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Queen Victoria

22 Jan 01 - 01:44 PM (#379683)
Subject: Queen Victoria
From: Fiolar

One hundred years ago today on the 22nd January 1901 Queen Victoria passed on to higher or lower things. During her reign hardly a year went by without British soldiers fighting in some little war or other in various parts of the globe. When they weren't fighting they were annexing. This was the woman whose reign was described in a 1938 movie starring Anna Neagle as "Sixty Glorious Years". Yet under her "benign" rule the population of Ireland was almost halved from something in the region of 8.1 million in 1841 to just over 4.7 million in 1891.

22 Jan 01 - 02:02 PM (#379700)
Subject: RE: Queen Victoria
From: mousethief

Didn't the Irish population have a lot to do with famine? Did she cause that?

22 Jan 01 - 02:26 PM (#379717)
Subject: RE: Queen Victoria
From: John Routledge

Reality of the past.

"While many of us may find our grandfather's interpretation of their laws harsh we cannot reinvent the past to suit our modern sensitivities"

This was the conclusion of a seminar in 1997 considering the execution of deserters in WW1. The principle applies to many areas of history.

22 Jan 01 - 06:07 PM (#379945)
Subject: RE: Queen Victoria
From: Liz the Squeak

Odd, then that although Ireland's population halved, England's population increased by several million.... see a pattern here??


22 Jan 01 - 06:14 PM (#379957)
Subject: RE: Queen Victoria
From: Les from Hull

I'm not sure that I like the way that this is going, but quite a few Irish emigrated to England at this time.

22 Jan 01 - 06:24 PM (#379968)
Subject: RE: Queen Victoria
From: Liz the Squeak

See, she didn't get them killed, she just rearranged them a bit....


22 Jan 01 - 07:28 PM (#380026)
Subject: RE: Queen Victoria
From: Noreen

I usually stay away from dangerous ground like this, but it would be more accurate to call the events in Ireland 'The Great Hunger' rather than a famine. There was more than enough food produced in Ireland to feed the population, but it was exported for the profits of absentee landlords, thoughout all the years of the "famine".

Sorry, mousethief, but as usual the truth in never pure and rarely simple...


22 Jan 01 - 08:06 PM (#380058)
Subject: RE: Queen Victoria
From: Malcolm Douglas

Efforts at famine relief (and efforts were made, though they didn't work; nobody had the experience) rarely work well, even today.  Cash crops get exported, and seedcorn gets eaten rather than planted.  It's futile to bear grudges so long after the event, particularly when the history is so much more complicated than most people seem willing to accept, or to investigate.


22 Jan 01 - 08:12 PM (#380070)
Subject: RE: Queen Victoria
From: kendall

Remember the song Fields of Athenry? The USA sent hundrens of tons of corn, but, it was tied up to prevent the price of native corn from dropping.Mr. Trevallian, The under secretary of something or other tried to do what was right, but, he was two blocked by the establishment.

22 Jan 01 - 08:16 PM (#380074)
Subject: RE: Queen Victoria
From: Matt_R

Yeah, we all know Queen Vic was getting her jollies with Dizzy Ben!

22 Jan 01 - 08:21 PM (#380081)
Subject: RE: Queen Victoria
From: Troll

Actually, Queen Victoria sent money to aid the stricken from her Privy Purse. Wasn't much tho. I can't give you the citation 'cause the Memsahib has the book at school.
Someone in the UK; look in Terry Deary's "Horrible History" series. "The Vile Victorians" I think.


22 Jan 01 - 08:21 PM (#380082)
Subject: RE: Queen Victoria
From: Malcolm Douglas

Thankyou for that very constructive remark, Matt.

23 Jan 01 - 12:47 AM (#380225)
Subject: RE: Queen Victoria
From: Jimmy C

Troll, You are right, Victoria did send some money to aid the starving in Ireland. The same week she sent a lot more money to aid a dogs home in Battersea. I am not implying that England caused the famine but the government could have helped a lot more.

The Potato crop failed not only in Ireland but is some other European countries as well, but their governments had the sense not to continue to export export food at the same time. There were also some decent concerned landowners who spent their fortunes trying to help the people in their areas.

