War of the Rebellion: Serial 041 Page 0703 Chapter XXXVIII. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-UNION.

Search Civil War Official Records

do it. He was interrupted in the midst of a sentence by a citizen occupying a high position, who accidently was a party to the conversation, and who, by private movements, led him to drop the subject, and took him out of my hands. From that day I heard nothing of him until I met him at Alexandria, when that city was in our possession. He asked of me a pass for a gentleman of his acquaintance, engaged in the collection of cotton in that neighborhood. Letters which had fallen into my hands showed that this gentleman for whom Dr. Perkins solicited a pass had been regularly appointed by the Confederate Government for the collection of cotton for its own purposes. I promised to give him a pass, but for some cause or other unexplained he did not apply for it. Had he done so, he would have been arrested.

This is a full statement of my action upon the subject of exporting cotton from the rebel States. Early in my administration, I was induced to allow a few instances, and long since was suspended entirely.

Messrs. Brott, Davis, and Shonn, and in the early part of my administration were constant and persistent in their applications for privileges and favors of this kind. I invariably refused them, and, after a short time, they ceased altogether their applications to me and soon suspended their business in this would have occurred had I granted the numerous and important privileges that were persistently demanded. I do not remember that any favor whatever was granted to them by me. Certainly the affair in which they were engaged was without my knowledge, never received my sanction in the slightest degree, and would have been instantly prohibited had it come within my knowledged.

To show the connection of the rebel Government and those interested in these operations, I ask your attention to the letter of Major-General Pemberton, commanding at Vicksburg, who demanded the surrender of a schooner laden with cotton, which had been captured by our troops near Pocahontas, and brought into this city, upon the ground that it had been shipped by his permission, and upon a pass granted by him. Of course, I declined to comply with his request. The cotton was sold in this market, and the proceeds paid over to the quartermaster's department. The British consul made application for the restoration of the value of this cotton to a merchant in this city, upon the plea that he was a British subject. I answered that it had been captured by our troops in the enemy's country, and was a prize of war, and that any claim they had to the possession of the cotton must be made to the Government of the United States. Copies of these papers were transmitted to Washington at the time. In my communication to the Secretary of State, and also to the War Department, I stated very fully the effect of all these operations carried on by collusion with the Confederate Government. The results were invariably detrimental to the interests of this Government. It was easy for the Confederate Government, or any parties interested in its success, to purchase, of Englishmen or Frenchman, vessels of war or privateers for the destruction of American commerce, and to pay for the same by cotton that was to be shipped from the rebel States through New Orleans. I saw immediately, when the subject was presented to me, that this would be the effect, and notified the Secretary of State of the propositions which had been made, of the consequences which I thought would ensue, and of