The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 77, July 1973 - April, 1974 Page: 228
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
Matamoros and Jos6 Morell of Monterrey, Mexico; he knew nothing what-
ever of Charles Stillman's affairs. Only Donahue would know--and Dona-
hue had disappeared months ago.'
As the committee discovered, Donahue had indeed disappeared. He
might be in Philadelphia, said members of his family. Or again he might
be in Quebec. They did not know, nor did they have more than the vaguest
idea of his business affairs or of his connection with Charles Stillman.'
Thus, the congressmen found no proof that Smith & Dunning in con-
junction with Stillman were engaged in illicit trade, but their suspicions
were not allayed. "It is impossible to read the testimony . . . and not en-
tertain strong convictions of the nature of that trade," they concluded. "The
sworn ignorance of an active member of the house, as to, with whom, and
for whom, large cash entries were made in the company books, if credible,
is really wonderful."'
By the time the congressmen completed their investigation, the Civil War
was drawing to an end and the question of whether the Banshee's cargo was
bonafide Mexican cotton was becoming almost academic. Documents which
came to light later when Charles Stillman's papers became available for
examination, however, prove that the congressmen's suspicions were well
founded. Stillman was indeed engaged in a profitable trade with New York
from behind a Mexican front. Throughout the war, his vessels--most nota-
bly the Emma Dean, the Alice Tainter, and the Banshee--plied between
the Rio Grande and the northeastern United States, sometimes going by
devious routes and always carrying cargoes that abetted the Confederate
cause. His ships customarily sailed north with cotton and returned with
cavalry boots, powder, cloth, coffee, soap, and other supplies."
Stillman's operation was made easy by the vacillating policies of the gov-
ernment toward wartime commerce. With the outbreak of war, the Federals
threw a blockade around southern ports and enacted regulations for the
announced purpose of halting trade between the hostile sections. But the
6"List of invoices consigned Jeremiah Galvan," March 31, I863; "Statement, Rice
Chase & Co. a/c J. H. Donahue," June-February, 1863; J. H. Phelps to Stillman, Octo-
ber 18, 1861; Donahue to Stillman, December 27, 1862, Charles Stillman Papers
(Houghton Library, Harvard University). Representative of other cargoes are the in-
voices of the John Jewett, February 21, 1861; the Alice Tainter, May 31, 1862; and the
Emma Dean, November 4, 1862, May 20, August 20, September 1o, 1863, ibid. The
nature of the trade can be inferred further from House Reports, 38th Cong., 2nd Sess.,
Report No. 25, pp. 27, 30-31, 34, 37.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 77, July 1973 - April, 1974, periodical, 1973/1974; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117148/m1/262/: accessed October 19, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.