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The National tribune. (Washington, D.C.) 1877-1917, February 11, 1882, Image 5

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Justice for the Soldier.
Continued from First page
last week, made- the following shocking and astound
ing statement:
" I would promptly repeal ihe arrears of pension
act. It was conceived in sin and brought forth in
iniquity. It is a fraud upon the American people
and a standing monument to the ignorance, selfish
ness, and cowardice of the American Congress."
Sir, I need not "say that this language coming
from the Senator from Kentucky Mr. Beck lias
filled me with amazement and with pain; but if he
feels it consistent with his sense of propriety to thus
characterize a measure for which forty-four of his
Senatorial associates voted, and against which there
were only four votes, and his own not one of them,
lie will certainly not he surprised if others, as well
as himself, shall exercise some freedom of speech in
discussing this question. If he can make it appear
that in sin this measure was conceived, and that in
iniquity the Congress of the United States brought
it forth as a fraud upon the American people to
stand as a monument to ignoiance, selfishness, and
cowardice, then its supporters will hang their heads
in shame; but if on the other hand I shall demon
strate that it was a work of simple justice, dictated
by the highest sense of obligation to duty, then the
Senator from Kentucky will find ample reason to
repent of his rash and ill-considered expressions.
And now, sir, I take up this mv.ch maligned law
itself, and with it I confront the leaders of this hue
and cry, and if I do not convict them both, great
and small, of a false clamor and a criminal libel,
then I will be willing hereafter to sutler in silence
all the insolence and calumny they can heap upon
Mr. Yoorhees here read the arrears of pension act,
after which lie continued :
This is the law entire which has had every term
of dishonor applied to it by reckless ignorance and
brazen mendacity.
I ask the intelligent and just people of this coun
try to consider these five brief sections, and point
out, if they can, the swindle therein contained.
Webster defines a swindle to be "The act or process
of defrauding by systematic imposition." Who is
imposed upon, and who is defrauded by this law?
What false pretense does it contain ? Wherein is
its meaning obscure or susceptible of misconstruc
tion '? On the contrary it is so plain and clear in
its terms and purposes, that even a fool, if he were
not likewise dishonest, could not misunderstand it.
Let us examine it for a few moments in the light of
previous pension legislation to whieh it was a nec
essary sequal. By the act of July 14. 1862, the first
on the subject of pensions growing out of the war of
the rebellion, it was provided that if the soldier
made application within one year after his dis
charge his pension should commence with the date
of such discharge, but if he failed te make his ap
plication until after the expiration of the year, then
his pension, when granted, should commence with
the date of such application. This was a statute of
limitations of one year, and deprived the crippled
soldier of one year's pension money or more, if, for
any reason, he was not prompt in presenting his
claim within the time prescribed. It was a vicious
principle with which to begin our pension system.
No government can afford to higgle with its pre
servers over the price of their blood, nor is it be
coming to thrust a contemptible statute of limita
tions, the last resort of a dishonest debtor, into the
faces of the maimed who are living, or of the wid
ows and orphans of the dead, in full payment of the
most sacred obligations ever incurred by a nation in
the history of the world.
By suqsequent acts amendatory of the act of 1862,
the statute of limitation, or the time within which
to file an application so as to carry a pension from
the date of discharge, or death, was extended first
to three and next to five years, and it stood at this
latter period in January, 1879.
The arrears of pensions act was not drawn on the
principle of paying old and sacred debts without
the use of money. It said, in few and plain words,
that if the broken soldier broken by wounds or
disease had been slow, from any cause, in present
ing his claim upon the Government, and had allowed
five years to pass away before doing so, we would
still permit him to prove up Jus injuries just as they
occurred and pay him his pension from the time he
was discharged from the army on their account ;
it said to the widow of him over whose moldering
dust the dark grass and the bright flowers now
grow that though she might have been negligent,
though penury and ignorance might have prevented
her from asserting her rights for a few years, yet
this great, strong Government, so full of God's
abundance, would still pay her pension, contribute
its small annual pittance to her support, commencing
at the day and hour when her husband sealed his
measureless devotion to that Government with his
death in its service; it said that we, as men of
conscience and common honesty, could not look
each other in the face and take advantage of such a
class of public creditors ; that we were not quite
capable of saying to those who had been swift in
battle that they should lose their pension because
they had been slow in peace to make their claims.
