For The Love of Ireland

A Historical Novel by Judy Leslie

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Michael Davitt 1846 - 1906

 

Michael Davitt's notoriety began in 1865 when he became a high level member of the notorious rebel group the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB).  He was arrested five years later for smuggling weapons and sentenced to 15 years in prison for treason.  However, he was released in December of 1877 on ticket-of-leave (probation) and went to America to visit his family and to lecture.

 

Michael founded the Land League in Ireland 1879 and set up an American office in New York with Fanny Parnell’s assistance in 1880.  A year later while traveling in Ireland, his ticket-of-leave was revoked causing him to spend another 15 months in jail.  He was a strong supporter of women’s rights and endorsed Anna Parnell as president of the Ladies Land League.  Michael was  a known friend of Margaret Sullivan and praised her book Ireland Today.

 

To paraphrase Historian Carla King, in her forward to Davitt’s Collected Writings 1868-1906,  “…during his first seven years of a brutal prison regime, Davitt turned, with a greatness of soul and a power to forgive (reminiscent of Nelson Mandela a century later) from physical force terrorist to a constitutional politician.” Davitt inspired Mahatma Gandhi in his campaign against the British Empire.

 

After Charles Parnell’s deal with Prime Minister Gladsone to dissolve the original Land League, Michael Davitt traveled the world giving lectures and writing about the plight of the underprivileged internationally including the Boers in South Africa, the Maoris in New Zealand, the Aborigines in Australia and the Jews in Russia.

 

He was the author of six books, 'Leaves from a prison diary', 'Michael Davitt's speech before the Special Commission', 'Life and Progress in Australia', 'The Boer Fight for Freedom', 'Within the Pale', and 'The Fall of Feudalism in Ireland'.

Michael testified in 1889 before the Special Commission on Parnellism and Crime in defense of Parnell and the Land League.

 

Davitt died  in1906 at the age of 60. Although his family had planned a private funeral, 20,000 people came to see the coffin and show their final respects.

 

 

 

 

For The Love of Ireland

The story of Margaret Sullivan & the Secrets of the Clan-na-Gael

A Historical Novel by Judy Leslie