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The National tribune. [volume] (Washington, D.C.) 1877-1917, October 01, 1877, Image 6

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THE NATIONAL TRIJBUiN?E.
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lions by skilled surgeons who have no interest ndvors to
tho Government.
"The most simple and efficient, and at the same tlm
economical plan which I am able to suggest, !s as follows :
divide the country Into districts of sicli size, considering
"both tho territory and population, as that one surgeon
devoting his whole time to tho duties would generally bo
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 ftm
souablc annual salary, all to be under the dircotion of the
Commissioner of Pensions ; one surgeon to be assigned lo
cacli district, subject to bo ordered from plnoo lo placo
within the district, and to bo changed about from ono
district to another as tho emergencies of tho service might
require Ono competent clerk should be sent to caoh
district to act in conjunction with tho surgeon, or sep
arately, as his duties and tho regulations of tho Commis
sioner of Pensions should from time to time require
These two should constitute a commission on behalf of
the Government to make tho required medical examina
tions lu any case, and to receive tho parol testimony
offered In its support; and to that end the claimant, with
Ins principal witnesses, should appear beforo them and
submit themselves to cross-examination on behalf of tho
Government. If a material witness resides in another
district, his testimony should be taken by the commission
of that district and forwarded to the commission having
the case in hand. When tho claimant has furnished all
the, proof he desires to furnish, and submitted to such ex
aminations as are required, the whole case to bo trans
mitted to the office for final settlement.
"This commission maybe generally charged with tho
special investigation in the district.
uIn case it should be found that work was accumulating
In nnjr 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.
41 When an application for a pension is received at tho
office, copies of the records from the Adjutant General
and Surgeon General's offices bearing on tho case would
be obtained, and, together with the application, forwarded
to the commission of the district where the claimant re
sides. He will at the same time be notified that the case
is ready to bo proceeded with, and to present himself with
his witnesses to the commission for examination.
"The principle upon which this plan Is grounded, is
universally adopted in civilized communities for the settle
ment of doubtful or contested questions of fact, and the
plan itself is not entirely new; at most, it is but the
application of an old plan to a new class of cases. It is
suggested by ancient precedents, as well as by the modern
practice of the courts, both of law and equity, in referring
cases to a master or referee to take and report testimony.''
The objections to this new plan readily occur,
and will be discussed at length at another time.
"We are of the opinion, however, that such an
arrangement would work to the disadvantage of
the great majority of pensioners, although it
would save a few dollars to the Government.
It would reduce the rate of pension in many
cases, and cause thousands of honest pensioners
to be stricken from the rolls.
It would seem, a better plan to increase
the efficiency of the service than that suggested
by Commissioner Bentley, would be to add a
sufficient number of clerks to the force on duty
in the Surgeon General's Office, to bring the
work up to date; to make a corresponding in
crease in the Pension Office, to apply tibe evi
dence as rapidly as received from the Surgeon
General's Office ; to rate the clerks in the Pension
Office, as examiners, and assistant examiners, as
in the Patent Office, with corresponding salaries;
increase the pay of examining surgeons to three
dollars per case, and in obscure cases to iive dol
lars; increase the pay of the Commissioner of
Pensions to the same amount as that received by
the Commissioner of Internal Bevenue; give
him a largely increased special service fund, to
pay for the proper investigation of suspected
frauds. Give him these additional facilities for
the transaction of business, increase his discre
tionary powers, and make the Office more perm
anent, by removing it from politics.
no fiu'lhor consideration will be allowed. It is
ofteti tho case that claimants who contracted
specific diseases during tho war, are unable to
show record evidence of hospital treatment.
Sometimes the regimental surgeon who treated
thorn is dead, or cannot be reached, so that his
affidavit may be taken. In other instances the
disoase did not appear until the time of discharge,
or after the discharge of the soldier, although
tho fact that it was contracted in the service
cannot bo questioned. Men who suffered, from
disease, and yet performed their duty as sol
diers until their discharge, are debarred from
relief under this section, while they may be quite
as much entit! 1 to pensions as those who can
corroborate their claim, by the hospital records.
