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had it been tendered and admitted, could not have altered the decision of the court, unless it had supplied evidence also of an unlawful intention.

Her Britannic Majesty's government, on the 31st July, 1862, received from the governor of the Bahamas intelligence of the measures taken in respect of the Oreto.

The seizure of the vessel was approved by Her Majesty's government, and the governor was informed that she should be detained until

instructions could be given as to what further process should be (67] instituted. The lords commissioners of the treasury *were at

the same time requested to consider the propriety of sending an officer of customs from Liverpool who could give evidence of the facts which occurred in regard to the Oreto at that place, and inquiries with that view were forth with made by the commissioners of customs.

Intelligence of the decree of the vice-admiralty court of the Bahamas, ordering the restoration of the Oreto, was received by Her Majesty's government on the 16th September, 1862.

The Oreto was released, in obedience to the decree of the court; and on the 7th August, 1862, she was cleared at the Nassau customhouse as a merchant-vessel with cargo, for Saint John's, New Brunswick, as appears from the subjoined copy of the manifest of cargo, extracted from the books of the revenue department of the Bahamas:2


Manifest of cargo on board British steamer Oreto, A. L. Read, master, for St. John's,

N. B. 178 tons; 12 feet water ; 52 men.

4 kegs white lead.
3 barrels oil.
2 puncheons rum.
6 cases $ and 1 boxes tubacco.
4 barrels sugar.
4 bags coffee.

28 barrels bread.
8 cheese.
3 kegs butter.
8 bags pepper.
4 boxes candles.


J. L. READ. Nassat', New Proridence, August 7, 1862.

On or about the 7th August the Oreto sailed from Nassau. Of the subsequent history of this vessel, from the time of her leaving Nassau to that of her arrival in a port of the Confederate States, Her Britannic Majesty's government has no knowledge; but it has been informed and believes that she was subsequently armed for war by a Captain Matlit, who had formerly held a commission in the United States Navy, and was then a commissioned officer in the service of the Confederate States; that she was then commissioned as a ship-of-war of the Confederate States, under the command of the said Matfit, and her name changed from the Oreto” to “the Florida ;" and that, after keeping the sea for a few days, she put in at the port of Cardenas, in Cuba, where (or at the Havana) she remained for nearly a month. On the 4th September the vessel arrived at and entered the port of Mobile in the Confederate States, which was then blockaded by three United States ships of war. She remained in port for upward of four months. She was repaired and refitted, and shipped a crew, and, in January, 1863, was sent to sea from Mobile, under the command of Maffit, as a Confederate States ship of war. The United States consul at Nassau, after the departure of the Appendix, vol. i, pp. 29, 31, et seq.

Ibid., p. 58.

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vessel, and on the 8th September, 1862, wrote to the governor as follows:


Nassau, New Providence, September 8, 1862. Sin: I have the honor to inform your excellency that I have good authority for stating that the schooner Prince Alfred, of Nassau, took the Oreto's armament from this port and discharged the same on board that steamer at Green Cay, one of the Bahamas ; that the Oreto afterward left Green Cay with the secession flag flying at her peak; that the Prince Alfred has returned to this port, and now lies at Cochrane's Anchorage, and I am credibly informed that her captain is again shipping men to be sent to the Oreto, in direct contravention of the foreign enlistment act.

I earnestly urge upon your excellency the propriety of instituting some inquiry into these matters, and of preventing acts so prejudicial to the interests of the friendly government which I have the honor to represent.

I have, &c.

SAMUEL WHITING. The colonial secretary replied as follows:


Nassau, September 9, 1862. Su : In reply to your letter of the 8th instant, directed to the governor, I am instructed by his excellency to inform you that, if you feel assured that you have sufficient credible evidence to substantiate your allegation, and will put your evidence into the hands of the attorney general, his excellency will direct a prosecution against the captain of the Prince Alfred, or others who may have been guilty of violating the foreign enlistment act.

