HL Deb 05 April 1864 vol 174 cc448-50

said, that at the last Cork assizes certain persons pleaded guilty to an indictment charging them with having violated the Foreign Enlistment Act, and they were released upon their own recognizances. The offence was having enlisted subjects of Her Majesty on board the United States ship of war Kearsarge. The captain of that vessel stated that the men came on board without his knowledge, and he was not aware of their being on board until he had got to sea, and that when he went into Brest he put them on shore; but as they were without the means of subsistence he took them on board again and conveyed them back to Cork. When this subject was last alluded to, the noble Earl opposite (Earl Russell) made what certainly appeared to be a very extraordinary statement, for he said that he could not see what else the captain could have done. That was a very remarkable statement, because it appeared from the evidence that had been taken, that the men were actually put into the uniform of the United States' Navy by order of the officers of the ship. Now, what he (the Earl of Donoughmore) wished to know was, Whe- ther the noble Lord had required any explanation from the American Minister with regard to this circumstance?


said, that at an early period of the discussion of this matter he had complained to the United States' Minister of the conduct of the officers on board the Kearsarge. After what had passed in that House, and after what occurred in the Court of Justice in Ireland, he had again called the attention of the United States' Minister to the subject, and had asked him to refer to the newspapers and to the opinion given by Mr. Justice Keogh. The United States' Minister informed him that in the month of November last he had received instructions from his Government, that if the Consul had been at all instrumental in violating the Foreign Enlistment Act he should be at once dismissed, and that, with regard to the officer in command of the ship, if the Minister found that he was to blame he was to be reported to the Government, in order that the proper notice might he taken. Mr. Adams did not act upon those instructions, because he did not consider that there was any blame due either to the Consul or the officer in command of the ship in enlisting these persons into the service of the United States. The Correspondence was not yet concluded, but when further explanations had been given the despatches would be laid on the table.


said, that unless Mr. Adams denied the statement that these men were examined by the surgeon and attested, that their names were entered on the books of the ship, and that they were clothed in the uniform of the United States' Navy, it was impossible that the officers of the ship should not be cognizant of the men being on board.


said, there could be no difficulty in ascertaining the truth, if it was desired that the truth should be elicited. He believed the Kearsarge was now repairing at one of our ports. If so, why should not the officers at once come to London, and make such a statement of the real facts as the American Minister would be prepared to vouch for?. It was rather too much to extend to them the hospitality of this country in the face of such statements as were made on the trial at Cork. Either these gentlemen had stated the truth or not. If they had told the truth, let them come forward and verify the facts. No one who knew Mr. Adams would dispute whatever he was prepared to vouch for from his own personal knowledge.