Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

There appeared to me to be about 40 to 50 men on board, slouchy, dirty, and undisciplined. I noticed also a great number of officers, and could not help remarking that the number appeared out of all proportiou to the few men I saw ou board. Wiibont disparaging the confederate war-steamer Shenandoah, I am altogether of opinion that there is nothing in her build, armament, (with the exception of the Whitworth guns,) and equipment that shonld call for more special notice than that she is an ordipary merchant.vessel, armed with a few guns.

I have, &c.,
(Signed)

CHARLES B. PAYNE. The consul of the United States at Melbourne had, on the Shenan

doal's first arrival in the port, sent to Mr. Adams, in a letter [156] dated 26th January, 1865, the following *description of her, com.

municated to him (the consul) by persons who had been on board of her as prisoners:

She bas the appearance of an ordinary merchant-ship, with a long full poop, a large bright wheel-house, oval skylights on the poop. She has one telescope funnel. The mizzen topmast and top-gallant staysail, both hoist from the mainmast head. She is wire-rigged.

The officers declare it would not be safe to fire a broadside. It is the general im. pression that she is not a formidable vessel. She is leaky, and requires two hours' pumping out. The crew consists of seventy-nine, all told.

Her armament was stated by these persons to consist of “two unrified 8-inch-shot guns, two ritlerl 4-inch guns, and two ordinary 12-pounders, the original ship's guns."

By several persons who had been on board of her as prisoners or among her

crew, it was sworn that only the two ordinary 12-pounder guns were used during her cruise in making prizes. By this was meant (as appears from the depositions themselves) that these guns were used in firing blank shots, to compel merchant-vessels to heave to. They do not appear to have been used in any other manner.

With respect to her crew it was sworn by one of the prisoners that he had heard her captain say that he and his officers took charge of her at the Madeira Islands, and sailed thence with a crew of seventeen men. Another deponent (one Silvester, a seaman who had joined her from the Laurel and left her at Melbourne) stated on oath that, when she was left by the Laurel, her whole crew, including officers, numbered twenty-three persons. When she arrived at the port of Melbourne she had captured vine or more United States merchant-ships, and her crew was largely increased by the addition of men who had joined her from those ships. Several men who had so joined her, and who left her at Melbourne, affirmed that thes had been forced to take service in her against their will by threats and ill-usage.

On the 20th Jure, 1865, Earl Russell received the following letter from Mr. Mason, who had been residing in England during the war as an agent of the government of the Confederate States, though not otticially recognized as such by Her Majesty's government:

[ocr errors]

Mr. Mason to Earl Russell."

28 GROVE STREET,

Leamington, June 20, 1810. MY LORD: It being considered important and right, in the present condition of the Confederate States of America, to arrest furtlier hostile proceedings at sea in the war against the United States, those having anthority to do so in Europe desire as speedy as practicable to communicate with the Shenandoah, the only remaining confederate ship in commission, in order to terminate her cruise.

Having no means of doing this in the distant seas where that ship is presumed now to be, I venture to inquire of your lordship whether it will be agreeable to the govern

Appendix, vol. i, p. 589.

? Ibid., vol. i, p. 653.

ment of Her Majesty to allow this to be done through the British consuls at ports where the ship may be expected.

I have the honor to inclose herewith a copy of the order it is proposed to transmit, and will be obliged if your lordship will cause me to be informed whether, upon sending such orders unsealed to the foreign ottice, they can be sent through the proper channels to the consuls or other representatives of Her Majesty at the points indicated, to be by them transmitted, when opportunity admits, to the officer in command of the Shenandoan. These points are Nagasaki in Japan, Shanghai, and the Sandwich Islands.

I trust that your lordship will, from the exigency of the occasion, pardon the liberty I have ventured to take, and will oblige me by having the inclosed copy returned to me.

I have, &c.,
(Signed)

J. M. MASON.

Inclosed in this letter was a paper signed " James D. Bullock,” giving an account of the downfall of the confederate government and the cessation of the civil war, and purporting to direct the commander of the Shenandoal “to desist from any further destruction of United States property upon the high seas, and froin all offensive operations against the citizens of that country.”