We hope this section will have the early at
tention of Congress and be repealed, for it is a
hindrance to the prosecution of just claims; and
for every fraud that it prevents, it debars ten
honest men from receiving: their dues. .
Afc.
-
No soldier should incur -the expense of execut
ing applications for bounty under tho Equaliza
tion Bill until it has passed both houses of Con
gress and been approved by the President. You
will be informed when that is accomplished,
through the columns of The National Thibune.
Then a proper form of application will bo pro
scribed by the 'accounting officers of the Treasury.
Applications on any form other than tho one -6
prescribed, will be-worthless. The first thing Hk
to get the bill passed. Use every endeavor tto
that end, then there will be time enough It
enjoy its provisions. Retain your discharges. '
----
It Should be Repealed.
There is a section of the Revised Statutes
which causes a great deal of inconvenience, and
works great injustice to the pensioners of the
United States, and Congress should repeal it. It
is section 4717, and places a limitation on the
jjrqsecution of claims for pensions where no
record evidence exists in the War or .Navy De
partment, to the effect that if they are not com
plied with in five years from the. date of filing?
PUT THEM BACK ON THE ROLLS.
There being political" objections on the part of
some Republicans to the passage of a bill restor
ing to tho pension rolls tkose soldiers of the war
of 1812 and the Mexican war, who were residents
of the Southern States dming the rebellion, we
consider the speech of Hon. Martin I. Townsend,
of 2tfew York, as a sufficient answer to them. Mr.
Townsend is as radical a Republican as there is in
Congress. When the bill was under debate in
the House, he said:
Mr. Chairman, as ono of tlo committee who reported
this bill, I made this matter a subject of serious reflection.
I had some doubt as to what t ought to do, but reflection
taught me that I ought to .reside, as far as my vote would
go, these old men to the positKmsTthat'they occupied before
the war. They are every one of them invalids, every one
of them old men. There is not a man of them who has
not seen more year3 than myfielf. They could not have
rendered, from their age and condition, any considerable
service to the cause of the rebellion. They have simply
been guilty of participating iu. the feelings of the neigh
borhoods in which the7 were torn. I am a man of pretty
strong prejudices, and I feel the wrong of tho rebellion
about as strongly as any man can feel it, and yet I know
that a man who does not feel to some degree as his neigh
bors feel in times of exoitement, is either less or more than
a man; and I do not appreciate very highly the crime
which these old men have committed in sympathizing
my friends on the other side must not And fault with it
in the craze of 1801. I feel now, sir, that I am doing not
what the gentleman from Massachusetts Mr. Banks says,
paying a debt no, not a debt, for the acts of these men
forfeited all their claims as such upon the Government
but I feel that iu going for this measure I am doing an act
of kindness that I owe to myself, that I owe to the good
men of the neighborhood that I represent, that I owe to
the feelings of the North, a Representative here represent
ing northern men ; and I wish it may be so that those
sympathizing with me in ray politics might vote as our
friends voted in the last Congress, that wo shall come for
ward and do an act of magnanimity to these men who, in
tho dark days of our Government, came forward and
struggled manfully for the right, then, as our boys who
wore tlie blue stood up manlully in the cause of tne gov
ernment jresterday. I want to do this act as an act of
right, and, having done it as an act of right, I want to ask
my friends on the other Bide of tho House, coming from
tho southern side of the Potomac, when you come to get
on the hustings once more, do remember, among the hard
things you charge upon usyou do not charge us often
with hard things here, but to your own people do tell
them that sometimes the northern heart is not quite as
hard as it is often represented to be.
Now, sir, I believe this act due on the part of the mi
nority, due to oursolves. It is a dut3T to ourselves and a
duty to our constituents to rote for this bill. What is it ?
It Is a great sum ; it is $500,000 ; that Is about the amount
oi tne money we give to tneso men, tne money wnicn nan
been suspended ; but if it amounted to $5,000,000, 1 would
pay It. I am not one of those who bellove that tho country
is so much distressed as everybody is representing it to be.
