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A moment's attention to the history of that period will show the true ground of the appropriation. After this unequal pressure had continued nearly three years—after the officers had sustained their spirits during that trying period under such disadvantages, by the force of those principles that led them at first to join in the pledge to the cause, of “their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor” after their private resources had become nearly **ted in supplying those wants their country was tole rather than unwilling to satisy, there arose a state of things which led to certain proceedings by Congress, in relation to half pay. The prospect had nearly vanished, that any honorable *Commodation could be effected with the parent country. The contest seemed likely to become more severe, and to be protracted for many years; and it was obvious that many of the officers, thus impoverished and disheartened, not actually resign in order to provide themselves with detent clothing, and to maintain their families, and secure *I subsistence for advanced life, or that they must re*** *me assurance of future indemnity, if they conti***rvice, and abandoned every thing else to sink **in with the military destinies of their country. It was then that the resolve of May 15, 1778, granting * Po, for only seven years, to aii who continued in *o till the close of the war, was passed. This short period of half pay was dictated rather by the * of Congress to provide a longer one, than from an "Pression that it was, in truth, sufficient, or in accord* with any similar system in the armies of Europe. Ho, a committee, May 24th, 1779, reported a resoon, allowing half pay for life to the same class of offio, and justly grounded it on the great risks they were *dto encounter, on their great sufferings and sacrifices of youth, ease, health, and fortune, in the cause of their only. But the want of resources in Congress induced on to postpone the subject, and, on the 17th of August, 179, to urge upon the respective States the expediency of adopting such a resolution, and of pledging for its fuliment their State resources. The power of the States over those resources was much more effective than that of the confederation over the States But such were the Someral gloom and despondency of the times, that not a *gle State except Pennsylvania complied with the recommendation. The currency continued to depreciate ote and more, daily : the officers, in many instances, * utterly unable, by their whole pay, to procure de* apparel : treason had penetrated the camp in the Poon of Arnold : Charleston had been surrendered : *** captured: Gates defeated at Camden; the South. * States overrun by Cornwallis : our soldiery had be. **couraged : and the great military leader of the *rion had become convinced, and had urged with onal energy upon Congress, that the adoption of this *tion was almost the only possible method of retain*; the army together. Under such appalling circumocco, Congress passed, on the 24th of October, A. D. o the resolution, which I will now take the liberty to “Rooked. That the officers who shall continue in the * to the end of the war, shall also be entitled to half * during life i to commence from the time of their reon” (1 U. S. Laws, 688.) * with one or two subsequent resolutions, explain. od modifying its provisions as to particular persons, *itutes the great foundation of the bill under consiWol. IV.-9 deration. The promise was most solemnly and deliberately made : the consideration for it was ample, and most honorably performed by the officers; and yet, on the part of Congress, its stipulations have, in my opinion, never, to this day, been equitably fulfilled. As to the bindin effect of the compact on Congress, nobody can preten to doubt. I shall, therefore, not waste a single moment in the discussion of that point. But I admit that the officers were first bound to perform the condition faithfully, of serving to the close of the war, however long or disastrous. Did they do it? History and tradition must convince all that, through defeat as well as victory, they clung to our fortunes to the uttermost moment of the struggle. They were actuated by a spirit and intelligence, the surest guarantees of such fidelity. Most of them had investigated, and well understood, the principles in dispute, and to defend them had flown to the field of battle, on the first alarm of war, with all the ardor of a Scottish gathering, at the summons of the fiery cross. And it is not poetry, that one of my own relatives, an officer long since no more, when the alarm was given at Lexington, left, for the tented field, the corpse of his father unburied : “One look he cast upon the bier, Dashed from his eye the gathering tear,” and hastened to devote his own life to the salvation of his country. In the same duty—in performing their part of the compact, to serve faithfully to the close of the war, these petitioners endured the frosts of winter, often half sheltered, badly fed, badly clothed, and badly paid. God forbid that I should exaggerate. The naked truth is stronger than any coloring of fancy. We have the authority of their commander, that they were, at times, in such a condition as to be unable and ashamed to receive their friends; but never, I believe, loth to face their enemies. Their paths were sometimes marked by their blood—their courage and constancy tried by frequent alarms, by ambuscade, and the pitched battle, but they never faltered: and when, towards the close of the war, neglect on the part of Congress, as to their monthly wages, might have