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Folklore/History: Irish Famine

Jim Martin 14 Jul 13 - 07:18 AM
Jim Martin 14 Jul 13 - 07:24 AM
Steve Shaw 14 Jul 13 - 09:01 AM
Megan L 14 Jul 13 - 09:09 AM
Steve Shaw 14 Jul 13 - 09:13 AM
GUEST,Fred McCormick 14 Jul 13 - 09:28 AM
GUEST,mg 15 Jul 13 - 12:36 AM
michaelr 15 Jul 13 - 12:49 AM
GUEST,Fred McCormick 15 Jul 13 - 05:52 AM
Jim Carroll 15 Jul 13 - 06:48 AM
Will Fly 15 Jul 13 - 07:05 AM
GUEST 15 Jul 13 - 08:01 AM
Will Fly 15 Jul 13 - 08:11 AM
Keith A of Hertford 15 Jul 13 - 10:04 AM
Jim Carroll 15 Jul 13 - 11:34 AM
Jim Carroll 15 Jul 13 - 12:07 PM
Keith A of Hertford 15 Jul 13 - 12:12 PM
Jim Carroll 15 Jul 13 - 12:28 PM
Keith A of Hertford 15 Jul 13 - 12:34 PM
Keith A of Hertford 15 Jul 13 - 12:40 PM
Will Fly 15 Jul 13 - 12:54 PM
Jim Carroll 15 Jul 13 - 12:57 PM
Keith A of Hertford 15 Jul 13 - 12:57 PM
Will Fly 15 Jul 13 - 01:39 PM
Richard Bridge 15 Jul 13 - 02:05 PM
McGrath of Harlow 15 Jul 13 - 04:39 PM
Keith A of Hertford 15 Jul 13 - 04:45 PM
GUEST,SJL 15 Jul 13 - 05:04 PM
Jim Carroll 15 Jul 13 - 05:45 PM
McGrath of Harlow 15 Jul 13 - 05:46 PM
GUEST,Iain 15 Jul 13 - 07:57 PM
Steve Shaw 15 Jul 13 - 08:20 PM
GUEST 15 Jul 13 - 10:02 PM
Keith A of Hertford 16 Jul 13 - 02:58 AM
Richard Bridge 16 Jul 13 - 03:38 AM
Jim Carroll 16 Jul 13 - 04:04 AM
Keith A of Hertford 16 Jul 13 - 04:19 AM
Keith A of Hertford 16 Jul 13 - 04:30 AM
Joe Offer 16 Jul 13 - 04:33 AM
Jack Campin 16 Jul 13 - 05:19 AM
Keith A of Hertford 16 Jul 13 - 05:32 AM
Jim Carroll 16 Jul 13 - 05:56 AM
bubblyrat 16 Jul 13 - 05:57 AM
Jim Carroll 16 Jul 13 - 05:57 AM
Keith A of Hertford 16 Jul 13 - 06:06 AM
Keith A of Hertford 16 Jul 13 - 06:17 AM
GUEST,Iain 16 Jul 13 - 06:51 AM
McGrath of Harlow 16 Jul 13 - 06:56 AM
Keith A of Hertford 16 Jul 13 - 07:27 AM
Keith A of Hertford 16 Jul 13 - 07:36 AM
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Subject: BS: Irish Famine
From: Jim Martin
Date: 14 Jul 13 - 07:18 AM

"What happened back then eventually led to a rebellion, and I think sometimes the Irish tend to take stuff lying down.

"Sometimes we can be so stoic and accepting that we just get on with it. I think we are tough, but sometimes we should be more outraged."

http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/grainne-shock-at-stumbling-on-her-roots-in-famine-village-29400960.html


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Famine
From: Jim Martin
Date: 14 Jul 13 - 07:24 AM

By all accounts, Thomas Carlysle was an absolute disgrace:

http://www.rte.ie/player/ie/show/10163096/


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Famine
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 14 Jul 13 - 09:01 AM

I think that many people who study the history of the time would conclude that it wasn't a famine at all, if you're using the word "famine" to signify some unavoidable natural disaster. It certainly wasn't one of those.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Famine
From: Megan L
Date: 14 Jul 13 - 09:09 AM

How foolish it is to dwell constantly in the past, for no one may alter that which has gone before.

Beware lest your absorption in the wrongs of previous generations stops you from acting to protect those being harmed today.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Famine
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 14 Jul 13 - 09:13 AM

Well I think there's merit in trying to learn from history. A shame that Blair and Bush didn't bother to, for example.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Famine
From: GUEST,Fred McCormick
Date: 14 Jul 13 - 09:28 AM

......A forgotten sign to our own time
When we witness the very same.

