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PAY DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY.
The next business on the Speaker's table was Senate amendments to the bill (H R. No. 197) entitled "An act to provide for the better organization of the pay department of the Navy;" which were referred to the Committee on Naval Affairs.
RAILROAD TO TRAVERSE BAY, MICHIGAN.
The next business on the Speaker's table was a bill (S. No. 243) entitled "An act to extend the time for the reversion to the United States of the lands granted by Congress to aid in the construction of a railroad from Amboy, by Hillsdale and Lansing, to some point on or near Traverse bay, in the State of Michigan;" which was read a first and second time, and referred to the Committee on Public Lands. JOHN T. JONES.
The next business on the Speaker's table was a bill (S. No. 122) entitled "An act for the relief of John T. Jones, an Ottawa Indian, for depredations committed by white persons upon his property in Kansas Territory;" which was read a first and second time, and referred to the Committee on Indian Affairs.
ELISHA W. DUNN.
The next business on the Speaker's table was a bill (S. No. 202) entitled "An act for the relief of Elisha W. Dunn, a paymaster in the United States Navy;" which was read a first and second time, and referred to the Committee on N val Affairs.
WESTERN PACIFIC RAILROAD.
The next business on the Speaker's table was a joint resolution (S. R. No. 61) to extend the time for the construction of the first section of the Western Pacific railroad; which was read a first and second time, and referred to the Committee on the Pacific Railroad.
WRECK OF THE SAN FRANCISCO.
The next business on the Speaker's table was joint resolution (S. R. No. 31) manifesting the sense of Congress toward the officers and seamen of the vessels, and others engaged in the rescue of the officers and soldiers of the Army, the passengers, and the officers and crew of the steamship San Francisco from perishing with the wreck of that vessel; which was read a first and second time, and referred to the Committee on Commerce.
PORTAGE LAKE SHIP-CANAL.
The next business on the Speaker's table was a bill (S. No. 193) entitled "An act granting lands to the State of Michigan to aid in the construction of a harbor and ship-canal at Portage Lake, Keweenaw Point, Lake Superior, in said State;" which was read a first and second time, and referred to the Committee on Public Lands.
GRANT OF LANDS TO NEVADA.
The next business upon the Speaker's table was Senate bill No. 215, concerning certain lands granted to the State of Nevada; which was read a first and second time, and referred to the Committee on Public Lands.
The next business upon the Speaker's table was Senate bill No. 231, for the relief of William Pierce; which was read a first and second time, and referred to the Committee of Claims.
MRS. JERUSHA WITTER.
The next business upon the Speaker's table was Senate bill No. 276, for the relief of Mrs. Jerusha Witter; which was read a first and second time, and referred to the Committee of Claims.
Mr. WASHBURNE, of Illinois, moved to reconsider the vote by which the bills were severally referred; and also moved that the motion to reconsider be laid upon the table. The latter motion was agreed to.
ENROLLED BILL SIGNED.
Mr. TROWBRIDGE, from the Committee on Enrolled Bills, reported that they had exam
ined and found truly enrolled House bill No. 472, for the relief of George R. Frank, late captain thirty-third regiment Wisconsin volunteer infantry; when the Speaker signed the
JOHN K. HICKEY.
Mr. WRIGHT, by unanimous consent, introduced a bill for the relief of John K. Hickey; which was read a first and second time, and referred to the Committee on Naval Affairs.
JACOB P. LEESE.
Mr. HIGBY. I ask the unanimous consent of the House to introduce a joint resolution in relation to the claim of Jacob P. Leese, and to put it on its passage now.
Mr. FARNSWORTH. I object to the joint resolution being acted on now.
The joint resolution was read a first and second time, and referred to the Committee of Claims.
Mr. WASHBURNE, of Illinois, moved to reconsider the vote by which the joint resolution was referred; and also moved that the motion to reconsider be laid upon the table. The latter motion was agreed to.
Mr. ASHLEY, of Ohio. Mr. Speaker, territorial business was postponed to Thursday of this week. I have been so unwell as to be unable to attend the sittings of the House or the committee. I ask, therefore, that Thursday of next week, during the morning hour, be set apart for reports from the Committee on Territories.
There was no objection, and it was so ordered.
TERRITORIAL ORGANIC ACTS.
Mr. ASHLEY, of Ohio, by unanimous consent, introduced a bill to amend the organie acts of the Territories of Nebraska, Colorado, Dakota, Montana, Washington, Idaho, Arizona, Utah, and New Mexico; which was read a first and second time, and referred to the Committee on Territories.
METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH.
The SPEAKER laid before the House the report of the New York East Annual Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church; which was laid upon the table, and ordered to be printed.
Mr. LAFLIN, by unanimous consent, subreferred, under the law, to the Committee on mitted the following resolution; which was Printing:
Resolved, That there be printed of the message of the President of the United States and the accompanying documents on the subject of Mexico the same number as is now provided by law for the printing of the general diplomatic correspondence.
REORGANIZATION OF THE ARMY.
The House resumed the consideration of the bill (H. R. No. 361) entitled "An act to reorganize and establish the Army of the United States; the pending question being on the motion that its further consideration be postponed to the first Monday of December next.
Mr. NIBLACK. I am satisfied, after conference with some friends, that the motion to postpone would not be a fair test, and that it would be more respectful to the committee to allow them to perfect their bill first. I therefore withdraw the motion to postpone.
