Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

JANUARY, 1808.

Classification of the Militia.

H. OF R.

under their consideration, and turned it over in not less than five thousand men on parade at a one way or the other. This proves that there is time, in the midst of winter, almost naked, within their opinion some defect. We must now out shirts or shoes; ofttimes have I seen them remedy that defect if we can; it behooves us to march on the frozen ground barefoot, marking do so; and if I shall be fortunate enough to point their footsteps with blood as they marched. At out the propriety and mode of making this altera- the times here spoken of, the Army, was reduced tion, I shall have done my duty. We will go to the awful necessity of going into the adjacent further back than the adoption of the Constitu- country and threshing out the grain from the tion ; we do not recollect the whole body of the straw, and, while thus engaged, the poor and militia ever to have been brought into action to almost naked women, with their helpless babes such effect as our strength of numbers would have crying round them, would ask, with tears running warranted, if the militia had been properly organ- down their withered cheeks, for God's sake not to ized; there was a defect somewhere, which should take all, telling the soldiers that that was their be remedied without going either to one extreme all, and when that was gone they must starve; or another. If gentlemen will turn their eyes to that they had no money, nor wherewith to get the bill on the table, they will find that our pro- money. Now, my object is to avoid such another ject is to steer hetween the two, not to harass the scene-not only on this account, but in some of militia, but to render them fit for efficient service, the Southern States we have an internal enemy, by taking only those that can be best spared from an enemy within our own families. There should home, and, when in actual service, can be most always be a sufficient force left at home to awe relied on. History itself furnishes no instance, and keep that enemy down. By taking out the let the mode of warfare be what it might, where junior class only, we shall always have a suffithe whole body of the militia were ever called cient number left to quell and keep down insurinto actual service, and kept there for any length rection at home. We shall presently show that of time to advantage. If there was much march we have a sufficient number of young men under ing and fighting, the old men with families would the age of twenty-six and over twenty-one, 10 soon find the way home; they could not be relied meet the enemy whenever they are called on. on for a length of time. I remember often to We have three great points of assault, New York, have heard this complaint made before the Revo- Charleston, and New Orleans, and I shall I trust lutionary war; when we were at war with the be able to show that we have a sufficient number lodians. Nay, further, if we go among the sav- of young men of the junior class to keep up a ages, we fiod that they do not all turn out to bat- continual force, if necessary, to meet all attacks. tle, and leave their women and children only be- It behooves me now to show what disposition I hind; they take neither old nor young men, I mean intend to make of the minor class-young men their lads, to battle, but such only as may be use- under twenty-one years of age. It is not my inful in the field.

tention that they shall be called into service, exWhen we recur to the times of the Revolution, cept in case of the utmost necessity, and then only which every old gentleman recollects, and every within their own Ştate. We find, from report, young one has heard of, every one then in service that to be the rock on which the Emperor, of will attest the fact, that wherever the body of the France has split. He takes his men when in militia were called on to march, old and young their infancy, from the age of eighteen. They together, the old men soon found their way into ought to be left until they are twenty-one, to lay the hospital; they would complain of old 'rheu- in a sufficient stock of information to carry them matisms, &c.; they would often fatigue and break into life. Let them learn trades or attend io their down the young men by imposing on them the studies; for we consider the trade or profession additional burden of their knapsacks.

which a man learns in his youth, whether meMy object is to leave at home the senior and chanical or' mental, as a fortune; and therefore minor classes as much as possible; nothing but we do not wish to interrupt them until they have imperious necessity and imminent danger should completed their studies or trades, except imperious call them to the field, and that within their own necessity should require it. It is necessary that State, or in the neighboring State. I wish not to every man should have somewhat from which le. derange the state of society, which must be the he may receive subsistence during his passage case if the whole body of the militia are called through life. During his minority he lays up by out at once. During the last war, we saw not learning a trade or profession, a principal, the inonly fields and neighborhoods, but whole States, terest of which supports him after he attains the laid waste from being deprived of their cultiva- age of twenty-one. We also well know that tors. I wish to avoid this evil; I wish to leave young men under twenty-one cannot stand hardmen enough at home to cultivate the earth and ship; they may do some service; they may march take care of the crop. It is well known to gen- about a little, but their system is not matured'; tlemen of the Revolution, that while we lay at they cannot undergo fatigue. We also know that Valley Forge, in Pennsylvania, at Middlebrook, it will almost take two men of eighteen years of in New Jersey, and at other places, we were als age, each, to cope with one of twenty-five in most in a state of starvation, because all hands, bodily strength. meaning the whole body of the militia, had been We shall now proceed to show the numbers of called out, and cultivation and manufactures ne- each class, as nearly as they can be ascertained glected. I have seen (and an awful sight it was) from the census of 1800. We have taken the

