The people of the Confederate States, being principally engaged in agricultural pursuits, were unprovided at the commencement of hostilities with ships, ship-yards, materials for ship-building, or skilled mechanics and seamen in sufficient numbers to make the prompt creation of a navy a practicable task, even if the required appropriations had been made for the purpose. Notwithstanding our very limited resources, however, the report of the Secretary will exhibit to you a satisfactory progress in preparation, and a certainty or early completion of vessels of a number and class on which we may confidently rely for contesting the vaunted control of the enemy over our waters.
The financial system devised by the wisdom of your predecessors has proved adequate to supplying all the wants of the Government, notwithstanding the unexpected and very large increase of expenditures resulting from the great augmentation in the necessary means of defense. The report of the Secretary of the Treasury will exhibit the gratifying fact that we have no floating debt; that the credit of the Government is unimpaired, and that the total expenditure of the Government for the year has been in round numbers $170,000,000 - less than one-third of the sum wasted by the enemy in his vain effort to conquer us; less than the value of a single article of export, the cotton crop, of the year.
The report of the Postmaster-General will show the condition of that Department to be steadily improving, its revenues increasing, and already affording the assurance that it will be self-sustaining at the date required by the Constitution, while affording ample mail facilities for the people.
In the Department of Justice, which includes the Patent Office, and public printing, some legislative provisions will be required, which will be specifically stated in the report of the head of that Department. I invite the attention of Congress to the duty of organizing a Supreme Court of the Confederate States, in accordance with the mandate of the Constitution.
I refer you to my message communicated to the Provisional Congress in November last for such further information touching the condition of public affairs as it might be useful to lay before you, the short interval which has since elapsed not having produced any material changes in that condition other than those to which reference has already been made.
In conclusion I cordially welcome Representatives who, recently chosen by the people, are fully imbued with their views, and feelings, and can so able advise me as to the needful provisions for the public service. I assure you of my hearty co-operation in all your efforts for the common welfare of the country.
February 25, 1862.
GENTLEMEN OF THE SENATE AND HOUSE OF DELEGATES:
I have received from J. B. Winston, esq., secretary of a railroad convention representing the companies of the district embracing the State of Virginia, the State of Tennessee east of Knoxville, and the State of North Carolina north of Weldon, inclosing resolutions adopted by said convention. The object proposed to be accomplished by these resolutions is in the highest degree important in the present condition