MF – 1866.04.07 – Fenians – Illinois – #135 – F12251


The Fenian movement – Its Mendacious and Malignant Exaggeration – The Excitement and Scare in the Provinces Grotesque – A Grand Fizzle – Weather.

CHICAGO, Ill., March 25th, 1866.

No true friend of New Brunswick, in whatever clime located, can read the proceedings in the Legislature now assembled, without feelings of mortification and regret! The ridiculous and base statements put forth relative to a Fenian invasion are too grotesque for anything but derisive laughter were it not for the grave consequences involved, and the mendacious motives which prompt those who make them, and from whom they originate. It is a well understood fact everywhere, that this City is regarded as the great stronghold of Fenianism in the Western States, and it may be taken for granted that no better stand-point view of the Fenian movement is to be had in the United States excepting New York City. It is not necessary to be versed in all the ramifications of the movement to form an estimate of its strength and vitality. Many opportunities of late have been offered to form an opinion as to both. The demonstration made here on St. Patrick’s Day was, in every respect a failure and caused a blush to mantle the face of every true Irishman who witnessed it. Yet take up the files of the New York Press, and you are told that this city alone, is to furnish regiments of infantry, of artillery and formidable batteries, and are about ready to take the field ! ! Chicago is also to man and equip a Fleet to traverse the lakes. – Chicago to-day has not in her midst men sufficient to form one regiment to aid the Fenians, and yet in the New York papers they are credited with three. “Laughter holds its sides,” when we come to consider the Marine forces. – It is true after a strenuous effort about 800 men with muskets appeared in the procession on St. Patrick’s Day. But such looking men! It would take many, very many Brigades of such material to make an invasion of the Provinces a success. No impartial or even interested person here believes for a moment that an invasion will ever really take place. Months will elapse before they will be in any sort of position to make the attempt. Meetings in various parts of this city have of late been frequently held, which were open to the public, and at which Roberts and Sweeney have both appeared, and the most earnest appeals made for men and money, and to each much enthusiasm was manifested, but very few men and less money were received. Roberts has spoken four times in the city within a month. He is a very fluent speaker and of good address; but his speeches fail to accomplish the desired effect and the cause languishes. He is stumping the West, while confederate, Gen. Sweeney, is “speaking his piece” in the New England States. Sweeney may possess military genius but certainly there is nothing in his appearance to indicate it. There appeared in this city a few weeks since another individual who is a prominent leader of the movement, and as the majority of the leaders are just such men, your readers can readily appreciate its importance and character. I now refer to Peter A. Sinnott – a gentleman who it will be remembered once taught school in St. John, afterwards kept a saloon in Cross-street, and whose sudden exit from the City is too well known by his too confiding creditors there. He gave a public exhibition in one of our prominent halls before a large audience, and your correspondent was present. Among other things this renegade said that several months ago he suggested an invasion of the Provinces to his brother Senator Scanlon of this City, and claimed that it would have been successful had his suggestion been acted upon at that time, but now the attempt would be worse than insane. Sinnot is a member of the “Central Council” of the O’Mahony faction. Time appears to have dealt harshly with Sinnot, and in appearance he is shabby indeed. His oratory was very tame and less effective than it was in the Temperance Hall, St. John, some years since. If the papers of St. John would publish extracts from the well-informed and influential press of this City regarding the Fenian movement, instead of from the inventive columns of the New York press, the people of New Brunswick would then be able to form a true and correct estimate of Fenianism. There is not a journal of influence in the Western States that does not condemn and ridicule the idea of an invasion of the Provinces by such a body. The American people thus far have enjoyed the Fenian movement as an excellent farce, and the Munchausen stories started and in circulation in the Provinces concerning the movements of large bodies of Fenian troops for an invasion, causes them to indulge in immoderate laughter at the expense of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia (vide the Halifax scare) and Canada. A commission de unatic should be ordered for those Confederate M. P. P.’s in New Brunswick whose incendiary harangues may produce much mischief.

– J. B.