Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Who, thin, pays ye -- the Guvermint? (Yorktown, 1862)

The Skeptical Irish Soldier meets the Determined Scottish Delegate.
An Illustration of What Motivated the U.S. Christain Commission Delegates to Serve Among the Troops.

    The Following bit of Rev. Mr Mingins' experience will show how [the U.S.C.C.] gained favor with the men in the ranks, for whom it was especially intended.  The scene is at Yorktown [1862];  the subject an Irishman:
    Well, this was a very tough Irishman I assure you.  It was at a time when a great many were sick at Yorktown, -- men who had marched and dug and delved, until they were completely broken down.  A great many of them had no clean shirts on.  I had got a large supply, and was going through the tent, giving them to the poor fellows.  I came to this Irishman.
    "My dear friend, " said I, "how are you?  You seem to be an old man."
    "Shure an' I am an ould mon, sir."
    "Well, how came you here in the army, old as you are?"
    "Och, sir, I'm not only an ould mon, but an ould sojer too, I'd have ye know."  He had been twenty years in the British service in the East Indies, and had fought American's foes in Mexico.
    "Yes, sir" he continued, "I'm ould, an' I know it, but I'm not too ould to sholuther a musket, and hit a rap for theo ould flag yit."
   "You're a brave fellow," said I, "and I've brought these things to make you comfortable," as I held out to him a shirt and pair of drawers.  He looked at me,  Said he --
    "Is't thim things?"
    "Yes, I want to give them to you to wear."
    "Well, I don't want thim."
    "You do want them."
    "Well I don't;"  and he looked at me and then at thr goods, and said somewhat sharply, as i urged him again,  "Niver moind, sir; I don't want thim;  and, I till ye, I won't have thim."
     "Shure," said the, "d' ye take me for an objic uv charithy?"
     That was a kind of poser.  I looked at him.
     "No, sir" said I, "I do not take you for an object of charity, and I don't want you to look on me as a dispenser of charity, for I am not."
    "Well, what are ye, thin?"
    "I am a Delegate of the United States Christian Commission, bearing the thank-offerings of mothers and wives and sisters to you brave defenders of the Stars and Stripes."  And I thought, surely, after such a speech as that, I would get hold of the old fellow's heart.  But he looked at me and said --
    "Any how, I won't have thim."
    I felt really hurt.  I did not at all like it.  I have told you, he was an Irishman, and I happened to be a Scotchman.  I was determined not to be conquered.  I meant to try further, and when a Scotchman means to try a thing, he will come very near doing it.
    I didn't talk any further then, but determined to proved by my acts that I had come down to do this old man good.  So day after day I went about my work, nursing, giving medicines, cleaning up the tent, and doing anything and everything I could.
    One day, as I went in, a soldier said --
    "There's good news today, Chaplain"
                             (The soldiers, almost uniformly styled the Christian Commission Delegates "Chaplains".)
    "Ah, what is it?"
    "Paymaster's come."
    "Well that is good news."
    "Yes, but not to me, Chaplain."
    "How is that?"
    "I've not got my descriptive list, and if a fellow's not got that, the Paymaster may come and go, and he's none the better off for it."
    "Well, why don't you get it?"
    "I can't write, Chaplain;  I've got chronic rheumatism."
    "Shall I write for you?"
    "If you only would, Chaplain."
    I hauled out paper and pencil, asked the number of his regiment, name of his Captain, company, &c., and sent a simple request that the descriptive list might be remitted to that point.  When I had done this, I found a good many who wanted their lists, and I went on writing for them until I came to the cot next to the old Irishman's.  It was occupied by another Irishman.  I asked him if he had his descriptive list."
    "Shall I write to your Captain for it?"
    "Av ye plaze," and I began to write.
