News

Thomas Meagher

Thomas Meagher


We are searching data for your request:

Forums and discussions:
Manuals and reference books:
Data from registers:
Wait the end of the search in all databases.
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.

Thomas Meagher was born in Waterford, Ireland,on 23rd August, 1823. A member of the Young Ireland Party, an organization dedicated to Irish independence.

After a failed Irish uprising in 1848 Meagher, John Mitchel and seven other men were found guilty of treason and sentenced to be hung, drawn and quartered. Queen Victoria later commuted Meagher's sentence to transportation for life.

Meagher escaped from Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania) in 1852 and made his way to the United States where he studied law and became a journalist in New York. In 1856 he became editor of the Irish Times.

On the outbreak of the Civil War Meagher organised the Irish Brigade to fight for the Union Army. He accompanied Major General Irvin McDowell in July, 1861, when Abraham Lincoln Lincoln sent him to take Richmond, the new base the Confederate government. On 21st July McDowell engaged the Confederate Army at Bull Run. The Confederate troops led by Joseph E. Johnson, Thomas Stonewall Jackson, James Jeb Stuart and Pierre T. Beauregard, easily defeated the inexperienced Union Army.

Promoted to the rank of brigadier general, his regiment was decimated at the Battle of Chancellorsville in May, 1863. Six months later he was placed in command of the military district of Etowah.

After the war Meagher was appointed secretary of Montana Territory where he served as acting governor. On 1st July, 1867, Thomas Meagher was drowned in the Missouri River after falling from a steamboat.

Early in 1846, when the Repeal Association was still powerful, ere yet the country had ceased to throb to the magic of O'Connell's voice, a well featured, graceful young gentleman rose on the crowded platform, in Conciliation Hall, towards whom the faces of the assembly turned in curiosity. Few of them had heard of his name; not one of them - if the chairman, William Smith O'Brien, be excepted - had the faintest idea of the talents he possessed. He addressed the meeting on an ordinary topic, and at first, a seeming affectation of manner, a semi-Saxon drawl, and a total lack of suitable gesture, produced an unfavorable impression. He was boyish, conceited, and too fine a gentleman, the audience thought; but, warming with his subject, and casting off the restraints that hampered his utterances at first, he poured forth a stream of genuine eloquence, vivified by the happiest allusions, and enriched by imagery and quotations as beautiful as they were appropriate, he conquered all prejudices and received the enthusiastic applause of his audience. O'Brien complimented him warmingly, and thus the orator of Young Ireland made his debut on the political platform. When the 'peace resolutions' were introduced, Meagher found himself called on to subscribe to a doctrine which his soul abhorred, - that the use of arms was at all times unjustifiable and immoral, - and delivered a speech on that occasion, which for brilliancy and lyrical grandeur has never been surpassed.

I am not ungrateful to the man who struck the fetters from my limbs while I was yet a child, and by whose influence my father, the first Catholic that did so for two hundred years, sat for the last two years in the civic chair of my native city. But the same God who gave to that great man the power to strike down one odious ascendancy, and enabled him to institute in this land the laws of religious equality - the same God who gave to me a mind that is my own, a mind that has not been mortgaged to the opinion of any man or set of men, a mind that I was to use and not surrender. There are times when arms alone will suffice, and when political ameliorations call for 'a drop of blood,' and for many thousand drops of blood. The soldier is proof against an argument - but he is not proof against a bullet. It is the weaponed arm of the patriot that can alone prevail against battalioned despotism. Then I do not condemn the use of arms as immoral, nor do I conceive it profane to say that the King of Heaven - the Lord of Hosts! The God of Battles - bestows his benediction upon those who unsheathe the sword in the hour of a nation's peril.

I do not despair of my poor old country - her peace, her liberty, her glory. For that country I can do no more than bid her hope. To lift this island up, to restore her native powers and her ancient constitution - this has been my ambition, and this ambition has been my crime. Judged by the law of England, I know this crime entails upon me the penalty of death, but the history of Ireland explains the crime and justifies it. Judged by that history I am no criminal, and deserve no punishment: judged by that history, the treason of which I stand convicted loses all its guilt, has been sanctified as a duty, and will be ennobled as a sacrifice. To my country I offer, as a pledge of the love I bore her, and of the sincerity with which I thought and spoke and struggled for her freedom, the life of the young heart; and with that life the hopes, the honors, the endearments, of a happy, a prosperous and honorable home. Proceed, then, with the sentence which the law directs - I am prepared to hear it - I trust I am prepared to meet its execution. I shall go, I think, with a light heart before a higher tribunal - a tribunal where a Judge of infinite goodness, as well as infinite justice, will preside, and where many of the judgments of this world will be reversed.

My lord, this is our first offense, but not our last. If you will be easy with us this once, we promise, on our word as gentlemen, to try to do better next time. And next time ---sure we won't be fools to get caught.

Never, never, I repeat it, was there a cause more sacred, nor one more great, nor one more urgent; no cause more sacred, for it comprehends all that has been considered most desirable, most valuable, most ennobling to political society and humanity at large; no cause more just, for it includes no scheme of conquest or subjugation, contemplates no disfranchisement of provincialism and inferiority.


