Michael G. Considine and Daniel O'Connell

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Re: Michael G. Considine and Daniel O'Connell

Post by Jimbo » Wed Sep 25, 2019 5:18 am

Hi Sheila,

Michael G. Considine was most surely buried at the Abbey in Ennis. The elderly man who spoke to Stan Delaplane at the Abbey in 1958 did provide an interesting clue for genealogists that should not be ignored. He said, "There's O'Brien Kings of Thomond lie buried here in the cold dark tombs. Now they bury the good people over at Dromcliffe. But when I was a small lad, they buried even the commoners here". This elderly man in 1958 must have been a young lad in the late 19th century. Thus, we should revisit the assumption that Michael Considine's wife Mary, who died in December 1882, was buried at Drumcliff. Sheila, you had thought that, "as her death came before Michael’s, she was probably buried in Drumcliff and not in the Abbey". Based upon the elderly man's conversation with Stan Delaplane, I reckon Mary Considine was buried in the Abbey, same as Michael Considine. Her obituary was reported in the Freeman's Journal of Dublin:
CONSIDINE - Dec 13, 1882, at Ennis, County Clare, the wife of M G Considine, prepared with all the consolations of her holy religion. She was a fond and loving wife. R I P.

Freeman's Journal, Dublin, 18 December 1882
In February 1863, the last stone for the O'Connell Monument was raised at the top of the column. I reckon Michael Considine gave his finest speech on that day. Getting the actual O'Connell statue completed was mired in a bit of controversy over the compensation of the sculptor, and difficulties in raising further funds in poor economic times. The official inauguration was not until the 3rd of October 1865. This was a huge event with special trains from neighboring counties. There were many speakers on that day and the speech of Michael Considine, who was noted as wearing a green uniform and O'Connell cap, does not appear to have been reported in the newspapers. Here is his speech from February 1863 when the last stone was placed on the column and he was the only speaker:
(Cor. Weekly Register, Feb. 21) [1863]

On last Saturday much excitement prevailed here. During the day, large numbers of the country people who came to market, neglected business, so anxious were they to see the last stone of the national column to the great O'Connell raised to the top. Much credit is due to Mr. Carroll, the contractor, for the caution and care he took to have the machinery and ropes in proper order. When the stone was raised from the ground, every heart beat high, and all eyes were fixed, watching every movement of the stone, which weighed over three tons. At five o'clock it reached the top of the column, after a safe passage, so anxiously wished for by the assembled multitude. Mr. Carroll was warmly greeted by the people, who called on Mr. Considine, to come forward and address the meeting. He most willingly complied. Standing at the base of the column, he said :— Men of Ennis, I do not intend to occupy your time by a long speech ; I only wish to pay a vote of thanks, on the part of the people of this town, to Mr. Carroll, the contractor, for the very praiseworthy manner he has completed this beautiful column, and to the mechanic, Michael McMahon, to whose taste and abilities the entire building owes much, now that the last stone is landed safe above, after much care and caution on the part of the contractor. Wreathed around with the Irish shamrock, I ask, is it not more truly an Irish trophy rather than the Russian gun which was sought to be planted here ? (Groans for the old gun.) I here tell you that no true Irishman should be so base as to sympathise in British trophies or exult in England's victories until he sees his down trodden country restored her native independence. (A voice: We must get our own again.) Men of Ennis, when first I stood on an old barrel here on this spot at your head, I opposed the Whig corruption of introducing into our town that so called mark of British valour, and proclaimed for this monument to the great O'Connell, and the honest forty-shilling freeholders of Clare in 1828. Little did these Whig advocates think that the voice and exertions of working men would succeed, but thank God, we today proved what working men could do for Ireland, if honestly and legally united and true to their cause. Yes, I can stand today, not on the old barrel, but at the base of this national column. (Cheers.) Fellow countrymen, this was one of my principal motives; why I did undergo so much labour and make so many sacrifices, was to prove to you in acts what Irishmen, if honestly and legally united could do for Ireland, and not waiting for place hunters and low aristocrats to get them liberty. "Know you not, who would be free themselves must strike the blow?" (Cheers.) Don't think it was to ornament our town that I laboured; no, nor to honour the mighty dead as the emancipator only; no, but as the Repealer also; and give three cheers for the repeal of that base Act of Union. (Loud cheers.) Oh! may your voices reach to the throne of heaven, to bring down a blessing on your honest intentions towards your suffering country. May it reach across the Atlantic and every other part of the earth where an Irishman is found. May it arouse them to a sense of their duty towards poor Erin. The Irish abroad do not forget faith and fatherland. I saw Irish pluck and Irish spirit proved not long since at Hyde- park. Yes. It was [unclear word] at Fontenoy. (Cheers for the Irishmen in London.) After several other remarks, the speaker concluded by passing the vote of thanks, and said he hoped the statue would be soon done, when they would hear on the day of the inauguration such Irishmen as Father Vaughan, Father Lavelle, The O'Donoghue, Thomas Neilson Underwood, and other good and true Irishmen; that he would then wear the suit of green he was presented with by the Nationalists and Irishmen of London. (Loud cheering.) I am sure that honest Irishman, Thady Lynch, who is this evening absent, will stand by him as one of his fellow-labourers in the noble cause, and that if he is an Irishman in the dungeon or on the scaffold, he would never deny he loved the Irish green. It was for that love Lord Edward died, and Wolfe sank serene, because they could not live to see the English red above the Irish green. (Great cheering and waving of hats.) After the speaker was done, the people separated, highly gratified at the noble completion of the column. Mr. Considine's patriotic mission ends with credit to himself and honour to the working men of Ireland. After he raises the cost of the four steps that are to go at the base of the column, and the expense of putting on the statue; for, as Mr. Considine stated in his address, the people of Clare owed a deep debt of gratitude to Dr. Gray and the liberal press of Dublin for the £100 to pay for it when finished, and also to the Priests, Nationalists, and Irishmen of London, and the Catholic and Liberal press of that city for the last stone of the column that they saw to-day raised to the top.

Freeman's Journal, Sydney, 20 May 1863, (per trove newspaper database, National Library of Australia)


This speech also clarifies that the green coat of Michael Considine held by the Clare Museum was not actually given to him by Daniel O'Connell. It would be more correct to say "The green coat of O'Connell's Repeal Association was presented to Michael Considine in 1862 by the Nationalists and Irishmen of London where Considine was fundraising for the O'Connell Monument under construction in Ennis."

http://www.clarelibrary.ie/eolas/clarem ... l_coat.htm
http://www.clarelibrary.ie/eolas/clarem ... r_coat.htm

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Re: Michael G. Considine and Daniel O'Connell

Post by Sduddy » Wed Sep 25, 2019 11:07 am

Hi Jim

Thank you for finding that 1863 speech and for giving the full newspaper report. Anymore, when I see the monument, I will think of those nerve wracking moments (or hours) when the final stone was added.
I am content now that Michael Considine has been taken out from under the shadow of the caricature of him by Bernard Becker. And all credit to Caroline Maguire for ignoring it in her thesis: https://dspace.mic.ul.ie/handle/10395/1024. A couple of her footnotes are intriguing - for instance note 37 on page 134:
37: Sheedy, Clare Elections, p. 234; Dublin Diocesan Papers, Dublin Diocesan Archives, Cullen Papers, Laity, July-December 1862, 340/6/18, “Division between clergy and M.G Considine over the alleged embezzlement of funds‟.
Note 16 on page 169:
16: Fenian Papers, Box 13, 6452R; CJ, 24 March 1859 (At the 1859 election for the borough, Considine addressed the people of Ennis from the windows of his house).

Note 17 on page 169:
17: CI, 5 January 1878; CF, 8 July, 7 October 1865, CJ, 27 August 1860; Griffith’s Primary Valuation of Tenements (cited hereafter as Griffith‟s Valuation), Ennis Union, p. 148 [this is in connection with the location of his house]; Clare Election: Minutes of Evidence Taken Before the Select Committee on the Clare County Election Petition; together with the proceedings of the Committee (1853), H.C. 1852-1853, IX, pp 127, 230.
The last mentioned reference, i.e. The Minutes of Evidence Taken Before the Select Committee on the Clare County Election Petition; together with the proceedings of the Committee (1853), pertain to intimidation by clergy during the 1852 elections in Clare, alluded to by C. Maguire on pages 133-134 and described graphically by Jayme Keogh in his article donated to clarelibrary, ‘The changing ruling class in Sixmilebridge and the impact they left on the community, 1650-1900’: http://www.clarelibrary.ie/eolas/coclar ... ssacre.htm. But that article doesn’t mention Michael Considine, so I don’t know what part he played.
I doubt if I will ever look up the Dublin Diocesan Papers, or the Fenian Papers, but I must look up Kieran Sheedy’s book (Clare Elections) sometime soon and see what he has on Michael Considine.

It’s lovely, by the way, to hear of the support of the Irish people in London - whenever funding is mentioned (and that’s very, very often), it’s almost always from America.

Last edited by Sduddy on Wed Sep 25, 2019 2:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Michael G. Considine and Daniel O'Connell

Post by Sduddy » Wed Sep 25, 2019 2:12 pm

Hi Jim, again

Well, I think I now understand the reference to Michael Considine in The Minutes of Evidence Taken Before the Select Committee on the Clare County Election Petition; together with the proceedings of the Committee (1853). I’ve been reading and article by Dominic Haugh, ‘Massacre at Sixmilebridge’, in The Other Clare, Vol. 35 (2011), in which he says,
The candidates for Clare were nominated at the new Courthouse in Ennis on the morning of 21st July [1852] in front of a large crowd that had assembled. The three candidates were Colonel Vandeleur (pro-landlord, pro-unionist) and two pro-Catholic candidates, Cornelius O’Brien and John Fitzgerald. Vandeleur and anyone who spoke in his favour were drowned out by heckling and booing from the assembled crowd. At one stage the High Sheriff ordered the arrest of one of the hecklers, a shoemaker named Considine, leading to him scampering out of the courthouse chased by a posse of policemen. (Clare Journal, 22 July 1852).
Haugh gives good background to the 1852 election and the Sixmilebridge events and aftermath, starting with the creation by Pope Pius IX of territorial hierarchies for English Roman Catholic bishops (a move that created significant tensions between the Churches in England) in 1850, and moving on to added tensions created by the huge increase in numbers of Catholics in England between 1801 and 1851, and to the ensuing anti-Catholic violence in Britain and to the Stockport riots. This background information helps to explain why emotions were still running so high among the priests in Ireland in 1852. At the nomination meeting in the courthouse, Rev. Quaid, “pointing an accusing finger at Vandeleur, declared: ‘Has not Irish Catholic blood been spilt at Stockport? Deny it Sir if you dare. From what did it arise? From that proclamation issued by a government one of whose members has taken the pledges necessary for an Orangeman.’”

