« ForrigeFortsett »
our late war in that quarter. There are other communications on this subject, among the documents, but which I think it unnecessary to allude to. The General Government, indeed, seems to have had but little doubt upon the subject, for it never hesitated to furnish arms, ammunition, and supplies, of every description. In regard to the pay alone was there any oesitation. This hesitation was, evidently, partly produced by the want of regular muster-rolls, and of the Governor's certificate of service—both of which were subsequently furnished; and, in fact, this House would not now have been troubled with the consideration of this subject, had not the mind of the War Department (according to the account of its own agent) been employed at that moment so much by more weighty matters as to prevent any attention to this. I will read an extract from Colonel Freeman's report, which has an important bearing upon this question. He, it will be remembered, was present in Georgia, was acting there as the agent of the War De
partment, and must have been privy to every fact or
occurrence of consequence. [Here Mr. T. read an extract from Colonel Freeman's report to the Secretary of
War, stating, in substance, that the Governor was re
quired to give a certificate before the troops could be paid; that they were, in conformity with the orders of the government, employed merely in defensive operations; that the War Department was about admitting and paying these claims, &c.] in regard to these claims, Mr. Pickering, then Secretary of War, writes, August 1795, to the agent of the War Department, in Georgia, as follows: “ The large estimate for services, about which my predecessor doubted, I have looked into, and will immediately further examine. From the complexion of these claims, connected with the Governor’s certificate, which I received enclosed in your letter of the 23d of June, I am inclined to think they must be generally admitted.” Here, then, this officer, after having examined the nature of these claims, and their extent, says, “they must be generally admitted,” to use his own words. And again, in a subsequent communication to the same officer, he goes further, and says, “Money for paying the Georgia militia is preparing to be forwarded. No delay will take place that is avoidable,” &c. Mr. Pickering's standing is well known, and his opinion, thus expressed, will, i am confident, have weight.-I think, sir, from the hasty view which I have presented, my second position may be deemed fairly established. viz: that the circumstances were such as fully, of themselves, to authorize the Governor to order out the militia, even without the express sanction of the President. The immense extent of the frontier, the sparse state of the population, the number and ferocity of the savages, the horrid murders of the inhabitants, the frequent depredations upon our settlements, are matters spread perfectly before our view in the documents upon our tables.That man must be a sceptic indeed, who can doubt of the necessity for the steps taken by the Governor for dufence! the original liability of the General Government being then considered established, the mind of the House will be directed to the ground upon which has principally rested the objection to pay the amount claimed by the citizens of Georgia, viz: that it was embraced in a clause in the “Articles of Agreement and Cession,” entered into between the United States and the State of Georgia, in 1802, which clause provides for the payment of 1,250,000 dollars, “as a consideration for the earpenses incurred by the said state in relation to the said ter: ritory,” alluding to the territory ceded by Georgia, and now forming the states of Alabama and Mississippi. Now, sir, we deny that these words can have a bearing upon the claim which is now before us. The “Articles of Agreement and Cession” had nothing to do with these mili" -laims of thc citizens of Georgia. This in
strument was formed for the purpose of ceding a large portion of the territory of Georgia, for certain valuable considerations, such as the payment of upwards of a million of dollars, and the extinguishment of the Indian title to her remaining Indian territory, at the cost of the United States. Mr. Lincoln, in a letter dated December 30th, 1803, rests his objection to the payment of these claims upon that clause of the instrument which I have just recited, and which states that 1,250,000 dollars are to be given by the United States to Georgia, “as a consideration for the expenses incurred by the said state in relation to the said territory.” Now, sir, notwithstanding this gentleman deems it necessary to travel dehors the record, in order to obtain what he considers the proper construction, I think we shall, in accompanying him, still come to the inevitable conclusion, that this instrument has no more bearing upon these claims than the Koran has. Mr. Lincoln had been one of the Commissioners on the part of the United States, in framing these “Articles of Agreement and Cession.” He was, also, at the time he gave his opinion Attorney General of the United States, and was, besides, a gentleman of acknowledged high respectability. His opinion, therefore, had he given it in positive language, would have been entitled to confidence. But, sir, his opinion is entirely argumentative, and rests upon mere supposition and very imperfect recollections. It is not given even with any degree of confidence. He sees very indistinctly the grounds upon which it is based. In fact, sir, he moves in a fog from the beginning to the end of his letter. He says, “Having no authority to determine whether the consideration for the expenses incurred by the State of Georgia, in relation to the ceded territory (as expressed in your first question) ought to be so construed as to include an allowance for the defensive operations carried on by the Executive of that State, under the sanction of the General Government, in the years 1792,”3, and '4, I can only, in compliance with the request of the honorable Committee of Claims, state to them my private ideas and recollections on the subject.” And what, pray, are these “private recollections 2* I have said they were imperfect. Take his own words for that matter. After stating that these very claims were, he thought, spoken of, at the time of forming the “Articles of Agreement and Cession,” by the Georgia Commissioners, he acknowledges (and I will add in a manner honorable to him from its candor) as follows:– “I have not been able to recollect the precise words which either party made use of on this occasion, and therefore cannot now say that my impressions were correct.” Now, sir, what does the other United States’ Commissioner, Mr. Gallatin, say? Why, that he recollects nothing at all about the matter. One witness, then, called to explain the meaning of an instrument, says he knows nothing about it, and the other, that he believes it means one thing; that this belief is founded on his recollections, and that those recollections are imperfect! On the other hand, opposed to Mr. Lincoln's imperfect recollections of the matter, we have the positive assertions of the Georgia Commissioners. Mr. Lincoln's letter gives no fact. He merely infers that this debt to these militia claimants must have been alluded to, from the fact of his not recollecting what other debts of the State of Georgia could have been alluded to. The Georgia Commissioners, on the contrary, are perfect in their recollections and positive in their statements. They are not driven to the necessity of arguing upon the subject. They have a distinct recollection; Mr. Lincoln has none. I will read their certificate, and will add here, that the standing of these two distinguished individuals is fauniliar to all of our older members in Congress. [Here Mr. T. read the certificate of Messrs. James Jackson and Abraham Baldwin, which, in substance, stated that the claims of the militia of Georgia during the years 1792, '3, and '4, never were
estimated by them as any part of the consideration money for which the “cession” was made, and never were included in any manner in the instrument making that cession, &c.] Here, sir, is a positive assertion, which must obtain. These gentlemen (which places the matter beyond all doubt) say that the present claims could never have been intended to be embraced by the instrumentalluded to; for, if they had so desired it, they had no power from the Governor of Georgia, whose agents they were, to have consented to such an arrangement. It is worthy of remark, that the only item of “exense” which Mr. Lincoln can recollect as alluded to in this instrument, is this claim. Now, the disputed part of these militia claims does not amount to $130,000; whereas the amount spoken of in the instrument is a million and a quarter! So much, sir, for Mr. Lincoln's recollections on this subject! It has been sometimes asked, if these claims for militia services were not intended to be embraced by the clause of the instrument relied upon for the support of Mr. Lincoln's opinion, what “expenses” of so great magnitude, could have been meant I confess, sir, I agree with my colleague, that this is a question which we are not bound to answer. It is quite sufficient that we show the claims, now under consideration, were not alluded to ; and this is clearly demonstrated, not only by the phraseology of the instrument itself, but also by the positive and solemn attestations of the two Georgia commissioners. But it happens to be in our power to satisfy gentlemen, even on this point. The state of Georgia had, previous to the adoption of the Federal Constitution, incurred very heavy expenses in the defence of her territory, of which the lands ceded by her to the United States formed a part. An instance has been already cited by my colleague, where she was saddled with a considerable debt, for services rendered by her militia. These services unquestionably were the militia services, which Mr. Lincoln says, were spoken of by the Georgia commissioners. . This fact is clearly denonstrated by a reference to the acts of the Legislature of Georgia. In the year 1787, three thousand men were directed to be raised for the defence of the state against the Indians. In the same year, another act was passed, giving to the officers and soldiers composing this force, near 2,000,000 acres of land, to be located in the western part of the territory, then in the occupation of the Indians, and subsequently ceded to the U. States. Upon the subsequent cession of this territory, the Legislature of Georgia consented to pay a commutation price of two shillings and sixpence per acre. Now, sir, as this ceded territory, without some arrangement specially in regard to it, would have passed into the hands of the Government of the United States, cum omere, it became necessary that the General Government should remove the embarrassment, by stipulating the payment of a sum of money to satisfy the claims of the citizens of Georgia. I would also add, that,besides this large bounty of land, (the commutation price of which was upwards