« AnteriorContinuar »
can be avoided I shall run the risk of finding a squadron of my enemies outside, for no doubt they will be in pursuit of me immediately."
Owing to the delay in receiving the lieutenant governor's answer to my letter relative to landing the prisoners from Spanish Town, it was not until the evening of the 21st that permission to do so reached Captain Semmes, and too late for them to be landed that night. The crowded state of the vessel previous to the landing of the prisoners on the morning of the 22d made it difficult to proceed with the necessary repairs, and no doubt caused some unavoidable delay. As soon as these repairs are completed the Alabama will proceed to sea.
I am, &c.,
ABOUKIR, AT JAMAICA, February 7, 1863. Sir: In order to anticipate any exaggeration or false reports that may be circulated in the American newspapers, or otherwise, relative to the visit of the confederate ginvessel Alabama to this port, and so to save unnecessary correspondence, I have the honor to state herein for your information the whole of the circumstances attending the visit of that vessel from her arrival to the time of her departure from Jamaica.
2. As reported in my letter of the 230 January, the Alabama anchored in this port after dark on the evening of the 20th. She commenced repairing the damages received in action with the Federal gun-vessel Hatteras the next morning, at the same time receiving a supply of provisions and coal.
3. The lieutenant governor's permission for the prisoners to land not having reached me until the evening of the 21st, they did not leave the Alabama until the morning of the 22d, when they proceeded to Kingston in shore-boats, which were provided by the United States consul.
4. The commander of the late United States gun-vessel Hatteras did not call on me, or send me any communication whatever, during his stay on this island.
5. At 9.30 on the morning of the 21st, the captain of the Jason waited on me to ask if I had any objections to officers of the ships in harbor going on board the Alabama ; to which I answered that as it might be hurtful to the feeling of the officers and men, prisoners on board the Alabama, on no account was any one from any of Her Majesty's ships to visit that vessel until after all the prisoners were landed.
6. It having subsequently been reported to me that some officers had been on board the Alabama prior to the landing of the prisoners, I called on the captains and commanders of the different ships to report to me in writing whether any officer under their command had acted contrary to iny order. I found from the reports that four officers of the Challenger, four officers of the Cygnet, and one of the Greyhound had gone on board the confederate gun-vessel before my order was made known.
7. I regret that the captains and commanders of these ships should have given permission to their officers provious to communicating with me on the subject, though it was done entirely from thoughtlessness, forgetting that there could be any objection to it. The commander of the Cygnet was in hospital, and therefore is not responsible for the officers of that ship going on board the Alabama.
8. I annex a copy of a report from Commander Hickley relative to the tune of “Dixie's Land” having been played on board the Greyhound shortly after the Alabama anchored, and copy of a correspondence between him and Lieutenant Commander Blake, of the United States Navy, relative to the same. After the explanation that took place, Lieutenant Commander Blake expressed himself to Commander Hickley as perfectly satisfied that no British officer or gentleman would have been guilty of insulting gallant men suffering from a misfortune to which the chances of war render all liable.' I reprimanded the lieutenant of the Greyhound who ordered the confederate air to be played, and he expressed his regret for having done so.
9. The fractures made by six large shot or shell near the water-line of the Alabama required extensive repairs, which could not be completed by the upskillful workmen hired here before late in the afternoon of the 25th, and the Alabama sailed at 8.30 of the same evening.
10. In conclusion I have only to state that the confederate vessel was treated strictly in accordance with the instructions contained in Earl Russell's letter of the 31st Jan. ary, 1862, and exactly as I shall act toward any United States man-of-war that may hereafter call here.
11. Two United States ships of war, the Richmond and Powhatan, arrived here in 1861, coaled and provisioned, and remained in port, the Richmond four days, and the Powhatan three days; the San Jacinto was also here, and remained four hours.
I bave, &c.,
*On the 11th of May, 1863, the Alabama arrired at Bahia,  having previously touched at the Brazilian island of Fernando
de Noronha. About the same time the Florida and Georgia, confederate war steamers, were likewise in Brazilian ports, where they were permitted to purchase coal and provisions and to refit.
The United States minister at Rio de Janeiro hereupon wrote in very warm terms to the Brazilian minister of foreign affairs, arguing that all the three vessels were piratical, and should be treated as such; af: firming further that the Alabama, while at Fernando de Noronha, had violated the neutrality of Brazil by making prize of United States vessels within the territorial waters of the empire; insisting that it was the duty of the Emperor's government to capture her; and threatening that if this were not done the Brazilian government should be held responsible by the Government of the United States. In a dispatch dated the 21st May, 1863, he wrote as follows:
The Georgia lands prisoners avowedly taken from a captured American ship, and asks permission of the governor of Bahia to coal and buy provisions, and the permission is cordially granted.
The Florida lands her prisoners, officers, crews, and passengers of American vessels captured and burned, and not only asks and receives permission to coal and purchase provisions, but further asks to be allowed whatever time is necessary to repair her engine and refit for her work of destruction; and, in defiance of the solemn and most earnest protest of the consul of the United States, this privilege is accorded to her by the governor of Pernambuco, from a desire not to diminish his means of defense and security !
Tbe Alabama goes into Bahia, and does not even ask permission to remain. She arrived on the 11th and was still there when the Guienne sailed on the 14th. The consul of the United States protested against her presence, and demanded that she should be seized and held subject to the orders of the Brazilian government for having destroyed American property in Brazilian waters, for which the government of the United States will hold Brazil responsible, if, now that the opportunity presents, the authorities do not vindicate the sovereignty of Brazil and capture the pirate. . The governor of Bahia sends to the United States consul the communication of the governor of Pernambuco to the captain of the pirate, complaining of his piracies, charging him with a violation of Brazilian sovereignty, and ordering him, in consequence of such disgraceful conduct, to leave the waters of Brazil within twenty-four hours. The governor of Bahia thus demonstrates that he knows the piratical character of this vessel, and is familiar with her violation of the sovereignty of Brazil by destroying American vessels within the waters of that empire. He knows, too, that the imperial government, by its acts, had proclaimed this pirate guilty of violations of its sovereignty, and ordered him to leave their port of Fernando Noronha; and yet he deliberately permits him to enter the port of Bahia, refuses to regard the protest of our consul, and, at the last accounts, bad harbored him four days without pretending that his presence was not acceptable!
Thus, at this moment, the ports of Brazil are made harbors of refuge and places of resort and departure for three piratical vessels, avowedly designed to prey upon the commerce of the United States. The waters of Brazil are violated with impunity in this piratical work, and after the imperial government had admitted and declared its indignation at sueh violation of sovereignty, the guilty party is received with hospitality and friendship by the governor of Bahia, and instead of being captured and imprisoned, and his vessel detained, be is fêted, and supplied with the necessary provisions and coal to enable him to continue his depredations upon American commerce. The wharves and streets of Bahia and Pernambuco have been for weeks past swarmed with American sailors and passengers from merchantmen trading with Brazil, which have been captured, and the persons on board robbed, by the pirates of the Alabama, Florida, and Georgia, and they have been compelled, in the ports of a friendly nation, to witness their clothing and jewelry, and even family relics, sold on the wharves and in the streets of Babia and Pernambuco, by their piratical captors, at a tenth of their value; while the piratical vessels and all on board were received and treated as friends, and supplied with the necessary materials to contivne their pefarious practices. The scenes which history informs us were rife in the seventeenth century, in the islands of the West Indies, are now being enacted in this the nineteenth century, in the ports of Brazil, and that through no fault of the imperial government—which has already done its whole duty as rapidly as circumstances have permitted-but because the goverrors of Pernambuco and Bahia, in their sympathy with piracy and pirates, have neglerted their duty to Brazil, and brought discredit upon the civilization of the age.
· Appendix, vol. i, p. 280.
Your excellency is aware that the facts in connection with the presence of these piratical vessels in the ports of Brazil are even stronger than in this hasty communication they are presented; and, therefore, the undersigned will not for a moment doubt but the imperial government will promptly visit upon the offending governors the pune ishment they have so richly merited. But it appears to the undersigned that the government of Brazil has still another duty to perform, itself, to the Government of the United States, to humanity, and to the civilization of the age, and that is the capture of the Alabama whenever she enters a Brazilian harbor. That piratical vessel has violated the sovereignty of Brazil by destroying the vessels of a friendly nation within the waters of the empire. The governinent of Brazil, by its acts, has proclaimed this fact; and, most assuredly, if, when it has the power to do so, it does not capture and detain the otlender, it makes itself a party to his acts, and compels the Government of the United States not only to look to Brazil for compensation for injuries done to its commerce within its waters, but also to hold Brazil responsible for permitting this
pirate to proceed in his depredations upon American commerce.  * The undersigned does not visit upon the imperial government the couduct of
its governors toward the Florida and Georgia, well knowing that it will, as heretofore, do its duty in the premises. But the case of the Alabama is a very different one. She has violated the neutrality, and outraged the sovereignty of Brazil, by capturing and burning American vessels in Brazilian waters; and if, when Brazil possess the ability, and the opportunity offers, she does not take possession of her, assuredly, the government of Brazil assumes the responsibility of her acts, and the United States will be compelled to look for redress to Brazil, as she did to Portugal in the case of the General Armstrong.
