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APRIL 20, 1830.]
[H. OF R. left it, and engaged in such a profession as would best pro-ling for liberty, under all the embarrassments and disadmote their privnte interest; either the practice of law, or vantages that a pation could be placed in, our liberty was the practice of medicine, or some other of the liberal pro- gained, all the glorious victories were achieved, under fessions wbich they believed would best promote their own the command of officers who never had any military interest. Those youug gentlemen might acquire all the education whatsoever; that he had heard of our officers education necessary for them to have, in their own States, and soldiers fighting bravely and conquering nobly; and and at their own expense, and for which the Government will not the history of our last war show conclusively that now pays. besides paying them for getting it. There is all the most glorious victories were achieved under the another objection that he [Mr. T.] had to this institution, command of officers who, likewise, never had any milita, and that is, (said he) those young gentlemen are selected ry education ! We had one officer in command, he beby the Secretary of War, or rather by the President of lieved, through the whole of the war, bigh in command, the United States, who has the controlling power over it, and great confidence and reliance were placed on him, on
and who can have but little or no opportunity to kuow any account of his military qualifications, which he had acquired I thing about the talents and qualifications of the applicants, at the Military Academy in France. And what did he do? ! only from such information as they can get from other What victory was gained under his command! Not one
sources, and which, be believed, was generally received [said he] that he had ever heard of, nor bad he ever heard from members of Congress; and, as to their choice, [said that that officer was in one single engagement during the be] human nature teaches us whom they will select." Mr. whole war. The officer he alluded to, was General Izard, T. believed this principle to be anti-republican.
Mr. T. said, now compare the services of this officer with [Here be took up the report of the Secretary of War, the services of the officer who commanded at New Or. and quoted from it the number of cadets that bad been leans and elsewhere. He said, the commanding officer at admitted into the institution, and the number who had New Orleans never had bad & military education, and a withdrawn or were dismissed from it, in each year, from more glorious victory never had been achieved in this or its first establishment]
any other country, than that of New Orleans. There He then resumed, and, in the course of his remarks, never bad been more skill and bravery manifested by any said, that he thought the gentleman from New York (Mr. officers and soldiers. than there was by the commandivg Taylor) had no cause of complaint about the number officer, and the officers and soldiers under bis command, at of cadets received in the academy from his State; he New Orleans; and where will you find an officer in our
discovered, on examining this report, that there were as army, or any other, who has had a military education, and 1 many as forty admitted in one year from that State, and who has exhibited greater skill and bravery, than General 1 he believed, by examining this document throughout, that Brown, and his officers and soldiers ? He believed that : it would be found that New York had ber full proportion there was not one officer under the command of General
at least. [Mr. TAYLOR here explained.) Mr. TUOKER Browu, who had had a military education; if there
said, he thanked the gentleman from New York to cor- were, he had never heard of it; and as for that officer bimpreet bim wherever he found him wrong in his statements, self, (said Mr. T.] he hnd been informed he had never 1 as be did not wish to misrepresent any gentleman at any received any military education, and but a very limited ! time. But (said lie) the statement that the gentleman education of any kind. i now makes, does not affect the view that he had of this Mr. T. said, in addition to all other objections that he
matter. His principal object in examining this report, at had stated against the principles of this institution, he had
this time, was to show the large proportion of the cadets another, not less objectionable than those that be bad be1 who were educated at this institution, and who are paid fore mentioned, and that is, [said he) it is the main prop to
by the Government to get their education, and who have this deceptive name called the American system. Indeed,
left it at their pleasure, and engaged in such professional (said he] it is a part of the system itself; it is a delightful 1 pursuits as they believed would promote their private in- name, it is true; and, so far as the name can have any influtereste.
