Introduction. Reproduced below are excerpts from several contemporary sources, detailing aid provided by private sources from within the United States of America. The first document describes the efforts of the Irish Relief Fund in New York; and the second the cargo of provisions of two United States ships of war, the Jamestown and Macedonian, for the relief of Ireland and Scotland. The third and fourth documents refer to the donation from the Choctaw Nation and an American response to it. These documents throw more light on American racism than the notable generosity of the Choctaw.
Document I. Irish Relief Fund, New York
Source. New York Sun, quoted in the Times (London), 19 March 1847.
The Irish Relief Fund is swelling up. New York has contributed nearly 40,000 dollars in all; and the same energetic movement is going forward in Boston, Albany, Utica, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, Cincinnati, New Orleans etc. It is impossible for us to give every instance of individual charity in the various cities. We shall endeavour to keep the run of contributions in this city, and eventually we hope to receive from the relief committee full lists of all the donations made in the city and neighbourhood for Ireland and Scotland. At the city of Newark, New Jersey, a meeting has been held, 1,500 dollars subscribed, and measures adopted to send out a ship laden with grain for the Irish poor. Mr M. H. Grinnel, the shipping merchant, has made arrangements to deliver in Ireland, at his own expense, 1,000 bushels of corn presented by Mr James Wadsworth of Genessee, Livingston County, New York. A lady in this city has sent 1000 dollars to the relief committee, but she modestly with-holds her name. The New York relief ship Victor, now loading at this city, was chartered some time ago, when freights were cheap, by Messrs Dulilh and Cousineri, who cheerfully transferred their favourable bargain to the relief committee. At Cincinnati, Ohio, 3,000 dollars were subscribed in one evening, and committees appointed to increase the sum. At New Bedford, Massachusetts, Mr Rotch, jun. gave 400 dollars; and Mr E. Harris, of Woonsocket, Rhode Island, 500 dollars. Rochester has contributed 1,000 dollars. The Catholic Church at Boston has contributed 5,387 dollars.
Document II: Jamestown and Macedonian Cargo
Source Charles Edward Trevelyan, The Irish Crisis (London 1848) 50-11.
Two United States ships of war, the Jamestown and Macedonian were manned by volunteers, and sent to Ireland and Scotland with the following charitable supplies, for which no claim for freight was made. …
|Barley||3 qrs 4 bsh|
|Oats||2 qrs 4 bsh|
|Rye||9 qrs 2 bsh|
|Beans||279 qrs 3 bsh|
|Indian Corn or Maize||339qrs 2bsh|
|Wheatmeal/Flour||96cwt 1 qr|
|Barley/Oatmeal||19 cwt 2 qrs 16 bsh|
|Indian Corn Meal||4,229 cwt 3 qrs|
|Rice||154 cwt 1 qr 4 bsh|
|Bread and Biscuit||1,048 cwt 3 qrs 21 bsh|
|Potatoes||61 cwt 1 qr 1 bsh|
|Apples, dried||6 bsh|
|Pork||707 cwt 0 qr 16 bsh|
|Hams||291cwt 3qr 4bsh|
|Clothing||10 cases, 18 barrels.|
|Indian Corn Meal||1,043,504 lbs|
|Indian Corn||lbs 3,800|
|Salt Pork||200 lbs|
|Clothing||13 boxes, 3 bales, 3 barrels.|
Document III. Donation from the Choctaw Nation
Source. Minute of M. Van Schiack, Chairman of the Quaker Relief Committee, New York, May 1847.
Among the contributions last received is a sum of $170 of which the largest part was contributed by the children of the forest. … these distant men have felt the force of Christian sympathy and benevolence and have given their cheerful aid in this good cause, though they are separated from you by miles of land and an ocean’s breadth.
Document IV. Response to the Choctaw Donation
Source. Arkansas Intelligencer (Arkansas, USA), 3 April 1847.
What an agreeable reflection it must give to the Christian and philanthropist, to witness this evidence of civilisation and Christian spirit existing among our red neighbours. They are repaying the Christian world a consideration for bringing them out of benighted ignorance and heathen barbarism. Not only by contributing a few dollars, but by affording evidence that the labours of the Christian Missionary have not been in vain.
Christine Kinealy & Tomás O’Riordan
Published by the Cork Multitext Project (multitext.ucc.ie) .