Michael G. Considine and Daniel O'Connell

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Re: Michael G. Considine and Daniel O'Connell

Post by Jimbo » Sat Oct 05, 2019 4:27 am

Hi Sheila,

I reckon nicknames were fairly common among the Irish in the 19th century . Sharon provided a link to a great list of nicknames used by the Irish of Buffalo, New York in the 1800's. The listing includes a "Dirty Shirt" McGee:


But the nicknames for most people would have not been recorded and are unfortunately lost in time. The Irish and British newspapers appear far more formal than American newspapers, so we don't learn of many nicknames. Michael Considine frequently got his name in the newspaper, but we never see him being referred to as "Dirty Mick" in the newspapers during his lifetime. We only learn of his nickname through "The Disturbed Clare" by Bernard Becker in 1880. Michael Considine was given this special treatment by Becker since he was such a popular man in Ennis.

Aside from the allegations of embezzlement of funds for the O'Connell Monument, and the fact that Michael Considine was a well-known political figure during a time of corrupt politics, I get the sense that "Dirty Mick" was in reference to corruption based on how he was typically referred to in the press. At the start of the fundraising campaign for the O'Connell Monument in 1859, Michael Considine when presented with a purse of gold from his friends and admirers (an easy method of money laundering embezzled funds?), he was described as having "incorruptible integrity." In Father Vaughan's letter of December 1864 to John Martin, Michael Considine was described as "earnest and honest" as well as "that incorruptible man". Did his admirers feel the need to describe Michael Considine as "incorruptible" since he was more well known in County Clare as "Dirty Mick", a nickname alluding to corruption?

Michael Considine was very popular in Ennis and I reckon the nickname "Dirty Mick" was used among his friends and supporters. There may have even been an added joke to the name. A "Dirty Mick" in America was a derogatory term for an Irishman or a Catholic. It must date back to the 1850's, when America was very anti-Irish and the Know Nothing movement was strong. The Irish were likely aware of its use in America back in the day. Frequently negative terms are adopted by those being ridiculed and this could have been the case for Michael Considine's nickname. A great example of this is with the negative stereotype of the Irish as always angry and fighting. The University of Notre Dame adopted "The Fighting Irish" for their nickname as well as leprechaun mascot, who like Michael Considine wears a green suit:
Notre Dame Fighting Irish logo.png
Notre Dame Fighting Irish logo.png (42.76 KiB) Viewed 17868 times
I reckon most Americans today would not be familiar with the term "Dirty Mick". The below newspaper's letter to the editor is a good example of its use and the continued anti-Irish prejudice well into the 20th century. It was written just one week shy of 100 years ago, but still sounds oddly familiar:
Time to Wake Up.

GARDENA, Oct. 13 - [To the Editor of The Times:] Don't you think it is about time for the American people to wake up? Are we going to have this country run by Americans or by a bunch of "Irish Micks?" It is getting so that a decent man cannot work and make a living for himself and family without some dirty "Mick" trying to beat him up. I noticed in today's Times where an American at the harbor was attacked by two "Micks" and a Mexican. It seems that he fought back and struck all three with a knife. Well, he did just right! I wish we had a few more like him. My ancestors fought in the French and Indian wars. Another was a captain in the war of 1776. His son was a captain in the war of 1812, my grandfather, a Yankee soldier was killed in the Civil War. Look at the names of the strike leaders. Nine out of every ten are "Mick." Who blew up The Times Building?** What is Mooney? The answer to all of this is they are "Micks." But what are we going to do about it? President Wilson has a "Mick" as a private secretary. Mrs. Wilson while on a trip to France had "Micks" exclusively as her ladies in waiting, appointed by the Knights of Columbus. When the Legislature of this country declares in favor of home rule in Ireland it is enough to make any decent American almost ashamed of his country. I have noticed The Times always prints the news regardless of whose toes it hurts and I am sending this in with the hope that it gets before the American people. Let us try and keep this land what its founders intended it should be.

Los Angeles Times, 16 October 1919
** Sheila, please allow me just a quick historical footnote since it has a likely County Clare connection. It might be surprising that the Los Angeles Times would print such a letter in 1919, but it was a very conservative newspaper 100 years ago. Its owners, the Otis and Chandler families, were very anti-union which made them a target for socialists and anarchists. On the 1st of October of 1910, the Los Angeles Times building was blown up killing 20 employees of the newspaper. Two brothers, James B McNamara and John J McNamara, members of the Iron Workers Union, were found guilty of the crime. They were defended by the lawyer Clarence Darrow (famous for the Scopes "Monkey" Trial). The McNamara trial was known as the "trial of the century" which certainly makes researching the surname McNamara difficult in newspaper archives starting in 1910.

Highly recommend the book "American Lightning" by Howard Blum if interested in this case. Although the book doesn't research the likely County Clare ancestry of the McNamara family which is a bit disappointing.

Here is John J McNamara (age 33; a laborer, "Structural Iron Work") boarding in Indianapolis, Indiana in the 1910 Census - only six months prior to the bombing:

And his Irish born widowed mother, Mary Teresa McNamara (maiden name Donlan or Doolan?) and children including James B McNamara (age 26) living in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1910. I believe their Irish born father John A McNamara (born 1849) died sometime between 1900 and 1910:

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Re: Michael G. Considine and Daniel O'Connell

Post by Jimbo » Sun Oct 06, 2019 5:56 am

Hi Sheila, again

My theory on the origin of "Dirty Mick", the honest and incorruptible Michael Considine's nickname, is not to say, of course, that he would be corrupt in a manner that would benefit himself. I believe that Michael Considine was incorruptible as far as his values, which were to always support the working men of Ireland. And when he wanted to ensure an election victory of his favored candidate, who supported these values, I reckon Michael Considine would not shy away from playing dirty politics and perhaps even buying a few votes. Hence, the nickname "Dirty Mick". This is a theory, of course, but one that is surely more believable than Michael Considine being kissed on the cheek by Daniel O'Connell as a child and then never washing himself.

Michael Considine was Secretary of the Ennis Trades, which sounds likes a modern day union boss who would also be involved in political campaigns. Both the bombing of the LA Times building in 1910 and the attack at the LA harbor in 1919, mentioned in my last posting, involved Irish-American and Irish union members. Michael Considine never used violence, but these two incidents do show the strong allegiance of union members to the cause of workers' rights.

The two brothers, John J. McNamara and James B. McNamara, took their Iron Workers Union activities to an extreme and finally murderous level in placing bombs at several non-union building sites (with no casualties) and then subsequently at the LA Times Building in 1910 where 20 people died. A memorial for those who were killed is at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery adjacent to the Otis & Chandler family plot:
https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/891 ... g_memorial

The American fellow who was attacked in 1919 by "two Micks and a Mexican" wasn't just randomly attacked at San Pedro, the harbor area of Los Angeles. According to the LA Times, Charles L. Curtis had crossed the pickets lines when he was attacked in a riot at the shipbuilding dock by three striking workers, who he then stabbed. "The injured men are Pat Sheehan, 25; P. L. McLaughlin, 27; and Santiago Rodriguez, 27. They all reside at San Pedro and are boilermakers. Sheehan was stabbed in the back. One of his lungs was punctured and he may die..." Fortunately, Patrick Francis Sheehan survived; he died in 1969 in California at the age of 85 years old. He was from Ballyduff, Kilmeadon in County Waterford, one of 11 Sheehan children reported in the 1901 census:
http://www.census.nationalarchives.ie/p ... t/1759365/

Michael Considine was responsible for the original idea in 1858 for building an O'Connell Monument at the old court house instead of putting a Russian gun there. But by 1859, the speeches of Michael Considine were mostly focused on the election of that year. From the testimony of witnesses at the Clare Election Committee of March 1860 that investigated allegations of corruption during the 1859 election, there was certainly a lot of money floating around to pay for voter "expenses" (see excerpts from page 2). If Michael Considine had access to the O'Connell Monument cash flows, would he have hesitated to use those funds to support candidates that would support the working classes? Sheila, when you receive from the library the book "Clare Elections" by Kieran Sheedy, it will be interesting to read if the author mentions Michael Considine or has researched the source of the money paid to voters.

