Folded folio sheet,  pp. Printed on pale blue lined paper, entirely in ink manuscript. Letter on pages 1, 3, and 4. Docketed on page 2. An ink blotch obscures two or three words, else Very Good.
McDowell's Letter to Governor Shorter reads, after a few preliminary lines, as follows:
"...It is clear that a large majority of the people are dissatisfied with the Stay Law now in force, and in this Section the opposition to it is almost unanimous. Here in the wealthiest portion of the State the debtors are unable to pay the interest on the claims against them. We are barely able to pay our taxes and buy molasses enough to feet in connection with [ink blotch] for the present year. Even to do this. Many very many are now having their notes discounted in Bank at ninety days with the understanding that the notes must be renewed in 90 days so as to draw from the former compound interest quarterly, at this the people do not complain for they are willing to make great sacrafices to support themselves and pay their taxes to sustain the State and Confederacy until our independence shall be recognized by our enemies.
" By my Dear Sir if they are required to pay the interest and costs, they must do it at the sacrafice of property at such prices as it may bring at execution sale, the Stay Law will prove a burden to a large majority of the people, and will benefit the few; and permit me here to name those whom I think will be benefited by its operation and I will name them in the order in which they will be benefitted. First. Officers of Court. 2nd Creditors who owe nothing. 3rd Money lenders & 4th Lawyers - these you will agree with me comprise a very small proportion of our people.
"The law is objectionable also because its operation will accumulate more court costs than any law ever before in force in our State, for that Section which makes a judgment a lien on property invites suits at law-- and the Section which gives a Judgment Creditor of an insolvent Estate, preferences over all others is a special invitation to sue, & what I have hastily mentioned as objections to the bill sinks into insignificance when compared with the murmerings of our people and their manifestations against the prosecution of the War in which we are now engaged which I regret as much as any man. I have sincerely hoped that nothing would be done to create division among our people until our flag shall wave in victorious triumph over every foot of Southern soil.
"I will give it to you as my candid opinion that there is not money enough in circulation in Marengo to pay our taxes and pay the interest in suits now on our Docket which have been continued and are ripe for judgment at our next Court.
"... The people of my Section have been since 1851 in favor of separating from the North, and their Complaints now are not on account of any opposition to Secession but solely because they cant pay what will be required under the law... A meeting of the people of our County have recommended you to call the Legislature together and declared themselves in favor of Senator Rice's Cotton Bill -- I would only remark that the people generally are in favor of an advance on Cotton... | Your friend | W.B. Mcdowell."
The Stay Laws at issue "were enacted in Alabama on February 8, 1861, and on December 10, 1861. The Confederate Provisional Congress enacted a law (May 21, 1861) that debtors to persons in the North (except in Delaware, Maryland, Missouri, and the District of Columbia) be prohibited from paying their debts during the war. They should pay the amount of the debt into the Confederate treasury and receive a certificate relieving them from their debts, transferring it to the Confederate treasury." [Fleming, CIVIL WAR AND RECONSTRUCTION IN ALABAMA, New York: 1905, page 177.]. Item #37120