Page:A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Confederacy, Including the Diplomatic Correspondence, 1861-1865, Volume I.djvu/521

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489
Second Congress.

for by about 250,000 bales of cotton owned by the Government, even if the cotton be rated as worth but 6 pence per pound.

There is one item of the public debt not included in the tables presented, to which your attention is required. The bounty bonds promised to our soldiers by the third section of the act of 17th of February, 1864, were deliverable on the 1st of October. The Secretary has been unable to issue them by reason of an omission in the law, no time being therein fixed for the payment of the bonds.

The aggregate appropriations called for by the different departments of the Government, according to the estimates submitted with the report, for the six months ending on the 30th of June, 1865, amount to $438,102,679, while the Secretary estimates that there will remain unexpended out of former appropriations, on the 1st of January, 1865, a balance of $467,416,504. It would therefore seem that former estimates have been largely in excess of actual expenditures, and that no additional appropriations are required for meeting the needs of the public service up to the 1st of July of next year. Indeed, if the estimates now presented should prove to be as much in excess of actual expenditures as has heretofore been the case, a considerable balance will still remain unexpended at the close of the first half of the ensuing year.

The chief difficulty to be apprehended in connection with our finances results from the depreciation of the Treasury notes, which seems justly to be attributed by the Secretary to two causes, redundancy in amount and want of confidence in ultimate redemption, for both of which remedies are suggested that will commend themselves to your consideration as being practical as well as efficient.

The main features of the plan presented are substantially these: First, that the faith of the Government be pledged that the notes shall ever remain exempt from taxation; second, that no issue shall be made beyond that which is already authorized by law; third, that a certain fixed portion of the annual receipts from taxation during the war shall be set apart especially for the gradual extinction of the outstanding amount until it shall have been reduced to $150,000,000: and fourth, the pledge and appropriation of such proportion of the tax in kind and for such number of years