Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Quotes Regarding the Irish

Just for the record, what people said about the Irish before they had their own country:

Anti-Irish quotes throughout history 

4. They live on beasts only, and live like beasts. They have not progressed at all from the habits of pastoral living. ..This is a filthy people, wallowing in vice. Of all peoples it is the least instructed in the rudiments of the faith. They do not yet pay tithes or first fruits or contract marriages. They do not avoid incest.
5. - Giraldus Cambrensis/Gerald of Wales, The History and Topography of Ireland, 12th Century
7. How godly a deed it is to overthrow so wicked a race the world may judge: for my part I think there cannot be a greater sacrifice to God.
8. - Edward Barkley, describing how the forces of the Earl of Essex slaughtered the entire population of Rathlin Island, Co. Antrim, 1575
10. Marry those be the most barbaric and loathy conditions of any people (I think) under heaven...They do use all the beastly behaviour that may be, they oppress all men, they spoil as well the subject, as the enemy; they steal, they are cruel and bloody, full of revenge, and delighting in deadly execution, licentious, swearers and blasphemers, common ravishers of women, and murderers of children.
11. - Edmund Spenser, A View of the State of Ireland, 1596
13. And first I have to find fault with the abuse of language; that is, for the speaking of Irish among the English, which as it is unnatural that any people should love another's language more than their own, so it is very inconvenient and the cause of many other evils. ...It seemeth strange to me that the English should take more delight to speak that language than their own, whereas they should, methinks, rather take scorn to acquaint their tongues thereto. For it hath ever been the use of the conqueror to despise the language of the conquered and to force him by all means to learn his.
14. - A View of the State of Ireland
16. I have often said, and written, it is Famine which must consume [the Irish]; our swords and other endeavours work not that speedy effect which is expected for their overthrow.
17. - English Viceroy Arthur Chichester writing to Elizabeth I's chief advisor, Nov. 1601
19. The time hath been, when they lived like Barbarians, in woods, in bogs, and in desolate places, without politic law, or civil government, neither embracing religion, law or mutual love. That which is hateful to all the world besides is only beloved and embraced by the Irish, I mean civil wars and domestic dissensions .... the Cannibals, devourers of men's flesh, do learn to be fierce amongst themselves, but the Irish, without all respect, are even more cruel to their neighbours.
20. - Barnaby Rich, A New Description of Ireland, 1610
22. All wisdom advises us to keep this [Irish] kingdom as much subordinate and dependent on England as possible; and, holding them from manufacture of wool (which unless otherwise directed, I shall by all means discourage), and then enforcing them to fetch their cloth from England, how can they depart from us without nakedness and beggary?
23. - Lord Stafford, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, in a letter to King Charles I, 1634
25. So ended the fairest promise that Ireland had ever known of becoming a prosperous and a happy country.
26. - Sir William Temple, about 1673, (the export of wool from Ireland to England was forbidden in 1660)
28. In all countries, more or less, paupers may be discovered; but an entire nation of paupers is what was never seen until it was shown in Ireland. To explain the social condition of such a country, it would be only necessary to recount its miseries and its sufferings; the history of the poor is the history of Ireland.
29. - Gustave de Beaumont, French visitor, 1839
31. Ireland is like a half-starved rat that crosses the path of an elephant. What must the elephant do? Squelch it - by heavens - squelch it.
32. - Thomas Carlyle, British essayist, 1840s
34. ...being altogether beyond the power of man, the cure had been applied by the direct stroke of an all-wise Providence in a manner as unexpected and as unthought of as it is likely to be effectual.
36. The judgement of God sent the calamity to teach the Irish a lesson, that calamity must not be too much mitigated. …The real evil with which we have to contend is not the physical evil of the Famine, but the moral evil of the selfish, perverse and turbulent character of the people.
37. Charles Trevelyan, head of administration for famine relief, 1840s
39. [existing policies] will not kill more than one million Irish in 1848 and that will scarcely be enough to do much good.
40. - Queen Victoria's economist, Nassau Senior
42. A Celt will soon be as rare on the banks of the Shannon as the red man on the banks of Manhattan.
43. - The Times, editorial, 1848
45. I am haunted by the human chimpanzees I saw along that hundred miles of horrible see white chimpanzees is dreadful; if they were black one would not see it so much, but their skins, except where tanned by exposure, are as white as ours.
46. - Cambridge historian Charles Kingsley, letter to his wife from Ireland, 1860
48. A creature manifestly between the Gorilla and the Negro is to be met with in some of the lowest districts of London and Liverpool by adventurous explorers. It comes from Ireland, whence it has contrived to migrate; it belongs in fact to a tribe of Irish savages: the lowest species of Irish Yahoo. When conversing with its kind it talks a sort of gibberish. It is, moreover, a climbing animal, and may sometimes be seen ascending a ladder ladden with a hod of bricks.
49. Satire entitled "The Missing Link", from the British magazine Punch, 1862
51. This would be a grand land if only every Irishman would kill a Negro, and be hanged for it. I find this sentiment generally approved - sometimes with the qualification that they want Irish and Negroes for servants, not being able to get any other.
52. - British historian Edward Freeman, writing on his return from America, about 1881
54. ...Furious fanaticism; a love of war and disorder; a hatred for order and patient industry; no accumulative habits; restless; treacherous and uncertain: look to Ireland...
55. As a Saxon, I abhor all dynasties, monarchies and bayonet governments, but this latter seems to be the only one suitable for the Celtic man.
56. Robert Knox, anatomist, describing his views on the "Celtic character", 1850
58. The Celts are not among the progressive, initiative races, but among those which supply the materials rather than the impulse of history...The Persians, the Greeks, the Romans and the Teutons are the only makers of history, the only authors of advancement. ...Subjection to a people of a higher capacity for government is of itself no misfortune; and it is to most countries the condition of their political advancement.
59. - British historian Lord Acton, 1862
61. You would not confide free representative institutions to the Hottentots [savages], for instance.
62. - Lord Salisbury, who opposed Home Rule for Ireland, 1886
64. ...more like squalid apes than human beings. ...unstable as water. ...only efficient military despotism [can succeed in Ireland] ...the wild Irish understand only force. 
65. - James Anthony Froude, Professor of history, Oxford 

