« ZurückWeiter »
H. of R.
FEBRUARY, 1816. war. While I lamented the imperious necessity sufficient numbers, cannot be found, proud to which demanded its declaration, I conceived it wear your unisorm. courting your service, and forced upon us by the injustice and rapacity of ready to rally round the standard of the country the enemy. Hence, sir, I have ever deemed it in the hour of trial. An honorable sense of duty, my duty, as a member of this honorable body, to and an ardent and long cherished attachment to invigorate the national arm, by furnishing to the those eternal principles of civil and religious libGovernment the means of humbling and van- erty, guarantied to us by our excellent political quishing our foes; of vindicating the honor and institutions, will be among the powerful motives interest of the nation, and of placing them upon which will secure forever to the Government a firm and stable foundation.
their best services and affection. Mr. C. said, what induced the officers to enter Mr. Chairman, invidious distinctions are inthe service ?' What multiplied the number of volved in this section, to which I am opposed. candidates for military office, to an extent beyond It excludes from its benefits the most meritorious that which it was proper to gratify and employ? class of the Army. Those officers of the Army I answer, sir, patriotism, the love of fame, and who are retained in service are not embraced by the laudable desire of rendering benefit to the this provision; and yet it is fair to conclude that country. It has been said, that military glory is many of them have rendered more service to the the pay of a soldier. Does justice require those country, and have stronger claims on her bounty donations? No sir. Has the Government failed than those who have been deranged. to perform its engagements with the officers ? At the reduction of the Army, when a selecHas it subjected itself to the imputation of bad tion of officers was made for the Peace Establishfaith? Sir, no such thing exists, no such preten- ment, we may naturally conclude that regard was sion has been suggested ; the Government has had, in some measure, 10 the respective merits of strictly adhered to the requisition of those laws the officers composing the late army. Hence, in virtue of which they solicited and received sir, the imperfection of this system is manifest. their commissions. They have had an opportu Mr. Chairman, what reason have we to disnity to manifest their love of country, and to ren- criminate in this way, between the regular and der her honorable service in the exercise of their militia officers of the late army. Have not the military talents. They have received pretty am- latter displayed military genius and devotion to ple, pecuniary compensation, (especially the su- their country? Have they not rendered her sig. perior officers,) and enjoy all the advantages of nal services, and performed many noble and galvictory, with the respeci and gratitude of the lant achievements? They certainly have, sir; nation.
in this exists no difference of opinion. With Mr. C. said, does sound policy demand these what justice or propriety, then, can we withhold donations? I'think not, sir. I am aware that from them this boon? Sir, the names of these we may be exhorted by honorable members to brave and patriotic officers thicken on my recol. transport ourselves in imagination to a period lection. I could mention a Shelby, a Porter, and when we may be again engaged in a conflict of many others
, if it were proper to name them in arms with an enemy; a conflict similar in char: this place, equally deserving the benefits of this acter to that through which we have lately passed section, as the deranged officers of the regular in defence of our dearest rights; in defence of the army. 'Sir, the honorable chairman of the Milivery attributes of sovereignty. We may be cold tary Committee has reminded us, that we grant that, at a period so eventful, we may solicit in land to privates, and asks, why we withhold it vain the heroes of the country to wear our com- from officers ? Sir, there is a great difference mission, and to fight our battles. They will be between the pecuniary compensation afforded a deterred from entering our service, from the illib- private, and an officer. Besides, by the terms of erality which the history of our conduct, in rela- your contract with the private soldier, when he tion to the deranged officers, will disclose, should entered the service you promised him land; no this section be rejected.
