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STATEMENT OF FACTS RELATIVE TO THE ALABAVI.1.
On the 24th June, 1862, Earl Russell received from Mr. Adams the following note with an inclosure:1
Mr. Idams to Earl Russell.
PART VI.-The Alabaina,
LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES,
London, June 23, 1262. MY LORD: Some time since it may be recollected by your lordsbip that I felt it my
duty to make a representation touching the equipment from the port of Liverpool of the gun-boat Oreto with the intent to make war upon the
United States. Notwithstanding the statements returned from the authorities of that place, with which your lordship favored me in reply, touching a different destination of that vessel, I have the strongest reason for believing that that vessel went directly to Nassau, and that she has been there engaged in completing her armament, provisioning, and crew for the object first indicated by me.
I am now under the painful necessity of apprising your lordship that a new and still more powerful war-steamer is nearly ready for departure from the port of Liverpool ou the same errand. This vessel has been built and launched from the dock-yard of persons, one of whom is now sitting as a member of the House of Commons, and is fitting out for the especial and manifest object of carrying on hostilities by sea. It is about to be commanded by one of the insurgent agents, the same who sailed in the Oreto. The parties engaged in the enterprise are persons well known at Liverpool to be agents and officers of the insurgents in the United States, the nature and extent of whose labors are well explained in the copy of an intercepted letter of one of them which I received from my Government some days ago, and which I had the honor to place in your lordship’s hands on Thursday last. I now ask permission to transmit
, for your consideration, a letter addressed to me by the consul of the United States at Liverpool, in confirmation of the statements here submitted, and to solicit such action as may tend either to stop the projected espedition, or to establish the fact that its purpose is not inimical to the people of the United States. Renewing, &c., (Signed)
CHARLES FRANCIS ADAMS.
The 6 copy of an intercepted letter” referred to in the above note was a paper purporting to be a copy of a letter or report from a confederate officer of artillery, addressed to some person unknown, and relat. ing to purchases of military supplies for the confederate army, and to vessels employed in blockade-running. The inclosure was as follows:
Mr. Dudley to Mr. Adams.
UNITED STATES CONSULATE,
Liverpool, June 21, 1862. Sir: The gun-boat now being built by the Messrs. Laird & Co., at Birkenhead, opposite Liverpool, and wbich I mentioned to you in a previons dispatch, is intended for the so-called confederate government in the Southern States. The evidence I bare is entirely conclusive to my mind. I do not think there is the least room for doubt about * it. Beaufort and Caddy, two of the ofticers from the privateer Sumter, stated that this vessel was being built for the Confederate States. The foreman in Messrs. Lairds'
yard says she is the sister to the gun-boat Oroto, and has been built for the same parties and for the same purpose; when pressed for a further explanation he stated that she was to be a privateer for the “southern government in the United States.” The captain and officers of the steamer Julia Usher, now at Liverpool, and which is loaded to run the blockade, state that this gun-boat is for the confederates, and is to be commanded by Captain Bullock.
The strictest watch is kept over this vessel ; no person except those immediately engaged upon her is admitted into the yard. On the occasion of the trial trip made last Thursday week, no one was admitted without a pass, and these passes were issued to but few persons, and those who are known here as active secessionists engaged in sending aid and relief to the rebels.
I understand that her armament is to consist of eleven guns, and that she is to enter at once, as soon as she leaves this port, upon her business as a privateer. The vessel is very nearly completed: she has had her first trial trip. This trial was
successful, and entirely satisfactory to the persons who are superintending her [B2] construction. She will be finished *in nine or ten days. A part of her powder
canisters, which are to number 200, and which are of a new patent, made of copper with screw tops, are on board the vessel; the others are to be delivered in a few days. No pains or expense have been spared in her construction. Her engines are ou the oscillating principle, and are 350 horse-power. She measures 1,030 tons burden, and will draw 14 feet of water when loaded. Her screw or fan works in a solid brass frame casting, weighing near two tons, and is so constructed as to be lifted from the water by steam-power. The platforms and gun-carriages are now being constructed.
When completed and armed she will be a most formidable and dangerous craft; and, if not prevented from going to sea, will do much mischief to our commerce. The persons engaged in her construction say that no better vessel of her class was ever built.
