Thomas Francis Meagher (1823-67)


Life
[“Meagher of the Sword”]; b. 3 Aug., 19, The Mall, Waterford; son of namesake, twice Lord Mayor of Waterford, 1844-46, and MP 1847-57, and his wife Alicia [née Quan] (d.1827); his grandfather emigrated from Co. Tipperary and established himself as a Newfoundland merchant; m. Mary Crotty; Thomas Meagher, Snr. (1796-1874) was hence born in Canada; he sent his son T. F. Meagher to Clongowes Wood, where he studied the speeches of Daniel O’Connell and Richard Lalor Sheil with enthusiasm; afterwards boarded at Stonyhurst School [S.J.], Lancashire [acc. J. McCarthy, 1904; not cited in DIH DIB]; jettisoned his Irish accent (“brogue”) and thenceforth spoke with upper-class English accent;
 

[visited Paris; studied law;] returned home, 1843; moved up to Dublin to study for bar; joined Repeal Association and early distinguished himself as an orator at Conciliation Hall; acted as secretary at Repeal meeting in Waterford, which his father chaired, Dec. 1844; denounced English Liberalism in Ireland as a source of false hope, speech of 5 June 1845; supported Young Ireland, and became a close friend of William Smith O’Brien; responded to O’Connell’s Peace Resolutions of 13 July 1846 in his famous “Sword” speech refusing to ‘stigmatise the sword’ - hence his eponym - and thus occasioned the walk-out of the Young Irelanders from Conciliation Hall, 28 July 1846; co.-fndr. Irish Confederation; edited Thomas Davis for Irish Library [1846];

 
stood unsuccessfully for election, Waterford, Feb. 1848; arrested for sedition in his father’s house, Waterford, for speech at Rathkeale advocating physical force; while on bail he travelled to Paris as emissary of Young Irelanders, bringing back the first tricolour to Ireland as a gift from the French, April 1848; acquitted of sedition; joined war directory of Irish Confederation; toured Ireland with Smith O’Brien; participated in the Young Ireland Rebellion [rising], 23-29 July 1848 and was present at Ballingarry; tried for treason in Dublin, and professed: ‘My Lord, this is our first offence but not our last. If you will be easy with us this once, we promise, on ourword as gentlemen, to try better next time’;
 
sentenced to death by hanging, drawing and quartering for treason, but reprieved when the sentence was commuted by Queen Victoria while awaiting execution in Richmond Gaol; joined there by Kevin Izod O’Doherty and John Martin; transported to Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania), July 1849, and first held at Ross, a ‘little apology of a town’ in district of Campbelltown; m. Catherine Bennett [var. Katharine], dg. of a Brian Bennett, a settler, 22 Feb. 1851 - the wedding being conducted by Dr. Willson, the first Catholic bishop of Tasmania (Hobart), and attended by Terence Bellew MacManus; afterwards lived at Lake Sorrell; gave notice of retraction of parole (“ticket of leave”) and escaped to America, 1852;
 
informally tried by his new compatriots, led on by Mitchel, on the the question of honour arising from his br, agreeing to return to Van Diemen’s Land if found guilty, but acquitted; travelled to Costa Rica seeking suitable destination for Irish immigrants; published travel articles in Harper’s Magazine; lectured on Irish affairs; fnd. the Citizen; fnd. the Irish News, 1856-61; split with Mitchel over slavery and committed himself to the Union; commissioned in the New York Militia with the rank of captain; recruited among the Irish for the Union, notably at a speech in the Boston Music Hall, Sept. 1861; advertised to form Company K of the 69th Regiment of the NY State Militia (viz., the 69th New York Infantry Regiment, aka the Irish Brigade); served in Army of Northeast Virginia under Brig.-Gen. Irvin McDowell, initially commanded by Col. Corcoran, who was captured at the First Battle of Bull Run, 21 July, 1861;
 
there Meagher rallied his men with the cry, ‘Remember Ireland and Fontenoy’ and ‘Come on, boys, here’s your chance at last!’; afterwards returned to NY and formed the Irish Brigade (incorporating 69th, 88th & 63rd New York State Militia) serving as Brigadier-General, and later Lieutenant-General; fought at Bull Run had his horse was blown to pieces by cannister shot under him during the ‘Charge of the 69th’; commanded Union forces at the Battle of Fair Oaks (1 June 1862), leading a non-Irish contingent as well as his own men - for the first and last time; although the action was won to the Confederates, the Irish bayonet charge was held to be ‘the most stubborn, sanguinary and bloody of modern times’;
 