ence, it is well calculated to delude the people, and blind But (said Mr. T.] I have another serious objection to their understanding; and he supposed that that was the rear this institution, on its present plan, at least. "I am oppos- son why the leaders of this unconstitutional and oppres
ed to having a privileged order of men in our country. sive policy (as he believed it to be) gave it the name of # There is no man (said he] that, under the present system, the American system. Mr. T. caid, if gentlemen are
is to be appointed in our armies, but those who are edu- disposed to keep up this institution, 80 as to have a cer
cated at the Military Academy. They are to be appoint- tain class of young gentlemen educated, and also paid for planeed to command, to the exclusion of all other persons. getting their education, at the expense of the Government,
There are (said he] thousands of other men equally meri- and then return home; and engage in such professions as
torious, equally as well qualified to command, as those they believe will best promote their private interests ; and, y young gentlemen who are educated at that institution. also, a further privileged order of men in our country,
Mr. T. said that all the education which is essentially ne to command our armies in time of peace and war, with cessary to qualify men to command in time of the greatest nearly an army of cadets, as officers in the pay of Goperil and danger, can be attained by those who are disposed vernment in time of peace ; and, also, & corps of engito get it in their own States, and at their own expense; and (veers sufficient to survey all the paths, roads, rivers, in that way, (said Mr. T] we should have the most effi- creeks, and branches in the United States, as a means to cient and best officers. He said, all the education that deceive the people, to blind their understanding, and in this
young gentlemen can get at the Military Academy, more way get them to embrace this deceptive American system, # than is to be acquired by them elsewhere, at their own with the vain and delusive idea that they are not only to
expense, will never give them additional bravery or have the public money distributed among them, but that stronger nerve. Mr. T. said, it is sound judgment, strong all their water-courses are to be made navigable, their
nerve, and inflexible courage, that constitute the essential paths and highways made smooth and firm ; that all their i qualifications for commanding officers. If we will only produce is to be sent to market, and every other facility
reflect on the bistory of our own country, [said Mr. T.) be afforded them that vain hope can imagine; and all this thought no man could say, but what the most glorious they can call national, because they say it will facilitate victories tbat ever have been achieved in our country, and, the transmission of the mail, or the transportation of our he believed, in any country, had been gained under the armies and munitions of var, or regulate commerce and command of officers who never bad any military educa- the like; so that every thing (said Mr. T.) that can be called tion. In our revolutionary struggle, when we were fight. by the name national, is then to be national-all is to be
H. OF R.)
Judge Peck.- Organization of the Army. (APRIL 21, 22, 23, 1830. constitutional; the will of a majority of Congress is to be in support of the resolution, and in favor of the impeachthe law of the land, without bounds or limitation. He ment. said that the engineers bad made two or three surveys Mr. BELL, of Tennessee, followed at considerable through South Carolina, on different routes, for the con- length in opposition to the resolution, and in defence of struction of this great pational road to New Orleans; and the Judge. he had been credibly informed that that was either the Mr. MeDUFFIE then moved that the committee rise, nearest or the best route, or some other remarks, so as to and report the resolution to the House, stating that his induce the people to believe that there was some prospect, own mind was made up on the question, and that he was at least, that the road might be made on that route ; and ready to vote on it. he had no doubt but that it had been the case wherever Mr. PETTIS expressed a wish to deliver his sentiments surveys had been made, and would still continue to be the on the resolution, and therefore hoped that the committee
would ask leave to sit again; and In conclusion, Mr. T. said, that when he left this place Mr. TAYLOR suggesting that as Mr. P. was the sole next session, at furtbest, it would be vever more to return ; Representative from Missouri, courtesy required that be be should then quit public business, and retire to private should be allowed the opportunity of delivering his opinions life; that Congress would not be troubled with any re- on the subject marks or vote of his after that period, at furthest ; but, Mr. McĎUFFIE withdrew bis motion; when, (said Mr. T.] when I do verily believe from my soul, if On motion of Mr. PETTIS, the committee rose, reported this policy is not abandoned, but persisted in, that it will progress, and obtained leave to sit again. shortly end in the destruction of the liberty, peace, and happiness of the American people, that he could not, and
FRIDAY, APRIL 23, 1830. would not, forbear to declare it as his most solemn opinion.
THE ARMY. [Here the debate closed for this day.]
The House resumed the resolution proposing a reduc
tion of the officers of tbe army. WEDNESDAY, APRIL 21, 1830.
Mr. DRA YTON addressed the House nearly an hour in The House resumed the consideration of the resolution conclusion of his remarks, calling on the Secretary of War to report a new organiza.
