1866 Fenian Brotherhood IRA For Sale
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1866 Fenian Brotherhood IRA:
****I will send by courier domestic, and if international by FedEx next day delivery pending custom clearance. Collection is available, Also check out my other sales, I am always on the lookout for genuine Irish 1916 period Cap Badges, Buttons or Pins for the, Dublin Brigade , Irish Volunteer , Irish Citizen Army, Hibernian Rifles, Cumann Na mBan and Fianna Eireann etc. Sent me a message if you have any spare for sale, and thanks for viewing.
Fear of Fenian attack plagued the Lower Mainland of British Columbia during the 1880s, as the Fenian Brotherhood was actively organising in Washington and Oregon, but raids never actually materialised . At the inauguration of the mainline of the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1885, photos taken of the occasion show three large British warships sitting in the harbour just off the railhead and its docks. Their presence was explicitly because of the threat of Fenian attack or terrorism, as were the large numbers of troops on the first train.
After the American Civil War, the Fenian movement decided to attack Britain by launching a raid north into Canada in 1866, and again in 1870. If they could not capture Canada, the Fenians hoped at least to provoke an international incident between Britain and the United States; if successful, Canada could be bartered for Irish independence. In June 1866 John O'Neill, a Fenian organiser born in County Monaghan, led nearly 900 well armed volunteers over the Niagara River into Canada. Confronted by about the same number of Canadian militiamen, the Fenians defeated their inexperienced opponents at the Battle of Ridgeway.Many of the Fenian soldiers appear to have been well equipped and properly uniformed, and had their own green regimental flags. On display a few years ago at the National Museum of Ireland (Collins Barracks see images) was a green jacket of a Fenian soldier, based on the US Army's shell jacket, with gold edging on the collar and along the edges. Most striking, however, are the brass buttons inscribed * IRA * this is the first time that we see the use of the term * Irish Republican Army * and surrounded by shamrocks. This is believed to be the only surviving uniform of any of the Fenian invasions and was on loan to the Museum from Parks Canada, which are responsible for the Canadian national parks. The uniform would also have had a hat called a "green Kepi" with it, again based on the US Army's. They do not know who owned the uniform, but it was taken from a prisoner with the rifle during the second invasion of Canada in 1870 by Prince Arthur of Connaught, Queen Victoria?s third son, and presented to a regimental museum in England before being purchased by Parks Canada in the 1980s. The second invasion took place in May 1870, when John O?Neill again attacked Canada, this time north of Vermont. His forces were quickly routed at Eccles Hill, however, and he was arrested by the American authorities, spending seven months in prison before receiving a presidential release. Ironically, the invasion created a greater sense of nationalism amongst Canadians and accelerated the establishment of Canada as a self-governing dominion of the British Empire.
The Fenian Brotherhood (Irish: Bráithreachas na bhFíníní) was an Irish republican organisation founded in the United States in 1858 by John O'Mahony and Michael Doheny. It was a precursor to Clan na Gael, a sister organisation to the Irish Republican Brotherhood. Members were commonly known as "Fenians". O'Mahony, who was a Gaelic scholar, named his organisation after the Fianna, the legendary band of Irish warriors led by Fionn mac Cumhaill.
BackgroundThe Fenian Brotherhood trace their origins back to 1790s. In the rebellion, seeking an end to British rule in Ireland initially for self-government and then the establishment of an Irish Republic. The rebellion was suppressed, but the principles of the United Irishmen were to have a powerful influence on the course of Irish history.Following the collapse of the rebellion, the British Prime Minister William Pitt introduced a bill to abolish the Irish parliament and manufactured a Union between Ireland and Britain. Opposition from the Protestant oligarchy that controlled the parliament was countered by the widespread and open use of bribery. The Act of Union was passed and became law on 1 January 1801. The Catholics, who had been excluded from the Irish parliament, were promised emancipation under the Union. This promise was never kept and caused a protracted and bitter struggle for civil liberties. It was not until 1829 that the British government reluctantly conceded Catholic Emancipation. Though leading to general emancipation, this process simultaneously disenfranchised the small tenants, known as 'forty shilling freeholders', who were mainly Catholics.Daniel O'Connell, who had led the emancipation campaign, then attempted the same methods in his campaign to have the Act of Union with Britain repealed. Despite the use of petitions and public meetings that attracted vast popular support, the government thought the Union was more important than Irish public opinion.
