No. 224.
Mr. Lowell to Mr. Frelinghuysen.

No. 531.]

Sir: On the 7th instant received a letter from the prison at Cork, in Ireland, signed T. Featherstone, and dated on the 6th, stating that he was arrested in that place on the 29th of March, upon the charge of conspiring to murder Government officials,, and that he was “a bona fide citizen of the United States.” He does not deny, except by implication, that he is connected with the dynamite plots which are now attracting public attention, but he claims my protection.

I immediately requested Mr. Piatt, the consul at Cork, to inquire into the circumstances of this case, and report the result to me.

On the 11th instant I received Mr. Piatt’s reply, by which it appears that Featherstone’s real name is Edmund O’B. Kennedy, and that he had no certificate of citizenship in his possession, though he alleges that he had left it in the hands of a brother-in-law, Dennis Sullivan, 150 Franklin street, New Haven. He said in explanation of his having ordered a quantity of sulphuric acid, that it was intended to be used for experimenting in the manufacture of printing ink.

On the 11th of April I wrote to Mr. Piatt, that, in the absence of documentary evidence of Kennedy’s citizenship, and his insufficient explanation of certain suspicious circumstances in his case, I did not think it my duty to intervene, except under instructions from the Department of State.

On the 7th of April I received a letter from one Thomas Gallagher, stating that he was an American citizen, and had been arrested on the 5th instant, upon a charge of having explosives in his possession, which charge, he said, he could prove to be false. I answered this letter on the same day, stating that upon being satisfied of his American citizenship I should give proper attention to his case. A few days afterwards Mr. Williamson, of the police, called at the legation and brought me a certificate from the Brooklyn county court that Thomas Gallagher had been admitted a citizen on the 14th of October, 1875.

I immediately made inquiries as to the charges against Gallagher, and satisfied myself that there was sufficient evidence against him to justify his arrest.

[Page 415]

It appears also that he had a considerable sum of money in his possession; that he has engaged counsel, and, if he is innocent, he will have every facility to establish this fact to the satisfaction of the authorities.

I have not thought it to be my duty to intervene further in this matter. I have the honor to inclose herewith the material parts of the correspondence in the two cases above mentioned.

I am sorry to say that the arrests of Americans for criminal offenses in this country are not infrequent. It does not seem to be proper that I should interfere on such occasions unless the proceedings are flagrantly unjust and without adequate cause, or the prisoners are subjected to unfair treatment on account of their American nationality. There does not appear to be any more reason why I should address the foreign office in respect to Kennedy or Gallagher than in the cases of other Americans charged with the commission of crimes in this country.

I have, &c.,

J. R. LOWELL.
[Inclosure 1 in No. 531.]

T. Featherstone to Mr. Lowell.

Sir: I wish to lay before you the subjoined summary of facts:

On the 29th ultimo, in this city, I was arrested by a police officer in charge of a posse, and who, without any proof or warrant of authority, seized and examined my person and luggage, and at the same time directly charged me with conspiring to murder Government officials. On the following day I was brought before a magistrate, and without any testimony being adduced, I was formally remanded for eight days. On yesterday, the 6th instant, I was brought up, this time in the prison examination room, and again without any evidence given was remanded for eight days more.

Now, then, I wish to impress upon you the fact that I am a bona fide citizen of the United States and belong to the State of Illinois, and am a constituent of the fifth Congressional district, General Grant’s own district. I belong to Stephenson County, distant about 20 miles from Galena, the general’s home, and have been a school teacher in that part, as well as recently being connected with the press of Northern Illinois and Saint Louis. I have been traveling in the country and England during the past seven months, and have avoided, as much as possible, mingling with the political parties here, and never received any attention from the Government officials until this time. The suddenness with which this coup has been executed has completely disturbed my calculations. Moreover, as I was preparing to leave for the United States when seized upon and cast into durance vile, indeed I might add I had intended leaving in February, but the tempestuous predictions of the New York Herald deterred me, and, besides, I was speculating on preparing something for the exhibition.