of a million of dollars,) the state of Georgia incurred the additional expense of paying these troops, of clothing them, and supplying them with arms, ammunition, and rations; and, in short, she had to encounter all the expense incidental to an army in the field. These few remarks will suffice to show, that other expenses than those supposed by Mr. Lincoln were had in view in the insertion of this clause in the “Articles of Cession.” The fact is, sir, the state of Georgia never conceived the possibility that she would be made liable for these claims. She never considered herself as having “incurred any expense” in the unfortunate Indian war alluded to. She formed a part of the Union, and was entitled to protection from the Union. She was indced the part most seriously wounded by the savage incursions, but was, (as her Governor Mathews styles her,) a “picket” or outpost for the other and more interior
portions of the common country. She had indeed to meet the danger, to bear the brunt of the war. 'Twas she indeed that heard the yell of the savage, and felt the blow of his tomahawk; but, in the name of justice, add not to her calamities the burthen of the expense of her defence. To sum up my views upon this subject in a few words: I would observe, in conclusion, that the General Government gave its sanction, the documents fully prove; that the Governor could have acted without this sanction, is evident from the situation of the Georgia frontier; that the force ordered out by him was not disproportioned to the magnitude of the danger, is apparent, when we look at the extent of the frontier to be defended, and when we have the General Government's own estimate of the danger, which supposed it not unlikely that the militia of Georgia might be inadequate to the defence, and that it might become necessary to look to South Carolina for aid; and when it is recollected that the whole force (never exceeding from 10 to 1200 men) employed at any time, must have been far, very far indeed below the disposable force of Georgia alone, and that it was certainly a mere petty detachment, when compared with the immense regular and militia forces employed in the Creek nation alone during the late war. That the “Articles of Agreement and Cession” had nothing to do with their claims for services, is manifest from the phraseology of the instrument, even independently of the posttive assertions to that effect, of the Georgia Commissioners, and that, consequently, the General Government has no plea for refusing to discharge them. Sir, I repose with confidence, in the justice of this House, and 1 trust that the time has, at length, come, when the state of Georgia is no longer to be found knocking at your doors for the humble pittance due to her citizens for services rendered to the General Government. Mr. FORSYTH wished distinctly to understand the ground on which the claim had been resisted by the Committee on Military Affairs. Mr. HAMILTON (chairman of that committee) in reply, called for the reading of the report of the Military Committee in 1802, of the Committee of Claims, and ai. so of the Military Committee of last session. [These reports were read accordingly.] Mr. H. then, in a few words, stated the views of the committee in rejecting the claims. Mr. MALLARY, of Vermont, observed, that this subject had been before ongress in different forms, since he became a member. From the anxiety with which it was urged, on the part of its friends, and the constant indecision of the House, he was induced to give it a particular examination, so as to be prepared to act decisive. ly upon it. He would endeavor to be as concise as possible in the views he should present to the House. It is alleged by the claimants, that they were called into the military service of the United States during the years 1792, 1793, and 1794, to defend the Western frontiers of Georgia, against invasion by the Indian tribes. It is admitted on all sides, that the service was performed in the most energetic and patriotic manner. That there now remains due about one hundred and forty thousand dollars. More than thirty years have elapsed since the Georgia soldiers were entitled to remuneration. Their rights have been evaded so long, that they have almost lost the power of exciting any interest in their favor. But it is not too late to perform an act of Justice to those who may survive, or the descendants of the defenders of the state. Mr. M. said, he would ask the particular attention of the House to the inquiry, by what authority were the citizens of Georgia called into service Was it by orders emanating from that state, or from the Governinent of the Union If it was derived from the General Government, it must of necessity be responsible. The documents before us afford conclusive evidence
