Boston: Forbes Lith. Mfg. Co., 1876. First edition. This scarce tinted lithograph was issued to commemorate the escape of Irish political prisoners from Fremantle, W.A. on April 17th 1876. The Fenians are shown rowing towards the bark, which is under full sail. The Catalpa is flying a flag with the initials "J T R" - for John T Richardson, the ship's agent. A pennant with the letter C, the Fenian flag, and the American flag are also flying.
The police boat is in hot pursuit and the British steamship "Georgette" is steaming in from a distance. Among the Fenians freed in this effort was John Boyle O'Reilly, who became a leading citizen in Boston, and was later to edit the 'Boston Pilot'.
Captain George Anthony, an American whaling captain out of New Bedford Massachusetts recruited a crew for this mission and set sail for Western Australia where two Fenian agents, John Breslin and Tom Desmond had already established themselves with aliases. With several delays, the day for the escape was set for the 17th of April, when most of the convict garrison was distracted by watching the Perth Yacht Club regatta.
Captain Anthony, who refused to surrender the escaped prisoners to the British, later sold his story to Zephaniah W. Pease who published the account in 'The Catalpa Expedition'. See also Laubenstein, 'The Emerald Whaler'.
On its arrival in New York in August of 1876, the Catalpa was met with great crowds; jubilant celebrations were held in the US and Ireland.
A bit of acid burn outside the printed area from a previous mat; faint even tanning. 17 x 13" on paper 22 x 14 1/4". For information on the artist, E. N. Russell see Blasdale, Artists of New Bedford, pp 160-161; Kendall Prints 28; Ingalls 318. OCLC: 191908718 (1 copy) at the Boston Athenaeum. Trove 45254, at the Australian National Maritime Museum; and 57714676 at the State Library of Western Australia.
A rare print, important for its depiction of an important Western Australian colonial event. Item #23907