Lapas attēli

In the absence of any such countervailing case, it appears to us that the vessel, cargo, and stores may be properly condemned.

We have, &c.,


On the same 29th July the board of customs received from Mr. Dudley's solicitors a communication, dated the 28th, to the effect that they had every reason to believe that the vessel would sail on the 29th. And soon afterward the board received from the same firm a telegraphic message stating that she had come out of dock the night before (the 28th) and had left the port that morning, (the 29th.)

On the 30th July the board of customs received from Mr. Dudley's solicitors the following letter, which was transmitted, through the treasury, to the Foreign Office:2

Messrs. Duncan, Squarey and Mackinnon to Mr. Gardner.

10 WATER STREET, LIVERPOOL, July 29, 1862.

SIR: We telegraphed you this morning that the above-named vessel was leaving Liverpool; she came out of dock last night and steamed down the river between 10 and 11 a. m.

We have reason to believe that she is gone to Queenstown.

Yours, obediently,



On the 31st July orders were sent by the commissioners of customs to the collectors of customs at Liverpool and Cork, that the vessel should be seized if she should be within either of those ports. On the morning of the 1st August similar orders were sent to the collectors at Beaumaris and Holyhead.3 Instructions were likewise sent to the governor of the Bahamas, that, if she should put in at Nassau, she should be detained.2

On the 30th July, the day after the departure of the vessel, Mr. Dudley wrote as follows to the collector of customs at Liverpool :*

Mr. Dudley to Mr. Edwards.

Liverpool, July 30, 1862.

SIR Referring to my previous communication to you on the subject of the gun-boat No. 290, fitted out by Messrs. Laird, of Birkenhead, I beg to inform you that she left the Birkenhead dock on Monday night; and yesterday morning left the river accompanied by the steam-tug Hercules.

The Hercules returned last evening, and her master states that the gun-boat was cruising off Point Lynas; that she had six guns on board concealed below, and was taking powder from another vessel.

The Hercules is now alongside the Woodside landing-stage, taking on board men, (forty or fifty,) beams, evidently for gun-carriages, and other things, to convey down to the gun-boat. A quantity of cutlasses were taken on board on Friday last. [97] *These circumstances all go to confirm the representations heretofore made to you about this vessel, in the face of which I cannot but regret she has been permitted to leave the port; and I report them to you that you may take such steps as you may deem necessary to prevent this flagrant violation of neutrality.



The surveyor of customs, by direction of the collector, immediately went on board of the Hercules, and reported as follows:3

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Mr. Morgan to Mr. Edwards.

SURVEYOR'S OFFICE, July 30, 1862. SIR: Referring to the steamer built by the Messrs. Laird, which is suspected to be a gun-boat intended for some foreign government, I beg to state that, since the date of my last report concerning her, she has been lying in the Birkenhead docks, fitting for sea, and receiving on board coals and provisions for her crew.

She left the dock on the evening of the 28th instant, anchored for the night in the Mersey, abreast the Canning dock, and proceeded out of the river on the following morning, ostensibly on a trial-trip, from which she has not returned.

I visited the tug Hercules this morning as she lay at the landing-stage at Woodside, and strictly examined her holds and other parts of the vessel. She had nothing of a suspicious character on board, no guns, no ammunition, or anything appertaining thereto. A considerable number of persons, male and female, were on deck, some of whom admitted to me that they were a portion of the crew, and were going to join the gun-boat.

I have only to add that your directions to keep a strict watch on the said vessel have been carried ont; and I write in the fullest confidence that she left this port without any part of her armament on board. She has not as much as a single gun or musket. It is said that she cruised off Port Lynas last night, which, as you are aware, is some fifty miles from this port.

Very respectfully,

E. MORGAN, Surveyor.

Mr. Dudley's letter and the surveyor's report were transmitted to the board of customs. Immediately on the receipt of them the following telegraphic message was sent to the collector:1

JULY 31, 1862-11.35 a. m. Examine master of Hercules, whether he can state that guns are concealed in vessel 290, and that powder has been taken on board.

