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[53] rumored, *however, that hier build and fittings were such as to render her easily

capable of being converted into a vessel of war; but as there was no evidence of any overt act of equipment having taken place since hier arrival in Bahama waters, no action was taken by the governor or the naval authorities at Nassau in respect of her; but she was kept under surveillance by Commander McKillop, of the Bull Dog, the then senior naval officer on this station. This state of circumstances existed until the early part of June, when application was made to the receiver general and treasurer by Messrs. H. Adderley & Co., the consignees of the vessel, to be allowed to load her for an outward voyage to Saint John's, New Brunswick.

It may be here remarked that during the existence of the blockade of the southern ports of America, vessels leaving the port of Nassau, with the intention of endeavoring to run their cargoes into the blockaded ports, almost invariably cleared for Saint John's, New Brunswick; and many of them took in their outward cargoes at the anchorages adjacent to the harbor of Nassau. There was, therefore, nothing peculiar in the application to load in this case; but from the suspicious circumstances connected with the build and fittings of the Oreto, the receiver-general, before granting the usual permission to load, referred the question to the governor, and the subject was considered in council on the 4th of June, 1862, when the following order was adopted :

JUNE 4, 1862. “At an executive council his excellency the governor, with the advice of the board, was pleased to make the following order:

“1. That the Oreto, if practicable, should take in her cargo within the port of Nassau.

* *2. That if, however, it be found impracticable, from the depth of water in port or otherwise, that she cannot conveniently take in her cargo within the port, then that she be permitted to do so at Cochrane's Anchorage, under the direct supervision of officers of the revenue department, to be specially appointed for the purpose.

** 3. That in consequence of the suspicions which have arisen respecting the character of the Oreto, it is advisable that a British vessel of war should remain at Cochrane's Anchorage, in the immediate vicinity of the Oreto while she is taking in cargo, and to prevent such vessel being detained at the anchorage an inconveniently long time there be imposed as a condition, for the permission for the Oreto to load without the port, that she complete her lading at Cochrane's Anchorage within a period to be designated by the chief officer of the revenue department.

"His excellency was further pleased to direct that a copy of the foregoing order be furnished to the receiver general and treasurer, and the commander of Her Majesty's ship Bull Dog, respectively, for their information and guidance."

A copy of this order was forwarded to the naval commander in the following letter:


* Nassau, June 5, 1862. "Sir: I bave the honor to inclose, for your information and guidance, a copy of an order made by his excellency the governor yesterday, with the advice of the executive council, in the case of the steamer Oreto, now at Cochrane's Anchorage.

"I have, &c.,

“C. R. NESBITT, Colonial Secretary. "Commander McKiLLOP,

Her Majesty's ship Bull Dog, New Providence." The order was also communicated to the consignees of the vessel, who thereupon determined to bring her into the port of Nassau, and she was accordingly removed from Cochrane's Anchorage and brought to the harbor of Nassau, which she entered on the 7th June, and on the 9th the lading of the vessel commenced with cargo, a part of which consisted of arms and ammunition, among which were a number of boxes of shells, For some unexplained reason, however, the consignees changed their purpose, and obtained leave to land the cargo they had put on board, and to clear the vessel ont in ballast for Havana.

By this time Commander McKillop, of the Bull Dog, had left the station, and Commander Hickley, of the Greyhonnd, had succeeded him.

This latter officer visited the Oreto on the 10th, with several of his officers, for the purpose of examining her; and on the 13th he addressed a letter to the governor, forwarding a report from his officers, of which papers the following are copies :

“GREYHOUND, Nassau, June 13, 1862. "Sir: After my conversation with yourself and the attorney general on the 9th instant, relative to the Oreto taking in warlike stores for the purpose of becoming an armed vessel, and perceiving lighters alongside her both that afternoou and the day following, and taking into consideration her character, as also Commander McKillop's letters on her account, and the previous steps taken, I proceeded on board the Oreto with competent surveying officers to make the following report to you, for


to inform your excellency that I have seized the Oreto as a vessel evidently preparing and fitted for war purposes, in opposition to the spirit and intention of the foreign enlistment act, and to submit the object of her voyage hither, the intent of her voyage hence, the nature of her crew, and the purpose of their enlistment, to the judicial investigation of the vice-admiralty court of Nassau.

