Grounds of the present Act, and Proceedings under it

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Grounds of the present Act, and Proceedings under it.

THE Failure of the Act of 1812 proceeded, as has been hinted, from the want of due. observation of the difference of the circumstances of the two Countries. In England., the details of the measure were entrusted to the Overseers of the Poor; a body, which, from its long establishment, and its necessity of frequent and minute investigation into the localities of the country, particularly with reference to the poorer classes of society, was possessed of all the information and of every facility necessary for giving effect to a legislative enactment on this point. In Scotland, the Parish Schoolmasters presented a body equally pervasive, and, if inferior in knowledge of local peculiarities, surpassing the other in intelligence and capability in the use of its materials. In Ireland, where there are no poor laws, and where, in consequence of the extent of parishes and number of unions, Parish Schoolmasters are comparatively few, and, from the limited quantity of instruction they are required to impart, also comparatively inferior in intellectual qualifications, no constituted body was to be found possessing all or even most of the requisites for this duty. Inferior agents were therefore to be chosen, for the special purpose: and hence necessarily proceeded deficiency of information in some instances, and want of zeal in others.

Grand Juries.

The commands of the Legislature also were communicated to those persons, not immediately from the Government, but through the intervention of the Grand Juries. A brief consideration of the manner in which these bodies are constituted, will shew they are not the best adapted to superintend the operations of a measure, requiring much time, much complex arrangement, and considerable minute responsibility in its execution. They are not permanent: they meet, for a short time, at two stated periods, of the year; during each of which. Occupied as they are in the discharge of judicial and magisterial functions; various in their nature and numerous in detail, little time can be spared for carrying into effect a measure of a novel and complicated character. The only check over their subordinate agents was at the time of remunerating them for their services;—but, as the Act required these agents to submit to the Grand Juries, not the particulars they had collected, but the aggregates resulting from them, it is evident that, even had there been time for minute investigation, sufficient means of detecting error was .not afforded, except where a manifest incongruity shewed itself between the several facts in the Return; a defect which required but little attention to prevent.

Hence it has happened that in some counties, the Grand Juries totally neglected taking any step to enforce the Act, though given in charge to them by the Judges of Assize bn their respective circuits. In others, the persons appointed to take the Account of the Population proceeded without any regular system of control, adequate to insure uniformity, or to prevent the ill effects of negligence or fraud. The Census, though generally commenced at the same period, was carried on irregularly and often carelessly, insomuch that subsequent inquiries have proved' that the Enumerators, in many instances, satisfied themselves with a conjectural estimation of the Population of a district, founded on their opinion as to the Number of Houses, and probable Average of the Inhabitants of each. The Returns were transmitted to the Chief Secretary's office, slowly and irregularly; when sent back to the respective counties for correction, this part of the duty was, in many instances, executed negligently, and in some the documents were never returned. In fine, when all that could he procured was collected, it was found to be, as a whole, unsuitable to be laid before Parliament, as an authentic public document. It may be proper here to remark, that though the preamble to the Act states one. of its objects to be the ascertaining of the Increase or Diminution of the Population, it contains no clauses whatsoever to that effect.

Population Act, 1815, transferred from the Grand Juries to the Bench of Magistrates.

The Population Act, passed in 1815, was framed with a view to obviate the defects discovered by experience in the former. The chief differences between them are as follow: The duty of superintending the general management of the proceedings throughout the counties was transferred from the Grand Juries to the Bench of Magistrates assembled at Sessions. By this arrangement, as most Grand Jurors are Magistrates, the benefits derivable by the exertions of persons of high rank and extensive influence were still secured, while an additional number was added, whence the co-operation of persons of intelligence and respectability, whose inclinations led them to direct their attention to pursuits of this nature, and who would otherwise have been excluded, might reasonably be expected. The meetings at Quarter Sessions ensured permanence and uniformity to those exertions, particularly as, in Ireland, the deliberations of the Bench of Magistrates, in every county, are aided by the advice of a permanent legal Coadjutor, selected from among the practising Barristers. The assistance of this Functionary was found to be serviceable not only in aiding the Magistrates by his legal advice, and in preserving stricter uniformity and consistency in the proceedings of the Bench, but also as being a valuable organ of communication between the Government and the counties, on unforeseen or doubtful points. The ENUMERATORS, whose nomination was vested in the Bench of Magistrates, were authorized to ascertain the Name, Age and Occupation, of every Individual within their district; and instructions were given to the Bench of Magistrates to give a preference, in the nomination, to the persons usually employed in the collection of the Local Taxes, from a conviction that their habits of life gave them superior advantages, in consequence of their acquaintance with the People, and with the minute Subdivisions of the country. Uniformity in the details throughout the several counties was secured, by a provision, requiring that the whole process should be conducted according to Instructions, issued from time to time from the Chief Secretary’s department to the Bench of Magistrates, through the Assistant Barristers of each county, and Recorders of counties of cities and counties of towns respectively.

