After the death of Richard Chenevix, Chenevix goes to live with her other grandfather, the Archdeacon Gervais. On October 31, 1786, she marries Colonel Richard St. George, who dies only four years later in Portugal, leaving one son, Charles Manners St. George, who becomes a diplomat.
After the breakdown of the Peace of Amiens, Richard Trench is detained in France by Napoleon‘s armies, and in August 1805 Melesina takes it upon herself to petition Napoleon in person and pleads for her husband’s release. Her husband is released in 1807 and the couple settles at Elm Lodge in Bursledon, Hampshire, England.
Trench corresponds with, amongst others, Mary Leadbeater, with whom she works to improve the lot of the peasantry at her estate at Ballybarney. She dies at the age of 59 in Malvern, Worcestershire on May 27, 1827.
Melesina Trench’s diaries and letters are compiled posthumously by Richard Chenevix Trench as The remains of the late Mrs. Richard Trench in 1861 with an engraving of her taken from a painting by George Romney. Another oil painting, The Evening Star by Sir Thomas Lawrence, has her as a subject, and she is reproduced in portrait miniatures – one in Paris by Jean-Baptiste Isabey and another by Hamilton that is copied by the engraver Francis Engleheart.
A major at the outbreak of the Second Boer War in 1899, Hickie serves on the staff of Lieutenant-Colonel P. W. J. Le Gallais, commanding officer of the mounted infantry. On November 6, 1900, he is involved in an attempt to capture General Christiaan De Wet at the Battle of Bothaville, when a force led by Le Gallais and Lieutenant-Colonel Wally Ross storm De Wet’s camp. De Wet escapes, while a rearguard of 100 men engage the British force. In a fierce fight Le Gallais is killed and Wally Ross is badly wounded. Hickie decides to charge the Boer position and leads his small force forward just as reinforcements under Major-General C. E. Knox arrive. The Boers immediately surrender and some are found with explosive bullets. He wants to execute them immediately but Knox insists that they be tried. Exasperated with the whole affair, Hickie gives a highly critical interview after the action which is later published in The TimesHistory of the War in South Africa (7 vols, 1900–09), edited by Leo Amery.
Hickie is professional, politically adept, and popular with his men, and under his leadership the 16th is renowned for its aggressive fighting spirit. He commands the division during the Battle of the Somme in 1916 and, while proud of his men’s success in capturing Guillemont and Ginchy (September 1916), is appalled by their losses. When the division is ordered to capture Messines (now Mesen) in June 1917, he gives Major Willie Redmond permission to advance as far as the first objective and, following Redmond’s death, reproaches himself bitterly. After this attack the division is transferred to the fifth army and provides assault troops for future attacks. During the Third Battle of Ypres, and especially during the attack on Langemarck in August 1917, the division suffers horrendous casualties, losing 221 officers and 4,064 men. Among the casualties is Fr. Willie Doyle, who Hickie unsuccessfully recommends for a Victoria Cross. The division’s losses at Langemarck are highlighted by Irish MPs in the House of Commons, and Hickie’s handling of the attack is criticised. By this time, nationalist disillusionment with the war means that few Irish replacements are available, and Hickie is forced to accept increasing numbers of non-Irish conscripts into the division. Worn down by years of command, his health finally breaks and, in February 1918, he is sent home on sick leave, being replaced by Major-General Sir Richard Amyatt Hull.
In 1918, Hickie is created a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath (KCB) and is also awarded the French Croix de Guerre. During the Irish War of Independence (1919–21), he is critical of the methods used by Crown forces, denouncing in particular the indiscipline of the Black and Tans. In 1921 he retires from the army and becomes a prominent figure in the Royal British Legion in Ireland, tirelessly campaigning on behalf of ex-servicemen. In the 1920s he is involved with the Irish battlefield memorial committee, which erects memorial crosses at Wytschaete, Guillemont, and Salonika, commemorating the 10th and 16th divisions. He later serves as a senator of the Irish Free State (1925–36). Retiring from public life in 1936 to his residence at Terryglass, County Tipperary, he devotes his last years to gardening and reading.
Hickie dies on November 3, 1950, in Dublin, and is buried at Terryglass. He marries a daughter of the novelist Rev. J. O. Hannay, who predeceases him. There is a small collection of his papers in the National Library of Ireland (NLI).
(From: “Hickie, Sir William Bernard” by David Murphy, Dictionary of Irish Biography, http://www.dib.ie, October 2009)
Butler is the youngest daughter of Walter Butler of Garryricken, County Tipperary, and his wife, Ellen (née Morres), of Latargh, County Tipperary. Her family are members of the old Catholic gentry, and her father is the sole lineal representative of James Butler, 2nd Duke of Ormonde. In 1740 her family returns to the Garryricken estate, where she spends part of her childhood. She is educated by the English Benedictine nuns of the convent of Our Lady of Consolation in Cambrai, where her Jacobite grand-aunt is a pensioner. Reared in the liberal and anti-clerical environment at Cambrai, she is open about her opposition to Irish Catholicism. She is also well read in literature.
By the time Butler returns to Ireland, her brother John had claimed the family titles and was recognised as 16th Earl of Ormond. Though he never uses the title, his sisters are recognised as the daughters of an earl. As the family is impoverished, and she is not disposed to marriage, a decade is passed in unhappiness. Then, in 1768, the thirteen-year-old Sarah Ponsonby arrives in Kilkenny to attend a local school. Following her visit to the Butler home at Kilkenny Castle, and despite the difference in age, the two form an immediate friendship and corresponded secretly, having discovered their mutual interest in the arts and Rousseau‘s ideal of pastoral retirement.
