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every pension to the soldier, and of every day's wages of every laborer
in the nation. The trouble w r ith our greenback dollar is this: It has


two distinct functions, one a purchasing power and the other a debt-
paying power. As a debt-paying power it is equal to one hundred
cents; that is, to pay an old debt. A greenback dollar will, by law,
discharge one hundred cents of debt. But no law can give it
purchasing power in the general market of the world, unless it rep-
resents a known standard of coin value. Now, what we want is,
that these two qualities of our greenback dollar shall be made equal-
its debt-paying power and its general purchasing power. When these
are equal the problem of our currency is solved, and not until then.
Summing it all up in a word, the struggle now pending in this House
is, on the one hand, to make the greenback better, and on the other,
to make it worse. The Resumption Act is making it better every
day. Repeal this act, and you make it indefinitely worse. In the
name of every man who wants his own when he has earned it, I de-
mand that we do not make the wages of the poor man shrivel in his
hands after he has earned them; but that his money shall be made
better and better, until the plowholder's money shall be as good as
the bondholder's money; until our standard is one, and there is no
longer one money for the rich and another for the poor."

Fortunately the effort at repeal, against which Garfield's earnest
words were directed, was defeated ; for when the day came for Specie
Resumption it was found that the Treasury was fully prepared, and
not only was resumption achieved without the predicted disturbances
of trade, but it was followed by an era of prosperity so immediate that
it was worth many votes to the Republican party in 1880.

A question that was given unusual prominence during the ad-
ministration of President Hayes was that of Civil-service Reform.
The causes which led to the necessity of reform have an interest that
is almost wholly historical. When the national Government was es-
tablished the Federal judges were appointed for life, but Congress
decided that all other officers were removable at the will of the
Executive. Until after the election of President Jefferson, in 1800,
there were practically no removals. As the men in office in 1801
were nearly all Federalists, Mr. Jefferson conceived the idea that his
own supporters ought to have a fair proportion of the offices. He
accordingly began making removals, and during his two administra-
tions, made forty-seven, Federalists being replaced by Republicans,
as the Democrats were then called. Under his successors, down to
1820, the removals reached only sixty-five. An act was passed May
15, 1820, providing for a four years' term. There was much opposi-
tion to this four years' law, the paternity of which was imputed to
William H. Crawford, Secretary of the Treasury, who, it was charged,
was using the power of removal in the Treasury Department to pro-


mote his efforts to make himself President Monroe's successor. There
was probably no substantial ground for the imputation. Between
1820 and 1829 there were few removals, and it was not until the in-
auguration of President Jackson that the system of partisan appoint-
ments assumed large proportions. Under Jackson and Van Buren
the power of removal was used so extensively that it became a potent
political factor, and it was continued under every successive adminis-
tration, without any serious effort at its restriction, down to 1865.

The pioneer of Civil-service Reform by legislative enactment was
Thomas A. Jenckes, of Rhode Island. He introduced a bill into the
House of Representatives " to regulate the civil service of the United
States," December 20, 1865. A few months later B. Gratz Brown, of
Missouri, submitted a resolution to the Senate for " such changes in
the Civil Service as shall secure appointments to the same after
previous examinations by proper Boards, and as shall provide for
promotions on the score of merit or superiority." In an appropria-
tion bill, passed March 3, 1871, Congress appended a section author-
izing the President " to prescribe such regulations for the admission
of persons into the Civil Service of the United States as may best pro-
mote efficiency therein, and ascertain the fitness of each candidate in
respect to age, health, character, knowledge, and ability for the
branch of service in which he seeks to enter; and for this purpose he
may employ suitable persons to conduct such inquiries, prescribe
their duties, and establish regulations for the conduct of persons who
may receive appointments in the Civil Service." Under this author-
ity, President Grant appointed a Commission, composed of Messrs.
George William Curtis, Joseph Medill, Alexander G. Cattell, David-
son A. Walker, E. B. Ellicott, Joseph H. Blackfan, and David C. Cox.
This Commission was unable to achieve any practical results be-
cause Congress failed to grant the requisite power; but President
Hayes, without waiting for legislation, sought to make reforms in
the Civil Service by directing competitive examinations for certain
positions, and by forbidding the active participation of office-holders
in political campaigns. This was the first attempt to put the prin-
ciple of competitive examinations into practice, and it led to the
passage of the Civil-service Reform Act of 1884. The system has
since been extended, until at present it has a wide application.

