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No. 5. (1864.)

CORRESPONDENCE

RESPECTING

IRON-CLAD VESSELS

BUILDING AT

BIRKENHEAD.

Presented to both Houses of Parliament by Command of Her Majesty.

. 1864.

LONDON:
PRINTED BY HARRISON AND SONS.

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No. 1. Mr. Adams to Earl Russell

Three Inclosures. 2. Earl Russell to Mr. Adams 3. Mr. Adams to Earl Russell

Three Inclosures. 4. Earl Russell to Mr. Adams 5. Mr. Adams to Earl Russell

One Inclosure. 6. Earl Russell to Mr. Adams 7. Mr. Adams to Earl Russell

Three Inclosures. 8. Mr. Layard to Mr. Adams 9. Earl Russell to Mr. Adams 10. Mr. Adams to Earl Russell

Four Inclosures. 11. Mr. Adams to Earl Russell

Three Inclosures. 12. Earl Russell to Mr. Adams 13. Earl Russell to Mr. Adams 14. Mr. Layard to Mr. Stuart 15. Earl Russell to Mr. Adams 16. Mr. Adams to Earl Russell 17. Earl Russell to Mr. Adams 18. Mr. Adams to Earl Russell 19. Earl Russell to Mr. Adams 20. Mr. Adams to Earl Russell

One Inclosure. 21. Mr. Adams to Earl Russell 22. Earl Russell to Mr. Adams 23. Earl Russell to Mr. Adams 24. Mr. Adams to Earl Russell 25. Lord Lyons to Earl Russell

One Inclosure. 26. Lord Lyons to Earl Russell

One Inclosure. 27. Mr. Adams to Earl Russell

One Inclosure. 28. Earl Russell to Mr. Adams

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Correspondence respecting Iron-clad Vessels building at

Birkenhead.

No. 1.

Mr. Adams to Earl Russell.--(Received July 11, 5:45 P.m.)

My Lord,

Legation of the United States, July 11, 1863. IT is with unaffected regret that I perform the duty incumbent on me, as the Representative of the Government of the United States, of laying before you copies of a letter from the Consul of the United States at Liverpool, and of four depositions, all intended to show a determined perseverance in the same acts of hostility at the port of Liverpool, which have formed the subject of my remonstrances almost from the day that I had the honour first to occupy this post.

In many preceding communications I have endeavoured to set forth the facts which appear to me to prove beyond the possibility of a doubt, the establishment on the part of the insurgents in the United States of a systematic plan of warfare upon the people of the United States, carried on from the port of Liverpool, as well as in less degree from other ports of this kingdom. In this policy, the persons who have been sent out, and have acted as agents, have received the aid and effective co-operation of numbers of Her Majesty's subjects. The results of this conduct have been felt in the dispatch of numbers of steamvessels laden with arms and munitions of war of every description, together with other supplies well adapted to procrastinate the struggle, with the purpose of breaking a blockade legitimately establisbed, and fully recognized by Her Majesty in the proclamation issued by her forbidding all such acts. It is needless to point out to your Lordship how exclusively this business has been carried on by British subjects in British vessels, and how much the burden of the war has been increased by the necessity of maintaining a corresponding naval force on the ocean in order to suppress it. Nor yet will I enlarge upon the use to which the British Islands of Bermuda and New Providence have been put by British subjects, as convenient points for the storing of all these supplies to the end that they may be more easily dispatched to their illegal destination.

But not satisfied with the aid thus obtained, the next step of the agents alluded to has been to enlist the aid and co-operation of British subjects in constructing for their use steam-vessels expressly adapted to the object of carrying on war against the commerce of the people of the United States. The extent to which this has been actually procured has been made visible to your Lordship in the various remonstrances heretofore presented by myself to your attention, unhappily too little heeded to secure prevention, and still more by the fact, that for all the vessels now on the ocean engaged in the work of depredation on the coinmerce of the United States, British subjects must be held responsible in regard to their construction, equipment, manning, and outfit.

