Page:A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Confederacy, Including the Diplomatic Correspondence, 1861-1865, Volume I.djvu/504

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Messages and Papers of the Confederacy.

the affidavits on which millions of dollars are to be paid out of the public purse. No commissioner, no court, no officer is directed or even authorized to investigate a claim. The oath of any man who is willing to swear to the requirements of the law is to be conclusive. The outstanding bills for one hundred dollars on the east of the Mississippi must amount to many millions of dollars, and cannot now be funded for more than forty-seven per cent of their nominal value, and such as are not funded by the 1st November next will be extinct. The bill leaves the Treasury at the mercy of dishonest men for this whole amount with less protection than experience has shown to be necessary to guard it against an overcharge in the purchase of ordinary supplies.

It is not doubted that there are many exceptional cases in which the law of February last will operate harshly, and even unjustly. The desire to relieve prisoners of war, as evinced by the passage of this bill, is not only natural but commendable, and I would cheerfully coƶperate with Congress in any measures necessary to attain that object, if so guarded as to protect the Treasury from fraudulent claims. In this bill there is an absence of necessary safeguards, and I am therefore unable to give it my approval.

Jefferson Davis.

June 11, 1864. Richmond, Va.

To the Senate of the Confederate States of America.

I return to the Senate, in which it originated, the joint resolution directing "the settlement of the claim of Zedekiah McDaniel and Francis M. Ewing for destroying the Federal gunboat 'Cairo' by means of a torpedo," with the objections which induce me to withhold my approval.

The character of this claim may be thus briefly stated. Z. McDaniel and F. M. Ewing were appointed Acting Masters in the Navy in August, 1862. Their letters of appointment stated that they were "appointed for special service on submarine batteries" and ordered them to report to Flag Officer William F. Lynch, at Jackson, Miss.

Submarine batteries were at that time the subject of device and experiment for river and harbor defenses, and these gentlemen were recommended as well qualified for such service, McDaniel