4 JANUARY 1868, Page 7

The Fenians have been very active this week. Sir Stafford

Northcote has assured the Magistrates of Devon that Govern- ment know the conspirators to be a small "knot" of dangerous men ; but they must have numerous sympathizers, for all Eng- land is being put in a state of defence. The special constables in London number 40,000 men and are being drilled like Volun- teers, in Woolwich every man is a constable, and almost every public building or gaswork is now specially watched. The most serious alarm seems to have been felt in Woolwich, where the garrison was all Friday night under arms expecting an attack from the river. Very strict precautions also are taken in Windsor, and the Government feel confident, says Sir S. Northcote, that the danger can be met without recourse to exceptional legislation. No outrage in England has been reported this week, though eight arrests have been made among the Irish colony in Merthyr Tydvil.