The Banishment Act or Bishops’ Banishment Act, which receives royal assent on September 25, 1697, requires most Catholicclergy to leave the kingdom by May 1, 1698, and bans Catholic clergy from entering the kingdom. The Act is never efficiently enforced.
The Act is one of the Penal Laws passed after the Williamite War to safeguard the Church of Ireland as the established church and from fears of Catholic clerical support for Jacobitism. It is foreshadowed by proclamations issued by the Dublin Castle administration in 1673 and 1678 with similar terms. The banishment is originally and most effectively applied to regular clergy, many of whom register under the Registration Act of 1704, as parish priests to be treated as secular clergy and avoid deportation. The ban on bishops may have been intended to prevent ordination of new priests, which, coupled with a ban on clerical immigration, would lead to their eventual extinction. Of the eight Catholic bishops in Ireland when the act is passed, two leave, one (John Sleyne)is arrested, and five go into hiding. The port authorities pay for the passage of 424 clerics who emigrate. Mary of Modena estimates that about 700 in total leave, of whom 400 settle in France. Priest hunters are active in subsequent decades. Maurice Donnellan, Bishop of Clonfert, is arrested in 1703 but rescued by an armed crowd.
The Act is gradually less stringently enforced as the eighteenth century progresses. The Roman Catholic Relief Act 1782 provides that its provisions cannot apply to a priest who has registered and taken the oath of supremacy. The Act is explicitly repealed by the Statute Law Revision (Ireland) Act 1878.
Keeping command of a small band, Byrne seizes Goresbridge on June 23 but has to deplore the murder of several prisoners and other atrocities committed by his men in revenge for the torture and executions that had been visited upon the peasantry by the yeomanry and government militia. After further skirmishes he joins Joseph Holt and Michael Dwyer in taking to the Wicklow Mountains to continue a guerrilla resistance.
After Holt accepts transportation to Australia in November, Byrne, assisted by his sister, escapes to Dublin. He recalls of his sister, “If I had not remarked a long scar on her neck, she would not have mentioned anything herself. A yeoman … threatened to cut her throat with his sabre if she did not tell instantly the place in which I was hiding. The cowardly villain, no doubt, would have put his threat in execution had not some of his comrades interfered to prevent him.”
In the winter of 1802-03, Byrne enters into the plans of Robert Emmet and Anne Devlin for a renewed uprising. In his Memoirs he describes a meeting he arranged between Robert Emmet and the Wexford rebel leader Thomas Cloney at Harold’s Cross Green, Dublin, just prior to Emmet’s Rebellion, “I can never forget the impression this meeting made on me at the time – to see two heroic patriots, equally devoted to poor Ireland, discussing the best means of obtaining her freedom.”
In July 1803, the plans unravel when Anne Devlin’s cousin, Michael Dwyer, still holding out in Wicklow, recognises that there are neither the promised arms nor convincing proof of an intended French landing. In the north Thomas Russell and James Hope find no enthusiasm for a renewal of the struggle in what in 1798 are the strongest United Irish and Catholic Defender districts.
In Dublin, with their preparations revealed by an accidental explosion of a rebel arms depot, Emmet proceeds with a plan to seize the centres of government. The rising, for which for Byrne turns out with Emmet and Malachy Delaney in gold-trimmed green uniforms, is broken up after a brief confrontation in Thomas Street.
Two days after the fight in Thomas Street, Byrne meets with the fugitive Emmet and agrees to go to Paris to procure French assistance. But in Paris he finds Napoleon‘s attentions focused elsewhere. The First Consul uses a cessation of hostilities with Britain to pursue a very different venture, the re-enslavement of Haiti.
Byrne is commissioned as a captain in Napoleon’s Irish Legion. But at a time when he is convinced that “all Catholic Ireland” is “ready to rise the moment a rallying point was offered,” the Irish exiles cannot deflect the First Consul from other priorities. Rather than in Ireland, with his diminishing Irish contingent, he is to see action in the Low Countries, Germany and Spain.
