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MARCH 19, 1950.)
(H. of R. ment for a short time, but the impatience of members Mr. DRAYTON had no objection to the object of the (it being then past five o'clock) induced him to renew the resolution, but thought it would be better for the present motion to adjourn. But the House refused to adjourn. merely to institute an inquiry into the expediency of the Yeas, 82-pays, 102.
object; and he therefore moved to amend the resolution Mr. CIIILTON then asked for the yeas and nays on so as to make it read as follows: the question upon the substitute he offered.
Resolved, that the Secretary of War be requested to Mr. DWIGHT said, he thought it was but reciprocat- inquire into the expediency of causing to be selected a ing the courtesy extended by Mr. C. to the House in not suitable site for building fortifications on some point or trespassing on their attention, when he discovered their island on Lake Champlain, near the line which divides the reluctance to hear him, that they should indulge him, United States from Lower Canada; and of causing correct [Mr. C.] by agreeing to have the question taken by yeas surveys, plans, and estimates to be made for building for
tifications on such site, and to make report to this House Mr. MILLER then called for the previous question, at the next session of Congress of what has been done which was seconded. Yeas, 95-nays, 72.
under this resolution. The ycas and nays were orderedon the previous question. Mr. WICKLIFFE moved to refer the resolution to the
Another motion to adjourn was made, which was un- Committee on Military Affairs, with instructions to report successful.
thereon to the House. He was opposed to the proposi. The yeas and nays were then taken on the previous tion as it stood. It inight be considered as the beginning question, and it was decided in the affirmative--92 to 85. of a new system of fortifications for the interior frontier;
On the main question, “Shall the bill and amendments and he asked if the nation was prepared to go into such a be ordered to be engrossed for a third reading,” the yeas system.
The resolution was the commencement of a and nay's were ordered, and were as follows:
system of fortifications for the northern boundary. It was TEAS.--Messrs. Anderson, Arnold, Bailey, Noyes Bar- just as proper to fortify the northwestern frontier, and ber, Barringer, Bates, Baylor, Beekman, Bockec, Boon, round to the southwestern. He thought it unnecessary. Borst, Brolhead, Brown, Buchanan, Burges, Cahoon, The best defence was the strong arms and the stout hearts Campbell, Chandler, Clark, Coleman, Condict, Conner, of the people; but, if the subject was to be inquired into Coulier, Cowles, Hector Craig, Robert Craig, Crane, at all, it had better go to the committee, and let them reCrawford, Creighton, Crowninshield, Daniel, Davenport, port a proper resolution. John Davis, Deberry, Denny, De Witt, Dickinson, Dod Mr. MALLARY opposed the reference. The propo. dridge, Dudley, Duncan, Dwight, Exrll, Ellsworth, Geo. sition was very simple, and required little expense. The Evans, Joshua Evans, Edward Everett, Horace Everett, frontier in question was peculiarly situated, and required Finch, Foril, Forward, Fry, Grennell, Halsey, Hammons, some measures for its defence. lle pointed out the pecullawkins, Hemphill, Ilinds, Hoffman, Howard, Iiubbard, liar circumstances, growing out of its exposed condition, Hughes, Hunt, Huntington, Ihric, Ingersoll
, Thomas Ir- and its importance, both as to the extensive commerce on win, William W. Irvin, Jennings, R. M. Johnson, Ken- the lake, and its importance during a war with the adjoindall, Kincaid, King, Lecompte, Lent, Letcher, Lyon, ing country, which rendered it highly proper to have a Magee, Mallary, Martindale, Thomas Maxwell, Lewis fortific position on the lake. There was, at least, nothing Maxwell, McCreery, McIntire, Mercer, Miller, Mitchell
, unreasonable or unjust in the proposition; no appropriaMonell, Muhlenberg, Norton, Pearce, Pettis, Powers, tion was asked now, and he was surprised at the opposiRamsey, Reed, Richardson, Russel, Scott, Shields, Semmes, tion to it. Gentlemen might talk of strong arms and stout sill, Samuel A. Smith, Ambrose Spencer, Richard Spen- hearts, but they were often ineficient without the aid of cer, Sterigere, Stephens, W. L. Storrs, Strong, Suther- other means, and would be insufficient to protect the comland, Swann, Swist, Taylor, Test, J. Thomson, Tracy, inerce of the lake from depredation. lle hoped the moVerplanck, Washington, Weeks, Whittlesey, c. P. tion would not prevail. White, Edward D. White, Wingate, Yancey, Young.--123. The question on committing the resolution being put,
