Sidor som bilder

JANUARY, 1797.]

Military Establishment.

[H. OF R.

be retained as affording more effectual and more cessary. He acknowledged he was not very well economical protection. The expenses of enlist- acquainted with that frontier, but he could see no ing the dragoons and of purchasing the horses, good and substantial reason why, in time of peace, had already been incurred. But if the select com- garrisons would not answer the purpose there as mittee were satisfied that the employment of any well as on the Northwestern frontier. If it were horsemen was unnecessary, and a majority should said the garrisons were so far apart as not to be concur with them, then Mr. D. said he should re- a sufficient defence, he believed more infantry joice at the prospect of a saving of expense in might be spared for that quarter, which would be this particular instance.

vastly cheaper, and quite as useful as horse. He Mr. S. Smith said, he did not know that the supposed these troops were wanted to prevent the question relative to repealing of so much of the people of Georgia from going into the Indian Teract as related to dragoons, was under considera- ritory, and the Indians from coming within the tion, or he should have thought it necessary, with boundary of Georgia, and that horse were consiout being called upon to have given the informa- dered more effectual for this purpose ; but he tion inquired for; but he thought the question could not see what effect a small body of horse had been upon adding the word “Resolved” to could have, more than infantry. If the white the first article of the repo The select com- people, or Indians, could not be kept in obedience, mittee, in taking the subject of light dragoons without being watched from hour to hour, they into consideration, was of opinion, that there was might as well make a chain of defence from one no immediate necessity for horse on the North- end of the frontier to the other; but he saw no western frontier; for, as all the supplies would reason to induce him to keep up such a patrol now be transported by water, there would be no on that frontier, any more than upon others. If necessity for light dragoons' to conduct them. any gentleman could show the necessity of these They also took into consideration the Southern troops in time of peace, he should be for negativing frontier, and were of opinion that no horse were the report; but, until that was shown, he should necessary there, and therefore, that the two troops remain of the opinion that it would be of no use of horse might be dispensed with.

to retain the cavalry. This, he said, was the ground of the report: Mr. VENABLE wished to know whether the purbut, since the report was made, he had had some chase of horses was stated in the estimate ? for conversation with the Secretary of War, who had he had remarked that there had been almost conpolitely shown him the correspondence which tinually an annual purchase of horses. had taken place between him and the Governor The Clerk read from the estimate that nine of Georgia, by which it appeared that it had been thousand four hundred and fifty dollars were necessary to keep up one or two troops of militia charged for the purchase of sixty-two horses, horse on that frontier: and he found that the Se- from which a deduction of five thousand seven cretary of War, discovering that two companies hundred and ninety-two dollars was made for the of horse were not necessary on the Northwestern value of the horses at the end of the year. frontier, had sent one company, and intended Mr. S. Smith said the whole charges of two sending the other, to the frontiers of Georgia, be companies of dragoons was fifty-two thousand lieving that Continental troops would be more dollars a year. useful than Militia, and also prevent the harass- Mr. BALDWIN said, it had been suggested the ing too much the yeomanry of that country by last session, when the subject was under discusthat service.

sion, (and, he was of that opinion,) that the cavalry He thought it necessary thus far to state the was unnecessary; and it would be recollected opinion of the Secretary of War. The estimate that the House first determined upon having only of the expense of the two companies of Militia, one company, but afterwards they resolved upon he found to be 26,505 dollars, whilst that of the two. From the intercourse which had taken regulars was only 22,212, making an equal num- place between the Secretary of War and the Gober of militia horse more expensive than the Con- vernor of Georgia, it appeared that horse were tinental cavalry, by nearly 4,300 dollars. The preferred to infantry for guarding that frontier ; Secretary of War seemed to think it was neces- and as only a few months had elapsed since the sary either to keep up the military horse, or send law was passed, he did not think it necessary now cavalry to that frontier. The gentleman from to make any alteration in it; for if they went Georgia would, perhaps, be able to say which again into the subject, they should probably come would be the most pleasing or necessary.