All this was made known when the bill was under
discussion in January, 1S79. I have seen it repeat
edly stated that the bill was not discussed, but was
passed under some sort of parliamentary compulsion
here in the Senate. What an unqualified and stu
pendous falsehood ! Are there any rules here by
which to cut off debate? Were such rules ever en
forced in this body? Certainly not since I have
been a member of it. In point of fact, however, the
hill for the payment of pension arrears Avas fully
and carefully discussed, the Congressional Record
showing that no less than twenty-one Senators par
ticipated in the debate, and that it extended
through many solid pages of that useful document.
The Senior Senator from Kansas, Mb. Ingalls,
then chairman of the Committee on Pensions,
reported the bill from that committee and explained
it on this floor with great clearness and force and
with absolute precision. As to the purpose of the
bill he said :
"Mr. President, Senators appear to treat this bill
as if it was in some way an innovation upon exist
ing law, or an attempt to introduce a new principle
in Tegard to the administration of pensions. But I
want to call the attention of the Senate back again
to this point, that the purpose of this bill is simply
to remove a limitation that was imposed in section
4709 of the Eevised Statutes, which was in itself
arbitrary, which was unnecessary, which was unjust,
and which finds no parallel, so far as I am aware,
in any other legislation of Congress."
The Senator from Kansas was, more than any
other one man, the author of the bill. He spoke in
its favor, however, not merely for himself, but for
the whole committee, of which he was chairman.
The bill was in the hands of each Senator on this
floor, and they could all discover whether he cor
rectly stated it. As a member of the Committee on
Pensions at that time 1 also discussed the bill and
stated its object. I find .myself reported at one
point in the discussion as follows :
" Now, 3Ir. President, I hope no amendment will
be attached to this bill. As a member of the Com
mittee on Pensions it has been my duty to examine
it. It is simple in its character. The principle on
which pensions are allowed at all is that at the
time of a man's death in the service of his country
those who are dependent upon him have a right to
the pension ; or if he has not suflered death, but has
been disabled by wounds received in battle, or by
disease contracted in the service, his right to his
country's beneficence then accrues to him at once.
This is the principle, and the purpose of this bill is
to carry ifc out. It simply says to those who have
been disabled by wounds or disease, and to such as
have been deprived of support by death, that they
shall receive their pensions from the date of death
or disability, notwithstanding they may not have
made their application or their proof within the
limitation of time now on the statute-book. That
is all there is in this bill. It asserts no new princi
Plei.t wipes out a statute of limitation."
bir, that Vias iiiv s;ifr.TMt.f r im ndnmnf the
bill when on its passage and it was not disputed. I
repeat it now and challenge any one to take issue
upon it. After further discussion, engaged in by
the ablest and most distinguished members of this
body some of whom are not here now, notably the
Senator from Ohio, Mr. Thuhmax. the Senator
S?; -Vf f M CoKKc, the Senator from
Connecticut, Mr. Eaton, and the Senator from
Maine, Mr. Blaine, the bill became a law by an
almost unanimous vote of the Senate. I submit in
all candor, and with no desire to make personal
issues with any one, whether it is becoming, whether
it is just, whether it is decent or truthful to charge
that a measure thus reported from a standing com
mittee of this body, thus supported by many of the
most honored names of the Republic, and thus
enacted into a law under vigilant scrutiny, was
conceived with sinful designs and put into operation
as an agent of iniquity and fraud. Such an accu
sation is monstrous to my mind beyond anything
ever heard in these legislative halls.
But an impression has been created that the
number of pensioners is largely increased by reason
of the law I am discussing, and that by its provis
ions more names have been placed on the pension
rolls than would have been there but for its
enactment. There is not a word of truth in such
an assumption. The law did not create a single
new cause for gi anting a pension ; it made no change
at all in the kind or quantity of proof necessary to
obtain one; it did not disturb the existing rules of
evidence in the slightest degree; it enlarged no
one's chance the breadth of a hair to become a pen
sioner, neither man, woman, or child; it only
declared that the right to a pension being made
clear under existing laws, rules, and regulations, it
should be paid from the time the right began by
virtue of wounds, disease, or death. Every person
who can now prove up a claim for a pension could
do so in exactly the same way before the act for
paying pension arrears became a law. No assistance
has been given in that respect whatever. It is only
after a pension has been granted that the law under
consideration begins to aid the pensioner. It then
says that from the time his blood flowed in defense
of his Government his services ought to be recog
nized and his injuries compensated. It being plain,
therefore, that this law is not responsible for any
increase in the number of pensioners, let us look
for the next swindle, fraud, or crime of which it
stands accused. And now we come to the real cause
which has inspired so many mendacious pens and
reckless tongues. It is found that the execution of
this law is distributing among disabled soldiers and
the widows and orphans of the dead more money
than was estimated for, and more than it is thought
in certain quarters that such people ought to have.
