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Official correspondence of Confederate State Department.

[We have a number of letters of interest connected with the Confederate mission to Canada, &c., which have never been published, and we present below our first installment of them. Northern writers have been very abusive of “Holcombe and his co-conspirators” ; but no one who knew personally our “our silver-tongued orator,” or competent to appreciate his chivalric character, could doubt for a moment that he was very high above any taint of dishonor. We would cheerfully submit to the world as settling this point his most confidential letters.]

Letter from Hon. J. P. Benjamin.

Department of State, Richmond, 24th February, 1864.
Hon. J. P. Holcombe, Special Commissioner, &c., Richmond:
Sir — You will receive herewith the sum of eight thousand dollars, of which five hundred dollars are in gold coin and the remainder in a bill of exchange for 1,546£. 7s. 10d., equivalent to seven thousand five hundred dollars, counting the pound sterling at $4.85. This amount is placed in your hands to enable you to accomplish the objects set forth in my letter of the 19th instant.

You will appropriate five thousand dollars of the amount now paid to you, or so much thereof as may be necessary, to defraying the expenses incurred in carrying out the instructions of the Department. The remaining three thousand dollars are paid in compensation of your personal services and to provide for your personal expenses.

If the time occupied in the mission confided to you shall exceed six months, counting from the date of your commission, a further compensation will be allowed you at the rate of five hundred dollars per month.

You will be expected to furnish vouchers to this Department for the disbursement of the five thousand dollars. As this sum is furnished by the President from the secret service fund, your accounts will not pass through the Treasury, but will be settled in this Department. For any sum you may pay out of these five thousand dollars under circumstances or for purposes that do not permit your taking receipts, you will furnish a certificate on honor, which will be received as sufficient voucher. Your traveling expenses will be at your own charge, except in cases where the Government may be able to furnish transportaion. You will be provided

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