The below newspaper article from 1847 mentions a Michael Considine of Ennis and also the participation of the "body of congregated trades". I'm fairly certain that this would be Michael Considine, the shoemaker, who would have been about 33 years old. If this is indeed the case, it would be the earliest newspaper reporting of his political involvement that we've discovered Michael Considine being mentioned so far:
The Limerick and Clare Examiner contains the following account of the unexpected state of affairs in the borough of Ennis: -

" 'O'GORMAN MAHON' AND THE BOROUGH OF ENNIS - On Yesterday (Friday) the inhabitants of Ennis, including the body of congregated trades, accompanied by the several Roman Catholic clergymen of the surrounding parishes, formed a procession, with band, and banners, to welcome O'Gorman Mahon on his return to his native county to see the suffrages of the constituency of Ennis. He had arrived on Friday from Paris at the hospitable mansion of Firgrove the seat of J. M'Mahon, Esq., (D.L.). At two o'clock the procession met the object of their greeting, and such was their delight on seeing him once more restored to them in all the vigour of health, energy, and intellectual power, that they removed the horses from the landau in which he traveled, and drew it amidst the most deafening and enthusiastic cheers into the town of Ennis. Messrs. M'Mahon, jun., William Lardner, P. Ryan, M.D., and Michael Considine occupied the carriage with the honourable gentleman. When the vast procession reached the Court-house, O'Gorman Mahon addressed his old friends. From all we can learn we understand that his Repeal politics are of the most determined kind, and that he will come in as a mediator between Young and Old Ireland. After the result of the most minute inquiries we are informed that there is very little doubt of his return. On the other hand the Venerable Dean O'Shaughnessy is, it has been rumoured, canvassing for Captain M'Namara. They are both repealers, and should cast up numbers to see which had the majority, and not put the borough to the annoyance and bitterness of a contest."

No liberal candidate has yet been announced for this city.

The Morning Chronicle, London, 13 July 1847
The Clare Library has an article on "The O'Gorman Mahon" entitled "Duellist, Politician, Soldier and Adventurer", but it has a few facts incorrect, namely "He returned to Ireland in 1852 for the general election but was defeated by 13 votes". The wikipedia article for James Patrick Mahon appears more accurate in stating, "At the 1847 general election, Mahon was elected for Ennis, and declared himself a Whig in favour of Irish Repeal. However, he opposed the Young Irelanders, and narrowly lost his seat at the 1852 election".

http://www.clarelibrary.ie/eolas/coclar ... gorman.htm

The politics of Michael Considine are confusing as far as which party and candidates he supported and when. The O'Gorman Mahon was a member of the Whig Party, and in many of Considine's speeches he attacked the Whigs. "I opposed [in 1858] 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" he stated in the speech when the last stone of the O'Connell column was raised. But this was much later, perhaps Michael Considine supported the Whigs in 1847 and 1852?

The O'Gorman Mahon lost the 1852 election to J.D. Fitzgerald, from the Liberal Party. Michael Considine was certainly not a fan of Fitzgerald who as attorney general in 1858 was prosecuting two Catholic priests. When Fitzgerald was burned in effigy in Ennis in March 1859, Michael Considine gave a speech to the mob from his window.

From the speeches of Father Vaughan, I believe he and Michael Considine supported Francis McNamara Calcutt in the 1859 election who ran as an Independent and lost. One of the witnesses at the Clare Election investigation stated that "we were all expected by our landlord to vote for Colonel Vandeleur and Mr. Calcutt" and would be reimbursed accordingly for their "expenses". Where did this money come from?


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Re: Michael G. Considine and Daniel O'Connell

Post by Sduddy » Mon Oct 07, 2019 3:31 pm

Hi Jim

Michael Considine is described as Secretary to the Trades of Ennis, but I don’t think the Trades were a Trade Union exactly. I think they were closer to the old Trade Guilds. Trade Guilds were no longer officially part of the municipal corporation of Ennis by the mid nineteenth century*, but it seems they had continued to live on independently and were still finding some purpose for their existence, or, at least, Michael Considine was finding some purpose. I think that most modern Trade Unions in Ireland were branches of English Trade Unions (rather than a continuation of the old Trade Guilds), and I think their presence was not really felt until the beginning of the 20th century - this slow development might be due to the lack of industrialization. So Michael Considine, in the 1850s and 60s, was not speaking as a Trade Unionist, but he was probably influenced by developments among working people in other countries, and by the writings of their leaders, and I think he was reflecting a growing consciousness of the power of working people to change things.

*Appendix to the first Report of the Commissioners on Municipal Corporations in Ireland [1835] Part I - Clare, Ennis. Page 310:
There are not any Guilds of Trades at present existing in Ennis. The ancient bye-laws of the proceedings of the provost and jury contain provisions respecting such bodies, which appear to have been established, and masters and wardens of them appointed under orders made in the years 1701 and 1728. Those provisions restricted the exercise of trades to persons free of the fraternity. We did not discover any subsequent evidence of their existence as distinct bodies, and the internal trade of the town is now unrestricted.
About election expenses: the men who went forward for election were expected to pay their own expenses, which were often huge (they included drinks for voters), and so only gentlemen of some means could put themselves forward. Going into politics was the preserve of the rich (it contributed to some not-so-rich families going into serious debt).

It seems that Michael Considine was one of those who became disenchanted with those MPs who had promised to support the cause of Repeal, and Tenant Right, and had promised to remain independent of the attractions of “jobbery” in Parliament (which both the Whigs and Tories held out in return for support) until their demands were heard and taken seriously, But, who, instead, gradually drifted back to their old ways and their old alliances (after all, jobbery was the only return they got for the expense being an M.P.) and, therefore, many of their supporters were disappointed. I think J. D. Fitzgerald must have been one of those who disappointed his supporters.

The description “Whig” and “Liberal” can apply to one person, depending of what stage of his political career you are speaking about – see this Wikipedia entry for an explanation (scroll down to “Transition to Liberal Party”): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whigs_(Br ... cal_party)
This Wikipedia article gives the members of parliament for Clare: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clare_(UK ... stituency)
And this Wikipedia article gives the members of parliament for the Borough of Ennis: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ennis_(UK ... stituency). The latter is the most helpful in discussing the life and times of Michael Considine.

Thank you, Jim, for that early 1847 mention of Michael Considine. It must have been a great honour to be in the same carriage as The O’Gorman Mahon.


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Re: Michael G. Considine and Daniel O'Connell

Post by Jimbo » Tue Oct 08, 2019 6:21 am

Hi Sheila,

Thank you, those wikipedia links were very helpful to understand the different political parties.

Here is a speech by Michael Considine supporting free trade and tenant rights from January 1850:
(From a Correspondent of the Limerick and Clare Examiner)

ENNIS, FRIDAY EVENING, JAN. 11 [1850] - It is a pithy aphorism, and a wise one, that "a prudent retreat is better than a bad fight." The Clare landlords - impressed with its truthfulness - having before their eyes the recent discomfiture of their brethren in Limerick, and knowing the materiel they had had to encounter in the people of Ennis and the adjoining districts, with much good sense, but, at the same time, with much regret, reduced the maxim to practice. There has been no meeting.

On my arrival here this morning, the streets were crowded to excess with country squires, country clergymen, and country farmers. The squires looking sad and sorrowful, and the clergymen, farmers, and townspeople, expressing gratulations, one to another, on the signal triumph of free trade and cheap food, over monopoly and exaction. It was whispered about that the landlords had altogether abandoned the field, without even an attempt at "showing fight," and the information was soon after confirmed by the appearance, in prominent places through the town, of glaring yellow placards, containing the following strange announcement:-

"COUNTY MEETING ADJOURNED" . . . .[explanation for cancellation was that the county meeting was on the same day as the quarter sessions in Ennis, of which the members had to attend]...10 January 1850"

I felt agreeably disappointed. I had prepared myself to encounter sophistry and twaddle - speeches not remarkable for either brilliancy or point - statistics manufactured to deceive - and calculations "not according to Cocker." * Judge then how pleasing was the intelligence, that operated upon by a fear of popular discontent and by the consciousness of a "bad case," the landlords had postponed their meeting sine die.

Arrangements for counter demonstration in favour of free trade were most perfect. The Rev. Mr. Quaid, P.P., of Callaghan's Mills; the Rev. Mr. Sheehy, of Tulla; the Rev. Mr. Macmahon, of Mintownmalbay; and others of the clergy of the people had come to dissipate the delusions and fallacies of Protectionists. . . .[long discussions of their preparations for a counter demonstration]. . . .

I subjoin an extract of proceedings at one of the preliminary meetings of the Free Trade party, held on Thursday evening. With a view to be fully prepared to meet the Protectionist philanthropists, a meeting of the trades was convened in the Temperance Rooms, at three o'clock p.m., Mr. JOHN BUNTON, Solicitor, presided. **

The Chairman, in explaining the object of the meeting, said he had not before taken part in political proceedings, and as that was his entree into the political arena, he regretted much that on some pretense or other the Protectionists would not show themselves at the time set forth, for, young and inexperienced though he was, he yet calculated on being enabled to show them up in their proper colours (cheers). - He would prove to them that the people of Ennis still cherished a love of freedom and an abhorrence of sophistry and delusion. He would also be prepared to prove that a majority of Irish landlords, and not free trade, had by oppressive taxation and unfeeling evictions brought upon present disaster. As however, they were not likely to present themselves before the people they had enslaved, he should not at present enter into the question at issue, and would confine himself to his duty as chairman, in putting any resolutions which the meeting may approve of.

