« 上一頁繼續 »
left it, and engaged in such a profession as would best promote their private interest; either the practice of law, or the practice of medicine, or some other of the liberal professions which they believed would best promote their own interest. Those young gentlemen might acquire all the education necessary for them to have, in their own States, and at their own expense, and for which the Government now pays, besides paying them for getting it... There is another objection that he [Mr. T.] had to this institution, and that is, [said he] those young gentlemen are selected by the Secretary of War, or rather by the President of the United States, who has the controlling power over it, and who can have but little or no opportunity to know any thing about the talents and qualifications of the applicants, only from such information as they can get from other sources, and which, he believed, was generally received from members of Congress; and, as to their choice, [said he] human nature teaches us whom they will select. Mr. T. believed this principle to be anti-republican. [Here he took up the report of the Secretary of War, and quoted from it the number of cadets that had been admitted into the institution, and the number who had withdrawn or were dismissed from it, in each year, from its first establishment.] He then resumed, and, in the course of his remarks, said, that he thought the gentleman from New York [Mr. TAYLoR] had no cause of complaint about the number of cadets received in the academy from his State; he discovered, on examining this report, that there were as many as forty admitted in one year from that State, and he believed, by examining this document throughout, that it would be found that New York had her full proportion at least. [Mr. TAYLOR here explained.] Mr. so. said, he thanked the gentleman from New-York to correet him wherever he found him wrong in his statements, as he did not wish to misrepresent any gentleman at any time. But [said he] the statement that the gentleman now makes, does not affect the view that he had of this matter. His principal object in examining this report, at this time, was to show the large proportion of the cadets who were educated at this institution, and who are paid by the Government to get their education, and who have left it at their pleasure, and engaged in such professional pursuits as they believed would promote their private interest8. But [said Mr. T.] I have another serious objection to this institution, on its present plan, at least. "I am opposed to having a privileged order of men in our country. There is no man F. he] that, under the present system, is to be appointed in our armies, but those who are edueated at the Military Academy. They are to be appointed to command, to the exclusion of all other persons. There are [said he] thousands of other men equally meritorious, equally as well qualified to command, as those young gentlemen who are educated at that institution. Mr. T. said that all the education which is essentially ne cessary to qualify men to command in time of the greatest peril and danger, can be attained by those who are disposed to get it in their own States, and at their own expense; and in that way, [said Mr. TJ we should have the most efficient and best officers. He said, all the education that young gentlemen can get at the Military Academy, more than is to be acquired by them elsewhere, at their own expense, will never give them additional bravery or stronger nerve. Mr. T. said, it is sound judgment, strong nerve, and inflexible courage, that constitute the essential qualifications for commanding officers. If we will only reflect on the history of our own country, [said Mr.T.] he thought no man could say, but what the most glorious victories that ever have been achieved in our country, and, he believed, in any country, had been gained under the command of officers who never had any military education. In our revolutionary struggle, when we were fightVol. VI.-102.