at Antietam his Brigade lost 540 men against the Sunken Road before receiving orders to withdraw, 17 Sept. 1862; Meagher’s horse was shot from under him on this occasion - or else, according to malicious slander, he fell off it drunk; and Fredericksberg, 13 Dec. 1862, at which only 280 of the 1,200-strong unit that went out to fight survived, though Meagher was in the rear with an ulcer in the knee-joint acc. to his own report; passed four months in convalescence and resumed command at Chancellorsville, 3 May, 1863; resigned his commission on being refused permission to reinforce his brigade from New York, 14 May 1863; deemed to have depleted his unit through his fearless leadership (i.e., folly);
 
Meagher was severely bested in his attempt to raise troops for the decimated Irish Brigade by Col. Michael Corcoran’s levy of five regiments for the Union Army - though both appealed for recruits on the grounds that they would advance Irish citizenship and serves as preparation for war on Britain; later fought at Gettysburg and Bristole’s Station; resigned May 1863, and though his resignation was refused, he never served with the Irish Brigade again, that corps being absorbed by other brigades; appt. Territorial Secretary, and Acting Governor of Montana after Civil War, 1865; unpersuaded by James Stephens’s plea to support the IRB Fenianism;
 
went overboard and drowned in Missouri, 1 July, probably in alcohol-related accident, though also under circumstances taken as indicating possible assassination by local Montana politicos [i.e., Know Nothing Masonic vigilantes]; his body never recovered; there is an equestrian memorial in the state capital, Helena, Montana (a possible Democratic reproach to his assassins); a biographical notice by Mitchel appeared in the Shamrock at the time of his death; issued his own speeches as Recollections of Ireland and the Irish [q.d.]; Arthur Griffith re-issued Speeches on the Legislative Independence of Ireland (1853) with some autobiographical material as Meagher of the Sword (1916);
 
President J. F. Kennedy presented the standard of the Irish Brigade (“Fighting 6th”) bearing 13 battle honours to the Irish nation on 28 June 1963, during his state visit to Ireland; another later flag was presented to the Waterford Corporation by Meagher’s widow, together with his sword and journals, and remains in their keeping; a memorial was raised to the Irish Brigades at Antietam, under political auspices of Robt. Kennedy; the green banner carried by his contingent in the Civil War, stitched by his wife, presented to Ireland by President Kennedy, 1963; dubbed ‘Meagher of the Sword’ by Thackeray [ODNB]; he is commemorated in Waterford by an equestrian statue, unveiled in 2004, and a plaque on his birth-place on the Mall (now a hotel); Meagher appears in Joseph O’Connor’s novel Redemption Falls (2007). CAB PI ODNB JMC DIB DIW DIH RAF MCA FDA OCIL

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Works
  • ed., Thomas Davis, Letters of a Protestant on Repeal [Publications of the Irish Confederation, 2] (1847);
  • Speech at Dublin, 15 March 1848 [with] William Smith O’Brien, The Prosecuted Speeches [1848], fol.;
  • The Orations of Thomas F. Meagher (revised by himself), first series; second series supplements to The Nation 5 June 1852; 3 July 1852;
  • Last Days of the 69th in Virginia, with a port. (NY: 1862?), 8o.
  • In Memoriam, Speech of T. F. Meagher previous to receiving sentence of death, the late T. F. Meagher (Melbourne 1867), 12o;
  • Speeches on the Legislative Independence of Ireland (NY: Redford 1870); Do., with a memorial oration by R O’Gorman (NY: Haverty 1870); Do., with introductory notes (NY: 1853), 12o;
See also A[rthur] Griffith, ed., Meagher of the Sword: Speeches of Thomas Francis Meagher in Ireland, 1846-48; His Narrative of Events in Ireland in July 1848, Personal Reminiscences of Waterford, Galway, and his Schooldays (Dublin: M. H. Gill & Son 1916); [FDA & BML]

Note: The French Revolution and the Repeal of the Union; An Address to the People of Ireland. By an Irishman (Dublin 1848), iv, 22pp. - an anonymous work [not by Meagher].

