Benson John Lossing.

Harper's encyclopdia of United States history from 458 A.D. to 1905 (Volume 3) online

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Amelia county, Va., Feb. 13, 1811.

Egle, WILLIAM HEXRY, librarian; born
in Harrisburg, Pa., Sept. 17, 1830; grad
uated at the University of Pennsylvania
in 1859; is the author of History of
Pennsylvania; Pennsylvania in the Rev
olution; Pennsylvania Genealogies; His
torical, Biographical, and Genealogical
Notes and Queries; Some Pennsylvania
Women in the Revolution, etc.

Elbert, SAMUEL, military officer ; born
in Prince William parish, S. C., in 1743;
was made captain of a grenadier company
in 1774; joined the Revolutionary army
in 1776. He led an expedition into East
Florida in April, 1778, and took Fort
Oglethorpe; afterwards displayed great
bravery in the assault on Savannah in
December, 1778. He was captured by the
British in the engagement at Brier Creek,
March 3,1779; afterwards was exchanged
and re-entered the American army; was
bre vetted brigadier-general, Nov. 3, 1783;
became governor of Georgia in 1785. He
died in Savannah, Ga., Nov. 2, 1788.

El Caney, an elevated suburban vil
lage 3 miles northeast of Santiago, in the
province of Santiago, Cuba. It was here,
on July 1, 1898, that the American army
of liberation met its first serious oppo
sition. After the landing of the troops
at DAIQUIRI (q. v.) on June 20-22, a




SPANISH EARTHWORKS AND IXTRKXCHMKXTS AT EL CANET.
189



ELDORADOELECTION BILL



forward movement began, and by the 27th
the whole army, 16,000 strong, had
reached points within 3 miles of Santiago.
General Shafter, in consultation with the
other generals, determined on an envelop
ing movement to prevent a junction of
the forces under General Pando and those
under General Linares in Santiago. In
accordance with this plan the division of
General Lawton moved out on June 30,
into positions previously determined. By




BLOCK-HOUSE AT EL CANEY.

daylight on July 1, Capt. Allyn K. Cap-
ron s light battery reached a commanding
hill, 2,400 yards from the village. The
brigade of Ma j. -Gen. Adna E. Chaff ee was
assigned a position east of El Caney that
he might be prepared to attack after the
first bombardment, and Brig.-Gen. Will
iam Ludlow went around to the west with
his brigade for the purpose of preventing
a retreat of the Spaniards into Santiago.
As soon as the battery opened fire upon
the stone block-house and church in the
centre of the village, and also the
trenches where the Spanish infantry was
situated, General ChafFee s brigade, com
posed of the 7th, 12th, and 17th Infantry,
moved to attack in the front, keeping up
a constant but careful fire, as the men



had only 100 rounds of ammunition each.
In the rear, General Ludlow moved his
troops forward, and from the south came
the reserves of Brig.-Gen. Evan Miles.
Thus the village was the centre of a con
centrated fire and was nearly encircled
with the lines steadily closing in. So
stubborn, however, was the defence that
reinforcements under Ma j. -Gen. John C.
Bates were ordered up to strengthen the
line, which had been considerably weak
ened in the desperate assaults. After the
enemy had left their intrenchments, the
fire was concentrated upon the brick fort,
from which the Spaniards poured a gall
ing musketry fire into the American lines.
The fort could not long withstand the
attack, and rents were soon torn in its
thick walls. At this juncture the com
mands under Chaffee, Bates, and Miles
made a charge, and captured the work,
but not until all the men defending it
were killed or wounded. After its capt
ure the smaller block-houses ceased fight
ing, with the exception of one which was
soon destroyed by a few shots of Cap-
ron s battery. The brave defence of El
Caney was directed by Brig.-Gen. Vera de
Hey (who died fighting ), w r ith 520 men, of
whom scarcely a fifth remained alive at the
end of the action. See SAN JUAN HILL.

Eldorado, the fabled country in Amer
ica containing numerous kingdoms, the
cities of which were filled with gold.

