Worldwide potato cultivation

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You should read about one of the most hated men in the history of Ireland. Predictably, he’s one of the most applauded men in British history; the same dichotomy is true of Churchill who unleashed the Black and Tans upon our cities, and Cromwell who personally led civilian massacres.

His name was Charles Trevelyan, and he was an utter bastard. Assistant Treasurer to the Crown and administrator of the Famine relief in Ireland from 1845 onwards during which time 1 million died and 2 million fled the country, he believed the famine was a wilful decision of God that was very welcome in providing a ‘remedy’ to the problems he saw inherent in the Irish people – full, integrated citizens of the United Kingdom, his own ‘countrymen’ – and would do nothing to stop ‘Gods will’ when it benefited England. He proudly stated this in his documentation of his handling of the “crisis”. For these actions he was knighted to the Order of the Bath.

> “The Irish Crisis”, by Sir Charles Trevelyan, 1848

> Ireland has awa-
kened from this dream by the occurrence of
the most frightful calamities, and **it has at
last begun to be understood that the proper
business of a Government, is to enable pri-
vate individuals of every rank and profes-
sion in life, to carry on their several occu-
pations with freedom and safety, and not
itself to undertake the business of the land-
owner, merchant, money-lender, or any
other function of social life.**

> Reason is now
able to make herself heard, and there has
not been wanting many a warning and en-
couraging voice from Ireland herself, declar-
ing ” ” **The prosperity of Ireland is only to
be attained by your own strong arms. We
are able to help ourselves. We will no
longer be dependent on the precarious
assistance received from other lands.** We
will never rest until every sod in Ireland
brings forth abundantly” till every inch of
ground is in its highest and fullest state of
bearing. In a short time we shall have
among us more industry and exertion, less
politics and more ploughing, less argument
and more action, less debating and more
doing.”

> During
all this time England reaped as she sowed :
and as she kept the people in a chronic
state of exasperation against herself, none of
her “good plots and wise counsels” for their
benefit succeeded ; for there was no want of
good intention, and the fault was principally
in the mistaken opinions of the age, which
led to persecution in other countries be-sides Ireland. Now, thank God, we are in
a different position; and although many
waves of disturbance must pass over us
before that troubled sea can entirely subside,
and time must be allowed for morbid habits
to give place to a more healthy action, Eng-
land and Ireland are, with one great excep-
tion, subject to equal laws; and, so far as
the maladies of Ireland are traceable to poli-
tical causes, nearly every practicable remedy
has been applied.

>The deep and inveterate
root of social evil remained, and **this has
been laid bare by a direct stroke of an all-
wise and all-merciful Providence, as if this
part of the case were beyond the unassisted
power of man**. Innumerable had been the
specifics which the wit of man had devised ;
but even the idea of the sharp but effectual,
remedy **by which the cure is likely to be
effected** had never occurred to any one.
**God grant that the generation to which this
great opportunity has been offered, may
rightly perform its part**, and that we may
not relax our efforts until Ireland fully par-
ticipates in the social health and physical
prosperity of Great Britain, which will be
the true consummation of their union.

When the hardships began to fade in 1849, he attempted to extend them by placing an additional 6% levy on all Irish properties to pay for the English Poor Law, which was so maligned that the Chief Commissioner for the Poor Law resigned in protest. This was not some secret personal grudge either, it was an issue that was publicly debated in England; in commendation of ‘restraint’, Edmund Spenser wrote “English colonisation and English policy might be most effectively carried out by Irish starvation” and Nassau Senior, an economics professor at Oxford University, wrote that the Famine “would not kill more than one million people, and that would scarcely be enough to do any good”. In opposition, The Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Lord Clarendon wrote “I do not think there is another legislature in Europe that would disregard such suffering as now exists in the west of Ireland, or coldly persist in a policy of extermination.” Edward Twisleton wrote “comparatively trifling sums were required for Britain to spare itself the deep disgrace of permitting its miserable fellow subjects to die of starvation.”

The famine has never faded from Irish memory, and probably never will. If Aborigines are recalling long-gone submerged islands, the Irish will remember Trevelyan. Some ‘scholars’ have started to say it is becoming more folk story than history, but thankfully we have the words of people who actually lived through it:

> John Mitchel, 1860:

> I have called it an artificial famine: that is to say, it was a famine which desolated a rich and fertile island that produced every year abundance and superabundance to sustain all her people and many more. The English, indeed, call the famine a ‘dispensation of Providence;’ and ascribe it entirely to the blight on potatoes. But potatoes failed in like manner all over Europe; yet there was no famine save in Ireland. The British account of the matter, then, is first, a fraud; second, a blasphemy. **The Almighty, indeed, sent the potato blight, but the English created the famine.**

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