DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington, November 7, 1861.
Honorable SIMON CAMERON,
Secretary of War:
SIR: I have the honor to transmit herewith for your information a copy of a dispatch (Numbers 32) received this morning from the U. S. consul at London in respect to the purchase of arms by the agents of the insurgent States, and also making suggestions in regard to the purchase of arms by the Governor of the United States.
I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,
WILLIAM H. SEWARD.
CONSULATE OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
London, October 26, 1861.
Honorable WILLIAM H. SEWARD,
Secretary of State:
SIR: I regard it as my duty to report to you that the Confederates continue very active in this country, and are collecting materials of war at various points for shipment. Of Enfield rifles they have thousands now ready for shipment, and have all the armories here at work for them. With these and what they are getting at Birmingham they must be receiving not far from 1,500 per week. We cannot with the means at our disposal get on the track and follow to vessels all their shipments, for they adopt every possible expedient to deceive us. A direct shipment is rarely made. All their goods move about the country from point to point, and are generally transshipped even before they leave the country; but you may rely on the fact that large quantities of all kinds frequently leave this country for the rebel States, and every measure that promises the least hope of success will be resorted to to get them in.
I learned last evening that the same house that negotiated the conditional sale of the Victoria and Adelaide are in treaty for war steamers belonging to the East India Company. It is said they are intended for the Confederates. The steamers Victoria and Adelaide are still undergoing rehe honor of receiving your dispatch informing me that orders sufficiently extensive had been sent to this country to absorb all the Enfield rifles that can be made in this country for the coming two years, except such as are made for the English Government. Permit me to say, with all becoming respect and deference, that I fear this liberality will not secure what we desire unless conducted differently. When I came to this country, realizing what our wants must soon be for arms, I lost no time in making myself pretty thoroughly acquainted with the gun trade of this country, the capacity of the several armories, the quality of the arms turned out by each, their prices, mode of inspection, when sold to others beside the British Government, &c. I had unusur acquainting myself with the question, and thought it my duty to improve it. After the battle of Bull Run I felt so thoroughly impressed with the idea that the Enfield rifle would be largely called for that I very quietly, through Mr. McFarland, the Massachusetts agent for the purchase of arms here, an engineer and practical gun-maker, and without being known in the transaction myself, obtained the best offer I could from all the armories here and from the directors of the gun trade at Birmingham for all the thoroughly