Eldridge, HAMILTON N., military offi
cer; born in South Williamstown, Mass.,
Aug. 23, 1831; graduated at Williams
College in 1856; and engaged in law
practice in 1857. He recruited the 127th
Illinois Regiment in July, 1862; was pro
moted colonel; and was brevetted briga
dier-general of volunteers in recognition of
his bravery at Vicksburg. He died in Chi
cago, 111., Nov. 27, 1882.



ELECTION BILL, FEDERAL

Election Bill, FEDERAL. During the cussion which it aroused, both in and out
discussion on the Federal Election Bill, of Congress, is a long bill. Yet if any one
the HON. THOMAS BRACKETT REED, Speak- will take the trouble to compare it with
er of the House of Representatives (q. v.), the general election laws of most, if not all,
wrote as follows: of the States, he will find that in its class

it is more conspicuous for brevity than

The national election bill of 1890, as was for length. The truth is that no election
pointed out several times during the dis- law which attempts to provide accurately

190



ELECTION BILL, FEDERAL

for all the different stages of an election cate of the United States board is prima
can be otherwise than long. At the same facie evidence and places the name of the
time, although it takes many paragraphs holder upon the roll of Representatives;
in a bill to state exactly how each act, but in this case any candidate may appeal
great and small, having relation to an from the decision of the board of can-
election shall be performed, it is perfectly vassers to the circuit court of the United
easy to put into very few words the pur- States, which has power to set aside the
pose of an election law and the methods certificate of the canvassers and virtually
by which it proposes to accomplish that decide whose name shall be placed on the
purpose. r H f the House. A candidate who is

The first object of the national elec- not willing to have his cause tried by a
tion law was to secure entire publicity court of high jurisdiction must be hard
in regard to every act connected with the to please, when we consider that the only
election of members of Congress. To ef- other known method is that of a com-
fect this it provides for the appointment mittee of Congress made up of party
of United States officers, selected from the representatives.

two leading political parties, to watch Thus it will be seen that the whole pur-
over and report upon naturalization, pose of this bill may be summed up in
registration, the conduct of the election, one word " publicity." It proceeds on
the count of the ballots, and the certifi- the sound American theory that all that
cation of the members. These officers is necessary, in the long run, to secure
have no power whatever to interfere with good government and to cure evils of any
local officers or existing methods. Their kind in the body politic is that the people
only duty is to protect the honest voter, should be correctly informed and should
secure evidence to punish wrong-doers, know all the facts. Tt proposes, therefore,
and make public every fact in connection by making public all the facts relating to
with the election. The State systems, elections, to protect the voters and to
whether they provide for the secret and render easy the punishment of fraud. If
official ballot or otherwise, are all care- wrong exists, it will disclose and punish
fully protected under this law against it. If all is fair and honest, it proves that
any interference from United States offi- all is well, restores public confidence, and
cers. Moreover, if the officers of the removes suspicion. There is absolutely
United States at any election precinct nothing in this bill except provisions to
exercise their powers improperly, the secure the greatest amount of publicity
local officers are there to report their in regard to elections, and to protect
conduct. Thus is obtained a double as- the ballot-box by making sure the pun-
surance of publicity from two sets of men, ishment of those who commit crimes
among whom both the leading political against the suffrage. It interferes with
parties are represented, without any in- no man s rights; it changes no local
terference with local officers or local sys- system; it disturbs no local officers; but
terns. it gives publicity to every step and detail

At only one point does the United of the election, and publicity is the best,
States take what may be called control as it is the greatest, safeguard that we
of any essential step in the election of can have in this country for good govern-
Representatives. Where an entire con- ment and honest voting. No wrong can
gressional district is placed under the long continue when the people see and
law, a United States board of canvassers understand it, and nothing that is right
appointed for the district receives the and honest need fear the light. The
supervisors returns, and on those returns Southern Democrats declare that the en-
issues a certificate for the candidate who forcement of this or any similar law will
appears to be elected. If that certificate cause social disturbances and revolution-
agrees with the certificate of the State ary outbreaks. As the negroes now dis-
officers, the name of the candidate who franchised certainly will not revolt be
holds them both is, of course, placed upon cause they receive a vote, it is clear, there-
the roll of members of the House. If the fore, that this means that the men who
two certificates disagree, then the certifi- now rule in those States will make social

