Valley Spirit: September 14, 1870Go To Page : 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |
A New Scheme for Robbing the People--$300,000 of the People's Money Taken Annually to Enrich Government Officials--All Under the Economical Administration of President Grant
(Column 01)Summary: Exposes what the editor sees as a massive conspiracy whereby pension agents are enriching themselves off public money. Goes into elaborate detail how new laws give pension agents more money while causing delays and difficulties for the people who actually receive pensions. Blames it all on the Grant administration.
Full Text of Article:Not a Party Question
Radical officials always seem to be on the look-out for some mode of "bleeding" the government. For ten years, they have been fattening upon the rich spoils of office. In that period, more money has been stolen from the National Treasury than during any ten previous years in the history of the republic.
One of the latest forays made upon the treasury, is adroitly twisted into a grand act of magnanimity and generosity on the part of certain office-holders. We refer to what is called the New Pension Law. Prior to the passage of this act by Congress last winter, the agents for paying pensions received fifteen cents on each voucher. The payments were semi-annual so that the agent received on each pension thirty cents per annum. This was deducted from the amount allowed by the Government to the pensioner.
But the agents for paying pensioners were not satisfied with these fees, although a very respectable salary was attached to their office in addition. They accordingly concocted a scheme to fleece the government. They raised a hue and cry against claim agents throughout the country, charging them with exacting exorbitant sums from the pensioners for the preparation of their papers. After the public mind was thoroughly prepared, they procured the passage of the act under which pensions are paid at present. The act allows the pension agent thirty cents on each voucher and makes the payments quarterly. In this way he gets on each pension one dollar and twenty cents per annum instead of thirty cents as before.
This amount seems small when viewed in the light of a single case. But let us see. On the roll of the Invalid Pension Agency at Philadelphia, there are about ten thousand names. The Invalid Pension Agent receives one dollar and twenty cents on each of these, making twelve thousand dollars per annum. His salary is four thousand dollars in addition, so that the Invalid Pension Agent's pay is sixteen thousand dollars per annum--almost as much as the pay of the General of the Army of the United States, perquisites included, or an amount equal to two-thirds of the pay of the President of the United States, gifts excluded.
But again. On the roll of the Philadelphia Agency for paying Widows' Pensions, there are about twelve thousand names.--The Agent is allowed one dollar and twenty cents per year on each pension making the comfortable little sum of fourteen thousand four hundred dollars. Add to this the salary of the office, four thousand dollars, and we have as his annual income eighteen thousand four hundred dollars.
In addition to this, it was shown during the trial of the case of the Commonwealth vs. George B. Thatcher in Philadelphia, recently, that the scoundrel who occupies the position of Agent for paying Invalid pensioners in that city has been in the habit of advancing money to the wounded and maimed veterans of the Union army at exorbitant rates. By such base means, he is growing rich and at the same time is trying to make himself popular with "loil" people by circulating the statement that he assisted in relieving each of the poor pensioners, from the payment of thirty cents per annum. True it is that he has done this, but in doing it he has sunk his long fingers into the National Treasury and taken out one dollar and twenty cents for himself on every case on which the pensioner before paid him thirty cents. Such patriotism pays.
Then, it must be remembered, that the Philadelphia Agency is not the only one in the country. There are scores of these agencies. We do not know how many.--But we can approximate the sum that this patriotic change costs the government. In 1869 there were about 135,000 Widows' Pension cases on the records in the Pension office. Allowing $1.20 on each case, we have the sum of one hundred and sixty-two thousand dollars paid annually to the Agents for paying Widows' pensions, under this new act which was framed, as these Agents would have us believe, out of motives of pure patriotism. Taking the same number of Invalid Pension cases (and we presume the number of them is greater,) we have upwards of three hundred and twenty thousand dollars paid annually by the government to these officials who prate about their loyalty. And all this is done under the economical administration of President Grant. This is a nut for the hard-working tax-payers to crack.
It would have been well enough for Congress to relieve the pensioners from the payment of all fees. But would not a salary of four thousand dollars been ample to compensate the Agents for the work they have to perform? There are thousands of competent gentlemen in the country who would gladly accept these positions at that figure! Then why must this immense sum go out of the National Treasury annually to enrich these greedy office-holders? The truth is, that under the pretence of doing a generous act to the widows of our dead soldiers and the maimed survivors of the war, these "loil" cormorants have discovered an excellent mode of lining their pockets with "greenbacks" at the expense of the people.
Now whilst the change had "bled" the government to this enormous extent, and is enriching the pension agents, has it benefited the pensioner? We think not. And we feel sure that before a year passes around, the pensioners will say not. The old system was simple, prompt, and satisfactory. How is it with the act of July 8th, 1870? First, it takes from the pensioner the right to choose by whom, and in what manner, he or she will have the pension collected.--There is no option. The voucher for the quarterly pension sent out by the agent must be executed, and "none other." In every county in this State, pensioners have entrusted their business to Attorneys, in whom they confide implicitly. They have no desire to dispense with their services and the majority of them will not do it. They will consequently pay the same fees to their attorneys as before, for the reason that they desire to have their vouchers filled properly.
Second, constant change of address will prevent pensioners receiving their vouchers from the agents, and as they cannot get vouchers from any other source, there must be considerable delay in receiving their money.
Third, the mode of payment is necessarily slow, inasmuch as a check must be sent to each pensioner, and if the person receiving it lives at some distance from a bank, he must get it cashed (perhaps at a discount) or must go to the bank and take some responsible person along to identify him before it will be paid.
Fourth, the pensioner must await the agent's pleasure, no one being allowed to inquire into the case, or assist where errors have occurred.
Thus it will be seen that the pensioner is not benefited by this act, because he must either employ some one to prepare his voucher carefully, or be subjected to constant annoyance by having it returned on account of imperfect execution.
Prior to the passage of this act, the amount was collected and paid without trouble. The system was thorough, cheap and expeditious. Now, it is difficult, expensive to the government, and full of delays.
But what matters it? The loyal scoundrels who have been robbing the government for ten years, have only found another ingenious way of doing it handsomely, and the people are expected to pay their taxes without a murmur and shut their eyes so that they may not see where their money goes. Of all the harpies that prey upon the government, the fellows who make loud professions of patriotism are the meanest. These men whom we have thus exposed are creatures of Grant's administration, and a Radical Congress has thus authorized them to enrich themselves at the expense of the people. How long, O Lord, how long will they be permitted to abuse our patience?
(Column 03)Summary: Claims the Border Claims issue is not a party question, and praises local Republicans for their support. However, the paper has nothing but contempt for Cessna. The editors charge that he did nothing to help border men while Democratic candidate Meyers did everything he could. Mainly an attack on Cessna and not the Republicans as a whole.
(Names in announcement: I. H. McCauley, Col. F. S. Stumbaugh, John Cessna)Full Text of Article:Not Scared at the $100,000
We wish it to be distinctly understood that we are not making the Border Claims question a party question. We unequivocally deny that we are doing anything of the kind.
To I.H. McCauley Esq. and Col. F.S. Stumbaugh, gentlemen identified with the Republican party, we give proper credit for their services in behalf of the movement last Winter to procure the passage of a bill for the payment of our people.
To the Editor of the Repository, for the able articles in its columns, and his personal efforts at Harrisburg and Philadelphia, we render our tribute of commendation.
To the Editor of Public Opinion, for his constant fidelity to the cause, and his indefatigable zeal and well-timed comments, we make our handsomest acknowledgments.
To the Republican citizens of Chambersburg, for their confidence in the Committee and their approval of its actions, we feel profoundly grateful.
But to John Cessna, we owe no thanks, and we, therefore, tender him none. He does not deserve any at the hands of the people of Chambersburg, or Franklin county. Throughout the entire session of the Legislature, whilst this bill was the important item of legislation from this Congressional district, he contented himself with disposing of the office to his own satisfaction (and, perhaps profit) and allowed the Committee to struggle on without his powerful aid. He imagined that the best way to carry this Congressional district in 1870 was to get fellows into all the fat berths who would realize their indebtedness to him, and labor with all their might to keep him in power. He is most supremely selfish, and, by this short-sighted policy, he thought he was doing most to advance the interests of John Cessna. We give him credit for "looking out for Number One," but he has done nothing for the border claimants and he shall have no credit for his indifference and inaction.