    I noticed the old Irishman stretching over, -- all attention.  I spoke now and then a word meant for him, though I affected not to notice him.  After I had written the request, I asked the young man if I should read it to him aloud.  "Av ye plaze, sir," and I read him the simple note.  When I had done, the old Irishman broke out with --
    "Upon me sowl, sir, ye wroite the natest letther for a disheriptive list, that I iver heerd in me loife.  Shure an' a mon wud thing ye'd been a sojer all yur dyas, ye do wroite so nate a letther."
    I turned round and asked, "Have you got yours?"
    "An' I haven't, sir."
    "Do you want it?"
    "An' to be shure I do," said he, flaring up;  "an' thot's a quare quistyun to ax a man, av he wants his dishriptive list -- av he wants his pay to boy some dillicacies to sind home to the ould woman an' the chilther.  I do want it, and ave ye'll lind us the sthrock uv yur pin, Chaplain, ye'll oblige us."
    I sat down and wrote the letter, and when I had done said, "Now, boys, give me your letters and I'll have them postpaid and sent for you."
    When i returned, sad work awaited me.  One of the Massachusetts' sons lay in the tent, dying.  I spoke to the dying boy of mother, of Jesus, of home, of heaven.  I believe it to be a great characteristic of the American heart, that it clings to home and mother.  I remember passing over a battlefield and seeing a man just dying.  His mind was wandering.  His spirit was no longer on that bloody field;  it was at his home far away.  A smile passed over his face -- a smile, oh of such sweetness, as looking up he said -- 
     "O mother!  O mother! I'm so glad you have come."
    And it seemed as if she wad there by his side.  By and by he said again --
    "Mother, it's cold, it's cold;  won't you pull the blanket over me?"
    I stooped down and pulled the poor fellow's ragged blanket closer to his shivering form.  And he smiled again:
    "That will do, mother, that will do!"
    And so, turning over, he passed sweetly into rest, and was borne up to the presence of God on the wings of a pious mother's prayers.
    But to come back to the case in the tent.  After I had done all I could for the dying man, and had shaken his hand in farewell, I turned to leave the tent.  Who should meet me at the door but the old Irishman?  He looked very queerly.  There was certainly something the matter with him.  He was scratching his head, pulling at his beard, and otherwise acting very strangely;  but I did not take much notice of him, as I had been so solemnly engaged.  He came up to me and clasping my hands, said --
    "Be me sowl, sir, ye're no humbug, anyhow."
    "What do you mean?" I asked.
    "Oh," said he, "haven't I watched ye ivery day, as ye've been goin' through the tint, carin' for the byes?  An' ye've been loike a mother to ivery wan uv thim.  Thanks to ye, Chaplain, thanks to ye, and may God bliss ye," he repeated, as he again wrung my hand.  "And," said he, "ye do all this for nothing'.  The byes 've been tillin' me about ye."
    "Oh," said I, "that's a mistake."
    "Well, now, how's thot?  They've been tillin' me, ye wur a Prisbytharian misinther, an' thot ye came away from yere home down here, for the love ye had for the byes.  But ye don't do it for nothin', eh?  Who, thin, pays ye -- the Guvermint?"
    "No.  If it had to pay me, it would take a great deal more money than it can spare."
    "Well, does the Commission pay ye?"
    "Well, thin, av the Guvermint doesn't pay ye, nor the Commission doesn't, who does pay ye?"
    I looked the man straight in the eyes and said --
    "That honest, hearty grasp of the hand, and hearty 'God bless you,' are ample reward for all that I have done for you.  Remember, my brave fellow, that you have suffered and sacrificed for me, and I couldn't do less for you now."
    He was broken down.  He bowed his head and wept, and then taking my by the hand again said, "Shure an' av thot's the pay ye take, why thin, God bliss ye!  God Bliss ye!  Ye'll be rich uv the coin uv me heart all yere days."  And then, after a few minutes' pause, he added, "An'now, Chaplain, av ye'll jist give us the shirt an' the dra'rs, I'll wear thim till there's not a thrid uv thim lift."
[the above is from:  Incidents of the United States Christian Commission. 1869. pp.20-24]

