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Lyr Req: Trevelyan in Irish song

Thompson 26 Sep 18 - 09:15 AM
Jim Carroll 26 Sep 18 - 09:23 AM
Thompson 26 Sep 18 - 09:29 AM
GUEST,Psssst 26 Sep 18 - 10:43 AM
Jim Carroll 26 Sep 18 - 01:29 PM
GUEST,Martin Ryan 26 Sep 18 - 05:25 PM
mg 26 Sep 18 - 07:33 PM
Jim Carroll 26 Sep 18 - 08:05 PM
Thompson 27 Sep 18 - 05:48 AM
Jim Carroll 27 Sep 18 - 08:19 AM
Jim Carroll 27 Sep 18 - 01:50 PM
GUEST,Observer 27 Sep 18 - 02:37 PM
Thompson 29 Sep 18 - 06:44 PM
Thompson 29 Sep 18 - 07:02 PM
Thompson 29 Sep 18 - 07:18 PM
GUEST,Observer 30 Sep 18 - 05:03 AM
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Subject: Lyr Req: Trevalyan in Irish song
From: Thompson
Date: 26 Sep 18 - 09:15 AM

Trevelyan, the man whose policies caused the Famine to be a genocidal disaster rather than a brief crisis, gets a brief mention in The Fields of Athenry.

But is he nametagged in any other Irish songs?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Trevalyan in Irish song
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 26 Sep 18 - 09:23 AM

Don't thinks so - not so far anyway
His role was't really fully exposed until the Tim Pat Coogan wrote 'The famine Plot' when the letter describing the Famine as 'God's punishment on the indolent Irish'
Unbelievably, up to the 150th anniversary of the Famine there was only one book devoted to the events - by Englishwoman, Mrs Cecil Woodham Smith
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Trevalyan in Irish song
From: Thompson
Date: 26 Sep 18 - 09:29 AM

A Welshwoman, of the FitzGerald family…


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Trevalyan in Irish song
From: GUEST,Psssst
Date: 26 Sep 18 - 10:43 AM

Hardly Trevelyan's policies Thompson he was after all only a civil servant appointed as assistant secretary to HM Treasury. I do not think that they MAKE policy, that is the sole responsibility of the Government of the day. In the case of Trevelyan those would have been the policies of Peel's Tory Government which were replaced by Russell's Whig/Liberal Government.

I do not believe that any songs of the time mention Trevelyan.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Trevalyan in Irish song
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 26 Sep 18 - 01:29 PM

Not the case (we've been through this before, haven't we Teri ?)
Trvelyan was an adviser to Russells Government an they acted on his advice to the letter
They introduced a laissez faire approach to famine relief so as not to disturb the markets and they kept enough food capable of feeding four times the Irish population locked in warehouses and guarded by the military
On the advice of Trevelyan, Russell closed the workhouses the Peel Government had established leaving the job of feeding the poor to the Quakers (the Protestant churchmen insisted that the recipients of their charity soup changed their religion before tey were given any
It's now a matter of accepted history

Interesting comment in our press about the current film on The Famine, 'Black 47' - "If you want to know why the Irish cheered for Croatia (this year's World Cup) go and see this film.
Well worth the trip
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Trevalyan in Irish song
From: GUEST,Martin Ryan
Date: 26 Sep 18 - 05:25 PM

IIRC, Trevelyan turns up in the song because Michael D Higgins (currently President of Ireland - and up for re-election) showed Pete St. John (Peter Mooney) some documents relating to him in University College Galway about thirty years ago - this was what sparked off the songwriter's interest.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Trevalyan in Irish song
From: mg
Date: 26 Sep 18 - 07:33 PM

I think there are more books. I have read a number of almost contemporary books from Gutenberg Project I think.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Trevalyan in Irish song
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 26 Sep 18 - 08:05 PM

"I think there are more books."
I'd be interested to know what they are
199 produced a landslide of books on The Famine - by far the best IMO being anything written by Christine Keneally, but before that it was almost dealt with as a historical footnote, apart from a few magnificent works of fiction, like O'Flaherty's 'Famine'
People put it down to not wishing to relive painful memories, but I think it was more the case of not upsetting the neighbours
Oral history is a different matter altogether
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Trevalyan in Irish song
From: Thompson
Date: 27 Sep 18 - 05:48 AM

