Page:A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Confederacy, Including the Diplomatic Correspondence, 1861-1865, Volume I.djvu/503

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471
Second Congress.

The persons to whom this privilege is granted are by the terms of the amendatory act disposed into two classes:

1. Loyal citizens or persons belonging to the Confederate States Army within the enemy's lines as prisoners of war.

2. Other loyal persons held as prisoners, who, by reason of the occupation by the enemy of the section of country in which they resided, and the interruption of the postal and telegraphic communication, or other unavoidable cause were prevented from obtaining timely information of the requirements of the said act, or who were so situated in consequence of movements of the enemy or the casualties of war as to be unable to comply with the provisions thereof.

The evidence which the act requires to establish the facts upon which the claim rests is the simple affidavit of the claimant; and it is only in case of his inability to make affidavit that suppletory proof is required. The persons described in this law comprehend the population remaining in several States of the Confederacy and large portions of other States. The only exception is of such as may be unwilling to make oath of loyalty. The law does not even restrict its benefits to loyal citizens, but expressly includes "other persons," and contains no indication of the meaning to be attached to the word "loyal" when applied to persons not citizens of the Confederate States.

It is known that very large amounts of Treasury notes have fallen into the hands of the enemy by the fortunes of war, and one of the results accomplished by your predecessors in affixing short delays for funding was to prevent these notes from becoming available to the plunderers who had robbed our citizens. It is too plain for doubt that our enemies, who have not hesitated in the attempt to defraud the Treasury and the people by means of counterfeited notes, would have little scruple or difficulty in devising means to bring themselves within the terms of the bill under consideration. It is but a moderate calculation to say that at the present moment taxes which have accrued to the Treasury, and on which this bill would take effect, amount to fifty millions of dollars, and this sum would probably be doubled at the end of the period fixed for claiming the benefit of its provisions.

The bill contains no adequate safeguard for the protection of the Treasury. No means are provided for testing the truth of