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370
Executive Department;
Montgomery, Ala. April 28th, 1863
Col. John T Morgan: Head-Quarters, Talladega, Ala.
Dear Colonel: I returned a day-or-two since, to the Capitol, after a fortnight's absence
at my old home, & find your letter, of the 18th inst. in relation to the enrollment of certain
civil officers in this state, waiting my attention. While I do not agree with you ful-
ly, I am gratified to find that the difference in our construction is so slight, as
to make little practical difference, in results. I will cheerfully acquiesce in the de-
cision which may be made by the Secretary of War, as to the liability to conscrip-
tion, of that clas of officers which you have named for his consideration.
Respectfully, Your obt Sert
(Signed) Jno Gill Shorter, Govr of Ala.

Executive Department:
Montgomery, Ala. April 28th 1863
Col. John T. Morgan, Commt of Conscripts for Ala. Head-Quarters, Talladega.
Sir: In reply to your communication of 13th inst. asking my interpretation of the act of 9th Decr 1862
passed by the Legislature of Ala. Amendatory of the Act of 5th of Feby 1856 "to secure subordination among
Slaves, &C." I have to inform you, that a bill was introduced into the GenlAssembly, to repeal the Act of
5th Feby1856. It passed the Senate, I think, but, unfortunately, failed in the House, and the Act
of the 9th Decr 1862, was adopted, in lieu of the repealing Act. There was a good deal of discuss
ion - pending the bill, and a majority of the House was opposed to a repealing Clause. Hence it was
that the Genl Assembly adopted the Act, in the Singular phraseology used - the substance & idea
of which is, that there should be some state law as to police our plantations; that tho the law of
Alabama required a white man on every place, where there were over Six hands, only the law
should not be repealed by the GenlAssembly, but, in the event Congress Should, thereafter,
in any respect, change the Exemption-law, passed by that body, such change should operate
as an amendment of the State-law, by a substitution of twenty Hands in lieu of Six. In other
words, on the adjournment of the Legislature, the Law stood as they found it - & stands so
still - unless Congress has, in some respects - no matter what - altered, or changed that part of
the Exemption Law, applicable to this matter. This form of Legislation is unprecedented; perhaps
and the shape, in which the Act was adopted, leaves the Legislative intent in in some obscu-
rity. The view I have presented, is the one which, I think, will strike a lawyer's mind. Seeking
for an interpretation of the Act, by those rules which apply in construing Statutes.
I regret that the Legislature did not repeal the Act of the 5th of Feby1856, & leave the
case, just where the act of Congress had placed it - & subject, entirely, to the discretion of
Congress, so that the operation of the law might be uniform. It is proper to add that there was
a strong sentiment in favor of the repeal - not, of the State-law, only, but of the Act of Con-
gress, also exempting Slave-holders, or white persons, on plantations, & it was strongly be
lieved that Congress would repeal or modify its own action, on this subject, and
this belief, in all probability, induced the concurrence in the Bill which our General
Assembly adopted. [E]. I am aware that what I have written, will be of little advantage
in guiding the Conscript Burea to a satisfactory conclusion; & that, perhaps, the
Same views have occurred to you. With high personal regards, I am.
Respy, Yr obt Sert
(Signed) JnoGill Shorter

Executive Department;
Montgomery, Ala. April 29th, 1863.
Hon. J. B. Clark, Eutaw, Ala. My dear Sir; I have recd and read, with deep emotion, your letter of the
25th inst. tendering your resignation of the office of chancellor of the Middle Chancery Division of the State
of Ala. The long - & valuable service rendered by you upon the Chancery Bench, where your learning,
skill, impartial - & laborious administration, have indelibly impressed the Bar of the State, has
linked your name with those honored Predecessors, whose fame shall forever live, in the memories,
and hearts of Alabamians. §. In accepting your resignation, I desire, not only to express my
profound regret at the loss, by the State, of an officer of tried integrity - & ability, but to assure you of the
deep sympathy engendered in my own bosom, by the announcement of that severe dispensation
which has occasioned your retirement to private life.

With the highest personal regard & esteem, I remain, most truly your friend, & ob't Ser't.
(Signed) Jno Gill Shorter.
Govr of Ala.

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VickyR

I have inserted [E] where there are marks presumably to indicate a new paragraph in the original text