The Irish are hearty, the Scotch plausible, the French polite, the Germans good-natured, the Italians courtly, the Spaniards reserved and decorous - the English alone seem to exist in taking and giving offense” 
68. William Hazlitt 1778-1830
70. “The English are not happy unless they are miserable, the Irish are not at peace unless they are at war, and the Scots are not at home unless they are abroad”
71. George Orwell 1903-1950 

Just want to add my own favorite back-handed compliment from Adam Smith:
The chairmen, porters, and coal-heavers in London, and those unfortunate women who live by prostitution, the strongest men and most beautiful women perhaps in the British dominions, are said to be, the greater part of them, from the lowest rank of people in Ireland. 

Re: Anti-Irish quotes throughout history 
You don't have to look back to the 19th century to find nasty racist british quotes about the Irish...
78. "Our ancestors cut a civilisation out of the bogs and meadows of this country while Mr Haughey's ancestors were wearing pig skins and living in caves."
80. Dr. Ian Kyle Paisley, Omagh 1981. 

Re: Anti-Irish quotes throughout history 

 Originally Posted by Fionn_McCool 
You don't have to look back to the 19th century to find nasty racist british quotes about the Irish...
86. "Our ancestors cut a civilisation out of the bogs and meadows of this country while Mr Haughey's ancestors were wearing pig skins and living in caves."
88. Dr. Ian Kyle Paisley, Omagh 1981. 

"Ireland is a coarse place with a sad history where the natives are obsessed by money."
96. Comment attributed to the German ambassador to Dublin, Christian Pauls, by The Timesonline. 

4. Irish in character or nature; having what are considered Irish characteristics. spec. Used of seemingly contradictory statements. (See also Irish hurricane s.v. sense A. 2c.)
In quot. 1589 with allusion to B. 3. 

1589 Pappe w. Hatchet Biij, We would show them an Irish tricke, that when they thinke to winne the game with one man [etc.]. 1725 SWIFT Wood the Ironmonger Wks. 1755 IV. I. 66 They laugh'd at such an irish blunder, To take the noise of brass for thunder. 1820 H. BROUGHAM Let. 5 Feb. in H. Maxwell Creevey Papers (1903) I. 297 Your advice has been followed by anticipation (to speak Irish). 1838 GEO. ELIOT Let. 18 Aug. (1954) I. 6 Isaac and I went alone (that seems rather Irish), and staid only a week. 1843 F. A. KEMBLE Let. 25 Aug. in Rec. Later Life (1882) III. 36 We are going out of town, at half-past six in the morning, and it is now past midnight, and I have every mortal and immortal thing to pack, with my own single pair of hands, which is Irish, Lord bless us! 1857 MRS. GASKELL Let. 7 Dec. (1966) 491 The lecture was not (to me) so very interesting, being a sort of recapitulation of what he was going to say (if that's not Irish). 1891 Spectator 3 Jan. 5/1 If we fail in anything, people say, How Irish! 1892 C. H. FRETWELL Anc. Mariner 94, I had what sailors call ‘an Irish rise’, becoming second officer after being for a time commanding officer. 1897 M. KINGSLEY W. Africa 171 There is also no doubt that the Fan mile is a bit Irish, a matter of nine or so of those of ordinary mortals. 1903 H. C. ROWLAND Sea Scamps 4, I was promptly addressed as ‘lieutenant’, which struck me as being rather an Irish promotion, having once previously served as major. 1926 J. S. HUXLEY Essays Pop. Sci. 121 To be Irish, the longer it lives, the sooner it ought to die. 1937 A. UPFIELD Mr. Jelly's Business (1938) iii. 28 He doesn't seem to mind me courting his daughter, but he doesn't give me a chance to do any courting. That's Irish, but it's a fact. 1970 R. HILL Clubbable Woman vi. 192 ‘Marcus wouldn't dare to tell a lie like that unless it was true!’ ‘Irish,’ said Pascoe.

