to Mr. Frelinghuysen.
London, April 16, 1883. (Received April 30.)
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.,