the reply of the Relief Commission
to our Memorial dated 13th Ult & addressed
to His Excellency the Lord Lieutenant
And I am requested to inform you
that the Committee finding the objects
they had in [memorialing?], are [virtually?]
refused, and feeling in consequence their
capabality [capability?] of usefulness to be so much
diminished, have come to the resolution
of tendering their resignations as Members
of the Rathlin Island Relief Committee
Allow me to assure you that it was not
without great reluctance that the Committee
came to this determination, and I can say
for myself and I am sure I may venture to say
for the other Members, that we came to it from
no wish to save ourselves any trouble. As
Proprietor of the Island (my only property)
I am of course deeply interested in its welfare
and if I thought the poor Inhabitants would be
in any way benefitted [benefited?] by my Continuing on the
Committee, nothing would induce me
to tender my resignation.
To prove that such are my feelings, I
beg to say that if I thought there was
any probability that the Relief Commission
as would so far alter or modify their
Rules & regulations/ as Contained in their
printed instructions/ as to such the peculiar
circumstances of our Case, I would have
much pleasure in urging the Committee
to withdraw their Resignation, feeling as I
do that we ought not to break off our connection
with the Government relief measures
on light grounds I now proceed to state to you the
modifications or alterations I think we would
require in order to enable us to be of any
use to the poor people.
And First, I think, that a Grant should
be made to the Island irrespective of any
sums raised by private subscriptions,
There being no person who has any property
in the Island but myself, so of course there
are none from whom private subscriptions
could be expected, as it will be found that those
whose means are limited have as much to do
as they are able, to releive [relieve?] the distress in their
own localities, and they whose means are more
ample & are both able and willing to contribute
to the relief of other districts than their own,
prefer subscribing to the social associations
formed in towns for the relief
of Irish destitution, owing to this, Any
relief we have hitherto got has been from
associations & Relief Committees thus formed
I would myself be willing to subscribe
a sum equal to what a shilling rate on
Rathlin electoral division would produce
say about 40- altho [although?] my means are much
circumscribed by what I have already done
it is true I have not been able to give much in
actual money, but by allowing the people
to use as food what was formerly applied to
the paymt [payment?] of their Rents, they have been
benifitted [benefited?] as much as they would have been by a
cash contribution & I think this ought
to be taken into consideration in any grant
government might be disposed to make
In the second place, I wd [would?] wish it to be
distinctly understood, that we could not consent to
be accountable to the Finance Committee
for the Expenditure of any sums of money
hitherto granted to me or any member of
my family either from Individuals or public
bodies, or hereafter to be granted, except such
as may be given or placed specially at
our disposal, as a Relief Committee
Thirdly I am if possible more than ever
convinced that a daily distribution of the
rations or indeed oftener than once a week
would be utterly impracticable, No inconvenience
could arise from this, for as each
member of the Committee personally knows
who the poor are, their daily attendance
prevent imposition wd [would?] be altogether
Again, As the only person on the Island capable
of acting as clerk to the Relief Committee is
the Parish Clerk & Schoolmaster, It would
be quite impossible for him without neglecting
his other avocations, as well as occasionally
impracticable for him, to attend each
meeting of the Finance Committee, or at the
distribution of rations, more than weekly,
I would therefore suggest that it might be
sufficient to send over the Books by some
other person when practicable.
Understanding that the Commissioners will
allow food to be sold to the Inhabitants
generally at first cost & soup at less than
first cost at the discretion of the Committee
I have no remarks to make on this point.
The foregoing are the Modifications
which I consider wd [would?] be essential to enable
the Committee to be of the least use to
the people and which if complied with
I would lay them before the members of the Relief
Committee in the hopes they wd [would?] then resume
their labours, but as I have not had
an opportunity of a personal communication
with them, I cannot take upon
myself to say what their determination
may be,
The Inhabitants of the Island of Rathlin
are industrious and honest, they have
been brought with few exceptions into great
distress, by a Visitation of Providence in
the destruction of their Potato Crops.
The great object I have in view is to
endeavour to alleviate their distress
under what I trust is but a temporary
calamity, without hurting their
feelings by treating them as common
beggars or fit inmates for a Poor house
Rather than do this had I no other
means I would mortgage my property
to raise funds for their support
for I cannot forget that by their
labour & industry in the time of
their prosperity, my family & myself
derive all our support.
I have the Honour to be
My dear Sir
Very truly yours
Rob't [Robert?] Gage