A GLANCE THROUGH THEIR PAGES
by B. J. LONG.
Through the kindness of a correspondent, I have been permitted to inspect a small bundle of old Clonmel newspapers. They are for the most part small sheets something larger than Tit-Bits, and the quaint style in which they are “got out” gives one a good idea of the primitive methods of journalism prevailing in the old days as compared with the fine, newsy, broad sheets now so familiar to the public. Let us take a glance through the faded pages of these old records of the past .
The first in chronological order is a small rough sheet, the Clonmel Gazette, which had the rather comprehensive sub-title of Hibernian Advertiser. It was printed in this town on March 17, 1792, being the 100th number, vol. xxi., so the journal must have been a good while in existence at that time. It was printed by Collins & Heaslop, but the imprint does not state where the office was located.
The virtues of advertising in those early days were not apparently very much appreciated, as only two and a half of the sixteen columns were covered with advertisements. Six columns are devoted to the prooceedings in the Irish Parliament, then sitting in College Green, Mr. Bagwell appearing in several of the disscussions. Then follows a column and a half of foreign news, and three columns of English news. The only item of local intelligence is a paragraph about the accidental burning to death of a little girl, but the advertising announcements are newsy in their own way. John Smithwick, of Lackin, announces that he lost a pocket-book containing four money bills for various sums in Tipperary town; David Higgins, of Marlfield, has an announcement about new garden seeds; Robert Dudley announces his retirement from hardware busiiness opposite the court-house, and that his son succeeds him; Theobald and John Butler advertise Arbor Hill house and demesne to be set; Michael St. John, apothecary and druggist, Clonmel, announces receipt of a large stock of drugs and medicines from Bristol; George Cole, Clonmel, offers £1200 for a well circumstanced estate between Clonmel and Tipperary; William Baker, Raheen states he wants some land near Clonmel. The Royal Mail Coach Company invite tenders for the building of a coach house in Clonmel. The Advertisement stated that Richard Jones had the plans, and the tenders would be received by William Phillips. In the fourth page appears a long letter from Napper Tandy, then outlawed, in which he protests against the illegality of the methods by which he was being prosecuted by the English agents. The market notes have no reference to Clonmel, but the Waterford prices given show that butter was 64s. per cwt.; fresh lumps, 13d. per lb.; wheat, 25s. per barrel; barley, 9s. to 13s. per barrel; oats, 8d. to 10d. per stone; “malt,” 17s. per barrel; beef, 2 1/2 d. per lb. ; mutton, 2 1/2 d. to 3 1/2 d. per lb.; pork, 24s. per cwt.; potatoes, 2 1/2 d. per stone; coals, 2s. 8 1/2 d. per barrel. It will be interesting to compare these with the present prices.
Another copy of the Same paper, issued in the same month, contains a report of proceedings in the Irish House of Parliament when the Lords passed a Bill relieving Catholics of certain restrictions from which they suffered. We notice that Lord Donoughmore delivered a remarkable speech before the Bill was passed, emmphasising the unanimity that prevailed regarding the measure, and resenting the contumely that a certain noble lord saw fit to cast on Catholics. A list of sheriffs showed that John Carden, of Cardenton, was sheriff of County Tipperary, and John Congrew (jun.), of Landscape, sheriff of Waterford County. Nowadays lotteries, even the simplest, are illegal, but in 1792 the State had a regular system of lotteries, and the Gazette gives the winning numbers for a week, in which the prizes range from £50 to £5000. Tenders used to be taken at the Castle for the sale of the lottery tickets, and the highest bidder was successful.
Three paragraphs appear under the heading Clonmel. One describes the accidental shooting of a workman in Mr. Connell’s distillery at Fethard. Another points out that all the county magistrates are required to return information, &c., ten days before the opening of the Commission. A quaintly-worded notice appears from the mayor, Stephen Moore, regarding an assize of bread. He states that the price of wheat is £2, 0s. 6d. per quarter, with an allowance to the baker of 8s. on the wheaten and 9s. on the household. The weight of the penny loaf is fixed at II oz. 4 dr., and the sixpenny loaf at 4 lb. 4 oz. per loaf. The mayor declares he will not suffer any bread to be made, baked, or sold, except by a registered baker and marked with his name. An announcement regarding the Lent Assizes showed that the Munster circuit included Waterford, Tipperary, Limerick, Cork, and Kerry, the justices mentioned by the Gazette being Baron Hamilton and Justice Kelly. There is no price mentioned on the Gazette, but each copy bears the impression of the penny duty stamp.
The next paper we take up is the Clonmel Journal, a little fourpenny bi-weekly, published by S. Collins, Clonmel. It is dated July I3, I800. The first announcement it contains is a report of a county meeting held to congratulate the king on his escape from a recent attempt made on his life. P. Archer Butler, High Sheriff, presided, and those present included several Protestant bishops, Lord Mountcashel, Lord Landaff, Lord Donoughmore, Lord Matthew, M.P. for the county; John, William, and Richard Bagwell, John Toler, Francis Hely-Hutchinson, John C. Carden, Stephen Moore, William and Charles Riall, and George and Charles Goold. Needless to say, the resolutions come to were of the usual fulsome type, so characteristic of gentlemen of the grand jury class down to recent times.
