[Those curious about the history of the Victorian Web (which began before the WWW in another hypermedia environment) might be interested to learn that this document was one of the very first written specifically for what became this site by someone outside Brown University. (The materials on public health that Professor Wohl also contributed came from his previously published book [GPL].]

1. Religion. To many Protestants, especially of the low church or Dissenters, Roman Catholicism was a highly irrational religion, which empasized child-like love of ritual, cermony, and emotion. Hence, all Catholics, it was argued, followed the heart rather than the head, were emotional rather than rational, and in their worship of saints and loyalty to the Pope revealed a slavish love of superstition and authority.

2. Sexual. The high Irish birth-rate was held, like that of the English working classes, to be the product of an animal-like sexuality, a surrender to bodily appetites which indicated that the Irish, like the English working classes, were closer in their evolution to the apes than the angels! Unlike the English working man, however, the Irishman's sexuality was regarded as the inevitable by-product of a religion which permitted or even encouraged self-indulgence and discouraged the virtues of self-discipline and self-denial which the Victorians held in such esteem as part of their puritan tradition.


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Last modified 1990