Michael Considine’s heckling was probably along the same lines.


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Re: Michael G. Considine and Daniel O'Connell

Post by Jimbo » Fri Sep 27, 2019 5:48 am

Hi Sheila,

Yes, Michael Considine in 1862 did indeed obtain strong support for the O'Connell Monument, as well as a green coat, from the Irish living in London. But we need to dig a little deeper to understand why the Irish living in America would have been out of bounds for his fundraising. Of course, in 1862 there was the American Civil War. But this period was actually an excellent time to fundraise for Irish causes as Irish soldiers would receive large signing bonuses upon enlistment with the Union Army, and also receive, perhaps for the first time in their lives, steady monthly pay. Michael Considine was a strong ally of the Reverend Jeremiah Vaughan, the Parish Priest of Barefield. Father Vaughan initiated the "Father Vaughan Appeal" in a letter sent to the editors of the Irish American newspaper of New York that was published on 8 February 1862:
A Cry from Erin


To the Clare Men and Friends of Ireland in America:

FRIENDS AND EXILED COUNTRYMEN: I have, through a sad necessity, to appeal to you again, as I did in '47, in behalf of the destitute poor of this noble emancipating county. The horrors of the destitution are brooding over the people, who, in '28, shook off the thraldom of the Penal Code, and burst open the doors of the Constitution to six millions of Catholic slaves. True to their history, they on a late occasion, welcomed the cold lifeless dust of the noble minded McManus. The priests and the people of the descendants of Ennis, in conjunction with the patriotic clergy and people of Queenstown, chanted the sacred caoin of the church - mournful as the Banshee's wail - for the repose of his soul. This melancholy duty afforded the writer and those identified with him, a heartfelt satisfaction in uniting themselves with their warm-hearted countrymen beyond the Atlantic, in this devotion to poor prostrate Ireland. And why should we not be fondly united, dear, exiled countrymen? Is not Ireland's liberty as dear to you as to us - are not her green fields your inheritance as well as ours? God and his eternal justice never sanctioned your banishment. The Sassenach's tyrannical sway cannot always endure. With the growing Democracies of Europe, I cannot believe Ireland will remain long in the background. In all the surrounding nations we see the lightning of intellectual progress and opinions shattering crazy tyrannies to the earth. In these countries the people are not for the rulers, but the rulers for the people - the prevailing maxim being: "The greatest good of the greatest number." See how this maxim has been lately carried out by the despotic ruler of Russia, who gave large sums from his treasury to rescue a portion of this Polish subjects from starvation. Napoleon the 3d, the ablest statesman in Europe, and, in consequence of a licentious press, a despot of necessity, has, within the last four months, purchased immense supplies of food for his people, and made Paris the granary of Europe. In Ireland the principle is reversed. Here the people, who should be viewed as the wealth and blessing of the State, are looked upon as a plague spot, and a curse. Exiled countrymen, with the blessing of the Great God and the firm resolve of the people, wishing, at any risk, to be free, the state of anarchy and degradation cannot - must not - last. The young manhood of Ireland - leavened by education - contain with them, at this hour, all the elements of National resurrection; I solemnly believe, if their firm, irresistible will be guided by discretion and not tarnished, likes the designs of the midnight assassin - with crime,- that all the combined tyrannies on earth cannot stand between Ireland and her rights.

"Tis not in man or in Heaven to let tyranny bind us again?"

Hope on, then, beloved countrymen; Ireland is not dead, she only swoons.

"Thos art not conquered!
"Beauty's ensign yet is crimsoned in thy lips and on thy cheek:
"And death's pale flag is not advanced there."

Cease not to cherish, then, I implore of you the fond hope - the unquenchable desire - to return once more to live with us, your blood and kindred, and have your houses to rest with ours in the old, ivy-clad, church-yard.

The triumph of American liberty once before awed our English tyrants into the glorious concessions of '82 when Flood, in the Irish House of Commons, triumphantly exclaimed: "A voice came from America, and on the shore of Ireland shouted, 'Liberty!' "

May the sounds of American liberty reverberate on our shores again, and soon. I confess to you I have the strongest faith in the Irish Brigade [of New York], and hope the lightning flashing from their swords may awaken their countrymen in Ireland.

I have followed up this subject beyond the limits I intended; because, in calling your attention to our destitution, I cannot but trace it to the cursed rule of England. God knows I often wished - and what more natural? - for her destruction, that my poor broken-hearted countrymen might rise from their abject poverty and degradation that are unrivalled in any country in the world except India, - cursed, like Ireland, with British rule. I confess to you, I have often been tempted to declare openly to the people - galling under such suffering, that they owed no allegiance to the Saxon rule - as "tyranny" is not government, and allegiance is only due to protection." We are now, I regret to inform you, reserved for a renewal to a great extent, of the horrors of '46, '47 and '48. Must we look on our blood and kindred, as before, falling to the earth like Autumn leaves, and breathing the odor of the grave. Many of you were conversant with the period of the famine. Do you not recollect the shrivelled skeletons that met you everywhere on the highway, and put forth their withered, fleshless arms, and with hollow, faltering accents, asked you to relieve them, for God's sake? The young looked prematurely old, their faces and limbs swollen, and their hair falling off. The indigent house holders bolted their doors, whilst at their scanty meals - an unpardonable crime in generous Ireland - least the famished visitor should be invited to partake of their wretched diminished food. It was remarked that, through miles of country, none were seen to laugh, but grinning like the anatomies of death. The remaining portion of the doomed outcast race hurried away from the country, as if it were stricken with a plague, made for the next seaport, and sailed for America. Many thousands of them died during the passage, and many thousands more died on their arrival. And who has done all this? the heartless rulers of Ireland. Laboring under this conviction, I never made public allusion on the altar of political platform, to the famine of '47, that I did not imperatively command my hearers to tell their children and their children's children - that England murdered a million of their countrymen. This I shall never cease to proclaim, and, if I do, may my tongue cleave to my jaws; because, I believe, as plainly as I do in Providence, that the blood of that murdered people will cry to Heaven against England, loud as the blood of Abel.

I mention the heartless indifference of England during the past that you may understand we have nothing to hope from her at the present appalling crisis. The voice of wailing has already gone forth from Western Connaught, and Southern Munster; and for the perishing people of these districts, the Corporation of Dublin have imploringly asked of the English Viceroy Government aid. Bah! what cares the Sassenach Viceroy for the Irish famishing peasant?

"Rattle his bones over the stones,
He's only a peasant whom nobody owns!"

He is more solicitous for the rearing and fattening of cattle than feeding of the people: as it is evident the primary aim of England in rooting out the people is to turn Ireland into a beef growing country for the supply of the English markets. But in this, with God's help, and the aid of the American Government and people, they will be disappointed. The Celtic race will flourish here despite them, and will become racy of the soil, like the shamrock.

Now, dear Clare friends, I beg to acquaint you that your native Clare will rival her destitute condition of '47 and '48, if something for us be not immediately done. I appealed to you before and you nobly responded to me in Boston: but, through some mismanagement, your charitable efforts were frustrated. Could we sustain the poor struggling householders for three months, I am satisfied we might bring the people triumphantly through the crisis. Should I receive any considerable aid from you, I intend forming an efficient committee for the relief of the entire county, from Killaloe to Loophead. I was surrounded last week by many hundreds of my naked, shivering flock, who imploringly asked me to get Government aid. I gave my last shilling to procure warm covering for about fifty of them, and absolutely refused to apply to Government on behalf of the rest. Why should I apply to the heartless Government that perpetrated on the Irish nation, at the last famine, as cold and deeply planned a murder as was ever recorded on the luminous page of history, since the slaughter of Socrates. I told the disconsolate people I would appeal to you, dear exiled countrymen, and joy beamed on their countenances. If, then, you intend relieving us, call meetings and appoint your treasurers; and, for God's sake, and the sake of his perishing people, DO IT PROMPTLY.

Adieu, my warm hearted countrymen: ten thousand blessings on you.

Your faithful and devoted servant.

Doora and Kilraghtis.

Irish American, New York, 8 February 1862

Father Vaughan paints a very bleak picture of County Clare in 1862. If during the same year, Michael Considine had gone to the American people, either in person or through a newspaper appeal, asking for money for a statue on top of a tall column, he would not have been well received at all. Irish immigrants to America, especially those who had fled famine and poverty, would be very unlikely to contribute to an expensive monument in the town of Ennis. Hence, Michael Considine went to England in search of funds for the O'Connell Monument. Father Vaughan and his close friend Michael Considine appear to have strategically split their fundraising efforts.

Sheila, we already mentioned the "Father Vaughan Appeal", including another appeal letter published on 5 May 1862, and also discussed the significant contribution by the Considines of Ohio, during the search for the missing Thomas McNamara of Glandree (page 17):
http://www.ourlibrary.ca/phpbb2/viewtop ... &start=240

You also had mentioned an Other Clare article and Father Vaughn's obituary stating "during the lesser known famine of 1862-63, he went to America and delivered a course of lectures in all the large cities. These lectures raised much needed funds." Holding lectures in American cities during the middle of a civil war always seemed rather unsafe and a bit odd to me, and now from reading various newspapers of this era, it is clearly incorrect. The "Father Vaughan Appeal" was coordinated through The Irish American newspaper of New York; Father Vaughan did not step foot in America during the Civil War. The war ended in April 1865. The Irish American reported on the 24th of June 1865, "The admirers of that true 'patriot priest', the Rev. Jeremiah Vaughan, will be glad to hear of his arrival in this country, on the mission announced through our columns some weeks ago." Father Vaughan addressed the Irish in Boston on the 12th of July 1865. His lectures in American cities continued through to at least December 1866. The Rev. Jeremiah Vaughan was back in Ireland for the Fenian Rising of March 1867.

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Re: Michael G. Considine and Daniel O'Connell

Post by Sduddy » Sat Sep 28, 2019 10:20 am

Hi Jim

‘A Cry for Erin’, the appeal by Fr. Vaughan, is a very long cry indeed. The hope, that he expresses, that emigrants “Cease not to cherish … the unquenchable desire – to return once more to live with us, your blood and kindred, and have your houses to rest with ours in the old, ivy-clad church-yard”, made me smile a wintry smile, as there was not a rood of ground allotted to returned emigrants in the enactment of any of the Land Acts. But Fr. Vaughan can’t be blamed for that, and maybe the idea that they had a rightful claim ‘to return once more’ satisfied most emigrants back in 1862.