In the 1840s, Byrne is Paris correspondent for The Nation in Dublin, the Young Irelander newspaper that does much to rehabilitate the memory of the United Irishmen.
In his last years Byrne writes his Memoirs, which are an account of his participation in the Irish Rebellion and his time in the Irish Legion of Napoleon. These are first published in three volumes in 1863, but there have been many subsequent reprints. Against the portrayal of 1798 as a series of disjointed, unconnected risings, his memoirs present the United Irishmen as a cohesive revolutionary organisation whose aim of a democratic, secular, republic had captured the allegiance of a great mass of the Irish people.
(Pictured: Miles Byrne (1780-1862), United Irishman. Photograph taken by an unknown photographer in Paris in February 1859. The photograph now resides in Áras an Uachtaráin, the residence of the President of Ireland, in Dublin.)
In the 1890s Jones becomes known as ‘Mother’ Jones and begins a long association with socialist causes and the United Mine Workers of America. She attends the founding convention of Social Democracy of America, later known as the Cooperative Brotherhood, in 1897 and in the same year organises support and publicity for striking bituminous coal miners in West Virginia, including a children’s march and parades of farmers delivering food to the miners’ camp. These types of defiant mass action become her trademark. Notable activities include organising women in support of an 1899 anthracite coal strike in eastern Pennsylvania, directing strikes of young women working in textile mills, a 1903 ‘children’s crusade’ against child labour which includes a ninety-mile march from Philadelphia to New York City, participating in 1905 in the founding convention of the Industrial Workers of the World, a radical labour union committed to the organisation of unskilled workers, campaigning for the release of Mexican revolutionaries imprisoned in American jails, and testifying in 1915 in congressional hearings against the abuse of corporate power by Rockefeller interests.
Jones reportedly meets with James Connolly, Irish socialist and labour organiser, in New York City in 1910. She is arrested for the first time for violating a federal injunction during a miners’ strike in West Virginia in 1902. In 1904, during a Colorado miners’ campaign, she has to avoid the authorities to escape possible deportation. During a 1914 strike in Ludlow, Colorado, she is imprisoned without trial for nine weeks. In 1919 she is arrested in Pennsylvania during a steelworkers’ strike for defending freedom of speech and the right of workers to organise unions. She remains active in the labour movement and radical causes into her nineties.
During her later years, Jones lives with her friends Walter and Lillie May Burgess on their farm in what is now Adelphi, Maryland. She celebrates her self-proclaimed 100th birthday there on May 1, 1930 and is filmed making a statement for a newsreel.
In 1932, about 15,000 Illinois mine workers gather in Mount Olive to protest against the United Mine Workers, which soon becomes the Progressive Mine Workers of America. Convinced that they have acted in the spirit of Mother Jones, the miners decide to place a proper headstone on her grave. By 1936, the miners have saved up more than $16,000 and are able to purchase “eighty tons of Minnesota pink granite, with bronze statues of two miners flanking a twenty-foot shaft featuring a bas-relief of Mother Jones at its center.” On October 11, 1936, also known as Miners’ Day, an estimated 50,000 people arrive at Mother Jones’s grave to see the new gravestone and memorial. Since then, October 11 is not only known as Miners’ Day but is also referred to and celebrated in Mount Olive as “Mother Jones’s Day.”
The farm where she died begins to advertise itself as the “Mother Jones Rest Home” in 1932, before being sold to a Baptist church in 1956. The site is now marked with a Maryland Historical Trust marker, and a nearby elementary school is named in her honor.
Guinness is born Hermione Maria-Gabrielle von Urach, the only child of the marriage of Albrecht von Urach, from Lichtenstein Castle, a member of the royal house of Wurtemberg, and Rosemary Blackadder (1901–1975) from Berwickshire in Scotland, a journalist and artist, who are married in Oslo, Norway in 1931. For the first few months of her life she is very ill. In 1934, her parents, both working as journalists, move the family to Venice. They later move again, to Japan. Her mother develops depression, and in 1937 tries to gain uninvited access to Emperor Hirohito‘s palace with her daughter. This results in her mother being arrested, sedated, and deported, which is the beginning of a decline in her mental health which culminates in a lobotomy in 1941 and spending the rest of her life in private mental institutions. Urach is returned to Europe, where she is raised by her godmother, Hermione Ramsden, in Surrey and Norway. She is educated by as many as seventeen governesses, with brief spells in boarding schools. Until the age of eighteen she is known as Gabrielle.
