Fenian Head Centre James Stephens arrived in the US in May 1866. He had been on the run from his English prison, then a journey to France. Stephens came to the United States to help settle the Fenian faction differences and attempt to unite the O’Mahony and Roberts factions as well as raise money for a upcoming Fenian rising.
It’s interesting to compare how competing illustrated newspapers from New York covered the same story and included artist sketches for their readers as well as article’s of the same events.
The first illustration is from Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper, May 26th edition of Stephens’ New York City arrival on May 10th, 1866. The next two sketches are of the same event by both Frank Leslie and Harper’s Weekly at the Fenian gathering at Jones’s Wood on May 15th 1866. Both of these newspapers were ironically published on June 2nd 1866, the same day the Robert’s Wing of the Fenian Brotherhood invaded Canada West and the Battle of Ridgeway occurred.
At this Jones’s Wood rally, there was an estimated 10,000 Irish who turned out to listen to national speeches for action. Along with these speeches also came copious amounts of alcoholic drinks being sold, which helped lubricate ones hands to dig into the pockets for cash donations and purchases of the newly issued Fenian Bonds to fund the Fenian Republic cause.