You will perceive that this is the last day limited by General Hurlbut's order in which the authorities of Marion are to deliver up certain marauders. The threatened levy may commence to-morrow. When it does commence it is our deliberate opinion it will instantly involve at least four-fifths of the people of as many as five or six of the counties in the northeast in open rebellion against the Government and drive out what of Unionism remains. We therefore more earnestly ask your excellency's instant interposition for the prevention of consequences so direful.
We are with great respect, your obedient servant,
JOHN D. S. DRYDEN.
[And 11 Others.]
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF NORTH MISSOURI,
Saint Louis, August 25, 1861.
Major General JOHN C. FREMONT,
Commanding Department of the West, Saint Louis, Mo.
GENERAL: In view of my conversation with you this morning I have the honor to report as follows:
The policy of making the people along the lines of railroad in North Missouri responsible for any damage done to the roads has perfectly secured them from destruction since it was established. The system of holding property of counties responsible for breaches of peace enlists by the only method possible the active agency of the secessionists in keeping down riots and disturbances. When so large a portion of the population sympathizes with the authors of the atrocious acts of guerrilla warfare which have hitherto disgraced North Missouri it is impossible to apprehend the perpetrators of such outrages. Since the population has been notified that their property would be made to pay the expense of suppressing such disturbances thousands of persons have taken an active part in preventing them who never did so before. Marion County from which came the protests against this policy has been the worst county in the State. At the request of a deputation from that county it was relieved from the first levy made for firing into a train on the Hannibal and Saint Joseph road but the troops which had been quartered at Palmyra had not proceeded three miles from the place before the train carrying them was fired into from the roadside and one man killed and several wounded. They are now under contribution for this second and aggravated charge.
I have received intelligence from persons ofst of the counties of North Missouri stating that this policy alone and the fear of the penalty to property prescribed in it prevents the secessionists from driving out Union men and destroying their property. The secession papers in North Missouri are now entreating the population to preserve the peace because the leading State-rights men (secessionists) are made to serve on committees of safety against their will and their property is made responsible for any violence or breach of peace committed by their friends. Whenever it is discovered that the penalty set forth will not be executed I firmly believe that every county in North Missouri will be in a state of tumult and will require for the restoration of peace five times the force now needed. It is possible that some lukewarm Union men may turn secessionists under the operation of this policy but it is my sure conviction that if it be not enforced thousands of good Union men will be driven from their homes