States and those of the Northwestern States. As you desired, I have substituted and placed on file in this department your last in lieu of your first letter, and herewith return the latter to you. I have also received the letter of Major J. L. Locke, with your indorsement thereon, in reference to speculation in corn. As the General Assembly is now in session, I have that subject under consideration. I will submit the letter to a committee appointed on that question, but I fear that measures against speculation will not be adopted by the Legislature as stringent as I could wish.
Very respectfully, &c.,
JOSEPH E. BROWN.
November 17, 1862.
The Honorable GENERAL ASSEMBLY:
Certainly a Legislature has never been convened in the State of North Carolina to protect greater interests or meet greater responsibilities. Eighteen months ago, when the State entered into the war which is now waging, all was life and buoyancy and excitements. The novelty of our undertaking and the enthusiasm of our people in support of our cause not only rendered the course of the Legislature and the Executive easy, but actually preceded and marked it out. But the long continuance of the contest, the slaughter of our soldiers, the occupation of our territory by the enemy, the destruction of our homes, and the blockaded condition of our coasts have reduced us to straits and given rise to a class of evils in the presence of which ephemeral patriotism must perish and the tinsel enthusiasm of novelty give place to that stern and determined devotion to our cause which alone can sustain a revolution. It now becomes the duty of you, the General Assembly, to set an example to your constituents of firmness, prudence, determination, and energy; to correct the errors of the past; to provide for the exigencies of the future, and to use well and wisely the power vested in your body by the constitution for the protection of our rights and liberties. The subject of first importance is the prosar and the means of defending our State against the invasion of the enemy. The Legislature, by several acts in 1861, provided that in case the Confederate Government should fail or neglect to provide for North Carolina the Governor should be authorized to raise a certain number of troops and made appropriations of money for their support. Impressed with the defenseless condition of our eastern counties when I came into office, I had fully determined to avail myself of this authority, and would have proceeded at once to do so but for the intervention of insurmountable difficulties. The principal of these was the conscript law passed by the Confederate congress subsequent to the passage of the several acts referred to. By this law, as extended in its provisions a short time before the adjournment of Congress, all able-bodied men between the ages of eighteen and forty-five years became liable to enrollment as soldiers of the Confederate States. To raise an adequate force for State defense from our citizens beyond the age of forty-five and submit to this vast drain desides I thought entirely impracticable. I hoped, too, that by aiding and assisting in the execution of the conscription law I would be effectually providing for State defense. This reasonable hope has, I regret to say, been disappointed; and although North Carolina has a greater extent of sea-