10th Con. Ist Sess.-47

[ocr errors]

H. OF R.

Classification of the Militia.

JANUARY, 1808.

authority of the best statistical writers for the the result? The report just mentioned will show progressive numbers.

that you cannot rely with confidence on the miliThe census of 1800 gave of males from twenty- tia in its present state ; nor can you on volunteers. six to forty-five, 432,193. I am not very particu- The last will do for a moment at the commencelar as to fractions, they being of little consequence. ment of a war. In case of invasion they will do The annual increase from 1790 to 1800 was about very well for the moment. They do not go out three and one-balf per cent., which we will as- with a view of brushing their own coats, washing sume for the increase since the last census, being their shirts, and to cook their victuals; they exseven years. This will give us an increase since pect to call for the best of everything at every 1800 of 105,882, which, added to the number by house. Some gentlemen volunteers went down the last census, makes 538,075. From these de- lately to Norfolk from Petersburg and Richmond. duct, unfit for service, as nearly as we can ascer- They conceived themselves on a level with the tain, 35 or 40,000. We have taken, for the sake officers; it would not do; they came home disof equal numbers, 38,075; which leaves 500,000 gusted, and you will not get them to go again. men, who may be relied on if the danger should What was the case during the last war? When be so great as to call for all men over twenty-six a large troop of volunteers was raised (I know the and under forty-five.

fact, I had a brother among them, and can thereBy the census of 1800, those over twenty-one fore speak of it) they came prancing to General and under twenty-six, were between 190 and WASHINGTON. The old General asked them what 200,000 men. To this add, for the increase since, they could do ? "Fight for our country,” said by the rule just laid down, 49,400; which will they. “Will you go into camp with the Army make 249,000, under twenty-six and over twenty- and do regular duty ?". They answered "No." one. Deduct from this number eight or 9,000, for “You have my thanks, then, gentlemen,” said the those unfit for service. For the sake of round veteran, “ go home again.” This was only to make numbers deduct 9,000; which will leave 240,000 a show, they intended nothing else; they may do able men. We will suppose wanting at any one for a moment; but there must be method and 'regtime, 30 or 40,000 at each of the three great points ularity in our Army. It will not do to have a I have mentioned, which would still leave enough large body of men collected for any purpose withat home to supply the succession and deficiencies. out it. And therefore it is, that as the great mass Out of this class of men, then, between twenty- of our militia now stand, no reliance can be placed one and twenty-six, could be called out sufficient upon them. It will not answer to rely on regu. for service, at any one time, from 90 to 100,000, lar troops. It is easy enough to raise a standing and leave double that number still in requisition army, but it is difficult to disband them. We had If, however, it should be thought that 240,000 at the close of the last war an awful testimony of would not be a sufficient number, we have only the truth of this. Nothing but the vast weight to take all under twenty-seven instead of twenty- of character of General Washington, who, desix. Those between twenty-six and twenty-seven, scending from his high office of Commander-inadded to the others, would form a body of 280,000 Chief, mixed with them as a brother soldier, could men, without taking any under twenty-one, or have prevented them from revolting. See what over twenty-seven. It is about this time of life, a clamor is now raised, and rumors afloat through twenty-six or twenty-seven, when a man begins the country, about your standing army of 3,000 to know mankind; they have then sown their men. Get a man sufficiently popular for Com. wild oats, as we generally say; they then wish to inander-in-Chief of a large standing army, and settle and see a family rising up before them; they what sort of government should we soon have? feel vigorous, and wish to show their activity and We may shudder even to think of what might be strength, in running, tumbling, and wrestling; the result. Look at the contrary side, as now they think themselves great men; they wish to proposed to regulate the militia. You take them travel and see the world; they have a roving dis- from the bosom of their families for one year. position. This is the moment to lay hold of them At the end of that term they will be anxious to and make them good soldiers. I know well that return home. Mutiny will not arrest them. With it will be said by some that it is an invidious dis- avidity they will return; a tear of joy will bid tinction to stop at twenty-six or twenty-seven. them welcome. Why may not the same be said of stopping at Gentlemen say the bill does not give us detail forty-five or beginning at eighteen? It is said sufficient. We can fix all this when we have that this classification will tear up the old militia once passed upon the principle. This I repeat; system. I do not care how soon it is plucked by nearly one year has elapsed since the outrage the roots; we have had enough of it. Why per- committed on the Chesapeake, and yet no return sist in a system which we cannot get along with ? of volunteers or militia.' This goes to show that What is the consequence? To show what that volunteers are not to be relied on, and also that is, it is only necessary to read the report of the the militia laws are defective. Secretary of War. Under an exertion of all the I hope we have shown that we have strong energies of the commanding officers, after the in- reasons to suspect that the present militia system sult of the 22d of June last, on the Chesapeake; is not the best that can be devised. We have after the Executive officers had exerted them- shown this from the best testimony in our power selves to procure the best information upon the from the adoption of the Constitution to this day. subject of the militia held in requisition, what is From the communications of the President of the

