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SELECTED LETTERS OF SALMON P. CHASE
NEW ORLEANS, LA., April 30th, 1863.
DEAR Sir: Enclosed are five important orders issued this morning. Considerable excitement prevails in regard to some of them, and they give great and general satisfaction to all loyal persons. Gen. Banks is taking bold in earnest and in civil as well as strictly military matters, displays surprising and unexpected vigor. I hear that some vigorous measures will be adopted and enforced in a day or two concerning offences other than those mentioned in the order of to-day.
The Union sentiment has increased and improved wonderfully in the last two weeks. Many of Gen. Banks prisoners are taking the oath of allegiance. The planters are organizing themselves into Union associations "for the preservation of the Union and the support of the Government." All this in great measure, is owing to the recent change from a conciliatory to a decisive policy.
The planters have selected and are about to send to Washington, a delegation from their own number, for the purpose, as I understand it, of securing their interests for the future by pledge of the Government, and to ascertain what their status is and is to be. I believe Dr. Cottman is of the number and he leaves on to-morrow's steamer. You are acquainted with him, I think, but he asked me for a letter to you which he will perhaps deliver.
Dr. Cottman is a man of much influence in Louisiana and is my friend. He is pro-slavery and always will be, and is devoted to Mr. Lincoln. You will have to take his statements and conversation with some grains of allowance, for he has the habit of stating things in a very, exaggerated way. He knows more men and more about Louisiana than almost any other man and believes or pretends to believe that the State will be utterly ruined without Slave labor. He is a kind and good man, and with all his peculiarities and prejudices, is much respected.
I think Mr. Bullitt has written to you, that the employes of the Custom House, whom he has discharged, were dismissed at my recommendation. If he has so written, it is not true, I never recommended to him the dismissal of but two men (one for taking bribe, the other for disloyalty) and all others dismissed by him, have been so dismissed without any recommendation, interference or previous knowledge on my part. Mr. Bullitt sometimes has a loose way of stating things.
I have nothing or but little to do with anything in the Custom House, except the Surveyor's department, which I keep all right, of course. The Collector does not ask my advice and I cannot thrust it upon him.
I again call your attention to what was said in my last letter concerning permits and Internal trade and how it should be organized.
Mr. Plumly says he has already written to you on this subject, and Mr. Flanders is writing to-day. Gen. Banks returned to the City three days ago, and went back to the army yesterday. I suppose he will take Alexandria at once, but what his subsequent movements are to be, I cannot tell.
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