Washington about the 5th instant and subsequently transferred to Fort Lafayette. Mr. Maury is a native of England not naturalized in this country; is twenty-seven years of age and has resided for about a year at Galveston in Texas carrying on business there as a cotton broker. He is married and his wife and child are resident in Alabama.
Mr. Maury's business affairs having been greatly damaged by means of the civil was and as he states misconduct of his partner in business he came North to Boston where his partner resided in April, returned to New Orleans in May and from thence to Galveston where he remained until September when his business affairs again required his presence in Boston where he remained until some time in October when he came to New York and determined to return to New Orleans and rejoin his family in Alabama with the intention of spending the winter there.
While in the North he undertook to convey to the South a number of commercial letters almost all of which had been received from England, France and Germany addressed to commercial houses in the South. He received these letters, numbering in all some 200 or 300, from various persons. He says he did not consider it was unlawful or improper for him to carry merely private or commercial letters such as these. While at Cleveland, Ohio, on his way South his baggage was taken possession of by the police and detained on account of letters being found in his trunk. Mr. Maury thereupon returned to Washington to obtain restitution of his luggage which after interviews which he had with some members of the Government was directed to be restored to him in case nothing more objectionable than what had been reported were discovered in his luggage. A further search being made more letters as Mr. Maury supposes were found in a secret compartment of his trunk which may not have been previously perceived. These letters he says were of the same character as those which had first been discovered no distinction being made in the packing of the away, and it being necessary on account of the number of them to make use of the secret compartment. On the report to the Government of this fresh discoveryrrested and has since been detained as a prisoner.
Mr. Maury states that he has never at any time intermeddled in the politics of the country, and solemnly assures me that he has never in any way taken part with the insurgents; that reports which have gone abroad that he had served in the Southern army or militia are utterly unfounded; that in consenting to convey these commercial letters to the South which had been accumulating here for some time his object was in the first place to make his journey useful to parties who has been unable to communicate with their partners and agents in New Orleans on business matters, and secondly, although he made no stipulation to this effect, he hoped to receive some remuneration for the service which in his reduced circumstances would ahave contributed toward defraying exprenses.
The ingenuousness with which Mr. Maury makes his statement and all that he details of the circumstances of his case convince me that in taking charge of the letters in question he believed he could innocently carry letters of a purely commercial and private nature and he stipulated that none of the letters delivered to him should contain political intelligence of any kind, and further should be opened if necessary for the purpose of ascertaining this fact.
I have, &c.,
E. M. ARCHIBALD.