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Brigadier General George D. Hill met the same fate near the same place. Colonel J. C. Haines and First Lieutenant R. C. Dorr also are among the officers whose light went out at the sound of the “taps” of life.
HISTORY OF THE NATIONAL MILITIA.
A very able article published a few months since discloses the fact that a hundred years has passed since congress, in the spring of 1792, passed its first general militia law. This act remains to-day on the statute books with all its ancient phraseology, and its mandates impossible to execute.
Still nominally in force is its injunction upon any able-bodied male citizen between eighteen and forty-five years of age, enrolled by his captain, to keep himself provided with a “good musket or fire-lock of a bore sufficient for balls of one-eighteenth part of a pound,” two spare flints and twenty-four cartridges, or else with a "good rifle, shot pouch, powder horn, twenty balls and a quarter of a pound of powder."
The quaint instructions for grenadiers and bombardiers are still to be perused, and also the directions to commissioned officers to provide themselves with "a sword and banger and spontoon;" or, if mounted, to have their "holsters covered with bear skin caps." From time to time efforts have been made to remove this venerable chapter from the statute hooks, or at least to modernize it, until now, at least, it seems to derive a sort of protection from its age.
But the fact is, that the law was never carried out. No sooner was it enacted than efforts were made to repeal some provisions and amend others. Under the plan of General Knox, which had been drawn up in 1790, young men between eighteen and twenty-one years of age were to serve thirty days in a camp of instruction during each of the first two years, and ten days of the third year; citizens between twenty-one and forty-five years were to drill four days annually; those between forty-five and sixty were to be enrolled in the reserve, which was to assemble semi-annually for a similar inspection of arms. This was a very striking, and, under the circumstances of the country at that time, not a very onerous system, while its seriousness was shown by a provision that no person reaching the age of twenty-one should exercise the rights of a citizen unless he could show a certificate of the required service in the militia. But the act of May 8, 1792, widely departed from
Knox's plan, and the very next year after it was put in operation Washington asked congress " whether your own experience in the several states has not detected some imperfections in the scheme." The story of the way in which numerous and fruitless attempts to amend this system resulted at length in its practical abandonment is instructive and interesting.
Two years after its adoption a bill was reported for organizing select corps of militia, to be armed and equipped by the general government, and to be paid while serving in annual camps of instruction. This, of course, would have been a radical departure from the general law, which required the citizens to arm and equip themselves and put them on the same footing.
It is not unlikely that, bad this measure prevailed, it would have been in force to the present day, and might have made a vast difference in the history of the country. It would, in fact, have founded a national militia of an effective character. However, years passed without securing the modifications desired. The chief step gained was the enactment of the law of April 23, 1808, making an appropriation of two hundred thousand dollars annually to provide arms and equipments for the militia. It is noted as a curious fact that even when this new appropriation had been made, the old requirement that each citizen should arin and equip himself was not repealed. Even then the reluctance to remove the old law was manifest.
Jefferson and Madison followed Washington in urging year after year a modification of the militia system; the latter, in 1805, desired "such a separation of the more active part from that which less so, that we may draw from it, when necessary, an efficient corps fit for real and active service, and to be called to it in regular rotation.” He thought it was quite enough to subject the population between the age of eighteen and twenty-six years to military duty in time of peace. Madison's most noticeable contribution to the subject was a proposal of annual camps of instruction for the commissioned and non-commissioned officers.
In 1816 Secretary Grabam, by the direction of congress, prepared a new plan. It divided the militia into three classes, according to ages, of which the two younger were to assemble in annual camps of instruction. Congressman Harrison, of Ohio, afterwards president, proposed as a substitute military drill for all the classes, and revived Madison's plan of annually instructing the officers and non
commissioned officers in camp.
Ile estimated that the cost to the government would be $1,500,000 a year. In 1825 a board, on which Scott and Zachary Taylor were prominent, reported that the great defect in the law was the excess of numbers it held to service. They suggested as a substitute that a brigade of militia in each congressional district be instructed in camps for ten days each year and paid for their time and expenses.
A drift toward a select body instead of a general organization had thus been clearly manifest through all these years; yet two additional elements, volunteering and state organizations, were needed before the desired reforms could be secured. Jackson recommended the former, while Secretary Poignsett, in 1840, made an approach to the latter by a proposal of one hundred thousand active militia apportioned among the states, each of which coulil keep its quota filled either by volunteer enlistment or by draft.
One-fourth to go out of service annually into the reserve, while the president could put them in camps, under pay, for a month annually. In 1846, still another plan was reported, that of maintaining in each state an active militia between eighteen and twenty-one years of age, whose officers should be instructed annually in camp by the general government.
