most skeptical. This proclamation will have another salutary effect in calming the fears of those who have constantly evinced the apprehension that this war might end by some reconstruction of the old Union or some renewal of close political relations with the United States. These fears have never been shared by me, nor have I ever been able to perceive on what basis they could rest. But the proclamation affords the fullest guarantee of the impossibility of such a result; it has established a state of thing to but one of three possible consequences - the extermination of the slaves, the exile of the whole white population from the Confederacy, or absolute and total separation of these States from the United States.
This proclamation is also an authentic statement by the Government of the United States of its inability to subjugate the South by force of arms, and as such must be accepted by neutral nations, which can no longer find any justification in withholding our just claims to formal recognition. It is also in effect an intimation to the people of the North that they must prepare to submit to a separation, now become inevitable, for that people are too acute not to understand that a restoration of the Union has been rendered forever impossible by the adoption of a measure which from its very nature neither admits of retraction nor can coexist with union.
Among the subjects to which your attention will be specially devoted during the present session you will no doubt deem the adoption of some comprehensive system of finance as being of paramount importance. The increasing public debt, the great augmentation in the volume of the currency, with its necessary concomitant of extravagant prices for all articles of consumption, the want of revenue from a taxation adequate to support the public credit, all unite in admonishing us that energetic and wise legislation alone can prevent serious embarrassment in our monetary affairs. It is my conviction that the people of the Confederacy will freely meet taxation on a scale adequate to the maintenance of the public credit and the support of their Government. When each family is sending forth its most precious ones to meet exposure in camp and death in battle, what ground can there be to doubt the disposition to devote a tithe of its income, and more, if more be necessary, to provide the Government with means for insuring the comfort of its defenders? If our enemies submit to an excise on every commodity they produce and to the daily presence of the tax-gatherer, with no higher motive than the hope of success in their wicked designs against us, the suggestion of an unwillingness on the part of this people to submit to the taxation necessary for the success of their defense is an imputation on their patriotism that few will be disposed to make and that none can justify.
The legislation of your last session, intended to hasten the funding of outstanding Treasury notes, has proved beneficial, as shown by the returns annexed to the report of the Secretary of the Treasury. But it was neither sufficiently prompt nor far-reaching to meet the full extent of the evil. The passage of some enactment carrying still further the policy of that law by fixing a limitation not later than the 1st of July next to the delay allowed for funding the notes issued prior to the 1st of December, 1862, will, in the opinion of the Secretary, have the effect to withdraw from circulation nearly the entire sum issued previous to the last-named date. If to this be added a revenue from adequate taxation, and a negotiation of bonds guaranteed proportionately by the several States, as has already been generously proposed by some of them in enactments spontaneously adopted,