The course taken by the United States minister was approved by his Government.
The minister of foreign affairs for the empire of Brazil replied as follows to the complaints of the minister of the United States :
The Marquis d' Abrantes to Mr. Ivebb.
MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS,
Rio de Janeiro, May 23, 1863. I hasten to acknowledge the reception of the note which, under date of the 21st instant, Mr. James Watson Webb, envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary of the United States at this court, has done me the honor to address to me, with a view of calling my attention to a serious violation of neutrality which bas been perpetrated, and is now being perpetrated, by two representatives of the imperial government in the ports of Pernambuco and Bahia.
Mr. Webb, in referring to the proceedings of the presidents of said provinces toward the steamers of the Confederate States which come into their ports, accuses said presidents, and complains of their baving afforded hospitality to those steamers, and of having permitted them to make repairs, to receive provisions, and to laud merchandise of vessels which they had captured.
Mr. Webb bases his complaints on a series of acts which he enumerates, and which he characterizes as violative of the neutrality which the government of His Majesty the Emperor imposes on itself in the deplorable contest of the American Union.
The affair in question is undoubtedly grave and important, and the imperial government gives to the authorized language of Mr. Webb all the consideration which is due to it.
But for this very reason, and Mr. Webb will certainly acknowledge it, the imperial cabinet is under the muavoidable necessity of proceeding in such a delicate matter with the greatest discretion and prudence, in order to observe religiously the position which it has assumed since the manifestation of the first events which tended to the result of a division of the United States.
The position to which I allude Mr. Webb perfectly understands, as he also understands the principles on which it rests, since they were laid down in a circular which was issued by the imperial government to its delegates in the provinces, under date of the 1st of August, 1861.
Conforming to the rules generally admitted among civilized nations, the imperial government in that circular prescribes the practical mode of rendering effective the neutrality which it imposes on itself.
Without at present confirming or denying the acts as set forth by Mr. Webb, and without entering into an appreciation of the observations with which be accompanies the narration of them, what I can at once most positively declare to him is, that the
1 Appendix, vol. i, p. 283.
government of His Majesty the Emperor is firmly resolved to maintain, and to cause to be respected, the neutrality, in the terms in which it has declared it assumed it, and, what is important to declare, tbat it is not disposed to allow this neutrality to be violated in any way by those interested in the contest, and still less by the delegates of the government itself.
of the sincerity of this declaration Mr. Webb has an indisputable proof in my note of the 7th instant relative to the steamer Alabama, of the Confederate States, as in it I voluntarily hastened to bring to the knowledge of Mr. Webb not only the ofticial communications wbich the imperial government has received in regard to the acts committed at Pernambuco by that steamer, but also the resolutions adopted by the government to approve entirely of the proceedings on that occasion of the president referred to, and to resort to the necessary measures to repress the abuses of the captain of the Alabama, and cause the neutrality of the empire to be religiously observed.
Therefore Mr. Webb, certain as he must be of the intentions of the imperial government, and of all the respect which this government pays to his word, will assuredly not be surprised that, before coming to a tiual decision on the important acts which form the subject of the note with which I am now occupied, the imperial government should bear what their delegates in the provinces have to relate, and should strive scrupulously to verify their exactness.
By the French packet which leaves this port on the 25th instant, the imperial govemment sends the inost positive and conclusive orders to the presidents of Bahia and Pernambuco that, without loss of time, they will circumstantially report in regard to each of the acts alleged in the note of Mr. Webb, of which he gives to them full information.
And, as soon as the reports referred to shall arrive, Mr. Wobb may rely that the imperial government will not hesitate to put forth its hand to the means necessary to render etfective the neutrality which it imposes on itself, provided it has been violated, and to leave beyond all doubt the fairness of its proceeding.
Flattering myself that this brief answer will tranquillize Mr. Webb, I profit by the occasion, &c. (Signed)
MARQUIS D’ABRANTES.  * The government of Brazil in this note adhered to the position
which it had assumed at the commencement of the war by its circular of 1st August, 1861. The circular contained the following passage:
The Confederate States bave no recognized existence; but, having constituted a distinct government de facto, the imperial government cannot consider their naval armaments as acts of piracy, nor refuse them, with the necessary restrictions, the character of belligerents which they have assumed.
