Alleged kidnapping for the Federal Army on the Great Western 1864

Liverpool Mercury, Nov 16th 1864

Alleged kidnapping for the Federal Army

Last evening a discovery was made in this town which awakens suspicion that concerted movements are being made in Lancashire and other parts of England to replenish the wasted ranks of the Federal army by the fraudulent enlistment of young men, chiefly amongst the unemployed cotton operatives. For some time past placards have been posted in Ashton-under-Lyne and the neighbourhood offering employment to young men in extensive glassworks in New York at 16s a week including food and clothing.

The bait speedily took, and amongst the unemployed operatives of Ashton, many of them whom have for nearly twelve months been entirely with out the ordinary means of support, the project became so popular that upwards of 300 persons agreed to proceed to America to enter upon these new duties, never apparently for one moment suspecting that this offer of work in a glass manufactory might be a mere pretence for entrapping them into the Federal army.

The party mainly employed in making an agreement with these men was a person well known in Ashton whose name we do not for the present think proper to mention, and whose brother, it is understood, was similarly engaged in London, though not with the same amount of success.

So far as we have been able to ascertain, 180 persons, many of them lads of 15 or 16 years of age, assembled yesterday morning in Ashton for the purpose of being conveyed to Liverpool for shipment on board the GREAT WESTERN, a sailing vessel lying in the Canada Dock. Whether they waited for the London contingent of 30 to join them we do not know, but owing to some cause the train conveying these young men did not start till the afternoon, and consequently they did not arrive at the new railway station in Sefton St till it was dusk. The carriages throughout the journey were locked and on reaching the railway station it was found that a number of carts had been employed to convey the lads to the vessel. Many of them not having tasted food all day, they demanded of the men in whose charge they were that something should be given them to eat, but they were told they would receive plenty on the ship. This led to some words which attracted the attention of a gentleman living in the neighbourhood, whose suspicions were awakened that the poor fellows had been duped, and his opinions being confirmed by subsequent inquiry, steps were taken to undeceive the men and about 150 of them positively refused to go on board. It was in vain that the chief actor in the scene foamed and swore, he could not induce the youths to march a step, and he may congratulate himself that when they discovered the trick which had been played upon them they did not take the law into their own hands and punish him. About three carts loads of them, however were induced by promises and the show of money to go on board the vessel, whilst the remainder, penniless and hungry, would have been turned into the street but for the kindness of the gentlemen in whom they are indebted from their fortunate escape from expatriation and forced service in a foreign land.

The matter was duly brought under the notice of the police authorities, and should this prove another instance of violation of the Enlistment Act, sure steps will be taken to prevent the departure of the vessel with Englishmen put on board under such circumstances. Also to make the people of Ashton so acquainted with the true facts of the case as to induce the 200 lads who have arranged to come to Liverpool on Thursday morning to remain at home, and so to thwart the suspected scheme thus laid for the infringement of their liberty. We have received the following letter upon this important subject :-

To the editors of the Liverpool Mercury

Gentlemen - A most flagrant case of violation of the liberty of the British subject has just come under my notice, which I think it my duty as an Englishman to protest against. Upwards of 180 poor boys and men, from 17 to 30yrs of age were brought from Ashton this evening by the last train, and were being kidnapped [no other word is applicable] into carts, hired specially, and taken, like calves to the slaughter, on board the GREAT WESTERN, in the Canada Dock. These men were led to believe that their services were wanted in a glass works in New York, but when I explained to them the real intention of their senders they most of them refused to go, and jumped for joy. I have found shelter and food for many of them on my premises, the others were beguiled to going on board, being hungry and tired. I find another batch of 30 came down from London this afternoon, engaged for a similar purpose. But it is very clear the object is to find soldiers for GRANT’S army. It is high time that the authorities should be made aware of what is going on, and prevent Englishmen being made into food for powder to carry on a war from which Lancashire is suffering so much. I will thank you to cause this to be inserted in your paper of tomorrow, and remain, yours, etc