"The Irish are all furious fools, they have no history of their own worth any notice... Can't someone blow that horrible island up and carry it, a long way off?"
Alfred (Lord) Tennyson

It was only 10 years ago that the BBC had to apologise for an Eastenders episode, after furious complaints. They also called in their managers and (I think) told them that the lazy, anti-Irish racism had to stop. 

The thing is that, such as the BBC, had always used the Irish as whipping boys, because it seemed not to be regarded as racism.

Channel 4 was equally guilty of lazy, anti-Irish stereotyping. Their flagship soap Brookside featured Irish characters as child molesters, wasters, illiterates and rapists. There was ONE positive, or even neutral, Irish character!

This is one race of people for whom psychoanalysis is of no use whatsoever."
- Sigmund Freud (speaking about the Irish) 

Herbert Spencer the Social Darwinist hoped the Famine would kill all the Irish (see Carl Zimmer's book on Evolution).

and while the Celts were conversing with the Greeks and Romans and exchanging ideas the Teutons were still in the trees of the black forest ,

there exists a letter writen by a native celtic briton to the irish scolding us for teaching the anglo saxons how to read and write,
Ninnius perhaps,

"I am haunted by the human chimpanzees I saw along that hundred miles of horrible country [Ireland] see white chimpanzees is dreadful; if they were black one would not see it so much, but their skins, except where tanned by exposure, are as white as ours." 

Charles Kingsley, Regius Professor of Modern History Cambridge. 

I grew up in Toronto and around Toronto. One town I lived in was entirely dominated by wealthy English Protestants. I can't count the amount of times I heard "that's a good Irish name" - code for: f-ing mick alert!

I love the description of the Scots, "thine own peculiar people".  

There can be little doubt that George Brown and his Globe, with its metropolitan coverage, the Orange Lodge, and some of the Protestant churches were responsible for fueling the Protestant crusade against the coming of the Irish Catholics, which lasted from 1850-1900. The effects of that crusade were most strongly felt by the Irish in Toronto where the Protestants controlled the social institutions, civic positions and the work place. Typical of Presbyterian sermon literature, which contributed to the treatment the Catholic Irish were subjected to, was:

O Lord we approach thee this morning in an attitude of prayer and likewise of complaint. When we came to Canada we expected to find a land flowing with milk and honey, but instead we find a land peopled by the ungodly Irish. O Lord, in thy mercy drive them to the uttermost parts of Canada, make them hewers of wood and drawers of water, give them no place as magistrates, policemen, or rulers among thy people. If ye have any favours to bestow, or any good land to give away, give it to thine own peculiar people, the Scots. Make them members of Parliament and rulers among thy people, but as for the ungodly Irish, take them by the heels and shake them over the pit of hell. But, O Lord, don't let them fall in, and the glory shall be thine for ever and ever. Amen.

Faced with such intense hatred, the minority group struggled against the stereotype for its existence in the city.

"The Irishman, without any insult being intended, strongly resembles a dog, and understands firm treatment, but, like a dog, he cannot understand being cajoled with a piece of sugar in one hand whilst he receives a beating from a stick in the other."

- Brigadier-General Ormonde Winter, British Intelligence, 1921

From English historian Michael Burleigh

‘‘Despite the lingering flutey voiced sentimentality,” he writes, ‘‘Ireland has become a vulgarised version of Essex.” Its culture ‘‘should not be confused with the occasional minor Irish poet winning the Nobel prize’’, but instead consists of ‘‘various provincial cliques and coteries .. . inflated out of all proportion by their admiring fellows in the metropolitan British media.”

"The natives, meanwhile, have a ‘‘curious penchant for living in England while muttering about the ‘fookin’ British’ in the queue for handouts in English post offices’’.

"Dingy Irish pubs filled ‘relentless, mindless gabbling known as craik [sic]"

"a truly weird cultural format, consisting of boys and girls hopping up and down with their arms rigid at their sides, has even made it on to the West End stage in London’’.

1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue by Francis Grose - Project Gutenberg

IRISH BEAUTY. A woman with two black eyes.

IRISH EVIDENCE. A false witness.

