The American Cyclopædia (1879)/Pension

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Edition of 1879. See also Pension on Wikipedia, and the disclaimer.

PENSION, a regular allowance of money paid to an individual by a sovereign or government, in consideration of services rendered or in recognition of merit, civil or military. Most foreign countries have both civil and military pension lists, but in the United States pensions are granted, with a few exceptions, in consideration of military service alone. Military pensions are divisible into two general classes, invalid and gratuitous. Invalid pensions are granted to persons who have become disabled in the military or naval service, in consequence of wounds or sickness, so as to be in whole or in part incapable of supporting themselves and those dependent on them. Gratuitous pensions are given as rewards for eminent services, and are usually granted at the close of a war or of a term of service. In this class is properly included the half pay drawn by the families of those who have died of wounds or of sickness contracted in the service.—In the United States all matters relating to pensions are in charge of the commissioner of pensions, who is the head of a bureau in the department of the secretary of the interior. Payments are made quarterly at 58 agencies, established in different parts of the country. At each of these agencies a permanent roll is kept of all pensioners residing within its limits, arranged alphabetically by classes, sexes, &c. On this roll are entered all new pensions, new allowances to pensioners, reductions, suspensions, deaths, remarriages, transfers, variations of rates, and the post-office address of each pensioner. The disbursements at the various agencies range from $5,000 to $1,500,000 annually. Of the 278,021 soldiers who served in the revolutionary war, 57,623 received pensions for service, and the aggregate amount paid to them was $46,082,175 97. At the close of the fiscal year ending June 30, 1859, there were 165 soldiers of the revolution on the rolls, 102 of whom died during the two succeeding years. The last survivor pensioned under the general laws was Lemuel Cook of Clarendon, N. Y., who died May 20, 1866, aged 104 years. Of two pensioned under a special act of congress ($500 per annum), one, John Gray of Brookfield, Ohio, died March 28, 1869, aged 105 years, and the other, Daniel F. Bakeman of Freedom, N. Y., on April 5, 1869, aged 109 years. At the outbreak of the civil war all pensioners in the insurgent states were cut off from the benefit of the pension laws, and the names of those known to be disloyal were subsequently stricken from the rolls. In 1867 the names of widows who could prove their loyalty during the war were restored. This increased the number on the roll during that year, but they have since been gradually decreasing, and in the year ending June 30, 1874, only 326 applied for payment of pensions. The pensioners of the war of 1812-'14 were included among the invalids, widows, &c., on the general roll until the act of Feb. 14, 1871, by the terms of which a pension is awarded for 60 days' service to all survivors and widows of that war. The total number of enlistments of all kinds in the war of 1812 was 527,654, of whom 296,916 served 60 days or more; of this last number, 21,451 have been pensioned, and in 1874 17,620 were on the rolls as alive. Of the widows, 6,200 who were married prior to Feb. 17, 1815, have been pensioned. The total number of enlistments in the war with Mexico was 73,260, of whom 11,308 were pensioned as invalids. Of the 2,688,523 men enlisted in the civil war of 1861-'5, 119,589 had been pensioned as invalids up to 1874. The following table shows the number of pensioners enrolled in the various classes during each year from 1861 to 1874:

YEARS.  Revolutionary 
Widows of
 Widows, &c. 
 Widows, &c. 
 Survivors of 
 war of 1812. 
Widows of
 war of 1812. 

1861   63 2,728    4,725   2,236   427   530 ...... ......  10,709
1862 30 1,850    3,878   1,485   433   483 ...... ......   8,159
1863 18 1,573    7,248   4,820   555   577 ...... ......  14,791
1864 12 1,418   22,767  25,433   712   793 ...... ......  51,135
1865  3 1,114   35,041  47,972   839 1,017 ...... ......  85,986
1866  1 931 54,620  68,957 1,032 1,181 ...... ...... 126,722
1867 .. 997 68,511  81,294 1,054 1,327 ...... ...... 153,183
1868  1 888 74,782  91,354 1,175 1,443 ...... ...... 169,643
1869 .. 887 81,579 102,659 1,280 1,558 ...... ...... 187,968
1870 .. 727 86,187 108,825 1,334 1,613 ...... ...... 198,686
1871 .. 634 91,290 111,794 1,377 1,673    727 ...... 207,495
1872 .. 471 95,405 113,047 1,449 1,730 17,100 3,027 232,229
1873 .. 445 99,804 111,643 1,430 1,770 18,266 5,053 238,411
1874 .. 410  102,457   107,106 1,551 1,785 17,620 5,312  236,241 

The several sums allowed per month to invalids of the various classes are as follows: lieutenant colonels and officers of higher rank in the army, and officers in the navy and marine corps ranking with them, $30; majors and other officers ranking with them, $25; captains and other officers ranking with them, $20; first lieutenants and those ranking with them, $17; second lieutenants and those ranking with them, $15; midshipmen and those ranking with them, $10; and privates and seamen, $8. The total amount paid in pensions from the foundation of the government to June 30, 1861, was $89,886,359 65. The following table exhibits the annual rate of all pensions paid by the United States from 1861 to 1874 inclusive, and the actual amount paid, the latter including arrears and expenses of disbursement:

YEARS. Annual rate. Amount paid.

