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Upon the stage of the Auditorium the central chair was draped in black and left vacant in memory of General Sherman.
Tents and Gatling guns were on either flank of the stage and a camp-fire in the back ground. A detachment from the first regiment, under command of Captain Ford, performed picket and sentry duty, Beautiful floral pieces, presented by Mrs. William E. Strong and Mrs. John Mason Loomis graced the stage, and portraits of Grant, Sherman, and Logan faced the audience.
The Society met at Grand Army Hall at 10 o'clock A. M.
The President:— The first order of business is the motion offered by Captain Andreas as to the appropriation of a portion of our fund to defray the expenses of our annual meeting.
Captain Andreas:- I do not know that I need add anything to this. It speaks for itself.
Colonel Wilcox:- That about exhausts the income from the fund, does it?
Captain Andreas:-Yes, and a little more.
Colonel Wilcox:-Does that about meet with what would be the ordinary deficiency?
Captain Andreas:-No, it costs generally more than that to have a meeting. The time has come when our meetings will be held either in the cities of Chicago, St. Louis, or Cincinnati, and as we have been in those cities a number of times, and the citizens have always contributed for us, it is pretty hard now to raise money from the citizens, and the burden falls upon a few of our members.
Colonel Wilcox:—Then I move the adoption of the resolution.
General Force:-I have no objection to an appropriation, but as to the amount I should like to say a word. The resolution says we have twenty thousand dollars, including the premium on bonds, and including the bequest of Colonel Dayton. The premium on the bonds is about nineteen hundred dollars, and there being twelve thousand of bonds, the premium is now sixteen per cent. That nineteen hundred dollars does not produce anything. Then there is about eleven hundred dollars cash in bank, money on deposit. That does not produce anything. Colonel Dayton has made a bequest, but it has not been handed over to this Society. The executor of the will thinks it will be handed over some time in the course of this year. There is eight thousand dollars that does not produce anything. The twelve thousand dollars of bonds produce four per cent, which is four hundred and eighty
dollars per annum. My impression is that it would be far safer to say that this appropriation should be the interest on the bonds, whatever that may be. That has been accumulating, with the object of having about six hundred dollars for this purpose.
Colonel Jacobson:- I wish you would move that as an amend. ment.
General Force:-Perhaps Captain Andreas will accept it.
The President:-General Force, I understand makes an amendment that the amount appropriated be the income of whatever bonds we have.
Captain Mason:-I understand that the resolution does not provide a specific sum of seven hundred and fifty dollars, but that the amount appropriated should not exceed that; leaving it discretionary to give as much of that as we can, and I suppose the spirit of the resolution is that we should not encroach upon the principal, but simply use the surplus income. Is not that the understanding?
Captain Andreas:—No, I cannot see why we cannot encroach upon the principal. What are we raising this fund for? Who is to have it in the time to come? In a few years there will only be a handful of this society. They will have an immense fund. What good will it do? They have no successors.
What is the use of accumulating this? What is the use of burdening our present members? I say take the principal if necessary. We know how hard it has been to raise this amount of money that has been necessary here at this time. It has been very hard.
Colonel Jacobson:-I want to say only one word, and that is that this resolution, of course, does not cover this present meeting. The expenses of the present meeting are provided for; and the membership of the Society of the Army of the Tennessee will decrease much faster than we can possibly decrease the principal by this resolution. There is not any particular reason why we should continue to do as we have done, to be a burden to the places where we meet, and it has resulted in this instance in giving seats to people in the hall who were out of touch and out of sympathy with us.
I hope this resolution will pass as it is, even if it does encroach upon the principal.
Major Mahon:--Mr. President, It occurs to me that this fund was accumulated for a purpose.
I have heard that discussed in previous meetings of this Society, that this fund was simply accumulated for a purpose.
The purpose is when our members become fewer and there remain but a handful, to maintain and continue the meetings of this Society; and for one I am opposed to encroaching upon the principal. I realize thoroughly the burden there is on local committees and on local companions of the order wherever these meetings are held, and I want to do everything we can, so far as income is concerned, to assist them in the future, but I think it ought to be limited, as General Force suggests, to the interest on the bonds. We will then retain the principal and accumulate a little something from the dues from year to year, and let us not lose sight of the purpose for which this fund was accumulated, and that is that when these meetings become lessened in numbers by the passing away of the members it may be necessary for the continuance of the meetings to have a fund of this kind to assist in perpetuating them.
General Hickenlooper:-Mr. President, while it is well known to the members of the Society that I have been extremely zealous in guarding this fund, it is, as has been properly stated, a fund that was raised for defraying the expenses of the Society, when the period came that it would be no longer possible to raise money from voluntary contributions among the people.
While the sum to be disposed of has inadvertently been somewhat exaggerated, and the annual running expenses of the Society have not been properly stated, for the simple reason that there are items of expense not included in the estimate, namely, the printing of the reports, four hundred and fifty or five hundred dollars a year, and minor expenses of secretaries, the reprinting of the reports in the bound volume, probably exhausting another three or four hundred dollars a year; still, notwithstanding this, it appears to me that we are now rapidly approaching, if we have not already reached that period, when it is no longer possible for us to go out upon a community, and through the sympathy of that community raise the fund necessary to properly entertain the Society.
It is one of the most difficult things in the world for old men to recognize that their days are past. Ours is a turned down leaf in history. We are of another generation, for since our day and time, another generation has come upon the field that is not in
sympathy with us as they were within a few years after the close of the That is evident in every movement that you
make everywhere, at your meetings, on your parades, everywhere you will see that sentiment expressed, not in words, but in feeling. I therefore feel, gentlemen, that it would be imposing upon the local committee an extraordinary burden, now at this time to ask them to raise the funds that are necessary upon such occasions, so that I am in sympathy with the appropriation of a certain portion of the funds of this Society, wisely graded so that when the last member of the Society meets alone he will not be burdened with this surplus, and be called upon to dispose of it.
Another idea, if you continue to leave this large sum in the treasury of the Society, I fear that at some time there may be a meeting when this money may be appropriated for some purpose not in harmony with the original creation of the fund, which was broadly announced to be the accumulation of a fund which might at this time, or at a time when you saw you were not in touch and sympathy with the people, be used to maintain and support the Society.
Colonel Loomis:—I want to suggest a solution that would, I think, meet the views of the members upon this subject. I do not like to see the principal go away until we can fairly see over the gap. It is so easy to increase the appropriation. Let us spend the income, and stand ready at any time to encroach upon the principal if you think proper.
Captain Pullen:-I rise for information. I did not understand exactly the amount that would come from our investment?
Colonel Loomis:-Twelve thousand dollars at four per cent.
General Hickenlooper;-I move as an amendment that the sum be fixed at five hundred dollars.
Captain Andreas:- I aecept that.
The President:-The question is still on the amendment offered by General Force.
Genoral Force:-I withdraw that.
Colonel Smith:—I hope Geueral Force will not withdraw his proposition. It seeme to me that the funds accumulated through the years should be sacredly guarded, and no consideration whatever should induce us to trench upon that principal. Let us spend the income. If you break down the old time guard of that fund the Society will in my opinion finish in a few years.