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THE NATIONAL TRIBUNE
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We apologize to our readers for the delay of
this month's Tjiibtjne.
"We have waited until the very close of the ex
tra session in hopes that we might chronicle some
action of one or both Houses on matters of im
portance to our patrons.
But the political excitement in the Senate and
other causes have prevented any business matters
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lished regularly on the 15th of each month.
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tinue his subscription, for we mean to make this
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GRAND ARMY OF THE REPUBLIC.
n. We do most earnestly ask the aid of all com
'rades of the GK A. R', in procuring subscribers
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ber and their friends.
If any mattere of general interest shall be trans
acted in any post or State, or National organi
zation, which deserve general circulation, we shall
be glad to receive them, and give them duo
notice. We will also publish notices of Military
lie-unions, to be hold at any point in the United
States, and, generally, any matter which may be
for the advantage of the Volunteers of the War.
"PENSION ALL OR PENSION NONE."
This is the cry now in the South. The Au
gusta (Georgia) Chronicle and Sentinel speaks the
voice of the great mass of the South when it
says: "We are tired off all buzzard and no tur
key. There must in future be a fair distribution,
or else the tiling must stop altogether, and we will
soon have, if we have it not now, the power to
put on the brakes."
It has become fashionable among certain poli
ticians in high places to diminish or wholly disre
gard the vast difference in law and in conscience
between standing by the Union and standing in
arms against it. Yet there was a wrong and a
right side in that quarrel. There was patriotism
to save and rebellion to destroy, and they were
not equal in the sight of God or man. Treason
remains a crime in the Constitution and the law.
The levying of war against the United States was
and is treason.
The motives that led masses of men into this
great crime were various, and differed in degree,
but the crime was the same.
Some may have believed, in all honesty, that
it was their duty so to do, but the crime in the
act done is still the same. Most of the great
crimes of the world have been perpetrated under
just such delusions. Men have burned others at
the stake for the glory of God, but history calls
them criminals. Men may honestly believe in
Mormonism, but polygamy remains a crime. The
Thugs of India consider murder as the highest
style of sacrifice to their accursed deity, but
British justice lawfully hangs them for the crime.
The Communist believes that it is hismission to
equalize property, and his duty to destroy wealth,
but when he burns a house, we punish him for
The Rebels of the South sought to overthrow
the nation, they were conquered and forgiven,
but they must bear their part as they have means
and property in paying the salvage, and should
be grateful that such grace is allowed them.
They are not; they are restive; they threaten
what they will do in the near future ; they gather
strength from the time-serving utterances of weak
kneed politicians, and do not know the solid
convictions of the vast mass of men who com
pose the brain and hands of the country. As
the hour approaches, which they believe will re
cord the triumph of the South, by securing the
legislative and executive branches of the Gov
ernment, the mask occasionally drops, and they
venture to state publicly what they have always
said privately, as in this extract from the Mercury,
of Meridian, Mississippi :
The Confederates could not and would not ask any
beneficences from the Government which maimed and
destroyed them, and devastated and laid waste their lands,
and razed their homes, because, in daring to try the con
clusions of war, they dared to abide its results. They
have nothing to ask'of the Government which desDoiled
them in flagrant war, except that it shah not unjustly
despoil them of their substance in peace u bestow upon
their soldiers of spoliation. In war, wo resisted and re
sented the spoliation by all means authorized by laws of
war ; in peace, as freemen, and the equals, and the peers
of any and all of the men who opposed us in war, we owe
it to ourselves, to our honor, and pride of citizenship, to
oppose tiie spoliation by all lawful means that belong to
us in a state of peace. If Mr. Merrimon hau shaped his
repealing bill to abolish all the sections of the law which
pensions tiie soldiers who fought in the Federal army hi
the civil war. ho would have done what pride demands of
a Southern StiiintoY. arid what a delicate sense of honor-In
a Northern Senator would approve.
And so we warn all soldiers of the old Hag of
the nation, that so soon as the South gains power,
either the pensions of the men who upheld the
national honor will cease, or they must share
with those who fought to overthrow the vast
fabric of the Union, and by their misapplied
courage made the issue uncertain for years of
struggle, privation, toil, and suffering.
Commissioner Bentiey and his Proposed System of Pen
sion District Boards.
Our present Commissioner of Pensions has
earned the respect and esteem of all who have
had dealings with the office by his careful atten
tion to duty, and his general good admitrstwtion
It is therefore with no ill-feeling toward him
that we are compelled to differ from the propo
sitions he has submitted, and to criticise the sys
tem recommended by him in his Supplemental
Report of October 81 1876.
We quote the important parts of this report:
The most simple and efficient, and. at the same time,
economical plan which I am able to suggest, is as .follows :
Divide the country into districts, of such size, considering
both the territory and population, as that one surgeon,
devoting his whole time to the duties, would generally be
able to make all the medical examinations in any district
which the pension laws might require. Appoint as many
highly-qualified surgeons as there are districts, with a
reasonable annual salary, all to be under the direction of
the Commissioner of Pensions ; one surgeon to be assigned
to each district, subject to be ordered from place to place
within the district, and to be changed about from one district
to another, as the emergencies of the service might require.
One competent clerk should be sent to each district, to
act in conjunction with the surgeon, or separately, as his
duties and the regulations of the Commissioner of Pen
sions should from time to time require. These two
should constitute a commission on. behalf of the Govern
ment to make the required medical examinations in any
case, and to receive the parol testimony offered in its sup
port ; and, to that end, the claimant, with his principal
witnesses, should appear before them, and submit them
selves to cross-examination on behalf of the Government.
If a material witness resides in another district, his testi
mony should be taken by the commission of that district,
and forwarded to the commission having the case in hand.
When the claimant lias furnished all the proof he desires
to furnish, and submitted to such examinations as are re
quired, the whole case to be transmitted to the office for
This commission may be generally charged with the
special investigations in the district.
In case it should be found that work was accumulating
in any district faster than the regular commission could
dispose of it, a clerk could be detailed from the office for
a limited period to aid in bringing it up.
This plan is simple, and its methods and detail equally
simple and direct.
If the proposed plan shall be adopted, the whole force
of pension examining surgeons may be dismissed. It will
most completely provide for the necessary special investi
gations, for which considerable appropriations are annually
made, and will cut off not less than 33 per cent, of tin
force now employed in the office in Washington. The cost
of the proposed change will not exceed the following
figures, viz :
Sixtv surgeons, at salary and expenses, say
$3,000 each '. $180,000
Sixty clerks, at salary and expenses, say, $2,100
each .' moOO
Under the proposed plan the force employed in the
office may be reduced at least 33 per cent, of the whole,
in addition to the whole special service force in tiie field :
Reduction in office $141,293 33
Salary of nineteen special agents , 22,800 00
Appropriation for special service for 1870 40,000 00
One half of medical examinations for two
years, one year including; the biennial ex
aminations, fiscal years 1875 and 187G 139,553 73
It is seen that an actual saving of $37,647.06 wHll be
made by adopting tiie plan recommended, to say nothing
of its almost incalculable advantages in tiie line of secur
ing reliable medical examinations "and other testimony in
cases, and their consequent prompt and satisfactory de
termination. Very respectfully, yours,
J. A. BbntIiRV.
The Hon. Secretary of tiie Interior.
It will thus be seen that the proposition is to
divide the entire territory of the United States
into sixty districts, giving to each, one examining
surgeon and one clerk, the clerical force, how
ever, to be increased, if necessary.
The surgeon and clerk or.clerks to constitute
a board or commission on the part of the Govern
ment to make medical, examinations and secure
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