But his excellency has no authority to take any steps against the Oreto, which is out of his excellency's jurisdiction.

I have, &c.,


Colonial Secretary.

[68] *No evidence whatever in support of the allegations of the con

sul appears to have been furnished by him, and no facts were produced on which a prosecution could be founded.

The subsequent history of the Florida, so far as it is known to Her Majesty's government from official reports and other sources, is as follows:

On the 25th January, 1863, the Florida came into the harbor of Nassau, where she remained twenty-six hours; and on the 24th February she put in at Barbados, where she remained about two days, (being detained for twenty-four hours at the request of the United States consul, in order to allow time for the sailing of a United States merchantvessel then in the harbor.) Each of these colonies had been repeatedly visited by United States ships of war. It was alleged that in each of them some advantage or indulgence which United States vessels had not enjoyed had been granted to the Florida. But it was shown by the governors of those colonies that this assertion was entirely erroneous, and that no advantage was conceded to the Florida which had not before been granted to cruisers of the United States. It appeared, however, that both the United States ship San Jacinto and the confederate ship Florida had been permitted to obtain coal at Bar. bados within a less time than three months after they had respectively coaled at another British colony, the commander of each vessel having alleged that his supply of coal had been exhausted by stress of weather. In consequence of this the following dispatch was addressed by Her Majesty's secretary of state for the colonies to the governor of Barbados; and instructions, substantially to the same effect, were sent to the governors of the other British colonies in the West Indies: 2 * Appendix, vol. i, p. 87.

a Ibid., p. 102.


DOWNING STREET, July 16, 1863. SIR: I have received and had under my consideration your dispatch of the 7th March, giving an account of certain communications which have passed between yourself and Rear-Admiral Wilkes, of the United States Navy.

You were quite right in refusing to enter into correspondence with that officer upon the matter adverted to in his dispatch of the 5th March. On this and other occasions it has become evident that interviews and explanations such as you accorded to RearAdmiral Wilkes were made the pretext for placing on record charges more or less direct against officers of Her Majesty. And I think that, as the governor of one of Her Majesty's colonies owes no explanation of his conduct to an officer of the United States Navy, it will be prudent hereafter to avoid such explanations as far as the rules of courtesy will allow. It is the wish of Her Majesty's government that matters of complaint should in general be discussed between the two governments concerned rather than between any subordinate officers.

With regard to the issue of coal to the war-vessels of the belligerents, you have, I think, allowed yourself too much liberty in giving the “special permission” to take in fnel contemplated in Her Majesty's proclamation. Coal, in the opinion of Her Majesty's government, ought not to be supplied to a vessel of war of either belligerent except in such quantity as may be necessary to carry such vessel to the nearest port of her own country, (or, of course, any nearer port,) and this, I will add, without reference to the qnestion whether the ports of that country are or are not under blockade. lo case of such blockade it will rest with the officer in command to seek some more convenient destination. If within the period prescribed by the proclamation a vessel thus furnished with coal in one of Her Majesty's possessions should apply for a second supply in the same or another colony, the application may be granted if it is made to appear that, owing to real necessities arising from stress of weather, the coal originally given has been prematurely exhausted before it was possible that the vessel could, under existing circumstances, have reached the destination for which she coaled.

But if it should be the case that the vessel has not, since taking in coal, been bona Hide oecopied in seeking her alleged destination, but has consumed her fuel in cruising, the coal should not be replenished under the terms of the proclamation. Such a case is not one to which “special permission " referred to in that proclamation was intended to apply.

Her Majesty's government are of the opinion that the regulations of the proclamation thus interpreted should be strictly adhered to without any arbitrary concession to either belligerent. It is by such a course that misunderstandings and complaints of partiality will be most certainly avoided. An unauthorized concession to one belligerent, it may be safely assunied, will not be accepted by those to whom it is made as a justification of a similar concession in an opposite direction.