Sefton Foundry


Liverpool Mercury, Nov 17th 1864

Alleged kidnapping for the Federal Army

Detention of an American packet ship with 400 men on board

In brief :-

The arrival of a number of young men from Ashton-under-Lyne, who had been prevailed upon to enter into an engagement to proceed to New York to work in a glass manufactory caused considerable excitement throughout the town. The police office was visited during the day by a large number of persons anxious to get a look at the supposed Federal recruits and considerable speculation was indulged in whether the “agents” had brought themselves within the scope of the Foreign Enlistment Act and as to whether the police in Liverpool would be able to interfere. It seemed however that the agents had so skilfully laid there plans as to keep themselves beyond the operation of that loosely drawn piece of legislation., it was admitted there could be not the least moral doubt as to their guilt and it was hoped the authorities would take action in the matter, so that an example might be made of those men who for the sake of gain would delude from their native land a number of youths to shed their blood fighting the battles of America in a cause in which they have neither interest nor sympathy.

Mr UNDERWOOD of the Sefton Foundry, with commendable promptitude, furnished the poor famishing fellows on their arrival in Liverpool when they refused to proceed with their conductors to the ship Great Western, with a plentiful supply of bread and cheese. He also brought the matter under the attention of Major GREIG and Supt KEHOE, chief of the detective department and the men were temporary accommodated in rooms at the detective offices.

The matter was placed in the hands of Det Insp CARLISLE who made inquiries and learned that the men had been engaged to work in a glass works at New York and were to receive $15 a month and lodgings. 40 had been engaged at Ashton-under-Lyne by a man named Hugh SHAW a native of that place, and 8 in London by a person named STARLING, and 20 in Stalybridge by Hugh SHAW. The men stated that before they were engaged they came under close physical scrutiny, several were rejected because they didn’t have good teeth, a circumstance which would leave to the belief they were most likely to be engaged in America in handling muskets and biting cartridges before RICHMOND, than in blowing glass in New York. It was the object of the men who engaged them to entrap them into joining the Federal army, they seemed to have gone very craftily to work, for in order to blind their dupes, they impressed upon them the necessity to be careful in New York to keep out of the way of the army crimps, stating they had already taken out 300 young men to that country for the “glass trade” but they had all joined the Federal army. They were also told they must not hamper themselves with a large amount of superfluous luggage, which was altogether needless, seeing the destitute condition in which many of them were. They would be provided with a new suit of clothes each, when the ship sailed and when 5miles at sea they would have to enter into a new agreement.

Mr CARLISLE went down to the ship Great Western, which was lying in the Carrier’s Dock, he found on board 400 youths, similar to those which had been brought from Ashton and Stalybridge. They stated they had been brought from Congleton, Bradford, Leeds, London, and some from this town, they did not seem desirous to proceed on their doubtful voyage to the West. Mr CARLISLE in the meantime, presented a report to the authorities at the Town Hall, based on the inquiries he had made, Mr CURWOOD the deputy town clerk, after deliberation came to the conclusion there was not sufficient information to warrant the police in interfering under the Foreign Enlistment Act. Other parties had interested themselves in the case, from information received the necessary affidavits were made, Mr HULL solicitor was instructed to move in the matter, the Great Western was stopped just as she was leaving the dock and two customs officers were placed on board by direction of Mr PRICE EDWARDS, Collector of customs of this port, who no doubt had some solid grounds for acting, before he would take this step. The Great Western commanded by Capt CUNNINGHAM, said to be consigned to Messers BARING Brothers of New York is therefore detained and in the meantime allowed to be anchored in the river.

There was great excitement on board and on the quay as the ship was leaving the dock, several men attempted to leave the vessel, while others who did so said they would be “revenged” on those who had brought them to Liverpool, the “agents” at one time seemed in danger of being roughly handled, three men seizing one of them, attempting to throw him in the dock. The agents made off as soon as possible.

None of the intended emigrants had the least knowledge of glass blowing, a business which needs time and skill to acquire, and which is remunerative to those employed in England, proof that the men were intended to fill the large gaps lately caused in the armies of the North. Of the number at the police office, 5 stated they were labourers, 1 clerk, 1 type founder, 1 cabman, 1 bricklayer, 3 miners, 1 painter and the rest factory operatives. Several who came from London said there attention was drawn to an advertisement about a month ago in the Clerkenwell News and the Daily Telegraph, in consequence of which they went to a house in Westminster and there met an American who offered them $15 a month, a suit of clothes fit for the climate at New York, and that wages would commenced from the time of going on board ship. On Monday last each of the men received a note, of which the following is a copy :-

“Mr BHESTER requests Mr --------, to be in readiness for embarkation on Tuesday [tomorrow morning], Upon production of this letter to Mr STANTING, a plain breakfast will be provided at the Kings Coffee House corner of Drummond St and Seymour St, Euston Square, at 10 o’clock punctual.”

29 of the men from London of whom several were foreigners, came down by express, and arrived at Liverpool on Tuesday afternoon, 58 others followed by a later train. A great number of these have refused to go on board the ship, or left after joining her in the Canada Dock, they allege they had great difficulty leaving the ship, and were prevented in some cases by some persons on board.

The announcement in the Mercury caused great excitement in Ashton, the matter has been brought under the notice of the borough magistrates by Mr DALGLEISH, head constable of the borough, his attention having been drawn to the suspicious movements of Hugh and James SHAW, the parties who have engaged the men Mr DALGLEISH directed by the Mayor of Ashton came to Liverpool last night and communicated with the police. No doubt the visit will have the effect of causing a good many of the young men to go back to their native town, as well as to prevent the departure of the contingent expected to leave Liverpool on Thursday.

Mr CARLISLE has received instructions to go on board the Great Western today for the purpose of seeing whether any of those on board wish to leave, as it is stated many are detained against their will, and to see that no coercion is used towards them.

The men as a rule were anything but stalwart individuals and were unlikely to impress the Americans as the boasted bone and sinew of the “brave broad shouldered Englishmen” But we suppose all men are alike to bounty speculators, tall or short, provided they have “good teeth” and the poor fellows in Lancashire, many of them reduced to skeletons by the pressure of “hard times” are considered sufficiently good material to become “food for powder” down South or assisting to conquer, “the flower of the Southern chivalry”. Some men to whom we spoke expressed their disgust at the attempt that had been made upon them to join the Federal army. One poor fellow said, they had been “clamming” for a long time, they were willing to go anywhere to work for a living, that, “they did not mind fighting for their own country, “ but would not on any account fight for the Americans

It was decided the men should sleep at the Brownlow Hill, Workhouse, they were mustered in the police yard four deep and when altogether were marching along the street in somewhat military order, headed by Det COURTENAY, some with clogs on, others mere boys with bundles under their arms, but, all poor fellows merely clad, they presented a sorry figure from a warlike point of view and reminded one of Falstaff’s celebrated, “ragged regiment” as they passed along they excited great attention and were followed by crowds some of them remarking that many of the lads would be best at home with their mothers than thinking of, “ going a-sogering.”

At 9pm two respectable young men called at the detective office saying that they had been induced to come to Liverpool from London for the purpose of proceeding to New York to be engaged in a glass works. They gave their names as T. D. WHILLOCK, 6 St James Place, Harleyford Rd, Kennington Rd, London and William FENTON, Sewardstone Rd, Victoria Park, London. They saw an advertisement in the London Telegraph, for work in New York, glass works, they called as directed on a Mr BHESTER, Carey St, Lincolns-inn-Fields, where they were engaged at $15 a month with lodgings. They were told as they were respectable they would be engaged as clerks, the “rough” would have to “knock glass bottles about” and “wheel barrows”. Subsequently they saw two men who answered the description of SHAWS and STANTING, and were told by them they would get Lieutenants commissions in the Federal army, and be allowed 2s per head for every man they could get to accompany them to America. They came to Liverpool with 30 men accompanied by STANTING on Tuesday. They were regaled on the journey with brandy and water, but, the majority of their fellow travellers got nothing. They went on board the Great Western as directed but didn’t like what they saw, one of them stating the men on board “ were packed like slaves”. They made excuses to leave to bring their luggage on board and pay their hotel bill, but went to the police and gave information of what they had seen.

