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It is now forty-one years since the close of the civil war. No war since the Revolution has called for such heroic service, no war has involved equal hardships, and no war can be compared with it in importance to the life of the nation. That its soldiers should be treated with solicitude and care equal to those of any other war can not be denied; that they should be treated with greater consideration than the soldiers of any war since the Revolution, considering the character of the struggle and all it meant to the country, may well be conceded.
The following shows the period which elapsed after each war before a general service pension was provided for the soldiers of such war:
(a) March 18, 1818, thirty-five years after the termination of the Revolution, was the first act. Beneficiaries under this act must have been in indigent circumstances and need of assistance.
(0) May 15, 1828, forty-five years after war, general pension was granted to all who served to end of the war.
(c) June 7, 1832, forty-nine years after the war, the pension provisions were extended to all who served not less than six months.
WAR OF 1812.
(a) February 14, 1871, fifty-six years after the close of the war. This act required sixty days' service.
(6) March 9, 1878, sixty-three years after the close, this period was reduced to fourteen days.
WAR WITH MEXICO. (a) January 29, 1887, thirty-nine years after the close of the war. This act required sixty days' service and applied to those who were 62 years of age or disabled or dependent.
(a) July 27, 1892, fifty years after the close of the wars. This act applies to those who served thirty days in the Black Hawk, Creek, Cherokee, and Seminole wars.
(0) July 27, 1902, a law was passed extending the provisions of the above law to other Indian wars.
It will thus be seen that the first act for service pension for services rendered in the Revolutionary war was passed thirty-five years after the termination of said war; that the first service pension pertaining to the war of 1812 was passed fifty-six years after the close of that war; that the first general law granting service pensions to Mexican war soldiers was enacted thirty-nine years after the close of the war with Mexico.
It will also be observed that the first act in relation to the war of 1812 required only sixty days' service and the next one only fourteen days' service; that the first act in reference to the war with Mexico required but sixty days' service; that the Indian-wars pension law required but thirty days' service; that the law of June 27, 1890, in reference to the civil war, requires ninety days' service, so that it will be seen that both in reference to time elapsing after the close of the war in which the soldiers were engaged, to the length of service necessary to entitle any one of them to the benefits of the law, and to the amount received under any service-pension law or order the soldiers of other wars have in some respects been treated with greater consideration than those of the civil war.
The spirit of all pension laws is that no soldier who honorably served his country in time of great need or peril should be abandoned by that country at an advanced period in life or when by reason of wounds or injuries received in line of duty he is unable to care for himself.
The judgment to Congress as expressed by the law granting service pensions to soldiers of the war with Mexico, the judgment of the Executive and Interior Department in applying order No. 78, of March 15, 1904, and legislation reeommended by this Congress, coincide in making the age of 62 years a proper period to entitle a claimant to the benefits of a general service pension, and jnasmuch as under the present law the claimant would now receive the sum of $12 per month upon showing total disability to perform manual labor, we have not attempted to change the law in that respect. Our observation justifies us in assuming that after the lapse of eight additional years the pensioner will, as a rule, have declined in physical or mental ability to an extent which would require an additional sum for his support. And this presumption will apply with added force after he shall have attained the age of 75 years.
Your committee therefore are of the opinion that the bill should be so amended that any soldier who has served for ninety days, has been honorably discharged, and who shall have reached the age of 62 years shall receive a pension of $12 per month, to be increased to $15 per month when he shall have reached the age of 70 years, and to $20 per month after he has reached the age of 75 years.
Th probable number of beneficiaries under this act and the increase in cost are shown in the following letter from the honorable Commissioner of Pensions :
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR,
BUREAU OF PENSIONS,
Washington, March 28, 1906. MY DEAR SENATOR: I have the honor to acknowledge receipt of your letter of the 21st instant, requesting information as to the probable number of beneficiaries and the probable amount of increase to the pension roll that would be caused by the passage of a bill granting $12 per month to all soldiers who served ninety days in the civil war and who have reached the age of 62 years; to be increased to $15 per month when they have reached the age of 70 years, and to $20 per month when they have reached the age of 75 years.
Th number of civil-war soldiers on the roll June 30, 1905, receiving less than $12 per month on that date, who will be between the ages of 62 and 70 years on June 30, 1906, is estimated at 148,000.
Of this number 37,000 are receiving $6 per month, 66,000 are receiving $8 per month, and 44,400 are receiving $10 per month. The proposed bill grants them $12 per month, and the annual increase to these pensioners would be as follows, viz: 37, 000 would receive an increase of $72 per year, or
$2, 664, 000 66, 600 would receive an increase of $48 per year, or.
3, 196, 800 44, 400 would receive an increase of $24 per year, or..