The Act of 1815, carried into effect in 1821.

The Act was carried into effect in the year 1821, the 28th of May haying been fixed as the period of the commencement of its operations, that being the day on which a similar process was commenced throughout Great Britain. Much preliminary preparation was however found requisite, to secure the complete and uniform accomplishment of the measure.

Copies of the Act were in the first place extensively circulated throughout the several counties, together with Instructions relative to the course of proceeding to he pursued at. the first special Sessions to be held under it. The copy, sent to each of the resident Magistrates, was accompanied with a Letter, stating, That His Majesty’s Government having deemed it adviseable to carry the provisions of the Population Act into effect during the current year, the necessary steps for its commencement had been taken, by distributing copies of it, and issuing a Precept from the Chief Secretary, with Instructions for holding a special Sessions, as therein required; and that, as the execution of most of the details was intrusted to the Magistracy, the opportunity afforded by the transmission of those documents was taken to solicit their attention to. the. subject, and, to request communications from them, as to any observations that they might deem it adviseable to make, either In respect to the documents transmitted, or such other points as might arise during ulterior proceedings; and concluding with a hope, that through their co-operation the results would be found at least equal in importance to those of a similar nature about to take place in Great Britain.

Returns of Assistant Barrister and Bench of Magistracy, &c.

Pursuant to the Precept and Instructions, two Returns were made by the Assistant Barrister and Bench of Magistrates of each county, and by the Recorder and Magistrates of each county of a city or town, at the first special Sessions held under the Act, in the month of January 1821. The first List contained an account of all the Sub-divisions of the country, according to which the local taxes are assessed and levied, and by which the Enumerators were to proceed in the Census. These divisions are generally uniform, proceeding from counties to baronies, parishes, and townlands, &c. The division of Ireland into Counties, took place shortly after the Anglo-Norman Invasion.1 In 1211, King John divided the whole of the country that then acknowledged his government, into twelve Counties, in which but little regard seems to have been paid to the ancient division of Ireland into five Provinces. The names of these are given in the note; by which also it appears that the remaining counties were formed at different periods; and that the present arrangement of Provinces and Counties was completed in the early part of the reign of James the First.

Subdivision of Counties: 1. Baronies.

The first Subdivision of Counties is into Baronies, corresponding, in a great measure, with that of Hundreds in England2 . The Baronies appear to have been formed successively, in consequence of the submissions of the Irish chiefs or captains who ruled over them; the territory of each constituting a Barony. This may in some measure account for the extreme inequality of size between those divisions of subordinate jurisdiction, and the manner in which parts of many of them are intermixed among each other, as is peculiarly observable in the county of Cork.

2. Parishes.

The next subdivision into Parishes, is of much greater antiquity than that of Baronies. Originally it was purely Ecclesiastical, and was introduced among the civil subdivisions from motives of convenience. Some peculiar circumstances arising from this cause have produced much difficulty in the progress of the Census. The Civil and Ecclesiastical arrangements do not always correspond: Parishes are found to extend, not only into different Baronies, but into different Counties; and Townlands are sometimes attached to one Parish for the assessment of the County taxes, while with respect to Tithes and other Ecclesiastical contributions, they are considered as forming part of another. Antient unions or divisions of Parishes have increased this discrepancy; their names have also been frequently changed. The arrangement of Parishes by the Established Church, being in many cases different from that of the Roman Catholics, has also been the cause of considerable difficulties; as in many parts of the south-west of Ireland the latter arrangement has been adopted in various points of public business. But from an accurate comparison of the several writers that treat of the civil and ecclesiastical state of Ireland, corrected in cases of doubt or difficulty, by particular communications with the Clergy, the Enumerators, or other persons possessing local information, it has been ascertained that no parish whatever has been omitted; and the differences between the ecclesiastical Returns already before Parliament, and those under the present Act, have been, in many instances,, fully reconciled. The names and arrangement of Parishes used for civil purposes, and adopted by the Enumerators, under the direction of the bench of Magistrates in the several counties, has been adhered to in digesting the Returns.

3. Townlands.

The smallest subdivision of the country is that of Townlands. This name, however, is not universal throughout Ireland3 : some Counties have adopted the term of Ploughlands in lieu of it, each Ploughland being supposed to contain 120 acres; but as the quantity was taken by estimation, not by measurement, their extent varies considerably, even in the same county. Townlands in many instances have been subdivided, and in many cases the name has been changed. Much embarrassment in the progress of the Census has been occasioned by both these circumstances.

On examining the Returns of the Territorial Subdivisions, as furnished by the magistrates, it was found, that this important department of domestic Geography was by no means so complete or satisfactory as might have been expected, from the consideration that most of the local taxes are assessed and levied according to such Subdivisions. In some cases no account could be procured of any of the Subdivisions smaller than that into Parishes. In the county of Kerry this information was collected for the first time, in consequence of the call then made upon the Magistrates; and in the county of Cork no list of the Parishes or minor subdivisions could be: procured.

Appointment of Persons to take the Census.

In the appointment of persons to take the Census a doubt occurred, whether the Account should be taken by Baronies or by Parishes. The Act had left the determination of this point to the judgment of the Magistrates. Some Counties preferred the former, from an idea that Individuals possessed of superior qualifications, would be procured for taking the account of the larger Subdivisions, who would not think the smaller worthy of their attention. In other Counties the latter mode was adopted, from a conviction that the Enumeration could be taken more accurately, when the person employed had a smaller extent of surface committed to his charge; particularly as this very circumstance gave him a more minute and accurate acquaintance with the district allotted to him. The result has proved the latter opinion to have been the better founded.

Means taken to ascertain the Qualification requisite.

In order to ascertain whether the persons thus appointed were possessed of the qualifications requisite for the undertaking, each of them was called upon to make a preliminary Return, according to a form transmitted to him for the purpose, specifying the Names and Number of the Parishes, Townlands, or other Subdivisions of the district to which he had been appointed; the names and addresses of the Clergymen of every religious persuasion, actually resident within their respective districts; as also the names and addresses of Schoolmasters of every description residing therein, with the names of the Townland, &c. on which their Schools were kept. In consequence of this application, several who had been appointed, voluntarily resigned, from a consciousness of their own inadequacy; some were found to be incompetent, and so reported to the bench of Magistrates, whereupon their places were supplied by others deemed more capable of furnishing the information, on their producing proof of possessing the qualifications required. Other beneficial Results also accrued from this process. Various points relative to the position, connection, names, or other local circumstances of the country were explained, and errors rectified. Some of the Returns also contained much additional information of great value in the progress of the Inquiry. The Return of the names of the Clergy and of the Schoolmasters opened a wide field of communication, which proved essential towards ultimate success.

Printed Instructions to each Enumerator.

After it had been thus ascertained, that every district was supplied with an Enumerator, qualified to make a satisfactory Return, a copy of printed Instructions was forwarded to each, detailing the steps to be taken by him in his operations under the Act. These Instructions were framed on the principle, that nothing should be required from the Enumerator, but matter of fact, excluding any thing depending solely on opinion, or on deductions to be formed from the facts so collected; as also, that as much additional information should be collected as could be done, without an undue interference with the time or attention requisite for attaining the main object of the Census.

Note Books; and commencement of the Enumeration.

According to the Instructions, each Enumerator was to be supplied with a sufficient number of Note Books, ruled in columns; and on the day fixed for this purpose, the 28th of May 1821, he was to commence the Enumeration at such part of his district as he deemed most convenient, and to proceed from house to house, and from day to day, without neglect or wilful delay, until he had taken down in his Note Books, the NAME, AGE, and OCCUPATION of every Individual then actually resident within his district. A Copy of these Instructions will be found in the Appendix. It is to be observed, that no place was appropriated in the Note Books, for specifying the Number of Families. This omission rested on the principle above stated, of confining the Enumerator’s attention to matters of fact, and of excluding every thing depending on opinion or inference; as it was conceived that this branch of the process could subsequently be more safely executed on a uniform principle, by the persons entrusted with the duty of arranging and digesting the original Returns made by the Enumerators.

Ages of Individuals.