to the same thing again. In one part of the fronThese two companies of horse, it was true, Mr. tier, it appeared that cavalry was the best for deS. said, cost as much as a regiment of infantry; fence; in another, infantry. He had therefore and if 'the frontier was to be protected, it became reconciled his mind to the measure, and saw no a question whether a regiment of infantry would reason for the proposed repeal. not be more effectual than two troops of horse. Mr. Dayton rose to make reply to the member

Mr. DEARBORN said, if it should appear to the from Massachusetts. That gentleman had undersatisfaction of the Committee that two companies taken to instruct him in his duty, and seemed to of horse were necessary on the frontiers of Geor have forgotten or neglected his own. Without gia, no member would hesitate about retaining advocating absolutely the retention in service of the two companies already in the establishment; the two companies o cavalry, he had exercised a but he was not convinced that any horse was ne- privilege which he enjoyed, in common with H. OF R.]

Military Establishment.

[JANUARY, 1797.

other members, to ask from the select committee had swelled the expenditures under the general whose peculiar duty it had been, and who had a head of the defensive protection of the frontiers better opportunity to procure it, some information about fifty-two thousand dollars. as to the usefulness of the cavalry, and some ex- It was of little consequence to the people of the plapation as to the effect of adopting this part of United States, under which head of expenditure iheir report. He was desirous of having it un- the expenses were incurred, whether that of “Miderstood before the vote was taken whether the litary Establishment,” or “defensive protection cavalry were to be disbanded as too expensive, of the frontiers" if no saving was produced by unprofitable, and unnecessary, or whether they the transposition. That there had been no ecowere to be discharged in order to make way for nomy in ihe former instance of reduction, but, on the employment of an equal or greater number of the contrary, additional expenses, was clear, and militia horse? Which ever of those two objects they ought now to consider the question as dehad been the favorite one of the Committee, did not ciding whether horse of any description were appear from the question under consideration, necessary; and if the reform and disbandment of nor from any part of the report. Yet it was cer- those in service should be determined upon, they tainly important that there should be a perfect ought to carry the same determination into the understanding as to the tendency of the measure appropriation bill

, and reduce the charges under before it was adopted. This inquiry would not the head of the defensive protection of the fronbe deemed fruitless or improper by those who re- tiers in the sarne proportion. If they acted othercollected the arguments which were urged and wise, they would be deceiving themselves, or raactually prevailed in a former session in favor of ther they would be deceiving their constituents, a reduction of that corps from four to two troops. by holding up to them an appearance of saving They were then told, and Mr. Dayton owned under one head of expenditure, and as certainly, that he himself believed it, that by that reduction though somewhat more disguisingly, squandering they would save to the United States the expense away the same or a greater sum, and for the same of paying, subsisting, and equipping two troops purpose, under another head, and that more geof horse. Could it be said that the event had neral, and less capable of being checked. corresponded with their expectations, and that Mr. Nicholas did not think the information they had realized the saving which had been con- before them was complete. He thought it extemplated? On the contrary, he asked, if it was traordinary that the gentleman from Georgia not true that the two troops of militia horse had should have thought the cavalry unnecessary six been kept up to supply the deficiency, at an ex- months ago, when it was said they were wanted pense to the public of about eight thousand dol- on the Northwestern frontier, and now, when fars more than would have been incurred if the they were found to be unnecessary there, that he reduction had not taken place. He had certain should think them necessary in another place. It information that two militia troops had been con- was true that a regulation had been made at that tinued in the pay and service of the United States time in the Military Establishment, but it was from that time to this, and that even a third had not less true that they had been deceived with been called out and employed a part of the time. respect to what was necessary. He wanted to It had been proved to the conviction of every know, not only whether cavalry was less expenmember, by an estimate founded on actual ex- sive than militia horse, but whether either were penditures, that a troop of militia would exceed necessary, and what they were to do? He had in expense that of regular cavalry about four no information on the subject. They had been thousand three hundred dollars per year. An- told that two or three Governors of Georgia had other source of extraordinary expense ought also recommended cavalry to be sent there; but in the to be taken into the calculation. The militia ge- course of that time, they had been at war with nerally are called into service under circum- the Creek Indians, and were now at peace. stances that rendered it inconvenient to absent It appeared to him as if they were never to rethemselves long from their families, and there- duce their expenses : whether we were at peace fore the real claims and pretexts they could set up or war, no alteration was made in our establishfor furloughs, and the facility with which they ments; for, if men were not wanted in one situacould procure them from officers who were not tion, they were sent to another, though no real in habits of severe discipline, made it necessary to necessity existed for them. He loped they should have three companies upon the musters, and of receive further information on the subject, if there course in pay, in order to insure the actual ser- was any need of retaining the cavalry proposed vice of two only. These inconveniences had al- to be dispensed with. ready been experienced to their cost, and ought Mr. Dearborn said, that he expected the gento operate as a lesson of caution in future. Con- tleman from New Jersey (Mr. Dayton] instead gress had reduced on a former occasion their of showing that cavalry would be cheaper than squadron of horse from four troops to two, yet militia horse, would have shown that either one two troops of militia had been kept up to supply or the other was necessary; because, if any were their place at a greater expense. They had, it was necessary, he had allowed that regulars were pretrue, in consequence of the reduction, reduced ferable to militia ; but instead of that, he had told the appropriation for the Military Establishment them that two or three Governors had said that about forty-four thousand dollars; but it was two or three companies of horse were necessary . equally true that the militia that were substituted | He had no doubt the Governor of Georgia might