that, previous to the Militia being called into service, the frontiers of Georgia were threatened with all the horrors of an Indian war. Already was the tomahawk raised. Massacres in the advanced settlement had taken place. A well founded alarm spread through the state. Śleasures of resistance were no longer to be delayed. A full knowledge of the dangers of the frontier were fully known to the Government of the Union. Its duty was manifest : its decision was prompt and energetic. Mr. Secretary Knox says, in his communication to the Governor of Georgia, dated October 27th, 1792, “I have the honor to inform your Excellency, that it appears, by information from Governor Blount, dated the 7th instant, that the five lower towns of the Cherokees, on Tennessee river, containing perhaps from three to five hundred warriors, have decided on hostilities against the United States. They are aided by a number of banditti, Upper Creeks, and their first object is probably the Cumberland settlements.” In the same, the Secretary says, “If the information which you may receive shall substaniiate, clearly, any hostile desig is of the Creeks against the frontiers of Georgia, you will be pleased to take the most effectual measures for the defence thereofas may be in your power, and which the occasion may require. In such an unfortunate event, however, I will thank you for the earliest information, by express, of the circumstances of the invasion, and the force called into activity to repel the same.” On the 8th of May, 1793, the Governor of Georgia states to the Secretary of War, that, “such is the havoc and carnage making by the savages on our frontiers, that retaliation by open war becomes the only resort,” &c. The Governor states the force he had called into service, and considers it indispensable. On the 10th of June, 1793, the Secretary of War replies to the Governor of Georgia, that his letter of the 8th of May had been received and submitted to the President of the United States. The Secretary also says, “The state of Georgia being invaded, or in imminent danger thereof, the measures taken by your Ercellency may be considered as indispensable.” Numerous are the passages from the papers before us, to prove that the General Government conducted and controlled the military operations in that quarter. Again, sir, said Mr. M. we find repeated detachments of regular troops ordered to the frontiers, and cooperating with the militia. We find the General Government furnishing every kind of arms, ammunition, and military stores for the Georgia Militia. They were provided for by the nation while in the field, and no intimation was ever made, that the state was accountable. Now it is pretended that the pay of the troops belong to Georgia. Is this just or equitable t With such a statement of facts, which can; ot be denied with a semblance of truth, is Georgia to bear the burthen, or her citizens to be cast off unrewarded ? Permit me to advert to the duty of this Government and the rights of a state, which should remain inviolable. This Union was formed for common defence. Whenever any portion is invaded, it is an invasion of the Union. Whatever threatens one part, involves the whole. Whether invasion touches the frontiers of Vermont or Georgia, it is an invasion of the Union. The General Government having under its control the revenues and resources of the nation, to that the constitution allows us to look for the power to repel that invasion. The resources and revenues of a state would be ruined in a single campaign, if left alone. Permit me, said Mr. M. to refer to another provision of the constitution. A state is prohibited from engaging in war, “unless actually invaded, or in such imminent danger as will admit of no delay.” If this imminent danger of invasion exists, a state may prepare to resist it. But can any one say, that this is to be at the expense of the state 2 No, sir; necessity requires state authority to act, to perform a duty which belongs to the Govern
ment of the Union. The state authority, on such occasions, becomes the agent of the nation. It acts in behalf of the nation, until the immediate powers of the General Government can be called into action. Had, therefore, the Governor of Georgia seen a sudden approach of the barbarians upon the frontiers of his state, he would have been Justified in military preparations to meet it. How much stronger is the claim in question by the evidence before us, than if the military preparations had been made by the Governor of Georgia, while acting under his own discretion. He might have been told that his state was in no danger of invasion. The soldier might have been told that the state was terrified by an empty alarm. But, sir, he cannot now be doomed to meet such an objection. The Government of the Union did authorize the measures of defence of that state. The Governor was directed, as Commander of the military force of Georgia, “to take the most effoctual measures for the defence thereof, as may be in your power, and which the occasion may require.” When he had adopted his measures, the Secretary of War, as has been mentioned, submitted them to the President of the United States, and he says, “they may be considered indispensable.” What more can be required to give validity to the measures adopted by the Governor of Georgia 2 What more could have been done to give the soldier a just claim on the United States for his scanty pay Suppose the Governor had abused the orders of the General Government, were the militia to blame Are they to be held responsible for the mistakes or errors of their commanders It would be a violation of military rules. But there has been no error or mistake. Nothing has been done but what the occasion demanded. Sir, said Mr. M. having shown that the occasion was such as demanded the interference of the General Government, and also, that it did direct and control the military operations in Georgia, we are prepared to decide on the rights of the soldiers and the duty and obligation of the nation. It would seem as if the conclusion was irresistible, that their claims for payment are on the Government of the Union—that they can look to no other source for the just reward for their services. Sir, it appears that these claims were admitted as justly due from the Government, by the accounting