Newspaper Page Text
THE NATIONAL TRIBUNE.
1 t i-:
Extracts from the Eomorks of Messrs. Thurmnu, verted upon in this body. My opVositiOh to fchiy mcasuro
w. "ij. -m, ,,'i r i. --- - h" inivi ntwm tin mnt. t.mi. n.r nrnniRn n-nv nm vitv p.v-
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Gordon, and Voorhoes, bri tU6
ambulatory Court Bill.
tionil thoro-it i.
mder what section docs the Sonator
Look nt that, air, pointing to a sec-
Thon thoy can nave these
Mr. TilUUMan. Mr. President, 1
necessity of economizing time, llmi
know ho well th6
Shall occupy but a
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vftrv (.w miniuCH Oi uiu luu-imiuii ui uiiu oujumu.
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It is said that irauiuuom cianus a to hiiuwuu, imu vim- tary ol tno interior may appoint, without limit as to nuiu
is estimates arc made of the number of fraudulent bor except his own judgmont, surgeons who shall hav
r.lnims. .Some say 0 nor cent., somd 10, some 15. Homo 20,
of all the pension claims that arc allowed arc fraudulent
claims. K that is the case then one of two things is cer
tain, or both in fact : cither that our pension system and
the menus that wo provide for ascertaining whether a
pension ought to bo granted or not arc radically defective
or tlio administration of the Pension office is radically de
fective and wrong. One of the two must be so, or both ;
and now how docs this amendment remedy itV Tf I un
derstand this amendment, notwithstanding the appoint
ment of these one hundred and twenty "poripaticians, the
going to theso posts over and over again,, according
discretion of4 theso gentlemen here in Washington.
In the next place, what notice are thoy'to give the pen
pensive and extraordinary system of procedure outsido of ;
the Ponsiou Bureau. I am not going to cTotainthc Sonato j
upon t.liis point." T hope the vote will Xri taken as spoedi
ly as possible, and when that voto is taken desire Bona-,
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at leat. thr6o hundred, and in less than two years it will sionors ? What notice do you provide for these poor old
be five hundred, additional Federal olucers, at very extra- pensioners? Just such notice as it pleasos tins bureau to
ordinary salaries. This measure provides that tho Score- give them: it may be a notice of one day or it may be ono
month, in how many papers is it to bo published ? une
paper, such as tho bureau chooses to select.
certain traveling duties, and with each ono of thorn shall I Tho whole measure is a sham from beginning to end.
go a person denominated a pension clork, that, according "Wlion 3 say " sham " t do not charge it upon tho distin
to tho description of this amendment, shall bo learned in ' guished Senator from Kansas; but having run , over it I
tho law and havo had practice in Ins profession, and then only wish J had timo to point out. its loaturos l should
the doctor and tho lawyer arc to be pajd $2,oUU a year
each for their sorviccs. It is difficult- to estimate tho
amount of money that will bo required to carry on this
system. Indeed no estimate can bo made whilo tho num
ber of persons to bo so .appointed is lo'ft'a't tho discretion
of a Cabinet ofucor or a buroau officer : "But it will bo seen
at once that theso Federal officers will constitute a very
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Commissioner 01 rensions can go on .pisr, as ooioic, on important class ol persons, and will bo receiving laiger i way ol simplifying tho system, by
just tho same kind of testimony, m just the samo mode, payj I Ijelicve, than anybody connected with tho Pension , working system, and it is to be r
granting or rot using pensions. ix i right in wiac i Bureau except tho Commissioner ol tensions himsolf. 1 language ol the witnesses: then it
Again, I think tho rtonator will lind that his districts believe there is no class of porsons connected with tho i tho Commissioner of Pensions, s
will be, as 1 say, each ono ol them almost as large as a
State. Now, i will take tho State of Ohio. Theso two
gentlemen come into tho Stato of Ohio with eighty-eight
counties in the State and not one singlo county in tho
State in which there is not a pensioner. 1 am quite sale
discharge of pension duties winch is paid as these porsons
are to bo paid.