It seems the movements of the agents in London have attracted the attention of the police there and the agents have frequently had to move their rendezvous. A so-called American Emigration Society has been open for about a month in Dale St, managed by an Irishman, at times there are a considerable number of men about, expressions have been heard which convince people that the society is nothing more than a recruiting agent for the Northern States. The whole matter will be brought before the magistrates on Thursday and it is hoped that those who have acted as agents in the matter and have breeched the Foreign Enlistment Act will be taught the necessity of abstaining in future from raising an army in England to fight the battles of America.

At Ashton-under-Lyne magistrates meeting yesterday Mr George DALGLEISH, Chief constable called the attention of the bench to the system of employing young men for work in the glass works of New York. He informed them, 80 young men had left Ashton on the previous night and from what he had heard they had been taken away to be drafted into the Northern army. He then referred to the letter signed, George UNDERWOOD in the Liverpool Mercury. He further said he understood there had been an agent in the district employed in engaging young men who gave the name of ROUPELL or RUSSELL, Maiden Lane, New York, but he had left the district and Hugh SHAW, Staleybridge Rd was acting for him, and SHAW’S brother had accompanied the young men to Liverpool on Tuesday. The Magistrates clerk asked the Chief constable to look into the matter, Mr DALGLEISH, told the Magistrates clerk the agent had been told to look at the young men’s teeth, which aroused his suspicion. The Magistrates clerk asked Mr DALGLEISH to see the Mayor to arrange a meeting relative to this important subject. On Tuesday a woman applied at the Ashton police office for the police to interfere to prevent her son of 16 being lured to America, the police could not see how they could interfere. He had been told by ROUPELL or RUSSELL if he was drafted in to the army in New York he would received pay from the Federal government, and warned if they got drunk they would certainly be got hold of by the crimps and drafted into the army. The suspicion in the district is now in general that the engagements were not bona fide.

Liverpool Mercury, Nov 18th 1864

Alleged kidnapping for the Federal Army

In brief :-

The men, upwards of 50, accommodated at the Brownlow Hill Workhouse were again taken to the police office, Insp CARLISLE was again yesterday investigating the matter, 8 men brought from Staleybridge and Ashton by the SHAW’S gave affidavits in regard to the affair at Mr HULL’S office. The two young men FENTON and WHILLOCK brought from London who said one of the men who engaged them promised they would be given Lieutenant’s commissions in the Federal army also gave affidavits. These young men are highly intelligent , there can be no doubt their evidence will greatly assist the authorities in getting up the case for the prosecution. It seems shortly after the young men left London the truth as to the ultimate destination of the young men got out and on their arrival at Liverpool they received telegrams from their friends warning them not to proceed to New York. Yesterday Capt CUNNINGHAM commander of the Great Western called at the detective office and requested that the police accompany him on the vessel for the purpose of taking off about 150 of the passengers, and that he desired that the matter should be settled as quickly as possible as he was anxious that his vessel should proceed to sea without loss of time. Subsequently Insp CARLISLE and Mr DALGLEISH, Chief constable of Ashton boarded the vessel along with the Captain. The passengers numbering between 400 and 500 were mustered on deck by the Captain. They were chiefly young men, 200 had been brought from the manufacturing districts on the pretence of going to New York and working at the glass works, while the remainder were chiefly Irish and German, nearly the whole of them capable of handling a musket.

The “emigrants” were asked in the presence of the officers if they wished to proceed to New York or to be put on shore, all with the exception of 4 wished to proceed to New York. Since the affair has been made public it is thought the men have been influenced to make them remain. One of the individuals on board a German who wore some sort of uniform, seemed to take a lively interest in the “emigrants” and seemed to posses some influence over some of them. Another man from Staleybridge, who was addressed by some of the men as the “sergeant” evidently had power over the Lancashire portion of the passengers, and told the officers they were determined to go to America or some other country, and not to be left destitute in England any longer, another passenger told Insp DALGLEISH that, “he was not going back to be put in gaol to pick oakum” The SHAWS and some other prime movers in the matter got out of the way when they saw Insp CARLISLE and Mr DALGLEISH come on board.

