Page:A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Confederacy, Including the Diplomatic Correspondence, 1861-1865, Volume I.djvu/588

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Messages and Papers of the Confederacy.

Register, and the proper record kept of his entry into service, to determine his rank; and in all relations to officers and seamen he is entitled to be, and is, actually treated as an officer of the Navy.

The bill is returned in no spirit of unwillingness to receive the advice and recommendations of members of Congress, which are recognized to be entitled to special consideration, but from a sense of duty to constitutional obligations.

Jefferson Davis.

23d January, 1865.

Richmond, Va., January 25, 1865.

To the Senate of the Confederate States of America.

I return to your honorable body without my approval an act which originated in the Senate, entitled "An Act to authorize newspapers to be mailed to the soldiers free of postage."

The act provides "that all newspapers directed to any officer, musician, or private engaged in the actual service of the Confederate States may be transmitted through the mails free of postage."

The Constitution, article 1, section 8, clause 7, gives power to Congress "to establish post offices and post routes; but the expenses of the Post Office Department after the 1st day of March, in the year of our Lord 1863, shall be paid out of its own revenues."

This provision that the Post Office Department shall be self-sustaining was not contained in the Constitution of our former Government. It is important that its spirit and object should be correctly determined now, because many members of the present Congress were also members of the Provisional Congress, which adopted this new clause, and legislation by them will be deemed hereafter to possess peculiar value as a precedent, and as a contemporaneous interpretation of the Constitution by those best acquainted with its meaning.

It was generally understood that the clause under consideration was intended by its framers to correct what were deemed to be two great vices that had been developed in the postal system of the United States. The first was the injustice of taxing the whole people for the expense of the mail facilities afforded to individuals; and the remedy devised was to limit the Government to the fur-