The Darlings of
Early Puslinch benefited from a tradition of being served by a continuous procession of capable and responsible elected representatives at all levels of government and this is not surprisingly so, for the community minded citizens of Puslinch had a well engrained heritage as keen political observers, readily recognizing those who could be trusted to, generally speaking, lead in the right direction.
Remarkably, in Puslinch Township history there have even been occasions when political fervour has overwhelmed us to the extent that some individuals have considered, at least briefly, armed insurrection against their own country and accordingly, even against their own neighbours, as evidenced in the newspaper articles that follow on the Fenian adventures in Puslinch. Readers are, however, assured beforehand of a happy outcome, for the individual involved did ultimately regret and fully relinquish support of this endeavour and, with equal enthusiasm redirected, garnered full and publicly conferred redemption through long standing service in his community.
“Important Revelations about their
“Arrest of two men under suspicion near
“Full details of their capture”
We referred in yesterday’s paper to several
ominous rumours, which were in circulation in Toronto and elsewhere, in
regard to some important revelations which had come to the knowledge of the
Provincial Government about the movements of Fenians, and their connections
with similar organizations in the United States. The information we had in our possession
was such as to lead to the belief that two or more parties in the
Government detectives Follis and Lambert came
up to Guelph on the 10:00 a.m. train and placed in Chief Constable Kelly’s
hands a warrant for the arrest of Peter Mahon, of Aberfoyle, son of Patrick
Mahon, farmer, there. Mr. Kelly, in
company with a constable from the town, proceeded to Aberfoyle and arrested
young Mahon and brought him up to Guelph, where he was lodged in gaol on the
suspicion of being a Fenian, and acting in concert with the Fenian
organization in Canada and the United States.
Mahon is about 28 years of age, and an active, intelligent, and determined
young fellow. Many of our readers will
recollect that he took much interest in the Parliamentary elections last fall
in Puslinch. Previous to the election
day, however, he left for
The party sent to arrest him reached his
house about noon, and found the father with two other men and the sister at
dinner. A long lane led to the house,
and to avert suspicion, Follis went the first under the pretext of selling
The Globe’s reporter, in his special dispatch
detailing the arrest thus speaks of
He attended Fenian gatherings lately held at Chicago and Cleveland; and at the former place was once overheard in close conversation with General O’Neill in reference to the invasion of Canada. O’Neill then spoke in a tone of disapproval of the movement, when Mahon protested at the general’s seeming despondency or indifference, stating that he could guarantee a general rising if a scheme were again attempted. To elude the detectives, whom he supposed on his track, he assumed the name of McManus, and would undoubtedly have succeeded in returning home without the least suspicion, had not this conversation been overheard before and since that time. It is now ascertained that his communications with the Brotherhood were regular and connected. He resides at a lonely locality where he exercises a considerable amount of influence, and through his instrumentality, the feeble foothold the order has obtained here has been gained.
His family has a bad record. Of the whole number, he himself perhaps is the most respectable. His father was arrested some years ago for counterfeiting, but escaped through a flaw in the indictment. His brother served a term in gaol for robbery.
Another “suspect arrested”—John Murphy in gaol
After the return of the detectives and police
from Aberfoyle, they went in search of another “suspect”, in the person of
John Murphy, son of _______ Murphy, who works a small farm near Judge
MacDonald’s, and peddles milk through town.
Murphy is about 18 years of age, rather swellish in his appearance,
and was some time in
Murphy, while working in London, dropped a letter,
which, on being examined, proved to be from a man named McManus, at
Aberfoyle, the centre of “Little Ireland”.
This letter, although worded with care, disclosed the fact that
McManus, who will be readily recognized as
Murphy, in the meantime, was active in his
exertions, but although the stipendiary magistrate was aware of these facts,
he was for a while baffled to know who the parties were. Peter McManus was proved to be
The information in possession of the
Government clearly points to a fact not generally known but now proved. For some time
Arrest of Suspect Fenians in
On Monday, Patrick Boyle and Edward Hynes,
publishers of the “Irish Canadian” newspaper, with Owen Cosgrove and Jno.
Nolan, all for a long time suspected of having strong Fenian proclivities,
and one or two at least as being at the head of the organization in this
Province, were arrested in
When the detective went to the “Irish
Canadian” office, he first addressed himself to Boyle, whom he slightly knew,
and no sooner had he done so than the former assumed a colour approaching to
death-like whiteness. His mission was
evidently surmised. Asking for Hynes,
Boyle pointed him out as working at a case, when, taking a sudden grasp of
the party with whom he was in conversation, “In the Queen’s name,” Boyle sank
in a chair. Hynes retained his
composure, and both readily acquiesced to the demand to give their arms to
the grasp of the handcuffs. On taking
their prisoner downstairs, Boyle volunteered the statement that the Hibernian
Benevolent Society had no connection with Fenianism, and the authorities
could not prove that it had. The
letters and papers in the office were seized.
The letters are mainly of a business character, but reveal the
tendency of public opinion since the perpetration of the recent assassination
in a forcible manner. From these
letters it would appear that the circulation of the “Irish Canadian” must
have decreased considerably since the murder of Mr. McGee. A few, as indicated by the letters opened,
refuse the papers any longer in consequence of its expression in reference to
the murder and their conviction that Fenianism was the real cause, while a
majority of those read express a fear that their subscribing to the paper
will lead them into trouble. Many of
the letters remained unopened, and were immediately, after being found,
packed in a box and forwarded to
When Cosgrove was taken, he changed his clothes, and afterwards attempted to take dinner, but instead burst out crying. He was ultimately taken to gaol in a cab amid a flood of tears. His house was subsequently searched, and the coloured saddle cloth, bunches of rosettes, a green sash, etcetera, that have done duty in the cause of Ireland on each succeeding 17th of March, together with a very handsome Colt revolver, were taken possession of.
When Nolan was arrested, he submitted peaceably but, without request, he protested that he was a member of no organization except the Hibernian Benevolent Society, that its by-laws were open to the public, and that they could do nothing to him.
The small, almost totally insignificant value placed on the documents found on the prisoners and the careless use of them leads clearly to the inference that the Government is acting on other than the information expected to be obtained here. It is a fact that will now bear mentioning that for months a strict surveillance has been placed on the movements of the parties arrested, and that the visits of Boyle to the United States, their objects and results, are as clearly on record as if communicated by himself. Further investigation has placed in the hands of the Government many documents, among them a subscription list, got up by Boyle for Michael Murphy, and later for the assistance of Whelan too. Nor can it be too soon to state that detectives have ingratiated themselves into the confidence of solid-looking walls and the bottoms of houses where the brotherhood were wont to assemble. The information thus acquired is spoken of with confidence as sufficiently strong to warrant the Government in detaining these parties under the Habeas Corpus Suspension Act.
More Arrests in Prospect
Mr. Gilbert McMicken, Stipendiary Magistrate,
who came to
Another Fenian Lodged in
“John Murphy, No. 2,
a baggage man on the Great Western Railway arrested at noon today.”
At noon today, Wednesday, Government
detective Caldwell made another Fenian arrest, that of a man named John
Murphy, who is to be carefully distinguished from the John Murphy who was
arrested Tuesday night, and who is an employee on the Great Western Railway. He is a baggage man and runs on the train
An additional historical note…
Honourable Thomas D’Arcy McGee
April 7, 1868, McGee attended a late-night session in the House of Commons,
where he gave a passionate speech in favour of national unity. McGee was vehemently opposed to Irish
Republicanism. His outspoken criticism
of the Irish independence movement and the Fenians alienated large sections
of the Irish community, in
Someone, apparently well informed, sends to the
“Ottawa Citizen” the particulars of the arrest of Mahon & Co., and tells
plainly, in addition, some incidents connected with Tyrrell’s career, of
which many of us were in ignorance.
Writing on the day that the arrests were made he says: Three parties were
arrested here today for Fenianism. One
of them is Peter Mahon who resides at Aberfoyle, a place about twelve miles
from here, and is a farmer and township councillor. It is alleged that he was a delegate, under
an assumed name, to the
Peter Mahon was set at liberty on Tuesday
afternoon, sureties having been found.
The associates of his incarceration were free before him; they may now
return peaceably to their avocations, and we hope that, as the Lady of the
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