ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

UP THE IRISH !- VII- THE FENIANS

Updated on June 8, 2013

UP THE IRISH !-VII-THE FENIANS


While the country was in the depths of the Famine, a group of men still schemed to break Ireland’s chains from Britain. Coming from the well-to-do classes, Protestant and Catholic, they had been able to escape the desolation all around them. Known to history as the Young Ireland movement, their names would soon join the Irish pantheon of heroes and martyrs, though once more in a losing cause: William Smith O’Brien, Thomas Davis, Charles Cavan Duffy, John Mitchel, and Thomas Meagher. Newspaper editors, writers, poets, and lawyers by trade, they, unfortunately, were not the hard men needed to carry out such an endeavor. Those would appear several generations later. As was said of Smith O’Brien- “A vicious man with the talents and prestige of O’Brien’s name would have overthrown English dominion in Ireland.”- Patrick O’Donohue.


The spirit was willing- “Now, indeed, are the men of Ireland cowards if this moment for retribution, combat, and victory, was to pass by unemployed.”- Margaret Callan, 1848. Alas, the flesh was understandably weak, so the rebellion of 1848 never really got off the ground: “The Rising misnamed. No rising. No plans or order- no leader.”- Eva, Marie Anne Kelly, 1848. The rebels, listed above, such as they were, ended up in prison, to be put on trial by the British. The ever friendly London Times mocked the captives- “In no other country have men talked of treason until they are hoarse, and then gone about begging for sympathy from their oppressors.” Some of the would-be revolutionaries, like John Mitchel, gave eloquent pleas from the dock during their trials: “I have shown that her Majesty’s government sustains itself in Ireland by packed juries, by partisan judges, by perjured sheriffs.”


Not surprisingly, the Young Irelanders were found guilty of treason, but maybe because constant death hovered over the island, most were sentenced to transportation to Van Dieman’s Land (Tasmania) or Australia. Two places favored by the British for banishing Irish “criminals” since the early 1800’s. Several years after their departure, a group of the exiles excited the world by making a daring escape from captivity. Mitchel and Thomas Meagher found their way to the United States, where they were treated as celebrities. The two did not forget their homeland, however, and its struggle. “I mean to make use of the freedom granted me as a citizen of America to help and to stimulate the movement of European democracy, and especially of Irish independence.”- John Mitchel, 1853.


Meagher, who led the famed Irish brigade during the American Civil War, thought that conflict would prove invaluable to Irish patriots looking one day to return home. “I hold it that if only one in ten come back when this war is over, the military experience gained by that one will be of more service to Ireland’s fight for freedom than would be that of the entire ten as they are now.” Thomas Meagher, who died in Montana in 1868, and John Mitchel, who incidentally supported the South during the Civil War, never made it back to the Emerald Isle. There were, however, thousands of Irish veterans who wanted to use their martial skills against England when the war ended in 1865.


Some returned to Ireland to fan the flames of revolt there. Others remained in the U.S., but turned their eyes towards America’s northern neighbor- a blow against Canada would be an indirect strike at Britain. These new rebels called themselves Fenians, after the fabled Finn MacCool and his Fianna warriors from the Celtic past. “We’re slaves, my boys, and slaves we’ll be. Till maddened by our chains we’ll raise the flag of liberty, and muster on the plains, and sweep the Saxons from our shore, as once we did the Dane.”- Fenian Song, 1860’s. Sadly, similar to 1848, a planned rising in Ireland fizzled out before ever getting started. The nation was just not ready for it.


Across the pond, the Fenians prepared eagerly for an invasion of Canada. “We are the Fenian Brotherhood, skilled in the arts of war, and we are going to fight for Ireland, the land we adore. Many battles we have won, along with the boys in blue, and we’ll go and capture Canada, for we’ve nothing else to do.”- Fenian Invasion Song, 1866. When the U.S. government got wind of the plan, and let it be known it did not look too kindly on the Fenians’ purported venture, ardor among Irish-Americans deflated. A small army did cross the border into Canada from upstate New York, won a pitched battle against a British force sent to intercept them, before retreating back to the States after running out of supplies. The armed struggle for Ireland’s independence had ground to a halt.


In the late 1800’s, for the most part, the fight shifted to land agitation to reform the corrupt landlord system, and the political arena, to strive for Home Rule. Striding to center-stage would be Ireland’s greatest political leader since Daniel O’Connell. The war-cry was temporarily put on the shelf.


As your fears are false and hollow,

Slaves and dastards stand aside,

Knaves and traitors, Faugh-a-Ballagh


“Faugh-a-Ballagh!”- Clear the Way!- Charles Cavan Duffy





Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)