Liverpool Mercury, Nov 19th 1864

Alleged kidnapping for the Federal Army

In brief :-

The affidavits made by the 8 men from Ashton, London and Staleybridge were passed on to the Home Office on Thursday. 8 men brought from London who were unable to get back in consequence of their destitute condition also made affidavits yesterday, they are in the meantime to be kept in Liverpool until it is decided what steps will be taken in the matter. They are at present living at Pates Temperance Hotel, Dale St under the care of Mr CARLISLE.

The corporate officials in Liverpool do not intend to proceed in the matter alone as they consider that as the subject is of national interest the Government only can be expected to interfere for the purpose of bringing the guilty parties to justice. We think there can be do doubt the Government will take prompt action in the matter, the only difficulty at present existing is where they will commence proceedings, London, Ashton, or Liverpool. The difficulty overcome there is no doubt that a prosecution will be instituted forthwith, as there are ample grounds to justify such a course being taken.

A number of females from Ashton, Dublin and other places called at the detective offices yesterday inquiring about their husbands or sons, who they believed to be on board the Great Western. They all seemed to be in great trouble and did not relish the idea of their relatives going to the “land of the free”. One poor woman said that her husband had been decoyed away from his work in Dublin and she found him on board the great Western, he was anxious to come ashore with her, but, that the mate would not let him leave the vessel. A poor old female upwards of 69yrs of age called to make inquiries about her son, a lad of 15 who was on board the Great Western. She had received a note from one of the men who had returned to Ashton telling her to call on Mr CARLISLE who would assist her in finding her son. She appeared in great distress and cried bitterly, saying, her son was her only support, and if he was taken away from her she would end her days in the workhouse. Another female, in a delicate state of health said she had three children, that her husband who was a coal porter at Dublin had been drunk one night and was met by a Federal agent, who had persuaded him to go to America and that she and her family had been left destitute. Mr CARLISLE promised to take the females on board the Great Western to see if they could get their men off.

Supt KEHOE has received a number of letters from parents and friends of youths who have left London and other places and are supposed to be on board the Great Western. One of the writers offers a £10 reward for the recovery of her son. It was reported at the police office yesterday that a quarrel broke out on board the Great Western between two of the passengers about the allowance of provisions, one of them had been knocked down into the hold and was not expected to live. The police endeavoured to get on board the vessel to inquire into the matter but, were unable to do so because of the boisterous weather. The vessel is still detained in the river by order of the authorities.

A person has been arrested in Ireland for recruiting for the Federal army, and it is believed that this person is one of the parties engaged in sending to Liverpool a number of the Irish emigrants on board the Great Western.

Several of the parents and wives of the men engaged by SHAW of Ashton were in attendance at the Ashton-under-Lyne borough court yesterday and had a private interview with the Mayor and borough magistrates. Those from Staleybridge had to apply to the authorities there, we learn from our correspondent there that some of the men employed at Staleybridge were fully cognisant of the purport of their engagement.

Following letter and enclosures appeared in the London Standard :-

The kidnapped Englishmen

To the editor

Sir, with reference to the paragraph, “Charge of kidnapping for the Federal services” I, in conjunction with several others answered an advertisement in the Daily Telegraph from the same parties, addressed, 35 Carey St, Lincoln’s Inn. I subsequently called and saw a person named SIMSON, [Clerk to Mr B. LESTER] who engaged me to go out to New York, offering me lucrative employment in a glass warehouse and I signed an agreement in his presence to that effect. A few days after I received the enclosed letter [No 1] and made preparations accordingly. On the 28th I received letter [No 2] also enclosed, and not being satisfied with the tone of such letters I determined on not having anything further to do with the affair. I write this thinking you might feel inclined to insert this in your paper, I am Sir your obedient servant - NEMO

No 1

Care of J. BAXTER LANGLEY Esq, 50 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, Nov 18th.