officers in 1794. By the Secretary of War, Mr. Pickering, in 1795. By the Secretary of War, Gen. Dearborn, in 1803. The first opinion of the Executive seems to have been decidedly in their favor. The next inquiry is, have these claims been discharged 2 And has the National Government been exonerated from its original responsibility By the report of the Military Committee it is alleged, that, by the articles of cession by which the Western Territory of Georgia was transferred to the nation, the Government of the Union was wholly discharged from the payment of those claims. Allow me, sir, to ask the House to give this point an attentive examination. It seems this defence was urged by the Committee of Claims in 1803, and continued in the Reports of 1822 and 1824. They have all been referred to by the Military Committee, who last reported, and all the decisions made by those reports have been adopted. Let us, for a moment, examine the grounds of the report of the Committee of Claims of 1803. It states that, “by the Convention concluded between the United States and the State of Georgia, relative to the cession of the territory therein described, the sum of $1,250,000 is stipulated to be paid by the United States to the State of Georgia, “as a consideration for the expenses incurred by the said state in relation to said Territory.” Several inquiries now present themselves to the mind. One is, do the terms of the Convention embrace the claims of the Geor. gia soldiers If they do not, were the claims in fact em. braced in the negotiation and settled by convention 2 should those claims appear to have been included in the terms of the convention, or actually adjusted by the Commissioners, how ought that, in justice and equity, to operate as a discharge of the obligation of the United States to the militia who performed the service The Government agree to pay Georgia 1,250,000 dollars, “as a consideration for expenses incurred by said state in relation to said Territory.” If any reliance can be placed on the documents before us, and to which a reference has been made, how can any one for a moment suppose that the state of Georgia conducted the defence of her frontiers, independent of the General Government? The Secretary of War, by his letter of 27th October, 1792, expressly authorizes the Governor of that state “to take the most effectual measures for the deence thereof.” Afterwards, the Governor gives the Secretary of War information of the measures adopted for defence, and the Secretary replies, under the authority of the President, that the measures taken by “his Ercellency may be considered as indispensable.” How is it possible for any one to imagine that those measures were upon the responsibility of the state When it appears that all the supplies of every kind were furnished by the General Government, how can it be inferred that the pay of the troops was a claim on the state : , Again, sir, how can the defence of the frontier of that state differ from the defence of the frontier of any other ? It can make no difference whether the state is in danger of Indians or Europeans. If every state must defend its frontier, of what benefit is the Union ? If such is our condition, the arm of the nation can never be exerted. Individual states alone must suffer invasion. The true ground is, that, for purposes of defence, the states form one solid empire. When one part is invaded, the whole is attacked, and must be defended by the whole. The invasion of Georgia was an invasion of the Union, and the Union was bound to defend her at our common exense. The expenses of the Georgia militia could not, injustice, have been incurred by that state in relation to her territory. If not, they are not embraced in the Articles of Cession. The committee, in their report of 1803, further report, that, “in their view, whatever shape it may assume, and whether originally well-founded or not, it is virtually a claim on the state of Georgia. The militia were called into service by the Executive of that state, and, notwithstanding the ulterior responsibility of the General Government, the state must be considered as accountable in the first instance, for the expense incurred.”. This doctrine is as unjust as it is erroneous. The militia of the Union, placed under the control of the General Government for purposes of general defence, and yet, when called into service by the nation, the state to which they belong must, “be considered accountable in the first instance!” The state authorities must obey the orders of the commander in chief of the nation, and then be compelled to pay the expenses! Such is the reasoning of the committee, to force the claims within the influence of the terms of the convention. Again, sir, what was the practice of the Government during the late war? Were not orders given to the Governors of the several states, when militia were wanted for service? Did not they in turn issue their orders to those whom they commanded ? What would have been the answer of the states to the doctrine that they were answerable, in the first instance, to their citizens, thus called into service Would it not have been met with the warmest indignation ? No such idea was ever entertained by the General Government, on the one hand, nor feared, on the other. But, sir, we have been toll that these claims were, in fact, included in the convention with Georgia. This will depend upon the evidence before us. Should it so appear, the claims are groundless, and should be instantly rejected, let the language of that convention be
