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The Great Famine in Nationalist and Land League propaganda 1879-1882

La Grande Famine dans la propagande des Nationalistes et de la Ligue agraire 1879-1882
Frank RYNNE

Texte intégral

Introduction

1In the late 1870s news of famines in India and China appeared continuously in Irish newspapers. The reporting of these famines in Ireland sometimes directly alluded to Ireland’s Great Famine with The Nation reporting:

  • 1 The Nation, 9th June 1877. The three cheers refer to a notorious episode in November 1868 when a s (...)

A great deal has been said about over-population in India, just as there has been talk about overpopulation in Ireland, and the Earl of Beaconsfield, or some other political leader, may yet call for three cheers for famine for having removed "the redundant people.".1

  • 2 Irish Examiner, 28th August, 1878.
  • 3 Ibid., 10th June 10, 1879.

2In August 1878 The Irish Examiner published unverified reports that 15 million might have died in various provinces in China the previous winter.2 In 1879 the same newspaper reported that a Maharajah, while trading corn at exorbitant prices, had the agreement of the government that the famine there should be allowed to run its course.3 Yet, closer to home, a disaster was emerging that sent chills through communities in the areas affected by The Great Famine some thirty years earlier. This did not receive much attention until its full effects were evident among the poorest classes and when these effects were exposed by a political cadre that was emerging in the economic depression that beset Ireland’s agricultural economy in the late 1870s.

  • 4 T.W. Moody, Davitt and Irish Revolution, 1846-82, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1982, p.283.
  • 5 Ibid., p. 330.

3In 1877 and 1878 Ireland experienced poor harvests and the level of indebtedness of small farmers to both shopkeepers and landlords increased. There was a general fear that if the harvest of 1879 was also poor there would be a famine in Ireland.4 However, one great difference between the want experienced in the late 1870s and that of the Great Famine was that, between 1845 and 1849, it was the poorest and most marginalised who were mostly affected while in 1879 farmers of some substance were on the verge of bankruptcy.5 Furthermore, that such a period of want had not been experienced since the Great Famine was in fact incorrect as the years 1860-2 had seen a similar crisis.

  • 6 Ibid., pp. 331-2.

4However in 1879 there were crucial differences to both the Great Famine and the crisis of the 1860s, as in this period there was a ready availability of Indian meal at low prices and the national infrastructure allowed for relief to reach the remotest areas quickly while charities and government grants helped provide for the neediest relatively swiftly. A further difference was the political mobilisation that had emerged in the 1870s which united constitutionalists and revolutionaries and which used the spectre of the Great Famine to forge a mass movement seeking tenant rights and national independence.6 The result was the first Land War 1879-82.

Starvation anew?

  • 7 W.E. Vaughan, Landlords and Tenants in Mid-Victorian Ireland, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1994, p. 21 (...)
  • 8 T.W. Moody, Davitt and Irish Revolution, 1846-82, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1981), p. 329, pp 355-6
  • 9 Weekly Irish Times, 13 Dec. 1879.
  • 10 Ibid., Jan 24, 1880; Freeman’s Journal, 3rd Feb. 1880.
  • 11 Freeman’s Journal, 3rd Feb. 1880.

5In local studies of the Land War, evidence of the extreme hardship endured by the tenants and labourers and the fear of famine at the beginning of 1879 were noted. By the end of 1879, newspapers were reporting severe distress amongst tenants all over the areas of Ireland traditionally dependent on the potato. This distress was especially disquieting as it arrived in the aftermath of previous years of relative prosperity. While W.E. Vaughan noted that the prosperity and the later distress were no more significant than in the previous post-famine downturn of 1859-64, a crucial difference in 1877-79, in the lead up to the Land War, was the organisational capabilities of the Fenian movement which had been counting on a convergence of factors in order to take a central role in Irish political life.7 When the first reports of an approaching famine circulated in the press, the central committee of the Land League was prepared. The distress caused in Ireland by the poor harvest of 1879 was hard felt as the year drew to a close. With six or more months to go before the first potato crop of 1880 could be harvested, poorer districts of the country were pervaded by a sense of urgency and panic, of which the newly-formed Irish National Land League were cognisant.8 In December, Parnell noted that the people were on the brink of starvation in Castlereagh.9 By January 1880, reports of people threatened with starvation and enquiries into deaths by starvation were common.10 Indeed, when the coroner was unwell and unable to preside over the coroner’s court in Millstreet, Co. Cork, two local magistrates refused to open an inquest into the reported death of a man from starvation for fear that a verdict of a political nature would be returned, thereby implicating the government in the death. The Freeman’s Journal noted that the two magistrates were mindful that in 1847, when two of their predecessors presided over an inquest into a death from starvation in the district, the verdict returned was one of wilful murder on the part of the then prime minister, Lord John Russell.11 The fears of the magistrates in 1880 give a clear insight into the potential for the politicisation of any deaths caused by want.

  • 12 Walter Walsh, Kilkenny the Struggle for Land, 1850-1882, Thomastown, Walsh Books, 2008, p. 250.
  • 13 J.W.H. Carter, The Land War and its leaders in Queen’s County, 1879-82, Portlaoise, Leinster Expre (...)
  • 14 Donnacha Seán Lucey, Land Popular Politics and Agrarian Violence in Ireland: the Case of County Ke (...)
  • 15 West Cork Eagle [WCE], 22nd March 1879.
  • 16 Ibid.
  • 17 WCE, 22nd Mar. 1879

6In Co. Kilkenny, with its good agricultural land, local papers noted the distress throughout the whole county.12 In Queen’s County, in its third year of crop failure, appeals were made for relief in March 1879.13 In Co. Kerry a local newspaper reported that not since the Famine had conditions for the “agricultural classes been so bad”.14 In West Cork a case of death from starvation caused a sensation in the district and the case highlights the terrible misery that was suffered by the poorest classes in the winter of 1878-9.15 On 21 March 1879, an enquiry was held in the boardroom of the Skull (Schull) Co. Cork Board of Guardians into the reported death of a woman, Nora Goodwin, from starvation. John Goodwin was a labourer and a general caretaker in the employ of Isaac Notter. He had a house and a piece of land from Notter and received 6d. per day for his labour. He cultivated potatoes on his land but had a poor harvest in 1877 and by April 1878 he was taken ill. By November, his wife was also ill. They received outdoor relief and Isaac Notter provided soup, rice and rice pudding from his own house to the family. However, Mrs Goodwin remained unwell and existed only on milk and tea that her husband purchased. Mrs Goodwin refused to go into the Poor House and died in early 1879. However, what is noteworthy about the case is, firstly, the paternalistic nature of the relationship between the employer, Notter, and his employee. Notter provided personal charity and secured financial relief from the Poor Law Board, where he was on the Board of Guardians, without the Goodwins applying for it. Secondly, the case illustrates the fact that one incident of reported starvation in 1879 could come to the attention of a great number of government offices and officers, from the local Poor Law Union board up to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland and back down to the Local Government Board.16 Thirdly, the case was first highlighted by a police constable writing to complain to the local Board of Guardians which initiated the chain of events leading to the public enquiry into the death.17 Nevertheless, by the end of 1880 when the Land League had effectively declared a political war on the landlord class of Ireland, and certainly once the habeas corpus suspension act had come into effect on 1 March 1881, the police role was to protect the landlords rather than be overly concerned for the plight of the poor.

The New Departure & fear of Famine

  • 18 Ibid., pp 8-11.
  • 19 Ibid., pp 43-9.
  • 20 Paul Bew and Patrick Maume, “Michael Davitt and the personality of Irish Agrarian Revolution”, in (...)

