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UNKNOWND A CALAMITY FOR AUCKLAND HOSTILE VISIT OF A RUSSIAN IRONCLAD.

SEIZURE OF GOLD AND HOSTAGES/ Notwithstanding thotelegraphiccommunication iiom England to Melbourne, and tho piiindii il nitoicoiiiso by steamer between how '/,< aland and fclie Australian ports, tho sudden Declination of War between Kussii and England, arising out of tho Cuitial Asian dilhculty and tho dishonesty of tho Empeior of Persia, wag only made known to Auckland yesteiday by one of the gioatest calamities that over ovoitoolc the colony— an event pioductivo of giavo disaster to Now Zealand, and destructive of tho ancient , prtatigo of England .and her boasted supro- , macy us So\eieign of tho Seas. Thai event was the sudden appearance of tho hostile iron-clad man of-war, tho ' Kaskowiski,' i which took possession of tho Biitiah war- | ship lying in the wateis of tho Waitouiata, , seized our piinoipal citi/eus as hostages, do- > manded a heavy ransom for the city, aud emptied tho colter? of tho banks of all the gold aud specie they contained. The consternation which for a tiino overwhelmed tho peoplo of tho piovinco who were inado aware of this nefarious and b.ubaioua tiansaction, which u uttoily at variance with tho laws aud practico of modern warfare, may bo understood by the reader, but cannot bo dcacubed hero. At this niotuout wo are under tho complete domination of Russia, out own i^nns m our own man-of-wai bum^ p« anted .igamst tliP city, icady to be opeiiod on us at any niotnuut that tho bai batons caprico of her captors may faelect A domiciliary viaitation to tho otlico of this paper tor daring to publish this nauativois what will probably have taken placo ero tho&o lines meet tho ijes of our nioro distant readers. Only to tho public, howevei, demands that wo set down tho particulars of this teiiiblo visitation, rtgaulk'bs of any coiHcqueucus or tempoiary lotii or inconvenience to oiusclveu. Jiefoio dosoiibiug tho encumstauces of this " uutoward event," we mu&t compaio the ootion of tbe BiHiah cruiseis dunug the i. uuicau war with this piratical proceeding which our Noithorn enemy has adopted, aud which has degraded tho chivalry ot modern wai to the level ot moicenary lobbery. In the Baltic and in the Black Soa, in 1831 5, no cannon of ours di&olated uniortiucd towm, no predatory visits were inado by our wai -ships, no black mail was levied , our very piovidious *rre libernlly paid tor when wo landed nt any part of the coast of liuasia which was wuho'it foi tilicatioii. Lt is tiue we oaptuied Homaisund, seized the Aland Islands, bombaided Sveaborg, and many other places ; and sent a hostile expedition to theUheisonesus. Theso.were fortified oities and etatious held for strategic purposes, and wore fair maiks for tho guns of an enemy : but on no occasion was an unarmed town assailed. Even when bent on destruction our guua were caiefully dueoted agaiust foitihcations and arsenals only ; the civil quarters of a city were lehgiously spaied ; wo never asked for ransom; wo treated tho people of the country with more kindness aud eonsideiation than they met with at tho hands of their own troops. The Kussian lopays this foibeaiance by taking advantage ot a few days of pnor intelligence, under her superior foice, suddenly displayed, committing robbeiy which civilised nations will denounce as boon as it la known. Bitteily do wo now icgiot tho absouco of that telegraphic cable which should dirootly couuect Sow Zealand with Euiopo. Thoflo considerations have, for a moment, delayed tho nartative of events, which wo now proceed to detail. 'ihe bteamei ' Wonga Wonga' left on Satuiday afternoon with a laigo number of paosengeia toi Austialm. On Saturday night, a htt'o after midnight, three luekets weio aeul up from tho vioiuiiy of tho .North Head, their htickH, 111 a still iiory condition, falling in the neighbourhood of Devonpoit Jiall. lt is (supposed that time was tieachery on tho North Shore, and that somo epics had arlauged tlu<j as a signal to teach the ' KaskowieLi' tho proper time to enter tho harbour. Of this there is no ceitauity, and the stiiot Hiuveillance kept on tho harbour prevents the possibility of lnquiiy. It should bo mentioned hcio that this vessel (as we loam from the statement of ono of the crew, a native of tbe United States, who was found by our shipping lepoitti on the Baation Hock, which, it appeal a, waa first taken for a foit, and which w.is iocounoitred by a boat's crew, who left the American behind by mistake), was built on the Alaska i'emiiqula Al«i*ka,as is well known, ■was sold by Russia to the United States bouio years ago ; but, by a b iseueaa of treachery which only the lax supci vision of our consular agents could havo rendered possible, the Government of Washington had permitted tho secret construction of this ironclad in that remote region, ao that, when tho time oamo for action, she might enter tho 1'acitic and, unannounced, pouueo upon tho unprotected colonies of the Bntish Empire. Sho haH a complement of 933 men and olhcera, all told, is piovisioned for a year, carnes twclvo 30-tou guns, aud has machinciy for tho mauufactuio of tho deadly water-gas invented by tho lato (Joneral Todileben, and only now piactically employed in naifaro by Russia, the Bole depository of tho secret. This gas can bo injected into an opposing vessel from a considerable distance, and so stealthily as not to bo diseoveied until its paialysing etfects have done their work. Its strength can bo so moditi.d as eithor to lcjintn of its own motive, and blow up aud set on fire all inflammable matenal With which it coiner in contact, oi it m/iy bo so diluted as to cause a mephitic vnpour to ovt-rpowur all tiio animal hfo witlmv tho range of ltd )iihnlati</n. Thia oxplams the easy seizure of our br.ivo dofenders m our war ship into and over which this fatal ga,a was poured. But wo anticipate. At 7 o'clock on Satin day, tho 'Wonga Wonga,' whilo oil Kawnn, desciicrt a larqe vessel, hull down, steaming appaiently towaids her. After a short time daikncss came on, and sho lost sight of tho ship. At 8 10 p.m. a shot was fired across hci bows ; ohe slowed her ei gincs, and a boat camo alongside. In poum|itory tones its occupants domandt d what she was, whither bound, and her cargo. On obtaining a leply, the order was gwon. in good English, to lieto as a prisoner of a llusHian ship of war. On hcanngthisagallant naval oflicei.who waa on board tho 'VVouga, ' with tho aid of aomo passengers aud crtuv lifted a small cannon off the carnage, raised it over the bulwaiks, and dropped it into tho boat. A loud crash followed. The feat was Biiccejsful Tho gun stovo tho boat, and in a moment sho sank, leaving tho eiew struggling m tho water, hclpleds. All lights on boaid tho •Wonga' were immediately extinguished. She altered her course, aud made for Auckland ; but Bho saw, as tho moon ro.so, that tho great speed of tho llimian ship, 17 knots an hour, was too much for her, and tUat, unless she bought refugo in some of tho liai bo us on tho coast, she would be inevitably overhauled and captured. Accordingly, bIio mado for shelter to Mahurangi; and, ;> point of land intervening between her and her pursuer, sho evaded the chase. Tho swiftaailing cutter 'Volunteer' was providentially in the liver at the time of her auival, and the captain of tho 'Wonga 1 despatched her t« Auckland, with a favouring breeze, to apprise tho authorities of their danger. It wai "too lato !" Tho great speed of tho Kussian rendered these well-meant efforts fruitloss, for tho cutter did not anne until ye^tirday morning, by which lime tho ' Kaskowiski' had done her work ; bad sei/ed our war steamer in the darknoss, arrested our chief citizens and bankers, left a pn/e crew on board tho captured ship, and had gone off at full steam to resume the chase of the 4 Wonga, 'for the double pni pose of preventing her carrying the intelligence to Australia and of avenging the destruction of her boat aud crew, and at tho same timo making a prize of the ship and tho treaiuro in gold* duit wbicb ibo o»rriod, Hotvea btJp tho

crew and passengers, and save our Austialiin towns fiom the power of this almost invulnerable vessel, anil lior scientific a,>paia ua for dealing death and desti action ! Aimii.g 8ti>althily in our harbour, .and witboub showing any lights, tho ' Kaskowiaki' sent her submariuo pinnace, wellni'inncil, and with tho mcphitio water-gas apparatus on boaid, towards our war-ship. Tnis now iuvention silently proceeded, sailing 8ix feet below tho suifaco of tne smooth wator of tho Waiteraata, and, rising at tho distance of a cable's length, projected tho fatal gag on the vessel. Heavier than our fitm'>*-[ !u>!io an, thn\apom <peeilily penotinted tho intunor of tho ship, pi educing semi Miflooation to all on hoard. The watch aluiivd those below, but it was again " too ]ato "Six boats laden with marine? sin rounded tho vessel, and she was boarded. The captain and sotno of tho officers of our ship, with a handful of the crew, weak and almost bieathless, attempted to face tho hoarders, but without eflrct. It was lesolved to firo tho magazine and prevent tho foo from taking tho vessel. Taking iusti actions from tho captain, who was oveicomo by tho vapour, one of tho lieutenants crawled below. Ho was seen and followed by ono of tho Russian officers, who cut him down as ho was about to fiie a pistol into tho magazine, tho hatch of which was then closed. Thero was a biiff stiugglo on deck ; tho f.imtmg blue jackets were overpowered : tho ship was in tho enemy's hands, and eho now lies with tho hated double caglo Moating at tho mam abovo our loved " meteor lUg ot England." Then camo tho extortion of tho enemy. Detachmonts had been aent ashoro during tho night. 'I heRO took possession of tho aimouiy and miig.i/incs, with all tho Pi ms and ammunition in the city. Tho telegraph olho^a \wio occupied to prevent tho tian-iimssion of tho news of this disaster to other places in tho colony, and pnrticulaily to tho Thames. Tho tclcgiaphic station at Oiiohunga, and all stations within 40 miles of Auckland, were occupied by strong guards. Tho bteamci 1 Golden Ci own 1 was seiml, and a body of 80 men armed with hhort repeating nfles, and strengthened with four rocket tubes, to fno tho town if necessary, was sent to (iraha.natown, in Older to take tho trcasmo from the banks in that town. Thcio could bo only ono result, but wo have heard nothing of it, as, although tho enemy permit tho parsing of orJmaiy telegrams (they havo their own English trained telegraphists^, for obvious reasons they allow nothing to pass along tho wncs icspccting thuir own proceedings. Dm ing tho night tho captain of tho Russian ship, Vico-Admiral HerodskofT, landed with a body of Russian marines and e.ailora, armed with cutlasses and repeating needle carbiues. Ho proceeded to the Piovincial Council Chamber, and thonco sent messengers commanding tho attendance of tho Superintendent of the pro\ .nee, tho Mayor of tho city, all the bankers and bank-directors, and members of tho Assembly. These gentlemen woro ordered out of bed, and, amidst tho dismay and terror of their families, wero led to the council-room. On their arrival they wero placed in the ccntro of tho chamber, | the armed men, with caibinea loaded and bayonets fixed, lining the walls of tho loom Seated on tho Speaker's chair, Admiral HerodskofT, in good linfrlish, load a requisition demanding immediato payment of ono-and-a-half million of roubles (£250,000 stoiling) as a ransom for tho safety of tho city, and intimating that, if the money wore not paid within threo hours, ho should retire to his ship and burn tho town. l[o lirat asked what tho Superintendent had to produce from tho provincial chest. Whoioupou his Honor exhibited tho Treasurer^ accounts, and proceeded to prove that tho province had no "accumulated savings," that tho aasotahad entirely disappeared m cousequonco of recent financial arrangements undei tho bands of Ins oilicnls Ho proposed that tho Gcueiui Goveinmout should bo applied to, as from his own evpeiience ho knew thero wero funds in that exchequer. Ho wis proceeding to show tho moans by which tho money might bo forthcoming from Wellington, when ho \iu intoriupted by tho Adinnal, who