The question then recurred on Mr. SCHENCK'S amendment, as follows:
But nothing in this section shall be construed so as to vacate the commission of the Commissary General of Subsistence, but only to change the title of that officer to Cominissary General; nor to vacate the commission of any officer now commissioned as assistant commissary general of subsistence or commissary of subsistence, but only to change the title to commissary in the cases of those who rank as lieutenant colonels, majors, and captains, without affecting in any way their relative position or the time from which they take such rank.
Mr. SCHENCK. I demand the previous question on the amendment.
The previous question was seconded and the main question ordered; and under the operation thereof the amendment was agreed to.
Mr. HALE. I move to amend section nineteen by striking out the concluding sentence, as follows:
And hereafter no graduate of the United States Military Academy, being at the time in the Army of the United States, or having been therein at any time for three years next preceding, saall be eligible to appointment as an officer in the subsistence depart
I do not propose to spend much time on this proposition, nor do I propose to go into any discussion as to the character of the Military Academy at West Point, the desert of its graduates, or the merits of those officers who are not graduates. But I submit that this clause of the section which I have moved to strike out does put an unjust and improper distinction in this bill against graduates of the Military Academy.
Now, I certainly have no desire to bestow praise upon the graduates of that institution at the expense of officers who are now graduates. I have no desire to claim any undue or unreasonable merit for the graduates of West Point; but I think we shall all agree that during the war we have just passed through, not only the officers who have gone into the Army from civil life, not only the rank and file of our troops, but the officers who are graduates of West Point, at least, as well, have all commended themselves most highly to the favorable consideration of the country.
A great deal has been said about the necessity of a West Point education for men to buy biscuit. I do not think it is a question of necessity. I do not think it is a question as to whether an education itself at West Point shall be required for this department. But this department does afford one of those sources of promotion, one of those rewards of merit, which certainly ought to be open to every deserving man in the Army. It is in itself but a trifle, it is true. Probably in the ordinary course of vacancies that shall occur in this department there will not average two appointments a year; but I am entirely unwilling, as a matter of principle, to say that in military offices, in offices requiring military knowledge or military education to administer successfully, as I claim these places in the subsistence department do require to a large extent-I am entirely unwilling that any one of these should be closed against officers of the Army of any character whatever.
In the present organization of this department, the organization as it existed during the whole of the war of the rebellion, or during the most of it at least, the head of the department is and has been a graduate of West Point. As to the efficiency, ability, and integrity with which he has managed the affairs of that department I think there is no question whatever. Other gentlemen connected with the department have distinguished themselves by their administration of its business. Others who are graduates of West Point have acquired in the service of this bureau no less distinction, no less good repute among all who are familiar with their operations, than has been acquired by themselves and others in the field. And many of those who are officers of West Point now in this department have distinguished themselves greatly in the field before receiving their appointment as well as on detailed service while they have held their commissions here.
I submit that there is no sufficient reason why this clause should be retained in this bill, standing, as it were, as a sort of stigma upon West Point, a mark of exclusion of officers from a certain line of promotion in the Army. I can see no reason why we should not equally exclude them from the Quartermaster General's department. Indeed the chairman of the committee, I understand, substantially admits it. The truth is, both these departments require not merely business capacity, but they also involve in no small degree full and accurate knowledge of military organization, of military law, and of the theory upon which the system of our Army organization is based. I certainly hope that the chairman of the Committee on Military Affairs will consent that this
clause of the section be stricken out, or that the House, in any event, will unite in saying that it ought not to be retained.
Mr. BLAINE. I do not rise to debate the pending question, but for the purpose of making a correction in the Globe report of the proceedings of Friday last, since which time I have been detained from the House by sickness. I am reported in the Globe as saying that the "longevity ration applies only to the infantry branch of the service." What I did say was that "the longevity ration applies from the instant an officer is commissioned in the service, without regard to change of corps or title." I was replying at the time to a remark of the gentleman from New York [Mr. DAVIS] who maintained that the proposed change of titles in the quartermaster's department would deprive the officers affected of their right to longevity rations.
One word further on another point. Yesterday the honorable chairman of the Military Committee [Mr. SCHENCK] intimated that I had procured the amendment giving advanced rank in the Adjutant General's department because it would promote some of my friends. The friends of mine that would thus be promoted are the friends of every member of Congress who has had business at the War Department, and in no other sense. I have no kinsman or constituent or old acquaintance to be helped or hindered by the amendment. I count many of the officers of the Adjutant General's department my friends, and I am proud to do so, but I was actuated solely by a desire to promote the interests of the public service in procuring advanced rank for that department. I desire to say nothing more on the subject.
Mr. THAYER. I desire to ask the chairman of the Committee on Military Affairs a question in reference to this section, if he will give me his attention. There are now, I believe, twenty-nine officers on this staff corps, of whom twenty-four are graduates of West Point, and five are not. The last clause of the section, which the gentleman from New York [Mr. HALE] moves to strike out, declares that
Hereafter no graduate of the United States Military Academy, being at the time in the Army of the United States, or having been therein at any time for three years next preceding, shall be eligible to appointment as an officer in the subsistence depart
Now, the question which I ask the gentleman is this: whether if a vacancy occurs in this department among any of these officers, the whole of the twenty-four officers who are graduates of West Point, and who are now in this department, are to be excluded from being appointed to fill that vacancy; in other words, whether they are not totally shut out from promotion as vacancies occur, and whether promotion in the future is not, by the terms of this prohibition, confined to the five gentlemen in the department who are not graduates of West Point?
I will yield for a moment to the chairman of the committee to answer that question, for I wish to have his views upon that point.
Mr. SCHENCK. I have not the slightest idea that that would be the effect of the section; certainly that was not the intention of the committee in framing the bill. I suppose that in making appointments to the subsistence departments they would be made as before, under any fair construction of this bill; but if the gentleman has any doubt about it, Í shall be very glad of any suggestion of phraseology which will accomplish the object the committee has in view more perfectly than it is, perhaps, accomplished by this section.
Mr. THAYER. I will avail myself of the offer made by the gentleman from Ohio by suggesting a modification which will prevent that result. Inever had a stronger conviction upon any question of law than that which I have in reference to this, and I ask the attention of the lawyers of the House to the phraseology of this prohibition. I undertake to say that no lawyer in the House will dispute the point, after a careful examination of the phraseology
of this section, that its effect would be precisely
hundred and twenty, loyal to the Government which educated them.
I think this is a comment upon West Point and the regular Army which the gentleman from Ohio [Mr. SCHENCK] certainly ought to consider before he undertakes to create invidious distinctions against them.
Sir, of the six hundred and twenty-three officers who remained loyal, one hundred and thirty-eight were from the South, being nearly one half of the number of the graduates from the South; a triumphant answer to the charge that West Point is a nursery of treason. I do not believe that any department of the Government furnished so large a proportion of southern men who adhered to the Union as the regular Army and West Point.
There is another fact which is quite significant. Out of over two hundred officers appointed to the Army from the South and froin civil life, not graduates of West Point, there were scarcely half a dozen who did not prove false to their allegiance. Assuredly this proves that the influence of West Point, and of the I will not take up the time of the House by education which it affords, has not been unfaany further remarks upon that point. I do vorable to loyal feeling. Out of eight hundred not think that any gentleman who will care- and twenty graduates in the Army at the comfully examine the provision can disagree with mencement of the war, only one hundred and me in opinion upon this point; but as the gen-ninety-seven left the Army and joined the contleman from Ohio [Mr. SCHENCK] expresses his federate forces. While out of those appointed willingness that the language of the section from the South from civil life, less than half shall be modified so as to prevent that result, a dozen remained loyal. I will offer such a modification.
Mr. WOODBRIDGE. I had occasion yesterday to make a few remarks in vindication of West Point. And as this is the first feature in the bill which would seem to create invidious distinctions against the graduates of that institution, I desire to lay before the House a little information respecting the institution, which I have collected since the adjournment on yesterday.
We all recollect that before the Mexican war there was very great opposition to the Academy. But the success in the Mexican war of the officers graduating there rather quieted the feeling.
We have been told that the Academy at West Point was a place where the sons of rich men were educated. I know that from an examination made at the time it was found that a large majority of those appointed to West Point were from the medium walks of life. We were told, also, that favoritism was shown there, and yet I know that upon one occasion the son of the then General-in-Chief of the armies of the United States was dismissed from the institution, and the son of the tailor who furnished the uniforms for the young men graduated at the head of his class.
But recently we have been told, in one of the prominent journals of the country, that the officers at West Point were a knot of lazy pensioners, and officers who decline to fight except in a gentlemanly manner. I have a statement showing what was done by the officers of the regular Army during the late war.
When the war began there were about twelve hundred officers in the regular Army, but of that number one hundred and eighty-one were left dead upon the field of battle, and nearly five hundred were wounded; or more than one half of all the officers of the regular Army were either killed or wounded in the various battles of the war. I consider that rather hard fighting than gentlemanly fighting; I consider the result an indication of bravery, of skill, of love of profession, and love of country, rather than otherwise.
At the commencement of the war there were among the officers of the regular Army eight hundred and twenty who were graduates of West Point. Under the law distributing the appointments to the Military Academy, the South, of course, had its proportion; and hence a large number of the graduates were from the South. Out of the eight hundred and twenty, only one hundred and ninety-seven resigned and entered the confederate service, leaving six hundred and twenty-three out of the eight
Take the other Departments of the Govern ment, even the heads of the Departments, the judges of the Supreme Court, members of the Senate and members of the House, and compare their record with that which West Point has produced, and I assure you it will be found that the loyalty of West Point men far exceeded the loyalty of those occupying high positions under the Government.
Mr. GRINNELL. I should like to ask my friend whether there is not a difference between the position of those who have been educated at Government expense and who have taken solemn oaths to support the Constitution, and civilians who were under no such obligation; and whether the gentleman's argument is not weak in overlooking this distinction.
Mr. WOODBRIDGE. No, sir; it is strong. I contend that when a man becomes a citizen of the Government and takes an oath to support the Constitution and laws of that Governinent, there is no palliation under which he may shield himself when he departs from the obligations of his oath. And although it may be said that it is more ungrateful in a graduate of West Point, having received an education at the expense of the Government, to prove untrue, than it would be for a man appointed from civil life, the facts show that the graduates of West Point do feel this gratitude; for of those from the South appointed from civil life scarce one remained true, while of those educated at public expense, more than three fourths of all remained loyal to their flag, and more than half of them were either killed or wounded in the course of the war.
I think this shows conclusively that the teachings of that institution are in favor of loyalty, exciting a love of country which, during the rebellion, has indicated itself; and here, in my judgment, is an additional reason why the institution should be sustained, and that there should be no invidious distinctions against its graduates.
Mr. THAYER. I move to amend by inserting after the word "department" in line twenty-three, the following:
But this provision shall not extend to graduates of
Mr. TAYLOR. I would like to suggest to the distinguished chairman of the Committee on Military Affairs another modification of this section. I suggest that there should be added at the end of the section the words "unless disqualified by reason of wounds received while in the line of his duty." There are, I have 110
doubt, many officers who. by reason of wounds, are disqualified for active field service, but who can yet perform the duties of commissaries as well as any others.