It is this fact which has caused all the hideous
uproar we have heard. If justice in this world cost
nothing, how popular in certain minds justice
would be ! If honesty was only the cheapest as well
as the best policy, how rapidly the ranks of honest
men would fill up! If this law for the arrears of
pensions had been a poor, mean, niggardly affair,
and had doled out pennies instead of paying dollars,
its justice would never have been questioned by its
present enemies, nor would it have been pelted
with the vile epithets we now hear. The adver
saries of this measure are moved to wrath not
because it is wrong in principle, but because the
virtue which they know it contains is not as cheap
as they wish not without money and without
price, a luxury to enjoy without expense. Sir, it is
no argument to me against paying pension arrears
that we owed more of them than we thought we
did. Many a man has gone into settlement with
his creditor, and in figuring up his account found
it larger than he expected ; but if it was shown to
be just and due, no one except a scoundrel would,
because of its size, refuse to acknowledge it and
pay it as soon as he could. The payment of pen
sions may amount to a hundred millions this year,
and two hundred millions next year, and then the
arrears being settled upon the principle of honest
payment for blood and dying breath, and not upon
the rogue's usual plea of limitation by statute, the
annual cost of pensions will, from that time on, go
back to about forty millions.
But whether this or any other estimate is correct
or not, touches nothing of the merits of this ques
tion. Is it right that the money should be paid?
Is it right that the soldier should have a pension
from the time his frame was shattered on the field
of battle, or blighted by disease in camp? Is it
right that the widow should receive the aid of her
Government from the time her husband, her stay
and her support, was torn from her arms forever in
its service, or shall she be answered as to two or
three thousand dollars of this sacred money, this
feeble compensation for an anguish which comes
but once to the human heart, that while she slept,
while she was out of the way, while she was igno
rant of what was going on in the great world, we
canceled her claim, wiped it out, and called it paid
because five years had elapsed before she presented
it? Sir, is there any statute of limitation as to the
time when a bondholder shall present his bonds for
payment ? Within the last year, if I remember cor
rectly, some miserly old man came here with his
bonds, not one of which had been presented for
payment during the period of eighteen years. He
demanded gold, and he got gold ; he was a very hard
money man; silver, and silver certificates, and
greenbacks and bank notes were all too soft for him ;
and as he lugged his bag of gold from the Treasury
through the streets some other friend of the gold
basis robbed him, and left him to go his way lament
ing. If a soldier, however, who had invested a leg
or an arm, buried on the field in defense of the flag,
instead of money at an enormous speculation, as
this old fool did, he would have been required to
file his claim within five years or lose pay for five,
and possibly for ten years. Was this just? Was it
right? That is the question involved here. My
vote to repeal this statute of limitation and to
allow the crippled soldier, and the widow, and the
orphan to stand upon the equity of their claims,
and upon their legal proof, has been termed an in
famous vote. Infamous ? Sir, the man who applies
such epithets to the votes by which the arrears of
pensions act was passed cannot conceive a sufficient
answer in this hall without ofttnding the decorum
of the Senate.
But let us look somewhat to the practical work
ings of this much-abused law. A few days ago,
when I was at home in Indiana, a soldier called
upon me whom I had known from his cradle, and
whose parents I knew before he was born. He had
responded to the call of his country when its need
was the sorest, and he had been discharged on ac
count of disability incurred in the service and
specifically named in his discharge. There was no
question at all as to the fact of the injury, or that
he received it while in the line of his duty. He
was not prompt in making his application; he
was a plain country boy, familiar only with life on
a farm ; he delayed, hoping to get strong and well
again, for nearly six years, and then in an awkward
way, and with much reluctance, commenced with
a slow, halting step to thread the long and intricate
processes of the law, through which alone the dis
abled veteran can reach a pension at the hands of
his far-off and indifferent Government. He met
with a thousand obstacles that he had not dreamed
of; he was rebuffed many times by frigid official
information that his proof was not sufficient ; he
went hither and thither to find the evidence tech
nically required by the Government ; he often gave
over in discouragement and despair until he was
pliPfifnrl wiHi ;i fVw wni'ils ci linrw 1 enmo coiirniitiA
friend; he made mistakes as to the law, and wis
ten miles distant Irom those who could profession
ally advise him, even if he had the money to pay
for such advice; he stumbled on in this way nearly
ten years, doing the best he could, but not succeed
ing, when about three weeks ago I told him I would
look to his case as soon as I returned to this capital.
