Letter from Hon. J. P. Holcombe.
Caledonia crossed the bar at Wilmington about ten o'clock on Tuesday night, the first of March. With the exception of that night and the succeeding day, we had fine weather, but the speed of the vessel was so much less than had been anticipated that we did not reach this island until Sunday night. The Caledonia, in a rough sea, with no more cargo than a few days' coal, would not average more than four knots and a half an hour. I ascertained, after her arrival here, that the unloading of her cargo, taking on coal for Halifax, and some repairs, would detain her until about the 15th of March, and that the British mail steamer for Halifax would leave here on Friday, the 18th. I thought that as under the most favorable circumstances I could only save a day or two of time, and in all probability would lose it during the voyage by taking the Caledonia, it would be best to save the Government the heavy expense and hazard of my trip in that vessel, and to take my passage for next Friday in the Alpha. Captain Lalor being very solicitous to arrive in England at the earliest day, and finding that he would save nearly a week's time by going to Saint Thomas and thence to Southampton, I furnished. him with oral instructions, with the money to pay his passage. A slip which I inclose indicates the position taken by Judge Stewart in the Chesapeake, and upon which I should be gratified to have your opinion. I remain, with great respect,