justified, under most circumstances, disquiet and distrust; and when, at Newburg, they were tempted with the insidious taunt, that if, relinquishing their arms, and retiring home with the promises made to them unfulfilled, they would “go, starve, and be forgotten;” yet they disbanded in peace, and expressed their “unshaken confidence in the justice of Congress.” Washington himself declared, in substance, that, by means of this resolve, the officers were inspired to make renewed exertions; to feel a security for themselves and families, which enabled them to devote every faculty to the common cause ; and that thus was an army kept together, which otherwise must have dissolved, and we probably have been compelled to pass again under the yoke of colonial servitude. For all this fidelity to the performance of their part of the compact, the officers have been duly thanked by many Congresses, and applauded by the world. They have occupied a conspicuous niche in toasts, odes, and orations, and some of them have animated the canvas, and breathed in marble. But has the promise to them of half pay ever been either literally or substantially fulfilled 2 That, sir, is the important question. I answer not literally, by any pretence, from any quarter. No half pay, as such, has ever, for any length of time, been either paid or provided for one of the petitioners. Almost as little, sir, can there be a pretence that it has been substantially fulfilled. No kind of fulfilment has been attempted, except in the commutation act, passed March 22d, 1783. That act grew out of objections, in some of the States, to the system of half pay as a system, because not strictly republican in theory, and because every thing of a pension character had become odious by its abuse in some Go seNATE.} ` surviving officers of the Retolution. Gas. 24, 183 -- vernments, in the maintenance of hirelings who had per- was expected, probably even majorities in the lines would formed secret and disreputable services. - never have been obtained. The certificates were made Some of the officers, being anxious to remove any for out for all, without application, and left with the agents: mal objection, petitioned congress for a commutation or no other provision was made for those entitled to half pay, change in the mode of indemnifying and rewarding them, and it remained with the younger officers to receive those No opposition had been made to the amount or value of certificates or nothing. - - the half pay, and, therefore, as appears in the commuta. But it is most manifest that Congress had no legal right tion act itself, the officers expected, if a change took to take away from a single officer his vested half pay for place, a full “equivalent” in value to the half pay for life. life, without giving him a full equivalent ; or, to say the [Mr. W. here read the act from 1 U. States’ i.aws, 687.] least, what the officer should freely and distinctly assent But, instead of such an equivalent, Congress gave, by to, as a full equivalent. It would be contrary to the ele. that act, what was far short of an equivalent, whether we mentary principles of legislation and jurisprudence ; and regard ific particular ages at that time of these petitioners, a majority of the lines could no more bind the minority or their average age with the other officers, or the period on this subject of private rights of property, than they they have actually since lived. Congress gave only five could bind,00ngress or the States on questions of politics. years' full pay to the youngest in the line, and just as This point need not be argued to men, who, like those - much to the eldest : treating the officer of 25 as not likely ; around me, have watched the discussions and decisions in to live any longer than him of 70; and subjecting the this country the last quarter of a century. But no such former to take for his half pay, which he was entitled to individual assent was asked here : it was indeed declared for his whole life, of probably 35 years, the same small to be useless for any minority of individuals to dissent; sum bestowed on him not likely to live over 10 or 14 years. the commutation not having been in any view a full-eqr. If we look to the average age of all the officers at that valent, individual assent cannot fairly be presumed. The time, the commutation was still inadequate. That age subsequent taking of the certificates was merely taking was probably not over 30 : none have pretended to con- all that was provided, and all they eduld get, without any. sider it over 35; and on all observations, in similar cli- pretence that they took it as a full and fairequivalent. And ... mates, āū; all calculations of annuity tables, such persons' hence it follows that, on the lowest computation, two lives would be likely to extend beyond 30 years; and years' more full pay are necessary to make any thing like thus their half pay for life obe, on an average, worth the a substantial fulfilment of the compact on the part of Col. . gross sum, in presenti, of at least seven years' full pay. gress. In truth, 20 years more would be less than the Any gentleman can test the general accuracy of these re. petitioners could rightfully claim now, if the commutation sults, by a reference to Price's Annuity. Tables, and to act had never passed ; or if the position was clearly esta. Milne on Annuities. in England, Sweden, and France, blished that the commutation act, as to them, was, under , , it will be seen that a person of 30 years of age is ascer. the circumstances, entirely null and void. To say \hat ... tained to be likely to live 34 more ; and of 35 years of such a