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Vol. II. 



I >>i> mi • • , i- I I i t ■ 




James Abram Garfield 









CopyHght, 1889, 
By Lucretia R. Garfiwjx 

AH rights reserved. 

University Press: 
John Wilson and Son, Cambridge. 


Public Expenditures : their Increase and Diminution ... i 

Speech delivered in the House of Representatives, January 23, 1872. 

National Aid to Education 19 

Speech delivered in the House of Representatives, February 6, 1872. 

Dr. Samuel F. B. Morse 26 

Remarks made at the Morse Memorial Meeting, held in the Hall of the 
House of Representatives, April 16^ 1872. 

The Presidential Campaign of 1872 30 

Speech delivered at Warren, Ohio, July 31, 1872. 

The Future of the Republic : its Dangers and its Hopes . 46 

Address delivered before the Literary Societies of Western Reserve 
College, Hudson, Ohio, July 2, 1873. 

The Northwest Territory : Settlement of the Western 

Reserve 70 

Address delivered before the Historical Society of Geauga County, at 
Burton, Ohio, September 16, 1873. 

Chief Justice Chase and Professor Agassiz 92 

Remarks made in the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution, 
December 19, 1873. 

Revenues and Expenditures 96 

Speech delivered in the House of Representatives, March 5, 1874. 

Appropriations for the Fiscal Year ending June 30, 1875 • 129 
Speech delivered in the House of Representatives, June 23, 1874. 

Effects of the Rebellion on Southern Life Insurance Con- 
tracts 140 

Argument before the Supreme Court of the United States in the Case of 
W. E. Tate et al. v. The New York Life Insurance Co. et al.^ made 
March 17, 1874. 


Effects of the Rebellion on Southern Life Insurance Con- 
tracts 156 

Argument before the Supreme Court of the United States in the Cases 
of The New York Life Insurance Co. r. Statham et 0/. and Charlotte 
Seyms, made April 26, 1876. 

Currency and the Public Faith ., . . 175 

Speech delivered in the House of Representatives, April 9^ 1874. " 

Census 185 

Article contributed to Johnson's New Universal Cyclopaedia. 

Amnesty 218 

Speech delivered in the House of Representatives, January 12, 1876. 

The Currency Conflict 246 

Paper contributed to the Atlantic Monthly, February, 1876. 

The Diplomatic and Consular Service 274 

Remarks made in the House of Representatives, February 7, 1876. 

Henry H. Starkweather 286 

Remarks made in the House of Representatives, February 24, 1876. 

Almeda a. Booth: Her Life and Character 290 

Address delivered at Hiram College, Hiram, Ohio, June 22, 1876. 

The Hawaiian Islands 320 

Remarks made in the House of Representatives, April 6, 1876. 

The Geneva Award 324 

Remarks made in the House of Representatives, July 5, 1S76. 

Phases of the Silver Question 329 

Remarks made in the House of Representatives on various Occasions. . 

The Democratic Party and the Government 353 

Speech delivered in the House of Representatives, August 4, 1876. 

John Winthrop and Samuel Adams 388 

Remarks made in the House of Representatives, December 19, 1876. 

Congress and Presidential Elections 393 

Speech delivered in the House of Representatives, January 16^ 1877. 

Counting the Electoral Vote 406 

Speech delivered in the House of Representatives, January 25, 1877. 

The Florida Returns in the Election of 1876 435 

Argument made in the Electoral Commission, February 9, 1877. 


The Louisiana Returns in the Election of 1876 449 

Argument made in the Electoral Commission, February 16, 1877. 

A Century of Congress 463 

Paper contributed to the Atlantic Monthly, July, 1877. 

Proposed Repeal of the Resumption Law 490 

Speech delivered in the House of Representatives, November 16, 1877. 

The New Scheme of American Finance 510 

Speech delivered in the House of Representatives, March 6, 1878. 

Oliver P. Morton 529 

Remarks made in the House of Representatives, January 18^ 1878. 

Lincoln and Emancipation 533 

Address delivered in the Hall of the House of Representatives, February 
12, 1878. 

The Army and the Public Peace 543 

Speech delivered in the House of Representatives, May 21, 1878. 

The Wood Tariff Bill 551 

Speech delivered in the House of Representatives, June 4, 1878. 

The Halifax Award 571 

Remarks made in the House of Representatives, June 19, 1878. 

The Press 575 

Address delivered before the Ohio Editorial Association, at Cleveland, 
Ohio, July II, 1878. 

Honest Money ^86 

Speech delivered in Faneuil Hall, Boston, September 10, 1878. 

Suspension and Resumption of Specie Payments 609 

Address delivered in Chicago, January 2, 1879. 

Joseph Henry 627 

Remarks made at the Henry Memorial Meeting held in the Hall of the 
House of Representatives, January 16, 1879. 

Gustave Schleicher 632 

Remarks made in the House of Representatives, February 17, 1879. 

The Sugar Tariff 637 

Speech delivered in the House of Representatives, February 26, 1879. 

Revolution in Congress 655 

Speeches made in the House of Representatives, March 29 and April 4, 


The National Elections protected by National Authority 679 
Remarks made in the House of Representatives, April 26, 1879. 

Congressional Nullification 685 

Remarks made in the House of Representatives, June 10, 1879^ 

Troops at the Polls 695 

Remarks made in the House of Representatives, June 11, 1879. 

Congressional Nullification 703 

Remarks made in the House of Representatives, June 19^ 1879. 

The Revived Doctrine of State Sovereignty 708 

Speech delivered in the House of Representatives, June 37, 1879. 

Obedience to Law the First Duty of Congress 723 

Speech delivered in the House of Representatives, March 17, i88a 

The Appointment of Special Deputy Marshals 731 

Remarks made in the House of Representatives, March 19 and April 23, 

National Appropriations and Misappropriations 740 

Paper contributed to the North American Review, June, 1879. 

The Democratic Party and Public Opinion 753 

Speech delivered in Cleveland, Ohio, October 11, 1879. 

Zachariah Chandler 773 

Remarks made in the House of Representatives, January 28, i88a 

Nomination of John Sherman 777 

Speech delivered in the Republican National Convention, at Chicago, 
June 5, 1880. 

Letter accepting the Nomination for the Presidency . . 782 

Mentor, Ohio, July 12, 1880. 

Inaugural Address 788 

Delivered on the East Portico of the Capitol, March 4, 1881. 

INDEX 797 







January 23, 1872. 

MR. CHAIRMAN, — In opening the discussion of this bill, 
I realize the difficulties which at all times attend the 
work of making appropriations for carrying on the government. 
But there are more than ordinary difficulties attending the work 
of a chairman who succeeds to a position which has been so 
adorned as has the chairmanship of the Committee on Appro- 
priations during the last two years.^ The most that I can now 
venture is to express the hope that, by the generous aid of my 
colleagues on the committee, and the support of the House, I 
may be able to follow, at a humble distance, in the path my 
predecessor has travelled. 

I would not occupy any time this morning in the preliminary 
discussion of this bill, but for the fact that this general appro- 
priation bill, more than any other of the twelve which will come 
before the House, embraces in its scope nearly the whole civil 
establishment of the government. The approval of this bill is, 
in a certain sense, the approval of the whole system to which 

* The reference is to Mr. Dawes, of Massachusetts, who preceded Mr. Garfield 
as chairman of the Committee on Appropriations. The speech was made in Com- 
mittee of the Whole. 



the other appropriations will refer. If our general plan of ap- 
propriations ought to be attacked, this is the place to begin. 
If these bills have a sufficient reason for being in the main what 
they are/ that sufficient reason can be given for the passage of 
this bill substantially as it stands in the print before us. I there- 
fore beg the indulgence of the committee while I call attention 
to a few questions which have arisen in my mind in the study 
I have given this subject. 

And, first of all, I will consider what part expenditures play 
in the affairs of government. It is difficult to discuss expendi- 
tures comprehensively without discussing also the revenues ; but 
I shall on this occasion allude to the revenues only on a single 
point. Revenue and the expenditure of revenue form by far the 
most important element in the government of modern nations. 
Revenue is not, as some one has said, the friction of a govern- 
ment, but rather its motive power. Without it, the machinery 
of a government cannot move ; and by it all the movements 
of a government are regulated. The expenditure of revenue 
forms the grand level from which all heights and depths of legis- 
lative action are measured. The increase and the diminution of 
the burdens of taxation depend alike upon their relation to this 
level of expenditures. That level once given, all other policies 
must conform to it and be determined by it. The expenditure 
of revenue and its distribution, therefore, form the best test of the 
health, the wisdom, and the virtue of a government. Is a gov- 
ernment corrupt, that corruption will inevitably, sooner or later, 
show itself at the door of the treasury in demands for money. 
There is scarcely a conceivable form of corruption or public 
wrong that does not at last present itself at the cashier s desk 
and demand money. The Legislature, therefore, that stands at 
the cashier's desk and watches with Argus eyes the demands 
for payment over the counter, is most certain to see all the forms 
of public rascality. At that place, too, we may feel the nation's 
pulse ; we may determine whether it is in the delirium of fever, 
or whether the currents of its life are flowing with the steady 
throbbings of health. What could have torn down the gaudy 
fabric of the late French Empire so effectually as the simple 
expedient of compiling and publishing a balance-sheet of the 
expenditures of Napoleon III.'s government, as compared with 
the expenditures of the fifteen years which preceded his reign? 
A quiet student of finance exhibited the fact that during the 


fifteen years of that reign the expenditures of his government 
had been increased by the enormous total of $350,ooo,ocx) 
in gold per annum. Much of this vast sum had been cov- 
ered up under various forms of statement; but the merciless 
statistician stripped ofT the disguise and showed the yawning, 
bottomless gulf into which France was rushing to certain and 
inevitable ruin. Erelong she took the fatal plunge. She had 
kept on a fair exterior; but all the while the solid founda- 
tions of her strength were being honeycombed through and 
through by extravagance and corruption in her finances ; and 
at last she went down in the smoke and desolation of war. It 
was only the crashing through of the worthless fabric that was 
ready to perish when the occasion should come. We have seen 
in some of our own municipal governments, and perhaps in 
some of our State governments, the same process going on, 
which, if not arrested, must ultimately bring them to a fate 
hardly less deplorable. 

Such, in my view, are the relations which the expenditures 
of the revenue sustain to the honor and safety of the nation. 
How, then, shall they be regulated? By what gauge shall we 
determine the amount of revenue that ought to be expended by 
a nation? This question is full of difficulty, and I can hope to 
do little more than to offer a few suggestions in the direction of 
its solution. 

And, first, I remark that the mere amount of the appropri- 
ations is in itself no test. To say that this government is 
expending $292,000,000 a year may be to say that we are 
penurious and niggardly in our expenditures, or it may be to 
say that we are lavish and prodigal. There must be some 
ground of relative judgment, some test by which we can de- 
termine whether expenditures are reasonable or exorbitant. It 
has occurred to me that two tests can be applied. 

The first and most important is the relation of expenditure to 
the population. In some ratio corresponding to the increase of 
population it may be reasonable to increase the expenditures 
of a government. This is the test usually applied in Europe. 
In an official table of the expenditures of the British govern- 
ment for the last fifteen years, now before me, I find the state- 
ment of the expenditure per capita of the population set over 
against the annual average of each year. The average expendi- 
ture /^r rtz/;Vrt for that period is £2 ys. jd., or about $12 in 


gold, with a slight tendency to decrease each year, 
country, commencing with 1830 and taking the yes 
census was taken, I find that the expenditures, pe^ 
elusive of payments on the principal and interest o 
debt, were as follows : — 

In 1830 $1.03 In i860 

In 1840 1.41 In 1870 

In 1850 1.60 

or, excluding pensions, $3.52. 

No doubt this test is valuable. But how shall it 
Shall the increase of expenditures keep pace with 1 
of population? We know that population tends 
in a geometrical ratio, that is, at a per cent compoi 
ally. If the normal increase of expenditures follow 
law, we might look forward to the future with a 
manifest, however, that the necessity of expenditur 
keep pace with the mere increase of numbers ; an 
total sum of money expended from year to year mi 
rily be greater, the amount per capita ought in all we 
governments, in time of peace, to grow gradually le* 

But in a country like ours there is another elem 
population that helps to determine the movement < 
tures. That element can hardly be found in any otl 
It is the increase and settlement of our territory, 1 
increase of the nation by the addition of new States, 
with the original thirteen States, and gauge expendit 
by the increase of population alone, would be manif 
rect. But the fact that there have been added 1 
States, and that we now have nine Territories, no 
Alaska, brings a new and important element into t 
tion. It is impossible to estimate the effect of tl 
upon expenditures. But if we examine our own re 
the beginning of the government, it will appear that « 
increase of settled territory has very considerably ad 

If these reflections be just, it will follow that th 
movement of our expenditures depends upon the ad 
forces : first, the natural growth of population, and \ 
extension of our territory and the increase in the 
our States. Some day, no doubt — and I hope at 
date — we shall have reached the limit of territorial 


I hope we have reached it now, except to enlarge the number 
of the States within our borders ; and when we have settled our 
unoccupied lands, when we have laid down the fixed and certain 
boundaries of our country, then the movement of our expendi- 
ture in time of peace will be remitted to the operation of the 
one law, the increase of population. That law, as I have 
already intimated, is not an increase by a per cent compounded 
annually, but by a per cent that decreases annually. No doubt 
the expenditures will always increase from year to year; but 
they ought not to increase by the same per cent from year to 
year; the rate of increase ought gradually to grow less. 

In England, for example, where the territory is fixed, and 
they are remitted to the single law of increase of population, 
the increase of expenditures during the last fifteen years of 
peace has been only about one and three quarters per cent 
compounded annually. I believe nobody has made a very 
careful estimate of the rate in our country; our growth has 
been too irregular to afford data for an accurate estimate. But 
a gentleman who has given much attention to the subject ex- 
pressed to me the belief that our expenditures in time of peace 
have increased about eight per cent compounded annually. 
This is too high ; yet I am sure that somewhere between that 
and the English rate will be found our rate of increase in times 
of peace. I am aware that such estimates as these are unsatis- 
factory, and that nothing short of the actual test of experience 
can determine the movements of our expenditures; but these 
suggestions, which have resulted from some study of the subject, 
I offer for the reflection of those who care to follow them out. 

Thus far I have considered the expenditures that arise in 
times of peace. Any view of this subject would be incomplete 
that did not include a consideration of the effect of war upon 
national expenditures. I have spoken of what the rate for 
carrying on a government ought to be in time of peace. I will 
next consider the effect of war on the rate of increase. And 
here we are confronted with that anarchic element, the plague 
of nations, which Jeremy Bcntham called " mischief on the 
largest scale." After the fire and blood of the battle-field have 
disappeared, nowhere does war show its destroying power so 
certainly and so relentlessly as in the columns which represent 
the taxes and expenditures of the nation. Let me illustrate this 
by two examples. 


In 1792, the year preceding the commencement of the great 
war against Napoleon, the expenditures of Great Britain were 
less than ;^20,ooo,ooo. In the twenty-four years that elapsed 
from the commencement of that wonderful struggle until its 
close at Waterloo, in 181 5, the expenditures rose by successive 
bounds, until, in one year near the close of the war, it reached 
the enormous sum of ;^ 106,750,000. The unusual increase of 
the public debt, added to the natural growth of expenditures 
from causes already discussed, made it impossible for Eng- 
land ever to return to her old level of expenditure. It took 
twenty years after Waterloo to reduce expenditures from 
;^77,750,ooo, the annual average of the second decade of the 
century, to ;^45, 750,000, the expenditure for 1835. This last 
figure is the lowest that England has known in the present cen- 
tury. There followed nearly forty years of peace, from Water- 
loo to the Crimean war in 1854. The figures for that period 
may be taken to represent the natural growth of expenditures in 
England. During that time the expenditures increased, in a tol- 
eiably uniform ratio, from ;^45, 750,000, the amount for 1835, 
to about ;^5 1,750,000, the average for the five years ending 
with 1854. This increase was about $4,000,000 of our money 
per annum. Then came the Crimean war of 1854 to 1856, 
in one year of which the expenditures rose to ;^84,500,ooo. 
Again, as after the Napoleonic war, it required several years for 
the expenditures of the kingdom to get down to the new level 
of peace, which level was much higher than that of the former 
peace. The last ten years, the expenditures of Great Britain 
have again been gradually increasing ; the average for the six 
years ending with March 31, 187 1, being ;^68,750,ooo. 

