relative position of Florida to other States and our extended seacoast, for inviting your attention to facts relative to that portion of his report in which he recommends that millers, tanners, and saltmakers should be included in the exemption act. It would be a wise exception if confined to such as should be authorized by State authority, and that authority should be prudently, impartially, and wisely exercised; otherwise privileges may and will be abused to the detriment of the public service. Since the enactment of the conscript act many able-bodied men from adjacent States and this State have repaired to the coast of Florida, under the pretense of making salt, and to be secure in their labor some have been treacherous enough to hold intercourse with the enemy; others have been lazy loungers, more anxious to avoid military service than to make salt.
There are honorable exceptions, patriotic men, who have labored in good faith to make salt, and perhaps regret the necessity of having to charge their fellow-citizens $10 per bushel or 20 cents per pound for it. As it respects tanners being exempt, I know at least one tannery to which a shoe factory is attached, of which, according to information that I have received, and which I believe to be true, the proprietors have purchased raw hides, and employed shoemakers and other laborers at prices which prevailed previously to the war, when they sold the same kind of coarse shoes for $1. 25 per pair, which they now sell [at] $5 and $6, and would gladly sell at $10. If millers, tanners, and salt makers shall be exempted from military service, it should be upon the condition that grain, cloth, leather, shoes, and salt manufactured by them should be sold at reasonable prices; maximum rates should be established, otherwise many anxious to avoid military service will not only be authorized to do so, but to make and dispose of the prime necessities of life at exorbitant prices to less fortunate fellow-citizens, to the wives and children of those fighting for their rights, and to the widows and orphans of soldiers who should be respected and protected, not only from the abuses of the enemy, but from extortions of heartless villains who would barter the liberties of the country for a "mess of pottage. "
I know three men who resided in the same neighborhood. Two of them were among the first to volunteer; one of the two was killed in battle; the other wounded and his health became so much impaired that he was honorably discharged. The third man refused to volunteer; remained at home an advocate and braggart of States' rights and liberty. When the conscript act passed there was no clause in it exempting wounded soldiers who were disabled in battle and had been discharged as inefficient for military service. Such soldiers should have been exempted-at all events, should have been saved the painful necessity of being forced as conscripts into camps of instructions to be there again discharged. The wounded soldier, not yet able to perform the duties, but anxious to render service to the county and avoid the reproach to which conscripts by the thoughtless are subjected, hired a substitute to go into the ranks. The braggart, healthy, able-bodied, and wealthy, and in time past known as a rampant secessionist, has neither volunteered nor sent a substitute, but has hitherto avoided the enrolling officer by resorting to the coast under the pretense of making salt. Shall the skulking coward be favored by a legal exemption, while wounded and discharged soldiers shall be forced as conscripts into camps of instruction?
Since I have commenced to write I have been informed of ten able-bodied men associated under the pretense of making salt, who for the