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I examined one barrel and found it was full of tallow ; I asked the
7 question, if they had any freight; I think the mate told me they had none.
Q. Did you see any of the officers on board the vessel when you were there ? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Which one ? A. I saw a gentleman who looked to be the first officer.
Q. Is he in Court here ? A. Not to my knowledge.
Q. Did you see the mate? A. A gentleman who said he was the mate.
Q. State what the mate said to you in regard to what was on board the vessel ?
Objected to. Question withdrawn.
Q. You have spoken of this vessel as being at Ford's Dock. Was it close to Montague street ? A. Yes, sir; the stores on the ground in front of where she was are called Ford's Stores.
Q. You looked into the barrel and found it contained tallow? A. I did not look into the barrel ; it was in a sling, and they were about putting it down, and there was a hole in the head, and I put my finger in and found it was tallow.
Q. Did you make any other examination of the lading of that vessel? I looked into the hold.
Q. What did you see ? A. I saw a large quantity of coal, and rigging, and barrels.
Q. Anything else ? A. That is about all you could see. I examined the cargo-book.
Q. Did you see any coal in bags ? A. No, sir, I did not; but, on examination of the book, I found there were so many tons of coal and bags.
Q. You say you were sent over by the Surveyor of the port ? A. Yes, sir; by Mr. Wakeman.
Q. In reference to the clearing of the vessel ? A. Yes; there was a question in regard to the clearing of her.
Q. Did you report to Mr. Wakeman ? A. I did ; it was a verbal report; I reported to him that she had a large quantity of stores on board ; I reported, that the mate told me she had some arms on board ; that the mate said he was going to Panama and had signed a paper for a year, and calculated to be back in three months ; I reported that she had an excessive quantity of stores on board from the cargo-book.
Q. Was she stopped at the Custom House ? A. I do not know, sir.
Q. Did the mate tell you anything further on that occasion than what you stated to Mr. Wakeman ?
Q. You went over there at the request of Mr. Wakeman, collector? A. Yes, sir.
Q. You went in an official capacity ? A. Yes, sir.
Q. And when you got over there, you made inquiries of the mate ? A. I did.
Q. And when you returned, you reported what had been stated to you by the mate to Mr. Wakeman ? A. I did.
Q. Now, did the mate state anything further about the vessel, other than that you have stated you reported to Mr. Wakeman?
Objected to as hearsay-evidence. Admitted. Exception.
A. I asked the mate where the ship was going; he said, to Panama. I then asked him if he would like to take a passenger; he said it depended altogether how much liquor the passenger would have. I asked him how long they calculated to be gone; he said he had signed papers for a year, and calculated to be in New
a York in three months from the time he left. I then asked him if he had any arms on board; he said, yes. I asked him where; he said, stored away there; he said that he had about a dozen carbines. I asked to see them, and he showed me a sample. I asked to see the cargo-book. I saw there were a great many stores on board, and I asked him the question, if he did not think there was an excess of stores; he said it was not an unusual quantity for a voyage of this kind; he said, “ You can see that a great many of them are marked reserved stores.” That is the conversation, as near as I can recollect. I asked to see the register, which he did not have, or could not be found at the time; the papers were at the Custom House.
Q. What was your object in asking him whether he wanted to take a passenger ?
Objected to. Admitted. Counsel for government excepts.
A. I was under the impression at that time that the government, in all probability, would send some one out in her; that was the object that I had in asking the question.
Q. You did not refer to yourself as wishing to go? A. No, sir.
Q. Where did you get the idea that the government might want to send some one out? A. It originated with myself.
Q. You saw no arms, except the sample of the twelve carbines ? A. That is all.
Q. What was it about the mate's saying that it depended on how much liquor the passenger would have ? A. That is the answer
Q. He meant for other people to drink? A. I do not know what he meant; that was his answer.
Q. Was it the mate or second mate ? A. When I went on board the Meteor, I inquired for the captain. They told me that
Ι he was not on board, and a gentleman represented himself as the first officer.
Q. You do not know his name? A. I think his name is Betts.
Q. You intended to report to Mr. Wakeman what occurred between you and the mate ? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Was anything further done about the vessel at the customhouse that you know of ? A. I think another officer went there that evening.
Q. But you did not have anything more to do with it? A. No, sir.
Q. Who was the other officer ? A. Mr. George Van Brunt, Deputy Surveyor, and Mr. James Chalker, Inspector, were with me at this time.
Q. You think another officer was there that afternoon ? A. I think Mr. Chalker went there again after I had been there.
Q. What time of the day was this visit of yours ? A. I should think in the neighborhood of two o'clock in the day.
Counsel for the government offers in evidence the manifest furnished to the Custom House by the captain of the Meteor, — now produced from the Custom House, — dated January 22, 1866. The manifest was read in evidence, setting forth that the only cargo was “fuel and stores.” Paper marked Exhibit F.
TESTIMONY OF CHARLES L. WRIGHT.
Charles L. Wright sworn.
Q. Where do you reside ? A. No. 27 East Twenty-ninth street, City of New York.
Q. What is your business? A. Ship broker.
Q. How long have you been engaged in that business? A. About eight years.
Q. Where is your place of business ? A. No. 56 South street, New York.
Q. Do you know, or have you seen, the steamship Meteor ? A. I have seen her.
Q. When did you first see her, and where ? A. I first saw her on the dry dock, I think, in passing her.
Q. About what time was that ? A. I cannot tell when it was; I think it was the last of November.
Q. Did you ever see her when she was at Prentiss's dock ? A. Yes, sir.
Q. When was that ? A. I think on Christmas day.
Q. When did you first see them, or either of them? A. I think about the 10th of December, 1865 ?
Q. Which one ? A. Mr. Rogers.
Q. Where did you see him ? A. At his house, on West Thirtyfourth street.
Q. When did you see Mackenna first ? A. I never saw him but once, until in Court.
Q. When was that ? A. I think a few days prior to the seizure : of the Meteor, in January, 1866.
Q. In your business as ship broker, state whether or not you were requested by Rogers and Mackenna, or either of them, to negotiate for the purchase of the ship Meteor ?
Objected to by counsel for the claimants as res inter alios acta.
The Court admits the evidence provisionally, to be yet connected with the owners. Counsel for claimants excepts, and further objects to the question as leading.
Q. Was an application made to you for that ship? A. Not from Mr. Rogers directly.
Q. Had you any conversation with Rogers on that topic ? A. Yes, sir.
Q. State what the conversation was between you and Rogers on the subject of the Meteor ?
Objected to. Admitted. Claimants except.
Q. You say you had negotiations with other parties before you saw Mr. Rogers, on that subject ? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Did you subsequently ascertain from Rogers that these parties were authorized to act for him ?
Objected to, as leading. Counsel for the government proposes to prove that several gentlemen had negotiations with the witness as a ship broker, in regard to the purchase of this vessel for Chile, to cruise against Spain ; that these negotiations went on for several days, when it was ascertained from these parties that they were acting for the Chilian Consul, Mr. Rogers, in this city; that Mr. Wright had had an interview with Mr. Rogers, and ascertained the fact from him that these parties were his agents, and were authorized to act for him in the matter. He first proposed to show that these parties were acting for him, and then to follow it up by showing what the conversations were between those parties and Mr. Wright.
The Court. You must connect all the parties, to give legal effect to it.
Question waived for the present.
Q. Did you have negotiations with other parties for the purchase of the Meteor ?
Objected to. Admitted. Exception.
Q. State, if you please, with whom. I speak now, before you saw Rogers ? A. About the 1st of December, a man calling himself Byron, and a Mr. McNichols, and a Major Conkling, called at our office.
Q. State how often you saw them during that month ? A. Almost every day.
Q. After seeing them, state whether or not you saw Mr. Rogers, the Chilian Consul ? A. I did.
Q. State what, if anything, he said to you in regard to any authority given by him to these men to negotiate for the purchase of the Meteor ?