men from all parts of the State I find a very general opinion prevailing that there is a heavy tax on real estate besides that on income and business transactions, that the Government will enforce the law rigorously and without delay to collect those due from the beginning of the war, and that the result will be the confiscation of most of the landed property. This fear seems to have become quite prevalent, and is doing more than all other influences to depress the people. I have endeavored to circulate the real truth in regard to the law, but having no power to speak from authority my efforts are necessarily ineffective. From facts heretofore alluded to in this communication, it is apparent that people living in the devastated districts cannot pay back taxes till prosperity is in some degree restored, while it will be exceedingly difficult, if not impossible, for those who have been more fortunate to raise the necessary money till they can sell their cotton or the surplus grain and most of the new crop. There is no gold or silver worth mentioning in the hands of the people, and but very little national currency. I am therefore of the opinion that the true policy of the Government is to delay the collection of all back taxes, if it can be done legally, till the people are better able to discharge them. They might be assessed and be charged legal interest on the assessed valuation. I am satisfied that the public announcement of this policy by the Secretary of the Treasury would do more than all other things to restore prosperity throughout Georgia. In connection with this mater, and as a means of supplying the wants of the large destitute population in the devastated districts, I would suggest the propriety of enforcing the rebel law laying tax in kind. This would be but retributive justice, would relieve the public Treasury, and the charity of the Northern States of what must otherwise become a heavy tax upon them. I have previously invited the attention of the major-general commanding to this proposition. If it is not adopted, or should not prove adequate, the surplus earnings of the Atlanta and Chattanooga Railroad might be devoted to the same purpose.
Fourth. In regard to the punishment to be inflicted for treason and its attendant crimes, truth requires me to say I have heard but one opinion expressed by the people of Georgia. The general sentiment is that Brown, Toombs, and Cobb should not escape. It is, however, due to the last to assert that in all his relations with me he has conducted himself in the most proper manner, and strictly in the spirit of his communication. He avows that he was an original secessionist, and worked for secession before it transpired; that his State followed him, not he it, and that he can therefore ask nothing for himself not granted to the class to which he belongs. But he asserts that having been instrumental in involving the people in their present condition he desires sincerely to see them lifted once more upon their feet and established in prosperity. I think, however, from all I can see he is mistaken as to the manner in which the people regard the President's amnesty oath. All classes will take it willingly and, so far as I can judge, it will work injury in being withheld from a limited number of law officers, as heretofore suggested. This is particularly true if it be the policy of the President to issue a new amnesty to the excluded classes after special cases shall have been disposed of and the civil order shall have been re-established in accordance with principles of the Government and the laws of the land.
Fifth. Before closing this communication it may not be improper to say that, in accordance with the tenor of the orders issued by Generals Thomas and Sherman, and what I conceive to be the true interest of the