Jim, ever since you said that you suspected that Michael Considine mellowed as time went on (i.e. less fierce than he was when he spoke in 1858), I have become curious about his activities during the 1850s. I’m wondering who and what were influencing him in those years. But I’m finding that that decade gets skipped over very quickly in the general histories of Ireland. Thomas Bartlett (Ireland – a History) gives a paragraph on the beginnings of the tenant rights movement in 1852 (p 297), and then writes:
By coincidence, and entirely separately from this agitation over land tenure, there had been an outburst of anti-Catholic rioting in England in the early 1850s, a reminder that such benightedness was not confined to Ireland. Outraged Irish Catholics demanded that their parliamentary representatives should assert the pope’s claim to award titles to his bishops in England (for the pontiff’s temerity in this respect lay behind the violence) and, in general, that they should protect Catholic rights. Irish Members of Parliament in the 1840s, the so-called O’Connell’s ‘tail’, had been dutiful in this respect, and those elected under a wider franchise in the early 1850s, quickly dubbed ‘the Irish Brigade’ or, more dismissively, ‘the Pope’s Brass Band’, were to prove equally zealous. However, as well as protecting Catholic interests, they also adopted the programme for the three ‘Fs’ [Fair rent, Fixity of tenure, Free sale], and called themselves the Independent Irish Party…. By 1858 the Independent Irish Party had broken up.
One of the members of the Irish Independent Party who defected, succumbing to an offer of a government position, was William Keogh. He appears often in later years as the judge in the trials of Fenians and likeminded people, and was much despised as traitor. His effigy was the most frequently burned effigy in Ireland in the second half of the nineteenth century: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Keogh (scroll down to photo of effigy)

But another aspect of life in Ireland, in early 1850s, and much closer to home, was the continued attempts by the Evangelical Church at converting Catholics to Protestantism. Although this activity is associated mainly with the Famine period, it continued (in a few places at least) for some time afterwards. Ciarán Ó Murchadha, in Figures in a Famine Landscape, says that, in 1851, Colonel George Wyndham (landlord) had a school in Caherrush, where the children attended
only because their parents had been coerced into sending them there, not daring to oppose the wishes of their all-powerful landlord. For his part, the colonel was so pleased at the school’s apparent success that he instructed Reverend Murphy to establish another one in neighbouring Miltown Malbay. And it was this school that, almost from the moment it opened early in 1851, became the centre of a bitter inter-denominational controversy (p. 97).
This school (Glandine) and Caherrush were still in operation in 1855. Ó Murchadha writes in a later chapter (7) that
in October 1850 three estate schools materialized on Westby property, two of them in the far west, at Kilballyowen and Kiltrellig. Staffed by Protestant converts and ‘nominal’ Catholics, the curriculum in these schools was heavily weighted with religious matter, mainly readings from scripture, with explications from a radical Protestant perspective (p 127).
The battle which followed between the Evangelicals and Fr. Meehan, parish priest, was very fierce. There was controversy for about a year afterwards regarding an alleged curse administered by Fr. Meehan, which was said to have led to the removal of their children from the school by the parents.
‘The following June [1853] when the newly appointed Bishop of Killaloe, Dr Vaughan [brother of Fr. Vaughan in Barefield], trailing an impressive clerical entourage, swept into the parish to spend a weekend bolstering lay and clerical morale, Catholic sources were admitting there were still twenty-one children spread over the three schools (p 131).
I feel sure that Michael Considine was influenced by those and other similar events.

About the O’Connell coat, minded so wonderfully well by the Considine family of 25 St. Flannan’s Terrace*, I agree that it may be part of the green suit presented by the Irish in London in 1862-63. But I suspect that it was by then already known that Considine liked to wear green and there’s a possibility that he was known for wearing a green coat. The allusions to him wearing green appear after 1862, but maybe there are earlier newspaper reports that need to be checked. Even if the coat is from the London suit, there’s a good chance that it dates from the time of O’Connell. I’ve been trying to find out if it resembles the Repeal uniform, which, according to Lawrence J. McCaffrey, O’Connell himself designed in 1843. In his book, Daniel O’Connell and the Repeal Year, McCaffrey says,
At a Repeal Association meeting on March 20, 1843, O’Connell said that most of the Catholic bishops had joined the Association and that some had become Volunteers (Pilot, March 22, 1843). Volunteers paid a £10 life subscription in the Repeal Association. They could wear a uniform modelled on the one worn by the men of 1782.
The “men of 1782” are the Irish Volunteers (18th century) and this Wikipedia article includes a description of the uniform, which does not seem to have been very uniform at all, varying very much from place to place, and hardly ever green: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irish_Vol ... h_century). So I am puzzled. This article, ‘Constructing the image of Daniel O’Connell,’ by Gary Owens explains how thoroughly Daniel O’Connell understood the value of spectacle, and shows how much O’Connell liked to wear green: https://www.historyireland.com/18th-19t ... -oconnell/. It’s not beyond the bounds of possibility that items of clothing were made for O’Connell and presented by admirers, and that some of those items survived him.

Going back to Fr. Vaughan (although I want to keep him in the sidelines – he can always have his own thread), I looked at the Doora Kilraghtis parish registers and noted that he doesn’t perform any of the marriages in 1866, which tallies with him being in America at that time. Jim, I’m sure you are right in saying that fund-raising priests would not have gone to America during the Civil War. But there were probably a few exceptions. I’ve been reading about Fr. Conway (one of the two priests alluded to above as being prosecuted (1858) by John Fitzgerald, Attorney General), in an article by Brendan Kyne, ‘Building St Mary’s Church, Headford’, in A Journey of Hope, published to mark the 150th anniversary of St Mary’s Church, Headford, Co. Galway). Kyne says,
Well might the Catholic community in Headford be grateful to the Irish-Americans for their support, for we find Fr. Conway in America again in the Spring of 1864 where he travelled extensively and raised substantial sums of money….Travel was slow, arduous and dangerous. The American Civil War, which broke out in April 1861, was bloody and relentless. Fr. Conway’s brother Hal fought on the Confederate side….In the Tuam Herald dated March 26th ,1864, we read that Fr. Conway celebrated Mass at Governor’s Island in the Archdiocese of New York, where some Catholic soldiers, McGrath, Hinchy, Fogarty and Connell [very Clare names!] donated the munificent sum of $275.40 to the priest’s building fund. After Mass Fr. Conway visited the hospital of the sick and wounded soldiers…. When the walls of the building [of St. Mary's] were completed in Easter 1865, the people demonstrated their joy and satisfaction by burning a large bonfire in the centre of the town and they raised the Stars and Stripes over the "highest pinnacle of the Church" in grateful recognition of the Irish-American contributions(p 44).
* A Terrace of Houses – A Passion of People, by Brian Dinan (Clare Roots Society, 2013)


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Re: Michael G. Considine and Daniel O'Connell

Post by Jimbo » Sun Sep 29, 2019 11:03 pm

Hi Sheila,

The footnote 37 that you referenced from the Caroline Maguire thesis is most interesting:
37: Sheedy, Clare Elections, p. 234; Dublin Diocesan Papers, Dublin Diocesan Archives, Cullen Papers, Laity, July-December 1862, 340/6/18, “Division between clergy and M.G Considine over the alleged embezzlement of funds‟.
The Irish American newspaper in New York printed another letter by the Reverend Jeremiah Vaughan, this one to John Martin, in Ireland, who was the founder of the National League in January 1864. Father Vaughan talks of corruption and a history of repeated broken promises in Irish movements. Several comments are a clear reference to William Keogh who you mentioned in your last posting. Later, Father Vaughan brings up Michael Considine, the "incorruptible man, like his prototype, the journey man printer (Benjamin Franklin)". One purpose of this letter appears to be to recommend Michael Considine as a lecturer for the National League. Father Vaughan's letter from Barefield was written on the 5th of December 1864, this is about seven months prior to his lecture tour through America; he may have also been trying to increase his exposure with his future audience by allowing this letter to be published in a New York newspaper:

BAREFIELD, ENNIS, Dec. 5, 1864.

To John Martin, Esq.: *

My dear Sir - The enclosed is the amount subscribed by myself and those whose names I send, and who request to be enrolled members of the National League. I am the more anxious to manifest their adhesion to the League from what pained me at your last meeting - your being discouraged at the little sympathy by the country towards the cause you have no nobly initiated. Don't be discouraged. Every organization of an oppressed, disappointed people must be, like the growth of a nation, slow.

In Ireland, where the honest, confiding people have been betrayed and sold repeatedly by designing political knaves, it is quite natural for them to look with suspicion on any new movement. Since the occasion when the sons of O'Connell fastened a disastrous quarrel on that brilliant constellation of patriots - the Young Ireland party - in '47, to the present time, what have the people of Ireland witnessed but perjured vows and broken faith by apostate patriots, who preyed on their country like vermin, devouring the womb that engenders them.

In '52, Ireland, though steeped in poverty, and breathing the odour of the grave, returned fifty-four members pledged to the tenant question. They met in Dublin, and since Grattan moved the Independence of '82 in the Irish Parliament, brighter prospects had not shone out on the fortunes of Ireland - when suddenly a gloom, like the pall of death, spread over the country. A triumvirate of infamous notoriety at that period broke up the nation's strength, and sold their country for Saxon pay. Like McMorrough, the betrayer of his country, whom the Irish annalists mention as having died an unnatural death - emitting a noisome stench and covered with vermin - one of these betrayers has since become the victim of his country's malediction; and the others are yet in apparent security, enjoying the wages of their apostacy. Like the renegade of Corinth, the avenging genius of their betrayed country may not longer delay than whilst -

"The light cloud is passing by the moon.
'Tis passing, and will pass very soon."

And yet there are to be found amongst us pious, credulous fools, ready to turn up the whites of their eyes to Heaven, and thank God they had in the perjured renegade the Catholic judge! With these revolting facts before us, are we, or can we be astonished at the indifference - the apathy - that has taken hold of the popular mind, and is still brooding like a nightmare on the country? Under these discouraging circumstances we must be patient - put our trust in God, in the truth and honesty of our course, which, in the end, I fervently hope, will prevail.

