War of the Rebellion: Serial 127 Page 1173 CONFEDERATE AUTHORITIES.

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paid. You will, therefore, return the iron unless the company assumes the debt.

STATE OF FLORIDA, EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT,

Tallahassee, June 25, 1862.

Hon. GEORGE W. RANDOLPH,

Secretary of War, Richmond, Va.:

SIR: I would most respectfully invite your attention to the necessity of preventing cotton from being exported during the continuance of the war. The ability of the Confederate Government to command the respect and force the recognition of the European governments and to maintain the war successfully depends very much upon the proper control or destruction of cotton. Some months ago I was opposed to vessels leaving Apalachicola with cotton and turpentine, but the Secretary of War and the Secretary of the Navy advised, or rather consented to, their doing so, and of six which left the port five were captured, and the benefit accruing from the only vessel which escaped was, if I am correctly informed, enjoyed exclusively by a few Yankee speculators. Since then other vessels have left our ports with cotton and have returned with coffee, salt, and other articles, for which they have charged our citizens the most exorbitant prices, and having brought in some dry goods which were evidently manufactured in the United States, a suspicion which I had entertained and expressed was strengthened; and after patient inquiry of several months the evidence is such as to admit of no doubt that individuals residing in New York, Havana, New Orleans, and other Southern cities have formed mercantile copartnerships, and for some time past, under pretensions of loyalty to and great sympathy for the South, have realized heavy profits by the most villainous and treacherous arts of traffic. York send merchandise to Havana, where, or in transit, the merchandise is exchanged for cotton sent by partners from Southern ports, and the exchange is made by the management of partners at Havana or Nassau, and this traffic is not unknown to those in command of blockading vessels. By such base means not only cotton is obtained at New York and other Northern cities, but information prejudicial to our best interest is obtained, our slaves are enticed away, and ignorant citizens corrupted by the Southern partners, men of Northern birth or villainous Jews, professing to be doing much to supply the people of the South with salt, coffee, and other articles much desired, if not absolutely needed. My opinion is, no more vessels should be allowed to leave the ports or coast of Florida laden with cotton, and that when vessels shall come into our ports or upon our coast, not bringing arms or munitions of war, but articles of merchandise of which exorbitant prices shall be asked, and cotton shall be souther after by them, the merchandise should be seized and sold at auction, the vessels burned or confiscated, and the officers and proprietors hung as spies, and their crews placed in close confinement. A few weeks ago cotton which was taken from the South was placed upon the mail steamers Columbia and Roanoke at sea and sent to New York, and the great majority of those who under pretenses of friendship and even loyalty to the South are engaged in the exporting of cotton, dispose of it in transit, or though partners after it shall be landed, for the benefit of the United States.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully,

JOHN MILTON.