DOHENY, Michael. The Felon’s Track or History of the Attempted Outbreak in Ireland. Embracing the Leading Events in the Irish Struggle from the year 1843 to the close of 1848.
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Illustrated. Dublin: M.H. Gill, 1943. Fifth edition. Crown octavo. pp. xxxi, 320. Green cloth, title in gilt on spine. In pictorial dust jacket. A very good copy.
Michael Doheny (1805-1863) writer, lawyer, member of the Young Ireland movement, and co- founder of the Irish Republican Brotherhood, an Irish secret society which would go on to launch the Fenian Raids on Canada, Fenian Rising of 1867 and the Easter Rising of 1916, each of which was anattempt to bring about Irish Independence from Britain. The third son of small farmer Michael Doheny, he was born at Brookhill, near Fethard, Co. Tipperary. Growing up he received a rudimentary education from an itinerant teacher while working on his father’s farm. He would continue his formal education into his adult life while simultaneously acting as a teacher himself to local children. Doheny’s ambition was to receive a formal legal education so that he could become a lawyer capable of seeking redress for members of his community, who were generally poor.
Doheny’s parents both died in quick succession during his teens, leaving Doheny’s eldest brother, himself only in his teenage years, as head of the household. Doheny himself had to fight through a bout of typhus at the age of 14. As Doheny became 20, his eldest brother also died and the family farm came into his procession. He subsequently sold it and continued to focus on his education. He entered Gray’s Inn, and by the age of thirty had become a well known barrister.He became legal adviser to the borough of Cashel and in 1842 joined the Repeal movement. When the association came under the influence of English Whigs he left to join the Young Irelanders. At the failure of the 1848 insurrection he fled to the United States with James Stephens and in 1849 published there ‘The Felon’s Track’. With Stephens and John O’Mahony he founded the Fenian brotherhood in the United States. Doheny continued to practise as a lawyer and died in the United States in April 1863.
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