The Legislature and the speculators.
The attention of the General Assembly has been, thus early in the session, directed towards measures for the relief of the community from the oppressive system of speculation and extortion that has been submitted to for some months past.
A committee of the House of Delegates made a report upon the subject entering quite largely into the salt question, a brief synopsis of which will interest the reader.
The price of commodities for which we are not dependent upon other countries, ought not to be enhanced, by the existence of the very much beyond the additional cost of transportation.
A considerable quantity of salt is in the hands of speculators, who bought it early in the year, at prices ranging from $1.50 to $2 a sack, and who are now demanding for it from $15 to $20. -- Fair and legitimate speculation is not condemned but speculation upon the necessities of the people at the present day is de ned a crime against the State
, little of treason; and the opinion is expressed that the Government
would be well justified in seizing the commodity, allowing the soldiers a fair compensation, and selling it to the people at Government cost.
The committee allude to the apparent deficiency in the supply of salt, but it is believed that there is a sufficient quality in the hands of speculators and an over-supply in the army stores, if not entirely to relieve, the present necessities of the country.
They are in that the Confederate Government has at Lynchburg
and at other places a larger quantity of salt than the wants of the army will require for a long time, and in addition thereto, the authorities of Government are appropriating a large portion of the weekly products of the salt works Washington county
, upon which the supply of this State mainly depends.
These works are new yielding about 14,000 bushels a week and in the course of a month, it is said will be able to nearly double that and that the next year, with a further outlay of capital, would be enabled to increase the product beyond 1,000,000 bushels.
The salt is now sold at 75 cents a bushel, epp the cost does not exceed 30 cents a bushel, including the rent of the property.
The opini on is advanced by the committee, would be right and proper for the Government
of this Commonwealth to require of the to operate the works so as to yield all the salt which the resources of the property will afford, and to offer them fair and adequate ements and guarantees to do so; and in the event of their refusing to do it, to take possession of the property, granting them an adequate compensation therefore, and playing it in the hands of parties who will un it. In accordance with a recommendation of the committee, joint resolutions have passed both houses, for the appointment is a committee to confer with the President
of the Confederate States
, in relation to the now held by Government, and to correspond with the lessees of the Salt Works
, with a view to ma ng immediate arrangements to increase the product to the utmost Capacity of the property.