Another question that assumed extensive proportions during the
administration of President Hayes was that of Chinese immigration.
President Grant had previously, in his annual message in 1875, called
the attention of Congress to the evils arising from the importation of
Chinese women, and to the necessity of the restriction of the immi-
gration of Chinamen, who " come under contracts with head men


who own them almost absolutely." California was the principal
sufferer from the unrestricted immigration of Chinese, and Mr. Sar-
gent submitted a resolution, April 20, 1870, asking the Senate to
u recommend to the President to cause negotiations to be entered
upon with the Chinese Government to effect such change in the ex-
isting treaty between the United States and China as will lawfully
permit the application of restrictions upon the great influx of Chinese
subjects to this country." This led to a thorough examination of the
Chinese question by a joint Committee of Congress, and finally to the
passage of a bill " to restrict the immigration of Chinese into the
United States," early in 1879. President Hayes vetoed the bill, be-
cause it abrogated the Burlingame treaty of 1868 without notice, and,
the veto being sustained by Congress, he opened negotiations with
the Chinese Empire, for a modification of the treaty. To that end he
dispatched three Commissioners to China, gentlemen of the highest in-
telligence, adapted in every way to the important duties intrusted
to them James B. Angell, President of Michigan University, also
appointed Minister Plenipotentiary to China; John F. Swift, of Cal-
ifornia, and William Henry Trescot, of South Carolina. They nego-
tiated two treaties one relating to the introduction of Chinese into
the United States, and the other to general commercial relations.
Both treaties were ratified by the Senate, and laws restricting the
immigration of Chinese were subsequently enacted. Under these
enactments Chinese immigration has been so restricted that it is now
almost prohibited.

The disputed election of 1876 led to a large number of propositions
to amend the Constitution, and to supply constitutional omissions
by law. None of these propositions has been passed upon by both
Houses of Congress. The propositions made during Mr. Hayes's ad-
ministration during the special session of Congress, October 15,
1877, and the regular session, which was a continuation of it were
as follows:

Mr. Cravens, of Arkansas, offered a resolution of amendment to the
Constitution, providing that the people should vote directly for Presi-
dent and Vice-President. Each State was to have a number of Presi-
dential votes equal to its electoral votes under the present system,
which votes were to be apportioned in each State among the several
candidates, in the proportion of the votes given to each; the legisla-
ture of each State was to direct the manner in which the Presidential
vote of the State was to be ascertained; on a day to be fixed by Con-
gress, or, in case of disagreement between the two Houses, on a day to
be named by the President, not less than fifteen nor more than thirty
days before March 4, a joint meeting of the two Houses was to be


held, the President of the Senate was to open the Presidential votes,
certified to by the Governor of the State, and one list from each
State was then to be counted under the direction of the two Houses;
a majority of all the Presidential votes was requisite to a choice. In
case no choice had been made by such a majority, then the two
Houses, in joint convention, were to elect a President by viva voce
vote, each Senator and member having one vote, the choice being
limited to the two highest on the list, unless two persons should
have an equal number of votes next to the highest; one Senator and a
majority of the Representatives from two-thirds of the States were
to constitute a quorum for the purpose of this election. In case no
person should receive a majority of the Congress so voting, the
President in office was to continue to be President until a choice was
effected. The election of Vice-President was to be made in the same
manner, and at the same time as that of President. Whenever the
office of Vice-President became vacant there was to be an election by
joint convention of Congress, within ten days after the next meeting
of Congress, or within twenty days, if Congress should be in session
at the time the vacancy occurred.