ing for liberty, under all the embarrassments and disadvantages that a nation could be placed in, our liberty was gained, all the glorious victories were achieved, under the command of officers who never had any military education whatsoever; that he had heard of our officers and soldiers fighting bravely and conquering nobly; and will not the history of our last war show conclusively that all the most glorious victories were achieved under the command of officers who, likewise, never had any military education ? We had one officer in command, he believed, through the whole of the war, high in command, and great confidence and reliance were placed on him, on account of his military qualifications, which he had acquired at the Military Academy in France. And what did he do? What victory was gained under his command? Not one [said he] that he had ever heard of nor had he ever heard that that officer was in one single engagement during the whole war. The officer he alluded to, was General izard. Mr. T. said, now compare the services of this officer with the services of the officer who commanded at New Or. leans and elsewhere. He said, the commanding officer at New Orleans never had had a military education, and a more glorious victory never had been achieved in this or any other country, than that of New Orleans. There never had been more skill and bravery manifested by any officers and soldiers. than there was by the commanding officer, and the officers and soldiers under his command, at New Orleans; and where will you find an officer in our army, or any other, who has had a military education, and who has exhibited greater skill and bravery, than General Brown, and his officers and soldiers ? He believed that there was not one officer under the command of General Brown, who had had a military education; if there were, he had never heard of it; and as for that officer himself, [said Mr. TJ he had been informed he had never received any military education, and but a very limited education of any kind. Mr. T. said, in addition to all other objections that he had stated against the principles of this institution, he had another, not less objectionable than those that he had before mentioned, and that is, [said he] it is the main prop to this deceptive name called the American system. Indeed, [said he] it is a part of the system itself; it is a delightful name, it is true; and, so far as the name can have any influence, it is well calculated to delude the people, and blind their understanding; and he supposed that that was the reason why the leaders of this unconstitutional and oppressive policy (as he believed it to be) gave it the name of the American system. Mr. T. said, if gentlemen are disposed to keep up this institution, so as to have a certain class of young gentlemen educated, and also paid for getting their education, at the expense of the Government, and then return home, and engage in such professions as they believe will best promote their private interests; and, also, a further privileged order of men in our country, to command our armies in time of peace and war, with nearly an army of cadets, as officers in the pay of Government in time of peace ; and, also, a corps of engineers sufficient to survey all the paths, roads, rivers, creeks, and branches in the United States, as a means to deceive the people, to blind their understanding, and in this way get them to embrace this deceptive American system, with the vain and delusive idea that they are not only to have the public money distributed among them, but that all their water-courses are to be made navigable, their paths and highways made smooth and firm; that all their produce is to be sent to market, and every other facility afforded them that vain hope can imagine; and all this they can call national, because they say it will facilitate the transmission of the mail, or the transportation of our armies and munitions of war, or regulate commerce and the like; so that everything [said Mr.T.] that can be called by the name national, is then to be national—all is to be
constitutional; the will of a majority of Congress is to be the law of the land, without bounds or limitation. He said that the engineers had made two or three surveys through South Carolina, on different routes, for the construction of this great national road to New Orleans; and he had been credibly informed that that was either the nearest or the best route, or some other remarks, so as to induce the people to believe that there was some prospect, at least, that #. road might be made on that route; and he had no doubt but that it had been the case wherever surveys had been made, and would still continue to be the case. * In conclusion, Mr. T. said, that when he left this place next session, at furthest, it would be never more to return; he should then quit public business, and retire to private life; that Congress would not be troubled with any remarks or vote of his after that period, at furthest; but, [said Mr. T.] when I do verily believe from my soul, if this policy is not abandoned, but P. in, that it will shortly end in the destruction of the liberty,
too. of the American people, that he could not, and would not, forbear to declare it as his most solemn opinion.
[Here the debate closed for this day.]
WEDNEsDAY, APRIL 21, 1830.
The House resumed the consideration of the resolution calling on the Secretary of War to report a new organiza. tion of the army, embracing a reduction of the number of officers; when
Mr. DRAYTON spoke in continuation of his remarks of yesterday. His main object was to show that disciplined troops are greatly superior to undisciplined soldiers. He continued until the expiration of the hour.
On motion of Mr. BUCHANAN, the House resolved it self into Committee of the Whole on the state of the Union, Mr. MARTIN in the chair.
Mr. PETTIS moved that the committee take u bill to amend an act in alteration of acts imposing on imports.
Mr. BUCHANAN moved to take the report of the Committee on the Judiciary on the case of Judge Peck.
The motion of Mr. PETTIS was negatived: yeas, 61– *f; 75.
he committee then took .
Committee on the case of Judge Peck.
Mr. BUCHANAN jiro the committee for about an hour, in explanation and defence of the report of the committee, and to sustain the resolution for impeaching.
Mr. CLAY, of Alabama, opposed the resolution, and defended the Judge.
Mr. SPENCER, of New York, spoke in support of the resolution.
The committee then rose.
the report of the Judiciary
THURSDAY, APRIL 22, 1830.
THE ARMY. The House resumed the resolution relative to a reduction of the officers of the army. Mr. DRAYTON continued his remarks on the subject, without having concluded, when the hour expired.
The House went again into Committee of the Whole, Mr. WILDE in the chair, and resumed the consideration of the case of Judge Peck.
Mr. DODDRIDGE, of Virginia, submitted at length his reasons for deeming the impeachment just and proper.
