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whose destiny her own heroic self-sacrifice had retrieved, and her genius and her valor assured!
We feel how hard it is to make or to tolerate any suggestion which looks toward anything but the integrity of that Union which seems to us so worthy of all love, and the perpetuity of those institutions whose like we shall never see again. We see how easy it is to cavil at much that we have written; how many things need to be more fully explained; how many that we have not even mentioned need to be profoundly considered. But, in proportion to their grandeur, all subjects, all ideas, brook the evils of ill-sorting, just as nations, by their very greatness, may endure misguidance, under which the feeble perish at once. Do men remember that it took the Roman Empire a thousand years to die? Can freemen forget that a few small and feeble provinces in Holland fought Spain for their liberty for nearly a century, during which Spain was the first power in Europe, and won their liberty and broke forever the power of Spain? We feel how bitter is the necessity, and how fierce is the difficulty, of subduing our rebellious countrymen, who bear no proportion to us in strength. What progress could they make in an attempt to subdue us ? Let those who look with uneasiness on the proceedings of England and France, or hear their menaces with apprehension, take courage. It may be required of America, by Divine Providence, to liberate the world from the dominion of these powers. We may suffer much and long in executing that purpose of God. We may be obliged to make great changes, which we did not design, and which will be painful to us, great as may be our retribution. Still let us take comfort. To be the greatest of all nations if we triumph—to be the most renowned if we perish nobly; one or other destiny lies plainly before us. Who is not content to allow God to choose between them for us?
ART. IV.-Chaplaincy in the Army. An announcement has been repeatedly made through the public press that on the evening of the 22d of last February, one of the Major Generals of the army of the United States, known, too, as a devout Christian, declared in the Representatives' Hall in the city of Washington, that the chaplaincy system of the army has proved a failure. The reasons for this announcement, as we have seen them stated, are not, however, such as would justify the conclusion either that the system as such has failed, or that it should be dispensed with, and a different provision substituted in lieu thereof, as we shall take occasion to show hereafter. But the remark has been a thousand times repeated, not only by friends but also by the foes of religion, and has both received a construction and been made to favor an application which is as opposite as light is to darkness from the mind and intention of the distinguished officer who gave it utterance. He never designed to favor the impression that the ministrations of religion might be dispensed with as useless in the camp, or that our armies in the field and the troops occupying our military posts might be left without the regular and authorized institutions of the Gospel, so far, at least, as it is possible in the circumstances to have them regularly administered; but to convey the idea (so that a remedy might be provided), that in a great measure as heretofore conducted, and mainly since the commencement of the present war, the method by which such a result was sought, has failed to secure its great and desirable end. That the remark, greatly as it has been misconstrued, meant neither more nor less than this, we think can not be doubted. The whole subject is a deeply important one, and we propose to devote a few pages to its consideration.
In the Revised Army Regulations, published in 1861, the chaplaincy is referred to as follows :
“One Chaplain shall be allowed to each regiment of the army, to be appointed by the Colonel on the nomination of the company commanders. None but regularly ordained ministers of some Christian denomination, however, shall be eligible to appointment, and the wishes and wants of the soldiers of the regiment shall be allowed their full and due weight in making the selection. The proceedings in each case will be immediately forwarded to the Adjutant General's office, the name and denomination of the Chaplain being in every case reported. Chaplains will only be allowed to regiments which are embodied and serving together as one whole—not to regiments of which the companies are serving at different stations.
“Chaplains not to exceed thirty in number are also allowed to posts. The posts at which Chaplains may be employed will be announced by the War Department, but the appointment will be made by the Council of Administration.
"The Council of the post will, however, report to the Adjutant General, for the approval of the Secretary of War, the rate of pay allowed to the person selected to officiate as Chaplain, and perform the duties of schoolmaster; the decision of the Secretary on this point will be notified to the commanding officer of the post by the Adjutant General.”— Article 24.
In the appended “ Extracts from the Acts of Congress," section nine, the following occurs :
"And be it further enacted, That there shall be allowed to each regiment one Chaplain, who shall be appointed by the regimental commander on the vote of the field officers and company commanders on duty with the regiment at the time the appointment shall be made. The Chaplain, so appointed, must be a regular ordained minister of a Christian denomination, and shall receive the pay and allowances of a Captain of cavalry, and shall be required to report to the Colonel commanding the regiment to which he is attached, at the end of each quarter, the moral and religious condition of the regiment, and such suggestions as may conduce to the social happiness and moral improvement of the troops."
