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the contrary, he feels confident in the assertion that it is a most flagrant and palpable violation of them. The direct and certain effect of this institution is to extend Executive patronage ; for the President has the entire selection of the chosen two hundred and fifty who are to be placed in the institution, and also to establish an aristocracy of the most dangerous kind, viz.: a military aristocracy in the United States. What, your memorialist would ask, is an aristocracy? Is it not where any particular class in a State claims and exercises privileges of which the great body of the people are deprived? And do not the cadets at West Point enjoy such privileges ? and if so, do they not constitute an aristocracy? Your memorialist believes that neither the fact nor the inference can be controverted. But your memorialist will go further, and aver that the regulations at West Point have not only constituted an aristocracy in the United States, but that this aristocracy has already become, in a great degree, hereditary. How many individuals, your memoralist would ask, who have held offices of honor, trust, or emolument, under the Government, for the last twenty-five years, have had their sons, brothers, nephews, or other relatives, educated at the public expense at West Point, to the entire exclusion of those who (to say the least,) were equally meritorious, and equally capable of rendering service to the republic? And how many of those thus educated have ever rendered any service whatever ? A reference to the rolls of the institution will answer these inquiries. Your memorialist has personal knowledge of many instances. Your memorialist is well aware that it has been attempted, by the friends of this monstrous invasion of the rights of the people, to cast around it the mantle of Mr. Jefferson. Your memorialist is ready to grant that the institution was established during the early part of the first term of Mr. Jefferson's administration; but denies that any inference can be drawn from that circumstance to sustain the present system. The institution then consisted only of the corps of en. gineers, which was limited to sixteen officers and four cadets, without any of those exclusive privileges which have since been conferred upon it. On the 29th of April, 1812, (just previous to the declaration of war,) a law was, bow. ever, passed, entitled "An act making further provision for the corps of engi. neers;" by the provisions of which, the whole number of cadets, whether of infantry, artillery, or riflemen, was not to exceed two hundred and fifty; and the President to appoint a limited number of cadets, and conferring on him a discretionary power to attach them to the Military Academy, was evidently induced by the certainty of immediate war with Great Britain, and had a direct reference to a war establishment. Your memorialist would respectfully call the ato tention of your honorable body particularly to the provisions of the law of 1812 just referred to; and, if he does not much mistake, it will satisfactorily appear that the President is not required, but simply authorized, to appoint a single cadet; and that it is left entirely discretionary with him, after they are appointed, to attach them to the Military Academy, or to attach them to their respective companies, agreeably to the provisions of other laws then in existence. And here your memorialist would observe that, in the peace-establishment of the army previous to the late war, two cadets were allowed to each company of artillery, light infantry, and infantry, amounting, in the total, to a larger number than was authorized by the law of 1812. But neither President Jefferson, nor President Madison considered that the law required of them to fill those vacan. cies so long as they considered their services were not required : and they con. sequently did not fill them. The largest number of cadets ever in service at the same time, previous to the late war, did not exceed forty, and seldom exceeded twenty-five. Do the necessities of the country require that any larger number should be retained in service now, than were deemed necessary by Presidents Jefferson and Madison during a time of peace? Your memorialist believes not. But it is urged, in favor of this academy, that it presents a most favorable opportunity for the education of meritorious young men who are poor, and, consequently, unable to educate themselves. Your memorialist, however, has yet to learn by what constitutional authority Congress is empowered to appropriate any portion of the public revenue for the support of a national charity school for the education of the poor. Besides, if this power did exist, (which your memorialist presumes no reasonable person will contend does,) all the poor in the United States have an equal right to the benefits to be derived from its exercise, and that, consequently, the institution at West Point is on quite too limited a plan for the accomplishment of the contemplated object. Either, then, the institution should be very much enlarged, or several others established in different parts of the United States, which would be far more convenient for the great body of the poor. If, however, the rolls of this institution for the last twenty years be examined, it will be found that many more of the rich and influential have been educated there, than of the poor. Poverty, however meritorious the subject of it may be, is but a sorry recommendation for admission to this aristocratic establishment.