Mr. STORRS, of New York, also spoke for some time
eace, and |
in support of the resolution, and in favor of the impeachment. Mr. BELL, of Tennessee, followed at considerable length in opposition to the resolution, and in defence of the Judge. Mr. McDUFFIE then moved that the committee rise, and report the resolution to the House, stating that his own mind was made up on the question, and that he was ready to vote on it. - Mr. PETTIS expressed a wish to deliver his sentiments on the resolution, and therefore hoped that the committee would ask leave to sit again; and Mr. TAYLOR suggesting that as Mr. P. was, the sole Representative from Missouri, courtesy required that he should be allowed the opportunity of delivering his opinions on the subject— Mr. McDUFFIE withdrew his motion; when, On motion of Mr. PETTIS, the committee rose, reported progress, and obtained leave to sit again.
FRIDAY, APRIL 23, 1880. THE ARMY.
The House resumed the resolution proposing a reduction of the officers of the army. Mr. DRAYTON addressed the House nearly an hour in conclusion of his remarks. [They were to the following effect:] Mr. D. said, that, in the remarks which he submitted when the resolution was first considered, he said that he should vote for its adoption, as he regarded it to be a mere inquiry for information, which every member was entitled to make. My colleague upon the Military Committee, [Mr. Desha] who reported the resolution, will recollect [said Mr. D.] that I expressed this opinion in the committee, adding that I had not given particular attention to the subject, which was important, and required investigation; but that my impressions were, that the number of our military officers could not be reduced without injury to the public service. Having made these explanations to avoid being misunderstood, had the debate been confined within its proper limits, I should not again have addressed the House. But, under this resolution, a wide and unexpected discussion has been entered into, in the course of which it has been contended by several members: first, that a standing army, in time of peace, being expensive and useless, it ought to be disbanded; and, if not disbanded, that it should be reduced in number. Secondly, that, admitting the expediency of the standing army, the number of officers ought to be reduced, as it is disproportionately large, in comparison with the number of soldiers; and, thirdly, that, however these questions might be disposed of the Military Academy at West Point ought to be abolished. During the progress of this debate, I have examined into the subject involved in it; and having arrived at conclusions utterly at variance with the propositions which I have just stated, I shall offer to the House the reasons upon which my conclusions are founded, and reply to the arguments of those from whom I differ in opinion. First. That a standing army, in time of peace, being expensive and useless, it ought to be disbanded; and, if not disbanded, that its numbers ought to be reduced. To conduct the operations of war, requires the union of science and art. The one prescribes the principles and rules, which the latter reduces to practice. This combination of theory and practice has usually been termed the art of war; the progress of which has kept pace with the lights and improvements of the age. If, therefore, we would maintain an equality with those nations with which we may be involved in hostilities, it is necessary that our knowledge of the art of war should not be inferior to that which they possess. This could not be effected were we
deprived of the means of obtaining this knowledge, which
must be furnished either by a military academy or a standing army. Destitute of these establishments, the art of war would soon be unknown in the United States. All will admit that the physician, the lawyer, and the artisan cannot be versed in the principles and the practice of their several vocations oil. study and experience. Upon what ground, then, can it be contended that the same reasoning does not apply to military knowledge, which requires a greater extent and variety of science and attainments than any of the learned or mechanical pursuits? It has been said that this science is of no service: that officers can lead, and soldiers can fight, as well without it. Whoever will take the trouble to examine into military details, both in ancient and modern history, will be satisfied of the error of this opinion. [Here Mr. D. detailed the particula's of the conduct and evolutions of Hannibal, in Italy; of Caesar, in Gaul; of the Duke of Marlborough, in the war of the succession; of Frederick the Great in the seven years' war; of Bonaparte, in his battles with the Austrians; and of the Duke of Wellington, in Portugal and Spain.] These examples illustrate, more forcibly than any arguments which I could urge, that skill and discipline are an overmatch for valor and numbers. At one period the most renowned and successful troops in Europe were the Spanish—afterwards the Swedish—then the French—then the allies under Marlborough and Eugene—then the Prussians, &c. When this military pre-eminence was respectively claimed and allowed, it was exclusively attributable to the skill of the officers, and to the discipline of the soldiers. In the commencement of the revolutionary war, General
Washington, great as were his talents for command, did