As the second example of the effect of war on the movement 
of national expenditures, I call attention to our own history. 
Considering the ordinary expenses of the government, exclusive 
of payments on the principal and interest of the public debt, 
the annual average may be stated thus. 

Beginning with 1791, the last decade of the eighteenth century 
showed an annual average of $3,750,000. The first decade of 
the present century, the average was nearly $5,500,000. Or, 
commencing with 1791, there followed twenty years of peace, 
during which the annual average of ordinary expenditures was 
more than doubled. Then followed four years, from 18 12 to 
18 1 5, inclusive, in which the war with England swelled the 


average to $25,500,000. The five years succeeding that war, 
the average was $16,500,000; and it was not until 1821 that the 
new level of peace was reached. The five years from 1821 to 
1825, inclusive, the annual average was $11,500,000. From 
1825 to 1830, $13,000,000. From 1830 to 1835, $17,000,000. 
From 1835 to 1840, in which period occurred the Seminole war, 
$30,500,000. From 1840 to 1845, $27,000,000. From 1845 
to 1850, in which period occurred the Mexican war, it was 
$40,500,000. From 1850 to 1855, $47,500,000. From 1855 to 
June 30, 1861, $67,000,000. From June 30, 1861, to June 30, 
1866, $713,750,000; and from June 30, 1866, to June 30, 1871, 
the annual average was $189,000,000. 

It is interesting to inquire how far we may reasonably expect 
to go in the descending scale before we reach the new level of 
peace. We have already seen that it took England twenty 
years after Waterloo to reach such a level. Our own experience 
has been peculiar in this, that our people have been impatient 
of debt, and have always determinedly set about the work of 
reducing it. Throughout our history there may be seen a 
curious uniformity in the movement of the annual expenditures 
for the years immediately following a war. We have not the 
data to determine how long it was after the War of Indepen- 
dence before the expenditures ceased to decrease, that is, before 
they reached the point where their natural growth more than 
balanced the tendency to reduction of war expenditure; but in 
the years immediately following all our subsequent wars, the 
decrease has continued for a period almost exactly twice the 
length of the war itself. After the war of 18 12-15, the expendi- 
tures continued to decline for eight years, reaching the lowest 
point in 1823. After the Seminole war, which ran through 
three years, 1836, 1837, and 1838, the new level was not reached 
until 1844, six years after its close. After the Mexican war, 
which lasted two years, it took four years, until 1852, to reach 
the level of peace. 

It is perhaps unsafe to base our calculations for the future on 
these analogies ; but the wars already referred to have been of 
such varied character, and their financial effects have been so 
uniform, as to make it not unreasonable to expect that a similar 
result will follow our late war. If so, the decrease of our ordi- 
nary expenditures, exclusive of the principal and interest of the 
public debt, will continue until 1875 or 1876. 


It will be seen by an analysis of our current expenditures 
that, exclusive of charges on the public debt, nearly fifty million 
dollars are expenditures directly for the late war. Many of 
these expenditures will not again appear, such as the bounty 
and back pay of volunteer soldiers, and payment for illegal 
captures of British vessels and cargoes. We may reasonably 
expect that the expenditures for pensions will hereafter steadily 
decrease, unless our legislation should be unwarrantably ex- 
travagant. We may also expect a large decrease in expendi- 
tures for the internal revenue department. Possibly, we may 
ultimately be able to abolish the department altogether. In 
the accounting and disbursing bureaus of the Treasury Depart- 
ment we may also expect a further reduction of the force now 
employed in settling war claims. 

We cannot expect so rapid a reduction of the public debt 
and its burden of interest as we have witnessed for the last three 
years ; but the reduction will doubtless continue, and the burden 
of interest will constantly decrease. I know it is not safe to 
attempt to forecast the future; but I venture to express the 
belief, that, if peace continues, the year 1876 will witness our 
ordinary expenditures reduced to $135,000,000, and the inter- 
est on our public debt to $95,000,000; making our total ex- 
penditures, exclusive of payment on the principal of the public 
debt, $230,000,000. Judging from our own experience and 
from that of other nations, we may not hope thereafter to reach 
a lower figure. In making this estimate I have assumed that 
there will be a considerable reduction of the burdens of taxation, 
and that the revenue in excess of expenditures will not be nearly 
so great as now. 

The movement of our public debt may be thus summarily 
stated. January i, 1789, we had a debt of $75,000,000. It 
took twenty-one years to reduce its bulk to $45,000,000, the 
amount outstanding in 18 12. The war with England raised it 
to $127,000,000, where it stood in 1816. It took twenty years 
more to pay it off. The war with Mexico left us with a debt of 
$68,000,000, and it took ten years to reduce it to $28,500,000, 
the lowest point it has ever reached since 1846. The debt cre- 
ated by our late war reached its stupendous maximum on July 
31, 1865. In the six and a half years that have since elapsed it 
has been reduced by the sum of $556,579,578, a reduction of 
twenty and a half per cent of its whole amount. During that 


time the annual interest on the debt has been reduced by the 
sum of $42,608,329. I subjoin a table prepared at the Treasury 
Department, which exhibits, in successive years, the movement 
of the principal and interest of the public debt since its maxi- 
mum was reached. 

Statement of Reduction of Public Debty Interest Charge^ and Trectsury 



Amount of 

the Principal 

of Public 


Balance in Treasury. 


Debt less 






Inly 31, 1865, max. 
Mar. I, 1869 
Mar. I, 1870 
July I. 187X 
July 1, 187a 










X 24,022^,815 



2.199.4 15,697 



» 1546,024,892 


* 1556,579,578 


This rapid reduction of the principal and interest of our public 
debt tends also to strengthen the hope that for three or four 
years to come our expenditures will continue to decrease. It 
would be cheering, indeed, if we might also hope that, when the 
nation again begins the ascent, it will be up the beautiful slope 
where no sign of war shall come for many long years. If so, 
the ascent will be gradual and gentle, and will mark the course 
of that highway along which the nation shall move upward and 
forever upward in its grand career of prosperity. But let it be 
forever borne in mind that the day which witnesses a new war 
increases more and more heavily than ever the calamities of the 
past. For the burdens of the past arc mainly the burdens of 
war. and a national debt may rise to a point at which the people 
lose heart and grow hopeless. 

Conceding to England all her wealth, all her greatness, and 
all her glory, still one fact in her history is so full of gloomy 
portent that I have never been able to understand how her 
statesmen can look upon it without the pfofoundest alarm. It 
would seem that all hope of paying off, or even of considerably 
reducing her public debt, is extinguished in the minds of her 
people. The last attempt in that direction was made by Mr. 
Gladstone, then Chancellor of the Exchequer. In his speech 
on the budget of 1866, after affirming that nine leading nations 
of Europe had incurred a debt of no less than ;£" 1,5 00,000,000 

^ Reduction since July 31, 1865. * increase over July 31, 1865. 


during the last twenty-five years, and that too in a time of very 
general peace, he said that America was the only great nation 
of the world that was considerably reducing her debt. Then 
referring to the British debt, he said : — 

" At the close of the war against France in 1 815, the British debt was 
;;^902,264,ooo. On the 5th of January, 1854, it was ;£8oo,5 15,000. 
From 1 8 15 to 1854, there were nearly forty years of the most profound 
tranquillity ever known in this country The rate of decrease dur- 
ing that period was ;^2,6o9,ooo per annum I do not believe, if 

we take the whole years of peace since 181 5, that the average reduction 
would reach ;£3 ,000,000. If ever we should become involved in any 
great and protracted war, we must expect to see the debt increase at about 
ten times the annual rate by which we reduce it in time of peace." 

A steady though not extravagant reduction of our debt should 
be the fixed policy of the nation. 

In order to judge more accurately the future of our expendi- 
tures, I ask attention to an analysis of those of the last fiscal 
year. In doing so I will venture a criticism on the form in 
which the records of receipts and expenditures are presented to 
us in the reports of the Secretary of the Treasury. In preparing 
the analysis which I shall present I noticed several items which 
I cannot regard as real expenditures, nor have they ever in fact 
been receipts of the government. In his last report, the Secre- 
tary of the Treasury states that the expenditures for the fis- 
cal year ending June 30, 1871, amounted to $292,177,188.25. 
Now, I call the attention of the committee to several items 
included in that sum, which should not be counted in an 
exhibit of what it costs to run the government. 

For instance, in exchanging coin in the Treasury for out- 
standing bonds, the premium on the coin is set down as revenue, 
and the premium on the bonds purchased is set down as an 
expenditure. Of course the books of the Treasury ought to 
show these transactions in full; but the two amounts should 
not go to swell the receipts and expenditures of the govern- 
ment. The one is not revenue in the ordinary meaning of that 
term, nor is the other expenditure. Yet here, on pages 3 and 5 
of the tables appended to the Secretary's report, is set down 
as premiums on sales of coin nearly $9,000,000, and as pre- 
miums paid on purchased bonds, a little more than $9,000,000. 
The figures presented to the country ought to be the differ- 
ence between the two sums, which difference in this case 


should be set down as part of the expense of managing the 
national debt. That difference, we find, is only $123,954; 
yet, by this record, the government is charged with having 
expended over $9,000,000 for that purpose. 

Here is another item. I understand that when a ship arrives 
in port, and the merchant desires to get his goods at once, he 
makes a deposit at the custom-house of a sum larger than the 
amount of |he duties ; and when the amount to be collected is 
ascertained, the balance of his deposit is refunded. Now, all 
the sums paid back to merchants in this way, sums which never 
belonged to the Treasury, never were revenue in fact or in law, 
are charged as expenditures. On page 4, under the heading of 
** Miscellaneous Expenditures," I find this entry: "Refunding 
excess of deposits for unascertained duties, $1,787,266.59." 

There is another item, which gentlemen who care to follow 
these remarks, will also find on page 4. When imported goods 
are re-exported, a drawback is allowed to the full amount of the 
duty. In many cases the duty does not come into the Treasury 
at all, and of course the cancelling of the duty is not a payment 
out of the Treasury. That sum should neither be reckoned as 
expenses nor as receipts; but yet $978,358 of ** Debentures 
and drawbacks under the customs laws " is set down among the 
expenditures for the last fiscal year. Both this and the preced- 
ing item are set down as a part of the cost of collecting the 
customs revenue. 

Another item of $490,660 for " Refunding customs duties 
erroneously or illegally collected," which appears in the list of 
expenses, manifestly never belonged to the United States. 

There are two similar items in connection with the administra- 
tion of the internal revenue department, amounting to more 
than a million dollars, in which the taxes were erroneously or 
illegally paid and subsequently returned to the citizens who paid 
them ; also, in the Land Office, an item of repayment for land 
erroneously sold. Without troubling the committee with a more 
specific statement of the items, I submit the following table : — 

Items stated in Tables of the Secretary's Report as Expenses of the 
United States for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1871. 

Refunding excess of deposits for unascertained duties $1,787,266.59 

Dcl:)entures and drawbacks under customs laws 978»35S-33 

Refunding duties erroneously or illegally collected 490.659.68 

Amount carried forward §3,256,284.60 


Amount brought forward $3,256,284.60 

Internal revenue allowances and drawbacks 451,203.66 

Refunding taxes erroneously or illegally collected 612,243.30 

Repayment for lands erroneously sold 43*765.49 

Premium on purchase of bonds 9,016,794.74 

Refunding excess of deposits for surveying public lands 22,232.66 


There are three other items which, I am inclined to believe, 
should go into this statement, and which would swell the amount 
to nearly fifteen millions ; but I omit them, because I am not 
perfectly satisfied that they belong here. Now, of course all 
these items appear on both sides of the ledger, and correctly 
represent the transactions. But our taxes and expenses are 
heavy enough without the addition of sums, that apparently, but 
not really, swell the totals on both sides of the account. 

The account of all these transactions should, of course, be 
kept at the Treasury. Doubtless that is the correct method of 
keeping the books ; but is not a just method of expressing to 
the people what their government costs. 

I call the attention of the committee to the account of ex- 
penditures of the War Department on page 5 of the Secretary's 
tables. Gentlemen will see that the total expenditures of that 
Department are set down at $35,799,991.82. Now, in order 
to get that sum. $8,280,093, the proceeds of sales of ordnance, 
was deducted. That is, the War Department sold ordnance 
to the amount of $8,280,093, and used the proceeds to defray 
its ordinary expenses. But the whole of that sum is subtracted 
as though it were not an expenditure of the War Department 
It should manifestly be set down as a charge which the gov- 
ernment has had to pay. It would be proper, of course, to 
account for it on the other side of the ledger as " receipts from 
sales of property," and doubtless it was so entered ; but to cut 
it out of the total expenditures of the year because it came 
from the sale of old property does not correctly state the ex- 
penditures of the Department. 

I make this explanation before presenting a table which I 
shall offer in a moment, and in which, for the sake of com- 
parison, I have in the main followed the Treasury mode of 

In order more clearly to understand the nature of our ex- 
penditures, I have endeavored to analyze more closely some of 


the large groups set down in the Secretary's report. For in- 
stance, I find under the head of " Miscellaneous Expenses" over 
forty million dollars. It will be interesting to know some of the 
larger items of which that sum is composed. I find, also, that 
the War Department appears to be charged with $44,080,084.82 
as the expenditures for the year. This sum contains many large 
amounts that do not properly belong to the expense of main- 
taining our military establishment. For example, an item of 
more than $10,000,000 of bounty and back pay to soldiers of 
the late war, is no part of the cost of maintaining our present 
army; also, $2,379,246 paid to States to reimburse them for 
raising volunteers; also, $4,834,277 for the improvement of 
rivers and harbors ; and several similar items, which it would 
be very unjust to set down as the current expenses of our 
military establishment. 

The accounts should be so grouped as to do justice to all the 
departments of the government. In the following table I have 
followed the Secretary's method of stating the accounts in all 
respects except these. I have omitted the $9,016,794 expendi- 
ture for premium on bonds purchased, and have put down only 
the $123,954, the difference between that sum and the proceeds 
from premium on sales of coin. I have also reckoned the 
$8,280,093, proceeds of sales of ordnance, as money expended 
by the War Department. These changes vary but little the 
total expenditure of the year from the statement of the Secre- 
tary. In order to understand more clearly the nature of the 
expenditures for the last fiscal year, I will distribute the amounts 
into three groups, as follows : — 

I . The Amounts paid during the Year on Account of the late War, 

Interest on the public debt 5125,576,565.93 

Expenses of refunding the national debt 332,173.04 

Difference between premium on bonds purchased and gold sold . 123,954.79 

PenfJons 34,443,894.88 

National asylum for volunteers 296,287.32 

Bounties and back pay to volunteer soldiers 10,656,300.53 

Reimbursing States for expenses of volunteers 2,379,246.72 

Horses and other property lost in service in the late war .... 228,836.75 

Illegal capture of British vessels and cargoes during the late war . 760,728.72 

Return of captured and abandoned property, and expenses of suits . 743,540.09 

Capture of Jefferson Davis 1,611.50 

Total 5i75»543.i40 27 


Amount brought forward >I75»543»'40^ 

2. Present Military and Naval Establishments. 

For the Army, after deducting payments for the late 
war, already mentioned in Group i, and for im- 
provements of rivers and harbors ^25,683,524.25 

For the Navy i%M\fiTj,z\ 

= 4S."4»5S»-46 

- 3. The Civil Service proper^ being all the Expenditures not named 

in the first and second Groups. 

The civil list, being expenses of legislative, judicial, 
and executive officers of the government, not 
including internal revenue and customs depart- 
ments |i5>8o2,599.98 

Foreign intercourse 11604,373.87 

Indians 7*426,99744 

Improvements of rivers and harbors 4,834,277.88 

Public buildings and grounds, including repairs . . 3,286,011.30 
Expenses of mints, coast survey, lighthouses, rev- 
enue-cutter service, and marine hospitals . . 6,134,701.12 
Cost of collecting customs duties, exclusive of 
revenue-cutter service, and building and re- 
pairing custom-houses 10,543,199.60 

Cost of assessing and collecting internal revenue . 9,001,680.71 
Deficiency in revenue of the Post-Office Depart- 
ment, including canning of free mail matter 4,400,000.00 
Expenses of the eighth and ninth censuses . . . Ii955fiii>i3 

Mail steamship service 731,250.00 

Refunding of Massachusetts interest on advances 

for war of 18 1 2-1 5 678,362.41 

Survey of public lands 564,940.76 

Miscellaneous 3>943>243.50 


Grand total 1291,564,44143 

It will be seen that I have placed in the first group all 
those items of expenditure, exclusive of the principal of the 
public debt, which are paid directly for expenses of the 
late war. These items explain themselves, and amount to 
$175,543,140.27. The second group exhibits the current mili- 
tary and naval expenses of the government, excluding ex- 
penditures for the improvement of harbors and rivers, which 
is properly a civil expenditure, and also excluding payments 
for the late war, which belong to another group. In the third 
group I have placed the civil expenditures proper, — all that 
do not belong to the first two groups. From this table it 
appears that, of the expenses during the past year, sixty and 


one half per cent of the whole amount, leaving out the payment 
of the principal of the public debt, was directly for the late 
war; fourteen per cent was for the support of our army and 
navy ; and twenty-five and one half per cent, for all the other 
departments of the government. Or, stated more summarily, 
sixty and one half per cent of all our expenditures last year was 
for the war, and thirty-nine and one half per cent for current 

It will be interesting to compare this analysis with a similar 
analysis of the expenses of the British government for the past 
year. This table, which I have compiled from official reports, 
makes the same three groups for the expenditures of that 
country that I have made for our own. 

