Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

of evidence sufficient to create in the mind of the judge or jury (as the case may be) a reasonable and deliberate belief, such as a reasonable person would be satisfied to act upon in any important concerns of his own, of the truth of the fact to be proved. And by evidence is understood the testimony, on oath, of a witness or witnesses produced in open court, and subject to cross-examination, as to facts within his or their personal knowledge. Testimony which is mere hearsay, or as to the existence of common reports, however prevalent and however generally credited, or as to any matter not within the knowledge of the witness, is not admitted in an English court.

7. In the judgment of Her Britannic Majesty's government, and in that of its official advisers, the special adaptation of a vessel to warlike use was among the acts prohibited by the statute, provided there were sufficient proof of an unlawful intent, although the vessel might not be actually armed so as to be capable of immediate employment for war. But no court of law had pronounced a decision on this point, and the question was never raised before any such court until the trial of the case of the Alexandra in 1863. Her Britannic Majesty's government now proceeds to state for the in

formation of the tribunal the facts relative to the cases of the (52) Florida and Alabama. It may be here *remarked that when

these cases were brought to the notice of Her Majesty's government, and up to the time of the departure of the Alabama from Liverpool, there had been no instance from the commencement of the war of a vessel ascertained to have been fitted out in, or dispatched from, any British port for the purpose of engaging in hostilities against the United States. The only vessel to which the attention of Her Majesty's government had been directed before the Florida had proved to be a blockade-runner.

It may be added that the claims for the interference of Her Majesty's government in the case of these and other vessels were based, according to the statement of Mr. Adams in his letter to Earl Russell, dated October 9, 1862, on evidence considered by him to "apply directly to infringements of the municipal law, and not to anything beyond it."

[blocks in formation]

18 A

(53]

* PART V.

STATEMENT OF FACTS RELATIVE TO THE FLORIDA.

PART V. The Florida.

On the 19th February, 1862, Earl Russell received from Mr. Adams the following note and inclosure:

Mr. Adams to Earl Russell.1

LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES,

London, February 18, 1862. My Lord: I have the honor to submit to your consideration the copy of an extract of a letter addressed to me by the consul of the United States at Liverpool, going to show the preparation at that port of an armed steamer evidently intended for hostile operations on the ocean. From the evidence furnished in the names of the persons stated to be concerned in her construction and outtit, I entertain little doubt that the intention is precisely that indicated in the letter of the consul, the carryivg on war against the United States. The parties are the same which dispatched the Bermuda, laden with contraband of war at the time, in Angust last, when I had the honor of calling your lordship's attention to her position, which vessel then succeeded in ronning the blockade, and which now appears to be about again to depart on a like errand.

Should further evidence to sustain the allegations respecting the Oreto be held neces. sary to effect the object of securing the interposition of Her Majesty's government, I will make an effort to procure it in a more formal manner.

I have, &c.,
(Signed)

CHARLES FRANCIS ADAMS.

(Inclosure.)

Mr. Dudley to Mr. Adams.

UNITED STATES Coxst'LATE,

Liverpool, February 17, 1-12. Sir: The gun-boat Oreto is still at this port. She is making a trial trip in the river to-day. No armament as yet on board. She bas put up a second smoke-stack einer I wrote you. She therefore bas two funnels, three masts, and is bark-rigged. I am now informed that she is to carry eight ritled cannon, and two long swivel.guns ou pivots so arranged to rake both fore and aft. No pains or expense has been spared in her construction, and when fully armed she will be a formidable and dangerous craft. In strength and armament quite equal to the Tuscarora; so I should judge from wbat I learn.

Mr. Miller, who built the hull, says he was employed by Fawcett, Preston & Co.. and that they own the vessel. I have obtained information from many different sources, all of which goes to show that she is intended for the southern confederacr. I am satisfied that this is the case. She is really to take her arms on board. I cannot learn whether they are to be shipped here or at some other port. Of course she is intended as a privateer. When she sails, it will be to burn and destroy whatever she meets with bearing the American flag.

The Herald sailed for Charleston on Saturday last; Captain Coxeter went out in her.
The Bermuda will sail this week.

I have, &c.,
(Signed)

H. DUDLEY,
United States (onsul.

Appendix, vol. i, p. 1.

P. S.—The gun-carriages for the Oreto, I have just learned, were taken on board on Friday vight last, in a rough state, and taken down into the hold. Fraser, Trenholm & Co. have male advances to Fawcett, Preston & Co., and Miller, the builder.

