Skip to main content

tv   Charity Efforts for the Irish Great Famine  CSPAN  May 27, 2017 2:35pm-4:01pm EDT

2:35 pm
hero." watch the battle of midway 75th oniversary specs -- special june him out to beginning a 30 a.m. eastern on american history tv on c-span3. >> up next, historians describe the great famine in ireland during the mid-19th century. and discuss how people across the globe contributed to relief efforts. they focus on a story of a group of bostonians who build a ship called the jamestown with supplies. the american historical society but massachusetts most of this event. about an hour and 20 minutes. >> welcome to our program.
2:36 pm
you may have noticed this event originally called for our speaker bill fowler to be here. he is my predecessor at the historical society, which many of you already know. he is a distinguished repressor of history at northeastern -- professor of history at northeastern. we realized that such a fundamental story of the irish in boston would benefit from additional perspectives. he suggested, i will give him credit, this conversation would have more depth if we invited others, leading subject experts on the irish famine in the american response. we are pleased bill is joined tonight by catherine shannon, the guest historian of exhibition at westfield state university. we have christine can nearly, author and founding director of ireland's great hunger institute at quinnipiac university. please welcome me in joining --
2:37 pm
join me in welcoming, bill, christine, and kathleen. [applause] >> thank you very much. thank you to all of your staff and trustees for hosting this exhibit. >> louder. >> louder, ok. >> close to the microphone. >> is this better? ok. it is a pleasure to the on a panel with bill and christine, who are eminent historians in their own right. i hope to provide the people tonight with some contextual background to explain why the failure of the irish potato crop in the 1840's triggered the worst humanitarian crisis in 19th-century european history and drastically altered their social and demographic structure for more than a century. this crisis is not unknown in early modern irish history.
2:38 pm
a succession of poor harvests in the early 1700s was a factor in migration of presbyterians to boston in the early 18th century. some of these people formed the charitable irish society in 1737. it was rain failures along with religious discrimination that were the push factors. at the end of the 18th century, the irish population began to expand rapidly. it was in response to this that the potato introduced to the island more than a century earlier became an every increasing portion of the diet. their climate was especially suitable to cultivation. the fact that one acre of potatoes and the milk of one cow was sufficient to feed an entire family for one year meant the rapid demographic expansion and extremely limited land ownership available to the 80% majority catholic population could be managed. the potato culture was also a boon to the protestant ascendancy landowners who had a steady supply of cheap labor for grain cultivation.
2:39 pm
they paid principally by providing small plots of land suitable for potato cultivation rather than with cash wages. as the population grew, even one acre rented plots were subdivided into units of about a quarter acre in many areas in the south and west. in these areas, cash was not used in the daily economic activities through the famine period. if tenant farmers had sufficient land to grow grain, they chose
2:40 pm
to export it in order to pay rent to their landlords, rents which cap escalating -- kept escalating steadily in the first half of the 19th century. after the napoleonic wars, demand for irish grain declined, and irish landowners began to convert their land into grazing for cattle, which required little labor and brought great profits. the english demand for meat and cattle byproducts escalated with rapid industrialization. this caused a growing trend of unemployment and underemployment for the 4.7 million landless irish laborers who by the 1840's
2:41 pm
were totally dependent on the potato and a little buttermilk for 90% of their daily sustenance. the average adult male consumed between 12 and 14 pounds of potatoes daily. on the eve of the famine, it's -- 6.2 metric tons of potatoes consumed by the irish people. two thirds of this by the landless laborers at the bottom of the economic ladder. you can see how rapidly the irish population was rising at this time compared to the european population. european population is the blue line. the irish is the green line. you see a great difference in the direction of the demographic chart in the 1840's.
2:42 pm
animal consumption and feed potatoes consumed about 7.4 metric tons annually. although the potato diet was boring, it provided sufficient nutritional diet that made irish males among the tallest and healthiest of the european rural populace. there was cheap fuel for cooking and heat so that the lack of cash wages partially -- their property. the total reliance on the potato root to be disastrous when the potato blight, a fungus -- i was have trouble with this word.
