Story: Episode 198 Goodbye Liverpool


Story: Episode 198                    November 1862                         Goodbye Liverpool


The crews of the Liberty and Defiance were getting settled on board and running drills ordered by “former” Captains McDavid and McFarland who were being paid by Laird to make observations on the performance of the Rams.

Euan and William made their good-by’s at Allerton and found their bunks on board the Defiance. Both were excited and apprehensive. William laughed when he soon found out his purpose.

“You are the representative of the Company, Mr. Kensington,” explained McDavid. “I am  now a civilian, here to observe and, naturally, offer you assistance should you require it.”

And he winked. “If there is trouble, you are in change, not me, not McFarland.”

William had to chuckle.  “Well, let’s not have any trouble,” he said, “but when we do, please be close! And we leave soon?”

“Ah, ……… , we await Mr. Trenholm’s orders.” And then he looked around as a man came onto the deck.  “Now here is Mr. Biggins, a worthy Scotsman!” exclaimed McDavid.

He was somewhat large, strong looking man, not tall. He nodded and nearly crushed William’s hand. He then saluted.

“Biggins will be ready to take care of any of your needs,” MeDavid added.

A baby sitter or valet or…..? William wondered. The two men sized each other up, and when Biggins grinned, William felt comfortable.

Lairds Shipyard on the Mercy

On Friday, the 14th, George, Charles and all their supporters came down to the ship to say good-by. Music. Cheers. It seemed to happen quickly.  The ships slipped away and anchored about a mile down the  shore.

George let the papers know they were headed South. Henry Adams immediately realized this meant they were going North, and so the Tuscarora steamed up and headed out to sea   on the western side of Ireland up towards the North Channel, and once that was confirmed, on the night of Sunday, November 16, 1862, the two Rams steamed South towards the Azores. They were not intercepted.

Both Euan and William could hardly believe the rolling they felt once out at sea, and they retired to their bunks with buckets to await their sea legs. However, the observers were satisfied with the ships on the open sea even with the rather flat bottoms that had concerned some in the Admiralty, and steering was adequate if not excellent.

However, it was clear the ships would not be able to maneuver quickly in the close quarters of a narrow channel. The fighting would be concerned as much with position and the openness of the battlefield as with gunnery. But McDavid had known this.


Amelia’s Farewell

She knew it might happen and it did.

On Monday, the 17th, Henry came into her office and explained he would have to go to London on Wednesday and she would accompany him. She did her best to smile and felt the panic rise. Her ship left on Wednesday.

That evening she packed all her belongings and sent a note to Mr. Peters to pick up her trunks. And she had cleverly thought through her predicament, so when when she arrived at the Office of the Consul on Tuesday, she had the cramps, terrible cramps.

“Oh, Henry, I just cannot travel tomorrow!” she moaned.

He looked concerned. “Sick?”

“Ah….,” she blinked…., “it is that time of the month, ………….you know………… I can’t travel,” and she looked down modestly at the floor.


“What?” He gazed with wonder.

She realized that he probably had never considered the monthly cramps of a woman.

“Oh, Henry, I can’t explain,” she said softly. “You must simply ask your mother when you get to London. She’ll tell you. But,” and she grimaced, “it can be painful. I really must go to bed.”

And she left the office leaving him wondering what it was all about. Woman things were mysterious.

That evening she wrote a brief letter:

Dear Henry, it is just too dangerous for us both……..being so close…..I simply must protect you from temptation……so….for now…goodby,

your devoted Amelia

She left it on his desk in the morning. When he returned on Saturday, Henry read this over and over. He smiled with pleasure. He knew it! She was falling in love with him! His heart swelled, and then he realized that she was right. He was an Adams. He would tell his father that she resigned to work elsewhere. And he set about interviewing new secretaries living in Liverpool. He picked a nice young man. That would be safest, he mused. And yet Amelia had said, “for now”, so he wondered if and when she would return. He secretly hoped she would not. It would be embarrassing.

On the late afternoon of that Wednesday, the 19th, Amelia met her cousin and her new lady’s maid, a plump young woman named Terrance, down at the dock.


She felt rather frumpy in her mourning dress, but Mr. Peters told her it was perfect, and he showed her a fashion design that she could wear in Havana which was much more stylish.

“And Miss Amelia…..ah….I mean, Mrs. James, the pearls will look lovely against black, don’t you think?”

He patted his pocket, and holding her cousin’s arm, she walked onboard with true dignity,  her maid just behind. When the whistle blew and the ship surged forward, Amelia realized she was indeed the happiest she had ever been in her life.


George’s Farewell


George and Charles went over the plans twenty times. George would try to have the State of South Carolina engage them to open the blockade and then it would be a matter of forming the convoys to bring cotton to Liverpool. Their size would allow them to take more and better equipment to the State for resale to the Confederacy. Charleston would be a trading hub while the rest of the competition was mired by the blockade.

He had already written to Governor Pickens and former Governors Gist and Allston. His partners were loading the Fraser, Trenholm & Co. warehouses in Charleston with cotton for their account, and he urged Pickens to have the State buy as much as possible from the Carolina and Georgia producers.

On  Saturday, November the 22nd, having waved good-by to his Rams,  George boarded a freighter for Bermuda where he would meet the Kate for a run to Wilmington. Then heading seen the coast, he would stop to see Gov. Allston on the Waccamaw on his way to Charleston.

The Runner Kate owned by Fraser, Trenholm & Co.

He was excited and very happy to be headed home and moving forward with his dream of making South Carolina the premier state for free trade. He also penned letters to Judah Benjamin, then acting as the Secretary of State of the Confederacy, to his friend Treasury Secretary Memminger and to the Secretary of the Navy, Mallory, giving them his plans and requesting cooperation. Again, he advised them to buy cotton for the account of the Government and start sending it to Charleston.


London, Scotland Yard          The Dudley Case on Ice

Scene: There were three men in the office talking animatedly. The day was warm for the end of November and no fire was lit.

Mr. Gager was fuming. But Mackintosh now just kept silent.

“Why?” Gager asked again.


Bunfit pulled at his collar. He had planned to return to Benton Village and had begun to like it there.

“That’s all gentlemen,” declared Mackintosh. “It’s on ice for now. We will await further clues. The murderer will show up.”


“They always do,” he concluded, and walked out of the room.

The next Monday,  Mackintosh came in with Sir John Overland.                                       

“A private word, please, Mr. Gager, Mr. Bunfit.” They went into a quiet office.

Gager and Bunfit were puzzled as they noticed that Overland and Mackintosh were beaming at them. What now?

Sir John said, “We will have a little ceremony, gentlemen. The Dudley Case has been of immense benefit to our nation and while it is being put quiet for now, the excellent job you have done has been well noted.”

They looked at him pulling some boxes out of his bag.

“First, please step up Mr. Gagger. You have shown fine initiative and put in more hours than required. Good foot work.  You have been promoted to Inspector.”

Gager almost fell.

“Here is your commission and new badge.”


He was speechless as he felt the joy spread through his whole body.

Overland then turned to Bunfit.

      Mr. Bunfit

“Next, Mr. Bunfit you are no longer Constable Bunfit, but Sergeant Bunfit! Congratulations. Here are your stripes.”

Bunfit was grinning. “Thank you, Sir.”

“And,” continued Sir John, “your brilliant and very discreet Inspector Mackintosh has been promoted and will receive a pension at the rank of Colonel as of the end of the year! May he enjoy Dorset with a full glass and good mutton!”

Mackintosh bowed with a smile.

“So gentlemen……….” began Sir John.

They waited.

“Please always remember that criminal cases may involve serious national interests, and you know that I am available at the Foreign Office to discuss any matter…….any matter at all…….which involves a foreign country.”

He looked at Inspector Gager who was nodding vigorously.

“Help us, and we will help you,” Sir John concluded, and took his leave.


Lord Geoffrey is Optimistic


Lord Geoffrey had been working diligently on the Queen’s Committee which was conflicted by Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation and by the report of the President’s meeting with freed slaves from the District of Columbia:

You and we are different races. We have between us a broader difference than exists between almost any other two races. Whether it is right or wrong I need not discuss, but this physical difference is a great disadvantage to us both, as I think your race suffers very greatly, many of them by living among us, while ours suffer from your presence…. It is better for us both, therefore, to be separated.” Abraham Lincoln, speech to a group of black freedmen in Washington D.C., August 1862

Geoffrey asserted that even if the Emancipation announcement seemed wishful thinking, it at least was thinking in the right direction, and it showed what Lincoln would propose if the North won the War. Surely, the Northern Slave states would have to comply also. Thus, to his thinking, it was a masterful stroke. Finally, the War had a moral meaning.

Others felt it was mere opportunism and an ugly attempt to cause a slave uprising, which they condemned.

As to the meeting with freed slaves, most of the Committee agreed that colonization was the best for all, but some were annoyed at the idea that freed slaves could cause the white population to suffer.

“Imagine! The poor slaves have been suffering for generations, and he is worried about the whites suffering!” stuttered one Duchess indignantly.


The Duke and the Admiralty


A week before the Rams departed, the new Duke of Summerton found himself appointed by his Grace, the 12th Duke of Somerset, Lord Seymour, to the committee for the analysis of Iron Clad Designs.

James met with Captain McDavid to review the best strategies for the use of the Rams.

“Well, Captain McDavid, come in, come in,” said Lord James amiably. “You have your resignation, I suppose.”

“Yes, Sir.”

Lord James winked, “Need a bit more action than you get behind your desk, I suppose?”

McDavid smiled.

“And here is our acceptance.”  He pulled out a formal notice. “You’ll see you have been promoted and will receive a pension based on that…. to your family every month.”

“Thank you, Sir, and will Captain Coles be joining us, your Grace?”

“Cowper Phipps Coles? He is too renowned I’m afraid. Just as you will be after this venture.”

McDavid laughed. “Trenholm wanted him, you know. He wants to take Coles to Port Royal harbor to design some floating batteries.”

“But that’s DuPont’s Command Port!” laughed Lord James.

“Yes, Sir. But Mr. Trenholm says the Federals will abandon it soon, and for him, not only is there no question of success at Charleston, but the Yankees will soon be swept from The Republic of South Carolina.”

They laughed together. “Oh, the joy of being an optimist!” exclaimed Lord James.

“Yes, Sir. He actually refuses to recognize the Confederacy as anything more than a temporary nuisance.”

“Like DuPont.”

“Exactly, Sir.”

“Well, God bless him, McDavid. But let’s talk a bit about the risks. You say Lockwood will join you?”

“Yes, Sir and act as senior pilot. At Havana, we will meet three or four others who have the latest information on the harbor and the opposition at Port Royal and Charleston.”

“You will never surprise them.”

“I agree. Impossible.”

“They will mass.”

“I would.”

“How do you believe they might defeat our Ram?”

“Well, ram it. Or with overwhelming firepower.”

James nodded.

“Or a lucky shot.”

That didn’t worry him much.

“Run it aground; then pound it apart.”


McDavid continued. “Captain Lockwood was in Liverpool last month, and we have been conducting war games, Sir. He gave me the Ram and beat me twice.”

“Really?” Lord James suddenly looked worried.

“Yes, Sir. First, I came near his bait, and he exploded a huge fixed bomb under me. Blew me apart. Fired it off by telegraph signal or something from the shore. Anchored under water, you see.”

“Good Lord, such things exist!?”

“Yes, they do. Torpedoes.”

He could see Lord James mind churning for a defense. McDavid laughed. “I’m working on it, Sir. Second bottom. More compartments. More iron plates. But that will slow it down even more.  Better just to use a variety of vessels, Sir. I’ll explain in a minute.”

“Then how did he beat you next?”

“Very clever, Sir. Very old fashioned. He had four wooden men of war in a line against me. The fire power was huge, so I decided to point my bow into the fire and go full speed at the second in line to ram it.”

James face lit up. He could see it. “Excellent.”

“Yes, due to my speed most of the shots landed behind me and the angle was too hard for the first, third and fourth to do much damage, so it worked like a dream.”


“Well, we rammed her and were stuck for a moment. So then an enemy ship came up and rammed me. Couldn’t sink us, Sir. Just messed up its own bow. But it gave us a knock and suddenly there came a flurry of grappling hooks and they seized hold. Then Ship  One and Four came in for support. They swarmed us like pirates and we couldn’t break lose. So I surrendered to Lockwood. It was going to be cutlasses and pistols on the deck.”

“Ha.” Lord James sat back. “Fascinating. You and Lockwood keep it up. Now what did we learn?”

“Well, Sir. The Ram is designed for a limited purpose. It cannot take on land fortifications which have powerful canon. It cannot take a beating all day and night even from ships. So avoid overwhelming firepower.”

The Duke nodded.

“We’ll have to design a different class for that. Something like the Warrior but with better armor.”

James nodded. The fort buster…

“Next,” continued McDavid, “if you can be trapped by numbers, avoid action or at least stay far away. I should never have gone in to ram the second of Four Ships. I sunk one and lost my ship.”

Lord James nodded again.

“Also, never, never trust your draft so much you risk grounding. These ships are not runners!”

“Furthermore, with the new underwater bombs, stay away from shore. If a ship looks too easy, it is probably bait. Channels will be covered with these things soon. We must design heavily armoured and multi-compartmented vessels to go slowly into such waters.”

“You can use shallower draft of a Ram to escape from a Gloire or a Warrior. Maybe also for attack, to avoid the main channel with bombs.  But cautiously.”

James was taking notes now.

“Best stay outside the bar and lure them out to fight in the deep water even thought at first that seems to favor them. We still could have better steering.  But of course, our next designs can improve on this. We also should be faster.”

“So we have to be bold….and conservative, all at once. Try trading some fire. We are carrying the same cannon  as the Warrior. These guns are the best in the world ..…at least the British Navy thinks so…. Pick them off, one at a time. Or if you must, ram them.”

James was nodding and McDavid continued,

“I think we could break a line by driving between and using our cannon at close range, against wood or iron clads, pivoting the turrets. The American iron clads will be even slower than we are. Trenholm has received that information. They don’t have the engines for speed.”

“That is my next strategy with Lockwood. We’ll see what he does. He’ll have the Monitor class iron-clads. Very low in the water. Hard to ram. Hard to break the armour.”

Each man was quiet for a few minutes.

“Come take a walk with me, McDavid. We have to understand who will be making combat decisions.”

Outside the office, the noise and traffic were almost overwhelming and they made their way to the Park.

“What kind of man can best use this ship?”

“Well, Sir, most sailors have never been on a ship which used a ram. They slug it out in line if possible. The bold get in closer and take the punishment and hope for some luck, a rudder or an ammunition magazine. Just to go into the hot fire to ram may be difficult. No one wants to be the one to lose the ship.”

“So, he must be bold.”

“Or a bit crazy. Just not care. About the ship or his life. Or his men.”

“Is that good?”

“Not for me.”

“So we really have a combat problem,” mumbled the Duke.

“Can’t be avoided, Sir. Hopefully, we’ll ease into our experience and take advantage of enemy mistakes. They will be off balance too. Never faced anything like this.”

“Ah,” said James almost wistfully, “it will be tremendously interesting.”

“Yes, my Lord. It will,” answered McDavid, and the men parted.


Consul Dudley’s Fate


Consul Dudley made his way to Spain from Barcelona, and after a month in Madrid, decided he rather liked it. He was in no hurry to return to the “confusion” as he called it, but would carefully write up his side of the story, and after all, no one had any idea about his secret fund. He deserved it, he concluded, for the slander of his name. After the war, he’d settle scores.