JANUARY, 1808.
Classification of the Militia.

H. OF R.

Line United States to Congress, and from State Gov. I know this man; I have known him from my errors to the State Legislatures, it may be seen youth, and can confide in him. that the subject has almost always been introduced As a reward for the services of these young and recommended to the consideration of the Le- men, after a campaign is ended, let them keep as gislatures. If this is not the best system that can their own property the arms with which they be adopted, I am willing that any gentleman fought, which will be handed down from father should propose a better. Let us see any other sys- to son: “This is the piece I fought with.” Let tem, we will examine it thoroughly and act with it be engraven on the barrel, this belongs to such our best judgment on it. This is a time when a one, he earned it by serving his country at such the whole United States are in danger, and some a time. After men have served one year, suffimodification of our present system must be made. cient numbers will be found to replace them, who

Towards the close of the last war the militia will be anxious to see the country, and travel over began to fight yery well. In Kentucky the fight the Union, emulous of fame; and when they have ing men were numerous. After the attempt of served a tour will long to return to their kindred, the Army, at the close of the war, to turn their loaded with an honorable pledge of the service arms against their country, Government placed done their country. their soldiers when out of service on the frontier, It is certainly a desirable thing that the physiwith the natives on their borders, with whom we cal strength of the country should be applied in were then at war. Virgioia gave lands to her the most advantageous manner to the protection soldiers which were in the back-ground. Why? of the country. We admit that some men marry Because it would not do to fix these men of seven early. In this case let them hire men as substior eight years standing among the body of the tutes from their own class. This substitute may people. We will give them ihis land, said the serve out his time and return. By that time anoofficers of Government, and let them go and fight ther young man may have married, and his subthe lodians. The reason was, that they had serv- stitute, being accustomed to service, may go out a ed seven or eight years in the regular army. This second term. By the adoption of this principle of fungus, a standing army, was applied on our fron- classification you get the best blood of the country, tiers as a breast work and safeguard, to keep off that which you can rely upon. You will not see the savages; we wanted to keep them out of the your hospitals filled with old men disabled by the way. We could have burnt up the Indian towns rheumatism and gout; nor will you see children in and put an end to the whole race immediately; the ranks, trembling at every leaf that falls around but we did not wish to do it; we wished to keep them, not sufficiently hardened to lie out upon our old soldiers fighting till they cooled off from the ground covered with ice and snow. If we the habit of inactivity acquired by service in the go on in the same bụngling manner as heretofore, war.

