to have carried the dispatches to Richmond, Mr. Fry, who takes this, nor myself, however, knew even the name of the vessel until the day she left. We were not surprised, therefore, to find the Flambeau so close upon us.
There are now two steamers here, and one fast sailing sloop belonging to Charleston. Were Mr. Helm or any one else here authorized to order it, the cargo of the Gladiator could be easily divided among those three vessels and our own, with a moral certainty that three out of the four would run the blockade. As it is we run into the very jaws of capture if we start alone, as our vessel is a craft of less than eight miles and a half average speed, and totally unprovided with cannon for defense. But Mr. Helm is not here. As our coming was announced to him by the letters which left London on the 2d of November and which must have reached him on the 22d, I fear that illness, capture, or other disability must have prevented his coming; and although we have written him from here urging him to come immediately, feel much doubt in reference to it.
Under these circumstances I have felt it my duty to send you this communication, and further, in view of the uncertainty of Mr. Helm's reaching here, the great value of the cargo, and the importance of its early and safe arrival, beg to suggest: First. The propriety of sending the Theodore, which carries this, back again for a part of our cargo. Second. That your Department send to myself or Captain Bird authority to divide the cargo of the Gladiator between the Ella Warley, Theodore, the schooner before spoken of, and herself. The steamers Theodore and Warley are both far swifter than the Gladiator, and the schooner, in a fair wind, not much slower. Thus divided, the fleet might run out in face of the gun-boat and endeavor to outstrip her, or depart singly. I am aware of the difficulty of changing cargo in a neutral port, but think it may be managed. Third. That the Theodore bring out a few cannon, by which she, the Isabel, and schooner can make fight. This, however, is only a casual suggestion. I have ventured also to inclose some suggestions for the loading, & c., of future cargoes from England for your Department. I hope you will excuse the liberty for the sake of the motive. Mr. Fry, the bearer of this, can give you any further needed information. I have the honor of bearing letters of introduction from Colonel Mann to members of the Cabinet, with memoranda of suggestions which he wished me to make to them verbally. I had the honor of an introduction to you in June last in Richmond, and am known to His Excellency Governor Letcher, ex-President Tyler, & c., in Richmond.
I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,
D. T. BISBIE.
First. To purchase or charter no vessel whose former log-book, on actual trial, under all circumstances, does not show a speed of thirteen to fifteen miles average. Second. To make the amount of the charger or purchase money dependent in part on the success of the run, so as to make the owner or agent interested in maintaining that secrecy necessary to success. Third. That the steamer bought or chartered should, if possible, be taken out of some regular trade - as from London to Cadiz; that her cargo, if arms, & c., should be in disguised
51 R R - SERIES IV, VOL I