Category Archives: American history

This looks mainly at the American Revolution and the buildup to the American Civil War. It may be expanded later.

the fake tan fuhrer


natural de selection. darwin awards. winnow out the feeble minded.

affecting NYC . california. densely populated

spreading to red states. diffused. peoples by illogical people.

Temper tantrums
of adult life are rather pathognomonic of psychopathy,

eugenically spekaing this might be welcome. providential.



enriched idiocy

weapons grade whackoes

presidential authrity limited. separation of powers

liberatarianism never solves . no good in crisis. look at 9.11. habeas corpus.

bo jo has got it.

red states. jesus saves.

singapore eased off. got worse.

gallows humour

black comedy.

90s trump. display mode. a deux.

fake fuhrer’s approval up. rally to president. 9.11

popularity dip

perfect storm. expensive tests. ventilaors. insurance. doctors and nurses. overpaid.

no more a bone of contention – corona.

trump a hindrance not a help. burden.

no more tangible problem than coronavirus.

unverifiable that many more have it. #


isolation helps. uncontested.

adjudication on limit of federal and state authority

demented. not constitutional. acquired.


feebleminded substandard. lacks adaptability.

psychopathic. offends the law. superiority complex. inferiority complex.


no impulse resistance. self control.

delusions. hallucinations. not raining at inauguration

memory defects?

ablation might be needed. lobotomy

impressive verbalist. given chance after chance. forgiven.

betrayals. broken homes. tragedies

untouched by this. smiles abd boasts

constant distortion

mental deformity.

inadequate. could have impressed. cauterise the problem. grasp the nettle. be presidential

poses fundamental questions about assumptions underpinning democracy when such a popinjay can be elected.

done nothing constructive

noisy, shallow. severe eccentricities

such rich seam of material for commentary.

deviate from norm.

hysterical. had no many advantage yet claims to be hard done by. victim mentality.

has to be humoured. handled with kid gloves. fiend. never candid.

folly . bigot.  republicans worshippers of him not dogma

dogmatist – against publicly funded healthcare.

nuisance. silly impulsive. impetuous. uniquely vain disposition.

unpardonable slow response to coronavirus. indecisive. perservere with social distancing. non -persistent.

flip floppers. situation unsettled to say the very least. shortcoming. hostile to the idea of isolation

doubly unfortunate to have trump and republicans.

cannot appreciate achievements of others. egocentric.


notoriety mistaken for fame.

senile become paranoid.

impending doom. what antidote|?




hubris and trump ========================


high office and hubris

hubris syndrome and acquired personality disorder – in brain magazine

prof jonathan Davidson and dr d owen

the psychiatrist magazine . 2011.

#power goes to his head


rhetoric by aristotle

hubris is a compulsion to demonstrate superiority

masks inner doubt . why impelled to reinforce one’s paramountcy?

to belittle others . it is a weakness

hubristai means insults

watch corionalus and its rings true


an occupational hazard for a leader

smooth talking flatterers

aggressive arrogance

no pm leaves downing street sane

intoxication of power

addicted to the limelight

a media ho

a loafer but a tireless self publicist

cheats at games like napoleon

causal link between conduct and office?

susceptible to temptations of power

lord acton4

indifference to truth

lack of humility

no need to acknowledge truth which is often beyond human agency to  control

fixation with reputation and retribution

potency is a heady substance

no sense of humour or irony. decency and detachment – insult dying mccain

not tethered to reality

slipped his moorings

overweening pride

snarling and insolent towards those who thwart him

trets reasonable questions as impudence

lost his marbles

aberrant behaviour

magical thinking

disdain for expoert opinion that he does not like

pride comes before a fall

whom the gods wish to destory

david e cooper on excessive self – belief. it really is about SELF.

split thinking

double think. he paid stormy and did not pay her.

the big lie. loss is profit. truth is a lie. fake news.

surrounded with smooth talking flatterers

massage his ego

democracy trammels power. restrain. vacillate, consider

medidatte and pause. no mistake can be too big

checks and balances

slow, indecisive and half measures

liberty requires hypervigi lance against the power hungry

usurp liberty in times of crisis.

fronto striatal and limbic stratial dopamingeric pathways in brain regulate impulsitivty and rigidity


lassitude by trump

seldom exultant.



diagnostic and statistical manual IV

antisocial personality disorder

histrionic personality disorder

narcissistic personality disorder – hubris syndrome probably the same . have many components in common


sign trump si hubristic

breaching godwin’s law


tendency to see world as a forum for his aggrandizement#a

all the world is s stage. glory boy

not expendiect or problem solving

judges actions by whether they make him look good

preoccupation with image and reputation

messianic. speak in extravagant praise about certain others as well as themselves


consider the nation and themselves to be inseparable.