I was delighted that your last meeting resolved on sending lecturers through the country. Believe me, this is of paramount importance to spread the principles of the League, and make them racy of the soil. One of the people - earnest and honest - would be just the man for such a work, inasmuch as it would give the people self-reliance, by giving them to understand that the elements of regeneration lay within themselves. When I sent Michael Considine, of Ennis, to collect funds for the Clare O'Connell Monument, I found that in every place visited by him he soundly instructed the people in the principles of nationality. This incorruptible man, like his prototype (Benjamin Franklin), though in humble circumstances, has nobly stood aloof from the allurements of seduction in Ennis, when the whole gang of corruptionists vied with each other in the race of renegadeism. To this party Michael Considine is an object of enmity - mean as it is immoral. He has been badly treated by the Clare O'Connell Monument Committee; but a grateful country will yet take ample recognition of his services. Get a man, then, of Michael Considine's mould of character, and he will render invaluable service to the League, without drawing profusely on our scanty exchequer. As a member of the National League, I would and do utterly repudiate any merging of the League, or any identity with any political body now in contemplation in Dublin. It is to be presumed, this projected association will view the amelioration of Ireland through Saxon parliamentary action; and, therefore, no honest man, as a member of it, could serve his country through so delusive a medium. We may as well hope to extract milk from a male tiger as any benefit from the heartless oligarchs composing the English senate - the hereditary enemies of our race and country. Such an association may afford a fit stage for those political jugglers, who will, as hitherto, play for Saxon hire their successful tricks and buffoonery, on the tomb of Ireland. In God's name, then, have nothing to say to them. The honest portion of the Irish people have, as they ought, sufficient confidence in your organization without dealing in another political shop. Before concluding this rather long letter, may I beg to suggest the remodeling, or is such a course should be objectionable, the augmenting of the Council of the League. This has been suggested to me by others, who earnestly requested I would press the matter on you. Having recognised the League in yourself, I was myself always satisfied with its constitution, having unlimited confidence in your integrity.

I will, if possible, attend your next meeting in January.

Believe me, ever faithfully.


Irish American, New York, 7 January 1865
Sheila, it appears that while the O'Connell Monument for Ennis was Michael Considine's original idea back in 1858, the project would be taken over by a Committee that he was not even a part of? Are there any clues in the articles of the Other Clare and other local historical journals about who Father Vaughan may have been referring to when he stated "the whole gang of corruptionists vied with each other in the race of renegadeism" and attacked Michael Considine? Perhaps discovering the Ennis members of the Clare O'Connell Monument Committee would be a good start to identify the men Father Vaughan could have been referring to. Wondering if all this discussion of corruption associated with the O'Connell Monument in Ennis, is why the O'Connell Monument in Dublin had such transparency including a 189 page report with detailed revenues and expenses published in 1888. And any ideas what are the "allurements of seduction in Ennis"? was Father Vaughan only referring to money?

* John Martin biography: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Mart ... Irelander)

** From "The Siege of Corinth" by Lord Byron (1816)

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Re: Michael G. Considine and Daniel O'Connell

Post by Sduddy » Mon Sep 30, 2019 12:51 pm

Hi Jim

Thanks for that 1864 letter. The second paragraph shows that Fr. Vaughan was a supporter of the Young Irelanders*, and it sounds as if he was a supporter from the time of the split from the O’Connell movement (a split which caused great bitterness), so maybe Michael Considine was also a supporter – contrary to what I had imagined.
By reading Mary Kearns’s article more closely (“The Church of the Immaculate Conception, Barefield’ in The Other Clare, Vol. 33 (2009)), I discovered that the Irishman report of the opening of the church (see my attachment, “Fr.Lavelle1871”, above) omitted part of Considine’s address. Mary Kearns quotes a fuller report published in the Clare Journal, and it includes this passage:
…we know the grievances of our country, and say that Ireland cannot be either content or happy, until she is a nation, with the just right to make her own laws, and govern herself; this right was won for our fathers in ’82 by the immortal Grattan and the volunteers; but alas! Only for a short time, as it was taken by the foulest and most treacherous means – it was to restore back this right, and make Ireland a nation, that the great O’Connell laboured – it was for the same noble principles the late illustrious S. O’Brien, and other patriots and martyrs, suffered imprisonment, and banishment, from home and country. The nations spirit is immortal and cannot die; we read in every age of Ireland suffering of men like Lord Edward, Emmit (sic) and Tone, who sacrificed their life and fortune, the principles that they sincerely believed would make Ireland an independent nation. The spirit cannot be extinguished until Ireland has the just right to make her own laws, and govern herself – then will her shipping be employed, not as now-a-days, taking away the bone and sinew of the country, but trading with the nations of Europe, while the green flag waves in the breeze from their top mast inscribed with the words, “Irish trade and commerce.”
You will notice that Considine praises William Smith O’Brien as “the late illustrious”. (O’Brien, one of the Young Irelanders, had died on 18 June 1864: http://www.clarelibrary.ie/eolas/coclar ... mithob.htm).
* A note on Young Ireland: A group of followers of O’Connell, whom O’Connell described as “Young Ireland”, at first proclaimed that physical force was immoral under any circumstances, but some of their speeches and writings (including songs and poetry) spoke of the necessity for physical force if all else failed – e.g. the “sword speech” by Thomas Francis Meagher. The Young Irelanders then split from O’Connell and formed the Irish Confederation.

Kearns also includes a short report published in the Freeman’s Journal of July 4th (1871). The Ennis correspondent, who submitted the short report on the Sunday evening, says, “I have only time to say that a great demonstration in favour of the newly-organised project of agitation for Home Rule was made today at Barefield…..Rev. Mr. Vaughan, Mr. Talbot [Bertram Talbot], and others delivered spirited addresses in favour of Home Rule”. Neither Michael Considine’s speech nor Fr. Lavelle’s reply mentioned Home Rule - Fr. Vaughan’s words in favour of Home Rule made a deeper impression, and were probably more newsworthy.

Going back to 1864, and the O’Connell monument project (which was then at the stage where the pillar was in place, but not the steps, or the statue): it does seem from Fr. Vaughan’s letter that there was a Monument Committee in place, and this is confirmed in the introduction to Rev. John O’Hanlon’s report to the Dublin Committee: “…Mr. Michael Considine was president of the united Trades, and having urged them [the townsmen of Ennis] to engage on the enterprise he meditated, this patriotic man commenced the collection of funds for a local Committee he was mainly instrumental in forming”. That report also says that “Mr. Considine was deputed to collect funds”. Fr. Vaughan must have been a member of the committee who deputed Mr. Considine, and this would explain his saying to John Martin, “I sent Michael Considine, of Ennis, to collect funds”.

The Committee seems to have been composed of a large number of people, who were not all singing from the same hymn sheet. The report, in the Munster News, March 1859, on the O’Connell Testimonial (quoted by you above), shows that there were two separate factions on the platform, resulting in Fr. Vaughan being interrupted “by partisans of Mr. J. D. Fitzgerald, M.P.”, and in his speech he mentions “a clique in the town who endeavoured to put down the honest aspirations of the people”. Is it to this same "clique" that Fr. Vaughan is referring when he writes five years later of Michael Considine standing aloof, “when the whole gang of corruptionists vied with each other in the race of renegadeism”? I wonder if John Fitzgerald’s appointment to the position of Attorney General, which in O’Connell’s time might have been considered a badge in his honour, was now a badge of dishonour? But this group of “renegades”, whoever they were, might not be the people who had division with M.G. Considine over the alleged embezzlement of funds – this latter group were a group of clergy.

I’m afraid I have no idea who those clergymen were. I’ve looked again at Fr. Ignatius Murphy’s article (so far I’ve failed to find anything else in The Other Clare), and following on his opening paragraph (quoted above), which sets the scene as it was in January 1858, he continues,
Towards the end of January a meeting of the “Trades and working classes” was held on the site of the old Courthouse to “maintain the Catholic and patriotic spirit of the town, which is generally felt to be treated with insult and brought into contempt by the Attorney General for Ireland, and by the Town Commissioners who are instrumental in introducng a Russian gun to Ennis as a British trophy at the very moment when the oppressive prosecution of two patriot Catholic priests is undertaken, and their conviction unscrupulously sought by the Borough member and the Government he serves” [Munster News, 30 January 1858]. It was proposed at this meeting that, instead of a gun, a monument to Daniel O’Connell should be erected on the courthouse site. By 17 March, when a big meeting was held in Ennis to launch the campaign for funds, an O’Connell Monument Committee had already been formed and, although the Russian gun was still promised to Ennis, it was no longer proposed to erect it on the site associated with O’Connell [Clare Freeman, 12 June 1858].

‘From Russian Gun to O’Connell Monument’ (The Other Clare, Vol. 5, 1986)
Murphy makes no allusion to divisions with the clergy. He moves quickly on to 1863 and says that funds had run short and the sculptor, Mr. Cahill, had
refused to release the statue until he had been paid in full the £225 which he was owed. The financial difficulties were finally solved when Dr. Nicholas Power, Coadjutor Bishop Elect of Killaloe, asked the parishes of Clare in his diocese to make collections for the purpose on 27 May 1865. There was substantial help also from Sir John Grey, proprietor and editor of the Freeman’s Journal.
It’s tempting to decide that the divisions with the clergy arose in the course of that collection, but the date of the “divisions” was July-December 1862. You will note that the reference to the division comes from the Dublin Diocesan Archives, Cullen Papers. Archbishop Cullen may not have been a great supporter of clerical involvement in the O’Connell monument project. He considered that some of the support given to political causes by the clergy was inappropriate and he set about remedying that situation. Did some priests in Co. Clare write to him with complaints? Archbishop McHale (the “Lion of the Fold of Judah” mentioned above) made no great secret of his dislike of this new broom (Archbishop Cullen), and McHale had his followers too.

Jim, here’s a query about a small detail: Ignatius Murphy writes of a big meeting on St. Patrick’s Day, 1858, and you quote a report of a Testimonial meeting on St. Patrick’s Day 1859. Are these two separate meetings, held one year apart?


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Re: Michael G. Considine and Daniel O'Connell

Post by Jimbo » Tue Oct 01, 2019 6:08 am

Hi Sheila,

Yes, there were two separate O'Connell Testimonial meetings on St Patrick's Day in 1858 and 1859. I thought you might have been confused and should have corrected one of your prior comments about Mr. Fitzgerald stopping the persecution of Father Conway and Father Ryan on 23 April 1858, and how that would have redeemed him in the eyes of Father Vaughan and Michael Considine - but this timing made no sense because they were denouncing him in April of 1859.

It can be confusing reporting Irish events of the mid 19th century using foreign newspapers, but events reported by a New York newspaper occurred about one month prior in Ireland, and if reported in an Australian newspaper, it occurred three months previously. Often the newspapers don't highlight that they are reporting old news, so exact dates aren't provided. This was the case for events outside the old Court House in Ennis in early February 1858:

A very large number of the trades and working class of Ennis assembled in front of the old Court-house. Besides these trades there were several professional men, with many shopkeepers and mercantile men, &c, present, anxious to hear the address read of that illustrious Irishman, William Smith O'Brien, Esq., to the trades and working class of Ennis, which had arrived that morning. Mr. John Tobin was called to the chair, after which, Mr. Michael Considine, Secretary, came forward to read the address, but before doing so made some remarks to the meeting. He told them that the poor shoneens of Ennis should not look on the meeting of the trades and working class as a thing inferior because they were working men. The working class should come out like men, legally and constitutionally, and do their own work, and not let themselves be made footstools to those gentleman to get to power who are daily betraying them. He asked them would they agree with the Town Council of Ennis in returning thanks to the their borough member for sending a Russian gun to their town as a British trophy, at the very moment that he was stating that in the Catholic county of Mayo there could not be twelve honest men got on their oaths to try the Rev. Mr. Conway and Rev. Mr. Ryan? (Cries of "no, no," &c; "we want no Russian gun.") If they wish, let them erect British trophies on the old cross of Wexford, where three hundred Irish families were butchered by Saxons, or at Mullacmast, or in the streets of Drogheda, where the child was seen sucking the paps of its dead mother after a carnage of five days; or in the churchyard of Shanakyle and Kilrush workhouse. These places, with many others, would do more to commemorate Irish rule in Ireland, than in the Catholic and patriotic town of Ennis. He then read the address, during which time a dead silence prevailed, every one anxious to hear, but when he came to conclude with the name of William Smith O'Brien, an enthusiastic cheer was raised by all present, with the waving of hats, accompanied with firing of shots, &c., after which several resolutions were proposed and adopted, amongst which were one thanking Mr. O'Brien for his letter, and one calling upon the county members to come forward to aid in erecting a monument to O'Connell on the spot where Catholic Emancipation was fought and won in the year '28. The thanks of the meeting having been given to Mr. John Tobin, the assembly separated by cheering for "Old Ireland and William Smith O'Brien, Esq."

New York Tablet, New York, 13 March 1858

St Patrick's Day of 1858: Note that Michael Considine was not listed as a speaker but only mentioned in Father Vaughan's speech with a comparison to Benjamin Franklin (which is a bit odd). The St Patrick's Day in 1858 was much more peaceful than the St Patrick Day in 1859 (which was only a few days following the burning of the effigy of Fitzgerald on the 14th of March 1859):

The meeting held in Ennis on St. Patrick's Day for the purpose of erecting a Testimonial to the memory of the great O'Connell was a most successful affair and very numerously attended. The High Sheriff of the County, James O'Brien, Esq., was called on to preside.

The Chairman addressed the meeting in an eloquent speech.

The Rev. Mr. Newport, one of the secretaries, read letters of apology from gentlemen who were unable to attend the meeting. Amongst them were letters from Right Rev. Dr. Vaughan, the Right Rev. Dr. Leahy, the Right Rev. Dr. O'Hea, Lord Francis Conyngham, Sir Colman O'Loghlen, David J. Wilson, Esq., &c.

Mr. Francis McNamara Calcutt, M.P., said - Mr. Sheriff and men of Clare, I feel extremely proud that I have been called on to propose a resolution. I do not think that there is an Irish Catholic worthy of his salt who does not feel that this resolution ought to pass, or who does not in his heart adopt it, for, until the victory was won the Irish Catholic people were very little better than serfs in the land of their birth. It cannot fail to be in the recollection of many men here that the Irish Catholics were looked upon as a class of inferior beings. O'Connell gave up his profession to advocate the cause of his co-religionists and countrymen, and he struggled successfully in carrying out that great measure of Emancipation, and it would be a piece of the blackest ingratitude to the man whose whole life was a sacrifice to their cause, by neglecting to raise a monument to his memory, and so transmit to posterity a memorial which would point out the vast services of the man, and their gratitude.

The Rev. Mr. Vaughan, in speaking to a resolution, said - In this expression of thanks to the trades and working classes, and the acknowledgment of the power of the people, I warmly concur. The trades, from their classification and intelligence, are a powerful element in the cause of progressive advancement. The wisest projects of the statesman, the boldest discoveries in science, would be fruitless had we not the strong arms and rough hands of the mechanic and laborer to give them practical development. From the consciousness of the importance of the people as a primary element in the social fabric, we find that in every country where enlightenment and honest government prevail, the great prevailing maxim to be "the greatest good of the greatest number." And it is only when this wise maxim is lost sight of - when kings become tyrants and parliaments corrupt - that the people arise in their might, and in the hurricane of their fury destroy both. See what occurred almost in our own day in America. That country was under the iron heel of England when Franklin (a journeyman printer and the prototype of Michael Considine here) came from America to lay their grievances before parliament. The House of Commons ordered the statement to be kicked out. Franklin went back, roused the American people into open resistance. They took up arms and didn't lay them down till they achieved their independence, and the American eagle made the lion of England bite the dust. And what is America to-day? The most powerful, Democratic government in the world - with a great navy - great commerce - a free and happy people - and no National Debt. And is it not the home of your banished countrymen? Had America not been governed by the people, but by a heartless oligarchy, such as you have in England, do you imagine that six or eight millions of your blood and kindred would be cherished there, and enabled, by their industrial enterprise, to send those munificent remittances that saved many of you during the years of famine? If anyone, therefore, is so stultified as not to understand the power, the greatness, and glory of democracy, let him look to America.... [Father Vaughan's speech continues much longer]...

The meeting was subsequently addressed by the Rev. Mr. Quaid, P.P., Mr. Wm. Butler, Bunahow, Rev. Mr. Corbett, &c., and a large sum was subscribed.

New York Tablet, New York, 17 April 1858
In June 1858, Michael Considine gave his "British Trophies - Russian Guns" speech as reported in the Irish American newspaper of New York on 24 July 1858 - see my first posting on this thread.

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Re: Michael G. Considine and Daniel O'Connell

Post by Sduddy » Tue Oct 01, 2019 10:25 am

Hi Jim,

Thanks for all that work. It helps me to get the timeline right. I’ve edited my posting mentioning the debate in Parliament (on 23 April 1858) in order to correct the mistake I made there. Reproducing those tedious speeches must be tiresome, but there’s often something of interest buried in them (plus it’s good to see that Michael Considine had mastered the art of oratory and could give as good a rant as any of his “betters”). I was interested to hear that he got to read the letter sent by William Smith O’Brien in January 1858. You had already quoted some of Considine’s remarks on that occasion, but it’s only now that I have grasped that this is our first encounter with him (apart from our sighting of him heckling a speaker at a meeting in 1852 and escaping arrest by scampering away).

I’ve been looking through some past issues of The Other Clare to see if there’s anything that might throw light on the “corruptionists” that Fr Vaughan mentions in his Dec. 1864 letter to John Martin, but I found nothing that answers. The best description of Ennis in the early 1860s is in an article by Kieran Sheedy, ‘Soft Dull Day – Trade Blue’ (The Other Clare, Vol. 18, 1994), which is sub-titled ‘The Diary of P.J. Dillon, Ennis Draper 1861-1869’. Sheedy has taken some excerpts from the diary of this businessman, who was in partnership with one Frank McNamara (this partnership was later dissolved). P.J. Dillon takes a lively interest in every aspect of life in Ennis, including politics. Judge J.D. Fitzgerald, O’Gorman Mahon, Capt. William Stacpoole, Fr. Matt Kenny, Ned Finucane, Wainright Crowe, Colman O’Loghlen, Marcus Keane and Dr. Bill Cullinan are mentioned - also C.B. Molony who unsuccessfully opposed Capt. Stacpoole in the Borough Election in July 1865 (you will see here a mention of Thady Lynch – who had been referred to by Considine in his Feb. 1863 speech):
July 12: C.B. Molony nominated as against Stacpoole at 9 o’clock in the Court House. Awful uproar and confusion ensued. Dean Kenny proposed and Talbot seconded Stacpoole amidst awful growling, yelling and hissing. Priests canvassing for Stacpoole.
July 13: The mob set drunk by Stacpoole. Tar barrels out and a great value for C.B. Molony. I was pressed hard to address the crowd out of Thady Lynch’s window but prudently declined.
There’s one entry, in early July 1865, mentioning Michael Considine:
witnessed the arrival of the O’Connell statue from Dublin: it was drawn into the town from the railway station by the Ennis Trades, and with Michael (Micky) Considine seated on it.[*]
*Here Kieran Sheedy refers to The Clare Elections, pp. 234-237. That book is out of print and expensive to buy now, so I will have to make an expedition to see it.

The entries in P.J. Dillon’s diary are short, but really interesting. If that period seems a bit of a blank to historians now, it was full of colour for P.J. Dillon then. It’s clear that no public position (e.g. Post Office) could be gained without going and kowtowing to various gentlemen. He knew the ropes and was successful, himself, in getting elected as a Town Commissioner (November 1868). There are very interesting entries, between 5 March and 16 March 1867, to do with the Fenian rising at that time. The town was in a state of high tension and nobody knew what to expect. He mentions the bad, snowy weather. On 11 March, he says,
All the town full of disunity and terror. Several arrests made in town. Police swearing in special constables. I refused candidly to be sworn in or in any way mixed up in either side. Got a dose of quinine for my head.
I found another article, which is relevant to the early 1850s rather than to the early 1860s, but the events described might the beginnings of a bitterness and division, which continued into the early 1860s: ‘Tenant Rights in County Clare in the 1850s’, by Ignatius Murphy (The Other Clare, Vol. 12, 1988). This mentions Tenant Rights meetings, 1850-1852, in Ennis, Feakle, Quin, Kilrush, Mountshannon among others. He says that Fr. Daniel Vaughan, before he became bishop of Killaloe, attended the Broadford meeting (June 1850) and declared,
It has been my lot to attend public meetings and private meetings also where the public interest was concerned, but I never attended a meeting of such importance as the present; the subject is of such vital importance that it is nothing less than a life and death question for the people of this country.
Murphy then describes a meeting in Ennis in October 1850 (and mentions that Stephen J. Meaney was one of the secretaries at the meeting):
After the tenant societies from all over the country came together to form the League of North & South in August 1850, some of the northern members were invited to Clare. As a result two Presbyterian ministers, Rev. Mr. Black and Rev. Mr. Rentoul, travelled south to Ennis and addressed a meeting there in October 1850. Also present was Frederick Lucas, one of the founders of the Irish Tenant League and proprietor of the Tablet newspaper. When a general election was called for the summer of 1852 Bishop Daniel Vaughan asked the people to support candidates who would be advocates of religious and civil liberty and tenant right….After the election of 1852 about forty Irish M.P.s were committed to the cause of tenant right and independent opposition in parliament. However, before long the movement began to disintegrate. Two of the M.P.s, William Keogh and John Sadlier, accepted office in the government of Lord Aberdeen, an action which was regared as an utter violation of their pledges. Bishop Vaughan was among those who condemned the office-takers for a violation of public morality. After that, other M.P.s gradually drifted away from their commitments, including the two for Clare.
Murphy doesn’t name “the two for Clare”.

