speculator. He was arrested and sent to camp by the enrolling officer of Marion County. He acknowledged to me that he was caught, and offered to pay, through me, into the Confederate Treasury $1,000 a month for a furlough for twelve months. He afterward sued out a writ of habeas corpus before Judge Gray. I employed an eminent member of the bar to represent the Government, and instructed the enrolling officer to learn and advise my counsel of the time and place at which the case would be heard. The counsel for the applicant misled the enrolling officer as to the day, and the petitioner was discharged upon an ex parte hearing. The counsel whom I had employed then requested Judges Hill and Gray to notify him, as he informed me, of all similar cases that might come before them, as he was engaged in them for the Government; notwithstanding which, Judge Gray, soon after, without notice to the counsel, discharged two citizens of Davis County on the ground that they had employed substitutes under eighteen years of age, although the substitutes had attained the age of eighteen. I am informed that notwithstanding the court for the county when these last cases were heard was in session, they were tried not in the open court, but at chambers, without the knowledge of the counsel whom I had employed, although he was in attendance upon the court.
I think these decisions will suffice to show that there must be some check on the judiciary. I know not how many discharges these judges have granted, but I am reliably informed that Judge Gray has granted seven from one county, and if either of them has ever refused to discharge I have not heard of it.
Before concluding this subject, I hope to be pardoned for doing a simple act of justice to the Honorable Charles A. Fraser, judge of the sixth judicial district, who, while he pays the utmost respect to the laws, allows no man to escape duty from false notions of mercy or sympathy, or any grounds excepting those that are strictly legal.
Now, what is the remedy for such abuses as I have mentioned! I can think of but one, and that is the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus and the declaration of military or martial law.
If the acts of the judiciary are not alone sufficient to justify such a measure, then I would suggest that there are other evils in this department which ought to be remedied and can only be reached by it. These are the rampant spirit of speculation, the depreciation and repudiation of Confederate currency, and the disposition to evade wholesome and necessary laws by refusing to raise and produce supplies for the use o the people and army.
In conclusion, permit me to say that this department is threatened from all quarters, and is confessedly in imminent peril. Severe and extreme measures, in my opinion, alone can save it. The good and loyal will cheerfully submit to and abide by them,and the unpatriotic and disloyal should be forced to feel their effects.
I have the honor to be, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Brigadier General, Commandant Conscripts, Dept. of Trans- Mississippi.
HOUSTON, December 8, 1863.
CAPTAIN: I forward dispatches by hand car. Your orders, &c., from Victoria only reached here at midnight the 7th instant, and those from Rugeley's of yesterday at 8 this a. m. General Slaughter having gone to