Mr. Adams to Mr. Seward.
Sir: In my despatch No. 527, of the 30th of October, sent last week, I mentioned my intention to address a note to Lord Russell, in reply to his of the 26th of that month, and at the same time seize the opportunity to send in the papers which yet remained in my hands relating to cases of depredation committed by the Oreto, alias the Florida. A copy of that note is herewith transmitted.
In relation to the extraordinary proceedings of the Alabama at Cape Town, reported in my despatch No. 505, of the 1st of October, probably one of those detained by the accident which happened to the Africa, I have now received from Lord Russell a reply to my representation. A copy of his note is transmitted, as well as of my acknowledgment of it. I presume the assurances to be given to you through Lord Lyons are intended to be satisfactory. I am not unwilling to be relieved of the necessity of arguing here a new question, which adds another heavy responsibility to those already incurred by this government from its feeble and fluctuating policy. It is alleged in the newspapers that a portion of the merchandise taken in the captured vessel was actually sold by the commander of the Alabama at Cape Town. This would seem to involve a question of restoration. I do not perceive that Lord Russell alludes to this. Perhaps it was not necesary, as I think there was no reference to it in the consul’s representation, upon which my first note was based.
Since writing the above I have received a letter from Mr. Graham, the consul at Cape Town, a copy of which, at his request, I transmit It appears to establish the fact that the governor considered the sale of captured property as not prohibited by the Queen’s proclamation. Hence it is scarcely to be doubted that such sales were actually made. I shall write to Mr. Graham to obtain, in some form or other, the evidence to which he refers, and send it to the department.
Judge Pringle has likewise sent to me a supplement to the Cape Town Advertiser of the 17th of September. last, containing the private journal of an officer of the Alabama, giving a full account of all her operations from the commencement. It goes far to corroborate the statement of the paymaster, Mr. Yonge, who was one of the principal witnesses in the case of the Alexandra. Although not available as evidence, I shall cause it to be reprinted here and send copies to the attorney general and other parties, who may be open to further conviction.
I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,
Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.