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Earl Russell to Mr. Adams.
Report of customs
FOREIGN OFFICE, July 4, 1862. SIR: With reference to my letter of the 25th ultimo I have the honor
to inclose a copy of a report from the commissioners of cuscountries Agents sont toms respecting the vessel which you have been informed is suggestione has come being built at Liverpool for the government of the so-styled Support or iden senden Confederate States, and in accordance therewith I would ments in his letter. beg leave to suggest that you should instruct the United States consul at Liverpool to submit to the collector of customs at that port such evidence as he may possess tending to show that his suspicions as to the destination of the vessel in question are well-founded.
I am, &c.,
(Inclosure in No. 7.)
Report of the commissioners of customs to the lords commissioners of the treasury,
July 1, 1862.
[See inclosure in No. 6.]
Mr. Adams to Earl Russell.
LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES,
London, July 7, 1862. (Received July 8.) MY LORD: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your note of the 4th instant, covering a copy of the report from the commissioners of customs respecting a vessel presumed by me to be in course of preparation at Liverpool to carry on hostile operations against the United States.
In accordance with your lordship's suggestion I shall at once instruct the consul of the United States to submit to the collector of customs at that port such evidence as he possesses to show that the suspicions he entertains of the character of that vessel are well founded.
I pray, &c., (Signed)
CHARLES FRANCIS ADAMS.
The collector, Liverpool, to the commissioners of customs.
CUSTOM-HOUSE, Liverpool, July 10, 1962. HONORABLE SIRS: I have this morning received the inclosed comCorrespondence be munication from the American consul, Mr. Dudley, which e and CollectopedI respectfully submit for the consideration of the board. I
annex the copy of my letter to the consul, acknowledging
his communication, and I beg a reference to the inclosed report of this day's date, from Mr. Morgan, the surveyor, showing the state which the vessel is now in. If she is for the confederate service, the builders and parties interested are not likely to commit themselves by any act which would subject them to the penal provisions of the foregn-enlistment act. (Signed)
S. PRICE EDWARDS.
SURVEYOR'S OFFICE, July 10, 1862. SIR: I beg to report that, agreeably with your directions, I have this day inspected the steamer lying at the building-yard of the Messrs. Laird of'Birkenhead,
Report of Surveyor and find that she is in the same state, as regards her armament, as on Morgan, the date of my former report.
or carriages on board, She has no guns or carriages on board, nor are her platforms fitted to nor are platforms fit? the deck.
Vessel has no guns
[Inclosure 2 in No. 9.)
The United States consul to the collector of customs, Liverpool.
LIVERPOOL, July 9, 1862. SIR: In accordance with a suggestion of Earl Russell in a communication to Mr. Adams, the American minister in London, I beg to lay before you the information and circumstances which have come to my knowledge Statement furnished relative to the gun-boat now being fitted out by Messrs. Laird at Birk- box Consult Dudley to enhead, for the confederates of the Southern United States of America, and intended to be used as a privateer against the United States.
On my arrival, and taking charge of the consulate at Liverpool, in November last, my attention was called by the acting consul apd by other persons to two gun-boats being or to be fitted out for the so-called confederate government; the Oreto, fitted out by Mr. Miller and Messrs. Fawcett, Preston & Co., and the one now in question. Subsequent events fully proved the suspicion with regard to the Oreto to be well founded; she cleared from Liverpool in March last for Palermo and Jamaica, but sailed direct for Nassau, where she now is receiving her armament as a privateer, for the socalled confederate government; and my attention was called repeatedly to the gunboat building by Mr. Laird, by various persons, who stated that she also was for a confederate privateer, and was being built by the Messrs. Lairds for that express purpose.
In May last, two officers of the southern privateer, Sumter, named Caddy and Beaufort, passed through Liverpool on their way to Havana and Nassau, and while here stated that there was a gun-boat building by Mr. Laird, at Birkenhead, for the southern confederacy: and not long after that a foreman employed about the vessel in Mr. Laird's yard stated that she was the sister of the Oreto, and intended for the same service, and when pressed for an explanation, further stated that she was to be a privateer for the southern government in the United States.
When the vessel was first tried, Mr. Wellsman, one of the firm of Fraser, Trenholm & Co., (who are well known as agents for the confederate government,) Andrew and Thomas Byrne, and other persons, well known as having been for months actively engaged in sending munitions of war for said government, were present, and have accompanied her on her various trials, as they had accompanied the Oreto on her trialtrip, and on her departure.
In April last the southern screw-stea mer Annie Child, which bad run the blockade out of Charleston, and the name of which was changed at this port to the Julia Usher, was laden with munitions of war, consisting of a large quantity of powder, rifled cannon, &c., by Messrs. Fraser, Trenholm & Co. for the southern confederacy, and left Liverpool to run the blockade under the command of a Captain Hammer, and having on board several of the crew of the privateer Sumter, to which I have before referred.
