The Fenians

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Full Title: The Fenians, or, Neil O'Connor's Triumph: A Story of Old Ireland and Young America

Author: J.W. McCartney

Published: Boston, 1865

Description: This dime novel tells a story of the foundation of the Fenian Brotherhood: an Irish Republican faction founded in the wake of the failed 1848 Rebellion. The novel contributes its founding to the eldest son of an Irish family, Neil O'Connor, who resented the British mistreatment of his family. In response, he runs away to form the Fenian Brotherhood, and retaliates against English rule. As O'Connor was not the founder of the organization, it's safe to assume that the events described have little historical basis. O'Connor, however, provides a heroic avatar for those Irish and Irish Americans who were persecuted by the British and sought retaliation, and reveals both the nationalist mindset of the Irish and the causes of their resentment.