7In 1877, Michael Davitt, a member of the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB), was released from prison in England. In January 1878 he visited his native Straide, in Co. Mayo, for the first time in nearly 30 years. In 1850 his family, having survived the famine, were evicted from their cottage which was pulled down. At first his parents sought refuge in the Swinford workhouse but on realising that the family was to be split up, his mother Catherine insisted that they leave the institution immediately. They made their way to Haslingden in England where Davitt grew up.18 In 1865 he joined the IRB and was involved in the attempt to take over the arsenal in Chester during the 1867 Fenian Rising.19 Imprisoned in 1870 for his role in supplying arms to the IRB in Ireland, his release was the result of an amnesty movement that had made his name well known by the time he set about the next phase of his revolutionary career. When Davitt emerged from prison, he was determined to make his mark on the moribund Fenian movement in Ireland and to help the poorest classes of tenant farmers and labourers. While the Fenian organisation in Ireland was in disarray, in the USA the organisational capacity of the movement there was demonstrated by the 1876 Catalpa rescue of Fenian prisoners from Australia, which was orchestrated by John Devoy of Clan-na-Gael.20 In 1878 Davitt visited the USA and together with Devoy developed what became known as the New Departure which was a departure from the Fenian orthodoxy of eschewing constitutional politics and merely concentrating on separating Ireland from Britain by means of armed force.

  • 21 For the three “new departures” identified by Prof. Moody see T. W. Moody, “The new departure in Ir (...)
  • 22 The term advanced Nationalist and Nationalist with a capital “N” in the period denoted adherents o (...)

8Their partner in the New Departure was a young and ambitious Protestant landlord from Co. Wicklow, Charles Stewart Parnell. Parnell was an MP for the Home Rule Party which was led by the conservative minded barrister Isaac Butt. He had made a name for himself as an obstructionist in the House of Commons, one of a small group of Irish MPs who delayed the proceedings in the House by engaging in long speeches and various procedural methods to obstruct the passing of legislation in order to highlight Irish grievances. The New Departure was to focus on advocating for tenant rights for the farmers of Ireland and this policy was summed up by the 3 Fs (fair rents, fixity of tenure and free sale), while advancing the nationalist cause. The policy aimed at giving tenants the rights to sell their interest in their holdings and be compensated for any improvements they made to the land on either moving on or eviction.21 However, the nationalist agenda was less clear: for Davitt and Devoy it meant Irish independence but Parnell displayed impeccable political savvy. While openly courting their favour and joining with the advanced Nationalists in founding the Irish National Land League in 1879, he maintained a delicate balancing act which allowed him to use their organisation to take control of the constitutional Home Rule Party in 1880.22

  • 23 R. V. Comerford, The Fenians in Context: Irish Politics and Society 1848-82, Dublin, Wolfhound Pre (...)
  • 24 Ibid. p.230
  • 25 Ibid.
  • 26 Ibid.
  • 27 Note: This comment is not a criticism of R.V Comerford but rather a comment on his work as publish (...)

9In February 1879, Davitt undertook his second visit to Co. Mayo, following his release from prison and found that the two years of economic downturn had lead to extreme distress amongst the poorer tenant farmers and labourers. R.V. Comerford noted that the “agricultural recession of the late 1870s led to a breakdown in the conventions of landlord-tenant relations in the first instance in Mayo”.23 He further posited that, with little to lose and despite having no interest in the ideals of the Fenian movement, thousands of tenants in the county had joined the IRB. According to Comerford, in Mayo there were strong lay political leaders most of whom were members of the IRB.24 On Davitt’s visit to the county in February 1879 these leaders along with James Daly the editor of the Connaught Tribune, were attempting to create an organisation to advocate for tenant rights and to stand up to landlord rent demands and organise resistance to evictions. The first public meeting was held at Irishtown on 20th April. The potential of a broad-based movement such as was organically emerging in Mayo was not lost on either Davitt or Devoy, who realised that a national movement based on similar lines and headed by Parnell could assist their cause.25 R.V. Comerford stated that, in the course of the summer, Davitt moved closer to agitation for tenant right and away from the Fenian cause, Parnell saw this potential which he would later subordinate to his political machine, while John Devoy’s desire to use the movement to create an Irish revolution were left “high and dry”.26 However the situation was both locally, nationally and in the USA, far more complex than Prof Comerford’s pithy analysis encompassed.27

  • 28 L. Perry Curtis, “Demonising the Irish Landlords Since the Famine” in Brian Casey (ed.), Defying t (...)

10In August 1879, the Mayo agitation was formalised and led to the emergence of an organisation called the Land League of Mayo. Two months later the Irish National Land League was founded with Parnell as its president and a committee of IRB men taking key positions. L.P. Curtis noted that the reputation of landlords in Ireland “never fully recovered from the stigma arising out of the clearances and destruction of cabins or dwellings during and after 1846-47”.28 As the winter of 1879 approached, the Irish landlord would become the bête noire against whom the most important revolutionary and political organisation in Ireland prior to the 1916 Rising would rally. Though there were competing threads within the organisation, it was the genuine fear of famine in Ireland in the winter of 1879-80 that ensured its initial success in raising funds, inspiring local activists and ensuring the mass support that marked the first phase of the Land War 1879-82.

  • 29 The Pilot, ( Boston) 13th March 1880, cited in Ely M. Janis, A Greater Ireland: the Land League an (...)
  • 30 Catholic Universe, 29th January, 1880, cited in ibid.
  • 31 John Mitchel, The Last Conquest of Ireland (Perhaps) [1860], ed. and introd. Patrick Maume. Dublin (...)
  • 32 For a discussion of this see Catherine Maignant, and Frank Rynne, “The Historiography of The Great (...)

11In January 1880, Parnell began a two-month fundraising trip to the USA with Devoy and Clan-na-Gael organising the tour. The trip centred on organising American support for the Land League and at the outset fundraising focused on the relief of distress in Ireland but, by its end, Parnell had also helped create the Land League in the USA. His speeches emphasised the looming humanitarian crisis in Ireland and indeed echoed the words of John Mitchel which were sure to appeal to the generations of famine and post-famine emigrants in the USA. He stated at one meeting in Canada that: “[...] Irish famines are caused by man not by God [..]”.29 Two months earlier in Cleveland, Ohio, he had stated that: “it must be our duty in this country if England attempts to starve our people that she does not do so secretly, silently and by stealth, as she did in the great famine of ‘45, ’46, ’47, ’48.”30 As has been noted by Ely M. Janis, this rhetoric sings from the hymn sheet of John Mitchel who declared in the close of his damning condemnation of the UK government and its role the Great Famine, The Last Conquest of Ireland (Perhaps) published in 1860 that, “The Almighty, indeed, sent the potato blight, but the English created the Famine”.31 Mitchel was uncompromising and laid the blame for the mortality in the Great Irish Famine at the door of the British government, a claim that has been much debated in recent historiography relating to the Great Famine.32

  • 33 Ely M. Janis, A Greater Ireland, op cit, pp. 48-9.
  • 34 For leadership of Clan-na-Gael see Owen McGee, The IRB: The Irish Republican Brotherhood from the (...)
  • 35 James J. O’Kelly (‘Blake’) to John Devoy, 11 Feb. 1880, Devoy’s Post Bag, 1871-1928 (2 Vols, Dubli (...)
  • 36 Ibid.
  • 37 Frank Rynne, Redressing historical imbalance: the role of Grassroots leaders Richard Hodnett and H (...)
  • 38 Ibid., p.142 citing The Nation, 9th October 1880.

