Imágenes de páginas

dered, as the system also became the common target of much wit. ticism and ridicule, that it fell under reproach and ultimately into disuse. Yet it is not unreasonable to assert, that if a vigorous militia system had all the time been maintained up to the breaking out of the late rebellion, perhaps many of the headlong fiascos of the Union forces in the early part of that war would have been avoided, and probably a year of the war-expended in perfecting and drilling the soldiery-saved besides. The military system of Prussia, which in the late war with France has brought that country forward as the very first military power of the world, is nothing but the militia system in its perfection. While the system of that country has demonstrated it to be the best, it is also by far the cheapest mode of maintaining a standing army, for which it becomes to a great extent a substitute. But notwithstanding its perfection in that country, Americans could never be brought fully to submit to its dependent and onerous duties, and it will, perhaps, never obtain any considerable foothold where the government is not strongly centralized.

During the territorial existence of Illinois the militia proved a valuable auxiliary to the defence of the country, in repelling hostile savages and affording protection to the frontier settlements. The law was substantially the same as that of 1819, from which we subjoin a synopsis. It contained equitable provisions for drafting or conscription--a drafted militia-man was known as a “forced volunteer.” From the militia sprung, it may be said, the mounted rangers of that period. An early law passed at Vincennes, imported for Illinois by the governor and judges, and subsequently adopted by the territorial legislature, prohibited all commisioned officers, except justices of the peace and militia officers, from serving in either house of the legislature. This placed the road to political preferment in a manner in the hands of the militia, rendering it very obnoxious to other office-holding aspirants.

All free white inhabitants resident in the State, of the age of 18 years and under 45, except as hereinafter excepted, shall be enrolled in the militia by the commanding officer of the company within whose bounds such person shall reside, within ten days next after he shall be informed of such residence; and at all times thereafter in like manner, shall be enrolled those who may from time to time arrive at the age of 18, or come to reside in the district, being of that age and under 45. Such enrolled person was to be notified of his enrollment by an officer of the company, and within six months thereafter he was to provide himself with a good musket and bayonet, fusee or rifle, knapsack, blanket, canteen, two spare flints, cartridge-box to contain not less than 24 cartridges with powder and ball suited to the bore of his musket or fusee, or pouch and powder-horn with 1-4 lb. powder, and 24 balls suited to the bore of his rifle; and every enrolled person when called on shall so appear armed, accoutered and provided, except when called to exercise by companies, battalion or regiment, when he may appear without knapsack or blanket. Field and staff officers, ranking as commissioned officers, shall be armed with sword or hanger and a pair of pistols. Company officers with sufficient sword or hanger. Officers were to furnish their respective commands as follows: The colonel to each battalion a stand of colors, with the number of the battalion, regiment, brigade and division inscribed thereon. The captain was to furnish his com. pany with drum and fife; regimental drum and fife-majors to furnish themselves, with instruments of music. The officers were to be re-imbursed for these articles out of the regimental fund (fines and penalties) upon the order of the regimental board-a slender chance. The entire militia of the State was apportioned into divisions, brigades, regi. ments, battalions and companies; all to take rank when in the field, agreably to the date of the commissions of the officers in command. Each division was entitled to its major-general, with division inspector and aids; each brigade to a brigadier-general, major, and aid-de-camp who was also judge advocate and quartermaster; each regiment to a colonel, lieutenant-colonel, major, surgeon, surgeon's mate, adjutant (ex-officio clerk), quartermaster, sergeant, drum-major and fife-major. The superior officers appointed their subordinates, and their ranks were defined according to the U. S. army regulations. The companies elected their captains and lieutenants, and these appointed their subalterns.

The officers must be citizens of the U. S. and this State, and take an oath to support the constitutions of both. The regiments, battalions and companies elected their respective superior officers, who were commissioned by the governor. The governor, by virtue of his office, was commander-in-chief. Provision was made for one company of artillery and one of cavalry or troop of horse to each regiment, by voluntary enrollment. In the same manner a company of riflemen, grenadiers or light infantry, might be raised in the battalions; all of which were to equip and uniform them. selves in manner fully pointed out. They were to appoint their officers in a manner similar to the first-mentioned. Companies were required to muster four times yearly, on the first Saturdays of April, June, August and October; and also the first battalions of each first regiment, on the first Mondays in April; the 2d on the succeeding Wednesdays; the 1st battalion of the 2d regiments on the succeeding Fridays; and the 2d battalion of the 2d regi. ments on the succeeding Mondays in each and every year. Regi. mental musters were provided for similarly to the above, in September of each year. The evolutions and exercises were to be conducted agreeably to the military discipline of the armies of the U. S. In addition to these times the commanders of regiments, battalions or companies, were empowered to call their respective commands out to muster, as “in their opinions the exigency of the case may require.” The brigadier-generals were required to call together for drill or exercise all the commissioned officers in April and September of each year.

These repeated musters, it will be perceived, were no light duties. Every officer and soldier must appear at the places of muster, armed and equipped as the law directed, at the proper time. The roll was to be called and delinquents, either as to absence or improper equipments, were to be duly noted, for which fines and for feitures were to be assessed by courts-martial, ranging as follows: privates from 50 cents to $1 50; commanders of divisions for neg. lect of any duties enjoined, from $20 to $200 ; commanders of brig. ades, for disobedience of orders or any duties enjoined by law, from $15 to $150 ; of regiments from $10 to $100, of battalions from $8 to $80; of companies from $5 to $50. Fathers were liable for the fines of their minor sons, guardians for their wards, and masters for their apprentices. Execution was to issue upon the findings of the courts-martial, directed to the hands of constables to be levied as in other cases.

