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[273] are many duties imposed by the Constitution which depend for their fulfilment on the undisturbed possession of the territory within which they are to be performed. The same instrument which orders a census to be made in all the States imposes the duty on the Confederacy “to guarantee to every State a republican form of government.” It enjoins on us “to protect each State from invasion,” and while declaring that its great objects and purposes are, “to establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity,” it confers the means and thereby imposes on us the paramount duty of effecting its intent, by “laying and collecting taxes, duties, imposts, and excises necessary to pay the debts, provide for the common defence, and carry on the government of the confederate States.”

None would pretend that the Constitution is violated because, by reason of the presence of hostile armies, we are unable to guarantee a republican form of government to those States or portions of States now temporarily held by the enemy, and as little justice would there be in imputing blame for the failure to make the census, when that failure is attributable to causes not foreseen by the authors of the Constitution, and beyond our control. The general intent of our constitutional charter is unquestionably that the property of the country is to be taxed in order to raise revenue for the common defence, and the special mode provided for levying this tax is impracticable from unforeseen causes. It is, in my judgment, our primary duty to execute the general intent expressed by the terms of the instrument which we have sworn to obey, and we cannot excuse ourselves for the failure to fulfil this obligation on the ground that we are unable to perform it in the precise mode pointed out. Whenever it shall be possible to execute our duty in all its parts, we must do so in exact compliance with the whole letter and spirit of the Constitution. Until that period shall arrive, we must execute so much of it as our condition renders practicable. Whenever the withdrawal of the enemy shall place it in our power to make a census and apportionment of direct taxes, any other mode of levying them will be contrary to the will of the lawgiver, and incompatible with our obligation to obey that will; until that period the alternative left is to obey the paramount precept, and to execute it according to the only other rule provided, which is to “make the tax uniform throughout the confederate States.”

The considerations just presented are greatly enforced by the reflection that any attempt to apportion taxes among States, some of which are wholly or partially in the occupation of hostile forces, would subvert the whole intention of the framers of the Constitution, and be productive of the most revolting injustice, instead of that just correlation between taxation and representation which it was their purpose to secure. With large portions of some of the States occupied by the enemy, what justice would there be in imposing on the remainder the whole amount of the taxation of the entire State in proportion to its representation? What else would this be in effect than to increase the burthen of those who are the heaviest sufferers by the war, and to make our own inability to protect them from invasion, as we are required to do by the Constitution, the ground for adding to their losses by an attempted adherence to the letter, in violation of the spirit of that instrument? No such purpose could have been entertained, and no such result contemplated by the framers of the Constitution. It may add weight to these considerations, if we reflect that, although the Constitution provided that it should go into operation with a representation temporarily distributed among the States, it expressly ordains, after providing for a census within three years, that this temporary distribution of representative power is to endure “until such enumeration shall be made.” Would any one argue that, because the census cannot be made within the fixed period, the government must, at the expiration of that period, perish for want of a representative body? In any aspect in which the subject can be viewed, I am led to the conclusion already announced, and which is understood to be in accordance with a vote taken in one or both houses at our last session. I shall, therefore, until we are able to pursue the precise mode required by the Constitution, deem it my duty to approve any law levying the taxation which you are bound to impose for the defence of the country, in any other practicable mode which shall distribute the burthen uniformly and impartially on the whole property of the people.

In your former legislation you have sought to avoid the increase in the volume of notes in circulation by offering inducements to voluntary funding. The measures adopted for that purpose have been but partially successful, and the evil has now reached such a magnitude as to permit no other remedy than the compulsory reduction of the currency to the amount required by the business of the country. This reduction should be accompanied by a pledge that, under no stress of circumstances, will that amount be exceeded. No possible mode of using the credit of the government can be so disastrous as one which disturbs the basis of all exchanges, renders impossible all calculations of future values, augments, in constantly increasing proportions, the price of all commodities, and so depreciates all fixed wages, salaries, and incomes, as to render them inadequate to bare subsistence. If to these be added the still more fatal influence on the morals and character of the people, to which I have already adverted, I am persuaded you will concur in the conclusion that an inflexible adherence to a limitation of the currency to a fixed sum is an indispensable element of any system of finance now to be adopted.

The holders of the currency now outstanding can only be protected in the recovery of their just claims by substituting for their notes some


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