12What is clear from Parnell’s speeches in the USA and Canada is that the spectre of the Great Famine was a rallying cry for both fundraising efforts and calls to join the Land League. Before leaving the USA, he had set up an American wing of the organisation which some in Clan-na-Gael believed was an attempt to control the movement directly from Ireland, and it caused a leading American Fenian, William Carroll, to withdraw his support from the movement. However, Devoy was not so easily distracted.33 Even though, William Carroll was the leader of Clan-na-Gael, its secretary, Devoy, was working at homogenising and indeed taking control of the global Fenian movement using land agitation in Ireland as a pivotal battleground for revising the methods of operations and taking control of advanced Nationalism, he also worked at recruiting a new generation of adherents to the Fenian cause which was the violent overthrow of British rule in Ireland.34 In February 1880, Devoy was advised by James J. O’Kelly that the ‘famine districts of the West of Ireland offer the best field just now for our activity’.35 While a surface reading may deem “our activity” to mean the Land League’s activities, it is wiser to view a communication with this leading Fenian as meaning the activities that Devoy was orchestrating. It is clear that O’Kelly, who returned to Ireland in 1880 and was elected MP for Roscommon in a by-election the same year, was an agent for Devoy and worked on his plans in Ireland. In the same letter, he describes the leadership of the IRB, John O’Leary and Supreme Council President Charles Kickham, as “the incapables”. 36 His policy further extended to the grassroots organisation of the IRB in Ireland and reached the remotest parts of the country through returned Irish-Americans who organised, on the ground, firstly a revival of the Irish Republican Brotherhood and then branches of the Land League.37 Devoy hedged his bets in 1879-80 and if Parnell was attempting to outflank Clan-na-Gael in the USA through the organisation of the Land League there, Devoy was intent on maintaining his own separate lines of control on matters developing in Ireland. These behind-the-scenes manoeuvrings used the high profile of Parnell to effectively sideline the IRB leadership while reviving militant nationalism in the “famine” districts which O’Kelly had advised were ripe for organising. In October 1880, the local IRB leader in West Cork and member of the IRB Supreme Council, C. G. Doran, announced that despite his orders, the IRB had gone over to the Land League.38

Rural distress & charitable relief

  • 39 Freeman’s Journal, 19 March 1880.
  • 40 Ibid..
  • 41 The Nation, 13th March 1880
  • 42 The Irish Examiner, 9th February, 1880.

13A further echo of the Great Famine that was impossible to ignore was the creation of various charitable relief funds, notably The Duchess of Marlborough’s Fund, The Mansion House Fund and later the Land League's own fund. Appeals for assistance were made across the world. On the 19th of March 1880 the Freeman's Journal published an article under the headline “French Bishops on the Irish Famine” quoting a circular issued by Cardinal Desprez, Archbishop of Toulouse, "My dear brethren, the public prints for some time past have been informing us of the ravages of famine in Ireland."39 The prelate announced that a collection would be made before Easter to help relieve the suffering in Ireland. The same article noted a 200 franc donation from the bishop of Le Mans and that the Bishop of Arras had addressed the parish priests of his diocese on the advisability of assisting the Irish, despite privations in France.40 Five days earlier The Nation reported that while there were people in England who scoffed at the idea that anyone would die of starvation in Ireland, coroner's juries in Counties Donegal, Cork Limerick and Galway returned verdicts which indicated that the weakest were dying, not necessarily directly from starvation but certainly from want.41 In February the Irish Examiner stated it was “a period when famine knocks at so many thousand cabin doors in Ireland” and claimed that reports from America stating that Parnell and John Dillon were criticising the Mansion House Relief Committee were, in some way, emanating not from the USA but from London thereby insinuating the reports were English propaganda.42

  • 43 Paul Bew, Land and the National Question in Ireland 1858-82, Dublin, Gill and Macmillan, 1978, p. (...)
  • 44 Moody, Davitt and Irish Revolution, op. cit., p. 331.
  • 45 Ely M. Janis, A Greater Ireland, op cit, p. 40 citing The Pilot (Boston), 12 June 1880.

14In truth, while touring America to raise funds, Parnell and John Dillon had asked the Lord Mayor of Dublin to remove landlords from the Mansion House Relief Committee that he had set up to relieve the poor in Ireland and asserted that tenants who refused to pay their rents would be denied assistance from the fund. Paul Bew surmised that this attack on the Mansion House Committee came about because Parnell felt strong enough to attempt to divert potential donations to the Lord Mayor’s charity to the Land League funds.43 T.W. Moody felt that Parnell was collecting a vast sum on his US tour with Dillon and one month into the tour Parnell could measure the material results and saw other funds as competitors.44 By the time he returned to Ireland in early March to fight the general election he had raised $300,000 with $50,000 of that pledged for political use.45 It is clear that at a time when there was a real prospect of a famine in Ireland Parnell’s use of a Mitchelite hard line on England generated not merely political capital but hard cash.

Nationalist and Land League propaganda in West Cork

  • 46 Return of the loans applied for and granted in each of the various unions in Ireland scheduled as (...)
  • 47 WCE, 24th Jan. 1880.

15One of the clearest ways to see the use of The Great Famine in Nationalist and Land League propaganda during the Land War is to examine one of the famine districts that J.J. O’Kelly noted would be ripe for the expansion of the Nationalist movement. In the Skull Poor Law Union, which had a reported population of 13,139 in 1880, by the end of January, the privations of the winter of 1879-80 appeared to have had the effect of uniting the community, farmers and landlords together in their efforts to seek help in order to alleviate the suffering of the poor in their district.46 The Board of Guardians of a poor law union comprised both elected and ex offico Poor Law Guardians. The latter were Guardians by virtue of being magistrates or justices of the peace resident in the union. Richard Hodnett, was an elected Poor Law Guardian, and continually criticised the landlords for their inaction and avarice in the face of the people’s suffering. Indeed it may have been his public harangues that forced the landlords to apply to borrow money from the government to commence relief works. On 13 January, at a regular meeting of the Poor Law Board of Guardians, an ex officio member, D. McCarthy, J.P., expressed his concern about the: ‘distressed circumstances of the ratepayers’, declaring that ‘In a year of unparalleled distress the ratepayers should be protected, and relief given only to those who require it’.47 The ratepayers were the larger land owners and tenants and not the labourers who were suffering.

16Richard Hodnett had earlier noted that:

  • 48 Ibid., 17 Jan. 1880.

The country is in a deplorable state; Why half the guardians in the union are not able to pay their rates. When this is the state of the guardians, what must be the state of the poorer classes? In Ballydehob troops of men may be seen everyday idle and with nothing to eat, living on the expectation of the Cooshen Copper mine going to work shortly. The landlords of the country are in a great measure to blame for the destitution that prevails. They do not feel the misery themselves, and they look on callous hearted and apathetic, while their dependents are famishing with hunger.48

  • 49 WCE, 24 Jan. 1880.
  • 50 Ibid.

17Hodnett suggested that the landlords avail themselves of the facilities offered by the Board of Works to get land reclaimed and piers built. However, the Chairman, Capt. Somerville, feared that the tenants would not pay the interest on the money if the landlords borrowed it from the Board of Works. On 20th January 1880, three days after Hodnett’s comments were published in the West Cork Eagle and County Advertiser, the next meeting of the Board of Guardians was attended by some 300 farmers. According to the paper, these inhabitants of the Skull Union had risen ‘manfully on Tuesday above a policy of slumbering inactivity’.49 This was the first sign of mobilisation that would pave the way for the formation of the Land League in West Cork. It is unsurprising that it was Richard Hodnett, who had raised the spectre of starvation and famine in early 1880, who would lead its foundation before the end of the year. The ‘West’s Awake’50 declared The West Cork Eagle, using Young Ireland poet Thomas Davis’ words.

  • 51 Ibid.; Web site of Kilmore Union of Churches (
  • 52 WCE, 24 Jan. 1880; T.H. Burke, Dublin Castle, 13 Jan. 1880, Enclosure (1) No 12, Correspondence re (...)
  • 53 Ibid; ‘Enclosure (2) No. 12 Schedule of Works for which application may be made at Extraordinary B (...)
  • 54 WCE, 24 Jan. 1880.

18However, the meeting was far from revolutionary in character and those present included four Catholic clergymen and also the Church of Ireland rector of Holy Trinity Church, Skull, Rev. John Triphook.51 The meeting, convened by Captain Somerville J.P., chairman of the Skull Board of Guardians, was characterised by calmness and what seemed to be a coming together of the resident local landlords, justices of the peace and farmers, in order to discuss a circular from the Board of Works which was dispensing a loan fund of £250,000 for relief works. Poor Law Boards could borrow sums for 35 years, pay no interest for the first two years and carry out works that would employ the needy of the district. The government's desire for ‘promoting and encouraging employment’ allowed for the Lord Lieutenant, on receipt, through the Local Government Board, of a representation from the Board of Guardians of a distressed district, to give permission for the convening of an extraordinary Baronial Session.52 Any distressed Union could present for useful and profitable works such as ‘the repairing of any road or footpath; the lowering of a hill or filling a hollow on any road, the building, repairing or enlarging of any bridge on any road the cost of which shall not exceed £200’. Other necessary works, such as drainage, making footpaths, and repairing sewers and channels inside villages or towns, were also eligible.53 A constraint was laid which demanded that all works should be completed by 31st July 1880. This date was deemed to be too soon by all present and it was noted that farmers would be unlikely to have their potatoes harvested by that date and so would be in distress.54

  • 55 Ibid.
  • 56 Ibid.
  • 57 Ibid.
  • 58 Ibid.

19Hodnett pointed out that of the sixty six landlords owning land in the union only ‘8 or 9 were residing in it’.55 Their consent would be needed if any works touched on their lands. The Chairman, Capt. Somerville, asked ‘What do you say about asking the landlords consent’ to which resident landlord Richard Notter replied: ‘The time for relief would have expired before you would get an answer’.56 Isaac Notter told the meeting that he had been informed at a meeting with the secretary of The Duchess of Marlborough's Fund at Dublin Castle that the fund was not for providing employment but for relieving distress of the poor through the purchase of food. He informed the meeting that Skull was as entitled to such relief as any other part of the country since there was ‘great distress and sickness amongst them, and unless immediate relief was given a famine would result’.57 The latter part of the meeting presents a stark insight into the plight of the people in the Skull Union. One Poor Law Guardian, J. Coughlan, received a loud cheer when he declared that the farmers were in as much need of relief as the labourers. Several speakers suggested that the farmers were in need of seed potatoes and should be supplied with these from Scotland and given meal to eat while their potatoes grew.58

Map of West Cork, Copyright F. Rynne.

Compare with the 1839 French map of the same area in this issue.

  • 59 Patrick Hickey, Famine in West Cork: The Mizen Peninsula, Land and People 1800-1853, Cork & Dublin(...)
  • 60 Cork Constitution, 29 Dec. 1846
  • 61 Commissary Inglis to Randolph Routh, 23 Dec. 1846, Irish University Press Series of British Parlia (...)
  • 62 A table ‘Mortality in the Six Parishes (Sept. 1846-Sept 1847)’ in Hickey, Famine in West Cork, op. (...)
  • 63 Hickey, ‘Famine, Mortality and Emigration: A Profile of Six parishes in the Poor Law Union of Skib (...)
  • 64 WCE, 24 Feb. 1880.
  • 65 Ibid.
  • 66 Hickey, Famine in West Cork, op. cit, p. 16, p. 199, p. 104, p. 267, p. 145, p. 169.

20In an area like Skull, such pronouncements and the idea that the inhabitants would need to rely wholly on meal raised the spectre of the Great Famine. In December 1846, the area was completely ravaged by famine.59 According to the Cork Constitution “greater misery was reserved for Ballydehob. Here people are in a deplorable state dying in all directions”.60 However, in 1846, one observer noted that the deaths occurred among a certain class of the people, “labourers and beggars”, while the “country people generally never looked better” and were said to have supplies until the following May as they were eating their own grain and paying no rent.61 In the year from September 1846 to Sept 1847, there were 1,525 deaths in Skull, 17.7% of the population, while the Ballydehob district recorded 1,569 mortalities, amounting to 18% of the population.62 Patrick Hickey argues that J.J. Marshall, an inspecting officer who compiled A Return of deaths and emigrations in the western division of the Skibbereen Union, from the 1 September 1846 to 12 September 1847, may have underestimated the death rate in the district, speculating that it was likely to have been double the reported figures.63 Many of those attending the meeting in January 1880, remembered the Great Famine. Joseph O’Driscoll, who collected the poor rates in the Union in “‘46, ‘47 and ‘48” stated that: “He could fearlessly say that the small farmers were as badly off now as then”.64 He noted the farmers could get credit then whereas there was ‘none now’.65 The Notter family had immigrated to the area in the 17th century from Germany and been involved in relief efforts during the famine, while Richard Hodnett had worked as an overseer on relief works in 1847 and Dr Sweetnam was a member of the relief committee and had attended the sick and dying in the district during the famine.66

  • 67 Carter, The Land War and its Leaders in Queen’s County,op cit, p. 30.
  • 68 WCE, 24 Feb. 1880.
  • 69 Ibid.
  • 70 Ibid.
  • 71 Entry for Notter, Landed Estates Database, National University of Ireland, Galway, (http://landede (...)
  • 72 Carter, The Land War and its Leaders in Queen’s County, op.cit., p. 31.

21In light of the devastation wrought on the area during the Great Famine, it is not surprising that there seemed to be a consensus across the social, economic and religious divides in the Skull Union in order to forestall any return to famine. Such a coming together of denominations and classes was also evident in Queen’s County between November 1879 and June 1880 with ‘shopkeepers, professional people and clerics of all denominations’ forming relief committees.’67 Capt. Somerville noted he had received no reply to a memo he had sent to the Duchess of Marlborough’s Fund nor to a circular he had sent to five hundred people in England seeking financial assistance. In light of this, he suggested that the only immediate solution would be to ‘start a subscription list, and everyone give his mite’.68 The burden of such a subscription would fall upon the few landlords and wealthier people of the district, a fact that was bemoaned by Richard Notter, who complained that by starting a subscription ‘[...] we’d be paying out of our own pockets for the support of the tenants of absentee landlords.’69 This promoted a retort from Richard Hodnett, who cited the example of an American gentleman who had given $1,000 to help relieve Irish distress. He asked: ‘What are our Irish gentlemen doing? Nothing but receiving the rents.’70 Notter’s complaint may have been influenced by his own family circumstances, as some of their land was forcibly sold by the Encumbered Estates Court which, in the aftermath of the Great Famine, allowed for land which had been mortgaged and whose owners were unable to meet their debts to be sold on the application of a creditor,71 It was also the case that landlords, including Notter, paid five-eighths of the poor rates in Ireland and therefore, as J.W.H. Carter noted, they found themselves anxious about being ‘lightened of pockets’ in an increasingly ‘unsettled country’.72

  • 73 WCE, 9 Jan. 1880.
  • 74 Poor law unions (Ireland) loans. Return of the loans applied for and granted in each of the variou (...)
  • 75 Ibid.

22The meeting ended on a sombre note, with reports of extreme poverty in the district from Father Murphy of Skull saying that people were living on turnips and, on the islands, some were in a state of semi-nakedness and that without public relief works ‘a crisis as painful as ‘48’ would be upon the district soon.73 By 7th February 1880, the landlords in the Skull union applied to the Local Government Board for loans totalling £1,353. However, they were granted less than 15% of that amount, a mere £200.74 Between 7th and 29th February, they applied for a further £2,820 but received only £300, a mere tenth of what they sought.75

  • 76 Irish Times, 30 Jan. 1880.
  • 77 Ibid.
  • 78 Ibid., 23 Apr. 1880.
  • 79 Ibid., 24 July 1880.

23By the month’s end, only four committees of the Duchess of Marlborough’s Fund were established in Co. Cork: one at Skibbereen, with Thomas Somerville as chairman, at Skull with Capt. Somerville of the Prairie as chairman, at Bantry, with Mr Payne as chairman and at Millstreet, with Mr James McCarthy O’Leary as chairman. These four committees were awarded £475 in the last week of January, which comprised the total amount awarded to Co. Cork that week.76 In comparison, Co. Donegal received £1,225, Sligo £850, Galway £1,970, Leitrim £450, Mayo £1,850, Roscommon £900, Clare £1,085, Limerick £100, and Kerry £1,100.77 Though the exact figure allocated to the Skull committee is not reported, a charity may have contributed a sum equal to a quarter of what the government granted in its loan scheme. In April a report from Hon. A. Talbot on distress in Skull district was read at a meeting of the Duchess of Marlborough’s Fund trustees. Their advisor, Dr. Meredith, suggested ‘assistance in providing fishing gear for the locality might be obtained from the Committee of the Canadian Fund’.78 Though such a grant might have helped those engaged in fishing and the islanders, it would do little to arrest the future politicisation of the tenants on whom the Land League agitation in 1880 and 1881 was primarily focused. In July, a further £20 was voted by the fund to the Skull committee by the Duchess of Marlborough’s Fund.79

  • 80 WCE, 4 Sept. 1880.
  • 81 Ibid.

24In a late August meeting of the Skull Poor Law Guardians, Hodnett criticised the Board for not holding any special meetings since February and raised once again the spectre of the Great Famine. Richard Notter retorted ‘there was a famine then, not a mockery of one as there is now’.80 Notter went on to complain about people ‘swarming all over the country with beggary’.81 Relations between the landlords and tenants of the Skull Union had reached breaking point by this stage and the political movement embodied by the Land League was set to arrive in the district.

25On 15 August, John Dillon, who had toured the USA with Parnell earlier in the year, told a Land League meeting in Kildare that:

  • 82 Sir W. Barttelot MP quoting a newspaper report in the House of Commons, 17 Aug. 1880, Irish Times, (...)

If there was an attempt made to evict a man who had joined (The Land League), the members would have a meeting called to denounce the landlord who should attempt to put him out, and the Land League would take care of him and see he did not starve.82

  • 83 Ibid.

26Dillon went on to call for a rent strike and for 300,000 to join the Land League.83

27In late August 1880, Richard Hodnett took steps to found the Land League in his home village of Ballydehob. On Saturday 11 September, a notice appeared in the West Cork Eagle (see illustration) publicising a:

  • 84 WCE, 11 Sept. 1880.

Monster Land League Meeting at Ballydehob, On Sunday Next, Sept., 12, 1880 At 2 o’Clock. Men of West Carbery assemble in your thousands, and show our Rulers that the present Land Laws are the cause of Famine and Emigration, And declare your determination to live and die in the homes you were born in. The following as Deputation from Dublin and Cork Land Leagues, will address you:- Messrs. Kettle, Farrell, Heffernan, O’Hea, Brennan, Byrne, O’Brien, and Fuller. Down with Landlordism. GOD SAVE IRELAND.84

West Cork Eagle, 11th September 1880

  • 85 Ibid.
  • 86 Jeremiah Stringer, ‘Clonakilty, Co. Cork, Sunday, 29 Aug. 1880’, National Archives of Ireland [NAI (...)
  • 87 Report of land meeting at BalIydehob, 12 Sept. 1880, NAI., CCS, Queen v. Parnell papers, box 4.
  • 88 Ibid., WCE, 18 Sept. 1880.

28The language used in the advertisement explicitly links the Great Famine and emigration with the land laws and also equates elected representatives with rulers, as though parliamentary democracy was little different from feudal serfdom. The last phrases ‘Down with Landlordism’ sitting above ‘God Save Ireland’ evokes the Fenian or advanced Nationalist sentiment that characterized many Land League posters in areas where such sentiments were likely to appeal to a public already sympathetic to them.85 "God Save Ireland" was the phrase used by the Manchester Martyrs as they left the dock having been sentenced to death for their role in a Fenian rescue which lead to the death of a policeman in Manchester in 1867. It formed the refrain in a song penned in their honour by T.D. Sullivan which became the unofficial Irish national anthem. The inaugural meeting of the Land League in West Cork at Ballydehob on 12th September was addressed by Edward Farrell the chairman of the Co. Cork Land League who the police noted was “a Nationalist”.86 Farrell raised the subject of the famine of ‘47, blaming the landlords and the Government.87 Richard Hodnett referred to the Famine noting that the purpose of the meeting was to show the English government and the world in general that the system of landlordism would no longer be tolerated.88 He noted that ten years earlier, the English Government had introduced a law to give the tenant farmers security but this was found to be insufficient. He noted that the system of landlordism had sent many a “Lazarus into the bosom of Abraham” and that:

  • 89 Ibid.

the tenantry of that union [Skull], in particular, had suffered in consequence of the unjust system of landlordism, and he knew in his own knowledge how many thousands of the poor went coffinless into their graves.89

  • 90 Ibid.

29Skibbereen solicitor Patrick O’Hea also raised the famine memory of ‘47 and exhorted all to join the Land League. He condemned landlordism, which was: “the rule of the vampire who had almost drawn the vitals out of the people and would continue to do so unless they banded themselves together to resist”.90

  • 91 WCE, 24th Oct. 1880.
  • 92 Ibid., 13 Nov. 1880.
  • 93 WCE, 20 Nov. 1880

30Later in September, at the inaugural Land League meeting in nearby Skibbereen, John Heffernan called for the landlords to be starved out by being ostracised and refused rents. 91 By early November the Ballydehob branch of the Land League was holding weekly meetings that began to take on the character of courts. At one meeting a local landlord’s father was remembered for his burning of sixteen hovels after the famine.92 However, despite the apparent cross-community action in the Skull union in early 1880, by November 1880 Richard Hodnett declared that the failure of the government to award the amounts requested through the Local Government Board and at the Extraordinary Baronial Presentment Sessions were reason enough for the people to have no faith in either the local landlords or the government.93 One of the key refrains in the move towards extreme anti-landlord action in West Cork was the repeated references to the Great Famine. Despite landlords’ attempts to alleviate distress, the Land League assumed the role of protector of the people.

  • 94 Henry F. Quirke, ‘Diary of a Land League Activist’, Journal of the Skibbereen and District Histori (...)
  • 95 Ibid.
  • 96 Rynne, “Redressing Historical Imbalances: Richard Hodnett and Henry O’Mahony...”, Casey, Defying t (...)

31Around this time Henry O’Mahony returned to Ballydehob from the USA. He remembered, as a boy eating ‘turnips and kale and the cries of the poorer people dying of hunger and disease.’94 Being reasonably well off, the family had ‘milk, butter, chickens, eggs and pigs’ enabling them to survive the famine without potatoes.95 He spent many years in the USA and fought in the Union army in the US Civil War. What was notable about O’Mahony was his extreme hatred for landlords as a class and also his connections with the most extreme branches of Fenianism including a link to the later dynamite campaign waged in England from 1881.96 After O’Mahony’s arrest in 1881 under the Protection of Person’s and Property (Ireland) Act 1881, a habeas corpus suspension measure, the US consul referred to the “famine” of 1881 in inverted commas giving lie to its use as a propaganda slogan, intimating it should not to be taken at face value:

  • 97 Mr. Brooks to Mr. Badeau, 15 June 1881 Inclosure 21 No 331, Papers relating to the foreign relatio (...)