transaction, resorted to under the pressure of the age, to live about 28 more. An annuity for 34 years is times, and finding no apology except in the security and worth a fraction more than 14 times its annual amount, if necessities of that pressure, should not be relieved agains st paid in a gross sum in advance ; and one for 28 years, when the pressure is over, and our means have becomé only a fraction less than 14 times its annual amount. So aniple, is to nake a mockery of justice, and to profa. that seven years' full pay is as near a fair commutation for every principle of good faith. * - the half pay for life, taking their average ages, as can But consider a little farther the history of those pið. , - well be calculated, or as is necessary for the present in- ceedings, on the supposition that the five years' full pay * quiry. was an ample equivalent to all. Was it either paid of it. . Again : If we advert to the real facts, as since develop-scored to them in such manner as to become anything. ed, . petitioners, had the commutation act not passed, like a substantial fulfilment of the promise ’. Though the or not been at all binding, would now receive twenty two act allowed Congress to give the officers money or sect instead of five years' full pay, as they have survived, since rities, and though these last might be in the form pre: the close of the war, over 44 years. scribed for other creditors, yet the act contemplated giv Gongress, as if conscious that the pressure of the times ing them money or money’s worth, else it doubly violated had driven them to propose a substitute for the half pay the former engagement to give them half pay for life, for fife, nok in any view, sufficient or equivalent, as re; The very nature of half pay, or of any commutation so ***-garded the younger officers, who alone now survive and it, implies that it should be actually paid, or so secured a ask for redress, provided in the commutation act, not that to raise the money whenever it becomes due. They wen.” to **-orach officer might accept or reject it at pleasure, but that here intended as means for immediate maintenance a - it should take effeet, if accepted within certain periods business to those who, by peace, would be thrown out o' * - not exceeding six months, by majorities in the several their accustomed employment and support. This is to +. of the army. The most influential officers in any plain for further illustration; and, in conformity with thes --- ine are of course the elder and superior ones. To these, views, Congress forthwith effected a loan in £urope, ano as a general rule, five years' full pay was a fair equivalent; paid in money all the foreign officers entitled to the com * and by their exertions the commutation was accepted by mutation. But how were the petitioners ureated The majorities if most of the lines, and no provision ever after. did not obtain a dollar in money, and even their certifi wards made for such officers as were either absent or pre- cates were not delivered till six or nine months after the sent, and dissenting: . . . . . - right to half pay-accrued ; and when received, so far from No evidence can now be found, however, of any accept. being secured by pledges or requisitions rendering then ance, even by majorities, in any of the lines, till after the ex. valuable as money, the officers could not obtain for then piration of the six months prescribed. But a report of in the market over one-fifth of their nominal amous the Secretary of War, dated Oct. 31, 1783, (8 Journals of The receipts given for these certificates truly omitted to Congress, 478,) enumerates certainlines and individuals, state that they were in full payment of either the commu that had then signified their acceptance. It would beltation or the half pay. By such means, these petitioners difficult, as might be expected, to find among the indivi. to $upply the then existing wants of themselyes and semiduals named one who still survives. Those, then the lies, which was the legitimate object of both the half pa: youngest and now surviving, must have felt deeply the | and its commutation, in fact realized only one instead o inequality proposed ; and if most of them had not been ifive years' full pay, or only two years' haif pay instead or absent on furlough, by a resolve of Congress, after peace half pay for life. - . . . - -, - * - If this was a substantial fulfilment of the promise to them, I think it would be difficult to define what would bite been a defective, delusive, and unsubstantial fulfilment, But it has been suggested, that the petitioners might all have retained their certificates till afterwards funded, and in that event have escaped loss. Can gentlemen, however, forget that the very design of half pay was to furnish daily food and raiment, and not a fund to be deposited in bank f #. * and that, though the use of a portion of it...ifass had been past at once, might have been postponed to a future period, yet their neces. sites utterly forbade most of them from not resorting, forthwith, to a.single year’s pay, which was the entire value of the whole certificate 2 it is another part of the distressing history of this case, that if, on the contrary, every officer had retained his certificate till funded, his. loss on it would have been very near one-third of its amount. But on this point I shall not dwell, as its particulars are more recent and familiar. It will suffice to recall to your minds, that the provision-made for the payment of these certificates in A. D. 1790, was not by money, nor virtually to their full amount, but by opening a loan, payable in those certificates, and