A cartoon from 1887 to mark the occasion of Queen Victoria's golden jubilee. After eighty seven years since the Act of Union, Ireland was said to be "distracted, disloyal and impoverished." ."In the early 1840s, the younger members of the repeal movement became impatient with O'Connell's over-cautious policies and began to question his intentions. Later they were what became to known as the Young Ireland movement.During the famine, the social class comprising small farmers and laborers was almost wiped out by starvation, disease and emigration. The Great Famine of the 1840s caused the deaths of one million Irish people and over a million more emigrated to escape it. That the people starved while livestock and grain continued to be exported, quite often under military escort, would leave a legacy of bitterness and resentment among the survivors. The waves of emigration because of the famine and in the years following also ensured that such feelings would not be confined to Ireland, but spread to England, the United States, Australia and every country where Irish emigrants gathered.Shocked by the scenes of starvation and greatly influenced by the revolutions then sweeping Europe, the Young Irelanders moved from agitation to armed rebellion in 1848. The attempted rebellion failed after a small skirmish in Ballingary, County Tipperary, coupled with a few minor incidents elsewhere. The reasons for the failure were obvious: the people were totally despondent after three years of famine, and being prompted to rise up early resulted in an inadequacy of military preparations, which caused disunity among the leaders.The Government quickly rounded up many of the instigators. Those who could flee across the seas and their followers dispersed. The last flicker of revolt in 1849, led by among others James Fintan Lalor, was equally unsuccessful.John Mitchel, the most committed advocate of revolution, had been arrested early in 1848 and transported to Australia on the purposefully created charge of Treason-felony. He was to be joined by other leaders, such as William Smith O'Brien and Thomas Francis Meagher who had both been arrested after Ballingary escaped to France, as did three of the younger members, James Stephens, John O'Mahony and Michael Doheny.FoundingAfter the collapse of the '48 rebellion James Stephens and John O'Mahony went to the Continent to avoid arrest. In Paris, they supported themselves by teaching and translation work and planned the next stage of "the fight to overthrow British rule in Ireland." In 1856 O'Mahony went to America and founded the Fenian Brotherhood in 1858. Stephens returned to Ireland and in Dublin on St. Patrick's Day 1858, following an organising tour through the length and breadth of the country, founded the Irish counterpart of the American Fenians, the Irish Republican Brotherhood.In 1863 the Brotherhood adopted a constitution and rules for general government. The First National Congress was organised in Chicago in November 1863. It allowed the organisation to be ?reconstituted on the model of the institutions of the Republic, governing itself on the elective principle.? Motions were passed to elect a Head Centre, with a Central Council of five elected members in 1863. This was extended to a Council of ten members at the second congress in Philadelphia, Missouri in January 1865, also with a President to be elected by the Council. This established a more distinctive republican style of governance with a Central Council or Senate and a Chief of the Senate, as well as a Presidential role with limited powers; O? Mahony was made President. Subsequently, this created a divided camp, as the Senate had powers to out-vote O?Mahony on future decisions.
Fenian raids into CanadaIn the United States, O'Mahony's presidency over the Fenian Brotherhood was being increasingly challenged by William R. Roberts. Both Fenian factions raised money by the issue of bonds in the name of the "Irish Republic," which were bought by the faithful in the expectation of their being honoured when Ireland should be "A Nation Once Again". These bonds were to be redeemed "six months after the recognition of the independence of Ireland." Hundreds of thousands of Irish immigrants subscribed.