2:43 pm
hit ireland in september, 1845, having originated in mexico, going to europe, england, and eventually ireland. this increasing population explosion, increasing poverty did begin to create pressures for immigration to america. you see mr. in the early decades of the 19th century -- see in this chart in the early decades of the 19th century that boston got some of its most famous irish immigrants, people like patrick donahue, andrew carnegie. warning signs of the very delicate balance between
2:44 pm
potatoes and population had come earlier when potato and grain failures caused food shortages at least six times before 1845. subsequent harvests and government relief mitigated extensive loss of life during these years. the devon commission of 1843 provided ample and graphic warnings of the potential disaster that awaited ireland because of her potato monoculture, widespread poverty, and the indifference of a majority of her absentee landlords who did little to modernize their estates and left supervision to often greedy middlemen. the tory politician benjamin
2:45 pm
israeli summed up the situation said simply when he said, and absentee aristocracy and ailing church in addition to the weakest executive in the world. travel to ireland in the pre-famine years commented on these deplorable conditions. in 1849, the frenchman. beaumont -- gustave beaumont wrote, it terrifies you. the extent of that poverty is in this slide with the darkest colors being the areas with the worst difficulty with poverty. the eastern areas a little less severe. the western areas very much affected. despite the extent of government information about the depth of
2:46 pm
their structural economic problems, the political will to address them was missing. the majority of the 105 irish legislatures were protestant landlords, the very class that benefited from the status quo. anti-catholic sentiments were widespread in the political leadership. these sentiments were exacerbated by daniel o'connell's success in winning catholic emancipation, widespread protests in the 1830's, and the growing popularity of his movement for repeal of the act of union in the early 1840's. british perceptions of the irish as simultaneously violent, devious, lazy, ignorant, and almost subhuman were reflected in the increasingly influential popular media, as these images
2:47 pm
from punch magazine in the early 1840's indicate. the first one playing on mary shelley's story of frankenstein, we see an irish frankenstein threatening the social order. the second one, daniel o'connell as a huge potato. i guess it is something like you are what you eat. in essence, the poverty and squalor that characterized irish living conditions was more or less racialized and seeing as a natural consequence of irish national character.
2:48 pm
here is another one that indicates this kind of racial is asian -- racialization, this time with women. no significant legislation that would have benefited ireland's economic under sector was passed by the parliament in the pre-famine decades. one piece of fish legislation that did try to tackle widespread poverty and reform the alleged deficiencies in the irish national character was the poor law act of 1838. based on their commission from five years earlier, they divided the country into 130 districts where they would provide work for the most destitute poor. outdoor relief and aid given outside the workhouse was severely restricted. the vegemite pain criteria was used as an admission criteria so only the absolute destitute would qualify for entrance.
2:49 pm
husbands were separated from their wives, and children from their parents. a p in a different, including stone breaking and minimal socialization were rewards. no wonder the poor irish resorted to the workhouse only in absolute desperation once the famine began. most of the workhouse is were already built. it did not take long before the national capacity of 100,000 inmates was reached and overcrowding took hold, especially in the south and west. -- was a notable example, whereby january 1847, the work as designed for 800 inmates contained 1160 inmates, one
2:50 pm
third of the work l with fever. -- were ill with fever. 121 people shared 40 beds. in mid-september, the guardian chronicle announced that the potato disease had struck ireland again. it became evident that one third to one half of the potato crop had been lost. -- who had private experience dealing with irish subsistence crisis had some doubts about the loss, citing the irish tendency to exaggerate. by november, when reports confirmed the seriousness of the situation, he accepted that british government action was essential to prevent widespread starvation.
2:51 pm
he drew on earlier precedents to implement a temporary public works program that would provide employment through august 1846 and appointed an experienced army officer to head a relief commission. he secretly purchased a large quantity of american indian corn for government storage facilities as a lever to keep commercial put prices low. free distribution was in vision only as a last resort. his program was generally deemed an adequate response to the situation, and there was no selected increase in mortality
2:52 pm
during the first year of the famine. as this chart shows, difficulties in the crop production of potatoes over the next six years continued. acreage planted got less and less as time went on. having done this, he turned over famine administration to the permanent head of the treasury, sir charles, so he could devote his clinical energies to repealing the corn laws that had protected british agricultural interests from foreign competition for three decades. this ushered in the whigs into government in 1846.
2:53 pm
within a short time, the complacent belief that disaster in ireland had been averted was completely smashed by news of the second failure of approximately 86% of the 1846 potato crop. late that summer, the potatoes used for human consumption and animal consumption were completely exhausted. by october, the first reports of starvation appeared in newspapers. this was the second of six successive crop failures with a 30% failure in 1847, 50% 1848, and localized failures up to 1852. no effective remedy for the fungus was found until the 1890's. the response of the whig
2:54 pm
government to the second failure and those thereafter proved to be inadequate though not insensitive to the misery of the irish people. they began to dismantle the limited relief program to retain support of cabinet colleagues. they were fervent apostles of the rigid economic orthodoxy of limited and cheap government and noninterference in market forces. the top treasury servant and convinced believer in laissez-faire, free market economic theory gained influence in the government and soon had dominant control over the famine policy and administration. although the price of potatoes had doubled through december 1846, he ordered that government food supplies be sold at market prices rather than at cost. even temporary extension of outdoor relief under the poor
2:55 pm
law was riveted, which caused massive overcrowding in the union workhouses i referred to earlier. the new wave of public works program that began in october 1846 was to be financed totally by the irish taxpayer. a small amount of funds attached to peel's earlier program were limited. they were riddled with inefficiency and corruption. despite a work schedule of 12 hours, six days work, the wages of the million worked on these programs were insufficient to provide funds to feed the average family, but alone purchase turf, pay rent or clothing. many malnourished and ill clad
2:56 pm
died during the harsh winter of 1847, including the father of jeremiah rossa who became the mastermind of the london bombing campaign in the 1880's. despite the fact that over one million people were dependent on the wages of these public works and the total failure of the 1846 potato crop, the way the government -- whig government decided to wind down the public works program and replace it with a less-expensive ram of relief by government run soup kitches. the cost savings was approximately 3.3 million pounds. that was music to the whig government that was assessed that the british taxpayer should not pay to leave irish -- to relieve irish poverty. this was also based on belief
2:57 pm
that the famine was the direct stroke of an all wise providence. the famine crisis consisted of a heaven sent opportunity to revise irish agriculture on free-market lines. he believed this caused all irish classes, including the landlord, to make poor mouth. he said, the real evil with which we have to content is not the physical evil of the famine, but the moral evil of the selfish and turbulent character of the irish people. his cabinet bosses were in agreement with his thinking.
2:58 pm
on this basis, the soup kitchen program which had become fully operational in june and was feeding 3 million people was closed down in late august, 1847. this on the grounds that the famine was over. this was the biggest alternative fact of 1847. there was a grain of truth in john mitchell's assertion that ireland was killed by political economy. it was devotion to these economic orthodoxy's that prevented the imposition of a ban on other irish foodstuffs, a tactic that was followed in 1782 and 1783 when ireland's domestic legislature was faced with
2:59 pm
severe shortages and potential famine. you can see on this chart that in 1846 in 1847, despite the crisis, there were still some exports of grain leaving ireland. 1847, a huge amount of imported grain coming in, and also 1848. another area where something could have been done was to ban the distilling of grain-based products. no ban was applied.
3:00 pm
have these steps taken, perhaps the total mortality could have been mitigated. in late 1846 and 1847, the press and media reported extensively on the rising number of deaths from starvation, fever disease and homelessness. commenting on these accounts, a liberal leaning northern paper proclaimed, death is found in every paragraph, desolation in every district. whole families down in fever. the london times carried many graphic accounts. which sent their reporter, who was a native to verify the severity of the crisis there. mahoney's sketches were subtle.
3:01 pm
but powerful evidence of the early reports of devastation and misery were certainly not exaggerated. defected --es directed at the plight of a mother not able to love ford -- not able to afford to buy diapers for her baby. the awful scene of two children scratching the soil looking for food, a dying man in his cottage surrounded by famine ravaged children. the local death toll was so severe and usually elaborate irish death rituals of wakes and funerals were this fenced with. coffins with sliding bottoms were reportedly use, and the dead were carted off unceremoniously to common graves.
3:02 pm
this sketches particularly horrifying in the apparent indifference of the three onlookers and the ferocious efforts of the driver to get the obviously malnourished horse to move. this image was reproduced in the new york herald. probably was effective in opening up the pocketbooks of many people decide of the atlantic. the funeral is notable for having only three mourners, where ordinarily dozens would have been present for these last rituals. other artists returned frequently over the next three years, capturing other desolate scenes of immigration farewells and starving women and children read they would have reached boston within about two weeks of publication. the sketches were effective in encouraging local area people to join in the campaign. the quakers are important in
3:03 pm
this effort. in conclusion the catastrophic consequences of the seven-year irish famine prices -- famine prices changed the trajectory of democratic irish history. causing generations and generations to immigrate. what it did do was create
3:04 pm
lasting links between ireland and boston, making boston the most irish region in the country. its financial and moral support helps to fuel the movement, as well as ireland's 20th-century drive. we have seen the vibrancy of the living links between irish america -- and even in my own beloved -- where 48% of the residents claim irish ancestry. we irish will survive despite the tragedy of the great famine. hopefully i have given you some context to hear what bill is going to tell us about bostonians in its year of tremendous agony. thank you. [applause] bill: thank you very much. thanks to dennis for the kind introduction. it is always difficult when
3:05 pm
introducing you, you never know what they are going to say. talking to local historical society and the treasurer was giving a report. the treasurer announced to the audience that there was enough money in the treasury that the society would be able to afford better speakers. dennis, thank you very much. always a delight to be here. i felt that was inside of a reunion. thank you all for coming. 1846 was a good year for boston. and we have got a fresh supply of water.
3:06 pm
dr. william morean was using ether, and the boston catholics native son had been named bishop of the diocese. donald mckay was building those magnificent clipper ships. bringing in suburbanites from the suburbs working in the city. and that greek revivals customs house was nearing completion. it was a good time. bostonians were enjoying peace and prosperity. we had the usual problems of liquor and prostitution. then there was the influx of the irish. in this particular moment it was manageable.
3:07 pm
bishop fitzpatrick turned up be a congenial -- on the national scene, things were not so good. in may 1846, the united states declared war on mexico. significant opposition to the war. the irish community was strong in support of the war and they wished to be patriotic. the boston pilot said american troops were marching into mexico on a secret mission. an irishman was signing up to serve. the irish were also aiding in the war effort. the uss jamestown arrived. although relatively new, she was at this time something of an antique. the united states navy had been rather slow to recognize steam power.
3:08 pm
the department of the navy refit jamestown and send her back to africa on patrol. those warm treacherous waters wrecked havoc on the ship. while bostonians were debating war, refitting jamestown, other news arrived in the community to divert some attention. in the autumn of 1845, a strange blight struck the potato crop and destroyed a considerable amount of that crop.
3:09 pm
reports circulated that everything would be ok in the next year. in june of 1846 commissary officer reported that the early crop of potatoes looked most abundant. july, reports of some cases of disease. not enough to cause concern. it became increasingly obvious there was a disaster. the times of london announced total annihilation. the news arrived slowly in boston. in january 1847, bishop
3:10 pm
fitzpatrick issued his first pastora letter. calling on those in the name of christian charity and their own humanity to help those been consumed. mad with the pangs of hunger. people elsewhere were also moved with compassion. rallies were held in major cities. the vice president chaired a meeting in washington dc. every city, town and village to organize relief. boston had a rally. they elected a committee to raise money from ireland. a clear major theme began to emerge. peace movements throughout the western world. since the end of the war of 1812, p societies -- they had
3:11 pm
been very active during the oregon crisis we had with great britain. it seemed to some that this was an opportunity to cement relations with great britain. somebody in the audience saw a means of endearing themselves to the british for purposes of trade and commerce. just sigh a quincy -- josiah quincy spoke to the hall in philadelphia and said come on a short time before our nation martialed for war against england. now our efforts are being used to assist her in feeding or starving children. private outpouring proved interesting but inefficient and
3:12 pm
lacking. there was seen among some the need for government action. on february 20 4, 1847, a petition from a new yorker, george t. k. he petitioned the navy department to carry supplies to ireland. there was some deep irony in this. the macedonian was in the brooklyn navy yard undergoing refitting. she was the same macedonian that had been captured by the american navy in the war of 1812.
3:13 pm
many saw this curious irony. there was considerable opposition to all of this, about using a public warship for a private practice. and he himself was a curious fellow. he was described as an amiable sea captain, which seem to be an oxymoron. he had more or less retired from the sea on private investments. and he spent most of his time as a friend of artists. he was a patron of the arts. his wife was a daughter of a well-known new york poet. he moved in literary circles. from whence he took the title on his own, commodore. the stress distressed him because his mother had been born in ireland. so he took it upon himself to
3:14 pm
rally support. his associations and social security -- social circle were interesting people, but they had no money. so he found himself awash, ashore without support. nonetheless he sent his petition off to the congress and it caused some debate. the debate begin to divide in three different areas. there came to the floor of the house a proposal for direct appropriation of $500,000 to support relief for ireland. that caused huge debate. while this debate was going on over the appropriation, while his petition was being
3:15 pm
considered, a petition from boston arrived, quite similar to his -- we were asking for another warship. the jamestown at this moment was nearly ready for sea. the request was that jamestown be turned over to a group of bostonians with a civilian crew to carry food to ireland. congress had three choices. the direct eight of $1 million and the petition from robert bennett forbes. the aid bill quickly died because that was real money. the president told congress that if they passed it he would veto it.