This order was executed, and the collector replied as follows:2

Mr. Edwards to the commissioners of customs.

CUSTOM-HOUSE, Liverpool, August 1, 1862. HONORABLE SIRS: The master of the Hercules has attended here this morning, and I beg to inclose his examination taken on oath, whereby it will be seen that the statement in the letter of the American consul, forwarded with my report of the 30th ultimo, is not borne out. The board will see that the vessel has left the port. Should opportunity, however, offer, she shall be seized in accordance with the directions of the board, as contained in the telegram of yesterday's date.



The examination of Thomas Miller, taken on oath by the collector.

I am the master of the steam tug Hercules. I accompanied the new gun-boat built by Mr. Laird (No. 290, I believe she is distinguished by) to sea on Tuesday last. I kept in sight of her, in case the services of the steam-tug should be required, until she lay to, about a mile off the bell buoy, and about 14 miles from the Canning dock. The vessel left her anchorage about 10 a. m., and I left her between 4 and 5 p. m. I saw nothing on board the ship but coals. I returned from the vessel in the evening, and got into the river about 7 p. m.; there were some of Mr. Laird's workmen and riggers on board; all of these, I believe, I brought back. The next day, Wednesday, I left the landing-stage in the river, and took with me from twenty-five to thirty men, who, I believe, were to be employed on board as part of the crew; they appeared to be all sailors or firemen. I found the vessel about 3 o'clock that afternoon in Beaumaris Bay. I put the men on board, and lay alongside till midnight. We were from three to four miles from the shore; it was a fine day. Besides the men, I put on board an anchorstock, a piece of wood about 15 feet long, and two pieces of brass belonging to the

machinery. I neither carried guns, powder, or ammunition of any kind to her, [9] nor did I see anything of this description on board, *nor yet being put on board. There was no vessel of any description came near the vessel while I was by her. I have never seen the American consul to my knowledge. I never told him or any one else that they were taking powder on board the new vessel. I never was told what she was for, or what was her destination. The piece of wood which I have mentioned was not in any way fit for a gun-carriage. I thought it was intended to rest the ship's boat upon; it was planed and cut out for some purpose, if not to rest the boat upon. THOMAS MILLER.


Sworn at the custom-house, Liverpool, August 1, 1862.

Appendix, vol. i, p, 205.

Ibid., p. 206.

The subjoined letters received by the board of customs from their offi cers at Beaumaris, Holyhead, and Cork show what was done by those officers in obedience to the orders of the board:

Mr. Cunnah to the secretary to the customs, London.

CUSTOM-HOUSE, Holyhead, August 1, 1862.

SIR: Your telegram respecting the iron steam-vessel 290 is duly to hand. The vessel is not, at present, within the limits of this creek. I have arranged that constant watch shall be kept, so that immediately upon her entering either of the harbors or the roadstead she will be seized; and I am now leaving (to go along the coast) to Point Lynas and Amlwch to make further inquiries.

I beg also to state that I have forwarded a copy of the message to the collector of customs, Beaumaris, and the principal coast officer at Amlwch.

I have, &c.,

E. B. CUNNAH, Principal Coast Officer.

Mr. Smith to Mr. Gardner.
CUSTOM-HOUSE, Beaumaris, August 2, 1862.

