"A Long Deep-seated Animosity with Reference to England"

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John Hartwell

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President Lincoln's decision to release Confederate envoys Mason and Slidell, was apparently not at all popular among the "foreign portion" (read "Irish") of the army. A correspondent of the Cincinnati Daily Press reported from Mumfordsville, Ky., on December 30, 1861:
reactiontoBrIntervention.png
One may suspect that the vehemence of the "foreign" element is directly proportionate to the Democratic leanings of the Cincinnati Daily Press.

It seems strange that they never use the word "Irish." Most of the other "foreigners" in the army would seem unlikely to have had any particular grudge with the English.
 

Bruce Vail

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Anyone inquiring into the reason for the long deep-seated animosity should watch the movie "Black 48."

I watched it at home last night. It is one of the grimmest movies I've ever seen.
 

Saphroneth

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It wasn't popular among US Congressmen, either.


‘Mr Vallandigham [Ohio, Democrat] introduced the following resolution… “That it is the duty of the President to now firmly maintain the stand thus taken, approving and adopting the act of Captain Wilkes, in spite of any menace or demand of the British government”… The time has now come for the firmness of this House to be practically tested, and I hope there will be no shrinking… We have heard the first growl of the British lion, and now let us see who will cower’ (16 December, 1861)

Samuel S. Cox (Ohio, Democrat): ‘we have never, in the history of diplomacy, had a clearer case of indisputable right on the high seas**… The other day, at the beginning of this session, the gentleman from Illinois [Mr Lovejoy] introduced his resolution approving the conduct of Captain Wilkes. I voted for that resolution… This matter came again before the House yesterday, and lo! In the face of the morning news which echoed with the roar of the English lion, there seemed to be a different spirit on the other side of the House!’ (17 December 1861)

John P. Hale (New Hampshire, Republican): ‘I believe the Cabinet… have had under consideration… the surrender, on the demand of Great Britain, of the persons of Messrs. Slidell and Mason. To my mind, a more fatal act could not mark the history of this country- an act that would surrender at once to the arbitrary demand of Great Britain all that was won in the Revolution, reduce us to the position of a second-rate Power, and make us the vassal of Great Britain… not a man can be found who is in favour of this surrender; for it would humiliate us in the eyes of the world, irritate our own people, and subject us to their indignant scorn… We have heard, Mr President, some fears expressed that Louis Napoleon is taking sides with England… I believe that if Louis Napoleon harbours one single sentiment… it is to have a fair field to retrieve the disastrous issue of Waterloo. And besides, sir, all over this country, throughout Canada, and in Ireland, there are hundreds of thousands and hundreds of thousands [sic] of true-hearted Irishmen who have long prayed for an opportunity to retaliate upon England. (26 December 1861)

Benjamin Thomas (Massachusetts, Unionist): ‘England has done to us a great wrong in availing herself of our moment weakness to make a demand which, accompanied as it was by “the pomp and circumstance of war,” was insolent in spirit and thoroughly unjust… She is treasuring up to herself wrath against the day of wrath… we shall be girding ourselves to strike the blow of righteous retribution.’ (7 January 1862)

Owen Lovejoy (Illinois, Republican): ‘it is enough for us, in all conscience, to have been disgraced by the British nation, without now appropriating $35,000 to pay the expenses of those who have been instrumental in that dishonour, to let them go in state to the British court… inasmuch as we have submitted to be thus dishonoured by Great Britain, I think the least we can do is to acknowledge it, and to stay at home till the time comes that we can whip that nation. Then I will be willing to go and appear at their world’s exhibition… Every time this Trent affair comes up… I am made to renew the horrible grief which I suffered when the news of the surrender of Mason and Slidell came. I acknowledge it, I literally wept tears of vexation… I have never shared in the traditional hostility of many of my countrymen against England. But I now here publicly avow and record my inextinguishable hatred of that Government. I mean to cherish it while I live, and to bequeath it as a legacy to my children when I die… I trust in God that the time is not far distant when we shall have suppressed this rebellion, and be prepared to avenge and wipe out this insult that we have received. We will then stir up Ireland; we will appeal to the Chartists of England; we will go to the old French habitans of Canada; we will join hands with France and Russia to take away the eastern possessions of that proud empire, and will darken every jewel that glitters in her diadem.’ (14 January 1862)




(these found by Cerebropetrologist.)