JANUARY, 1797.)

Military Establishment.

[H. OP R.

say they were necessary now; he could not say Mr. S. Smith said, the information which the how disinterested he was. He had no doubt but gentleman last up wished for, had not been unatthe people of the district of Maine, and in other tended to by the select committee; but the new orsituations, would have no objections to have two ganization of the Army from legions to regiments, companies of horse kept up there at the public which had lately taken place, and the death of expense. How far this kind of evidence ought to General Wayne, had prevented regular informahave weight, the House would determine. For his tion on the subject from being obtained from the part, except these horse could be shown to be ne- Secretary of War. Neither the number of men, cessary, from the situation of the country, inde nor their station could be accurately ascertained; pendent of the opinion of any Governor, he should nor was this essential, because where the troops be for agreeing to the report before them; for, if are now, is not where they will shortly be. After these troops were to be sent there without neces- the necessary garrisons were furnished, he besity, in two or three years they would be told they lieved there would remain out of the four regihad no occasion for them; but, so long as they ments, six or eight companies. agree to pay these horse, to do he did not know If the Committee rose, Mr. Smith believed no what, he did not expect to hear any objection from more information could be had on the subject. that quarter. Being at perfect peace on the North- It was asked, whether cavalry was necessary western frontier, a large number of infantry may for the defence of the Southern frontier ? The be spared from that quarter for the defence of the Secretary of War had said they were; and if the Georgia frontier, if necessary; but, except he heard present cavalry were not retained, he supposed stronger reasons for the measure than he had yet militia horse would be employed, the expense of heard, he should oppose the retaining of horse in which it had been seen would be greater than that our establishment.

of regulars. Mr. MILLEDGE said, it was well known that Mr. HARTLEY said, he was upon the select comthey had an extensive frontier of betwixt two hun-mittee, and very reluctantly agreed to this part dred and three hundred miles, and that the Gover- of the report. The expense of the horse, it was nors of Georgia had always been of opinion that true, was a very important consideration. Upon horse were the best defence for that frontier; that inquiry, it was found that dragoons were not pethey bordered on a numerous savage tribe of ten cessary on the Northwestern frontier ; but that thousand or twelve thousand men ; and who, in a might not be the case in the Southern. The peostate of peace, were always committing depreda-ple of Georgia, it seemed, considered dragoons as tions upon them, so that it required troops to be the most proper defence, and he thought they constantly passing backward and forward to keep might be indulged with so small a number as two them in order. Dragoons, he said, had been con- troops of horse, since it would be less expensive stantly employed for that purpose, and it had been than employing the militia, allowed that the expense of militia horse was Mr. H. said, from a consideration of doing away greater than that of regulars; he hoped, therefore, the cavalry, it had been recommended to add eight the law would remain as at present, and that horse men to each company of infantry; but, from the would be sent to defend that frontier.

