absent. I had an earnest conversation with the President and Mr. Stanton, but I fear to little purpose; for, though they both declared that the enlistment of slaves had not been determined on and no one had been authorized to enlist them, the practice not only continues, but seems, from what I see and hear, to be very day increasing. They are being sent over from the Eastern Shore by scores, and some of the best and most loyal men are among the sufferers.
I will not trouble you with many details, but refer only to the last committee that waited on my yesterday. They were four gentlemen from Saint Michael's District, in Talbot County, represented to me as of undoubted loyalty. The district itself, as perhaps you know is notorious throughout the Shore for its early and inflexible loyalty. They said that a few days ago they went on board the steamer when she was about to leave the landing to see if their slaves were not on board. They found a large number of slaves from the county huddled together in the bow of the boat with uplifted clubs, prepared to resist any close inspection. One of these gentlemen - and in his relation he was very calm and dispassionate - approached the officer having them in charge and told him that he had come merely to ascertain whether his slave was among those on board, and respectfully asked to be allowed merely to see whether he was there; told him at same time that if he found him he had no idea of demanding him or interfering with the officer's possession of him or interfering in the slightest manner with his purpose; that he merely wanted to be able to identify his negro, that he might have some proof of his being taken by the Government in case it should think proper to pay for such, and this request was denied. Now, my dear judge, is it not almost a mockery to talk of paying loyal owners anything if the contraband camps are closed against them, and their negroes, after being taken by the recruiting officers, are, at the very threshold of their own homes, suffered to crouch together, conceal themselves from the possibilities of identification, to club off their owners who make any such attempt, and then carried off before their face to - no one knows where?
I understand that the President and Secretary of War swill say that such recruiting is unauthorized. They why, in God's name, permit it? It seems to me to be most obviously due, not only to the citizen but to the Government itself, that some open and positive stand should be taken on the subject, and that nothing should be suffered to be done indirectly; that is, not directly ordered. Let the practice be openly recognized or openly repudiated, and let such recruiting either be expressly ordered or positively forbidden. I write to you with freedom on this subject, and as to a Marylander understanding our condition and capable of appreciating the effect of such proceedings in such proceedings in such a community.
I beseech you to stop them if it be possible. You can hardly estimate the damage we are suffering. These complaints come not from the secessionists or the Democrats - they are comparatively quiet, and, I doubt not, are chuckling in their hearts over the practice - but our most loyal men, men who are willing and anxious to sustain the Government - aye, to sustain the Republican party, sooner than again put themselves in the grasp of the Democracy. But I tell you - and mark my prediction - if these practices are not speedily stopped we are given over, in spite of all we can do, once more to the Democratic rule. As things are now going nothing but bayonets at the breast of the people can prevent it. I have gone further into the