Kendall they had lots of food stored in warehouses but Trevallian would not distribute it because he did not want to establish a welfare society. There is a road built across the Mourne Mountains in Co,Down that goes nowhere. But people had to build it to get a little money just to buy food. This food could have been distributed free of charge, many people would have benefitted from it, instead they had to use whatever energy and strength they had left building a stupid unnecessary road so that they would qualify for food. It was even worse in the west of Ireland

Seeing that is was cheaper to pay their passage to America than to keep them at home and feed them, some concerned landlords paid the fare for many of their tenants.

Thank God America opened her arms to welcome the millions that ventured across the Atlantic.We will never forget that, just as we will never forget Victoria and the British actions either. I'm proud to say that the vast majority became good citizens of their adopted country, But England does have a lot to answer for.

23 Jan 01 - 04:35 AM (#380279)
Subject: RE: Queen Victoria
From: Dave the Gnome

Don't forget that ALL the poor suffered during the '60 glorious years', not just the Irish. Lancashire miners and mill workers forced to take pay cuts to an already starvation-level wage. Long hours in attrocious conditions, a life expectancy of 30, an infant mortality rate of 40% - more in some parts. Child - almost slave - labour, the mine and mill owners also owning the houses and shops as well as the lives of their workers. Life was cheap enough to build the magnificent cities of Manchester, Rochdale and many other on the backs of the downtrodden masses.

Sorry, but one small part of the 'empire on which the sun never sets' does not have the exclusive rights to be oppressed - it happened to us all. At least a lot of the Irish managed to escape to the US while very few of those on the mainland could even summon up enough strength, funds or will to take that route.

An the polititians want to return to Victorian values...

Dave the Gnome

23 Jan 01 - 06:03 AM (#380294)
Subject: RE: Queen Victoria
From: Gervase

The English weren't much different from any other nations. Remember the scramble for Africa, with Germany, France, Belgium and Portugal all grabbing land and resources - a scramble for which the people of Africa at still paying the price today. Look at the Congo, Angola and many other places...then look at India, Australia etc.
That is not to excuse Imperialism - it is exploitative and generally to be condemned, but it has to be put into context.
And (he whispers quietly for fear of offending), didn't America have her own imperialist intentions before the First World War, with a view to a Pacific hegemony?
The problem is, the English have copped the flak for the Empire because they had so much of it, and because one of the most shameful episodes - the Famine - affected a population which went in droves to an anglophone country with its own suspicions of perfidiious Albion. Maybe those suspicions were justified - after all, there was pressure from British business interests to intervene on the side of the Confederacy to maintain the cotton trade. Thankfully it was resisted - maybe because the majority in the UK had already decided that slavery was abhorent, but probably because any economist or strategist realised that the South's was a hopeless cause and that the future lay in industrialisation - but that's for another day... :^) All of which is why, today, people bang on about the nature of the terrible Brits. As, in some parts of the world, they bang on about the terrible Yanks. After all, when Kipling wrote "Take up the white man's burden..." he was actually addressing America.
Think on't as they say!

23 Jan 01 - 06:09 AM (#380296)
Subject: RE: Queen Victoria
From: McGrath of Harlow

Going back over what happened a century and a half ago is useful if it makes sense of what happened afewards, and helps us avoid some of the same mistakes today. If it turns into a game of pointing fingers at the faults of other people and ignoring our own faults, it's not just a waste of time, it's dangerous.

There are hundreds of thousands of children in Iraq who have died because of sanctions which have done no harm whatsoever to Saddam. Future generations are going to see what we are colluding in is in no way less shameful no better than anything the politicians and businesmen of England and Ireland did in the Irish Famine. In fact they'll see us as far worse, necause we have no excuse about not being able to see what is going on.

Motes and beams.

23 Jan 01 - 07:36 AM (#380336)
Subject: RE: Queen Victoria
From: GUEST,sledge

Gervase, well said.

This drum banging over past rights and wrongs is a futile exercise, will it alter anything if myself or any other English man apologises for these deeds, No it won't. The dead will still be dead, the descendants of those who left propbably have no intention of returning, no matter what the political and economic climate.

This energy spent on this retrospective moralising would probably be better directed at issues affecting us and others today.

