Reply To: Correspondance between the American shipbuilder William H Webb and Count Cavour
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Good evening, Alessandra
Thank you very much for your answer. At last, I have found the book I have been looking for at a reasonable price and I have bought it. It contains some reference to the early contacts between count Cavour and Webb, even if somewhat confused and not entirely correct, but it was useful al the same. It seem that Webb visited briefly Turin on August 1859, but it is doubtful that he may then have contacted Cavour, because in July the count had resigned from his position of First Minister and had retired in his country home.
My researches had shown that the fact that Webb had been connected with the establishment of the Muggiano shipyard may not be correct. That count Cavour asked Webb to establish a shipyard near Spezia was for the first time stated by the Italian author Augusto de Vecchi (known also with is pen-name of Jack la Bolina) in an article published by the magazine Emporium. Other naval historians had repeated it but there is no evidence whatsoever that Cavour could have made any offer of this kind to Webb. Certainly his successor did not.
The contacts between Cavour’s successor and Webb which led to the signing of the contract for the two ironclad are documented in the minutes of some Parliamentary sessions of the Kingdom of Italy.