NAYS.--Messrs. Alexander, Alston, Angel, Amstrong, there appeared to be no quorum in the Ilouse, the votes Philip P. Barbour, Barnwell, Bell, Janies Blair, John being 52 to 52. Blair, Chilton, Claiborne, Clay, Crockett, Crocheron, W. Mr. SWIFT said, the resolution did not direct any forR. Davis, Desha, Drayton, Foster, Hall, Haynez, Isacks, ftification to be crccted, but merely required surveys to be Carc Johnson, Lamar, Lea, Lewis, Loyall, Lumpkin, made, for the future guidance and decision of Congress, Martin, McCoy, McDuffie, Nuckolls, Overton, Polk, Ren- if it should see fit to order a fortification. The inquiry clier, Roane, A. H. Shepperd, Alexander Smyth, Speight, had been sent to the Military Committee heretofore, and Stanbery, Standifer, Wiley Thompson, Trezvant, Tucker, they asked to be discharged from it, because they were Vance, Vinton, Wayne, Wickliffe, Williams.--48. without suthicient information on the subject. It was to
supply this information that he proposed his present i eso
lution. He dwell on the expediency of a dcfensive work FRIDAY, March 19, 1830.
on the lake, and said, if gentlemen would recollect what The following resolution, offered yesterday by Mr. took place in that quarter during the late war, they would SWIFT, was taken up for consideration.
see the necessity of it. “ Resolved, That the Secretary of War be requested to The lour here clapsed for the consideration of resolu., cause to be selected a suitable site for building fortifications. tions on some point or island on Lake Champlain, near the
REVOLUTIONARY PENSIONERS. line which divides the United States from Lower Canada; and also to cause correct surveys, plans, and estimates to The engrossed bill explanatory of the revolutionary be made for building fortifications on such site, and to pension laws, (establishing a construction of those laws make report thereof to this llouse at the next session of inore liberal than they receive from the Secretary of War,) Congress.”
was read a third time, and the question stated on the pasMr. SWIFT made a few remarks explanatory of liis sage of the bill. motives for offering the resolution—the necessity of which Nir. WILLIAMS, of North Carolina, rose, and said, alter existed for some defensive work on Lake Champlain, from the very full discussion of the bill yesterday, and the de. its present exposeil condition, for the protection of the cided majority which appeared in its inver, it would be commerce of the lake, and for military purposes in case of inexcusable in him now to consume the time of the House var, &c. &c.
with an argument on the merits of the bill. But this was
H. of R.]
[March 19, 1830.
as proper a time as any to try the sense of the House on dence for the period of time established by law? If this fact the question of providing for the militia of the revolu- was found in his favor, he should be entitled to receive pay. tionary war, as well as the regular soldiers of the revolu- ment whenever he chose to claim his portion of the debt. tion. He should, therefore, move to recommit the bill, Such is the spirit, and such was the intention of the act of with instructions to incorporate such a provision in it. 11 1818. It authorized no court to subject the aged warrior either of these classes of troops were to be provided for to an inquisitorial exainination in regard to his property. alone, Mr. W. avowed that he had no hesitation in saying It required from the judge no other certificate than that he would give the preference to the militia, because they the applicant's service was for a requisite time. Had it entered the service from different and higher motives, and been intended by the framers of that law to limit its proviwere of very different materials. He woull, however, sions to paupers, a tribunal would have been creaied to abstain from any debate, and content himself with simply ascertain who were such, and report to the Secretary of making his motion, which he hoped would not be cut off' War. No such thing was proposed or suggested. From by the previous question, as was the case yesterday; and the amendments moved, and speeches made, while the on his motion he called for the yeas and mys.
bill was under discussion in Congress, it is manifest that it Mr. BATES opposed the motion. The only cffect of was designed to embrace all whose declining years or reit would be to defeat this bill, for every bill which had em- duced circumstances required assistance, to enable them to braced the provisions proposed, haci sunk. If the House live in the degree of comfort suited to the character and was in favor of such a proviso, it could be introduced here merits of soldiers, whose intrepidity and endurance-whose after in a separate bill; but he protested against endanger- heroic daring and patient toil had won the highest prize ing the bill by this provision.
for which man ever fought. Great as are the blessings Mr. BELL reprehended warmly the mode pursued by which America, Europe, and even Africa, have already the majority, in cutting off debate and amendment, and enjoyed in consequence of their achievements, nothing forcing the bill through.
short of prophetic vision can foretell the glorious results of He asserted and maintained at considerable length the their unexa.npled deeds, which futurity shall unfold, for merits of the milíia of the revolution, and their clains tore- ameliorating the condition of mankind. It was for these ward, if'any part of the revolutionary soldiers were provided men, the impress of whose exalted virtues was stamped for; condemned the plan so manifestly pursued, of getting on the age dignified by their actions, that the law of 1818 the pension system extended gradually by detachiments, was passed. From one of them, * residing in my own from a fear that it would not go down aji at once; and district, and personally known to me from my youth, as avowed and explained his objections to the original pension a worthy and honorable man, I have recently received a act of 1818, on account of its unjust and invidious discrimi- letter, froir, which I beg leave to read an extract. nations between the different classes which served in the "Forty-six years ago this day, I received an honorable revolutionary war, and excluding the most meritorious, &c. discharge from the service of my country. I tried to serve
Mr. TAYLOR, of New York, said, at an early period of it faithfully between three and four years, and I should be this sess on he had the honor to introduce a resolution, loath to believe that I was a hard bargain for Congress. I which was passed by the House, instructing the Committee have been industrious since that time. In more than twenon Military Pensions to inquire into the expediency of re- ty years I have not drank ardent spirits. I have always porting a bill, that in all applications for pensions under been temperate. What little property I have, has been the act “ to provide for certain persons engaged in the procured by hard labor, and in no other way. I feel the land and maral service of the United States in the revolu-lefiects of age, yet I must labor hard, or I cannot, with my tionary war,” the fact of making application should be little farm, make the two ends of the year meci. I have conclusive evidence that the circumstances of the applicant stood a sentinel at the door of the bcloved Washington's were so reduced that he needed assistance from his coun- habitation many an hour. Many a day has been spent in try for support.
harder duty than that of watching for so good a man. Con. The original act, [-aid Nr. T.] providing relief for the gress must know what kind of cashı old soldic rs were paid suffering remnant of our revolutionary warriors, was pass-off'in. President Jackson says in the message you sent eil in 1818. Since that period, the tice of time has cured me, that the United States will soon be out of debt. The on its bosom to the ocean of cternity the venerable Bloon Government is rich; old soldiers are poor, but, thank God, fickl, the father of that act, and thousands of his compan- not all of them beggars: I will not beg of the United States, ions in arins, to whom it was intended to afford assistance A revolutionary soldier should scorn it. It is as unnatural in their declining years. The surviving remnant stand in as it would be to see a werthy father begging of a son. the midst of posterity, and look tv Congress for justice. There are hundreds still living like me, or more worthy. The stcut liearts and strong arms, whese valor won ou They have been industrious and temperate when working independence, and laid the broad founciation of all our for themselves, and while achieving the independence of power, and wealth, and prosperity, have a right to demand our country. We ask for justice. Pay us what we lost tliat in our high estate we should not be unmindful of their by bad money, and the interest of it, and my old bones sacrifices and sufferings. They have a right to expect need not ache so often from hard labor. I had hoped that they, too, will be cheered in the evening of their days President Jackson would have recommended something by the beams of our national glory. To us they look as better than an extension of the benefits of the pension the depository of that power which alone is competent to law to those who are unable to maintain themselves in remove the odious discrimination heretofore existing be-comfort. Have not these relicts of the war of indepentween those whose services were equal. Justice requires dence some stronger claims upon their country than tras sokfiers who share alike one common danger, should gratitude and bounty?" For one, I say give us justice, enjoy alike the same reward. If it depended on my vots, before President Jackson or any other man talks of tai disgusting and vexatious forms of inventories, valua- ' bounty.'' tions, and oails of poverty should be abolished. I consider I present this worthy soldier as a sample of those whom the law requiring them a disgrace to our statute book. It i understood to be embraced in its provisions, when we found its way there not only against my consent, but with passed the act of 1818. If none were intended to be in. out the support of a majority of the whole number of the clucled but paupers, it cught to have been entitled An act Thouse of Representatives which passed it. The votes were, to relieve cities and towns from the support of old soldiers
. for the bill, eighty, against it, seventy-two-thirty-five mem" But such was not its only object; while it included thiese, bers being abseni. Inmy judgment, the only inquiry should bewusthc:pplicant a faithful soldier of the army of independ Daniel Couci, E-q. of Milton.