Furthermore, it appears that the aforesaid agents, under express instructions from the so-called authorities of the insurgents, who soon fell short in the pecuniary means to conduct their extensive warlike operations, have solicited the assistance of Her Majesty's subjects in this kingdom in advancing to them the funds to be appropriated to their objects. The purpose of this application to carry on the war with the people of the United States with the means thus raised was distinctly declared. To that end a loan of 3,000,0001. sterling was proposed. That negotiation was entered into, and the means have actually been obtained in a great measure from the contributions of Her Majesty's subjects.

Thus it is manifest that all of those things denominated the sinews of war, to wit, men and money, ships, arms, gunpowder, and supplies, have been continuously furnished by Her Majesty's subjects almost from the beginning of the contest. A war has thus been [158]

B 2

Majesty is under the most solemn of all national engagements to preserve a lasting and durable peace.

The Government of the United States has in the meantime tried not to be wanting in performing the obligations incumbent upon it as a friend of Great Britain. In every particular in which it has been called upon in a suitable manner, it has laboured promptly to meet and satisfy every just cause of complaint. So far as possible, consistently with the difficulties in which it has been placed, it has assiduously striven to cultivate the most kindly relations. It has been, therefore, with the greatest regret that it has been compelled to feel itself the innocent object of a degree of active malevolence from a portion of Her Majesty's subjects which has largely contributed to aggravate the severity of its trials. The fact that the aid extended to this rebellion has had its source almost exclusively from Her Majesty's subjects is made too notorious by the events of the struggle to need to be further enlarged upon.

In making this representation I do not intend to be understood as implying the smallest disposition on the part of Her Majesty's Government in any way to sanction, or even to tolerate, the proceedings complained of. On the contrary, I cheerfully record my conviction that they condemn them as practically infringements of international obligations, which it is their desire to prevent with all the means under their control. Fruitless as have been the greater part of the remonstrances which I have had the honour to make, I am well aware that the causes assigned for it do not relate to the want of will so much as to the absence of power in the existing laws to reach a remedy. But, admitting this to be case, if an injury be inflicted upon an innocent friendly nation, it surely cannot be a satisfactory reply to its complaints to say that the Government having the will, is not also clothed with the necessery powers to make reparation for the past and effect prevention for the future.

Having thus acquitted myself of the painful duty of recapitulating the points I am instructed by my Government to present, I now have the honour to solicit your attention to the evidence of the last and gravest act of intentional hostility yet committed. It is the construction and equipment of a steam-vessel of war, of the most formidable kind now known, in the port of Liverpool. All the appliances of British skill to the arts of destruction appear to have been resorted to for the purpose of doing injury to the people of the United States, The very construction of such a vessel in a country itself in a state of profound peace, without any explanation of the objects to which it is to be applied, is calculated to excite uneasiness on the part of those involved in a contest where only it could be expected to be made of use. But when it further appears that it is constructed by parties who have been already proved to have furnished one vessel of war to the insurgents in America, and who are now shown to be acting in co-operation with their well-known agents on the spot in the preparation of that now in question, it is not unnatural that such proceedings should be regarded by the Government and people of the United States with the greatest alarm, as virtually tantamount to a participation in the war by the people of Great Britain to a degree which, if not seasonably prevented, cannot fail to endanger the peace and welfare of both countries. I trust I need not assure your Lordship how deeply concerned is the Government which I have the honour to represent in the view of any such possibility, and how earnestly it hopes that Her Majesty's Government, having the will, may find itself likewise vested with the needful powers to guard against any such occurrence.

I pray, &c. (Signed) CHARLES FRANCIS ADAMS.

Sir,

Inclosure 1 in No. 1.
Mr. Dudley to Mr. Adams.

United States' Consulate Liverpool, July 8, 1863.. I HAVE the honour to inclose you a copy of an application by me made yesterday to the Collector of Customs at Liverpool, to stop the iron-clad ram building for the insurgents in the United States by the Messrs. Laird at Birkenhead, and launched from their yard on Saturday last. Also copies of William H. Russell's, Joseph Ellis', Clarence R. Yonge's, G. T. Chapman's, and my own affidavits, upon which the application was based. The affidavits were made before, and the originals left with, the said Collector.

I am, &c. (Signed) THOMAS H. DUDLEY.

Mr. Dudley to Mr. Edwards.

I, THE Undersigned, Thomas Haines Dudley, Consul of the United States of America for the port of Liverpool and its dependencies, do hereby apply to you on behalf of the Government of the United States of America, to seize and detain an iron-clad vessel-of-war launched from the yard of Messrs. Laird and Co. at Birkenhead on the 4th day of July instant, and now lying at Birkenhead aforesaid with her tackle, apparel, and furniture, with all the materials, arms, ammunition and stores which may belong to or be on board of the said vessel, pursuant to the power given to you in that behalf by the 7th section of the Act of Parliament 59 Geo. III, c. 69, on the ground that such vessel is being equipped, furnished, fitted out, and armed, in order that such vessel shall be employed in the service of the persons assuming to exercise the power of Government, and called the Confederate States of America, and with the intent to cruize and commit hostilities against the Government and citizens of the United States of America, with which Government Her Majesty the Queen is not now at war. July 7, 1863.

(Signed) T. H. DUDLEY.

Inclosure 3 in No. 1.

Depositions. WE, William Hayden Russell, of Brooklyn, in the State of New York, in the United States of America, master mariner, now at Liverpool, in the county of Lancaster, in England, and Joseph Ellis, of No. 161, Athol Street, in Liverpool aforesaid, master shipwright, make oath and say as follows:

l. I, the said William Hayden Russell, for myself say: I have been in command of American merchant-vessels for the last thirty years, and for the last eighteen years I have commanded packet-ships trading between New York and Liverpool. I have frequently been on board British and American vessels of war of all classes, and I am well acquainted with their mode of construction.

2. I, the said Joseph Ellis, for myself, say I have been regularly brought up to the business of a shipwright, and I have assisted in the construction of iron-clad vessels of war.

3. And we, the said William Hayden Russell and Joseph Ellis, for ourselves, say as follows: On Saturday last, the 4th day of July instant, we were present in the shipbuilding yard of Messrs. Laird and Co. at Birkenhead, when an iron-clad steam-vessel built by them was launched.

4. The vessel in question was one of two iron-clad steam-vessels, built alongside of each other at the southern end of the yard, and which appeared to be in all material respects similar to each other.

5. Before the said vessel was launched we carefully examined her externally ; we walked along the whole length of the vessel, within seven or eight yards of her, and saw the whole structure of the vessel from the keel upwards.

6. The said vessel is, to the best of our judgment, about two hundred and thirty feet long, with from thirty-eight to forty feet beam. She is covered with iron plates from the point of a ram or piercer projecting from her stem to within about twenty feet from her stern. We saw an iron plate which one of the foremen in the yard informed us was prepared for the other of the said iron-clad vessels, and similar to the plates upon the vessel which we saw launched. The thickness of such plate was about four and a-balf inches. The said vessel had a space at the stern covered over with an iron-plated house of great strength, and there was a larger space forward, apparently intended for a forecastle, which was also covered with a.similar iron-house.

7. The ram or piercer which we have mentioned is a prolongation of the stem of the vessel projecting about seven feet from a perpendicular line drawn from the upper part of the stem. It is of immense strength, and is so placed that when the vessel is in sea-going trim, with her engines and stores on board, the upper part of it would be, as far as we can judge, two or three feet below the surface of the water.

8. On the quay near the said vessel, and also in Messrs. Laird and Co’s. yard, we saw two circular iron turrets in the course of construction, such as would be used for carrying turret guns on board such a vessel. The diameter of each of these turrets, as well as we could judge was about twenty feet. The frames of these turrets were of iron, of

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