Further, this amendment provides for tho division- of
the United Stales into various pension districts, as sup-;
pose wo may call them, and a post in each one of tho pon-
in saying that Whore arc they to hold thoir sittings and son districts is to bo designated by tho Commissioner Of who are lcarne
discharge this duty in tho timo that is specified, and how Pensions, a post to which the officers of the Government yet the "dor
arc these pensioners an 10 gee nonce y
a newspaper in the district. The district
liko to know who actually devised such a bill. Re oug7it
to hare a Uather medal, and Tcall upon the pensioners of
Amerien to gioe Mm one,
All this testimony is to bo reduced to writing. After
dragging tho pensioners from thoir homes with all thoir
witnesses, whom they must go to tho oxponso of summon
ing, then tho testimony is to bo reduced to writing by
way ol making it a
educed to writing in the
is to be lorwarded to
uid then this board is to
examine. And who are thoy V burgeons who are experi
enced in tho practice of medicine and surgery 1 And who
arc the clerks? What kind of clerks? 01orks learned
in the law." You aro to go to this bureau to get " clorks
learned in the law." T do not think thoy have clorks
learned in tho law. That is my opinion. And
Hixty counties in Ohio, and this would not bo more than a
fair average size for each one of the districts ; and in
some one nowspapor in that district there is to be a notice
that this board will sit. Sit where V Sit for the cxami-
iinf!it nf wlinm ', Tl: snoms t,n mn that it would bo llttorlv
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impracticable, for them to discharge this work, to portorm , provided for as I have stated. Tho time and place is to
this duty. ! bo fixed by tho Commissioner of Pensions, and then an
But that is not all. 1 uqnuc exceedingly tne propnoiy
of appointing theso surgeons, because I believe that under
tho present system the examination mado by surgeons in
clerks learned in tho law aro to bo sent to
shall proceed, and there, in some way, not clearly pointed regulate tho pension system. That is a oeautilui spcci
out in this measure, obtain tho attendance of the pension-. men of regulation ! Sir, it needs regulation, aud it needs
crs, and such witnesses as it may bo desirable to examine, I regulation for tho safoiy of tho Govornmont and tho
. .-- - . . "
and 1 seo no provision in this measure by which a person
whOse claim for a pension is being examined can compel
tho attendance of witnesses for him. 1 seo no provision
of that kind in tho measure ; but there is a sort of court
Treasury, and more for the safety of tho honest portion of
the pensioners and not tho fraudulent onos. This will
increase tho difficulty of honest men. Aro poor old pen
sioners who aro now on tho brink of tho grave to be drag
ged from their homes boforo this commission, composed of
a clerk learned in tho law and a surgeon learned in sur-
advertisemont of time and placo is to bo put in some nows- i gory and mediciuo ?
papor, and that is to affect everybody with notice. There i I dislike to speak iu this way, but when I know how it
are some men, iur. r resident, wuo nave lought well who is going to operate l cannot sit snout in my placo and seo
such a thing done. 1 do not say injustice is intended, not
at all, certainly not by tho committee, nor oven by tho
men who framed this measure, for I do not beliove thoy
aro capable of seeing or knowii g where or how injustice
is to be prevented.
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tho neighborhood of the man who is under disability or (i0 not take newspapers, some who are not ablo to take
has heon wounded, is much more, likely to result in a cor-. newspapers, some who could not read them if they did
root opinion than would bo an examination made by a sur- j take them, aud there aro tho widows and orphans of 'those
geon who sees the man for half an hour, never saw him wil0 died iu the service of thoir country who have not had
, uoiore, auu novor wiu suu mm Hgaiu. Aumuio uu wuumw luo oppornimiiy oi caucaxion, auu wno wouui oo practv
when a man has lost an arm or lost a leg or iosu an eye ;
it requires no surgeon to seo that. But when a man is
under a disability resulting from disease, how is this sur
geon, sent perhaps from Washington City, or detailed
from the Army or JSTavy, aud seeing a man for half an
hour whom ho had never seen before, and with -whose
habits he is whollv unacquainted, to form a correct opin
ion of that man at all comparable wun uio surgeon m uib if more clerical force is needed, let us give it. 1 intro-1
neighborhood who has known him well and is competent i duced a resolution weeks ago on that subjoct, calling on I
to form a judgment about him? I do not think it can be j the Secretary of the Interior to tell us what additional !
done. I think the present system liiLuairespeccis uutier, j clerical force was needed in that office, either to prevent
espociallywhentheappoiutmenlof the examining surgeon ; frauds or to facilitate tho transaction of business. The
rests with tho Commissioner of Pensions.
cally denied notice under this measure of the timo and
place when and where their most vital intorests were bo
ing passed upon.
I am opposed to this measure because I do not think,
in a practicable or beneficial point of view, it is advisable,
and I think wo hud better address ourselves to making
the inside of tho bureau as it stands now more efficient.
