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Contraband negroes.--General Ashley, member of Congress from Ohio, writes to the Toledo (Ohio) Blade the following account of the reception of the “contraband” slaves at Fortress Monroe:--

You will have heard, by the time this reaches you, of the manner in which Gen. Butler disposed of Col. Mallory, who came into the fort under a flag of truce, to claim three of his loyal slaves who had fled from his kind and hospitable roof, and taken shelter in Fortress Monroe among strangers. Who will say that General Butler, so far as he went, was not right? This Colonel Mallory had met General Butler in the Charleston and Baltimore Conventions, and with that impudence and assumption characteristic of the oligarchy, he came into General Butler's camp, and, though engaged in open treason against the Government, demands that he shall enforce the Fugitive Slave Law upon the soil of Virginia with United [111] States soldiers, and return him his happy and contented slaves.

General Butler says, “ You hold that negro slaves are property, and that Virginia is no longer a part of the United States? ”

The Colonel answered, “ I do, sir.”

General Butler then said, “You are a lawyer, sir, and I want to know if you claim that the Fugitive Slave act of the United States is binding in a foreign nation; and if a foreign nation uses this kind of property to destroy the lives and property of citizens of the United States, if that species of property ought not to be regarded as contraband? ”

This was too much for the Colonel, and he knocked under and withdrew.

This was but the beginning at Fort Monroe, and is but the beginning of a question which this Administration must meet and determine, viz., “ What shall be done with the slaves who refuse to fight against the Government of the United States, and escape from the traitors and come into our camps for protection? ” If the Administration meets this question as it ought, well; if not, it will prove its overthrow. It is a question of more magnitude and importance than the rebellion itself; and woe to the public man or the party who proves false to the demands of humanity and justice.

On Sunday, eight more stout, able-bodied men came in. General Butler said to me, “ As you went to see John Brown hung, and have some claim to control Virginia volunteers, I authorize you to see who and what those colored men are, and decide what is to be done with them.” He added, “ You had better examine them separately, and take down in writing the material part of their answers.”

What the negroes said.

Before doing so, I went out to the fence where the slaves were standing, surrounded by about two hundred volunteers. I asked the colored men a few questions, and was about to go into the house to call them in separately, as suggested by the General, when one of the slaves said, “ Massa, what's you gwine to do wid us? ”

I told him that I did not know, but that we would not hurt them.

“ Oh, we knows dat,” quickly responded another; “we knows you's our friends. What we wants to know is, whether you's gwine to send us back.”

I answered that I had no authority over them, and no power to do any thing, but that my opinion was “it would be some time before their masters would see them again.” I said this in a low, conversational tone of voice, without noticing that all the volunteers were eagerly listening; but no sooner had the words fallen from my lips, than a hundred voices shouted, “ Good! good!” and some in laughter and some in tears clapped their hands and gave three rousing cheers, which brought out the officers and General, who supposed I had been making a speech to the troops.

This little incident tells me more plainly than ever, that what I said last winter in the House is true, when I declared that “the logic of events told me unmistakably that slavery must die.”

If I had time and you the space, I would give in their own words the material portion of the answers of the most intelligent slaves. There is one thing certain; every slave in the United States understands this rebellion, its causes and consequences, far better than ever I supposed. I asked one old man, who said he was a Methodist class-leader, to tell me frankly whether this matter was well understood by all the slaves, and he answered me that it was, and that he had “prayed for it for many, many long years.”

He said that their masters and all talked about it, and he added, “Lora bless you, honey — we don give it up last September dat the North's too much for us,” meaning, of course, that Mr. Lincoln's election was conceded even there by the slave masters, and was understood and hoped for by all the slaves. I asked the same man how many more would probably come into the fort., He said, “ A good many; and if we's not sent back, you'll see 'em 'fore tomorrow night.”

I asked why so, and he said, “ Dey'll understand if we's not sent back, dat we're 'mong our friends; for if de slaveholder sees us, we gets sent right back.” And sure enough, on Monday about forty or fifty more, of all ages, colors, and sexes, came into camp, and the guard was bound to arrest them.

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