I also get pretty pissed off when the English are made the whipping boy when someone feels the need to hoist the victim banner whether on their own or others behalf, there is a lot of ugly history out there, often closer to home that we might like.


23 Jan 01 - 09:04 AM (#380406)
Subject: RE: Queen Victoria
From: GUEST,kendall

And they just elected a president who would love to take us back to the dark ages..

23 Jan 01 - 11:49 AM (#380507)
Subject: RE: Queen Victoria
From: Les from Hull

It's usually wrong the blame the inhabitants of a nation for the actions made by the rulers of that nation. Especially when all the inhabitants of a nation were born after the events in question.


23 Jan 01 - 01:29 PM (#380574)
Subject: RE: Queen Victoria
From: John Routledge

The people of NE England were treated appallingly by the government in Queen Vic's reign.

Unfortunately Ireland and NE England are not the only members of the Oppressed Club.

We would understand each other much better if we also spent a little time looking at oppression from within our communities rather than concentrate on oppression from external sources. Towards Understanding John

23 Jan 01 - 02:24 PM (#380609)
Subject: RE: Queen Victoria
From: GUEST,guestguestguest(intruder)

the population of ireland halved, while the population of england increased many times over?!??

:::ponders a moment:::

the english were eating irish stew?

23 Jan 01 - 05:56 PM (#380793)
Subject: RE: Queen Victoria
From: Matt_R

You're very welcome, Malcolm! Dizzy Ben's Corndog Shack!

24 Jan 01 - 01:07 PM (#381378)
Subject: RE: Queen Victoria
From: Fiolar

To Guest: Very probably as the exports from Ireland to Liverpool 20th December 1845 show that among other livestock and grain, some 1,823 sheep were carried.

24 Jan 01 - 01:20 PM (#381385)
Subject: RE: Queen Victoria
From: wildlone

Lets all face it folks, The poor in victorian britain had a hard time all round. It was said that when the Irish came looking for work in the west country one of the places they stayed away from was Dorset as many of the gentry of the county also had land in Ireland. A reverend gentleman traveling in Dorset wrote about the sqalid living conditions of the farm workers,whole family's living in one room often,in the same bed. The cutting of wages, The taking in of the commons so even the keeping of a few animals was denied them.
They hang the man, and flog the woman.
That steals a goose from off the common.
But let the greater rascal loose.
That steals the common from off the goose.

24 Jan 01 - 08:03 PM (#381654)
Subject: RE: Queen Victoria
From: Brendy

What 'mainland' are you referring to here, Dave?


25 Jan 01 - 12:43 AM (#381867)
Subject: RE: Queen Victoria
From: Jimmy C


I agree that the poor in the England of that time had it hard, it must have been difficult for whole families to be living in one room etc, I understand that, but it was far more difficult for whole families to not even have one room, and had to live in the ditches. Parts of England suffered because there was no work and wages were low. In parts of Ireland there were no wages at all. and remember - it was only the potatoes that failed, not the apples, cabbages, turnips etc, The Irish starved not because there was no food, but because of what food there was was taken for export. This was not a natural famine, it was to a large extent an imposed starvation. The number of dead would have been much higher except for the actions of a lot of decent landlords. Dave, I am not saying that some english workers did not have it hard, but how many starved to death while quantities of grain and other foodstuffs were locked in warehouses in their own locality ?. I know that dwwelling on this topic will not alter the fact, but if we forget the events of the past there is a greater possibility of them happening again. Are we supposed to forget the holocaust, or Hiroshima ?. Do you think the children of Iraq will forget the sanctions just because some day they will be "in the past". Lets face it, England did not manage Ireland, they mismanaged it and the hurt remains.

25 Jan 01 - 07:57 AM (#382008)
Subject: RE: Queen Victoria
From: McGrath of Harlow

"Mainland" - there was a famous headline once:

Fog in the Channel - Europe cut off

25 Jan 01 - 08:46 AM (#382038)
Subject: RE: Queen Victoria
From: Grab

JimmyC, no we mustn't forget them. But equally we mustn't keep bringing them up either! As far as I'm concerned, Fiolar's post is a valid bit of history, BUT IT'S HISTORY! Sorry to shout, but it is. Sure, the landowners treated their tenants like crap. Sure, what they did was wrong. But why do ppl keep dragging this stuff up? For God's sake, if the Americans who think of themselves as "Irish" can't accept what that happened 6 generations ago is dead and dust, what hope is there for more recent stuff?