Sir, I know some of these
State, and every one of them whom I know is a man of
high honor, of high standing in his profession. There is
This distinguished Sonator from Arerinont hurls
back a denial to the slander heaped upon the pen
sioners of the United States, in the colloquial de
bate on the arrears bill, shown uelow:
Mr. EDMUNDS. Mr. President, I wish to deny for
tho pensioners who reside in tho State of Vermont and as
far as I know for the pensioners residing in ail the othor
me here that thoy needed men wno were versed . Sf,,foS. f,hft imnntaHmi tw 9 v ,n.Aris ,f
surgeons in my, in sifting testimony. Yery well, there may be something j in ncr omib. or nnvtliinw in tt Va i ii nrri,fnCt rW
. j-i- i- - A- --.i. t- x. 1.--..1. l- .a.i.m. x.i-.-f tv j-a j-
answer came here that thoy needed men who were versed
in that, or there may be not much in it, but whether tliero
is or not, I think tho place to begin roform is in the office
here, instead of covoring the whole country with peram
bulating courts, if I may so designate them.
GKNEUAI, JAMES SHIELDS,
o ' '. .v , , -, "- . n , i 'n i. i
not one oi them tnau would give a laise oerraucauj, muuu
"loss one of them that could bo corrupted to give a false
certificate. Thoy are just as good men as theso sixty men
would bo under this bill, and that, Mr. President, I take
it is it nmcli more economical plan if X am right. Hero
are to be sixty lawyers and sixty doctors, aud thoy aro to
'receive $2,500 apiece each year. That makes $5,000 for
the two in each district. Multiply that by sixty, tho num- j United States Senate, and who
borol districts, and you havo $auu,uuu to do annnaiiy
paid to these lawyers and theso doctors. It may he that
that would he a wise expenditure, it may be that it would
result in economy, but it does not look so to me.
Mr. Goitnox, Air. President, I do not wish to antago
nize this amendment except to tho extent of asking tho
attention of the Sonato to tho fact that, as I understand,
it proposes almost an entire chauge in the administration
of the Pension Office, at least in one very important
branch, of administration ; it proposes a very large num
ber of appointees and tho redisricting of tho United
States into sixty, I think, or seventy-six divisions with
officers appointed and a clork to each ono of these. Tim
certainly involves a very grave change, aud a very large
amount of machinery and expenditure to ho acted upon
in this late hour of tho session.
I do not know but that I shall he prepared to vote for
tho amendment after thorough examination, but I submit
that in a department where thpre are two hundred and
thirty thousand soldiers now interested, with, I think,
about ono hundred and thirty thousand more applicants,
with tho expenditure of thirty millions of money por
annum, to undertake to alter in so important a particular
all tho laws respecting this great department, is too grave
a matter for theso last hours of tho session.
would submit, therefore, as something better, in my
judgmont, that provision be made for a commission of say
two Senators and three members of tho House, who shall
.take this question in hand and report to us at tho next
session upon this measure, or tho advisability of some
change in this matter.
I agree with the Senator from Kansas that whatever is
fraudulent in this department ought to bo lopped off.
Whorovor there are impositions upon tho Pension Bureau
wo ought to ascertain the cause, but wo ought not thought
lessly or hurriedly to involve tho intorests of these two
liuridred and thirty thousand soldiors here, at this late
hour of tho session, in probably tho inoxtrioable difficult
ies which would arise from this now system. It is not by
any means certain that we shall always find honest men
to divide tho honest from tho dishonest pensions ; and I
simply rose to submit that it is a very gravo question, and
I think too grave a question to admit of full discussion at
this late hour, in view of the appropriation bills which are
now pressing upon us.
Mr. YoonnEES. I must confirm the statement of tho
Senator from Kansas, chairman of the committee, and of
the Senator from Virginia, in regard to the entire and
ntter absence of all party considerations in the Pension
Committee. Inasmuch as I oppose the proposed amend
ment, I think it proper to say that, in view of tho paper
whioh tho Senator from Kansas has read and animad-
"Who has had the sole honor of representing three
States Illinois, Minnesota, and Missouri in the
is said to be the
only Union officer who ever Avhipped " Stonewall "
Jackson, in the debates on amending the arrears
bill, proved himself possessed of the fire of youth
when offering a bill which would havo been a curse
to every pensioner in the country. "We append a
spicy little debate between him and Senator Ingalls:
Mr. SHIELDS. Mr. President, since I spoko a few
words on this question a while ago I havo examined the
details of the proposed amendment, and I submit to my
learned and able friend from Kansas, as a lawyer, whether
it is not ono of tho most singularly loosely worded bills
that ever came into the Senate. Like the Heathen
Chinee, it is a little peculiar. First, the Pension Buroau
or tho Department of tho Interior can have as many posts
or as few posts as it pleases in any and every Stato, from
one to a thousand, with no limitation.
Mr. INGALLS. Tho Senator will allow mo to say that
the discretion must be lodged somewhere. Of course
Congress cannot prescribe how many pension agents or
pension surgeons shall bo in any State, because they are
without tho information as to the number of cases in tho
State. There are some where none would bo required,
some where not more than two would be required; there
fore, the djsoretion must be left to tho officer having this
system in charge.