March 19, 1830.]
[H. of R.
it did not exclude small farmers, mechanics, and laborers. on whose testimony a jury would convict of murder, and The amount of the annuity itself is conclusive evidence a court sentence to execution; yet the oath of the old sol. that it was not designed to grant full support to the old (lier, corroborated by the testimony of such a witness, is soldier and his family. If so, it would have been greatly leki insufhcient, and he is spurned from the door of the enlarged. But it was thought it would enable him, with department like a perjured krave. what other means he might chance to possess, to eke out Again: It often occurred, after a well fought field, that a comfortable subsistence, and enjoy in age the quiet and the hospital of the army, if, indeed, it was fortunate enough repose so well earneci by his youthful exertion. It was not to have any thing deserving the name, was crowdedi with expected those in afduence would avail themselves of the the wounded to such a degree that removal and careful pecuniary assistance it proffered to others; but when it was nursing afforded the only hope of recovery. The heart objected on the floor of this llouse, that the rich might of a father, yearning for tidlings of his only son, directs his take advantage of it, the venerable Bloomfield replicd, it steps to the camp. Ile has heard of the battle and of the is better some few should receive assistance, who can live laurels won, and he knows that laurcis grow on a bloodcomfortably without it, than subject all to degrading con- stained soil. lle finds his son has not disgraced the name ditions. None can receive it unless they serve for the of his sire, who, on the plains of Abraham, fought by the specified time.
side of the gallant and intrepid General Wolf. But he Such, Mr. Speaker, according to my understanding, finds him dangerously wounded, and, rejoicing to find him was the object of the original act. Let us now inquire even thus, obtains for him a furlough for two or three how that object was carried into effect by its administra- montlis, by which time it is hoped he may recover, and tors; and I am greatly mistaken if, in the sequel, it will not again join his corps. Meanwhile liis regiment changes its appear that the Executive department, to which the duty position. It is ordered from Monmouth to Yorktown. The of executing it was confided, not only gave to it a most wounded soldier languishes longer than was expected. rigid construction, and established severe and unreasona- Application for a renewal of his finlouglicannot be made. ble regulations, tending to excite many for whose benefit The term expires, and he is marked as al deserter. The it was passed, but actually rejected numerous classes of war closes; distance, and poverty, and removals intervene applicants, clearly embraced by both its letter and spirit. to prevent further attention to the matter. At length he
To substantiale a claim under the act of 1818, as passed recovers, and in old age applies for the measure of relief by Congress, it was necessary to prove service until the to which he considers himself entitled. Then, for the end of the war, or for the term of nine months, or longer, first, le discovers the deep disgrace aixeci to his name. at any period of the war. Enlistment for nine months was After many weary journeys, be is fortunate enough to not required. But the Department of War required not procure evidence, admitted by the officers of the departonly proof of continued service for nine months, but, set- ment to establish the truth of these facts to their satisfacting up its authority above the law, and against the law, tion as men; but yet he is denied his pension, on the ground required proof of enlistment for nine months, as well as that no evidence can be received to contradict the reservice. This usurpation of legislative power by the Ex. cord. He is there marked as a deserter, and as a deserter ecutive department, excluded unjustly-first, all who en- she must die. The infamy must cling to his name, and delisted for six or eight months, and, before the expiration scend to his posterity. thereof, re-enlisted for either period, making a continuous Sir, I will not weary you and this house 'by calling up service varying from twelve to sixteen months. Secondly, the disgusting detail of the many examples of injustice all who, at the expiration of the time for which they enlist- which liave come to my knowledge, owing to the severe ed, were induced by the carnest appeals of their officers, and unreasonable regulations of the department. Those to continue in service a longer time, until recruits arrived I have stated will serve to show the spirit in which