[Inclosure in No. 254.]
to Mr. Hoppin.
Foreign Office, September 27, 1882.
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.
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
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.,