Do you think it's quite the accomplishment that even part of Ireland has achieved independence from what was the most powerful empire on Earth? Have at least some of the goals of the British imperialists below come to fruition? (e.g. widespread poverty that existed until relatively recently, the almost total abandonment of the Irish language, the self-hatred and inferiority complex that exists within some Irish people, a national culture that, in many ways, is very similar to that of Great Britain etc.)
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.
- Giraldus Cambrensis/Gerald of Wales, The History and Topography of Ireland, 12th Century
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.
- Edward Barkley, describing how the forces of the Earl of Essex slaughtered the entire population of Rathlin Island, Co. Antrim, 1575
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.
- Edmund Spenser, A View of the State of Ireland, 1596
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.
- A View of the State of Ireland
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.
- English Viceroy Arthur Chichester writing to Elizabeth I's chief advisor, Nov. 1601
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.
- Barnaby Rich, A New Description of Ireland, 1610
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?
- Lord Stafford, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, in a letter to King Charles I, 1634
So ended the fairest promise that Ireland had ever known of becoming a prosperous and a happy country.
- Sir William Temple, about 1673, (the export of wool from Ireland to England was forbidden in 1660)
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.
- Gustave de Beaumont, French visitor, 1839
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.
- Thomas Carlyle, British essayist, 1840s
...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.
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.
Charles Trevelyan, head of administration for famine relief, 1840s
[existing policies] will not kill more than one million Irish in 1848 and that will scarcely be enough to do much good.
- Queen Victoria's economist, Nassau Senior
A Celt will soon be as rare on the banks of the Shannon as the red man on the banks of Manhattan.
- The Times, editorial, 1848
I am haunted by the human chimpanzees I saw along that hundred miles of horrible country...to 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.
- Cambridge historian Charles Kingsley, letter to his wife from Ireland, 1860
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.
Satire entitled "The Missing Link", from the British magazine Punch, 1862
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.
- British historian Edward Freeman, writing on his return from America, about 1881
...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...
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.
Robert Knox, anatomist, describing his views on the "Celtic character", 1850
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.
- British historian Lord Acton, 1862
You would not confide free representative institutions to the Hottentots [savages], for instance.
- Lord Salisbury, who opposed Home Rule for Ireland, 1886
...more like squalid apes than human beings. ...unstable as water. ...only efficient military despotism [can succeed in Ireland] ...the wild Irish understand only force.
- James Anthony Froude, Professor of history, Oxford