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Laird (Firm) shipbuilders, 
Birkenhead 

Correspondence between Her 
Majesty's Government and 
Laird brothers respecting the iron- 
clad vessels building at Birkenhead, 
1863-6^ 



'^ly- 



a%^ C^ c<7^^^..^.^>^ 



CORRESPONDENCE 



BETWEEN 



HER MAJESTY'S GOVERNMENT 



AND 



LAIRD BROTHERS 



RESPECTING 



THE IRON-CLAD VESSELS 



BUILDING AT 



BIRKENHEAD, 



1863-4. 




VACIIKll A: SONS, 

?9, TAULIAMENT STHICET, 

Wi:ST.MINSTEi:. 






Laird Bros, to S. Price Edwards^ Collector of 
H,M, Customs^ Liverpool 

[Confidential] 

Birkenhead Iron Works, Birkenhead, 

4ih September, 1863. 

Price Edwards, Esq. 

Sir, — As the many rumours afloat in respect to 
the two Iron Steam Rams built by us, and now lying 
in our dock, have induced frequent and unusual visits 
of Mr. Morgan, the Surveyor of Customs, to our 
works, we are desirous of saving you any farther 
unnecessary trouble about these vessels by giving you 
our promise that they shall not leave the port without 
your having a week's notice of our intention to deliver 
them over to the owners, and we shall inform the 
owners of this engagement on our part. 

We may add that the first vessel will not be ready 
for a month, and the second for six or seven weeks 
from this date. 

We are, Sir, 

Your obedient Servants, 

(Signed) Laird Brothers. 



A 2 



S. Price Edwards, Collector of H.M, Customs, Liverpool, 
to Laird Bros, 

Custom House, Liverpool, 
5th SeptemheTf 1863. 

Gentlemen, — I beg to thank you for your note of 
yesterday's date, wherein you kindly promise to 
inform me, by a week's notice, of your intention to 
deliver to the owners the two Iron Steam Rams now 
being built by you, in order that the Government 
may be informed of their being ready for sea. 

This circumstance will, I know, be satisfactory to 
the Board of Customs. 

I am. Gentlemen, 

Your obedient Servant, 

(Signed) S. Price Edwards. 

Messrs. Laird Brothers. 



H,M, Foreign Office to Laird Brothers, 

Foreign Office, 

September Ath, 1863. 

Gentlemen, — Earl Russell has been led to under- 
stand that you have intimated, that while you were 
not in a position to volunteer information respecting 
the Iron-clad Vessels, lately launched and now being 
fitted out at your Yard, you would readily furnish in- 
formation upon an official application, in writing, 
being made to you for it. 



Under these circumstances, Lord Russell has 
instructed me to request you to inform him, with as 
little delay as possible, on whose account, and with 
^hat destination these vessels have been built? 

I am, Gentlemen, 

Your obedient Servant, 

(Signed) A. H. Layard. 
Messrs. Laird & Co., 
Birkenhead. 



Laird Brothers to H,M. Foreign Office. 

Birkenhead, 

September 5ihj 1863. 

A. H. Layaed, Esq., M.P. 

Sir, — We have received your letter of the 4th 
instant, stating that Lord Russell has instructed you 
to request us to inform him, mth as little delay as 
possible, on whose account, and with what destination 
we have built the Iron-clad Vessels recently launched, 
and now in course of completion at our Works. 

In reply, we beg to say — that although it is not 
usual for Ship-builders to declare the names of parties 
for whom they are building vessels until the vessels 
are completed and the owners have taken possession — 
yet, in this particular case, in consequence of the 
riiany rumours afloat, coupled with the repeated visits 
of Mr. Morgan, the Surveyor of Customs, to our 
Works, we thought it right to ask permission of the 
parties on whose account we are building the vessels, 



to give their names to the English Government, in 
the event of such information being asked for 
officially, in writing. 

They at once granted us the permission we 
sought for. 

We therefore beg to inform you, that the firm on 
whose account we are building the vessels is — 
A. Bravay & Co., and that their address is No. 6 
Eue de Londres, Paris, and that our engagement is 
to deliver the vessels to them iir the Port of Liverpool 
when they are completed, according to our contract. 

The time in which we expect to have the first 
vessel so completed, is not less than one month from 
this date, and the second, not less than six or seven 
weeks from this date. 

We are. Sir, 

Your obedient Servants, 

(Signed) Laied Brothers. 



Laird Bros, to S, Price Edwards, Esq,^ Collector of 
H,M, Customs, Liverpool, 

[^Confidential,'] 

Birkenhead Iron Works, Birkenhead, 
Sth September, IS^S. 

S. Price Edwards, Esq. 

Sir, — Referring to our letter to you of the 4th 
instant, we think it right to inform you that it is 
our intention to take one of the Iron-clads — the *' El 
Tousson " — from our graving dock for a trial trip on 
Monday next, within the usual limits of such trial 
trips; and you may rely on our bringing the vessel 



into the Birkenhead Float when the trial is finished, 
it being our intention to complete the vessel in the 
Birkenhead Float. 

This trial is necessary, to test the machinery and 
other parts, but will not alter the time previously 
stated for the completion of the vessel. 

We are, Sir, 

Your obedient Servants, 

(Signed) Laird Brothers. 



H.M, Treasury to Laird Brothers, 
13,132|. 

Treasury Chambers, 

9th September, 1863. 

Gentlemen, — I am desired by my Lords Com- 
missioners of H.M. Treasury to acquaint you 
that their Lordships have felt it their duty to 
issue orders to the Commissioners of Customs, that 
the two Iron-clad Steamers now in course of com- 
pletion in your Dock at Birkenhead, are not to be 
permitted to leave the Mersey until satisfactory 
evidence can be given of their destination, or at least 
until the inquiries which are now being prosecuted 
with a view to obtain such evidence shall have been 
brought to a conclusion. 

I am, Gentlemen, 

Your obedient Servant, 
(Signed) Geo. A. Hamilton. 

Messrs. Laird & Co., 
Birkenhead. 



S. Price Edwards, Esq,, Collector of H.M. CustomSy 
Live7^ooly to Laird Brothers. 

Custom House, Liverpool, 
nth September, 1863. 

Dear Sirs, — I am sorry to say there can be no 
trial trip of the Iron-clad Ship until Earl Russell's 
reply can be had. That reply may yet come in time 
to meet your wishes. 

I am, dear Sirs, 

Yours very truly, 

(Signed) S. P. Edwards. 
Messrs. Laird Brothers. 



Laird Brothers to H,M. Treasury, 

Birkenhead Iron Works, Birkenhead, 
\Qth Septemhevy 1863. 

George A. Hamilton, Esq. 

Sir, — We are in receipt of your letter of the 9th 
instant, informing us that the Lords Commissioners 
of H. M. Treasury have issued orders to the 
Commisioners of Customs that the two Iron-clad 
Steamers now in course of construction by us, are 
not to be permitted to leave the Mersey until satis- 
factory evidence can be given of their destination. 

In reply, we beg to inform you that we have 



forwarded a copy of your letter to Messrs. A. 
Bravay & Co., at No. 6, Rue de Londres, Paris, on 
whose account we are building the vessels, and to 
whom we beg to refer you for further information, 
inasmuch as our engagement with them is to deliver 
the vessels at the Port of Liverpool when they are 
completed, according to our contract. 

It may be useful to the Lords Commissioners of 
H.M. Treasury to know, that the time in which we 
expect to have the first vessel so completed is not 
less than one miDuth from this date, and the second 
vessel not less than six or seven weeks from this date. 

We are. Sir, 

Your obedient Servants, 

(Signed) Laird Brothers. 



S. Price Edwards, Esq.^ Collector H,M. Customs^ 
Liverpool^ to Laird Brothers, 

Liverpool, 

lAth September, 1863. 

Dear Sirs, — You have the permission of the 
Government to try the Iron-clad Ship, on your gua- 
rantee to return her. 

I have only this moment received the telegram. 

Yours truly, 
(Signed) S. Price Edwards. 
Messrs. Laird Brothers. 



10 



S. Price Edwards^ Esq.^ Collector of HM. Customs^ 
Liverpoool^ to Laird Brothers. 

Custom House, Liverpool, 
17 thSeptembery 1863. 

Gentlemen, — With reference to the wish expressed 
by you that one of the Iron-clad Vessels in your 
Yard may be permitted to make a trial trip, I am 
directed to inform you that the Lords Commis- 
sioners of H.M. Treasury -svill allow the trial trip to 
be made by the vessel referred to in your letter of 
the 8th iiistant, relying upon the honourable en- 
gagement which has been given by you that the 
ship shall, after the usual trial trip, be brought back 
again to Liverpool, and shall not leave that port with- 
out a week's notice to H.M. Government of the 
intention to send her away. 

I am, Gentlemen, 

Your obedient Servant, 
(Signed) Samuel Price Edwards, 



Collector, 



Messrs. Laird Brothers, 
Birkenhead. 



11 



Laird Brothers to S. Price Edwards^ Collector of 
H.M, Customs^ Liverpool 

Birkenhead Iron Works, Birkenhead, 
ISth September^ 1863. 

Samuel Price Edwards, Esq., 

Collector H.M. Customs, 
Liverpool, 

Sir, — We beg to acknowledge receipt of your letter 
of the 17th inst. informing us that the Lords Com- 
missioners of H.M. Treasury will allow the trial 
trip to be made by the vessel referred to in our 
letter of the 8th instant, relying upon the honourable 
engagement which has been given by us that the ship 
shall, after the usual trial trip, be brought back again 
to Liverpool, and shall not leave that port without a 
week^s notice to H.M. Government of the intention 
to send her away. 

This engagement was made under the circum- 
stances set forth in our previous correspondence, and 
we now beg to confirm the same, and are, 

Sir, 
Your obedient Servants, 

(Signed) Laird Brothers. 



