No. 144.
Mr. Hoppin to Mr. Frelinghuysen.

No. 254.]

Sir: Referring to Mr. Lowell’s No. 434, of the 30th of August last, I have the honor to inclose herewith a copy of a letter which I received to-day from Lord Granville, in relation to the arrests of Mr. Henry George and Mr. Stephen J. Meany in Ireland. It will be observed that his lordship after explaining the circumstances which led to the arrest of Mr. George, expresses the regret of Her Majesty’s Government at the occurrence.

I have the honor, &c.,

[Inclosure in No. 254.]

Lord Granville to Mr. Hoppin.

Sir: I lost no time in referring to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland the request contained in Mr. Lowell’s note of the 29th ultimo, for an explanation of the circumstances which led to the recent arrests in that country of two American citizens, Mr. H. George and Mr. Stephen J. Meany, and I have now the honor to lay before you the following statement:

With regard to Mr. George, who was arrested at Loughrea, in the county Galway, on the 8th of August, I am informed that during the three days that he was in that district his movements and the persons with whom he associated raised a suspicion in the minds of the local officers that he was there for an unlawful purpose.

At Ballinasloe he associated with an ex-suspect (named Mat Harris) who has been for years identified prominently and mischievously with organizations against law and order, and accordingly on his arrival at Loughrea he was arrested by the police at 6.30 p.m., and brought before the resident magistrate, who, however, after hearing the case, ordered his release, which took place at 9 o’clock the same evening. He went on the following day to Athenry, in the same county, where he was seen the day after in close conversation with persons who were well known to the police as being active in illegal organizations. He was accordingly rearrested and brought before the resident magistrate, who reported that he regarded Mr. George’s presence and action in the county as calculated to endanger peace and good order, and that he would have dealt with him under the 12th section of the prevention of crime act, and put him under a rule of bail, were it not a case which, in his opinion, would come under the provisions of the alien act, should the Lord Lieutenant so decide. Thereupon Mr. George was again released.

The movements of Mr. George, and the notorious character of some of the persons with whom he associated on his arrival from the United States, were calculated to excite suspicion as to the object of his visit to Ireland, and I am convinced that the United States Government will readily acknowledge that considerable allowance must be made for the difficulties with which the officials charged with the preservation of order in that country have to contend at the present time. Nevertheless, in view of the information furnished by Mr. Lowell, as to the character and pursuits of Mr, George, which certainly rebut any presumption of unlawful designs on his part, I can only express to you the regret of Her Majesty’s Government that this incident should have occurred.

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I beg now to refer to the case of Mr. Stephen J. Meany, who was arrested at Ennis on the 10th August. Mr. Meany has long been under the observation of the police, and with good reason, for he was, in 1867, convicted of treason, felony, and sentenced to 15 years penal servitude. He was released in 1868 on the ground of ill health, and since then has, on numerous occasions, delivered inflammatory and seditious lectures.

It was proved before Mr. Purcell, the resident magistrate before whom he was brought, that the last time he had been in Ennis, notices of a disloyal nature were extensively posted throughout the town, and he stated to Mr. Purcell that he was an Irish revolutionist. I may also be allowed to remind you that he is invariably spoken of as such in the Irish newspapers published in the United States.

Mr. Purcell ordered him to give security himself in £50 and two sureties of £25 to be of good behavior for a period of six months. He was at the time unable to get sureties, and remained in the police barracks till next morning, when he was released on the required bail being entered into.

Notwithstanding the suspicion which attaches to a person of Mr. Meany’s character and antecedents, the lord lieutenant, after carefully reviewing his past history, has come to the conclusion that his presence in a proclaimed district, is rather to be attributed to a desire for notoriety, and an attempt to regain some weight, which he appears to have forfeited with persons of extreme views than to “criminal intent” within the meaning of the twelfth section of the prevention-of-crime act, and I have accordingly the honor to inform you that Lord Spencer has issued instructions that Mr. Meany is not to be interfered with by the police.

I trust that the above explanation, as well as the action of Her Majesty’s Government in these two cases, will be appreciated by the Government of the United States, and I have the honor, &c.,