Lire le texte de Maureen Murphy
Had you been travelling in Ireland in 1844-1845, you might well have seen – or heard about – an extraordinary American woman who was walking through the countryside singing hymns, reading the Bible and distributing religious tracts drawn from the depths of her large, black, bearskin muff. She wore Indian rubber boots, a polka coat, a bonnet and – when they weren’t missing – silver-rimmed spectacles. A number of doctors offered to remove the large wart on her face. She recorded, with some indignation, that people stared at her. She was Asenath Hatch Nicholson: teacher, reformer, abolitionist, writer and traveller and she had come to Ireland to investigate the condition of the Irish poor. Her account of her travels, Ireland’s Welcome to the Stranger (1847), is one of the most valuable records we have of Ireland on the eve of the Famine. She left Ireland in the fall of 1845, just before the first sighting of the potato blight was reported. She returned in 1846, determined to do what she could do to relieve the suffering.