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Michael Davitt and the British Labour Movement 1882–1906

  • T. W. Moody
Extract

The phase of Michael Davitt's career that earned for him the description, ‘Father of the Land League’, has an assured place in Irish history. It occupied less than four years (1878–82), when Davitt was in his thirties. But he lived to be sixty, and his later career was filled with many-sided activity, whose significance has not received the recognition it deserves. The two great movements, self-government and agrarian revolution in Ireland, to which he had dedicated his earlier life, continued to command his first loyalty, but from 1882 they were associated with a rich variety of other causes, from defence of the Scottish crofters to the nationalist movement in India, and from Zionism to the independence of the Boers.

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page 56 note 1 The three preceding paragraphs are based on Cole, G. D. H., British working-class politics, 1832—1914 (1941).

page 56 note 2 Autobiographical material among Davitt's letters and papers, which are in my possession.

page 56 note 3 Davitt, , Defence of the Land League (1890), p. 30; Cole, , British working-class politics, pp. 21–3, 46; D.N.B., s.v. Ernest Jones.

page 57 note 1 Moody, T. W., ‘Michael Davitt in penal servitude’, Studies, xxx (1941), 517–30; xxxi (1942), 16–30.

page 57 note 2 Moody, T. W., ‘The new departure in Irish politics, 1878–9’, Essays in British and Irish history in honour of James Eadie Todd (1949), pp. 303–33.

page 57 note 3 Davitt, , The fall of feudalism in Ireland (1904), p. 311.

page 57 note 4 Speech at Straide (Davitt's birthplace), co. Mayo, 1 Feb. 1880.

page 57 npte 5 Hyndman, H. M., ‘The revolution of to-day’, To-day, i (1884), 8.

page 58 note 1 Davitt, , Fall of feudalism, pp. 306–8, 448–50.

page 58 note 2 Hyndman, , Record of an adventurous life (1911), pp. 255–7.

page 58 note 3 Completed in 1884, published in 1885.

page 59 note 1 Leaves from a prison diary, ii. 128.

page 59 note 2 Ibid., ii. 99.

page 60 note 1 See Hyndman, , Further reminiscences, pp. 41–2; Lefevre, G. Shaw, Agrarian tenures (1893), pp. 305–8.

page 60 note 2 Pease, E. R., History of the Fabian Society (2nd ed., 1925), pp. 20–1; Keir Hardies speeches and writings, ed. Hughes, E. (n.d.), p. 16.

page 60 note 3 Leaves from a prison diary, ii. 161.

page 61 note 1 Davitt's diary, 26 May, 12–14 Sept. 1882.

page 61 note 2 Manchester Examiner, 22 May 1882; reprinted in Cashman, D. B., Life of Michael Davitt 1882, pp. 156–71.

page 61 note 3 The Times, 7 June 1882; reprinted in Cashman, pp. 171–85.

page 61 note 4 New York Herald, 18 June 1882.

page 61 note 5 New York Daily World, 20 June, 16 July 1882; Cashman, pp. 242–50.

page 61 note 6 Irish Nation (New York), July 1882.

page 62 note 1 Freeman's Journal, 31 Oct. 1883.

page 62 note 2 Davitt to McGhee, c. 27 Oct. 1883.

page 62 note 3 Davitt's diary, 30 Oct. 1883.

page 62 note 4 ‘The revolution of to-day’, To-day, i (1884), 9.

page 62 note 5 Davitt's diary, 31 Dec. 1883.

page 62 note 6 Printed circular among Davitt MSS.

page 62 note 7 Davitt's diary, 14 Feb. 1884.

page 63 note 1 O'Brien, R. B., Charles Stewart Parnell (1898), ii. 34–6.

page 63 note 2 Davitt to McGhee, April 1884.

page 63 note 3 O'Brien, , Parnell, ii. 4595.

page 64 note 1 Freeman's Journal, 29 June 1885.

page 64 note 2 Ibid., 8 July 1885.

page 64 note 3 British working-class politics, p. ioo.

page 64 note 4 Glasgow Observer, 24 Oct. 1885.

page 64 note 5 Davitt to the Melbourne Advocate, 2.6 Nov., 3 Dec. 1885.

page 64 note 6 McGhee to Davitt, 14 Dec. 1885.

page 64 note 7 Davitt to McGhee, 23 Nov. 1885.

page 65 note 1 See Howard, C. H. D., ‘The Parnell manifesto of 21 November 1885 and the schools question’, Eng. Hist. Rev., lxii (1947), 4251.

page 65 note 2 According to Blunt, Wilfred Scawen(The land war in Ireland (1912), p. 93), he described himself in May 1886 as a ‘Christian socialist’.

page 65 note 3 Davitt to McGhee, 10 Feb. 1886.

page 65 note 4 Hyndman, , Record of an adventurous life, pp. 400–7; Cole, G. D. H., John Burns (1943), pp. 1011.

page 65 note 5 Blunt, , Land war, pp. 250–1.

page 65 note 6 Davitt's diary, 18 Feb. 1888; Pall Mall Gazette, 21 Feb. 1888; Hyndman, , Record, pp. 323–4.

