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Authors: Andrew Cook

Tags: #M15’S First Spymaster

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Jenkinson had retired to Buckinghamshire, yet his presence still hovered over the Secret Service. His plots had taken on a momentum of their own. More than once Monro would discover, long after he needed to know, that some allegedly dangerous Irishman was on the Secret Service payroll (like Casey or Millen or John Patrick Hayes) or in the pay of the Foreign Office like Carroll-Tevis. He was doing his job blindfold and did not know that Jenkinson had inspired an entrapment operation which even now was being put into action. Jenkinson had one idea: that the British must be shown that, unless Home Rule were granted, there would be a dynamite campaign.

Arthur Balfour, Salisbury's clever thirty-nine-year-old nephew, held the opposing view: the Irish required the smack of firm government. In March he became Secretary of State for Ireland and began to promote a Crimes Bill, which would outlaw organisations believed to be hostile to the Crown. There would be no collusion between the Tories and the Parnellites.
The Times
had come into possession of letters allegedly from Charles Stewart Parnell which revealed his sympathy with violent action. The newspaper ran a series of accusations against him while Anderson contributed concurrent articles about past, but quite recent, Fenian activities in America – anonymously.

By May the public was nervous. Scotland Yard was putting out press releases about a dangerous Clan-na-Gael man in Paris, Patrick Casey – Captain Stephens' cousin, who like him was in British service.

In Le Havre Melville was a new father again. Kate had given birth to Cecilia in 1886. The promotion to Inspector, with its increased pay, was welcome.

Monro expressed concern that explosives were on their way by a passenger ship of the French line from America via Le Havre for delivery to someone called Miller, or Muller, in Paris. He communicated a request, via the Foreign Office, for vigilance: ‘I have a couple of officers at Le Havre and their services are very much at your disposal.' HM Consul Bernal reported that no explosives had arrived but if they did, Monro would be the first to know.

All the same, Melville had noticed an interesting individual passing through. A thin, middle-aged American called Muller wearing an astrakhan-collared coat had left New York on SS
Gascogne
of the Compagnie Générale Transatlantique on 18 April. He was on his way to the French capital. The explosives, if and when they arrived, might be destined for him.

Melville followed ‘Muller' to Paris, to the Hotel du Palais in the Avenue cours la Reine, on the right bank overlooking the Seine near the Place de la Concorde, where the stranger signed in as General F.F. Millen. Melville installed himself nearby and kept a watchful eye on the slightly-built American, noticing that he wrote a lot of letters. No doubt enlisting the help of a concierge, he discovered that Millen's correspondents in London included a Colonel Farrer at the Oriental Club – probably his link to Jenkinson. There was also a certain Tevis who lived at a good address in Paris.

Monro, in London, literally didn't know the half of it, so if Melville ever got sight of the letters' contents Monro must have been mystified. Before he left Room 56 Jenkinson had burned the paperwork. There was no one (except the Foreign Office, and they were silent) to tell his successor that General F.F. Millen was working for the British. Or that General Carroll-Tevis, a soldier of fortune long resident in Paris who had risen high in the Fenian movement, and of whom Monro had never heard either, was a Foreign Office spy.

All that Monro, and by extension Melville, suspected was that somebody had engaged somebody else to ship the ‘Greek Fire' as the explosive substance was said to be, to Millen who was supposed to organise ‘a celebration of Mrs Brown's very good health'. The Queen was to be threatened with a Jubilee dynamite plot.

Melville reported from Paris that Millen was on his way back to the Channel coast, this time to Boulogne, and he followed. Nearly two weeks later, on 24 May, Millen's wife came from Dublin to join her husband at his hotel.

Melville and Monro perhaps expected some Irish-American emissary to arrive, but none did. And Millen made no sortie across the Channel. But Melville raised his eyebrows when a Scotland Yard inspector called Thomson, who had just retired, turned up with his own wife at the same hotel and the two couples made friends.

Melville had not been warned that Thomson and his wife would turn up. It is possible that Anderson, at the Home Office, had hired him and omitted to tell Monro. The Foreign Office's man in Paris, Carroll-Tevis, to whom Millen had only recently boasted that he had come to Europe to ‘operate' during the Jubilee, had sent a female spy to Boulogne: later he told Michael Davitt so. After the event nobody wanted to say who had sent the Thomsons.