I have, &c., (Signed)
THOS. H. DUDLEY. The attention of Mr. Adams had been called by Mr. Dudley to the vessel mentioned in the foregoing note and inclosure, both before she was launched and immediately afterward. The launching of this vessel took place on the 15th May, 1862, about a month before the date of Mr. Adams's first representation to Earl Russell. Mr. Dudley's attention had been directed to the vessel in November, 1861, immediately on his arrival at Liverpool.
Immediately on the receipt of Mr. Adams's note, Mr. Hammond, one of the under-secretaries of state for foreign affairs, wrote, by the direction of Earl Russell, to the secretary to the treasury and to the law. officers of the Crown, as follows: Mr. Hammond to the secretary to the treasury.
FOREIGN OFFICE, June 25, 1862. Sir: I am directed by Earl Russell to transmit to you a copy of a letter from the United States minister at this court, calling attention to a steamer reported to be fitted out at Liverpool as a southern privateer, and inclosing a copy of a letter from the United States consul at that port, reporting the result of his investigations into the matter; and I am to request that you will move the lords 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 avd proper.
I am, &c.,
Mr. Hammond to the law-officers of the Crown.
FOREIGN OFFICE, June 25, 1862. GENTLEMEN: I am directed by Earl Russell to transmit to you a letter from the United States minister at this court, calling attention to a steamer reported to be fitting out at Liverpool as a southern privateer, and inclosing a copy of a letter from the United States consul at that port reporting the result of his investigations into the matter; and I am to request tbat you will take these papers into your consideration and favor Lord Russell with any observations you may have to make upon this question.
I am, &c.,
Copies of Mr. Adams's note and Mr. Dudley's letter were sent with each of the two preceding letters for the information of the lords commissioners of the treasury and the law-otlicers, respectively. Earl Rus sell, on the same day, wrote as follows to Mr. Adams:
Earl Russell to Mr. Adams:
FOREIGN OFFICE, June 25, 1862. Sir: I have the lionor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 23d instant, calling attention to a steam-vessel which yon state is now fitting out at Liverpool with the intention of carrying on hostilities against the Government of the United States; and I bave to acquaint you that I have lost no time in referring the matter to the proper department of Her Majesty's government.
I am, &c.,
RUSSELL. The law-officers of the Crown, on the 30th June, 1862, made their raport, as follows:2
The lau-ficers of the Crown to Earl Russell.
TEMPLE, June 30, 1802. MY LORD: We are honored with your lordship's commands signified in Mr. Ham
mond's letter of the 25th June instant, stating that he was directed by your * lordship to transmit to us a letter from the United *States minister at this court,
calling attention to a steamer reported to be fitted out at Liverpool as a southern privateer, and inclosing a copy of a letter from the United States consul at that port, reporting the result of his investigations into the matter, and to request that we wonld take these papers into our consideration and favor your lordsbip with any observations we might have to make upon this question.
In obedience to your lordship’s commands we have taken these papers into consideration, and have the honor to report
That, if the representation made to Her Majesty's government by Mr. Adams is in accordance with the facts, the building and equipment of the steamer in question is a manifest violation of the foreign-enlistment act, and steps ought to be taken to put that act in force and to prevent the vessel from going to sea.
The report of the United States consul at Liverpool, inclosed by Mr. Adams, hesides suggesting other grounds of reasonable suspicion, contains a direct assertion that the foreman of Messrs. Laird, the builders, has stated that this vessel is intended as a privateer for the service of the government of the Southern States; and, if the character of the vessel and of hier equipment be such as the same report describes them to be, it seems evident that she must be intended for some warlıke purpose.
Under these circumstances we think that proper steps onght to be taken, nuder the direction of Her Majesty's government, by the authorities of the customs at Liverpool. to ascertain the truth, and that, if sufficient evidence can be obtained to justify proceedings under the foreign-enlistment act, such proceedings should be taken as early as possible. In the mean time, Mr. Adams onght, we think, to be informed that Her Majesty's government are proceeding to investigate the case; but that the course which they may eventually take must necessarily depend upon the nature and sufficiency of any evidence of a breach of the law which they may be enabled to obtain; and that it will be desirable that any evidence in the possession of the United States consulat Liverpool should be at once communicated to the oflicers of Her Majesty's customs at that port.
We have, &c.,
ROUNDELL PALMER. The commissioners of customs, on the 1st July, 1862, reported to the treasury as follows:
Report ly the commissioners of customs. To the lords commissioners of Her Majesty's treasury:
Your lordships having referred to as the annexed letter from Mr. Hammond, the under-secretary of state for foreign aftairs, transmitting, by desire of Earl Russe ], copy of a letter from the United States minister at this court, calling attention to **
? Appendix, vol. i, p. 180. Ibid., p. 181. 3 Ibid., p. 192.
steamer reported to be fitting out at Liverpool as a southern privateer, and inclosing copy of a letter from the United States consul at that port, reporting the result of his investigation into the matter, and requesting that immediate inquiries may be made respecting this vessel, and such steps taken in the matter as may be right and proper,
We report that, immediately on receipt of your lordships' reference, we forwarded the papers to our collector at Liverpool for his special inquiry and report, and we learn from his reply that the fitting out of the vessel has not escaped the notice of the officers of this revenue, but that as yet nothing has transpired concerning her which has appeared to demand a special report.
We are informed that the officers have at all times free access to the building-yards of the Messrs. Laird, at Birkenhead, where the vessel is lying; and that there has been no attempt on the part of her builders to disgnise what is most apparent, that she is intended for a ship of war; and one of the surveyors in the service of this revenue, who had been directed by the collector personally to inspect the vessel, has stated that the description of her in the communication of the United States consul is correct, with the exception that her engines are not constructed on the oscillating principle. Her dimensions are as follows: Length, 211 feet 6 inches; breadth, 31 feet 8 inches; depth, 17 feet Pinches; and her gross tonnage, by the present rate of admeasurement, is 682.31 tous. The surveyor has further stated that she has several powder-canisters on board, bat, as yet, neither guns nor carriages, and that the current report in regard to the vessel is, that she has been built for a foreign government, which is not denied by the Messrs. Laird, with whom the surveyor has conferred; but they do not appear disposed to reply to any questions respecting the destination of the vessel after she leaves Liverpool. And the officers have no other reliable source of information on that point; and having referred the matter to our solicitor, he has reported his opinion that, at present, there is not sufficent ground to warrant the detention of the vessel, or any interference on the part of this department, in which report we beg to express our concurrence. And, with reference to the statement of the United States consul, that the evidence he has in regard to this vessel being intended for the so-called confederate government in the Southern States is entirely conclusive to his mind, we would observe that, inasmuch as the officers of customs of Liverpool would not be justified in taking any steps against the vessel unless sufficient evidence to warrant her detention should be laid before them, the proper course would be for the consul to subinit such evidence as he possesses to the collector at that port, who would thereupon take such measures as the provisions of the foreign-enlistment act would require. Without the production of full and sufficient evidence to justify their proceedings, the seizing officers might
entail on themselves and on the government very serious consequences.  * We beg to add that the officers at Liverpool will keep a strict watch on the
Tessel, and that any further information that may be obtained concerning her will be forth with reported. (Signed)
THO. F. FREMANTLE.
GRENVILLE C. L. BERKELEY. CUSTOM-HOUSE, July 1, 1862.
A copy of the report of the commissioners of customs was, on the 4th July, 1862, transmitted by Earl Russell to Mr. Adams, inclesed in the following letter:
Earl Russell to Jr. Adams.
FOREIGN OFFICE, July 4, 1862. SIR: With reference to my letter of the 25th ultimo, I have the honor to inclose a copy of a report from the commissioners of customs, respecting the vessel which you have been informed is being built at Liverpool for the government of the so-styled Confederate States, and in accordance therewith I would beg leave to suggest that you should instruct the United States consul at Liverpool to submit to the collector of customs at that port such evidence as he may possess tending to show that his suspicions as to the destination of the vessel in question are well founded.
I am, &C.,
RUSSELL. Mr. Adams replied as follows:1
Mr. Adam: to Earl Russell.
LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES,
London, July 7, 1862. MY LORD: I bave the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your note of the 4th instant, covering a copy of the report from the commissioners of customs respecting a vessel presumed by me to be in course of preparation at Liverpool to carry ou hostile operations against the United States.
i Appendix, vol. i, p. 185.
In accordance with your lordship's suggestion, I shall at once instruct the consul of the United States to submit to the collector of customs at that port such evidence as be possesses to show that the suspicions he entertains of the character of that vessel aft well founded.
I pray, &c.,
CHARLES FRANCIS ADAMS.
On the 10th July, 1862, the collector of customs at Liverpool received from Mr. Dudley the following letter: 1
The United States consul to the collector of customs, Liverpool.
LIVERPOOL, July 9, 1862. Sir: In accordance with a suggestion of Earl Russell, in a communication to Mr. Adams, the American minister in London, I beg to lay before you the information and circumstances which have come to my knowledge relative to the gun-boat now being fitted out by. Messrs. Laird, at Birkenhead, for the confederates of the southern United States of America, and intended to be used as a privateer against the United States.
On my arrival, and taking charge of the consulate at Liverpool in November last, my attention was called by the acting consul and by other persons to two gun-boats being or to be fitted out for the so-called confederate government: the Oreto, fitted out by Mr. Miller and Messrs. Fawcett, Preston & Co., and the one now in question. Subsequent events fully proved the suspicion with regard to the Oreto to be well founded; she cleared from Liverpool in March last for Palermo and Jamaica, but sailel direct for Nassau, where she now is receiving her armament as a privateer for the socalled confederate government; and my attention was called 'repeatedly to the gunboat building by Mr. Laird, by various persons, who stated that she also was for a confederate privateer, and was being built by the Messrs. Lairds for that express purpose.
In May last two officers of the southern privateer Sumter, named Caddy and Beanfort, passed through Liverpool on their way to Havana and Nassau, and while here stated that there was a n-boat building Mr. Laird, at Birkenhead, for the southern confederacy; and not long after that a foreman employed about the vessel in Mr. Laird's yard stated that she was the sister of the Oreto, and intended for the same service, and, when pressed for an explanation, further stated that she was to be a privateer for the southern government in the United States.
When the vessel was first trieu, Mr. Wellsman, one of the firm of Fraser, Trenbolm & Co., (who are well known as agents for the confederate government,) Andrew and Thomas Byrne, and other persons, well known as having been for months actively engaged in sending munitions of war for said government, were present, and have accompanied her on her various trials, as they had accompanied the Oreto on her trial trip and on her departure.
In April last the southern screw-steamer Annie Childs, which had run the blockade out of Charleston, and the name of which was changed at this port to the Julia Usher, was laden with munitions of war, consisting of a large quantity of powder, rifled can
non, &c., by Messrs. Fraser, Trenbolm & Co., for the southern confederacy, and left  Liverpool to run the blockade under the command of a Captain * Hammer, and
having on board several of the crew of the privateer Sumter, to which I have before referred.
For some reason unknown this vessel came back and is now here. Since her return a youth named Robinson, who had gone in her as a passenger, has stated that the gunboat building at Lairds' for the southern confederacy was a subject of frequent conversation among the officers while she (the Julia Usher) was out. That she was all the time spoken of as a confederate vessel; that Captain Bullock was to command her; that the money for her was advanced by Fraser, Trenholm & Co.; that she was not to make any attempt to run the blockade, but would go at once as a privateer ; that she was to mount eleven guns; and that if the Julia Usher was not going, the six men from the Sumter, who were on board the Julia Usher, were to join the gunboat. This youth, being a native of New Orleans, was extremely anxious to get taken on board the gun-boat, and wished the persons he made the communication to, to assist him and soe Captain Bullock on his behalf. He has, I understand, been removed to a school in London. With reference to his statement, I may observe that Captain Hammer referred to is a South Carolinian, has been for many years in Fraser, Trenholm & Co.'s employ, is greatly trusted by them, and is also intimate with Captain Bullock, 80 that he would be likely to be well informed on the subject; and as he had no notion
· Appendix, vol. i, p. 185.