But it is further urged, that this institution is necessary for the education of the officers of the army; and that, were it abolished, the candidates for commissions would not be properly qualified for the discharge of their duties as officers. Before your memorialist proceeds to exaime the truth of this position, he would inquire, at what institution, and at whose expense, Generals Washington, Greene, Knox, Putnam, Lincoln, Sullivan, Morgan, Wayne, Sumter, Pickens, Marion, and all the other officers of the revolutionary army, by whose valor, skill, and patriotic exertions, these United States now constitute a free and independent nation, received their education? The answer is ready: at the ordinary institutions of the country, and at their own expense; just as every American citizen should be educated. And have the proteges of the West Point Academy, on whose education so many millions of dollars of the peoples' money have been expended within the last twenty years, exhibited more skill, more valor, or more patriotism, than did the officers of the revolutionary army? Let the events of the Florida war, as compared with those of the Revolution, answer the question. The truth is, (and it can not be much longer concealed from the view of the people, by the reports of boards of visitors,) that the whole system of education at West Point is well calculated to form military pedants and military dandies, but will never form efficient soldiers. Much more important to them is their attention to the cut of the coat, the placing of a button, and the snowy whiteness of gloves and pantaloons, than to those physical and moral qualities which are absolutely necessary to the correct and efficient discharge of the active duties of the field.
But your memorialist denies the truth of the position, that the West Point Academy is necessary for the education of young men for the army. There are other institutions where military science and instruction constitute a branch of education for the pupils. Of these institutions, however, your memorialist will particularize but one—and that is the Norwich University, at Norwich, Ver. mont, over which he has the honor to preside. This institution was incorporated by the Legislature of Vermont, in November, 1834, with full power to con. fer diplomas, &c. By the act of incorporation, military science is made a part of the education of all the pupils. They are consequently correctly and thoroughly instructed in the theoretical part of military science, and also in the practical duties of the soldier, and every one who graduates at this institution is well qualified to discharge the duties of a company officer (and even, if necessary, to command a battalion) in any corps of the army. In order further to prepare them to discharge the more hardy and active duties of the soldier, they occasionally perform military marches. In the month of July, 1840, they performed a march, under the personal command of your memorialist, to the celebrated military post of Ticonderoga, carrying their arms, accoutrements, knap. sacks, &c.; the whole longth of which was one hundred and sixty-five miles. Of this distance, one hundred and forty miles was on foot, and twenty-five miles by steamboat. The march on foot was performed in a little more than five days, crossing the Green Mountain range twice, and the ground, with the heavens for covering, constituted their only resting-place at night. The weather, during the whole march, was hot; and they were enveloped in a cloud of dust, occasioned by the severe drought, nearly the whole distance. They all returned in excellent health and spirits. The youngest member of the corps was thirteen years of age. The other branches of literature and science are attended to as extensively, and the latter much more practically, than at any other insti. tution in the United States; and the students are consequently equally well qualified to discharge their duties in the cabinet and in the field. But notwithstanding the members of this institution are, to say the least, as well qualified for commissions of any grade, and in any corps of the army, as those of any other institution in the country, and have also obtained the necessary qualifications at their own expense, they are virtually excluded therefrom by the arbitrary and monopolizing regulations (established without the least sanction of law,) of the Military Academy at West Point. In the month of September, 1840, a member of the Norwich University, the son of a highly respectable gentleman in the city of New York, well recommended, applied to the Secretary of War for a commission in the army, but was informed that there were no vacan. cies, and that the cadets from West Point were more than sufficient to fill all the vacancies. On the 21st of December, 1840, your memorialist wrote to the Secretary of War, recommending three young gentlemen, members of the Norwich University, for commissions in the army of the United States; and received an answer, dated War Department, December 29, 1840, from which the following is an extract: “I acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 21st instant, recommending Messrs. Morris, Stevens, and Dorne, for appointments in the army; and I have here to inform you, in reply, that there being no vacancies at present, the application will be filed for consideration, when any occur, to which they can be appointed.” Now your memorialist feels confident that the records of the War Department will show that a large number of cadets at West Point are commissioned every year; and he presumes that such will continue to be the case, unless a radical change is effected. But when young gentlemen of equal respectability and attainments, who have not been of the favored few whom Executive favor has admitted into this nursery of aristocracy, to be educated at the expense of the honest working men of the country, become applicants, their claims are entirely set aside. Against this unconstitutional, unequal, and monopolizing practice, your memorialist deems it his duty respectfully, but most decidedly, to protest; and to ask of your honorable body the establishment of some rule whereby the members of the Norwich University, at least, (to whom, in many respects, he stands in the relation of guardian,) may be restored to their constitutional rights ; that when they become applicants for stations of honor, trust, or emolument, in the military service of their country, they shall stand on terms of equality with the cadets at West Point.
