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On the 22d June, 1863, the cause came on for trial in the court of exchequer before the lord chief baron (the chief judge of that court) and a special jury; the attorney general, the solicitor general, and the Queen's advocate, with two other members of the bar, conducting the case for the Crown. The trial occupied three days. At the close of the third day the jury returned a verdict against the Crown and in favor of the persons claiming to be owners of the ship.! Application was there. upon made on behalf of the Crown to the four judges of the court of ex. chequer sitting as a collective court, to obtain a new trial of the cause, on the grounds, first, that the instructions which had been delivered by the lord chief baron to the jury as to the intent and interpretation of

the law were erroneous; and, secondly, that the verdict was con[11] trary to the weight of *testimony. After long argument, the hear

ing being continued during six days, this application failed, the four judges composing the court being equally divided in opinion, and judgment was given against the Crown. All the judges pronounced

2 their opinions seriatim in open court. From this judgment an appeal was inade on behalf of the Crown to another tribunal, (the exchequer chamber,) composed of all the judges of the superior courts of common law sitting collectively; but it was adjudged, after argument, that the jurisdiction assigned by law to this tribunal did not anthorize it to entertain the appeal.

Costs and damages amounting to £3,700 were paid by the Crown, as the defeated party, to the claimants of the ship.

While these proceedings were pending, and after the verdict of the jury had been delivered, Mr. Seward addressed to Mr. Adams a dispatch, dated the 11th July, 1863, which contained the following instructions in regard to the case of the Alexandra :

1st. You are anthorized and expected to assure Earl Russell that this Government is entirely satisfied that Her Majesty's government have conducted the proceedings in that case with perfect good faith and honor, and that they are well disposed to prevent the fitting out of armed vessels in British ports to depredate upon American commerce and to make war against the United States.

Wy: This Government is satisfied that the law-officers of the Crown have performed their duties in regard to the case of the Alexandra with a sincere conviction of the adequacy of the law of Great Britain, and a sincere desire to give it effect.

3dly. The Government of the United States does not descend to inquire whether the jury in the case were or were not impartial. It willingly believes they were so, and it accepts the statement made with so much unanimity by all the reporters of the case, that the judge who presided at the trial inade the bench responsible for the verdict by the bolúness and directuess of bis rulings against the prosecution.

4thly. Great Britain being a free and constitutional country, and the proceedings in the case of the Alexandra having been thus far conducted by the government in good faith, and according to law, the United States would not be justified in deeming the verdict rendered by the jury a cause of national complaint, provided that the governinent prosecutes an appeal to the higher courts until it be determined in the court of last resort whether the law is adequate to the maintenance of the neutrality whichi Her Majesty has proclaimed, and provided, also, that in the mean time the Alexandra and other vessels that may be found violating or preparing to violate the law be preVented, as far as the law may allow, from leaving British ports to prosecute their work of devastation.

During the whole course of these proceedings, viz, from the 5th April, 1863, to the 24th April, 1864, the Alexandra remained under seizure and in the possession of the oflicers of customs.

At the end of that time, the executive having no legal power to de. tain her, she came again into the possession of Messrs. Fawcett, Preston & Co., the persons claiming to be her owners, by whom she was, in Juie, 1864, sold to a Mr. IIenry Lafone, a merchant residing at Liver· Appendix, vol. iii, p. 56.

2 Ibid., p. 57.


pool. By her new owner her name was then changed to “ The Mary ;” her fittings on deck and below were altered and made apparently suitable to a vessel of commerce; and in July, 1854, she sailed from Liverpool for Bermuda and thence to Halifax. Mr. Seward, on being informed of her arrival there, wrote as follows to Mr. Hume Burnley, ller Britannic Majesty's chargé d'affaires at Washington:

Mr. Seward to Mr. Burnley.

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Washington, September 13, 1854. Sir: This Department has been informed that the steamer Mary, which formerly, under the name of the Alexandra, was charged in the British courts with having been built for the naval service of the insurgents, has arrived at Halifax for the supposed purpose of there being armed and equipped for that service.

It is consequently suggested that you communicate with the governor of Nova Scotia, in order that the hostile designs of that vessel against the United States and their shipping may not be carried into effect from any port within his jurisdiction.

I have, &c.,

A copy of this note was at once transmitted by Mr. Burnley to the
lieutenant governor of Nova Scotia, who replied as follows:

Lieutenant Governor Macdonnell to Jr. Burnley.


Halifax, Nora Scotia, September 30, 1864. SIR: I have the honor to acknowleilge the receipt of yours of the 13th instant,

which did not reach me till the 28th instant. Your letterincloses a communication [42] from Mr. Seward, representing that *the Mary, formerly the Alexandra, has

arrived at Halifax for the supposed purpose of being armed and equipped for the confederate service.

Mr. Seward therefore suggests that you should communicate with me, in order that the hostile designs of that vessel against the United States and their shipping may not be carried into effect from any port within my jurisdiction.

