A bit out of my budget.
But your contribution from the UK reminds me that the American Civil War had all kinds of effects elsewhere, such as the cotton industry in Lancashire in your country which led to support for the South there by some mill owners against support by others for Lincoln as an anti-slaver which resulted in a statue of Lincoln being erected in Manchester, albeit with American funds.
There was even a degree of support for the South here when the successful Confederate commerce raider CSS Shenandoah visited, provoking a range of diplomatic and legal moves which illustrated the variety of local views.
By the 25th, of January, Waddell stood off the entrance to Port Phillip, and asked for a Pilot, who responded that his orders prevented him from bringing a belligerent ship into harbour without a good reason, Waddell pleaded problems with his propellor shafting, which seemed good enough for Pilot Edward Johnson. Waiting off the heads, a health official came on board and indicated that the Confederate would find many friends in Melbourne, but warned of some enemies awaiting.
The ship received government approval to stay in port, provision, and make repairs to the propellor shaft, meantime, the locals turned out en masse to view the Rebel Pirate, her officers regaled with dinners ashore, and balls turned on in their honour.
US Consul William Blanchard protested to Governor Darling, that as Sea King had not visited another British port since she left England, she did not qualify as a warship, and should be designated a Pirate, but the Governor indicated that his law officers of the Crown had: “Come to the decision that, whatever may be the previous history of Shenandoah, the Government of the Colony is bound to treat her as a ship of war belonging to a belligerent nation.”
Now, Blanchard tried another ploy, he indicated that he would protect any crew member from the Confederate ship who had joined from a captured American vessel, 8 deserted, followed by another 6 later.
The repairs were taking their time to be executed, and the US consul believed that Waddell was merely stalling whilst trying to build up his crew numbers from the locals, and asked the police authorities to intervene. Superintendent Lyttleton, and Inspector Beam, of the Victoria went on board on the 13th. of February whilst Waddell was away from his ship, they carried a magistrate’s warrant to search for Charley the Cook, Lieutenant Grimbell, in his Captain’s absence, refused to allow such a search.
Now, Waddell also refused to allow a search on the following day, indicating he had not enlisted anyone since his arrival in Melbourne, the police reported to the Governor who summoned his Executive Council. The result, a message was drafted indicating that all repairs would be suspended, and the ship detained until the warrant was satisfied. At 1600 ( 4 PM ) police took over the ship, cleared the yard and stopped any further Australians from visiting the ship, and the official letter delivered, the messenger waiting for Waddell’s response. It was 2200 ( 10PM ) before the Captain replied, indicating to the Commissioner of Trade and Customs James C. Francis, he would be ready to sail on the 19th, of February, in a second letter to Francis he indicated that: "the execution of the warrant was not refused, as no such person therein specified was on board, but
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only those who had entered this port as part of the complement."
But Constable Alexander Minto from the Williamstown water police noticed a boat at Shenandoah’s gangway, and four men hastening down to jump in this boat, he chased it to shore, nabbed two of the occupants near the railway station, and found the other two lurking in a nearby toilet.
All were goaled, and one suprisingly like the description of " Charley the cook."
The next day, the executive council was again called to review this latest evidence, and a further letter arrived from Waddell indicating he had been told his ship was seized, and he wanted to know on whose authority.
Governor Darling also wanted to know what was going on! Thomas H. Fellows of the Crown Court posted a public statement: “I am of the opinion that the Government have not the power which they claim. A ship of war commissioned by a foreign government is exempt from the jurisdiction of the courts of other countries.”
The Governor wanted Waddell chided, and demanded that Shenandoah sail by the 19th. of February, two days in advance of this deadline, after loading 250 tons of coal, the ship was prepared for sea.
Forty men were gathered on the beach at Sandridge, the original name for the port at Melbourne, which these days carries the name of Port Melbourne, three boats were seen to load these men, and row out to the Raider.
The US Consul forever watchful, rushed off a letter of complaint about illegal recruiting to the Governor, but the Crown Law office was shut for the day, and he could not get any action. He tried the police, outside our jurisdiction, they said, not one to give in easily, Blanchard dashed off to see the attorney general, George Higinbotham at Parliament House, he too, refused to help, but advised seeing Mr. Sturt, a county magistrate, but no, he would not issue an affidavit, and told Blanchard to file a charge with the Williamstown water police, across the bay.
Blanchard now documented the story narrated by Forbes who had first made the report about the 40 men going off to Shenandoah, sent it off to the attorney general, grabbed Forbes to go with him to try and get the Williamstown water police to act, en route, Forbes had second thoughts, thinking about his personal safety, he pulled out. Blanchard without his witness went back to his office, fuming at all the inaction to his complaint.
Now, a George Robbins, a stevedore, turned up at Blanchard’s office, and indicated he had seen boatloads of men plus their baggage crossing by boat to the Shenandoah, and that he could name some of these men. Blanchard was now too tired to act, but entreated Robbins to report his information to the Williamstown
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water police, he returned to his boat, and started to row the distance from Sandridge to Williamstown, close by Shenandoah, he came on a boat manned by two murky characters he knew, Jack Riley and Robert Muir, they overhauled him, and threatened him if he passed on his information to the police. Robbins hit one of the thugs on the head with an oar, and smashed the second one’s fingers, then raced them to the water police. Too late, Shenandoah at 1600 ( 4 PM ) was off, steaming down the bay making for the open sea.
When well clear of land, a number of strange faces emerged from various hiding places, as 45 new crew members, all claiming to be natives of the Southern Confederacy came on deck.
The local papers in Melbourne had a field day, Robbins story made the headlines, announcing Waddell had shipped 40 to 80 British subjects, Muir and Riley were charged, confessed, and were given brief gaol terms.
Then "Charley the cook, and his three mates went on trial in mid March, but in fact it was Shenandoah on trial, early on, the defence counsel asked the prosecution to prove that the Confederate States and the United States were actually at war.
Blanchard was subpoenaed to testify that the Confederate States were in fact a government, the US Consul, livid at being summoned to the court, reminded the Governor that his Government had allowed Shenandoah to enter the port because she was a belligerent, and now they expected him to provide proof.
The Governor ducked for cover, all a mistake, he proclaimed.
The rowdy court room obviously favoured an acquittal, all four had already spent 30 days in custody, Davidson ( Charley ) and one of his mates were sentenced to 10 days in gaol, one was released as he was an American, and the fourth let off, he was but 17 years of age.
The farce was over, and the case considered closed, but Waddell and his Officers were considered as liars, this slur went no further, by the time this story reached Richmond, the Coinfederate Government was no longer in existence, the Civil War was over.
Now Shenandoah sailed freely into the Pacific, no sign of any Union warship to bar her progress.