ABSTRACT

Comparing how Protestant and Catholic clergy helped their parishioners during the famine in Ireland, this article shows a distinct bias towards the Protestant response. Showing a kind of instinctive dislike for the supposedly over-emotional Irish Catholic clergy, the writer also takes them to task for not being loyal to the English government—a strange demand in the midst of a famine. He shares excerpts from letters to the editor of The British Magazine about the famine, and illustrates the following: the British expectation of a kind of test for the poor, along the lines of the workhouse tests; in this case, would the starving Irish labourer be willing to travel long distances to work for food? But asking a starving person to prove that they were starving by having them perform often intensive physical labour while also being expected to travel long distances to do so would debilitate the very body one was supposedly saving.