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In the foregoing pages, we have endeavored to give an impartial transcript of the correspondence between the Governor and General Butler, and of the other parties who incidentally took part in it. The original trouble grew out of the unauthorized interference by Secretary Cameron with recruiting in Massachusetts, by giving special permits to outside parties to recruit regiments here. No one had this right but the Governor of the State; no one had the right to appoint or to commission officers but the Governor. Upon him, and upon him alone, rested the responsibility of selecting proper officers to command our men. It was a responsibility which Governor Andrew had no right, and no wish, to avoid. The wisdom of having the entire control of raising, forming, and officering regiments placed in the hands of the Governors of States, must be apparent to every person who will give the subject a moment's consideration. They alone were responsible for their acts to the people of their several Commonwealths. To recruit men to meet the several calls of the President required in each State a well-arranged plan of operations, with a single will to guide and control it. It admitted of no interference by outside parties. There could be no State within a State. The Governor was the supreme executive officer of the Commonwealth, and there could be ‘no co-ordinate’ power within its limits. He could not divide the responsibilities of his position with another, however honorable or distinguished, any more than he could divide the honors of his high office with another.

Whenever the State authority was interfered with by the Secretary of War, or by parties pretending to act under his orders, independent of the Governor of the State, confusion and strife ensued; out of these attempts grew embarrassing and contradictory orders, the evil of which is illustrated vividly in this correspondence. By interference, General Sherman lost his original expeditionary command, and Massachusetts the honor of contributing her part of the contingent to complete it. By interfering with the plans of the Governor, and his clearly established rights and responsibilities under the laws, the organization and completion of regiments were delayed. It interposed obstacles by interposing a pretended divided authority

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Thomas W. Sherman (1)
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