a scrip of stock given for them on these terms: one third of the principal was to draw no interest whatever for ten years; and all the interest then due was to draw thereafter only three per cent Without going into any calculations of the value of different kinds of stock, under different-circum: stances, it is obvious that such a payment or security was not worth so much, by nearly a third, as the money would have been worth, or as scrip would have been worth for the whole then due on six per cent. interest. ft is true that this loan was in form voluntary , but it is equally true that, as no other provision was made for pay. ment, no alternative remained but to accept the terms. Hence, if the officer sold his.certificate from me he obtained only one-fifth of the amount therein promised ; o, if he retained it, he obtained only about two-thirds of that amount. . . . .”.” . . . . .” - What renders this circumstance still more striking, we anrselves have in this way saved, and reduced our na. tional debt below what it would have been, many millions of dollars—from 13 to 15, I believe—and yet, now in our prosperity, hesitate' to restore what was taken in part from these very men, and, when not from them, taken from others on account of their speculatious on these very men, and their associates in arms. It was at the time of the finding thought just, and attempted by some of our blest statesmen to provide some retribution to the origibal holders of certificates for the losses that had been Surviving Qsficers of the Revolution. rity ; and where the debt itself was, as in the present case, the price of blood lavished for the creditor, the wages of those sufferings and toils, which secured our present liberties, and fill the brightest page of glory in our country's history. The great military leader of the Revolution has given his sanction to this measure, in the strongest terms, when, calling to mind the lion hearts, and eagle eyes, that had surrounded and sustained him in all his arduous trials, and reflecting that they, not soldiers by profession, nor adventurers, but citizens, with tender ties of kindred and friendship, and with cheering prospects in civil life, had abandoned all to follow him, and to sink or swim with the sacred cause in which he had enlisted, he invoked towards them the justice of his country, and ex- . pressed the fullest confidence, that “a country rescoqby. their arms will never leave unpaid the debt of gratitude” It is not to be forgotten, that a measure like this would Its moral influence on remove a stain from our history. our population, in future wars, for wars we must expect, again and again ; its consonance with those religious as well as moral principles of perfect justice, which, in a or and salvation of all that is valu- able to its freedom, I trust, from politieal prejudice and party, feeling—all strengthen the other' reasons for its speedy adoption. . . . . . . . Nor have the imputations against it, as a local measure, been at all well founded, What is right or just in regard to contracts, is right without regard to the residence of jviduals, whetlier in the East, the West, or the South. \{ependent of that consideration, these venerable worthies, though once much more numerous at the North than elsewhere, have since followed the enterprises of their children, and pushed their own broken fortunes to every section of the Union. It is impossible to obtain erfect accuracy as to their numbers and residence. But y correspondence and verbal inquiries, i Massachusetts and Maine, 5 or 6 in Rhode Island, 5 in Vermont, 16 in Connecticut, 20 in New York, 12 in New Jersey, 18 in Pennsylvania, 3 in Delaware, 12 in Maryland, 33 to 38 in Virginia and Kentucky, 10 to 12 in Ohio, 12 or 15 in the Carolinas, and 5 or 6 in Georgia. As, by the annuity tables, something like 250 ought now to be alive, the computations have been made on a medium of 230 between the number ascertained and the conjectural number. . . . . . - The question, then, is of a general, public nature, and presents the single point, whether, in the late language of an eloquent statesman of New York, these veterans slallany longer remain “living monuments of the neglect sustained on them—to provide in some way a partial re. of their country.” All the foreign officers, whose claims rested on the Horation. But the inherent difficulty of the subject, and the low state of our resources, prevented us from com. †leting any such arrangement, though we were not pre- "ented from saving to the Government, out of those very. certificates, and similar ones, ten times the amount now Proposed for these petitioners. On this state of facts, then, 1 hold these conclusions. That what is honest, and moral, and honorable, between obtor and creditor in private life, is so in public-life. same resolve, were, as I have before stated, promptly paid in specie ; and their illustrious leader, Lafayette, by whosc side these petitioners faced equal toils and dangers, has been since loaded with both money and applause. Even the Tories, who deserted the American cause, and adhered to one so much less holy and pure, have been . fully and faithfully rewarded by England ; and it now re. mains with the Senate to tlecide, not whether the sum that a creditor of the public should be treated with at proposed shall be bestowed in mere charity, however **qual, if not greater kindness, than the creditor of charity may bless both him that gives and him that takes, *individual. That when the embarrassments of a debtor nor in mere #. sensible the petitioners may * rise to a mode of payment altogether inadequate to | be to the influence of either ; but whether, let these consi. *t is justly due, and this kind of payment is forced derations operate as they may, the officers should be re. on the creditor by the necessities of either party, the munerated for their losses, on those broad principles of *tor ought, when relieved from his embarrassments or cternal justice which are the cement of society, and which, *sities, to make ample restitution. That it is the dic- without a wound to their delicacy and honest pride, will, *of every moral and honorable feeling to supply the in that event, prove the solace and staff of their declining *ency; and especially should the debtor do this years. * debt; where the debtor, by a part of the arrange * the inadequacy was more than four-fifths of the | *" oved millions to contribute to his present prospe- i. is proposed as the proper one for filling the blank. I shall detain the Senate no longer, except to offer a few remarks on the computations, on which the sum$ 1,100,000 Wa seNATE.] Surviving Officers of the Revolution. [JAN. 24, 1828. rious estimates, on various hypotheses, are annexed to the report in this case ; and others will doubtless occur to different gentlemen. But if any just one amounts to about the sum proposed, no captious objection will, I trust, be offered on account of any trifling difference. It is impos. sible, in such cases, to attain perfect accuracy; but the estimates are correct enough, probably, for the present purpose. The Committee have proposed a sum in gross, rather than a half pay or annuity, because more appropriate to the circumstances of the case, and because more accept- able, for the reasons that originally gave rise to the com- mutation. On the ground that these officers were, in 1783, justly entitled to two years' more full pay, as a fair equivalent for half pay during life; and there being 230 of them of the rank supposed in the report, their monthly pay would be about $30 each. This, for two years, would be$720 each ; or $165,600 due to these petitioners at the close of the war, over and above what they then received er- tificates for. The interest on that, for 44 years, would be$437,184, which, added to the principal, make $602,734. If to that be added what they lost on their certific: tes by depreciation, which, at four-fifths, was$331,200, nd the sum, without any interest on the depreciat on, amounts to $933,984, or, with interest, to more th: n a million and a half; or, if the depreciation be conside ed seven-eighths, as it really was, the sum would be till larger. On the other hand, if nothing be allowed for le. preciation on the certificates, but one-third be conside ed as lost in funding, that one-third, in A. D. 1791, wc ild be about$204,240, and interest since would swe ; it to $645,434, which, added to the two years’ pay not received, and interest on that pay, makes the whole$1,248,218. Another view of the case, which seems to me the r ost technical, and which steers clear of any difficulty at out the loss either by depreciation or funding, will lead to about the same result as to the amount. It is this. On the ground that seven years' full pay was the smallest um which, in A. D. 1783, could be deemed a fair equiva ent for the half pay for life, then the petitioners got ce tifi- cates for only five-sevenths of their half pay 5 or, in o her words, five sevenths of their half pay was extingui, led and paid. The other two-sevenths, then, has annually accrued since, and will continue to accrue while the pe- titioners survive. This two-sevenths being $51 42 per year to each officer, or$11,826 to these officers, would amount at this time to $520,344; and the interest accru- ing on it during only 35 years, would make it exceed the$i,100,000 proposed. The amount is fairly reached by this view of the case, without a single cent for eithel de- preciation or loss in funding, and thus does not indirectly touch a single fact or principle upon which a sirilar allowance could be made to any body besides these offi- cers. Gallant, and meritorious, and suffering, as overe the soldiers, and none could be more so ; worthy and af. fectionate as may have been the surviving widows; and distinguished as may have been many of the officers' heirs for filial and generous devotion to smooth their de- clining years; they all stand on their own cases and me its. None of them have been referred to the Committee who reported this bill; and they can all be provided for other- wise this session, or hereafter if thought proper. Let the present appropriation be tried first on its own grounds, and then by subsequent amendments of this bill, or by new bills, let an appropriation for other classes of persons be also tried on its own grounds. All I ask and entreat is, that if, either in strict law or in justice, whether ground- ed upon the original defective commutation, the depre- ciation of the certificates, or the loss in funding, any mem. ber is convinced that the sum proposed to these officers is a fair one, that he will first consider the case of the officers, and support this motion. If any think a differ. ent sun, more proper, I hope they will propose that sum in due time, and thus let the sense of the Senate be fully expressed upon one case at a time, and upon the only case now duly before us. In this manner only can any thing ever be accomplished. The amount of the sum now proposed cannot be ob- jected to on the grounds that doubtless caused the losses and sufferings which we are now seeking to redress. The country, during the Revolution, and at its close, would hardly have been unwilling to bestow twice the amount, had its resources permitted. But now, such