justify, as you hope, the abandonment of it; that don"t seem to me to be the best two to meet the case. I have no doubt there is bribery and corruption among the surgeons, but again I regret to differ with you as to this. I don"t think we should make a change in all surgeons, if not in most of "the officers." Many of the surgeons are gentleman of honesty, industry, and professional ability, and to disgrace them because there are rogues in similar offices would be an act of injustice which it would be difficult to justify. The abuses complained of in the first part of your letter, as noted above, result, according to your view, from guilty practices on the part of the surgeons, and to their dishonesty or inefficiency you attribute the farcical result, as you term it, of the draft; but in the after part of the letter you attribute the same result to the fact that my regulations are too strict as to the physical qualifications for soldiers. If the first proposition is correct, that the surgeons are open to bribery, I don"t see that the physical conditions the men are to fulfill are of much consequence in the matter. In relation to these rules for physical fitness, I several weeks ago received and answered a letter from you. The views therein expressed have since been confirmed. This question has two sides. On the one stands the whole medical faculty and military experience of Europe and America, and on the other (without intending the slightest disrespect by this mode of stating the case) stand yourself and perhaps a few other individuals of undoubted learning, but not professors of medical or military science.
Since your first letter, previously alluded to herein, the rules which you criticism have been submitted to eminent civil surgeons in different parts of the United States to know whether the list of disqualifying causes could be reduced. The result of this reference leads decidedly to the belief that the list is now too small. What propierty, theere be in my making rules to force into the seaw requiring "able-bodied men," [men] whom the medical and military profession assert are not "able-bodied?" The thing looks to me too plain for discussion; but I know your interest in the Government, and in this particular law, and therefore I wish to go frankly over the ground with you, as your action on this subjects is likely to produce lasting results. I don"t think you are correct in your assertion that not one-fourth of the Army of the Potomac would pass the physical examination required; but if you are, that does not prove that we should take other men who are no better.
You say that "little sickly fellows who can bear nothing are taken," and "great big fellows who can do work of the hardest kind are let off." If this be so, it indicates an abuse which we should try to correct, though it cannot be properly inferred because a fellow is big and can do hard work that he is necessarily fit for military duty. I beg that you will give me the particulars in regard to this abuse, that I may endeavor to correct it. I also earnestly request that you will give me particulars connected with the case in Maine which you cite, where a drafted man paid a lawyer $150 to get off, and where the lawyer admits taking the money. Please give names, &c.
The officers appointed under this act were, with very few exceptions, appointed on the recommendations of politicians friendly to the Government and interested in the success of this measure; and if your statement be correct, that they are enacting a "disgraceful farce" an 'sinking the Government down beneath contempt," there is certainly cause for serious reflection. Again, on this point, I beg that you will give me such information as will enable me to take some steps toward