Numbers 71 WEST TWENTY-THIRD STREET, NEW YORK,
September 24, 1861.
Lieutenant Colonel M. BURKE, U. S. Army, Fort Hamilton.
COLONEL: The French minister on duty near His Imperial Highness Prince Napoleon has not yet been able to return to Washington to communicate with the Government of the United States about my arrest and release. As I have not the slightest doubt that no charge can be brought against me I trust, sir, that the Secretary of State will have no objection to prolong my furlough for a week after the 30th instant. I will consider it a favor from you to transmit my deman in time to the proper authorities so I may be dispensed with resuming prison on the 30th instant.
I beg to subscribe myself, sir, very respectfully,
L. DE BEBIAN.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE, Washington, September 25, 1861.
Colonel MARTIN BURKE, Fort Lafayette, N. Y.
SIR: M. L. de Bebian had leave to stay at his own house for two weeks, and you will please extend the time three weeks longer.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
WILLIAM H. SEWARD.
NEW YORK, September 27, 1861.
His Excellency BARON MERCIER,
Minister of France, Washington.
M. MINISTER: I take the liberty to place before you the facts relative to my arrest and imprisonment at Fort Lfayette by order of the Government of the United States. I believe it of advantage before all to declare that I have never for a single instant ceased to be a French subject; that I have remained out of the pale of any Americna naturalization; that I have taken no part in the political qustions of the country and it is even with difficulty that I can be considered as having effectively a residence in it.
Connected in interest for five years past with the house of O. G. Parsly, of Wilmington, N. C., almost all my time passes in travling abroad settling the accounts of the house, collecting its funds, watching its markets and entering into new business arrangements. In the month of May last I set out on a voyage of this kind among the French Antilles and returned the 6th of July. My partners and myself concluded that if it was opportune I should go to England to liquidate some weighty affairs we had with various houses. That being done I was according to circumstances to remain in Europe and keep the funds in hand or else remit their equivalent sin the shape of sundry merchandise inc ase the port of Wilmington should have ceased to be closed to commerce. All this would fall within my habitual employments and in the course of our regular business. I awaited a favorable opportunity for embarking when on the 31st of July the English schooner Adelso, Captain Thomas Kimball, entered the port of Wilmington seeking a cargo of turpentine and other like merchandise destined for Halifax, Nova Scotia. This port offering no chance for taking passage on the line of steamers to Liverpool I embarked on the Adelso and we went to sea on the 6th of August. I took care to have my passport take out at Saint Pierre (Martinique) viseed by the French vice-consul at Wilmington.