For from Pakistan to the Sudan,
Famine vistims they wait in need,
And a country like ours which has known this curse,
Must surely take the lead............

Megan. The above comes from a song which John Tunney wrote about the famine, and how we should use the memory of it to obliterate the conditions which cause famine in our time. I can't recall the entire text but maybe some kind soul will post it here.

In any event, it is the perfect antidote to people who complain about excessive reliance on history. Yes, it's far too easy to wallow in contemplative hatred of "rapacious English landlords", or of any bunch of exploitative crooks. The point however is not so much to get angry at things which have happened in the past, as to channel that anger into doing something about similar events which are taking place now.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Famine
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 15 Jul 13 - 12:36 AM

I wonder if she knows the song Johnny Seioghe, about a workhouse manager and someone, apparently someone who really died in the famine and wrote the song, asking to be let in on Christmas eve...great rendition on our famine cd.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Famine
From: michaelr
Date: 15 Jul 13 - 12:49 AM

"Far from being merely a natural disaster, the Irish potato famine ranks with the Jewish and Armenian holocausts as one of the great genocides of recent centuries, as the landed gentry exported huge quantities of grain and beef to England while an estimated one million starved to death and millions more were forced to emigrate.

"Shanakyle (from the Gaelic sean cill, meaning "old church") is a famine graveyard near Kilrush, Co. Clare. Thirty-nine hundred people died in the Kilrush workhouse in the years 1847-1849 and were buried in mass graves. This song was written in the 1860s by local poet Thomas Madigan. One of the most powerful and memorable moments of my travels in Ireland came when I sat in the graveyard and sang this song while gazing at the marker and at Inis Cathaig, the "holy isle" referred to in the song."

From the liner notes to "Lone Shanakyle" on my band's latest recording.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Famine
From: GUEST,Fred McCormick
Date: 15 Jul 13 - 05:52 AM

Johnny Seoighe is still very well remembered, and sung, around the Conamara Gaeltacht to this day. And not without good reason.

Here's a text and translation of it, taken from the Joe Heaney Archive at http://www.joeheaney.org.

Amhrán Sheán Uí Sheoighe
A Sheáin Uí Sheoighe tuig mo ghlór is mé ag tigheacht le dóchas faoi do dhéint
Mar is tú an réalt eólais ba deise lóchrann dár dhearc mo shúil ariabh
Is tú bláth na h-óige is deise breághtha i dhearc mo shúil i d-Teampall Dé
Agus as ucht Chríost, tabhair dom relief go gcaithfear oidhche Nodlaig féin.

Lá ar na mháireach nuair i fuair mé an páipéar is mé a bhí sásta agus ghluais mé an siubhail
Ní bhfuair mé freagra ar bith an lá seo acht mé féin is mo pháistí amuigh faoi an drúcht
Tá mé caillte, bruighte, feannta, dóighte gearrtha ó neart an t-siúil
Agus i Mhister Joyce tá an Work-House lán agus ní glacfear ann isteach níos mó.

Nach mór an cliú do phoball Carna ó thosuigh an lánmhain seo ag dul thrid
Ba deise breághtha méin na mná ná an Morning Star nuair d'eirigheócha sí
Tá an Bhanríoghan tinn is i na luighe lag síos, deir na dochtúirí go bhfaoi sí bás
Sé fios m'údair go ndeir siad liomsa faoi nach bhfuil sí pósta ag Mr Joyce.

Seo amhrán eile a déanamh aimsir an droch shaoghail 1847. Rinne file é a dtugtaí Micheál Mharcuis = Micheál Mac Con Iomaire as Cárna nuair a chuaidh sé ag iarraidh leath-chloch mine buidhe ar Sheán Seoighe, an fear nó an máighistir a bhí ar an min agus deite sé é. Nuair a chinn air rinne sé an cheathramhadh dheireanach den amhrán ag moladh na mná agus thug an bhean an leath-chloch dó.

Translation

Johnny Seoighe, hear my voice as I come to you in distress; for you are the lodestar of truest light that my eye has ever beheld. You are the flower of youth, the fairest I have ever seen in God's temple; and for Christ's sake, give me relief until Christmas night is past.

The very next day I got the paper, and I was content as I walked away; but I got no reply that day, with my children and myself out under the dew. I am tormented, broken and flayed, burnt and gashed from all the walking; and Mister Joyce, the workhouse is full and won't accept any more.

Isn't it a great compliment to the Carna district since this couple began to frequent its streets! The woman's countenance is fairer and kinder than the morning star when it rises! The Queen is ill, lying weak in her bed, and the doctors say that she will die; and the reason is, as the doctors tell me, that she's not married to Mr Joyce.