l ‘etat c est moi

talking in the third person

unwarranted trust in their own decision making

pooh pooh unwelcome advice or bad news

shoot the messenger

want to believability. wishful thinking. mindless optimism

belief that they have special almost preternatural powers

given to undue self confidence beying what one would expect in an extrovert and exhibitionist

a sense that they cannot be scrutinised by lesser mortals even judges or legislatures – that the almighty or posterity will judge them

unwavering sureness that such a court would acquit them and even adulate them

history shall absolve me

the goddess who presides over the eternal court of history

notion that they are slected for some august destiny

things are written in the stars – preordained

beliefs in portents

today it seems to me providential.

no grip in reality.

becoming ever more detached from ordinary people or even unbiased advisors

insistence on access only to toadies, place hunters and groupies


inordinate exaltation is no more than his due

demand craven obeisance from others

impatience, volatility, imprudence

attention span of a may fly

indifference to particulars.

never asking to see files.


belief that their mission is correct. a frightening conviction in their own moral uprightness

moral imperative to achieve goals. machiavellian

no law or ethics will hold them back. mercilessness.

but they still apply such standards to others and demand they be bound by law and ethics

their belief in the moral supremacy of their cause precludes any need to consider feasibility, cost in blood or treasure, time scale or anything prosaic

refusal to face up to the possibility that even parts of it will go awry or that unforeseen circumstances may arise

incompetence. not doing homework

refusal to do anything tedious. cannot be fagged with anything petty or time consuming or painstaking


trump has no inquiring mind

no languages



nonchalance in the face of grave difficulties. it will all work itself out.

these traits were apparent by 18

total dearth of objectivity or probity

self pity. woe is me. surrounded by foes

many enemies – much glory

self love

relying on adrenalin


charismatic. cult of personality

me, I , mine, us, name,





red can me military in afghanistan

triumph – remember you are only a man


locked in dispute with press corps

Jonathan Pollard



In 1954 Jonathan Pollard was born in the United States. Mr Pollard is Jewish and his family identified very strongly with the worldwide Jewish community. Despite that his family was not fervently religious.

Pollard did well at school. He went on to obtain a Bachelor’s degree and a Master’s. Thereafter he found gainful employment as a civilian intelligence analyst in the US Navy. Soon afterwards he wed. He was privy to all sorts of secret information. The United States and Israel had a very cordial relationship and shared intelligence. However, this did not extend to sharing everything. Mr. Pollard came across information that was potentially useful to the Israelis that was not passed on to them by the US Government.

At a party in New York in the early 1980s Pollard met an Israeli diplomat. He spoke to the diplomat about his job and his enthusiasm for helping Israel. The diplomat was suspicious of Pollard’s exuberance. Could he be a crackpot? Was he coat trailing? Was he trying to get the Israeli intelligence services to recruit him so the USA could then expose Israeli espionage in the country? Mossad looked into Pollard’s case. They soon arrived at the conclusion that he was genuine.

Handlers met Pollard frequently. He handed over information to his handlers. They were specific in requesting certain file numbers. Pollard was doing this because of his ardent Zionism. He found out about anti-Israeli plots in much of the Muslim world. The Israeli Government paid Pollard handsomely for what he was doing.

Jonathan Pollard approached the Pakistanis, Chinese and others offering to sell them secret information. They declined perhaps not trusting him. Why would an avowed Zionist assist Pakistan? Pakistan does not recognize Israel and is a sworn enemy of the country. Pakistan does not allow Israelis into the country.

Mr Pollard slipped up when he was seen accessing files that were beyond his remit. This aroused suspicion. He was  asked if he was willing to be questioned. Pollard agreed. During the interview He asked to make a phone call to his wife. As it was a voluntary interview the FBI agreed. He had the right to leave at any time. He made a phone call to his spouse. In it he slipped in the anodyne word ‘cactus’. This was a prearranged code word to indicate that he had been caught. His wife knew this innocuous word meant to remove evidence. She removed sacks of sensitive documents from the house. Later Mr Pollard was arrested. He and his wife were charged with espionage. The charges against Mrs Pollard were reduced to being an accessory after the fact.

Some Israeli diplomats fled the country within hours of Pollard’s arrest. Pollard agreed a plea bargain with prosecutors. He had to give them chapter and verse on all he had done. The intelligence services wished to assess the damage. They also believed there was another Zionist mole in US Naval Intelligence. How else had Mossad known which files to ask for? This person was known as Mr X. He has never been unmasked. Pollard was also required to refrain from speaking to the media.