Mr. Michael Considine, on the part of the trades, submitted the following resolutions for the Free Traders:- "That Free Trade, and a reduction of rents, were indispensable to save the country from annihilation. That from the wholesale extermination and tyrannical oppression of the majority of the landlords, nothing short of tenant right would restore confidence, stimulate industry in the country, and secure the happiness of the tenant farmers of Ireland." Mr. Considine then dwelt on the independence of the electors of Ennis, where, on many occasions, they had made known their principles. It was well known that already two millions had been starved in Ireland, and besides, thousands who had escaped the famine, were either buried in workhouses or had to fly in the emigrant or convict ship to some foreign land. The country was made bare and desolate, and the people of Ennis, whenever the landlords wished to try the experiment, would show them that they would not have abettors in the men they had been ever ready to crush, oppress, and starve out (cheers).

After some further observations, and a vote of thanks to their chairman, the meeting separated, giving three cheers for free trade and tenant rights.

The Freeman's Journal, Dublin, 14 January 1850

* Edward Cocker, (born 1631—died 1675, London), reputed English author of Cocker’s Arithmetic, a famous textbook, the popularity of which gave rise to the phrase “according to Cocker,” meaning “quite correct.”

** DEATHS: August 21, at Lisdoonvarna, John Bunton, Esq, solicitor, of Ennis. (Freeman's Journal, Dublin, 26 August 1857)

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Re: Michael G. Considine and Daniel O'Connell

Post by Sduddy » Wed Oct 09, 2019 10:51 am

Hi Jim

Thank you for that piece from the Freeman’s Journal, of Jan. 1850, which includes those words by Michael Considine showing that he’d fully understood the effects of the famine.
Yesterday I collected The Clare Elections by Kieran Sheedy, a massive book (886 pages). I’ve limited myself, for now, to the three chapters that pertain to Michael Considine’s life and times: i.e. Chapter 7 (1833-1852), Chapter 8 (1852-1860) and Chapter 9 (1861-1880), which go from p. 175 to p. 307.

It is a truly marvelous book. I’m going to be tempted to quote chunks of it, but will resist as much as I can. The elections are part of the history of the times, of course, but were also pieces of theatre that catered to an audience and were a distraction from everyday life. Elections went on for a number of days and Ennis was the hub of the universe. Production costs and promotion costs were an accepted as part of it all, but, since there were no box-office returns, payment was bound to be a problem – but more of that later.
There’s no index (which would add a mile more pages), so I can’t tell where, or how often Michael Considine is mentioned, but I think his 1847 appearance (described by you) is his first “official" appearance. Previous to that, the Trades and their banners are mentioned, but not Considine in particular. The Trades wearing silk and satin sashes marched to meet Daniel O’Connell when he was arriving to the monster Repeal meeting in Ballycorree racecourse (outside Ennis) in 1843 (the same year that Prime Minister Peel was authorized by Queen Victoria to confirm her support for the Union).
They marched in their traditional order of Labourers, Nailers, Shoemakers, Carpenters, Painters, Sawyers, Slaters, Masons, Tailors, Smiths, Broguemakers, Bakers and finally the formidable Butchers (p.187).
Sheedy describes the 1847 election (when Michael Considine enters the scene) as incongruous, coming as it did when the famine was worsening. O’Connell had died in May that year, and the O Gorman Mahon (James Patrick Mahon) returned after a long absence; on the day of his arrival (9 July), "all thoughts of misery and famine were forgotten as a popular demonstration took place”, and he was elected for the Borough of Ennis But the Ennis Trades, it seems, did not confine their activities to the Borough, and they decided to support Sir Lucius O’Brien of Dromoland as their preferred candidate for the county. This was because of his connection to William Smith O’Brien, it seems, rather than his (Lucius)politics. Anyway, Michael Considine is mentioned as writing to him to confirm the support of the Ennis Trades (ref.72: Inchiquin papers). Sir Lucius was duly escorted into Ennis with the Trades providing the razzmatazz. Finally (after lots of jousting and duelling that I’m skipping over) he was elected (along with Major McNamara). However, when it came to the expenses, it was found that he couldn’t pay the large amounts he had promised to various people and establishments, including the Trades, who claimed to have been promised £350 (ref.80: Inchiquin papers). As far as I understand, paying money for any services rendered during an election was not illegal. Intimidation, on the other hand, was illegal, but, while several allegations of intimidation were made, none were made against the members of the Trades – at least Sheedy doesn’t mention any. Lucius O’Brien’s popularity duly declined and his support for Repeal was questioned and Michael Considine claimed that he (O’Brien) had beguiled the people with his profession of support for it.

In the years following, the issue of Tenant Right came to the fore, spearheaded by the Catholic clergy. Sheedy says that at the Tenant League meeting in Ennis in 1850 (mentioned in a previous posting),
Fr. Sheehy expressed his disappointment that the O Gorman Mahon and Sir Lucius O’Brien had not replied to invitations which had been sent to them (Maj. McNamara was ill)…. Fr. Patrick Quaid [called] on the local members of parliament to support the principles of the Tenant League or to resign their seats… (p.204).
There was another general election in 1852. Sheedy says that, on 27 March, the town crier announced a meeting, which was held in front of the house of Charles O’Connell in Arthur Row, with solicitor Michael Cullinan acting as chairman.
The meeting opposed the re-nomination of O Gorman Mahon but the Ennis Trades were divided on the issue with secretary Michael Considine and a group who had custody of the Trades’ banners favouring O Gorman Mahon and the majority who favoured John D. Fitzgerald demanding that the banners should be handed over to them (ref.102 Clare Journal 23 March 1852) (p. 205)
In April, Fitzgerald
published an election address which included a proposal for the formation of “a strong, united Irish Parliamentary party – unconnected with the conflicting interest of England, and banded together to protect our religious liberty and advance the liberty of the whole Irish nation” (ref.104: Clare Journal 12 Apr. 1852) (p.205).
This must have caused Michael Considine to switch his support to Fitzgerald; Sheedy goes on to say
On the same day he [Fitzgerald] addressed a meeting chaired by Dean Kenny in front of the old Courthouse but a counter-demonstration in favour of O Gorman Mahon also took place which caused Michael Considine to abuse those who were taking part. This was a surprising development as he had defended O Gorman Mahon at the March meeting.(p. 205)
Sheedy describes a lot of colourful interactions between people during this election but I will skip over it all and just say that John D. Fitzgerald was elected for Ennis. There were green branches, and wreaths of evergreen scrolls containing mottoes and a procession of the Trades and “a public dinner in Carmody’s Hotel where they were regaled with champagne and wines” (p. 208). Sheedy then describes the county election, which is very interesting and includes the Sixmilebridge massacre. The Trades do not seem to have taken any notable part in any of that, and Chapter 7 ends, and that is where I will leave Michael Considine for the moment.


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Re: Michael G. Considine and Daniel O'Connell

Post by murf » Wed Oct 09, 2019 10:42 pm

Hi Sheila
I have been following with interest the picture of politics in Ennis that yourself and Jim have been painting, and my interest is sharpened with your mention of the Kieran Sheedy publication.
My ancestor Edward Murphy sen. was part of a Ballynacally group that was active in the lead-up to the 1869 election. Following a meeting held at Ballynacally on 17 Oct 1869, the group led by Rev M Quinlivan and comprising Edward Murphy, Denis Kennedy PLG, Michael Hehir PLG and Thomas Moylan PLG, put forward a bunch of resolutions to be considered at the forthcoming county meeting at Ennis on 31 October.
Their contribution was rebuked by a certain M J Kenny C.C. Ennis, who I assume to be the Dean Kenny mentioned several times in despatches here. The Ballynacally group were quick to fire off a rebuttal of Rev Kenny's criticisms.
Sheila I would be most interested if you come across any reference to the Ballynacally group in Chapter 9 of The Clare Elections.

PS I've since gathered that Dean Kenny and MJ Kenny C.C. are not one and the same.

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Re: Michael G. Considine and Daniel O'Connell

Post by Sduddy » Thu Oct 10, 2019 9:59 am

Hi Murf

I’m glad you are finding this thread interesting. The bits on Michael Considine, that I am winkling out of The Clare Elections as I read along, are just tiny fractions of the whole colourful scene and I have to wear blinkers to keep from being distracted, but, from now on, I will keep an eye out for Ballynacally.

Well, I’ve been reading Chapter 8, and it transpires that, contrary to what I’d thought, the Trades of Ennis, were indeed involved in the 1852 county election – or, at least, some of their members were. One of the defeated candidates, Vandeleur, lodged a petition alleging intimidation of his voters, and this was heard by a select committee which met in May 1853. The committee’s brief was to examine allegations that some of Vandeleur’s voters had been prevented from reaching the polls and witnesses were brought from Clare to London to testify. Sheedy notes that
The remit of the Committee did not extend to any consideration of the pressures which had been exerted by landlords and their agents to force tenants to vote in a particular way but instead concentrated on charges of physical intimidation. (p. 213)
In the course of the investigation, it came to light that Vandeleur’s voters, when arriving at Ennis courthouse to vote, were physically intimidated by members of the Trades, in particular the butchers, who, according to Stephen Molony (an Ennis butcher), had received £30 from Michael McNamara, solicitor (agent for Sir John Fitzgerald – not to be confused with J. D. Fitzgerald), in return for assisting Sir John. This assistance took the form of throwing down the steps of the courthouse any voters who cheered for Vandeleur, or declared they would vote for him. One man had his hand broken in the fall. (Ref. 7: Report from the select committee on the Clare Election Petition 1853 (Volume 9). The committee published its report in June 1853 and the election was declared void (i.e. the county election – not the Ennis Borough election). Sheedy points out that
They [the Committee] had little option but to declare the election void. But while their brief was to investigate charges of election intimidation only, when commenting on the Sixmilebridge killings, they ignored the original charge of intimidation of the freeholders of the Keanes. (pp 214-215).
It sounds as if the committee was somewhat biased in their reading of the whole situation.

Sheedy moves on to 1855 and says that J. D. Fitzgerald was appointed as Solicitor-General for Ireland in March of that year, and therefore had to stand for re-election, but was not opposed. In his acceptance speech,
he also paid tribute to the large number of men from the county who were fighting in the Crimean War, but when he proffered the opinion that peace would be hastened by the recent death of the Czar, a voice called out “Three cheers to his memory!”. Michael Considine spoke of the prevailing distress in the town and neighbourhood of Ennis among the artisan class, and Fitzgerald replied that the requests for help must come from the town itself: “I cannot originate. That must come from you. In any case that I can be useful, do not spare me.” (p. 216).
A year later (1856), J. D. Fitzgerald was appointed as Attorney General and had to seek re-election again, and was again returned unopposed. Likewise when the Liberal Government was defeated and a new general election called. Sometime afterwards, while supporting another Tenants Rights Bill in the House of Commons, he made a statement which cannot have endeared him to the clergy:
he suggested to the House that if they wished to get rid of clerical influence they should pass a Bill of this nature as the best remedy of “permanently tranquillising the country and restoring it to prosperity.” (p. 224)
Then his prosecution of a Mayo priest in 1858 greatly angered some members of the clergy and led to the speech by Fr. Vaughan (parish priest of Ruan at the time) on St. Patrick’s Day 1859 (quoted by Jimbo, above) in which he called J. D. Fitzgerald a renegade.
A month later when tempers had cooled, parliament was dissolved and a general election called. J. D. Fitzgerald was as usual standing for the Borough of Ennis, and this was when Michael Considine, with the assistance of a bell man, assembled a crowd around his own house and accused J. D. Fitzgerald of prosecuting the clergy, promised to hunt him out of Ennis, and voiced his (Considine) preference for Capt. William Stacpoole (this speech is also quoted by Jimbo, above). But when William Stacpoole declined to stand, Sheedy says,
resistance to to Fitzgerald’s re-election quickly evaporated. On Monday 18 April … the Ennis Trades, complete with banners, waited on the Clare road for the arrival of J. D. Fitzgerald … and he was escorted to Carmody’s Hotel. (Ref. 42: Clare Journal, 9 April 1859).
But I suspect that Michael Considine was not part of that welcome. J. D. Fitzgerald was once more returned unopposed and made an acceptance speech “in which he rejected criticism which had been made against him of packing a jury in Mayo…”* Michael Considine tried to interrupt him, but was ejected by the crowd. The 1859 election of the county members was the subject of another hearing by a select committee during the early months of 1860, and a large number of witnesses from Clare were summoned to give evidence (Ref. 50: Report from the Select Committee on the Clare election petition 1860 (Volume Eleven). The quote from the The Freeman’s Journal of 12 March 1860, included by Jimbo in the second last posting on page 2 of this thread, shows the kind of testimony given by the Clare witnesses. Six individual instances of bribery were given in the final report.

Following that 1859 general election, the remaining Independent Irish members of parliament (Tenant League members) never acted together as a body again. And that election brought Lord Palmerston’s Liberal party back into power, so J. D. Fitzgerald, who had lost his post as Atorney-General of Ireland under the Conservatives, was reappointed and had to go for re-election yet again, which he did without opposition.

In February 1860, J. D. Fitzgerald was appointed a Judge of the Queen’s Bench. This was the end of his career as a politician. Capt. William Stacpoole stood for election for the Borough of Ennis and was returned unopposed. Sheedy mentions that during the election, on 15 February, a procession headed by lighted tar barrels took place in his support (p. 229), but there is no mention of Michael Considine. His description of the county election of the same year mentions Considine, in passing, as the recipient of a letter from William Smith O’Brien, with £10 enclosed to aid the election expenses of Francis Calcut. That’s the last mention of Michael Considine in Chapter 8.


* This may be of interest to someone: In this speech of acceptance John D[avid] Fitzgerald also said
that he had been urged by a friend not to forget the ladies. And to cries of “Bravo John D”, he promised to give the question of women’s franchise his most careful consideration. (Ref. 49: Clare Journal, 12 May 1859). (p. 226)

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Re: Michael G. Considine and Daniel O'Connell

Post by Sduddy » Thu Oct 10, 2019 3:32 pm

I’ve had my head stuck in The Clare Elections all day reading Chapter 9 (1861-1880), another very interesting chapter, but I will stay with the mentions of Michael Considine and start at 1863 when Kieran Sheedy (the author) describes the meeting in September at which a new committee was formed to oversee the completion of the O’Connell monument and
to try and halt “the endless and unseemly bickering” which had taken place. Michael Considine who had toured both Ireland and Britain collecting funds for the project had vigourously denied charges that some of the money had not been accounted for while sculptor Francis Cahill had refused to release the statue ..(Ref. 9: Clare Journal, 26 June 1863)...Despite Michael Considine’s protest that the workingmen of Ennis had not been invited, the meeting went ahead and it was attended by William Stacpoole and Colman O Loghlen. A committee was formed to oversee the completion of the monument which included the two members of parliament and fourteen parish priests, with Dean Kenny acting as treasurer and Frs Newport and Vaughan as secretaries… (p. 234).
A general election took place in 1865, and the borough of Ennis was contested by the sitting MP, William Stackpoole, and by Chartres Molony:
…Molony and Considine (a former staunch supporter of Stacpoole) addressed a crowd from Lynch’s in High St, and as rival groups of supporters gathered in various streets, shouting and brawling continued until an early hour (Ref. 9: Clare Journal, 12 July 1865).

The nominations took place on 12 July and this was the occasion described in P.J. Dillon’s diary, and quoted by me in page 2 (“Awful uproar and confusion ensued” etc.). According to Sheedy, Dean Kenny tried to calm the situation, but then “described Molony as “The Champion on all occasions of souperism””. Sheedy goes on,
The fact that Molony was supported by Michael Considine indicated a continuation of the squabbling which still surrounded the completion of the O Connell monument, while Molony’s late entry – having failed to find “a gentleman of wealth” – may have indicated some personal spleen between Stacpoole and himself. And when polling took place on Friday 14 July, Stacpoole was the clear winner by 97 votes to 36. (p. 236)
Writing about the inauguration of the O’Connell monument in 1865, Sheedy says,
The inauguration of the O Connell monument finally took place on 15 October. Many overtures were made before Michael Considine and the Trades made peace with the monument committee, and then only as a mark of respect for the Bishop. (Ref. 16: Clare Journal, 5 October 1865). The members of the Town Commissioners wore green rosettes on the platform while Michael Considine wore the green suit he had used while collecting subscriptions in Britain. In his speech, Fr. Quaid praised the “stalwart frieze-coated 40 s. freeholders who had voted for O Connell in 1828; Colman O’Loghlen paid tribute to the sculptor who was also in attendance and Bishop Flannery unveiled the 80 ft. high monument which was covered in green cloth. Morgan John O Connell (a nephew of Daniel O Connell was also present) but the most significant speech was made by Fr. Corbett who stated that they should be united, but not under a secret society, and he added that there was no need to warn people against joining illegal societies which would bring ruin on their families and disgrace on this country.” (Ref. 17: Clare Journal, 16 Nov. 1865).
Fr. Corbett was referring to the Fenians (Irish Republican Brotherhood). Unfortunately there is nothing (in The Clare Elections, at least) to give us any inkling as to what Michael Considine thought of the Fenians at that time. A great many people did not sympathise with the Fenians until the leaders of the 1867 Rising were imprisoned. This, and the huge flood of sympathy for three men who were hanged (publicly) in Manchester in 1867, were still in the future when the O’Connell monument was being unveiled in 1865. So I will skip over Sheedy’s description of the events associated with the Fenians in Clare.

