[462] *No. 2.—Case of the Stonewall.
Mr. Perry, United States chargé d’affaires, to Mr. Seward, Secretary of State.

Sir: I received last night a telegram from our consul at Vigo, informing me that a confederate pirate steamer had entered the port of Corunna for repairs. He gives the vessel’s name Stonewall, but I received also private advice, late last night, that the ship is the Shenandoah. Copies of these documents go inclosed, as well as another from the consular agent at Corunna, which I at first supposed to refer to some blockade-runner, and treated accordingly. Before daylight to-day the inclosed telegrams had been sent to the consul at Vigo, to the consular agent at Corunna, to the minister of the United States at London, to the chargé d’affaires at Paris, to the minister at Lisbon, and to the consuls at Cadiz and Gibraltar. I trust that from some one of these points a Government cruiser can be notified in time to block the egress of the pirate from the bay. I have also written the note to Mr. Benavides, of which a copy goes inclosed, and as soon as the hour permitted this morning sought him at his own house and placed the note in his hands.

[463] I showed him also the account given by our own consul at Teneriffe, on the 29th October last, of the operation *effected between the Laurel and the Sea King, since Shenandoah or Stonewall, and the royal decree of June 17, 1861, and copies of the telegrams I had sent to our consuls. And I said, also, that I had not wished to indicate in my note any step to be taken by Her Majesty’s government in preference to another, but I had made a statement of the facts as I understood them, and prefer to leave to the spontaneous action of Her Majesty’s government the proper remedy. I did not, however, myself see how Spain could ever permit that vessel to leave her ports again as a privateer. The article first of the royal decree of June 17 could have but one meaning, and though my government had made no reclamation against Spain for the first arming and equipping of this pirate in her waters, unbeknown to her authorities, yet, now that the vessel had come again within her jurisdiction, and within the power of her authorities, if she were again allowed to depart, could not fail to be the motive of grave reclamation from the Government at Washington.

Mr. Benavides said, what you wish, then, is that we should disarm the corsair? I said, what would you do if an armed force engaged in insurrection in France should pass the Spanish frontier? Mr. Benavides replied, we should take away their arms.

[464] I then asked if there was any motive why this corsair should be treated otherwise? Mr. Benavides *said, in his own opinion, there was not; and, besides, this particular ship seems to be doubly guilty.

I added that, in my opinion, she must at least be disarmed completely, both under the dictates of international law and the provisions of the municipal law of Spain. Mr. Benavides took my note and said that he would attend to the affair immediately, and have it set right this day. I shall advise you hereafter what course is taken by this government.

With the highest respect, sir, your obedient servant,


Hon. William H. Seward,
Secretary of State, Washington.