DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington, February 10, 1862.
Honorable REVERDY JOHNSON, Annapolis, Md.
SIR: Referring to your note of the 24th ultimo relative to the release of Mr. Thomas J. Claggett I have to state that since a certain class of Maryland prisoners have declined to take the oath of allegiance from a misapprehension that it binds them to render partisan support to the persons composing the Executive Department of the Government of the United States the inclosed oath* so modified as to render such a construction impossible has been prepared. This form of oath will be tendered to them and if they decline to take it they will be retained.
The case of Mr. Claggett is understood to be one of this class.
I have the honor to be, &c.,
WILLIAM H. SEWARD.
BALTIMORE, February 11, 1862.
Dr. Bernard Mills has been known to me for several years as an earnest and active member of the congregation of the Protestant Episcopal Church with which he worshiped until the present troubles. I had perfect confidence in his character as a Christian man. I know nothing of the cause of his imprisonment but am confident that he is incapable of making professions for the sake of release which he does not fully intend or may not be entirely relied on to fulfill to the uttermost.
W. R. WHITTINGHAM,
Bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Church in Maryland.
BALTIMORE, February 12, 1862.
Honorable WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State.
SIR: Among the political prisoners confined in Fort Warren is one Dr. Bernard Mills, a member of the late house of delegates of Maryland. The state of his domestic affairs, the entirely dependent and helpless condition of his family, his wife's delicate health and near accouchement make his presence at home for a time very desirable and urgent.
For these reasons, sir, the said Dr. Bernard Mills through me, his brother, respectfully begs you to grant him a release from his confinement for thirty days on his parole.
Understanding that Major General John A. Dix, commanding this department, is at present in Washington I respectfully ask a reference of this m may be convenient.
I have the honor to be, sir, very respectfully, your obedient and humble servant,
LEONARD J. MILLS.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington, February 13, 1862.
Respectfully referred by the Secretary of State to Major-General Dix, for his opinion with a request to return this letter.
E. D. WEBSTER.
47 R R-SER II, VOL I