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Criticism
  • P. J. Smyth, Thomas Francis Meagher [Lectures on Meagher] (NY: 1867) [not listed in Library of Congress National Union Catalog];
  • F. Kearney, ed., Memoirs of Major General T.F. Meagher (NY: 1869) [listed in Nat. Union Catalogue];
  • [Capt.] W. F. Lyons, Brigadier-General Thomas Francis Meagher: His Political and Military Career, with selections from the speeches and writings (London: Burns Oates [1869]; Glasgow 1870; NY: Sadleir 1870, 1871 [2nd edn.], 1886; Boston: P. H. Brady, 1870); Do. (Glasgow & London: Cameron & Ferguson 1871), and Do.[rep. edn.] (Danbury, CT: Archer Editions Press, 1975);
  • Michael Cavanagh, Memoirs of Gen. Thomas Francis Meagher [ ] with selections of his speeches, lectures and miscellaneous writings [ … &c.] (Worcester, MA: Messenger Press 1892; Gaithersburg, MD: Olde Soldier Books, Inc. 1995);
  • Arthur Griffith, ed., Meagher of the Sword; Speeches of Thomas Francis Meagher in Ireland, 1846-1848. His Narrative of Events in Ireland in July 1848, Personal Reminiscences of Waterford, Galway and his schooldays. (Dublin: M. H. Gill 1916; rep. 1939);
  • Alan Downey, The Complete Young Irelander: Thomas Francis Meagher (Waterford: Carthage Press, 1945);
  • R[obert] G. Athearn, Thomas Francis Meagher: An Irish Revolutionary in America (Colorado UP 1949);
  • William Mathias Lamers, The Thunder Maker, General Thomas Meagher (Milwaukee: Bruce Pub. Co. 1959);
  • Denis Gwynn, Thomas Francis Meagher [O’Donnell Lecture, University College Cork, 17 July 1961] (Dublin: NUI 1961);
  • Denis Gwynn, Thomas Francis Meagher (Dublin: NUI 1962);
  • Christian D. Stevens, Meagher of the Sword; A Dramatisation of the Life of Thomas Francis Meagher (NY: Dodd, Mead 1967);
  • Mathias Bodkin, ‘Thomas Meagher, 1822-1867’, in Studies (Spring 1968) [q.pp.];
  • David J. Abodaher, Rebel on Two Continents: Thomas Meagher (NY: J. Messner 1970);
  • Robert G. Athearn, Thomas Francis Meagher: an Irish Revolutionary in America (Boulder: University of Colorado Press, 1949; NY: Arno Press 1976) [for children];
  • Reg[inald] A. Watson, The Life and Times of Thomas Francis Meagher: A Biography (Tasmania: Anglo-Saxon-Keltic Society 1988).
—The foregoing has been largely compiled by Brian McGinn and kindly supplied to Ricorso (April 1997).
 
See also Thomas Keneally, The Great Shame: A Story of the Irish in the Old World and the New (London: Chatto & Windus 1998), p.115, et passim, and Cal McCarthy, Green, Blue and Grey: The Irish in the American Civil War (Cork: Collins Press 2009) 260pp.

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Bibliography on Meagher attached to Wikipedia article online; accessed 28.08.2010
  • Donald H. Akenson, An Irish History of Civilization (McGill-Queen’s Press-MQUP 2006).
  • Susannah Ural Bruce, The Harp and the Eagle: Irish-American Volunteers and the Union Army, 1861-1865 (NYU Press 2006).
  • Michael Cavanagh, Gen. Thomas Francis Meagher: The Leading Events of his Career. (Worchester, MA: The Messenger Press 1892).
  • Michael Doheny,The Felon’s Track. (Dublin: M. H. Gill & Son 1951).
  • Charles Gavan Duffy, Four Years of Irish History 1845-1849 (London: Cassell, Petter, Galpin & Co. 1888).
  • Charles Gavan Duffy, Young Ireland (London: Cassell, Petter, Galpin & Co. 1880).
  • Myles Dungan, How the Irish Won the West (Dublin: New Ireland 2006).
  • Eicher, John H.; & John Y. Simon, Civil War High Commands (Stanford University Press 2001).
  • Arthur Griffith, ed., Meagher of the Sword: Speeches of Thomas Francis Meagher in Ireland 1846-1848 (Dublin: M. H. Gill & Son, Ltd. 1916).
  • Thomas S. Lonergan, General Thomas Francis Meagher, in Journal of the Irish-American Society, XII, (1913), pp.11126.
  • W. F. Lyons, Brigadier-General Thomas Francis Meagher - His Political and Military Career (Dickens Press 2007).
  • T. F. O’Sullivan, Young Ireland (Tralee: The Kerryman Ltd. 1945).
  • Seán Ua Ceallaigh, T. D. Sullivan, A. M. Sullivan, and D. B. Sullivan, Speeches from the Dock (Dublin: M. H. Gill & Son. 1953).
  • Paul R. Wylie, The Irish General: Thomas Francis Meagher (University of Oklahoma Press 2007).

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Commentary
The Life and Times of Thomas Francis Meagher
, 160pp., bound with The Life and Times of Lord Edward Fitzgerald, 24 chaps. [248pp.], and appendix, “The Execution of Clinch [2 June 1798]” [249-56]. Meagher sect. ends with a Chap. [IX] - “Did Meagher belong to the Fenian Organisation?”: ‘The question has been often asked. I am free to answer it in the negative. To demand did he sympathise with a movement which professed to have the good of country for its aim would be to insult his memory […] Meagher never took an oath binding himself to be true to the land for which he had dared all and suffered much […] But he did not look on Fenianism with an unfavourable eye […; &c.]’ [159]. (Pamphlet, Library of Herbert Bell, Belfast.)

John Mitchel: ‘I am not afraid of either cowardice or treachery on the part of our chiefest men. Meagher is eloquent and ardent - brave to act; brave, if need be, to suffer. I would that he took the trouble to think for himself.’ (Jail Journal, 1854; 1913 Dublin edn., p.7; see also his chapter sections “Attempted Insurrection in Tipperary” [Chap. V] and “O’Brien, Meagher, MacManus, O’Donoghue, Sentenced to Death” [Chap. VI], et al.)

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John Savage, Fenian Heroes and Martyrs (Boston: Donohoe 1868): ‘The Fenian Brotherhood had received a wonderful impetus during the war. The development of Irish character and bravery, as illustrated by Corcoran, at Bull-Run, as prisoner of war and subsequently, in command of the Irish Legion; by Mulligan, in his famous defence of Lexington; by Meagher and the Irish Brigade; by Shields, who out-manoeuvred and defeated Stonewall Jackson; by Bryan, who fell at the head of his regiment at Port Hudson; by Cass and his “Irish Ninth” of Massachusetts; by Guiney, who succeeded him, and by Byrnes and his twenty-eighth of the same State; by Cahill and his Connecticut Irishmen; by Lawlor, of Kentucky; McGroarty, of Ohio; Thomas Smythe, of Delaware; Matthew Murphy, James E. McMahon, James P. McIver, and many others, had a very powerful effect on the Fenian organization. This was augmented by the action of England during the war; and the expectation that hostilities between the United States and the former, would give the Irish soldier a chance to strike at his old enemy, brought light and comfort on many a weary march, and nerved him to survive all difficulties, in view of the long expected day of retribution. This hope caused Fenianism to spread rapidly, as well in the army as out of it. The military enthusiasm, bred of experience and the self-reliance it creates, thus infused into the organization, gave it great hopes and vitality.’ (pp.127-28; see further under Savage, q.v., and Thomas Francis Burke, q.v.)

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John Francis Maguire, The Irish In America, ‘Meagher of the Sword’ was in his element at last; and as his fiery words rang through the land, they roused the enthusiasm of a race whose instincts are essentially warlike, and whose fondest aspirations are for military renown…the very flower of the Northern States rallied under the flag of the Union […] .’ [McCarthy ed., Irish Literature, 1904.]

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Roy Foster, Modern Ireland (1988), p.312, a founder of Irish Confederation, unsuccessfully contested Waterford, 1848; penal servitude in Tasmania after 1848, and escaped to America, 1852; helped Mitchel fnd. Citizen and fndr. of the Irish News; Brigadier-general of Irish Brigade in Civil War, 1862; drowned accidentally after appt. as Montana Governor.

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Peter Costello, Clongowes Wood: the History of Clongowes Wood College, 1814-1989 (Dublin: Gill & Macmillan 1989), writes: ‘[Clongowes] seems to stand outside the true current of national feeling, and is not Irish with Irish Ireland. Such at least was the opinion of Thomas Francis Meagher, of his old school.’ (p.3.) ‘It was in [the Clongowes] library that Meagher devoured the speeches of O’Connell and Sheil’; ‘[his] speeches [were] pitched in such an exalted strain, that they have become almost unreadable to later generations’ [according to Denis Gwynn] (Costello, op. cit., p.41.) ‘T. F. Meagher complained that the Jesuits were Whigs’ (idem, p.66.) ‘His famous espousal of the sword was a key speech in the development of the revolutionary traditions of Ireland. As with many rhetoricians, the words were finer than the man, and his later career despite his heroic achievements during the American civil war, petered out and ended in suicide or something close to it’ (idem, p. 106.)

