MF – 1865.12.09 – Common Council – The Fenians – #127 – F12250

The Mayor read the following letter from the Lieut. Governor. It shows how causeless all the alarm and escapement of Wednesday were:

ST. ANDREWS, Dec. 7. 1865.

Dear Sir – I am sorry to perceive from the newspapers that general alarm appears to prevail at St. John in consequence of its being imagined there that I have received intelligence from Her Majesty’s Minister at Washington, of the intention on the part of the so-called Fenian Association to invade the Province and attack St. John. I have received no such information, and I do not believe that any ground exists for such an apprehension. It is certainly true that intelligence has reached me which leads me to fear that a plundering raid may possibly be made upon the frontier under cover of the Fenian organization – but, although a few armed men might do much mischief, destroy much property, and imperil many valuable lives in a small frontier town, close to the border, no attack of such a description could possibly be made on the City of St. John. A descent on St. John, to have the slightest chance of success must be made by a body of a very different character; and even were such an enterprise contemplated no force without a vessel at its command could attempt mischief there. Had I reason to entertain any [aprehensions] of such a character as those which appear to prevail, I need hardly say that it is to Saint John and not to the frontier that I should have at once repaired. I trust that you will take every means in your power to abate the excitement, which has been, in my opinion, to needlessly created. Here and at Saint Stephen the matter is perfectly understood and not the slightest alarm prevails. It is recognized that although there might be some danger were no precautions taken, the danger ceases as soon as the community is alive to its existence.

You have my permission to make this letter public.

I am, Yours very truly,

His Worship THE MAYOR St. John:

The majority of the Council seemed disposed to treat the alarm very lightly.

Several accounts passed. Mr. Jones asked authority to get the regulations drawn up by the Chief for the use of the Police Force printed. This created quite a discussion. The Mayor pointed out that the instructions seemed to provide for the creation of a new officer – a Superintendent or Inspector. Mr. Jones said that this was only to be one of the Sergeants selected by the Chief to take command in his absence, and that no additional expense would be caused; but several members thought the rules should be examined before they adopted them so far, and as Mr. Jones said he spent three hours in examining them, the majority refused to devote so much time to them at the Board, and after several motions they were referred to the Police Commission, although Mr. Jones said the Committee does not meet when he summons them.