The system of making all payments in one office has been found, after an experience of three years, to possess decided advantages over that of making payments through the medium of disbursing officers stationed at different points throughout the country. Some of the advantages which the practical administration of the system has shown may be enumerated as follows:
First. It secures greater expedition, for the reason that a large proportion of the claims are for contingent expenditures, and which it would be necessary to refer to the Bureau for approval before paying, and so incurring unnecessary delay.
Second. It is more economical it being well understood that the reduction of any of the forms of labor to a specially secures not only superior results, but the greatest possible saving.
Third. It is more equitable to the parties in interest, for by the consolidation of all payments in one office al precedents and other evidence upon which to base a decision are within immediate reach, to the full extent of its financial operations, thus securing uniformity and correctness of action.
Section 13 of the act of enrolling and calling out the national forces, and for other purposes, approved March 3, 1863, provided that "any person drafted and notified to appear * * * may pay to such person as the Secretary of War may authorize to receive it, a sum for the procuration of a substitute, not exceeding three hundred dollars," and this maximum sum was accordingly fixed as the amount of commutation money to be paid by a drafted man to secure exemption form military service.
In order to avoid the large expense of making special appointments of persons to receive this money, the collectors of internal revenue were directed, in addition to their other duties, to act as "receivers of commutation money," subject to such instructions as might be prescribed by the Provost-Marshal- General.
The whole amount of commutation money received up to January 1, 1866, was $26,366,616.78.
The whole expense of collecting these twenty-six millions of commutation money was the comparatively trifling sum of $176,758.37, or less than seven-tenths of 1 per cent. This includes all incidental expenses and the percentage paid receivers on the sums received, the latter being graduated as follows:
On the first $10,000, 2 1/2 per cent.; on the next $15,000, 2 per cent.; on the second $25,000, 1 per cent.; on the third $25,000 one-fourth of 1 per cent.; on all sums above $100,000, one-third of 1 per cent.
By the last clause of section 2, act approved July 4, 1864, the payment of commutation money, except by "non-combatants," was abolished, each able-bodied drafted man being required to serve in person or furnish acceptable substitute.
The persons known as "non-combatants," and further described in section 10 of the act first mentioned, were exempted on payment of $300, which money, amounting in the aggregate to $463,987.53, was deposited to the credit of the fund for 'sick and wounded soldiers."
There is no commutation money remaining in the hands of receivers, all such funds having been deposited in the U. S. Treasury,and the accounts closed.