Page:A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Confederacy, Including the Diplomatic Correspondence, 1861-1865, Volume I.djvu/396

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Messages and Papers of the Confederacy.

vide for the common defense, and carry on the Government of the Confederate States."

None would pretend that the Constitution is violated because, by reason of the presence of hostile armies, we are unable to guarantee a republican form of government to these States or portions of States now temporarily held by the enemy, and as little justice would there be in imputing blame for the failure to make the census when that failure is attributable to causes not foreseen by the authors of the Constitution and beyond our control. The general intent of our constitutional charter is unquestionably that the property of the country is to be taxed in order to raise revenue for the common defense, and the special mode provided for levying this tax is impracticable from unforeseen causes. It is in my judgment our primary duty to execute the general intent expressed by the terms of the instrument which we have sworn to obey, and we cannot excuse ourselves for the failure to fulfill this obligation on the ground that we are unable to perform it in the precise mode pointed out. Whenever it shall be possible to execute our duty in all its parts we must do so in exact compliance with the whole letter and spirit of the Constitution. Until that period shall arrive we must execute so much of it as our condition renders practicable. Whenever the withdrawal of the enemy shall place it in our power to make a census and apportionment of direct taxes, any other mode of levying them will be contrary to the will of the lawgiver, and incompatible with our obligation to obey that will; until that period, the alternative left is to obey the paramount precept and to execute it according to the only other rule provided, which is to "make the tax uniform throughout the Confederate States."

The considerations just presented are greatly enforced by the reflection that any attempt to apportion taxes amongst States, some of which are wholly or partially in the occupation of hostile forces, would subvert the whole intention of the framers of the Constitution, and be productive of the most revolting injustice instead of that just correlation between taxation and representation which it was their purpose to secure. With large portions of some of the States occupied by the enemy, what justice would there be in imposing on the remainder the whole amount of the taxation of the entire State in proportion to its representation?