Ponsonby, upon finishing school, is sent to live with relatives at nearby Woodstock Estate, and there is subject to the uninvited attention of a middle-aged guardian. Butler is discontented with her life and the prospects of her family’s wish to send her back to Cambrai, so the two plan to leave their difficulties behind and settle in England. In their first attempt to flee in March 1778, they leave for Waterford disguised as men and wielding pistols, but their families manage to catch up with them. Butler is then sent to the home of her brother-in-law, Thomas ‘Monarch’ Kavanagh of Borris, County Carlow, but makes a second, successful attempt and runs away to find Ponsonby at Woodstock Estate. Her persistence wins out when both families finally capitulate and accepted their plans to live together.
Butler and Ponsonby set out for Wales in May 1778 and, after an extensive tour of Wales and Shropshire, eventually settle in Llangollen Vale, where they rent a cottage which is renamed Plas Newydd. They are accompanied by Mary Carryll, a former servant of the Woodstock household, who remains in their service until her death in 1809. Having made a deliberate decision to retire from the world, they spend the greater part of their days corresponding with friends, reading, building up a large library and making alterations to Plas Newydd, which takes on a fashionable Gothic look. Their garden, landscaped under their direction, becomes a popular attraction for visitors. Butler meticulously records their daily routine in a series of journals, some of which are now lost.
Their seclusion, eccentricities, semi-masculine dress and short-cropped powdered hair gain them notoriety, and it becomes fashionable to call on them. Their numerous and illustrious visitors include Hester Lynch Piozzi, Charles and Erasmus Darwin, Sir Walter Scott, Sir Arthur Wellesley, the Duke of Gloucester and Josiah Wedgwood. In 1792 they entertain Stéphanie Caroline Anne Syms, later that year to become the wife of Lord Edward FitzGerald, and her mother, Madame de Genlis. Following the arrest of Edward FitzGerald in 1798, Stéphanie and her suite flee to London and on May 27 pass through Llangollen, where the events in Dublin are already known. On hearing that she is staying in the local inn, Butler and Ponsonby invite her to call in. However, when she wishes to stay for the day, their apprehension of Jacobinism leads them to persuade her “principally for her own sake and a little for [our] own to proceed as fast and as incognito as possible for London.”
Both Anna Seward and William Wordsworth, who stay at Plas Newydd, write poems celebrating their friendship, and Lord Byron sends them a copy of The Corsair. Owing to her support of the Bourbons, Butler is sent the Croix St. Louis, which she wears about her neck. Though generally considered a hospitable couple, Seward, who is a good friend, admits that the “incessant homage” they received could make Butler “haughty and imperious,” while Lady Lonsdale thinks her “very clever, very odd.” Their celebrity does have its drawbacks: an article in the General Evening Post of July 24, 1790, entitled “Extraordinary female affection,” suggests indirectly that their relationship is unnatural. Butler is particularly angered by this publicity and appeals to Edmund Burke for legal advice. Their retirement is also continually dogged by financial difficulties. They live mainly off their respective allowances and Butler’s royal pension (granted through the influence of Lady Frances Douglas), but spend beyond their means and are often in debt. To add to their problems, Butler receives no mention in her father’s will. However, the Gothic eccentricities of their cottage, which they succeed over time in purchasing, and garden attract even the interest of Queen Charlotte.
Though it is claimed that neither woman spends a night away from Plas Newydd, in January 1786 they stay with their friends, the Barretts of Oswestry, and that September they visit Sir Henry Bridgeman of Weston Park, near Staffordshire. In June 1797 they take their only holiday, at the coastal resort of Barmouth. Despite their isolation they are well informed about international events and society gossip. The Irish serjeant-at-law Charles Kendal Bushe recalls how they gave him all the news of Dublin, London, Cheltenham, and Paris.
In later years Butler’s eyesight deteriorates, preventing her from keeping her journal. She is secretly painted as an old woman with Ponsonby by Lady Mary Leighton and sketched by Lady Henrietta Delamere. A distinctive, anonymous silhouette shows the two generously proportioned women in traditional riding habits (National Portrait Gallery, London). Butler dies on June 2, 1829, and is buried alongside Carryll at Llangollen church. Sarah Ponsonby is subsequently buried with them.
(From: “Butler, Lady (Charlotte) Eleanor” by Frances Clarke, Dictionary of Irish Biography, http://www.dib.ie)
A Luftwaffe bomb kills thirteen people in Belfast, Northern Ireland, on the night of April 7, 1941. Ultimately, the city is devastated by air raids. Seven hundred people are killed and 400 seriously injured in what becomes known as the Belfast Blitz. The Blitz consists of four German air raids on strategic targets in Belfast, in April and May 1941 during World War II.
There had been a number of small bombings, probably by planes that missed their targets over the River Clyde in Glasgow or the cities of North West England. On March 24, 1941, John MacDermott, Minister for Public Security, writes to the Prime Minister of Northern Ireland, John Andrews, expressing his concerns that Belfast is so poorly protected. “Up to now we have escaped attack. So had Clydeside until recently. Clydeside got its blitz during the period of the last moon. There [is] ground for thinking that the … enemy could not easily reach Belfast in force except during a period of moonlight. The period of the next moon from say the 7th to the 16th of April may well bring our turn.” MacDermott is proved right.