British Expenditures for 1871. 

Iteou. Totali. Per cent 

Charges on the public debt (interest) . . ;£ 26,8 26,436 38^ 

Army ;f I3»430.400 

Navy 9»456,64i 

22387,041 33 


All other expenditures 19,986,062 28^ 

Total ;C69,699,539 100 

The interest on the British debt is thirty-eight and one half 
per cent of the whole annual expenditures. The cost of the 
army and navy is thirty-three per cent of the whole. These 
two elements, being the cost of past and prospective wars, make 
seventy-one and one half per cent of the whole expenditure. 
All other expenditures of their government amount to but 
tv^'enty-eight and one half per cent. It is curious to observe that 
their civil establishment costs almost the same per cent of the 
whole expenditures as ours does. But while thirty-three per 
cent of all of their expenditures is for their present military 
and naval establishments, ours cost but fourteen per cent, — 
less than one half of their rate. 

Leaving these general considerations, I call the attention 
of the committee to the appropriations for next year, and to 
the bill under consideration. The Committee on Appropria- 
tions found that a most excellent example had been set last 
year and the year before by their predecessors. In almost 
every case of a continuing expenditure, we found it safe to 
take their appropriations as the basis of our own. We have 


not yet gone over the twelve appropriation bills, which we are 
required to present for the action of this House ; but we have 
gone so nearly over them that I am able to state approximately 
what the result will be. 

Gentlemen will remember that our appropriations are of two 
kinds, permanent and annual. The permanent appropriations 
are those provided for by statute to meet special obligations of 
the government as they arise, and for the payment of which no 
specific act of appropriation is necessary except the law which 
created the obligation. These include interest on the public 
debt; expenditures of national loans; repayment of taxes im- 
properly collected; bounties and back pay to soldiers of the 
late war ; property lost in the military service ; support of the 
national asylums for disabled volunteer soldiers ; marine hospi- 
tals; the Smithsonian Institution, and many other similar ex- 
penditures. The amount of this class of appropriations for the 
next fiscal year will be about nine million dollars less than for 
the current year. The amount of permanent appropriations for 
the fiscal year 1871 was $183,302,243 ; the amount for the fiscal 
year 1872 is estimated at $163,601,861 ; and for the fiscal year 
1873, at $154,961,237. The other class of appropriations are 
those provided for each year in the regular appropriation bills. 
The amount of appropriations of this class made last year for 
the current fiscal year was $162,096,526.60. In the correspond- 
ing bills for the next fiscal year the committee will recommend 
appropriations which amount to about $152,000,000. We hope 
that when these bills shall have become laws the total amount 
appropriated in them will be at least $9,000,000 less than the 
corresponding appropriations for last year. 

I next call attention briefly to the Legislative, Executive, and 
Judicial Bill now before the House. As it stands in the print 
before us it appropriates $17,772,753 for the fiscal year ending 
June 30, 1873. The corresponding bill of last year, which 
made appropriations for the current fiscal year, as it was first 
introduced, appropriated $18,635,840. When it became a law, 
the amount had increased to $20,772,402. I am authorized to 
recommend some increase above the amounts named in the 
print before us, but I hope that increase will not carry the bill 
much, if any, above $18,000,000. The estimates on which this 
bill is based call for the sum of $20,009,418. The committee 
have cut down those estimates, so that the pending bill appro- 




priates $2,336,000 less than the estimates, ancS 

than the amount appropriated for the same ob> •^ gj^:fi. 

Justice to the Committee on Appropriations of last , 

me to say that we claim no merit for the whole am 

reduction. The leading item is a reduction of $1,^. 

le amount appropriated as compensation and milea^, 
ambers of the House of Representatives. We prop 
the reason that this appropriation bill will not 2\ 
Congress but the present This Congress will expire ui* 
4th of March, 1873, and this appropriation is for the year 

iding on the 30th of June following. Under our present laws 
there will be no Congress in session between March and June 
of 1873; there will be no organized House of Representatives 
until the following December. We thought it unnecessary to 
appropriate a large sum of money for a Congress that will not 
assemble within the fiscal year for which these appropriations 
are- made. 

We have made a reduction of $680,000 in the appropriation 
for assessing and collecting internal revenue; and that reduc- 
tion is accomplished by a clause in the bill limiting the compen- 
sation of collectors of revenue to $4,500 a year, which limitation 
I hope will meet the approval of the House. The work of 
collecting the internal revenue has been greatly reduced and 
simplified, and a very general impression prevails that we pay 
too much money for the work. There are many other items of 
reduction which will be noticed as we proceed to consider the 
bill by sections. 

We have added a few clauses to protect the Treasury against 
fraudulent claims, and to cut off some expenditures which have 
grown up as a matter of custom, but which appear to us un- 

I may venture to say for the Committee on Appropriations, 
that, while they have endeavored to follow the line of rigid and 
reasonable economy, they have not forgotten the vastness and 
variety of the functions of the government, whose operations 
should be maintained vigorously and generously. It would be 
a mistake to cut down expenditures in any department, so as to 
cripple any work which must be done, and which can better be 
done at once and ended, by a liberal appropriation, than to 
drag on through a series of years by reason of insufficient 
appropriations. It is better to make a reduction of whole 

VOL. II. 2 


(ups, when that can be done, than merely to cut down indi- 

But I hope that members of the House will bear in mind 
that in many of our civil departments we have large forces of 
employees, which the settlement of war accounts made neces- 
sary, and which, when their work is done, it will require no little 
courage and effort to reduce to a peace basis. In doing so, it 
would be well for us to adopt the sentiment recently expressed 
by Mr. Gladstone, in the House of Commons, that " the true 
way to save is not the cutting down of single items, but a more 
complete organization of our departments, and the determina- 
tion that, for whatever the country spends, it shall have full 
value in labor, talents, or materials." 

In conclusion, Mr. Chairman, I thank the members of the 
House for the patience with which they have listened to these 
dry details, and for the kind attention with which they have 
honored me. 

See the article entitled " National Appropriations and Misappropria- 
tions " for an interesting discussion of that part of this speech in which 
Mr. Garfield considers the future course of national expenditures in the 
United States. 



February 6, 1872. 

On the 15th of January, 1872, Mr. L. W. Perce, of Mississippi, intro- 
duced from the Committee on Education and Labor a bill to establish 
an Educational Fund, the first section of which provided that the net 
proceeds of the public lands should be forever set apart for the educa- 
tion of the people. Other sections provided that one half of such net 
proceeds, at the close of each fiscal year, should be invested in five per 
cent bonds of the United States, the same to constitute a perpetual edu- 
cational fimd ; and that the other half of said proceeds, together with 
the yearly interest on the perpetual endowment^ should be apportioned 
among the States for the purposes of common education, according to 
their population, on their complying with certain terms and conditions 
set forth in the bill. The bill passed the House, February 8, but was 
not considered in the Senate. Mr. Garfield supported the measure in 
this speech. 

** The preservation of the means of knowledge among the lowest ranks is of more impor- 
tinco to the public than all the property of all the rich men in the country." — John Adams, 
l^\^ksj Vol. III. p. 457. 

** That all education should be in the hands of a centralized authority, whether composed of 
derg>' or of philosophers, and be consequently all framed on the same model, and directed to 
the perpetuation of the same type, is a state of things which, instead of becoming more ac- 
ceptable, will assuredly be more repugjnant to mankind with every step of their progress in the 
cniettered exerdse of their highest faculties." — John Stuart Mill, T/tg Positive FAi/os- 
ophy of Augustc Cotnte^ p. 92. 

MR. SPEAKER, — In the few minutes given me, I shall 
address myself to two questions. The first is, What do 
we propose by this bill to give to the cause of education? and 
the second is, How do we propose to give it? Is the gift itself 
wise? and is the mode in which we propose to give it wise? 
Answers to these questions will include all I have to say. 


And, first, we propose, without any change in the 
policy, to give the net proceeds of the public lands 
of education. During the last fifteen years these pi 
amounted to a little more than thirty-three millioi 
one per cent of the entire revenues of the United St 
period. The gift is not great ; but yet, in one view 
it is princely. To dedicate to the cause of educal 
future, a fund which is now one per cent of the 
the United States, is, to my mind, a great though 
glad to give it my indorsement. It seems to me 
act we shall almost copy its prototype in what God 
done on this great continent of ours. In the centre 
est breadth, where otherwise there might be a des 
he has planted a chain of the greatest lakes on the 
the exhalations arising from their pure waters ever 
down in gracious showers, and make that a bloom 
which otherwise might be a desert waste. It is pre 
the proceeds arising from the sale of our wilderness 
the dew, shall fall forever, not upon the lands, bu 
minds of the children of the nation, giving them, for 
come, all the blessing and growth and greatness tha 
can afford. That thought — I say it again — is a 
worthy of a great nation; and this country will ren 
man who formulated it into language, and will ren: 
Congress that made it law. 

The other point is one of even greater practical 
significance just now than the one to which I have re 
is this: How is this great gift to be distributed? W 
to give it, Mr. Speaker, through our American syste 
cation ; and, in giving it, we do not propose to mar ii 
degree the harmony and beauty of that system. Il 
should be compelled to give my voice and vote a 
measure. Here and now, when we are inaugurating t 
I desire to state for myself, and, as I believe, for ma 
around me, that we do here solemnly protest that this 
to destroy or disturb what I venture to call our great 
system of education, but is rather to be used through 
tem, and to be wholly subordinated to it. On this < 
have been compelled heretofore to differ from mai 
of education, here and elsewhere, — many who thii 
for Congress, in certain contingencies, to take char 


system of education in the States. I will not now discuss the 
constitutional aspects of that question ; but I desire to say, that 
all the philosophy of our educational system forbids that we 
should take such a course. 

In the few moments awarded to me, I wish to make an appeal 
for our system as a whole as against any other known to me. 
We look sometimes with great admiration at a government like 
Germany, that can command the light of its education to shine 
everywhere, and can enforce its school laws everywhere, through- 
out the empire. Under our system we do not rejoice in that, 
but we rather rejoice that here two forces play with all their 
vast power in the field of education. The first is that of the 
local municipal authority under our State governments ; there 
is the centre of responsibility ; there is the chief educational 
power ; there can be enforced Luther's great thought of placing 
on magistrates the duty of educating children. 

Luther was the first to perceive that Christian schools were 
an absolute necessity. In a celebrated paper addressed to the 
municipal councillors of the Empire in 1524, he demanded the 
establishment of schools in all the villages of Germany. To tol- 
erate ignorance was, in the energetic language of the reformer, 
to make common cause with the Devil. The father of a family 
who abandoned his children to ignorance was a consummate 
rascal. Addressing the German authorities, he said : — 

" Magistrates, remember that God formally commands you to instnict 
children. This Divine commandment parents have transgressed by in- 
dolence, by lack of intelligence, and because of over work. The duty 
devolves upon you, magistrates, to call fathers to their duty, and to pre- 
vent the return of these evils which we suffer to-day. 

"Give attention to your children; many parents are like ostriches, 
.... content to have laid an ^gg, but caring for it no longer. Now, 
that which constitutes the prosperity of a city is not its treasures, its 
strong walls, its beautiful mansions, and its brilliant decorations. The 
real wealth of a cit}', its safety and its force, is an abundance of citizens, 
instructed, honest, and cultivated. If in our days we rarely meet such 
citizens, whose fault is it, if not yours, magistrates, who have allowed 
our youth to grow up like neglected shrubbery in the forest ? Ignorance 
is more dangerous for a people than the armies of an enemy." 

After quoting this passage from Luther, Laboulaye, in his elo- 
quent essay entitled, L^tat et ses Limites, says : " This famil- 
iar and true eloquence was not lost. There is not a Protestant 


country which has not placed in the front rank of its duties the 
establishment and maintenance of popular schools." ^ 

The duties enjoined in these great utterances of Luther are 
recognized to the fullest extent by the American system. But 
they are recognized as belonging to the authorities of the State, 
the county, the township, the local communities. There these 
obligations may be urged with all the strength of their high 
sanctions ; there may be brought to bear all the patriotism, all 
the morality, all the philanthropy, all the philosophy, of our 
people ; and there it is brought to bear in its noblest and best 

But there is another force even greater than that of the State 
and the local governments. It is the force of private voluntary 
enterprise, — that force which has built up the multitude of pri- 
vate schools, academies, and colleges throughout the United 
States, not always wisely, but always with enthusiasm and won- 
derful energy. I say, therefore, that our local self-government, 
joined to and co-operating with private enterprise, has made the 
American system of education what it is. 

In further illustration of its merits, I beg leave to state a few 
facts of great significance. The governments of Europe are 
now beginning to see that our system is better and more effi- 
cient than theirs. The public mind of England is now, and has 
been for several years, profoundly moved on the subject of 
education. Several commissioners have lately been sent by the 
British government to examine the school systems of other 
countries, and lay before Parliament the results of their investi- 
gations, so as to enable that body to profit by the experience of 
other nations. 

Rev. J. Frazier, one of the assistant commissioners appointed 
for this purpose, visited this country in 1865, and in the follow- 
ing year made his report to Parliament. While he found much 
to criticise in our system of education, he did not withhold his 
expressions of astonishment at the important part which private 
enterprise played in our system. In concluding his report, he 
speaks of the United States as " a nation of which it is no 
flattery or exaggeration to say, that it is, if not the most highly, 
yet certainly the most generally, educated and intelligent peo- 
ple on the globe." 

But a more valuable report was delivered to Parliament in 

^ Pages 204, 205. 


1866, by Matthew Arnold, one of the most cultivated and pro- 
found thinkers of England. He was sent by Parliament to ex- 
amine the schools and universities of the Continent; and after 
visiting all the leading states of Europe, and making himself 
thoroughly familiar with their systems of education, he deliv- 
ered a most searching and able report. In the concluding 
chapter, he discusses the wants of England on the subject of 
education. No one who reads that chapter can fail to admire 
the boldness and power with which he points out the chief ob- 
stacles to popular education in England. He exhibits the 
significant fact^ that, while during the last half-century there has 
been a general transformation in the civil organization of Euro- 
pean governments, England with all her liberty and progress, is 
shackled with what he calls a civil organization, which is, from 
the top to the bottom of it, not modern. He says : — 

" Transform it she must, unless she means to come at last to the same 
sentence as the church of Sardis : * Thou hast a name that thou livest, and 
art dead.* However, on no part of this immense task of transformation 
have I now to touch, except on that part which relates to education. 
But this part, indeed, is the most important of all ; and it is the part 
whose happy accomplishment may render that of all the rest, instead of 
being troubled and difficult, gradual and easy 

" Obligatory instruction is talked of. But what is the capital difficulty 
in the way of obligatory instruction, or indeed any national system of in- 
struction, in this country ? It is this : that the moment the working-class 
of this country have this question of instruction really brought home to 
them, their self-respect will make them demand, like the working-classes 
on the Continent, public schools, and not schools which tiie clergyman, 
or the squire, or the mill-owner, calls * my school.* And what is the capi- 
tal difficulty in the way of giving them public schools ? It is this : that 
the public school for the people must rest upon the municipal organ- 
ization of the country. In France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, the 
public elementary school has, and exists by having, the commune and 
the municipal government of the commune as its foundations, and it 
could not exist without them. But we in England have our munici- 
pal organization still to get; the country districts, with us, have at 
present only the feudal and ecclesiastical organization of the Middle 
Ages, or of France before the Revolution The real prelimi- 
nary to an effective system of popular education is, in fact, to provide 
the country with an effective municipal organization ; and here, then, is at 
the outset an illustration of what I said, that modem societies need a 
civil organization which is modern." ^ 

1 Schools Inquiry Commission, Vol. VT. pp. 624, 625 (London, 186S). 


In November, 1869, a report was made to the Minister of 
Public Instruction, by M. C. Hippeau, a man of great learning, 
and who, in the previous year, had been ordered by the French 
government to visit the United States and make a careful study 
of our system of public education. In summing up his conclu- 
sions at the end of his report, he expresses opinions which are 
remarkable for their boldness, when we remember the char- 
acter of the French government at that time ; and his recom- 
mendations have a most significant application to the principle 
under consideration. I translate his concluding paragraphs : — 

" What impresses me most strongly as the result of this study of public 
instruction in the United States is the admirable power of private enter- 
prise in a country where the citizens early adopted the habit of foreseeing 
their own wants for themselves ; of meeting together and acting in con- 
cert ; of combining their means of action ; of determining the amount of 
pecuniary contribution which they will impose upon themselves, and of 
regulating its use ; and, finally, of choosing administrators who shall ren- 
der them an account of the resources placed at their disposal, and of the 
use which they may make of their authority 

" The marvellous progress made in the United States during the last 
twenty years would have been impossible if the national life, instead of 
being manifested on all points of the surface, had been concentrated in 
a capital, under the pressure of a strongly organized administration, 
which, holding the people under constant tutelage, wholly relieved them 
from the care of thinking and acting by themselves and for themselves. 

