Between Two Flags: John Mitchel & Jenny Verner


Anthony Russell

April 2015

A uniquely romantic account of the love & marriage of Irish nationalist activist, solicitor and political journalist John Mitchel, to Jenny Verner. Between Two Flags is the compelling story of two remarkable yet flawed people, who endured great tragedy, and were both supporters of physical force Irish republicanism.

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The gripping story of the turbulent yet enduring and loving marriage of John Mitchel and Jenny Verner is powerfully retold by Anthony Russell. Their courtship was opposed by both families and their elopement and marriage caused public consternation, but this remarkable couple went on to live through and influence the politics of mid-nineteenth century Ireland and the United States. Both ardent supporters of physical force Republicanism and also of the American Confederates, their story spans the landscape of Ulster, of Europe, the Americas and Van Diemen’s Land on a journey through the Great Famine, the American Civil War, Fenianism, revolution and deportation.

Beset by tragedies within their family life, theirs was a world of paradox and adventure counter-pointed by sacrifice to shared political ideals. Controversially, their enthusiastic support of the institution of slavery is a subject Anthony Russell meets head on in his evocation of the period and its context. Destined to be separated by death in different continents, Mitchel and Verner’s heroic relationship is sympathetically documented and analysed in this engaging and captivating story.

Table of Contents

  1. Ulster – Before and After Drumcree
  2. Nights and Suppers of the Gods
  3. I Hope to do my Children some Good Before I Die
  4. John will not Have me Use the Word ‘Home’ in this Country
  5. Nicaragua – Agent Dropped from the Sky
  6. Through Nicaragua, with Nigaragua
  7. The Hoosiers of Tennessee
  8. Tranquillity in Paris
  9. The Deaths of Two Children
  10. Scarlett Who?
  11. Martyrdom – It is Quite a Bad Trade
  12. Professor Cornelius O’Shaughnessy in Decline
  13. How Pleased My Poor Wife Will Be
  14. Jenny Without John
  15. Less Revolutionary than the Average English Shopkeeper

About the Author

Anthony Russell is a recently retired academic and programme leader from Anglia Ruskin University. As an historical geographer, he was academic consultant to Ulster University and Dundalk Institute of Technology’s (DkIT) ‘Borderlands’ degree. He has written and produced multi-media exhibitions on the Great Famine in south Ulster and north Leinster, and the 1798 Rebellion, for Newry and Mourne District Council (NMDC). Along with Professor David A. Wilson, University of Toronto, he is an academic advisor to the D’Arcy McGee summer school.