the part of Captain van Benthuysen to surrender them, there could be no reason why I should refuse to him what seemed only a part of the duty of hospitality to a gentlemen when once received as a guest in my house.
But there were other considerations which might have been sufficient to determine me. Mr. Davis and myself had been associated for many years in public life at Washington, generally sympathizing in our political sentiments. During that time I had contracted a personal friend-ship for him and admiration of his abilities, and had also been the recipient of personal kindnesses from him. Steadily through two or three years of the late war his Government, through its official at Richmond and in Florida, had pursued me and the interests I represented with a spirit, as I thought, of vindictiveness, and I had been led, with regret, to believe, from what was communicated to me by one of the delegation from this State, that he participated with them in hostile feeling toward me. But he had formerly been my personal friend; I regarded him to be a man of much nobleness of character, was still attached to him, and he was fallen into misfortune and danger. The only demand made upon me was that, as the person who had charge of some baggage of his was unable to take it along with him, I would give it house room until it could be forwarded, with his horses, to New Orleans. The gentleman upon whom Mr. D[avis'] misfortune had devolved the duty of its preservation was a stranger I the country and had no other resource than appeal to my kindness. it would have been unjust to my memories of an ancient friend and aungenerous toward a fallen great man, as well as exposing me to the imputation of a revengeful sentiment, that I should refuse tot ake charge for a short time, as the agent of another, of some of his private effects thus accidentally, without his desing or my expectation, thrown under my roof, in a region of country where I was perhaps the only citizen who knew him personally, and he enjoyed his hospitally and frequently also his friendly service and aid in former days. it would have been repugnant to my nature to reject the request for this slight service under the circumstances, and I could not have refused if even the application had been made directly in behalf [of] Mr. Davis, and as from himself. But such was not the case. It was as the agent of Captain V[an Benthuysen] that I undertook to give place and care to a deposit of his baggage (some of which belonged to ae communications with his place of residence were open. It was a service I was willing to do any gentleman, adn the circumstance that some of the articles were the private effects of an old friend could not, of course, diminish my willingness. I, however, told Captain V[an Benthuysen] that I would soon take my family to Kentucky on a visit to their relatives and I would place them in the custody of some friend, where they might be convenient to be reached by him when he wished to take them.
I spent only one night at home, and took the gentlemen with me before breakfast the next morning to Gainesville, where I was that morning arrested under General Gillmore's order. This arrest leading me to expect that I would be carried immediately to Washington, and being unwilling to leave my family here without a protector, I determined to send them at once to Kentucky to the parental roof of Mrs. Yulee during my captivity, and directed this baggage to be placed in charge of the agent at Waldo, whose care of them, I afterward requested.
After my arrest I very well perceived that the circumstances, if exposed without explanation, was liable to complicate my case and