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Quotations


TheSwordspeech (July 1846): ‘Be it for the defence, or be it for the assertion of a nation’s liberty, I look upon the sword as a sacred weapon. And if, my lord, it has sometimes reddened the shroud of the oppressor like the anointed rod of the high priest, it has at other times blossomed into flowers to deck the freeman’s brow. Abhor the sword and stigmatise the sword? no, no, my lord, for in the cragged passes of the Tyrol it cut to pieces the banner of the Bavarian, and won an immortality for the peasant of Innspruck. Abhor the sword and stigmatise the sword? No, no my lord, for at its blow a giant nation sprang from the waters of the Atlantic, and by its redeeming magic, the fettered Colony became a daring free Republic. Abhor the sword and stigmatise the sword? No, no my lord, for it scoured the Dutch marauders out of the fine old towns of Belgium, back into their own phlegmatic swamps, and knocked their flag, and laws, and sceptre, and bayonets into the sluggish waters of the Scheldt. (Reported in The Nation, 1 Aug. 1846; cited in Oliver MacDonagh, States of Mind, 1983, p.79). Further, ‘I am here to speak the truth whatever it may cost. I am here to regret nothing I have ever done, retract nothing I have ever said. I am here to crave with no lying lips the life I consecrate to the liberty of my country.’ (Recollections of Ireland and the Irish [q.d.]); given in Charles Read, ed., A Cabinet of Irish Literature (3 vols., 1876-78).

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Speech in Dublin” (5 Feb. 1848): My friend, Mr Mitchel - whom I shall never cease to trust and admire […] has brought the real question at issue […] whether we are to keep up […] parliamentary agitation or not, for my part […] I am weary of this constitutional agitation […] I know of no country that has won its independence by accident. […] is an insurrection probable? If probable, is it practicable? Prove to me that it is, and I, for one, will vote for it this very night. You know well, my friends, that I am not one of those tame moralists who say that liberty is not worth a drop of blood. Men who subscribe to such a maxim are fit ror out-door relief, and for nothing better. Against this miserable maxim the noblest virtue that has served and sanctified humanity appears in judgement. / From the blue waters of the Bay of Salamis - from the valley over which the sun stood still and lit the Israelites to victory - from the catheral in which the sword of Poland has been sheathed in the shroud of Kosciusko - from the convent of St Isidore, where the fiery hand that rent the ensign of St George upon the plains of Ulster has crumbled into dust - from the sands of the desert, where the wild genius of the algerine so lond had scared the eagles of the Pyrenees - from the ducal palace in this kingdom, where the memory of the gallant and seditious Geraldine enhances, more than royal favour, the nobility of his race - from the solitary grave which, within thise mute city, a dying requestion has left without an epitaph - oh! from every spot where heroism has had its sacrifice, or its triumph, a voice breaks in upon the [cringeing] crowds that cheer this wretched maxim, crying “Away with it, Away with it” […; cont.]’

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Speech in Dublin” (5 Feb. 1848) - cont.: ‘My strongest feelings are for the policy advised by Mr Mitchel I wish to God that I could defend that policy. It is a policy which calls forth the noblest passions - it kindles genius, generosity, heroism - it is far removed from the tricks and crimes of politics - for the young, the gallant, and the good, it has the most powerful attractions […] a deep conviction of our weakness compels me this night to be the opponent; and in being their opponent, I almost blush to think that the voice of one whose influence is felt through this struggle more powerfully than any other [seems to compare Byron (or Moore?) to Madame Roland and Maid of Orleans, [quotes:] “And the beckoning angels win you on, with many a radiant vision / Up the thorny path to glory, where man receives his crown” […;’ cont.]