At his trial Pollard was found guilty. The bench awarded him life imprisonment. He felt hard done by. However, he had given a media interview whilst awaiting trial and this was a material breach of his plea bargain. He contended that he pleaded guilty because his wife had medical treatment withheld from her until he pleaded guilty. His wife had the temerity to claim that medical treatment in prison was worse than in concentration camps. This was an outright lie and hideously offensive. It hugely trivializes the Holocaust. She was treated humanely and she exploited the Holocaust to gain sympathy. People are not worked to death in US prisons.

Mr Pollard renounced his US citizenship and became an Israeli which in a federal penitentiary. His wife was soon released.

It was put to Pollard that there was nothing anti-Jewish about his conviction. Some of the lawyers on the prosecution side were Jewish. He likened them to kapos in extermination camp. This extremely insulting and self-serving statement made light of the Holocaust. He was not going to be killed. These lawyers were upholding the judicial system and democracy.

If Pollard was so Zionist why did he accept payment for his work? Why did he offer to spy for the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Pollard said what he did was justified because his primary loyalty was to Israel. A Palestinian-American could advance the same argument. How about a Chinese-American or an Iranian-American. He was paid by the USA. The USA spent money and time amassing this secret information. Sources were lost to the USA as a result of his actions.

President CLinton almost released Pollard in the 1990s. Several intelligence chiefs lobbied very strongly against it and threatened to resign if Pollard were set at liberty.

Pollard became a cause celebre for Zionists. Netanyahu visited him in prison. In 2014 Pollard was set free. He moved to Israel.


  1. In which year was Pollard born?
  2. Which country was he born in?
  3. What is his faith?
  4. Which degrees did he obtain?
  5. Which branch of the armed services did he work for?
  6. Was he a sailor?
  7. Which country did he spy for?
  8. Which other countries did he offer to help?
  9. Was he paid?
  10. Was he married?
  11. Was he imprisoned?
  12. What was his sentence?
  13. What is his current status?
  14. Which president almost released him?
  15. Why did Clinton not let him out?
  16. Where does Pollard live?
  17. What did Pollard say about Jewish lawyers who prosecuted him?
  18. Was his wife sent to prison?
  19. What is your opinion of him?


farewell McCain ================================================


88. born in panama

us navy. family in navy


shot down. POW. refused rlease. chritsin

republican politics. cold warrior

pro life

against big money but took it

tried for GOP nomination 2000. dirty tricks from bush

loayl to bush. for liberation of Iraq.

2008. candidate. backing from Lieberman. mixed up sunni and shia

knew little about economics

anti-racist. Bangladeshi daughter

loathed trump

brain cancer.



Trump’s inauguration speech.


President Trump has delivered his inaugural address. There was eclat to the delivery. There were no new themes. The content was the usual drivel. It was a study in inarticulacy, cliches and a failure to use commas.

Donald J Trump demonstrated yet again his trademark illogicality. He wants to return power to the people and at the same time use his presidential powers to create jobs. If the president is doing that is he not arrogating to the White House prerogatives that are not his?

Mr Trump was decent enough to laud the Obamas for their dignity and patriotism in welcoming him to the White House after the election. They have sought to make the handover of the presidency as hitch-free as possible. When it came to his address Trump proceeded to slate Obama’s record. So much for his partisanship.

Trump said that the United States defended other countries borders. What was he alluding to? Perhaps this refers to NATO – a cornerstone of American defence since 1949. Trump has talked about leaving it. He then walked back this ambition. Was he referring to troops in Iraq? He said he wants to annihilate ISIS. If so he needs troops in ISIS. Trump then said that the United States was not defending its own border which is false. There are illegal immigrants coming in from Mexico. There has been illegal immigration since 1607. This is by no means the most severe problem that the USA is facing. Trump proposes to erect a wall along the border with Mexico. There already are walls there at points that are populated and where many people might cross illegally.

Trump seems to have broken with Republican orthodoxy which was that since 9/11 foreign wars have been necessary. This is why the GOP was very chary about him. Now Trump has changed his tune. There really is no telling with him. He is totally erratic.

In this oration Trump said ”For too long a small group in our nation’s capital enriched itself and the costs were borne by the people. The establishment protected itself”. This takes some nerve to say. Trump is one of the most egregious members of the establishment. He is in that clique. He said himself that he donated generously to politicians to have laws made that favoured the likes of himself. It was part of the disingenuous rhetoric that he pedalled all through the campaign. He constantly spat bile about the supposedly wicked establishment. He was born in New York to millionaire WASP parents. He is as much of an insider as it gets. Trump bilked his workers. He defrauded students at Trump University. He has made himself stinking rich by ripping off ordinary people. He is utterly shameless and has not the slightest regard for veracity.