Here's another song that was composed during the Famine 1847. A poet named Micheál Mharcuis, i.e. Micheál Mac Con Iomaire, from Carna, composed it when he went looking for a half-stone of yellow meal from Seán Seoighe, the man, or the master, who controlled the meal – and he refused him.2 When his appeal was denied, he composed the final stanza of the poem, praising the woman, and the woman gave him the half-stone [of meal].


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Famine
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Jul 13 - 06:48 AM

"How foolish it is to dwell constantly in the past, for no one may alter that which has gone before."
The Famine shaped Ireland's history and made it what it is today, a permanently migratory nation.
It is still very much a part of the Irish psyche, not aimed against the British people as a whole but at an Empire "on which the sun never set - nor the blood ever dried", a power that allowed such atrocities to happen.
It is still truely referred to as 'Ireland's holocaust'.   
One of the finest books on the subject was written by an Englishwoman - 'The Great Hunger' by Mrs Cecil Woodham Smith - still unsurpassed in my opinion.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Famine
From: Will Fly
Date: 15 Jul 13 - 07:05 AM

I had ancestors (g-g-grandparents) who came across to England from Naas in Kildare as a result of the famine. They stayed here for some years and then, with the exception of my g-grandmother, disappeared off the UK records. They may have gone back to Ireland, gone elsewhere or just died. The father - one Thomas Boland - was employed as a bricklayer and navvy in Nottinghamshire.

It's worth recording that, in the late 1830s, 30,000 agricultural workers (including relations of my ancestors) emigrated from East Anglia to places like Canada and Australia as a result of the Poor Laws, the rise of the harsh Union workhouses and increasing mechanisation of farming. All fostered by the gentry and the clergy.

No matter where, the poorest and lowest classes have always been under a yoke of some sort.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Famine
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Jul 13 - 08:01 AM

History repeats itself because historians repeat each other.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Famine
From: Will Fly
Date: 15 Jul 13 - 08:11 AM

Au contraire, GUEST - historians frequently disagree profoundly.

History repeats itself because the lessons that history can teach us are either misunderstood, ignored or forgotten.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Famine
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 15 Jul 13 - 10:04 AM

Another historical perpective.
"How culpable were the British ministers of the 1840s? They are charged with having given inadequate, limited relief because of their commitment to a doctrine of laissez faire. However, given the scale of the problem and the acute nature of the crisis once the harvest had failed for a second time in 1846, there was little they could do."

Read more: http://www.fee.org/the_freeman/detail/lessons-of-history-the-great-irish-famine#ixzz2Z7fhxnXV
http://www.fee.org/the_freeman/detail/lessons-of-history-the-great-irish-famine#axzz2Z7f2StzS


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Famine
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Jul 13 - 11:34 AM

The Famine itself was, as has been pointed out, an unavoidable natural disaster.
What was far from 'natural' or in any way human were the mass evictions for non-payment of rent by English landlords - many of them from the property of the English landed gentry and nobility. These left many thousands of families to starve to death at the side of the roads or (when they were lucky) to die in filled to capacity because of lack of resources, staff or food or simply to die of untreated typhoid or cholera.
These evictions were more often than not followed by 'cabin tumblings', the deliberate destruction of homes and crops so the tenants could not return.
Often, these evictions took place in order to give the newly acquired homes and land to friends or loyal employees of the landlords - the history books are full of such cases - several songs drawn from real cases about it happening.
There are records (mentioned in Woodham-Smith's book) of relief ships crossing the Irish Sea three or four times without being unloaded in order to make profits for unscrupulous profiteers - with the full collusion of Government officials who nodded them through each time.
Locally (West Clare) people still talk about 'The Shilling Walls', built on the estate of a local landlord by the Famine Relief scheme - he was paid two shillings and sixpence per week to pay the workers, but only paid them one shilling and pocketed the rest (and got new walls built for free into the bargain).
There are thousands of reports of corruption on the part of officials and landlords, and of indifference on the part of the English Establishment.
The Government was well aware of what was going on - many of the worst culprits were members of The House of Lords (try Googling William Sydney Clements, 3rd Earl of Leitrim).
Even the church was not above inhuman behaviour.
We still have what is left of a "souper" school, which was run by Protestant churchmen who offered famine relief in the form of a daily bowl of soup only to the children whose families agreed to change their religion.
Had this corruption or at best, gross incompetence, taken place anywhere else in The British Isles heads would, quite rightly, have rolled - in a big way.
Some of the most comprehensive reports, and certainly some of the most powerfully evocative images came from 'The London Illustrated News', which sent reporters and sketch artists to capture information and artistic impressions from some of the worst-hit areas, notable Skibbereen, in West Cork.   
Interesting to see that Britain still has its share of 'Holocaust deniers'.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Famine
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Jul 13 - 12:07 PM

A further documented fact to be dismissed by the 'deniers' - there was enough food to feed the Irish population four times over being exported out of Ireland throughout the famine years.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Famine
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 15 Jul 13 - 12:12 PM

Jim's "holocaust denier."
Stephen Davies is a program officer at the Institute for Humane Studies and the education director at the Institute for Economics Affairs in London.
Dr. Davies attended the University of St Andrews from 1972 to 1976, graduating with a First Class degree in History. He also obtained his PhD from the same university in 1984, on the topic of the Scottish criminal justice system before the abolition of private courts.

