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Encyclopedia > Michael Davitt
Michael Davitt c. 1878
Michael Davitt c. 1878

Michael Davitt (25 March 1846 - 30 May 1906) was an Irish social campaigner and nationalist politician who founded the National Land League. Download high resolution version (424x640, 44 KB)Michael Davitt, Irish Nationalist and Social campaigner. ... Download high resolution version (424x640, 44 KB)Michael Davitt, Irish Nationalist and Social campaigner. ... March 25 is the 84th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (85th in leap years). ... 1846 was a common year starting on Thursday (see link for calendar). ... May 30 is the 150th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (151st in leap years). ... 1906 (MCMVI) was a common year starting on Monday (see link for calendar). ... Activism, in a general sense, can be described as intentional action to bring about social or political change. ... Irish nationalism refers to political movements that desire greater autonomy or the independence of Ireland from Great Britain. ... The Irish painter Henry Jones Thaddeus enlisted the conscience of the propertied classes with the sentimental realism of La retour du bracconier (The Wounded Poacher), exhibited in the Paris Salon of 1881, at the height of the Irish Land War The Irish Land League was an Irish political organization of...

Contents


Early years

Michael Davitt was born in Straide, County Mayo, Ireland, at the height of the Great Famine, the second of five children born to Martin and Sabina Davitt. When he was 6 years old his family was evicted from their home in Straide and his father travelled to find work in England, while his wife and family, refusing shelter in the workhouse, were offered accommodation by the parish priest in Straide, Fr. John McHugh. In 1855 Mrs. Davitt and her children finally joined her husband in the industrial town of Haslingden in Lancashire. County Mayo (Irish: Contae Mhaigh Eo, the plain of the yews) is a county on the west coast of Ireland. ... Great Famine can refer to multiple historical events that refer to themselves as the Great Famine. Great Famine of 1315-1317 - Northern European famine of the 14th century. ... The Poor Law was the system for the provision of social security in operation in England and the United Kingdom from the 16th century until the establishment of the Welfare State in the 20th century. ... Map sources for Haslingden at grid reference SD785231 Haslingden is a unique small town, in the early 20th century an independent borough, in the Rossendale Valley in Lancashire and is now part of the Borough of Rossendale. ... Lancashire is a county in the North of England, bounded to the west by the Irish Sea. ...


The young Davitt began working in a cotton mill at the age of 10 but within two years an accident with a spinning machine caused the amputation of his right arm. Because of this injury he subsequently attended a Wesleyan school for two years, after which he worked for a printing firm. It was around this time that he became interested in Irish history and the contemporary Irish social situation. The cotton mill is a type of factory that was created to house spinning and weaving machinery. ... Partial hand amputation Amputation is the removal of a body extremity by trauma or surgery. ... John Wesley (June 17, 1703–March 2, 1791) was an 18th-century Anglican clergyman and Christian theologian who was an early leader in the Methodist movement. ... The History of Ireland is the history of a large island in the north-west of Europe. ...


See www.thelandleague.org for a real taste of Michael Davitt and his legacy today in Haslingden where he began his political career.


Fenians

In 1865, this interest led him to join the Irish Republican Brotherhood, the organization in Ireland of the Fenians; two years later he left off mill work to devote himeself full time to the IRB, as organising secretary in Northern England and Scotland. The Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB) played an important role in the history of Ireland. ... Fenian is a term used since the 1860s for an Irish nationalist who espouses violence, usually by people opposed to their aims. ... Royal motto: Nemo me impune lacessit (English: No one provokes me with impunity) Scotlands location within the United Kingdom Languages English, Gaelic, Scots Capital Edinburgh Largest city Glasgow First Minister Jack McConnell Area - Total - % water Ranked 2nd UK 78,782 km² 1. ...


He was arrested in London in 1870 while awaiting a delivery of arms, convicted of a felony, and sentenced to 15 years in Dartmoor Prison. Here he was kept in strict isolation during the unremitted portion of his term. In prison he concluded that ownership of the land by the people was the only solution to Ireland’s problems. After he had served seven years, he was released along with other political prisoners on 19 December 1877, on a "ticket of leave". The Houses of Parliament and the clock tower containing Big Ben Part of the London skyline viewed from the South Bank London (see Wiktionary:London for the name in other languages) is the capital of the United Kingdom and England. ... Located in Princetown, England, high on Dartmoor, Dartmoor Prison presents a bleak and formidable sight. ... December 19 is the 353rd day of the year (354th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1877 was a common year starting on Monday (see link for calendar). ... A ticket of leave was a piece of paper issued to convicts transported from Britain who had served a period of probation, and had shown by their good behaviour that they could be allowed certain freedoms. ...