Mr. SCHENCK. For reasons which I will assign if the amendment be moved, I cannot consent to that.
The SPEAKER. The motion would not be in order now.
Mr. TAYLOR. I simply desired to throw out the suggestion.
Mr. THAYER. I demand the previous question on my amendment.
The previous question was seconded and the main question ordered: and under the operation thereof the amendment of Mr. THAYER was agreed to.
The question recurred on the motion of Mr. HALE to strike out the last sentence of the section as printed.
Mr. SCHENCK. I desire to submit a few remarks in reply to the gentleman from New York, Mr. HALE. It seems to ine that gentlemen in their eulogies upon West Point and upon those who have had the honor to be graduates of the Military Academy, run away entirely from the issue which is presented, or which at least it is desired shall be presented to this House by the provisions contained in the section as reported by the Committee on Military Affairs. Gentlemen say it is a discrimination against graduates of the United States Military Academy to provide that they shall not be eligible to selections for office in the subsistence department. Now, there is another light in which that may be viewed; and I may here repeat, without rearguing it, a proposition which I stated yesterday.
Skill in the art of war, thorough instruction in military science, such as is obtained at a national school like that we have established at West Point, is not necessary to make a competent officer of subsistence. So far is this from being the case that any man from civil life, having good business habits and character, accustomed to trade and to make contracts, understanding something about the ordinary affairs relating to the subjects of those contracts, is likely to be quite as well, if not better, qualified than a man who has turned his attention exclusively to the acquiring of technical knowledge in the particular line of war.
I lay that down as a proposition from which all the rest follows.
Now, sir, how do these gentlemen get this information? It is afforded to them at the expense of the Government. It is education given by the Government to those who, under the law, receive the appointments to West Point. The Government which gives education has the right to impose what conditions it will as among the terms upon which that education shall be conferred. Is it unreasonable to say to those gentlemen, when we give them a four years' education, at great cost, at a public institution maintained from the Treasury of the country for the purpose of instructing them in all that relates to the technical knowl edge of war, they shall not throw all that away by going into a situation which requires no such technical knowledge?
Why did we propose to put this condition in the bill in regard to the subsistence department? Because experience has proved there is an evil in that department to be cured. If you take the Army Register prior to the war, never but one man was appointed who was not educated at the United States Military Academy, and he only from happening to be son of the chief of the department. After the war began, up to 1863, but a single appoint ment not from graduates of West Point, and including 1863. only some three or four. On the contrary, gentlemen graduating, it is to be presumed, reasonably high in their class, for we find them in the artillery branch of the service, have been again and again appointed to the subsistence department. Congress here intervenes and declares by law that hereafter it will be expected the department shall not
be made up of men who have been educated at the public expense for other purposes. That is the whole case.
Suppose the Army Register showed you could not get a chaplain in unless educated at West Point, that you could not get a surgeon in unless, in addition to his knowledge as a surgeon, you superadded graduation at West Point, would not Congress feel itself authorized to intervene and say by law this is not what we educated these gentlemen for? Therefore I repeat what I said yesterday, just in proportion as gentlemen say graduates of West Point are good engineers, capable artillerists, excellent infantrymen, gallant and skillful cavalrymen, just in proportion as we have educated them for occupation in these particular branches of real war, we say that it is not unreasonable in us to expect they shall confine themselves to that for which we educated them.
I will not be drawn off into the comparative merits and demerits of West Point cadets or West Point graduates. There might be a great deal answered to what has been said on that subject. All comparisons are odious, and very often, if they comprise allusions to a whole class of men, they are as unjust and ungenerous as they are odious.
No man has a higher idea for the purposes of war of the military knowledge acquired in this military school than I have, but it does not follow from that we must therefore give to the gentlemen who have these qualifications, and who have corresponding good qualities of mind and character and courage and integrity in the general, all the places, as well those which require no such military education as those which do. It is unjust. It is not part of the con
But when gentlemen would speak of West Point they had better speak of it with bated breath, even on this question of remarkable loyalty. I admit the great body of the graduates of West Point, when the trial came, espoused the cause of the country and fought under the flag under which they had received their education, but I do not so much wonder they generally did that, as I abominate, despise, and denounce the infernal and damnable spirit of those who committed double perjury, going off to the enemy after they had thus been educated. I draw the distinction that my friend from lowa [Mr. GRINNELL] drew. I say if civilians, if civil officers, if men in the ordinary walks of life, subjected to the political influences which surrounded them, with mistaken ideas mixed up with this heresy of secession, went off to the South and fought against their Government, that is more easily to be accounted for than that men, educated under the flag of the country and at its expense, enjoying its emoluments and honors and under the obgation to defend that flag, should have committed a double perjury, such as Robert E. Lee and others did when they deserted that flag. A good many of them who remained loyal, as it is termed, my friend from Vermont will himself admit manifested only a qualified, moderate, and temperate sort of loyalty.
Now, I do not say this in general disparagement of West Point. I would repel any attack upon the Military Academy or its graduates, as if they had generally shown a lukewarmness in the great cause of the country. But while I make that admission, I do not believe, on the other hand, in any of these comparisons, any of these allusions, which would seem to uphold the idea that West Point, above all other institutions, had sent forth men who had particularly signalized themselves as being peculiarly devoted to the country which had protected, nourished, educated, and provided for them.
