SEC. 4. And be it further enacted, That all questions of non- liability to enrollment and draft, on account of unsuitableness of age or non-residence, shall be determined prior to draft, and boards of enrollment will not hereafter grant exemptions to drafted men on the ground of non-residence or being under or over age.
It was not proposed, in case these amendments had been adopted, to abandon the system pursued under the present law, but to retain so much of the old system as might be necessary to the full success of the new.
The total expenses arising under the enrollment act would be reduced at least two-thirds by the method suggested above.
When once in operation it would be more satisfactory to the people, as the main source of hardship under the present system is not in taking by lot those properly subject to military duty, but in the necessity imposed on the Bureau of drafting and dealing with those who are not fit for nor liable to duty. Under the plan proposed all this class would, at their leisure before the draft, secure certificates which would prevent their being disturbed.
It has been stated that the population was taken as the basis in settling the accounts of the different States for troops raised prior to the passage of the enrollment act in March, 1863. The apportionments so made resulted in inequality in the distribution of the calls for troops in consequence of the great disparity among the different States in the proportion of males fit for military duty included in their respective populations. It has been contended by some persons, even since the enrollment was made, and especially by a board which convened in New York City in 1864, that population is the only safe and proper basis for distributing the Government's demands for volunteers. This view is based on the theory that a call for troops is a money-tax upon the States and communities, that men can only be obtained by means of large bounties, and that States and communities acting upon this theory compel, by a direct tax for the same purpose, and hence, that representative population is the constitutional basis for an equitable apportionment of quotas. The public interest would be seriously injured by the adoption of this theory. it is unsound and cannot be relied on to meet the necessities of a great war. Its practical application would demoralize the military spirit of the people and exhaust the finances of the country. The true principles are embodied in the enrollment acts, namely, that the country must look to its citizens for its safety and honor; that when engaged in war, military service may be rightfully required of every male citizen of proper age and suitable physical and mental condition; that the number of men to be taken at any one time from a community, whether they go voluntarily or by draft, shall be in proportion to the number of men liable to military duty in that community, and not to the number of its residents, including men, women, and children. Some statistical information on this subject may be found in the following table: