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SELECTED LETTERS OF SALMON P. CHASE

NEW ORLEANS, May 9th, 1863.

DEAR SIR: We are getting along very well in the office of Internal Revenue. My official Bond will be transmitted next week. The selection of Mr. Higgins as Assessor is a good one, and he is quite popular here, besides being unexceptionable as to politics. His selections of assistant assessors are excellent.
In a recent letter, I suggested to you the propriety of taking from Mr. Bullitt the internal trade business, and putting it in the bands of a competent person. I now repeat the suggestion emphatically. The fact is I have tried to like Mr. Bullitt, because you sent him here, and to assist him so that the Custom House might be managed creditably. In both those desires I have utterly failed. I know he. is a fool and am almost equally sure he is a bad man. He is false in all things and venal in all things, and I cannot help regarding a man whose word cannot be trusted, as past all hope. Probably he or any other man has a right to make money (if that is his ambition) honorably, honestly and without using or compromising his official position, but Bullitt proclaims his object to be money making in his office or on the street - without shame or sense of propriety.
But he can do no harm, the internal business (Regulations of March 31) being placed in other hands. If you are not ready to send some one from Washington, appoint temporarily, some one already here, and the sooner it is done, the better.
I hope, too, you will have some one here to carry out the law concerning "Abandoned and captured property." The Quartermaster is shipping cotton seized by Gov't., to New York for sale, and I cannot collect the excise tax. They refuse to pay and of course, I cannot help myself. On inquiry at the Quartermaster's office, I was informed that Gen. Banks had temporarily appointed Col. Chandler to act under that law, until the Special Ag't. appointed by you, should arrive. I hope you will see that Geri. Banks shall not make appointments for you. This proceeding throws everything into confusion and will give rise, I fear, to legal questions to be raised by the claimants of the property. I should say that this business and the internal trade might be done by one person, if a good business man, and hope you will keep Mr. Plumly here, and give Mr. Flanders the best office at your command. Gen. Banks has seized eight or ten thousand bales cotton, and about same number hogsheads sugar, on which I shall be unable to collect the tax (which should be paid here, of course) unless some one authorized by you is here to receive it from the Quartermaster.

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

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