Despatch from Lieutenant Governor Richard Graves Macdonnell to Right Hon. Edward Cardwell (18 August 1864)

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Date: 1864-08-18
By: Richard Graves Macdonnell
Citation: Despatch from Lieutenant Governor Richard Graves Macdonnell to Right Hon. Edward Cardwell (18 August 1864) in Journal and Proceedings of the House of Assembly of the Province of Nova Scotia, Appendix No. 3—Union of the Colonies (1865).
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Government House, Halifax, N.S.,
18th August, 1864.


1. I have the honor to report that the Confederate cruiser “Tallahassee” arrived in this port this morning. The commander waited upon me about 11, A.M., and I granted him the usual permission to remain for twenty-four hours, or such time as might enable him to obtain a reasonable quantity of coal.

2. He informed me that the “Tallahassee” is an iron vessel of about three hundred tons, manned by one hundred and twenty-five men, with a double screw, very fast, and carrying three guns, viz.: a 100, 30, and 12-pounder respectively.

3. He mentioned that he had been nearly sixteen days out from Wilmington, and during that time had destroyed or “bonded,” as he expressed it, thirty-two Federal vessels. He appears to have been lately cruising in the vicinity of New York.

4. In the course of the day the American Consul, Mr. Jackson, forwarded the enclosed note to the Provincial Secretary, requesting that the “Tallahassee” should be detained till he could bring proof of her having violated both International and municipal law; also that supplies of coal might be withheld, and a guard posted to prevent munitions of war being furnished to her.

5. I enclose the reply which I directed to be sent to Mr. Jackson, declining to detain any cruiser of a belligerent State, without proof of some definite violation of public law to justify such detention. I felt, moreover, that to refuse to the “Tallahassee” the supplies necessary to enable her to reach at least the nearest port in the Confederate States, would be acting quite contrary, to the whole tenor of my instructions. I may add, that up to this moment (7 P.M.,) I have not had the slightest. reason to suppose that the commander of the “Tallahassee” has contemplated obtaining munitions of war here. Any attempt of that kind I should immediately take measures to put down effectually.

6. I have also addressed a note to Vice Admiral Sir James Hope, requesting him to be so good as to estimate a reasonable amount of coal to enable the “Tallahassee” to return to Wilmington; and, if necessary, to take precautions to prevent her receiving a larger supply.

7. I am only anxious that in every respect I should deal with the “Tallahassee” as I would with a Federal vessel similarly circumstanced, and beg to assure you that I am quite sensible of the extreme importance of not only, observing practically the most impartial neutrality, but also of convincing others that I am determined to do so.

I have, &c.,

Lieutenant Governor.

The Right Hon. EDWARD CARDWELL, M. P., &c.

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