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Charles Trevelyan
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    (April 2, 1807-June 19, 1886)
    Born in Taunton, Somerset, United Kingdom
    Sir Charles Edward Trevelyan, 1st Baronet, KCB
    Whig British civil servant, colonial administrator, and merchant
    Educated at Blundell's School, Charterhouse School and the East India Company College
    Joined the East India Company; was posted to the Bengal Civil Service at Delhi, India (1826)
    Appointed assistant secretary to Her Majesty's Treasury, upon returning to England (1840-1859)
    Administered disaster relief during both the Irish Potato Famine of 1845-1852 ('The Great Hunger') and the Highland Potato Famine of 1846-1857, in Scotland
    Supported the Irish export of cattle and grains into England during the Potato Famine, while over half the country's population starved
    Later appointed Governor of Madras (1859 to 1860); later Indian Finance Minister (1862-1865)
    Generally despondent attitude and (arguable) neglect/inaction towards the crisis facing the Irish people has historically been viewed as exacerbating the already devastating potato famine which ultimately claimed close to 1.5 million lives
    Written works include 'The Application of the Roman Alphabet to all the Oriental Languages' (1834), 'A Report upon the Inland Customs and Town Duties of the Bengal Presidency' (1834), 'The Irish Crisis' (1848), 'The Army Purchase Question and Report and Evidence of the Royal Commission' (1858), 'The Purchase System in the British Army' (1867), 'The British Army' (1868), 'A Standing or a Popular Army' (1869), 'Three Letters on the Devonshire Labourer' (1869), 'From Pesth to Brindisi, being Notes of a Tour' (1871), 'The Compromise offered by Canada' (1872), and 'Christianity and Hinduism contrasted' (1882)
    He was a social Darwinist.
    He made startlingly anti-Irish statements during a time when he was at the helm of Britain's hunger relief efforts.
    He is 'Exhibit A' in the historical case arguing that the British governmental response to the Irish Famine technically constituted a passive-aggressive form of Genocide.
    He described the Irish Famine as an 'effective mechanism for reducing surplus population.'
    He is arguably the most loathed figure in Irish cultural history (beating out such tough competitors as Queen Elizabeth I, Oliver Cromwell, and Margaret Thatcher - all despised by Irish nationalists).
    He has been accused of passively allowing the Irish to perish by the thousands during the potato famine (in some cases even withholding emergency food relief).
    He steadfastly subscribed to the misguided belief that the Irish had no one to blame but themselves for the Famine.
    He reasoned that the Irish should have subsisted on maize (which they couldn't afford; with little knowledge of or experience in preparing).
    Less diplomatic comments received wider press, however, including his benign assertion that 'the judgement of God sent the calamity to teach the Irish a lesson.'
    He elaborated on this worldview to his peers by claiming that the Famine was 'an all-merciful providence,' and that 'Supreme Wisdom has educed permanent good' (in other words, emergency aid should not entirely mitigate the Irish suffering so as to at least make them THINK they were being taught a lesson by God).
    A likeness of him hangs at Quinnipiac’s Great Hunger Museum, with a dedication reading: 'For crimes against humanity, never brought to justice.'
    He is 'memorialized' in the popular 1970s Irish folk ballad about the Famine, 'the Fields of Athenry,' in the most unflattering of terms (specifically referencing not only his complicity in the Famine, but also his co-founding of the Highland & Island Immigration Society which enforced mass deportations to Botany Bay in the 1850s).
    So inseparably is he linked to Pete St. John's national broadsheet anthem that fans of the Glasgow Celtic football club and K Club Golf still chant 'Michael they have taken you away/for you stole Trevelyan's corn/So the young might see the morn/Now a prison ship lies waiting in the bay' at their games.
    He was knighted for his work on the famine, in 1848, by Queen Victoria (another historical figure the Irish aren't so crazy about).
    Anthony Trollope admitted to basing his Sir Gregory Hardlines character in 'The Three Clerks' (1858), on Sir Charles.
    He may have just been a victim of bad timing; inheriting a mess around the time of his appointment (weak government, economic recession, Irish Catholic-British protestant tensions reaching a boiling point, etc.).
    His 'surplus population' comments led some to mistakenly conclude that he was a template for the Scrooge character in 'Christmas Carol,' but the story was published long before he became the face of antipathy to the starving poor.
    He was, however, the basis for the nepotistic and ineffective bureaucrat character, Mr. Tite Barnacle, in Dickens' 'Little Dorrit' novel (1856).
    His biographer described him as a workhorse who spent whole nights trying to work out the best ways to implement disaster relief within the fiscal means of the government.
    Sympathetic historians have defended him with the argument that some of his more offensive writings were either mischaracterized, misquoted, or selectively cherry picked.
    As a result he morphed in historical memory from just a misguided, out-of-touch Evangelical bureaucrat to a Haman-like tyrant hell bent on ethnic cleansing of the Irish through mass starvation (when he repeatedly wrote in his journals that even the Irish tenant class should not be allowed to starve).
    Its comforting to know that - even back then - there were A) hapless bureaucrats with no clue on natural disasters or B) fundamentalist kooks who say that countries experiencing cataclysmic tragedies 'brought it on themselves' and are 'being punished.'

Credit: BoyWiththeGreenHair

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