101



ELECTION BILL, FEDERAL

disturbances and revolution in resistance statute-books for twenty years, and which

to a law of the United States. It is also would have remained and been in force,

not a little amusing to observe that small whether re-enacted or not, so long as it

portion of the newspaper press which has was not repealed.

virtue generally in its peculiar keeping, The President of the United States has
raving in mad excitement merely because from the beginning of the government had
it is proposed to make public everything power to use the army and navy in sup-
\vhich affects the election of the repre- port of the laws of the United States, and
sentatives of the people in Congress. There this general power was explicitly con-
must be something very interesting in the f erred many years ago in that portion of
methods by which these guardians of vir- the revised statutes which now comes
tue hope to gain and hold political power under the title " civil rights." The new
when they are so agitated at the mere election bill neither adds to nor detracts
thought of having the darkness which now from that power, and as the liberties of
overhangs the places where they win their the country have been safe under it for
victories dispersed. at least twenty years, it is not to be ap-
So much for the purpose of the bill, prehended that they will now be in danger.
A word now as to some of the objections The fact is that the talk about this being
which have been raised against it. The a " force bill " and having bayonets in
most common is that which is summed up every line is mere talk designed to
in the phrase " force bill." There is noth- frighten the unwary, for the bill is really
ing very novel in this epithet, for it can an " anti-force " bill, intended to stop the
hardly be called an argument, or the sug- exercise of illegal force by those who use
gestion of one. It proceeds on the old it at the polls North or South; and it is
doctrine of giving a dog a bad name a exactly this which the opponents of the
saying which is valuable, but perhaps a bill dread. The United States have power
trifle musty. There was a bill introduced to enforce all the laws which they make,
many years ago to which that description whether they are laws regulating elections
was applied not without effect; and the or for other purposes. That power the
persons opposed to the new measure, whose United States must continue to hold and
strongest intellectual quality is not orig- to exercise when needful, and the na-
inality, brought out the old name with- tional election law neither affects nor
out much regard to its appropriateness, extends it in any way.

The trouble with this is that the old bill The objection next in popularity is that
and the new one are totally unlike, and the measure is sectional, and not national,
that what applies to one has no applica- That this should be thought a valuable
tion to the other except that they both and important shibboleth only shows how
aim to protect American voters in their men come to believe that there is real
rights. There is no question of force in meaning in a phrase if they only shout it
the new bill. One able editor referred to often enough and loudly enough. Repeti-
it as " bristling with bayonets in every tion and reiteration are, no doubt, pleas-
line"; but as there is absolutely no allu- ant political exercises, but they do not
sion to anything or anybody remotely con- alter facts. In the first place, if we look
nected with bayonets, it is to be feared a little below the surface, it will be found
that the able editor in question had not that no more damaging confession could
read the bill. So anxious, indeed, are the be made than this very outcry. The law
opponents of the measure on this point when applied can have but one of two
that, not finding any bayonets in the bill, results. It will either disclose the exist-
they themselves have put them in rather ence of fraud, violence, or corruption in
than not have them in at all. One news- a district, or show that the election is
paper took a clause from the revised fair and honest. If the latter proves to
statutes of the United States relating to be the case, no one can or would object
United States troops and printed it as a to any law which demonstrates it. If, on
part of the election bill, although the the other hand, fraud is disclosed, then
bill contains no such clause, but merely the necessity of this legislation is proved,
re-enacts a law which has been on the The election law is designed to meet and

102



ELECTION BILL, FEDERAL



overcome fraud, force, or corruption, as abridgment of those liberties



the case may be, in elections anywhere and
everywhere, and if it is sectional, it can



the

ballot-box of which the performances in
Hudson county, N. J., have afforded the



only be so because fraudulent elections are most recent illustration. The South
sectional. Those who rave against the bill shouts loudest, but it is merely because

against the ruling statesmen there think they have



as sectional that is, as directed
the South, for Southern and sectional ap
pear to have become synonymous terms
admit by so doing that they have a



most to lose by fair elections. What
chiefly troubles the opponents of the bill
North and South is, not that it is sec-
monopoly of impure elections. If it were tional, but that it will check, if not stop,
otherwise, the law, even when applied, cheating at the polls everywhere.

exhibit



would not touch them except to
their virtues in a strong light.