we shall never have an efficient militia ; you We have endeavored to show that volunteers will annually receive the President's Message rewill do but for a moment, and that when there is commending the subject to your consideration. nothing to do, and they can have both male and I hope gentlemen will think with me, and not female waiting upon them. They cannot be relied impute impure motives the fact is, I have two on in war. They are not the kind of troops for sons that will soon be twenty-one, and I love them service when invaded by a powerful enemy.- as much as any man can, and perhaps can say Volunteers may do for sailors or marines, if they what few can. The first property I gave each choose to go to sea. We have endeavored to of them was a gun; and I have enjoined it on show that classification is the only mode by which them in my will, that it was given them to dethey can be relied on for the real service of their feod that country which their father had assisted country; that old men are not the best for service; in delivering from bondage. My son's gun will that young men under twenty-one ought to be impress on his mind that he must fight when his kept at home till they get enough of experience country calls for his services; it is his fortune. to serve them through life; and that young men, I hope gentlemen will take a serious view of the over twenty-one and under twenty-six, have a subject-ihat every man will lay his shoulder to propensity to be in action, to serve their country the wheel, and rise up to the East and West, South and to acquire fame,

and North, to prepare for the protection of his Some gentlemen make objections to the mode domicil. Gentlemen have said ihat this is a new of officering. I have no doubts upon that subject; project, that it will create confusion now, when the thing will work well—this the Constitution the service of our militia is most wanting. It is has reserved to the States themselves. When offi- because of the crisis that I have at this moment cers are wanting, young men can always be found brought the matter forward. The present sys. peculiarly qualified to conduct their companions tem is acknowledged to be defective; we wish to to the fighi-young men of high standing and make it as efficient as possible—that our country. weight of character. The soldiers, having them- men may know who must march at a moment's selves choice of their commander, will choose one warning. out of many candidates, as there always will be, In Virginia, during the last war, young men, in whom they can confide. I presume, young merchants, lawyers, and doctors, went out to batmen of first talents and enterprise will have pre- tle, staid two or three weeks, took sick and went ference. Let them have a man to command them home. As long as every door was open, the hand of their owo age. They will say one to the other, of every man giving them friendship, and caressed

H. of R.

Classification of the Militia.

JANUARY, 1808.