It was evident that the filling up of the column of the Return, which was to contain the Ages of the persons named in that preceding, must prove a point of much delicacy. The Instructions therefore directed, that the Enumerator should decide as to them, according to the best information he could procure, either from the individuals themselves, from his own knowledge, or from other sources; and that in so doing the greatest attention should be paid to the feelings of the parties concerned. Where the age could not be ascertained with precision, or where there was reason to apprehend inaccuracy, the Enumerator was to be guided .by his own judgment; and here the advantage possessed by those who were appointed for districts of more limited extent, such as Parishes, or parts of Parishes, became very conspicuous; inasmuch as their local acquaintance with the Families residing in their own neighbourhood, afforded them ample means for procuring accurate information on these points. In some instances however, the inquiry failed; a place was therefore allotted in the Returns for the number of ages that could not he ascertained; from the inspection of which, it will appear, that the number of unsuccessful cases is very inconsiderable when compared with the aggregate of the Population.

Occupations of individuals; and occupancy of Land.

More detailed Instructions were required respecting the column, which was to contain the Occupations of the individuals previously named. The principal occupations were those of Farmers, Labourers, and Servants. The line of distinction between the two former of these is not easily drawn, as most persons who earn the chief part of their subsistence as hired labourers, hold also a small portion of land, and therefore, in the common language of the country, are entitled to the name of Farmers. Neither was the distinction between Day-labourers and Out-door or Field-servants less difficult to be ascertained. The Instructions as to these points were therefore so framed, as to enable the persons to whom the Returns would he afterwards committed for examination and arrangement, to adopt an accurate and uniform rule respecting them. In order the better to guide them in the process, a sixth column was added to the Return, specifying the Number of Acres held in the Townland by every person resident thereon. It was thus easy to determine the smallest quantity of landed property deemed sufficient to entitle the holder to the name of Farmer. A seventh column was set apart for any Notes or Observations, explanatory of the information comprized in those preceding. In it more particularly were to be stated the names of Towns, Villages, and Hamlets4 ; Public Buildings, as Churches, Chapels, Meeting-houses, School-houses (stating the number of Pupils, both Male and Female, where it could be done), Prisons, Bridewells, Hospitals, Barracks, Mills, Stores, as also Burying- grounds, Ruins, &c.

Transmission to the Secretary of State's office.

All the information to be thus entered in the Note Books, was afterwards to be transferred to printed Forms, arranged in a similar manner; and these, when verified upon oath, arid certified by the Bench of Magistrates, at a subsequent Sessions, were to be transmitted to the proper department in the Chief Secretary’s office. It should be here observed, that in carrying into effect the powers with which the Enumerators were invested by the Legislature, these persons were most particularly instructed to execute their duty in the mildest and most inoffensive manner; complying, as far as could be, with the feelings of the people, and never having recourse to the law, except in the most urgent necessity. In cases of doubt or difficulty, the Enumerators were directed to apply for further instructions. A very extensive and laborious Correspondence was the consequence; but the trouble was amply repaid by its good effects; for not only many mistakes and errors were thus prevented, but also the queries sent in by the Enumerators, discovered several points hitherto unnoticed, which, if left undefined or unexplained, must have occasioned omission, confusion, or want of uniformity, in many instances.

Difficulties of the Enumerators.

Among the difficulties anticipated by the Enumerators, that of a determined hostility to their proceedings, which shewed itself openly in some districts, was the most formidable, as it affected the very basis of the Inquiry. The causes of this hostile feeling were different in different parts of the country; but, however absurd the cause, or violent the feeling, it was immediately seen that they could be removed or abated only by the most energetic measures. A Letter was therefore forwarded to the Resident Clergymen of every religious persuasion in Ireland; their names and addresses having been previously ascertained, by the means of the Enumerators’ Preliminary Returns already mentioned. In them they were made acquainted with the intentions of the Government, to carry the Population Act into effect; its object was clearly stated, and their aid requested, both for controlling the proceedings of the Enumerators in their respective Parishes, and for removing any prejudices, or other unfavourable circumstances, that might tend to produce an unkindly feeling towards them in the minds of the lower classes. Every stage of the ulterior proceedings proved the utility of this measure, and the value of the assistance thus acquired. Whenever a tendency to opposition was reported by the Enumerator, letters on the subject, transmitted to the resident clergymen of the district; immediately led to a satisfactory explanation, by which not only the obstacle was removed, but a friendly sentiment substituted in its place, so as to turn the current of public opinion immediately and completely into the channel most desirable for the effectual attainment of the great objects of the Legislature under the Population-Act. The local knowledge of the Clergy, both with regard to the people, and to the several districts in which they resided, also gave ample means to guide and check the Enumerators; and a correspondence was accordingly maintained between them and the Population department, which afforded many valuable remarks and suggestions.

Reports of the Enumerators to the Chief Secretary’s office.

