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The Poor Law Inspector
by Frank Parker

Ireland is wracked with famine. Arthur gives up his safe position as an officer in the British army to join the Poor Law Commission. His job: to ensure that one of the most seriously distressed areas has the resources required to meet the demand for relief. Will he prove a match for the local landlords and their leader who refuse to meet their obligations, intent, instead, on removing as many tenants as possible from their land? Will his bosses in the British government relent and provide much needed assistance? When he is challenged to a duel will he defeat the blustering self-styled Colonel?

Chapter 1

The court room was crowded, the viewing gallery at the back a jostling mass of humanity. I had been surprised by the size of the multitude outside the court upon my arrival. Surprised, and my heart gladdened by the considerable number that wished me good luck as I p...





Chapter 2

All this activity, though often unpleasant, came as a relief to some of our men. Not a few could have been heard complaining about the daily routine of army life in peacetime. Everything from the drills to the monotony of the diet formed the principal discourse amon...





Chapter 3

Having ended his diatribe outlining the case against me, Counsel began questioning me. I was reminded of the constant questioning to which I was subjected by Mr Scrope. Having presented my evidence to his inquiry, I was repeatedly asked to return in order to clarify...





Chapter 4

I was soon to discover the veracity of that last remark of Twisleton's. There would, I was also to discover, need to be some better arrangement for passengers or cargo to travel East from Kilrush were such a port to be established there. From the proprietor of the h...





Chapter 5

Our route into the town of Kilrush brought us through a narrow street of tall houses that opened onto a square surrounding a large building. Beyond, I observed a broad boulevard containing buildings having ostentatious facades, prominent among them a bank and severa...





Chapter 6

The following morning I was woken early as arranged. The meeting of the Guardians was set for ten o'clock. I had it very much in mind to carry out an inspection of the workhouse before hand so as to fully acquaint myself with its condition and that of its inmates. A...





Chapter 7

The sound of muffled voices emanating from the open door of the board room signaled that a number of the members had already arrived. I apologised for my own late arrival, explaining that my tour of the premises had taken longer than I had expected. I was at once st...





Chapter 8

My counsel began cross-examining Crofton, asking when he first began evicting tenants from his land. Crofton turned to the judge. I thought him about to question the relevance of the question. My own researches, on which I based my evidence to Mr Scropes, concerned ...





Chapter 9

My heart was lifted by news that reached me one evening as I was about to leave the little room at the workhouse in which I had established a base from which to operate. Young Lillis accosted me, proffering an envelope the hand writing upon which I instantly recogni...





Chapter 10

Crofton and I had by now established a routine of examining applicants for relief on alternate days. On such days I walked from Cappagh to Kilrush. The exercise, the ability to fill my lungs with the salty air from the estuary, particularly on a crisp morning, was a...





Chapter 11

Although the events of that day were not repeated, there was no reduction in the number of people seeking assistance. Where we deemed it appropriate, in the case of the old and the very young, persons who were quite evidently incapable of work, we provided food. We ...





Chapter 12

Chapter 12

I had been so consumed by my duties that I had little time to study the contents of newspapers. Had I done so I might have taken more notice of the threat which was posed by the activities of a small group of agitators both here in Ireland and in England. It was ...










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