The Financiers Reflect

Russell Sturgis and Thomas Baring learned about the Fraser, Trenholm cotton sale almost as quickly as it happened, and they were glad they had befriended Trenholm. He would remember them in the future. If only the war would end they could get back to business in the United States, whether it became two nations or remained one. They hoped Trenholm could open a port. That would speed the end of the War and surely lead to peace negotiations.


Mary’s Silence

Mary? Ah, Mary. Perhaps we will learn later about her Continental adventures.


The Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary

Lord Russell and Lord Palmerston kept firm control on the Government and Parliament that winter. There was now a consensus about waiting for another 6 months or so before agitating on the American question once more.

Lord Argyll was finding it difficult to persuade Parliament to change the Foreign Enlistment Act of 1819 to better suit the United States.


So Dear Reader, at the end of November, 1862, that was the situation for all our friends, South and North. The escape of the Rams was duly reported to Washington, and a mood of curiosity and concern spread through the United States Navy. Navy Secretary Gideon Welles was sure that they could build the same ship if they could get their hands on one, and anyway, it wasn’t clear that the Ram could defeat a Monitor with its low silhouette. The Ram had much more exposed to cannon fire. Ericsson had explained the value of a sea-going iron clad, but he insisted that larger guns could pound the Ram apart.

All and all, the various parties to this story agreed that it would be best to keep the murder speculations and the stolen dispatches quiet. Forget them, in fact. Thus, it is difficult to find these matters in the official records.

The extra troops landed in Canada and the United States was quiet about it.


Published November 16, 1862

The Toronto Leader

“Canada and the American War”

The arrival of the Ariadne at Quebec, in connection with the dispatch of artillery from England and the rumored intention to concentrate ten thousand troops at Montreal, has set speculation at work to divine the cause of these movements. How far the alleged intention to concentrate troops at Montreal may be correct we are unaware; but supposing the fact to be incontestible, it can hardly be a cause of wonder. There is no necessity for seeking in such a step anything beyond a measure of obvious precaution. Montreal is not in itself the weakest point on the frontier; but its capture, in case of trouble, would deal the most effectual blow to the Province, by cutting off the only possible communication with the seaboard that would remain in a state of war. The concentration of ten thousand troops there would be no evidence of an apprehension of difficulty, but only proof of an anxiety on the part of the Imperial Government to guard one of the weak points of the Empire.

“With that ardent desire to preserve peace, which is the natural accompaniment of a just appreciation of the horrors of war, the British Government has from the first scrupulously maintained a position of rigid neutrality in the great and deplorable conflict which has deluged the soil of the neighboring Republic with blood. The Federal States, in a condition of irritability incident to the distressing phase through which the country is passing, have been ready to imagine that they were injured and insulted, when there was not the least ground for the pretence. The recognition of the South as belligerents, and the steps taken by England in the Trent imbroglio, were so inevitably the result of the situation, and so plainly in accord with the practice and the duty of nations that they could not possibly be made the ground of any valid objection on the part of the Federal States.

“But we know, as a matter of fact, that they were made the cause of great irritation against England. The great Powers of Europe seem to have respected, to some extent, the preternatural sensitiveness of the Northern States. But the arms of those States have not achieved anything which gives promise of a final reduction of the seceded States.

“The Richmond Government, in maintaining its position so successfully against the colossal armies of the North, has done much to earn the right of recognition by other Powers; an event which, unless some unexpected change in the progress of the contest speedily takes place, may be almost certain.

“This mode of proceeding is one which the great Powers would be very likely to pursue. But supposing it to fail, and the recognition of the South to follow, Mr. SEWARD has placed it on record that the Lincoln Cabinet would regard the act as a cause of war.

“Independently of the impossibility of one nation challenging the whole world to combat, there is reason to hope that, since the late elections have been so adverse to the Administration, more rational views will make themselves felt even at Washington.

“But it is necessary to be guarded at all points; and if, after all that has occurred in the recent elections, it were possible for the views of Mr. SEWARD about a casus belli to prevail, England would be regarded as the greatest offender, just because the Federals are more sensitive to its action than to that of any other power.

“Against all contingencies of this kind it is necessary to guard; and there is no part of the empire so open to attack as Canada.

“Besides, Capt. WILKES’ new exploits may once more endanger the peace of the world. Whatever is done, we may be sure that, so far as England is concerned, no just cause of offence will be given; but if we may judge by the past, Northern sensitiveness may make difficulty out of a totally inadequate cause.

“Complaint is often made in the vehicles of Northern opinion that Canada gives her sympathy to the South in this struggle, while the North is her near neighbor and customer.

“But, irrespective altogether of the merits of the contest, how could we wish success to those armies which, we have so often been told by the popular journals of the Federal States would, as soon as they had conquered the South, be sent into Canada?

“As a Province of England, Canada exercises no national functions which could bring her into collision with a foreign Power; and the journals which constantly threaten us with invasion tell us that we should be called upon to suffer vicariously, for the alleged sins of the parent State.

“There is nothing for which the Canadians are more anxious than the preservation of peace between the States and England. The first and heaviest stroke of war would fall on us. Our whole frontier would be a scene of carnage and blood. But we cannot control the elements out of which war may possibly arise; and as we could not be passive in the contest, we can only desire that the Province may be put in the best state of preparation to meet the most unwelcome of contingencies, while we ardently hope that it may not arrive.

“This is the spirit in which Canada looks on the matter; and it is not possible that she could regard it in any other light.”

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Story: Episode 197 New Dawn


Story: Episode 197                                                     New Dawn

Allerton Hall


Monday, November 10, 1862

William and Euan laughed and grabbed each other hard. They started to wrestle. Euan was finally seeing someone from home. A cousin! Even if a stuck up one.

Home. That’s where he wanted to go. His brothers were off fighting. Real fighting. That was what he wanted. And a uniform.

Mr. Prioleau told Euan that the danger was over now that Consul Dudley had gone away, and so he was free. Prioleau also gave him £1,000 for saving his life. Euan was dizzy. Free and Rich. His family would be shocked in happiness, and he would find a nice Calhoun girl right in Abbeville County, and then move to Texas as soon as the fighting was over. When he had been told that it was colder and rained even more at Loch Lomond than even at Liverpool, he had slowly given up the idea of a belle from Lomond. Besides, look what happened when he wanted to take a wife home! He was lucky to be alive.

So Euan was bursting with news to tell to someone his age who spoke with a Carolina rhythm. He and William went to the pub at Allerton, and Euan didn’t care if there was poison in the beer or not. 

“What rot!” he said.

They barely were able to walk home.


George took William aside the next day and smiled at him. This made William very nervous. It was the same look he had given William when he had told William that he would do well working with the Firm.

“I’m not good at numbers, Uncle George,” William blurted out, “I do better at Latin, you see, not useful at all, and ………………”

George laughed and held up his hands.

“Wait, wait…………no, William, we agree that the office is not the place for you.”

“Ah…….,” William exhaled and felt his body relax.

“No, I have a different proposal in mind.”

William felt wary again.

“Do you like ships?” asked George.

William grew pale. “Ships?”

He paused, “No, Uncle George, I like horses, you see.”

George laughed again.

“Well, here’s why I need you.”

William groaned a bit.

“We have two splendid warships. Iron clad. Cannon in the two turrets.”


“You will command from there.”

William looked at his uncle as if he had lost his mind.

“I will what?”

George laughed again. “I am just teasing you, William. We have British Captains. But they can’t exactly admit to being in command, you see.”

“I do?”

“They are neutrals. We may have to fight some vessels of the United States to open Charleston.”

William’s head was spinning.

“Haven’t I talked to you about the Rams the last couple of years?” asked George.

William shook his head.

“No, sir.”

“Well, sit back and I’ll give you the whole story.”

And for the next hour George explained events and William asked good questions. It all made sense for Uncle George but not for him.

“These ships are just like good rifles, you see, William. And you like to shoot. And hunt.”

William blinked.

“I thought I hated war and wanted to be a parson, no?”

“Well, that was before now, William. Now, I need you to hunt and sink ships. Hide in the cover of darkness, slip into harbors unseen, attack when the enemy is unprepared.”

“But, Uncle George……..”

“Then we will lift the blockade at Charleston and ship cotton back to Liverpool to relieve the poor souls in Lancashire………you’ve heard of the famine, no?”

“But, Uncle George…….”

“This is a great public service…….to South Carolina and to England……….a noble cause…..”

“But, Uncle George………”


“I get seasick. I hate ships.”

George sighed.

“And you can’t shoot straight when the blasted thing is rocking back and forth,” added William.

George looked at him and sighed.

“Let’s talk tomorrow, my lad. Tell me now about all the news at Benton……..,” he stopped himself, “……I don’t mean the…..ah…..unfortunate things……the killings and all that…..I mean the happy things……”

“What happy things?” asked William.

“Well…….,” George sighed, “let’s go in, and I’ll see you at dinner, eh?”

William nodded, and went to his room to lie down and think.  On the one hand, Uncle George knew he knew nothing of the sea, nor sea battles, nor sea cannon. On the other hand, it seemed that William was now to get out of England fast. So it must mean they were close again. His knife was the worse “hint”, after all, even if his memory was still vague. Or maybe they had forced Nelson to talk. He could picture himself trying to act like a drooling idiot before a jury.

And these Rams were ready to leave. That was it. Like Euan, he could go home! He and Sip would ride and hunt together at Wando. He’d meet a nice Charleston girl who acted the way he expected a woman to act. Flat Rock in the summer and Charleston in the Winter.  The Saint Cecilia balls. A few fast horses. He breathed a great sigh of relief. Uncle George always had his best interests at heart. He had even mumbled something about William’s cotton and his Trust. A sale. They were selling it all. Enough for him to have a nice plantation and lots of horses. He had thanked his Uncle profusely. And then he heard that George too was leaving. Something big was up. And it must be those Rams and Charleston a free port at last. Well, that really had nothing to do with him. Uncle George liked a joke!

When he slept, he again saw the monstrous face, the bearded man in blue with the rifle butt swinging down at him, his arms in the air pleading…….he woke in a sweat.

Well, he decided in the morning, he’d do what Uncle George asked. Why not? He had no plans in England now. Going home was a good idea.



The Progress of Consul Henry Adams and Miss Amelia Potter

Henry Adams was settling into his new job with relish. His presence did relieve the many merchants who had contracts with the United States, and Liverpool even had some merchants who wanted the North to win. He was of course a bit solemn at times, a serious and intelligent young man, but not as dour as Consul Dudley. And when he was respected, he shined. Henry was finally his own man, and a man with a purse. He had found a modest house to rent, and although he offered a room to Amelia, she had declined and had checked into a room at a hotel not far from the office and the docks.

Henry Adams was a hard worker, and he bombarded his father with dispatches showing his progress. Mrs. Adams, as well as Minister Adams, felt proud. He’d definitely ask that Henry be made the permanent Consul.

His old files were still in unpacked trunks and Amelia was quite happy to leave them all there. No one would ever notice the absence of the dispatches. But she was still nervous. Her “handler”, Mr. Robert Peters, had come up to Liverpool, and they had a system to meet. She continually thought about her position.

She wanted another £100. She wanted to know when she would be off to Havana, and she was careful not to tell him that it was probably impossible to be caught now unless someone else told the Legation that the files had been compromised. She continued to say she felt in great danger and needed to go on to Havana and get her funds.

And she didn’t trust them one bit, whoever they were. £2000 was just too much. She smiled to herself. A £1000 would have been enough, but she had held out, and she was proud of her accomplishment but also wondered if a double-cross could be in the works.

Mr. Peters met her one evening in a dark corner at a Pub, and gave her the plan. She had to pick a new name. He would accompany her to Havana and take her to the bank.

Amelia blinked.

“You will what?”

“Miss Amelia, a lady cannot travel alone.”

She considered that. A lady. It had a nice ring, and he was right.

“I will be your cousin,” he continued, “escorting you to Havana where you have friends. You will take up rooms in the best hotel, used by merchants and diplomats.”

Her eyes widened.

“And it is best for you to learn Spanish.”

She thought a moment.

No, she did not want to marry a Spaniard or some Cuban or South American. Vienna, she mused. That is where she wanted to be. A nice Count from Vienna.

“I think I want to study Austrian,” she said.



He shrugged. “Well, you will have the funds to do what you like. Right now you  better practice your English, upper class english, not American. Clip off your words. You know what I mean. You will be an English lady who has lost her husband and must be in Havana to receive your inheritance.”

Would a Count think £2,000 was enough? she wondered. Probably not.

“I need more money,” she smiled.

Mr. Peters frowned. “My dear Miss Amelia, we need your silence. But we do not have all the money in the world. Really, £2,000 is our final offer, as we have said. And it produces a very nice income for a place like Havana.”

She pouted a moment and thought of renegotiating and then thought the better of it. If this was on the level, it was good.

“What will I invest it in?”

“Ah. You see, you will have a trust, ……….. like important people have,” he added seeing her frown. “The Bank will manage your money. Ladies don’t do that. And they will give you income and pay for things you want. Protects you from men, too, my dear.”


“Why yes, some men marry just for money and then they control all of the woman’s funds and use it for drinking, gambling and other women! I promise you I see it all the time, ask anyone.”

She was thoughtful.

“I see. So love can make a poor woman poorer. It’s terrible.”


“Well, then, what will be my name?”

“Ah… may decide. Pick a common name. And we will pick London as your residence with your late husband.”

“Hmmmmmmm. Elizabeth is good. And not Smith. What about James? Elizabeth James?”


He nodded.

“That is a good pick. There are thousands of James’ in London.”

“So……,” as she rolled it over her tongue. “Mrs. Elizabeth James, in mourning?”

She mulled it over.

“And my husband? What is his name?”

“Well, Mr. James.”

She smiled. “Yes, Mr. Henry James. I like that. And what do I wear?”

“Well, a nice black dress. I have also been instructed to buy some pearls and a bracelet.”

“Oh! how nice,” she exclaimed in pleasure and surprise.

“And I will now get us passage, first class for you, eating at the Captain’s table, and I will have to get you a ladies’ maid for the trip.”

Amy felt more and more excited.

“And I will be in second class,” continued Mr. Peters.

He looked and she was beaming, her eyes glistening with happiness with suspicion just behind them.

“Is that satisfactory?”

Silence. Then she had made up her mind.

“Oh, yes, and I must get away soon, Mr. Peters! Mr. Adams may decide to return to London and he will want me to accompany him. He wants me at his side, you see.”

She waited to let it sink in, and then she looked up with a jump of fear, “those papers may be found missing at the Legation at any moment. We are in danger, Mr. Peters! I am so afraid.”

“We leave on the 20th.”

She felt her heart pounding. It was the 11th. She tried to stay calm.

“What will you do in Havana, Mr. Peters?”

“Oh, after settling you comfortably, I’ll spend a few months enjoying myself and then come back to England, with your maid!”

She pouted.

“But you will easily find another. Spanish. That’s why you learn Spanish, you see.”

Amelia decided to try to lock it up. She would clearly explain that a double cross would have consequences.

“Oh, Mr. Peters,” she said softly leaning forward, “are you just trying to fool me? Because if you are, I really must tell poor Henry now and he won’t do anything to harm me. You see, he adores me. I can tell him I have found the documents missing. I will be a hero.”

She looked at him carefully.

Mr. Peters sighed. “Miss Amelia, we do know that. Indeed, we do. So I am not fooling you. And my employers are honorable people.”