In reply, I have to state that, in future, as heretofore, my most strenuous exertions shall be directed to maintaining within the neutral waters of this portion of Her Majesty's dominions the strictest observance of those orders which have been issued for my guidance in reference to belligerent cruisers, whether Federal or confederate.

I cannot, however, interfere with any vessel British-owned, in a British barbor, on mere suspicion ; nevertheless I have so decided a determination to prevent any abuse of the accommodation attorded by this port to any party, that I have instituter inquiry, for my own satisfaction, into the rumored destination of the Mary. I have even directed that the Mary shall be watched, and am prepared to interfere, if any illegal equipment of that vessel, for warlike purposes, be attempted in this province.

At the same time you may inform Mr. Seward that the result of my inquiries hitherto leads me to suppose that the Mary, although originally strongly built, and apparently intended for warlike purposes, is now lying here an embarrassment to her owners, unsalable and unserviceable, either as an ordinary merchantman or a cruiser. Her speed under steam does not exceed four and a balf kvots, and I believe she is cojisidered a failure, whatever may have been her original destination. Therefore no difficulty is likely to arise in lier case.

I have, &c.,


Lieutenant Gorernor, Sc. The Mary returned in November from Halifax to Bermuda, and thence proceeded to Nassau, where, on the 13th December, 1861, she was seized by order of the governor, and proceedings were instituted against her in the vice-admiralty court of the colony, it having been discovered that she had taken on board at Bermuda certain packages the contents of which afforded some evidence that a design existed of employing her in the naval service of the Confederate States. The cause was


| Appendix, vol. ii, p. 272.

? Ibid.,

P. 258.

heard on the 22d and 230 May, 1865, and on the 30th May the court decided that there was no reasonably sufficient" evidence of illegal intent to support a sentence of forfeiture, and the vessel was accordingly released. The war had by that time terminated, and all armed resistance to the authority of the Government of the United States was at an end. The costs and expenses which the colonial government incurred by the seizure of the vessel amounted to £311 18s.

El Tousson and El Monassir, iron-clal roms.)

On the 7th July, 1863, Mr. Dulley inade formal application to the collector of customs at Liverpool to seize, under the provisions of the above-mentioned act, a vessel described by him (Mr. Dudley) as “an iron-clad steam-vessel of war,” launched three days before and then lying at Birkenhead. He at the same time laid before the collector several depositions on oath, sworn by himself and various other persons, in wbich it was stated that two iron-clad steamships, similar in all material respects to each other, had for many months been in process of construction in the ship-building yard of Messrs. Laird & Co., shipbuilders of Birkenhead; that they were of very great strength and manifestly designed for vessels of war; that each was furnished with a ram or piercer of wrought-iron projecting under the water-line, and was also prepared to receive two iron turrets for heavy guns, and that two of such turrets were being constructed in the yard. One only of the said vessels had been launched, and to this Mr. Dudley's application related. The said depositions contained also allegations tending to show that the ressels were intended for the naval service of the Conferlerate States.

Copies of these depositions and of Mr. Dudley's application were, on the 11th July, 1863, sent by Mr. Adams to Earl Russell."

On the 13th July these depositions were referred to the proper departments of the government, and to the law-officers of the Crown."

That these two vessels were in course of construction had for a long time been known to Mr. Dudley, and he had sent information respecting them to the Government of the United States, commencing in the month of July, 1862. It was Mr. Dudley's opinion that they would be most formidable ships, possessing more power and speed than any iron-clads previously built, and so heavily plated as to be invulnerable.

Further depositions in support of the application were subsequently submitted by Mr. Dudley to the collector of customs, and transmitted by Mr. Adams to Earl Russell." The second of the two ressels above mentioned was launched on the

29th August, 1863; and an application, supported by sworn depositions, for the seizure of her was, on *the 1st September,

1863, made by Mr. Dudley to the collector of customs at Liverpool. Copies of these further depositions were sent by Mr. Adams to Earl Russell.

Her Majesty's government had, at the earliest moment, given directions that a strict watch should be kept over the vessels, and that diligent inquiry should be made for the purpose of ascertaining their character and destination.

It was at first reported that they were built for the government of France. Subsequently, they were claimed by a M. Bravay, a French · Appendix, vol. ii, p. 206.

Ibid., p. 317. 3 Ibid., p. 315.

* Ibid., p. 323. Ibid., pp. 326, 333.

Ibid., pp. 315, 319.

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merchant and meinber of a firm carrying on business in Paris, who stated that he had purchased them on account of the Pasha of Egypt. M. Bravay had in fact, in August, 1863, made an application to the French government, stating the alleged purchase, and requesting that the good offices of the French embassy in London might be used in his behalt, in order to enable him to send the vessels to Alexandria ;' and it further appeared that he had, in February, 1863, made a claim upon the Pasha's government on account of two iron-clad vessels of war which he affirmed that he had been ordered to procure by the then Pasha's predecessor (who died in 1862) and for which he alleged that he had paid a large sum on account? Finally, he produced to the British naval attaché at Paris a

. number of papers relating to the vessels, and furnished him with a copy of a legal instrument, dated 18th July, 1863, from which it appeared that the iron-clads had, in fact, been built to the order of Bullock, but that Bullock's interest in them had been transferred, or purported to be transferred, to Bravay.

