that might be required by the Government
, and prevent the evils of competition between towns in filling their quotas, the practical effect of which was to swell to an unnecessary degree the amount of the local bounties.
It failed, however, to accomplish this desirable purpose; for towns, in their anxiety to furnish the number of men required of them, continued to pay bounties of their own, notwithstanding the large bounty offered by the State
This practice led to the passage of another act, by which cities and towns were prohibited from paying a larger bounty than one hundred and twenty-five dollars to a volunteer for three years service, which will explain to the reader the similarity of the votes passed by the towns in 1864, restricting the payment of bounty beyond that sum; it will also explain why some of them voted that the bounty thus provided should be paid in gold
, which, though not a violation of the letter of the statute, certainly did not accord with its spirit and intention.
Nor was this all. The towns, though restricted from paying a larger bounty than one hundred and twenty-five dollars, did not prevent citizens in their personal and private capacity from contributing of their own means to raise large sums for the encouragement of recruiting, by adding to the amount allowed by law to be raised by taxation, and paid by the towns.
The only objection to this practice was, that it gave undue advantage to the wealthy towns over their less fortunate neighbors; which we presume will be regarded as a legitimate advantage, and one which wealth always has over poverty.
A word of explanation is proper here to account for the apparent discrepancy, which appears in the votes passed by many of the towns in the year 1862, in the amount of bounties paid to volunteers for three years service, and those for nine months service.
In most of the towns the amounts were the same for both; in several of them a larger bounty was paid to the nine-months men than was paid to those for three years. The reason was this: On the 4th of July, 1862, the President
issued a call for three hundred thousand volunteers for three years service, of which number Massachusetts
was to furnish fifteen thousand.
The towns immediately held meetings, appropriated money, and fixed the amount of the bounty which they authorized to be