”Their victories have not been your victories. Their trials have not been your trials. There has been little to celebrate for struggling families all across this land”. This was perhaps the only part of his oration where he told the truth.

Trump went for a soft target. Like many an inadequate politician he chose to castigate teachers. ”An education system flush with cash leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of all knowledge.” Students are not deprived of all knowledge. It was typical of his extremely irresponsible hyperbole. St It is true that there is much wrong with education in the United States. Many schools are not overfunded. In higher education costs are exorbitant. That is due to ostentation. It is about building sports facilities and the like for the sake of vanity. Many people leave third level education with ruinous debts. Excessive profiteering has led to dumbing down as colleges give out higher and higher grades just to keep customers happy. Who has been rooking students? That would be Donald J Trump with his bogus university. Fordham certainly left Trump with no knowledge.

”We are one nation. We share one heart and one home” – that was a sea change from his acridly divisive rhetoric in the campaign. He made

Trump proved he cannot pronounce ”industry.”

”We subsidised the armies of other countries while allowing the very sad depletion of our army.” Would that include Israel? I hope he cuts off all subsidies to the Israeli Defence Force. His Republican Party has pursued these policies of giving military aid to other lands. It suited the weapons industry in the United States. The US military has experienced tiny cuts. The US still spends more on defence than the next 20 countries combined most of whom are allies. The notion that the US defence capability is too feeble is a toxic myth. WHat he said will be music to the ears of the arms industry. They will be pleading for him to ask Congress to expand the military. This will mean more taxation or more likely a larger deficit.

Trump chanted ”America first”. This vacuous slogan signal nativism, exceptionalism and ultra nationalism. ”Buy American and hire American” as he said later. He accused foreigners of ”stealing our companies.” Stealing means buying. He owns companies abroad. Is that stealing?

”I will never, ever let you down.” When he does these words will come back to haunt him.

”It is the right of all nations to put their own interests first”. That applies to Palestinians too.

Trump said he would eradicate Islamic terrorism. He must be reminded that some of his allies arm, fund and provide intelligence to such people.

It was hilarious that he was false enough to cite the Bible.

Trump called for solidarity and unity. He had denounced swathes of Americans as haters. He has spewed hatred even at fellow Republicans.

”Think big and dream even bigger.” He does not think but he is certainly a dreamer.

”All talk and no action” is what he abominates. He may turn out like that as many of his goals are impractical. What he plans to do may well backfire. Even if he could cancel NAFTA it would probably harm the USA.

”We stand at the birth of a new millennium”. Er that began 17 years ago. He wants to heal disease. If that were so he would support more funding for medical research and he would want to give free healthcare to all citizens of the United States.

”You will never be ignored again”. He certainly wishes to ignore the poor and his political opponents. Most Americans disapprove of him. He is starting off already reviled.

Trump took a swipe at the wealthy for exporting jobs. It shows chutzpah for a billionaire to denounce the affluent. He is a Washington insider. He did not stand for elected office before but he was well connected to many politicians. He was a Democrat and a Clinton donor in 2009! Moreover, he is as Wall Street as anyone. He suffers selective amnesia. He can tell the most bare faced lies. Does his company not hire workers from abroad? He also has things manufactured abroad because it is cheaper and he has offshore bank accounts. He is grossly hypocritical. It is always do as I say not as I do. Furthermore, his wife worked illegally as a nude model. Yet more flagrant hypocrisy from him.

The new president mentioned the middle class. Of course he did not mention the working class. They do not exist. Or do they not count?

The 45th president stated that he would make the United States more respected in the world. The US recovered its image very considerably under Obama. What does Trump intend to do in order to improve America’s image? He seems to be against the George W Bush way of doing things. Trump said that he opposed the liberation of Iraq and Afghanistan – although that is a lie. Will he be more isolationist? Or will he be more interventionist? He accused Obama of not doing enough to wipe out ISIS. That would be getting the USA back into the Iraqi quagmire. It appears that Trump neither knows or care. He can perform policy U turns every day. It is no longer a business he is running. He is not on reality TV anymore. He is running the mightiest country in the world. This is beyond a joke.

The president heaped praise on the armed forces. This is one of the usual pieties. It is nauseating to see to what degree some people are adulated for doing what they are paid to do. Many of the military are stupid and bigoted. This self-congratulation and flag waving sticks in the craw. There will be yet more childish chauvinism in this presidential term. Trump seldom appears without an American Flag badge on his lapel.

