George Washington Morgan.

Speech of Gen. Geo. W. Morgan, at Delaware, Ohio online

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m. m: w. morgan,
















My Friends and Countrymen : '
Believing that the corruption which
has crept into our public afi'airs can
only be corrected by the people, I
come before you to-night as one of
your fellow-citizens to hold counsel
with you as to what is best to be

It is a fact too seldom considered,
that of the one thousand million in-
habitants who occupy the globe,
only forty millions enjoy the bless
ings of civil liberty under written
constitntiouvS, and exercise the right
of self-government. We are of Eu-
ropean origin, but while the theory
of our Government is republican,
those of the people from whom we
sprung are monarchical, and hered-
itary. And when our own system
of government was established, it
was then, and is now, regarded as
an experiment — a trial to ascertain
whether we have sense and honesty

enough to govern ourselves, or
whether we require trustees in the
forms of kings, and nobles, to take
care of us for their own benefit.

With our fathers, as with our-
selves, everything favored the ex-
periment ; but what will be the ulti-
mate solution of the problem is still
regarded by many as a matter of
doubt. For my own part I have
never entertained any doubt upon
the subject; and had I doubted, con-
fidence would have succeeded to
doubt on witnessing a million vete-
rans in service, though youthful in
years, all flushed with the triumps
of a gigantic war, transformed in a
single day from soldiers to citizens,
as they had, in a single day, been
converted from peaceful citizens into
soldiers, armed and equi})ped for

But what do we mean when we
say that we have capacity for self-


govern meu t ? Simply that we have
intelligeuce enough to examine po-
litical questions, and honesty enough
to vote for or against them, because
we believe them to be right or wrong,
wise or unwise. To be capable of sel f-
governmeut, each citizen must make
up his own mind ; must think and act
for himself, and while with manly
independence in carrying out his
own convictions, he must be«toleraut
as to the convictions of others, for
if we have a right to form and exer-
cise our own opinions upon political
subjects, so have our neighbors. If
we have a right to vote for such
measures as we choose, so have they.
Then if free institutions are to be
maintained, it can only be done by
each citizen voting for what he be-
lieves to be right, and against what
he regards as wrong.


We are all fellow-citizens, and our
first duty is to our country, and he
is not a good citizen who does not
prefer the good of the whole coun-
try to the success of any party. In
all free governments parties ought
to exist, for the party out will be
always vigilant in watching the par-
ty in power, and expose corruption
when it exists. And so long as we
continue to raise vast revenues,
there will be danger of our institu-
tions rotting out by quick decay.
But parties to be useful, must be
patriotic; their object must be the
good of the whole people, and not
the aggrandizement of the favored
few. And not only should one party
be watched by the other, but the
leaders of each party should be
watched by their immediate constit-
uents, and the moment that they
discover that their leaders have be-
come corrupt, that moment they
should abandon tliem, and unite
with the other party until reform is


At this moment, citizens, a settled

conviction exists in the public mind,
that corruption reigns supreme in
the Federal and at most of the State
capitals. And everywhere the peo-
ple are giving action to that convic-
tion by declaring against those who
have betrayed, and are now robbing
them. The late triumphs of the
people of Connecticut by a decisive
vote, in New York by a majority of
more than eighty thousand — many
counties for the first time having
gone Democratic — and the unex-
pected upheaval in Oregon and the
new States of the Eocky Mountains,
show they are fully aroused to the
necessity of prompt and patriotic

But I need not go so far from
home for examples of the great
change going on in the public mind.
Here before you is Jas. E. Hubbell,
born and educated a Whig, a mem-
ber of the Eepublican party from
the date of its earliest organization,
and its chosen Eepresentative in
Congress, who now appears before
the people as a candidate for their
suftrages as a nominee of the Dem-
ocratic party — a nomination alike
honorable to Mr. Hubbell and to the


My countrymen, no party can con-
tinue to live in a government like
ours, after it has achieved the pur-
pose for which it was organized —
no party can long exist which does
not rest upon a living principle.

The abolition of slavery, and the
adjustment of the questions arising
from that act, have left the Eepub-
licans without a single bond of un-
ion, and their dissolution is inevita-

Eepublican high tariff, and Ee-
publican low tariff men confront each
other in confusion ; and those who
demand reform are jostled out of
the way by the army of office-hold-
ers, and by those who seek to make
fortunes by plundering the treasury.


In fact, the contest now waged is
not between parties ; it is not a con-
flict of ideas ; but it is a struggle
between the robbers and those who
are being- robbed ; between theofhce-
holders who have stolen the ma-
chinery of a paity, and the people.
The men in power, who run tlie Gov-
ernment in tlieir own interests,
through their legions of tax collect-
ors, tax assessors, tax inspectors, tax
detectives, and tax spies, now .seek
to manage and control the people as
they would a machine.

A compact organization, backed
by the money-bags of the Govern-
ment, which are now in their con-
trol, may for a short time make them
appear to be formidable; but the
l^eople once aroused to the true con-
dition of the country, the tax-gath-
erers will take to their holes.



liestored to power, the Democracy
will endeavor to restore respect for
the constitution and laws throughout
our whole country ; to restore good
temper and kind feeling among the
whole people. By retrenchment and
reform in all the branches of govern-
ment, State and Federal, they will
reduce the taxes of the people ; and
by investigation, strict but impartial,
they will expose and punish those
who have been robbing the treasury
and who now seek to retain power in
order to avoid such exposure and

Eestored to power, they will try
and restore our commerce, which is
well nigh destroyed ; to revive trade,
which is well nigh paralyzed ; and
remove the unequal and unjust bur-
dens which now weigh heavily upon
the shoulders of industry, so that
our farmers, manufacturers, mer-
chants, mechanics and workingmen
will be able to save a portion of the
profits of their toil, instead of hav-
ing them gobbled up by the leeches
who are sucking the life-blood of the


In my judgment, my friends, the
most alarming feature of the times
is the f'normous amount of taxes
which are collected from the people,
and the reckless and corrupt manner
in which they are squandered. I re-
gret to say that this remark applies
with equal force to the State as to the
Federal Government. In fact, our
rulers seem to f nget that taxes mean
labor ; and the higher the taxes the
the less the profit and the fewer the
comforts. I hold in my hand the
reports of the Auditor of State for
ISGO and 1S69, and the fact to which
I am al)out to refer was called to my
attention by a worthy gentlemen of
my own town, who is not only a
prominent citizen, but has always
been a prominent Republican. The
fact to wliich he called my attention
was this : that the total amount of
taxes for all i)urposes in Ohio in 1SG9,
(see Auditor's report p. -19,) amounted
to the enormous sum of $22,232,877.
This caused me to examine further,
when I found by tlie Auditor's report
for ISOO (page 77) that the same
taxes for that year amounted to
$10,317,076. Increase over 18G0, of

This led me to a further investiga-
tion, the correctness of which you
will find verified by turning to the
report of the Register of the United
States Treasury, and you will there
find that there were forty-four years
in the history of the Republic in
which the annual expenditures of the
army, navy and civil list were much
less than it cost the people of Ohio
to maintain their Government dur-
ing the year 18G9.

And in order that you may see the
exact amount of direct State and
Federal taxes paid by the p^iople of
Ohio during the year 1SG9, 1 will state
them together :

Total of Stato taxes...
Uuited States Int. Rev.

To'l direct tax for Ohio, 1869ijji38,315,3y4
And you will bear in mind, my

friends, that this does not include
the still greater tariff tax you pay for
the benefit of the New England

Were it not for these taxes, the
people of OLio would be that much
richer than they now are, and would
have just that many more comforts
in their homes.

It is true that reasonable taxes
should be collected for the mainten-
ance of Government, but is it not
high time that there should be re-
trenchment and reform *?


It is always more agreeable, my
friends, to praise than to blame, to
commend than to censure ; but there
are diseases which can only be
reached by the caustic and the knife,
and our country is now suffering
from such a malady.

