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Doc. 125 1/2.-message of Governor Pettus.

The Mississipppi Legislature convened at Jacksonville on the 25th of July. The Nashville papers of the 28th give the following extracts of the Governor's Message:--

It affords me pleasure to announce to you that the revolution which you inaugurated last fall has so far been prosperous and successful. The people of this State have united in approving your action and sustaining the Confederate Government, with a unanimity which surpasses the expectations of the most sanguine.

The call to arms has been responded to in a manner unknown in modern times, and the call for means to support our volunteers is now being answered with such liberal devotion to the cause as to gratify the heart of the patriot, and convince both friends and foes that Mississippi is determined to make this a successful struggle against Northern tyranny, if the united efforts of all classes, ages, sex, and conditions of our people can accomplish it.

To enable a people thus willing and anxious to aid in the successful prosecution of this just and necessary war with the least injury to themselves, and to make some effort to prevent the ruinous sacrifice of the property, at forced sales, of those against whom constables and sheriffs now have executions in their hands, and of a much more numerous class against whom suits have been and will be instituted, I have again called you into extra session.

The people of Mississippi, on a former occasion of great pecuniary embarrassment, refused to permit forced sales, and sheriffs found themselves powerless to enforce the law, and unless some remedy can be devised by this Legislature they will, in my opinion, resort to a similar course in the next few months. Is it wise or safe for the law-making power to permit a free people to be goaded to lawlessness if a remedy can be found? The action of this Legislature has resulted in war; one of its incidents is the closing of our ports, which debars the debtor from the means of meeting the demands of his creditor, and if the laws for the collection of debts are now permitted to be enforced, as in times of peace, the debtor class are hopelessly ruined, and the property of the country passes into the hands of the creditors and money-holders at one-fourth its real value. The war will thus build up the fortunes of one class while its burdens press grievously on [412] another. Ought not the Legislature which brought on this revolution to equalize its burdens as near as possible? As the war is made for the benefit of all, its inconveniences and burdens should be made to bear equally on all. I, therefore, recommend that a law be passed postponing the sales of property under all judgments heretofore obtained in any court, for twelve months, and prohibiting the issuing of executions on judgments hereafter rendered until twelve months from and after the adjournment of the next regular session of the Legislature.

This, while it may inconvenience, cannot ruin the creditor, his judgment can remain a lien upon the property of the debtor, and when peace is restored he can receive his debt with interest. There is a still weightier reason which impels me to ask the passage of this law. The safety of the State, the existence of our free institutions, demand that all the available means of the whole people should be brought to the aid of the State in the fierce and protracted conflict on which she has now entered.

Another subject which I have deemed of sufficient importance to claim the attention of an extra session of the Legislature, is the raising of a revenue sufficient to meet the extraordinary demands on the State treasury for the next several years. Some increase in the present rate of taxes will be necessary to keep the revenue up to the present amount. I, therefore, recommend that the present assessment of lands be continued during the war, and the revenue law be so amended as to impose an ad valorem tax of one-fourth of one per cent. on lands and slaves.

As a means of retaliation on a people who are raising large armies for our subjugation, and of strengthening our defences against them, and at the same time relieving the people from much of the burden imposed by this war, I submit it to legislation would it not be expedient and just to confiscate all the property of alien enemies within the limits of the State?

In regard to arms and military stores, I have to report that about sixteen thousand stand of arms for infantry and cavalry have been brought to the State during my administration. This number has not, by thousands, supplied the demands of volunteers willing and anxious to receive them; and all the efforts heretofore made by the Military Board and myself have failed to procure a sufficient number; and to supply the deficiency we are now collecting the rifles and double-barrelled shot-guns throughout the State, to be used until better can be procured. Ten companies of cavalry and ten of artillery have been organized, and will soon be armed and equipped ready for the field.

The sea coast being considered the most assailable portion of the territory of this State, and most likely to be annoyed by the enemy, an agreement has been entered into with the Governors of Louisiana and Alabama by which Mississippi bears an equal portion of the expense of manning and arming small steamers — suited to shallow waters of the lakes and sound — to keep the enemy's gun-boats from our shores. I have also ordered one company of field artillery and four companies of Mississippi volunteers to the coast, to act in conjunction with the Confederate troops commanded by Gen. Twiggs.

The message closes with the following allusion to the success of Southern arms thus far in the contest:--

Victory has so far crowned the efforts of our armies. The God who loves justice and defends the right seems to have inspired the Confederate generals with wisdom and our troops with valor. But, while rejoicing over our victories, we are called to shed tears over the fallen brave who have watered the tree of liberty with their patriot blood. Mississippi will remember and honor their names. May the God of Justice give success to our arms and safety to our sons.

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John J. Pettus (2)
David E. Twiggs (1)
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