In other counties in the eastern part of the State, where the people are loyal and patriotic, collectors were appointed and had given their bonds; but before the assessors had entered upon their duties the invasion of the enemy arrested further progress. The aggregate amount of assessment returns, as shown by the chief collector's final reports, is $548,164,215. 91. The tax on this at one-half per cent. is $2,740,821. 07, and the net tax after deducting 10 per cent. is $2,466,738. 97. The amount paid by the State, as shown by the Treasurer's books, is $2,125,000, leaving a balance of $341,738. 97. For the information of Congress, in view of any future legislation in reference to the war tax, I have deemed it proper to present herewith reference to the war tax, I have deemed it proper to present herewith a series of tables prepared by Colonel H. T. Garnett, the chief collector, as well as to give a condensed statement of his views and suggestions in reference to the mode of assessing a more uniform value of certain property, which I beg leave to commend as being wise and appropriate, and well worthy the attentive consideration of Congress. The copies of his tables, hereto annexed, are numbered from 1 to 4. Colonel Garnett refers to former suggestions made by him in reference to the danger of rendering the ad valorem system of taxation unjust, unequal, and oppressive, and proceeds to remark upon the impossibility, from divers causes, of approximating a fair distribution of the burdens of taxation upon the principle of rating all property of the same class, &c., at once price or value. That climate, soil, and other causes, especially affecting slave property on the borders adjacent to non-slaveholding territory, all operate to depress or elevate values to such a degree that it is difficult to establish a just rule in the application of one price to all the same class. But in endeavoring to avoid this by giving discretion to a great number of assessors to fix the values of the same class of property in the same region, the result sought to be avoided will not be improved by producing inequality of tax where all the elements which determine values are exactly the same. He then illustrates by referring to the returns of assessors in coterminous counties, where climate, soil, &c., are identical, in which a marked difference in the assessment of slaves is found to exist. For instance, the county of Dinwiddie contains only forty-six more slaves than the county of Essex, but the assessment upon the slaves of Dinwiddie is $521,975 more than that of Essex. This instance he regards as perhaps more glaring than any other to be found in the returns, but believes as a general rule it will obtain throughout. The assessors, having no opportunities of consultation and comparison of views, have produced almost as many variations and inequalities in their assessments as there are districts in the State. The remedy which he suggests is that Congress, composed as it is of representative from all sections, should take the average of assessments now to be found in the returns from all the States and either agree upon that as a uniform price or value hereafter to control the assessors, or divide the Confederacy either by grand divisions, having reference to soil, climate, and productions, and vary the rate to suit the circumstances of each, or adopt a uniform value in each State to govern the assessors in future.
10. The only remaining States to be considered are Texas and Mississippi, and, as has been stated, the only States in which the war tax is being collected by Confederate officers, all the others having assumed the tax. In Mississippi all the districts in the State have been duly assessed and returned, and the amount of tax thus assessed, as shown by the chief collector's collated list, in the whole State, is $2, 2490,813. 43, and of this amount there has been collected and paid into