I need not tell you how easy it is now to trump up a charge, thereby imperiling the liberties of men in this country. In this fever of excitement innocent lives are sacrificed, and in order to secure fair play I appeal to you, our representative at this side, to extend to me the protection of my Government. It has been said, but I doubt it, that you have been apathetic in protecting Americans in their rights, and that any such doubts should disappear I hope there will be no reason to impute in my case. Would it be too much to ask you to come and see me, or send one of your subordinates, that I may lay a plain and complete statement of the case before him?

Hoping soon to hear favorably from you,

I remain, &c.,

T. FEATHERSTONE.
[Inclosure 2 in No. 531.]

Mr. Piatt to Mr. Lowell.

Sir: Referring to my note of the 6th instant, I have now to report that T. Featherstone, as he is known here to the police and public, was arrested at Cork with two others on the evening of March 29, charged with complicity in an alleged conspiracy [Page 416]to murder certain persons, and to destroy Government buildings with dynamite or oth e explosives. These arrests followed immediately after, and were presumed to be the result of the arrest at Liverpool, the day previous, of one Dennis Deasy, on his arrival by steamer from Cork with two so-called infernal machines. On Friday, March 30,, Featherstone, with the other prisoner, was put forward at the police office, and at the request of the subinspector in charge of the case—who wished to gain time to make other arrests and secure further evidence—was remanded for eight days, bail having been refused. Yesterday, at a private hearing at the county jail, a similar request was made by the subinspector, and another remand of eight days was granted. No evidence was produced on either occasion. These facts, which I had already learned from the local journals—extracts from which I inclose—were repeated to me to-day by resident magistrate A. M. Mitchell, to whom, after consulting the mayor of Cork. I applied for authentic information as to the charge against Featherstone and the nature of the evidence to support it. He said that he did not himself certainly know what evidence there might be, it having been withheld for apparently good reasons-under the circumstances; but that it was considered very strong and amply sufficient for the detention of Featherstone and the other prisoners; adding, however, that there was no disposition to postpone public examination any longer than should be necessary.

In my note of yesterday I suggested a doubt as to the true name of the person arrested as T. Featherstone. The signature of a letter then just received from him, a copy of which is inclosed, and in which he demands protection as a citizen of the United States, will explain and justify my doubt. I called on the prisoner this afternoon at the Cork Male Prison, and had a private interview with him. He told me he was a native of Ireland, born in Cork .twenty-eight or thirty years ago, his mother still living at Mitchellstown, but had gone to the United States about nine years ago, and he had resided for nearly seven years at Freeport, Ill., where he took out naturalization papers. These papers, however, he told me, were left at the house of a brother-in-law, Dennis Sullivan, 150 Franklin street, New Haven, and the only additional proof of his citizenship was in the clerk’s office of the circuit court at Free-port.

I spoke of his letter to me, and inquired if the signature gave his real name. He answered without hesitation that it did not; and then informed me that his name was Edmund O’B. Kennedy. He said he had been accustomed to write for newspapers, using the signature “T. Featherstone,” and admitted that it was the name under which he had been traveling in Great Britain. The pseudonym, however, was not used by him, he said, from any motive of secrecy

I asked him how long it had been since he left the United States. He answered that he had been about eight months in Great Britain, at Liverpool, Glasgow, Belfast, Dublin and Cork. I inquired as to his business here. He told me that he came partly as a correspondent, mentioning two papers, the Freeport Bulletin and the Missouri Banner, to which he contributed letters. He asserted that he had not been associated with the Land League and other organizations, but said that he had written freely what he thought about political and other matters. This he seemed to think the right of an American citizen anywhere. I told him I had seen it stated, as a report, that he was supposed to be some kind of an agent for Mr. O’Donovan Rossa. This he said was not true— “I don’t know the fellow at all.” But, incidentally, he mentioned that one of his associates and friends, Mr. McDermott (whom he had known only while here in Cork), was a correspondent of Rossa’s paper. He further explained his sojourn in Ireland—perhaps he meant Great Britain—by saying that he been engaged in teaching both in Illinois and Missouri, and had wished to study the method of public instruction in this country, with the object, as I inferred, of assisting to improve that at home.