have been our rapid advances in wealth and greatness, by means of the rights and liberties the valor of these men contributed so largely to secure, that the very public land they de- fended, if not won, yields every year to our treasury more than the whole appropriation. One-twentieth of our pre- sent annual revenue exceeds it. A fraction of the cost of the public buildings; the expense of two or three ships of the line ; one-tenth of what has been saved to our na- tional debt in the funding system ; a tax of ten cents per he id on our population, only a single twelvemonth ; either of them would remove all this reproach. But, whatever might be the cost, I would say, in all practicable cases, be just, and fear not. Let no illiberal or evasive feeling blast the hopes of these venerable pa. triots. Much longer delay will do this as effectually as a hard hearted refusal; since the remains of them are almost daly going down to the city of silence. Either drive them then at once from your doors, with taunts, and in despair, or sanction the claim. So far as regards my sin. gle self, before I would another year endure, the stigm: of either injustice or ingratitude to men like these, I would vote to stop every species of splendid missions; I would cease to talk of Alleghany canals; I would let the capitol crumble to atoms for want of appropriations; and in roduce retrenchment from the palace to the humblest doorkeeper. it has formerly been said, that if these officers are re- lic “ed, so must be those of the late war. But, deserving as were these last, the cause in which they fought required m ich inferior sacrifices : they were not contending under the stigma of traitors, liable to the halter; they were 1 pe. rally and promptly paid; and whatever small depreciation m y have existed in the treasury notes taken for their monthly pay, it was infinitely less than the losses sustain. ed by these petitioners on their monthly pay, and for wiich they neither ask nor expect relef. One other consideration, and I will at this time trouble the Senate no longer. The long lapse of time since the claim originated has been objected formerly to its success. Bolt what honest individual shelters himself under a sta- tute of limitation, if conscious that his promise has not been substantially fulfilled 2 Under such circumstances, it is no defence, either in the court of conscience, or in * court of honor; and Congress have often shown their liberality in waiving it, where expressly provided to bar an application. Here no express bar has ever been provided. Before their first application, the officers waited till A. D. 1810, when old age and infirmity rendered them more needy, and when many years of prosperity had rendered their country more able. However numerous, and technical, and evasive, may have been the objections since inter- posed, let it not be forgotten, that, in performing their portion of the compact, however neglected as to food or wages, they never were heard to plead excuses or eva. sions, however appalling the danger, whether roused by a midnight alarm, or invited to join a forlorn hope. Like others, too, it may be imputed to them in derogo tion, that they were “military chieftains.” But if, as such for a time, they did, like others, nobly help “to fill the measure of their country's glory,” so, like others of that - class, they have often distinguished themselves in forums, : cabinets, and halls of legislation. of Whatever “honor and gratitude” they have yet re- o' ceived, is deeply engraven on their hearts; but they now * also need—and they ask, only because they need—the additional rewards of substantial justice. It remains, Sir, for us, whose rights they defended and saved, to say whether they shall longer ask that justice in vain. Mr. CHANDLER observed, that no man could have a higher respect than himself for the worthies of the Re- volution ; and if the soldiers, as well as the officers, were included in the provisions of the bill, he should probably vote for it. But he wished to make some inquiries. In the first place, it appeared, that these officers had been paid by the commutation, which they accepted, and by which they received five years' full pay. The Chairman of the Committee, however, says, that they did not ac- cept these conditions, because it was decided upon by a vote, in which those opposed to it had no opportunity of refusing it. But I would inquire, whether the chairman has any means of ascertaining who voted for, and who against it. For, certainly, if an officer did vote for it, he ought to abide by his vote. And if he voted against it, and yet accepted it, he was equally bound to be content With it. Mr. C. was adverse to any exclusive provision like the present. He thought the soldiers equally entitled to re- ward with the officers ; and was of opinion that the for- mer fared much harder than the latter. He was there- fore against giving the officers in preference to the sol- diers who fought by their side. He would ask another question. He wanted to know why, if the officers now surviving had an equitable clun upon the Government, the widows and children of those who have died since the Revolution, had not an equal claim And why, said Mr. C., if justice is to be done, should it not be general in its application He did not believe justice required this bill ; impartial justice, at any rate, would not be done by it. He knew the danger there was in saying any thing against Revolutionary claims. But he wished to be just before he was generous. He had seen enough of this kind of partial legislation, and desired that an end might be put to it. If this was to be