transportation; secondly, that States owning trains should have the next priority in their use; thirdly, that Virginia should have the next preference to the use of such trains; and foughtly, that corporations and citizens of the States owning the trains should come next. It will be observed that foreign trains, and the interests represented thereby, are placed precisely on the same footing with the trains of Virginia on her own roads. Surely these regulations must be esteemed fair and just. It will strike you, doubtless, that Virginia and her sister States were manufacturing salt upon equl terms. Virginia, I repeat, enjoiyed no advantage over her sister States. After satisfying the wants of transportation on the part of the Confederate government, each State used her own trains for the transportation of her own salt, so long as she had salt to remove, and then the trains of the State having no salt were required to keep [help?] her sister States in the transportation of their salt rather than that of speculators. Surely it cannot be said that this is unjust, or that any State has a right to complian of it. It may, however, be said that Virginia should be required to do the entire transportation of the Confederate Government on the Tennessee raod, and this si the only plausible ground for compalint on the part of her sister States. Is there, however, any justice in this, even? The States are all making salt alike, all transporting it with their own trains, and surely should bear the same burdens and exactions. I know it may be said that the North Carolina roads do the tnrie transportation of the Confederate Government in their State; but this is not the fact. Virginia has two trains in North Carolina now; one almost exclusively in the employment of the Confederate Government. But the cases are not parallel. The Virginia and Tennessee Road does the entire transportation of the Confederate Government thereon, salt included. This road penetrates a fruitful region, abounding in iron, pnd hay. but the other day a single requisition of the Confederat egovernment called for 400 cars for the transportation of hay alone. Nor is this all. Nearly the whole transportation of salt for Virginia passes over the whole or parts of this road; and it can be readily seen that these various causes so crowd the business of this road as to put it out of its power to do the entire transportation. If, however, it is to the interest of North Carolina to have a salt establishment at Saltville, and trains to haul its manufactures away, surely the same obligation to assist in meeting the wants of the common Government of the Confederacy attach as if the establishment and trains were in the heart of North Carolina herself. Surely there can be no real difference of opinion as to the equity and justice of such a view; at least such is the view of Virginia; and Virginia hopes that North Carolina will, upon consideration, concur with her.
The law of our State fixing the priorities on the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad before refered to, made a rule which the Board of Public Works were bound to respect, but they did not act upon it until March, 1864. At that time they met at Saltville. The agents of all the interested States were present and were heard, and the board, anxious to avoid all room for compalint, resolved that they would require of the foreign trains but one trip per month to Lynchburg for the Confederate Government, being less than the pro ratat required of Virginia. This conclusion gave general satisfaction to the agents present, and all professed to be content, and it was confidently beieved and hoped that the difficulties growing out of this question were ended. But this regulation was not enforced; the president of the board charged with its execution nelgected it, and up to this time not a bushel of salt has been carried or other service rendered except to a small extent by North Carolina.