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Speech in Dublin” (5 Feb. 1848) - cont.: ‘To an insurrectionary movement the middle classes are opposed. To an insurrectionary movement the aristocracy are opposed. to give effect to this opposition, 50,000 men equipped and paid by England, occupy the country at this moment. […] Who then are for it? The mechanic and the peasant classes, we are told […] lost all faith in legal agencies […] stung to madness […] they see one red pathway, lined with gibbets and hedged with bayonets […] [he challenges them on the terms of the founding of the Irish Confederation] To be purifed and saved, do you decree that this nation must writhe in the agonies of a desperate circumcision? has it not felt the knife long since? [cites examples of Europe, ‘so much for the war of the classes.’] No, I am not for a democratic, but I am for a national movement […] like that of Palermo in 1848. […] If you are weary of this consitutional movement, if you despair of this combination of classes, declare so boldly and let this night terminate the career of the Irish Confederation. yet, upon the brink of the abyss, listen for a moment to the voice that speaks to you from the vaults of Mount Saint Jerome [Emmet]; and if you distrust the advice of the friend who now addresses you […] be temeperate now, for the honour, happiness, the immortality of your country - act trustfully and truthfully one to another - watch, wait, and leave the rest to God.’ (Given in Justin McCarthy, gen. ed., Irish Literature, Washington 1904.)

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Speech from the Dock”: ‘To lift this island up, to make her a benefactor of humanity, instead of being the meanest beggar in the world - to restore her to her native power and her ancient constitution - this has been my ambition, and my ambition has been my crimeJudged by the law of England, I know this crime entails the penality of death; but the history of Ireland explains this crime and justifies it. Judge by that history I am no crimial [addressed MacManus and O’Donoghue as the same] Judge by that history, the treason of which I stand convicted loses all its guilt, is sanctified as a duty, and will be ennobled as a sacrifice!’ […] to that country I now offer a pledge of the love I bore her; and of the sincerity with which I tought and spoke and struggled for her freedom, the life of a young heart; and with that life, the hopes, the honours, the endearments of a happy, a prosperous, and honorable home. Pronouce, then, my lords, the sentence which the law directs. […] I go […] before a higher tribunal […] where […] many, many of the judgements of this world will be reversed [End.]’ (Quoted in extract in Justin McCarthy, gen. ed., Irish Literature, Washington 1904.)

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References
Charles Read, ed., A Cabinet of Irish Literature (3 vols., 1876-78), notes that Meagher’s Irish Brigade contingent lost 900 men out of 1200 at Fredericksberg. Further details substantially as in McCarthy, infra.

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Justin McCarthy, ed., Irish Literature (Washington: Catholic Univ. of America 1904), gives extracts from Speeches, “On the Policy of Ireland”; “The Glory of Ireland”; and “Speech from the Dock”; also “The Irish in the War”. Biog.: his f. had represented Waterford, MP; Clongowes and Stonyhurst; tour of Europel deputed to Paris in 1848 to congratulate the republic; presented an Irish tricolour flag to the citizens of Dublin with glowing speech; arrested for seditious language, discharged, 1848; when passage of treason-felony act drove Young Irelanders into insurrection, Meagher was among them; commuted death sentence; sent to Tasmania with O’Brien and Macmanus; escaped 1852, landed US [this country]; raised body of Zouaves, incorporated in NY 69th under Corcoran; horse shot from under him at Bull Run; raised Irish Brigade and elected first General; unit distinguished in 7 days fight around Richmond; noticed in order by General McClellan at Antietam; seven charges at breastworks at Fredericksburg, 280 men surviving of 1,200; Meagher led the force again at Chancellorsville, to its complete destruction; resigned from phantom regiment; criticism of his skill as tactician but not as man of courage; appointed Brig.-Gen. of volunteers with charge of district of Etowah; Gov. of Montana; fell overboard while travelling on steamer, Mississippi, 1 July; published his own speeches and essays as Recollections of Ireland and the Irish, showing sense of humour and powers of description; youthful mouthpiece of passion of Young Irelanders. Extracts, “Speech in Dublin” [to the Irish Confederation], 5 Feb. 1848; “Address in People’s Theatre”, Virginia City, St. Patrick’s Day, 1866 [Patrick, Moore, Maclise; Goldsmith; Burke, Harry Flood; Grattan; Curran; Davis; Barry; ‘shall a nation postpone her liberty in deference to an erudite slavery?’; ‘The hills of Wexford, and the plains of Kildare, the mountain passes of Wicklow - all are vital with their desperate courage under the shock and scourge of battle. Never let the Irish heart give up the hope of seeing, on Irish soil, the fatal destiny of centuries reversed, and a restored nation, wisely instructed and ennobled in the school of sorrow, planted here.’ For speeches, see under Quotations, supra.]

