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UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT,
EASTERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS,
Texarkana, Tex., May 23, 1929. The ATTORNEY GENERAL,
Washington, D. C. Sir: Inclosed herewith is a copy of a bill which I am sending to-day to Senator Sheppard, with the request that he use his good offices to secure its enactment during the present Congress, assuming, of course, that same will meet with your approval.
It has to do with the rearrangement of the terms of court in this district. The present arrangement was put in effect many years ago, when the volume of business was much less than it is now, and when the relative importance of the divisions was different. At present the Tyler terms are about 10 weeks apart, and it frequently happens that the reasons for a continuance of a case in one term exist at the succeeding term, and thus trials are delayed for a period of a year. This could be remedied, to an extent, by having more time between the terms.
In the Beaumont division, the principal division in the district, the November term extends into the Christmas holidays, when there is more or less difficulty in disposing of cases and securing the attendance of witnesses and jurors. The new arrangement rearranges the terms in a fashion that both the marshal and clerk, as well as myself, believe will facilitate the disposition of business. One week is taken from each of the Sherman terms and added to the Texarkana term, where the volume of business is greater, and where the time now fixed is really insufficient.
The bar of the district has been consulted, and as far as I can tell this change meets with their unanimous approval. I hope if you have occasion to consider the matter, you can see your way clear to indorse the proposition. I am quite sure that it will be a better arrangement than now exists. Very respectfully,
W. L. ESTEs, Judge. O
REPORT No. 664
CARE OF MONUMENT TO THE MEMORY OF SOLDIERS IN THE BATTLE OF NEW ORLEANS, AT CHALMETTE, LA.
May 19, 1930.-Ordered to be printed
Mr. SHEPPARD, from the Committee on Military Affairs, submitted
[To accompany H. R. 6151)
The Committee on Military Affairs, to which was referred the bill, (H. R. 6151) to authorize the Secretary of War to assume the care, custody, and control of the monument to the memory of the soldiers who fell in the Battle of New Orleans, at Chalmette, La., and to maintain the monument and grounds surrounding it, having considered the same, report favorably thereon with the recommendation that it do pass.
The merits of the bill are set forth in the House report thereon which is made a part of this report and reads as follows:
The Committee on Military Affairs, to whom was referred the bill (H. R. 6151) to authorize the Secretary of War to assume the care, custody, and control of the monument to the memory of the soldiers who fell in the Battle of New Orleans, at Chalmette, La., and to maintain the monument and ground surrounding it, introduced by Mr. O'Connor of Louisiana, having considered the same, report thereon with the recommendation that it do pass.
We quote from an address delivered by Congressman James O'Connor of Louisiana, before the committee, in urging a favorable report upon this bill.
“I hope that the Committee on Military Affairs will report this bill out promptly and Congress enact it into law. This bill was prepared, drafted, and written by the lamented James W. Good, late Secretary of War, as a substitute for several bills which I had introduced on the subject matter thereof.
“Years ago when the Federal Government accepted the transfer of the battle field from the State of Louisiana, in a doubtful and inadequate recognition of the services of Daughters of 1776-1812, a patriotic organization of Louisiana, in maintaining the field up to that time, continued them in control of the grounds and monument, and that responsibility was accepted by them and the onerous duty, of caring for Federal property met and discharged. But of recent years the burden has become too great, and the ladies have written to the Secretary of War relinquishing the unusual obligation which they can no longer fulfill to the satisfaction of the public and themselves and the requirements of the small but historic battle field. All honor them for having discharged for so many years an obligation that never should have been imposed upon them.
“When this bill is enacted into law, the Government will maintain the grounds it owns and the rather poor and shabby monument which stands on the spot where Jackson had his headquarters. Some day let us hope the Nation will perform its full duty and embellish the field with another battle abbey, a shrine wherein all English-speaking people may reverence the memories of those that fell on both sides of the battle line, the American heroes and their British cousins. For be it remembered, lest we forget, that aside from the Louisiana troops and the freedmen of color, the soldiers who came from Kentucky, Tennessee, and the Mississippi Division, as it was then called, and fought the good fight on Chalmette under Jackson, were as Anglo-Saxon-Celtic in their blood and racial attitude as the veterans who fought under Pakenham.
"As you are aware, the Battle Abbey was erected to commemorate the glory of William the Conqueror, who defeated Harold, the last of the Saxon kings, at the Battle of Hastings; but in course of time it became the shrine where the fused and mingled Norman-Saxon, blood became the boast of all Englishmen who reverenced the victor and the vanquished.
“But so that the glories of the 8th of January, 1815, may not be lost sight of, even while we are hoping that no other engagement may ever be fought between the Americans and their British kinsmen, let me recite briefly the outlines of the history of the notable engagement known as the Battle of New Orleans.
