In June 1866, a few hundred Irish Fenians convened in Buffalo, NY, gathered arms and ammunition and snuck across the border into Canada with the intent of claiming territory from the British government in the name of Ireland.
Their proclamation read:
“We come among you as the foes of British rule in Ireland. We have taken up the sword to strike down the oppressor’s rod to deliver Ireland from the tyrant, the despoiler, the robber … We have no issue with the people of these provinces, and wish to have none but the most friendly relations. Our weapons are for the oppressors of Ireland. Our blows shall be directed only against the powers of England; her privileges alone shall we invade, not yours.”
In the Battle of Ridgeway, 28 men were killed (10 British, 18 Fenians), 62 men were wounded (38 British, 24 Fenian). It proved to be the greatest military battle of the Fenian movement, and one of the few successful Irish campaigns against the British in Republican history.
The invasion itself was ultimately unsuccessful, as the British troops vastly outnumbered the Fenian rebels, and the US government blocked the border, preventing reinforcements from joining the fight.
Inspired by this moment in Irish history, and by the current calls for Syrian refugees to be blocked from seeking asylum, Reddit user John Strachan posted the following article (satirical, we’re fairly sure), writing as a Canadian citizen of that time, arguing that the hundreds of thousands of Irish who fled Famine-era Ireland for Canada to be barred from entering the country:
Post by: [–]Zombie_John_Strachan[S]
The Year is 1866 AD
“Like many of you I was shocked to hear of the recent Fenian attacks on Fort Erie. (The Fenians in the aftermath of the US Civil War attempted to take over Canada with a view to swopping it [sic] for Ireland with the British)
How can our government allow Irish immigrants to flow into this United Province of Canada while we continue to be terrorized by Fenian religious zealots? Every Sunday in Catholic churches across the land, radical preachers are whipping their flocks into a catachismic [sic] frenzy, urging them to cram their Nicene orthodoxy down our throats three different ways. On every ship coming into Montreal or Halifax, hidden among the malnourished, diseased Irish there are sure to be Fenian terrorists ready to slit your throat at the first opportunity. This needs to stop now.
We all know that the Irish are a bunch of uneducated, colonial savages with a primitive religion. How will our women and children be safe while hoards of drunken Irish flow into our cities and roam the streets? Meanwhile they breed like rabbits, all part of their plan of Papist domination. It is a scientific fact that if Irish immigration continues apace Canada will be a Catholic state by 1910. Enjoy having your wine with communion, because that's all about to end. And if we let the Irish in, who's next - Ukrainians? Chinese? Musalmen?
It is our sacred duty to preserve Canadian values now, before it's too late. In 150 years your children's children will look back and know that you did the right thing.
Be sure to share this leaflet with all your friends (or at least those of them who can read... and you can probably skip the women, not like they can vote anyways). Say yes to Canada staying Canadian. Say no to Irish immigrants!
Rev. John Strachan,