Urach meets Desmond Guinness in 1951, when she is nineteen, and they are married in Oxford in 1954. They have two children, Patrick (born 1956) and Marina (born 1957).
During the 1960s Leixlip Castle is a hub for those interested in architecture and conservation, and the Guinnesses work hands-on on a range of projects. By 1969, their marriage is in difficulties and Guinness moves to London. She later moves to Glenarm, County Antrim to live with Hugh O’Neill, and when that relationship ends, she returns to Leixlip Castle, but a divorce is finalised in 1981. Having lived in Dublin for a time, she rents Tullynisk House, the dower house of Birr Castle in County Offaly in 1983. Guinness becomes isolated and develops a problem with alcohol. While returning to Ireland from Wales on a car ferry on May 8, 1989 she has a massive heart attack which is compounded by a reaction to an injection of penicillin. She is buried at Conolly’s Folly.
In 2020, a new film on Guinness’s life and work, entitled Memory of Mariga, receives its United States premiere as part of the Elizabethtown Film Festival on Saturday, September 19, at the Crowne Pointe Theatre in Elizabethtown, Kentucky. In 2021, the same film receives its Irish premiere at the Fastnet Film Festival.
The act is one of a series of Penal Laws passed after the Williamite War to protect the victorious Protestant Ascendancy from a church seen as loyal to the defeated Jacobites and to foreign powers. Its second section states that if an Irish Catholic priest is converted to the established Church of Ireland, he will receive a £20 stipend, levied on the residents of the area where he had last practised. Unregistered clergy are to depart Ireland before July 20, 1704 and any remaining after June 24, 1705 are to be deported. Any that returned are to be punished as under the Banishment Act of 1697 (as high treason). These are sought out by freelance “priest hunters.”
Three years later, O’Brien withdraws the Young Irelanders from the association. In January 1847, along with Thomas Francis Meagher, he founds the Irish Confederation, although he continues to preach reconciliation until O’Connell’s death in May 1847. He is active in seeking relief from the hardships of the famine. In March 1848, he speaks out in favour of a National Guard and tries to incite a national rebellion. He is tried for sedition on May 15, 1848 but is not convicted.
On July 29, 1848, O’Brien and other Young Irelanders lead landlords and tenants in a rising in three counties, with an almost bloodless battle against police at Ballingarry, County Tipperary. In O’Brien’s subsequent trial, the jury finds him guilty of high treason. He is sentenced to be hanged, drawn, and quartered. Petitions for clemency are signed by 70,000 people in Ireland and 10,000 people in England.
In Dublin on June 5, 1849, the sentences of O’Brien and other members of the Irish Confederation are commuted to transportation for life to Van Diemen’s Land, which is Tasmania in present-day Australia.
O’Brien attempts to escape from Maria Island off Tasmania, but is betrayed by Captain Ellis of the schooner hired for the escape. He is sent to Port Arthur where he meets up with John Mitchel, who had been transported prior to the rebellion. The cottages which O’Brien lives in on Maria Island and Port Arthur have been preserved in their 19th century state as memorials.
Having emigrated to the United States, Ellis is tried by another Young Irelanders leader, Terence MacManus, at a lynch court in San Francisco for the betrayal of O’Brien. He is freed for lack of evidence.
In 1854, after five years in Tasmania, O’Brien is released on the condition he never return to Ireland. He settles in Brussels. In May 1856, he is granted an unconditional pardon and returns to Ireland that July. He contributes to The Nation newspaper, but plays no further part in politics.
In 1864 he visits England and Wales, with the view of rallying his failing health, but no improvement takes place and he dies at Bangor, Wales on June, 16, 1864.