DEPARTMENT OF STATE, Washington, September 27, 1861.
WILLIAM A. DART, Esq.,
U. S. District Atorney, Potsdam, N. Y.
SIR: Your letter of the 23rd instant with its inclosures has been received. Will you please consult fully with the Honorable Preston King as to what measures ought to be taken in the case of the messrs. Flanders and report to me the result?
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
WILLIAM H. SEWARD.
U. S. DISTRICT ATTORNEY'S OFFICE,
Postdam, October 9, 1861.
Honorable WILLIAM H. SEWARD.
MY DEAR SIR: I had a conference yesterday and last evening with Honorable Preston King in reference to the Messrs. Flanders as suggested in yours of September 27. We discussed the matter in every light in which we could view it, and came to the conclusion that the presence of the Messrs. Flanders in F5ranklin County is productive of mischief and injury to the cause of our country. The insulting and defiant tone of the Gazette has emboldened weak-minded men to imatine its example.
In addition to the facts heretofore communicated to you a presiding elder of the Methodist Eposcopal Church advised me that a man in Bombay, in the county of Franklin, has had a secession flag flying from his house for the last two weeks, and it is understood and believed that secret societies are organized in many of the town of that county having for their object resistance to the collection of taxes, &c. I have found it difficult to procure legal evidence of the state of things in Franklin County from a fear which prevails there among loyal citizens of injury to their persons and property should it be known that they had been instrumental in bringing the secessionists to punishment. Several prominent citizens have declined to allow me to place their letters on file in the State Department or to send them to you from such apprehension.
I have no doubt (and in that opinion Mr. King concurs with me) that public good requires that Francis D. Flanders and Joseph R. Flanders should be arrested and confined at Fort Lafayette. Out loyal citizens there are becoming exasperated and call upon me every day to know if comething cannot be done in their behalf. I send by this mail the Gazette for September 28 and October 5,* from which you can see the animus of the gentleman. Our criminal laws are defective and do not reach a case like this. If I can get legal evidence of the existence of secret societies to resist the laws of the United States I will not trouble you with the matter, but bring them to justice in the courts.
On Saturday I shall leave Postdam for Albany where I shall be in attendance on a district court for a week. The marshal and his deputies will be there. If any communication is made to me in answer to this I desire it to be made to me at Albany, at Congress Hall. Mr. King told me last evening that he would write to you to-day upon this subject.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
WILLIAM A. DART,
U. S. Attorney.
* Not found.