War of the Rebellion: Serial 115 Page 0678 PRISONERS OF WAR, ETC.

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knowledge. He had heard one Joseph Gooding say that Sargent and Hill had a contract to supply the rebel army, but Gooding communicated this as information obtained in this State during the last summeer and not as what he had learned at the South; and ineed it apperas that he left the South previous to the taking of Fort Sumter. In refernece to the second charge Mr. Pratt's information is hearsay; and if it were sufficient evidence it is evidence only of a wish of Sargent & Hill to load Gooding's vessel with supplies of rthe rebel army - a wish not followed by any attempt or overt act to accomplish it. The statement of Pratt goes far toward discrediting the supposition of any sjch attempt or act. Tehre appears to be nothing in the affidavit of Mr. Pratt tending to sustain the third charge other than that the prisoner was in political sympathy with the Breckinridge branch of the Democratic party in this Stae and openly expressed the opinions which that party expressed and continue to express with the opinions which that party esxpressed and continue to express with reference to the rebellion, the war and the Administration. So long as such declarations are unaccompanied by treasonable acts it is certainly not the plicy or puprose of the Government to interefer with them. Pratt affirms that he heard nothing of a treasonable nature said by Sargent or imputed to him by others. I should have sought out this Captain Gooding and taken his affidavit but for his absence at sea.

Mr. D. L. Eaton's letter in reply to mine is under date of October 22 ultimo and is appended to this report. He admits that he has no actual knowledge in reference to the charges.

Such are the results of my efforts to make certain and definite the accusations upon which the Government ordered the summary arrest of the prisoner, and such may be considered at this stage the whole strength of the Government's case.

I now turn very briefly to comment upon the testimony offered in behalf of the prisoner's release. It consists of the affidavits of Elias H. Sargent is a partner in the firm of Sargent & Hill, and states expressly that neither he hor the prisoner had knowledge that the member of the firm left in New Orleans was converned in furnishing military supplies to the rebels, and that if such member was concerned in that business neither of them gave any consent to the enterprise. It appears that if anything of the kind was done it was after the reutn of the Messrs. Sargent to the Norht, and after communications between North and south had been interrupWhatever responsibility might under ordinary circumstances rest upon the head of the commercial house for acts done by his partnership and in part upon his capital or credit the extraordinary state of the country at the time, arresting travel and interrupting correspondence, would seem to relieve him in this case. This is all there is in this part of the testimony relating to particular acts of the prisoner.

Mr. Ammi Storer's affidavit undoubtedly states the extent of Sargent's mere political sympathy with the rebels. The affiant is understood to be of the same political school and was therefore in a position to elicit his confidence. He seems to have expressed himself as a considerable party of our fellow-citizens have done without any disguise and without consciousness of liability to punishment or inquisition. Doubtless his political prejudices in favor of the movers of the great rebellion were further stimulated by his business relations with the


*Omitted; substance stated in this report.