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[397] were sensitive; points of right even, touching which all men are jealous; many of them difficult, all of them new and without a precedent,— have crowded upon the Executive for decision. For a correct decision, he alone was responsible.

He then expresses his thanks for the cordial, intelligent, and constant assistance he had received from the other officers, military and civil, and the different municipal authorities of the cities and towns.

The bounties paid by the different municipalities to obtain men, and avoid a draft, he recommended should be equalized, and assumed by the State, to be paid by tax upon the property and polls of the whole people. He also referred to the cases of deserters, which he said were rare; and, so far as want and flight from duty was concerned, many men who had come home on furloughs either sick or wounded had not returned to their regiments after recovering their health, because of the difficulties attendant on finding their regiments, and their dread of the convalescent and stragglers' camp at Alexandria. Many convalescent soldiers have been returned as deserters who had been detained as nurses in hospitals, sent on detached duty of every sort, and detailed to assist quartermasters and commissaries. Of the twelve hundred Massachusetts soldiers who had been reported absent without leave, only about twenty had manifestly deserted. This did not include persons attracted by recent bounties, of whom there had been too many striving to enlist without the purpose of serving.

The Governor devoted considerable space to the consideration of the fortifications and coast defences of the State. He referred to a circular letter issued by Mr. Seward, Secretary of State, Oct. 14, 1861, calling the attention of the Governors of the seaboard and lake States, and urging that such defences should be perfected by the States themselves, with the assurance of the reimbursements from the Federal treasury. This State at once acted upon the suggestion: information and estimates were asked from the War Department in regard to the cost. In February, 1862, the Legislature authorized the Governor to enter into contracts to the amount of $500,000 for the manufacture of ordnance suitable for the defence of our coast. But it

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William H. Seward (1)
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February, 1862 AD (1)
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