There would appear to be acute distress prevailing in Clonmel in 1800, for the journal announces the receipt of £1336. for supplying the poor of the borough with meal at cheap prices. William Fennell, of Caher Abbey, publishes a rather bitter reply to some allegations which he alleged were made against him that poison was mixed with the meal Mr. Fennell was supplying to the poor. A heavy reward is offered for the conviction of parties who burned the mills of Messrs. Byrne & French at Carrick-on-Suir, a firm which had an agent named E. Budd vending their goods in Peter Street, Clonmel. Richard Moore was mayor of the borough, and according to an assize of bread held by him the penny loaf weighed 4 oz., the sixpenny I lb. 8 oz., and the shilling loaf 3 lbs. I oz. The law intelligence contains a report of the trial of two Tipperary men in Dublin for having in their possession a twenty-guinea bank-note taken when the mails were robbed near Carrick. They were acquitted. The Clonmel notes deal with movement of troops locally and the market prices. As usual, most of the paper is taken up with foreign and English news. The Journal of October I, 1800, contains little of local interest except the fact that Stephen Collins was sworn in mayor, with Richard Moore and Cornelius Pyne bailiffs. James Walshe, merchant, Clonmel, announces receipt of a “fashionable assortment” of hardware and other goods. The Journal of September 1800 contains an advertisement stating that the mayor and bailiffs would receive proposals for the tolls and customs of the town, and also for the fairs. These tolls have long ago been abolished.
The next paper is the Clonmel Herald of January 1808. It announces a ball’and supper at the Courtthouse, Clonmel, the subscriptions being 4s. 4d. for nonnsubscribing ladies, and 7s. 7d. for non-subscribing gentlemen. Isaac Jacob, Thomas Taylor, and Joseph Grubb Benjamin advertise Suirville Mills to be let. Samuel Morton intimates that he will let a dwelling house and distillery in Johnson Street, also lands of Boreenduff at Fethard Road- “about half a mile from the town.” Barley was I8s. per barrel; coals, 7s. 7d. per barrel; butter, Is.I0d. per lb.; beef, 4 1/2 d. per lb.; mutton, 6d. per lb. In the Herald for January 20, 1808, reference is made to the disscharge of workers from employment “owing to the decline of what was formerly our staple tradeewoollen manufacture”; and the hope was expressed that steps would be taken to revive the industry. How history repeats itself! A movement was on foot lately to start a similar industry. A long announcement is published by ” Protestant noblemen, gentlemen, and freeholders” in favour of Catholic Emancipation. The sheriff of Limerick County offers £2000 reward for the apprehension of ten persons from Pallas, Coologne, and Clashbone.
We then pass on to the Clonmel Chronicle of June 1855, published for Mr. E. Woods by J. A. Quinlan. The price was 5d., and it bore the penny stamp duty, which was repealed some time later. It contains a good deal of Crimean War news sent ” by magnetic telegraph.” Peter Banfield announced his corn-mills in Johnson and Charles Streets for sale. It also appears from this paper that Higginsons had ;1 drapery establishment at 34 Bagwell Street, S. Jacob and sisters had a grocery shop in same street, while Scott brothers had a millinery establishment at 102 Main Street. A new butter market was opened in Dowd’s Lane. George G. Prettie was Clerk of the Peace, and W. H. Deane, County Surveyor.
The report of the Clonmel guardians’ meeting showed that 1522 persons were in the workhouse, a large number compared with the 340 now relieved there. The average cost was 1s. 7 1/2 d.: 501 paupers were chargeable to Clonmel. Mr. John Bagwell presided, and the other Guardians present were – Colonel Phipps, the mayor, Stephen Moore, J. J. Shee, coroner, William Davis, Thomas Cantwell, William Mahony, P. Daniell, Ald. C. Bianconi, and Ald. Hackett. In Cashel workhouse there were 1205 inmates, and Tipperary 849. The Chronicle of August 1855 contains a protest by Earl Donoughmore against the expenses of 75 police unjustly charged to South Tipperary. Our county then had I030 police. We are also informed a Lieutenant O’Ryan walked from the Barracks, Clonmel, to the Market House, Caher, and back, SIXTEEN IRISH MILES, WITHIN FOUR HOURS, and won a wager. In the Chronicle of September 12, 1855, appears a memorial from the inhabitants of Clonmel in favour of the adoption of the Towns Improvement Act. The citizens who signed the memorial were – Patrick Purcell, Michael Woods, Patrick Dwyer, John O’Neill, John Wright, Robert Prendergast, Patrick Moloney, William Skehan, Patrick O’Neill, John Prendergast, John Murphy, Patrick Hickey, Walter Keating, Thomas Brett, P. Corcoran, T.C. ; James Gill, J. Hackett, Alderman, J.P. ; William Ryan, T.C.; William Byrne, Alderman; John Quinn, Patt Casey, T.C. Ma1comsons, Hughes, and the Manor flour mills were then in full working order.
The bundle of papers also includes the Clonmel Advertiser, a small paper published by the late Mr. E. McDonald, foreman of the Free Press, who took over the plant of that paper from the proprietors, and who had his office in Abbey Street.
Taken from My Clonmel Scrapbook
Compiled & Edited James White
Second 1000 ; Published E. Downey & Co., Waterford ; 1907 ; No. ISBN