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SELECTED LETTERS OF SALMON P. CHASE

(Private and Confidential.)

NEW ORLEANS, _February 27th, 1863.

SIR: In your letter lately received, you refer to an order of Gen. Banks with regard to trade, expressing apprehension that trade with the enemy was contemplated. This is a mistaken apprehension. Gen. Banks has, however, permitted such trade in one instance, the facts relating to which I now place before you.
Gen. Banks sent one or two men into the Opelousas territory above the Teche, to collect information, influence public opinion, etc., in which they were, to some extent, successful. As a pledge of his good faith, and as a reward in part to the men above mentioned, to prevent the burning of cotton and to conciliate generally, the General Commanding gave the enclosed permission for shipment of merchandise into territory beyond our lines. You will observe that the order enclosed is not entirely imperative; it is as much so, however, as any of his orders to me. I yielded a reluctant compliance therewith. It is necessary to state that the permission was given in contemplation of an immediate occupation of the country to which the goods were sent, by our forces. So far as I have been able to ascertain, the expedition to effect that occupation has been given up for the present. A small schooner took the permitted goods to their destination a week ago.
The reasons influencing Gen. Banks to order that a permit should be given for the shipment of these goods, and which I have here detailed, are gathered by me from the General and from the parties making the shipment. The principal object I believe to have been to so obtain the good will of the planters of that district, (where there is a great amount of cotton,) by conciliation, that they should not destroy their cotton on the advance of our army among them. The principal party making the shipment, is, and has been for years, the regular commercial agent of 3500 planters in the parish of Lafayette and vicinity.
You are already familiar with my opinions regarding all trade with the enemy. I restate my belief emphatically, that it is infinitely more advantageous to the rebels than to us; that the only good accruing therefrom, except to the enemy, is to the benefit of dishonest speculators; that its demoralizing effect upon the army is great; that for many other reasons it should, in no case, be permitted. As to the policy of conciliation, to me it always seems ineffectual, useless.
Former permits from Gen. Butler, similar to this, you referred to in your correspondence with that officer. I desire that Gen. Banks be not informed that I have sent you the enclosed list with the order annexed.

Permit by General Banks.

[This statement and the accompanying order in the manuscript were found by the editor with the letter of March 21. They seem to belong with that of February 27, and not being dated it has seemed best to insert them where they seem to belong.]

1 Doz. Common Overcoats,              1 Sett Buckets or Tubs.
1 Doz. Common Jackets,                  1 Box Sweet Meats.
1 Doz. Common Vests,                   10 Bbls, Flour.
1 Doz. Common Pantallons,            40 Bags Salt.
12 Prs. Common Blankets,               2 Boxes Cheng Tobco.
1 Doz. Common Fur Hats,                           "common."
4 pces. Twell Red Flannel                 2 Gross Matches.
2 pces. Twell Blue Do                       1 Box 1 Gross Blacking.
2 pces. White Do                            10 Bags Coffee.
12 pces. Merrimac Calico,              12 Reams Wrap'g. Paper.
6 pces. Black Do.                             1 Do. Writing Do.
10 pces. Brown Sheeting 4/4                      Pens, Ink, and Pencils,
6 pces. Twell Do.                           10 Boxes Codfish.
6 Doz. Coats Thread.                       6/2 Bbls. Mackerel.
4 Doz. Flax                                       6 Boxes Herrings.
1000 Apr. Needles,                      *10 Bill. Potatoes.
2 Gross Bone Buttons,                      1 Doz. Mule Collars.
2 Gross Small Do.                             1 Do. Bridles.
6 Pcs. Brown Denims,                       1 Do. Chain Traces.
12 Pcs. Ginghams.                             1 Do. Hoes.
6 Doz. Hickory Shirts.                       1 Do. Spades.
4 Do. Wool Undershirts.                   1 Do. Axes and Handles.
6 Do. Cotton Pocket Handfs.            3 Rolls Leather.
6 Pas. Silk Common Do.                 20 Boxes Soap.
6 Doz. Madrass Do.                         3 Bales Bagging.
2 Doz. Cotton Hose for ladies.        10 Coils Rope.
200 Doz. Sides.                              20 Coils Twine.
200 Doz. Shoulders.                     200 Coils Hams.
1 Box Pipes.                                    2 Doz. Packing Needles.
2 Box Segars.                                  6 Boxes Men and Ladies' Shoes.
1 One Case Sadlery. 

Honorable Mr. Denison, Collector, etc.
SIR: - I have consented upon full satisfaction that no advantage will be given to the enemy or his supporters, that the goods specified herein may be shipped to the plantations-150 in number - in the Parish of Lafayette, entering from Vermillion Bay, or its vicinity. The schooner which takes the goods to return with cotton to be sold in New Orleans for U. S. currency. Please observe the manner in which the goods are shipped and as far as may be proper, the execution of the laws.

N. P. BANKS, M. G.

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Annual Report of the American Historical Association; Volume II; Washington, Government Printing Office; 1903

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