The Salmon P. Chase Papers - Vol. 3

By John Niven; James P. McClure et al. | Go to book overview
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Five negroes, formerly slaves in Western Tennessee, who had performed valuable service in a Regiment of Sappers and miners, came here with a letter from the Col. of the Regiment certifying the fact, and brought with them under his certificate of approval, a few bales of cotton formerly belonging to their masters. It had been shipped from Columbus via Cairo in conformity with the regulations of the Treasury Department.--Was it my official duty to have enquired into the history of that cotton, or how they had earned or paid for it, or by what means they had become possessed of it?It is charged and possibly true that negroes and military men about Helena, and elsewhere, become possessed of considerable lots of cotton improperly. But it seems to me that the official duty of those supervising the commerce of the Country does not require them to ascertain whether the negroes take the money back to their masters, or how military Officers have become possessed of it. This is the business of magistrates or others it seems to me.My understanding is, that when cotton is offered for shipment in a regular way, if the shipment is proper, we have no further official duty.--I hope for your immediate instructions on the subject 2I am very respectfullyYour Obt servt WM P. MELLEN Special Agent Hon: S. P. Chase Secretary of the Treasury Washington
Chase sent a copy of this letter ( micro 23:0103), minus the first paragraph, with a letter to Secretary of State Seward concerning British discomfort over regulation of trade in cotton. Chase to Seward, Oct. 1, 1862 ( Misc. Letters, Gen. Recs. State Dept., Nat. Arch.).
See Chase's reply, October 1, 1869 (below).


Autograph letter. Chase Papers, Historical Society of Pennsylvania (micro 23:0121).

Mansfield Ohio Sept 28 /62

Dear Sir

I returned from my Cincinnati trip with less confidence in the military authorities there & higher appreciation of the patriotism of the People:1We had there very accurate information of the force of the enemy in front of the City--The aggregate did not exceed 10,000 & probably not 7,000--I still think Gen Wright had force enough to have


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The Salmon P. Chase Papers - Vol. 3
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