proved, I think it policy to choose some clear complaints to first pursue to judgment. But nothing has been further from my views than to omit applying for a warrant of arrest in any case under this law where an affidavit can be made sufficiently strong to induce a commissioner to issue it. And even in a case of a mere refusal to give a name, I should press it upon the commissioner and court whenever the enrolling officer should regard the evil as requiring such action.
I am satisfied that this abstract doubt of the breadth of the 25th section has been placed in connection with a case brought before one of my assistants on Saturday and has tousled to a misunderstanding. In that case there was an absence of testimony of any offense, and both the deputy provost-marshal and my assistant agreed that it would be unwise to prosecute.
That there may be no misunderstanding hereafter, I have instructed my assistants to refuse action in no case under this act without a personal reference to me, and I am always in my office unless actually engaged in court.
That the courts of the country have not always done their duty in this war is true. But the Honorable Secretary of War has furnished me, in a letter which I value, with evidence that he does not regard me as a civil officer who has done nothing to aid him. He will remember my extra-judicial action in the matter of prize munitions of war, for which he gave me a marked testimonial of thanks, and my prosecutions against those aiding desertion and other acts affecting the efficiency of the military and naval service, to say nothing of proceedings for frauds upon the departments, have been instituted and pursued with pertinacity, even under discouraging circumstances. Cases of this character have been pressed by me often far beyond what the commissioners have regarded as warranted by the testimony.
I hope the Secretary will refer the Provost-Marshal-General and his subordinates to me personally, with my assurance of the mistake under which they have fallen with respect to my action.
I am, sir, with great respect, your obedient servant,
E. DELAFIELD SMITH,
U. S. District Attorney.
MY DEAR SECRETARY: I send you the letter of the district attorney of New York, which makes all right. I saw the marshal also.
WM. H. SEWARD,
ACTG. ASST. PROVOST-MARSHAL GENERAL'S OFFICE,
Madison, Wis., June 2, 1863.
Colonel JAMES B. FRY,
Provost-Marshal-General, Washington, D. C.:
COLONEL: I have the honor to report that I returned this morning from Milwaukee.
Yesterday and the evening before I had a conference with General Pope, his honor the mayor of the city, and a number of the most prominent citizens of the place in relation to the resistance threatened by the lower classes toward the enrolling agents while in the performance of their duties.
The mayor seems confident that he can maintain the peace with his police force, and he, as well as all the gentlemen I conversed with,