He [O’Mahony] was one of the most popular of the Land League leaders in his country-side, and during the “famine” of 1880 was very efficient in relieving the distress of his neighbours.97

32Between its inception in 1880 and the time it was outlawed in October 1881 the Land League in West Cork operated courts, organised mass meetings and was accused of being involved in the shooting of three landlords. In June 1881, in protest against the arrest of Henry O’Mahony, thousands of people engaged in three days of civil disturbance that had to be put down by the military. Like Parnell and other national leaders both Hodnett and O’Mahony were jailed under the Protection of Person’s and Property (Ireland) Act. In May 1882 Parnell and Davitt were released. However there immediately followed the notorious Phoenix Park Murders which claimed the lives of the chief Secretary of Ireland and the Under Secretary, in a political assassination that shocked even some members of the Land League. Though this period is deemed to have ended the Land War 1879-82, the second phase was soon to erupt and it lasted until the late 1880s and beyond.

  • 98 Royce, ‘County of Cork, W.R., Crime and Outrage’ p. 4, N.A.I., Irish.National League. papers, box (...)
  • 99 WCE, 24 Feb. 1880.
  • 100 Ibid.
  • 101 Ibid.
  • 102 Frank Rynne, The Famine in Nationalist and Republican political discourse and propaganda’, Yann B (...)

33On the 8th January 1883, Richard Hodnett along with James Gilhooly and John O’Brien, was sentenced to prison terms under the Prevention of Crime Act (1882) for making speeches of an ‘inflammatory and illegal’ nature at a meeting in Bantry on 10th December 1882.98 The three had been charged with intimidation, for the speeches had been made at a meeting of the Land League’s successor, the National League, at which Gilhooly, the IRB ‘head centre’ in Bantry, had decried tyranny and said the Land League had only been suppressed for its opposition to tyranny and injustice and that no one should pay rents that were unfair.99 He was also reported to have said: “The landlords were the bulwark of the British garrison and by abolishing them they would be helping to win the independence of their native country”.100 O’Brien said that the Irish people should pass their own laws and that ‘England had given the people of Ireland for the last 700 years nothing but bayonets, buckshot, and British rule, and they had starved the tenantry’.101 The use of famine memory in Irish Nationalist political propaganda, with the aim of ridding Ireland of both landlord and English rule, has been a continuous refrain from the Land War.102

Conclusion

  • 103 Ely M. Janis, A Greater Ireland,op cit.

34There is no doubt that the poor harvests of the late 1870s brought to the fore memories of the Great Famine and gave rise to genuine fears that a famine would return not just amongst the poorest classes but throughout society. While there had been an economic downturn in the early 1860s, by the late 1870s a political machine was forming that linked advanced Nationalists in what Ely M. Janis terms Greater Ireland103. It is clear from an examination of the use of Famine memory and rhetoric in the organisation of the Irish National Land League at international, national and local level that ownership of this memory was seized on by political radicals and turned into a rallying cry for recruitment. Furthermore, whereas in 1879 and early 1880 landlords as a class were involved with tenants and others in attempting to find ways to relieve the suffering of the poorest, the use of famine propaganda in a greater campaign for tenant rights and national independence marginalised them from this role. While Curtis notes that the reputation of Irish landlords never recovered from the infamy that attached to them following the Famine, the Land League agitation in a period of want highlighted that reputation and fatally wounded the landlords as a class in Ireland while, conversely, the advanced Nationalist cause was furthered with each blow to landlordism. The irony in the micro study of West Cork must be noted, as the landlords who were vilified there had been involved in famine relief during the Great Famine, they lived locally and indeed were shown to be of a charitable character in the case of the Goodwins in 1879 and indeed in their early efforts to get funds to relieve the poor in 1880. However, Land League speeches and propaganda instrumentalised the memory of the Great Famine and ensured that John Mitchel’s rhetoric continued down through further generations.

Bibliography

Bew, Paul, Land and the National Question in Ireland 1858-82, Dublin, Gill and Macmillan, 1978.

Bew, Paul, Maume, Patrick, ‘Michael Davitt and the personality of Irish Agrarian Revolution’, in Lane, Fintan and Newby, Andrew G., (Eds.), Michael Davitt: New Perspectives, Dublin, Irish Academic Press, 2009, pp. 62-74

Carter, J.W.H., The Land War and its leaders in Queen’s County, 1879-82, Portlaoise, Leinster Express Newspapers, 1994.

Comerford, R. V., The Fenians in Context: Irish Politics and Society 1848-82, Dublin, Wolfhound Press, 1985.

Correspondence relative to measures for the relief of distress in Ireland 1879-80, [C.2483] [C.2506] H.C. 1880, lxii, 175.

Curtis, L. Perry, ‘Demonising the Irish Landlords Since the Famine” in Brian Casey (ed.), Defying the Law of the Land: Agrarian radicals in Irish History, Dublin, 2013, pp 20-43.

Hickey, P. ‘Famine, Mortality and Emigration: A Profile of Six parishes in the Poor Law Union of Skibbereen 1846-7’ in O’Flanagan, Patrick and Buttimer, Cornelius, (Eds), Cork History & Society: Interdisciplinary Essays on the History of an Irish County, Dublin, Gill & MacMillan, 1993, pp. 873-918.

Hickey, Patrick, Famine in West Cork: The Mizen Peninsula, Land and People 1800-1853, Cork & Dublin, Mercier Press, 2002.

Irish University Press Series of British Parliamentary Papers, Famine, Ireland, 8 vols, Shannon, Irish University Press 1970.

Janis, Ely M., A Greater Ireland: the Land League and Transatlantic nationalism in the Gilded Age, Wisconsin, University of Wisconsin Press, 2015.

John Mitchel, The Last Conquest of Ireland (Perhaps) [1860], Ed. Patrick Maume, Dublin, UCD Press, 2005.

Lucey, Donnacha Seán, Land Popular Politics and Agrarian Violence in Ireland: the Case of County Kerry, 1872-86, Dublin. 2011.

Maignant, Catherine and Rynne, Frank, ‘The Historiography of The Great Irish Famine’ in Yann Bévant, (Ed.), La Grande Famine en Irlande. Histoire et représentations d’un désastre humanitaire (1845-1851), Rennes, Presses Universitaires de Rennes, 2014, pp. 15-47.

McGee, Owen, The IRB: The Irish Republican Brotherhood from the Land War to Sinn Fein, Dublin, Four Courts Press, 2005 (2007).

Moody, T. W., ‘The new departure in Irish politics, 1878-9’ in H. A. Cronne, T. W. Moody, and D. B. Quinn (Eds.), Essays in British and Irish History in Honour of James Eadie Todd, London, Frederick Muller,1949, pp 303-33.

Moody, T.W., Davitt and Irish Revolution, 1846-82, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1982.

O’Brien, William, and Ryan, Desmond, (Eds.), Devoy’s Post Bag, 1871-1928 (2 Vols, Dublin, C.J. Fallon Ltd, 1848 and 1954.

Poor law unions (Ireland) loans. Return of the loans applied for and granted in each of the various unions in Ireland scheduled as distressed, up to 7 Feb. 1880; also, return (in continuation of the above) of the loans applied for and granted in the various unions in Ireland since they were scheduled as distressed, up to 29 Feb. 1880, H.C. 1880 (158), lxii.285 (ordered 24 Mar. 1880).

