the 10th of August, 1863," and that 'statements and arguments then presented are now renewed, as if they had not heretofore been fully explained and refuted." Yet it appears in the very report in which he objects to my renewal of these complaints that the enrollment of 1864 corrected errors in the enrollment of 1863, in the eight districts of New York and Brooklyn, amounting in the aggregate to 7,221 men.
He states that this "excess of the quota under calls of October 17, 1863, and February 1, 1864, for 500,000 men, over call of July 18, 1864, for the same number of men, was 7,221. This excess resulting from the fact, the enrollment has been reduced since last year by revision and corrections." In one district alone the correction amounts to 2,338, or 36 1/2 per cent.
What can show more clearly the justice of the complaints made by me in 1863, when there was the great excess over the excessive enrollments to which I now object?
I am confident you will agree with me that it was my duty to call your attention to the results of these enrollments, with a view to their correction. All that I asked was that an investigation should be had for the purpose of learning if these errors existed in fact.
It is admitted by all paries that errors should be corrected, and that they may exist, for the boards of enrollment in the several Congressional districts are directed to correct these lists in the manner pointed out in your answer to my letter.
The whole question then in narrowed down to this: In what way should the errors be corrected? The objection of the Solicitor of the War Department to the legality of the method proposed by me applies as well to any other plan, for the act of Congress does not point out the methods by which this shall be done.
The Solicitor says:
When the time comes for calling out the forces of the respective districts the enrollments thereof which have been previously subject to correction must be taken as the basis for ascertaining and assigning the quotas. This is the positive requirements of the acts of Congress.
No one objects to this. The question is simply how shall the corrections be made? This is left for you to decide. If it is not, the plan upon which you propose to act is equally illegal. Which, then, is the most practicable and equitable mode of making the corrections?
I object to the Board of Enrollment, for we see that there as a pride of opinion which disinclines officials to correct their own errors. Neither is there force in the objection that the commission would operate "to delay strengthening the armies now in the field," &c. On the contrary, such commission could act with more vigor and celerity than the boards of enrollment, which are overburdened with other duties.
The mode of correction proposed in your answer is not applicable to cities like New York and Brooklyn.
It is in all cases somewhat difficult to prove a negative, and that peculiar individuals do not live in a town or district. In a large city where the inhabitants are strangers to each other, though living in close proximity, where the population is shifting and where there is a daily influx of strangers, it is almost impossible to show that names are improperly upon the enrollment, when perhaps they represent persons who do not exist or those living in other sections of the country who have no interest in pointing out such errors, and the result will show that the Board of Enrollment will do little toward correcting the ges upon which the quota is