the act to supply their places, although the aggregate time ex. has been executed. Would they were pictures of fancy ceeded nine months. In the exigencies of the revolution- instcall of grave realities. But they are not. The files of ary war, it not unfrequently happened that the very exist- this House, the petitions on your table, show they are not. ence of the army depended on the patriotic and voluntary I now proceed briefly to notice another rule of construcservice of the soldiers, after they were entitled to their dis- tior, which bas unjustly excluded a large class of meritocharge. Thirdly, all whose enlistment being short of nine rous soldiers from the assistance intended to be provided months, were taken prisoners and contined in dungeons for them by Congress. When the act of 1818 was passand prison ships, so long as to complete more than nine cd, it was understood to embrace the regular troops of all months. The wrongs of these three classes are still unre- the States, who served continuously for nine months, the dressed. Many of them have gone to their graves, and are raising whercof wan in pursuance of resolutions of the beyond our power to do them right. The living, who have continental Congress. But the ingenuity of the departborne up under our injustice, are older and feebler by ment soon discovered there was a class of troops enlisted twelve years than they were when we passed the law pro- for periods varying from one months to three yeurs, unviding for them a relict, which, up to this day, the Depart-der the recommendation of the okl Congress, who served ment of War refuses to extend to them. They will die un- lanci suffered with the continentals, and, in all respects, redressed, unless we do them justice.
performed continental duty, but who were rot, by name, I have said that the severe and unreasonable regulations placed on the continental estalilishment. This discovery established at the department, exclude many meritorious was followed by a rejection of all these claims. Even the claims. Bear with me, I pray you, while I state a case or few names of this class which had been admitted, under two in illustration of this remark. Whenever it occurs, the first and more reasonable construction, wcre erased owing to the loss or destruction of the rolls, that there is from the rolls. The hardsip of their clse will be appano record evidence in the department, proving the enlist- rent, if we consider that the only plain and generally unment and service, it must be supported by the cath of the derstoeri distinction was that which existed Leveen conparty aıd two disinterested witnesses. It often happens tinentals on the one hand and milita on the other, between that only one can be found. The others are dead, or re- enlisted soldiers and draughted or cetached milita. The ofmoved, the soldier knows not where. lialf a century ficers might know, for they had an interest in knowing, makes frightful ravages among the rank and file of any whicther they were technically on the continental estas army. That one witness, however, is above reproach, blishment, blit to the soldier it was immaterial, and there. unimpeached and unimpeachable, in a life of threescore fore indettcrent. The advancement of the cause, the term years and ten--disinterested in the question--accurate and nature of th: Service, antil the character of irs officers, his description of time, place, and circumstances--a :rantere the only co.:31derations of inoment to him. Moreover,
II. of R.]
[March 19, 1830.
it often happened that officers in one campaign were tech- amendment was an act of legislation. If the amendment nically continentals, and, in the next, not technically con- was legislation, what was the establishment of the original tinentals, although enlisting regular troops to do conti-rule? I leave it to others to reconcile the President's denental duty, pursuant to resolutions of the continental nunciation of General Porter's decision with the recom. Congress.
mendation in his message "to review the pension law for This was the case with Colonel Willet, of New York, the purpose of extending its benefits to every revolaand I know not how many of his subaltern officers. Why, tionary soldier who aided in establishing our liberties
, then, should his soldiers be excluded? To my mind there and who is unable to maintain himself in comfort." is no satisfactory reason for the discrimination. The third The gentleman from North Carolina (Mr. WILLIAMS) section of this bill abolishes it, and admits them to the same wishes to amend this bill so as to provi le pensions for thie priveleges which are enjoyed by their companions. militia, and for this purpose he moves its recommitment.