Davitt remained defiant. He became a member of the Supreme Council of the IRB. The British Government had introduced a concept of "fair rents" in the year of his arrest, but he continued to hold that the common people of Ireland could not improve their lot without the ownership of their land, and frequently insisted at Fenian meetings that "the land question can be definitely settled only by making the cultivators of the soil proprietors". IRB is a TLA for International Rugby Board Irish Republican Brotherhood Institutional Review Board This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. ...


In 1873 (while Davitt was imprisoned) his mother and three sisters had settled in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and in the late 1870s, he traveled to United States, hoping to gain the support of Irish-American communities for his new policy of "The Land for the People". Nickname: City of Brotherly Love Motto: Philadelphia maneto (Let brotherly love continue) Official website: http://www. ...


In was not until late in life that Davitt married, his wife being Mary Yore, of Oakland, California whom he married in 1886. In 1887 the couple returned to Ireland and lived in the Land League Cottage in Ballybrack, Dalkey, County Dublin that was given to them as a wedding present by the people of Ireland. They had five children, three boys and two girls, though one, Kathleen, died of tuberculosis aged 7, in 1895. Oakland, founded in 1852, is a major city on the east side (also called East Bay) of San Francisco Bay in Northern California in the United States. ... Dalkey Hill Dalkey (Deilginis in Irish) is a town in southern County Dublin. ... County Dublin (Irish Contae Bhaile Átha Cliath), or more correctly the Dublin Region (Réigiúin Átha Cliath), is the area that contains the city of Dublin, the capital and largest city of the Republic of Ireland; and the modern counties of Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown, Fingal and South Dublin. ...


See www.thelandleague.org for a real taste of Michael Davitt and his legacy today in Haslingden where he began his political career.


The Land War

A Land League poster from the early 1880s
A Land League poster from the early 1880s

Upon his return to Ireland in 1879, Davitt found the West of Ireland was once again experiencing near famine conditions. It was one of the wettest years on record and the potato crop had failed for the third successive year. At a large meeting attended by Davitt in Irishtown, County Mayo on 20 April plans were made for a huge campaign of agitation to reduce rents. The target was a local Roman Catholic priest, Canon Ulick Burke, who reduced his rents by 25% after a campaign of non-payment. A poster from the Irish Land War This image has been released into the public domain by the copyright holder, its copyright has expired, or it is ineligible for copyright. ... A poster from the Irish Land War This image has been released into the public domain by the copyright holder, its copyright has expired, or it is ineligible for copyright. ... A famine is a phenomenon in which a large percentage of the population of a region or country are so undernourished that death by starvation becomes increasingly common. ... Binomial name Solanum tuberosum L. The potato (plural form: potatoes) (Solanum tuberosum) is a perennial plant of the Solanaceae, or nightshade, family, grown for its starchy tuber. ... County Mayo (Irish: Contae Mhaigh Eo, the plain of the yews) is a county on the west coast of Ireland. ... April 20 is the 110th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (111th in leap years). ... The Roman Catholic Church, most often spoken of simply as the Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with over one billion members. ...


On 16 August 1879, the Land League of Mayo was formally founded in Castlebar, with the active support of Charles Stewart Parnell. On October 21 it was superseded by the national Land League, of which Parnell was made President and Davitt was one of the secretaries. This united practically all the different strands of land agitation and tenant rights movements under a single umbrella and, from then until 1882, the "Land War" in search of the "Three Fs" (i.e. Fair Rent, Fixity of Tenure and Free Sale) was fought in earnest. August 16 is the 228th day of the year (229th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar. ... 1879 (MDCCCLXXIX) was a common year starting on Wednesday (see link for calendar). ... Castlebar (Caisleán an Bharraigh in Irish) is the county town of, and at the centre of, County Mayo, Ireland. ... Charles Stewart Parnell (June 27, 1846 – October 6, 1891) was an Irish political leader and one of the most important figures in 19th century Ireland and the United Kingdom; William Ewart Gladstone thought him the most remarkable person he had ever met. ... October 21 is the 294th day of the year (295th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 71 days remaining. ... The Irish Land League was an Irish political organization of the late 19th century which aimed to help poor tenant famers. ...


One of the actions taken by the Land League during this period was the campaign of ostracism against the land agent Captain Charles Boycott in the autumn of 1880. This incident led to Boycott abandoning Ireland in December and caused the word boycott to be coined. Captain Charles Cunningham Boycott (1823-1897) was a British land agent whose ostracism by his local community in Ireland as part of a political campaign in 1880 gave the English language the verb to boycott, meaning to ostracise. Charles Boycott was born in Norfolk in 1823. ... A boycott is an action undertaken to abstain from using, buying, or dealing with someone or some organisation as an expression of protest or as a means of coercion. ... Words and phrases are often created, or coined, by combining existing words, or by giving words new and unique suffixes and/or prefixes. ...


