North America - Volume 2 By Anthony Trollope 




















































































































































 -   They had been so sold,
and then, in April, 1861, they had been bought again for the
government by the - Page 240
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They Had Been So Sold, And Then, In April, 1861, They Had Been Bought Again For The Government By The Indefatigable Cummings For 3l. Each.

Then they were again sold as useless for 14s. each to Eastman, and instantly rebought on behalf of the government for 4l. 8s. each!

Useless for war purposes they may have been, but as articles of commerce it must be confessed that they were very serviceable.

This last purchase was made by a man named Stevens on behalf of General Fremont, who at that time commanded the army of the United States in Missouri. Stevens had been employed by General Fremont as an agent on the behalf of government, as is shown with clearness in the report, and on hearing of these muskets telegraphed to the general at once: "I have 5000 Hall's rifled cast-steel muskets, breach-loading, new, at 22 dollars." General Fremont telegraphed back instantly: "I will take the whole 5000 carbines. . . . I will pay all extra charges." . . . . And so the purchase was made. The muskets, it seems, were not absolutely useless even as weapons of war. "Considering the emergency of the times?" a competent witness considered them to be worth "10 or 12 dollars." The government had been as much cheated in selling them as it had in buying them. But the nature of the latter transaction is shown by the facts that Stevens was employed, though irresponsibly employed, as a government agent by General Fremont; that he bought the muskets in that character himself, making on the transaction 1l. 18s. on each musket; and that the same man afterward appeared as an aid-de-camp on General Fremont's staff.

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