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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 35.djvu/752

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

battle. Here is the explanation of the miracle. Taylor's last fight was at Buena Vista, where he had less than five thousand men. Many of these had also fought at Palo Alto, Resaca de la Palma, and Monterey. It is liberal to say that all the battle-soldiers of Taylor did not exceed ten thousand. Scott's last fight was at the city of Mexico, where he had about eleven thousand men. Many of these were the same soldiers who had fought at Cerro Gordo, Contreras, Churubusco, Chapultepec, and Molino del Rey. Scott's real battle-soldiers could all be included within a total of twenty thousand men. Allowing for losses of all kinds, it is not likely that more than twenty thousand battle-soldiers of the American army in Mexico were alive at the close of the war in 1848. It is not likely that two thousand of them are living now. Every one of these is compelled to lead nine comrades under the flag of booty to the gory field of pensions. Where does he get the nine? He gets them from the army of redundance, thus:

Although the fighting ended in September, 1847, when Scott captured the city of Mexico, peace was not declared until June, 1848. This nine months' interval was passed in "negotiations." This valuable time was wisely employed by our Government in re-enforcing the American armies in Mexico, so that our invincible numbers might act as a moral pressure upon the Mexicans, convincing them how hopeless was their cause. This policy was successful. The Mexican Government, deeming further resistance useless, ratified the Treaty of Querétaro.

From September, 1847, until June, 1848, new regiments, companies, and detachments were poured into Mexico to re-enforce the divisions already there, so that only a small fraction of the army that marched home did any fighting in the Mexican War. Shiploads of soldiers arrived at Vera Cruz in June, before the ratification of the treaty of peace was known at Washington. They were ordered back without being permitted to disembark, because, peace having been declared while they were on the way, there was no necessity that they should land. It is this overflow army that now swoops down upon the Capitol, augmented by the home troops, who did garrison duty at the various posts in the United States during the war, and now march into the treasury by file left, under the pretense that they also are soldiers of Mexico. They can as truthfully claim to be soldiers of Austerlitz.[1]

Pensions pauperize the character and abase the souls of men, especially those men who have no scars to show. They poison honest pride and make nobility itself ignoble. They paralyze

conscience and weaken self-respect. To obtain and retain pensions men will scruple not at perjury. Men of the highest rank

  1. The benefits of the act are limited to men, over sixty-two years of age, so that the soldiers of Mexico who were under twenty-one at the close of the war are yet to hear from.