It was sick making to hear Trump say that the country was under the protection of God. God plainly does not love the USA that much. Otherwise he would do a better job of protecting it. D J Trump did not claim to be religious until very lately. He reasoned that it would stand him a better chance of being elected. Some Christian wingnuts were naive to fall for this transparent charade.

Trump said that the slaughter of Americans stops no. Carnage was the word he used. The next time there is a high school shooting or a bomb goes off he will have been proven wrong. He has thrown out promises like confetti. These are pledges he cannot possibly keep. The deglutition of these insincere promises by the gullible is very disconcerting. President Trump is going to prevent this carnage. At the same time the Donald is opposed to any gun control. If he wished to save his people from being killed he should look at the 33 000 gun deaths per year.

Prepare for endless hubris from Trump. He is very thin skinned. It is worrying to have someone so touchy with his finger on the nuclear trigger. He is very easy to provoke. A country can easily launch a false flag operation: insult Trump and make it appear that this comes from another source.

Trump will tell endless barefaced lies. He will perform a policy volte face everyy week. His supporters will be bitterly disappointed if NAFTA is not cancelled. If tariffs are not imposed on the whole world. Even if that happened it would not bring back many jobs and might make the situation much worse. The Republican Congress is not as deranged and inconsistent as Trump is.

Trump changes his mind every few days. No one is totally consistent. Consistency can be over rated. However, Trump is completely inconsistent. Because he expresses so many contradictory opinions he occasionally makes sense.


Mr Trump ended with his vapid slogan ”Make America Great Again.” When was the USA greater? Was it when unemployment was higher? Was it when 20 000 000 people did not have health insurance but now do? Was it when the United States had tens of thousands of troops in Iraq? Was it when America’s popularity was at an all time low? Was it when crime was higher? Was it when people could be sent to prison in several states for possessing a speck of a plant?

Forecasting Trump’s policies is very foolish. It is so hard to predict. He was going to prevent all Muslims coming to the United States. Then that was scrapped. He would deport all illegals. Then it was only criminals. He wanted to abolish Affordable Healthcare. Now he wishes to retain parts of it. He is totally short termist.

His term of office could well be mired in law suits. His victims of sexual assault will take action against him. He could be blackmailed with sex tapes. If he upsets another government they can play a tape of him boasting that he commits sex crimes. This pervert is a disgrace.  Hopefully he will be impeached. Mike Pence or even Paul Ryan are little better. They at least believe what they say and are consistent.

Watch out – if the United States cuts off military aid to the Ukraine then the Ukrainian military could quickly collapse. Russia may yet annex half of the Ukraine. Where then? European NATO countries would be chary about facing down Russia without American backing. Admittedly this is partially the fault of European NATO countries almost all of whom spend less than 2% of their GDP on defence.




Was the US intervention in Grenada justified?


It is 30 years to the day that the US military and six Caribbean countries sent their armed forces into Grenada. Grenada was then ruled by a socialist dictator named Maurice Bishop. Bishop had killed the previous Prime Minister. I am not sure how bad his rule was. He tried to spread literacy and he provided free healthcare. This gives him some moral credit.

Bishop was friendly with the Soviet Bloc. He had hundreds of Cuban troops on the island and they were building an airfield. This was supposedly for peaceful purposes but it could have been used for military purposes. In view of what happened Bishop was sage to beef up his armed forces. His government really was under threat of attack by the United States, Jamaica and other US allies in the region. On the other hand by building up his armed forces he alarmed Washington and that precipitated the invasion. 

Grenada was a sovereign state and she was of course allowed to forge close relations with whichever nation she so desired. The Grenadan Government did not purpose to launch an invasion of any other state. I have never heard it argued that the increase in her military capability was for an aggressive intention. Further, the Grendan Government was entitled to pursue whatever policies that she wished so long as these were not inconsistent with international law.

There were over 1 000 Americans on the island. President Ronald Reagan said that he sent the troops in to protect these people. There was no evidence that they were in danger. One must ask oneself how it would have been had the boot been on the other boot. What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. Would Reagan have accepted it if Grenada invaded the United States in order to protect Grenadans in the USA? I suspect not. This justification is specious since by making Grenada a war zone Reagan put these Americans in danger. Dozens of civilians were killed in the conflict though so far as I know none of them were American. 

Bishop and some of his acolytes were captured. They were executed by firing squad. I am unsure who slew them. The bodies have not been located which is highly suspicious? If I were behind such an operation I would make sure that Grenadans killed the so the finger could not be pointed at the USA. 

A high majority of states in the United Nations condemned the US action. The United Kingdom abstained on this vote. 