not lead the armies under him to victory. It was not until after the arrival of Baron Steuben, appointed Hmspector General, that a system of tactics and instruction was introduced among the officers and men, which rendered them competent to meet and to vanquish a disciplined enemy. I know that it is the habit, both in this House and out of it, to assert that the militia are, in all respects, equal to regulars. I know that it is popular to advance, and unpopular to controvert, this assertion; and yet it is irreconcilable with reason and experience. Is it not notorious that bat. tles are gained by communicating to large bodies the facility of executing combined, and, frequently, complicate movements, with celerity and precision; that inferior numbers are often victorious by the skilful selection of positions, and by judicious manoeuvres; that, by these means, a comparatively small army may be directed, with superior force against the weak points of the enemy, and thus beat him in detail? To effect these results, the officer must have learned his duties, and the soldier must be carefully and laboriously trained. Have the militia these advantages? In pronouncing them not to be equal to regular troops, I say no more than that those who have not acquired a difficult art, cannot be so competent to practice it as those who have devoted to it their labor and time. Our militia are ciószens of the same country—they are endowed with the same moral and physical |. as the regular soldiers, but they want tactical knowledge and discipline, without which an army is comparatively feeble. My colleague [Mr. Tucker] has eulogized, and justly eulogized, Marion, and Pickens, and Sumpter, and Hampton, and Butler, and Williams, officers of militia in South Carolina, who were conspicuous in the revolutionary war. I entirely concur with #. in all that he has uttered in their praise. He would not be more unwilling than myself to tarnish their well earned laurels. But South Carolina was rescued from the military grasp of Great Britain by contimental regiments, led by General Greene. With them the militia of the State, and many of the officers whom my colleague has named, co-operated bravely. Militia, acting with regulars, have, upon various occasions, obtained deserved reputation; but I recollect no instance in which
they have alone defeated an equal number of disciplined troops in the open field. The affairs at and near New Orleans, among the most brilliant in the annals of history, have repeatedly been cited as proofs that there is no superiority in the regular over the militia soldier. Upon these occasions, the steadiness and courage of the militia could not be surpassed. But it must not be forgotten, that, when they defended New Orleans, they were behind intrenchments, and that the action of the 23d December was fought in the night: that in neither of these situations could the manoeuvres of the field be practised. It must also be remembered, that the marines and United States' artillery and infantry constituted nearly one-third of those who were engaged on the 23d of December and on the 8th of January. . After the defeat of the enemy, the force with General Jackson, including the militia, in the rear of the lines of New Orleans, was nearly equal to that of the British survivors. Would they have been suffered to retreat unassailed to their shipping, had the troops under so great a commander as Geueral Jackson been regularly disciplined? No, sir, with such troops, flushed with recent victory, and with such a leader at their head, the enemy could hardly have escaped capture or destruction. Because a few individuals not educated for the profession of arms have been eminently distinguished in the field, it has been inferred, by some gentlemen, that military science and experience were useless. These are exce tions to general rules. The mass of mankind stand in need of instruction and practice to render them como to discharge the functions of subordinate officers. Zven those extraordinary personages who have been referred to, whom nature endowed with the capacity to conceive, and the judgment to direct, great military exploits, would be devoid of the species of knowledge which would enable them to discipline an army, to give to it that mechanical skill in the execution of rapid, combined, and complex movements, which are so essential. Generals Washington and Brown were strongly impressed with the expediency of maintaining a small standing army in time of peace. General Jackson, judging from his message to both Houses of Congress, as well as from other authentic sources of information, entertains the same opinion. It might as reasonably be argued that arithmetic and mathematics were useless, because Zera Colburn and Brindsley had never learned them, as that no advantage is to be derived from a knowledge of the art of war, because a few splendid examples could be adduced of consummate generals, whose genius rose above the ordinary means by which military skill is obtained. To determine whether our army be too large, we must advert to the purposes for which it has been raised. These are, to garrison our forts along the Atlantic coast; to occupy certain commanding posts upon our inland frontier; to restrain the inroads of neighboring savages; to punish their aggressions, and thus to protect our thinly populated settlements; and to preserve military skill, which cannot subsist without the proper subject upon which it is to be exercised. The extent of a line drawn around the United States and their territories, excluding the indentations of coasts, &c. may, I believe, be estimated at between eight and nine thousand miles. We have now forty-two military posts and seventeen ordnance depots, (together fifty-nine,) so that our army, consisting of five thousand four hundred and thirty non-commissioned officers and privates, would give to each post and depot no more than ninety rank and file. In this enumeration I have made no allowance for the occupation of several forts nearly finished, and of others not commenced, which it is intended shall be erected. Deductions must, also, occasionally, be made from our garrisons. Two detachments, each of four companies, have recently been upon duty—one to protect the western traders to Santa Fe; the other to repel an attack which was