Your memorialist deems it proper here to remark, that in October, 1840, he addressed a communication to the President of the United States, on this subject, requesting to be informed whether, in the opinion of the President, he possessed the power to remedy the grievance of which your memorialist complains; and, if so, whether such power would be exercised for that purpose. To this communication no answer has been received. Your memorialist, availing him. self of the privileges granted to every American citizen, by the first amendment of the constitution of the United States, would beg leave to call the attention of your honorable body to some subjects, which he considers grievances of a high order, and respectfully but earnestly solicits that they may be redressed, viz:
Ist. Your memorialist considers the Military Academy at West Point a grievance. Under its present organization, it is unconstitutional, calculated to foster a military aristocracy in the country; calculated to depress the militia, (our only constitutional defense,) by engrossing all the patronage of government; and is entirely unnecessary, as military science can be attained at other institutions, from which the necessary officers for the army can be supplied without any tax on the people. Your memorialist, therefore, asks that this institution may be abolished, and that the money that is annually appropriated for its support may be applied to aid in disciplining the militia, and disseminating military information amongst the people, who are its constitutional and safe depositories.
2nd. Your memorialist considers the Board of Visitors that annually assemble at West Point a grievance. This board never had any excistence whatever in law, but was established by Executive usurpation; yet, to pay the expense of this illegal board, your memorialist believes that more than fifty thousand dollars has been drawn from the public treasury. Your memorialist earnestly solicits that this appropriation, the making of which is a direct sanction to Executive usurpation, should be discontinued.
3rd. Your memorialist considers the removal of the head-quarters of the corps of engineers from West Point to Washington a grievance, because it is a direct violation of the law of the 16th of March, 1802, establishing that corps. That law requires the commandant of engineers to reside at West Point, unless or dered, by the President of the United States, on duty at some other place in the line of his profession; and, when at West Point, the law makes him superintendent of the Military Academy; and when he is absent, the next in rank (who is then present,) is made the legal superintendent. The appointment, therefore, of any particular officer as permanent superintendent, is evidently illegal, as the law has clearly specified who the superintendent shall be. All of which is respectfully submitted,
A. PARTRIDGE, JANUARY, 13, 1841.
President of Norwich University.
REMARKS BY THE EDITOR. We publish the foregoing Memorial of Capt. Partridge, asking Congress to redress “the grievance" of the Military Academy, not because we have the slightest sympathy with the object or main arguments of the memorialist, but as specimens of the opinions held and propagated by a graduate, professor, and superintendent of the Academy, who did more than any other individual to introduce military instruction and exercises in schools not national or professionally military. We can not, however, put it forth without accompanying it with a few brief remarks.
To Capt. Partridge, more than to any one man, and to his pupils, and personal friends, as we believe, is due the popular objections which prevail respecting the United States Milltary Academy, except so far as the objections spring from the abuse of the mode of apppointing Cadets. For nearly twenty years Capt. Partridge was never known to express any doubt of the constitutionality or usefulness of this institution. His objections first took shape and utterance when he was superceded in the superintendence by Colonel Sylvanus Thayer. or the circumstances and results of his removal, and of the appointment of Col. Thayer, and the subsequent reorganization of the Academy, something has al. ready been said in the History of West Point, in this volume, (p. 17-48,) and more will be said when we come to speak of the labors of Col. Thayer.
So far as these objections are directed to the constitutionality of the laws for establishing the Cadet Corps, as distinct from any other Corps of the army, or against training officers collected together and organized as a school, we think them preëminently frivolous. If any friend of the Academy would assure his doubtful faith in its constitutionality, let him read Capt. Partridge's Memorial, asking the same Congress to establish a system of National Education, which he petitions to redress the grievance of a special school, that every civilized government holds to be indispensable to the right organization of its armies.
So far as these objections are aimed at the mode of appointment and promo. tion,-confining both to the patronage of one man in the country, or one man in a Congressional District, acting in either case without personal examination of the party to be admitted or promoted, and excluding others, it may be, better qualified, —we hold them to be valid. A more disgraceful record of failures, where an opportunity of selecting the most meritorious candidates existed, can not be shown.
While we believe that candidates are too often recommended and nominated to the appointing power, from family and party considerations, we have seen no reason to believe that the social condition or occupation of parents has influenced the appointments. On the other hand, the records of the Acadenzy, as made out in this particular by the Cadets themselves, exhibit a fair representation from all classes and occupations of society.
According to an official Statement, prepared by Capt. Boynton, and published in his History of the Academy, of.?cadets admitted from 1842 to 1863 inclusive, the fathers of 1,300 were farmers or planters; of 681, were lawyers; of 672, were merchants; of 377, were mechanics; of 69, were physicians; of 256, were in the civil service; of 116, were clergymen; of 467, were in the army or navy; of 572, were editors, masters of vessels, &c. or the whole number, 1,136 were orphans, 1,585 were in moderate, 534 in reduced, 62 in indigent, and 324 in independent circumstances. We shall publish the Statement in our next Number.