“Ha!” she said with some bitterness, “that William Kensington was not a bit ‘honorable’!”

Mr. Peters was glad the 20th was not far away. “Please do not say that name, Miss Amelia, remember your instructions.”

She pouted, and suddenly relaxed. They needed her. Now if she could just wait 9 days without popping! Her heart was racing again. 9 days!

“Well,” she said on parting, “dear cousin, please find me some nice pearls, and remember I need a good clasp for both the bracelet and the necklace so I will a true lady………”

“Of course, Miss Amelia,” said Peters politely. He smiled to himself. Jewelry. A woman’s true love! She would not be saying a thing to anyone while that necklace and bracelet were waiting. And she would not get them until she was in her cabin.

George Trenholm had thought of that one.


Liverpool at Dudley’s Office

Consul James Dunwoody Bulloch


George was in Consul Bulloch’s Offices to review the Confederacy’s financial needs for the next six months. They concluded their business, and then George settled back and smiled.

“Consul Bulloch, may I ask you a question?”

Bulloch looked him.

“Tell me about the Duke and your feelings, you know, the feelings you expressed to Mr. Prioleau.”

Bulloch frowned.

“My feelings if you must know, Mr. Trenholm, were feelings of suspicion.”

George started to speak.

Bulloch held up his hand.

“Oh, I know…..I know……you and Prioleau believed you had him in your pocket. That’s the way with your class, money controls all, no?”

George again began to speak and instead smiled again. He was here to get information, not to convert the values of a naval officer to his own.

Bulloch continued.

“But in the real world, money isn’t everything, is it? There is loyalty and conviction and pride.”

George nodded.

“And the man was a Duke of England. He obviously did not approve of slavery. None of them do.  He only wanted to weaken both sides of this war, ours as well as the Union. And to make as much money as possible from our miseries.”

George nodded again.

“Well, you see my point, suspicion. And he double-crossed us, Mr. Trenholm. He impounded your Rams and that would mean that mine too would suffer. Hardly a step for our country, eh?”

Bulloch sat back.

“So…..,” the Consul continued, “as much as you dislike it, you were wrong about him and I was right. Good riddance to him,” Bulloch added.

“Ah,” said George. “So you killed him?!”

Bulloch’s mouth dropped open.

“Good lord, no!” exclaimed Bulloch. “I’m just glad he’s gone, and the minute he was dead, your Rams were freed! You see?”

George thought a moment.

“The two highwaymen, Mr. Bulloch?”


“The two highwaymen with the rifle.”

“What about them?”

“Who sent them to kill the Duke?”

Bulloch frowned.

“There are some things civilians do not need to know, Mr. Trenholm.”

“It was you!?”


Bulloch sighed. He was proud of his operation. He wanted to brag just a bit, to show a merchant how military men could handle things.

“I did not send anyone to kill,” he said with a small smile.

“Then what?”

Bulloch leaned forward.

“Mr. Trenholm, I will explain if you will give your word for silence, even to Mr. Prioleau.”

George felt his heart quicken. Bulloch looked like a navy mail man. Not likely to think far from his habits, but……….

“Of course, Mr. Bulloch……”

“Well…………..,” Bulloch sat back again and twisted his luxurious handlebars. He chuckled.

“You will see what a professional can accomplish, Mr. Trenholm.”

George nodded.

“I found those men in a brig of a freighter and took them off the hands of the Captain. Totally unknown here, you see,” he explained,  looking at George with a smile.


Bulloch’s face then twisted in anger.

“That b******* Dudley had tried to kill me, remember? And Prioleau too! You were going to be next I suppose, if nothing were done about it.”

He waited for an indication of gratitude.

George just nodded again.

“So, I decided on an operation against our friend, the Yankee Consul.”

“Yes…………” he let it sink in, “…………… I sent those fellows to Dudley’s office. They were supposed to shoot once at a tree and return to Liverpool, leaving the rifle and a paper with Dudley’s address and the sum of £50 written on it. Then they were to disappear. See? To Scotland with some cash in their pockets.”

He was smiling happily.

George was indeed astonished. A good frame-up!

“But who killed them, Mr. Bulloch?” he asked quietly.

“Not me!” Bulloch insisted. “I have no idea what happened. Some fellow on the place, I suppose. Probably the gamekeeper, don’t you think? Armed trespassers.”

George was thinking. That was possible. And the gamekeeper then told a tale to Lord James to protect himself.

“Anyway, it worked like a charm, didn’t it!?” continued Consul Bulloch,  “Dudley’s running for his life. Our Rams are free to be finished, and the whole thing cost me less than £100. Now that’s a victory!”

George was silent a moment.

“Yes, it is, Mr. Bulloch. Congratulations. You have truly amazed me.”

“Ah….yes….probably saved your life too, Trenholm.”

“I won’t forget it, Mr. Bulloch.”

Bulloch clapped him on the back.

“Now be a good fellow and give those ships to our Country!”

“Ah…..well….perhaps, Mr. Bulloch, perhaps…..eventually.”

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Story: Episode 196 The Liberty and the Defiance


Story: Episode 196                                  The Liberty and The Defiance

 Sir Hugh Cairns, appointed Solicitor General of England in 1858, later Lord Chancellor of  England, and the defender of the right of Laird to build and deliver the Rams under the Foreign Enlistment Act.


Trenholm’s Barristers had been summoned to the Foreign Office on Friday the 24th, and a somewhat embarrassed Lord Russell asked them to move to dismiss the case immediately and assured them the motion would have the consent of the Government. Sir Hugh Cairns did so Monday morning, and it was over. He then went immediately to Berkeley Square to give George the good news. The Law had prevailed. At least for the present.

George telegraphed Charles and Laird. The Duke’s Solution had worked.

George was almost clicking his heels. In effect, his British navy was going to open Charleston and then who knows? Fraser, Trenholm & Co. was going to buy some more large freighters which could carry 2,000 bales and not have to stop at Nassau or Bermuda for off-loading to little runners. This would change everything.

George never even considered that his ships might be defeated. He was the forever optimist. He now had to get to South Carolina to meet Gov. Pickens and speak to the Legislature. He was sure they would welcome some actual help instead of being boxed up by lack of support from Richmond. What would he charge? He smiled at the thought of finally having a payment. It would be an appropriate amount of cotton. He felt generous.


                    The Gresham Club, London

Lord James had lunch with Trenholm at the Gresham Club on Tuesday the 28th and gave him the conditions Russell had made. First, George had to give his word that the Rams would only act in defense after they had been fired upon.

“But we can of course move into Charleston Harbor?”

“Yes, and fight, after being attacked for challenging the blockade.”

That was easy enough.

“Next, you cannot carry the War to the north. No attack on New York for example.”

George laughed.

“No, we will not in interested in doing that, certainly. We want to sell cotton, not lose ships.”

“Exactly, that is what Russell wants. Your motive must be ‘free trade’.”

George nodded. “That’s exactly correct, it is.”

“And you must not sell the ships to the Confederacy.”

George laughed again. “That’s no problem either!”

“So,” ………. , and the new Duke of Summerton leaned back in his chair, smiled and raised his glass in a toast, “here’s to our new experiment!”

They drank, with the grins of schoolboys let out of campus for the summer.

“And what will you call your ships?”

George thought a moment.

“I think, The Liberty and The Defiance.”


“Your Grace, I would like to offer one of them to Captain McDavid. May I do that?”

“Ah.      Of course,      I too would like him on hand. But not as the Captain. Can he be a guest observer? And we will have him resign active service for a while. Laird can hire him in order to report on any needed improvements in design.”

George thought.

“Yes, that would be fine, but look out, when he sees what I pay, you may lose him!” he laughed.

“And your crew?” James asked.

“We have been recruiting all summer. We will pay three times the Royal Navy pay and so we have had our choice of the best. Also, any man injured gets a pension and any family of a man killed gets a pension.”

James smiled. So American and so ‘merchant’,  just outbid the competition!

They spent the rest of the afternoon outlining the plans.

“You have the cannon in the Azores already?” asked James.

“Some. The rest of the armament, extra coal and supplies will be sent this week.”

“Are the ships now ready?”

“Oh yes, the steering has been altered, and we will do some test trials the next two weeks and then leave.”

“You know the Tuscarora will try to stop you?”

“We do expect that, but Craven can’t block the Mercy, can he? He’ll have to decide to stay in international waters either in the South or go up to watch the North Channel. We will watch him. I have ships to follow his every move. We’ll decide later.”

“Ah. Then we are set,” said the Duke with pride in his voice, “my first war ships! I do wish I could go! But I can’t even see you off. I guess you will be gone a while?”

“Yes, at least six months. It all depends on fortune now.”

They parted with hearty handshakes.


Grosvenor Square

Lady Cynthia took the news badly. She tried to be brave, but she wept. George did his best to comfort her, and assured her he was leasing Berkeley Square for another year and would keep on a skeleton staff. Would she check in on it from time to time? And so she began to feel better with something to do to help. And if any quit, she could replace them. She knew how to take care of a household. But her dream had vanished.


George packed and set off to Allerton Hall on Friday, October 31st.

Since getting the telegram from George on the dismissal of the case, Charles had been frantic, almost spending the night at the offices of the Company, and Mary busied herself getting ready for George.

Should they sell all their cotton and roll up the Syndicate? What if the ships were grounded? Or sank in storms crossing the ocean? George never had to worry because Charles did it for him. So when they sat down after breakfast on Saturday morning, the 1st of November, Charles had all the facts and had considered all the risks.

They smiled at each other. Charles reported that cotton in Liverpool was fetching about 25 to 28 pence a pound. He had already spoken to Sir Thomas Gladstone about selling for them to their friends in Lancashire.

“But George,” he said, “there are considerations. As soon as we leave there will be speculation that we will indeed be able to open Charleston and convoy our freighters. That could cause the price to drop rapidly. So if you feel confident of success, we should sell now.”

“Ah, Charles, I feel we have the right ships to open Charleston at least.”

Charles nodded. Of course, George anticipated success!

“Good. I propose we should sell it all now because even if we are defeated, the returns are enormous, and with the blockade still in effect, we can concentrate on our runners.”


“Do you agree?”

“What does Gladstone say we can get on a private sale basis?”

“He thinks we can average 28 pence, but some of the manufacturers may pay more for enough to keep them open for a year. They figure that even with a mediation, which you tell me is out of the question for the next 6 months, the opening of ports could take a year of negotiations. The North would not want to give that card up even in mediation.”

“Good point. Politicians should pay more attention to merchants!”

“So,” Charles continued, “even just opening Charleston will allow us to ship about 2,000 bales on each of 5 freighters and we could lease more after the situation seems safe to the insurers and owners. But with our 5, we could only make 6 round trips in a year, thus I figure delivering only 60,000 bales which is a drop in the bucket. So I think it is possible prices will stay up in reasonable figures to allow us to do well on cotton from just one port.”

George was thinking and calculating.

“Well, assume a net of 28 pence to us, what does that mean?”

Charles took out his notebook and leaned over to show George.

“Here are my figures:

28 pence = $.56 x 450 lb. a bale= $252 per bale

FT& Co holds 175,000 bales x $252 =  $44 Million / $4.87 =  £ 9,055,000

Kensington holds 7,000 bales x $252 = $1,764000/ 4.87 =  £     362,217

Gov. Allston holds 1,000 bales  x $252   =  $252,000/4.87   =   £       51,745

George had done these numbers too. He nodded. It was a fortune.

“And if we wind down the Syndicate, what does it look like we may receive?”

“Well, it’s speculative……,” began Charles with some hesitation.

George rolled his eyes.

“But it will be a bit over £1,000,000. Giving our firm a total of about £10,000,000 capital.”

He looked up. There was a gleam in his eyes.

“We will be a true International firm now, George. A Player. So I say sell it all. It will attract firms like Barings and Rothschild to invest with us, even if we are still much smaller.”

George smiled too. Charles had him.Trenholm had always dreamed of being at the table with Rothschild and Barings. His Charleston partners would clap him on the back. His gamble had paid off.

He looked Charles in the eye, “Sell,” he said with a smile of victory.

They shook hands and laughed. Charles got up to go to the office.

“Charles, it’s Saturday,” protested George.

“Yes, and tomorrow is Sunday, come on, you’re going with me!”


At Laird’s it was determined that the ships could sail by the 18th. A skeleton crew would take them to the Azores with a passenger ship taking the two crews down on 15th. George booked passage to Bermuda for the 20th. He would see the ships off.


It finally occurred to him what to do with William. He would join the Rams. It would be good for the boy. And he was indeed a soldier. Clever too. Or maybe it was just good instinct or good luck. It didn’t matter. He would either crumble on the ships or get his sea legs and think about war at sea. Either way, he was out of England for good and finally safe.

George telegraphed him on Friday the 7th to leave his trunks at Oxford and come up to Allerton Hall right away. He also telegraphed Benton Hall, and sure enough William was back there for the week-end.


Benton Hall                                                   Saturday, November 8, 1862

William had barely unpacked at Christ Church when he had pangs again about Mary. He had left without seeing her and so now he returned to the Hall for the week-end. Lady Phyllis was delighted to see him.

They chatted about Oxford and yes, he had already met a couple of good natured chaps about his age and he had met his first tutor and attended some lectures.

She felt proud of him.

“The Duke would have been so pleased, William.”

“Ah, yes, I miss him.” And he glanced about. “And Mary?” he asked.

“Oh,” said Phyllis and stopped.

He watched her. “Is something wrong?”

She gave a big sigh.

“She is independent now, you know.”

He nodded.

“And she is headstrong.”

He nodded again.

“So you won’t be surprised. Poor Philip Barrington. He is devastated.”

William’s mouth dropped open.

“Yes, Philip was sure she was going to agree to marry him before Christmas.”

“What?” William could only stutter in his confusion.

“She has left, William.”

“Left?” he said dumbly

“To the Continent with friends. She says she will be gone a year! She will write of course.”

Phyllis sighed again.

“Perhaps it’s for the best. Everything is for the best, you know, William.”


“She will mature. That is what I told Sir Phillip. He said he may follow her, but I dissuaded him because that would just set her against him. “Let her be,” I said. She’ll be a different person when she returns. A confident person. That is what I feel she lacked. She didn’t just want to be a wife because it was expected of her.”


“Don’t you agree, William?”

He snapped out of his trance. “Why, yes, very good advice, Lady Phyllis,” he mumbled. “I had just hoped to see her to say goodby.”

She smiled at him. “That’s very thoughtful, William, and you can come back here, come home, any time you like. I would love to have you and follow your progress.”

He managed a smile. “Oh, that is so kind, Lady Phyllis. I do feel this is my home. Thank you so much.”

“Well,” she said, “then that’s settled. Now, I have to tell you the strangest thing.”

He looked at her.

“James was having lunch at his club and somehow the topic was English beer, and one of the chaps exclaimed that he never touched it because it was poison. Why, he said, Napoleon only had to buy English beer for the English troops and he would have won the war!”

“He was teased of course and then he made a bet!”

She shook her head disapprovingly. “Those young chaps are always betting. So silly.”

He nodded and wonder where this was going.

She took another breath. “So……they went to a doctor and then to a chemist and then James lost his bet! They do put lots of arsenic in the beer, William. Isn’t that awful!! Our people are killing themselves just like the Romans did with the lead pipes!” She felt very clever.


“Oh well,” she continued.  “That’s just the beginning.”

“Oh?” William felt dazed.

“Yes, in passing, the chemist also explained to the young men that arsenic was used in many, many manufacturing processes! Imagine! And guess what?”

