Lapas attēli
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

seen the Oreto. A vessel of her class ought to have thirty or forty blocks, including the luff and watch-tackle blocks-not less. I consider that would be a reasonable supply for a vessel of that kind.

Thomas Joseph Waters says: I have been a master mariner for five years. I have always commanded steamships. I have seen the ship Oreto. She is a first-class ship, and they would never send a vessel of that class from London with less than four or five dozen blocks.

Richard Eustice says: I am a master mariver. I commanded the stramship Scotia. I have commanded steamships for six years. I know the Oreto by seeing her. I am

thoroughly acquainted with what is necessary for the fitting of a steamship. *I [48] think at least fifty or sixty spare blocks would be a fair quantity for a new vessel

like the Oreto. I mean watch-tackle and lutt-tackle blocks. A steamer tbat is sailed must necessarily have more blocks than one that is entirely propelled by steam. I could muster up thirty or forty luff-tackle and watch-tackle blocks on board of the Scotia. The Scotia is not more than half the size of the Oreto. The Oreto is rigged as a sailing vessel.

Captain Parke then thinks the Oreto should have four or five dozen spare watch and luff-tackle blocks; Captain Raisbeck thinks she should have thirty, or forty blocks, including luff and watch-tackle blocks; Captain Waters thinks she should not hare less than four or five dozen blocks; and Captain Eustice thinks she should have at least fifty or sixty spare blocks.

The evidence we have of the number of blocks on board the Oreto is that of Walter Irving, a fireman, wbo says: “As far as I can say, there were twenty or more," and that of Mr. Stuart, the master of the Greyhound, who says there were more than twenty-four tackle.

James Alexander Duguid: I am master of the Oreto. On the day of our sailing, (that is, from Liverpool,) there were a few friends of the owners dining on board the vessel. There were no toasts on that occasion drunk. The only one that was drunk that I am aware of, was the one I proposed myself, which was, “Success to the vessel and her owpers." I never heard any one propose a toast on board the Oreto, “Success to the Oreto! may she be triumphant over her enemies." I am certain such a toast was never proposed. I heard a man, Ward, give his evidence, in which he swore to that toast having been given, which is false. No such toast was ever given. The owner of the Oreto, I believe, is named Mr. Thomas. I took my instructions from Fosset, Preston & Co., the agents. I was lying in the Mersey from the 4th to nearly the end of March. During that time the crew were employed doing the ordinary work of the ship. I gave orders with regard to the blocks on board the vessel. It is usual in the merchant service for the chief officer, when he cannot find employment for the men himself, to ask the mate what he wishes to have done. I told him rather than let them be idle, to let them fit all the spare blocks, which he did. This was while we were lying in the Mersey. I never gave any orders to fit blocks as gun-tackle blocks. I never ordered blocks to be fitted, intended to be used as gun-tackle blocks. I quitted the Mersey about the end of March, the destination of the vessel having been changed twice in the mean time, and when I quitted the Mersey I was bound to Nassau. A Jr. Lowe came out with me to Nassau; he came out as a passenger. He never, to my knowledge, exercised or claimed to exercise any authority over the Oreto; I only recognized him on board the vessel as a passenger.

There was not to my knowledge a confederate flag on board the Oreto; she is a new vessel. With the ordinary stores of the vessel a parcel of flags came on board of her; they were all tied up in thick brown paper, and all labeled outside. Previous to my quitting Liverpool, I overhauled the parcel of flags, and in so doing I saw a parcel marked “Confederate,” which I sent on shore without opening. My object in doing so was, as the vessel was bound to Nassau, if we fell in with an American cruiser, they might think themselves justified in seizing or detaining the vessel. I swear that there was no confederate flag on board the Oreto when she passed Point Lynas, where the pilot landed. I have heard Ward, and another of the men examined, swear that there was a confederate flag on board the vessel, which was false.

I remember speaking a vessel on the voyage out. I did not on that occasion say, " If we had our bulldogs on board I would make you answer quick enough ;" I never thought of such a thing. I heard Ward say that I had made use of that expression, which he has sworn falsely to.

