No. 139.
Mr. Lowell to Mr. Frelinghuysen.

No. 434.]

Sir: Referring to your dispatches Nos. 439 and 445, and to several telegrams from the Department, I have the honor to report my action in the cases of Messrs. Meany and George, arrested in Ireland, under the prevention of crimes act.

I have already in my dispatch No. 433, of the 24th instant, informed you of what I had done in respect to the first named of these cases, previous to that date.

On the 21st of August instant, I received from Mr. Davis, the acting secretary, the following message:

Is there any information in regard to the case of George, and is he still under arrest?

[Page 291]

As I had not heard from Mr. George personally, or from the consul of the foreign office, I replied, on the 22d, as follows:

Only information I have as regards George is contained in newspaper reports. I believe he is at liberty.

On the 23d of August, I received the following additional telegram from Mr. Davis:

Use all diligence to find out where George is, and telegraph facts of case at once.

On the 24th of August, I addressed the following telegram to Mr. Barrows, the consul at Dublin:

Will you kindly inquire at the proper office as to the present whereabouts of Henry George, arrested at Loughrea, and afterwards at Athenry, and the reason of his arrest?

On the 26th of August, Mr. Barrows wrote me:

The under secretary does not know where Mr. George is at present, but promised to send me the particulars of his arrest. I shall forward same soon as received. I was informed unofficially that Mr. George was arrested under the crimes act, for being seen in the company of suspicious persons, but was not detained more than one or two hours.

Mr. Barrows has not yet sent me the account from the under secretary, which was promised.

On the 14th of August, in order to prevent delay, I ventured to transgress official rules, and addressed Mr. Trevelyan, the Irish secretary, directly, without asking the intervention of the foreign office, in relation to the arrest of Mr. Meany. Mr. Trevelyan was absent upon a tour in Ireland, and did not reply to my letter. I addressed him again on the 24th instant, in respect to both Mr. Meany and Mr. George. Not having heard from him, I telegraphed to you on the 26th instant, as follows:

No answer yet from Irish secretary in regard to Meany or George.

On the 27th instant, however, I received a confidential reply from Mr. Trevelyan.* * *

I have been waiting for fuller information before addressing Lord Granville upon the subject of these arrests, but as I did not think proper to delay any longer communicating what I presumed would be the views of the President on this subject, I have written him a letter a copy of which I inclose, and which will be sent to him forthwith.

I have, &c.,

[Inclosure in No. 434.]

Mr. Lowell to Lord Granville.

My Lord: I have delayed addressing your lordship on the subject of the recent arrests of Mr. Henry George, a well-known writer on political economy, at Athenry, and Mr. Stephen J. Meany, editor of a respectable New York newspaper, at Ennis, two American citizens traveling in Ireland on perfectly legitimate business, so far as I can learn, because I have been in the daily hope of obtaining fuller and more authentic particulars on which to base a remonstrance.

I beg to ask your lordship’s attention to the peculiar features of hardship which characterize these two cases. Mr. George was twice arrested, and though shortly discharged, from lack, apparently, of any ground of reasonable suspicion, must naturally resent this repeated violation of his rights as the citizen of a friendly nation, and this public indignity which he was carelessly made to suffer.

Mr. Meany, who was arrested at midnight and taken from his bed, was also released [Page 292] after a short imprisonment, but is still subjected to a qualified imprisonment, by baring been put under bonds and pointed out to the special surveillance of the police,

Your lordship will observe that these cases seem to differ essentially from former arrests of American citizens, concerning which so much correspondence has already passed between the Government of the United States and that of Her Majesty, and are even more likely than those to enlist the sympathy of the American people, peculiarly sensitive as they are in regard to such infringements of personal liberty, especially in the case of adopted citizens.

As I am well aware that no one would more sincerely deplore than your lordship any occurrence which would have the untoward effect of impairing, in any way, the friendly relations now so happily existing between our respective countries, and as I am persuaded that the arrests, of which I have to complain, are due to the indiscreet zeal of subordinate officials, I venture to express the hope that Her Majesty’s Government will take steps to prevent the future occurrence of such unfortunate incidents, which they would be the first to regret.

I have, &c.,