Perhaps it may be said that the regulations of the de- If the gentleman is really a friend of the old soldiers, I partment, under the act of 1818, were acquiesced in by think he cannot fail to be convinced of the inespediency Congress, and ought not now to be condemned. Call 10 of pressing his motion. In the first place, this bill
, in its inind, sir, the circumstances under which that acquiesc- title and enactments, proposes no new legislation; it pro. ence took place. The heavy importations of 1815 and fesses nothing more than to restore the pension laws to 1816 replenished the treasury to overflowing; but they their original meaning. It is declaratory of the true inwere followed by great commercial distress and financial tent of the act of 1818, and of the construction which embarrassment. The act of 1818 had scarcely gone into ought rightfully to be given to it. New provisions, there. operation when the treasury experienced an alarming di- fore, are inapplicable to this bill. Secondly, the Coin. minution of revenue. The pressure began to be felt in mittee on Military Pensions have, in another form, report1819. The next year it became so severe that we were ed in favor of the militia, and their report is under the con. obliged to borrow three millions of dollars, to meet the or-sideration of the Committee of the Whole on the state of dinary appropriations for the support of Government; the Union. When that report comes up, the principles on and the year following we were compelled to make a loan which relief should be extended to them can be discussed of five millions of dollars for the same purpose. The pen- and settled. Thirdly, the bill which passecl this llorise last sioners were more numerous than had been anticipated, session, embracing the militia, failed in the Senate, as it and they were found to reside chiefly in the Northern is understood, because it was apprehended it would seriStates. Their demands on thie treasury were unexpected- ously embarrass the operations of the treasury. If we ly large, and were considered onerous. Retrenchment conform this bill to that, we have no reason to anticipate became the order of the day. One million per annum was for it a different fate. If we cannot do all the good we de. saved by reducing the army from ten to six thousand, and sire, let us endeavor to do all we find practicable. By atanother million by the disgraceful act of 1820, entitled tempting too much, we shall endanger the whole. “An act in addition to an act entitled an act to provide for The gentleman from Tennessec (Mr. BELL] thought certain persons engaged in the land and naval service of proper to institute a comparison between the merits of the the United States in the revolutionary war;" but being, continental soldiers and the militia; and he gave the prein fact, a repeal of that act, in regard to many persons for ference decidedly to the latter. Far be it from me to de. whose benefit it was intended. "That act prohibited any rogate aught from the mcrits of the militia. They were pensioner, under the act of 1818, receiving his pension, brave and patriotic, and accomplished all that militia could until he exhibited, on oath, an inventory of all he possess- be expected to effect. I am willing to reward them, and ed; and authorized the Secretary of War to strike from will manifest that willingness when the report in thcir fathe list of pensioners any person who, in his opinion, was vor comes up for consideration. Some of the most bril
. not in such indigent circumstances as to be unable to sup- liant achievements of the war were thcirs, and are worthy port himself without the assistance of his country. of all praise; but why was it necessary for the gentlemani
Every thing was consided to the discretion of the Se- from Tennessee, in eulogizing the militia, to degrade the cretary of War, and he exerted it in a spirit of severity regular army? Why did he apply to them the odious episuited to the pressure of the times. None but paupers thet “mercenary? Were they mercenaries? Did they were left on the rolls; all were stricken off
' who could live exchange the employments of civil life for the privations without public or private charity. Thus the boasted act and sufferings of a camp from mere mercenary motives? of 1818, that noble act of national justice and gratitude, How were they paid? "In worthless rags. How were they was converted into a law to relieve cities and towns from fed? With rations inferior in quality, and insufficient in the support of certain indigerit soldiers. That act also quantity. Ilistory informs us that "in January and le. received a construction which wrought great injustice to bruary, 1778, the army at Valley Forge was, more than many old soldiers; a person once stricken from the rolls, once, absolutely without food. Even while their condiwas considered forever debarred. Although his little pro- tion was less desperate in this respect, their stock of property has been sold to pay his honest debts, and hic had visions was so scanty, that there was seldom at any time in become the tenant of an alıs-house, the Secretary of War the stores a quantity sufficient for the use of the tioops turned a deaf ear to his petition. This injustice continu- for one week.” cd until March, 1823, when it was corrected by Congress, Again: In the year 1780, Gen. Washington thus wrote on condition, however, that the pensions should thereaf-fto Gen. Schuyler: “Since the date of my list, we have ter commence, not from the time of application, but of lad the virtue and patience of the army put to the sever completing the testimony.
