Mudcat Café message #787586 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #2053   Message #787586
Posted By: Big Tim
19-Sep-02 - 01:49 PM
Thread Name: Origins: Fields of Athenry
Subject: RE: Fields of Athenry
What's the authority for 500,000 dead in England? Personally I think that's utter rubbish. Hardly anyone died in England, or Scotland, which did suffer hardship in many areas of the Highlands, but no fatalities. See Prof Tom Devine's book on the subject. About 10,000 died in Belgium. Ireland suffered incomparably worse because there 40% of the pop were dependent on the potato for survival. That crop largely failed for 4 or 5 years and the government made little effort to supply alternative food: tho it was enonomically and logistically possible to do so. In that sense John Mitchel (not Mitchell) was right. The question I ask is: if England had suffered a similar disaster what the government have stood so idly by? Personally, I doubt it.

The decline in Ireland's pop was mainly due to emigration: caused by changes in farming practice: grazing instead of tillage, "sheep instead of people" in shorthand. Tha Famine made eviction easier for landlords and emigration more necessary, but it is simplistic to claim that it was the sole cause. Come in Pete St John!