Writing on Thursday, the Dublin correspondent of the Times says that "there is considerable improvement in the reports respecting the progress of spring work. Many of the landlords are bestirring themselves, and taking active measures to procure supplies of the necessary seeds for their tenants; and if the conduct of Lords Kilmaine and Ormonde [who have given copiously] be but generally imitated, much of the danger which now menaces the country, in the shape of a deficient harvest, will undoubtedly be averted."
A deputation from the Dundalk and Enniskillen Railway Company, headed by the Earl of Roden, had an interview with Lord John Russell on Wednesday, to solicit the sanction of Government for a loan of 100,0001. out of the Exchequer fund, in order to enable the directors to complete the construction of the works between Castleblaney and Dundalk. With a loan they could employ 6,000 men of the district, instead of 1,500. In answer to an inquiry from the Premier, Lord Roden admitted that half of the company's capital had not been subscribed in accordance with the re- quirements of the act of incorporation; but he explained that the default arose from the extreme depression of trade in the district inhabited by the main body of the shareholders. He also, on behalf of the company, under- took to guarantee that, if granted, the money should be expended solely on earth and other works which would give employment to the largest number of labourers. Lord John Russell promised carefully to consider the statements, and to communicate with the Exchequer Loan Commis- sioners; but ho could not give any pledge on the subject.
The statements in Captain Caffin's letter have incited the Reverend F. F. Trench, Perpetual Curate of Cloghjordan, to examine for himself into the horrible condition of the country in the neighbourhood of Schull. His description tallies with those that have preceded it: he remarks the same general disappearance of children from the streets and fields—the same pi- tiable suffering—the same exposure of dead bodies to be torn by dogs and rats—and the same depressed physical condition of whole communities un- mistakeably doomed to certain death during the next few weeks. Mr. Trench, however, is not without hope, if proper means be used. There is no want of food in any of these districts; but there is a want of available agency for distributing the food, and of bringing medical aid to those re- quiring it—of men nurses, in fact. He proposes a remedy- " The remedy which I propose is the establishment of eating-houses within reach of those upon whom disease has not as yet made mortal inroads. "The sending of a sufficient number of suitable agents to arrange for, or if necessary manage, those eating houses; and doctors should be sent to prescribe the food and medicine which is necessary for them. This would cost large sums of money; but if the rich could be assured it would save life, the required sums would be given.
" It appears to me that eating-houses, where a meal of wholesome substantial food might be given daily to all who were certified in danger of perishing from hunger' would be the cheapest and surest plan of preventing starvation. Soup may be anything, everything, or nothing; it may be thin gruel or greasy water, and I have tasted it of both descriptions; or it may be the essence of meat, and very wholesome where there is some substantial food taken with it; but when given to those who have nothing else to use with it, and who often expend by coming miles for it more strength than the soup restores it is very inefficient for sustaining life. But there can be no mistake about a meal of substantial Indian meal stirabont; and I know that one meal daily of this food so given to the poor, who have been obliged to come clean and partake of it, has preserved life and health to a great degree, and does not cost more than lhd. per day."
Woohner's Exeter Casette publishes a curious correspondence between the Bishop of Exeter and Mr. W. Denis Moore, Mayor of Exeter, relative to a public ball announced to take place in aid of the distressed Irish and Scotch. The Bishop wrote to the Mayor on the 24th March, expressing Lis " very strong opinion on the painful incongruity of such a mode of tes- tifying sympathy for famishing millions"; and stating that he had animad- verted on the contemplated enormity in a sermon which he had that day preached. Mr. Moore replied by avowing his "regret and surprise," &c.—
"Though humbly sensible of the great superiority of your Lordship's judgment, I am unable to discover any sound objection to such a mode of disposing of the surplus receipts arising from a harmless amusement. am very far from thinking that the end, however good, can sanctify objec- tionable means; but when the means are blameless in themselves, I am at a loss to comprehend how their character should be changed by an ulterior benevolent
purpose. The promotion of the intended ball is a course directly sanc- tioned by the personal example of her Most Gracious Majesty."
The Bishop published his sermon at the charge of one shilling. To the titlepage he appended a foot-note, stating that the " proceeds" of the sale were to be given to the relief purposes for which the proceeds of the ball were destined; and hinting that those charitably disposed could give as much as they liked beyond the shilling. On the sermon and note Mr. Moore founds a long letter to the Bishop, written in exceedingly resart- ful but very direct language. He asks- " Was it necessary that your Lordship should stigmatize with such terms as selfishness," degrading," low," miserable frivolity," mockery,' and dissipation,' the feelings of those who in a different sphere have come forward to devote their talents to the like purpose? " Then comes a home-thrust--
"What was the shield which in 1841 sheltered your Lordship's name from the like aspersion, when it stood high among full 'half the aristocracy of Devon,' not unaccompanied by others of clerical and even episcopal dignity, in the list of stewards of a festival, in which the ceremonies of the day, consisting of a proces- sion, a sermon, and a tavern-dinner, were terminated by a public ball? I may be permitted to ask, were these in themselves innocent festivities'; and did they be- come evidences of dogged, wilful, systematic resistance of everything like denial
of self,' when devoted to the ulterior purpose of increasing the funds of the De on and Exeter Hospital?"