No. 103.
Mr. Frelinghuysen to Mr. Lowell.

No. 313.]

Sir: It has been represented to this department that Mr. Michael Hart, a naturalized American citizen, was arrested without just cause on the 3d instant, in Ireland, under the coercion act, and imprisoned in Clonmel jail, county of Tipperary.

I will thank you to lose no time making inquiries into all the circumstances attending the arrest of Mr. Hart, and to report the result of your investigations to this Department, meanwhile making such representations to the British Government as the facts may be found to justify. Inclosing herewith for your further information the papers described below,

I am, &c.,

[Inclosure in No. 313.]

Mr. McCorry to Mr. Frelinghuysen.

Sir: Inclosed herewith find duplicate of naturalization papers of Michael Hart, lately a resident of No. 167 Essex street, Lawrence, Mass., and now a prisoner in Clonmel jail, county Tipperary, Ireland. I also inclose slip from Catholic Herald, dated January 28, 1882 (antedated), containing printed copies of letters from the prisoner and from his sister to relations here, by which you will see the manner and cause of his arrest. (No. 1.)

Michael Hart came to this country at the age of sixteen years. On the first Monday of October, 1878, he was admitted a citizen of the United States, and thereafter had his name entered upon the “check-list,” or registry of voters of this city, in confirmation of which I inclose certificate from the city clerk of Lawrence. (No. 2.)

Michael Hart’s citizenship is thus established beyond the possibility of a doubt. The fact of his imprisonment is also established, and that he is now and has been guiltless of any infringement or violation of British law can be established to your satisfaction. His arrest and imprisonment being thus wholly without cause, you are now called upon to demand his release.

I am, &c.,

Editor Catholic Herald.
[Appendix 1 to Mr. McCorry’s letter.]

Commonwealth of Massachusetts,
Essex, ss:

Be it known, that at the superior court begun and held at Lawrence, within and for county of Essex aforesaid, on the first Monday of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and seventy-eight, personally appeared Michael Hart, a free white person resident in Lawrence, in the county of Essex, and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and having proved to the satisfaction of said court that he had complied with all the requisitions of the laws preparatory to his being naturalized, was admitted to become a citizen of the United States of America pursuant to the laws in such cases made and provided.


  • John Linehan,
  • John Lane,
    Of Lawrence.
[Page 195]
[Appendix 2 to Mr. McCorry’s letter.—Extract from the Catholic Herald.]

arrest of a lawrence man in ireland—a naturalized american citizen in a british prison.

A young man named Michael Hart, formerly a resident of Lawrence, Mass., went to Ireland on a visit recently to see his people. While there he was visited by the “peelers,” and taken from his bed at 3 o’clock a.m., and with another man, named Cotter, was hurried off to Clonmel jail.

Hart came to this country before he was sixteen years of age. When arrived at the age of twenty-one he took out his naturalization papers and discharged all the duties of a citizen afterward. His name appears on the check-list of Lawrence, showing that he was entitled to vote, and it is known that he exercised his privileges as a citizen.

The following letters explain themselves:

“Ballintubber, January 3, 1882.

“My Dear—: I have sad news to tell you. Michael was arrested this morning about 3 o’clock, under the coercion act, and sent to Clonmel jail. You cannot know what trouble we are in. God only knows how we are spending Christmas. No one knows the state of Ballintubber at present. Every one was rushing to our house when it became known that Michael was gone; but he has gone for no shameful crime. He told mother, when going, not to drop a tear for him; that he would come out without a stain. He had a comrade going with him, Edmund Cotter, from Car-ragane. You may be sure they had a good guard of police; a sub-inspector and two head constables came into the house with a warrant for him; the rest of the police remained outside on the road with two cars. They gave him time to dress. When he went out we were more than surprised to see Ned Cotter outside, and the first word he said was, ‘I suppose —— did not get his rent.’ Bridget replied, ‘He may not be alive when you come out.’ I suppose —— was the cause of Cotter’s arrest, too. Michael began to laugh when he saw Cotter; I suppose there will be more arrests. The people here say they will not pay one halfpenny of rent while Michael is in jail; so it is the worst day’s work —— ever done. Michael told us to let you know that he is an American citizen, and to see about this.

“I remain,

“——— ———”

The following letter is from the prisoner:

“Clonmel Jail, January 6, 1882.

“Dear Friend: With pleasure I write you all, hoping you are well; I am well, but not as well as you would wish me. I suppose it likely you have heard of the New Year’s gift I received from the government here—a warrant to go to jail. I thought you would be anxious to hear from me from inside this new residence. I am in the largest boarding-house now I ever was in, and I don’t know how long I will remain here, either. The reason I am here, I know not; but the warrant from —— said it was for inciting people not to pay their rents. We paid our rent, at least it was paid for us; and you that are in Lawrence know as much about the cause of my arrest as I do myself. * * * The laws here are changed more than those of any other country.

“The American people boast very much about their republic and great men, but when that government allows her citizens to be thrown into British prisons without getting any kind of a trial, I think your great men and fine republic can’t say a great deal for themselves. We go to church here on Sundays and holidays inside this heroic spot. * * *

“Yours, ever,


[Appendix 3 to Mr. McCorry’s letter.]

Mr. Shepard to Mr. McCorry.

My Dear Sir: In reply to your note of inquiry of even date, would say that Mr. Michael Hart was a qualified voter in this commonwealth in 1878, and he was borne upon the registry of votes in this city for 1878, and is entered as residing at 167 Essex street, this city.

Very truly, yours,

City Clerk.