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guard against mistake or deception, and has the merit of involving very little expense in the details of its management. Should improvements occur to any of the several committees deserving of general acceptance, provision is made in the orders for their adoption into the Rules and Regulations.
Some difference of opinion exists as to the wisdom of continuing the present plan. While some of the ward committees find the labor light and agreeable, to others it proves in a high degree irksome, and interferes with their other duties and engagements. The statute requiring a majority of the Board of Aldermen to certify to the payments, it would seem unavoidable, whatever be determined upon, that they should still retain a general superintendence. But we think there should be some hesitation in abandoning what seems to work well. If any of the committees find the task too burdensome, the employment of suitable persons in their wards to procure information as to the condition of the applicants, to keep their records and to fill the orders, would leave for the committees only the care of occasionally assuring themselves of the fidelity and accuracy of those they employ, and to the chairman the duty of making his signature. The last month the number of new petitions is much reduced, and it is believed that the improvements in the system for the future will lessen materially the labor of the committees. Where personal application on the part of the petitioners is annoying, there is no reason why they should not be directed in all cases to seek relief at the central office, and the orders filled by the relief clerks can be submitted to the committees for their approbation. This can be so ordered by any of the committees, as the rules now stand, and the plan working very well as it has been arranged in many parts of the city, no general changes will then be necessary. When the legislature meets, the statute will probably be revised, and such modifications suggested as may be deemed advisable. We shall then have the benefit, not of our own experience alone, but learn how the law has been carried into operation in other places. Our people being proverbially ingenious in system and contrivance, any defects we have made
can be remedied by improving upon the examples set for us elsewhere.
The whole number of volunteers from Massachusetts in the federal service is estimated at not far from twenty thousand men. Of these, probably one fourth are from Boston, but this estimate is of course merely an approximation. In Ward Twelve, with twenty-five thousand people, it is said twelve hundred are in the ranks. If so, and one thirteenth of our population are capable of bearing arms, or one hundred thousand in the State, nearly one third of all our citizens in the full vigor of manhood are engaged in the war. If we add to those now in the army the ninety days' men who have returned and not re-enlisted, upon the same basis of calculation another thousand should be added, at the least, for this city, making about six thousand in all. The dependents of nearly one thousand of these have already applied for assistance, and others will be doubtless added as the winter approaches. Statistical results being very regular, it may be useful to call attention to the fact, that in South Boston, with its population of twenty-five thousand, and with twelve hundred now in service, as above stated, the recipients for aid represent one hundred and eighty volunteers.
It will be remembered that the terms of service of the volunteers go back, in the case of the third, fourth, fifth, sixth, and eighth regiments, to a few days after the fall of Sumter on the 12th of April ; and that, although our orders went into operation in June, our allowances were retrospective, and dated from the time when the soldiers were sworn into the service of the United States. This is a period of five months, and as the aggregate of payments already made is but little more than twenty thousand dollars, there is no present reason to apprehend any serious objection to their continuance. It is all important of course for applicants to realize that, by receiving when they are not in actual want, the amounts may be increased so much as to induce the legislature for prudential considerations to repeal the law. If the demand be kept within the present limit of moderation, the immense amount of relief already extended in this
way throughout the community will bear witness to its wisdom and propriety, and prevent its being abandoned.
The payment of the troops in the field has necessarily, from the military movements, the demands on the treasury, and the often unavoidable informality of the rolls, been dilatory and irregular. When paid, the men have liberally appropriated a large part of what they have received to their families. The exertions of the Mayor, in his late visit to Washington, were rewarded by the gratification of receiving from our men in the eleventh regiment nine thousand dollars out of the nearly twentyfive thousand on the pay roll. Two other of our regiments have since remitted with like liberality. In future, as the treasury is amply supplied by the promptness of the banks and private individuals in taking the loan, these payments will be more regular, and a plan might easily be systematized as recommended by his Honor, for remittances, which will enable many families to dispense with aid, who now depend chiefly upon it for their bread. If an officer were attached by Congress to each regiment, whose sole duty should be to keep the rolls accurately, facilitate the communications of the men with their homes, remit their pay to their families, and furnish required information to local committees or governments, it would be, it is believed, of good practical effect.
Many have joined the army from inability to procure subsistence in any other way; some no doubt from a love of adventure, or aspirations for distinction; the larger part mainly influenced by patriotic motives. Few in a community so enlightened as our own, but perceive that the issue involves not only the prosperity of our country but its liberties, and all that makes existence of value; that upon the successful result depends in a great measure all hope for mankind of self-government, the only mode of government tolerable by those who have once enjoyed its blessings. We are struggling, too, for independence of European powers; for civil war places us at the mercy of their cunning and unscrupulous diplomatists, with no sympathies for republics, and ever vigilant to crush nations outstripping their
own in political importance. Disunion means nothing else but perpetual warfare. The continent is not sufficiently large for two confederacies. Neither would be contented nor secure without the Gulf, the Chesapeake, or the Mississippi. No natural barrier exists anywhere for a boundary, and our present differences of opinion and interest would be rife with tenfold virulence if attempted to be healed by separation. They may be adjusted again as they were by our fathers by constitutional guarantees of non-interference with State institutions, but never by treaty, upon any permanent basis. To maintain our place among the nations, to save the South from the horrors of ceaseless civil and servile commotion, and the whole country from the annihilation of its prosperity, indeed every consideration for our safety and .future well-being alike demand a vigorous war, the consecration of all our own lives and means to its effectual prosecution.
Let us not be deceived. We must strain every nerve to sustain the government, and forward men to the army, or prepare our minds for a protracted and exhausting struggle. For either section to hope to subjugate the other is idle. Our aim must be such a superiority in force as will make the rebels powerless for aggression. It is for their benefit, as well as for our own, that we must strive for the mastery. If after years of sanguinary conflict, they secure their independence, their boasted monopoly will be gone, and they will find subjection to class domination a sorry substitute for the best government the world has yet known. They will then have learnt perhaps by bitter experience to regard slavery as we do, as a moral wrong and a political evil, but emancipation will not have been effected, indeed will have been retarded by resentment, a zeal which has no respect for constitutional obligations either in spirit or letter. But while there is too much good sense left in the Free States to admit the slavery issue into the controversy, we are contending for a reality, and may anticipate reconciliation as the fruit of victory. When they are satisfied that nothing is to be gained by prolonging the contest, and that they have misapprehended the purposes of the North, rebellion will disappear like winter's snow before the advance of spring. Already the fidelity of the President to the principles of forbearance, without which the Union of 1788 would have been impossible, encourages
the hope that we may still continue one undivided people. But this depends on success, and success not only on good generalship and abundant means, but on men. And it is for the Council to decide whether it is not good policy to hold out every inducement to the strong and valiant to lend their aid, in this hour of its extremest need, to their country.
Such inducements as we can offer to enlistment tend not merely to insure a speedier termination of hostilities, but also the safety of those we have already sent to the army. It seems good policy, therefore, to set at rest as far as we prudently can any anxieties for the comfort of their families, that may keep at home those capable of doing good service. Should any one feel uneasiness that so many, on whom we must mainly rely, if the war approaches our own borders, are away, the experience they will have gained, when called upon to defend their own hearths and altars, will more than compensate for any insecurity now from their absence. Two thirds at least of our men in the prime of life are still here, and the organization of Home Guards, and frequent drill, if in season, will enable us to present such an array as to discourage attack, and render it unnecessary that our regiments should be recalled from the posts that are assigned them for our own protection, should reverses occasion alarm.