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Republicans, 131 Democrats, 12 Nationals, and 2 Readjusters. J.
Warren Keifer, of Ohio, was elected Speaker. Mr. Keifer had been
a member of the 45th and 46th Congresses, and had served with dis-
tinction in the Civil War. The new Republican members included
John R. Buck, of Connecticut; Charles B. Farwell, William Cullen,
Lewis E. Payson, John H. Lewis, and Dietrich C. Smith (w r ho suc-
ceeded Adlai E. Stevenson, afterward Vice-President), of Illinois;
Stanton J. Peele, Robert B. Pierce, Mark L. De Motte, and George
W. Steele, of Indiana; Sewell S. Farwell, Marsena E. Cutts, John
A. Kasson, and William P. Hepburn, of Iowa; John D. White, of Ken-
tucky; Chester B. Darrall, of Louisiana; Nelson Dingley, Jr., of Maine;
Ambrose A. Ranney, Eben F. Stone, and John W. Chandler, of Massa-
chusetts; Henry W. Lord, Edward S. Lacey, George W. Webber, Ol-
iver S. Spaulding, and John T. Rich, of Michigan; John R. Lynch, of
Mississippi; Robert T. Van Horn, of Missouri; Ossian Ray, of New
Hampshire; John Hart Brewer, John Hill, and Phineas Jones, of New


Jersey; J. Hyatt Smith, Thomas Cornell, Abram X. Parker, George
West, Ferris Jacobs, Jr., Charles R. Skinner, and James Wadsworth,
of New York; Orlando Hubbs, of North Carolina; Henry L. Morey,
Emaimel Slmltz, James M. Ritchie, James S. Robinson, John B. Rice,
Rufus R. Dawes, and Addison S. McClure, of Ohio; Joseph A. Scran-
ton, Samuel P. Barr, Cornelius C. Jadwin, Robert J. C. Walker, Jacob
M. Campbell, Samuel H. Miller, and Lewis F. W T atson, of Pennsyl-
vania; Henry J. Spooner, and Jonathan Chace, of Rhode Island; Au-
gustus H. Pettibone, and William R. Moore, of Tennessee; William W.
Grout, of Vermont; John F. Dezendorf, of Virginia, and Richard Guen-
ther, of Wisconsin. The most noteworthy Democrats among the new
members were General William S. Rosecrans, of California; Andrew
G. Curtin, of Pennsylvania; James K. Jones, of Arkansas; Perry Bel-
mont, and Roswell P. Flower, of New York, and William S. Holman,
of Indiana. Mr. Holman had been a conspicuous figure in the House
of Representatives, but was not a member of the 46th Congress. The
Republican leaders who were forging to the front were Thomas B.
Reed and William McKinley, Jr. Few of the new men in the 47th
Congress became prominent in Republican politics.

The principal measures in the 47th Congress were legislation for the
punishment of Polygamy, the Chinese Question, the regulation of
Interstate Commerce, and Banking and Currency, Civil-service Re-
form, and the Tariff.

The bill to punish polygamy was not made a party question, only
forty-two Democrats voting against it.

The Chinese bill was the first attempt to regulate immigration
under the amended Burlingame treaty. It was passed by Democratic
and Republican votes, 64 Republicans and only 3 Democrats voting
against it; but it was vetoed by President Arthur. The bill failed to
pass over the President's veto in the Senate, in which it originated,
but a new bill, reported in the House April 17, 1882, was passed by
both Houses and approved by the President.

The effort for the regulation of Interstate Commerce was begun in
the 46th Congress, when a bill to establish an Interstate Commerce
Commission failed in the House. The question, however, had become
one of such pressing importance that the subject was renewed at the
first session of the 47th Congress. The unrestricted building of rail-
roads had resulted in destructive competition, and was one of the
direct causes of the panic of 1873. In 1877, when the country was
just beginning to recover from the shock, business was again dis-
turbed and depressed by the trouble between the railroad companies
and their workmen, which in some places culminated in riot and
bloodshed. Notwithstanding these disturbances and the disasters


