part of Scotland´s leading families.) 50,000 Irish soldiers emigrate to Catholic countries, especially France, trying to help
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- Anglo-Irish writers
- Northern Ireland
- IV. Coloured People in Britain
- V. "Neighbourhood" in Britain and America
- VI. Government. The Law, Money, Weights and Measures 1. Parliament
- 3. Counties in UK (and US). Abbreviations
- 4. Government in the U.K./U.S. - Titles U.K. government
|part of Scotland´s leading families.) 50,000 Irish soldiers emigrate to Catholic countries, especially France, trying to help
them defeat England. Among these "Wild Geese", there also were Field Marshals Lacy, Brown(e) and O´Donnel of
Austria (allied to England against France during most of the following 130 years), with other family members serving in
Russia and Saxony.
Catholics are expelled from the trades and deprived of schooling. The ruthless exploitation of Ireland - whose wool
industry is destroyed around 1700; and 100,000 children are sold into slavery (to America, West Indies); 200,000 Scottish
Presbyterians, suffering under the Penal Laws against Nonconformists emigrate to America ("Scotch Irish" in the 18
century) - by the English provokes resistance even on the part of the (Protestant) Anglo-Irish, who are not allowed to
participate in politics and trade.
Effects of American and French Revolutions: 1797, French Republic tries to help Ireland, fails to win Welsh support
(invasion of Fishguard); small French expedition also fails in Vinegar Hill, led by (Protestant) Wolfe Tone (executed?
"suicide"?), and Fitzgerald; peasants' rebellion (Wexford), in 1798 Irish insurrection: Union (parliamentary) of Ireland
and Britain (against Irish wishes) after a series of battles: of 60,000 insurgents, 30,000 are killed. (Presbyterians, though
suffering under Anglican "Ascendancy" and sometimes facilitating RC community life, do not support the rebels, except
the radical McCracken, hanged by the British.)
1803: Robert Emmet(t)’s insurrection, heroic failure; D. O’Connell (Roman Catholic), Member of Parliament (in
London), first great advocate of Irish emancipation.
1829: Emancipation of Catholics in Ireland, after threat of new rebellion. - Unrest in 1848.
Since the 17
century, most Anglo-Irish writers have emigrated to England. Farquhar is one of the most brilliant
contributors to the "Restoration comedy" (satires on superficial upper class life after the Restoration of King Charles II).
- In the 18
century, Jonathan Swift, Dean of (Anglican) St. Patrick’s in Dublin, stays in Ireland and attacks the cruelty of
English rule. His satirical "Gulliver’s Travels" has been turned into a children’s book. "A Modest Proposal" is one of
Swift’s more bitter complaints against the exploitation of Ireland: salted meat was exported by the English (landowners),
while the (Catholic) Irish starved. (So (provincial) neo-classical country houses in Ireland a bit difficult to admire. Dublin
became a jewel of neo-classical architecture with poverty and violence among the poor, corruption among the rich.) The
dramatists Richard Steele and Sheridan (who helped prepare Catholic emancipation) continue to attack society in their
comedies; Oliver Goldsmith is one of the leading writers of the rational moralism of this time. Lawrence Sterne writes his
extravagantly funny "Tristram Shandy" in a "stream of consciousness" technique resumed in the 20
century, and his
influential "Sentimental Journey".
In the 19
century: English landowners allow their Irish peasants to eat potatoes only - potatoes being the only viable
crop on the poor soil left to Irish peasants (in the West) -, and they continue to export wheat even when a potato-disease
causes the Great Famine in 1845:English government aid -- rice from starving India (also exported to Wales: there,
working-class rice-pudding) arrived late, and given only to (some of) those who gave up their land tenancies; about 1 - 1
½ million Irish people starve, and 2 - (later, total of) 3 million emigrate, mainly (half) to the U.S.,
Canada; Catholics in Britain and in the U.S. are often Irish, and most priests are. –The Irish in the U.S. have always tried
to help Catholic rebels in Ireland (including the IRA today); Ireland’s population is halved (before, Ireland was
overpopulated), while Boston becomes an important centre of the Irish in America; they support the "Fenians", Irish
revolutionaries fighting English rule (1866 rebellion in Canada, 1867 in Ireland). Sir Charles Stuart Parnell (not to be
confused with the poet Thomas Parnell), Anglo-Irish landowner, in favour of Irish tenants: "Land League" (founder:
Davitt) "boycotts" the landowners who do not accept lower revenues from tenants. After the guerrilla of 1861 - 1867
(Royal) Irish Constabulary = Protestant police. – After Irish mass emigration: Only 20,000 Gaelic speakers in the Irish
Republic of today, whereas Celtic still predominant in 18
Anglo-Irish authors such as Maria Edgworth describe the plight of the Irish labourers and English policy ("absentee
landlords" living in London, squandering the money extorted from Irish labour). Charles J. Kickham’s and, above all, G.
B. Shaw’s satires attack society on a variety of subjects. Towards the end of the 19
century, England’s Liberal Prime
Minister Gladstone tries in vain to secure "Home Rule" (i.e. self-government). Protestant "Ulster Volunteers" founded
when British government - Asquith (Liberal) - wants to introduce Home Rule in 1913. Menace of Civil War: "Irish
Republican Brigade" formed from (Catholic) "Irish Volunteers'' and Irish Labour's "Irish Citizens' Army". Whereas most
R.C. bishops oppose fighting for freedom in the 19
century, most simple priests support it.
Northern Ireland (Protestant): industrialization encouraged, industrialists mainly Protestant; exploitation of workers (a
general phenomenon in the early stages of industrialization, to accumulate capital before developing more sophisticated
production requiring more skilled workers that had to be better paid - to become customers, too - and so claimed more
rights) embitters relationship with Catholics (working-class). By 1913, social problems had become acute: transport union
strike (J. Conolly) in Dublin. - (Home Rule promised for the time after WW I : when in 1914, London wanted the Army
to prosecute Protestant terrorists, the officers at Curragh Barracks resigned in protest). Irish volunteers for Britain in
WW I: Poverty makes good soldiers (cf. Sardinia, and, in the Middle Ages, Swiss mercenaries: a tradition that survives in
In 1916 Easter Rising is put down, and Sir Roger Casement, another Protestant supporting the Irish cause, is executed
(for collaborating with the Germans, who sent arms to the Catholics now; in 1913, to Protestants); after WW I and two
more years of fighting against the brutal "Black and Tans" and the "Auxiliary Cadets", the Irish Free State is founded in
the South (Cork Brit. until 1938).
In 1922: Six counties of "Ulster" remain British, two thirds of its population being Protestant with "Special power"
(against Roman Catholics) since 1920s. Today: 0.4 million Presbyterians, 0.35 million Anglicans, 0.63 million Roman
Catholics. The Reverend I. Paisley’s militant "Free Presbyterian Church" (in Scotland (Hebrides): extremely puritanical,
except S. Uist, Barra, Eriskay: 90% Roman Catholics, conservative) and Unionist Party against (Roman Catholic) Social
Democratic Labour Party - little support for Labour among Protestants: mainly nationalists (Orangemen: in lodges),
called "Loyalists" ...
The Irish Republican Army (IRA, political representative: Sinn Fein Party) rejects partition, and a Civil War breaks out
between supporters and opponents of the compromise. - The small Protestant minority in the South, however, does not
suffer from intolerance. - On the other hand, Catholics in Northern Ireland are still being treated as second-class
citizens, underpaid and with no say in politics. R.C. unemployed 29%, - Protestants: 13% - in the R.C. slums of Falls
& Brandywell, Belfast: 50% (1992). - One million Irish have come to England to find work… and better social services
than in "the Republic"; although unemployment went down from 12% to 4% in 1962, Ireland still comparatively poor.
1982: 13.5% unemployed. (5 million of Irish descent in Britain; citizens of Ireland have the right to live, work, and vote in
the U.K. and vice-versa.) - The economic war waged against Ireland by Britain in the 30s caused great losses to Irish
farmers - and thus finished off the Anglo-Irish (Protest.) land-owners ("Ascendancy").