H. D. A fortnight before the date of Mr. Adams's letter, Mr. Dudley, in writing to Mr. Seward, had mentioned the Oreto. He then said, “In my last two dispatches I called attention to the iron-screw.steam gunboat Oreto or Oretis, being built at Liverpool, and fitted out by Faw. cett, Preston & Co. She is now taking in her coal, and appearances indicate that she will leave here the latter part of this week without her armament. The probabilities are she will run into some small port and take it and ammunition on board. This of itself is somewhat suspicious. They pretend she is built for the Italian government, but the Italian consul bere informs me that he knows nothing about it, and has no knowledge whatever of any vessel being built for his government. There is much secrecy observed about her, and I have been unable to get anything definite, but my impressions are strong that she is intended for the southern confederacy. I have communicated my impressions

and all the facts to Mr. Adams, onr minister in London. She has (51) one funnel, *three masts, bark-rigged, eight port-holes for guns

on each side, and is to carry sixteen guns.” Mr. Adams had not, previously to his note of the 18th, made any communication respecting this vessel to Her Majesty's government.

Immediately on the receipt of Mr. Adams's note and inclosure, copies of both were sent to the secretary to the treasury, accompanied by the following letter signed by Mr. Hammond, one of the under secretaries of state for foreign affairs :

FOREIGN OFFICE, February 19, 1862. Sir: I am directed by Earl Russell to transmit to you a copy of a letter from Mr. Adams, inclosing an extract of a letter from the United States consul at Liverpool, in which he calls attention to a steam-vessel called the Oreto, reported to be fitting out at Liverpool as a southern privateer; and I am to request that you will move the Loris 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.

&c., (Signed)

E. HAMMOND. Earl Russell on the same day acknowledged the receipt of Mr. Atlams's note and inclosure, and stated (as the fact was) that he had lost 10 time in communicating with the proper department of government on the subject.

The commissioners of customs were instructed to inquire and report upon the matter; and on the 24th of February, 1862, the secretary to the treasury transmitted to Mr. Hammond their report, which was as follows:

CUSTOM-HOUSE, February 22, 1862. Your lordships having referred to us the annexed letter from Mr. Hammond, transmitting, by desire of Earl Russell, copy of a letter from Mr. Adams, inclosing an extract of a communication from the United States consul at Liverpool, in which he calls attention to a steam-vessel called the Oreto, reported to be fitting ont at Liverpool as a sonthern privateer, and requesting that immediate inquiries may be made respecting this vessel,

We reportThat, on the receipt of your lordships' reference, we forth with instructed our collector at Liverpool to make inquiries in regard to the vessel Oreto, and it appears from his report that'she bas been built by Messrs. Miller & Sons for Messrs. Fawcett, Preston & Co., engineers, of Liverpool, and is intended for the use of Messrs. Thomas Brothers, of Palernio, one of that firm having frequently visited the vessel during the process of building. Appendix, vol. I, p. 2.

Ibid., p. 2.

I am,

[ocr errors]

The Oreto is pierced for four guns; but she has as yet taken nothing on board lint coals and ballast. She is not, at present, fitted for the reception of uns, nor are the builders aware that she is to be supplied with guns while she remains in this country. The expense of her construction has been paid, and she has been handed over to Messrs. Fawcett & Preston). Messrs. Miller & Sons state their belief that her destina tion is Palermo, as they have been requested to recommend a master to take her to that port, and our collector at Liverpool states that he has every reason to believe that the vessel is for the Italian government.

We beg further to add that special directions have been given to the officers at Lir. erpool to watch the movements of the vessel, and that we will not fail to report forthwith any circumstances which may occur worthy of your lordships' cognizance. (Signed)

THO. F. FREJANTLE.

GRENVILLE C. L. BERKELEY. The reports which the commissioners of customs had received from their officers at Liverpool were as follows:1 Mr. Edwards to the commissioners of customs.

LIVERPOOL, February 21, 1402. HONORABLE SIRs: The builders of the vessel Oreto are Messrs. Miller & Sons. Mr Miller is the chief surveyor of tonnage. By their note inclosed the vessel is correctir described, and I have every reason to believe that she is for the Italian goverumeni, and pot for the confederates.

It will be seen by the note of the surveyor, Mr. Morgan, which I annex, that as yet she has nothing in her, so that the information furnished to the government is, so far. incorrect.