For some reason unknown this vessel came back and is now here. Since her return a youth named Robinson, who had gone in her as a passenger, has stated that the gunboat building at Laird's for the southern confederacy was a subject of frequent conversation among the officers while she (the Julia Usher) was out. That she was all the time spoken of as a confederate vessel ; that Captain Bullock was to command her; that the money for her was advanced by Fraser, Trenholm & Co.; that she was not to make any attempt to run the blockade, but would go at once as a privateer; that she was to mount eleven guns; and that if the Julia Usher was not going, the six men from the Sumter, who were on board the Julia Usher, were to join the gun-boat. This
youth, being a native of New Orleans, was extremely anxious to get taken on  *board the gun-boat, and wished the persons he made the communication to to
assist him, and see Captain Bullock on his behalf. He bas, I understand, been removed to a school in London. With reference to his statement, I may observe, that Captain Hammer, referred to, is a South Carolinian, has been many years in Fraser, Trenholm & Co.'s employ, is greatly trusted by them, and is also intimate with Captain Bullock, so that he would be likely to be well informed on the subject; and as he had no notion at that time of returning to Liverpool, he would have no hesitation in speaking of the matter to his officers, and the persons from the Sumter. I may also state that Captain Bullock referred to is in Liverpool; that he is an officer of the confederate navy; that he was sent over here for the express purpose of fitting out privateers, and sending over munitions of war; that he transacts his business at the office of Fraser, Trenbolm & Co.; that he has been all the time in communication with Fawcett, Preston & Co., who fitted out the Oreto, and with Lairds, who are fitting out this vessel; that he goes almost daily on board the gun-boat, and seems to be recognized as in authority.
A Mr. Blair, of Paradise street, in this town, who furnished the cabins of the Laird gun-boat, has also stated that all the fittings and furniture were selected by Captain Bullock, and were subject to his approval, althougb paid for by Mr. Laird.
The information on which I have formed an undoubting conviction that this vessel is being fitted out for the so-called confederate government, and is intended to cruise against the commerce of the United States, has come to me from a variety of sources, and I have detailed it to you as far as practicable. I have given you the names of persons making the statements, but as the information in most cases is given to me by persons out of friendly feeling to the United States, and in strict confidence, I cannot state the names of my informants, but what I have stated is of such a character that little inquiry will contirm its truth.
Everything about the vessel shows her to be a war-vessel; she has well constructed magazines; she bas a number of canisters of a peculiar and expensive construction for containing powder; she has platforms already screwed to her decks for the reception of swivel-guns. Indeed, the fact that she is a war-vessel is not denied by Messrs. Laird, but they say she is for the Spanish government. This they stated on the 3d of April last, when General Burgoyne visited their yard, and was shown over it, and the various vessels being built there by Messrs. John Laird, jr., and Henry H. Laird, as was fully reported in the papers at the time.
Seeing the statement, and having been already informed from so many respectable sources, that she was for the so-called confederate government, I at once wrote to the minister in London, to ascertain from the Spanish embassy whether the statement was true. The reply was a positive assurance that she was not for the Spanish government. I am therefore authorized in saying that what was stated on that occasion, as well as statements since made that she is for the Spanish government, is untrue.
I am satisfied beyond a doubt that she is for a Confederate war-vessel.
If you desire any personal explanation or information, I shall be happy to attend you whenever you may request it.
I am, &c.,
THOMAS H, DUDLEY,
(Inclosure 3 in No. 9.)
Consul Dudley in
The collector of customs, Liverpool, to the United States consul.
LIVERPOOL, July 10, 1862. SIR: I beg to acknowledge the receipt of your communication of yesterday's date,
(received this morning,) and to acquaint you that I shall immediately formed by Collector submit the same for the consideration and direction of the board of Edwardmebate bercent customs, under whom I have the honor to serve. I may observe, howcould not be ueted ever, that I am respectfully of opinion the statement made by yon is not upon unless legally such as could be acted upon by the officers of this revenue, unless legally
substantiated by evidence.
S. PRICE EDWARDS.
CUSTOM-HOUSE, London, July 15, 1862. Sir: Having considered your report of the 10th instant, inclosing a communication which you had received from Mr. T. H. Dudley, American consul at Liverpool, apprising you of informed by custome certain circumstances relative to a vessel which he states is there is not suficient now being fitted out by Messrs. Laird at Birkenhead, as a stify the seizure of gun-boat for the so-called confederate government of the Southern States of America, and intended to be used as a privateer against the United States, and having communicated with our solicitor on the subject, we acquaint you that there does not appear to be prima facie proof suffiicent in the statement of the consul to justify the seizure of the vessel, and you are to apprise the consul accordingly.
We transmit, for your information, a copy of the report of our solicitor on the matter, dated the 11th instant. (Signed)
ers to the treasury.
Mr. Gardner to Mr. Hamilton.
