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War Claims

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Mr. President, pCrhapsIouglit not to tako tlic timo of tlio Senato, but I will givo my idoa of Ihe diameter of thoso war claims, ioyal and dialoyal, by au illustration from roal incidents. I will givo you iirut tho character of a claim that wiil not bo paid, and it is a type of many millions. Karly in tho month of September, 18;."), it becamo neeessary for me in tbe discharge of a professional engagement to travel 100 miles in the immediate track of Sberm&n's march through Georgia, uno day about 2 o'clock in the af ternoou I became exceedingly lmngry. I saitl to tho youth wlio was driving ttie norse, "You must stop at the árst favorable opportunity and let me get something to eat." 1 shall never forget the expression of tl:" young mau. "Ah, says he, "mister, I duii't' reckon vou wül i'md anytmng you will considcr fit to eat in part of the country. Sherman has been along nero." " Well," I said, "but the peoplo in thli part of the country live on something, do they not ?" " Oh, yes, 'but I dou't hardly know how it is thoy live. They seem to live, though." "Well," 1 said, "I can live one day on what thoy livo on constantly, I am pretty sure, and, therefore, wc will stop at tho most favorable chance apparent." lt waa not long before we carne to a verj good-looking frame dwelliug two Btories high, a dweiling of a character well known in tho Kouth, containing six rooniH, well built, and indicating, in former times, a country family well to do in tho world. The fencing was all gone, the ehimneys were standing on tho outside, showiug that all the out-houses had been bumed, but thero stood tho maiu building, aud I said to the young man, " Stop boro and I will eee if I eau get something to eat," and I went in aud waa mot at the door by a very excellent-looking lady, mudeat, and evidontly refined and educated. She turned out to bo a 'country lady of gruat hospitality, but with ovidonceofpovorty all aroundher, and sho looked prematurely oíd. Sho said tome when I mado known my purpose of stopping: " Why, my dear sir, i woúld be glad to give you anything'that I cernid, but I have nothitig that you will hive, l suppose, and nothiug that I feel inclined to offer yon." "Anytliing that you have." I said, " will suit me, because I am exceudirigly hungry." She saiil: "I can prepare for you nothing but somo pqtatoos and some eggs, but I have nothing in which to coqk tho potatocs except tbe embers. We are in the habit of roasting them in the asheu. I have nothing ih which to oook the eggs cxcept the ashes or a broken skillet. I have not a whole piece of f urniture or a whole kuchen implement on the premises. Everything is broken." She hauded me a seat. Said she: " I have handed you the best seat I have. The back of that is broken as you seo." " Why is all that?" "Why," sho said, "Sherman's army passed alonghere and did all this." Wm, 1 told her I would take the potatoes and eggs, and she put them in the ashes accordingly, and -while they were roastmg I said to her: " Will you please give me an account of your experience and trials when Sherman's army passed here V " She said she woiild. I caunot give it all to tho Senate, but certainly it was one of the most intereating narratives I ever listened to in my life. The lady was one who had married about eight years befoie the war. She wao well raieod d graduatea at a female college in Georgia. She and her hueband settled in that place and built that house. They had about 1,000 acres of land, thirty slaven, and all they needed personally, and were Lrely out of debt ud perfecto happy, 'lhey iad tliree children bom to them, the oldest ine at the time of my visit being only 12 years ild. Mr. Beek- Mr. President, I desire to aak vhether Warren Mitchell got any of that voman's eggs and potatoes or not. We are tryng his ca?o now, not her. Mr. Hill- I will come to Warren Mitdiell's sise. 1 will show you how it applies to War■en Mitchell's case, but I shall do it in my own vay. It tnrued out that her husband went into ;he Confedérate army and lost nis life in one of ;he battles in Virginia. Hia remains were jrought homo and were buried in sight of vhere wc were sitting. About a year after her íusband was in Virginia, in the Confedérate army, Sherman's army passed through ieorgia and all her slaves exoept 3ook, called Aunt Millie, left This Aunt Millie was raiaed with this lady and had nureed lier in her infancy, and was given to her by her father, and she aaid she would never leave her ander any eircumstances, ■ and she remained with her. But, to niake a long story short, sverythiug thcv had was taken. AU the stock, all the provieions, were taken away. Everything that eould not be carried away was killed or broken, or burned, except oue eow, two banks of potatoes and a email crib of corn. The eow wan aaved by Aunt Millie claiming her as her own, which she did for the purpose of haviDg it. The corn-crib was saved in tbia way: The lady sat in the house with her three children and aaw everything being burned. Seeing the torch about td bo applied to the last corn-crib she summoned courage and went out j with her babe in her srms and her own little j children by her side and said to the officer who seemed to'have charge of the sport, " Sir, have yonafamily at home?" The offieer said he had a wife and two children. " What would you thirik," said she, "if a Southern army should pass through your country and take the last mouthful of bread your wife and children had f " The officer was a man. He lifted his nat most gallantly, and then said to his squad, -Don't fire that crib," and said to the squad in the garden, Dou't disturb fnrther those potatoes," and that is the way the lady savcd the crib of corn and banka of potatoes. In the meaiitimo tho squad had gone into the house, pulled down all the picture, defaced the walls, broke all the furniture, broke everything she had in the shape of kitchon utensils, and carried off all her silverware and cutlery, The last ahe Baw they were j.ulling the covering off the grave of her husband, and, supposing they were going to take his body off, she fainted away, but Aunt Millie stopped them by telling them for God's sake not to mako war ou the dëad, and they left. This is a literal fact. 1 his woman had raised a patch of one acre of potatoes and one email finid of corn, working with her own hands and aided by tbin good -woman, Aunt Mihie, and her türee little children, and they had liycd ou that scant allowance tïom tho time Sherman's army paseed by until I met her. Now that womau will never come here to have her lossea repaid. She will never come here with a claim beföre Cóngresg and ask for componsation. And now I will give you another claim. A few weeka aftor I took my seat as a member of the other House in" the Forty-fifth Congress I received a card one day by a messenger, who said that a lady desired to see me in the Speaker' a reception room. I went in. Sho was exceedingly dressed. She had vel vet and diamonds and laces all over her, and the first speech aho made to me was to express the great gratification of all Georgiana that I had been elected to Congreas. ''For now," she said, "all Georgiana will get their rights." She soon made known Ilie animus of that speech, for in the noxt sentence she said she had a claim before Congress which she desired me to support, and ahe knew I would support t' becaiise abe was a Georgia lady, born and raised in Georgis and she knew I would support her claim. "Well, w.ho are you? If you werp born and raWed in Gêfflpgta and had loases in Georgia, wuy are you here in the condition I see you? " "Oh' "she said "when Sherman's army passed through Georgia they destroyed my property, but," she added, "I married one of the Federal offièers and came North." Mr. Hoar- She took her revonge in that way. Mr. Hill- Yes, sir; she married a Federal oflicer. The first woman mentioued lost her hunband u the Confedérate army and thereïore is dlsloyal. Tho second woninn married an officer in thê Union army and t! ere f ore is loyal. Well, her statement was true becauae she produced a verv complimentary and nattering letter from een. Hherman. livideutly tho letter waa geuuine and not dictated by a Woman, but I will say, in justiee to Gen. Sherinan, that Iamsiiiafieií he 'gave that letter more on account of the woman's husband, who' was a Federal oftíwr, than on account of her claims. 1 asmune and believe lie did. "But," I asked this lady, "what is your olaim fot?" Said alm: " Why, for personal property deslroyed by Sherman's army." "How much íb your claim for?" " Eight hundred thousand dollar." Khe Haid, whereupon I became bewildered. "Eight hundred thonsand dollars of personal property of one person destroycd liy tho war?" "Yes," gfae nai(l ; "it was 'well proved by the very officers and men who destroycd ii- who act fire to it," aml he named quite a miniber of Republioane in the House, who, sho said, liad promised to vote for her bill, bnt they had told hor that it would bo very important for hei to get a Demacra, and, best of all, a So.uthern Democrat, to introduce it. Therefore she èatne to me aa a Demoerat, and a Southern Democrat from her owu State - her (lew Georgia - to introduce her bill. She said the Republicana asaured lier that if Hhe would get a little reinforcemeut from tho South and trom tl' Democratie party, her bill would oertainly become a law leai'd to the lady: " It will be very difticult to make me believe thüt the wholo country ever ut one üme liad H00,(KX worth of '■■. ,! ii-i ,i ■!