I kept my word; his case was complete, perfect in
proof, and his pension has been granted. Sir, when
should that pension begin? That is the question.
Should it begin at the time he offered his life, and
sacrificed his health for all time to come upon the
altar of his country, or should it begin now after
he has borne his afflictions sixteen or seventeen
years, during ten of which he was vainly striving,
to the best of his ability, to secure his rights? Is
there a Senator here who would pay such a debt by
slamming the door of statutory limitation in the
face of this soldier? Is there a member of this
body who is afraid to permit this and all other
claims of soldiers to stand on their actual merits as
disclosed by the evidence, or is there any one here
who wishes to resort to a mere technicality, barren
of justice, destitute of equity, and rotten in morals
with which to defeat the highest obligation a nation
can incur?
Still another case occurs to my mind. There
came into my ollice at Terre Haute, when I was
last there, the mere shadow of a once robust, vigor
ous man. In his youth when he filed away to the
front of battle with the flower of the land he was
handsome, strong, and buoyant; his step was firm,
his hand steady, his eye clear, aiid his voice full of
hope and courage. At that time he wore good
clothes and bore a prosperous and happy air. His
wife and two children strained their eyes after him
as he marched away ; with pride that he looked so
well, and with tears that he had to go. With his
eye on the colors of his country he served until
nearly the close of the war, he supped full of its
horrors ; he was at all those places where the soil was
most enriched by the red rain of human slaughter;
he lived to return to his home, and to his loved
ones there ; but, oh ! how changed, how blasted, and
withered. He was emaciated, scarred, and worn ;
there was a look in his face as if there was nothing
more for him to endure, as if the angel of death
had hovered close and low over his prostrate form
as he lay wounded on the field, and as if he had
already tasted the bitterness of the parting moment.
But, feeble and languid from wounds and disease, as
he was, still he was the beloved husband and father,
and he put forth all his faltering energies to shelter
and care for his brood. How he had succeeded I could
see when he called upon me, as I have stated, a few
days ago, at my home. His frame was thin and
bent; his garments were in tatters and almost too
scant for decency, much less for comfort ; his hair
was gray, but not with years; the ashen hue of
premature age had settled in his face, and in his
lusterless eye there was an expression of fixed and
submissive melancholy. He told me that nearly
fourteen years ago he commenced taking steps to
procure a pension on account of wounds which no
body disputed, but the technical proof of which,
by the witnesses designated by the rules and regula
tions of the Pension Office, and according to the
prescribed forms, he had never yet been quite able
to make. He had struggled long and earnestly, he
said, more on account of those dependent upon him
than for himself, and now, he thought, that if he
could get a statement from the surgeon of his regi
ment, whom he heard was somewhere in Texas, he
would, succeed at last. I told him that I would
help him all I could, and that promise I shall keep.
But what I want to know now is, whether upon
the conscience of Senators, that man's pension, if
he overcomes all difficulties, and makes full proof,
shall commence when it is granted, if it ever be, or
when it is earned, under murderous shot and burst
ing shell. 1 say that it should commence at the
time he performed the conditions on which it will
rest. AVhat say you? I say that when a soldier
has performed his part of the contract with the
Government by paying down his life, or his muti
lated body in its defense, he, or those whom he left,
are from that moment entitled, in all honest minds,
and in all honest legislation, to the full performance
on the part of the Government of all its under
takings under the contract. Who says otherwise?
Let him stand forth who wishes to do so. He will
not have an idle encounter on this floor.
But, again ; let us recur to the mere question of
the expenditure of money under the law for the
payment of pension arrears. As one of the servants
of the public, standing here in a representative
capacity, I am ready to meet the precise issue made
on that point by the opponents of the act of January
25, 1879. I assert that the money is paid to those
to whom it is justly due, and I assert further that
every dollar paid out under that act is not only in
discharge of individual obligations, but that it also
enhances the public welfare. Sir, who receives the
money, and where does it go? Does it go out of
the country, and make money scarcer here ? Is the
payment of pension arrears a drain on the currency
engaged in carrying on the business of the counrty ?
