And in contemplating this enormous profit it should be borne in mind that it is made on an original investment of only $ 200,000 in C. S. money.
If the contractor has $ 40,000 in U. S. money he can with it buy $ 200,000 in Confederate money, and thus make his gain or profit $ 4,908,000. Or if he has $ 20,000 in gold, he can, by first converting his gold into C. S. money, make his gain or profit amount to $ 5,008,000, or a fraction over $ 5,000,000, which is quite a neat sum to make upon a cash capital of $ 20,000.
Such a contract would enrich the individual contractor but would very inadequately benefit the Government. However, it is but fair to state that the contractor has also to defray his incidental expenses and to pay his co-laborers out of this profit, and that the whole amount is not made by him individually, but is shared among his Yankee or foreign associates, a large portion of which amount might, through the agency of an officer, be saved to the Government. But in any event and beyond any contingency or quibble the Government, in complying with such a contract, would permit 15,200 bales of cotton to leave its limits, and of this the C. S. Army would receive the benefit of only 2,000 bales, while the contractor and his associates would share the benefit and proceeds arising from the remaining 13,200 bales.
As stated above, I declined to make this contract, notwithstanding both the late and the present chief quartermaster of the department deemed it a very good and favorable contract for the Confederate States, it being alleged that it was the best the Government could do, and better than any contract heretofore made. Also, there is a contract existing between the Government and a company in Texas for furnishing ordnance stores, and I was informed by a member of this company that by their contract they were to deliver the stores on the Rio Grande at specie prices, and that they were to be paid in cotton delivered at the same place at 6 cents per pound. It is plain to see that this contract is exceedingly favorable to the contractor, and that its results for the Confederacy are similar to those arising from the contract first mentioned. (It is proper for me to state that I have never seen this contract for furnishing ordnance stores, and that the above statement is made from information derived from one of the contractors.) And in referring to the contracts mentioned, I do not wish in the least to reflect upon any officer, my object being simply to illustrate and draw a comparison between the results arising from dealing with contractors and those which might be effected by officers or agents. It is not necessary, I presume, to make any more illustrations. The results flowing from the contracts above referred to are similar to those which follow in the wake of all contracts that I have seen or of which I have heard.
Therefore, general, assuming, first, that as cotton is the sole certainty, the chief wealth, the sine quad non of the Confederate States, the only means whereby to command foreign aid and influence, it is the true policy to dispose of it in such a manner that the entire proceeds arising from its sale would accrue to the Government, and not go to enrich individuals; second, that whatever contractors can do can likewise be done by officers or agents, acting either in their official capacity or as citizens, as may be deemed most expedient, it is conclusive to my mind that officers could dispose of cotton so that a much larger amount of its proceeds would flow to the Government than now accrues to it by and through contractors, and it ap