Elizabeth II was and is Queen of Grenada. Maurice Bishop was her Prime Minister. Reagan professed himself to be a Britophile so it was a little off colour to kill the queen’s man! The Commonwealth was aghast at the invasion of a tiny and unoffending Commonwealth country. 

The British Government was not informed of the American intention. Reagan even denied to Margaret Thatcher that he was about to invade.

 It weakened the Western moral position viz a vis the Soviet Union. It was hard to speak out against the Red Army’s presence in Afghanistan when American attacked Grenada. The Afghan Government had invited the Soviets in. The communists of Kabul held the Afghan seat in the United Nations. I know they were undemocratic but so were half the countries in the world and few questioned the legitimacy of the governments of most states such as China. Much though I detest the communists in Afghanistan they were the lawful government of that country. In Grenada’s case the claim for legitimacy for Bishop’s government was feebler since he had ousted a democratic system.

Bishop was swiftly replaced. The US could truthfully say that democratic elements in Grenada had appealed to them for assistance. When these freedom loving people beseeched Ronald Wilson Reagan for succour he could not turn them down.

That was the end of the New Jewel Movement in Grenada. Democracy was restored. Some of Bishops cronies continued in politics and later won office. 

If Reagan had not taken strong action then maybe that land would have become fully communist. There might have been a Red Army base there and nuclear missiles. This is all conjecture.

If in doubt – stay out. So as I am unsure about this military intervention I have to say I think it was wrong. It is no use sitting on the fence. Militarily it was a complete success for the US. All the objectives were achieved for minimal casualties. Cuba was bested. I wonder if the prisoner yielded any useful intelligence or any were turned into spies. But I do not think that this action was morally or legally justified.

The Fenian Risings.



The American Civil War broke out in 1861. There were Irishmen on both sides of the conflict. Both the Confederates in the South and the Union side in the North formed Irish brigades. John Mitchell, an IRB man, was a soldier on the Confederate side and a vociferous advocate of his cause.

The American Civil War ended in 1865. The War between the States had distracted the IRB in the US from its goal of severing the Union of Ireland and Great Britain. IRB men in the United States or the Confederacy had been preoccupied in the intra-American conflict for 4 years. It became difficult to ship weapons out of America and into Ireland.

Once the Civil War was over it became apparent that conflict had in fact been beneficial to the IRB. Thousands of IRB supporters had had military training and indeed combat experience. America had produced guns like billy-o for four years. Enormous quantities of weapons were lying around unneeded and could be bought very cheaply.

The IRB in the United States was known more by the name Fenians. In fact the IRB in the USA soon changed its name to Clan na Gael. IRB men in both the South and the North of the United States set aside their differences with remarkable speed. They then looked to their common objective – to smash the Union between Ireland and Great Britain.

From 1865 onwards the IRB smuggled significant amounts of weapons into Ireland. Of course the Government soon grew aware of this. It was impossible to get all arms shipments through without any of them being intercepted. Informants tongues soon wagged. Dublin Castle know that something was in the offing. Irishmen who had obtained military experience on both sides of the American Civil War traveled back to Ireland to prepare for the anticipated uprising. Some of these men had become American citizens and some had not.

The IRB claimed to have tens of thousands of members. The figure of 50 000 was bandied about. The British Army in Ireland was to a great extent composed of Irishmen. The IRB claimed that thousands of Irish soldiers were in fact sworn members of the IRB. This turned out to have been mostly false. A ship sailed from the United States to Ireland carrying arms. The ship was called Erin’s Hope.

In 1867 the plan was for the IRB to launch its uprising. The rising was to begin with a raid on Chester Castle in Great Britain to seize the weapons there. From Chester the arms would be taken to Ireland for the rising to begin. This scheme was hopelessly over ambitious. The aim was for a train to be hijacked and telegraph lines shut. A train would then transport the arms to Holyhead – this port would also have been seized. A ship would be commandeered and the weapons take to Dublin to effect a rising there.

The Catholic Church was very against the IRB.The Catholic Church was a conservative force and it despised republics. Republic up until that point had turned out to disestablish the Catholic Church and even to be anti-clerical. Nationalist movements in Italy had clashed with the Roman Catholic Church. The French Republican movement was anti-clerical. The Roman Catholic Church was committed to upholding the status quo. As the bishop of Kerry said, ”hell is not hot enough nor eternity long enough to punish such miscreants.’

