have felt that with his limited power to produce Treasury notes and under the rule adopted giving to certain disbursements for the Army he was powerless to correct the evil. Here is my last letter to him upon the subject. (Letter to the Secretary of the Treasury, dated February 22, 1862.)
The requisitions of this Department upon the Treasury for money to meet payments in New Orleans have usually been made immediately upon hearing from its disbursing officers the amount required, and always, I think, within twenty-four hours thereafter; but the delay of the Treasury in paying them has been from twenty-five to forty days. In some cases the Treasury Department, has, after long delay, instead of sending notes for which our creditors were waiting, sent drafts for Confederate bonds payable in Richmond, and which drafts were useless to our agents and creditors there, and which therefore had to be returned to Richmond for payment and then sent to New Orleans, thus still further protracting payment.
This has been a source of great embarrassment to this Department and complaint of its creditors. In one of these cases a requisition for $42,000 was dated December 24, 1861, payable to Navy Agent William B. Howell on February 6, 1862. He received a draft-one half in notes and one-half in bonds-at Richmond. His letter of advice was received February 15, and on February 17 called upon the Treasurer for the requisition-forty-eight days afterwards.
When the Department draws its requisition in favor of its creditors upon an existing appropriation its duty and its power are alike exhausted, and though the Department has endured the embarrassment consequent upon these delays, and which it had not the power to avert, it has felt that the condition of the Treasury rendered them inevitable, and that the responsibility for them was with that Department. Our agents are instructed to make all contracts they can payable partly in bonds, and they do so, and in such cases our requisition calls for the amount of bonds to be sent; but the Treasury, as you will see by the Secretary's letter, deems it proper to send bonds when not reqiured and when we cannot use them, and embarrassment to the Department and losses to creditors inevitably follow. Our agents, from the nature of their disbursement, can dispose of bonds only a very limited extent.
The following telegram from our Navy agent and the Treasury comments thereon will thus show the character of these transactions:
Ordnance money received; one-half in drafts on Richmond, payable in bonds, which I cannot use. Shall I pay for what stores as advised you in my letter of February 8?
ANSWER OF SECRETARY.
I return you the telegram of Navy Agent Howell. If you will examine the acts of Congress will find that a large amount of the means furnished by Congress to pay the expenditures consists of bonds. These must be distributed among these expenditures, for which alone they can be used, and I see no remedy but to require your agents to make their contracts accordingly. It is not possible to supply the means, except in the form provided by Congress, and if the agents, instead of complaining, would set themselves to aid the Government by disposing of the bonds there would be no difficulty.
Similar cases are constantly occurring, and this day I am notified by telegram that upon a requisition to pay a debt due in notes drawn by me one month ago one-third of the amount was sent to New Orleans in bonds, which of course the creditor declines to receive.