The prisoner professed himself at a loss to know why he should have been arrested, but understood his arrest was in consequence of that mentioned above, at Liverpool, of Dennis Deasy, whom he said he did not know. He told me, however, that there were two papers found on his person—and these seemed to give him uneasiness, I thought—one of which came into his hands accidentally, having been picked up by him at the Imperial Hotel at Cork, and, unfortunately, preserved. He said he did not know its contents, but gave me the impression it had some chemical reference. The other paper was, he said, an order on one of the manufacturing chemists at Glasgow for a quantity of sulphuric acid. I must understand, he told me, that there was no printing ink manufactured at Cork; in consequence, he, with another of the men arrested, had concluded it might be a profitable enterprise to undertake its manufacture there, and the sulphuric acid was intended for experiments in that direction. He had been on the point of going back to the United States for the purpose of learning the method of cheaply manufacturing printing ink, after which he had expected to return to Cork and apply the knowledge. The manufacture of ordinary ink, disinfectants and artificial manure was to be combined with that of the article first named.

I noted down in his presence what the prisoner said. I believe I have not misinterpreted [Page 417]his private statements, which he understood I meant to report to you. Although he can show no proof of his citizenship, I do not think there need be any doubt of his assertions in that respect. But until proof is manifest, could the fact be taken for granted? Mr. McDermott knows regarding this matter only what Featherstone (that is Kennedy) has told him. Even if proof of citizenship were furnished I do not see that there would be necessity for any present action.

I am, &c.,

JOHN J. PIATT,
United States Consul.
[Inclosure 3 in No. 531.]

Mr. Lowell to Mr. Piatt.

Sir: I have to acknowledge the reception of your letter of the 7th, containing a full and satisfactory report upon the case of Edmund O’ B. Kennedy, alias Featherstone. I fully approve of your action in this matter.

In the absence of documentary evidence of his citizenship, and his insufficient explanation of certain suspicious circumstances, I do not think it my duty to intervene except under instructions from the Department of State.

I am, &c.,

J. R. LOWELL.
[Inclosure 4 in No. 531.]

Thomas Gallagher to Mr. Lowell.

Sir: As an American citizen, traveling on legitimate business, peaceably, molesting no person and breaking no law, I ask your aid in my present difficulty.

I arrived in London on the 28tn of March, 1883, and since my arrival I can explain to any unprejudiced mind. But to my great surprise yesterday I was arrested, and charged with having in my possession explosives, which charge I can prove to be false. I have been locked in a dark, unhealthy cell, measuring about 10 feet long by 4 wide. That is all the room I have for walking. This is certainly sickening, considering the amount of vermin there is to be seen at night. I shall be very glad to have an interview from you or your representative.

My citizen papers are in my valise at the hotel, unless the authorities have taken them away. I could not even get a pen and ink to write this communication to you.

I am, &c.,

THOS. GALLAGHER, M. D.
,
420 Manhattan Avenue, Brooklyn, N. Y.
[Inclosure 5 in No. 531.]

Mr. Lowell to Thomas Gallagher.

Sir: I have received your letter of the 6th, written in the Bow street police station, and desire to say, in reply, that upon being satisfied of your American citizenship, I shall give proper attention to your case.

I am, &c.,

J. R. LOWELL.
[Inclosure 6 in No. 531.]

Thomas Gallagher to Mr. Lowell.

Sir: Your letter of 7th I have received. I can only say, in reply, that my certificate of citizenship is in the hands of the authorities. I have applied to the governor to have them forwarded to you.

Very respectfully,

THOS. GALLAGHER, M. D.