The several Enumerators were also called upon to make frequent and continued Reports to. the Chief Secretary’s office, of their progress after the 28th of May, the day appointed for commencing the process of Enumeration, by stating, according to Tabular Forms with which they were supplied for the purpose, the names of the Townlands, the Census of which they had completed within a specific period, together with the number of Houses and Inhabitants found by them in each. By this step, the progress of each Enumerator could be traced, his accuracy and activity marked, and a means afforded of ascertaining whether any part of the country had been omitted.

Tabular Return of Acres in each Townland.

Endeavours were made, during the same period, by calling on the Enumerator for a Tabular Return to that effect, to obtain a statement of the number of Acres in every Townland throughout Ireland, with the view of ascertaining the density of the Population comparatively with the extent of surface throughout its several divisions. This attempt, as was to have been expected, had not complete success. In some cases, the number returned, expressed not the actual number according to measurement, but that according to which the local taxes are assessed; which number generally differs from, and with few exceptions, is less than the former. In other cases, the extent of the Territorial Subdivisions are expressed by Ploughlands, Gneeves, or other antiquated and vague terms of measurement. In others again, particularly in mountainous tracts, lands are held and estimated solely by bulk or guess. In some of the northern counties great confusion also arose, from the different kinds of measurement in use, even in the same Parish5 .

Enumerators’ Returns of the Population.

When the Enumerators’ Returns of the Population, after having been submitted to an examination of the Bench of Magistrates at a subsequent sessions, were transmitted to the Chief Secretary’s office, according to the provisions of the Act, it was ascertained that every distinct or subordinate division of Land in Ireland had been analyzed, and the Returns deposited; with the following Exceptions:—Two Baronies of the County of Cork , which were retained for some time by the Enumerators, in consequence of a misconception as to the terms of remuneration, but which have since been received, duly authenticated:—The Town of Belfast , which having been incorrectly executed by the Enumerator first appointed, was subdivided, and committed to three other individuals, by whom it has been executed:mdash;Part of the Parish of Kilcummin in the County of Galway, and the Island of Innismurry in the County of Sligo, both of which were omitted through misconception, but the Returns of their Population have since been received.

Particulars of the Original Returns.

The original Returns therefore, now lodged for preservation and reference, in the Record Tower of Dublin Castle, contain the following Particulars.mdash;1st. The Name and Situation of every Townland, subdivision of Townland, or other smallest territorial district, throughout Ireland, classed according to its Parish, Barony and County; with the extent of the Townland in many cases.mdash;2d. The Name of every Town, Village and Hamlet, in each County, with, in most cases, the number of Houses in each.mdash;3d. The Name and Situation of every Street, Square, Lane, Alley, Court or other combination of Houses, in Cities and Corporate Towns.mdash;4th. The Number of Dwelling Houses in Ireland, whether inhabited, uninhabited, or building, together with the number of stories in each.mdash;5th. The Number, names and situation, of all public Buildings in Ireland, such as. Places of Worship, whether perfect or in a state of decay, Barracks, School-Houses, Hospitals, Infirmaries, Lunatic Asylums, Prisons, Penitentiaries, Bridewels, Mills, Stores, &c. &c. The subject matter of the Five preceding articles supplies valuable Materials towards a General Survey of Ireland.

These Returns also contain,mdash;6thly, The Name, age and occupation of every Individual residing in Ireland, at the time of taking the Census.mdash;7thly, The Number of Families into which those individuals were combined.mdash;8thly, The Relationship by which the several members of each family are connected with each other, whether as kinsmen, apprentices, journeymen, servants, &c.mdash;9thly, The Quantity of Land held by every individual in the Townland in which he is resident and, 10thly, The Number of Schools throughout Ireland, with the number of Pupils in each, distinguishing between males and females, and, in most instances, specifying the names of the Teachers, and the Foundations on which they are maintained.

Abstract or Summary of the Original Returns.

These original Returns, embracing the various points of information above detailed, having been lodged in the Record Tower as already stated, it became necessary to have them so arranged and digested, that the Document now laid before Parliament, should be a faithful Abstract or Summary of their Contents. In this view the whole was thrown into a Tabular Form; and as the Returns have been made according to Townlands (the smallest subdivision) in the Counties at large, and, in Corporate Cities and Towns, according to Streets, Lanes, Alleys, &c. a General Summary or Register was prepared on the same basis; presenting in a single line, together with the name of each Townland, the following particulars :mdash;The Number of Dwelling Houses inhabited, uninhabited, and building;mdash;the Number of Families therein;mdash;the Number of Souls, classed according to sex, and also according to age;mdash;the specific Occupation of every occupied Resident in each Townland; specifying also, in the case of Labourers, which is the most numerous class in the community, those constantly employed, those occasionally employed, and those unemployed;mdash;the Schools and number of Pupils, both male and female, in each;mdash;the number and size of Farms held by Landholders actually resident within the Townland;mdash;and the public or otherwise uninhabited Buildings, such as Churches, Chapels, Meeting-Houses, Stores, Mills, Kilns, Ruins, &c. &c.