In 1881 Davitt was again imprisoned for his outspoken speeches, later released and arrested yet again in 1883. Upon his release in 1882, he campaigned for land nationalisation and an alliance between the British working class, Irish labourers and tenant farmers. In 1882 he was elected Member of Parliament for County Meath but was disqualified from taking his seat as he was in prison at the time. He was subsequently elected for West Mayo in 1895. A Member of Parliament, or MP, is a representative elected by the voters of an electoral district to a parliament; in the Westminster system, specifically to the lower house. ... County Meath (Contae na Mí in Irish) is the fastest growing county in the Republic of Ireland, often informally called The Royal County. ...


Despite his differences with Parnell on the land question, he was a strong supporter of the alliance between the Liberal Party and the Irish Nationalist Party and maintained this position in 1890 when the party split over Parnell's divorce. Davitt sided with the anti-Parnellite faction in the House of Commons at Westminster but he became increasingly impatient with what he saw as the inability or unwillingness of that institution to right injustice. The Liberal Party was one of the two major British political parties from the early 19th century until the 1920s, and a third party of varying strength and importance up to 1988, when it merged with the Social Democratic Party (the SDP) to form a new party which would become... The Nationalist Party existed under various froms from 1874 to 1973. ... The House of Commons is the lower house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, and is now the dominant branch of Parliament. ...


To further those ends Davitt initiated the Irish Democratic Labour Federation in 1890, an organisation which adopted an advanced social programme including proposals for free education, land settlement, worker housing, reduced working hours, labour political representation and universal sufferage, not least his conviction to which he adhered to all his life, that peasant land proprietorship must go hand in hand with land nationalisation.


He left the Commons in 1896 with a prediction that "no just cause could succeed there unless backed by physical force." Parliament alleviated this need by granting full democratic control of all local affairs, a form of "grass roots home rule", to County and District Councils under the Local Government (Ireland) Act 1898. The Local Government (Ireland) Act 1898 a piece of legislation passed as an Act of Parliament by the Parliament of the United Kingdom in 1898, to establish a system of local government in Ireland on lines similar that had been recently created in Great Britain at the time. ...


Achievements

It was mainly through Michael Davitt's unceasing efforts that more Land Acts followed Gladstone's First Land Act of 1870. The most important of these was the Land Act of 1881, which finally granted "the three Fs" under Davitt's "Irish Democratic Land Federation". The Right Honourable William Ewart Gladstone (29 December 1809 – 19 May 1898) was a British Liberal statesman and Prime Minister (1868–1874, 1880–1885, 1886 and 1892–1894). ... The Irish Question British Prime Minister William Gladstone had taken up the Irish Question in part to win the general election of 1868 by uniting the Liberal Party behind this single issue. ... The Irish Question British Prime Minister William Gladstone had taken up the Irish Question in part to win the general election of 1868 by uniting the Liberal Party behind this single issue. ...


This was later followed by the Wyndham Land Act (1903), crafted by William O'Brien, a purchase act which offered generous inducement to the landlords to sell their estates to the tenents, the Irish Land Commission mediating to then collect land annuities instead of rents. William OBrien (2 October 1852–25 February 1928) was an Irish journalist, writer and politician, particularly associated with campaigns for land reform in Ireland during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. ... The Irish Land Commission was created in 1881 as a rent fixing commission by the Irish Land Act 1881. ...


At long last ownership of the land would be transferred from the landlords to the tenants. Davitt's ambitions had finally materialised although he himself was opposed to the Wyndham Act, objecting strongly to the landlords receiving any compensation for land which he felt belonged to the state, never giving up his adherence to land nationalisation.


In 1898 he helped William O'Brien found his United Irish League and he is commonly regarded as one of the founders of the British Labour Party, as well as being an inspiration for D.D. Sheehan's Irish Land and Labour Association (ILLA). Many years later Mahatma Gandhi even attributed the origin of his own mass movement of peaceful resistance in India to Davitt and the Land League. His other travels and extended tours included Australia, New Zealand, Tasmania, South Africa, The Holy Land, South America, Russia and most of continental Europe including almost every part of Ireland and Britain. Daniel Desmond Sheehan, usually known as D.D. Sheehan (28 May 1873 – 28 November 1948) was an Irish journalist, labour leader, barrister, and author. ... The Irish Land and Labour Association (ILLA) was a progressive movement founded in the early 1890s in Munster, to organise and pursue political agitation for small tenant farmer’s and rural labourer’s rights. ... Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (Devanagari: मोहनदास करमचन्द गांधी; Gujarati: મોહનદાસ કરમચંદ ગાંધી; October 2, 1869 – January 30, 1948) was one of the most important leaders in the fight for freedom in India and its struggle for independence from the British Empire. ...