that had forced many of the railroad companies into bankruptcy,
artificially stimulated railroad building continued, portending evils
that soon became realities. Besides, great mishaps ensued from the
almost unrestrained power of the railroads in the matter of their
charges. By charging some shippers more and others less, by means
of secret contracts, the railroad officials opened to themselves a field
of unlimited profit. The cost of transportation being such an im-
portant factor in the price of commodities, it was easy for the railways
to enrich one man and beggar or drive out of business another in the
same trade, and this was done according to the personal interests of
the man or men who could thus make rates. More than this, it was not
at all difficult for the railroad to impoverish one town or city and
build up another by discriminating in rates. In the Hepburn com-
mittee's investigation of the New York railroads, in 1879, it was
shown that the milling business in certain towns of northern New
York had been killed by railroads granting rates which favored Min-
neapolis and other western points. The merchants of New York at
that time complained that the discriminations of the railroads against
the metropolis were driving away its trade to Baltimore and other
points. The creation of a railroad commission became a recognized
necessity in many of the States, and Congress was asked to establish
an Interstate Commission to prevent unjust discriminations. Al-
though no action was taken by Congress at the time, the question re-
mained an open one, and after many renewed efforts the Interstate
Commerce Act was finally approved February 4, 1887.

A bill to enable national banking associations to extend their cor-
porate existence was passed in 1882.

" The civil service," President Garfield said, in his Inaugural Ad-
dress, " can never be placed on a satisfactory basis until it is regu-
lated by law. For the good of the service itself, for the protection
of those who are intrusted with the appointing power against the
waste of time and obstruction to the public business caused by the in-
ordinate pressure for place, and for the protection of incumbents
against intrigue and wrong, I shall at the proper time, ask Congress
to fix the tenure of the minor offices of the several Executive Depart-
ments, and prescribe the grounds upon which removals shall be made
during the terms for which incumbents have been appointed." Presi-
dent Arthur, in his first annual message, discussed the question at
length; but the Pendleton Civil-service Act was not passed until
early in 1883. This measure was supported by Republicans and Demo-
crats, but the opposition was made up almost entirely of Democrats,
only seven Republicans voting against the bill in the House. The
law established the Civil Service Commission, authorized competitive
examinations, and provided for appointments and promotions in the


government service. The measure was enlarged by provisions pro-
hibiting United States officials from paying to or collecting from
each other money for political purposes. If President Garfleld had
lived it would not have been possible to secure a more satisfactory
reform of the Civil Service.

The one measure in the 47th Congress on which party lines were
strictly drawn was the revision of the tariff. The Tariff of 1883
marked the beginning of a new crusade against Protection, while not
boldly advocating Free Trade. The M on-ill Tariff of 1861 had re-
mained practically undisturbed for more than twenty years. Dur-
ing half of that period it was regarded merely as a tariff for revenue,
notwithstanding its Protective features. There had been modifica-
tions and reductions, but no change that attracted the attention of
the country, or precipitated a political conflict. As the Republican
platform of 1880 contained a distinctive protective plank, and Gen-
eral Hancock had been beaten on the issue of a " tariff for revenue
only," the majority in the House of Representatives considered them-
selves pledged to a broad application of the principle of Protection.
The Senate was looking to revision with a view to reduction. The
first step was the creation of the Tariff Commission of 1882. The
Commission comprised John L. Hayes, of Massachusetts, Chairman;
Henry W. Oliver, Jr., of Pennylvania; Austin M. Garland, of Illinois;
Jacob A. Ambler, of Ohio; Robert P. Porter, of the District of Colum-
bia; Jno. W. H. Underwood, of Georgia; Duncan F. Kenner, of Louis-
iana; Alexander R. Boteler, of West Virginia, and Wm. H. McMahon,
of New York. It was, or was intended to be, a non-partisan Commis-
sion, charged with the difficult task of correcting the incongruities of
the existing tariff, and adapting the rates of duty to the newer and
more diversified industries that were claiming the attention of Con-
gress. The Commission worked laboriously between May and De-
cember, 1882, sitting in various places, and hearing every interest that
sought relief or encouragement. The report contemplated a reduc-
tion of duties of at least 25 per cent, along the entire line of imports,
and formed the basis of the Tariff bill of 1883, although Congress did
not adopt all the recommendations of the Commission.

At the time the report was made a House bill to reduce Internal
Revenue taxation was pending in the Senate. This the Senate
amended so freely that little or nothing of the original measure was
left, and a tax bill was adroitly turned into a Tariff bill. The House
was disposed to resent the Senate bill as an invasion of the Consti-
tutional right of the House of Representatives to originate revenue
bills, but the w T hole question was finally referred to a Committee of
Conference, which agreed upon a bill that was passed by both
Houses. This was the Tariff Act of 1883. It was a compromise,



forced upon the House by the reactionary tendencies of the Senate.
Like most compromises it not only failed to give satisfaction, but re-
opened an agitation that had lain dormant for nearly a quarter of a
century. The demand of the manufacturers for reduced duties on
raw materials and an increased free list had not been met. The pro-
ducing classes, on the other hand, believed that their interests had
been sacrificed to the demands of the manufacturers. The Tariff had
once more become an issue on which the people had no settled convic-
tions. The indorsement of a protective policy in 1880 had been re-
versed by the " tidal wave " of 1882, and the 48th Congress contained
201 Democrats to 119 Republicans in the House, with 4 Independents
and 1 Greenbacker, but this condition was neutralized by the fact
that there were 40 Republicans in the Senate to 36 Democrats.

A determined effort was made in the House in the 48th Congress to
pass what was known as the Morrison Tariff bill, which provided for
the horizontal reduction of duties to the amount of twenty per cent.
This bill was reported March 11, 1884, but it encountered powerful
Democratic opposition from the outset. Thirty-nine Democrats voted
with the Republicans against agreeing to its consideration, and thir-
ty-seven Democrats voted in favor of striking out its enacting clause,
while six Democrats refrained from voting. The latter motion was
carried by 158 yeas to 155 nays. This disposed of the question for the
time, and there was no further attempt at Tariff legislation until
1886, when the Morrison bill was again beaten. A Treasury State-
ment, issued in 1884, shows the average ad valorem rates for the six
months ending December 31, 1882, as compared with the average ad
valorem rates for the six months ended December 31, 1883:







All dutiable merchandise .








Sugar and melada ... . .

Iron and steel and manufactures thereof

Wool :
Clothing wool

Combing wool ...

Carpet wool

Manufactures of wool

Manufactures of cotton , .

Manufactures of silk . .

Earthen and china ware

Glass and glassware

Spirits and wines '.....

Malt liquors

It appears, therefore, as nearly as can now be ascertained, that the
Act of March 3, 1883, of itself and aside from the influence of other


conditions caused the following changes in ad valorem rates: On all
dutiable merchandise, a fall of 5.63; on sugar and melada, a fall of 9.32;
on iron and steel and manufactures thereof, a fall of 6.15; on clothing
wool, a fall of 9.88; on combing wool, a fall of 11.27; on carpet wool,
a fall of 6.01; on manufactures of wool, a fall of 4.52; on manufac-
tures of cotton, an increase of 1.92; on manufactures of silk, a fall of
8.82; on earthen and china ware, an increase of 13.11; on glass and
glassware, a rise of 1.09; on spirits and wines, an increase of 18.28;
and on malt liquors, a fall of 0.59. All these rates are on the market
value of the goods in the countries from which they are exported.

In the 48th Congress the changes in the Senate were not great. The
new Republican Senators were Thomas M. Bo wen, of Colorado; Shel-
by M. Cullom, of Illinois; James F. Wilson, of Iowa; Thomas W. Pal-
mer, of Michigan; Dwight M. Sabin, of Minnesota; Charles F. Mander-
son, of Nebraska; Austin F. Pike, of New Hampshire; Joseph N.
Dolph, of Oregon; Jonathan Chace, of Rhode Island; and Harrison H.
Riddleberger, of Virginia. The Republican gains were Mr. Dolph,
who succeeded Lafayette Grover, and Mr. Riddleberger, who displaced
John W. Johnston. In the House the new Republicans were Ransom
W. Dunham, John F. Finerty, Reuben Ellwood, Robert R. Hitt, and
Jonathan R. Rowell, of Illinois; David B. Henderson, Hiram Y. Smith,
Adoniram J. Holmes, and Isaac S. Struble, of Iowa; Edmund N. Mor-
rell, Lewis Hanbuck, Samuel R. Peters, Bishop W. Perkins, and Ed-
ward H. Funston, of Kansas; William W. Culbertson, of Kentucky;
William P. Kellogg, of Louisiana; Charles A. Boutelle and Seth L.
Milliken, of Maine; Hart B. Holton, and Louis E. McComas, of Mary-
land; Robert T. Davis, John D. Long, William Whiting, and Francis
S. Rockwell, of Massachusetts; Byron M. Cutcheon, Herschel H.
Hatch, and Edward Breitung, of Michigan; Milo White, James B.
Waken 1 eld, and Knute Nelson, of Minnesota; Elza Jeffords, of Missis-
sippi; Archibald J. Weaver and James Laird, of Nebraska; Martin
A. Haynes, of New Hampshire; John Kean, Jr., and Benjamin F.
Howey, of New Jersey; Darwin R. James, Henry G. Burleigh, Fred-
erick A. Johnson, George W. Ray, Newton W. Nutting, Sereno E.
Payne, and Stephen C. Millard, of New York; James E. O'Hara, of
North Carolina; John W. McCormick, Alphonso Hart, and Joseph
D. Taylor, of Ohio; James B. Everhart, I. Newton Evans, William W.
Brown, Louis E. Atkinson, and Samuel M. Brainerd, of Pennsyl-
vania; Nathan F. Dixon, of Rhode Island; Robert Smalls, of South
Carolina; John W. Stewart, of Vermont; John S. Wise, Harry Libbey,
Benjamin S. Hooper, and Henry Bowen, of Virginia; Nathan Goff, of
West Virginia, and William T. Price, and Isaac Stephenson, of Wis-
consin. Leonidas C. Houk, of Tennessee, was again returned, as was
also the venerable Luke P. Poland, of Vermont. The most conspicu-


