Mitchel, John,1815–75, Irish revolutionist and journalist. A practicing lawyer, Mitchel contributed articles to the Nation (Dublin) and the United Irishman, which he founded in 1848, calling for rebellion against Britain. He was transported to Australia for sedition before the abortive Young Ireland revolt of 1848, which he had helped prepare, was carried out. He escaped to the United States in 1853, where he led a turbulent and contentious career as a journalist, editing the proslavery journal Citizen (1854–55) in New York City, and during the Civil War, the Richmond Enquirer. After a short imprisonment (1865) for his Confederate activities, he became acknowledged leader of the Irish-American nationalists, and as such edited the Irish Citizen. He returned to Ireland and was elected (1875) to Parliament shortly before his death. His Jail Journal (1854; new ed., with intro. by Arthur Griffith, 1945) is an Irish revolutionary classic.
Born Nov. 3, 1815, in Dungiven, County Londonderry; died Mar. 20, 1875, in Newry, County Down. Leading figure in the Irish liberation movement.
Mitchel joined the Repeal Association and the patriotic society Young Ireland, and in 1846 promoted the breakaway of radical elements from the compromise wing of the Association, headed by Daniel O’Connell. In 1847 he was one of the organizers of the Irish Confederation, in which he put forward the idea of freeing the country by revolutionary means. Mitchel called for the preparation of an armed uprising against English rule. Influenced by Utopian socialism, he advocated an alliance with the English Chartists.
On May 27, 1848, Mitchel was sentenced by an English court to 14 years’ hard labor in Tasmania. In 1853 he escaped and fled to the United States, where he continued to take part in the Irish national liberation movement. In the last years of his life he made numerous trips to his homeland to carry on propaganda. Mitchel’s works on Irish history significantly contributed to the development of a democratic trend in Irish historiography.
WORKSThe Last Conquest of Ireland. Glasgow, 1876.
The History of Ireland From the Treaty of Limerick to the Present Time,vols. 1–2. London, 1868.
REFERENCES[Kunina, V. E.] “National’no-osvoboditel’naia bor’ba irlandskogo naroda v 1848 g.” In the collection Revoliutsii 1848–1849 [vol.] 2. Moscow, 1952.
Dillon, W. Life of John Mitchel, vols. 1–2. London, 1888.
L. I. GOL’MAN