12 

H,M, Treasury to Laird Brothers. 

Treasury Chambers, 

l^th September, 1863. 

Gentlemen, — On the 13th instant the Lords 
Commissioners of H.M. Treasury directed the Board 
of Customs to inform you that their Lordships 
would allow a trial trip to be made by the Iron- 
clad Vessel referred to in a letter written by 
you on the 8th instant, in reliance upon the 
honourable engagement which had been given by 
your firm, that the vessel should, after the usual trial 
trip, be brought back again to Liverpool, and should 
not leave that Port without a week's notice to H.M. 
Government of the intention to send her away. 

I am now commanded by the Lords Com- 
missioners of H.M. Treasury to inform you that 
since that permission was given, circumstances have 
come to the knowledge of H.M. Government which 
give rise to apprehension that an attempt may be made 
to seize the vessel in question while on her trial trip. 

I am to state to you explicitly that H.M. Govern 
ment are convinced, that it is your intention, as far 
as it is in your power, to fulfil honourably the 
engagement into which you have entered; and that 
if any such attempt were made, it would be entirely 
without the privity of your firm in whose good faith 
they place perfect confidences 

Inasmuch, however, as such an occurrence, in 
whatever method it may be brought about, would 
be contrary to the determination expressed by H.M. 
Government that the Iron-clad Vessels should be 
prevented leaving the Port of Liverpool until satis- 
factory evidence may be given as to their destination. 



13 

I am to state to you that this Board feel it their duty 
to apprize you that they cannot permit the trial trip 
except under provision against any forcible abduction 
of the vessels. 

With this view, authority has been given to 
Admiral Dacres, who is now in the Mersey with the 
Channel Fleet, to place, with the concurrence of your 
firm, on board the Iron-clad Ram about to be tried, 
a sufficient force of seamen and marines in H.M. 
Naval Service to defeat any attempt to seize her. 
And I am to request that you will inform their 
Lordships whether you accept such assistance. 

In the event of your refusing it, I am to inform 

you that the Board of Customs will be instructed to 

detain the vessel. 

I am, Gentlemen, 

Your obedient Servant, 
The Messrs. Laird, (Signed) H. Brand. 

Birkenhead. 



Laird Brothers to H.M, Treasury. 

Birkenhead Iron Works, Birkenhead, 
20th Septemher, 1863. 

H. Brand, Esq. 

Sir, — We have the honour to inform you that 
we have received your letter of the 19 th instant, and 
have been in communication with Admiral Dacres, 
and Mr. Edwards, Collector of Customs, on the sub- 
ject, and will write to you to-morrow. 

The trial of the Iron-clad Screw Steam Vessel is 
deferred. ^^ ^^^^ g.^^ 

Your obedient Servants, 

(Signed) Laird Brothers. 



14 
Laird Bivthe^'s to H.M, Treasury, 

Birkenhead Iron Works, Birkenhead, 
21st September, 1863. 

The Hon. H. Brand. 

Sir, — We have the honour to reply to. your letter 
of the 19th instant (received and acknowledged 
yesterday), inforaiing us that circumstances have 
come to the knowledge of H.M. Government giving 
rise to an apprehension that an attempt may be 
made to seize our Iron-clad Steam Vessel on her trial 
trip, and stating that authority had been given to 
Admiral Dacres to place, with our concurrence, a 
sufficient force of seamen and marines on board her 
to defeat any such attempt. 

We are not ourselves aware of any circumstance 
to induce us to entertain any such apprehension, but 
we beg to thank H.M. Government for the protection 
thus placed at our disposal, of which we shall gladly 
avail ourselves. 

Owing, however, to what you have brought under 
our notice, and the incomplete state of the vessel, and 
also the present crowded state of the river Mersey, it 
will be desirable to defer the trial trip for some days ; 
and, in the meantime, we trust that H.M. Government 
will be able to obtain further information as to any 
project that may exist to deprive us of our property. 

We propose to communicate the substance of your 
letter to Messrs. A. Bravay & Co., of Paris. 

We are, &c., 
(Signed) Laird Brothers. 



15 

H,M. Treasury to Laird Bi^oiliers, 

Treasury Chambers, 

7th October, 1863. 

Gentlemen, — Referring to your ready acceptance 
of the offer of H.M. Government to prevent any 
attempt at the forcible abduction of your property, the 
Iron-clad Vessel now nearly completed at Birkenhead, 
and understanding that the trial trip which has been 
the subject of former correspondence has been aban- 
doned, lam directed by the Lords Commissioners of 
H.M. Treasury to acquaint you, that from information 
which has been received, it has become necessary 
to take additional means for preventing any such 
attempt. 

Their Lordships have therefore given instructions 
that a custom-house officer should be placed on board 
that vessel, with full authority to seize her on behalf 
of the Crown, in the event of any attempt being made 
to remove her from the float or dock where she is at 
present, unless under further directions from their 
Lordships ; and likewise to obtain from the officer in 
command of H.M.S. " Majestic" any protection which 
may become necessary to support him in the execu- 
tion of this duty. 

My Lords request you to understand that these 
precautions are taken, not from any distrust of your 
intention to fulfil your engagement of giving a week's 
notice before the removal of the vessel, nor with the 
view of interfering in any way with your workmen 
in the completion of her, but exclusively for the 
purpose of preventing an attempt which may be made 
by other parties to nullify your engagement. 



16 

Their Lordships have directed Mr. Stewart, the 
Assistant-Collector of Customs at Liverpool, to com- 
municate with you. And they doubt not that these 
precautions will meet with your concurrence. 

I am, Gentlemen, 

Your obedient Servant, 

(Signed) Geo. A. Hamilton. 
Messrs. Laird & Co., 
Birkenhead. 



Laird Brothers to H,M. Treasury, 

Birkenhead Iron Works, Birkenhead, 
Sth October, 1863. 

G. A. Hamilton, Esq. 

Sir, — We beg to acknowledge the receipt of your 
communication of the 7th instant, about the Iron- 
clad Vessel now nearest completion, and to inform 
you that we have been informed by Mr. W. G. 
Stewart, Assistant- Collector of H.M. Customs, Liver- 
pool, that he has been directed to place a Customs 
officer on board the Iron-clad Vessel now nearest 
completion in the Great Float, Birkenhead, and that 
he has directions to seize her in case any attempt be 
made to remove her from where she is at present. 

We have given the necessary order for admission 
to the vessel (called by us the "El Tousson") to 
Mr. Morgan, the Surveyor of Customs. 

We are, respectfully, 

Your most obedient Servants, 

(Signed) Laird Brothers. 



17 



Laird Bivthers to H.M, Treasury. 

Birkenhead Iron Works, Birkenhead, 
9th October, 1863. 

Geo. a. Hamilton, Esq. 

Sir, — 111 further reply to your letter of the 7th 
instant (acknowledged yesterday), informing us that 
the Lords Commissioners of H.M. Treasury have 
given instructions that a Custom-house officer shall 
be placed on board the Iron-clad Vessel, now nearly 
completed, at Birkenhead, with full authority to seize 
her on behalf of the Crown in the event of any 
attempt being made to remove her from the float 
or dock where she is at present, unless under further 
directions from their Lordships, and likewise to obtain 
from the officer in command of H.M.S. "Majestic," 
any protection which may become necessaiy to sup- 
port him in the execution of this duty. We beg to 
inform you that we have received this day a letter 
from Mr. Morgan, the Surveyor of Customs, giving 
us notice that, by direction of the Honourable Com- 
missioners of Customs, he has this day seized the 
Iron- clad Vessel now lying in the Great Float at 
Birkenhead. 

Since the receipt of your letter of the 7th instant 
no attempt has been made to remove the vessel from 
her moorings at the quay in the Great Float, and we 
are therefore at a loss to understand this apparent 
deviation from the decision of their Lordships, as 
expressed in their letter of the 7th, above referred to. 
But we consider this has been done, not with any 
distrust of our intentions to fulfil our engagement, 

B 



18 

of giving a week's notice of our intention to remove 
the vessel, nor with the view of interfering in any- 
way with the workmen in the completion of her, 
but exclusively for the purposes of preventing an 
attempt which may be made by other parties to 
nullify our engagement. 

Although we are not aware of any circumstances 
to induce us to entertain any apprehension of any 
attempt being made to deprive us of our property 
by force, we gladly avail ourselves of any protection 
H.M. Government may think necessary for its security. 

The vessel is still far from being ready for sea, 
and the work has been so much retarded by the 
excessively wet weather, that it will be some weeks 
before she is finally completed. 

We are respectively, 

Your obedient Servants, 
(Signed) Laird Brothers. 



H,M, Treasury to Laird Brothers. 

Treasury Chambers, 
14^464y9-^. 9th October, 1863. 

Gentlemen, — I am commanded by the Lords Com- 
missioners of H.M. Treasury, to inform you that, in 
consequence of information that has been received by 
H.M. Government as to the probability of a forcible 
abduction of one or both of the Iron-clad Vessels in 



19 

course of completion in the Float at Birkenhead, 
their Lordships have felt it their duty to order the 
seizure of both these vessels, and have issued the 
necessary directions to the Commissioners of Customs 
accordingly. 

I have the honour to be. Gentlemen, 

Your obedient servant, 

(Signed) Geo. A. Hamilton. 

Messrs. Laird, Birkenhead. 



Laird Brothers to H, M. Treasury. 

Birkenhead Iron Works, Birkenhead, 
\1th Octobm-, 1863. 

George A. Hamilton, Esq. 

Sir, — In reply to your letter of the 9th instant, 
informing us that, "in consequence of information 
" which has been received by H.M. Government, as 
" to the probability of a forcible abduction of one or 
" both the Iron-clad Vessels in course of completion 
" in the Float at Birkenhead, their Lordships had felt 
" it their duty to order the seizure of both these 
" vessels, and have issued the necessary directions 
" to the Commissioners of Customs accordingly." 

