Skip to main content

Full text of "The Hayes-Tilden disputed presidential election of 1876"

See other formats





















Lecturer ia History, Columbia Uaiversity 






To My Sister R. H. 
Whose Self-sacrifice is not Forgotten 

919/1 17 


Preface ix 

I. The Republican Dynasty in Danger . i 
II. The Republicans Cast About for a 

Leader ..... 10 

III. A Democratic Moses ... 26 

IV. The Centennial Campaign . . 36 
V. The Election Republican Hope after 

Despair ..... 45 

VI. The Contest in Florida 57 
VII. Bulldozers and Returning Officers in 

Louisiana ..... 81 

VIII. Rifle-Clubs in the Palmetto State . 122 

IX. The Ineligible Elector in Oregon . 157 

X. Compromise or Civil War? . . 168 

XL Eight to Seven 220 

XII. The Adjustment in the South . . 284 

XIII. The Potter Committee and the Cipher 

Dispatches 305 

XIV. Legal Aspects and the Equities . 329 

Appendix 345 

Index 351 


Thirty years have now elapsed since the beginning 
of the presidential campaign which culminated in the 
most remarkable electoral controversy in the history 
of popular government. As yet, however, no adequate 
account of that controversy has been published. It 
has seemed to me that there is some need for such an 
account, and this book is the result of my effort, 
successful or otherwise, to supply it. 

The book is based in large measure upon a collection 
of more than twenty thousand pages of congressional 
material, consisting of debates in Congress, of evidence 
gathered by various investigating committees, and of 
the proceedings before the electoral commission. This 
collection constitutes perhaps the most extensive and 
exhaustive one upon any subject of equal importance 
in American history, and the labor involved in exam 
ining and sifting it has been rendered all the greater 
by the fact that so much of the evidence contained in 
it is untrustworthy. As the reference notes will show, 
I have, in addition, drawn material from a great variety 
of other sources. I have, in fact, spared no pains to 
make my investigation as complete as possible. Upon 
most of the matters which are really vital I have, I 
believe, succeeded in obtaining the essential facts ; but 

x Preface 

I feel constrained to admit that I have not succeeded 
in penetrating the veil which surrounds some others. 
These last are matters which will, in all probability, 
always remain secrets, for the simple reason that those 
actors who could tell the truth concerning them will 
never do so. I may remark in passing that I have 
brought to light much that has never before been 
published, and that I have also learned many other 
interesting, though usually not very important things, 
which cannot be published because told to me under 
pledge of secrecy. In all cases, however, I have been 
able to make use of such facts in drawing conclusions. 

It may be worth while for me to add that in inter 
preting the evidence regarding the situation in the 
contested states of Louisiana, Florida, and South 
Carolina I have been greatly aided by experience 
gained some years ago while making an extended 
investigation in certain southern states of the workings 
of negro suffrage under present day conditions. In 
fact, I may say that without the insight thus gained 
my task would have been well-nigh a hopeless one. 

There remains only the pleasant duty of acknowl 
edging my obligations to the many persons who have 
assisted me in the work. To Hon. Carl Schurz, Hon. 
John Bigelow, Col. A. K. McClure, Hon. John Goode, 
Hon. William Dudley Foulke, Dr. Charles R. Wil 
liams, and Mr. Yates Snowden of the Charleston News 
and Courier; to Col. Webb C. Hayes, who allowed me 
to see his father s papers and who read the entire 
manuscript; tq Mr. Edward Cary of the New York 

Preface xi 

Times, who furnished me with information and read 
a portion of the manuscript; to Professor John R. 
Ficklen and Mr. Benjamin Rice Foreman, who read 
the chapter on Louisiana; to Hon. W. E. Chandler, 
who furnished me with much material and who read 
several of the chapters; to Mr. Joseph M. Rogers, 
who had himself intended to write a book on the sub 
ject but retired in my favor and with rare generosity 
gave me the results of his investigations and read the 
more important chapters to these gentlemen and to 
many others I owe a debt which I fear I shall never be 
able to repay. Nor must I forget to mention the many 
kindnesses shown me by my publisher, Mr. Charles 
W. Burrows, and the assistance rendered me by my 
father and iby my wife in correcting the manuscript. 
Above all, I am indebted to Professor William A. 
Durming, leading authority in this period of our 
history, for reading both the manuscript and the proof 
and thereby helping me to avoid many errors. 

In justice to some of the persons named it should, 
however, be added that I alone am responsible for 
statements of fact and for conclusions. In many 
cases, perhaps unwisely, I have disregarded their 


Columbia University. 




The year 1876 was the most notable of the period 

in American history betweenthe close of tne war of 

Secession and the beginning of the war with Spain. 
It wasT~the year in which occurred the last o? our 
important Indian outbreaks a conflict made sadly 
memorable by the massacre of Custer and his troopers 
on the Little Big Horn. It was the year which marked 
jthe one hundredth anniversary of our independence 
an occasion fitly celebrated by the great Centennial 
Exposition at Philadelphia. It was also the year of an 
election which resulted in a strange controversy that 
put our institutions to one of the severest tests they 
have ever been called upon to endure. 

The political outlook prior to that election was in 
some respects an unusual one. For the first time since 

2 The Hayes-Tilden 

it had come into power there was real likelihood that 
the Republican party would be unable to elect its 
candidate for the Presidency. Successful in 1860 by 
grace of the lack of unity among its opponents, 
it had in 1864 merged itself in that Union party 
which gave Lincoln his second term, and four 
years later, having resumed its independent status, 
it had been led to another overwhelming vic 
tory by the military hero who had ended the 
war. In the new President s first administration had 
occurred a division in the party fold. The Liberal 
Republicans, dissatisfied with the conduct of affairs 
and despairing of getting their views adopted by the 
party leaders, had in 1872 held a separate convention at 
Cincinnati and had nominated Horace Greeley of New 
York and B. Gratz Brown of Missouri. Thereupon 
the Democrats, seeing no hope of success with candi 
dates chosen from among themselves, had, despite the 
fact that Greeley had been one of the highest of the 
high priests of Abolitionism-, indorsed the Liberal 
Republican candidates and platform. But this unnat 
ural alliance had wholly failed to avert a complete 
triumph of Radicalism ; out of the 349 electoral votes 
counted by Congress for President, General Grant had 
received 286, while the 63 remaining had been divided 
(Greeley having died before the electoral colleges met) 
among B. Gratz Brown, Thomas A. Hendricks, Charles 
J. Jenkins of Georgia, and David Davis of Illinois. x 

i Cong. Globe, 42d Cong. 3d Sess., p. 1305. Three Georgia 
rotes which had been cast for Greeley were not counted, and all 
the votes of Louisiana and Arkansas were excluded. 

Disputed Election of 1 876 3 

Rendered reckless by the seeming finality of their 
victory, the Radical leaders had fallen into the pleasant 
belief that the question of dispensing the loaves and 
fishes of political patronage was settled forever and 
that it was wholly unnecessary to carry through meas 
ures of reform which the Liberal Republicans had 
demanded and which many far-sighted men who had 
remained within the party desired. But there had soon 
been a rude awakening. The panic of 1873, tne dis 
satisfaction due to the unsettled state of the monetary 
system, the bad condition of affairs in the South, the 
Credit Mobilier exposures, the so-called Salary Grab, 
the Sanborn Contract, and other scandals all these 
things had worked mightily to the disadvantage of the 
party in power. * The result had been the great "Tidal 
Wave" of 1874. Out of thirty-five states in which 
elections were held twenty-three had gone Democratic ; 
even such Republican states as Wisconsin, Ohio, Penn 
sylvania, and Massachusetts had arrayed themselves 
in the Democratic column; and only a comparative 
handful of Republicans had been returned to the 
House. 2 

In the new Congress, it is true, the Democratic 
members had not greatly distinguished themselves for 
wisdom or for political sagacity; 3 but the party had 

1 These conclusions are based upon the flies of The Nation, 
Harper s Weekly, and of the New York World, Times, and Tri 
bune. See also Stanwood, History of Presidential Elections, 4tii 
ed., p. 302 ; Poulke, Life of Morton, II, pp. 344-352 ; Hoar, Auto 
biography of Seventy Years. I, pp. 305-369. 

2 McPherson, Handbook of Politics for 1876, p. 255. 
3. See Harper s Weekly, XX, p. 112. 

4 The Hayes-TilJen 

been favored by the almost clock-like regularity with 
which scandals continued to reveal themselves, so that, 
although financial conditions were becoming better and 
the "Tidal Wave" was now running much less strong, 
the Democratic leaders were at>le to look forward to 
the approaching election with at least as much confi 
dence as the Republicans. 

The chief count that could be brought against the 
party in power was maladministration. That the 
government was in a deplorable condition no dispas 
sionate student of history will venture to deny. Nor 
are the chief causes difficult to find. The nation had 
but recently emerged from the trying ordeal of the 
greatest civil war known to history. That war had 
left many troublesome problems, some of which time 
alone could fully solve. It had also necessitated a 
tremendous increase in the revenues and expenditures 
of the national government. From March 4, 1789, to 
June 30, 1861, the entire net "ordinary expenditures" 
had amounted in round numbers to but $1,580,000,000, 
as against the enormous sum of $5,200,000,000 in the 
fourteen years from June 30, 1861, to June 30, 1875. 
Furthermore, the number of civil employees of the 
government had increased from about 44,000 under 
Buchanan to more than 100,000 under Grant. 1 In the 
morally unhealthy atmosphere which inevitably follows 

1 These comparisons were made in the Democratic Campaign 
Text Book, pp. 747-748. The figures are from the Report of the 
Secretary of the Treasury for 1875 and from reports of the 
various departments. The "gross expenditures" were, of course, 
far larger. 

Disputed Election of 1 876 5 

a resort to arms, and amidst such favorable conditions 
as those just described, it was but natural that the 
Spoils System should produce its most noxious 
growth, and that political morality should reach per 
haps the lowest ebb in our entire history. x 

The administrative demoralization of the country 
was, it must be conceded, due in part also to the 
personality of President Grant. Like many a suc 
cessful soldier before him, Grant was by no means a 
finished statesman. Prior to his inauguration he had 
never held a civil office, and he did not clearly under 
stand the workings of our political system. Starting 
out with the assumption that the Presidency was a sort 
of personal possession given him by the people to 
manage as he thought proper, he had, with the best 
intentions in the world, entirely ignored the party 
leaders in choosing his first cabinet. This independent 
policy had soon proved a failure, and he had been 
brought to the necessity of securing some support. 
In the contest to gain control of him which followed, 
the Radicals Butler in Massachusetts, Conkling in 
New York, Cameron in Pennsylvania, Patterson in 
South Carolina, Morton in Indiana, and so on had 
triumphed over the Liberals and had become the Pres*- 

1 For a different view see Hoar, I, pp. 309-311, and Foulke, II. 
p. 410. The Republicans were able to show that the rate of 
defalcation per $1,000 under Grant was considerably lower than 
under any previous President. This arg-ument failed to take into 
account the fact that most of the corruption at this time was not 
In the form of direct stealing from the government. Furthermore, 
there were under Grant many officials each of whom handled 
in the course of a year more money than was spent in that 
length of time by the entire government under Washington. 


6 The Hayes-Tilden 

idential advisers and the dispensers of patronage. Thus 
the man who had begun by ignoring the politicians 
had in the end allowed himself to fall entirely into 
their hands. The outcome was rendered all the more 
disastrous because the President, although a keen 
judge of military capacity, had no skill in choosing 
political subordinates and advisers. A thoroughly 
honest man himself, he was unable to detect dishonesty 
in others. His confidence was frequently abused by 
pretended friends, who brought him into disrepute, but 
whom, with misguided fidelity, he was unwilling "to 
desert under fire." In many ways, to be sure, his two 
administrations were by no means failures. Under 
him our disputes with England were peaceably and 
honorably settled, the national debt was greatly 
reduced, the Resumption Act was passed, and the 
South was kept as tranquil perhaps as a section which 
had so recently undergone such a complete social and 
political upheaval could be kept. Probably no other 
man then living could have filled the Presidential 
chair as well as he; yet the fact remained that the 
administration was pervaded with a lamentable demor 
alization which increased rather than diminished. 
Disclosures of wrong-doing followed each other with 
such astounding rapidity that inefficiency and fraud 
were suspected even where they did not exist. x 

1 For estimates of Grant which agree in the main with this 
see Garland, Life of Grant, pp. 385-449 ; Cox, Three Decades 
of Federal Legislation, pp. 672-673 ; McCulloch, Men and Meas 
ures of Half a Century, pp. 355-357 ; Andrews, The United States 
in Our Own Times, pp. 23 et seq. ; and John Sherman s Recol 
lections, I, pp. 446-449, 474-475. Some excellent estimates of him 

Disputed Election of l8?6 7 

As the time for the campaign of 1876 drew near it 
was generally recognized that in Republican misgov- 
ernment the Democrats would find their best oppor 
tunity for attack. The wisest policy for them would 
be to drop the Southern issue and fight the battle on 
that of "Grant s maladministration," Said the New 
York Herald on April i, 1876: 

"Let the party trace every stream of corruption 
which now pollutes the country to its source, and call 
upon the country to rise and cleanse the source. Let the 
leaders begin the campaign on the violation of the 
Constitution involved in the appointment of staff 
officers and not statesmen to the Cabinet. Let them 
show how the moral sense of the nation was degraded 
by the selection of worthless relations and whiskey- 
drinking cronies to high offices here and abroad. Let 
them show how the Senate degraded itself by becoming 
a sharer in the plunder and patronage of the Executive. 
Let them show how the country was parcelled out like 
the provinces of the Roman Empire, every state with 
a Senatorial proconsul Conkling in New York, 
Cameron in Pennsylvania, Patterson in South Carolina, 
and so on until the country, so far as the patronage 
is concerned, is under the dominion of an oligarchy 
which only opposes the President when he names men 
for office like Hoar and Dana, supporting him in his 
selection of a Billings or a Delano. Let them show 
how investigations in the House were made impossible 
so long as the brothers of members were allowed to 
hold trade posts and rob Indians and soldiers. Let 

were given in the newspapers published at the time of his death. 
For his apology for his administrations see his last message to 

8 The Hayes-Tilden 

them show how scandal after scandal supervened until 
we had a Secretary of War at the bar of the Senate as 
a confessed robber and a Secretary of the Navy rapidly 
on his way thither for having used a million of dollars 
to sustain a sinking banking house in London." 1 

The indictment that could be drawn was certainly a 
strong one. The Republican party, rendered reckless 
by the possession of too much power, had been weighed 
in the balance and had been found wanting. In the 
minds of many a sincere patriot, proud of the record 
of a hundred years but humiliated by the fact that the 
centennial of the nation s birth must witness so much 
corruption in high places, there inevitably arose a 
desire for a political change. 

Yet there was one consideration among other less 
influential ones which might perhaps save the party in 
power from merited rebuke. Bad as that party had 
shown itself of late, there nevertheless existed a grave 
doubt whether its opponent, in the light of the record 
of the past, was any more worthy of confidence. 2 
Rightly or wrongly, men had not yet forgotten that 
not more than eleven years before a large section of 
the Democratic party had stood beneath the Stars and 
Bars in battle array against the Union ; that another 
section of that party had been worse than lukewarm in 
support of the government which they now sought to 
control. With more truth than poetry it was still said 
that "not every Democrat was a Rebel, but every Rebel 

1 This, of course, Is overdrawn. 

3 See, for example, Harper s Weekly, XIX, pp. 90, 170, 210. 

Disputed Election of 1876 9 

was a Democrat." Would it be safe to trust the 
nation s affairs with men many of whom had once 
raised their hands against her life ? Would it not, after 
all, be better to keep in power a party which, whatever 
its faults, had always stood unflinchingly for the 
preservation of the Union? Upon the answers given 
to these questions seemed to depend the result of the 
forthcoming election. 



With such a political outlook it was almost inevitable 
that there should be a readjustment in the Republican 
party. The Radicals, discredited and somewhat chas 
tened by defeat, began to show themselves much more 
amenable to advice ; it was apparent that the moderate 
element, whose watchword was "reform within the 
party," 1 would play a much more important part than 
hitherto. This state of affairs made it easier for 
many Liberals who were alarmed at the inflationist 
tendencies displayed by the Democrats and who ap 
proved the Republican stand on the Resumption Act 
to drift back into their former party. 

For the first time since 1860 there was real uncer 
tainty as to who would be chosen to lead the Republican 
hosts. There was, of course, much talk about a third 
term. The newspapers, and especially the New York 
Herald, took up the subject; and during 1875 a great 
deal was said about "dynasties," "dictatorships," 
"Caesarism," and so on. In the spring of 1875 the 
Pennsylvania Republican state convention, moved by 

1 For an article on this subject see Harper s Weekly, XIX, 
p. 274. 

The Disputed Election of l8j6 1 1 

this outcry, passed a resolution against a third term. 
Thereupon President Grant wrote to General Harry 
White, chairman of the convention, as follows : "Now 
for the third term. I do not want it any more than I 
did the first ... I am not, nor have I ever been a 
candidate for a renomination. I would not accept a 
nomination if it were tendered, unless it should come 
under such circumstances as to make it an imperative 
duty circumstances not likely to arise." The letter 
was regarded by many as a "declination with a string 
to it ;" people remarked that in the past, at Ft. Donelson 
and elsewhere, Grant had never shown any inability 
to make his meaning unmistakable. 1 In consequence, 
the discussion of his availability was kept up until the 
following December, when an effectual quietus was 
put to it by the passage in the -House of Representa 
tives, by a vote of 233 to 18, of a resolution declaring 
that any attempt to depart from the precedent estab 
lished by Washington and other Presidents "would be 
unwise, unpatriotic, and fraught with peril to our free 
institutions." 2 

With General Grant out of the way, the field was 
open for other candidates. Of these the most talked 
about were James G. Elaine of Maine, Roscoe Conkling 
of New York, Benjamin H. Bristow of Kentucky, and 
Oliver P. Morton of Indiana. In addition there were 
some "favorite sons," among whom were John F. 

1 For an account of this matter and a copy of the letter see 
Garland s Grant, pp. 436-432 ; also Harper s Weekly, XIX, pp. 
474, 494, 496, and 499. 

2 Record, p. 228. 

12 The Hayes-Tilden 

Hartranft of Pennsylvania, Marshall Jewell of Con 
necticut, and Rutherford B. Hayes of Ohio. 

To outward appearances, Mr. Elaine seemed to have 
the best chance of securing the coveted nomination. 
He possessed a magnetic personality, and had attracted 
much attention as Representative and Speaker. In the 
Congress then in session he had kept himself in the 
public eye by systematically baiting the Southern 
members and drawing from them disloyal utterances 
which could be used by their opponents as party 
capital. l Mr. Elaine s friends were, in general, those 
men who were dissatisfied with the Administration yet 
were not reformers. 2 He was, of course, bitterly 
opposed by Senator Conkling, whom on a memorable 
occasion he had forever alienated by comparing him 
to a turkey gobbler. 3 Mr. Elaine was also regarded 
with but little favor by the reformers; and his avail 
ability in their eyes was vastly lessened by the disclo 
sure not long before the convention met of the cele 
brated "Mulligan letters" which purported to make 
some uncomfortable revelations regarding his alleged 
improper relations with the affairs of the Little Rock 
and Ft. Smith Railroad. 4 Nevertheless he was sure 
of the support of Maine and of enough votes in other 
states to give him a decided lead over any of the other 

1 The Nation, XXIII, p. 173 ; also Johnson, An American 
Statesman, ch. 6. 

2 Hoar s Autobiography, I, p. 378. 

3 See reference to this in The Nation, XXV, p. 373 ; also 
Stanwood s Elaine, pp 66-72. 

4 Hoar, I, 379. 

Disputed Election of 1 876 13 

Senator Conkling would naturally have the sup 
port of practically all the delegates from his own state 
of New York, l and was generally believed to be the 
candidate favored by the Administration. This latter 
fact was, however, a source of weakness rather than of 
strength; for the influence of the Administration was 
at a very low ebb indeed, and one of the leading 
Republican weeklies declared that "the only man whom 
the Republicans can elect is some man whom the 
Administration coterie would strongly oppose, because 
his career and character would be the guarantee of a 
total change in the tone of the Administration." 2 

Senator Morton was still another candidate who was 
not favorably looked upon by the reformers. While 
a man of great ability as a leader, he was a Radical of 
the most intense type, and was credited with having 
defended the civil service as "the best upon the 
planet." 3 His nomination was opposed in the East 
because he was suspected of being a "soft money 
man ;" this suspicion was borne out by the fact that his 
organ, the Indianapolis Journal, was demanding the 
repeal of the Resumption Act. In addition, his chances 
were greatly lessened by the fact that he was 
so infirm physically that he was obliged to use 
crutches. Ke was, however, loyally supported by 
Indiana, and was so popular with the negroes of the 
South that a national convention of that race at Nash 
ville on April ^th showed itself almost unanimous in 

1 See his Life by A. R. Conkling, p. 504. 

2 Harper s Weekly, XIX, p. 1028. 3 Ibid, XX, p. 443. 

14 The Hayes-Tilden 

his favor. An ungrounded attack begun about the 
same time by the New York World upon his personal 
honesty reacted strongly in his favor, for it gave him 
an opportunity in a speech in the Senate to bring once 
more before the country his splendid services as "War 
Governor" of Indiana. 1 

Of all the candidates, Mr. Bristow was apparently 
the man best fitted to lead a campaign whose watch 
word should be "Reform within the Party." As secre 
tary of the treasury he had conducted a ruthless 
warfare against the Whiskey Ring; had not hesitated 
to secure the conviction of personal friends of the 
President; and had even ventured to bring about the 
indictment and trial of Orville E. Babcock, the Pres 
ident s private secretary. 2 By his activity he had, 
however, gained the ill-will of the President and of 
the Radical official coterie and had been blackballed 
by the New York Union League Club. 3 His chances 
were also weakened by the fact that he had not long 
been known to the country at large. On the other 
hand, he was regarded with favor by the reformers 
and was supported by a large part of the more reputa 
ble Republican press. 4 

Of the two other candidates most frequently men- 

1 For a good account of Morton s candidacy see Foulke, II, 
pp. 387-396. The attack was made in the World of April 29th; 
Morton replied in the Senate on May 5th. 

2 For an account of Bristow s fight against the Whiskey Ring 
f?ee an article by H. V. Boynton in the North American Review 
for October, 1876, p. 280. 

3 Harper s Weekly, XX, p. 418; New York Times, May 12th. 

4 For his candidacy see Harper s Weekly, XX, pp. 182 202 
382, 418. The Nation, XXII, p. 344, and Stanwood, Elaine, p. 178. 

Disputed Election of l8j6 15 

tioned, Hartranft had the support of the great state of 
Pennsylvania; but his name appears to have been put 
forward less in hope of his securing the nomination 
than of keeping the Pennsylvania delegation in hand 
until it could be profitably thrown to some other man. a 
Hayes, the other candidate, had been indorsed by Ohio. 
He was then serving a third term as governor of that 
state, and in his various contests for that office had 
defeated three prominent Democrats William Allen, 
George H. Pendleton, and Allen G. Thurman. He 
was sound on the money question, had a good war 
record, was without any important enemies, but was 
not much known outside his own state. Few persons 
considered it likely that he would be nominated. 2 

A month before the time for the convention at which 
the hopes of all but one of these candidates must be 
blasted there occurred in New York City an event of 
considerable political significance. In response to a 
call issued by Carl Schurz, Theodore Woolsey, Horace 
White, William Cullen Bryant, and Alexander H. Bul 
lock, about two hundred gentlemen met in the Fifth 
Avenue Hotel to confer upon the political situation. 
Among those present, in addition to the persons who 
had issued the call, were David A. Wells, Charles 
Francis Adams, Mark Hopkins, Dorman B. Eaton, 

1 Elaine, Twenty Years of Congress, II, p. 568. The attend 
ant circumstances bear out the theory. 

2 McClure, in his Recollections of Half a Century, p. 99, says 
that if there had been a belief that the nomination would go to 
Ohio, Sherman would have been put forward. For Hayes s can 
didacy see Harper s Weekly, XX, pp. 122 and 162 ; Times of 
April 9th;. and Herald of April 21st. For an account of his 
career see the campaign Life by William Dean Howells. 

1 6 The Hayes-Til den 

Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Ir arke Godwin. K. C. 
Lodge, and Professor Seelye. 

This Fifth Avenue Conference, as it was called, 
continued in session during the I5th and i6th of May, 
and, in addition to adopting a resolution in favor of 
civil service reform, issued an elaborate Address to the 
American People. This paper, which was from the 
able pen of Mr. Schurz, was in the nature of a warning 
to both parties. After deploring the unprecedented 
"prevalence of corrupt practices in our national life," 
the address continued: "We therefore declare . . . 
that at the coming Presidential election we shall sup 
port no candidate who in public position ever counten 
anced corrupt practices or combinations, or impeded 
their exposure and punishment"; no candidate "who 
has failed to use his opportunities in exposing abuses 
coming within the reach of his observation, but for 
personal reasons and party ends has permitted them 
to fester on ; . . .no candidate, however conspicuous 
his position or brilliant his ability, in whom the im 
pulses of the party manager have shown themselves 
predominant over those of the reformer ;" no candidate 
about whom there could be room for question as to 
his being "really the man to carry through a thorough 
going reform in the government." 

Although the Radical Republicans and also many 
Democrats endeavored to belittle the importance of the 
conference by calling those in attendance "soreheads" 
and "sentimentalists," its action was generally felt to 

Disputed Election of l8j6 17 

be very significant. 1 The Address showed, for one 
thing, that the independents would not accept a 
candidate like Elaine, Conkling, or Morton, and would 
support only a genuine reformer. The general senti 
ment of the conference had, in fact, been favorable 
to Mr. Bristow ; and one of the most distinguished 
members, Mr. Charles Francis Adams, had openly 
stated that in case Mr. Bristow was not named, he 
would use his influence in behalf of the expected 
Democratic nominee, Mr. Tilden. 2 

On June I4th, a month after the conference was 
held, the Republican convention met at Cincinnati. 
The meeting place was regarded as especially favor 
able to Bristow, for the people were more enthusiastic 
for him than they were for Hayes, and the city was 
also easy of access to Kentuckians. Numerous as were 
Bristow s supporters, however, they were, in the esti 
mation of The Nation s correspondent, decidedly un 
practical. "Looking at them, and seeing the thor 
oughly Visionary way in which they tried to push 
the fortunes of their candidate by appeals to the desire 
of the convention for honest government, and to the 
detestation of the delegates for all trickery and under 
hand proceedings, it was impossible for the most 
genuine reformer not to regret that they were too 

1 Harper s Weekly for June 3d. 

2 In preparing this account of the conference I have con 
sulted the files of the New York Times, Herald, World and Sun; 
of The Nation and Harper s Weekly; and of the Indianapolis 
News, Journal and Sentinel. Information has also been sup 
plied me by Mr. Schurz. 

l8 The Hayes-Tilden 

moral to use other arguments." x Mr. Bristow s 
friends were not the only ones in evidence : Hoosier 
supporters of Morton came "in trains and steamboats 
chartered for the purpose as thick as mosquitoes in 
blackberry time, " 2 and "shouters" for most of the 
other candidates were present in goodly numbers. Al 
most every candidate had some colored supporters, but 
Morton was especially favored in this respect. Black 
orators descanting upon the merits of their candidate 
were numerous and voluble; their "speeches on the 
whole were very nearly as good as the white speeches, 
and infinitely more amusing, partly from internal 
causes and partly because they were so universally 
recognized as a piece of buncombe." 3 

One of the most talked of subjects at the convention 
was the physical condition of one of the candidates. 
On Sunday, the nth, three days before the convention 
was called to order, Mr. Elaine, while on his way to 
one of the Washington churches, had been so badly 
overcome by the heat that he had fallen at the church 
door, and even after being removed to his home had 
been in such a state that for many hours it was doubt 
ful whether he would survive. His opponents natur 
ally made the most possible out of his illness, and "had 
no hesitation in predicting that he would be dead within 
a week, or, if not dead, utterly incapable of using his 
mind or bearing any strain." * 

1 The Nation, XXII, p. 393. 

2 Foulke, p. 397. 

3 The Nation, XXII, p. 393. 

4 The Nation, XXII, p. 392. 

Disputed Election of l8j6 19 

Although the effect of this reasoning was consider 
ably diminished by the reception of a reassuring tele 
gram from Mr. Elaine, an episode growing out of his 
illness did have an important effect upon the ultimate 
action of the convention. With a friend, Mr. Bristow 
called upon his sick rival to extend his sympathy; 
but as Mr. Blaine had come to believe that some of 
the attacks made upon him were instigated by Bris 
tow, the visit had unfortunate results. While Bristow 
and his friend were at the house "an occurrence took 
place which satisfied them both that the feeling against 
Bristow on the part of Mr. Blaine and his near friends 
was exceedingly strong and implacable. The story 
was at once telegraphed in cipher to Mr. Bristow s 
chief manager at Cincinnati," and later had, in the 
opinion of the late Senator Hoar, a decisive influence 
upon the course of events. 1 

On Wednesday, the I4th, the convention was called 
to order, and was organized with Edward McPherson 
of Pennsylvania as permanent chairman. 2 After cer 
tain other preliminary business 3 on this and the fol 
lowing day, the report of the Committee on Platform 

1 Hoar s Autobiography, I, pp. 380-381. 

2 The Blaine forces controlled the organization of the con 
vention. From Alabama the Spencer delegation, favorable to 
Morton, were excluded, and the Haralson delegation, some of 
whom supported Blaine, were admitted. Foulke, p. 400 ; McPher 
son, p. 210 ; The Nation, XXII, p. 390 ; Times and Herald for 
June 15th and 16th. 

3 A feature of the first session was the reading by Mr. G. W. 
Curtis of an address issued some time before by the New York 
Reform Club in favor of resumption and civil service reform 
and criticising the Administration severely. The address was 
regarded as a hard blow at Mr. Conkling. The Nation, XXII, p. 
392 ; Times of 15th. 

2O The Hayes-Tilden 

and Resolutions was heard. When the report had 
been read, Edward L,. Pierce of Massachusetts moved 
to strike out the eleventh resolution which called for 
a congressional investigation into the effect of the im 
migration and importation of Mongolians; but after 
debate the proposal was rejected, 215 to 532. 1 

Edmund J. Davis of Texas then moved to strike 
out the fourth resolution, which was to the effect that 
the promise made in the first act signed by President 
Grant pledging the nation "to make provision at the 
earliest practicable period for the redemption of the 
United States notes in coin" ought to be "fulfilled by 
a continuous and steady progress to specie payment." 
Mr. Davis proposed in its stead a declaration "that it 
is the duty of Congress to provide for carrying out 
the act known as the Resumption Act of Congress, 
to the end that the resumption of specie payments 
may not be longer delayed." But the Resumption Act 
was not popular in the West, and the party leaders 
ideemed it better politics not to go on record as either 
favoring or opposing it. Consequently the amend 
ment, after a brief debate, was rejected. 2 

In other respects, also, the platform was a temporiz 
ing and rather weak document. It contained, of 
course, the usual not undeserved eulogy upon the Re 
publican party for its work in purging the land of 
slavery. It asserted that the United States is a "na 
tion, not a league ;" contained a mild and half-hearted 

1 Times, June 16th. 

2 McPherson, p. 211 ; Times, Herald, and World for June 16th. 

Disputed Election of 1876 21 

resolution against the spoils system ; declared in favor 
of protection, and against polygamy and public aid to 
parochial schools ; denounced the Democratic party as 
"being the same in character and spirit as when it 
sympathized with treason ;" and asserted that "the 
National Administration merits commendation for its 
honorable work in the management of domestic and 
foreign affairs, and President Grant deserves the con 
tinued hearty gratitude of the American people for 
his patriotism and his eminent services, in war and 
in peace." It also promised that all public officers 
should be held "to a rigid responsibility" and "that 
the prosecution and punishment of all who betray 
official trusts shall- be swift, thorough, and unsparing;" 
but it nowhere contained a frank recognition of the 
shameful condition of the public service or any pro 
mise of its thorough reform. l 

The work of platform-building having been com 
pleted, the convention was ready for the more excit 
ing work of selecting the nominee. Marshall Jewell 
of Connecticut was named by Stephen W. Kellogg; 
Morton, by Richard W. Thompson. Bristow was 
nominated by General John M. Harlan of Kentucky, 
and the nomination was seconded by George William 
Curtis of New York, and by Richard H. Dana of Mas 
sachusetts. Conkling s name was presented by Stew 
art L. Woodford ; that of Hayes, by E. F. Noyes ; and 
that of Hartranft, bv Linn Bartholomew. The most 

1 The platform is given in McPherson, p. 210, and in Stan- 
wood, History of Presidential Elections, p. 315. 

22 The Hayes-Tilden 

striking speech was that made by Col. Robert G. Inger- 
soll in nominating Blaine ; in the course of it he made 
the famous comparison of his candidate to a "plumed 
knight" an appellation which continued to be used 
by Mr. Elaine s many devoted followers down to the 
time of his death. 1 At the conclusion of the speech- 
making the tide in favor of Mr. Blaine was running 
so high that his opponents deemed it wise to move 
an adjournment. In all probability the motion would 
have been voted down had not the discovery been 
made that the lighting equipment of the building was 
out of order. It has since been charged that the 
gas supply had been clandestinely cut off for the ex 
press purpose of forcing an adjournment. The man 
who planned and carried into execution this manoeuver 
was Robert W. Mackay. Mr. Mackay s roommate 
was Matthew Stanley Quay. 2 

When the convention reassembled at ten next morn 
ing, the voting was at last begun. On the first four 
ballots the total number of votes cast varied from 
754 to 755 ; 378 thus were necessary for a choice. Mr. 
Blaine received votes varying from 285 on the first 
to 292 on the fourth. On the first two ballots Morton 
stood second, with 125 and 120 votes, but was then 
passed by Bristow, who, on the fourth ballot, received 

1 The effect of this speech was partly destroyed by one of 
the seconders, a Georgia negro, who caused much laughter by 
referring to Curtis as "the poet from New York," and to R. H. 
Dana as "our minister to England," and by making himself 
otherwise ridiculous. 

2 McClure, Our Presidents and How We Make Them, p. 243; 
personal statement by the same author. 

Disputed Election of 1 876 23 

126. Conkling started with 99 and dropped to 84; 
Hartranft rose from 58 to 71 ; and Hayes from 61 
to 68. The strenuous support given to Mr. Elaine 
had now thoroughly convinced the supporters of the 
other candidates that he was the real enemy ; and many 
of the party leaders, knowing that a bolt would take 
place should he be the nominee, began to cast about 
for some candidate in whose favor a combination 
could be made. "The reformers had convinced 
Conkling s followers that he could not be nominated, 
and Morton was out of the question as well as Hart 
ranft. This left Bristow and Hayes as the only pos 
sible anti-Blaine nominees." 1 

On the fifth ballot began a decided movement to 
ward Hayes. When Michigan was called, a veteran 
Republican, William A. Howard, who had been pres 
ent at the birth of the party "Under the Oaks" thirty- 
two years before, hobbled out into the aisle, and 
in a voice tremulous with emotion said that there 
was one candidate before the convention who had 
already defeated three Democratic aspirants for 
the Presidency, Allen G. Thurman, George H. Pen- 
dleton, and William Allen, and that as he seemed 
to have a habit of defeating distinguished Democrats, 
it would be the part of wisdom to give him an oppor 
tunity to defeat yet another one. The speaker then 
announced that Michigan cast all of her 22 votes for 
Rutherford B. Hayes. This announcement was re 
ceived with tremendous applause ; and when the re- 

1 The Nation, XXIII, p. 392. 

24 The Hayes-Til den 

suit of the ballot was announced, it was found that the 
vote for Hayes had increased from 68 to 104. l 

On the sixth ballot, however, a Elaine stampede be 
gan. North Carolina, which on the previous ballot 
had voted for Hayes, now came over to Elaine; the 
Pennsylvania delegation, in which hitherto the unit 
rule had been enforced, gave him several votes ; South 
Carolina swung into line for him ; and in all he received 
308 votes, or within 70 of the nomination. On the 
same ballot Hayes had gained only 9; Morton had 
received 85 ; Bristow in ; Conkling 81 ; and Hartranft 


It was now clear that the seventh ballot would be 
the decisive one. Mr. Elaine s followers were confi 
dent and even jubilant. The vote was taken amid 
great excitement and confusion. From the first few 
states Mr. Elaine gained many votes ; and it was ap 
parent that if he continued to gain at the same rate 
he would be nominated. When Indiana was called, 
Mr. Will Cumback, the chairman of the delegation, 
withdrew the name of Morton and cast 25 votes for 
Hayes and 5 for Bristow. The crucial moment came 
when Kentucky was reached. It was now evident 
that Bristow could not be nominated, and his name 
was withdrawn. Then, moved by the knowledge of 
Elaine s hostility to Bristow, the Kentucky delegates 
voted unanimously for Hayes. 2 They were followed 
by most of the remaining delegates who had opposed 

1 New York Times, June 17th; Johnson, An American States 
man, p. 275. 

2 Hoar, I, p. 382. 

Disputed Election of 1876 2$ 

Elaine, with the result that Hayes received 384 votes 
and the nomination. 1 

The convention then proceeded to the less exciting 
work of choosing a Vice-Presidential nominee. As 
usual in such cases, this work was quickly accom 
plished. Messrs. William A. Wheeler of New York, 
Stewart L. Woodford of New York, Marshall Jewell 
of Connecticut, Frederick T. Frelinghuysen of New 
Jersey, and Joseph R. Hawley of Connecticut, were put 
in nomination ; but before the first ballot had been 
completed it was apparent that Mr. Wheeler had re 
ceived a majority; the other candidates were with 
drawn, and he was declared the unanimous choice of 
the convention. 2 

After transacting some further business the con 
vention, having done all that lay within its power to 
insure Republican success in the coming election, ad 
journed sine die. 3 

1 The following table (see McPherson, p. 212) gives the vote 
in detail: 

1st 2d 3d 4th 5th 6th 7th 

Hayes 61 64 67 68 104 113 384 

Elaine 285 296 293 292 286 308 351 

Morton 125 120 113 108 95 85 

Bristow 113 114 121 126 114 111 21 

Conkling 99 93 90 84 , 82 81 

Hartranft 5S 63 68 71 69 50 

Jewell 11 (withdrawn) 

Wm. A. Wheeler 3 32 2 2 2 

Elihu B. Washburne. Oil 50 

Whole No. of votes .. 755 754 755 754 755 755 756 
Necessary to choice .. 378 378 378 378 378 378 379 

2 McPherson, p. 212. 

3 Except where otherwise stated my account of the conven 
tion is based upon files of the New York Times, World, Herald, 
Tribune, and of the Indianapolis Journal and Sentinel. 



The Democrats approached the campaign of 1876 
in a more sanguine mood than did their opponents. 
Flushed by their triumph in the congressional elec 
tions of 74, encouraged by the fact that all but three 
of the Southern states had at last been "redeemed" 
from carpet-bag rule, and reassured by the continuous 
damaging exposures which threw discredit upon the 
Administration, the opposition, for the first time in 
twenty years, felt fairly confident that the next Pres 
ident would be a Democrat. 

The question as to who should be the Democratic 
standard bearer in the expected triumph was not such 
an open one as in the camp of their opponents. The 
signs of the times pointed to Samuel J. Tilden, govern 
or of New York, as the probable leader. Neverthe 
less, there were several other aspirants for the honor. 
The most talked of were Senator Thomas F. Bayard 
of Delaware, Senator Allen G. Thurman of Ohio, Gen 
eral Winfield Scott Hancock of Pennsylvania, and Gov 
ernor Thomas A. Hendricks of Indiana. Senator Bay 
ard had distinguished himself as one of the ablest Dem 
ocrats in the Senate, and was acceptable to the South 

The Disputed Election of 1876 27 

because he had opposed the coercion of that section, 
but his chances as an "available" candidate were 
greatly impaired by the smallness of the state from 
which he came. 1 Senator Thurman had proved 
himself one of the ablest constitutional lawyers of the 
day, and had led the Democratic lawyers in many a 
hard fought parliamentary battle. Being a "hard 
money" man, he was regarded with favor in the East, 
but the "soft money" tide was running high among the 
Ohio Democrats just then, and ultimately the candidate 
put forward by the party in that state was a "soft 
money" man, ex-Governor Allen. 2 General Hancock, 
four years later to be the party s candidate against 
Garfield, had been a strong competitor for the nom 
ination in the convention of 1868. He was popular 
with the war veterans, and was looked upon as a pos 
sible "dark horse," though he would go into the con 
vention with but little support outside his own state 
of Pennsylvania. 3 A candidate whose fortunes were 
pushed with greater vigor than those of any other yet 
discussed was Governor Hendricks. As congressman, 
senator, and governor, that gentleman had been prom 
inent in state and national politics for many years, had 
been one of the leading candidates in the convention 
which nominated Seymour, and had received most of 
the votes of the Democratic electors in 1872 after the 

1 World, April 29th, June 18th and 25th. See also Times of 
April 1st, June 23d and 26th. 

2 Harper s Weekly for June 3 ; Times and World for May 
18th; The Nation, XXII, p. 327. 

3 See Life by Goodrich, pp. 303-306 ; Times of June 23d. 

2 8 The Hayes-Tilden 

death of Greeley. He had an enthusiastic following in 
Indiana and some other states of the Middle West, but 
was regarded in the East as a "trimmer" and as unsafe 
on the money question. 1 

Of all the men mentioned for the nomination, how 
ever, Governor Samuel J. Tilden of New York ap 
peared to be the logical candidate to lead in a "reform" 
campaign. Mr. Tilden s rise to national prominence 
had been rapid, but his experience in local politics 
had been long and varied. At an early age he 
had shown great precocity in political matters, and had 
become intimately associated with that prince of poli 
ticians, Martin Van Buren. He had followed his 
leader in the Barnburners revolt of 1848, in 1855 
had been the candidate of the "soft shell Democrats 
for attorney-general, but in time had once more found 
himself within the regular party fold. Mr. Tilden 
had won great distinction as a lawyer, and through 
,his success as a railroad "reorganizer" had managed 
to amass a fortune of several millions. Although his 
stand during the Rebellion had not been exactly what 
lovers of the Union could have wished, this had not 
prevented him from receiving in 1866 the chairmanship 
of the Democratic State Committee in New York. 
In this capacity he had been more or less associated 
with unscrupulous leaders of the party in New York 

T~My information Tipon Hendricks s candidacy has been 
largely obtained from files of the Indianapolis Sentinel. See also 
New York Times of Feb. 20th, 21st and May 15th. For a sketch 
of his career up to this time see Cook, Lives of Tilden and 
Hendricks, pp. 363-375. Bigelow says Hendricks was "more or 
less infected with all the political heresies of the period and of 
the section in which he resided." Life of Tilden, I, p. 305. 

Disputed Election of 1876 29 

City; but after the exposure of the Tweed Ring by 
The Times in 1871, he had at the eleventh hour thrown 
himself into a desperate struggle against the Ring, and 
it had been partly through his efforts that the organiza 
tion had been broken up. Despite the opposition of 
Tammany, he had in 1874 become the party s candi 
date for governor, and had been triumphantly elected 
over John A. Dix by a plurality of about 50,000. As 
governor he had waged a relentless and successful 
war upon the so-called "Canal Ring," and had also 
succeeded in reducing the rate of taxation. Cold, 
calculating, and secretive, he did not possess the qual 
ities which arouse great public enthusiasm ; but by the 
activities just described he had gained a great repu 
tation as a reformer, and, though he had incurred some 
bitter enmities in his own party, had succeeded in mak 
ing himself in a certain sense the man of the hour. x 

The Tilden "boom" was formally "launched" upon 
the country by the New York Democratic convention 
at Utica on April 27th, 1876. Despite the bitter op 
position of Tammany under the leadership of John 
Kelly, the convention commended the work of Gover 
nor Tilden and adopted a resolution to the effect that 

1 The best Life of Tilden, although uncritical, is that by 
Bigelow. Elaine says of Tilden : "His hour had come ; he 
promptly grasped the leadership thus left open. Starting out for 
the Presidential nomination, his plan embraced three features : 
his stepping stone was the governorship, his shibboleth was ad 
ministrative reform, his method was organization to a degree 
which has never been surpassed." Twenty Years in Congress, II, 
p. 574. "Not a statesman in the highest sense of the word, nor 
a demagogue in the lowest sense of that word a genuine Amer 
ican politician of the first order." Burgess, Reconstruction and 
the Constitution, p. 282. 

30 The Hayes-Til Jen 

the Democratic party of New York "suggest, with re 
spectful deference to their brethren in other States, 
and with a cordial appreciation of other renowned 
Democratic statesmen, faithful, like him, to their polit 
ical principles and public trusts, that the nomination 
of Samuel J. Tilden to the office of President would 
insure the vote of New York and would be approved 
throughout the Union." 1 

When the Democratic hosts gathered at St. Louis in 
the latter part of June, it was already apparent that 
Tilden, whose campaign had been managed with con 
summate skill, was in the lead and would probably be 
nominated. Nevertheless, his opponents did not give 
up hope. They urged with some force that the Dem 
ocratic standard bearer in each of the last three cam 
paigns had been a New Yorker, and each time had 
gone down to disastrous defeat. The Westerners 
pointed out that Tilden was a "hard money" man and 
would not be acceptable in their section. Most of all, 
his opponents emphasized the fact that he had numer 
ous party enemies in his own state. Of this last there 
was present concrete proof in the shape of a large con 
tingent of Tammany "braves," led by John Kelly, who 
did all in their power to persuade wavering delega 
tions that Tilden would, if nominated, be overwhelm 
ingly defeated in New York. The Tilden forces were, 
however, admirably organized, and, under the leader 
ship of such men as William L. Scott, A very Smith, 
Senator Kernan, John Morrisey, ex-Senator Gwin, 

1 New York Herald, World and Times for April 28th. 

Disputed Election of l8j6 31 

Lieutenant-Governor Dorsheimer, Montgomery Blair, 
and Henry Watterson, were able to convince many 
delegates that the proper candidate to lead a "reform" 
campaign was the "reform" governor of New York. 

The convention assembled on June 27th in the Mer 
chants Exchange, and was called to order by Augustus 
Schell, chairman of the national committee. Henry 
Watterson of Kentucky was chosen temporary chair 
man ; he, in turn, gave way in the afternoon to 
the permanent chairman, General John A. McCler- 
nand of Illinois. On the following day after listening 
to a number of speeches, among them the usual one 
by a representative of the woman suffragists, the con 
vention received, through Mr. Dorsheimer of New 
York, the report of the Committee on Resolutions. 

The platform thus submitted can be roughly sum 
marized in the one word reform. "Reform," it 
proclaimed, "is necessary" to secure the country "from 
a corrupt centralism which, after inflicting upon ten 
states the rapacity of carpet-bag tyrannies, has honey 
combed the offices of the Federal Government itself 
with incapacity, waste, and fraud, infected states and 
municipalities with the contagion of misrule, and 
locked fast the prosperity of an industrious people in 
the paralysis of hard times. Reform is necessary," 
it contineed, "to establish a sound currency;" and it 
denounced the resumption clause of the act of 1875 as 
being a hindrance to a speedy return to specie pay 
ments, and demanded that the act should be repealed. 

32 The Hayes-Tilden 

"Reform is necessary," it asserted, "in the sum and 
modes of federal taxation ;" and it denounced the 
"tariff, levied upon nearly 4,000 articles, as a master 
piece of injustice, inequality, and false pretense." "Re 
form," it further declared, "is necessary in the scale 
of public expense, Federal, state, and municipal ;" 
in the system of land granting, in order "to put a stop 
to the profligate waste of the public lands;" in the 
civil service; and even more in "the higher grades of 
the public service." 

"When the annals of this Republic," it specified, 
"show the disgrace and censure of a Vice-President; 
a late Speaker of the House of Representatives mar 
keting his rulings as a presiding officer ; three Senators 
profiting secretly by their votes as law-makers ; five 
chairmen of the leading committees of the late House 
of Representatives exposed in jobbery ; a late Secretary 
of the Treasury forcing balances in the public ac 
counts ; a late Attorney-General misappropriating pub 
lic funds ; a Secretary of the Navy enriched or enrich 
ing friends by percentages levied off the profits of 
contracts with his departments ; an Ambassador to 
England censured in a dishonorable speculation; the 
President s private secretary barely escaping convic 
tion upon trial for guilty complicity in frauds upon 
the revenue; a Secretary of War impeached for high 
crimes and misdemeanors the demonstration is com 
plete, that the first step in reform must be the people s 
choice of honest men from another party, lest the dis 
ease of one political organization infect the body 
politic, and lest by making no change of men or parties 
we get no change of measures and no real reform." l 

1 The platform is given in McPherson, p. 215, and in Stan- 
wood, p. 322. 

Disputed Election of 1876 33 

With the greater part of the platform the entire con 
vention \vas in hearty accord; but the financial plank, 
while ambiguous, was not satisfactory to the "soft 
money" element, and a hard fight was waged to sub 
stitute a minority report. This report, signed by Ew- 
ing of Ohio, Voorhees of Indiana, and others, provided 
for striking out the clause, "As such hindrance we 
denounce the resumption clause of the Act of 1875, 
and we here demand its repeal," and putting in its 
place the following, "The law for the resumption of 
specie payments on the 1st of January, 1879, having 
been enacted by the Republican party without deliber 
ation in Congress or discussion before the people, and 
being both ineffective to secure its objects and highly 
injurious to the business of the country, ought forth 
with to be repealed." Voorhees and other speakers, 
voicing the "West, the great and boundless West," 
spoke ardently in favor of the change; but the min 
ority report was voted down by 550 to 219. The plat 
form, as reported, was then adopted by 651 to 83. x 

Nominations for the Presidency were then declared 
in order, whereupon Whitely of Delaware presented 
the name of Bayard; "Blue Jeans" Williams of Indi 
ana that of Hendricks; Abbott of New Jersey that 
of Governor Joel Parker; Senator Kernan of New 
York that of Tilden; Ewing of Ohio that of ex-Gov 
ernor Allen ; and Clymer of Pennsylvania that of Han 
cock. Much excitement was caused by a speech made 

1 McPherson, p. 217; New York Herald, World and Times of 
June 29th. 

34 The Hayes-Tilden 

by John Kelly in opposition to Tilden. He was inter 
rupted and hissed, and was able to get a hearing only 
after some of Tilden s own supporters had called upon 
the audience for fair play. He then solemnly asserted 
that the nomination of Tilden would result in disaster 
to the party, and declared himself in favor of Hen- 

When the balloting began, it soon became appar 
ent, however, that the majority of the delegates were 
of the same opinion as one of the speakers that a 
"reform campaign without Tilden would be like the 
play of Hamlet with Hamlet left out." Of the votes 
cast Tilden received 417 out of a total of 739. The 
balloting in detail was as follows : 

Tilden 417 

Hendricks 140 

Hancock 75 

Allen 56 

Bayard 33 

Parker , 18 

Total 739 

But though Tilden had a majority of the votes, he 
had not yet received the requisite two-thirds, so a sec 
ond ballot was ordered. Before the result of the bal 
lot was announced the anxiety of many delegates to 
be on the winning side resulted in Missouri and other 
states announcing changes in their votes, with the 
result that Tilden received 535 votes and the nomi- 

Disputed Election of 1876 35 

nation. 1 The nomination was thereupon made unani 
mous, and the convention adjourned till the following 

In the interval the delegates devoted much time to 
canvassing the possibilities for the Vice-Presidency. 
Among those mentioned for the honor were Hendricks 
of Indiana, Payne of Ohio, and M. R. Morrison, ex- 
Governor J. M. Palmer, and Cyrus McCormick of Illi 
nois. When the convention reassembled, however, 
sentiment had so crystallized in favor of Hendricks 
that, despite the fact that it was not known whether 
he would accept, he was nominated by acclamation. 

After the transaction of some further business the 
convention, having done all that lay within its power to 
insure Democratic success in the forthcoming election, 
adjourned sine die. 2 

1 The second ballot in detail was as follows : 

Tilden 535 

Hendricks 60 

Hancock 59 

Allen 54 

Bayard 11 

Parker 18 

Thurman 7 

Total 744 

2 My account of the Democratic convention is based in large 
measure upon files of the newspapers mentioned at the end of 
the preceding chapter. 



The work of the two parties in their respective con 
ventions was fairly well received by the rank and 
file of each. To be sure, the Republican nominees, 
while thoroughly respectable, did not arouse a great 
deal of enthusiasm ; but it was felt to be something of 
a victory to have put in the field a ticket upon which 
all factions of the party could unite; and when the 
first shock of surprise caused by the nomination of 
Hayes had passed and a knowledge of his stubborn 
stand for sound money and of his war record four 
honorable wounds and a brevet major-generalcy 
had been more widely disseminated, not a few mem 
bers of the party came to believe with reason that 
the choice for the head of the ticket at least had been 
the wisest possible. l As for the reception accorded 
the Democratic nominees, Tilden was for a little while 
looked upon with disfavor by some elements of the 
party in the "soft money" West; while a somewhat 

1 Harper s Weekly, XX, pp. 526 and 546 ; Burgess, Recon 
struction and the Constitution, p. 281 ; Elaine, II, p. 572. Elaine 
naturally does not speak quite so strongly. The Conkling forces 
remained apathetic during the campaign ; for a partial explana 
tion see the Life of Conkling by A. R. Conkling, pp. 511-512 and 
621. Conkling promised to make four speeches, but on account 
ef illness made only one. 

The Disputed Election of l8j6 37 

similar feeling towards his running mate was enter 
tained by some Democrats in the "hard money" East ; 
but in both sections the dissentients soon fell into line 
and supported the ticket. a 

As -regards the platforms, that put forth by the 
Democrats, though vague on certain important issues, 
particularly those of resumption and civil service re 
form, was looked upon by somt independents as the 
stronger. 2 The Nation, the most ably edited of the in 
dependent periodicals of the day, was of the opinion 
that the utterance of the Republican platform on the 
question of civil service reform was a "barren propo 
sition," that the platform evaded the currency issue, 
and that, as a whole, it afforded "an excellent specimen 
of the sort of mild imposture which the politician of 
our day tries to practice on the people after his party 
ceases to have substantial and unmistakable work to 
do." 3 

The letters of acceptance received more attention 
from the public than did the platforms. 4 That of Mr. 
Hayes put him in higher favor with the reformers, 
for in it he denounced the spoils system as tending to 
"extravagance and official incapacity," and declared 

1 The Cincinnati Enquirer called Tilden s nomination a blow 
at the West ; the Evansville Courier temporarily bolted the 
ticket ; and other western Democratic newspapers, notably the 
Indianapolis Sentinel, were for a day or two not at all enthus 
iastic for Tilden. Bigelow thinks that the nomination of Hen- 
dricks prevented many independents from supporting the ticket. 
Life of Tilden, I, p. 306. 

2 The Nation, XXIII, p. 4. 

3 Ibid, XXII. p. 390. 

4 Ibid, XXIII, p. 144. The letters are given in McPherson, 
pp. 212 and 2-17; also in the Annual Cyclopaedia, 1876, pp. 783 
and 787. 


38 The Hayes-Tilden 

himself unreservedly for civil service reform. 1 Mr. 
Tilden devoted the greater portion of his long letter to 
financial questions. His arguments, in general, were 
able ones ; but his plan for resumption, in view of the 
past attitude of his party on that subject, was "cloudy 
in the extreme." 2 

In the weeks immediately following the conventions 
much curiosity existed as to what would be the action 
of the Independents. In the main the members of the 
Fifth Avenue Conference, though they had leaned to 
wards Bristow, and were not entirely satisfied with the 
Cincinnati platform, came out for Hayes; notable ex 
ceptions were Mr. Parke Godwin and Mr. Charles 
Francis Adams, both of whom supported Tilden. 3 
The leaders of what remained of the Liberal Repub 
lican organization declared for Hayes and declined to 
hold a convention. 4 

But though the Liberal Republican party thus dis 
appeared from history, three other minor parties re 
mained. One of these, the Prohibition Reform Party, 
had in May nominated at Cleveland a ticket composed 
of Green Clay Smith of Kentucky, and G. T. Stew 
art of Ohio. The Independent Nationals, or "Green- 

1 The Nation, XXIII, pp. 17 and 84. Mr. Hayes also stated an 
"inflexible purpose, if elected, not to be a candidate for a sec 
ond term." 

2 Ibid, p. 84. 

3 See an article on "Independents in the Canvass" in the 
North American Review for October, 1876; also The Nation, 
XXIII, p. 222. A letter written by Godwin appeared in the 
Tribune for July 22d; one by Adams in the Sun for August 5th. 
Adams was nominated for governor by the Massachusetts Dem 
ocrats. Much was said by Republicans about "Adams s fall." 

4 The Nation, XXIII, p. 49. 

Disputed Election of l8j6 39 

backers," in a convention held at Indianapolis in the 
same month had nominated the philanthropist, Peter 
Cooper, of New York, and Newton Booth of Califor 
nia; but Booth had subsequently declined the honor, 
and Samuel F. Cary of Ohio had been substituted. A 
third organization, the American Nationals, had in 
June met in mass convention at Pittsburg and had 
nominated James B. Walker of Illinois, and Donald 
Kirkpatrick of New York. 1 The race made by these 
three parties served to give a humorous side to 
the canvass, but all serious interest was concentrated 
upon the doings of the Republicans and the Demo 

The Democrats, under the direct but secret manage 
ment of Mr. Tilden himself, fought the campaign on 
lines laid down in the platform. Their speakers de 
nounced the extravagance of the Republican rule, and 
contrasted the cost of Democratic government under 
such Presidents as Buchanan with the enormous cost 
under Grant. They pointed to the "Salary Grab;" to 
the whiskey frauds, by which, they asserted, the treas 
ury had lost not less than $15,000,000 annually; to 
the Clews Banking Company scandal ; to the Emma 
Mine scandal, with which the minister to England had 
been connected ; to the Credit Mobilier scandal ; to the 
Venezuela scandal; to the Post Trader frauds; and 
to all the other malodorous transactions in which in 
cautious congressmen, cabinet officers, and other per- 

1 Accounts of all these conventions, with the platforms, are 
given by McClure, pp. 257-260 ; of the first two by McPherson, 
pp. 224-225, and by Stanwood, pp. 310-313. 

40 The Hayes-Tilden 

sons high up in the Republican party had been in 
volved. 1 And having brought their indictment, they 
tried to convince the people that the only way to se 
cure an efficient, honest, and economical administra 
tion would be to turn the Republicans out and put 
the Democrats in. 

The Republican leaders were quite aware that their 
party s recent record was not one with which it would 
be safe to go before the people. Practically their only 
hope of securing a new lease of power lay in creating 
a still greater distrust of Democrats than was enter 
tained for Republicans. They set about doing this 
by reviving the sectional issue, by denouncing the 
Democracy and all its works, and by attacking with 
great virulence the personal record of Mr. Tilden. 
As already related, the way for the revival of the sec 
tional issue had already been prepared by Mr. Blaine. 
The party orators "waved the bloody shirt" with great 
vehemence, dwelt upon the horrors of Andersonville, 
harped upon the intimidation of negroes, and sought 
to identify the Democratic party with the party which 
brought on the warJQVnother argument was that if 
the Democrats should come into power, they would 
pay about two billion dollars worth of Southern war 
claims, and would also ruin our credit abroad. ^ Much 

1 A good summary of the Democratic case is given by Bige- 
low, II, pp. 1-4. See also the Democratic Campaign Text Book 
for 1876. Some unimportant attacks were made upon the in 
tegrity of the Republican candidates. Much also was said about 
Republican misgovernment in the South. 

2 The Nation, XXIII, pp. 247, 263, 277. Tilden issued a state 
ment denying that he would allow the payment of the claims. 

Disputed Election of l8j6 41 

was made of the conflicting opinions of the Demo 
cratic candidates on the currency question. One of 
the cartoons of the day represented the party as a 
double-headed tiger, one head being that of Tilden, 
the other that of Hendricks; the collars round their 
necks were labelled respectively "Contraction" and 
"Inflation ;" below was an inscription, part of which 
read, "This double-headed, double-faced Tiger can 
be turned any way to gull the American people." 1 
As an offset to Republican frauds, the orators said a 
great deal about Tweed and Tammany Hall. And, 
when all other resources were exhausted, they fell back 
upon "the general cussedness of all Democrats, their 
moral degradation, liking for liquor, antipathy to good 
men, and fondness for brawling, fighting, and gen 
eral deviltry." 2 

The attack upon Mr. Tilden was led by the New 
York Times. The chief charges brought against him 
were that he had been a railroad "wrecker," that he 
had extorted excessive fees for legal services, that he 
had been a Rebel sympathizer, that he had failed to 
make full and fair returns of his income to the tax 
assessor, and that he was a mere sham eleventh-hour 
reformer, who had gone into the fight against the 
Tweed Ring and the Canal Ring merely to pave his 

1 Nast in Harper s Weekly, July 22d; see also number for 
August 26th. 

j2 The Nation, XXIII, pp. 115-116. For a humorous view of 
the campaign see Ibid, p. 308. Many independents had hoped 
that the campaign would be one of reason not of feeling. Not 
much was said about civil service reform except at the very 
last. A good deal was said in some quarters about state aid to 
parochial schools? j 

42 The Hayes-Til den 

way to the Presidency. Most of these charges were 
wholly without foundation; some of them were even 
absurd ; but there was a modicum of truth in some of 
them ; they were seized upon with great avidity by the 
Republican press and orators ; and Mr. Tilden was kept 
busy "explaining." l 

Despite all their efforts, however, the Republicans, 
even under the able management of the astute Zachariah 
Chandler of Michigan, were not immediately able to 
turn back the tide which had been running against them 
so strongly during the past three years. The results 
of the elections in the "October States" were slightly 
unfavorable to them. West Virginia went Democratic 
by more than 12,000, and Indiana by more than 5,000, 
while in Ohio the Republican majority was less than 
9,000. 2 

Throughout the campaign the Republican news 
papers were full of stories of Democratic outrages 
upon the negroes in the South. With the idea of 
weakening the Republican charges a Northern Dem- 

1 . Upon the subject of his work as a railroad "reorganizer" 
see Harper s Weekly, XX, p. 751, and The Nation, XXIII, pp. 
Ill, 115, 219. "Sly Sam, the Railroad thief," was one of the 
pleasant appellations bestowed upon him in one of the cam 
paign songs. For his attitude during the war see Harper s 
Weekly, XX, pp. 590, 730, 750, 826; The Nation, XXIII, p. Ill; 
and speeches of J. A. Kasson and A. S. Hewitt in House of Rep 
resentatives on August 14th. The income tax charge was pressed 
with great vigor. See Bigelow, II, pp. 5-7, 225-260; The Nation, 
XXIII, pp. 125, 141, 157, 174, 187, 190. 206, 263. On all these 
matters I have made use of files of the Times, Herald and World. 

2 Annual Cyclopaedia, 1876, pp. 411, 648, 805. In Indiana the 
Republicans were handicapped by the discovery that their can 
didate for governor, G. S. Orth, had been implicated in the 
Venezuela scandal. He was forced to withdraw, and Benjamin 
Harrison was substituted, but the scandal did the party great 
harm. Foulke, II, p. 415. 

Disputed Election of l8jd 43 

ocrat, Scott Lord of New York, in August introduced 
into the House of Representatives a resolution to the 
effect that "all attempts by force, fraud, terror, in 
timidation, or otherwise to prevent the free exercise of 
the rights of suffrage in any state, should meet cer 
tain, condign, and effectual punishment." The resolu 
tion was put forward rather unexpectedly without a 
party conference on the subject, and for various rea 
sons it proved rather embarrassing for some Demo 
crats. However, after attempts had unsuccessfully 
been made to dodge it, it was passed by a large ma 
jority, although many Democrats refrained from vot 
ing either for or against it. l 

Much more effective steps to prevent disorder in the 
South were taken by other branches of the Federal 
government. On the I5th of August the secretary 
of war, in an order which quoted the above mentioned 
resolution, directed General Sherman, the commander- 
in-chief, to hold all available troops in readiness for 
use, upon call or requisition of the proper legal author 
ities, in assisting to secure the political rights of all 
citizens, irrespective of color or condition. On Sep 
tember 4th the attorney general issued a circular of 
instructions for the guidance of the United States mar 
shals, whose duty it was, under the Federal election 
laws, to exercise an oversight over the conduct of 
elections for congressmen and electors. Three days 

\Congressional Record, 44th Congress, 1st session, p. 5414; 
The Nation, XXIII, p. 97. 

44 The Disputed Election of 1876 

later a general order was issued for the guidance of 
the army. 1 

But despite all these resolutions and instructions, 
there came up from time to time from the Southland 
rumors of intimidation, of "massacres," and of other 
manifestations of a bitter determination on the part 
of the Southern Democrats, particularly in the "unre 
deemed" states of Florida, Louisiana, and South Car 
olina, to win their way to political power at any cost. 
In South Carolina the activity of "rifle-clubs," riding 
"up and down by day and night in arms, murdering 
some peaceable citizens and intimidating others," be 
came so great that in October the governor appealed 
to the President for military aid, and more than thirty 
companies of troops were sent thither. But the exact 
truth concerning the situation in these states is so 
intimately connected with conclusions which must later 
be drawn that the subject will be taken up in detail in 
future chapters. 

1 All these papers are given in House Ex. Doc. No. 30, 44th 
Cong., 2d Sess., pp. 5-10. The order issued by the secretary of 
war aroused much "Democratic fury" and denunciation. Har 
per s Weekly, XX, p. 806. 



The returns which came in on the night of Tuesday, 
November 7th, were such as to indicate the election 
of Tilden and Hendricks. The Democratic morning 
papers were almost unanimous in claiming victory ; 1 
jubilant headlines on the pages of journals which had 
taken no satisfaction in chronicling the results of a 
Presidential election for twenty long years announced 
the news. 2 The Republican newspapers were scarcely 
less unanimous in either directly or indirectly admit 
ting defeat. A fair sample of what appeared in many 
such papers that morning is the following, taken from 
the Indianapolis Journal, one of the most intensely par 
tisan in the country : 

1 It has erroneously been claimed that all the newspapers in 
the country, with the exception of the New York Times, an 
nounced a Democratic victory. The New York Herald, for ex 
ample, did not ; in its 2:30 edition on the morning of the 8th 
it stated that the "Result is undecided." On the 9th its sum 
mary was: 181 for Hayes, 184 for Tilden, with Florida in 
doubt. "Is Tilden s election," it queried, "a Snark or a Boo- 

2 "The new era begins," said the New York World. "Peace 
on Earth and to men of good will is the glorious message of this 
glorious day." 

46 The Hayes-Til den 


"Tilden and Hendricks Undoubtedly Elected. 
Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, and 
Indiana Join the South. Which Gives Them 
123 Votes and Swells the Aggregate to 188." 

An editorial in the same paper read as follows : 

"With the result before us at this writing we see no 
escape from the conclusion that Tilden and Hendricks 
are elected. The Democrats have doubtless carried 
every Southern state, together with the states of New 
York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Indiana, with pos 
sibly Wisconsin. No returns have been received from 
the Pacific coast, but none that may be received can 
materially alter the present aspect of the case. Tilden 
is elected. The announcement will carry pain to every 
loyal heart in the nation, but the inevitable truth may 
as well be stated." 

But there was one Republican newspaper office, 
namely that of the New York Times, in which a dif 
ferent view of the result prevailed. Many erroneous 
statements have been made regarding what took place 
in The Times office that night. 1 One story which has 
gained wide currency is to the effect that as Mr. John 
C. Reid, the news editor, sat in his sanctum deploring 
the defeat of Hayes, he received from the chairman of 
the Democratic national committe, a note inquiring 
a bout the result in Louisiana, South Carolina, Florida, 

1 See, for example, Bigelow, II, p. 9. 

Disputed Election of 1876 47 

and Oregon; 1 that Mr. Reid thereupon, without any 
information on which to base his belief other than this 
hint of Democratic uncertainty, proceeded to claim 
these states for the Republicans ; and that at that mom 
ent was born a "conspiracy" which ultimately resulted 
in the seating of Hayes. As a matter of history, 
"neither conspiracy within the office nor inspiration 
from without had anything to do with the verdict." 
In the editorial council, composed of Mr. John Foord, 
Mr. George Shepard, Mr. Edward Gary, and Mr. Reid, 
there was, to be sure, a difference of opinion as to 
vvhat attitude to assume, for the dispatches received, 
especially in the earlier part of the evening, had been 
unfavorable; but "the clear and composed intellect of 
Mr. Edward Gary [not of Mr. Reid] exercised a pre 
ponderating weight" against conceding Democratic 
victory. 2 Accordingly the following non-committal 
editorial, prepared by Mr. Gary, appeared in the first 
edition of The Times: 


"At the time of going to press with our first edition 

1 At 3 :45 A. M. the following dispatch was sent to The Times: 
"Please give your estimate of electoral votes secured for Til- 
den. Answer at once." But the dispatch was signed by D. A. 
Magone, not by Senator Barnum, as some writers have stated. 
H. K. Mis. Doc. No. 31, 45th Cong., 3d Sess., I, p. 527. 

2 My authority for this account is in part the Jubilee Supple 
ment of The Times, September 18, 1901, pp. 17-18. "The dili 
gence of the gentleman last named [Mr. Reid]," says this ac 
count, "in awakening the Republican managers to a perception of 
the duty which awaited them in the South may account for the 
prevalent impression that the stand of The Times in regard to 
the election of Hayes and Wheeler was especially his work." 
As a matter of fact, Mr. Reid favored admitting defeat. For 
some of the facts not contained in the Jubilee Supplement I am 
indebted to one of the gentlemen who was present at the "edi 
torial council." 

