POSTDAM, September 23, 1861.
Honorable WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State.
SIR: Your letter of the 7th instant* advising me that you had sent the copies of the Franklin Gazette which I inclosed to you to the Postmaster-General with the suggestion that it would be well to prohibit its circulation in the mails came duly to hand. In that you asked my opinion whether it was necessary to take any further measures in reference to it, to which I replied that it might be well to await the result of that admonition, and that I would keep you advised of its results. The Postmaster-General closed the mails against that paper.
I herewith mail to you a copy of its last week's issue from which you can see the effect of the admotion upon the editor of that paper. I hardly know what advice to give. Perhaps a Statement of the facts in reference to that county will enable you to perceive what remedy to apply. F. D. Flanders, the editor of the Gazette, ahs a brother, Honorable Joseph R. Flanders, practicing law in the village of Malone who has more brains than the editor and probably controls him. He was a member of the constitutional convention from that county in 1864 and subsequently its county judge, and is a man of very considerable ability. During the life of John C. Calhoun he was his discipline and has been an advocate of his dcrtines ever since. Willful and vindictive in his feelings he has made himself particularly officious during the last six or eight months in proving to the people of Franklin County through the columns of the Gazette by letter and in public speeches at meetings calledfor that purpose that the Southern States had a right to secede, and that the prosecution of the war on the part of the North was aggresive and wrong, and that the Southwas realyy occupying the position now that the original States did in the war of the Revolution. I inclose you a letter from the Honorable Jabez Parskburg,+ of Fort Covington, and two affidavits+ procured by him, which will give you some idea of the dctrines and teaching of the man. I will endeavor to procure and send you the published letter referred to in the affidavits. The letter andthe affidavits are from respectable sources and entitled to all verify.
Under the baneful influence of the two Messrs. Flanders and the paper mainly the people of that county are much nearer equally divided in opinion as to the justice of the present war than in any other county I know of in the State. That whole county has raised but one company of volunteers for the war, and in several of the towns nearly as many persons could be enlishern Confederacy as could be for the United States, and in one town as I mentioned to you before a lathe number of citizens raised and maintained a secession flag for several days until a force was collected to demolish it, when Judge Flanders sent a messenger to themadvising them for safety to take down the flag and disperse, which was done.
Something should evidently be done in aid of the Union-loving people of that county. We naturally shrink from the exercise of sovereign power, yet I am inclined to think its exercise upon bith F. D. and J. R. Flanders would be beneficial to our cause and country.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
WILLIAM A. DART,
U. S. Attorney.
* Not found.