« السابقةمتابعة »
corded. He was at the time kept from his seat by severe indisposition.
The bill, thus amended, was sent back to the Senate. That body, in the interval between the introduction of Mr. Jacob Thompson's original proposition and that which finally succeeded in the House,- had also had under consideration a bill, reported by Mr. Dix, from its own Committee on Military Affairs, providing for the appointment of such an oflicer. After brief debate, the bill, on motion of Mr. Mangum, of North Carolina, was laid on the table by the following vote:
Yeas: Messrs. Archer, Badger, Berrien, Butler, Calhoun, Cillcy, Thomas Clayton, John M. Clayton, Corwin, Crittenden, Davis, Dayton, Evans, Greene, Huntington, Jarnegan, Johnson of Maryland, Johnson of Louisiana, Mangum, Miller, Morehead, Pearce, Phelps, Simmons, Upham, Webster, Woodbridge, and Yulce—23.
Nays: Messrs. Allen, Ashley, Atchison, Atherton, Bayly, Breese, Bright, Cass, Chalmers, Dickinson, Dix, Fairfield, Hannegan, Houston, Niles, Rusk, Sevier, Speight, Sturgeon, Turney, and Westcott—21.
When the bill " making provision for an additional number of general officers, and for other purposes," was returned to the Senate under the circumstances we have stated, that body struck out the amendment of the House making provision for a lieutenant-general. Several conferences as to that and other disagreeing votes took place between committees of the two houses. The result was, that the House finally receded from this particular amendment, among others. Hence the appomtment was never made.
During the whole term of his service prior to the existing Congress, Mr. Haralson has been at the head of the Committee on Military Affairs, including, of course, the two sessions of the twenty-ninth Congress, when public attention generally was attracted to its proceedings, and when its labors and responsibilities were of an unusually heavy character.
In this connection, we should disregard that which we feel to be a just claim upon our notice, if we neglected to bear our testimony to the manly spirit with which he has at all times stood forth in defense of the army of the United States. On more than one occasion we have witnessed the resolution, so often lauded but so seldom practiced, with which, in matters touching that branch of the public service, he has cast aside political considerations and party trammels. We are unable, in a close observation of his course, to find a solitary exception to this general rule of conduct. For a long time prior to the existence of the Mexican war, a strong feeling of prejudice against the army and navy pervaded the national Legislature, and they were daily viewed with increasing disfavor. We do not design to speculate upon the causes; the fact is beyond dispute. That the evils and abuses alleged to exist in both these branches of the public service became hobbies upon which politicians desired to ride, is equally certain. To what extreme measures these feelings of prejudice and distrust might ultimately have led, if not lulled into quiescence for the time being by the sacrifices of blood and life so prodigally demanded and so cheerfully made, from Palo Alto to the gates of Mexico—
"Where every turf beneath their feet
it is needless for us to conjecture. Intelligent officers were themselves aware of the growth of this hostility; and some such knowledge it was, we presume, which, at a recent period, and under causes more strongly exciting, elicited the following declaration from a gallant officer of the navy, Commander TattnalL In a letter under date of New Orleans, May 23, 1847, he says:
"I had often said, substantially, that publio opinion required more from the naval force in the Gulf than could be accomplished by our inadequate means—that the service was losing caste—that the only mode whereby the expectations of the country could be satisfied was to exhibit a list of some hundreds of killed and wounded—that the public call for the sacrifice, and that it must in some way be made."
We have too high a respect for the humanity, as well as the general intelligence of our countrymen, to believe that the legsons of history have been so early forgotten as to render it necessary again to trace them in letters of blood, merely to refresh a treacherous memory, or uphold a drooping confidence. Nor do we think the people themselves have ever doubted that the spirit which animated the bosoms of Decatur and Lawrence, of Perry, and Stewart, and Morris and a host of others, still lives and breathes on the deck of an American ship of war. We heard Ogden Hoffman, in one of those eloquent and appealing effusions of his oratory, which so irresistibly force their way to the hearts of his hearers, advert to this point in the House of Representatives. Unfortunately, we find no record of the speech.
In any event, the habit of disparaging the army and the navy had become, in some quarters, so settled, that he was to bo considered a bold man who would rise in his place and defend them. Nevertheless, men of this stamp were to be found in both parties, and among the foremost of them we have noticed Air. Haralson. We recollect that, upon one occasion, it was urged as a grave matter of accusation, not less than of contemptuous ridicule, against General Scott, that in his Florida campaign he had not killed even an Indian woman or a child. The record says:
"Mr. Haralson went into a general defense of the bravery and efficiency of the officers of the army.
"Mr. Duncan interposed, and wished to inquire of the gentleman from Georgia if General Scott did not go into Florida with an army of fourteen thousand men, and not kill a single squaw or papoose.
"Mr. Haralson said he knew not so particularly about this case; but no party ties or prejudices could prevent him from saying that that officer had always been found discharging his duties with gallantry and honor to himself and his country whenever its peace and its interests were jeoparded, as his action at the Northern Lakes and many other portions of the country certified.
"Mr. Duncan propounded several other inquiries, which were replied to by
"Mr. Haralson, who then proceeded to examine and justify the policy of the government in sustaining, during a time of peace, a skeleton army, whoso merits he defended with some warmth."
On another and earlier occasion, when a proposition was pending to abolish the office of major-general of the army, he said:
"I have none of those feelinsrs in regard to Generals Scott and Gaines which some members appear to have. Those <rentlcmen have shown themselves gallant on every occasion when the country required their services, and I will not detract from their well-merited reputation."
On the resolution of thanks to General Taylor and the army for their conduct in the battles of the Sth and 9th of May, Mr. Haralson, who advocated it, said, " Although there were thousands on thousands of volunteers who were ready and anxious to participate in any struggle in which their country might be engaged, it was a subject of congratulation to the friends of the army that victories such as those won upon the Rio Grande had been achieved by our own little army alone."
These are mere isolated instances, characteristic of a uniform course of proceeding.
He was in favor of Mr. Tylor,s treaty for the annexation of Texas, or for almost any project which was introduced into the House, having in view the accomplishment of that object. He believed the measuro to have been not only in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution, strictly construed, but called for by the general voice of the American people.
He entertained the opinion that the title of the United States to the whole of the Oregon Territory was " clear;" and when, in the second session of the twenty-eighth Congress, matters seemed drawing to a crisis, he was disposed to sustain the claim in the widest extent in which it had been made, and was ready to extend our jurisdiction and laws over every acre of the soil. In faot, he would rather have strotched the claim still further, than narrowed it down in the least. At the next session he voted for the notice, believing it to be a peaceful measure, and demanded by every consideration of policy, interest, and honor. He accompanied this vote with the expression of his desire to see the matter settled by negotiation, if it could be so settled, with a reservation that, if that could not be done, and a resort must at last bo had to the ultima ratio, the stake should be the voltole of Oregon or none. But he hoped that the interests of both nations, and the claims of civilization and Christianity, would prevent an open rupture and a resort to arms.
We havo elsewhere noted [see title, Robert C. Wtnthrop] the circumstances under which the War Bill was reported, and the fact of its adaptation to the Mexiean Republic Mr. Haralson has sustained the war, not only by voting supplies of men and monoy, but, to use his own language, "by his voice and in