previous next

No-pay Chaplains.

Editors Dispatch:--A recent communication to your valuable paper, by a ‘"Chaplain Without Pay."’ has met with almost universal condemnation by all who rightly esteem the advantages of religious services in our camps. We will say nothing of the intensely self-complacent, boastful spirit of its writer, who trumpets his own good deeds to the world, but we cannot for one moment allow the supposition that other Chaplains are wanting in patriotism because they desire, in return for their services a sufficient pay to support their necessary camp expenses and their families at home. If the amount of pay that those receive who have left home and all that is dear to them, to defend our beloved country, is to be the criterion of one's patriotism, then our brave and able Generals, Johnston, Beauregard, Lee, and Cooper, are the least patriotic of our heroic band of soldiers.

We trust that such twaddle will not deceive many sensible men. Men, in every department of life, whose services are worth having are worth well paying for. Fifty dollars per month, we grant, is amply sufficient for young, unmarried man. But must all of our Chaplains be of that class? Are such men as a whole, men of experience, learning, and well qualified to thoroughly perform the arduous duties of a Chaplain ? What have the married clergy done that they should thus be forced out of the army?

Our ‘"no pay Chaplain"’ tells of the large amount of services that he has given to the soldiers in Richmond without any pecuniary reward. Has he forgotten the fact that the large body of our clergy, of every denomination, are poor men in this world's goods? Our patriotic Chaplain says that he receives ‘"no salary from any source."’ We are glad that he is so well off. He must be a man of property with a comfortable home, and, we were about to say, a good, prosperous church; but the fact that he has ‘"no salary"’ rather implies that he has charge of no congregation; so that possibly our friend does not over estimate the value of his services in the hospitals, as rendered ‘"without pay"’--The duties of a Chaplain of fortune, who resides in a comfortable home in the delightful city of Richmond, who gives his services ‘" without pay in the hospitals whenever called upon,"’ must be indeed arduous in comparison to the duties of a Chaplain who gives up home, lives constantly in camp, enjoys the pleasures of intense heat, cold, and drenching rains, and daily dwells in the camp hospitals with the diseased and dying. All this they gladly and cheerfully do, and in return they but ask a reasonable support for themselves and families. It becomes not, therefore, any ‘"no pay"’ Chaplain, who is well off in worldly goods, and who only officiates when called upon, to endeavor to add to the anxieties and trials of the real laboring Chaplains, by bringing sorrow upon them beyond measure, and causing them to resign.

In a time like this, all who serve the Government should receive the lowest possible minimum that will pay their necessary expenses. But why should this extremely rigid economy be exercised only in regard to Chaplains, the ministers of that God whom we all profess to worship? There is not a young lieutenant in the army who does not receive nearly twice as much as any of our Chaplains. The other commissioned officers of the army are generously paid, and we are glad that it is so. Most of them are men of substance; chaplains are rarely otherwise than very poor.

We will not argue the question that in a Christian country the ministers of Christ should serve in its armies, to restrain vice and irreligion, for our Government has already decided that there shall be Chaplains. Let them then have a proper support. A large number have already been forced to resign.--At the present enormous prices of clothes, shoes, and other necessaries, after the Chaplain has paid his mess expenses, he will not have the $11.00 at the end of the month that always comes to the private. Counties do not help to support the families of Chaplains; neither do boxes come to them filled with clothes and other necessaries.

Never has a Government been more signally blessed by God since the days of the Hebrews, than that of the Confederate States. Let us not, therefore, dishonor Him in sending forth into our armies His ministers without due means of support. We know Chaplains who have been run into debt by the reduction of their payment who gave up posts of honor, and larger salaries than our Government gave at first to the Chaplains, that they might serve in its armies. Shall such men be forced to resign ? The United States gives its Chaplains a sufficient support some $130 per month.

Our patriotic ‘"Chaplain Without Pay"’ suggests that if a Chaplain is of the right figure, the men will give ‘"something extra to his support."’ Our opinion is that a Chaplain who would receive ‘"something extra"’ from any of our under paid privates is a man

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
United States (United States) (2)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
John M. Lee (1)
Johnston (1)
Cooper (1)
Christ (1)
Beauregard (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: