Mr. Seward to Mr. Thornton

My Dear Sir: You have already called my attention to rumors of projected Fenian raids into Canada. The Canadian press is spreading excitement and alarm on the same subject. There are indications, if not of such movements, at least of a disposition on the part of some individuals to get up such movements presently. I need not repeat here that these incidents are engaging the attention of this government. I think it important, however, that her Majesty’s government should now distinctly understand the President’s opinion concerning the present situation of the Fenian question as a subject of international difficulty.

Whatever danger there may be of a disturbance of the peace of the frontier at the present time, that danger is altogether due to the omission by the British government to seasonably remove, either by legislation or by negotiation, the indefensible features of British policy on the subject of the rights of naturalized citizens of the United States. I yesterday instructed Mr. Moran to sound the British government on the subject of negotiating a treaty similar in effect to the provisions of the treaty between the United States and North Germany.

In asking your attention to the subject once more, I do so with a view of averting from this government undue responsibility in the event of new frontier collisions, especially liable to occur in a season of high political excitement in both countries.

I am, my dear sir, very faithfully, yours,


Edward Thornton, Esq., &c., &c., &c.