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Letter from Hon. J. P. Holcombe.

Wilmington, February 29, 1864.
Hon. J. P. Benjamin, Secretary of State, C. S. A.:
My Dear Sir — The Caledonia will not get out before to-morrow night, and I avail myself of the delay to write you unofficially a few lines. On inquiry of Mr. Power, I learn that it will be easy to prove Locke's residence (and probably citizenship) for many years in South Carolina, and he gives the name of a witness, which I enclose. It may be well to have his testimony taken and forwarded to me at Halifax.

In a Nassau paper received by the Lucy, just in, I observe a paragraph to the effect that Judge Stewart, of the Admiralty Court, had finally disposed of the Chesapeake by ordering a restoration of the ship and cargo to the original owners on payment of the costs in court. I think it probable that the colonial authorities will disclaim all authority to entertain any application for indemnity and refer me to the home Government. In the event of its being deemed unadvisable to institute any proceedings, appellate or otherwise, in the Court of Admiralty, this will present a contingency not embraced in my present instructions. I will, of course, make the earliest practicable report of the facts after my arrival at Halifax.

I find the Caledonia will be crowded with passengers sailing by order of the Government. Parr has agreed to wait and take his chance in the next vessel that goes out.

I hope Captain Lalor may be able to get out, but there seems no principle upon which a right to precedence is ascertained beyond priority, and I am fearful of the result.

I have been so fortunate as to secure a copy of Saturday's Sentinel, but have not yet read the interesting article it contains.

With great esteem, I am, &c., &c.,


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