I have already spoken to you of
the last report of the Eegister
of the United States Treasury.
This is it, which I hold in my
hand. From this report it appears
that the entire expenditures of the
Federal Government from 1789 till
June 30th, ISOO, during peace and
the cost of war, amounted to less
than fifteen hundred million dollars;
and this period embraced seventy-
one years. And during those seven-
ty-one years we had three years war
with England, thirty years of Indian
wars, and two years of foreign war
against Mexico.

Indeed, that amount includes all
expenditures except those of the pub-
lic debt.

And this brings me to the point
to which I wish to call your atten-
tion. This same report shows that
exactly the same expenditures of the
Federal Government in time of
peace, from June 30th, 1865, till
June 30th, 1869, without including
one cent paid on the principal or in-
terest of the Federal debt, was more
than ten hundred and eleven million
dollars !

Kow, what has become of that
vast sura, expended for the ordinary

expenses of the Government, during
the brief period of four years of
peace f That amount, my friends,
is equal to one-twentieth of the value
of all the real and personal jjroperty,
public and private, embraced be-
tween the two oceans, and the lakes
and the gulf! And keep it in mind
that not one dollar of that huge sum
was paid on the principal or interest
of the public debt; for during those
four years the aggregate expendi-
tures of the General Government
amounted to three thousand eight
hundred and eighty-eight million
dollars, or about oue fifth of the
value ot the entire wealth of the
United States.

During all those years of excessive
taxation and corrupt expenditures,
with our foreign commerce destroyed
and our flag swept from the seas;
our internal trade struck with paraly-
sis, caused by the withdrawal of our
currency from legitimate trade to be
used in gambling in stock and gold ;
with wages low, and taxes high — at
such a time, when general disaster
and distress threaten us, instead of
economy and retrenchment, the most
impudent and unblushing extrava-
gance exists in every department of
the Government.


With a feeling of disappointment,
the warmest admirers of the Presi-
dent admit that his administration
has been a melancholy failure. For
his exploits in war the gratitude of
the people knew no bounds, and
never was a President treated with
so much indulgence by those who
were opposed to him in politics. It
was with a blush of shame that the
people learned that their Chief Mag-
trate was bestowing the first ofitices
in the Government upon persons
from whom he had received valuable
gifts, and that he bestowed lucrative
positions upon relatives and favor-
ites without regard to fitness, as
though the Government belonged to
himself instead of the people. To
such an extent were these grievances

carried, that Congress twice felt
called upon to administer a rebuke,
not the less severe because it was in-
direct. The House expelled Whitte-
more for appointing to a cadetship
the son of a man from whom he had
received a present of fifteen hundred
dollars ; and an act was passed mak-
ing it a penal offense for clerks to
make presents to the chiefs of their

But an honest and patriotic people
are at a loss to understand how it
can be right for the President to .se-
cure gifts of great value from per-
sons upon whom he confers office,
and wrong for a member of Congress
to do the same thing, why the latter
should be expelled, while the former
is not impeached.

THE president's CABINET.

In vain do the people demand,
" What becomes of our taxes 1 "
Have they the right to know, or
have they lost all their rights ? The
Constitution declares that " a regu-
lar statement and account of the re-
ceipts and expenditures of all public
money shall be iiublished from time
to time." And a law of Congress
enforces this requirement of the Con-
stitution. But during the past six
years, no such regular statement of
expenditures has been made. It is
true that a statement is made, but
it is a fraud and a cheat — intended
to deceive, but not to inform the
people what becomes of their taxes.
One item of expenditure is given,
followed by half a dozen &c., &c.,
&c., &c., &G., &c. ; but what the
etceteras stand for, no one knows ;
an etcetera may mean anything.
Article 1, section 9, of the Constitu-
tion, among other things, provides :
*' 1^0 money shall be drawn from the
Treasury except by appropriations
made by law." But it is a notorious
fact — a lact charged on the floor of
the House, and never denied — that
each of President Grant's Cabinet
officers, as well as each chief of a
bureau, keeps a cariiage and horses,
coachman and footman, all paid for |

with the people's taxes, and without
the authority of law.

If a Cabinet officer can illegally
take money from the Treasury to
buy and keep up a carriage and
horses, and pay the wages of coach-
man and followers, where is the
limit at which he is to stop ?


