Thursday, August 27, 2020

1798 yet again - informers and invitations

Nearly everything I pick up at the moment has a 1798 dimension. Below is a poem by James Munce - it's a bit simplistic in that it blames 'the English' on all of Ireland's ills. I wonder if that informer was Nicholas Maginn (see short account here in Betsy Gray and the Hearts of Down).

In other reading, I've been looking again at the newspaper reports of County Antrim woman Martha Craig (1866-1950) visiting President William McKinley at the White House in March 1898, during which she invited him to attend the planned 1798 centenary commemorations.

In The World newspaper of New York, on 6 March 1898, Martha said that Maud Gonne (1866–1953) was her friend, but that – "she believes in agitation, I believe in education. She makes a strong appeal to Irish prejudices and to their keen sense of the injustice inflicted upon their nation. I shall try to arouse their enthusiasm by telling them what a glorious little island that have to be proud of ... my grandfather was one of the patriots of '98. I heard nothing else talked of at our hearthstone ... when I became a woman and went back to Ulster I was convinced that I could do good for my country by telling people something about it outside of politics."

• More information about Martha Craig can be found on this blog