Mystery of Irish Potato Famine Solved
This above is a patently false statement. There was an Irish tragedy, it was called The Great Hunger!. There was never any potato famine. There was a potato blight. It was the Irish that were in famine. The famine was not caused by the potato blight. The famine was caused by the wealthy British land owners, many having appropriated much of the Irish farmland for English sheep. the price of wool, kelp and hay being a sound investment. As in Ireland, the Scots were under the same gun!!
." As well as turning land over to sheep farming, Stafford planned to invest in creating a coal-pit, salt pans, brick and tile works and herring fisheries. That year his agents began the evictions, and 90 families were forced to leave their crops in the ground and move their cattle, furniture and timbers to the land they were offered 20 miles (32 km) away on the coast, living in the open until they had built themselves new houses. Stafford's first Commissioner, William Young, arrived in 1809, and soon engaged Patrick Sellar as his factor who pressed ahead with the process while acquiring sheep farming estates for himself.
Elsewhere, the flamboyant Alexander Ranaldson MacDonell of Glengarry portrayed himself as the last genuine specimen of the true Highland Chief while his tenants were subjected to a process of relentless eviction.
To landlords, "improvement" and "clearance" did not necessarily mean depopulation. At least until the 1820s, when there were steep falls in the price of kelp, landlords wanted to create pools of cheap or virtually free labour, supplied by families subsisting in new crofting townships. Kelp collection and processing was a very profitable way of using this labour, and landlords petitioned successfully for legislation designed to stop emigration. This took the form of the Passenger Vessels Act 1803. Attitudes changed during the 1820s and, for many landlords, the potato famine which began in 1846 became another reason for encouraging or forcing emigration and depopulation."
( An overview of the Clearances, Alexander McKenzie, 1881.; Gloomy Memories, Donald Macleod, 1857)
Not Potatoes, But Slavery
Any historian who has studied the subject further than former Vice-President Dan Quayle, knows that potatoes (or the lack thereof) did not cause the Irish famine and genocide 150 years ago. The potato blight which struck the harvest in autumn 1845, had begun in North Carolina, and spread to destroy potato crops throughout the Northern Hemisphere for several years; it did not cause famine or mass death anywhere except in Ireland. Nor were potatoes the only major produce of Irish agriculture at the time; they were just the only produce which the Irish--75 percent of whom were feudal tenants of British landlords, fanatical preachers of ``free trade"--were allowed to eat or to feed to their livestock. The historian Arthur Young had written, like many others, that the Irish tenant farmers were slaves in effect:
"A landlord in Ireland can scarcely invent an order which a laborer, servant, or cottier [tenant farmer] dares to refuse .... He may punish with his cane or his horsewhip with the most perfect security. A poor man would have his bones broken if he offered to lift a hand in his own defense."
Free trade exported or sold all the corn, wheat, barley, and oats Irish farmers grew, in order that they should pay their rents. All crops became cash crops--and there was nothing left for the farmer and his family to eat. British free trade tolerated no change in this situation while a million Irish starved to death, heavily deploying troops to protect the export ships. Free trade evicted instantly all farmers who stopped paying their rents, and the large landlords, led by British Foreign Minister Lord Palmerston, evicted their tenants more rapidly than before as they were starving in the 1840s, even evicting many who were still paying rent. Free trade decreed that no money would be spent on infrastructure projects such as drainage, harbors, fisheries, etc., though a committee of prominent Irish subjects led by Thomas Drummond had quickly surveyed what was most needed. Ireland at that time had 164 miles of railways; England had 6,621 miles.
Free trade decreed that no government surplus food--"no welfare"-- be given to the starving, in order to leave the market for food undisturbed. "We do not propose," Prime Minister Lord John Russell told the House of Commons, "to interfere with the regular mode by which Indian corn and other kinds of grain may be brought into Ireland." Free trade insisted that the destitute work on the Public Works or in the workhouses, and that these hundreds of thousands should receive wages below the miserable levels prevailing, in order not to distort the labor market. Thus laborers died in large numbers "on the works" and in the Poor Law houses. Free trade gave the Irish farm families three choices when the potato crops failed: starve on their farms, while selling their grain crops and paying their rent; report to the Public Works or the Poor Law workhouses to be worked/starved to death as the Nazis did to the inmates of Auschwitz; or emigrate and take a 50 percent chance of surviving the passage across the Atlantic.
The Irish population was officially 8.1 million in 1845. Some 1.5 million human beings died of starvation and disease in Ireland in four years, while more than one million attempted to emigrate; of these, about 500,000 died--usually of typhus--in passage or in quarantine camps in Canada and New England. The Montreal Board of Health stated of those in the camps in 1847, ``It may well be supposed that few of the survivors could reach any other than an early grave." In that period, among the Irish emigrant population of Massachusetts, average life expectancy was estimated by Lemuel Shattuck at 13.4 years, with 60 percent dying by the age of 5: a level characteristic of Stone Age human societies.
When it was "over," the British officials directly in charge of "Irish famine relief," particularly acting Treasury Minister Sir Charles Trevelyan, congratulated themselves and were decorated as Queen Victoria made her gala 1848 visit to Ireland. As 1847 ended, Trevelyan wrote:
``It is my opinion that too much has been done for the people. Under such treatment the people have grown worse instead of better, and we must now try what independent exertion, and the operation of natural causes, can do.... I shall rest after two years of such continuous hard work in public service, as I have never had in my life."
Then, having vacationed in France, he added: "[The] problem of Irish overpopulation being altogether beyond the power of man, the cure had been supplied by the direct stroke of an all-wise Providence."
The British historian Charles Kingsley, who accompanied the Queen on her gracious and glorious visit, wrote:
"I am daunted by the human chimpanzees I saw along that 100 miles of horrible country. I don't believe they are our fault. I believe that there are not only many more of them than of old, but that they are happier, better and more comfortably fed and lodged under our rule than they ever were. But to see white chimpanzees is dreadful; if they were black, one would not feel it so much."