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title: 'The National tribune. (Washington, D.C.) 1877-1917, January 01, 1878, Page 27, Image 3',
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llio Surgeon-General's Oflice, tlio Adjutant-Gonoral's Of
fice, Quartormastor-Gonoral's Oflico, or anywhere else
whero private justice was to bo dono to citizens, thcro was
a dpiicioucy of holp, other holp. was got within thot same
Department by ordering clerks to bo dotailcd. Now this
spasm of so-called but very false economy, in my opinion,
has cub down tho gonoral clerical force of the War De
partment within tho last two or three years to a very largo
degree, and it has had its olfoot upon tho capacity of the
Surgeon-General's Oillco to got off the business.
Mr. Withers. Tho clorical forco of tho "War Depart
ment has been cut down as a whole, but the clerical force
of the Surgeon-General's Oilico, according to my recollec
tion, and 1 am sustained in it bv tho recollection of Other
monibors of tho Appropriation Committee, was not redu
ced; on tne contrary, it was somownaD increaseu, ;mu iuj.
the purposo of facilitating the examination of these pen
siou.claims. To that extout therefore I wished, to say a
word in dofouso of tho democratic party, and the policy
it has pursued, from tho criticisms mado upon it on tho
other side of the Chamber.
Mr. Voorhkes. Mr. President, I camo in after, this
discussion commenced. I know nothing about any party
aspects it has or can have, and in view of tho interest that
rtliink ought to bo subserved, I care but very little. As
a membor of the Committee on Pensions, how6vor, there
5ias reached mo a volume of information from various
parts of tho country that has impressed mo most deeply
of doing something to oUro an outrage upou a most meri
torious class of our citizens. There is such delay in re
gard to applications for pensions as amounts to a donial
of justico by this Government auabsoluto denial of what
wo iwetend shall bo extonded to this class of citizons who
arc under our care. There is not a day that docs uot
bring to mo in my mail complaints well founded that I
cannot respond to oxcopt by admitting that fact and say
ing to tho writers that I have no power to assist them. I
have gono to every placo whero these duties are to be per
formed, the Pension Office, the Surgeon-General's Onico,
and everywhere else, without the possibility of obtaining
relief for those applicants; and I wish to say to tho Sen
ate this morning that this grievance has become, so great
that -it would proporly call for a committee of investiga
tion to see whether these bureaus are doing their duty
with the force at their disposal, or whether they really
merit and require a greater force. If thoy require more
force, the Congress of tho United States ought to give it
to them without one moment's delay and without any
question upon the subject of economy. There is no econ
omy like that of doing exactly our duty by our own peo
ple. I have no practical remarks to submit this morning as
to the modo of reaching this question; but while listen
ing to tho suggestions made by others tho thought came
into my mind that this matter ought to be investigated.
"When claims of pensioners are behind a year and a half
or Wo. years in their examination, the fact calls for an
intelligent observation of tho situation; and either the
Committee dn Pensions or a special committee ought to
investigate the Pension Bureau and inquire as to the
number of clorks, tho force at thoir disposal, tho condi
tion of tno Imsiness, whose fault it is, and so as to the
Surgeon-Genoral's Office. We could thus see whether
they need more assistance, and if thoy do, give it to thom;
and if they do not, and are not doing their duty, let them
be hold to'a strict accountability, for this is an absolute
grievance to my personal knowledge that ought to bo re
dressod. Mi. Burnside. Mr. President, in view of some remarks
which dropped from the Senator from Indiana in reference
to tho action of the Pension Bureau and the Surgeon-General's
Office; I would say tliUt liiavo liacl much experience
in visiting- those departments and looking after pension
cases, and as far as my knowledge go'es I fjeel that they are
using due dilligeuce and are using all the force in fact at
their command for tho performance of the work which
properly falls upon thom.
Mr. vooiiiiEES. If the Senator from Rhode Island will
allow mo, I wish to say that I have no reason to think
cth'erwiso than according to his statement, and had uo in
tention of saying that they aro not doing thoir duty fully.
