How speculators get Transportation.
--One case among the thousand which are occurring in the Confederacy
has come to official cognizance, showing how speculators — those pests of society — use the Government
for their own purposes.
The grand jury of the Confederate District Court at Mobile
has made a presentment, a copy of which has been forwarded to President Davis
An extract from the presentment will explain itself:
The matter in question relates to the widespread perversion and abuse by Government officers, as these jurors believe, of the public transportation to purposes of personal emolument and speculation.
They find, among other facts of the same nature, and conspicuous among them, that George B. Clitheral
, a resident of the city of Mobile
, at or about the month of March of the present year, after having procured, through the agency of A. R. Powell
, of Montgomery
, an order from Maj. W. S. Gen
, General Transportation Agent
, for the forwarding of public supplies from New Orleans to Montgomery
, proceeded to have transported there, under large quantities, sugar and molasses, which were to a very small extent, if any at all, Government army stores, but almost entirely the property of private speculators, and the subject of enormous profits; the amount whereof they cannot more accurately define than by stating that they were not less than one hundred and fifty thousand dollars. Those jurors further find that while this transportation of pretended public supplies was monopolizing the railroads to enrich a few interested individuals, the whole community of the State
, together with the State
and General Government themselves were daily and deeply suffering the most serious detriment by their almost complete exclusion from the use of said roads.
They further find that the goods in question were several times arrested in their transit by the vigilance of officials, who doubted the pretence that they were Government property, notwithstanding the same were fraudulently marked "C. S. A.;" and that on every such occasion, Mr. Clitheral
, who sometimes verbally described himself as a Government agent, but was really the salaried agent of the unknown speculators, represented that they were public supplies, and the authorities at Richmond
having charge of such matters, when telegraphed upon the subject, confirmed this erroneous statement by directing that the goods should be permitted to go on, or by referring to the original authority in the hands of Major Calhoun
, at Montgomery
, who, upon a similar application, returned the same answer and direction.