Quirke, Henry F., ‘Diary of a Land League Activist’, Journal of the Skibbereen and District Historical Society, Vol. 4, 2008, Skibbereen, 2008, pp. 23-31.

Return of the loans applied for and granted in each of the various unions in Ireland scheduled as distressed, up to 7 Feb. 1880; also, return (in continuation of the above) of the loans applied for and granted in the various unions in Ireland since they were scheduled as distressed, up to 29 Feb. 1880, H.C. 1880 (158) lxii.285 (ordered 29 Mar. 1880).

Rynne, Frank, ‘The Famine in Nationalist and Republican Political Discourse and Propaganda’, in Yann Bévant, (Ed.), La Grande Famine en Irlande. Histoire et représentations d’un désastre humanitaire (1845-1851), Rennes, Presses Universitaires de Rennes, 2014, pp. 175-192.

Rynne, Frank, ‘Redressing historical imbalance: the role of Grassroots leaders Richard Hodnett and Henry O’Mahony in the Land League Revolution in West Cork 1879-82’, in Brian Casey (Ed.), Defying the Law of the Land: Agrarian radicals in Irish History, Dublin, 2013, pp. 133-52.

Vaughan, W.E., Landlords and Tenants in Mid-Victorian Ireland, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1994.

Walsh, Walter, Kilkenny the Struggle for Land, 1850-1882, Thomastown, Walsh Books, 2008.

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Notes

1 The Nation, 9th June 1877. The three cheers refer to a notorious episode in November 1868 when a speech by Benjamin Disraeli prompted someone to shout, “three cheers for the famine” to which the then Prime Minister replied that people had cheered for worse things. The Spectator, 21st November, 1868.

2 Irish Examiner, 28th August, 1878.

3 Ibid., 10th June 10, 1879.

4 T.W. Moody, Davitt and Irish Revolution, 1846-82, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1982, p.283.

5 Ibid., p. 330.

6 Ibid., pp. 331-2.

7 W.E. Vaughan, Landlords and Tenants in Mid-Victorian Ireland, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1994, p. 211; Frank Rynne, ‘The Famine in Nationalist and Republican Political Discourse and Propaganda’, in Yann Bévant, (Ed.), La Grande Famine en Irlande. Histoire et représentations d’un désastre humanitaire (1845-1851), Rennes, Presses Universitaires de Rennes, 2014, p. 183.

8 T.W. Moody, Davitt and Irish Revolution, 1846-82, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1981), p. 329, pp 355-6.

9 Weekly Irish Times, 13 Dec. 1879.

10 Ibid., Jan 24, 1880; Freeman’s Journal, 3rd Feb. 1880.

11 Freeman’s Journal, 3rd Feb. 1880.

12 Walter Walsh, Kilkenny the Struggle for Land, 1850-1882, Thomastown, Walsh Books, 2008, p. 250.

13 J.W.H. Carter, The Land War and its leaders in Queen’s County, 1879-82, Portlaoise, Leinster Express Newspapers, 1994, p.27.

14 Donnacha Seán Lucey, Land Popular Politics and Agrarian Violence in Ireland: the Case of County Kerry, 1872-86, Dublin. 2011, p. 42.

15 West Cork Eagle [WCE], 22nd March 1879.

16 Ibid.

17 WCE, 22nd Mar. 1879

18 Ibid., pp 8-11.

19 Ibid., pp 43-9.

20 Paul Bew and Patrick Maume, “Michael Davitt and the personality of Irish Agrarian Revolution”, in Fintan Lane and Andrew G. Newby (Eds.) Michael Davitt: New Perspectives, Dublin, Irish Academic Press, 2009, p. 67.

21 For the three “new departures” identified by Prof. Moody see T. W. Moody, “The new departure in Irish politics, 1878-9” in H. A. Cronne, T. W. Moody, and D. B. Quinn (eds.), Essays in British and Irish History in Honour of James Eadie Todd, London, Frederick Muller,1949, pp 303-33.

22 The term advanced Nationalist and Nationalist with a capital “N” in the period denoted adherents of physical force nationalism i.e members or supporters of the Fenian movement.

23 R. V. Comerford, The Fenians in Context: Irish Politics and Society 1848-82, Dublin, Wolfhound Press, 1985, p. 228

24 Ibid. p.230

25 Ibid.

26 Ibid.

27 Note: This comment is not a criticism of R.V Comerford but rather a comment on his work as published in 1985. In 2008, 23 years after the publication of The Fenians in Context Prof Comerford was instrumental in guiding me towards the greater role Devoy was playing at the time by encouraging me to research returned Americans at the time of the Land War and pointing me towards a key source for my research in this area.

28 L. Perry Curtis, “Demonising the Irish Landlords Since the Famine” in Brian Casey (ed.), Defying the Law of the Land: Agrarian radicals in Irish History, Dublin, 2013, p. 22.

29 The Pilot, ( Boston) 13th March 1880, cited in Ely M. Janis, A Greater Ireland: the Land League and Transatlantic nationalism in the Gilded Age, Wisconsin, the University of Wisconsin Press, 2015, p 35.

30 Catholic Universe, 29th January, 1880, cited in ibid.

31 John Mitchel, The Last Conquest of Ireland (Perhaps) [1860], ed. and introd. Patrick Maume. Dublin, UCD Press, 2005, p. 219.

32 For a discussion of this see Catherine Maignant, and Frank Rynne, “The Historiography of The Great Irish Famine” in Yann Bévant, ed., La grande famine en Irlande, op cit, pp. 15-47.

33 Ely M. Janis, A Greater Ireland, op cit, pp. 48-9.

34 For leadership of Clan-na-Gael see Owen McGee, The IRB: The Irish Republican Brotherhood from the Land War to Sinn Fein, Dublin, Four Courts Press, 2005 (revised with minor corrections 2007), p. 52.

35 James J. O’Kelly (‘Blake’) to John Devoy, 11 Feb. 1880, Devoy’s Post Bag, 1871-1928 (2 Vols, Dublin 1848 and 1954), ed. William O’Brien and Desmond Ryan, i, p. 488.

36 Ibid.

37 Frank Rynne, Redressing historical imbalance: the role of Grassroots leaders Richard Hodnett and Henry O’Mahony in the Land League Revolution in West Cork 1879-82, in Casey (Ed.), Defying the Law of the Land, op. cit., pp. 133-52

38 Ibid., p.142 citing The Nation, 9th October 1880.

39 Freeman’s Journal, 19 March 1880.

40 Ibid..

41 The Nation, 13th March 1880

42 The Irish Examiner, 9th February, 1880.

43 Paul Bew, Land and the National Question in Ireland 1858-82, Dublin, Gill and Macmillan, 1978, p. 79.

44 Moody, Davitt and Irish Revolution, op. cit., p. 331.

45 Ely M. Janis, A Greater Ireland, op cit, p. 40 citing The Pilot (Boston), 12 June 1880.

46 Return of the loans applied for and granted in each of the various unions in Ireland scheduled as distressed, up to 7 Feb. 1880; also, return (in continuation of the above) of the loans applied for and granted in the various unions in Ireland since they were scheduled as distressed, up to 29 Feb. 1880, H.C. 1880 (158) lxii.285 (ordered 29 Mar. 1880); WCE, 24 Jan. 1880.

47 WCE, 24th Jan. 1880.

48 Ibid., 17 Jan. 1880.

49 WCE, 24 Jan. 1880.

50 Ibid.

51 Ibid.; Web site of Kilmore Union of Churches (

http://www.kilmoeunion.com/schull

_2.html), [retrieved 24 July 2012].

