WM. SHORE SMITH
Paper engraved with picture of Stonehenge
[ca. 13 Sept. 1846]
It seems a long time since she has had a word with Shore; account of the journey home from Waverley with her parents; tells the story of the picture of Stonehenge on the front of the letter; Parthe came back when the Nicholsons went to Paris; Mrs. Fowler has been at Malvern for the water cure though she is quite well; Monckton Milnesi in Ireland writes that in the West they have an idea that Sir Robert Peel has discovered a country on the other side of the Atlantic which he would reveal if he were made minister; as a root the potato in Ireland is extinct.2
4p B.M. Add.MSS.46176.f.28
1. Richard Monckton Milnes, Ist Baron Houghton (1809-1885); a man of wide interests himself, he brought together men and women of very different opinions and social position. He was particularly interested in the treatment of young offenders and worked for the establishment of reformatories for juveniles. On the Irish question he urged a scheme for endowing Catholic as well as Anglican clergy. He wished to marry F.N., and it seems she nearly accepted for they had many interests in common. The story of his courtship and F.N.'s rejection of him is related in Woodham-Smith. In 1851 he married the Hon. Annabel Crew. In 1863 he was created Baron Houghton.
2. The potato disease, already widespread in North America, Germany and England, spread in September 1846 to Ireland where it was estimated that about 4,000,000 people lived almost wholly on the root. The crop of 1846 was wholly blighted, and this failure, coming after a poor corn harvest throughout Great Britain in 1845, led to widespread famine, followed in tuxn by outbreaks of epidemic disease. It is thought that about 1,000,000 people died from starvation and several million more emigrated in appalling conditions to North America. Between the census of 1841 and that of 1851 the population of Ireland dwindled from 9,000,000 to 6,500,000. See Cecil Woodham-Smith, The Great Hunger, London, Hamish Hamilton, 1962.
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