Page:A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Confederacy, Including the Diplomatic Correspondence, 1861-1865, Volume I.djvu/395

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365
First Congress.

permitted no delay. In this state of affairs, superinduced almost unavoidably by the fortunes of the war in which we are engaged, the issues of Treasury notes have been increased until the currency in circulation amounts to more than $600,000,000, or more than threefold the amount required by the business of the country.

I need not enlarge upon the evil effects of this condition of things. They are unfortunately but too apparent. In addition to the difficulty presented to the necessary operations of the Government and the efficient conduct of the war, the most deplorable of all its results is undoubtedly its corrupting influence on the morals of the people. The possession of large amounts of Treasury notes has naturally led to a desire for investment, and with a constantly increasing volume of currency there has been an equally constant increase of price in all objects of investment. This effect has stimulated purchase by the apparent certainty of profit, and a spirit of speculation has thus been fostered which has so debasing an influence and such ruinous consequences that it is our highest duty to remove the cause, and no measures directed to that end can be too prompt or too stringent.

Reverting to the constitutional provisions already cited, the question recurs whether it be possible to execute the duty of apportioning taxation in accordance with the census ordered to be made as a basis. So long as this appeared to be practicable, none can deny the propriety of your course in abstaining from the imposition of direct taxes till you could exercise the power in the precise mode pointed out by the terms of the fundamental law. But it is obvious that there are many duties imposed by the Constitution which depend for their fulfillment on the undisturbed possession of the territory within which they are to be performed. The same instrument which orders a census to be made in all the States imposes the duty on the Confederacy "to guarantee to every State a republican form of government." It enjoins on us "to protect each State from invasion;" and while declaring that its great objects and purposes are "to establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity," it confers the means and thereby imposes on us the paramount duty of effecting its intent by "laying and collecting taxes, imposts, and excises necessary to pay the debts, pro-