ous of those who had disappeared was William McKinley, Jr., of Ohio.
John G. Carlisle, of Kentucky, was elected (Speaker, his election being-
intended as a rebuke of the wing of the Democracy in the 47th Con-
gress that had followed the lead of Samuel J. Randall on the Tariff

The legislation of the 48th Congress was unimportant, partly be-
cause the Republican Senate held the Democratic House in check,
and partly because the Democrats were unable to agree on a policy.
When the Congress met in December, 1883, both parties had the ap-
proaching Presidential election in view. The new Tariff had not
given satisfaction, and it was clear that Tariff revision would force
itself upon the country as an issue in the campaign. The Repub-
lican party, true to its traditions, \vas willing to accept the issue in
all its bearings, including the Protective feature. The Democrats
talked of revision, but were unable to formulate any scheme except
the plan of reduction enunciated in the Morrison bill. That was an
expedient intended to be without practical effect, and to be used only
as a basis for discussion. The Democratic politicians had ceased
to be economic statesmen, and were only holding themselves in readi-
ness to oppose whatever the Republicans proposed. It was an epoch
of discussion, not of action, and it is scarcely surprising that the 48th
Congress was more barren in legislation than any of its predecessors.

In the beginning of 1884 parties were adrift as well as Congress.
The feuds of 1881-82 had left the Republican party in a condition of
incertitude. There was no concentration in favor of any particular
candidate as in previous Presidential years. It was not even know r n
whether Mr. Elaine desired the nomination. Democratic action was
also in doubt, but there was a growing sentiment in favor of Govern-
or Cleveland, of New York. For the first time in the history of
American politics the interest in the two great National Conventions
was lukewarm, and parties were waiting for the canvass to shape the
issues instead of the issues shaping the canvass. There was no real
appreciation of the vitality of the Tariff question. Since his with-
drawal from President Arthur's Cabinet, three months after Gar-
field's death, Mr. Blaine had been living in retirement, engaged on
his " Twenty Years of Congress; from Lincoln to Garfield." Although
that work contains an elaborate review of American Tariff legisla-
tion previous to 1860, it dismisses the operations of the Merrill Tariff
and its changes with a few paragraphs. Other political writers of
the epoch are equally indifferent to the subject. It was, however,
to become the real question of the future, and the one upon which the
fate of candidates and parties hinged in this Epoch of Defeat and



General Benjamin F. Butler the First Candidate Nominated In Fa-
vor of Greenbacks and Against Monopoly Butler's Arraignment
of the Old Parties Potency of Populistic Theories Arthur and
Blaine as Presidential Candidates The Republican National
Convention A Great Threshing Machine Claims of the Arthur
and Blaine Delegates Opening of the Convention Contest for
Temporary Chairman Graphic Description of the Scene-
Causes of the Contest General Henderson Permanent President
Changes in the Rules The Platform The Nominating
Speeches Judge West's Speech Arthur Named The Ballots
Blaine Nominated How Maine Received the News Gen-
eral Logan for Vice-President Cleveland and Hendricks Nomin-
ated by the Democrats " Tell the Truth " The Campaign
Causes of Elaine's Defeat.

HE National Conventions of 1884 show the interest that was
felt in the economic questions that had been so long held
in abeyance. The first of these was the Convention of the
Anti-Monopoly party. This was a new party that had
sprung into existence like a mushroom overnight. The Convention
met at Chicago on May 14, and nominated General Benjamin F. Butler
for President by 122 votes, to 7 for Allen G. Thurman, of Ohio, and 1
for Solon Chase, of Maine. The nomination of a candidate for Vice-
President was left to the National Committee, which adopted the can-
didate of the National, or Greenback party, General Alanson M. West,
of Mississippi. The Greenback National Convention was held at In-
dianapolis on May 28, and before nominating General West for Vice-
President, it nominated General Butler for President. Butler re-
ceived 322 votes, to 99 for Jesse Harper, of Illinois; 2 for Solon Chase,
of Maine; 1 for Edward P. Allis, of Wisconsin, and 1 for David Davis,
of Illinois. Thus it will be seen that General Butler received two
nominations before either of the two great National Conventions met.
The Anti-Monopoly party denounced the existing tariff as largely
in the interest of monopoly, and demanded that it be speedily and
radically reformed in the interest of labor instead of capital. Ac-
cording to the platform of the Greenback party, both the old parties
in Congress were vying with each other to repeal taxes for the bene-


fit of the banks, but as they could not agree upon which taxes to
repeal, were squandering the revenue instead of paying the national
debt with paper. Butler accepted both nominations, and issued an
address " to my constituents," which served as a letter of acceptance.
It was a very long document. In this address he vigorously arraigned
the old parties, both of which he had served by turns.

" The country," he said, " has had no experience for nearly a quarter
of a century of what the Democracy would do if they had the power,
so that the people are obliged to require the most explicit pledges
from them of intended action before we can put the government in
their hands. But the farmer and the laboring man do know that a
Democratic House of Representatives has just appropriated more
money raised by taxation than any other House of Representatives
has ever appropriated in time of peace. We also know that the Demo-
cratic majority would have made a free-trade tariff, containing all
the odious features of the present war tariff, so far as regards its
monstrous inequalities, by a horizontal reduction of the tariff to break
down very many rising and struggling industries, and to bring destruc-
tion to the homes of our workingmen and the home markets of the
American producers. Who does not know that the very fear of the
action of the Democracy in Congress has so paralyzed American en-
terprise and business that mills are everywhere closing, mines shut
up, furnaces blown out, and every kind of employment so curtailed
thatthemechanicsand workingmen are not earning enough to support
life in comfort; so that the farmer even, deprived of a home market,
and crushed down by discriminating rates of transportation, finds his
corn, wheat, and wool lower than it has been within the present gen-
eration? Can the people, therefore, trust the machine Democracy
with power, upon a shifting, evasive, and deceptive platform? "

He then turned his attention to the Republicans.

" The Republican party in its inception," he declared, " was emphat-
ically the party of the people. It had in it substantially neither mo-
nopolist nor capitalist. It was as poor as was the convention of dele-
gates who framed the Declaration of Independence. Taking out five
men, the rest could hardly pay their board bills. The Republican
party was formed upon a grand and noble idea to do for one class
of workingmen what the Democratic party, even under Jefferson and
Jackson, had failed to do. Their Democracy had dealt only with the
white man. The Democracy of the Republican party dealt with the
black man, and aimed to give him freedom and equal rights. For that
purpose, and that alone, was the party formed. It was the radical
party, and so radical a party of the people that the aristocratic part
of the Whig party, the old adversaries of the Democracy of the days


of Jackson, merged themselves in the Democracy without a drop of
Democratic blood, as they hoped, in their veins, or a thought for the
people, except as the lowest classes in their party, and such of them
as a quarter of a century has spared are found with the Democracy
to-day, largely guiding its councils in the manner we have seen. The
necessity for money to carry on the war drew all the bankers and cap-
italists into the Republican party. The immense fortunes almost
necessarily growing out of the vast expenditures of the war fell into
the hands of men who attached themselves to the party that fed them,
as the iron is attracted to the magnet, and monopolized industries
and enterprises. The necessity to bind together the eastern and
western shores of the Republic by methods of quick transportation,
giving reason for immense subsidies, granted to make three systems
of railroad across the continent, with all their branches and feeders,
created wealth in corporations and individuals to a degree before
unheard of in this or any other country, and brought all those inter-
ests substantially into the Republican party. And if any stayed in

Online LibraryGeorge Oberkirsh SeilhamerHistory of the Republican party (Volume 1) → online text (page 46 of 61)