Classification of the Returns; what was to be considered as a Family.

In thus classifying the Contents of the Enumerators’ Returns, some points required consideration. With respect to the Houses, it was only necessary to examine whether any mistake had been made in the series of numbers, a circumstance that occurred occasionally, though by no means frequently: But as to the Classification according to Families, an important and very difficult question arose, as to what was to be considered as a Family. It is evident, that had the practical solution of this question been committed to the Enumerators, much incongruity in the Returns would have taken place, notwithstanding any general Rules that might have been previously laid down for the regulation of their conduct with respect to it, in consequence of the diversity of opinion in different parts of the country, as to what constitutes a Family. This was therefore one of the points, the decision of which was to be regulated from an inspection of all the Returns, on their final arrangement and digest. The original Returns, by specifying particularly the various ties of connection by which the Inmates of the same house were united, afforded ample means for laying down general rules for the persons employed in the Classification; and the process being carried on under the immediate inspection of those by whom its principles had been formed, induced stricter adherence to their application, as well as immediate means of solving any doubtful cases. The leading Rules adopted in this part of the Classification were,mdash;that all the Souls residing in the same house, and supported by the same head, were to be deemed One Family. Thus, a householder and his married children, or two brothers holding a farm in common, were considered as One Family. The Specification of the number of Acres held by each individual, tended much to remove doubts in this process; thus, in the instances just adduced, if the head of the family, or the elder brother, had a number of Acres annexed to his name, and the sons or other brother none, these latter were looked upon as Branches still attached to the main Stock: but if it appeared from the return of the number of Acres, that they held land separate from that of the Father or elder Brother, they were then considered as having formed Separate Establishments, though still residing under the same roof; and therefore were classed as Separate Families. Resident Apprentices and Journeymen were considered as appertaining to the Family from which they derived their instruction and maintenance. Resident Labourers, being considered as servants, were classed according to the same principle. Orphans, Children at nurse, and Ideots, were also considered as part of the Family by which they were maintained. An Individual occupying a house, was of necessity considered as constituting a Family. Lodgers also, when of full age, and maintaining, themselves from their own resources, were thus considered; but when it appeared, from the nature of their occupation, that they were in a great measure connected with the family in whose house they resided, or that they were not of an age to maintain themselves, they were considered as forming a part of such Family. Strolling Beggars were, of course, considered as distinct Families; and where met with on the road at a distance from their usual place of residence, the Enumerator was instructed to enter them as residing in the house in which they last lodged; or if this could not be ascertained, to set down their names at the end of the enumeration of the Townland in which they were found by him. Hence, in many instances, the number of Families considerably exceeds that of the houses returned.mdash;Where a number of Individuals, apparently unconnected by the bonds of relationship, were congregated together, as in the case of large public Establishments, such as Barracks, Infirmaries, and Prisons, the following distinction was adopted: In cases where the individuals were permanently supported in consequence of their connection with or residence in such Establishment, as Soldiers in a barrack, they were considered as Separate Families; but when they were received for a limited period, or for some special purpose, they were deemed to form a Part of the family to which they had heretofore belonged, and were therefore not considered as constituting separate families in their present residence. This rule was applied to Patients in infirmaries, to resident Pupils in colleges and schools, to Prisoners in confinement, and other similar cases. Some instances occurred, to which some of the preceding rules were inapplicable, but the number was so small as to be unworthy of notice in the general result.

Classification of Sexes and Ages.