" Will France enter upon that path of decentralization which will in- 
fallibly result in giving a scope now unknown to all her vital forces, and 
to the admirable resources which she possesses? In what especially 
concerns public instruction, shall we see her multiplying, as in America, 
those free associations, those generous donations, which will enable us 
to place public instruction on the broadest foundation, and to revive in 
our provinces the old universities that will become more flourishing as 
the citizens shall interest themselves directly in their progress ? .... To 
accomplish this, it will also be necessary that governments, appreciating 
the wants of their epoch, shall with good grace relinquish a part of the 
duties now imposed upon them, and aid the people in supporting the 
rigid rigime of liberty, by enkirging the powers of the municipal councils 
and of the councils of the departments, by favoring associations arid 
public meetings, by opening the freest field to the examination and dis- 
cussion of national interests ; in short, by deserving the eulogy addressed 
by a man of genius to a great minister of France : ' Monseigneur, you 
have labored ten years to make yourself useless.* " * 

1 Instruction Publique aux Etais^Unis^ pp. 340-342 (Paris, 1S70). 



I have made these citations to show how strongly the public 
thought of Europe is moving toward our system of public edu- 
cation, as better and freer than theirs. I do not now discuss 
the broader political question of State and municipal govern- 
ment as contrasted with centralized government. I am consid- 
ering what is the best system of organizing the educational 
work of a nation, not from the political standpoint alone, but 
from the standpoint of the schoolhouse itself. This work of 
public education partakes in a peculiar way of the spirit of the 
human mind in its efforts for culture. The mind must be as 
free from extraneous control as possible, — must work under 
the inspiration of its own desire for knowledge; and, while 
instructors and books are necessary helps, the fullest and high- 
est success must spring from the power of self-help. So the 
best system of education is that which draws its chief support 
from the voluntary effort of the community, from the individual 
efforts of citizens, and from those burdens of taxation which 
they voluntarily impose upon themselves. The assistance pro- 
posed in this bill is to be given through the channels of this our 
American system. The amount proposed is large enough to 
stimulate to greater effort and to general emulation the different 
States and the local school authorities, but not large enough to 
carry the system on, and to weaken all these forces by making 
the friends of education feel that the work is done for them 
without their own effort. Government will be only a help to 
them in the work of education, not a commander. 

In the pending bill, wc disclaim any control over the educa- 
tional system of the States. We only require reports of what 
they do with our bounty; and those reports, brought here and 
published for the information of the people, will spread abroad 
the light, and awaken the enthusiasm and emulation of our 
people. This policy is in harmony with the act of 1867 cre- 
ating the Bureau of Education, whose fruits have already been 
so abundant in good results. I hope that the House will set 
its seal of approval on our American system of education, and 
will adopt this mode of advancing and strengthening it. 



April i6, 1872. 

THE grave has just closed over the mortal rema 
whose name will be forever associated with 
achievements in the domain of discovery and inv 
most wonderful our race has ever known, — wc 
the results accomplished, more wonderful still in th 
employed, most wonderful in the scientific revelati 
preceded and accompanied their development. 

The electro-magnetic telegraph is the embodiment 
say the incarnation — of many centuries of thought 
generations of effort to elicit from Nature one of h- 
mysteries. No one man, no one century, could have 
it It is the child of the human race, — "the heir 
ages." How wonderful were the steps which led to its 

The very name of this telegraphic instrument be; 
of its history, — ** electric, magnetic " ; the first wore 
bit of yellow amber, whose qualities of attraction and 
were discovered by a Grecian philosopher twenty-foui 
ago, and the second from Magnesia, the village of A 
where first was found the loadstone whose touch for 
the needle to the north. These were the earliest formi 
that subtle, all-pervading force revealed itself to mer 
childhood of the race, men stood dumb in the presei 
more terrible manifestations. When it gleamed in tl 
aurora, or shot dusky-red from the clouds, it was the 
of an angry God, before whom mortals quailed in helj 
When the electric light burned blue on the spear-poir 
Roman legions, it was to them and their leaders a pon 


the gods, beckoning to victory. When the phosphorescent 
light, which the sailors still call St. Elmo's fire, hovered on the 
masts and spars of the Roman ship, it was Castor and Pollux, 
twin gods of the sea, guiding the mariner to port, or the beacon 
of an avenging god luring him to death. 

When we consider the startling forms in which this element 
presents itself, it is not surprising that so many centuries 
elapsed before man dared to confront and question its awful 
mystery. And it was fitting that here, in this new, free world, 
the first answer came, revealing to our Franklin the great truth, 
that the lightning of the sky and the electricity of the labora- 
tory are one, — that in the simple electric toy are embodied all 
the mysteries of the thunderbolt. 

Until near the beginning of the present century, the only 
known method of producing electricity was by friction. But 
the discoveries of Galvani in 1789, and of Volta in 1800, re- 
sulted in the production of electricity by the chemical action of 
acids upon metals, and gave to the world the galvanic battery, 
the voltaic pile, and the electric current. This was the first 
step in that path of modern discovery which led to the tele- 
graph. But further discoveries were necessary to make the 
telegraph possible. The next great step was taken by Oersted, 
the Swedish Professor, who, in 1819-20, made the discovery 
that the needle, when placed near the galvanic battery, was 
deflected at right angles to the electric current In the four 
modest pages in which Oersted announced this discovery to 
the world, the science of electro-magnetism was founded. As 
Franklin had exhibited the relation between lightning and the 
electric fluid, so Oersted exhibited the relation between magnet- 
ism and electricity. From 1820 to 1825 his discovery was fur- 
ther developed by Davy and Sturgeon of England, and Arago 
and Ampere of France. They found that, by sending a current 
of electricity through a wire coiled around a piece of soft iron, 
the iron became a magnet while the current was passing, and 
ceased to be a magnet when the current was broken. This 
gave an intermittent power. — a power to grapple and to let go, 
at the will of the electrician. Ampere suggested that a tele- 
graph was possible by applying this power to a needle. In 
1825 Barlow of England made experiments to verify this sug- 
gestion of the telegraph, and pronounced it impracticable on 
the ground that the batteries then used would not send the fluid 


through even two hundred feet of wire without a sensible dimi- 
nution of its force. In 1831 Joseph Henry, now Secretary of 
the Smithsonian Institution, then a Professor at Albany, New 
York, as the result of numerous experiments, discovered a 
method by which he produced a battery of such intensity as to 
overcome the difficulty spoken of by Barlow in 1825. By 
means of this discovery, he magnetized soft iron at a great 
distance from the battery, pointed out the fact that a telegraph 
was possible, and actually rang a bell by means of the electro- 
magnet acting on a long wire. This was the last step in the 
series of great discoveries which preceded the invention of the 

When these discoveries ended, the work of the inventor be- 
gan. It was in 1832, the year that succeded the last of these 
great discoveries, when Professor Morse first turned his thoughts 
to that work whose triumph is the triumph of his race. He had 
devoted twenty-two years of his manhood to the study and 
practice of art. He had sat at the feet of the great masters of 
Europe, and had already, by his own works of art, achieved a 
noble name ; and he now turned to the grander work of in- 
terpreting to the world that subtle and mysterious element 
with which the thinkers of the human race had so long been 

I cannot here recount the story of that long struggle through 
which he passed to the accomplishment of his great result; 
how he struggled with poverty, with the vast difficulties of the 
subject itself, with the unfaith, the indifference, and the con- 
tempt which almost everywhere confronted him; how, at the 
very moment of his triumph, he was on the verge of despair, 
when in this very Capitol his project met the jeers of almost a 
majority of the national legislature. But when has despair 
yielded to such a triumph? When has such a morning risen 
on such a night? To all cavillers and doubters this instrument 
and its language are a triumphant answer. That chainless 
spirit which fills the immensity of space with its invisible pres- 
ence, — which dwells in the blaze of the sun, follows the path 
of the farthest star, and courses the depths of earth and sea, — 
that mighty spirit has at last yielded to the human will. It has 
entered a body prepared for its dwelling. It has found a voice 
through which it speaks to the human ear. It has taken its 
place as the humble servant of man ; and through all coming 


time its work will be associated with the name and fame of 
Samuel F. B. Morse. 

Were there no other proof of the present value of his work, 
these alone would suffice, — that throughout the world, what- 
ever the language or the dialect of those who use it, the tele- 
graph speaks a language whose first element is the alphabet of 
Morse; and in 1869, of the sixteen thousand telegraphic instru- 
ments used on the lines of Europe, thirteen thousand were of 
the pattern invented by him. The future of this great achieve- 
ment can be measured by no known standards. Morse gave us 
the instrument and the alphabet. The world is only beginning 
to spell out the lesson, whose meaning the future will read. 



July 31, 1872. 

Towards the close of President Grant's first administration, a consid- 
erable disaffection appeared in the Republican party. This culminated 
in the nomination for the Presidency, at Cincinnati, in June, 1872, of 
Horace Greeley, by a so-called Liberal-Republican Convention, and also 
by the National Democratic Convention at Baltimore in July following. 
The Republicans renominated President Grant. The following is the 
speech in which Mr. Garfield opened the campaign, delivered before the 
Convention of the Nineteenth Congressional District, which had just 
nominated him for the sixth time to the House of Representatives. 

I should do injustice to myself if I did not in the strongest 
terms express my gratitude and my gratification for this renewed 
proof of your confidence and approval in unanimously nominat- 
ing me to represent this district in the Forty-third Congress. 
Ten years ago, while I was with the army in the field, you first 
chose me as your Representative in Congress. The period 
which has elapsed since then has been filled with events of the 
most important and startling character. The problems which 
have confronted the national legislature have been of more than 
ordinary difficulty; but through them all I have enjoyed the 
benefit of your counsels and have felt the strength of your con- 
stant support. You have never asked me to be the mere echo 
of the party voice, or the unquestioning follower of party pol- 
icy. Few Congressional districts have a nobler record than this. 
With no city in its limits large enough to attract those elements 
which corrupt and poison the fountains of political power; with 
a population equally removed from distressing poverty and from 


that excess of wealth which sometimes brings with it a disre- 
gard of the rights and interests of others ; with a high average 
of intelligence, and habits of reading and independently judg- 
ing of public affairs, — the people of this district, for more than 
half a century, have held and expressed bold and independent 
opinions on all public questions. During that whole period 
they have supported and defended their representative in main- 
taining an independent position in the national legislature, and 
whenever he has acted with honest and intelligent courage in 
the interests of truth, they have generously sustained him, even 
when he has differed from them in minor matters of opinion 
and policy. Another circumstance is also worthy of notice. 
There is in this district no one great interest which overshadows 
all others, and compels its representative to become the special 
advocate of one interest to the neglect of all others. This is a 
national constituency. That course of legislation and administra- 
tion which will best subserve the interests of the whole country 
will also best subserve the interests of the people of this district. 

You can hardly realize what confidence and strength it gives 
a representative to know that he has such a district behind 
him. It enables him to aid in maintaining for the national 
legislature that position of independent judgment which holds 
undisturbed the balance of power between the co-ordinate 
branches of the government. It is not in accordance with the 
spirit of our government that representatives should be chosen 
on the merits or demerits of the President, or of any party 
leader, nor should an Executive be chosen to share his powers 
with members of Congress. It was the anxious care of the 
founders of this republic that the co-ordinate branches of the 
government should each, as far as possible, be independent 
in its own sphere. The independence of the legislature de- 
pends upon the independent action of its members, and that in 
turn upon the independent character and spirit of the people 
who choose them. The discussion of this topic leads mc to 
consider a subject which at the present moment occupies the 
front rank in national questions, and on which much will be 
said on both sides during the coming campaign ; I allude to the 
reform in our civil service. 

No man whose vision is not utterly blinded by partisan feel- 
ing will deny that our civil service has fallen far below the high 
place which the founders intended it should occupy; and it is 


no doubt true that the doctrine of " spoils," introduced in the 
days of Jackson, has been the chief motive power in dishonor- 
ing and degrading that service. But a careful study of the sub- 
' ject has led me to conclude that at the present moment another 
element is at work even more dangerous than the doctrine of 
" spoils " ; it is the tendency of the different departments of the 
government to interfere with the independence of each other. 
While it is made the constitutional duty of the President to rec- 
ommend to Congress such measures as he considers for the 
public good, it was never intended that he should dictate to 
Congress the policy of the government, nor use the power of 
his great office to force upon Congress his own peculiar views 
of legislation. The tendency to do this, beginning in the days 
of Jackson, had a steady growth until its culmination in the ad- 
ministration of Andrew Johnson, when adherence to his policy 
of reconstruction was made the test of party fealty and the 
ground of all Executive favors. The effort to impeach Johnson 
was really an effort to protect Congress against the unlawful en- 
croachments of Executive power. Curiously enough, since 1867 
a strong tendency has been developed in the opposite direction, 
and I do not hesitate to declare that we are now in greater dan- 
ger of disturbing the balance and distribution of powers, by the 
interference of Congress with the Executive office, than we were 
in the days of Johnson from Executive usurpation. 

By the provisions of the Civil Tenure Act the President cannot 
remove an officer even for the worst of crimes ; he can only sus- 
pend him until the Senate approves or disapproves the nomina- 
tion of a successor. This has placed in the hands of the Senate 
so much control over Executive appointments that it has at last 
resulted in a custom, now rigidly followed by the Senate, not 
to confirm a nomination for an office in any State unless the 
Administration Senator from that State approves. This sub- 
stantially subjects the President to the dictation of the Senators 
and Representatives in whose State he wishes to make an ap- 
pointment. Thus his action is virtually no longer free ; his ap- 
pointments must be the result of compromise with the Senators 
and members ; and yet, under our theory of government, the 
President is held responsible for the character of the officers he 
appoints. Bad appointments have been made under the pres- 
ent Administration, but most of them have been made under 
the conditions I have named. 


Mr. Greeley insists that the first step toward civil service re- 
form is the adoption of the one-term principle, by which the 
prospect of a re-election shall be removed from the Executive ; 
but if I am right in the views already expressed, the first step 
toward reform lies farther back, and must be the restoration 
of that independence to the legislative and executive depart- 
ments respectively which the Constitution requires. Let it once 
be fixed and understood that neither Senators nor Represent- 
atives, singly or combined, can dictate appointments to the 
Executive, and then again, as in former days, the whole re- 
sponsibility of the selection of officers will justly rest upon the 
President and the heads of departments. No time should be 
lost in inaugurating this reform. 

Many citizens and a few Senators and Representatives have 
sustained the President in his attempts to reform the civil ser- 
vice. He has undertaken to establish a body of rules by which 
selections for office shall be made on the ground of personal 
merit and fitness for the public service. But many members 
of Congress of both parties have denounced the attempt, and 
loaded it with all the odium they could command. I have 
done what I could to sustain the President in this effort; and 
though something has been accomplished, yet I am satisfied 
that no plan of competitive examination or advisory boards can 
cure the evil until the Executive is left free and untrammelled in 
the exercise of his constitutional powers, and is held to a strict 
responsibility for the result of his action. During the debate 
on the appropriation to carry into effect his plan of civil ser- 
vice reform, I called on the President in company with my 
colleague, Hon. A. F. Perry, of Cincinnati, and had a full con- 
versation on the subject. The President expressed an earnest 
desire to better the condition of the service, but it was easy to 
see that with him the chief obstacles in the way of success were 
those to which I have alluded. No mere change of adminis- 
tration will solve the difficulty. Mr. Greeley himself has lately 
said that in the case of his election he shall make no differ- 
ence between his Republican and Democratic supporters in his 
appointments to office, thus tacitly admitting that the offices 
of the government are to be for his supporters. That is no 
civil service reform. 

