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John Mitchel with John Martin and Father John Kenyon [the three Johns]
, 1866

by Edouard Gatel

carte de visite photograph (support: 10.0 cm x 7.0 cm, image: 9.0 cm x 6.5 cm)

John Mitchel (centre, 1815–1875), Irish nationalist, publisher and journalist, studied for the church at Trinity College, Dublin, graduating in 1834. He then became involved in the Repeal Association, which called for the dissolution of the 1801 Act of Union, and wrote for the nationalist periodical The Nation. Increasingly radicalised, he joined the Young Irelanders and in 1848 started his own paper, The United Irishman, which openly advocated revolution. Consequently, in May 1848, he was found guilty of treason and sentenced to fourteen years’ transportation, arriving in Hobart in April 1850. In Tasmania he resided with fellow Young Irelanders leader and friend John Martin (left, 1812–1875), who’d been transported for treason in 1849. In 1853, Mitchel escaped by disguising himself as a priest and sneaking aboard a ship to Sydney and then making his way to San Francisco. After a period in Paris, he returned to America to edit the Virginian Enquirer and the New York Daily News, his Confederate sympathies landing him in jail again in 1865. During the last decade of his life, Mitchel published various texts, including My Jail Journal, or five years in British prisons (1868). Pardoned in 1858, Martin returned to Ireland and was elected to Parliament in 1871. He died in March 1875 having contracted bronchitis while attending Mitchel’s funeral.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2016
Accession number: 2016.16