exemption either for State, foreign, or any other cotton. Of this, 240 is derived from the 3,000 bales belonging to the planters and State, and we have 7,380 at our service.
Now, if one-half of this belong to foreigners, the other half, 3,690, will be the available quantity on hand with which to send back the three vessels, each with a load of cotton. The major-general commanding is not aware of the capacity of these vessels, but is said that the Sea Queen will only carry a thousand bales. At all events, they ought to be on order of their arrival dispatches with returned cargoes as soon as possible, but you say that cotton is only worth about 20 cents per pound in market at Brownsville, and that the teamsters were promised 16 cents per pound in gold by their employers, and that you offered them 8 cents per pound, but that they refused this,and have remained unpaid. The major-general commanding understands that cotton is now worth 25 cents per pound in Brownsville; the impressment act requires that the value of the article impressed, if the owners refuse to part with the article voluntarily assessed according to the mode prescribed in the act, shall be paid by the owner in Confederate money, if the officer impressing has it, if not, in accounts, accompanied by other papers therein described.
The only difficulty of magnitude, in the opinion of Major-General Magruder, under the above circumstances, is the refusal of the owners of the cargers to be paid in impressed cotton, and he presume that the true meaning of that is, that they refuse to receive cotton impressed from the hands of foreign owners, for he cannot suppose it possible that they refuse to receive the impressed cotton being the property of our own citizens, since the Constitution of the Confederate States authorized Congress to pass in "act of impressment," and Congress has passed such an act.
You state that many of these goods can be obtained at Matamoras at 25 instead of 100 per cent.on cost price, and that parties representing a portion of the cargo of the Sea Queen after those goods brought over in that ship at 52 per cent., instead of 100 per cent. due under the contract with Bellot, De Merms & Co.,represented by Mr. Bisbee.
The major-general commanding desires me to state that he cannot be tempted by the difference of prices to depart in the slightest degree from the fulfillment of a contract made with the highest officer of our Government, the Secretary of War, with house of Bellot, De Mermes & Co., as, in his opinion, the preservation of the faith of the Government is its very highest interest. The major-general has inquired into the contracts between Major Hart and the merchants at Matamoras and Brownsville and has been informed that for supplies which Major Hart received in the early part of the year cotton was to be delivered in payment, but no time was specified as to its delivery. He is of the opinion,from the best information he can obtain, that the whole of the debt incurred by Major Hart will be paid in cotton this season.
He is also informed verbally by Major Hart that the contract made with Kennedy & King allowed him (Major Hart) the privilege of delivering 500 bales per month on any plantation in any county in the State, and that he would be sure thus to deliver the 500 bales per month.
The major-general commanding has received a letter from Major Charles Russell upon the subject of Major Hart's failure to comply with this part of the contract,which has been referred to Major Hart with the remark that, unless he apply for a court of inquiry, the matter will be investigated by one of this inspectors-general.
The major-general has also called through the public newspapers for