He formerly taught at the Manchester Metropolitan University where he was senior lecturer. His academic and research interests include the history of crime and criminal justice, history of ideas and political thought, comparative economic history, and the history of the private supply of public goods. He teaches, amongst other topics, courses on the history of crime and punishment in Britain, and the history of the Devil.

He has published a number of books and articles on a range of topics. His books includeThe Dictionary of Conservative and Libertarian Thought (which he edited with Nigel Ashford) and just recently Empiricism and History. Among his published essays are two in the recently published collection The Voluntary City, on the subjects of the private provision of law enforcement and the use of markets and property to plan urban growth.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Famine
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Jul 13 - 12:28 PM

Not bothering to argue established facts with you Keith - been there before and it's a waste of time arguing with agenda-driven morons.
If you have any evidence whatever to disprove, or even challenge anything I have put up - feel free to do so.
Otherwise, take your claims elsewhere.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Famine
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 15 Jul 13 - 12:34 PM

I take an interest, but am no historian Jim.
I quoted a respected historian with a different perspective to the ones already quoted.
You are free to agree or disagree, but what is your opinion worth?


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Famine
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 15 Jul 13 - 12:40 PM

Prof Stephen Davies, same piece.
"In traditional Irish history the blame for this great disaster is placed firmly on the British government. For exponents of this view such as Cecil Woodham-Smith, the death and suffering happened because of the incompetence, callous indifference, and rigid attachment to laissez faire of the British government and its Irish chief secretary, Charles Trevelyan.2 For some the culpability was even more serious. For nationalist historians the British policy was genocidal and the outcome intended or welcomed. This view is still widely held, and not only in Ireland. In 1996 an act was passed in New York State requiring that all schools teach the Irish famine as an act of British genocide.3 The reality is more complex, more interesting in some ways, and leads to very different conclusions about events both then and today.
.......
How culpable were the British ministers of the 1840s? They are charged with having given inadequate, limited relief because of their commitment to a doctrine of laissez faire. However, given the scale of the problem and the acute nature of the crisis once the harvest had failed for a second time in 1846, there was little they could do. Moreover, the root of the problem, as most contemporary observers agreed, was the nature of the Irish land system, and to support the system would only lead to further famines in the future. A policy that had the effect of keeping large numbers on the land and preventing agricultural improvement was bound to have disastrous results. Moreover, the Corn Laws prevented large-scale importation of grain into Ireland until after they were repealed in 1846 (partly because of perceptions of their impact on Ireland) and so the initial response of market forces to the acute food shortage caused by the blight was so blunted as to be minimal.
What should we learn from this terrible story? First, governments are not as powerful or effective in relieving disaster as many believe. The cry "We must do something" is very seductive, but often "doing something" will be ineffective, may even make matters worse, or will preserve the factors that produced the problem in the first place.


Read more: http://www.fee.org/the_freeman/detail/lessons-of-history-the-great-irish-famine#ixzz2Z8HmKZss


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Famine
From: Will Fly
Date: 15 Jul 13 - 12:54 PM

Odd, isn't it, that with the resources and power available to the Victorian ruling classes, they were totally unable to stop thousands of people from dying.

Nothing to be done. They were totally impotent. Impossible to have alleviated the situation one whit.

I gather Queen Victoria sent £5 - so that was all right then.

Stephen Davies may be an eminent historian, but I think I prefer to take a different view from him. It's worth reading about the Captain Swing riots, the changed attitude to the working classes embedded in the Poor Laws and the rise of the union workhouses in the 1830s to get a good idea of the mentality and abilities of the ruling classes when they chose to exercise their power.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Famine
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Jul 13 - 12:57 PM

So - nothing further on what I wrote?
Try these for size
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/blair-issues-apology-for-irish-potato-famine-1253790.html

http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/british/victorians/famine_01.shtml
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Famine
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 15 Jul 13 - 12:57 PM

How effective was US government in providing for New Orleans after the hurricane?


