previous next

The tax bill and the currency.

At last Congress has acted boldly and passed measures for revenue and for the reduction of the currency, which are destined to work a revolution in the finances of the country and the Government. The Confederate Congress of the Revolution of '76 had no power to tax the people, and the great struggle of that day had to be conducted almost wholly upon the paper promises of the "so-styled" Continental Congress.--Our own Government had the very great advantage over that of our ancestors, of the constitutional authority to impose a direct tax for the support of Government and the defence of the country. Yet the Congress wanted the nerve to discharge its duty, and impose at once, in the incipiency of the war, a tax to sustain it. Demagogues and timidity — the fear to incur popular displeasure by the faithful discharge of a public duty — occasioned a postponement of that measure which sooner or later was known to be inevitable by every man, whether in or out of Congress. The motives for this delay were entertained under an entire misapprehension of the sentiments and opinions of the people. They were as wise and as patriot as Congress, and greatly prefer red a prompt imposition of burthens they knew they had to bear, to the putting them off to be aggravated and increased by time, until they could be postponed no longer.--We now see that the necessity of the situation of public affairs has brought us to this point, and these accumulated burthens for the people being no longer avoidable, they are at last imposed — and we may say entirely and in all their magnitude.

So much the better! The people will be consoled by the reflection that the severe remedies now resorted to are absolutely indispensable to the desperate condition of the diseases of the public finances, which have produced the worst consequences not only to the Government, but to the people in all their occupations. They will welcome the treatment that promises a cure. To purity the currency — to elevate the credit of the Government — to bring down the standard of values from their inflated condition to that reasonable and rational stage which will dispense with the necessity of two schedules of prices--one for the people and one for the Government — with all their evil consequences;--to do all this, or something approximating to it, the people will bear and suffer a great deal — nay, they have been ready at any time since the war to bear and to endure all that might be demanded by their country for these objects. They always knew that no national debt — war or other — could be paid in any way save by taxation. Taxation or Repudiation is the inevitable alternative, and as they desire their Government to maintain its honor and its credit, they are out and out advocates for taxation.

That the measures adopted by Congress are the best that could have been framed — or that they will operate with entire equality may not be true. But it is not the time now to criticise them or to oppose obstacles to their operation. The condition of affairs allows of no further postponement, and it cannot be complained that the remedies resorted to are too violent for the occasion in short, Southern men will cheerfully acquiesce in them as in patriotism they should, and, as in a just practical view of their personal and private interest, they will. The heavy taxation and the reduction of the currency will not only compensate for the public burthens imposed by immediate benefits; but the people and the nation will be protected from that awful revulsion and financial ruin which was assuredly to fall upon them if no measures had been taken to check the paper issues of the Government and to increase its revenues for its own expenses and the public defence.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: