[698] *Mr. Adamson, consul, to Mr. Davis, Assistant Secretary of State.

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt, on the 13th instant, of dispatch No. 14, dated June 29, 1871, from the Hon. William Hunter, Acting Secretary of State, and of the inclosures and documents therein referred to.

I am instructed to procure such further evidence as it may be possible to obtain in regard to various facts in connection with the visit, at this port, of the armed steamship Sea King, otherwise known as the confederate steamship Shenandoah, in order more fully to establish the claims of the United States before the tribunal which is to sit at Geneva.

[699] In explanation of the want of fullness in the documents about to be presented to you herewith, I may be permitted to say, that the time between the receipt of the honorable Acting Secretary’s dispatch and the departure of mail, now about to close, was too short for the necessary investigations in a matter of such impor*tance; that, having but recently arrived here, I was compelled to depend mainly on the assistance of Mr. S. P. Lord, a loyal citizen of the United States, long a resident of this port, to whose zealous co-operation I am indebted for the evidence herewith. Also, that beside the many deaths which have occurred, a large number of those who could give valuable evidence have long since left this port, and that most of those still here decline giving the desired information, either because it might be prejudicial to their private business, or to the interests of Great Britain, the country [Page 180] to which they owe allegiance. I may also state that without a commission from the courts of Great Britain, directing the taking of depositions, it seems difficult to take declarations here that would be evidence in the courts of England.

With the above explanations I now submit the inclosed deposition of George Washington Robbins, of Sandridge, near Melbourne, (inclosure No. 1,) declaring that he saw the Shenandoah at this port in 1865, and identifying that vessel as the Sea King by the name on the stern as well as by the statements made to him by two of her officers, his acquaintances.

[700] Mr. Bobbins also saw the Shenandoah *on the government slip at Williamstown; saw working-men going to and from her, and positively declares that additions were made to her crew, naming two of the men. You will particularly notice that he reported the shipping of the men to the water-police, who said they were powerless to interfere without directions from the head authorities at Melbourne, thus confirming the statement of Mr. Consul Blanchard in his dispatch No. 4, of February 23, 1865. Also, as showing the partnership of the government of this colony, the sworn statement of Samuel P. Lord, esq., of this city, (inclosure No. 2,) repeating under oath the statement contained in his letter to Mr. Consul Blanchard, which appears as inclosure No. 49, with Mr. Blanchard’s dispatch of February 23, 1865, giving strong-evidence of the unwillingness of the Crown solicitor and other officials to receive information which might make it the duty of the government to seize the Shenandoah, and generally the unfriendly feeling of the government of this colony as towards the United States.

[701] You will also please notice that Mr. Lord identifies as an official book or document the printed book entitled “The Victorian *Hansard,” which was produced at the taking of his deposition, and which will be forwarded herewith under separate cover, marked 3 A. I also inclose the sworn statement of Samuel P. Lord, esq., (inclosure No. 4,) showing the fact that said vessel was coaled and repaired at this port, which more fully explains why the declarations of the persons who actually furnished the coals and made the repairs cannot be given herewith. Also the sworn statement of H. B. Donaldson, declaring to the facts of the arrival of the Shenandoah at this port, the stay here of said ship, the repairs made at the government slip, and particularly to the fact that he furnished the materials for such repairs, (inclosure No. 5.)

In regard to the confidential instructions alluded to on page 517, Diplomatic Correspondence, it would seem that they have not been made public.

[702] It may be important to our case to notice particularly the debates in the legislative councils of this colony during the stay of the Shenandoah, as reported in the Victorian Hansard herewith, (see pages 264, 284, 309, and 364.) On page 264 it will be seen *that the Hon. Mr. Berry (now the treasurer of this colony) called the attention of the government to the case of the Shenandoah. He identified her as the vessel called the Sea King, which sailed from London about the 8th of October, 1864, asserting that there was abundant evidence of the fact, and inquired why the confiscation of the vessel was not carried out under the neutrality proclamation. He pointed out to the honorable chief secretary that the vessels destroyed by such a vessel would at some future time be claimed by the American Government from the British government, but unfortunately his prophetic utterances were not heeded.

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[703] The partnership of this government may well be inferred from the reply of the chief secretary, Mr. McCulloch, (now Sir James McCulloch,) which follows Mr. Berry’s remarks. The same partnership is also clearly shown in the “cheers from all parts of the house” which followed the subsequent remarks of Mr. O’Shannessy. It is also shown in the extremely tardy action of the government in regard to complaints made that the Shenandoah *was increasing her crew in this port. The honorable chief secretary, Mr. McCulloch, in his explanations made in the house, February 15, 1865, (see Hansard, page 364,) says, “The government found they could not shirk the question.” It was apparently their desire to do so, and his history of the case seems to show that eventually they did shirk it.

I much regret the impossibility of obtaining direct testimony on many important points. The second deposition of Samuel P. Lord, esq., states clearly the fact that Mr. H. W. Langlands, who is substantially the Langlands Foundery Company of this place, admitted to Mr. Lord that he made the repairs on the Shenandoah at this port, and that he paid one J. R. Collins the sum of three hundred pounds sterling for stevedore work on said vessel. Mr. Collins did at first agree to depose to his share in the transaction, but on second thought declined. (See his letter) attached to inclosure No. 2.)

[704] That the Shenandoah was repaired on what is known as the government slip is not denied by the then chief secretary, (see remarks of Mr. McCulloch, Victorian Hansard, page 364) but I believe that at that *time the government slip was leased to a private company.

For reasons hereinbefore stated, I cannot obtain sworn declaration as to the coaling, although the facts are a matter of general notoriety.

The recruiting of additional crew, at this port, may be considered as admitted by the chief secretary, (see Victorian Hansard, pages 364, 365,) and the fact that Captain Waddell knew that men were joining his ship here is indicated by his refusal to allow the inspector of police to go on board and execute the warrant for apprehension of the man “Charlie,” and that Captain Waddell gave his word of honor as an officer and a gentleman that there was no such person on board, although later on it will be seen that four men were detected in leaving the ship at about 10 o’clock at night, and that one of them was the aforesaid man “Charlie.’

[705] The fact that Captain Waddell had violated his word of honor, as an officer and a gentleman, was virtually acknowledged by the chief secretary, in suspending for a time permission for Her Majesty’s subjects to *give assistance to the Shenandoah, which suspension was however removed, for what appears to be rather insufficient reasons; (see Hansard, page 365,) also, by the fact, a matter of common repute, that the leading club, the “Melbourne Club,” which had given a public dinner to the officers of the Shenandoah, did not invite them so freely and openly after this breach of “word of honor.”

As further showing the partnership of the government officials, I may say that it is a matter of common report, which, however, cannot be established by direct evidence, that when a public reception was tendered the officers of the Shenandoah by citizens of Ballarat, distant 96 [Page 182] miles, the government of this colony, in the person of one of its members, furnished said officers with free passes over the railway.

Respectfully submitting the foregoing, I have the honor to be, sir, yours, &c.,

United States Consul.

Hon. J. C. B. Davis,
Assistant Secretary of State, Washington.

[706] P. S.—At the time of writing the above, the deposition of H. B. Donaldson, marked enclosure No. 5, was in the solicitor’s hands, ready for Mr. Donaldson to swear to and *subscribe. I have made every effort to have it completed, and now, at 1 p.m., my solicitor comes with the document unsigned, stating that Donaldson refuses to sign until he receives £50 for doing so. I will barely have time to mail this; in fact may have to send it to Sydney to be mailed.

United States Consul.