Thanks again, Jim, for supplying those 1858 speeches.


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Re: Michael G. Considine and Daniel O'Connell

Post by Sduddy » Tue Oct 01, 2019 4:54 pm

Hi Jim, again

Well, I’ve been re-reading chapter 4 (‘Authority figures and popular politics: priests and police’) in ‘Peasants into Patriots’*, by Caroline Maguire, which is what I should have done in the first place. And I see that, on page 134, the unseemly row at the 1865 election, which is described by P.J. Dillon in his diary-entry of 12 July, is explained (though not fully enough for me). Maguire says that
The tension was perhaps aggravated by a recent dispute between the deanery of Ennis and the secretary of the Trades, who was alleged to have misappropriated funds collected for the erection of the O’Connell Monument, and who supported the rival candidate John Molony.
The candidate supported by the Dean (Matt Kenny) was Captain William Stacpoole. So it seems Michael Considine had switched support. But which came first, the allegation, or the switch to Molony? The allegation appears as far back as 1862 (in the Cullen papers in Dublin Archdiocese), so maybe that was the cause of the enmity, or part-cause, at least - we see on page 136 that the I.R.B. (Fenian movement) was making progress in Clare in the early 1860s, and Fr. Jeremiah Vaughan is given as an example of a priest who was an ally of the I.R.B.:
Father Vaughan emigrated to America in 1865 ‘with the avowed object of collecting funds to build a chapel, but from newspaper reports, he paid more attention to the Fenian movement, and attended many Fenian meetings in that country’ [note 49: Fenian Papers, Box Two, F2204; C.F., 19 Apr. 1862, 13 May 1865; C.J., 18 March 1859].
The visit to America starts eighteen months after Fr. Vaughan’s Dec. 1864 letter, so his activities in America may not explain the words used in his letter, unless he was already, in late 1864, losing faith in constitutional methods and, rather than supporting Liberal candidates, saw them as untrustworthy renegades. That’s just a theory, of course, and a powerful argument against it is John Martin’s known opposition to the Fenians - they had disrupted the meetings of the National League, the organisation founded by him in January of that year (1864), and Fr. Vaughan was a member, afterall, and was writing to John Martin as such. So I am still in the dark as to who the “corruptionists” are in late 1864, but suspect the mud-slinging in those years was an expression of a general feeling of disenchantment.

* 'Peasants into Patriots': https://dspace.mic.ul.ie/handle/10395/1024

By the way, my local library is getting Clare Elections for me and will text me when it arrives - the expedition is off.


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Re: Michael G. Considine and Daniel O'Connell

Post by Sduddy » Wed Oct 02, 2019 10:14 am

Hi Jim

Two corrections:
I wrote that Fr. Vaughan’s letter of Dec. 1864 came 18 months prior to his departure for America, but of course it was only 7 months (as you had already mentioned). Fr. Vaughan went in June 1865.

And apologies for quoting you as saying that priests would not have gone to fund-raise in America during the Civil War. I realise now that you said nothing of the sort! Your point was that fund-raising for a monument at a time when others were appealing for funds to alleviate hunger in Ireland (1862) would not have gone down well in America. I blame the length of that ‘Cry from Erin’ - by the time I had reached the end of it, I had forgotten the beginning of the posting.

Jim, this piece by Brian O’Dalaigh gives added colour to the scene at the inauguration of the O’Connell monument in Ennis in 1865: http://www.clarelibrary.ie/eolas/coclar ... annerc.htm
And this painting from 10 years later (1875) - ‘The O’Connell Centenary Celebrations’ by Charles Russell - shows how lovely the banners were: http://www.bridgesofdublin.ie/gallery/v ... tions-1875

You can see Nelson’s pillar in the background – this was the kind of thing Michael Considine and the Ennis Monument Committee wanted to match – if not outdo. Most people agree that such a tall pillar was not in keeping with the other buildings in Ennis, and, indeed, all wrong, architecturally speaking*, but I think we can understand where Considine and his friends were coming from.
I wonder if Michael Considine was at the Dublin celebrations, leading the Ennis Shoemakers?

* When I was looking through old issues of The Other Clare, I found a piece on the O’Connell monument in ‘The Old Courthouses of Ennis’, by Brian O Dalaigh, in The Other Clare, Vol. 10 (1986):
Part of the site was set aside for the erection of a monument in honour of Daniel O’Connell. Michael Considine was the moving spirit behind the project. He set up the Monument Committee and launched the appeal for funds. The financial success of the project was assured when Dr. Nicholas Power, Coadjutuor Bishop of Killaloe became Patron. The pedestal and column were erected by William Carroll, building contractor of Ennis. The statue was carved by James Cahill of Delvin Co. Westmeath and was inaugurated in September 1865.
Architecturally the monument was an unfortunate intrusion in The Square. It filled most inadequately the gap left in the roofline by the removal of the courthouse. In its present position the awkward bulk of the base is out of harmony with the surrounding structures. The column is too tall so that even if the statue has artistic merit, it is impossible to appreciate it.
An examination of the statue carried out in 2015 gave us this close-up picture of O'Connell's head:http://clareherald.com/2015/04/council- ... ent-43534/


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Re: Michael G. Considine and Daniel O'Connell

Post by Jimbo » Thu Oct 03, 2019 3:49 am

Hi Sheila,

I find the long speeches by Father Vaughan and Michael Considine most interesting. Especially, the many words from the 19th century, such as "Sassenach" (an Englishman), that have completely fallen out of use. Other phrases, such as "bite the dust", used by Father Vaughan in 1858, I'm surprised go so far back in time.

His Grace the Most Rev Dr Cullen subscribed £1 for the O'Connell Monument in November 1861 when Michael Considine visited Dublin on his lecture tour. "The column has been erected - the statue is nearly complete, and being perfected by an Irish artist in this city" was the project update from November 1861. Clearly false with regards to the column which was not completed until February 1863, and overly optimistic with regards to the statue. In August 1862, Michael Considine stated in the press that only £100 was required to pay the sculptor to finish the project. John Gray from the Freeman's Journal took the lead to raise this amount; there were numerous articles in the press with influential Dubliners donating. When £107 was achieved by September 1862, the surplus went towards the building of an O'Connell Monument in Dublin. From then on most reporting of new subscriptions was for the Dublin monument; Ennis had lost the spot light. The allegations of embezzlement of funds in the Cullen Papers at the Dublin Diocesan Archives are filed under July-December 1862; this is when the funding for the O'Connell Monument in Ennis was discovered to be entirely inadequate even after the final £100 was obtained.

The last stone for the column in Ennis was placed in February 1863. In October 1863, the controversy of the uncompleted O'Connell Monument played out in the national press with long letters from W.R. Wilde (FJ, 2 Oct 1863), John Gray (FJ, 2 Oct 1863), Michael Considine (FJ, 6 Oct 1863), and the sculptor James Cahill (FJ, 10 Oct 1863). There was no resolution to the dispute in 1863; James Cahill wanted to be paid for his work.

In September 1864, a meeting of priests was held in Ennis with the goal of forming a committee to complete the O'Connell Monument. Michael Considine does not appear to have been involved. Perhaps that is why Father Vaughan in December 1864 stated that Considine had "been badly treated by the Clare O'Connell Monument Committee", but given the financial fiasco of his prior involvement who could really blame the new committee.

At a Meeting of the Clergyman of the Deaconate of Ennis, at which Sir Colman O'Loghlen, M P, and Capatain W Stacpoole, M P, attended, held on Thursday, the 29th September, for the purpose of taking steps for completing the O'Connell Monument at Ennis, the Very Rev Dean KENNY in the Chair, the following resolutions were passed . . . .

That we agree to purchase for the sum of £225 from Mr Cahill the Statue of O'Connell which he has executed for the Clare Testimonial.

That as the purchase of the Statue, the erecting on the column, completion of the steps, &c, will cost about £400, of which £120 is in hands, a subscription list be opened to collect the balance.

That a Committee be formed for the purpose of carrying out the above resolutions, and that the Very Rev Dean Kenny be requested to act as Treasurer; the Rev J Vaughan and the Rev A Newport as Honorary Secretaries.

That the following gentlemen be requested to act as a Committee, and the Clergymen of the County be called to co-operate with them in soliciting subscriptions for the completion of the O'Connell Monument:

COMMITTTEE: [first column]: Sir Colman O'Loghlen, M P; Captain W Stacpoole, M P; Very Rev Dean Kenny, P P, VG; Very Rev Dr Power, P P and V G; Very Rev Dr Kelly, P P and V G; Very Rev Dr Sheehan, P P and V G; Rev D Corbett, P P; [second column]: Rev M Dinan, P P; Rev M Roughan, P P; Rev T Quinn, P P; Rev P Quade, P P; Rev M O'Connor, P P; Rev J McMahon, P P; Rev J Vaughan, P P; Rev M Bugler, P P; Rev M Power, P P, Lisdoonvarna.