We have made the fullest inquiry, and have not 
been able to ascertain any circumstance to induce us 
to apprehend the probability of a forcible abduction of 
one or both of the Iron-clad Vessels in course of com- 
pletion by us at Birkenhead — one, the " El Tousson," 
in the Great Float, the public dock, and the other, the 
''El Monnassir," in our own dock, on our own premises, 

B 2 



20 

Both vessels are incomplete, and unfit for seagoing; 
the second vessel has not even got masts or funnel in, 
and both are in the sole charge of our own people. 

We believe further, that if any such project as the 
forcible abduction of these vessels had ever been 
thaught of, it could not successfully have been carried 
out in the Port of Liverpool. 

Their Lordships have so often assured us that 
they are convinced that it is our intention, so far as 
in our power, to fulfil honourably the engagement 
which we have entered into with H.M. Government, 
that we have deferred making any formal protest 
against the seizure of these vessels, or the arbitrary 
and extraordinary measures that have been Carried 
out in placing an armed force in charge. 

We can only suppose that their Lordships have 
been induced to act as they have done by some infor- 
mation, which will be found, on further investigation, 
to have been entirely erroneous, or greatly exagge- 
rated; and that they will, on the termination of the 
inquiries they have set on foot to investigate the case, 
feel justified in removing the vexatious restrictions 
they have placed upon our property, which have 
already caused and are still causing us an amount of 
loss and annoyance not easily estimated. 

We remain, Sir, your obedient Servants, 

(Signed) Laird Brothers. 



21 



Laird Brothers to H.M. Treasury, 

Birkenhead Iron Works, Birkenhead, 
\1th Octohery 1863. 

George A. Hamilton, Esq. 

Sir, — Referring to your letter of the 7th instant, 
in which you say that you understand the trial trip 
of the Iron-clad Steam Vessel the '' El Tousson," now 
nearly completed, has been abandoned, we beg to 
inform you, that the trial trip was deferred but not 
abandoned, as you will see by referring to our letter 
addressed to the Hon. H. Brand, on the 21st 
September, in which we informed him that we 
considered it desirable to defer the trial trip of the 
first of the Iron-clads, the " El Tousson,*' in 
consequence of the then incomplete state of the 
vessel and the then crowded state of the River 
Mersey, and also in order that H.M. Government 
might be able to obtain further information as to the 
project which they had reason to apprehend was in 
existence — for seizing the Iron-clad Steam Vessel, by 
force, on her trial trip. 

We now beg to inform you, that the work at the 
" El Tousson " is now in such a state of progress, 
as to make it desirable to have a trial trip to test the 
working of the machinery, and we, therefore, shall be 
glad to know, whether, with the information H.M. 
Government have been able to obtain since the date 
of our former letter, they still consider that the 
precautions of having a force of seamen and marines 
on board are necessary to protect our property. 



22 

"We propose that the trial trip shall take place 
about the end of next week, or the beginning of the 
week after — say, some day between the 22nd and 
29th instant — and that it should not extend beyond 
what is considered the limits of the Port or within 
sight of the Light-ship. 

No circumstances have come to our knowledge to 
induce us to apprehend any attempt to take forcible 
possession of the vessel on her trial trip, and after the 
fullest inquiry we are satisfied, that if any such 
project ever existed in the Port of Liverpool, the real 
facts of the case would have been discovered before 
this, and the parties implicated placed under such 
surveillance as to render the execution of their design 
impossible. 

Waiting your reply. 

We remain. Sir, 

Your obedient Servants, 

(Signed) Laird Brothers. 



Laird Brothers to S. Price Edwards^ Collector of 
H,M, Customs^ Liverpool. 

Birkenhead Iron Works, Birkenhead, 
\9th October, 1863. 

S. Price Edwards, Esq. 

Sir, — Referring to the several communications we 
have had with you respecting the trial trip of the 
Iron-clad Steamer " El Tousson," now in course of 
completion in the Great Float, and the decision come 
to on or about the 21st September last, to postpone 



23 

the trial trip until the work on board was in a more 
advanced state towards completion, we now beg to 
inform you, that the work is now in such a state of 
progress as to make it desirable to have a trial trip to 
test the working of the machinery, and we, therefore, 
shall be glad to know, whether, with the infor- 
mation H.M. Government have been able to obtain 
since the date of our former letter, they still consider 
that the precautions of having a force of seamen 
and marines on board are necessary to protect our 
property. 

We propose that the trial trip shall take place 
about the end of this week or the beginning of the 
week after — say, some day between the 22nd and 
29th instant — and that it should not extend beyond 
what is considered the limits of the Port or within 
sight of the Light-ship. 

No circumstances have come to our knowledge to 
induce us to apprehend any attempt to take forcible 
possession of the vessel on her trial trip, and after the 
fullest inquiry, we are satisfied that if any such 
project ever existed in the Port of Liverpool, the real 
facts of the case would have been discovered before 
this, and the parties implicated placed under such 
surveillance as to render the execution of their 
design impossible. 

We remain, Sir, 

Your most obedient Servants, 

(Signed) Laird Brothers. 



24 

H,M. Treasury to Laird Bros, 

[Immediate .1^ 

Treasury Chambers, 

2\th October, 1863. 

15,023^. 

Gentlemen, — In reply to your letter of the 17th 
instant, relating to the Iron-clad Vessels which you 
are fitting out, I am commanded by the Lords Com- 
missioners of H.M. Treasury that, after duly weighing 
all the circumstances of the case, H.M. Government 
are unable to consent to the trial trip of one of those 
vessels, the " El Tousson," taking place, as proposed 
by you; neither can they allow the removal of the 
armed force which is stationed for the purpose of 
upholding the Custom House officers in possession of 
the vessel. 

I am. Gentlemen, your obedient Servant, 

(Signed) Geo. A. Hamilton. 
Messrs. Laird, 

Birkenhead L^on Works, Birkenliead. 



Laird Bros, to HM, Treasury, 

Birkenhead Iron Works, Birkenhead, 

24^/i October, 1863. 

Geoege a. Hamilton, Esq. 

Sir, — ^We beg to acknowledge receipt of your 
letter of 21st instant, in which you inform us that 
H.M. Government, after duly weighing all the circum- 
stances of the case, are unable to consent to the trial 
trip of one of the vessels, the " El Tousson," taking 
place, as proposed by us. 

We beg to state that we did not propose that the 
trial trip should take place under any other conditions 



25 

than were set forth in their Lordships^ letter of the 
19th September, unless from information received 
since the date of that letter their Lordships should 
think it no longer necessary to place a force of seamen 
and marines on board to protect our property ; on the 
contrary, if H.M. Government still apprehend any 
attempt, we will gladly avail ourselves, as already 
stated in our letter of 21st September, of any pro- 
tection H.M. Government may think necessary to 
defeat any such attempt. 

We therefore respectfully renew our application 
to make the trial trip in the course of next week, or 
within any other suitable time. 

We are, Sir, your obedient Servants, 

(Signed) Laird Beos. 



H.M, Treasury to Laird Brothers. 

[Immediate. "l 

Treasury Chambers, 

21lh October, 1863, 

15,310f^. 

Gentlemen, — In reply to your letter of 24th inst., 
I am commanded by the Lords Commissioners of 
H.M. Treasury to acquaint you, that they are unable 
to comply with your request to make a trial trip of 
the " El Toasson," one of the Iron-clad Vessels fitting 
in your yard at Birkenhead, in the course of this 
week, or within any other suitable time. . 

1 am. Gentlemen, your obedient Servant, 

(Signed) Geo. A. Hamilton. 

Messrs. Laird Brothers, 

Birkenhead Iron Works, Birkenhead. 



26 

S. Price Edwards, Collector of Customs, Liverpool, to 
Laird Bros. 

Custom House, Liverpool, 
27th October, 1863. 

Gentlemen, — I hereby beg to inform you, that 
your two Cupola Vessels are now detained, under 
the 223 section of "The Customs Consolidated Act," 
the ground of detention being a violation of " The 
Foreign Enlistment Act.'* And I take leave further 
to state, that the officers in charge have received 
directions to remove your workmen at once from on 
board the ships. 

I am, Gentlemen, your obedient Servant, 

(Signed) S. Peice Edwards, 

Collector. 
Messrs. Laird Brothers, 
Birkenhead. 

Laird Bros, to H.M. Foreign Office, 

(Telegram.) 29tk Octoher, 1863. 

From Laird Brothers, Birkenhead, to Earl Russell, 

Foreign Office, Whitehall, London. 

Captain Inglefield informs us that his orders are 

to take the two Iron-clads into the river Mersey. 

We protest against the probable destruction of our 

property in having ships (one of which is a mere 

hulk without masts, funnel or stearing gear) taken 

out of docks, where they are now in safety, and 

moored in the river at this inclement season of the 

year, and ,we trust that the orders sent to Captain 

Inglefield will be reconsidered. 

Same sent to 

G. A. Hamilton, Secretary to the Treasury, 

Treasury, "Whitehall, London; 
And to the Secretary to the Admiralty, 

Whitehall, London. 



27 

H. M, Treasury to Laird Bros* 

(Telegram.) 29th October, 1863. 
From the Assistant-Secretaey, the Treasury, White- 
hall, to Messrs. Laird, Bn^kenhead. 
Captain Inglefield will no doubt, in his disposi- 
tions regarding the Iron-clad Yessels, take every 
proper precaution for the preservation of the pro- 
perty. The orders have been well considered and 
cannot be revoked or altered. 



. Laird Bros, to H.M. Foreign Office^ Treasury and 
Admiralty, 

BlRENHEAD IrON "WoRKS, BiRKENHEAD, 

29th October, 1863. 

The Eight Hon. Earl Russell. 

My Lord, — We sent you this morning the follow- 
ing telegram : — 

" Captain Inglefield informs us that his orders 
" are to take the two Iron-clads into the^ river 
" Mersey. 