But, sir, all this, I repeat, is out of the question. It is no part of it. The question presented really by the committee when they proposed that as a feature of the bill, is one of the simplest pos. sible to be conceived. It does not involve any inquiry into the comparative fairness or unfairness exercised toward men who are graduates or cadets at West Point, in reference to their
origin as being more or less exalted or humble. Why that is brought in I do not understand; nor why a comparison should be made between the son of a professor there and the son of a tailor. I believe in these latter days it is not considered a thing otherwise than to be boasted of to have been connected with that honorable profession-a tailor. [Laughter. We are not to be drawn aside into any such digression.
I repeat that the whole of this matter is in a nutshell. We educate these men at the pub. lic cost. We have places enough for them in the Engineer corps, in the cavalry, in the infantry, in the bureaus, and in the different staff departments, and we say to them, as the peculiar education which we give you was intended to qualify you for these places, if you will insist upon finding our way into other places not requiring this peculiar kind of knowl edge. and if those who have the management of affairs will indulge you in getting these places, we will cut off all possibility by law and hold you to your calling as military men, peculiar and special, for which you were educated at the public expense.
The question being taken on the amendment of Mr. HALE. no quorum voted.
The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. DAWES) ordered tellers; and appointed Messrs. HALE and SCHENCK,
The House divided; and the tellers reported -ayes 23, nocs 72.
So the amendment was not agreed to.
Mr. HALE. I move an amendment to section nineteen, which will, I think, commend itself both to the chairman of the committee and the House. I move to strike out from and including the word "reducing" to and including the word "ten," and to insert in lieu thereof the following:
In the grade of captain, no other officer of that grade shall be appointed until the number of captains shall be reduced to ten, and thereafter the number of captains in that department shall be limited to such reduced number.
So that the clause will read:
But after the first appointments made under the provisions of this section, as vacancies may occur in the grade of captain, no other officer of that grade shall be appointed until the number of captains shall be reduced to ten, and thereafter the number of captains in that department shall be limited to such reduced number.
I understand the chairman of the committee to make no objection to this amendment.
Mr. SCHENCK. I do not assent to it. If you will say nothing upon it I will say nothing, and you may move the previous question.
Mr. HALE. Very well. I move the previous question.
The previous question was seconded and the main question ordered; and the question being put on agreeing to the amendment, no quorum voted.
The SPEAKER pro tempore ordered tellers; and appointed Messrs. HALE, and HARDING of Illinois.
The House divided; and the tellers reported -ayes 35, noes 61.
So the amendment was rejected.
The question recurred on the amendment of Mr. WOODBRIDGE, to strike out the whole of section nineteen, and iusert in lieu thereof the following:
That the subsistence department of the Army shall hereafter consist of the officers now authorized by law, namely, one commissary general of subsistence, with the rank, pay, and emoluments of a brigadier general; two assistant commissary generals, with the rank, pay, and emoluments of colonel of cavalry; two assistant commissary generals, with the rank, pay, and emoluments of lieutenant colonel of cavalry; cight commissaries, with the rank, pay, and emolu ments of majors of cavalry; and sixteen commissaries, with the rank, pay, and emoluments of captains of cavalry.
The question being taken on agreeing to the amendment, there were-ayes 28, noes 64, the Speaker pro tempore voting in the affirmative
to make a quorum.
So the amendment was not agreed to.
The twentieth section was then read, as follows:
SEC. 20. And be it further enacted, That the Provost Marshal's Bureau shall hereafter consist of a provost
marshal general, with the rank, pay, and emoluments of a brigadier general; and one assistant provost marshal general, with the rank, pay, and emoluments of a colonel of cavalry; and all matters relating to the recruitment of the Army and the arrest of deserters shall be placed under the direction and control of this bureau, under such regulations as the Secretary of War may prescribe.
Mr. CONKLING. I move to strike out section twenty of the bill. My objection to this section is that it creates an unnecessary office for an undeserving public servant; it fastens as an incubus upon the country a hateful instrument of war, which deserve no place in a free Government in time of peace.
I have never heard any very serious attempt to justify by argument the permanent continuance of an officer whose administration during
the war has had in it so little to commend and so much to condemn. But I have heard an effort made to prove the propriety of this section by charging it to the Lieutenant General of the Army, and by saying that he had found a necessity for continuing, in time of peace, the Bureau of the Provost Marshal General. In order that the House may see how true this allegation is, I send to the Clerk's desk and ask to have read copies of letters which have been furnished to me, the first a letter addressed to the Lieutenant General by a Senator of the United States.
The Clerk read, as follows:
UNITED STATES SENATE CHAMBER, WASHINGTON, March 17, 1866. GENERAL: The House bill for the organization of
the Army contains a provision creating a permanent Provost Marshal's Bureau, with a brigadier general at its head; also placing the recruiting service in its charge.
It has been unofficially reported to me that this was done in consequence of a recommendation of yours to that effect.
I should be pleased to know if such is the case, as I had labored under the impression from conversation with officers of the Ariny that such a step was not a judicious one and tended only to increase the number of bureaus and officers of the Army with an increase of expenditure without any corresponding efficiency or benefit
If my impressions are erroneous I would like to have them corrected.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant, J. W. NESMITH.
Lieutenant General U. S. GRANT, &c.
Mr. CONKLING. I now send the answer of the Lieutenant General. The Clerk read, as follows:
WASHINGTON, D. C., March 19, 1866.
DEAR SIR: Yours of the 17th instant, stating that it bad been intimated that I had recommended the continuance of the Provost Marshal General's departiment and the transfer of the recruiting service to it, is received.
Some months since a paper was referred to me showing the great number of desertions from the Army and asking for suggestions to put a stop to them. To that paper I suggested anumber of changes in orders governing the recruiting service, and recommended that the whole matter be put in charge of the Provost Marshal Genera!, who could devote more attention to it than the Adjutant General with all his other daties could. I am opposed, however, to multiplying bureauns, and I think there is no necessity for a Provost Marshal General. In fact, if we had to organize the Army anew, I would not have as many bureaus as we now have. In my opinion, the country would be just as well and much more economically served if the coast surveying duties were added to the Engineer Bureau, and the quartermaster, subsistence, and pay departments were merged into one. I would not recommend a change now, however, but would not make any increase of bureaus. Very truly, yours, U. S. GRANT, Lieutenant General.
Hon. J. W. NESMITH, United States Senator.
A true copy:
GEORGE K. LEET. Assistant Adjutant General. Mr. CONKLING. The reasons which no doubt the writer of that letter has for deeming the Provost Marshal and his, bureau an unnecessary appendage to the peace establishment of the country appear at considerable length in a communication which I have here, but which I will not, unless it becomes necessary, have read. It is a communication from the acting head of the Adjutant General's Office. We all know that during our history thus far we have always managed without a bureau of this kind to recruit the regular Army, and that no need of it has ever been felt in maintaining the usual military establishment. The Provost Marshal's Bureau was a temporary expedient resorted to in an extreme emergency to bring volunteers hastily to the field. Its mission is
ended, and it should be buried out of sight. The communication in my hand shows that if reëstablished now for the purpose of superintending recruiting for the regular Army-and it can be applied to no other purpose-the expense of the recruiting service will be largely increased, that no greater efficiency will be attained, that a necessity will be created for duplicating records, for a new supply of apartments, of clerks, of agents; in short, of the various arrangements connected with recruiting, and that absolutely no good result can be accomplished by it..
I state it thus strongly and briefly, and I will cause the details to be read if the reading shall be called for hereafter.
There is one thing-I know of but one-for this bureau to do before leaving the public presence, and that is to close its accounts, so as to allow the War Department and the country to know precisely what has become of the twenty-five million and odd dollars which, under the act of March 13, 1862, went to its credit. Sixteen million and some odd dollars have been expended, and nine million and odd dollars remain as a balance to the credit of the fund; and whenever the bureau will close its accounts, or will enable them to be closed, as they never will be until the bureau is wound up, it will perform its sole remaining function.
If the administration had been ever so able, the time has come when the whole system of provost marshals should be numbered with the grievous memories of a bloody and terrible epoch.
But there are yet other grounds of objection. I protest against any promotion or reward for the officer whose interests are involved in this section. He holds already the rank of lieutenant colonel in the staff department. Indeed, by accident, if the pending bill shall pass, he will be elevated to yet a higher grade; but as he stands now, his pay amounts to $3,500, or thereabouts. I think that, for the present, is enough for him. He has suffered nothing and lost nothing in war that I ever heard of, and I protest, in the name of my people and in the name of the people of the western division of New York, against perpetuating a power under which they have suffered, beyond the capacity of any man adequately to state in the time allotted to me.
Central and western New York have a right to feel and do feel deeply on this subject. My constituents remember, and other constituencies remember, wrongs done them too great for forgetfulness and almost for belief by the creatures of this bureau and by its head.
We in the western division of New York had sent to rule over us as assistant provost marshal general an officer of the Veteran Reserve corps; a man who never saw a battle, who never received a scratch or suffered a day's sickness in the military service; a man honored with the especial personal intimacy and confidence of the Provost Marshal General, and who in a marked and ostentatious degree reflected the will and the favor of his chief. He had been for some time in the office of the Provost Marshal General here in Washington; he was his crony and confidant, and sustained with him, as events proved, relations of great personal intimacy. This spokesman, so trusted and so fortunate, did not come to us alone. There came at the same time other creatures of the head of the bureau at Washington. The western division swarmed with these chosen favorites, and they illustrated to the full the genius and the morale of their mission.
By acts of their own, and by acts done by their superior at Washington, they turned the business of recruiting and drafting into one carnival of corrupt disorder, into a paradise of coxcombs and thieves.
False quotas were put upon us; exaggerated telegrams and orders were sent to our boards of supervisors. We were victimized by constant uncertainty and deception. In my own district, under one call, $438,000 was wrongfully wrung from an outraged and groaning people. Officers of this bureau who sought to stem the
tide of fraud were removed without warning, and the whole machinery of the Government was subjected to miscreants and robbers. Communities petitioned and remonstrated in vain. The most palpable wrongs were refused redress. Men immeasurably the superiors of General Fry represented and protested, but they were spurned with magnificent disdain. Never was "the insolence of office" more offensively portrayed than it was by this man whom it is proposed to decorate and enrich.
If there was no design at headquarters to do wrong there was a capacity to muddle, to befog, to misunderstand facts, and to misread and misstate figures and simple results, which is nearly inconceivable.
I was employed by the Government to prosecute some of the frauds to which I have referred; and I tried this assistant provost marshal general, who had been justified in all the outrages he committed and in all the acts by which millions were stolen from the people of New York; who was justified by his superior officer down to the time when the sentence was published, and afterward, I understand. He was accused and convicted of the basest forms of official atrocity; the most monstrous acts of bribery, oppression, and wrong were charged against him and proved against him. And although he disgorged some two hundred thousand dollars, I see it stated in a newspaper that the other day he purchased in the city of Philadelphia an establishment for which he paid down $71,000. He was utterly poor when he entered this bureau; and yet, after all he yielded up, and after paying a fine of $10,000, it seems that still he is rich.
