The reasons I need not detail. Let me, however, suggest one. In case of large pay it causes a certain class of men to seek exemption on their own account, spraining to reach beyond the age, to be regarded as mechanics, &c. Again, it causes men who are liable to be ever on the search to find some man to take their place, and therefore never become imbued with the spirit of the soldier nor buckle on the harness for regular duty. A bill nearly abolishing the whole system did pass the Senate but was lost in the House by having been foolishly and unconstitutionally linked with another measure. I shall offer to abolish it in toto, and wish you could give it the benefit of your recommendation.
How is it that such number of paroled men are traveling all over the country, to their homes and otherwise? Not a tithe of them will ever again be heard of. Mere general orders that they shall report at some place amount to nothing. If permitted to scatter at all, orders never reach them; of published in a few smoothed lines in small type in the corner of a newspaper, a reading man may read the sheet and never see the order. But not even the paper ever falls into the hands of one in a thousand for whom it was intended; and when once sheltered in the coves and mountains of the country or lost in the general population they are gone forever. A man has but to say he is a paroled soldier and the question is settled. Paroled men ought never to be permitted to go at large, if I may use the term. Each army ought to have a camp or place where they are required to report, and no such soldier be permitted to travel without arrest, except in going to such camp. I don't know exactly how the ready is to be applied, but I assure you the evil is a great one. Give it your attention.
There was a most important financial measure passed unanimously by the Senate last session, which I had supposed also passed the House, but certain facts have suggested a doubt. It proposed to the State to issue their bonds, sell them for confederate notes, and to invest the notes so obtained in Confederate bonds. It is the most safe, certain, and prompt means of retiring a portion of our circulation that has been suggested. I have never heard it submitted to an intelligent mind that did not at once hardily approve it. If properly pressed upon and explained to the respective Legislatures I am satisfied the scheme would be adopted. The Legislature was in session in Montgomery, and I inquired whether the measure had been brought to its attention by the members advised of the existence of such a law. Governor Shorter informed me he had received no communication from yourself on the subject. The Governors of Georgia and North Carolina make no reference to such a law, and I must therefore suppose the act did not pass. Did it or not? Advise me by telegraph at Jackson. The Assembly convenes on the 17th, and I desire to be there.
The Alabama Legislature passed an act declaring militia officers liable to conscription under the Confederate laws. I urged the passage of a similar act in relation to justices of the peace, &c. Several leading men agreed to try and do so, but I am not informed as to the result. Ought not every State to pass such an act?
The number and character of men scattered through the country and army, and in some way connected with it, but without guns in their hands, is a subject of severe criticism and of loud complaint. Young men in groups are "hangers-on" around every officer of any rank, doing nothing but exciting discontent among the working soldiery, whilst every sort of office, great and small, is filled with such vermin. It seems as if nine tenths of the youngsters of the land whose relatives are con-