" We protest against the probable destruction of 

'' our property in having ships (one of which is a 

" mere hulk without masts, funnel or stearing gear) 

" taken out of docks, where they are now in safety, 

" and moored in the river at this inclement season 

" of the year, and we trust that the orders sent to 

" Captain Inglefield will be reconsidered," 

which we now beg to confirm. 

We are, my Lord, your most obedient Servants, 

(Signed) Laird Bros. 
Same sent to 

G. A. Hamilton, Esq., Secretary to the Treasury; 
and to 

The Secretary to the Admiralty. 



28 



Laird Bros, to H,M, Treasury. 

Birkenhead Iron Works, Birkenhead, 
2dth October, 1863. 

The Lords Commissioners of 
H.M. Treasury. 

My Lords, — We beg to call your Lordships' 
attention to tlie very serious position in which we 
are placed by the extraordinary steps taken by 
H.M. Government with the two Iron-clad Ships 
now being built by us. 

It is a rule well recognised in all trading estab- 
lishments, that an order, whilst under execution, is 
the property of the person giving it, and that a 
builder has no right to make public the orders or 
instructions of his employers. This is a rule of 
business which must be well known to H.M. 
Government. 

On the 4th September, however, we were officially 
applied to by Mr. Layard for the information — "on 
whose account, and with what destination, the vessels 
were being built. *' 

Owdng, however, to certain vague rumours which 
were current in the newspapers, and to the repeated 
visits of Mr. Morgan, the Surveyor of H.M. Customs, 
we had taken the precaution to obtain the owner's 
sanction to disclose his name, and we were accordingly 
enabled, by return of post, to reply to Mr. Layard's 
letter, and inform him that we were building the 
ships for Messrs. A. Bravay & Co., 6, Rue de Londres, 
Paris. 

On the 9th September, Mr. Hamilton, the Secre- 
tary to the Treasury, wrote us to say that the vessels 



29 

would not be permitted to leave the Mersey until 
inquiries then being prosecuted had been brought to 
a conclusion. 

In order to give H.M. Government ample time 
to make these inquiries, we wrote in reply to say that 
the first vessel would not be complete in less than a 
month. And about th§ same time we stated that the 
first vessel would be ready for a trial trip in a short 
time, and that we woidd engage that she should 
return to the Birkenhead Float. 

On the 17th September, permission was given for 
the trial trip, and we were further requested to give 
our personal undertaking that the vessel should not 
leave the port without our giving a week's notice to 
H.M. Government. 

This undertaking we readily gave by return of 
post. 

On the 19th September, we received a letter from 
Mr. Brand, Secretary of the Treasury, to say that the 
Government feared an attempt might be made to 
seize the vessel whilst on her trial trip, but without 
giving any reason for such "apprehension, and ten- 
dering the services of a force of seamen and marines. 

We accepted this offer of protection, though 
unable, ourselves, to discover any grounds for such 
apprehension. 

On the 7th October, we received a letter from 
Mr. Hamilton, Secretary of the Treasury, stating that, 
from further information, it had become necessary 
that a Custom House Officer should be placed on 
board, and the Captain of the " Majestic " was 
instructed to afford him protection. 

As none of these movements of H.M. Government 



80 

interfered with us in our completion of these ships, 
and as any plans to seize our ships, either by the 
Northern or Southern belligerents, would entail great 
pecuniary loss upon us, we, of course, made no objec- 
tion to these means provided by the Government for 
our protection, though we were then, and still are, 
unable to discover any grounds whatever for these 
precautionary measures, and we are satisfied that 
H.M. Government have leant too credulous an ear 
to the inventions of designing persons. 

But when H.M. Government — without giving us 
any information to show us that they have any 
just grounds for doing so — proceed to seize our 
ships and turn off our workmen, and threaten to 
remove a helpless hulk from a place of safety into the 
open roadstead of the Mersey, we feel it our duty to 
enter our indignant protest against proceedings so 
illegal and so unconstitutional. 

We have dealt candidly and openly with H.M. 
Government. We have, with the owners' permission, 
given the names of the owners, and we believe we 
have a perfect legal right to build ships for a French 
subject without requiring from him a disclosure of his 
object in having such vessels constructed. It forms 
no part of our duty to interfere in any way with his 
affairs, and we shall not do so. 

We need hardly say that we hold the Government 
responsible to us for the large pecuniary loss we shall 
sustain by these arbitrary proceedings. 

We are. My Lords, 
Your Lorships' most obedient Servants, 

(Signed) Laird Brothers. 



I 



31 

Laird Bivthers to H.M. Treasury, 

Birkenhead Iron "Works, Birkenhead, 
^Oth October, 1863. 

The Secretary to the Treasury. 

Sir, — We received your telegram late yesterday 
afternoon, as follows-: — 

*" Captain Ingleiield will no doubt, in his disposi- 
" tions regarding the Iron-clad Vessels, take every 
" proper precaution for the preservation of the pro- 
" perty. The orders have been well considered, and 
" cannot be revoked or altered." 

We take the liberty to draw the attention of H.M. 
Government to the peculiar construction of the hulls 
and machinery of the vessels built by us and seized 
by the Government, and to express to them our con- 
viction that it is not possible in their present incom- 
plete state for any Naval officer by any dispositions 
he can make to protect the vessels from damage even 
in a dock, and much less in the open roadstead of the 
Mersey, where, in our opinion, they cannot even be 
moored with safety in this inclement season of the 
year. 

We are. Sir, 

Your obedient Servants, 
(Signed) Laird Brothers. 



H.M. Foreign Office to Laird Brothers. 

Foreign Office, 

October ^Oth, 1863. 

Gentlemen, — I am directed by Earl Russell to 
acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 29th 
instant, containing copy of a Telegraphic Message 



82 

which you addressed to his Lordship on that day, 
protesting against the removal into the Mersey of the 
two Iron-clad Vessels now under seizure by the Crown, 
and I am to state to you that the matter has been 
referred to the Lords Commissioners ofH.M. Treasury. 

I am, Gentlemen, 

Your most obedient Servant, 

(Signed) E. Hammond. 
Messrs. Laird, 

Birkenhead. 



n,M. Admiralty to Laird Brothers. 

In replying^ quote tU following ADMIRALTY, 

MtialUtter 3^^^ ^^^^^^^^ jgg3 

Gentlemen, — I am commanded by my Lords 
Commissioners of the Admiralty to acknowledge the 
receipt of your letter of the 29th instant, forwarding 
a copy of the Telegram sent by you to this Office 
yesterday morning, and confirming its contents, by 
which you protest against th^ two Iron-clads being 
taken into the Kiver Mersey, and request that the 
orders given to Captain Inglefield may be reconsidered. 

In reply I am to inform you that my Lords have 
referred your Telegram to the Secretary of State for 
Foreign Affairs. 

I am. Gentlemen, 

Your most obedient Servant, 

(Signed) W. G. Romaine. 
Messrs. Laird Bros., 
Birkenhead. 



33 
Laird Bros, to H.M, Foreign Office and Treasury, 

(Telegram.) ^Ist October, 1863. 

From Laird Brothers, Birkenhead, to Earl Russell, 
Foreign Office, Downing Street, London. 

Admiralty write, that they have referred to the 
Secretary of State for Foreign AiFairs our telegraph 
and letter of twenty-ninth instant, protesting against 
the removal of the Iron-clads into the river Mersey. 
We renew our protest against moving the vessels from 
the Dock, where they are now in perfect security 
either from forcible abduction or sea risk. The 
weather is now most boisterous, and always uncertain 
at this time of the year. 

A similar Telegram sent to 

The Secretary to the Treasury. 



H,M, Foreign Office to Laird Brothers, 

Foreign Office, 

2nd November, 1863. 

Gentlemen, — I am directed by Earl Russell to 
acknowledge the receipt of your telegraphic message 
of the 31st ult., renewing your protest against the 
removal from the Docks of the two Iron-clad Vessels 
now under seizure by the Crown ; and I am to state to 
you ^that the matter has been referred to the Lords 
Commissioners of H.M. Treasury. 
I am. Gentlemen, 

Your obedient Servant, 

(Signed) E. Hammond. 
Messrs. Laird, 

Birkenhead. 

C 



34 



H,M, Treasury to Laird Bros, 
Immediate, 
15,586^. 

Treasury' Chambers, 

2nd November, 1863. 

Gentlemen, — In reply to your letter of the 30th 
ult., representing the danger which the Iron-clad Ves- 
sels now under seizure will incur in consequence of 
their being removed from your premises, I am com- 
manded by the Lords Commissioners of H.M. Trea- 
sury to acquaint you, that their Lordships having 
been in communication with the Secretary of State in 
reference to your letter, have nothing to add to the 
communication made to you by telegram on the 
29th ult. 

I am, Gentlemen, 

Your obedient Servant, 

(Signed) Geo. A. Hamilton. 
Messrs. Laird, 

Birkenhead. 



H,M, Treasury to Laird Bros, 
Immediate. 

1 '^ fi08 I 3 Treasury Chambers, 

1 5'fi4fi I ^^' ^^'^ November, 1 863. 

Gentlemen, — I am commanded by the Lords 
Commissioners of H.M. Treasury, to acknowledge the 
receipt of your letter of 29th ult., in which you protest 
against the measures which H.M. Government have 
felt it their duty to adopt for effecting and maintaining 
the seizure of the two Iron-clad Vessels at Birkenhead. 



35 

I am desired to state, in reply thereto, that their 
Lordships can only refer you to the notice of the 
cause of seizure conveyed in the letter addressed to 
your firm by the Collector of Customs, on the 27th 
ult., and that their Lordships must decline to enter 
into any discussion of the subject with you before the 
investigation which the case will necessarily receive 
in a court of law. 

I am. Gentlemen, 

Your obedient Servant, 
(Signed) Geo. A Hamilton. 

