If the forced voluntary expulsion of air from the lungs and the free and forced inspiration could be obtained, these measurements would show much nearer than now the true mobility of the chest. But it is not possible in the dispatch of business to obtain full consent by making the subject understand the object, it being to them a species of novelty. Therefore forcible expiration has not been insisted upon, and the inspirations have not in all cases been satisfactorily forced.
The frauds most to be guarded against as practiced by enrolled and drafted men, to escape service, are those sustaining claims of insanity, imbecility, general physical disability, and deafness.
These are generally subjects of contract, secured by some enterprising firm engaged in the business, and which usually is composed of an active, venerable, and experienced attorney at law and an elastic country doctor. With these legal qualificatioe claim of the drafted man is presented with an overwhelming array of affidavits, and which always renders the statements more or less suspicious; and if by counter-testimony the claim is decided untrue as to degree or nature of the disability, it is frequently pressed at general rendezvous to a successful termination, greatly to the detriment and influence of the district Board. Experience has determined that affidavits procured for drafted men by this class of "friends of the Government" are generally unreliable, and should be accepted with great caution and due allowance.
The medical partner of one of these firms presented a drafted man with the oral statement that the party was an "idiot," and had been one for a number of years. He was armed with a bundle of affidavits, his own among the number, fully establishing insanity, with liability to a recurrence. Upon investigation of the case the whole sworn insanity of "idiocy" was founded upon an attack of mania a potu a number of years since. While in this state of phrensy he made an attempt to kill his wife, the after reflection of which reformed him of the habit of intemperance, but could not release him from the draft. Many varieties of analogous illustrations might be given, showing the character of the great mass of evidence in those contract claims for premeditated fraud by parties who no doubt labor for a stipulated compensation.
Some of these claims are so strongly fortified and ingeniously managed by counsel that in the absence of other and more reliable testimony they would be accepted as any other established matter of fact. For this reason it would be much better not to hear those claims at general rendezvous than to decide them merely upon the testimony presented by persons having a pecuniary interest in the success of the same.
By section 21, amended act, approved March 24, 1864, these attempts are made a penal offense, knowing the claims to be false; yet many experts are willing to engage in a business, for a liberal compensation, directly opposed to the spirit of the act.
It would relieve the surgeon (as well as the Board of Enrollment) of this special annoyance if every man presenting thethose writing or obtaining affidavits, or in any other way assisting in the procuration of the release of the drafted person, were required to file in every instance their affidavits that they have not and never expect to receive, and never will receive,