48 The Hayes-Til den 

the result of the presidential election is still in doubt. 
Enough has been learned to show that the vote has 
been unprecedentedly heavy ; that both parties have ex 
hausted their full legitimate strength ; that the peculiar 
Democratic policy for which such extensive prepara 
tions were made in the large registry in this city, and 
in Brooklyn, has had its effect, and that in some of the 
states where the shotgun and rifle club were relied upon 
to secure a Democratic victory, there is only too much 
reason to fear that it has been successful." 

Then came a paragraph conceding New York and 
after that figures showing that Tilden had received 
175 votes for certain and Hayes 178 votes for certain. 
The editorial closed thus: 

"This leaves New Jersey, Oregon and Florida still 
in doubt. If the Republicans have carried New Jer 
sey, they have 187 votes, or a majority of five. If they 
have carried Florida and Oregon, they have 185 votes, 
or a majority of one. The Democrats, in order to 
gain the election (New York being conceded), must 
have carried New Jersey, and in addition either Ore 
gon or Florida. The returns from New Jersey leave 
the state in doubt. Oregon is not heard from. Flor 
ida is claimed by the Democrats." 

Later returns proved more favorable, and in a sub 
sequent edition published at 6:30 A. M. a slightly more 
confident editorial displaced the one just quoted. The 
pessimistic sentence about the shotgun and rifle clubs 
was struck out of the first paragraph, but the para 
graph to the effect that New York had probably gone 
Democratic was retained. Then came the following : 

Disputed Election of l8j6 


"Conceding New York to Mr. Tilden, he will receive 
the electoral votes of the following- states : 
Alabama, 10 Mississippi, 

Missouri, 15 

New Jersey, 9 

New York, 35 

North Carolina, 10 

Tennessee, 12 


Virginia, II 
















West Virginia, 


"General Hayes 
ing states : 






will receive the votes of the follow- 

6 Nevada, 3 
3 New Hampshire, 5 

21 Ohio, 22 

1 1 Oregon, ^ 3 

5 Pennsylvania, 29 

8 Rhode Island, 4 

7 South Carolina, \J^ 7 
13 Vermont, 5 
ii Wisconsin, 10 

Total, 181 

"This leaves Fjprida alone still in doubt. If the Re 
publicans have carried that state, as they claim, they 
will have 185 votes a majority of one." 

Believing that the situation was not correctly under 
stood by the party leaders, Mr. Reid, the news editor, 
hurried to the Republican headquarters in the 
Fifth Avenue Hotel. Arrived there, he found the 

50 The Hayes-Tilden 

committee rooms deserted save by some employees of 
the hotel ; for, a couple of hours before, the committee- 
men and their friends had given up all as lost, and 
had either gone home or gone to bed in the hotel. Mr. 
Reid at once decided to hunt up Zachariah Chandler, 
the national chairman, and started for the hotel office 
in order to ascertain the number of Mr. Chandler s 

On his way thither he met a small man wearing a 
greatcoat with a heavy military cloak, with his hat 
drawn down over his eyes, and carrying a gripsack 
and a copy of the New York Tribune. The newcomer 
was Mr. W. E. Chandler, a member of the Republican 
committee, who had just returned to New York after 
a short trip to New Hampshire. Mr. Chandler be 
lieved that the Republicans were defeated, but Mr. 
Reid told him that this was a mistake, that the Demo 
crats themselves were still uncertain as to the out 
come. In support of this statement he showed Mr. 
Chandler a dispatch from Democratic headquarters 
asking for what information The Times had upon the 
situation. 1 Mr. Reid urged that the Republicans ought 
to keep up their heads and claim the election of 
Hayes. The two then repaired to Mr. W. E. Chan 
dler s room, "where they went over the ground care 
fully, state by state, from Maine to Oregon, counting 
the electoral vote in each state, and showing the vote 
as it was finally counted for Hayes and Tilden." 

As the situation seemed to contain possibilities, the 

1 See note 1, p. 47. 

Disputed Election of l8?6 51 

two then went in search of Mr. Zachariah Chandler, the 
chairman of the committee. After one or two rather 
ludicrous mistakes they found his room, and after 
considerable knocking the door "was opened, and Mr. 
Zachariah Chandler was discovered standing in his 
night dress." He was, however, so utterly worn out 
that he was with difficulty made to understand the sit 
uation, and merely authorized Mr. W. E. Chandler 
to do what he thought necessary. 

Mr. W. E. Chandler and Mr. Reid then hurried to 
the hotel telegraph office in order to dispatch some 
messages to the states which were in doubt. Finding 
the office locked, they decided to take the messages to 
the main office of the Western Union, and therefore 
ordered a carriage. In the interval before it arrived, 
messages were prepared to Governor Chamberlain of 
South Carolina, to S. B. Conover, Tallahassee, Florida, 
to S. B. Packard, Republican candidate for governor 
of Louisiana, and to persons in Oregon and California. 
The import of all these telegrams can be inferred from 
that sent to South Carolina, for it was typical. It 
was as follows : 

"Hayes is elected if we have carried South Carolina, 
Florida, and Louisiana. Can you hold your state? 
Answer immediately." 

Mr. Reid then took the telegrams to the Western 
Union office and dispatched them. l 

1 This account is based upon an article by Mr. Reid in The 
Times for June 15, 1887; on Mr. W. E. Chandler s testimony be 
fore the Potter Committee, in H. R. Mis. Doc. No. 31, 45th 
Cong., 3d Sess., I, pp. 525, et seq.; and upon information supplied 

52 The Hayes-Tilden 

Later in the day Mr. Zach. Chandler, who had now 
become fully alive to the possibilities of the situation, 
sent out the following famous telegram : 

"Hayes has 185 electoral votes and is elected." 

To this claim the Republican leaders consistently 
and stubbornly adhered until the end. And thus began 
what was in some respects the most remarkable con 
test which any country has ever witnessed. 

The changed face of affairs quickly became known 
throughout the country, and the Republican news 
papers definitely claimed the election of Hayes. The 
Indianapolis Journal, for example, had this headline on 
the morning of the Qth : 


"The Republicans Take Their Turn at Rejoic 
ing. The Conclusion of Yesterday Reversed. 
Latest Returns Give Hayes 185 Votes. A 
Majority of One. All the Pacific States, 
Louisiana, South Carolina, and Florida, Are 
Claimed by the National Committee as Cer 
tainly Republican." 

An editorial in the same issue ran as follows: 
"During the last twenty-four hours the political situ- 

by Mr. Chandler, who has read this and other chapters. Mr. 
Chandler denies using language attributed to him by Reid, and 
also denies that Reid dictated the telegrams. For a humorous 
commentary on Reid s article see New York Sun for June 19, 

Disputed Election of 1876 53 

ation has undergone a remarkable change, and one en 
tirely favorable to the Republicans. At the time of 
going to press yesterday morning the returns indicated 
very clearly the election of Tilden and Hendricks, and 
the Journal, in common with all the leading papers of 
the country, conceded the fact. At this writing, ap 
parently trustworthy advices indicate almost unmis 
takably that Hayes and Wheeler are elected 

"You could have told a Republican five hundred 
yards by the length of his visage yesterday morning, 
and when groups of them gathered on the street cor 
ners pedestrians instinctively looked around for the 
corpse. There was every outward indication of a fun 
eral, and it only needed the presence of a well filled cof 
fin to make the delusion complete. They had given up 
the ship the night before, and the news in the morning 

confirmed their fears 

"Democrats could be recognized, too, at long range, 
and their rubicund faces told plainly that they liked 
it pretty well, thank you. The experience of a na 
tional victory was a novel one, and the taste was sweet 
indeed. It was intoxicating in its effects, and operated 
on the Democratic system like a dose of hashish on a 
cultivated Hindoo stomach. They were wild with joy, 
and wanted to bet their substance on Tilden and Hen 
dricks. They swapped stories with each other until 
Tilden was elected unanimously. Then they got to 
gether and yelled, and gaining confidence with each 

yawp, yawped again This sort of thing 

was kept up until n o clock, when a reaction set in. 
.... Our boys began to brace up at this cheer 
ful intelligence. During the afternoon public opinion 
underwent an almost complete revolution, and the Re 
publicans emerged from the valley and shadow of dark 
despair into the sunshine of hope, and the world looked 
less wicked to them. Telegrams continued quite fa- 

54 The Hayes-Tilden 

vorable all the afternoon, and it looked very much as 
though the name of the babe would be Rutherford." 

Many of "Rutherford s" friends continued for a day 
or two to believe that he had been defeated, 1 but 
meanwhile the Republican managers were doing yeo 
man work for him. They were fully aware of the 
desperate necessity of securing every doubtful vote, 
and left no stone unturned to obtain that result. 
Agents, among them W. E. Chandler, were immedi 
ately dispatched southward to the three states of Flor 
ida, Louisiana, and South Carolina. Ample funds 
were provided for their use. 

As it was not improbable that disorders might occur 
in the disputed states, the Republican leaders deemed 
it wise to secure troops for the protection of the can 
vassing officers. The task of getting them was not a 
difficult one ; 2 for the President was a Republican, his 
secretary of the interior was the head of the Repub 
lican organization, and, furthermore, in the nick of 
time Governor Stearns of Florida telegraphed that a 
special train sent out to get returns had been "ku- 

1 Several writers have represented Hayes as admitting defeat. 
An alleged interview in which he was reported to have said that 
he regretted his defeat most because of the effect it would have 
on "the poor colored men" was published in many newspapers 
at the time (e. g., in the New York Sun of November 9th). 
This interview was later denied. H. R. Mis. Doc. No. II. 45th 
Cong., 3d Sess., I, p. 880. Col. Webb C. Hayes, who was his 
father s secretary, says that Governor Hayes never admitted 

2 It appears that the "conspirators," as the Republican lead 
ers have been called by the Democrats, talked with Grant, who 
was then in Philadelphia, over Jay Gould s private wire, 
of itself would seem to be no great crime. See Gibson, A Politi 
cal Crime, p. 55. Gibson s book, it may be remarked here, was 
prepared under the eye of Mr. Tilden. 

Disputed Election of 1 876 55 

kluxed" and thrown from the track, and he urgently 
asked for aid. 1 On the night of the 9th, therefore, 
several companies were ordered to Tallahassee ; and 
further dispositions of troops in the disputed states 
were subsequently made. 2 The President s action in 
the matter aroused a storm of protest at the time and 
has been much condemned by Democratic writers 
since; but, whatever the motives which actuated him, 
there can be little doubt that the presence of the troops 
went far towards preserving the peace not only in the 
states in which they were stationed but also in the 
entire country. 

On the loth the President issued an order which 
was copied into probably every newspaper in the Uni 
ted States. It was as follows : 

"To Gen. W. T. Sherman, Washington, D. C. : 

"Instruct General Augur, in Louisiana, and General 
Ruger, in Florida, to be vigilant with the force at 
their command to preserve peace and good order, and 
to see that the proper and legal^ Boards of Canvassers 
are unmolested in the performance of their duties. 
Should there be any grounds of suspicion of fraudulent 
counting on either side, it should be reported and de 
nounced at once. No man worthy of the office of 
President would be willing to hold the office if counted 
in, placed there by fraud; either party can afford to 
be disappointed in the result, but the country cannot 
afford to have the result tainted by the suspicion of 
illegal or false returns. U. S. GRANT/ 

The President was anxious to secure an honest set- 

1 H. R. Mis. Doc. No. 42, 44th Cong. 2d Sess., pp. 435-436. 

2 H. R. Ex. Doc. No. 30, 44th Cong. 2d Sess., pp. 22 et seq. 

56 The Disputed Election of 1876 

tlement of the contest in the disputed states, and with 
this purpose in mind requested a number of prominent 
Northern men to go down and witness the canvass. 
Unfortunately, he seems to have had no confidence in 
the fairness of Democrats, for he confined his requests 
to Republicans. The Democrats, on their side, had a 
corresponding distrust of Republican fairness ; leading 
members of the party therefore packed their grips and 
journeyed southward. Within a few days after the 
election each disputed state had within its borders 
delegations of "visiting statesmen," each of whom was 
eager to safeguard the interests of the nation by secur 
ing the vote of the state for his particular candidate. 

Now followed a period of the most intense suspense 
and excitement, marked also by ever-increasing bitter 
ness of feeling. During the first part of this period 
the attention of the country was fixed upon the states 
in which the result was being contested. To give an 
account of the situation in these states will be the 
province of the next four chapters. 



^ Just how much the election of 1876 lacked of being 
"fair and free" in the state of Florida 1 no historian 
will ever be able to determine. That it did fall short 
of this ideal, is as certain as the fact that Hayes was 
inaugurated, or that the supporters of Tilden believed 
he was cheated out of a four years residence in the 
White House. ^3oth parties were about equally guilty, 
though their methods in the main were different; in 
timidation was the chief weapon used by the Demo 
crats, and frauds in the conduct of the election and 
in the count were those used by the Republicans, \ 

The task of determining the extent of the intimida 
tion is a difficult, in fact, a hopeless one. It is all the 
more difficult because some of the evidence was 

1 The Republican state convention renominated Marcellus L. 
Stearns for governor and adopted a platform indorsing 1 the 
state government as wise, just, and economical. The Democra 
tic convention nominated George F. Drew for governor, and 
adopted a platform arraigning both state and national govern- 
me^ts for corruption, extravagance, and oppression. Senator S. 
B. Conover, who had been accused of peculation by the Stearns 
Republicans, ran for a time as an independent Republican candi 
date, but in September withdrew. As the state debt was but 
$1,329,757.68, the state tax levy but seven mills on the dollar, 
and the expenditures but $190,000 while the receipts were about 
$220,000, the Democratic cry of extravagance was not particularly 
effective. Annual Cyclopaedia, 1876, pp. 294-295; flies of the 
Jacksonville Daily Florida Union. 

58 The Hayes-Tilden 

probably manufactured out of whole cloth; for, 
both before and after the election, it was to the ad 
vantage of the Republicans to make it appear that 
intimidation was resorted to by their opponents. Nev 
ertheless, when all due allowance has been made for 
the work of the "political outrage mills," the fact 
remains that there were many genuine outrages. The 
acceptance by Southern Democrats of the Fifteenth 
Amendment had never been anything save mere lip 
service ; among them there was a pretty definitely con 
ceived determination to eliminate as much of the negro 
vote as possible. To one who understands the full 
significance of this fact, even though he may be ignor 
ant of the details of the particular case, the conclusion 
that intimidation was resorted to in Florida is the most 
natural in the world. But the conclusion is not a 
mere theory ; it rests upon an overwhelming mass of 

The methods employed were various. The "Mis 
sissippi plan," in a somewhat milder form than the 
original, was tried in some districts. a Armed men 
presented themselves at Republican meetings, de 
manded half of the time for their own speakers, and 
frequently subjected the Republican speakers to inter 
ruption and abuse. 2 In some instances negroes were 

1 S. R. No. 611 Part 2, 44th Cong. 2d Sess., p. 45. 

2 Some cases had an amusing side. At one public debate a 
negro speaker was continually interrupted by a white man, the 
burden of whose remarks was, "How many chickens have you 
stole?" When the negro attempted to turn the matter aside by 
saying he would like to have some chicken and would be glad, 
if given any, to return the favor, the white man took the badin 
age as an assertion* of social equality and assaulted the negro, 
who did not dare to defend himself for fear of the other whites. 
Ibid, p. 347. For other instances see pp. 173, 201. 

Disputed Election of 1876 59 

threatened with death if they affiliated with Republi 
cans, and were forced to join Democratic clubs. * 
There is evidence to show that in at least one instance 
an attempt was made to assassinate a prominent Repub 
lican candidate, State Senator Meacham of Jefferson 
county. 2 In a few districts the negroes were reduced 
to such a state of fear that hardly a Republican vote 
was cast. V In two of the wilder counties conditions 
were such that, at least after the election, Republicans 
did not dare travel there except under the protection 
of a pass from the Democratic state committee. 4 / 

In general, however, intimidation took a rather 
milder form. From the point of view of politics it 
was not to the interest of the Democratic party that 
much real violence should occur, for that might 
arouse the North. The work was to be done quietly; 
instances like those given above were therefore excep 
tional. Conditions were such that the work could be 
done quietly. The negroes, Republicans practically to 
a man, were almost as numerous as the white Demo 
crats ; 5 but they were still timid as a result of slavery 
and were quite incapable of holding their own in a 
physical contest with their opponents. Most of the 
white Republicans, the leaders of the blacks, lived in 
the towns and villages, and hence were frequently 
unable to afford much assistance to their sable allies, 

1 S. R. No. 611, Part 2, 44th Cong. 2d Sess., pp. 241-253. 

2 Ibid, pp. 335 et seq. ; Daily Florida Union, Oct. 28. 

3 L. c., S. R. No. 611, Part 2, 44th Cong. 2d Sess., p. 352. 

4 Ibid, pp. 16, 364-368, 420. 

5 The number of negroes according to the census of 1870 was 
91,689, of whites 96,057. 

60 The Hayes-Til den 

the majority of whom resided in the sparsely settled- 
country. x The number of political outrages in Flor 
ida had not been so large as in some other states, but 
it had been large enough to instill a deep-seated dread 
into the minds of the freedmen. 2 In many cases, 
therefore, it was natural that a threat alone should 
prove sufficient to cool a negro s political ardor. 
Furthermore, the vast majority of the blacks were 
wholly dependent economically upon the white Demo 
crats ; and this fact afforded an opportunity of 
which full advantage was taken. Negro renters 
were given to understand that if they made themselves 
obnoxious politically, they would be ousted. / Field 
hands were told that if they affiliated with the Repub 
licans they would not be employed. 3 The following 
from the Monticello Weekly Constitution of November 
9th is significant : 

"The election is now over, and the contest is decided, 
but there remains a very importanj; duty for the citizens 
of Jefferson [county] to perform. That they will dis 
charge it impartially, even though it may conflict with 
their individual interests, we have not a doubt. It is 
embraced in the following resolutions adopted and fre 
quently reiterated by the reformers during the cam 
paign; and w r e call upon every man to enforce them to 
the very letter, to wit: 

"i. That we pledge ourselves, each to the other, 

1 See H. R. R. No. 140, 45th Cong. 3d Sess., pp. 77-78, for a 
somewhat partisan discussion of these points. 

2 For accounts of some of these outrages see the Ku Klux 
Conspiracy reports, Vol. XIII, pp. 82-310. 

3 See, for instance, S. R. No. 611 Part 2, 44th Cong. 2d Sess., 
pp. 336, 343. 

Disputed Election of 1876 61 

by our sacred honor, to give the first preference in all 
things to those who vote for reform ; and that we give 
the second preference in all things to those who do not 
vote at all. 

"2. That we affirm the principle that they who 
vote for high taxes should pay them, and that in em 
ploying or hiring or renting land to any such persons 
as vote for high taxes, in all such cases a distinction of 
25 per cent, or one-fourth, be made against such per 
sons. That merchants, lawyers, and doctors, in ex 
tending credit to such persons, make the same distinc 

"3. That in all such cases we extend as little credit 
or use of our means as possible, leaving them to their 
chosen friends. 

" "4. That in the ensuing year we positively refuse to 
re-employ one but of every three who may then be upon 
our places and who voted against reform and low 
taxes : and that a list of all such persons be published 
in the Constitution, in order that we may know our 
friends from our enemies. 

"5. That we consider it dishonorable and unneigh- 
borly for any farmer, planter, merchant, lawyer, doc 
tor, or any other person to violate any of the foregoing 
resolutions." 1 

In many cases no doubt the intimidators were con 
tent with keeping the blacks away from the polls, but 
in others the negroes were required to vote the Demo 
cratic ticket. The device of numbered ballots was used 

1 S. R. No. 611 Part 2, 44th Cong. 2d Sess., p. 46. The 
use of the device indicated by these resolutions seems 
to have been tolerably common, though, for obvious rea 
sons, not many such resolutions were published. This was 
published when caution was deemed unnecessary. Probably it 
would not have appeared a day or two later. There were in 
stances during the campaign of such notices being posted in 
public places. 

62 The Hayes-Til den 

to a considerable extent to insure that an intimidated 
or purchased freedman voted as instructed ; individuals 
given such ballots were told that if the ballots were 
not found in the boxes a reckoning would be exacted 
later. Thirty such ballots were voted at one poll, sev 
enteen at another, and smaller numbers at others. All 
were counted, although their use was contrary to the 
law providing for a secret ballot. * 

There was, of course, another side to the matter of 
intimidation. Occasionally pressure appears to have 
been brought to bear by Republican negroes upon 
negroes who showed Democratic leanings. At a place 
in Jefferson county, for example, a white Democrat 
named Bellamy and a contingent of negroes under his 
influence were attacked on their way to a polling- 
place by a mob of negro women and boys, who pelted 
them with sticks, bricks, and other missiles. 2 Probably 
there were more serious cases than this, but the num 
ber cannot have been large, for the number of Demo 
cratic negroes was small ; campaign assertions of 
Southern Democratic politicians notwithstanding, there 
has never been, either in Florida or elsewhere, any 
considerable tendency of negroes, when left to them- 


selves, to vote the Democratic ticket. 

On the whole, the election proper passed off without 
any considerable disorder. A threatened invasion by 

1 S. R. No. 611 Part 2, 44th Cong. 2d Sess., pp. 283-303 ; Doc. 
Evidence, pp. 141-144, 429-442. It was admitted by Democratic 
counsel before the canvassing board that marked ballots were 
used, and the right of employers to do so was defended ! Ibid, 
p. 143. 

2 H. R. Mis. Doc. No. 35, Part 2, 44th Cong. 2d Sess., pp. 172 
et seq. See also pp. 355, 373, 377. 

Disputed Election of l8?6 63 

Georgia Democrats, against which the Republican 
state committee had warned the people and against 
which Governor Stearns had fulminated in a proclama 
tion, a did not take place. In some places arms were 
displayed with too much freedom, and Republican chal 
lengers appear to have been intimidated at a few polls, 2 
but there was little or no bloodshed. 

The election was conducted in accordance with a 
law passed in 1868 and amended in 1872. The law 
provided for a registration prior to the election by the 
clerk of the circuit court in each county and for a sub 
sequent revision of the list by the county commis 
sioners. Each polling-place was in charge of thjw 
inspectors appointed by the county commissioners and 
of a clerk chosen by the inspectors. The law required 
these inspectors to canvass the vote before adjourn 
ment. Certificates of the vote must be sent to the 
clerk of the circuit court and to the county judge. On 
or before the sixth day after the election, the clerk, 
the county judge, and a justice of the peace must 
meet in the office of the clerk and canvass the returns 
of the county. Should the clerk or the judge be 
absent or unable to attend, the sj>eriff_was^ empow- 
ered to act in his place. The result of the canvass 
was then to be recorded by the clerk in a book kept 
by him for that purppse, and duplicate certificates 
were to be made out and forwarded to the secretary 
of ^state and to the governor. The final canvass of 

1 Annual Cyclopaedia, 1876, pp. 296-297. 

2 See, for example, S. R. No. 611, Part 2, 44th Cong. 
2d Sess., p. 258 ; and Documentary Evidence, pp. 412, 413, 420. 

64 The Hayes-Tilden 

the returns was to be made on or before. the 
day after election by the board of state canvassers, 
composed of the secretary of st? 1 "^ the ajtoraey-gen- 
eral, and the comptmllsr^Qf public accounts, or of "any 
two of them, together with any other member of the 
cabinet who may be designated by them." 1 

The members of this board were Samuel B. McLin, 
the secretary of state; Dr. Clayton A. Cowgill, the 
comptroller ; and William Archer Cocke, the attorney- 
V" general. McLin, a native of Tennessee, was the editor 
of the Tallahassee Sentinel, had formerly been a Whig, 
had served in the Confederate army, but had deserted 
from it, and was now a Republican and hence what 
was termed a "scalawag." Dr. Cowgill, a native of 
Delaware, had been a surgeon in the Union army, and 
was likewise a Republican. Cocke, a native of Vir 
ginia, was a Democrat. 2 

The board did its work under the eyes, encourage 
ment, and advice of a number of distinguished poli 
ticians from outside the state. On November I2th 
Mr. W. E. Chandler had arrived in Tallahassee, and 
had soon been joined by ex-Governor Noyes of Ohio, 
John A. Kasson of Iowa, General Lew Wallace, later 
famous as the author of Ben Hur, Francis C. Barlow 
of New York, and other Republicans, some of them 
salaried government employees. A number of prom 
inent Democrats, including ex-Governor Brown of 

1 The law is given In S. R. No. 611, Part 2, 44th Cong. 2d 
Sess., pp. 21-28. 

2 Annual Cyclopaedia, 1876, p. 298 ; Jacksonville Florida 
Union, Nov. 28th. 

Disputed Election of 1876 65 

Georgia, C. W. Woolley of Ohio, and John F. Coyle 
and Mr. Manton Marble of New York, had likewise 
gathered in the Florida capital to look after Demo 
cratic interests. Both contingents were well equipped 
with the "sinews of war," and both were active in 
advancing the interests of their respective candidates 
by collecting affidavits and testimony and by acting as 
counsel before the canvassing board. 

Some of "the visiting statesmen" did not confine 
themselves to such legitimate work as that just de 
scribed. On the part of the Democrats, negotiations , 
were conducted looking to the purchase of one or 
more members of the canvassing board and perhaps 
of the governor ; two propositions were transmitted to 
New York; a reply was received directing one of 
them to be accepted; but in the end the attempt at 
bribery failed. On the other side, the Republicans are 
accused of having stiffened the faltering by assurances 
that in case Hayes were counted in, he would "take 
care of" his Southern friends. 1 

The canvassing board met and began its work on 
the 27th of November. Six visiting statesmen from 
each party were admitted to the proceedings, and this 
number was subsequently increased to ten. The same 
courtesy was also extended to Governor Stearns, who 
was .a candidate for re-election, to his opponent, 
George F. Drew, and to General Brannan, commander 
of the Federal troops in Florida. z 

1 See chapter XIII. 

2 Proceedings of the board, S. R. No. 611, Part 2, 44th Cong. 
2d Sess., pp. 414-416. 

66 The Hayes-Tilden 

Despite the assertions of partisan writers, there 
was at first little question as to the nature of the 
board s powers. In 1871 in the case of Bloxham vs. 
Board of State Canvassers it had been held that the 
board s powers were "mainly ministerial ;" 1 but this 
decision had been rendered before the amendment of 
1872, which provided that "If any such returns shall 
be shown or shall appear to be so irregular, false, or 
fraudulent that the board shall be unable to determine 
the true vote for any such officer or member, they 
shall so certify, and shall not include such return in 
their determination and declaration ; and the secretary 
of state shall preserve and file in his office all such re 
turns, together with such other documents and papers 
as may have been received by him or said board of 
canvassers." In 1874, in fact, the Democratic member 
of the board, Attorney-General Cocke, had written a 
formal opinion to the effect that this amendment con 
ferred discretionary powers, and the board in can 
vassing the vote that year had acted in accordance with 
his view of the matter. z The board adopted the same 
view now; received written protests, arguments, affi 
davits, and documentary proofs ; heard witnesses ; and 

1 13 Florida, p. 73. The court held, however, that the board 
possessed the "quasi-judicial" power of determining whether pa 
pers purporting to be returns were genuine and properly au 

2 Testimony of Attorney-General Cocke, S. R. No. 611, Part 
2, 44th Cong. 2d Sess., pp. 27-29. The opinion is given on page 
27. Gibson in A Political Crime, pp. 27-28, and Bigelow in his 
Life of Tilden, II, pp. 23-24, charge that the exercise of discre 
tionary powers was a bare-faced usurpation, that it was gen 
erally recognized that the board s powers were purely ministerial. 
Gibson quotes the decision of 1871, but fails to state that it was 
rendered before the amendment. 

Disputed Election of 1876 67 

ultimately exercised their discretionary powers by re 
jecting returns. 1 

/ Seven public sessions were held, and then on Tues 
day, December 5th, at a private session, the returns 
were finally canvassed. t The board did its work in an ~\ 
unpardonably partisan manner, though in so doing, as 
was remarked at the time, it merely followed examples 
recently set by the Democratic majority in the national 
House of Representatives. In the case of Platt vs. 
Goode, the Democratic representatives, against the 
earnest protest of the Democratic chairman of the 
committee which investigated the case, had thrown out 
an entire Virginia county, which had given the Repub 
lican contestant an overwhelming majority, for the 
sole reason that a few words of attestation upon the 
return were omitted, although a copy correctly certi 
fied and attested was offered in evidence. 2 In the 
opinion of General Barlow, who was perhaps the fairest 
witness of the Florida count, this precedent, "far more 
flagrantly wrong" than any decision "made in the 
Florida case," greatly affected the judgment of the 
Republican members of the canvassing board. 3 

1 See the written arguments submitted to the board, Ibid, 
Documentary Evidence, pp. 1-18. The Democratic counsel took 
a middle view on the question. See pp. 16-17. 

2 See Congressional Record, 44th Cong. 1st Sess., pp. 4882 et 
seq. ; and Digest of Election Cases, 1871 to 1876, H. R. Mis. Doc. 
No. 52 45th Cong. 2d Sess., pp. 650 et seq. For another almost 
equally flagrant case see Abbott vs. Frost, Ibid, pp. 594 et seq. 
Abbott was seated, and was later one of the Democratic mem 
bers of the electoral commission. As such he drew up the 
scathing protest of the "Seven." This House, it should be said, 
was not the only one in which contests have been decided in a 
partisan way; the practice is a common one. 

3 Letter of Barlow to President Grant, S. R. No. 611, Part 4, 
44th Cong. 2d Sess., p. 12. 

68 The Hayes-Til den 

On the face of the returns, as the Republican mem 
bers of the board conceived the returns, the vote for the 
Hayes electors was 24,337; f r the Tilden electors 
24,292. 1 /However, only 26 counties were canvassed 
according to the face of the returns; in all the others 
the board exercised discretionary powers, rejected cer 
tain precincts and one whole county, and thereby 
raised the majority for the lowest Hayes elector over 
the highest Tilden elector to 924. 2 t 

To set forth in detail how this result was reached 
would require several hundred pages of print. A 
few instances will. serve to show the spirit in which 
the work was done. 

Baker county was one of the chief bones of conten 
tion. From that county there were three returns, 
only one of which was made out in seeming legal 
form. As already explained, the law provided that 
"on the sixth day after an election, or sooner if the 
returns shall have been received, it shall be the duty of 
the county judge and the clerk of the circuit court to 
meet at the office of the said clerk, and take to their 
assistance a justice of the peace of the said county 
(and in case of the absence, sickness, or other disa 
bility of the county judge or clerk, the sheriff shall act 
in his place) and shall publicly proceed to canvass 
the votes given for the several offices and persons as 
shown by the returns." It appears that the county 
judge, Elisha W. Driggers, notified the clerk, M. J. 

1 S. R. No. 611, Part 2, 44th Cong. 2d Sess., p. 17. 

2 Ibid, pp. 12 and 18-19. 

Disputed Election of l8jb 69 

Cox, to meet with him on Monday, November I3th, the 
sixth day after the election ; but Cox, who was a Demo 
crat, associated with himself a justice named Dorman, 
and on the loth, while the judge was out of the 
county, the two, the sheriff refusing to act with them, 
made up a return. This return was not regular, for 
it had not been made by all the officers required by 
law. On the I3th the clerk, having meanwhile grown 
uneasy because of the irregularity of his proceeding, 
requested the judge to join with him in making another 
canvass. This the judge refused to do on the ground 
that the clerk s action in making the previous canvass 
constituted a refusal to act with the judge. The 
clerk and the justice thereupon proceeded to make a 
second canvass, which, however, was no more reg 
ular than the first. Now came the turn of the judge 
and the sheriff. These two worthies, in accordance 
with a plan already formed, met that evening, together 
with a justice especially commissioned for the purpose 
by the governor, in the clerk s office, to which the 
deputy clerk had given the judge the key, and pro 
ceeded to make a new canvass of the votes. In so 
doing they threw out, on the plea of fraud, two pre 
cincts which had given Democratic majorities ; this 
they had no legal right to do, although it appears 
that such a practice had occasionally been followed in 
the past. The three then made out certificates, reg 
ular on their face, and forwarded them as required 
by law. It was by counting this return that the Re- 

70 The H ayes-Til den 

publicans made it appear that on the face of the re 
turns the state had gone for Hayes. * 
/ The state canvassing board did not, however, accept 
the Driggers return. Instead they exercised discre 
tionary power, canvassed the county by precincts, and 
counted the vote of the whole county as it had actually 
been cast, 143 votes for the Hayes electors and 238 
votes for the Tilden electors. In this proceeding the 
Democratic member, Judge Cocke, concurred. 2 / 

Had the board stopped here, the state would have 
been given to Tilden, but they did not do so. They 
proceeded to go behind the returns in other counties. 
In Hamilton county 83 Democratic and 58 Republi 
can votes were thrown out, because they had been 
illegally added to the return after it had been com 
pleted and signed. In the same county Jasper Pre 
cinct No. 2, which gave 323 votes for the Democratic 
electors and 185 votes for the Republican electors, 
was rejected on the ground that the inspectors had not 
completed the canvass until after an adjournment, had 
allowed unauthorized persons to handle the ballots and 
assist in the count, and had next day signed a return 
which they had neither made nor verified. 3 The at 
torney-general concurred in this- action, but later, after 

1 The evidence bearing on Baker County is very voluminous. 
See index to Baker County on p. 470 of S. R. No. 611, Part 2, 
44th Cong. 2d Sess. ; Documentary Evidence, pp. 76-82 ; H. R. 
Mis. Doc. No. 35, Part 1, 44th Cong. 2d Sess., pp. 284-300; and 
index to testimony regarding Baker County on p. 12 of H. R. 
Mis. Doc. No. 31, Part 5, 45th Cong. 3d Sess. 

2 See minutes of board in Senate report above cited, p. 9. 
3 Ibid,. 

Disputed Election of l8jd 71 

consultation with his party associates, protested 
against it in a written protest. 1 

In the town of Key West, Precinct No. 3, which 
gave 401 Democratic votes and 59 Republican votes, 
was thrown out on the plea that the inspectors had 
adjourned before the completion of the canvass, and 
had completed it the next day at a different place, 
without public notice. In addition, there was proof 
that there had been threats of violence and that the 
Republican challengers had been intimidated. The 
board did not, however, take this proof into account, 
holding that this was a matter over which the law 
defining their powers did not give them jurisdiction. 2 
Judge Cocke at first concurred in throwing out the 
poll, but later wished to change his vote, and did de 
nounce the board s action in his written protest. 3 

In Jackson county, Campbellton Precinct and 
Friendship Church Precinct, both of which gave con 
siderable Democratic majorities, were thrown out. 
The first was rejected "on account of the violation of 
the election laws by the inspectors in removing the 
ballot-box from the election room at the adjournment 
for dinner into an adjoining store, and leaving it 
unsealed and concealed from the public during said 
adjournment; in not counting the ballots at the close 
of the polls and comparing them with the number of 
names on the poll-lists, and because only seventy-six 
Republican votes were counted out of the ballot-box, 

1 S. R. No 611, Part 2, 44th Cong. 2d Sess., pp. 33 and 41. 

2 Ibid, pp. 9-10. 

3 Ibid, pp. 6, 14, 3, 31, 33. 

j2 The Hayes-Tilden 

whereas 133 persons swear that they voted the full Re 
publican ticket." The other precinct was thrown out 
because the inspectors placed the ballot-box in such a 
position as to be out of sight of the voter and of the 
public; because they did not complete the canvass at 
the polling place but in a bed-room two miles away; 
and because they did not count the ballots and com 
pare them with the names on the polling-list. The 
attorney-general opposed the rejection of either of 
these precincts. 1 

The vote of Manatee county was thrown out on 
the plea that there had been an "entire absence of any 
and all legal steps in preparation for the election and 
in holding the same." In the main this was true. In 
the preceding September the clerk of the circuit court 
had resigned, and the person appointed by the governor 
to succeed him was either unable to give bond or pur 
posely refrained from doing so. In consequence no 
registration was made, and the election was an in 
formal one at which 262 votes had been cast for the 
Tilden electors and only 26 for the Hayes electors. By 
the Democrats it was claimed that the situation was a 
result of a Republican conspiracy, but whether or not 
such was the case the evidence does not conclusively 
show ; it is possible that it was in part due to the fact 
that the county was a remote one on the edge of the 
Everglades and communication with it was slow and 
difficult. The exclusion of the county was objected 
to by the attorney-general. 2 

1 S. R. No. 611, Part 2, 44th Cong. 2d Sess., pp. 7, 10, 42. 

2 Ibid, pp. 32-33. 

Disputed Election of 1876 73 

Numerous changes of less importance were made, 
in most of which all three members concurred. Some 
of these changes were favorable to the Democrats, 
but did not affect the general result. That result, as 
finally promulgated, showed a substantial majority 
for Hayes, the election of the Republican state ticket, 
which had run some three hundred votes behind the 
national ticket, and also that of both of the Republican 
candidates for Congress. 1 

As has already been stated, the canvass was con 
ducted in a highly partisan manner. In every im 
portant instance in which votes were thrown out the 
advantage inured to the Republicans. Furthermore, 
the majority of the board refused to eliminate other 
returns, the validity of which was questioned, when by 
so doing they would have seriously diminished the 
Republican vote. There were many such cases, but a 
few of the most conspicuous will suffice. Proof was 
brought to show that at Archer Precinct No. 2, Ala- 
chua county, 219 names had been fraudulently put 
upon the polling-list and the same number of votes 
added to the Republican majority. 2 Proof was also 
adduced to show that at Richardson s School House 
Precinct, Leon county, 73 "little joker" Republican bal- 

1 S. R. No. 611, Part 2, 44th Cong. 2d Sess., pp. 9-10, 18-19, 

2 Ibid, see index pp. 469-470 ; Documentary Evidence, pp. 24 
9t seq. ; H. R. Mis. Doc. No. 35, Part 1, 44th Cong. 2d Sess., see 
index pp. 304-305 ; contested election case of Finley vs. Bisbee 
H. R. R. No. 95, 45th Cong. 3d Sess. ; and H. R. Mis. Doc. No 31 
!!? Foo ng 3d Sess " especially testimony of L. G. Dennis, I. pp. 
477, 483, 554, 853. Dennis was one of the Republican election 
officers, and two years later, out of revenge for having been 
removed from office by the Administration, made a "confession" 
to the Potter Committee. 

74 The Hayes-Tilden 

lots had been smuggled into the ballot-box, while to 
cover up the trick the poll-list had been correspond 
ingly increased. 1 /There were irregularities of form 
in the return from Duval county, which gave a large 
Republican majority; 2 there was proof that there had 
been irregularities in the conduct of the election in 
certain Republican precincts in Jefferson county and 
elsewhere. 3 Yet in all these cases, as well as in sev 
eral others, the majority of the board voted to can 
vass the returns without change. 4 / 

What the result would have been if the returns had 
been canvassed by an unpartisan board it is impos 
sible to say with certainty. At the same time it is 
clear that if none of the returns had been rejected and 
if in Baker county the return containing all the pre 
cincts had been substituted for the Driggers return, 
the result would have been a majority for the lowest 
Tilden elector over the highest Hayes elector of 93 
votes. 5 f How nearly these returns corresponded to 
the votes in the ballot-boxes can never be ascertained. 
Frauds in the count and return of votes were unques 
tionably committed by both sides. In this kind of 
work the Republicans had the advantage of having a 
small majority of the election officers, but this was 
probably counterbalanced by the ease with which 
shrewd Democrats could hoodwink the illiterate ne- 

1 H. R. Mis. Doc. No. 35, Part 1, 44th Cong. 2d Sess., pp. 1-80; 
H. R. Mis. Doc. No. 31, 45th Cong. 3d Sees., II., pp. 94-96. 

2 Documentary Evidence, pp. 113 et seq. 

3 Ibid, p. 261 et seq. 

4 Senate report above cited, pp. 1-43. 

5 Ibid, pp. 402-409. 

Disputed Election of 1876 75 

groes who acted as election officers in many places. * 
On the whole, it is not improbable that an unpartisan 
board, acting on the same theory of its powers as did 
the actual board, would have held that the returns 
did not in all cases correspond to the votes in the bal 
lot-boxes, would have thrown out some returns con 
trary to the interests of each party, but would in the 
end have found a small majority for Tilden. The 
least partisan man who witnessed the count, namely 
/General Barlow, took that view of the case.- He had 
gone to Florida at the request of Grant, he was a 
Republican, but he came to the conclusion that on the 
evidence the board should give Tilden a majority of 
from 30 to 55. He even urged one of the Republican 
members of the board to adopt such a course, but 
without effect. 2 Whether General Barlow s opinion 
in f he case was in any measure due to a tendency 
sometimes noticeable in high-minded persons to con 
cede all doubtful points to an opponent, it is impos 
sible to say ; certain it is that his opinion, though admit 
tedly based on only part of the evidence, is entitled to 
very great weight. 

But there is another aspect of the case which must 
not be lost sight of by the investigator who would 
arrive at the true merits of the tangled election of 
1876 an aspect which the canvassing board deemed 

1 For an expression on this point see H. R. R. No. 140, 45th 
Cong. 3d Sess., p. 84. 

2 See two letters written by Barlow after his return from 
Florida, S. R. No. 611, Part 4. 44th Cong. 2d Sess.. pp. 12-13; 
also his testimony before the Potter Committee, H. R. Mis. Doc. 
No. 31, 45th Cong. 3d Sess., I, pp. 1361, 1388, 1408. 

76 The Hayes-Tilden 

lay without its powers and one not taken into account 
by General Barlow. / While a fair count of the votes 
cast in the state of Florida might have resulted in a 
small majority for Tilden, a free election would with 
far greater certainty have resulted in a substantial 
majority for Hayes. /The board did not throw out 
votes, not even "marked ballots," on the score of 
intimidation ; yet no one familiar with the evidence 
and with the attitude of the Southern Democrats to 
ward negro suffrage will for a moment doubt that there 
was sufficient intimidation to change the whole result. 
To be sure, there was no such sweeping suppression 
of the negro vote as there was in Louisiana, South 
Carolina, Mississippi, Alabama, and some other states ; 
but when the result was so close, that was not neces 
sary. When all due allowances are made, therefore, 
it is a not unfair conclusion that in equity the electoral 
votes of the state of Florida belonged to Hayes. 

The labors of the canvassing board were completed 
on the night of December 5th. On the following day, 
the date set by Federal law, the Republican electors 
met and cast their votes for Hayes and Wheeler. 1 
The result, properly certified, was then dispatched to 
the president of the Senate. 

The Democratic electors, although declared elected 
by no properly constituted authority, likewise met on 

1 The subject of the alleged ineligibility of Humphreys, one of 
the Republican electors, will be discussed in the chapter on the 
work of the Electoral Commission. It was also claimed that 
Charles H. Pearce, another elector, was ineligible, but the con 
tention was ultimately given up. See S. R. No. 611, Part 4, 
44th Cong. 2d Sess., p. 14. 

Disputed Election of 1876 77 

the same day and cast their votes for Tilden and 
Hendricks. The result, irregularly certified by Judge 
Cocke, the attorney-general, was also forwarded to 
Washington. 1 

Seemingly the situation was now sufficiently com 
plicated, but it was to become much more so. George 
F. Drew, the Democratic candidate for governor, peti 
tioned the state supreme court for a mandamus to com 
pel the canvassing board to canvass the returns of the 
votes for governor in a strictly ministerial way. The 
court, a majority of whom were Democratic in sym 
pathy, 2 granted the petition. In so doing the court 
dissented from the view "that the board of state can 
vassers is a tribunal having power strictly judicial, 
such as is involved in the determination of the legality 
of a particular vote or election." "All the acts which 
this board can do under the statute," the court held, 
"must be based upon the returns; and while in some 
cases the officers composing the board may, like all 
ministerial officers of a similar character, exclude what 
purports to be a return for irregularity, still everything 
they are authorized to do is limited to what is sanc 
tioned by authentic and true returns before thern.^ 
.... They have no general power to issue sub 
poenas, to summon parties, to compel the attendance 
of witnesses, to grant a trial by jury, or to c$) any act 
but determine and declare who has been elected as 

1 Both these certificates of votes are given in Electoral Count, 
pp. 11-13. 

2 Testimony of Geo. P. Raney, Democratic attorney general 
under Drew, H. R. Mis. Doc. No. 31, Part 2, 45th Cong. 3d Sess., 
p. 59. 

78 The Hayes-Tilden 

shown by the returns." The board must confine itself 
to ascertaining and certifying the votes "actually cast," 
and must not assume the power to go behind the re 
turns in an effort to ascertain the "legal vote," this 
being a matter upon which the courts alone were 
competent to decide. On December 23d the manda 
mus was issued. 1 

Under protest of the Republican members the board 
reconvened, and after a second canvass of the returns 
announced that Drew had received 24,179 votes and 
Stearns 23,984 votes. In so doing the majority mem 
bers, against the wishes of the Democratic member, 
counted the Driggers return from Baker county as 
being the only one regular in form, and threw out the 
vote of Clay county because the return was so irreg 
ular that they could not, from it alone, ascertain the 
true vote. Then, although the writ had merely di 
rected them to recanvass the vote for governor, the 
board, or rather the two Republican members, re-ex 
amined the vote for electors, and reported "that a re- 
canvass of them, according to the said decision," would 
show that the Republican electors had received major 
ities averaging about 211 votes. 2 This result was 
made possible by the fact that Stearns had run some 
hundreds of votes behind the Republican national 

/ The matter by no means rested here. The Demo 
cratic electors had already petitioned the court of the 

1 The proceedings in this suit are given in S. R. No. 611, Part 
2, 44th Cong. 2d Sess., pp. 388-401. 

2 Ibid, pp. 400-401. 

Disputed Election of 1876 79 

second judicial circuit for a writ of information in 
the nature of a quo warranto against the Republican 
electors, and a summons had been served upon the 
respondents just before they voted. The suit was later 
prosecuted to a conclusion, and on January 25th the 
judge of the court, P. W. White, a Democratic parti 
san, issued an order to the effect that the Democratic 
electors had been rightfully chosen. 1 / The case was 
then appealed, but was never again brought to trial. 2 

Meanwhile the Democrats had displayed zeal in yet 
another field of activity. On the 2d of January their 
candidate for governor was inaugurated at Tallahas 
see without opposition; 3 the-newly elected legislature 
was convened ; and "an act to procure a legal can 
vass of the electoral vote of the state of Florida as 
cast at the election held on the 7th day of November, 
A. D., 1876," was passed and approved. The act cre 
ated a canvassing board composed in much the same 
manner as the previous one had been, and it ordered 
the members of this new board to convene and recan- 
vass the vote. The board, all the members of which 
were Democrats, did as ordered, and on January iQth 
certified the election of the Democratic electors by 
majorities over the highest Hayes elector of from 87 
to 90 votes. 4 

A few days later the legislature formally declared 
that the Democratic electors had been dulv elected. 

1 H. R. R. No. 143, Part 1, 44th Cong. 2d Sess., p. 8 ; Part 2, p. 
11; H. R. Mis. Doc. No. 35, Part 3, pp. 81-82. 

2 Proceedings of the Electoral Commission, p. 56. 

3 The Nation, XXIV, p. 19 ; Florida Union, Jan. 3d and 4th. 

4 H. R. R. No. 35, Part 3, 44th Cong. 2d Sess., pp. 70-79. 

8o The Disputed Election of l8jd 

It also directed the governor to make and certify 
"three lists of the names of the said electors," together 
"with an authenticated copy of this act," and transmit 
the same to the president of the Senate. The electors 
themselves were directed to meet and make and sign 
three additional certificates of all the votes given by 
them on the 6th of December/and transmit one of the 
same to the United States district judge and the other 
two, one by messenger and the other by mail, to the 
president of the Senate. l These things were done, 2 
and the Florida farce was complete. 

1 H. R. R. No. 35, Part 3, 44th Cong. 2d Sess., pp. 80-81 

2 Ibid, pp. 70-71. 



In perhaps no other state in the Union has there 
ever been such a disorderly condition of affairs as 
existed in Louisiana during the years from 1866 to 
1877. Wholesale corruption, intimidation of negro 
voters by thousands and tens of thousands, political 
assassinations, riots, revolutions all these were the 
order of the day in Louisiana politics. 

That this reign of lawlessness exceeded that in any 
other of the reconstructed states was in part due to 
the nature of the population. The white inhabitants 
were in large measure French and Spanish Creoles, 
who had both the virtues and the weaknesses of their 
ancestors. The ante-bellum society of Louisiana, and 
particularly of New Orleans, had been polite and even 
brilliant ; yet the state had been one of the least law- 
abiding of any of the long-settled communities. The 
custom of the duello was firmly fixed, and in the 
metropolis frequent bloody encounters took place 
beneath the moss-hung "duelling oaks" in what is now 
the city park. l Occasionally this lack of respect for 

1 Thompson, The Story of Louisiana, p. 248 ; King, New Or 
leans, pp. 292-299. 

82 The Hayes-Tilden 

law revealed itself in political matters, as (in the 
notorious Plaquemine frauds of 1844 x and the New 
Orleans riot of 1855, when for a time the city was in 
the hands of two rival factions, who seized public 
buildings and erected barricades. 2 The freedmen, 
despite the presence of a considerable number of 
educated blacks in New Orleans, were on the average 
less intelligent than in most of the former slave states. 
This was in part due to conditions which had existed 
during slavery days. The number of slaves had been 
exceedingly large, and most of them had lived on great 
plantations where civilizing contact with the superior 
race had been unusually slight. Furthermore, many 
of the slaves had been persons of desperate or criminal 
character who in punishment had been sold "down the 

As elsewhere in the South, the whites of Louisiana 
did not take kindly to emancipation. They took still 
less kindly to enfranchisement. The idea that the 
negro was "divinely created to be servant to the white" 
had so long been instilled into the Southern mind that 
it was an article of faith. The possibility of the black 
man s occupying any other position was a thing un 
thinkable. So long as the negro remained in his "place" 
the Southern white man was in a sense his friend, but 
any attempt on the part of the freedman to assert equal 
privileges became as a red rag to a bull. As the negro 
was now "the nation s ward," he was a convenient 

1 Sargent s Life of Clay, p. 254. 

2 Gayarrg, History of Louisiana, IV, p. 679 ; Thompson, p. 255. 

Disputed Election of 1876 83 

object on which the unthinking could vent their im 
potent hatred for the North. This tendency was vastly 
increased by the outrageous manner in which the 
negro too often at the instigation of Northern bureau 
agents abused his new-found liberty. As a result 
of these and other causes, there followed throughout 
the South a period replete with instances of brutal 
outrage and murder. In Louisiana, owing partly to 
reasons already described, the number of these crimes 
was particularly great. 1 

An argument frequently employed in justifying the 
outrages on the freedmen is that the whites were 
goaded into it by the evils of negro domination. The 
argument holds good in part, but only in part, for 
unhappily outrages were committed before the suffrage 
was conferred upon the blacks, before such a step was 
even favored by any considerable number of Northern 
people. Had such outrages never occurred, it mav 
well be doubted whether sweeping negro suffrage 
would have been bestowed ; for the argument that the 
negro needed a weapon with which to defend himself 
was unquestionably a deciding factor with thousands 
of persons to whom the partisan political motive did 
not appeal. 

Louisiana was one of the states in which the whites 

1 H. R. Ex. Doc. No. 30, 44th Cong. 2d Sess., pp. 458-540, con 
tains a partial list (not wholly reliable) of the murders and 
outrages. See also S. Ex. Doc. No. 43, 39th Cong-. 1st Sess ; H 
R. R. No. 16, 39th Cong. 2d Sess. ; H. R. R. No. 101, 43d Cong. 2d 
Sess., various other congressional documents, and the newspapers 
of the time. My own conclusions are in large measure based up 
on files of the New Orleans newspapers. 

84 The Hayes-Tilden 

did not wait to see the fruits of negro rule before 
falling upon the hapless freedmen. The first important 
conflict took place in New Orleans in July, 1866, as a 
result of an attempt of the radicals, with the consont 
of the governor and a judge of the state supreme court, 
to reconvene the constitutional convention of 1864 in 
order to enfranchise the blacks. Mayor Monroe made 
preparations to suppress the convention ; a riot occur 
red ; and a most inhuman massacre resulted, in which 
about forty negroes and white radicals were killed and 
about 136 were wounded. 1 

The next important race conflicts occurred in the 
late summer and fall of 1868. In the spring of that 
year an election was held at which the new constitu 
tion was ratified and at which H. C. Warmoth, Repub 
lican candidate for governor, was elected by a majority 
of over 26,000. Later in the year the Knights of the 
White Camelia, an organization similar to the Ku 
Klux, entered upon a campaign of violence and intim 
idation, with the result that the Republican majority of 
the spring was transformed into a Democratic plurality 
of about 46,000 for Seymour. This astonishing re 
versal was later explained by Republican members of a 
congressional investigating committee in the following 
language : 

1 The convention .appears to have had no legal right to re 
assemble, but, on the other hand, the mayor s action was 
unwarranted. For an account of the affair and an un 
qualified condemnation of the mayor see Cox, Three Decades 
of Federal Legislation, pp. 430-432. H. R. R. No. 16, 39th 
Cong. 2d Sess. contains a vast amount of testimony bearing upon 
the subject. The massncre was used with great effect by the 
Radical Republicans in the North. See also Rhodes, History of 
the United States from the Compromise of 1850, V, pp. 611-613. 

Disputed Election of l8j6 85 

"The testimony shows that over 2,000 persons were 
killed, wounded, and otherwise injured in Louisiana 
within a few weeks prior to the Presidential election in 
November, 1868; that half the state was overrun by 
violence ; and that midnight raids, secret murders, and 
open riot kept the people in constant terror until the 

Republicans surrendered all claim But the most 

remarkable case is that of St. Landry, a planting parish 
on the river Teche. Here the Republicans had a 
registered majority of 1,071 votes. In the spring of 
1868 they carried the parish by 678. In the fall they 
gave Grant no vote, not one while the Democrats 
cast 4,787, the full vote of the parish, for Seymour and 
Blair. Here occurred one of the bloodiest riots on 
record, in which the Ku Klux killed and wounded over 
200 Republicans, hunting and chasing them for two 
days and nights through fields and swamps. Thirteen 
captives were taken from the jail and shot. A pile of 
twenty-five dead bodies was found half-buried in the 
woods. Having conquered the Republicans and killed 
and driven off the white leaders, the Ku Klux captured 
the masses, marked them with badges of red flannel, 
enrolled them in clubs, made them vote the Democratic 
ticket, and then gave them a certificate of the fact." 1 

A detailed account of the political history of Louis 
iana from 1868 to 1876 is in this connection unneces 
sary. In general the period was one in which the 
party in opposition, consisting of most of the white 
inhabitants, pursued a policy of intimidation, even to 

1 H. R. R. No. 261, 43d Cong. pp. 11-12. Quoted by Cox, pp. 
551-552. Cox thinks the statement "a good deal exaggerated, 
especially as to the number killed," but "the failure of the 
negroes to vote can be explained only on the theory that a reign 
of terror existed." 28 parishes which in 1868 gave Grant but 
5,360, gave 35,010 to the Republican candidate for auditor in 
1870, when the election was a comparatively peaceful one. 

86 The Hayes-Tilden 

the extent of assassination ; while the party in power, 
consisting chiefly of negroes and white carpet-baggers, 
resorted to election frauds and to unblushing misap 
propriation of public funds. The value of property 
greatly decreased ; T the payment of taxes fell more than 
$2,000,000 in arrears ; and the state debt was increased 
to enormous proportions. 2 In 1870 the Republicans 
quarreled among themselves ; and Governor Warmoth 
went over to the Conservatives, as the Democrats were 
called. A period of great confusion followed. The 
election of 1872 was claimed by both parties ; but the 
Republicans were able through the complaisance of 
United States District Judge Durell, who issued the 
famous "midnight restraining order," to obtain the all- 
important aid of the Federal troops, and to install 
William Pitt Kellogg as governor. McEnery, the 
Democratic claimant, was also inaugurated, but after 
a few weeks found himself obliged to abandon tem 
porarily all efforts to assert his authority. On the 
1 4th of September, 1874, however, the White League, 

Trhis was due in part to the war, to the emancipation of 
hundreds of millions of dollars worth of slaves, to the disorder 
Incident to the change from one labor system to another, to the 
panic of the early 70s, but in large measure to misgovernment. 

2 The increase in the debt was not wholly the result of actual 
stealing from the state, although the amount stolen was large 
enough. Expenditures were increased as a result of the bad 
condition of the levees, of subsidies to companies (fraudulent in 
many cases but not always so) engaged in undertakings which 
it was hoped would help the development of the state, etc. 
thermore, tax receipts fell off as a result of the decrease in tl 
value of property, while the state bonds were floated much below 
par Financiers had little faith in Southern bonds, partly be 
cause of the unsettled conditions in that section, and partly 
because in the period before the war so many of the states in 
that section had repudiated their debts. What faith they had 
was mostly misplaced, for after the states were "redeemed a 
large proportion of the bonds were repudiated. 

Disputed Election of l8j6 87 

an armed quasi-secret organization consisting of Con 
servatives, rose against the Kellogg government; a 
battle ensued in the streets of New Orleans ; and 
Kellogg and his supporters were forced to take refuge 
in the custom-house. Once more the President inter 
fered, and Kellogg was reinstated by Federal bay 
onets. During the ensuing two years little better than 
a state of anarchy existed in parts of Louisiana ; in a 
few parishes the officials were either driven out or 
murdered, sometimes because they were of bad char- 
acter or incompetent, but in some instances solely 
because they were negroes or white Republicans. l 

Such was the condition of affairs when the cam 
paign of 1876 opened. The Republicans were the first 
to put a ticket in the field. Their convention met at 
New Orleans on the 27th of June and after some 
stormy sessions nominated S. B. Packard for governor 
and renominated C. C. Antoine for lieutenant-gov 
ernor. Packard, a native of Maine, had for some 
years been United States marshal of Louisiana, and 
had been closely associated with the custom-house 
coterie of Republicans who managed the state s affairs. 
Antoine was a negro, and is said to have been a native 
of San Domingo. The Democrats held their conven 
tion at Baton Rouge on the 24th of July, and selected 
as their candidates General F. T. Nicholls of Assump 
tion Parish and Louis A. Wiltz of Orleans. Nicholls 

1 This sketch is based chiefly upon the hundreds of pages of 
testimony contained in S. R. No. 457, 42d Cong. 3d Sess., and 
H. R. R. Nos. 261 and 101, 43d Cong. 2d Sess., and upon files 
of the New Orleans Picayune and New Orleans Times. 

88 TheHayes-Tilden 

was a graduate of West Point, and had lost both an 
arm and a leg while fighting in the Confederate army 
in Virginia, but at this time was engaged in the 
practice of law. In their platform the Democrats 
denounced Republican rule, both state and national, 
affirmed their acceptance of the last three amendments 
to the Federal Constitution, pledged a free and fair 
election, and promised equal educational advantages 
to both races. 1 

The manner in which the campaign that followed 
was conducted by the two parties was affected to a 
considerable degree by the nature of the election laws. 
These laws had been framed with the end in view of 
enabling the party in power to neutralize the effect of 
violence and intimidation on the part of their Demo 
cratic opponents ; for, as an observer has remarked, 
"What the Republicans lacked of the lion s skin they 
eked out with the fox s tail." 2 At the head of the 
electoral system created by these laws stood a state 
returning board, consisting of five members, chosen 
originally by the senate from all parties, but with the 
provision that the members themselves should fill va 
cancies. This tribunal had the discretionary power of 
inquiring under certain restrictions into the conduct 
of elections, and of rejecting the vote of any precinct 
or parish wherein force, or fraud, or fear so prevailed 
as materially to affect the result. The power just 

1 Annual Cyclopaedia, 1876, pp. 481-483, and 493 ; files of New 
Orleans Times and Republican. 

2 Benjamin F. Butler s report as a member of the Potter Com 
mittee, H. R. R. No. 140, 45th Cong. 3d Sess., p. 96. 

Disputed Election of 1876 89 

described was an unusual one; yet, considered as a 
remedy, it was to a certain extent inadequate, for 
while it enabled the board to throw out votes, it did 
not enable them to add votes which would have been 
polled had there been no violence and intimidation. 1 

This fact furnished the Democrats an opportunity 
of which they appear to have cunningly taken advan 
tage in this campaign. Their plan involved two fea 
tures. 2 They purposed to carry on in most sections 
of the state a canvass that was entirely devoid of 
violence. They even took pains to propitiate the 
negroes ; employed colored preachers and other leaders 
to speak for them; gave barbecues with music and 
other attractions ; and in some districts in promises of 
equality "outstripped the Republicans." 3 This policy 
was especially pursued in those parishes which usually 
gave Democratic majorities ; in such parishes the party 
managers strove hard to prevent the occurrence of any 
act of violence which would give the Republican re 
turning board a pretext for rejecting the vote; and in 
the main they were successful in this effort, although 
outrages were occasionally committed by Democrats 
whose hot blood got the better of their discretion. On 
the other hand, in a few selected parishes, such as 

1 Act 98 of 1872, given in Sen. Ex. Doc. No. 2, 44th Cong. 2d 
bess., pp. 160-168. The author would not, of course, have the 
reader believe that he would for a moment advocate such a law 

2 This theory was set forth by the Republican "visiting states 
men in their report to the President, Ibid, pp. 4-9. The Demo 
crats vigorously attacked the theory, but it seems to me that it 
is a true one. Facts which appear to me to be conclusive are 
presented in succeeding pages. 

3 Report of Democratic members of Potter Committee, H R 
R. No. 140, 45th Cong. 3d Sess., p. 29. 

90 The Hayes-Tilden 

Ouachita, East and West Feliciana, East Baton Rouge, 
and Morehouse, the Democrats pursued entirely differ 
ent tactics. These were parishes in which, since the 
great majority of voters were negroes, the Democrats 
had everything to gain and nothing to lose. If, by a 
process of "bulldozing" in any one of these parishes, 
they should succeed in destroying the Republican ma 
jority, they would, if the vote were allowed to stand, 
be gainers to the amount of the majority destroyed 
plus whatever majority they managed to secure. If, 
on the contrary, they succeeded, but the vote were 
rejected, then the Republicans were at least deprived 
of their normal majority. So it was with the other 
alternatives ; in any case it was "heads I win, tails you 
lose" for the Democrats. l 

Conditions in other respects were favorable for 
carrying out the Democratic plans. From numerous 
bitter experiences in the past the negroes had learned 
that when the whites entered upon a campaign of 
intimidation, it was safest to yield peacefully and grace 
fully to the inevitable. When, therefore, the white 
rifle-clubs began to ride about the country at night 
singing such ditties as, 

"A charge to keep I have, a God to glorify ; 

If a nigger don t vote with us, he shall forever die." 2 

1 This was not a new scheme. In 1872, when the Warmoth 
election officers were in control, cases occurred where Democratic 
commissioners appear to have stuffed ballot-boxes at Republican 
polls in order to furnish a pretext on which the returning board 
might reject such polls. S. R. No. 457, 42d Cong. 3d Sess., p. 77. 

2 S. R. No. 701, 44th Cong. 2d Sess., p. 19. 

Disputed Election of 1876 91 

many freedmen needed no further warning, but joined 
Democratic clubs, attended Democratic barbecues, and 
ate Democratic roast ox with the best of them. Others 
who were slightly more stubborn were induced to 
change their politics or at least to refrain from voting 
by being threatened with loss of employment. Yet 
others were whipped or otherwise maltreated, while a 
few, more unfortunate still, were roused from their 
beds at night and brutally murdered. Thanks to the 
work of past years, however, the amount of actual 
violence needed was comparatively small. In those 
parishes where there had been recent conflicts the task 
of intimidation was particularly easy. * 

The success of the Democratic policy in the selected 
parishes was so great that the Republicans, seeing that 
a free election was impossible, decided in some cases to 
make merely nominal contests and to devote them 
selves to collecting evidence of the bulldozing in order 
that the returning board might have grounds for re 
jecting the parishes either in whole or in part. Thus, 
says a congressional investigator, there was "presented 
this singular spectacle : That in portions of the state 
an active and vigorous campaign was going on be 
tween the parties and in other portions of the state 
there was substantially no campaign at all." 2 The 
Democrats later claimed that the Republicans gave up 
the fight in these parishes because the negroes volun- 

1 These .conclusions rest upon practically the whole mass of 
testimony collected by the Congressional committees. 

2 H. R. R. No. 140, 45th Cong. 3d Sess., p. 96. 

92 The Hayes-Til den 

tarily joined Democratic clubs, but the argument seems 
hardly a reasonable one. All the bulldozed parishes 
had two years before given large Republican major 
ities, and there is no real evidence to show that they 
would not have done so again had it not been for 
disorders and outrages during the campaign itself or 
during the year preceding it by which the negroes had 
been thoroughly cowed. 

The Republicans did not, however, rest all their 
hopes of victory upon their success in collecting evi 
dence of bulldozing. Another matter to which they 
devoted much attention in the course of the campaign 
was that of registration. The appointment of the 
supervisors of registration and their clerks was in the 
hands of Governor Kellogg, and he appointed Repub 
licans almost exclusively. x Many of those chosen for 
the work already held state or Federal offices; some 
of them were men of low character, one, for 
example, having formerly been, it was said, the "roper- 
in" for a snake show. 2 The registration officers were 
regarded by the Republican campaign committee as 
under their direction; and detailed instructions were 
issued to the supervisors by D. J. M. A. Jewett, secre 
tary of the committee on canvassing and registration. 
These instructions informed the, supervisors that they 
were expected "to register and vote the full strength 
of the Republican party," and that results "once ob- 

1 H. R. Mis. Doc. No. 34,, Part 1, 44th Cong. 2d Sess., pp. 713, 
et seq. 

2 Ibid, pp. 443, 1049, etc.; H. R. Mis. Doc. No. 31, 45th Cong. 
3d Sess., I, pp. 1105, 1109, 1129, 1464, 1467, etc 

Disputed Election of 1876 93 

tained," their "recognition" would "be ample and gen 
erous." * 

Thus encouraged, the supervisors worked with great 
effectiveness. In fact, shortly before the election their 
lists showed a total of 115,268 colored voters or al 
most 8,000 more than the number of colored men of 
voting age according to the census taken in 1880. 2 
Most of this excess appears to have been in the city of 
New Orleans, where, owing to the laxity of the reg 
istration officers in failing to prevent double registra 
tion and especially in failing to strike off the names 
of negroes who had died or who had removed from 
the ward, a negro population of 57,647 yielded the 
astonishing registration of 23,495. That these figures 
were subsequently decreased by 3,368, and that at the 
election the Republicans cast but 14,801 votes for their 
highest elector, or about their real strength, was due 
almost wholly to the vigilance of the Democrats, not 
to that of the registration or election officers. 

On the other hand, the registration officers were 
active in helping to keep down the white registration 
to the lowest possible limit. In New Orleans, for 
example, they worked with the Republican managers 
in executing a very successful scheme for detecting 
illegal Democratic registration. About 29,000 "sew 
ing machine circulars" were sent by the Republican 
campaign committee to the addresses of registered per- 

nrrl ^ R M1S DOC N 31 45th COn 8"- 3d SeSS - * PP- 1074- 

1076, 1441. 

2 The registration figures are given in H. R. Mis. Doc. No. 34 
Part 2, 44th Cong. 2d Sess., p. 494. 

94 The Hayes-Tilden 

sons not known to the Republican leaders ; many 
thousands of these circulars were returned by the let 
ter carriers as "not found ;" canvassers were then sent 
out to make a second search ; and when they reported 
that a given person did not live at the address given 
on the registration books, his name was stricken off. 
Many mistakes were made, and some of the names 
were later restored, but the white registration was de 
creased by about 4,500. The claim was later set up 
that many thousands of Democrats were thereby de 
prived of their right to vote, but the evidence does not 
bear out the claim. 1 

Some days passed after the election before the fig 
ures of the vote actually cast could be ascertained. 
At first the Republicans were inclined to believe that 
they had obtained a majority, 2 but after word had been 
received from the outlying parishes it was found that 
the Democratic plan had worked so beautifully that 
on the face of the returns the highest Tilden elector 
would receive about 84,000 votes and the lowest about 
83,000 votes, while the highest Hayes elector would 
receive only about 76,000 votes and the lowest about 
74,000 votes. 3 Upon the strength of this showing the 
Democratic press of the country with great positive- 
ness claimed the state for Tilden. But the Republican 

1 For some of the testimony regarding registration see H R 
Mis Doc. No. 31, 45th Cong. 3d Sess., I, pp. 1001, 1051-1056! 
1064; H. R. Mis. Doc. No. 34. Part 2. 44th Cong. 2d Sess., pp. 
311, 319, 329, 396, 471, 484, 500, 537, 539, 555, 599, 603, 635, 713, 

2 Testimony of Jewett before Potter Committee, H. R. Mis 
Doc. No. 31, 45th Cong. 3d SPSS., I, p. 1441. 

3 H. R. R. No. 140, 45th Cong. 3d Sess., p. 97. 

Disputed Election of l8j6 95 

managers transmitted words of cheer to their brethren 
in other states. The returning board, said they, has 
not yet performed its work. Wait till it gets through 
with the parishes in which there has been wholesale 
intimidation, and then see if Tilden has a majority. 1 

As in the case of Florida, Louisiana at once became 
the goal for many prominent politicians of both 
parties. John Sherman, James A. Garfield, Eugene 
Hale, E. W. Stoughton, and other Republicans hurried 
to New Orleans by special request of the President, 
and were joined there by some who had not been so 
honored. Not to be outdone, a goodly number of 
Democrats, among whom were John M. Palmer, Ly- 
man Trumbull, Samuel J. Randall, J. R. Doolittle, 
Henry Watterson, and Oswald Ottendorfer, obeyed 
telegrams received from Abram S. Hewitt, chairman 
of the Democratic national committee, and repaired to 
the Crescent City on a like mission. 

