At the weekly meeting of the Repeal Association, on Monday, a long letter was read from Mr. O'Connell, " to the People of Ireland," constituting an earnest appeal to them to enrol themselves in the Asso- ciation. Mr. O'Connell makes a bold assertion-
" I am able at present, without doubt or difficulty, to announce that the crisis has come upon us, when, if the people of Ireland, the clergy and laity, will but combine in their overwhelming majority, the Repeal of the Union is all but immediate, and the commencement of a new sera of Irish prosperity is at band."
He enumerates " five great measures " as the basis upon which he seeks " to combine all Irishmen in the struggle for the Repeal of the Union "-
"Firstly, The total abolition of the tithe rent-charge. Secondly, Fixity of tenure for the occupying tenants. Thirdly, The encouragement and perfect- ing of Irish manufactures. Fourthly, Complete suffrage and vote by ballot Fifthly, Abolition of the present Poor-law, and augmentation of well-regulated charitable institutions."
The present year—" 1843—is, and shall be, the great Repeal year."
A meeting of the rate-payers of Ranavegue, Dunkerrin, and Cullen- Wayne, three electoral divisions of the Roscrea Poor-law Union, was held at Dankerrio, on Sunday, to oppose the Poor-law. The imme- diate object was to hear confirmation of assertions made by Mr. O'Con- nell, on the authority of the Reverend Mr. Nolan, respecting the un- equal distribution of the burden of poor-rates, which bad been called in question by Mr. Rolleston of Frankfort Castle. The Reverend Mr. Nolan zio'w atteliglaened the original statement by figures. The Union includes nineteen-districts; and the workhouse was opened in May. A rate of 54:- tad heen levied in thethree districts in question, and it had produced 3291. s.; a debt of 8501. incurred threw the share of
140/. on the 'three die ; the first yearly instalment on the debt of 9,400/. for biifftling flee, workhouse, due in May, would add 701. to the burden of the, three totwnships ; in all, 7751. for the year : but of a large number of paupers set down as received into the workhouse from the three townships, after deducting non-residents, and strolling beggars who belonged to "ale whole of the Union, there were but five paupers who had any Mb:lesion with Dunkerrin, and one with Ranavegue. Mr.
Nolan imputed the lawless opposition to the Poor-law to the example of " persons of rank, station, and property, who, if he might use the authority of the Roscrea Board of Guardians, had put up illegal notices against the payment of rates," [early in 1842]; and to the unrelenting severity of some landlords or agents, who enforced the " rights of pro- perty" but neglected "its duties." However, Mr. Nolan implored his hearers to return to habits of peace and order. The Reverend A. J. Scanlan stated, that while one pauper had been admitted from Rana- vegue, and lately discharged, the sum of 961. had already been levied. He entreated them to obey the law, pay the rate, and seek legislative redress.
The Galway Standard mentions that the collection of the poor-rate was forcibly resisted at Ballane, near Loughrea, on the 31st— "This is the first time violent opposition has been shown in this neighbour- hood to the collection of the rate; and it is to be feared that, once it has begun, it will not be easily overcome. The Guardians intend striking a rate of 10d. in the pound on the town, to make up the deficiency created by the non-payment in the rural district; but it is expected the Guardians connected with the town will not suffer (if possible) such injustice to the inhabitants." The Mayo Constitutional has a similar story- " We regret to hear that in several parts of the county the peasantry are still violently opposed to the payment of the poor-rate. In this Union, the Collectors, except in one instance, say that latterly they have not met with much opposition; yet the rate is coming in but very slowly."
The Marquis of Westmeath is charged in the Irish papers with very oppressive conduct. At Roscommon Petty Sessions, lately, a number of his tenantry were convicted of cutting turf, and sentenced to impri- sonment : they underwent imprisonment, apparently for three months ; within a few hours after their return home they were again arrested, for burning the turf; and they were convicted, and ordered to pay 101. penalty per acre, or to be imprisoned until it was paid, with costs I Some of them appealed to the Assistant-Barrister; who affirmed the convictions, " because the recognizances entered into by these poor people, and filled up by an ignorant Petty Sessions clerk, were in a few pence more than double the sum decreed"! The story has been denied ; but with what effect, the Morning Chronicle humorously describes- " The authentic pages of Joe Miller state the case of an Irishman who was accused of stealing a shirt off a hedge. What have you to say for yourself ?' said the Magistrate ; here is a witness who saw you take the shirt.' Allow me a little time, plase your honour,' said the culprit, in nowise abashed, ' and I will bring twenty witnesses who can swear they did not see me take it.' Something similar to this defence is now offered by certain Magistrates of Strokestown in the county of Roscommon, on the part of Lord Westmeath: of whom it was lately stated, that a number of tenants had been sent to Ros- common Gaol for cutting turf on his Lordship's bog. The original allegation was, that the poor people had been committed by the under-named Magistrates; Sir W. Lynar, Mr. Howley, Mr. Nesbit, and Mr. Hogg, holding a Petty Ses- sion in the town of Roscommon. The defence consists in a letter from four Magistrates, holding a like Session at Strokestown, also in the county of Ros- common, who signed themselves Thomas Conry, Arthur Crossley, Bartholo- mew Mahon, and John Devenish, and who aver most expressly that no such occurrence ever took place before them."