tains Ingraham and Pegram with other officers of the Nashville, and accompanied yesterday by Mr. Slidell with two of the young ladies of his family. They approached then within less than three miles of the squadron and were not molested, the steamers remaining at anchor. The squadron has become so familiar with the nightly and occasionally daily proximity of this boat of whose speed they are fully aware that her presence does not disturb them had they cared to give her chase.
The naval officers here do not doubt that this steamer can run the blockade successfully day or night and if pursued cannot be overtaken. She can take a supply of coal for six or seven days without impairing her speed and make the run successfully to Nassau or Havana as may be decided on. Communicating with her owners, she is offered for sale at $62,000, the alleged cost to them, or for charter at $10,000 for the trip to either of the ports named, the owners to bear all the expenses of the trip, reserving the privilege of bringing back some $7,000 worth of cigars and other light articles. Mr. Trenholm, known at the State Department as an enlightened and patriotic merchant here, and to whom we are much indebted for his valuable counsels and aid, says that this charter money may be reduced probably one-half upon this privilege of return cargo and to effect which (should the Government determine to charter) he will lend his aid and co-operation.
I should add that in conversation yesterday in presence of Captains Ingraham and Pegram they agreed that the steamer Gordon if purchased would be a very valuable acquisition for coast defense. The present armament is of good caliber - one a large pivot gun, apparently a 32-pounder, though unfortunately I did not make minute inquiry when on board. She is also amply furnished with small-arms as a privateer.
I have thought this explanation due that you may have the facts, and we be relieved of any apparent vacillation of purpose. It remains only to add that come what may if sanctioned by the Government we will embark at once in the Gordon and doubt not can make the voyage successfully; otherwise no alternative would seem to remain but the route through Mexico with its attendant difficulties and delays.
Very respectfully and truly, yours,
J. M. MASON.
P. S. - I have read the foregoing to Mr. Slidell, who concurs in its statements.
J. M. M.
I omitted to state that on yesterday morning five ships were present off the harbor, the fifth being a steamer.
CHARLESTON, October 9, 1861.
Honorable R. M. T. HUNTER, Secretary of State.
DEAR SIR: By telegram yesterday* I informed you that pursuant to the authority* given us by the State Department we have chartered the steamer Gordon for our transportation either to Nassau or Havana.
The terms of the charter-party are for the consideration of $10,000 the ship is to go to either of those prots or to both, at our option, with a clause reserving the right to extend the voyage to any other of the West India Islands at the price of $500 per day for the extra service. We do not expect to have occasion for this latter service, but thought it