The Connaught Journal 17th December, 1840
A few years ago, during one of our often recurring “hard summers” the poorer classes in the neighbourhood of Mr. Patrick Lalor, of Tennkill, suffered severly from the scarcity and high price of potatoes; and Mr. Lalor (at first in a few instances) became security to a gentleman, then in the milling trade in the vicinity of Abbeyleix, for small quantities of oatenmeal, to keep actual starvation from some of those he saw most distressed. This of course became generally known, and numerous similar applications were speedily made to Mr. Lalor, who, perhaps with more benevolence than worldly wisdom, consented to become security in like manner for every applicant of good character. He was told he would himself have to pay for the greater portion of the debts incurred; but he measured the character of his countrymen by a different standard. He believed they could be honest, though coerced but by principle and gratitude, and the result was that when the season of plenty arrived-when abundant food and remunerative labors were again attainable, those relieved came forward to justify their benefactor’s confidence in them by paying, almost without exception, the debts they had contracted.
The number relieved amounted to some hundreds. Mr. Lalor had no security whatever from them-he could not, like the managers of a loan fund, apply to the law to aid him-he had nothing to look to but whatever trifle of honesty and gratitude he could hope for from a set of hungry beings whom he was in the almost daily habit of hearing reviled as the most unprincipled wretches on earth. Yet, though the sums which he became accountable exceeded nine hundred pounds, he can turn to the aspersers of his poor countrymen, and boast that amongst all who were relieved, there was not found enough of dishonesty and ingratitude to subject him to a loss of as many pence.–Kilkenny Journal.