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FINANCE REPORT.

LETTER

FROM THE

SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY,

TRANSMITTING HIS

ANNUAL REPORT ON THE FINANCES.

TREASURY DEPARTMENT,

December 10, 1863.

SIB: In compliance with the act of Congress of May 10, 1800, I have the honor to transmit herewith the annual report on the national finances. Very respectfully,

S. P. CHASE,

Secretary of the Treasury. Hon. HANNIBAL HAMLIN, Vice President of the United States,

and President of the Senate.

REPORT

OF

THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY.

In submitting to the consideration of Congress the report on the state of the finances, required of him by law at the commencement of each session, the Secretary of the Treasury has much satisfaction in being able to say, in general, that the operations of the department intrusted to his charge have been attended, during the last fiscal year, by a greater measure of success than he ventured to anticipate at its beginning.

At the beginning of that year all demands on the treasury had indeed been discharged, and there remained a balance to the credit of the Treasurer of $13,043,546 81. But the large disbursements, constantly demanded by military and naval operations, reduced, by comparison, this seemingly considerable balance to almost inconsiderable proportions, and the practical operations of the restrictive provisions of the acts authorizing the negotiation of the bonds known as five-twenties, the most important loan acts not already fully availed of, made new negotiations for adequate amounts and on admissible terms quite impracticable. The reverses which befel our arms in June, July, and August, increased the difficulties of the situation, so that, though the Secretary was enabled under existing legislation to provide largely for the increasing disbursements, there remained necessarily unpaid, on the first day of the last session of Congress, requisitions on the treasury, chiefly from the War and Navy Departments, amounting in the aggregate to the sum of $46,394,875 80.

To provide for these requisitions and for current demands, Congress, on the 17th of January, 1863, authorized an additional issue of United States notes to the amount of one hundred millions of dollars; but did not reach any definite conclusions in regard to loans in time to imbody them in an act before the day on which the session closed.

On that day, March 3, 1863, the act to provide ways and means for the support of the government received the approval of the President, and became law. In addition to various provisions for loans, it contained clauses repealing the restrictions affecting the negotiation of the five-twenties, and thus disengaged that important loan from the embarrassments which had previously rendered it almost unavailable.

A week earlier, on the 25th of February, an act, even more important to the credit of the government—the act to provide a national currency through a

national banking system-had received the sanction of Congress and the President. The salutary effects of these two great acts were soon conspicuous.

Notwithstanding the aid afforded by the additional issue of the United States notes, under the joint resolution of January, the Secretary had found it impossible to prevent a gradual increase, during the session of Congress, in the amount of unpaid requisitions. Those which were unsatisfied at the beginning of the session were indeed discharged, and large sums were applied to new demands for current disbursements. But the aggregate of disbursements, remaining necessarily unpaid, increased steadily, notwithstanding all efforts to prevent it, until it reached, at the close of the session, the sum of $72,171,189 41.

The loan act and the national banking act were followed by an immediate revival of public credit. Success quite beyond anticipation crowned the efforts of the Secretary to distribute the five-twenty loan in all parts of the country, as well as every other measure adopted by him for replenishing the treasury. The result was, that within two months after the adjournment of Congress the whole mass of suspended requisitions had been satisfied, all current demands promptly met, and full provision made for the pay of the army and navy. During the remainder of the fiscal year no embarrassments attended the administration of the finances except those which are inseparable from vast expenditures. Notwithstanding these expenditures, it is gratifying to be able to state that during the last year the total of disbursements did not greatly exceed, while she increase of the public debt did not equal, the estimates submitted to Congress by the Secretary at the last session. Thus, while it was then estimated that the public debt on the 30th of June, 1863, would reach the sum of $1,122,297,403 24, its actual amount on that day was $1,098,793,181 37; and while the disbursements for the year were estimated at $693,346,321 48, the real total was $714,709,995 58.

The aggregate receipts from all sources, including the balance from the preceding year, as shown by the books of the treasury, were, during the last fiscal year, $901,125,674 86, and the aggregate disbursements $895,796,630 65; leaving a balance on the 30th of June, 1863, of $5,329,044 21.

But sums borrowed during the year, and applied during the same time in payment of debts, affect only nominally the total of receipts and of disbursements. The sums thus borrowed and applied during the last fiscal year amounted to $181,086,635 07. This aggregate, therefore, should be deducted from both sides of the statement, making the true amount of receipts, including balance from last year, $720,039,039 79, and the true amount of disbursements $714,709,995 58. The balance, of course, remains the same.

It is gratifying, also, to be able to state, that while debts did not reach the amount anticipated, the receipts from all sources of income, except internal revenue, exceeded the estimates. Thus the receipts from customs, estimated at $68,041,736 59, were actually $69,059,642 40; from lands, estimated at $88,724 16, were $167,617 17; and from miscellaneous sources, estimated at $2,244,316 32, were $3,046,615 35. Direct tax receipts were estimated at $11,620,717 99, and this amount, or nearly this amount, has been received in the form of payments for military supplies and services by the States, for which they are entitled to

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