Fenians No122 30sep1865
From the Dublin Nation, which always strongly opposed the Fenian movement, and in consequence of such opposition earned the most bitter hostility of the Fenians, we take the following: –
He, before this, had hoped that some steps would have been taken to stop this mock attempt at rebellion, which, while its existence was, to a certain extent, doubtful, up to a recent period, was now an ascertained fact; but that had not been the case. He, however, hoped the Government would now take the matter seriously in hand. It was almost a matter of course the disaffectants and the movement with which they were concerned would be at once crushed; but not, he feared, without bloodshed. He thought some strong measures ought at once to be taken in the matter by the Government. He was sure the Lord Lieutenant would energetically act in the matter when called on; and he thought it their duty, considering the importance of the matter in the light he had represented, to the interests of the country, that they were entitled to urge on the Government the necessity of immediate steps in the matter.”
The Government, very probably, have not been waiting for the invitation of the Cork magistrates in this case. Still, the calls that are now being made on them will, we dare say, have the effect of quickening their action; and we may have to witness[ere] long a repetition of the scenes of 1848, so far as regards proclamations state prosecutions, and the display of military force throughout the country.
MF – 1865.09.30 – The Journal – Fenianism in Ireland – #123 – F12250
The Journal was long dissatisfied because the FREEMAN would say so little about the Fenians, and now it pretends to be dissatisfied because the FREEMAN says so much, and it endeavours to find in an article in which we merely sought to explain to our readers why, in our opinion, those unexpected demonstrations have been made in Ireland, something or other, it can not tell what, that should awaken indignation, something in which the Journal finds “a gloating satisfaction at England’s peril palpable, &c., &c., &c.,” The Journal is sometimes rather dull and slow, but in this case it is wonderfully keen and quick, discovering in the FREEMAN’S article what neither the writer of the article nor any other man of ordinary intelligence could possibly discover. In our opinion the article shows that the FREEMAN does not believe England to be in any peril whatever from Fenianism. The Journal questions us: –
“The animus of the Freeman’s article is against the Government, and in favor of the Fenians. ‘The Government,’ urges the Freeman, ‘have suddenly chosen to treat as formidable those whom for two or three years past they have despised.’ And why should they not ‘choose’ to do so if they please? – The Freeman does not say that the Fenians are not formidable, but only that ‘for two or three years past,’ during which the Freeman never alluded to the Fenian movement except to pooh pooh its existence, they ‘despised’ the efforts of the Fenians. The Freeman charges upon the British Government the ‘suppression by military force, and without process of law, of a paper to which for some time allowed the utmost impunity, and the making of a number of arrests of parties whom in all probability they have long known to be Fenians.’ Why should they not do so? Would an earlier suppression of an inflammatory sheet, or earlier arrests of Fenian traitors have suited the Freeman better, or would it hamper a Government, bent on checking an insurrection, by laws applicable only to times of peace?”
We have not said or insinuated that the English Government should not choose to treat Fenianism as formidable. We merely stated that they have so chosen, as they had a perfect right to do when they pleased.
The FREEMAN has more than once said that Fenianism is not formidable. It does not believe the absurd sensation stories copied by the Journal from the New York Herald; such as that “fifty thousand soldiers of the American army who fought in the late war are now in Ireland,” &c. If this were true, Fenianism would indeed be formidable; but the British Government would never suffer an invasion such as that, which could not have been even attempted without exciting the attention of the whole world.
To the last question of the Journal we would say, that we regard the employment of military force as objectionable whenever it is not absolutely necessary. The suppression of copperhead newspapers in various towns of the United States by military force was, we believe, universally condemned by those in all other countries who love a government of law and prefer to see justice administered by the civil tribunals. The Dublin Fenian newspaper could have been dealt with in the ordinary way; and we believe the British Government would not in this case have had recourse to military force, had they not something more in view than the punishment of Fenians and the suppression of a newspaper. Perhaps when we know, if we ever do know, what that something is, we may find that the policy of the Government was wise and prudent, and that their action was fully justified by the circumstances.