There's a saying that those who ignore the past are doomed to repeat it. I'd add a rebuttal to that - those who pay too much attention to the past can't change the future.


25 Jan 01 - 09:07 AM (#382056)
Subject: RE: Queen Victoria
From: Lady McMoo

The saddest thing is it has happened over and over...time and time again, all over the world since then. The potato blight in Ireland needn't have resulted in millions dying and millions more emigrating as there was plenty of food available as mentioned by several people above. You'd think we would learn from this but the tragedy is that millions of innocent people are starving this very day for similarly avoidable reasons.


25 Jan 01 - 10:54 AM (#382160)
Subject: RE: Queen Victoria
From: Jimmy C

Grab, I see where you are coming from, and I agree to a point, it depends on the motive for bringing it up. If it is to open old sores then it is wrong, but if it just for discussion as is the case with this thread then there is nothing wrong with it. Also if we do not remember the past why is history being taught in schools and universities, or is it only "GOOD" history that should be recorded. In Canada we have a Victorian Day holiday ( 24th May weekend)), apparently to celebrate this woman and her glorious reign, There was nothing glorious about her reign, there was nothing glorious about her, In retrospect we should remember that the british empire stretched far and wide which is ok if you can name one country where they were invited to. Thank God, the sun never set on that empire, otherwise we would have to wonder what they would have been up to in the dark. Mcmoo you are quite right, it is happening again and again which is a blight on mankind and something we should all be ashamed of.

25 Jan 01 - 01:38 PM (#382304)
Subject: RE: Queen Victoria
From: Fiolar

To Grab: It might be useful to ponder the words of Louis McNeice who incidentally was born in Belfast: "Pride in your history is pride In living what your fathers died, Is pride in taking your own pulse And counting in you someone else." An interesting anecdote about Victoria and the donations to the Famine fund is alleged to have happened thus. The Sultan of Turkey was told by the British government to reduce the amount he was prepared to donate as he apparently intended to give more than Her Maj had given.

25 Jan 01 - 03:36 PM (#382413)
Subject: RE: Queen Victoria
From: Grab

Jimmy, you're dead right on the motives, that's my point. If it's facts being taught in a history lesson, then great. Understand what happened, and don't let it happen again. But if it's just an excuse for xenophobia and passing prejudices down to your children, then enough's enough.

Fiolar, interesting story about Victoria - I can well believe that from her Imperial Majesty. But I'm not sure about McNeice's lines. Pride in what a member of your family has achieved (father/grandfather/whatever) is great - if I had a relative who was a war hero, I'd be proud of him for it. But the implication of the poem (and of this thread) is that ppl of Irish descent should be proud of what was done TO them, and that to me implies too much vendetta.


25 Jan 01 - 08:30 PM (#382707)
Subject: RE: Queen Victoria
From: Irish sergeant

There are some very valid and strongly felt points here. No-ones history is free of shameful acts. How much Queen Victoria knew is debatable. Governments act as a machine. By their very size sometimes, particularly in a constitutional monarchy without the knowledge of the very person who is in charge. That is not to condone what was, if not an outright policy of deliberate starvation, one in fact thanks to incompetent blundering and stubborn refusal to admit all went wrong. We've seen it before, adn we'll see it again. And yes, The United States made it's bid for colonies. Our history bears stains as well. The idea is not to brood over them but to make sure they don't happen again. I'm done semonizing. Kindest reguards, Neil

25 Jan 01 - 10:26 PM (#382761)
Subject: RE: Queen Victoria
From: GUEST,lost john

Whole bunch o' sermonizing, but not a lot of understanding of the times. Queen Victoria, good or bad, was pretty important to our grandmothers and grandfathers and theirs before them. That doesn't mean we have to honour their archaic beliefs, but at least recognize and respect them for their time and place in history. If you or I were to be shot back 100 years, don't think we wouldn't be mourning her passing too. *whew* Now I'm sweating. What was I saying about sermonizing?