The Irish Brigade

More than 150,000 Irishmen, most of whom were recent immigrants and many of whom were not yet U.S. citizens, joined the Union Army during the Civil War. Some joined out of loyalty to their new home. Others hoped that such a conspicuous display of patriotism might put a stop to anti-Irish discrimination. As the war dragged on and Irish casualties mounted, however, their sympathy for the Union cause began to flag, and by the end of the war many had abandoned the Northern cause altogether. But between 1861 and 1863, the soldiers who fought in the all-Irish units that made up the “Irish Brigade” were known for their courage, ferocity and toughness in battle.


This excellent history of Thomas Francis Meagher (pronounced as Marr) is also a history of the Irish, particularly from the 1600’s onward. The story is quite sad, with the life of Meagher a microcosm in a way of the experience of the Irish nation as a whole. Both suffered repeated persecution, but did not give in to despair. Rather, they were persistent, passionate, and dedicated to justice, family, hearth, kin, and country.

Egan begins by delineating elements of the Irish Penal Code, a series of acts passed by the English, characterized by the philosopher Edmund Burke as “a machine as well fitted for the oppression, impoverishment and degradation of a people, and the debasement in them of human nature itself, as ever proceeded from the perverted ingenuity of man.” W.E.H. Lecky summarized these laws in his A History of Ireland in the Eighteenth Century:

The Roman Catholic was forbidden to receive education.
He was forbidden to enter a profession.
He was forbidden to hold public office.
He was forbidden to engage in trade or commerce.
He was forbidden to live in a corporate town or within five miles thereof.
He was forbidden to own a horse of greater value than five pounds.
He was forbidden to purchase land.
He was forbidden to lease land.
He was forbidden to accept a mortgage on land in security for a loan.
He was forbidden to vote.
He was forbidden to keep any arms for his protection.
He was forbidden to hold a life annuity.
He was forbidden to buy land from a Protestant.
He was forbidden to receive a gift of land from a Protestant.
He was forbidden to inherit land from a Protestant.
He was forbidden to inherit anything from a Protestant.
He was forbidden to rent any land that was worth more than thirty shillings a year.
He was forbidden to reap from his land any profit exceeding a third of the rent.
He could not be guardian to a child.
He could not, when dying, leave his infant children under Catholic guardianship.
He could not himself educate his child.
He could not send his child to a Catholic teacher.
He could not employ a Catholic teacher to come to his child.
He could not send his child abroad to receive education.

And yet the English never did succeed in snuffing out hope, or in quenching the Irish thirst for self-determination.

Thomas Meagher was born in 1823, and died shortly before his 44th birthday in 1867. In some ways though, he truly remained “immortal” – still remembered today, both in Ireland and in the U.S.

With the onset of The Great Famine (also known as the Irish Potato Famine) in 1845, Meagher was drawn into public life to protest the unwillingness of the London government to provide relief for the Irish, in spite of the great stores of food being produced in Ireland by Protestant landowners and designated for export only. (During the famine, approximately one million people died and a million more emigrated from Ireland, causing the island’s population to fall by between 20% and 25%.)

1846 illustration showing a starving boy and girl raking the ground for potatoes during the Irish Potato Famine

Meagher became an Irish nationalist and a leader of the “Young Irelanders” in the Rebellion of 1848. He and others were convicted of sedition, and first sentenced to death. In response to popular outrage all over the world, the group instead were sentenced to exile for life in Van Diemen’s Land (now Tasmania) in Australia, where Britain had established some notoriously bad penal colonies, sending some 162,000 convicts there between 1788 and 1868. Many convicts were transported for petty crimes while a significant number were political prisoners.

In 1852 Meagher escaped and made his way to the United States, where he settled in New York City. His first wife, whom he met in Tasmania, went to Ireland to give birth, intending to meet up with him later in America, but she died in childbirth. In New York Meagher eventually married a second time, studied law, and lectured extensively on the Irish cause.

When the American Civil War began, Meagher joined the army, recruiting his fellow immigrants for the famous Irish Brigade, which he commanded. The bravery of the Irish Brigade won them respect even by the Confederates.

Thomas Francis Meagher, Brigadier General of the Irish Brigade

Following the Civil War, Meagher was appointed acting governor of the Montana Territory, a position for which he was never paid, and which undoubtedly led to his assassination by anti-Catholic, anti-Irish “Know Nothings” in 1867.

Egan tells the two stories – of Ireland and of Meagher – with a righteous indignation and passion that animates his prose.

It’s difficult to isolate the most powerful parts of the book, but the limning of the suffering in Ireland during the Irish Potato Famine, along with the shockingly cold-hearted English response, is surely one of them.

Other parts of the story seem like one thrilling action adventure after another, from Meagher’s hair’s breadth escape from Australia, to the sickening carnage of the Civil War that Meagher somehow survived, in spite of serving in some of the worst battles of that war.