In the Classification of Sexes no difficulty occurred. With respect to the Ages, it must be evident that the nature of the enquiry precluded that minute accuracy which it was desireable to attain in this part of the proceedings under the Act. It is also to be regretted, that a deviation in some counties, from the recommendation in the Instructions, relative to the qualifications of the Enumerators, occasioned increased difficulty. It had been hoped, by selecting the Enumerators from among those classes, whose habits and employments made them personally acquainted with the families resident within their respective districts, and by confining their operations within a space that could be minutely investigated within a short period of time, that the solution of the question, as to Ages, could have been attained with no small degree of precision, without any interference with the feelings and prejudices so prevalent on this point. Where the recommendation had been attended to, this effect was, generally speaking, produced; but as the wording of the Act was somewhat vague with respect to the qualifications of Enumerators, and the extent of their districts, it was thought, in some counties, that its objects would be better attained by appointing persons from the higher classes, and giving these the inspection of a large district. Hence besides some other disadvantages, the personal knowledge of the Enumerator was often inadequate to check misinformation on this point, or to correct it in cases of apparent error or inconsistency. The principle adopted in this part of the Classification, in some degree corrects any defects that may have arisen from the foregoing circumstances.

The Ages are arranged, as in the English Census, in a decimal progresion as far as 100, those of that age and upwards being specially noticed in the form of return prescribed by the Act. The inaccuracy of a few years between any of the decimal divisions, is therefore unattended with any ill consequences. It is necessary, however, to be known, that though in the Digest hereunto annexed, the Ages are thus classified according to the forms adapted in the Census of Great Britain; the actual numbers of the Ages, classified according to years, can be bad, in consequence of the mode adopted in framing the tables for every County, Barony, Parish or other subdivision of Ireland, on referring to the Papers in which the several parts of this process have been entered; and which are carefully preserved, along with the original Returns from which they have been extracted. It may also be proper to remark, that the compilation of the part of those Tables containing the Sexes and Ages, have been carried on by processes totally unconnected with each other, so as to make the one a check upon the other; and the work was in no instance deemed satisfactory until the results of both, by a repetition of the peculiar process of each, were found to coincide. It is evident that if the Enumerators had not been required to return the Name and Age of every Individual, or if this secondary process of arrangement had been entrusted to them, the same confidence could not be placed in the results now laid before Parliament.


The Occupations were, in the first instance, thrown into classes precisely, according to the words made use of by the Enumerators in describing them; but as it, not unfrequently, happened that the same occupation was expressed under a different name by different Enumerators, and sometimes even by the same person in different parts of his Return, such deviations were cautiously corrected; in order that this division of the tabular form should give an accurate account of the Number of actual Occupations and the Number of Persons engaged on each. The Occupations thus arranged, were classed under the more and general heads of. Agricultural, Manufacturing, Handicraft, &c. Trading, Liberal Professions, Other Occupations, &c. still however retaining under each of these heads, the particulars above recited; observing only, in order to avoid the multiplication of columns, to place the Occupations of more unfrequent occurrence, in one column, at the end of each Parish or Barony. This enlarged system of Classification, by means of which, the actual Occupations of the whole Population of Ireland would have been spread out as in a picture or on a map, and the local varieties would have been specified with a minuteness adequate to the value of the information, has been since contracted, in conformity with the mode adopted in the Census of Great Britain, into three columns, specifying merely the Number of Persons chiefly occupied in Agriculture, those in Manufactures, and those in Occupations not included under either of the former heads. Means, however, exist, in consequence of the manner in which the Census of Ireland has been taken and arranged, of furnishing, if deemed necessary, a more particular detail.


The columns containing the Account of the number and sizes of Farms held by resident occupiers, was undertaken with a view of distinguishing between the Farmer and Labourer, two classes of people, which, in many instances, are not very easily distinguishable in Ireland; it was also adopted on the principle of collecting whatever collateral information could be procured, without increase of trouble, or time, to the person employed. The Classification was proceeded upon, under the following arrangement, which it was thought would convey some useful information as to the state and circumstances of a large portion of the Population of the country; viz. Farms under Two Acres, under Five, under Ten, under Twenty, under Fifty, under One hundred, and of One hundred Acres and upwards. To this part of the Classification, though omitted in the Abstract for Parliament, the concluding Observation of the remarks relative to the Occupations, is applicable. Such parts of the miscellaneous information, collected on the principle stated in the preceding paragraph, as were deemed useful to elucidate the circumstances of the Census, have been annexed, in the following Abstract, in the form of Notes: what has not been thought directly applicable, has been preserved as in the similar previous cases.