On the day after the Democratic statesmen reached 
their destination they addressed to the Republican vis 
itors a letter suggesting that, " in view of the un 
happy controversies which have heretofore arisen from 
the action of the returning board of the state," the 
two contingents unite in exerting their influence "in 
behalf of such a canvass of the votes actually cast as 
by its fairness and impartiality shall command the 
respect and acquiescence of the American people." 

1 E. g., telegram of A. Dumont, chairman Rep. State Com., 
in H. R. Mis. Doc. No. 42, 44th Cong. 2d Sess., p. 16. Also of 
Kellogg in Annual Cyclopaedia, 1876, p. 486. 

96 The Hayes-Tilden 

In their reply the Republican visitors declined to hold 
such a conference and pointed out that they were pres 
ent merely as witnesses, "without power or legal influ 
ence over the result, or over the means by which, 
under the laws of Louisiana, the result is to be de 
termined." They further called attention to the fact 
that the canvassing board possessed power to exer 
cise judicial as well as ministerial duties, and that to 
reduce the whole question to the merely clerical duty of 
counting "the votes actually cast," as distinguished 
from the votes "legally cast," would involve "a nul 
lification of the provisions of the laws of Louisiana." 
They assured the Democratic statesmen, however, that 
"we join heartily with you in counsels of peace and 
in the expression of an earnest desire for a perfectly 
honest and just declaration of the results of the recent 
election in Louisiana by its lawfully constituted author 
ities, and we may add that we know of no reason to 
doubt that such declaration will be made." Next day 
the Democrats returned to the charge with a 
letter in which they explained that by the expression 
"votes actually cast" they had not meant to include 
"votes illegally cast." They disclaimed any intention 
to interfere with the legally constituted authorities, 
but supposed it was not improper "to remind the 
authorities of this state, by our mere presence at least, 
that there are certain rules of fairness and justice 
which underlie all constitutions and laws, and upon 
whose observance must depend the acquiescence of the 
people of all parties in the declared result of the 

Disputed Election of 1876 97 

Louisiana election." They frankly confessed they had 
no such faith in the returning board as was evinced 
by the Republican visitors. "We deem it not im 
proper," they said in this connection, "to remind you 
that the very presence in this city of so many citizens 
from all parts of the Union at this moment seems to 
be evidence of a widely-prevalent distrust of the ac 
tion of this board, and that such distrust has this 
foundation, at least, that the constitution of the board 
has not been changed since its returns were set aside 
by a Congressional committee of which the Republican 
candidate for the Vice-Presidency was a member." 
The Republicans still declined, however, to enter into 
any combination for concerted action. 1 

Unquestionably the Democrats had good reason for 
distrusting the board, while the Republicans took en 
tirely too hopeful a view when they announced that 
they knew no reason for doubting that a perfectly 
honest and just declaration of the result would be 
made. To begin with, the board as then constituted 
consisted entirely of Republicans ; for though the law 
provided that all parties should be represented on it, 
the sole Democratic member had resigned, and the 
remaining^four members had ignored the provision 
requiring them to fill the vacancy. 2 Then, too, the 
character of the four was by no means such as to in 
spire any great degree of confidence. J. Madison 

1 This correspondence is all given in S. Ex. Doc. No 2 44th 
Cong. 2d Sess., pp. 31-35. 
2 See post p. 100. 

98 The Hayes-Tilden 

Wells, the president, was a native of Louisiana, had 
to his honor remained a Union man when the state 
seceded, had been chosen lieutenant-governor under 
the Banks reconstruction plan, and had later become 
governor, but in 1867 had been removed by General 
Sheridan, who had characterized him as "a political 
trickster and a dishonest man." 1 Thomas C. Ander 
son, also a native Louisianian, was known to have used 
his influence as a state senator in obtaining a subsidy 
for a navigation company in which he had a large 
pecuniary interest. 2 The other members were both 
mulattoes. One of them, Louis M. Kenner, was a sa 
loon-keeper, and at one time had been indicted for 
larceny, but upon confession had been allowed to es 
cape punishment. 3 The other, Gadane Casanave, was 
an undertaker and the most respectable member of 
the board; but even he was not a man of the highest 
intelligence or the finest moral grain. 4 The board as 
a whole had been severely criticised for its conduct on 
a previous occasion by a committee sent out by the na 
tional House of Representatives to investigate the elec 
tion of 1874. Two of the Republican members of the 
committee united with the Democratic members in de 
claring the action of the board in that election "unjust, 
illegal, and arbitrary." 5 The remaining Republican 

1 Cited by The Nation, XXIII, p. 309. For other opinions of 
Wells see Harper s Weekly, XX, p. 988; S. Ex. Doc. No. 2, 44th 
Cong. 2d Sess., p. 6 ; H. R. Mis. Doc. No. 34, Part 2, 44th Cong. 2d 
Sess., pp. 506, 508, 509; Ibid, No. 42, pp. 143-163, 178-183. 

2 H. R. Mis. Doc. No. 34, Part 2, 44th Cong. 2d Sess., pp. 589- 

3 Ibid, p. 598 ; also Part 1, pp. 59 et seq. 

4 Ibid, pp. 52 et seq. 

5 H. R. Mis. Doc. No. 261, 43d Cong. 2d Sess., p. 3. 

Disputed Election of 1876 99 

members G. F. Hoar, W. A. Wheeler, and W. P. Frye, 
reported that the board had reversed the result as indi 
cated by the votes actually in the ballot-boxes ; but in 
consideration of the board s good intentions, Messrs. 
Hoar, Wheeler, and Frye simply expressed "emphatic 
disapprobation of its proceedings" and "dissent from 
the view it took of its own powers and duties/ and pro 
nounced its conduct "illegal" in "attempting to cure 
one wrong by another." 1 

The law required that the board should meet within 
ten days after the date of the election. On Friday, 
the 1 7th of November, the members assembled and 
held a secret conference. On the next day they met 
again and adopted a resolution to the effect that an 
invitation should be extended to each delegation of 
"distinguished gentlemen from other states" to send 
five members to witness the proceedings. The invi 
tation was accepted, and the visiting statesmen took 
turns in attending the meetings of the board. 2 

At the first public session on the following day the 
board announced the rules which were to govern 
their proceedings. The rules provided that the board 
should "first take up, canvass, and compile" the re 
turns from those parishes to which no objections had 
been made, and should then proceed to consider the 
returns from the disputed parishes; that all protests 
and arguments from candidates or their attorneys 
should be made in writing; that, except by members 

1 H. R. Mis. Doc. No. 261, 43d Cong. 2d Sess., p. 28. 

2 S. Ex. Doc. No. 2, 44th Cong. 2d Sess., pp. 35-36. 

TOO The Hayes-Tilden 

of the board, all interrogatories to witnesses must be 
in writing and must previously have been submitted 
to opposing counsel for cross-interrogatories ; that can 
didates, or attorneys representing candidates, could be 
present only when contested cases were being heard; 
that whenever the members of the board should deem 
it desirable, they might "go into secret session to 
consider any motion, argument, or proposition which 
may be presented to them ;" that, finally, after all the 
evidence was in, the board should make the final de 
termination in secret session. After the rules had 
been read Judge Spofford, counsel for one of the Dem 
ocratic candidates, made an urgent plea for entire 
publicity, but this the board refused to grant. l 

A like answer was given to five protests which had 
been filed by the Democratic counsel at the last ses 
sion. These protests dealt with such matters as the 
judicial powers of the board, the vacancy in its mem 
bership, and its right under the law to canvass the 
returns for electors. All the answers were reasonable 
with the exception of the one dealing with the sub 
ject of filling the vacancy. The law provided that all 
parties should be represented and that "in case of any 
vacancy by death, resignation, or otherwise of either 
of the board, then the vacancy shall be-fiHed by the 
residue of the board." The members of the board 
now held that the law provided for the original organ 
ization only, "that all political parties at that time or 
ganized were represented, that there was then no party 

1 S. Ex. Doc. No. 2, 44th Cong. 2d Sess., p. 40. 

Disputed Election of l8jd 101 

known as the Democratic-Conservative party, that 
"there was no provision in the law for a reorganization 
of the board, so it could not have been contemplated 
that the board should be changed to suit shifting polit 
ical organizations that might subsequently be made." - 1 
This absurd view was stubbornly held to the end. At 
a subsequent discussion of the matter Wells declared 
that through the resignation of their representative 
the Democrats had lost their right to representation 
on the board. He also alleged that the members of 
the board were unable to agree upon any one to fill 
the vacancy. 2 

Seven sessions were devoted to canvassing and com 
piling the vote of those parishes against which there 
were no protests. 3 Had the board complied with the 
strict letter of the law, there would not have been much 
other work to do, for, save in a very few cases, the 
protests had not been regularly made. The law regu 
lating the making of protests provided that whenever, 
during the time of registration or revision of registra 
tion or on the day of election, there should be any riot, 
acts of violence, intimidation, bribery, or corrupt in 
fluence which tended to prevent a fair and free elec 
tion, the supervisor of registration, if such acts oc 
curred during the period of registration or revision of 
registration, or the commissioners of election, if such 
acts occurred on election day, should make affidavit of 
the fact and of the effect produced thereby, and these 

1 S. Ex. Doc. No. 2, 44th Cong. 2d Sess., pp. 40-43. 

2 Ibid, pp. 75-76. 

3 Ibid, pp. 45-105. 

IO2 The Hayes-Tilden 

affidavits must be corroborated under oath by three 
qualified voters of the parish. The affidavits were to 
be made in duplicate, and if made by the commissioners 
of election were to be forwarded to the supervisor of 
registration for the parish. 1 One copy of each pro 
test the supervisor must annex to his "returns of elec 
tion by paste, wax, or some adhesive substance" so 
that the same could be kept together ; the other copy he 
must deliver to the clerk of the parish court. 2 As an 
other section of the law provided that commissioners 
of election must make their returns within twenty- 
four hours of the close of the polls and that the super 
visors of registration must within twenty-four hours 
after the receipt of all returns consolidate such returns 
and forward them by mail to the returning board, it is 
clear that definite time limits were set to the making of 
protests by these various officers. 3 If the law in this 
respect was mandatory and not merely directory, then 
almost all the protests upon which the board based 
their jurisdiction to go behind the returns were il 
legal ; 4 for, according to one witness, there was but one 
protest which had been made and forwarded in strict 
accordance with the law. 5 

The reasons why no more protests were made in 
time were various. Some officials appear to have re- 

1 But in New Orleans to the secretary of state. 

2 Section 26 of Act 98, 1872, given Ibid, p. 164. 

3 Ibid, p. 166. 

4 It was provided, however, that candidates should be allowed 
a hearing before the board upon making application within the 
time allowed for the forwarding of the returns. Ibid, p. 161. 

5 Statement of Jewett in brief given to Benj. F. Butler, cited 
by Gibson, p. 364. 

Disputed Election of 1876 103 

f rained through fear, some through inattention or stu 
pidity, some because nothing had occurred in their 
parishes on which a protest could be based, some be 
cause they meant to force the Republican managers to 
pay them for protesting, and some because they be 
lieved there would be a Republican majority which 
would obviate the necessity of throwing out any votes. l 
This belief that there would be a majority on the 
face of the returns had for a time been held by the 
leaders at New Orleans. When the reverse had been 
found to be the case, the lack of protests had been ser 
iously felt. But this lack, while very inconvenient, 
had not been allowed to prevent the consummation de 
sired by the Republican managers. Luckily most of 
the supervisors had brought their returns to New Or 
leans in person, instead of forwarding them by mail 
as the law required, and, arrived there, had in the ma 
jority of instances deposited the returns at the cus 
tom-house instead of delivering them at once to the 
board ; even of those returns sent through the mails 
some at least had been held in the post-office. An 
opportunity was thus afforded of which the Republican 
managers had taken full advantage. 

"It is in testimony and uncontradicted, so far as I 
know," says one of the later congressional investi 
gators, "that on or about the 23d of November these 
sealed up returns of supervisors were, in the presence 
of the secretary of the Republican campaign commit 
tee, opened and new and further protests inserted, 

1 Gibson, pp. 365, 368-371. 

104 The Hayes-Tilden 

upon the strength of which parishes or polls might 
be thrown out by the returning board. In one or 
more of these protests interpolations were made, over 
the jurat, seven or eight days after the same werQ 
sworn to, of new matter, by which votes might be 
thrown out by the returning board. New protests 
were inserted into other of the packages of vague and 
indecisive character, and then a most active, vigorous, 
and successful search for witnesses was made to sus 
tain these new protests by evidence." - 1 

Equally active efforts were made on the Democratic 
side to meet these protests. The result was that soon 
two affidavit "mills" were running overtime and were 
turning out the desired product with machine-like rap 
idity. 2 Owing to the fact that the Republicans con 
trolled more of the officers before whom such affi 
davits could be made, they seem to have been able 
to produce a slightly larger quantity than their oppon 
ents. Which party surpassed the other in making the 
larger number of affidavits out of the smaller quantity 
of truth, none but a Solomon could determine. 

In pursuance of the jurisdiction acquired through 
the irregular protests the board not only received these 
affidavits but also heard oral evidence. The first 
oral evidence taken bore upon conditions in Ouachita, 
a parish in the northern part of the state, not far from 
the Arkansas line. 

The first of the witnesses introduced by the Republi- 

1 H. R. R. No. 140, 45th Cong. 3d Sess., p. 99. 

2 H. R. Mis. Doc. No. 31, 45th Cong. 3d Sess., I, pp. 414, 1072, 
1076; III, pp. 102, 127, 535-540, 560-565, 580-587. The Republi 
can "mill" was in the custom-house. 

Disputed Election of l8j6 105 

cans was Henry Burrell, a colored man. He pictured 
a very disorderly and lawless state of affairs as hav 
ing existed in his parish prior to the election. Ac 
cording to his account the negro Republicans had been 
terrorized by five Democratic rifle-clubs which had 
ridden about the country at night, forcing negroes to 
join Democratic clubs, and whipping, maiming, and 
even murdering the leaders or those who were partic 
ularly stubborn. Burrell had himself been shot by a 
white man, though the motive for the shooting is not 
entirely clear. Just before the election he had also 
been captured by bulldozers, arid had been forced by 
threats of death to destroy about 1400 Republican bal 
lots which were in his possession. 1 

Eaton Logwood, another colored man, corroborated 
Burrell s testimony regarding the condition of affairs 
in Ouachita. He had suffered bodily harm on ac 
count, he alleged, of his political principles. Two 
white men, blackened to look like negroes, had rid 
den up to his cabin, had shot him, and had killed his 
brother-in-law, Primus Johnson, who at the time was 
holding a child in his arms. Logwood s own wounds 
had been frightful ones, and were not yet healed. 2 

But this evidence was as nothing to that given by the 
next witness, Eliza Pinkston. Attended by a woman 
with restoratives, Mrs. Pinkston was borne into the 
room on a chair by two stalwart negroes. In this 
proceeding and in what followed there was an evident 

1 S. Ex. Doc. No. 2, 44th Cong. 2d Sess., pp. 105-110. 

2 Ibid, pp. 110-113. 

106 The Hayes-Tilden 

striving after effect a striving which was altogether 
unnecessary, for the story needed no embellishment. 
What she had to tell caused a great sensation among 
the Northern visitors, 1 and was telegraphed to the 
remotest parts of the Union. 

She testified that up to the Saturday night before the 
election she had lived with Henry Pinkston in a cabin 
on what was known as "The Island" of Ouachita 
parish. On that night a party of white men, some 
of whom she claimed to have recognized, and two 
negroes had ridden up to the cabin, and had called for 
Pinkston. Failing to entice him out, they had broken 
in (the door, had seized him, and had sworn that if 
he voted the Republican ticket he would have "to vote 
it in hell." When the woman had attempted to inter 
fere, she had been knocked down. The ruffians had 
then gagged the man; had gashed him with knives, 
making a sound "just like cutting in new leather ;" 
had then dragged him outside; and had there shot 
him seven times. Some of them had then re-entered 
the cabin ; had killed a baby which the woman held in 
her arms ; had assaulted the woman several times ; 
and had then shot her, cut her, gashed her with an 
axe, and left her for dead. In proof of her story she 
exhibited her wounds, which were still unhealed. 
They were a shocking sight, for she had unquestionably 

1 S. Ex. Doc. No. 2, 44th Cong. 2d Sess., pp. 115-116. Ex- 
Governor Palmer, a Democrat from Illinois, was especially 
horrified by the recital. "If this woman s story is true," said 
he, "the people who could practice any such violence would 
have no right to complain of any sort of government that would 
be put over them." S. Mis. Doc. No. 14, 44th Cong. 2d Sess., 
p. 102. 

Disputed Election of l8j6 107 

been brutally dealt with; on her thigh there was a 
frightful gash, there were wounds in her head and 
neck, and there was a deep wound in one of her 

Every possible effort was made by the Democrats, 
both before the returning board and before later con 
gressional investigating committees, to break down the 
story of this outrage. It was claimed that the murder 
had no political significance, that, as a matter of fact, 
Pinkston was a Democrat. 1 Charles Tidwell, the 
owner of the plantation on which the murder occurred, 
reluctantly admitted before a Senate committee, how 
ever, that while Pinkston had two years before voted 
with the Democrats, he was at the time of his death 
a Radical ; 2 there was also evidence to the effect that 
by remaining away from a Democratic rally Pinkston 
had endangered his life. 3 Another theory propounded 
by the Democrats was that Pinkston was killed by a 
negro named Brooks, with whom he had had a fight 
some months before. 4 But there was no real evidence 
to support the theory ; while there was evidence, both 
direct and circumstantial, that the killing was the work 
of several men. 5 Much evidence was brought in by 
the Democrats to show that because Eliza was of 
bad character no weight should be attached to her 

1 This claim was put forward by the Democratic members of 
the House Committee. H. R. R. No. 156, Part I, 44th Cong. 2d 
Sess., p. 46. It appears that he had so voted in 1874. 

2 S. R. No. 701, 44th Cong. 2d Sess., p. 735. See also pp. 90 
and 596. 

3 Ibid, pp Ixxxi, 502, 515. 

4 H. R. R. No. 156, Part 1, 44th Cong. 2d Sess., p. 46. 

5 S. R. No. 701, 44th Cong. 2d Sess., pp. 90, 91, 97, 623. 

io8 The Hayes-Tilden 

story of the outrage. l As regards her character there 
was no room for doubt. Her own testimony 2 showed 
her to be vulgar and indecent to a degree scarcely con 
ceivable ; and she was much given to embellishing her 
account with details that were evidently fictitious. 
Yet the essential portions of her story were not success 
fully impeached. The anxiety of some partisan 
writers, such as Gibson and Bigelow, to prove the out 
rage all a pretense has betrayed them into some rather 
grim absurdities. Gibson triumphantly points to the 
fact that the child s throat was not cut. as she alleged, 
and that Pinkston s body was not mutilated in the man 
ner she described. 3 He seems to lose sight of the fact 
that the child was nevertheless killed, that its body 
was thrown into a pond, where it was not found for 
a week; of the fact that Pinkston was shot seven 
times and that his dead body was so distorted that 
it was not put into a coffin but was buried in a quilt. 
So fiendish an outrage may appear incredible to some 
people, yet it is a matter of history that outrages fully 
as brutal were committed by the Ku Klux are 
still committed in some sections. The explanation lies 
in the barbarous character of a portion of the white 
population and in the low value attached to a "nig 
ger s" life. x 

1 S. R. No. 701, 44th Cong. 2d Sess., pp. 517-536. Pinkston 
himself was represented as a "good negro." 

2 Ibid, pp. 909 et seq. 

3 A Political Crime, p. 163. 

4 For some of the other evidence see index to S. R. No. 701, 
44th Cong. 2d Sess., p. clxxiv ; H. R. R. No. 156, Part 1, 44th 
Cong. 2d Sess., pp. 41-46, discusses the case from the Democratic 

Disputed Election of 1876 109 

But whatever may have been the facts and motives 
attending the Pinkston murders, the evidence before 
the returning board even the evidence introduced 
by the Democrats revealed a most disorderly con 
dition of affairs in the parish of Ouachita. Beginning 
in August with the murder of J. H. Dinkgrave, a 
prominent white Republican, by an unknown assassin, 
there had been a series of murders and assaults upon 
negro Republicans by persons who escaped the con 
sequences of their crimes. White rifle-clubs were ac 
tive ; and, largely as a result of the fear which their 
activity inspired, about 700 negroes joined Democratic 
clubs. It appears, however, that there was fear among 
some of the Democratic leaders that all these recruits 
might not "stick," l so, as an object lesson, a demon 
stration was made on the Saturday night just prior to 
the election. On that night parties of men severely 
whipped Abram Williams and Willis Frazier, two col 
ored Republicans ; attempted to catch the son of Abram 
Williams, but not finding him at home, whipped his 
wife and outraged her; killed Merrimon Rhodes and 
threw his body into a bayou ; whipped Randall Driver ; 
and murdered Henry Pinkston and child in the man 
ner already described. 

Seeing the situation of affairs in the parish, the 
Republican managers had already decided not to at- 

standpoint and gives references to important testimony. See also 
newspapers of Nov. 29th, 30th and Dec. 1st. No importance 
should be attached to the story circulated in 1878 that Eliza had 
made a counter-confession. See The Nation, XXVII, pp. 1 and 

1 Letter of the chairman of the Democratic executive commit 
tee. S. R. No. 701, 44th Cong:. 2d Sess., p. xix. 

no The Hayes-Tilden 

tempt to have their followers vote at the outlying 
polls, but to have them come into Monroe, the chief 
town, where there was a small detachment of United 
States troops. There was nothing unlawful in this 
procedure, for the law allowed a man properly reg 
istered to cast his ballot at any poll in the parish ; but 
to- prevent the movement, the rifle-clubs picketed the 
approaches to the town ; while the Democratic mayor 
issued a proclamation directing the negroes to return 
to their homes. 1 

The evidence before the returning board showed 
that in a number of other parishes there had been a 
condition of affairs somewhat similar to that just de 
scribed in Ouachita. For example, in East Feliciana, 
a parish in which the Republican vote for state officers 
in 1874 had been 1,688, the negro Republicans had 
been so demoralized as a result of a reign of violence 
which had begun more than a year before that the. 
Republican managers appear to have given up all hope 
of carrying the parish and to have issued instructions 
to their followers not to attempt to vote. In conse 
quence, only a single Republican ballot, and that a 
defective one, was cast ; and the Republican majority 

1 For the Republican affidavits regarding the situation in 
Ouachita see S. Ex. Doc. No. 2, 44th Cong. 2d Sess., pp. 330-420. 
They are ex parte and little reliance can be placed upon most of 
them. The most valuable are those of Captain Hale and Lieu 
tenant McCawley of the United States Army, pp. 330 and 336 
respectively. For the Democratic affidavits see S. Mis. Doc. No. 
14, 44th Cong. 2d Sess., pp. 775-915. The mayor s proclamation 
mentioned above is given on page 823. See also H. R. Mis. Doc. 
No. 34, Part 6, 44th Cong. 2d Sess., pp. 1-195, and index of S. 
R. No. 701, 44th Cong. 2d Sess., pp. civ et seq. 

Disputed Election of 1 876 in 

of 841 in 1874 was transformed into a Democratic 
majority of 1,741. 1 

After twelve public sessions the board on Monday, 
December 4th, met in private and began the really 
important portion of their work. What would be the 
outcome of their labors was a matter about which the 
general public was uncertain, for there were rumors 
and counter rumors of bribery. How much truth 
there was in these various rumors will probably never 
be exactly ascertained. There is evidence to show that 
Wells at least "was in the market." On November 
21 st he wrote to Senator West, who was then in Wash 
ington : Millions have been sent here and will be 
used in the interest of Tilden, and unless some counter 
move [is made], it will be impossible for me or any 
individual to wrest its productive results." 2 This let 
ter he committed to the care of Joseph H. Maddox, a 
special agent of the treasury, who journeyed to Wash 
ington, and after failing to secure any encouragement 
from Republican leaders, entered into an alliance with 
Col. John T. Pickett, a soldier of fortune who had 
some years before achieved notoriety and cash by sell 
ing the Confederate archives to the national govern 
ment. In accordance with an agreement between the 
two, Col. Pickett proceeded to New York City, and 
there informed Abram S. Hewitt, chairman of the 

1 For some of the evidence regarding East Feliciana see S. R. 
Ex. Doc. No. 2, 44th Cong. 2d Sess., pp. 223-258; for some of the 
evidence taken by the Senate investigating committee see S. R. 
No. 701, 44th Cong. 2d Sess., index under East Feliciana, pp. 
clx-cxciii. For the "confession" of Anderson, the Republican 
supervisor, see chapter xiii. 

2 H. R. Mis. Doc. No. 42, 44th Cong. 2d Sess., p. 180. 

112 The Playes-Tilden 

Democratic national committee, that the Louisiana 
board would in consideration of the sum of $1,000,000 
render a decision favorable to Tilden, but the proposi 
tion was not accepted. 1 It appears also that Wells 
personally offered for $200,000 to secure the counting 
in of the Democratic state ticket. Some steps were 
taken to raise the money, but the deal ultimately 
failed. 2 What negotiations if any he carried on with 
Republicans, is a matter of greater uncertainty. It has 
been said but not proved that he refused to promise a 
Republican decision until the state authorities had 
cashed at par some state warrants worth only about 
thirty cents on the dollar. 3 It has also been alleged that 
he arrived at an understanding with certain of the 
Republican "visiting statesmen/ 4 but upon this there 
exists no evidence whatever. It is only known that 
after the inauguration of Hayes he became surveyor 
of the port of New Orleans, that Anderson became the 
deputy collector, and that Kenner became the deputy 
naval officer. 

But whether or not the members of the board were 
spurred on by the hope of a reward, they certainly 
worked zealously to evolve a Republican majority. 
The task proved a more complex one than had orig 
inally been anticipated. The first hypothesis, made 
before the returns had been opened, appears to have 
been that the board would be able to get rid of enough 

1 H. R. Mis. Doc. No. 42, 44th Cong. 2d Sess., pp. 131, 135, 
143, 156, 178. 

2 Testimony of Duncan F. Kenner, Ibid, pp. 376, 383. 

3 H. R. Mis. Doc. No. 31, 45th Cong. 3d Sess., I, pp. 1426-1431. 

4 Gibson, p. 222. 

Disputed Election of 1876 1 13 

votes in the five parishes of East Baton Rouge, Oua- 
chita, Morehouse, and the two Felicianas ; 1 but it 
had soon been discovered that a number of other par 
ishes would have to be purged of Democratic polls. 2 
The necessity arose in part out of the fact that in cer 
tain parishes the names of some Republican electors 
had been omitted from the ballots, with the result that 
a part of them had run more than 2,000 votes behind 
the rest of the ticket. 3 The board were therefore 
obliged to do some heroic work in accomplishing their 
purpose. They rejected the entire vote of East Felici- 
ana on the ground of intimidation, and that of Grant 
parish on the plea that there had been no legal election 
because the supervisor had fled from the parish more 
than a month before the election. In addition, they 
threw out 69 polls from 22 other parishes, and also 
refused to receive the vote of certain polls which 
the supervisors of Tangipahoa, East Baton Rouge, 
Lafayette, La Fourche, and the assistant supervisors of 
wards 2, 7, and n of New Orleans, had, without law 
ful authority, excluded from their returns. In this 
way the board got rid of 13,213 Democratic votes, but 
in the process were obliged to throw out the votes of 
2,415 Republicans. The result was a substantial ma 
jority of 3,437 for the Republican elector lowest on 

1 Sherman to Hayes, H. R. Mis. Doc. No. 31, 45th Cong. 2d 
Sess., I, p. 771. 

2 H. R. R. No. 140, 45th Cong. 3d Sess., p. 97. 

3 Sen. Mis. Doc. No. 14, 44th Cong. 2d Sess., pp. 21, 45, 76, 
165 The beard also threw out many votes in oraer to secure 
a Republican legislature, the election of as many Republican 
congressmen as possible, etc. 

114 The Hayes-Tilden 

the list, a majority for Packard of 3,426, and the 
choice of a Republican legislature. 1 

The announcement of this happy result was not of 
ficially made knewn to the general public until Wed 
nesday morning, December 6th, the legal date for the 
meeting of the electoral college. But the Republican 
electors* were present in New Orleans ready to do their 

work. At four o clock in the afternoon the college 
convened, .with all but two of the electors present. 2 
These two,O. H. Brewster and A. B. Levissee, had been 
objected to as ineligible because they had held offices 
of trust ami profit under the United States at the time 
they were elected. Having now resigned their offices, 
they remained away in order that the other electors* 
*night take advantage of the state law providing for 
the filling of vacancies caused by the death, sickness, 
or absence of electors. The other members, in ac 
cordance with a prearranged plan, chose Brewster and 
Levissee to fill their own vacancies. The two then 
appeared, 3 and th college thereupon proceeded to cast 
the eight votes of the state of Louisiana foifcHayes and 
Wheeler. 4 , 

Now, how eVer, began a peculiar complication. In 
accordance with the Constitution triplicate certificates 

1 H. R. Mis. Doc. No. 34. Part 2, 44th Cong. 2d Sess., pp. 
790-794; also S. R. No. 701, 44th Cong. 2d Sess., pp. 3110-3118. 

2 For proceedings of the college see H. R. Mis. Doc. No. 31, 
45th Cong. 3d Sess., I, pp. 80, 95, 128. 

3 Levissee announced to the other electors that he had been 
offered $100,000 Jto cast his vote for Tilden. Ibid, pp. 80 et seq. 

4 It has been*eriarged that the electors failed to vote for Pres 
ident and Vice-President by distinct ballots as the Constitution 
requires. H. R. R. No. 140, 45th Cong. 3d Sess., p. 50. The certi 
ficates stated, however, that separate ballots were taken. Pro 
ceedings of the Electoral Commission, p. 206. 

Disputed Election of 1 876 1 15 

of the vote were made out, and one of these was mailed 
to the president of the Senate, one was filed with the 
judge of the United States district court, and one 
was delivered to T. C. Anderson, who was chosen to 
carry it to Washington. When Anderson reached 
Washington and presented the package to Mr. Ferry, 
the president of the Senate, that officer called his at 
tention to the fact that the envelope was not properly 
endorsed. Following the same course which he pur 
sued with regard to irregular returns from North Car 
olina, Tennessee, and other states, l Mr. Ferry allowed 
Anderson to retain the certificate in order to have the 
defect rectified. Before leaving Washington Ander 
son began, somewhat unnecessarily, 2 to fear that the 
certificates themselves were not in regular form be 
cause the lists of votes for President and Vice-Presi- 
dent were not on separate sheets of paper. When he 
reached New Orleans, therefore, he communicated his 
fears to some of the Republican leaders, and it was 
decided that new certificates must be made. But the 
time was short, and two of the electors were so far 
away that they could not possibly get to New Orleans 
before the work must be done. The Republican 
leaders were not men to be discouraged by such an 

1 The returns from almost half the states were in some re 
spect irregular. Testimony of Ferry, H. R. Mis. Doc. No. 31, 
45th Cong. 3d Sess., I, p. 139. Jhe statement is taken from his 

2 In every essential the original certificates were in this re 
spect as regular as the Democratic certificates from Louisiana, 
Florida, Oregon, and South Carolina. Compare certificates given 
on pp. 13, 206, 208, 662 of Proceedings of the Electoral Com 

116 The Hayes-Tilden 

obstacle as this. The signatures of the six who could 
be reached were secured, and then those of the other 
two were forged. Just who committed the forgery 
does not appear ; but it is certain that Governor Kel 
logg, H. Conquest Clarke, the governor s private sec 
retary, and perhaps others, were privy to the forgery. 1 

On the same day on which the Republican electors 
originally met, the Democratic claimants, basing their 
authority on an irregular canvass of certified copies of 
the returns, likewise assembled and cast their ballots 
for Tilden and Hendricks. Their certificates were 
signed by John McEnery, who claimed to be de jure 
governor of Louisiana. 2 

It is needless to say that the result announced by the 
returning board had been attained by a series of 
grossly partisan and illegal acts. The board had failed 
to obey the statute requiring them to fill the vacancy 
in their membership. They had entertained protests 
which had been irregularly made. They had allowed 
to stand the action of supervisors and assistant-super 
visors who had refused to compile certain polls. One 
or more of them had, it appears, even altered and falsi 
fied the returns from Vernon and perhaps from other 
parishes. For this offense they were all in the follow 
ing year indicted; and one of them, Anderson, was 
tried, convicted, and sentenced to the penitentiary for 
two years, but was ultimately released by the supreme 

1 See H. R. R. No. 140, 45th Cong. 3d Sess., pp. 50-63 and 
89-91. References are there given to the important testimony. 

2 New York Times and World of Dec. 7th. 


Disputed Election of l8jd 117 

court of the state on the ground that the offense was 
not covered by the statute. 1 

Nevertheless, the decision of the board was final ; 
there was no redress against its actions however irreg 
ular. In the case of Moncure vs. Dubuclet, decided 
in May, 1876, the state supreme court had in effect 
decided that the actions of the returning board were 
beyond the reach of judicial inquiry because the leg 
islature had omitted to enact a lav/ under which pro 
ceedings in such cases could be conducted. 2 

An interesting question which remains to be consid 
ered is : Did the returning board in the exercise of 
their extraordinary powers override the real will of a 
majority of the legal voters in the state of Louisiana? 
Or, to speak brutally, did they by an illegal process 
which acquired the force of law, merely take back 
stolen property? To put it in yet other words, was 
the situation one of those rare situations in which 
two wrongs go to make a right? 

This much may be said at the outset, namely, that, 
despite affidavits and frantic assertions to the con 
trary, there was not a full, fair, and free election. 
Some partisans perhaps persuaded themselves that 
there were no rifle-clubs, no threats, no whippings, no 
murders ; but there were partisans on both sides quite 
equal to the task of persuading themselves, or at least 
of attempting to persuade others, that all the blacks 

1 See Report of Trial of Thomas C. Anderson. A copy of this 
pamphlet is in the Lenox Library, New York City. See also 
Gibson, pp. 232-237. 

2 See also the case of Bonner vs. Lynch, 28 La. Ann., p. 208. 

n8 The Hayes-Tilden 

were whites, had the result of the election hinged upon 
such a demonstration. Intimidation was, in truth, one 
of the central facts of the campaign. It was occa 
sionally resorted to by Republicans, but it would 
roughly be correct to say that it was a weapon belong 
ing to the Democrats. It was the chief means by 
which Republican negroes were induced to change 
their politics. Very few were convinced by talk about 
misgovernment or by appeals of that sort. All asser 
tions to the contrary notwithstanding, the negro, when 
left to his own choice, was as naturally a Republican 
as his former master was naturally a Democrat. 

That the methods employed by the whites were effec 
tive is shown with startling distinctness by the follow 
ing table : 

Election of 1 8 7 4 Regis, of 1 8 7 6 Elect, of 1 8 7 6 

Dem. Rep. White Colored Dem. Rep. 

East Baton Rouge 1,556 2,546 1,867 3,400 1,102 1,476 

East Feliciana 847 1,688 1,004 2,127 1,736 

West Feliciana 501 1,358 399 2,213 1,248 778 

Morehouse 654 1,017 938 1,830 1,371 782 

Ouachita 766 1,694 992 2,392 1,865 793 

Total 4,324 8,303 5,200 11,962 7,322 3,829 

These figures x taken alone are sufficient proof that ex 
traordinary things must have occurred in these par 
ishes. When we know, in addition, that Republican 
officials in certain of these parishes had, during the 
preceding year, been driven out or killed, that the white 
Democrats were organized into secret military organ 
izations which rode up and down the country at night 
threatening, beating, and even murdering negroes, that 

1 For figures see H. R. Mis. Doc. No. 34, Part 2, 44th Cong. 
2d Sess., pp. 494 and 788. 

Disputed Election of l8jd 119 

Democratic employers, who owned practically all prop 
erty, threatened to discharge every one who affiliated 
with the Republicans, that the Republican negroes were 
weak-spirited and poor, so poor that they were in 
absolute dependence from day to day upon their Dem 
ocratic employers for their daily rations of bread and 
meat, we cannot avoid the conclusion that, whatever 
may be said in justification, electioneering methods 
were used in the "selected" or "bulldozed" parishes 
which are not usually regarded as legitimate. Efforts 
to explain the falling off of the Republican vote on 
other grounds are futile, for there is no real proof that 
the situation in these parishes differed from that in 
others in any material respect save that different meth 
ods were employed by the whites and the negroes were 
more thoroughly terrorized. 

That in a full, fair, and free election the Republicans 
would have received a majority cannot, of course, be 
absolutely proven; and yet by processes of compar 
ison it is possible to arrive at a pretty definite conclu 
sion regarding the matter. If, for example, it be 
assumed that the number of voluntary negro Demo 
crats was about equal to the number of white Repub 
licans and the assumption is a reasonable one 
then the Republicans were in a clear majority in the 
state of several thousands. But the following com 
parison is much more convincing: In 41 parishes in 
which the amount of intimidation was relatively small, 

I2O The Hayes-Tilden 

the colored registration amounted to 87,999, 1 an d the 
white registration to 72,034, leaving a colored majority 
of 15,965. 2 These parishes yielded in the election a 
Republican majority of 6,353. I" tne remaining 17 
parishes, in which terrorism was alleged, the colored 
registration was 27,269 ; 3 the white registration, 20,- 
320, giving a colored majority of 6,949. Yet these 
parishes returned a Democratic majority of 10,153. 
Had the proportion of negroes who voted Republican 
in these parishes been the same as in the other 41, 
there would have been a Republican majority in the 
17 parishes of between 2,000 and 3,000. Thus the 
majority in the state as a whole would have been 
from 8,000 to 10,000. Or, to make a yet more con 
vincing comparison : Had even the five bulldozed 
parishes of East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, West 
Feliciana, Morehouse, and Ouachita, voted approx 
imately as they did in 1874, the result would have been 
changed sufficiently to give the lowest Republican 
elector a small majority of about 800 of the vote as 

1 According to the census of 1880 the negro population of the 
state exceeded the white population by 26,364. The white males 
of voting age exceeded the colored males of voting age by 833, 
but many thousands of the whites were foreigners who were not 
voters. The state census of 1875 showed 104,192 colored voters 
and 84,167 white voters, but this census is wholly unreliable. 
The same is true of the national census of 1870, at least for the 
negro population. See Frederick Hoffman, Race Traits and Ten 
dencies of the American Negro, p. 4. For some Democratic sta 
tistics compiled by Prof. Chaill of New Orleans, see H. R. Mis. 
Doc. No. 34, Part 2, 44th Cong. 2d Sess., pp. 470-478. Some of 
his conclusions are well taken, but others are fully as absurd 
as the census of 1875. 

2 These figures include the padded registration in New Orleans. 
As previously pointed out the Republicans derived little advan 
tage from the excess. 

3 Practically all this registration was bo?ia fide and ought to 
have yielded a heavy vote. 

Disputed Election of 1 8j6 121 

actually cast, or of about 3,000 as the vote was sent in 
by the election officials to the returning board. x All 
things considered, it would be pretty safe to say that 
in an absolutely fair and free election the state would 
have gone Republican by from five Jo_fif teen thous- 
and. ^ 

But whatever might have been the result under other 
conditions, there was in the actual Louisiana situation 
one fact which was in the end to prove decisive. The 
body to which, in accordance with the law of the state 
and the decisions of the courts, belonged the final de 
termination of the result of the election had declared 
in favor of the Republican electors. These electors 
had met and had cast their ballots for Rutherford B. 
Hayes and William A. Wheeler; and the returns of 
their vote had been certified by the man who, rightly 
or wrongly, had been recognized by all branches of the 
Federal government as the chief executive of the 

1 For the figures used in making these comparisons see H. R 
Mis. Doc. No. 34, Part 2, 44th Cong. 2d Sess., 2 folders between 
pp. 494-495; S. R. No. 701, 44th Cong. 2d Sess., pp. xli-xlii 
liii-lviii; S. Ex. Doc. No. 2, 44th Cong. 2d Sess., pp. 178-185. 

2 But it should not for a moment be supposed that the re 
turning board was moved by high ideals of its duty as a court 
of equity. Doubtless they would have proceeded in the same 
way had they known that the election had been absolutely free 
and fair. 



Rarely have a proud people drunk deeper of the 
cup of humiliation than did the white inhabitants of 
South Carolina in the sixteen years following the sui 
cidal ordinance of December, 1860. Forced during 
four years of mingled triumph and defeat to endure 
the vexation of a blockading fleet which win 
ter or summer never relaxed its watch upon their 
coasts, they at last recognized the inevitable end when 
an invading army swept through the state consuming 
and destroying everything in its path and leaving the 
capital in ruins. At intervals for more than a decade 
thereafter troops wearing the hated blue were sta 
tioned here and there about the state, and from their 
camps at sunset had floated not infrequently through 
the quiet evening air the strains of a song relating to 
a certain Brown late of Osawatomie. 1 But no such 
gentle reminder was necessary to make apparent the 
fact that the old order had passed away. Other things 
brought that fact home in a far more tangible form. 

1 Pike, The Prostrate State, p. 79. 

The Disputed Election of 1876 123 

The pyramid of society had been turned upside down. 1 
Those who had been the slaves were become the rulers. 
In the government, in the places of the now impov 
erished aristocracy, stood black and brown freedmen, 
led by hated Yankees and equally hated "scalawags ;" 
and from the panels over the doors of the stately cap- 
itol at Columbia the marble visages of George McDuf- 
fie and Robert Young Hayne looked down upon the 
incomings and outgoings of a strange legislature, 
three-fourths of whose members belonged to that 
despised race once the victims of the institution which 
had formed the "corner-stone" of the fallen Confed 

There may have been somewhat of poetic justice in 
the situation just described, but the bouleversewient 
was unquestionably bad for the economic interests of 
the state of South Carolina. However good his in 
tentions and the intentions of some were of the 
best an untutored black man, fresh from slavery 
in the Sea Island cotton fields, could not possibly be a 
thoroughly satisfactory legislator or even citizen. A 
.reign of misgovernment therefore followed enfran 
chisement a period which, while not quite so re 
plete with pitched battles and revolutions, was in its 
economic aspects fully as deplorable as that in Louis- 

1 "De bottom rail Is on de top, an we s gwine keep it dere," 
said the negroes. Scribner s Magazine, VIII, p. 151. They ar- 
grued that their labor had made the whites wealthy and that now 
the wealth should be taken away by taxation. Governor Moses 
in a message advocated taxing the land so heavily that the own 
ers would be forced to sell to the negroes. Ibid, p. 136. 

124 The Hayes-Tilden 

iana. l The amount of money actually stolen has 
probably been exaggerated by some writers and by 
partisan investigating committees, and yet the bare 
truth was sufficient to make a chapter previously un 
paralleled in American history. During the six years 
from 1868 to 1874 the public debt was increased by 
about $14,000,000, while in the period from 1860 to 
1874 the total valuation of property decreased from 
$490,000,000 to $141,624,952. Of this decline, amount 
ing in round numbers to $348,000,000, from $170,000,- 
ooo to $200,000,000 was due to the freeing of the 
slaves, 2 and many more millions to losses occasioned 
by the war, to the economic effects of that struggle and 
of the transformation of the labor system, and to the 
existence of a great business depression through 
out the country; yet unquestionably a large part was 
the direct result of misgovernment. 

Despite the fact that they and their white leaders 
held the offices during this period and were the bene 
ficiaries of this reign of extravagance and corruption, 
the state was not entirely an Elysium for the freedmen. 
As elsewhere in the South, the Ku Klux early became 
active, 3 and against them the negroes were powerless 

1 For an extremely interesting account of South Carolina un 
der negro government see Pike, The Prostrate State. Also Le- 
land, A Voice from South Carolina ; Reynolds, Reconstruction in 
South Carolina; Atlantic Monthly, XXXIX, pp 177-194, 467-475, 
670-684. One of the most candid statements will be found in an 
article by Governor Chamberlain on Reconstruction in South 
Carolina, Ibid, LXXXVIII, pp. 473-484. 

2 Pike, p. 252; message of Governor Chamberlain given in 
Allen, Governor Chamberlain s Administration in South Caro 
lina, p. 49. 

3 See vols. Ill, IV and V of the Ku Klux Reports and Rey 
nolds, pp. 179-217. 

Disputed Election of l8j6 125 

to protect themselves. In some cases no doubt the 
operations of the klans were to a certain extent justi 
fiable, but in others the outrages committed not only 
were wholly without extenuation, but were brutal and 
fiendish beyond description. Says a Democratic writer 
on the period : 

"In reference to South Carolina, the report of the 
joint select committee of the two houses of Congress 
of 1872 contains such a mass of revolting details that 
one cannot decide where to begin their citation or 
where to stop. Murders, or attempts to murder, are 
numerous. Whippings are without number. Prob 
ably the most cruel and cowardly of these last was the 
whipping of Elias Hill. He was a colored man who 
had, from infancy, been dwarfed in legs and arms. 
He was unable to use either. But he possessed an 
intelligent mind ; had learned to read ; and had acquired 
an unusual amount of knowledge for one in his cir 
cumstances. He was a Baptist preacher. He was 
highly respected for his upright character. He was 
eminently religious, and was greatly revered by the 
people of his own race. It was on this ground that 
he was visited by the Ku-Klux, brutally beaten, and 
dragged from his house into the yard, where he was 
left in the cold at night, unable to walk or crawl. 
After the fiends had left, his sister brought him into 
the house. Although this man was a Republican, his 
testimony gave evidence of the mildness and Christian 
forbearance of his character, as well as his freedom 
from ill-will toward the white race. In answer to a 
question as to his feelings towards the whites, he re-, 
plied that he had good-will, love, and affection toward 
them ; but that he feared them. He said that he had 
never made the wrongs and cruelties inflicted by the 

126 The Hayes-Tilden 

white people on his race the subject of his sermons; 
but that he preached the .gospel only repentance 
toward God, and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ." x 

As a result of outrages such as this and also of an 
ever-present fear that a Democratic victory would 
result in a reaction towards slavery, the negroes, 
despite flagrant misgovernment, remained Republican 
almost to a man. A negro would come to his former 
owner for advice upon every other subject, but let the 
subject of politics be broached and he became "as silent 
as a tombstone;" for this was "a subject with which 
Old Massa had nothing to do." 2 As the negroes 
outnumbered the whites in the ratio of about five to 
three, the Republican candidates for state office, no 
matter how dishonest or disreputable, were invariably 
chosen. In 1868 R. K. Scott was elected governor, 
in 1870 was re-elected, and in 1872 was succeeded by 
the notorious F. J. Moses, Jr. 3 

In 1874, however, Daniel H. Chamberlain, a man of 
entirely different character, was elected. Mr. Cham 
berlain was a native of Massachusetts, was a grad 
uate of Yale, had studied law at Harvard, and 
had served as a lieutenant in the colored regiment 
commanded by Charles Francis Adams, Jr. After 
the war he had settled in South Carolina and had 
engaged in cotton planting. In the constitutional 
convention of 1868 he had borne a leading part, 

1 Cox, p. 456. 

2 Leland, p. 40. 

3 Reynolds, pp. 106-218. 

Disputed Election of 1 876 127 

and had soon afterward been elected to fill the 
attorney-generalship, an office he continued to fill 
for four years. 1 Whether during that time he 
managed to keep his hands entirely clean, is a matter 
concerning which there is decided difference of opin 
ion; but certain it is that the fact that most of his 
colleagues were unscrupulous men created an impres 
sion which caused many people, when he was nomin 
ated for governor in 1874, to regard his protestations 
of zeal for reform as so much buncombe. 2 

But no sooner was Mr. Chamberlain inaugurated 
than it appeared that he was in dead earnest about 
reform that whatever his course in the past he 
would strive to preserve "the civilization of the Puri 
tan and the Cavalier, of the Roundhead and the 
Huguenot." 3 He set his face against the corrupt 
schemes of his party; he opposed and, with the help 
of reform Republican and Conservative members, 
defeated an attempt of an unscrupulous element in the 
legislature to secure the removal of F. L. Cardoza, 
the colored state treasurer, who obstructed the execu 
tion of nefarious designs ; he vetoed no less than nine 
teen vicious bills passed during the first session of the 
legislature; he secured much greater economy; and, 

1 Allen, pp. 524-526. 

2 Chamberlain s position during his four years as attorney- 
general was not unlike that which Tilden long occupied when 
on friendly terms with Tweed. See Allen, pp. 8-9, 140-151. A 
Democratic newspaper, The Neics and Courier, said on May 14, 
1875 : "It is our fixed belief that Mr. Chamberlain has never, in 
great things or little, consented to, or aided in, any fraud upon 
this people." For a different view see Reynolds, pp. 465-470, 

3 Allen, p. 201. 

128 The Hayes-Tilden 

boldest step of all, he refused to issue commissions to 
two infamous characters, W. J. Whipper and ex-Gov 
ernor Moses, whom the legislature had chosen circuit 
judges. * 

By these actions he gained the hearty commendation 
of the better class of citizens in the state and attracted 
much attention from the country at large. The 
Charleston News and Courier, the most influential 
Democratic newspaper in the state, declared that he 
"richly deserves the confidence of the people of this 
state," and on another occasion expressed the opinion 
that "Governor Chamberlain has done for the people 
of South Carolina what no other living man could 
have done." 2 Other Democratic newspapers in South 
t Carolina used similar language ; while many periodicals 
outside the state, irrespective of party, commended 
his course in high terms. 3 

The element which he had opposed was very indig 
nant at his courageous stand. A vigorous effort was 
made to read him out of the party as a traitor. The 
effort culminated in April, 1876, in the Republican 
state convention which met at Columbia to choose 
delegates to the Republican national convention. 
Governor Chamberlain announced his desire to go 
as a delegate, but there appeared to be little chance 
that he would be able to do so, for in the con 
test for the temporary chairmanship his friends 

1 For a very full account of these matters see Allen, pp. 10- 

Li 58. 

2 Quoted by Allen, pp. 107, 199. 

3 Ibid, pp. 106-114, 236-243; South Atlantic, I, pp. 332-340 
H. R. R. No. 175, Part 2, 44th Cong. 2d Sess., pp. 25-31. 

Disputed Election of l8jd 129 

were defeated by a vote of 80 to 45. The triumph 
of his enemies seemed a foregone conclusion; but at 
four o clock on the morning of April I4th, after a tu 
multuous- session which had lasted for many hours, the 
governor secured the floor, and by one of the most 
effective speeches on record so confounded his enemies 
and so swayed the convention that when he concluded 
he was chosen over United States Senator Patterson 
by an overwhelming majority. 1 

The activity of Governor Chamberlain in the cause 
of good government was such that for a long time the 
Democrats were undecided whether to nominate any 
one to oppose him. Those who favored the policy of 
abstaining from such a nomination were known as the 
"Co-operationists," while those who wished to name 
a full ticket received the name of "Straight-outers." 2 
The Charleston News and Courier was especially active 
in endeavoring to prevent a separate nomination. It 
advocated concentrating all "our efforts on the other 
state officers and the members of the legislature. With 
Mr. Chamberlain as governor, and a Conservative 
Democratic majority, or thereabouts, in the lower 
house, the state, in every sense of the word, would 
be safe. In attempting to gain more we might lose 

1 Allen, 258-271 ; New York Times and New York Herald, 
April 16th. The correspondent of the Times called Chamberlain s 
speech "one of the grandest orations ever listened to in Amer 
ica," while the correspondent of the Washington Chronicle des 
cribed it in equally high terms. Patterson was working for the 
nomination of Governor Morton for the Presidency. At Cincin 
nati Chamberlain supported Bristow and then Hayes. The vote 
of the delegation was divided. 

2 Allen, pp. 258-272; H. R. R. No. 175, Part 2, 44th Cong. 2d 
Sess., pp. 27-32. 

130 The Playes-Tilden 

everything." In arguing in support of this plan the 
paper declared and the statement is most significant 
in the light of later events that the Republican ma 
jority could be overcome in "only one way : by armed 
force." i 

In the end the "Straight-outers" were victorious. A 
number of causes contributed to this result. Cham 
berlain, while a reformer, was, after all, a Republican 
and a native of Massachusetts; these facts weighed 
heavily against him in the minds of most of the white 
inhabitants of South Carolina. In addition it was 
felt by many that to adopt the "Co-operationist" policy 
would lessen the chances of choosing Democratic Pres 
idential electors, while it was recognized that an in 
dorsement of Chamberlain would weaken the Demo 
cratic position in the country at large, because such 
an indorsement would be tantamount to an admission 
that here at last was an honest "carpet-bagger." All 
these motives, together with hunger for office and 
pressure from Democratic politicians from outside the 
state, weighed heavily with many Democratic leaders 
and impelled them to adopt a "rule or ruin" policy. 2 
Nevertheless the "Straight-out" movement might have 
failed had it not been for an event which greatly inten 
sified partisan feeling and forced Governor Chamber- 

1 May 8th. Italics so printed in original. In July the paper 
published a series of elaborate articles defending his admin 

2 Allen, pp. 307-331, 336. See also pp. 181, 244-245, of Vol. 
XII of Southern Historical Society Papers ; the reference is to a 
scries of articles by F. A. Porcher on the Last Chapter of 
Reconstruction in South Carolina. 

Disputed Election of 1876 131 

lain to take a stand which alienated many of the white 
inhabitants. 1 

This event was the so-called "Hamburg Massacre," 
which took place in Aiken county on the 8th of July. 
The massacre grew out of an incident which occurred 
on the 4th. On that day while the negro militia com 
pany of the town was marching on one of the public 
streets two young % white men drove up in a buggy. 
According to one version of the affair the company 
purposely blocked up the entire street and refused to 
allow the whites to pass; according to the other the 
whites, disdaining to turn to one side, drove against 
the head of the column and ordered the company to 
break ranks and let them through. 2 At any rate a 
wordy altercation followed, which finally resulted in 
the negroes allowing the whites to pass. Complaint 
was later made by the father of one of the young men 
before Trial Justice Rivers, a colored man, against 
Dock Adams, the captain of the company, for obstruct 
ing the highway. After a stormy preliminary hearing 
on the 6th the case was postponed until the 8th. On 
that day about a hundred armed white men assembled 
in the town; and Adams, on the plea that he feared 
violence, failed to appear before the justice and took 
refuge with other negroes in the armory. A demand 
was then made by General M. C. Butler, who was act 
ing as attorney for the prosecution, and who was later 

Papers VoL XI1 p - 245; 8outh 

. .? The negro companies were viewed with great dislike by the 
whites. The members were often insolent and lawless. 

132 The Hayes-Til den 

United States senator from South Carolina, that the 
militia should give up their arms to the whites. 1 The 
demand was refused, and firing began. One white 
was killed early in the conflict; but his fellows bom 
barded the armory with a cannon brought over from 
Augusta, Georgia ; and after a time the negroes, hav 
ing exhausted about all their ammunition, attempted 
to escape. Some succeeded, but James Cook, the col 
ored town marshall, who lived in the armory, was 
killed; and about twenty-five others were captured. 
Of these, five were afterwards murdered in cold blood, 
and three were badly wounded. Not content with 
this violence, some of the mob then robbed and mal 
treated a number of other negroes, including Trial Jus 
tice Rivers. 2 

As soon as he received notice of the affair Governor 
Chamberlain sent the attorney-general to make an 
investigation, announced his intention to do all in his 
power to bring the offenders to justice, and asked the 
President whether the general government would assist 
him in maintaining order in case violence in the 
state should get beyond the control of the state au 
thorities. 3 His attitude in the matter was indorsed 
by some of the more liberal whites, but was severely 

1 The status of the negro company was somewnat Irregular ; 
the whites claimed that it had no right to the arms. For the offi 
cial papers relating to the company s status see S. Mis. Doc. No. 
48, 44th Cong. 2d Sess., pp. 582 et seq. 

2 My account is based upon Allen, pp. 307-330; the South 
Atlantic, I, pp. 412-413 ; Southern Historical Society Papers, XII, 
pp. 245-252 ; Leland, pp. 156-157 ; and the great mass of testi 
mony in S. Mis. Doc. No. 48, 44th Cong. 2d Sess., and H. R. Mis. 
Doc. No. 31, 44th Cong. 2d Sess. 

3 Allen, pp. 313 et seq. 

Disputed Election of 1876 133 

criticised by persons in whose estimation the killing of 
a few negroes was not a matter of very great import 
ance. 1 

The passions and prejudices aroused at this time 
proved decisive in determining the action of the Dem 
ocrats. 2 While the excitement was at its height the 
state executive committee issued a call for a conven 
tion to meet at Columbia on the I5th of August. 
When the convention assembled the "Co-operationists" 
did their best to secure the adoption of a "watch and 
wait" policy ; but the "Straight-outers" carried through 
a resolution "to nominate candidates for governor and 
other state officers." 3 

Having decided upon the policy to pursue, the con 
vention chose as its nominee General Wade Hampton. 
The choice was a wise one, perhaps the wisest that 
could have been made. General Hampton was a mem 
ber of the old aristocracy^ and had been one of the 
wealthiest men in the state. In the Rebellion he had 
commanded Lee s cavalry after the death of J. E. B. 
Stuart, had later unsuccessfully opposed Sherman s 
march through the Carolinas, and while he had won 

1 The News and Courier said : "Governor Chamberlain ap 
pears to think that a company of United States soldiers will 
have a more sedative effect than rifle clubs or civil posses. This 
was the position taken a few weeks ago by the newspapers that 
berate Governor Chamberlain for calling for troops. These very 
journals, at the time of the Combahee troubles, were clamorous 
for troops, and were furious in their denunciations of Governor 
Chamberlain because he would not call for them." 

2 South Atlantic, I, p. 414. 

3 Allen, pp. 335-336; South Atlantic, I, pp. 416-427; Annual 
Cyclopaedia, 1876, p. 721; Reynolds, pp. 347-350; files of Neivs 
and Courier and of the Columbia Union Herald 


134 The Hayes-Tilden 

no great successes had shown much military ability. 
He had early accepted the results of the war, and had 
been one of the first of the Southern leaders to advo 
cate a liberal policy towards the freedmen. While not 
the possessor of oratorical nor even of intellectual gifts 
of the highest order, he yet had exactly the qualities of 
leadership indispensable for success in the present 
emergency. 1 

The platform on which he was nominated professed 
acceptance of the three war Amendments ; stated that 
"we turn from the settled and final past to the great, 
living, and momentous issues of the present and the 
future;" and contained a bitter arraignment of the 
Republican party, for "arraying race against race," for 
"prostituting the elective franchise" and "tampering 
with the ballot-box," and for having brought about a 
condition of "venality and corruption" unparalleled in 
history. 2 In the opinion of The Nation, the platform 
contained "all the things that proper platforms have 
to contain in these days acceptance of the Constitu 
tional Amendments and other results of the war, devo 
tion to equal rights, love of peace and order, immeas 
urable hatred of theft, fraud, and other forms of vil 
lainy. . . . The only thing the Republicans can say 
against it is that it is hypocritical." 3 

The Republicans did not hold their convention until 

1 For Hampton s character see South Atlantic, I, pp. 416-419. 
and 424; Sewanee Revieiv, X, pp. 364-373; McClure, Recollec 
tions of Half a Century, pp. 406-414. 

2 Annual Cyclopaedia, 1876, p. 721. 

3 Vol. XXIII, p. 111. 

Disputed Election of 1876 135 

almost a month later. l When it assembled on the I3th 
of September, a strong effort was made by R. B. El 
liott, the mulatto speaker of the House of Represen 
tatives, C. C. Bovven, B. F. Whittemore, and other 
anti-reformers, to overthrow Chamberlain. A bitter 
contest followed in which the governor was only par 
tially victorious. He secured the adoption of a plat 
form pledging a large number of specific reforms, and 
also secured his own renomination as well as that of 
State Treasurer Cardoza and others of his adherents ; 
but unfortunately he was unable to prevent the conven 
tion from putting R. B. Elliott, T. C. Dunn, and others 
of the most corrupt element in the party on the ticket. 
By this step a considerable number of honest men of 
both races were alienated. 2 

The Democrats did not wait for the Republican con 
vention to be over before beginning their campaign. 
All sections of the party at once united and entered 
upon a determined and wonderfully enthusiastic effort 
to "redeem" the state. The plan of procedure was to 
attempt to conciliate the blacks by making glowing 
promises 3 and by nominating negroes for the legis 
lature in some of the counties in which the Republican 
majorities were too large to overcome, 4 and at the 

1 For accounts of the convention see Allen, pp. 352-354 ; Rey 
nolds, pp. 362-3.72. Southern Historical Society Papers, 311-316; 
Atlantic, XXXIX, p. 186; Annual Cyclopaedia for 1876, p. 722; 
files of the New York World, Herald, and Times, and of the 
Charleston News and Courier, and the Columbia Union Herald. 
VII 2 Alle " PP 360 504 - 505 I Chamberlain in Atlantic, LXXXX- 

South Atlantic, I, pp. 45-50; H. R. Mis. Doc. No. 31, Part 1, 
44th Cong. 2d Sess., pp. 306-310 
4 Atlantic, XXXIX, p. 184. 

136 The Hayes-Til Jen 

same time to bring forms of pressure to bear which 
would convince the recalcitrant that it would be safer 
to affiliate with the Democracy. The leaders of the 
party fully understood that only by drastic methods 
could they hope to overcome the large Republican ma 
jority. Resort was therefore had to the "Mississippi 
plan." "Rifle-clubs," "artillery companies," "sabre 
clubs," uniformed in red shirts and fully armed, were 
organized throughout the state. They at once began 
systematically to appear at Republican meetings and 
demand a division of time. As an example of how they 
behaved at these meetings may be taken the following 
description by Governor Chamberlain, who at the time 
the incidents occurred was making a tour of the state 
for the purpose of defending his administration and 
securing a renomination. Says Mr. Chamberlain: 

"On the return of Judge Hoge and Mr. Jillson from 
Newberry on the iQth of August, they strongly ad 
vised the abandonment of the meeting at Abbeville in 
view of their experience at Newberry, and especially 
on account of a violent and threatening harangue made 
at the depot at Newberry on the morning of the I9th, 
to a band of his partisans, by Col. D. Wyatt Aiken. I 
replied that I should keep my engagement at Abbeville 
from a sense of imperative duty to my Republican 
friends there. Unwilling to allow me to go alone, 
these gentlemen gallantly consented to accompany me 
on the 2 ist to Abbeville Court House. On arriving 
at Abbeville, I found our Republican friends, as at 
Newberry, firmly convinced that if we held our meet 
ing prudence would compel us to allow the Democrats 
to occupy half the time, and even then they were 

Disputed Election of l8jd 137 

greatly apprehensive of trouble. An arrangement was 
accordingly entered into by which three speakers from 
each party were to take part in the meeting. At the 
hour appointed we proceeded to the place of meeting, 
where we found the Republicans assembled, after the 
manner of ordinary political meetings. As soon, how 
ever, as the Republicans were assembled, companies 
of mounted white men, marching in martial order, 
and under the command of officers or persons who 
gave orders which were obeyed, began to pour over 
the hill in front of the stand and to take their places 
at the meeting. At this time I sat beside General 
McGowan, N and we agreed in our estimate that there 
were from 800 to 1,000 mounted white men present. 
They came, as I know, from Edgefield County, and, 
as I was informed, from Newberry, Anderson, and 
Laurens Counties, as well as from Abbeville County. 
When fully assembled, they covered more than one-half 
the space around the stand, besides entirely encircling 
the whole meeting with mounted men. I spoke first. 
In the course of my speech, in response to loud and 
repeated cries from the white men, How about Ham 
burg, Tell us about Hamburg/ I replied, Yes, I wall 
tell you about Hamburg, whereupon I saw a sudden 
crowding towards the stand by the mounted white 
men on my right and heard distinctly the click of a 
considerable number of pistols. 

"I was followed by Col. D. Wyatt Aiken, in a speech 
filled to overflowing with the spirit of intolerance and 
violence. With his thousand mounted and armed par 
tisans cheering him on, he shouted to the five or six 
hundred colored Republicans, If you want war you 
can have it yes, war to the knife, and the knife to 
the hilt/ With a thousand armed white men drinking 
in his words, he singled out one colored man in the 
crowd for special personal denunciation. . . . Later in 

138 The Hayes-Tilden 

the day Mr. Jillson while speaking was so greatly 
interrupted by the white men that he was unable to 
make a connected speech or to pursue his intended 
line of argument. After the meeting was closed and 
while the colored republicans were carrying a United 
States flag past the public square in the village, an 
effort was made by a party of mounted white men to 
snatch it from them, fifteen or twenty pistols were 
discharged in the air, and a general riot was thereby 
made imminent." 1 

The object of activity such as this was well set forth 
at the time by H. V. Redfield in a letter to the Cincin 
nati Commercial. "The outsider," wrote he, "is apt to 
be puzzled by accounts of affairs here. He may not 
understand the formation of rifle-clubs, rifle-teams, 
artillery companies, among the whites. What are they 
afraid of? They are not afraid of anything. Why, 
then, this arming? They intend to carry this election, 
if it is possible to do so. The programme is to have 
rifle-clubs all over the state, and, while avoiding actual 
bloodshed as much as possible, to so impress the blacks 
that they, or a number of them, will feel impelled to 
vote with the whites out of actual fear. The blacks are 
timid by nature, timid by habit, timid by education. A 
display of force unnerves them. The whites under 
stand this, and an immense marching about at night, 

1 H. R. Mis. Doc. No. 31, Part 1, 44th Cong. 2d Sess, pp. 
359-360. In pages both before and following there are accounts 
of similar meetings at other places. For yet other accounts see 
Ibid, pp. 187, 223, 228, 230, 231, 239, 243, 246,279, 359, 395, 459, 
460; Part 2, pp. 153, 228, 237; and Part 3, pp. 117. 197, 224. 
Some of this evidence was given by officers of the United States 
army. See also Southern Historical Society Papers, XII, pp. 
309-310. Chamberlain s accounts are by no means exaggerated, 
if one is to believe the stories told by South Carolinians today. 

Disputed Election of l8jd 139 

and appearance at any republican meeting to divide 
time 1 is with a view to impress the blacks with a sense 
of the danger of longer holding out against white 
rule." i 

The Democrats, in fact, did everything in their 
power to produce a reign of terror among the freed- 
men. Threats of violence flew thick as birds in spring ; 
the homes of colored men were fired into at night ; and 
negroes were whipped, assaulted, and in some in 
stances murdered. 2 

An equally effective weapon used against the blacks 
was industrial proscription. Democrats openly an 
nounced that they would not employ Republicans nor 
rent land to them, and the Democratic newspapers were 
filled with resolutions to that effect. Out of the many 
such resolutions which might be cited, this one, taken 
from the News and Courier for September i8th, will 
suffice : 

"The following resolutions, adopted by the Easter- 
lin s Mill Democratic Club, are commended to the at 
tention of the different clubs throughout the state. 
Similar resolutions have been adopted by the Willow 
Township, Graham s, and Bamberg clubs, and no doubt 
by many other clubs in Orangeburgh and Barnwell 
Counties. It is intended that the names of the obnox 
ious leaders in each township be sent to the different 
clubs throughout the county : 

"i. Resolved, That we will not rent land to any 

1 H. R. Mis. Doc. No. 31, Part 1, 44th Cong. 2d Sess., p. 365. 

2 For evidence on these points see index to Ibid, pp. 470-471. 
The use of violence is not now denied by candid persons. See 
Sewanee Review, X, p. 367, and Atlantic, LXXXVIII, p. 480. 

140 The Hayes-Tilden 

radical leader, or any member of his family, or furnish 
a home, or give employment to any such leader or any 
member of his family. 

"2. That we will not furnish any such leader, or 
any member of his family, any supplies, such as pro 
visions, farm-implements, stock, etc., except so far as 
contracts for the present year are concerned. 

"3. That we will not purchase anything any radical 
leader or any member of his family may offer for sale, 
or sell any such leader or any member of his family 
anything whatever. 

"4. That the names of such persons who may be 
considered leaders be furnished to this club at the ear 
liest date, and that a list of the same be furnished each 
member of the club." 1 

The Republicans, on their part, worked unceasingly 
to counteract the Democratic efforts. Speakers played 
upon the freedman s ever-present fear of being once 
more reduced to slavery. 2 Democratic negroes were 
stripped naked and beaten with whips and clubs, or were 
cut with knives or razors. According to the Democratic 
members of an investigating committee later sent out 
by the Federal House of Representatives, "Women 
utterly refused to have any intercourse \vith men of 
their own race who voted against the Republicans. 
One instance was proven of the actual desertion of a 

1 H. R. R. No. 175, Part 2, 44th Cong. 2d Sess., p. 39. Other in 
stances are given on the same page. See also Ibid, Mis. Doc. No. 
31, Part 1, pp. 219, 221, 223, 224, 228, 237, 244, 260, 264, 271, 291. 
General M. C. Butler of Hamburg fame later testified that he 
had told his tenants that if they voted the Republican ticket 
they would have to leave his plantation. First report just 
quoted, pp. 38-39. 