est trial. Sometimes it has been five or six days together Thus matters remained, until the late Secretary of War, without brcad; at other times as many days without mcat; General Porter, came into office. He revised the rules and, once or twice, two or three days without cither. At established by his predecessors; and being of opinion that one time, the soldiersate every kind of horse food but hay," an old sollier, whose private incorne did not exceed cight llow were they clothed?' Let General Washington's dollars a month, perhaps with an aged wife and a helpless letier to Governor Livingston, in 1778, answer: family, did needl assistance, he decided accordingly, and difficulties and distresses are such, as wound the feelings ameacled the rules.
The House of Representatives, at of humanity. Our sick, naked! our well, naked! 011 unthe last session, confirmed his decision, by a vote of great fortunate men in captivity, naked!" “The yount of terits unanimity; and yet it was among the first acis of this ac- for summer, and clothes for winter, crowded the hospitals ministration to slanounce that decision, and to re-establish with sck, from whence an unusual number were daily the old rule, under the pretext that General Porter's conducted to the grave."
March 19, 1830.)
[H. of R.
“The returns of the 1st of February, 1778, exhibited regularity and economy which you could establish among the astonishing number of three thousand nine hundred fixed and settled troops, and will in my opinion prove, if and eighty-nine men in camp, unfit for duty, for want of the scheme is adhered to, the ruin of our cause. Again: clothes; of this number, scarcely a man had a pair of shoes. “Experience, which is the best criterion to work by, so Even among Hose returned capable of doing duty, very fiilly, clearly, and decisively reprobates the practice of many were so badly clal, that exposure to the colds of trusting to militia, that no man who regards order, regulari. the season must have destroyed them. Although the total of ty, and economy, or who has any regard for his own honor, thc army exceeded seventeen thousand men, the effective character, or peace of mind, will risk them upon militia." rank and file amounted to only five thousand and twelve." Again: “ Militia might possibly do it (that is, check
The committee of Congress, which about this time ex- the progress of the enemy) for a little while; but in a litamined the condition of the army, wrote as follows: tle while also, the militia of those States which were fre
“Notwithstanding the diligence of the physicians and quently called upon, would not turn out at all, or would surgeons, of whom we hear no complaint, the sick and dead turn out with so much reluctance and sloth as to amount : list has increased one-third in the last week's returns, to the same thing. Instance New Jersey! Witness Pennwhich was one-third greater than the week preceding, sylvania! Could any thing but the river Delaware have and, froin the present inclement weather, will probably saved Philadelphia' Could any thing be more destrucincrease in a much greater proportion. Nothing can equal tive of the recruiting business than giving ten dollars bountheir sufferings, except the patience and fortitude with ty for six weeks' service in the militia, who come in, you which the faithful part of the army endure them.” cannot tell how; go, you cannot tell when; and act, you
“ The want of wagons and horses, for the ordinary as cannot tell where: who consume your provisions, exhaust well as the extraordinary occasions of the army, presses your stores, and leave you at last in a critical moment." upon us, if possible, with equal force. Almost every spe The sagacious author of the life of General Washingcies of camp transportation is performed by men, who, ton, in commenting on the condition of public affairs at without a murmur, patiently yoke themselves to little car- the close of the year 1777, writes thus: “ The problem riages of their own making, or lvadd their wood and pro- whether a nation can be defended against a permanent visions on their back."