Yes - Black 47, which I haven't seen yet, seems to be based on the killing of Lord Leitrim. If you want to have total silence in a noisy pub in the west of Ireland just say those two words - "Lord Leitrim" and listen to the pin drop.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Trevalyan in Irish song
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 27 Sep 18 - 08:19 AM

"seems to be based on the killing of Lord Leitrim. "
t isn't
Basically it's about an Irishman who deserts from the British army in Afghanistan who returns to Ireland to find what remains of his family starving to death
It's an overview of who the Famine was handled at grass-roots level
I thought the villain Lord, played brilliantly by Jim Broadbent, resembled Trevelyan
Leitrim has yet to be dealt with - there are over a dozen songs on that but very little information

Tom Munnelly used to tell of his visit to The Tradition Club in Dublin to hear a Donegal fiddle Player
Going home, he fond himself walking behind the guest and saw him climb the railings of a churchyard o the road
The fiddle player told Tom that every time he came to Dublin he never missed a chance of pissing on the grave of Lord Leitrim
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Trevalyan in Irish song
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 27 Sep 18 - 01:50 PM

Been through all this crap
History has now moved on and the shelves are full of the facts of the famine
Trevelyan's kletter is now public knowledge

"The Government of the day was facing a major financial crisis that coincided with the famine in Ireland

Britain was not faciong a financial crisis and if it were that wouldn't excuse the slaughter of som many people
Give us a break - it was the richest Empire on the planet


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Trevalyan in Irish song
From: GUEST,Observer
Date: 27 Sep 18 - 02:37 PM

By all means look at one tiny piece of the picture if you wish, your choice, but it does not for one instant alter the veracity of what has been said.

On the subject of Trevelyan's letter. Here is a challenge of your own integrity. If you place so much emphasis on one of Trevelyan's letters how much credence do you place on another in which he quite clearly stated the following?

In one letter dated 29 April 1846, Trevelyan wrote:

Our measures must proceed with as little disturbance as possible of the ordinary course of private trade, which must ever be the chief resource for the subsistence of the people, but, coûte que coûte (at any cost), the people MUST NOT, under any circumstances, be allowed to starve.

As to Britain not facing a financial crisis at this time I would direct you to look at the 1840's Railway Boom, the Bank Charter Act of 1844 and the "Panic of 1847" and the ensuing failure in Britain of many finance houses.

By the way, it was around this point in history that the British Empire started to cost Great Britain money, i.e. the Empire cost more than the British got out of it. If you doubt that read Niall Ferguson

1: Empire: How Britain Made the Modern World. London: Allen Lane. ISBN 0-7139-9615-3.

2: Empire: The Rise and Demise of the British World Order and the Lessons for Global Power. New York: Basic Books. ISBN 0-465-02328-2. American edition.


If we are going to discuss this subject please confine the discussion to fact, not fictional fantasy.

As far as the songs go, it would appear that there have been no songs of the period that mention Trevelyan. Only latter day efforts designed to make money.

Perhaps you should consult Cecil Woodham Smith's book and look up the extremely rare occurrences of people Stealing Trevelyan's Corn. You will find that there were only six instances of such thefts and they all occurred in what is now known as Northern Ireland where there was no "famine" and where the thefts were perpetrated as a means of getting to Australia. All there in the book for you to read.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Trevelyan in Irish song
From: Thompson
Date: 29 Sep 18 - 06:44 PM

Ummm… From Mapping the Great Irish Famine: "In 1847 the highest death rates occurred in Dublin city, and in Kerry, Armagh, Fermanagh, Londonderry, Monaghan, Louth and Laois.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Trevelyan in Irish song
From: Thompson
Date: 29 Sep 18 - 07:02 PM

A little more about the Famine in Ulster.

