The Salmon P. Chase Papers - Vol. 3

By John Niven; James P. McClure et al. | Go to book overview
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Will that amount be the unexpended funds derived from the sale of last year's cotton--and how much are those likely to be? or will it be the probable value of the growing cotton-crop? If it should be $100,000 before the gathering of that crop, would that amount be appropriated? How much more, if necessary, could be so used? Perhaps even less would be required. The answer to this question is important in arranging the system of the year, and I have already felt the need of a conference on that point.

In the next place what will now be the relation between the Societies who have given aid here, and the Government? Personal confidence in you, as the patron of the enterprise, has to a great extent induced the subscriptions. Leading persons enlisted in securing them, were your personal friends. Perhaps my own connexion with the work has increased the amount raised in Boston. The leading item has been the salaries of superintendents, which it was found necessary to pay for the time being, on account of your decision that you had no authority to pay such. Will there be such authority under the new system?

There are now about 75 men all of whom do more or less superintendence, and most of whom are mainly devoted to it. The number might with advantage be increased. It would however be sufficient if teachers, and two or three physicians were added. Now I should suppose that as incidental to the Quartermaster or Commissary Dept. these superintendents could be paid by the War Dept. $50 a month and rations would I think secure good men, and the Societies might still be availed of to make the nominations. Thus the Societies could confine their expenditures to paying the salaries of those engaged in educational & religious labors, and of such some twenty five might be required. I should hope that when the present necessity for clothing has been met, the proceeds of labor would be ample to meet this want. The trouble on this point has been that in the collection of cotton, the Government has not treated the laborers as a good master or as a good employer. As a good master it should have given them an ample supply of clothing for the winter, which the fugitive masters did not provide before they left, as also proper supplies of bacon, molasses & tobacco. They are still to a great extent ragged, and even naked, and all the contributions received from the benevolent, large as they have been, have been but a tithe of what was wanted. Nor did the Government treat the laborers as a good employer, or purchaser. As such it should have paid them the fair value of their labor in cultivating the cotton-crop collected, in a word for the labor on cotton for the last year. This would have been a handsome percentage on the sales, instead of the pittance of one per cent a pound, which certainly cannot be pretended to go farther than towards paying for labor in the mere baling of the cotton, and taking it to the shipping-places. It

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The Salmon P. Chase Papers - Vol. 3
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