that the amount of commission should have been deducted from the face of the invoices in the shape of a discount, and that I would advice him to postpone his donation to the Ordnance Department until his debts were paid and our Army shod and clad. A few evenings after this there was a general meeting of all the Government agents, consisting of Messers. Spence & Prioleau, Captains Maury, Bulloch, and North, of the Navy, Major Huse, and myself. In that meeting the financial affairs were discussed and the wants of each agent presented. It was determined to withdraw all of our securities from the market and wait the result of Messers. Erlanger & Co. 's proposition to the Government. At the close of said meeting Major Huse again insisted that I should turn over to him the funds I had remaining on hand, but it was the unanimous opinion of all present that my instructions fordable my doing so. After the meeting was over a conversation occurred between an officer of the Navy and myself, the sum and substance of which you will find in a copy of his letter, inclosed. The next morning I called at major Huse's office, and he showed me the invoices of the articles sent out by the Justita. My familiarity with some of the classes of goods mentioned in said invoice led me to believe that extortionate price had been charged for them. I requested Major Huse to show me a sample of the 12,000 yards sent out at 7s. 6d per yard. I took a sample of it, and I feel no hesitation in saying that a similar article can be furnished at from 4s. 6d. to 4s 10d. per yards, equal in every respect to the cloth sent out. You will see by this that this article (which I selected from the fact of its being a large item in our expenditures) has been charged more than 50 per cent. over what it could have been bought for cash. In addition to this a commission of 2 1/2 per cent. for purchasing is charged on the face of said invoice.
From the following you will perceive theacts for me to consider: First, the admission of Major Huse that he had received a commission on some of his purchases; second, that the senior partner of the house through whom nearly all of his business had been transacted offered to divide a commission with an officer of the Navy, and third, that exorbitant prices had been charged for such articles as I could identify. I drew my own inferences, and came to the conclusion that the wisest and best thing for the country was to disburse the funds instructed to my care as I was instructed to do. I left London and took up my quarters in the center of the great manufacturing districts of England. I have made my purchases in a great measure without the aid of commission men, relying on the knowledge and experience acquired by twenty years' service in the mercantile profession. I can but hope that my purchases may reach their destination. I desire that they be rigidly inspected and compared with those that have preceded them. In the last paragraph of your letter you say that you desire that I remain to complete my purchases under your instructions, consulting with Major Huse. I am willing and ready to consult and co-operate with any officer of the Government who was its interest at heart, but I am very certain you will justify me in declining to transact my business with any house who would divide with men a commission on any transaction for the Government. If you desire me to remains out here I ask to be allowed to control the means intended to be used for the Quartermaster's Department, every cent of which will be accounted for properly.
I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. B. FERGUSON, Jr.,
Major and Quartermaster.