Page:A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Confederacy, Including the Diplomatic Correspondence, 1861-1865, Volume I.djvu/579

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547
Second Congress.

will be no hesitation in so changing the law as to render it possible to supply the Army in case of necessity for the impressment of provisions for that purpose.

The measure adopted to raise revenue, though liberal in its provisions, being clearly inadequate to meet the arrear of debt and the current expenditure, some degree of embarrassment in the management of the finances must continue to be felt. It is to be regretted. I think, that the recommendation of the Secretary of the Treasury of a tax on agricultural income equal to the augmented tax on other incomes, payable in Treasury notes, was rejected by Congress. This tax would have contributed materially to facilitate the purchase of provisions and diminish the necessity that is now felt for a supply of coin.

The measures passed by Congress during the session for recruiting the Army and supplying the additional force needed for the public defense have been, in my judgment, insufficient; and I am impelled by a profound conviction of duty, and stimulated by a sense of the perils which surround our country, to urge upon you additional legislation on this subject.

The bill for employing negroes as soldiers has not reached me, though the printed journals of your proceedings inform me of its passage. Much benefit is anticipated from this measure, though far less than would have resulted from its adoption at an earlier date, so as to afford time for their organization and instruction during the winter months.

The bill for diminishing the number of exempts has just been made the subject of a special message,[1] and its provisions are such as would add no strength to the Army. The recommendation to abolish all class exemptions has not met your favor, although still deemed by me a valuable and important measure; and the number of men exempted by a new clause in the act just passed is believed to be quite equal to that of those whose exemption is revoked. A law of a few lines repealing all class exemptions would not only strengthen the forces in the field, but be still more beneficial by abating the natural discontent and jealousy created in the Army by the existence of classes privileged by law to remain in places of