I arrived here at the latter end of April; I went to Cochrane's Anchorage. I communicated with H. Adderley & Co., as the agents of the vessel representing my owners in England. I had no instructions when leaving England who the agents of the vessel were, but on my arrival here I understood they were. Mr. Lowe had a letter, and told me that Messrs H. Adderley & Co. were the agents of the vessel, and they would enter the ship. I remained at Cochrane's Anchorage seven weeks; we were waiting orders from the agents, who were waiting for orders from the owners at home.

During the time the Oreto lay at Cochrane's Anchorage, I do not believe I gave any orders to my men to strop blocks. I saw on two or three occasions men stropping blocks, and I never had a thought that those blocks should be used on board the Oreto as gun-tackle blocks, for the purpose of arming her to cruise against any foreign state. I never heard them called gun-tackle blocks on board the Oreto. I never had the inten

tion that the blocks stropped were to be used as gun-tackle blocks. It is about [49] *six weeks since the Oreto came into the harbor of Nassani. I brought her in by

the direction of H. Adderley & Co. Cargo came on board with a boat note requesting me to take on board shell as cargo. I took in upward of 400 boxes. On the second day I received orders to discharge the shell, as the destination of the vessel had been changed, and if we could get them landed in time that day, the vessel would be cleared for the Harana. We discharged them with all possible haste to get them landed in custom-house hours. During the time we were receiving and discharging cargo I saw a custom-house officer on board, I think by the name of Webb; I saw him on board two or three times, but he might have been oftener on board, as I was frequently on shore.

While we were discharging shell we were boarded by Captain Hickley and some officers and men from the Greyhound. Captain Hickley stopped the further discharge of the cargo.

While Captain Hickley was on board Mr. Harris came. I heard Mr. Harris tell Captain Hickley that the vessel was cleared for Havana. After this Captain Hickley quitted the ship, and told me as she was cleared for the Havana I could sail when I pleased.

The shell was taken on board by the direction of the agents. I never thought that it was intended for the vessel, neither did I know that it was.

I was boarded again by the same officers and men from the Greyhound four or five days after the first occasion. The vessel was then searched. Previous to her sailing the officers and men belonging to the Greyhound searched her. They quitted her after having searched ber.

We had some men engaged on Saturday to proceed to sea on Sunday morning, but owing to their not coming on board in time, we could not get the vessel unmoored in time for the tide. She was on that day seized by the officers of the Greyhound.

Two mornings following, previous to this seizure, (I mean on Friday and Saturday,) I ordered my crew to get the vessel under way, but they refused, stating that I had deceived them once, and that they would not believe what I told them again. I told them she was cleared for Havana, and bound there as far as I knew. They still continued to refuse to work, and said that they would not believe anything that I told them. In consequence of this I sent warrants on board for them. They all appeared before the magistrate. They said that they would not proceed in the vessel unless they were guaranteed that they would be safe from any Ainerican cruisers. They then said that they would take their discharge, and the whole of them took their discharge. (It appears they afterward went on board, got their clothes, and left the vessel.)

Captain Duguid goes ou to say: I know a man named Ward; he was my steward ; he was sent to prison for a fortnight at my instance. I think the day he came out of prison he made use of very abusive language and threats to me down on the wharf, stating that he would fix me before he had done with me and the vessel too. I know a man named Jones; he shipped on board the Oreto as boatswain. He was disrated when about half of our passage out for incompetency. He quitted the ship at Cochrane's Anchorage, taking the boat with him. I do not know if he is in the country; I have not seen him. I have heard that he is gone away. I am very sorry that Jones is gone away; I would rather have him here. On the oath I have taken I have not myself been privy to Mr. Jones leaving this place, or to making him any recompense of any sort for leaving it, nor do I know of any person connected with the Oreto having dóne so. During the time the Oreto lay in the Mersey she was passed and repassed by men-of-war. At one time inen-of-war were lying within a mile of her. During that time the officers of the navy were passing her every hour of the day. The fittings of the Oreto from the time of her quitting Liverpool up to the present time are the same, with the exception of a little alteration in the boats' davits. Four of them were lengthened 2 feet. That is the only alteration since she left Liverpool. I have not, since tlie Oreto has been in harbor, attempted to fit her out in any shape that she might cruise or conimit any hostilities against any foreign state. The shipping of the blocks at Cochrane's Anchorage was done under the order that I gave when at Liverpool. As I do not remember having given any order than that to strop blocks, I had not intent, vor would I do so, to nse the Oreto to commit hostilities against any power or state. Mr. Lowe never gave me any orders to strop blocks, or any other orders connected with the vessel. Mr. Lowe took sights at sea, asking me to allow him to do so, as he wanted practice, but he never navigated the vessel, changed her course, or gavo any orders to the crew with my knowledge. I was present when Ward was examined, When he said some conversation took place between Mr. Lowe and myself relative to the vessel being for the South. No such conversation took place at Cochrane's Anchorage or at any other time. Mr. Lowe had nothing to do with the removal of the galley. I had it done for the convenience of the men, as was too hot for them where it was below.


