War of the Rebellion: Serial 115 Page 1276 PRISONERS OF WAR, ETC.

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is loyal he should have the benefit of that virtue even though it should prove to be "linked with one virtue and a thousand crimes. " He informs me that his case is fully before the State Department in the papers he has furnished. From some things I have heard it would seem possible that he might with propriety be handed over to some local jurisdiction, say of Boston. His case may be already all clear to you. If, however, I can do anything in the premise please forward the papers and I will into it. I shall be embarrassed by my promise to him to do so and desire to keep my good faith by looking over his case.

I am, very respectfully, yours,


DEPARTMENT OF STATE, Washington, December 2, 1861.

SETH C. HAWLEY, Esq., New York.

SIR: I have to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 30th ultimo. In reply I inclose herewith all the papers on file in this Department relative to Parker H. French, with the remark that Mr. L. C. Baker, the detective who arrested him, is firmly of the opinion that French is an agent of the insurgents.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Assistant Secretary.

413 BROOME STREET, New York, December 18, 1861.

F. W. SEWARD, Assistant Secretary of State.

SIR: I have gone carefully over the papers transmitted in the case of Parker H. French. There is no certain evidence of disloyalty upon which he could be held as a traitor guilty of any overt act. His papers contain certain memoranda which have probable reference to a privateering expedition; also traces of a design to speculate out of a sale of certain propellers to the United States Government, which I suppose is not a crime or better men than he are not innocent; also abundant evidence that he is a rascal prepared to deprecate on all governments and everybody, and that he is a spiritualist, an opium eater and lunatic, or that he simulates all these characters. I cannot doubt that French is guilty of offenses for which he might be held and punished in Boston, and have had some correspondence with Mr. A. A. Lawrence, one of his victims, hoping to find proofs to justify handing him over to the civil authorities, but as yet the parties who have been imposed upon are not quite prepared to take a public part in the matter.

Under these circumstances I return the papers but am not willing to say that he should be set at liberty. I think any confinement is better than liberty for him and the public. I inclose also two letters* from Mr. A. A. Lawrence to me. If hereafter I should find a more favorable state of things in Boston I will venture to communicate with you again on the subject.

Yours, respectfully,


P. S. -I send the package of papers by express.


*Not found.