Mr. Adams to Mr. Seward.
Sir: I have to acknowledge the reception of despatches from the department, numbered from 1616 to 1624, inclusive; also three printed copies of the President’s order of the 1st of December, restoring the writ of habeas corpus, and several pamphlet copies of his annual message.
I have already taken action in regard to the matters contained in Nos. 1616 and 1623, but shall postpone making a special report on them until I receive the customary replies from the foreign office.
With regard to the directions contained in No. 1621, I find by a report from Mr. West, the consul at Dublin, dated the 25th of November, that, owing to Iris representations, Captain Fanning had been released from arrest previous to that date; hence there seems to be no necessity for making representations to this government, as suggested in your despatch. I shall, however, make new inquiries of Mr. West, to ascertain whether there be any further cause of complaint on the part of Captain Fanning, and regulate my action accordingly.
There has been some difficulty in distinguishing between the persons who have come to Ireland from America during the present difficulties with regard to the purposes of their visit. That many of them are more or less connected with the Fenian organization it is impossible to deny. The harder task is to define [Page 37] those who are not. I have endeavored so to advise the consuls as to secure a proper share of protection for innocent persons, who are citizens of the United States, without attempting to interfere on behalf of those who have justly subjected themselves to suspicion of complicity with treasonable projects.
It is probable that you are kept so fully advised of these proceedings by the consuls there that I think it superfluous to dwell upon them further.
I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,
Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.