DEPARTMENT OF STATE, Washington, December 14, 1861.
Lieutenant Colonel MARTIN BURKE, Fort Lafayette.
SIR: Let William J. Browning, a prisoner confined in Fort Lafayette, be released on taking the oath of allegiance to the Government of the United States stipwill neither enter any of the States in insurrection against the authority of the United States Government nor hold any correspondence whatever with persons residing in those States without permission from the Secretary of State; and also that he will not not do anything hostile to the United States during the present insurrection. You will please make the stipulations a part of the oath. I transmit this order to Robert Murray, esq., U. S. marshal, who has been instructed by this Department to cause a police examination to be made in some cases of the persons and baggage of prisoners discharged from custody to the end that no correspondence or other improper papers be conveyed by them to persons outside the fort.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
F. W. SEWARD,
(Same order in case of George McNabb.)
I, William J. Browning, do solemnly swear that I will support, protect and defend the Constitution and Government of the United States against all enemies whether domestic or foreign, and that I will bear true faith, allegiance and loyalty to the same any ordinance, resolution or law of any State convention or legislature to the contrary notwithstanding; and further that I do this with a full determination, pledge and purpose without any mental reservation or evasion whatsover; and further that I will well and faithfully perform all the duties which may be required of me by law; and furthe that I will neither enter any of the States in insurrection against the authority of the United States Government nor hold any correspondence whatever with persons residing in those States without permision from the Secretary of State; and also that I will not do anything hostile to the United States during the present insurrection. So help me God.
WILLIAM J. BROWNING.
Sworn to and subscribed before me this 17th day of December, 1861.
U. S. Marshal.
[NOTE. - On the same day George McNabb subscribed to the same oath.]
WASHINGTON, December 31, 1861.
Honorable WILLIAM H. SEWARD, &c.
SIR: I have the honor to transmit to you a letter from William Reed, a British seaman, who states that he was taken on the 13th of October last on board the British schooner M. S. Perry on a voyage from Havana to Nassau, New Providence, via Key West, and that he is now imprisoned in Fort Lafayette.
I shall be much obliged if you will supply me with information respecting the cause of the imprisonment of Reed and respecting his case generally.
I have the honor to be, with the highest consideration, sir, your most obedient humble servant.