3:16 pm
congress per -- congress possesses no power to use money for such public purpose. he was quite clear. on the very last today march 3, 1847, congress passed a resolution that the secretary of the navy be authorized to be placed at the disposal of captain to k of new jersey, the united states macedonian such contributions may be made for their relief and is placed at the disposal of boston. for the light purpose. the secretary ordered the shift's -- order the ships be turned over to only have civilian crews. the secretary of the navy was quite unhappy with his resolution. these situations worked well in
3:17 pm
boston. everything that could go wrong in new york went wrong. dekay had no connections, he had no way to raise money. he had the same hostile attitude from the navy department in new york. forbes would be here in boston. steven spielberg could not invent this could not invent his career. at this moment he was 43 years
3:18 pm
old and thought he was a little too old to go to see. he had taken his first command at age 20 in the china trade. they had made him boston's principle china traders. in addition to his reputation as a merchant and sea captain, he was a great humanitarian. it very distinguished organization. it was and is an organization made up of captains having some claim to boston who holds masters licenses at all the season the world. they had great humanitarian interest. a mutual benefit society. captains training for voyages. massachusetts humane society, they do not deal with cats and dogs.
3:19 pm
the humane society was involved in rescue speed they had established a series of huts along the coast of massachusetts, particularly along cape cod. and their mission was to save shipwrecks failures -- shipwrecked sailors. so it was logical that forbes would be at the center of this. he was locally known as black been forbes. that had more to do with the color of his hair then his disposition. forbes was at the center to borrow the jamestown, to use and carry her to ireland.
3:20 pm
a crew for the jamestown was enlisted. the first and second mates were members of the marine society. both of these men were captains in their own right. other members of the society helped recruit men to join the crew. 68 men signed on, 23 from boston. all others were new englanders. only other -- only one other person was identified as irish. nearly half of the crew. given the large number of foreigners, it is interesting so many american sale on the
3:21 pm
jamestown. on march 28 the jamestown went away. running before a brisk northwest wind is always interesting, sailing vessels always sailed. seem to be a cliche of sorts and was accompanied by the esteemed tug of robert bennett forbes. the tug cast off the jamestown. it is still late winter or early spring. they made a very smart voyage. a remarkable voyage, actually. great celebrations. the arrival of jamestown, the banquets would seem somewhat unusual. they got the mayor framed on display. jamestown was back home by the
3:22 pm
ninth of may to a throng of cheering of bostonians. bostonians were excited. on may 9, jamestown came past boston light and came to anchor off the charlestown navy yard. lots of toasts. one person absent was the commandant of the navy yard. opposing the voyage of the jamestown.
3:23 pm
he refused to attend the dinner. he said it is improper for private individuals to dine aboard a public warship. two days later it was another grand dinner in rochester. as it was described in the newspaper, 75 of his fine looking fellows that cracked a biscuit and joined for a celebratory banquet. mr. forbes, shortly after arriving back in boston learn to new york was in great distress. robert bennett forbes made his way to do york city -- to new york city. eventually the macedonian thanks in great measure to supplies
3:24 pm
provided by bostonians managed to make her voyage as well. the people of boston remembered and celebrated what robert bennett forbes and the marine society had done. he described his experience as one of the most prominent and agreeable episodes of my sometimes varied life. it is one where i take honest pride. never again was the department
3:25 pm
of the navy if over a public ship for a private mission of mercy. thank you. [applause] >> that was a great introduction looking at the macro level. i have been asked to finish up by looking at contributions to ireland during the great famine. the great famine was not the first famine in ireland, it was the most lethal. there were famines before the great famine, famines after the great famine. what made the great famine unique was that it was the first national disaster in the world to attract international relief.
3:26 pm
and the scale is truly amazing. it cuts across gender divides, economic divides, cultural divides. i can give you a flavor of some of those donations. at that point people felt it was a one-year crisis. at that point, to places decided they would send money to ireland. the beginning of 1846, some money came in to ireland. kolkata and india was the first place to raise money for ireland. initially founded by english civil servants. not just the rich native indians, but some of the poorest of the poor in india. the other place was boston. it gives you an insight into the complexity of why people gave to ireland. in this case they were different.