2 Southern Historical Society Papers, XII, p. 310. 

Disputed Election of l8jd 141 

wife with the children of a husband because he made 
campaign speeches for the Democrats." l But, com 
pared with the intimidation practiced by their oppon 
ents, the amount of which the Republicans were guilty 
appears to have been comparatively small; while the 
very abhorrence in which Democratic negroes were 
held by the people of their own color is pretty conclu 
sive proof that when left alone the negroes were almost 
unanimously Republican. The freedmen not only 
employed violence in preventing desertions, but, exas 
perated by the Democratic invasions of their meetings, 
they also showed in some localities an unexpected 
determination to resist the whites. They began to 
carry arms to their meetings, and to indulge in the 
most diabolical threats. 2 

In the month of September there were, in fact, two 
serious collisions between the races. The first took 
place in Charleston on the 6th, and was due to an 
unjustifiable attempt on the part of colored Republicans 
to call two colored Democratic speakers to account for 
their utterances. Before the riot was subdued by the 
Republican authorities several persons on both sides 

1 H. R. R. No. 175, Part 1, 44th Cong. 2d Sess., pp. 11-12. For 
other evidence along this line see H. R. Mis. Doc. No. 31, Part 1, 
pp. 399, 417, 422, 436, 438, 446. One negro said that on a 
certain occasion when he hurrahed for Hampton, men and 
women of his race fell upon him "the same as ants," and tore 
off all his clothing except his trousers. The same negro stated 
that the reason he voted the Democratic ticket was that he was 
able to borrow money from a Democrat, who asked no questions 
about repayment. "I thought the Democratic party was good, 
and we ll give them our support." Ibid, 402. 

2 Atlantic, XXXIX, p. 185. 

142 The Hayes-Tilden 

had been injured, and one white man had been fatally 
wounded. 1 

The other riot was a far more serious affair. It 
occurred at Ellenton, in the same county in which 
Hamburg was situated. As a result of race and poli 
tical hatreds, conditions in that section had for some 
time been favorable for an outbreak. An occasion 
was offered by the attempt of two negroes to commit 
a robbery. The opportunity "to teach the negroes a 
lesson" was too favorable to be lost. Rifle-clubs from 
a radius of thirty miles collected ; all the negroes of 
the locality became alarmed ; conflicts took place ; and 
before quiet was restored one or two whites and from 
fifteen to thirty negroes had lost their lives. Most and 
probably all of the negroes killed were wholly inno 
cent of the original offense, and many were simply shot 
down. Particularly cold-blooded was the murder of 
Simon P. Coker, a member of the legislature. A far 
greater massacre was prevented only by the opportune 
arrival of a company of United States troops, who 
saved about one hundred colored men surrounded in 
a swamp. Even then the killing of colored men con 
tinued for several days. 2 

In view of the violence and disorder in the state, 
Governor Chamberlain on October 7th issued a proc- 

1 Southern Historical Society Papers, XII, pp. 554-558 ; Allen, 
p. 351 ; H. R. Mis. Doc. No. 31, Part 2, 44th Cong. 2d Sess., pp. 
1 et seq. 

2 My account of the Ellenton affair is based chiefly on South 
ern Historical Society Papers, XIII, pp. 47-H3 ; and on the enor 
mous mass of evidence contained in H. R. Mis. Doc. No. 31, 44th 
Cong. 2d Sess., and in S. Mis. Doc. No. 48, 44th Cong. 2d Sess. 

Disputed Election of l8j6 143 

lamation ordering the rifle-clubs and other military 
organizations not a part of the militia to disband. As 
the disturbances continued and the order was not 
obeyed, he soon afterwards appealed to the President 
for troops. The President accordingly issued a proc 
lamation against the rifle-clubs, and sent more than 
thirty companies of United States troops into the 
state. l 

These actions on the part of the governor and the 
President evoked, of course, a storm of criticism. 2 It 
was denied by the Democrats that the call for troops 
was warranted by the facts. It was said that Cham 
berlain ought to have called upon the rifle-clubs to put 
down the disorders. It was urged that he ought to 
have convoked the legislature. On the whole, how 
ever, there can be little doubt that the use of troops 
was justifiable, even though it be granted that the 
governor and the President were actuated by partisan 
motives. The governor unquestionably showed wis 
dom in not attempting to make use of the negro militia, 
for that would have brought on yet more terrible con 
sequences ; while, as for making use of the rifle-clubs, 
that, as he remarked, would have been calling in the 

1 Annual Cyclopaedia, 1876, pp. 719-720, and Allen, pp. 365- 

2 H. R. Mis. Doc. No. 31, Part 1, 44th Cong. 2d Sess., pp. 338- 
40, Southern Historical Society Papers, XIII, pp. 53-55. Some 

of the judges denied Chamberlain s charges; some even repre 
sented South Carolina as a very elysium of peace and good 
order. A United States army officer later testified that the 
judges lied. Judge Wiggin, whose circuit embraced the coun 
ties of Aiken and Barnwell, stated that domestic violence cer 
tainly existed and expressed the opinion that the sending of 
troops had saved many lives. H. R. Mis. Doc No 31 Part 4 
45th Cong. 3d Sess., p. 340. 

The Hayes-Til den 

wolves to guard the sheep. 1 The use of troops in an 
election is, to be sure, to be deplored as a usual thing ; 
but conditions in South Carolina were such that the 
only pity was there were not more troops available. 
As for the absurd claim that the presence of the troops 
would scare the negroes into voting the Republican 
ticket, 2 the later admission by the Democratic mem 
bers of a House investigating committee that the bear 
ing of the troops "was both prudent and wise" 3 is 
sufficient refutation. The "true inwardness" of the 
outcry lay in the fact that the presence of the troops 
interfered with the Democratic plan of campaign. Had 
the troops not been sent, there can be little doubt that 
the Democrats would have carried the state by a large 
majority. But as General N. P. Banks later remarked : 
"The last card one which had been played with so 
much success in adjoining states, upon which in fact 
every expectation of success depended, the revolver 
and rifle, which had been carefully dealt out, according 
to the rules of the game as practiced in the best politi 
cal society, to each member of the club organized for 
intellectual and social pleasures only was unexpect 
edly and scandalously trumped by a Federal bayonet." 
The presence of the troops did much to secure a 
more peaceful condition of affairs. After the issuance 
of the President s proclamation there was but one con 
siderable riot. This occurred at a Republican meeting 

1 Allen, p. 387. For Chamberlain s defence see New York 
Tribune for October 5th and November 2d . 

2 E. g., New York Herald of Oct. 28th. 

3 H R R. No. 175, Part I, 44th Cong. 2d Sess., p. 12. 

4 Ibid, Part 2, p. 227. 

Disputed Election of l8j6 145 

held at Cainhoy near Charleston. As usual the Demo 
crats had forced the Republicans to divide time, and 
while the meeting was in progress some young white 
men seized some guns belonging to the negroes. A 
fight ensued in which the negroes for once stood their 
ground, killed six of the whites, and put the rest to 
flight, with the loss of but one of their own number. * 
In all places where troops were stationed the negroes 
were comparatively safe from physical violence, for so 
thoroughly, had South Carolinians learned to respect 
the United States that the presence of a single blue uni 
form was sufficient to hold a whole company of "red- 
shirts" in check. In the back country where there 
were no troops, however, there continued to be some 
thing of a reign of terror among the freedmen. 

The election proper was attended with terrible ex 
citement, yet on the whole it was more peaceable than 
might have been anticipated. In some respects, how 
ever, it was scarcely more than a farce. While there 
. were no great riots, there were minor disturbances at 
many places, and there was much intimidation of indi 
viduals, buying of votes, and repeating. In Charles 
ton, Beaufort, and other "black counties" bands of 
negroes, armed with guns, clubs, swords, knives, bay 
onets, and other weapons, surrounded some of the 
polls ; swore they would "kill any - - Democratic 
nigger" who offered to vote; and violently handled 
some who disregarded the warning. In these counties 

1 For some of the evidence see H. R. Mis. Doc. No. 31, 44th 
Cons. 2d Sess., pp. 160-260. See also Southern Historical Society 
Papers, pp. 57-59, for a very partisan account. 

146 The Hayes-TilJen 

the Republicans also appear to have done considerable 
repeating. l In other counties similar tactics were 
pursued to an even greater degree by the Democrats. 
Negroes and even white election officials were intimi 
dated and in some cases assaulted, and parties of white 
men rode about from poll to poll casting their votes at 
each. 2 In this sort of work the native whites were 
materially aided by Georgians and North Carolinians, 
who crossed the border to help their fellow Democrats. 3 
Since the state census of 1875 gives the number of 
males of voting age and since the election managers 
in all but four counties classified the voters according 
to color, it is possible to arrive at some conclusions by 
a process of comparison. 4 Such a study seems to 
show that by far the greater amount of illegal voting 
was done by the whites. In only two counties did the 
colored vote exceed the census figures, the excess being 
928 ; in the other counties 5 the negro vote fell below 
the census figures by 6,727. In only four counties did 
the white vote fall below the census figures, the de 
crease in these being 328; in all the other counties, 
exclusive of those in which no classification was made, 
there was an excess amounting to 3,505, while in the 
non-classified counties there was an estimated excess 

1 See Atlantic, XXXIX, p. 187 ; index to H. R. Mis. Doc. No. 
31 Part 1, pp. 471-472 ; index to S. Mis. Doc. No. 48, p. xiii. 

2 Ibid, pp. x-xiii; House report just cited, pp. 470-471; Atlan- 

3 Ibid; House report, Part 1, pp. 235, 241; S. Mis. Doc. No. 
48, 44th Cong. 2d Sess., pp. 328, 352, 410, 675, 861. 

4 For figures see H. R. R. No. 175, Part 2, 44th Cong. 2d 
Sess., p. 62. The four counties were Charleston, Laurens, Edge- 
field, and Williamsburgh. 

5 Disregarding the four mentioned. 

Disputed Election of iSjd 147 

of 3,026. In only one county, namely Barmvell, do 
the figures show conclusively that there was Republican 
repeating. Most of this repeating was done in Rob- 
bins Precinct. About noon of election day the regular 
polling-place was fired on and was deserted, but the 
Republican manager opened another one at an aban 
doned school-house. The voting at this new poll 
proceeded so briskly that, when evening came, 1,317 
ballots, all for the Republican candidates, were taken 
out of the box. As this was about four times the 
number of votes cast at the election of 1874, it is toler 
ably clear that some citizens must have deposited more 
than their share. 1 It was also claimed by the Demo 
crats that the Republicans did much repeating in 
Charleston county ; but the figures alone do not bear 
out the claim, for the total vote of the county lacked 
more than 1,000 of equalling the census figures. How 
ever, as it was notorious that great numbers of blacks 
were induced by the whites to absent themselves from 
the polls, it is quite conceivable that some who did go 
cast extra ballots for those who remained away. 2 

But the Democrats certainly bore away the palm in 
the matter of illegal voting. Edgefield county, which 
in 1874 had given a Republican majority of 498 

1 For index to part of the testimony regarding this precinct see 
p. 469 of H. R. Mis. Doc. No. 31. Part 1, 44th Cong. 2d Sess. The 
Democrats claimed that the Republicans themselves fired on the 
polling places. The Republicans tried to explain the size of the 
vote by pointing out that in a neighboring precinct no election was 
held and that the voters from that precinct voted in the Rob- 
bins Precinct. The board of canvassers threw out all the votes. 
Not all the cheating in this county was done by Republicans, for 
the white vote exceeded the census figures by 416, whereas the 
colored vote was less by 971. 

2 Atlantic, XXXIX, p. 187. 

148 The Hayes-Til den 

out of a vote of 6,298, was this time made to 
return a Democratic majority of 3,134 out of a 
total of 9,3/4, which was 2,252 more votes than 
the total number of adult males in the preceding year. 1 
In Laurens county likewise there was much crooked 
work done. In that county the Democratic majority 
was 1,112, as against a Republican majority of 1,077 
in 1874. 2 In these two counties ballot-box stuffing, 
intimidation, repeating, and similar practices were 
everywhere rampant. 

The ballots were counted much more fairly 
than they were cast. With a liberality which did him 
honor, Governor Chamberlain had appointed a Dem 
ocrat as a member of the board of managers in each 
election precinct and had composed the board of county 
canvassers in like manner. 3 

The election was scarcely over before it was apparent 
that the result would be very close. At once there 
began a contest similar to those in Florida and Louis 
iana. Like those states South Carolina had a board of 
state canvassers. This board was composed of the 
secretary of state, the comptroller-general, the attorney- 
general, auditor, treasurer, adjutant and inspector-gen- 

1 For testimony regarding Edgefield see p. xii of index to S. 
Mis. Doc. No. 48, 44th Cong. 2d Sess. The Democrats had 
claimed that the census figures were too large. Atlantic, XXXIX, 
p. 187. 

2 Ibid, pp. xii-xiii. 

3 Allen, p. 428. In compiling the vote the county canvassers 
made some changes in the precinct returns. The names of some 
of the candidates had not been correctly printed on some of the 
tickets, and in several cases candidates running for one office had 
by mistake received votes for other offices. Some of the boards 
credited the candidates with votes clearly intended for them. 
Atlantic, XXXIX, p. 188. 

Disputed Election of l8j6 149 

eral, and the chairman of the committee on privileges 
and elections of the House of Representatives. 1 All 
these gentlemen were Republicans, three were colored 
men, and three were candidates for re-election. Under 
the act creating it, the board had the power to receive 
and canvass the returns for all officers except governor 
and lieutenant-governor, the returns for these two 
being canvassed in joint session of the general assem 
bly. In performing their work the board had the 
further power, and it was "made their duty, to decide 
all cases under protest or contest" that might arise. 2 
At previous canvasses this section of the statute had 
been interpreted as giving the board discretionary 
powers. 3 At this canvass, however, the Democrats re 
solved to make an effort to confine the board to merely 
ministerial duties. In this work they found an instru 
ment ready at hand in the state supreme court. That 
body was composed of Chief Justice F. J. Moses, 
father of the notorious ex-governor whose judicial am 
bitions had been thwarted by Chamberlain; of Asso 
ciate Justice Willard ; and of Associate Justice Wright, 
who was a colored man. 4 All three had been chosen 
by the Republicans, but the first two had opposed 
Chamberlain and they now displayed a willingness to 
lend themselves to actions almost if not quite as par- 

1 The last mentioned and the auditor did not act. P. 67 of 
Appendix to H. R. Mis. Doc. No. 31, Part 3, 44th Cong., 2d 

2 Act approved March 1, 1870. 

3 Allen, p. 429. 

4 Ibid. 


150 The Hayes-Tilden 

tisan as many of those already described in Louis 
iana. 1 

On the 1 4th of November, four days after the board 
began its proceedings, the Democrats applied to the 
court for a writ of prohibition to restrain the board 
from exercising judicial functions, and for a writ of 
mandamus to compel it to perform the merely minis 
terial functions of ascertaining from the returns which 
candidates had the highest number of votes and of 
then certifying the statements thereof to the secretary 
of state. On the i/th the court complied as far as 
to issue an order, auxiliary to its final judgment, 
directing the board forthwith to proceed to canvass 
the returns, and then make a report of the result to 
the court. 2 

Very much against their will the board on November 
2 ist brought in such a report, but at the same time 
submitted a vigorous protest against the claim that the 
board was by law compelled to render account of its 
actions to the court. The board stated that many 
allegations and evidences of fraud and other irregulari 
ties had been filed regarding the election in Edgefield, 
Barnwell, Laurens, and other counties. They further 
reported that, taking the face of the returns but omit 
ting Robbins Precinct, the result would be the election 
of two Democratic congressmen, two Democratic state 

1 Maxwell in the South Atlantic, pp. 328-330, pays a tribute 
to the court s "judicial integrity." 

2 For the documents in the case see Appendix to H. R. Mis. 
Doc. No. 31, 44th Cong. 2d Sess., pp. 78-91. Justice Wright dis 
sented from that part of the order which required the board to 
certify its action to the court. 

Disputed Election of 1876 151 

officers, 1 enough Democratic members of the general 
assembly to give that party a majority of one on 
joint ballot, three Republican state officers, four Re 
publican congressmen, and all the Republican electors 
by majorities averaging about 816. 2 

The Democrats now found themselves in an extreme 
ly puzzling dilemma. The face of the returns gave 
them control of the legislature, and consequently 
the governorship and lieutenant-governorship, into 
their hands ; but, notwithstanding the frauds in Edge- 
field, Barnwell, and Laurens, the vote for the electors 
was favorable to Hayes. If the returns were allowed 
to stand, then most of the state ticket would be saved, 
but Tilden would be lost; if, on the other hand, the 
court should decide to allow the board discretionary 
power, then the state officers, about which the Demo 
crats were by far the most anxious, would probably 
be lost without there being much chance that a ma 
jority would be evolved for Tilden. 

After consulting among themselves and probably 
with New York the Democratic managers asked the 
court to grant two orders, one for each horn of the 
dilemma. The first order was to force the board to 
"certify to be correct the statement of the whole num 
ber of votes for members of the general assembly 
.... and determine and declare what persons have 
been by the greatest number of votes elected to 

1 But not if certain votes cast for John B. Tolbert were 
counted for John R. Tolbert, and certain votes cast for F. C. 
Dunn were counted for T. C. Dunn. 

2 For this report see appendix to H. R. Mis. Doc. No. 31, 44th 
Cong. 2d Sess., pp. 91-114. 

152 The Hayes-Tilden 


such offices .... make certificate of this determin 
ation, and deliver it to the secretary of state 
.... and do the same in reference to members of 
Congress." By this means the Democrats would 
secure beyond the chance of loss two members of 
Congress, two minor state officers, and a majority of 
the members of the legislature and the consequent 
declaration by that body in favor of the claims of 
the Democratic candidates for governor and lieu 
tenant-governor. The request for the other order 
recited that there were discrepancies between the 
returns of the precinct managers and the returns of 
the boards of county canvassers and asked that the 
state board be compelled to correct such discrepancies, 
and after doing so make a report to the court, and also 
deliver to it "all official papers on which the same is in 
any manner based, including the returns of the several 
managers and the statements of the county canvass 
ers." * This petition looked to the saving, if possible, 
of one or all of the electors. 

The court entertained both petitions, but delayed 
action upon them. This delay probably had a hidden 
motive. " The statute defining the powers and duties 
of the board limited that body s sittings to ten days ; 
if, therefore, the board did not fulfill its duties within 
that time, it would no longer have any legal authority 
in the matter; the court, being in possession of the 

1 Appendix to H. R. R. No. 31, Part 3, 44th Cong. 2d Sess., pp. 
133-135. This request was first made on the 20th and was 
again brought forward. 

2 So charged by Allen, p. 434. See also New York Times of 
Nov. 24th et seq. 

Disputed Election of 1876 153 

records of election, could then have assumed the re 
sponsibility of declaring the result. It goes without 
saying that that declaration would have been for Til- 
den, i 

The plan was a shrewd one, but the first step, upon 
which all the rest depended, was delayed a little too 
long. The ten day limit expired shortly after noon of 
the 22d. At ii o clock of that day the court met, and 
issued a writ of peremptory mandamus granting the 
first petition; then, after a short recess, ordered that 
a "rule do issue" requiring the board of canvassers to 
show cause why another writ of mandamus should not 
issue requiring them to comply with the second peti 
tion. 2 

But before the second order was issued and before 
the writ granted had been served, the board of state 
canvassers had ceased to exist. That body met at 10 
A. M. ; "corrected certain errors" in the returns ; threw 
out the counties of Edgefield and Laurens (which cer 
tainly ought to have been thrown out) ; certified the 
election of the Hayes electors, of all the Republican 
candidates for state offices except the candidates for 
governor and lieutenant-governor, and of other can 
didates, both Republicans and Democrats, for whom 
they found majorities. The board then adjourned 
sine die. 3 

1 See Times of Nov. 23d and 24th. 

2 Appendix to report just cited, pp. 114-118; Times of Nov. 
23d; Herald of Nov. 23d. 

3 See appendix just cited, pp. 118-122. For the protests and 
evidence before the board see Ibid, pp. 37-67. For the minutes 
of the board see Ibid, pp. 67-78. The board did not return any 
one as elected to the legislature from Edgefield and Laurens. 

154 The Hayes-Tllden 

The rage of the Democrats when they discovered 
that they had been outwitted was very great indeed. l 
Hampton declared the action of the board "a high 
handed outrage ;" 2 public excitement ran so high that 
an armed conflict seemed not improbable ; the court 
endeavored to avenge itself by fining each member 
of the board $1,500 for contempt and by committing 
all of them to the Richland county jail until further 
orders. 3 From thence they were, however, almost im 
mediately released on a writ of habeas corpus issued by 
Judge Bond of the United States circuit court. 4 

The Democrats now resorted to a number of other 
expedients to secure one or more electors for Tilden. 
A proceeding in the nature of a quo warranto was insti 
tuted in the supreme court by the Democratic claim 
ants against the Republican electors, but the case was 
ultimately dismissed. 5 An attempt was made to bribe 
one of the electors; but, like a previous attempt to 
bribe the canvassing board, it failed. A scheme was 
also formed to prevent the electors from voting by a 
process which involved bribery, violence, and the lock- 

1 Southern Historical Society Papers, XIII, p. 64. 

2 Annual Cyclopaedia, 1876, p. 725. Hampton behaved with 
great prudence, however, throughout this exciting period, and 
discouraged all resorts to violence. He and the other leaders 
saw, of course, that violence would bring them into conflict with 
the United States. 

3 Appendix to H. R. Mis. Doc. No. 31, 44th Cong. 2d Sess., 
pp. 127-133. 

4 Southern Historical Society Papers, XIII, p. 64 ; Herald of 
Nov. 28th. 

5 Appendix cited above, pp. 190-220 ; H. R. R. No. 175, Part 1, 
44th Cong. 2d Sess., p. 9. 

Disputed Election of l8j6 155 

ing up of the electors in separate cells until after the 
legal day for casting their ballots ; but it, too, failed. * 

On the 6th of December, therefore, the Republican 
electors met unhindered, and cast their ballots for 
Hayes and Wheeler. Returns of their vote, duly cer 
tified, were then forwarded both by mail and by mes 
senger to Washington. 

On the same day the Democratic claimants also met 
and voted; but it is rather difficult to see on what 
ground they based their right to do so, for the Demo 
crats admitted among themselves that the national 
contest had gone against them. As early as the I4th 
of November Mr. Smith Mead Weed, who had come 
to the state in the interests of Tilden, had telegraphed 
in cipher to New York: Best I can figure, Tilden 
will be 2,600 behind Hampton, and see little hope ; 
shall keep up appearances." 2 At a later date, when 
the committee of the House of Representatives came 
to the state, the Democratic members were unable to 
make any coherent case for their candidate. In their 
report they felt constrained to admit that, after "ascer 
taining the votes cast at all the precincts and correcting 
the mistakes made by the managers in the returns," the 
lowest Hayes elector had received over the highest 
Tilden elector "a majority of 831." 3 To be sure, the 
Democratic members added that "no opinion is ad 
vanced upon the truth and accuracy of these returns ;" 

1 H. R. R. No. 31, Part 1, 44th Cong. 2d Sess., p. 456. For a 
full account of these matters see post Chap. XIII. 

2 H. R. Mis. Doc. No. 31, Part 4, 45th Cong. 3d Sess., p. 133. 

3 H. R. R. No. 175, Part 1, 44th Cong. 2d Sess., p. 3. This was 
exclusive of Robbins Precinct. 

156 The Disputed Election of 1876 

pointed to the use of the army and to the intimidation 
of Democratic negroes ; and made certain other objec 
tions; but the case they presented was a perfunctory 

There is, in fact, not the slightest doubt regarding 
the electoral result in South Carolina. 1 On the face 
of the returns the Republicans had a substantial ma 
jority. 2 By excluding Edgefield and Laurens, which 
certainly ought to have been excluded, the majority 
would have been increased by more than 4,000. And, 
finally, if the election had been free and fair, the ma 
jority would have been increased by many thousands 

Nevertheless, the Democratic leaders and newspa 
pers throughout the country continued to claim the 
state; and it therefore became a bone of contention 
in the forthcoming struggle at Washington. 

1 As Governor Chamberlain has remarked : "The historian- 
here is no longer compelled to spell out his verdict from a wide 
induction of facts ; he need only accept the assertions, even the 
vaunts, of many of the leading figures in the canvass since the 
canvass was closed." Atlantic, LXXXVII, p. 180. 

2 Reynolds admits that "the Republicans got in their electoral 
ticket." p. 391. 



In Oregon, the remaining state from which a 
double set of returns was forwarded to Washington, 
the election produced a situation different from those 
described in Florida, Louisiana, and South Carolina. 
In Oregon there was no dispute about the result of the 
election; for it was freely admitted by all that the 
three Republican candidates for electors had received 
majorities, the smallest of which was 1,049 votes. 1 
But shortly after the result was known a fact which 
had attracted practically no attention during the cam 
paign began to assume vast importance not only to 
the people of Oregon but also to those of the whole 
country. The fact in question was that John W. 
Watts, one of the Republican electors, was a post 
master. To be sure, his office was one of the fourth 
class in the little village of La Fayette in Yam Hill 
county, and the compensation he received was only 
about $268 per year ; 2 nevertheless, the position was 
unquestionably one of "trust" and "profit," and by 

1 S. R. No. 678, 44th Cong. 2d Sess., pp. 1-2. This will be 
cited as "Report of the Committee." 

2 Ibid, pp. 2-3. The reference is to the committee s report, 
but the report accords with the evidence. 

I5& The Hayes-Tilden 

holding it he was thereby disqualified by section i, 
article 2, of the Federal Constitution from being ap 
pointed an elector. 

The Democrats were somewhat slow in recogniz 
ing the possibilities of the situation which thus pre 
sented itself; but after telegrams from the East had 
announced that a contest had arisen over the eligibility 
of a postmaster-elector in Vermont the state leaders 
at last awoke to the fact that perhaps here was an 
opportunity to secure the one more vote which Tilden 
must have to secure his election. They at once began 
to bestir themselves to see what could be done. l 

In one respect the situation was favorable; in an 
other not so much so. The governor, L. F. Grover, 
was a Democrat, and was partisan enough to lend 
himself to almost any plan which gave hope of suc 
cess. The state law was not so promising. It no 
where said anything about the power of the governor 
to appoint an elector or the right of a minority candi 
date to take the place of a successful but ineligible op 
ponent ; on the contrary, section 2 expressly provided 
that "if there shall be any vacancy in the office of an 
elector, occasioned by death, refusal to act, neglect to 
attend, or otherwise, the electors present shall immedi 
ately proceed to fill, by viva voce and plurality of votes, 
such vacancy in the electoral college." The governor s 
power in the premises, in accordance with the state 
law, was confined to being present when the secretary 
of state, who was the returning officer, should can- 

1 Report of the Committee, p. 3 ; files of Portland Daily Ore- 

Disputed Election of iSjb 159 

vass the votes, and to granting certificates of elec 
tion to the persons "having the highest number of 

These certificates were to be prepared by the secre 
tary, "signed by the governor and secretary, and by the 
latter delivered to the college of electors at the hour 
of their meeting." 1 

Notwithstanding the plain intent of the law, the 
Democratic leaders in the state resolved to claim that 
the ineligibility of Watts served to give the electorship 
for which he had been a contestant, to E. A. Cronin, 
who had received the highest number of votes among 
the minority candidates. This resolve was by no means 
the unaided conception of the Democrats of Oregon, but 
in part at least was due to a deluge of telegrams from 
W. T. Pelton, Tilden s nephew and acting secretary of 
the Democratic national committee, from Abram S. 
Hewitt, chairman of that committee, and from other 
prominent Eastern Democrats. The purport of many 
of these telegrams can be gathered from the following : 

"NEW YORK, Nov. 15, 6. 
"Governor L,. F. Grover: 

"Upon careful investigation, the legal opinion is that 
votes cast for a Federal office-holder are void, and 
that the person receiving the next highest number of 
votes should receive the certificate of appointment. 
The canvassing-officers should act upon this, and the 
governor s certificate of appointment be given to the 

1 S. Misc. Doc. No. 44, 44th Cong. 2d Sess., p. 31. This will 
be cited as "Testimony." 

160 The Hayes-Tilde* 

elector accordingly, and the subsequent certificate of 
the votes of the electors be duly made specifying how 
they voted. This will force Congress to go behind 
the certificate, and open the way to get into merits of 
all cases, which is not only just, but which will relieve 
the embarrassment of the situation. 


The Eastern leaders by no means confined them 
selves to long distance messages of advice. They 
deemed the matter of such importance that they se 
cured one J. N. H. Patrick of Omaha, Nebraska, to 
make the long trip to Oregon and see to it that no 
bungling was done by the supposedly inexperienced 
Democrats of the western coast. Mr. Patrick hastened 
westward, taking with him a copy of The Household 
English Dictionary, 2 which was to be used in certain 
activities in which he expected to engage. Arrived in 
Oregon, Mr. Patrick displayed much zeal if not discre 
tion in forwarding the purpose for which he had been 
sent out. After consultation with leading Democrats, 
he proceeded, as one of his first acts, to retain in con 
sideration of the sum of $3,000 the services of the 
Republican law firm of Hill, Durham, and Thompson ; 
not, it appears, primarily for the sake of their legal 
assistance there were enough Democratic lawyers 
to render all necessary aid in that connection but 
because one of the firm was the editor of the two most 

1 Committee s Report, p. 29. For other dispatches see pp. 18- 

2 Testimony, pp. 441-455, and Report of Committee, p. 19. 

Disputed Election of 1876 161 

influential newspapers in the state. l Some time later 
Mr. Patrick dispatched the following telegram : 

"To W. T. Pel-ton, No. 15, Gramercy Park, New York: 

"By vizier association innocuous to negligence cun 
ning minutely previously readmit doltish to purchase 
afar act with cunning afar sacristy unweighed afar 
pointer tigress cuttle superannuated syllabus dilatori- 
ness misapprehension contraband Kountze bisculous 
top usher spiniferous answer. 

"J. N. H. PATRICK." 2 

When this dispatch was received, Mr. Pelton, or his 
secretary, took each word of the telegram in turn and 
found its position in another copy of The Household 
English Dictionary, and then sought out the word in 
the corresponding position in the eighth column 
ahead. 3 The result obtained by this process was as 
follows : 

"Certificate will be issued to one Democrat. Must 
purchase a Republican elector to recognize and act 
with Democrat and secure the vote and prevent trouble. 
Deposit $10,000 to my credit with Kountze Brothers, 
Wall street. Answer." 

1 Report of Committee, pp. 9-10; telegram to Pelton in 
Testimony, p. 449 ; testimony of Bellinger, pp. 300 et seq., of 
Kelly, p. 332, and of others. The newspapers continued hostile, 

2 Testimony, p. 448. 

3 Ibid, pp. 439-468, 236, 247, 250, 351, 494. Patrick had at 
one time used practically the same cipher in business dealings 
with Alfred B. Hinman of Detroit. Hinman had explained the 
cipher to his agent and later partner Alfred W. Shaw. When the 
Senate committee had possession of the dispatches, some of them 
in their original form were given to the newspapers. Shaw 
saw one of them in a Detroit paper, and explained the key to 
the editor of the Detroit Daily Post. v 

1 62 The Hayes-Til Jen 

Money to the amount of more than $15,000 in all 
was furnished Mr. Patrick, l but his scheme to pur 
chase a Republican elector was not consummated. 2 
How the other part of the plan was carried out will 
presently appear. 

On the 4th of December the secretary of state can 
vassed the returns in the presence of the governor and 
found that the Republican candidates Cartwright, 
Odell, and Watts had received "the highest number 
of votes." But the governor then stated that a pro 
test had been filed against the issuance of a certificate 
to Watts, and announced that on the following day he 
would hear arguments anent the matter. At the ap 
pointed time he took a seat on the bench in the room 
of the state supreme court. The three Republican 
electors then presented a protest denying his jurisdic 
tion in the case, and insisting that, in the absence of 
judicial proceedings, his only power in the premises 
was to issue certificates to the persons receiving the 
highest number of votes as declared by the secretary 
of state. They took no further part in the hearing, 
but the Democratic counsel presented arguments which 
lasted far into the night. 3 

1 Testimony of Asahel Bush of the firm with whom the money 
was deposited. Ibid, p. 284. 

2 On the following: day Mr. Pelton sent a dispatch stating 

If you make obligation contingent on result in March, it 
can be done, and [incremable] slightly if necessary." He tes 
tified before the committee that this did not refer to the pur 
chase of an elector ; but in view of later revelations, it may well 
be doubted whether he told the truth. See Ibid, 502 et seq. 

3 The protests and a summary of the proceedings are given in 
the Report of the Committee, pp. 7-9 ; see also Testimony, pp. 

Disputed Election of 1876 163 

Although his mind was already made up, 1 Governor 
Grover withheld his decision until the following day, 
which was the time appointed for the electors to cast 
their ballots. Shortly after noon of that day he deliv 
ered to the secretary of state certificates containing 
the names of Odell and Cartwright, the two Republi 
can candidates whose eligibility was not questioned, 
and of Cronin, the Democratic claimant for Watts s 
electorship. The governor pretended to act on the 
theory that since Watts was ineligible the votes cast 
for him were void and hence the majority of legal 
votes were cast for his opponent. In order to escape 
the law providing for the rilling of vacancies by the 
other electors, he argued that because Watts was in 
eligible he was never an incumbent" and hence there 
could be no vacancy. This interpretation. was plainly 
at variance with the state law defining vacancies, but 
as the election of a President was at stake the gov 
ernor did not hesitate at a matter of such small impor 
tance as the law. 2 . 

Then ensued a scene which would have been farcical 
had it not been fraught with possibilities of grave dan 
ger to the peace of a great nation. The secretary of 

1 See telegrams from Oregon to Pelton, Testimony, pp. 449, 

2 The state law provided that the governor should issue his 
certificate to the persons "having the highest number of votes," 
but as the state law by mistake said "two lists" while the Fed 
eral law said "three," he evaded the state law by claiming to 
act under the Federal law, which was more general. See his 
testimony in Ibid, pp. 103, 120, 202, 235, and especially his writ 
ten defence, published in pamphlet form, and incorporated into 
his testimony, pp. 413-425. For the view of the committee see 
their Report, pp. 38-74. The law of the case will be consid 
ered in greater detail in Chapter XL 

164 The Hayes-Tilden 

state signed the certificates given him by the governor, 
and took them to the room set apart for the electors. 
There he found Odell, Cartwright, and Watts (who 
had now resigned his postmastership), and also Cronin 
and the other two defeated Democratic candidates. To 
Cronin he handed the envelope containing the three 
certificates, and then retired. When Odell and Cart- 
wright asked for their certificates, Cronin refused to 
deliver them, but condescended to read part, or all, 
of one of the certificates aloud. Odell and Cartwright 
nevertheless proceeded to organize the college; Cart 
wright was elected president, and he then chose Odell 
as secretary. Cronin now again refused to hand over 
the certificates, and also refused to obey a resolution 
to that effect passed by Cartwright and Odell. At 
this point Watts, who hitherto had taken no part, pre 
sented his resignation, stating that the objections made 
to his eligibility were his reason for doing so. His 
resignation was accepted, whereupon Cronin ex 
claimed : 

"I understand that by receiving Dr. Watts s resigna 
tion you refuse to act with me, and I shall proceed 
to fill these vacancies. I declare there are two vacan 
cies, and I shall proceed to fill them." 1 

He then instructed Mr. Klippel, one of the defeated 
Democratic candidates, who now took charge of the 
door, to "call in Mr. J. N. T. Miller." Miller was 
waiting outside the door in readiness for such an 
emergency, and at once came in. Cronin thereupon 

1 Testimony, p. 48. 



Disputed Election of l8j6 165 

appointed him to fill one of the "vacancies," after 
which the two chose a Mr. Parker to fill the other. 
After Parker had been called in the three proceeded 
to cast their ballots for President and Vice-President. 
Considering that all three were Democrats, they 
showed great forbearance in this matter, for they cast 
two votes for Hayes and Wheeler and only one for 
Tilden and Hendricks. , 

In the meantime Odell and Cartwright were not 
idle. They chose Watts to fill the vacancy caused by 
his own resignation, or disqualification, and then cast 
three ballots for Rutherford B. Hayes for President 
and three ballots for William A. Wheeler for Vice- 
President. ! 

Returns from both "colleges" were later forwarded, 
both by mail and by special messenger, to the presi 
dent of the Senate. The Democratic returns, which 
were certified by Governor Grover, were conveyed to 
Washington by Cronin, who, however, first forced the 
Democratic managers to pay him $3,000 for doing so. 2 
The Republican returns, which were not certified by 
the governor but which were accompanied by certifi 
cates of the results of the canvass furnished by the 
secretary of state, 3 were carried by Mr. Odell. 

1 My account of this whole transaction is based chiefly upon 
the testimony of the secretary of state, Ibid, pp. 19 and 66, of 
Odell, pp. 32, 37, 67, 392; of Cartwright, pp. 46, 181; of Watts, 
59, 145, 203, 368, 391; of Cronin, p. 78; of Klippel, pp. 162, 
249 ; of Miller, p. 175 ; of Laswell, pp. 252, 265, and of some other 
witnesses. Upon most of the essential facts the witnesses were 
in substantial accord. 

2 Testimony of Cronin himself. Ibid, pp. 88 et seq. 

3 Three certificates were obtained from the secretary by a Mr. 
Dolph and were carried by him to the Republicans in the elec 
toral room. Ibid, pp. 25, 52. 


1 66 The Hayes-Tilden 

The Republicans, both of the state and the nation, 
denounced the Democratic procedure as an "outrage" 
and an attempted "steal ;" in Oregon itself the indigna 
tion ran so high that Governor Grover was burned in 
effigy. The Democrats, on the other hand, usually 
characterized the matter as a "good joke," or a "shrewd 
trick." * Not many of their leaders expected the Cro- 
nin return to stand, but they did believe it would 
secure a revision of other electoral returns by forc 
ing the Republicans to set a precedent of going be 
hind the certificate of the governor. They were now 
confident that whatever course the Republicans should 
take, Tilden was sure of the necessary number of 
electoral votes. 

But their rejoicing was premature. As was almost 
immediately pointed out, they failed to discern a rad 
ical distinction between the Oregon question and the 
questions raised in the Southern states. In the latter 
the issue arose regarding the manner in which the 
board of state canvassers discharged their duties. To 
go behind their returns would require a recount of 
the popular vote in those states, a revision of the appli 
cation of state registry laws, and a decision as to the 
facts and effects of intimidation and fraud. Such 
action would lead to a substitution of national for state 
authority, in violation of the Federal Constitution, 
which says that each state shall appoint its electors 
"in such manner as the legislature thereof mav direct." 

1 Daily Oregonian, Dec. 8th ; New York Times, Dec. 7th to 

Disputed Election of l8jd 167 

The Oregon question, on the contrary, was one which 
would not lead to any such investigation. The dispute 
there began at a point subsequent to where the South 
ern questions ended. It would not lead to any inquiry 
or judgment as to how or why the people voted or 
neglected to vote. It would not touch the action of 
any state canvasser in canvassing the votes. It would 
simply relate to the unauthorized interference of the 
governor of Oregon and his man Cronin with the 
action of the college of electors at a time when they 
were assembled to discharge their duty under the 
United States law and Constitution, as the law of 
Oregon expressly declared they should do, and could 
hardly, if at all, go beyond facts appearing upon the 
face of the returns made by the duly elected electors. 1 
In this clear and undeniable distinction between the 
domains of state powers and Federal powers lay mo 
mentous possibilities. Out of the failure, either 
through mental obtuseness or willful obstinacy, on the 
part of many persons to perceive this nice distinction 
there later originated much unjustifiable criticism of 
the constitutional stand taken by eight men who were 
to decide one of the most momentous controversies 
which judges have ever been called upon to decide. 

1 See an article by Dorman B. Eaton in the New York 
Times for Dec. 14th. In the light of subsequent events this 
article was prophetic. 



Few of the generation which has grown up since 
then will ever have any but the faintest conception of 
the gravity of the situation existing during the winter 
of 1876-77. In the end the question at issue was set 
tled peaceably without leaving many traces that could 
easily be remarked by future observers. But at the 
time probably more people dreaded an armed conflict 
than had anticipated a like outcome to the secession 
movement of 1860-61. 1 

In fact, it was difficult to see how the dispute could 
be settled in any other manner. Both parties seemed 
equally determined; both professed to be thoroughly 
confident of the justice of their cause. There was in 
tense bitterness of feeling on both sides, but especially 
on the part of the Democrats. They had thought 
themselves about to enter the Promised Land, when, 
lo, a possibility had arisen that they might be excluded 
from it. They at once began to cry out that a con 
spiracy was on foot to cheat Tilden out of the Presi 
dency ; hot-heads were loud in asserting their deter- 

1 Senator Hoar, Autobiography, I, p. 369, says that in hlfc 
opinion there would have been a resort to arms had it not been 
"for the bitter experience of a few years before." 

The Disputed Election of 1876 169 

mination to resist to the uttermost the consummation 
of the "plot." Threats of force were freely indulged 
in. The phrase, "Tilden or blood," was heard in some 
quarters. l "Tilden has been elected," said the Evans- 
ville, Indiana, Courier; "and by the Eternal he shall be 
inaugurated." The New York World declared that in 
case Republican returning boards should count in 
Hayes, "many times 

"Forty thousand American men 
Will know the reason why." 2 

The New York Express, which was said to be the 
property of John Kelly and other prominent Demo 
crats, talked about "tea duties" and "the use of the 
sword" and indulged in a torrent of incendiary insin 
uations and assertions. 3 Similar expressions ap 
peared in hundreds of other Democratic newspapers 
in all parts of the country. A 

But happily some of the persons who had $ti;pported 
Tilden were less violent. Speaking for this class, 
the New York Herald gave the radical element in the 
party some excellent advice. "Let us," it said on 

November loth, "be as calm as we can 

There must be no violence This is not 

Mexico. .... As the Democratic party is that 
which ifeels itself likely to be aggrieved in this mat 
ter, we beg them to remember that the danger which 

1 Quoted in the New York Times, Dec. 19th. 

2 Nov. 16th. 

3 Cited in the Herald of Nov. 16th. 

i jo The Hayes-TilJen 

now stares the country in the face is but one of the 
results of the rebellion which they encouraged, and in 
which the largest part of them engaged in 1861. That 
rebellion was causeless and unreasonable to the last 
degree ; to their folly and wickedness in beginning and 
encouraging it are due the multitude of evils which 
have rested upon the country since, and of which this 
present emergency is another. The country has not 
forgotten their agency in these matters. It is not un 
willing once more to trust them with political power; 
the present vote shows this. But it will not tolerate 
for an instant anything which looks to a disorderly 
or violent attempt to grasp power, or even anything 
which could be construed into a threat to do so. The 
American people will make extremely short work of 
any party, be it the Democratic or the Republican, 
which attempts or threatens civil disorder hereafter on 
any plea or pretext whatever." Other Democratic 
journals gave similar counsel. The New York Sun, 
for example, said on November 2ist that it would be 
better to "submit to wrong for the time, however 
gross, than to appeal to any but legal, constitutional, 
and peaceful remedies." 

The Republicans, while equally determined, were in 
general much more conservative in their utterances 
than were the Democrats. 1 They made no threats 
of "Hayes or war." They merely asserted that in 
case he should be found to have a majority of the 
electoral vote, he would be inaugurated. They sneered 

1 New York Times. Dec. 4th. 

Disputed Election of 1876 171 

at the Democratic "vaporings," and in reply remarked 
significantly that General U. S. Grant, not Buchanan, 
was in charge of affairs at Washington. 1 
The contest absorbed the attention of the country 
to the practical exclusion of every other subject. Each 
day the newspapers were filled with conjectures, ru 
mors, and long editorials. Few attempts were made 
to present the truth on both sides of the question. 
The Democratic press represented that during the cam 
paign peace and good-will towards all had reigned in 
the South, with the exception that many good Demo 
cratic negroes had been wickedly intimidated by col 
ored Republicans and United States troops. 2 The 
returning boards they characterized as the special de 
vice of the devil. The Republican press, on the other 
hand, spoke of Wells, Anderson, and the rest as gen 
tlemen of the highest character, only a "little lower 
than the angels," and gave harrowing accounts of 
political murders and proscriptions committed without 
doubt at the direct instigation of Tilden and other 
leaders. For having sent troops to preserve the peace 
in the disputed states, the President was lauded by Re 
publicans, and was threatened with impeachment by 
Democrats. 3 There was much talk about ineligible 
electors in .Vermont, New Jersey, Missouri, Oregon 

1 Harper s Weekly, XX, p. 965. 

2 They misrepresented in the most absurd way the Pinkston 
story. New York World of Nov. 29th, 30th, and Dec. 1st. 

3 The New York Herald, however, approved the sending of the 
troops. See issue of Nov. 12th. The impeachment talk was most 
pronounced after the troops had been used to support the Cham 
berlain legislature. See New York World of uec. 1st and 2d ; 
The Nation, XXIII, pp. 337-338. 

172 The Hayes-Tilden 

and elsewhere. There was the widest possible differ 
ence of opinion regarding who possessed the power 
to count and declare the electoral vote. Republicans 
asserted that this power belonged to the Republican 
president of the Senate; Democrats were equally con 
fident that the right resided in the ultimate analysis in 
the Democratic House. The newspapers were filled 
with long and learned discussions of the points of 
law involved in the various questions at issue; cases 
were cited in the most elaborate and conclusive 
manner. The Democrats made much of the fact that 
they had received a majority of "200,000" of the pop 
ular vote; 1 the Republicans retorted that Presidents 
are not elected by popular vote, that there had been 
several minority Presidents, and that, anyhow, with a 
free election in Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and 
elsewhere in the South, the majority would have been 
reversed. 2 All sorts of stories were afloat. Because 
the President ordered some companies of troops to 
Washington, it was alleged he intended to seat Hayes 
by force, or else to declare himself dictator. 3 Hayes 
was reported to be arranging a trade with the South 
ern Democrats. 4 It was said that the Democrats 
were attempting to bribe returning boards, that they 
were attempting to bribe electors, 5 that at the last 

1 See almost any issue of the World or Sun. The Herald 
deprecated this sort of talk as likely to stir up violence. The 
popular vote, it pointed out. was altogether "irrelevant." 

2 This was no doubt true. For a convincing demonstration 
see New York Times of Dec. 10th 

3 Sun, Dec. 18th. 

4 Times, Dec. 3d, 4th, 5th. 

5 Ibid, Dec. 7th. 

Disputed Election of 1876 173 

moment they would send out a false telegram purport 
ing to be from Zach. Chandler informing the Repub 
lican electors that Hayes had withdrawn, and instruc 
ting them to vote for Elaine. 1 When The Nation, 
which was extremely anxious for a peaceful solution 
of the difficulty, suggested that some Republican elec 
tor give a casting vote for Tilden, the story immedi 
ately started that James Russell Lowell, who was one 
of the Massachusetts electors, intended to adopt this 
advice ; Mr. Lowell had some difficulty in convinc 
ing anxious Republicans that he had no intention of 
doing so. 2 

On Monday, December 4th, two days before the 
electoral colleges voted, Congress assembled. As the 
solution of the great problem lay with that body, its 
composition was a matter of the highest importance. 
The Senate was decidedly Republican; the House de 
cidedly Democratic. The presiding officer of the Sen 
ate was Thomas W. Ferry of Michigan ; the speaker 
of the House, now chosen to succeed Mr. Kerr, who 
had died during the recess, was Samuel J. Randall of 

Neither body had been long in session before the 
all-absorbing question was taken up. On the very first 
day the House passed without debate a resolution pro 
viding for three committees, one of fifteen members ; 
one of six members, and one of nine members, to 
proceed to Louisiana, Florida, and South Carolina re- 

1 Times, Dec. 5th. 

2 Ibid, The Nation, XXIII, pp. 322-323, 334-335. 

174 The Hayes-Til den 

spectively, and investigate the "recent elections therein 
and the action of the returning or canvassing boards 
in the said states in reference thereto." 1 Next day 
the Senate likewise passed a resolution directing the 
Committee on Privileges and Elections to examine 
into the elections in the states of South Carolina, 
Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, and Missis 
sippi, in order to ascertain whether in those states 
the right of citizens to vote had "been denied or greatly 
abridged;" and also directing the committee to "in 
quire into the eligibility to office under the Consti 
tution of the United States" of any electors who were 
alleged to have been ineligible, and as to whether 
the appointment of any electors had been made by 
force, fraud, or other illegal means. 2 On the 22d 
the same committee was given instructions to investi 
gate the situation in Oregon. 3 

The various committees soon entered upon their 
labors. With the exception of the Senate subcom 
mittees on Oregon, Alabama, and Mississippi, which 
summoned witnesses to Washington, all the commit 
tees and subcommittees proceeded to the states in dis 
pute. 4 There they examined witnesses of all kinds, 

1 Record,, pp. 11-16. 

2 Ibid, pp. 18-21, 33-40. It will be noticed that the resolu 
tion of the Senate was strictly consistent with the stand later 
taken by the Electoral Commission. 

3 Ibid, pp. 90 and 365-367. 

4 A later committee on the privileges, powers, and duties of 
the House in counting the electoral votes took testimony at 
Washington. See H. R. Mis. Doc. No. 42, 44th Cong. 2d Sess. 
Exclusive of the debates in Congress and of several thousands 
of pages of testimony regarding contested seats in the House, the 
government ultimately published more than 20,000 pages of 
Material bearing upon the election. 

Disputed Election of 1876 175 

conditions, and colors, and after several weeks of work 
accumulated about 13,000 pages of testimony, which 
are of great value to the historian, but which exer 
cised little or no influence upon the outcome of the 
controversy. Each committee and subcommittee, with 
the exception of the Senate subcommittees on Oregon, 
Mississippi and Alabama, brought in two reports. 
The majority members of the House committees re 
ported that the electoral votes of Louisiana, Florida, 
and South Carolina belonged of right to Tilden and 
Hendricks; the minority members, from the same 
testimony, reported exactly opposite conclusions. The 
same state of affairs obtained with the Senate com 
mittees, except that with them the majority reports 
were favorable to Hayes, the minority reports to Til- 

Congress by no means allowed the matter to rest 
with the mere appointment of investigating commit 
tees. The election, in all its varying aspects of in 
timidation, murder, returning boards, ineligible elec 
tors, and governors certificates, was discussed day 
after day with great warmth in both houses, without 
either party being budged one iota from its claim that 
its own candidates had been elected. 

Urged on by the New York World and other news 
papers, some of the Democratic leaders attempted to 
carry through a plan to impeach President Grant for 
his alleged unconstitutional use of the army and for 
other offenses. A caucus to consider the advisability 
of beginning such proceedings and also to determine 

i/6 The Hayes-Tilden 

the general line of party procedure met on the 6th of 
December and again on the 7th. l At the first meet 
ing Mr. Fernando Wood, then a representative in 
Congress but now chiefly remembered as the mayor 
of New York who in 1861 proposed that the metropolis 
should secede and set up as a city state, moved that 
impeachment proceedings should at once be instituted. 
Other leaders also spoke in favor of such action; but 
the majority of those present opposed it, and argued 
that it would serve to raise a distracting issue, and 
might lead to violence. The opposition on the part 
of the Southern members to anything which might lead 
to a civil war was particularly decided. In reply to a 
good deal of incendiary talk which certain Northern 
members indulged in, some of the Southern leaders 
were refreshingly sensible and frank. They declared 
that the South had had its fill of war. If, said John 
Young Brown of Kentucky, there should be a war, it 
would be the work of the Northern Democrats ; while 
Benjamin Hill of Georgia referred cuttingly to a sec 
tion of the party who were "invincible in peace and 
invisible in war. * He was also reported to have said 
that Mr. Wood and others of those counselling armed 
resistance had "no conception of the conservative influ 
ence of a 15-inch shell with the fuse in process of 
combustion." 2 

As time passed it became more than ever apparent 

1 For accounts see World, Dec. 7th, 8th, 9th ; The Nation, 
XXIII, pp. 337-338 ; Harper s Weekly, XX, p. 9 ; Times, Dec. 7th 
and 8th. 

2 Ibid, Dec. 14th; H. R. Mis. Doc. No. 31, 45th Cong. 3d 
Sess., I, p. 885. 

Disputed Election of 1876 IJJ 

that the crux of the whole contest lay in the question 
of the power to count and declare the electoral vote. 
Unfortunately the constitutional provision on the sub 
ject was so indefinite as to leave room for decidedly 
different interpretations. The Constitution provides, 
it will be remembered, that the certificates of the votes 
of the electoral colleges shall be transmitted sealed to 
the seat of the government, "directed to the president 
of the Senate," and that "the president of the Senate 
shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Rep 
resentatives, open all the certificates, and the votes 
shall then be counted/ Upon the interpretation of 
the last clause seemed to hinge the question of who 
was to be the President of the United States. If, as 
some of the Republicans contended, the clause meant 
"counted by the president of the Senate," 1 then there 
was little doubt that Mr. Ferry, who was a 
partisan, would decide that the returns sent in by the 
Republican claimants constituted the true vote and 
would declare a majority of one for Hayes. If, 
as the Democrats asserted, the counting was to be done 
under the direction of the two houses, then a dead 
lock seemed likely to ensue. Such a deadlock, they 
contended, would throw the election into the Demo 
cratic House. 2 

Nor did the precedents seem to furnish any way 

1 Atlantic, LXXII, p. 522. 

2 One Democratic theory was that upon disputed questions 
the two houses should vote together. This would have meant 
that the Republican majority in the Senate would be overcome 
by the Democratic majority in the House. Atlantic, LXXII, p. 

178 The Hayes-Tilden 

out of the difficulties of the situation. 1 They did, 
however, throw light on some of the disputed points. 
Down to 1865, excluding a temporary expedient used 
in 1789, 2 the process of counting had been practically 
the same. Prior to the day appointed the two houses 
had always passed concurrent resolutions regulating 
the procedure. Before meeting in the joint session, 
which sometimes was held in the Senate chamber but 
oftener in the hall of the House, the Senate had invar 
iably chosen one teller, and the House two. The 
duties of these tellers had been to make a list of the 
votes and deliver the result to the president of the 
Senate. That officer had on every occasion opened 
the certificates, but in no instance had he attempted, 
basing his claim on the ambiguous clause, "and the 
votes shall then be counted," to exercise the power of 
counting votes or rejecting votes. Clearly, therefore, 
the precedents were against the theory that the pres 
ident of the Senate could arrogate to himself the now 
much coveted power of counting. 

But were there any precedents to guide Congress 
through the other difficulties which would inevitably 
arise even though the Republican contention on this 
particular point should be abandoned? The answer 
is: None that were conclusive. At the first elec- 

1 For all the proceedings and debates of Congress relating 
to counting the electoral votes down to IS 76 see H. R. Mis. Doc. 
No. 13, 44th Cong. 2d Sess. 

2 John Langdon was chosen president of the Senate "for the 
sole purpose of receiving, opening, and counting the votes." This 
was done in accordance with a resolution of the Convention of 
1787, later ratified by the Congress of the Confederation. Ibid, 
pp. 3-8. 

Disputed Election of l8j6 179 

tion of Monroe objection was made to counting 
the votes of Indiana on the ground that Indiana 
was not a state of the Union at the time her electors 
were chosen. But as senators and representatives 
from the state had been admitted to Congress, her 
votes were received and counted. 1 Four years later 
a similar question arose regarding the votes of Mis 
souri ; as the result of the election did not hinge upon 
that state, the issue was evaded by counting the votes 
in the alternative, that is, 231 for Monroe with the 
votes of Missouri, and 228 without those votes. 2 
In 1837 the same objection was made to the vote of 
Michigan, and again the issue was evaded by counting 
in the alternative. 3 Twenty years later, at the time 
of Buchanan s election, objection was made to the 
vote of Wisconsin on the ground that the electors had 
voted on the day after that prescribed by law. Her 
vote was, however, declared by the Vice-President as 
it was reported to him in the certificates ; not because 
he claimed the right to pass upon the validity of the 
election, for he later expressly disclaimed any such 
authority, but merely because the two houses failed 
to decide the matter. 4 

The count of 1865 to k place under exceptional cir 
cumstances. A week previously Congress passed a 
joint resolution excluding the eleven seceded states 

1 H. R. Mis. Doc. No. 13, 44th Cong. 2d Sess., pp. 46-47. 

2 Ibid, pp. 49-56. 

3 Ibid, pp. 70-76. 

4 Ibid, pp. 86-144. 

i8o The Hayes-Til Jen 

from participation in the choice of the President, a and 
by another joint resolution prescribed a mode of pro 
cedure to be used in counting the votes from the other 
states. 2 This second resolution was the famous 
Twenty-Second Joint Rule, which provided that in 
case objection should be made to the vote of any state, 
the two houses should separate, and, without debate, 
decide upon the question of receiving such vote, and no 
vote was to be counted except by consent of both 
houses. Of the states excluded by the law none ex 
cept Louisiana and Tennessee had chosen electors; 
the Vice-President, in obedience to the law, refrained 
from presenting their returns to the convention ; and, 
as no objection had been made to any other return, 
no resort to the most vital part of the rule was neces 
sary. 3 

Four years later, at the first election of Grant, ob 
jection was made to the vote of Louisiana on the 
ground that no valid election had been held in that 
state, but the two houses concurred in counting her 
vote. 4 The vote of Georgia was also objected to be 
cause the electors had not been chosen on the day re 
quired by law, because at the date of the election the 
state had not been readmitted to representation in 
Congress, because she had not complied with the 
Reconstruction Act, and because the election had not 

1 H. R. Mis. Doc. No. 13, 44th Cong. 2d Sess., pp. 149-223. 
President Lincoln signed this resolution, although he expressed 
the opinion that it was unnecessary for him to do so. Ibid, pp. 

2 Ibid, pp. 147-149, 223-225. 

3 Ibid, pp. 225-230. 

4 Ibid, pp. 238-244. 

Disputed Election of l8j6 181 

been "a free, just, equal, and fair election." The two 
houses, under a special joint rule already provided 
for the case, counted the vote in the alternative. 1 

Four years later the situation in the states of Louis 
iana and Arkansas was such that Senator Sherman 
moved an investigation to ascertain whether the choice 
of electors in those states had been conducted "in ar- 
cordance with the Constitution and laws of the United 
States, and what contests, if any, have arisen as to who 
were elected electors in either of said states, and 
what measures are necessary to provide for the 
determination of such contests, and to guard 
against and determine like contests in the future 
election of electors." 1 In the discussion which 
followed a number of opinions were advanced 
which are of interest in connection with the con 
troversy of 1876. Thurman of Ohio said he would 
vote for the resolution, but expressed a belief that 
it seemed "to imply that there is a broader jurisdic 
tion in Congress over the election than I have been 
accustomed to suppose is vested in Congress." He 
thought that the only power over electors bestowed 
upon Congress was the power to "determine the time of 
choosing electors and the day on which they shall give 
their votes," and held that to the states belonged the 
right to determine the validity of the claims of differ 
ent persons to the position of electors. "We may," 
he however admitted, "be compelled possibly from 

1 H. R. Mis. Doc. No. 13, 44th Cong. 2d Sess., pp. 244-21 

2 Ibid, p. 336. 


1 82 The Hayes-Tilden 

necessity to determine which of the two sets of elec 
tors has the official evidence that entitles their certifi 
cates to be received, and votes given by them to be 
counted." 1 Other Democrats, as well as many Re 
publicans, expressed similar views upon the power of 
Congress to go behind the returns. Trumbull of Illi 
nois said : "I think where there are two bodies claim 
ing to be electors of a State we must necessarily have 
the right to inquire which is the electoral college of the 
state; but I question whether we could go so far as 
to go behind the election." 2 Other speakers, includ 
ing Senator Conkling, 3 interpreted the powers of Con 
gress somewhat more broadly. 

The resolution was adopted, and a month later the 
committee, through Senator Morton, reported upon 
the situation in Louisiana but not upon that in Arkan 
sas. The report in part was as follows: "The com 
mittee are of the opinion that neither the Senate of 
the United States nor both houses jointly have the 
power under the Constitution to canvass the returns 
of an election and count the votes to determine who 
have been elected Presidential electors, but that the 
mode and manner of choosing electors are left ex 
clusively to the states. And if by the law of the 
state they are to be elected by the people, the method 
of counting the vote and ascertaining the result can 
only be regulated by the law of the states. Whether 
it is competent for the two houses, under the Twenty- 

1 H R. Mis. Doc. No. 13, 44th Cong. 2d Sess., pp. 336-337. 

2 Ibid, p. 343. 

3 Ibid, pp. 343-345. 

Disputed Election of l8j6 183 

Second Joint Rule (in regard to the constitutionality 
of which the committee here give no opinion), to go 
behind the certificate of the governor of the state to 
inquire whether the votes have ever been counted by 
the legal returning board created by the law of the 
state, or whether, in making such count, the board 
had before them the official returns, the committee offer 
on suggestions." l 

In the end the votes of neither Arkansas nor of 
Louisiana were counted. Three votes from Georgia 
were also thrown out because they had been cast for 
Horace Greeley after that gentleman was dead. Ob 
jections were made to the votes of yet other states, 
but none of these objections were sustained by either 
House. 2 

Prior to 1876 two unsuccessful attempts to regulate 
the counting of the electoral votes had been made. 
In 1800 a bill was introduced into the Senate providing 
for a Grand Council, composed of six senators, six 
representatives, and the chief justice, or in his ab 
sence the senior associate justice, which should "have 
power to examine and finally decide all disputes" rela 
tive to the count. In so doing the tribunal was to 
have power to take testimony upon questions of the 
eligibility of .electors, the truth of their returns, and 
such matters, but was expressly denied the power to 
go behind the action of canvassing officers. This bill, 
which in some of its main features was not unlike 

1 H. R. Mis. Doc. No. 13, 44th Cong. 2d Sess., pp. 358-363. 

2 Ibid, 357-408. 

184 The Hayes-Tilden 

the act creating the Electoral Commission, was passed 
in amended form by the Senate, l but was defeated in 
the House. 2 

The other unsuccessful attempt to regulate the count 
occurred after the count of 1873, already described. 
Although the general public had taken little interest in 
the complications of that count, for the simple reason 
that whatever the decision upon the disputed points 
might be the general result would not be changed, 
some of the members of Congress had been awakened 
to the possibility that the system then in force might 
in case of a close election lead to a national disaster. 
Foremost among these persons was Senator Morton of 
Indiana, who, with wonderful prescience of the dan 
gers soon to arise, began, even before the count of 
1873 was made, to urge upon Congress the advisa 
bility of changing the method of electing the President, 
or at least of regulating more effectually the process of 
the count. 3 The Twenty-Second Joint Rule he de 
nounced as "the most dangerous contrivance to the 
peace of the nation that has even been invented by 
Congress a torpedo planted in the straits with which 
the state may at some time come into fatal collision." 4 
His first effort was directed to securing a constitu 
tional amendment providing for the choice of all but 
two of the electors apportioned to a state by con- 

1 One of these amendments substituted a senator chosen by 
the House from among three nominated by the Senate for the 
chief justice. 

2 H. R. Mis. Doc. No. 13, 44th Cong. 2d Sess., pp. 16-29. 

3 Ibill, pp. 345-355. 

4 Ibid, p. 417. 

Disputed Election of 1876 185 

gressional districts ; the two others to be chosen by 
the state at large. 1 When, early in 1875, it became 
apparent that this plan would fail, he attempted to 
carry through a bill to govern the count. The bill 
provided that the vote of no state from which there 
was but one return should be rejected except by con 
current vote of both houses; but that in case of two 
or more returns only that one should be counted 
which each house, acting separately, should decide 
to be the true one. In the end the bill also failed, 
partly because of opposition to its provisions, but 
largely owing to the fact that the Democrats, to 
their later regret, were unwilling to have it pass until 
the House chosen in 1874 should be installed. 2 When 
this had occurred, the matter was again taken up, 
but nothing was accomplished. 3 

In the debates upon both the proposed amendment 
and the bill many widely different opinions upon the 
subject of the power to count were expressed, and 
some of these opinions are interesting in view of the 
stand later taken by the statesmen uttering them. Mor 
ton himself was by no means consistent in his attitude 
on the matter of the power to count. He held at first 
that the president of the Senate must ex necessitate rei 
decide between returns. 4 Later he said that while 
the constitutional provision might be construed either 
as giving the power to the president of the Senate 

1 H. R. Mis. Doc. No. 13, 44th Cong. 2d Sess., pp. 408-458. 

2 Senator Thurman, for example, favored the bill but wished 
to postpone its passage. Ibid, p. 505. 

3 Ibid, pp. 520-689. 

4 Ibid, p. 416. 

1 86 The Hayes-Til Jen 

or as giving it to the Congress, he adopted the latter 
construction as the more reasonable and as more in 
accord with the spirit of our government. 1 

Numerous devices which have a somewhat similar 
interest were proposed for settling disputes about the 
count. One, which was brought forward by Senator 
Edmunds of Vermont, was for a commission of four 
members from each House. 2 Senator Frelinghuysen 
introduced an amendment providing that disputes 
should be referred to the supreme court. 3 Later he 
suggested a commission to be composed of the presi 
dent of the Senate, the speaker, and the chief jus 
tice. 4 

But, as already stated, Congress utterly failed to 
put any authoritative interpretation upon the question 
of the power of counting. Furthermore, the Senate 
in January, 1876, on the motion of Senator Morton, 
refused to readopt the Twenty-Second Joint Rule. 5 
Thus there remained nothing to regulate the count in 
the present crisis save the bare constitutional phrase 
and the precedents. And unfortunately the precedents 
were not such as to settle conclusively any of the 
controversies likely to arise. 

Circumstances were therefore favorable for the ad 
vocating of extreme measures by hot-heads in both 

1 H. R. Mis. Doc. No. 13, 44th Cong. 2d Sess., pp. 565-566. 

2 Ibid, p. 498. 

3 Ibid, p. 345. 

4 Ibid, p. 549. 

5 Ibid, pp. 782-794. The claim was made after Congress re 
assembled in December that the rule was still in force, but as 
most of the Democratic senators took the opposite view, the 
claim came to nothing. 

Disputed Election of l8jd 187 

parties. Extremists on the Republican side continued 
to assert that in case the House and Senate disagreed 
upon the question of what were the true returns the 
president of the Senate would count the votes and de 
clare the result. The Administration, they openly an 
nounced, would see to it that the man thus chosen 
was inaugurated. The Democratic extremists, on the 
other hand, continued to declare that to the House 
belonged at least equal power in the count, that that 
body possessed the right to decide when a choice had 
not been made, and that when such a decision was 
made, the House would proceed to choose the Presi 
dent as the Constitution directed. 

The newspapers continued to publish stories about 
the Impending conflict. In furtherance of a Republi 
can plot General Hancock, who was in command of 
the Department of the East, was to be sent off to the 
Pacific coast, his place was to be taken by the ter 
rible Phil. Sheridan, and New York City was then to be 
"bulldozed" by troops and warships. 1 The blood 
thirsty and dictatorial Grant had sworn that if the 
Democrats in Congress attempted to impeach him, he 
would clap them all into Fortress Monroe. 2 Senator 
Sherman was to supplant Ferry as president of the 
Senate, and with his brother Tecumseh, commander- 
in-chief of the army, was to set up a sort of duumvi 
rate. 3 Republican newspapers discovered circulars 

1 The story appears to have first been published in the Al 
bany Argus of Dec. llth. There was truth in part of it. See 
Reminiscences of Hancock by his wife, pp. 158-162. 

2 World, Dec. 12th. 

3 Ibid, Dec. 14th. 

1 88 The Hayes-Til den 

directing Southern rifle-clubs to assemble in Washing 
ton and assist in inaugurating Tilden, x and asserted 
that the treasonable organization known as the Knights 
of the Golden Circle, or Sons of Liberty, was being 
revived for the same purpose. - 

Unquestionably there were some Democrats who 
were prepared to go to any lengths in order to seat 
their candidates. Resolutions to the effect that usurpa 
tion must be resisted were passed by various state com 
mittees, and calls were issued for conventions to con 
sider what should be done. 3 Steps were taken toward 
organizing the members of the state and county com 
mittees especially those members who were ex-sol 
diers into an organization to be used in case force 
should become necessary, and in some places Tilden 
and Hendricks "minute-men" appear to have been 
enrolled. This work was carried on in large measure 
through the Democratic Veteran Soldiers Association, 
and the activity appears to have been greatest in the 
Middle West, where General J. M. Corse of "Hold the 
Fort" Allatoona fame was in control. 4 

The Republicans were not at all dismayed by these 
preparations on the part of their opponents. Since 

1 Times, Dec. 10th. 

2 Ibid, Dec. 16th et seq. 

3 Indianapolis Journal and Sentinel, Dec. 14th. 

4 New York Times, Dec. 13th et seq, Dec. 6th Corse tele 
graphed to Col. Pelton: "Glory to God. Hold on to the one 
vote in Oregon. I have 100,000 men to back it up" Three 
weeks before he had telegraphed to Perry H. Smith : "We have 
160,000 ex-soldiers now enrolled." Evidently the general had a 
poor head for figures, or else some of his men had deserted 
Corse later testified before a Senate committee that the dis 
patches were intended as a piece of "badinage," and said that he 
"never contemplated" raising troops, but some of his testimony 
was conflicting. S. R. No. 678, 44th Cong. 2d Sess , pp 409-413 

Disputed Election of 1876 189 

the electoral colleges had met and voted they would 
admit of no doubts as to the election of their candidates. 
Hayes himself now expressed the opinion that he had 
been honestly elected, and said, "I fully expect to be 
inaugurated/ 1 

The Democrats abated not one jot nor tittle of their 
claim of victory, and on December I3th National 
Chairman Hewitt issued at Washington an announce 
ment of the election of Tilden and Hendricks. This 
drew from Zach. Chandler a rather saucy reply, 2 and 
from the New York Herald, which deplored such pro- 
nunciamentos as tending to stir up violence, a state 
ment to the effect that there is a gentleman in Utica, 
the inmate of a public institution, who regards him 
self as the Emperor of China, and issues edicts by the 
score, but we have never heard that he enjoys the 
revenues of the Celestial kingdom." 8 

But fortunately the American people possessed too 
much hard sense to allow themselves to be carried 
away by the counsels of extremists on either side. The 
recent bloody conflict served as an excellent object 
lesson of what might be expected in case the hot-heads 
should be allowed to have their way. Good men and 
true in both parties set themselves to work to evolve 
a compromise. Warlike speeches were frowned upon 
or laughed down. Petitions began to flow into Con 
gress imploring that body to find means for adjusting 
the contest. 4 

1 World, Dec. 12th. 

2 Ibid, Dec. 14th; Herald, Dec. 14th. 

3 Dec. 14th. 

4 See, for example, Record, p. 72. 

190 The Hayes-Tilden 

Happily the men in Congress whose patriotism rose 
higher than their partisanship proved equal to the 
occasion. Despite the wrangling in both houses, pro 
posals looking to a peaceful settlement had already 
been made. One of these, introduced by Senator Ed 
munds, provided for a constitutional amendment plac 
ing the count in the hands of the supreme court. 
The proposal was debated on a number of occasions, 
but ultimately failed to pass even the Senate. 1 Far 
more important in its results was a resolution intro 
duced into the House on the 7th of December by 
George W. McCrary, a Republican member from 
Iowa, who was later a member of Hayes s cabinet and 
then a Federal judge. The resolution was as follows : 

"Whereas, There are differences of opinion as to the 
proper mode of counting the electoral votes for Presi 
dent and Vice-President, and as to the manner of 
determining questions that may arise as to the legality 
and validity of returns made of such votes by the 
several states : 

"And whereas, It is of the utmost importance that 
all differences of opinion and all doubts and uncer 
tainty upon these questions should be removed, to 
the end that the votes may be counte d and the result 
declared by a tribunal whose authority none can ques 
tion and whose decision all will accept as final : there 

"Resolved, That a committee of five members of this 
House be appointed by the Speaker, to act in con 
junction with any similar committee that may be ap 
pointed by the Senate, to prepare and report without 

1 Record, pp. 117-128, 140-144, 157-163. 

Disputed Election of l8j6 191 

delay such a measure, either legislative or constitu 
tional, as may in their judgment be best calculated to 
accomplish the desired end, and that said committee 
have leave to report at any time." 