Mr, Buiinside. I so understand the Senator from Indi
ana. I merely make this remark in view of the fact thatl
haye been impressed with the belief that thoy are using
the force to tho best of their ability. I know of this evil
probably more than any other Senator. There is hardly
a soldier from any State of tho Union but writes to me
'daily .on this subject, complaining of tho delays in the set
tlement of thoir claims, and I think myself that if the mat
ter, was.brought; fairly before the two Houses of Congress
members' of both political parties would be willing at once
to vote tho necessary forco required for the rapid prosecu
tioi,ofthisnvork. Theso men should not bo delayed any
longer in getting their just rights, and I am sure there is
no Senator within tho sound of my voice who is in the
least disposed to keep thom out of thoir rights. I think a
measure properly drafted would meet the approval of the
Mr. "Window. Mr. President, I wish to say a word in
reference to the responsibility of tho Committeo on Appro
priations of tho Senate for this condition, of things. I have
sent for the record showing tho exact facts in tho caso and
will have it in a few moments, I presume. I am quite
certain it will bo, found on investigation that tho Senate
Committeo on Appropriations have no share in this respon
sibility, that they allowed for these two offices vory nearly
if not quite tho number of clorks recommended.
I want to say furthermore in response to tho remarks of
tholionorable Senator from Virginia Mr. Withers) that
I think; tho gentleman representing another body who aro
charged with peculiar economy and I have oharged thom
with4c myself perhaps as much as anybody were some
what more liberal with roforenco to theso two offices than
t9 otbors. I think the cutting was not so sovoro oithcr on
the. Surgeon-General's Office or tho Adjutant-General's
Office ; but I think ho will find when wo get tho foots which
I havo sent for that ovon in theso offices there was a con
siderable Cutting below tho actual number required and
evoji below tho number reported by tho Committee on Ap
propriations of tho Senate. If I am'wrong in that I shall
correct myself when tho facts aro received.
Tlio true explanation of tho difficulty, I think, lies ia
the fact that there has boon two severe cutting throughout
tho Department, that there aro nob, clorks thoro to porforni
tlio fluty, and thoso noodod wore formerly assignod to duty
froniiother branches Wo havo passed a provision in one
of tho appropriation bills authorizing a dotail of clorks
?roni oilier branches of tho Department to porforni tlio dit
tos ofttho SurgoQn-Gonoral's Offico ,ad thoAdjutaut-Geu-cral's
O'ffieo whou require ; but tho troublo is that tho
rcduotkm of forco has boon so groat in all tho bureaus that
thcro are no clerks to assign. 'I remember that when wo
agreed to that provision I thought it amounted to nothing,
and I bolievo that was the general impression, because
there Yould be no surplus of clerks in any direction that
could bo assigned to that duty.
I am extremely glad that tho attention of tho Senate has
been called to this matter, and I hope the attention of the
country will bo attracted to it, so that when tho next ap
propriation bill is before us we may allow to theso offices
all tho force necessary. I was satisfied that tho force was
deficient lone: aero, but I was unable through any efforts I
could mako to get it any larger than it is. I am satisfied
that that was tho fceliug of all tho members of tho commit
tee of tho Senate of both parties : that thoy were anxious
to allow to theso offices the full force necessary for the
speedy transaction of their business. I -want to say that
that applies to everv member of tlio Committee on Appro
priations of tho Senate, on both sides of this Chamber, and
I think that, tho attention of tho country having been called
to it, particularly that of Congress having boon called to it
this morning1, we shall havo but littlo troublo in the next
appropriation bill in having such an appropriation ,as will
bring up this work as speedily as it can bo done. I hope
so at any rate.
Mr. Davis, of West Virginia. Mr. President, my recol
lection as to the clerical force in the Pension Office and the
Surgeon-General's Office is the same as that of several
othpr Senators who havo spokon, that there was no reduc
tion, no less number criven them than they had had. I no
tice my friend from Vormont Mr. Edmunds smiling, but
I want to say a word now to him. I see from the Houso
report in my hand, which I havo sent for sinco this dobato
commenced I have not had time to put my hand just on
the exact place, but I know that I road it probably six
months ago tho statement that one man, at least, by tho
name of Stiles, was detailed from tho Pension Office to act
as secretary or clerk for tho republican congressional com
mitteo located iivthis city, and for eight months, my recol
lection is, the testimony states, the man drew his pay regu
larly from the Pension Bureau and did not perform a single
hour's work in tho Pension Office. Another man, whose
name I forgot now, was away from the office several
months Caifrey perhaps was the name and there were
three in all, I understand, from the force detailed for tho
purposo of running what was knowA as the national, con
gressional committee in this city. A friend says, "of the
republican party" No one would ever think for a moment
that it would be of any other party, so it was hardly nec
essary for me to say of what party it was. I know, as
several Senators have- stated, that tho Pension Bureau is
far behind what it ought to be in the examination of
The last report of tho Commissioner of Pensions will
show that even last summer, and especially the summer
before last, as every summer, there is a set of men, from
one to five, detailed from the, office to go through the
country, they say to hunt up fraudulent cases ; but the
testimony taken in this same pamphlet, to which I havo
referred, shows that, instead of the clerks detailed from
tho office hunting up fraudulent cases, tho papors come
back as a rule just as they went out, but these gentlemen
go on pleasure excursions. .
I am not speaking from any knowledge of my own ; I
am speaking from the. evidence takon by what is known
as the Jenks committeo of the House.
Mr. Edmunds. What is that document? Please give
its number and,date. ' '
Mr. Davis, of West Virginia. Forty-fourth Congress,
iirst session. Miscellaneous Document, jNo. 93, of the
House. I agree that there should be raorei attention paid
in tho Pension Office to mmests irom -pensioners them
- . - r . -.
tho ancient history of tho Government, had possession of
the Pension Office, then there would be no such dotail ; it
would be tho regular wprk of tho bureau; nothing else
would bo done; and the history and the example of just
this sort of evidence for the last twonty-fivo years before
tho war will bear out what I say, in round numbers. But
that is a littlo wide of tho mark.
The Senator undertakes to excuse a palpable and gross
violation of duty by Congress that has been pointed out
over and over again in respect to these matters by show
ing, if it is shown, which this paper doea not sh'owi that
certain abuses exist; but the committee do not say that
the evidence convinces thom that there is any auchjact.
but they havo reported the ibatimony of a witness. Tli atf
is all thcro is in this particular document.
Mr. Davis, of West Viajrinia. The Sonator will allow
mo to say that I think on tho first page he will see thatthe
committeo say such was tho proof. ,',.
Mr. Edmunds. Wo shall sec ' "" 'v
"Mr. Jenks, from tho Commitieo on Invalid-Pensions,"'
su.uiuh.uju. me lunowmg, testimony ana suiieuicnt,Y rw.
Well, hero is tho "shitoinnnfc "
Mr. Davis, of West Virginia. Now, will tho Senator?
road that sentence and say what it is? ,n "
Mr. Edmunds. "The pension service of the United .
States disburses annually $30,2-18,060." .-.?.
That is tho first statement, and then it goes on. As the
Senator says ho could not find tho particular passage that,
he was looking for, I do not know that I shall. y:
Mr. Davis, of West Virginia. Will the Senator jus
continue where ho read from "Mr. Jenks submitted." "
Mr. Edmunds. This must bo what the senator refers to; '
Mr. Davis, of West Virginia. No; you have got a page
too iar ahead.
Mr. Edmunds. Let me see. I think this must be what
tho Senator refers to:
"In tho language of tho late Commissioner, 'Ho and.