[50] *On cross-examination, he says: I received my instructions from Messrs. Fos

set, Preston & Co. as to the voyage. They were written. (The instructious were produced.) In the conversation referred to in the letter dated 220 March, 1-62, I proposed going to Nassau instead of Havana. No instructions were given to me as to the ultimate destination of the vessel after she reached Nassau. (Captain Dugui then gives some evidence as to the fittings of the vessel, but as it does not affect the evidence already given on that point, there is no necessity to repeat it.)

I saw the men employed at Cochrane's Anchorage stropping blocks; I never at Cochirane's Anchorage beard those blocks called “gun-tacklo blocks." The first time that I heard the term “gun-tackle blocks” used was in this court. I have not, that I ain aware of, any blocks on board the Oreto called gun-tackle blocks. I saw in the Jog. book of the ship that they had been called gun-tackle blocks ; I saw that entry since the ship arrived here. I am not aware whether the entry was made after the vessel arrived here. On the 16th of May there is an entry in the log-book, “ Hands employer! in scraping the mainmast and stropping the grin-tackle blocks.” There is a word struck out in the entry in the log-book of the 9th of June; I am not aware of my having struck it out. I bad no knowledge whatever, when the vessel cleared for Havana, that she was ultimately bound to the Confederated States of America. I have no knowledge whether the vessel was to return to Europe or not. I have no knowledge one way or the other. I have no knowledge whatever that she had been solil or agreed to be sold to any persons in the Confederated States. I struck out some parts of the log-book, but I will not undertake to swear that I struck out the word in the entry of the 9th of June, referred to as follows: “Received on board 440 cases of shell, and stowed them in the rooms.” After “the” there is a word scratched out between the word "the" and "rooms,” I have never stated that the Oreto was intended for a vessel of war.

The galley was moved; the caboose was in the galley—it was in its proper place. That galley was on the mess-deck. It will have to be placed there again before the vessel can go to sea, as it was only shifted for the convenience of the men. When I was preparing to go to sea on the 15th of June, I had not attempted to remove the galley. There was not time-we could have done it after the anchor was up. Where it was origirally placed, it was not near the magazine; the mess-deck is over what is called the magazine, and the galley removed as far as possible. If the magazine was filled with powder, I think it would be quite safe if the galley were in its proper place.

The ship while at Cochrane's Anchorage was frequently visited by Mr. Lowe. I dlo not know when Mr. Lowe left this. I think he left in a vessel called the Gordon or Nassau. I have not seen him since.

The question now to be decided is, whether, upon a careful consideration of the evidence, there appears proof or circumstantial evidence amounting to reasonable proof, that a violation of the provisions of the foreign enlistment act has been committed by the parties having charge of the Oreto. First, by attempting, by any act done since she came into this colony, to fit or equip the Oreto as a vessel of war. Secondly, by making such attempt for the purpose of fitting and equipping lier as a vessel of war for the service of the Confederated States of America, to cruise and commit hostilities against the citizens of the United States of America. I have already said that what took place before the vessel came here can only be received as elucidatory or explanatory of what has occurred since that time. Two facts have been proved, both of which, it has been contended, are violations of the act. One is that, while the vessel lay at Cochrane's Anchorage, some blocks were stropped in such a manner that they might be used as gun-tackle blocks, and that they were so called in an entry in the ship's log-book, and by some of the crew. The other, that a number of boxes containing shells were put in the ship after she came into this harbor, and were taken out again.

I first notice the evidence relating to the shells.