such contract exists, no such promise was made Sir, I do not believe that such a state of things in relation to the officers. The same gentleman, will ever occur. Real vision, in my judgment, when speaking of the advantages extended to the will never behold this fanciful picture. History militia, with a view to do away the imputation will record that we have complied with every that the deranged officers of the regular army legal and moral obligation imposed on us in ref. are the favored objects of our partiality, remarked, erence to these deranged officers. Have they that we place the militia, when wounded, on the been wounded ? we inscribe their names, as in- pension list. Sir, this privilege is common 10 valid officers, on the roll of pensioners of the militia and regulars; and, therefore, cannot be United States. Have officers been slain in bat. adduced to justify the distinction to which I tle ? we grant a gratuity, for a term of years, 10 have adverted. their legal representatives. Sir, without advert But my estimable friend from Kentucky com. ing to all the provisions upon this subject, suffice plains of our turning the deranged officers upon it to say, thai history will proclaim the justice ihe world without the means of support. Sir
, and munificence of the conduct of the Govern when the people have no business for their public ment in regard to the Army. Thus, sir, the pe- servants to perform, when the necessity which riod, I apprehend, will never arrive when men of induced their official elevation ceases to exist, it military talents and heroic cast of character, in 1 is just and proper they should retire to private
H. OF R.
life; of this practice no one can, of right, come into the lowest depths of despair and desponden. plain. We maintain no sinecures in this Repub; cy. From what quarter did the first ray of hope lic. Mr. Chairman, from the best reflection I beam upon you? From the North west-Kenhave been able to bestow upon the subject of this tucky's venerable chief, at the head of her volun. section, I am induced to believe it ought not to teer militia, in the capture of the British Army be adopted. If, however, it shall obtain, I hope under Proctor, and the dispersion of the Indians its benefits will be confined to captains and suball with the slaughter of their favorite leader, brought eros. Thus, sir, I am constrained, from a sense you relief. Despair and despondency disappeared of duty, to oppose, upon this occasion, the wishes like an unwelcome guest. Confidence and hope of my honorable friend, the chairman of the succeeded. Bonfires and illuminations in all Military Committee, with whom I am generally parts of the United States evidenced the change happy and proud to act in concert.
produced by the gallant deeds of your militia. Mr. Taul said: Though I am decidedly of The honorable gentleman at the head of your opinion that the section of the bill proposed to be Military Committee (Mr. Johnson) knows well stricken out is impolitic, and of course ought not their merits. He has commanded them; he to pass, I confess that I distrust my own judg-has fought and bled with them. As the comment, when it is different from that of any of the mander of a militia corps, he has rendered signal standing committees of the House. The mem- services to his country; and should the occasion bers composing those committees are selected for require it, will doubtless do so again. It is unnetheir capacity and particular knowledge of the cessary to enumerate instances of the gallant business to be referred to them. Those selections achievements of your militia. The plains of have been judiciously made. The standing com. New Orleans will be a lasting, monument to mittees have a double responsibility on them. their fame, their worth and usefulness. Hence it is to be presumed that every measure, But, says an honorable gentleman from Masbefore it is reported to the House, undergoes a sachusetts, (Mr. Conner) for whom I have very nice scrutiny. Those committees have de- the highest personal respect, General Washingservedly great weight in the investigation and ton pronounced during the war of the Revoludecision of such questions as may have come be- tion, that the militia under his command had fore and been decided on by them. In opposing; been prejudicial, instead of serviceable, to the therefore, any measure recommended by them, country, General Washington spoke of the hetyou have to encounter" fearful odds" indeed. erogeneous, discordant, unorganized, and undis
In addition to the support given to this measure ciplined militia of that day. His various comby the Military Committee, it has also received munications to Congress during the time he the support of an honorable, highly respectable, administered the Government, will demonstrate enlightened, and consequently influential member that he considered the militia the nation's best, from Maryland, (Mr. Smith.)
surest, and, I may say, only defence. His anxiety In opposing the proposed donation of lands to to have the militia properly organized, armed, the disbanded officers, I wish it to be distinctly and disciplined, is manifested in all his commuunderstood that I have no idea of detracting from nications to Coogress on the subject. The same their merits. They stand high in my estimation. honorable gentleman (Mr. CONNER) has reThey have the richest reward in the nation's ferred us to the military operations in India, as treasury-its thanks, its gratitude.
an evidence of the correctness of the position But, sir, is it to the regular army exclusively, which he has assumed. In that country he has or the officers commanding it, that you are in- informed you that an army of fifty or an hundebted for the splendid victories achieved during dred thousand men has been put to flight by a the late war ?—for your present high standing few thousand British troops. I must be permitamongst the nations of the earth ? Much, very ted to flatter myself that the American militia much, Mr. Chairman, was performed by the mi. are something superior to the Hindoo; if they litia ; yes, the militia, that was once considered are not, it is bigh time we were looking out for the bulwark of the nation; but which some gen- some other dependence than the militia. Sir, if tlemen seem to consider, at this time, worse than your militia are pot capable of defending themnothing. It is not my intention to make any in- selves, of fighting their own battles if they are vidious comparisons; I shall not say that this not fit materiais for soldiers, they are not fit for was done by the militia, that by the regular citizens; it is time they were subjects. Gentlearmy.
men seem to have misunderstood the ground of But I must be pardoned in directing your at- opposition to the proposed donation to the distention back to the Fall of 1813. What was the banded officer. Sir, it is not because your militia situation of this country then, and the state of officers are not included; I will not say that the the public mind and feelings of the people ? Dis militia officer would not accept anything of the aster had succeeded disaster in such rapid succes. kind, which the Government, in the plenitude of sion, that this nation was literally clad in mourn its liberality, might bestow; but this much I ing, was covered with sackcloth and ashes; every will say, that he ought not. face was pale; the highest-minded and most Sir, if suffering is to be rewarded, you should sanguine in this nation was bowed down ; noth- begin with the non-commissioned officers and ing but the brilliant achievements of your gallant privates of the militia. Comparatively speaking, tars on the water prevented you from sinking the situation of the officer during the late war
H. OF R.
was enviable, the situation of the soldier wretched, It has been observed, in the course of tbis dedeplorable. 'I would not make a donation of land bate, that the disbanded officers have acquired a to the officer, without making a similar donation great deal of military information ; that by mato the soldier; and I do not ihink either entitled king this provision for them, they will be enabled to it. I doubí the right of the Congress of the to perfeci their military education, and, in the United States to make such a disposition of the event of another war, would make valuable offi. public lands. It has been too common a practice cers. Perhaps I have not the same confidence under almost all governments to reward a few at in making good and valuable officers by educathe expense of the many. Let us not, if possible, tion that some gentlemen have. You cannot fall into this error. If we are to exercise our make a military commander as you can make a charity, let us find fit objects; for ill-directed or cobbler. He must be formed by the plastic hand misplaced charity, is worse than no charity at all. of nature herself. An honorable, ingenious, and
Hitherto the Congress of the United States enlightened gentleman from Massachusetts, (Mr. has provided only for the widows and children HULBERT,) some time since, in debate, on the bill of such officers as may have been killed in bat- 10 establish an additional Military Academy, !le. The humane and laudable object of this bill(which he advocated with great zeal and ability,) is to make provision for the widows and children embellished his speech and undertook to illustrate of such non-commissioned officers and privates the position which he assumed, by quoting the as may have died iy your service. It is worthy old maxim, “ That an army of bares commanded a greai and magnanimous people. The best feel by a lion was superior to an army of lions comings of the human heart must be enlisted in their manded by a hare." Be it so. I should doubt favor ; I therefore regret that the proposed bounty making a lion of a hare by any course of educato the disbanded officers should be ushered into tion that could be taken. It requires a combinathis House in company with the claim of the tion of rare qualities to make an able commanwidow and orphan.' They stand on very differ- der. Those qualities actual service alone can ent ground. It is contended that the disbanded develope. officers were taken from lucrative professions, Much as our hopes were rested upon our old from profitable agricultural and commercial pur- experienced officers at the period when war was suits, that their business has been deranged and declared, and for some time thereafter, our egre. cannot be resumed to advantage. Sir, one, two, gious disappointment will never be forgotten. or three years' service will not disqualify a man
Without intending a reflection upon any particfor the pursuits of civil life. The disbanded offi- ular officer, it is with pain that I say that many cer who cannot resume his civil pursuits was of them at the trying moment were found waniunfit to be honored with a commission; the coun. ing. try is under no obligation to support him. The The distinguished heroes who shone with such meritorious disbanded officer, in resuming busi- resplendent lustre at the closing scene, and who ness, will bave considerable advantages over
“bàve filled the measure of their country's honor," others in the same line of business; his military were unthought of at the commencement of hosservices will have enlisted the sympathies of the tilities. people on his side, and consequenily command The esources of your country
ald, in my iheir friendship and support. Pass the section opinion, be better applied, than in the way conof the bill now under consideration, and, my templated by the section of the bill under considword for it, your militia is disgusted, great vio-eration. Amongst other things your militia want lence will be done to public sentiment. It is arms—though they are, in my opinion, superior considered in the light of a charitable donation; to any troops in the world, it is not to be disall who held commissions during the late war are guised that they are in a most wretched situincluded; the great mass of the community will alion. They know nothing of the musket and not be able to perceive that because a young gen- bayonet until they are called into service. For tleman (worthy as he may be) may have worn the first time those arms are put into their hands. epaulets for a few months or a year, that he is
, They are dissatisfied with the musket, because therefore, an object of charity: Sír, he stands they are acquainted with the rifle and know its on very differeni ground from that of the super- efficacy. They should be habituated to the use annuated, war-worn officer or soldier. This of those arms on which they have to depend in Government is founded (as I remarked on a for. battle. It takes some time to reconcile a militiamer occasion) on the affections of the people; man to arms with which he was uoacquainted, their feelings, their wishes must be consulted and which he has not been used to handling. li is po reproach to them that they would be op I shall vote for striking out the section ; the posed to the proposed grant of land to the officers
. rest of the bill I do most sincerely hope and trust Select meritorious objects, and you will find no will receive the unanimous support of the House. limit to the bounty, to the gratitude of this peo Mr. Easton said, he entertained the highest ple. The Legislature of the State which I have regard and respect for the honorable, the chairihe honor, in part, of representing on this floor, man and members of the Military Committee has forwarded us a memorial in behalf of the who reported the bill now under discussion, and widow and orphan. As well as I recollect, it is if the honorable members of the committee had stated to have passed both branches of the Legis- gone a little farther they would have been entilature unanimously.
iled to more of his respect.
H. OF R.
I have heard, Mr. Chairman, said Mr. E., a ravian towns? The militia. Who terrified and great deal about national glory upon the floor of beat a veteran army, greatly superior in number, ibis House: I, 100, love pational glory-pot only at Plattsburg on the 18th of September, 1814, and pational glory, but also love national justice. He gave military fame to Macomb? The Vermont considered the present question, whether a dona- and New York militia. Who expelled the Brit. tion of lands should be granted to the disbanded ish veteran foe from before New Orleans on the officers of the Army as altogether a question of | 8th of January, 1815, immortalized the hero Jackpolicy. He had, at an early period in the session, son, and crowned their country with everlasting offered a resolution instructing the committee on glory? It was the brave and hardy sons of the Military Affairs to inquire into the expediency of West-the militia and volunteers. And what paying to the officers, non-commissioned officers, were these glorified Generals at the commenceand privates, of the militia, army, and rangers, ment of the war; they, most of them, were of the who served in the late war, interest on the sums militia ? due to them, from the time they ought to have Sir, this is, or ought to be, a Government of been paid, until they should be paid. He under equal rights-equal protection should be extended stood it had been reported against; had ihe ioquiry to all, and equal and exact justice measured out been as to its justice, instead of its expediency, to all alike. How had the war borne in its opehe believed it could not have been reporied against; ration upon the people of this nation? It would he thought the nation should be just before it was be found that certain portions of the people had bountiful. If the committee had reported in fa. made money during the war-Pittsburg, Carlisle, vor of the payment to the army and militia what and other places in Pennsylvania ; also, in cerwas in truth due to them, and also in favor of tain parts of the State of New York, and other granting a bounty in land to the officers and pri- States to the South, had made money by the war, vates of the militia, we should then have had the while the frontiers had suffered incalculable lossés, question of justice, as well as policy, before us. whether that frontier was on the Atlantic or in He, for one, was not for giving donations to the the interior. The war had raged upon the Niadisbanded officers, and with holding what was gara frontier, upon the seacoast, and in the Northjustly due to the militia. He thought such a west. On the Niagara frontier, the people had measure was neither just nor politic. The offi- been plundered, and their houses burned' by the cers of the army had sought, with great compe. enemy; many had lost everything they possessed. tition, to procure commissions in the service of Portions of the seaboard had also been ravaged, the country, while many of the militia, some of and the inbabitants plundered of their property, whom were equally meritorious and would have and their persons violated; while, on the Northmade as good officers had they have been com west frontier, the people had been shot dead in missioned, have been forced into the service by a their fields, their houses burned, property robbed, draught, others had volunteered, and greatly dis- and many left without a cent to give support or tinguished themselves in their country's cause. succor to the agonizing widow and helpless or
Mr. E. said, he had beard, with great pleas- phan. And was this nation to give to the rich, ure, glory in high-toned and very eloquent sirains to disbanded officers, to the aristocratic branch of poured forth, and very properly bestowed upon the community, who sought with eagerness the Jackson, Brown, Scott, Ripley, Macomb, Gaines, honor of holding your commissions, and the truly Porter, Miller, and the long list of heroes who had unfortunate to remain wholly unprovided for? helped to fight the battles of the country; they He wished not to be understood as being opposed justly merited all that could be said in their to this donation; as a matter of policy to the offi. praise, aod he was not disposed to detract in the cers, he thought it should be granted, but not unleast from the merit, the praise, or the honor, to uil relief should be extended io such as had been which they were so justly entitled; he would not ruined by the war; the militia and army paid pluck one solitary feather from their cap of fame. what was due to them, and the like bounty in He would however ask, how was this glory ac- lands extended to the militia. Equal righis do quired? Who acquired it for them? While he not exist where justice is not measured out to all was not disposed to eulogise mortal man, he could alike; individuals who have loaned to the Gov. not forbear to bring into view before the commit. eroment, always have been paid interest; and tee the merits of the militia. He recollected, what is ihe withholding from ihe militia, rangers, when quite a youth, a respectable old lady from and others employed in your service, sums really the neighborhood where he lived had made a due to them, but a forced loan ? Il you provide visit into Vermont; on her return, she was asked for these disbanded officers, why not make prohow she liked the settlements and the people ? vision for the militia, the great bulwark of our She observed, smilingly, that they lived in log liberty, the ark of our political safety? Does not cabins in the woods, and at every house she sound policy dictale this course ? To whom will saw more children than panes of glass in their you look, and to whom will posterity look, for the windows. It is to these hardy sons of America delence of the country, in case of another war, if that a portion of this glory ought to be ascribed. it be not lo ibe militia ? Who defeated the British at Sackett's Harbor ? Let any member of this honorable Committee Who helped to gain the successive battles of figure to himself the situation of a frontier-man, Chippewa, Niagara, and Erie? The militia. a ranger, in the war upon the Western frontier. Who defeated General Proctor's army at the Mo- He eolists, because his family, his country, liber
