Little Rock, September 30, 1861.
Honorable SECRETARY OF WAR of the Confederate States:
SIR: In accordance with suggestions contained in a communication addressed to me by your predecessor, bearing date the 5th instant, I issued a proclamation calling for five regiments of men designed for General McCulloch's command, and so informed the general, a copy of the letter addressed to him being inclosed to your Department.
On the 10th instant a proclamation was also issued by General McCulloch calling for 15,000 men from the State of Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas-a printed copy herewith transmitted*-the 5,000 from Louisiana to be rendezvoused at the capital of this government, whether organized or to be assembled here as a mass of individuals I have not been apprised. The authorities of Arkansas were neither consulted as to the property of making this call nor advised in any manner that such was the purpose of the general.
To all demands made upon me by the Confederate Government I have therefore and shall continued to comply with as a constitutional duty, besides the personal gratification it affords of being able to minister something to the great cause in which we are all engaged. To the gallantry and patriotism of General McCulloch none can accord higher admiration than myself; nevertheless, I esteem it ot be my duty, as the executive of this State, irrespective of considerations personal to myself, to express my disapproval of the attitude assigned the authorities of this government and that assumed for Confederate officers in the proclamation alluded to. May idea of the rights relatively belonging to the States and to the Confederate Government is that those pertaining to the former were by no means abridged by the withdrawal from the old Confederacy an a union with the new Government, but that all theretofore claimed upon the most liberal construction were conceded, both upon policy and principle.
The history of the United States, I believe, furnishes no precedent for the raising of men by proclamation emanating from generals commanding nor from the President. If such had been law or precedent, the intervention of State authority would doubtless have been dispensed with by Mr. Lincoln in his demand for troops from Arkansas. Such, fortunately, was not the practice or the law; and with all deference I submit that no example by authority ought to mar the next sheet of Confederate history.
I am aware that, by an act of the Provisional Congress, approved 28th February last, the President is authorized to receive into the service of the Government such forces then in the service of the States as might be tendered, "or who may volunteer by consent of their State," meaning its authorities; but I am unadvised if legislation has trenched so far upon State prerogative as to authorize the calling of troops by any but State authority, and shall, if such is the law, reluctantly yield my assent to so serious an innovation upon State rights.
But, apart form policy and law, the practice is attended with discordant effort, confusion, contrariety of opinion, unsatisfactory results, and great waste and improvidence in expending the resources of the country. For instance, if the men called for by General McCulloch are raised by him, those assembled by my proclamation, after great expense to the State and sacrifice to the citizen, will be useless, and have to be disbanded. Again, if General McCulloch may issue procla-
*See p. 700.