Page:A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Confederacy, Including the Diplomatic Correspondence, 1861-1865, Volume I.djvu/540

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
Messages and Papers of the Confederacy.

resisted, and in a message[1] on the subject, addressed by me to the House of Representatives on the 10th of June last, it was stated that—

For some weeks after the adoption of these regulations strenuous efforts were made by parties interested in the business to induce a relaxation of the regulations. Many of the vessels remained unemployed on the allegation of the owners that the terms imposed by the regulations were so onerous as to render impossible the continuance of the business. The regulations remained unchanged, for I was satisfied from an examination of the subject that this complaint was unfounded and that the withdrawal of the vessels was an experiment, by a combination among their owners, on the firmness of the Government. The result proved the correctness of this view, for after various attempts to obtain increased advantages the vessels resumed their voyages. Their number has been largely increased. The ability to export produce and import supplies on Government account has been developed to a greater extent than had been anticipated, and the credit of the Government has been so improved in foreign markets that the quotations for its loan have rapidly advanced.

In the same message it was also stated that —

Among the efforts made to induce a change of the regulations was a warning given to officers of the Government that the owners of vessels could make better bargains with the Governors of States than with the Confederate Government, and that if the regulations were not relaxed in their favor they would transfer their vessels to the Executives of the several States, and thus withdraw them from the operation of the regulations.

Reverting now to the precise inquiries contained in your resolution, I answer:

First. That no restriction whatever has been placed on the exercise of the right of any Confederate State to export on its own account any of the articles enumerated in the act entitled "An Act to impose regulations," &c., approved 6th of February, 1864.

Each State not only exports whatever it pleases, but the obligation imposed on private individuals to bring back into the country necessary supplies equal in value to one-half of the produce exported is not extended to the States. They are in these respects on a footing of absolute equality with the Confederate Government.

I am aware that complaints have been made of the effect of