Page images
PDF
EPUB

ment is two hundred dollars. In determining who shall pay this sum, the whole number of soldiers required from this State, in proportion to the whole number of militia, was ascertained and found to be forty per cent. As the conscientious exempts have sent no volunteers to the war, they are not credited with any, and forty per cent. of them have been drafted and are required to pay two hun dred dollars each. In case a township has furnished no volunteers, forty per cent. of the militia of that township is drafted. If volunteers have been furitished, the township is credited with them, and if the whole number has been provided there is no draft. If volunteers are furnished, they are of the militia, and are furnished by the militia. Conscientious exempts have not rolunteered, neither can they furnish volunteers. They have nothing to do with furnishing the military quota of a township; they are to furnish the equivalent to be paid by that township. By claiming exemption, they voluntarily place themselves out of the militia, and assume the payment of an equivalent.

We have, then, two classes recognized by the Constitution—the militia and the conscientious exempts. Each class has its own special duties to perform; the first to perform or furnish military duty; the latter to pay the equivalent. Il one class performs its duty, that does not exonerate the other class. If the exempts pay their equivalents that does not release the militia from the performance of its duty, which is to raise whatever soldiers may be required; or, if the militia meets the demands of the General Government, that does not excuse the payment of compensation by exempts. Or, if the militia voluntarily contribute money to aid the Government, that does not release it from its peculiar duty of furnishing the necessary number of soldiers; or, if a conscientions exempt should contribute any thing to the war, that could not release him from his voluntary obligation to pay the equivalent. If either class does more than is required, the excess, above legal duty, must be credited to patriotism, and not claimed as an exemption from constitutional obligation.

I have tried to do justice to the three thousand one hundred and sixty-nine couscientious, without infringing on the rights of the two hundred and seventy-three thousand citizens of Indiana who are on the militia roll, and who are either in the service or liable at any time to be called on to perform military duty.

It is said that some exempts have sons in the army, if this be so, it does not aflect the argument. The son is not conscientiously opposed to war, or he would not be in the army. He is a fighting man and belongs to the militia and is enrolled in it, and thus increases the number of its quota. His name is not on the conscientious list, and therefore he is not counted in assessing the quota of that class. He is simply discharging his own duty to the Government as one of the militia, and whether he has one relation or fifty relations, it makes no difference, their duties are not discharged by bjs enlistment. It has occurred that two, and even four persons, have been drafted out of one family, yet the remaining members of that family are not relieved from militia duty. The Government regards every man able to do duty, as personally liable to do ilat duty, and he is not released from his obligation, beciuse some relative has been called upon to perform his own part.

There are about one thousand two hundred and fifty drafted conscientious men in the State', who are required to pay two hundred dollars each, if able to pay it, if not able they are released from service without payment. Probably one thousand of those drafted are able to pay the sum required. I am confident I could procure the names of a larger number of those subject to draft, who have each voluntarily contributed more than two hundred dollars to war purposes, yet they are still liable to the draft. If any one thinks two hundred dollars is more than an equivalent for exemption, let him ascertain the present price of substitutes, and he will be satisfied on that point. If the Government would permit all persons to be exempted on the payment of two hundred dollars each, thousands would avail themselves of the privilege.

Having thus explained the mode adopted, and the reasons therefor, I submit the whole matter for your consideration.

J. P. SIDDALL,

General Commissioner.

APPEAL TO THE GOVERNOR.

--

STATE OF INDIANA,
GENERAL COMMISSIONER'S OFFICE,

Indianapolis, October 29, 1862.

A portion of the class known as Conscientious Exempts having appealed from the action of the General Commissioner in relation to them to the Governor, all further action against them, by the Marshals of the several counties, will be suspended until the appeal is disposed of. As soon as decided, further instructions will be furnished.

By order of the GOVERNOR,

J. P. SIDDALL,

General Commissioner.

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]
« PreviousContinue »