In 1868, Prime Minister Disraeli, decided to go to the country on the issue of disestablishment, and there was an election that November. William Stacpoole was returned unopposed for the Borough of Ennis. By this time there was a campaign for amnesty for the prisoners, and Stacpoole, in his speech, called for clemency to be granted to the Fenian prisoners. The county election (I have skipped over most of the previous county elections) had much more incident than the borough election, and a good example of the kind of interrogation of the candidates, which was part and parcel of every election at that time, is given on pages 241-242.

In 1869, writes Sheedy,
The Ennis-born journalist, Stephen Meany had been released [1868], following the intervention of the United States government, on condition that he would leave the jurisdiction of the United Kingdom but following his appointment as correspondent of the New York World newspaper, his exclusion order was revoked and he was able to visit Ennis where a meeting of welcome was held in the old chapel. It was attended by Dean Kenny and Fr. Matt Kenny, C.C. Ennis while Michael Considine, in the course of his speech, referred to the Manchester Martyrs and to the new slogan “God save Ireland.” *(Ref. 23:Clare Journal, 22 March 1869).
In the same month, the Independent Trades of Ennis wrote to Gladstone [Prime Minister] concerning the release of political prisoners…. (p. 242).

I should say here that it only at this point of the book (The Clare Elections), when Sheedy refers to the Trades of Newmarket, Corofin and Ennis attending an amnesty rally in Ennis on 3 October 1870 (p. 243), that I realized that other towns, besides Ennis, had organised Trades.
Now, Murf, at this point there is a paragraph about Ballynacally:
About this time [October 1869], a dispute arose between Fr Matt Kenny, in his capacity as secretary of the Tenant Right organization, and the parish of Ballynacally. Fr. Kenny had criticised some of the motions which had been passed by them, and it provoked a stinging reply as they claimed that they were agitating “not for the monster tenant-farmers of Ireland but for the poor cottiers in the mountains and bogs and the unemployed labourers and trades in the town and country.” (Ref. 24: Clare Journal, 25 October 1869). This was followed by a threat by the Trades of Ennis not to take part in a major Tenant Right meeting which was due to take place on Sunday 31 October (p. 234)
A new era began with the Home Rule movement (1871) and Sheedy gives the background history of the beginnings of the movement. The next major development was the introduction of the secret ballot in 1872 and the dispersal of polling stations to twenty Petty Sessions districts and the introduction of polling on a single day (8am – 5pm) and of voting for a single candidate (hitherto one could plump for one candidate of give half a vote to one candidate and half to another) - “The customary grilling of candidates had also ended as well as the intimidatory tactics of the various fringe groups,” All this must have made a great difference to the whole event, and must have meant much less excitement in the town of Ennis, (also Kilrush and Ennistymon and Killaloe - I think).

In 1874, a general election was held, and Lord Francis Conyngham (and his wife) came to Ennis to campaign as candidate for the county, "and a huge crowd gathered to meet them, including the Ennis Trades and their band and banners”. He declared himself for Home Rule (Ref. 36: Clare Journal, 29 January 1874), and “Michael Considine also spoke and pledged the support of the Ennis Trades.” (p 247). At this time The O Gorman Mahon returned to Ennis after a long absence to stand for the Borough of Ennis as the Home Rule candidate, and
Michael Considine was suitably attired in green and brandishing an Ennis Volunteer flag of 1782, which had been given to him by William Crowe, Dromore.
But William Stacpoole was elected. Stacpoole is described by Sheedy as being at one end of the spectrum of Home Rule MPs elected that year, as he was “still pursuing his dream of building a royal residence” in Ireland.

In September 1875, writes Sheedy,
the Ennis Independent Trades Union had been formed , having broken away from the Ennis Congregated Trades Union on political and social grounds (p. 251) (Ref. 46: Clare Journal, 6 September 1875).
And in November,
Conyngham acknowledged the support of the Ennis Trades by sending Michael Considine the price of instruments for the Mechanics Brass Band (p. 252).
Michael Considine was no longer supporting William Stacpoole - not since he had supported The O’Gorman Mahon in 1874. In 1877 “a vote of censure was passed on him [Stacpoole] at the Mechanics Institute" (Ref. 49: Clare Journal, 28 March 1877). It seems he had not supported a Bill introduced in the House of Commons by Isaac Butt, the Home Rule party Whip, but Stacpoole’s angry reply must have contained a reference to Michael Considine, because Considine felt bound to write to the paper defending himself from
rumours to the effect that he had received money from Stacpoole during the previous election campaign; he pointed out that he had supported O Gorman Mahon and that he had refused an offer of money from his backers. He concluded by pleading: “My crime is that I am a poor man”, but he went on to claim that “certain parties” at the Mechanics Institute had rejected the motion criticising Stacpoole’s recent action. This, in turn, brought a swift reply from Denis Darcy, chairman of the Mechanics Institute, who described Considine’s letter as “a rambling piece of nonsensical bombast” (p. 253).
In another letter, Darcy accused him of “bringing in a mob” to the meeting. (Ref. 49: Clare Journal, 28 March 1877).

In January 1878, three ex-army soldiers, who had become Fenians, were released and there was “a procession in Ennis with Michael Considine acting as chief marshal, and the main speaker was Stephen Meany” (p. 255)

In 1879, William Stacpoole died, and so there was a by-election for the Borough of Ennis. Sheedy says,
The Home Rule party, influenced by Parnell, decided on a policy (which would continue for the next forty years) of imposing a candidate on whom they could fully rely to support their policies. Their choice of candidate was Lysaght (J. L.) Finigan, a London-based journalist…(p. 258).
As we know, Michael Considine supported Finigan. Sheedy says, “Parnell regarded the election of Finigan as the first real test of his leadership aspirations and he came to Ennis to direct the campaign”. Sometime later
he [Parnell] returned to Ennis with T. D. Sullivan M.P., having arrived on the 4 a.m. Mail train. On the platform to meet him were Stephen Meany, Michael Considine, St. George Joyce (Editor, Clare Journal), Thady Lynch, Francis Tuohy, and John Burgess…” (p. 260).
Finigan won the election by a narrow margin but it was a great victory for Parnell which he never forgot. Finigan won the seat again in 1880 with a more comfortable margin. The O Gorman Mahon won a seat for the county that year (William O’Shea won the other seat), and “Fr Matt Kenny and Michael Considine accompanied the newly-elected members to the O Connell monument that evening…” (p. 264), but if he made a speech on that occasion it’s not recorded. And that’s the last mention of Michael Considine in Chapter 9.

Murf, because of the blinkers, I may have missed more mentions of Ballynacally, but I will be reading that chapter again without them and will let you know then if I find anything of interest. In the meantime, the chapter ends with this sentence:
But it was the theme of boycotting that Stephen Meany stressed when he spoke at a Land League meeting in Ballynacally in December 1880, and it was on the struggle for land ownership that the Home Rule party decided to concentrate its energies during the coming decade.(p. 265).

