OF STATE, Richmond, December 2, 1862.
Hon. JAMES A. SEDDON, Secretary of War.
SIR: I inclose a copy of a letter to this Department dated 27th ultimo from Mr. Robert Bunch, consul of Her Britannic Majesty at Charleston, S. C. It will be seen that Mr. Bunch states that one Gabriel Cueto, claiming to be a British subject, has informed him that he has been arrested and confined nine months at Salisbury, N. C., without trial or charges, and that another British subject named John Carfoot has also been confined for several months without being made acquainted with the accusation against him. I respectfully request that you will direct an immediate and careful investigation to be made of the truth of these allegations and especially whether the parties named are British subjects and that the result may be communicated to this Department. With great respect, your obedient servant,
Hon. J. P. BENJAMIN,
Secretary of State, Richmond, Va
SIR: I have just received a letter from a person named Gabriel Cueto who describes himself as a British subject born at Edinburg who has never relinquished his allegiance to the Queen. He writes from Salisbury Political Prison, N. C., in which he states that he has been imprisoned for nine months without any charges having been brought against him and consequently without trial. He adds that he came to America as the correspondent of a Scotch newspaper. He gives me no clue to his alleged offense and professes entire ignorance respecting it. Mr. Cueto mentions that there is another British subject named John Carfoot who has been likewise confined in the same prison for several months and who is equally ignorant of the reasons for his detention. It is stated by my correspondent that both he and Mr. Carfoot have been debarred from writing to me and I am led to infer that their present application is made surreptitiously. Under these circumstances I have the honor to request that you will be so good as to inform me as speedily as may be practicable why these arrests have been made and also why these British subjects have been detained in confinement for so long a period without a trial. I feel assured that such abuses of authority if they have really occurred will meet with the prompt reprobation of your Government and that they will be at once redressed.
leave to remain, with the highest consideration, sir, your most obedient,
Her Majesty's Consul.