On the 28th August, 1863, Her Britannic Majesty's consul general in Egypt reported to the government that the Pasha of Egypt refused to ratify the order alleged to have been given by his predecessor, or to purchase the vessels. This report was received by the government on the 5th September.

On the same 5th September the builders of the vessels, in reply to an inquiry addressed to them by the under secretary of state for foreign affairs, wrote to him as follows:5


Messrs. Laird Brothers to Her Majesty's Foreign Office.

BIRKENHEAD, September 5, 1863. Sir: We have received your letter of the 4th instant, stating that Lord Russell las instructed you to request us to inform bim, with as little delay as possible, on whose account and with what destination we have built the iron-clad vessel recently launched and now in course of completion at our works.

In reply, we beg to say that although it is not usual for ship-builders to declare the names of parties for whom they are building vessels until the vessels are completed and the owners have taken possession, yet in this particular case, in consequence of the many rumors afloat, coupled with the repeated visits of Mr. Morgan, the surveyor of customs, to our works, we thought it right to ask permission of the parties on whose account we are building the vessels to give their nanies to the English government, in the event of such information being asked for officially in writing.

They at once granted us the permission we sought for.

We therefore beg to inform you that the firm on whose account we are building the vessels is A. Bravay & Co., and that their address is No. 6 Rue de Londres, Paris, and that our engagement is to deliver the vessels to them in the port of Liverpool when they are completed according to our contract.

The time in which we expect to have the first vessel so completed is not less than one month from this date, and the second not less than six or seven weeks from this date.

We are, &c.,


The inquiries directed by Her Majesty's government were actively prosecuted, and, although they led to no conclusive result, nevertheless convinced the government that there was a reasonable prospect of obtaining sufficient evidence as to the destination of the vessels. On the 9th September, 1863, both vessels being then in an unfinished state, the following notice was sent to the builders by the secretary of the treasury: Appendix, vol. ii, p. 339.

? Ibid., p. 315. 3 lbid., p. 372.

4 Ibid., p. 353. * Ibid., p. 35).


Her Majesty's Treasury to Messrs. Laird Brothers.

TREASURY CHAMBERS, September 9, 1863. GENTLEMEN: I am desired by my lorils commissioners of Her Majesty's treasury to acquaint you that their lordships have felt it their duty to issue orders to the commissioners of customs that the two iron-clad steamers now in the course of completion in your dock at Birkenhead are not to be permitted to leave the Mersey until satisfactory evidence can be given of their destination, or at least until the inquiries which are now being prosecuted with a view to obtain such evidence shall have been brought to a conclusion.

I am, &c.,

GEORGE A. HAMILTOX. Messrs. LAIRD & Co., Birkenhead. (11] • The builders replied as follows:

In reply, we beg to inform you that we have forwarded a copy of your letter to Messrs. A. Bravay & Co., at No. 6 Rue de Londres, Paris, on whose account we are building the vessels, and to whom we beg to refer you for further information ; inasmuch as our engagement with them is to deliver the vessels at the port of Liverpool when they are completed according to our contract.

The builders having informed the collector of customs that they wished to take the vessel which was nearest completion (named El Tousson) for a trial trip, in order to test the machinery, but with an assurance that she should be brought back again, they were told that circumstances had come to the knowledge of the governinent which gave rise to an apprehension that an attempt might be made, without the privity and against the intention of the builders themselves, to carry away the vessel by force while on such trial-trip. The government, therefore, could not permit the trip to take place, unless on the condition that a force of seamen and marines, from Her Majesty's channel fleet, (which was then in the Mersey), sufficient to defeat any such attempt, should be placed on board of the vessel.

On the 7th October, 1863, the builders were told that in consequence of further informatiou received by the government, it was deemed necessary to place an officer of the customs on board the vessel named El Tousson, with authority to seize her on behalf of the Crown in the event of any atrempt being made to remove her from ber actual position, and that he was instructed to obtain from the commanding officer of Her Majesty's ship of war Majestic any protection which might be necessary to support him in the execution of his duty;}

On the 9th October, 1863, orders were issued to seize both the vessels, and they were seized accordingly. The vessel remained under seizure from that time until the month of May, 1864, when they were, by agree. ment, sold and transferred to Her Majesty's government for the aggregate sam of £220,000. The evidence which the government had up to that time been able to obtain was so imperfect as to make the event of a trial doubtful; and in agreeing to the purchase, Her Majesty's government was mainly actuated by a desire to prevent by any means within its power (however costly) vessels of so formidable a character, constructed in a British port, from passing directly or indirectly into the hands of a belligerent.





On the 18th October, 1863, Earl Russell received from Mr. Adams the following note, (with an inclosure:)

Appendix, vol. ii., p. 358. * Ibid., pp. 3-4, 3-3, et seq.

2 Ibid., p. 367.
• Ibid., PP. 4.57, 459.

3 Iljel., p. 3-7.
• Ibid., p. 467.

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