James Ford Rhodes (18481927). History of the Civil War, 18611865 1917.
state in which the government did everything. It levied directly on the produce of the land and fixed prices; it managed the railroads; operated manufacturing establishments, owned merchant vessels and carried on a foreign commerce. It did all this by common consent and the public desired it to absorb even more activities. Frequent requests to extend the province of the general government, of the States and of the municipalities may be read in the newspapers and in the public and private letters of the time. The operations seemed too large for individual initiative and the sovereign power of the State came to be invoked.
It will always be an interesting question whether the affairs of the Confederacy, outside of the military department, were ably conducted. In the lower branches of administration, they certainly were not. Nor did the Secretary of the Treasury display sufficient capacity to cope with the difficulties which environed him. The post-office was badly managed and it boots little to inquire whether this was due to untoward circumstances or to the Postmaster-Generals inefficiency. The State and Navy Departments seem to have availed themselves of their opportunities. Benjamins1 work was not confined to foreign affairs, for he was Daviss intimate friend and confidential adviser; but he was suspected of corruption and, through his cotton speculations, was believed to have carried to his credit in England a handsome sum of money. One part of this rumor was unfounded for, after Benjamin landed in England, he was for some time nearly penniless; and if he made illicit gains, he spent them in the Confederacy; indeed he was one of the men who had lived well throughout the war.