Full sovereignty in 1937, first president: de Valera, former rebel; in WW II, Southern Ireland remains neutral, and in 1949
the Republic of Ireland / Eire (name used as a claim to all Ireland) leaves the Commonwealth. In the 1960s London
wants to give Ulster Catholics more civic rights; the Orangemen reply with acts of terrorism. This leads to a revival of
the IRA - which, in the 30s, had been useful in beating the fascist "Blueshirts" - and to internal warfare. Instead of
pressing for a political solution, the British government, with the help of the Army, upholds the "status quo" favouring
the Protestants. Protestant police: RUC, and "Ulster Defence Regiment": UDR; "Ulster Defence Association": UDA
(terrorist). On the "Bloody Sunday" of Derry (English name: Londonderry, after Protestant colonizers from London,
century.) 1972 the British Army fires on a peaceful demonstration of Catholics, killing many; IRA prisoners on
hunger strike: 10 die in 1981 ; IRA members are tortured in Britain, British courts sentence Irish persons in England
without sufficient evidence: "The Guildford Seven"…. - In 1998, after Labour’s victory in national elections in Britain,
"peace treaty" with limited powers for a Parliament and Government of Northern Ireland, in which all parties are
represented according to their numbers of votes.
Eire: proportional representation; Parliament = Dail and Senate;
parties: "old" nationalists Fine Gael, sometimes in coalition with Labour until 1994: nationalist coalition Fianna Fail -
Labour ("corrupt", v. below); Fine Gael centre, in opposition with more radical left (v. below); Fianna Fail conservative.
(Besides: The Progressive Democrats; the Workers’ Party (from Official IRA; non-violent, non-sectarian), Sinn Fein (cf.
Provisional IRA: split 1970, when Official IRA favours cease-fire; now the "Provos", too (?). -
Conservative Catholic Church: e.g., prevents "mother and child" programme in the 50s.) English law with Roman
Catholic privileges - no divorce . - Neutrality, but in Common Market with U.K. Sterling block - 70s. Free Trade with
U.K. since 1965. Industrialization (foreign investment) encouraged by a corporation tax of only 10%; unemployment
down again to 4% in 2000, but shabbiness persists side by side with almost frenetic consumerism in this country
(formerly) admired by (Catholic) Continentals; its (new) upper class is said to be utterly corrupt, traditionally disrespectful
of the law. At the same time, "the" Irish romanticize this new development, ignoring – apart from their own sharp, and
ostracised critics – its dangers, fooling others, or believing themselves in their sentimental illusions (exposed, with regard
to their fight against the British, by S. O’Casey, for instance: Irish – Celtic? – disdain for organization, a reason for their
defeat?) – Still, class differences less marked than in England, cordiality, low crime rate, police - "Garda" - generally
unarmed (like in the U.K.).
Modern Irish literature gains universal recognition in the work of W. B. Yeats, J. Joyce (author of "Dubliners" and
"Ulysses"), and the dramatists Sean O’Casey and Synge. The novels of L. O’Flaherty and the short stories of O’Faolain,
O’Connor and O’Kelly are excellent pictures of life in Ireland = (?) "drink and be merry" or rather more Irish: "Food is
good for thought, but it’s liquor that interferes less with conversation". – Famous composer of Irish songs: Th. Moore. –
Painting: P. Henry (19
centuries, Irish west coast.)
IV. Coloured People in Britain
Most of them are West Indians (Blacks) and Pakistanis, who have immigrated because they could not find jobs, make a
living in their native countries. In Britain, they have to accept low-paid jobs and often live in slums. Although they are
Commonwealth citizens, they are discriminated against. Of the 1.5 million coloured people living in Britain, 0.9 million
immigrated 1960 - 1980. - About the life of Black slaves freed occasionally, but usually forbidden any education, in the
century, v. Equiano (a freed slave, who then owned slaves himself): "The Interesting Narrative": Emancipation is
reached by becoming Christian and literate, especially through the “Talking Book” – the Bible.
The first - dishonest - attempt at settling freed slaves in Sierra Leone was made with black refugees from America who
had become destitute in London (1780), and was a failure; so was a second one, 1787 (v. Suppl. 7. Kl.); success in 1791.)
Today, 0.1 m Sierra Leoneans in UK, most in Peckham (London).
West Indians have unified the West Indian “Englishes” of their different islands of origin, a “stylisation” not recognised
on the islands (v. c. IX).
V. "Neighbourhood" in Britain and America
1. "Keeping up with the Joneses":
neighbourhood (and generally middle-class) conformism: majority rule of democratic politics - (who influences majority
opinions?) - transferred into private life; escape into eccentric "hobbies" ("typically English") - or sometimes "madness":
not tolerated (or "sacred") as in early times; adapt (psychiatry’s role)!: city centres are mostly deserted after 5 p.m. "rush
hour" with everybody going off to his (semi-detached) house and garden, imitating the gentleman’s country house. Both
British and Americans tend to live within well-defined social groups, so that streets and districts are socially graded to a
degree unknown in Europe; the poor and working-class people are isolated, which adds to their unwillingness to co-
operate with the owners of factories in an effort to keep "the economy of the country" going. This may be one
explanation for the great number of strikes in Britain, before Thatcherism crushed the unions, and it is particularly true of
the Northern towns (old industry). In America, especially, inner cities tend to become slums, as the white middle class
moves out into a comfortable, dull "suburbia" that threatens to swallow the countryside: "Megalopolis" between
Manchester and London, Boston and New York (Washington?).
In the "U.S., pioneer spirit": trusting in helpful neighbours, optimism, little tolerance for extravagant behaviour:
pioneering neighbours had to be reliable; "democratic" behaviour still prevalent today, when differences in income rarely
shown except in housing (different residential areas); "common pursuit of happiness" led to generally acceptable pursuit
of material well-being, facilitated by standardization (good quality made affordable through mass-production), which
increased uniformity: same "American way of life" almost everywhere, in spite of local government and individual rights;
"deregulation" concerning money-making only (private possessions of money being the means of differentiation among
otherwise equal citizens). Juries, i.e., the possibility of being judged by neighbours, also increase uniformity and small-
2. The "typical" English house,
which usually is one in a suburban street of similar or identical houses (about half as big if it is a semi-detached one, i.e.,
in one building with another identical one; or if it is one in a continuous row of identical houses, a "terrace"), will have a
front garden and a (bigger) back garden(beyond which you often find the back garden of one of the houses of the next,
parallel, street). You enter through a gate through the hedge and walk on a path between flowers to the porch, where you
knock with the door-nail or ring the bell. (Doors usually have knobs.) You then enter the (small) hall, from which stairs
lead up to the first floor, "upstairs", which means the bedrooms and bathroom(s). "Downstairs", there is a front living-
room or sitting-room (or parlour, or, in a hotel, B&B etc., "lounge") and perhaps a second one (dining-room); at the
back, there will be another sitting-room, perhaps opening into the (back) garden through a "French window", really a
glass door ; otherwise, bay-windows are popular in England – , and the kitchen. The main rooms have fire-places (with
mantel-pieces), whose smoke(unless the fire is an electrical one) escapes through the chimney(s).
American houses may have all their rooms on the ground (AE="first") floor, sometimes fences (painted white) around
In Canada, rooms usually are on the first floor, which you enter over outside stairs and a veranda; the ground floor is a
sort of basement.
Log-cabin, a German invention = "Blockhaus", block-house= made of square logs and usually serving as a (small) fort.
a) The typical full ("cooked") English breakfast consists of
fruit (orange) juice
porridge or cereals (e.g., shredded wheat)
fruit, e.g., stewed prunes
the main dish: ham and eggs, or bacon and eggs, often with tomatoes and/or mushrooms, or baked beans…
and/or kippered herring, smoked haddock…
buttered toast with marmalade (or jam)
tea with milk (and sugar).
The tea is poured out after the milk, but it is "U(pper class)" to do it "the Continental way", i.e., the milk after
b) lunch (often just snacks), "non-U"= "dinner"
c) (afternoon) tea; with sandwiches etc. = "high tea"
d) (unless you are still full from high tea:) dinner – non-U "tea" (which is the popular word for all meals in Australia) – or
"supper", which in "U" is used only for a late dinner.
VI. Government. The Law, Money, Weights and Measures
"Winner takes all" principle (as opposed to proportional representation) strengthens influence of constituency, but is
unfair to smaller parties: in 1974, 20% of total vote Lib. in UK, only 2% of seats in Parliament. MPs’ power precarious
today, when government usually determines what is discussed for how much time; influence of big private interests:
lobbyists (parliamentary committees); problem of minority votes of each constituency lost in (general) election results.