Meagher’s fate in Montana seemed like the ultimate irony. After all he endured, through which he managed not only to live but to thrive – to get cut down by hateful nativists in an outlaw part of America was so unjust and outrageous. As we see nativists once again trying to gain ascendancy in the American polity, we can only hope that this time, reason will triumph over fear and prejudice, and that somehow our “better angels” will prevail.

Monument to Meagher in Helena, Montana, erected in 1905

Discussion: Much of American history is conveyed with a political agenda in the deep background. Britain is an important ally, and we don’t go out of our way to recount its crimes except in terms of the American Revolution, an almost acceptable conflict between brothers, and in which America looked pretty good in any event (at least according to our own histories). But Britain’s other, more egregious colonial misdeeds are not often taught, and it is an unfortunate oversight. The Irish who suffered and died deserve to have their plight known in the U.S. as well as in Ireland, and their heroes remembered for all they sacrificed. Egan takes an important step in remedying this omission.

Evaluation: My favorite kind of history is one that reads like an action/adventure novel, and this book certainly meets that criterion. The author, Timothy Egan, has won a number of awards for his nonfiction, including winning the National Book Award for Nonfiction for The Worst Hard Time. The story he tells in this book is one with which we should all be familiar, to help us understand much of the recent history of England and Ireland, not to mention the to get a better sense of the cruelty and injustice of prejudice against others.

Rating: 4.5/5

Published in hardcover by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016

A Few Notes on the Audio Production:

The narrator – Gerald Doyle – is terrific. Gerard Doyle is an actor and experienced narrator who has received over 25 Earphones awards. He has twice been recognized as an AudioFile magazine “Best Voice of the Year.” It adds immeasurably to the story to have it relayed in an Irish accent.

Published unabridged on 11 CDs (14 listening hours) by Brilliance Audio, 2016


Thomas Meagher - History

Thomas Francis Meagher was born in the City of Waterford, Ireland, on August 3, 1823. At the age of 11 years he was placed under the care of the Jesuits, at Clongoweswood, County Kildare, where he displayed studious tendencies and oratorical talents. He was then sent to Stonyhurst College, in Lancashire, England, under that same order. After an elaborate course of general study, including classics, mathematics, history and literature, he completed his education in 1843. His first appearance in public life is thus described by Mr. D. B. Sullivan, M. P. :

" Early in 1846, when the Repeal Association was still powerful, ere yet the country had ceased to throb to the magic of O'Connell's voice, a well featured, graceful young gentleman rose on the crowded platform, in Conciliation Hall, towards whom the faces of the assembly turned in curiosity. Few of them had heard of his name not one of them - if the chairman, William Smith O'Brien, be excepted - had the faintest idea of the talents he possessed. He addressed the meeting on an ordinary topic, and at first, a seeming affectation of manner, a semi-Saxon drawl, and a total lack of suitable gesture, produced an unfavorable impression. He was boyish, conceited, and too fine a gentleman, the audience thought but, warming with his subject, and casting off the restraints that hampered his utterances at first, he poured forth a stream of genuine eloquence, vivified by the happiest allusions, and enriched by imagery and quotations as beautiful as they were appropriate, he conquered all prejudices and received the enthusiastic applause of his audience. O'Brien complimented him warmingly, and thus the orator of Young Ireland made his debut on the political platform. When the 'peace resolutions' were introduced, Meagher found himself called on to subscribe to a doctrine which his soul abhorred, - that the use of arms was at all times unjustifiable and immoral, - and delivered a speech on that occasion, which for brilliancy and lyrical grandeur has never been surpassed. Alluding to O'Connell he said:

"I am not ungrateful to the man who struck the fetters from my limbs while I was yet a child, and by whose influence my father, the first Catholic that did so for two hundred years, sat for the last two years in the civic chair of my native city. But the same God who gave to that great man the power to strike down one odious ascendancy, and enabled him to institute in this land the laws of religious equality - the same God who gave to me a mind that is my own, a mind that has not been mortgaged to the opinion of any man or set of men, a mind that I was to use and not surrender. There are times when arms alone will suffice, and when political ameliorations call for 'a drop of blood,' and for many thousand drops of blood. . The soldier is proof against an argument - but he is not proof against a bullet. It is the weaponed arm of the patriot that can alone prevail against battalioned despotism. Then I do not condemn the use of arms as immoral, nor do I conceive it profane to say that the King of Heaven - the Lord of Hosts! The God of Battles - bestows his benediction upon those who unsheathe the sword in the hour of a nation's peril. From that evening on which, in the valley of Bethulia, He nerved the arm of the Jewish girl to smite the drunken tyrant in his tent, down to this our day, in which He has blessed the insurgent chivalry of the Belgian priest, His almighty hand has ever been stretched forth, from His throne of light, to consecrate the flag of freedom - to bless the patriot's sword! Be it in the defense, or be it in the assertion of a people's liberty, I hail the sword as a sacred weapon and if it has sometimes taken the shape of the serpent, and reddened the shroud of the oppressor with too deep a dye, like the anointed rod of the High Priest, it has, at other times, and as often, blossomed into celestial flowers to deck the freeman's brow. "Abhor the sword - stigmatize the sword? No, for in the passes of the Tyrol it cut to pieces the banner of the Bavarian, and, through those cragged passes, struck a path to fame for the peasant insurrections of Innsbruck! Abhor the sword - stigmatize the sword?Meagher No, for at its blow a giant nation started from the waters of the Atlantic, and by its redeeming magic, and in the quiverings of its crimsoned light, the crippled colony sprang into the attitude of a proud Republic - prosperous, limitless, and invincible! Abhor the sword - stigmatize the sword? No, for it swept the Dutch marauders out of the fine old towns of Belgium - scourged them back to their own phlegmatic swamps - and knocked their flag and sceptre, their laws and bayonets, into the sluggish water of the Scheldt." "I learned it was the right of a nation to govern itself, on the ramparts of Antwerp I learned the first article of a nation's creed, upon those ramparts, where freedom was justly estimated, and where the possession of the precious gift was purchased by the effusion of generous blood. I honor the Gelgians for their courage and their daring, and I will not stigmatize the means by which they have obtained a citizen King, a chamber of deputies."