52 WCE, 24 Jan. 1880; T.H. Burke, Dublin Castle, 13 Jan. 1880, Enclosure (1) No 12, Correspondence relative to measures for the relief of distress in Ireland 1879-80, p. 19 [C.2483] [C.2506] H.C. 1880 , lxii, 175.

53 Ibid; ‘Enclosure (2) No. 12 Schedule of Works for which application may be made at Extraordinary Baronial presentment Sessions, 1880’, Correspondence relative to measures for the relief of distress in Ireland 1879-80, p. 19 [C.2483] [C.2506] H.C. 1880 , lxii, 175.

54 WCE, 24 Jan. 1880.

55 Ibid.

56 Ibid.

57 Ibid.

58 Ibid.

59 Patrick Hickey, Famine in West Cork: The Mizen Peninsula, Land and People 1800-1853, Cork & Dublin, Mercier Press, 2002, p. 161.

60 Cork Constitution, 29 Dec. 1846

61 Commissary Inglis to Randolph Routh, 23 Dec. 1846, Irish University Press Series of British Parliamentary Papers. Famine, Ireland, (8 vols, Shannon, 1970), v, p. 843 quoted in Hickey, Famine in West Cork, op.cit., p. 162

62 A table ‘Mortality in the Six Parishes (Sept. 1846-Sept 1847)’ in Hickey, Famine in West Cork, op.cit. p. 212. The other four parishes are Kilmore with 1,363 deaths (18.8%), Kilcoe, 228 (9.7%), Caheragh 1,321 (15.7%), Drimoleague 865 (15.7%), Drinagh 461 (Dublin 18.4%). Source J.J. Marshall, A return of deaths and emigrations in the western division of the Skibbereen Union, from the 1 Sept. 1846 to 12 Sept. 1847, see Cork Constitution, 5 Oct. 1847 and Southern Record 5 Oct. 1847 and also Donovan, D., ‘Observations on the peculiar diseases to which the famine of last year gave origin, and on the morbid effects of insufficient nourishment’, Medical Press, xix, ,1848, pp 67-68, 130-32, 275-78. Marshall’s return is also discussed in P. Hickey, ‘Famine, Mortality and Emigration: A Profile of Six parishes in the Poor Law Union of Skibbereen 1846-7’ in Patrick O’Flanagan and Cornelius Buttimer (eds), Cork History & Society: Interdisciplinary Essays on the History of an Irish County, Dublin, Gill & MacMillan, 1993, pp 890-94.

63 Hickey, ‘Famine, Mortality and Emigration: A Profile of Six parishes in the Poor Law Union of Skibbereen 1846-7’, in O’Flanagan and Buttimer (eds), Cork History & Society, op. cit. p. 893.

64 WCE, 24 Feb. 1880.

65 Ibid.

66 Hickey, Famine in West Cork, op. cit, p. 16, p. 199, p. 104, p. 267, p. 145, p. 169.

67 Carter, The Land War and its Leaders in Queen’s County,op cit, p. 30.

68 WCE, 24 Feb. 1880.

69 Ibid.

70 Ibid.

71 Entry for Notter, Landed Estates Database, National University of Ireland, Galway, (http://landedestates.nuigalway.ie/LandedEstates/jsp/estate-show.jsp?id=2494) [retrieved 30 Aug. 2012].

72 Carter, The Land War and its Leaders in Queen’s County, op.cit., p. 31.

73 WCE, 9 Jan. 1880.

74 Poor law unions (Ireland) loans. Return of the loans applied for and granted in each of the various unions in Ireland scheduled as distressed, up to 7 Feb. 1880; also, return (in continuation of the above) of the loans applied for and granted in the various unions in Ireland since they were scheduled as distressed, up to 29 Feb. 1880, p. 5, H.C. 1880 (158), lxii.285 (ordered 24 Mar. 1880).

75 Ibid.

76 Irish Times, 30 Jan. 1880.

77 Ibid.

78 Ibid., 23 Apr. 1880.

79 Ibid., 24 July 1880.

80 WCE, 4 Sept. 1880.

81 Ibid.

82 Sir W. Barttelot MP quoting a newspaper report in the House of Commons, 17 Aug. 1880, Irish Times, 18 Aug. 1880.

83 Ibid.

84 WCE, 11 Sept. 1880.

85 Ibid.

86 Jeremiah Stringer, ‘Clonakilty, Co. Cork, Sunday, 29 Aug. 1880’, National Archives of Ireland [NAI], Chief Crown Solicitors, Queen v. Parnell papers.

87 Report of land meeting at BalIydehob, 12 Sept. 1880, NAI., CCS, Queen v. Parnell papers, box 4.

88 Ibid., WCE, 18 Sept. 1880.

89 Ibid.

90 Ibid.

91 WCE, 24th Oct. 1880.

92 Ibid., 13 Nov. 1880.

93 WCE, 20 Nov. 1880

94 Henry F. Quirke, ‘Diary of a Land League Activist’, Journal of the Skibbereen and District Historical Society, Vol. 4, 2008, Skibbereen, 2008, p.24.

95 Ibid.

96 Rynne, “Redressing Historical Imbalances: Richard Hodnett and Henry O’Mahony...”, Casey, Defying the Law of the Land, op. cit., pp. 150-53.

97 Mr. Brooks to Mr. Badeau, 15 June 1881 Inclosure 21 No 331, Papers relating to the foreign relations of the United States, transmitted to congress, with the annual message of the president, December 4, 1882, p. 214.

98 Royce, ‘County of Cork, W.R., Crime and Outrage’ p. 4, N.A.I., Irish.National League. papers, box 10; Prevention of Crime (Ireland) Act, 45 & 46 Vict., c.25, 12 July.

99 WCE, 24 Feb. 1880.

100 Ibid.

101 Ibid.

102 Frank Rynne, The Famine in Nationalist and Republican political discourse and propaganda’, Yann Bévan (Ed.), La Grande Famine en Irlande. Histoire et représentations d’un désastre humanitaire (1845-1851), Presses Universitaires de Rennes, 2014, pp. 175-192.

103 Ely M. Janis, A Greater Ireland, op cit.

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Frank RYNNE, « The Great Famine in Nationalist and Land League propaganda 1879-1882 », Mémoire(s), identité(s), marginalité(s) dans le monde occidental contemporain [En ligne], 12 | 2015, mis en ligne le 19 avril 2015, consulté le 20 octobre 2017. URL : http://mimmoc.revues.org/1864

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Auteur

Frank RYNNE

Frank Rynne holds a BA (Hons.) and PhD from Trinity College Dublin where his doctoral supervisor was W.E. Vaughan. He teaches at Université Paris 2, Panthéon-Assas. He has co-edited with Adam Pole, La Grande Famine en Irlande, Atlande/Belin, 2015, and has contributed to the Revue française de civilisation britannique, vol. XIX(2)/2014, La grande famine en Irlande, BÉVANT, Yann ed., La grande famine en Irlande : 1845-1850, histoire et représentation d’un désastre humanitaire, Rennes, Presses Universitaires de Rennes, 2014; Casey, Brian , Ed., Defying the Law of the Land, Agrarian Radicals in Irish History, The History Press, Dublin, 2013; McConnel, James & McGarry, Fearghal (Eds.), The Black Hand of Republicanism, Irish Academic Press, London, 2009. He has also written for History Ireland, the Irish Literary Supplement, The Guardian, The Irish Times and The Independent (UK)

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Mémoire(s), identité(s), marginalité(s) dans le monde occidental contemporain – Cahiers du MIMMOC est mis à disposition selon les termes de la licence Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International.

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