1861 $957,772 08  $1,089,218 75 
1862 752,711 71  790,819 94 
1863 1,371,169 43  1,044,364 47 
1864 4,595,376 33  4,521,622 18 
1865 8,023,445 43  8,542,885 27 
1866 11,674,474 81  13,250,980 17 
1867 16,178,031 45  18,681,711 79 
1868 19,224,183 95  24,079,403 18 
1869 21,305,484 57  28,445,089 09 
1870 22,260,200 10  27,780,811 81 
1871 22,806,994 29  33,077,383 63 
1872 25,480,578 80  30,169,341 00 
1873 26,259,284 23  29,185,289 62 
1874  26,244,786 46   30,593,749 56 

The appropriation for the year ending June 30, 1875, was $29,980,000.—In Great Britain military and naval pensions are awarded for distinguished services, for long service, for wounds, and for disability incurred in the service. There are also superannuation allowances, pensions to needy widows, and compassionate allowances to orphan children. The amounts paid to army officers as rewards for distinguished services are, with few exceptions, £100 each; in the navy flag officers receive £300 annually and captains £150. Victoria cross pensions, which belong in this class, amount to £10 yearly. In 1874 there were 86 in the army and 18 in the navy who had received this decoration. Pensions for long service are given to non-commissioned officers and privates in the army, who have served 21 years in the infantry or 24 years in the cavalry, or sooner in cases of disability from wounds, loss of health, &c.; and to petty officers, seamen, and marines in the navy, under similar circumstances. Army pensioners of this class are either in-pensioners or out-pensioners of Chelsea or Kilmainham (Dublin) hospitals. In-pensioners have their home in the hospitals, and receive board, lodging, and tobacco money in lieu of their proper pensions; out-pensioners draw their money, amounting to from 1½d. to 3s. 10d. a day, from the staff officers of pensioners, one of whom is established in every large town, and live where they please. Navy in-pensioners are supported at Greenwich hospital, and the out-pensioners draw their pensions from the military staff officers, and also live where they please. Able-bodied pensioners are allowed to enlist in a defensive corps called the “enrolled pensioners,” and draw pay during the yearly training. Pensions for wounds are limited to officers, and vary according to rank. They are sometimes granted temporarily when the injury is not permanent. Officers are retired on full pay or half pay, according to circumstances. In 1874 there were 370 of the former and 1,924 of the latter in the army list; and in the navy, 601 officers on the active list, 214 on the reserved list, 2,360 on the retired list, and 216 marine officers who were paid according to their respective positions. The militia, yeomanry, and volunteers also receive pensions under certain circumstances. The British army estimates for 1874-'5 provide for the following pensions:

Rewards for distinguished services £34,000
Pay of general officers 81,600
Retired full and half pay 521,100
Widows' pensions, &c. 146,800
Pensions for wounds 16,300
Chelsea and Kilmainham in-pensions 36,100
Chelsea and  Kilmainham out-pensions  1,158,600
Superannuation allowances 172,100
Militia, yeomanry, and volunteers 20,900

 Total £2,187,500

The naval estimates for the same time provide as follows for pensions:

Half pay and retired pay  £870,166
Pensions and allowances  945,760

 Total £1,815,926

To this must be added the civil service estimates, for which, in the budget of 1874-'5, £528,196 were appropriated. Of this amount, £430,957 is for superannuation and retired allowances. Large pensions are attached to various political positions in Great Britain. Retired lord chancellors receive £5,000 per annum; and members of the cabinet and secretaries draw yearly pensions of from £2,000 to £1,000. Many authors, artists, men of science, and other classes, also receive annual pensions from the government.—In France pensions are awarded to civil, military, and naval officers, to ecclesiastics, and to those distinguished in literature, science, and the arts. Pensions called national recompenses are granted by legislative vote for distinguished services. In the budget for 1874, 42,400,000 francs were appropriated for civil pensions. In 1870 the amount paid in military pensions was 46,595,498 fr.; the appropriation in the budget of 1874 was 63,000,000 fr., exclusive of 3,668,000 fr. to old soldiers of the republic and the empire. In 1874 pensions to the amount of 36,000 francs were awarded to aged and infirm ecclesiastics. In 1669 pensions were given to men of letters to the amount of 111,550 livres, and in the year III. of the republic 605,500 livres were thus expended. Literary pensions are now generally in the form of some sinecure, or of a national dotation like that voted to Lamartine in 1867. Pensions under the title of national recompense were voted in 1874 to the amount of 428,000 fr. To this sum should be added 225,000 fr. for pensions granted under the empire to the widows or children of high officials, 104,000 fr. for pensions to peers and former senators, 90,000 fr. to the pensioners of the civil lists of Kings Louis XVIII. and Charles X., and 395,500 fr. in pensions and annuities to the employees of the civil list and of the privy household of Louis Philippe.—In the Russian budget for 1873, 24,786,589 rubles were appropriated for pensions, of which 24,367,827 were for permanent and 418,762 for temporary pensions. The empire of Germany in 1874 had a military pension list of 37,996,878 marks; in the same year Prussia paid in civil pensions 13,739,976 marks, Bavaria in pensions to widows and orphans 1,689,771 marks, and Baden in unspecified pensions 1,408,166 marks. The Austro-Hungarian monarchy paid in 1874 pensions amounting to 12,283,000 florins for the states represented in the Reichsrath, and 2,652,958 florins for those under the crown of Hungary. The pension list of Italy for 1873 amounted to 62,352,215 lire; of Sweden for 1875, 1,539,135 crowns; and of Denmark for 1874-'5, 1,703,966 rigsdalers, of which 1,405,715 were for civil and 298,251 for military pensions. In 1874 Switzerland paid 25,000 francs in military pensions. The budget of Turkey for 1874-'5 appropriated for pensions 64,000,000 piasters, and that of Egypt for 1873-'4, 2,000,000 piasters.