The Fenian Brotherhood

The so-called 'Jubilee Plot' of 1887 was a plan to commit a dynamite atrocity during the Queen's Jubilee year, with the most likely target being the service of thanksgiving on Jubilee Day on 21 June in Westminster Abbey.  The plotters were the Fenian Brotherhood of America, who had been behind many of the bombings over the previous 5 years designed to further the Irish cause, including the explosions in the Tower of London and the chamber of the House of Commons on 24 January 1885.

Bombing of the Commons chamber

Two groups were dispatched to carry out the task.  However, the Fenians were deeply penetrated by multiple British agents, and one of them was the leader of one of the teams.  Due to the bungling of the bookings for their Atlantic passages, the other group arrived too late to affect Jubilee Day itself, although they did manage to smuggle dynamite and revolvers into the country.  But thanks to some effective detective work, two of the ringleaders were caught before they could cause any harm.  They were tried and sentenced to 15 years imprisonment.



Most of the research for this story was done by Christ Campbell, whose book, Fenian Fire: The British Government Plot to Assassinate Queen Victoria, describes in great detail the plotters and the government's response.  The chapter in my book also describes events from Victoria's point of view.


Sources used in the full account in the book

George Earle Buckle (ed.), The Letters of Queen Victoria: Third Series 1886-1901, J. Murray, London, 1930
Christy Campbell, Fenian Fire: The British Government Plot to Assassinate Queen Victoria, Harper Collins, London, 2002
Fenian Fire, Television Documentary on RTÉ One, 2008


Sources used in this and other chapters

George Earle Buckle (ed.), The Letters of Queen Victoria: Second Series 1862-1885, J. Murray, 1926-28
Christopher Hibbert, Queen Victoria: A Personal History, Harper Collins, London, 2000
James, D.; Kerrigan, T.; Forfar, R.; Farnham, F.; Preston, L., The Fixated Threat Assessment Centre: Norman Lowe, Mastering Modern British History, Third Edition, Palgrave, Basingstoke, 1998
Helen Rappaport, Queen Victoria: A Biographical Companion, ABC-CLIO, Oxford, 2001
Lee Jackson, www.victorianlondon.org
Lytton Strachey, Queen Victoria, Chatto and Windus, 1921
Stanley Weintraub, Victoria: Biography of a Queen, Unwin Hyman, London, 1987
Censuses of England 1841-1911, The National Archives
London and National Newspapers, especially The Era, The Morning Chronicle, The Morning Post, The Observer, The Standard and The Times
The General Register of Births, Marriages and Deaths, General Register Office
The International Genealogical Index, www.familysearch.org
The Proceedings of the Old Bailey, www.oldbaileyonline.org

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