Turning from these general reflections, I now call attention 
to the more striking features of the campaign now opening. If 



we were to judge alone by the platforms of the opposing par- 
ties, we might be in doubt whether this campaign is a con- 
test for principles or a mere struggle between men. The battle 
has already begun in a spirit of unusual violence, and bids fair 
to be as fierce and disreputable in the spirit in which it is car- 
ried on as any we have ever witnessed. Neither candidate 
ought to be elected by force of the abuse heaped upon him by 
hfs adversaries; but the issues deserve to be discussed with 
manly fairness and justice. Unless the Democratic Convention 
soon to meet in Louisville shall put another candidate in the 
field, the choice for the Presidency will lie between General 
Grant and Horace Greeley. The relative merits of the two 
men, the spirit, character, and opinions of the parties repre- 
sented by each, and the dangers to be apprehended from the 
accession to power of one or the other of those parties, are fair 
matters of discussion. No doubt each candidate is open to 
criticisms more or less severe. No doubt each party can be 
justly charged with errors of judgment and faults of conduct 
and of principle. All these are legitimate topics of debate, and 
must be considered in making an intelligent choice. For myself 
I prefer General Grant and the party which has put him in 
nomination, to Horace Greeley and the party which supports 
him. I shall indicate briefly the reasons for this preference. 

The first is found in the past career of the two parties. 
While it is true that no party can stand on its record alone, 
yet it is also true that its record shows the spirit and character 
of the organization, and enables us to judge what it will proba- 
bly do in the future. The most ardent defender of the Demo- 
cratic party will not deny that during the last twelve years the 
history of that party has been a record of repeated failures ; of 
doctrines strenuously advocated, but soon after exploded and 
abandoned ; of measures recommended to the nation but re- 
jected as unworthy of adoption, and now no longer finding any 
considerable number of supporters even in the party itself. It 
will perhaps be said by some defender of the new movement 
that the party now in the field against the Republican party is 
no longer the Democracy which we have fought for the last 
twelve years. They may say in the exuberance of their hopes 
for the future, as Senator Schurz said in his St. Louis speech a 
few days since : " The Democratic party no longer recognizes 
itself. .... It has been swallowed up by the new era 


No party can do what the Democratic party has done without 

dropping its historical identity It cannot return to its 

old grooves ; that is impossible ; the first attempt would shiver 
it to atoms." This view of the brilliant Senator from Missouri 
would be possible if the Democratic party had, by any act or 
admission of its own, consented to dissolve its organization. 
But let it not be forgotten that this very month the Democracy 
assembled in convention at Baltimore, with a full body of dele- 
gates from each State and from each Congressional district of 
the Union ; that the call for this convention was strictly to the 
Democracy, — a call to a convention to which none but Demo- 
crats were invited ; that its organization and proceedings were 
regular in every respect ; that in the adoption of a platform it 
had before it all the time-honored principles of Democracy, 
from the days of Jackson down, from which to select ; and the 
fact that it adopted a platform made by its late enemies, which 
contradicted every important doctrine put forth by the party for 
the last ten years, proves nothing more than that it has chosen 
to try new doctrines in the hope of better success. Let it not 
be forgotten that in nominating a candidate it had the whole 
field of Democratic statesmen from which to choose. The fact 
that it chose for its candidate a man who has been for forty 
years its most conspicuous enemy is by no means an acknowl- 
edgment that it has dissolved its organization, but only that 
it has chosen to wear a mask, and put on the uniform of its 
enemy as a stratagem of war. Even if twenty per cent of the 
supporters of Horace Greeley should be those who have 
hitherto acted with the Republican party, the significant fact 
will still remain that eighty out of every hundred of his sup- 
porters will be Democrats of the old school, acting through an 
unbroken organization, and inevitably controlling the policy of 
the new party. Twenty-seven hundred thousand Democrats 
voted for the Democratic candidate at the Presidential election 
of 1868 ; and it will be vain and idle for a few, or even for many 
thousand Republicans, to hope that they can leaven this enor- 
mous lump and convert it, from what they know it has so long 
been, into an earnest, unselfish, pure, and patriotic party. If 
the new movement had been preceded by an actual formal dis- 
solution of the Democracy, and the formation of a new party, 
there might have been reasonable grounds for expecting a bet- 
ter result But I fear that our Republican friends who have 


gone into it will find themselves like those ancient travellers 
who entered the cave of the sorcerer hoping to seize and sub- 
jugate him, but were themselves robbed and enslaved by the 
giants of the cave. I ask these Republicans whether they have 
full confidence that the great Democratic party, whose alliance 
they now seek, really intends, as it declares in its platform, to 
" recognize the equality of all men before the law, without re- 
gard to race or color," and to ** resist any reopening of ques- 
tions settled by the late amendments to the Constitution." 
What do they see in the past conduct of that party to give 
them any such assurance? Do they believe that that party, 
which has long assailed the sanctity of our public credit, will now 
insist that it " shall be sacredly maintained " ? Do they really 
believe that the party, so many of whose members followed Mr. 
Pendleton in his theory of greenback expansion, will now insist 
on a speedy return to specie payments ? If they believe all these 
things, as promised in the platform, I can only say that they 
will have no difficulty in believing that the age of miracles is 
about to return. Let the old members of the Liberty party, 
who for forty years have struggled through evil and through 
good report for the enfranchisement of the colored race, but 
who now join the new movement, call upon their colored fellow- 
citizens north and south to trust their new-found liberties to 
the hands of that great party from whom it has been wrenched 
after the struggle of a bloody war; and when they have con- 
vinced the colored man that safety lies in that new fold, I shall 
begin to have faith in the movement. You may promise the 
colored man your support and the support of the new party, 
but can you keep your contract ? 

Before leaving this review of the past I will say I rejoice that 
the Democracy has at last, in words at least, abandoned its old 
doctrines of disunion and obstruction, even though it still main- 
tains its organization. I rejoice that the principles for which 
the nation has struggled so long and so earnestly are at last 
admitted even by their most strenuous opposers. So much at 
least is gained. 

From the career of the Democracy I turn to the record of 
the Republican party. Its most violent enemy will not deny 
that during the last twelve years the Republican party has 
done a great and noble work in defending the life of the na- 
tion and the rights of its citizens. Nor will it be denied that 


every great and good achievement in the interests of the Union 
and of personal liberty has been effected against the most 
strenuous opposition of the Democratic party. Each gain for 
the interest of the nation and the liberty of its citizens has been 
preceded by successful battle with the Democracy. Problems 
of unusual difficulty growing out of the war have confronted 
the Republican party at every step of its career. Here and 
there great mistakes have been committed, but on the whole its 
work has been nobly done, and the condition of the nation has 
been greatly bettered in consequence of its efforts. 

If we consider the history of the party during President Grant's 
administration only, still it may truthfully be said that there has 
been much good work done, and much progress made. In the 
matter of our foreign relations, while the policy in reference to 
San Domingo may justly be criticised, and while the attempt 
to acquire that island was, in my judgment, unwise, yet on the 
whole the general results of our foreign policy have been fairly 
good. The treaty with Great Britain, though made under cir- 
cumstances of great difficulty, is now reaching a satisfactory 
conclusion, honorable alike to both nations, and in its mode of 
settlement a credit to human nature. 

The Indian policy of the government, judged by any fair 
rules of criticism, has been a commendable success. Formerly 
the Indians were scattered through the Western territories in 
predatory bands, alarming the settlers and making the frontiers 
everywhere unsafe. During the last three years eighty thou- 
sand of these roaming Indians have been gathered upon reser- 
vations, making in all one hundred and thirty thousand that are 
now thus located and are supporting themselves without aid 
from the government. One hundred and thirteen thousand 
more are now at the various agencies, supported in part by 
the government. Fifty or sixty agents, representatives of the 
churches of the country, together with a force of several hun- 
dred blacksmiths, carpenters, farmers, millers, and teachers, are 
now aiding these tribes in the work of becoming civilized and 
self-supporting. Only fifty thousand Indians are still roam- 
ing, and during the coming year nearly all of them will have 
been placed on reservations or at agencies where they can 
choose between civilization, with its accompanying blessings, 
and that barbarism which will lead them to final extinction. 

But perhaps no department of administration furnishes so 


complete and searching a test of the wisdom or fo. 
ernment as the management of financial affairs, 
is a great machine, and no motion can be made, no 
ercised, which does not cost money. This motive 
be supplied by taxation. The taxes must be colle 
moneys expended by the executive department of 
ment. There can scarcely be conceived a form of 
ruption which will not exhibit itself sooner or later : 
expenditures. Here, then, is the place to look for 
tration. While I do not assert that the financial ac 
of the government is free from faults, I do assert, 
most confidence, that on the whole the taxes have 
the revenues collected, and the public moneys exj 
conspicuous wisdom and honesty. 

While the burdens of taxation laid upon the pe< 
sequence of the war have been very heavy, there 
theless been a steady and constant reduction of 
since the close of the war. Since July, 1866, taxei 
abolished which were producing at the time of 1 
$310,000,000. The internal revenue system, which 
the war, the burdens of which rested on almost every 
industry, has now been so reduced by the act of Ji 
preceding acts, that all forms of internal taxation ar 
ished except taxes on liquors, tobacco, banks and h 
stamps on patent medicines and on checks. The fo: 
the late law leaves the system will go far toward ab« 
bureau. While this great reduction in taxation has 
on, the expenditures of the government have dimii 
they are now more than a hundred million dollars les 
were when the present administration came into { 
during the same time the principal of the public del 
reduced by the sum of $334,000,000. 

It has been my duty, as chairman of the Coi 
Appropriations, to study carefully during the past 
Congress the expenditures in the various departm< 
government. This committee consists of Republican 
ocratic members, and I know I shall not be succes 
tradicted when I say that the government is now ma 
marked and rigid economy. From a careful anal 
expenditures for the fiscal year ending June 30, \i 
that of the $291,500,000 expended during the year $1 


was for expenditures directly growing out of the late war, leav- 
ing but $116,000,000 for all other expenditures of the govern- 
ment ; and even of this amount a considerable portion resulted 
indirectly from the war. During the fiscal year just closed the 
total expenditures were $227,500,000, being nearly fifteen mil- 
lions less than for the previous year. During the last four years 
the public credit has been greatly enhanced both at home and 
abroad, and on the whole it can be said, with entire justice, that 
the industrial interests of the country have been steadily and 
rapidly improving. 

On this point I cite the testimony of Hon. James Brooks, a 
4eading Democrat in the House of Representatives. On the 
31st of January last, speaking in the House of the public credit, 
he said : " The action of Congress upon this subject has lifted 
the public credit to an enviable position throughout the whole 
world. Just before the close of the war our government was 
borrowing money at twelve per cent. After the peace the rate 
of interest rapidly fell to seven per cent. In 1869 it fell to 
six per cent; in 1870, to five and a half per cent; and before 
the end of 1871 it fell to a small fraction more than five per 
cent The interest upon the public debt has been rapidly going 
down. I said in this House two years ago, .... that in my 
judgment, such was the rising credit of the country, there would 
be no difficulty, if time could only be given, in negotiating the 
whole public debt of this country at the rate of four per cent per 
annum." * This is honorable and weighty testimony. I insist 
that these facts cannot be explained away, nor are they consist- 
ent with any allegation of general mismanagement and corrup- 
tion. They are honorable to the Congress and the Executive to 
whose care the financial affairs of the country were committed. 

With this review of the career and organization of the two 
parties, as they now present themselves before the country, I am 
warranted in affirming that it is safe and wise to trust the Re- 
publican organization, and that it is both dangerous and unwise 
to commit the fortunes of the country to the Democracy and 
its new allies. 

In the second place, I find a reason for my choice in the char- 
acter and supporters of the two candidates. That both ara 
entitled to much credit for what they have done, and that both 
have faults, must be admitted. No amount of detraction can 

^ Congressional Globe, January 31, 1872, p. 746. 


cover up or obscure the fact that General Grant rendered to the 
country great and illustrious service during its struggle for the 
Union. No amount of hostile criticism can obliterate the fact 
that he persevered and exhibited high and masterly qualities as 
a leader in the field, and that his personal services were of in- 
estimable value to the nation. That his administration of the 
government during the last four years has been on the whole 
successful, is a fact I have already fairly established ; that he 
has made mistakes in administration will not be denied. There 
have been unfortunate divisions and antagonisms among his 
supporters, and much of this antagonism has assumed the form 
of personal hostility to him. For these reasons many thoughtful 
Republicans were opposed to his renomination. But it is unde- 
niably true that the great mass of the Republican party believed 
it wisest to continue him at the head of the government. They 
know his record in war, and his conduct in peace ; and they 
believe that a continuation of his administration will result in a 
. continuation of the general prosperity of the country. His four 
years of experience have enabled him better to understand the 
wants of the country and the duties of his office, and we have 
the authority of Mr. Greeley for saying that Grant will be far 
better qualified for his great office in 1872 than he was in 1868. 
Few Americans have been assailed with more partisan and per- 
sonal malignity, and few, if any, have rendered the nation such 
illustrious service. Let any fair man strike a balance between 
his merits and his demerits, and then compare the result with a 
similar estimate of Horace Greeley ! 

Let us consider the comparison. In doing so I make no 
assault on Mr. Greeley. I will in no wise detract from the 
great service he has rendered to the cause of liberty, nor from 
the fame he has earned. He has established a great public 
journal, and has placed himself almost if not quite at the head 
of his profession. But have these achievements fitted him for 
the Presidency of the United States? Horace Greeley at the 
head of the Tribune, as the popular advocate of equal rights, is 
one thing ; Horace Greeley at the head of the Democratic party, 
to conduct the affairs of .the nation, is quite another. In that 
position we should see the head and face of an old friend rest- 
ing on the shoulders and body of an old and relentless enemy, 
guided by his heart, life, and activity. It is idle to suppose that 
any man can conduct an administration with any success unless 


he does it in general and substantial concurrence with the opin- 
ions and aspirations of those who elected him. If Mr. Greeley 
continues to be, in any considerable degree, the man he has 
been hitherto, in case of his election, the gap between himself 
and the great body of his supporters will yawn wider thanx^ 
Erebus, and in it will be swallowed all peace and harmony of 
administration. On the first day of his term he will be con- 
fronted by a hungry throng of office-seekers, who will demand 
the place of every man now in office who did not support 
him as a candidate. If he declares that political differences of 
opinion shall be no cause for removal, he begins a battle with 
overwhelming odds against him. If he yields, no result is pos- 
sible but complete submission to the Democracy. It has been 
urged, with some truth, that Grant has made bad appointments; 
I ask if there is anything in Mr. Greeley's knowledge, or in the 
kind of mefl with whom he has long associated in the politics of 
New York, that promises better results? Let his present Tam- 
many supporters answer. 

But even if he should be able to mould and guide in accord- 
ance with his own views the discordant party which elects him,^ 
what sort of guidance will that be ? What public man in the ^ 
United States has been less stable and constant in his opin- 
ions and judgment than Horace Greeley? Who does not know 
that during the great struggle for the national life, when the 
country needed the steady and persistent bending of every 
energy to the one great work of attacking secession and subdu- 
ing rebellion, while Grant was resisting the one and fighting the 
other with undeviating purpose, Horace Greeley was passing 
through all the changes of opinion, from his early recommen- 
dation to let the South go, to his fierce and reckless " On to 
Richmond " cry, — from his resistance to the re-election of 
Lincoln, to his negotiations with the Rebel agents at Niagara? 
What business man can review the financial opinions of Mr. 
Greeley, as vehemently advocated during the last six years, 
without a feeling of apprehension and alarm at even the remote 
prospect of such opinions being entertained by the chief Exec- 
utive of the nation, with the opportunity for enforcing them in 
the practical administration of the government? Doubtless a 
majority of our citizens desire a resumption of specie payments, 
brought about by a safe and careful policy; but who can con- 
template without alarm the possibility of seeing a notice that the 


Secretary has resumed specie payments put up some morning 
over the door of the Treasury, and that the fifty millions of sur- 
plus gold in the Treasury marks the extent of his resources 
for maintaining that resumption ? Who does not see growing 
out of such a policy a most sudden and violent shock to busi- 
ness, and measureless financial disaster? Yet that very policy 
has been most fiercely advocated by Mr. Greeley for the last 
four years. He has exhibited extremes of opinion on many 
other national topics, which would be most unfortunate if exhib- 
ited in the chief Executive of the nation. 

The higher the office, the greater the opportunity to impress 
the personal peculiarities of the incumbent upon the adminis- 
tration. Who would be willing to run the risk of having Mr. 
Greeley's various and conflicting opinions forced into the cur- 
rent of public affairs, with the passionate and extreme vehe- 
mence so characteristic of the man? It is not safe* top try fan- 
tastic experiments with so delicate and complicated a machine 
as the government of the United States. Considering his past, it 
is the latest of modern wonders that he could consent to be the 
candidate of the Democratic party, — a wonder only equalled 
by the fact that they have accepted him. 

' What has occurred during the last ten months to change the 
opinion Mr. Greeley so pointedly expressed in this place in his 
speech of September 25, 1871 ? He then said : " I saw the other 
day a suggestion that I would probably be the best Democratic 
candidate to run against General Grant for President. I thought 
that the most absurd thing I ever heard of. If the Democratic 
party were called upon to decide between Grant and myself, 
I know that their regard for what they must call principle 
would induce them to vote against me. Why, I am a decided 
enemy of that pdrty, * even in its most respectable aspects ' ! " 
Where is that hostility now? Has he surrendered for the sake 
of office, or have the Democracy become converts to his opin- 
ions? You will remember that during his visit to this valley 
he strongly advocated the doctrine of protection ; you know to 
what an extreme he has always pushed that doctrine ; you will 
remember, for example, that he has frequently said that, if he 
could have his way, he would put a tariff* on pig iron of one 
hundred dollars a ton. Where now are all these eloquent pleas 
for the principle of protection? He himself was a signer of the 
Missouri call for the Cincinnati Convention, a call issued chiefly 


for the purpose of advocating the doctrine of free trade in its 
fullest and broadest sense. Has he surrendered that opinion to 
the Democracy, or have they surrendered to him ? or have the 
Revenue Reformers been swallowed up by their bitterest ene- 
mies? They tell us the subject is relegated to the Congressional 
districts. So is every other topic, with equal propriety. But 
how will Mr. Greeley, if elected, treat it in his messages to Con- 
gress, where he is bound to recommend such measures as he 
believes the good of the country requires? 

Democrats of the late Rebel States tell us they are for Gree- 
ley in spite of his doctrines of abolition and his financial theo- 
ries, because he is in favor of universal amnesty, and is their ' 
friend. For myself, I honor Mr. Greeley for his advocacy of 
universal amnesty, which I have several times voted for in the 
House of Representatives. But what would he do for the South 
were he the President? It is said that some of the Southern 
State governments have been badly and corruptly managed; 
and so they have. But how can the President interfere to rem- 
edy that evil? Congress, not the President, can remove politi- 
cal disabilities ; and there are not now five hundred men in the 
nation who rest under the disabilities of the Fourteenth Amend- 
ment. What change for the better do the people of the South 
expect from Mr. Greeley? Is it the Ku-Klux law of which they 
complain? There has been no more vehement defender of that 
law in all the land than Mr. Greeley. I remember that when I, 
in company with twenty-five other Republicans, successfully 
opposed the more extreme features of that bill as it was first 
introduced into the House, we were denounced by the editor 
of the Tribune, who declared that we had shorn the bill of its 
most valuable provisions. Do they expect him to aid in repeal- 
ing the election law, which they call the bayonet law? Let 
them not forget that the editor of the Tribune complained that 
the law was confined to Federal elections, and expressed the 
wish that it had been extended to State and local elections as 
well. Do they wish him to become the champion of State 
rights, and to resist the supposed centralizing tendencies of the 
Republican party? Do they not know that he has been more 
nearly consistent in his advocacy and defence of that tendency, 
than in any other doctrine he has ever professed ? 

From this strange and unnatural combination between Repub- 
licans and Democrats it must result that one of the parties will 


be outrageously cheated, unless it be true that both have agreed 
to abandon all principles, all convictions, all aims and objects, 
except the simple one to win office, — to gain power. 

In advocating the claims of the Republican party to the con- 
fidence of the nation, I do not by any means assert that we 
should always stand by and defend the party to which we may 
belong. It frequently becomes the duty of a citizen to aban- 
don and help destroy a party that has outlived its usefulness, 
or become unworthy of confidence. But will any man who ap- 
proves of the great achievements of the Republican party say 
that its work is ended, — that in the presence of its old enemy 
it should dissolve and leave the Democracy master of the field 
and custodian of all the precious results of the conflict? To 
save what has been gained, to preserve and perpetuate the fruits 
of past effort, is only next in importance to the work of winning 
the first victory. 

It is alleged that corruptions have crept into the Republican 
party, and this also is true. But where has any party shown a 
more determined purpose to discover and correct its own faults, 
and what party has more relentlessly pursued and punished its 
unfaithful servants? At the last session of Congress, the House 
of Representatives never once failed to order a searching in- 
vestigation into any department of the government when any 
member, either Republican or Democrat, demanded it. In one 
instance, some Republican members of the Senate seemed to 
oppose the formation of an investigating committee; but the 
mistake was promptly rectified, and the investigation was or- 
dered. So long as the people demand of their representatives 
the free and fearless discharge of their duties, there need be no 
corruption of long continuance. 
// * The virulent attacks that are now made on General Grant are 
mainly of a personal character. Nothing in his own life, or the 
life of his family, escapes the assaults of those who have joined 
in the conspiracy against the Republican party. His son and 
daughter are travelling in Europe, and for this their father is 
assailed and denounced. The President is fond of a good horse, 
and Senator Sumner quotes from Plato to show that a good ruler 
must be a ruler, not of horses, but of men. Amid the Babel of 
talk which fills the world he is a good listener. For this he is 
called the "grim sphinx of the White House," who silently 
plots the ruin of his country. One day he is denounced for 


being absent from the capital and leaving public affairs to take 
care of themselves, and the next he is scheming to grasp all 
power and convert the republic into a consolidated despotism. 
He has accepted presents, and just now there is a special out- 
burst of virtuous indignation in consequence. Doubtless he 
would have saved himself from embarrassment if he had not 
done so. Doubtless the practice of John Quincy Adams and 
General Thomas was the wiser one. But the critics of General 
Grant know that he has accepted no presents since he became 
President, and that, as a successful general accepting from a 
people whom he had so signally served testimonials of their 
gratitude, he did no more than was done by McClellan, and 
Sherman, and Farragut, and Meade, — no more than has been 
done by the great modern and ancient captains of other nations. 
They charge that he has converted the Executive mansion into 
a military camp. It is not a thing unusual for a President to / 
detail officers of the army to perform confidential duties in his/ 
office. It has been rather the rule than the exception. I was 
last week reading Lewis and Clarke's record of their explora- 
tions, from 1804 to 1807, from the mouth of the Missouri River 
to the Pacific Ocean, and on the first page of that report it is 
stated that " Captain Lewis, of the United States army, and 
private secretary of the President," was placed in charge of that yv 
expedition. The secretaries of whom complaint is made were \ 
members of General Grant's staff in the field for many years, and 
they are now serving their old chief at the Executive mansion, 
without compensation other than their pay as army officers. 

The great majority of criticisms made on the President are of 
this character. The people will consider them at their true 
value, and will balance them against the great facts that relate 
to the general course of public affairs and the welfare and pros- 
perity of the country. 

In view of all these considerations, past and present, I beljeve 
the thoughtful men of the country will stand by the Republican 
partyand the President, who have achieved so much for the na- 
tion, and under whose administration of public affairs the coun- 
try has enjoyed, and is still enjoying, a high degree of prosperity. 
Again, gentlemen of the convention, thanking you for the com- 
pliment of this nomination, I accept the trust with the purpose of 
exercising on all public questions that same independent judg- 
ment which you have long allowed to your representatives. 




July 2, 1873. 

CIETIES, — On many accounts I should have preferred 
to address you on some theme directly connected with college 
work. It would have been pleasant to turn away from the busy, 
noisy world, and spend an hour with you in the peaceful shades 
of academic life. But you are soon to appear upon a stage 
where powerful forces, old and new, are acting with unwonted 
vigor, and producing results worthy of your profoundest study. 
A thousand fields await and invite you ; but be your choice 
what it may, you will be responsible citizens of your country, 
and the glory of its successes and the disgrace of its failures 
will in large measure rest upon you. When the last of the 
three classes now in college shall graduate, the republic will 
have completed its first century; and so quick and active are 
the elements which now determine the fate of nations, that it 
may depend upon you and your generation alone whether our 
institutions shall survive a second century. 

Few men can now lead isolated lives. In a country like ours 
the relations of the state to the citizen are vitally intimate and 
reciprocal. The permanence and prosperity of the state make 
the success and prosperity of the citizen possible, while the 
worthy and honorable success of the citizen strengthens and 
adorns the state. Whatever career, therefore, you may follow, 
you cannot be indifferent to the fortunes of your country, I 
propose, then, as the theme for this hour. The Future of the 
Republic. May we rationally hope that its life and success 


•will be permanent? or has it entered upon a career of brilliant, 
but brief mortality? When our fathers shaped and fashioned it, 
and breathed into its beautiful form the inspiration of their great 
lives, did they utter a vain and empty boast when they pro- 
nounced upon it the loving benediction, Esto perpettiaf 

What do men mean when they predict immortality of any- 
thing earthly? 

The first Napoleon was one day walking through the galleries 
of the Louvre, filled with the wonders of art which he had stolen 
from the conquered capitals of Europe. As he passed the mar- 
vellous picture of Peter Martyr, one of the seven masterpieces 
of the world, he overheard an enthusiastic artist exclaim, " Im- 
mortal work ! " Turning quickly upon his heel, the Emperor 
asked, " What is the average life of an oil painting?" "Five 
hundred years," answered the artist. " Immortal ! " the Corsi- 
can scornfully repeated as he passed on, thinking, doubtless, of 
Austerlitz and Marengo. Six years ago the wonderful picture 
of Peter Martyr was dissolved in the flames of a burning church 
at Venice, and, like Austerlitz, is now only a memory and a 

When the great lyric poet of Rome ventured to predict im- 
mortality for his works, he could think of no higher human 
symbol of immortality than the Eternal City and her institu- 
tions, crowded with seven centuries of glorious growth ; and so 
Horace declared that his verses would be remembered as long 
as the high-priest of Apollo and the silent vestal virgin should 
climb the steps of the Capitol. Fifteen centuries ago the sacred 
fires of Vesta went out, never to be rekindled. For a thousand 
years Apollo has had no shrine, no priest, no worshipper, on the 
earth. The steps of the Capitol, and the temples that crowned 
the Capitoline hill, live only in dreams. And to-day the anti- 
quary digs and disputes among the ruins, and is unable to tell 
us where the great citadel of Rome stood. ^ 

There is much in the history of dead empires to sadden and 
discourage our hope for the permanence of any human institu- 
tion. But a deeper study reveals the fact, that nations have 
perished only when their institutions have ceased to be service- 
able to the human race, — when their faith has become an empty 
form, and the destruction of the old is indispensable to the 
growth of the new. Growth is better than permanence, and 

1 Hare, Walks in Rome, Chap. III. 


permanent growth is better than all. Our faith is large in time ; 
and we 

" Doubt not through the ages one increasing purpose runs. 
And the thoughts of men are widened with the process of the suns." 

It matters little what may be the forms of national institu- 
tions, if the life, freedom, and growth of society are secured. 
To save the life of a nation it is sometimes necessary to discard 
the old form and make room for the new growth ; for 

'* Old decays but foster new creations ; 
Bones and ashes feed the golden com ; 
Fresh elixirs wander every moment 
Down the veins through which the live part feeds its child, the live unborn." 

There are two classes of forces whose action and reaction 
determine the condition of a nation, the forces of repression 
and expression. The one acts from without, — limits, curbs, re- 
strains; the other acts from within, — expands, enlarges, propels. 
Constitutional forms, statutory limitations, conservative cus- 
toms, belong to the first ; the free play of individual life, opinion, 
and action, belong to the second. If these forces be happily 
balanced, if there be a wise conservation and correlation of both, 
a nation may enjoy the double blessing of progress and perma- 
nence. How are these forces acting upon our nation at the 
present time? Our success has been so great hitherto, we have 
passed safely through so many perils which at the time seemed 
almost fatal, that we may assume that the republic will continue 
to live and prosper unless it shall be assailed by dangers which 
outnumber and outweigh the elements of its strength. It is idle 
to boast of what we are, and what we are to be, unless at the 
same time we compare our strength with the magnitude of our 
dangers. What, then, are our dangers, and how can they be 
conquered ? 

In the first place, our great dangers are not from without. 
Separated from all great rivals by broad seas, and protected from 
foreign complications by the wise policy introduced by Wash- 
ington and now become traditional, — the policy of non-inter- 
ference, — nothing but reckless and gratuitous folly on our part 
can lead us into serious peril from abroad. Our republic is the 
undisputed master of its geographical position. It is the central 
figure in what must soon be the grandest of all theatres of na- 
tional effort Civilization has always clustered about some sea 
as the centre and arena of its activity. For many centuries the 


Mediterranean was the historic sea, around which were grouped 
the great nations of classic antiquity. The grander forces of 
modern history required a larger theatre of operations ; and the 
race turned remorselessly away from the scenes and monuments 
of its ancient glory. It changed the front of Europe to the 
westward, and made the Atlantic and its shores the scene and 
centre of the new and grander activities. The Atlantic is still 
the great historic sea. Even in its sunken wrecks might be read 
the records of modem nations. On its western shore, our re- 
public holds the chief place of power. But there is still a grander 
sea ; and who shall say that the Pacific will not yet become the 
great historic sea of the future, — the vast amphitheatre around 
which shall sit in majesty and power the two Americas, Asia, 
Africa, and the chief colonies of Europe? In that august as- 
semblage of nations, the United States will be " easily chief," if 
she fill worthily the measure of her high destiny, — if she do 
not abdicate die seat which Providence and Nature have as- 
signed her. 

I repeat it, then, our great dangers are not from without. 
We do not live by the consent of any other nation. We must 
look within to find the elements of danger. The first and most 
obvious of these is territorial expansion, overgrowth ; the danger 
that we shall break in pieces by our own weight Expansion 
as a source of weakness has been the commonplace of histo- 
rians and publicists for many centuries ; and its truth has found 
many striking illustrations in the experience of mankind. But 
we have fair ground for believing that new conditions and new 
forces have nearly, if not wholly, removed the ground of this 
danger. Distance, estrangement, isolation, have been overcome 
by the recent amazing growth in the means of intercommuni- 
cation. For political and industrial purposes, California and 
Massachusetts are nearer neighbors to-day than were Philadel- 
phia and Boston in the days of the Revolution. The people of 
all our thirty-seven States know more of each other's aftairs 
than the Vermonter knew of the Virginian fifty years ago. It 
was distance, isolation, ignorance of separate parts, that broke 
the cohesive force of the great empires of antiquity. Public 
affairs are now more public, and private less private, than in 
former ages. The railroad, the telegraph, and the press have 
virtually brought our citizens, with their opinions and industries, 
face to face ; and they live almost in each other's sight. The 

VOL." II. 4 


leading political, social, and industrial events of this day will be 
reported and discussed at more than two millions of American 
breakfast-tables to-morrow morning. Public opinion is kept in 
constant exercise and training. It keeps itself constantly in 
hand, — ready to approve, condemn, and command. It may 
be wrong; it may be tyrannical; but it is all-pervading, and 
constitutes more than ever before a strong bond of nationality. 

Fortunately, our greatest line of extension is from east to 
west, and our pathway along the parallels of latitude is not too 
broad for safety, for it lies within the zone of national develop- 
ments. The Gulf of Mexico is our special providence on the 
south. Perhaps it would be more fortunate for us if the north- 
ern shore of that gulf stretched westward to the Pacific. If our 
territory embraced the tropics, the sun would be our enemy; 
the stars in their courses would fight against us. Now these 
celestial forces are our friends, and help to make us one. Let 
us hope that the republic will be content to maintain this 
friendly alliance. 

