The following is taken from the Judiciary Committee’s Report on the Censorship of the press at Washington:
The Censor testified that on Friday, December 27, at 2 o’clock P. M., he received positive orders to suppress all dispatches concerning the matter, but at forty-five minutes after two he allowed the following dispatch to go:
“Samuel Wood, New York Hotel, New York: – Act as though you heard some very good news, for yourself and me, as soon as you get this.
W. H. RUSSELL”
The committee say that any man of ordinary discernment might have detected in that dispatch the contraband information, and that Mr. Russell has not, by his letters to the London Times entitled himself to privileges which were denied to our own citizens. Stock speculations were active and remunerative, and the committee think Mr. Russell’s friend made a good thing out of the good news. H. G. Fant, a banker of the city, was examined by the committee, in reference to his operations in stock upon the Trent affair. Mr. Fant had read in the Herald that Mason and Slidell were to be given up, and he put to work Mr. Robert J. Corwin to ascertain whether the communication had been made to Lord Lyons. He ascertained in the Department of the Interior, that it had. Mr. Fant invested in stocks, and Mr. Corwin’s share of the profits was $1,300.
The reporters for the press were not allowed to send a word over the wires about the settlement of the Trent affair. Mr. Fant, a banker, used Mr. Corwin to pump the Secretary of the Interior. Mr. Smith was pumped, and Mr. Corwin pocketed, as his share $1,300. Then, Dr. Russell advised his friend Samuel Wood, of New York. How much Mr. Wood made, and what fell to the share of the special correspondent of the London Times is not stated.
– Published in The Burlington Weekly Hawk-Eye, Burlington, Iowa, Saturday, March 29, 1862, p. 4