Despatch from Lieutenant Governor Richard Graves Macdonnell to Right Hon. Edward Cardwell (31 August 1864)

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Date: 1864-08-31
By: Richard Graves Macdonnell
Citation: Despatch from Lieutenant Governor Richard Graves Macdonnell to Right Hon. Edward Cardwell (31 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.,
31st August, 1864.


In reference to the transactions connected with the visit of the Confederate cruiser “Tallahassee” to Halifax, it has occurred to me that I ought to insist on all Belligerent men of war, which may hereafter visit this port, whether Federal or Confederate, resorting to the regular man-of-war anchorage, abreast of the Dockyard.

2. In my despatch, No. 10, of the 23rd inst., I mentioned that the Federal gunboat “Pontoosuc” bad called here on the 19th inst. Within twelve hours after the departure of the “Tallahassee,” she anchored off York Redoubt, at the entrance of the harbor, and more than seven miles below the regular man-of-war anchorage.

3. Two of the officers paid me a visit of ceremony, accompanied by the United States Consul, but did not visit the Admiral, though an officer had waited on the commander of the “Pontoosuc” with a friendly tender of the Admiral’s services. Finally, the “Pontoosuc,” in the course of the afternoon, got under weigh, and proceeded to sea, apparently in chase of the ” Tallahassee,” though twenty-four hours had not elapsed since the departure of the latter.

4. It will be remembered that in the case of the ” Tallahassee,” I had rigorously insisted on her compliance with the spirit and letter of the Queen’s instructions. My doing so greatly increased the chances of her capture; nevertheless I was determined that regulations instituted for the preservation of the neutral attitude of her Majesty’s Government should be enforced, and I have even directed the collectors at all the ports of this province where she could be supplied with coals, to warn her off, and prevent her from receiving any such supplies till three months after her departure from this port.

5. It would, however, be a very one-sided neutrality which permitted a Federal- vessel of war to set at naught a code of regulations which had been enforced against Confederate vessels. It is evident, however, that the departure of the “Pontoosuc,” before the expiration of twenty-four hours from the sailing of the. “Tallahassee,” was clearly as open a violation of the Queen’s orders as the taki4g in an excessive quantity of coal would have been in the case of the latter.

6. I therefore suggested to my Council the expediency of passing the enclosed order, with a view to placing the movements of such belligerent vessels more under control of this Government. They concur in my opinion, and .the order which bas the concurrence of the Admiral will be gazetted this evening, and will also be printed in a convenient form for handing to the officer on duty of every Federal or Confederate vessel of war entering the port in future.

7. It my intention to communicate an extract from. this despatch, and a copy of the enclosed order, to Lord Lyons, with a request that his« Lordship will bring the matter to the notice of the Federal authorities, that the latter may adopt adequate means for making the order known to the commanders of their vessels of war.

I have, &c.,


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