The first deliberate raid takes place on the night of April 7. It targets the docks. Neighbouring residential areas are also hit. Six Heinkel He 111 bombers, from Kampfgruppe 26, flying at 7,000 feet, drop incendiaries, high explosive and parachute mines. By British mainland blitz standards, casualties are light. Thirteen die, including a soldier killed when an anti-aircraft gun at the Balmoral show-grounds misfires. The most significant loss is a 4.5-acre factory floor for manufacturing the fuselages of Short Stirling bombers. The Royal Air Force (RAF) announces that Squadron Leader J.W.C. Simpson shot down one of the Heinkels over Downpatrick. The Luftwaffe crews return to their base in Northern France and report that Belfast’s defences are “inferior in quality, scanty and insufficient.” This raid overall causes relatively little damage, but a lot is revealed about Belfast’s inadequate defences.
On Easter Tuesday, April 15, 1941, spectators watching a football match at Windsor Park notice a lone LuftwaffeJunkers Ju 88 aircraft circling overhead. That evening over 150 bombers leave their bases in northern France and the Netherlands and head for Belfast. There are Heinkel He 111s, Junkers Ju 88s and Dornier Do 17s. At 10:40 p.m. the air-raid sirens sound. Accounts differ as to when flares are dropped to light up the city. The first attack is against the city’s waterworks, which had been attacked in the previous raid. High explosives are dropped. Initially it is thought that the Germans had mistaken this reservoir for the harbour and shipyards, where many ships, including HMS Ark Royal are being repaired. However, that attack is not an error. Three vessels nearing completion at Harland & Wolff are hit as is its power station. Wave after wave of bombers drop their incendiaries, high explosives and landmines. When incendiaries are dropped, the city burns as water pressure is too low for effective firefighting. There is no opposition. In the mistaken belief that they might damage RAF fighters, the anti-aircraft batteries cease firing. But the RAF does not respond. The bombs continued to fall until 5:00 a.m.
Outside of London, with some 900 dead, this is the greatest loss of life in a night raid during the Blitz. A stray bomber attacks Derry, killing fifteeen. Another attacks Bangor, County Down, killing five. By 4:00 a.m. the entire city seems to be in flames. At 4:15 a.m., John MacDermott, the Minister of Public Security, manages to contact Minister of AgricultureBasil Brooke seeking permission to seek help from the Irish government. Brooke notes in his diary, “I gave him authority as it is obviously a question of expediency.” Since 1:45 a.m. all telephones have been cut. Fortunately, the railway telegraphy link between Belfast and Dublin is still operational. The telegram is sent at 4:35 a.m. asking the Irish Taoiseach, Éamon de Valera, for assistance.
By 6:00 a.m., within two hours of the request for assistance, 71 firemen with 13 fire tenders from Dundalk, Drogheda, Dublin, and Dún Laoghaire are on their way to cross the Irish border to assist their Belfast colleagues. In each station volunteers are requested, as it is beyond their normal duties. In every instance, all step forward. They remain in Belfast for three days, until they are sent back by the Northern Ireland government. By then 250 firemen from Clydeside have arrived.
There is a second massive air raid on Belfast on Sunday, May 4-5, 1941, three weeks after the Easter Tuesday raid. Around 1:00 a.m., Luftwaffe bombers fly over the city, concentrating their attack on the Harbour Estate and Queen’s Island. Nearby residential areas in east Belfast are also hit when “203 metric tonnes of high explosive bombs, 80 land mines attached to parachutes, and 800 firebomb canisters containing 96,000 incendiary bombs” are dropped. Over 150 people die in what becomes known as the “Fire Blitz.” Casualties are lower than at Easter, partly because the sirens sound at 11:45 p.m. while the Luftwaffe attack more cautiously from a greater height. St. George’s Church in High Street is damaged by fire. Again, the Irish emergency services cross the border, this time without waiting for an invitation.
(Pictured: Rescue workers search through the rubble of Eglington Street in Belfast, Northern Ireland, after a German Luftwaffe air raid, May 7, 1941)
References to Stephens’s early life, according to one of his biographers, Desmond Ryan, are obscure and limited to Stephens’s own vague autobiographical recollections. He is born at Lilac Cottage, Blackmill Street, Kilkenny, County Kilkenny, on January 26, 1825 and spends his childhood there. No birth records have ever been located, but a baptismal record from St. Mary’s Parish is dated July 29, 1825. There is reason to believe that he is born out of wedlock in late July 1825. However, according to Stephens, his exact date of birth is January 26. He is educated at St. Kieran’s College, Kilkenny, for at least one quarter in 1838. He is later apprenticed to a civil engineer, and from 1844 onwards works for the Waterford–Limerick Railway Company.
When the Young Irelanders split from Daniel O’Connell‘s Repeal Association and found the Irish Confederation in January 1847, Stephens becomes involved in the activities of the Kilkenny Confederate clubs. After the government suspends habeas corpus and issues warrants of arrest against the Confederate leaders, William Smith O’Brien appears in Kilkenny on July 23, 1848, seeking support for a popular insurrection, and two days later Stephens joins him. For four days he follows O’Brien’s wanderings and takes part in all his encounters with government forces, including the affray at the home of Widow McCormack on July 29 when O’Brien’s followers besiege a party of policemen in a house near Ballingarry, County Tipperary. They are finally dispersed by gunfire and the arrival of reinforcements, thus ending O’Brien’s revolutionary efforts. Stephens reportedly receives two bullet wounds, but manages to hide and evade arrest.
Three days later, Stephens proceeds to Ballyneale, near Carrick-on-Suir, County Tipperary, in search of John O’Mahony. He accompanies O’Mahony to meet Michael Doheny, and for six weeks Stephens and Doheny avoid arrest by roaming around the south of Ireland, an adventure that Doheny records in The Felon’s Track (1849). On September 12, Stephens is smuggled out of Ireland by the family of the Skibbereen attorney McCarthy Downing, and four days later manages to reach Paris. O’Mahony and Doheny join him shortly afterwards, although Doheny soon emigrates to the United States.