*One of the three men, had called out “God save Ireland” when the death sentences were pronounced: https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/god- ... -1.3292765

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Re: Michael G. Considine and Daniel O'Connell

Post by Jimbo » Fri Oct 11, 2019 12:19 am

Hi Sheila,

Thanks very much for all those interesting snippets of Michael Considine mentioned in the book The Clare Elections by Kiernan Sheedy. Going back to the year 1850, you mentioned a tenant rights meeting where Father Sheehy expressed his disappointment that O'Gorman Mahon and Sir Lucius O’Brien had not replied to their invitations. There were two large tenant right meetings in Ennis in 1850, the one I mentioned in my last posting from January 1850, when Michael Considine spoke, and a second larger meeting in October 1850. Father Jeremiah Vaughan and other priests are noted as having addressed the large crowd; the meeting went "to a late hour" and there were no doubt other speeches not mentioned by the newspaper. So although not clear whether or not Michael Considine spoke at the meeting, he would have most certainly have been in attendance. Prior to this meeting, Sir Lucius O'Brien and several other Clare MP's, but not O'Gorman Mahon, made clear (in varying degrees) their disapproval of tenant rights and non attendance at the meeting:
(From the Limerick and Clare Examiner)

On yesterday (Tuesday) the people of Clare pledged themselves to the tenant-right movement which is now advancing with such rapid strides throughout the country. Clare, ever memorable, since the election of '28 - Clare, the county that first struck down rampant ascendancy, and triumphantly fought the battle of civil and religious freedom, has now spoken in the same free and bold accents in behalf of tenant-right. God grant that the same successful termination my await the issue of this struggle. From the courthouse, the scene of the Liberator's labours; from the hustings, from which the shouts of the people hailed the deliverance of the Catholics of Ireland, and proclaimed the return to parliament of Daniel O'Connell; from the self-same spot a shout, unmistakable in sincerity and spirit, has proceeded, declaring for justice and fair play to all parties. The platform from which the speakers addressed the meeting was erected in front of the street at the square (Ennis), opposite the old courthouse.- Large banners were suspended from the windows of the houses over-head. Though the day was somewhat unfavourable - a drizzling rain having come down during the proceedings - yet, such was the anxiety of the people to hear and understand all the bearings and principles of this great and momentous question, that they remained with the most unflinching attention to a late hour in the evening congregated round the platform. The numbers present were computed to be about five or six thousand. Several ladies graced the windows of the houses by their presence, opposite the platform.

Among the gentlemen on the platform we observed . . . [long listing of mostly priests]

Mr. S.J. Meany addressed the meeting, and read the following letters addressed to the secretaries of the meeting: [summarized below]

Colman M. O'Loughlin (Drumcoura): ". . . although I approve of many of the principles put forward by the Irish Tenant League, I must yet decline to attend your meeting, as I have determined to take no part in the tenant right movement now going on throughout the country, but to leave it altogether in the hands of those who can give to the subject more time and attention than I can."

Wm. N. M'Namara (Dublin): "Gentlemen - It will not be in my power to attend the meeting of the 29th inst. I have the honour to be your obedient servant,"

Sir Lucius O'Brien (Dromoland): "Sir, As it is not my intention to sign the requisition, I do not think it necessary to answer the printed circular which you sent me. Your obedient servant,"

Sir Edward Fitzgerald (Moy Lodge, Lahinch): ". . . . regrets that he cannot sanction the affixing his name to the requisition for the ensuing meeting on tenant right. He fervently hopes, and is of opinion, that after the years of distress this country will assume a healthier aspect, and he is willing to leave to the legislature the introduction of measures so desirable as those affecting the relations of landlord and tenant."

The Rev. Mr. Sheehy then came forward, and was received with loud cheers. . . . [long speeches by Rev. Mr. Kelly and Rev. Mr. Jeremiah Vaughan]

The Freeman's Journal, Dublin, 1 November 1850
The Reverend Jeremiah Vaughan gave a long speech with themes comparable to his speeches later that decade and into the 1860's. He compares Ireland to Belgium and France where the potato failed but there was no famine. One month before the 29th of October tenant-right meeting, Father Vaughan had visited the Gort workhouse, and wrote the below letter that was published in the Freeman's Journal. I reckon this letter is much more powerful than his tenant-right speech. It really highlights that even when the famine may have eased in Ireland, how local government leaders would deal with those remaining in workhouses led to continued suffering for the poor. In 1850 those fighting for tenant-rights in Ennis were the lucky ones.

The following correspondence with the "Castle" appears in the Limerick Examiner:-


Ruan, Ennis, Sept. 26th, 1850

MY LORD - I witnessed, yesterday afternoon, a scene that would make the relentless woman-flogger, Haynau (*), weep - a group of females, 12 in number who had been expelled the Gort workhouse the day before, and had lain all the night by the road side under the rain. A fortnight since, the Corofin board of guardians ordered the expulsion of over 300 from the workhouses of Ennis, Ennistymon and Gort, and doomed them to 'live on their resources.' In Gort they are being turned out at the rate of 25 per day. Seeing the horrors of destitution before them, they became desperate, and refused to leave, when the police were called in. Finding they had no shelter for the night - their homes being levelled by the exterminator - they promised, should they be allowed that night's lodging in the workhouse, to leave next day, when they set out for Corofin, a distance of 14 miles, to implore relief from the guardians assembled there. Some of them, inmates for the last two or three years, whose old ragged garments melted away, procured, in the best way they could, some rags of covering. I found some of them yesterday without chemises. Of the little children (four of them orphans), who left with them in almost a state of nudity, some fell on the way from exhaustion; others were taken into the cabins along the road by the wretchedly poor - 'the pauper to-day sustained by the Heaven-confiding paupers of to-morrow.' They came to the house of Mr. Mortimer O'Brien, P.L.G. Maddened with hunger they devoured with avidity the offal that lay on the floor for pigs. They eat nothing for 24 hours previous.

I can refer you Excellency to Hewitt Bridgeman, Esq, late M.P. for Ennis, who witnessed this heartrending scene, and who had to call in the police and remove those creatures by force. I heard nothing of the since. The next intelligence may be an inquest.

This appalling destitution affects for the present only 12 of the 300, to be doomed in a day or two to a similar fate. Resources they have none, and must all inevitably perish, unless you, my lord, stand between them and the grave.

I wasted all my energies last spring in assisting the poor of this extensive district to plant over three hundred acres of parsnips and turnips. With the kind aid of Daniel Lee, John Bright, the friend of freedom and mankind, and the warm-hearted Irish of Manchester, I am enabled to give some winter clothing to those deserving poor creatures.

By a similar course, last year, I saved four hundred from death by famine. I fondly hoped we would in this district escape the waste of life that has left Clare without a parallel. I indulged an empty hope, as I fear we will have another Skibbereen here before many weeks.

You can, if you will, rescue us from these revolting horrors. You are the representative amongst us of the young and amiable woman who rules this kingdom, and whose tender heart, I am satisfied, yearns at our misfortunes. We have nothing to expect from those entrusted with the working of the poor law at the Corofin board, which is chiefly composed of landlords, and tenants, and drivers. The principle swaying them - and there is no denying it - is, that property must be preserved at the expense of life.

I have the honour to be, my lord, your obedient servant,

JEREMIAH VAUGHAN, P.P., Ruan and Dysart

Dublin Castle, 27th Sept., 1850

Sir - With reference to a letter of the 26th instant, signed by you, regarding the discharge from the Gort workhouse of twelve females, I am directed by the Lord Lieutenant to inform you that the matter has been referred to the Poor Law Commissioners. I am, Sir, your obedient servant,

T. N. Redington

The Freeman's Journal, Dublin, 5 October 1850

* Julius Jakob von Haynau (1786 – 1853), Austrian general known for his brutality in suppressing insurrectionary movements in Italy and Hungary in 1848:

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Re: Michael G. Considine and Daniel O'Connell

Post by murf » Fri Oct 11, 2019 4:42 am

Hi Sheila
About this time [October 1869], a dispute arose between Fr Matt Kenny, in his capacity as secretary of the Tenant Right organization, and the parish of Ballynacally. Fr. Kenny had criticised some of the motions which had been passed by them, and it provoked a stinging reply as they claimed that they were agitating “not for the monster tenant-farmers of Ireland but for the poor cottiers in the mountains and bogs and the unemployed labourers and trades in the town and country.” (Ref. 24: Clare Journal, 25 October 1869). This was followed by a threat by the Trades of Ennis not to take part in a major Tenant Right meeting which was due to take place on Sunday 31 October (p. 234)
Thanks for that quote. Can one conclude from this that the Ballynacally group were on the same bus as the Trades of Ennis, at least on the issue of tenant rights?

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Re: Michael G. Considine and Daniel O'Connell

Post by Sduddy » Fri Oct 11, 2019 8:56 am

Hi Jim

Thank you for that posting, which shows the reality that lay right beside the theatricals. Any reply I make will sound trite. Very poor people, at that time, were rich by comparison with those who were starving. And the poor of Ennis somehow struggled on, with many of them depending on the British army for a livelihood. I’m sure a book could be written about poverty (I mean dire poverty) in Ennis, and the author would go right up to the middle of the 20th century. Go the article donated by Ger Brown, ‘Clare in World War Two – The Emergency’: http://www.clarelibrary.ie/eolas/coclar ... tories.pdf . Then click on “Stories from Clare” and scroll down to “Poverty and Disease in Clare” on page 8. Reading that you will see how far down the list of priorities came the living conditions of the poor – and that’s in the 1940s – not the 1840s.

The reaction of those gentlemen to the Tenant Rights campaign is interesting, and raises issues pertaining to our own times! We probably shouldn’t be too shocked that those gentlemen saw Tenant Rights as interfering with the sacred Right to Property. When rights were granted to tenants in the 1870 Land Act, it was as if an axe had been driven into the trunk of an oak tree.

Kieran Sheedy gives a few statements made by Lucius O’Brien which show his aristocratic leanings (he wasn't cut out to be a politician), but I don’t want to stray from my subject just now.

Hi Murf
I would put the Ballynacallys in the same bus with the Trades, only I think they were more radical than the Trades in the stance they took at that meeting. They might be more comfortable in the small car that also held a man called Peter Mungavin, who, according to Kieran Sheedy, shouted out from the crowd at an open air meeting, held sometime in the 1850s, that something should be done for the poor of Ennis. I can’t find the exact quote just now, but will find it later.

Getting back to Michael Considine: As he lived until April 1884, I read the first few pages of Chapter 10 (1881-1889), and found a couple of mentions of him.
James Lysaght Finigan, in a speech at a monster Land League meeting in Scarriff in April 1881,
described every act of land-grabbing as a crime against Ireland and against justice, but he advised the crowd to respect the law. He also praised Gladstone’s Land Act which as about to be introduced, and in the course of a letter which he sent to Michael Considine at the end of April, he expanded on his opinion of the Bill, describing it as a forerunner to greater developments, correct in its principles, but weak and faulty in its administration: “With an independent tenantry and an increase of industry in the towns, we may look forward to measures which will eventually lead to National Legislative Independence, to the realization of this long cherished hope and ardent desire for national freedom and national prosperity. (p.268)
In June 1882, Finigan wrote to Michael Considine from Brighton, informing him that he was unwell and that on medical grounds he would not be able to attend parliament. In August, Finigan resigned as member for Ennis. A by-election for Ennis took place in November, and Matthew J. Kenny was the Home Rule candidate. He won the seat and his victory “was celebrated in the town later in the evening by the Ennis Trades who were accompanied by the Tradaree Band.” (Ref. 6: Clare Independent, 11 November 1882).

Those are the last mentions of Michael Considine in The Clare Elections.


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Re: Michael G. Considine and Daniel O'Connell

Post by Sduddy » Sat Oct 12, 2019 10:46 am

I have found Peter Mungovan’s interjection, as described by Sheedy in The Clare Elections, (p. 222). I was mistaken in saying that it was at an open air meeting. It was at the meeting for nominations of candidates for the 1857 county election. Sheedy says,
There were some interruptions while Luke White and Sir John Fitzgerald spoke but the most telling moment occurred when Peter Mungovan, representing the labouring classes, interrupted from the body of the hall:
Mungovan: We don’t want tenant right. Let that alone. We want something else. We want something for the labourers and the artisans.
Fr. McMahon: If you had Tenant Right the farmers would give you labour.
Voice: No! They would press us down to the earth.
Mungovan: We want labour for the poor. (Ref. 33: Clare Journal, 3 April 1857).

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Re: Michael G. Considine and Daniel O'Connell

Post by Jimbo » Sun Oct 13, 2019 7:01 am

Hi Sheila,

Thank you for the further references to Michael Considine in The Clare Elections, the latest in connection to James Lysaght Finigan. You had previously mentioned Finigan in relationship to Michael Considine on page 1 of this thread:
The Captain W. Stacpoole, who was being put forward at that time by Michael Considine, became MP for Ennis in 1860, and held the seat until 1879, and during all those years rarely spoke in Parliament (‘The Political Career of James Lysaght Finigan, 1879-1882’, by Joe Power in The Other Clare, Vol. 40, 2016). In those days, it seems, it was considered ungentlemanly to make too many interventions in the debate. But all that changed with the election of James Lysaght Finigan in 1879. Michael Considine, a staunch Catholic, must have had some doubts at first about James Lysaght Finigan, who was known for his anti-clerical views, but I’m sure all those doubts were put aside once he started to speak out in Parliament.
I reckon Michael Considine would have been okay with a few anti-clerical views in a politician such as James Lysaght Finigan. In 1864, Michael Considine himself was accused, incorrectly I believe, of being anti-Catholic and anti-clerical. So the description of being a "staunch Catholic" might not be fully accurate. Any definition of "staunch" includes "loyal". And to be a "staunch Catholic" in Ireland, wouldn't this loyalty need to go right up the church hierarchy to the Pope and include Paul Cullen, the Archbishop of Dublin from 1852 to 1878?


Michael Considine appears not to have been a big fan of Archbishop Cullen. And Archbishop Cullen, despite his £1 donation to the O'Connell Monument fund in November 1861, was not a big fan of Michael Considine based upon the claims of embezzled funds to be found in the Cullen Papers of 1862.

Michael Considine was not included in the new O'Connell Monument Committee created in October 1864 and headed by two MP's with Catholic priests as members. And due to internal squabbling over the monies raised and payment of the sculptor, not much appears to have been done to complete the monument during the summer of 1864. But Michael Considine was kept busy by involving himself in another controversy on the national stage. He became a vocal supporter of Father Lavelle in his dispute with Archbishop Cullen of Dublin. In August 1864 Michael Considine attended a meeting of Father Lavelle supporters in Dublin where he spoke and proposed a resolution, as reported by The Irish People:

A meeting was held last evening in the Mechanics' Institute; "to express sympathy of the Nationalists of Ireland with Father Lavelle." The hall and gallery were densely crowded. At the back of the chair a blue, white, and green flag was hung. Shortly after eight o'clock, in obedience to the impatient cry of "Chair! chair!"

Mr. THOMAS RYAN, grocer, Great Brunswick-street took the chair.

The Chairman, having thanked the meeting for calling him to the chair, said this was an important and also a peculiar meeting. Why they had selected him to take the chair on such an occasion, in the 19th century, and in Catholic Ireland, might be a mystery to many, but it was not a mystery to him or to those whom he saw around him. It was a source of personal regret to him that there should exist a reason for that meeting; but when a duty was to be performed, the man who shrank from it was a knave, or a renegade, or, what was worse, a coward, no matter how disagreeable it might be to himself personally. It was an unusual thing to see the citizens of Dublin - at least a respectable portion of them - well represented there, the middle and humbler classes and artizans. It was a new feature in Irish history to see such an assembly raising their voices in protest against the Archbishop of Dublin and his conduct in reference to a clergyman (loud cheers). That cheer assured him that there was sympathy in Dublin for Father Lavelle (cheers). He was sure that they would on that occasion conduct themselves as Irishmen and Catholics - that they would show by their calm, deliberate, and respectful manner of applying themselves to the business of the evening, that they were still worthy Irishmen, and worthy sons of St. Patrick; that, while they differed with their bishop with regard to temporal and political matters, they at the same time deferred to his spiritual authority (hear, hear), and did not intend by their meeting to insult him as a dignitary of the Church (no, no). That meeting was not intended to cause a schism in the church - by no means (hear, hear). At the same time they wished to show that they knew how to draw the line of demarcation, even with a bishop, when he exceeded the duty which had been allotted to him by God (cheers). The chairman then praised the career of Father Lavelle, and went on to state that in consequence of some language used in a moment of irritation, which his persecutor took hold of, he had never known a quiet day so far as Dr. Cullen was concerned (hisses). Don't hiss Dr. Cullen; they would lower the dignity of that meeting if they did anything disrespectful to him (cheers). He called on them not to mark their disapprobation of any one by hissing, for they must all have some differences among themselves (hear, hear). Father Lavelle had brought a great deal of the indignation of the Archbishop upon him in consequence of the part he took in connexion with the society which he (the chairman) had been connected with since its commencement, namely, the Brotherhood of St. Patrick (loud applause). That society had calumniated, and he would now give a personal explanation. Father Lavelle had been accused of belonging to that brotherhood, which it was said was a secret society bound by an oath, and, of course, irreligious and unconstitutional, as they called it. Now he (the chairman) had had something to do with the formation of it, and he believed he enjoyed the confidence of its members, and that they had no secrets from him; and he asserted that the society was not formed by the purposes of secrecy, neither was it bound by an oath, neither was it irreligious, and he believed also it was not illegal. It was sad to see priests when reading pastorals have to hold them up before them as they reddened up to the eyes. Dr. Cullen might be actuated by zeal (a voice - "loyalty"), but he should know the inward feelings of the people. If Dr. Cullen were removed from amongst them, and if the clergy were canvassed, nine-tenths of them would be against his political teachings at any rate (cheers).

