The poor brothers released by this order, and indeed all of us, will forever be grateful to Your Excellency for this favor. I had no doubt the same would hold good also for the impending draft, because it was expressed in general terms, specifying no number or time, and was coming from the highest authority in this county, and the very same reasons for which it was granted existing yet. However, I am told that the new conscription law made it void, and therefore I am compelled by duty and necessity to you for protection, so much more as this time not only the brothers but also the priests and clergymen have been enrolled. Your well-know benevolence admits of no doubt that you would again help us, and certainly if you will you can do it.
Permit me, dear sir, to give you some reasons, which I trust will justify this humble petition:
First. I cannot believe that the law intends to press clergymen (of any denomination or religion) into military service, because as a general matter these men are very warlike indeed if the fight has to be done with their tongues or pens, but otherwise they keep at a good distance from danger, and what should the Government gain if some hundred cowards were in the Army? Then, if it had been the intention of the law to press us in the Army, it would not permit us to evade the draft by paying $300; and it is my firm believe you won"t catch a single priest or preacher or minister of the Gospel, unless he could not afford paying.
This admitted, I can see no reason why the highest Executive could not let escape such whom the law did not intend to reach, and, consequently, I do think you can again grant us exemption; for whether we range under the warlike or under the cowards, we are not fit men for military service.
Second. Those learned men in Congress cannot well have been ignorant of the fact that nowhere and at no time among civilized nations ever a law existed by which clergymen or monks had been obliged to go to war. Indeed, in the middle ages we find sometimes bishops and abbots in war, but not in their clerical capacity, and only if they held lands from a sovereign. Congress, therefore, could not well have passed a law that is in contradiction with the feelings of the whole world; and this confirms me again in my belief that they did not intend to touch the persons of the clergy, but only their purse.
Third. If the law with regard to the clergy of all denominations does not intend to press them into the Army and to take them away from the pulpit and the altar, and if it be satisfied if they ransom themselves for a certain sum of money has already been spent for the benefit of the country orhe draft. I mean to say if I had given last year all my fortune, say some thousand dollars, for charitable or religious purposes, no expecting or suspecting that I ever as a clergyman could be drafted, and if, nevertheless, I would now be drafted and had to go to war because I had not so much money any more to pay for my exemption, should the fact that I had given all my fortune for the best of the country not deserve any regard, and excuse me from the paying of the $300?
President, this is in fact the case with me. I am a good many years now living in this county. No necessity compelled me to emigrate; it was my own good and free will. I came to devote all I was and all I had to the moral and material aid of my countrymen. I had nineteen men with me when I arrived here, and a good many