Case of Messrs. Hunter and Hull.
Samuel Hunter was arrested by the military authorities near Sandy Hook on the Upper Potomac, and sent by order of Major-General Banks December 25, 1861, to the provost-marshal of Washington who committed him to the Old Capitol Prison. The charges against Hunter were that in violation of the President's proclamation interdicting correspondence and commercial intercourse with the rebel States he went to Virginia in August, 1861, on a collecting tour for the firm of Hopkins, Hull & Atkinson, of Baltimore; that by representing the members of that firm loyal to the Confederate States he traveled with impunity through the insurrectionary States, and on his return brought with him various business and social letters to be delivered by him personally or mailed to parties in the North. Application having been made for the release of Hunter an order was issued from the Department of State January 22, 1862, directing the provost-marshal of Washington to discharge him on his taking an oath not to visit any of the insurrectionary or do any act hostile to the Government of the United States. The said Samuel Hunter was accordingly released.
Robert Hull was arrested January 30, 1862, in Baltimore by order of the Secretary of State and committed to Fort McHenry and from thence conveyed to Fort Lafayette. The charges against tHull were that in violation of the President's proclamation interdicting communication with the rebel States he with his partners representing the firm of Hopkins, Hull & Atkinson doing business in Baltimore sent Samuel Hunter as their authorized agent to Virginia and the Southern States to collect moneys and accounts due the firm. The said Hunter upon his return having been arrested by the military authorities of the United States near Harper's Ferry, upon his person were found letters and certain correspondence implicating Robert Hull and his partners with being in sympathy with the rebels. It appears that the said Hunter while acting as agent of the said firm found difficulty in making collections, and in behalf of Messrs. Hopkins, Hull & Atkinson addressed the following letter to a firm in Richmond. * Mr. Hunter acting under the written authority of Hopkins, Hull & Atkinson asusres their friends that firm is "known to be loyal to the Confederate States. " February 5, 1862, anorder was issued from the Department of State directing the release of Hull on his takig the oath of allegiance and entering into stipulations to do no act hostile to the Government of the United States. This offer of release was declined, and in reference to it Hull wrote February 9, 1862, as follows:
I was offered my release yesterday on taking the oath of allegiance, which I had respectfully to decline. Even if so disposed it would ruin me with nine-tenths of our customers who live in the South, but I had no idea of taking it under any circumstances.
The said Robert Hull+ remained in custody at Fort Lafayette February 15, 1862, when in accordance with the order of the War Department of the preceding day he was transferred to the charge of that Department. - From Record Book, State Department, "Arrests for Disloyalty. "
*Omitted here. For Hunter to Messrs. Meredith, Spencer & Co., September 23, see p. 1341.
+For Dix to Stanton, February 20, 1862, recommending Hull's retention among others as a dangerous prisoner, see Vol. I this series p. 738.