British Intelligence and the Fenians, 1855–1880
Title Details

432 Pages

23.4 x 15.6 cm

11 b/w illus.

Series: History of British Intelligence

Series Vol. Number: 7

Imprint: Boydell Press

British Intelligence and the Fenians, 1855–1880

by Padraic C. Kennedy

  • Description
  • Contents
  • Author
Shows how mid-Victorian efforts to gather information about the Fenians laid the foundation for later British domestic intelligence in both Ireland and mainland Britain.


British Intelligence and the Fenians provides the first narrative account of the sustained and systematic use of espionage and secret policing in response to Fenianism between 1855 and 1880. It shows that despite the absence of a formal separate political police force or permanent intelligence agency, the British administration in Ireland created a sophisticated intelligence network to combat the revolutionary threat posed by the Fenian Brotherhood in America and the Irish Republican Brotherhood in Britain. The hub of this intelligence network was the Irish administration's "F. Department", which analysed thousands of reports about Fenianism from throughout Great Britain, North America, and continental Europe. Authorities also established a corresponding "separate and secret organization" in London. Such arrangement provided both Irish and English officials ready access to shared intelligence about Fenianism until the end of the 1870s. However, government's agents never managed to infiltrate the leadership of the Fenian organization in Ireland. Such failure left Ireland's rulers uncertain about Fenian intentions and prone to resort to extra-legal measures in response to perceived threats.


The book makes an invaluable contribution to our understanding of early political policing and espionage in Britain. By examining in detail what information was collected, how it was analysed and disseminated, and the use policy makers made of it, it more generally offers an interpretation of the role of intelligence in governing Ireland.


PADRAIC C. KENNEDY is Associate Professor at the Department of History and Political Science, York College of Pennsylvania.
List of illustrations
Acknowledgements
List of abbreviations
Introduction
1. The Phoenix Flame: Intelligence before the Onset of Fenian Fever
2. "The long toleration of the idiotic folly of mischievous seditionists.": Dublin Castle and the rise of Fenianism, 1860-1865
3. "This has been done by officers & gentlemen!": The Liberal Government and the First Fenian Crisis, September 1865-June 1866
4. "Their proceedings all over the world require constant watching . . .": Lord Naas and the Expansion of Intelligence, July 1866-January 1867
5. "The most loathsome necessities of government": J. J. Corydon and the Fenian Risings, February-August 1867
6. "Our friend": Esther Johnston and the Fenian Panic in Britain, August-December 1867
7. "Separate and Secret Organization": Colonel Feilding in London, December 1867-March 1868
8. "A special branch of the office to register all that passed": The "F" Department, 1868-1871
9. "Even now . . . it seems to me to be of great importance to keep an eye on it": Intelligence after the Passing of Fenian Fever, 1871-1880
Conclusion
Bibliography
Index

PADRAIC C. KENNEDY is Associate Professor at the Department of History and Political Science, York College of Pennsylvania.

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9781837651061

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9781805434733

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9781805434740

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Title Details

432 Pages

2.34 x 1.56 cm

11 b/w illus.

Series: History of British Intelligence

Series Vol. Number: 7

Imprint: Boydell Press