KNOXVILLE, JAIL, December 16, 1861.
Honorable J. P. BENJAMIN:
You authorized General Crittenden to give me passports and an escort to send me into the old Government and he invated me here for that purpose; but a third-rate county-cour lawyer acting as your Confederate attorney took me out of his hands and cast me into this prison. I am anxious to learn which is your highest authority-the Secretary of War, a major-general or a dirty little durnken attorney such as J. C. Ramsey is?
You are reported to have said to a gentleman in Richmond that I am a bad man dangerous to the Confederacy and that you desire me out of it. Just give me my passports and I will do for you Confederacy more than the devil ever done-I will quit the country.
I am, &c.,
W. G. BROWNLOW.
Knoxville, Tenn., December 17, 1861.
Honorable J. P. BENJAMIN,
Secretary of War, Richmond Va.
SIR: I received your letter dated the 10th and would have answered it sooner but have waiting until I received a statement from Colonel Toole which came to hand to-day which I inclose to you. Colonel Toole is a gentleman of high standing and his statement can be fully relied upon. It will be seen from his note to me that the conversation was had with Brownlow on the first Monday of November and that was before bridges were burned. It also shows that he must have had some knowledge of the intention of the enemy to invade Tennessee. I also send you a copy of this paper of May 21 , with the article marked. You will see from reading it that if certain things are done he advised that the railroads should be destroyed. I think he was the frist man in East Tennessee that made the suggestion in regard to the destruction of the railroads. I also send you the last paper he issued with the article marked. You will see from his editorial that he retracts nothing he has said but indorses all that heretofore had written. I also inclose you the Republican Banner marked containing a letter written after he stopped the publication of his paper. You will see from his that he has gone to Blount, Sevier, Cocke and Granger Counties for the purpose of collecting accounts when in point of fact he only went into Blount and Sevier and there remained with the most disloyal citizens until after the bridges were burned and did not return until the rebellion was to a great extent curshed out. So far as I have been able to learn arrest has been approved of by the public and in my opinion it has had a good effect. As in index to public sentiment I send you the Knoxville Register* containing extracts from other papers about his arrest. I still think (as I stated to you in my last letter) that it would be proper that he should be sent to Tuscaloosa but will cheerfully dispose of the case according to your own better judgment. You will please return the newspapers when you are done with them.
J. C. RAMSEY,
C. S. District Attorney.
* See p. 924 for extracts from this paper.