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Gladstone, Fenians and Disestablishment

  • Stuart Andrews
Chapter
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Abstract

John Mitchells insistence that the British government was to blame for the Irish famine is echoed in one modern historian’s confident assertion that the prohibition of food exports from Ireland in the mid-1840s ‘would have saved tens, perhaps hundreds of thousands of lives’. John Newsinger’s judgement is that ‘a million people died because government relief measures were too little and too late’. It was not that the Whigs’ free trade ideology constricted the range of options, but ‘rather that the Famine did not affect their interests sufficiently for them to change their ideas’. And he endorses Mitchel’s observation that the Viceroy, while ‘presiding over the starvation of rural Ireland also presides over the social life of Dublin’.1 The question is whether the Famine, and its surrounding myths, mark a shift to a secular Irish nationalism in which the sectarian disputes of the previous half-century find no echo.

Keywords

Quarterly Review Revolutionary Movement Irish People Protestant Religion Anglican Clergy 
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.
    J. Newsinger, Fenianism in mid-Victorian Britain (London and Boulder, Colorado: Pluto Press, 1994) pp. 21, 6–8.Google Scholar
  2. Mitchel’s History of Ireland from the treaty of Limerick to the present time… (Glasgow, 1869).Google Scholar
  3. 2.
    R.V. Comerford, The Fenians in context: Irish politics and society, 1848–82 (Dublin, Wolfhound Press; NJ, Humanities Press both 1985) p. 21.Google Scholar
  4. 5.
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  5. 12.
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    see F. D’Arcy, The Fenian movement in the United States (Washington, 1947).Google Scholar
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    see G. R. Moran, Radical priest in Mayo. Father Patrick Lavelle: the rise and fall of an Irish nationalist, 1825–86 (Dublin, 1994).Google Scholar
  16. 48.
    See Whelan, The politics of memory: the contemporary significance of the 1798 rebellion’ and M. Mansergh, The significance of the 1798 commemoration: the lessons history can teach’ in M. Cullen, 1798: 200 years of resonance (Dublin, 1998) pp. 156 and 229–34.Google Scholar
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    Comerford’s view is endorsed in New History of Ireland v part 1 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996).Google Scholar
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    see G. E. Buckle (ed.) Letters of Queen Victoria 2nd series (1862–78) 2 vols (1926) i pp. 516–18.Google Scholar
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    See B. Solow, The land question and the Irish economy (Harvard, 1871) pp. 19–20.Google Scholar
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    J. Morley, Life of William Ewart Gladstone 2 vols (1908) ii p. 88.Google Scholar

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© Stuart Andrews 2006

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  • Stuart Andrews

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