Fenian Brotherhood, the.
Notwithstanding the unfriendliness and positive enmity of the government of Great Britain
to the United States
during the Civil War, the latter was ever faithful to its treaty stipulations.
The large numbers of Irish soldiers disbanded in 1865 were greatly excited by the Fenian troubles at that time prevalent in Ireland
In October, 1865, at a convention of Fenians in New York, the invasion of Canada
was determined upon.
In the following February another convention was held, at which there was a strong sentiment in favor of the invasion.
Shortly after this, the former head-centre of the organization was displaced from office by the election of Col. William R. Roberts
, and this change interfered seriously with the unanimity of action in the body.
Early in April an attempt was made to gather arms and men for an advance upon New Brunswick
, and 500 Fenians assembled at Eastport, Me.
The United States
authorities interfered, however; aid which was expected from New York and Boston
did not arrive; and the men disbanded.
On May 19, 1,200 stands of arms, which had been sent to Rouse's Point
, were seized by the United States government, and on May 30 a similar seizure was made at St. Albans
June 1, about 1,500 men crossed into Canada
The Dominion militia had been called out, and on June 2 a severe skirmish occurred, in which the Fenians lost heavily in prisoners and wounded men, though not many were killed.
Attempting to get back over the border into this country, 700 of them were captured by the United States
Other bands had by this time reached the frontier, but as a cordon of United States troops, under General Meade
, guarded the line, they made no attempt to cross.
Though large sums of money were raised to aid a further invasion, and considerable excitement prevailed, the resolute action of the United States
authorities prevented it. No punishment was accorded the actors in this affair beyond a brief term of imprisonment for such as were taken.