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The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies

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OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 4, vol 2, Part 1 (Blockade Runners)
Page 182 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.

temporary suspension. As the pestilence has abated, they will, of course, be immediately again put into operation. The whole amount made there by the State and private individuals probably exceeds 2,500 bushels per day. Nearly all of this made on private account is bought by citizens of other States and carried off for speculation at prices ranging form $12 to $20 per bushel. My predecessor, Governor Clark, has also entered into a contract, through N. . W. Woodfin and George W. Mordecai, esqs., with Stuart, Buchanan & Cle, Va., for the privilege of manufacturing 300,000 bushels of salt, and Mr. Woodfin was made superintendent of the works. With commendable energy he has pushed forward his undertaking, and there are now, as reported to me by a special agent sent to visit the establishment, about 200 kettles in operation, making near 1,200 bushels per day. Owing to his sickness, the superintendent has made no official report to me of this operations and expenditures. I recommend that your honorable body shall take immediate steps to prevent the exportation from the State of salt, leather, shoes, woolen goods, cotton cloth, yarn, pork and bacon, flour, and potatoes, except for the Army and by regular agents of the Government, and except when purchased by any county and corporate authorities of our sister States under such regulation as will amount to satisfactory proof that such articles are for private use or charitable distribution to the poor of such counties, towns, &c., and not for speculation; not, however, in violation of any existing contracts made by our citizens with citizens of other States.

This is all the remedy I can suggest for the evils of extortion. History and common sense have taught us the danger of trying to force trade which refuses to be governed by any but natural laws. All we can do is to aid these well-established laws as a skillful physician assists nature in the checking of disease. Violent and forcible measures have long since been condemned by civilized statesmen, and could now only serve to dry up the sources of our industry and lessen the production of the country. The same remarks apply to seizures of private property for public use, which ought never to be resorted to except in extreme cases, and then only as a temporary expedient. To provide against the possible sufferings of the wives and children of our brave and self-denying soldiers, I also respectfully recommend the purchasing and storing at some safe point in the interior of at least 200,000 bushels of corn and 500,000 pounds of pork, to be sold to them at rates sufficient to cover the cost, transportation, &c. It can now be bought in the eastern counties at moderate prices, and is in danger of destruction by the enemy if not removed at an early day. Anticipating the necessity of this measure, and also thinking it proper in a military point of view to have some surplus on hand, I have already ordered the building of large cribs on the North Carolina Railroad and made other preliminary arrangements for purchasing on a large scale. I deem this a matter of the very highest importance. Nothing would so cheer and encourage our soldiers in the discharge of duty as to know that their State was providing for those at home, dearer to them than life; and nothing would so dispirit and demoralize them as to know that those dear ones were suffering. Indeed, the soldier shivering through the snows of the coming winter and offering his blood day by day for our defense has a right to expect that his country will not permit his wife and little ones to cry in vain for bread, and while there is a morsel in the land it should be divided with them. I beg to therefore, gentlemen, to make such provisions as you may deem best reference to the matter and at as early a day


Page 182 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 4, vol 2, Part 1 (Blockade Runners)
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