14th Con. Ist Sess.--32
H. OF R.
FEBRUARY, 1816. ty, and property, everything held dear and sacred, providing for the militia themselves. Make libis endangered; he scorns to fly, he expects pay, eral and generous provision for the militia ; rebecause it is right, and he cannot serve without ward those whose interest it will be to rally around it. He goes in debt, supplies his own provision, the stapdard of the country, and to meet the inhorse, and clothing; he marches poi into the vasion of the enemy as they would trespassers open field to meet in broad day-light a civilized upon their own personal concerns, and you will enemy, but, in the wide wilderness, to combat never be forced io resort to conscriptions. with ihe rifle, the tomahawk, and scalping-kaife, On the contrary, if you grant extra bounties to leaving his defenceless family behind, at home, such professional gentlemen as have given up the expecting every night to be slaughtered by the practice of the law, worth five thousand dollars a ruihless and relentless savage foe, who creep from year; to commercial men who have quit their their hiding places, make their attack in the dark, pursuits, worth ten thousand dollars a year, as by surprise, and, unless successful, are off through stated by an honorable gentleman, and the exthe thicket with all the rapidity of the deer. The clusive advocates of disbanded officers, who, with savage hunts the ranger as he would hunt the such lucrative professions and employments, have doe. Wet and cold are the days, and dismal are a competency to return to; while you withhold the nights he has spent in his country's cause. relief to such as have been ruined by the war, Peace is proclaimed-it brings glad tidings to and refuse to reward your militia, who have every honest heart. The ranger and the militia. gained you most splendid victories, fought the man return, they expect payment, everybody sup- battles of the country, preserved the honor of the posed they long since would have been paid, nation-soldiers composed of farmers, American without if they cannot discharge their debts. husbandmen, fresh from their fields, separated Their certificates for pay more worthless than from their families, firesides, and homes
, who, upon Philadelphia bills in New York, or New York the sound of their country's alarm, have marched bills in Philadelphia were, during ihe war. They. to its standard, and met the invasion of the mer. must dispose of ihem at a discount, or the bailiff cenary enemies to the rights of man, to liberty, sells their property or confines them in prison. and a free Government; forced them to retire with Similar has been the fate of many an honest hus. great slaughter, and crowned this pation with bandman. The militia of that portion of the immortal glory-withhold, I say, a reward to this country which he had the honor to represent, had meritorious class of the community-put them defended the country before and during the whole off with the honorable thanks of the nation-bewar. We were without regular troops; it is true stow bounties exclusively upon disbanded offithere were ten companies of rangers for three cers, and in all future contests, as in the late war, Territories, but those were taken from the mili- you will have officers by thousands, but few soltia of that country, and the few regular troops diers
, to fight the battles of this beloved country. did little more than perform garrison duty. The Messrs. Cannon, Ross, McKee, and Wil. country was greatly harassed during the whole liams, supported the motion, and opposed the war, and he could here give a long catalogue of grant of land to the disbanded officers. Messrs. barbarous and bloody murders committed, which Smith of Maryland, JACKSON of Virginia, and he forebore to detain the Committee to relate.
WILDE, were adverse to the motion, and in favor The militia, the independent farmers of the of awarding the bounty proposed in the bill. West, when the colonization of the Western coun The motion to strike out the section was finally try was threatened by the British veteran forces agreed to-ayes 74, nays 60. at New Orleans, and hordes of blood-thirsty sav On motion, of Mr. Desha, the 2d section of ages, headed by British myrmidons and emissa- the bill was so amended as io confine the land ries, were pressing upon the settlements in the bounty to those soldiers, above forty-five and unNorth, they, the people of the West, the father der eighteen years of age, who enlisted" for five and the son, the aged and the infirm, rallied years or during the war." around the standard of their country, and did On motion, of Mr. Jackson of Virginia, a new march, and would again march, at the point of section was added to the bill for the purpose of the bayonet
, to spill the last drop of blood sooner guarding, as far as possible, the bounty from falling than the tyrant of the ocean, the destroyer of into the hands of speculaiors, by prohibiting the mankind, the spoiler of free trade, and the deadly transfer of right thereto, until after the patent has enemy of all free Governments, should have issued. gained a foothold in this happy land of liberty The Committee then rose, reported progress, and equal rights.
and obtained leave to sit again. The honorable chairman of the Committee on Military Affairs, (Mr. Johnson, of Kentucky,) says they have not neglected the militia, in bis
FRIDAY, February 16. opinion, if I understood him right; and under Mr. Sergeant presented a petition of sundry takes to prove this position, by stating that Con- inhabitants of Montgomery county, and of the gress have given a donation of land to the widows Northern Liberties of the city of Philadelphia, in of the late John Allen, and Captains Hart and the State of Pennsylvania, praying that the mails Hickman; that we have embraced the cases of may not be transported or opened on Sundays. widows and orphans. Certainly, providing for Mr. Easton presented a resolution of the Lethe widows and orphans of the deceased, is not gislature of the Territory of Missouri, requesting