H. of R.] Georgia Militia Claims. [FEB. 14, 1825.
what it may. The only document before us, as evidence on this point, against the allowance, is the letter of Mr. Lincoln, the late Attorney General. He is asked by the committee whether the commissioners “considered the present claims satisfied by the convention, and what, in fact, were the particular expenses referred to in the articles of cession ?” He says, “I can only state my own imprer sions.” He also observes, “it is perfectly recollected, in the course of the negotiation with the commissioners on the part of Georgia, &c. they stated as a reason why an allowance to a certain amount ought to be made them out of the proceeds of the ceded territory, that their state then had a debt which had been incurred for military services in defence of the state, or of the ceded terri. tory, and which, on application, the United States had unreasonably refused to allow them.” He says he had no knowledge of the expenses in question, until they were then disclosed. But he finally remarks, “It is impossible for me to say what influence the minds of the other commissioners, or what weight the recited circumstances had, in conjunction with other considerations, in re. conciling my own mind to the sum finally agreed on." Could any one, for a moment, take this as evidence that the claims were allowed is here the assertion of a single important fact? There is nothing but impressions of the mind, and they of a character wholly unsatisfac. tory to the mind of Mr. Lincoln himself. The amount of the claim is $140,000, the sum allowed is $1,250,000. Of what was the balance of this last sum composed? There must have been claims to nearly ten times the amount now asked for, included in the adjustment. Mr. Lincoln offers no impressions on this point. Permit me now to call your attention to the evidence on the other side. Mr. M. desired the House to exa" mine the statement of James Jackson and Abraham Bald. win, commissioners on the part of Georgia. They certtify that the claim of the militia of Georgia, for services under the United States, on which the Secretary of War has reported, and is now before the Committee of Claims of the House of Representatives, never was estimated by to as any part of the consideration money for which the cession was made, or included, in any manner or shape. in the same; and that it was out of our power to acted: to such construction.” Here we have the most decided and express declaration of those who acted with Mr. Lincoln—the one giving a confused and doubtful im: pression, the others giving a clear, unequivocal, and prompt denial. Mr. MAllany denied the right of the House to call on Georgia to allow what claims were adjusted. It was sufficient that it was made to appear that the amount,” question had never been discharged. But the gentle. man from Georgia (Mr. TATTxAll,) who has just * dressed the House, has fully shown the reasons for the allowance of the sum of $1,250,000. she was on debt to her citizens to an equal, to even a larger amount to she received from the General Government. That do had been contracted before her admission into the Unio", for her own defence, as well as for the protection of ho extended territory. It would seem that the explanato" already offered will be entirely satisfactory. Here, sir, we have the question, so far as relate*** facts, reduced to a narrow compass. we have an *. scure impression of one of the commissioners, that the claims were, or might have been, included in the settlement; we have the unqualified denial of the otho". that they were included. We have a full expositio of those claims which were embraced in the conven” *: those under consideration are not among the "" er. But, suppose, sir, that these claims had been named in the convention, and that Georgia had agreed to ". full compensation to her soldiers, what would have been the effect? The claims of the militia for compen." from the nation must be considered as well fou"
They had no right to demand it of Georgia. Has, then, that state the power, if she should make the attempt, to discharge the General Government from its original obligation to the soldiers, without their own approbation and consent It is firmly and confidently maintained that she has not. The military service was by virtue of a contract between the Government and soldier. It is a personal engagement to the Government. The Government becomes bound, on its part, to comply with all its stipulations. By what authority are his rights against the General Government annulled and transferred against the state 2 The attempt is clearly a violation of the constitution. That declares that no state shall pass any law impairing the obligation of contracts. Can a state indirectly impair the obligation of a contract which directly it is unable to do o Can it effect by a convention what it cannot accomplish by a full exercise of its sovereignty in an act of legislation But, sir, it appears that the validity of the articles of cession depends entirely upon an act of legislation. After the Commissioners had agreed upon the terms, they were expressly ratified by Georgia, through the medium of her Legislature. On this alone the convention depends for its binding force on Georgia and the nation. It is an act of legislation which is used to destroy the rights of the militia, pursuant to their contract with the nation, and, therefore, by the constitution, an absolute nullity, so far as those rights are involved. The militia have never assented to that arrangement. They never ceased to look to the United States for their compensation. If the United States have made any agreement with Georgia which she refuses to fulfil, the United States alone can call her to account. It is unjust and cruel to require the old soldiers to seek redress where they know they have no claim, and where it has been unceasingly and irresistibly denied. It seems to be clear, said Mr. M. that the General Government authorized the call for the militia and the continuance of their services; that the state of Georgia is under no obligation to remunerate them, and it would be unjust to require it; that the claims were never embraced
in the articles of cession, nor were they intended to be
by the contracting parties; that, had the attempt been
made to compel the militia to depend for their pay on Georgia, without their approbation, it would have been a direct violation of their rights and of the constitution; that it is due to the honor and good faith of the nation that the General Government should make a prompt provision for the payment of the claims.
