Would the release of Hon. Henry May be granted upon his parole of honor to remain out of the State of Maryland and not to speak of write one word upon our national trouble?
DEPARTMENT OF STATE, Washington, October 10, 1861.
Lieutenant Colonel MARTIN BURKE, Fort Lafayette, N. Y.
SIR: Herewith I inclose to you a copy of a communication addressed to the President by John F. May relative to his brother, Henry May, a prisoner confined at Fort Lafayette. You will please allow Mr. Henry May such privileges of air and exercise as may be consistent with his safe-keeping.
I am, sir, you obedient servant,
WILLIAM H. SEWARD.
WASHINGTON, October 10, 1861.
The PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.
SIR: I feel it to be my duty to address you in regard to the privations and cruel treatment of my brother, the Hon. Henry May, now a prisoner in Fort Lafayette. From the interview I had with you some weeks since I was let to hope that my brother would soon be released for you taken told me such was your chief, and especially did I indulge this hope from the certainty I felt that no direct charge of disloyalty against the Government of the United States either by word or deed or thought had been brought or could be sustained against him.
If no such charges has been brought against him has he not the right to ask that one should be preferred or that he should be released? Or is he to be held in hopeless confinement and subjected to the sufferings he is now enduring both from disease and the place in which he is imprisoned? That place, sir, is a casemate in Fort Lafayette and in that one apartment are now confined thirty-three persons so crowded together that their narrow beds are actually in contact, and when the condition of the weather requires that the port-holes should be closed you may imagine the atmosphere which is inhaled by a man whose lungs are diseased as will be seen by the inclosed certificate of Dr. N. R. Smith, is physician in Baltimore. The prisoneres who are confined in this casemate and all the others who are in this fort (some 100 in number) are locked up at 6 o'clock in the evening and a few minutes after 9 o'clock the few tallow lights allowed them are by order extinguished and then in this crowded apartment in darkness and a foul atmosphere my brother with his companions linger night after night subjected to a treatment more suitable to a felon than to a gentleman whose honor to is as pure as any man's this land, and whose only crime is that while endeavoring to keep the peace in his own State at all times and on all occasions he has been opposed to the policy of your Administration in regard to the unhappy difficulties in which our country is now involved.
I state these facts which I have obtained from a person who has recently been released from Fort Lafayette and who was confined in the some room with my brother. He tells me that his health is giving way and expressed to me the belief that he will sink under this cruel treatment if it is continued. One of my brothers, an officer of the U. S. Navy, is now dying of consumption. I have lost two others in less than two years and a fourth will in all human probability be added to the list if it is deemed proper to continue the treatment he is now receiving.