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Famine
From: Will Fly
Date: 15 Jul 13 - 01:39 PM

It wasn't a question of the ability to be effective - it was the attitude of the government and the government agencies that was a factor in how New Orleans was not given enough aid.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. We have nations which can move mountains if they choose to - mobilise thousands of men and equipment thousands of miles to fight a war, for example - but choose not to in other situations.

The Victorians ammassed an empire, plundered the world's resources, conquered nations - but were totally impotent to do better in a national emergency on their own doorstep, just a few miles across the Irish sea.

Hmm... 'nuff said from me on this.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Famine
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 15 Jul 13 - 02:05 PM

We might also look at the history of inclosure in England. Again theft by the rich from teh poor. Goodness me do I detect a modern parallel?


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Famine
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 15 Jul 13 - 04:39 PM

Using a famine as an opportunity to attempt to alter a land system, with the idea that the change might reduce the likelihood of famines in future years, is grotesquely irrelevant. It's like revising building regulations instead of trying to save people trapped in blazing building that was jerry-built.

Of course if you can reduce the population sufficiently, by death and other means, this does have the effect of reducing the likelihood of similar famines in the future.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Famine
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 15 Jul 13 - 04:45 PM

I do not think anyone is claiming that McG.

Robert Nielson.
The most controversial issue in Anglo-Irish affairs is the allegation that food was exported during the Famine. This was first claimed by Irish nationalists as a reason to end British rule and the Famine certainly put an end to the idea that Ireland would be a part of the United Kingdom for good. However, it is extraordinarily difficult to prove the claim true or false, and to my knowledge no one has. Records of exports simply weren't kept or have since been lost. It is certainly true that some food was exported, but there is no way of knowing how much or if it would have prevented the Famine. Food was also imported, though again, it is unknown where this outweighed the food that was exported. The starving Irish had little money so merchants naturally (in their mind) sold it abroad where they could get a better price. Had a ban on exports been put in place, lives would have been saved, but how many is unknown.
http://robertnielsen21.wordpress.com/2013/03/05/was-the-irish-famine-genocide/


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Famine
From: GUEST,SJL
Date: 15 Jul 13 - 05:04 PM

Jim, there is nothing on the face of this earth that can put a people down like a major bout of starvation. Ask people who come from a Russian or Ukrainian region that was affected by the Holodomor.

And all the British did during this time was increase the penalties for "stealing"; stealing to live. They were trapped within.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Famine
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Jul 13 - 05:45 PM

"Jim, there is nothing on the face of this earth that can put a people down like a major bout of starvation"
It is still put forward as a suggestion that the famine was welcomed by many English Politicians as an answer to the @Irish Question'.
Whatever the truth, it an undeniable fact that the greatest suffering in Ireland was the mass evictions and the total indifference of the Government.
As I have already said, "had this happened anywhere else in the British Isles...."
Much the same thing happened in Scotland, and was met with the same indifference.
Jim Carroll

"Potato famine[edit]
Main article: Highland Potato Famine
As in Ireland, the potato crop failed in the mid nineteenth century, and a widespread outbreak of cholera further weakened the Highland population. The ongoing clearance policy resulted in starvation, deaths, and a secondary clearance, when families either migrated voluntarily or were forcibly evicted. There were many deaths of children and old people. As there were few alternatives, people emigrated, joined the British army, or moved to growing urban centres such as Glasgow, Edinburgh, and Dundee in Lowland Scotland and Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Liverpool in the north of England. In places some people were given economic incentives to move, but few historians dispute that in many instances landlords used violent methods."   
Clearances
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Famine
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 15 Jul 13 - 05:46 PM

The idea that the key to a better future is reducing the "surplus population " is pretty widespread, now as then, and that has often included seing merit in taking advantage of natural disasters such as famines, natural or manmade. Sad, but inevitable abd necessary...

As Dickens had Scrooge say, writing in 1843 ``If they would rather die,'' said Scrooge, ``they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population. Besides -- excuse me -- I don't know that.''

In the Iris Famine the typical pattern was for the absentee landlord to instruct the agent to get id of the urplus tenants. The agent, with armed police support, would comply. What happened next to the evicted tenants was of course nothing to do with the landlord. What happened next was typically that they died, by the road, in workhouses, or in coffin ships.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Famine
From: GUEST,Iain
Date: 15 Jul 13 - 07:57 PM

Those who don't know history are destined to repeat it.
Edmund Burke
As many have said on this thread, the famine was a tragedy compounded by the inadequate response of the colonial masters in Westminster and their fear of creating dependancy. The end result was a catastrophe.
Vast numbers starved while foodstuffs were still being exported. The population showed a dramatic fall from the combined effect of starvation, and in many cases, forced emigration.
   Skibbereen was one of the most severely hit towns with mass graves
containing nearly 10,000 bodies. Today the town and hinterland has a population of around 3500.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Famine
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 15 Jul 13 - 08:20 PM

The trouble with calling it a famine is that it makes it sound like some kind of act of God, which it wasn't. There was plenty enough food in Ireland but it didn't find its way into the mouths of the peasantry. The trouble with calling it a tragedy, well, the same. "Tragedy" is one of those words we apply to air crashes or tsunamis. The implication, again, is that the thing was an act of God. Isn't God an easy bloke to blame?