From their exile Stephens and O’Mahony watch the failure of the ’49 conspiracy of James Fintan Lalor and Philip Gray, and witness the barricades against Louis Napoleon’s coup d’état in 1851. Stephens later claims to have joined the French republican insurgents, but according to O’Mahony this is merely a frustrated intention. Equally without foundation is the rumour that Stephens and O’Mahony at this time join a republican secret society as a training ground for their future Irish enterprise.
Stephens remains in Paris from 1848 to 1855, supporting himself by teaching English. He attends Sorbonne University and has plans to obtain a professorship that never materialises. Towards the close of his exile, he is employed by the Le Moniteur Universel, for which he allegedly translates Charles Dickens‘s Martin Chuzzlewit. Late in 1855 he returns to Ireland and undertakes a series of tours throughout the island. He later magnifies the venture as “the 3,000 miles’ walk” and reformulates it as an attempt to measure the country’s nationalist temperature. However, his primary intention at the time is to collect information for a book he is planning to write. The following autumn he returns to Dublin, becomes tutor of French to the children of several well-to-do families including that of the Young Irelander John Blake Dillon, and joins the nationalist circle of Thomas Clarke Luby, Philip Gray, and other veterans of the ’49 conspiracy.
When Gray dies in January 1857, Stephens asks O’Mahony, then living in New York, to collect funds for a funeral monument. This evidence of nationalist activity, coupled with the prospect of “England’s difficulty” awakened by the recent Crimean War and the insurrection in India, give life to O’Mahony’s and Doheny’s Emmet Monument Association (EMA). That autumn the EMA sends an envoy to Ireland with a proposal for Stephens to prepare the country for the arrival of a military expedition. Stephens offers to organise 10,000 men in three months, provided he is given at least £80 a month and absolute authority over the enterprise. On March 17, 1858, Saint Patrick’s Day, he receives the first installment and his appointment as “chief executive” of the Irish movement. The same day he and his associates take an oath to make Ireland “an independent democratic republic.” The nameless secret society thereby inaugurated eventually becomes known as the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB). It is organised in cells, each led by a “centre” with Stephens being known as the “head centre.”
The EMA’s failure to send a second installment prompts Stephens to travel to New York in October 1858. While in America he attempts, and fails, to engage the support of the Young Irelanders John Mitchel and Thomas Francis Meagher, but succeeds in establishing a solid partnership with Irish nationalists based in New York. Late in 1858 the surviving members of the EMA reorganise themselves into a modified replica of the IRB, and under John O’Mahony’s inspiration adopt the name of the Fenian Brotherhood (FB). Eventually the label “Fenian” comes to be applied to the members of both organisations. As part of the new arrangements, Stephens obtains a new appointment as head of the movement “at home and abroad.”
Despite Stephens’s success, his labours in America and the secrecy of his own activities in Ireland are almost spoiled in December by the arrest of Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa and other members of the Phoenix National and Literary Society of Skibbereen, which had been incorporated into the IRB the previous May. On his return from America in March 1859 Stephens takes refuge in Paris and delegates management of the organisation to Luby. He only returns to Dublin in April 1861 when O’Mahony, then on a tour of inspection, suggests establishing an executive council to share Stephens’s power. Stephens succeeds in frustrating this plan, but from the time of O’Mahony’s visit the tension between the two leaders never subsides.
In the autumn of 1861 Stephens takes lodgings on Charlemont Street at the house of John and Rossanna Hopper, owners of a small tailoring establishment, and soon falls in love with their daughter Jane, almost twenty years his junior. The two are married on January 24, 1864, at the church of SS Michael and John, Exchange Street. The marriage produces no children.
The first success for Stephens’s IRB comes on November 10, 1861, when the IRB-dominated National Brotherhood of Saint Patrick stages the funeral for the Young Irelander Terence MacManus after an intense tug-of-war with both the Catholic church and constitutional nationalism. Stephens plays a central role in promoting IRB control of the funeral arrangements and although the event lacks the mythical nationalist significance claimed by Fenian apologists, it serves to boost Fenian self-assertion and hasten the divorce between middle-class nationalist elites and a new militant republican working class which has different interests at stake in an independent Ireland.
Despite the McManus funeral success, the IRB continues to endure financial difficulties throughout 1862. In 1863, Stephens resolves to address these difficulties and consolidate the movement’s position by founding a newspaper. The Irish People is first issued on November 28, 1863. He contributes leading articles to its first three numbers, but finally abandons his literary efforts in favour of Luby, John O’Leary, and Charles J. Kickham, thereafter the paper’s leading writers and guiding spirits.
In the meantime, the relationship between Stephens and O’Mahony continues to deteriorate. In November 1863 O’Mahony has turned the tables and persuaded the FB to acknowledge Stephens merely as “its representative in Europe.” In March 1864 Stephens again travels to the United States in order to stimulate the flow of funds towards the IRB and regain some hold on the FB. As part of his new policies he makes the sensational announcement that 1865, at latest, is to be the movement’s “year of action.” After the end of the American Civil War in April 1865, Fenian activity increases spectacularly, and demobilised soldiers travel to Ireland. However, on September 15, 1865, the government takes action, suppresses The Irish People, and arrests most of Stephens’s closest collaborators, including Luby, O’Leary and O’Donovan Rossa. Stephens himself is arrested on November 11 but, in a daring operation that proves a propaganda coup for the Fenians, is rescued from Richmond Bridewell penitentiary thirteen days later and eventually makes his way to America via Britain and France. By the time he arrives in the United States, the FB has split into two “wings,” the partisans of John O’Mahony and those of William R. Roberts, the president of the Fenian “senate,” who advocate shifting military efforts towards invading Canada. The split ends Stephens’s already slender chances of launching a successful rising before the end of December, and he calls a postponement.