[subscription list, including Sir Colman O'Loghlen and Capt W Stacpoole, both for £25; the priests' subscription amounts were for £1]

The Freeman's Journal, Dublin, 10 October 1864
In light of the allegations of corruption associated with Michael Considine from the 1860's, we might want to reconsider his nickname "Dirty Mick". Sheila, you were hesitant to make reference to the below report "Disturbed Clare" written by Bernard Becker in 1880 as it was written mockingly and made a caricature of Michael Considine. But wasn't the joke being played really on Mr. Becker himself?
. . . . Of the latter by far the most eminent is a certain man named in newspaper reports M. G. Considine, Esq., but better known to his fellow-citizens as ‘Dirty Mick.’ Mr Considine is a fine specimen of the good old crusted Irish patriot. He has pursued patriotism ever since the day of Daniel O'Connell, and it redounds greatly to his honour that he is now as poor as when he started in that profession.
This Milesian Diogenes is in many respects the most remarkable man in County Clare, after, if not before, The O'Gorman Mahon himself. He is also the dirtiest. But the grime on Mr Considine has a romantic origin. It is the fakir's robe of filth. When he was only a budding patriot the great Liberator once kissed him. Mr Considine determined that the cheek sanctified by the embrace of O'Connell should never again be profaned by water, that the kiss should never be washed off. Without speculating as to the degree of cleanliness previously favoured by Mr Considine, it must be conceded that it is very difficult to wash day by day, or week by week, as the case may be, round a certain spot on one cheek which, moreover, would soon get out of harmony with the remainder of the countenance. It is easier, ‘wiser, better far,’ to bring the whole face into harmony with the sacred sunny side of it.

This has been done; and the result is a picture worthy of Murillo or Zurbaran. From the grimy but handsome well-cut face gleam a pair of bright, marvelously bright blue eyes, and the voice which bids welcome to the stranger is curiously sweet and sonorous. Mr Considine is quite the best speaker here, and his summons will always bring an audience to Ennis. One enthusiast said to me, ‘Whin he dies, may the heaven be his bed, and his statue should be beside O’Connell’s in Ennis.’ Now this model patriot, whom every one must perforce respect for his perfect honesty and disinterestedness, keeps a wretched little shop in a trumpery cabin. His stock-in-trade consists of a few newspapers, his pantry holds but potatoes. Yet he is a great power in Ennis, and the candidate for that borough who neglected him would fare badly. I am not insinuating that any charge of venality can attach to him. Quite the contrary. He is admitted to be a perfectly disinterested citizen by those most opposed to him socially and politically. He is not only one of those who have kept the sacred fire of agitation burning since the days of O’Connell, but he is possessor of relics of ‘98. He owns and dons upon the occasion the Vinegar Hill uniform, and has ‘98 flags by him to air on great days. By dint of sheer honesty and truthfulness this poor grimy old man has become actually one of the chiefs of County Clare. . . .

Excerpt from The Disturbed Clare, by Bernard Becker, 1880
http://www.clarelibrary.ie/eolas/coclar ... becker.htm
During the search for the missing Thomas McNamara, we found Bernard Becker on the same visit to County Clare leaving the O'Callaghan estate at Maryfort and visiting a local pub in a winter storm. His method of obtaining information was to buy a local man a drink and get the local gossip:
http://www.ourlibrary.ca/phpbb2/viewtop ... &start=285

When in Ennis, Bernard Becker appears to have been more successful than his visit leaving Maryfort where the man in the pub would not even acknowledge his presence. In Ennis, Becker, an outsider, probably bought a local man at a pub a drink, and then asked him what was the meaning of Michael Considine's nickname "Dirty Mick". Instead of telling Becker the true story of corruption, the man, most likely a supporter of the "great patriot", makes up a fun story about Michael Considine never washing. And Becker falls for it hook, line, and sinker. Does anyone really believe the story that Michael Considine never washed because he was kissed on the cheek by Daniel O'Connell as a young boy? The meaning of "Dirty" in the context of Michael Considine is "corrupt" and not "unclean". Sheila, when you are raised on songs and stories, heroes of renown, the passing tales of the glories that once was County Clare can be challenging to view in a critical light. Since your original posting back in 2016, many of the "facts" about Michael Considine don't appear very accurate: (1) he did in fact marry, and died a widower; (2) he never went to America to fundraise for the O'Connell Monument, outside of Ireland he only mentions going to England - although I can find no third party evidence of this; (3) his green coat that he wore at the O'Connell inauguration in 1865 was not given to him by Daniel O'Connell, but according to him was from Irish supporters in 1862 (4) and now the story of the origin of his nickname "Dirty Mick" as described by Bernard Becker in 1880 is, I reckon, pretty dubious.

The third point regarding the green jacket needs to be more thoroughly revisited. Michael Considine in his speech at the completion of the O'Connell column in February 1863 mentions "London" three times. I misinterpreted one reference to London and question the others:

1) "The Irish abroad do not forget faith and fatherland. I saw Irish pluck and Irish spirit proved not long since at Hyde- park. Yes. It was [unclear word] at Fontenoy. (Cheers for the Irishmen in London.)".

His comment is in reference to the Garibaldian Riots in Hyde Park of October 1862. A pro-Garibaldi demonstration was met with violence by Irish Catholic laborers living in London who supported the Pope. Michael Considine read about this in the newspapers, he was not actually there. Just like he was not part of the Irish Brigade at the Battle of Fontenoy in 1745.

2) "The people of Clare owed a deep debt of gratitude to Dr. Gray and the liberal press of Dublin for the £100 to pay for it when finished, and also to the Priests, Nationalists, and Irishmen of London, and the Catholic and Liberal press of that city for the last stone of the column that they saw to-day raised to the top".

This sentence is poorly written and doesn't make much sense. Who were the Catholic and Liberal press of London in the early 1860's? Michael Considine's final fundraising drive was in Dublin, why was he thanking the priests and nationalists of London? The newspaper(s) was clearly in error and it should have simply read:

"The people of Clare owed a deep debt of gratitude to Dr. Gray and the liberal press of Dublin for the £100 to pay for it when finished, and also to the Priests, Nationalists, and Irishmen of that city for the last stone of the column that they saw to-day raised to the top".

3) "on the day of the inauguration . . . . that he would then wear the suit of green he was presented with by the Nationalists and Irishmen of London".

Was Michael Considine given the green suit by Irishmen living in London? Or did the newspaper make another mistake and it should have stated "by the Nationalists and Irishmen of Dublin"? When the financial controversy of the O'Connell Monument played out in the Irish newspapers in October 1863, Michael Considine's letter mentioned his "sacrificing three years of my time, travelling through several parts of England and Ireland to raise the statue to O'connell." The British press had an absolute field day with this comment, highlighting that Ireland couldn't raise the funds for an O'Connell monument and had to go to England. But unlike his other lectures in Ireland, which were reported in the Irish, British, and American press, I could not find any newspaper record of Michael Considine ever having given a fundraising lecture in England.

Father Jeremiah Vaughan in December 1864 stated that Michael Considine had "nobly stood aloof from the allurements of seduction in Ennis." Bernard Becker in Disturbed Ireland (page 213) provides a few clues as to the allurements in Ennis which are not as exciting as one would expect: "Not only the provisions merchants, but the drapers and milliners of Limerick, Ennis, and Galway, will hold out allurements to those in possession of ready money." Michael Considine certainly had access to ready money:

The friends and admirers Mr. Michael Considine, of Ennis, have taken steps to present him with a purse of gold, as a mark of their appreciation of his private and public worth and incorruptible integrity.

Irish American, New York, 17 September 1859
So far our discussion of Michael Considine neglects his involvement in the Nationalist fight against Archbishop Cullen of Dublin during 1864. It is difficult to tell the story of Michael Considine without reference to Father Jeremiah Vaughan and Father Patrick Lavelle. The "divisions between the priests and Michael Considine" from the Caroline Maguire thesis, appears to have been first and foremost a division between Archbishop Cullen of Dublin and the nationalist priests Father Vaughan & Father Lavelle.

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Re: Michael G. Considine and Daniel O'Connell

Post by Sduddy » Thu Oct 03, 2019 10:22 am

Hi Jim

Well, it’s not looking good for Michael Considine, but there’s a couple of things that I can put forward in his defence. In this country we often hear of added expenses, which were not factored in in the original estimate, and I think this might have been the case with the O’Connell monument. I suspect, for instance, that the set of steps at the base was an afterthought. When you look at the monument, you can see that there’s a plinth at the base of the column, just like the plinth at the base of Nelson’s pillar, but Nelson’s pillar is not surrounded by steps and I feel sure that steps were not (initially) part of the plan for the O’Connell monument either. The O’Connell monument is set upon a slope, so maybe the steps were added as a kind of buttress.

It’s clear that a new committee was formed in 1863 and that Michael Considine was not included, so it does appear that his performance had been unsatisfactory in some way. But I think it would be a mistake to assume that although he was alleged to have embezzled funds he had actually done so. It may be that, through his speechifying, he had made enemies, who looked and saw that he had not kept proper account of donations, and found a handy weapon with which to hit him.

I don’t agree that the “Dirty” in “Dirty Mick” signifies corruption. I don’t think that people used the word in that sense at that time – or, at least, that when used as part of a nickname, it denoted corruption. I remember hearing of eating-houses in Ennis, one run by “Dirty Mary”, and the other by “Clean Mary” (pronounced “Clane”). I don’t know how those nicknames originated, but I don’t believe there was anything sinister intended.

I agree that Michael Considine probably never went to America (this idea seems to have originated in the family folklore as a explanation for the harp on the lapel of his coat), and I agree that he may never have gone to England, although Rev. O’Hanlon, who wrote the report for the Dublin Committee, seemed convinced that he had.

But, as for the mistake re his widowhood, that was mine entirely. I think the record of his death was not available online at the time of my initial posting, and, just because he seemed to have no children (to inherit the coat), I assumed he wasn’t married.


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Re: Michael G. Considine and Daniel O'Connell

Post by Jimbo » Fri Oct 04, 2019 6:21 am

Hi Sheila,

Yes, indeed there were "added expenses" for the O'Connell Monument. In 1866, who should pay for the construction of railing around the monument made its way to the courts. Pay special attention to the legal precedent stated by Mr. O'Loghlen that the county should be responsible and who is mentioned:
Mr. Fitzgibbon - If your lordship pleases, there is one on the schedule respecting the construction of a railing around the O'Connell Monument, which is opposed, inasmuch as the work required ought not to be taxed upon the county; the expense ought to be defrayed by the inhabitants of Ennis, who are locally interested in the matter.

. . . . [The judge was Chief Baron. Mr. Fitzgibbon represented Mr. John Stockpoole. Mr. O'Loghlen represented the Rev. Mr. Kenny, and Mr. Barry, Chairman of the Town Commissioners]. . . .

Mr. Fitzgibbon then proceeded to argue the case, and contended that the court ought not to sanction the presentment, as the work required to be done did not come within the provisions of the statute. The monument to O'Connell had been erected by public subscription, and it was the duty of those who subscribed towards it to have erected a railing and gateway. The county ought not to be taxed with the expense, as it was not a hole or place dangerous to the public safety.

