authority be given the Executive-under such restrictions as may be deemed wise-to call out for the State or Confederate authorities such number of slaves as may be necessary for such works in the future; and that the burden may be equally borne by all I suggest that the slaves be enrolled.
While asking for more stringent legislation to compel the citizen to do his duty to the State and country, I will respectfully remind the Legislature that one class of our citizens has claims upon the State as imperative and as sacred as any claim the State can have upon the soldier in this perilous hour. I allude to the families and dependents of our soldiers now or soon to be in the field. Deprived of the means of support by calling the husband and father to the Army, they may justly claim protection and supply of the necessaries of life from the State which now requires the service of their natural protectors. The provision heretofore made by the Legislature is found to be wholly inadequate. Owing to our drought of the past season, which extended over a large portion of the State, and the necessity of calling more men into the field, the number of destitute families will be greatly increased and thereby add largely to the wants of our people, who are even now in some districts suffering for bread. Such a condition of affairs ought not to be allowed to exist while there is means within the State to prevent it. I therefore recommend that the most liberal provisions be made by the Legislature in behalf of the families of our soldiers now in the field, and the widows and orphans of such as have fallen in defense of their country; and I further recommend in this connection that discretionary power be given to the boards of police in each county to extend any legislative provision that may be made by county taxes if such legislative provision should again be found inadequate to supply the necessaries of life to the sufferers of their respective counties. The most pressing want of our people at the present time is a supply of salt. During the last summer I sent agents to Virginia, isiana in order to secure, if possible, a supply of salt for the people of the State, either by purchase or by mining. Their missions have, however, form various causes proven entirely unsuccessful, except the agent to Louisiana, who succeeded in purchasing a small quantity of salt in New Iberia, in Louisiana. About 40,000 pounds of salt are now at Vicksburg, which I propose to distribute to the destitute families of soldiers. Some other contracts have been recently made for a large supply of salt, and if I should be successful in these I hope to be able to supply the State. These contracts I will be pleased to submit to any committee that the Legislature may appoint for that purpose. If these efforts should prove a failure, I know of no other source of supply but by mining on State account at New Iberia, La., where the deposit, so far as is known, is unlimited. In that event I ask that authority be given to use the slave labor of the State and the wagons and teams necessary for the mining and hauling the salt to Atchafalaya, the nearest point to steam-boat navigation. While my efforts have procured but a very small amount of salt on State account, I have given all the information and assistance in my power to private enterprise, and it affords me much satisfaction to say that in consequence of such information and assistance many individuals have succeeded in supplying themselves and neighbors with salt. I have been unable to obtain transportation sufficient to convey the salt obtained to the interior of the State. I therefor request that the Legislature will take some action in the premises so as to secure speedy transportation