"Freedom to Ireland", a patriotic lithograph by Currier & Ives, New York, ca 1866Large quantities of arms were purchased, and preparations were openly made by the Roberts faction for a coordinated series of raids into Canada, which the United States government took no major steps to prevent. Many in the US administration were not indisposed to the movement because of Britain's failure to support the Union during the civil war. Roberts' "Secretary for War" was General T. W. Sweeny, who was struck off the American army list from January 1866 to November 1866 to allow him to organise the raids. The purpose of these raids was to seize the transportation network of Canada, with the idea that this would force the British to exchange Ireland's freedom for possession of their Province of Canada. Before the invasion, the Fenians had received some intelligence from like-minded supporters within Canada but did not receive support from all Irish Catholics there who saw the invasions as threatening the emerging Canadian sovereignty.In April 1866, under the command of John O'Mahony, a band of more than 700 members of the Fenian Brotherhood arrived at the Maine shore opposite the island with the intention of seizing Campobello from the British. British warships from Halifax, Nova Scotia were quickly on the scene and a military force dispersed the Fenians. This action served to reinforce the idea of protection for New Brunswick by joining with the British North American colonies of Nova Scotia, Canada East, and Canada West in Confederation to form the Dominion of Canada.The command of the expedition in Buffalo, New York, was entrusted by Roberts to Colonel John O'Neill, who crossed the Niagara River (the Niagara is the international border) at the head of at least 800 (O'Neill's figure; usually reported as up to 1,500 in Canadian sources) men on the night and morning of 31 May/1 June 1866, and briefly captured Fort Erie, defeating a Canadian force at Ridgeway. Many of these men, including O'Neill, were battle-hardened veterans of the American Civil War. In the end, the invasion had been broken by the US authorities' subsequent interruption of Fenian supply lines across the Niagara River and the arrests of Fenian reinforcements attempting to cross the river into Canada. It is unlikely that with such a small force they would have ever achieved their goal.Other Fenian attempts to invade occurred throughout the next week in the St. Lawrence Valley. As many of the weapons had in the meantime been confiscated by the US army, relatively few of these men actually became involved in the fighting. There even was a small Fenian raid on a storage building that successfully got back some weapons that had been seized by the US Army. Many were eventually returned anyway by sympathetic officers.To get the Fenians out of the area, both in the St. Lawrence and Buffalo, the U.S. government purchased rail tickets for the Fenians to return to their homes if the individuals involved would promise not to invade any more countries from the United States. Many of the arms were returned later if the person claiming them could post bond that they were not going to be used to invade Canada again, although some were possibly used in the raids that followed.In December 1867, O'Neill became president of the Roberts faction of the Fenian Brotherhood, which in the following year held a great convention in Philadelphia attended by over 400 properly accredited delegates, while 6,000 Fenian soldiers, armed and in uniform, paraded the streets. At this convention, the second invasion of Canada was conceived. The news of the Clerkenwell explosion was a strong incentive to a vigorous policy. Henri Le Caron, who, while acting as a secret agent of the British government, held the position of "Inspector-General of the Irish Republican Army," asserts that he distributed fifteen thousand stands of arms and almost three million rounds of ammunition in the care of the many trusted men stationed between Ogdensburg, New York and St. Albans, Vermont, in preparation for the intended raid. It took place in April 1870 and proved a failure just as rapid and complete as the attempt of 1866. The Fenians under O'Neill's command crossed the Canadian frontier near Franklin, Vermont, but were dispersed by a single volley from Canadian volunteers. O'Neill himself was promptly arrested by the United States authorities acting under the orders of President Ulysses S. Grant.After resigning as president of the Fenian Brotherhood, John O'Neill unsuccessfully attempted an unsanctioned raid in 1871, joining the forces of his remaining Fenian supporters with exiled members of the Red River Rebellion. The raiding party crossed the border into Manitoba at Pembina, Dakota Territory and took possession of the Hudson's Bay Company trading post on the Canada side. U.S. soldiers from the fort at Pembina, with permission of Canadian official Gilbert McMicken, crossed the border into Canada and arrested the Fenian raiders without resistance.The Fenian threat prompted calls for Canadian confederation. Confederation had been in the works for years but was only implemented in 1867, the year following the first raids. In 1868, a Fenian sympathiser assassinated Irish-Canadian politician Thomas D'Arcy McGee in Ottawa for his condemnation of the raids.