Messrs. Laird Brothers, 
Birkenhead. 



Laird Bros, to H.M. Foreign Office^ Treasury and 
Admiralty, 

Birkenhead Iron Works, Birkenhead, 
7/A Decemher, 1863. 

The Right Hon. Earl Russell. 

My Lord, — We beg to call your attention to the 
present condition of the two Steam Vessels, the " El 
Tousson" and the " El Monnassir,'^ which have been 
removed by Captain Inglefield from dock into the 
river Mersey. 

On Thursday last it blew a very heavy gale of 
wind here, and several large vessels, one of them a 
large steamer, were driven from their moorings within 
the estuary. 

' We understand that no steps are as yet taken to 
bring the rights of the Crown before a Jury, and 
in the meantime the vessels are exposed to great 
risk. 

. c 2 



36 

It is a matter of serious importance to us, as in 
case the vessels should be lost or burned in the Mersey 
before we can deliver them to the owners, we shall be 
thereby prevented from completing our contract. 

Our attention is more immediately called to this 
subject by the fact that one of the fire policies on the 
" El Monnassir" expires to-day, and we are in doubt 
what, under the circumstances, we ought to do. 

It is evident that the vessels ought to be insured, 
both against sea-risk and fire, and we shall be glad to 
know whether H.M. Government have taken these 
precautions for the security of the property, and if 
not, whether they intend to do so ? 

We may further state, that we trust the Govern- 
ment have given strict orders that proper precautions 
are taken for the preservation of the property from 
the injury and deterioration it is liable to from 
exposure to the damp and wet at this inclement 
season. 

We are, my Lord, 

Your obedient Servants, 

(Signed) Laird Brothers. 

Copy of above to 

Secretary to Treasury, same date; 
Secretary to Admiralty, ditto. 



• H.M, Treasury to Laird Bros. 

Treasury Chajubers, 

lOth December^ 1863. 

Gentlemen, — I am desired by the Lords Com- 
missioners of H.M. Treasury to acknowledge the 
receipt of your letter, dated 7th instant, calling their 



37 

Lordships' attention to the exposed condition of the 
two Steam Vessels, "El Tousson" and "El Mon- 
nassir," now lying in the river Mersey, under charge 
of Captain Inglefield, R.N. 

Your letter, though dated the 7th instant, was not 
received in London till the 10th, with the Birkenhead 
postmark of the 9th instant. 

My Lords desire me to acquaint you that the 
subjects adverted to in your letter shall receive 
immediate attention, and that a further communica- 
tion will be addressed to you thereon. 

I am, Gentlemen, 

Your obedient Servant, 

(Signed) Geo. A. Hamilton. 
Messrs. Laird Brothers, 
Birkenhead. 



H»M, Foreign Office to Laird Brothers. 

Foreign Office, 

December llth, 1863. 

Gentlemen, — I am directed by Earl Russell to 
acknowledge the receipt, of your letter of the 
7th instant, which was only received at this Office 
on the 10th; and I am to inform you that your letter 
has been referred to the Treasury, for such directions 
as that Department may think proper to give. 

I am. Gentlemen, 

Your most obedient Servant, 

(Signed) E. Hammond. 
Messrs. Laird Brothers, 

Iron Works, Birkenhead. 



38 
The Admiralty to Laird Brothers, 

In replying^ quote thefollovnng ADMIRALTY, 

^"^'j^lf^^^'* mh December, 1863. 

Gentlemen, — I have received and laid before My 
Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty your letter of 
the 7th instant, calling attention to the present con- 
dition of the two Steam Vessels, " El Tousson '* and 
" El Monnassir," and as to the preservation of the 
property on board from injury, &c. 

I am, Gentlemen, 
Your most obedient Servant, 

(Signed) C. Paget. 

Messrs. Laird & Co., 
Birkenhead. 



H,M, Treasury to Laird Brothers, 
18,046)^ 
17,571Ji2 

Treasury Chambers, 

18^^ December, 1863. 

Gentlemen, — With further reference to your letter 
of the 7th instant, respecting the present condition of 
the two Steam Vessels, "El Tousson" and "El 
Monnassir," I am desired by the Lords Commis- 
sioners of H.M. Treasury to acquaint you, that it is 
the intention of H.M. Government that the existing 
insurances on these vessels should be kept up or 
renewed, ad interim, at the cost of the public, and 
in the name of some person on Her Majesty's behalf, 
who, if you will agree to repay the cost of such 
insurance, in the event of the property in the vessels 
being hereafter adjudged to you, may be constituted a 



39 

trustee of the policies for H.M., or for such person 
or persons as may hereafter be adjudged to be the 
owner or owners of the vessels, according to the 
result of the proceedings which may be taken for the 
purpose of deciding on the validity of the seizures. 

As regards the precautions to be taken for pre- 
serving the vessels from injury by weather, My Lords 
are satisfied that every possible precaution has been 
already taken, and will continue to be taken, by the 
Naval officer in command at Liverpool, and that no 
deterioration of any kind need be anticipated. 

I am. Gentlemen, 

Your obedient Servant, 
(Signed) Geo. A. Hamilton. 

Messrs. Laird Brothers, 
Birkenhead. 



Laird Brothers to H.M, Treasury, 

Birkenhead Iron Works, Birkenhead, 
2\st December, 1863. 

G. A. Hamilton, Esq. 

Sir, — We beg to acknowledge the receipt of your 
letter of the 18th instant, and hope to send a reply 
to-morrow. 

We are, Sir, 

Your obedient Servants, 
(Signed) Laird Brothers. 



40 

Laird Brothers to H,M, Treasury, 

Birkenhead Iron Works, Birkenhead, 
22nd December, 1863. 

The Secretary to the Treasury. 

Sir, — We have the honour to acknowledge the 
receipt of your letter of the 18th instant, stating 
that it is the intention of H.M. Government to 
keep up and renew, ad mterim, the insurances of the 
" El Tousson" and " El Monnassir," at the cost of the 
public, provided we will agree to repay the cost of 
such insurances, in the event of the property in the 
vessels being hereafter adjudged to us, according to 
the result of the proceedings which may be taken for 
the purpose of deciding on the validity of the seizures. 

In reply we beg respectfully to submit to you that 
the -condition we are asked to agree to is not reasonable. 

For, not only do the vessels incur marine risk by 
being exposed in the Estuary of the Mersey, which 
risk would not have arisen, if the vessels had remained 
in the Docks, but the time has expired during which 
they would have been in our possession at all. 

If they had remained in dock no marine insurance 
would have been necessary, and if they had not been 
seized, they would ere this have been delivered to the. 
purchasers. 

Under these circumstances we respectfully submit 
that the vessels should be insured, and kept insured, 
at the public cost, without any such condition being 
imposed on us. 

We beg to inform you that another Policy against 
fire for £20,500 expires on the 24th instant. 

We are. Sir, your obedient Servants, 

(Signed) Laird Brothers. 



41 

P.S. — Since wi^iting the above we find that two 
further Policies against Fire, one for £14,000 and 
another for £5,000, also expire on the 24th instant. 

(Signed) Laikd Brothers. 



Laird Brothers to H.M. Treasury, 

Birkenhead Iron Works, Birkenhead, 
30/A December, 1863. 

The Secretary to the Treasury. 

Sir, — We beg respectfully to draw your attention 
to our letter of the 22nd instant respecting the insur- 
ance on the "ElTousson" and " El Monnassir,'' and 
to request an early reply. 

We are, Sir, 

Your obedient Servants, 
(Signed) Laird Brothers. 



Laird Bros, to H.M. Treasury. 

Birkenhead Iron Works, Birkenhead, 
9th January J 1864. 

The Secretary to the Treasury. 

Sir, — We wrote to you on the 30th December, 
drawing attention to our letter of 22nd December, 
respecting the insurance on the "El Tousson" and 
" El Monnassir," and asking a reply thereto. 

As we have not yet received any communication 
on the subject, we would again respectfully ask an 
early reply. 

We are. Sir, 

Your obedient Servants, 
(Signed) Laird Brothers. 



42 



Laird Bros, to H,M. Treasury. 

Birkenhead Iron Works, Birkenhead, 
\2th January^ 1864. 

The Secretary to the Treasury, 

Sir, — From communications which have passed 
between our solicitors and those of the Government, 
in the case of the "El Tousson*' and "El Monnassir,'' 
it would appear that the trial may not come on for a 
considerable time, and consequently the vessels will 
have to remain in their present exposed position, 
unless some other arrangement can be made with the 
Government. 

"Were the vessels finished, there would be much 
less risk of their receiving damage than in their pre- 
sent unfinished and unprotected state. 

We therefore think it desirable to make the fol- 
lowing proposals to the Government, namely — that 
the vessels should be moved into the Birkenhead 
public docks, and placed at the top end of the great 
float, about a mile from the entrance, the Government 
retaining possession by an armed force, or otherwise, 
as they may think requisite, so that we may be able 
to complete our contract, which we are desirous of 
doing, although the value of the additional fittings 
we should put on board would be very considerable. 

In the event of the Government proving their 
right to retain the vessels, they will, if our proposal 
be agreed to, be in a much more perfect state. On 
the other hand, should the Government not succeed, 
the vessels will be sooner ready for delivery by us to 
the owners^ and consequently any claim for damages 
against the Government would be reduced. 



43 

These proposals are made without prejudice to 
any legal proceedings Messrs. A. Bravay & Co., or 
ourselves may be advised to take, for obtaining com- 
pensation in this matter, and being advantageous to 
H.M. Government we hope they will accede to them. 

We desire further, to add, that we have no hesi- 
tation in saying these vessels will be much more 
secure in the great Float than they now are in the 
river Mersey ; and in support of this opinion we 
enclose a plan showing where the vessels are at pre- 
sent moored, and where we purpose to have them 
placed. 

