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When the bill to amend the act for enrolling and calling out the national forces was pending in the House of Representatives (February, 1865), Mr. Blaine proposed an amendment designed to remedy the injustice of allowing credits to towns and cities for men not furnished by such cities and towns. In support of the amendment Mr. Blaine said, "nothing so discourages and disheartens the brave men at the front as the belief that proper measures are not adopted at home for reënforcing and sustaining them. Even a lukewarmness or a backwardness is enough; but when you add to that the suspicion that unfair devices have been resorted to by those charged with filling quotas, you naturally inflame the prejudices and passions of our veterans in the field in a manner calculated to lessen their personal zeal and generally to weaken the discipline of the army. After four years of such patriotic and heroic effort for national unity as the world has never witnessed before, we cannot now afford to have the great cause injured, or its fair fame darkened by a single unworthy incident connected with it. The improper practices of individuals cannot disgrace or degrade the nation; but after these practices are brought to the attention of Congress we shall assuredly be disgraced and degraded if we fail to apply the requisite remedy when that remedy is in our power.

Let us then in this hour of triumph to the national arms do our duty here, our duty to the troops in the field, our duty to our constituents at home, and our duty, above all, to our country, whose existence has been in such peril in the past, but whose future of greatness and glory seems now so assured and so radiant."

At the commencement of the first session of the thirty-ninth Congress, Mr. Blaine introduced a bill to reimburse the loyal States for the expenses incurred and debts contracted in support of the war for the preservation of the Union. The proposition involved an appro. priation of about one hundred and eighteen million dollars. He supported the measure in an elaborate speech in which he reviewed the scheme of Mr. Hamilton for the assumption of the State debts in the administration of Gen. Washington, and he cited also the opinions of many eminent men who favored the act. In that speech Mr. Blaine had a field for the use of his knowledge of American political history, extensive, minute, and accurate, a knowledge for which he has found a large field in his great work, TWENTY YEARS IN CONGRESS.

That speech, however, presents Mr. Blaine at his best as a parlia

mentary speaker. It is not an oration, and the day has passed for the delivery of orations in deliberative assemblies. Henceforth, orations are reserved for anniversary days and commemorative occasions. Argument is every where acceptable; a clear, chaste, forcible style is demanded; and when the cause or the occasion justifies or requires that elevated quality of speech which we call eloquence, but which no one can describe, and which only a favored few can create, the charm is for all, the rustic and the noble, the ignorant and the learned, the generation that is and the generations, successive, that are to come.

Interest in the subject of Mr. Blaine's speech has passed away; but if the speech itself can now attract the reader, its quality is thus shown to be above the reach of disparaging criticism.

Closing his review of the history of the country in regard to the assumption of State debts, he says:

"The precedents, then, for such legislation as is contemplated in the pending bill are ample and uniform in our congressional history. The principles on which this legislation is based are so plain as to scarcely need any argument in support of them, and yet, with your leave, I will proceed to point out some reasons of peculiar force, as it seems to me, why the State debts incurred in the war for the Union should be made a common charge on the national treasury. If such reimbursement was just and equitable in former wars, it is so now in a far more enlarged and imperative sense.

"I need not remind the House, Mr. Chairman, that during the past five years all the loyal States have been compelled to raise large sums of money in aid and support of the war for the Union. The statistics of expenditure have been gathered with all practicable exactness by the special committee which reported the pending bill, and the aggregate in the loyal States reached well-nigh five hundred million dollars. Nor was this vast sum of money expended fruitlessly, needlessly, or wastefully. I do not state the case too strongly when I assert that without it the war would not and could not have succeeded. Had not volunteering been stimulated and sustained by the State and local bounties we should have been thrown back on the "rough and perilous edge" of the draft in its naked, indiscriminate, and most repulsive form. At several of the most critical junctures of the war, when reverses had been experienced, when popular ardor and hope were chilled, and when the administration felt weak and timid, the revival of patriotism and courage throughout the

land had its origin in the stimulus imparted to fresh volunteering by the large inducement of the local bounties. The most that can be said in favor of the conscription law is that it operated as an incentive to enlistments, being held in terrorem over the people, and inducing thousands to volunteer for bounties in order to avoid the possible alternative of being drafted into the service without other pecuniary reward than the monthly pay. It is not discreditable to American patriotism that our people have a deep prejudice against conscriptions, and it was therefore wise, nay, it was absolutely necessary, for the strength, harmony, and success of the Union cause, that the loyal States, counties, cities, and towns, should offer bounties sufficient to fill the ranks of our army without a ruthless resort to the draft. The money thus expended for bounties was, I repeat, wisely, and in the main economically, expended; far more carefully, indeed, than the average of Federal disbursements during the war. Though raised by local effort, every dollar of it was designed for the good of the national cause; and hence every dollar is fairly reimbursable from the national treasury.

