Jemmy Hope

Life
?1764-1846 [James Hope]; weaver and United Irishman; b. 25 Aug., Templemore, Co. Antrim; mbr. of Roughfort Volunteers; joined United Irishmen in 1795; enlisted members as cotton weaver in Dublin, acting as recruiting agent; took part in Battle of Antrim [var. Ballynahinch], 1798; escaped to Dublin after five months hiding in Ulster; acted as Emmet’s quartermaster in 1803, and endeavoured with Russell to ‘rise’ the North, in Co. Down, 1803; eluded arrest and returned to Belfast on political amnesty in 1806; later claimed that Bonaparte colluded with the English to deport Irish political exiles such as Thomas Russell [“their residence not being considered favourable to Napoleon's imperial views”]; employed by McCracken family; clerk to Joseph Smyth, proprietor of Belfast Almanac; his poetry is collected in Madden’s Literary Remains of the United Irishmen; Hope was still alive in 1846, when Madden published his memoirs; regarded as fore-runner of Irish socialists; there is a biography in Irish by Gearóid Ó Cuinneagáin, a Catholic Gaelic syndicalist and Gaelic League member in the 1930s. DIB DIH DUB

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Criticism
(inter al.) Cathal O’Byrne, As I Roved Out (1946); A. T. Q. Stewart, The Summer Soldiers, The 1798 Rebellion in Antrim and Down (Belfast: Blackstaff 1995).

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Quotations
Letter to Robert R. Madden: ‘At the time that politics were first mooted in the north ... the mass confided in the writers and speakers, as men who were necessarily competent to the direction of public affairs, and laid more on them than they were able to perform, had they even been all honest men ... The cause of ireland was the [sic] confined to a few individuals. The masses had no idea of the possibility of managing their own affairs.’ (Memoirs of Jemmy Hope, Belfast: British and Irish Communist Organisation, 1972; quoted in Luke Gibbons, ‘The Politics of Silence: Anne Devlin, Women and Irish Cinema’, Transformations in Irish Culture, Field Day/Cork UP 1996, ftn. 7; p.196.) Gibbons further remarks on James Hope’s criticism of the role of rhetoric in the attempted revolution.

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Notes
R. R. Madden rescued Hope in Dublin and collected his papers; Note that, at the end of Stewart Parker’s Northern Star (1984), McCracken recognises in Hope the ‘real Northern Star’ [cf. United Irish newspaper]. Also, Hope is a heroic figure in The Northern Iron by George Birmingham [Hannay].

Portrait, James [Jemmie] Hope by William Charles Nixon, 1840, Bigger Collection; see Anne Crookshank, ed., Irish Portraits [Catalogue] (Ulster Mus. 1965). NOTE that Jemmy Hope is a character in Stewart Parker’s play on Henry Joy McCracken, Northern Star.

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