IRISH LEGS. Thick legs, jocularly styled the Irish arms. It is said of the Irish women, that they have a dispensation from the pope to wear the thick end of their legs downwards.

MUNSTER HEIFER. An Irish woman. A woman with thick legs is said to be like a Munster heifer; i.e. beef to the heels.

SAINT MONDAY. A holiday most religiously observed by journeymen shoemakers, and other inferior mechanics. a profanation of that day, by working, is punishable by a line, particularly among the gentle craft. An Irishman observed, that this saint's anniversary happened every week.
Funny stuff, from a safe distance of 199 years.

"If the Dutch had Ireland, they would feed the world. 

If the Irish occupied Holland, they would drown. "

Otto Von Bismarck

"These Irish, anciently called Anthropophagi (man eaters), have a tradition among them, that when the devil showed our saviour all the Kingdoms of the earth and their glory he would not show him Ireland, but reserved it for himself.... They are the offal of men, dregs of mankind, reproach of Christendom, the bots that crawl on the beast's tail...

Cursed be he that maketh not his sword drunk with Irish blood"
A pamphlet from the roundheads' supporters during the English Civil War.

“The Irish from the beginning of time had been buried
in the most profound barbarism and ignorance; and as
they were never conquered or even invaded by the
Romans, from whom all the western world derived its
civility, they continued still in the most rude state of
society, and were distinguished by those vices alone
to which human nature, not tamed by education, or
restrained by laws, is for ever subject.”

- David Hume, History of England, 1750

"Without intending offence we would point to this common feature in the Hibernian and Negro idiosyncrasy, that a dull manhood follows upon a youth of the highest promise". 

- Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, July 1901

The Ist Duke of Wellington ,Arthur Wellesly, Napoleons nemesis and British prime minister was born in Dublin.

When asked did he regard himself as Irish or English due to this fact his unflattering response was "just because one is born in a stable it does not make one a horse".

Samuel Johnson: "The Irish are a fair people; they never speak well of one another."

From Blazing Saddles: "We don't mind the nig*ers and the chi*ks, but we're having no fu*king Irish!"

Part of this was posted in the OP. It is the editorial of the London Times (then very much the organ of the British Establishment) on the Famine:

"They are going. They are going with a vengeance. Soon a Celt will be as rare in Ireland as a Red Indian on the streets of Manhattan...Law has ridden through, it has been taught with bayonets, and interpreted with ruin. Townships levelled to the ground, straggling columns of exiles, workhouses multiplied, and still crowded, express the determination of the Legislature to rescue Ireland from its slovenly old barbarism, and to plant there the institutions of this more civilized land."

This Eavan Boland poem features anti-Irish feeling by a prominent British civil servant in the 1800s

The Famine Road
'Idle as trout in light Colonel Jones 

these Irish, give them no coins at all; their bones 
need toil, their characters no less.' Trevelyan's 
seal blooded the deal table. The Relief 
Committee deliberated: 'Might it be safe, 
Colonel, to give them roads, roads to force 
from nowhere, going nowhere of course? 

'one out of every ten and then 
another third of those again 
women - in a case like yours.' 

Sick, directionless they worked fork, stick 
were iron years away; after all could 
they not blood their knuckles on rock, suck 
April hailstones for water and for food? 
Why for that, cunning as housewives, each eyed- 
as if at a corner butcher - the other's buttock. 

'anything may have caused it, spores, 
a childhood accident; one sees 
day after day these mysteries.' 

Dusk: they will work tomorrow without him. 

They know it and walk clear. He has become 
a typhoid pariah, his blood tainted, although 
be shares it with some there. No more than snow 
attends its own flakes where they settle 
and melt, will they pray by his death rattle 

'You never will, never you know 
but take it well woman, grow 
your garden, keep house, good-bye.' 

'It has gone better than we expected, Lord 
Trevelyan, sedition, idleness, cured 
in one; from parish to parish, field to field; 
the wretches work till they are quite worn. 
then fester by their work; we march the corn 
to the ships in peace. This Tuesday I saw bones 
our of my carriage window. Your servant Jones.' 

'Barren, never to know the load 
of his child in you, what is your body 
now if not a famine road? '

In Black Folk Then and Now, Du Bois concurs: "Even young Irish peasants were hunted down as men hunt down game, and were forcibly put aboard ship, and sold to plantations in Barbados".
According to Peter Berresford Ellis in To Hell or Connaught, soldiers commanded by Henry Cromwell, Oliver's son, seized a thousand "Irish wenches" to sell to Barbados. Henry justified the action by saying, "Although we must use force in taking them up, it is so much for their own good and likely to be of so great an advantage to the public." He also suggested that 2,000 lrish boys of 12 to 14 years of age could be seized for the same purpose: "Who knows but it might be a means to make them Englishmen."

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