and uncertainty, by mere plausibilities or mere intimations intended to please and flatter without promising or guaranteeing anything of benefit. The selection of such an agent, and the prosecution of such a line of policy, would find its justification in facts which have already transpired in the conduct of French officials. These facts, forming a basis of inquiry, and authorizing an approach to them officially for that purpose, would enable the agent or commissioner to sound upon Mexican soil both French and Mexican authorities, ascertain their disposition toward our Government and people, and what we may expect form the int eh way of favor or opposition; what credits, &c., may be founded upon the resources and productions now taken upon in our own territory. While the agent might not be dignified by any defined title or grade, which proclaims his authority and its extent, he might at least be authorized to make explanation, give assurance, and come to an understanding, founded upon considerations of reciprocal interests, pointing directly to the wants of this department and embracing the specified matters pertaining to the great questions of credit and supplies from abroad. It is believed that or situation is such that these inquiries cannot be pushed forward with too much industry and discretion. For if it be that the French Government is honorably disposed toward our country, such control has she over the territory and parts of Mexico that her will is likely to be law, and important results may be anticipated from securing her good-will.
The condition of the Trans-Mississippi Department, her wants, what is believed and understood of the disposition of the French authorities toward us, it is believed fully authorizes the commanding general, who is not, and cannot be, instructed from Richmond, to assume and act upon all civil matters pertaining to this agency, questions of mere irregularity or even of doubtful authority in instituting and conducting this correspondence, letting the interest of the country and the necessities under which it labors be the laws to guide his discretion and action.
The committee to whom was referred the following subjects, submitted by Lieutenant-General Smith, to wit, the questions of currency and the best mode of securing the cotton of the department without causing opposition on the part of the people, submit the following report:
That in view of the difficulties resulting from the occupation of the Mississippi River by the enemy, the cotton on this department is the only safe and reliable means for carrying on efficient military operations for the defense of the country west of the Mississippi. The authority of the general in command, under the circumstances, to use the cotton as a means of purchasing and accumulating military supplies cannot be doubted, under the provisions of the act of Congress usually denominated the "impressment act." As it will be impossible to obtain Confederate Treasury notes to pay for the cotton to the amount that will be required, and as such an additional amount thrown into circulation, largely increasing our already redundant circulation, would tend to the still greater depreciation of Confederate notes as a currency, the committee make the following suggestions, both as to the mode of payment and as a means of sustaining the credit of Treasury notes as currency, for the consideration of the commanding general: That certificates be executed and delivered to the owners of the cotton purchased, pledging the Government for the payment of the price agreed upon, in 6 per cent. coupon bounds, the interest to be paid semi-annually from the date of the