The Millens and the Thomsons moved together to a different hotel, the Hotel Poilly. Melville noticed with irritation that Millen was now posting his own letters. There was no longer any chance, as there had been in Paris, of getting a quick look at the addresses – unless the French police could be induced to let him have a look at whatever the postman took out of the box. They could not. He put the case before Monro: this would have to be done through official channels.

Monro passed on the request to the Foreign Office who got the heavy weight of Lord Salisbury's sanction behind them and informed the Ambassador as well as the Consul of the matter's importance.
1
At Boulogne, HM Consul Surplice engaged the assistance of the French police at once. At last Melville could legitimately read Millen's mail, which was shown to him by the French police when it was collected.

And now there arrived, to beard Millen in his lair, none other than Superintendent Williamson, who demanded that General Millen afford him ‘absolute disclosure and abandonment of his mission'. Williamson believed that Millen's mission was to blow Queen Victoria to smithereens on behalf of Clan-na-Gael. ‘Absolute disclosure' was a key request. Williamson, acting on Monro's orders, wanted to know who Millen was working for. Millen would neither confirm nor deny anything.

Melville took hold of the letters for long enough to read them and summarise passages. That is in part the reason why not only the ordinary French police, but also the Railway Police, attended a meeting between Surplice and Williamson on 15 June where the matter of Millen was discussed. They had his description – it would be known if he left Boulogne – but also it may be inferred that if items of mail were taken away to be read, they might have to be delivered separately to the mail train before it left, and the Railway Police would need to know.

Monro must find out who Millen was writing to. He had a very strong suspicion that Millen was one of Jenkinson's men even now. Lord Lyons, the Ambassador in Paris, confirmed that the French police would give every assistance in Paris as well as Boulogne; ‘I trust however that there will be no relaxation of independent means of watchfulness on the part of the English police', he added pointedly.

Far from it. Whichever way you looked at it, the British Government had been keeping several so-called plotters, and an attendant cast of snoopers, in comfort at public expense. No entrapment could happen. It was a farce; there wasn't a genuine revolutionary among the lot of them. The Jubilee plot, which had seemed such a wizard wheeze, must be closed down.

Without any help from Millen it was rolling relentlessly on. Carroll-Tevis had engaged one Cassidy to ship the explosives and, unexpectedly, he did. They arrived unknown to Monro, in the form of dynamite powder, on the
City of Chester
in Liverpool on the very day of the Jubilee, along with two ‘brothers' called Scott and a Mr Joseph ‘Melville', whose real name was Moroney. Moroney, as Monro discovered, had been instructed in New York to complete the task in which Millen seemed to be failing. The three men also brought a couple of Smith and Wesson revolvers.

On 21 June, when hundreds of titled Europeans processed in open carriages through the streets of London to celebrate with Her Majesty at St Paul's, Millen at Boulogne ‘had all his luggage packed and ready for flight and was evidently in a state of intense excitement'.
2
But nothing happened.

Monro now knew that General Millen was writing to Sullivan, the head of the Clan-na-Gael in America who knew perfectly well what Cassidy was up to, as well as to Tevis in Paris. Neither Millen nor Monro knew Tevis as anything but the agent of the Fenian Brotherhood.
3
Monro did know that Millen had reported to both Sullivan and Tevis ‘attributing his failure to the close vigilance of the police'.
4
He did not yet know that Sullivan had sent Moroney and the others.

Six days after the Jubilee celebrations started Millen and his wife left Boulogne for Paris. Inspector Melville got there first, played a hunch and booked a room at the Hotel du Palais, where sure enough, the Millens turned up. They were joined by their two daughters, Kitty, who had been staying in London, and Florence from Dublin. Melville became friendly with the family and helped the girls with French lessons.
5
Kitty Millen had been staying in Thurloe Square, near the Museums in South Kensington, for the last six months, and when she returned to London, her French tutor happened to leave Paris at the same time. He followed her to South Kensington where he quietly handed over responsibility to Patrick Quinn.