“Many Americans regard the victory only as an offset to the terrible disasters that had befallen our arms in the War of 1812, for it was one long series of humiliating defeats. Many Americans value it as an engagement that restored confidence to American men and women in the valor of American soldiers, a confidence that had been terribly shaken by innumerable martial triumphs of British arms on American battle fields. But it has a far greater value my countrymen. Listen:
“The visit of Pakenham, if I may refer to that invasion as a visit, was not for the purpose of settling directly any issue that was involved in the War of 1812, but was to take over that territory which was known as the Louisiana Purchase. Let me say that all of Europe considered the transfer by Spain to France of the Louisiana territory as ultra vires, illegal, null and void, and of no effect. The continental law writers sneered at the thought that through a secret treaty agreed to by Spanish commissioners who were not authorized to make such a transfer, that this great grant of land, an empire of territory, could be given the slightest color of legality by reason of its subsequent sale by the transferee, France. It was done and consummated by a secret treaty, which, when its import became known, was repudiated by Spain and denounced by England as a fraud. Of course, France could not convey any better title to us than she, herself, had secured as a result of this so-called treaty, by which the Louisiana territory had come into her possession. A great army had come over with Pakenham, who was the brother-in-law of the Duke of Wellington and both, by the way, were gentlemen of Irish birth. Wellington was originally to have commanded that expedition. But movements were already on foot looking to a fight to a finish over matters in Europe, and Wellington was not given the command but was held for other momentous events. The Battle of Waterloo was fought on June 18, 1815, after the Battle of New Orleans, and many of the troops who fought under Pakenham took part afterwards in that great Battle of Waterloo. They were veterans of the peninsular wars and were regarded as the crack troops of Europe. A civil government had come over with Pakenham for the purpose of administering the affairs of the Louisiana Purchase, which was to have been taken over by England and retained for her own uses or turned back to Spain, her ally, who claimed, of course, as I said before, that that so-called transfer by her through unauthorized envoys or commissioners was void and of no effect.
“Sincerely I believe that that battle field should ever be in the minds of Americans who delight in believing and boasting that their country to-day covers that wonderful expanse of territory bounded by the Atlantic, the Pacific, the Canadian line, and the Gulf of Mexico. If it had not been for the successful outcome of that battle, you would have another Canada running along the western line of the Mississippi River. The Mississippi River would be the western boundary of the United States of America. That is how important that battle was, because it settled the territorial question forever. The Battle of New Orleans, as the last appeal in a great international issue that could not be settled judicially or by treaty, forever determined that the_American and not the English or Spanish flag should float over the Louisiana Purchase.'
The letter from the Secretary of War explaining the measure is as follows: Hon. W. FRANK JAMES,
JANUARY 10, 1930. Chairman Committee on Military Affairs,
House of Representatives. DEAR MR. JAMES: Careful consideration has been given to the bill H. R. 6151, a bill “To authorize the Secretary of War to assume the care, custody, and control of the monument to the memory of the soldiers who fell in the Battle of New Orleans, at Chalmette, La., and to maintain the monument and grounds surrounding it," which you transmitted to the War Department under date of December 7, 1929, with a request for information and the views of the department relative thereto.
The applicable provision of existing law is the act approved March 4, 1907, entitled "An act providing for the completion by the Secretary of War of a monument to the memory of the American soldiers who fell in the Battle of New Orleans, La., and making the necessary appropriations therefor.” The act approved March 4, 1907, authorized an expenditure of $25,000 for the completion of a monument on property to be transferred or ceded to the United States by the State of Louisiana, and provides that when the said monument is completed the responsibility for maintaining the same and keeping the grounds surrounding it shall remain with the United Daughters of 1776 and 1812 free of any expense or responsibility on the part of the Government of the United States.
On June 19, 1902, the General Assembly, State of Louisiana, passed an act to cede jurisdiction over the Chalmette Monument to the United States. This act recites among other things that the State of Louisiana considers it appropriate and desirable that the site of this national victory should be in the custody of the Government. It makes the transferring of jurisdiction contingent upon the proviso that the Congress of the United States shall, within five years after the passage of the act, make a suitable appropriation for the completion and preservation of the Chalmette Monument.
The act of March 4, 1907, contains a proviso that “the responsibility of maintaining the monument and keeping the grounds surrounding it shall remain with the United Daughters of 1776 and 1812, free of any expense or responsibility on the part of the Government of the United States.” This proviso makes it impossible to secure appropriations for the care and maintenance of the monument except when specifically authorized by Congress. It will be noted that the terms of the act of March 4, 1907, are not consistent with the terms of the act passed by the General Assembly of the State of Louisiana, since the act of March 4, 1907, does not make suitable provision for the preservation of the monument as contemplated by the general assembly.
The proposed bill would transfer the custody and control of the monument now built on Government-owned land and would require the Government to maintain the monument and grounds in a suitable manner. In order that this memorial may be maintained and perpetually preserved in a manner commensurate with the importance of the great national victory which it commemorates, approval of the bill is recommended.
The estimated cost for maintenance of the memorial and grounds is $1,200 per annum. Sincerely yours,
PATRICK J. HURLEY,
Secretary of War. O