I approve of your having communicated to the officers administering the government of the other West Indian islands the fact that certain Federal and confederate Vessels of war had called at Barbados.

I shall instruct the governors of the other islands to follow the same course, communieating in all cases the name of the vessel, its alleged destination, and the date of receiving the coal, and the qnantity allowed to be placed on board.

I have, &c.,

(Signed) On the 8th May, 1863, the Florida entered the harbor of Pernambuco, and received permission to remain there for twenty-four hours. Captain Maffit stated to the president of the province that the machinery

of his ship was out of order and required repair; and *he (69] obtained, on this ground, leave to stay for three or four days.

The machinery was repaired on shore, and he sailed on the 12th May.

The United States consul at Pernambuco addressed a remonstrance to the authorities protesting against any accommodation being granted to a vessel which he insisted should be regarded as piratical.

The president replied that there had been no infringement of the let. ter or spirit of international law in the course which had been pursued by the anthorities; that he could not agree with the consul in regarding the Florida as piratical, and could not admit his protest.

On the 16th July, 1863, the Florida came into the port of St. George's, Bermuda, her commander having previously applied for and obtained leave to enter for the purpose of procuring coals and making necessary repairs. Being unable to obtain coal from private persons, Captain Mafit requested to be allowed to purchase some from the Government stores, and he requested also that permission might be given him to have his ship repaired in the government dock-yard. These requests were refused, as appears from the following correspondence:

Mr. Walker to Gorernor Ord.

ST. GEORGE's, July 18, 1863. Sir: At the request of Captain Maffit, commanding Confederate States steamer Florida, I have the honor to inform your excellency that, on his application at the dock-yard this morning for coals, he was informed by Captain Glasse that, under his present instructions, he did not feel authorized to furnish the Florida with the small amount even which Captain Maffit required.

As the Florida must therefore of necessity be detained at this port as a vessel in distress until the arrival of coals which are daily expected, Captain Maffit begs me to inquire of your excellency if the privilege will be accorded to him of proceeding to the dock-yard for the purpose of having effected some repairs to machinery and hull of ship, wbich are of essential importance, and which cannot be effected in the port of St. George's.

I have, &c.,

Governor Ord to Mr. Walker.

MOUNT LANGTOX, July 19, 1863. SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 18th instant, informing me, at the request of Captain Maffit, of the Confederate States steamer Florida, that, having applied yesterday at the dock-yard for coals, he was informed by Captain Glasse, royal navy, that he did not feel authorized to furnish the Florida with the small amount she required, and further stating that, as the Florida must therefore of necessity be detained at this port as a vessel in distress until the arrival of coals, which are daily expected, Captain Maffit begs you to inquire whether the privilege will be accorded to him of proceeding to the dock-yard for the purpose of having effected some repairs to machinery and hull of ship which are of essential importance, and which cannot be effected in the port of St. George's.

Having referred this application to Captain Glasse, superintendent of the dock-yard, I have the honor to acquaint you that he informs me that he does not feel himself at liberty to allow of any repairs to the machinery or hull of the Confederate States steamer of war Florida being effected in Her Majesty's dock-yard.

In making this communication I bave to express a hope that Captain Maffit may yet find it in his power to obtain for his vessel such supplies of coal and such nocessary repairs as will enable her to proceed without delay to her destination, but I must at the same time point out that Her Majesty's instructions (with a copy of which Captain Maffit was supplied on the 16th instant) are very stringent as to the limitation of the stay in British waters of vessels of war of the United States or Confederate States, and that it is necessary that whatever may be required to enable the Florida to take her departure from these islands should be provided in the shortest possible period. If, however, Captain Maffit should find it impossible to procure at the present time whatever may be requisite for this purpose, I must request that he will at once proceed with the Florida to Grassy Bay, there to remain until his departure from the colony is rendered practicable.

I have, &c.,

Mr. Walker to Governor Ord.

