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Asks Chase to see Stanton about drafting clergy. "All feel how Paul desecrates his office."
letter, McIlvaine, Chase, draft
McIlvaine, Charles Pettit, "Letter to Salmon P. Chase" (1862). Charles Pettit McIlvaine Letters. 349.
Cincinnati Aug 28/62
My dear Sir,
Unless the Sec. at War can & will exempt the clergy from draft, they must be subject to it. I suppose that in all the States in which there is a full [?] law they are exempt. It is common sense that means of their [?] & office should be. We all feel how Bp. Polk [?] his office in being a General & leading men to slaughtering & being slaughtered. It is precisely the same especially when any clergymen becomes a soldier & in armor, whatever his rank or uniform. I know that many clergymen feel [?] the greatest difficulty as to the question whether they can so sacrifice their offices under any circumstances. One, a Methodist Minister, has just been to me to know what I think in that question. Think how many congregations must be under destitute, while the demand for Chaplains in the army prevents them being supplied. Think of a minister today thrown into a tent where he has to endure all the [profaneness] & other vices of the common soldier, himself a private, & tomorrow engaged in a desperate charge killing as many as he can. Should it be so?
The clergy are as loyal & as ready to make sacrifices for the country as any class of citizens. Their sons have enlisted. Probably there is hardly an Ep. clergyman in Ohio who has not a son in the army as a private or any officer, if he has a son, in secular life, of the right age & the requisite physical ability. Clergymen can do much more for the country at this [?] by their influence at home.
Now, Mr. Chase, I want you to see Mr. Stanton * represent the case to him & see if an exemption cannot be got. If it extended only to ministers in charge, or to a larger circle, ministers in regular orders according to the rule of their respective demonstrations, excluding merely [?] it would be [?] all that can be got.
But at any rate, if there be no exemptions, there should be the privilege of drafted ministers becoming Chaplains, in case they are in other respects suitable.
We are very anxious to hear from the [?] [answer]. I highly approve the silence placed on news-sources of the authorities at war [?] & the exclusion of correspondents from the army, but still the ear aches to hear.
Charles P. McIlvaine