22A AUSTIN FRIARS, LONDON, May 5, 1863.
Hon. JAMES A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War Confederate States of America:
SIR: I had this pleasure 11th April, ultimo, duplicate of which is inclosed,* and am since without any of your favors. I beg now to hand you inclosed manifest of the cargo of the steamer Venus, being my first purchase under the recent contract with your Department. + You will observe that she carries 358 packages of goods, marked "R. P. W.," all of which were purchased by Major Ferguson for the Quartermaster's Department. Having to carry so great a quantity of coal, she is unable to take as much freight as I had expected to send, and consequently the Navy Department has not on board its full proportion, say one-fourth. The first of the double screws contracted for, say the steamer Hebe, commences to load to-day. By her I shall send the balance of Major Ferguson's purchases, say about 100 packages, and as many of the goods of the Navy Department as I can get ready, and will fill up the part of the cargo to which your Department is entitled with provisions for the commissary, that order being the only one I have here from the War Department. I expect to clear the Hebe during the week. You will doubtless be disappointed, as I have been, that both of these vessels did not go to sea during last month, but it is very difficult to have work done here at the time agreed upon, and from what I see at present I think each of the steamers to be delivered will be delayed several weeks beyond the time named in my estimate to you some time since. The second of the double screws, which was to be ready for cargo the 6th of this month, is not yet launched, and will not be ready for cargo before the last of this month.
I beg to hand you inclosed copies of the correspondence between Major Huse and myself, showing that his opposition to my arrangements will prevent him from co-operating with me to carry out what I understand to be your wishes and orders. # Being entirely willing to cancel the contract if you were here and agreed with him in his opinion, I determined to lay his letters before the Hon. James M. Mason for his action and advice. A copy of my letter to him of the 15th of April, submitting Major Huse's letters, and of his reply of the 28th of April, I also beg to hand you inclosed. You will see that Mr. Mason does not agree with Major Huse in the opinion that I ought to discontinue the carrying out of your orders, which leaves me in a position of much embarrassment, inasmuch as your recent orders placing him in control of the finances of your Department, and as a guiding and controlling agent here, enables him to prevent me from going on in the purchase of another steamer (the sixth), as provided for in the contract with Messers. Alexander Collie & Co., and will require the advance of much more money by Messers. Alexander Collie & Co. than was contemplated at the time that the contract was entered into. I have no doubt that from a review of the correspondence you will arrive at the same conclusion which Mr. Mason and I have been forced to, viz, that there will be no concert of action between Major Huse and myself in the carrying out of the contract. I therefore greatly hope that already in reply to my letters of March last you have sent me drafts on the depositary with which to work.
* See p. 480.
+ Manifest (inclosure No. 2) omitted.
# See p. 482.