Your memorialist also respectfully represents that nothing but clear evidence of disloyalty would justify assessment, and that where such evidence exists the party so proved guilty should not be permitted to remain in the community without coming under bonds, and in extreme cases should be required to go "beyond the lines." To keep such persons here, especially after they have been exasperated by fines and held up to public contempt, is dangerous to the public peace, and gives the most favorable opportunity for treasonable practice. The great object in view is to free the community from all who are determined to promote disorder, and to give every encouragement to those who remain to fulfill the duties of loyalty and good citizenship. The doubtful should be brought back if possible; the wavering should be confirmed, and a door opened for the return of those who see the error of the past. The wise and energetic measures taken in this State the last six months, and since the assessment was ordered, have wrought a great change in these respects. The hope of disturbing the status of Missouri is well nigh abandoned, and hundreds of those who until lately have scarcely known their own minds are now openly avowing themselves on the right side. Enlightened policy, as well as the liberality of justice, dictates that where such avowal is seemingly made in good faith, and where no overt act has been committed, the retribution of the past should be foregone. Social quiet, the peace of neighborhoods, and returning homogeneousness of feeling should be encouraged by all practicable means, and by such methods of action the cause of loyalty is best strengthened. The bitterness of feeling likely to be engendered by the progressing will renew the personal hostilities which were beginning to disappear, and, thus fanned, the secession element will refuse to die. Your memorialist, therefore, respectfully petitions that you will use your influence, Governor Gamble, with the commanding general and with the authorities at Washington that the proceedings in assessment be stayed at least until other methods of obtaining the funds required by the State shall first have been tried. Perhaps, if the case were fully presented before Congress, the just demand of the State would be met, and the payment of our State militia in defense of the common cause would be made. If not, a special tax by the State Legislature would be a preferable plan to now adopted; and if unavoidable, after failure of other methods, the assessment could then be enforced as a last resort. But it is the opinion of your memorialist that under anything but Congressional authority and judicial action such assessment would only amount to a forced loan, for which reclamation would eventually be made and sustained.
All of which is most respectfully submitted, Governor Gamble, to you favorable consideration by your obedient servant,
W. G. ELIOT.
This communication of Rev Dr. Eliot is sent to General Curtis, with a request that he will bestow upon it very careful consideration, as it is upon a subject now of deep interest to the community.
H. R. GAMBLE.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE MISSOURI,
Saint Louis, December 9, 1862.
I have carefully read this communication of the Rev. Dr. Eliot, and considered the grave questions involved.
An order was issued by General Schofield, commanding the District