And this was not an isolated case; far from it. On the contrary, I say, and I may endeavor on a future occasion to show in detail, that there never has been in human history a greater mockery and a greater burlesque upon honest administration than the conduct of this bureau, taking the whole country together. It will turn out that of the seven or eight hundred thousand men for whom, not to whom, because they did not get them, enormous bounties were paid, not to exceed three hundred thousand, I believe not two hundred thousand, ever reached the front.
[Here the hammer fell.]
Mr. BLAINE obtained the floor.
Mr. WARD. I hope unanimous consent will be given my colleague [Mr. CONKLING] to proceed.
Mr. ROSS. I object.
Mr. BLAINE. I am in a very weakly condition of health to make the brief explanation due to the Military Committee. But I wish to state why the committee reported this section of the bill in regard to which the gentleman from New York shows so much feeling.
I believe that among the carliest acts of the gentleman from New York at this session of Congress was the introduction of a resolution, which was adopted by this House, directing the War Department to report upon the expediency of abolishing the office of Provost Marshal General. In the routine of business the answer of the Secretary of War came to the Military Committee, and among the papers was a letter from Lieutenant General Grant.
There was an elaborate paper also from General Townsend. They were referred to a subcommittee. The committee, upon a full review of the papers, and especially of the letter of Lieutenant General Grant, reported this section. The gentleman from New York has read a letter from the Lieutenant General, which practically recalls the recommendations of the letter on which the committee acted; but I desire the Clerk to read the letter of Lieutenant General Grant, which was the authorization, in the judgment of the committee, for inserting the section.
The Clerk read, as follows:
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE UNITED STATES, WASHINGTON, December 14, 1865. SIR: In reply to your letter of the 13th instant, in reference to desertions, I would make the following remarks: I do not think the present method of rocruiting, as curried out, sufficient to fill up the rogu
lar Army to the force required, or to keep it full when once filled.
Theduty is an important one, and demands, I think, the exclusive attention of an officer of the War Department, aided by a well-organized system extending over the country. I think the oficer best fitted for that position, by his experience during the present war, is General Fry, and would recommend that the whole subject of recruiting be put in his hands, and all officers on recruiting duty be directed to report to him. He should also have charge of the apprehension of deserters, should be authorized to offer such rewards as will secure their apprehension. When caught they should be tried, and the sentence rigidly carried into effect; this would soon stop the present enormous amount of desertion.
I would recommend that the duties heretofore performed by provost marshals be hereafter performed by officers detailed for recruiting duty. Very respectfully,
U.S. GRANT, Lieutenant General.
Hon. E. M. STANTON, Secretary of War.
Mr. BLAINE. The House will observe that the Committee on Military Affairs acted precisely in accordance with the recommendations of the Lieutenant General as contained in the
letter which has just been read. The first point which the Lieutenant General makes is that the system of recruiting carried on under the direction of the Adjutant General's Office has not proved efficient, in his judgment, in filling the Army. In the next place, he suggests that some special officer should be detailed to superintend the business of recruiting, and he names General Fry as the proper officer. In the next place, he states that provost marshals throughout the country are not needed, and that their places should be filed by recruiting officers. Provisions in accordance with all these recommendations are comprehended in the section which the gentleman from New York would have stricken out.
Mr. BOUTWELL. I desire to state that the facts up to the latest date do not sustain the opinion of the Lieutenant General. From last October till April 17, the Adjutant General has recruited between nineteen and twenty thousand men for the regular Army.
Mr. BLAINE. We acted only on the information before us. And when the gentleman from New York [Mr. CONKLING] quotes the letter of the Lieutenant General in condemnation of the report made by the Committee on Military Affairs, I merely wish the privilege of showing that that report was made in express conformity, verbatim et literatim, with the recommendations of that officer's letter, which camé officially before the committee, and which was not smuggled in in the manner in which the letter read by the gentleman from New York comes before us. That is not an official letter; it is an unofficial note. The letter just read by the Clerk is an official note, communicated to this House by the Secretary of War on a regu lar call, and referred by the House to the Committee on Military Affairs.
Mr. Speaker, I do not suppose that the House of Representatives care anything more than the Committee on Military Affairs about the great recruiting frauds in New York, or the quarrels of the gentleman from New York with General Fry, in which quarrels it is generally understood the gentleman came out second best at the War Department. I do not think that such questions ought to be obtruded here.
Though the gentleman from New York has had some difference with General Fry, yet I take pleasure in saying that, as I believe, there is not in the American Army a more honorable and high-toned officer than General Fry. That officer, I doubt not, is ready to meet the gentleman from New York or anybody else in the proper forum. I must say that I do not think it is any very creditable proceeding for the gentleman from New York here in this place to traduce General Fry as a military officer when he has no opportunity to be heard. I do not consider such a proceeding the highest specimen of chivalry that could bexhibited.
The gentleman from New York has had his issues with General Fry at the War Department. They have been adjudicated upon by the Secretary of War; and I leave it for the gentleman to say whether he came out first best. I do not know the particulars; the gen
tleman can inform the House. All I have to say is-and in this I believe I speak the sentiment of a majority of the members of this House that James B. Fry is a most efficient officer, a high-toned gentleman, whose character is without spot or blemish; a gentleman who stands second to no officer in the American Army; and he is ready to meet the gentleman from New York and all other accusers anywhere and everywhere. And, sir, when I hear the gentleman from New York rehearse in this House, as an impeachment of General Fry, all the details of the recruiting frauds in New York, which General Fry used his best energies to repress with iron hand, a sense of indignation carries me beyond my personal strength and impels me to denounce such a course of proceeding.
