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The liability of British subjects to Serve in State defence.

--On the 16th of August, 1863, Mr. H. Pinckney Walker, Her Britannic Majesty's Acting Consul at the port of Charleston, addressed a communication to Col. E. Magrath, commanding 1st regiment Charleston Guard, concerning the liability of British subjects to bear arms against the forces of the United States.

Mr. Walker says he has advised British subjects generally to acquiesce in the State militia organizations, but at the same time he informed them that in the event the militia should be brought into conflict with the forces of the United States, either before or after being turned over to the Confederate Government, the services required of them would be such as British subjects could not be expected to perform.

The letter in question was forwarded through the proper channel to the Secretary of War, and by him referred to the Secretary of State, who returned it with the following endorsed opinion, which is concurred in by the Secretary of War, and is published for the information of all concerned:

‘ "The views of Acting Consul Walker do not meet the approval of this department. --While the Government claims no military service from mere sojourners, those who have acquired residence in the Confederacy are bound by law to aid in its defence.

[Signed,] J. P. Benjamin,
Secretary of State."

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