1 December 1901: The death of Thomas Clarke Luby, Fenian, at his home in Oak Street in Jersey City, USA on this day. His was the son of the Reverend James Luby a Protestant clergyman, He studied at Trinity College Dublin and at the Temple in London but was from an early age attracted to the Nationalist Movement. Initially a supporter of Daniel O’Connell he tried to organize a Rising in Dublin in 1848 but when that and the events in Tipperary proved a fiasco he fled Ireland for Australia then the USA. In 1851 he tried to join the French Foreign Legion but to his great disappointment they were not recruiting at the time.
Ten years after leaving he was back in his native city and on 17 March 1858 in a Timber yard on Lombard Street East he along with James Stephens and others founded the IRB aka ‘the Fenians’. He travelled the Country helping to organise resistance and recruit members for the oath bound society. He played a leading role in the success of the Irish People newspaper. He was arrested along with other members in 1865 and was charged with ‘Treason-Felony’ and sentenced to twenty years of imprisonment.
After his arrest and the suppression of the Irish People he was sentenced to twenty years' penal servitude. In his speech from the dock he said:
From the time I came to what have been called the years of discretion, my entire thought has been devoted to Ireland. I believed the course I pursued was right; others may take a different view. When the proceedings of this trial go forth to the world, the people will say that the cause of Ireland is not to be despaired of, that Ireland is not yet a lost country—that as long as there are men in any country prepared to expose themselves to every difficulty and danger in its service, prepared to brave captivity, even death itself if needs be, that country cannot be lost.
He was released in 1871 and moved to the USA. He became active in Clann na Gael and the Irish Confederation, raising funds and promoting the cause of Irish Freedom. He went on to become a respected journalist, lecturer and author. One of the ‘Grand Old Men’ of the Fenian movement he never wavered in his commitment to the Cause.