We are, Sir, 

Your most obedient Servants, 
(Signed) Laird Brothers. 

The plan enclosed indicates the various positions 
of the vessels " El Tousson " and " £1 Monnassir," as 
follows : — 

1. Situation in the Birkenhead Dock, where "El Tousson" was 

lying when seized. 

2. Messrs. Laird Brothers' Dock, where the " El Monnassir " 

was lying when seized. 

• 3. Present position of " El Tousson " and "El Monnassir " in 
river Mersey. 

4. Situation in Birkenhead public Dock where it is proposed, by 
Laird Brothers' letter of 12th January, to place the vessels 
for completion. 



44 

H.M, Treasury to Laird Brothers. 

570 V 

Treasury Chambers, 

lA^th January^ 1864. 

Gentlemen, — In reply to your letter of the 12th 
instant, proposing that the " El Tousson " and " El 
Monnassir" should be placed in the Birkenhead 
Docks, and there completed, I am commanded by the 
Lords Commissioners of H.M. Treasury to inform 
you that their Lordships regret that they are unable 
to comply with your request. 

I am, Gentlemen, 

Your obedient Servant, 
(Signed) Geo. A. Hamilton. 
Messrs. Laird & Co., 
Birkenhead. 



HM, Treasury to Laird Brothers, 

209 j 2 Treasury Chambers, 

464 \ "^ ^Oth January, 1864. 

Gentlemen,-- In reply to your letter of the 9th 
instant and previous letters, I am commanded by the 
Lords Commissioners of H.M. Treasury to acquaint 
you, that their Lordships will provide in the manner 
they may consider requisite, against the risks from 
fire and other damages to the Iron-clad Vessels " El 
Tousson " and " El Monnassir *' while they remam in 
possession of H.M. Government. 

I am, Gentlemen, 

Your obedient Servant, 

(Signed) Geo. A. Hamilton. 
Messrs. Laird, 

Birkenhead Iron Works, Birkenhead. 



46 



Laird Brothers to H.M, Treasury, 

Birkenhead Iron Works, Birkenhead, 
25th January i 1864. 

The Seceetary to the Treasury. 

Sir, — We have the honour to acknowledge the 
receipt of your letter of the 14th instant, refusing us 
permission to finish the ships " El Tousson " and " El 
Monnassir " ; and also of your letter of the 20th 
instant, stating that the Lords of the Treasury will 
provide in the manner they may consider requisite 
against the risks of fire and other damage. 

If this decision about completing the ships be 
adhered to, we shall be prevented for an indefinite^ 
period from completing our contract, and, consequently, 
be kept out of a very large sum of money, which will 
be due to us, and which the owners are ready to pay 
to us, as soon as the vessels are so completed and 
delivered to them in the Port of Liverpool. 

As stated in our former letter — we are perfectly 
satisfied that the Government should retain possession 
by an armed force, or otherwise, as they may thinTs: 
requisite, until the legal proceedings now pending 
are terminated, or some other settlement of the 
question arrived at. 

Taking all these circumstances into consideration, 
we trust that their Lordships may see reason to alter 
their decision and agree to the proposal contained in 
our letter of the 12th instant. 

In the meantime, we beg to call the attention of 
the Lords of the Treasury to the fact that, though it 



46 

is now several months since the vessels were seized, 
yet no steps have as yet been taken to bring the 
matter to a legal decision, although our attorneys 
have repeatedly pressed this course on the Law 
Advisers of the Crown. 

We are, Sir, 

Your obedient Servants, 

(Signed) Laird Brothers. 



H,M. Treasury to Laird Bros, 

Treasury Chambers, 

2nd February, 1864. 

Gentlemen, — In reply to your further letter of 
25th ultimo, I am desired by the Lords Commis- 
sioners of H.M. Treasury to acquaint you that H.M. 
Government cannot permit the Iron-clad Vessels 
built in your Yard and now under seizure, to be 
completed. 

I am. Gentlemen, 

Your obedient Servant, 
(Signed) Geo. A. Hamilton. 

Messrs. Laird Bros., 

Birkenhead Iron Works, Birkenhead. 



47 



Laird Brothers to H.M, Treasury, 

Birkenhead Iron Works, Birkenhead, 
Zrd February^ 1864. 

The Secretary to the Treasury. 

Sir, — We are in receipt of your letter of the 
2nd instant, in which you inform us that H.M. Go- 
vernment cannot permit the Iron-clad Vessels built 
in our Yard, and now under seizure, to be completed. 

We beg however to call your attention to the fact 
that no information has yet been afforded to us in 
reply to our repeated requests to know when the legal 
proceedings in the Court of Exchequer will be brought 
to trial before a Jury. 

We are informed by our legal advisers that they 
have repeatedly pressed this matter on the attention 
of the Law Officers of the Crown, but are unable to 
obtain any satisfactory information, although the case 
might have been brought to trial in November last, 
or in January last. 

We therefore feel ourselves entitled to urge upon 
H.M. Government the propriety of their at once in- 
forming us as to the time when they purpose to bring 
this matter to trial. 

It must be apparent that this continued delay in 
bringing the matter to a legal issue is an act of injus- 
tice to ourselves and to the owners of the ships. 

We are. Sir, 

Your obedient Servants, 
(Signed) Laird Brothers. 



48 



H.M. Treasury to Laird Brothers. 
Immediate. 

2,185f 

Treasury Chambers, 

Sth February, 1864. 

Gentlemen, — In reply to your letter of 3rd instant, 
I am commanded by the Lords Commissioners of 
H.M. Treasury to acquaint you that they are informed 
that an " information" in the case of the Iron-clad 
Vessels built by you, and now under seizure by H.M. 
Government, will be filed in a few days, and that it 
may be necessary to send a Commission abroad for 
the purpose of collecting evidence. 

I am, Gentlemen, 

Your obedient Servant, 

(Signed) G. A. Hamilton. 
Messrs. Laird Brothers, 
Birkenhead Iron Works, 
Birkenhead. 



APPENDIX. 



OOERESPONDENCE 



BETWEEN 



OFFICEES OF HER MAJESTY'S CUSTOMS 



AND 



CAPTAIN INGLEFIELD, RN., 



AND 



LAIRD BROTHERS, 



RESPECTING THE 



THE IRON-CLAD VESSELS 



BUILDING AT 



BIRKENHEAD. 



I 



Assistant-Collector of H,M, Customs^ Liverpool^ 
to Laird Brothers. 

Custom House, Liverpool, 
Sth October y 1863. 

Gentlemen, — Pursuant to the instructions I have 

received, I beg to transmit you the enclosed letter 

from the Lords Commissioners of H.M. Treasury, 

and to inform you that I have been directed to place 

a Customs officer on board the Iron- clad Vessel, now 

nearest completion, in the Great Float, Birkenhead, 

and that he has directions to seize her in case any 

attempt be made to remove her from where she is 

at present. 

I am. Gentlemen, 

Your obedient servant, 

(Signed) W. G. Stewart, 

AssisU-ColL 
Messrs. Laird & Co., 

Birkenhead. 

Laird Bros, to Assistant- Collector of H.M. Customs, 
Liverpool. 

Birkenhead Iron Works, Birkenhead, 

Sth October, 1863. 

W. G. Stewart, Esq., 

Assistant- Collector, 

H.M. Customs, Liverpool. 

Sir^ — We beg to acknowledge receipt of your 

letter of this date, informing us that you have been 

directed to place an officer on board the Iron-clad 

Vessel now nearest completion, in the Great Float, 

Birkenhead, and that he has directions to seize her in 

case any attempt be made to remove her from where 

she is at present. 

D 2 



52 

We have given Mr. Morgan, the Surveyor of 
Customs, an order of admission to the Iron-clad 
(which is named the "El Tousson") now lying in the 
Birkenhead Float, which order he will show to our 
watchman or ship-keeper when going on board. 

We are respectfully, 

Your obedient Servants, 

(Signed) Laird Brothers. 



Laird Brothers to Assistant- Collector of R.M. Customs^ 

Liverpool, 

[Private— further reply.] 

Birkenhead Iron Works, Birkenhead, 
8th October, 1863. 

W. G. Stewart, Esq. 

T)ear Sir, — You have made a slight deviation in 
the wording of your letter of this date from that of the 
letter you sent over to us from the Treasury. You 
say, " has directions to seize her in case any attempt 
be made to remove her /r6>m where she is at present,'' 

The letter from the Treasury speaks of the ^'dock 
or float where she is at present." 

Now, it is clear that the Harbour Master has power 
to move the berths of vessels in the dock as may best 
suit the working of the dock ; and although we have 
requested Captain Hookey to give us as long a notice 
of his intentions to move the " El Tousson " as he can 
consistently with the working of the dock, yet we feel 
that this notice may be given at a time when we cannot 
inform you of it, as it may be out of office hours. 

We therefore suggest that the instructions should 
only apply (as we understand* the Treasury letter to 



53 

be) in the event of an attempt being made to remove 
the vessel from the dock or float, and not to the mere 
moving of the ship under the orders and direction of 
the Harbour Master. 

We think that Mr. Morgan understands this, but 
feel that in a matter of this importance it is right to 
let you understand clearly what we consider we have 
been called upon to do by your letter and the letter 
from the Treasury. 

We are, Sir, Your obedient Servants, 

(Signed) Laird Bros. 



Assistant-Collector of H,M. Customs^ Liverpool, to 
Laird Brothers. 

Custom House, Liverpool, 
8^^ October, 1863. 

Gentlemen, — I beg to acknowledge the receipt of 
your letter of this day's date, stating that you had 
given to Mr. Morgan, Surveyor, an order of admission 
to the Iron-clad " El Tousson," and beg to thank you 
for the facility afibrded by you to the Officers ' of 
Customs at all times. 

I am, Gentlemen, your obedient Servant, 

(Signed) W. G. Stewart, 

A ssistant' Collector. 
Messrs. Laird Brothers. 