This was all he was allowed to say, for though the audience were electrified and applauded enthusiastically, moral force resolutions were passed, and O'Brien, Meagher, Duffy, Reilly and Mitchel left the hall forever. Thenceforth "Meagher of the Sword," a designation typical of his leonine courage, ancestral escutcheon, and a presage of his military career in the United States, became the virtual leader of "Young Ireland." In 1848 he was one of the three delegates appointed to present an address of congratulations to the French Republican Government, and, in a speech delivered before his departure, he counseled his countrymen to send a deputation to the Queen, asking her to convene the Irish Parliament in the Irish capital.

"If the claim be rejected, if the throne stand as a barrier between the Irish people and the supreme right - then loyalty will be a crime and obedience to the executive will be treason to the country. If the Government of Ireland insist on being a government of dragoons and bombardiers, of detectives and light infantry, then, up with the barricades and invoke the God of Battles!"


I n the Young Irish disorders, in Ireland in 1848 the following nine men were captured, tried and convicted of treason against Her Majesty, the Queen, and were sentenced to death. John Mitchell, Morris Lyene, Pat Donahue, Thomas McGee, Charles Duffy, Thomas Meagher, Richard O'Gorman, Terrence McManus and Michael Ireland.

Before passing sentence, the judge asked if there was anything that anyone wished to say. Meagher, speaking for all, said: "My lord, this is our first offense, but not our last. If you will be easy with us this once, we promise, on our word as gentlemen, to try to do better next time. And next time ---sure we won't be fools to get caught."

Thereupon the indignant judge sentenced them all to be hanged by the neck until dead and drawn and quartered. Passionate protest from the world forced Queen Victoria to commute the sentence to transportation for life to far away wild Australia.

In 1874, word reached the astounded Queen Victoria that Sir Charles Duffy who had been elected Premier of the colony of Victoria, Australia was the same Charles Duffy who had been transported 25 years before. On the Queen's demand, the records of the rest of the transported men were revealed and this is what was uncovered:

Thomas Francis Meagher Brigadier General, United States Army and Governor of Montana.
Terrence McManus Brigadier General, United States Army.
Patrick Donahue Brigadier General, United States Army.
Richard O'Gorman Governor General of Newfoundland.
Morris Lyene Attorney General of Australia, in which office
Michael Ireland succeeded him.
Thomas D'Arcy McGee Member of Parliament, Montreal, Minister of Agriculture and President Council, Dominion of Canada.
John Mitchell A prominent New York politician. This man was the father of John Purroy Mitchell, Mayor of New York City at the outbreak of World War I .

In Defense of Meagher

Within the past few years, no less than eight significant writers have come to the aid of truthful history-telling to defend the honor and reputation of Thomas Francis Meagher. Thomas Keneally, in his The Great Shame, Gary Forney, in Thomas
Francis Meagher, Richard S. Wheeler, in The Exile, Paul Wylie, in The Irish General, and The River&rsquos Edge by Lenore Puhek are all full length books that cover the life of Meagher, although Wheeler&rsquos work is fiction, based on historical
facts, Keneally&rsquos tome covers much more than Meagher. Forney, Wheeler, Wylie, and Puhek are all Montana writers.

Other writers with fact-based essays on the Irish-American hero, include John Hearne, a Professor in Waterford, Ireland, Jon Axline, a Montana historian, and David Emmons, a History Professor from the University of Montana. All are well worth reading.

Here&rsquos a sampling of some of the above writers regarding the man:

Governor Green Clay Smith issued a memorial on July 3, 1867: &ldquoHe was
a man of high social qualities, great urbanity, a high order of intellect, a brave
soldier, a true gentleman, and an honor to his territory and government.&rdquo

Paul Wylie, p. 322

&ldquoWhatever may have been the faults of Thomas Francis Meagher, he was
one of the most brilliant and talented Irishmen who have made this country their
home.&rsquo&rsquo

Paul Wylie, p. 325

Thomas Francis Meagher noted &ldquothat without a legislature, Montana would be
nothing more than a government farm parceled out among federal overseers, tax
gatherers, and bailiffs&rdquo.