But whilst he was preparing the way for re-election to Congress, thinking of nobody's interests but his own, Mr. Meyers, feeling that interest in the movement that any resident of the 16th Congressional District, ought to have felt, openly espoused our cause, and, in the columns of his widely-circulated journal, and by word of mouth wherever and whenever opportunity offered, ably advocated the justice of our claim for payment. Call you this a party question? No. The conduct of the one is the indifference of a politician who ought to have been shrewd enough (but was not) to see that his chances of re-election, to some extent, depended upon the assistance he would render, or at least tender, to this movement. The action of the other was prompted by an earnest desire to render whatever service lay in his power to the plundered people of the district of which he was a resident. Let us hear no more of this being a party question. Cessna did nothing, and deserves nothing.
(Column 03)Summary: The editors profess not to be afraid of the $100,000 John Cessna is planning to spend on his reelection campaign. It is only more evidence of Republican corruption. Democrats will remain competitive against this flawed candidate.
(Column 01)Summary: B. F. Meyers, Democratic candidate for Congress, will speak in the Court House in Chambersburg on September 17th and in Waynesboro on the 19th. "Mr. Meyers will define his position on all the political issues of the day. Let everybody--Radicals, Conservatives and Democrats--go to hear him."[No Title]
(Names in announcement: B. F. Meyers)
(Column 01)Summary: The Ladies Festival for the benefit of the Cornet Band in Quincy made $65.Turnpike Contract
(Column 01)Summary: S. J. Stitzel of Chambersburg received a contract to construct the Sheperdstown and Halltown turnpike.[No Title]
(Names in announcement: S. J. Stitzel)
(Column 01)Summary: Letterkenny Township is now constructing three new school houses. The number of school districts has increased from 12 to 13.[No Title]
(Column 01)Summary: The Rev. Dr. Harman of Dickinson College will preach in the M. E. Church on Saturday. The Rev. Dr. Mitchell will also preach.Quarterly Meeting
(Names in announcement: Rev. Dr. Harman, Rev. Dr. Mitchell)
(Column 01)Summary: The Second Annual Quarterly Meeting of the M. E. Church will be held in St. Thomas on Saturday.Quincy Township Ticket
(Column 01)Summary: The Democrats of Quincy have nominated the following ticket: L. C. Row for Judge; Daniel Heafner for Inspector; John R. Smith for Assessor; Jacob Monn for Constable; Robert McCleary for Auditor; Joseph Rook, John Decker, and Jacob Heller for Supervisor; William Hayman and John Heller for School Director.Outrages
(Names in announcement: L. C. Row, Daniel Heafner, John R. Smith, Jacob Monn, Robert McCleary, Joseph Rook, John Decker, Jacob Heller, William Hayman, John Heller)
(Column 01)Summary: The paper reports that a man named Kauffman committed a "nameless outrage" upon a young woman named Lichtich in the vicinity of Guitner's School House. The perpetrator has not been caught.Sad Accident
(Column 01)Summary: John Edwin Schaff, son of Dr. Philip Schaff, died after falling from a pile of bricks. The child had been playing on the pile, but the fall resulted in a skull fracture.Where $15 Went
(Names in announcement: John Edwin Schaff, Dr. Philip Schaff)
(Column 01)Summary: In a sarcastic manner, urges local blacks to demand more bribes from Republicans for their influence. Says the blacks deserve it and the Republicans can afford it.
Full Text of Article:A White Man Attacked By a Negro
Part of Cessna's $100,000 has lodged in "Wolffstown." We heard of one of our sable fellow citizens on Saturday evening who said he had just got fifteen dollars as his share of the corruption fund. Fifteen dollars is a small sum to offer to one of the leading darkies for his influence. The "colored troops" are very foolish if they don't make these loyal patriots "shell out" liberally. They have got the money. Let them distribute it.
(Column 01)Summary: Reports on an unprovoked attack by a black man on a white man.
