Page:A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Confederacy, Including the Diplomatic Correspondence, 1861-1865, Volume I.djvu/297

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
267
First Congress.

To the Senate of the Confederate States.

I return herewith, without approval, an act which originated in your body entitled "An Act for the relief of the Bible Society of the Confederate States of America."

My objections to this act are of a grave character, and I regret that the very short time allowed to me for its consideration deprives me of any opportunity of stating them as fully as is desirable. The act was presented to me only yesterday. I confine myself, therefore, to a simple enumeration of the objections without attempting to enforce them by argument.

1st. If the sequestration fund is the property of the Government, Congress has no power under the Constitution to bestow it, or any part of it, as a gift.

2nd. If the fund be not the property of the Government, but is held merely as a trust fund, Congress has not the power to divert it from the beneficiaries and grant it to others.

3d. The faith of the Government is expressly and solemnly pledged by the 2nd section of the act of the 15th of February, 1862, that the fund, after being placed in the Treasury, "shall be refunded as required for the purposes aforesaid;" these purposes being the "equal indemnity of all persons loyal citizens of the Confederate States, or persons aiding the same in the present war who have suffered or may hereafter suffer loss or damage by confiscation by the Government of the United States, or by any State Government or pretended Government acknowledging and aiding the Government of the United States in this war, or by such acts of the enemy or other causes incident to the war, as by further act of Congress may be described or defined as affording under the circumstances proper cases for indemnity," etc.

4th. By the act of the 17th of March, 1862, Congress has conferred a title to indemnity out of the sequestration fund of all persons who may voluntarily destroy their property, or whose property may be destroyed by the military authorities to prevent the same from falling into the hands of the enemy; and it is not in the power of Congress to divert or impair this vested right.

5th. The act provides for the carrying out, by the Confederate Bible Society, of the purposes of any bequest that may have been made to the American Bible Society. These purposes are un-