yet held under consideration, with a view to ascertain more satisfactorily whether they are really necessary, and whether they can be adopted without such serious detriment to our military operations as would render them injurious rather than beneficial to the interests of all concerned.
In the same letter Seward
had previously said:
We shall speedily open all the channels of commerce, and free them from military embarrassments; and cotton, so much desired by all nations, will flow forth as freely as heretofore.
We have ascertained that there are three and a half millions of bales yet remaining in the region where it was produced, though large quantities of it are yet unginned and otherwise unprepared for market.
We have instructed the military authorities to favor, so far as they can consistently with the public safety, its preparation for and dispatch to the markets where it is so much wanted.
It has been stated elsewhere in these pages that “it became apparent that by some understanding, express or tact, Europe
had decided to leave the initiative in all actions touching the contest on this continent to the two powers just named [Great Britain
], who were recognized to have the largest interest involved.”
By the preceding extracts the demands of the governments of Great Britain
for increased facilities by which to obtain a greater supply of cotton are evident; at the same time the determination of the government of the United States
to fulfill those demands is apparent, although it placed itself under the necessity of fitting out some military expeditions against those portions of our territory where it was supposed the foraging for cotton would be likely to meet with the greatest success.
By reference to the series of measures adopted by the government of the United States
to secure possession of our cotton, it will be seen that it was inaugurated as early as July 13, 1861.
This was within ten days after the commencement of the first and extra session of Congress, under the administration of President Lincoln
It is scarcely credible that that government, at so early a day, foresaw the pressing demand from Europe
for cotton which would ensue a year later.
Yet it would seem that we must suppose such to have been its foresight, or else conclude that the first of these measures was the inauguration of a grand scheme for the plunder of our cotton crop, to enrich whomsoever it might concern.
The act of the United States Congress of July 13, 1861, above mentioned, was entitled ‘An act to provide for the collection of duties on imports, and for other purposes.’
Under the ‘other purposes’ the important features of the act are contained.
Section 5 provides that—
when said insurgents claim to act under the authority of any State or States, and such claim is not disclaimed or repudiated by the persons exercising the functions of government in such State or States, or in the part or parts thereof in which said