And this great effort on the part of the loyal States was not made for themselves only. Success of the Union cause was really of no more importance to them than to the revolted States, to the States yet to grow up on our vast western domain, and, indeed, to all the generations that are to follow us as American citizens and the inheritors of Republican Government and constitutional liberty. The contest was not local, but general; not for ourselves, but for mankind; not merely for to-day, but for all time. The twenty-five loyal States derive no more advantage from the victorious issue of the war than do the eleven revolted States which were thereby saved from anarchy and destruction, or the forty new States that are yet to be added to the Union, and which would never have had an opportunity to reach an organized existence but for the successful struggle which has assured to them the fostering care and protecting ægis of the great Republic.

The contest, then, was one in which all the States, both now existing and hereafter to be organized, were equally interested; and what justice, what semblance even of fair dealing is there in leaving a heavy burden of debt on Maine, while Nevada has not paid a dollar in the struggle; or in asking Michigan to pour out her money and her credit like water, while Colorado escapes without the cost of a penny? Nevada and Colorado were as much interested prospectively

in the result of the contest as Maine and Michigan, and the burden should be proportionally and impartially shared between them.

Some gentlemen, with a tender sympathy which I fail to appreciate, argue that the Southern States have suffered so severely in their abortive rebellion that they ought not to be called on to bear anything more than their part of the national debt already contracted. What those States expended in their wicked effort to destroy this Union is not, in my judgment, to be reckoned to their credit on the national ledger, nor is the exhaustion to which they were reduced by their insane persistence in the war, to be made the basis of an appeal to our sympathy, much less to our reason. They were kept back from suicide and redeemed with a great price, and it is but fair and honest that they should pay their full proportion of the cost, even to the uttermost farthing. But as a matter of fact let it be asserted that the lately revolted States are not burdened or embarrassed with debt. Their obligations incurred in supporting the rebellion have been or will be repudiated, so that however much certain speculative traitors may lose, the political communities are free from debt and will enjoy light local taxation. They are not therefore in a position to decline their fair share of the national burden, and as the tax to support that burden is raised wholly by impost and excise, it cannot fall heavily on any community until the revival of business and the development of trade shall provide the means of meeting and sustaining it.

And in this connection let me remark, Mr. Chairman, that it is not only for the interest of the loyal States to adopt this measure, but it is preeminently for their interest to adopt it now. The subject is a dangerous one to leave open, and unless definitely and finally closed at this time it may reappear in a future Congress in a form most embarrassing and detrimental to the national treasury and the national credit. Whenever the Representatives are readmitted on this floor from the Southern States you will find a series of propositions introduced for the relief of their constituents from losses entailed by the war. These schemes will embrace compensation for slaves emancipated for the benefit of the Union; restitution for property seized for the use of the Federal army; payment for losses inflicted by the march of our troops, and the nameless and numberless other claims which the extraordinary events of the past five years will so readily suggest. Let us beware how we leave open a class of meritorious claims from the loyal States with which the southern

jobs may be combined and coalesced into a gigantic onslaught upon the Federal treasury. Pass the present measure and you at once remove the opportunity and the temptation for such a dangerous coalition. Pledge the one hundred and eighteen millions embraced in this bill, and you will thereby escape the danger of paying twelve hundred millions in the future. The whole matter is subject to our control to-day. It may not always remain so.

For many years to come, Mr. Chairman, the loyal States will in any event inevitably bear the principal burden in sustaining the national credit. In addition to this, unless the pending measure prevails, they will each be called upon to bear a large local debt whose interest is provided by direct, merciless, and I had almost said, ruinous taxation. Throughout the States represented on this floor to-day the direct tax on property, real and personal, will annually average more than two per cent. of its value, while in many communities it reaches the staggering rate of three to three and a half and even four per cent. Such taxation may be endured, and has been patiently and patriotically endured during our great struggle for national existence, but as a permanent charge upon the property of the country, ina ddition to all the Federal taxes, it is more than can be borne without grievous affliction. Let it be remembered that the local tax of which I am speaking comes in the most oppressive form. It is not disguised by any excise system, nor lightened by any indirection. It is so many dollars out of the earnings of the farmer, the gains of the merchant, the wages of the mechanic, and the savings of the humblest. It embarrasses every enterprise, is felt as a hardship at every fireside, and shrouds the business and commercial future with doubt and despondency. The communities that are thus suffering have never thought and will never think of resorting to repudiation as a remedy, but their high sense of honor on this point and their determination to meet all their obligations should not be taken, as I am sorry to say it is by some, as an argument for leaving them to struggle unaided against their onerous and crushing burdens.

But the financial question involved in this measure is not of pressing interest merely to the States that are so sorely burdened with debt and taxation. I maintain that it is of equal importance to the General Government that these debts be assumed, and my fear is that if this policy should be rejected serious embarrassment may result to the Treasury of the United States. When Mr. Hamilton

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