January 24, 1865: The 15-slave exemption

rich man's war, poor man's fight

The Richmond Daily Dispatch notes that the Confederate House of Representatives has voted to repeal the exemption for one white overseer for every 15 slaves — a sore point with the “rich man’s war, poor man’s fight” crowd. But the Senate won’t go for it anyway.

On the same day, they ran a poem by Leigh Hunt that was a favorite of my late father’s so I include it here out of sentiment.

The exemption bill.

The House of Representatives, on yesterday, passed an exemption bill, which provides radical changes in the present exemption law. It repeals absolutely the fifteen-negro law; provides that no mail contractor under forty-five years of age shall be exempt, and limits the power of detail hitherto rested in the hands of the President and Secretary of War. We have no reason to believe the bill, in its present form, will pass the Senate. The sense of the Senate, as recently incidentally expressed in debate, is in favor of leaving untouched the exemption law now in force.


AbouBen Adhem (may his tribe increase!)
Awoke one night from a deep dream of peace,
And saw, within the moonlight in his room,
Making it rich, and like a lily in bloom,
An angel; writing in a book of gold;
Exceeding peace had made Ben Adhem bold:
And to the presence in the room he said,
“What writest thou?” The vision raised its head,
And, with a look made of all sweet accord,
Answered, “The names of those who love the Lord.”
“And is mine one?” said Abou. “Nay, not so;”
Replied the angel. Abou spoke more low,
But cheerily still; and said. “I pray thee, then,
Write me as one that loves his fellow-men.”
The angel wrote and vanished. The next night
It came again, with a great wakening light,
And showed the names whom love of God hath blessed,
And lo! Ben Adhem’s name led all the rest.

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