Mr. MERCUR obtained the floor.
Mr. CONKLING. I ask the gentleman from Pennsylvania [Mr. MERCUR] to yield to me. Mr. MERCUR. I yield to the gentleman.
Mr. CONKLING. Mr. Speaker, if General Fry is reduced to depending for vindication upon the gentleman from Maine he is to be commiserated certainly. If I have fallen to the necessity to taking lessons from that gentleman in the rules of propriety, or of right or wrong, God help me.
I say to him further that I mean to take no advantage such as he attributes of the privileges of this place or of the absence of General Fry. On the contrary, I am ready to avow what I have here declared anywhere. I have stated facts for which I am willing to be held responsible at all times and places.
I say, further, that the statement made by the gentleman from Maine with regard to myself personally and my quarrels with General Fry, and their result, is false. He says I
Mr. BLAINE. What does the gentleman mean to say was false?
Mr. CONKLING. I mean to say that the statement made by the gentleman from Maine is false.
Mr. BLAINE. What statement?
Mr. CONKLING. Does not the gentleman understand what I mean?
Mr. BLAINE. I call the gentleman to order. I demand he shall state what was false in what I stated. I have the parliamentary right. I demand the gentleman shall state what is false in what I said.
The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman from Maine will state his point of order. Mr. BLAINE. I have already. The gentleman has denounced my statement as false. It is my right to have him state in what particular anything I said or what allegation I made was false.
The SPEAKER pro tempore. The Chair overrules the point of order. The gentleman from New York will proceed.
Mr. BLAINE. One single word more. Mr. CONKLING. I do not yield. Mr. BLAINE. Do I understand the Speaker to rule, when a member states that another has stated falsely, that is no point of order?
The SPEAKER pro tempore. The Chair does not understand that to have been the point of order.
Mr. BLAINE. Then I raise the point of order that the gentleman stated what was unparliamentary when he said that I stated what was false. I have no objection to his going on to state where it is false.
The SPEAKER pro tempore. The Chair understood the gentleman to say it was out of order to pronounce a statement was false with out stating wherein it was false. The Chair overruled that point of order. If the gentleman has another point of order to raise he will please state it.
Mr. BLAINE. I raise the point of order that it was not parliamentary for the gentleman to use those words.
The SPEAKER pro tempore. The Chair sustains that point of order.
Mr. BLAINE. I have no objection to his stating wherein it is false.
The SPEAKER pro tempore. The Chair is of the opinion it is not parliamentary to pronounce what has been said by any gentleman in debate here is false. It is not a point of order well taken to require him to state wherein it is false.
Mr. CONKLING. Under the rules the words objected to should have been taken down at the time, and the point of order comes now too late. One who makes such points of order should be more careful how he makes them. It is not my disposition, Mr. Speaker, to engage in personal controversy upon this floor: but when any member forgets himself so far as to impute unworthy motives and resentments to me, when my motives and resentments are wholly foreign to the matter before the House, he must expect a rebuff; and when he asserts offensively that I have had personal quarrels with a person whose administration and public acts are under consideration, and that I have been worsted in these quarrels, and that, too, before the Secretary of War and by the Secre tary of War, and when that statement has no foundation in fact, I think the Chair and the House will agree with me that something is to be pardoned to the earnestness of the occasion. I said what I felt bound to say, speaking not only for my own constituents, but for other constituencies in New York whose Representatives hear me. I could not remain silent when I know that in my own district and elsewhere men who stood up honestly and attempted to resist bounty jumpers and thieves were stricken down and trodden under foot by General Fry. I affirm that the only way to acquit him of venality is to convict him of the most incredible incompetency. I am responsible for that, sir, everywhere. I have had no such personal quarrel with General Fry, however, as has been asserted. I never chanced to see him but once, unless I have forgotten it, and when the gentleman rises here and makes a charge of that kind, with the insinuation by which he accompanies it, his conduct calls for some plainness of speech. And so, using parliamentary language, I reiterate that the statement which was made is erroneous and destitute of that which it should possess in order to render it admissible in debate. I believe that is parliamentary, even if the other form
Now, sir, I want to say a word about this letter.
Mr. MERCUR. Mr. Speaker
Mr. CONKLING. I beg pardon. I thought the gentleman yielded the floor to me altogether. I am very much obliged to him, and will relinquish the floor at once if he wishes to occupy it. I thought he intended to yield to me without qualification, so as to have another fifteen minutes afterward. But I will instantly resign it, and thank him for his courtesy. I ask the gentleman whether I shall go on or not.
Mr. BLAINE. I wish to make a single statement.
Mr. CONKLING. I do not understand that any one but the gentleman from Pennsylvania can claim the floor.
Mr. BLAINE. The gentleman from Pennsylvania [Mr. MERCUR] had the floor.
Mr. CONKLING. I decline to yield it to the gentleman from Maine, [Mr. BLAINE.]
The SPEAKER pro tempore. Does the Chair understand the gentleman from Pennsylvania [Mr. MERCUR] to yield the floor entirely to the gentleman from New York, [Mr. CONKLING?]
Mr. MERCUR. I did not so understand it. The SPEAKER pro tempore. Then the gentleman from New York has the right to resume the floor only by the consent of the gentleman from Pennsylvania.
Mr. CONKLING. I ask the gentleman from Pennsylvania [Mr. MERCUR] whether he wishes now to resume the floor.
Mr. MERCUR. I designed to resume it after the gentleman, but I will allow him to go on.
Mr. CONKLING. The letter which has been read, at the instance of the gentleman from Maine, from the Lieutenant General, has no