The resolution was referred to the House judiciary 
committee, of which J. Proctor Knott, afterward gov 
ernor of Kentucky, was chairman. * The fate of the 
resolution depended upon the attitude taken by the 
Democratic leaders toward compromise. If Mr. Til- 
den had had his way, doubtless it would never have 
been reported, for he was strongly averse to any sur 
render ; but the leaders at Washington, many of whom 
were jealous of him, were not much inclined to heed 
his wishes. 2 His influence was further weakened by 
the fact that neither at this time nor later was it ever 
definitely known exactly who represented him. Mr. 
David Dudley Field, a well-known lawyer, had ac 
cepted an election to Congress at a special election for 
the purpose of looking after Mr. Tilden s legal inter 
ests ; but neither Field nor Colonel Pelton, nor Hewitt, 
nor Randall, were ever thoroughly trusted by Tilden. 
Furthermore, shortly before the resolution was intro 
duced in the House President Grant, who was anxious 
for compromise, summoned Mr. Hewitt, who as na 
tional chairman, was naturally regarded as the Demo 
cratic leader at Washington, to an interview, as a result 
of which Mr. Hewitt became anxious to play the role 
of a Henry Clay. Consequently no considerable hostility 
toward the resolution developed. The judiciary com- 

1 Record, pp. 91-92. 

2 Bigelow, II, p. 63 ; personal statement by eame author. 

192 The Hayes-Til den 

mittee did, however, amend it in such a way as to pro 
vide for a committee of seven instead of five, and for 
another committee of seven to report upon the powers, 
privileges, and duties of the House in counting the 
electoral vote. Thus changed, it was on the I4th of 
December reported to the House by Mr. Knott, and 
was at once passed without debate under the previous 
question. 1 

On the following day the resolution was taken up 
in the Senate. Senator Edmunds thereupon offered 
the following: 

"Resolved, that the message of the House of Repre 
sentatives on the subject of the Presidential election 
be referred to a select committee of seven Senators 
with power to prepare and report without unnecessary 
delay such a measure, either of a legislative or other 
character, as may in their judgment be best calculated 
to accomplish the lawful counting of the electoral 
votes, and best disposition of all questions connected 
therewith, and the due declaration of the result; and 
that said committee have power to confer and act with 
the committee of the House of Representatives named 
in such message and to report by bill or otherwise." : 

Three days later the resolution was passed without 
debate and without opposition. 3 On the 21 st the 
president of the Senate announced the committee as 
follows: Mr. Edmunds of Vermont (chairman), Mr. 
Morton of Indiana* Mr. Frelinghuysen of New Jersey, 
Mr. Logan of Illinois, Republicans ; and Mr. Thur- 

1 Record, pp. 197-199. 

2 Ibid, p. 221. 

3 Ibid, p. 258. 

Disputed Election of 1876 193 

man of Ohio, Mr. Bayard of Delaware, and Mr. Ran 
som of North Carolina, Democrats. As General 
Logan was in the midst of a contest for re-election, he 
found it expedient to look after his political "fences" 
in Illinois, and asked to be excused. l The vacancy 
thus made was filled by the appointment of Mr. Conk- 
ling of New York. 

On the 22d Speaker Randall announced the House 
committee as follows: Henry B. Payne of Ohio 
(chairman), Eppa Hunton of Virginia, Abram S. 
Hewitt of New York, William M. Springer of Illi 
nois, Democrats ; and George W. McCrary of Iowa, 
George F. Hoar of Massachusetts, and George Willard 
of Michigan, Republicans. 

Although nothing of much importance 2 was done 
by the committees until after the holidays, the effect of 
their appointment upon the public mind was quieting. 
People "began to get out of the Mexican and into the 
Anglo-Saxon frame of mind." In a much applauded 
speech delivered in New York at the New England 
Society s dinner on Forefathers Day George William 
Curtis unquestionably expressed what were coming 
to be the sentiments of the thoughtful, prudent, and 
patriotic men of all parties when he said : "The voice 
of New England, I believe, going to the Capitol, would 
be this, that neither is the Republican Senate to in 
sist on its exclusive partisan way, nor is the Demo- 

1 Century, XL, p. 924. 

2 A subcommittee of the House committee compiled the pro 
ceedings and debates of Congress relating to the electoral votes in 
the past. The result of their labors constitutes the volume al 
ready referred to as Debates on Electoral Count. 

194 The Hayes-Tilden 

cratic House to insist on its exclusive partisan way; 
but the Senate and House, representing the American 
people and the American people only, in the light of 
the Constitution and by the authority of law, are to 
provide a way over which a President, be he Repub 
lican or be he Democrat, shall pass unchallenged to the 
chair." i 

But despite the growth of a spirit of compromise, 
there were many evidences that the situation was still 
fraught with dangers. The enrolling of Democratic 
minute-men went forward until military organization 
to a certain degree had been effected in eleven states, 2 
and a commander-in-chief, namely General Corse, 3 had 
been tentatively agreed upon. Republican leaders still 
defiantly asserted that the president of the Senate 
would count the vote, and Mr. Ferry let it be known 
that he "would shirk no responsibility." 4 The inaug 
ural address of Governor Robinson of New York con 
tained a long argument, written by Tilden himself, 
setting forth the opposing Democratic view of the 
right of the House to elect in case of a deadlock. 5 In 
the South, although the chief leaders were generally 
for peace, expressions like, "We ll try them this time 
with Tilden and New York to help us," were fre 
quently heard ; 6 while some of the more excitable of 

1 The Nation, XXIII, p. 375. 

2 McClure s Magazine, XXIII, p. 77. Statement of Hewitt. 

3 So says Henry Watterson. John Goode of Virginia says that 
Gen. Franklin of Connecticut was mentioned for the place. 
Hancock was no doubt considered. 

4 World, Dec. 26th; The Nation, XXIII, p. 375. 

5 Bigelow, Tilden, II, pp. 66-74 ; Times, Jan. 3d and 4th. 

6 Atlantic, XXXIX, p. 190. 

Disputed Election of 1876 195 

the local leaders wrote all sorts of wild promises of 
assistance to their compatriots in the North. * On the 
8th of January conventions of Democrats were held 
at Washington, Richmond, and at the capitals of sev 
eral of the states of the Middle West. 2 At the Wash 
ington meeting a fiery Louisville editor, whose opin 
ions are always interesting but whose advice if fol 
lowed would have wrecked this Republic a score of 
times, declared that 100,000 Kentuckians would see 
that justice was done Tilden. 3 At Indianapolis the 
orator of the day, Mr. George W. Julian, once can 
didate on the Liberty Party s ticket for Vice-Presi 
dent, "warned" the Republicans "that millions of men 
will be found ready to offer their lives as hostages to 
the sacredness of the ballot as the palladium of our 
liberty. Whosoever/ he concluded, "hath the gift of 
tongues, let him use it; whosoever can wield the pen 
of the ready writer, let him dip it into the inkhorn; 
whosoever hath a sword, let him gird it on, for the 
crisis demands our highest exertions, physical and 
moral." 4 Similar speeches were made at the other 
meetings, and more or less warlike resolutions were 
passed; but, in general, the meetings proved much 
less impressive than their promoters had hoped. Far 
more dangerous to the peace of the country than mass 
meetings or the utterances of fiery editors was the 
situation in two of the disputed states of the South. 

1 The Nation, XXIV, p. 38. 

2 World, Times and Herald of Jan. 9th and 10th. 

3 Times and World of Jan. 9th. 

4 Indianapolis Journal and Sentinel of Jan. 9th. 

196 The Hayes-Tllden 

From the last of November there had been a dual leg 
islature and from the loth of December a dual execu 
tive in South Carolina, and a similar condition of 
affairs obtained in Louisiana. * While peace was to 
a certain extent maintained between the rival factions 
by Federal troops, no man could feel sure that some 
violent incident might not occur which would prove a 
spark sufficient to fire the whole magazine. 

After the holidays the two congressional commit 
tees, working first separately, later together, and all 
the time in secret, began trying to evolve some plan 
for a peaceful settlement. 2 At first there was much 
uncertainty and floundering about. In the House 
committee, for instance, the first session was devoted 
to considering such questions as: What are the 
powers of the president of the Senate in counting 
the vote? Could the counting of the vote be referred 
to an independent tribunal? Should a new election 
be held? What would be the situation on the 4th of 
March if no person has been declared elected by Con 
gress or has been chosen by the House of Represen 
tatives? 3 

The divergence of opinion between the two factions 

1 For a more extended account of these matters see Chap. 

2 The Senate committee met in the room of the Senate 
judiciary committee ; the House committee in the room of the 
House committee on banking and currency or in the chair 
man s private apartments in the Riggs House. The joint meet 
ings were held in the room of the Senate judiciary committee. 

3 My account of the work of the committees is based chiefly 
on an article by Milton H. Northrup, secretary of the House 
committee, published in the Century, XL, pp. 923-934. The 
article is in large part made up of notes taken by Mr. Northrup 
at the time. In addition, I have received information froru 
ex-Senator Edmunds on a few points. 

Disputed Election of 1876 197 

proved almost as pronounced in the committees as 
elsewhere. At the second meeting of the House com 
mittee on the 4th of January the Democratic chairman 
introduced a resolution to the effect that the power 
of the president of the Senate was confined to open 
ing the returns ; while on the loth Mr. McCrary intro 
duced one to the effect "that the certificates of the 
proper state authorities, executed according to law, 
.... if not conclusive, are at least prima facie 
evidence, and cannot be set aside or disregarded by 
one House without the concurrence of the other." 
These two widely divergent resolutions indicate clearly 
that in a week s time nothing definite had been ac 
complished. Still "the work of crystallization" had 
been progressing, and the time had not been wholly 
wasted, for to the same meeting of the loth Mr. Mc 
Crary brought a plan which was in many respects sim 
ilar to that finally adopted. 

His plan, which in some of its features was not 
unlike the bill of 1800, provided for an independent 
tribunal, to be composed of the chief justice and a 
certain number of associate justices, whose decisions 
were to be final unless overruled by the concurrent 
vote of both houses. After a futile debate that night 
on the Payne resolution, the plan was taken up and 
discussed for some time. On the following day, with 
the consent of the Republican members, it was 
amended so that the decisions of the tribunal were not 
to be final unless concurred in by both houses. An 
other amendment excluded Chief Justice Waite, be- 


198 The Hayes-Til Jen 

cause he was thought to be hostile to Tilden. It was 
then informally agreed that the commission ought to 
consist of the five senior associate justices, namely 
Clifford, Swayne, Davis, Miller, and Field. 

Meanwhile the Senate committee had also evolved 
a plan. Their plan had grown out of a proposition 
introduced by Senator Edmunds in the Senate com 
mittee about the same time that Mr. McCrary intro 
duced his into the House committee. 1 Unlike the 
House proposal, the Senate plan provided for a com 
mission of thirteen, composed of nine members of Con 
gress and the four senior associate justices. In 
choosing the nine each house was to choose five, and 
then one of the ten was to be eliminated by lot. 

On the 1 2th the two plans were presented to the 
two committees at a joint session held in the Senate 
judiciary room. On the following day at a second 
joint session the House committee consented to adopt 
that feature of the Senate committee s plan which 
provided for a tripartite commission ; while the Sen 
ate committee, in turn, agreed that the number of 
members should be fifteen instead of thirteen, and that 
the "lot" feature should be applied only in choosing 
the judges. Before the meeting adjourned all the 
members, except Mr. Springer, who wished time to 
consider, had agreed that the names of the six senior 
associate justices were to be put into a hat, one was 
then to be drawn out, and the persons whose names 

1 Mr. Edmunds says that, as he remembers it, Mr. McCrary 
and he did not work together. 

Disputed Election of 1876 199 

remained were to constitute the judicial portion of 
the commission. 

This meeting took place on Saturday, January I3th, 
Before the following Monday, through some "leak" in 
the committees, the plan became known to the public. 
The result was that much opposition, particularly to 
the "lot" feature, developed among the Democrats, 
who saw that under it the chances would be against 
them. Mr. Tilden, who was personally consulted by 
Mr. Hewitt in New York, utterly declined to approve 
the plan. He opposed compromise of any sort, and 
insisted that the House should stand out for its right 
to participate in the actual counting and to proceed to 
elect in case no one received a majority of the elec 
toral votes. Mr. Tilden placed much faith in the 
effect of the publication of a compilation of the pre 
cedents which Mr. John Bigelow had been preparing, 
and which was published about this time under title 
of Presidential Counts. He believed that if the Dem 
ocrats held firm the Republicans would not dare to 
carry through their plan for having the president of 
the Senate declare the election of Hayes. The plan 
which, without his approval, the Democratic leaders 
were considering at Washington, was, he said, "a 
panic of pacificators. They will act in haste and re 
pent at leisure." "Why surrender now?" he asked. 
"You can always surrender." He was especially hos 
tile to the "lot" device, and is reported to have said 

2OO The Hayes-Til den 

next day regarding it: "I may lose the Presidency, 
but I will not raffle for it." 1 

When the committees met again on Monday, Mr. 
Payne therefore announced on behalf of the Demo 
crats that the six-judge plan would have to be drop 
ped, for the opposition to it was so strong that it could 
never pass the House. Mr. Tilden s influence, how 
ever, was by no means great enough to induce the 
Democratic leaders to give up the idea of compromise. 
They merely endeavored to evolve a less objectionable 
plan, and Mr. Payne, speaking for the Democrats of 
the House committee, proposed in lieu of the six-judge 
plan, "the selection of the five senior associate jus 
tices outright, as in the original House bill. The com 
mittee earnestly believes that the selection of these five, 
two being understood to be in sympathy with the Re 
publicans, twc with the Democracy, and the fifth [Jus 
tice David Davis of Illinois] leaning no more to one 
side than the other, would assure the non-partisan 
character of the commission, and give the odd number 
without a resort to the lot system to which there is in 
many minds a very serious objection." 

"This," says Mr. Northrup, the secretary of the 
House committee, "precipitated a discussion of the 
political bias of Justice David Davis. The distin 
guished Illinois jurist whom Abraham Lincoln had 
placed on the supreme bench was thenceforth, till the 
committees had come to a final agreement, the storm- 
center of earnest disputation. The Republicans tena- 

1 Bigelow, Tilden, II, pp. 75-76 ; Marble, A Secret Chapter of 
Political History; statement of Mr. Bigelow to the author. 

Disputed Election of 1876 201 

ciously argued that Justice Davis was, to all intents 
and purposes, a Democrat, and that his selection should 
be charged up against the Democrats. Just as stren 
uously the Democratic committeemen insisted that he 
occupied a midway position between the parties, and 
therefore could with entire propriety serve as the fifth 
wheel of the commission coach. Senator Edmunds 
promptly took issue with Mr. Payne s characterization 
of Justice Davis as an Independent. Judge Davis/ 
said the cynical Edmunds, is one of those Indepen 
dents who stand always ready to accept Democratic 
nominations. It is my observation that such men are 
generally the most extreme in their partisanship. I 
would rather intrust a decision to an out-and-out Dem 
ocrat than to a so-called Independent. : Mr. 
Springer, on the other hand, said: "Judge Davis is 
just about as much a Democrat as Horace Greeley was 
in 1871 ; he is not and never was a Democrat. His 
most intimate friends, among whom I may count my 
self, don t know to-day whether he favored Tilden or 
Hayes. He didn t vote at all. Our people in Illi 
nois, when he was mentioned for the Presidency, were 
utterly hostile to his nomination because he was not a 
Democrat, and had no standing in that party. They 
only know that he is absolutely honest and fair." 

All the next day, January i6th, was spent in dis 
cussion without any agreement being reached. The 
Democrats of the House committee tendered the five- 
senior-justices plan, with the concession that the deci 
sions of the tribunal should be final unless overruled 

2O2 The Hayes-Tilden 

by both houses, but the Republicans could not bring 
themselves to accept Davis. Various other proposals 
were made. Mr. Hoar suggested an evenly divided 
commission, with power to call in an outsider in case of 
a deadlock. Senator Thurman proposed an even num 
ber of judges, say four to six; he believed they would 
not "range themselves on party lines. No doubt they 
would decide as they believed right." Mr. Hewitt said 
he would be willing to let four judges select a fifth, 
and the suggestion found favor with Mr. Hoar. After 
rejecting the five-senior-justices plan, the Senate com 
mittee tendered a counter-proposition along the line 
of Hewitt s suggestion ; the new scheme provided for 
a commission composed of five- senators, five repre 
sentatives, and the four senior justices (Clifford, 
Davis, Swayne, and Miller), who should name a fifth. 
To this Payne demurred, saying Davis was not a Dem 
ocrat and ought not to be charged to the Democrats 
as one. Senator Bayard, however, being very anxious 
for a, compromise, supported the proposition. He 
thought it "rather saddening that the agreement should 
hinge on the quantum of bias in Judge Davis ;" he 
believed "that in this hour of great danger to the 
institutions of this country there will be evolved a 
feeling above party." 

At the joint meeting on the following day Mr. Payne 
announced that the majority (meaning, of course, the 
Democrats) of his committee were unwilling to assent 
to the proposal which required them to take Judge 
Davis as a Democrat. He then said that Mr. Hewitt 

Disputed Election of l8j6 203 

would make "a proposition which at first blush had the 
unanimous approval of the House committee." Mr. 
Hewitt thereupon stated that he believed none of the 
propositions thus far made could pass, because each 
leaned one way or the other. As an "absolutely just * 
plan he therefore suggested that the two senior jus 
tices, Clifford and Swayne, should each select another 
justice and that these four should then select a fifth. 

The Senate committee, however, rejected Mr. Hew 
itt s proposition, and submitted yet another one, which 
was to take the associate justices from the first, third, 
eighth, and ninth circuits, and let them select a fifth. 
In supporting this plan Senator Edmunds urged that it 
had the merit of being based on geographical consid 
erations Justice Clifford representing New England, 
Justice Strong the Middle States, Justice Miller the 
Northwest, and Justice Field the Pacific slope while 
at the same time maintaining the desired political equi 
poise of the commission. 

After a conference among themselves the House 
committee, with the exception of Mr. Hunton, who 
wished to consider the matter over night, agreed to the 
plan. The two chairmen thereupon began to compare 
the bills in the hands of each, and, with the assistance 
of other members, to perfect the phraseology. Sen 
ator Edmunds also read -a draft of an address prepared 
by him to accompany the report of the bill to the two 
houses. On motion. Senator Thurman was appointed 
to act with him in completing the address, which was 
to be signed in the morning. 

204 The Hayes-Tilden 

Several of the members expressed great relief at 
the successful outcome of their labors. Senator Thur- 
man said the agreement would be hailed with joy from 
one end of the country to the other, and the effect on 
business would be immediately felt. Mr. Hewitt 
thought it was "worth five hundred millions to the 
country at once." Mr. Hoar not unjustly said that 
"this committee s action will be considered as one of 
the important events in history." 

But one senator, namely Morton, was far from be 
ing so well satisfied. He objected especially to cer 
tain features which might perhaps be taken as con 
ferring power upon the Commission to go behind the 
returns. In reply to this objection Senator Thurman 
made a statement which, in the light of subsequent 
events, possesses considerable importance. "The bill," 
declared he, "decides no disputed questions, creates no 
new power, but submits all disputes to this tribunal with 
the same powers, no more, no less, than belong to 
Congress, jointly or severally. It is as near a non 
committal bill, as to disputed questions, as could be 
made." But Morton continued to frown upon the 
bill; and when on the following day the report to 
accompany it was in readiness, l he alone, of all the 
members of the two committees, refused his signature. 

The report 2 justified the bill both on constitutional 

1 When the report was being discussed, Mr. Hoar objected to 
the phrase that it was "comparatively unimportant" who be 
came President, and declared that in his opinion it was of 

immense importance." Senator Conklingr criticised the phrase, 
such jurisdiction is not vested by the Constitution, this bill 
creates it. Both phrases were accordingly stricken out. 

2 For the report see Record, pp. 713-714 

Disputed Election of 1876 205 

grounds and on grounds of expediency. The bill, it 
argued, "is only directed to ascertaining, for the pur 
pose and in the aid of the counting, what are the con 
stitutional votes of the respective states; and what 
ever jurisdiction exists for such purpose, the bill only 
regulates the method of exercising it. The Constitu 
tion, our great instrument for liberty and order, speaks 
in the amplest language for all such cases, in whatever 
aspect they may be presented. It declares that Con 
gress shall have power to make all laws which shall 
be necessary and proper for carrying into execution 
the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by 
this Constitution in the Government of the United 
States, or in any department or officer thereof. "It 
is impossible," the report continued, "to estimate the 
material loss that the country daily sustains from the 
existing state of uncertainty. It directly and power 
fully tends to unsettle and paralyze business, to weaken 
public and private credit, and to create apprehensions 
in the minds of the people that disturb the peaceful 
tenor of their ways and mar their happiness. It does 
far more ; it tends to bring Republican institutions into 
discredit and to create doubts of the success of our 
form of government and of the perpetuity of the 
Republic. All considerations of interest, of patriotism, 
and of justice unite in demanding of the law-making 
power a measure that will bring peace and prosperity 
to the country and show that our Republican institu 
tions are equal to any emergency." 

The bill itself, unquestionably one of the most im- 

206 The Hayes-Tilden 

portant measures ever considered by an American Con 
gress, regulated in detail the whole procedure of the 
count. It provided that the two houses should meet 
in joint session in the hall of the House of Represen 
tatives on the first Thursday in February, two weeks 
earlier than had been the practice under the then exist 
ing law. The joint sessions were to be presided over 
by the president of the Senate, and each House was to 
be represented by two tellers. In case objections 
should be made to the votes of a state from which 
there was but one return such objections were to be in 
writing, signed by at least one member of each House. 
The two houses should then vote separately upon the 
question at issue, and no vote or votes should be ex 
cluded except by concurrent action. In cases where 
more than one return had been received these were to 
be opened and read, and then submitted to a tribunal 
of fifteen, composed in the manner already described. 
Provision was made for filling any vacancy which 
might occur in the tribunal. In the disputed cases all 
the papers together with written objections were to be 
submitted to the tribunal, "which shall proceed to con 
sider the same, with the same powers, if any, now 
possessed for that purpose by the two houses acting 
separately or together, and, by a majority of votes, 
decide whether any and what votes from such state 
are the votes provided for by the Constitution of the 
United States, and how many and what persons were 
duly appointed electors in such state, and may therein 
take into view such petitions, depositions, and other 

Disputed Election of 1876 207 

papers, if any, as shall, by the Constitution and now 
existing law, be competent and pertinent in such con 
sideration." The decision of the commission in dis 
puted cases was to stand unless an objection, signed 
by at least five senators and five representatives, 
should be sustained by the separate vote of both 
houses. To facilitate the count, there was to be no 
debate at joint sessions, and debate at the separate 
sessions was limited to two hours. The joint meeting 
was not to be dissolved until the count should be com 
pleted; and recesses, except when a case was before 
the commission, were not to be taken beyond ten A. M. 
the following day, or from Saturday to the following 
Monday. Lastly the bill disclaimed any infringing 
upon any right, if such existed, to question in the 
courts the title of any person to the Presidency or the 
Vice-Presidency. a 

The news that the committees had at last agreed 
upon a plan was received with much satisfaction in all 
parts of the country. A large portion of the press 
spoke favorably of the bill ; the business interests were 
delighted at the prospect of a peaceful settlement ; and 
petitions in its behalf began to pour in upon Congress. 

Most of the Democrats both in and out of Congress 
at once showed themselves favorable to the bill, while 
perhaps a majority of the Republicans showed them 
selves inclined to oppose it. The Democrats were 
the more inclined to treat, not because they had more 
grace, but because, despite their pretended confidence, 

1 Record, p. 713. 

208 The Hayes-Til den 

they were at a disadvantage and knew it. * Mr. Ferry 
had all the returns in his possession, and was a partisan 
Republican. President Grant was also a Republican ; 
and, although anxious for a peaceful settlement, 2 he 
had given out that he intended to see his duly declared 
successor inaugurated. It was well known that in 
case the two houses were unable to come to an agree 
ment Mr. Ferry would proceed to count the votes, and 
would declare Hayes the President-elect. Mr. Hayes 
would then be inaugurated under the protection of the 
United States army. Even though the House should 
refuse to recognize his election and should proceed to 
choose Tilden, that gentleman would be unable to set 
himself up as more than the de Jufi President. His 
opponent would have control of the official machinery, 
with appropriations sufficient to last until the first of 
July. Mr. Tilden and his supporters would thus be 
put in the position of opposing the regular govern 
ment. 3 Such a position, as many independent and 
even Democratic journals pointed out was one which 
the party, with its recent antecedents, could not afford 
to assume. 4 It could safely be forecast that in case 
the Democrats should resort to force, the majority of 
the people would take the side of the government 
whose seat was at Washington. 5 For this reason, if 
no other, force could not succeed. Another reason 

1 The Nation, XXIV, p. 4. 

2 Recollections of George W. Childs, pp. 77-81. 

3 Herald, Dec. 23d. 

4 The Nation, XXIII, p. 364 ; files of Herald and Sun. 

5 Some prominent Democrats had publicly stated that they 
would not stand by the party in a resort to force. See Herald 
of Dec. 19th. Some of these were ex-Confederate generals. 

Disputed Election of l8j6 209 

why it could not a reason which brought to pause 
hot-heads with whom other considerations weighed 
but little was that at the head of the government 
was a man, who, whatever might be said of his capacity 
as a civil administrator, was known beyond all cavil 
to be a peerless leader on the field of battle. 

The Democrats were influenced by yet other motives 
to support the compromise plan. a Many favored it 
out of genuine patriotism ; while some disliked the idea 
of the election devolving upon Congress, since though 
that would result in the election of Tilden by the 
House, it would also result in the choice of a Republi 
can Vice-President by the Senate. These last and 
most others believed with Senator Gordon of Georgia 
that with the compromise plan both Democratic can 
didates were certain of election. They reasoned that 
only one more vote was needed, that twenty were 
in dispute, and that, out of so many, the Commission, 
with Justice Davis as the fifth judge, would surely 
award the Democrats at least one. 2 

The very considerations which caused Democrats to 
favor the compromise led many Republicans to oppose 
it. To them the chances for success looked extremely 
dubious. To elect their candidates, they must take 
every trick. If Tilden should receive so much as a 
single one of the disputed votes, the game was up. And 
Republicans looked forward with reluctance to such an 
outcome. Some groaned at the thought of losing the 

1 For an analysis of Democratic motives see Bigelow, Tilden, 
II, p. 63. 

2 The Nation, XXIV, p. 19. 

2io The Hayes-Tilden 

fat patronage of a hundred thousand offices. Others 
were more concerned at the thought of relinquishing 
the reins of power to men whom they believed to be 
at heart disloyal to the Union. It is not strange,, 
therefore, that the most radical opposed a plan which 
looked not unlike "giving up the fort." They be 
lieved that in case no compromise were made Hayes 
would be peacefully inaugurated at any rate he 
would be inaugurated. Mr. Hayes himself believed 
the bill unconstitutional, and opposed it, though not 
actively. 1 

On the other hand, a considerable portion of the 
party were unwilling to support the extremists. Chief 
among those favoring a compromise was the President 
himself. He had all along been working to secure a 
peaceful settlement, and he now used his influence in 
behalf of the bill. As a result of his urging Senator 
Conkling of New York, and doubtless others under 
took to work for its passage. 2 

When the bill came up in the Senate on the 2Oth of 
January, Senator Edmunds, chairman of the Senate 
committee, made a powerful and patriotic plea, singu 
larly free from partisanship, in its behalf. He argued 
that it was constitutional, that it did not take away 
from either the president of the Senate or the 
House of Representatives any power which the Con 
stitution "vested in them free from limit and free from 

1 Hayes thought the power to count belonged to tne presi 
dent of the Senate. Letter to Sherman in John Sherman s Recol 
lections, I, p. 561; to Carl Schurz, Jan. 17th and 23d. and to 
Alonzo Taft, Jan. 26th, in the Hayes Papers. 

2 George W. Childs, Reminiscences, pp. 77-80. 

Disputed Election of l8j6 211 

regulation." He urged its passage as a wise measure 
of public policy. 1 

The opposition in the Senate was led by Morton. 
On Monday, the 22d, although ill and scarcely able to 
attend, he made a bitter speech against it. He de 
clared in opening that the bill was a "literal product 
of the Mississippi plan ; that the shadow of intimida 
tion" had entered the Senate; that members of Con 
gress were "acting under the apprehension of vio 
lence, of some great revolutionary act" which would 
"threaten the safety and continuance of our institu 
tions." He did not believe "in the reality of the dan 
ger." He regarded the bill as a compromise which 
would "take its place alongside of the Compromise of 
1820 and the Compromise of 1850." He contended 
that Rutherford B. Hayes had been elected President ; 
that if he should "be counted in, as eighteen Presi 
dents were successively counted in from the begin 
ning of this government," there would be "no violence 
and no revolution." In discussing the constitutional 
question he admitted that Congress had power to leg 
islate upon the subject, "yet in the absence of legisla 
tion, the President of the Senate must count the votes" 
in order "to prevent a deadlock." In support of his 
view he quoted from Chancellor Kent a statement to 
the effect that "in the absence of all legislative pro 
vision on the subject, .... the President of the 
Senate counts the votes and determines the result, and 
.... the two houses are present only as spec- 

1 Record, pp. 767-771. 

212 The Hayes-Tilden 

tators to witness the fairness and accuracy of the 
transaction and to act only if no choice be made by 
the electors." Morton asked whether the five judges 
would be "officers," and whether, if so, they must not 
be appointed as the Constitution prescribes. He ques 
tioned the power of Congress to delegate its authority 
in the premises, pronounced the whole scheme a patch- 
ed-up "contrivance," and finally was forced to con 
clude from sheer physical exhaustion. 1 

Frelinghuysen of New Jersey refused to follow 
Morton s lead, and spoke in behalf of the bill. 2 After 
a few other speeches had been made, Edmunds asked 
for an immediate vote, but the matter was held over 
till the next day. 3 

On that day, after a speech in opposition by Sher 
man, 4 Senator Conkling began an elaborate and char 
acteristic speech, which filled the galleries with spec 
tators and consumed the greater part of two days. 
He reviewed the precedents in great detail to show 
that in no instance had the president of the Senate 
assumed of his own authority to do anything beyond 
opening the certificates. He referred to the Twenty- 
Second Joint Rule, to the Sherman Resolution of in 
quiry in 1872, and to Morton s own bill as serving to 
show that Congress could regulate the count. He 
accused Morton and the other extreme Republicans of 
seeking to provoke a deadlock as a result of which the 

1 Record, pp. 799-801. 

2 Ibid, pp. 801-805. 

3 Ibid, pp. 805-808. 

4 Ibid, pp. 820-825. 

Disputed Election of 1876 213 

president of the Senate must act. "If," he exclaimed, 
"there was ever a political Hell-Gate paved and honey 
combed with dynamite, there it is." He pointed out 
that only a few months before Morton himself had 
voted for a proposition to import the chief justice into 
a similar tribunal. He said he would vote for the bill 
because it was constitutional, would prevent disorder, 
and would be to the lasting benefit of the people. l 

Bayard, Christiancy, Thurman, and others spoke in 
behalf of the bill. At half-past twelve o clock A. M. 
of January 25th Morton, after an ineffectual attempt 
to secure an adjournment on the plea of being too ill 
and worn-out to speak, began his closing argument 
against it. In the course of his speech he once more 
advanced his theory of the power of the president of 
the Senate. It was impossible, he asserted, to con 
sider such a body as the proposed Commission a mere 
committee of Congress. He admitted that perhaps his 
views upon the count had not always been consistent ; 
but, said he, "there are no popes in this body." He 
could show that every member of the committee had 
expressed sentiments different from those contained in 
the bill, and he quoted a statement by Conkling entirely 
at variance with a portion of it. Any measure, declared 
he, which might result in the seating of Tilden and 
Hendricks ought to be opposed, because the welfare of 
humanity demanded that the Republican party remain 
in power. "It is not to our interest," he frankly 

1 Record, pp. 825-831, 870-878. 

214 The Hayes-Tilden 

stated, "to depart from that method pursued for sev 
enty-five years simply to give our political opponents 
advantages and chances which they now have not." : 

But all the efforts of the extremists against the bill 
proved unavailing. 2 An amendment forbidding the 
Commission from going behind the returns and an 
other granting it that right were voted down. 8 A 
final vote was taken at 7 A. M. after an all night session, 
and resulted in the passage of the bill by 47 to 17. 4 

Although the bill had been reported to the House on 
the same day as to the Senate, its consideration was 
not begun by the former body until some days later. 
From the i/th to the 24th of January the House de 
voted most of its time to debating a set of resolutions 
reported by the committee which had been directed to 
investigate and report upon the powers, privileges, and 
duties of the House in counting the electoral vote. 
These resolutions, which were really the work of Mr. 
Tilden, 5 denied the power of the president of the 
Senate to do more than receive and open the certifi 
cates ; they asserted that, on the contrary, the two 
houses have the power to examine and ascertain the 
vote, and held that no return could be counted against 
the judgment and determination of the House. 6 

On the 25th of January, however, the electoral bill 

1 Record, pp. 894-898. 

2 For a speech by Elaine against the bill see Ibid, p. 898. 

3 Ibid, p. 911-912. 

4 Ibid, p. 913. 

5 Bigelow, II, pp. 65-66. They were slightly changed by the 

Record, p. 609. 

Disputed Election of 1 876 215 

was at last taken up. Mr. McCrary opened the de 
bate with a plea in behalf of favorable action. l He 
emphasized the fact that there was "widespread, hon 
est difference of opinion." He pointed out that many 
Democrats, including Senators Bayard, Whyte, and 
Stevenson, had at one time or another held that in 
the absence of legislation the power to count inhered 
in the president of the Senate; while many Republi 
cans, including Senators Boutwell, Dawes, and Chris- 
tiancy, had opposed that theory. He showed also that 
Democrats like Bayard, Maxey, Whyte, and others, 
were on record as opposing the right of one house to 
throw out the vote of a state ; while many Republicans 
were on record as supporting the contested right. 
When there was such difference, there might well be 

Lamar of Mississippi, Harrison and Springer of 
Illinois, Watterson of Kentucky, and many others of 
both parties made speeches in behalf of the bill. Hun- 
ton of Virginia cited the plan of 1800, the Twenty- 
Second Joint Rule, and other precedents in order to 
show that the bill was constitutional. 2 Hewitt of 
New York said that "a hundred thousand place holders 
in esse and an equal number of place hunters in posse 
were busily attacking the bill foj- the same reason as 
did the " Ephesian worker in copper the early Chris 
tians" it threatened "to spoil their trade/ The 
very fact that it was said on the Republican side that 
the bill was a scheme to make Tilden President, while 

1 Record, pp. 930-935. 

2 Ibid, pp. 935-939. 

216 The Hayes-Tilden 

it was said on the Democratic side that it was a plan 
to make Hayes President, was, he thought, sure proof 
of the plan s fairness. l Other speakers expressed the 
belief that the bill offered the only hope of escape from 
a dual government and civil war. 2 Hill of Georgia 
said the South was for peace, 3 and the sentiment was 
approved by most of the speakers from that section. 

Hale of Maine, Knott of Kentucky, Monroe of Ohio, 
Townsend of New York, Mills of Texas, Hurlbut of 
Illinois, Garfield of Ohio, and others spoke against 
the bill. Mills declared that the Democrats should 
have taken a bold stand on the powers of the House ; 
he objected chiefly to the provision that no vote could 
be excluded except by the concurrent vote of both 
houses. 4 Hurlbut thought that in arranging for the 
choice of the fifth judge Congress had "gravely in 
augurated the great national game of draw." 5 One of 
the chief speeches in opposition was that by Garfield. 
He said in part: 

"The Senate at Rome never deliberated a moment 
after the flag was hauled down which floated on the 
Janiculum Hill across the Tiber. That flag was the 
sign that no enemy of Rome breathing hot threats of 
war, had entered the sacred precincts of the city ; and 
when it was struck, the Senate sat no longer. The 
reply to war is not words but swords. 

"When you tell me that civil war is threatened by 
any party or State in this Republic, you have given 
me a supreme reason why an American Congress 

1 Record, pp. 946-948. 

2 See, for example, Watterson s speech, Ibid, p. 1007. 

3 Ibid, pp. 1008-1009. 

4 Ibid, pp. 979-982. 

5 Ibid, p. 1008. 

Disputed Election of l8j6 217 

should refuse with unutterable scorn to listen to those 
who threaten, or to do any act whatever under the 
coercion of threats by any power on the earth. With 
all my soul I despise your threat of civil war, come 
it from what quarter or what party it may. Brave 
men, certainly a brave nation, will do nothing under 
such compulsion." 1 

But, just as in the Senate, the opponents of the bill 
found themselves powerless. The pressure of public 
opinion in favor of compromise was well-nigh irre 
sistible, and a perfect hurricane of petitions was sweep 
ing into Congress. 2 The Democrats were almost 
unanimous in favor of the bill, and the Republicans 
were not able to muster their full strength against it. 
When a vote was taken on January 26th, the bill was 
passed by the overwhelming majority of 191 to 86. 3 

A study of the vote in both houses sho"ws~ unmis 
takably that the bill succeeded by grace of the support 
given it by most of the Democratic members and by a 
comparatively small number of Republicans. In the 
Senate 26 Democrats supported it, and only one oppos 
ed it; in the same body 21 Republicans supported it, 
and 16 opposed it. In the House 160 Democrats sup 
ported it and 17 opposed it; while only 31 Republicans 
supported it, and 69 opposed it. In the light of these 
figures it seems almost fair to call the act a Democratic 
measure. 4 Whatever, therefore, should be the out 
come of the labors of the tribunal thus created, it 
could reasonably be held that the Democrats were in 

1 Record, p. 968. 

2 Ibid, pp. 913, 946, 948, 949, 1024, 1049, etc. 

3 Ibid, p. 1050. 

4 For a discussion of this matter see Blaine II, p. 587. 

21 8 The Hayes-Tilden 

honor bound to accept its decisions and abide by 

Unquestionably one of the chief factors in the Dem 
ocratic support of the measure and the Republican 
opposition to it lay in the prevailing belief that Justice 
"David Davis would be the fifth representative of the 
supreme court. "In the ponderous Illinois jurist 
were centered the hopes of Democracy, the apprehen 
sions of Republicanism." But it has well been said 
that all things are uncertain in love, war and politics 
especially in politics. At the capital of Illinois while 
the bill was still pending occurred one of those unex 
pected events which so often seem to change the course 
of history. l In that city the supporters of General 
Logan had for some time been vainly trying to secure 
his re-election to the Federal Senate. The situation 
was complicated by the presence in the legislature of 
five Independents, who held the balance of power. 
For more than a week the balloting proceeded without 
result. During that time a few votes were cast for 
Judge Davis. On the 24th, the day before the elec 
toral bill came up in the House at Washington, the 
Democrats at Springfield, with strange fatuity, began 
to regard him as the proper man on whom to form a 
combination; 2 and on the following day he received 

1 Assuming, of course, that Davis would have voted with the 
Democratic members in at least one case. In a letter written 
to Mr. Joseph M. Rogers the late Senator Hoar expressed the 
belief that since Davis "was a great lawyer and at heart a very 

earnest Republican he would .... have never 

agreed to any other decision than that to which the majority of 
the Commission came." 

2 Mr. Hewitt believed to the day of his death that the elec 
tion of Davis was the result of a corrupt bargain engin- 

Disputed Election of 1876 219 

the votes of three Independents and of the 98 Demo 
crats, making exactly a majority. 1 

The news came as a stunning blow to the Demo 
cratic leaders in Congress; for they realized that the 
election rendered him in a certain sense ineligible for 
a place upon the Commission, and that the fifth judge 
would of necessity be chosen from out-and-out Repub 
licans. 2 But they had committed themselves too far 
to recede ; and, still hoping for the best, they voted for 
the bill. Later they realized more fully that this bit 
of gaucherie on the part of their compatriots on the 
broad prairies of the West had probably exercised a 
determining influence in deciding whether the Repub 
lican or the Democratic party should during the en 
suing four years control the government of the Amer 
ican people. 

eered by Sen. Morton to get Davis off the Commission and se 
cure a Democrat in his place. Mr. Hewitt left an article on 
the disputed election, which is sometime to be published, in which 
he gives his view of this matter. See also Bigelow, II, p. 64. 
Mr. Foulke, Morton s biographer, says he has found no evi 
dence to support the story. It seems entirely improbable. 

1 New York World and Times of Jan. 25th and 26th; Annual 
Cyclopaedia, 1877, p. 383. 

2 "The writer," says Mr. Northrup, "will never forget the 
drop in the countenance of the Hon. Abram S. Hewitt, who had 
charge of Tilden s campaign, when, meeting him in the hall of 
the House of Representatives, he informed him of Judge Davis s 
transfer from the Supreme Court to the Senate." Century, XL. 
p. 983. 



President Grant approved the Electoral ^Commission 
bill on the 29th, and in doing so expressed to Congress 
his great satisfaction at the adoption of a measure 
that affords an orderly means for deciding "a gravely 
exciting question." 1 

On the following day each House proceeded by a 
viva voce vote to designate five of its members to sit 
upon the Commission. 2 The House chose Payne of 
Ohio, Hunton of Virginia, Abbott of Massachusetts, 
Democrats; Hoar of Massachusetts and Garfield of 
Ohio, Republicans. The Senate selected Edmunds of 
Vermont, Frelinghuysen of New Jersey, Morton of 
Indiana, Republicans; Thurman of Ohio and Bayard 
of Delaware, Democrats. All these gentlemen had, of 
course, been previously designated in party caucuses. 3 

Naturally each caucus had done its work with ex 
treme care. It occasioned some remark at the time 
that the caucus of Senate Republicans had not chosen 
Conkling. The claim was later made that the reason 
why he was not chosen was that he believed Tilden 

1 Record, p. 1081. 

2 Proceedings of the Electoral Commission, pp. 5-6. 

3 World and Times of Jan. 28th, 29th, and 30th. 

The Disputed Election of 1876 22 1 

had been elected. But this seems not to be the cor 
rect explanation. A more probable one is that first of 
all he was a "Conkling man ;" his popularity in the 
Senate was not great ; he had been indifferent to Hayes 
even during the campaign ; l and it was known that he 
thought it would be better politics, since the title was 
in doubt and there had been fraud on both sides, to 
yield the Presidency to the Democrats. 2 

On the same day the four justices Clifford and 
Field, Democrats; and Strong and Miller, Republi 
cans while not greatly relishing the work they had 
been called upon to perform, met together to select 
the fifth justice. It appears that they offered the 
place to Justice Davis, but that he, being averse to 
accepting the responsibility, refused it and based his 
refusal on the fact that he had just been elected sen 
ator by the Democrats. The justices were then for 
some time unable to agree upon a substitute ; there 
seemed a possibility that the whole plan of settlement 
might be blocked ; 3 but at length they selected Justice 
Joseph P. Bradley, of the fifth judicial circuit. Justice 
Bradley was the most acceptable to the Democrats of 
any of the remaining justices ; for he was by no means 
a partisan, and in some of his opinions had shown 
himself out "of sympathy with the radical Republi 
cans. 4 

1 Ante, p. 36, note. 

2 Conkling, Life and Letters of Roscoe Conkling, p. 528. 
Later, when he was completely estranged from Hayes, he took 
a more pronounced view. Hoar, II, p. 44. 

3 McClure s, XXIII, p. 83. 

4 New York World of Feb. 1st. In the opinion of that paper 
Bradley was not satisfactory to the Republicans. It expressed 
pleasure over his choice. See also Atlantic, LXXII, p. 529. 


222 The Hayes-Tilden 

Thursday, February 1st, the day set by the law for 
the count to begin, saw a great crowd of sightseers 
in the hall of the House of Representatives. In the 
diplomatic gallery were Sir Edward Thornton, the 
English minister ; the Japanese and German ministers, 
and other foreign representatives, together with their 
suites and members of their families. In the other 
galleries sat the wives and relatives of congressmen 
and of the cabinet officers, and persons of lesser note. 
On the floor itself were Justices Field and Miller of 
the Commission, Jeremiah S. Black, jurist and member 
of Buchanan s cabinet, J. D. Cameron, the secretary 
of war, Charles O Conor of the New York bar, 
George Bancroft, diplomatist and historian, General 
Sherman, and many other distinguished visitors. 

At one o clock the door-keeper of the House an 
nounced the Senate of the United States. That body 
then entered the hall, preceded by their sergeant-at- 
arms, and headed by their president and secretary, the 
members of the House standing to receive them. 
Upon reaching the desk the president, Mr. Ferry, in 
accordance with the law, took the speaker s chair; 
Mr. Randall, the speaker, occupied another immedi 
ately on his left; the senators seated them|eievj in 
the body of the hall on the right of the chair ; the 
representatives and visitors filled the remaining floor 
space ; the tellers, Messrs. Ingalls and Allison for 
the Senate and Messrs. Cook and Stone for the House 
the secretary of the Senate, and the clerk of the 
House took seats at the clerk s desk ; the other officers 

Disputed Election of l8j6 223 

were accommodated in front of the clerk s desk and on 
each side of the speaker s platform. 1 

Mr. Ferry then called the joint session to order, 
and the historic count began. The votes of Alabama, 
Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, and Del 
aware were declared and counted without special in 
cident; the proceedings were somewhat tedious, and 
there was considerable talk and confusion on the floor 
and in the galleries. But as the count of the votes of 
Delaware was completed a hush fell over the hall, 
and there was a great craning of necks in the galleries. 
Florida had been reached. 

From Florida there were three certificates : one from 
the Hayes electors, regular in form because certified 
by Governor Stearns and Secretary of State McLin; 
one from the Tilden electors, dated December 6th, 
but confessedly irregular in form, though certified by 
Attorney-General Cocke; one from the same Demo 
cratic electors, dated January 26th, 1877, certified by 
the new governor, Drew, and containing a copy of 
the act of January I7th, the certificate of the state 
canvassers who recanvassed the vote under that act 
and a reference, in the governor s certificate, to the 
judgment of the circuit court in the quo warranto pro 
ceedings against the Hayes electors. 2 

Objections were at once filed against each of the 
certificates, and the Democrats also filed a special ob 
jection against the reception of the vote of F. C. 

1 Proceedings, pp. 6-9. 

2 Ibid, pp. 10-24. 

224 The Hayes-Tilden 

Humphreys, one of the Hayes electors, on the ground 
that he was a Federal office-holder, and was therefore 
ineligible. The certificates, objections, and all other 
papers were then, in accordance with the law, referred 
to the Electoral Commission. 1 

That tribunal had already met and organized, with 
the venerable Justice Clifford, the justice "longest in 
commission" as president. 2 The sessions were held 
in the room usually occupied by the supreme court. 
For the sake of the future historian the spectacle pre 
sented by the Commission should have been a splen 
did one, but it was not. If the official painting, which 
now hangs in the Capitol, be a true representation, the 
sight was far from imposing. 3 We are distinctly told 
by an eye-witness that the proceedings furnished little 
that was "unusual, unique, picturesque, or dramatic." 4 
Attempted descriptions along the line of Macaulay s 
passage on the trial of Hastings are therefore mislead 
ing. 5 To be sure, the room itself was the same which, 
as the Senate chamber of other days, had "resounded 
with the eloquence of Clay and of Webster ;" but it 
was much too small for the audience which now filled 
it, and even the bench was insufficient to accommodate 
all of the fifteen judges. 6 

1 For the objections see Proceedings, pp. 24-28. 

2 Ibid, pp. 8-9. The law so provided. 

3 Painted by Mrs. C. Adele Fassett, who made sketches during 
the sessions and later secured sittings from most of the dis 
tinguished participants. For an account of the painting and a 
key" see Magazine of American History, XXVII, pp. 81-97. 

4 Times of Feb. 6th. 

5 Herald of Feb. llth. 

6 Owing to lack of lighting facilities in the court room, aome 
of the evening sessions were held in the Senate chamber. 

Disputed Election of 1876 225 

The proceedings were more notable for the eminent 
character of the participants than for any dramatic 
or spectacular interest. All the members of the Com 
mission were men of broad experience and high legal 
attainments. Of the five from the Senate, two, Thur- 
man and Edmunds, were unsurpassed as constitutional 
lawyers; a third, Bayard, was to be a secretary of 
state, a minister to England, and several times a for 
midable candidate for the Presidential nomination; 
while a fourth, Morton, had approved himself the 
greatest of "war governors," x and now, though par 
tially paralyzed, possessed a will which triumphed over 
all the infirmities of the body and made him one of the 
most feared leaders of his party. Of those from the 
House, one was soon to be honored with the exalted 
position for which the contest was now raging; while 
another, who has but recently gone from among us, 
was a man who in spotless integrity and singleness of 
devotion to his country s service was the peer of any 
man who has ever represented the great state of Mas 

The counsel who appeared for the contending parties 
were scarcely less eminent than the Commission itself. 
Among those for the Democrats were Charles O Con- 
or, Jeremiah S. Black, John A. Campbell, once asso 
ciate justice of the supreme court, ex-Senator Lyman 
Trumbull of Illinois, William C. Whitney of New 
York, and Richard T. Merrick of Washington. Fore 
most among the Republican counsel was the astute 

1 So thought Stanton and Chase. Letter of Chase to Morton 
given by Foulke, I. p. 456. See also Hoar, II, p. 75. 

226 The Hayes-Tilden 

and learned William M. Evarts, leader of the New 
York bar, defender of Andrew Johnson, ex-attorney- 
general, and soon to be secretary of state. He was 
ably assisted by Edward M. Stoughton of New York 
and by Samuel Shellabarger, the personal representa 
tive of Hayes, and by Stanley Matthews of Ohio. 
Some of the best known of the senators and represen 
tatives including Montgomery Blair, J. Randolph 
Tucker, George W. McCrary, David Dudley Field, 
John A. Kasson, and William Lawrence, appeared be 
fore the Commission as objectors to the various cer 

The objections to the Florida certificates were heard 
on the 2d. The Democratic objections were pre 
sented by David Dudley Field of New York and by J. 
Randolph Tucker of Virginia. Mr. Field, who was 
the first to speak, asserted that in a peaceful and 
orderly election the Tilden electors had been chosen 
by a majority of the votes, but that through a "sort 
of jugglery" a false certificate signed by the former 
governor of the state had been sent up by the Re 
publican candidates. He then entered upon a detailed 
account of the sharp practices resorted to by the Re 
publican canvassing officers in Baker county and 
charged that the returning board had manufactured 
a majority for Hayes. He also laid stress upon the 
quo ivarranto proceedings which had resulted in a de 
cree by a district court in favor of the Tilden electors, 
and told of the later canvass of votes by the new re 
turning board created for the purpose by the new legis- 

Disputed Election of l8jd 227 

lature. The certificate of Governor Stearns, he ar 
gued, formed no barrier against the investigation of 
the facts by the Commission, for the governor s cer 
tification was done in accordance with a Federal law 
which did not provide that his certificate should be 
conclusive evidence. The Commission could, there 
fore, go behind the certificate and overthrow the 
"fraud." l Mr. Tucker, the other objector, pointed 
out that the powers of the tribunal, in accordance 
with the act creating it, were exactly those of the two 
houses of Congress ; these powers, he thought, "are 
not less than the powers of a court upon a quo war- 
ranto proceeding." In every appointment or election, 
he argued, there are two elements : first, the elective 
function, and second, the determining function. 
Whenever the determining authority acts illegally such 
action must be set aside. The determining authority 
in Florida had so acted, and its action must be set 
aside by the Commission. Since the canvass made by 
the returning board had been declared illegal by a 
court in quo ivarranto proceedings, the judgment of 
the court must be accepted as final. He closed by 
stating the Democratic objection to the vote of the 
alleged ineligible Republican elector. 2 

Representatives Kasson and McCrary appeared as 
the Republican objectors. 3 The certificate sent by 
the Hayes electors, argued Mr. Kasson, was the only 
regular one. The second was irregular, because 

1 Proceedings, pp. 35-45. 

2 /bid, pp. 45-52. 

3 For their respective speeches see Ibid, pp. 54-64 and 64-72. 

228 The Hayes-Tilden 

signed by an officer not recognized by the laws of 
the United States nor by the statutes of Florida as 
a certifying officer." The third was "still more ex 
traordinary .... a certificate which is thor 
oughly ex post facto, certified by an officer not in ex 
istence until the functions of the office had been ex 
hausted ; a certificate which recites or refers to poster 
ior proceedings in a subordinate court and in a super 
ior state court, the latter expressly excluding the 
electoral question ; a certificate which is accompanied 
by that sort of a return which a canvassing board 
might under some circumstances report to the state 
officers, but which has never been sent to the Congress 
of the United States or to the President of the Senate 
for their consideration in the hundred years in which 
we have been a Republic." The Republicans were 
prepared to meet the charges of fraud that had been 
brought. The Democratic objectors had spoken of 
Baker county but had neglected to mention the train- 
load of non-resident Democrats who had voted in 
Alachua county. He denied, however, that the Com 
mission had power to investigate such matters ; it must 
accept the regular return certified by the state author 
ities ; it could not go behind the action of the state 
canvassers because the Constitution provides that each 
state shall appoint its electors "in such manner as the 
legislature thereof may direct." Mr. McCrary, in 
his speech, attacked the theory put forward by his op 
ponents that the Commission possessed the judicial 
powers attributed to it by his opponents. He held 

Disputed Election of 1876 229 

also that the Republican electors, under color of title, 
had met and voted on the 6th of December, and had 
thereupon become functi officio; all subsequent pro 
ceedings were of no effect; the acts of the electors, 
in accordance with the law of officers, must stand, 
even though it be admitted for the sake of argument 
that they were only officers de facto and not de jure. 
While contending that the Commission should not take 
cognizance of the proceedings in quo warranto, he said 
that if the Commission did decide to do so, the Repub 
licans were prepared to show that an appeal to a 
higher court was then pending. As regarded the case 
of the alleged ineligible elector, Humphreys, he 
stated that it could be easily proven that Mr. Hum 
phreys had resigned the office before the election; he 
objected, however, to the subject coming before the 
Commission because there were "no papers accom 
panying any of the votes, or papers purporting to be 
votes," that related to the matter. 

When the counsel began their arguments on the fol 
lowing day, this vital question of the reception of evi 
dence at once arose, and as it had to be decided before 
any progress could be made, the whole attention of the 
Commission was turned to it. In their arguments * the 
Democratic advocates showed themselves, for once, 
strangely indifferent to the sphere of state powers. 
The evidence they wished to bring in was of two 

1 For the Democratic arguments see Proceedings, pp. 64-101, 
124-136. For their briefs see pp. 729-774. None of these 
briefs was devoted entirely to this matter of the reception of 
evidence, but all touched upon it. 

230 The Hayes-Tilden 

kinds: first, that which was contained in the various 
certificates received from Florida; and, second, ex 
trinsic evidence taken by the investigating committee 
of the House of Representatives, or evidence to be 
taken by the Commission itself. The certificate of the 
governor, argued they, was not conclusive; it was 
merely required by a Federal statute, which must have 
been passed as a precautionary measure, for the 
Constitution itself provides for the return by the 
electors themselves. Under the circumstances of the 
present case the Commission must make an investiga 
tion in order to determine what votes should be 
counted ; "any legitimate evidence going to determine 
the true votes is," they held, "proper and competent 
evidence before this tribunal." They pointed out that 
in 1873 a Senate committee had gone behind the cer 
tificate of the governor of Louisiana, had found that 
the returns "had never been counted by anybody hav 
ing authority to count them," and that -with this report 
before them Congress had excluded the vote of the 
state. This precedent, the Democrats contended, was 
sufficient proof of the right of Congress and the Com 
mission to receive both kinds of evidence; but they 
said they would, in the case of Florida, ask the recep 
tion of no extrinsic evidence save upon the rejection 
of certain returns by the returning board and upon the 
ineligibility of Mr. Humphreys. They suggested that 
the Republicans would need to offer in rebuttal no 
extrinsic evidence save upon these matters and upon 
the fact of the appeal from the decision in quo war- 

Disputed Election of 1876 231 

ranto. This was intended to meet the Republican 
argument that, aside from constitutional reasons, the 
reception of extrinsic evidence would from the very 
vastness of the labor involved be impracticable. 

The Republican advocates, on their part, advanced 
"strict construction" views which were quite as un 
wonted as were the "loose construction" arguments 
put forward by their opponents. 1 With admirable 
acumen and calculation they placed themselves square 
ly upon the line of division between Federal and 
state powers. They accepted the position so painfully 
constructed by the Democrats on the question of the 
power to go behind the governor s certificate ; this 
could be done, said they, because the governor acts 
in that matter in obedience to Federal law and his 
action is therefore reviewable by Federal authority. 
But, they pointed out, this does not apply to the choice 
of the electors ; that is a matter wholly under state 
control, for the Constitution expressly declares that 
electors shall be appointed by each state "in such 
manner as the legislature thereof may direct." 

Up to "the completion and consummation of this 
appointment," argued Matthews, "the state alone 
acts. That last act completes the appointment, and 
that appointment completed and finished is unchange 
able except by state authority exerted upon that act 
within an interval of time; and what is that? Con 
gress, under the Constitution of the United States, has 

1 For the Republican arguments see Proceedings, pp. 101- 
124 and 136-137. 

232 The Hayes-Tilden 

had reserved to it control in certain particulars over 
this appointment; that is to say, it may designate the 
day on which the appointment may be made, and it 
shall designate the day on which the electors so ap 
pointed shall deposit their ballots for President and 
Vice-President. In that interval I do not know and 
I do not care to discuss, I will neither deny nor af 
firm, but I am willing to admit, any and everything 
that may be claimed on the other side as t the ex 
istence of state authority to inquire into and affect 
that record." But he contended that once the day 
had passed when the body which according to the 
forms of law had been invested with the apparent title 
to act had accomplished the purpose for which it had 
been brought into being, then that transaction, so far 
as state authority was concerned, had passed beyond 
the limits of its control. l 

In case of conflicting returns Congress might in 
vestigate to see which one was the true one, but its 
investigation must stop with ascertaining the deter 
mination reached by the authority empowered by state 
law with that function. Its duty was merely "to 
count the electoral vote, and not to count the votes 
by which the electors are elected." To attempt to do 
the latter would not only be unconstitutional but would 
involve difficulties which would be insuperable. 

On the question of receiving extraneous proof re 
garding the eligibility of electors the Republican coun 
sel held that while Congress had power to make a law 

1 Proceedings, p. 103. 

Disputed Election of 1876 233 

providing for the reception of such proof, there was 
no such law and therefore such proof must not be 
received. The injunction against appointing persons 
holding Federal offices, they argued, "does not exe 
cute itself under the Constitution, and if unexecuted 
in the laws of the state, is only to be executed by 
laws of Congress providing the means and time and 
place for proof and determination on the fact of dis 
qualification." 1 

The hearing on the question of receiving evidence 
was concluded on the afternoon of Monday, Febru 
ary 6th. The Commission reserved its decision until 
the following Wednesday. In the meantime there 
was great impatience in Washington and elsewhere to 
learn what stand the Commission would take, for upon 
that stand hinged, it was believed by many, the final 

Through a peculiar misapprehension the Democrats 
believed for a time that their cause was won. In mak 
ing up his mind, Mr. Bradley, following a not uncom 
mon custom among jurists, wrote out what were in 
effect two opinions giving the arguments on both 
sides. A Democratic member learned of the opin 
ion giving the Democratic arguments and inferred 
that Justice Bradley was siding with the Democrats. 
The joyful news was carried to Mr. Hewitt. There 
was jubilation among the Democrats. Bradley was 
a just judge a veritable "Daniel come to judg 
ment." But hasty inferences are apt to prove mis- 

1 From speech by Evarts, Proceedings, pp. 117-118. 

234 The Hayes-Tilden 

leading. On the following day, when Justice Miller 
moved, "that no evidence will be received or consid 
ered by the Commission which was not submitted to 
the joint convention of the two houses by the presi 
dent of the Senate with the different certificates, ex 
cept such as relates to the eligibility of F. C. Hum 
phreys, one of the electors," Bradley voted with the 
Republicans ; and the order was carried by 8 to 7. 1 
From that time forward Justice Joseph P. Bradley 
was in the eyes of Democrats an "unjust judge," a 
"partisan," and the cry went forth from the house 
tops that he had been bribed. To give color to the 
bribery story, it was alleged that on the night prior to 
the decision his house had been surrounded by the 
carriages of Republican politicians and Pacific Rail 
road magnates, and that as a result of "pressure" 
brought to bear upon him at this time he had changed 
his views. There was not one iota of proof brought 
forward in support of the charge, but Democratic 
newspapers took up the story, and Justice Bradley s 
whole after-life was embittered by it. 2 

Upon one question, however, namely that of receiv 
ing extraneous evidence relating to the alleged ineli- 

1 Proceedings, pp. 138-139. 

2 The New York Sun was especially active in keeping the 
story alive. See Lewis, Miscellaneous Writings of the Late Hon. 
Joseph P. Bradley, pp. 220-222, for a letter written by Bradley 
to the Newark Daily Advertiser of Sept. 5, 1877. Bigelow, Til- 
den, II, p. 95, states that Tilden told him that he had been 
offered the vote of a member of the supreme court (presumably 
Bradley) on the question of going behind the returns for 
$200,000. If there was such an offer, it was made by one of 
those irresponsible persons who were so active just then in 
trying to engineer corrupt bargains without any authority from 
those concerned. 

Disputed Election of l8j6 235 

gibility of Mr. Humphreys, Mr. Bradley voted with 
the Democrats. On the following day the evidence 
was taken. It showed conclusively that Mr. Hum 
phreys had been shipping commissioner of the port of 
Pensacola, but that on the 24th of September he had 
sent a letter of resignation to the Federal circuit judge, 
who was then on a visit to Ohio. The resignation had 
been accepted on the 2d of October, and Mr. Hum 
phreys had turned over the books and records to the 
collector of customs and had ceased to perform the 
duties of the office. The Democratic counsel did not 
deny these facts ; but they raised the technical objec 
tion that the resignation was not valid because made, 
not to the appointing power, the circuit court, but to 
the absent judge. 

In the final hearing upon the Florida case the coun 
sel for both parties made use of substantially the same 
arguments that have already been set forth. 1 7fThe 
Republicans once again claimed that theirs was the 
only regular certificate ; that the first Democratic cer 
tificate was confessedly irregular ; that the second was 
"a posthumous certificate of a post-mortem action, 
never proceeding from any vital or living body of 
electors, but only from the galvanic agency of inter- 
ested party purpose, taking effect after the whole 
transaction was ended." 2 The quo warranto proceed 
ings, they held, were not before the Commission; 

1 For the final arguments on both sides see Proceedings, pp. 
145-193. See also Democratic briefs Nos. 2, 3, and 4, pp. 745- 

2 Evarts, Hid, p. 179. 

236 The Hayes-Tilden 

even if they were, they were wholly post hoc 
and, furthermore, had been appealed from. If such 
post hoc proceedings were to be of any effect, 
it lay in the power of any partisan nisi prius 
court to reverse an election and even to un 
seat a President after he was inaugurated. In reply, 
the Democrats admitted that the quo warranto had 
been decided after the electors had voted, but they 
claimed that service had been made before the act. 
The Tilden electors, they declared, had been recog 
nized by all the departments of the state government ; 
and their votes must be received and counted. 

The hearing in the Florida case was closed on 
Thursday, February 8th. Next day the Commission 
met behind closed doors and argued the question for 
many hours. 1 On one point, namely the eligibility 
of Mr. Humphreys, there were three Democrats 
Thurman, Bayard, and Clifford who were willing 
to take the Republican view ; 2 but upon every other 
important question the Commission divided on strict 
party lines. And on strict party lines the Republicans 
had a majority of one. By a vote of 8 to 7 it was 
therefore ordered that the four electoral votes of Flor 
ida should be counted for Hayes and Wheeler. 3 The 
grounds of the decision, as stated in the report to 
Congress, were as follows: 


2 Ibid, pp. 194, 871, 1059. 

3 Ibid, pp. 195-198. 



Disputed Election of l8j6 237 

"That it is not competent under the Constitution and 
the law, as it existed at the date of the passage of 
said act, to go into evidence aliunde the papers opened 
by the president of the Senate in the presence of the 
two houses to prove that other persons than those 
regularly certified to by the governor of the state of 
Florida, in and according to the determination and 
declaration of their appointment by the board of state 
canvassers of said state prior to the time required 
for the performance of their duties, had been ap 
pointed electors, or by counter-proof to show that they 
had not, and that all proceedings of the courts or acts 
of the legislature or of the executive of Florida sub 
sequent to the casting of the votes of the electors on 
the prescribed day, are inadmissible for any such pur 

"As to the objection made to the eligibility of Mr. 
Humphreys, the Commission is of the opinion that, 
without reference to the question of the effect of the 
vote of an ineligible elector, the evidence does not 
show that he held the office of shipping-commissioner 
on the day when the electors were appointed." 1 

When the report of the Commission was read in 
joint session on Saturday, February loth, Mr. Field at 
once submitted an objection, signed by the requisite 
number of senators and representatives. 2 The two 
houses accordingly separated to decide upon the ob 
jection. The Senate soon decreed by 44 to 25 that 
the decision should stand. 3 But in the House the 
Democratic majority were much exercised over the 
decision ; and against the protests of the Republicans, 

1 Proceedings, p. 198. 

2 Ibid, pp. 200-201. 

3 Record, pp. 1473-1477. 

238 The Hayes-Tilden 

a recess was .taken over Sunday in order that the Dem 
ocrats might have more time for deliberation. l On 
Monday some of the more indignant members irreg 
ularly attempted to have the questions resubmitted to 
the Commission. 2 Others were for not having any 
thing further to do with the tribunal. After much 
denunciatory talk the report was rejected by 168 to 
103. 3 But, as the act provided that a decision should 
stand unless overruled by both houses, the votes of 
Florida were, when the joint convention reassembled, 
counted for Hayes. 4 

The count of the states then proceeded unchal 
lenged until Louisiana was reached. From Louisiana 
there we* four certificates, or papers purporting to be 
such. 5 The first was the original certificate made by 
the Republican electors on December 6th and certified 
by Governor Kellogg ; only one copy of it was in the 
hands of the president of the Senate, for, as already 
explained, the copy sent by messenger had been carried 
back to Louisiana. The second, of which there were 
two copies, was from the Tilden "electors," and was 
certified by "Governor" McEnery. The third, of 
which there were also two copies, was the antedated 
Republican certificate, in which, although the Demo 
crats knew it not, two signatures were forged. The 
fourth, received by mail only, was from "John Smith, 

1 Record, p. 1487. 

2 A resolution to that effect was offered by Proctor Knott. 
pp. 1489-1490. 

3 Ibid, p. 1502. 

4 Ibid, p. 1503. 

5 Proceedings, pp. 205-212. 

Disputed Election of l8j6 239 

bull-dozed governor of Louisiana," certifying that the 
vote of Louisiana had been cast for Peter Cooper. 
This certificate was suppressed, but its announcement 
created considerable merriment, and the Democrats 
later claimed that it had purposely been sent in in 
order to distract attention from the Republican cer 
tificates. * Three objections were submitted against 
the Republican certificates, one against the Democratic, 
and the whole case was then transferred to the Com 
mission. 2 

The objections offered to the Republican returns 
before the Commission were many, complicated, and 
not entirely consistent with one another. 3 It was 
claimed that at the time of the election there had been 
no law "in force directing the manner in which elec 
tors for said state should be appointed." In the elec 
tion which had taken place the Democratic electors 
had received a majority of votes; hence "the lists 
of names of electors made and certified by the said 
William P. Kellogg, claiming to be, but not being, 
governor of said state, were false." The canvass 
made by the returning board was illegal and void 
because the statutes gave that body no power to can 
vass the vote for electors; because such "statutes, if 
construed as conferring such jurisdiction, give the re 
turning officers power to appoint electors, and are void, 
as in conflict with the Constitution, which requires 

1 H. R. R. No. 140, 45th Cong. 3d Sess., p. 58. 

2 Proceedings, pp. 212-217. 

3 For the written objections see I&id, pp. 212-216 ; for the oral 
ones, pp. 221-243. 

240 The Hayes-Tilden 

that electors shall be appointed by the state ;" because 
the board had no right to exercise discretionary 
powers; because the board consisted of but four 
persons instead of five, as the law provided; 
because the board usurped jurisdiction in cases where 
protests had not been properly filed ; because the board 
illegally and fraudulently changed the result ; and be 
cause a member offered to receive a bribe. The votes 
of A. B. Levissee and O. H. Brewster were of no 
effect, because on the 7th of November both were Fed 
eral office-holders and therefore ineligible ; the votes of 
Oscar Joffrion, J. H. Burch, Morris Marks, and W. P. 
Kellogg were likewise void because all of these four 
persons held state offices and were ineligible under 
state law. None of the Republican votes should be 
counted because at the time of the appointment of the 
Republican electors the state did not have a repub 
lican form of government. 

The Republicans brought forward no such compli 
cated and elaborate list of objections against the Dem 
ocratic certificate. 1 They contented themselves with 
defending their own certificates and with pointing out 
that the Tilden electors had not been declared elected 
by any state authority, that McEnery, who certified 
their vote, was not governor, for Kellogg was the 
real governor, having been recognized by the state 
authorities and by every department of the Federal 
government. 2 While asserting that the Commission 

1 For written protest see Proceedings, p. 217; for oral ob- 
itions see pp. 243-261. 
2 Ibid, pp. 244-246, 253-254. 

Disputed Election of jSjd 241 

must accept the returning board s decision and must 
not attempt to investigate the conduct of the election, 
the Republican objectors took time to reply with vigor 
to the Democratic assertions regarding fraud. Sen 
ator Howe, who had been one of the Senate investi 
gating committee, vividly described the intimidation in 
some of the parishes. There was, he admitted, in re 
ply to a statement made by one of his opponents, 
"more than one foul stream to be found in the .state 
of Louisiana. Coming right from .that state, I know 
of other and larger streams which are not merely 
dirty but are very bloody. I would be glad if in this 
[tribunal or in any there was power to say that only 
pure water should run anywhere ; but the power does 
not reside in any human tribunal. I want your 
streams all purified as soon as it can be done. If you 
can aid in that direction, cleanse the bloody before you 
attempt the muddy -streams." 1 

As in Florida, the real struggle was over the admis 
sion of evidence. The matter was again debated at 
great length ; 2 Democratic offers to prove their con 
tentions were many and insistent; but again the ma 
jority of the Commission refused to trench upon the 
domain of state powers by examining into such mat 
ters as the proceedings of the returning board and 
the ineligibility of electors holding state offices. 
Upon the other questions, such as whether the board 
was a lawful agent of the state, whether the vacancy 

1 Proceedings, p. 261. 

2 For the arguments in thts case see Ibid, pp. 261-415; for the Dem 
ocratic briefs see pp. 772-778. 

242 The Hayes-Til den 

vitiated its proceedings, and whether any of the elec 
tors were ineligible under the Federal Constitution, 
the Republcans were on tolerably firm ground. The 
law did provide for the returning board and gave it 
power over "all elections held in the state;" the two 
electors who had held Federal offices had not claimed 
to vote by virtue of having been elected on Novem 
ber 7th but by virtue of appointment by the college 
on December 6th after they had removed their dis 
qualifications by resigning; lastly, on the question of 
the effect of the vacancy in the board, one opinon 
could be defended about as successfully as the other. 1 
On the 1 6th the Commission met in secret session 
to make its decision. After debate a great variety of 
resolutions to admit evidence showing that the re 
turning .board was unconstitutional, to admit evidence 
to prove that the board was not legally constituted, 
to receive testimony on the fraudulent acts of the re 
turning board, and even to reject all the votes from 
Louisiana were offered by the desperate Demo 
cratic members. All were relentlessly voted down by 
8 to 7. 2 - Then the deciding vote was taken on a 
resolution introduced by Senator Morton. Morton 
had been informed by Kellogg that -something was 
wrong with certificate No. 3, so he was careful in 
his resolution to stipulate that the votes certified in 

1 I i\i fac *, the - Republicans had slightly the stronger position be 
cause of the decisions of the state supreme court referred to above, pp. 

L For a11 these resolutions with the votes see Proceedings, pp. 


Disputed Election of 1876 243 

No. i should be counted. 1 The resolution was carried 
by the usual vote of 8 to 7. The Commission ex 
plained its action to Congress as follows: 

"The brief ground of this decision is that it appears, 
upon such evidence as by the Constitution and the law 
named in said act of Congress is competent and per 
tinent to the consideration of the subject, that the 
before mentioned electors appear to have been lawfully 
appointed such electors of President and Vice-Presi- 
dent of the United States for the term beginning 
March 4th, A. D. 1877, of the state of Louisiana, 
and that they voted as such at the time and in the man 
ner provided for by the Constitution of the United 
States and the law. 

"And the Commission has by a majority of votes de 
cided, and does hereby decide, that it is not competent, 
under the Constitution and the law as it existed at 
the date of the passage of said act, to go into evidence 
aliunde the papers opened by the president of the 
Senate in the presence of the two houses to prove 
that other persons than those regularly certified to 
by the governor of the state of Jx)uisiana, on and 
according to the determination and declaration of their 
appointment by the returning officers for elections in 
the said state prior to the time required for the per 
formance of their duties, had been appointed electors, 
or by counter-proof to show that they had not, or that 
the determination of the said returning officers was not 
in accordance with the truth and the fact, the Com 
mission by a majority of votes being of opinion that 
it is not within the jurisdiction of the two houses 
of Congress assembled to count the votes for Presi- 

1 Foulke, Morton, II, p. 470 ; H. R. R. No. 160, 45th Cong. 3d 
Sess., p. 60. 

244 The Hayes-Til Jen 

dent and Vice-President to enter upon a trial of such 

"The Commission by a majority of votes is also of 
opinion that it is not competent to prove that any of 
said persons so appointed electors as aforesaid held 
an office of trust or profit under the United States at 
the time when they were appointed, or that they 
were ineligible under the laws of the state, or any 
other matter offered to be proved aliunde the said 
certificates and papers. 

"The Commission is also of opinion by a majority of 
votes that the returning officers of the election who 
canvassed the votes at the election for electors in 
Louisiana were a legally-constituted body, by virtue of 
a constitutional law, and that a vacancy in" said body 
did not vitiate its proceedings." l 

Owing to a dilatory recess taken by the House 
against the protests of the Republican members, it 
was not until Monday, February igth, that the joint 
session convened and received the report. The read 
ing of the report was not greeted with many cheers 
from the Democrats. An elaborate objection, suffi 
cient to fill pages 426 to 438 of the Proceedings, was 
at once presented by General Gibson of Louisiana, and 
shorter ones were offered by Senator Wallace and 
Representative Cochrane. 2 The two houses then 
separated in order to deliberate and decide upon the 

From the speeches in the debates which followed, it 

1 Proceedings, p. 422. For Bradley s opinion on the con 
stitutionality of the board see pp. 1028 et seq. There was no 
inconsistency in passing upon this point. The Commission nat 
urally had the power to ascertain whether the returning board 
was the legal agent of the state. 

2 Ibid, pp. 439-440. 

Disputed Election of 1876 245 

is easy to infer that the Democrats had lost much of 
their pristine enthusiasm for the Electoral Commis 
sion. In the Senate Mr. Maxey declared that "the 
judgment in effect exalts fraud, degrades justice, and 
consigns truth to the dungeon." 1 "Deep indeed," 
said Bayard, "is my sorrow and poignant my disap 
pointment. I mourn my failure for my country s 
sake ; for it seems to me that not only does this 
decision of these eight members destroy and level in 
the dust the essential safeguards of the Constitution, 
intended to surround and protect the election of the 
Chief Magistrate of this Union, but it announces to 
the people of this land that truth and justice, honesty 
and morality, are no longer the essential bases of their 
political power." 2 In arguing that the Commission 
ought to have received evidence, Senator Wallace 
pointed out that one argument made by Morton, Gar- 
field, and other Republicans against the bill had been 
that it might be interpreted as conferring power to go 
behind the returns. 3 

The decision did not, however, lack defenders among 
the Republican senators. Boutwell suggested that 
the opinion of the Republican "eight" was entitled to 
at least as much weight as that of the Democratic 
"seven," and expressed confidence that the people 
would accept the award. 4 "Mr. President," ex 
claimed Sherman, "a good deal is said about fraud, 

1 Record, p. 1675. 

2 Ibid, p. 1678. 

3 Ibid, p. 1679. 

4 Ibid, p. 1681. 

246 The Hayes-Tilden 

fraud, fraud fraud and perjury, and wrong. Why, 
sir, if you go behind the returns in Louisiana, the case 
is stronger for the Republicans than upon the face 
of the returns. What do you find there? Crime, 

murder, violence, that is what you find I say 

now, as I said two months ago, that, while there may 
have been irregularities, while there may have been a 
non-observance of some directory laws, yet the sub 
stantial right was arrived at by the action of the 
returning board." 1 

None of the speeches made on either side had any 
effect on the vote. After two hours o f debate the 
decision was concurred in by the Senate by 41 to 28. 2 

In the House the waves of Democratic declamation 
and vituperation ran even higher than in the Senate. 
The Democrats were, as Mr. McMahon admitted, 3 
almost without hope, and they sought what little con 
solation they could find in flaying the wicked "eight." 
If, said New of Indiana, no evidence was to be re 
ceived, what was the use of these many thick volumes 
of reports made by investigating committees and "vis 
iting statesmen ?" 4 There was much talk about the 
"ten thousand sovereign voters" who had been dis 
franchised by the returning board. 5 Solemn warnings 
were given of the terrible wrath which an outraged 
nation would visit upon the party which upheld such 
fraud. "There is vet much to live for in this rough 

1 Record, p. 1677. 

2 Proceedings, p. 440. 

3 Record, p. 1688. 

4 Ibid, p. 1685. 

5 Ibid, 1701. 

Disputed Election of l8j6 247 

world," said Watterson, that fiery editor whose dream 
of "a hundred thousand" had now been supplanted by 
the dream of a revanche, "and among the rest that day 
of reckoning, dies irae, dies ilia, 

"When the dark shall be light, 
"And the wrong be made right." 1 

"Ah," cried the gentleman so justly famous for his 
description of a sunset, "they called in the ermine to 
help them. The ermine is a little animal. It is an 
emblem of purity; it would rather be caught than be 
bedraggled in the mire. Hunters put mud around its 
haunt to catch it. But where is the ermine now. Ah ! 
the fox has become the ermine. But no cunning, no 
craft, no human law, no divine law, can ever condone 
fraud. All codes and the histories of all nations cry 
out against it. Crime cannot breed crime forever. 
Ask the people of this country. Fraud is to them an 
endless offense. I was about, Mr. Speaker, before 
the hammer fell, to refer to the holy writ, so that 
gentlemen on the other side may have time for repent 
ance. With permission of the House, I will read 
from Psalms, xciv, 20: Shall the throne of iniquity 
have fellowship with thee, which frameth mischief by 
a law? " 

MR. KELLEY. I object. 

MR. Cox. The Bible is aliunde with these gen 
tlemen. 2 

1 Record, p. 1690. 

2 As quoted in Three Decades of Federal Legislation, p. 659. 

248 The Hayes-Tilden 

Two Republicans of the House, Pierce and Prof. 
Seelye, both of Massachusetts, while not accepting 
the Democratic view, refused to vote with their party 
on the Louisiana decision. Pierce beHeved that the 
evidence offered should have been received. In his 
opinion, the evidence collected was such as to render 
^necessary the exclusion of the state from participation 
in the Presidential election; there was, he declared, 
more ground for such action than there had been in 
1872. 1 Prof. Seelye said that the Commission had 
unquestionably "applied the Constitution and the laws 
to the question ;" but he feared that a strict and accu 
rate interpretation of the Constitution would, under 
the attending circumstances, imperil the vote of the 
future. "It seems to me perfectly clear," said he, in a 
speech which received the closest attention, "that the 
charges made by each side against the other are in the 
main true. No facts were ever proved more conclu 
sively than the fraud and corruption charged on the 
one side and the intimidation and cruelty charged on 
the other. Which of the two sides went the further 
would be very hard to say. The corruption of the 
one side seems as heinous as the cruelty of the other 
side is horrible, and on both sides there does not seem 
to be any limit to the extent they went, save only 
where the necessities of the case did not permit or the 
requirements of the case did not call for any more. 
I find it therefore quite impossible to say which of the 
two sets of electors coming up here with their certifi- 

1 Record, p. 1701. Pierce later became an ardent Democrat. 
Hoar, Autobiography of Seventy Tears, I, p. 370. 

Disputed Election of 1876 249 

cates voices the true will of the people of Louisiana 
in the late election, and therefore equally beyond my 
power to assent to the propriety of counting either. 
.... Granted that the decision reached is fairly with 
in the bond ; yet what if the pound of flesh cannot be 
taken without its drop of blood ?" l 

The other House Republicans stood by the decision. 
At heart they doubtless believed with Mr. Crapo 2 
that the returning board of Louisiana was a suspicious 
body, but thought that the rifle-clubs of Ouachita and 
elsewhere were equally so, and as the rifle-clubs had 
been the original offenders, decided that the acts of 
the returning" board formed an equitable set-off, and 
hence declined to give way and allow violence and 
murder to be rewarded. To the Democratic denuncia 
tions of fraud they replied with accounts of intimida 
tion and talk of Oregon cipher telegrams. Some of 
their speeches were quite as denunciatory as any made 
by their opponents. One member declared that the 
Democrats had started out in their campaign for the 
"Grand Fraud of Gramercy Park" with "the impres 
sion that they could buy every man they could not 
frighten or delude." 3 

Uipon the conclusion of the debate the House re 
jected the decision by 173 to 99. But, as the Senate 
had accepted it, the eight votes of Louisiana were 
counted for Hayes and Wheeler. 4 

1 Record, p. 1685. 

2 Ibid. p. 1689. 

3 Ibid, p. 1686. 

4 Proceedings, p. 441. 

250 The Hayes-Tilden 

The count then proceeded unchallenged until Mich 
igan was reached. From Michigan but one return 
had been received, but objection was offered by Repre 
sentative Tucker to counting the vote of one of the 
electors of that state. 1 The grounds of the objection 
were, however, so slight that after deliberation the 
houses concurred in receiving the vote. An equally 
baseless objection was submitted to the vote of one of 
the Nevada electors, but again both houses refused to 
sustain the objection. 2 

At last Oregon was reached. From that state there 
were two certificates : One from the Republican 
electors, Cartwright, Watts, and Odell ; the other from 
Cronin, Miller, and Parker. 3 The first was not certi 
fied by the governor, but it did contain certified copies 
of the canvass of votes, furnished by the secretary of 
state, together with a statement of the resignation of 
Watts from the college and his subsequent re-appoint 
ment. The one made by Cronin et al. contained the 
governor s certificate, attested by the secretary of 
state ; this certificate stated that "at a genera! election 
held in the said state on the 7th day of November, A. 
D. 1876, William H. Odell received 15,206 votes, John 
C. Cartwright received 15,214 votes, E. A. Cronin 
received 14,157 votes for electors of President and 
Vice-President of the United States ; being the high 
est number of votes cast at said election for persons 
eligible, under the Constitution of the United States, 

1 Proceedings, pp. 442-446. 

2 /bid, pp. 446-454. 

3 Ibid, pp. 454-460. 

Disputed Election of l8j6 251 

to be appointed electors of President and Vice-Presi 
dent." Two objections were submitted against the 
Cronin certificate and one against the Republican 
certificate. 1 The case was therefore referred to the 

The Democratic contention 2 in the Oregon case 
started with the premise that since Postmaster Watts 
had been ineligible the votes cast for him had been 
null and void, and Cronin, his opponent next highest 
on the list, had been elected. The governor, after a 
hearing, had so declared, and with the secretary of 
state had made out lists attesting the fact. Even if 
the claim of Cronin was not valid, the subsequent 
resignation by Watts of the postmastership and then 
of the office of elector had failed to make it legal for 
the other two electors to choose him, for as Watts 
could not be elected because of his ineligibility, there 
could be no vacancy, and hence no filling of a vacancy. 
To be sure, the statute of Oregon provided that "if 
there shall be any vacancy in the office of an elector 
occasioned by the death, refusal to act, neglect to 
attend, or otherwise," the electors should proceed to 
fill such vacancy ; but, argued the Democratic counsel, 
the law of Oregon stated only seven cases in Avhich 
an office should be deemed vacant, namely, upon "the 
death of the incumbent;" "his resignation;" "his re 
moval ;" "his ceasing to be an inhabitant of the dis 
trict, county, town or village," in which the duties of 

1 Proceedings, pp. 461-463. 

2 For the Democratic oral objections and arguments see 
Ibid, pp. 466-488, 555-581, 623-636. For their brief see p. 778. 

252 The II ayes-Til den 

the office were to be exercised; "his conviction of an 
infamous crime;" "his refusal or neglect to take hi& 
oath of office ;" "the decision of a competent tribunal, 
declaring void his election or appointment." Since 
Watts had never been an "incumbent," there had not, 
the Democrats argued, been any "vacancy" for the 
college to fill. Even should this line of reasoning be 
held to be erroneous, the Commission must, to be 
consistent with its stand in the Florida and Louisiana 
cases, receive the certificate or list signed by the gov 
ernor and secretary of state, under the great seal of 
the state, as final and conclusive evidence of how the 
vote was cast. Whether or not the governor had 
acted legally, his action had served, the Democrats 
held, to give the Cronin college possession of the office 
as electors de facto. 

But the Democratic position was badly shaken be 
fore the hearing was concluded. 1 The Republicans 
successfully combated the claim that Cronin had been 
elected, and in so doing quoted Thurman himself to 
the effect "that the weight of judicial decision in the 
United States is decidedly against the claim of a 
minority man to election." They met the Democratic 
non-vacancy argument by quoting the clause, "The 
decision of a competent tribunal declaring void his 
[the incumbent s] election or appointment," which, 
they justly pointed out, was conclusive that under the 
law even an ineligible person might temporarily be an 
"incumbent." This was conclusive against the theorv 

1 For the Republican objections and arguments see Pro 
ceedings, pp. 461, 463, 488-549, 581-598, 609-623. 

Disputed Election of l8j6 253 

that Watts could not have been elected, because 
whether Watts s incumbency was terminated by the 
governor s decision and this the Republicans stren 
uously denied or by his resignation presented to the 
college, there existed a vacancy which the statute said 
should be filled by the other electors. 

The Republicans were also able to s-how pretty 
conclusively that the merits of the case could be ar 
rived at by the Commission without any trenching 
upon the domain of state powers. The constitution 
of Oregon, they pointed out, declared that "the person 
or persons who shall receive the highest number of 
votes shall be declared duly elected," and a statute 
provided that the canvass of votes should be made by 
the secretary of state in the presence of the governor. 
The secretary had canvassed the votes, and his certi 
fied statement, enclosed with the Republican return, 
s howed that Odell, Cartwright, and Watts had received 
"the highest number of votes," and were hence "duly 
elected." This constituted the appointment. All else 
that followed was merely certification of the results of 
the canvass. As the duties laid down by the section of 
the law governing the certification were ministerial 
only, any certificate not in accord with the appoint 
ment as shown by the canvass was mere usurpation 
and should not be taken as paramount to the certificate 
of the canvass. Furthermore, the matter of certifi 
cation lay within the domain of Federal powers , for 
the state law on the subject was merely a carrying 
into effect of the Federal law governing the matter; 

254 The Hayes-Tilden 

objection to this contention could not consistently be 
made by the Democrats, for Governor Grover, on the 
groutfd of non-agreement between the two, had 
claimed to ignore the state law and to act under the 
Federal law. * All other matters were likewise in the 
domain of Federal powers and could be examined into 
and the truth ascertained. 

Following the line just indicated, the Republicans 
were able to make good their case. Evidence was 
taken which showed conclusively that Watts had re- 
signed the postmastership before acting as elector. 2 
The certificate showed that he had also resigned his 
electorship and had been rechosen by the other two 
electors. The certificate itself was regular except that 
it was not accompanied by the governor s lists. These 
lists, however, were a statutory, not a constitutional 
requirement; and the Republicans contended that as 
the certificate of the canvass furnished sufficient au 
thentication, their absence was not vital. 

The vote on the Oregon case was taken on Friday, 
February 23d, at the home of Senator Thurman, 
whither the Commission had repaired in order that 

1 The state law provided that "The secretary of state shall 
prepare two lists of the names of the electors elected, and affix 
the seal of the state to the same. Such lists shall be signed 
by the governor and secretary, and by the latter delivered to 
the college of electors at the hour of their meeting on such first 
Wednesday of December." 

The Federal law provided that "It shall be the duty of the 
executive of the state to cause three lists of the names of the 
electors of such state to be made and certified and to be 
delivered to the electors on or before the day on which they 
are required by the preceding section to meet." 

The governor claimed that because the state law through 
some mistake said "two lists" instead of three, he was justified 
in ignoring it. Proceedings, p. 495. 

2 /bid, pp. 602-609. 

Disputed Election of 1876 255 

the senator, who was ill, might participate. Upon 
one conclusion, namely that the Cronin certificate did 
not contain the vote of Oregon, the Commission was 
unanimous ; but upon the proposal to reject the vote of 
Watts there was the usual party division. By the 
same vote it was then decided that the Republican 
certificate should be received. 1 The defense trans 
mitted to Congress was as follows : 

"The brief ground of this decision is that it appears, 
upon such evidence as by the Constitution and the law 
named in said act of Congress is competent and pertin 
ent to the consideration of the subject, that the before- 
mentioned electors appear to have been lawfully 
appointed such electors of President and Vice-Presi- 
dent of the United States for the term beginning 
March 4, A. D. 1877, f tne state f Oregon, and 
that they voted as such at the time and in the manner 
provided for by the Constitution of the United States 
and the law. 

"And we are further of opinion 

"That by the laws of the state of Oregon the duty of 
canvassing the returns of all the votes given at an 
election for electors of President and Vice-President 
was imposed upon the secretary of state and upon no 
one else. 

"That the secretary of state did canvass the returns 
in the case before us and thereby ascertained that J. 
C. Cartwright, W. H. Odell, and J. W. Watts had a 
majority of all the votes given for electors, and had 
the highest number of votes for that office, and by the 
express language of the statute those persons are 
deemed elected. 

"That in obedience to his duty the secretary made 

1 Proceedings, pp. 637-641. 

256 The Hayes-Tilden 

a canvass and tabulated statement of the votes showing 
this result, which, according to law, he placed on file 
in his office on the 4th day of December, A. D. 1876. 
All this appears by an official certificate under the seal 
of the state and signed by him, and delivered by him 
to the electors and forwarded by them to the president 
of the Senate with their votes. 

"That the refusal or failure of the governor of Ore 
gon to sign the certificate of the election of the persons 
so elected does not have the effect of defeating their 
appointment as such electors. 

"That the act of the governor of Oregon in giving 
to E. A. Cronin a certificate of his election, though he 
received a thousand votes less than Watts, on the 
ground that the latter was ineligible, was without 
authority of law and is therefore void. 

"That although the evidence shows that Watts was 
a postmaster at the time of his election, that fact is 
rendered immaterial by his resignation both as post 
master and elector, and his subsequent appointment 
to fill the vacancy so made by the electoral college/ 1 

In the joint session an objection to accepting the 
decision was submitted, and the two houses therefore 
separated as the law required. In the Senate 2 the 
Republicans defended the decision, denounced Grover 
and Cronin, and made frequent references to the cipher 
telegrams to and from 15 Gramercy Park. 3 The 
Democratic speakers devoted much of their time to 
the Florida and Louisiana cases and to contending 
that the decisions of the Commission were not con 
sistent. They did not attempt seriously to sustain 

1 Proceedings, p. 640. 

2 For the Senate debate see Record, pp. 1888-1896. 

3 Ibid, p. 1894. 

Disputed Election of 1876 257 

the theory that the Cronin certificate should be re 
ceived, but did insist that only two votes should be 
counted for Hayes. l When the debate came to an 
end, however, a resolution to that effect was voted 
down, and the decision of the Commission was then 
sustained by 41 to 24. 2 

In the House the debate was preceded by a spirited 
parliamentary contest. Although a Democratic cau 
cus held about a week before had decided that the 
count should be allowed to proceed, 3 a knot of repre 
sentatives had made up their minds to delay the 
progress of the count by dilatory proceedings. These 
filibusters were of two classes. One class, numbering 
about forty members and composed of men like Black 
burn of Kentucky, Springer of Illinois, Mills of Texas, 
O Brien of Maryland, and Cox of New York, were 
those irreconcilables who were willing to resort to 
any measures to prevent the consummation of what 
they termed "the Fraud." The other class, composed 
in large measure of Southern members, were actuated 
chiefly by other motives. Most of them were desir 
ous that the count should be completed in order to 
prevent anarchy; but before it was accomplished they 
wished to scare the Republicans, and particularly the 
friends of Hayes, into giving assurances that the new 
Administration would refrain from supporting the 
Republican claimants for state offices in South Caro 
lina and Louisiana. This movement was organized 

1 Record, p. 1896. 

2 Proceedings, p. 645. 

3 H. R. Mis. Doc. No. 31, 45th Cong. 3d Sess., I, p. 970. 

258 The Hayes-Tilden 

shortly after the Louisiana decision had convinced 
most Democrats that the prospects of saving the 
national ticket were hopeless; those who entered it 
were inspired by the belief that it would be thrifty 
policy to save even a little out of the wreck. 1 Con 
ditions seemed to favor the filibusters, for the par 
liamentary methods of "Czar" Reed had not then been 
introduced ; and in the preceding Congress Mr. Ran 
dall, who was now speaker, had for seventy-two hours 
occupied the floor and had forced the Republicans to 
abandon their attempt to re-enact the Force Bill. 2 

But when the irreconcilables, led by such men as 
Clymer of Pennsylvania, Lane of Oregon, and Spring 
er of Illinois, began their attempt to hold up the count 
by introducing dilatory motions, they discovered, to 
their surprise and indignation, that the speaker re 
fused to entertain the motions. A scene of disorder 
followed, but the speaker stood firm. The Chair 
"rules," said he, "that when the Constitution of the 
United States directs anything to be done, or when 
the law under the Constitution of the United States 
enacted in obedience thereto directs any act by this 
House, it is not in order to make any motion to 
obstruct or impede the execution of that injunction 
of the Constitution and the laws." 3 

Thanks to this wise and determined stand, the 
House was then able to proceed to the consideration 

1 H. R. Mis. Doc. No. 31, 45th Cong. 3d Sess., I, pp. 971. 
980; III, pp. 595, 631-632. 

2 McClure s, XXIII, p. 85; American, Law Review, XXXVIII, 
p. 173. 

3 Record, pp. 1905-1907. 

Disputed Election of l8jd 259 

of the Commission s finding. As in the Senate, the 
Democratic speakers did not display a great deal of 
enthusiasm for the Grover-Cronin proceedings. In 
fact, Mr. Le Moyne of Illinois said: "I have never 
believed in this Oregon road, and it does not satisfy 
me to say that it is only using the same means em 
ployed by the Republicans." The same speaker also 
showed considerable disgust at the Democratic man 
agement of affairs. "We of the West," he declared, 
"are done in politics with the domination of New 
York." Referring to the Oregon dispatches, he said : 
"If Mr. Tilden either directly or indirectly consented 
to the purchase of a Republican elector, he deserves 
double condemnation from every man who supported 
him." 1 Several speakers laid stress upon alleged in 
consistencies in the Commission s rulings in the var 
ious cases 2 and upon inconsistencies in the positions 
taken by Republican members of that tribunal. In 
the latter connection Mr. Hewitt accused Mr. Hoar 
of having said in the debate on the bill that proof 
would be admitted ; the charge brought a warm denial 
from Mr. Hoar, who proceeded to intimate, amidst 
laughter, that, as a result of the responsibilities im 
posed upon him, there was "a screw loose somewhere" 
in Mr. Hewitt. 3 

1 Record, p. 1913. 

2 E. g., Ibid, pp. 1910-1911. 

3 Ibid, pp. 1914-1915. A study of the Record will show that 
Hewitt s charge was not well founded. Not long before his 
death Mr. Hoar prepared a statement which is to be published 
in case the one left by Mr. Hewitt (see foot-note at end of pre 
ceding chapter) appears. Mr. Hoar s statement makes certain 
allegations which are designed to cast a decidedly unfavorable 
light on Mr. Hewitt s veracity. 

260 The Hayes-Tilde* 

The Republican "eight," and especially Judge Brad 
ley, came in for much rabid denunciation. Referring 
to Bradley, Clymer of Pennsylvania said: "We in 
this House assisted in developing one the latchets of 
whose shoes even Wells, in all his moral deformity, is 
unworthy to unloose. Their precious names will go 
to posterity linked together, as those between whom, 
here in this Capitol, in the very temple of justice, the 
rights of the people were betrayed and crucified." 1 
In reply to talk of this kind, Woodworth of Ohio said 
it was curious that "while the supposed partisanship 
of the eight who concur is denounced, there is a silence 
profound as the hush of death as to the at least equal 
partisanship of the seven who dissent." 

The same speaker accused the Democrats of being 
poor losers. "Filibuster," said he, "has been called in 
to aid those who cannot accept defeat. I am not 
surprised at this, nor at the chagrin and natural wrath 
of our Democratic friends ; for with everything to gain 
and nothing to lose, they cunningly set a trap and were 
themselves caught caught by the act of God, who 
disposes of all human events, and by the act of the 
Illinois legislature, which disposed of Judge Davis 

"They digged a pit, they digged it deep, 
They digged it for their brother ; 

But through their sin they did fall in 
The pit they digged for t other." : 

But, as usual, the debate had no effect upon the 

1 Record, p. 1908. 

2 Ibid, p. 1911. 

Disputed Election of 1876 261 

vote. A resolution to accept the Commission s deci 
sion was so amended as to provide for rejecting the 
vote of Watts, and in this form was then adopted 
without a division. * 

The count of the states in joint session then pro 
ceeded, but was much delayed by technical objections 
to votes from states in which there had been no con 
test. Such an objection was made to receiving one 
of the votes from Pennsylvania; but as, after debate, 
only the House sustained the objection, the vote was 
counted with the rest. 2 An equally futile objection 
sustained by neither house was made to one of the 
votes of Rhode Island ; then, about six in the afternoon 
of February 26th, South Carolina was reached. 

From South Carolina there were two certificates. 
The first, that from the Hayes electors, was certified by 
Governor Chamberlain and Secretary of State Hayne ; 
the second, that from the Tilden "electors," was not 
certified by any one, but in it the "electors" claimed 
to have received a majority of the votes cast, alleged 
that they had wrongfully been deprived of their rights 
by the returning board, and referred to the mandamus 
and quo warranto proceedings which have already been 
described. Objections were submitted against both 

1 Proceedings, pp. 645-646. 

2 One of the electors, who was a centennial commissioner, had 
remained away from the college, and the other electors had 
chosen H. A. Boggs to fill the vacancy. The Democrats held 
that because the first elector was ineligible, he was never an 
incumbent, and that hence his resignation created no vacancy 
which the other electors had power to fill. The contention was 
not, however, sustained by all the Democrats. E. g., speech 
of Cockrell, Record, p. 1905. For the whole matter see Ibid, 
pp. 1900-1905, 1919-1923, 1927-1938, and Proceedings, pp. 647-652. 


262 The Hayes-Til den 

returns, and the case was referred to the Commission. 1 
The contest before that body 2 was a rather perfunc 
tory one. The Democratic objectors did not attempt 
to prove that the Democratic electors had been chosen, 
but took the ground that because the legislature had 
failed to provide a registration law as required by the 
constitution of 1868 there had been no legal election 
in the state. 3 They further contended that the vote 
of the state ought not to be received because at the 
time of the election there was not a republican form 
of government in the state. In support of this view 
they alleged that prior to and during the election Fed 
eral troops, without authority of law, had been sta 
tioned at or near the polling-places, with the result 
that no legal or free election could be held ; that more 
than 1,000 deputy United States marshals, appointed 
under an unconstitutional law, had interfered with the 
full and free exercise of the right of suffrage by the 
voters of the state. In their anxiety to prove that a 
condition of anarchy had existed in the state the 
Democrats made some interesting admissions. "We 
propose to show," said Representative Kurd, "by testi 
mony taken by the minority of the same committee 
[the House committee], that in the counties which 
gave large Democratic majorities the Democratic 
leaders and managers interfered with the freedom of 
the election by practicing intimidation upon their black 

1 For the returns and the written objections see Proceed 
ings, pp. 659-664. 

2 Owing to the illness of Thurman his place on the Commission 
was now taken by Kernan of New York. Ibid, p. 655. 

3 For the Democratic oral objections see Ibid, pp. 666-678. 

Disputed Election of 1876 263 

employes and those who might happen to live within 
their districts. We propose to show that rifle-clubs 
were organized which were not disbanded in accord 
ance with the proclamation of the President of the 
United States, and that under the effect of these 
rifle-clubs and of the intimidation that was practiced 
in that method large numbers of negroes who other 
wise would have voted the Republican ticket voted the 
Democratic ticket." l 

As the Democrats did not attempt to prove that the 
votes of the Tilden "electors" should be received, the 
Republican objectors 2 confined themselves almost en 
tirely to defending their own certificate and to com 
bating the argument that the vote of the state ought 
to be thrown out. They contended that the constitu 
tional provision requiring a registration was directory 
only, that the legislature had in effect complied with 
the requirement by enacting that a poll-list should be 
kept, that the Democratic position on the matter was 
untenable because otherwise all elections and all gov 
ernment in South Carolina during the last eight years 
would be illegal and void. Upon the question of 
whether the state possessed a republican form of 
government they argued that the fact that the state 
was represented in both houses of Congress must be 
taken as conclusive ; to sustain this contention they 
quoted an opinion delivered in the case of Luther vs. 

1 Proceedings, p. 669. In reporting his speech the New York 
World of Feb. 28th represented him as saying that work of this 
kind was done by "colored [sic] rifle-clubs." 

2 For the speeches of the Republican objectors see Proceed 
ings, pp. 678-688. 

264 The Hayes-Tilden 

Borden. As regarded the use of troops and deputy 
marshals, they contended that the Commission was not 
competent to receive evidence ; they pointed out, how 
ever, that both the troops and the marshals had been 
used in accordance with the laws of the United States 
and under the direction of the President and the at 
torney general. 

In order to hasten the count, the Republicans sub 
mitted their case without any argument by counsel. 1 
For the Democrats short speeches were made by 
Montgomery Blair 2 and Jeremiah S. Black. 3 Mr. 
Black made the closing address. As he expressly dis 
claimed any intention of arguing the case, it is evident 
that he was put forward for no other purpose than to 
damn the Commission. And damn it he did in a bitter 
invective, hardly to have been expected from the man 
who, in the greatest crisis of our history, had ren 
dered to a weak President one of the mildest and most 
unfortunate opinions ever given by a public officer. 4 
He was, he said, "fallen from the proud estate of an 
American citizen," and was "fit for nothing on earth 
but to represent the poor, defrauded, broken-hearted 

"We may," he continued, "struggle for justice ; we 
may cry for mercy; we may go down on our knees, 
and beg and woo for some little recognition of our 
rights as American citizens ; but we might as well put 

1 Proceedings, p. 694. 

2 Ibid, pp. 688-694. 

3 Ibid, pp. 695-699. 

4 Burgess, The Civil War and the Constitution, I, p. 80. 

Disputed Election of l8j6 265 

up our prayers to Jupiter, or Mars, as bring suit in 
the court where Rhadamanthus presides. There is 
not a god on Olympus that would not listen to us with 
more favor than we shall be heard by our adversaries. 
. . . Usually it is said that the fowler setteth not 
forth his net in the sight of the bird/ but this fowler 
set the net in the sight of the birds that went into it. 

It is largely our own fault that we are caught 

They offer us everything now. They denounce 
negro supremacy and carpet-bag thieves. Their pet 
policy for the South is to be abandoned. They offer 
us everything but one; but on that subject their lips 
are closely sealed. They refuse to say that they will 

not cheat us hereafter in the elections 

"If this thing stands accepted and the law you have 
made for this occasion shall be the law for all occa 
sions, we can never expect such a thing as an honest 
election again. If you want to know who will be 
President by a future election, do not inquire how the 
people of the states are going to vote. You need 
only to know what kind of scoundrels constitute the 
returning boards, and how much it will take to buy 

"But I think even that will end some day. At 
present you have us down and under your feet. Never 
had you a better right to rejoice. Well may you say, 
We have made a covenant with death, and with hell 
are we at agreement; when the overflowing scourge 
shall pass through, it shall not come unto us : for we 
have made lies our refuge, and under falsehoods have 

266 The Hayes-Tilden 

we hid ourselves. But nevertheless wait a little while. 
The waters of truth will rise gradually, and slowly 
but surely, and then look out for the overwhelming 
scourge. The refuge of lies shall be swept away, and 
the hiding place of falsehood shall be uncovered. This 
mighty and puissant nation will yet raise herself up 
like a strong man after sleep, and shake her invincible 
locks in a fashion you little think of now. Wait; 
retribution will come in due time. Justice travels 
with a leaden heel but strikes with an iron hand. God s 
mill grinds slowly but dreadfully fine. Wait till the 
flood-gate is lifted and a full head of water comes 
rushing on. Wait, and you will see fine grinding 

But the fiery words of the old Pennsylvanian did 
not suffice to melt the hearts of the Republican eight. 
Upon a proposal to receive evidence regarding the use 
of the troops and of the marshals they voted as usual. 
Then, after a resolution to the effect that the Demo 
cratic electors had not been chosen had been unani 
mously agreed to, they carried a resolution to count 
the votes of South Carolina for Hayes. They ex 
plained their action in the following words : 

"The brief ground of this decision is, that it appears, 
upon such evidence as by the Constitution and the law 
named in said act of Congress is competent and per 
tinent to the consideration of the subject, that the 
beforementioned electors appear to have been lawfully 
appointed such electors of President and Vice-Presi- 
dent of the United States for the term beginning 
March 4, A. D. 1877, of the state of South Carolina, 

Disputed Election of 1876 267 

and that they voted as such at the time and in the 
manner provided for by the Constitution of the United 
States and the law. 

"And the Commission, as further grounds for their 
decision, are of opinion that the failure of the legis 
lature to provide a system for the registration of per 
sons entitled to vote, does not render nugatory all 
elections held under laws otherwise sufficient, though 
it may be the duty of the legislature to enact such a 
law. If it were otherwise, all government in that state 
is a usurpation, its officers without authority, and the 
social compact in that state is at an end. 

"That this Commission must take notice that there 
is a government in South Carolina republican in form, 
since its Constitution provides for such a government, 
and it is, and was on the day of appointing electors, so 
recognized by the executive and by both branches of 
the legislative department of the government of the 
United States. 

"That so far as this Commission can take notice of 
the presence of the soldiers of the United States in the 
state of South Carolina during the election, it appears 
that they were placed there by the President of the 
United States to suppress insurrection, at the request 
of the proper authorities of the state. 

"And we are also of opinion that from the papers 
before us it appears that the governor and secretary 
of state having certified under the seal of the state 
that the electors whose votes we have decided to be 
the lawful electoral votes of the state, were duly ap 
pointed electors, which certificate, both by presumption 
of law and by the certificate of the rival claimants of 
the electoral office, was based upon the action of the 
state canvassers, there exists no power in this Com 
mission, as there exists none in the two houses of 
Congress in counting the electoral vote, to inquire into 

The Hayes-Tilden 

the circumstances under which the primary vote for 
electors was given. 

"The power of the Congress of the United States in 
its legislative capacity to inquire into the matters 
alleged, and to act upon the information so obtained, 
is a very different one from its power in the matter 
of counting the electoral vote. The votes to be counted 
are those presented by the state, and when ascertained 
and presented by the proper authorities of the states 
they must be counted." 1 

While the South Carolina case was before the Com 
mission other events of great significance had been 
taking place in secret. As already narrated, a move 
ment had for some days been on foot to exact from 
the friends of Hayes pledges regarding the state 
governments in Louisiana and South Carolina. 2 This 
movement had created considerable alarm among Re 
publicans. As early as February 23d, in an effort 
to conciliate the Southern Democrats, Mr. Charles 
Foster, representative from Hayes s own district, had 
stated in a speech in the Louisiana debate that it would 
be the policy of Mr. Hayes, if inaugurated, to wipe 
out sectional lines, that under him "the flag should 
wave over states, not provinces, over freemen and not 
subjects/ 3 Negotiations were entered into between 

1 Proceedings, 702. 

2 An attempt to ascertain the probable attitude of Hayes to 
ward the South had been made as early as the end of the pre 
ceding November. At that time Mr. W. H. Roberts of the New 
Orleans Times visited Columbus for that purpose. Hayes re 
ferred him to his letter of acceptance and also stated that in 
his opinion intelligence ought to govern. H. R. Mis. Doc No 
31, 45th Cong. 3d Sess., I, pp. 875-899. 

3 Ibid, III, p. 596 ; Record, p. 1708. On the 23d Hayes wrote 
to Foster commending this speech. He said that when the 
count was completed if favorable the public was to be in 
formed that the Southern policy was to be as Foster had stated 

Disputed Election of 1876 269 

the interested parties, and various conferences were 
held. 1 Qn the 26th of February there were three 
such conferences. One took place in the room of the 
House committee on appropriations between Mr. Fos 
ter, Representative John Young Brown of Ken 
tucky, and Senator J. B. Gordon of Georgia. 2 An 
other occurred in the finance committee room of the 
Senate ; 3 present, Major E. A. Burke, special agent 
for Louisiana, Stanley Matthews and ex-Governor 
Dennison of Ohio, and John Sherman. 4 The third 
took place that evening in the room of Mr. Evarts at 
K Wormley s Hotel; present, Mr. Burke, Mr. E. J. Ellis 
and Mr. W. M. Levy, Democratic representatives 
from Louisiana, Mr. Henry Watterson, who repre 
sented the interests of South Carolina, Mr. Matthews, 
Mr. Dennison, Mr. Sherman, and Mr. James A. Gar- 
field. 5 

The outcome of these conferences was to all intents 

it. Foster showed this letter to Burke on the 25th. Burke 
"urged direct assurances or action before House yields." See 
Burke s telegram to Nicholls, Report just quoted, p. 618. 

1 Burke held an interview with Stanley Matthews as early 
as the night of February 16th, just after the Louisiana decision 
was announced. Bishop Wilmer of Louisiana was also in Wash 
ington trying to assist Nicholls and his associates. After an 
interview with Grant he visited Columbus. From there he tele 
graphed on Feb. 23d: "Peace not to be disturbed in Louisiana." 
H. R. Mis. Doc. No. 31, 45th Cong. 3d Sess., Ill, p. 617. 

2 Letter of Brown in Louisville Courier- Journal of March 
29th. Given in New York Times of same date. 

3 H. R. Mis. Doc. No. 31, 45th Cong. 3d Sess., Ill, p. 619. 

4 Sherman had just returned from a visit to Hayes in Colum 
bus. On the 15th Hayes had written Sherman that he preferred 
not to make any new declarations regarding his Southern policy 
further than to confirm what he had said in his letter of ac 
ceptance. "But you may say, if you deem it advisable, that you 
know that I will stand by the friendly and encouraging words 
of that letter and by all that they imply. You cannot express 
that too strongly." John Sherman s Recollections, I, p. 561. 

5 House document just cited, III, pp. 591, 619. 

270 The Hayes-Tilden 

and purposes an agreement bargain" is perhaps 
a more concise term by which each contracting 
party tacitly agreed to do certain things. * The Re 
publicans, while expressly disclaiming any authority 
to speak for him, in effect guaranteed that Mr. Hayes, 
vvhen he became President, would, by a gradual pro 
cess of non-interference and withdrawal of troops, 
allow the Republican governments in the two states 
to disappear. They also agreed to use their best en 
deavors to induce President Grant to embark upon the 
same policy before the end of his term. 2 The Dem 
ocrats, on their part, promised to use their influence to 
stop filibustering, and guaranteed peace, good order, 
protection of the law to whites and blacks alike, and 
no persecution for past political offenses. In order to 
avoid precipitating the whole issue upon the Senate 
before the cabinet should have been confirmed and 
thereby .rousing up perhaps sufficient opposition to 
prevent the confirmation of persons favorable to the 
new Southern policy, the Democrats further agreed 
that the Nicholls legislature should not elect the long- 
term senator before March loth. 3 

1 Many efforts were later made to show that no bargain was 
made, but there is no evading the fact that in all essentials there 
was an agreement. Hayes, however, was not a party to it. 
He had steadfastly refused to authorize any one to represent 
him, and had already made up his mind regarding his Southern 
policy. On Feb. 4th he wrote to Schurz in regard to the use of 
the military as follows : "But there is to be an end to all that, 
except in emergencies which I cannot think of as possible again." 

2 The President had already declined to recognize either gov 
ernment. See his telegrams to Kellogg and Gen. Augur in H. 
R. Mis. Doc. No. 31, 45th Cong. 3d Sess., III. pp. 603-604. In 
case one must be recognized, however, he intended to recognize 
Packard. Telegram to Augur just cited. As time passed he 
became more favorable to Nicholls. See Ibid, pp. 604-631. 

3 For accounts of the Wormley Conference see Ibid, I, pp. 
978, 980, 981, 984, 990; III, pp. 595-633. 

Disputed Election of 1876 271 

Certain details of the agreement were arranged next 
day. The Democratic assurances of peace, order, and 
equal rights were ratified by Governor Nicholls and 
by a legislative caucus, and a copy was sent by Burke 
to Matthews and his associates. Matthews, on his 
part, assured the Louisiana agents that Grant had 
promised that as soon as the count should be completed 
all orders heretofore issued in regard to preserving 
the status quo should be rescinded or modified so far 
as they were necessary for preserving the public peace. 1 
Mr. Foster sought John Young Brown and gave to 
him the following unsigned letter addressed to Brown 
and to Senator Gordon : 

"GENTLEMEN: Referring to the conversation had 
with you yesterday in which Governor Hayes s policy 
as to the status of certain Southern states was dis 
cussed, we desire to say in reply that we can assure 
you in the strongest possible manner of our great desire 
to have adopted such a policy as will give to the people 
of the states of South Carolina and Louisiana the 
right to control their own affairs in their own way; 
and to say further that we feel authorized, from an 
acquaintance with and knowledge of Governor Hayes 
and his views on this question, to pledge ourselves to 
you that such will be his policy." 

After reading the letter Brown expressed the opin 
ion that it might be "fuller and stronger," but that 
coming from the men it did it would be sufficient. 
Foster then saw Matthews, and an hour later Brown 
received from Foster the following: 

1 See copy of written assurance given by Matthews to Burke 
and Levy, H. R. Mis. Doc. No. 31, 45th Cong., 3d Sess., III., p. 

272 The Hayes-Tilden 

"GENTLEMEN: Referring to the conversation had 
with you yesterday, in which Governor Hayes s policy 
as to the status of certain states was discussed, we 
desire to say that we can assure you in the strongest 
possible manner of our great desire to have him adopt 
such a policy as will give to the people of the states 
of South Carolina and Louisiana the right to control 
their own affairs in their own way, subject only to 
the Constitution of the United States and the laws 
made in pursuance thereof, and to say further, that 
from an acquaintance with and knowledge of Governor 
Hayes and his views, we have the most complete con 
fidence that such will be the policy of his administra 
tion. Respectfully, 


Brown did not like some of the generalities which 
this letter contained, but accepted it. By his request 
Foster affixed his signature to the first letter, and 
Brown retained that letter also. Later Brown gave 
copies to Ellis, to Burke, to M. C. Butler, of South 
Carolina, and to one or two other persons. 1 

While the personal friends of Hayes were striving 
in ways just described to lessen Democratic opposition 
to the completion of the count, other schemes were 
being devised for the contingency which would arise 
should the count not be completed. In the Senate Mr. 
Sargent on the 26th introduced a resolution to the 
effect that the Senate should proceed at once to elect 
a president pro tempore to succeed Mr. Ferry, whose 

1 See Brown s statement in the Louisville Courier -Journal of 
March 29th. The statement is giren in the New York Times 
of the same date. 

Disputed Election of l8j6 273 

term as senator would expire on the 4th of March. 1 
The resolution was laid aside until the time should 
come when its passage would be desirable. If that 
time had come, it would probably have been passed, 
and Morton would have been chosen. He would then 
either have completed the count and declared Hayes 
elected, or would himself have been installed as Pres 
ident under a forced construction of the law of 1792. 2 
In the House David Dudley Field on the 2/th 
reported from the committee on the powers, priv 
ileges, and duties of the House in counting the elec 
toral vote a bill providing that, in case of a failure to 
elect, the line of succession should be the president of 
the Senate, the speaker of the House, and the secre 
tary of state, and that the person who succeeded 
should hold office until a successor had been duly 
elected. 3 The bill was regarded by some as part of a 
scheme to defeat the count and secure a new election. 
Some Democrats opposed it because they preferred 
Hayes to Morton ; 4 but it was hurried through, 5 and 
was then sent to the Senate, where it was referred to a 
committee, and never came to a vote. 6 

1 Record, p. 1926 ; Times of 27th. 

2 Record, p. 1983 ; Times of March 2d; letter of William Dud 
ley Foulke to the writer. The law of 1792 provided, "That in 
case of the removal, death, resignation, or disability both of the 
President and Vice-President of the United States, the President 
of the Senate, pro tempore, and, in case there shall be no Pres 
ident of the Senate, then the Speaker of the House of Represen 
tatives, for the time being, shall act as President of the United 
States until such disability be removed, or until a President be 

3 Record, p. 1980. 

4 Ibid, p. 1983. 

5 Ibid, p. 1984. 

6 Ibid, p. 1974. 

274 The Hayes-Tilden 

On the 28th the South Carolina decision was read in 
joint session. Objections were at once offered, and 
the houses separated to deliberate. After a short 
debate the Senate accepted the decision by 39 to 22. x 
In the House after the irreconcilables, led by Springer 
of Illinois and O Brien of Maryland, had tried hard 
to secure a dilatory recess, but had been thwarted by 
the opposition of the Republicans, of the speaker, 
and of a number of Democrats under the leadership 
of Fernando Wood, who had now become a conserva 
tive, a debate was had, after which the decision was 
rejected. 2 

When the joint session had been resumed and Ver 
mont had been reached, the proceedings entered upon 
a new and dangerous phase. After the regular return 
had been read, Representative Poppleton inquired 
whether any other return had been received. Mr. 
Ferry gave a negative answer. Mr. Hewitt, who up 
to this time had favored the completion of the count 
and had been much criticised by some rabid Democrats, 
then arose, and amidst breathless interest asked to be 
allowed to make a statement. 

"I hold in my hand," said he, "a package which 
purports to contain electoral votes from the state of 
Vermont. This package was delivered to me by ex 
press about the middle of December last, and with it 
came a letter stating that a .similar package had been 
forwarded by mail to the presiding officer of the 

1 Record, pp. 1992-2002. 

2 Ibid, pp. 2005-2020. 

Disputed Election of l8jb 275 

Senate; I called upon him and inquired whether any 
other than one certificate from the state of Vermont 
had been received by him by mail, and he informed 
me that there had been no other received by him than 
the one which was already in his possession. I then 
tendered to him this package, the seals of which are 
unbroken and which is now as it came into my pos 
session. He declined to receive it, upon the ground 
that he had no authority in law to do so. Under the 
circumstances, I now tender this package to the pre 
siding officer of the Senate as purporting to contain 
electoral votes from the state of Vermont." x 

It was well known that the package had been sent 
in by a minority Democratic candidate who, although 
defeated by about twenty-four thousand votes, claimed 
to have been elected because one of the Republican 
candidates was a postmaster. Mr. Ferry pointed out 
that it would not be legal for him to receive the certi 
ficate because the law designated the first Thursday 
in February as the date on which certificates must be 
handed in ; 2 but the opponents of the count, in ac 
cordance with a prearranged plan, were determined 
to make the most of the opportunity which they 
thought presented itself. Springer attempted to pre 
cipitate a debate in joint session, shrieked wildly, threw 
his arms about, and for a time refused to come to 
order. 3 After some minutes of excitement, however, 
quiet was restored, and the objections against the 

1 Proceedings, p. 712. 

2 Ibid, p. 712. 

3 Ibid, pp. 712-714. 

276 The Hayes-Til den 

Vermont return were submitted. a The two houses 
then separated. 

In the Senate a decision was soon reached by a 
unanimous vote to count the Vermont return, 2 but 
in the House an adjournment was decided upon before 
a vote had been taken. 3 The session of the following 
day was probably the stormiest ever witnessed in any 
House of Representatives. The irreconcilables were 
determined to force the president of the Senate to 
receive the certificate, and then to have the two certi 
ficates referred to the Commission. A resolution to 
that effect was introduced by Poppleton, but he shortly 
after accepted a substitute of the same tenor offered 
by J. Proctor Knott of Kentucky. 4 But the speaker 
was determined that the count should proceed, and 
therefore ruled that under the law the two hours de 
bate upon Vermont should begin. Then ensued a 
scene of the wildest excitement. Every possible de 
vice was resorted to by the filibusters. The speaker 
was assailed "with a storm of questions and re 
proaches. Would he not then put a motion for a 
recess ? A motion for a call of the House ? A motion 
to excuse some member from voting? A motion to 
reconsider? A motion to lay something on the table? 
He would not. Were not these motions in order 
under the rules? They were. Would he not then 
submit some one of them to the House? He would 

1 Proceedings, 714-717. 

2 Record, 2002-2004. 

3 Ibid, 2024-2027. 

4 Ibid, pp. 2027 and 2032. 

Disputed Election of 1876 277 

not. Was he not an oppressor, a tyrant, a despot? 
He was not. Would he not then put some dilatory 
motion? He would not. Why would he not? Be 
cause of his obligation to the law." 1 

The occasion was rendered the more noisy and ex 
citing by the presence on the floor of many persons 
who had no right there and by the fact that the gal 
leries were packed with a crowd who wildly applauded 
each outbreak. Furthermore, some even of the con 
servative Democrats were angry and suspicious be 
cause the irregular certificate had temporarily disap 
peared. At one time the wrath of the filibusters be 
came so great that they rushed forward shouting and 
gesticulating; and one of them, Beebe of New York, 
even sprang upon a desk, and, amid great uproar, de 
manded of the Chair why he declined to hear an 
appeal. Pale but resolute, Mr. Randall still refused 
to recede, and declared that he would no longer sub 
mit to the disorder. "If gentlemen forget themselves," 
said he, "it is the duty of the Chair to remind them 
that they are members of the American Congress." 2 

After some further disorder the House quieted 
down sufficiently for the debate to proceed. None of 
the speeches made possessed any importance save one ; 
it was made by Levy of Louisiana, who, remembering 
the Wormley compact, was anxious to stop the filibus 
tering. "The people of Louisiana," said he, "have 
solemn, earnest, and I believe truthful assurances from 

1 Atlantic, LXXII, p. 533. The passage was written by James 
Monroe, who was then a member of the House from Ohio. 

2 Record, pp. 2033-2034. 


278 The Hayes-Tilden 

prominent members of the Republican party, high in 
the confidence of Mr. Hayes, that, in the event of his 
election to the Presidency, he will be guided by a 
policy of conciliation toward the Southern states, that 
he will not use the Federal authority or the army to 
force upon those states governments not of their 
choice, but in the case of these states will leave their 
own people to settle the matter peaceably, of them 
selves. This, too, is the opinion of President Grant, 
which he freely expresses, and which I am satisfied he 
will carry out and adhere to." Levy then announced 
that because of these assurances he would throw no 
obstacles in the way of the completion of the count, 
and he called upon fellow-members who had been in 
fluenced in their action by a desire to protect Louisiana 
and South Carolina to join him in opposing the fili 
busters. 1 

Shortly after this speech was made a vote was taken 
on Knott s resolution regarding the bogus certifi 
cate. It was the decisive moment. If the resolution 
was carried, there was no telling what might hap 
pen. There seemed to be danger that it might be 
carried. Now that the end was at hand many con 
servative Democrats, badgered by their constituents 
for having supported the Commission plan, felt des 
perate enough to vote with the filibusters. But some 
of those members who were fully cognizant of the 
agreement hurried about the hall appealing to their 
fellows to vote in the negative; Hewitt and others 

1 Record, p. 2047. 

Disputed Election of l8jd 279 

were brought over; 1 enough other Democrats were 
sober-minded sufficiently not to stultify the party by re 
fusing to carry out the terms of a law which they 
had themselves helped to pass ; and the resolution was 
finally voted down by 116 to 148. 2 

With this vote the possibility of defeating the com 
pletion of the count disappeared. The strength of the 
filibusters rapidly decreased. After some further de 
lay the House voted to reject the vote of the post 
master-elector. 3 The Senate once more entered the 
hall. The irreconcilables in their desperation even 
attempted to get up an objection to receiving the vote 
of one of the Virginia electors, but no senator would 
lend himself to the scheme. 4 The votes of Virginia 
were therefore counted; then those of West Virginia. 
Wisconsin was reached. A final objection was then 
offered; it alleged that Daniel L. Downs, one of the 
electors, was an examining surgeon of the pension 
office and was therefore ineligible. 5 The two houses 

1 Speech of Hewitt in 45th Cong. 2d Sess. (Record, p. 1007) ; 
McClure s, XXIII, p. 87. Hewitt later boasted that he forced 
the Republicans to make concessions by his policy in the matter 
of the Vermont return, and claimed that Levy came in just at 
this time from the Wormley conference. This was impossible, 
for Levy had just spoken. The assurances were exacted before 
Hewitt became a filibuster, and Hewitt misrepresented his part 
in the affair either through ignorance or in order to lessen Dem 
ocratic criticism levelled against him for his failure to secure 
the seating of Tilden. On Feb. 28th Burke telegraphed to 
Nicholls: "Recent strength filibusters spasmodic. Our leaders 
have now no defined policy except prospect of anarchy, some 
other Republican, or new election." On March 1st he tele 
graphed: "The weary struggle of aimless filibusters continues." 
See copies of the dispatches in H. R. Mis. Doc. No. 31, 45th 
Cong. 3d Sess., Ill, pp. 624-625. 

2 Record, p. 2049. 

3 Ibid, pp. 2049-2055. 

4 World, March 3d. 

5 Proceedings, pp. 722-725. 

280 The Hayes-Tilden 

separated. The Senate, without debate and without a 
division, agreed that the vote of Downs should be 
received. 1 In the house the filibusters made a last 
effort. Mills of Texas claimed the floor to submit, as 
a question of privilege, a resolution that the House 
should immediately proceed to elect a President of 
the United States. 2 The resolution was not allowed 
to come to a vote. Dilatory motions were not enter 
tained. The indignation on the part of the filibusters 
against their Democratic brethren who refused to join 
them rose high. O Brien caller Fernando Wood 
"the high priest of the Republican party." 3 At length 
the debate on Wisconsin began. After midnight on 
the morning of the 2d Blackburn of Kentucky rose 
and delivered the swan-song of the filibusters. 

"Mr. Speaker," said he, "the end has come. There 
is no longer a margin for argument, and manhood 
spurns the plea of mercy, and yet there is a fitness in 
the hour which should not pass unheeded. Today is 
Friday. Upon that day the Saviour of the world suf 
fered crucifixion between two thieves. On this Friday 
constitutional government, justice, honesty, fair deal 
ing, manhood, and decency suffer crucifixion amid a 
number of thieves." [Applause on the floor and in the 

The passage was not to go unanswered. After the 
gentleman from Kentucky had finished, Mr. Williams 
of Wisconsin arose. "I do not desire," said he, "to 

1 Record, p. 2029. 

2 Ibid, pp. 2055-2056. 

3 Ibid, p. 2057. 

Disputed Election of 1876 281 

retort in the spirit indulged in by the gentleman who 
has just taken his seat. But if I did I might remind 
him and this House that this is not only Friday but 
hangman s day; and that there could be no more fit 
ting time than just after the hour of midnight 

When churchyards yawn, and Hell itself 

breathes out 

Contagion to this world. 

that this bogus, pretentious, bastard brat of political 
reform, which for the last twelve months has affronted 
the eyes of gods and men should be strangled to death, 
gibbetted higher than Haman." [Great applause on 
the floor and in the galleries]. 1 

The end was indeed come. After a little more delay 
the House voted to reject the vote of Downs ; and then 
the speaker, having received a telegram from Tilden 
expressing his willingness that the count should be 
completed, 2 sent a messenger to the Senate to an 
nounce that the House would once more receive them. 

It was now four o clock in the morning, but the 
galleries still contained a crowd of tired sightseers 
anxious to witness the final scene in the great contest 
which had so long absorbed the attention of the Amer 
ican people. The session had lasted continuously for 
eighteen hours, and the members were too weary to 
make much of a demonstration of any sort. The Re 
publicans were happy but not exultant; the Demo- 

1 Record, p. 2062. 

2 McClure s, .XXIII, p. 87. This statement is made by Mr. 
Rogers on the authority of Mr. Hewitt and confirmed from other 

282 The Hayes-Tilden 

crats disappointed but on the whole good-humored. 
The occasion was an extraordinary but by no means 
a solemn one. It was relieved by a final bit of pleas 
antry. While the House was waiting a Democratic 
member shouted to Henry Watterson to bring on his 
"hundred thousand." 1 

The hundred thousand did not appear; instead the 
Senate of the United States filed into the room in the 
usual manner. After the members were seated the 
decisions in the case of the Wisconsin elector were 
announced, and the votes of the state were counted. 
Senator Allison, one of the tellers, then read the list 
of all the votes, after which/ the president of the Sen 
ate arose to make the concluding statement. 

"In announcing the final result of the electoral vote," 
said he, "the Chair trusts that all present, whether 
on the floor or in the galleries, will refrain from all 
demonstration whatever; that nothing shall transpire 
on this occasion to mar the dignity and moderation 
which have characterized these proceedings, in the 
main so reputable to the American people and worthy 
of the respect of the world." 

Then, after announcing the total vote received by 
each candidate, he continued : 

"Wherefore, I do declare: That Rutherford B. 
Hayes, of Ohio, having received a majority of the 
whole number of electoral votes, is duly elected Presi 
dent of the United States for four years, commencing 
on the 4th day of March, 1877.^ And that William 

1 World, March 3d. 

Disputed Election of 1876 283 

A. Wheeler, of New York, having received a ma 
jority of the whole number of electoral votes, is duly 
elected Vice-President of the United States for four 
years, commencing on the 4th day of March, 1877." 
Soon thereafter the Senate retired to its chamber. 
The galleries were quickly emptied. The House it 
self adjourned. 1 The greatest contest for an elective 
office in the history of popular government had been 
peacefully concluded. 

1 Record, pp. 2067-2068. 



In the days preceding the final declaration of the 
result the bitterness of party feeling was so intense 
that not a few hot-headed partisans had sworn that 
even if "counted in," Hayes should never be inaug 
urated. A Washington newspaper, namely The Cap 
ital, edited by Don. Piatt, went so far as practically 
to counsel his assassination. 1 The President-elect re 
ceived many letters containing threats of violence and 
"curiously drawn sketches of knives, daggers and re 
volvers/ 2 

That there was no untoward incident during the 
long strain of waiting or after the result had been 
declared was unquestionably due in large measure to 
the firm hand of President Grant. His course during 
the whole trying crisis had been one which in the 
main merits the gratitude of his countrymen. His 

1 In issue of Feb. 18th. Quoted in New York Times of 19th. 

2 Quoted in Record, p. 1934, from a speech made by Hayes. 
One package, sent it would seem with no very serious intentions, 
contained "a knife about two feet long, one edge hacked like a 
saw, probably for sawing the bone, the other for cutting the 
flesh. This was wrapped in several thicknesses of paper, and 
inside was a note, as follows : 

" This is the knife with which the editor of the Capital was 
to assassinate you as you went from the White House to 
the Capitol. It was taken from his pants leg while asleep ." 

The Disputed Election of 1876 285 

sending of troops to the disputed states brought upon 
him a storm of criticism, and the use to which they 
were put in at least one instance would be difficult to 
justify; but it is scarcely too much to say that their 
presence in all human probability prevented bloody 
collisions that might have led to yet more lamentable 
consequences. Throughout he had labored for a 
peaceful and legal settlement. 1 While in some things 
he showed himself perhaps too much the partisan, he 
afterwards said that had Tilden been declared elected 
he would have been quite as energetic in securing 
Tilden s inauguration as he was in securing that of 
Hayes. Unlike Buchanan, Grant "was quite prepared 
for any contingency. Any outbreak would have been 
suddenly and summarily stopped." He "did not in 
tend to have two governments or any South American 
pronunciamentos." 2 

Thus when a rumor spread abroad that Tilden in 
tended to be sworn into office in New York, the Pres 
ident caused steps to be taken to declare martial law 
in that city in case the attempt should be made. 3 
As it turned out, these preparations were utterly need 
less. Mr. Tilden was far from possessing the tem 
perament of a revolutionist. Although some irrespon 
sible persons urged him to take the oath and later 
criticised him for not taking it, and although on the 
3d the House of Representatives passed a resolution 

1 Church, Life of Grant, pp. 420-421. 

2 Young, Around the World with General Grant, II, pp. 270- 
272. See also H. R. Mis. Doc. No. 31, 45th Cong. 3d Sess., Ill, 
pp. 884-885. 

3 Church, p. 421. 

286 The Hayes-Tilden 

declaring he had received 196 electoral votes and "was 
thereby duly elected President/ 1 he saw clearly that 
he had no claim which would justify him in taking 
a course that would inevitably lead to civil war. There 
were, in fact, only two contingencies under which he 
would have asserted his claims: if Congress had de 
clared him elected, or if the House, on the failure of 
a choice by the electoral colleges, had elected him. 
"No contingency provided by the Constitution," said 
one of his closest friends, "ever existed in which Mr. 
Tilden could lawfully or properly take the oath of 
office as President." 2 

So, despite the fact that some Democratic news 
papers, such as the New York Sun and the Indian 
apolis Sentinel, came out in mourning and said much 
about "usurpers" and "the de facto President," Mr. 
Hayes was peacefully installed. He started for Wash 
ington before the result was finally declared, reached 
that city on March 2d, and was entertained at the 
home of Senator Sherman. As the 4th fell on Sun 
day, there was much curiosity and some uneasiness 
throughout the country regarding what means would 
be taken to guard against the danger of an interreg 
num. President Grant had taken it upon himself to 
solve this problem. On Saturday night, the 3d, in 
accordance with an invitation written on the 2Oth of 
February after the decision of the Louisiana case, the 
President-elect dined at the White House. Among the 

1 Record, pp. 2225-2227. 

2 Bigelow, Tilden, II, pp. 112-115. Mr. Bigelow gave this 
statement to a reporter at the time. 

Disputed Election of l8jd 287 

guests present was Chief Justice Waite. In the course 
of the evening General Grant sent his son Ulysses 
for a Bible. The two Grants, Mr. Waite, and Mr. 
Hayes then repaired to an unoccupied room, and there 
the chief justice administered the oath. x On Mon 
day, the 5th, the new President was formally inaug 

One of his first and most trying tasks was to estab 
lish peace in the South. In order that the aspects of 
the settlement which was finally reached may be made 
clear, it will be necessary to go back in time and con 
sider at some length certain events hitherto only refer 
red to. 

It will be recalled that in South Carolina the board 
of canvassers, before its hasty dissolution to avoid 
the action of the court, had thrown out the votes of 
the counties of Edgefield and Laurens because of gross 
frauds at the polls. Their canvass showed the election 
of all the Republican candidates for state offices ex 
cepting for the governorship and lieutenant-govern 
orship, the returns for which were by law to be can 
vassed by the legislature; the choice of a House of 
Representatives composed of 59 Republicans and 57 
Democrats, with eight vacancies from the two counties 
just named; and the election of enough Republican 
senators to give that party, with two vacancies from 
the same counties, a majority of five. 2 

The legislature met on Tuesday, the 28th of No- 

1 Statement of Col. Webb C. Hayes. 

2 Appendix to H. R. Mis. Doc. No. 31, 44th Cong. 2d Sess. pp. 

288 The Hayes-Til den 

vember. On the night before a company of United 
States troops had occupied the Capitol, and these now 
assisted A. O. Jones, clerk of the last House, and John 
B. Dennis, who claimed to be acting as sergeant-at- 
arms, in excluding the Democratic claimants from 
Edgefield and Laurens from the hall of the House. 
The Democratic representatives, with one temporary 
exception, thereupon withdrew to the hall of a rifle 
company and organized with General W. H. Wallace 
of Union as speaker. The Republicans remained and 
organized with E. W. M. Mackey of Charleston as 
speaker. The important question then arose as to 
which body, if either, possessed a legal quorum of the 
members. The Democrats claimed to have 66 of the 
124 members, but of these 66 only 57 had been de 
clared elected by the canvassing board and held cer 
tificates from the secretary of state. The Republi 
cans, on the other hand, had 59 certified members, 
and this number, they claimed, was a quorum of the 
116 members who had been chosen. 1 The Senate, 
with Lieutenant-Governor Gleaves in the chair, organ 
ized with much less disturbance and with all hold 
over members, and every newly elected member who 
had a certificate, present. The Democratic claimants 
from Edgefield and Laurens and a person who had 
been elected to fill the vacancy occasioned bv the death 

1 See H. R. R. No. 175, Part 2, 44th Cong. 2d Sess., pp. 100- 
104, 126-129, 138-140 for the official journals and other papers 
bearing on these occurrences. Also The Nation, XXIII, p. 337 ; 
Annual Cyclopaedia, 1876, pp. 725-726 ; Allen, pp. 436-441 ; 
Southern Historical Society Papers, XIII, p. 66. 