In the sense, however, in which the
charge of sectionalism is intended there
is no truth in it. Why, it has been asked,
did not the Republicans accept the amend
ment of Mr. Lehlbach, of New Jersey, and
make the measure really national? The
Lehlbach amendment, if adopted, would
have made the bill universally compulsory,
but would not have made it one whit more
national than it now is. The clause on
which the accusation of sectionalism rests
is that which makes the application of the



Another objection of a sordid kind
brought forward against the bill is that
it will cost money. If this or any other
measure will tend to keep the ballot-box
pare, it is of little consequence how much
it costs. The people of the United States
can afford to pay for any system which
protects the vote and makes the verdict
of the ballot-box so honest as to command
universal confidence; but it is, of course,
for the interest of the enemies of the law
to make the expense seem as startling as
possible. They talk about $10,000,000 be
ing the least probable expenditure. As-



bill optional; but to make a measure op- suming, as they do, that the law will be



tional is not to make it sectional. If
everybody and every part of the country



put in operation everywhere, this sum is
at least twice too large. Careful and lib-



every provision in it were
No one would think of call-



have the option, the bill is as broadly na- eral estimates put the cost, supposing the

tional as if

compulsory.

ing the local-option liquor laws, which are no probability that the law will be asked

rfot uncommon in the States, special and

not general legislation; and it is equally

absurd to call an election law containing tually necessary for all districts. Admit-



law were to be applied in every district,
at less than $5,000,000; but as there is



for in a third of the districts, the cost
would not reach a third of the sum ac-



the local-option principle sectional. A
law which may be applied anywhere on
the fulfilment of a simple and easily-ful
filled condition is as national and general
as a law which must be applied every
where, whether asked for or not.

Moreover, the origin of the legislation
of which this is a mere continuance is the
best proof of its national character. The
original supervisors law, of which this
is an extension, was designed especially
to meet the notorious frauds in the city
of New York, and the new bill aims quite
as much to cure frauds in the great cities
of the North as in any part of the coun
try. It is, indeed, the knowledge of this



ting, however, that $5,000,000 or $6,000,-
000 would be expended, no better expendi
ture of money could be made than one
which would protect the ballot, give pub
licity to the conduct of elections, and
demonstrate to all men their fairness and
honesty. The States of the North have
not hesitated to take upon themselves the
burden of the expense of their own elec
tions under the secret and official ballot,
and the wisdom of this policy is beyond
question. It is difficult to see why the
policy which is sound for the States is
not sound for the United States.

It is also objected that the penal clauses
are very severe. This is perfectly true.



fact which sharpens the anguish of the They are very severe; and if any crime is
Northern Democrats at what they pa-
thttically call an invasion of State rights.
It is not the peril of State rights which a crime against the ballot, it has not yet
afflicts them, but the thought of an been made generally known in this coun-
iii. N 103