We hear an angry and prolonged howl that the
people are being robbed to pay pensions. Instead
of that being true the people and all business in
terests are benefited by the payments, and conse
quently increased circulation, made under the act
for pension arrears. Allow me to illustrate this
fact by an individual case. There are three men
whom I know, living in the district which I formerly
represented in Congress, who are blind from injuries
received while soldiers, in the line of duty, serving
their Government. One of them has walked to
and fro, led by a child, on the streets of Terre
Haute, for over seventeen years. He has been im
prisoned, as it were, in total darkness during all
that long and dreary time. . He has known nothing
but deep, black night around him. The sun, moon,
and stars are to him blotted out forever. He can
remember how the beautful earth and sky onee
looked, but he sees them no more. The odor of
flowers may recall to his recollection the appearance
of the springtime, with its orchard blossoms, and its
gay attire ; the scent of new-mown hay may con
jure up harvest scenes to his mind; the si?hincr
winds of autumn may remind him that he once
saw the foliage of the forests turn purple and gold
in the fall of the year; the music of the sleigh
bells may revive in the faded canvas of his memory
the fantastic beauties which the frost king displays
in the winter-time, but all seasons are alike to him ;
they are all wreathed in funeral colors ; they are
all shrouded in darkness, the emblem of the tomb.
He can know not even the faces of those most be
loved. He once knew them, but they are changed,
and he wonders in vain how they look as they are,
like himself, growing old. Blindness, total blind
ness, a misfortune by the side of which death is a
sweet mercy! I will not mock the sensibilities of
human nature by asking whether such an allliction
can be compensated in niouey.
But this man of whom I am speaking had much
difficulty and delay in securing the grant of his
pension ; there was a defect in the muster-rolls of
his company, and it was only after years of careful
attention that his claim was made out according to
law and evidence, and allowed. On account of this
delay, caused by no fault of his, he became entitled
to and received some three or four thousand dollars
under the act for paying pension arrears. I will
not insult the senate by asking whether he ought
to have had this money; every man fit for this
presence knows he ought ; but I will ask what in
jury, if any, the business prosperity of the country
sustains by such an expenditure as this. The money
paid to this blind soldier passed on at once from his
hands into a hundred different channels of trade.
With some of it he paid for a humble home in which
to pass his benighted old age, and in which at last
to wake, by the touch of death, with eyesight
cleansed, to a brighter morning than earth can ever
know. With the remainder of his pension arrears
he paid his little debts and added something to the
comforts of those about him. And such is substan
tially the history of all the money expended under
this beneficent law, so basely and so insanely vil
ified. It goes at once into circulation ; it pays debts ;
it passes from hand to hand ; it is not hoarded as
coupon- cutters hoard their interest ; it makes money
plentier among the people where it ought to be
plentiest. Sir, it is dead money which does no good
to the people, money which is packed away in bags,
crammed into iron vaults, there to con-ode and eat
into the labor of the people with an immense, never
ceasing, cancerous interest account. Public expen
ditures which go in that direction are indeed a
curse; but not so with money which is alive and
active in the daily transactions of life. But it is in
connection with this very idea, and, in fact, almost
solely on account of it, that the principal assaults
have been made on the law for the payment of pen
sion arrears. The leaders of this crusade are inspir
ed with a frenzy of rage at the sight of poor people
obtaining any considerable sums of money from
their Government, no matter how precious the con
sideration upon which the payment is based. From
the application of this remaik I exempt the Senator
from Kentucky. I will be just to him, although he
has been just to nobody on this subject. do not
believe that he is inspired with hostility to this
law because the pool laboring classes obtain its ben
efits; but the great nswspaper organs of corporation
wealth and power represent a favored class in this
Government, a class which believe that all the
money, and all the power of money, ought to be
concentrated in their own hands. Money, in the
estimation of this class, should not be diffusive or
general in its movements jimong the people; it
should be contracted within a narrow cirele and
exclusive in the bestowal of its benefits on them
selves. But a little while aro they were declaring
through the same columns which now denounce our
system of pensions that the hard times then upon
the country were due to the fact that the laboring
classes lived too well, that they had too many lux
uries, and that they must learn to regulate' their
wants according to the cheap wages paid for labor
in Europe. And now the great moneyed corpora
tions, and all such as live on the interest of money,
arc exasperated at the spectacle of money flowing
freely among the common people. The scarcity of
money is their harvest, and a full circulation is their
bane and grief. They feel, therefore, that every
dollar expended for pensions is hostile to their in
terests. The sight of a penniless soldier receiving
a few hundreds of dollars, or thousands perhaps, fills
their sordid souls with fury. On the other hand,
the plain people hail such money coming into their
midst as a general blessing. The civilization of the
world, the progress of mankind, the improvement
of the people from generation to generation, all be
gin in the improvement of their homes. The pol
icy of a government is a wise one which enables
the laborer to better his habitation, to put a
warm carpet on his floor in the winter, to paper his
walls and make them attractive, to buy the best
cooking-stove to be had, to provide good beds to
sleep in, and to have such comforts as health and
contentment require. The money of this Govern
ment paid out for pensions has, in thousands of in
stances, accomplished all these thiugs for the sol
dier and his family, and why should he not have
them? Why should he not educate his children as
well as the rich; have them wear genteel clothes;
his daughter have an organ, perhaps, on which to
play some old familiar marching air while the
broken soldier
Sits by his fire, and talks the night away
Weeps o'e his wounds, or, tales of sorrow done,
Shoulders his crutch and shows how fields were won.
Sir, why should the organs of capital, why should
those great journals whose tenderest words of en
dearment and support have always been for the
bondholder, and the national banker, cry out now
upon the extravagance of pension arrears ? What
right have they to prate about legislative plunder,
even if the crime of plunder was committed?
From July 1, 1S61. to July 1, 1SS1, a period of
twenty years, this Government paid to pensioners
$516,543,396, being at the rate of $25,S27,169 per
annum, during that period. Sir, by a legislative
construction of the contract between the United
States and the holders of its bonds, by the famous
coin act of March, 1S69, seven years after the con
tract was made, the bondholders made a clear gain,
an actual profit, of more than every dollar of the
above sum paid in twenty years for pensions. This
is not a disputed fact ; the whole world knows it
by heart, and yet I will be denounced for barely
mentioning it, so much more sacred are the rights
of the bondholder, however acquired, than the rights
of a soldier purchased by his blood ! But still
fuither: we have paid as interest on bonds from
July 1, 1S61, to July 1. 1831, the enormous sum of
$1,937,567,801 ; being at the rate of $99,378,390 per
annum for the last twenty years, and amounting to
only a fraction less than two thousand millions of
dollars. I have heretofore on more than one occa
sion demonstrated by figures which are not dis
puted that the whole bonded debt of $2,049,975,700
cost the purchasers of the bonds at the time they
were issued only $1,371,424,23S in money of gold
value, the kind of money in which they are paid.
Here is a difference between the face of the bonds
at which they are paid and the amount the Govern
ment in its distress received for them of $678,551,
462; being a clear, naked speculation, something
for nothing, such as a heartless usurer makes when
he discounts the note of some one in trouble at
half its face and collects the same at its full
face; and amounting, as the arithmetic will
show, to $162,O0S,066, more than all the pension
list put together since July 1, 1861. In other
words, the bondholders have received a bonus, a
mere gift, for which they never expended a cent,
$162,000,000 over and above- all that has been paid
in pensions for every life laid down in the war of
the rebellion, for every drop of blood that fell from
a wound, for all the dread ravages of disease, and
for every pang endured. Dispute this statement
who may or can ; I stand ready to defend it at all
times and under all circumstances. But there is
another feature in this calculation which the bond
holders would do well to consider prudently before
they provoke a conflict between the merits of their
claims and those of pensioners claiming arrears.
There is no people beneath the sun who love to
pay the amount of a debt to their creditors more
than once. I have no recollection in my reading of
history that any class of tax-payers on the face of
the earth have been anxious to keep on paying a
debt, over and over again, after it had been once
fully paid. Indeed recent occurrences in this
country show how unsafe it is to submit the pav
uient of an unpaid debt to the hazard of a ballot
where any question at all can be raised as to its
justice or legality. But how stands the account
to-day between the bondholders and the people of
the United States upon an account stated, and
upon an equitable settlement? I have already
shown that the actual payments made for all the
bonds issued amounted to $1,371,424,238, and that
as interest on these bonds the people of the United
States have already paid, during the last twentv
years, $1,987,567,801. It will thus be seen that all
the money received from the bondholders has been
paid back to them, and that in addition there have
been paid $616,143,563; showing that the actual
debt has been once paid and nearly half paid the
second time, while the business of paying still goes
on. It will be seen also that the amount thus re
ceived as interest from the public Treasury by the
bondholders, over and above what they paid "in, is
about a hundred millions of dollars' greater in
amount than all the pensions of every kind and
description paid by the Government from the fir
ing on Fort Sumter to the present hour. Sir, if
you would poll the bondholders of the United
States, and take the vote of all the national banks.