. . . . [resolutions and speeches by Mr. G. Doran, Mr. James J. King, and Mr. C. C. Hoey] . . . .

Mr. Considine proposed a resolution which stated that, as Father Lavelles' foes could bring no charge against him unconnected with his political career, they desired to avoid joining issue with any authority or on any subject unconnected with the vital political interests of Ireland. They did not desire, he said, to go against the authority of the Church, but they desired to express sympathy with Father Lavelle and the doctrines he advocated. They should all denounce a Government that had reduced the country to its present position (cheers). The tendency of Irish nationality was not to subvert religion but tyranny, and make Ireland again "first flower of the earth, and first gem of the sea." *

. . . .[seconded by Mr. Connolly, followed by his speech, and then adoption of Considine's resolution] . . . .

Mr. Robert Emmet M'Evatt proposed a resolution, which stated that the time had arrived to test the people of Ireland by sending forth a protest against the conduct of the Rev. Dr. Cullen for the past twelve years in using his religious influence for political purposes, to intimidate Irish priests and bishops in this and other countries from assisting in the regeneration of Ireland, and pledged the meeting to sustain the Rev. Father Lavelle, as one of the principal victims. After a brief dissertation on certain passages in the history of the "great Ambrose," touching his quarrel with the Emperor Theodosius, he said that the present state of things should be altered. It would go forth on the morrow - "Oh! there was not a respectable man amongst them. They were all bricklayers." He believed, however, that one unpolished truth was worth the most brilliant lie, and an honest artisan worth all the so-called "respectable" people (cheers). He had determined that the "dues" he had formerly paid to his bishop he would now pay to Father Lavelle and Dr. MacHale. Dr. Cullen came amongst them as the creature of the British government (cheers, and a voice, "His father was a rebel," and "out with the truth"). There was not a pastoral of Dr. Cullen but contained quotations from Scripture foully misrepresented to hit at them. He should quote Scripture in his turn that would send a dagger to the heart of Dr. Cullen (cries of "Bravo," "Question," "That is the question," "Give the man a fair hearing, he is telling the truth.") Dr. Cullen quoted Scripture to condemn honest men (confusion).

The Chairman ruled that they should not enter into theological discussions, and M'Evatt, amid cries of "sit down," retired.

Mr. Dunne seconded the motion. It was extraordinary, he said, to see the head of the Church going forward to crush a man who had crushed proselytism. The resolution was adopted.

. . . .[followed by several other speeches and resolutions] . . .

The Irish People, Dublin, 27 August 1864

* verses from "Remember Thee" by the Irish poet Thomas Moore (1779 - 1852)

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Re: Michael G. Considine and Daniel O'Connell

Post by Sduddy » Sun Oct 13, 2019 12:05 pm

Hi Jim

Thanks very much for that report of the meeting held in August 1864. Yes, I will have to revise my description of Michael Considine as a staunch Catholic who would not have supported anti-Catholic views. Considine’s resolution at the meeting is a plea to churchmen to keep out of politics (I hope I am right in that interpretation), and this was in line with the position of both the Young Irelanders and the Fenians on the separation of Church and State. And I think now that James Lysaght Finigan (canvassing for election fifteen years later in 1879) was probably not expressing anti-Catholic views, but simply the view that the Church should keep out of politics. Even so, it seems, it was felt necessary to explain to voters that he had fought in the Papal Army (and some people questioned the veracity of this, according to Joe Power in his article, ‘The Political career of James Lysaght Finigan MP, 1879-1882’ in The Other Clare, Vol 40, 2016).

For anyone seeking to understand the position of the Church in the early 1860s, I recommend this Clare Champion article: The Bishop of Kerry and the Fenians: https://clarechampion.ie/the-bishop-of- ... e-fenians/ The article is about the famous statement (in 1867) by Bishop Moriarty of Kerry (“Hell is not hot enough, nor eternity long enough”*), which was three years in the future when the 1864 meeting was held in Dublin, but it makes clear the position of the church during the early 1860s, and it doesn’t take all day to read.
*Joseph Lee in The Modernisation of Irish Society, 1848-1918 (jokingly) says that Moriarty was reticent on the sources for his information (p. 63).

Along with revising my description of Considine as probably not supportive of Lysaght Finigan’s “anti-Catholicism”, I must revise my notion that Young Ireland did not gain much of a hold in Co. Clare. It’s becoming clear to me that many Clare people supported the views held by the Young Irelanders.

The Fr. Lavelle, mentioned in that newspaper report of August 1864, had conducted the graveside ceremony at the funeral of Terence Bellew McManus in 1861, and the lead-up to that occasion is described in The Church, the State and the Fenian Threat 1861-1875, by Oliver P. Rafferty. Some pages are available online and I noticed (p. 28) that “eleven priests from the Ennis area of Co. Clare wrote to their local ecclesiastical superior asking him to call all the clergy together to offer a High Mass and the office of the dead for McManus”*. The reply from the Bishop is not given.
*I’d googled “Fr. Lavelle McManus funeral”

The issue of the Church keeping out of politics was not a simple one, and statements made at meetings were often misinterpreted and could give rise to heated arguments. The Mechanics’ Institute [in Abbey Street, Dublin] is mentioned at the start of the report, and this is where the body of Francis Bellew McManus was received when Bishop Cullen refused permission for any church in the diocese to receive it. On the way to Ireland, the body had been received by Archbishop John Hughes of New York, which surprised many, especially when the Archbishop spoke well of McManus, and went on to speak in general about armed resistance,
reviewing for his audience Thomas Aquinas’s writings on the nature of just wars – a reference that everyone understood as offering his imprimatur for what both the Union armies and the Fenians were attempting to do. He was now willing to see them as similar causes [He had fulminated against Young Ireland in 1848]. Fenians of all faiths or degrees of faith were effusive in their praise of John Hughes.

Dagger John: Archbishop John Hughes and the making of Irish America, by John Loughery, (p. 307) – this is one of the pages available online.
Thanks again, Jim, for contributing that report from the Irish People in 1864. It explains the thumbnail I had found when I looked at the British Newspaper Archives site, i.e. 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”


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Re: Michael G. Considine and Daniel O'Connell

Post by Sduddy » Mon Oct 14, 2019 10:22 am

Hi Jim

This is following on my reply immediately above. I’ve been re-reading Chapter 9 (1861-1880) of The Clare Elections, checking to see if I’d missed any mentions of Ballynacally (I hadn’t), and see that there’s a mention of Michael Considine that I should have included above, but hadn’t considered significant enough at the time. It occurs during the 1879 election when Parnell and T. D. Sullivan came to Ennis to support James Lysaght Finigan, and Sheedy says,
In his speech, T. D. Sullivan recalled the 1874 election when they were happy to accept any candidate who wrote Home Rule in his address, but that after five years experience they wanted something more than members who “lounged about the lobbies and when an Irish question was on they slunk away.” He also claimed that the clergy were supporting O Brien from the altars, but that times were changed, and that the authority of the priesthood would no longer be implicitly obeyed. And Michael Considine added that the clergy had not issued a canonical document, and that they were free to vote for whom they chose. (p. 260)
I think Michael Considine understood the distinction between “The Church and Canon Law” and the individual members of the clergy. I think by “they”, Considine is referring to the members of the audience at that meeting in Ennis, but I think he understood that individual priests were also free to vote for whom they chose, and very often did so against the wishes of their bishops. Parnell, who was an astute politician, saw no reason for unnecessarily alienating either The Church or individual clergy; he recognised the power of Church and of individual clergy; he saw the usefulness of both bishops and priests and courted them all.

Hi Murf

I continued reading Chapter 10 (1880-1889), although Michael Considine had died in 1884, and came upon a two mentions of Ballynacally. Writing on the Plan of Campaign (part of the Land War) in 1887, Sheedy says,
As tension mounted in the county, an attack took place in Ballycar which resulted in the death of an emergency man, who was one of a group who had been brought down from Cavan to carry out evictions while in February an attempt was made to dynamite the residence of Thomas Rice Henn, Paradise House, Ballynacally. (p. 279)
Writing on the lack of reaction, at first, to the Parnell divorce case, Sheedy describes meetings and speeches in County Clare as going on much as before. He includes a paragraph on a meeting, in mid-October, of the local Labour Federation League of Kildysert, Ballynacally and Lissycasey, at which a crowd of two thousand labourers attended,
Joseph Kinnane read a resolution which was passed by acclamation and which expressed confidence in the leadership of Parnell and “his noble band of followers and we promise to resist each and every attack made upon their characters whether by professed friends or foes.(pp. 286-6)

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