ject: (1) What journals shall be distributed in the army; and (2) by whom and upon what terms shall these journals be sold?
The first question is in a manner political and for the solution of which I am free to say I do not feel myself competent to decide from ignorance of the character of individual journals. It is one of great delicacy, and involving important questions touching the liberty of the press, and the rights of individuals, which it seems to me should be settled by higher and more competent authority than the commanding general of an army.
If left to my decision, I shall feel myself bound to be governed by the action of the Government with reference to other classes of citizens and to decide that if the Government permit the publication and distribution of a journal among the citizens of the locality where it is published that I have no right to deny the soldiers the same privilege which is acceded to their fellow-citizens at home. This, of course, is a very broad ground, and allows the circulation of all published journals. To adopt a different course, however, would be to virtually establish in this army a censorship of the press, which, as I remarked before, is impracticable for want of proper knowledge of the subject.
Having decided what journals should be circulated, the question next arrises, By what mode shall their circulation be regulated and sanctioned? You are aware that several methods have been adopted, and in succession abandoned as open to objections; among them one now proposed by Mr. Clark, in the letter referred to me, which is, that each journal should be represented by its own agent. The principal objection to this system is that it multiplies indefinitely the number of agents, and that it would be a constantly recurring question as to who should be the designated agent, unless, as Mr. Clark averes, he should be honored with teh agency of the principal journals, which, so far as I can see, would then be establishing as much of a monopoly as now exists-only the monopoly would be in Mr. Clark's hands, and inure to the benefit of himself and friends, and not as now to the fund devoted to alleviating the sufferings of our sick and wounded.
It was the difficulty of deciding what journals should have agents, and the trouble of regulating and supervising so many different persons, which induced me predecessor, after much deliberation and as I sincerely believe with an earnest desire to do justice to all parties, to adopt the present system, which was to give the agency for the whole army to one individual requiring him to furnish such papers as are called for at a stipulated price, and, in order that al interested might have an opportunity to secure the position, it was determined to give it to the highest bidder, the proceeds of the contract to be turned over to the medical director to be expended for the the benefit of the hospitals.
So far as I can judge from the examination I have made, this system has up to this time worked satisfactorily. I have heard no complaint of the character of Mr. Clark except a letter received from the proprietor of the Daily Chronicle, in Washington who averred that, owing to the cheapness of other journals, the agent did not procure as many of his papers as the officers and soldiers desired.
In regard to Mr. Clark's complaint as well as his allegations against the character of the present agent, I beg leave to say whenever he substantiates either, by proper evidence and facts before the provost-marshal-general, the evils complained of will be immediately cor-