I doubt not that their voices would be unanimous for
the repeal of the law for the pavment of pension
arrears, and yet look at their own record of gigan
tic, legislative plunder! It is stated upon good
authority that there are nine thousand soldiers
still alive in this country who have undergone am
putation of leg or arm ; if placed in line as they
once stood in battle and allowing three feet to each
man, they would present a front six miles in extent.
This six miles of mutilated heroes, at from $1S to
$24 per month apiece, receive about two million
dollars per annum, from their Government. I can
name one bondholder, who never saw the flag of
his country in any greater peril than on the custom-house
in the city of New York, who draws
more money from the United States Treasury every
year on account of his bonds than all these shat
tered veterans put together. Which of these debts
do you call the most sacred? Which is sustained
by the most valuable consideration ? One grew out
of the principle of note shaving, while the other
grew out of a willingness to die for the Union ; one
grew out of a hard advantage taken of the Govern
ment when its existence was assailed; the other
arises from the daring of devoted patriots deter
mined that the existence of the Government should
be maintained. They are alike protected in section
4 of the fourteenth amendment to the Constitution
of the United States.
The validity of the public debt of the United
States authorized by law, including debts incurred
for payment of pensions and bounties for services
in suppressing insurrection and rebellion, shall not
be questioned.
This is the supreme law of the land, and guaran
tees equally the debt due to the pensioner and the
debt to the bondholder; but it is very apparent
now that the bondholder desires to repudiate the
constitutional brotherhood, it is very true that
his bonds would have been worth nothing and the
Goverment itself would have been a thing of the
past but for the pensioner. He has had the services,
however, of the pensioner, and, like all base natures,
he desires uow to be rid of his benefactor as cheaply
as possible. Sir, do you remember the fable of the
wolf and the crane as told by .lilsop? If not I will
refresh your boyhood recollections, i have it here,
and it reads as follows :
"A wolf had got a bone stuck in his throat, and
in the greatest agony ran up and down, beseeching
every animal he met to relieve him, at the same
time hinting at a very handsome reward to the
successful operator. A crane, moved by his en
treaties and promises, ventured her long neck down
the wolf's throat and drew out-, thfihrmo Shi tho
modestly asked for the reward. To which the wolf,
grinning and showing his teeth, replied with seem
ing indignation : 'Ungrateful creature! to ask for !
any other reward than that you have put your head '
into a wolf's jaws and brought it out safe' again '.' " I
And the crane went without her reward. Sir,
there were whole gangs of thrifty, speculative
wolves during the war who staid in the rear and
howled beseechingly to everybody whom theyroet
to go forward to the front and save the Govern
ment. They promised everything to the soldier
when he returned from the war; the honors and
emoluments of office were to be his in no stinted
measure ; he was to be a Member and a Senator in
Congress, a governor of States, a judge in the land,
hold lucrative places in the counties, and as to pen
sions, bounties, land warrants, and homesteads, tho
wolves told him that he should have his heart's
fullest desire if he, in the smoke of battle, would
only sec to it that the Government which sheltered
them in their profitable practices was not torn down
over their heads and destroyed. But the danger
now is over and past, and instead of the bounteous
fulfillment of promises inspired by terror the
wolves show their teeth and snarl in rage at every
crumb the soldier receives.
And now, Mr. President, a few words more and I
am done. I regret the necessity of these remarks,
but with self-respect I could say no less. This sub
ject is not one of politics; it is one of naked justice.
Is this Government of fifty millions of people and
vast revenues too weak to be just to those who pre
served its present proud position among the nations
of the earth ? To my mind that is the sole ques
tion here. On the 30th day of last June there wero
16,253 pensioners paid at the capital of the great
and powerful State which I have the honor, in part,
to represent here, and they receive annually a frac
tion over three millions of money. I believe it is
money honestly earned and honestly paid, and I
do not believe the people of Indiana want them
deprived of any part of it. The soldier has been
made to sit at the second table as a public creditor,
while others banqueted at the first far too long
already; and the American people, in my judg
ment, do not wish to further degrade him by the
repeal of the act under consideration. He was paid
during the war in paper worth but little more than
fifty cents on the dollar, while other creditors of
the Government were paid in gold, or its full equiv
alent. Let us have no more such discriminations,
and let us say so here and now. However different
the aspects of the war itself may have been to dif
ferent minds, the soldier presents but one. In de
votion to the highest duty of a citizen, he tendered
the dearest sacrifices man can make for his fellow
man. He offered his life for the welfare of others,
and, whether living or dead, his claim upon the
respect and gratitude of the American people will
endure as long as his deeds are srwken by the
American tongue.
