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CITY OF BOSTON.
IN COMMON COUNCIL, May 23, 1872. The Joint Standing Committee on Claims, to whom was referred the petition of H. W. Paine and Charles Burrill, that the order authorizing the payment of forty thousand dollars to said Paine, as assignee of said Burrill, passed the 12th of September, 1870, may be carried into effect, having carefully considered the subject, beg leave to submit the following
Although the general character of this claim is pretty well known by the citizens of Boston, there are many erroneous impressions in regard to the extent and value of the services which Mr. Burrill rendered to the city, and for which he has vainly endeavored to obtain compensation during the past eight years. It may be well, therefore, to state, briefly, the transactions which took place between the claimant and the city authorities as they appear from the official records. To appreciate those transactions properly it is necessary to recall the condition of affairs when they took place. The frightful riot in New York in the summer of 1863, the attempt at a riot in this city, and the disturbances, more or less serious in all the large cities in the country, consequent upon
the enforcement of the draft, had produced a very excited state of feeling among the citizens, and led to the performance of many acts on the part of their representatives, in securing the quotas called for by the government, which would not bear the scrutiny of calmer times. As early as
1862 cities and towns in this State began paying bounties for enlistments in the army, although there was no legal authority by which the citizens could be taxed for any such purpose; and an injunction might have been issued upon the application of the tax-payers to restrain such payments. This city began by paying a bounty of one hundred dollars in July, of that year, for three years' men, and afterwards, Oct. 11, 1862, under the pressure of public opinion, increased it to two hundred dollars for each man credited on its quota, whether for three years' or nine months' service. The cities and towns were then engaged in a ruinous competition for obtaining recruits, some of the small towns paying as high as four or five hundred dollars for nine months'
The City of Boston paid for bounties and recruiting expenses, between the 14th of July and the 25th of November, 1862, over $840,000. The war had then been carried on for a little over a year, and the difficulty of obtaining men was not nearly so great as it was two years later. In March, 1863, cities and towns were prohibited, by an act of the Legislature, (Chap. 91,) from raising or expending money for the purpose of offering or paying bounties to volunteers ; and in place of local bounties the Governor was authorized to pay a State bounty of fifty dollars. In October, 1863, the President called for three hundred thousand men, of which number Massachusetts was required to furnish -something over fifteen thousand. The State bounty of fifty dollars was found to be insufficient to secure volunteers, and an extra session of the Legislature was called in November, and an act passed authorizing the payment of a State bounty of three hundred and twenty-five dollars to each volunteer. The Legislature, which met in January following, passed an aet in March, 1864, authorizing cities and town to pay a bounty, not exceeding one hundred and twenty-five dollars, in addition to the State bounty, for each man enlisted and mustered to their credit; and, in the latter part of that
month, the Mayor was authorized, by vote of the City Council, to pay a bounty of one hundred and twenty-five dollars for each man enlisted and mustered to the credit of the city after that date; and the sum of two hundred thousand dollars was appropriated to cover the expense. On the first of February, 1864, there was a call for two hundred thousand men; and on the 14th of March another call for two hundred thousand men. The action of the Legislature in authorizing the payment of local bounties was the result of these repeated calls, and the anxiety to avoid a draft by offering large inducements for volunteers. The national government was paying, at this time, a bounty of $402 to veterans who re-enlisted, and $302 to new recruits. Notwithstanding these heavy bounties, amounting in all to $752, or $852 for each man, recruits came in slowly, and on the 31st of May there was a deficiency of six hundred and one men.
This was the condition of affairs when Mr. Burrill entered into his contract with the Mayor of Boston to furnish credits on the quota of the city for the amount designated by the act of the Legislature. The contract, or memorandum, was in the following words :
66 In consideration that Charles Burrill, of Brookline, Mass., obtain credits upon the quota of the City of Boston, I hereby agree to pay to the said Charles Burrill the sum of one hundred and twenty-five dollars per man for each and every full man so credited upon said quota, the money to be paid to the said Burrill whenever he presents to me the official certificates from the proper authority, showing that said credits have been given.
"F. W. LINCOLN, JR.,
" Mayor. "Boston, May 31, 1864."
The evidence as to the manner in which these credits were expected to be obtained is conflicting, and there are questions as to the true construction of the contract; but, inas