Paul Wylie, p.254

&ldquoMeagher was of the wrong party, the wrong church, and was far too vocal
in his opposition to the status quo in Montana.&rdquo

David Emmons, History Professor, University
of Montana

&ldquo&hellip..Thomas Francis Meagher fought to bring political order, establish his
church, add a bit of elegance, and infuse others with his dream of a glorious future
for Montana ---- a legacy worthy of consideration.&rdquo

Gary R. Forney, p.221

&ldquo(Meagher) had a deep interest in Montana, wished fundamentally to do his
work well, and that out of his work, warmth of feeling, and vigor of personality, he
gained the affection of the people of Montana as no other early leader was able
to do.&rdquo


Memory Of Potato Famine Burdens 'Immortal Irishman'

Civil War buffs and the Irish-American community have probably heard of Thomas Francis Meagher. Renee Montagne talks to New York Times columnist Timothy Egan about his book The Immortal Irishman.

In the Ireland of 200 years ago, Thomas Francis Meagher was born into privilege. His father was a wealthy Catholic merchant at a time when Ireland had been occupied by Great Britain for hundreds of years. Catholics had been barred from practicing their religion or speaking their language. At one point, an Irishman's fingernails would be pulled out for playing the harp. Still, by the early 1800s, the young Meagher could have settled into a fine home and an easy life of picnics and fancy dress balls.

TIMOTHY EGAN: But he gets radicalized rather dramatically by the Great Famine.

MONTAGNE: That's Timothy Egan. In his new biography of the Irish revolutionary Thomas Meagher, he writes of the terrible years when rural Ireland's main source of food, the potato, was wiped out by a blackening blight. The streets of Ireland's cities filled with starving families driven from their farms, and yet Britain insisted that crops continue to flow out to foreign markets. Horrified, Thomas Meagher joined others young rebels, and a gifted orator raised his voice.

EGAN: There was plenty of food on the island while a million people died. And was grain, there was beef, corn wheat, oats, barley - food from Irish land and Irish labor, but it didn't go into Irish mouths. So one of the things that Thomas Meagher tried to do was to stop food from being exported from Ireland. And there are all these documents now that have come out and shown there was a British policy called extermination. They thought the Irish had breeded too fast, and this was nature's way - in some cases they said God's way - of culling the Irish. It was so much more than a potato famine, which of course, there was an awful blight on the potato crop, but it was so much more than that.

MONTAGNE: As you write, a great hunger was unfolding in the midst of great plenty.

EGAN: Exactly. And that's why it's recognized now as a great crime. I mean, we didn't have this term genocide back in the early Victorian age. But a lot of historians now apply the term genocide to what happened.

MONTAGNE: So what kinds of people made up the leaders of what came to be known as the Young Ireland?

EGAN: It was one of the most fascinating tempted revolutions in modern history because these people didn't know diddly (ph) about fighting a war because they were young and they were in love with each other, and they were all well-educated. They were poets, they were educated women, they were philosophers, they were journalists. One of the women who was in love with Thomas Francis Meagher was a poet named Speranza. She went on to become the mother of Oscar Wilde. And they had this earnestness that only the young have, that they could take on the British Empire and move the British Empire by their words alone. But eventually they had to take up arms. And they were trying to move a largely illiterate peasant class - the masses - to rise up against their British overlords with poetry. And I can't think of a parallel in modern revolutions. Perhaps that's why it failed (laughter).

MONTAGNE: But it failed also at a time when Great Britain had more troops in Ireland than it did in colonial India.

EGAN: Isn't that amazing? So here again, you have the greatest empire on Earth and, you know, one-fourth of the land surface has the Union Jack flying over it. And the only part of the British Empire that's totally ungovernable is 30 miles away, is Ireland. And there was a larger garrison in Ireland than there was in India for more than 200 years, troops stationed ready to level any city that would threaten uprising against British rule.

MONTAGNE: Though they never got off so much as a shot, the Irish rebels were rounded up. Thomas Meagher was sentenced to hang. That sentence was commuted, and he was shipped out to a penal colony in Tasmania from which he escaped. And that's when his second life began.

EGAN: A few years after he was sentenced to be hanged, drawn and quartered, he arrives in New York City. And he's like a savior, someone who's going to show and direct the Irish immigrants on how they can find their dignity in this new world.

MONTAGNE: And what intervenes is the Civil War. And that gives him a cause.

EGAN: Exactly. All his life, he wants to free Ireland. So now he's in exile, and the Civil War - it's interesting because at the time, there was all this anti-Irish sentiment. When the Civil War comes along, people are unsure which side they'll fight on. And so he leads the Irish brigade, the Fighting 69th they were known as. They were these people who were living in the lower East side in these awful tenements. From those people, he recruits this Irish brigade, and people think they won't fight, the Irish can't organize a parade, let alone a brigade of their own. But it was a brilliant move by Abraham Lincoln to name Meagher as a general because it was a way to bring the Irish onto the Union cause.