Disputed Election of l8j6 289 

of a hold-over senator from Abbeville county were 
also present but were not allowed to vote. * 

The Democrats protested vehemently against the 
use which had been made of the troops and managed 
to secure from General Ruger assurances that in the 
future his men would confine themselves to preserv 
ing the peace and would not assist in keeping the 
doors of the House. 2 On the morning of the 3Oth, 
therefore, the Democratic representatives all marched 
to the Capitol, and reached that building before many 
of the Republican members had arrived. Some of the 
Democrats who had certificates were allowed to enter ; 
when they had done so, they turned, flung open the 
doors, placed their backs against them, and thereby, 
despite desperate efforts on the part of the doorkeepers, 
enabled all the Democratic claimants, including those 
without certificates, to get inside. Shortly afterwards 
the remaining Republican members appeared, and a 
scene of great confusion ensued which in all human 
probability would have resulted in bloodshed, had it 
not been for the restraining influence exercised upon 
the Democrats by the presence of the troops. 3 

For more than four days both bodies remained con 
tinuously within the hall, endeavoring from time to 
time to transact business, with dual speakers and fre 
quently with dual debates. In this contest each side 
had some advantages. It was, says a South Caro- 

1 H. R. R. No. 175, Part 2, 44th Cong. 2d Sess., pp. 104-109. 

2 Southern Historical Society Papers, XIII, p. 69 ; Annual 
Cyclopaedia, 1876, p. 726. 

3 H. R. R. No. 175, Part 2, 44th Cong. 2d Sess., pp. 101, 141; 
New York Herald for Dec. 1st. 

290 The Hayes-Tilden 

linian, hard service for the Democrats "to be thus 
shut up with these unwashed wards of the nation 
sending forth a stifling native perfume, when the pierc 
ing cold without prevented necessary ventilation. Sleep 
ing, too, on dirty floors, each with a single blanket, 
would read well in a story of martyrdom, but their 
heads and frames ached nevertheless. In all this the 
negroes had the great advantage, as they were just 
in their element. The perfume served but to stimu 
late them to song and jollity, and a blanket big enough 
to cover the head was all that each needed. On the 
other hand, in eating and drinking, the whites had 
the incalculable advantage. While Sambo was munch 
ing his hardtack and cheese, he had to gaze wistfully 
on baskets and boxes of fruit, and tempting viands, 
furnished the other side in profusion by the rebel- 
sympathizing merchants of Columbia and Charleston." 1 
Ultimately, however, the outcome of this novel contest 
did not depend upon endurance ; for the Democrats 
learned that on the afternoon of the 4th a constab 
ulary force, backed up by the troops, would attempt 
to eject the claimants from Edgefield and Laurens, 
and rather than submit to this all the Democrats once 
more withdrew to their former meeting-place. 2 

On the following day the Senate and the Republican 
House, which had now by desertion lost its quorum, 
met in joint convention and proceeded to canvass the 
votes for governor and lieutenant-governor. In do- 

1 Leland, p. 170. 
2 H. R. R. No. 175, Part 2, 44th Cong. 2d Sess., pp. 101, 142. 

Disputed Election of 1876 291 

ing so they threw out the returns from Edgefield and 
Laurens on the plea of violence and fraud, and de 
clared Chamberlain and Cleaves elected by majorities 
of 3,145 and 4,099 votes respectively. 1 Two days 
later the two were inaugurated. 2 

Meanwhile the Democrats had attempted to secure 
a mandamus to compel Speaker Mackey to give up the 
election returns for governor and lieutenant-govern 
or. The supreme court held, however, that a man 
damus would issue only against a public officer, and 
that, as Mackey was not speaker of the House, the 
writ could not be issued against him. The decision 
was favorable to the Democrats in that it recognized 
the Wallace House, which had now been increased 
by desertions from the Republican camp to 63 mem 
bers having certificates ; but it was unfavorable in 
that it still left them without the official returns. B 
Nevertheless, on the I4th the Democratic House, to 
gether with the Democratic senators, proceeded to 
canvass the votes, using in that work tabular state 
ments made from the county returns and from re 
turns which had been in the possession of the board 
of state canvassers. As the result of their labors 
they announced the election of Hampton and Simpson, 
the candidate for lieutenant-governor, by majorities 
of 1,134 and 139 votes respectively. On the after- 

1 H. R. R. No. 175, Part 2, 44th Cong. 2d Sess., pp. 114-121. 

2 Ibid, pp. 136-138. 

3 For court proceedings see Appendix to H. R. Mis. Doc. No. 
31, 44th Cong. 2d Sess., pp. 137 et seq. The petition was also 
directed against Secretary of State Hayne, but he had turned 
over the returns to Mackey. See also Southern Historical So 
ciety Papers, XIII, p. 70, and The Nation, XXIII, pp. 338, 348. 

292 The Hayes-Tilden 

noon of the same day these two also were inaugu 
rated. ! 

r~ Both governments asserted their claim to be the 
l legal authority of the state, and peace was preserved 
only by the presence of the Federal troops. Not 
long after his inauguration Chamberlain attempted to 
pardon a prisoner in the penitentiary, with the result 
that the question of his right to the office of governor 
was brought up before Circuit Judge Carpenter. On 
the ist of February the judge held that the recent 
proceedings gave neither Chamberlain nor Hampton a 
legal title and that Chamberlain, as the former gov 
ernor, should hold over until his successor had been 
legally declared and inaugurated. 2 An appeal was 
taken to the supreme court, but before it was tried 
a new case came up before that court as a result of 
an attempt of Hampton to pardon Tilda Norris, an 
other convict. After a long trial and much delay 
nothing remained save to pronounce judgment; but 
at this juncture Chief Justice Moses was stricken 
with an illness from which he never recovered, thus 
leaving but two judges, one being the negro Wright. 
On the 27th of February an order was finally signed 
for the release of Norris, but Wright asked that the 
filing and publication might be delayed for a few days, 
and Justice Willard consented. Two days later 
Wright, upon whom all possible influences had been 
brought to bear in the meantime, filed an opinion favor- 

1 Annual Cyclopaedia, 1876,, pp. 726-727; H. R. R. No. 175, 
Part 2, 44th Cong. 2d Sess., pp. 154-157. 

2 Southern Historical Society Papers, XIII, p. 72. 

Disputed Election of l8jd 293 

able to the legality of Chamberlain s claims and with 
drew his signature from the order. Thus, although 
the convict was freed next day, the judgment of the 
court upon the merits of the claims of Chamberlain 
and Hampton was not entirely clear. l 

However, the Hampton government had all the 
while been growing stronger, that of Chamberlain 
weaker. The supreme court had granted an injunc 
tion forbidding the banks which were depositories of 
public money from paying it out until further orders 
from the courts; and as property owners almost uni 
formly refused to recognize the authority of the Cham 
berlain government, the Republicans were left without 
the sinews of war. 2 In this respect the Democrats 
were more fortunate. Their House appealed to the 
people to pay to such receivers as Hampton should 
appoint twenty-five per cent, of the amount of taxes 
levied the preceding year. The appeal was answered 
with enthusiasm, and enough money was received to 
keep the government running. 3 In most of the coun 
ties the Democrats were strong enough to have their 
own way, and even at the Capital there were desertions 
from the Republican ranks. By the 4th of March, 
therefore, the Chamberlain government had dwindled 
to a mere shadow, and was saved from disappearing 
entirely only by the presence of the troops. 4 

1 Southern Historical Society Papers, XIII, p. 73 ; The Na 
tion, XXIV, p. 141; New York Herald of March 2d ; Reynolds, 
p. 467. 

2 Southern Historical Society Papers, XIII, p. 71. 

3 Ibid, pp. 71-72; H. R. R. No. 175, Part 2, 44th Cong. 2d 
Sess., pp. 163-167; The Nation, XXIII, p. 376. Hampton asked 
for only 10 per cent. 

4 Southern Historical Society Papers, XIII, p. 83. 

294 The Hayes-Tilden 

The situation of affairs in Louisiana can be ex 
plained in fewer words. On January 1st, the day 
for the assembling of the legislature, the state house 
was by Governor Kellogg s orders occupied by armed 
police and militia, and no persons were admitted to 
the legislative halls except those having certificates 
from the returning board. The Democratic members 
therefore withdrew to St. Patrick s Hall and organ 
ized separately, admitting not only those having cer 
tificates, but also those declared elected by the so- 
called Democratic Committee on Returns. The Re 
publican members remained and organized with 19 
senators and 68 representatives, which was, they 
claimed, a quorum in each House. The Democratic 
legislature consisted of 21 senators and 62 repre 
sentatives, but of these 4 senators and 22 repre 
sentatives had no certificates save from the Democratic 
committee. On the following day the Republican 
legislature in joint session, with, they claimed, a 
quorum in each House, received the election returns 
from the secretary of state, and declared Packard and 
Antoine elected; the Democratic legislature on the 
same day announced the election of Nicholls and Wiltz. 
On the 8th the Republican claimants were inaugurated 
at the Capitol ; the Democratic claimants at St. Pat 
rick s Hall. Next day a large force of armed White 
Leaguers, under pretense of acting as the state militia, 
gained possession of the police station and court 
rooms, installed Democratic appointees as judges of 
the supreme court, captured the state arsenal, block- 

Disputed Election of 1876 295 

aded the state house, and would doubtless have over 
thrown the Packard government entirely had it not 
been for the interference of United States troops. l 
From that time on until March the Federal govern 
ment, without recognizing either claimant, preserved 
the status quo. As in South Carolina, the authority 
of the Republicans grew weaker and weaker ; some of 
the parishes slipped out of their grasp, and there 
were numerous desertions from their legislature; the 
causes of this decline in their strength lay in the 
fact that their opponents were supported by the great 
mass of property owners and taxpayers and by prac 
tically the whole of the stronger white race. 2 

Such then, was the situation in these two states 
when Hayes came to power. The South Carolina 
problem was the first solved. The initial step in its 
solution was a letter written on the 4th of March to 
Chamberlain by Stanley Matthews and indorsed by 
William M. Evarts, who had been selected by Hayes 
as his secretary of state. The letter asked the gov 
ernor s concurrence and co-operation in some arrange 
ment whereby the continued use of Federal troops 
might be rendered unnecessary and that government 
left to stand which should prove itself able to stand 

1 My account of these matters is based upon files of the 
World, Herald, and Times ; the legislative journals ; a pamphlet 
entitled Legal Status of the Louisiana State Government, pub 
lished by the Packard legislature ; another entitled Organization 
of the House of Representatives, published by the adherents of 
Nicholls ; testimony of Burke, Packard, Kellogg, and others be 
fore the Potter Committee. 

2 See H. R. Mis. Doc. No. 31, 45th Cong. 3d Sess., Ill, pp. 

296 The Hayes-Tilden 

of itself. l The proposal was indignantly rejected by 
Chamberlain, and no further steps of importance were 
taken for a fortnight. On the 23d of March, how 
ever, duplicate letters were by the President s order 
addressed to both claimants asking them to come to 
Washington and confer with the President upon the 
situation. 2 Both complied with the request, and 
while in Washington had protracted interviews with 
the President and members of the cabinet. Cham 
berlain and the two South Carolina senators pro 
posed that the election controversy be submitted to a 
commission of five, but the Democrats had lost faith 
in commissions, and declined the offer. 3 By the Pres 
ident s request the Republican claimant also set forth 
in a letter his objections to the withdrawal of the 
troops; such action would, he said, inevitably result 
in the downfall of the Republican government before 
the superior physical force of its enemies and in "the 
quick consummation of a political outrage against 
which I have felt and now feel it my solemn duty to 
struggle and protest so long as the faintest hope of 
success can be seen." 4 Hampton, on his part, asked 
that the troops be withdrawn, and gave pledges that 
if it were done no violence would be used by his 
party and the constitutional rights of all parties would 
be respected. With the concurrence of the cabinet, 
the President at last decided to grant his request and 

1 For this letter and Chamberlain s reply see Allen, pp. 469 
and 470; Reynolds, pp. 451-453. 

2 Allen, p. 472. 

3 Ibid, p. 478. 

4 Ibid, pp. 474-477. 

Disputed Election of l8j6 297 

bring Federal interference in South Carolina to an 
end. l On the loth of April, therefore, the troops 
were withdrawn from the state house to the garrison 
post; on the nth Chamberlain, who had already an 
nounced that he would not prolong the contest further, 
turned over the executive office to a representative of 
Hampton; and, to the great rejoicing of the white 
inhabitants, Radical rule in South Carolina came to 
an end. 2 

The process of settlement in Louisiana was slower 
and more complicated. In that state the problem 
which faced the Administration was much more em 
barrassing ; for while in South Carolina the Hayes elec 
tors had received a majority of the votes actually 
cast and Chamberlain had not, in Louisiana Packard, 
whom it was now proposed to sacrifice, had received 
many hundreds of votes more than several of the 
electors. How then could the Packard government be 
allowed to fall and yet leave a semblance of title to 
Hayes ? 3 So perplexing did the problem prove that 
after telegrams sent by President Grant on the 1st 
and 2d of March to the effect that public opinion 
would no longer support the maintenance of state 
governments in Louisiana by military force, 4 no 

1 Allen, p. 479 ; New York Times, April 3. 

2 Allen, pp. 480-486 ; Leland, p. 173 ; Southern Historical So 
ciety Papers, III, p. 85 ; Reynolds, p. 460. 

3 See Butler s report as a member of the Potter Committee, 
H. R. R. No. 140, 45th Cong. 3d Sess., pp. 113-114. 

4 The first telegram was sent by the President s private secre 
tary to Packard on March 1st. H. R. Mis. Doc. No. 31, 45th 
Cong. 3d Sess., I, pp. 537, 890, 961, 1041, III, p. 33. The tele 
gram was repeated to Gen. Augur by Gen. Sherman on the 2d 
after, it has been claimed, Pres. Grant had had a personal inter- 

298 The Hayes-Til den 

further steps of importance were taken for almost 
four weeks. Some of the Democrats who had been 
parties to the "bargain" chafed exceedingly under the 
delay. By the 28th of March Mr. John Young Brown 
had become so impatient that he published the written 
guarantees of Foster and Matthews in the Louisville 
Courier- Journal and demanded of the President "ful 
fillment of the assurances" therein contained. l 

On the same day, in accordance with a plan he had 
already formulated, 2 the President appointed a com 
mission to go to Louisiana and arrange matters. The 
commission was composed of General Joseph R. Haw- 
ley of Connecticut, Judge Charles B. Lawrence of 
Illinois, General John M. Harlan of Kentucky, ex- 
Governor J. C. Brown of Tennessee, and Wayne Mac- 
Veagh of Pennsylvania. The commission was direc 
ted to proceed to Louisiana and there ascertain what 
were the hindrances to a peaceful conduct of the state 
government without the interference of the Federal 
authority. They were to devote their "principal at 
tention to a removal of the obstacles to an acknowl 
edgment of one government;" but "if these obstacles 
should prove insuperable from whatever reason, and 
the hope of a single government in all its departments 
be disappointed," it was to be their next endeavor to 
accomplish the recognition of a single legislature as 

view with Hayes. Ibid, I, p. 537; III, pp. 628-629. These tele 
grams were intended to fulfil the agreement, but it is difficult 
to see how they affected the status then existing in Louisiana. 

1 New York Tribune and Times of March 29th. 

2 Times of March 22d. 

Disputed Election of l8jd 299 

the depositary of the representative will of the people 
of Louisiana." * 

Into all the details of their work it is unnecessary to 
enter here. They reached New Orleans on the 5th of 
April, and at once set to work. The Democrats did 
all in their power to further the performance of the 
task. Their legislature passed conciliatory resolu 
tions indorsing the President s policy, promising to ac 
cept in good faith the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fif 
teenth amendments, and guaranteeing school priv 
ileges to both races ; these resolutions were transmitted 
by Nicholls, along with his own personal pledge, to 
the commission. 2 The Democrats rendered especially 
effective aid in securing the recognition of a single 
legislature, which was the goal towards which the 
commission found it expedient to direct its labors. 
The members of the Packard legislature who had re 
ceived majorities of the votes actually cast were given 
to understand that upon joining the Nicholls leg 
islature they would receive $8 per day for their *pre- 
vious services and forty cents per mile mileage. As 
the Packard government was bankrupt and as most 
of its legislators were poor negroes, the offer proved 
in many cases too strong to be resisted. 3 Some of] 
the more important leaders are said to have been bribed 
directly with money coming from the Louisiana Lot- 

1 For the full Instructions, which were written by Secretary 
of State Evarts, see H. R. Ex. Doc. No. 97, 45th Cong. 2d Sess., 
p. 2. 

2 H. R. Mis. Doc. No. 31, 45th Cong. 3d Sess., Ill, p. 28. 

3 Ibid, I, pp. 835, 840, 908. 

300 The Hayes-Tilden 

tery Company. l Other members who refused to be 
bribed but who feared for their personal safety in case 
they held out resigned, and by the 2ist of April the 
Packard legislature had practically ceased to exist. 2 
j* Three days later the troops were withdrawn to the post 

below the city; Packard_and his remaining supporters 
gave up the struggle ; and the authority of the Nicholls 
government was everywhere established without blood 
shed. 3 

The settlement in South Carolina and Louisiana was 
not reached without arousing a storm of protest in 
the President s own party. Boutwell and Butler of 
Massachusetts, W. E. Chandler of New Hampshire, 
Blaine of Maine, Wade of Ohio, and others, together 
with a considerable portion of the Republican press, 
denounced the President s policy in unmeasured terms. 
The failure of the Administration to uphold the Re 
publican claimants was characterized as a cowardly 
and treacherous abandonment of the Republicans of 
the South to their bitterest enemies. 4 

1 H. R. Mis. Doc. No. 31, 45th Cong. 3d Sess., Ill, p. 35; 
H. R. R. No. 140, 45th Cong. 2d Sess., p. 114; McClure, Our 
Presidents and How We Make Them, p. 267. 

2 H. R. Ex. Doc. No. 97, 45th Cong. 2d Sess., p. 11; H. R. 
Mis. Doc. No. 31, 45th Cong. 3d Sess., I, p. 460 ; III, pp. 10 et seq. 

3 For accounts of the whole Louisiana situation see testimony 
of Packard, Burke, Ellis, and others in Ibid. The testimony 
of Burke and Packard contains many important documents. In 
preparing my account I have also used the files of The Nation, 
Harper s Weekly, The Times, Herald, etc. 

4 See The Nation, XXIV, pp. 154, 216, 242, XXV, p. 117; Har 
per s Weekly, XXI, pp. 282, 302, 558; Blaine, Twenty Years of 
Congress, II, p. 596 ; John Sherman s Recollections, I, p. 586 ; 
Hoar, Autobiography, II, p. 12 ; Congressional Record, 45th Cong, 
special sess. of Senate, pp. 16, 20, etc. ; and a pamphlet by W. E. 
Chandler, entitled "Can Such Things Be and Overcome Us Like 
a Summer Cloud without Our Special Wonder?" The New York 
Times was one of the most active newspapers in attacking the 
Southern policy. 

Disputed Election of 1876 301 

Nor was this feeling unnatural ; for, from whatever 
point of view the settlements are regarded, they pre 
sent some rather extraordinary aspects. In the case 
of South Carolina, to be sure, a fairly consistent de 
fense could be made. On the face of the returns the 
Hayes electors had been chosen while Chamberlain 
had not been; the title given Chamberlain by the leg 
islature was open to question ; the courts had inclined 
to support Hampton s claims; and the Administra 
tion s part in the Republican downfall had been con 
fined to refusing to decide between the claims of the 
two parties and to removing the troops and thereby 
allowing the stronger claimant to take possession. 
But in Louisiana the situation was more complicated. 
Upon the face of the returns Packard had received a 
considerably larger vote than several of the Hayes 
electors, and his claim had been favorably passed upon 
by a legislature containing an alleged quorum of 
members declared elected by the same returning board 
which had canvassed the returns for the electors. A 
possible escape from the conclusion that the claim of 
Packard was at least as good as that of Hayes would 
be to adopt the theory that since the state constitution 
provided that "each House of the General Assembly 
shall judge of the qualifications, election, and re 
turns of its members," the law conferring upon 
the returning board the power to canvass the 
votes for members of the Assembly was unconstitu 
tional, and that as a result the legislature which had 

302 The Hayes-Tilden 

declared Packard elected had not been a legal one. 1 

Instead, however, of taking the attitude that Pack 

ard and he should stand or fall together, the Presi- 

f dent had, through a commission sent to Louisiana for 

l that purpose, worked to overthrow Packard and his 

\ government. 2 

But there are other aspects of the case which must 
be considered before any final conclusions are drawn. 
While the title of Packard may have been fully as 
good as that of Hayes, it does not necessarily follow 
that because Hayes declined to support Packard in 
maintaining his title he thereby acknowledged, as was 
claimed by Democrats, the worthlessness of his own. 
The conditions surrounding the two were entirely dif 
ferent. At Washington Republican administrations 
had no difficulty in maintaining themselves ; but in 
Louisiana for some years there had been Republican 
governments which, while probably representing a ma 
jority of the inhabitants, had not represented the in 
telligence, the property, and above all the physical and 
moral force of the state, and in consequence 
had stood only by grace of support afforded by Fed 
eral bayonets. Now, the Constitution provides that 
the United States shall protect every state, "on appli 
cation of the legislature, or of the executive (when 
the legislature cannot be convened) against domestic 

1 For a fuller statement of this theory see report of the com 
mission to the President in H. R. Ex. Doc. No. 97, 45th Cong. 2d 
Sess., p. 12. 

2 Not only had the President sent the commission but after 
Its work was ended, in order to break up the Packard supreme 
court, he appointed one of its judges, J. E. King, collector of 
New Orleans. Tribune of April 30th. 

Disputed Election of 1876 303 

violence ;" but it can hardly be held that the Constitu 
tion contemplates a situation of affairs such that pro 
tection, actually exercised in the form of military aid, 
shall be continuous. Common sense dictates that 
there must be an end to such aid sometime. It could 
reasonably be claimed that the proper time in Louisi 
ana had now been reached. 1 

There were yet other considerations which rendered 
a policy of non-interference necessary. Even had the 
President not been bound by the promises of his 
friends, it would have been impossible for him to 
uphold the Republican claimants. Public opinion, as 
Grant himself had telegraphed 2 to Packard, wouldjia. 
longer support the main^enance^^cj^^eLgo^^rtirn^ntg 
in Louisiana by military force. The Househad^al- 
ready refused to pass an army appropriation bill for 
the ensuing year, and would doubtless refuse to do so 
as long as there was danger that the troops would be 
used in the South. Under the circumstances to have 
attempted to maintain Chamberlain and Packard 
would have been to court governmental demoralization 
and inevitable defeat. 3 Even had he desired to do 
otherwise, prudence would therefore have dictated 
to the President that he acquiesce with the best grace 
possible in what in some respects may be regarded as 
a bloodless revolution in the states of Louisiana and 
South Carolina. 

1 The Nation, XXIV, pp. 172, 244. 

2 Under date of March 1. H. R. Mis. Doc. No. 31, 45th Cong. 
3d Sess., Ill, p. 33. 

3 Hoar, II, p. 13. 

304 The Disputed Election of 1876 

Whatever were the causes which produced it, the 
results of the new Southern policy were on the whole 
good. It is true that the promises made by the Louis 
iana legislature, by Nicholls, and by Hampton were 
kept only in part by the white people of the two 
states ; but it was something that such promises should 
be made, and, after all, the reaction which followed 
might have gone much farther. It is also true that 
the Republican party practically disappeared in the 
South, and as a result the freedman in effect lost his 
political rights ; but he preserved his civil rights, and 
he lived under a better government than when he him 
self had assisted in making and administering the 

Thus ended the story of Reconstruction. It had 
been a lurid drama, but one which from the nature of 
things may be said to have been inevitable. For on 
the one side had stood a class who were disinclined 
except under compulsion to concede to all men the 
basic rights of human liberty ; while on the other had 
been a class who, though staunch advocates of liberty, 
were too unmoral, too ignorant, to govern either purely 
or efficiently. Many lessons might be drawn from the 
period, but the chief is this : 

"He who is unwilling to concede liberty to others 
deserves it not for himself, and under a just God can 
not long retain it." 



It would seem that after so perilous an experience 
as that through which the country had just passed 
statesmen ought never to have rested until the recur 
rence of such a crisis had been guarded against by 
the necessary legislation. Numerous proposals for 
changes in the electoral system were made in the years 
immediately following, but not one of the many bills 
and amendments brought forward was incorporated 
into the law of the land. Not, in fact, until a decade 
later, after two subsequent Presidential elections had 
occurred, did Congress pass a bill providing a per 
manent plan for counting the electoral vote. l 

This bill was signed by President Cleveland on the 
3d of February, 1887. In the main it was in accord 
with the principles laid down in the decisions of the 
Electoral Commission. It provides that a state may 
finally determine every contest connected with the 
choice of electors, but that such determination must 
be made in accordance with a law passed before the 
electors are chosen and that the decision must have 
been made at least six days before the meeting of the 

1 For a synopsis of some of these proposals see Dougherty, 
The Electoral Commission, pp. 214, 354. 

306 The Hayes-Tilden 

electors. l Where such a determination has been 
made, it must be accepted; but in cases where there 
is a conflict of tribunals that return is to be counted 
which the two houses concur in receiving. In no 
case is a return to be thrown out except by the con 
sent of both houses ; when the two cannot agree, that 
return is to be received which is certified by the ex 
ecutive of the state. 2 

The long delay in remedying the defects in the 
electoral machinery was in part due to the fact that 
both parties were far more concerned about the polit 
ical effects of the great dispute than they were inter 
ested in statesmanlike efforts to secure the country 
from similar dangers in the future. Revanche in 
1880 that was the goal towards which all Demo 
cratic endeavors were directed. With this idea in 
mind, although yielding a grudging obedience to "the 
de facto President," they were careful not to allow 
the methods by which that President had been seated 
to drop out of the public s thought for an instant. In 
almost every issue of almost every Democratic news 
paper there appeared at least one reference to the 
"Steal ;" Hayes was a "Usurper," "the Boss Thief ;" 
Liberty had been "stabbed by Radical Ruffians;" the 
"Death knell of the Republic" had sounded. Nor did 
the cry lessen in intensity as the months passed. Even 

1 In order to give more time for such determination, the law 
provides that the electors shall not meet until the second Mon 
day in January. 

2 U. S. Statutes at Large, vol. 24, chap. 90, pp. 373 et seq. 
Even this law in many respects is unsatisfactory and in some 
respects is defective. For a detailed criticism see an article by 
Prof. Burgess in The Political Science Quarterly, III, p. 633. 

Disputed Election of l8j6 307 

after the quieting effects of a trip to Europe, Mr. Til- 
den himself proclaimed from the steps of his mansion 
at 15 Gramercy Park that he had been deprived of the 
Presidency by a "political crime/ which the Ameri 
can people would not condone "under any pretext or 
for any purpose." 1 This opinion he iterated and re 
iterated on all possible occasions. Of all those en 
gaged in denouncing Republican wickedness and de 
manding the "keen, bright sunlight of publicity" none 
was more insistent than Mr. Manton Marble, former 
editor of the New York World, author of the famous 
"Reform" platform of 1876, and himself one of the 
Democratic visitors to Florida. 2 

In the hope of securing further evidence for polit 
ical use, Mr. Clarkson N. Potter of New York, at the 
instance of many leading Democrats, including, it 
seems, Mr. Tilden himself, 3 introduced in the House 
of Representatives on May I3th, 1878, a resolution 
calling for the appointment of a committee "to inquire 
into the alleged fraudulent canvass and return of votes 
at the last Presidential election in the States of Louis 
iana and Florida." 4 The Republicans opposed the 
resolution on the ground that, by reopening a question 
once settled, it would harm the interests of the coun 
try; and they quite justly urged that if such an in 
vestigation must be undertaken it ought to be gen 
eral in its scope and include a probing into the frauds 

1 New York Herald, Oct. 28th, 1877. 

2 See his letter to the Sun of Aug. 3d, 1878. 

3 Charged by Elaine, II, p. 589. 

4 As quoted at the beginning of the majority report of the 

308 The Hayes-Tllden 

and violence in Mississippi, South Carolina, Alabama, 
Oregon, and elsewhere. But, despite all their efforts 
and also the opposition of a few Democrats, * the res 
olution was at length carried; and the committee was 
appointed. 2 It consisted of Clarkson N. Potter, Wm. 
R. Morrison, Eppa Hunton, Wm. S. Stenger, J. A. 
McMahon, J. C. S. Blackburn, and Wm. M. Springer, 
Democrats ; of Jacob D. Cox, Thomas Brackett 
Reed, and Frank Hiscock, Republicans ; and of Mr. 
Benjamin F. Butler, political affiliations at this time 

Conditions were not unfavorable for accomplishing 
the purpose for which the committee was created. By 
the President s policy towards the South many Repub 
licans, both white and black, had been rendered his 
bitter enemies; others felt injured because, in their 
estimation, they had not been properly "rewarded ;" 
yet others were anxious to make their peace with the 
now dominant party in that section; from among all 
these it proved easy to get any number of witnesses 
willing, nay, even anxious, to testify in detail to any 
amount of Republican rascality, both real and imag 
ined. 3 

In Florida one of the chief witnesses was Samuel B. 

1 The Nation, XXV, p. 333. 

2 The debates on the resolutions are given in the Record, 45th 
Cong. 2d Sess., pp. 3438 et seq. 

3 The Nation, XXVII, p. 217. In their report the Democratic 
members of the committee said : "The character of persons en 
gaged in conspiracies such as those in question in Florida and 
Louisiana requires that their statements, whether in confession 
or denial, should be received with suspicion. It was unavoidable, 
from the character of those concerned, that the committee 
should be exposed to mistake and imposition." H. R. R. No. 
140, 45th Cong. 3d Sess., p. 4. See also p. 3. 

Disputed Election of 1876 309 

McLin, ex-member of the returning board. This gen 
tleman was in exactly the proper frame of mind to 
+estify freely. After the inauguration of Hayes he 
had been made associate justice of New Mexico ad 
interim, but owing to the opposition of Senator Con- 
over of Florida had not been confirmed by the Sen 
ate; after vainly waiting for some months in the hope 
ot receiving another appointment, he had decided that 
duty demanded that he should tell the truth about the 
election of the President who had "basely betrayed and 
mercilessly destroyed the Republican party of the 
South." Accordingly he had published an affidavit 
in which he said: 

"Looking back now to that time, I feel that there 
was a combination of influences that must have oper 
ated most powerfully in blinding my judgment and 

swaying my action I was shown numerous 

telegrams addressed to Governor Stearns and others 
from the trusted leaders of the Republican party in 
the North, insisting that the salvation of the country 
depended upon the vote of Florida being cast for 

Hayes Following these telegrams trusted 

Northern Republicans, party leaders and personal 
friends of Mr. Hayes, arrived in Florida as rapidly 
as the railroads could bring them. I was surrounded 
by these men, who were ardent Republicans, and 
especially by friends of Governor Hayes. One gentle 
man particularly, Governor Noyes of Ohio, was under 
stood to represent him and speak with the authority 
of a warm personal friend, commissioned with power 
to act in his behalf. These men referred to the gen 
eral destruction of the country should Mr. Tilden be 
elected ; the intense anxiety of the Republican party of 


310 The Hayes-Tilden 

the North and their full sympathy with us. I can 
not say how far my action may have been influenced 
by the intense excitement that prevailed around me, 
or how far my partisan zeal may have led me into 
error neither can I say how far my course was influ 
enced by the promises made by Governor Noyes, that 
if Mr. Hayes became President I should be rewarded. 
Certainly these influences must have had a strong con 
trol over my judgment and action." 

In his testimony before the sub-committee which 
examined him Mr. McLin elaborated upon the state 
ments made in his affidavit. l He stated that certain 
of the Republican visitors, and especially Mr. Noyes, 
W. E. Chandler, and General Lew Wallace, had as 
sured him that if Hayes were elected he (McLin) 
would be well "taken care of." He also stated that 
since the contest was over an election officer named 
Joseph Bowes had confessed to him that at precinct No. 
9 in Leon county he had stuffed the box with 74 
"little jokers ;" that L. G. Dennis, 2 county chairman 
of Alachua county, had boasted that he had secured the 
election of Hayes by causing 219 votes to be added to 
the returns of one of the precincts ; that he had learned 
that in Jefferson county 100 Republican votes had been 
added in a similar manner : and that he had heard of 
other Republican frauds. From these facts McLin de 
duced the conclusion that the electoral votes of Florida 
had rightfully belonged to Tilden. Upon cross-ex- 

1 For his affidavit see H. R. Mis. Doc. No. 31, 45th Cong. 
3d Sess., II, p. 98. For his testimony, Ibid, and also pp. 116, 
137, 150. 

2 Dennis received a government position, but later lost it. He 
then made a "statement." His evidence bore out McLin s on 
the point referred to. He also made other revelations. 

Disputed Election of l8j6 311 

animation, however, he said that his decision had not 
been swayed by offers of position, and admitted that 
he had heard of other Democratic frauds. He also 
made the interesting statement that while the case 
was before the returning board he had been assured 
by Mr. Manton Marble that should Tilden be elected 
there would be no danger of McLin s dying poor. 1 

The Louisiana testimony, many of the facts in which 
have already been used in this book, bore on such 
subjects as the fraudulent registration in New Or 
leans, the "manufacture" of protests and affidavits, the 
forgery and subsequent manipulation of the second 
set of electoral certificates, the alleged promises made 
by "visiting statesmen" to election officers, the Worm- 
ley Conference, and the work of the MacVeagh Com 
mission. 2 

One of the chief witnesses in Louisiana was James 
E. Anderson, ex-supervisor of the parish of East 
Feliciana. Anderson had expected a reward for his 
services and had been appointed consul to Funchal; 
but representations regarding his character had been 
made to the President by H. V. Boynton, and his 
commission had been withheld. 3 After several of his 

1 McLin admitted in his testimony that Noyes had never 
promised him a reward before the contest was decided. H. R. 
Mis. Doc. No. 31, 45th Cong. 3d Sess., II, p. 101. Chandler de 
nied having made him any promise. Ibid, I, p. 468. Wallace 
admitted having told McLin he had no doubt Hayes would take 
care of his friends. Ibid, I, p. 514. 

2 For a Democratic summary of the Louisiana testimony see 
H. R. R. No. 140, 45th Con. 3d Sess., pp. 23-67. References are 
given to some of the most important testimony. The Republican 
view is given on pp. 84-93. 

3 H. R. Mis. Doc. No. 31, 45th Cong. 3d Sess., I, pp. 381, 384, 

312 The Hayes-Til Jen 

attempts at blackmail had failed Anderson was ready 
to make a confession. * One of his stories was to the 
effect that he and E. L. Weber, supervisor of West 
Feliciana, had refused to make protests until they had 
received definite promises of lucrative offices. He 
claimed that a written promise had been given them 
by John Sherman, who was now secretary of the 
treasury. He was unable, however, to produce the 
original letter, and claimed it had been on the person 
of Weber when Weber was killed by political enemies, 
and had then disappeared. Sherman denied ever hav 
ing written such a letter, though he admitted there 
were some things in it which he might have written 
if he had been asked. 2 There is some reason to be 
lieve that it was forged by an eccentric adventuress 
named Agnes D. Jenks, whose many examinations 
before the committee were productive of much amuse 
ment but of very few facts. 3 There was probably 
more truth in some of Anderson s other charges, 4 
though how much it is impossible to say, for he was a 
self-confessed liar and later offered to make a counter- 
confession. 5 

Much testimony was taken to prove that the affi 
davits to acts of violence and intimidation had been 
falsely and fraudulently made. More than a dozen 
negroes retracted either in whole or in part the affi- 

1 H. R. Mis. Doc. No. 31, 45th Cong. 3d Sess., I, pp. 19, 24. 

2 Ibid, pp. 16, 768. 

3 Ibid, pp. 318, 357, 389, 422, 519, 554, 560. 

4 For Anderson s testimony see Ibid, pp. 1, 38, 64, 72, 161, 
583, 926. 

5 The Nation, XXVII, p. 264. 

Disputed Election of 1876 313 

davits signed by them. 1 Doubtless some of these re 
tractions were in accordance with the truth, but there 
is reason to believe that some of them were the result 
of fear or of the expectation of pecuniary reward. 
Two witnesses who were expected to retract refused 
to do so, and said that they, with other witnesses, 
had been carefully watched and coached by a Demo 
cratic agent. One of them produced $35 which had 
been given him as a part of his reward. The agent 
later admitted giving the money, but took refuge in 
the pretense of a "loan" and a "set-up job." 2 What 
ever may be the truth about this particular matter, 
it is certain that all the Democratic efforts did not 
suffice to bring to life a single one of the negroes who 
had been killed by the "bulldozers." 

Even more effective than the testimony which has 
been described were lists drawn up by the committee 
of persons who had been connected with the canvass 
in Louisiana and Florida and who had later received 
Federal offices. Of the "visiting statesmen" Noyes 
had been made minister to France, Kasson minister 
to Austria, Stoughton minister to Russia, Lew Wal 
lace governor of New Mexico, Coburn a commis 
sioner of Hot Springs, and John Sherman secretary 
of the treasury. Of the local politicians in the two 
states, ex-Governor Stearns, Dennis, who had been 
connected with the Alachua frauds, McLin, Wells, 
T. C. Anderson, Kenner, Packard, and almost every 

1 For some of this testimony see H. R. Mis. Doc. No. 31, 
45th Cong. 3d Sess., Ill, pp. 294, 306, 319, 373, 471. 

2 Ibid, pp. 342, 345, 365, 370, 374, 385, 394; I, p. 1195. 

314 The Hayes-Tilden 

person engaged in making protests, getting evidence, 
making returns, and counting the votes had received 
offices, some of which were very lucrative. 1 There 
was no conclusive proof that these appointments were 
intended by the President or by any of his cabinet 
officers as rewards for questionable services, but the 
circumstances certainly lent themselves to that view. 
The most charitable construction is, in the words of 
Mr. Butler, "that post hoc is not always propter hoc." 2 
The revelations resulting from the work of the Pot 
ter Committee were spread broadcast over the land 
by the Democratic press and gave promise of a boun 
tiful political harvest. The Democrats were jubilant; 
the Republicans correspondingly depressed. The Re 
publican leaders foresaw that unless something could 
be done to break the force of the disclosures their 
party would meet with overwhelming disaster in the 
approaching congressional elections. Furthermore, 
the Democrats would in 1880 renominate Tilden, and 
would, in truth, "right the Great Wrong." Of 
course everything possible was made out of the 
unquestionable fact that a great deal of the testimony 
was unreliable and that the investigation was ex 
tremely partisan and one-sided; but this, it was felt, 
was not sufficient. Something more must be done. 

1 For these lists see report of the majority in H. R. R. No. 
140, 45th Cong. 3d Sess., pp. 22, 48-49. 

2 Ibid, p. 100. Some of the less prominent Republicans were 
unquestionably guilty of conferring rewards for corrupt prac 
tices. The mistakes made by the President in this respect seem 
to have resulted in part at least from following bad advice re 
garding persons concerning whom he knew little or nothing. 
When, as In the case of James E. Anderson, he became con 
vinced of a man s dishonesty, he refused to go further. 

Disputed Election of 1876 315 

An opportunity was long in coming, but come it did 
and in unexpected manner. 

Back in January, 1877, the Western Union Tele 
graph Company had been ordered to deliver to com 
mittees of Congress all dispatches transmitted by Re 
publican and Democratic leaders during the campaign 
and the exciting days which followed it. Of these 
dispatches, amounting in all to more than 30,000, many 
were in cipher. Out of the dispatches in their pos 
session the Senate committee had unearthed the Dem 
ocratic conspiracy, already described, to purchase the 
vote of a Republican elector in Oregon, but other 
wise the examination had not been searching enough 
to discover anything of much importance. 1 After a 
time all the dispatches, as was supposed, had been sur 
rendered to the company and had been taken back to 
New York and burned. 

Unknown to the company, however, some of 
the telegrams which had been in the hands of the 
Senate committee had not been given up. About 750 
had been abstracted, and in May, 1878, were in the 
possession of Mr. George E. Bullock, who had been 
messenger of the committee and protege of its chair 
man, Senator Morton. In the month mentioned Bul 
lock went as United States consul to Cologne and left 
the dispatches in charge of Mr. J. L. Evans, who in 
turn gave them to Mr. Thomas J. Brady, second as 
sistant postmaster general. Not long afterwards, in 

1 For the details of the Investigation by the House commit 
tee and the telegrams examined by it see H. R. Mis. Doc. No. 
42, 44th Cong. 2d Sess. 

316 The Hayes-Til den 

ways which it is unnecessary to describe, a portion of 
them, either in the original or in the shape of copies, 
were put into the possession of the New York Tri 
bune. l 

That newspaper, then as now hotly Republican, was 
on the lookout for anything that gave promise of 
helping to bring about the discomfiture of the Dem 
ocrats. But as all the important dispatches were in 
cipher, their possession for a considerable time resulted 
in nothing. Nevertheless, the managers of the paper 
proceeded, in the words of Mr. Whitelaw Reid, the 
editor, "to play about them for a little while. First, 
we threw a few of them out in editorials, trying to 
make a little fun out of them, and attract attention 
to them in the hope that somebody would turn up who 
could decipher them. Nobody came forward, how 
ever, and then we attacked them seriously." 2 

The problem to which the managers of the Tribune 
set themselves was a difficult one in the extreme, 
for in sending the telegrams at least six distinct sys 
tems of crytography, some of them very complicated, 
had been used. At last, however, Colonel William M. 
Grosvenor and Mr. John R. G. Hassard, by employing 
methods more suggestive of Poe s Gold Bug than of 
an event in real life, were able to discover the keys 
to all but a few messages. Nor were their results 
mere conjectures. So carefully was their work done 
and so thoroughly were the keys tested that, save in 

2 Ibid, p. 111. 

Disputed Election of l8jb 317 

a few cases, the translations were absolutely exact. 1 
And, as the translators had hoped, they found what 
they were seeking. Some of the telegrams revealed 
on the part of certain prominent Democrats conduct 
decidedly inconsistent with the manner in which the 
said Democrats had been "lifting up sanctimonious 
eyes to heaven and thanking God that they were not as 
these wicked Republicans." 

The results were given to the world by the Tribune 
in a way skilfully calculated to arouse the public in 
terest to the utmost. Hints were dropped that revela 
tions were coming; then an announcement was made 
that the publication of the dispatches was about to 
begin. On the 7th of October a detailed account of 
how the translations had been made was published. 
On the following day the most important dispatches 
relating to Democratic negotiations in Florida ap 
peared ; eight days later came the yet more sensational 
ones relating to the negotiations in South Carolina. 

The chief Florida dispatches thus published had 
passed between Manton Marble and C. W. Wooley, 
Democratic agents who had gone to Tallahassee, 2 
and Colonel W. T. Pelton, acting secretary of the 
Democratic national committee. Colonel Pelton was 
Mr. Tilden s nephew and lived with him at the Tilden 
residence, No. 15 Gramercy Park, to which place many 
of the telegrams were addressed. 

1 For the dispatches and translations made by Prof. E. S. 
Holden, U. S. Navy, for the Potter Committee, see H. R. Mis. 
Doc. No. 31, 45th Cong. 3d Sess., IV, pp. 325-385. 

2 In the dispatches Marble was known as "Moses" and 
Wooley as "Fox." 

318 The Hayes-Tilden 

The following was one of the most significant mes 
sages : 

"Talla. 2. 
"Col. Pelton, No. 15 Gramercy Park, N. Y. : 

"Certificate required to Moses decision have London 
hour for Bolivia of just and Edinburgh at Moselle 
had a any over Glasgow France rec d Russia of." l 

The translation of this dispatch read thus : 

"Have just received a Bolivia [proposition] to hand 
over at any hour required Russia [Tilden] decision of 
London [canvassing board] and certificate of France 
[Governor Stearns] for Moselle [two] Glasgow [hun 
dred] Edinburgh [thousand]. Moses [Manton Mar 

To this the following reply was returned : 
"Telegram here. Proposition too fyigh ( ?)." 2 
On the 3d, the same day on which the reply was 
dispatched, Mr. Marble sent to Pelton another prop 
osition for "giving vote of Republican of board or his 
concurrence in court action preventing electoral vote 
from being cast for half-hundred best United States 
documents" [$50,000 in U. S. notes]. Mr. Wooley 
also asked to be allowed to "give hundred thousand 
dollars less half for Tilden additional board member." 3 
Pelton replied to Wooley telling him to consult Marble 
and act in concert with him ; to Marble he sent a dis 
patch which could not be deciphered because four 

1 H. R. Mis. Doc. No. 31, 45th Cong. 3d Sess., IV, p. 176. 

2 There was some doubt about the exact translation of this 
dispatch. In his testimony, however, Pelton said : "I did send a 
dispatch declining the proposition made." /bid. p. 177. 

3 Ibid, p. 179. 

Disputed Election of 1 876 319 

words had dropped out in transmission. At the re 
quest of Marble the message was repeated, this time 
correctly. x When translated it stood : 

"Telegram here. Proposition accepted if done only 
once. Better consult with Wooley and act in concert. 
You can trust him. Time very important, and there 
should be no divided councils." 2 

But the returning board was just finishing its work, 
and the delay proved fatal. 3 Marble therefore re 
ported that the plan had failed, and added, "Tell Til- 
den to saddle Blackstone ;" 4 while Wooley telegraphed, 
"Power received too late." 5 

Eight days after the publication of the Florida dis 
patches the Tribune gave to the public those connected 
with the contest in South Carolina. In that state 
the chief Democratic negotiator was Smith Mead 
Weed, a prominent Tilden Democrat of New York. 
The dispatches revealed that on the very day he ar 
rived in the state he transmitted two proposals for 
bribing the returning board. The last of these Colonel 
Pelton approved. 6 Negotiations were conducted for 
six days; then Weed transmitted the following: 

"Majority of board have been secured. Cost is 
80,000, to be sent as follows: One parcel of 65,000 
dollars, one of 10,000, and one of 5,000, all to be 500 
and i ,000 bills; notes to be delivered as parties accept 

1 H. R. Mis. Doc. No. 31, 45th Cong. 3d Sess., IV, pp. 180, 

2 Ibid, pp. 242, 366. 

3 Ibid, pp. 180, 352. 

4 Ibid, pp. 243, 352. 

5 Ibid, p. 351. 

6 Ibid, pp. 132-133, 145-146, 181-182. 

320 The Hayes-Tilden 

and given up upon vote of land of Hampton being 

given to Tilden s friends Do this at once and 

have cash readv to reach Baltimore Sunday night. 
Telegraph decidedly whether this will be done." l 

Weed and Hardy Solomon, who was supposed to 
represent the returning board, went to Baltimore, and 
were met by Colonel Pelton. What took place there 
the dispatches do not disclose. We only know with 
certainty that Pelton returned to New York accom 
panied by Weed, that Solomon also went to New York, 
but that in neither place was the deal consummated. 
The cause of failure will probably always remain a 
matter of some doubt; the Democrats claimed that it 
was because Tilden ordered Pelton home, the Repub 
licans that it was because the returning board suddenly 
concluded its labors in order to evade the supreme 
court, or because its members had merely been playing 
with the Democrats. 2 

Not discouraged, however, Pelton later not only 
continued the negotiations already described in Florida 
but also entered into a new plot for capturing the 
electoral vote of South Carolina. One feature of this 
plot, which was a very complicated one, involved 
locking up the Republican electors in separate cells 
until after the legal day for casting their votes. 3 

The publication of the dispatches created a tremen 
dous sensation. They were read throughout the coun- 

1 H. R. Mis. Doc. No. 31, 45th Cong. 3d Sess., IV, p. 119. 

2 For this matter see 
i, 211, 215, 217, 275, 

3 Ibid, pp. 378-379. 

2 For this matter see Ibid, pp. 116, 117, 124, 139, 145, 156, 186, 
209, 211, 215, 217, 275, 284, etc. 

Disputed Election of 1876 321 

try ; every one marvelled at the ingenuity of the trans 
lators. Thousands of people made use of the keys and 
tested the accuracy of some of the translations. The 
Republicans jubilantly declared that Pelton had been 
the agent of Mr. Tilden. The Democrats were at first 
incredulous about the truth of the disclosures; some 
claimed that the whole matter was a hoax. Then, when 
the facts could no longer be denied, some of the party 
organs displayed great indignation over the manner 
in which the dispatches had been obtained; others 
tried to minimize the importance of the revelations. 
Mr. Tilden issued a skilfully drawn letter which 
appeared to the general public to be a sweeping denial 
of any prior knowledge of any of the dispatches or 
of the South Carolina negotiations, or of any knowl 
edge of the negotiations in 1 Florida until some time 
after their failure. * Nevertheless, Republicans con 
tinued to shake their heads sagely ; while some of Mr. 
Tilden s enemies in his own party expressed the opin 
ion that even his denial would not save him the renom- 
ination in 1880. 2 Mr. Manton Marble also issued a 
letter in which he violently denied having sent some of 
the least important of the dispatches attributed to him, 
or having engaged in any corrupt undertakings. 3 
The Republican press mentioned Mr. Marble frequent 
ly, along with "moral means" and the "keen, bright 

1 New York Herald of Oct. 18th. Mr. Tilden told the truth 
so far as he went, but his letter conveyed an erroneous impres 
sion. Compare The Nation, XVII, p. 250, with The Nation, 

2 See Tribune for Oct. 9th et seq. for many extracts from 
other papers, along this line. 

3 See The Nation, XVII, p. 250. 

322 The Hayes-Tilden 

sunlight of publicity." The other important parties 
refused to be interviewed. 

Needless to say, the Republicans at once began to 
demand that the Potter Committee investigate the 
whole matter. But the Democratic leaders had no 
desire to stir up the unexpected hornet s nest any 
further. For some weeks after Congress met the 
Democrats of the House avoided the subject with 
great care. l But as the clamor increased rather than 
diminished, that body on January 21, 1879, reluctantly 
directed the committee to institute an inquiry. 2 

The committee s first efforts were directed to exam 
ining into the manner in which the dispatches had 
come into possession of the Tribune and to attempting 
to bring to light incriminating Republican dispatches. 
With this latter aim in view the committee examined 
in Washington some of the telegraph officials and a 
number of Republicans, including W. E. Chandler, 
ex-Postmaster General Tyner, and Second Assistant 
Postmaster General Brady. But aside from dispatches 
which had passed between the various Republican 
agents in the Southern states and between these agents 
and the party managers in the North on such matters 
as the chances for success in the various states and the 
transmission of money in comparatively small sums for 
the payment of legitimate expenses, nothing of impor 
tance was brought to light. 3 The fact was that the Re- 

1 Record, p. 610, speech of Conger of Michigan on Jan. 21. 

2 Ibid, pp. 608-612. 

3 Some of these dispatches had been explained by W. E. 
Chandler and others two years before. See H. R. Mis. Doc. No, 

Disputed Election of 1876 323 

publican dispatches remaining in existence were all in 
nocuous. If there had ever been any of a different 
character and naturally the Democrats m^de what 
they could out of the possibility 1 they had been de 
stroyed and proof of their having existed could not 
be found. 

After this vain attempt to make counter revela 
tions a subcommittee proceeded to New York city. 
This committee was composed of Messrs. Hunton, 
Stenger, and Springer, Democrats; and of Messrs. 
Hiscock and Reed (the later "Czar"), Republicans. 

Among the persons examined in New York were 
Mr. Weed, Mr. Pelton, Mr. Marble, and Mr. Tilden. 
Neither Mr. Weed nor Mr. Pelton attempted to deny 
the essential charges made against them by the Tri 
bune, but they tried to justify themselves on the 
ground that they merely intended to "ransom stolen 
goods from thieves." Mr. Marble, having expatiated 
so fully upon the exalted manner in which the Dem 
ocratic campaign had been conducted, was somewhat 
more guarded in his admissions. He acknowledged 
certain of the telegrams attributed to him he could 
do no less, for they were in his handwriting but 

42, 44th Cong. 2d Sess. The dispatches were in cipher, but in 
such "a feeble and worthless one" that almost anybody could 
tell what they meant ; for example, "oranges" was substituted 
for Florida, "cotton" for South Carolina, "warm" for favorable, 
"cold" for hostile, etc. One object of the dispatches was to keep 
the workers in the various disputed states encouraged. 

1 It was claimed by Democrats that Mr. Orton, the president 
of the Western Union allowed Republicans to remove incriminat 
ing dispatches. Bigelow, II, p. 171. Another story was to the 
effect that Orton said the committees did not get all the dis 
patches. McCulloch, Men and Measures of Half a Century, p. 

324 The Hayes-Tilden 

declared he had sent them merely as "danger signals." 1 
His statement on this point was received with peals 
of derisive laughter. 2 

Two things were especially noteworthy about the 
testimony of these witnesses. One was the remarkable 
shortness of their memories. They were sure that 
some of the dispatches were incorrectly translated, but 
were unable to translate them correctly, for they had 
both forgotten and lost the keys. Secondlv, they all 
strove anxiously to prove the innocence of Mr. Tilden. 
While Pelton and Weed admitted having met each 
other in Baltimore with the intention of consummating 
a deal with Hardy Solomon, supposed agent of the 
South Carolina returning board, they claimed that 
Pelton had been summoned back to New York by Mr. 
Tilden, to whom a knowledge of the affair had been 
imparted by Mr. Edward Cooper, treasurer of the 
Democratic national committee. Upon this point their 
testimony was supported by that of Mr. Cooper. 3 

The climax of the investigation was the examination 
of Mr. Tilden. 4 On the appointed day the parlor of 
the Fifth Avenue Hotel in which the committee s 
sessions were held was packed to the utmost with a 
crowd anxious to see and hear the distinguished wit 
ness who had so narrowly missed occupying the Pres 
idential chair. At half-past eleven o clock Mr. Tilden 

1 For Weed s testimony see H. R. Mis. Doc. No. 31, 45th Cong. 
3d Sess., IV, pp. 114-166; for Pelton s pp. 166-221; for Marble s 
pp. 221-272. 

2 H. R. R. No. 140, 45th Cong. 3d Sess., p. 73. 

3 H. R. Mis. Doc. No. 31, 45th Cong. 3d Sess., IV, pp. 156-157. 

4 Tilden asked permission to be heard. However, he doubt 
less would have been summoned. 

Disputed Election of 1876 325 

appeared, in company with his brother Henry and 
ex-Secretary of State Bigelow. Mr. Tilden was 
dressed in black, and his face wore the solemn, sphinx- 
like expression habitual to him. Those who knew 
him thought that he had aged greatly since his last 
public appearance and that he looked ill and feeble. 
"It was, indeed," wrote the Herald s reporter, "quite 
a painful spectacle to see the slow, halting, lame walk 
with which he passed the table and reached his seat. 
His figure was stiffly drawn up and seemed incapable 
of bending, as though he were suffering from a par 
alytic contraction of the limbs. Not a muscle of his 
face relaxed with animation or expression as he stiffly 
extended his hand to Mr. Reed of Maine, who received 
the salutation with something like a profound bow. 
Then Mr. Tilden gave his hand to Mr. Hiscock, the 
other cross-examiner, and after saluting the Demo 
cratic members took off his elegant, silk-lined overcoat, 
stiffly turned round and seated himself at the table, 
while settling at the same time a large handkerchief 
in his breast pocket." 

The examination lasted for two and one-half 
hours, but was more remarkable as a contest of 
wits than for sensational results. Mr. Tilden was too 
old and experienced a lawyer to betray himself into 
any admissions (granting he had any to make), 
even at the hands of such able and relentless 
inquisitors as Mr. Hiscock and Mr. Reed. He fol 
lowed the line already laid down by the previous wit 
nesses, asserted that he had in no case been privy to 

326 The Hayes-Tilden 

any negotiations such as those described, and declared 
that where such negotiations had come to his notice he 
had at once put a stop to them. With these denials 
he intermingled emphatic expressions of a belief that 
he had been cheated out of the Presidency. The only 
point upon which the cross-examiners can be said to 
have scored was upon his misleading letter of the 
previous October. 1 

Opinions varied greatly as to the outcome of the 
investigations. The Democrats held, of course, that 
Tilden had been completely exonerated. They pointed 
to the fact that while, as they asserted, the returning 
boards could have been bought for sums that would 
have been mere bagatelles to Mr. Tilden, not a single 
such deal had been consummated ; the boards had given 
their decisions to Hayes, and had been rewarded by 
offices. 2 The Republicans refused to admit that the 
boards had been as purchasable as the Democrats had 
believed, 3 and claimed that if the boards had been in 
the market, the failure of the attempts to purchase 
them had been due to other causes than reluctance of 
Mr. Tilden s agents to engage in such transactions. 4 
In their efforts to fix a guilty knowledge upon Tilden 
they pointed out that he had always taken a close 

1 For Tilden s testimony see H. R. Mis. Doc. No. 31, 45th 
Cong. 3d Sess., IV, pp. 272-294. 

2 See Bigelow, II, pp. 170, 174. 

3 They said the boards had merely been drawing the Demo 
crats on. Against the Democratic claim that the boards had 
been purchased by the Republicans they argued that since the 
members were Republicans, they naturally gave their decisions 
for that party without reward. 

4 Tribune and Times for Feb. 9, 1879, and days immediately 

Disputed Election of 1876 327 

interest in the details of his campaigns, that one of 
the ciphers had been used in his business, that he had 
misled the public in regard to the South Carolina nego 
tiation, that after he knew of that attempted transac 
tion he had not withdrawn his confidence from Pelton 
but had left him in such a position that he was able 
to make similar attempts in South Carolina once more 
and also in Florida and perhaps elsewhere. 1 In the 
absence of irrefragable proof on either side, the ver 
dict of history will have to be that of "Not proven." 
At present the weight of opinion seems to be that at 
the worst he was not directly cognizant of the at 
tempted bribery. He may have been entirely guiltless, 
but it is difficult to escape from the feeling that he was 
to a certain extent responsible. 

But, while the measure of Mr. Tilden s participation 
remained a matter of doubt, the political effect of the 
cipher disclosures was enormous. The fact that the 
Democratic candidate had not been able to clear him 
self from suspicion militated against his chances as a 
candidate in 1880, and was doubtless one reason why 
the Democratic convention of that year accepted his 
"renunciation" without protest. 2 Even to those who 
believed him innocent it had been proved beyond the 
possibility of doubt that prominent Democrats, who 
were his close friends and one of whom was his nephew 

1 Mr. Tilden also continued on the best of terms with Mr. 
Marble and Mr. Weed. As late as Mr. Cleveland s first adminis 
tration he attempted, but without success, to secure the ap 
pointment of Weed as collector of the port of New York. 

2 The Nation thought his renunciation freed the party of a 
heavy load. XXX, p. 463, 

328 The Disputed Election of l8jd 

had been guilty of attempting to purchase the Presi 
dency for him; and it was pertinently asked whether, 
taking his own statement, a man so easily hoodwinked 
by those around him would prove any more successful 
as a "Reformer" than Grant had been. And while the 
revelations did not remove from the skirts of the Re 
publican party the mud that was attached to them they 
did open the eyes of independents to the fact that the 
skirts of Dame Democracy were not a whit cleaner. 
Unquestionably the publication of the dispatches had 
some influence upon the congressional election which 
came in the month following their appearance. When 
the Tribune s statement of the case was substantiated 
by the admissions made in the following February 
before the Potter Committee, the "Great Steal," which 
had promised so much for the Democracy, at once 
ceased to be a living political issue. When the cam 
paign of 1880 came, despite the fact that the Demo 
cratic platform declared that issue to precede and 
dwarf every other, the orators of the party were 
utterly unable to interest the people in the subject. 1 
The cry of "fraud" had lost its effectiveness; and 
Garfield, one of the members of the Electoral Commis 
sion, was triumphantly elected over Hancock. 

1 Stanwood, History of Presidential Elections, p. 372. 



Well-nigh thirty years have passed since the begin 
ning of the electoral controversy which it has been 
the purpose of this volume to describe. All the chief 
candidates, most of the party managers, all but two of 
the members of the Commission, are dead. The vast 
majority of living Americans have no personal remem 
brance of the great dispute. The rights and wrongs 
of the controversy no longer play a part in politics. 
It would seem, therefore, that the time has come when 
the investigator may hope to frame a judgment on the 
whole matter that will be free from prejudice. 

As regards the election proper, it is manifest to any 
candid mind that many regrettable things were done 
by both parties. In the states of South Carolina and 
Louisiana, for example, the white people had by a 
long period of terrible misgovernment been brought 
to such a pitch of desperation that they felt inclined 
to use any means which would put their governments 
once more into the hands of the intelligent and the 
reputable. Having been forced to accept negro suf 
frage sorely against their will, they naturally had little 
compunction in attempting to eliminate as much of the 


330 The Hayes-Tilden 

black vote as possible. In general this work was ac 
complished by methods which, considering the exas 
peration of the whites, were comparatively mild, but 
which in exceptional instances resulted in outrages 
horrible almost beyond belief. In Florida, also, while 
the amount of corruption in the government had not 
been great, the whites were almost equally eager to 
carry the election. In Louisiana, and perhaps in 
Florida, by methods which have been described in 
detail in previous chapters, the Democrats succeeded 
in their attempts to get a majority of votes into the 
ballot-boxes. In South Carolina they failed so far as 
the national ticket was concerned but succeeded on the 
state ticket. Had there been a free election in these 
states, there is every reason to believe that all would 
have returned substantial majorities for Hayes. Here, 
then, not to speak too euphemistically, was what may 
be denominated "the first steal." 

But in these states there were laws intended to 
meet such emergencies as those just described. If 
these laws had been properly applied, but little could 
justly have, been said against such a procedure; for 
assuredly there is nothing sacred about returns of 
votes when the election in which such votes were cast 
has been affected by violence and fraud. But, in 
Louisiana at least, the law was so imperfect that if it 
had been followed to the letter by the returning board 
the majority rolled up by the Democrats would prob 
ably not have been overcome. The returning officers, 
however, were no sticklers for the letter of the law. 

Disputed Election of 1876 331 

By and with the counsel of Republican "visiting states 
men" they proceeded in the most irregular manner 
not only to throw out enough votes to secure the 
election of the state and national tickets, which 
would have been elected with a fair and free vote, but 
also to manufacture majorities for congressional, leg 
islative, and other candidates, who would have been 
defeated under any circumstances. Reputable men in 
the Republican party no doubt condoned such action 
because their opponents were guilty of wrong prac 
tices and because they deemed it necessary to fight the 
devil with fire. 1 Herein they are to be condemned ; 
for wrong should not be met by wrong but by 
recourse to law, and free institutions are in grave 
danger when citizens, however good their inten 
tions, endeavor to correct one wrong by another. 
From the mere selfish point of view it may safely be 
said that had the Republican party acquiesced in the 
result, upon discovering that the law strictly applied 
would not correct the wrongs committed by their op 
ponents in the disputed states, they would not have 
suffered in the end. But the temptation was too great 
to be resisted. The situation was such that the lead 
ers saw an opportunity to obtain, by violating the law, 
a result that would be in a certain sense legal ; hence 
ensued in Louisiana and perhaps in Florida what may 
be designated as "the second steal," as a result of which 

1 Conversely the Democrats condoned bulldozing and kindred 
practices because of Republican misgovernment and because of 
previous frauds by returning officers. 

332 The Hayes-Tilden 

the electoral votes of the two states remained in the 
hands of the Republicans. 

The situation after the electoral colleges had met 
then amounted to this : In Louisiana and perhaps in 
Florida there had been a double steal," as a result of 
which the regularly declared electors of those states 
had cast their votes for Hayes. To render matters yet 
more complicated there had been attempted "steals" 
in two other states. In South Carolina the attempt 
had failed so far as the national ticket was concerned, 
but the attempt had been productive of much disorder 
and many irregularities, so that a claim could be made 
that the vote of the state should not be received at all. 
In Oregon also a most bare-faced attempt had been 
made to override the law with such a result as greatly 
to complicate the situation. 

The controversy now entered the halls of Congress. 
Had the outcome not hinged upon every one of the 
points in dispute, Congress would doubtless have 
evaded the difficulties of the situation as they had 
evaded like difficulties in the past, either by throwing 
out the votes of the states or perhaps by counting them 
in the alternative. But if all the votes were not counted 
and counted for the Republicans, then the choice of a 
President would be thrown into the Democratic Hous_e. 
Had the Republicans been the original offenders in the 
states in dispute then unquestionably it would have 
been equitable to throw out some or all of the votes 
and secure this result. But with some justice the 
Republicans could say: With a fair election these 

Disputed Election of 1876 333 

states would have cast their votes for Hayes, and it is 
not right that Tilden should reap the reward, even 
indirectly, of Democratic wrong-doing. To have 
thrown out the votes of states under such circum 
stances would have established a precedent which 
might have led to dangerous temptation in the future. 
The whole controversy therefore resolved itself intQ 
the question of who should count the electoral votes. 
Extreme Republicans said that the president of the 
Senate should do the counting; extreme Democrats 
said that the House must participate, and that no vote 
should be counted against its consent; moderates on 
both sides said that the votes must be counted by both 
houses. Clearly the moderates were right. It was 
not reasonable that a partisan president of the Senate 
should decide the dispute ; nor was it reasonable that 
a partisan House should be allowed to reject votes 
when by so doing it would be able to elect the candi 
date of its choice. Granted, however, that to both 
houses belonged the coveted power, the way was still 
beset with difficulties. How should they count? What 
should be done in case of a deadlock between the two ? 
Evidently some arrangement must be made which > 
would obviate the difficulties. The result was the 
Electoral Commission. 

Without a shadow of doubt the act creating that 
Commission was one of the wisest pieces of statecraft 
ever evolved by an American Congress. To be sure, 
the result of the Commission s work was a disappoint 
ment to one party ; but any settlement of the dispute 

334 The Hayes-Tilden 

would have been productive of equal disappointment 
and might have been attended with far more lamenta 
ble consequences. The situation was, in fact, emi 
nently one for compromise. Unlike the slavery issue, 
it was comparatively unimportant, save to a hundred 
thousand office-holders and to five hundred thousand 
office-seekers, which party was victorious ; compromise 
evaded no all-important questions which the future 
would have to solve. To have resorted to anything 
else than compromise would have been wicked and 
criminal to the last degree. To the men therefore who 
worked for compromise, to President Grant, to Mr. 
McCrary, to Senators Edmunds, Thurman, and Bay 
ard, to Mr. Hewitt and Mr. Hoar, is due the highest 
praise. In this praise neither Mr. Hayes nor Mr. 
Tilden has any right to share ; for Mr. Hayes favored 
the declaration of the result by the president of the 
Senate, while Mr. Tilden was wedded to the theory 
that the House could throw out votes, and was always 
resentful towards Senators Thurman and Bayard and 
the other Democratic leaders who were instrumental in 
helping create the Commission. So far as the two 
parties as a whole are concerned, the plan adopted was 
favored by more Democrats than Republicans. This 
in part was due to the fact that the Democrats real 
ized that tactically they were at a disadvantage ; while 
the Republicans, confident of the strength of their 
position, were unwilling, in the words of Morton, to 
give to their "political opponents advantages and 
chances which thev now have not." 

Disputed Election of 1876 335 

The question whether the Electoral Commission 
Act was warranted by the Constitution is interesting 
but not important. Most of the best constitutional 
lawyers in both houses of Congress defended the 
bill; it was passed by Congress by large majorities; 
it was signed by the President; and a majority of the 
judges of the supreme court consented to sit on the 
Commission created by it. To all practical intents 
and purposes, therefore, it was constitutional. And, 
without going further into the question, it may be 
remarked in passing that the Constitution has suffered 
many severer wrenches than it did when the forty- 
fourth Congress decided that under the "general 
clause" the expression "and the votes shall then be 
counted" conferred power to create an Electoral Com 

The chief criticisms that have been made of the 
Commission and its work are : i . That the Com 
mission behaved in a thoroughly partisan manner. 2. 
That some of the members allowed their partisanship 
to betray them into taking positions inconsistent with 
their formerly declared opinions. 3. That the Com 
mission did wrong in refusing to go behind the counts 
of the returning boards for the purpose of taking 
evidence and overthrowing fraud. 4. That the deci 
sions of the Commission in the various cases were 
inconsistent with each other. 1 

As regards the first and second charges there can 

1 E. g., John Goode in American Law Review, XXXVIII, pp. 
174-76, and Gibson, pp. 39-48. The ignorance of constitutional 
law displayed by Gibson is something lamentable. 

336 The Hayes-Tilden 

be no difference of opinion. The Commission did 
divide upon party lines ; upon every important question 
the vote was invariably eight to seven. Some of the 
members did assume positions at variance with their 
previous records. Senators Thurman and Bayard and 
Mr. Abbott had in the past advocated the theory that 
Congress has no power to go behind the decisions of 
state authorities, but now took the stand that Congress 
has that power. On the Republican side, Senator Mor 
ton and Mr. Garfield had attacked the Commission bill 
on the ground that it might be interpreted as conferring 
power to go behind the returns ; l while Mr. Edmunds 
and Mr. Hoar by previous utterances regarding the 
Louisiana returning board had placed themselves in a 
position somewhat at variance with the deference now 
paid by them to that body s decisions. 2 Lastly, the 
stand of some of the Republicans in advocating the 
rejection of doubtful votes at previous counts is rather 
difficult to reconcile with their insistence in this case 
that all doubtful votes should be counted. 3 

K-hJ* y\ 

The charge that the Commission did wrong in re 
fusing to take evidence to show that returning officers 
had fraudulently declared the result, is by no means 
so well sustained. The taking of such evidence would 
have been open to at least two serious objections. In 
the first place, the taking of evidence on these points 

1 But they did not ay that the Commission would have such 

2 Technically they were perhaps not Inconsistent. In his crit 
icism of Edmunds, Gibson fails to state that Edmunds was re 
ferring to a returning board qreated by a former law. 