The lieutenant-governor, judges of the supreme and circuit courts, attorney-general, licensed ministers of the Gospel, and jailors, were, in addition to those by the laws of the U. Ŝ. ex. empted from militia duty. From time to time acts were also passed for the relief of Dunkards, Quakers, and other religious persons conscientiously scrupulous against bearing arms. By act of Jan. 21, 1821, such persons were relieved by paying $3 each to the sheriff, and the entry of their names with a statement of their scruples, with the assessor of the county. But when detachments of militia for actual service were required, they like others, were not exempt from the tours of duty, but might respond by substitute like others.

The militia was liable to be called into actual service at any time for the space of three months on the requisition of the Executive of the U.S. in actual or threatened invasion of this or neighboring States or territories; for which purpose the number required were to be distributed among the classes (into which companies were to be formed), one man to be furnished by volunteering or draft out of each class; classes might furnish substitutes. The governor could exempt the militia from a call into actual service, in such frontier settlements as in his opinion their safety required defence, and make such further provision as the emergency demanded. While in actual service the militia was to be subject to the same rules and regulations as the armies of the U. s., and to receive the same pay, rations and forage; but their transgressions were to be tried and determined by a court-martial of militia officers only.

This is but a very brief. outline of some of the main features of the militia system of Illinois. The law contains many sections and is a very long one.

While the requirements of the militia system in times of profound peace, without the stimulant of a common danger to aid in the discharge of its onerous duties, were perhaps dull and irksome, it nevertheless afforded to many a budding ambition for the “bubble reputation at the cannon's mouth,” “that swelling of the heart you ne'er can feel again, while with fearless hearts though tired limbs, (they] fought the mimic fray." The military titles of general, colonel, &c., of many of our public men of the period, froin 1812 to 1846, were mostly of militia origin, and had little other significance.

The militia system was much the same in all the States; and to come down to a later period the people abhorred it. But legislatures were unwilling to disturb the time honored law, which in many instances had been the means to originally bring them perhaps into prominence. But the shafts of wit and ridicule were hurled at it with such effect as to make it eventually succumb. The memorable attack of Tom Corwin in the Ohio legislature, by his celebrated “water melon speech,” is familiar to every school. boy. How it fell into disuse all over Illinois, we do not pretend to recount, but we glean the following account of the means used to bring it into contempt in one place, from a speech of Mr. Lincoln :

“ A number of years ago the militia laws of this state required that the militia should train at stated intervals. These trainings became a great bore to the people, and every person nearly was for putting them down; but the law required them to train and they could not get it repealed. So they tried another way, and that was to burlesque them. And hence they elected old Tim Langwell, the greatest drunkard and blackguard, for colonel over the best men of the country. But this did not succeed altogether. So they raised a company and elected Gordon Abrams commander. He was dressed in peculiar style, one part of his pants were of one color and material, and the other different. He wore a pasteboard cap about 6 feet long, resembling an inverted ox.yoke. The shanks of his spurs were about 8 inches long, with rowels about the circumference of common saucers. He carried a sword made of pine wood, 9 feet long. They also had rules and regulations,' one of which

That no officer should wear more than 20 lbs, of codfish for epaulets, nor more than 30 yards of Bologna sausage for a sash; and on the banner was born aloft these words: • We'll fight till we run and run till we die. This succeeded to a demonstration. They were the last company that trained in Springfield.”




The Gubernatorial Candidates, their Lives and CharactersThe Campaign—The Wiggins Loan-Impeachment of Supreme Judge Smith-W. L. D. Ewing Governor for 15 days.

In August, 1830, another gubernatorial election was to take place. The candidates were William Kinney, then lieutenant governor, and John Reynolds, formerly one of the associate justices of the supreme court, both of the dominant party. Since 1826, the Jackson party had been regnant in both houses of the general assembly. The opposition, or anti-Jackson men, brought forward ho candidate for governor at this election; they were in a hope. less minority. In Illinois party principles had not taken deep root, nor were they as yet well defined anywhere by the position of president Jackson. Those who were ardently and uncompromisingly attached to the fortunes of Gen. Jackson, were denominated, in the political slang of the period, “whole hog men.” Mr. Kinney was a strong example of the thorough-going Jackson men. Of those who nominally espoused the cause of Jackson, not unmixed with policy perhaps, as that party was so largely in the majority, while at the same time, the support of the antiJackson men was not unacceptable, was Mr. Reynolds, who, it should be added, however, had always consistently acted with the Jackson party. The opposition, influenced not so much by any clearly defined party principles, as a dislike to the strong, arbitrary and personal characteristics of Gen. Jackson, came to the support of Reynolds, not on account of love for the latter, but of their hatred toward the former. Kinney had been to Washington and witnessed the inauguration of president Jackson, and was thought to have much agency in directing removals from federal offices in Illinois. It was reported he said, in his peculiar graphic manner, that the whigs ought to be whipped out of office like dogs out of a meat house.9*

Mr. Kinney was born 1781, in Kentucky, and emigrated to Illinois, in 1793. As has before been stated, he acquired his education after marriage, being taught its rudiments by his wife. By unwearied application he became remarkable for intelligence and business capacity. Shortly after his early marriage, contracted with a most estimable lady, he removed to a farm a short distance northeast of Belleville, and before long Mr. VonPhul, of St. Louis, induced him to engage in merchandizing. He brought his first 'Reynolds' Life and Times.

« AnteriorContinuar »