DEPARTMENT OF STATE, Washington, September 21, 1861.
Colonel MARTIN BURKE, Fort Hamilton, N. Y.
COLONEL: James W. Wall, a prisoner at Fort Lafayette, may be released upon taking the oath of allegiance to the United States.
I am, your obedient servant,
WILLIAM H. SEWARD.
FORT LAFAYETTE, Sunday Evening, [September 22, 1861.]
His Excellency the GOVERNOR OF NEW JERSEY.
SIR: I have now been a close prisoner in this fort for nearly two weeks. I was arrested without cause being shown and without any constitutional warrant. I was carried a prisoner out of the State of New Jersey and through a portion of the State of New York by the U. S. marshal for the district of New Jersey. I have endeavored in vain to learn from Washington the cause of my arrest. I am denied my rights as a citizen of the United States. I now ask if I have any rights as a citizen of the State of New Jersey under her constitution, or if not at what time my rights ceased and by virtue of what provision in that constitution? You as the executive of the State of New Jersey are bound by the solemn oath taken at your inauguration to see that the rights of no citizen of New Jersey shall be trampled on guaranteed by that State's constitution. My poor family have been tortured, my business interfered with and myself subjected to grosser indignities than the meanest and lowest criminal. I ask fimply demand my rights as an American citizen and a citizen of the State of New Jersey. My demand for the first has been treated with silent contempt. I now appeal to you and shall await your answer.
I have the honor to remain, your obedient servant,
JAMES W. WALL.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE, Washington, September 23, 1861.
His Excellency CHARLES S. OLDEN,
Governor of New Jersey, Trenton, N. J.
SIR: Your letter of the 21st instant is as follows:
I beg to present the following to your serious consideration. Some persons have already been arrested in this State by the U. S. marshal on warrants from the Department at Washington and imprisoned in some of the forts in New York Harbor. It is reported that a similar warrant is now in the hands of a deputy marshal for the arrest of another person. In one case I have been assured by persons of entire credibility that the individual against whom a warrant has been issued has been quite active in support of the military operations of the Government and has aided very considerably the raising of volunteers. They do not believe he has been guilty of any treasonable conduct. They declare that he is a friend of the Government and opposed to the rebellion and a man of considerable respectability and influence. They allege that his arrest will be ascribed to the misrepresentations of personal political enemies and that it will alarm the community and prejudice the Government. In other case the friends of the prisoners assert positively that they have been guilty of act against the Government and that if they were permitted to know only why they have been arrested they could satisfy the Government of their innocence.
I wish to represent to you and the Government the very great importance of enabling those who deisre to sustain the public authorities to refute these allegations. To that end I suggest that the charges upon which persons are arrested and imprisoned should be communicated to them and made public so that it may be know that they are arrested for some actual wrong-doing, and thus the Government may be justified. If it is deemed incompatible with the public interests at this time to state particularly the specific act for which the prisoner has been arrested it may be stated in general terms so that the public may know that it is for actual crime and not on vague suspicion or mere rumor. The statements so