more deserving of severe punishment or
more dangerous to the public w r eal than



ELECTION BILL, FEDERAL

try. The penal clauses of the law are of the House materially, and as Congress
intentionally severe, and the penalties are has no such power, the cry, of course, is
purposely made heavy. The penalties wholly without meaning. So keen, how-
against murder, highway robbery, and ever, is the sympathy of the Northern
burglary are also heavy and severe, but in Democrats with this view of the subject,
every case it is easy to avoid them. Do that definite threats of war against the
not be a murderer, a burglar, or a high- national government have been heard,
wayman; do not commit crimes against But there is, unfortunately, a much
the ballot, and the penalties for these more serious side to this phase of the
offences will be to you as if they never question. Legislation is proposed which
existed. the South does not like, and, thereupon,
The last objection here to be touched, headed by the gallant Governor Gordon,
and the only one remaining which has Southern leaders and Southern news-
been zealously pushed, is that the enforce- papers begin to threaten and bluster as
ment of this law will endanger Northern if we were back in the days of South
property and affect Northern business in Carolinian nullification. It is the old
the South. It is not easy to see why honest game of attempting to bully the North
elections, whether State or national, should and West by threats. The North and
affect injuriously either property or busi- West are to be boycotted for daring to
ness. If honest elections are hostile to protect citizens in their constitutional
property and business, then the American rights, and even more dreadful things are
system of free government is indeed in to follow. It has been generally believed
danger; and no more infamous reflection that the war settled the proposition that
could be made upon the people of America this country is a nation, and that the
than to say that they cannot be trusted to nation s laws lawfully enacted are su-
express their will by their votes, but preme. Yet here we have again the old
must have their votes suppressed in the slavery spirit threatening to boycott
interests of order and virtue. No one, Northern business, trying to bully the
however, really believes in anything of Northern people, raising the old sectional
the sort. This is simply a revival of the cry, and murmuring menaces of defiance
old cry of the Northern "doughface" and resistance if a certain law which can
against the agitation of the slavery ques- injure no honest man is enacted. The
tion in the days before the war. It was war was not wholly in vain, and it is
base and ignoble then, but at that dark time that this vaporing was stopped,
period there was at least a real danger The laws of the United States will be
of war and bloodshed behind the issue, obeyed; election laws, as well as every
Now it is not only as utterly ignoble and other, will be enforced; and the sensible
base as before, but it is false and ludi- way is to discuss the question properly
crous besides. Property and business in and have the people pass upon it, and
the Southern States, as elsewhere, de- to throw aside these threats of boycott
pend almost wholly for protection on and nullification as unworthy the use or
State laws and municipal ordinances; notice of intelligent men.
and neither this nor any other national The difficulty, however, with all these
law, even if it could be conceived to be objections, both for those who make them
injurious to business interests, could and those who reply to them, is that they
touch either State or municipal govern- are utterly unreal. They are but the
inents. The proposition, without any beating of gongs and drums, without any
disguise, really is that fair elections of greater significance than mere noise can
Congressmen would endanger business possess. The national election bill is a
and property in the Southern States ; and moderate measure. It is not a force bill ;
the mere statement of the proposition it does not interfere in any way with
is its complete confutation, for, even if local elections or local government. It
Congress had the power or the desire to does not involve extravagant expendi-
interfere in local legislation, the election ture, nor is it sectional in its scope. It
of fifteen or twenty Republicans in the does not seek to put the negro or any
South would not affect the composition other class of citizens in control ariy-

104



ELECTION BILL ELECTIONS

where, but aims merely to secure to gave. No people can afford to stand quiet
every man who ought to vote the right and see its charter of government made a
to vote and to have his vote hon- dead-letter; and no wrong can endure and
estly counted. No one knows these riot be either cured or expiated. Fair elec-
facts to be true better than the opponents tions North and South are vital to the
of the bill ; but their difficulty is that they republic. If we fail to secure them, or if
cannot bring forward their real and hon- we permit any citizen, no matter how
est objection, and so they resort to much humble, to be wronged, we shall atone
shrieking and many epithets. They be- for it to the last jot and tittle. No
lieve, whether rightly or wrongly, that great moral question of right and
fair elections mean the loss of the na- wrong can ever be settled finally except
tional House at least nine times out of in one way, and the longer the day
ten to the party to which they belong, of reckoning is postponed the larger
They believe that fair elections mean the will be the debt and the heavier its pay-
rise of a Republican party in every South- ment.

era State, led by and in good part com- Elections, FEDERAL COXTROL OF. When

posed of white men, native to the ground, the question of the federal control of

whose votes are now suppressed under the elections was under discussion, the Hon.

pretence of maintaining race supremacy as Henry Cabot Lodge, U. S. Senator from



Online LibraryBenson John LossingHarper's encyclopdia of United States history from 458 A.D. to 1905 (Volume 3) → online text (page 30 of 76)