“I have, &c.,


Commander and Senior Naval Officer at Nassau. ** His Excellency C. J. BAYLEY, Esq.,

" Governor Nassau."

This correspondence was forwarded to the attorney general with the following indorsations : “I leave this matter in the hands of the Queen's advocate.

"C. J. B. “ JUNE 18."

*Forwarded to Queen's advocate with reference to above minute of his excellency the governor (Signed)

“C. R. NESBITT, Colonial Secretary. “ JUNE 18, 1862.”

The vessel being so seized on the 20th of June, an affidavit of seizure, as also a supplemental affidavit of the commander and officers of Her Majesty's steamship Rinaldo, were filed, and a recognition was granted on motion of the attorney general citing all parties baving interest to appear, and on the 28th a claim was exhibited for the vessel by the master on behalf of Henry Thomas, of Liverpool, the alleged owner, certified copies of which documents, with the exception of the monition, are forwarded herewith.

Subsequently, on the 1st of July, a libel was filed on behalf of the seizer, to which a responsive plea was pleaded on the 21st of that month, and after the examination of a number of witnesses in support as well of the libel as of the responsive plea, the cause came on for hearing before the judge of the vice-admiralty court, Mr. Anderson, the attorney general of this colony and Queen's advocate, arguing the case for the prosecution and Mr. Burnside that for the claimant; and on the 2d of August the judge of the vice-admiralty court, Sir John Lees, delivered his definitive sentence, dismissing the libel and restoring the vessel to the claimant. Certified copies of the libel, responsive plea, and decree are forwarded herewith.

The decree not being appealed against, the vessel was released; and a new master and crew having been shipped, she was, on the 7th of August, cleared out at the Nassan custom-house as a merchant-vessel with cargo, ostensibly bound on a voyage to Saint John's, New Brunswick, and sailed on that or the next day from the port of Nassau. The goods shipped as cargo consisted of articles which might as well have been

intended as stores for the vessel as merchandise for trading, and doubtless were [57] used for *the former purpose, as the vessel very shortly afterward appeared as

a war vessel in the service of the so-called Confederate States of America under the name of the Florida.

She left Nassan, however, as before stated, without any munitions of war being on board of her under any designation, whether of cargo or otherwise, and must have received her armament as a cruiser afterward, but where particularly is not known.

The foregoing statement, as far as relates to the proceedings of the Oreto and those taken in relation to her, up to the period of her release from seizure, is sustained by the proof taken in the cause in the vice-admiralty court, in which all the papers hereinbetore embodied were given in evidence.

Those proofs consist of the depositions of twelve witnesses in support of the libel and of six in support of the responsive plea, copies of which can be obtained if required; but as the decree is the judicial decision upon the entire case as made out by such evidence, it is apprehended that the depositions themselves will not be necessary, and are not now forwarded.

None of the witnesses so examined are now in the colony; a list of their names is appended hereto, marked A.

An affidavit of the present acting receiver general and treasurer, marked B, is also appended in reference to the original report of the arrival and final clearance and departure of the Oreto from Nassau.

This concludes the history of the vessel in her connection with the Bahamas as the Oreto. Her next appearance at Nassau was as the Confederate States vessel of war Florida, in which character she entered the harbor of Nassau on the morning of Monday, the 26th of January, 1863, under the command of one Maffit, who had at one time been an officer in the United States Navy, but who then was in the position of a commissioned officer in the Confederated States service.

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Commander Maffit reported the vessel to be in distress, and requested permission to anchor in the harbor of Nassau and to obtain coal. This was granted, and the vessel having coaled, left again on the forenoon of the following day, the 27th.

An authenticated copy of the permission which he received from the local government for the purpose is annexed, marked C, as also an affidavit of Mr. Webb, an officer of the customs, in relation thereto, marked D, and a local newspaper containing the proclamation of Governor Bayley of the 11th March, 1862, is forwarded herewith, as also one of the 28th January, 1863, in which the arrival and sailing of the Florida is reported. (Signed)



Nassau, September 1, 1871.

