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Travelling to Write, 1850–1860

  • Glenn Hooper

Abstract

Ireland in the nineteenth century experienced significant political, economic and social change. Although the Famine was in itself an event of unimaginable misery, it continued to alter Irish, and Anglo-Irish, life for the remainder of the century. Travellers and other commentators, we have seen, reported on events as they occurred between 1845 and 1850, yet the post-Famine years, when a perceptible reduction in interest might be expected, saw a surprising, and additional, development. In this chapter I wish to examine a range of writings on Ireland that were published in the years immediately following the worst effects of the Irish Famine, and I want to especially concentrate on the writings of travellers to the country, but also on several promotional texts, the alignment between the two forms being particularly close throughout the 1850s and early 1860s. Alison Blunt suggests that ‘Travel is bounded by points of departure and destination but in an arbitrary, retrospective way defined by perceptions of “home” that can themselves arise only with critical distance.’1 In the course of this chapter I want to show how the concept of ‘home’ could undergo displacement, could at times even force a dramatic sense of reinvention, as the pressures of imperial desire meshed with the realities of Famine in mid-nineteenth-century Ireland.

Keywords

Daily News Travel Writing Vast Extent Irish Famine Travel Literature 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    A. Blunt, Travel, Gender and Imperialism (London: Guilford, 1994), p. 17.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    T. Carlyle, Reminiscences of My Irish Journey, ed., J. A. Froude (London: Sampson Low, 1882), p. vi.Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    W. Bulloch Webster, Ireland Considered as a Field for Investment or Residence (Dublin: Hodges, 1852), preface.Google Scholar
  4. 11.
    G. Preston White, Three Suggestions for the Investment of Capital (London: Trelawney, 1851), p. 3.Google Scholar
  5. 19.
    S. Jackman, Galloping Head: The Life of the Right Honourable Sir Francis Bond Head, Bart, P.C., 1793–1875 Late Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada (London: Phoenix, 1958), p. 50.Google Scholar
  6. 22.
    F. Bond Head, A Fortnight in Ireland (London: Murray, 1852), p. 5.Google Scholar
  7. 31.
    Sir D. Neave, Four Days in Connemara (London: Murray, 1852), p. 51.Google Scholar
  8. 34.
    C. R. Weld, Vacations in Ireland (London: Longmans, 1857), p. 357.Google Scholar
  9. 38.
    Although more concerned with the modern connections between journalism and travel writing, a lively discussion is nevertheless offered by P. Holland and G. Huggan in Tourists with Typewriters: Critical Reflections on Contemporary Travel Writing (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1998), especially pp. 1–27. See, also, D. Spurr, The Rhetoric of Empire: Colonial Discourse in Journalism, Travel Writing and Imperial Administration (Durham: Duke University Press, 1994).Google Scholar
  10. 39.
    John Forbes, Memorandums Made in Ireland in the Autumn of 1852 (London: Smith, 1853), vol. I, pp. 259–60.Google Scholar
  11. 40.
    H. Martineau, Letters from Ireland, ed., G. Hooper (Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 2001), pp. 90–1.Google Scholar
  12. 42.
    The concept of ‘home’ is, of course, a notoriously complex category, not just because our sense of what it implies is rarely shared by others, or because it can be frustrated or overridden by attachments to region or community, but because in the case of a place such as Ireland the category presents more than the usual number of challenges, especially to British narrators. For a fuller, more sustained discussion, see R. Marangoly George, The Politics of Home: Postcolonial Relocations and Twentieth-Century Fiction (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996).Google Scholar
  13. See, also, J. Childers, ‘At Home in the Empire’, in M. Baumgarten and H. M. Daleski, eds, Homes and Homelessness in the Victorian Imagination (New York: AMS, 1998), pp. 215–27.Google Scholar
  14. 43.
    J. Hervey Ashworth, The Saxon in Ireland; or, The Rambles of an Englishman in Search of a Settlement in the West of Ireland (London: Murray, 1852), preface.Google Scholar
  15. 44.
    The oak tree acts as a quintessentially ‘English’ motif, and within the context of Ashworth’s text reinforces the appropriate national and gender priorities. William Shenstone, for example, refers to the oak as ‘the perfect image of the manly character: in former times I should have said, and in present times I think I am authorised to say, the British one’. T. Williamson, Polite Landscapes: Gardens and Society in Eighteenth-Century England (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1995), p. 128.Google Scholar
  16. 47.
    J. Hack Tuke, A Visit to Connaught in the Autumn of 1847 (London: Gilpin, 1847), p. 196.Google Scholar
  17. 58.
    T. Miller, The Agricultural and Social State of Ireland in 1858, Being the Experience of Englishmen and Scotchmen Who Have Settled in Ireland … With an Appendix, Consisting of Letters from Scotch and English Proprietors and Farmers Resident in Ireland (Dublin: Thom, 1858), p. 10.Google Scholar
  18. 64.
    See W. A. McCutcheon, ‘The Transport Revolution: Canals and River Navigations’, in K. B. Nowlan, ed., Travel and Transport in Ireland (Dublin: Gill and Macmillan, 1973).Google Scholar
  19. 66.
    J. B. Harley, ‘Maps, Knowledge and Power’, in S. Daniels and D. Cosgrove, eds, The Iconography of Landscape (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988), p. 278.Google Scholar
  20. 99.
    See D. David, Intellectual Women and Victorian Patriarchy: Harriet Martineau, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, George Eliot (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1987),CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. and S. Hunter, Harriet Martineau: The Poetics of Moralism (Aldershot: Scolar, 1995).Google Scholar
  22. 100.
    H. Martineau, Autobiography (London: Smith, 1877), vol. II, p. 407.Google Scholar
  23. 105.
    See the very useful J. McAuliffe, ‘Women’s Travel Writing in Mid-Nineteenth Century Ireland’, in M. Kelleher and J. H. Murphy, eds, Gender Perspectives in 19th Century Ireland: Public and Private Spheres (Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 1997).Google Scholar
  24. 106.
    H. Martineau, Autobiography, ed., G. Weiner (London: Virago, 1983), vol. I, p. xv.Google Scholar
  25. 111.
    V. Sanders, Reason over Passion: Harriet Martineau and the Victorian Novel (Sussex: Harvester, 1986), p. 168.Google Scholar
  26. 115.
    Thomas Drummond (1797–1840) was a Scots engineer who invented the limelight as well as an improved version of the heliostat. He was appointed Under-Secretary at Dublin Castle (1835), and is mainly remembered for helping to reform the Irish police, and opposing the excesses of the Orange Order. For further discussion, see M. A. G. Ó Tuathaigh, Thomas Drummond and the Government of Ireland 1835–41 (Dublin: National University of Ireland, 1977).Google Scholar
  27. 119.
    ‘Ultimately, Martineau’s “solutions” to the situations in Ireland and India centered on education and entrepreneurial capitalism, which she thought the British had a responsibility to promote in both countries. It was the rationalist argument that science, knowledge and disciplined economic behaviour would save inhabitants in both cases from the crises and conflicts generated, she thought, by traditional culture.’ S. Hoecker-Drysdale, Harriet Martineau: First Woman Sociologist (New York: Berg, 1992), p. 122.Google Scholar

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© Glenn Hooper 2005

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  • Glenn Hooper

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