MONTAGNE: And the Irish brigade ended up at the battle that gave the Civil War the bloodiest day in history.

EGAN: That's right. They fought in Antietam, the bloodiest single day in American history. There were 23,000 casualties. And at a battle that was fought at Fredericksburg in December of 1862, they stormed wave after wave of this barrier called Mary's Heights, and Robert E. Lee was sitting on the other side. They were just mowing down the Irish, and Meagher had told his soldiers that we're going to put a little sprig of green in our caps. We know many of us are going to die today but when they find our body, they'll know we're Irish. And they just get mowed down. But because of Antietam, because of the bravery of Irish and other soldiers - remember, 140,000 Irish ended up fighting on the Union cause - Meagher comes to a conclusion that this great sacrifice they make is for the liberation of African-Americans in this country.

MONTAGNE: The title of your book is "The Immortal Irishman." And yet in fact, he is really not well-known considering what he did at these great moments in history. Why is that?

EGAN: He's certainly well-known in the Irish-American community, where he was once one of the most famous Irish-Americans. When John F. Kennedy went to Ireland, he brought with him the flag of the Irish brigade, the flag of Meagher's brigade. But he sort of fell into disrepute because so many people had died that Meagher was just disgusted. He could no longer face the mothers of people who'd died on his watch who they thought they were going to free, so he goes to Montana and sort of falls off the map. He becomes their territorial governor, and they think Meagher is out of sight and he's gone. But I call him the immortal Irishman because his words lived. His sacrifice lived. So the interesting thing about the way, I think, every person who's in the global Irish diaspora looks at this is, you know, we have this burden of memory. That burden of memory is our history, and we will not forget that. We'll not forget the famine, we'll not forget the centuries of oppression. And Meagher, even at his most joyous points when he would be the key speaker at a banquet, he would say that there's a skeleton at this feast. That skeleton is that burden of memory.

MONTAGNE: Timothy Egan. His new book is "The Immortal Irishman."

Copyright © 2016 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR&rsquos programming is the audio record.


Where was the Irish Flag First Flown and by Who?

Did you know that the Irish Tricolour was flown for the first time in Waterford? On the 7th of March 1848. The Irish Tricolour was flown publically in Waterford, by Waterford native Thomas Francis Meagher.

This historic event took place during a Young Irelander Rebellion that took place the same year. This historic event took place at number 33 The Mall, Waterford. Which at that time was know as the Wolfe Tone Confederate Club.

“From Paris, the city of the Tricolour and the barricade, this flag has been proudly borne. I present it to my native land, and I trust that the old country will not refuse this symbol of a new life from one of her youngest children.

I need not explain its meaning. The quick and passionate intellect of the generation now springing into arms will catch it at a glance” Thomas Francis Meagher.

Thomas Francis Meagher would go down in history as one of Ireland’s most amazing historical characters.

How a boy from Waterford rose to the esteemed rank of Brigadier General Thomas Francis Meagher of the Union Army. He fought valiantly during some of the bloodiest battles of the American Civil War.

Thomas Francis Meagher along with a contingent of Irish revolutionaries traveled to France in early 1848 to congratulate the French Revolutionaries upon their success in over throwing Louis Philippe of France.

While in France Thomas Francis Meagher was presented with a silken Tricolour that was woven by French Revolutionary Ladies.

On his return to his homeland Meagher presented the Tricolour to the people of Ireland and explained its deep meaning. The green is a representation of Nationalist Catholic Ireland and the Orange represents the Unionist Protestants.

“The white in the centre signifies a lasting truce between the Orange and the Green and I thrust that between its folds the hands of the Irish Protestants and The Irish Catholic may be clasped in generous and heroic brotherhood” Thomas François Meagher.

Meagher was a wondrous character and believed strongly in an Ireland free from British Rule but also in an Ireland of Peace. When he returned from his studies in England, in 1843 he was full of new thoughts, ideas and dreams for his native land.

He believed in the repeal of the Act of Union between Ireland and Britain and found inspiration and like minds in the Young Irelanders and The Irish Confederation.

These young men were inspired by nations like France, The United States and rebellions that had occurred in Ireland such as The Rebellion of 1798.

He lived in hope of Irish Independence. In 1848 rebellions were sweeping across Europe. These revolutions were also known as “Springtime of the People” and “The year of Revolution”.

The New Irish Flag hung proudly in Waterford City for 8 days before being removed by British Forces. The 1848 Young Irelander Rebellion, was put down by British forces.

“The treason of which I stand convicted loses all its guilt, has been sanctified as a duty and will be ennobled as a sacrifice.” Thomas Francis Meagher.

Thomas Francis Meagher was arrested for his involvement in the 1848 Rebellion.

He was put on trial for treason and a sentence of death was passed down on him.