(Inclosure 2 in No. 37.)


List of witnesses examined in the rice-admiralty court of the Bahamas in the case of the Oreto.


1. Wynn Feley James Duggan, chief officer of the Oreto.
2. William Portor, seaman of Oreto.
3. Peter Hinson, seaman of Oreto.
4. Charles Ward, steward of Oreto.
5. Walter Irving, fireman of Oreto.
6. John Quinn, fireman of Oreto.
7. Thomas Robinson, fireman of Oreto.
8. Daniel Hamy, coal trimmer of Oreto.
9. Commander Hickley, of Her Majesty's ship Greyhound.
10. Thomas Joseph Waters, a master mariner in the merchant service.
11. Lieutenant Cardale, royal navy:
12. Bay Beaufoy Stuart, master and pilot of Her Majesty's ship Greyhound.

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I, Robert Butler, of the island of New Providence, esquire, make oath and say as follows:

1. I am acting receiver general and treasurer of the Bahama Islands, and have charge of the revenue department at the port of Nassau. 2. At the request of the attorney general of the colony, I have caused diligent search to be made among the records of the revenue department at Nassau for papers or entries in the books of the department, relating to a certain steamship or vessel called the Oreto, alleged to have arrived at Nassau in the year 1862, and I have found three entries in one of the books of the department relating to the said vessel, under the respective dates of the 28th April, 10th June, and 7th August, 1862, true copies of which I hereto annex, numbered respectively 1, 2, and 3.

5. To the best of my recollection the Florida coaled at Nassau on that occasion, and remained in port for that purpose until the following day, when she left. 6. I have no further knowledge of anything relating to the said vessel. (Signed)

YORICK WEBB. 'Sworn to at Nassau, this 1st day of September, A. D. 1871, before me, (Signed)

W. H. DOYLE, Chief Justice, Bahamas.


By his bonor Captain George Cumine Straban, R. N., administrator of the governmeut and commander-in-chief in and over the said islands, chancellor, vice-adıniral, and

ordinary of the same. To all to whom these presents shall come, greeting :

Be it known that William Henry Doyle, by whom the annexed certificate is subscribed, was on the day of the date thereof, and now is, chief justice for the said Babama Islands; therefore all due faith and credit are and ought to be had and given to the said annexed certificate.

In testimony whereof I have caused the seal of the said islands to be hereunto affixed at Nassau, New Providence, this 4th day of September, A. D. 1871, and in the thirtyfifth year of Her Majesty's reign. [SEAL] (Signed)


Administrator. By his honor's command, (Sigued)


Acting Colonial Secretary.

(Inclosure 6 in No. 37.)

Decree in the case of the British steamship Oreto.

[See inclosure 3 in No. 36.]

[Inclosure 7 in No. 37.)


Pleadings in the case of the Oreto.

In the vice-admiralty court of the Bahamas. Our Sovereign Lady the Queen vs. The British Steamship or Vessel Oreto, (whereof,

James Alexander Duguid is, or lately was master,) her tackle, &c. I, Joshua Anderson Brook, registrar of the vice-admiralty court of the Bahamas, do hereby certify that the annexed contains a true copy of the affidavit of seizure, affidavit of Commander Hewett and officers of Her Majesty's ship Rinaldo, claim, libel, and responsive pleas in the above cause, as remains of record in the registry of this honorable court.

Given at the city of Nassau, in the island of New Providence, under the seal of the said court, this 30th day of August, A. D. 1871, and of our reign the thirty-fifth. (Signed)



In the vice-admirality court of the Bahamas. Our Sovereign Lady the Queen v8. The Steamship or Vessel called the Oreto, (whereof

James Alexander Duguid is, or was master,) her tackle, apparel, and furniture, seized by Henry Dennis Hickley, esquire, commander in Her Majesty's royal navy, and commanding Her Majesty's ship Greyhound. Appeared personally the said Henry Dennis Hickley, and made oath :

1. That the deponent is stationed in Her Majesty's steamship Greyhound, at Nassau, of which station he took charge on the 9th day of June instant, in succession to commander McKillop, of Her Majesty's ship Bulldog.

