that purpose; but when they are wanted by contractors to enable them to complete their contract with the Government, though for the benefit of the Army, soldiers cannot be discharged or detailed for such purposes except by furnishing a substitute.
The terms upon which substitutes are accepted by the Government are set forth in the circular of the War Department, copy herewith. *
Very respectfully, & c.,
R. H. CHILTON,
Austin, January 13, 1862.
Ho. J. P. BENJAMIN,
Secretary of War, Richmond:
DEAR SIR: Your highly esteemed favor of December 2, 1861, was received on the 9th instant, through Mr. George H. Giddings. Immediately on its receipt the Executive, having no control over the securities alluded to in your communication, submitted the matter to the Legislature, then in session, recommending that the proper action be taken in the premises. The Legislature very promptly passed an act to meet the emergency, which was approved on January 11, 1862, a copy of which I have the honor to transmit to you. The act is not as clear as it might have been made, I presume from the fact that it was deemed best not to make known the particular character of the securities sought to be disposed of. You will perceive that by the act a military board is created, composed of the Governor, comptroller, and treasurer, any two of whom may act, & c. You will also see that the act contemplates that for any of the bonds disposed of (meaning the U. S. bonds) a like amount of Confederate bonds shall be placed in the State treasury to the credit of the fund to which these bonds properly belong, viz, the school fund. Upon an examination this morning of your letter to the Executive before referred to, the Board was doubtful as to the authority of Mr. Giddings to receipt to us for the bounds as the agent of the Government, but from our knowledge of Mr. Giddings, and the many evidences he has with him of the confidence reposed in him by the War Department, together with the fact that he is now expecting valuable arrivals at Matamoras, at his solicitation we have placed in his hands as per receipt, a copy of which please find inclosed, $ 100,000 of the U. S. bonds, which we trust will meet your approbation. The Board would prefer, as Mr. Giddings is the agent of the Government, to place in his hands the U. S. bonds that can be negotiated, giving the Confederate States Government the entire control of theexpect to receive the Confederate 8 per cent. bonds, with of course the understanding that should you fail to use any portion of the bonds then and in that case the bonds so undisposed of will be received back by the State of Texas. These bonds belong to our school fund, and are held very sacred by our laws as well as by the people. Nothing but a military necessity would induce them to divert them from that fund.
Deeming this matter of great importance, we have dispatched Mr. J. D. Giddings, one of our most reliable citizens, to Richmond, that he might interview with you on this subject. We trust that you will accept our proposal, and that you will return by Mr. J. D. Giddings
* See October 20, 1861, p. 694.