Mr. FORSYTH then said, that the present subject had been so long before Congress, and was of so much interest to the state he had the honor, in part, to represent, that, late as the hour was, and anxious as the House very probably might be for an adjournment, he nevertheless, felt himself compelled to make a few observa. tions respecting it. He should confine himself to the points immediately in dispute. He was conscious that the individuals now claiming before the House, were so situated, that they can scarcely expect to obtain justice. He knew that there existed in this House the strongest prejudice against them. Nor was this very surprising: for it could scarcely be considered that the Government of the United States could have refused a just claim for so long a time as thirty years. It was natural to conclude that there must have been some powerful reason for rejecting this claim for such a length of time. But nothing was necessary but a fair statement of facts, to satisfy any candid man that the denial of the claim was unjust, and that every moment's delay did but increase that injustice. He did not mean to charge the House with intentional wrong, but he presumed it must have arisen frominattention, from carelessness, or from the pressure of what was deemed more important concerns. He trusted that the claim would now receive a full and fair examination.
Two classes of persons present their claims to Congress. The first for services specially authorized by the War Department. The second for services rendered in consequence of orders from the Governor of Georgia, acting under a discretionary power from the War Department. All the troops specially authorized were paid in 1794, except one company, to whom there was still due 13,000 dollars. This sum was not paid because a dispute had
arisen between the Captain of the Company and the . Military Commander of the United States’ troops in
Georgia, which prevented a regular authentication of the pay rolls. The pay rolls have since been authenticated. About this sum no dispute ever occurred. Is was acknowledged to be due in 1794. Why is it not allowed 2. Because the committee, confounding the amount with that claimed by those whose services wereo said not to be authorized, had examined the subjectos if there was but one class of claimants, and the conclusion against the latter had been gratuitously applied to the former. Although widely differing in the view taken by the Military Committee, there was, in reality, no difference in principle between services specially authorized, and those performed under a discretionary power from the United States. And Mr. F. was willing that the whole should stand or fall together. That the petitioners, or their ancestors, had performed services, was not denied; they were entitled to their daily pay, and the question was, who was to make that payment In order to remove some of the prejudices against the claim, founded upon its antiquity, he would state from the documents, that all the other expenses of that day in Georgia, connected with their militia claims, were paid by the United States. The provisions, the forage, the transportation, every thing had been paid out of the Treasury of the General Government, save only the daily pittance of the militiamen. Like services performed by Major Orr and Col. Sevier, from the territory south of Ohio, have been paid under an act of Congress. Nothing was left unpaid of the expenses of that day, but the sum to his unfortunate countrymen. The cause of the failure to pay them in 1794, was to be found in the documents in his hand. The Accountant in the War Department, after a correct summary of the facts, concludes his report to the Secretary of War with this opinion : that the services of the militia in 1792, 3, and 4, were authorized by the General Government. The Secretary of War, laying the subject before the President of the United States, discloses, with sufficient distinctness, in his letter to the President, the causes of his doubting the propriety of making the payment. He says, a portion of the amount is for offensive operations, in direct contravention of the President’s orders, and tending to embarrass the United States in an unnecessary Creek war. In this letter of the Secretary of War there is both an error of fact and of principle—an error which is to be found in the report of the Military Committee. There were no offensive operations by these militia; the certificate of Governor Matthews on this point is conclusive. [Mr. F. read extracts from the Governor's letter to Maj. Freeman, of the 8th of May, 1795.] “All the services performed were for defensive purposes,” &c., “I feel myself justified in saying the service was indispensably necessary.” This certificate was altogether unnecessary if the Governor had a discretionary power to call out the militia ; the use made of them when in the field, did not change the obligation of the United States to pay for their ser: vices The soldier is bound to oney the commands of his officer—the officer is responsible to the Governor