Page:A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Confederacy, Including the Diplomatic Correspondence, 1861-1865, Volume I.djvu/245

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First Congress.

writing within the few remaining hours of the session, and which will therefore fail to become laws. Happily the acts in question are not of great public importance. Recognizing, as I do, the right of Congress to receive the fullest information from the Executive on all matters of legislation on which his concurrence is required by the Constitution, I have considered it more respectful to Congress to make this statement of the cause which has prevented my action on these bills than to retain them without assigning my reason for so doing.

Jefferson Davis.


Executive Department, March 14, 1862.

To the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

Not being able to approve, I return with my objections, in accordance with the duty imposed by the Constitution, an act entitled "An Act to create the office of commanding general of the armies of the Confederate States." The act creates an office which is to continue during the pleasure of the President, but the tenure of office of the general to be appointed is without any other limitation than that of the office itself. The purpose of the act, so far as it creates a military bureau, the head of which, at the seat of government, under direction of the President, shall be charged with the movement of troops, the supply and discipline of the Army, I fully approve; but, by what I cannot regard otherwise than as an inadvertence on the part of Congress, the officer so appointed is authorized to take the field at his own discretion and command any army or armies he may choose, not only without the direction but even against the will of the President, who could not consistently with this act prevent such conduct of the general otherwise than by abolishing his office. To show that the effect of this act would be highly detrimental to the Army, it might be enough to say that no general would be content to prepare troops for battle, conduct their movements, and share their privations during a whole campaign if he expected to find himself superseded at the very moment of action. But there is another ground which to my mind is conclusive. The Constitution vests in the Executive the command in chief of the armies of the Con-