While I do not object to legitimate criticism or to any animadversion that the public journals may see proper to indulge in, so long as their tendency is not calculated to embarrass the Government in administering the law, yet I cannot believe that the article referred to came under your observation, or that it reflects your opinion upon the subject discussed.
The points made by the writer are that I have so interpreted the law and the proclamation of the President as to require the different localities to furnish in the aggregate more men than the President has called for, and that I have deprived such localities as are in excess under the last call of the benefit to which on that account they are entitled under the law.
To this I reply briefly as follows:
By reference to the act of Congress under which the call of December 19 was made (and here let me say that the date of that call is properly given in my letter of the 1st instant and correctly stated in the Tribune as being of the 20th of December), it will be observed that the "President of the United States may, at his discretion, at any time hereafter, call for any number of men as volunteers."
There is no question, then, that the President has authority to call for 300,000 men in addition to those furnished up to the date of the call if, in his opinion, that number of men is required, in which case the call would not be reduced by men previously furnished, but the amount of surplus which any locality had over its former quota would be considered in determining the number it ought to furnish under the call for 300,000, and such has been the rule adopted in the present instance.
The only difference between the Tribune and myself is, that while I maintain that the President has called for 300,000 men, the Tribune alleges that it is a call for one-third of that number, in the event that the surplus under the call of July 18 amounts to 200,000. The number of men required is to be determined by the President. It is my duty to apportion the required number equitably among the several districts in accordance with the law, and to obtain as nearly as practicable the required number of men. In the present instance the President has determined, as I understand him, that the Army requires a re-enforcement of 300,000 men, and has issued his proclamation accordingly.
When the call of July 18 was made it seems to have been known to the President that different States were in excess under previous calls, and that certain credits would be allowed for naval enlistments not previously authorized, all of which it was supposed would amount to about 200,000, and in order to obtain 300,000 men in addition to what had been previously furnished, the call was made for 500,000, with a provision (see the proclamation herewith*) that it was to be reduced by the 200,000 credits, or whatever their number should prove to be.
There would be no practical difference in the methods provided it were possible to determine correctly the claims presented for previous enlistments. There is perhaps no subject connected with the business of this Bureau that has occupied more time and attention than the examination of the multiplicity of applications for credit under the call of July 18, embracing every variety and phase of fraud, perjury, and corruption. Under the present system this will be avoided. No credits are permitted to reduce the call except for men put in service since the date of the call, and the Army will be strengthened by the