Mr. Lowell to Mr. Frelinghuysen.
London, July 14, 1882. (Received July 27.)
Sir: I have the honor to inclose two copies of the prevention of crime (Ireland) act, which has just received the royal assent.
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It is the revival of the alien act as part of the crimes act which alone directly concerns our relations with this government. Questions are likely to arise under it which will need to be treated with extreme delicacy and discretion. It will be rather to the personal application of the act than to its principle that objection will lie, and I should be glad to be armed beforehand with the opinion of the President as to what my general line of action should be under these new circumstances. There must be a great number of naturalized American citizens in Ireland besides those that have rendered themselves obnoxious to the local authorities, and the alien clauses of the act may very probably strengthen the temptation of private enmity to bring false accusations, as it undoubtedly increases the opportunity for them. I have every reason to believe that under the present government the act will be applied with caution and discrimination, but a change of ministry may take place at any moment. In any event, however, I think myself safe in predicting that the provisions of the act will be brought to bear only in the cases of men who have made, or may make, themselves particularly prominent by incitement to disorder or defiance of authority.
I have, &c.,