threatened by the Pawnees and Camanches. Whoever will take all these circumstances into consideration, will, I think, be satisfied that our military peace establishment is not upon too large a scale for the public exigencies. Seattered as our army is over so wide a region, the opportunities can be but rare for the practice of any course of tac. tics, beyond that which applies to the company or the battalion. Shortly after the commencement of Mr. Jeffer. son's administration, in March, 1802, a period of profound peace, unmingled with any apprehensions of war, the mili. tary peace establishment of the United States consisted of three thousand three hundred and twenty-three rank and file. Our population was then about one half what it is now, our revenue was in the same proportion, and our national debt was greater by thirty millions of dollars than it will be on the first of January next. In 1802, neither Louisiana nor Florida had been ceded to the United States, and the number of our military posts was only twenty-six; to each of which, three thousand three hundred and twenty-three rank and file would afford a garrison of one hundred and thirty. Upon a comparison, there. fore, of our relative situation in 1802 and 1830, it is evident that the number of our standing army was, relatively, greater in the early part of the pacific administration of Mr. Jefferson, than it is at the present day. Secondly. That, admitting the expediency of the standing army now existing, the number of the officers ought to be reduced, as it is disproportionately large, in comparison with the number of soldiers. My colleague upon the Military Committee, [Mr. DEshA] has told us that we have an officer for every seven men and a fraction. He includes in this enumeration the officers of the line and of the staff, and also the cadets at the Military Academy; but, as neither the cadets nor the staff have any command over the soldiers, his deductions are manifestly erroneous. The cadets are stationary at West Point, where they are engaged in the prosecution of those studies and exercises which are to qualify them to enter the army. The duties of the staff do not connect them otherwise than collaterally with the troops. Their formation is founded upon the principle of the division of labor, by which the functions of the general and the officers of the line are so simplified as to be confined to the objects for which they are intended—to watch the movements of the enemy—to attack him, and to resist his attacks. If the general and the officers of the line were obliged to procure whatever was requisite for the materiel and personel of an army—to take care of the sick and wounded— to obtain the necessary supplies of food, clothing, arms, tents, grain, fuel, &c.—to provide for their transportation, and of whatever might be needful in camp, in garrison, upon marches, or in the field, they would be so overwhelmed with the variety and multitude of their employments, as to be unable to attend to their proper duties. Of all the component parts of the military system, the staff is the most difficult to organize. It is the best, in all armies, which attains regularity and efficiency. Its officers should be skilful, intelligent, and practised in their complicate duties, which they must learn in time of peace. W. a well arranged staff, the o: of an army are exposed perpetually to . and are often altogether obstructed. It is notorious that one of the principal causes of our disasters in the two first years of the late war, was the want of an efficient staff As far as I have understood, no one contemplates a reduction in the department of the staff. Bills, reported by the Military Committee, are now upon the calendar, for the increase of some of them; and when those bills come before the House, I trust that Ishallsatisfy its members that, by their passage, the efficiency of the particular departments referred to will be essentially promoted, whilst annual expenditures upon them will be considerably diminished. - wing made these observations, to show the distinction
which ought to be kept in view when we speak of the proportion between the rank and file, and the officers attached to and commanding them, I will proceed to state what that proportion really is. In the army, as now established, the officers of the line, including general, regimental, and company officers, amount to 448 The officers attached to companies, viz. captains and subalterns, are The officers detailed for staff duties, with two or three exceptions, are taken from the companies, and the number of them thus employed, according to the Army Register, is
Leaving 270 company officers,