She leaned forward like a schoolgirl with a secret.

“They use in making the color green.”

She sat back.

William was still bewildered.

“Yes! The color green in wallpaper! And when mildew or mold gets into it, it is toxic!!”

William did gasp in astonishment then. “Toxic!?”

“Yes! It gives off fumes. Imagine!”

William was numb and nodded.

“So James brought the chemist to Benton and he took one look at my beautiful wallpaper, and put out some chemicals which turned an awful color, and said ‘get out of this room! Right now!’”

She laughed. “My good taste was poisoning me!!”


Scheele’s Green, they call it.”

He was sitting like a fool with his mouth open nodding a bit.

“And it is all being removed now. Don’t you see? That’s why I was well when I was away and sick when I was here!!”

“Ah….are you going to be all right?” William finally asked.

“Yes! In fact,” she laughed, “now it will be hard for anyone to poison me if I become an Empress because my body has dealt with arsenic for so long! Isn’t that the strangest story?!”

William nodded.

“So………… Sir Andrew and I are walking every day, and I just gulp down good air. I feel so much better already.


“Rebecca has returned to Lomond but said it was just fine for Andrew, I mean Sir Andrew, to stay until I am well.”

He nodded. “Ah, that’s very nice of her.”

“Well, truthfully, William, she likes running the place by herself and told me that Andrew, ah, Sir Andrew, drives her crazy! But I guess all husbands do that……,” and seeing William looked a bit dismayed….she added, “oh, from time to time, that’s all.”

They went on chatting and later had dinner that evening with Sir Andrew. He and Phyllis laughed with one another and he kept patting her hand. William was happy to see her so happy. My goodness, she deserved it. But it made him miss the old Duke.

And William was shocked and miserable at the flight of Mary. Every dream he had seemed to float away. What good was England now? He could not be a parson at Benton Hall if Mary was living there with Sir Phillip. And so……he was depressed when he opened the telegram from George.

Important. Come right away to Allerton Hall. Just leave trunks at Oxford. Need your help. Have clothes here. Trenholm

He read it a dozen times. What now? But then he felt a bit of elation. He was needed! Uncle George had praised him about the Legation success. Uncle George always advised him well. He would discuss his whole ‘parson’ career with him.

And the next day, he explained to Lady Phyllis that he had been summoned, and with her blessing, he took the train to Liverpool.

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Story: Episode 195 The Truth is Dangerous


Story: Episode 195                             The Truth is Dangerous


Sunday October 19, 1862

Lord James stood with Mr. Nelson outside the stables. Mr. Nelson looked a bit sheepish.

“Ah, yes, your Grace, yes, I remember that night.”

“Well, Nelson, I’d like to know what really happened,” said James softly, “and I am not here to criticize you or to find facts for the Constable or Scotland Yard.”

“Ah, just between us, your Grace?”

“Yes, Nelson, just between us.”

Nelson pushed a bit of dirt with his boot and took a deep breath.

“Well, Sir, I had given my word, you see.”

“Certainly, I respect that.”

“But if it is you that wants to know, then it’s only proper. Even with my word.”


“Ah……..well…….you see, the day before I had seen two men trespassing, but when I went after them, they disappeared.”


“And Mr. Kensington had asked me to tell him right away if I ever saw trespassers.”


“Yes, your Grace.”

“Did he say why?”

“No Sir.”

“All right, what then?”

“Well, him and I decided to make the rounds the next day to keep an eye out.”


“Yes, Sir. Mr. Kensington worried there might be trouble.”

James mulled that over.

“And then….”

“Well, we were at it for a few hours, then at almost dark, Mr. Kensington told me I could go home for supper, and that’s when I left.”

“Then what happened?”

“After supper, Mr. Kensington came and explained the situation and I gave my word.”

James sighed. “And please explain the situation.”

“Yes Sir………….. Well, it seems after thinking about it, Mr. Kensington decided it was best for us not to speak of the trespassers and that we could look again for them the next day.”

“Did you?”

“No, Mr. Kensington just asked to let him know if I saw anyone and he had other things to do.”

“How was he when he came to your cottage?”

“Ah…..well, sir, he was a bit shaky and I gave him some rum. But he’s sometimes that way, no?”

James nodded and thanked Mr. Nelson and then took a walk to think it over. William could certainly shoot fine when he shot pheasant. He got the shakes only at times, and probably when a man faces danger he either crumbles or he firms up for action. And William was a soldier who had killed before. The trespassers had been armed. And yet both were killed.

So perhaps, thought James. But then what was it all about? Somehow William knew that the Duke was in danger? That partially explained his misery after the drowning. So it was his duty to protect my father, he mused. How did William know of danger?

He walked on in thought.

And those men were from Liverpool. Then it flashed on him. Of course, it was Prioleau and Trenholm who had heard rumors. And so Trenholm had William here to protect my father.

He shook his head. I wish they had told me!

But then James realized that his father would never have consented to a body guard. Trenholm’s plan was a good one.

And the Stranger in the field? Obviously another Liverpool assassin. And had William found him and dispatched him too? Just with a fishing knife, no less? He was doubtful.

But James felt a surge of respect and kindness towards William.

But if William had killed these men, he was likely in the eyes of the law to be considered a murderer. He could plead self-defense but would he convince anyone? The Duke sighed. He would protect his friend, but he needed to talk to Trenholm right away. How much did Trenholm know? He must have suspected William had killed those men, but it would be like William not to talk even to his Uncle about the killings.

He felt both light and heavy as he returned for dinner. Should he talk to William? No. William was upset enough.



Benton  Hall 

Saturday, October 25, 1862

George accepted Lord James’ invitation to come to Benton Hall, and he assumed it was for his report on Prioleau’s analysis of the Duke’s northern holdings and the Duke’s report on how the Dudley Letter had been received by Lord Russell.

George arrived on Saturday for the night and he was greeted by William who was packing happily for Oxford and feeling better than he had been for ages.

William had read several times now, “Matters past redress, for me now, are past care.” At least that is what a grandfather of his had said in Richard II.

After dinner, William excused himself and James and George settled down in the smoking room with glasses of brandy. They looked at one another.

“You first, your Grace,” smiled George.

“No, no, after you, Mr. Trenholm.”

“Well,” began George, “Charles has more work to do, but at this point all the assets are in good shape, the mine, the railroad.”


“But……… as to making money, Charles sees a problem and advises that we should not buy the business.”

“Oh. Why?”

“The railroad may be going to the wrong port.”

“What do you mean?”

“Charles believes that it should be running to Liverpool, already one of the greatest ports in the world and filled with ships and merchants to buy coal or steel. He doubts they will go to Barrow-in-Furness and the port facilities there are not well developed.”

“Ah,” sighed James. “My father was such an optimist. And he bought lots of real estate there too, awaiting the boom.”

George nodded.

“He may be right……over time. But how long? Charles feels there will be little money made in the near future.”


“So the next analysis is whether the railroad to Liverpool would make a difference. It would be expensive.”

“Or perhaps, I should sell it all before throwing several hundred thousand Pounds into an enterprise……which is questionable?”

“It is possible, your Grace, that better investments exist.”

The Duke smiled.

“Like investing with you in the Republic of South Carolina, I suppose?”

George laughed.

“That too! But I mean right here in England. Your industry is advancing in technology by leaps and bounds. I’d look at that Bessemer fellow’s steel production business, for example. I intend to get him to open a mill in the Republic. We have the iron and coal in the Appalachians. I’d put up the money if he’d put up the technology and the men to work the mill.”

The Duke sighed. He didn’t know much besides farming.

“And Your Grace, your father did invest with us in the Syndicate.”

“You mean the blockade runners?”

“Yes. And they have been even a bit more profitable than Charles’ Prospectus showed.”

James was dumbfounded. The risks his father took!

“How in the world did he get the money to do this? Mother’s Trustees would never allow it.”

George smiled.

I lent it to him. For two shares. I have been paid back in full. And we will be closing the Syndicate…….when…….and if……..we feel we will be able to open a port or two.”

And George raised his eyebrows.

“So…..when does your Grace believe that might happen?”

James laughed.

“Russell very much liked my “solution”, and as you know the Cabinet met on Wednesday, but I don’t expect to hear anything until next week if at all. You’ll know first from your barristers I would guess. And Laird will notify you if the gunship leaves.”

“Well, let’s keep our fingers crossed. Your father’s two shares could bring in, after sale of vessels, £80,000 to £100,000.”

James mouth dropped opened.

“So you will have enough income for the next couple of years,” smiled Trenholm.

“My lord, Trenholm, that’s amazing! No wonder he wanted to keep the blockade up!”

James laughed. “Maybe I do too.…, well, you’ve certainly brought good fortune to this family.”

And then he looked down. “But…….”

But…..your Grace?”

“Yes……..we need to discuss the matter of my father’s death.”


“You will please be open with me?”

“Yes, I will.”

“You have feared that the United States Consul in Liverpool might try to harm him?”

“Ah.” George was silent a moment. It was time to open up. He sat back and took a deep breath.

“Your Grace, there had been violence towards the Confederate Consul, Mr. Bulloch, and against my partner, Mr. Prioleau. We felt sure it was Mr. Dudley’s doing. I asked William to keep his ears open for me here…….I apologize…….just for political information and to keep his eyes open for any danger towards the Duke. We knew Dudley felt your father was a Southern sympathizer due to our loan for the business ventures in the North and he  probably knew about the Syndicate investment.”

James looked down in thought.

“Why didn’t you tell me?”

“We didn’t believe your father would alter his life one bit and would have considered me insane.”

“So Dudley did murder my father?” he asked gravely.

“Truthfully, I am not convinced, your Grace.”

“Even with the letters?”

“Even so.”

“Then what?”

“I tend to believe William’s version, an accident with dangerous fishing pants.”

“No push?”

“I will believe murder when a murderer shows up. Its seems too much of a coincidence to me. How could someone plan to murder the Duke at the river? Of course, a murderer could have had a knife. But how would someone know the Duke was there?”

“Ah.” James was silent.

“Well, as you know,” James continued, “three murders were indeed done.”

“Ah. Those.”

“Could you enlighten me on those?”

George hemmmmed a bit and pulled at his tie.

“I have a belief, but I have hoped I could ignore it.”



“And you have not questioned him?”

“No, I really didn’t want to know.”


“What if I told you?”

“You know?”

“Well, I think it was William who killed the ‘highwaymen’.”

George sighed a big sigh.

“Will you protect him?”

Lord James nodded.

“He was protecting my father, I’m sure of it.”

“And you think he also killed the ‘Stranger in the field’?”

“Yes, another Liverpool man. Why else would he be down here? William probably confronted him and the man attacked William.”


“Well, that will change our plans for a quiet Oxford degree,” said George. “I think we better summon William.”

“And Trenholm,” added the new Duke, “it was also William who got the documents you have given us, no?”

He sighed again.

“He arranged it and he did enter the Legation at night and retrieved the documents and other material which will materially help the Confederate cause.”

“Good lord. What a fellow!”


“Who would have thought he was such an excellent secret agent!”

George nodded.

“He has performed far beyond my expectations.”

“Now, he’s in danger, isn’t he?”

“If Scotland Yard discovered what you fear, he’d probably hang, don’t you think?”

“We must protect him, Trenholm. Those men were scum and I have reason to believe he acted in self-defense!”


“I’ll get him down,” said James.

James got up, but George suddenly thought of something.

“Wait,” said George, “do we really want to know? Are we ready to lie under oath?”

“Oh….,” the Duke paused, “I hadn’t thought of that!”

He turned and looked at George.

There was a long silence.

“Let’s just keep speculating,” George suggested. “There’s no definite evidence. You didn’t see William kill the highwaymen?”


“Did anyone else?”


“Then it is just hearsay, correct? Something you heard from someone? Nothing definite?”

“Yes, that’s right.”

“Let’s consider. Perhaps we can protect him and not be in a position to perjure ourselves.”

“Ah. How?”

“Get him out of the Country. Back to South Carolina. Never ask. Right now, Scotland Yard does not suspect his involvement at all. The disabled preacher and all that.”

“Yes, I see what you’re saying. I suppose it would take a confession from William to clinch it,” said James.

George nodded. “And we don’t want to hear it.”


The next morning all had a pleasant breakfast, and George pondered when to break the news to William and how to make it a natural event.

James told Trenholm that he had decided he was going to sell the northern businesses and properties. He might not get back all the money invested, but he’s stop the bleeding.

“Sure you don’t want it?” James asked with a smile.

“Thank you, no, your Grace,” bowed Trenholm.


                       Grosvenor Square


George returned to London Sunday afternoon, ready to see his barristers on Monday, and dined with Lady Cyn that evening. He was hopeful. He was always hopeful. And then if the Rams were freed, what lay ahead? Life seemed full of excitement to George. Just as he liked it.

Lady Cyn was in good spirits since it was time for London to wake up once more.

“And you know, dear,” she said with a smile, “the countryside is delightful for a bit, but not in winter!”

George agreed.

In her heart, Lady Cyn was happy that the ships were impounded. George would be staying in England at least until that case was over. And she often found herself liking the idea of the North capturing Charleston and George moving his family to Nassau and concentrating on his English business. He might enter into a long term lease at Berkeley Square and be her friendly escort for good! She was musing while he chatted.

Oh, well, she thought, it was impossible to know what life had in store. They could simply enjoy their evenings together. What more can a poor human creature do? Carpe Diem and all that.


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Story: Episode 194 The End of the Matter


Story: Episode 194                                          The End of the Matter

Wednesday, October 22                             The Cabinet Meeting


Russell and Palmerston did an informal pooling before the meeting. No one had changed his mind.

Russell began and announced that the French had proposed Britain join them in requesting a six month armistice. There was silence.

“Did they come to you or did you go to them?” asked Sir George Lewis, the Secretary of  War, with a frown.

                     Lewis                                 Grey                                   Argyll

“Ah, we naturally asked Earl Cowley to feel out the French sentiment.”

“Was this a good idea?” asked Lord Granville.

Russell looked carefully at him, and said cooly, “If I didn’t think it was a good idea, I wouldn’t have done it.”

“Then please tell us your reasoning, Lord Russell,” asked Granville just as cooly.

“It is simple. We are concerned that the request from England will be turned down and even worse, will be considered grounds by Seward to go to war, is this not the sentiment of some of us?”


“Then consider the impact of another nation joining us. Would Seward dare to go to war with both England and France, or would he be more likely just to say no, and go on his way?”

“I see your point,” said Gladstone. “It’s a good idea.”

The Duke of Newcastle, Secretary for the Colonies, added, “So do I. It will be a serious deterrent.”

                                                                  Newcastle                                           Granville                               Seymour

“Well, what do we gain by asking for a six month armistice that we know will be ridiculed?” asked Argyll, “and deterrent or not, leaves a danger of war?”

“We gain the moral high ground, your Grace,” said Russell. “Surely, we all agree that the war is a disgrace and violates common sense and it is slaughtering thousands upon thousands. Also, we believe the South would agree to a cease-fire.”

“Ah. You are trying to favor the South!” said Argyll.

Sir George Lewis nodded agreement.

“They need a spell to regroup and rearm,” said Lewis. “Surely, we do not want to favor a slave society?”

“We want peace,” said Gladstone, “and we have a moral obligation to stop the war. Two years have resulted in a stalemate, as Lord Russell pointed out in his excellent Memorandum on the subject. “This is not ‘favoring a slave society’. We can better pressure the South to end slavery by economic means after peace is achieved.”

A few grunts.

Gladstone added, “There are other matters to consider, gentlemen. If there are more Southern military successes, it could result in Confederate demands for territory in Maryland, West Virginia, Kentucky and Missouri. All these states are slave states in

effect. That will just make compromise more difficult.”

                 Gladstone                                   Palmerston [1850]                      Russell [1850’s]

There was quiet. Even Argyll had not thought of this.

“And,” continued Gladstone, “we keep hoping that the misery in Lancashire will not erupt into violence. Are you so sure?  If it happens, we would have to act to open ports for cotton out of necessity and not out of a pure humanitarian interest.”

Nods. Silence.

“Are we ready for war at sea, Lord Seymour?” asked Granville?

The First Lord of the Admiralty shifted uneasily in his seat.

“We would need new plans since now the Americans have iron-clads. We cannot just expect to sail into Boston and New York without heavy losses to our wooden fleet.”

“Ha,” said Argyll. “There we are. No provoking the United States at this time! We can see about it later. Let the battlefield decide. And it will decide in favor of the North!” he added confidently.

Palmerston stood up. “I am afraid I must add that the Conservatives do not support a peace initiative. I have talked to Lord Derby and to Mr. Disraeli.”

Russell looked up. One more time the Prime Minister apparently decided to omit giving him information. So Russell is seen as the man who is pushing and Palsy Pal is everyone’s friend, especially the majority!

“Let’s see, here’s what he wrote,” and he pulled out the letter.

The whole coast is in federal hands. It can hardly be argued that a country which has not a port, not a means or ingress or egress, is in a position to claim recognition of its independence. Mediation is impossible. The offer of it useless, unless you want to provoke insult from the North. If you intervene, you must prepare to enforce the acceptance of your proposal. . . . If the autumn campaign ends without decisive result, the South will have held its own for two complete years; debt, taxes, failure of trade, will have begun to tell on the North, which they have not yet done. . . . By the beginning of next session, the position will have become intelligible.”


Leader of the Conservative Party in Lords                  Leader in Commons

“Ah, exactly as I feel,” said Lord Granville. “And Disraeli agrees I suppose?”

“I believe so, Lord Granville,” said Palmerston.

“Wait until he hears how General Grant has expelled all jews from his military territory,” murmured Newcastle.

“Well,” continued Palmerston, “if we are not entirely together on this, we have no chance of obtaining a majority in Parliament.”

Russell nodded.

“So then…….?” asked Grey.

Russell spoke up.

“There is another matter we must consider. The Trenholm matter.”


“We have done that, Lord Russell. We will not be blackmailed by a Southern agent with forgeries,” said Argyll impatiently.


“Well, there has been further evidence obtained.” And he handed around copies of the Dudley letter to Adams. There was silence.

“Another forgery!” protested Argyll.

Russell shook his head. “No, the original is in Mr. Dudley’s handwriting.”

“Blackmail!” said Argyll again.

Russell shook his head again.

“ No, your Grace, Mr. Trenholm is not the sort of man you imagine. I understand you feel there are no gentlemen in the South, but remember Trenholm’s grandfather went to Eton… the same class in fact as the then Duke of Summerton, the late Duke’s grandfather. He keeps his word.”

Sir George Lewis was looking very grim.

“If this gets out, then the public pressure could force us to act, your Grace,” he said to Argyll.

“What does Trenholm demand, then?” asked Argyll.

Nothing,” said Russell. “He gave up the original and I gave it to Scotland Yard for verification. It is in our hands, not Trenholm’s.”


“But this letter is clearly a lie! That man Dudley is protecting himself, that’s all,” added Argyll.

“Perhaps, but…….” began Lewis as he tried to imagine where the troops would come from in the event of war.

“So what do we do, gentlemen?” asked Russell.

“Just tell Scotland Yard to keep quiet,” said Lord Granville.

“Ah. Yes, I have done that,” said Russell. “But we have a problem.”

All looked to him.

“We have impounded the Trenholm Rams on the basis of Affidavits supplied by Mr. Dudley. The defending barristers will seek Dudley as a witness and even the Government may have to use Dudley as the basis for admitting the Affidavits. And this will open up the facts of Dudley’s flight.”

Mouths open. Some nods.

“Also, it is highly dubious that we would  be able to keep the Court from obtaining the records of the investigation from Scotland Yard.”

“Well,” said Gladstone, “we must move to dismiss the case. It is an error anyway. We all know the Court will determine that the Act requires the arming of the vessel in British waters. Parliament knows that.”

“We have looked foolish, in my opinion, by bringing this case,” said the Duke of Newcastle. “Just too much appeasement of that Seward fellow with his continuing threats.”

Argyll was almost gnashing his teeth.

“We cannot aid this slave power! It is outrageous!”

“But the Law, your Grace,” said Palmerston opening his hands.

“We must then change the Law.”

“Exactly, then you may work in Parliament for that result. But as for now?”

Argyll was silent.

“So gentlemen are we in agreement?” asked Russell. “We keep the matter secret. Thus, we dismiss the case of impoundment?”

All nodded assent.

“Well,” said Russell with a smile, “I am grateful that there is something we can agree on!”

“And next, may we have an agreement on some more troops to Canada?”

All nodded.


“Now let us consider our plans on the Continent and how we will deal with the Emperor,” said Gladstone.

“And Russia,” added Sir George Lewis.


To be noted:

A dispatch from Monadnock, correspondent for the New York Times, From London, November 21, 1862:

Intervention Postponed

“The report that Mr. Secretary SEWARD has written to Mr. ADAMS, blaming the British Government for its complicity in the fitting out of the Alabama, caused a small flutter, and considerable indignation on the Stock Exchange. The English have wished to be perfectly neutral as between the two belligerents. They recognized the Confederates as belligerents in the beginning in their own interests, expressly that they might sell arms, ammunition, and ships to both parties, and their only regret is that the blockade has prevented them from carrying out their intentions of neutrality with perfect impartiality.

There is a keen regret felt in every Englishman’s pocket, that they have been compelled to be unfair to the South, and that they have sold ten times as much contraband of war to the North, as they could to the Confederates. Their consciences have pricked them to that degree, for this compulsory partiality, that they are now fitting out a fleet of the fastest steamers that ever crossed the ocean, expressly to run the blockade with munitions of war. These are small, sharp steamers of light draft, made of steel plates, all paddle-wheel and funnel, that will run off twenty knots an hour, and that no blockading vessel can think of taking. The success and impunity of the Alabama, will also lead to the fitting out and arming of a dozen more, if the war continues; and the answer to any complaint will be, “Didn’t you help Russia in the Crimean war? Did not President PIERCE assert the right of Americans to build ships and sell ammunition to both parties? How then can you complain of us for doing what you did, and justified?”

Besides, you have bought artillery, powder, everything you wanted, in England, without hindrance. Why should not the Confederates do the same? You call Capt. SEMMES a pirate — but he is no more a pirate than Stonewall JACKSON is a brigand; and you treat him according to the rules of war A Confederate naval officer is entitled to the same consideration as one in the land service. You take Confederate and neutral contraband cargoes wherever you can. Why may not the Confederates do the same?”

The distress in Lancashire deepens. The bounty of a nation will be exhausted in palliating the suffering. Surat cotton comes, but it cannot be worked to profit. The English are beginning to see that Lancashire is ruined and the cotton trade itself, unless they can get cotton from America. Hence the protest against the war — hence the protest against the abolition policy of the Government. England is less abolition than she was a year ago.

“Never was any measure more universally denounced than that of the proclamation.

“The freedom of the slaves in America is the ruin of the manufacturing interest in England. Lancashire has built up and extended Slavery. Cut off from that, it is ruined. Sentiment is a very fine thing; but Englishmen know the beauties of bread, and beef and beer. They blubbered freely over Uncle Tom’s Cabin, but never bought one bale of cotton the less, and are ready to take all they can get. Manchester is the centre, heart and soul of American Slavery. Manchester has grown rich on its profits, and participates in its reverses. Can you expect sympathy from Manchester in an effort to destroy it? If so, you reckon without your host.”



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Story: Episode 193 The Duke’s Solution


Story:  Episode 193                 The Duke’s Solution


The Duke of Summerton had written Russell on Wednesday, the 15th:

Please come to lunch Friday the 17th. 1pm.  Just the two of us. I have news and a solution. Summerton

Russell was truly curious. He had informally reported to the Duke the failure of the Cabinet on the 10th to agree to a course of action and to await the French. Also, he had disclosed the Cabinet’s dismissal of the dispatches. What now? Oh, well, he thought, perhaps I’ll be served venison and trout. Good table at Summerton’s.

At Cavendish Square, the fire was cheery. The table excellent, and Russell ate happily. Lord James seemed in a good mood. At the end of the meal, Russell asked what might be the good news.

“My Lord,” said James, “we perhaps will never be able to prosecute my father’s murderer, but I have the satisfaction of knowing that it was the Americans, with Adams’ consent.”

He let it sink in.

Russell was shaking his head. “Impossible, impossible….”

“I have another letter, Lord Russell, one that settles the matter for me. And it is not a forgery.”

He handed it over.

Dear Minister Adams, it is with regret that I must decline to comply with your suggestions regarding certain actions in England. Espionage is one thing, but what you want is not acceptable. Violence solves nothing. I am sure you will be able to find others.

                     Yours truly,  Dudley, United States Consul, Liverpool

“Here is Dudley’s defense. Obviously, Adams overrode his objections. And this is handwritten, Mr. Secretary. I will ask Scotland Yard to compare it with documents written by Dudley which they retrieved from his office the day after he fled.”

Russell was intrigued, but not convinced.

“A smoking gun, as they say,” said Russell. “But we still need the confession.” Russell started to put the letter in his coat.

“Excuse me, my Lord,” said the Duke holding out his hand. “That is evidence I must give to Scotland Yard. For safekeeping.”

“Ah. Yes, of course.” And he handed it back with a smile.

Russell knew that if charges were brought against Adams and the international search for Dudley turned him up, a trial was going to take place. It would eclipse the Trent Affair. Yet the Cabinet was not now ready to go after a peace proposal. He would try again soon.

“Your Grace, I have more news about the peace effort,” said Russell. “The French Minister, de Lhuys, has alerted me that France will propose we join in asserting a six month armistice. I will go to the cabinet with the idea next week. We will see.”

“I hope you will be successful, Mr. Secretary,” said Lord James.

Russell nodded thanks. “But tell me, Lord Summerton, what is your solution which has so intrigued me?” he asked with a smile.

Lord James leaned forward.

“Tell me if I am wrong, Mr. Secretary,” he began. “The Cabinet fears a war with the United States if it proposes any form of a peace proposal.

“So it seems.”

“And yet we need the Lancashire famine solved. Light at the end of the tunnel at least.”

“That would be ideal,” he nodded.

“And the Admiralty needs to see these Trenholm Rams in action. It is essential for the Empire’s ability to be the dominant sea power in the world.”

“Hmmmmmmm. I see where you are going. Do you have a copy of that Dudley letter?”

“Of course, here you are sir.”

Russell thought a moment. Yes, it might work.

“So,” continued Russell,  “I assume you would like me to call in Minister Adams, show him the letter, and demand he agree that the impoundment proceedings be halted and that we will stick to the general interpretation that even if the ships violate the Queen’s Proclamation, we will not go beyond the law of the Foreign Enlistment Act?”

“Yes, that is the solution. We stay out of war. But we give Trenholm his ships.”

“With British navy sailors?”

“Well, former British sailors, sir.”

“And he will then attack the United States for the Confederacy?”

“No, sir. He has a different idea. He does not trust the Confederate Government.”


“He intends to open a port, Charleston or Wilmington or Savannah, and then, assuming he is victorious,  to convoy his freighters filled with cotton to England.”

“Ah. Just what Lincoln refuses to do.”

“When you think about it, sir, it is just like the British East India  practice of using armed convoys to escort its cargo ships.”

“Yes. I see that idea. A private merchant opening up a port for free trade. Can it be done?”

“That is what we need to determine, Lord Russell. If he is successful, we will produce these ships in good numbers, with any improvements suggested by battle experience, and in a year we will be again the only real force on the sea.”

Russell was quiet.

“He will not fire until fired upon,” added the Duke. “Purely defensive, you see. After all, a blockade is an act of aggression.”


“Palmerston and the others,” began Russell, “will still fear we will be implicated in a war.”

“But they must consider that he is not an English merchant, and he is not a pirate nor acting as a Confederate. He may be a mercenary if he charges a port for his services. And we have no control over him. And his ships are not like the Alabama because the are not destined for delivery to a belligerent.”

“Ah. Are you sure?”

“Very sure.”

Russell thought. He could push the French plan, then present the letter which suggests war will not be avoided anyway, and then propose the Duke’s plan and squash the letter if and until a real murderer is found. After all, which course had the most risk of war? He would say it was the possibility of disclosure of the Scotland Yard investigation.

“How quickly can you get that letter confirmed as Dudley’s handwriting?”

“By tomorrow night, Mr. Secretary. I assume the detectives will work on Saturday.”

“Of course they will. And he scribbled a note. Give this to Overland and he will accompany you. I will summon Minister Adams and have Palmerston join me for Monday. Can we show all the letters?”

“I spoke to Trenholm about that. He has taken steps to protect his agent. We can show them and simply say we obtained them abroad just to be a bit confidential.”

“Can you tell me now where they came from?”

“Yes. They were taken from the American Legation here in London.”

“Ah. Breaking and entering?”

“No sir, it was implied that it was an inside job. Only a review of documents, information, perhaps a breach of trust violation. Perhaps just carelessness.”

“Ha!” said Russell. “That’s a good one. I will tell our embassies to be sure to put away papers at night and change all their locks!”

Russell looked up and smiled at the young man.

“This is good work, Summerton.”

“Thank you sir.”

“You have a head for Government.”

“Thank you sir.”

And as he left, Russell suddenly realized he wanted the Duke of Summerton as First Lord of the Admiralty. But Palmerston would not agree at this point, even if Lord Seymour had been raked over the coals in Parliament during the summer, and a change might deflect some of the criticism from the Government. He would wait to see how all this turned out.


Monday, October 20, 1862                                The Foreign Office


Inspector Mackintosh had taken only a few minutes to confirm that the Dudley letter was indeed in Dudley’s own hand.  And he asserted that this was very close to a confession, even if Dudley were trying to protect himself.  Sir John Overland took the news directly back to Lord Russell who smiled and suddenly felt a bit jaunty. How Adams was going to sweat now! Russell couldn’t help it, he did despise the Adams’, all generations of them.

At the Legation, Minister Adams had rehearsed his own plan. He would claim, in confidence of course, that he did not want to embarrass the United States with the poor Affidavits and so he would only protest mildly if the impoundment case were dropped by Secretary Russell.

Adams was surprised to see the Prime Minister sitting at the table with Russell.

There were the usual courtesies and then they sat down. A stenographer was at the end of the table.

Adams laughed.

“Oh, we’re to be on the record?”

He did not like that.

“The report of this meeting will be confidential, of course, but you will understand that we both need a proper record,” said Russell.

The Prime Minister spoke.

“Mr. Adams, we have tried to cooperate with the United States as far as any neutral may do so. We sell huge amounts of armament to the North. They have more money than the South. We have quashed attempts to declare your blockade ineffective and yet a fair-minded person would see that the first 18 months did not amount to a blockade at all. We have ignored the differences in opinion between Mr. Seward and ourselves regarding the right of the United States to board British merchant ships going to a British territory. We have protested, but only mildly, at what our merchants say is a blockade of Bermuda and Nassau.”

