Peter Gray has studied in great detail the ideological background against which British ministers and officials devised policies for Ireland, concluding that. , ‘Irish History in the Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries’, pp. 45 Joseph Lee (ed. The influence of the Manchester school of economics, which was considerable at the time, militated against State intervention in the economy. 29Another factor that must be taken into account is the context in Northern Ireland. 34Ó Gráda has shown that Ireland was changing prior to the Famine, notably from a demographic point of view, and that, had the blight occurred a couple of decades later, it could well have escaped its catastrophic effects. It may be that the Irish were only too happy to pull the leg of the intense, humourless Englishman: standing out from the crowd, making all-too-obvious inquiries, he would have been an irresistible target for ‘, the favourite Irish sport of “codding” a stranger, Written by Pete St John and first recorded by Danny Doyle in 1979, it has become a popular anthem f. But the episode reveals another trait of the Assistant Secretary’s character: on his return from Dublin, he had a meeting with Peel, the Prime Minister, and James Graham, the Home Secretary, during which he developed his suspicions concerning Ireland. Available at:
The feelings of insecurity attached to such memories would hardly have encouraged further inquiries. For a summary of the debate, see Christine, Christine Kinealy has focused among others on the issue of food exports.
31This official apology allowed Irish historians to look at Britain’s role in the Famine without any pressure to minimise its responsibility in order to avoid the charge of Anglophobia.55 Scholars from other countries or other fields, who were less constrained by such considerations, had already made significant contributions to the understanding of the Great Famine. It is a history of Ireland during the 1840s, or, as Mitchel puts it. It may be that the Irish were only too happy to pull the leg of the intense, humourless Englishman: standing out from the crowd, making all-too-obvious inquiries, he would have been an irresistible target for ‘the favourite Irish sport of “codding” a stranger.’17, 12But the episode reveals another trait of the Assistant Secretary’s character: on his return from Dublin, he had a meeting with Peel, the Prime Minister, and James Graham, the Home Secretary, during which he developed his suspicions concerning Ireland. 1The Great Irish Famine produced a staggering amount of paperwork: innumerable letters, reports, articles, tables of statistics and books were written to cover the catastrophe. 28Kenny, who was himself born in Co. Mayo, in the West, may have been expressing an important fact concerning the impact of the Famine on the Irish psyche, which would have contributed to a reluctance to dwell on the event. It was as if a marriage between England and, Ireland had been celebrated, with the clauses of the, Act of Union, however, could not end centuries of animosity between the Irish, and the colonial power from across the Irish Sea, and pre famine Ireland was, generally full of poverty and human suffering, especially in the western and, southern counties with pockets of relative prosperity such as in rapidly. Letter of Trevelyan to Lord Monteagle of Brandon½. million and a half through starvation and disease. 5, Issue 1, 2014, pp. Half that sum spent in Ireland in the critical years 1846-9 would have saved hundreds of thousands of lives. Catholicism) holds that “Man shall not labour by the sweat of his brow”. The Spectator, in a review of the book, regretted what it considered ‘unfair strokes of partisanship’, but agreed that ‘Sir Robert Peel’s and Lord John Russell’s Governments entirely failed, until it was too late, to grasp the magnitude of the calamity which was impending’.20 O’Rourke’s overall assessment of Government policy, highlighting its lack of ‘promptness and decision’, may be considered as a nationalist interpretation, yet he rejected the accusation of genocide, emphasising both the scale of the challenge and the reality of relief efforts: To have met the Potato Famine with anything like complete success, would have been a Herculean task for any government.
[…] It is not unreasonable to surmise that had anything like the famine occurred in England or Wales, the British government would have overcome its theoretical scruples and would have come to the rescue of the starving at a much larger scale. Black ’47 and Beyond: The Great Irish Famine in History, Economy, and Memory.
The books of Charles Trevelyan (1847) and John Mitchel (1860) constitute pioneering writings on the Great Famine and despite their extreme views they defined a framework which helps to understand later historiographical developments, from nationalism to revisionism and to post-revisionism. All classes “make a poor mouth,” as it is expressively called in Ireland. These controversial policies were undoubtedly influenced also, by the prevailing anti- Irish attitudes held by the authorities and shared by, segments of the English public opinion.
centuries of English colonial subjugation. 183-184 (, was published later in the year in book form, under the author’s name).
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