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Famine
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Jul 13 - 10:02 PM

'It wasn't a question of the ability to be effective - it was the attitude of the government and the government agencies that was a factor in how New Orleans was not given enough aid.'

That isn't so. The question then as now is why they weren't effective. Much of the aid required was there; much of it wasn't utilized. In fact, a SAR team, very skilled, was in NO before the head of FEMA knew there was a problem. Call a spade a shovel.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Famine
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 16 Jul 13 - 02:58 AM

Steve, it was a famine triggered by the blight.
All historians agree it was catastrophic for Ireland.
The old "nationalist" historians regarded the English as being uniquely uncaring and the Irish as uniquely the victims.

"Revisionist" historians challenge the view that England was culpable.

English and Scots peasants were also displaced and filled coffin ships.
Richard mentioned the enclosures, and in Scotland were the clearances.
It was the English surplus population that Scrooge wanted reduced.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Famine
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 16 Jul 13 - 03:38 AM

However the parallel continues, did you see the fear in government of creating dependency.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Famine
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 16 Jul 13 - 04:04 AM

"The old "nationalist" historians regarded the English as being uniquely uncaring and the Irish as uniquely the victims."
No - the documented facts present the English Government as such - deal with the ones you have been presented with or accept them as a reality; ignoring them is an indication that you have no proof whatever to their not being the facts.
More documented facts below
Jim Carroll

From English historian and Journalist, Robert Kee's 'Ireland – A History' based on the BBC/RTE Television series - 1980.

Peel's third decision was to remove all the protectionist duties on grain imported into the United Kingdom of Britain and Ireland in order to lower the price of bread. In other words, to repeal what were known as the Corn Law's. In English terms this was a big decision. But lowering the price of bread in Ireland was of little use to people there. One-third of the Irish population - those about to be hit hardest by the coming
famine - could hardly afford bread at any price. That was precisely why they lived off potatoes. Still, by the standards of the day Peel had acted quite imaginatively.
These standards of the day were not, primarily, those virtues of charity and selfless generosity towards the poor and needy of the Christianity then so widely professed, but the principles of another religion altogether known as 'political economy'. Certain almost unshakeable, sincerely held economic beliefs were to underlie all governmental policy towards the Famine. And the greatest of these was that principle of political economy which maintained that you should interfere to the absolute minimum with the market forces of supply and
demand because if you did so interfere, you endangered the natural flow by which supplies could reach the market.
The State could not gift people food because, by doing so, it would undermine market prices and thus make merchants withhold food from the market altogether - the last thing you wanted in time of famine. The flaw in this was of course in the supposition that the needy would be able to buy on the market at all.
The foremost guardian of these principles of political economy – a man who. as chief official in charge of relief measures, was soon to assume something like dictatorial powers of life and death behind the scenes - was a British civil servant. Charles Trevelyan, permanent Head of the Treasury of the day. An able, well-bred, cultivated man in his late thirties, he was given to reading aloud chapters from the Bible in a loud
sonorous voice.
Now Trevelyan's watchfulness for the rules of political economy had to be particularly sharp. His Prime Minister, Sir Robert Peel, was bending these rules to some extent by bringing any government food into Ireland at all. But firstly. Peel was careful to import a specific commodity for which there had not hitherto been a market in Ireland.
Secondly - and this seems almost inconceivable today - it was brought in not primarily as food to be eaten immediately by people who were beginning to starve but only as a gently-applied economic lever. The government would judiciously release Indian corn for sale from the government depots when it judged that prices on the general food market were rising too high. Thus, although Indian corn was stored in the Government Depot at Cork where the poor were dangerously short
of food since the end of January 1846. it was not until two months later that the first government sales took place and a near-riot was the predictable result. Even then such evidence of the strength of the demand was used as an argument for quickly suspending the sales, since it was judged that supplies must be held back for the inevitably greater pressure of the summer.
This was in April 1846. It was not until a month later, in the middle of May. that the government ordered the general opening of depots for the sale of the Indian corn all over Ireland. By then the poor were becoming desperate. Food carts carrying flour or Indian corn or wheat, oats and barley grown for rent, sometimes on its way to market or to the ports for export, were being attacked and there was a noticeable increase in sheep-stealing.
The possibility of such disorders had been long dreaded. Indeed, there were times late in 1845 and early 1846 when it had seemed that respectable British opinion was more concerned with the danger to property resulting from the potato famine than with the danger to those starving. And there was already before the House of Commons a so-called 'Coercion' Bill proposing special police measures including a curfew and punishment of fifteen years' transportation for breach of it.
But in Ireland, priorities seemed very different. The Freeman's Journal wrote on 15 April 1846:

"There have been attacks on flour mills in Clonmel by people whose bones protruded through the skin which covered them - staring through hollow eyes as if the) had just risen from their shrouds, crying out that they could no longer endure the extremity of their distress and that they must take that food which they could not procure.... As we pass into summer, we pass into suffering Every week develops the growing intensity of the national calamity."
The trouble was that the other arm of the government's relief action, the relief commission's subsidizing of local committees to help provide both cheap food and the money with which to buy it through employment on public works, was proceeding very slowly. Special local sessions had been held at which schemes for local public works such as road-building were presented and had money allotted to them, but these then had to be sent to the Board of Works for approval. Long bureaucratic delays often ensued before they could be put into practice.
When a boat-load of flour and Indian meal on its way from Limerick to Clare was boarded by a party of fourteen armed men near Smith's Island, held for six hours and emptied of a hundred sacks of flour and twenty of Indian corn the local paper, the Limerick Examiner.
commented:

"These people had hitherto been kept quiet by the promises that the government would every other day carry into operation the public works so often spoken of; and now when they see no immediate source of relief from that quarter I fear
they will resort to means such as the foregoing.
After all, every sort of food except the potato was there because the harvest in even' other crop but the potato was excellent. Food was leaving the country for export in vast quantities. Even more was coming in. Quite apart from the Indian corn, nearly fourtimes as much wheat was being imported into Ireland as exported. It was just not available to the hungry.
Trevelyan's chief concern was that such cheap Indian corn as was being sold, was going to people suffering from the distress normal to Ireland at that time of year between harvests and not just to people in distress because of the potato failure. And he had come to a severe decision. "Indiscriminate sales", he wrote with curious logic, "have brought the whole country on the depots and, without denying the existence of real and extensive distress, the numbers are beyond the power of the depots to cope with. They must therefore be closed down as soon as possible". In other words, while hoping for a good potato harvest in the summer of 1846, the poor must do what they could on the open market with such money as they could earn from the public works.


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Subject: RE: BS: Irish Famine
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 16 Jul 13 - 04:19 AM

So Jim favours the "nationalist" version of the famine.
No surprise there Jim, but why should we ignore the views of modern historians who rufute it?
Again, what is your opinion as a historian worth?


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Subject: RE: Folklore/History: Irish Famine
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 16 Jul 13 - 04:30 AM

"refute"


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Subject: RE: Folklore/History: Irish Famine
From: Joe Offer
Date: 16 Jul 13 - 04:33 AM

I moved this thread from BS to the music section because the subject has a lot to do with music. I hope I don't regret that decision.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Folklore/History: Irish Famine
From: Jack Campin
Date: 16 Jul 13 - 05:19 AM

Records of exports simply weren't kept or have since been lost.

This is utter garbage. Every port in the Empire kept records of what goods went and out, and what the market rate for them was. (In the case of Leith, the one I've read most about, you only needed to look in the daily paper, which had columns about freight movements and commodity prices).

Whatever "qualifications" Davies may have been awarded by ruling-class finishing schools like St Andrews, he's an ultra-right Tory ideologue who wouldn't know a historical truth if it bit him in the arse.

The British state knew what it was doing. They'd administered a famine on the same scale in India fifty years before, had tried to use famine as a weapon during the American War of Independence, and casually sat back and let Shetland starve in the late 1780s. It wasn't like this sort of phenomenon was anything new to them. And no this was NOT the "English" - the guy in charge of India during the famine was Henry Dundas, the most powerful politician in Scotland, and the Scottish elite was still playing a disproportionate role in running the Empire two generations later.


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Subject: RE: Folklore/History: Irish Famine
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 16 Jul 13 - 05:32 AM

For all I know, but it is hard to dismiss all the modern historians who have formed a different view.
Davies is but one.