Special directions have been given to the officers to observe the movements of the vesse), so that whatever takes place can be made known to the board at any time.

Respectfully, &c.,
(Signed)

S. PRICE EDWARDS

Mr. Miller to Mr. Edwards.

LIVERPOOL, February 21, 1862. Sir: Wo have built the dispatch-vessel Oreto for Messrs. Fawcett, Preston & Co. engineers, of this town, who are the agents of Messrs. Thomas Brothers, of Palermo, for whose use the vessel, we understand, bas been built. She is pierced for four guns:

she has taken nothing whatever on board except coals and ballast; she is in na [55] way titted for the reception of guns, as yet ; nor do we know *that she is to

have guns while in England. Mr. Thomas, of the firm at Palermo, frequently visited the ship while she was being built.

We have handed ber over to the engineers, and have been paid for her. According to the best of my information the present destination of the vessel is Palermo; aud we have been asked to recommend a master to take her out to Palermo.

I remain, &c.,
(Signed)

T. MILLER
Mr. Morgan to Mr. Eduards.

FEBRUARY 21, 1802 Sir: I beg to state that I have inspected the Oreto, now lying in Toxteth Dock: agreeably with your directions issued to-day.

She is a splendid steamer, suitable for a dispatch-boat ; pierced for guns, but has not any on board, nor are there any gun-carriages. Coals and ballast are all that the holds contain.

Respectfully, &c.,
(Signed)

C. MORGAN, Collector. A copy of the report of the commissioners of customs was sent on the 26th February by Earl Russell to Mr. Adams.

Her Britannic Majesty's minister at Turin was directed to inquire whether the vessel was intended for the use of the Italian government: and, on the 1st March, 1862, he telegraphed as follows: “ Ricasoli tells me that he has no knowledge whatever of the ship Oreto, but will cause inquiry to be made.” 2 Appendix, vol. I, p. 159.

Ibid., p. 3.

[ocr errors]

l'p to this time no information whatever tending to prove that the ressel was intended for belligerent use had been obtained by Mr. Adams or was possessed by Her Majesty's government. She had been built for a Liverpool firm of engineers and iron-founders, and was stated by the builders to be for the use of a firm at Palermo, a member of whichi (himself a native of Palermo) was known to have often visited her while building. She was pierced for guns, but not fitted for the reception of them, and had none on board. Beyond this Mr. Adams's note and Mr. Dudley's letter contained only vague hearsay and conjecture.

No further information could be obtained by Mr. Adams, or was received by Her Majesty's government, up to the time of the sailing of the ship.

On the 3d March, 1862, the Oreto was registered at the port of Liverpool, in the name of " John Henry Thomas, of Liverpool, in the county of Lancaster, merchand," as sole owner thereof. The declaration made by the said John Henry Thomas at the time of registry was as follows:

Oficial number of ship, 44,200; date of registry, March 3, 1862.

[blocks in formation]

Vomber of decks..

Two.
Build

Carvel. Number of masts

Three.
Galleries

None.
Rigged...
Schooner. Head.....

Shield. Stern Elliptic. Frame-work

Wood. MEASUREMENTS.

Feet. Tenths. Length from the fore part of stem, under the bowsprit, to the aft side of the head of the stern-post.....

185 2 Main breadth to outside plank.

28

3

13 7 Depth in hold from tonnage-deck to ceiling at midships TONNAGE.

No. of tons. Topnage under tonnage-deck..

410.41 Closed-in spaces above the tonnage-deck, if any, viz: space or spaces between decks Round-house Other inclosed spaces, if any, naming them

Prop

410.41 231.90

Gross tonnage
Reduction for space required for propelling power.

Registered tonnage

178.51

Length of engine-room

61 feet. Sumber of engines .

2 Combined power, (estimated horse-power,) number of horse-power 200

*I, the undersigned, John Henry Thomas, of Liverpool, county of Lancaster,

merchant, declare as follows: I am a natural-born British subject, born at Palermo. in the island of Sicily, of British parents, and have never taken the oath of allegiance to any foreign state. The above general description of the ship is correct. James Alexander Duguid, whose certificate of competency or service is No. 4073 is the master of said ship. I am entitled to be registered as owner of sixty-four shares of the said slip. To the best of my knowledge and belief no person or body of persons other than

Appendix, vol. I, p. 10.

1

« AnteriorContinuar »