With the view and for the purpose of carrying out the objects of the agreement referred to, and at the request of Commodore Rousseau, naval commander at New Orleans, and of Governor Moore, of Louisiana, I took the steamer Florida-then at or near Mobile-with the promise of Commodore Rousseau that he would have her armed and manned for service, which has been done. She was represented by this officer to be better adapted for the service to be performed than any other steamer at Mobile or New Orleans. Being anxious to avoid taking private property for public uses, unless the public exigencies imperatively demanded it, I instructed Colonel Percy Walker, of Mobile, the inspector-general of General Clemens, to charger the Florida for sixty or ninety days. This he was unable to do, the owners alleging that to fit her out for the purposes intended would render her useless for the business for which she was constructed. I then determined to purchase her and had her appraised, the State having two and the owners two appraisers. The persons selected by the State were the appraisers for the port of Mobile. They value the steamer at $60,000 and the persons selected by the owners valued her at $100,000. The difference in the valuation was so great that I determined to take the vessels and leave the matter to be settled in some just and equitable manner. I proposed to one of the owners, who is now a member of the House of Representatives, to pay the $60,000 upon the production of the proper papers as to cost and ownership. This has not been done, but Doctor Wolf has assigned satisfactory reasons for not doing so. No part of the money has been paid, and now I submit to your consideration whether more than $60,000, the amount fixed by the State appraisers, shall be paid to the owners of the vessel.
By an ordinance adopted by the State convention January 14, 1861, the Governor was authorized to appoint an agent to purchase provisions and stores for the troops of the State, and was further authorized to borrow money for that purpose and to execute the bonds of the State for the same, having "not less than twelve months to run. " On the ---- day of July, 1861, Colonel J. W. Echols, of Macon County, was appointed agent under said ordinance, entered into a written contract, and executed a bond as therein provided for. The money to make the purchases was borrowed in coin from the Central, Commercial, and Eastern Banks as heretofore stated. This amount was deposited to the credit of the agent in the Citizens' Bank of New Orleans. The agent, with the necessary assistants, immediately set out for New Orleans and the northwest to make the purchases. It is due to him to say that he performed the responsible duties imposed by his contract promptly and efficiently and to may entire satisfaction. The provisions and stores were of the best quality, as I am informed by competent judges, except a small amount of hay which was slightly damaged, but was sold for a sum sufficient to cover costs and charges. By depositing the money in New Orleans the agent was enable to realize a profit of $8,000 on exchanges between Saint Louis and New Orleans. His account has been audited and allowed and is deposited with a written contract in the treasurer's office, subject to your inspection; but he still unpaid for his services. So much of the contract between the State and the agent as is necessary to be referred to is in the following terms, to wit:
And the said A. B. Moore, Governor as aforesaid, for and in consideration of the services to be rendered in the premises by the said J. W. Echols as agent, and also for the services of his assistants, covenants and agrees to pay the said J. W. Echols the sum of $2,200, and also agrees to pay the expenses of the said J. W. Echols and his assistants, not to exceed two. And it is further agreed by the said