Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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MITCHEL, John, Irish patriot, born in Dungiven, County Derry, Ireland, 3 November, 1815; died in Cork, 20 March, 1875. He was graduated at Trinity college, Dublin, in 1836, studied law, and practised for several years at Banbridge. In 1845 his "Life of Hugh O'Neil, Prince of Ulster," was published in Dublin, and gave him great reputation as a writer and nationalist. He became a contributor to the "Irish Nation," and after the death of Thomas Davis was its chief writer. In 1846 he opposed the peace resolutions of the O'Connells, and strongly advocated the absolute independence of Ireland. He was a Protestant, and warned the Irish Catholics front driving the Irish Protestants from the patriot cause by needless tests. Early in 1848 he withdrew from the "Nation" and founded the "United Irishman," as the organ of the advanced Young Ireland party. His fervid appeals in this paper aroused the insurrectionary spirit of the Irish people, and, to put him down, the treason-felony bill was passed by the British parliament. On 13 May, 1848, he was arrested under the provisions of the new act, and on 26 May he was convicted and sentenced to fourteen years' banishment. He was first taken to Bermuda, where he passed a year of "suspense, agony, and meditation." Thence he was transported to Van Diemen's Land. Assisted by friends in America, he escaped in the summer of 1853, and on 12 October landed in San Francisco, receiving there an enthusiastic welcome. In a short time he went to New York, where he published his "Jail Journal, or Five Years in British Prisons" (1854). In 1855 he established "The Citizen," in which he published his celebrated letter to Henry Ward Beecher in defence of slavery. He also had a controversy with Archbishop Hughes on the subject of the independence of Roman Catholics in political matters. These discussions lost Mitch-el many friends in the northern states, and he was obliged to stop "The Citizen." He then went to Knoxville, Tennessee, and in 1857 established the "Southern Citizen," which failed. During the civil war he edited the Richmond "Enquirer," in which he advocated the cause of the south with enthusiasm. After the war he returned to New York and began to publish the "Irish Citizen," which, like all his newspaper enterprises in this country, failed on account of his sturdy independence. In 1874 he returned to Ireland, but was not molested. The same year he was elected to parliament from Tipperary, but was declared ineligible, and not allowed to take his seat. He was again elected, but died before any action was taken in his case. Besides the books mentioned above, he published "The Last Conquest of Ireland (Perhaps)" (Dublin, 1861), "History of Ireland from the Treaty of Limerick" (New York, 1868); and "Life and Times of Aodh O'Neill, Prince of Ulster" (1868) ; and he edited the poems of Thomas Davis (New York, 1856) and James C. Mangan (1859), with biographies.
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