Mr. Vason was told, in reply, that Earl Russell “has no objection to sending this letter to the places mentioned, and also to Her Majesty's colonial and naval authorities, it being always distinctly understood that the Shenandoah will be dealt with in the courts, if claimed, according to law.

Copies of the letter were sent accordingly to the commander-in-chief of Her Majesty's ships on the China and Pacific stations, and to Her Majesty's officers commanding on other naval stations, except the

Mediterranean. (157] * Reports having subsequently reached Her Majesty's govern

ment from Washington, that the Shenandoah continued to capture and destroy United States vessels after her commander had received information that the war was at an end, it was ordered that instructions should be sent to commanders of Her Majesty's ships of war and to governors of colonies that she should be seized, if found upon the high seas equipped for war; and if in a colonial port, should be forcibly detained. It was further ordered that, if so seized or detained, being equipped as a vessel of war, she should be delivered to the nearest authority of the United States, in a port or harbor of that country, or to an officer commanding a United States vessel of war on the high seas."

It was afterwards positively affirmed by the commander of the Shenandoah that, although up to the 28th of June, 1865, he had continued to cruise and to make prizes, being then in the Arctic Sea and without news of what had occurred in America, he had, on receiving intelligence of the downfall of the government by which he was commissioned, “ desisted instantly from further acts of war," and shaped his course for the Atlantic Ocean.

On the 6th November, 1865, the Shenandoah arrived at Liverpool.? She was immediately placed under detention by the officers of customs; and a party of men from Her Majesty's ship Donegal was put on board of her, to prevent her leaving the port. The gun-boat Goshawk was also lashed alongside of her, with orders that she should not be allowed to hoist anchor, nor to light her fires, nor hoist out any property that might be considered as belonging to the Government of the United States. On the inspector-general of customs going aboard of the ship,

1

* Appendix, vol. i, p. 657.

Ibid., p. 662.

her commander stated that she had come into port with the intention of delivering her up to Her Majesty's government; and he, on the same day, wrote and sent to Her Majesty's secretary of state for foreign affairs a letter which concluded as follows:

As to the ship's disposal, I do not consider that I bave any right to destroy ber, or any further right to command her. On the contrary, I think that as all the property of government has reverted, by the fortune of war, to the Government of the United States of America, that therefore this vessel, inasmuch as it was the property of the Confederate States, should accompany the other property already reverted. I therefore sought this port as a suitable one wherein to "learn the news," and, if I am without a government, to surrender the ship with her battery, small-arms, machinery, stores, tackle, and apparel complete to Her Majesty's government for such disposition as in its wisdom should be deemed proper.

Captain Waddell, in this letter, stated that the Shenandoah had been a ship of war under his command belonging to the Confederate States, and that he had commissioned her in October, 1864, under orders from the naval department of the Confederate States, and had cruiseci in her in pursuance of his orders.

Mr. Adams, on being informed of the arrival of the Shenandoah at Liverpool, wrote as follows to the Earl of Clarendon, then Her Majesty's secretary of state for foreign affairs :?

Mr. Idams to Earl of Clarendon.

LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES,

London, Vorember 7, 1-5. MY LORD: I have the honor to submit to your consideration the copy of a letter received by me from the vice-consul of the United States at Liverpool, touching the arrival yesterday of the vessel known as the Shenandoah at that port.

Although necessarily without special instructions respecting this case, I do not hesitate to assume the responsibility of respectfully requesting Her Majesty's governmeve to take possession of the said vessel with a view to deliver it into the bands of my Government, in order that it may be properly secured against any renewal of the andacious and lawless proceedings which have hitherto distinguished its career.

I perceive by the terms of the vice-consul's letter that some of the chronometers saved from the vessels which have fallen a prey to this corsair are stated to be bow ou board. I pray your lordship that proper measures may be taken to secure them in such manner that they may be returned ou claim of the owners to whom they justly belong.