Mr. Springer, of Illinois, made a proposition, of which the leading
features were: A Presidential term of six years, the President not
to be immediately re-eligible; each State to have a number of Presi-
dential votes equal to its electoral votes, according to the present
system, except that States having but one Representative in Congress
were to have but one Presidential vote, and States having but two
Representatives were to have but three votes; a direct vote for Presi-
dent and Vice-President; a canvassing board in each State with min-
isterial powers only, consisting of the Governor, Secretary of State,
and Chief Justice of the highest court; to aggregate the votes, appor-
tion to each candidate his proportional part of the Presidential votes
of the State, and to make return thereof to the President of the Sen-
ate; the two Houses to be in session on the third Monday of January
after a Presidential election. A joint meeting to be held, to be pre-
sided over by the President of the Senate, unless he should be a
candidate for the office of President, and in that case by the Speaker
of the House of Representatives, and if he were similarly disquali-
fied, then by a presiding officer, chosen by the joint convention; a
plurality of votes to elect both the President and the Vice-President;
the joint convention to be the judge of the returns and qualifications
of the persons who shall be President and Vice-President. If no con-
clusion upon the returns should be reached by the second Monday in
February, the convention was to vote viva voce upon the question
who was constitutionally elected President and who Vice-President, a
majority of those present to determine all questions.


Mr. Maish, of Pennsylvania, proposed a popular election of Presi-
dent, without the intervention of any electors. The votes were to
be returned to the Secretary of State of each State, and to be by him
opened in the presence of the Governor and the Chief Justice of the
highest court, and these three officers were to apportion electoral
votes to each candidate in accordance with the returns. This prop-
osition did not deal with the matter of a count of the votes.

Mr. Finley, of Ohio, proposed a direct vote of all the people for
President and Vice-President, disregarding State lines altogether; a
plurality of votes was to elect in each case, but if two persons had an
equal and the highest number of votes, then the House of Represent-
atives was to choose the President from those two; or, if the failure
was in relation to the Vice-Presidency, then the Senate was to make
the choice. In each case the voting was to be viva voce, and each
member was to have one vote; the canvass of returns for President
and Vice-President was to be made by Congress in a manner to be de-
termined by joint rules or by law, and if the two Houses could not
agree, the matter in dispute was to be referred to the Supreme Court
for final decision.

Mr. Eaton, of Connecticut, proposed in the Senate an amendment
constituting a tribunal for the decision of controverted questions
arising out of Presidential elections. Not less than twelve months be-
fore the occurrence of such an election the Governor of each State
was to appoint, with the consent of the Senate of the State, five quali-
fied persons, who were to hear and determine all questions of contest
in relation to the choice of electors, and to transmit their report,
sealed, to the President of the Senate.

A resolution offered by Mr. Riddle, of Tennessee, proposed a direct
election by the people, a clear majority being required for a choice.
In case such majority should not be obtained, then a second election
was to be held within two months of the time of the first vote, when
the choice should be limited to the two highest on the list. In case
of no choice, by reason of a tie, on this second trial, the two Houses
of Congress, in joint convention, each member having one vote, were
to elect.

Mr. Sampson, of Iowa, proposed that the relative power of the
States should be as it now is; that the people should vote directly
for the Executive; that the persons having a plurality for the offices of
President and Vice-President in any State should receive the full
Presidential vote of that State, or, in case of a tie, that the votes
should be equally divided among those having the highest number;
and if no person received a majority of Presidential votes, the choice
of either President or Vice-President w r as to be made, as the Consti-
tution now provides for cases of no choice made by the electors.