(Names in announcement: William Plowden, William Pomeroy)Full Text of Article:Resigned
On Saturday night last, a colored man, William Plowden, attacked a white man named William Pomeroy, on Water street, without any provocation. He struck him across the back with a stick as he was passing along the street, and when Pomeroy inquired what that was for, the only reply he received was a blow just above the left eye with a stone, which knocked him senseless. Pomeroy lay there until some colored woman assisted him to rise and procured medical assistance for him. His head was badly cut, but no serious results are apprehended. Plowden has left the neighborhood.
(Column 02)Summary: Samuel R. Pentz resigned as Assistant Book-Keeper in the National Bank of Chambersburg. He has been suffering from "delicate health." William H. Sellers will take his place. He worked for a "considerable time" in the Banking House of Austin, Elder, and Fletcher.Improving
(Names in announcement: Samuel R. Pentz, William H. Sellers)
(Column 02)Summary: Five or six new buildings have been completed in Waynesboro. Gordon will soon be ready to furnish visitors with Prussian Beer and Rhine Wine.Franklin Co. Hort. Society
(Column 02)Summary: The Franklin County Horticultural Society met on September 6th. George Lehner, John Mull, Leonard Ebert, and John Nitterhouse were elected to membership. Plans were made for their upcoming exhibition.Married
(Names in announcement: George Lehner, John Mull, Leonard Ebert, John Nitterhouse, Keefer, Jenkins, Dr. Boyle, J. G. Elder, T. B. Jenkins, R. P. Hazlett, W. D. Guthrie, Dr. Culbertson, Frank Henderson, W. D. Guthrie, Josiah Schofield, B. L. Maurer, J. L. Dechert, T. B. Jenkins, William Heyser, R. P. Hazelett, George Rowden, G. B. Myers, Dr. Culbertson, J. Jeffries, B. F. Need, J. S. Nixon, John Linn, D. F. Leisher, J. G. Elder, J. P. Keefer, C. H. Cressler, E. B. Engle, Rev. P. S. Davis)
(Column 03)Summary: Jacob Heacy and Miss Maria Virginia Hearst, both of Chambersburg, were married on September 8th by the Rev. E. W. Kirby.Married
(Names in announcement: Jacob Heacy, Maria Virginia Hearst, Rev. E. W. Kirby)
(Column 03)Summary: William Alexander Flack and Miss Maggie Farwell, both of Chambersburg, were married on July 28th by the Rev. L. A. Gotwald.Married
(Names in announcement: William Alexander Flack, Maggie Farwell, Rev. L. A. Gotwald)
(Column 03)Summary: Edward Anderson and Miss Maggie Dvilbiss, both of Mercersburg, were married on September 1st by the Rev. A. M. Whetstone.Married
(Names in announcement: Edward Anderson, Maggie Dvilbiss, Rev. A. M. Whetstone)
(Column 03)Summary: Daniel Wagomon and Miss Annie E. Kaufman, both of Guilford, were married on September 1st by the Rev. Joseph Gipe.Married
(Names in announcement: Daniel Wagomon, Annie E. Kaufman, Rev. Joseph Gipe)
(Column 03)Summary: Robert D. Culbertson of Amberson's Valley and Miss Eliza Harris of Concord were married on September 6th at the residence of the bride's father by the Rev. J. A. McGill.Died
(Names in announcement: Robert D. Culbertson, Eliza Harris, Rev. J. A. McGill)
(Column 04)Summary: Charles M. Sherley died in Montgomery on August 30th. He was 19 years old.Died
(Names in announcement: Charles M. Sherley)
(Column 04)Summary: Philip Wile died in Funkstown, Franklin County, on August 10th. He was 60 years old.Died
(Names in announcement: Philip Wile)
(Column 04)Summary: Philip Treber died in Letterkenny on September 9th. He was 19 years old.Died
(Names in announcement: Philip Treber)
(Column 04)Summary: Minnie May Greenawalt, daughter of Samuel F. and Anna M. Greenawalt died in Chambersburg on September 1st. She was one year old. A poem of mourning accompanies the notice.
(Names in announcement: Minnie May Greenawalt, Samuel F. Greenawalt, Anna M. Greenawalt)