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The total allowances under said order for the fiscal year 1905 were 46,985.
The number of allowances from date of issue of order No. 78 to June 30, 1904, was as follows:
3, 859 14, 763
-- 18, 627
Making a total of 65,612 allowances under the order up to June 30, 1905.
PENSIONS OF THE SEVERAL WARS AND OF THE PEACE ESTABLISHMENT.
The following statement shows the amounts that have been paid to soldiers, sailors, and marines, their widows, minor children, and dependent relatives on account of military and naval service in the wars in which the United States has been engaged and during the time of peace. War of the Revolution (estimated).
$70,000,000.00 War of 1812 (on account of service, without regard to disability)
45, 440, 790. 97 Indian wars (on account of service, without regard to disability)
7, 637, 268. 53 War with Mexico (on account of service, without regard to disability)
36, 682, 848. 87 War of the rebellion...
3, 144, 395, 405. 26 War with Spain.--
11, 996, 198. 63 Regular establishment
4, 707, 510. 72
Actual total disbursements in pensions--
3, 320, 860, 022. 98
It is proper to state that in the above table the amounts paid as pensions for disabilities and deaths due to military and naval service in the wars of 1812 and with Mexico, and during the time of peace prior to the civil war, and of the regular military and naval establishments since the close of the civil war have heretofore been charged to the war of the rebellion.
To determine the actual amount chargeable to the war of the rebellion the sum of $16,000,000 should therefore be deducted from that item in the table, that being the estimated amount charged to said war which does not properly belong to that item.
The Pension Bureau records show that on December 31, 1906, there were on the rolls 3,738 survivors of the war with Mexico, including those then pensioned by special act, and that during the preceding six months the loss to that roll by death was 246. The report of the Commissioner of Pensions for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1906, shows a death loss of 556. As the war with Mexico ended May 30, 1848, its survivors will be, with possibly a few exceptions, beneficiaries of the proposed legislation at the maximum rate of increase, save those already placed on the rolls by private laws at $20 per month on account 'of such service, or at $30 per month on account of same, supplemented by service during the civil war. Their number—342 on June 30, 1906—subjected to the mortality rate of over 12 per cent applying to this class but slightly affects the total.
The Pension Committee to whom the bill was originally referred, together with the chairman of the Committee on Invalid Pensions, and such of their members as were enabled to attend, heard the pension committee of the Grand Army of the Republic, and a verbatim report of that meeting follows:
COMMITTEE ON PENSIONS,
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
Washington, D. C., Tuesday, January 22, 1907. The committee met at 2 o'clock p. m.
Present: Representatives Loudenslager (chairman), Draper, Campbell, Hogg, Dickson, Samuel, Richardson of Alabama, Macon, and Richardson of Kentucky, of the committee.
Present also, Representatives Sulloway, Chaney, Bishop, Bradley, and others.
Present also, the following gentlemen, constituting a committee from the Grand Army of the Republic: Robert Burns Brown, commander in chief, Zanesville, Ohio; John R. King, past commander in chief, Baltimore, Md.; J. H. Goulding, Wilmington, Vt.; S. H. Harper, Ottumwa, Iowa; William A. Ketcham, Indianapolis, Ind.; A. G. Weissert, Milwaukee, Wis.; David F. Pugh, Columbus, Ohio, and Henry M. Nevius, Red Bank, N. J.
The committee thereupon took up the consideration of the bill (S. 976) granting pensions to certain enlisted men, soldiers, and officers who served in the civil war and the war with Mexico.
The CHAIRMAN. This is a rather informal meeting, called together very quickly for the purpose of hearing from the representatives of the Grand Army of the Republic in the form of a committee who represent that association and who are here to give us their views regarding what they deem is wise, proper, and beneficial legislation in the interests of the old soldier, and what, in our judgment, they deem is due from this great nation.
We have with us not only the members of our own committee (and not quite so many of those as I would have been pleased to have seen gathered together here), but we have also members from the Committee on Invalid Pensions, which has, under the rules of the House, the direct charge and consideration of all measures affecting pensions which grow out of service in the late civil war. All, I think, are interested in this matter, and therefore, by my request, the members of that committee are here present to-day, so that we can give to this committee of the Grand Army of the Republic as much of a general hearing as is possible in the short time allotted to us.
We will now place ourselves at the disposal of the committee, to hear from them in the order that they may desire to be heard, as the only object of the meeting is, practically, to listen to what you gentlemen have to say or to have you answer any inquiries that any member of either of the committees may make regarding the proposed legislation.
Now, Mr. Brown, commander in chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, and at the head of this committee, we will let you suggest as to wlió shall be heard and what shall be said.
STATEMENT OF ROBERT BURNS BROWN, ESQ., OF ZANESVILLE, OHIO, COMMANDER IN CHIEF OF THE GRAND ARMY OF THE REPUBLIC
Mr. Brown. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen, I have but very little to say, especially in the way of an argument in favor of the McCumber bill. "For a great many years the Grand Army of the Republic has been discussing and planning and seeking to formulate what many are pleased to term a“ service pension bill.” I have sometimes thought that there was a popular misapprehension as to that term. There is not a man who wears the little bronze button or who, wears the Maltese cross of the other side that is willing to accept compensation for that service. We do not understand that this great Government pays to its soldiers a pension for service, but to make good any cost of that service to the soldier.
The Grand Army of the Republic represents to-day about 675,000 survivors of the war on the Union side. We have been somewhat busy, gentlemen, recruiting the infantry since we laid down our arms, and we have sons and sons-in-law to more than double or perhaps treble our number who are interested in this great Republic, who are active in its support. Broader than all that is the great American people, North and South, who gladly give to us the full meed of praise and of honor for the part we took in that great war of the sixties.
The Grand Army of the Republic for forty years has been seeking to perform in civil life the service it performed in the days of strife. And I say, Mr. Chairman and gentlemen, with very great respect to my fellow-citizens, that there is no class of men anywhere on this planet who have done more for the Republic than the men who wear this five-pointed star and this little bronze button.
We are not here asking for that that we ought not to have, for we represent a class of men who in the days of their youth surrendered to this Government the best service they had. Of silver and gold they had none, but in their manhood and in their pride of country and in their loyal devotion to the right, as they believed, they went into the Army and into the Navy. And very good authority could be cited to show that every survivor of the war of three yearsservice gave up about thirteen years of his life. Many of them are maimed, and they have been handsomely provided for by the American Congress. Some are blind, and they have been cared for. Many are crippled by rheumatic troubles, but they have not been cared for as we think they ought to be.
This Congress and all the Congresses back of this have sought, I am constrained to believe, to be fair with the soldier. But the question uppermost in the minds of all of you and of everyone of your predecessors is, What is the full measure of justice?
We have not always been agreed upon that point. Many bills have been passed; but there is one thing to the eternal credit of this people: That the private soldier, for specific disabilities, has been raised to the level of his commanding officer, and thus has preserved the genius of our institutions. There has been no class or caste to any appreciable extent. Rank pensions are a thing of the past. We have come to understand that the private soldier who served his Government faithfully and well was as deserving of the Republic as the man who wore the stars, placed there by the devotion of those men in the ranks.
The Grand Army has stood for that principle, and still stands for it. We believe in a uniformity of pensions. We believe in specific ratings for specific disabilities. Of course, there can be no general law that can meet each individual case and meet it fairly. My good friend from New Hampshire, Mr. Sulloway, was created of God for that especial purpose; and having cast him in the mold, so far as I am advised the mold was destroyed, and he stands alone for this specific work with his committee.
There are, and will continue to be, and must be, from the very necessities of the case, special disabilities, special cases that must have special consideration. But you gentlemen are not to be annoyed in the application of that to the great army that are to be cared for by their Government. There must be a general law. Congress has been liberal, gentlemen. We have no criticism to offer. But Congress has not been more liberal toward the soldier than the soldier toward Congress and toward the integrity of this Republic. For I remember well, in 1873 and 1874, when we began to discuss the matter of the payment of the bondholder, that the soldier, North and South, as a rule, stood fair and four-square to the proposition that the bondholder had risked his money in this great war, and the bondholder's money must be returned to him in the money of the world. For twenty years that battle was fought. For twenty years these men stood on the line. For twenty years these people insised that the Government must maintain its integrity, as Washington insisted to Robert Morris one hundred and twenty-five years ago.
That having been accomplished, and this nation having become a world power, necessarily and naturally so, and having woven into the warp and the woof of the history of the Republic the blue that we wore and the red of the best blood of the empire, we feel, in this beginning of the twentieth century, that we may fairly come to the Congress and ask for a general uplift of the pension rating.
The McCumber bill satisfies us$12 a month as the lowest pension, $15 a month at 70 years of age, $20 a month at 75. It has passed the Senate, as you know, without a note of objection. I have noticed what has appeared in the newspapers with some interest, as you may believe, and with particular care; and I believe I only say to you what you already know when I say that that act has been received with great favor by the people of the country. There has been no criticism on it. It has been referred by the Speaker of the House under your rule, and I think properly referred, to this committee. We ask that it be reported back to the House, we trust by the concurrent vote of every one of the 15 gentlemen on this committee, and that it shall receive in the House the fullest consideration before you shall close the Fifty-ninth Congress. And being reported to the House, we have no manner of doubt as to the disposition of this bill.
It has been estimated, gentlemen, that it will cost $15,000,000 annually. I am very sorry that another duty has called Mr. Ware, a member of this committee, away, for I am sure that every one of you knowing him reposes the utmost confidence in any estimate he may make. "On his way from his home in Kansas he took a little time, as
best he could, to compute the cost of carrying this bill into effect; and without consultation with anybody, upon his own consideration, based upon a knowledge of the administration of the great Bureau having to do with pensions, he puts it at $15,000,000. Your chairman has here, and can have, I am sure, a verification from the reports of the Commissioner of Pension of the estimate that it will cost about $15,000,000 if every man, when he becomes 62 years of age, shall apply; not to exceed that. Mr. Ware is of opinion that not more than two-thirds will apply and have their cases considered within a year. If that be true, then the increase will be about $10,000,000.
I do not know that I ought to repeat it here, but I am violating no confidence when I say that it is now apparent that there will be a surplus in the appropriation of last year of somewhere from a million and a half to two million dollars. If that be true, then it will reduce this increase by that amount. So that to carry this bill into effect, by the highest estimate that has been made, it will require an expenditure of $15,000,000 in addition to that which has already been made. But if we are right in the assumption that but two-thirds of those who have the status will apply and the cases be disposed of within the year, but $10,000,000 will be required. If we are right in the information that there is to be a surplus, the ordinary appropriation will be decreased by that amount. There are some soldiers who are less than 62 years
Of course they will not be under this bill. I can not stand in this presence, and give you even an intelligent estimate of the number who are under 62; but this I say with all confidence for it has been tested by three routes—that the average age of the soldier, the survivor of the war of the sixties, is 66 years plus from one to four months. The State of Iowa, by an act of her general assembly, took a census of the soldiers in 1905; and that census, which was accurately taken by the assessors of the various townships, shows that the average age in April, 1905, was 65 years 1 month and 10 days. I am one of the trustees of the Ohio Home; I have been there for a good many years, and we estimate our average age I say “estimate” because we have not been as accurate as has been the State of Iowa—at 66 years plus eight or nine months. The commandant of the great National Soldiers' Home at Dayton, told me on last Thursday that the average age of his men (5,147 were there that day) was 66 years plus some months. So that the average age of the soldier here is about 66 years and a little above.
That will give you some idea, gentlemen, of what you can figure upon. The Commissioner of Pensions can furnish you pretty accurately with the number who are 70 years and the number who are 75 years of age. But, gentlemen, we are not so particular about how much money it costs in this great Republic. Money we have in plenty, though not a penny to be wasted by this great body; but money will not
pay these men. They ask it, not as wage or as recompense, but for the boys who are down in the trenches, who are poor, who are penniless, and many of them penniless because they learned in the school of war vices they had better not have learned. Many of them are broken in health. But it is to the eternal credit of this people that of 674,000 survivors of the war there are to-day but 18,000 in all the Homes of this country. The percentage of pauper