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opinion. George Bridges, the carpenter of the “Megæra," in the course of an examination as to the measures adopted after the leak was discovered, said :“From my experience as a shipwright and my knowledge of the ship's bottom, nothing more could be done than was done to make the ship seaworthy and enable her to continue the voyage. From my own knowledge and the reports of the engineers I do not believe the ship was seaworthy and fit to go on to Australia.” Joseph Peters, foreman of the fitters in Sheerness Dockyard, and William Owen, Assistant Master-Shipwright, gave evidence respecting the repairs of the vessel. James Alexander Bell, the diver on board, reported that on his examination of the hull the day before the vessel was stranded he found the plate round the leak so thin that he could easily have made the leak large enough to admit his shut hand by breaking away the edges. He thought that in six or eight days the hole would have become four times the size. Edward Brown, chief engineer of the “Blanche," a passenger on board the “Megæra,” considered the ship most unseaworthy, from the defective plates. Nothing could have been done to enable her to proceed on the voyage
from St. Paul's with safety. Mr. Trickett, inspector of machinery at Devonport, and who was at Woolwich in 1866, described the condition of the ship at the time of the survey made in that year. She was then, after the repairs, fit for eighteen months or two years of temporary service. Alexander Brown, the leading stoker of the “Megæra,” who found the leak, said that the sea came in “like a water spout, rushing up against a plate of iron the height of the girders.” The Court then, after a short adjournment, intimated that they required no further evidence. If Captain Thrupp wished to make a statement, or to call witnesses, he was at liberty to do so. Captain Thrupp said he should prefer to have some time for consideration, and on the following day, November 18th, he read to the Court the following statement:
“Before making any remarks on the loss of the ship, I wish to be allowed to state, that on the ‘Megæra' leaving Queenstown on the 14th March, 1871, neither I nor (that I am aware) any of the officers or ship's company had any knowledge that the bottom of the ship was in any way weak or likely to leak. She was a newly-commissioned ship, just out of dock, where her bottom had been cleaned and fresh coated, the defective bobstay and ports had been made good, and the ship had been lightened of 100 tons of cargo, so that we had every reason to be satisfied with all that had been done to remedy our defects, and I so expressed myself to the Admiral commanding before leaving that port. On the leak first breaking out it was true that I was as near the Island of Mauritius as St. Paul's, and if I had then had any idea of danger, it is probable that I should have at once hauled up for the former place; but I had none whatever. It was not until four days afterwards finding the leak did not proceed from a rivet hole, but was of a more serious nature, that I decided on calling at St. Paul's to examine the bottom and stop the leak. It was only after the divers had examined the ship's bottom, and the frames were found so defective, and I had further inspected the weak places myself, that I fully realized our position, and for the first time discovered the impossibility of continuing the voyage, and then it was of course equally impossible to proceed to the Mauritius. I did not at that time enter minutely into the question as to whether the plates became defective by the use of any particular cement or the absence of cement, or whether it arose from galvanic action. My anxiety was centred in discovering what the extent of the damage was, and in slowly realizing to myself the fact that it would be impossible to proceed on the voyage without the most imminent danger.”
After entering at some length upon the evidence with regard to the pumps, and stating that it was not a deficiency of pumping power, but the extreme weakness of the ship in the neighbourhood of the leak that induced him to decide as he did, he concluded by saying :-"I wish to state, on behalf of the officers and men who have returned with me, that I have always considered myself solely responsible for the step I took in beaching the 'Megæra,' and I feel it my duty to express my great satisfaction at the conduct of the whole of the officers and crew under the very trying circumstances in which we were placed. It was mainly owing to their exertions that, under Providence, there was no more serious casualty. I think, sir, it would be unnecessary for me to call any further witnesses, and I am willing to leave my case in the handa of this Court."