‘ The Protestant churches were also against the IRB. This was because their congregants were most Unionist. Many people had good reason to oppose the IRB. Some were against the IRB because they were Unionist. Constitutional nationalists were against it because they disliked the IRB’s radical policies. Those who were faithful communicants of the Catholic Church were guided by the injunctions of their clergy. Some people were more pragmatic. Even if they shared the goals of the IRB there was every reason to doubt that the IRB would succeed. Risings in the past had been quickly defeated. There was a danger that a rising would soon degenerate into a sectarian bloodbath as had been the case in 1798.

. _________________________________________________________________________


In February there was an attempt at a rising in Kerry that did not amount to much. In Kerry many of the local gentry panicked at the thought of the IRB killing them. The landlords fled to the county hotel. Some took the train to Dublin. On the fateful day in Chester some Fenians turned up and milled around. The attack was desultory and a complete failure. This sort of fiasco was to typify IRB actions for the next few decades. Bombastic rhetoric, a timid gathering of loudmouths whose much boasted valour deserted them at the first sign of danger.

Outside Dublin several hundred Fenians gathered at a village called Tallaght. It was a snowy day – 5 March. The IRB men were confronted by men of the Irish Constabulary. Sub Inspector Burke was reluctant to kill anyone. He called on the Fenians, ”Disperse or so help me God I will fire.” The Fenians did not disperse – at least not yet. Firing broke out. One Fenian was wounded in the leg. The rest executed a well-known Fenian manuevre – rout. The fact that only one man was hit and not fatally suggests that both sides wanted to avoid bloodshed. Such scenes were repeated in various points around Ireland. The Battle of Tallaght as it became known occurred on the same day as various actions around Ireland. This at least showed a little co-ordination. 12 people were killed that day.

In Drogheda men gathered on the streets. They fired a few shots and then scarpered. In Cork there was a small demonstration by the IRB who scattered when the authorities made a move on them. In Killmallock the IRB succeeded in storming a police station. A rebel ballad remarked, ” twas the hottest fight of all.”

The 1867 turned out to be a clear and shameful defeat for the IRB. The tens of thousands of devotees of the Fenian cause turned out to be either fictitious or just full of hot air. The state had very easily beaten the IRB. The IRB had little public support. IRB men were put on trial for various offences including treason. Some were sentenced to death. Not one was executed. They had their sentences commuted to lesser sentences. Some were transported to Australia. The very next year, 1868, the Government ceased using transportation as a punishment. In the end under 20 people were killed in Ireland in what was supposed to be a huge uprising. This author has not heard of a single soldier who mutinied in favour of the IRB. The Fenian Rising was mostly just hot air. The north of Ireland had been all but free of violence

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A Fenian named Timothy Deasy was in prison in Manchester. IRB men in Great Britain decided to try to rescue him. They attacked the horse-drawn prison van that was transporting Deasy. One of the IRB men fired at the lock holding the van shut. A police man inside the van was struck by the bullet and died. Deasy was freed and fled abroad.

This incident is recorded in the rebel song, ”The smashing of the van.” The public was horrified that a policeman had been killed. Several Fenians were arrested and put on trial for murder. One was acquitted. Another was an American sailor. He and the others were sentenced to death. The American had his sentence commuted . Presumably this was done so as not to antagonise the US.

From the dock the Fenians shouted, ”God save Ireland!”

At dawn outside Strangeways prison a huge crowd gathered. Dozens of soldiers were there in case there was trouble or an attempt to save the condemned men. At Strangeways Prison the three Fenians were executed by hanging. The executions were carried out on the walls of the prison in full view of thousands of people who came to watch. This was the last year in which executions were carried out in public.

The three men who were hanged were known as the Manchester Martyrs. Many people in Ireland prayed for them. Moderate nationalists also expressed sympathy for these men. Some people adulated these three because they approved of the IRB. There was a great deal of sympathy for them because some maintained that these three were innocent. It is dubious if it was one of these three who fired the fatal shot. In any even it is certain that only one man fired on the van – not three. Therefore that three should be punished with death was held to be unfair. The IRB insisted that they had never intended to kill anyone that day and that the bullet had been fire merely to break the lock. Under the law of the time a doctrine of common purpose existed. These men had conspired to commit a crime. As a result of a wilful act of violence a man had died. This made it murder even if the intention had not been to kill. These men were reckless as to the possibility that someone should suffer death as a result of their actions. Therefore all those who were concerned in the plot were legally culpable.

T.D. Sullivan, the Lord Mayor of Dublin, composed a song dedicated to the Manchester Martyrs. ”God Save Ireland said the heroes/ God Save Ireland say we all/ Whether on the battlefield we die/Or on the scaffold high/ What matter when for Erin dear we fall.” This song called ”God Save Ireland” became the virtual national anthem of Nationalist Ireland.