eaid ho should see to that port himself, with which tho Superintendent had nothing to do, and ho should take caro ho norer should, and ho discourteously added that in Russia his Honor would have boon knouted and sent to Sibcna for dating to constiuut such bilanco sheot ad ho had produced. Mr. Sheehan, M.I I R., and Mr. Lusk, Piovincial Secretary, both l.iwyeis, humbly suggested that tho action of tho Russian Admiral was in contravention of tho laws of war. iUr. Sheohau quoted fiom Vattel at the wrong placo respecting tho law of nations, and Mr. Lusk sought to show tho "invalidity" of the whole proceedings, hut with a bjw admitted his error, and dropped to tho rear, whon tho Admiral haughtily waved his hand towards his armed forco, and remarked that their prcpenoo proved the perfect " propriety" of his action. Mr. Lusk then also refuted to V.ittel, and affirmed tho general validity of that author's wellknown work. But tho Admnal, with that diplomatic training and npe knowledge which Russian, tiainmg gives to her ofliceis, demolished hid argument, by stating that Vattel'» woik was merely a synopsis of the woiks of Vuffeudorf, Giotius, ,ind others; that ho was often wiong in hi3 generalisations, and drew many false conclusions, because he omittod from his premisses tho pi ictico of nations, and displayed an ignorance of the principle of utility in our time bo generally adoptod as tho test of international morality. Tho Admiral added with something of bitterness that ho did not come to dispute but to command, and ho cleaned to h< i ar no more of siuh law. Mr. Creighton, I\I H K,, profferred as his contribution to tho ransom tho secret for smelting ourironsand at ono pi ocess, which ho baid would boa great boon to Russia; at tho sumo tiino Hiiggosting to tho Superintendent tli.it a poll-tax should bo levied on tho pcoplo of tho province to recoup bnrnoU and h\^ partnoiH for tho sacnlico. Both proposal's wt re in .Lautly i ejected, the Admiral scorn fully lemarking that Kussia had long been in posiossion of tho bcciet, and was only waiting until it was convenient to annex Norway and Sweden, in order to apply tho discoveiy to Swedish iron. The next person interrogated happened to bo Mr. Swanson, M. H. R, who said ho would consent to advanco a largo sum of money (lo^s exchange), but was told that it would bo taken fiom him with or without his consent. On behalf of tho new National Hank, Mr, W H. Grahamo, and Mr Hean, the manager, said thry \\eio anxions to save tho city from hi in, and offered to provide £00,000, or ono fifth of tho sum demanded, on tbo secuuty of tho English shaicholdcrs; but wero sternly informed that with such seeunty to back them they ouqht to provide double tho sum. Mr. Thomas Ru«sell said tho .Bank of Now Zealand was proparcd to give £50,000 ; but on this sum being doclncd too littlo by a fifth, ho agiccd, at tho suggestion of some of tho directors, to piovide the other £10,000 The representatives of tho other hanks were ordeicd to furnish thoir quota ; and armed parlies weio told off, in chaigo of tho bank manageis, to ransack the collars for tho specie and gold-dust they contnintd. Dining their absonco some ono Hugjjested that tho old floating paper in Auckland, and tho mining Hunp, should bo tendered as pai t of tho ransom ; but tho pioposal was dended with scorn by tho stern Russian. It was not a moment for miith; but tho suggestion brought a smilo to many of tho anxious faco8 which lookod upon tho hard impassive face of thifl self - appointed jndgo. After tho lapse of half an hour tho detachments returned from tho banks with all tho gold and silver that could bo found, ffc nmountcd to only CKN.O'IS 17s. (id., littlo more than half tho mini d< m.mdcd. Admnal Uerodskoir threatened Iho lues of tint gontkinon who were b( foro him ; and at last j;ave orders to have them taken on boaid tho ' Kaplcowiski,' stating .that immediately after d ly break ho would sail input suit of tho ' Wonga Wonga,'and,if ho overtook her, and found aufficicnt gold on board to make ■p tho sum lurjuiicd, ho should lnnd his hostages at Fiji. He then roso t tho hostage* wore marohed downiUiri, ana pUood in tho ointre of a

