Delaware County NY Genealogy and History Site

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(Source: The Bloomville Mirror, Jan. 23, 1872 page 2 column 3.)
Transcribed by Linda Robinson, October 11, 2002

Friend Champ: Having had for a few months past something to do in prosecuting the claims for pensions for soldiers of the war of 1812, and for the widows of soldiers who have died, under the act of February 14th, 1871. In prosecuting these claims, I have met objectors that object to these pensions on two grounds: First, that the services rendered by the soldiers of Delaware Co. in 1814, were useless and of no value to the county or government. Second, that these surviving soldiers are well enough off and do not need the pensions, nor deserve them.

These objections deserve a passing notice, at least I think so. First, the value of their service: they did what was expected of them---what they were called into the United States service to do, and all that was asked of them. They were called on to go and defend the city of New York. They went with four days' rations and their baggage on their backs; were poorly fed, and clad at their own expense, and had at one time to perform the mournful duty of committing a lot of horse-beef (that was drawn for rations, under the honor of war) to a watery grave. Of the bread I am an eye-witness to crusts as long as my fingers, applearing in the middle of the loaf, also corn worms an inch and a half long. I don't know how they came there; I suppose the commissary could tell. I do not think the government at fault. We did what was required of us, and was honorably discharged. The city of New York was saved from being pillaged and sacked by an enemy whose shipping came in sight, and was only restrained by a knowledge that the city was well guarded. The blue light sign all along the coast, raised by the Washingtonian Peace Party, kept the enemy posted as to the defence of New York, while the capital of the United States, for want of caution and defence that protected New York, fell into the hands of the invader; the President and military forces driven out, the capitol and all the public buildings destroyed and burned, a disgrace to our government. It might have been different if there had been a regiment of Delaware boys there. Second, they are well enough off and don't need pensions, or at least most of them If they were poor or paupers, they would then deserve full pensions, it would do them good. I am at a full stop and hardly know what to say next, but will ask how these survivors of the war of 1812 came to be well off. I happen to know ever man whose claim I have prosecuted, and know that none of them were sons of wealth: but I think, without exception, when they became of age, were thrown upon their own resources empty handed, and each struggle for himself; and have generally succeeded well into the world: have raised large and respectable families of children that are grown to manhood, and so far as I know, all are respectable, none of them having disgraced themselves, or their parents, but some of them rank favorably with the first-class business men of our county. If this is a good solid reason why we should not have the pensions the government in its wisdom and generosity has awarded to us, then urge your objection in another place. I must overrule it. But suppose we are all paupers, should we need pensions then? The town would take care of us and we should be provided for; what need this class care for a pension; the town takes care of the pauper; the wealthy takes care of himself and the pauper too, and I do not see but their claims are about equal; if there is any difference, it should be in favor of the wealthy, for he must provide for both. LEVI SELEY

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