Karl Marx wrote that there was a considerable degree of respect for the IRB’s demands among the working class of London. A leading Fenian was held in Clerkenwell prison in London. The IRB decided to free him. The IRB left a wheelbarrow full of explosives outside the prison wall when they knew their man was exercising in the yard. The plan was that the bomb would blow a hole in the wall enabling the IRB prisoner to escape. The bomb exploded. This did not cause a breach in the wall but injured many others, many of them died of their wounds over the coming weeks. 12 people were killed. Public opinion in Great Britain turned sharply against the Fenians. As Dr Marx noted, one cannot expect people to want to be blown up.

Michael Barret was convicted of laying the charge outside Clerkenwell Prison. He was sentenced to death. He had the dubious distinction of being the last person to be publicly executed in the British Isles. The Fenian Rising caused a recrudescence of anti-Irish feeling in Great Britain. This was mostly against Irish Catholics as it was recognised that Irish Protestants were seldom in the IRB and indeed most Irish Protestants were stalwartly opposed to the IRB.



The Fenians in the US trained openly. As the US Constitution guaranteed the right to bear arms the US Government could do nothing to stop private militias preparing to fight. The Fenians purposed to attack British North America – which is now called Canada. There was much dissension within Clan na Gael in the United States as to whether attacking Canada was a sensible use of energy and manpower or was a diversion from the actual target – Eire.

From1865 to 1870 there were several Fenian attacks on Canada. Some of them involved over a thousand men. The main battle was called the Battle of Ridegway. One Fenian who was killed was buried in the United States with the name of an organisation called, ”The Irish Republican Army” on his headstone.

It is suspected that the US Government did little agaisnt the raids at first for a few reasons. The United Kingdom traded with the Confederate States of American during the American Civil War and this was condign punishment for the British Empire. More than a few Americans, even those who were not of Irish blood, felt sympathy for the Fenian cause. There was electoral good sense in tolerating Fenian activity. Some Americans believed that the existence of Canada as a dominion of the British Empire was offensive. The American Revolution had some unfinished business. The Monroe Doctrine stated that no European country should control any portion of the American Continent. The US Government did intervene after a time. Troops were sent under the Union commander from the Civil War, Ulysses S Grant to disarm the Fenians. The Fenians did not resist. John O’Neill was the chief Fenian commander for these invasions of Canada.

Canada was much more a focus for immigration from Great Britain than from Ireland. There were Irishmen who moved to Canada but they were mainly Protestant. Toronto became a centre for the Orange Order. Canadian Orangemen march in 12th July parades in feather war bonnets. The ethno-religious composition of the Canadian population (outside French-speaking Quebec) explains why the Fenians got short shrift when they invaded Canada.

Canadian Orangemen were to the fore in the defence of the dominion. Alexander Muir a Canadian Orangeman originally from Great Britain, was one of those who served in the militia against the Fenians. Muir wrote, ”Maple Leaf Forever” – a Canadian patriotic anthem.



In Ireland an amnesty campaign was started. Letters were written to newspapers and petitions were handed in to the government requesting that IRB prisoners be released. The amnesty campaign drew support from many people who had not supported the IRB. Over time the Government acceded to these requests.

William Ewart Gladstone was made to sit up and take notice of Ireland on account of the Fenian Rising. The Liberal leader was chopping wood at his estate at Hawarden in 1868 when a message arrived for him. The Liberals had won the election and Her Majesty the Queen asked him to form as government – he was to be Prime Minister. He said, ”My mission is to pacify Ireland.” W.E. Gladstone looked for legitimate grievances.

One of the most obviously unfair laws in Ireland was that which said that the Church of Ireland was the established church when no more than 15% of the populace belong to it. W.E. Gladstone resolved to disestablished the Church of Ireland. The Church of Ireland would continue to exist of course but it was no longer to be the state religion and supported from public funds. It would be a private institution on the same footing as the Catholic Church, the Religious Society of Friends, the Wesleyan Church and so on and so forth.

In 1869 a bill was passed to disestablish the Church of Ireland. Some hardline Protestant supremacists in the Conservative Party argued against it. They said it was a surrender to terrorism and it was strengthening Popery. The act became law and was phased in over a couple of years.



In 1880 the IRB decided to set off bombs in Great Britain. The aim of this was to pressurise the UK Government into giving the IRB what they wanted.

Tom Clarke was an IRB man born in Great Britain who was one of the dynamitards. He was found guilty of terrorist offences and he served a few years in prison for his crimes.

Hammersmith Bridge suffered a bomb blast courtesy of the IRB. Minor damage was done. The Continuity IRA set a bomb off at this bridge in 2001.