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Henry Stanbery to William Dorsheimer, 23 October 1867

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October 23, 1867. William Dorsheimer, Esq. U. S. Attorney, Buffalo, New York. Sir: Yours of the 4th inst. in relation to the "Fenian" arms, has been received. Application having been made for the surrender of the arms now held at the military Port at Rouse's Point, I addressed an inquiry to the State Department in relation to this lot, and to be advised whether it was proper to deliver these under the former arrangement. Under date of the 19th inst. the Acting Secretary of State replies to me as follows: "Referring to the note addressed to you by this Department on the 31st of August last, in relation to a prior arrangement for the release of the so-called "Fenian" arms, I have to state that the Department is now informed that there are yet remaining in the custody of the Government other arms, taken from the so-called "Fenians" at the same period, which are claimed to fall within the scope of that arrangement. It has been the understanding of this Department that the arrangement was general, & contemplated the release of such arms, wherever situated, upon receiving adequate security that they should not be employed in violation of our neutrality laws. I am not aware of any alteration in the circumstances which should now induce a change in the opinion expressed in the letter of August 31st, or which should exclude arms deposited at our Military Post at Rouse's Point, (if any such arms there are,) from the mode of treatment adopted in respect to other such deposits. "The records of this Department furnish no information in regard to the arms specially referred to. It is suggested, however, that probably those of the Treasury, or of the War Department, may do so." The Secretary of the Treasury has sent to this Office a letter, of which the following is a copy: Ogdensburgh, New York, 5th October, 1867. "Hon. H. MucCulloch, Secretary of the Treasury. "Sir: "I am reliably informed that the arms lately held by the Government at Sackett's Harbor, N. Y., were, on being delivered to the agents of the Fenian organization, transported to Potsdam Junction, St. Lawrence Co. N. Y., & thence carried by teams in the night time towards the St. Lawrence River—but to what place I am not informed; but are supposed to be secreted in an Irish settlement about five miles from the river. Four carloads have thus been disposed of up to this date, and others are expected to arrive from other points. "I am not aware that the Government desire to take any action, & have reported this as matter of information. "I am sir, very respectfully "Your obd't serv't, "N. M. Curtis, "Sp. Agent Treasury." I deem it proper, under the statements made by Mr. Curtis, to advise you to proceed with great care and circumspection in reference to the delivery of the arms at Rouse's Point, and to institute inquiry as to the facts stated by Mr. Curtis, & make report of the result to this office, with your own opinion as to the proper course to be pursued, & to await instructions that you may thereupon receive, before you take any further steps towards the delivery of the arms at Rouse's Point. Very Respectfully yours, Henry Stanbery, Attorney General.
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