Inasmuch as the ravages of this vessel appear to bave been continued long after she ceased to bave a belligerent character, even in the eyes of Her Majesty's goveroment, it may become a question in what light the persons on board and engaged in them are to be viewed before the law. The fact that several of them are British subjects is quite certain. While I do not feel myself prepared at this moment, under imperfeet intormation, to suggest the adoption of any course in regard to them, I trust I may venture

to hope that Her Majesty's government will be induced, voluntarily, to adopt [150] that which *may most satisfy my countrymen, who have been such severe sutter

ers, of its disposition to do everything in its power to mark its biglı sense of the flagrant nature of their ottenses.

I

pray, &c., (Signed)

CHARLES FRANCIS ADAMS. This letter, with other communications relating to the Shenandoah and her oflicers and crew, having been referred to the law officers of the Crown, they, on the same day, (7th November, 1865,) advised as follows:

In obedience to your lordship's commands, we have taken these papers into our consideration, and have the honor to report

That we think it will be proper for Her Majesty's government, in compliance with Mr. Adams's request, to deliver up to him, on behalf of the Government of the United States, the ship in question, with her tackle, apparel, &c., and all captured chronome ters or other property capable of being identified as prize of war, which may be found on board her.

Appendix, vol. i, p. 667. 3 Ibid., p. 670.

* Ibid., p. 669.

With respect to the officers and crew, we observe that Mr. Adams does not demand their surrender to the United States Government, and that the only question suggested by him is, whether they or any of them ought to be proceeded against, under the direction of Her Majesty's government, for some offense or otfenses cognizable by British lar. The only offense at which be distinctly points is that of violating the foreignenlistment act, by taking part in hostilities on board of this ship; and, as to this, we think it would be proper, if some of these men are, as he says, British subjects, (by which we understand bim to mean natural-born British subjects, for none others are within those provisions of the act which relate to enlistment or acts of war out of this country,) and if evidence can be obtained of that fact, to direct proceedings to be taken against those persons, under the second section of the foreign-enlistment act, 59 Geo. III, cap. 59, before they have become dispersed, so as to escape from justice. If the facts stated by Captain Waddell are true, there is clearly no case for any prosecution, on the ground of piracy, in the courts of this country; and we presume that Her Majesty's government are not in possession of any evidence which could be produced before any court or magistrate for the purpose of contravening the statement or of showing that the crime of piracy has, in fact, been committed.

We conceive that the substance of the foregoing observations may properly be embodied in the reply to be given to Mr. Adams, and we think it may not be amiss to add that, of course, Mr. Adams and his Government must be well aware that any proceeding in this country against persons in the situation of the crew of the Shenandoah (as against all others) must be founded upon some definite charge, of an offense cognizable by our laws and supported by proper legal evidence; and that Her Majesty's government are not at present in a position to say whether such a charge, supported by such evidence, can or cannot be brought against any of the persons in question.

With respect to any of the persons on board the Shenandoah who cannot be immediately proceeded against and detained, under legal warrant, upon any criminal charge, we are not aware of any groupd on which they can properly be prevented from going on shore and disposing of themselves as they may think fit; and we cannot advise Her Majesty's governinent to assume or exercise the power of keeping them under any kind of restraint.

We have, &c.,
(Sigued)

ROUNDELL PALMER.
R. P. COLLIER.

ROBERT PHILLIMORE. On a subsequent reference, upon the following day, they again stated their opinion as follows:

With respect to the question whether the officers and crew of the Shenandoah may now be permitted to leave the ship, and to go on shore, we have only to repeat the opinion expressed in our report of yesterday's date, namely, that these persons being dow in this country, and entitled to the benefit of our laws, cannot be detained except under legal warrant upon some criminal charge duly preferred against them in the ordinary course of law. If Her Majesty's government are now in possession, or consider it probable that, if an information were laid before a magistrate, they would shortly be in possession of evidence against any of these persons sufficient to justify their committal for trial, either upon any charge of misdemeanor under the foreigneulistment act or upon the graver charge of piracy, we think it would be right and proper to take the necessary proceedings without delay, in order to have such charge dnly investigated; but, at the present time, we are not informed of any such evidence in the possession or power of Her Majesty's government by which such a charge would be likely to be established.

