Page:A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Confederacy, Including the Diplomatic Correspondence, 1861-1865, Volume I.djvu/497

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Second Congress.

which they may be assigned at their pleasure, it is difficult to calculate the extent to which this abuse would grow, the number of men that would be drawn from useful service to cumber the staff, or the increase of expenditure involved.

Congress will perceive that with objections so radical it was impossible for me to approve the bill passed at the last session, and that the subject was too important to be treated in a hurried message within the last few hours of the close of a Congress. Concurring in the expediency of legislation for the organization of a general staff, I have thought a full exposition of my views on the subject would perhaps conduce to the framing of a measure which would carry into effect the views of the Legislative Department while excluding the provisions which have compelled me to decline approving that devised by your predecessors.

Jefferson Davis.

Richmond, June 6, 1864.

To the Senate of the Confederate States.

I regret that a sense of duty compels me to return to the Senate without my signature a joint resolution which originated in your honorable body entitled "Joint resolution in regard to the exemption of editors and employees of newspapers."

The terms of this resolution extend to editors of magazines and periodicals other than newspapers, together with their employees, the same exemption from military service as is now accorded in favor of newspapers.

I see no reason for exempting these citizens from the duty of defending their country which would not apply to all authors, publishers, booksellers, printers, and other persons connected with the publication of books, pamphlets, religious tracts, and other reading matter. At a moment when our lives, our liberty, and our independence are threatened by the utmost power of our enemies, when every citizen capable of bearing arms ought to be found in the ranks, I cannot but deem it impolitic to add to the list of exemptions without the most urgent necessity. Seeing no such necessity, and believing the precedent set by this resolution, if passed, to be productive of evil effect, I am constrained to return it without my approval.

Jefferson Davis.