Mr. SHIELDS. I admit it, but it is a doscrotion that
should have some limitation.
Mr. INGALLS. It has a limitation.
Mr. SHIELDS. Not here.
Mr. INGALLS. Tho limitation is that they at no time
shall exceed sixty.
Mr. SHIELDS. The districts shall not exceed sixty, tho
amendment says; but tho posts aro unlimited. The Sen
ator never drafted such a bill; he has too high legal abil
ity to draft such an instrument as this.
First, thoy can appoint as many posts as thoy please,
but in tho Stato of Missouri I do not think wo shall havo
more than ono, for wo aro not a favored Stato. Next,
thoy can drag every pensioner in tho State of Missouri
from his home, if his wifo is dying and his children all
sick, aud drag him just as often as they ploaso to that
post, not merely onco or twice a year, but any number of
times, and they may compel him to go there with all his
witnesses. That is also indefinite and without limitation.
Is that the proper way to treat your pensioners ?
Mr. INGALLS. It is entirely voluntary. A man is
not obliged to take a pension unless he wants it. Tho
Government doeB noj; compel a man to draw a pension.
If ho does not want to go and be examined ho need not.
Mr. SHIELDS. He has not only to go to get the pen
sion, but after ho gets it they can dragliim hero and thoro
fifty or ono hundred times a year to debate his pension,
according to thoir discretion.
fraudulent, and 1 should like to see the proof of it. I
should liko to know what tho nature of tho proof is. Tho
statute that has existed all tho timo under our ponsiou
laws authorizes the Commissioner of Pensions either with
or without the approval of the Secretary of the Interior
I do not remember which nor care for this purpose when
ever he has reason to believe that any ono pension is not
legally payable, to stop the payment of it. Ho therefore
has hold all tho timo in his own hands the power of stop
ping tho payment of any pension that ho behoved to be
an unjust or a fraudulent one. Why does he not ? If ho
has the ovidonco which satisfies him that 10 per cent.,
which I believe is his statement, of tho pensions that aro
paid are fraudulent, why does lie not stop that 10 per
cent., or why does not somebody, because the ovidonce of
fraud cannot bo found by any general impression ; it must
bo found by an aggregation of individual instances.
Mr. lJNLALiLb. Several hundred cases wore dropped
last year, and over ,$500,000 saved to the pension fund.
Mr. EDMUNDS. Very good. That shows that $500,
000 out of thirty million had been, in tho judgment of tho
Commissioner of Pensions, improperly allowed. That
does not prove tho case by any means.
Mr. DAVIS, of West Virginia. I understand tho Com
missioner to say that this plan now recommended will
break up fraud, and this is the way ho wants to find it
out. Ho thinks uudor existing laws some money has been
recovered, but not so much as will bo under the system
Mr. EDMUNDS. Yes, but if tho Secretary of tho In
terior or tho Commissioner of Pensions is willing to bo
responsible for saying to us that ho has discovered any
probable ground for bolioving that 10 por cent, of tho
pensions are fraudulent, ho must have discovered it upon
tho aggregation of individual cases. The fact that ho has
discovered $500,000 does not prove that ho could discover
a million, any more than tho fact that you can find that
ono Senator in this body in years gono by has been guilty
of miscouduct or fraud implies that probably thero aro
ton or fifteen more just as guilty and you aro therefore to
institute raeasuros to purge tho Seuato; No such infer
ence follows by any moans ; and hence I say that if tho
Commissioner of Pensions is justified in saying to us that
thero aro 10 per cent, or 5 por cent, or 8 por cont. of thoso
payments of pensions that aro fraudulent or unjust, ho
must, if he is wise and if he is honest in his report, havo
based that upon tho information that ho has as to individ
ual cases; and as fast as ho has that information, it is
within his authority, and it is his duty, to stop tho pay
ment of pensions, as ho doos as far as ho goes. We aro
jumping, therefore, at conclusions, and I think very un
justly to tho body of the patriotic soldiery of this country
when wo give it forth to everybody and everywhere by
iterated and reiterated statements that a vory largo per
centage of tho pensioners of this Government during tho
lato war aro more fraudulent plunderers of this Govern
ment. I do not believe any suoh thing, and I do not be
lieve there is any proof of any suph thing ; but bocause
tho Commissioner of Pensions has found hero and thoro a
case of fraud ho asks us to presume, as ho prosumes him
solf, that thero must bo a much larger number more, just
as I said a little while ago if wo find onco in twenty yoars
that thoro is a Sonator in this high body who has been
guilty of recoiving bribes, therefore it is to bo prosumed
if you only had more striugont methods you would find
all the roat or a certain proportion, 10 or 15 per cont,,