However, we're getting no further with Trevelyan in song. I have a song going around in my head that has his name in it - it's something like The West's Awake but apparently not that. Just can't catch more than the distant echo of his name.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Trevelyan in Irish song
From: Thompson
Date: 29 Sep 18 - 07:18 PM

Some interesting quotes from John Mitchel, travelling through Ireland during the Famine:

Quote from a Cambridge study of Mitchel, http://eprints.maynoothuniversity.ie/8657/1/1-s2.0-S096262980100018X-main.pdf:
The trip west from Dublin took him into the famine districts of Leinster. He was
shocked. On reflection, he assimilated the experience to his manichean vision: ‘I
saw Trevelyan’s claw in the vitals of those children: his red tape would draw them
to death: in his Government laboratory he had prepared for them the typhus poison’
(Mitchel, 1873b: 247). At the time, he quite lost his bearings in a landscape that no
longer showed signs of life or history: ‘what reeking breath of hell is this oppressing
the air, heavier and more loathsome than the smell of death arising from the fresh
carnage of the battlefield. […] [W]e are here in the midst of these Golgothas that
border our island with a ring of death from Cork Harbour all round to Lough Foyle’ (O’Neill, 1945: 44). In this account published at the height of the Famine in June
1847, Mitchel described villages in the west where: ‘[t]here is a horrible silence;
grass grows before the doors; we fear to look into any door, though they are all open or off the hinges; for we fear to see yellow chapless skeletons grinning there;
but our footfalls rouse two lean dogs, that run from us with doleful howling, and
we know by the felon-gleam in the wolfish eyes how they have lived after their
masters died (ibid., 45).
==


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Trevelyan in Irish song
From: GUEST,Observer
Date: 30 Sep 18 - 05:03 AM

Thompson is this the John Mitchel you are referring to?

John Mitchel (Irish: Seán Mistéal; 3 November 1815 – 20 March 1875) was an Irish nationalist activist, author, and political journalist. Born in Camnish, near Dungiven, County Londonderry and reared in Newry, he became a leading member of both Young Ireland and the Irish Confederation. He was transported to Van Diemens Land and but later escaped to the United States in the 1850s, he became a pro-slavery editorial voice. Mitchel supported the Confederate States of America during the American Civil War, and two of his sons died fighting for the Confederate cause. He was elected to the House of Commons of the United Kingdom in 1875 but was disqualified because he was a convicted felon.

Anything written by this man can hardly be described as being factual, objective or unbiased. As for his manichean vision - On reflection [26 years later], he assimilated the experience to his manichean vision: ‘I saw Trevelyan’s claw in the vitals of those children: his red tape would draw them to death: in his Government laboratory he had prepared for them the typhus poison’ (Mitchel, 1873b: 247).

That over a quarter of a century AFTER the event he talks about there being a preparable typhus poison, reinforces the fact that little was actually known about the disease in the 1840s. There was little or no understanding of it until the 1880s, years AFTER Mitchel's death. There is of course no typhus poison that can be prepared and I do not believe there were any Government Laboratories in existence in 1845 the sources of the various types of typhus are body lice (Rickettsia prowazekii); fleas on rats (Rickettsia typhi); harvest mites on rodents or humans (Orientia tsutsugamushi) and Queensland Ticks (Rickettsia australis). The intervention by the British Government at the time was unique and people tend to forget that the various Government Departments and Ministry's that would be called upon to act in such circumstances today simply did not exist in the 1840s (Home Office; Foreign Office; Treasury - nothing else, and the official manning of those departments was tiny - folks the world over in those days were expected to look after themselves).

Those who have manichean visions of the world (George W Bush was said to be one) view the world or certain events in simple terms of "good v evil". In Mitchel's case he viewed British rule to be evil, yet slavery and the Confederate cause good. Reality is of course that the world is, and events that happen in this world are, a great deal more complex than that.

Thank you for the links you have provided, my reference was Cecil Woodham Smith's book first published 56 years ago. 1847 saw the highest death toll of the "Famine" yet it was the one year of the famine where the potato crop did not completely fail, and the year in which the fewest number of people actually died of starvation. The greatest killer during the entire "famine" and 1847 in particular was not hunger it was disease, namely typhus, cholera and dysentry. This is basically what is stated in your link to the impact of the famine in Ulster.


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