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SELECTED LETTERS OF SALMON P. CHASE
NEW ORLEANS, September 21st, 1863.
DEAR SIR: A new paper is started here called the "New Orleans Times", which not only adopts the type, but is intended to be, in all respects, like the "New York Times." Its Editor is a Mr. Hamilton, for some time the New Orleans correspondent of the "New York Times", and its principal proprietor and capitalist is Mr. May, the planter. It has the support and patronage of Gen. Banks, who has thrown the "Era" overboard, and who expects probably that the "Times" will be a paper after his own style. I enclose the first copy.
Mr. Flanders requests me to say that "Gen. Banks, about two months ago, sent to Richmond an emissary, one Martin Gordon, a registered enemy. The ostensible purpose of his going was to make arrangements so that communications
between the hostile forces might be conducted in a manner more in accordance with the usages of civilized warfare, but that he (Mr. Flanders) does not believe this was the real object of his (Gordon's) visit. That Gordon returned here two or three days ago, and that the results of his visit gave great satisfaction to Gen. Banks."
There were but two boats
lost at Sabine Pass - the "Clifton", 8 guns and "Sachem", 4 guns. The "Clinton" was not lost but escaped. The advance on Texas is to be made overland, as Gen. Banks informed me, and troops are - and for some time have been - collecting at Berwick's Bay. It is about time for them to start and I hear to-day that they have commenced crossing the Bay, but do not know whether it is true. I think the expedition will comprise about 35,000 men, and will undoubtedly be successful as the enemy have no adequate force to meet such numbers.
I went down the River 40 miles to see three government plantations and returned late Sunday night. These plantations will be a source of great profit to the Government - and of greater profit next year than this, because they will be systematically conducted. As I have often stated to you, it is the greatest mistake in the world to suppose that free negroes will not labor well. There has been some trouble arising out of a want of confidence on the part of the negroes that they would be honestly paid, and this want of confidence is aggravated by the fact that they were generally cheated out of their pay last year by the lessees of the plantations. Col. Butler paid his hands, but most others cheated them. We paid them yesterday a small portion of their wages (on two plantations) to show them that the Government meant to deal fairly with them. At the Point Celeste plantation 40 miles below the city, there will be two or three hundred hogsheads of sugar produced, and more than 100 bales of cotton. The nett profit on the plantation to the Gov't., will probably be $25,000, which is probably as much as was usually cleared by the former proprietor. To go through these plantations and see their success, is both encouraging and interesting, and I intend to go up the River at the first convenient opportunity to see the plantations above.
On the other hand, the old slave-holders generally fail. The negroes have no confidence in them and will not readily work for them, even for pay. I have told you this same thing heretofore.
I have received your letter (official) informing me of a consignment to my care of coal, and that other consignments of articles considered contraband would be made in the same manner hereafter. Coal is much needed here, and there is no objection to its being sent down from Pittsburg also, by the River, under proper restrictions.
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