lieve the wants of our troops in the field and add to their efficiency by giving the proper direction to the resources of the country. It is needless to say that cotton is our chief resource, and stands us in the stead of money with which to arm and clothe the army; the Confederate currency, at its present depreciation, being totally inadequate, and, in reference to imported goods, almost entirely useless.
In our opinion, at least one-half the cotton in the State should be acquired by Government as a basis on which to procure the necessary supplies for the department, and upon this calculation our plans are adopted.
The circular to agents, inclosed,* shows the mode in which cotton is acquired and paid for by the office. A great object in our organization was to avoid the use of Confederate currency as much as possible, and, as far as lay in our power, to reduce its redundancy. The plan of issuing certificates redeemable by Congress seems to meet with general favor, and they are readily accepted by the planters. Our idea is that these certificates, being the representatives of specie values, should be taken up by Congress, and bonds bearing 6 per cent, interest, similar to those issued in Europe by our Government, should be given in lieu of them.
It is essential that this enterprise, conducted in good faith, and encouraged and met willingly by the people, should be sanctioned by Congressional legislation; for it is obvious that if and operation set on foot under such favorable auspices and strong guarantees from the military authorities, and intended to produce such vital result, is not sustained by Congress, not only will it be in future impossible to procure supplies from abroad, but our people will lose faith in the Government of their creation, and care little or nothing about the result of the important struggle in which we are engaged to maintain our independence.
So uncertain, contradictory, and vacillating have been the regulations governing the cotton trade, that the people have become disgusted, and have no confidence in the ability of Government officials to manage the business. We will make it our especial aim to create the confidence which should exist, and, as you will observe, our plan proposes to make the remaining half of the cotton as valuable with our exemption as the whole was without the power or right to export it.
The plan proves satisfactory to the people at large, and will continue to work well, provided our action is legalized by Congress, so as to insure stability and certainty. The people must know beyond dispute that this office has power to do what it promises; that its certificates are bona-fide and valid claims which will be honored by Government; that its exemptions are sacred from molestation or interference, and that its rules are unchangeable.
People soon accommodate themselves to circumstances which are just and equal in their bearings. Our policy is adapted to the interest of the planter as well as of the exporter, and assists both to develop the resources of the country in a way advantageous to each, while at the same time the paramount interests of the Government are aided in the best way which present itself to us. I candidly believe that this office, if properly [sustained] at Richmond, will do more in a short time to relieve the pressing wants of the Government in this department than has ever been accomplished by all the various agencies which have successively labored to this end, but which have, unfortunately, only succeeded in increasing the depreciation of the currency and creating a