He stopped.

Adams was nodding. “You have been very gracious, my Lord.”

“But now you have gone too far, I am afraid.”

He let it sink in.


“This Dudley Affair. It looks very much like you have condoned illegal operations on British soil.”

“What?! I……?”

Palmerston handed over the letter.

“This is a copy. Scotland Yard has the original, and it is in Mr. Dudley’s handwriting.”

Adams mouth dropped open. His face reddened in anger. Dudley! What a lie! It must have been in the records at Dudley’s office and someone gave it to Scotland Yard.

“This is a vile and lying slander, my Lords!” Adams almost shouted. “I have done my best to control that man since the beginning of his service.”

Russell opened his hands. “Of course, Mr. Adams, of course.”

Palmerston continued, “I’m sure you may see the terrible impact this would have on public opinion if it became public in a trial? We might have to extradite Dudley from France or wherever he is hiding. We have three actual murders and one possible murder……..of a British Duke!”

Adams suddenly felt exhausted.

“What can we do, gentlemen. This might ignite the very war that we all want to avoid.”


“Well,” said Palmerston, “would the United States consider a proposal for a six months armistice? Let tempers settle down. Stop the mutual slaughter of Americans, North and South? Allow a bit of cotton to flow?”

Adams grimaced.

“Ah. I fear the mood in Washington is to ignore and to resent foreign pressures. Regrettable of course.”

“Even if the evidence we now have were given to Seward?”

“I can send it to him, Lord Palmerston. But I fear he enjoys beating the drums for war with England. His popularity goes up each time.”

He glanced at the stenographer. “That is off the record of course.”

“Yes, yes,” said Russell and motioned to the stenographer.

“Well, then I guess we are in a quandary,” said Russell. “And we have that ship impoundment coming up in Court. All the Affidavits will be questioned and Mr. Dudley’s absence noted, and also, I am not sure we can refuse the barristers the information from Scotland Yard, Mr. Adams. They will demand it of course.”

Silence. Adams thought a bit.

“Ah. What do you want me to do?”

“Well, we would like you to consent to the dismissal of the case and to agree that the Foreign Enlistment Act of 1819 will have to be changed in Parliament if it is to have the meaning you propose. This case damages British shipping.”

“Ah.”  A surge of relief passed over Adams.

“And in return you will keep the Dudley Affair private?” he asked.

“Yes, unless there is a confession by the murderer and then our hands will be tied,” said Lord Palmerston.

Russell continued,

“And we would like you to ignore any further troop movement to Canada. It is a perfunctory matter. More are needed even for peace, you see.”

“Well, certainly…..I won’t complain…but the newspapers…..”

“We just mean you, Mr. Adams.”

“Fine,” said Adams.  “If questioned by Secretary Seward, I will explain your peaceful intentions. And…?”

He looked at Russell to hear what more was going to be demanded.

“We need you to insist that Mr. Seward back away from Nassau and Bermuda. Keep the blockade limited to the Southern States. Our merchants are making a huge row in Parliament.”

Adams nodded. “I will do what I can…..”

“And no more stopping British vessels on the open seas unless you have clear evidence that the vessel is owned by the Confederacy or its agents.”

“And this means real evidence, not Affidavits from paid clerks or sailors, Mr. Adams. Documentation,” added Palmerston.

Adams was nodding.

There was silence.

Adams looked up,

“Believe me gentlemen, that letter from Dudley is nothing more than his attempt to have me recalled.”

“We do believe you, Mr. Adams. The problem is the press, is it not?”

Adams nodded. They would run with this story, hard evidence or not.

A relieved Adams left the offices. He definitely now could keep quiet to Washington about the investigation into Dudley for the time being, and he could report that due to Dudley’s resignation, the case about the Rams was weakened and then, although he was ready to push forward with the matter, both Russell and Palmerston leaned hard on him and effectively declared, did they not?, that they were not going to continue with it.

Adams would keep an eye out for the departure of the Rams, and tell Commodore Craven to see if the Tuscarora could pick them up on the open seas and sink them before they could be armed. That would be a better result than a law suit anyway.

USS Tuscarora, 1862


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Story: Episode 192 The Forgotten Letter


Story: Episode 192                                       The Forgotten Letter

Wednesday, October 8, 1862                         William’s Proposal



Young Kensington had suffered continuously since the Duke’s drowning since he was sure he had been negligent, and now he moped about Benton waiting for the family to return from London. He knew he should contact Uncle George, and he checked the Lane for chalk marks indicating a message at the drop. There were none. He rode some. He watched Lord James’ horses train. He did not fish. Michaelmas Term was approaching, so he decided to begin to pack his things, and he went to the attic so arrange his trunks.

All the false keys and disguises were there, and he pondered what to do with them as he took out clothes for school. Just leave them locked here, he thought. And he folded his large overcoat to put it over the rest of the material. Something crunched. He put his hand into the inside pocket and pulled out a letter, the Letter the hooked-nosed man had dropped at the Legation.

He had not put it into his bag with the other material and had forgotten it in the confusion of escape. Addressed to Adams. It could be a coded dispatch which he needed to deliver to Uncle George, so he opened it. It was just a note from Consul Dudley. He read it twice and his face twitched. He would deliver it to Uncle George immediately.

He wrote a short note in code and gave it to the boy at the post office in the village to deliver to Berkeley Square.

                          Meeting. Important. Friday. Usual

When he went to lunch, he was told that Lady Mary and her mother would be home for dinner. Finally. Mary. He had dreamed of her almost every night, or was the woman Amelia? He walked a long way after lunch and made up his mind. Mary must marry him. He would stay in England.

Uncle George had explained about his cotton. He had sold 4,000 bales last December to pay off the debt on the 10,000 bales Uncle George had purchased for him, and George had put the $43,000 left over into the Runner Syndicate. So he had 6,000 bales and the price in Liverpool was about 25 pence a pound now. He would ask Uncle George to sell his cotton now. The return would be 25p x 450 lb to a bale =11,250 pence, and there were 240 pence to a Pound Stirling so he could possibly receive about £250,000 after costs, and by just investing in Government Consols at 3%, his income would be about £8,000 and at 5% short term rates, it would be £12,500, a princely sum, and of course Uncle George could do much better.

He did not have to be a parson! Mary would certainly feel differently now.

They dressed for dinner to try to carry on as if all were normal, but there was tension in the air. Lady Priscilla saw that William wanted to be with Mary so she excused herself from the drawing room for bed, and when Mary turned to go with her, William asked her to stay for a moment.

“What now?” she asked wearily.

He came up and took her hand. She did not withdraw it. He looked into her eyes.

“Mary,” he began in a stutter, “I…..I…. I love you…..dearly and you must listen for a moment,” he began, “I…I.. will not be a parson. I will have a very good income, over £10,000, and I will stay in England. We can buy a nice home near-by. ……..Please, ….my….my….. love, be my wife……”

She looked up at him.

“You are not on your knees.”

He dropped to one knee.

She laughed. It was a bitter laugh.

“You know my income will be huge now! And so now, you want me dearly! You should be ashamed.”


“And I suppose you have ‘honored’ me while at the bachelor flat of my brother in London?”

“And you have no profession! Phillip Barrington is an Member of Parliament, a man rising in the world! With my income I can aid him! I do not just want to race horses in the Country.”


“Leave me alone, William,” she said with a harsh finality.

She turned and left the room.

A wave of darkness passed into his soul. He stumbled getting up and cursed. He must leave Benton soon. He had failed at everything.


Situation: As our British Ministers fought to a draw on the policy of mediation, arguing Antietam, the Emancipation Proclamation, Trenholm’s dispatches and Russell’s memo, William made his way to meet Uncle George.

Friday, October 10, 1862

He went to London Friday morning and took a room in a hotel near the Library. If anyone wondered, he was studying. That night he went to the pub and waited. George came on time. He too had been wondering what to do now about his ward. The need to stay at Benton was gone. Keeping him to obtain information as a parson was gone. It was an awkward greeting.

“I’m sorry, Uncle George,” William began. He took out the letter and handed it to George. George raised his eyebrows.

“This is……?”

“I just found this in my old coat as I was going to pack it away. I didn’t even remember it at first. But remember the intruder as I was leaving? Well, I remember now. He dropped this. I was flustered and just stuffed it in  the inside pocket of my jacket. Everything else was in my bag.”

“You opened it?”

“Yes. I was surprised to see what it said, but I don’t understand.”

George opened it and read:

Dear Minister Adams, it is with regret that I must decline to comply with your suggestions regarding certain actions in England. Espionage is one thing, but what you want is not acceptable. Violence solves nothing. I am sure you will be able to find others.

                     Yours truly,  Dudley, United States Consul, Liverpool

“What does this mean?” asked William.

“Dudley protests violence? Absurd. He is the author of it. The Sanford policy,” said George, reading it again.

“Then perhaps he is covering himself, isn’t he. Implicating Adams just in case? He’d be free to say that Adams forced him to act, would not accept his advice,” suggested William.

George thought a moment. If Dudley wanted to have Adams recalled, that might be the only purpose of hiding a letter like this in the Legation where it could be found later. And of course, Dudley would keep his copy at his office to produce.

“Thank you William. You have done good work.”


“Ah, the Duke…..I know……but you could not stay at the Duke’s side every day. Don’t blame yourself.”

“What can I do now?’ asked William softly.

George thought.

“Prepare for school and go when it is time. I’ll have to see what my plans are now and then I’ll find a place for you.”

William nodded and then asked, “The Secretary at the Legation?”


George raised his eyebrows. “Oh, yes. We are concerned that the missing dispatches will be discovered, and I have a plan for her.”

“What is it? She trusted me and I lied to her.” William looked miserable.

George sighed. “William, we have looked into her past. She was not telling you the truth either.”

William stared.

“Amelia Potter is not from a Boston family. Her name is Janice Bellows. She is married to Mr. Thomas Bellows of Portland, Maine. She ran away a couple of years ago and studied to be a secretary in Washington, DC. When the war came, she got a job with the State Department and was assigned to Adams.”

William’s mouth hung open.

“We offered her £1,000 to be silent. Her salary is £100 a year with £8 month for living. She is a smart girl. She pushed until we walked away. Eventually, she agreed to accept our gift of £2,000 and to go to Havana when we decide it is time. If she left now it would raise Adams’ suspicions. She is not being followed….as yet.”


“No, William, we are correct, and she has admitted all I have told you.”

He was dumbfounded.

“Please realize that it is in her best interest to do this. She now has the funds to care for herself and she can find another husband, with a new name as a lady from England, no less.”


“She was not in love with you, William.”

He groaned inwardly. No. No one was in love with him. He sighed.

“We are fulfilling her dreams, William. She is happy.”

“It is all so strange, Uncle George.”

“Yes, well……just follow my advice and I will be in touch later.”

George had no inkling of the depth of the investigation by Scotland Yard. Minister Adams had told the staff in Liverpool that Mr. Dudley was off on official business, and that all should remain at work until further notice.

Maguire quietly paid his men and dismissed them. He was going to resettle somewhere else, but he had not make up his mind where. Gager had asked him to find the man who must have killed everyone, and he promised he would try but he was almost certain there was no such man. Dudley did not have the skills to recruit a murderer of a Duke.

George put the letter in his pocket, and decided to give it to the new Duke as soon as possible.



At the Legation, Minister Adams went over the alternatives again and again. He would send Dudley’s Resignation to Washington, and until a replacement arrived, Henry could be acting Consul in Liverpool. He would have to get a locksmith to open any locked drawers, and Henry would have to take some money to pay the staff. That was easy.

But the fact was that Dudley’s Affidavits against the Rams were now worthless. And if presented they would be subject to examination and the exposure in court of the whole debacle was likely. He had no choice but to ask Russell to drop the case. This pained him greatly, but without Dudley standing as an upright foreign consul, he could not risk the impact of public disclosure.

But then, how to explain it all to Secretary Seward? Dudley was working for him, and he would be held responsible for everything. He slept badly. He mulled it over and over. Retire in disgrace? That had no appeal.

He cornered Henry to discuss his dilemma. Henry was delighted to get a promotion and go to Liverpool. He would clean up his office and be ready in two days. As what to do with Seward, Henry didn’t hesitate.

“Father, this is now all rumor. There is no need to give reports based on speculation. Just go on as you normally would when a Consul resigns for personal reasons. No one knows how much money he had at the office. It was a secret fund. More funds will be coming now for war materials and I can handle it. I just need to assure our suppliers that all is well!”

Minister Adams looked skeptically at his son for a moment.

“And the Rams?”

“Ah. That is more difficult, I agree. We cannot have our case examined in Court,” said Henry carefully. “But perhaps we can do our best to have Mr. Russell cancel the proceeding on his own initiative? Seward knows he is pro-South.”

Henry paused while his father was silent.

“And it is all Dudley’s fault. He fled and the Affidavits are no good. Nothing we can do about it.”

“Hmmmmmmm,” said Adams. He was suddenly appreciating his son’s intelligence. “Let me think a bit about that.”

“I will start to prepare right now,” said Henry, and he left. He went straight to Amelia’s office with a big smile.

“It’s finally happened, Amelia! I will be Consul in Liverpool! Isn’t this grand? And you of course must come with me!”

Her mouth fell open.

“Oh, I know it’s a surprise but maybe I can even become the permanent appointee if I do well. You will be secretary to Consul Adams!” he added proudly. “Surely I can give you a raise, eh?” he added with a wink.

“Here are my keys. Begin to pack all my papers for the journey. I will deliver all current business to Mr. Moran.”

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Story: Episode 191 The Russell Memorandum


Story: Episode 191                        Lord Russell’s Explanation of the Situation in America

Monday                                       October 13, 1862

Russell completed several drafts before settling on the final. He was satisfied. He believed every word and hoped that those against him would be persuaded.

The time had come. The week before he had shared a draft with Gladstone under the principle of staying close to your enemies.


Gladstone was grateful and agreed wholeheartedly. He was due to give a speech at Newcastle and so on Tuesday, October 7, 1862, he had made his famous declaration:

“We may be for or against the South. But there is no doubt that Jefferson Davis and other leaders of the South have made an Army; they are making, it appears, a Navy; and they have made — what is more than either — they have made a Nation… We may anticipate with certainty the success of the Southern States so far as regards their separation from the North.”


This was a natural conclusion from Lord Russell’s Memorandum:


Lord John Russell’s Memorandum to the Cabinet on British Intervention:

“The present condition of affairs in the United States of America may be viewed under three aspects—military, political and social.

“I. The military events of the past year only proved that armies hastily got together, ill commanded, and hurried into the field before they were fit to act, could not produce, on either side, a lasting impression.

“In the present year, however, great efforts have been made. An immense army, carefully drilled, and abundantly supplied with stores of ammunition, clothing, and provisions, were advanced, by the James River, towards Richmond.

“After a week’s severe fighting, this army was driven back to the Potomac with a diminution of their numbers, it is said, from 140,000 to some 60,000 or 70,000 men. Sickness, losses in battle, desertion, and capture by the enemy, produced this fearful reduction.

“General Pope, who endeavoured to make a diversion in front of Richmond, fared no better. His rear was surprised, his baggage cut off, and his whole force, after being defeated in pitched battle, retired hastily to Washington.

“The Confederates attempted in their turn an aggression upon Maryland and Pennsylvania. But this invasion likewise failed, and after the severe and bloody action near Sharpsburg the Confederate army retired across the Potomac.

