War of the Rebellion: Serial 128 Page 0127 CONFEDERATE AUTHORITIES.

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of Congress on the subject of conscription. The exemption acts of the last and preceding sessions of Congress must to some extent be regarded as parts of the conscription acts of those sessions. Each conscription act refers to exemptions, either then or to be provided for. The first conscription law authorized the President to call out and place in the military service of the Confederate States all white men who were residents of the Confederate States all white men who were residents of the Confederate States, between the ages of eighteen and thirty-five at the time the call was made, not legally exempt from military service. All of the prescribed age who were then in the service, and who had enlisted for a period of less than three years, were by this act retained in the service for three years from their enlistment, unless the war should be sooner terminated. The act did not operate on those who had enlisted for three years or the war, except that the eleventh section gave the privilege of electing officers to certain battalions, squadrons, and regiments. The first exemption act in most of its provisions operated only on those persons not then in the military service of the Confederate States or those liable to be called into the service. The conscription act of the last session of Congress authorizes the President to call out and place in the military service of the Confederate States all white men, residents of the Confederate States, between the ages of thirty-five any forty-five years at the time the call or calls may be made, who are not at such time or times legally exempted from military service, &c. The exemption act of the last session of Congress repeals by express terms the first, and was evidently intended as a substitute for it. How far it was intended to act retrospectively must be ascertained from its provisions interpreted by the rules given for the construction of statutes. No statute is presumed to be retrospective. Except as to remedial statutes, the presumption is always against a retrospective operation. It has been repeatedly adjudicated that a retrospective operation will not be given to a statute unless the intention that it shall so operate clearly appears. In ascertaining the true intention of the statute we are to look at and compare all parts of it; some-times at other statutes to be taken in pari materia with it; the good proposed to be effected, the evil proposed to be remedied, the language used, and the context.

It may well be that some parts of a statute are intended to be retrospective and others prospective, or intended to operate in present. This exemption act in most of its provisions is expressly restricted to the time of its enactment. I have carefully examined and analyzed each provision exempting classes of persons, and I am satisfied that there is but one provision which can be rationally considered as retrospective to any extent. It is by no means certain that even this can be so considered. I allude to that provision which undertakes to 'secure the proper police of the country" by relieving the agents, owners, or overseer of plantations from service. It seems to me, however, that an evil which existed under the first exemption act was to some extent intended to be provided for by this part of the last law. In giving proper effect to this exemption act it must not be overlooked that the first as well as the last exemption act relieves from "military service in the Army of the Confederate States. " Those persons between the ages of eighteen and thirty-five years who have only been called out and not mustered into the service are entitled to the benefits of the last exemption law. To exempt means to free from an anticipated burden or duty to which others may be subject. To discharge means to release from a present burden or duty. The