any terms. The power to regulate commerce does not include the power to destroy it, or to put any such restrictions upon it. The undersigned beg leave, further, to submit to the consideration of Congress the question of the propriety of allowing the State to export produce and import supplies necessary for State use, free of export and import duties, as the importations are made for the public use and in furtherance of our cause. In considering this question, it is hoped Congress will not fail to take into account the fact that the Legislatures of part, if not all, the States, have passed laws exempting cotton and other property belonging to the confederate government, within the limits of the State, from all State tax; and they submit, whether, upon principles of reciprocity and comity, apart from the want of constitutional power in Congress to tax State property, it is not the duty of Congress to exempt State property, including exportations and importations by the States, from all confederate taxation. The undersigned beg leave to add that it is not their intention to import articles of luxury, or indeed, any articles not necessary for the public use, and for the comfort of the troops from their respective States, in military service.
Executive Department, Milledgeville, May 9, 1864.I have purchased thirty thousand soldiers' blankets for the State of Georgia, now in the Islands, and have to send out cotton to pay for them. The steamer Little Ada, chartered by the State, has been loaded for three weeks with about three hundred bales of cotton ready for sea. She lies thirty miles from Charleston. I ask clearance for her to go out now, while we have dark nights. She is detained at heavy expense to the State. I solicit an early reply.
President in relation to steamer Ada, has been referred to this department. On the twelfth of April a telegram was sent you, stating that the act of Congress, imposing restrictions on export of cotton, required that the regulations of trade should be uniform. Therefore the requirement that one half of the cargo of every outward-bound vessel should be for account of the confederate States, cannot be relinquished as an exception in your favor. April twenty-seventh, Mr. Lamar applied for a clearance for the steamer, and was informed that she could not go out until she had complied with the regulation.
C. G. Memminger, Secretary of Treasury.
Executive Department, Milledgeville, May 21, 1864.Your telegram of the tenth did not reach me till yesterday. The act of Congress to which you refer, which prohibits the exportation of cotton and other productions, except under such uniform regulations as shall be made by the President, has in it this express proviso, “that nothing in this act shall be construed to prohibit the confederate States or any of them from exporting any of the articles herein enumerated on their own account.” The three hundred bales of cotton upon the Little Ada belong to the State of Georgia, and I propose to export it on State account to pay for blankets for Georgia soldiers, and if any surplus, to apply it to the purchase of cotton-cards for the people of the State, under an act of the Legislature. I deny your right to repeal the act of Congress by your order, or to refuse clearance to the State under any just rule of construction which you can apply to the plain proviso in the act of Congress. I therefore, again demand clearance as a right, not as a favor, and waiving for the present the question of your right to ask it of the State, offer to pay export duties.
C. G. Memminger, Secretary of the Treasury.