present state of things, he should think it his duty Mr. Williams observed that, when the bill to oppose the repeal of that part of the act. passed last session, it was said that these horse Mr. Holland said, when this subject was forwould be wanted to convey information from one merly before them, a part of the House wished to garrison to another on the Northwestern frontier. have dispensed with the dragoons; but it was This necessity no longer existed ; and, of course, said they would be necessary for conveying inthese troops may be dispensed with: but, it was formation, &c. It now appeared, however, that said, they were wanted on the frontiers of Geor- they were not necessary, and that the minority on gia, because the frontier was betwixt two hun-that occasion were right. But now, it was said, dred and three hundred miles in extent. But was they were necessary for the protection of the fronthis frontier more exposed to danger than the tiers of Georgia. He saw no reason for this, nor Northwestern frontier? He believed not. It was did he think that country was in greater danger time, he said, that they endeavored to reduce the from the Indians than the frontiers in other parts expenses of Government, wherever they would of the Union ; indeed, it had somewhat the adadmit of it, and he believed this object of'expense vantage of other parts, by the openness of the might well be spared.

country. During the last session, Mr. W. said, that they It was the opinion of the Governor of Georgia, had laid before them the number of troops in ser- it seemed, that horse were necessary, and that vice, and he expected to have had a similar ac- cavalry would be cheaper and better than militia count this session, not only of the troops in actual horse; but the necessity did not appear, and until pay, but where stationed ; for, though he had the it did, that House was not to be governed by the highest opinion of the officers of their departments, opinion of one or two gentlemen. It was neceshe wished to form his own opinion on every sub-sary they should judge for themselves. ject upon which he was called upon to vote. Mr. RUTHERFORD said this was a matter of mo

When this subject should have been fully dis-ment. Dragoons were expensive, and they had cussed, he should wish the Committee to rise, for no business with them. To keep up a battle array, the purpose of obtaining further information on in time of peace, was inconvenient. When they the subject.

were desirous of decreasing their expenses, this

H. OF R.]

Military Establishment.

[JANUARY, 1797.

was an object of importance. With respect to respect to the Creeks. As to the protection of the the frontier, he said, he looked to the frontier of frontiers, no person desired more than him, to every part of the Union with as much feeling as afford them protection, but he had no idea that any man.

He knew the difficulties experienced they should spend for that purpose whatever they on all frontiers, he had long been acquainted with were called upon for. them ; but when he considered that two compa- The frontiers of the United States, he said, had nies of dragoons were called for to protect a fron- always been exposed to depredations from the tier of three hundred miles, they were not compe- Indians; but he considered those depredations as tent to the business. If an emergency should take arising from the peculiar situation of the frontier place, and those savages—those uninformed crea- inhabitants, and it was only when there was dantures-should make war upon the frontier inhabit-ger of an open war, that it was necessary for Goants, the Governor would, of course, call forth a vernment to interfere ; till then, the exertions of certain number of the people—the militia—accord- the inhabitants themselves were sufficient. If they ing to the emergency; and this appeared to him a recurred to the year 1792, it would be found that the more rational defence than sending of two compa- protection of the frontiers cost ninety-four thounies of dragoons to watch their motions. Rea- sand dollars; in 1791, fifty-two thousand dollars, son, he said, was outraged by the idea. It would when the danger was the greatest. He, thereplease him to keep up a large force, as we had fore, thought there was nothing more necessary many martial men of merit; but it would be de- than the will of the United States to reduce the ceiving of them, to give them a momentary em- present establishment; but if the Legislature did ployment, when they could engage their time bet- not make the proper reductions, by agreeing to ter; as, when the situation of the country wanted the present report, the expense would be incurred. them, they would be ready to come forward; but, He hoped the report would be agreed to, and that in the mean time, they would do well to find some they should go still further in lowering the estauseful occupation.

blishment. Mr. Gallatin said, whether they considered Mr. S. Smith said, the select committee were the increase of expense which had taken place in directed to report what alterations were necessary every branch of the Military Establishment, or in the act; not to inquire with respect to regulawhether they compared our present situation with tions in the Military Department; not to report the danger which threatened us when this esta- what was cheapest.' From the report this conclublishment was fixed, or the present situation of sion would be drawn, that no cavalry was necesour finances, they must approve of the report be- sary, as that part of the act was recommended to fore them, as it related to a reduction of the Mili- be repealed. He imagined the gentleman from tary Establishment. It must be remembered, he New Jersey would have drawn that conclusion, said, that this establishment was fixed in March, and spared his censure of the committee. 1792, immediately after the defeat of General The question was put and carried-there being St. Clair. At that time the dragoons were added. 64 in favor of it. and three additional troops of infantry; and, in Mr. Williams said, we were either in a state order to show that the addition was made only of peace or of war; if we were in a state of peace, for the emergency, there was a provision in the he did not see any reason why the establishment act to this effect: "Provided, that the same three should be larger than in 1792. He therefore moved troops shall be disbanded as soon as peace shall to add, after the word “repealed": "and that the take place with the Indian tribes."

four regiments of infantry be reduced to two." Last year, he said, it was thought that circum- If at any time we should be disturbed on our fronstances being changed, peace being established, it tiers, he considered that there was virtue enough was necessary and proper to reduce the infantry in the yeomanry of the country to take care of and abolish the cavalry, but it was said they were the frontiers. Where our troops were, he said, he wanted to take possession of the posts, &c. And could not tell. It was supposed we had three now, when all those purposes were completed, the thousand men, but they had no return to know cavalry were wanted for the frontiers of Georgia; what number they had. To keep up four regiand, if that frontier were completely secured, he ments, when only two were necessary, was an supposed some other reason would be found for expense thrown away. He should have wished retaining these troops in service.

to have seen an estimate; but, as none had been If they were to indulge every State, Mr. G. made, he wished the four regiments to be reduced said, which chose to make a requisition for troops, to two. without inquiry, there might be no end of the ex- Mr. S. Smith hoped the motion would not prepense. They might be called upon by Tennessee, vail. He had not before him the number of troops Kentucky, and the Northwestern frontier, for re- or a calculation of what were necessary, but it apgular troops, or for the support of militia, to an peared to him that the number of troops was not extent not to be calculated.

greater than would be necessary for the different Mr. G. thought it was their duty to reduce the posts. It would be recollected that there was a Army to the footing upon which it stood in 1792. considerable scope of country from Tennessee to He thought nothing had taken place to make it the Mississippi, not before in the possession of the necessary to extend the establishment beyond that United States. At this moment, he believed, it time; the possession of new posts, and our Treaty would be unsafe to lessen the number of troops. with Spain, having also given ús security with | Indeed, he was surprised to hear the motion, as

JANUARY, 1797.]

Military Establishment.

[H. OF R.

should at any

it was the first time he had heard such a thing in- concluded a peace with those Indians only last timated as a reduction of the infantry, and he was Fall which had cost them a great deal of money. unprepared to meet the attack.