Lack of written constitution in UK: a problem when Parliament suspends human rights (as in 70s, against IRA etc.)
Coalition governments extremely rare in UK in times of peace, as majority mostly big enough.
2. Local Government
as a counterweight to totalitarianism
however, in U.S./U.K., problem of better-off districts having better public services (e.g., buses and trains) although need
them less, as an example of the conflicts arising from the egotism of small self-administering units. Solution of middle-
sized units not exclusively rich or poor (slums, crime, …), e.g., Greater London Council: Conservative government
(Especially) in the U.S., local government acts as a counterweight to the "tyranny of the majority", with the central
(federal) government's power increased by its popularity based on its democratic origin (A. de Tocqueville): the
opposition in Congress or the party that lost the presidential elections may be in power in states, communities, having
won elections there.
Local government also provides for the active participation of citizens in (local) politics, strengthened by the dependence
of the constituency's Congressman (Representative) on his/her (well-to-do, v. above, lobbies) constituents (for
(re)election). – Importance of voluntary associations (local church etc.) in US, greater even than that of clubs in England,
although perhaps diminishing lately.
3. Counties in UK (and US). Abbreviations
Changes in UK administrative division in counties in the 1970s, corresponding to economic and population changes:
Some new (in part: metropolitan) counties in England; some new counties, and (new) Welsh names for all, in Wales (e.g.,
Cardigan( = "Weste"), within Dyfed); (fewer, bigger) regions (and island areas) replacing counties in Scotland (e.g.,
Lanark and Argyll in Strathclyde, Inverness etc in Highlands); (more) districts and 9 areas in Northern Ireland, but
counties still in use (e.g., "Co. Armagh"), as in the Republic.
Note, among abbreviations for English county names: Beds = Bedfordshire, Bucks = Buckinghamshire, Cambs =
Cambridgeshire, Hants = Hampshire, Herts = Hertfordshire, Lancs = Lancashire, Northants = Northamptonshire,
Notts = Nottinghamshire, Salop, Shrops = Shropshire, Staffs = Staffordshire, Sx = Sussex, former Middx = Middlesex;
(counties around London: "Home Counties").
Among (old) abbreviations of U.S. State names: Ia = Iowa, Md = Maryland, Me = Maine, Mo = Missouri, Pa =
Pennsylvania, Va = Virginia, Vt = Vermont.
4. Government in the U.K./U.S. - Titles
U.K. government: The Privy Council, consisting of Privy Counsels (Councils) = P.C., including all members of the
cabinet, the only part that is (still) politically powerful; the Privy Council’s judicial committee still has the function of the
supreme court of appeal for some Commonwealth countries (overseas).
Cabinet ministers: Prime Minister = "First Lord of the Treasury" (cf. Navy: First Lord of the Admiralty), Chancellor of
the Exchequer = finances; ancient titles for special functions: Lord Privy Seal, etc.
Heads of important departments: Secretaries (Home Secretary, Foreign Secretary, Home Office (cf. "home counties"),
Foreign Office), others: Ministers; (junior) Ministers (of State) in big departments, which are run by Civil Servants headed
by a Permanent Secretary
(U.K.) Secretaries of State: e.g., for Scotland, Northern Ireland; cf. (under-)secretaries, parliamentary secretaries (to …)
(UK:) All cabinet ministers must be members of the House of Lords (including Life Peers) or the House of Commons
(M.P.), and have to share "collective responsibility", i.e., a cabinet minister resigns when he/she feels he or she cannot
agree with the Prime Minister/cabinet. - "(Chief) Whip(s)" try to make all M.P.s vote for their party’s policy (at
The Sovereign's representative in an English county: Lord Lieutenant /lef'tenant/, like the army officer's rank; cf. Navy
/le'tenant/, earlier /l(j)utenant/ = today in U.S. - Cities with (Lord) Mayors (England), (Scotland:) (Lord) Provosts
(U.K.) during King/Queen …’s reign (under the Lab., Cons., Lib., Lib./Lab. government); (U.S.) during (President) …’s
(Intelligence, security:) (U.K.) MI5, (abroad:) Secret Service: MI6; (U.S.) FBI, (abroad:) CIA = Central Intelligence
Agency (1942-1947: OSS = Office of Strategic Services)
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