War of the Rebellion: Serial 124 Page 0695 UNION AUTHORITIES.

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is rendered more difficult. Its object will probably be best secured by holding, as suggested, that in such cases the income which furnishes the support must be mainly derived from the personal labor of the son. If, for example, the son be a merchant or manufacturer, whose business, under his personal superintendence, yields him an annual revenue of $10,000-and such personal superintendence could not be estimated as worth more than $3,000 per annum-it could not be said, in the sense of the law, that his labor yielded the income to which his parent looks for support. It is, it is true, an element in the production, but not a preponderating one. A test may be found in an answer to the question, whether, if the son's personal labor were withdrawn by calling him to the military service, a support for the parent or widow would remain. If it would-and in the case supposed it would, since his superintendence could be supplied, and the productive capability of his capital would remain-then the claim to exemption cannot be allowed.

JAMES B. FRY,

Provost-Marshal-General.

JUDGE-ADVOCATE-GENERAL'S OFFICE,

August 20, 1863.

Honorable E. M. STANTON,

Secretary of War:

SIR: I had ready and carefully considered the letter of Honorable Hugh L. Bond addressed to yourself, under date of the 15th instant, and mainly concur in his views, which are certainly presented with much force.

The right of the Government to employ, for the suppression of the rebellion, persons of African descent held to service or labor under the local laws, rests firmly on two district grounds. First, as property. Both our organic law and the usages of our institutions under it recognize fully the authority of the Government to seize and apply to public use private property on making compensation therefor. What the use may be to which it is applied does not enter into the question of the right to make the seizure, which is untrammeled in its exercise save by the single condition mentioned. Secondly, as persons. While those of African descent held to service or labor in several of the States occupy under the laws of such States the status of property, they occupy also under the Federal Government the status of persons. The are referred to eon nomine in the Constitution of the United States, and it is not as property but as persons that they are represented on the floor of Congress, and thus form a prominent constituent element alike in the organization and in the practical administration of the Government.

The obligation of all persons, irrespective of creed or color, to bear arms, if physically capable of doing so, in defense of the Government under which they live and by which they are protected, is one that is universally acknowledged and enforced. Corresponding to this obligation is the duty resting on those charged with the administration of the Government to employ such persons in the military service whenever the public safety may demand it. Congress recognized both this obligation on the one hand and this duty on the other, when by the twelfth section of the act of July 17, 1862, it was enacted that-

The President be, and he is hereby, authorized to receive into the service of the United States, for the purpose of constructing entrenchments, or performing camp service, or any other labor or any military or naval service for which they may be found competent, persons of African descent, and such persons shall be enrolled and organized under such regulations, not inconsistent with the Constitution and laws, as the President may prescribe.