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ALABAMA. PART I.
Mr. Adams's first
LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES,
London, June 23, 1862. (Received June 244.) MY LORD: Some time since it may be recollected by your lordship that I felt it my duty to make a representation touching the equipment from the port of Liverpool of the gun-boat Oreto Correspondency with the intent to make war upon the United States. Not- Liverpool withstanding the statements returned from the authorities representation. of that place, with which your lordship favored me in reply, touching a different destination of that vessel, I have the strongest reason for believing that that vessel went directly to Nassau, and that she has been there engaged in completing her armament, provisioning, and crew for the object first indicated by me.
I am now under the painful necessity of apprising your lordship that a new and still more powerful war-steamer is nearly ready for departure from the port of Liverpool on the same errand. This vessel has been built and launched from the dock-yard of persons one of whom is now sitting as a member of the House of Commons, and is fitting out for the especial and manifest object of carrying on 'hostilities by sea. about to be commanded by one of the insurgent agents, the same who sailed in the Oreto. The parties engaged in the enterprise are persons well known at Liverpool to be agents and officers of the insurgents in the United States, the nature and extent of whose labors are well explained in the copy of an intercepted letter of one of them which I received from my Government some days ago, and which I had the honor to place in your lordship's hands on Thursday last.
I now ask permission to transmit, for your consideration, a letter addressed to me by the consul of the United States at Liverpool, in confirmation of the statements here submitted, and to solicit such action as may tend either to stop the projected expedition, or to establish the fact that its purpose is not inimical to the people of the United States.
CHARLES FRANCIS ADAMS. This letter is indorsed in Lord Russell's handwriting, “Law Officers," " Treasury.”]
NOTE.- It will be seen from the papers laid before Congress (appended to this correspondence, page 239,) that the United States consul at Liverpool reported to Mr. Seward on the 16th of May that this vessel had been launched, and was stated to be intended for the confederate service. Mr. Adams, however, did not represent the case until the 23d of June.
LIVERPOOL, April 1, 1862. MAJOR: I have had great difficulties to contend with in shipping the field artillery, which, as I have previously informed you, I should soon send from Hamburg.
Messrs. Fraser, Trenholm & Co., of this city, placed at my disposal a fine ship, the Bahama, which I supposed would take all the batteries. It is found, however, that the cargo is so difficult to stow, that but six to seven batteries can be taken on board the Bahama. I went to Hamburg to superintend in person the shipment; but finding soon after my arrival that every step I took was watched by spies sent from London by the United States minister, as well as by the United States consulate in Hamburg, and learning that this consul had declared publicly that the ship, being known to have confederate government property on board, would be captured, after taking legal advice, and carefully considering the matter, I determined to leave Hamburg, and endeavor to dispose of the business to some purchaser of such merchandise in England.
I accordingly came to this country and sold the whole ten batteries to Captain Blakeley, late of the royal artillery, who is now engaged in the manufacture of artillery. He is now in Hamburg attending to the shipping of the batteries.
Just after my arrival in England I received a telegram from Hamburg, informing me that one of the lighters from which the Bahama was receiving her cargo had been run into by a British steamer under charge of a Hamburg pilot, and sunk, with eight pieces and carriages, &c., on board. There are reasons to believe that the pilot was bribed to commit the act, and the inhabitants of Hamburg being nnanimously opposed to the confederacy, it is probable that it will be impossible for me to recover any damages. I have had the satisfaction, however, this morning of receiving a telegram from Captain Blakeley, informing me that the lighter had been raised, and the water being fresh, the carriages are not materially injured.
Immediately on my arrival in England I set about obtaining a ship to take the remainder of the batteries left by the Bahama, and such other articles as might be ready. I have the satisfaction of being able to inform you that I have succeeded in engaging the steamship Melita for this work, and that she leaves Liverpool to-day for Hamburg; from Hamburg she will proceed to London, and there take on board the following articles: 10,000 rifles (about) 2,000 barrels of powder, 5,000 sets of accouterments, 5,000 knapsacks, 300 cavalry-swords, 10,000 yards of light-blue cloth, 3,000 pairs of shoes, 6,000 bayonet-scabbards, 1,000 cavalry-belts, 250 saddles, &c., complete.
In addition to the above, I have had offered to me about 50,000 pairs of French shoes and 25,000 shirts, (cotton.) If the bolder of these shoes and "shirts will take my order on the confederate treasury, payable in the confederacy, in payment for them, I shall purchase them. The shoes are of the French army pattern, and although not by any means equal to shoes that I have purchased in England, still I have thought that they would be serviceable, and that possibly they might be much wanted by the army.
