War of the Rebellion: Serial 115 Page 0514 PRISONERS OF WAR, ETC.

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NEW YORK, September 28, 1861.

WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State.

SIR: I have taken such testimony as has been presented for and against John G. Guthrey, now confined in Fort Lafayette, and examined his case as desired by yours of the 20th instant and beg leave to make the following report:

It appears that Mr. Guthrey purchased in this city and [was] about to carry away to the States now in rebellion a large amount of bonds of several of the States in rebellion. The amount and character of those bonds appear in a schedulee furnished by J. A. Kennedy, superintendent of police, to your Department. The purchase and possession of so large an amount of securities under the circumstances was sufficient ground for arresting and detaining him until further investigation should establish his guilt or innocence. The evidence against him is confined to the circumstance that he had such securities and sealed letters directed to persons residing in the rebelling States and was about to carry them to those States.

Such transactions under ordinary circumstances would not be evil in themselves nor contrary to good morals or the common law. Unless his acts are made criminal by the laws of Congress or were designed to aid the enemies of the Government they were innocent. By the testimony of Mr. Henry C. Hardy, consisting of his affidavit, a commercial statement from his books and his letter transmitted through Mr. A. A. Low and now verified by affidavit, it may be held to be probably established that Mr. Guthrey acted in the premises with innocent and commendanble motives without any design to aid the Confederate States or injure the United States. It cannot be pretended that paying good funds for the bonds in question was calculated to injure any one except the parties who made the purchase or benefit the States or people in rebelion.

Mr. Guthrey had in his possession letters from persons here directed to individuals residing in the Confnd was about to carry them South. They were sealed and he was ignorant of their contents. To carry them was indiscreet, perhaps culpable, but the design to carry them does not amount to a crime. Though the securities found on Mr. Guthrey may be confiscated under the laws of Congress on that subject from the testimony before me I do not see that Mr. Guthrey's acts have made him liable to any further punishment.

All which is submitted.



I inclose herewith all the documents transmitted to me from the State Department and also affidavit of John S. Young, detective, New York; affidavits of Robert King, detective, New York; affidavits of Henry C. Hardy, merchant, New York; commercial statements from books of Henry Hardy.

S. C. H.

[Inclosure. Numbers 1.]


Henry C. Hardy being duly sworn doth depose and say as follows: I am a commission merchant doing business at Numbers 47 Front street, New York. I have long known Mr. John G. Guthrey, of Petersburg, Va., and we have been intimate friends. About the 8th or 9th of August last he