    I enjoy handing out copies of the above incident to people who come to our tent as an excellent explanation of why the delegates invested their lives in ministering to the troops.  Our nation's leaders sent "the boys" off to war with uniforms and weapons.  The family members left behind realized their beloved menfolk needed more than just tools of war.  The USCC Delegates volunteered to become a bridge between home and soldier.  They volunteered to became God's hands, feet and voice to every soldier they met.
    Over the years of our reenacting the USCC we have come across those who could not believe what we offered was "really free".  I still remember going through the camp at Cedar Creek when we first began, offering lemonade and pumpkin bread and having to convince the men we were "giving it away".  We'd say "US Christan Commission -- Lemonade -- Pumpkin Bread" and we'd hold out the food trays.
    "How much?"
    "It's free."
    "Yes, take what you want."
    I remember walking up to one tent and announcing "US Christian Commission" and hearing:  "No good Christians at this tent, Chaplain!  Guess you don't want us taking any!"
    I replied "God's love is free and so is this food to anyone who needs it.  Take all you want."  After a few more words of encouragement, they helped themselves and enjoyed the food.  Whether they blessed us or thought us fools was not our concern.  Each cup of lemonade or each bit of food was an offering to the Lord to do with as He saw best.

    America was stronger as a nation when it believed that "charity" arises from the people, NOT the government.  Mothers, wives, sisters spent hours sewing clothing to be given away to the men in hospitals who lay in torn blood-stained rags.  Families sacrificially gave money to the USCC to buy food and material to be given away as reminders that the soldiers were not forgotten. 
    Today, we as a nation are being deceived into believing that "the government" will take care of the needs of those struggling in life.  This is convenient in that it allows us to selfishly pursue our personal dreams, comfortable that we can hire others to do good and not be inconvenienced ourselves.  The more socialistic we become, the less compassionate we become.  The reality is, we CANNOT hire others to show compassion for us.  We only cheapen ourselves in God's sight.  Anything the government takes over becomes a means of enriching the connected at the cost of doing just "enough good" to be able to justify the administrative costs and pensions of the government workers.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Support High Capacity Ban For the Sake of the Nation

An Observation on Politics and The High Capacity Ban

  Yep, it's taken me a while to get to this point, but for the sake of our nation, we MUST BAN HIGH CAPACITY photocopier and computer printer cartridges! 
    Think of how these high capacity cartridges are misused by the politicians & bureaucrats in Washington DC as well as on the state and local level.  They print out reams of laws & regulations that are destroying our American dream of "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness".   These high capacity cartridges are used to create congressional bills that are not even read by the lawmakers voting to make those bills "the law of the land".  Yes, I know that the final versions of the congressional laws and bureaucratic regulations are sent off to commercial printers for production to be distributed to the cowering masses of citizen-slaves who must obey the political elite masters.  But if even ONE law or ONE regulation can be prevented from being shot at the American population, isn't it worth the cost and frustration of having to replace our own printer cartridges after SEVEN sheets of paper?  If we can prevent political elites like Senator Feinstein from getting their freedom destroying anti-American agendas codified, isn't it worth the personal inconvenience? 
    Obviously the dream of limiting all laws and regulations to being ONLY ONE page in length, single spaced, front and back, with NO options for amendments being added is a "fool's dream".  I know it will never happen because of the elite's control of the political system.  And I know we will never force the elites to have to hand write out their proposals the way our founding fathers had to when the Constitution was being written.
    BUT we MUST start somewhere!!!  IF we can slow the political hacks down in spewing out their power grabs . . . IF we can hinder them from compounding their money grabs of our income, isn't it worth it?  IF we force them have to choose between 'do I want to work harder to generate laws and regulations' (which they exempt themselves from having to obey) and 'going out to relax, golf and party like I am entitled to do', it may give us citizen-slaves a better chance at being let alone.
    This cartridge limitation will never come from the political elites themselves.  We cannot depend on the political hacks to limit their power or their income from their pandering lobbyist network.  We MUST RISE UP to save our children and grandchildren from the devastation that is being caused today by these high capacity cartridges!  We MUST join together to force printer cartridges manufacturers to make this vital change at the production level!
    America, will you rise up . . . or will you give up . . . and remain the citizen-slaves you have been drugged into being by the political elites?!? 
    Now, you will have to excuse me because Don Quixote just called, and I have to go see how I can help him out on his quest.