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‘A Nation of Beggars’?Priests, People, and Politics in Famine Ireland, 1846–1852$
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Donal A. Kerr

Print publication date: 1998

Print ISBN-13: 9780198207375

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198207375.001.0001

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Recriminations: Viceroy’s Memorandum and Bishops’ Memorial

Recriminations: Viceroy’s Memorandum and Bishops’ Memorial

(p.69) 3 Recriminations: Viceroy’s Memorandum and Bishops’ Memorial
‘A Nation of Beggars’?


Oxford University Press

By May 1847, the second and most disastrous year of the Famine, with its horrendous death-toll, was over. The failure and death of Daniel O'Connell and the feeling of helplessness in the country when faced with a disaster on the scale of the Famine, had convinced many of the clergy of the futility of the campaign for repeal. Notwithstanding Clarendon’s complaints, it was unrealistic to expect the priests to view elections through the eyes of an English Whig. The Famine and its horrors constituted the backdrop to the election while, politically, the struggle was between those who were loyal to the memory of O'Connell and his constitutional movement and those who were not. In an extraordinary memorial, the bishops went beyond the strict bounds of religion to criticize the existing social order, condemn government policy, and express principles of social justice.

Keywords:   Famine, religion, social order, Daniel O'Connell, Lord Clarendon, lord lieutenant

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