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Mr. Adams to Mr. Sewardm

No. 278.] Leuation Op The United States,

London, Dicember 19, 1S62.

Sir ■ I have the honor to transmit a copy of Lord Russell's note to me of the 16th instant, in answer to mine of the 21st ultimo, on the subject of recruiting in this kingdom for the service of the United States. This completes the correspondence on that matter, already forwarded with my despatch (No. 266) of the 26th of November last.

1 have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,


Hon. William H. Seward,

Secretary of State, Washington, D. C,

Earl Russell to Mr. Adam*.

Foreign Office, December 16, 1862. Sir: With reference to my note of the 20th ultimo, I have the satisfaction of informing you that further inquiries which have been instituted respecting the alleged recruiting in London for the United States army seem to establish that the reports to that effect which had reached her Majesty's government were without foundation

I have the honor to be, with the highest consideration, sir, your most obedient, humble servant,


Charles Francis Adams, Esq., 6[c., Sfc., Ifc.

Mr. Seward to Mr. Adams.

No. 429.] Department Of State,

Washington, December 20, 1862. Sir: I herewith enclose, for presentation to the British government, a copy of memorials and other papers addressed to the President of the United States by several ship-owners, resident within the collection district of New Bedford, Massachusetts, relative to the capture and destruction of the American whaling vessels, the Virginia, the Benjamin Tucker, the Elisha Dunbar, the Ocean Rover, the Altamaha, and the Ocmulgee, by the piratical steamer Alabama, in the month of September last.

I am, sir, your obedient servant,

WILLIAM H. SEWARD. Charles Francis Adams, Esq., Ifc., Ifc., S(c.

Mr. Setoard to Mr. Adams.

No. 431.] Department Of State,

Washington, Decemher 21, 1862.

Sir: Your despatch of December 4 (No. 268) has been submitted to the President. He regards with no special satisfaction the growing complications which manifest themselves in European politics, although they may possibly have an influence in abating the prejudices in regard to the United States which have worked them so much injury. We are content to rely upon the justice of our cause, and our own resources and ability to maintain it. It is, however, ti source of satisfaction to perceive some evidences that the interests of the British nation, and its natural sentiments, are recovering their former influence upon the British mind, after the violent demonstration which has been witnessod during the last eighteen months. If the active military interference in our conflict of British subjects, who profit remorselessly by the misfortunes of both countries, can be arrested by the government, we may soon hope to see their friendly relations more firmly established than ever heretofore.


I am, sir, your obedient servant,


Charles Francis Adams, Esq., !fc., Sfc, Sp.

Mr. Adams to Mr. Seward.

No. 280.] Legation Of The United States,

London, December 24, 1862. Sir: I have the honor to transmit copies of a series of communications received from Mr. H. J. Sprague, the consul at Gibraltar, respecting the movements made at that port to sell the steamer Sumter. As he desired my advice, I gave it to him in the letter, a copy of which goes with the papers. The question of the right to sell the property of a belligerent to a neutral in a neutral port is not without its difficulties, and I find the authorities differ materially about it. My own leaning is rather to a liberal construction, especially as in this case it relieves us from a burdensome process of vigilance. Besides which, I find that the government bought a war vessel of the Greeks whilst engaged, in 1826, in their war with the Turks.

I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,


Hon. William H. Seward,

Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.

[Enclosure? ]

1. Mr. Sprague to Mr. Adams, December 9, 1862.

2. Telegram from Mr. Sprague to Mr. Adams, December 8, 1862.

3. Mr. Sprague to Mr. Adams, December 10, 1862.

4. Telegram to Mr. Adams. December 9, 1862.

5. Advertisement of sale of the Sumter.

6 Mr. Sprasiue's protest to governor of Gibraltar, December 9, 1862.

7. Commander Pickering to Mr. Sprague, December 6, 1862.

8. Mr. Sprague to Mr. Adams, December 12, 1862.

9. Colonial Secretary to Mr. Sprague, December 10, 1862.

10. Mr. Sprague to Colonial Secretary, December 10, 1862.

11. Colonial Secretary to Mr. Sprague, iu reply, December 10, 1862.

12. Mr. Spratue to Colonial Secretary, December 11, 1862.

13. Official notice in Gibraltar Chronicle, December 10, 1862. H. Official notice in Gibraltar Chronicle, December 11, 1862.

15. Change in advertisement of sale of Sumter.

16. Gibraltar Chronicle, December 5, 1862.

17. Mr. Adams to .Mr. Spraznc, December 17, 1862.

18. Telegram from Mr. Spiague to Mr. Adams, December 19, 1862. Sale of Sumter.

19. Telegram, same to same, December 23, 1862. Sumter flying British flag.

No. 1.

Mr. Spragw to Mr. Adams.


Gibraltar, December 9, 1862.

Sra: I informed you yesterdiy that the steamer Sumter had just been sold by private ooDtract The sum she fetched was four thousand pounds sterling.

Yesterday afternoon the purchasers were ready with the money and with bill of sale in hind to be executed by a notary public in this city, when it was found that all the papers required by them could not be produced by the officer in charge of the Sumter, who, it appears, holds a power of attorney from a certain Bullock, who styles himself senior naval officer in the confederate service in Europe, and, I am told, is at present in England giving his attention to what relates to the marine service of the rebel States. The purchasers require a written authority from Commissioner Mason to Mr. Bullock for the Bale of the Sumter, and the seller has telegraphed for this document; in the mean while the sale is in suspense, and I accordingly telegraphed your excellency last evening as annexed.

the guns of the Sumter are included in the sale, and, should the sale be consummated, I understand they will be landed here under the supervision of the British authorities. The revolvers are not sold. I hear it stated the officer in charge intends to send them forward to England. The purchasers of the Sumter have refused buying the chronometers, salt, provisions, or anything else that has been captured by her when in command of Semmes.

Please communicate all this information to our government at Washington.
I have the honor, &c, &c.,


United Stak$ Consul.

His Excellency Charles Francis Adams,

Untied Statu Minuter, tfe„ Sfc , Src., London.

No. 2.

Decbmber 8, 1862.

Mr. Adams, American Minitler, London:

The private sale of the Sumter is in suspense for want of written authority from Commissioner Mason. The partv has telegraphed for it

SPRAGUE, Consulate.

No. 3.

Mr. Sprague to Mr. Adams.


Gibraltar, December 10, 1862.

Sir: After mailing my communication to you of yesterday I received a telegram from Mr. Koerner, our minister at Madrid, requesting me to protest against the selling of the steamer Sumter at this port. I had also received, a few hours before, an official note from Captain Pickering, of the United States steamer Kearsarge, now at Cadiz, to the same effect. In consequence, and in the absence of any reply from your excellency to my telegrams from the 6tb instant, I decided to delay no further in addressing the governor of this fortress on the subject, and based my communication upon the telegram received from our minister at Madrid. I now have the honor of transmitting a copy thereof

'I he private sale of the Sumter still remains in suspense, and she is still advertised in the Gibraltar Chronicle of yesterday for sale by public auction for to-morrow.

Anything further transpiring about the Sumter I Bhall telegraph your excellency without delay.

I enclose copy of Captain Pickering's despatch to me. I also annex copy of my telegram to you of Inst evening.

I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,

United States Consul.

His Excellency C. F. Adams,

United States Mviider, $-c , S,-c., 8(c., Ixmdon.

No. 4.

Gibraltar. December 9, 1862.

Mr. Adams, American MmiUcr, Low/on:

l'y instructions of oar minister at Madrid, have protested to British government against Sumter t-elug sold here.


No 5.

[From Gibraltar Cbronicle of the 9th December, 1809.|

Oq Thursday next, 11th instant, at 12 o'clock, will be sold by public auction, in the north room of the Exchange, tbe screw steamer humter, now lying iu this bay, of about 499 tons burden, built at Philadelphia in 1859, of superior oak timber, aud sheathed with, yellow metal in 1860, together with sails, rigging, stores, moorings, &c, &c, as may be found on board, and a powerful engine, cylinder titty inches; an inventory of which and condition) of sale may be seen ou board any time previous to the sale, or at—


December 8, 1862.

No. 6.

Ur. Sprague to Sir W. Codrington.

Consulate Of Tub Unhid States Of America,

Gibraltar, December 9, 1862—4 p. m.

Sir: I have this moment received a telegram from the minister of the United States of America for the court of Madrid under to-day's date in the following terms:


"Announce officially that the steamer Sumter, being prize of war made by the insurgents in the United States,, and really the property of citizens of that republic, being also included in the terms provided in the orders of her Britannic Majesty in council against ths sale of prise of this war in her Majesty's dominions, cannot be lawfully sold in Gibraltar, and that the sale announced will not be respected by the vessels-ot'-war of the United States, but that the Sumter will be .made prize wherever she may be found on the high seas, or within American jurisdiction, and taken befoie the proper court for adjudication. "The minister plenipotmtiaiy,

"gustavus KOERNER."

In face of which I have to protest in the na ue of the government of the United States of America, as its representative at this port, against the sale of the ste.imer Sumter taking place in this city, with the concurrence of the British authorities. I have the honor to be your excellency's obedient servant, •

Untied Stale)

His Excellency Sib Wbl Codrinoton, K. 0. B.,

Governor of Gibrulijr, &rc., Ajv., tfc.

No. 7.

Captain Pickering to Mr. Spragut.

Unitkd States Steakbb Kbabsaroe,

Li Carraaa, Cadiz, December 6,186J.

Kir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your telegram, without datr, iaorming me that the Sumter is advertised for sale at Gibraltar on Thursday next.

The vessel is of little value, and probably offered for pale merely to establish a precedent.

The pale of so called confederate war vessels in BritMi ports is an act as unfriendly and hostile to our Rovernment ag the purchase of war vessels; iu their ports by the game party. I would therefore suggest that it is your duly to enter a protest against the sale. I am, respectfully, &c , your obedient servant,

C. W. PICKERING, Captain.

Hobatio J. Sphaoue, Esq.,

United State* Consul, GJ/raUar.

No. 8.

Mr. Sprague to Mr. Adams.

Consi'laik or The Dkiikd 8tatbs or America,

Gibraltar, December 12,1S02. Sir: I bee to transmit herewith copier of notes that have so far been interchanged between this consulate and the governor of Gibraltar regarding the proposed sale of the steamer Sumter in this port since I had the honor of addressing your excellency on the 10th instant

In the absence of instruct ionTM from your excellency, I have limited myself to protesting against the sale of the Sumter at this port, based upon the contents of the telegram received from Mr. Koernet, our minister at Madrid.

I call your particular attention to the official notices published in the Gibraltar Chronicle" of the 10th and 11th instant, which I herewith annex.

I have never been able to obtain an accurate history of the steamer Sumter, but, ag much can be said as to what constitutes a "war prise." I t ike the liberty to observe that as all public property in the States that have rebelled against the government of the United States was the property of the United States, whether it consisted of ships or stores in the public aismalt, or of money m the public chenf. its illegal capture by the so called confederates might make all such property prize of war Although the British government has conceded belligerent rights to the States in rebellion, it has not yet recognized those States, nor would it probably be disposed to contend that the property of the United States seized by force is law fully owned by the so-called confederates.

The private sale of the Sumter having been cancelled by mutual consent, she is again advertised for sale by public auction for the 19th instant, and I hear a party is expected from England, by the Southampton steamer, due here on the 17th instant, to be present at the sale, but for what purpose I know not

Please do me the favor to inform our government of the contents of the present communication with its enclosures, and accept, sir, the assurances of my high consideration and respect.

United StaUs Consul.

His Excellency C. F. Adams,

Untied Hates Minuter, l(e., tec., Sec., London.

No. 13.

Captain Frtelmg to Mr. S/rague.

Secretary's Orrics,

Gibraltar, December 10,18C2. StB: I am directed by the governor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter, dated 9th instant, on the subject of the sale of the Sumter.

His excellency de<-ires me to inform you that you have not furnished Riiv such proof of the Sumter being a prise as to justify his interference) with a mercantile transaction. I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,


Cionial SecriUiry.

H. J. SpRAQtJE, Esq.,

United States Consul, Sec., See., Sec

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