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SELECTED LETTERS OF SALMON P. CHASE

NEW ORLEANS, March 31st, 1863.

DEAR SIR: This letter is a continuation of my last, concerning trade with the enemy, and, a supply of cotton.
Much of the cotton brought here is allowed to leave the Rebel States, on condition that it be exported to Foreign countries. Generally this condition is secretly evaded, the cotton going first to Havanna and thence to New York. Foreign subjects resident here are most successful in obtaining cotton by permission of the Rebel Authorities.
It has been confidently stated to me that you have consented to a plan of exchange of supplies for Cotton in large quantities, and that the arrangement was perfected on the 19th. of February. If such has been your decision you will see the results (as to the amount of Cotton to be received in this Department) by the following statement.
In the Southwestern States the amount of Cotton was very large equal to the full crop of one year.
In Confederate currency it is worth from 15 to 30 cents per pound - according to locality and convenience of shipment-generally say 25 cents.
In the same currency, and in the States near here, the following prices prevail. Flour $100 per barrel. Beef or Pork $SO. Bacon 60 to 75 cents per pound. Salt from $30. to $100 per sack according to locality. Calico $2 per yard. Whiskey, from one Thousand to Two Thousand Dollars per barrel. Claret $60. per case (worth $5 here.) Cloth worth one dollar here, is worth $8. or $10.
For every dollar's worth of supplies sent out, from $12 to $20 worth of cotton would be received, reckoning by Federal currency.
The Rebel government has long been willing to consent to this arrangement. Gen. Magruder (in Texas) has recently issued an order permitting the export of cotton to Matamoras in any amount, on condition that $100 worth of goods be brought back for each bale exported, alleging, as a reason, the impossibility of supporting his troops without such permission for exporting.
Any amount of cotton could have been obtained here by such exchange. I have always thought, and still think, such trade inexpedient for many reasons, and of much greater benefit to the Rebels than to the Government. If it be true, however, that you have adopted a new policy, I should be glad to assist in its execution, and still remaining in my present position, could accomplish it much better than any other person here or to be sent here, on account of my experience and information acquired during the past year.

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

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