St. George's, July 20, 1863. Sir: Since the communication which I had the honor to address to your excellency on Saturday evening last, Captain Maffit has been informed that there is a large quantity of coals at this port belonging to the commissariat department.

He therefore requests me, in his great emergency, to apply, through your excellency, to the proper officers, for a quantity sufficient to carry his vessel to some other

coaling depot. [70] *Captain Maffit will be happy to have the opportunity of paying for the coals

in coin immediately, or of having them returned in kind, within two or three weeks, at any point in the island which may be indicated.

I have, &c.,

NORMAN STEWART WALKER. 1 Appendix, vol. i, p. 109.

Governor Ord to Mr. Walker.

MOUNT LANGTON, July 20, 1863. Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of this day's date, requesting, on behalf of Captain Maffit, Confederate States steamer Florida, that he may be permitted to take from a large quantity of coal belonging to the cominissariat department at St. George's, a quantity sufficient to carry his ship to some other coal depot.

În reply I bave to inform you that the coal in question is not under my control, but under that of Colonel Munro, the commandant of the troops.

I have, &c.,


Colonel Munro refused to allow coal to be supplied to the Florida from the commissariat department. She subsequently obtained some from a vessel which arrived at the colony from Halifax.

The commandant of the fort at Bermuda had, on the arrival of the Florida there, consented to exchange salutes with her. This aet was disapproved by Her Majesty's government for the reason that, while Great Britain bad recognized the Confederate States as a belligerent, she bad not recognized those States as independent or their government as a sovereign government.

On the 230 August, 1863, the Florida arrived at Brest, having two days before taken and destroyed at sea a United States merchant ship bound from Liverpool to New York. The following report of what then occurred at Brest was subsequently furnished to Her Britannic Majesty's government by Her Majesty's consul at Brest, and is believed by Her Britannic Majesty's government to be true and correct:

BREST, September 22, 1871. MY LORD: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your lordship’s dispatch of the 12th instant, instructing me to furnish you with a report containing all the particulars of which I could obtain information respecting the proceedings at this port of the confederate cruiser Florida in 1863–64.

In obedience to your lorship’s commands I have now the honor to report that the Florida arrived in Brest Bay at 11 o'clock on the morning of the 23d of August, 1863 ; and her commander having declared that she entered the port in order that her engines and copper sheathing might be repaired, and for purposes of general refitting, she obtained free pratique on the evening of the following day.

Captain Maffit, the commander of the Florida, was informed by the admiral of the port, (préfet maritime,) Vice-Admiral Count de Gueyton, that he was at liberty to effect the repairs of the ship and provide her with coal and provisions, the same as any merchant-ship.

Captain Mafit then selected as his agents Messrs. Massurier & Sons; but to this selection an objection was raised by Count de Gueyton, on account of their not being sworn brokers; and, at his suggestion, M. Aumaitre, sworn broker and interpreter, was appointed agent.

Later, a M. Puquet du Belley arrived from Paris as the special agent of the Confederate states for France. He, however, did not remain here long, but confirmed the appointment of M. Aunaitre.

The commercial resources of Brest proving insutficient to effect the repairs of the Florida, application was made to the port admiral to allow her to enter the governmest dock-yard, and permission for her to do so was granted, it being stipulated that all expenses should be re-imbursed by the agent, M. Aumaitre, and that her powdermagazine should be cleared before entering the dock. To effect the latter operation, a government barge was furnished for the purpose of removing the ammunition; and ibis barge was, later, moored in the bay.

On the 9th of September, 1863, the Florida entered the government dock, and reinained there for general repairs for a period of about five weeks.

On the 17th of the same month the Federal corvette Kearsarge put into Brest for a supply of coal; but this appears simply to have been a pretext, as she took but a small quantity on board. She, however, remained at anchor in the bay, with fires banked, until the 30th of October, when she proceeded to sea, Queenstown being reported as her destination.

Appendix, vol. i, p. 126.


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