I have previously informed you that I have had reason to be entirely satisfied with the London Armory Company in all transactions that I have had with them. The rifles manufactured by this company are so far superior to those obtained from almost every other source, and possessing, moreover, the advantage of being interchangeable,
I have requested the chairman to hand to me a tender for supplying 40,000 rifles from their manufactory. Inclosed I have the honor to submit a copy of their proposition.
In case the department should desire me to make this contract, I beg to be informed at the earliest moment, as otherwise I may find it impossible to arrange the matter.
Thinking it possible that the department might desire a sınaller bore, I made inquiries on this point, and found that they could make a smaller bore, but not without altering several of the machines. The exterior of the rifle would have to be left the same as at present. It is the opinion of some British officers that the barrel of the Enfield rifle is too light. Making the bore smaller, therefore, would rather be an improvement in giving greater strength to the rifle.
The Austrian bore is slightly smaller than the English, but almost every other European government rifle is of a larger bore. The Austrian rifle is a very serviceable weapon, though to one accustomed to Enfield and Springfield arms they have a very rough appearance. I am in a position to purchase 20,000 to 30,000 Austrian rifles, at - about £2 each, say $10. At present I am not in a position, as regards funds, to make the purchase, inasmuch as I owe, at least, $400,000 more than I have the means of
paying  * * I have thought it necessary, in the discharge of my duty, to press the credit of
the confederacy as far as possible, without endangering its good name; but I must now limit myself to the contracts already made:
I must pay my debts before doing anything more. As soon, however, as money sufficient for the purpose is received, I shall at once invest it (unless I receive orders to the contrary) in four batteries of Austrian rifled field artillery, 32 guns, suitable for gun-cotton as well as for powder, which guns I have already secured, and 20,000 rifles now in the Vienna arsenal. Unless I should be able to purchase a large number, like 10,000 to 20,000, I should not, without special orders, depart from the Enfield bore, not that the Austrian bore is too small, but because of the great importance of the uniformity of bore.
It has given me great concern that I have not been able to make better arrangements for running in the several cargoes that have been forwarded.
It is impossible, as I have stated in my previous letters, to obtain vessels with capacity for cargo and coal for so long a voyage that have at the same time the requisite speed for attempting the blockade.
I have endeavored to purchase a very fast paddle-wheel steamer, to run from Nassau to the coast. But I have no money now for any purpose. I should not hesitate to appropriate money to this object, even without orders, seeing how long the Gladiator was detained at Nassau, and considering the great importance of these goods being safely landed.
The Economist, Lieutenant Fauntleroy, was at Bermuda on the 6th of March, expecting to sail the next morning. As we have dates from New York to the 20th of March, with no account of the Economist, I have strong hopes that she arrived at confederate port.
The steamer Minna sailed while I was in Hamburg. It was intended that she should take 500 barrels of gunpowder. I found on my return to London, however, that the powder had been shut out on account of the vessel being full. Had I been in London I should have sent powder in preference to anything else.
On board the Minna, consigned to J. Audley and Co., are the following article for the confederate government: 5,900 knapsacks and boards, 5,690 sets of accouterments, 1.840 gun-slings, 992 saber-belts, 4,500 yards of cloth, (light blue,) 1,850 sabers, 5,700 rifles, 300 pairs of shoes, 16 sets of saddlery.
Correct invoices have been sent by the Minna to Nassau.
I have requested Lieutenant North, of the navy, to take charge of her, but have not yet received his reply. Shonld it be in the negative, I shall endeavor to obtain au officer from the Sumter, still lying at Gibraltar.
The Melita is, for a screw-steamer, quite fast, and with an enterprising officer on board could, I am confident, be run in. There will be several large field howitzers so placed that, without disturbing the general cargo, they can be taken to the deck and then monnted, and with these quite a good defense could be made against wooden gun-boats. I have, &c.,
Captain of Artillery.
[Inclosure in No. 1.)
Mr. Dudley to Mr. Adams.
UNITED STATES CONSULATE,
Lirerpo June 21, 1862. Sir: The gun-boat now being built by the Messrs. Laird & Co., at Birkenhead, opposite Liverpool, and which I mentioned to you in a previous dispatch, is intended for the so-called confederate government in the Southern States. The evidence I have is entirely conclusive to my mind. I do not think there is the least room for doubt about it. Beaufort and Caddy, two of the officers from the privateer Sumter, stated that this vessel was being built for the Confederate States. The foreman in Messrs. Laird's yard says she is the sister to the gunboat Oreto, and has been built for the same parties and for the same purpose; when pressed for a further explanation he stated that she was to be a privateer for the *southern government in the United States.” The captain and officers of the steamer Julia Usher, now at Liverpool, and which is loaded to run the blockade, state that this
gun-boat is for the confederates, and is to be commanded by Captain Bullock.  * The strictest watch is kept over this vessel; no person except those imme
diately engaged upon her is admitted into the yard. On the occasion of the trial-trip made last Thursday week no one was admitted without a pass, and these passes were issued to but few persons, and those who are known here as active secessionists engaged in sending aid and relief to the rebels.