As you can see, it was an issue which united East and West, and Democrat, Unionist and Republican.


**He's sort of right, in that it was clear that the US had no justification to do what it did.
 
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John Hartwell

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Black 48?
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David
That's Black 47, a harrowing tale, indeed!

"Set in Ireland during the Great Famine, the drama follows an Irish Ranger who has been fighting for the British Army abroad, as he abandons his post to reunite with his family. Despite experiencing the horrors of war, he is shocked by the famine's destruction of his homeland and the brutalization of his people and his family."
 

Bruce Vail

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Black 48?
Regards
David
The movie Black 47 tells the tale of an Irishman serving in the British Army in Afghanistan who returns home to find most of his family dead in the potato famine of 1847. He blames the suffering of the Irish community on the stupidity and cruelty of the British colonial overlords, and sets out to get revenge. The story is told from an Irish perspective, so the viewer is in no doubt that the British deserve any retribution that the soldier metes out.
 
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Saphroneth

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While I understand that this is a controversial topic, and that I may touch a nerve here, my understanding of the situation surrounding the famine in particular is thus:

1) Ireland at the time was over the carrying capacity that it could readily sustain in a lean year; the potato famine was, naturally, a lean year.
2) The statistics of mortality for Ireland for the period do not indicate a significant rise in mortality from starvation or starvation-related causes (i.e. diseases caused by starvation).
3) Large quantities of food were moved to Ireland; not enormous quantities, because the potato famine was continent-wide. The main problem however was moving the food inland and distributing it, because the Irish communication network was not set up for it.
4) The result of the famine was that few actually starved to death, but that many could not sustain themselves on their farms and had to give up their land so as to enter the state relief system (i.e. the poor houses).
5) Much of the subsequent population decline was from emigration, and the commonly given numbers are not supported by the statistics.
6) Any spike in child mortality, in order to not show up in the statistics, would have to be infants not registered in the system in the first place - or stillbirths, which were not counted.
7) It's easy to blame the people in charge in a situation like this, because they always could have done better.
8) Some human-consumable food was moved out of parts of Ireland, largely parts of Ireland where the communication network with the famine-struck regions was very poor.


The statistics as I understand it:

The social support network in Ireland had an estimated capacity that meant it could provide for c. 100,000 people.
During 1847 it was having to provide for c. 3,000,000 people, thirty times the estimated capacity.
The oats produced in Ireland were not normally for human consumption, but during 1847 the famine relief commission grabbed a lot of the production and used them to thicken soup anyway.
199,000 tons of hard (bread) wheat and 682,000 tons of maize were imported into Ireland in 1847, largely the result of direct government purchase.
Food movement:
1845: 28,000 tons imported, 513,000 tons exported. Net exports = 485,000 tons
1847: 889,000 tons imported, 146,000 tons exported. Net imports = 743,000 tons
Total money spent on famine relief by the British government, 1846-9 as a line item in the budget, £10.5 million overall. (for comparison the army usually cost £6m per annum)
Births in Ireland census decade 1842-51 = 1.35 m
Deaths in Ireland ditto = 1.35 m, a lower per capita death rate than the previous decade
Emigrated from Ireland = 1.6 m
Population decrease in Ireland = 1.6 m
Deaths from malnourishment-related diseases 52,000 (most deaths were from fever, then cholera and tuberculosis - diseases resulting from packed poorhouses, not famine as such).


What this indicates is that the Great Hunger was a Great Hunger, not a mass starvation; the mass emigration was what actually decreased the population and moved it down towards a more sustainable value.

Of course, it's quite understandable that this sort of thing is hard to actually know at the time, while looking back we're used to modern highly interventionist governments.
 
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