“Mr B. LESTER, begs to inform, Mr C. H. DALIS that the parties engaged for employment in America and who have executed the agreement must be prepared to leave London at the end of the present month. It is probable that not more than 24hrs notice can be given on or after the 30th inst. Bedding and all necessities on board will be provided”

No 2

“Mr B. LESTER, regrets to inform, Mr C. H. DALIS that the vessel engaged will not sail until the 14th November. All particulars if desired will be explained on calling between 9 and 10am tomorrow, [Saturday] at 74 Hercules Buildings, Westminster Rd, Lambeth”

“Mr DALIS, 39 Carey St, Lincolns inn Fields”

Liverpool Mercury, Nov 21st, 1864

Alleged kidnapping for the Federal Army

In brief :-

Is still under investigation, no definite instructions have been received at Liverpool from the Home Office regarding the matter. The action taken by Mr Price EDWARDS collector of customs at this port in stopping the GREAT WESTERN has been confirmed by government authorities in London, to whom the affidavits of a number of men examined in Liverpool were sent, this affidavits were taken to Mr HULL solicitor, who forwarded them to Mr Price EDWARDS, stating he would from that time consider the case taken entirely out of his hands. The GREAT WESTERN is still prohibited from sailing and the customs house officers continue on board. The women who inquired about their relatives at the detective office [upwards of 25] were able to board the GREAT WESTERN. Mr CARLISLE went to Messers BALDWIN and TRACEY the passenger agents for the ship to make arrangements for getting on board the vessel with those who were seeking their relatives, he was referred to Messers BARING Brothers but they declined to interfere. Mr CARLISLE finally went to Capt CUNNIGHAM who ordered Mr TRACEY to have a steam-tug at the Landing-stage at 3pm so that the people might be taken on board. When the party reached the vessel the women succeeded in finding every person they were in search of. The men seemed very anxious to get on shore and when they got on board the tug to return to Liverpool they thanked the police for the exertions they had made on their behalf. While the tug was lying alongside the vessel, 48 passengers jumped on board and insisted on being taken on shore making 60 in all.

The men stated they had been brought from London, Ashton, Staleybridge, Macclesfield, Congleton and Bolton. They complained bitterly of the accommodation on board the GREAT WESTERN, saying they had to lie on dirty straw mattresses with only one rug to cover them, their provisions consisted mainly of “salt junk” and biscuit.. They frequently “diverted” themselves on board by drilling and “playing at soldiers” but whether any of the agents were engaged in initiating them into the “goose step” did not transpire. There was also a disturbance on Friday night between some passengers in reference to the supply of provisions. While the tug was leaving the vessel there was great excitement on board the vessel, the side of the ship was crowded with “emigrants” who hooted and hissed at those on the tug accusing them of showing the “white feather” telling them they were going back to the workhouse to “clem and pick oakum”. Those on the tug returned the compliment by “chaffing” their late companions as to what “fine soldiers they would make” telling them that they were a “fine lot to take RICHMOND” and asking them whether they were to be paid in “greenbacks” When in Liverpool those who were destitute were taken to Brownlow Hill workhouse, where they will be kept until arrangements can be made to get them home. On Friday Mr TRACEY got a steam tug to proceed to the vessel, but the weather was so rough they could not get alongside. Previous to leaving the Landing-stage he found that 54 Liverpool “roughs” had jumped on board the steamer for the purpose of trying to get to the GREAT WESTERN but, they were quickly sent ashore again. From this it would seem that the Federal service is popular with these gentry, and that the American agents would find no lack of recruits in Liverpool.

On Saturday while on board the vessel Mr CARLISLE and Det JONES inquired into the report that one of the passengers had been ill-used and knocked down the hold, it was found a man named James FAWCITT, an hotel porter who resided at 10 Bakers Row, Clerkenwell, London, had accidentally fallen down the hold, but had not received much injury.

