War of the Rebellion: Serial 128 Page 0544 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.

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two vessels I am about sending off, and in additional cargoes to Nassau to meet them there on their next voyage, to return home and dispose of to the Government the fourth interest in these two steamers owned by Collie & Co. and myself, upon such terms as might seem to be fair and equitable, and thus close my connection with the Government; but after full conference with my friends here, including Mr. Mason, I feel that I ought not to do so, and especially after the very satisfactory conference I had a day or two ago with Captain Bulloch, and the assurances of him and Mr. Mason that they will do all they can to facilitate my operations, I have determined to struggle on as best I can, being assured by Mr. Collie that he will furnish funds to any reasonable extent to carry on our operations until I can hear from you.

One of my reasons for preparing to close up my business here and return is that if I occupied an entirely disinterested position my suggestions might probably carry with them more weight than if those suggestions seemed to be in accordance with my own interests. Trusting, however, that on a review of the whole matter you will place a proper and just estimate on all I say, although remaining here, I shall state fully and freely what I believe to be the necessities of the service here. Every officer here to whom I have had occasion to explain the arrangements I am endeavoring to carry out expresses himself as highly pleased with it except Major Huse. Then naturally I am led to inquire, Why does it not meet his views? I have no hesitation in saying that it is because it takes from the hands of Isaac, Campbell & Co. the purchase of the Government goods. This is the true and, in my opinion, the only reason. Why is he so anxious to retain this business in their hands? He says because they have been so liberal to our Government. I say, no; it is not in their nature to be liberal. They have never had credit here for anything of the sort, and when it is told that they have advanced $ 500,000 for 2 1/2 per cent. commission, it bears its falsity on its own face. Before they commenced dealing with our Government they had not one-tenth of this amount, and it is very well to inquire who they are. They were formerly contractors with the English Government, but were dismissed as such, and their contracts canceled by the Secretary of War in May, 1858, for alleged bribery of one of its officers. They remonstrated and tried to explain that it was a loan of $ 500, and not a gift to the receiving officer, but the Secretary of War adhered to his determination and refused to reinstate them. It is true that they went before a committee appointed to examine into the corruption of the Crimean war generally, and in 1859, on the evidence of one of the firm (S. Isaac), the committee reported that it was a loan to the officer, although there was no evidence taken of the debt, and was altogether a very loose transaction. As far as I can learn the English Government has since ventured to do but little with them directly. You have doubtless before you the evidence that they offered to bribe one of our own officers last year. You know whether there was anything in Captain North's character to justify them in making to him such a proposition without daring to make the same to others who had been dealing largely with them for more than a year. At all events, the scorn with which Captain North refused it showed that they would have been quite as safe to have made such a proposal to any one else. The copy of Captain North's letter on this subject has been forwarded by Major Ferguson to Colonel Myers, quartermaster, and doubtless