Mr. Dudley to Mr. Seward.
Sir: I have just learned more about the sale of the confederate bonds. Some of the particulars I wrote are not correct. The amount raised is seven hundred and fifty thousand pounds sterling. The amount of bonds sold are three millions of pounds sterling. The rate at which they were sold, or taken, was five shillings on the pound, equal to twenty-five cents per dollar. They have been taken by merchants, manufacturers, and, probably, others. Cotton has been pledged for their redemption. The price is seven cents per pound in the States. I have not as yet learned when the bonds are to be paid or how the pledged cotton is to be held. I am promised more of the details. Frazer, Trenholm & Company, Leech, Harrison and Forwood, Ranken, Houghton & Company, and Fernie Brothers, have taken large amounts. Three houses at Manchester have taken. From what I learn, most of the prominent houses and business men here have taken more or less of these bonds. I understand they have gone into it as a matter of business. Their calculations are that the bonds will be good, whatever happens. If the south succeeds, (which is considered certain,) the government is bound, and will pay; if they fail, in any compromise or settlement made between the north and the south, arrangements will be made with the north to pay these bonds held by English creditors, (and no doubt Mr. Mason has promised them this;) that if the worst comes, the cotton pledged, in any event, will be forthcoming to pay them. They being British subjects, consider that they can claim this cotton, even as against the government of the United States—if not before, at least after peace is declared. Such are their calculations. The questions of destruction of cotton by fire and repudiation, two favorite measures inaugurated by the south, have been entirely overlooked.[Page 1333]
If their calculations are sound, and the bonds good, it must be confessed in this, as in most other cases, these Englishmen have looked to their own interests, and drive a hard bargain with their particular friends in the south whom they profess so much to admire.
I have the honor to be your obedient servant,
Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State.