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well let them fight it out." To this proposition General Gordon did not accede. I then asked, “ Why not send a staff-officer and have your people cease firing | They are violating the flag!” He said, “I have no staff-officer to send." I replied, “I will let you have one of mine”; and calling for Lieutenant Vanderbilt Allen, he was directed to report to General Gordon and carry his orders. The orders were to go to General Geary, who was in command of a small brigade of South Carolina cavalry, and ask him to discontinue the firing. Lieutenant Allen dashed off with the message, but, on delivering it to General Geary, was taken prisoner, with the remark from that officer, that he did not care for white flags; that South Carolinians never surrendered.
It was about this time that Merritt, getting impatient at the supposed treacherous firing, ordered a charge of a portion of his command. While Generals Gordon and Wilcox were engaged in conversation with me, a cloud of dust, a wild hurrah, a flashing of sabers, indicated a charge, and the ejaculations of my staff-officers were heard, “Look! Merritt has ordered a charge!” The flight of Geary's brigade followed; Lieutenant Allen was thus released. The last gun had been fired, and the last charge made in the Virginia campaign.
While the scenes thus related were taking place, the conversation I now speak of was occurring between General Gordon and myself. After the first salutation, General Gordon remarked : “ General Lee asks for a suspension of hostilities pending the negotiations which he has been having for the last day and night with General Grant.” I rejoined: “I have been constantly informed of the progress of the negotiations, and think it singular that while such negotiations are going on, General Lee should have continued his march and attempted to break through my lines this morning with the view of escaping. I can entertain no terms except the condition that General Lee will surrender to General Grant on his arrival here. I have sent for him. If these terms are not accepted, we will renew hostilities." General Gordon replied: “General Lee's army is exhausted. There is no doubt of his surrender to General Grant on his arrival.”
General Wilcox, whom I knew quite well, he having been captain of the company to which I was attached as a cadet at the military academy, then stepped to his horse, and taking hold
s which for a chation, Go General Aver.
of the saddle-bags, said, in a jocular way: “Here, Sheridan, take these saddle-bags; they have one soiled shirt and a pair of drawers. You have burned everything else I had in the world, and I think you are entitled to these also.” He was alluding, of course, to the destruction of the baggage trains which had been going on for some days.
When the terms above referred to were settled, each army agreed to remain in statu quo until the arrival of General Grant, whom Colonel Newhall, my adjutant-general, had gone for. Generals Gordon and Wilcox then returned to see General Lee, and promised to come back in about thirty minutes, and during that time General Ord joined me at the court-house. At the end of thirty or forty minutes, General Gordon returned in company with General Longstreet. The latter, who commanded Lee's rear guard back on the Farmville road, seemed somewhat alarmed lest General Meade, who was following up from Farmville, might attack, not knowing the condition of affairs at the front. To prevent this, I proposed to send my chief of staff, General J. W. Forsyth, accompanied by a Confederate officer, back through the Confederate army and inform General Meade of the existing state of affairs. He at once started, accompanied by Colonel Fairfax, of General Longstreet's staff, met the advance of the Army of the Potomac, and communicated the conditions.
In the meantime, General Lee came over to McLean's house in the village of Appomattox Court-house. I am not certain whether General Babcock, of General Grant's staff, who had arrived in advance of the General, had gone over to see him or not. We had waited some hours, and, I think, about twelve or one o'clock General Grant arrived. General Ord, myself, and many officers were in the main road leading through the town, at a point where Lee's army was visible. General Grant rode up, and greeted me with, “Sheridan, how are you?” I replied, “I am very well, thank you.” He then said, “Where is Lee ?" I replied, “There is his army down in that valley; he is over in that house (pointing out McLean's), waiting to surrender to you." General Grant, still without dismounting, said, “Come, let us go over.” He then made the same request to General Ord, and we all went to McLean's house. Those who entered with General Grant were, as nearly as I can recollect, Ord, Rawlins, Seth Williams, Ingalls, Babcock, Parker, and myself; the staff offi
VOL. CXXXVII.—NO. 320.
cers, or those who accompanied, remaining outside on the porch steps and in the yard. On entering the parlor, we found General Lee standing in company with Colonel Marshal, his aide-decamp. The first greeting was to General Seth Williams, who had been Lee's adjutant when he was superintendent of the Military Academy. General Lee was then presented to General Grant, and all present were introduced. General Lee was dressed in a new gray uniform, evidently put on for the occasion, and wore a handsome sword. He had on his face the expression of relief from a heavy burden. General Grant's uniform was soiled with mud and service, and he wore no sword. After a few words had been spoken by those who knew General Lee, all the officers retired, except, perhaps, one staff officer of General Grant's, and the one who was with General Lee. We had not been absent from the room longer than about five minutes, when General Babcock came to the door and said, “The surrender has taken place—you can come in again."