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Subject: RE: Folklore/History: Irish Famine
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 16 Jul 13 - 05:56 AM

"So Jim favours the "nationalist" version of the famine."
No Keith - I live surrounded by the history of the famine, my family were victims forced to flee the famine so it's a subject that interests me greatly, I have read and recorded a great deal of famine history - and most of all - I have posted a great deal of documented information on the subject, mainly from British historians who have based their findings on historically verified British documentation - REFUTE IT AND STOP ATTEMPTING TO SMEAR ME AND IGNORE HISTORICALLY VERIFIED FACTS
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Folklore/History: Irish Famine
From: bubblyrat
Date: 16 Jul 13 - 05:57 AM

I have read books about this terrible event . I seem to recall being surprised that there could be such utter reliance on just one single foodstuff , in a country entirely surrounded by water ; why didn't they catch and eat more fish ?? But, apparently , as the crisis worsened , all the fishermen sold their boats and nets in order to buy food .Meanwhile , many tenant farmers continued to grow cereal crops in order to raise the money for their rents . Even if there had been sufficient grain available for bread production ,there were too few mills in Ireland to cope with the task of flour grinding ; another consequence of total reliance on the potato .
                     I believe that , in desperation , maize was distributed widely , but unfamiliarity with this alien substance led to tragedy in many instances of people eating it raw and unprocessed ; I believe that many children suffered grievously in this case. I suspect that the Irish ,for whom I have the greatest respect , and therefore no wish to insult them , were ,in many ways , the authors , to some extent ,of their own misfortune . Sorry , but it does seem rather obvious . But , whatever the cause or causes , it was definitely NOT "genocide" ; there were no egg-headed crazed scientists beavering away in secret laboratories in order to cultivate "in vitro" potato blight .Well, probably not ,anyway.


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Subject: RE: Folklore/History: Irish Famine
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 16 Jul 13 - 05:57 AM

As I said at the outset - Holocaust Denying - again
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Folklore/History: Irish Famine
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 16 Jul 13 - 06:06 AM

"Nationalist" is no smear Jim.

Were you not aware that "revisionist" historians do not accept the view that "nationalist" historians have for so long regarded as objective truth.
Sorry, but that is a fact.
I am not a historian of any kind, and am just a messenger on this, so please don't shoot me.


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Subject: RE: Folklore/History: Irish Famine
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 16 Jul 13 - 06:17 AM

The revisionist response & interpretation: from the foreword to The Great Famine
R. Dudley Edwards & T. Desmond Williams (eds.), The Great Famine: Studies in Irish History 1845-52, 1956
The traditional interpretation of the Great Famine is
fundamental to an understanding of the character of
Irish society in the second half of the 19th century and
later. But if modern research cannot substantiate the
traditional in all its forms, something surely more
sobering emerges which is, perhaps, of greater value
towards an appreciation of the problems that beset all
mankind, both the governors and the governed in every
generation. If man, the prisoner of time, acts in
conformity with the conventions of society into which
he is born, it is difficult to judge him with an
irrevocable harshness. So it is with the men of the
famine era. Human limitations and timidity dominate
the story of the Great Famine, but of great and
deliberately imposed evil in high positions of
responsibility there is little evidence. The really great
evil lay in the totality of that social order which made
such a famine possible and which could tolerate, to the
extent it did, the sufferings and hardship caused by the failure of the potato crop.

http://www.iisresource.org/Documents/KS3_Famine_Interpretations.pdf


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Subject: RE: Folklore/History: Irish Famine
From: GUEST,Iain
Date: 16 Jul 13 - 06:51 AM

I would say the lesson for us all is that the elite cannot be trusted to look after the little man when the paradigm gets busted.
The enclosure acts in England, the Highland clearances, the creation of a dependency on the potato in Ireland leading to the ensuing famine after the blight struck: These events all show the ruling classes engineered the circumstances leading to massive migrations. It is not just Ireland that suffered, although the dependence on the potato and the blight made the situation in Ireland far more severe. To argue it was or was not a famine or a catastrophe is to merely argue semantics. The facts are in the public domain and cannot be denied.
The present day erosion of liberty and employment in the west is beginning to show some very uncomfortable parallels with the recent past. To say that the study of history is futile would seem to revel in ignorance of both the past and the future. You might as well stick your head in a bucket of sand, but beware that reality does not kick you up the ******.


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Subject: RE: Folklore/History: Irish Famine
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 16 Jul 13 - 06:56 AM

Don't write "refute" when what you mean is "dispute", Keith.

"Deliberately imposed evil" has never been the point. Failing to intervene to save lives is another matter.


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Subject: RE: Folklore/History: Irish Famine
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 16 Jul 13 - 07:27 AM

..or to intervene in a way that proves hopelessly inadequate.


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Subject: RE: Folklore/History: Irish Famine
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 16 Jul 13 - 07:36 AM

Refute.
1. To prove to be false or erroneous; (overthrow by argument or proof:) refute testimony.
2. To deny the accuracy or truth of: (refuted the results of the poll.)

2, is what the historians do.


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