The number of the rank and file being five thousand four hundred and thirty, to each company officer there will be about twenty men. Upon a war establishment, when the company consists of four commissioned officers to one .."rank and file, the ratio of men to each officer would only be increased by five. Independently of the advantages resulting from the officers of the line being instructed in the duties of the staff, which they are fre1. called upon to perform, in active serviee, were they not detailed from the line, the staff department must be greatly augmented. For the two Departments of the Quartermaster and of the Commissary General of Subsistence alone, seventy officers are taken from the line. In my estimate of the deductions from the line, I have not included any officers who are members of, and witnesses before, courts martial, nor those who are upon the recruiting service, nor the sick, nor absentees upon furlough. Taking all deductions into consideration, it will, I think, be apparent that it would be injurious to reduce the number of our officers. It is certainly desirable that our officers should be more, numerous upon a peace than upon a war establishment. This was contemplated, and has been partially executed, under the act of 3d March, 1821. A leading object, in a military peace establishment, is to create and preserve a body of officers, well instructed in every branch of their duties, consisting of such a number as to admit of a distribution of them among the recruits who would be raised in the event of war. Were our present force of six thousand men broken into small divisions of ten privates, with two good non commissioned officers and one experienced commissioned officer, to each of these divisions might be added forty recruits, who would soon be regularly trained and disciplined. Our army of six thousand men would thus promptly be converted into one of thirty thousand, prepared to meet any enemy. More time and study are requisite to form the officer than the soldier. With skilful and experienced officers, recruits are soon rendered efficient; without them, military knowledge is slowly obtained, and, during its acquisition, the blood and the treasure of the country would be uselessly lavished: for, in proportion to.the want of organization and discipline, must, in war, be the loss of life, and the increase of our military expenditures.
Thirdly. That the Military Academy at West Point ought to be abolished.
The substance of the numerous objections which have been made to the Military Academy may be thus summed up : That the cadets are principally selected from the sons of the rich and influential; that many of those who are received into the academy never graduate, and many who do, abandon the army and follow civil professions; that the officers of the army are taken altogether from the cadets, to the injurious exclusion of citizens of merit and talents; that the cadets are maintained out of the public funds, instead of their own resources; that the abuses connected with, or practised at, the academy, can only be remedied by abolishing the institution; and, if the abuses complained
of did not exist, that the instruction given to the cadets, does not qualify them to discharge the duties of military officers. Before replying to these objections, I will remark, that the Military Academy owes its origin to the act of Congress of 16th March, 1802, when Mr. Jefferson was President, authorizing the appointment of teueadets “to be stationed with the corps of engineers at West Point, to constitute a military academy.” Before the end of Mr. Jefferson's administration, in one year, (1808,) forty cadets were appointed to the academy. I state these facts, because I presume that no one will attribute to Mr. Jefferson the disposition to encourage what has been termed “an expensive, useless, and aristocratic military institution.” From the time of Mr. Jefferson, the academy has been approved of by every President, including Gen. Jackson, who has recommended it to the “fostering care of Congress, as one of our safest means of national defence, and as having the happiest influence upon the moral and intellectual character of the army.” He adds, that “their knowledge” (that of the graduates) “ of the military art will be advantageously employed in the militia service, and, in a measure, secure to that class of troops the advantages which, in this respect, belong to standing armies.” I will now proceed to the examination of the objections which I have stated. That the cadets are principally selected from the sons of the rich and influential, is an assertion unsustained by the semblance of proof. From the official information which has repeatedly been communicated to this House, we learn that the reverse is the fact; that more appointments are conferred upon the relatives of the poor and undistinguished, than of the rich and influential; although some among the wealthy are also chosen, it being unjust, and contrary to the spirit of our Government, to exclude any class of our citizens from the enjoyment of equal rights. This mingling together of the poor and the rich, and subjecting them to the same rules and regulations, cannot be a grievance. The rich ought no more to be proscribed than the poor. According to the prevailing practice, neither are proscribed; both are indiscriminately admitted, with a preference, nevertheless, to those whose circumstances are narrow. That many of those who are received into the academy, never graduate, and that many who do, abandon the army for civil professions, is unquestionably true; but by far the largest proportion of those who retire without graduating, are, in fact, dismissed, from want of capacity or industry, or other