there is little doubt that we shall see our finances restored to a sound and satisfactory condition, our circulation relieved of the redundancy now productive of so many mischiefs, and our credit placed on such a basis as to relieve us from further anxiety relative to our resources for the prosecution of the war.
It is true that at its close our debt will be large; but it will be due to our own people, and neither the interest nor the capital will be exported to distant countries, impoverishing ours for their benefit. On the return of peace the untold wealth which will spring from our soil will render the burden of taxation far less onerous than is now supposed, especially if we take into consideration that we shall then be free from the large and steady drain of our substance to which we were subjected in the late Union through the instrumentality of sectional legislation and protective tariffs.
I recommend to your earnest attention the whole report* of the Secretary of the Treasury on this important subject, and trust that your legislation on it will be delayed no longer than may be required to enable your wisdom to devise the proper measures for insuring the accomplishment of the objects proposed.
The operations of the War Department have been in the main satisfactory. In the report of the Secretary, herewith submitted,+ will be found a summary of many memorable successes. They are with justice ascribed in large measure tot he reorganization and re-enforcement of our armies under the operation of the enactments for conscription. The wisdom and efficacy of these acts have been approved by results, and the like spirit of unity, endurance, and self-devotion in the people, which has hitherto sustained their action, must be relied on to assure their enforcement under the continuing necessities of our situation. The recommendations of the Secretary to this effect are tempered by suggestions for their amelioration, and the subject deserves the consideration of Congress. For the perfection of our military organization no appropriate means should be rejected, and on this subject the opinions of the Secretary merit early attention. It is gratifying to perceive that under all the efforts and sacrifices of war the power, means, and resources of the Confederacy for its successful prosecution are increasing. Dependence on foreign supplies is to be deplored, and should, as far as practicable, be obviated by the development and employment of internal resources. The peculiar circumstances of the country, however, render this difficult and require extraordinary encouragements and facilities to be granted by the Government. The embarrassments resulting from the limited capacity of the railroads to afford transportation and the impossibility of otherwise commanding and distributing the necessary supplies for the armies render the control of the roads under some general supervision and resort to the power of impressment military exigencies. While such powers have to be exercised, they should be guarded by judicious provisions against perversion or abuse and be, as recommended by the Secretary, under due regulation of law.
I specially recommend in this connection some revision of the exemption law of last session. Serious complaints have reached me of the inequality of its operation from eminent and patriotic citizens, whose opinions merit great consideration, and I trust that some means will be devised for leaving at home a sufficient local police different classes of our citizens.
*See January 10, p. 309.
+See January 3, p. 279.