However, thanks to much lobbying and support from Irish across the world, including rising influences from the Irish American diaspora, this sentence was later commuted and he was banished on a prison transport ship to Van Diemen’s Land, which is now known as Tasmania (Australia).

“Judged by the law of England, I know this crime entails upon me the penalty of death but the history of Ireland explains that crime and justifies it”. Thomas Francis Meagher.

From here he made a daring escape (after nearly starving to death) and made his was to New York City where, after a new marriage and a stint as a lawyer and orator, his Epic Irish American story begins.


Civil War

Thomas Meagher

Born in Waterford, Ireland, Thomas Francis Meagher (pronounced Mar) was a fiery Irish revolutionary who was convicted of sedition and nearly executed by the British in 1848. Finally exiled to Tasmania, he staged a daring escape, then made his way to New York where he became a hero of the Irish community.

Handsome, charismatic and highly social, Meagher shortly earned his U.S. citizenship, and then a law degree. By the 1860’s he’d become interested in U.S. politics. He joined the U.S. Army, and — after initially siding with the Confederacy — joined the Union Army and soon became an officer. After leading the 69th in the Battle of First Bull Run he was promoted to the rank of brigadier general. Meagher went on to lead Irish Brigade through some of the fiercest battles of the Civil War, including the Seven Days’ campaign, Antietam, Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville.

The city of Waterford, Ireland, celebrates their native son every year at the Tricolour Celebration in June, at the place of his birth, the Granville Hotel on the Quay. The celebration is attended by dignitaries from the Irish Parliament, as well as guests from the Fighting 69th Regiment.


Thomas Francis Meagher and The United States

“It is not only our duty to America, but also to Ireland. We could not hope to succeed in our effort to make Ireland a Republic without the moral and material support of the liberty – loving citizens of these United States” Thomas Francis Meagher

Having settled and found a new home in New York City Meagher studied law and working sporadically as a journalist, he went on to found the newspaper “The Irish News”.

He became an American Citizen shortly after arriving in New York. He was also involved in the publication with a fellow Irish revolutionary, John Mitchel. This publication was called “The Citizen”.

This was strongly anti British and supported in the strongest of terms pro Irish sentiments that were radically charged.

While in New York City, Meagher was to marry his second wife, Elizabeth “Libby” Townsend. She was a wealthy New York socialite and a member of a wealthy and prominent New York family.

Her family initially objected to the marriage but eventually accepted Meagher. They were married in 1856 soon after Elizabeth converted to Catholicism. They remained married until Meagher’s death.


Thomas Francis Meagher

Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article.

Thomas Francis Meagher, (born Aug. 23, 1823, Waterford, County Waterford, Ire.—died July 1, 1867, near Fort Benton, Mont., U.S.), Irish revolutionary leader and orator who served as a Union officer during the American Civil War (1861–65).

Meagher became a member of the Young Ireland Party in 1845 and in 1847 was one of the founders of the Irish Confederation, dedicated to Irish independence. In 1848 he was involved, with William Smith O’Brien, in an abortive attempt to mount an insurrection against English rule. Arrested for high treason, he was condemned to death, but his sentence was commuted to life imprisonment in Van Diemen’s Land (now Tasmania).

He escaped in 1852 and made his way to the United States. After a speaking tour of U.S. cities, he settled in New York City, studied law, and was admitted to the bar in 1855. He soon became a leader of the Irish in New York and, from 1856, edited the Irish News.

At the outbreak of the Civil War, Meagher became a captain of New York volunteers and fought at the First Battle of Bull Run (July 1861). He then organized the Irish Brigade, and in February 1862 was elevated to the rank of brigadier general. After his brigade was decimated at the Battle of Chancellorsville (May 1863), Meagher resigned his commission, but in December he returned to command the military district of Etowah, with headquarters at Chattanooga, Tenn.

At the close of the war, he was appointed secretary of Montana Territory, where in the absence of a territorial governor he served as acting governor until his accidental death by drowning in the Missouri River.


Co. Kildare Online Electronic History Journal

« Co. Kildare Online Electronic History Journal Home »