The resolution of Mr. Ingalls, which was the oc
casion of Mr. Voorhees's speech, and which reads as
follows : "Resolved, That in the opinion of the Senate
the act of January 25, 1879, commonly known as the
Arrears of Pensions Act, ought not to be repealed"
came up again in the Senate on the 3d isst., when
Mr. Butler offered the amendment, "And that Con
gress ought to enact a law granting a pension to the
soldiers of the Mexican war; and Mr. Davis, of West
Virginia, gave notice of an amendment to the effect
that " Congress ought to enact a law granting a pen
sion to the soldiers of the Mexican war," and when
consideration of the resolution was resumed on Mon
day, offered as an amendment to the amendment,
that before the word "soldiers," the words "needy
and disabled" be inserted, and then proceeded to
address the Senate in support of his resolution. At
the conclusion of his speech, General Hawley took
the floor in advocacy of its passage. It came up
again on Tuesday, but was informally laid aside to
permit other business to be disposed of.
The following is the substance of the Commission
er's reply to the House resolution calling for infor
mation as to what amount of appropriation would
be required annually to pay pensions during the
next twenty-five years, based on the following con
ditions : If all the claims for pensions arising from
the war of the rebellion shall be adjudicated within
the seven years' period terminating June 30, 1883,
and if at the end of that period the survivors of the
war with Mexico and their widows shall then be
pensioned at $S per month. The Commissioner esti
mates the amounts which will be required for the
twenty-five years ending with 1906 at $1,347,651,593,.
of which $1,264,229,977 are rebellion claims filed?
prior to June 30, 1880; $31,500,000 rebellion claims
filed after June 30, 1880, and $51,921,616 3rexican
war claims. The amounts grow graduallv less an -
nually from $62,000,000 to $29,000,000.
The Ryan-Sullivan prize fight was fought at Mis
sissippi City, Miss., on Tueslay afternoon, and re
sulted in a victory for the latter in eight rounds;
time twenty-six minutes. Eyan was very badly
punished. The authorities made no attempt to stop
the brutal exhibition.
The British Parliament reassembled on Tuesday.
The Queen's speech was confined to generalities.
It speaks of an improved condition of affairs in Ire
land, and favors measures for the suppression of
corruption at the polls, concerning bankruptcy, re
constructing the corporation of London, &c.
Sarah Bernhardt, while playing Camille at Bome?
Monday evening, fainted, and in the third act spat
blood. The audience cried "enough," and left the
Three bodies have been recovered from the ruins
of the old World building in New York.
The eastern slope of the Alleghenies was pretty
thoroughly snowed under last Saturday, by one of
those phenomenal storms which appeal so strongly
to the memory of the oldest inhabitant. The fall
varied from one foot at the capital to three feet in
New England, and travel was impeded in every di
rection. The weather bureau heard of it the next
About 290 clerks were discharged from the Cen
sus Office this week, and more are to follow.
Hon. John C. New, of Indiana, has declined the
position of First Assistant Secretary of the Treas
ury tendered him some time since.
George W. Friedley, of Indiana, will, it is said, be
appointed First Assistant Secretary of the Treasury
in place of Mr. Upton resigned.
A subscriber writes us :
To The National Tribune, Washington City:
I have paid for the New York Weekly (it should
spell weakly) Tribune for five years in advance from
July, 1SS1. Will take half price for it, as it has de
preciated that muck in my estimation, owing to its
recent hostility to soldiers.
Who wants it? Perhaps Senator Beck will take
it for 2.32.
The bill recently introduced by Senator Ferry,
providing an increase of pension to those who have
lost an arm or a leg in the service of the United
States, reads as follows :
"That from and after December fourth, eighteen
hundred and eighty-one, all persons who are en
titled to pensions under existing laws, and who
have lost either an arm or a leg, shall be entitled to
receive forty dollars per month."
The following is a cable dispatch from Loudon,
in the New York Tribune of January 29th, 1882.
"An important unpublished work by Thomas
Carlylc has been discovered lately. It is entitled
'A Tour in Ireland in 1S49,' and comprises notes on
the moral and political condition of that country of
the most stringent chaiacter and greatest interest.
This manuscript was unknown to Mr. Fronde, and
it w:is submitted to his examination. He was so
delighted with it that he volunteered to write an
introduction when it is published in book form.
Meanwhile, it has been secured by Edmund Gosst
for The Century Jfagnziue, where it" will shortly be
gin to appear as a serial, simultaneously in London
and NVw York."

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