Stiles were so assigned, as that was customary, as under-,,
stood by all parties, and hence was not considered impro
per.' " '
That is, the statement that inasmuoh as the democratic v
party could not borrow the whole bureau like the republi
cans, they borrowed here and there a member of it. But,
as I was saying, this is very wide of tho point we have un
der consideration. r
The attention of Congress has session after session been
called not only in respect of this particular Department,
but other Departments of the public service, where, the
rights of citizens were involved to the fact that this so
called economy was cutting down, tho force beyond tho
possibility of transacting the business of the Government,,
in that prompt and efficient way that the public interest
and private rights required. Now the Senator shows as
an excuse for that, or a justification, or something, that
some republican clerk under some republican Secretary, 0
two clerks or a half a dozen have been wrongfully takbri bnt
of the pubhc service and applied, to private purposes,- and ( r
paid out of the public funds. I do not know whether that
is true or not. If it be trao, I venture to say thatit.-jyaa
tlio duty of the Houso of Representatives on this eyidenco
to have impeached any Secretary Of thc-Interior, anyrCdjiH .?
missioner of Pensions, or any other officer o tho United
States wlio was guilty in a singkvinstance of such cbriduot'; ' '
and the fact that with such eminently patriotic bodies,, as
both Houses are nothing at all followed this statement p- '
parently, furnishes pretty good evidence to me that when
we get at the whole truth it would turn out to bo different
from this ' ; statement, " as it is. called. But I do nofc car,
whether it is or not. That is not tho point. If, as I say,'
any such thing occurred, it ought to Jiavo been punished
nromntlv and severely: but I do not see that that nuts
koIvps. T dn nnfc fnmnln.iri of thoVaut of answers to anv- bread into the mouth of the soldier who is entitled to' it if
thing I have sent, for they generally come pretty promptly; ; he has been wounded or diseased hi the servico of the coun
but the answer is generally, "Wo are sixteen or eighteen t try, and I do not see that it is an excuse to us for so reduc-
months behiud; we cannot examine cases as promptly as ing the force as mat wnat we nave uouo amounts to jeay-
we should do." What I complain of is that, while that
is the case, men aro detailed from that office, as this re
port shows, for political purposes, and instead of working
at thoir desks it is known that thoy are doing other work;
and then in the summer details are mado of gentlemen to
go around the country for the purpose, as thoy state, of
hunting up fraudulent cases ; but very few are found of
Mr. Paddock. I should like to ask the Senator a ques
tion. I inquire whether he makes that chargo in reference
to that description of details, against tho present adminis
tration of the Pension Offieo?.
Mr. Davis, of West Virginia. Oh, no; not tho present
Mr. Paddock. Or is it something antecedent?
Air. Davis, of West Virginia. Not the present oflicors
of tlio Department.. I do not think they have dono' it.
This evidence was taken during the last uongress.
Mr. Paddock. Prom the general and sweeping charac
ter of the Senator's statement, tho inference would be
that it referred to the present administration of tho. Bu
reau. , Mr. 'Davis, of West Virginia. I havo stated two or
three times that this was in the Forty-fourth Congress,
and I speak from the ovidenco in this pamphlet, not from i
my own Knoweuge, i iuiow nounug oi wum- w uww
last summer, but! believe the same details of clerks were
mado then to travel around through tho country, and thoy
wore paid out of tho Ponsion Bureau appropriations. It
is a well-known fact that the man who went to Saint Louis
in" tho whisky-fraud cases, a detective who went as it was
said for tho purpose of stealing papers or getting thom in
some way 1 refer to the Babcook trial -was paid out of
tho funds of tlio Pension Office. Wo all know that to boa
fact. Instead of tho monoy appropriated for tho office be
ing expended for the payment of clerks doing its work, it
has boon spent in other directions. I bolievo the chairman
of the Committeo on Pensions stated in tho Senate not Ion
gor ago than last session that in his opinion one-fourth of
the entire 2tf,000,000 appropriated to that Department
was fraudulently gotten out of it in some way by persons
who were not iustl.v entitled. Prom tho examination I
have made, I am almost led to say that the chairman was
in" him to die in sorrow and misery before his case can. bo
disposed of. That is tho point. t,,
Mr. Davis, of West Virginia. It will be recollected,
Mr. Fresidcntj that I stated that there was in my opinion j
great delay and too much of it in the Pension Bureau. I
So not know whether it is the fault of tho bureau, -orS
whether it is the fauL of having, too few clorks, too little
clerical assistance. I do not intend to answer that-qucsi
tion, but " ., . ,
Mr. Sargext. Does not the Senator know that tho -force
has been largely cut down within tho last few years t.