On February 17, 1866, the government suspends habeas corpus in Ireland and arrests multiply. Stephens braves the members’ impatience, calls a new postponement, and in May travels to New York in order to try and solve the American crisis in the IRB’s favour. He accepts O’Mahony’s resignation, takes control of his wing, and starts an intensive campaign of propaganda and fund-raising. Again, he proclaims 1866 as the “year of action,” but by December the movement is weaker than ever, and he tries to call a new postponement. This time his lieutenants, led by Col. Thomas J. Kelly, lose patience, depose him from leadership and prepare to launch the insurrection themselves. The result is the ill-fated Fenian Rising of March 5-6, 1867.
After his deposition, Stephens spends most of his remaining years in France, in dire financial distress, but still hoping against hope to regain his position at the head of the movement. However, the IRB is now under the control of the anti-Stephens supreme council, and the FB is quickly losing its influence to the newly emerged Clan na Gael. His reputation, always tainted by his controversial personality and autocratic management, had been ruined forever by the 1866 events and his repeated failure to order the rising. With the exception of a small core of diehard partisans, the majority of his former associates and followers have grown resentful of his leadership and are vehemently opposed to his return.
Apart from occasional English tutoring and a ruinous venture as a wine merchant that takes him to the United States from 1871 to 1874, Stephens’s post-Fenian years are mainly spent in poverty while awaiting the next opportunity to resume leadership of the IRB. In 1880, after a last unsuccessful trip to the United States and a crushing defeat by John Devoy and Clan na Gael, he gives up hope, returns to Paris, and settles down to earn a living as an occasional newspaper contributor. In 1885 he is expelled from France under the unfounded suspicion of involvement in dynamiting activities with his cousins Joseph and Patrick Casey and the journalist Eugene Davis. He then takes up residence in Brussels but is able to return to Paris two years later. Finally, through Charles Stewart Parnell‘s intervention in 1891, he is allowed to return to Ireland. He moves into a cottage in Sutton, near Howth, and settles into retirement. After his wife’s death in 1895 he moves to the house of his in-laws in Blackrock, County Dublin, where he dies on March 29, 1901. Two days later he is given a solemn nationalist funeral and is interred in Glasnevin Cemetery.
Stephens’s controversial historical reputation never accords him a comfortable place in the post-independence nationalist pantheon. His egotism and defects as a leader overshadow the credit he is given as a founder and organiser. Yet his notorious personality is arguably the key to his success and ultimate historical significance. His obsessive self-confidence and single-mindedness turn the EMA’s half-matured proposal into a solid partnership that inaugurates an enduring pattern of American involvement in Irish nationalism. At the same time, by impressing the IRB with his own assertiveness he enables it to break the tacit monopoly of the middle classes on Irish political life. By the time of his downfall, Irish republicanism has acquired a definite shape and a marginal but stable position in the Irish political scene.
Stephens’s name has been incorporated into Kilkenny local heritage in institutions as diverse as a swimming pool, a military barracks, and a hurling team. In 1967 a plaque is unveiled at the site of his childhood home on Blackmill Street. The main collections of his documents are the James Stephens papers, MSS 10491–2, in the National Library of Ireland, and the Michael Davitt papers addenda, MS 9659d, in Trinity College Dublin.
(From: “Stephens, James” by Marta Ramón, Dictionary of Irish Biography, http://www.dib.ie, last revised March 2021)
Lynch’s father, who is a committed, non-violent Fenian, dies when she is young. Her mother, Anna Theresa Calderwood, is married twice. She grows up in a cultivated, literary, very female household with her mother and ten sisters and half-sisters. Her stepfather is James Cantwell, also a Fenian, who runs the Star and Garter Hotel. From her early childhood she is familiar with many leading political agitators and writers in Dublin. Having been educated at a convent school in France, she considers training as a doctor and later as a concert pianist. However, economic circumstances lead to her to work as a sub-editor for a provincial paper and as a governess in Europe.
A nationalist like her father and stepfather, Lynch is an executive member of the Ladies’ Land League and as a result closely associates with Fanny Parnell. She writes extensively, producing short stories and satirical sketches, as well as Land War fiction, travel writing, translations and literary criticism. Her satirical pieces include “A Dublin Literary Coterie Sketched by a Non-Pretentious Observer” (1888) and “My Friend Arcanieva” (1895). She publishes William O’Brien‘s paper United Ireland from France, after it is suppressed in Ireland. She disagrees with William Butler Yeats on the literary merit of Emily Lawless, calling her work “highly polished literary stories.”
Lynch also writes fiction on the subject of political and cultural affairs in Ireland, sometimes meeting controversy. Her first novel, Through Troubled Waters (1885), is a fictionalised version of a real-life incident in Galway in which the daughters of a prosperous landowning family are murdered to make way for the sons to inherit the land. The novel also depicts the rural clergy as complicit, by denouncing the victims from the pulpit. The newspaper United Ireland strongly criticises the novel, claiming it peddles in anti-Irish stereotypes for a British audience. She responds by stating that she had intended the book for an Irish publisher and audience, and that she should not be asked “to prove my patriotism at the expense of truth.”