CUSTOM-HOUSE, July 17, 1862. Sir: Referring to the report of this board to the lords commissioners of Her Majesty's treasury, dated the 1st instant, upon a letter forwarded to them by their lordships, from Mr. with Collector Ed Hammond, under-secretary of state for foreign affairs, netoms inclosing copy of a letter from the United States minister customs commission at this court, calling attention to a war-steamer reported to be fitting out at Liverpool for the so-called confederate government of the Southern States of America, as a privateer against the United States, in which report the board informed their lordships of the result of the inquiry which they had made into the matter, and stated that any further information which might be obtained concerning her would be fortii with reported, I am desired to transmit herewith, for the information of their lordships, copy of a letter from the American consul at Liverpool to the collector of customs at that port, relative to the vessel in question, together with copy of a report of the solicitor of this department thereon ; and to acquaint you that the board have informed their collector at Liverpool that they do not consider there is prima facie proof sufficient in the consul's statement to justify the seizure of that vessel, and have instructed him to apprise the consul accordingly.
I am, &c.,
F. G. GARDNER.
(Inclosure in No. 11.)
Report from the solicitor to the customs. There is only one proper way of looking at this question. If the collector of customs were to detain the vessel in question, he would, no doubt, have to maintain the seizure by legal evidence in a court of law, and to pay damages customs solicitor. and costs in case of failure. Upon carefully reading the statement I find the greater part, if not all, is hearsay and inadmissible, and as to a part the wit
Second report of
2. In the month of March last I saw the screw-steamer Annie Childs, which had run the blockade from Charleston, enter the river Mersey. She came up the Mersey with the confederate flag flying at her peak; and I saw the Oreto, a new gun-boat
which had been recently built by Messrs. W. C. Miller & Sons, and which was  then *lying at anchor in the river off Egremont, dip her colors three times in
acknowledgment of the Annie Childs, which vessel returned the compliment, and a boat was immediately afterwards dispatched from the Annie Childs to the Oreto, with several persons on board, besides the men who were at the oars.
3. On the 220 day of March last I was on the north landing-stage between 7 and 8 o'clock in the morning; I saw the said Captain Bullock go on board a tender, which afterwards took him off to the said gun-boat Oreto, which was then lying in the Sloyne. Just before he got on board the tender he shook hands with a gentleman. who was with him, and said to him, “ This day six weeks you will get a letter from me from Charleston," or words to that effect.
4. On the same day, between 11 and 12 o'clock, as well as I can remember, I saw the Oreto go to sea. She came well in on the Liverpool side of the river, and from the Princess pier-head, where I was standing, I distinctly saw the said Captain Bullock on board her, with a person who bad been previously pointed out to me by a fireman who came to Liverpool in the Annie Childs as a Charleston pilot, who had come over in the Annie Childs with Captain Bullock to take the gun-boat out. (Signed)
JOHN DE COSTA.
Sworn before me, at the custom-house, Liverpool, this 21st day of July, 1862. (Signed)
S. PRIČE EDWARDS,
Affidavit of Allan S. Clare,
I, Allan Stanley Clare, of Liverpool, in the county of Lancaster, articled clerk, make
oath and say as follows:
1. On the 21st day of July now instant I examined the book at the
Birkenhead dockmaster's office, at Birkenhead, containing a list of all vessels which enter the Birkenhead docks, and I found in such book an entry of a vessel described as No. 290, and from the entries in the said book; in reference to such vessel, it appears that she is a screw-steamer, and that her registered tonnage is 500 tons, and that Matthew J. Butcher is her master. (Signed)
ALLEN S. CLARE. Sworn before me, at the custom-house, Liverpool, this 21st day of July, 1862. (Signed)
S. PRICE EDWARDS,
Wilding and thew Maguire
We, Henry Wilding, of Liverpool, in the county of Lancaster, gentleman, and Mat
thew Maguire, of Liverpool, aforesaid, agent, make oath, and say as Affidavits of Henry folows:
1. I, the said Matthew Maguire, for myself, say that on the 15th day
of July now instant I took Richard Bragan, whom I know to be an apprentice working in the ship-building yard of Messrs. Laird & Co., at Birkenhead, to the above-named deponent, Henry Wilding, at his residence at New Brighton.
2. And I, the said Henry Wilding, for myself, say as follows: I am the vice-consul of the United States of North America, at Liverpool.
3. On the 15th day of July now instant I saw the said Richard Brogan and examined him in reference to a gun-boat which I had heard was being built by the said Messrs. Laird & Co. for the so-called confederate government, and the said Richard Brogan then informed me that the said vessel was built to carry four guns on each side and four swivel guns; that Captain Bullock had at one time, when the vessel was in progress, come to the yard almost every day to select the timber to be used for the vessel. That the said Captain Bullock was to be the captain of the said vessel ; and that the said Captain Bullock had asked the said Richard Brogan to go as car. penter's mate in the said vessel for three years, which the said Richard Brogan bad declined to do, because Mr. Laird, who was present at the time, would not guarantee his wages. That the said vessel was to carry 120 men, and that 30 able seamen were already engaged for her. That the petty officers for the said vessel were to be engaged for three years and the seamen for five months. That the said vessel was then at the end of the new warehouses in the Birkenhead dock, and that it was understood she was to take
her guns on board at Messrs. Laird & Co.'s shed farther up the dock; and that it was generally understood by the men in Messrs. Laird & Co.'s yard that the said vessel was being built for the confederate government.