His house, he said, was within thirty miles of the Mr. Williams said, if the gentleman was not place where the Treaty with the Indians was prepared, he would move that the Committee made, and no post was kept up between them, so rise. If there was occasion, he said, he should that they were always open to incursions from always be willing to keep up a sufficient number them; but they trusted in the virtue of their miof troops ; but if the present number was unne- litia, the bulwark of the nation. It was necessary cessary, he wished to reduce them, as he was un- to keep the posts occupied with military, but, in willing to do anything which would lead one part time of peace, there was no necessity for anything of society to live upon the industry of another.

further. Mr. Murray said he was but little acquainted tive, or the Secretary of War, however highly he

With respect to any calculation of the Execuwith military affairs

, but it appeared to him natu- thought of them, he should wish to depend on his ral and proper that a communication should have been had from the proper department, before a

own opinion. The safety of the nation, he said, motion like the present had been made. It was and he was accountable to his constituents for

was committed to him in part, as well as to them; true, they had the power of raising armies; but the PresidENT OF THE UNITED STATES had the every farthing of public money which he con

sented should be spent, direction of them when raised; and he thought it was very natural for them to have some reference neither in a state of peace nor war, was true, but

The gentleman's observation, that we were to the Executive or War Department, and to have it was also true that whenever any nation was received such an official statement from thence as would have saved much inquiry and loose disposed to break peace with us, we are ready to information,

meet them with the yeomanry of the nation. It There was another point of view in which the was our duty, he said, in time of peace, to regentleman from New York [Mr. Williams] bad trench our expenses as much as possible, so that placed the subject. He had said, we were either we may be the better prepared if'an emergency

time arise. in a state of war or of peace. In making this as

The Chairman informed the House that the sertion, the gentleman seemed to have an eye to Europeon countries. There the language might question was for the Committee to rise.

Mr. S. Smith asked for what be properly used; but, said he, we live in a coun-mittee should rise ? No more information could

purpose the Comtry in which we cannot say it is either war or be got than they had at present. He was inclined and until that unhappy race of men who live in to hope, that when the gentleman from New York an uncivilized state, in our country, be extin

considered the subject, he would vote against his guished, that will always be the case: a state the case. Long speeches were often made in favor

own motion. This, he said, was not unfrequently which requires vigilance, even an armed vigilance of a measure by a member, who afterwards voted to guard against depredations. The frontiers, he said, must have stations adapted to their situa- against the doctrine which he advocated. The tions. He regretted, therefore, that the two troops but he believed the troops would be wanted for

gentleman talked of the yeomanry of the country, of horse were ordered to be struck out. It was the posts

, which were to be taken possession of, strange, he said, that at a moment that our num- and they must take possession of them for the ber of forts was increased, our Military Establishment should be reduced.

security of the country; and would the gentle

man's two regiments, the nominal number of If the motives of gentlemen were to be judged which was one thousand men, but which was selof, those who came from parts of the Union where dom more than eight hundred and fifty, be suffithere was no danger from Indians, were opposing cient for all the posts? He believed not. Let us, measures intended to secure their fellow-citizens said he, proceed with the business; let us deterwho were exposed to danger. In the Atlantic mine what the Military Establishment shall be, States, he said, we had no cause for alarm; but it and not postpone the business from day to day, was from the principle of wishing to defend every Mr. HARTLEY wished the gentleman from Maspart of the Union that he should rather vote for sachusetts, [Mr. DEARBORN,) who was possessed an increase than a decrease of the Military Esta- of information on the subject, would state it to blishment.

the Committee. Upon the best information he He hoped gentlemen would turn their attention could get, he was certain the present establishto that state which was neither a state of peace ment would not be too large. 'How the gentlenor of war; for such must be the situation of man from New York came to make the present frontier inhabitants

, since the Indian tribes are motion, without further information, he was at a not capable of preserving a lasting peace. He loss to know. They had heretofore charged anhoped the gentleman would retract his motion.

other House with sacrificing the interests of the Mr. Williams said, if the gentlemen last up country, but he thought they should not fail to do had known from whence he came, and was at all so, if they did not vote a sufficient number of acquainted with the geography of the country, he troops to occupy the posts we had lately got posmust have known that he lived in the very neigh- session of. Instead of four regiments being too borhood of the Indians. The State of New York much, the select committee had recommended

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