It is no answer to all this to say that we have more justices that are actually necessary, and that some might be dispensed with. The Legislature of the sovereign State of North Carolina recommended their appointment to the Executive according to the forms of the constitution, and it is to be presumed they deemed them all necessary, and no one has the right to say otherwise. The municipal officers present, if possible, a still stronger case. The mayor and police of this city have been enrolled and ordered into camp, which, of course, abolishes the government of the corporation at once and turns over the inhabitants to a state of lawlessness and anarchy. With the magistracy, the militia, and the municipal officers of our incorporated towns, constables, and such like officers of the State, swept, into a camp of instruction, I am at a loss to know what would be left of the power or sovereignty of this State or any other. So obvious is the great damage disparagement which this latitudinous construction of the law could work against the State that I cannot believe its framers so intended it, and with all due respect I doubt the wisdom and the policy of the War Department in urging it so far. Having made no question of its constitutionally and interposed no obstacle to its faithful execution, but on the country acquiesced in it as a great measure of necessity and assisted with zeal in its enforcement, I am content now to state my opinion simply upon a fair construction of this terms, and I am quite confident that your sense of justice will not fail to perceive the weighty reasons of comity, policy, and respect for States' right, the great elementary doctrine of our revolution, which admonish you of the impropriety of alarming the jealousy of the State, exciting the murmurs of the people, and crippling the security of the government by seizing a few officers who could do little toward increasing the ranks or officers of the Army, but who as a part of the goved necessary at home.
Soliciting again your earliest convenient answer, and begging you to accept assurances of my highest consideration and esteem,
I am, sir, very truly, your obedient servant,
Z. B. VANCE.
STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA, EXECUTIVE DEPT.,
Raleigh, N. C., March 31, 1863.
Brigadier Gen. G. J. RAINS,
Bureau of Conscription, Richmond, Va.:
GENERAL: Your letter of the 25th instant is to hand asking my forbearance in reference to the conscription of certain officers and inviting my correspondence in reference thereto. I avail myself of that invitation to make myself understood in the matter. You say that you have calculated on my assistance, instead of opposition, in this matter. You may so calculate with perfect confidence. The fact that the conscript law has been more faithfully executed in North Carolina than any other State in the Confederacy, and that no other Southern Executive (so far as I am aware) has used the whole power of the State militia to execute it, might be taken as an earnest of my intention to sustain the Government so far as it may be rightfully done. But I cannot go beyond this. Though heretofore I have belonged to that class of politicians who made the "night (and day) hideous" with cries for States' rights and war rather accused of consolidationism, yet I am not quite willing to see the State of North Carolina in effect
30 R R-SERIES IV, VOL II