able to find an easy remedy for many of the inconveniences and evils which constantly embarrass those engaged in the practical administration of them. Since the organization of the Government Congress has enacted some 5,000 acts and joint resolu0 closely printed pages and are scattered through many volumes. Many of these acts have been drawn in haste and without sufficient caution, so that their provisions are often obscure in themselves or in conflict with each other provisions are often obscure in themselves or in conflict with each other, or at least so doubtful as to render it very difficult for even the best- informed persons to ascertain precisely what the statute law really is.
It seems to me very important that the statute laws should be made as plain and intelligible as possible, and be reduced to as small a compass as may consist with the fullness and precision of the will of the Legislature and the perspicuity of this language. This, well done, would, I think, greatly facilitate the labors of those whose duty it is to assist in the administration of the laws, and would be a lasting benefit to the people, by placing before them, in a more accessible and intelligible form, the laws which so deeply concern their interests and their duties.
I am informed by some whose opinions I respect that all the acts of Congress now in force, and of a permanent and general nature, might be revised and rewritten so as to be embraced in one volume (or at most, two volumes) of ordinary and convenient size; and I respectfully recommend to Congress to consider of the subject, and if my suggestion be approved, to devise such plan as to their wisdom shall seem most proper for the attainment of the end proposed.
One of the unavoidable consequences of the present insurrection is the entire suppression, in many places, of all the ordinary means of administering civil justice by the officers and in the forms of existing law. This is the case, in whole or in part, in all the insurgent States; and as our armies advance upon and take possession of parts of those States the practical evil becomes more apparent. There are no courts nor officers to whom the citizens of other States may apply for the enforcement of their lawful claims against citizens of the insurgent States, and there is a vast amount of debt constituting such claims. Some have estimated it as high as $200,000,000, due in large part from insurgents, in open rebellion, to loyal citizens, who are even now making great sacrifices in the discharge of their patriotic duty to support the Government.
Under these circumstances, I have been urgently solicited to establish, by military power, courts to administer summary justice in such ca far declined to do it, not because I had any doubt that the end proposed-the collection of the debts-was just and right in itself, but because I have been unwilling to go beyond the pressure of necessity in the unusual exercise of power; but the powers of Congress, I suppose, are equal to the anomalous occasion, and therefore I refer the whole matter to Congress, with the hope that a plan may e devised for the administration of justice in all such parts of the insurgent States and Territories as may be under the control of this Government, whether by a voluntary return to allegiance and order or by the power of our arms; this, however, not to be a permanent institution, but a temporary substitute, and to cease as soon as the ordinary courts can be re-established in peace.
It is important that some more convenient means should be provided, if possible, for the adjustment of claims against the Government, especially in views of their increased number by reason of the war. It is as