In May, 1878, Mr. Southard, of Ohio, from a committee of the
House of Representatives, appointed for the purpose, reported a plan.
It dispensed with electors altogether. Each State was to be entitled
to as many Presidential votes as it would have electors under the pres-
ent system. The people having voted directly for President and
Vice-President, the vote for each candidate in any State was to be
ascertained by multiplying the number of votes given for any per-
son by the number of Presidential votes assigned to the State and
dividing the product by the whole number of votes cast, and the
fractions were to be ascertained to the third place of decimals. The
returns were to be made to the Secretary of State of each State, who
was to open them in the presence of the Governor and the State
Auditor or Controller, and the apportionment of Presidential votes
was to be made by them as a canvassing board. Contests as to an
election might be passed upon by the highest judicial tribunal in
each State, and the decision was to be sent to the President of the
Senate at Washington. The votes were to be counted by the two
Houses of Congress, assembled under the presidency of the Presi-
dent of the Senate, and all votes were to be counted unless the two
Houses concurred in rejecting them; or, if there was a decision by the
highest court of the State upon a contest, that decision was to stand
unless the two Houses concurred in overruling it. If there were dual
returns, or two decisions purporting to be by the highest court, that
was to be accepted which the two Houses should decide to be the
true return or the true decision. A plurality of votes was to elect
the President, and, in case of a tie, the election was to be made in
the manner now provided for in the case of a failure to elect by the
electors. This proposition never came up for discussion.

A determined effort was made by the Senate, during the session of
1878-79, to amend the law relative to the count of votes by a statute
covering the whole subject. The bill was managed by Mr. Edmunds,
of Vermont. It changed the time for the appointment of electors
in the several States to the first Tuesday of October in each fourth
year. If a vacancy should occur in both the offices of President and
Vice-President more than two months before the first Tuesday of
October in any year other than that in which electors would be regu-
larly appointed, a new election was to be held. The time for the
meeting and voting of the electors was to be the second Monday in
January following their appointment. The fourth section was as
follows: " Each State may provide by law enacted prior to the day in
this act named for the appointment of the electors, for the trial and
determination of any controversy concerning the appointment of
electors, before the time fixed for the meeting of the electors, in any


manner it may deem expedient. Every such determination made
pursuant to such law so enacted before said day, and made prior to
the said time of meeting of the electors, shall be conclusive evidence
of the lawful title of the electors who shall have been so determined
to have been appointed, and shall govern in the counting of the elec-
toral votes, as provided in the Constitution, and as hereinafter regu-

The provisions of the bill in relation to the count followed in
general the custom of Congress under the twenty-second joint rule,
with these exceptions: No vote from a State from which there was
but one return could be rejected without a concurrent vote of the two
Houses. If there were two or more returns, that only could be
counted which was decided to be the true return in the manner pro-
vided in the section just quoted. If there were no such determina-
tion, or if there were two or more decisions purporting to have been
made in accordance with a law passed in conformity with that sec-
tion, that return, or that decision only, could be accepted which the
two Houses acting separately should decide by affirmative vote to be
in accordance with the Constitution and the laws. When the two
Houses separated to consider objections to electoral votes, each mem-
ber of either House might speak once only for five minutes, and at
the expiration of two hours it would become the duty of the pre-
siding officer to put the main question. After several days of debate
this bill was passed by the Senate, 35 to 26. The negative vote con
sisted entirely of Democrats; the majority was made up of Repub-
licans, with the exception of Messrs. Bayard, Merrimon, and Mor-
gan, Democrats, and Judge Davis, of Illinois, Independent.