It is more distressed by the howling of men hero on tho
one side and on the other than from any other cause. I
felt so the other day when the salaries of our foreign min
isters were cut down below tho position they ought lo oc
cupy in tne courts to which we send tnem to represent tne
country. I felt that the country was not so much distressed
as that it could do wrong. Wo are too poor to afford
that ; and as to this sum of money proposed to be paid to
these old men, wo cannot afford to go on without paying
it. And I should wish, in honor of the country, In honor
of the party to which I belong, in honor of the section of
tne country from which l come, that we snouiu vote now,
as our representatives did in tho last Congress and tho
Congress before, to pay to these men the money they
would have had but for the excited, condition of affairs In
which they lived and participated ; but in the wrong-doing
that occurred they could take no active part.
An unjust discrimination is made in favor df
th6 examiners of the Patent oflice, to tho injustices
of the examiners of the Pension Office, tt re
quires as much judgment, skill, and education to .
fill "one place as the other, yet there is a wide
difference of salaries ; and in the Pension Oilice
there is no system of promotion from one rank
of examiners to a higher, as there is in the Patent
Office. The whole organization of tho Peusipu
OHice' should he changed, and anew system, of
'appointments and promotions introduced.
About some of our Senators. , ... , v,,
the leaderson either side and how they difeer.
old And new faces the marked imen fr6ji the
south and west. .
If Oliver Perry Morton dies, the Republicans in. the
Senate will haye lost their balance-wheel and will work
at zigzags. He is the author and promoter of more great
measures than any man who has been identified with
American legislation. Since he has been in the Senate
nothing of moment has succeeded without his aid; every
thing of moment that he hasopposed has failed. A chronic
invalid ; a man whose physical life has been torment for
twelve years; who has not drawn a breath without pain ,
for that long time, ho has been the Hercules tolioldutp'
the Republican world when tc .knees of Atlas have been.;
staggering. He is like nothing more than tho great;. balance-wheel
of an engine. The force may have originated ,
in an abstract motive; other men may have supplied Che
material and the minor parts of the machinery, but Mor
ton, when he has engaged himself, has been the recep
tacle of all the force, and by constant, oven revolutions,
has expended that force upon the object sought, until it
has been accomplished. There is no man now in' the
Senate who can take his place. There is no man living
who can fill it. It is said that Governor Williams will
send Dan Yoorhees here to supply the vacancy, if Morton,
dies, until the Legislature of Indiana can elect Hendricks.
Compared with Morton, Yoorhees is an idle ranter. He
is eloquent, but vapid ; his tongue is louder than his mind.
Morton is not eloquent. He uses too simple phrases when
he speaks. Endeavoring to .convince, not to impress, lie
appeals to the sober reason and not to the senses. .
Conkling is the next greatest man to Morton, of the
Senate, but his strides are too long for the oi harbardi to ;
follow him. He is top lofty to lend himself; tofthe com
mon details of legislatipn. A great speech, a sublime
apostrophe, never passed a bill; no great idea was eyei
moulded into a fact by tho use of a few exquisite' para-'
graphs. Nobody ever goes to Gqrikling to say, "Twish
you would help me with this, bill." Nobody ever attempted
a measure without making that request of Morton, .
Edmunds has a shrewder mind a "longer. .head,
than either Morton or Conkling, but he is one of the kind'
that tears down so much that people don't help him when-'
he wants .to build up. Anthony and Morrill always stand .
by Edmunds, and second his motions, but that is very
little service when the rest of tho Senate are against him.
Edmunds looks a hundred years old, when Ills ago is less
than half that. Ho looks like St. Jerome, and when in
repose folds hl3 hands across his breast as if he wore accus
tomed to hold a skull under them.
Great things are expected of ox-Justice Davis. No man
was ever half so wise as lie looks. After the Sergeant-at-Arms
had surveyed him and made a chair to fit 'his fine
proportions, ho contemplated tho Senate with tho eyes of
a man accustomed to see through things.
"Call mo Judge," he said, when I addressed him once
as Mr. Senator. u Call mo Judge I've been called jfu'dge ,
for twenty-two years, and by no other name would I smell.
as sweet." .
The bunch was irksomo to Judge Davis. H?, was get-.-;
ting fatter and stupider every year, and he knew. it. .So,,
ho was glad that the Legislature of Illinois jsent hhn io,
the 'Senate. They could not have sent a bettor man. "lie"
will not be so useful to his constituents as Logan,bub vilii
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