FROM THE INGHAM PAPERS.
[The Florida, Anglo-Rebel pirate, after inflicting horrible injuries on the commerce of America and the good name of England, was cut out by Captain Collins, from the bay of Bahia, by one of those fortunate mistakes in international law which endear brave men to the nations in whose interest they are committed. When she arrived here the government was obliged to disavow the act. The question then was, as we had her by mistake, what we should do with her. At that moment the National Sailors’ Fair was in full blast at Boston, and I offered my suggestion in answer in the following article, which was published November 19, 1864, in the “Boatswain’s Whistle,” a little paper issued at the fair.
The government did not take the suggestion. Very unfortunately, before the Florida was got ready for sea, she was accidentally sunk in a collision with a tug off Fort Monroe, and the heirs of the Confederate government or the English bond-holders must look there for her, if the Brazilian government will give them permission.
For the benefit of the New York Observer I will state that a despatch sent round the world in a spiral direction westward 1,200 times, would not really arrive at its destination four years before it started. It is only a joke which suggests it.]
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[Received four years in advance of the mail by a lightning express, which has gained that time by running round the world 1,200 times in a spiral direction westward on its way from Brazil to our publication-office. Mrs. Ingham’s address not being known, the letter is printed for her information.]
BAHIA, BRAZIL, April 1, 1868.
MY DEAR WIFE:—We are here at last, thank fortune; and I shall surrender the old pirate to-day to the officers of government. We have been saluted, are to be feted, and perhaps I shall be made a Knight Commander of the Golden Goose. I never was so glad as when I saw the lights on the San Esperitu head-land, which makes the south point of this Bahia or bay.
You will not have received my No. 28 from Loando, and may have missed 26 and 24, which I gave to outward bound whalemen. I always doubted whether you got 1, 7, 9, and 11. And for me I have no word of you since you waved your handkerchief from the window in Springfield Street on the morning of the 1st of June, 1865, nearly four years. My dear child, you will not know me.
Let me then repeat, very briefly, the outline of this strange cruise; and when the letters come, you can fill in the blanks.
The government had determined that the Florida must be returned to the neutral harbor whence she came. They had put her in complete repair, and six months of diplomacy had made the proper apologies to the Brazilian government. Meanwhile Collins, who had captured her by mistake, had, by another mistake, been made an admiral, and was commanding a squadron; and to insure her safe and respectful delivery, I, who had been waiting service, was un shelved, and, as you know, bidden to take command.