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It required every able-bodied man, between the ages of 18 and 45, to be always armed and equipped at his own expense. But the very rapid and great increase of our population, wealth and strength within the thirty and forty years which followed the adoption of the system, made it apparent that the onerous tax on every man between the ages of 18 and 45, of arming and equipping himself at bis own expense, and devoting at least one day to useless parade, was a burden for which there was no compensation in return; the system was first neglected, then laughed at, and finally its usefulness was utterly destroyed. That our people should have a military organization, accompanied by drill, is admitted by all, for upon this is our last reliance for the preservation of order in opposition to combinations of bad people, who may infringe upon the rights of persons or property, or in any way use violence in opposition to the proper execution of our laws.
And in the event of a war with any foreign nation, it is of the highest importance that we should have at our command military capacity, and cultivation sufficient to guide and control the masses of volunteers, who will always be found ready and eager to flock to the standard of our country.
If the above views be correct, how much more is a well organized Militia force needed in this our frontier State, lying, as it does, adjacent to an important dependency of a great power?
These considerations induced the Legislature of our State, during the year 1816, to abandon a system which had become worse than useless, and adopt, (at a cost to the people of infinitely less time and money,) one which would ensure all the benefits contemplated by the old organization.
It is, of course, obvious to every person who has given the subject a thought, that the only object contemplated by any Militia organization, is to cultivate and diffuse among the people, that knowledge of military matters which, unfortunately, States often need; and I feel confident, had the law of this State, as approved the 18th of May, 1846, been fully tested, it would have appeared that the early repeal of the Sections, from 1 to 8, of Chapter 14, of said Act, by the act approved March 6th, 1848, entitled an Act for the repeal of the levying and collecting of the Annual Tax, for the support of the Volunteer Militia of this State, was premature; for instead of compelling every man between
of 18 and 45 to do military duty, at a very considerable annual expense, all were relieved from the burden, on the payment of the small sum of twenty-five cents per annum, for the support of the Volunteer Militia of this State.
It is well known that many persons have no taste or liking for military drills, parades, &c.; on the other hand also, that many have. The Act of 1846 required no man to do military duty, except as a matter of choice, and this fact makes it certain, that those who volunteer to constitute a portion of uniformed Militia, will enter into the matter with spirit, and so far as the acquirement of military knowledge is concorned, will secure to the State far more valuable resources than could ever have been attained under the old law. But many
of those who volunteered to be members of our uniformed Militia, could not well afford to be at the expense required for the full observance of the Militia Laws; and, therefore, it was wisely and justly enacted, that all persons, who by law of the United States, are subject to military duty, but who, by our laws, are excused if they prefer it, shall contribute the small sum of twenty-five cents yearly, which was intended to apply towards a reasonable compensation to those who will provide themselves with uniforms, and who actually do duty drill, and are disciplined.
There certainly was nothing unreasonable in that provision, yet there were many, and some who knew better, who denounced the 25 cents commutation as a burden on those who were required to pay it, and so clamorous were they, that within a year after its enactment, and without due experiment of the working of the Act, the repeal of the above quoted Sections took place, and thereby not only destroyed the Volunteer or Uniformed Militia, but nearly dissolved the entire Militia organization.
In connection with this subject I beg leave to refer your Excellency to abstract A., hereunto annexed, to the proceedings of a Military Convention of the several volunteer corps in commission, convoked and held in this city on the 10th day of October last, in which Convention resolutions were adopted with reference to the above alluded to repealed sections of chapter 14, and also by soliciting the Honorable, the Legislature, for the entire revision of the existing Militia Code, and the reenacting of the repealed commutation tax, or for the adoption of any other, that, by the Honorable Body, may be deemed expedient, as the
only means of the possibility to sustain the volunteer system—as otherwise we shall have neither an active or volunteer, nor an enrolled Militia, and the acts of Congress relative to the Militia, as well as those of this State on that subject, will thereby be left unfulfilled, if not violated.
On account of the total neglect by the civil officers of sections 9 and 10 of chapter 14, of the existing Militia Laws, during this year, I was compelled to take the census for the year 1853, as my guide, and am indebted to the Secretary of State for the annexed abstract B., in the appendix; by which it will appear that the male inhabitants in the several counties of this State, as reported to the State Department under the Census Act of 1853, over the age of 21 and under 45 years, were 92,160—if therefore these delinquent civil officers, would duly make their returns to this office of all the white male inhabitants liable to do military duty, from the ages of 18 to 45 inclusive, how much larger would our numerical strength appear? and how many more arms and accoutrements would the State be entitled to draw from the General Government under the act of Congress of 1808, providing for arming and equipping the whole body of the Militia—where the aggregate of the numerical strength, is the criterion for the amount or quota allowed each State and Territory?
I have, during the current year, diligently endeavored to collect from the disbanded and other companies, all the flint lock muskets I could obtain, and with some companies in commission, effected exchanges for muskets with percussion locks—but as not only the collection and transportation from the interior of the State to this place, but also the shipment to any of the United States Arsenals, to which the said flint lock muskets may be sent for alteration with percussion locks, are subject to cash disbursements, no shipment as yet could be made--and I therefore again respectfully reiterate the request and the absolute necessity "for an appropriation," and thus to be enabled to send these at present useless and unfit for service flint lock muskets, the property of the State, to be altered by the General Government by charging the State for so doing, against and in lieu of the annual quota of arms to which the same is entitled. And it is with this view that but few arms and accoutrements have been drawn from the General Government on the quota due (as per abstract C,) in order to have an ample amount to our credit, to effect so desirable an object.
There is a continued desire in the interior of the State for the formation of new Artillery Companies, in preference of all other arms; and in many instances, changes from Infantry to Artillery organizations are solicited.
As the value of Artillery arms, of cannons, caissons, swords and spare parts, far exceed in value the equipment of any other arms, great care is required to issue the same but to responsible Companies, and that sufficient guarantee and bonds be given; and I therefore solicit legislative enactment and directions, in what way such security is to be required, and in what manner it is to be enforced in case of delinquency.
The recent sale by the State, to the city of Detroit, of the building, in part occupied as the State Armory, will make it necessary that another locality for the occupation of this office, and store rooms, gunshades, &c., be provided; authority for the renting of such suitable building, at a moderate rent, is solicited, as well as an appropriation for the expenses of transportation, and removal of the ordnance, arms and accoutrements, asked for.
I respectfully submit the necessity of appointing a competent officer to compile extracts of some of the standard works on tactics and field exercises, and particularly Artillery Drill, for the use and instruction of the Militia of this State, and also to compile a manual of instruction for arms with percussion locks, according to the government system of the army-which compilation or work should be printed in a cheap form, and either be loaned or sold at a low price to the officers in commission for their instruction, now so much needed.
By a resolve of the State of Massachusetts, approved April 16th, 1852, the Adjutant General was authorized to furnish Scott's Infantry Tactics to certain officers of the volunteer Militia. The work has been furnished agreeable to the resolve, and the wisdom of the act has already been proved by the advantages the troops have derived, and doubtless still more favorable results will follow.
In conclusion I beg leave to state, that it is hoped that the duties which have devolved upon this office, have been executed in a manner that may receive the approval of your Excellency, and promote the public interest.
Having been recommended for appointment to my official position by a large number of the officers of the Militia, that I might not disappoint their reasonable expectations as to improvement in the character and condition of an institution in which they take so great an interest, I have ever felt it incumbent on me to devote my whole time and undivided attention to its duties.
If my endeavors have been instrumental in promoting the public welfare, as connected with a military organization, and introducing any useful reforms, which will elevate the Militia, and if my efforts to perform faithfully my official duties, shall meet the approval of the officers of the volunteer Militia and the public, I shall possess an abundant source of coutinual gratification. Respectfully submitted, by your Excellency's obedient servant,
JOHN E. SCHWARZ Adjutant and Quarter Master General, M. M..