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The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies

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OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 4, vol 2, Part 1 (Blockade Runners)
Page 466 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.

blotted from the map and her government abolished by the conscription of her officers. The clause of the law quoted by you can easily be made to effect that, for the militia law of the State expressly provides that in "case of invasion or instruction nobody shall be exempted from duty. " Of course, them, everybody is liable to conscription. The Governor as commander-in-chief, and all officers of the militia are, of course, liable to militia duty, and therefore to conscription also. You are already enrolling the magistrates who compose our courts of pleas and quarter session, lay our taxes, assess property of taxation, provide for the poor, and preserve the peace generally, and with them their executive officers, the constables; also, the police officers of our cities and corporations. Now, sir Confederacy will you please to inform me what remains of the boasted sovereignty of the States? Do not reply by saying that you have not enrolled the militia officers; you claim the right to do it, and may undertake it at any time. God forbid that the rights, honor, and the existence itself of the State should rest only upon the grace and mercy of a bureau of conscription. The rights of the State certainly rest upon a more solid basis that this. You also say that there are no means short of supernatural power by which you can know of the officers and employees of the State, to which my letter to Colonel August referred, outside of the law. That may be; in fact, I do not know that it is required of you to know what officers are necessary to the ordinary operations of the State government; but it is certainly business of the chief magistrate of the State to know, and it is especially his duty under the constitution to see that they are not interfered with in the discharge of their appropriate functions. I cannot, therefore, recede from the position before assumed, that it is my duty to resist the conscription of all State officers and gents whose services are necessary to the proper and due administration of the affairs of this State, and of which necessity her authorities must, of course, be the judge. Neither can this claim, plain and obvious as it is, be permitted to rest upon the grace of Congress as exemplified in the exemption bill, or the discretion good will of those intrusted with the execution of the law, but upon those higher and inalienable rights whi of our Government are deemed inherent in and inseparable from the sovereign character of the State. If it is the intention of the Confederate authorities to carry the execution of the law of conscription beyond this, I should be glad to be so informed at as early a day as possible. This city is to be stripped of its police officers to-morrow, and the magistrates of many of the counties are already ordered into camp, and I desire the question settled.

Assuring you of my desire that harmony may continue to exist as heretofore, and of my great desire to assist in attaining our independence by every possible means in the power of the State of North Carolina consistent with the preservation of liberty itself.

I am, general, very sincerely and respectfully, yours,

Z. B. VANCE.

GENERAL ORDERS
ADJT. AND INSP. GENERAL'S OFFICE, No. 34. Richmond, April 1, 1863.

I. The attention of commanding and other officers is called to the act of Congress of April 21, 1862, as published in General Orders,


Page 466 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 4, vol 2, Part 1 (Blockade Runners)
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