Lynch publishes across Ireland, the United Kingdom and from Paris. Her political work eventually leads to a breakdown in her health, after which she spends a period recuperating on the Isle of Wight. By 1896, she has settled in Paris, having also lived in both Spain and Greece. She speaks Greek and French. She then returns to lecture in Ireland and is a part of the salons of Paris in the Belle Époque as well as the Irish Literary Revival in Dublin. She is friends with the historian, biographer and literary critic Arvède Barine (pseudonym of Louise-Cécile Vincens), the writers Mabel and Mary Robinson, and the medievalist Gaston Paris. Her work however does not bring significant income and she is forced to apply to the Royal Literary Fund for help on multiple occasions. Eventually it takes a toll on her health. She spends time in hospital in Margate in England in 1903.
Lynch dies at 60 Rue de Breteuil in Paris on January 9, 1904, where she spends much of her working life.
Maud Gonne conceives a child, Georges, with her French Boulangist lover Lucien Millevoye. When the baby dies, possibly by meningitis, she is distraught, and buries him in a large memorial chapel built for him with money she had inherited. She separates from Millevoye after Georges’ death, but in late 1893, she arranges to meet him at the mausoleum in Samois-sur-Seine and, next to the coffin, they have sex. Her purpose is to conceive a baby with the same father, to whom the soul of Georges would transmigrate in metempsychosis. Iseult is born in France as a result on August 6, 1894. She is educated at a Carmelite convent in Laval, France. When she returns to Ireland she is referred to as Maud’s niece or cousin rather than her daughter.
In 1903, Maud Gonne marries John MacBride. Iseult’s half-brother Seán MacBride is born in 1904. The couple separates in 1905. With Gonne fearing that Seán’s father will seize him from her, her family mostly lives in France until John MacBride’s death in the 1916 Easter Rising. In a separation settlement, MacBride is granted a month’s summer custody, however, he returns to Ireland and never sees his child again. Iseult’s relationship with her stepfather is tainted by an allegation by William Butler Yeats, who writes to Lady Gregory in January 1905, the month MacBride and Maud separate, that he had been told MacBride had molested Iseult, who at that time was ten years old. However, many critics have suggested that Yeats may have fabricated the event due to his hatred of MacBride over Maud’s rejection of him in favour of MacBride. The divorce papers submitted by Gonne make no mention of any such incident – the only charge against MacBride that is substantiated in court is that he was drunk on one occasion during the marriage and Iseult’s own writings make no mention of the allegation.
In 1913, Iseult meets Rabindranath Tagore. Inspired by his poetry, she begins to learn Bengali in 1914, tutored by Devabrata Mukerjea. Together, in France, they translate some of Tagore’s The Gardener into French directly from the Bengali. Tagore leaves it to Yeats’ discretion to decide the merit of the work, but Yeats does not feel sufficiently fluent in French to judge them. The translations are never published. Iseult is widely considered a great beauty, and temperate, able to speak her mind. She attracts the admiration of literary figures including Ezra Pound, Lennox Robinson and Liam O’Flaherty. Her most infamous association is with Yeats, who had long been in love with her mother. In 1916, in his fifties, Yeats proposes to the 22-year-old Iseult who refuses his advances. He had known her since she was four and often referred to her as his darling child. Many Dubliners suspected that Yeats is her father.
In 1920, Iseult elopes to London with 17-year-old Irish Australian Francis Stuart, who becomes a writer, and the couple later marries. Their first child, Dolores, dies in 1921 of spinal meningitis at three months old. The couple has two other children, Ian and Catherine.
Maud Gonne dies on April 27, 1953, and does not acknowledge Iseult in her will, possibly due to pressure from Séan who does not want to reveal Maud’s relation to Millevoye. Iseult dies at the age of 59 from heart disease less than a year later, on March 22, 1954. She is buried in Glendalough, County Wicklow.
The IRB is a small, secret, revolutionary body whose sole object is to “establish and maintain a free and independent Republican Government in Ireland.” Stephens is a Young Irelander and is a lieutenant to William Smith O’Brien at the Battle of Widow McCormack’s Cabbage Patch in Ballingary, County Tipperary, in August 1848. He is wounded three times and is smuggled onto a ship to England and then to France, where he spends the next eight years. Upon his return to Dublin in 1856, he determines to organise a revolutionary movement and that leads to the founding of the IRB.
The IRB becomes known as the Fenian movement in the 1850s and 1860s and is committed to the use of force to establish an independent Irish republic. After organising an abortive rising in March 1867, it suffers deep internal divisions over its leadership and strategy in both the United States and Ireland—whether it is best to strike at England, in Ireland or in Canada. The issue is resolved after a series of failed interventions in Canada in 1866, 1867 and 1871, and after bombings in England that do not lead Ireland closer to independence. The IRB is unable to exploit the weaknesses and divisions in the constitutional movement following Charles Stewart Parnell’s divorce scandal (1890–91).
The IRB is eventually rejuvenated in Ireland about 1907, led by Bulmer Hobson and Tom Clarke, thus preparing the way for all that follows.The governing body is the Supreme Council. Before 1916 this consists of eleven members, and after the 1917 reorganisation it contains fifteen members. When not in session, all powers of the Supreme Council, except for declaring war, devolve onto an executive of three: the president, secretary and treasurer.
The constitution provides for the establishment of a military council, subordinate to the Supreme Council. The seven signatories of the 1916 Proclamation of the Irish Republic constitute the entire military council at the time. The constitution is dedicated to the use of force against England at any favourable opportunity, but this is to be a democratic decision: “The IRB shall await the decision of the Irish Nation as expressed by a majority of the Irish people as to the fit hour of inaugurating a war against England and shall, pending such an emergency, lend its support to every movement calculated to advance the cause of Irish independence, consistent with the preservation of its own integrity,” a clause adopted in 1873 in response to the controversies arising from the 1867 Fenian Rising.
The IRB plans the 1916 Easter Rising but the Irish Volunteers and the Irish Citizen Army make it possible. The establishment of the Irish Volunteers gives the IRB the great opportunity to train and equip its members as a military body for the purpose of securing independence for Ireland by force of arms and securing the cooperation of all Irish military bodies in the accomplishment of its objectives. Numerically the IRB probably never exceeds 2,000 members, but they are all extremely loyal and well trained, and there is very tight security. The executions of 1916 just about wipe out the Supreme Council, and after the prisoners are released, the IRB has to reconstitute itself.
Following the Easter Rising some republicans—notably Éamon de Valera and Cathal Brugha—leave the organization, which they view as no longer necessary, since the Irish Volunteers now perform its function. The IRB, during the Irish War of Independence (1919-21), is under the control of Michael Collins, who is secretary, and subsequently president, of the Supreme Council. Volunteers such as Séumas Robinson say afterwards that the IRB by then is “moribund where not already dead,” but there is evidence that it is an important force during the war.
When the Anglo-Irish Treaty is signed on December 6, 1921, it is debated by the Supreme Council, which votes to accept it by eleven votes to four. Those on the Supreme Council who oppose the Treaty include former leader Harry Boland, Austin Stack and Liam Lynch. Anti-Treaty republicans like Ernie O’Malley, who fought during the Irish Civil War against the Treaty, sees the IRB as being used to undermine the Irish Republic. The IRB becomes quiescent during the Irish Civil War, which ends in May 1923, but it emerges again later that year as a faction within the National Army that supports Minister for Defence Richard Mulcahy against the “Old IRA,” which fought against the recruitment of ex-British Army personnel and the demobilization of old IRA men. This comes to a head with the Irish Army Mutiny of 1924, in the wake of which Mulcahy resigns and other IRB members of the army are dismissed by acting President of the Executive CouncilKevin O’Higgins. The IRB subsequently dissolves itself, although it is not known whether a formal decision is taken, or it simply ceases to function.
Rinuccini departs France from Saint-Martin-de-Ré near La Rochelle on October 18, 1645, on the frigate San Pietro and arrives in Kenmare, County Kerry, on October 21, 1645, with a retinue of twenty-six Italians, several Irish officers, and the Confederation’s secretary, Richard Bellings. He proceeds to Kilkenny, the Confederate capital, where Richard Butler, 3rd Viscount Mountgarret, the president of the Confederation, receives him at the castle. He speaks Latin to Montgarret, but all the official business of the Confederates is done in English. He asserts in his discourse that the object of his mission is to sustain the King, but above all to help the Catholic people of Ireland in securing the free and public exercise of their religion, and the restoration of the churches and church property to the Catholic Church.
Rinuccini had sent ahead arms and ammunition: 1,000 braces of pistols, 4,000 cartridge belts, 2,000 swords, 500 muskets and 20,000 pounds of gunpowder. He arrives twelve days later with a further two thousand muskets and cartridge-belts, four thousand swords, four hundred braces of pistols, two thousand pike-heads, and twenty thousand pounds of gunpowder, fully equipped soldiers and sailors and 150,658 livres tournois to finance the Irish Catholic war effort. These supplies give him a huge input into the Confederate’s internal politics because he doles out the money and arms for specific military projects, rather than handing them over to the Confederate government, or Supreme Council.
Rinuccini hopes that by doing so he can influence the Confederates’ strategic policy away from making a deal with Charles I and the Royalists in the English Civil War and towards the foundation of an independent Catholic-ruled Ireland. In particular, he wants to ensure that churches and lands taken in the rebellion would remain in Catholic hands. This is consistent with what happened in Catholic-controlled areas during the Thirty Years’ War in Germany. His mission can be seen as part of the Counter-Reformation in Europe. He also has unrealistic hopes of using Ireland as a base to re-establish Catholicism in England. However, apart from some military successes such as the Battle of Benburb on June 5, 1646, the main result of his efforts is to aggravate the infighting between factions within the Confederates.
The Confederates’ Supreme Council is dominated by wealthy landed magnates, predominantly of “Old English” origin, who are anxious to come to a deal with the Stuart monarchy that will guarantee them their land ownership, full civil rights for Catholics, and toleration of Catholicism. They form the moderate faction, which is opposed by those within the Confederation, who want better terms, including self-government for Ireland, a reversal of the land confiscations of the plantations of Ireland and establishment of Catholicism as the state religion. A particularly sore point in the negotiations with the English Royalists is the insistence of some Irish Catholics on keeping in Catholic hands the churches taken in the war. Rinuccini accepts the assurances of the Supreme Council that such concerns will be addressed in the peace treaty negotiated with James Butler, 1st Duke of Ormond, negotiated in 1646, now known as the First Ormond Peace.
However, when the terms are published, they grant only the private practice of Catholicism. Alleging that he had been deliberately deceived, Rinuccini publicly backs the militant faction, which includes most of the Catholic clergy and some Irish military commanders such as Owen Roe O’Neill. On the other side there are the Franciscans Pierre Marchant, and later Raymond Caron. In 1646, when the Supreme Council tries to get the Ormond Peace ratified, Rinuccini excommunicates them and helps to get the Treaty voted down in the Confederate General Assembly. The Assembly has the members of the Supreme Council arrested for treason and elects a new Supreme Council.
