Fenians, an Irish political organisation having for its object the overthrow of English rule in Ireland and the establishment of a republic there. The movement was initiated in the United States soon after the great famine in Ireland of 1846-47, which, together with the harsh exactions of the landlords, compelled many Irishmen to emigrate from their island with a deeply-rooted sense of injustice and hatred of the English. The Fenians organised themselves so far on the model of a republic, having a senate at the head, with a virtual president called the “head-centre,” and various “circles” established in many parts of the U.S. They collected funds and engaged in military drill, and sent agents to Ireland and England. An invasion of Canada in 1866 and a rising at home in 1867 proved abortive, as also the attack on Clerkenwell Prison in the same year. Another attempt on Canada in 1871 and the formation of the Skirmishing Fund for the use of the Dynamitards and the institution of the Clan-na-Gael leading to the “Invincibles,” and the Phoenix Park murders (1882) are later manifestations of this movement. The Home Rule and Land League movements practically superseded the Fenian. The name is taken from an ancient military organisation called the Fionna Eirinn, said to have been instituted in Ireland in 300 B.C.

Definition taken from The Nuttall Encyclopædia, edited by the Reverend James Wood (1907)

Fénélon, François de Salignac de la Mothe * Ferdinand the Catholic
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Fellows, Sir Charles
Felton, Cornelius Conway
Felton, John
Femmes Savantes
Fénélon, François de Salignac de la Mothe
Ferdinand the Catholic
Ferdinand I.
Ferdinand II.
Ferdinand III.
Ferdinand I.
Ferdinand II.
Ferdinand III.
Ferdinand VII. of Spain


Fenians in Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase & Fable