“In these various movements both armies have displayed great courage, and have sustained immense losses. But neither has obtained a decisive superiority, and as the war is aggressive on the part of the North, and defensive on the part of the South, this result must be considered as favourable to the Southern cause.

“II. Another aspect of this war is the political aspect. It was said at Washington and New York last year that the conspiracy of a few men, and the treason of a former Government, had given to the South all the advantages of a previous preparation and surprise. It was affirmed that the great majority in the Southern States had been swept along in the torrent, and that as soon as protection could be given, their Union sentiments would be clearly and unequivocally expressed.

“It was not in the power of any one on this side of the Atlantic to contradict their statements. But eighteen months have elapsed since they were made, and time has dispelled the obscurity which had prevailed during the early twilight of this great struggle. General Butler has obtained possession of New Orleans, and he describes the 150,000 inhabitants of that city as “hostile, bitter, defiant, and explosive.”

“His encouragements to bring cotton from the country, with a certainty of a good market and a lively demand, have produced scarcely any supply.

“No considerable defection from the Confederate authorities, though often predicted, has taken place even where the Federal arms have been most successful. Newspaper correspondents, who on account of their partiality to the Federal cause, were allowed to accompany General McClellan’s army into Virginia, described the farmers and other inhabitants as universally adherents of the South.

“This disposition of the South, which has been expressed as one of hatred and defiance by Lieutenant Maury and others, must be taken into account when estimating the effect of military success. The tide of victory may set in favour of the North; a brilliant General may arise on the Federal side, and may recruit his ranks by the enthusiasm his exploits may excite.

“But it is now evident that military success instead of freeing the South must subjugate it. Five millions of whites must, instead of being re-admitted into the Union, be subjugated by conquest.

“ Governors appointed by the President of the United States, supported by large disciplined armies, must hold Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, by military force and civil despotism. This may happen, though it is not probable; but in that case the Union will not be restored, permanent peace will not be established, and the former state of industry and rich cultivation will be replaced by smouldering civil war, during which the arts of peace will be neglected, and the fields left waste by the disaffected proprietors.

“III. These considerations lead us to the social aspect of the question, the most important of all.

“President Lincoln has challenged the world to examine his Decree of the 22nd September.

“It should be called a “Decree,” and not a “Proclamation,” because it does not proclaim and enforce an existing state of law, but abrogates the existing law, and even the Constitution of the United States altogether.

“The Constitution of the United States, as is apparent on the face of it, while it proclaimed freedom for all whites, no less proclaimed slavery as the condition of the black inhabitants of certain States of the Republic. The free States bound themselves to restore fugitive slaves as if they were stray oxen or stolen horses. The black slaves were said to be “held to labour;” that is to say, they were, by the mere fact of their birth, slaves of their proprietors, to be worked, distrained, sold, punished as domestic animals. Such was the compact of the Slave States, solemnly ratified and made perpetual by the Federal Union and the Constitution of the United States.

“Every enlightened country in Europe would have rejoiced if this recognition of slavery could have been blotted out from the Constitution of the United States. Had the Federal Congress offered £100,000,000 sterling as compensation to the slaveowners of the South, Europe would have applauded an effort which would have had its precedents in the gift of £20,000,000 by the British Parliament, the noble Decrees of France and Denmark, and the benevolent Law which is about to set free the serfs of the vast Empire of Russia. Had the American Congress granted as compensation for the abolition of slavery twice the sum I have mentioned, it would have been a cheap outlay in comparison to the waste of means which hitherto have purchased nothing but bloodshed and misery.

“Let us, however, further examine this Decree, in order to discover both what it does and what it omits. The Decree says, ‘That on the 1st day of January I the year of our Lord 1863, all persons held as slaves within any State, or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and for ever free; and the Executive Government of the United States, including the military and naval authority thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons, and will do no act or acts to repress such persons, or any of them, in any efforts they make for their actual freedom.’

“But while this is to happen in a State ‘the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States,’ the owners of slaves in the loyal States are to keep and retain all their rights over their slaves, including the provisions of the Fugitive Slave Act.

‘There is surely a total want of consistency in this measure.

‘If this were a law of confiscation for the benefit of the United States, the slaves forfeited by their owners would be accounted chattels and sold to the highest bidder. If it were a measure of emancipation it should be extended to all the slaves of the Union, and every man, whatever his colour, should hereafter have an equal right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Instead of this course, or its opposite, the black population are to be divided into three classes:—

‘1. Those who have become free by the acceptance of “pecuniary aid” by the Slave States to which they belong.

‘2. Those who become free on the 1st January, 1863, because the States to which they belong are in rebellion.

‘3. Those who remain slaves because the States to which they belong have neither accepted compensation, nor are in rebellion.

‘It may be said that in practice the Border States could not maintain slavery after it had been abolished in North and South. But be this as it may, a greater confusion of principle cannot well be imagined. The right to hold slaves is made the reward of loyalty; the emancipation of slaves is not granted to the claims of humanity, but inflicted as a punishment on their owners.

“The Decree has been interpreted in this sense both by President Lincoln and also by Mr. Seward.

“Mr. Lincoln openly professed his indifference as to the condition and fate of the 4,000,000 of blacks who inhabit the Republic. He declared that if their freedom would help restore the Union, he was willing they should be free; if their continued slavery would tend to that end, he was willing they should remain slaves.

“Mr. Seward, in a circular to the Diplomatic and Consular Agents of the United States in foreign countries, speaks thus:—

‘I have already informed our Representatives abroad of the approach of a change in the social organization of the rebel States. . . . In the opinion of the President, the moment has come to place the great fact more clearly before the people of the rebel States, and to make them understand that, if these States persist in imposing upon the country the choice between the dissolution of the Government, at once necessary and beneficial, and the abolition of slavery, it is the Union and not slavery that must be maintained and saved.’

“What will be the practical effect of declaring emancipation, not as an act of justice and beneficence, dispensed by the Supreme Power of the State, but as an act of punishment and retaliation inflicted by a belligerent upon a hostile community, is not difficult to foresee. Wherever the arms of the United States penetrate, a premium will be given to acts of plunder, of incendiarism, and of revenge. The military and naval authorities of the United States will be bound by their orders to maintain and protect the perpetrators of such acts. Wherever the invasion of the Southern States is crowned by victory, society will be disorganized, industry suspended, large and small proprietors of land alike reduced to beggary.

“It has now become a question for the Great Powers of Europe whether in the face of the present condition of America—military forces equally balanced, and battles equally sanguinary and undecisive, political animosities aggravated instead of being softened, social organization not improved by a large and benevolent scheme of freedom for four millions of the human race, but embittered by exciting the passions of the slave to aid the destructive progress of armies; it has become a question, in the sight of these afflictions, and the prospect of more and worse, whether it is not a duty for Europe to ask both parties, in the most friendly and conciliatory terms, to agree to a suspension of arms for the purpose of weighing calmly the advantages of peace against the contingent gain of further bloodshed and the protraction of so calamitous a war.

Foreign Office
October 13, 1862


On Tuesday, October 14, the full Cabinet met. Again, it split.

Many openly criticized Gladstone for his remarks, and he agreed to tell the Press that he was expressing only his personal opinion. Argyll argued that Antietam showed that the South was not winning. He also disagreed with the public opinion against Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.

Gladstone showed him the newspapers.

From the Manchester Guardian, 7th. OCT

The proclamation is evidently nothing more than a compound of “bunkum” on a grand scale, with the swaggering bravado so conspicuous throughout the present war. We have no doubt the President sincerely desires the extinction of Slavery, but he has himself told us that there is a thing he desires more; and, in his address to the Border States, he made it a topic of piteous complaint that, unless they came to his help, he should be obliged to yield to the pressure of the Abolitionists. The proclamation is in one sense a sop thrown to those unreasoning fanatics. But it is also a blustering menace to the South — a threat that if the seceding States do not return within the time of grace, and so disappoint the hopes of their bitter foes, the latter shall enjoy the gratification of seeing them involved in all the horrors of a servile war. Doubtless the South will laugh at the idle menace. In its territories President LINCOLN has no authority except in the few spots occupied by his troops, and experience has already shown that the slaves have no notion of accepting his invitation to rise against their masters. But the harmlessness of the proclamation does not excuse its utter want of principle, and if its concoctors expected it to produce a favorable impression in Europe, there is one simple answer to them — It is too late.”

He pointed out the opinion of the London Times:

“The Times says it does not pretend to attack Slavery, it lavishes the threat of a servile rebellion as a means of war against certain States. Where he has no power, Mr. LINCOLN will set the negroes free. Where he retains power, he will consider them slaves. He proposes to excite the negroes of the Southern plantations to murder the families of their masters, while they are engaged in the war — he will run up the river in his gunboats — he will seek the places where the women and children have been trusted to the fidelity of colored domestics.”

“In short,” argued Gladstone, “it is pure hypocrisy. It shows a depraved desperation. And Lee was not defeated at Antietam. He withdrew safely with all his forces and materials. It is exactly as our Foreign Secretary has said, they fight to a draw over and over. It is time to end this war on humanitarian grounds.”

Russell then spoke up, “Please note that Mediation does not mean recognition. If the North rejects it, so be it. But we will have done the right thing.”

Some murmurs of assent.

“And,” he continued, “unfortunately, I must bring you up to date on the murders committed near Benton Hall of which the Press has knowledge and has even taunted Scotland Yard.”

He described the Ladies’ Affidavits and flight of Dudley, and showed the Trenholm dispatches.

Argyll snorted. “A simple forgery by a Southern agent!”

Others agreed.

“But gentlemen, suppose the murderer is found and confesses he has worked for Consul Dudley?”


“Well,” said Argyll, “we shall wait for that.”

“I think it is better to avoid it,” said Sir George Grey, the Home Secretary. “This would enflame the atmosphere in which we are working for peace.”


“But stop our police?” someone asked.

“Just for now,” said Russell. “I want mediation, not war. I will suggest a very discreet approach to find this man. Then we can determine how to use a confession. Perhaps it would encourage the Americans to engage in peace talks.”

“And this Southern spy?” asked Argyll. “Why won’t he release all his false dirt?”

“Ah, if that was his intent, he would have already done so, wouldn’t he?”


“No, we believe he wants to have his ships released in return for his discretion, I gather,” said Russell. “He has not said so, but…………”

“Never!” exclaimed Argyll. “We shall not be blackmailed by a confederate scoundrel! I venture he will produce a man and a confession shortly! Of course, the man will have disappeared just after giving his affidavit!”

All looked at one another. The red-headed Argyll easily lost his temper. They waited for the Prime Minister to speak.

“Well,…….ah………, I,” began Palmerston,  “do not know this Trenholm fellow, but he is a businessman, not an espionage outfit, and I believe we just need to accept his documents as given in good faith until we find out otherwise.”


“As for the ships, there is strong opinion from eminent barristers that there is no violation of the Act without arming in our ports. The opposing view simply has said that the ships violate the Queen’s Proclamation. Which they do, of course. Just as selling cannon and shot and rifles to the United States violates it, not to speak of recruiting our Irish citizens with the  inducement that they will learn to fight so they might return home to fight us.”

Argyll was silent.

“So,” Palmerston went on, “we should put it in the back of our minds…..that is, if we truly wish to continue to be neutral.”

He looked around the table. “Or do you all believe that we should stop selling arms and war goods to the North?”


“Well then, let us wait to see the response of Emperor Maximillian, shall we?

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Story: Episode 190 The Hunt Continues


Story: Episode 190                             The Hunt Continues

Thursday, October 2, 1862                                           Scotland Yard



Mr. Amelius Johnson was well-known at Scotland Yard. He was often hired by the aristocracy to handle “private matters”. But when he asked Inspector Mackintosh for information about the murders of the ‘highwaymen’ and the ‘stranger in the field’, the Inspector shook his head.

“Ongoing investigation, you see. Can’t let it be public.”

“But my good sir,” said Mr. Johnson, taking out his letter of authorization from the Duke and handing it over to Mackintosh, “I represent the new Duke and these matters are private and personal to him, not for the public. He too wants to know what is going on at Benton and what connection the murders might have to his father’s death.”

Mackintosh sighed. The Duke. That was indeed a different matter. He handed the letter back.

“Ah. I do understand, Mr. Johnson.”

“And perhaps,” said Johnson, “I may discover some things which interest you. We’ve cooperated before, no?”

Mackintosh nodded.

“Let me get authorization, Mr. Johnson. I’ll know by tomorrow and drop you a note. Is that satisfactory? I have clear instructions from my superiors not to discuss the case with anyone.”

They parted amicably. Johnson could indeed be a help, thought Mackintosh. Scotland Yard had not accepted the verdict of the Inquest. The Duke needed to know that too.

He wrote to Sir Overland and Overland immediately went to Russell.

Behind his desk, Russell grunted. This was not good. But young Burlington could be trusted certainly. There was no reason for him to disclose the implications of the investigation, and he was a member of the Government, after all.

In the Admiralty he was only a junior appointee, the Civil Lord of the Admiralty, but a well respected official. And Russell thought briefly about all the fuss concerning Lord Seymour, Duke of Somerset, First Lord of the Admiralty, Palmerston’s old friend and confidant who no longer had the confidence of the “Gladstone” faction. They were insisting a younger, fresher mind be appointed. Meaning at the same time, of course, that younger and fresher minds could replace him and the Prime Minister as well. He and Palmerston had already agreed together to send more troops to Canada. They would take Gladstone’s program right out from under him. And Burlington was now a Duke, an appropriate rank for Government. Something to think about.

He gave Overton permission to share all with Summerton. And yes, Johnson could listen in if the Duke vouched for him.

Sir John quickly wrote to Mackintosh who wrote to Mr. Johnson. The Duke would have to accompany him. Nothing would be withheld.



Mr. Johnson reported to the Duke and they arrived promptly on Monday October 6th at Scotland Yard to the hearty hand shake of Captain Mackintosh. George had delivered the secret dispatches to Lord James, but he and Johnson decided to hold them until James could review them with Lord Russell. But Johnson was anxious to hear what the Yard had on the mystery. He would ‘share’ later.


The detectives proceeded to give a full history of their investigation. Lord James was dumbfounded.

“You mean Dudley fled the day after my father’s death?”


“Adams gave him the Ladies Affidavit to him Tuesday morning?”

“That’s what we understand. Then he returned to Liverpool and immediately fled.”

Johnson and the Duke exchanged glances. Sanford’s letter had new relevance.

“And Dudley sent the Highwaymen?”

“That’s what it seems from the secretaries’ affidavit.”

The Duke sat back. Then who saved his father from that murder attempt, he wondered. He would talk to Mr. Nelson, the gamekeeper, as soon as he got to Benton.

“And Dudley sent that stranger in the field who was killed?”

“Yes, he even admits that.”

The Duke’s head was whirling. The image of young Kensington shaking his head and moaning that he had failed came back to him. Of course, he would protect the Duke! That’s what Trenholm had set up! His father was invaluable to Trenholm. And indeed there would have been no point in explaining to his father that Northern spies perhaps had determined to put him out of the way. He would have laughed and told them they were crazy.

“What more evidence do you want?” demanded the Duke.

“Well, Sir, we need to find someone, the man who pushed your father who may be the same man who killed the others. We think there was dissension within the ranks of the Northern group. We feel there was a good man, an Englishman, who tried to stop the whole operation as best as he could.”

“Operating with Dudley?”

“Yes, your Grace.”

“And of course, we now know that Adams and Dudley were at odds. Detested one another. Both trying to get the other sent home.”

