The Queen’s Visit to Ireland (McCarthy, 1901)

1.640. Michael J.F. McCarthy, Five Years in Ireland: 1895-1900, (London: Simpkin, Marshall, Hamilton, Kent & Co.; Dublin: Hodges Figgis & Co., 1901), p.537. BL W.48/3221

An extract from Michael J.F. McCarthy, Five Years in Ireland (1901), quoting the Evening Telegraph on the Queen’s visit to Ireland.

In the course of his lengthy consideration of the details of and issues raised by Queen Victoria’s visit to Ireland in 1900, McCarthy quotes from The Evening Telegraph of the 31st of March, 1900. It had been suggested that charity breakfasts be organised for the poor children of Dublin on the day of the Queen’s visit itself and that children from outlying districts be brought into the city also. The writer in the Telegraph sees a sinister motive underlying these supposedly charitable acts:

We are heartily glad to see that a pretty general protest has been aroused by the projected scheme to use the Queen’s visit for making loyal little Britons of the sons and daughters of Irish Nationalists. We hope that every artisan will prevent his children from having anything to do with the “Free Breakfast” Party. The project is properly described as an act of political souperism, and it is asserted that in some quarters it is intended as an act of religious souperism. There is no doubt that the intention is to fill the minds of little Irish boys and girls with admiration of loyalty. The Queen’s visit is to be remembered by them as a great incident in their lives — a time of joy and plenty, of cakes and jam galore, and of freedom from school tasks. Thus little loyalists will be made. They may remember that loyalty means plenty and liberty; and haply they may forget that since the Queen ascended the throne the population of Ireland has decreased by half, forty-three Coercion Acts have been passed, and that now the country is so impoverished that an adverse winter means semi-starvation for thousands of our people, and an appeal to the charity of England. No self-respecting, honest Irishman should countenance this mean transparent plot.

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