■ y . "' "Bnt, shu eaiJ, "it ia all roved. lt ia' all right, and the Kepublicana ptefor it." I doiioi ythey wore. ca:i o-.ily teil yon what tfcc woman aaid, and :- ia toyal yöu niiLilit tu . asa ;ool witneea, Beelrjg that hor entTBatteB could lo nc good, i-b': linaliy aaid to me that I had to ■oteiorker WÜ; tbat t)ie had a graat niany imi). g tlie newspaper mon, and filio frienaï ios wrote tor the nowNpapi hor!:■:)', nd kxnUag at me witt all tl. o iir at coniniaud, and of one haring aurtiority, ihegaid: "Mr. Bili, if voU dim'i votefor oy bil] yon v, il! never gb to the Senate." 1 ín rwpon 1 niafla !1' lady a lxJW, itaví: lier a nsalto liavn amthing to do with her or bill, and k'ft Tin f are aporinicu of what you cali Southern claims. Thia firat claim will never come here. The peeond, and canon like it, v,iü alwaya bc here, and I saw this claim of 8CO,000 (or thè wonian who became loyal bymarriage, and for whcan the Kepublicaiis werc readj' to voto - I saw the same claim paraded through tho Northern press in the cai.uiaign of 187(1, as evidence that, if the Sonthern Democrats ever did get here in power, and the Democratie party had the majority, they would tako everything there was in the treasury. Now, ehonld I vote to tax that ■woman who foü me on the eggn and potatoeR to pay thiB woman in velvut, laces and diamonda? AU ovor the South thero are huntheda and thousands of poople, Hmping, veak, poor, impoverishod by the war, laoqiing as heet thy can for a hare susteiiance, asking Congresa for nothing, not lookinc to tho üovernnient for compeneation for ' their loasea, and here and there is aomo man who hu lost Bemowho has lost eome property or failed to mako what ho hoped for in aome apeculative venture, coming here and aakiug: CongresH to pay lúa losíca, and that we ahall tax theae poor peoplo to pay hia loaaes. I for oue hall not doit. I ara againa these bilis, therefore, upon principie. Ido not need any conatitutional amendment to mako me against them. There will be a great many hard caaf-H. I cüiiriider that war is nothing hut an ordoal of hardoaaea. I do not know anything producod bv war except hard canea. You cannot repair ail those liard capes. Mr. Mitchell has a liard caae, but hia oase ia not harder than thoux; of others wlio lost like property or other proporty, and who were juBtaaloyal as hewae. lou caunof repair theae loaaes. Let it go forth, therefore, that we tako the positura dwhneuy andemphatically that tlua talk of paying Southern war claima muat end. Teach it to our people, and teach it tb all the.people, and let all f hia" politica 1 excitementon the subject end. Mr. Prerident, I am tbe humblest man in the Democratie party. That party after eighteen yeara of absence I trust aud believe ia abont to return full-fledged to jwwer. I thinkitwillliave poKseaaion of evory department of thi8 UOTrnment. It certainly will have if we convince the people North and South that we deserve to havo it, for, evidently, the people are satiafied that the Kepublican party doea not df-aerve to bo continued in power, and the only queation witli the poople ia whether the Democratie party does deaerve tobe intrustfd with power. If I had control of the party- as I have not, and never Bhall- if my voice were worth anything, there are four thinga I would hve tho Democratie party to proclaim to the world ip mostconvincing teims and adhere to it with unflincMDg fidelity. I would havo the party to 1. We will not pay war loBsea, loyal or dialoyal, unleaa we make a few exceptiona of roligitua, cducatioiial, aud charitable institutions, and verv few of the-se 2 We will vote no more of the public credit and no more of the pub. ie lande to buüd np or enrich mammoth monopolies in the shape of coi porationa. 3. We will in good faith pay every dollar of the pulilic debt, principal and interest, in good money of the standard valué. 4. We will restore tho constituuon to tho counfiv and honesty and economy to its adminietratio'n, confining'the General Government to its limited delegated sovereign power to promote the general welfar, and lraving the State uuinolested in the exereiso of thtir reserved sovereign powera to promote tho local welfare of the people. Do theso four things, and, in my judement, the child is not born v,ho will witnees the termination of Democratie admmiatration in this country and the tongue has not been gifted with languagc that can expreea the proepenty which will follow to all our people in every aeetion of our country.


Old News
Michigan Argus