“Well, then, Adams won that one.”

“So it seems. And we have discovered that Dudley was indeed in London on Monday….at that run-down hotel near the Station. The clerk recognized our sketch. But no one saw him meet anyone.”

“And why hasn’t any on this been made public?”

Inspector Mackintosh took a deep breath. Then he spoke apologetically,

“I have been clearly instructed by the Foreign Office that this is a Matter of State and must remain completely secret, your Grace.”

Lord James’s face flushed a bit. The Government had been playing its game, a game that cost his father his life! He had an urge to deliver the letters and the information from this meeting directly to Chancellor Gladstone who could let his friends circulate it until the papers got it, and then…………there would be either war or at least the recognition of the South. Or Russell and Palmerston would be gone. No Confidence!

Inspector Mackintosh had kept talking, “………..not enough evidence you see, your Grace? Just circumstantial. Until we find the man.”

The Duke nodded. He was numb. His family had been betrayed. Surely they could have disclosed the investigation to the Duke. They had known by the 7th that Dudley had lied and surely had sent the highwaymen. And they could have called in Dudley for questioning. That might have prevented him from further action.

He decided to meet jointly with Palmerston and Russell, before going to Gladstone. This was inexcusable.

Lord James and Mr. Johnson politely thanked the detectives and said that of course they would cooperate and disclose  to the Yard any new facts.


Friday, October 3, 1862                          Foreign Office,    London

Both Russell and Palmerston were somewhat annoyed at the young Duke’s request, demand almost, to see them immediately, but after all, he had been through a terrible week and certainly they would accommodate him.

They had been polling the Cabinet about the issue of mediation in North America, and now seemed to be at loggerheads. Lord Granville, the Liberal leader in the House of Lords, had written a memo opposing any action at this time. Argyll was fervently against the South.  Sir George Lewis, the Secretary of War, was opposed. Like Granville, he advocated letting them fight some more until the North would agree to a mediation. Sir George Grey, the Home Secretary, usually sided with Russell but parted on this issue. Palmerston wanted a strong consensus.

“Well,” said Russell, who had not changed his mind, “if the French agree, then you must simply twist some arms. Surely we have a lot of allies in Parliament who want this thing over?”

Palmerston just grunted.

“Gladstone is enthusiastic,” added Russell. “So are his followers. It is morally correct to stop the slaughter, no?”

Sir Overland gently knocked. “His Grace, the Duke of Summerton,” he announced.

James was both apologetic and softly spoken.

“Gentlemen, you are very kind to interrupt your busy schedules to see me. I assure you I shall be brief.”

“It is always a pleasure to see you, your Grace. And again, we are still devastated by the death of your noble father,” said Palmerston.

“Ah, yes,” said the Duke softly, “and that is why I am here.”

Russell and Palmerston glanced at one another. Each seemed equally surprised.

“Ah,” continued James, “you were kind enough to allow Mr. Johnson and me to be briefed by the Yard and that was naturally distressing with so many opportunities to stop Mr. Dudley before the 22nd……,” he let his accusation fall softly.

“I’m afraid I don’t understand, your Grace,” said Palmerston who had not been at the center of the events.

Russell spoke.

“My Lord, the evidence was too weak to arrest Mr. Dudley. It would have been public and could have created an international crisis when we naturally would like to avoid one unless our facts are firm.”

Silence. Palmerston looked at Russell. What was going on? he wondered.

James looked away and then back towards them, “Yes, I understand, my Lord, and now I have some new information which I felt should go to your hands before Scotland Yard…..for the very same reason.”

He reached into his small portfolio and handed them the dispatches stolen from the Legation.

Russell and Palmerston passed them back and forth.

“How did you get these?”

“From a Confederate, your Lordship. He incepted them.”


“Ah, it is very confidential of course, but it was Mr. Trenholm who gave them to me.”

They looked again at one another. Palmerston knew of the Rams.

“This is some sort of blackmail, I suppose?” snorted Russell.

“Not at all, Sir. He has assured me he will not release the originals.”

Palmerston spoke, “Well, I know we ourselves sometimes resort to false documents. We cannot assume these are authentic. And the content is not very upsetting. We think as little of Seward as he does of us.”

“But the Sanford policy?” asked the Duke.

“Ah,” continued the Prime Minister,  “Certainly suspicious. Gives a policy, but nothing concrete. And so I think we are in the same place as before. We need to find the murderer of the men who died at Benton.”

James decided not to talk about the Laird Rams.

“Will you give these to Inspector Mackintosh?” asked James.

“Well, the Sanford one. The others do not relate to the investigation, do they?”

James handed them all to Lord Russell. “You will best know how to proceed. In the meantime, I hope you will allow the detectives to continue their search?”

“Of course, “said Russell,  “I can assure you, Lord James, that if this indeed turns out to be a crime by the Americans, we will give the evidence to Parliament and take appropriate action.”

James nodded and took his leave.

The two statesmen looked at one another.

Palmerston spoke first. “Did we fail to protect the Duke?”

Russell sighed. “We did know that this man Dudley had lied about the two men called the Highwaymen. They were at his office.”

“So before the Duke’s death, we knew some funny business was going on?”

“Yes,” Russell nodded.

“And so why didn’t we then explain to the Duke he was possibly in danger?!” Palmerston was shocked. “You realize, Russell, that if this gets out, it will be the end of our leadership in this Government!”

Russell stood as tall as possible. “I left you out of it, so the blame will be mine alone.”

“Good Lord,” mumbled the Prime Minister. “I wish you had discussed it with me.”

“But Palmerston,” said Russell softly, “we still don’t have enough evidence to be sure that Dudley has acted illegally. It’s all theory. Even Scotland Yard would not make an arrest with what they have.”

Grunt. “Arrest and protection are two different things. He looked at Russell with an annoyed expression. “And the Press is not as scrupulous as Scotland Yard. We could all be trashed on this. Just as it is!”

They two just sat a moment and then Palmerston spoke again.

“I wonder why Trenholm did not just give these to the press or to Gladstone?” he asked.

“He still may.”

“What does he want?”

“The release of his ships I would suppose.”

“So he is a gentleman?”

“So they say. And a good card player. We get the message, don’t we?”

Silence. Then Russell spoke again.

“Remember, Lord James wants those vessels to sail too.”


“Remember? The British navy in effect designed them. And Seymour is testing iron-clads. Summerton wants to see them in action.”

“Ah. Yes, we have a new Duke.”

“But consider what release would mean now,” continued Russell.  “Trenholm will doubtless turn them over to the Confederacy and they would engage the American navy. We would be blamed, like the fuss over that ship……the Alabama.”

“Yes. Seward would whip up the American public, wouldn’t he?” said Palmerston.

Russell nodded. “And if this Dudley did commit murder, we will have to expel Adams and our public will demand war.”

“Yes. We’re in a fix,” agreed the Prime Minister.  “Let’s have the cabinet meet quickly. We can say it is about mediation. A review of  the French proposal that we expect.”

“You know,” mumbled Palmerston,  “I think I can now understand your actions. It would be best if no murderer were found, eh? That forces our hand. Let Adams and the Americans just know that we have something huge over them. We will hold off, if they too cooperate. They must leave off the ‘blockade’ of Nassau and Bermuda. Open at least one port for cotton. Oppose the Emperor in Mexico. Give us assurances—-even a treaty—-of non-aggression against Canada? What do you think?”

Russell nodded. “That would be more productive than war. But justice? Do we just shrug at murder?”

“I say, if you agree, we call off Scotland yard. Say it is temporary. Approach Adams and have him be frank with Seward.”


Russell called in his Secretary and began to dictate a memorandum for the Cabinet.

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Story: Episode 189 Lord James is Duke


Story: Episode 189               His Grace, the good Lord James, is Duke

Wednesday,  October 1, 1862               Cavendish Square


The new duke wasted no time in taking control. The family went immediately to Cavendish Square and James made arrangements to met with his farm managers, his financial advisors, and his solicitors.

He had to determine what income was available to him. With his mother, he visited the trustees of her dower trust, set up by his grandfather, Lord Sayle. He also took Mary to meet with the trustees of the trust set up by his father’s father for her after his son’s, our late Duke’s, demise. It produced a generous sum of about £15,000 to £20,000 a year. Each trust needed some guidance with respect to investment. He would inherit his mother’s dower trust outright, but now the income was entirely hers. And with the loss of Mary’s income,  he would need to find £20,000 income extra.

The estate income from the farms was fairly clear. Last year, the total to the Duke had been a little over £100,000.  Both Lord James and Lady Priscilla agreed to sell Holker Hall in Cumbria which she disliked anyway, and James needed to stay near London now. That would save about £10,000 a year in expenses and provide funds for reinvestment in something income producing.  He considered asking Mr. Adams if he might have the corn and wheat commission, but he was not optimistic. Adams would want a more influential politician for that plum. So he turned his attention to the investments in the North which had cost so much and as of yet produced nothing. Should he sell? What were they worth?

Priscilla now began to urge him to marry and settle down. She wanted grandchildren for herself and heirs for him. So much to consider. He decided to give himself a year to sort it all out. Then he could determine the best match for himself, knowing that his mother already had several in mind.

He also sat down and wrote a short note to George Trenholm at Berkeley Square to come for lunch on Friday, the 3d. George accepted immediately.


George too had been wondering where he now stood. Lord James had been a friendly ally helping with the design of the Rams, but he simply did not have the influence of his father. Such political alliances took years to establish.

Finally George decided to play his hand with the stolen dispatches. It could help Lord James to advance. He had considered going to the Chancellor’s brother, Sir Thomas Gladstone, who had already acted as the cotton agent for Fraser, Trenholm and Co. That would indeed make the biggest scandal if brother Gladstone gave the material to Chancellor Gladstone and the documents were published. But until —if and when—Mr. Gladstone succeeded in his “revolution” to become Prime Minister, his Rams would remain locked at the Laird Birkenhead shipyard. He needed to influence the current Government,  not a future one.

Laird Shipyards on  the Mercy

John Laird, MP

Thus, realism prevailed. Lord James had the best chance of getting Palmerston and Russell to release his Rams.


Friday, October 3, 1862

James, the 8th Duke of Summerton

They dined in the front sitting room. George noticed how much Lord James had already aged. The creases on his face were deep and he looked as if he had not slept well for weeks.

“Ah, Trenholm, thank you for your note of condolence. It has been indeed a rough time for us all,” began the Duke politely. “Please sit down. We will dine quietly. I have much to say.”

George was silent so the Duke could begin.

“This shock impacts us all.”

George nodded.

“I do not have a good understanding of my father’s investments in the North.”

George nodded again.

“And so I would like you advice. Should I sell? Should I continue?”

George thought a minute.

“Ah. Well, your Grace, I am not sure. The coal mines are good, I know that. And the railroad is finished. But to make it all work, I am not sure.”

The Duke leaned forward.

“What would you do?”

“Oh, that is clear!” George smiled. “I would have my partner, Charles Prioleau, do a complete analysis of the entire venture. He could do this as a “loan analysis”, perfectly normal, but add more than an asset test covering the debt. He knows his business. I will tell him that you have offered the business to us and we must determine if it will be profitable.”

George then laughed.

“I always shock him with somewhat dubious proposals, but often they work, so he will be horrified at first, then curious about the potential to make money. That is what you need to know.”

The Duke took a deep breath. This was exactly what he wanted to know.

“Trenholm, I’m grateful for this. If you would be my advisor, I would much appreciate it.”

“It is a pleasure, your Grace.”

James laughed.

“You know I am still not accustomed to that address. And you are a friend. Please call me Summerton, or Burlington or just James,” he said with a smile.

“If you will call me George….”

The Duke laughed. “That does seem too forward. You are my father’s age.”

“Exactly his age,” said George.

“But I like it. Perhaps, I shall say ‘Uncle George’ like William, just to be respectful.”

George laughed. “And I will say, Your Grace, just to be respectful.”

They both laughed.

Trenholm then began.

“I too have something important to discuss, your Grace.”


“Yes, our Rams.”

The Duke’s eye brows came up. He opened his hands.

“I am afraid I can do nothing. Like you, I want to see them off….and in action.”

“And that is the true interest of the Government, your Grace. Test the design.”

The Duke nodded.

“So perhaps if I could do a favor for the Government, they would consider doing me a favor?”

Again, the eyebrows came up.

George reached inside his pockets and withdrew several papers. They were the decoded messages.

“Your Grace, I have been able to intercept some documents obtained by a Confederate agent. If public, they might cause deep problems for the Government and its relationship with the United States.”

The Duke leaned forward.

Trenholm handed him the messages:

Belgian Minister Henry S. Sanford,
Director of secret service abroad,

to Minister Adams, London:

“I go on the doctrine that in war as in love everything is fair that will lead to success and as the activities of these men result in the death of thousands of our soldiers, they are essential combatants who must be countered in every way possible. In battle, the elimination of one rebel is a minor conquest. In procurement, the elimination of one rebel could save a thousand lives. Shipments must be stopped.”


US Secretary of State, William H. Seward to Adams:

“The old men will not go to war. They are pitifully feeble. I saw that when I met them. And if they took action, we could then move into Canada with ease. Assert fire and destruction. They will cave in.”

And another:  Seward to Adams:

“Palmerston is senile. Russell is a midget in heart as well as body. They worry only about retaining their offices. A forceful assertion of our strength is needed to have them to stop these ships. Be firm. I don’t care what that law says. They hurts us if they allow the escape of war ships. They cannot hurt us with impunity. Remember that. Be sure they understand. We will set the world on fire!”

“Tell me how you got these,” said the Duke with a serious expression.

“I must protect my source, your Grace. It is possible that she or he violated a law or two, you see.”

“But you trust the validity of the documents?”

“I do. I know the full circumstances of their capture.”

“And why won’t the agent give these to his government which will publish them?”

“Ah………… Because I pointed out that they have no military value, and I would pay privately for them. I have the originals. These are copies.”

The Duke read them over again.

“These talk of the elimination of rebels, not Englishmen.”

“Yes, I know, but it also expresses a policy, does it not?”


“Well, I agree that the public would be infuriated. What do you want me to do?”

“If you feel it wise, I thought you might have words with Secretary Russell or Lord Palmerston. No threats. I will not publicize the documents. That does me no good at all. I just hope to play upon their good will. Perhaps they could drop their law suit against the Rams? It is after all truly in the Empire’s interest to modernize the fleet.”

The Duke nodded. “Indeed, it is!”

“In any event it is a favor you will have done for them.”

“Will you give up the originals?”

“Ah. That would disclose too much at this moment. There are aspects of the capture which need to remain secret.”

“I don’t understand.”

“Ah….no, but I cannot say more.”

He could not give the coded dispatches. It was essential for the Code Book to remain secret for future use. And indeed even the disclosure of these deciphered documents to Adams could put the young girl in danger.

“And I have to request that the Government take no steps to disclose these to the United States by means of Minister Adams or otherwise. That is my only condition. It would alert them to the fact that we have a means to obtain information. It could shut down our operation, you see. That would not be fair.”

“You aren’t killing people for this, are you?”

“Oh, no. Certainly not. Just some simple but unauthorized examination of things locked up.”


That didn’t seem too awful to the Duke. He was sure that England did the same where possible.

“All right, Uncle George, I’ll give it a try,” he smiled. “A polite effort for the Empire!” And……,” he smiled a bit larger, “for Fraser, Trenholm & Co.”

“Yes, indeed,” smiled George, “and for the cotton famine,” he added.

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