" iSTo money shall be drawn from
the Treasury except by appropria-
tion made by law." The reason for
this provision of the Constitution is
evident, for if without the authority
of law the President or a Cabinet
officer can take from the Treasury
one thousand dollars, why not one
hundred thousand, or one hundred
millions ? to be used as the Presi-
dent or his " Minister" may choose.
I will give a few examples. In the
departments there are four grades
of clerks. The fourth receive
eighteen hundred, the third sixteen
hundred, the second fourteen hun-
dred, and the first twelve hundred
dollars, and none but the chief
clerks are allowed a larger sum.

In consequence of an anonymous
letter received by me, on the 17 th of
January last, I offered a resolution,
which passed the House, embracing
five interrogatories, calling upon
Mr. Boutwell for certain information,
and on the 22d of February it was
replied to by Executive Document
No. 188, which I hold in my hand.

The third question called on Mr.
Boutwell for " a statement embrac-
ing the names of the clerks now in
this department other than chief
clerks, who receive more than
eighteen hundred dollars salary."
And I will read from page 6 of
Secretary Boutwell's answer, as fol-
lows :

''A list of the clerks and their
names now (January 17, 1870,) re-
ceiving more than at the rate of
$1,800 per annum, other than chief
clerks of the bureaus of the Treasury
Department." And here follow the
names of fifty-nine clerks who re-


ceive illegal salaries, varying in
amounts from two thousand to five
thousand dollars ; and the Secretary
does not deign to apologize for, or
excuse this jialpable violation of law,
and he continues to pay just such
salaries as he chooses and to whom
he chooses, and then coolj certifies
that he does so.

In fact, my friends, it is wholly
impossible for either you or me to
tell what is the condition of the
Government from the estimates or
reports of the heads of the depart-
ments. Thus, in his letter of June
1st, the Secretary of the Treasury
admits that he is paying, out of
funds in the Treasury, more than
sixteen hundred persons for whom
no appropriation was made accord-
ing to law ; and that many more than
are stated in his estimate of ex-
;peuditures sent to Congress — that
iis, instead of sixteen hundred clerks
-i.m the Treasury Department, as
shown in the estimate of the Secre-
tary, there are more than three thou-
sand^ and this fact was dragged into
the light by the resolution to which
.1 have already referred.

lam thus particular, my friends,
in calling your attention to this
matter, that you may be on your
; guard against the false statements
that are being made as to the re-
'. duction of taxes and payment on the
public debt.

Time will not permit me to go
through this document, page by
page, but I will call your attention
to an item or two more. Here on
page three, it appears that the econo-
mical gentlemen who have adminis-
tered the Treasury Department,
paid to Adams Express Company
from June 30th, 1805, to June oOth,
1869, the enormous sum of $78,397,
mainly for carrying packages of
blank forms upon which notes and
bonds were to be executed, the
-whole of which could have been sent
through the mail at one hundredth
part the cost.

Again, on page two, it appears
that since 18615 theCroverument has

paid $1,167,000 for printing notes
and bonds! Four million dollars!
My friends, that is a greater amount
than the annual expenditures of
the Federal Government, including
army, navy, and civil list during
nine years of the history of the
Federal Union.

And in this connection let me ask
why have not the National Banks
been required to pay for the paper,
engraving and printing of their own
notes, instead of you being taxed
for that puri)ose ?


When I tell you that there have
been three hundred and forty de-
faulters among the Collectors of
Internal Eevenue, you look sur-
prised, and ask one another why
have we not been told of this before ^
For the simple reason, my friends,
because the facts have been con-
cealed and had to be dug out. On
the 21st day of March last, it was
resolved by the House, that " the
Secretary of the Treasury be, and is
hereb^^ directed to furnish this
House a statement of balances due
from Collectors of Internal Eevenue
not 71010 in office j'^ &c.

And I invite your attention to
Executive Document No. 267, being
the report of the Hon. Geo. S. Bout-
well in answer to that resolution.
Look at it for yourselves. Here are
eight solid pages of the names of
three hundred and forty defaulters !
I have not time to read them all,
but will call off ten, and you may
form an idea of what the three hun-
dred and thirty amount to :
Defaulters. Amount.

.... 1,043,547


.... 532,879


Johu H. Bryant 435,000

W. C. Flagg 237,307

W. T. Cunuiugliam 292,46©

D. B. Boufoey S36,000

F. S. Hunt 250,407

Frank Soule

Sheridan Shook

Alexander Spaulding.

M. B. Field

Lewis Collins

Total by ten defaulters. . . . $5,933,113


was adopted by the House, calling-
upon the Secretary of the Treasury
lor informatiou. On the 25th of the
same mouth Secretary Boutwell sent
to the House his answer, Executive
Document 91, and which you ob-
serve is brief. Mr. Auditor Tabor
says that on May 23d, 18G6, the Sec-
retary of the Navy issued Order No.
75, and therein assumed to increase
the salaries of the offlcers of the
navy one-third. This document con-
tains the order. Auditor Tabor says
under that order there was drawn
from the Treasury and divided
among officers of the navy, from
June 1st, ISGO, to January 1st, 1870,
the sum of $3,763,981.

In this same document, Mr. Comp-
troller Broadhead says : '' The order
of the Secretary of the Navy is the
only authority for payments beyond
the respective salaries provided for
by law."

You will observe, citizens, tliat
this abuse, which originated under
Johnson, was continued under Grant,
and, in fact, Mr. Secretary Eobeson
wrote a lengthy letter to Congress,
in which he claimed that he had the
right to increase the salaries of naval
officers at his pleasure.

It cannot be necessary for me to
say to you, my countrymen, that
such an unrebuked usurpation might
become dangerous to your liberties.
If, at his will, the President, through
his " Ministers," can increase the
salaries of officers of the navy, and
without the authority of law diaw
money enough from the Treasury to
maintain them, what assurance have
you that some President will not ex-
ercise such unwarranted power to
make himself King 1

This act of usuri)ation on the part
of the President not only set the
Constitution a. id Congress at deti-
ance, but it was unjust and oppress-
ive to the people, "vvho were already
weighed down by the l)urdens of
taxation. The officers of the navy
were already receiving high salaries
I drew a resolution, which I when Order 75 was issued. In 18G0

Here is within a fraction of six
millions of dollars of taxes, gobbled
up by ten defaulters, not one of
whom has been prosecuted or
ordered to be prosecuted. In all
these three hundred and forty de-
falcations, civil suits have only been
ordered in thirty cases, and not one
criminal prosecution.


My friends, we will not meet here
as a matter of amusement, but for
sober and earnest consultation.
You have already seen that millions
of dollars of the taxes paid by the
people are stolen before they even
reach the Treasury ; and I am about
to show you how millions more are
taken from the Treasury in open
violation of the Constitution and
the laws. The Constitution says:
" No money shall be drawn from the
Treasury except by appropriations
made by law." That instrument
further says : " The Congress shall
have power to ]>rovide for and main-
tain a navy." The power to provide
an army and navy is not vested in
the President, because it would make
him independent of Congress and
the people. And for the same reason
it is provided that " no money shall
be drawn from the Treasury, but in
consequence of appropriations made
by law."

But President Grant, and Presi-
dent Johnson before him, through
their Secretaries of the Navy, did
provide for and maintain the navy
in violation of law and in contempt
of the Constitution; and in further
violation of that instrument, did
arrogate to themselves the power
to make laws, and did draw three
million seven hundred thousand
dollars from the treasury withont
any appropriation having been made
by Congress.

Early in January last I learned
that the Executive branch of the
Government had increased the pay
of the othcers of the navy, without
the kuowfedge or authority of Con-


the highest salary of anj^ naval offi-
cer was $1,500, but after 1861 the
salaries of all naval officers were in-
creased, and that of the highest offi-
cer had been increased to ten, and
v/as made by the late Congress
twfilve thousand dollars, or double
the salary of a Judge of the Supreme
Court of the United States.


Online LibraryGeorge Washington MorganSpeech of Gen. Geo. W. Morgan, at Delaware, Ohio → online text (page 1 of 2)