the beginning, he wished to know where they should end ? If the whole subject must be acted upon, he wanted to take up the whole at once, when he should vote accordingly. Mr. wool) BURY, in answer to the inquiries made by the gentleman from Maine, [Mr. Chandlka] in relation to the votes of the officers for receiving the commutation, begged leave to repeat, a little more in detail, the curious piece of history that existed as to the acceptance of the commutation act. It required the lines of the Army, at the farthest, to give their acceptance within six months from the time of its passage. There was no evidence that it was accepted by any one individual, or line, until after the expiration of six months from that time ; and the only evidence of any acceptance, at any time, by any line, was a report from the then Secretary of War, show. ing that some of the lines, and not all of them, had ac- cepted. [Mr. W. here read the Secretary’s report, show. ing which of the lines had accepted, together with some select corps and individnals.). He intended to mention, when he was up before, that the older officers, who indi vidually accepted, received the full equivalent, as to the amount of the certificates ; because they could not ex- pect to live long, and five years was a fair and liberal com- mutation for their half pay. But with the subordinate and younger officers, the case was different ; they could fairly calculate on living longer than the others, and by every estimate made by annuitants on the probable du- ration of life, they were entitled to a commutation for a longer period than the five years. Besides, a great por. tion of the younger officers had gone home on furlough, when the question was decided in the lines; peace was daily expected, and they had been permitted by a vote of Congress, to visit their families, so that they were not present when the vote was taken. In relation to the other question asked by the gentleman, as to why the widows of the deceased officers were not provided for by the bill, he observed, that they were not considered the proper objects either of the charity or justice of the old Congress; but only their husbands. The half pay and commutation were personal, and for personal services. Neither were the widows the legal heirs of their husbands, and entitled on that ground ; though if they were, it would be utterly im. possible, such was the number of heirs, the claims of cre. ditors of the deceased, and the length of time and diffi- culty of evidence on this subject, to provide for them. But he, for one, and he could speak also for his colleagues in the committee, was not disposed to be less charitable or gallant to the widows, than the gentleman from Maine. He would be perfectly willing to give to the widows of the surviving officers an annuity for the short period of life yet remaining to them. This, as they did not proba. bly exceed 100, and the annuity should not be over one third half pay, would not amount to much, not probably to more than sixty thousand dollars in a gross sum, as they could not be expected to live more than ten years longer. The sum provided for in the bill would be suf. ficient to cover their claim, as a deduction was to be made for all that had been paid to officers under the pen- sion act. . With respect to that class of soldiers who were entitled to $80 bounty at the close of the war, he would be perfectly willing to include their claim, and the sum in the bill would be sufficient also for that pur. pose. But he had protested, in his argument, against any construction being given to pay those officers on an *her ground than that of contract—about the half pay. they did not make any claim on account of depreciation of the certificates they received for their monthly wages : and hence, faithful and brave, and commendable, as were the soldiers, they could not claim to be included in the bill for depreciation in their monthly wages. It had just been supposed that if this bill passed, a most enormous sum of money would be paid to each of those officers. But such was not the fact. It had been ascer. tained, that there were at least about two hundred offi- cers now living ; a.d taking two hundred and thirty as the basis on which to make an estimate, there would be only about$4,300 paid to each individual—whereas, if the commutation act had not passed, they would justly be entitled to more than three times that sum. Mr. BRANCH said, that he had listened with great pleasure to the able exposition of the Chairman of the Committee, [Mr. Woodhumr.] His feelings were warm- ly enlisted in behalf of those Revolutionary worthies for he too felt grateful for their services and privations in the cause of their country. He had labored to be con- Vinced of the propriety of voting this appropriation for the few surviving officers, to the exclusion of the private soldiers; but his mind was still in doubt. It was fair to presume, from the laborious investigation of the gentle- man who had just addressed the Senate, in his usual for. cible manner, that all that could be said in their behalf, was contained in the argument just delivered. lf doubts exist when one side only has been heard, are we not justified in asking for further time for reflection and examination 2 For that purpose he had now risen. He presumed many Senators felt like himself. The Chairman had set out by addressing the justice of Congress, and basing the claim on the strict letter of the compact, which he boldly asserted could not be resisted. He concluded by making a pathetic appeal to the liberal- ity and patriotism of gentlemen. He, [Mr. B.] was fully « AnteriorContinuar »