SIR: On receipt of your telegram on the 1st instant, directing me to seize the steamship 290, reported to be off Point Lynas, I immediately proceeded to Amlwch and instituted inquiries, but could get but little satisfactory information. I heard that there had been a suspicious screw-bark in Moelfra Roads on Wednesday last; that the shore-boats would not be allowed alongside. I called on Mr. Pierce, chief officer of the coast-guard, and consulted with him; I requested that he should order his boat, with four hands armed, to be at Point Lynas by 5 o'clock the next morning to meet us; I took a car at Amlwch, accompanied by Mr. Pierce and my principal coast officer, and proceeded to Point Lynas light-house, and made every inquiry of the keeper. I then proceeded to the telegraph station, and on inquiry there found that the suspected vessel had not been seen by either party since Wednesday evening, when she was riding in Moelfra Roads. We then got into the coast-guard boat and proceeded to Moelfra, and found that a large black screw-bark, or three-masted topsail-yard screw-steamer, with black funnel, and no name or port on her, had arrived at Moelfra Roads at 7.30 p. m. on Tuesday evening last, and came to anchor; that a fishing-boat was going alongside, and asked if they wanted any fish; the answer from the steamer was, "No; keep off." On Wednesday they appeared to be washing the decks and cleaning her, and about 5 p. m. a tug-boat, supposed to belong to the Old Tug Company of Liverpool, went alongside with what was supposed to be an excursion party, the passengers going on board the screw-steamer; there was music on board. The tug-boat remained alongside until about 10 o'clock p. m. the same evening, when she left; the shore people could not say whether she took the party she brought back again, because it was too dark. At 3 o'clock a. m. the following morning, viz, Thursday, the screw-steamer got under weigh and proceeded to sea, and has not since been seen by any parties on the shore along the whole part of that coast.

They held no communication whatever with the shore during her stay in Moelfra Roads. I am, &c., (Signed)

W. H. SMITH, Collector.

Mr. Cassell to the secretary to the customs.

Gun-boat 290, the subject of telegram from the secretary of customs, 31st ultimo, and board's order, 89/1862.

CUSTOM-HOUSE, Cork. August 4, 1862.

SIR: Immediately on the receipt of your telegraphic message steps were taken for the detention of the above-mentioned vessel, should she put into this port; but, up to the close of this letter, 4 p. m., she has not made her appearance.

I am, &c.,

F. CASSELL, Collector.

The vessel in fact sailed from the port of Liverpool on Tuesday, the 29th July, between 10 and 11 a. m. She sailed ostensibly with the intention of making a trial-trip and returning to her moorings; and.

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[99] in order to give an appearance of truth to this *pretense, a number of persons were taken on board, who, after accompanying her for a short distance, returned to Liverpool in a tug-boat. She had not been registered as a British ship, nor had she been cleared at the custom-house for an outward voyage. She took her departure before the report of the law-officers had been received at the Foreign Office, and therefore before any orders for her detention had been given. Whither she was bound, or in what direction she was likely to shape her course, was unknown to the officers of the government, as it was to Mr. Adams, Mr. Dudley, and their informants and advisers. From Mr. Dudley's communications with his own government, it appears that on the 30th July he thought she would probably go to Nassau; afterward he gave some credence to a rumor that she was bound for a Spanish port, and subsequently believed that she would try to reach some port in the Confederate States. Her Majesty's government was equally without means of knowledge. It will have been seen, however, that orders to detain her were sent by the government, not only to Liverpool, whither it was still possible that she might return, but to other ports, which (or the roadsteads adjacent to which) she might probably enter before proceeding to sea. She did in fact enter a roadstead on the coast of North Wales, which lies at a considerable distance from both Beaumaris and Holyhead, but had quitted it before the officers of customs authorized to detain her could arrive on the spot.

It will have been seen also that when she quitted Liverpool, and up to the time of her final departure from British waters, she was entirely unarmed, and had on board no guns, gun-carriages, or ammunition. As to the persons who composed her crew, and the terms on which they were hired, and as to any other persons who may have gone to sea on board of her, Her Majesty's government had not, through its officers at Liverpool or otherwise, any means of information. It appears, however, from depositions which have been subsequently communicated to Her Majesty's government by Mr. Adams, and Her Majesty's govern ment believes it to be true, that the crew, after the ship had left Liverpool, signed articles for Nassau or some intermediate port; that persuasion was afterward used, while the ship was at sea, but still under the British flag, to enlist in the naval service of the Confederate States, and that such of them as were induced to do so signed fresh articles after the arrival of the vessel at the Azores.

Mr. Adams had, in the month of June, 1862, requested Captain Craven, commanding the United States war-steamer Tuscarora, to bring his ship from Gibraltar to Southampton, in order to wait for and capture the vessel should she put to sea. The Tuscarora came to Southampton accordingly in the beginning of July, and, on the 17th July, Mr. Adams wrote to Mr. Seward, "I have supplied to Captain Craven all the information I can obtain respecting the objects and destination of this vessel, and have advised him to take such measures as may, in his opinion, be effective to intercept her on her voyage out. He will probably leave Southampton in a day or two."