causes. This can, surely, afford no ground for censure. It is not desirable that the immoral, the dull, or the idle should be retained, to be a burden upon the institu. tion, useless as relates to themselves, and exhibiting bad examples to their associates. Those who, after graduating, do not continue in the army, have gained that military knowledge which renders them valuable militia officers, and that general knowledge which renders them useful in a variety of civil professions—particularly in those which require mathematical science. The labor and expense which have been bestowed upon them are, therefore, not lost to the country. But, as I am not disposed to defend any system, right or wrong, I admit, as the academy is intended for the instruction of ...; officers, that no one ought to enter it, unless he purposed making the army his profession. According to the regulations, the graduate is at liberty to leave the army, after having served in it one year. In doing so, he violates no contract, express or implied. Considering, however, this practice, which is frequent, to be a departure from the leading object of the institution, I would be willing that it should be prevented, provided a remedy could be devised which would not introduce a greater evil in its room. To require that the graduate should always be attached to the army, would be harsh, and would be an assumption of power over the free.dom of action, inconsistent with the genius of a republigan
Government; nor would it be politic to oblige an officer, against his inclinations, to remain in the service. Thus compelled, he would be little likely to acquire reputation for himself, or to do credit to his country. Upon looking at the report, which, under a resolution of this House, has been sent to us by the Secretary of War, it will be seen that the number of the graduates who do not join the army is less than would have been inferred from the remarks which have been made upon this floor. The whole number of the graduates is five hundred and ninety-one, of whom four hundred and twenty-three continued in the army Those who make it a subject of complaint, that officers, are exclusively selected from the cadets, must have forgotten that the cadets are officers. When commissioned as second lieutenants, they are regularly promoted. To revent their promotion, by substituting for them citizens in civil life, would be as unjust as, in the same manner, to supply a vacancy in the line by putting one who had never been in the army over the head of an officer who, according to the existing regulations, was entitled to the vacant office. Before an applicant can be admitted at the academy, he must be well recommended by respectable persons. He then undergoes a probation of six months. If, during
that time, he conducts himself with propriety, a warrant
is delivered to him; but if, at any subsequent period, before he graduates, he manifests a want of morals, or capacity, or application, he is discharged. With these precautions, is it not more probable that he will perform his duties o and faithfully, than a citizen whose fitness for the army has never been tested I can see no better mode of insuring a body of good officers, than by the practice which now prevails. Commissions are not given until it has been ascertained, by experiment, that the necessary *... for them are possessed by those upon whom they are conferred. The objection, that cadets are maintained out of the public funds, ceases to have any weight, when it is recollected that they are officers in the service of the Government, and liable, at any time, to be ordered to perform the duties of their profession. They are as much entitled to cornpensation as any other officers of the United States, civil or military. If the cadets at West Point defrayed their own expenses, as several gentlemen insist they ought to do, the very evil would result which is so loudly complained of, that the institution was exclusively for the wealthy. It might then be correctly alleged that the Federal Government was fostering a distinct class, and enlisting on its side the aristocracy of the nation. Organized as the academy now is, the avenue to it is as open to the poor as to the rich. , H is the only place of public instruction in the Union, into which admittance cannot be gained by the means of wealth. If any abuses exist connected with the general administration or the particular superintendence of the academy, they ought to be inquired into and corrected. . If, upon investigation, they should be found to be radical, and of such a nature as to render it inexpedient that the institutian should be continued, let it be abolished. I speak under the authority of its superintendent, when I declare thus publicly that he invites the most rigid scrutiny into his conduct. It would be peculiarly gratifying to him that all the regulations and detail which he directs should be submitted to the strictest inquisition, and exposed to the public eye. ... I do admit that, in my opinion, some abuses have prevailed in the exercise of the patronage of the academy, which are set forth in the report of the Secretary of War. By looking at the sixty-eighth page of that document, it will be seen that four foreigners were received into the academy, of whom one defrayed his expenses, the other three being paid as cadets. This institu. tion being intended solely for the education of our officers, to place at it foreigners, who owed allegianee to their own Governments, was unauthorized and illegal. A degree