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The National tribune. (Washington, D.C.) 1877-1917, November 01, 1877, Image 1

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4 ontftfy $?ur.nai devoted to the interests of the oldiers and (Bailors of the late war, and all pensioners of the J$nited (States.
Lepage e. lemon & co.,yOL j No 2 WAHltfG.TOJST, P.dfctSTpVEMBBR, 1877, G
u tJUditors and Proprietor. i " ' r ?" a -' S.
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Single Copies, 10 Cents In currency or postage stamps.
Uutored nccordiuKto Act of OonEroHhlu Ihoyohf ofoui-LOrd.1877. bvGERrtKE. IJKM0H& Co.. lu tlib OlHce of tho Ijlbrjrimi of. Cougroee, at Wellington, D.O. ,-..( '
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e.hear it advanced by those who are opposed
tbithepassage of the bill to equalize bounties, that
thtbuhiryis too rioor too poor to pay its honest
debis 'io. itie soldiers who saved it. Let us see.
( ." ' Mil' J 'li'
Ir,om tho 10th day of March, 187.7, when he
look hisplaec at the'head of the Finance Depart
ment of the Government, to file 1st day of
November, less than height months, Secretary
Sherman boasts that he has reduced the public
debt forty five milllion dollars, and at the 1st of
JTCnuarV, iifter having control of the finances less
than ten months, he expects to be able to say,
thatJjQi has -reduced it sixty million 'dollars, or
three per cent.-- of the entire bonded debt of the
UiiitSa States. " ' ' '
This debt has no, matured. .jTha Government
was not obliged to pay-this forty-five million
during the last eight months, but, like a very
milium, .one hundred thousand men served (or
that length xf. time, beciuise the greater part of
the enlistments for a thre&year's time took place
in the latter days of the ifyor. Less than one-half
of these, he considers, are entitled to bounty
under this bill, and, in .lj874, he gave it as his
official opinion to the anilitary committee oft the
blouse, that twenty million dollars, at the' most,
would be all that is required. ;
The Paymaster Genergjof the army places his
estimate at twenty-eighj millions, and roaches
this opinion by a diftereftf system tfi calculation
than that used by' the Adjutant General. Ho
shows from the records off his office that 385,-
970,681 has already been 'paid to soldiers in the
shape of bounty money. 1 Taking Adjutant Gen
eral Townsend's estimate.qt' the number of troops
employed for three years, he shows that 440,
000,000 would be necessaVy to pay all of them a
bounty of eight and one third dollars per month.
This would leave about 54,000,000 as the difter-
generous creditor, Secretary Sherman is hasten-1 once between what has bjien paid, under the ex-
mg to pay it beiore it is due. Every citizen j isting bounty laws. au what would be due
shpiu&, of course, take great pride iu this achieve-; under the pending bill. jBut he estimates further
mciifebttt it contradicts the arguments that'are
brought forward against the bountv bill, that the
Government is too poor. Tt is the soldiers who
are poor. Those who served in the rank and
file of our army during the war, and when the
struggle ended, went back to their work-shops
and their farms, tt is they who are poor. What
inan of them who owes m&uev. is able, like the
Government, to pay his debts before they are due ?
"Wliile every one should encourage the reduction
of the liabilities of the Government as fast as is
possible, there are other debts beside those due
the bond-holders that the Government should pay.
It owes eight and one-third dollars a month for
every month's Service, to each soldier who fought
to preserve the Union. Some of this debt has
been paid. Many soldiers received their bounty
when they enlisted, but that makes it the more
essential that those who have received nothing,
but who fought just as well, should also be
jTow how much will this bounty bill cost?
That is a question in the wildest dispute. Those
who oppose the bill, estimate the sum at hun
dreds of millions of dollars, but this is a wild
absurdity, not tolerated for a moment by anyone
familiar with the facts, and the records of the
Adjutant General Townsend, who had charge
of rthe enlistments 'during the war, and has since
beeipit the, head of the Adjutant General's office,
is the most competent, and, in fact, the1 only
competent authority on this subject. lle places
the aggregate amount qf nipngy necessary to
equ.ali.J5Q bounties,, as provided, for in ,a bill we
give elsewhere, at only twenty -millions of dollars.