When we reëntered, General Grant was writing on a little wooden, elliptical-shaped table (purchased by me from Mr. McLean and presented to Mrs. G. A. Custer) the conditions of the surrender. General Lee was sitting, his hands resting on the hilt of his sword, to the left of General Grant, with his back to a small marble-topped table, on which many books were piled. While General Grant was writing, friendly conversation was engaged in by General Lee and his aid with the officers present, and he took from his breast-pocket two dispatches, which had been sent to him by me during the forenoon, notifying him that some of his cavalry, in front of Crook, were violating the agreement entered into by withdrawing. I had not had time to make copies when they were sent and had made a request to have them returned. He handed them to me with the remark, “I am sorry. It is possible my cavalry at that point of the line did not fully understand the agreement."
About one hour was occupied in drawing up and signing the terms, when General Lee retired from the house with a cordial shake of the hand with General Grant, mounted his chunky, gray horse, and lifting his hat, passed through the gate, and rode over the crest of the hill to his army. On his arrival there, we heard wild cheering, which seemed to be taken up progressively by his troops, either for him, or because of satisfaction with his last official act as a soldier.
P. H. SHERIDAN.
THE INCREASE OF PUBLIC EXPENDITURES.
THE Constitution of the United States invests Congress alone with power to appropriate money from the National treasury to the public use, but in the practical working of our system of Government, the responsibility for public expenditure is divided between Congress and the Executive department. “No money shall be drawn from the Treasury but in consequence of appropriations made by law," and the President “shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed.” Under these two provisions of the Constitution and under this measure of responsibility, in general terms, are placed the control and disposition of the moneys which from year to year are gathered into the Treasury of the United States. There is, however, another provision-undoubtedly arising out of the jealousy with which the founders of the Republic regarded military power - which, while investing Congress with authority “to raise and support armies," ordains that "no appropriation of money to that use shall be for a longer term than two years." There is unquestionably a further and most important limitation on this power of appropriation found in the nature and extent of the powers conferred by the Constitution on the several departments of Government and especially on Congress, for it is necessarily implied that the expenditure of the public money shall not extend to objects beyond the scope of the Government established.
The comprehensive authority for raising revenue, “The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defence and general welfare of the United States," perhaps more clearly limits the power of appropriation, by just implication, to the promotion of objects exclusively national. Within the limits named, which are more implied than expressed, there is no restriction on the power of Congress, except those contained in the fourteenth amendment incident to the late war, to appropriate money from the public treasury.
The usual practice has prevailed ever since the organization of the Government for the President to transmit to Congress, at the opening of each regular session, an estimate in detail of the money required by each of the Executive departments during the ensuing fiscal year, and on the basis of these estimates the appropriations are made. But Congress can make (except for the support of the army) what are called permanent and indefinite appropriations, under which, without further action of Congress, large sums of money are annually withdrawn from the Treasury by the Executive departments. These permanent and indefinite appropriations which Congress in former years deemed it proper to make, have become apparently permanent features in our system, and are in the main for the payment of the interest and principal of the public debt and the cost of collecting the customs revenue. There is, however, a long list of minor permanent and indefinite appropriations, and the tendency is, notwithstanding persistent opposition, to enlarge the list, for such appropriations are convenient to the departments and diminish the labor of Congressional Committees. That abuses should occur under this practice is inevitable. This class of appropriations includes money deposited in the public treasury by private parties for surveys of public lands; thus, while last year Congress appropriated $400,000 out of the Treasury for that purpose, private parties, in view of the excessive profits of surveying contracts, deposited $2,052,306.36 to secure such surveys, which is expended without action of Congress. But permanent and indefinite appropriations are mainly confined to the extraordinary expenditures, and the appropriations annually made by Congress substantially express the current ordinary expenditures of the Government.
It is obvious that the authors of the Constitution, while careful to define and limit many of the great powers conferred on the departments of Government, yet in the matters of revenue and expenditure-matters of vital and persistent interestrelied exclusively on the vigilance of the people and the restraining force of public opinion. Hence, the Constitution casts the responsibility of such measures largely on the House of Congress most immediately responsible to the people. "All bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives,"