Home >> Encyclopedia Americana, Volume 8 >> Dance Of Death to Dean >> Davitt

Davitt

land, ireland, meath and league

DAVITT, Michael, Irish Nationalist politi cian and journalist: b. Straid, County Mayo, 25 March 1846; d. Dublin, 31 May 1906. His par ents, peasant farmers, were evicted from their farm in 1851 and migrated to Lancashire, where at the age of 10 Michael began work in a cotton mill at Haslingdcn. Here in 1857 he lost his right arm by a machinery accident and secured employment in a printing office where he also managed to educate himself. He joined the Fenian brotherhood in 1867 and in 1870 was sentenced to 15 years' penal servitude for treason-felony in arranging for sending firearms into Ireland. He was released on a ticket of leave in 1877 and went on a lecture tour in the United States. Returning to Ire land he founded at his birthplace, 21 Oct. 1879, the Land League, which spread all over Ire land. He was again in America in 1880, or ganizing an American branch of the Land League, and on his return to Ireland was im prisoned under the Coercion Act. He was re leased in 1882. While in prison he had been .chosen parliamentary representative for Meath, but being a convict was disqualified. He was one of the respondents before the Parnell Com mission 1888-90, and conducted his own de fense in a five-day speech. He became an Anti Parnellite in 1890 and in 1892 was elected mem ber of Parliament for North Meath, but was unseated on petition. He was next returned

for Northeast Cork but had to vacate his seat through bankruptcy, caused by the costs in the North Meath petition. He was elected for West Mayo in 1895 but resigned in 1899.

He visited Australia in 1898 and on his re turn published the volume (1884); 'De fense of the Land League' (1:11)1 'The Boer Fight for Freedom> (1902) (1903); 'The Fall of Feudalism in Ireland' (1904); 'Pageant of London> (1905). Consult Cashman, 'Life of Michael Davitt> (Boston 1881).