HesTfcws.lVom tu'e records of the- army, that the
niW)eV, ,Pi ,men, 3$. UAstd.for,, x)Q,yteiU'8,
wari(i8-nearlyi as-oaiuibe estimated, two millions,
forty-two thousand one hundred and fifty.1 13ut
it is not believed by him, that more than one
tliar at' feist 000 "ilSntvere noT entitled to
bounty, which would reduce this difference to
about twenty-eight millions.
To those of us who measure our incomes by.
the hundreds of dollars, these seem enormous
figures. But stop, and think that the revenues
of the Government amount to hundreds of mil
lions every year ; consider that Secretary Sher
man has been able in less than eight months to
reduce the public debt forty-five millions, besides
paying the expenses of the Government and the
interest on the outstanding debt, and the amount
will not seem so large. The saving that Secre
tary Sherman has made in four months would
pay the entire amount required under this bounty
bill. The saving that he expets to make in ten
months would pay it three times over, and yet
they say that the Government is too poor to give
its solcliers what it justly owes them.
These are not idle figures. These calculations
are not made for sport, but they are as actual,
as real as the multiplication table, and they de
mand attention. It will not become necessary
to pay the entire amount required from the
Treasury in a single month, or a single year, or
in five years, but the payment of claims that will
come in from tho soldiers, if this bill is passed,
will require a number of years, because so much
investigation and examination and clerical labor
will be necessary to find out what claims, are
genuine and which are fraudulent. Allowing
that it would take only ten years to pay all these
claims, and allowing that the amount of money
.required would be twenty-eight millions, (tho
most liberal estimate,) it would only necessitate
flie expenditure of two millions, eight hundred
thousand dollars a year, which is .about half as
.much as Secretary Sherman saves every month.
Surely this sum might justly be devoted to re
wai'ding the gallantly and paying the just dues
of the country to its soldier citizens.
- ,
The matter of paying arrears of pensions has
again come before Congress, in a bill which prcP
vides, that all pensions which have been or may,
hereafter be granted in consequence of death-
uuuuiniig uuuj i uuuat; wuwu uiigiimuju in uju
service of the United States since March 4, 186).
orin consequence of wounds or injuries received
or disease contracted since said date, shall begin
from the date of death or discharge from the
service, of the person on whose account the claiuiT
has been or shall hereafter be granted, or from
the termination of right of the person having
prior title to such pension, provided that thS
limitation herein prescribed shall not apply to ,
claims by or in behalf of insane persons or minor,,
children of deceased soldiers. The bill also pro
vides, that upon tne passage of the act, the Coin
missioner of Pensions shall cause a copy of the s'
same to be furnished each pension agent, whose
duty it shall be to inform each pensioner upon
his roll who shall be entitled to arrears of pen
sion under this act: and it shall be the further
du,ty of the Commissioner of Pensions to pay, or
cause to be paid to such pensioners, or, if the
pensioner shall have died, to the. person or per
sons entitled to the same, ail such arrears of pen
sions as the pensioner may be entitled to, or, if!
dead, would have been entitled to under the prq
visions of the first section of this act. had he or
she survived.
The defects in die present law, which this is
intended to rectify, are very plain, and it needs
no argument to convince a person familiar with
the pension laws of the justice and necessity of
the passage of some such measure. As the laws
npw stand, many liviug soldiers, and the widows
and orphans of many dead soldiers, are deprived
of what is justly due them, because, from igno
rance, or neglect, or from some other reason,
they may have failed to apply for a pension
within the limit of time prescribed. If soldiers
or then dependents are entitled to pensions at
all, it is just that they should be granted from
the time of death, or from the time of discharge
from the service. The laws, as they now stand,
are, as far as they go, eminently just. It is not
bad lawTs that soldiers Complain of, but restricted
laws, incomplete laws, passed when the subject
of pensions was not understood, and the needs
of pensioners had not become fully apparent.
When a soldier was disabled from wounds r&
ceived in battle, or from disease contracted '.in'
the service, he was discharged, thrown upon his
own resources, or the charity of his friends. ItW
he neglected at once to apply for a pension it
does not follow that he deserved none," 'If'a'11
widow was left helpless, and did notj a oncen(
apply for a pension, it does not- lessen her claim
upon the Government. Congressmen concede'
this: no one denies the justness of this hill, buff4
tne aeuvy in its passage is aue to me iact um
precedence is given other matters, often of Jess
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