Our northern boundary is not yet wholly surveyed. Perhaps 
our neighbors across the lakes will some day take a hint from 
nature, and save themselves and us the discomfort of an artifi- 
cial boundary. Restrained within our present southern limits, 
with a population more homogeneous than that of any other 
great nation, and with a wonderful power to absorb and assim- 
ilate to our own type the European races that come among us, 
we have but little reason to fear that we shall be broken up by 
divided interests and internal feuds because of our great terri- 
torial extent. 

After all, territory is but the body of a nation. The people 
who inhabit its hills and its valleys are its soul, its spirit, its life. 
In them dwells its hope of immortality. Among them, if any- 
where, are to be found its chief elements of destruction. And 
this leads me to consider an alleged danger to our institutions 
which, if well founded, would be radical and fatal. I refer 
to the allegation that universal suffrage, as the supreme source 
of political authority, is a fatal mistake. When I hear this 
proposition urged, I feel, as most Americans doubtless do, that 
it is a kind of moral treason to listen to it, and that to enter- 
tain it would be political atheism. That the consent of the 
governed is the only true source of national authority, and is 
the safest and firmest foundation on which to build a govern- 


ment, is the most fundamental axiom of our political faith. But 
we must not forget that a majority — perhaps a large majority 
— of the thinkers, writers, and statesmen of Christendom de- 
clare that our axiom is no axiom, — indeed, is not true, but is a 
delusion, a snare, and a fatal heresy. 

At the risk of offending our American pride, I shall quote 
what is probably the most formidable indictment of the dem- 
ocratic principle ever penned. It was written by the late Lord 
Macaulay, a profound student of society and government, and 
a man who, on most subjects, entertained broad and liberal 
views. Millions of Americans have read and admired his His- 
tory and Essays ; but only a few thousands have read his brief 
but remarkable letter of 1857, in which he discusses the future 
of our government We are so confident of our position that 
we seldom care to debate it. The letter was addressed to the 
Hon. H. S. Randall, of New York, in acknowledgment of a 
copy of that gentleman's Life of Jefferson. I quote it almost 

"Holly Lodge, Kensington, London, 
May 23, 1857. 

" Dear Sir, .... You are surprised to leara that I have not a high 
opinion of Mr. Jefferson, and I am surprised at your surprise. I am 
certain that I never wrote a line, and that I never, in Parliament, in conver- 
sation, or even on the hustings, — a place where it is the fashioA to court 
the populace, — uttered a word indicating an opinion that the supreme 
authority in a state ought to be intrusted to the majority of citizens told 
by the head ; in other words, to the poorest and most ignorant part of 
society. I have long been convinced that institutions purely democratic 
must, sooner or later, destroy liberty or civilization, or both. In Europe, 
where the population is dense, the effect of such institutions would be 
almost instantaneous. What happened lately in France is an example. 
In 1848, a pure democracy was established there. During a short time 
there was reason to expect a general spoliation, a national bankruptcy, a 
new partition of the soil, a maximum of prices, a ruinous load of taxa- 
tion laid on the rich for the purpose of supporting the poor in idleness. 
Such a system would, in twenty years, have made France as poor and 
barbarous as the France of the Carlovingians. Happily, the danger was 
averted ; and now there is a despotism, a silent tribune, an enslaved 
press. Liberty is gone, but civilization has been saved. I have not the 
smallest doubt that, if we had a purely democratic government here, the 
effect would be the same. Either the poor would plunder the rich, and 
civilization would perish, or order and prosperity would be saved by a 


strong military government, and liberty would perish. You may think 
that your country enjoys an exemption from these evils. I will frankly 
own to you that I am of a very different opinion. Your fate I believe to 
be certain, though it is deferred by a physical cause. As long as you 
have a boundless extent of fertile and unoccupied land, your laboring 
population will be far more at ease than the laboring population of the 
Old World ; and while that is the case, the Jefferson politics may con- 
tinue to exist without causing any fatal calamity. But the time will 
come when New England will be as thickly peopled as Old England. 
Wages will be as low, and will fluctuate as much with you as with us. 
You will have your Manchesters and Birminghams. And in those Man- 
chesters and Birminghams hundreds of thousands of artisans will assur- 
edly be sometimes out of work. Then your institutions will be fairly 
brought to the test. Distress everywhere makes the laborer mutinous 
and discontented, and inclines him to listen with eagerness to agitators, 
who tell him that it is a monstrous iniquity that one man should have a 
million while another cannot get a full meal. In bad years there is 
plenty of grumbling here, and sometimes a little rioting. But it matters 
little, for here the sufferers are not the rulers. The supreme power is in 
the hands of a class, numerous indeed, but select, — of an educated class, 
— of a class which is, and knows itself to be, deeply interested in the 
security of property, and the maintenance of order. Accordingly, the 
malcontents are firmly, yet gently, restrained. The bad time is got over 
without robbing the wealthy to relieve the indigent. The springs of 
national prosperity soon begin to flow again : work is plentiful, wages 
rise, and all is tranquillity and cheerfulness. I have seen England pass 
three or four times through such critical seasons as I have described. 
Through such seasons the United States will have to pass in the course 
of the next century, if not of this. How will you pass through them? 
I heartily wish you a good deliverance. But my reason and my wishes 
are at war, and I cannot help foreboding the worst. It is quite plain 
that your government will never be able to restrain a distressed and dis- 
contented majority. For with you the majority is the government, and 
has the rich, who are always a minority, absolutely at its mercy. The day 
will come when, in the State of New York, a multitude of people, none of 
whom has had more than half a breakfast, or expects to have more than 
half a dinner, will choose a legislature. Is it possible to doubt what sort 
of a legislature will be chosen ? On one side is a statesman preaching pa- 
tience, respect for vested rights, strict observance of public fSsdth ; on the 
other is a demagogue ranting about the tyranny of capitalists and usurers, 
and asking why anybody should be permitted to drink champagne, and 
to ride in a carriage, while thousands of honest folks are in want of ne- 
cessaries. Which of the two candidates is likely to be preferred by a 
workingman who hears his children cry for more bread? I seriously 


apprehend that you will, in some such season of adversity as I have de- 
scribed, do things which will prevent prosperity from returning ; that you 
will act like people who should, in a year of scarcity, devour all the seed 
com, and thus make the next a year, not of scarcity, but of absolute fam- 
ine. There will be, I fear, spoliation. The spoliation will increase the 
distress. The distress will produce fresh spoliation. There is nothing 
to stop you. Your Constitution is all sail and no anchor. As I said 
before, when a society has entered on this downward progress, either 
civilization or liberty must perish. Either some Caesar or Napoleon will 
seize the reins of government with a strong hand, or your republic will 
be as fearfully plundered and laid waste by barbarians in the twentieth 
century, as tiie Roman empire was in the fifth, — with this difference, 
that the Huns and Vandals who ravaged the Roman empire came from 
witliout, and that your Huns and Vandals will have been engendered 
within your country by your own institutions. 

*' Thinking thus, of course I cannot reckon Jefferson among the ben- 
efiaurtors of mankind." ^ 

Certainly this letter contains food for serious thought ; and it 
would be idle to deny that the writer has pointed out what may 
become serious dangers in our future. But the evils he com- 
plains of are by no means confined to democratic governments, 
nor do they, in the main, grow out of popular suffrage. If they 
do, England herself has taken a dangerous step since Macaulay 
wrote. 'Ten years after the date of this letter she extended the 
suffrage to eight hundred thousand of her wprkingmen, a class 
hitherto ignored in politics. And still later we have extended 
it to an ignorant and lately enslaved population of more than four 
millions. Whether for weal or for woe, Enlarged suffrage is the 
tendency of all modern nations. I venture the declaration, that 
this opinion of Macaulay's is vulnerable on several grounds. 

In the first place, it is based upon a belief from which few if 
any British writers have been able to emancipate themselves ; 
namely, the belief that mankind are born into permanent classes, 
and that in the main they must live, work, and die in the fixed 
class or condition in which they are born. It is hardly possible 
for a man reared in an aristocracy like that of England to elim- 
inate this conviction from his mind, for the British empire is 
built upon it Their theory of national stability is, that there 
must be a permanent class who shall hold in their own hands 
so much of the wealth, the privilege, and the political power of 

' The copy here followed is that found in the Appendix to Harpers* edition of 
"The Life and Letters of Lord Macaulay," by G. O. Trevelyan. 



the kingdom, that they can compel the admiration and obe- 
dience of all other classes. At several periods of English his- 
tory there have been serious encroachments upon this doctrine. 
But, on the whole, British phlegm has held to it sturdily, and 
still maintains it. The great voiceless class of day-laborers have 
made but little headway against the doctrine. The editor of 
a leading British magazine told me, a few years ago, that in 
twenty-five years of observation he had never known a mere 
farm-laborer in England to rise above his class. Some, he said, 
had done so in manufactures, some in trade, but in mere farm 
labor not one. The government of a country where such a 
fact is possible has much to answer for. 
■^ We deny the justice or the necessity of keeping ninety-nine 
of the population in perpetual poverty and obscurity, in order 
that the hundredth may be rich and powerful enough to hold 
the ninety-nine in subjection. Where such permanent classes 
exist, the conflict of which Macaulay speaks is inevitable. And 
why? Not that men are inclined to fight the class above them, 
but that they fight against any artificial barrier which makes it 
impossible for them to enter that higher class and become a 
part of it. We point to the fact, that in this country there are 
t no classes in the British sense of that word, — no impassable 
\ barriers of caste. Now that slavery is abolished, we can truly 
say that through our political society there run no fixed hori- 
zontal strata above which none can pass. Our society resem- 
bles rather the waves of the ocean, whose every drop may 
move freely among its fellows, and may rise toward the light 
until it flashes on the crest of the highest wave. 

Again, in depicting the dangers of universal suffrage, Macaulay 
leaves wholly out of the account the great counterbalancing force 
of universal education. He contemplates a government deliv- 
ered over to a vast multitude of ignorant, vicious men, who have 
learned no self-control, who have never comprehended the 
national life, and who wield the ballot solely for personal and 
selfish ends. If this were indeed the necessary condition of 
democratic communities, it would be difficult, perhaps impos- 
sible, to escape the logic of Macaulay's letter. And here is a 
real peril, — the danger that we shall rely upon the mere extent 
of the suffrage as a national safeguard. We cannot safely, even 
for a moment, lose sight of the qtuxlity of the suffrage, which is 
more important than its quantity. 


We are apt to be deluded into false security by political 
catchwords, devised to flatter rather than instruct. We have 
happily escaped the dogma of the divine right of kings. Let 
us not fall into the equally pernicious error that multitude is 
divine because it is a multitude. The words of our great pub- 
licist, the late Dr. Lieber, whose faith in republican liberty was 
undoubted, should never be forgotten. In discussing the doc- 
trine of Vox populi, vox Deiy he said, " Woe to the country in 
which political hypocrisy first calls the people almighty, then 
teaches that the voice of the people is divine, then pretends to 
take a mere clamor for the true voice of the people, and lastly 
gets up the desired clamor." ^ This sentence ought to be read 
in every political caucus. It would make an interesting and 
significant preamble to most of our political platforms. It is 
only when the people speak truth and justice that their voice 
can be called " the voice of God." Our faith in the demo- 
cratic principle rests upon the belief that intelligent men will 
see that their highest political good is in liberty, regulated by 
just and equal laws; and that, in the distribution of political 
power, it is safe to follow the maxim, " Each for all, and all 
for each." We confront the dangers of suffrage by the bless- 
ings of universal education. We believe that the strength of 
the state is the aggregate strength of its individual citizens; 
and that the suffrage is the link that binds, in a bond of mutual 
interest and responsibility, the fortunes of the citizen to the for- 
tunes of the state. Hence, as popular suffrage is the broadest 
base, so, when coupled with intelligence and virtue, it becomes 
the strongest, the most enduring base on which to build the su- 
perstructure of government. 

There is another class of dangers, unlike any we have yet 
considered, — dangers engendered by civilization itself, and 
made formidable by the very forces which man is employing as 
the most effective means of bettering his condition and advan- 
cing civilization. I select the railway problem as an example of 
this class. I can do but little more than to state the question, 
and call your attention to its daily increasing magnitude. 

We are so involved in the events and movements of society, 
that we do not stop to realize — what is undeniably true — that, 
during the last forty years, all modern societies have entered 
upon a period of change, more marked, more pervading, more 

1 Civil Liberty and Sclf-Govcrnment, (Philadelphia, 1859,) p. 415. 


radical, than any that has occurred during the last three hun- 
dred years. In saying this, I do not forget our own political 
and military history, nor the French Revolution of 1789. The 
changes now taking place have been wrought and are being 
wrought mainly, almost wholly, by a single mechanical contriv- 
ance, the steam locomotive. Imagine, if you can, what would 
happen if to-morrow morning the railway locomotive, and its 
corollary, the telegraph, were blotted from the earth. At first 
thought, it would seem impossible to get on at all with the fee- 
ble substitutes that we should be compelled to adopt in place of 
these great forces. To what humble proportions mankind would 
be compelled to scale down the great enterprises they are now 
pushing forward with such ease! But were this calamity to 
happen, we should simply be placed where we were forty-three 
years ago. 

There are many persons in this audience who well remember 
the day when Andrew Jackson, after four weeks of toilsome 
travel from his home in Tennessee, reached Washington, and 
took his first oath of office as President of the United States. 
That was in 1829. The railway locomotive did not then exist 
During that year Henry Clay was struggling to make his name 
immortal by linking it with the then vast project of building 
a national road — a turnpike — from the national capital to the 
banks of the Mississippi. In the autumn of that very year, 
George Stephenson ran his first experimental locomotive, the 
" Rocket," from Manchester to Liverpool and back. The rum- 
ble of its wheels, redoubled a million times, is echoing to-day on 
every continent In 1870 there were about 125,000 miles of rail- 
road on the two hemispheres, constructed at a cost of little less 
than $100,000 per mile, and representing nearly $12,000,000,000 
of invested capital. A Parliamentary commission found that 
during the year 1866 the railway cars of Great Britain carried an 
average of 850,000 passengers per day; and during that year 
the work done by their 8,125 locomotives would have required 
for its performance three and a half millions of horses and 
nearly two millions of men. 

What have our people done for the locomotive, and what has 
it done for us? To the United States, with its vast territorial 
areas, the railroad was a vital necessity. Talleyrand once said 
to the first Napoleon, that ** the United States was a giant with- 
out bones." Since that time our gristle has been rapidly hard- 


ening. Sixty-seven thousand miles of iron track is a tolerable 
skeleton even for a giant When this new power appeared, our 
people everywhere felt the necessity of setting it to work ; and 
individuals, cities, States, and the nation lavished their resources 
without stint to make a pathway for it. Fortunes were sunk 
under almost every mile of our earlier roads, in the effort to 
capture and utilize this new power. If the State did not head 
the subscription for a new road, it usually came to the rescue 
before the work was completed. The lands given by the States 
and by the national government to aid in the construction of 
railroads reach an aggregate of nearly 250,000,000 acres, — a 
territory equal to nine times the area of Ohio. With these vast 
resources we have made paths for the steam giant ; and to-day 
nearly a quarter of a million of our business and working men 
are in his immediate service. Such a power naturally attracts 
to its enterprises the brightest and strongest intellects. It would 
be difficult to find, in any other profession, so large a propor- 
tion of men possessed of a high order of business ability as 
those who construct, manage, and operate our railroads. 

The American people have done much for the locomotive, 
and it has done much for them. We have already seen that it 
has greatly reduced, if not wholly destroyed, the danger that the 
government will fall to pieces by its own weight. The railroad 
has not only brought our people and their industries together, 
but it has carried civilization into the wilderness, has built up 
States and Territories which but for its power would have re- 
mained deserts for a century to come. ** Abroad and at home," 
as Mr. Adams tersely declares, ** it has equally nationalized 
people, and cosmopolized nations." It has played a most im- 
portant part in the recent movement for the unification and 
preservation of nations. It enabled us to do what the old mili- 
tary science had pronounced impossible, to conquer a revolted 
population of eleven millions, occupying a territory one fifth as 
large as the continent of Europe. In Mr. Adams's able essay 
on the railway system, he has pointed out some of the remark- 
able achievements of the railroad in our recent history. For 
example, a single railroad track enabled Sherman to maintain 
eighty thousand fighting men three hundred miles beyond his 
base of supplies. Another line, in a space of seven days, 
brought a reinforcement of two fully equipped army corps 
around a circuit of thirteen hundred miles, to strengthen an 



army at a threatened point. Mr. Adams calls attention to the 
still more striking fact, that, for ten years past, — with fifteen 
hundred millions of our indebtedness abroad, an enormous debt 
at home, unparalleled public expenditures, and a depreciated 
paper currency, — in defiance of all past experience, we have 
been steadily conquering our difficulties, have escaped the pre- 
dicted collapse, and are promptly meeting our engagements; 
because, through energetic railroad development, the country 
has been producing real wealth as no country has produced 
it before. Finally, he sums up the case by declaring that the 
locomotive has ** dragged the country through its difficulties in 
spite of itself." ^ It is unnecessary to particularize further ; for 
whether there be peace or war, society cannot exist in its pres- 
ent order without the railroad. 