In May, 1880, the Democrats having a majority in the Senate, Mr.
Morgan, of Alabama, reported from a select committee a joint rule
for the government of the two Houses in counting the electoral votes.
It differed from the rescinded twenty-second rule in several particu-
lars. No vote from a State which sent but one return was to be re-
jected except by the affirmative action of both branches of Congress.
If two or more returns should be offered, neither was to be counted
unless the two Houses agreed in deciding that one of them was the
true and correct return. Provision was also made for one hour's de-
bate in each House upon objections, no member to speak more than
once, nor longer than ten minutes; and also for debate by unanimous
consent in the joint meeting. It was further provided that an appeal
might be taken from a decision by the presiding officer, which was
to be overruled only by concurrent action of both Houses. This pro-
posed rule was considered at length. Mr. Edmunds endeavored to
have his bill, already summarized, with some changes, substituted


for the rule. This was voted down, as were all other amendments,
and the rule was adopted by the Senate by a vote of 25 to 14, a party
vote, except that Mr. Davis, of Illinois, voted with the Demo-
crats. In the House the Republicans endeavored to have the rule re-
ferred to a committee, but their motions having that object in view
were voted down. Finally the matter was postponed until the first
Monday in December, 1880. It was under consideration several times
during the session, but the Republicans persistently opposed it, and
on the last day that it was considered, January 26, 1881, they filibus-
tered successfully against its passage.

Early in February of the same year a resolution was adopted which
carried the conduct of the count back to the method so long in use
before the twenty-second joint rule was adopted. It provided, how-
ever, for two tellers on the part of the Senate, which was an innova-
tion introduced by the Electoral Commission Law of 1877. The sec-
ond resolution directed that in case it should appear that the elec-
toral vote of any State had been given on any other day than that
fixed by law, the declaration of the result should be in the alterna-
tive form first introduced in 1821, with respect to the vote of Missouri.
This rule was adopted by both Houses. In the Senate there was no
division. In the House the second resolution was opposed by 77
members, of whom six were Democrats and three Greenbackers.

While these futile attempts at legislation, resulting only in a re-
currence to early methods of counting the electoral votes, with the ad-
dition of two tellers for the Senate as in 1877, were in progress, re-
sumption had been accomplished, and the country was on the high
road to renewed prosperity.



Political Rivalries in 1880 General Grant a Candidate for a Third
Term The Delegates to the Republican National Convention
The Unit Rule in the Republican National Committee Chair-
man Cameron's Arbitrary Ruling Opening of the Convention-
Chairman Cameron's Speech Senator Hoar Presides Rules
Against the Unit Rule Lively Parliamentary Contests Mr.
Conkling's Mischievous Resolution The Contested Seats Dis-
trict Representation Adopted The Platform The Nominating
Speeches Roscoe Conkling Nominates General Grant General
Garfield's Speech Nominating John Sherman The Ballots
Garfield Nominated Chester A. Arthur for Vice-President The
Candidates General Hancock Nominated by the Democrats
The Campaign Results of the Elections.

EITHER in the measures of President Hayes's administration
nor in differences of opinion on party questions was there
any cause for the great Republican feud that made the
Republican National Convention of 1880 the most stirring
and dramatic in the history of the party. The contentions of the six
days that it remained in session had their origin in the political am-
bitions of party leaders. The contest was for leadership, not for prin-
ciples. Elaine's defeat at Cincinnati, in 1876, still rankled in the
hearts of his admirers, who were determined that he should be nom-
inated in 1880. That defeat was due to the inveterate hostility of
Roscoe Conkling. Each was implacable toward the other, and as the
time approached for the nomination of a candidate for the Presidency
in 1880 it became clear that every political interest would be subor-
dinated to the struggle between the giants. They had long been
enemies. Their personal hostility had begun when they were serving
together in the House of Representatives, and finally Mr. Conkling's
bitterness became so extreme that he sacrificed his own political as-
pirations for the destruction of Elaine's Presidential ambition. In
doing this General Grant was also made to suffer in reputation, for,
as the result of the quarrel between Conkling and Elaine, he was
made to appear to desire a third term, upon which the long contest
in the Chicago Convention of 1880 turned.

Nothing in the history of the Republican party is more to be re-
gretted than the attempt to make Grant a candidate for President

Online LibraryGeorge Oberkirsh SeilhamerHistory of the Republican party (Volume 1) → online text (page 40 of 61)