page 65 note 7 See Ensor, R. C. K., England, 1870–1914, pp. 180–1.

page 65 note 8 Davitt's diary, 17–20 Feb. 1888.

page 66 note 1 Stewart, W., J. Keir Hardie (1921), pp. 2037, 376; Cole, , British working-class politics, pp. 103–6.

page 66 note 2 Davitt's Diary, 18–19 Mar. 1888; North British Daily Mail, 20 Mar. 1888.

page 66 note 3 Davitt to McGhee, [Mar. 1888].

page 66 note 4 Parnell to Davitt, 20 Apr. 1888.

page 66 note 5 Keir Hardie's speeches and writings, p. 8; Labour Leader, I June 1906.

page 67 note 1 Stewart, , Hardie, pp. 3745; Cole, , British working-class politics, pp. 106–7.

page 67 note 2 Davitt, to the Melbourne Advocate, 26 04 1888.

page 67 note 3 Davitt to McGhee, 28 Nov. 1889.

page 67 note 4 Sir James Sexton, agitator: an autobiography (1936), pp. 93–6.

page 67 note 5 Davitt's diary, 2 Jan. 1890.

page 68 note 1 Davitt, , Fall of feudalism, p. 636. Davitt is the only authority for this statement, but he says that it is transcribed from notes made at the time and he was a singularly truthful man.

page 68 note 2 Cf. above, p. 60.

page 68 note 3 Davitt to McGhee, 4 Oct. 1890.

page 68 note 4 Hyndman, , Further reminiscences, p. 44.

page 69 note 1 Davitt to McGhee, 4 Oct. 1890.

page 69 note 2 Correspondence between Davitt, D'Arcy Reeve, Walker, T. F., William Saunders, Charles Diamond and others, 1890–2.

page 69 note 3 Davitt, to Melbourne Advocate, 4 05 1892.

page 69 note 4 Graham, Cunninghame in Labour World, 11 10 1890.

page 69 note 5 Davitt, to Melbourne Advocate, 20 10, 3 Nov. 1892.

page 70 note 1 Davitt to McGhee, 5 Feb. 1892.

page 70 note 2 Cole, , British working-class politics, pp. 267–8.

page 70 note 3 Schnadhorst to Davitt, 9 Nov. 1890; Davitt to McGhee, July 1892.

page 70 note 4 Davitt, to Melbourne Advocate, 3 11 1892.

page 71 note 1 Davitt to McGhee, 12 April, 12 March, 21 July, 7 Aug., 2 Sept. 1892, 30 Aug. 1895; Davitt, to Melbourne Advocate, 14 April, 19 Aug., 1 Sept., 6 10 1892; Pall Mall Gaiette, Aug. 1892; Morley, J., Recollections (1917), i. 325–7.

page 71 note 2 Davitt's diary, 14 Feb. 1894.

page 71 note 3 Fortnightly Review, Nov. 1894; Pease, History of the Fabian Society, pp. 115–17; Webb, Beatrice, Our partnership (1948), pp. 109–14.

page 71 note 4 Nineteenth Century, Dec. 1893, p. 855.

page 71 note 5 Stewart, , Keir Hardie, pp. 83–4.

page 72 note 1 Davitt's diary, 11 Feb. 1894.

page 72 note 2 Ibid., 27–31 March 1894; Stewart, , Keir Hardie, p. 85.

page 72 note 3 Labour Leader, 7 Apr. 1894.

page 72 note 4 Stewart, , Keir Hardie, pp. 95–7; Davitt's diary, 25–6, 28–9 June, 6 July 1894.

page 72 note 5 Ibid. 4 Nov. 1899.

page 73 note 1 Keir Hardies speeches and writings, p. 38.

page 73 note 2 Ibid., pp. 47–8.

page 73 note 3 Davitt to McGhee, 30 Aug. 1895.

page 73 note 4 Keir Hardie's speeches and writings, pp. 75–8.

page 74 note 1 Freeman's Journal, 20 Oct. 1899.

page 74 note 2 See his Boer fight for freedom (1902).

page 74 note 3 Labour Leader, 4 Nov. 1899.

page 74 note 4 Hardie to Davitt, 4 May 1905.

page 74 note 5 Davitt's diary, Dec. 1905, Jan. 1906; local newspapers.

page 75 note 1 Correspondence between Davitt, Hyndman, Redmond, J. S. Middleton and others, Jan. 1906.

page 75 note 2 Birmingham Express, 4 Jan. 1906; Leicester Pioneer, 20 Jan. 1906.

page 75 note 3 Merthyr Express, 13 Jan. 1906;

page 75 note 4 Davitt's diary, 14–16 Feb. 1906; Labour Leader, 23 Feb. 1906.

page 76 note 1 Labour Leader, 8 June 1906. The article is unsigned, but it appears in the leader page and its style and tone are entirely Hardie's; cf. Hardie, to Davies, David, 3 Jan. 1906, Merthyr Express, 13 01. 1906.

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Transactions of the Royal Historical Society
  • ISSN: 0080-4401
  • EISSN: 1474-0648
  • URL: /core/journals/transactions-of-the-royal-historical-society
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