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Patrick Rafroidi, Irish Literature in English: The Romantic Period, 1789-1850 (Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe 1980), Vol. 2, notices a few poems in the Cork Echoes from Parnassus.

Brian Cleeve & Ann Brady, A Dictionary of Irish Writers (Dublin: Lilliput 1985) attributes 1916 edn. of Meagher’s Speeches to Mrs [sic] Arthur Griffith.

Seamus Deane, gen. ed., The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing (Derry: Field Day 1991), Vol. 2, cites Davitt: Davitt, ‘only the voice of Meagher raised against impotence and disgrace of the peaceable policy’ (p.200).

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Seamus Deane, gen. ed., The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing (Derry: Field Day 1991), Vol. 2, 117 [Meagher had not known Davis]; 119 [argument conducted in terms dictated by the forces that oppressed him; Deane, ed.]; 177 [one of the most charismatic of the Confederates, ibid.]; 254 [The New York Irish Brigade, led by Meagher fought bravely at 2nd Battle of Bull Run and in all major engagements thereafter, 242n. [John O’Leary, Recollections, 1896: ‘I once joined the Grattan Club, presided over by “Meagher of the Sword”, and of course was assiduous in my attendance’]; 266 [near extinction of Meagher’s sixty-ninth regt. in severl of the war’s bloodiest battles gave pause to militant enthusiasts in the Brotherhood, 263; in Tasmania with Terence Bellew MacManus]. Further, Meagher’s ‘Sword Speech’ [here copied from The Sword, 28 July 1846], led to the secession of the Young Irelanders from the Repeal Association. The speech, made at Conciliation Hall in opposition to O’Connell’s demand of an oath foreswearing violence (the Peace Resolutions), was interrupted by John O’Connell, whereupon Meagher left with his Young Ireland comrades. Meagher professed himself for several reasons to ‘advocate the peaceful policy of this Association’ as ‘the only policy we can adopt’, but dissented from the resolutions since he ‘felt that, by assenting to them, I should have pledged myself to the unqualified repudiation of physical force in all countries, at all times, and in every circumstance. This I could not do; for, my lord, I do not abhor the use of arms in the vindication of national rights. There are times when arms will alone suffice.’ BIOG notes that his speech in Concilation Hall against O’Connell’s Peace Resolutions led to the secession of Young Ireland from the Repeal Movement, “A good government may, indeed, redress the grievances of an injured people; but a strong people must be self-reliant, self-ruled, self-sustained […] I do no abhor the use of arms in the vindication of national rights.” [as supra.]. Vol. 3, incls. reference to Meagher, viz., Patrick Shea’s memoir, Voices and the Sound of Drums: An Irish Autobiography (1981): ‘talk of the resumption of the fight for freedom [after 1916] […] Thomas Francis Meagher’s ‘“Stigmatise the sword?” speech was the text of many an oration’ (Chap. 2; FDA3, 538; Thomas Francis Meagher returned with a tricolour - Orange, White & Green - from the citizens of France; the speech that William Smith O’Brien made under it at a meeting in that month was quoted by John Hume at the opening of the New Ireland Forum, 1983, FDA3, 790n.

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Booksellers
De Burca Catalogue (1997) lists Capt. W. F. Lyons, Brigadier-General Thomas Francis Meagher: His Political and Military Career. With selections from his speeches and writings. London, Burns Oates, c.1869. Pages, 186. V.good in wraps [20].

Belfast Public Library holds Speeches on the Legislative Independence of Ireland (1853).

Pearse St. Library, Dublin, holds ‘Constitutional Action versus a War Policy-Speeches of T. F. Meagher & Michael Doheny’, in Morning News (9 Sept. 1864); cutting in Madden Papers, Gilbert Collection, MS 279.

