The Spectre of the Famine - The Last Conquest of Ireland (Perhaps)

John Mitchel

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the grave had yet closed on Thomas Davis, began to spread awful rumours of approaching famine. Within the next month, from all the counties of Ireland, came one cry of mortal terror. Blight had fallen on the crop of potatoes—the food on which five millions of the Irish people had been reduced to depend for subsistence; three millions of them wholly and exclusively. We are at the beginning of the first year of the six years' Famine.

To Sir Robert Peel it would have seemed an impious tempting of Providence to neglect this weapon thus graciously placed in his hand for the consummation of the conquest on which he was bent. If the "Repeal" could not be crushed out by coercion, nor bought out by corruption, it might be starved out by famine. The thing was done by a process of "relieving" and "ameliorating;"—for, in the nineteenth century, civilized governments always proceed upon the most benevolent motives;—but it was done; and so effectually done for that time, that, a few years afterwards, the London Times (perhaps prematurely) thought it might announce—"The Celts are gone—gone with a vengeance. The Lord be praised." ...continue reading »

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