Charles Trevelyan and the Great Irish Famine


Robin Haines

Hardback €76.50
Catalogue Price: €85.00
ISBN: 1-85182-755-2
November 2004. 640pp.

Charles Trevelyan, the assistant secretary to the Treasury during the Famine years, has received the bulk of the blame for the government’s parsimonious response to the catastrophe. This book examines history’s condemnation of Trevelyan. It reveals how, and why, he came to be demonized as the architect of policies aimed — according to some commentators — at the deliberate depopulation of Ireland.

Drawing extensively on Trevelyan’s original correspondence and also on that of his political masters, his colleagues, subordinates and others in the field, Robin Haines restores the portrait of a dedicated civil servant, an opinionated man caught up in the tensions of Westminster, Whitehall and Dublin, yet determined to deliver relief to a country to which he was attached by ties of affection, sympathy and ancestry.

Robin Haines is a Senior Research Fellow in History at Flinders University, South Australia, whose books include Emigration and the labouring poor: Australian recruitment in Britain and Ireland (1997) and Life and death in the age of sail: the passage to Australia (2003).