After due deliberation, the finding of the Court was “that Her Majesty's Ship ‘Megæra' was stranded on the Island of St. Paul on the 19th day of June, 1871, by her Captain, Arthur Thomas Thrupp, but that, taking all the circumstances of the case into consideration, the said Captain Arthur Thomas Thrupp was fully justified in beaching the ship, and that he would not have been justified in continuing his course to Australia, and doth therefore acquit him of all blame in respect to it. The Court is further of opinion that no blame whatever is attributable to the other officers and men under trial herein before named for the stranding and loss of Her Majesty's ship ‘Megæra,' and doth therefore acquit them of all blame, and the said captain and other officers and men are hereby acquitted accord. ingly."
The President rose from his seat, and taking up the sword which lay before him, handed it back to Captain Thrupp, whom he addressed in the following words :-"Captain Thrupp, I have great pleasure in returning you your sword.” Captain Thrupp, in receiving the weapon, thanked the President, who then declared that the court was closed.
A Royal Commission was subsequently issued to the Right Hon. Lord Lawrence, the Right Hon. Abraham Brewster, late Lord Chancellor of Ireland; Admiral Sir Michael Seymour, G.C.B.; Sir Frederick Arrow, Deputy Master of the Trinity House; Mr. Rothery, Registrar of the High Court of Admiralty; and Mr. Thomas Chapman, F.R.S., Chairman of the Committee for Lloyd's Register of British and Foreign Shipping, and a Vice-President of the Institution of Naval Architects, directing them to inquire into and report upon the state and condition of Her Majesty's late ship “Megæra ” when selected for her recent voyage to Australia; the circumstances under which she was despatched from this country; the extent and cause of the leak subsequently discovered in the ship, and of any other defects in the ship’s hull at the time when she was beached at St. Paul's; also, as far as may be deemed expedient, the general official history of the ship previous to her said voyage, and her classification at successive dates. The Commission held their first meeting on the 7th of December in a committee-room of the House of Commons, but adjourned on the 21st till the 8th of January, 1872.
PUBLIC DOCUMENTS AND
THE BELGIAN TREATY BETWEEN ENGLAND AND
(Signed at London, August 9th, 1870; Ratifications exchanged at London, August
employing his naval and military forces for the purpose aforesaid; and, the case arising, to concert with Her Majesty the measures which shall be taken, separately or in common, to secure the neutrality and independence of Belgium.
ARTICLE I. His Majesty the King of Prussia having declared that, notwithstanding the hostilities in which the North German Confederation is engaged with France, it is his fixed determination to respect the neutrality of Belgium, so long as the same shall be respected by France, Her Majesty the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland on her part declares that, if during the said hostilities the armies of France should violate that neutrality, she will be prepared to co-operate with His Prussian Majesty for the defence of the same in such manner as may be mutually agreed upon, employing for that purpose her naval and military forces to insure its observance, and to maintain, in conjunc. tion with His Prussian Majesty, then and thereafter, the independence and neu. trality of Belgium.
It is clearly understood that Her Majesty the Queen of the United King. dom of Great Britain and Ireland does not engage herself by this Trenty to take part in any of the general operations of the war now carried on between the North German Confederation and France, beyond the limits of Belgium, as defined in the Treaty between Belgium and the Netherlands of April 19, 1839.
ARTICLE III. This Treaty shall be binding on the High Contracting Parties during the continuance of the present war between the North German Confederation and France, and for twelve months after the ratification of any Treaty of Peace concluded between those Parties; and on the ex. piration of that time the independence and neutrality of Belgium will, so far as the High Contracting Parties are respectively concerned, continue to rest as heretofore on the 1st Article of the Quintuple Treaty of the 19th of pril, 1839.
ARTICLE IV. The present Treaty shall be ratified, and the ratifications shall be exchanged at London as soon as possible.
In witness whereof the respective Plenipotentiaries have signed the same, and have affixed thereto the seal of their arms.
Done at London, the ninth day of August, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and seventy.
(L.s.) BERNSTORFF. A similar Treaty between England and France was signed on the ilth, and ratified on the 26th August at London.