Davitt died in Elphis Hospital, Dublin on 30 May 1906, aged 60, from septic poisoning. The Lord Lieutenant of Ireland attended the funeral, a public indication of the dramatic political journey taken by this former Fenian prisoner. The plan had been not to have a public funeral, and hence Davitt's body was brought quietly to the Carmelite Friary, Clarendon Street, Dublin. However, the next day over 20,000 people filed past his coffin. The remains were then brought by train to Foxford, County Mayo, and Davitt is buried in the grounds of Straide Abbey at Straide (near Foxford), near the town (Straide) where he was born. May 30 is the 150th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (151st in leap years). ... 1906 (MCMVI) was a common year starting on Monday (see link for calendar). ... Official standard of the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland The Lord Lieutenant of Ireland (also known as the Viceroy or in the Middle Ages as the Lord Deputy) was the head of the Kingdom of Englands (before the Act of Union 1707) or Kingdom of Great Britains (after 1707... Foxford (Béal Easa in Irish) is a small town some 16 km south of Ballina in County Mayo. ... County Mayo (Irish: Contae Mhaigh Eo, the plain of the yews) is a county on the west coast of Ireland. ...


Memory

 1996 Irish issue: 150th birth anniversary of Michael Davitt
1996 Irish issue: 150th birth anniversary of Michael Davitt

At Straide, his birthplace, a museum now commemorates Davitt's life and works. The bridge from Achill Island to the mainland is named after him. Image File history File links Download high resolution version (481x659, 55 KB) Summary 1996 Anniverasaries 150th birth anniversary of Michael Davitt, founder of the Land League, 1846-1909 http://www. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (481x659, 55 KB) Summary 1996 Anniverasaries 150th birth anniversary of Michael Davitt, founder of the Land League, 1846-1909 http://www. ... Keem bay on Achill island is said to be one of the most beautiful beaches in Ireland. ...


The town of Haslingden has also commemorated Davitt's link with the locality by means of a public monument erected in the presence of Davitt's son. The inscription reads as follows: Map sources for Haslingden at grid reference SD785231 Haslingden is a unique small town, in the early 20th century an independent borough, in the Rossendale Valley in Lancashire and is now part of the Borough of Rossendale. ...


"This memorial has been erected to perpetuate the memory of Michael Davitt with the town of Haslingden. It marks the site of the home of Michael Davitt, Irish patriot, who resided in Haslingden from 1853 to 1867. / He became a great world figure in the cause of freedom and raised his voice and pen on behalf of the oppressed, irrespective of race or creed, that serfdom be transformed to citizenship and that man be given the opportunity to display his God given talents for the betterment of mankind. / Born 1846, died 1906. / Erected by the Irish Democratic League Club, Haslingden (Davitt Branch)."


Irish folk musician Andy Irvine's 1996 Patrick Street song, Forgotten Hero, is a tribute to Davitt. See also Andy Irvine (rugby player) Andy Irvine (b. ... Patrick Street was one of the top Irish traditional bands of the 1980s, formed in Dublin in 1986 by Kevin Burke (formerly of The Bothy Band) on fiddle, Jackie Daly (De Dannan) on button accordion, Andy Irvine (Sweeneys Men, Planxty) on bouzouki and vocals, and Arty McGlynn (Van Morrison...


Writings

  • Michael Davitt, Collected Writings, 1868-1906 (2001) ISBN 1855066483
  • Michael Davitt, The Fall of Feudalism in Ireland ISBN 1591070317
  • Michael Davitt, The "Times"-Parnell Commission: Speech delivered by Michael Davitt in defence of the Land League (1890)

References

  • D.B. Cashman and Michael Davitt, The Life of Michael Davitt and the Secret History of The Land League (1881)
  • Francis Sheehy-Skeffington, Michael Davitt : revolutionary, agitator and labour leader (1908, etc.)
  • M.M. O'Hara, Chief and Tribune: Parnell and Davitt (1919)

Francis Skeffington (1878 - 26 April 1916) from Bailieborough, County Cavan, was an Irish suffragist and pacifist. ...

See also

This is a list of people on the postage stamps of the Republic of Ireland, including the years when they appeared on a stamp. ...

External links

Institutions

  • Michael Davitt Museum, County Mayo, Ireland
  • The Irish Club in Haslingden, the town where Michael Davitt was brought up

  Results from FactBites:
 
Michael Davitt - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1504 words)
Michael Davitt was born in Straide, County Mayo, Ireland, at the height of the Great Famine, the second of five children born to Martin and Sabina Davitt.
In 1873 (while Davitt was imprisoned) his mother and three sisters had settled in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and in the late 1870s, he traveled to United States, hoping to gain the support of Irish-American communities for his new policy of "The Land for the People".
Davitt sided with the anti-Parnellite faction in the House of Commons at Westminster but he became increasingly impatient with what he saw as the inability or unwillingness of that institution to right injustice.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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