3:27 pm
the committee and india gave because they wanted to show irish people how beneficial it was to be part of the british empire. in boston the people who gave money were supporters of daniel o'connell. they wanted to give money to show how bad british rule in ireland was. two very different motives. i hope i can continue. 1846, unfortunately the blight
3:28 pm
did return to ireland. and far more than previous years. the whole of the crop was wiped out. it explains the level of exports in 1847. again asked catherine explains, there had been a change of government in the new government came in as a minority government, wanting cheap government and minimum intervention. how to grow the country facing this overwhelming famine. in the wake of the second devastation, private charity
3:29 pm
throughout the world is underway. there was a massive relief giving effort. money came in from australia, from russia, from hong kong, from china. from north america, from south america, money came in to ireland. the largest relief organization was the british relief association. established in london on the first of january 1847. the man who established it is a jewish banker. we have no connection at ireland. they worked for over a year to bring money with ireland. this british relief association kept meticulous reference. to date, i think i'm the only person that has used them, but if you look at that book, that
3:30 pm
book has over 15,000 individuals. it's an incredible effort. the first listed as a donor is someone we love to hate in ireland. not cromwell, he is gone. queen victoria. queen victoria. she is the farmer queen. ireland,five pounds to what is the truth? thoseuth lies in particular records. queen victoria gave 2000 pounds to ireland. she was the largest individual donor. she gave that money with a promise that she would give more if necessary. it did not quite happened, but it was the largest individual donor. wealthy donor to the british relief association.
3:31 pm
time in hise young 20's, why would the sultan give money? we do not know, we do have copies of his correspondence in the national library of ireland. goes that hedence initially offered to give 10,000 pounds to ireland. in constantinople they told their people that they would follow protocol if anyone gave more. towas giving these donations irish dr.s, he had a who influenced him. we also know at that point the sultan was in trouble with russia. he was trying to cultivate the relationship with england and friends which ultimately was to
3:32 pm
end in the crimean war. that is ultimately why he gave. other people who are rich and well known, the president of the united states. you all know who the president 1847? that would be president polk. he said money cannot be sent from the government but a nationution from his own , he gave $50. of course his political opponents attacked him. they also talked about the vice president who convened a massive meeting and washington at the beginning of 1847. who was the vice president? you are a good audience. you are good. he convened this meeting, he was
3:33 pm
controversial because he owned slaves. other people who were very involved in the distribution was a society of friends. the society of friends were firm abolitionists. stated for a number of days whether they should take money involved with slavery. in the end they decided that they could because it was for the greater good. sometime after the society of friends where offered money from a woman involved in the theater. they decided that they could not take her money because it was an morally gained. society and the british relief association for large organizations. they operated from the beginning of 1847, and the beginning of
3:34 pm
1848 that money was exhausted. the private charity had dried up. money tohey get this the relief of people who needed it? were a number of quakers from america and england. they traveled to western ireland. they would do some of the poorest districts, they took a collections. they did is a great cost to themselves. 13 of those quakers died in that time. the british olympic association operated very differently. count tooyed a polish distribute overly -- oversee relief. he was born in poland and then left because there was the russian influence, he never returned home. he then became a naturalized
3:35 pm
english citizen, he was famous at the time of the potato blight. explorer, he had charted the highest mountains and australia with one irish convict and one aboriginal. personthe first attributed to finding gold and australia. the british government dissuaded him from not telling anybody. comics might get there before they do. it is a very well-kept secret. he was a amazing man. in 1847 he presented himself to the british association and volunteered to go to ireland. he would do a porphyry free, they accepted his offer. said in 1846 and 1847 it was the coldest winter on record for 100 years. despite the heavy snowfall he made it to ireland.
3:36 pm
idea was to feed children. west ofoughout the ireland where he fed schoolchildren who attended school. on two conditions that they had to comb their hair and wash their hands. in their desk in return they would be fed. 18 48 a quarter of a million children were being fed everyday. at this point the money ran out and he personally visited the british prime minister who promised that he would continue to keep the schools open. they said the treasury could not fund this. so the schools closed. that was a tremendous loss. just some of the people who
3:37 pm
gave, they have these all sorts of distinctions. to theson who came british relief association was tom thought. thumb. when they were leaving england he came to ireland because someone was taking up a collection for the started and he was the first to donate. he gave $100. is that he was only 10 years old at the time. he returned to ireland many times, every time he returned he would always make a donation for the poor. was arthur also gave
3:38 pm
gibbons. donate reluctantly -- he disapproved of drinking which was kept a secret. he was also a evangelical map, themoney he gave was to starting catholics. want to finish because i know i am running out of time. someone else who made a therkable donation for impoverished and dispossessed, they came from orphanages in america and from credit injuries and london who gave up food for a day. two of the most remarkable nativens came from american people who had been removed from their land.