I understand that her armament is to consist of eleven guns, and that she is to enter at once, as soon as she leaves this port, upon her business as a privateer.
The vessel is very nearly completed; she has bad her first trial-trip. This trial was successful, and entirely satisfactory to the persons who are superintending her construction. She will be finished in nine or teu days. A part of her powder-canisters, which are to number 200, and which are of a new patent, made of copper with screw tops, are on board the vessel; the others are to be delivered in a few days. No pains or expense have been spared in her coustruction. Her engines are on the oscillating principle, and are 350 horse-power. She measures 1,050 tons burden, and will draw 14 feet water when loaded. Her screw or fan-works in a solid brass frame casting, weighing near two tons, and is so constructed as to be lifted from the water by steampower. The platforms and gun-carriages are now being constructed.
When completed and armed she will be a most formidable and dangerous craft; and, if not prevented from going to sea, will do much mischief to our commerce. The persons engaged in her construction say that no better vessel of her class was ever built.
I have, &c.,
THOMAS H. DUDLEY.
Earl Russell to Mr. Adams.
FOREIGN OFFICE, June 25, 1862. SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 23d instant, calling attention to a steam-vessel which you state is now fitting out at Liverpool with the intention of carrying on hostilities against the Government of the United States; and I have to acquaint you that I have lost no time in referring the matter to the proper de. partment of Her Majesty's government.
I am, &c.,
Office to treasury.
Mr. Hammond to the secretary to the treasury.
FOREIGN OFFICE, June 25, 1862. SIR: I am directed by Earl Russell to transmit to you a copy of a
letter from the United States minister at this court calling tion from Foreign attention to a steamer reported to be fitted out at Liverpool
as a southern privateer, and inclosing a copy of a letter from the United States consul at that port, reporting the result of his investigations into the matter;' and I am to request that you will more the lords commissioners of Her Majesty's treasury to cause immediate inquiries to be made respecting this vessel and to take such steps in the matter as may be right and proper.
I am, &c.,
FOREIGN OFFICE, June 25, 1862. GENTLEMEN: I am directed by Earl Russell to transmit to you a letter
from the United States minister at this court, calling atten.
tion to a steamer reported to be fitting out at Liverpool as a southern privateer, and inclosing a copy of a letter from the United States consul at that port reporting the result of his investigations into
1 No. 1.
First reference to law-officers.
the matter; 1 and I am to request that you will take these papers into your consideration and favor Lord Russell with any observations you may have to make upon this question.
I am, &c.,
The lauc-officers of the Croucn to Earl Russell.
TEMPLE, June 30, 1862. (Received July 2.) MY LORD: We are honored with your lordship’s commands signified in Mr. Hammond's letter of the 25th June instant, stating first report of that he was directed by your lordship to transmit to us a tor general letter from the United States minister at this court, calling attention to a steamer reported to be fitted out at Liverpool as a sonthern privateer, and inclosing a copy of a letter from the United States consul at that port, reporting the result of his investigations into the matter, and to request that we would take these papers into our consideration and favor your lordship with any observations we might have to make upon this question.
In obedience to your lordship's demands we have taken these papers into consideration, and have the honor to report:
That, if the representation made to Her Majesty's government by Mr. Adams is in accordance with the facts, the building and equipment of the steamer in question is a manifest violation of the foreign-enlistment act, and steps ought to be taken to put that act in force and to prevent the vessel from going to sea.
The report of the United States consul at Liverpool, inclosed by Mr. Adams, besides suggesting other grounds of reasonable suspicion, contains a direct assertion that the foreman of Messrs. Laird, the builders, has stated that this vessel is intended as a privateer for the service of the government of the Southern States; and, if the character of the vessel and of her equipment be such as the same report describes them to be, it seems evident that she must be intended for some warlike purpose.
Under these circumstances we think that proper steps ought to be taken, under the direction of Her Majesty's government, by the authori. ties of the customs at Liverpool, to ascertain the truth, and that, if sufficient evidence can be obtained to justify proceedings under the foreign-enlistment act, such proceedings should be taken as early as possible. In the meaú time Mr. Adams ought, we think, to be informed that Her Majesty's government are proceeding to investigate the case; but that the course which they may eventually take must necessarily depend upon the nature and sufficiency of any evidence of a breach of the law, which they may be enabled to obtain ; and that it will be desirable that any evidence in the possession of the United States consul at Liverpool should be at once communicated to the officers of Her Majesty's customs at that port.
We have, &c.,
i No. 1.