148, 000 Total
6, 926, 400 Of the 230,000 civil-war soldiers pensioned at $12 per month, and the 21.000 who are pensioned at $14 per month, it is believed that about 53,000 are between 70 and 75 years of age, and therefore would take $15 under the bill. Of this number48,000 would receive an increase of $36 per year, or.
$1, 728, 000 5,000 would receive an increase of $12 per year, or
60, 000 53, 000 Total.
1, 788, 000 of the number of soldiers pensioned at rates between $12 and $20 per month, it is believed that 30,000 will be over 75 years of age on June 30, 1906. The increase to the roll caused by granting them $20 per month would be about $2,000,000 per year.
Referring to your question as to what extent such an act would increase the pension appropriation on account of the pensioners now on the rolls, it would seem that an additional appropriation of $10,714,400 per year would be required to pay the increased rate provided by the bill to the soldiers now on the pension roll.
From an estimate made by the War Department in 1896 it would appear that on June 30, 1906, there will be 782,722 survivors of the civil war, and as the number of pensioners on the rolls at that date will not be over 675,000, there will then be over 100,000 survivors of the civil war not yet pensioned.
This uncertain factor should be taken into account in preparing any estimates as to the number of beneficiaries and the cost of enactment of legisaltion, but it is manifestly impossible for this Bureau to state even approximately how many of these soldiers would apply for original pension under the bill, and equally impossible to estimate the additional cost that would be produced by such application. It is safe to say that under the terms of the bill at least one-third of the “unknown army ” would file applications during the coming year, and that an additional appropriation of $4,000,000 would be required to pay them for the coming fiscal year, making a total cost of the proposed legislation for the year of about $15,000,000.
The same additional amount would have to be added to the pension appropriation for some years; probably five years to come. Very truly, yours,
V. WARNER, Commissioner. Hon. P. J. McCUMBER,
United States Senate.
EXHIBIT. The following table, compiled from the annual reports of the Commissioner of Pensions, shows the number of pensioners on the roll, the annual value of pensions, the disbursements on account of pensions, the number of applications filed, and the number of claims allowed each fiscal year from 1879 to 1905, inclusive :
Average annual value of each pension, 1905.
$136. 96 187.51 113. 20 127. 90 111.00
81.52 246. 10 232. 18
EXTRACTS FROM REPORT OF COMMISSIONER OF PENSIONS, 1905.
(Page 5.) The number of pensioners dropped from the rolls during the fiscal year 1905 was as follows: By death
43, 883 By remarriage
1, 087 By legal limitation (minors)
1, 422 By failure to claim_
1, 146 For other causes
(Page 9.) The expenditures for pensions since and on account of the war with Spain bave been as follows: 1899
$28, 606. 81 1900
332, 905. 25 1901
1, 175, 225. 76 1902
1, 738, 446. 28 1903
2, 204, 084. 21 1904
3, 106, 931. 78 1905
3, 409, 998. 54
11, 996, 198. 63
(Page 11.) The disbursements since July 1, 1865, have been as follows: Army pensions-
$3, 149, 537, 669. 52 Navy pensions
74, 876, 909. 23
Total for pensions.
3, 224, 414, 578. 75
20, S62, 136. 16 15, 265, 644. 89 57, 105, 202. 64 10, 186, 150. 09
3, 327, 633, 712. 53
Amount paid for army and navy pensions from July 1, 1790,
to June 30, 1865----From July 1, 1865, to June 30, 1905.--.
96, 445, 444. 23 3, 224, 414, 578. 75
$6 and under.
It will be noticed that more than one-half of the pensioners receive $10 per month or less.
The number of special acts for the last five years, with annual value thereof and annual increase due to special acts for pensions, was as follows:
When a pension or an increase of pension is granted by special act, a certificate is immediately issued by the Bureau to the grantee.
(Page 16.) Number of soldiers and sailors engaged in the different wars. Revolutionary war.
184, 038 War of 1812
286, 730 Mexican war
78, 718 Indian wars-
83, 993 Civil war
2. 213, 365 Spanish war
312, 000 Philippines and China...
3, 304, 995
(Pages 16 and 17.)
ORDER NO. 78.
Under date of March 15, 1904, an order was issued, to take effect April 13, 1904, providing that in the adjudication of pension claims under the act of June 27, 1890, as amended, it should be taken and considered as an evidential fact, if the contrary did not appear, and if all other legal requirements were properly met, that when a claimant had passed the age of 62 years he would be disabled one-half in ability to perform manual labor and would be entitled to be rated at $6 per month; after 65 years, at $8 per month; after 68 years, at $10 per month, and after 70 years, at $12 per month.
During the fiscal year ended June 30, 1905, the number of claims allowed under the provisions of said order, at the rates specified, was as follows:
$6 to $8. $6 to $10, $6 to $12. $8 to $10. $8 to $12. $10 to $12. Total.