Mr. Davis, of West Virginia. I think not. , t?,-
Mr. Sakgent. I can show the Senator that it hasbeon.
Mr. Davis, of West Virginia. My friend ought to bo
well posted, bettor than I, but I think-ho is mistakon in
that. ' x
Mr. Sahgext. Tho record shows that I am not mis
taken. ,... r
Jtlt. Davis, of West Virginia. I have no objection, to
hearing it. ., ,
Mr. Sargbst. In 1875 the forco of tho bureau was
159, all told; in 1S7G, 109; in tho bill for 1377, tho esti
mate still being 109, it was cut down to 135; and in that
for 187S it was again cut down to 1S5, although tho esti
mate was largorand the representations were that tho ck-f
tra forco was absolutely needed. wmi n
Mr. Davis, of West Virginia. WU1 tho Senator tell us
how much the reduction is ? . . ,.;"
Mr. Sakgext. Tho differenco between 18o and 109.
Mr. Davis, of Weat Virginia. Since when? ' : "'
Mr. Sabgext. The present fiscal year and the last fis
calycar. , .
Mr. Davis, of West Virginia. One hundred and sixty-
Mr. Sargext. From one hundred and sixty-nine' "down
to one hundred and thirty-live ,".-
Mr. Davis, of .West Virginia. I have not a word to
say against the figures tho Senator presoms, hilt I think
there must be some error.
But while we are on this nensiou matter lot me say that
iiin pvirinnnn to which I have pointed is positivo on tho
,-"r-",",i" - ..
was so iar uo-
point that there-were three different men
t.lmt oflice. notwithstanding that its work
pretty nearly right whon ho made that assertion. that offico, notwithstanding t nat its woi-jc was .so wr oo-
Mr. Edmuxds. Mr. President, tho Senator from West j hind, to do other servico; and for eight months, at a salary
Virginia, in order to show that tho wrongs to the soldier I of $100 a month, ono man was paid who ihd no work what-
aro not duo to any lack of appropriations by Congress, says
that here is a report of testimony takon by a committeo of
M.. Xln.en ' T)ntvcntitilt-.ivMC whinlt nvnvos t.lmt; njlft StilfR
and somo other people wore detailed from tho Ponsion Of-
over in tho Department, but was detailed tor tlie political
duty I havo spoken of. That fact cannot bo got away
i Now, .if more assistance is needed in that oflico upon in-
k - -, .. . ,. . . a "a. riM.- ,1.1..-.. ;, wt.if iynnr
ilco in tho voar.1875 or 1870, or whatever tho time was. for vestigation, lot ub gram it.. iu uumj wjjjto. j vi
if tho force in tho Department
nolitiual nuruoses and were paid out of the publio monoy.
Ho says that no other party but tho republican party would
do that. It is not necessary to say that the democratic
lmvtv would not do it. 1 think tlio Sonator is perfectly
correct about that. If tho democratic party, according to (
ion, lot us gram in. iu uumjr ,wiv " siv,
ght to bo, mdro promptness: and I beliovo to-day
ree in tho Department was- prbmptly'handlod, we
could in great measure bring up mo tt.wea.rsUttRivus
boon the caso for years, and yet wo And each summer ao-
Continunl'on page 81. Mf "
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