ARTICLE II. His Majesty the King of Prussia agrees on his part, in the event provided for in the foregoing Article, to co-operate with Her Majesty the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland,
DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE UPON THE
THE Diplomatic Correspondence Count Benst desired, on the part of anxiously expected (says the Times, of Austria, to render this mutual engagement Feb. 14) has now been issued. It forms more extensive. He said on the 23rd of a volume of 260 pages, and we hope to August he would be ready to agree to the render our readers a service by presenting proposal, “on the condition that the them with an analysis of it. The papers Powers did not act separately in the now published range from the beginning future work of mediation between France of August to the conclusion of the present and Germany." Eventually Count Beast Arinistice. The earliest despatches from waved his reservation, and exchanged the our Ambassador Paris describe the common form of assurances. The Spanish stormy scenes in the French Chambers Minister subsequently inquired whether which followed the disasters at Woerth it was intended that this exchange of and Spicheren. Lord Lyons states on Notes should be “effected solely between the 12th of August that the universal England and the other Powers, or whether feeling even then was that a further de. those Powers should also do so among feat would be absolutely and immediately themselves ?" Lord Granville replied fatal to the dynasty, while it was by no that Her Majesty's Government would means considered certain that even the be glad to see carried out the latter intersuccess of the army in the field would pretation, but did not wish to press their suffice to avert a revolution.
views upon any one of the Powers. The first point of importance relates
The Prince de la Tour d'Auvergne preto the engagements entered into for the sided at the French Foreign Office during general maintenance of neutrality. It the brief Ministry of Count Palikao, and appears from a despatch of Lord Gran. a despatch from Lord Lyons, dated the ville to Lord Lyons on the 16th of August 16th of August, gives important informathat “several Powers, since the beginning tion respecting the attitude of the French of the war, had proposed that a combined authorities at that critical moment. He neutrality should be formed of all the said the French Government had DO Neutral Powers.” Her Majesty's Govern. objection to an understanding between ment, however, “had always objected to the Neutral Powers, for he believed them any formal compact, although expressing all to be well disposed towards France. their desire to exchange freely ideas which At the same time it was evident that would tend to circumscribe the War or “under present circumstances France which would lead to any prospect of could listen to no offer of mediation from Peace.” The Italian Government seems any quarter.” She had no reason to de. to have been the most anxious for some spair, and she could not treat while she such mutual understanding, and in an- had the means of continuing the war on swer to their renewed suggestions Lord equal terms and driving the Prussians Granville replied that he still objected to out of France. There were two conditions any formal engagement, but that, if the which he regarded as indispensable under Italian Government wished to interchange all circumstances-namely, “the preser. an assurance that Great Britain and Italy vation of the integrity of the territory would not depart from their neutrality of France and the maintenance of the without announcing to each other their dynasty." intention, he was ready to do so. This Lord Granville, in reply, authorized proposal was accepted, and assurances Lord Lyons to assure the French Minister were accordingly exchanged between Eng- “that he does right to count on the land, on the one hand, and Italy, Austria, friendship of England," and although Her Russia, and other Powers. The Russian Majesty's Government had certainly no Government hastened to close with this pro- intention or desire to obtrude their media. posal, and even anticipated the proceed. tion either on France or on Prussia, the ings of England, observing that “the gene. Prince might be assured that “if at any ral concert thus established among them time recourse should be had to their good would greatly increase the moral influence offices, they would be freely given and which the neutral Powers would be entitled zealously exerted.” This elicited from to exercise in any Conferences which might Prince de ln Tour d'Auvergne, in a contake place for the establishment of Peace.” versation with Lord Lyons, a repetition
of his previous language, and he added to Lord Lyons in answer to the first of that, speaking for himself only, he would these applications, and here, again, Lord say that “ if signal success should attend Granville states the position he conthe French arms he would be very mode- sistently maintained in the future. M. rate,” and would only urge that with the Favre had told Lord Lyons that France concurrence of Europe some settlement would certainly agree to an Armistice if a should be made which would obviate the neutral Power were to propose it, and that antagonism between France and Prussia he would be glad for an offer of mediation which had led to the war. Russia at to be made to Prussia on the basis of the this moment showed a disposition integrity of the French territory. But prepare for an offer of mediation,” though Lord Granville replied, as usual, that Prince Gortchakoff appeared to be con- more harm than good would be done by scious that the time had not yet arrived. attempting to mediate unless there were Lord Granville, in a despatch of the 17th reasons to believe that both parties would of August to our Ambassador at St. receive such mediation, and unless there Petersburg, says Her Majesty's Govern. were a basis which both would accept. ment are convinced that any suggestion On the 8th of September M. Tissot of the kind would be now disregarded by communicates to Lord Granville the Cir. the two belligerents, and “this would cular of the 6th of September, in which make it a matter of greater delicacy and M. Jules Favre formally announces the difficulty hereafter for neutral Powers resolution of the Government of National who might be anxious to exert themselves Defence to yield “neither an inch of our for the restoration of Peace.” Prince territory nor a stone of our fortresses." Gortchakoff, in reply, expressed “his Meanwhile it appears that M. Jules Favre entire concurrence in this view of the had been exerting himself in other quarters
Count Beust on the 11th of to bring mediatory influence to bear upon August told Lord Bloomfield he had been Prussia. It is evident he was most informed of Lord Granville's anxiety “to anxious to avoid the tremendous responsi. profit by the first opening to suggest pro- bility of carrying on the conflict, and was positions of Peace to France and Prussia." prepared to do almost any thing provided He expressed his desire to aid in establish- it would not be inconsistent with his epi. ing an understanding among the neutral grammatic programme. On the 8th of Powers for this purpose; but " at pre- September Lord Granville informs Baron sent he saw no chance of entering upon Brunnow of M. Favre's desire for the proany negotiations with either belligerent," posal of an Armistice by a neutral Power, and he added “that if fortune continued while stating that “the maintenance of to favour the arms of Prussia as it had our territorial integrity is still an absolute done up to the present moment, he appre- condition for us," without which we have hended there would be no expectation of determined to "carry on a war à outrance." treating of Peace until the German armies M. Jules Favre promptly accepted Lord were under the walls of Paris.” Italy, Granville's offer to transmit any comhowever, towards the end of August, again munication which might tend to Peace, came forward in the matter, and a de. and on the 9th of September Prince spatch from Lord Granville to Sir A. Metternich brought to Lord Lyons a Paget, on the 27th of August, lays down letter from M. Favre, requesting that the the position which the Government con- following inquiry might immediately be tinued consistently to maintain.
conveyed to Count Bismarck :-"Is Count Russia at this time betrayed consider. Bismarck willing to enter into verbal Able anxiety to be, at all events, prepared negotiations for an Armistice and for a for interposition; but Prince Gortchakoff Conference upon the conditions of Peace, at length expressed to Sir A. Buchanan and with whom does he propose to hold his entire concurrence in the opinion of this conversation ?” This was instantly Lord Granville, that neither France nor forwarded; but the circuitous communicaPrussia desired interference.
tions occasioned by the war entailed conOn the 6th of September M. de Lava- siderable delay in its transmission, and lette left the French Embassy at London Lord Lyons had no little difficulty in in the charge of M. Tissot, and from this inducing M. Favre to wait patiently for a moment the diplomatic relations between reply. Meanwbile the French Minister England and the belligerent Governments repeated his instructions to M. Tissot to became completely changed. Hencefor. urge on Lord Granville that “it was ward Lord Granville is incessantly solicited important for the common interest of all by the French authorities, in one form or that the British Cabinet should unite with another, to interpose by making proposi. other Powers in order to bring about the tions to Prussia. As early as the 7th of signature of an Armistice which might September Lord Granville sends a despatch serve as a preliminary towards the con