England. That he shall associate with him in the enterprise some leading English house of large means, in conjunction with whom he shall take one-fourth interest in the vessels and in their cargoes, and shall purchase and sell on commission the goods to be sent to this country, and the cotton to be sent forward in return. Thus a partnership or joint interest will exist between this Department on the one side and himself, in conduction with the English firm on the other, and this partnership is to extend likewise to the commission on the one side for the purchase of goods in England, and on the other (this Department) for the purchase of cotton here. The commission for the sale of cotton will be to him and his English coadjutors alone, and shall not exceed 2 1\2 per cent., with such guaranty in case of sales on credit as the usage of the trade allows. His fourth of the goods reaching this Confederacy, at the option of this Department, to be taken by it at moderate valuation according to the market rates here, and if not taken to be sold by his own selected agent. It is understood that this enterprise is to be undertaken on a calculation of general chances, and notwithstanding one or more losses at first is to be persevered in to a full trial. This is deemed essential to justify the private venture and is deemed judicious for the Government. It is likewise understood that it is so to be arranged, either by the English house taking its pecuniary advance solely in the value of the ship or by advances upon it, that the shops may be owned, cleared, and sailed or building of the ships to start, and until advances are repaid by the cotton imported, large sums will have to be advanced on behalf of this Department out of such means as the Government can command abroad, and I must rely on and invoke your authority and aid to facilitate in Mr. Crenshaw's character, capacity, and judgment, and must likewise ask at your hands much similar trust in his integrity, discretion, and tact. In neither case, I feel assured, will it be abused, as he will be actuated in the whole business, I am confident, more by patriotism and a desire to serve our great spirit of gain. I should add that on engaging in this enterprise he will feel bound, though with reluctance, to resign his commission as an officer in the Confederate service, since he would consider private interest in such a venture inconsistent with the relation of an officer, and besides he would have to remain long abroad.
I have omitted to state one other particular of the understanding with Mr. Crenshaw, which is that the goods running the blockade to the extent of the fourth interest held by him and his English associates shall be admitted free of duties, but on his share of the cotton taken out he will be liable to the specific duty of one-half per cent. prescribed by Congress as a pledge for one of the loans of the Government. This feature of exemption from duty on the goods running the blockade, it is thought, may prove of decided advantage in winning English coadjutors.
In conclusion I cannot refrain from expressing personally my cordial good wishes for your health and success in your responsible station and giving renewed assurance of the high consideration and esteem with which
I am, most truly, your obedient servant,
JAMES A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War.