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

by every woman, they stood their ground; but sailors at Boston, who cannot go to sea, on ac-
when dependence was placed on them for service, count of the embargo ? The finger of Heaven
they were off. I recollect a circumstance of some pointed to an embargo. [Here Mr. Clay pointed
new militia just come into camp on the eve of a to the Potomac river, which was frozen over.]
batile. The time of battle soon came; these men It is mere pretence. They are now, we under-
were placed in front; but no sooner did the red- stand, assembling about the town demanding what
coats, as they called the English, come within one they are to do; we know they are set on by art-
hundred yards, than they threw down their arms ful and designing men. If these sailors are so riot-
and ran as though their lives depended altogether ous, what would a standing army be when dis-
on their heels for preservation. When they were banded on account of peace, if set on by artful
asked, where are you going, boys? Did you ever men? They would, if able to do it, overturn the
see the like said they, we cannot stand them. Government.
When the red-coats come now, it will be just the I hope the representations which I have made
same. Substitutes towards the close of a war be- may be taken notice of by every gentleman in
come good soldiers. I kaow that substitutes are the House. It does not seem accordant with mil-
objected to by some gentlemen, they wish every itary regulations to place the father and son in
man to stand in his own place, all to stand on the the ranks together; the son feels an awe of his
same footing. In my humble opinion this would father ; is under restraint while he is with him;
be bad policy, because all men have not the same old men and young do not agree well together;
gifts. Some cannot fight from religious princi- their habits are not congenial. I have a great de-
ples-others cannot fight for the want of nerve. sire that young men should be as much at liberty
The bill has made provision for such, if :hey can- as possible. Let them learn trades and pursue
not fight, let them furnish a substitute. We know their studies while young men ; let the young
all men are not gifted alike: the strength of some man alone till he is perfectly instructed, other-
lies in one way, and in others another; Samson's wise you will make him jack at all trades, and
lay in his hair. Now on this floor, some gentle good at none. At about twenty-six or twenty-
men of strong minds, who think a great deal, never seven years of age it is too late in the day to set
talk; while some who talk incessantly, appear about learning a trade; and although we have
never to think at all. It certainly would be a few or no tradesmen in the part of the country
great economising of public time and money, for where I live, yet I wish to encourage our domes-
some to think more and talk less. I am not in tic manufactures. The time is near at hand
the babit of public speaking, not being mechani- when it will be our policy to foster and cherish
cally bred to it; I nevertheless offer my mite in them.
support of the proposed system. It is a great pro- In the last war, when men were indiscrimi-
ject; and although not fluent of speech, yet I am dately called out, on their leaving their families,
willing to be tested by my votes and actions, from you might see a man of forty or fifty years of age,
the year 1776, the time I commenced my political with his wife and a train of children and grand-
career, to the present day; and I defy any man to children crying after him; at the same time one
say that I ever gave other than a republican vote, of his sons or grandsons, a lad of not more than six-
or did any other than a republican act, while act- ieen or seventeen years old, marching by his side;
ing as a public man. I know the word republican and at the time the army was in a state of starva-
is with some a backneyed word; but I mean the tion, because men of all ages were taken to the
true elective principles of Republican Govern- field and none left to till the earth. This, in my
ment. I went young into the Army myself; I was opinion, was bad policy, none ought to be taken
never out of it, after I entered it, until the conclu- but such only as might have been useful in the
sion of the war. I have been thirty-two years in field; the remainder ought to have been left to
public life. I mention this to show that I am have cultivated the earth and to have assisted in
entitled to claim a knowledge of mankind. domestic manufactures, and then your armies, in-

You may exercise your militia from the age of stead of being naked and hungry, might have been eighteen, till they arrive at forty-five, and after well fed and well clad. And here the proposed the whole twenty-seven years mustering they will system is certainly preferable to the old." I have not know the manual. 'My object is not to call given to the House the best estimate I have been out any man till he he is wanted ; and when they able to procure. If we fill the blank with "over are wanted, to call them out, and in one fortnight twenty-one and under twenty-six" we shall have they will be ready for service, and in a month may 240,000 men. If gentlemen think that is not take the field, already soldiers-comparatively enough, insert twenty-seven instead of twenty-six, speaking. There will attend this system no ex- and it will give us 280,000 militia, after deductiog pense in time of peace. I have seen a number of a sufficient allowance for the number unfit for projects for taking legions into camp for six service. I should suppose that 280,000 efficient months at a time. The project will not do. militia, dispersed through the United States, are When you take your men to the field, let them at least as many if not more than will be necesthink of nothing else but fighting-not even of sary to hold in requisition. I know that some women. These half-way soldiers, half regulars, gentlemen wish the limitation of time to be exand half militia; would be of no account. They tended further; but I wish to leave society in as would be a heterogeneous mass, fit for neither the undisturbed a state as possible. We find that other one thing nor the other. What do we hear of the countries wage war, and carry on agriculture and

JANUARY, 1808.

Classification of the Militia.

H. of R.

manufactures at the same time. I wish to do so

WEDNESDAY, January 20. here to establish an efficient militia to go to any

A report was received from the Secretary of part of the United States. We may call out the the Treasury, in pursuance of the resolution movmiddle class of 280,000 men to any part of the ed by Mr. VAN HORN, on the 9th instant, stating United States, and still leave the body of the citi- that there are no documents in the Treasury zens in a situation to earry on agriculture, com- showing the amount of tonnage exclusively emmerce, and manufactures, and the minor class ployed in the exportation of articles the produce learning their trades and pursuing their studies. or manufacture of the United States; and that Young men cannot think hard of it. Whenever the tonnage used at present for the exportation of their country calls for their service they ought to articles of domestic growth, produce, or manufacgo, or leave the country; Let every man stand ture, might, supposing each vessel to make but in the station to which he is called by God and

one voyage, be estimated at about 780,000 tons. society. Let him attend to the duty his country This communication was referred to the Comrequires of him, and then return to the bosom ofmittee of the Whole, to whom was referred Mr. his family adorned with the honors of a republi. Dana's resolution relative to seamen. can, the arms he fought with not with stars and