3:39 pm
pooreste living in the of conditions and oklahoma, they were told what was happening and they sent $174. had the honorgo i who cameg their chief to ireland to speak about that donation. while he was in ireland he spoke about andrew jackson, they planted a tree as a gesture of forgiveness which was wonderful. alwayser group which moved me was "convicts in london. at the time they were they saw boxes of food going to ireland and they asked if they could make their own donation. they raised 17 shillings,
3:40 pm
pennies. i tracked those convicts one year later every single one of them was dead. they still had compassion. to know the full impact of these donations, if this money had not been sent and gestures like that , thousands upon thousands of more people would have tied in ireland. thank you. [applause] >> if people have questions, please that of the microphone. what was the jamestown cargo michael: >? >> it was all food stuff that
3:41 pm
went over. corn.ety of >> corn, clothing. america was a exporter at that time. food pack about 800 barrels. it was all unloaded by irish one torment. one thing about the supplies is they came from the cash they came from new england. it was a regional effort. the other thing that is quite the arrival ofat jamestown in april of 1847 came at a very crucial time. it was when the publics works program have been closed down. it certainly did help some of
3:42 pm
the people in the area who had no recourse to any food other than what came from jamestown. this very system of distribution was set up by a local committee. aso by the work of philanthropist from liverpool. a man who came over to ireland to assist. thank you so much for your lecture. the long march -- so i was just wondering, has there been a lesson learned from that? >> i will go first.
3:43 pm
strong parallels are drawn today. eight famine is inevitable, a great hunger was not inevitable. for all of the reasons catherine talked about. irish had been a county for over 600 years. the irish people were treated as second-class citizens. that in the doubt british empire there was massive amounts of food that could be taken to ireland. the government chose not to. they could have opened the ports done otherwise, they chose not to. it is a frightening attitude that prevails today and was seen
3:44 pm
in the 1840's. of bringinghem about their own fate. attitude was that we helpd not do much to people in ireland because it is their own fault. if we help it will happen again. the parallel in 1840 and the world today are there. >> i think it is a very simple lesson, when people are hungry, the first reaction to a famine is you feed the people. lecture them later if you would like, reform if you would like later. you need to immediately feed them. it is simple. in the 19thity century, private charity in the 20th century has done wonderful things. and the scale of famines that we see today, it is not adequate. the first response must be from the wealthy nations to feed the
3:45 pm
hungry. i think the other lesson and certainly the lesson that was applied in boston where people were refuges from the famine, that was a very heavy involvement of irish men here in the boston area. from the founding of orphanages hospitals,en, education institutions to take care of the people who are less fortunate. this is a very good example. these men spent a incredible and eighttime walking -- working in a voluntary capacity to build this up in boston. i think that is another very important lesson that we can all do something to help our fellow
3:46 pm
human beings who are suffering from poverty or hunger. in 1847 was there an awareness of the irish people of the national destitution which had fallen on the entire island? did that have any dimension to this? and mayo, it was a national failure of the crop. >> it was different in different places. in 1845 there were areas where the famine was only 50%. a really good media system, the people didn't know what was happening and other areas.
3:47 pm
quotation i read that they would summarize that conditions in a variety of different newspapers. they did have a large number of newspapers and the 19th century. many, many local one. i think there were three newspapers in that area. maybe you would like to comment on that? >> it was mostly spread by word of mouth. people are going to the work houses and it created more problems because they would try to go to town and they actually increased their population in because people flock into them looking for relief or at work. became moree it about that network of people
3:48 pm
seeking to leave their area. >> in september i was in ireland. my ancestors are from the dock area. i wanted to know why they survived, i looked up the record and their land was owned by a man who was daniel. i found a letter writing to his father saying i took the money and i brought food and it will only go to our tenants, that seemed a certain or to me, they had more in common perhaps. how much were a pain to a landlord who literally lived off the fat of a calf?
3:49 pm
>> again we try to give some insight into this. everyhe geographic area region was slightly different. interesting is because people inherited their land from their family. he died at the height of the famine. he never made it. when catherine showed you the image they give you an impression of london, the newspaper that is still being published, there was a series of articles saying he was the andest -- worst landlord ireland. we will die because he did not care about them. the truth is the opposite.
3:50 pm
when the plate first came they suspended rent, they said people on the property did not have to pay rent. in that sense they really try to help people. that happened in other parts of the country. the one that made the biggest difference was the response to the local landowners. a lot of local landowners to that live in ireland, the use ireland as a cash cow. if landlord's lived in ireland they tended to be better. if they were catholic, nationalists, they tended to be better disposed. it throws of the complexity of the famine. many try to help the people. >> the congressional resolution
3:51 pm
that went in the senate and the reliefhat covered famine from both ireland and chicago, how much went to scotland? >> the jamestown did not go to scotland. the macedonian did. after going through coney island it went to scotland. they can tell you precisely what it delivered. she did stop as hell and the. >> i think it was about one quarter of the provisions that were on the macedonia and it up in scotland. in the fundraising efforts here in boston initially it was wasested that this campaign to bring relief to both areas. scotland did not suffer quite as bad as ireland. people were independent there.
