per cent. at the close of the second year, the result would hf the act, that 1,600 one-year's men would have been taken as the equivalent of 1,000 three-years" men.
Unfortunately the heads of bureaus to whom the matter seems to have been intrusted began by falling into a strange misconstruction of the act. They did, in effect, strike from the twelfth section the phrases "period of their service" and "time of their service" and insert in lieu thereof the phrase "term of their enlistment", and then proceeded to apportion credits by multiplying the number of men furnished from a district by the number of years for which they were enlisted. Calculations made on this basis were, of course, most extravagant, and the people everywhere felt that somehow injustice was being done.
In the attempt to soften this, numerous and contradictory orders have been issued from the Provost-Marshal-General's Office, and long essays by himself and others have been in vain published to explain and justify their action. In fact, as soon as they get beyond the morally certain limit of the actual service of the man their calculation has no longer a practical basis. Its principle carried to a legitimate extreme would justify the enlistment of one man for 50,000 years, and crediting him as the whole quota of the State, with a small excess. Surely any reasonable men can say for himself whether he has found that getting one pair of boots for three years is practically equivalent to getting three pairs of boots for one year. The visionary character of the system in which they have proceeded cannot be better illustrated than by the result at which they have arrived on the present occasion. The quota of Pennsylvania on the last call was announced to be 61, 700; her quota to make up deficiencies under that call was announced to be 66,999 men. On the 24th instant it was announced that the quota of the Western District had, on revision, been fixed at 22,543, which would make that of the whole State about 44,000, and later on the same day it was further announced that the quota of the Western District was 25,512 and that of the whole State 49,583, all these changes being caused by no intervening circumstances that I am aware of. In fact, our quota on the last call was filled, and there can ben no deficiency to be now supplied. Their plan is unjust to the districts and to the Government. It wholly ignores the losses of men by desertion, sickness, death, and casualties. The losses from most of these causes are greater during the first year of service than afterward.
A town which has furnished 3,000 men for one year has probably lost three-fifths of them from these causes before the expiration of the term.
Another equal town which has furnished 1,000 men for three years may before the expiration of that time lose seventeen-twentieths of them.
The first town will thus have given 1,600 men to the country, the second but 850. There is no equality in this. The exhaustion of the industrial population of the two towns is in very unequal proportions. As to the Government, the Government has in the first case the actual service during the whole year 1,400 men; in the second case the actual service, say, 400 men during the whole first year, of probably not more than 200 during the whole second year, and say 150 men at most during the whole third year. Besides, the amount of service that may be required promptly is to be considered and not merely the agreed term of service. At the late storming of Fort