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Notes
Fighting 69th”: Col. Michael Corcoran, colonel of the 69th NY State Militia, was placed under court martial by the NY State authorities for refusing to parade the 69th at the visit of the Prince of Wales in 1861; he was subsequently awarded a medal by the San Francisco Fenians while the State plan of dissolving the regiment was abandoned with encroaching expectations of civil war; charges dropped when he pledged the regiment to the Union; captured at First Battle of Bull Run; new 69th served in Meagher’s Irish Brigade; some of the ex-soldiers of the brigade participated in the Fenian raids on Canada; the 69th was reformed as part of the 165th US Infantry Regiment (42nd Div.) and known as The Rainbow Division; sent to France under Lieut.-Col. “Wild Bill” Donovan, wth Fr. Francis P. Duffy as chaplain; sported colours in France a foot taller than the other regiments to accommodate its battle honours; Sergeant Joyce Kilmer, poet, was offered a commission and refused since it would involve separation from the 69th; died in action; 69th assigned to 27th Division of NY National Guard in 1940; saw action in Makin Island (where its commander, Col. Gardiner Conroy, died), Sapain and Okinawa; rejoined Rainbow Division during Cold War; during 9/11 the armoury of the 69th in Lexington Ave. was designated Family Bereavement Centre; participated in invasion of Iraq under command of Lieut.-Col. Geoffrey J. Slack as Task Force Wolfhound; secured Taji region; a segment of the road Baghdad airport road where casualties have occurred is designated “Route Irish”. The Civil War 69th was commanded by Col. Robert Nugent, of whom there is a photo port., standing with a seated Brig.-Gen. Meagher. (See Irish Edition, [US], July 2005, ‘The “Fighting 69th” is Still Fighting’, p.20.)

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A biographical notice by John Mitchel appeared in the Shamrock at the time of Meagher’s death and was reprinted in in Thomas Davis and Young Ireland (Dublin: Stationary Office 1945).

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Fr Mathew: Meagher is accredited with giving the graveside address at Fr. Theobald Mathew’s funeral [d. 1856]. See Irish Booklover 3.

Mary Kettle, Memoir of Tom Kettle (1917): The confederate general, seeing victory suddenly snatched from his hands and not for the first time, by Meagher’s brigade, exclaimed in immortal profanity, “There comes that damned green flag again!” I have often commended that phrase to Englishmen as admirably expressive of the historical role and record of Ireland in British politics.’, by , pref. to The Ways of War (1917).

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Thomas Keneally: In The Great Shame [Thomas] Keneally dealt at length with Thomas Francis Meagher, the patriot who was transported to Tasmania but escaped to America where he became a celebrated lawyer and Civil War general. Meagher’s most notorious friend by some distance was the New York lawyer and politician Daniel Sickles, and he facinated Keneally so much that he wrote this book about him. […] a murderer, a serial adulterer, and a Civil War general of considerable notoreity, it was said of him once that “one might as well try to spoil a rotten egg as to damage [his] character”. (Irish Times, 27 April, Weekend.)

Namesake: A John Francis Meagher is author of A Study of Masturbation and its Reputed Sequelae (London: Balliere & Co. 1924; printed US]; Masturbation and Psycho-Sexual Life (London: Bailliere 2nd edn. 1929), and Do. [3rd edn. rev. by Smith Ely Jelliffe (1936), xii, 149pp. [BML Cat.]

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Standard of the Regiment: President J. F. Kennedy presented the standard of the Irish Brigade (“Fighting 6th”) to the Irish nation on 28 June 1963, during his state visit to Ireland. The thirteen battle honours borne on the flag are Fredericksburg, Chancellorville, Yorktown, Fair Oaks, Gaine’s Hill, Allen’s Farm, Savage’s Station, White Oak Bridge, Glendale, Malvern Hills, Antietam, Gettysburg, and Bristloe’s Station. (See The Irish Times, 29 June 1963, p.1; rep. from archives in The Irish Times, 30 May 2009, Weekend Review, p.14.)

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Auction: A letter written by T. F. Meagher from Richmond Jail in 1849 on the eve of his transportation to Tasmania was auctioned by Adam’s/Mealy’s in Easter Week, 2006 (estimated value, €3-5,000). In part the text reads: ‘in the darkness which covers the land we hear but the wail of the dying, and the supplicating of the penniless and breadless. Never, never was there a country so utterly downcast, so depressed, so pitiful, so spiritless. Yet I do not, could not, despair of her regeneration. Nations do not die in a day […] they encompass centuries.’ Further, ‘[Ireland will survive] her sufferings, her errors and disasters and rear, one day, her Arch of Triumph. This is my sincere faith […] I would never change places this day with the most comfortable and happy slave in the country.’ The letter is written in ink and ends abruptly with the words “Orders have come” added in pencil in Meagher’s handwriting. (See Irish Times, 4 Feb. 2006.)

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A portrait of T. F. Meagher with William Smith O’Brien in Clonmel Jail in 1844 was made by Joseph Hayes; see Anne Crookshank, Irish Portraits Exhibition (Ulster Mus. 1965). See also notes in issues of Irish Booklover.

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