[They were to the following effect:) tion of the army, embracing a reduction of the number of when the resolution was first considered, he said that
Mr. D. said, that, in the remarks which he submitted officers; when
he should vote for its adoption, as he regarded it to be Mr. DRAYTON spoke in continuation of bis remarks of yesterday. His main object was to show that disciplined entitled to make. My colleague upon the Military Com
a mere inquiry for information, which every member was troops are greatly superior to undisciplined soldiers. He
mittee, [Mr. Desha) who reported the resolution, will recontinued until the expiration of the hour.
collect (said Mr. D.] that I expressed this opinion in the JUDGE PECK.
committee, adding that I had not given particular attention On motion of Mr. BUCHANAN, the House resolved it to the subject, which was important, and required investiself into Committee of the Whole on the state of the gation ; but that my impressivde were, that the number of Union, Mr. MARTIN in the chair.
our military officers could not be reduced without injury Mr. PETTIS moved that the committee take up the to the public service. Having made these explanations to bill to amend an act in alteration of acts imposing duties avoid being misunderstood, bad the debate been confined
within its proper limits, I should not again have addressed op imports.
Mr. BUCHANAN moved to take the report of the Com- the House. But, under this resolutiou, a wide and unexmittee on the Judiciary on the case of Judge Peck.
pected discussion has been entered into, in the course of The motion of Mr. ÞETTIS was negatived: yeas, 61– that a standing army, in time of peace, being expensive
which it has been contended by several members : first, The committee then took up the report of the Judiciary ed, that it should be reduced in number. Secondly, that,
and useless, it ought to be disbanded; and, if not disbandCommittee on the case of Judge Peck. Mr. BUCHANAN addressed the committee for about an ber of officers ought to be reduced, as it is disproportion
admitting the expediency of the standing army, the numbour, in explanation and defence of the report of the committee, and to sustain the resolution for impeaching.
ately large, in comparison with the number of soldiers ; Mr. CLAY, of Alabama, opposed the resolution, and and, thirdly, that, however these questions might be dis: defended the Judge.
posed of, the Military Academy at West Point ought to be Mr. SPENCER, of New York, spoke in support of the amined into the subject involved in it; and baving arrived
abolished. During the progress of this debate, I have exresolution. The committee then rose.
at conclusions utterly at variance with the propositions which I bave just stated, I shall offer to the House the rea
sons upon which my conclusions are founded, and reply THURSDAY, APRIL 22, 1830.
to the arguments of those from whom I differ in opinion.
First. That a standing army, in time of peace, being exTHE ARMY
pensive and useless, it ought to be disbanded ; and, if not The House resumed the resolution relative to a reduction disbanded, that its numbers ought to be reduced. of the officers of the army.
To conduct the operations of war, requires the union of Mr. DRAYTON continued his remarks on the subject, science and art. The one prescribes the principles and without baying concluded, when the bour expired. rules, which the latter reduces to practice. This combiJUDGE PECK.
nation of theory and practice has usually been termed the
art of war; the progress of which has kept pace with the The House went again into Committee of the Whole, lights and improvements of the age. If, iherefore, we Mr. WILDE in the chair, and resumed the consideration of would maintain an equality with those nations with which the case of Judge Peck.
we may be involved in hostilities, it is necessary that our Mr. DODDRIDGE, of Virginia, submitted at length his knowledge of the art of war ebould not be inferior to that reasons for deeming the impeachment just and proper. which they possess. This could not be effected were we
Mr. STORRS, of New York, also spoke for some time deprived of the menns of obtaining this knowledge, which
APRIL 23, 1830.]
Organization of the Army.
(H. OF R.
must be furnished either by a military academy or a stand- they have alone defeated an equal number of disciplined ing army. Destitute of these establishments, the art of troops in the open field. The affairs at and near New Orwar would soon be unknown in the United States. All will leans, among the most brilliant in the annals of history, admit that the physician, the lawyer, and the artisan can have repeatedly been cited as proofs that there is no sunot be versed in the principles and the practice of their periority in the regular over the militia soldier. Upon several vocations without study and experience. Upon these occasions, the steadiness and courage of the militia what ground, then, can it be contended that the same rea- could not be surpassed. But it must not be forgotten, soping does not apply to military knowledge, which re- that, wben they defended New Orleans, they were behind quires a greater extent and variety of science and attain. intrenchments, and that the action of the 230 December ments than any of the learned or mechanical pursuits? It was fought in the night: that in neither of these situations has been said that this science is of no service that officers could the manœuvres of the field be practised. It must cno lead, and soldiers can fight, as well without it. Whoever also be remembered, that the marines and United States' will take the trouble to examine into military details, both artillery and infantry constituted nearly one-third of those in ancient and moderu history, will be satisfied of the error who were engaged on the 23d of December and on the 8th of this opinion. (Here Mr. D. detailed the particular of of January. After the defeat of the enemy, the force with the conduct and evolutions of Happibal
, in Italy; of Cæsar, General Jackson, including the militia, in the rear of the in Gaul; of the Duke of Marlborough, in the war of the lines of New Orleans, was nearly equal to that of the Britsuccession; of Frederick the Great in the seven years' war; ish survivors. Would they have been suffered to retreat of Bonaparte, in his battles with the Austrians; and of the uvassailed to their shipping, bad the troops under so great Duke of Wellington, in Portugal and Spain.] These ex: a commander as Geueral Jackson been regularly disciplinamples illustrate, more forcibly than any arguments which ed ! No, sir, with such troops, flushed with recent victoI could urge, that skill and discipline are an overmatch ry, and with such a leader at their head, the enemy could for valor and oumbers. At one period. the most renowned hardly have escaped capture or destruction. and successful troops in Europe were the Spanish-after- Because a few individuals vot educated for the profeswards the Swedish—then_the French-then the allies sion of arms have been eminently distinguished in the field, under Marlborough and Eugene — then the Prussians, it has been inferred, by some gentlemen, that military &c. When this military pre-eminence was respectively science and experience were useless. These are excep
claimed and allowed, it was exclusively attributable to the tions to general rules. The mass of mankind stand in BI skill of the officers, and to the discipline of the soldiers. need of instruction and practice to render them com10 In the commencement of the revolutionary war, General petent to discharge the functions of subordinate officers.
Washington, great as were his talents for command, did Even those extraordinary personages wlio bave been re
not lead the armies under him to victory. It was not ferred to, whom nature endowed with the capacity to 0 until after the arrival of Baron Steuben, appointed to conceive, and the judgment to direct, great military exaspector General, that a system of tactics and instruction ploits, would be devoid of the species of knowledge
was introduced among the officers and men, which ren- which would enable them to discipline an army, to give to dered them competent to meet and to vanquish a discip- it that mechanical skill in the execution of rapid, com
bined, and complex movemeuts, which are so essential. I know that it is the babit, both in this House and out of Generals Washington and Brown were strongly impressit, to assert tbat the militia are, in all respects, equal to ed with the expediency of maintaining a small standing regulars. I know that it is popular to advance, and unpopu- army in time of peace. General Jackson, judging from lar to coutrovert, this assertion; and yet it is irreconcilable bis message to both Houses of Congress, as well as from with reason and experience. Ís it not notorious that bat other authentic sources of information, entertains the same tles are gained by communicating to large bodies the faci- opinion. It might as reasonably be argued that arithmetic
lity of executing combined, and, frequently, complicate and mathematics were useless, because Zera Colburn and is movements, with celerity and precision; that inserior oum- Brindsley had never learned them, as that no advantage is
bers are often victorious by the skilful selection of posi- to be derived from a knowledge of the art of war, because Sebentions, and by judicious maneuvres ; that, by these means, a few splendid examples could be adduced of consummate
a comparatively small army may be directed, with superior generals, whose genius rose above the ordinary means by force against the weak points of the enemy, and thus beat which military skill is obtained. him in detail ? To effect these results, the officer must To determine whether our army be too large, we must have learned his duties, and the soldier must be carefully advert to the purposes for which it has been raised. These and laboriously trained. Have the militia these advad- are, to garrison our forts along the Atlantic coast; to octages? In pronouncing them not to be equal to regular cupy certain commanding posts upon our inland frontier ; troops, I say no more than that those who have not acquired to restrain the inroads of neighboring savages; to punish a difficult art, cannot be so competent to practice it as their aggressions, and thus to protect our thinly populated those who have devoted to it their labor and time. Our settlements; and to preserve military skill, which cannot militia are citizens of the same country—they are endow. subsist without the proper subject upon which it is to be ed with the same mural and physical powers as the regu. exercised. lar soldiers, but they want tactical koowledge and dis- The extent of a line drawn around the United States and cipline, without which an army is comparatively feeble. My their territories, excluding the indentations of coasts, &c. colleague (Mr. TOOKER] bas eulogized, and justly eulo- may, I believe, be estimated at between eight and nine gized, Marion, and Pickens, and Sumpter, and Hampton, thousand miles. We have now forty-two military posts and Butler, and Williams, officers of militia in South Caro- and seventeen ordnance depots, (together fifty-nine, so that lina, wbo were conspicuous in the revolutionary, war. I our army, consisting of five thousand four hundred and entirely concur with him in all that he has uttered in their thirty pon-commissioned officers and privates, would give praise. He would not be more unwilling than myself to to each post and depot no more than pinety' rank and file. tarnish their well earned laurels. But South Carolina was In this enumeration I have made do allowance for the 00rescued from the military grasp of Great Britain by conti- cupation of several forts nearly finished, and of others not Dental regiments, led by General Greene. With them the commenced, which it is intended shall be erected. Demilitia of the State, and many of the officers whom my ductions must, also, occasionally, be made from our garricolleague bas named, co-operated bravely. Militia, acting song. Two detachments, each of four companies, have with regulars, have, upon various occasions, obtained de- recently been upon duty-one to protect tbe western tradserved reputation ; but I recollect no instance in which ers to Santa Fe; the other to repel an attack which was
H. OF R.)
Organization of the Army.
(APRIL 23, 1830.
threatened by the Pawuees and Camanches. Whoever which ought to be kept in view when we speak of the will take all these circumstances into consideration, will, I proportion between the rank and file, and the officers atthink, be satisfied that our military peace establishment is tached to and commanding them, I will proceed to state pot upon too large a scale for the public exigencies. Scat- what that proportion really is. tered as our army is over so wide a region, the opportuni- In the army, as now established, the officers of the ties can be but rare for the practice of any course of tac- line, ivcluding general, regimentul, and company officers, tics, beyond that which applies to the company or the amount to
448 battalion. Shortly after the commencement of Mr. Jeffer. The officers attached to con panies, viz. captains son's administration, in March, 1802, a period of profound and subalterns, are
412 peace, unmingled with any apprehensions of war, the mili- The officers detailed for staff duties, with two or tary peace establishment of the United States consisted of three exceptions, are taken from the compa'three thousand three hundred and twenty-three rank and nies, avd the number of them thus employed, file. Our population was then about one balf what it is according to the Army Register, is
142 Dow, our revenue was in the same proportion, and our national debt was greater by thirty millions of dollars
Leaving 270 than it will be on the first of January next. In 1802, company officers, neither Louisiada por Florida had been ceded to the United The number of the rank and file being five thousand States, and the number of our military posts was only four hundred and thirty, to each company officer there twenty-six; to each of which, three thousand three hun will be about twenty men. Upon a war establishment, dred and twenty-three rank aud file would afford a garri- when the company consists of four commissioned officers Bon of one bundred and thirty. Upon a comparison, there to one hundred rank and file, the ratio of men to each offifore, of our relative situation in 1802 and 1830, it is evi- cer would only be increased by five. Independently of dept that the number of our standing army was, relative the advantages resulting from the officers of the line being ly, greater in the early part of the pacific administration of instructed in the duties of the staff, which they are freMr. Jefferson, than it is at the present day.
quently called upon to perform, in active service, were Secondly. That, admitting the expediency of the stand- they not detailed from the lipe, the staff department must ing army now existing, the number of the officers ought be greatly augmented. For the two Departments of the to be reduced, as it is disproportionately large, in com- Quartermaster and of the Commissary General of Subsistparison with the number of soldiers.
ence alone, seventy officers are taken from the line. lo my My colleague upon the Military Committee, [Mr. De- estimate of the deductions from the line, I have not included SHA] has told us that we have an officer for every seven any officers who are members of, and witnesses before, men and a fraction. He includes in this enumeration the courts martial, por those wbo are upon the recruiting serofficers of the line and of the staff, and also the cadets at vice, nor the sick, por absentees upon furlough. Taking the Military Academy; but, as neither the cadets por the all deductions into consideration, it will, I think, be appastaff have any command over the soldiers, his deductions rent that it would be injurious to reduce the number of are manifestly erroneous. The cadets are stationary at our officers. It is certainly desirable that our officers West Point, where they are engaged in the prosecution of should be more numerous upon a peace than upon a var those studies and exercises wbich are to qualify them to establisbment. This was coutemplated, and bas been parenter the army. The duties of the staff do not connect tially executed, under the act of 3d March, 1821. A leadthem otherwise than collaterally with the troops. Their ing object, in a military peace establishment, is to create formation is founded upon the principle of the division of and preserve a body of officers, well instructed in every labor, by which the functions of the general and the offi- branch of their duties, consisting of such a number as to cers of the line are so simplified as to be confined to the admit of a distribution of them among the recruits who objects for which they are intended—to watch the move would be raised in the event of war. Were our present ments of the enemy-to attack him, and to resist his attacks. force of six thousand men broken into small divisions of If the general and the officers of the line were obliged to ten privates, with two good non commissioned officers and procure whatever was requisite for the materiel and per- one experienced commissioned officer, to each of these sonel of an army—to take care of the sick and wounded - divisions might be added forty recruits, who would soon to obtain the necessary supplies of food, clothing, arms, be regularly trained and disciplined. Our army of six thoutents, grain, fuel, &c.--to provide for their transportation, sand men would thus promptly be converted into one of and of whatever might be needful in camp, in garrison, thirty thousand, prepared to meet any enemy. More time upon marches, or in the field, they would be so over- and study are requisite to form the officer than the soldier. whelmed with the variety and multitude of their employWith skilful and experienced officers, recruits are soon ments, as to be unable to attend to their proper duties. rendered efficient; without them, military knowledge is Of all the component parts of the military system, the staff slowly obtained, and, during its acquisition, the blood and is the most difficult to organize. It is the best, in all armies, the treasure of the country would be uselessly lavished: which attains regularity and efficiency. Its officers should for, in proportion to the want of organization and discibe skilful, intelligent, and practised in their complicate pline, must, in war, be the loss of life, and the increase of duties, which they must learn in time of peace. Without our military expenditures. a well arranged staff
, the operations of an army are exposed Thirdly. That the Military Academy at West Point perpetually to delay, and are often altogether obstruct- ought to be abolisbed. ed. It is notorious that one of the principal causes of our The substance of the numerous objections which have disasters in the two first years of the late war, was the been made to the Military Academy may be thus summed want of an efficient staff.
up : That the cadets are principally selected from the BODS As far as I bare understood, no one contemplates a re- of the rich and influential; that many of those who are duction in the department of the staff. Bills, reported by received into the academy never graduate, and many who the Military Committee, are now upon the calendar, for do, abandon the army and follow civil professions; that the the increase of some of them; and when those bills come officers of the army are taken altogether from the cadete, before the House, I trust that I shall satisfy its members that, to the injurious exclusion of citizens of merit and talents; by their passage, the efficiency of the particular depart- that the cadets are maintained out of the public funds, ments referred to will be essentially promoted, whilst annual instead of their own resources ; that the abuses connected expenditures upon them will be considerably diminished with, or practised at, the academy, can only be remedied
Having made these observations, to show the distinction by abolishing the institution; and, if the abuses complained
APRIL 23, 1830.]
Organization of the Army.
[H. or R.
of did not exist, that the instruction given to the cadets, Government; nor would it be politic to oblige an officer, does not qualify them to discharge the duties of military against his inclinations, to remain in the service. Thus officers.
compelled, he would be little likely to acquire reputation Before replying to these objections, I will remark, that for himself, or to do credit to his country. Upon looking the Military Academy owes its origin to the act of Congress at the report, which, under a resolution of this House, bas of 16th March, 1802, when Mr. Jefferson was President, been sent to us by the Secretary of War, it will be seen authorizing the appointment of teu cadets“ to be stationed that the number of the graduates who do not join the army with the corps of engineers at West Point, to constitute a is less than would have been inferred from the remarks military academy." Before the end of Mr. Jefferson's ad- which have been made upou this floor. The whole numministration, in one year, (1808,), forty cadets were ap- ber of the graduates is five hundred and pinety-one, of pointed to the academy. I state these facts, because I pre- whom four hundred anu twenty-three continued in the army bume that no one will attribute to Mr. Jefferson the dispo- Those who make it a subject of complaint, that officers. sition to encourage what has been termed“ an expensive, are exclusively selected from the cadets, must have forgotuseless, and aristocratic military institution." From the ten that the cadets are officers. When commissioned as time of Mr. Jefferson, the academy has been approved of second lieutenants, they are regularly promoted.
To by every President, including Gen. Jackson, who has re prevent their promotion, by substituting for them citizens commended it to the “fostering care of Congress, as one in civil life, would be as unjust as, in the same manner, to of our safest means of national defence, and as having the supply a vacancy in the line by putting one who had never happiest influence upon the moral and intelleetual charac- been in the army over the head of an officer who, accordter of the army.” He adds, that their knowledge" (that ing to the existing regulatiode, was entitled to the vacant of the graduates)“ of the military art will be advantage- office. Before an applicant can be admitted at the acadeously employed in the militia service, and, in a measure, my, he must be well recommended by respectable persons. secure to that class of troops the advantages which, in this He then undergoes & probation of six months. If, during respect, belong to standing armies."
that time, he conducts himself with propriety, a warrant I will now proceed to the examination of the objections is delivered to him; but if, at any eubeequent period, bewhich I have stated. That the cadets are principally se- fore he graduates, he manifests a want of morals, or capalected from the sons of the rich and influential, is an as- city, or application, he is discharged. With these presertion unsustained by the semblance of proof. From the cautions, is it not more probable that he will perform his official information which has repeatedly been communi. duties ably and faithfully, than a citizen whose fitness for cated to this House, we learn that the reverse is the fact; the army has never been tested ! I can see no better mode that more appointments are conferred upon the relatives of of insuring a body of good officers, than by the practice the poor and undistinguished, tban of the rich and influ- which now prevails. Commissions are not given until it ential; although some among the wealthy are also chosen, has been ascertained, by experiment, that the necessary it being upjust, and contrary to the spirit of our Goveru- qualifications for them are possessed by those upon whom ment, to exclude any class of our citizens from the enjoy- they are conferred. ment of equal rights. This mingling together of the poor The objection, that cadets are maintained out of the pub. and the rich, and subjecting them to the same rules and lic funds, ceases to have any weight, when it is recollected regulations, cannot be a grievance. The rich ought po that they are officers in the service of the Government, more to be proscribed than the poor. According to the and liable, at any time, to be ordered to perform the duties prevailing practice, neither are proscribed; both are indis- of their profession. They are as much entitled to com. criminately admitted, with a preference, nevertheless, to pensation as any other officers of the United States; civil those whose circumstances are narrow. That many of or military. If the cadets at West Point defrayed their those who are received into the academy, never graduate, owo expenses, as several gentlemen insist they ought to and that many who do, abandon the army for civil profes- do, the very evil would result which is so loudly comsions, is unquestionably true; but by far the largest pro- plained of, that the institution was exclusively for the portion of those who retire without graduating, are, in wealthy. It might then be correctly alleged that the fact, dismissed, from want of capacity or industry, or Federal Government was fostering a distinct class, and enother causes. This can, surely, afford no ground for cen- listing on its side the aristocracy of the nation. Organ
It is not desirable that the immoral, the dull, or the ized as the academy now is, the avenue to it is as open to idle should be retained, to be a burden upon the institu- the poor as to the rich. It is the only place of public intion, useless as relates to themselves, and exhibiting bad struction in the Union, into which admittance cannot be examples to their associates. Those who, after graduating, gained by the means of wealth. do not continue in the army, have gained that military If any abuses exist cuppected with the general adminig. knowledge which renders them valuable militia officers, tration or the particular superintendence of the academy, and tbat general knowledge which renders them useful they ought to be inquired into and corrected. If, upon in a variety of civil professions—particularly in those which investigation, they sbould be found to be radical, and of require mathematical science. The labor and expense such a nature as to render it inexpedient that the instituwhich have been bestowed upon them are, therefore, pot tiap should be continued, let it be abolished. I speak unlost to the country. But, as I am not disposed to defend der the authority of its superintendent, when I declare thus any system, right or wrong, I admit, as the academy is publicly that be invites the most rigid scrutiny into bis intended for the instruction of military officers, that no conduct. It would be peculiarly gratifying to him that one ought to enter it, unless he purposed making the army all the regulations and detail which be directs should be his profession. According to the regulations, the graduate submitted to the strictest inquisition, and exposed to the iş at liberty lo leave the army, after having served in it public eye. I do admit that, in my opinion, some abuses one year. In doing so, be violates no contract
, express or have prevailed in the exercise of the patronage of the implied. Considering, however, this practice, which is academy, which are set forth in the report of the Secrefrequent, to be a departure from the leading object of the tary of War. By looking at the sixty-eighth page of that institution, I would be willing that it should be prevented, document, it will be seen that four foreigners were reprovided a remedy could be devised which would not in-ceived into the academy, of whom one defrayed his extruduce a greater evil in its room. To require that the penses, the other three being paid as cadets. Íhis institu. graduate should always be attached to the army, would be tion being intended solely for the education of our officers, harsh, and would be an assumption of power over the free to place at it foreigoers, wbo owed allegiance to their dom of action, inconlistent with the genius of a republican own Governments, was unauthorized and illegal. A degree