Mr. O'Loghlen - It is true that the monument was erected by public subscription, but the portion of the place which requires to be railed in, as dangerous to the public safety, belongs to the county.

Mr. Fitzgibbon - My lord, I deny in toto that there is any danger to the public.

A good deal of argument followed, the learned judge intimating that, from all he had heard, the presentment did not come under the provisions of the statute, and ought therefore to be nilled. However, he would receive evidence to substantiate that the expense of the railing ought to be imposed upon the county.

Mr. Fitzgibbon - My lord, there is included in the presentment the erection of a gateway, and surely that is not provided for by the statute.

Chief Baron - I will not decide the case until I have some evidence before me. As far as presumption goes, I am of opinion that the work ought to be done by subscription, and for my part I would willingly put my hand in my pocket for the purpose.

Mr. O'Loghlen - With every respect to your lordship, I beg to state that the portion of the ground where this railing is required, though surrounding the O'Connell monument, belongs altogether to the county, as is evident by the fact that the grand jury as a body had to take proceedings upon behalf of the county against a man named Considine, who built, or held a hut there, in order to get him therefrom.

Chief Baron - I have stated my impression, but, as I mentioned, I will leave the matter open for evidence. Indeed the subscribers ought to have the work done. I will have no objection to contribute towards it.

The matter then dropped.

The Freeman's Journal, Dublin, 5 March 1866
Regarding the nickname "Dirty Mick" for Michael Considine. A search of any newspaper archive for the term "dirty politician" erases any doubt that the term "dirty" was used as "corrupt" as early as the 18th century. Below is an excerpt from the 1850's:
Politicians, unscrupulous and dirty politicians by profession - men, who make politics a trade and who barter away their principles for office as they do their chattels for money. . . (The Buffalo Daily Republic, 22 July 1856)
Michael Considine, Secretary of the Ennis Trades, was a shoemaker and later a news agent by occupation. He was also a "popular political figure in the town of Ennis". "As secretary of the Trades, it was apparent that Considine gained a place for himself in almost every political event" ("Peasants into Patriots", by Caroline Maguire, 2001).

Elections in County Clare were very corrupt. I don't want to limit by decade, but certainly in the 1860's the Clare elections were noted as corrupt. Sheila, you'll no doubt enjoy reading "Clare Elections" when it arrives at your local library. I've stumbled across "The Clare Election Petition", a select committee of the House of Commons that met in March 1860 to investigate allegations of corruption in the previous Clare election. Fascinating testimony of a dozen or so witnesses who claim they were paid to travel from their farms into Ennis to vote for certain candidates. Here are a few typical witnesses (a man named Considine is mentioned, and this led to my discovery, but I don't think he is "Dirty Mick"):
Martin Flynn - I am a farmer and live at Illane, in the county Clare; I was canvassed in the village of Miltown by the under-agent of Sir Edward Fitzgerald, my landlord; his name is Considine; he said we were all expected by our landlord to vote for Colonel Vandeleur and Mr. Calcutt; I came into Ennis to poll on the second day of the election; before I polled I saw a man named Morris, clerk to the agent of Sir Edward Fitzgerald; a man named Nagle passed at the time; I saw him paying some money to other people and asked whether that was for their expenses, and he said it was, and I then said "You may as well give me my expenses also," and he gave me 2l.; I polled for Colonel White and Mr. Calcutt; Nagle afterwards said, "You did not vote for Colonel Vandeleur," and I said, "No, I did not;" he said, "Then you have got too much money; you ought to give me back some of it;" "indeed I won't," said I, "If I am to have my expenses I have not got too much" (laughter)

Cross-examined - I had to come about 24 English miles to Ennis; I rode my own horse, and I cannot say whether I returned that evening or the following.

John Curtin examined through the interpreter - I am a voter of Clare; I voted for Colonel Vandeleur and Colonel White; I know Michael Kenny well; I got 2l. from him after I voted, but I was promised more; it was Michael O'Brien (Kenny's man) who promised me the price of a cow for myself and my son; Kenny put the 2l. on the table before me; Michael Finn and James O'Brien were the one before and the one after me when I got the money; there was a good deal of money on the table where I was paid; it was in bank notes; I do not know the name of the house in Ennis where this occurred.

Cross- examined - When I got the money my name was called out, and Kenny's man, who paid me, said, "Put that in your pocket" and I stuck it in my pocket accordingly (laughter). I live about 14 miles from Ennis.

Excerpts from "The Clare Election Petition", The Freeman's Journal, Dublin, 12 March 1860
As far as "Dirty Mary" and "Clean Mary", who both owned kitchens, I could see that the nickname was associated with cleanliness. However, Michael Considine was a politician, a profession synonymous with corruption, and thus I reckon was the origin of the nickname "Dirty Mick". Since Michael Considine was heavily involved in local politics, this nickname could have been earned irrespective of any allegations of embezzlement associated with the O'Connell Monument. The story told to Bernard Becker in 1880 about Michael Considine being called "Dirty Mick" because he was kissed by Daniel O'Connell and never washed is all rather silly and was clearly a joke.

In February 1863 when the last stone was placed on the column of the O'Connell Monument, Michael Considine gave a fine speech. His main theme was that the completion of the column showed what unified working men could accomplish. "Little did these Whig advocates think that the voice and exertions of working men would succeed, but thank God, we today proved what working men could do for Ireland, if honestly and legally united and true to their cause." And what they could achieve in the future, "what Irishmen, if honestly and legally united could do for Ireland, and not waiting for place hunters and low aristocrats to get them liberty." But by 1863 didn't they actually prove that the working men of Ennis could not get such a large project done without the support of the Ennis elite? Back in 1858 and 1859, Michael Considine railed against the Ennis town council in trying to bring a Russian gun into Ennis using very strong language in attacking local politicians. Was this a smart approach to obtain funding from the wealthy and merchant classes in Ennis for the O'Connell monument? By February 1863 when Michael Considine gave his speech, the construction of the O'Connell Monument could hardly be described as a success. In September 1864, a new Ennis O'Connell Monument Committee was formed, led by Captain W. Stockpoole, MP, Sir Colman O'Loghlen, MP, and many parish priests. Michael Considine was no longer a member.

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Re: Michael G. Considine and Daniel O'Connell

Post by Sduddy » Fri Oct 04, 2019 4:27 pm

Hi Jim

Yes, you are so right not to limit corruption in electioneering to any particular decade, since we hear about it every day! About your theory that the “Dirty” in “Dirty Mick” denotes corruption, I’m not at all convinced that’s the case. Would not several more people in the political scene have also earned that nickname? plus what evidence of corruption, apart from an allegation, has been fastened on Michael?

Anyway, Michael Considine seems to have survived the ejectment by the O’Connell Monument Committee and was still in his place at the head of the Shoemakers Guild, as shown by those thumbnails from the Freeman’s Journal already quoted by me:
Tuesday 9th Aug. 1864. Freeman’s Journal, p, 2,3,5,6,7. “O’Connell” “…Trades of Ennis: Mr. Michael Considine (who wore a green uniform), represented the trades of Ennis, and had a seat in the carriage of the shoemakers of the town”

Tuesday 2nd Jan.1872. Freeman’s Journal, p. 2,3. “London Correspondence” The Ennis train brought up the band of the congregated trades, headed by the secretary, Mr. Michael Considine, who was dressed in the old green uniform of O’Connell’s Repeal Association”

Thursday 10th Jan. 1878, Freeman’s Journal. P 7. The Released Political Prisoners. …a magnificent torchlight procession, organised and carried out by Mr. Michael G. Considine, secretary of the trades ..”

I’ve been reading more of C. Maguire’s thesis, and keep finding bits that I don’t remember reading before. I think this is because the transformation of peasants to patriots is described by theme, rather than chronologically, and so you must look in every chapter for the bits pertaining to a particular period. So, in chapter 5 (‘The role of individuals in popular politicisation’), along with the piece (pp. 168-169) on Michael Considine, already quoted above, is the following piece (pp. 190-191):
At Amnesty demonstrations [for the release of Fenian prisoners] staged in Ennis in the late 1860s, the secretary of the Trades, Michael Considine, employed both Catholic funerary and nationalist imagery ….’
And, in chapter 6 (‘Associationism, social clubs and politics’), there are a couple of mentions of demonstrations by the Trades of Ennis. Writing on the election of O’Donovan Rossa (Fenian) for Tipperary, in 1869, Maguire describes celebrations around County Clare, and says that in Ennis the event was organised by the artisans who composed the Ennis Trades (p. 210). And following the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War in 1870,
a demonstration was held in Ennis by the Trades, expressing sympathy ‘with the emperor and people of glorious France in the present war with Prussia’... In Ennis, the Trades staged a colourful demonstration through the town – complete with bands, banners and displays ....(p. 210)
Whether Michael Considine was present at either of these demonstrations is not stated, but I think there's a good chance that he was.

This piece in Chapter 3 (‘The impact of the Irish Republican Brotherhood’) is not about the Ennis Trades, but I’m quoting it here because it brought to mind the harp on the lapel of the coat kept by the Considines:
At a demonstration to mark St. Patrick’s Day in the villages of Tulla and Scariff, East Clare, in 1874 – at which Fenian members were present – the constabulary took note of the ‘disloyal songs’ and ‘seditious emblems’ sported by the crowds at these celebrations. In Tulla five hundred people took part in a demonstration at which national airs were played, the processionists carried green flags, banners bearing nationalist mottoes and wore green scarves bound with orange and bearing a harp. (pp. 95-96)
Michael Considine did not live to see the unveiling of the ‘Maid of Erin’ (the monument to the Manchester Martyrs) in 1886, but he is associated with it in some way and I am hoping to find out a bit more about that.

Now this is only remotely connected with Michael Considine: I've been looking for a link to the painting of the old courthouse in Ennis, ‘Market Day, Ennis’ by William Turner de Londe, and found this one. I wish it was bigger, but it's the best I can do. The painting shows the old courthouse as it was in 1825, before it began to crumble: http://www.artnet.com/artists/william-t ... SArkJvCPA2. It is owned privately I think. It is used for the front cover illustration for The Oxford Illustrated History of Ireland, edited by R.F. Foster (Oxford University Press, 1989). And there is a very good print of it included in 'Ennis: Irish Historic Towns Atlas. No. 25', by Brian Ó Dálaigh (Royal Irish Academy, 2012).


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