Mr. Seward to Mr. Adams.

No. 1621.]

Sir: You will receive herewith a copy of a communication of the 11th of November, addressed to this department by Mr. John Fanning, late an officer in the volunteer service of the United States. I will thank you to present to her Majesty’s government a statement of the facts therein represented, and request that an early investigation of the circumstances attending this case may be made.

I am, sir, your obedient servant,


Charles Francis Adams, Esq., &c., &c., &c.

Captain Fanning to Mr. Seward.

Sir: I have the honor to represent that I am a citizen of the United States by adoption. I had the honor to hold a commission as captain of company A, tenth Ohio volunteer infantry, and served for three years and two months in that capacity during the late rebellion. I had also the honor to serve five years in the second United States cavalry, previous to the rebellion.

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After settling my accounts with the departments at Washington, I desired to visit my friends in Ireland, of which country I am a native, and where nearly all my relatives reside. For that purpose I left New York on the first of September ultimo, and reached Dublin on the sixteenth of the same month. I remained in Dublin until the second of October, when I left to visit my relatives at Ballinamore, county Leitrim. I reached the town of Killeshandra on the third of October, and, while waiting to change horses, was arrested by Sub-Inspector Valentine, of the constabulary or rural police, my baggage searched, my pistol, one round of ammunition for the same, With a few caps, taken from me, and myself and Lieutenant McNeff, of the same regiment, hand-cuffed and thrown into jail at Cavan, regardless of our solemn protest against such an indignity being offered to an American citizen journeying through this place. I was incarcerated for seventeen days without trial at the instance of the police, at the expiration of which time I was discharged on bail to stand my trial at the ensuing March assizes for having a pistol in my possession. I am thus constrained to remain in the county nolens volens or forfeit my bail. Lieutenant McNeff, my fellow-traveller, after an absence of many years from the home of his childhood, over three spent in the service of his country, is yet in jail for the same crime, and, as I have been informed by the jail authorities, is obliged to wear a prison garb, and is kept breaking stone in the jail-yard; this too, without any trial or conviction. I therefore respectfully and solemnly protest that the great United States should not recognize the precedent established by England in tolerating the summary and reckless arrest and imprisonment of British subjects by the king of Abyssinia.

This is a plain statement of my case, and I refer it, as also that of Lieutenant McNeff, to you for adjudication.

Time was when no power on earth dared molest the Roman citizen untainted with crime; when the name alone was a sufficient passport through the nations of the earth. When I threw off my allegiance to Victoria, the Queen of England, and put myself under the aegis of the United States, I felt such a thrill of exultation on changing the degrading status of a mere subject to that proud one of citizenship, as could not have been known to even the Roman of old. The evidence of my devotion and sincerity is the eight years spent in the service of my adopted country.

Now, sir, I place myself under your protection, and respectfully claim all the immunities of a citizen of the United States I am satisfied that the honor of every citizen away from his own country is safe in your hands, and I trust you will not deem me obtrusive if I claim from my government ample reparation for the outrage and indignity offered to the United States in the person of your obedient servant,

JOHN FANNING, Ex-captain Tenth Ohio Volunteer Infantry.

Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State, United States of America.