A Baptist Minister

Asenath Nicholson
Chapter VII (16) | Start of Chapter

I turned aside into a little chapel, and heard a Baptist minister preach a sermon to five auditors, on the righteous dealings of God. I breakfasted with him in the morning; a loaf of brown bread, butter, tea, and an egg, formed his repast. This simple breakfast, which may everywhere be found on the tables of the gentry, is quite a rebuke on American extravagance. And hard as is the fate of the laboring man, I think he is greatly indebted to the potato for his flow of spirits and health of body.

This clergyman had a church of only twelve, but in a town of Quakers, Roman Catholics, and Protestants of the Established Church, who had occupied the field long before him. Nothing, he said, but love of his people kept him from going to America; adding, "My country cannot long endure the miseries she now suffers; some change must soon take place."

Ireland’s Welome to the Stranger is one of the best accounts of Irish social conditions, customs, quirks and habits that you could wish for. The author, Mrs Asenath Nicholson, was an American widow who travelled extensively in Ireland on the eve of the Great Famine and meticulously observed the Irish peasantry at work and play, as well as noting their living conditions and diet. The book is also available from Kindle.