DEPARTMENT OF STATE, Washington, November 22, 1861.
Colonel MARTIN BURKE, Lafayette, N. Y.
COLONEL: You are hereby authorized to discharge from custody William H. Aymar, a British subject, understood to be in confinement at Fort Lafayette.
I am, colonel, your obedient servant,
WILLIAM H. SEWARD.
FORT HAMILTON, New York Harbor, November 23, 1861.
Honorable WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State, Washington.
SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 21st instant directing the release of William H. Aymar. I have to state that Aymar together with ten other prisoners was this morning released in pursuance of your order dated 22nd instant and turned obed to Marshal Murray.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Intercepted letter* of W. H. Aymar, after his release.
SAINT ANDREWS, NEW BRUNSCWICK, December 6, 1861.
HENRY L. CHURCH,
(Care Mr. Dyas, Richmond Road, London, Canada West.)
DEAR CHURCH: If you are a regular reader of the New York papers you will have noticed that your humble servant was for a time confined as a prisoner of war in Fort Lafayette. As the statements were very incorrect, I will relate all the circumstances of the case from beginning to end.
On the 25th of August last I left new Orleans as passenger on board the British schooner Joseph H. Toone, bound for Havana, Cuba, and loaded with rice, &c. I was interested in the rice, which was sold in Havana to great advantage. After discharging the schooner was put on the berth for Tampico, Mexico, and was soon laden with a general cargo, arms, &c., for said Mexican port. Circumstances caused me to purchase the J. H. Toone just previous to her sailing for Tampico, and in company with other passengers I sailed in her for Tampico on 25th or 26th of last September. Immediately after leaving Havana we experienced a very strong gale which lasted several days, driving us from our course and preventing the captain taking daily observations. On the 1st of October, when from forty to fifty miles fromland and to the southward of Timblier Island we fell in with the U. S. steamer South Carolina, Captain Alden, andmuch to our surprise (as the J. H. Toone was a British vessel, was owned by a British subject, myself, and was quietly proceeding to heer port of destination, Tampico) we were seized on suspicion thatit was our intention to run the blocakde. She had on board a cargo principally belonging to Spanish subjects, and which consisted of articles frequently sent from Havana to Mexico. This cargo had been properly cleared by the custom-house authorities in Cuba, and invoices and bill of health had been duly approved by the Mexican consul.
* There were other intercepted letters, but only one is used as indicating the tone of the whole. - COMPILER.