John Devoy's Catalpa Expedition

Overview

The story of John Devoy's 1876 Catalpa rescue is a tale of heroism, creativity, and the triumph of independent spirit in pursuit of freedom. The daily log on board the whaling ship Catalpa begins with the typical recount of a crew intact and a spirit unfettered, but such quiet words deceive the truth of the audacious enterprise that came to be known as one of the most important rescues in Irish American history. John Devoy's men rescued six Irish political prisoners from the Australian coast, allowing millions of...

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John Devoy's Catalpa Expedition

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Overview

The story of John Devoy's 1876 Catalpa rescue is a tale of heroism, creativity, and the triumph of independent spirit in pursuit of freedom. The daily log on board the whaling ship Catalpa begins with the typical recount of a crew intact and a spirit unfettered, but such quiet words deceive the truth of the audacious enterprise that came to be known as one of the most important rescues in Irish American history. John Devoy's men rescued six Irish political prisoners from the Australian coast, allowing millions of fellow Irishmen and American-Fenians, many of whom secretly financed the dangerous plot, to draw courage from the newly exiled prisoners.

Philip Fennell and Marie King tell the story from John Devoy's own records and the ship's logbooks. John Devoy's Catalpa Expedition includes an introduction by Terry Golway and the personal diaries, letters, and reports from John Devoy and his men.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“It’s a story of rescue from the high seas as Pawling residents Philip Fennell and Marie King take readers to 1876 and the voyage of the Catalpa. John Devoy and his crew had a daring mission in mind: rescue six Irish political prisoners from the Australian coast and, in one bold move, inspire millions of Irishmen and Irish Americans. The story is gathered from the personal diaries, letters and reports from those involved in the maritime adventure.”
-Poughkeepsie Journal

,

“For the Irish and the Americans, for the historian and for the political analysts among us, [John Devoy’s Catalpa Expedition] is a work brimming with relevance and meaning. Few will want to miss an opportunity to have it on their shelves.”
-The West Australian Newspaper

,

“The New York authors, each a descendant of a pardoned Fenian prisoner, have recounted the adventure by valuably editing a series of original records including Devoy’s diary, the ship's logbooks, and reports from Devoy's men. . . . The use of Devoy's journal, written eighteen years after the event, passionately captured the balancing act required to juggle doggedly-held differing attitudes, internal feuds, empty gestures and frustrating politics.”
-Australian Journal of Politics and History

,

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814727744
  • Publisher: New York University Press
  • Publication date: 4/1/2008
  • Pages: 238
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.54 (d)

Meet the Author

Philip Fennell is an accountant.

Marie King, his wife, is a graduate of New York University and an elementary school teacher. Their first editing collaboration resulted in the publication of an ancestor's recollection Voyage of the Hougoumont and Life at Fremantle: The Life of an Irish Rebel. They live in Pawling, New York.

Terry Golway is an editor and writer

Terry Golway is an editor and writer at The New York Observer and author of Irish Rebel: John Devoy and America's Fight for Ireland.

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Table of Contents

Foreword   Martin Kevin Cusack     ix
Introduction   Terry Golway     1
Acknowledgments     11
Abbreviations     13
Editors' Prologue     15
Editors' Note     26
I     27
Cruise of a New Bedford Whaler That Brought Humiliation to England
Irish Skill and Yankee Grit Combined
Six Irish Military Prisoners Taken from an English Prison in Western Australia by The Clan-na-Gael
How and Why the Work Was Done
II     38
Seven Thousand Men Knew of the Expedition, but There Was No Traitor
Discussed from Maine To California
Yet the Blow Fell on England Like a Bolt from the Blue
How the Work Was Started
The Committee in Charge
III     47
John Mitchel Knew of the Project and Helped to Raise Funds
A Characteristic Letter
IV     54
Official Report of the Work Done Presented to a Convention in 1876
The Arduous Work of Raising the Money
How John Boyle O'Reilly Got a United States Naval Engineer to Inspect the Vessel
V     63
[No heading in the original account. The chapter describes the final preparations and departure of the Catalpa.]
VI     72
How John J. Breslin and Thomas Desmond of San Francisco Were Selected to Do the Work
An Appointment   James Stephens
VII     78
Auspicious Beginning of the Expedition by Captain Anthony Succoring a Ship inDistress
Caught Whale in the North Atlantic
John Breslin's Official Report of the Enterprise
Anxiously Waiting for Ship's Arrival
VIII     88
John J. Breslin's Graphic Account of the Escape of the Six Prisoners, the Dash for the Boat, the Long and Weary Pull for the Ship, the Arrival on Board in the Nick of Time, and the Sharp Parley With the "Georgette"
The Victory Won
IX     109
Breslin's Difficulties with the Men on the Homeward Voyage
Complained of Food and Treatment and Were Discontented
Demanded to Be Put Ashore and Forced a Change in the Plans
Arrived in New York
X     123
Unexpected Arrival of the Vessel in New York Creates Many Difficulties
Factional Attempt to "Capture" The Men from the Committee Foiled by Patrick Lennon's Quiet Threat to Use Force
Work of Providing for the Soldiers
XI     130
Work of Raising Funds for the Rescued Men and the Winding Up of the Expedition
The Slander-Monger at Work
Financial Statement of the Enterprise
XII     139
The Expedition Wound Up After Many Difficulties
John King's Narrative of His Part in the Work
The Fenians in Australia Had a Rescue Project of Their Own
Meeting with Breslin
How He Ran the Quarantine
XIII     150
John King Continues His Narrative of His Personal Part in the Enterprise
Meeting with the Two Men Sent From the Other Side of the Atlantic on the Same Errand
The Two Parties Arrange to Cooperate
XIV     159
Conclusion of John King's Narrative of His Share in the Splendid Work
The Severe Ordeal in the Open Boat and the Race for the Ship Facing British Guns
Safe in the Land of the Free
Editors' Epilogue     167
Letters from James Wilson     185
From the Report of the Eighth Annual [Clan-na-Gael] Convention, Cleveland, Ohio, September 4, 1877     194
Dramatis Personae     211
Sources     213
Index     219
About the Editors     225

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