every reason to believe that his health is already much impaired by the confinement he has already undergone and in stating that in my judgment a protracted imprisonment must be productive of the worst irretrievable consequences to him.
For myself I beg to refer to Dr. Benjamin King, U. S. Army, War Department, Washington.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
CHRISTOPHER JOHNSTON, M. D.
DECEMBER 2, 1861.
To the PRESIDENT.
SIR: I have been requested by Simeon Draper, esq., of New York, to lay before you the accompanying papers. I accordingly send them to you.
CALEB B. SMITH.
BALTIMORE, November 25, 1861.
Honorable SIMEON DRAPER, Eutaw House.
DEAR SIR: In a conversation with you on 23rd instant relating to the State prisoners from Baltimore now confined at Fort Warren you seemed to think the Government might with great propriety release such as were not charged with any specific or grave offense and you kindly offered to use your influence with the President in this behalf.
I stated to you that I knew all these State prisoners and some of them very intimately. I particularly desire to have my intimate and close friend, Dr. J. Hanson Thomas, released for reasons in which his domestic interests are involved as well as the interests of the bank over which he has for many years presided. I am quite sure that the release of these gentlemen would give great satisfaction to our community and could not be objected to by any part of it.
The friends of these gentlemen have learned that the Government had fully intended to release such of them as were not charged with any specific offense. The proof of this is a letter from Postmaster-General Blair to a friend here dated the 12th instant advising that from a conversation with the President a day or two before he had no doubt he (the President) would immediately release the Baltimore prisoners.
As they have not been released their families and friends have concluded that this determination has been changed by certain language used in an address to the President on the 13th instant from a self-constituted committee of our citizens who went to Washington for the meritorious purpose of asking employment for our mechanics and laboring classes.
In that address they very unnecessarily refer to the removal of certain "incendiary politicians" from our midst as a cause of gratitude to the President. They do not say who these incendiaries are but the effect of the language has probably reached even those whom the President had determined to release.
I called upon Mr. Enoch Pratt, the chairman of this committee, for an explanation of this language. He assured me it had not reference to Doctor Thomas or to other of his friends; that he did not know such language was in the address when he signed it; if he had he would not have appended his name to it; and he was amazed to see it in print.