61] *2d. That previously to the deponent taking charge of the station as aforesaid,

a steamship called the Oreto, sailing under a British register, arrived, as the deponent has been informed and believes, at Nassau, and was conveyed to and anchored at Cochrane's Anchorage to the eastward of the island of New Providence.

31. That such vessel was subsequently removed from Cochrane's Anchorage by the orders of Commander McKillop, and brought into the harbor of Nassau ; the cause of such removal being, that Commander McKillop had on inspection of her found her to be fitted for war purposes in a manner totally at variance with the character of a merchant-vessel, leading to the conclusion that she was to be employed in contravention of law for belligerent purposes.

4th. That the restraint so placed on the said vessel by Commander McKillop was however removed, when the Bulldog was about to leave the station, but Commander KcKillop at the same time officially notified to the deponent his view of the suspicious character of the vessel.

5th. That on the afternoon of the 10th instant the deponent, accompanied by several officers and men of the Greyhound, proceeded on board of the Oreto, then lying in the barbor of Nassau, for the purpose of examining her fittings, and equipments, and of ascertaining whether she had any munitions of war on board. That on reaching her he found the master, the said James Alexander Duguid, with one of the consignees of Vessel, and other parties on board, and the vessel fully manned. That the parties on board appeared at the time the deponent so boarded the Oreto as aforesaid, to be in the act of discharging cargo, ainong which the deponent saw one or more cases which he believes contained shells. That the deponent was proceeding to search the vessel when he was informed by the consignee aforesaid that she had been cleared out in ballast for Havana, and would shortly, the next day as the deponent understood, proceed on a voyage to that port, which statement having been corroborated by the rerenue officer, the deponent withdrew from the vessel, with the understanding that he would again visit and iuspect her before she left port.

6th. That, on the morning of the 30th instant, the deponent received notice from the before referred to consignee, that the Oreto would sail in the course of an hour or 80; in conseqnence of which the deponent, with several of his officers and men, again went on board of her and made a careful inspection; when he found her to be in every respect fitted as a vessel of war, on the principle of the dispatch gun-vessels in Her Majesty's naval service; that she had a crew of fifty men and was capable of carrying iwo pivot-guns amidships, and four broadside, both forward and aft, her ports being made to ship and unship, with port-bars, breeching and side tackle-bolts, &c. That she had shell-rooms, a magazine, light-rooms, and handing-scuttles for handing powder out of the magazine, all fitted as in the naval service; as also shot-boxes for Armstrong shot, or shot similar thereto, round the upper deck. That she had two cutters, one for ten and the other for eight oars, two gigs and a jolly-boat, with davits fixed for hoisting them up, and that her accommodation was in no respect different from similar class vessels in the British royal navy.

7th. That the Oreto did not however quit the port of Nassau, but continued at ber moorings, in the same place in which she was when first visited by the deponent, up to Saturday the 15th, when circumstances having come to the knowledge of the deponent tending to show that the Oreto was originally intended, as her build, fittings, and equipments indicate, to be employed as å vessel of war, and that if she was allowed to quit the port of Nassau, such intention would be carried into effect by her being employed in the servicd of a foreign belligerent power in contravention of the statute of the imperial parliament, passed in the fifty-ninth year of his late Majesty King George the Third entitled “ An act to prevent the enlisting or engagement of His Majesty's subjects in foreign service, and the fitting out or equipping in His Majesty's dominions vessels for warlike purposes without His Majesty's license.” He, the deponent, placed an officer's guard on board of her, and ultimately, on the 17th day of June instant, seized and arrested the said ship, for, and on the ground, that the said ship was, with her tackle, apparel, and furniture, liable to forfeiture under the said recited act. (Signed)


Commander Her Majesty's Ship Greyhound. On the 20th day of June, A. D. 1862, the said Henry Dennis Hickley was duly sworn to the truth of tliis affidavit, before me, (Signed)

Surr. J. C., Vice-Admiralty, Bahamas.

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