hollow squnio formed by the sailois and | maiines, and in tins f.iahion they woie matched to Wynyard Pier in the dull guy of tho peaceful looking morning, ]>ut on board two boats, and taken to the ' KasXowiski,' which .almost; immediately after steamed out of tho harbour, leaving tho town, na wo have said, at the meioy of the , prize crow put on ho.nd our own wai ship. Wo have gi\ on a initiative of tins t< rnblo disaster, as succinct as could ho gaMieied in tho ciicumstanccs. The <.tk f of the community it is iinncccjsaiy to parade. Deop as that is at tho loss of our treasure, a far deeper i).inf; fastens on each heart to think of tho dishonour this aff.ur hay cast on tho Putiah flay and tho Bntiali nation. Lord Granvillc proini«otl to defend England's colonies with ISnftland'e "last Bhip and her last shilling." Kusaia has taken both in Auckland waters. Fiom thojdepths of our despair, wo cr}' — " \Vhi:i{e is the UniriSH Nav\ ?" •rrom Uio Dvui Soutiiert C boss of Monday, tlio 15th May, 187J

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Bibliographic details

UNKNOWND A CALAMITY FOR AUCKLAND HOSTILE VISIT OF A RUSSIAN IRONCLAD., Daily Southern Cross, Issue 4829, 17 February 1873

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UNKNOWND A CALAMITY FOR AUCKLAND HOSTILE VISIT OF A RUSSIAN IRONCLAD. Daily Southern Cross, Issue 4829, 17 February 1873

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