A permission from the governor, in council, to ship cargo in the Oreto has been given in evidence; this does not prohibit any particular kind of cargo. Shells might, therefore, be shipped under it, as well as any other kind of cargo. It appears by the evidence of Mr. Harris, one of the consignees of the vessel, that everything relating to the shipment of the shells was done openly and bona fide. It was observed by the advocate general that penal statutes need not now be construed so strictly as they formerly were. Supposing that to be the case, there is no doubt that it is necessary to act on them with great caution. Now, what is the proof that these shells were intended for the arming of the vessel? Why is it not as probable that they were intended to be carried, as many similar cargoes have been, and landed at some other port? Mr. Harris, who shipped them, swears they were intended as cargo. Captain Duguid does the

same, and so does Mr. Duggan, the chief mate. What proot is there, either direct [51] or circumstantial, that *these gentlemen have sworn to what is false? It will

be remembered that these shells were taken out of the Oreto and landed before the vessel was seized. The original intention, therefore, with regard to the shells, whatever it may have been, had been abandoned before the seizure was made. Is then, the mere probability that such original intention was to arm and equip the ves

sel for war purposes, sufficient for imputing the crime of perjury to Mr. Harris, to Captain Duguid, and to Mr. Duggan, and for the condemnation of the vessel for a violation of the foreign enlisment acti' I certainly think not.

The stropping of the blocks now alone remains to be considered.

While the vessel lay at Cochrane's Anchorage, strops were put on some blocks, which had been brought in her from England. The blocks so stropped might be used as guntackle block, but blocks so stropped may also be used for the ordinary purposes of a merchant-ship. What proof is there, then, that they were to be used as gun-tackle ? 1st. It is contended, because they were named gun-tackle blocks in an entry in the ship's log-book, and were so called by some of the crew. 2d. Because there were more of them than could be required for the ordinary use of the ship as lutf-tackle or watchtackle; and then it is argued, if the blocks were intended as gun-tackle blocks, the Oreto having been constructed as a war-vessel, it is to be inferred that they were intended for her equipment.

The other side, in reply, contend, 1st, that as the tackle might be used for either of the purposes before mentioned, the mere circumstance of the mate, in his entry in the log-book, or some of the crew, not knowing for what they were really intended, choosing to call them gun-tackle blocks, is no proof whatever that the owners of the vesselintended to use them as such. 2d. That the evidence of Captains Parke, Raisbeck, Waters, and Eustice, all master mariners, and men of much experience, bas proved that the number of blocks on board the Oreto is not at all greater than would be required for the ordinary purposes of the ship, especially as she is a new vessel, on board of which a greater number of spare blocks is usually provided than is to be found in vessels that have been in use. That Captain Dnguid unequivocally states in his evidence that the blocks were solely for the ordinary use of the vessel, and were never intended to be used as gun-tackle blocks. That he never ordered them to be stropped as such, or heard them called so until he heard the evidence given in this court.

Comparing, then, the evidence on the one side with that on the other, I agree in the opinion that the mere fact of blocks which might be used for other purposes being called gun-tackle blocks by persons who did not know for what purpose they were intended, is not proof that they were intended to be used as gun-tackle blocks. I think that as the fact of there being more blocks on board the Oreto than were required for her use is a matter of professional opinion, and as the opinion of several master mariners, quite competent to form a correct one, bas been given in evidence, that there were not more blocks on board the vessel than might be required for ordinary nse, I ought pot, in the absence of any valid and producible reason for so doing, to adopt the opinion of one party in preference to that of the other. The consequence of which is, that the fact of there being more blocks than could be required for the ordinary use of the vessel is not sufficiently proved.

Lastly, I see no evidence to invalidate the direct and positive testimony of Captain Duguid, that the blocks were not intended to be used as gun-tackle blocks.

If there is not enough proof that the blocks in question were intended to be used as guid-tackle blocks, any observation as to the probability arising from the construction of the ship, that they were for her equipment, becomes unnecessary.