FENTON the young man from London made further statements which fully explained how the scheme worked. A few days after applying for the engagement at the glass works in New York, through Mr LESTER, 35 Carey St, Lincolns inn Fields, he saw a Mr STARTEN, a middle-aged dark man, he [FENTON] had a uniform cap on and STARTEN said, “you are in uniform eh? Do you know your drill well ? What corps are you in? FENTON told him he was in the artillery and STARTEN replied, “you will have a commission” FENTON asked what he meant by a commission in a plate glass works. To this STARTEN replied, “well as soon as you arrive at New York you will be made an American subject and will have to stand your chance with the draught unless you volunteer.”

An agreement to serve in the employ of Messers BLISS, WARD and ROSVELDT and to place himself solely at their disposal and will, was read to him, and he signed it, but, was refused a copy because it was too much trouble. FENTON afterwards met STARTEN repeatedly, also Messers SIMSON, F. D. WHITLOCK, LANGLEY, NEWPORT and others. At one of these meetings STARTEN offered him 2s for every man introduced to them, FENTON introduced several at different times and received the money from Newport. Afterwards STARTEN accused FENTON of being in communication with the detectives but he denied it. He went to see them men engaged but most refused to go saying it was for soldiering. About 30 however mustered and came to Liverpool with FENTON. At Liverpool FENTON received a letter from a relative warning him not to go as it was for the Federal army. He told STARTEN about the telegram and STARTEN said, he should please himself, but if he went back he should say that it was not for soldiering, nothing of the kind. He went on board the GREAT WESTERN and saw NEWTON and many of the men he had seen in London.

Another young man named PEPPER, a type founder has given a similar account of the mode of proceeding in London. On board the GREAT WESTERN he saw some Germans who said they were going to America to join the army. A mill operative in the employment of the Lancashire Relief Committee of Staleybridge says he was met by a man named BURNS who asked him if he wanted to go to America cheap and hearing of the plate-glass warehouse , he was induced to sign to go and to enlist others.. The same evening they met SHAW and his brother and on Sunday they signed a book promising to go out to America


In connection with this subject much excitement exists in Ashton under Lyne and Staleybridge, especially among the wives and parents of men who are still on the GREAT WESTERN, several applications have been made to Mr CHADWICK chief superintendent at Staleybridge to rescue the men or to send the wives and parents to them. At the moment the authorities can do nothing for the poor creatures Mr CHADWICK has offered certificates of identification to those who can muster the money to go to Liverpool, 21 men went from Staleybridge, only 11 have returned. The authorities at Staleybridge are taking no action as the offence occurred at Ashton under Lyne, Mr MARSHALL, town and borough magistrates clerk of Ashton under Lyne is in communication with Mr HULL, of the firm Messers HULL, STONE and FLETCHER, Liverpool, who is sending evidence taken in Liverpool to the Home Office, and the mayor and magistrates of Ashton are investigating the subject. The unanimous feeling in the district is one of indignation, it is hoped the parties engaged in breaking the law may meet with punishment, there is no doubt in the district that the men engaged were intended to be kidnapped in America.

Liverpool Mercury, Nov 22nd, 1864

Alleged Federal enlistments

Yesterday the Mayor of Liverpool, Edward LAWRENCE, received a letter from the Home Secretary stating that the affidavits in the case of the GREAT WESTERN and the alleged enlistments for the Federal army had been laid before the law officers for the crown, his Worship will hear more as soon as the opinions of the crown jurists are given. A subscription was made at the Liverpool Exchange for those men who had been left destitute.

The police are in possession of stronger evidence against the agents and it can be clearly proven that the men were intended for the Federal army, in fact, a flagrant breach of the Foreign Enlistment Act has been committed. In addition to the Ashton and Staleybridge men who have been sent home, 11 of the Londoners who made affidavits have been sent to the metropolis, 10 men from London still remain in Liverpool in a destitute state, Mr CARR the governor of the workhouse, has evinced much kindness on all the poor fellows, temporary accommodated in the establishment.

Mr KEHOE Supt Det of police still receives letters from wives and parents whose relatives are supposed on board the GREAT WESTERN.

Liverpool Mercury, Nov 24th, 1864

Alleged Federal enlistments

In pursuance of directions received from the Home Office Mr BATESON, solicitor of the firm BATESON and ROBINSON, who has been employed by the government to prosecute the inquiry, went yesterday on board the GREAT WESTERN, accompanied by Mr HULL, Mr SQUAREY [of the firm DUNCAN, SQUAREY and BLACKMORE], who is acting on behalf of the owners of the vessel, Capt CUNNINGHAM, two gentlemen from the office of Messers BARING Bros, Messers TRACEY and BALDWIN, passenger agents, Insp POVEY of the emigration office, Mr HENESSEY of customs, Mr DALGLEISH, chief constable of Ashton under Lyne and Insp CARLISLE.

When the party reached the ship the passengers were mustered on deck Mr BATESON addressed them, saying, there was reason to suspect their passages had been paid with the idea of enlisting them into the Federal army, he explained they were there at their own free will and they could go ashore if they thought proper, they need not go to New York except if they pleased and they would receive protection if they wished to leave the vessel.

All passengers on board with the exception of three said they would not go on shore and wished to proceed to New York. Several men stated they had been engaged by STARTEN, SHAW and NEWPORT to go to New York to work in a glasshouse, and were to have their passage paid. They never intended to enlist in the Federal army and would take good care not to do so. A great many men presented a miserable sight, some without shoes, others without shirts, and all in a ragged condition.. Several who seemed to have great influence over their comrades said they had been in the English army and had received their discharge. It was reported to the police that there were in the hold of the vessel a number of bales containing Federal uniforms, at the invitation of Capt CUNNINGHAM these were examined and contained only rags and sails.

One man on board told the officers that in the last few days 25 labourers from Liverpool had joined the vessel for the purpose of proceeding to New York and were to get their passage free.

When the tug was leaving with the party from Liverpool the “emigrants” crowded the bulwarks and rigging. They gave three cheers for, “Old Abe Lincoln” and for “The American Union.” The three men who wished to leave the vessel were brought ashore.

Mr BATESON and Mr HULL expressed their thanks to Capt CUNNINGHAM for the facilities he had afforded them in carrying out their inquiries and saying, they had no doubt that beyond navigating the ship he had no interest in the matter. The results of the inquiries were telegraphed immediately to the government.

Several of the men brought from London still remain in Liverpool, they are in a very destitute state and one of their number has been seriously ill from the privations he has experienced. They have no means of getting back to their native place or of maintaining themselves here. Yesterday Major GREIG seeing their destitute condition kindly ordered them to be supplied with bread, cheese and coffee. It is hoped some gentlemen of the town will provide the means to send them home as soon as possible.

The GREAT WESTERN is still detained in the river.

Liverpool Mercury, Nov 26th, 1864

Alleged Federal enlistments

The release of the Great Western

It now seems doubtful notwithstanding the strong evidence said to have been procured whether the Government will institute a prosecution in reference to the alleged violation of the Foreign Enlistment Act in London and Lancashire by the enlistment of men to serve in the Federal army. It was rumoured yesterday that the Government had abandoned the prosecution and it was likely that the Federal “agents” would escape without punishment. This caused considerable surprise, and the prompt action of the Government in the case of Messers JONES and HYATT and with regard to LAIRD’S rams was unfavourably contrasted with their dilatory movements in the present instance.

It appears Mr PRICE EDWARDS collector of customs received a telegram from the Home Office on Thursday night directing him to release the GREAT WESTERN, in consequence the customs officers on board the vessel were released from their duty, and the ship released. Weather favourable she will proceed to sea on Saturday and the SHAWS and others suspected of being Federal agents will proceed to New York on board the ship.

Messers BARING Bros have determined to take proceedings against the Government for the detention of the ship.

Liverpool Mercury, Nov 29th, 1864

Alleged Federal enlistments

The GREAT WESTERN sailed for New York yesterday morning, the SHAWS and others who have acted as Federal “agents” have gone with the vessel.


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