THOMAS FRANCIS MEAGHER AND CLONGOWES COLLEGE

Pen and Sword: Thomas Francis Meagher and Clongowes College

James Durney

Thomas Francis Meagher was born on 3 August 1823 at a Georgian house now site of what is the Granville Hotel, on the Waterford quay. A plaque honouring the birthplace of the man known as Meagher of the Sword, or the National Orator, adorns the building, though some historians claim he was born at 19 the Mall, or 51 O&rsquoConnell Street. His father, Thomas Meagher, was a wealthy merchant, who spent his life, like other leading members of the old Catholic families, in trying to retrieve by trade overseas the family fortunes of which they had been dispossessed by confiscation and the penal laws. Most of Thomas Francis Meagher&rsquos ancestry can be traced back to Catholic tenant farms in the hinterland of Waterford, specifically in south-east Kilkenny, south-east Tipperary, and east Waterford in the 18th century. His mother&rsquos line &ndash the Lattins and Kennedys &ndash hailed from Morristown, in Co. Kildare. Thomas Meagher married Alicia Quan, daughter of another wealthy Waterford merchant, in 1820. They had four children &ndash Thomas, Francis, Henry, Christiaana, Alicia. In 1843 Thomas Meagher became the first Catholic mayor of Waterford City in almost 200 years.
A strong admirer and supporter of Daniel O&rsquoConnell, Thomas Meagher sent his two sons, Thomas Francis and Henry, to Clongowes Wood College, a Jesuit-run boarding school, to begin their secondary education. Three of O&rsquoConnell&rsquos sons went to Clongowes and John O&rsquoConnell was a contemporary of Thomas Francis Meagher there. During a visit to Clongowes Daniel O&rsquoConnell was said to have observed Meagher&rsquos early genius and foretold his future greatness. A decade later O&rsquoConnell recommended Meagher be admitted to study law at the Queen&rsquos Inn in Dublin. Clongowes College was an establishment for the sons of Catholic gentlemen and Meagher remained there for six years. In later years, Tom Meagher wrote of Clongowes, with deep affection, but complained that he and his contemporaries were taught nothing about their native land. While Clongowes burdened its pupils with many other subjects, ancient and modern, he wrote:
&lsquoSo far as Ireland was concerned, they left us like blind and crippled children in the dark. They never spoke of Ireland. Never gave us, even what is left of it, her history to read. Never quickened the young bright life they controlled into lofty conceptions and prayers by a reference to the martyrdoms, the wrongs, the soldiership, the statesmanship, the magnificent memories and illuminating hopes of the poor old land &hellip Ireland was the last nation we were taught to think of, to respect, to love and remember &hellip But I can&rsquot bear to say anything against Clongowes. It is to me a dear old spot.&rsquo
However, Thomas Francis Meagher was expelled from this dear old spot in 1839 at the age of sixteen after a rebellious incident. On Michaelmas Day a roast goose was supplied to each of the students table and the one offered to the senior students happened to be quite lean. Tom Meagher had the job of carving the goose and he complained to Fr. Kelly, saying he could not get a piece off the bird and demanded another fatter one. Fr. Kelly demurred and requested Meagher to cut it and see how far it would go. He refused and all the students at the table put down their knives and forks and sulked. After the senior students left, having eaten no dinner, several panes of glass in the great window were broken by stones. All the senior students were sent to the tower for an inquiry, but as no one would admit to the wrongdoing, or inform on who did it, they were given solitary confinement for a week.
At the time, the senior students were allowed walks in the locality on their free days and on their first excursion after their solitary confinement to Carton House Tom Meagher led a group of friends off to Dublin. A pursuit party found the young men at an inn in Barrack Street, Dublin, and brought the rebels back to Clongowes. Four were expelled, including Tom Meagher. His uncle, Patrick Meagher, a Jesuit in Dublin, was instrumental in arranging Tom&rsquos transfer to Stonyhurst College, another Jesuit-run school, in England. Here the sons of wealthy Irish, Spanish and French families were sent to receive a comprehensive British education.
Meagher returned to Ireland in 1843 having completed his education at Stonyhurst, and went to Dublin to study law. He joined the Young Irelanders and in 1846 Tom Meagher delivered what became known as the &lsquoSword Speech&rsquo in Conciliation Hall. After the Rising of 1848 Meagher was arrested and found guilty of High Treason. He was sentenced to be hanged, drawn and quartered, but this sentence was commuted to Transportation to Van Diemen&rsquos Land (Tasmania). Meagher enjoyed considerable liberty in Tasmania and escaped in 1852, with the aid of his friend Patrick J. Smyth, who was a fellow student in Clongowes in 1839. He fled to New York, where he helped found the newspapers the &lsquoCitizen&rsquo and the &lsquoIrish News.&rsquo At the outbreak of the American Civil War Meagher raised a company of Irishmen for the 69th New York Volunteers, and served with the army of the North during the first campaign in Virginia and the subsequent first battle of Bull Run. Towards the end of 1861 he organised the Irish Brigade, which he eventually commanded. When the Irish Brigade was decimated by battle he resigned in protest. In 1866 Tom Meagher became Temporary Governor of the Montana Territory. Whilst acting in this capacity he fell from a steamboat into the Missouri and was drowned near Fort Benton, Montana, on 1 July 1867, aged forty-four. His body was never recovered.
A sculpture with Tom Meagher astride a horse stands in the Mall, Waterford, while he is honoured with another equestrian statue in front of Montana Capitol Building, in Helena, Montana.

Irish rebel and American soldier Thomas Francis Meagher's connections with Co. Kildare and Clongowes College


Watch the video: Τόμας το τρενάκι: Για ψάρεμα (June 2022).


Comments:

  1. Sar

    I suggest you go to the site, where there are many articles on the topic that interests you.

  2. Basho

    You are absolutely right. There is something in this and it is a good idea. I support you.

  3. Khan

    I apologize for interfering, I wanted to express my opinion too.

  4. Ashford

    This phrase is simply matchless ;)



Write a message