- Note: This was originially a subsection of Fenian Brotherhood. However, it has been moved to its own article to be expanded further.
Fenian Rising of 1867 was a rebellion against British rule in Ireland, organized by the Irish Republican Brotherhood.
After the suppression of the Irish People revolutionary magazine, disaffection among Irish radical nationalists had continued to smoulder, and during the latter part of 1866 James Stephens endeavoured to raise funds in America for a fresh rising planned for the following year. However the Fenian Rising of 1867 proved to be a doomed rebellion, poorly organised and with minimal public support.
In concert with the Irish rebellion, a bold move on the part of the Fenian circles in Lancashire had been concerted in co-operation with the movement in Ireland. An attack was to be made on Chester, the arms stored in the castle were to be seized, the telegraph wires cut, the rolling stock on the railway to be appropriated for transport to Holyhead, where shipping was to be seized and a descent made on Dublin before the authorities should have time to interfere. This scheme was frustrated by information given to the government by the informer John Joseph Corydon, one of Stephens's most trusted agents. Some insignificant outbreaks in the south and west of Ireland brought the rebellion of 1867 to an ignominious close. Most of the ringleaders were arrested, but although some of them were sentenced to death none was executed.
On September 11, 1867, Colonel Thomas J. Kelly, "Deputy Central Organizer of the Irish Republic," was arrested in Manchester, where he had gone from Dublin to attend a council of the English centres, together with a companion, Captain Deasy. A plot to rescue these prisoners was hatched by Edward O'Meaher Condon with other Manchester Fenians; on September 18, while Kelly and Deasy were being conveyed through the city from the courthouse, the prison van was attacked by Fenians armed with revolvers, and in the scuffle police-sergeant Brett, who was seated inside the van, was shot dead.
The rescued prisoners, Kelly and Deasy, escaped to the United States, but Condon, Allen, Larkin, Maguire, and O'Brien were arrested and sentenced to death. Condon, who was an American citizen, was respited at the request of the United States government, his sentence being commuted to penal servitude for life, and Maguire was granted a pardon. Allen, Larkin, and O'Brien were hanged on November 23 for the murder of Brett. Many considered the sentences unjust among radical nationalists for two reasons: firstly, as political offenders they should not have been treated as ordinary murderers; and, secondly, given the undisputed fact that the shot that caused the policeman's death had been fired for the purpose of breaking open the lock of the van, they had no intent to kill and so the crime was at worst that of manslaughter. The executed Irishmen are remembered among nationalists in Ireland and America as the "Manchester martyrs."
In the same month, November 1867, Richard Burke, who had been employed by the Fenians to purchase arms in Birmingham, was arrested and lodged in Clerkenwell Prison in London. While he was awaiting trial a wall of the prison was blown down by gunpowder, the explosion causing the death of twelve persons, and the maiming of some hundred and twenty others. This outrage, for which Michael Barrett suffered the death penalty, powerfully influenced William Ewart Gladstone in deciding that the Anglican Church of Ireland should be disestablished as a concession to Irish disaffection.