All that time the new ideas of volunteers and state organizations had not only become rooted, but bad borne fruit. Such militia bodies were springing up all over the union, and in fact the basis of that body of volunteers who achieved distinction in the Mexican war. After that war, greater interest than ever was taken in the state volunteer system, and its growth put an end to the long series of abortive efforts to form a national militia, congress practically accepting it as a substitute. In 1861 the outbreak of the civil war gave a new opportunity for this modern system to show its value, and the lesson has never been forgotten. For a while, during the quarter of a century which has succeeded the war, many efforts have been made to revive the old idea of a federal militia. They have all failed. Meanwhile, even the value of such a militia has become less and less obvious, because the state forces have greatly improved, rifle practice and cainps of instruc tion having done the great work for them.
The particular service rendered by congress during the past twenty-five years has been its comparatively recent increase of the annual militia appropriation of $100,000. Even that has been of little importance to some states, so small is their share of it in comparison
to their own appropriations, but it is of real' value to states that otherwise would neglect their militia, and it is really the best argument for the still further increase of the annual appropriation.
GOVERNMENT AID FOR THE NATIONAL GUARD.
Very serious inconsistencies still exist in the present provisions made by congress for the support of the national guard of the several states.
In his annual report for 1891, Mr. Secretary Proctor remarked: “The present method of allotment of the annual appropriation of $400,000, for arming and equipping the militia which is prescribed by the act of February 11, 1887, and which gives to each state an amount proportionate to its congressional representation, is not such as to produce good results.
“The aid given different states is very disproportionate, the amount of government aid received by some states being not more than half that received by others maintaining double the number of men in their national guard. The allotment, as it is now made, is not based upon what the states do in return for the appropriation, but wbat they ought to do. It would be better to help those who help themselves.”
It is not just to give Tennessee, with less than six hundred troops, $11,575, and Missouri, with three hundred and fifty men, $14,742, as was done in 1890, while Connecticut, with over three thousand men, received but $5,528, and New Hampshire, with three fine reg. iments, aggregating thirty-two hundred men, received only $3,785. Why should Arkansas, where the inspecting officer in 1891 could not find a single organization, receive $3,550, while Rhode Island, with fifteen hundred splendidly disciplined troops, was forced to be content with $0,485.27, and Washington, with 1,388 men, only apportioned $2,794.98?
These comparisons might be continued indefinitely, but the further we follow them, the more startling the inequalities, and more prominent the inconsistencies. The system is wrong and unjust, and it is to be hoped that congress will increase the appropriation to the amount asked in the bill presented by Representative Cutting, of California, one million dollars at least.
USE OF THE NATIONAL GUARD IN RIOTS.
From official sources we have reports of the recent resort to the regulars of Fort McKinley to put down local disturbances in Wyoming, on account of a lack of a suitable force of state troops, and it suggests an examination of the services performed by the national guard of other states under similar circumstances.
It happens that the adjutants general of the several states and territories have recently furnished statistics on this subject brought up to the present year without connecting the cases in which the organized militia bave been called out during the past twenty-five years.
Naturally, there are great differences between the states in this respect; Virginia, for example, calling out her troops thirty-three times from the period of 1881 to 1891. Texas nearly equals this record, calling out her troops twenty-nine times in not quite sixteen years.
Last year they were employed on three occasions to assist at an execution, to disperse a mob, and to guard a jail. Other duties in previous years had been to serve against hostile Indians, to suppress a convict uprising, and to guard against race troubles, etc. At one time there were as many as two hundred and seventy-five
Still another high record is that of Iowa, which has had her troops out twenty times ince 1876. The railroad riots, the mining troubles, the ousting of liquor sellers, and arrest of murderers, were a portion of the occasions that required their services.
As a contrast Delaware, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Wyoming have not called out their troops at all for riot duty for the last quarter of a century. In the case of Wyoming, however, it was not for the lack of occasion, as has just been seen.
Vermont, Georgia, Maryland and South Dakota, called out their militia but once each on such duty in the period under review.
A creditable fact in the Vermont case is that at a miners' riot in 1883, out of five companies called upon, ninety per cent. of the men reported at only two hours' notice.
Maryland's only experience was costly, since three regiments and a battery were on duty for a month, in the labor riots of 1877, at an expense to the state of over $80,000. But Pennsylvania far surpasses all other states reported upon in the magnitude of the riot duty imposed upon her militia as far as the return reported goes to show, New York not having reported that service.
In the mining troubles of 1867, she had out one thousand men from April 7 to May 24, at a cost of $38,000. In the lumber