slaves will not labor in a manner to secure subsistence for the armies in the field, the support of families at home, and to insure the revenue necessary to the Confederate and State governments. Secondly, if left without the control of oversees, to whom they have been accustomed to yield obedience, the result will probably be insubordination and insurrection.
A more effectual auxiliary to the emancipation scheme of Lincoln and for the subjugation of the South could not, in my humble judgment, be devised than ac act of Congress, if it shall be respected by they States, which would intrust the agriculture and the lives of families to the slaves, unrestrained by the presence, authority, and skill of oversees.
As a matter of policy, owners and oversees on plantations where cotton shall be planted might be subjected to military service, but on plantations where labor is exclusively directed to the raising of grain, meat, &c., for subsistence, oversees should be exempt from military service.
In a time of profound peace, when not the slightest anticipation of war could have reasonably exited, the General Assembly of this State in its wisdom-the result of experience-enacted a law requiring a white person, either the owner or an overseer, to reside on the plantation where slaves lived, for their proper control and management. A copy of the last act on the subject is herewith inclosed. If the slaves are left without proper management they will not only fail to make the crops, but will destroy the stock necessary to the very existence of the country.
Convinced of the truth of the allegations herein made, as the Governor of the State, and in the maintenance of its laws and for the general welfare of the Confederate States, I feel it my duty to protest against the enforcement of the conscript act in its application to oversees, where necessary to the management and direction of slaves; and more especially on plantations where the labor is devoted to securing the means of subsistence necessary to maintain our armies and protect our people from starvation.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully,
Governor of Florida.
Secretary of War for attention.
CHAPTER 388 (No. 77.)-AN ACT amendatory to acts in reference to militia and patrol duties and crimes and misdemeanors.
SECTION 1. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the State of Florida in General Assembly convened, That from and after the passage of this act it shall not be lawful for the owner or proprietor of any farm or plantation upon which slaves are or shall be employed to leave the same without any white person residing thereon, under a penalty not exceeding one hundred dollars, to be recovered by indictment, one-half to the informer and the other half to the use of the county in which the offense or offenses shall be committed.
SEC. 2. Be it further enacted, That when the owner or proprietor of a farm or plantation, whether for agricultural or turpentine purposes,