No. 555.
Mr. Bayard to Sir L. S. Sackville West.

Sir: I have the honor to inclose herewith a copy of a letter from the Attorney-General, transmitting a copy of a letter to him, dated the 3d instant, from the United States attorney at Norfolk, Va., in relation to the misconduct of the commander of the British steamer North Erin when a deputy United States marshal attempted to serve process upon him, on the 2d instant, while the North Erin was inside Cape Henry, Virginia, and within the jurisdiction of the United States.

Should you deem it proper to do so, I will thank you to bring the matter to the attention of Her Majesty’s Government with a view to its being laid before the proper authorities for such action, if any, as they may be authorized to take, should they find the facts to be as stated, and the laws and regulations in relation to shipping make provision for the correction of the misconduct of officers of merchant vessels under such circumstances as the present case presents.

I have, etc.,

T. F. Bayard.
[Inclosure 1.]

Mr. Garland to Mr. Bayard.

Sir: I have the honor to send you, for your information, a copy of a letter of the 3d instant from Mr. Gibson, attorney of the United States for the eastern district of Virginia in relation to the conduct of the commander of the British steamer North Erin when a deputy United States marshal, in whose hands was an attachment against the vessel, attempted to go aboard the latter.

Very respectfully,

A. H. Garland,
Attorney-General.
[Page 788]
[Inclosure 2.]

Mr. Gibson to Mr. Garland.

Sir: I have the honor to report that on the 2d instant Reynolds Bros., of Norfolk, Va., sued out a libel in the United States district court of this judicial district against the steamer North Erin, a British vessel bound to Liverpool, England, for the sum of $14,231, in the cause of contract, civil and maritime.

On the same day an attachment was sued out of said court against said vessel, and was placed in the hands of John I. Sullivan, special deputy United States marshal eastern district, Virginia. This vessel then being on her way to some foreign port, the deputy marshal chartered a tug-boat and proceeded the same evening to Cape Henry, Virginia, to intercept the vessel and levy the attachment. As the steamer was nearing the cape the deputy marshal went to her in a boat, hailed the captain, and told him he wished to go aboard. As he got alongside of the steamer the captain gave orders to increase her speed and threw out a ladder to enable the pilot then on board the steamer to leave her and go in the boat in which the deputy marshal was. The deputy marshal started up the ladder and told the pilot that he was a deputy United States marshal and wanted to see the captain on business. One of the crew called out to the captain that a United States officer wanted to board his vessel. The captain ordered his crew to throw the marshal off. As the marshal tried to climb the ship the crew lowered him down. This movement was twice repeated. On his third attempt to board, the marshal reached and grasped the ship’s railing with his hand. The rope was then untied, the ladder was thrown over, and the marshal was pushed from the vessel. The marshal fell some 20 or 30 feet, and fortunately fell into a boat of the pilot-boat William Graves. Had he not done so the suction of the moving steamer would almost inevitably have drawn him under. The pilot was carried off in the captain’s steamer.

The name of the captain of the steamer was John Owens. His vessel was loaded at West Point, Va., with cotton for Liverpool.

Very respectfully,

J. C. Gibson,
United States Attorney.