If the evidence given to prove that any act has been done here subjecting the vessel to the penalties of the foreign enlistment act is not sufficient for that purpose, it is, perhaps, superfluous to say anything about the capacity of the vessel to take cargo, or her connection with the Southern States of Ainerica. I will, however, observe, that although the ship may not be calculated to carry the ordinary bulky cargo of merchantships, set there are certain kinds of cargo of which she might carry a considerable quantity: For example, there were some hundreds of boxes of shells put on board of her, and these were stowed in a compartment called the shell-room. There yet remained what is called the magazine, the light-rooms, and other places, besides the cabin. Into these a very large number of muskets, sabers, pistols, and other warlike instrnments and ammunition might be stowed. Aud it is not improbable that a fast vessel of this description might be used for what is called "running the blockade," an employmeut which, however improper in itself, would not subject the vessel to forfeiture bere. I think, too, that the evidence connecting the Oreto with the Confederated States

of America as a vessel to be used in their service, to cruise against the United [52] States of "America, is but slight. It rests entirely on her connection with a

gentleman named Lowe, who came out passenger in her, and some evidence has been given from which it may be inferred that this Mr. Lowe is connected in some way with the Southern States. He is said by some of the crew to have exercised some control over the Oreto. This is denied on oath by Mr. Harris and Captain Duguid. But assnming it to be true, and assuming also that Mr. Lowe is connected with the Confederated States, no one can state that Mr. Lowe, or his employers, if he have any, may not have engaged the Oreto for the purpose of carrying munitions of war, which we Lave seen she is well capable of doing, and this would not have been an infringement of the act under wbich she is libeled." But the evidence connecting the Oreto with the

[ocr errors]


Confederated States rests almost entirely on the evidence of the steward, Ward, whose testimony I have already explained my reasons for receiving with much doubt.

Under all the circumstances of the case I do not feel that I should be justified in condemning the Oreto. She will, therefore, be restored.

With respect to costs, although I am of opinion that there is not sufficient evidence of illegal conduct to condemn the vessel, yet I think all the circumstances of the case taken together seem sufficient to justify strony suspicion that an attempt was being made to infringe that nentrality so wisely determined upon by Her Majesty's government. It is the duty of the officers of Her Majesty's navy to prevent, as far as may be in ther power, any such infringement of the neutrality. I think that Captain Hickley had prima facie grounds for seizing the Oreto; and I therefore decree that each party pay his own costs.

No. 37.



Acting Governor Strahan to the Earl of Kimberley.


Nassau, September 5, 1871. MY LORD: In compliance with the instructions contained in your

lordship's circular dispatch of the 24th of July last, I have proceedings at Nand the honor to forward a report by the attorney general of

the colony of the proceedings of the steamship Oreto, afterward known as the Florida, on her arrival here, first toward the end of April, 1862, and again on the 26th of January, 1863.

This report is accompanied by a list of witnesses examined in the vice-admiralty court of the colony in the case of the Oreto; by an affi. davit of the present acting receiver general, in reference to the original report of the arrival of the Oreto at Nassau, and of her final clearance and departure therefrom; by an authenticated copy of the permission which the commander of the Florida received from the local government to anchor his vessel in the harbor, for the purpose of obtaining coal; by an affidavit of Mr. Yorick Webb, an officer of the customs department, in relation to the arrival of the Florida ; by a certified copy of decree by the judge of the vice-admiralty court of the Bahamas in the case of the Oreto; by certified copies of the proceedings in the case; by two local newspapers, one of March 15, 1862, containing the proclamation of Gorernor Bayley, of the 11th of March, 1862, the other of the 28th of Januuary, 1863, in wbich are reported the arrival and sailing of the Florida.

To the document marked C is attached a certificate under the great seal of the colony that Mr. Dumaresq, by whom the document is certified, is now acting colonial secretary, and to the affidavits is attached a similar certificate that Mr. Doyle, before whom they were made, is chief justice of the colony.

After the very clear report of the attorney general I do not feel myself called upon to make any remarks on the case.

I have, &c.,

GEO. C. STRAHAN, Administrator.

[ocr errors]

|Inclosnre 1 in No. 37.)

Report of the attorney general. The Oreto arrived off the port of Nassau toward the end of April, 1862, and was conducted into Cochrane's Anchorage, some miles to the eastward of the port of Nassau where she remained at anchor until the early part of June following:

She was reported as having arrived from Liverpool in ballast, and was alleged, and she so appeared from her papers, to be a British merchant-vessel. It


« iepriekšējāTurpināt »