The Tuscarora, however, lay at Southampton until the evening of the 29th July, when her commander, after receiving two telegraphic messages from Mr. Adams informing him that the vessel had sailed, and arging him to put to sea immediately, took his departure for Queenstown. An account of the failure of the Tuscarora to intercept the vessel is given in the subjoined dispatch addressed by Mr. Adams to Mr. Seward :1

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Mr. Adams to Mr. Seward.

London, August 7, 1862.

SIR: In my dispatch of the 30th July I brought down the narrative of the proceedings in the case of the gun-boat No. 290, to the morning of the 29th. Later in the day I sent another telegram to Captain Craven, giving further intelligence from Liverpool, urging his departure from Southampton; also, that he should let me know his next movements, and cautioning him about the line of British jurisdiction. To this message the captain immediately replied, announcing his departure at 8 o'clock, and his intention to touch at Queenstown for further information. On the 30th of July I wrote to Captain Craven, by mail to Queenstown, giving fuller details, received at half-past 11 o'clock from Mr. Dudley, touching the movements of the gun-boat off Point Lynas on that day. Early on the morning of the 31st I sent a telegram to Captain Craven, at Queenstown, apprising him that No. 290 was said to be still off Point Lynas. At about 10 o'clock p. m. of that evening I received a telegram from Captain Craven, dated at Queenstown, announcing his reception of my dispatch, and his intention to await further instructions. This was answered by me early the next morning in the following words, by telegram: and,

"At latest, yesterday, she was off Point Lynas; you must catch her if you can, if necessary, follow her across the Atlantic."

On the same day I received by mail a note from Captain Craven, dated the 31st, announcing the receipt of my dispatches, and his decision to go to Point Lynas at noon on the 1st instant.

[100]* Captain Craven seems to have sailed up Saint George's Channel. This last movement must have been made in forgetfulness of my caution about British jurisdiction, for, even had he found No. 290 in that region, I had in previous conversations with him explained the reasons why I should not consider it good policy to attempt her capture near the coast. In point of fact, this proceeding put an end to every chance of his success.

On the 5th instant I received a letter from him dated the 4th, at Queenstown, inclosing a report of his doings, addressed to the Secretary of the Navy, left open for my inspection, which I forward by this steamer, and at the same time apprising me of his intention to go round to Dublin, and await a letter from me prior to his return to his station at Gibraltar. To this I sent the following reply:

"London, August 6, 1862.

"I will forward your letter to the Secretary of the Navy. Having in my hands sufficient evidence to justify the step, I was willing to assume the responsibility of advising you to follow the boat No. 290, and take her wherever you could find her. But I cannot do the same with other vessels, of which I have knowledge only from general report. I therefore think it best that you should resume your duties under the general instructions you have from the Department, without further reference to me.” It may have been of use to the Tuscarora to have obtained repairs at Sonthampton to put her in seaworthy condition. But had I imagined that the captain did not intend to try the sea, I should not have taken the responsibility of calling him from his station. I can only say that I shall not attempt anything of the kind again. I have, &c., (Signed) Captain Craven's failure to intercept the vessel appears to have been regarded by Mr. Adams as evincing remissness and dilatoriness on the part of the former, and a want of the promptitude and judgment which ought to have been used under the circumstances of the case. It is probable, indeed, that he would have succeeded in intercepting her if he had used the needful activity and dispatch.


For some weeks after the sailing of the vessel (which, up to the time of her departure, had continued to be known only as "The 290," from the number which she bore in the builders' yard) nothing more was heard of her. On the 1st September, 1862, a steamship named the Bahama, which, on the 13th September, had cleared from Liverpool for Nassau, returned to the port and was entered as in ballast from Angra, in the Azores. On the 3d September, 1863, the assistant collector of customs at Liverpool sent to the board of customs, with reference to this ship, the subjoined letter and inclosures:1

1Appendix, vol. i, p. 208.

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