force, by temporary armies, by occasional calls of the husThe regular army of the revolution), mercenaries! oh bandman from his plough to the field, was already solved; 110; purer and holier motives warmed their bosoms and and, in its demonstration, the independence of America Derved their arms.
nad nearly perished in its cradle. All thoughts were now The opinion of General Waslıington, in regard to the re-directed to the creation of an army for the ensuing cam. lative importance of regulars and militia, is well known. paign, as the only solid basis on which the hopes of the. In a letter to Congress, of September, 1776, he thus wrote: patriot could rest.” “ To place any dependance upon militia, is assuredly rest. Was there any thing in the experience of the last war ing upon a broken staff. Men just dragged from the ten- to disprove the conclusions of Washington and Marshall? der scenes of doinestic life, unaccustomed to the din of Nothing. I see around me many experienced officers arms, totally unacquainted with every kind of military who can confirm their every word-who have in this House skill, which, being followed by a want of confidence in confirmed their every word on more occasions than one. themselves when opposed to troops regularly trained, dis- The legislation of Congress during the last war confirms it. ciplined, and appointed, superior in knowledge and supe. When it was found that a bounty of eight, sixteen, and rior in arms, makes them timid, and ready to fly from their forty dollars in cash, and one hundred and sixty acres of own shadows. Besides, the sudden change in their man- land, were insufficient to fill the ranks of the army, we ner of living, particularly in their lodging, brings on sick- raised it to one hundred and twenty-four dollars in cash, ness in many, impatience in all, and such an unconqucra- and three hundred and twenty acres in land; and if the ble desire of returning to their respective liomes, that it war had continued, we should have been compelled to renot only produces shameful and scandalous desertions sort, and would have resorted, to the much abused system among themselves, but infuses the like spirit in others. of conscription. The bill which it became my duty to reAgain, men accustomed to unbounded freedom and no port in 1814, as chairman of the Committee on the Militia, control, cannot brook the restraint which is indispensably authorizing the President to compel the militia to serve necessary to the good order and government of an army; six months after their arrival at the place of rendezvous, without which licentiousness and every kind of disorder encountered sharp opposition as well from the friends as triumphantly reign. To bring men to a proper degree the enemies of the war. By a leading member of the forof subordination is not the work of a day, a month, or a mer, who himself was a general of militia, it was proposyear; and unhappily for us, and the cause we are engaged ed in committee, and urged with great zeal, to reduce the in, the little discipline I have been laboring to establish in term from three to two months, instead of enlarging it from the army under my immediate command, is in a manner three to six. clone away hy having such a mixture of troops as have I have dwelt on this part of the subject longer than I inbeen called together within these few months.” After tended, and perhaps longer than was necessary: a sufficient stating other objections against a reliance on the militia, apology will, I trust, be found in the degrading epithet apwhich I will not detain the House with reading, General plied to the army by the gentleman from Tennessee. Washington proceeds: “ These, sir, Congress may be as I pray gentlemen, before they make up their minds to sured, are but a small part of the inconveniences which vote against this bill, to consider the situation of those for might be enumerated and attributed to militia; but there whom it provides assistance. Their age--most of them is one that merits particular attention, and that is the ex- have passed the period ordinarily allotted to human life. pense. Certain I am, that it would be cheaper to keep Few are under threescore years and ten, and many are fifty or a hundred thousand men in constant pay, than to over fourscore years. Their infirmities--bending under depend on half the number, and supply the other half oc- the weight of years, and hardships, and sufferings, they are casionally by militia. The time the latter is in pay, before illy able to endure the toil of daily labor. Their necesand after they are in camp, assembling and marching, the sities—the bill embraces none in affluence: none who are waste of ammunition, the consumption of stores, which, in removed more than one.degree above absolute want: the spite of every resolution and requisition of Congress, they owners of a house and a little land which they themselves must be furnished with or sent home, added to other in- are unable to work, and the produce of which is insufficidental expenses consequent upon their coming and con- cient to pay the wages of hired hands. Shall we withhold duct in camp, surpass all idea; and destroy every kind of from them the compensation due to their meritorious ser