However, the following year, the Confederates’ attempts to drive the remaining English (mainly Parliamentarian) armies from Ireland meets with disaster at the battles of Dungan’s Hill on August 8, 1647 and Knocknanuss on November 13, 1647. As a result, the chastened Confederates hastily conclude a new deal with the English Royalists to try to prevent a Parliamentarian conquest of Ireland in 1648. Although the terms of this second deal are better than those of the first one, Rinuccini again tries to overturn the treaty. However, on this occasion, the Catholic clergy are split on whether to accept the deal, as are the Confederate military commanders and the General Assembly. Ultimately, the treaty is accepted by the Confederacy, which then dissolves itself and joins a Royalist coalition. Rinuccini backs Owen Roe O’Neill, who used his Ulster army to fight against his former comrades who had accepted the deal. He tries in vain to repeat his success of 1646 by excommunicating those who support the peace. However, the Irish bishops are split on the issue and so his authority is diluted. Militarily, Owen Roe O’Neill is unable to reverse the political balance.
Despairing of the Catholic cause in Ireland, Rinnuccini leaves the country on February 23, 1649, embarking at Galway on the ship that had brought him to Ireland, the frigate San Pietro. In the same year, Oliver Cromwell leads a Parliamentarian re-conquest of the country, after which Catholicism is thoroughly repressed. Roman Catholic worship is banned, Irish Catholic-owned land is widely confiscated east of the River Shannon, and captured Catholic clergy are executed.
Rinuccini returns to Rome, where he writes an extensive account of his time in Ireland, the Commentarius Rinuccinanus. His account blames personal vainglory and tribal divisions for the Catholic disunity in Ireland. In particular, he blames the Old English for the eventual Catholic defeat. The Gaelic Irish, he writes, despite being less civilised, are more sincere Catholics.
Rinuccini returns to his diocese in Fermo in June 1650 and dies there on December 13, 1653.
Carey enters the bookselling and printing business in 1775 and, at the age of seventeen, publishes a pamphlet criticizing dueling. He follows this with a work criticizing the severity of the Irish penal code, and another criticizing Parliament. As a result, the British House of Commons threatens him with prosecution. In 1781 he flees to Paris as a political refugee. There he meets Benjamin Franklin, the ambassador representing the American Revolutionary forces, which achieves independence that year. Franklin takes Carey to work in his printing office.
Carey works for Franklin for a year before returning to Ireland, where he edits two Irish nationalist newspapers, the Freeman’s Journal and The Volunteer’s Journal. He gains passage on a ship to emigrate to the newly independent United States in September 1784.
Upon Carey’s arrival in Philadelphia, he finds that Franklin has recommended him to Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette, who gives him a $400 check to establish himself. He uses this money to set up a new publishing business and a book shop. He founds The Pennsylvania Herald (1785), Columbian Magazine (1786), and The American Museum (1787). None of these ventures proves very profitable. The American Museum is the first American periodical to treat American culture as rich and original, instead of a poor imitation of Great Britain’s. He prints the first American version of the Douay–Rheims Bible in 48 weekly installments, this Roman Catholic edition popularly known as the Carey Bible. It is the first Roman Catholic version of the Bible printed in the United States. He also prints numerous editions of the King James Version, fundamental to English-speaking peoples.
Carey frequently writes articles on various social topics, including events during the 1793 Philadelphia Yellow Fever Epidemic, which proves a crisis for the city. He reports on debates in the state legislature as well as providing political commentary in his essays. He is a Catholic and a founding member of the American Sunday-School Society, along with Quaker merchant Thomas P. Cope, Dr. Benjamin Rush and Episcopal bishop William White.
In 1822 Carey publishes Essays on Political Economy; or, The Most Certain Means of Promoting the Wealth, Power, Resources, and Happiness of Nations, Applied Particularly to the United States. This is one of the first treatises favoring Alexander Hamilton‘s protectionist economic policy.
During Carey’s lifetime, the publishing firm evolves to M. Carey & Son (1817–21), M. Carey & Sons (1821–24), and then to Carey & Lea (1824). He retires in 1825, leaving the publishing business to his son, Henry Charles Carey and son-in-law Isaac Lea. Lea and Henry Carey make the business economically successful and, for a time, it is one of the most prominent publishers in the country.
Upon arriving in America, Carey quickly develops political connections in the developing country. One of his most important supporters is John Adams, still a leading figure of the Federalist Party at the time. His passionate support for the establishment of an American Navy contributes significantly to his alliance with the Federalists.
Throughout his political career in America, Carey supports the development and maintenance of American naval strength, even after joining Thomas Jefferson’s Democratic-Republicans in 1796. His political realignment occurs shortly before the American ratification of the Jay Treaty, primarily intended to ensure peace with Britain, while distancing America from France. His publishing in America channels his energy toward productive political objectives. His published works are credited with swaying public opinion toward the establishment of a powerful American navy.
Carey’s book Naval History of the United States, is meant to influence the public. Its conspicuous omission of naval activity during the American Quasi-War with France shows his political intentions. It helps direct political energy against the British, with which the U.S. is at war at the time of the book’s publication on May 6, 1813.
Focus on the British, known around the world for their naval power, makes an influential case for extending the reach of the American navy. Along with his publication of Naval History, Carey writes Olive Branch, published in 1814. He tries to eliminate competition between the two American political parties to create unity during the War of 1812. To many people, these efforts, and his early relationship with Franklin, make him the logical choice as Franklin’s political successor. Scholars believe that he contributed significantly by his books and publications to the establishment of the United States Whig Party.
Carey is elected a member of the American Antiquarian Society (AAS) in 1815. A significant portion of his business papers, as well as a very large number of original copies of works printed and/or published by him reside in the collections of the AAS.