The Last Conquest of Ireland (Perhaps)

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CHAPTER XII.

LOSS OF THE IRISH CROPS—ACCOUNTS BETWEEN ENGLAND AND IRELAND—RAPID EXPORT OF IRISH HARVEST AND CATTLE—SIR ROBERT PEEL'S "REMEDIAL MEASURES"—O'BRIEN IN PARLIAMENT—ENGLISH PRESS ON "ALMS"—SIR ROBERT PEEL'S TWO WEAPONS—REPEAL ASSOCIATION—RESISTANCE TO TEE COERCION BILL—EXTERMINATION IN CONNAUGHT—THE "NATION" AND YOUNG IRELAND—ANOTHER STATE PROSECUTION—CHANGE OF MINISTRY.

MR LABOUCHERE, in Parliament, estimated the total money loss accruing by the potato-blight at sixteen millions sterling. The people likely to be affected by it were always, in ordinary years, on the brink of destruction by famine—that is, most of them were always half starved for eight months in the year, and many always starved to death.

Now, to replace that lost food by foreign corn, and to pay the higher price of grain over roots (besides freight), would have required an appropriation of twenty millions sterling—the same amount which had been devoted, without scruple, to turning West Indian negroes wild.

England had, for so many years, drawn so vast a tribute from Ireland (probably eight millions per annum for forty-six years*), that now when the consequence of our intercourse with the sister island turned out to be that she grew richer every year, while Ireland on her side of the account had accumulated a famine, we claimed that there was something surely due to us. It is out of the question here to enter with me into these multifarious accounts. England beats all mankind in book-keeping by double entry; and as she has had the keeping of the books, as well as of everything else, it has been very difficult even to approximate to the truth. Yet one or two salient facts are easily stated.

In 1800, the year of the Union, Ireland owed twenty-one millions of national debt; England four hundred and forty-six millions. Even of our debt of twenty-one millions, one large item was the charge for bribing members of Parliament, and buying up nomination boroughs, for the purpose of carrying that Union. Now the terms of the Union were that each ...continue reading »


* Mr.O'Brien, in his "Address," estimated the absentee rents alone at five million sterling.

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Page 103

The Last Conquest of Ireland (Perhaps)

by John Mitchel


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