Front Page Titles (by Subject) AN ACT FOR CLASSING THE MILITIA AND ASSIGNING TO EACH CLASS ITS PARTICULAR DUTIES - The Works, vol. 10 (Correspondence and Papers 1803-1807)
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AN ACT FOR CLASSING THE MILITIA AND ASSIGNING TO EACH CLASS ITS PARTICULAR DUTIES - Thomas Jefferson, The Works, vol. 10 (Correspondence and Papers 1803-1807) 
The Works of Thomas Jefferson, Federal Edition (New York and London, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1904-5). Vol. 10.
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AN ACT FOR CLASSING THE MILITIA AND ASSIGNING TO EACH CLASS ITS PARTICULAR DUTIES
Be it enacted, &c., That every free, able-bodied white male citizen of the United States of the age of 18 years and under the age of 45, whose principal occupation is not on the high sea or the tide-waters within the United States, shall be of the militia for the land service of the United States.
Enrolement. The persons so to constitute the land militia shall be enrolled by their names and ages and their proper districts, and in books to be kept for that purpose; such enrolement to be made without delay of those now within the description, and from time to time as to others who shall hereafter become so, always noting the date of the enrolement, and placing in a distinct page or part of the book those of every different year of age, from 45 down to 18. In deciding on the ages of the persons to be enrolled, the officer shall make up his judgment from the information of the party himself, and from such other information as he can obtain, and where this is not satisfactory, then from his own inspection.
Classification. The said militia shall be distributed into classes as follows, to wit: the junior class shall be composed of those above 21 and under 26 years of age; the middle class of those above 26 and under 35 years of age; the senior class of those above 35 and under 45 years of age; and those above 18 and under 21 years of age shall compose the minor class.
Their training. The junior and minor classes shall each have their separate captains and other inferior officers, those for the juniors being selected with a view to actual service, and shall be strictly trained to the exercises and manœuvres of a soldier, either of artillery, infantry, or cavalry, as may be lawfully designated; for which purpose they shall be mustered and trained one whole day in every month of the year, two of which musters shall be in battalion and the others in companies. The captains of the said two classes, with the general and field officers having command over them, shall form a district court-martial for the rigorous enforcement of the duties of attendance and training. Each person of the said junior class shall be furnished with a good musket, bayonet, and cartridge-box at the public expense, so soon as they can be provided, which, except where he shall be of the cavalry or artillery, he shall be bound to produce in good order at every muster of which he shall be, so long as he shall be under the age of 45 years, after which it shall be his property.
Where, at the passing of this Act, any members of the militia shall be in the possession of such arms provided by his State or Territory, or by himself, the same shall be reviewed and valued by some person appointed on the part of the United States and if found in perfect order and of proper calibre, they shall be paid for by the United States if such be the choice of the party furnishing them, and shall thereafter be in the hands of the holder as the property of the United States, under the same trust and right as if they had been originally furnished him by the United States.
The middle class shall in like manner be formed into companies by themselves, to be commanded by their own captains and other inferior officers; they shall be mustered and trained twice only in the year in companies, and once in battalion. The senior class, in distinct companies also, and under its own captains and other inferior officers, shall be mustered and trained one day in the year only in companies, and one in battalion; and both the middle and senior classes shall be under the jurisdiction of their captains, formed into one and the same courtmartial, with the general and field officers having command over them.
Actual service. The junior class shall be liable to perform all active military service within the United States, or the countries next adjacentin their vicinity by tours of duty not to exceed one year in any two; and in order that the said services may be required of them equally, those of every companybattalion shall be divided by lot into ten parts or portions, as nearly equal as may be, each portion to be distinguished by its particular number, from 1 to 10 and to be called into duty in the order of their numbers, such call extending to so many numbers as the exigency may require; and every person so called on may be assigned to the service of the artillery, infantry, cavalry, or of any other description as the competent authority shall direct.
The middle class shall be liable to be called on to do duty within their State only, or in one of the adjoining States; and that by tours not exceeding three months in any year; for which purpose they shall be distributed into portions and numbers, and called on in routine, as is provided in the case of the junior class.
The senior and minor classes shall be liable to be called on to do duty within their own State only, and by tours not exceeding three months in any year; and they shall be separately distributed into portions and numbers, and called on in routine as provided for the other classes.
Exemptions from militia duty shall only extend to the ordinary duties of mustering and training after having entered the middle or senior class. Such exempts shall nevertheless be enrolled in their classes and numbers, and, when called on for actual military service, shall be bound as others are to perform their due tours.
If any person called on to do the actual duties of his class shall refuse or unnecessarily delay to enter on duty, he shall be arrested as a deserter either by the civil or military authority, shall be delivered to the proper military officer, and either punished as a deserter, or compelled to perform his tour of duty; but any person so called on may commute his personal services by tendering as a substitute an able-bodied free white man fit for the service in the judgment of the officer who is to command him, and willing to engage therein. And all persons while engaged in the performance of a tour of duty shall have the pay and rations allowed in the army of the United States, and be subject to the rules, regulations, and articles provided for the government of the same.
All provisions in any law of the United States, or of any particular State or Territory, inconsistent with those of this Act, are hereby repealed; and all provisions in the laws of the United States, or of any particular State or Territory, not inconsistent herewith, shall be understood to be left in force, and liable to alteration by their respective enacting authorities.
TO URIAH TRACY.1
—I have received your letter of Dec. 31 wherein on behalf of a committee of the Senate charged to inquire concerning the characters and qualifications of Peter Walsh, Joseph Deville Bellechasse & others for the offices to which they are nominated you desire “that I will cause to be laid before them the proper information on the subject.”
It is with real pain that I feel a difficulty in complying with the desires of a committee for whom I have the most unqualified respect. My nominations are sometimes made on my own knolege of the persons; sometimes on the information of others given either voluntarily, or at my request & in personal confidence to me. This I could not communicate without a breach of confidence, not I am sure, under the contemplation of the committee. They are sensible the Constitution has made it my duty to nominate; and has not made it my duty to lay before them the evidences or reasons whereon my nominations are founded: & of the correctness of this opinion the established usage in the intercourse between the Senate & President is a proof. During nearly the whole of the time this Constitution has been in operation I have been in situations of intimacy with this part of it & may observe from my own knolege that it has not been the usage for the President to lay before the Senate or a committee, the information on which he makes his nominations. In a single instance lately, I did make a communication of papers, but there were circumstances so peculiar in that case as to distinguish it from all others.
To this I must further add that a just solicitude to cover from all hazard that cordial good will which it is so vitally interesting to our country should ever subsist between its highest functionaries has led the two houses, as far as can be collected from their practice, to reserve to their own discretion alone to decide what official applications on their part shall be made to the President directly. It does not appear that that authority has been yielded to a committee.
[1 ]Endorsed: “(Not sent).”