64 



Assistant-Collector of HM. Customs^ Liverpool^ to 
Laird Brothers, 

[Private,'] 

Customs, Liverpool, 

9M October, 1863. 

Gentlemen, — I have received your private note of 
yesterday, and regret that you should have the trouble 
of writing on the subject. 

In speaking of the place where the Iron-clad is at 
present, I meajit merely to speak of the dock or float 
where she is at present, and which I used as synony- 
mous with these terms. 

I am. Gentlemen, your obedient Servant, 

(Signed) W. G. Stewart, 

A ssistant- Collector, 
Messrs. Laird Brothers. 



E, Morgan, Surveyor, H.M, Customs, Liverpool, to 
Laird Brothers, 

Customs, Liverpool, 

9th October, 1863. 

Messrs. Laird. 

Gentlemen, — I hereby beg to give you notice that 
I have this day seized the Iron-plated Cupola Vessel 
now lying in the dock attached to your premises, by 
order of the Commissioners of Customs. 

Respectfully, 

(Signed) E. Morgan, 

Surveyor, 



55 

E» Morgan^ Surveyor^ H,M, Customs^ Liverpool^ to 
Laird Brothers, 
Surveyor's Office, Customs, 
Messrs. Laird. 9/A October, 1863. 

Gentlemen, — I hereby beg to give you notice that, 
by directions of the Hon. Commissioners of Customs, 
I have this day seized the Iron-clad Vessel now lying 
in the great Float, Birkenhead. 

EespectfuUy, 
(Signed) Edward Morgan, 

Surveyor, 

Laird Brothers to Captain Inglejield^ R.N.^ 
H.M,S, ''Majestic:' 
Birkenhead Iron Works, Birkenhead, 
12th Octobery 1863. 

Capt. Inglefield, R.N. 

Sir, — Understanding from you that you have 
received instructions from H.M. Government to take 
such precautions as you may deem necessary to 
prevent the Iron-clad " El Monnassir " (now being 
completed in our Graving Dock) from being forcibly 
taken away without our consent, and consequently 
nullifying the engagement which exists between us 
and H.M. Government in respect to this vessel, and as 
the vessel cannot be removed from our Graving Dock 
without lifting the caisson at the entrance, and thus 
affording free egress to the river, we hereby engage 
to give you reasonable notice of our intention 
to lift the caisson for the purposes of working 
our dock so that you may take such steps as you 
ftiay think necessary to protect our property against 
the attempt which H.M. Government apprehend. 
We are respectfully. Sir, 

Your obedient Servants, 
(Signed) Laird Brothers. 



56 



Capt. Inglefield, R,N„ H.M.S. ''Majestic,'' to 
Laird Brothers. 

H.M.S. *' Majestic," Rock Ferry, 
Uth October, 1863. 

Gentlemen, — I beg to acknowledge the receipt 
of your letter of yesterday, engaging to give me 
reasonable notice of your intention to lift the caisson 
of the Graying Dock in which the Iron-clad Vessel 
'* El Monnassir" is now being completed, and in 
reference to our conversation yesterday regarding the 
possibility of any of your workpeople being induced 
to open the sluices without your cognizance, and by 
which in one tide, the caisson might be floated out 
of its present position, and the Iron Vessel thereby be 
withdrawn into the river. I consider that your pro- 
posal that the keys whereby these sluices are worked 
should be removed from the place they are at present 
kept to another of greater security, under your per- 
sonal care, is deserving of my thanks, and is again 
suggestive of the good faith which has marked your 
transactions with me in this unpleasant matter. 
AUow me to take this opportunity of assuring you, 
that as far as I have been informed, such has never 
been doubted by those authorities who, for other 
reasons have considered it necessary to place your 
Iron-clad Vessels under the surveillance of the 
Customs. I have only further to request that you 
will let me be informed of your intention to open 
your Graving Dock at least twenty-four hours before 
the time proposed to float the caisson, and thus admit 
of my making, by a personal interview, an arrange- 
ment for the security of your vessel. 



57 

Further, having a specific duty to perform, I beg 
you will not misunderstand me or imagine that I am 
actuated by a want of confidence in your assu- 
rances, should I find that at a later period it 
becomes my duty to absolve you from your present 
engagements to me, and take such other precautions 
as the then progress of the Iron-clad Vessel towards 
completion would justify. In the meantime I am 
satisfied that the present arrangements are sufficient, 
and (as you expressed to me) doubtless more con- 
venient to yourselves than placing a party of men as 
a guard upon your premises. 

I am. Gentlemen, 

Your obedient Servant, 
(Signed) E. A. Inglefield, 
Captain, 

Laird Brothers to Captain Inglefield^ R,N,^ H.M.S. 

^^ Majestic,'' 

Birkenhead Works, Birkenhead, 

Uth Octoler, 1863. 

Captain Inglefield, R.N., H.M.S, ''Majestic,'' 

Sir^ — We beg to acknowledge the receipt of your 
letter of this date, in which you state — 

That you have received our letter of the 12th 
instant, in which we engage, for the reasons enume- 
rated therein, to give you reasonable notice of our 
intention to lift the caisson for the purpose of working 
' our dock ; so that you may take such steps as you 
may think necessary to protect our property against 
the forcible abduction which H.M. Government appre- 
hends. 



58 

And further, that you understood from the con- 
versation that we had yesterday regarding the possi- 
bility of our people being induced to open the sluices 
without our cognizance, and by which in one tide the 
caisson might be floated out of its present position, 
and the Iron Vessel thereby withdrawn into the river, 
that we undertook that the keys whereby the sluices 
are worked should be removed from the place in which 
they are at present kept to another of greater security, 
under our personal care. 

We beg to inform you that we are quite prepared 
to confirm the engagement given in our letter of the 
12th; but you are under a misapprehension in sup- 
posing that we undertook that the keys whereby the 
sluices are worked should be removed from the place 
where they are at present kept to another of greater 
security under our personal care. As we are not 
prepared to remove the keys of the sluices from under 
the care of the Superintendent of our Docks, in whose 
good faith and discretion we have implicit reliance; 
and we have given him special instructions to place 
the keys in a place of security under lock and key, 
which we know he has done. 

With regard to the latter part of your letter, we 
offer no opinion as to the necessity or otherwise of the 
proceedings which Her Majesty's Government have 
taken, or may think fit to take, in relation to this 
vessel; nor do we admit that the engagement given 
by us is intended as an admission on our part that our 
arrangement for carrying out these proceedings is 
more convenient than another ; but we undertake that 
we will give you reasonable notice of our lifting the 
caisson, through which alone egress can be had to the 



59 

river, so that you may take such steps as you may 
think necessary to protect our property against the 
attempt which H.M. Government apprehends. And 
as you have informed us that you think at least 
twenty-four hours' notice is necessary to admit of your 
making, by a personal inter\dew, an arrangement for 
the security of our vessel, we will endeavour to give 
you not less than this length of notice. 

We are. Sir, your obedient Servants, 

(Signed) Laird Brothers. 



Laird Brothers to Captain Inglejield^ R.N,^ H.M.S. 
''Majestic:' 
Birkenhead Iron Works, Birkenhead, 
19th Oct., 1863. 

Captain Inglefield, R.N., H.M.S. ''Majestic.'' 

Sir, — Referring to our letter of the 14th instant, 
we beg to inform you that we intend to open our 
Dock, in which " El Monnassir" now lies, on Thurs- 
day morning next, at about 7 o'clock, and also on 
Saturday morning at about 9 o'clock. 

On Thursday the *'E1 Monnassir" will not be 
moved out of Dock, but on Saturday she will be 
taken outside the gates to allow the Holyhead steamer 
"Alexandra" to pass out; after which she will be 
hauled into dock again, and the caisson will be im- 
mediately put into its place. 

We are. Sir, your obedient Servants, 

(Signed) Laird Brothers. 

Note. — We shall be glad to have an acknowledg- 
ment of the receipt of this as soon as convenient. 

(Signed) Laird Brothers. 



60 

CaptIngleJield^R,N.^H,M,S. ^^Majestic,'' to Laird Bros. 

H.M.S. "Majestic," Rock Ferry, 
20th October, 1863. 

Gentlemen, — I beg to acknowledge the receipt of 
your letter of the 19th instant, informing me that you 
intend opening the dock in which " El Monnassir " is 
now lying on Thursday morning next, about seven 
o'clock, and also on Saturday, about nine o'clock. 

I am, Gentlemen, your obedient Servant, 

(Signed) E. A. Inglefield, 

Captain. 
Messrs. Laird, Birkenhead. 



Laird Bros, to Capt. Inglefield, H.M,S. " Majestic." 

Birkenhead Iron Works, Birkenhead, 
22nd October, 1863. 

Capt. Inglefield, R.N., 

H.M.S. ''Majestic:' 
Sir, — With reference to our letter of the 19 th 
instant, as we were unable to get a ship lying in our 
No. 1 Dock floated to-day, for the purpose of removing 
her to our No. 4 Dock — the one in which the " El 
Monnassir " is lying — we shall be under the necessity 
of opening this dock again to-morrow morning. 

We are. Sir, 

Your obedient Servants, 

(Signed) Laird Brothers. 

Please to acknowledge receipt of this per bearer. 
We regret having to give rather a shorter notice than 
you named to us, but we think it will be sufficient. 

(Signed) Laird Brothers. 



61 



Laird Bros, to Capt Inglejield^ H,M\S. ''''Majestic'^ 

Birkenhead Irox "Works, Birkenhead, 
2^th October, 1863. 

Capt. Inglefield, R.N., 

H.M,S, "Majestic:' 

Sir, — Owing to the dense fog, we were unable to 
open our dock this morning, but intend to do so on 
Monday morning. 

Be so good as acknowledge receipt of this 
intimation. 

We are. Sir, 

Your obedient Servants, 

(Signed) Laird Brothers. 



Capt Inglejield^ H.M.S, " Majestic" to Laird Bros. 

H.M.S. "Majestic," Rock Ferry, 
26th October, 1863. 

Gentlemen, — I have to acknowledge your letter 
of the 24th instant, acquainting me that you propose 
to open your graving dock to-morrow morning. 

I am. Gentlemen, 

Your obedient Servant, 

(Signed) E. A. Inglefield, 

Captain, 



62 

Custom House, 28/10/63. 
{28th October.) 

Dear Sir, — We have received instructions to 
traasmit to Mr. Bravay a notice of seizure similar to 
that which was handed to you yesterday. 

Will you be so good as send per bearer the 
address of that gentleman. 

Your obedient Servant, 

(Signed) E. Morgan, 

Surveyor. 
Messrs. Laird Brothers. 



Birkenhead Iron Works, Birkenhead, 

28th October y 1863. 

Mr. Morgan. 

Dear Sir, — In reply to your note of this day, 
asking for Mr. Bravay's address, it is as follows — 
Messrs. A. Bravay & Co., 

6, Rue de Londres, 
Paris. 
Your obedient Servant, 

(Signed) Laird Brothers. 



Captain Inglefield^ H.M.S. ^''Majestic,'' to Laird 
Brothers. 

H.M.S. "Majestic," Rock Feert, 
28th October, 1863. 

Gentlemen, — I beg to acquaint you that I have 
received from the Lords Commissioners of the 
Admiralty a letter, of which the following is an 
extract : — 



63 

" Desiring that full possession should be immedi- 
" ately taken of the two Iron-clads now under seizure 
" at Birkenhead, that Messrs. Laird's workmen should 
" be immediately removed from them, and that the 
" vessels themselves should be removed into the 
" Mersey, and stationed where you may determine, 
" with a sufficient guard placed on board of them." 

I have therefore to request you will deliver the 
vessels in question to my custody, upon my sending 
an officer and party to take charge of them. 

I am. Gentlemen, 

Your obedient Servant, 
(Signed) E. A. Inglefield, 

Captain, 
Messrs. Laird, Birkenhead. 



Laird Brothers to Capt. Inglefield^ H.M,S. " Majestic^ 

Birkenhead Iron Works, Birkenhead, 
28th October, 1863. 

CArxAiN Inglefield, R.N., 

H.M.S. " Majestic^ 

Sir, — Referring to the conversation you had with 
our Mr. John Laird, jun., this morning, and the 
request you made to us for assistance in preparing 
the " El Monnassir^' for removal from our Graving 
Dock, we shall feel obliged if you will put your 
request in writing, and we will then give it our best 
consideration. 

We are, Sir, 

Your obedient Servants, 
(Signed) Laird Brothers. 



64 

Captain Inglejield^ HM,S. ''^ Majestic,^' to Laird Brothers, 

H.M.S. "Majestic," Rock Ferry, 

2%th Octoher, 1863. 

Gentlemen, — With reference to your letter of this 
date, requesting that I will put in writing the verbal 
application I made to you this afternoon for assistance 
in preparing the "El Monnassir" for removal from 
your Graving Dock, I beg now to renew the applica- 
tion, and request that you will give me such assistance 
by the loan of an anchor and cable, being essential to 
enable me to moor that vessel with safety in the 
Sloyne. 

I have further to add, that such anchor and cable 
will be accepted as a personal loan. And I undertake 
that it shall not be considered as a part of the seizure 
of the aforesaid iron-clad vessel " El Monnassir/' 

I am, Gentlemen, 

. Your obedient Servant, 
(Signed) E. A. Inglefield, Captain. 
Messrs. Laird, Birkenhead. 



Laird Brothers to Captain Inglefield, H.M.S, ^* Majestic ^ 

Birkenhead Iron Works, Birkenhead, 

29th October, 1863. 

Captain Inglefield, R.N., 
H,M,S. "-MajesUcr 

Sir, — We have the honour to acknowledge the 
receipt of your letter of the 28th instant, informing us 



65 

that you have received from the Lords Commissioners 
of the Admiralty a letter, of which the following is an 
extract : — 

" Desiring that full possession should be immedi- 
ately taken of the two Iron-clads now under seizure 
at Birkenhead; that Messrs. Lairds' workmen should 
be immediately removed from them; and that the 
vessels themselves should be removed into the Mersey 
and stationed where you may determine, with a suffi- 
cient guard placed on board of them ;" and that you 
therefore request that we will deliver the vessels in 
question to your custody upon your sending an officer 
and party to take charge of them. 

We beg formally to protest against the illegal and 
unconstitutional seizure of these ships. 

We shall, of course, offer no obstruction to the 
physical force with which we are threatened by the 
Government. 

At the same time we protest against the probable 
destruction of our property in having ships, one of 
which is a mere hulk, without masts, funnel, or stear- 
ing gear, taken out of the Docks, where they are now 
in a place of safety, and moored in the river Mersey, 
at this inclement season of the year; and we trust that 
the Government will reconsider the orders they have 
given you on this point. 

^ We are, Sir, 

Your obedient Servants, 
(Signed) Laird Brothers. 



66 

Laird Bros, to Capt Inglejield, H.M.S. " Majestic^ 

Birkenhead Iron Works, Birkenhead, 
29th October, 1863. 

Captain Inglefield, R.N., H.M.S ^'Majestic.'' 

Sir, — We have the honour to acknowledge the 
receipt of your communication of the 28th instant, 
requesting us to render you assistance in preparing 
the " El Monnassir" for removal from our Gravino^ 
Dock, and further to grant the loan of an anchor and 
and cable, which are essential to enable you to moor 
the vessel with safety in the Sloyne. 

We have every desire to render you personally 
any assistance in our power in carrying out the illegal 
and unpleasant duty imposed on you, but having 
given the matter very serious consideration, and re- 
garding the responsibility we are under to the owners 
of those vessels, we greatly regret that we cannot, in 
justice either to them or to ourselves, do any thing to 
relieve H.M. Government from the responsibility 
they are under to us and to the owners in attempt- 
ing to remove from our Graving Dock into the 
Mersey a vessel in the helpless condition of the 
" El Monnassir." 

You are aware- that in order to remove the 
"El Monnassir" it will be necessary to remove the 
caisson. This is an operation requiring some skill, 
and, in order to prevent injury to the caisson, we 
shall instruct our foreman to remove it on the day 
when you intend to remove our vessel. 

We renew our protest to you at the illegal and extra- 
ordinary conduct of the Government in this matter. 
We are. Sir, your obedient Soj'vants, 

(Signed) Laird Brothers. 



67 

Capt Inglejield to Laird Bros, 

H.M.S. ** Majestic/* Rock Ferry, 
2Sth October, 1863. 
Gentlemen, — At 10 o'clock to-morrow morning 
I shall send a Lieutenant, the chief engineer, boats- 
wain and carpenter, to make a survey and inventory 
of the furniture and fittings of the "El Tousson." 
I hope this will suit your convenience. 
I am, Gentlemen, 

Your obedient Servant, 

(Signed) E. A. Inglefield, 
Captain, 
Messrs. Laird, Birkenhead. 



Capt. Inglejield, H.M.S. '' Majestic*' to Laird Brothers. 

H.M.S. "Majestic," Rock Ferry, 
SOth October, 1863. 

Gentlemen, — I have taken the advice of Mr. Bond, 
the Pilot, upon the subject of moving the " El 
Monnassir," and he states that it would be most 
imprudent to attempt to move that vessel into the 
river without a second anchor on board, unless she 
could be put to a buoy, and it will not be earlier than 
Monday that I can obtain the use of the latter. 

I am obliged, therefore, to postpone taking that 
vessel out of your Graving Dock to-morrow, as I 
cannot get an anchor on board in time. 

I can only add, that if this should cause you any 
inconvenience I am really much concerned. 
And always. 

Yours respectfully, 
(Signed) E. A. Inglefield, 

Captain. 
Messrs. Laird, Birkenhead. 



68 



Laird Brothers to Capt. Inglejield^ H,M,S. " Majestic'' 

Birkenhead Iron Works, Birkenhead, 
Zlst October, 1863. 

Capt. Inglefield, R.N., 

H.M.S. ''Majestic:' 

Sir, — We beg to acknowledge receipt of you 
letter of the 30th instant, informing us that you have 
taken the advice of Mr. Bond, the Pilot, upon the 
subject of moving the " El Monnassir," and that he 
states it would be most imprudent to attempt to move 
that vessel into the river without a second anchor on 
board, unless she could be put to a buoy ; that it will 
not be earlier than Monday that you can obtain the 
use of the latter ; and that you are, therefore, obliged 
to postpone taking that vessel out of our Graving 
Dock to-morrow, as you cannot get an anchor on 
board in time. 

In reply we beg to state that, owing to the 
lowness of the Neap tides during the next week, we 
cannot with safety float the caisson at the entrance of 
the dock, and therefore must decline doing so. 

We are, Sir, 

Your obedient Ser\"ants, 

(Signed) Laird Brothers. 



69 



Capt, Inglejield^ H,M.S. " Majestic^'*' to Laird Brothers. 

H.M.S. "Majestic," Rock Ferry, 
Brd November, 1863. 

Gentlemen, — Obedient to instructions I have 
received from the Lords Commissioners of the 
Admiralty, I have removed the "El Tousson " from 
the Great Float, and moored her near my ship. It, 
however, became necessary to pay the dock dues that 
the ship might be cleared, and as you expressed to 
me when I spoke to you myself on the subject, that 
you did not intend to pay them, I have deposited 
the sum of £150 with the Dock Committee under 
protest, and now renew my request that you will pay 
these dues, so that I may be refunded the amount 
deposited. 

I am. Gentlemen, 

Your obedient Servant, 
(Signed) E. A. Inglefield, 

Captain, 

Messrs. Laird, Birkenhead. 



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