Black '47: Britain and the Famine Irish by Frank Neal

By Frank Neal

The Irish Famine of 1845-49 was once an immense sleek disaster. The go back of the potato blight in 1846 brought on a massive exodus of destitute Irish looking safe haven in British cities and 1847 witnessed an extraordinary influx of Irish refugees into Britain. This e-book examines the size of that refugee immigration, the stipulations lower than which the refugees have been carried to Britain, the relaxation operations fastened, the horrors of the typhus epidemic in Liverpool, Glasgow, Manchester, South Wales and the North-East, and the monetary fee to the British ratepayers.

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The 'imperfect laws' he referred to were those governing the sale of alcohol and the licensing of dance halls and such things as die corn laws. He clearly understood that the rate of urban growth had outstripped the growth of social institutions, infra-structure and organisational structures necessary to ameliorate die animal existence of many people. But improvements could be achieved, it was within the power of the middle-classes to provide. 28 Black '47 Capitalism was inherently beneficial to the majority of persons and, in the long run, the evils existing could be removed by the enlightened self-interest of the middle classes.

Teaching English people to survive on minimum income during a trade depression is not what worries Kay about the Irish. He accuses the Irish of importing a permanent life style of dissoluteness and improvidence likely to contaminate the English lower orders, Duncan's 'moral contamination'. His other target was the poor law, which at this time, was under investigation with a view to reform. He believed that the system of outdoor relief encouraged significant numbers of the workingclasses to rely on poor relief, removing the incentive to provide for the future.

74 Howard's view on the condition of Manchester's poor received support from a report on a survey of 12 000 poor families in Manchester, undertaken at the behest of a number of socially concerned members of the middle class. This was published in 1842, before die results of the Sanitary Enquiry. The objective was to establish the scale of the poverty problem before giving private relief. 75 The investigators visited 1551 handloom weavers' households in 1840, consisting of a total of 6978 individual weavers and members of their families.

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