It being alleged, however, and (as it appears) proved, that the Alabama had made prizes within the territorial waters of the island of Fernando de Noronba, and that the governor of that island had taken no steps to prevent this or protest against it, he was deprived of his office by the president of the province; and this act was approved by the Brazilian government. The Alabama remained in the port of Bahia for eight or nine days.
Some further correspondence passed between Mr. Webb and the Brazilian minister of foreign affairs, in the course of which the latter vindicated the conduct of the presidents of the provinces of Pernambuco and Bahia, and declared that, since Brazil had originally recognized the Confederate States as belligerents, and had not withdrawn that recognition, and the Florida, Georgia, and Alabama bore the flag and commission of those States, these vessels had been rightly treated as belligerent vessels of war. He informed Mr. Webb, however, that since the Alabama appeared to have violated the neutrality of Brazil by using Rata Island as a base of hostile operations, she would not in future be admitted into any Brazilian port.
On or about the 29th July, 1863, the Alabama arrived at Saldanha Bay, on the southwest coast of Africa, and in the vicinity of Cape Town.
The consul of the United States at Cape Town, on the 4th August,
1 Appendix, vol. I, p. 281.
Ibid., pp. 283-300
1863, addressed the following letter to Sir Philip Wodehouse, governor of the Cape Colony: 1
UNITED STATES CONSULATE,
Cape Town, August 4, 1863. Sir: From reliable information received by me, and which you are also doubtless in possession of, a war-steamer called the Alabama is now in Saldanha Bay being painted, discharging prisoners of war, &c.
The vessel in question was built in England, to prey upon the commerce of the United States of America, and escaped therefrom while on her trial trip, forfeiting bonds of £20,000, which the British government exacted under the foreign-enlistment act.
Now, as your government has a treaty of amity and commerce with the United States, and has not recognized the persons in revolt against the United States as a government at all, the vessel alluded to should be at once seized and sent to England, from whence she clandestinely escaped. Assuming that the British government was sincere in exacting the bonds, you have doubtless been instructed to send her home to England, where she belongs. But if, from some oversight, you have not received such instructions, and you decline the responsibility of making the seizure, I would most respectfully protest against the vessel remaining in any port of the colony another day. She has been at Saldanha Bay four (six] days already, and a week previously on the coast, and has forfeited all right to remain an hour longer by this breach of neutrality. Painting a ship does not come under the head of “necessary repairs," and is no proof that she is unseaworthy; and to allow her to visit other ports after she has set the Queen's proclamation of neutrality at defiance, would not be regarded as in accordance with the spirit and purpose of that document.
United States Consul. His Excellency Sir PHILIP E. WODEHOUSE.
The statement in this letter that bonds had been exacted and forfeited was entirely erroneous. No such bonds had been given or forfeited, nor could they have been required by British law. The consul's letter was answered as follows:
COLONIAL OFFICE, August 5, 1863. Sir: I am directed by the governor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of yesterday's date, relative to the Alabama.
His excellency has no instructions, neither has he any authority to seize or detain that vessel ; and he desires me to acquaint you that he has received a letter from the commander, dated the 1st instant, stating that repairs were in progress, and as soon as they were completed he intended to go to sea. He further announces his intention of respecting strictly the neutrality of the British government. The course which Captain Semmes here proposes to take is, in the governor's opinion,
in conformity with the instructions he has himself received relative to ships of  war and privateers belonging to the * United States and the States calling
themselves the Confederate States of America visiting British ports. The reports received from Saldanha Bay induce the governor to believe that the vessel will leave that harbor as soon as her repairs are completed ; but he will, immediately on receiving intelligence to the contrary, take the necessary steps for enforcing the observance of the rules laid down by Her Majesty's government.
I have, &c.,
For the Colonial Secretary. The facts which occurred, and the questions which arose, while the Alabama remained within the limiis of the Cape Colony, are stated in the following dispatch, addressed by the governor to Her Majesty's secretary of state for the colonies :3
Governor Sir P. Wodehouse to the Duke of Newcastle.
Cape Town, August 19, 1863. I beg to take this opportunity of making your grace acquainted with what bas occurred here in connection with the visit of the Confederate States steamer Alabama.
Appendix, vol. i, p. 300. 2 Ibid., p. 301. 3 Ibid., p. 312.