On motion of Mr. Clay, the House went into garters, the baubles of a court.

a Committee of the Whole on the bill respecting The true plan of Cincinnatus was to fight when the Militia, but a Message in writing being rehis country called for his services. I wish the ceived from the President of the United States, same example to be followed now. WASHINGTON before any progress was made, the Committee exhibited it as a pattern to his country; it is the rose and obtained leave to sit again. example I wish to follow-it is the one I wish

The Message from the PRESIDENT OF THE UNImy sons and countrymen to follow.

TED STATES was then read, as follows: I will state merely for the satisfaction of gentlemen, that, agreeably to the census of 1800, there To the House of Representatives of the United States : were under the age of twenty-one, and over eight- Some days previous to your resolutions of the thireen years old, 120,598 males, add to this for in- teenth instant, a Court of Inquiry had been instituted crease since, 29,540, makes

- 150,138 at the request of General Wilkinson, charged to make Over sixteen and under eighteen, little

the inquiry into his conduct which the first resolution

80,000 desires, and had commenced their proceedings. To Add for increase since, about 20,000, it the Judge Advocate of that court, the papers and inmakes

100,000 formation on that subject, transmitted to me by the Add all between sixteen and twenty-one,

House of Representatives, have been delivered, to be makes

2.250,138 used according to the rules and powers of that court. Then say fit for service, only about 240,000

The request of a communication of any information Of those over twenty-one and under twen

which may have been received at any time since the ty six, about

establishment of the present Government, touching

- 240,000 Between twenty-six and forty-five, about 500,000 Union, or the corrupt receipt of money by any officer

combinations with foreign agents for dismembering the

of the United States from the agents of reign Gov.

1,560,266 ernments, can be complied with but in a partial degree. It is not intended the minor and senior classes

It is well understood that, in the first or second year shall be called upon but in case of urgent and im- of the Presidency of General Washington, information

was given to him relating to certain combinations with perious necessity.

the agents of a foreign Government for the dismem, I hope I have said enough to bring this subject berment of the Union; which combinations had taken fairly before the House-my object is the liberty place before the establishment of the present Federal and salvation of the United States. I consider it Government. This information, however, is believed the best and safest mode of defence. My sons never to have been deposited in any public office, or will share with their neighbors, they will soon be left in that of the President's Secretary; these having in the junior class; let them serve with their fellow- been duly examined; but to have been considered as men, I wish them to do so. I could not touch personally confidential, and therefore retained among upon this subject without entering fully into the his private papers. A communication from the Gove principle of classification. This system will fur- ernor of Virginia to President Washington, is found in nish a sufficient number for service, and leave the office of the President's Secretary, which, although enough at home to awe and keep down insurrec- not strictly within the terms of the request of the House tion, and to cultivate the land. Those who go

of Representatives, is communicated, inasmuch as it out io service may receive arms from the national may throw some light on the subjects of the corresmagazines; but these when received I wish them pondence of that time, between certain foreign agents

and citizens of the United States. to retain as their own. I have reserved some observations which I wish to make hereafter, when President Adams, Andrew Ellicott, then employed

In the first or second year of the Administration of we come to those parts of the bill where they in designating, in conjunction with the Spanish auapply. I move to fill the blank with twenty-six; thorities, the boundaries between the Territories of the it will then read, over twenty-one and under United States and Spain, under the treaty with that twenty-six years of age.

nation, communicated to the Executive of the United The Committee now rose, and obtained leave to States papers and information respecting the subjects sit again.

of the present injuiry, which were deposited in the

« ZurückWeiter »