3 The chief Republican inconsistency in the course of th 
struggle was in Congress, not in the Commission. 

Disputed Election of l8j6 337 

would have entailed an amount of labor so great that 
months of time would necessarily have been consumed ; 
for, as the Republicans correctly urged, such an inves 
tigation must have extended not only to the acts of 
the returning officers but also to the election itself 
and to the intimidation and outrages which had pre 
ceded it. In the second place, the Republicans un 
questionably stood upon a sound constitutional princi 
ple when they contended that Congress does not pos 
sess the power to go behind the action of state can 
vassing officers. That they took this stand was, how 
ever, due rather to accident than to any anxiety on 
their part to safeguard the rights of the states. x 

The charges that the Commission was inconsistent 
in its rulings are in part an outgrowth of a misappre 
hension of the principle upon which the rulings were 
based. For this misapprehension the reports of the 
Commission to Congress are in part responsible ; they 
are so roughly drawn as to make rulings appear incon 
sistent which really are not at all so. Had the reports 
been drawn in such a way as to reveal all the grounds 
of the decisions, some of the criticisms of the Commis 
sion could not have been made with any show of 
reason. As it was, those who read the decisions were 
likely to get the idea that the Commission claimed to 
take the stand that evidence aliunde the papers opened 
by the president of the Senate could not be received, 

1 It is open to question, however, whether the Commission 
might not properly have received some of the evidence tendered 
to prove that the returning boards had not correctly represented 
the states. 

33 8 The Hayes-Tilden 

whereas the Commission really followed the line of 
cleavage between state and Federal powers. 

Starting with the erroneous premise just mentioned, 
Democratic writers have asserted that the Commission 
was guilty of a glaring inconsistency in its rulings in 
the Florida case. They point triumphantly to the fact 
that the Commission refused "to go into evidence 
aliunde the papers opened by the president of the 
Senate in the presence of the two houses" to prove 
that other than the Republican claimants were ap 
pointed electors, and then did go into evidence aliunde 
to prove that one of the electors was not ineligible. 1 
These critics fail to see that the Commission did not 
lay down the principle that it was not competent to 
take "evidence aliunde the papers opened by the pres 
ident of the Senate" upon any and all points ; that, on 
the contrary, it merely held that it was not competent 
to take such evidence upon one single point, namely, 
"to prove that other persons than those regularly certi 
fied to by the governor of the state of Florida, in and 
according to the determination and declaration of their 
appointment by the board of state canvassers of said 
state prior to the time required for the performance 
of their duties, had been appointed electors/ 2 This 
decision was a sound one, for it was based on the 
theory that the Commission had no right to trench 
upon the sphere of state powers. But the examination 

1 According to Senator Hoar, four of the Democratic members 
of the Commission believed that the Republicans stood on solid 
constitutional ground. McClure s, XXIII, p. 84. 

2 The italics are mine. 

Disputed Election of 1876 339 

into the eligibility of the elector was an entirely differ 
ent matter; this examination could be entered into 
because the question of his ineligibility was one which 
lay within the sphere of Federal powers. Hence the 
two rulings were not at all inconsistent. 

Again it has been said that because the Commission 
received evidence regarding the eligibility of the 
Florida elector, refused it in the case of electors in 
Louisiana, and received it in the case of Watts in 
Oregon, here was another inconsistency. But the 
seeming inconsistency is easily explained. Humphreys 
in Florida was alleged to be ineligible under a Federal 
statute. Four of the Louisiana electors were alleged 
to be ineligible under a state statute; while the objec 
tions against the eligibility of the other two related 
to the time of the election in November, not to the 
time of their re-appointment on the 6th day of De 
cember. Watts was alleged to be ineligible under the 
Federal statute. Clearly, therefore, the Commission 
was competent to investigate the case of Humphreys 
and the case of Watts but was not competent to inves 
tigate the cases of the four Louisiana electors who 
were alleged to be ineligible under a state statute ; 
while as for Brewster and Levissee, since the objec 
tions did not relate to the time of the appointment 
under which they acted, the Commission did not need 
to make an investigation. 

Yet again it has been claimed that the Commission 
refused to go behind the governor s certificate in 
Louisiana and Florida but went behind it in Oregon. 

34 The Hayes-Tilden 

This claim completely misrepresents the truth of the 
matter. In no case did the Commission hold that the 
governor s certificate was conclusive ; on the contrary, 
the Republican counsel and the Republican Commis 
sioners held throughout that while the governor s 
certificate was prima facie evidence, his action, having 
been performed under a Federal statute, was subject 
to review. 

At the same time it must be said that in their action 
in some phases of the Oregon case the Republican 
eight probably sailed closer to the wind than on any 
other occasion. If, however, we accept their interpre 
tation of the nature of the" Oregon canvass and their 
interpretation of the nature of an appointment in 
terpretations as capable of defense as any we can 
reconcile their rulings even in this case. 

But even though the Commission s decisions were 
based upon sound law, were they, it will be asked, in 
accordance with the equities of the case ? The answer 
to this question must always remain more or less a 
matter of opinion, yet it is probable that as time 
goes on the consensus of opinion will more and more 
incline one way. It is entirely clear that in only two 
of the four disputed states namely, Florida and 
Louisiana did the Democrats have the shadow of an 
equitable claim to a single electoral vote. Had there 
been a fair and free election in those states, there can 
be little if any doubt that the result in both would 
have been favorable to Hayes. If there had been a 
fair and free election throughout the South, there can 

Disputed Election of 1876 341 


be little question that Mississippi, with its great 
preponderance of blacks, and perhaps Alabama and 
North Carolina, would have ranged themselves in 
the Republican column, and that the much vaunted 
Democratic majority of the popular vote which, 
after all, stood for absolutely nothing would have 
been overcome. 

Something can be said in behalf of the ingenious 
theory that it was not unjust that the Republicans 
should retain control of the national government, 
whereas the Democrats should get control of the con 
tested Southern states. The arguments in behalf of 
intimidation rested on the evils of negro rule. It 
could therefore be urged that while there was some 
justification for preventing a negro from voting for 
a Republican candidate for state office, there was no 
such justification for suppressing his vote for Repub 
lican electors. 

All things considered, it appears that both legally 1 
and ethically the decision was the proper one. That 
a majority of the American people thought so 
is shown pretty conclusively by the result of the next 
Presidential election. Had they believed otherwise, 
they would doubtless have resented the "Great Fraud" 
in a manner not to be mistaken. But they realized 
that the cries of the Democrats were but another illus- 

1 Against the argument that the negroes ought not to have 
voted nothing further need be said than that their right to do so 
was guaranteed by "the law of the land." Furthermore, it should 
not be forgotten that the negro population of the South grave 
that section an added representation of about thirty-three in 
the Electoral colleges. 

342 The Hayes-Til den 

tration of the pot calling the kettle black. They knew 
that while Hayes was undoubtedly the beneficiary of 
fraud, Tilden would just as truly have been the bene 
ficiary of violence and murder. They decided that the 
situation was one of those rare ones in which two 
wrongs go to make a right; and, therefore, in 1880 
they elected to the Presidency a member of the Elec 
toral Commission. 

But, while the outcome of the great controversy was 
in the main a just one, the contest was unquestionably 
attended by many deplorable incidents. No true pa 
triot can contemplate without regret the terrible out 
rages upon the blacks, the frauds committed by elec 
tion officers, the violence of party feeling, the ques 
tionable conduct of leaders on both sides, the attempts 
to purchase returning boards and electors, the bargain 
between the friends of Hayes and certain Southern 
leaders, the prostitution of the civil service in reward 
ing some of the most disreputable of the Southern Re 
publicans, the partisanship,. displayed by the members 
of the Commission, and many other phases of the 
struggle. In fact, it seemed as if the whole cesspool 
of political filth had been suddenly and vigorously 
stirred and that it had given off its most noxious va 
pors. Unfortunately, however, it may well be doubted 
whether, after all, the election of 1876 was much more 
productive of corrupt actions than some other elections 
both -before and since. More of such actions came to 
light, but probably because the searchlight was turned 
on as in no other contest. 

Disputed Election of 1876 343 

- -Yet there were other aspects which revealed in the 
American people characteristics that are beyond praise. 
A bitter contest which might have resulted in a conflict 
that would have leveled the foundations of the Republic 
had been settled without a resort to arms. A great 
party had gone down to what most of its members 
believed was a foul defeat. But the result had been 
acquiesced in for the good of the country ; and though 
the enmities engendered by the controversy were to 
linger long in American public life, they were finally 
to disappear without leaving any appreciable scar 
upon the body-politic. 



An act to provide for and regulate the counting of votes for 
President and Vice-President, and the decision of questions 
arising thereon, for the term commencing March 4, A. D. 1877. 

Be it enacted, etc., That the Senate and House of Representa 
tives shall meet In the Hall of the House of Representatives at 
the hour of one o clock, post meridian, on the first Thursday in 
February, A. D. 1877, and the President of the Senate shall be 
their presiding officer. Two tellers shall be previously appointed 
on the part of the Senate, and two on the part of the House of 
Representatives, to whom shall be handed, as they are opened 
by the President of the Senate, all the certificates and papers 
purporting to be certificates of the electoral votes, which certifi 
cates and papers shall be opened, presented, and acted upon in 
the alphabetical order of the States, beginning with the letter A; 
and said tellers having then read the same in the presence and 
hearing of the two houses, shall make a list of the votes as they 
shall appear from the said certificates ; and the votes having been 
ascertained and counted as in this act provided, the result of 
the same shall be delivered to the President of the Senate, who 
shall thereupon announce the state of the vote and the names 
of the persons, if any, elected, which announcement shall be 
deemed a sufficient declaration of the persons elected President 
and Vice-President of the United States, and, together with a 
list of the votes, shall be entered upon the journals of the two 
houses. Upon such reading of any such certificate, or paper, 
when there shall be only one return from a State, the President 
of the Senate shall call for objections, if any. Every objection 
shall be made in writing, and shall state clearly and concisely, 
and without argument, the ground thereof, and shall be signed 
by at least one Senator and one member of the House of Rep 
resentatives, before the same shall be received. When all ob 
jections so made to any vote or paper from a State shall have 

346 Appendix 

been received and read, the Senate shall thereupon withdraw, 
and such objections shall be submitted to the Senate for its 
decision, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives shall 
in like manner submit such objections to the House of Repre 
sentatives for its decision, and no electoral vote or votes from 
any State from which but one return has been received shall 
be rejected except by the affirmative vote of the two houses. 
When the two houses have voted they shall immediately again 
meet, and the presiding officer shall then announce the decision 
of the question submitted. 

SEC. 2. That if more than one return or paper, purporting 
to be a return from a State, shall have been received by the 
President of the Senate, purporting to be the certificates of the 
electoral votes given at the last preceding election for President 
and Vice-President in such State, unless they shall be duplicates 
of the same return, all such returns and papers shall be opened 
by him in the presence of the two houses when met as afore* 
said, and read by the tellers ; and all such returns and papers 
shall thereupon be submitted to the judgment and decision, as 
to which is the true and lawful electoral vote of such State, 
of a commission constituted as follows, namely: 

During the session of each house on the Tuesday next pre 
ceding the first Thursday in February, A. D. 1877, each house 
shall by viva voce vote appoint five of its members, who, with 
the five associate justices of the Supreme Court of the United 
States, to be ascertained as hereinafter provided, shall consti 
tute a commission for the decision of all questions upon or in 
respect of such double returns named in this section. On the 
Tuesday next preceding the first Thursday in February, A. D. 
1877, or as soon thereafter as may be, the associate justices 
of the Supreme Court of the United States, now assigned to the 
first, third, eighth, and ninth circuits, shall select, in such man 
ner as a majority of them shall deem fit, another of the asso 
ciate justices of said court, which five persons shall be mem 
bers of said commission ; and the person longest in com 
mission of said five justices shall be the president of said com 
mission. Members of said commission shall respectively take 
and subscribe the following oath : 

"I , do solemnly swear (or affirm, as the 

case may be) that I will impartially examine and consider all 
questions submitted to the commission of which I am a mem 
ber, and a true judgment give thereon, agreeably to the Consti 
tution and the laws, so help me God." 

Appendix 347 

Which oath shall be filed with the secretary of the Senate. 
When the commission shall have been thus organized it shall not 
be in the power of either house to dissolve the same, or to 
withdraw any of its members; but if any such Senator or mem 
ber shall die, or become physically unable to perform the duties 
required by this act, the fact of such death or physical inability 
shall be by said commission, before it shall proceed further, com 
municated to the Senate or House of Representatives, as the case 
may be, which body shall immediately and without debate pro 
ceed by viva voce vote to fill the place so vacated, and the per 
son so appointed shall take and subscribe the oath hereinbefore 
prescribed, and become a member of said commission ; and, in 
like manner, if any of said justices of the Supreme Court shall 
die or become physically incapable of performing the duties re 
quired by this act, the other of said justices, members of the said 
commission, shall immediately appoint another justice of said 
court a member of said commission (and in such appointments 
regard shall be had to the impartiality and freedom from bias 
sought by the original appointments to said commission), who 
shall thereupon immediately take and subscribe to the oath here 
inbefore prescribed, and become a member of said commission 
to fill the vacancy so occasioned. 

All the certificates and papers purporting to be certificates 
of the electoral votes of each State shall be opened in the alpha 
betical order of the States as provided in section 1 of this act; 
and when there shall be more than one such certificate or paper, 
as the certificate and papers from such States shall so be opened 
(excepting duplicates of the same return), they shall be read 
by the tellers, and thereupon the president of the Senate shall 
call for objections if any. Every objection shall be made in 
writing, and shall state clearly and concisely, and without argu 
ment, the ground thereof, and shall be signed by at least one 
Senator and one member of the House of Representatives before 
the same shall be received. When all such objections so made 
to any certificate, vote, or paper from a State shall have been 
received and read, all such certificates, votes, and papers so 
objected to, and all papers accompanying the same, together 
with such objections, shall be forthwith submitted to said com 
mission, which shall proceed to consider the same, with the 
same powers, if any, now possessed for that purpose by the two 
houses, acting separately or together, and, by a majority of 
votes, decide whether any and what votes from such State are 
the votes provided for by the Constitution of the United States, 

348 Appendix 

and how many and what persons were duly appointed electors 
in such State ; and may therein take into view such petitions, 
depositions, and other papers, if any, as shall, by the Consti 
tution and now existing law, be competent and pertinent in 
such consideration, which decision shall be made in writing, 
stating briefly the ground thereof, and signed by the members 
of said commission agreeing therein ; whereupon the two houses 
shall again meet, and such decision shall be read and entered 
in the journal of each house, and the counting of the votes 
shall proceed in conformity therewith, unless, upon objection 
made thereto in writing by at least five Senators and five mem 
bers of the House of Representatives, the two houses shall 
separately concur in ordering otherwise, in which case such con 
current order shall govern. No votes or papers from any other 
State shall be acted upon until the objections previously made 
to the votes or papers from any State shall have been finally 
disposed of. 

SEC. 3. That while the two houses shall be in meeting, 
as provided in this act, no debate shall be allowed, and no 
question shall be put by the presiding officer, except to either 
house on a motion to withdraw, and he shall have power to 
preserve order. 

SEC. 4. That when the two houses separate to decide upon 
an objection that may have been made to the counting of any 
electoral vote or votes from any State, or upon objection to a 
report of said commission, or other question arising under this 
act, each Senator and Representative may speak to such objec 
tion or question ten minutes, and not oftener than once ; but, 
after such debate shall have lasted two hours, it shall be the 
duty of each house to put the main question without further 

SEC. 5. That at such joint meeting of the two houses 
seats shall be provided as follows : For the President of the 
Senate, the Speaker s chair ; for the Speaker, immediately upon 
his left ; for the Senators in the body of the hall, upon the right 
of the presiding officer; for the Representatives, in the body of 
the hall not provided for the Senators ; for the tellers, Secretary 
of the Senate, and clerk of the House of Representatives, at the 
Clerk s desk ; for the other officers of the two houses, in front 
of the Clerk s desk, and upon each side of the Speaker s plat 
form. Such joint meeting shall not be dissolved until the count 
of the electoral votes shall be completed and the result declared ; 
and no recess shall be taken unless a question shall have arisen 

Appendix 349 

in regard to counting any such votes or otherwise under this 
act, in which case it shall be competent for either house, acting 
separately in the manner hereinbefore provided, to direct a re 
cess of such house, not beyond the next day, Sunday excepted, 
at the hour of ten o clock in the forenoon ; and while any ques 
tion is being considered by said commission, either house may 
proceed with its legislative or other business. 

SEC. 6. That nothing in this act shall be held to impair 
or affect any right now existing under the Constitution and laws 
to question by proceeding in the judicial courts of the United 
States the right or title of the person who shall be declared 
elected, or who shall claim to be President or Vice-President of 
the United States, if any such right exists. 

SEC. 7. That said commission shall make its own rules, keep 
a record of its proceedings, and shall have power to employ such 
persons as may be necessary for the transaction of its busi 
ness and the execution of its powers. 


ABBEVILLE, political rally at, 136. 

Abbott, Josiah G., a member of 
the Commission, 220 ; men 
tioned, 336. 

Abbott, Mr., nominates Joel 
Parker, 33. 

Adams, Charles Francis, Sr., at 
tends Fifth Avenue Confer 
ence, 15 ; favors Bristow, 17 ; 
supports Tilden, 38. 

Adams, Dock, complaint made 
against, 131. 

Address of Fifth Avenue Con 
ference, 17. 

Affidavit "mills," in Louisiana, 

Aiken, D. W., makes a violent 
harangue to Democrats, 136 ; 
violent utterances at Abbe 
ville, 137. 

Alabama, suppression of votes 
in, 76 ; Senate orders an in 
vestigation of election in, 174. 

Alachua county, alleged frauds 
in, 73, 310. 

Allen, William, defeated by 
Hayes, 15 ; supported by Ohio 
Democrats for Presidential 
nomination, 27 ; name present 
ed to the convention, 33 ; vote 
for, 34-35. 

American Nationals, convention 
of, 39. 

Anderson, James E., confession 
of, 311-312. 

Anderson, Thomas C., member 
Louisiana returning board, 
98 ; takes Louisiana returns 
to Washington, 115; convicted 
of falsifying a return, 116 ; 
released, 117 ; mentioned, 171. 

Andersonvllle, horrors of harped 
upon by Republicans, 40. 

Antoine, C. C., nominated for 
lieutenant-governor of Louis 
iana, 87 ; declared elected, 294. 

Archer Precinct No. 2, alleged 
frauds at, 73. 

Arkansas, question of counting 
electoral votes of in 1873, 

Artillery companies, formed by 
South Carolina Democrats, 

BABCOCK, Orville E., prosecu 
tion of, 4. 

Baker county, situation in, 68 ; 
mentioned, 74. 

Banks, General Nathaniel P., 
quoted, 144. 

Barlow, Francis C., a witness 
of the Florida count, 67 ; opin 
ion regarding result in Flor 
ida, 75. 

Barnwell, frauds in, 150. 

Bartholomew, Linn, nominates 
Hartranft, 21. 

Bayard, Thomas F., candidate 
for Presidential nomination, 
26 ; supporters of, 27 ; name 
presented to convention, 33 ; 
vote for, 34-35; appointed a 
member of a Senate commit 
tee, 193; thinks judges will 
not be affected by party feel 
ing, 202 ; speaks in behalf of 
the Electoral Commission bill, 
213 ; a member of the Com 
mission, 220; mentioned, 225; 
votes with Republicans on 
Humphreys case, 236 ; speech 
on Louisiana decision, 245; 
credit due, 334 ; Inconsistency 
of, 336. 



Beaufort, intimidation in, 145. 

Beebe, George M., stands on a 
desk in the House of Repre 
sentatives, 277. 

Bigelow, John, partisan view of 
the Pinkerton case, 108 ; com 
piles debates on electoral 
counts, 199. 

Black, Jeremiah S., damns the 
Commission, 264. 

Blackburn, Joseph C., an irre 
concilable, 257 ; delivers swan- 
song of the filibusters, 280. 

Elaine, James G., candidate for 
Presidential nomination, 11 ; 
prospects of, 12, 13 ; illness of, 
18 ; believes Bristow instigates 
attacks on him, 19; name pre 
sented in convention, 22 ; vote 
for, 22-25 ; mentioned, 40. 

Blair, Montgomery, works for 
Tilden s nomination, 31; 
speech on the South Carolina 
case, 264. 

Bloxham vs. Board of State Can 
vassers, 66. 

Bond, Judge Hugh L., releases 
members of South Carolina 
canvassing board, 154. 

Booth, Newton, declines nomin 
ation by Greenbackers, 39. 

Boutwell, George S., speech on 
the Louisiana decision, 245. 

Boynton, H. V., induces Presi 
dent not to commission J. E. 
Anderson, 311. 

Bradley, Joseph P., selected as 
the fifth judge, 221; votes 
against going behind the re 
turns, 234 ; denounced by 
Democrats, 234, 259. 

Brady, T. J., a custodian of the 
cipher dispatches, 315; exam 
ined by Potter Committee, 322. 

Brannan, Gen. John M., admit 
ted to sessions of Florida re 
turning board, 65. 

Brewster, O. H., Louisiana elec 
tor, objected to as ineligible, 
114, 240; mentioned, 339. 

Bristow, Benjamin H., candidate 
for Presidential nomination, 
11; by whom supported, 14; 
destroyer of the Whiskey 
Ring, 14 ; favored by Fifth 
Avenue Conference, 17 ; sup 
porters of at Cincinnati, 17 ; 
calls on Blaine, 19 ; name pre 
sented to the convention, 21 ; 

votes received by, 22-25; men 
tioned, 38. 

Brooks, Alexander, Democratic 
theory that he killed Pinkston, 

Brown, B. Gratz, candidate for 
Vice-President, 2. 

Brown, John Young, deprecates 
violence, 176 ; receives letters 
from Foster, 271 ; gives cop 
ies to other persons, 272 ; pub 
lishes, 298. 

Brown, Joseph E., a "visiting 
statesman" in Florida, ft4. 

Bryant, William Cullen, signs 
call for conference of inde 
pendents, 15. 

Buchanan, James, government 
expeditures under, 4. 

Buchanan, James, not in charge 
at Washington, 171. 

Bullock, Alexander H., signs 
call for conference of inde 
pendents, 15. 

Bullock, George E., custodian of 
the cipher dispatches, 315. 

Burke, E. A., attends Wormley 
Conference, 269; receives cop 
ies of certain letters, 272. 

Burnell, Henry, testifies concern 
ing political outrages in Oua- 
chita, 105. 

Butler, Benjamin F., a dispen 
ser of patronage, 5, 7 ; a mem 
ber of the Potter Committee, 

Butler, M. C., demands that 
Hamburg militia company 
shall give up their arms, 131 ; 
receives copies of the Foster 
letters, 272. 

CAINHOY, political riot at, 145. 

Cameron, Simon, a dispenser of 
patronage, 5, 7. 

Campbellton Precinct, thrown 
out by returning board, 71. 

Canal Ring, overthrown by Til- 
den, 29. 

Canal Ring, mentioned, 41. 

Cardoza, F. L., attempt to se 
cure removal of, 127 ; renom- 
inated, 135. 

Carpenter, Judge, decision re 
garding claims of Chamber 
lain and Hampton, 292. 

Cartwright, J. C., chosen elector 
in Oregon, 162 ; election of 
certified by Grover, 163 ; helps 



to organize electoral college, 
164 ; votes for Hayes, 165. 
Cary, Edward, writes editorial 

in New York Times, 47. 
Cary, Samuel F., runs for Vice- 
President on Greenback ticket, 

Casanave, Gadane, member 
Louisiana returning board, 98. 
Centennial Exposition, 1. 
Chamberlain, Daniel H., receives 
telegram from W. E. Chand 
ler, 51 ; career of, 126 ; inau 
gurated governor, 127 ; refuses 
to commission Whipper and 
Moses, 128 ; is favored by Co- 
operationists, 129; why op 
posed by many Democrats, 
130 ; attitude on Hamburg 
massacre, 132 ; renominated, 
135; describes Democratic 
campaign methods, 136 ; order 
ed rifle clubs to disperse, 143 ; 
appoints election officers, 148 ; 
declared elected, 291 ; attempts 
to pardon a prisoner, 292 ; 
receives a letter from Mat 
thews, 295 ; goes to Washing 
ton, 296; gives up the con 
test, 297 ; title of, 301. 
Chandler, William E., at Fifth 
Avenue Hotel, 50-51; sends 
telegrams to doubtful states, 
51 ; goes to Florida, 54 ; ar 
rives there, 64 ; attacks Pres 
ident s Southern policy, 300 ; 
alleged promises of, 310 ; ex 
amined by Potter Committee, 

Chandler, Zachariah, manages 
Republican campaign, 42 ; 
sought by Mr. Reid, 50 ; 
claims election of Hayes, 52 , 
mentioned, 173 ; replies to 
Hewitt, 189. 

Charleston, riot in, 141 ; intimi 
dation in, 145; repeating in, 

Christiancy, Isaac P., speaks in 
behalf of Electoral Commis 
sion bill, 213. 
Cipher dispatches, chapter on, 


Clarke, H. C., privy to forgery 
of signatures to Louisiana 
electoral certificates, 116. 
Cleveland, Grover, signs an 
electoral count bill, 305. 

Clews Banking Company scan 
dal, harped on by Democrats, 

Clifford, Nathan, mentioned, 198, 
202 ; to be a member of the 
Electoral Commission, 203 ; 
meets with other judicial 
members, 221 ; president of 
the Commission, 224 ; votes 
with Republicans on question 
of Humphreys, 236. 
Clymer, Hiester, nominates 
Hancock, 33 ; a leader of the 
filibusters, 258 ; denounces 
Bradley, 260. 

Cocke, William A., member Flor 
ida returning board, 64 ; opin 
ion concerning the board s 
powers, 66 ; concurs in action 
regarding Baker county, 70; 
protests against exclusion of 
Jasper Precinct No. 2, 71 ; 
changes opinion regarding 
precinct in Key West, 71 ; op 
poses rejection of precincts in 
Jackson county, 72 ; certifies 
return made by Democratic 
claimants in Florida, 77. 
Coker, Simon P., murdered, 142. 
Conkling, Roscoe, a dispenser of 
patronage, 5, 7 ; candidate for 
Presidential nomination, 11 ; 
quarrel with Blaine, 12; sup 
ported by the Administration, 
13 ; name presented to con 
vention, 21 ; votes received by, 
23-25; opinion upon power of 
Congress to go behind returns, 
182 ; appointed a member of a 
Senate committee, 193; agrees 
to work for passage of the 
Electoral Commission bill, 
210 ; speaks in its behalf, 212 ; 
why not chosen a member of 
the Commission, 221. 
Conover, S. B., receives telegram 

from W. E. Chandler, 51. 
Convention, Republican at Cin 
cinnati, 17 et seq.; Democra 
tic at St. Louis, 30 et seq; of 
Prohibitionists, 38 ; of Green- 
backers, 39 ; of American Na 
tionals, 39 ; of Louisiana Re 
publicans, 88; of Louisiana 
Democrats, 88 ; of South Car 
olina Republicans, 128, 135; 
of South Carolina Democrats, 



Cook, James, killed at Hamburg, 

Cooper, Edward, corroborates 
testimony of Pelton and oth 
ers, 324. 

Cooper, Peter, nominated by 
Greenbackers, 39 ; burlesque 
certificate from Louisiana cer 
tifies that electoral votes of 
that state are cast for, 239. 
Co-operationists, favor support 
ing- Chamberlain in 1876, 129 ; 
defeated in Democratic con 
vention, 133. 

Corse, Gen. J. M., in movement 

to seat Tilden by force, 188; 

to be commander-in-chief, 194. 

Cowgill, Clayton A., member 

Florida returning board, 64. 
Cox, Jacob D., a member of the 

Potter Committee, 309. 
Cox, M. J., part of in canvassing 

votes of Baker county, 69. 
Cox, S. S., speech of on the 
Louisiana decision, 247; an Ir 
reconcilable, 257. 
Coyle, John F., a Democratic 

visitor in Florida, 65. 
Crapo, William W., speech on 

Louisiana decision, 249. 
Credit Mobilier, 3 ; harped on 

by Democrats, 39. 
Creoles, form large part of pop 
ulation of Louisiana, 81. 
Cronin, E. A., Oregon Democrats 
claim election of, 159 ; election 
of certified by Grover, 163 ; 
receives certificate from tha 
secretary of state, 164 ; ap 
points Miller an "elector," 
votes for Tilden, and carries 
the returns to Washington, 
165; mentioned, 167; Commis 
sion votes that his certificate 
does not contain the vote of 
Oregon, 255; denounced by 
Republicans, 256. 
Cumback, Will, withdraws Mor 
ton s name, 24. 

Curtis, George W., seconds nom 
ination of Brlstow, 21 ; speech 
of on Forefather s Day, 193. 
Custer, Gen. George A., killed 

by Indians, 1. 

Courier, Evansville, declares 
Tilden will be inaugurated, 

DANA, Richard H., seconds nom 
ination of Bristow, 21. 

Davis, Judge David, receives 
electoral votes in 1872, 2 
mentioned, 198 ; discussion 
concerning his politics, 200 
mentioned, 202, 209 ; expected 
that he would be a member 
of the Commission, 218; elec 
ted U. S. Senator, 219 ; refuses 
to sit on the Commission, 221 ; 
mentioned by Woodworth, 260 

Davis, Edmund J., moves 
amendment to Republican 
platform, 20. 

Democratic Veteran Soldiers 
Association, 188. 

Dennis, J. B., excludes Demo 
cratic claimants from South 
Carolina legislature, 288. 

Dennis, L. G., confessions of, 

Dennison, William, at Wormley 
conference, 269. 

Dinkgrave, J. H., murder of 

Dix, John A., defeated by Til 
den, 29. 

Doolittle, James R., a "visiting 
statesman" in Louisiana, 95. 

Dorman, John, assists Cox in 
canvassing votes of Baker 
county, 69. 

Dorsheimer, William, works for 
Tilden s nomination, 31. 

Downs, D. L., objection to re 
ceiving his vote as an elector, 

Drew, George F., Democratic 
candidate for governor of 
Florida, admitted to sessions 
of Florida returning board, 
65; petitions for a manda 
mus, 77 ; votes received by, 
78 ; inaugurated, 79. 

Driggers, Elisha W., notifies 
clerk of Baker county can 
vass, 68 ; canvasses the vote 
of that county, 69. 

Driver, Randall, whipped, 109. 

Dunn, T. C., put on Republican 
ticket in South Carolina, 135. 

Durell, Judge E. H., issues "mid 
night restraining order," 86. 

Duval county, irregularities in 
return from, 74. 



EAST BATON ROUGE, a "select 
ed" parish, 90 ; vote in, 118 ; 
mentioned, 120 ; supervisors 
throw out polls in, 113. 

Easterlin s Mill, Democratic 
club at adopts resolutions 
against having business deal 
ings with Republicans, 139. 

East Feliciana, a "selected" par 
ish, 90 ; violence in, 110 ; vote 
of thrown out, 113 ; vote of, 
118 ; mentioned, 120. 

Eaton, Dorman B., attends Fifth 
Avenue Conference, 15. 

Edgefleld, frauds in, 148 ; pro 
tests against, 150 ; thrown out 
by returning board, 153 ; 
ought to have been excluded, 

Edmunds, George F., suggests a 
commission for counting the 
electoral vote, 186 ; introduces 
a resolution looking toward 
compromise, 192 ; proposes a 
committee of thirteen, 198 ; 
does not consider Davis an 
Independent, 201 ; reads draft 
of a report to accompany the 
Electoral Commission bill, 
203 ; makes a speech in behalf 
of the bill, 210; a member of 
the Commission, 220 ; men 
tioned, 225; mentioned, 334; 
question of his consistency, 

Ellerton, race conflict in, 142. 

Ellis, E. J., attends Wormley 
Conference, 269 ; receives cop 
ies of certain letters from 
Brown, 272. 

Elliott, R. B., put on Republi 
can ticket in South Carolina, 

Emma Mine scandal, harped on 
by the Democrats, 39. 

Evarts, William M., counsel 
before the Commission, 226; 
indorses letter to Chamber 
lain, 295. 

Ewing, Thomas, signs minority 
report at St. Louis, 33. 

Express, the New York, makes 
incendiary utterances, 169. 

FERRY, Thomas W., allows An 
derson to take back Louisiana 
certificate, 115; mentioned, 
173, 208 ; would declare Hayes 
elected, 177 ; rumor that Sher 

man would support him, 187; 
will "shirk no responsibility," 
194; calls joint session to or 
der, 223 ; action on the bogus 
Vermont return, 274-275 ; an 
nounces the final result, 282. 

Field, D. D., elected to Congress 
to represent Tilden, 191 ; coun 
sel before Commission, 225; 
an objector in the Florida 
case, 226 ; submits an objec 
tion in joint-session to count 
ing the votes from Florida, 
237 ; bill to regulate the suc 
cession to the Presidency, 273. 

Field, Judge Stephen J., men 
tioned, 198 ; to be a member 
of the Electoral Commission, 
203 ; meets with other judi 
cial members, 221. 

Fifteenth Amendment, never 
really accepted by the South, 

Fifth Avenue Conference, 16; 
members of generally support 
Hayes, 38. 

Florida, rumors of intimidation 
in, 44; chapter on, 57; inves 
tigating committees sent to, 
173, 174 ; case of before Con 
gress and the Commission, 
223-238; mentioned, 175, 307, 
308, 309, 310, 330, 332, 338, 

Foord, John, present at Times 
editorial council, 47. 

Foster, Charles, outlines Hayes s 
Southern policy, 268 ; gives 
letters to Brown, 271-272. 

Frazier, Willis, whipped, 109. 

Frelinghuysen, Frederick T., 
name presented for Vice-Pres 
idential nomination, 25 ; sug 
gests plans for counting the 
electoral votes, 186 ; appoint 
ed a member of a senate com 
mittee, 192 ; speaks in behalf 
of Electoral Commission bill, 
212 ; a member of the Com 
mission, 220. 

Friendship Church Precinct, 
thrown out by returning 
board, 71. 

Frye, W. P., member of a con 
gressional investigating com 
mittee, 99. 



GARFIELD, James A., a "visiting 
statesman" in Louisiana, 95 ; 
speaks against Electoral Com 
mission bill, 206 ; a member 
of the Commission, 220 ; at 
Wormley Conference, 269 ; 
elected President, 328; men 
tioned, 336. 

Georgia, Senate orders investi 
gation of election in, 174 ; 
electoral votes of counted in 
the alternative in 1869, 181. 

Georgians, vote in South Caro 
lina, 146. 

Gibson, A. M., absurd view of 
the Pinkston case, 108. 

Gibson, Randall, presenjts an 
objection against counting the 
votes of Louisiana, 244. 

Cleaves, R. H., presides over 
South Carolina Senate, 288; 
declared re-elected, 291. 

Godwin, Parke, attends Fifth 
Avenue Conference, 16 ; sup 
ports Tilden, 38. 

Gordon, John B., thinks Tilden 
is certain of victory, 209 ; at 
a secret conference, 269. 

Grant, Gen. U. S., re-elected 
President, 2 ; government ex 
penditures under, 4 ; misgov- 
ernment under, 5-6 ; praised in 
Republican platform, 2 1 ; 
writes to Gen. Harry White 
concerning third term, 11; or 
der to General Sherman, 55 ; 
mentioned, 171, 208 ; reported 
that he would declare him 
self dictator, 172 ; Democrats 
wish to impeach, 175; rumor 
that he intended to imprison 
Democrats, 187 ; anxious for 
a compromise, 191 ; approves 
Electoral Commission bill, 
220 ; promises to preserve the 
status quo in Louisiana, 271, 
278; course of during the 
crisis, 284 ; causes Hayes to 
be secretly sworn in, 286-287; 
credit due to, 334. 

Grant parish, vote of thrown 
out, 113. 

Greeley, Horace, candidate for 
President, 2. 

Greenbackers, see Independent 

Grosvenor, William M., deciph 
ers cipher dispatches, 316. 

Grover, L. F., governor of Ore 
gon, 158 ; receives a telegram 
from Hewitt, 159; issues a 
certificate to Cronin, 163 ; 
burned in effigy, 166 ; men 
tioned, 254; denounced, 256. 

Gwin, William M., works for 
Tilden s nomination, 31. 

HALE, Eugene, a "visiting states 
man" in Louisiana, 95. 

Hamburg Massacre, 131. 

Hamilton county, action of re 
turning board on, 70. 

Hampton, Wade, nominated for 
governor of South Carolina, 
133 ; declared elected, 291 ; at 
tempts to pardon a prisoner, 
292 ; payment of taxes to, 293 ; 
goes to Washington, 296 ; re 
ceives the executive office, 
297 ; mentioned, 304. 

Hancock, Gen. Winfield S., talk 
ed of for Presidential nomin 
ation, 26 ; supporters of, 27 ; 
name presented to convention, 
33 ; vote for, 34-35 ; rumor 
that he was to be transferred 
to the west, 187. 

Harlan, Gen. John M., nomin 
ates Bristow, 21 ; member of 
the MacVeagh Commission, 

Hartranft, John F., candidate 
for Presidential nomination, 
12 ; supporters of, 15 ; name 
presented in convention, 21 ; 
votes received by, 22-25. 

Hassard, John R. G., deciphers 
cipher dispatches, 316. 

Hawley, Joseph R., name pre 
sented for Vice-Presidential 
nomination, 25 ; member of 
MacVeagh Commission, 298. 

Hayes, Rutherford B., candidate 
for Presidential nomination, 
15 ; name presented in con 
vention, 21; votes received by, 
23-25 ; nominated, 25 ; how 
nomination of was received, 
36 ; his letter of acceptance, 
37 ; Florida electors cast their 
votes for, 76 ; entitled to votes 
of Florida, 76 ; vote for elec 
tors supporting in Louisiana, 
94 ; Louisiana electors vote 
for, 114 ; has a majority in 
South Carolina, 151, 152; elec- 



tors in South Carolina vote 
for, 155; Oregon electors vote 
for, 165 ; mentioned, 172 ; ex 
pects to be inaugurated, 189 ; 
mentioned, 208 ; opposed to 
Electoral Commission bill, 210 ; 
votes of Florida counted for, 
238 ; votes of Louisiana count 
ed for, 249 ; votes of Oregon 
counted for, 257; attempts of 
Democrats to exact pledge 
from his friends, 268 ; his 
friends guarantee that he will 
allow the Republican state 
governments in the South to 
fall, 270; declared elected, 
282 ; reaches Washington, 
286 ; secretly sworn in, 287 ; 
summons Hampton and Cham 
berlain to Washington, 297 ; 
sends a commission to Louis 
iana, 298; Southern policy at 
tacked, 300 ; wisdom of this 
policy, 302, 304 ; called a us 
urper, 306 ; policy of alienates 
Southern Republicans, 308 ; 
mentioned, 334, 342. 

Hendricks, Thomas A., receives 
electoral votes in 1872, 2 ; can 
didate for Presidential nomin 
ation, 26, 27 ; name presented 
to convention, 33 ; vote for, 
34-35; nominated for Vice- 
President, 35 ; mentioned, 41 ; 
returns indicate election of, 
45 ; Democratic electors in 
Florida vote for, 77 ; Democra 
tic electors in Louisiana vote 
for, 116 ; Cronin votes for, 

Herald, the New York. j?ives ad 
vice to Democrats, 7 ; harps 
upon "Caesarism," 10 ; gives 
advice to Democrats, 169 ; de 
plores pronunciamentos, 189 ; 
quoted, 325. 

Hewitt, Abram S., refuses to 
purchase Louisiana returning 
board, 111 ; sends telegram 
to Oregon, 159; announces 
election of Tilden, 189 ; has 
an interview with Grant, 191 ; 
appointed a member of a 
House committee, 193 ; con 
sults Tilden, 199 ; proposes a 
plan, 203 ; delighted with Elec 
toral Commission bill, 204 ; 
controversy with Hoar, 259 ; 
presents the bogus Vermont 

return, 274; votes against 
Knott s resolution, 278 ; men 
tioned, 334. 

Higginson, Thomas W., attends 
Fifth Avenue Conference, 16. 

Hill, Benjamin, refers to Demo 
crats "invincible in peace and 
invisible in war," 176 ; says 
the South is for peace, 206. 

Hill, Elias, whipped by Ku 
Klux, 125. 

Hiscock, Frank, a member of 
the Potter Committee, 308 ; 
mentioned, 324; cross-exam 
ines Tilden, 325. 

Hoar, George F., member of a 
Congressional investigating 
committee, 99 ; appointed a 
member of a House committee, 
193 ; suggests plan for a com 
mission, 202 ; quoted, 204 ; a 
member of the Commission, 
220; controversy with Hewitt, 
259 ; credit due to, 334 ; con 
sistency of, 336. 

Hopkins, Mark, attends Fifth 
Avenue Conference, 15. 

Household English Dictionary, 
employed in sending cipher 
dispatches to and from Ore 
gon, 160 ; mentioned, 161. 

Howard, William A., speaks for 
Hayes at Cincinnati, 23. 

Howe, Timothy O., describes in 
timidation in Louisiana, 241. 

Humphreys, F. C., objected to as 
ineligible to be chosen an elec 
tor, 224 ; had resigned posi 
tion before the election, 229; 
evidence taken regarding his 
eligibility, 235 ; three Demo 
crats vote that he was eligi 
ble, 236 ; mentioned, 339. 

Hunton, Eppa, appointed a mem 
ber of a House committee, 
193 ; mentioned, 203 ; speaks 
in behalf of Electoral Com 
mission bill, 205 ; a member 
of the Commission, 220. 

Hurd, Frank H., an objector in 
the case of Florida, 262. 

Hurlbut, Stephen A., speaks 
against Electoral Commission 
bill, 206. 



INDEPENDENT Nationals, conven 
tion of, 38-39. 

Indiana, goes Democratic, 42 ; 
objections to receiving elector 
al vote of in 1817, 179. 

Indianapolis, Democratic meet 
ing at, 195. 

Ingersoll, Col. Robert G., nom 
inates Elaine, 22. 

JACKSON county, returning 
board throws out precincts in, 

Jasper Precinct No. 2, thrown 
out by returning board, 70. 

Jefferson county, alleged irreg 
ularities in conduct of the 
election in, 74. 

Jenks, Agnes D., may have writ 
ten the Sherman letter, 312. 

Jewell, Marshall, candidate for 
Presidential nomination, 12 ; 
name presented to the conven 
tion, 21; votes received by, 25. 

Jewett, D. J. M. A., issues in 
structions to supervisors of 
registration, 92. 

Jillson, J. K., unable to make a 
speech because of Democratic 
interruptions, 138. 

Johnson, Primus, murdered, 105. 

Jones, A. O., excludes Democra 
tic claimants from South Car 
olina legislature, 288. 

Journal, The Indianapolis, ad 
mits Republican defeat, 45 ; 
announces a change in the 
outlook, 52. 

Julian, George W., speech of on 
8th of January, 195. 

KASSON, John A., a "visiting 
statesman" in Florida, 64 ; an 
objector in the Florida case, 

Kelley, John, opposes Tilden at 
Utica, 29 ; at St. Louis, 30, 34. 

Kellogg, Stephen W., nominates 
Jewell, 21. 

Kellogg, William P., inaugurat 
ed governor of Louisiana, 86 ; 
takes refuge in custom-house, 
87 ; appoints registration of 
ficers, 92 ; privy to forgery of 
signatures to electoral certi 
ficate, 116 ; informs Morton 
that one of the Louisiana cer 
tificates is irregular, 242 ; 

causes troops to occupy the 
Louisiana state House, 294. 

Kenner, Louis M., member Lou 
isiana returning board, 98. 

Kernan, Francis, works for Til- 
den s nomination, 30 ; nomin 
ates Tilden, 33. 

Kent, Chancellor James, quoted 
by Morton, 211. 

Kerr, Michael, death of mention 
ed, 173. 

Key West, returning board ex 
cludes precinct in, 71. 

Kirkpatrick, Donald, nominated 
by American Nationals for 
Vice-President, 39. 

Knights of the Golden Circle, 
being revived in the Middle 
West, 188. 

Knott, J. Proctor, chairman of 
House judiciary committee, 
191 ; reports McCrary s reso- 

lution, 192 ; resolution of con 
cerning the bogus Vermont re 
turns, 276, 278. 

Ku Klux, intimidate negroes in 
Louisiana, 85 ; in South Car 
olina, 124. 

LAFAYETTE, supervisors throw 
out polls in, 113. 

La Fourche, sxipervisors throw 
out returns in, 113. 

Landry, intimidation in, 85. 

Lane, Lafayette, a leader of the 
filibusters, 258. 

Laurens, frauds in, 150; thrown 
out by returning board, 153 ; 
ought to have been excluded, 

Le Moyne, J. V,, not satisfied 
with the Democratic manage 
ment, 259. 

Leon county, alleged frauds in, 

Levisse, A. B., vote of objected 
to, 114, 240; mentioned, 339. 

Levy, W. M., attends Wormley 
Conference, 269 ; advises Dem 
ocrats to allow the count to 
be completed, 277. 

Liberal Republicans, nominate 
Greeley, 2 ; reforms denied by, 
3 ; tend to drift back into Re 
publican party, 10; declare 
for Hayes, 38. 

Lincoln, Abraham, re-elected in 
1864, 2. 



Lodge, Henry C., attends Fifth 
Avenue Conference, 16. 

Logan, John A., appointed a 
member of a Senate commit 
tee, 192 ; defeated for re-elec 
tion, 218. 

Logwood, Eaton, testifies con 
cerning political outrages in 
Ouachita, 105. 

Lord, Scott, introduces resolu 
tion condemning intimidation, 
42, 43. 

Louisiana, rumors from, 44 ; 
chapter on election in, 81 ; in 
vestigating committees sent to, 
173-174 ; mentioned, 175 ; elec 
toral votes of counted in 1869, 
181; excluded in 1873, 181- 
183 ; dual government in, 196 ; 
case of before Congress and 
the Commission, 238-249; set 
tlement in, 294-295, 297-302; 
mentioned, 329, 330, 332, 339, 

Lowell, James R., rumor that he 
would vote for Tilden, 173. 

McCLERNAND, General John C., 
permanent chairman Democra 
tic national convention, 31. 

McCormick, Cyrus, spoken of for 
Vice-Presidential nomination, 

McCrary, George W., introduces 
a resolution looking to a 
compromise, 190; appointed a 
member of a House committee, 
193 ; introduces a resolution 
197 ; speaks in behalf of Elec 
toral Commission bill, 215 ; 
an objector in the Florida 
case, 227 ; credit due to, 334. 

McEnery, inaugurated "govern 
or" of Louisiana but is unable 
to maintain his position, 86 ; 
certifies returns sent in by 
Democratic "electors," 238. 

Mackay, Robert W., accused of 
tampering with convention 
lighting equipment, 22. 

Mackey, E. W. M., elected speak 
er by Republican legislature, 
288 ; court declares he is not 
speaker of the House, 291. 

McLin, Samuel B., member of 
Florida returning board, 64 ; 
confession of, 308-311. 

McMahon, John A., admits that 
the Democrats are without 
hope, 246. 

McPherson, Edward, permanent 
chairman of Republican con 
vention, 20. 

MacVeagh, Wayne, a member of 
the Louisiana Commission, 

Maddox, Joseph H., enters into 
an alliance with Pickett, 111. 

Manatee county, thrown out by 
returning board, 72. 

Marble, Manton, a Democratic 
visitor to Florida, 65 ; de 
nounces Republican wicked 
ness, 307 ; statement to Mc 
Lin, 311 ; connection with ci 
pher dispatches, 317-319, 321, 

Matthews, Stanley, counsel be 
fore the Commission, 226 ; ar 
gument in Florida case, 231 ; 
at Wormley Conference, 269 ; 
gives certain assurances re 
garding the policy of Grant, 
271; writes to Chamberlain, 

Maxey, Samuel B., denounces 
Louisiana decision, 245. 

Meacham, Robert, attempt to 
assassinate, 59. 

Merchants Exchange, Democra 
tic national convention meets 
in, 31. 

Michigan, vote of thrown to 
Hayes, 23; objections to re 
ceiving electoral votes of in 
1837, 179; in 1877, 250. 

Miller, J. N. T., created an "elec 
tor" by Cronin, 164, 165. 

Miller, Judge Samuel F., men 
tioned, 198, 202 ; to be a mem 
ber of the Electoral Commis 
sion, 203. 

Mills, Roger Q., introduces a res 
olution that the House shall 
proceed to elect a President, 

Mississippi plan, employed in 
Florida, 58 ; employed in 
South Carolina, 136 ; mention 
ed, 211. 

Mississippi, suppression of ne 
gro vote in, 76; Mississippi 
Senate orders investigation of 
election in, 174 ; would have 
gone Republican in a free elec 
tion, 341. 



Missouri, objections made to re 
ceiving electoral votes of in 
1821, 179. 

Moncure vs. Dubuclet, in case of 
Louisiana supreme court holds 
that decisions of returning 
board are not subject to re 
view, 117. 

Monroe, negroes gather in to 
vote, 110. 

Morehouse, a "selected" parish, 
90 ; vote of, 118 ; mentioned, 

Morrisey, John, works for Til- 
den s nomination, 30. 

Morrison, William R., spoken of 
for Vice-Presidential nomina 
tion, 35. 

Morton, Oliver P., a dispenser of 
patronage, 5, 7 ; candidate for 
Presidential nomination, 11 ; 
supporters of, 13 ; attacked by 
New York World, 14 ; follow 
ing at Cincinnati, 18 ; name 
presented to convention, 21 ; 
votes received by, 22-25; 
brings in report upon Louis 
iana election of 1872, 182 ; at 
tempts to change method of 
electing the President, 184- 
185 ; moves that Twenty-Sec 
ond Joint Rule shall not be re- 
adopted, 186 ; appointed a 
member of a committee, 192 ; 
refuses to sign report accom 
panying Electoral Commission 
bill, 204 ; opposes the bill in 
the Senate, 211-214; accused 
by Conkling of trying to pro 
voke a deadlock, 212 ; a mem 
ber of the Commission, 220; 
mentioned, 225 ; moves that 
votes contained in No. 1 of 
the Louisiana certificates be 
counted, 242 ; would have 
been made President if count 
had not been completed, 273 ; 
mentioned, 336. 

Moses, F. J., elected governor 
of South Carolina, 126 ; elec 
ted circuit judge, 128; chief 
justice of South Carolina, 149 ; 
illness of, 292. 

NATION, The, comments on Bris- 
tow s supporters, 17; com 
ments of on Republican plat 
form, 37 ; opinion of South 
Carolina Democratic platform, 

134 ; suggests that a Repub 
lican elector vote for Tilden, 

Nevada, objection to vote of an 
elector of, 250. 

New England Society, dinner of 
on Forefather s Day, 193. 

New, Jeptha D., speech on 
Louisiana decision, 246. 

New Orleans, society of, 81 ; 
riots of 1855 in, 82; massacre 
of 1866, 84; registration in, 
93 ; a goal of "visiting states 
men," 95 ; assistant supervis 
ors throw out polls in, 113. 

News and Courier, the Charles 
ton, commends Chamberlain, 
128 ; endeavors to induce Dem 
ocrats to support Chamber 
lain ; says Democrats can car 
ry the state only by armed 
force, 130 ; resolution in con 
cerning employment of Repub 
licans, 139. 

Nicholls, F. T., nominated for 
governor of Louisiana, 87 ; 
promises fair treatment for 
negroes, 271 ; declared elected, 
294 ; transmits resolutions to 
MacVeagh Commission, 299 ; 
mentioned, 304. 

Norris, Tilda, pardoned, 292. 

North Carolina, goes from 
Hayes to Blaine, 24. 

North Carolinians, vote in South 
Carolina, 146. 

Northrup, Milton H., quoted, 200. 

Noyes, E. F., a "visiting states 
man" in Florida, 64 ; alleged 
promises made by him, 309- 

O BRIEN, William J., an irrecon 
cilable, 257, 274. 

"October States," results of elec 
tion in, 42. 

Odell, W. H., receives a major 
ity of votes for elector in Ore 
gon, 162 ; election certified by 
Grover, 163; helps to organize 
the electoral college, 164 ; 
votes for Hayes, 165. 

Ohio, Republican majority in at 
October election, 42. 

Oregon, chapter on contest in, 
157; mentioned, 171; Senate 
committee instructed to inves 
tigate election in, 174 ; men- 


3 6i 

tioned, 175 ; case of before 
Congress and the Commission, 
250-261; mentioned, 332, 339, 

Ottendorfer, Oswald, a "visiting 
statesman" in Louisiana, 95. 

Ouachita, a "selected" parish, 
90; outrages in, 104-110; vote 
in, 118: mentioned, 120. 

PACKARD, S. B., receives tele 
gram from W. E. Chandler, 
51 ; nominated for governor of 
Louisiana, 87; returning board 
gives him a majority, 114 ; 
declared elected, 294 ; gives up 
the contest, 300 ; title of, 301- 

Palmer, John M., spoken of for 
Vice-Presidential nomination, 
35; a "visiting statesman" in 
Louisiana, 95. 

Panic of 1873, 3. 

Parker, Joel, name presented to 
Democratic convention, 33 ; 
vote for, 34-35. 

Patrick, J. N. H., takes a dic 
tionary to Oregon, 160 ; sends 
cipher telegram to Pelton, 
161 ; money furnished him, 

Patterson, John J., a dispenser 
of patronage, 5, 7 ; defeated by 
Chamberlain in contest for 
position as delegate to Cin 
cinnati, 129. 

Payne, Henry B., appointed a 
member of a House Commit 
tee, 193 ; announces that 
House Committee will not 
agree to six- justices plan, 200 ; 
refuses to accept Davis as a 
Democrat, 202 ; a member of 
the Commission, 220. 

Pelton, W. T., sends telegrams 
to Oregon, 159; receives tele 
gram from Patrick, 161 ; men 
tioned, 191 ; connection with 
the cipher dispatches, 317-323. 

Pendl,eton, George H., defeated 
by Hayes, 15. 

Piatt, Don., counsels assassina 
tion of Hayes, 284. 

Pickett, John T., offers vote of 
Louisiana returning board to 
Democrats, 111. 

Pierce, Edward L., moves 
amendment to Republican 
platform, 20. 

Pierce, Henry L., wishes to 
throw out the Louisiana re 
turn, 248. 

Pinkston, Eliza, testimony of, 

Pinkston, Henry, murdered, 106 ; 
was a Radical, 107. 

Plaquemine, frauds in, 82. 

Platt vs. Goode, 67. 

Poppleton, Early F., inquires 
whether any other returns 
have been received from Ver 
mont, 274 ; resolution intro 
duced by, 276. 

Post Trader frauds, mentioned, 

Potter, Clarkson N., calls for a 
Congressional inquiry, 307 ; 
chairman of the investigating 
committee, 308. 

Potter Committee, chapter on, 
o 05. 

Presidential Counts, compiled 
and published, 199. 

Prohibition Reform Party, con 
vention of, 38. 

QUAY, Matthew S., rooms with 
R. S. Mackay, 22. 

RANDALL, Samuel J., a "visiting 
statesman" in Louisiana, 95 ; 
elected Speaker, 173 ; mention- 
tioned, 191 ; announces mem 
bers of a House committee, 
193 ; stand against the Force 
Bill, 258 ; firmness of, 276, 
277 ; mentioned, 281. 

Ransom, M. W., appointed a 
member of a Senate commit 
tee, 193. 

Redfleld, H. V., explains the pur 
poses of the South Carolina 
Democrats, 139. 

Reed, Thomas B., a member of 
the Potter Committee, 308 ; 
mentioned, 324; cross-exam 
ines Tilden, 325. 

Reid, John C., erroneous state 
ment concerning, 46 ; at Fifth 
Avenue Hotel, 49-51. 

Reid, Whitelaw, testimony of re 
garding cipher dispatches, 316. 

Resumption Act, passed, 6 ; at 
titude of Republican conven 
tion toward, 20; opposition of 
certain Democrats to, 33. 



Richardson s School House Pre 
cinct, alleged frauds at, 73. 

Richmond, Democratic conven 
tion at, 195. 

Rhodes, Merrimon, killed by a 
rifle club, 109. 

Rifle clubs, activity of in Louis 
iana, 90 ; outrages by in Oua- 
chita, 105, 107 ; picket ap 
proaches to Monroe, 110 ; ac 
tive in South Carolina, 136 ; 
ordered to disperse, 143. 

Rivers, Prince, complaint made 
before against members of a 
militia company, 131 ; mal 
treated by mob, 132. 

Robbins Precinct, Republican 
frauds at, 147 ; thrown out by 
returning board, 150. 

Robinson, Governor Lucius, in 
augural address of contains an 
argument written by Tilden, 

Ruger, General T. H., comman 
der of troops in South Caro 
lina, 289. 

SABRE CLUBS, formed by South 
Carolina Democrats, 136. 

St. Patrick s Hall, Democratic 
legislature of Louisiana meet 
In, 294. 

Salary Grab, 3 ; harped on by 
the Democrats, 39. 

Sanborn Contract, 3. 

Sargent, Aaron A., introduces 
resolution to elect a new pres 
ident of the Senate, 272. 

Schell, Augustus, chairman Dem 
ocratic national committee, 
calls convention to order, 31. 

Schurz, Carl, signs call for a 
conference of independents, 
15; writes the Address of the 
Conference, 16. 

Scott, R. K., elected governor of 
South Carolina, 126; Cham 
berlain refuses to commission 
as Judge, 128. 

Scott, William L., supports Til- 
den, 30. 

Seelye, Prof. Julius H., attends 
Fifth Avenue Conference, 16 ; 
opposes counting the votes of 
Louisiana, 248. 

"Sewing machine circulars" sent 
out in New Orleans in effort 
to detect illegal registration, 

Sheridan, General Philip, char 
acterizes Wells as a dishonest 
man, 98 ; rumor that he would 
be used to bulldoze New York. 

Sherman, John, a "visiting 
statesman" in Louisiana, 95 ; 
moves an investigation Into 
election of 1872 in Louisiana 
and Arkansas, 181 ; rumor 
that he would supplant Ferry, 
187 ; defends the Louisiana 
decision, 245 ; at Wormley 
Conference, 269 ; alleged to 
have given a written promise 
of reward, 312. 

Sherman, Gen. W. T., is directed 
to hold troops in readiness to 
quell disturbances, 43. 

Simpson, William D., declared 
elected, 291. 

Smith, Avery, supports Tilden, 

Smith, Green Clay, nominated 
for president by the Prohi 
bitionists, 38. 

Smith, John, burlesque certifi 
cate from Florida signed by, 

Solomon, Hardy, alleged agent 
of South Carolina returning 
board, 320, 324. 

Sons of Liberty, see Knights of 
the Golden Circle. 

South Carolina, Republican del 
egates from vote for Blaine, 
24; troops sent to, 44; chap 
ter on contest in, 122 ; Investi 
gating committees sent to, 
173-174; mentioned, 175; dual 
government in, 196 ; case of 
before Congress and the Com 
mission, 261-274; settlement 
in, 287-293, 295-297, 301; men 
tioned, 329. 

Spofford, Henry Martyn, pleads 
for publicity of returning 
board s proceedings, 100. 

Springer, William M., appointed 
a member of a House commit 
tee, 193; mentioned, 198; con 
siders Davis an Independent, 
201; an irreconcilable, 257; 
attempts to delay the count, 
258, 274; wild behavior of, 

Stearns, Marcellus L., telegraphs 
that a train has been "ku- 
kluxed," 54 ;. issues a procla^ 
mation to prevent Georgian* 



from voting In Florida, 63 ; 
admitted to sessions of Florida 
returning board, 65 ; votes re 
ceived by, 78. 

Stewart, G. T., nominated for 
Vice-President by Prohibition 
ists, 38. 

Stoughton, E. W., a "visiting 
statesman" in Louisiana, 95. 

Straight-outers, desire to nomin 
ate a candidate against Cham 
berlain, 129 ; are victorious, 
130, 133. 

Strong, Judge William, to be a 
member of the Electoral Com 
mission, 203 ; meets with other 
judicial members, 221. 

Sun, the New York, opposes re 
sort to violence, 170. 

Swayne, Judge Noah H., men 
tioned, 198, 202. 

TALLAHASSEE, troops ordered to, 

Tammany, opposes Tilden, 29, 

Tangipahoa, supervisors In throw 
out polls, 113. 

Thompson, Richard W., nomin 
ates Morton, 21. 

Thurman, Allen G., defeated by 
Hayes, 15 ; spoken of for the 
Presidential nomination, 27 ; 
opinion upon power of Con 
gress to investigate choice of 
electors, 181 ; appointed mem 
ber of a committee, 192 ; sug 
gests plan for an electoral tri 
bunal, 202 ; to assist in com 
pleting an address to accom 
pany the Electoral Commis 
sion bill, 203; delighted with 
Electoral Commission bill, 
204 ; speaks in its behalf, 213 ; 
a member of the Commission, 
220 ; mentioned, 225 ; votes 
with Republicans on Hum 
phrey s case, 236; illness of, 
254; credit due to, 334; in 
consistency of, 336. 

Tidal wave of 1874, 3, 4. 

Tidwell, Charles, testifies that 
Henry Pinkston was a Radi 
cal, 107. 

Tilden, Samuel J., second choice 
of C. F. Adams for President, 
17 ; probable Democratic nom 
inee for President, 26 ; career 
of, 28-29 ; suggested for Pres 
idency by Utica convention, 30 ; 

name presented to convention, 
33 ; nominated, 34 ; how nom 
ination of was received, 36 ; 
letter of acceptance, 38 ; di 
rects his campaign, 39 ; at 
tacks on his character and 
political record, 40-42 ; returns 
indicate election of, 45 ; Dem 
ocratic electors In Florida vote 
for, 77 ; electors supporting re 
ceive majority of votes cast in 
Louisiana, 94 ; they cast their 
votes for, 116 ; defeated In 
South Carolina, 151 ; Demo 
cratic "electors" in South 
Carolina vote for, 155; Cronin 
votes for, 165; alleged plot to 
cheat him out of the Presi 
dency, 168 ; uncertainty re 
garding his intentions, 191 ; 
sets forth his arguments in 
the inaugural address of Gov 
ernor Robinson, 194 ; declines 
to approve a compromise plan, 
199-200; mentioned, 208; res 
olutions drawn up by adopted 
by the House, 214 ; not a rev 
olutionist, 285 ; speech of de 
nouncing the "fraud;" 307 ; 
wishes an investigation, 307 ; 
connection with the cipher dis 
patches, 320-321, 323-327; 
mentioned, 334, 342. 

Times, the New York, exposes 
Tweed Ring, 29; attacks Til 
den, 41 ; events in office of, 
46-47; editorial in, 47. 

Trifane, The New York, pub 
lishes the cipher dispatches, 

Trumbull, Lyman, a "visiting 
statesman" in Louisiana, 95; 
thinks Congress does not have 
power to go behind returns, 

Tucker, J. R., an objector in the 
Florida case, 226 ; objects to 
receiving one of the votes of 
Michigan, 250. 

Tweed Ring, exposed by The 
Times, 29 ; mentioned, 41. 

Twenty-Second Joint Rule, pass 
ed, 180; mentioned, 182, 212, 
215, denounced by Morton, 
184; not readopted by the 
Senate, 186. 

Tyner, James N., examined by 
Potter Committee, 322. 



UNION League Club, blackballs 
Bristow, 14. 

Union party, 2. 

Utlca, Democratic state conven 
tion at suggests Tilden for 
Presidency, 30. 

VAN BUREN, Martin, mentioned, 

Venezuela scandal, harped on by 

Democrats, 39. 
Vermont, bogus certificate from, 

Vernon, returns from falsified, 


Virginia, attempt to make ob 
jections to one of the votes of, 

Visiting statesmen, journey 

Southward, 56 ; in Florida, 65 ; 

in Louisiana, 95. 
Voorhees, Daniel, signs minority 

report at St. Louis, 33. 

WALLACE, Lew, a "visiting 
statesman" in Florida, 64 ; al 
leged promises made to McLin, 

Wallace, William A., presents 
an objection to counting the 
votes of Louisiana, 244 ; 
speech on the Louisiana deci 
sion, 245. 

Waite, Judge M. R., to be ex 
cluded from a proposed tri 
bunal for counting the votes, 
197 ; administers the oath to 
Hayes, 287. 

Walker, James B., nominated for 
President by American Na 
tionals, 39. 

Warmoth, H. C., elected govern 
or of Louisiana, 84 ; goes over 
to Democrats, 86. 

Washington, troops ordered to, 
172 ; Hewitt issues statement 
at, 189, Watterson speaks in 
a Democratic meeting at, 195 ; 
Hayes reaches, 286 ; South 
Carolina claimants visit, 296 ; 
Potter Committee examines 
witnesses in, 322. 

Washington, George, precedent 
established by regarding third 
term, 11. 

Watterson, Henry, temporary 
chairman Democratic national 
convention, 31; a "visiting 
statesman" in Louisiana, 95 ; 
talks of a hundred thousand 
Kentuckians, 195 ; speech of 
on Louisiana decision, 247 ; at 
Wormley Conference, 269 ; 
told to bring on his hundred 
thousand, 282. 

Watts, John W., ineligile to be 
chosen an elector, 157 ; re 
ceives a majority of votes, 
162; declared ineligible by 
Grover, 163 ; present at meet 
ing of the electoral college and 
resigns, 164 ; reappointed and 
votes for Hayes, 165 ; question 
of his incumbency, 251-253; 
question of his resignation, 
254; decision of Commission 
regarding, 256 ; mentioned, 

Weber, E. L., custodian of al 
leged Sherman letter, 312. 

Weed, Smith M., privately con 
cedes Republican victory in 
South Carolina, 155; connec 
tion with the cipher dispatch 
es, 319-320, 323-324. 

Weekly Constitution, the Mon- 
ticello, resolutions in concern 
ing employment of Republi 
cans, 60. 

Wells, David A., attends Fifth 
Avenue Conference, 15. 

Wells, J. Madison, president of 
Louisiana returning board, 
98 ; opinion on vacancy in re 
turning board, 101 ; "in the 
market," 111 ; offers to count 
in Democratic state ticket for 
$200,000, 112; mentioned, 171, 

West, Senator J. R., receives let 
ter from Wells, 111. 

Western Union Telegraph Com 
pany, delivers dispatches to 
Congressional committees, 315. 

West Feliciana, a "selected" 
parish, 90; vote in, 118; men 
tioned, 120. 

West Virginia, goes Democratic, 

Wheeler, William A., nominated 
for Vice-President by Republi 
cans, 25 ; Florida electors cast 
their votes for, 76 ; member of 
a Congressional investigating 
committee, 99 ; Louisiana elec- 



tors vote for, 114 ; South Caro 
lina electors vote for, 155; 
Oregon electors vote for, 165 ; 
Louisiana votes counted for, 
249; declared elected, 282. 

Whipper, W. J., elected a cir 
cuit judge but is refused a 
commission, 128. 

Whitely, William G., nominates 
Bayard, 33. 

White Camelia, active in Louis 
iana, 84. 

White League, uprising of, 86- 
87 ; members of seize public 
buildings, 294. 

White, Horace, signs call for 
conference of independents, 15. 

White, Judge P. W., decides in 
favor of Democratic electors 
in Florida, 79. 

Whittemore, B. F., attempts to 
prevent renomination of 
Chamberlain, 135. 

Willard, Judge A. J., associate 
justice in South Carolina, 149 ; 
action in Norris case, 292. 

Willard, George, appointed a 
member of a House commit 
tee, 193. 

Williams, Abram, whipped, 109. 

Williams, Charles G., replies to 
Blackburn, 280. 

Williams, James D., nominates 
Hendricks, 33. 

Wiltz, Louis A., nominated for 
lieutenant-governor of Louisi 
ana, 87 ; declared elected by 
Democrats, 294. 

Wisconsin, objections to receiv 
ing electoral votes of in 1877, 

Wood, Fernando, wishes to im 
peach Grant, 176 ; opposes fil 
ibustering, 274 ; denounced as 
the "high priest of the Re 
publican party," 280. 

Woodford, Stewart L., candi 
date for Vice-Presidential 
nomination, 25. 

Woodworth, Laurin D., quoted, 

Wooley, C. W., a "visiting 
statesman" in Florida, 65 ; 
connection with the cipher dis 
patches, 317, 318. 

Woolsey, Theodore, signs a call 
for conference of indepen 
dents, 15. 

World, the New York, incen 
diary statements, 169; advis 
es impeachment of Grant, 175. 

Wormley Conference, 269 ; men 
tioned, 277. 

Wright, Judge J. J., associate 
justice in South Caroina, 149 ; 
action in Norris case, 292. 


in Librar 





6 month ,^ m0nth lo , ans y be renewed by calling 642-3405 

ith loans may be recharged by bringing books to Circulation Desk 
and recharges may be made 4 days prior to due date 


1 8 1977 



LD 21A-50m-8 61 

.General Library 

University of California