His example might have spread, and there was no way to keep him aloof from the men.
I inclose two numbers of the "Key of the Gulf," the last published. When the paper of the 27th April appeared I spoke to several respectable citizens to have the paper suppressed, and had an assurance that it would not appear again. To my surprise, that of May came out, more violet and incendiary than its previous numbers. There was great excitement among the Union men, and the rabid secessionists were much elated. After a perfect understanding with the district attorney, and having received Judge Marvin's views, sent to me verbally by Captain Craven, of the Navy, the act of habeas corpus was suspended, in order to arrest without molestation the parties suspected of uttering the treasonable sentiments, &c. The editor has left the island. The Salvor to-day takes away Mr. Crusoe, the late magistrate of the county, and county clerk; Judge Douglas and family; Mr. Aa Taft and his negroes. Others are preparing to leave, and winding up their affairs.
No martial law has been put in force here. That code has not had to be enforced. The habeas corpus act was simply suspended for prospective purposes. Fortunately, in no instance has it been necessary to make an arrest, and as soon as the Union men elect their own mayor and councilmen, and the municipal affairs are arranged on the basis of the paramount sovereignty of the United States laws, the proclamation may be withdrawn. Every voter will be required to swear allegiance to the United States at the polls, and every officer elected must quality himself in the same manner.
I inclose a roll of Union citizens, who marched to the fort on Saturday, and through Mr. Maloney, a strong Union lawyer of this place, placed themselves under my orders. I received them in the usual manner, presented a flag, and the inclosed roll of 106 of the most respectable citizens at Key West was handed to me. It is furnished to the colonel commanding, not only because it is a matter of great public importance, but as an evidence that the authority and responsibility with which I was vested have not been disadvantageously employed. About the same time a company of citizens, employes on the works, seventy-five strong, also formed and reported themselves, organized with officers, &c., to receive my orders. In the first company are Judge Marvin, Mr. Boynton, district attorney, the naval officer, collector, &c. The latter has the U. S. marshal, clerk U. S. court, &c.
I also inclose a circular upon which the citizens are about to act. The leading men are projecting a ticket with Judge Marvin for mayor, Messrs. Howe, Maloney, Campbell, and others of the most influential and respected men for aldermen.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,
WM. H. FRENCH,
Brevet Major, U. S. Army, Commanding.
We, the undersigned, citizens of Key West, believing that the distracted condition of the country demands that our services should be offered to her in this her hour of need, that we may assist in preserving the honor of our flag, upholding the laws, and quelling rebellion, do hereby agree to form a volunteer company, and hold ourselves subject to the order of the commander of the United States forces at Key West.
A. PATTERSON et al.
MAY 16, 1861.