We have, &c.,
(Signed)

ROUNDELL PALMER.
R. P. COLIER.

ROBERT PHILLIMORE. Instructions were thereupon sent to Captain Paynter, commanding

Her Majesty's *ship Donegal, who was in charge of the Shenan[159] doab, that those of her offiers and men who were not ascertained

to bé British subjects, either by their own admission or by the evidence of persons who knew them, should be allowed to quit the vessel with their

personal effects. As to those who should be ascertained to be British subjects, inquiry was to be made whether evidence on oath could be obtained against them. Those against whom evidence could be obtained were to be detained and taken before a magistrate, the rest discharged.? Appendix, vol. i, p. 673.

* Appendix, vol. i, p. 676.

1

Captain Paynter reported, on the 8th November, that on receiving these instructions he had gone on board the Shenandoah, and had ascertained that the crew were all shipped on the high seas. “ I mustered the crew, and was fully satisfied that they were foreigners, and that there were none known to be British-born subjects on board ; they were therefore all landed with their effects."1

Captain Paynter subsequently stated that his conclusion was formed partly on the assurances given him on board by the late commander and officers of the ship, and partly by the answers returned by the men when mustered and questioned, one by one, on their general appearance, aud ou the absence of any evidence against them. He added that any men who were British subjects, and had formed part of her original crew, might have found means to make their escape while she was in the Mersey::

On this subject the following report was made by the lieutenant comman ding the Goshawk :3

Lieuten ant Check to Captain Paynter.

GOSHAWK, ROC K FERRY, January 26, 1866. Sır: In compliance with your order calling on me to report the proceedings on board the Shenandoah during her detention at this port by the British authorities, I have the bonor to inform you that agreeably to instructions, dated 6th Novemler, 11. I proceeded in Her Majesty's gun-boat Gosbawk, under my command, and laslied hier alongside the vessel.

In the evening Captain Waddell informed me that the vessel having been taken charge of by the custom-bouse authorities, he considered himself, the officers, and eres relieved from all further charge and responsibility of the ship, and that his authority over the crew would also end.

The following day (November 7) the crew requested that I would allow them to land, none of them having been on shore for more than nine months. I told them tbat under the circumstances it was not in my power to grant it, and persuaded them to remain quiet for a day or two, till orders could be received from London.

They then demanded to see my authority for detaining them. I explained that I acted under orders from you. They replied that you could have no charge of them without instructions from Earl Russell, the foreign oftice, or the American minister, as they were American subjects.

This evening, as on the previous one, I succeeded in pacifying the crew by reasoning with them.

On the following morning (8th November) the crew were getting riotons, and determined to remain on board no longer. Eight or ten had already deserted. I therefore in a letter to you explained the excited state the crew were in, aud that I had heard from one or two of their officers their determination to leave the vessel'that evening at all risks. I should, therefore, bị compelled to let them escape, or else detain them by force.

The answer I received from you was, that I was to act up to your orders, and the crew were to remain on board, but that you hoped soon to have instructions from London.

I would call your attention to the excited state of the crew by their conduct in attempting to desert, many of them jumping on board the steamer and trying to conceal themselves when you came to muster and examine them, on which occasion I accompanied you into the cabin and beard you question Captain Waddell as to whether be believed any of his crew to be British subjects; he replied in the negative, and stated that he had shipped them all at sea.

On your questioning the officers they also made the same statement.

The first lieutenant mustered the crew from a book of his own, the only list found on board, and you stopped and questioned tbe men as they passed before you.

Each one stated that he belonged to one or other of the States of America. The personal baggage of the officers and crew was examined by the custom-house officers to prevent any American property being taken on shore.

On the evening of the 9th November you again came on board the Shenandoah, and met the American consul in the cabin of a tog he had hired to bring him alongside; he then promised to send an officer to take charge of her, as a captured confederate cruiser, on behalf of the American Government.

On the 10th November, Captaiu Freeman came on board and took charge, under

1 Appendix, vol. I, p. 678. 3Ibid., p. 712.

. Ibid., p. 632.

« AnteriorContinuar »