The second and fourth of the “ Articles of War" refer likewise to the subject, and read as follows:
“ It is earnestly recommended to all officers and soldiers diligently to attend divine service; and all officers who shall behave indecently or irreverently at any place of divine worship shall, if commissioned officers, be brought before a general court-martial, there to be publicly and severely reprimanded by the president; if non-commissioned officers or soldiers, every person so offending shall, for his first offense, forfeit onesixth of a dollar, to be deducted out of his next pay; for the second offense, he shall not only forfeit a like sum, but be confined twenty-four hours; and for every like offense, shall suffer and pay in like manner; which money, so forfeited, shall be applied, by the Captain or senior officer of the troop or company, to the use of the sick soldiers of the company or troop to which the offender belongs.
"Every Chaplain commissioned in the army or armies of the United States, who shall absent himself from the duties assigned him (excepting in cases of sickness or leave of absence), shall, on conviction thereof before a court-martial, be fined not exceeding one month's pay, besides the loss of his pay during his absence; or be discharged, as the court-martial shall judge proper."
We cite these articles because we shall have occasion to refer to them in the sequel, and that our readers may be able to view them in connection with the whole subject. They have been framed with great and commendable care, and after a very full and wise consideration of the matter. And those who charge them with deficiency and incompleteness, would better evince the propriety of their claim to sit in judgment by first making themselves acquainted with the facts in the case, and then by propounding a code in which the alleged deficiencies are supplied. We are quite satisfied that had these regulations been strictly adhered to, and faithfully executed in their true spirit, and according to the design of those who framed and those who adopted them, the system of the chaplaincy would never have been in any proper sense of the terms regarded as a failure.
As to both the propriety and importance of having an earnest and godly minister of Jesus Christ appointed to each of our military posts, and to accompany every regiment which is called into the field, as it has been, on deliberate consideration, recognized by our Government, and as there certainly can be no question on the subject in a Christian community, so it is obvious that any one either in the State or army, who should, at the present time and in the existing state of things, pronounce the measure a failure, would assume a responsibility in view both of the Government and country, which would place him in no enviable position, if such announcement were found to be based on insufficient data, or on hasty and premature conclusions. Such a judgment is undoubtedly premature in the existing state of affairs, and based upon occurrences which have transpired since the war begun. In the somewhat hurried and extemporized condition of our national affairs, civil and military, the system of the chaplaincy has not had and could not have had a trial sufficient to warrant any such pronunciamento. When our enemies in Europe pronounce, as they have recently so often done, that republican institutions are a failure ; and that the war to preserve the Union is a failure; and that the Union itself is a failure, basing the representation on the occurrences of the past two years, we have unhesitatingly replied to them that the wish is doubtless father to the thought; inasmuch as the new complications which have arisen, although they have severely tested republican principles and institutions, have not by any means decided the question as to their durability, and that our enemies are quite premature in their conclusion that the events of the last two years have proved either that our war to preserve the Union, or the Union itself, is a failure. And when our enemies, moreover, have sneered at the unmilitary appearance of our soldiery at the outset, and at the want of military knowledge, as well as the actual incapacity of many of the officers who had been appointed to command companies, regiments, and brigades; what has been the response ? And still further, what would the response of the country have been, if from such facts some high officer, either civil or military, had announced that the attempt to equip, train, and officer the American forces had proved a failure, and that sev. eral brigades, a large number of regiments, and very many companies were almost destitute of competent officers ? We should have told him, and told him very plainly, that in the sudden and great emergency in which we were called to act, we have done the best we could; that many who had received the appointment of Surgeon, Captain, Colonel, and even General had received little or no military training, and were unacquainted with the profession of arms; and that it was, therefore, entirely premature to conclude, on the grounds asserted, that our military system was a failure; that if he thus sought to remedy the evil, the declaration was unguarded and unnecessary, injurious to the cause of our country, and helpful only to the cause of our foes.