The mass of Information relative to this part of the Empire, which was thus collected and digested in a Tabular Form, has been again reduced into a series of Summaries. The totals of the columns comprehending the materials collected in each Townland, forming the Summary for a Parish; those of Parishes united, that of a Barony; those of a Barony, that of a County; those of a County, that of a Province; those of the four Provinces united, giving the Summary of all those important particulars for the whole of Ireland. From this Tabular Digest the following ABSTRACT was prepared; and in forming it, another process of Condensation and Abbreviation became necessary, in order to maintain an uniformity of appearance with that of Great Britain, as close as the different principle on which the details were collected, would permit. Instead of Townlands, Parishes are adopted, as the smallest subdivision, which, together with, the Population, &c. of the towns and larger villages included in each Parish, when combined, give the Summaries of Baronies, and so on, as above stated. All the particulars relative to the Ages have been condensed into a Summary, according to Counties, as are also those of the Occupations, for the sake of uniformity with the English Abstract.

Schools and Pupils.

The Statement of the number of Schools and Pupils is the only instance of a deviation from the principle of assimilation just now noticed. The instructions given to the Enumerators on this point, were precise and particular; they were to inform themselves, not only of the situation of every School within their district, but also of the name of the Teachers, the number of Pupils, both male and female, and the nature of the Endowment (if any) by which they were maintained. These particulars were deemed of sufficient importance to justify their admission into the Abstract prepared for Parliament, in which they appear in columns, containing a Statement of the number of Children, both male and female, actually receiving public instruction, at the time of taking the Census. When the Schools received the whole, or part of their support from eleemosynary sources, the particulars, both as to the nature of the Foundation and the names of the Contributors, have also been, given in the column of Observations.

1 King John made but twelve counties, all which were in Leinster and Munster; viz. in Leinster the counties of Dublin, Meath, Uriell, now called Louth, Kildare, Catherlough or Carlow, Kilkenny and Wexford, which contained all the province of Leinster, except these territories following; viz. Upper Ossory, which was inhabited by the Fitzpatricks; Leix, which was inhabited by the Moores; Offaly, which was inhabited by the O’Connors; Ely O'Carrol, which was inhabited by the O’Carrols; and some other territories, which were inhabited by other Irish septs; and in Munster, the counties of Waterford, Cork, Kerry, Limerick and Tipperary; which last mentioned five counties did contain the whole province of Munster. The territories of Leix, Offaly and Ely O’Carrol, and some others, were reduced into shire-ground in the time of Queen Mary, and then divided into two counties, the one called the Queen’s County, the other the King’s County. So likewise the provinces of Connaught and Ulster were divided into counties by a Statute of the 11th of Eliz., that is to say Connaught was divided into seven counties ; viz. Galway, Clare, Roscommon, Longford and Leitrim; but since that time Clare has been included in Munster, and Longford in Leinster. In like manner the province of Ulster was was divided into nine counties; namely, those of Down, Antrim, Tyrone, Ardmagh, Monaghan, Cavan, Fermanagh, Donegal and Londonderry. Lastly, the county of Wicklow, which had hitherto been vaguely considered as part of the counties of Dublin and Carlow, was made shire ground and formed into a separate county, in the third year of James I. Vide Harris’s Hibernica, pt 2. p. 3. folio.

2 The cause of the difference in name has been thus accounted for: When the kingdom of Meath was granted to the elder De Lacey, shortly after the arrival of the English, he portioned it out among his inferior Barons, to hold under him by feudal service, and hence their estates naturally took the name of baronies; which gradually extended itself to similar sub-divisions of other counties. But that the division into Cantreds or Hundreds, though superseded by this now mentioned, was attempted in Ireland, very soon after the above mentioned era, is evident not only from several antient records in which the term is used, but also because it still continues to be applied to some of the sub- divisions of the Queen’s County.

3 Many names, now antiquated, were formerly used to designate the smaller sub-divisions of land in Ireland. The following are the most remarkable:

A Gort containing 6 acres.
Pottle do 12 do
Ballyboe do 16 do but in some parts 60 or 100 acres.
Ballybeatach do 960 do being 16 Ballyboes of 60 acres
Cartron do 60 do called also a Plowland.
Poll or pole do 50 do
Tagh or Tate do 60 do English.
Gneon, or Gneeve do do being 1-12th of a Plowland.

The Plowland and the Gneeve are the only names noticed by the Enumerators, as still in use in some parts of Ireland.

4 Every collection of' contiguous Houses, if under twenty, was to be considered as a Hamlet; if more than twenty, and not under any peculiar local jurisdiction, a Village.

5 The superficial Measures of Land now in use in Ireland, are; the Irish or plantation acre, the Cunningham, and the English acre. The difference between these arises from the different lengths of the perch used as a standard in each; the Irish perch consisting of 21 feet, the Cunningham of 18.75 feet, and the English of 16.5 feet.

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