3:52 pm
this clergy that , it was rented by irish shamrocks. that it got back they gave end this fall from the macedonia. me that whenamuses she was point and boston. it was a flag. was was the flight that was designed from jamestown. >> thank you very much everybody for coming. [applause]
3:53 pm
>> this holiday weekend on american history tv on c-span3. the 19tht 10:00 p.m. 70 documentary about the all-black u.s. infantry regiment known as the harlem health fighters during world war i. the germans attacked. they got slugged almost immediately. johnson bought them off. he shot and he caught and slung it around, he defeated 24 germans. he had 21 wounds in his body. p.m. and at 10:00 author on the women telephone operators of the signal corps. in france before they got
3:54 pm
this lineup the local operators had to speak to a french operator. they had to learn a liquid. they did not speak french. bilingual women this job. otherwise you would just use men. because at this shot they were better than that. >> monday at 9:00 a.m. we will visit the national world war i memorial in kansas city, missouri. authors and the museum's president and ceo will be there. >> we plan to stop -- tell the story to the lives of the people. of ordinary people, volunteers as well as those who serve in the armed forces from all sides. >> for our complete american history tv schedule, go to
3:55 pm
c-span.org. tveach week american history is american artifacts visiting the museum and archives of historic places. located about two miles south of the u.s. capitol building on the --er the washington edition navy yard was established in 1989. up next they walk into ourmaybe. the of the yard here, he would experiment with the candidates. you'll actually see some of the test plates at what he was shooting at to see if his guns would break through some of the steel. president lincoln, i don't know cap --notice, he loved cannons and the virus. he is one of the only presidents to be ticketed for firing a
3:56 pm
rifle and the limits. it was on the lawn of the white house. it was a newly designed rifle that basically he was shooting at a log file to see how this gun would work. he knew they were experimenting with candidates, they would smoke cigars and drink champagne and fire cannons into the river. was also experimenting with rockets as well. experiments, they were firing the rockets and lincoln wanted to set one off. they said all right, here is how you do it. and thegoes up are standingstate right by it. it explodes on the pad. words, he thought he killed the president because he
3:57 pm
disappeared into a cloud of smoke along with the secretary of state. a few seconds later they come out coughing and laughing. lincoln basically said something to the extent of i guess that did not work let's load up another. it was something that happened right in this area. all of this history happen here in the washington navy yard. he actually comes to the navy yard and visits him here in the offices. in also visits a ship. that is our next stop. the first design that good? >> during the civil war. sunday night on afterwards msnbc host chris haynes discusses how the criminal
3:58 pm
justice system is the vitamin country and his book. mr. hayes is interviewed by a c-span correspondent. >> it seems like this is a anchor in many ways. i am wondering how your experience reporting their limited what you talked about growing up. >> the thing that will my mind in ferguson, i think if you grow up in a city you have this perception of a city. in cities there is these racial areas, they have bad neighborhoods and good neighborhoods. all kinds of loaded ways in patrolhe way police communities. the way that borders sit atop neighborhoods. they have this overlapping the sandpaper friction. then i moved to chicago and i live in washington dc. all of this pertains. all of the mind is
3:59 pm
municipalities and ferguson are 20,000 people. it is anywhere usa. for the sake of st. louis and the suburbs, you drive through it. it looks like anywhere. it is just strip malls, parking lots and houses. experiencedwhat i there was that there was a level of exploitation at the level of racial oppression and friction, the level of policing, the intensity of the humiliation. all of that was in place. something about that blew my mind. >> watch afterwards on c-span2. >> this year marks the centennial of former president john f. kennedy's birth. a four market news international
4:00 pm
recounts his u.s. senate career. from 1953 to 1960. the book is called jfk and the senate. germans recorded at the marshall fund in 2013, it runs one hour and 15 minutes. [applause] >> it's great to be around this table once again today because we have got some wonderful breakfast, and the people from all over the world, in due course we will have a chance to visit with all of them. the conversations go beyond breakfast. they continue on until everything going on in the world world. diplomacy might better contract with our congress, our administrations, others in washington, the leaders.

36 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on