Kitty and Florence met an Irish MP at the House of Commons and Kitty passed to him, as instructed by her father, a package of letters recommending one Joseph Melville (Moroney) to three Irish MPs.

Between August and November Monro pursued Moroney and his co-conspirators just as Millen had been pursued in France. His aim was to harass these potential dynamiters into leaving without having done any harm, and in this he succeeded. It was old-school Scotland Yard practice, favouring ‘open and constant surveillance': deterrence rather than entrapment.

Of the conspirators in England only Moroney had any money he had gone to Paris to get it – and he, like Millen, did little except travel around, in his case with a Miss Kennedy, a milliner from Boston. The Clan-na-Gael funds (or more accurately, the Land League funds) he received were spent on hotel rooms in Paris, London and Dublin and the frothiest of fancy lace Miss Kennedy could find in the capitals of Europe.

Littlechild's men – specifically McIntyre, Quinn and Walsh pursued the two other men who had arrived with Moroney from NewYork on the day of the Jubilee. These fellows remained in London in impoverished circumstances. (When, later, Clan-na-Gael members insisted on proper accounting for the funds, the plight of the dynamitards and the families left behind emerged as an issue. Some were destitute and abandoned by the movement far from home.) An associate – an associate seen with Moroney and Millen in Paris – died of tuberculosis. Monro used the inquest to expose the Jubilee plot and its association with General Millen before a large number of invited journalists.

In the final months of 1887, dynamite powder was found dumped in a back yard in Islington. Moroney's co-conspirators were arrested. The one who had dumped the dynamite was broke and sick; he had in his possession a Smith and Wesson revolver and a cutting from a newspaper about the future engagements of Arthur Balfour. He could not read, he said, but it was a highly suggestive find, considering the odium with which ‘Bloody' Balfour was regarded in Irish nationalist circles. The prosecution's case was that these men were pawns in the Jubilee dynamite plot, and for that they received long jail sentences. (One died in prison and another was released, after petitions to the Home Secretary, after six years.)

On 22 October 1887, General Millen left for America. After abortive attempts to carry on spying in Central America he would die of natural causes in New York in 1889. No doubt Lord Salisbury was relieved. So was Monro; and in justification of the way he had handled the Jubilee plot, he wrote in November of 1887:

To have permitted the plot to ripen, taking measures only to ensure the apprehension and punishment of the criminals, would have involved comparatively little cost of thought or effort or money while the result would doubtless have impressed the public with a belief in the zeal and efficiency of the police. But the policy I have adopted, and steadily pursued, though of course a thankless one so far as the public is concerned, will, I venture to hope, receive the approval of the Government.
6

In March of 1888 the rewards were doled out. Inspector Melville came second to top of the list after Chief Inspector Littlechild and received the then generous sum of £25.

It seems that at this time Melville was officially posted to Paris.
7
Since no one had yet told Monro that both Patrick Casey and Carroll-Tevis, its most notorious Irish-American residents, were in the pay of the British, the Special Branch could certainly have justified a permanent posting there. Every conspirator who crossed the Atlantic seemed to visit those two and they were worth watching. The Prince of Wales also made frequent trips to Paris and it is quite likely that Lord Salisbury wanted an eye kept on him for diplomatic reasons, quite apart from any threat of attack.
8
Inspector Moser, who had worked for Monro in Paris before, had now left the force and was running an ‘Anglo-Continental Enquiry Agency';
9
Melville seems to have taken his place as Monro's man in the capital.

On 17 May Monro told Matthews that a plot was afoot to assassinate ‘Bloody' Balfour, the hated Secretary of State, and the would-be assassin was in Paris. Matthews informed the Foreign Office at once, and the following was telegraphed to HM Ambassador:

Private and Most Secret. Home Office have information that plot to assassinate Mr Balfour and others is being prepared by the notorious J.P. Walsh who is living under assumed name in Paris at the Hotel d'Industrie 31 Rue Dunkerque. He should be followed. Home Office have agent in Paris who will call at Embassy place himself at Your Excellency's disposal. Further particulars by next messenger.

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