I have noticed briefly what American society has done for the 
locomotive, and what it has done for society. Let us now in- 
quire what it is doing and is likely to do to society. 

The national Constitution and the constitutions of most of 
the States were formed before the locomotive existed ; and of 
course no special provisions were made for its control. Are 
our institutions strong enough to stand the shock and strain 
of this new force? A government made for the kingdom of 
Liliput might fail to handle the forces of Brobdingnag. It can- 
not have escaped your attention, that all the forces of society, 
new and old, are now acting with unusual vigor in all depart- 
ments of life. They crowd your college course with new studies 
each year. They challenge you with new problems. They as- 
sail you with new and imperious demands. Your culture must 
be more thorough, and the scope and amount of your knowl- * 
edge far greater, to-day, than the graduate of forty years ago 
required to keep abreast of the age. Much more knowledge 
and culture are now required for every profession. A recent 
English writer of great thoughtfulness and power has said that 
the demands of our civilization are too great for the stamina 
and endurance of our people ; that " our race is overweighted, 
and appears likely to be drudged into degeneracy by demands 
that exceed its powers."^ But interesting and important as that 
reflection is, in relation to individual life, the rapid development 
of our material interests raises another question even more mo- 

1 Chapters of Erie, etc., (Boston, 1871,) pp. 352, 353. 

* Francis Galton, Hereditary Genius, (New York, 1871,) p. 345. 


mentous. May it not be true that the new forces are also over- 
weighting the strength of our social and political institutions? 
The editor of the Nation declares the simple truth when in a 
recent issue he says: "The locomotive is coming in contact 
with the framework of our institutions. In this country of sim- 
ple government, the most powerful centralizing force which 
civilization has yet produced has, within the next score years, 
yet to assume its relations to that political machinery which is 
to control and regulate it." 

The railway problem would have been much easier of solu- 
tion if its difficulties had been understood in the beginning. 
But we have waited until the child has become a giant. We 
attempted to mount a columbiad on a carriage whose strength 
was only sufficient to stand the recoil of a twelve-pound shot. 
The danger to be apprehended does not arise from the railroad 
merely, but from its combination with the piece of legal ma- 
chinery known as the private corporation. 

In discussing this theme we must not make an indiscriminate 
attack upon corporations. The corporation, limited to its proper 
uses, is one of the most valuable of the many useful creations of 
law. One class of corporations has played a most important 
and conspicuous part in securing the liberties of mankind. It 
was the municipal corporations — the free cities and chartered 
towns — that preserved and developed the spirit of freedom 
during the darkness of the Middle Ages, and powerfully 
aided in the overthrow of the feudal system. The charters of 
London and of the lesser cities and towns of England made the 
most effective resistance to the tyranny of Charles II. and the 
judicial savagery of Jeffreys. The spirit of the free town and 
the chartered colony taught our own fathers how to win their 
independence. The New England township was the political 
unit which formed the basis of most of our States. This class 
of corporations has been most useful, and almost always safe, 
because they have been kept constantly within the control of 
the community for whose benefit they were created.^ The States 
have never surrendered the power of amending their charters. 
The early English law writers classified all corporations as pub- 
lic or private ; calling those of a municipal character public or 
quasi public, and all others private corporations. The latter 

^ The recent phases of municipal government in our large cities should, per- 
haps, lead me to modify this statement. 


class, at that time, and indeed long afterward, consisted chiefly 
of such organizations as hospitals, colleges, and other charities 
supported by private benefactions. The ownership of the prop- 
erty, not the object of the corporation, was made the basis of 
classification. If the property was owned wholly by the state 
or the municipality, the corporation was public; if owned 
wholly or partly by individual citizens, the corporation was 
private. From this distinction have arisen the legal difficul- 
ties attending any attempt, on the part of the community, to 
control the great business corporations. Under the name of 
private corporations, organizations have grown up, not for the 
perpetuation of a great charity, like a college or hospital, nor 
to enable a company of citizens more conveniently to carry on 
a private industry; but corporations unknown to the early law 
writers have arisen, and to them have been committed the vast 
powers of the railroad and the telegraph, the great instruments 
by which modern communities live, move, and have their being. 

Since the dawn of history, the great thoroughfares have be- 
longed to the people, — have been known as the king's highways 
or the public highways, and have been open to the free use of 
all, on payment of a small, uniform tax or toll to keep them in 
repair. But now the most perfect, and by far the most impor- 
tant roads known to mankind are owned and managed as private 
property, by a comparatively small number of private citizens. 
In all its uses, the railroad is the most public of all our roads ; 
and in all the objects to which its work relates, the railway cor- 
poration is as public as any organization can be. But, in the 
start, it was labelled a private corporation ; and, so far as its 
legal status is concerned, it is now grouped with eleemosynary 
institutions and private charities, and enjoys similar immunities 
and exemptions. It remains to be seen how long the commu- 
nity will suffer itself to be the victim of an abstract definition. 

It will be readily conceded that a corporation is strictly and 
really private, when it is authorized to catry on such a business 
as a private citizen may carry on. But when the state has del- 
egated to a corporation the sovereign right of eminent domain, 
— the right to take from the private citizen, without his con- 
sent, a portion of his real estate, to build its structure across 
farm, garden, and lawn, into and through, over or under the 
blocks, squares, streets, churches, and dwellings of incorporated 
cities and towns, across navigable rivers, and over and along 



public highways, — it requires a stretch of the common imagi- 
nation, and much refinement and subtlety of the law, to main- 
tain the old fiction that such an organization is not a public 

In the famous Dartmouth College Case it was decided, in 1819, 
by the Supreme Court of the United States, that the charter of 
Dartmouth College is a contract between the State and the cor- 
poration, which the legislature cannot alter without the consent 
of the corporation ; and that any such alteration is void, being 
in conflict with that clause of the Constitution of the United 
States which forbids a State to make any law impairing the 
obligation of contracts. This decision has stood for more than 
half a century as a monument of judicial learning, and the great 
safeguard of vested rights. But Chief Justice Marshall pro- 
nounced this decision ten years before the steam railway was 
bom, and it is clear he did not contemplate the class of corpora- 
tions that have since come into being. But, year by year, the 
doctrine of that case has been extended to the whole class of 
private corporations, including railroad and telegraph com- 
panies. But few of the States, in their early charters to rail- 
roads, reserved any effectual control of the operations of the 
corporations they created. In many instances, like that of the 
Illinois Central charter, the right to amend was not reserved. 
In most States each legislature has narrowed and abridged the 
powers of its successors, and enlarged the powers of the cor- 
porations ; and these, by the strong grip of the law, and in the 
name of private property and vested rights, hold fast all they 
have received. By these means, not only the corporations, but 
the vast railroad and telegraph systems, have virtually passed 
from the control of the State. It is painfully evident, from the 
experience of the last few years, that the efforts of the States to 
regulate their railroads have amounted to but little more than 
feeble annoyance. In many cases the corporations have treated 
such efforts as impertinent intermeddling, and have brushed 
away legislative restrictions as easily as Gulliver broke the cords 
with which the Liliputians attempted to bind him. In these 
contests the corporations have become conscious of their 
strength, and have entered upon the work of controlling the 
States. Already they have captured several of the oldest and 
strongest of them; and these discrowned sovereigns now fol- 
low in chains the triumphal chariot of their conquerors. And 


this does not imply that merely the officers and representa- 
tives of States have been subjected to the railways, but that 
the corporations have grasped the sources and fountains of 
power, and control the choice of both officers and representa- 

The private corporation has another great advantage over 
the municipal corporation. The jurisdiction of the latter is 
confined to its own territory; but by the recent constructions 
and devices of the law, a private corporation, though it has no 
soul, no conscience, and can commit no crime, is yet a citizen 
of the State that creates it, and can make and execute contracts 
with individuals and corporations of other States. Thus, the 
way has been opened to those vast consolidations which have 
placed the control of the whole system in the hands of a few, 
and have developed the Charlemagnes and the Caesars of our 
internal commerce. 

In addition to these external conquests, the great managers 
have in many cases grasped the private property of the cor- 
porations themselves; and the stocks which represent the in- 
vestment have become mere counters in the great gambling- 
houses of Wall Street, where the daily ebb and flow of the 
stock market sweeps and tosses the business and trade of the 

If these corporations were in reality private corporations, 
transacting only private business, the community might per- 
haps stand by in wonder and amazement at their achievements ; 
but a great and vital public interest is involved in the system, — 
an interest which affects the social and political organization in 
a thousand ways. Prominent among these is the public neces- 
sity for means of transportation. Mr. Adams says that the 
estimated average amount transported by rail had risen from 
$85 for each inhabitant in i860 to $300 in 1870, and that the 
public are now paying to railroads for travel and transportation 
$450,000,000 per annum, an average of $12 per head for the 
whole population.^ Two thirds of this sum, he says, is paid for 
the actual work of transportation, and the remaining third ** for 
the use of the capital and the risk involved in the business." 
This latter sum is the tax on transportation, and is as really a 
tax as though it were paid on the grand duplicate of the State. 

^ The amount for the year 1872 is set down at 1473,241,055. Poor's Railroad 
Manual for 1873, Introd., p. li. 


" In other words," quoting from Mr. Adams, " certain private 
individuals, responsible to no authority, and subject to no su- 
pervision, but looking solely to their own interests, or to those . 
of their immediate constituency, yearly levy upon the American , 
people a tax, as a suitable remuneration of their private capital, 
' equal to one half of the expenses of the United States govern- 
ment, including interest on the national debt." 

I do not say that this tax is excessive ; perhaps it is not ; but 
its rate is determined, and the amount levied and collected, not 
by the authority of the state, but by private persons, whose chief 
concern is to serve their own interests. 

We have seen that the transportation tax is the amount paid 
to the companies for their investment. How much they shall 
invest, where and under what limitations it shall be invested, 
has been wholly left to the companies themselves ; but whether 
they have invested their capital wisely or unwisely, however 
much the business may be overdone, the investors must be paid 
for the use of their capital, and that payment is made by the 
community. In most of the States, railroads may be built in 
unlimited numbers, wherever five or ten men, who incorporate 
themselves under the general law, may choose to build them. 
This has probably been allowed, in the belief that free compe- 
tition in building and operating roads would produce economy 
in the management and cheapness in transportation. But this 
expectation has utterly failed. All railroad experience has ver- 
ified the truth of George Stephenson's aphorism, that, ** when 
combination is possible, competition is impossible." Great 
Britain has gone much further into the investigation of this 
question than we have, and the result of her latest study is thus 
expressed in the London Quarterly Review, of April last: — 

"By the common consent of all practical men, competition — the 
ordinary safeguard of the public in matters of trade — has ceased to afford 
the slightest protection (e5tcept in the few unimportant cases of rival sea 
traffic) against railway monopoly 

" ' In spite of the recommendations of these authorities [Parliament 
and Parliamentary commissions], combination and amalgamation have 
proceeded, at the instance of the companies, without check, and almost 
without regulation. United systems now exist, constituting, by their 
magnitude and by their exclusive possession of whole districts, monopo- 
lies to which the earlier authorities would have been most strongly 
opposed. Nor is there any reason to suppose that the progress of com- 


bination has ceased, or that it will cease until Great Britain is divided 
between a small number of great companies.' " 

The article concludes with these striking words : — 

"We have tried the laissezfaire policy, and it has failed ; we have tried 
a meddlesome policy, and it has failed also. We have now .... to 
meet the coming day when all the railways, having completed their sev- 
eral systems, may, and probably in their own interests will, combine 
together to take advantage of the public. In the face of this contin- 
gency we have simply to make our choice between two alternatives, — 
either to let the state manage the railways, or to let the railways manage 
the state.*' i 

It is easy to see that we are repeating the experience of 
Great Britain on a vast scale. We have doubled our miles of 
railway in the last eight years. In the last two years we have 
built and put into operation 14,206 miles of road, — more than 
a quarter of all we had in January, 1 871. 

The cost of constructing the roads we are now operating was 
$3,i6o,oc)0,ocx); and during the year 1872 there were trans- 
ported by rail more than 200,ocx),ooo tons of freight The pro- 
cess of consolidation of our leading lines of road has been even 
more rapid than that of construction ; and whatever dangers we 
may expect from the system are rapidly culminating to the 
point of full development. In antagonism to these and to simi- 
lar combinations of capitalists are the combinations of laborers 
in trades unions and labor leagues. The indications are abun- 
dant that we shall soon see, set in full array, a conflict between 
capital and labor, — a conflict between forces that ought not to 
be enemies ; for labor is the creator of capital, which is only 
another name for accumulated labor. It is the duty of states- 
manship to study the relation which the government sustains 
and ought to sustain to this struggle, and to provide that it shall 
not be the partisan supporter of either combatant, but the just 
protector of both. The right to labor has not been sufliciently 
emphasized as one of the rights of man. The right to enjoy 
the fruits of labor has been better secured. 

In view of the facts now set forth, the question returns. 
What is likely to be the effect of railway and other similar com- 
binations upon our community and our political institutions? 
Is it true, as asserted by the British writer quoted above, that 

1 London Quarterly Review, (American cd.,) Vol. CXXXIV. pp. 198, 206^ 


the state must soon recapture and control the railroads, or be 
captured and subjugated by them? Or do the phenomena we 
are witnessing indicate that general breaking up of the social 
and political order of modern nations so confidently predicted 
by a class of philosophers whose opinions have hitherto made 
but little impression on the public mind? That you may not 
neglect this broader view of the question, I will quote some 
sentences written by Charles Fourier, sixty-six years ago, — 
nearly a quarter of a century before the fire of the first steam 
locomotive was lighted. After tracing the course of civilization 
through its several phases of development, and declaring that it 
was then (1808) past the middle of its third phase, and moving 
towards its own destruction, he said : — 

• ** Civilization is tending towards the fourth phase, by the influence of 
joint stock corporaticos, which, under the cover of certain legal privi- 
leges, dictate terms and conditions to labor, and arbitrarily exclude from 
it whomever they please. These corporations contain the germ of a vast 
feudal coalition, which is destined soon to invade the whole industrial 

and financial system, and give birth to a commercial feudalism 

These corporations will become dangerous and lead to new outbreaks 
and convulsions only by being extended to the whole commercial and 
industrial system. The event is not far distant, and will be brought 

about all the more easily from the fact that it is not apprehended 

Extremes meet ; and the greater the extent to which anarchical com- 
petition is carried, the nearer is the approach to the reign of universal 
monopoly^ which is the opposite excess. It is the fate of civilization to 
be always balancing between extremes. Circumstances are tending 
toward the organization of the commercial classes into federal compa- 
nies, or affiliated monopolies, which, operating in conjunction with the 
great landed interest, will reduce the middle and laboring classes to a 
state of commercial vassalage, and by the influence of combined action 
will become master of the productive industry of entire nations. The 
small operators will be forced indirectly to dispose of their products 
according to the wishes of these monopolists ; they will become mere 
agents for the coalition. We shall thus see the reappearance of feudal- 
ism in an inverse order, founded on mercantile leagues, and answering 
to the baronial leagues of the Middle Ages. Everything is concurring to 
produce this result .... We are marching with rapid strides towards 
a commercial feudalism, and to the fourth phase of civilization." ^ 

These declarations read something like prophecy, so far as 

^ Theory of the Four Movements, etc, Eng. Trans., (New York, 1857,) pp. 198, 

VOL. u. 5 


they relate to the effects of combined corporations. New me- 
chanical forces have hastened the development of corporations 
since Fourier wrote. We need not take alarm at his prophecy 
of the speedy decay of civilization ; but the analogy between 
the industrial condition of society at the present time and the 
feudalism of the Middle Ages is both striking and instructive. 
In the darkness and chaos of that period, the feudal system 
was the first important step towards the organization of modern 
nations. Powerful chiefs and barons intrenched themselves in 
castles, and in return for submission and service gave to their 
vassals rude protection and ruder laws. But as the feudal 
chiefs grew in power and wealth, they became the oppressors 
of their people, taxed and robbed them at will, and finally, in 
their arrogance, defied the kings and emperors of the mediaeval 
states. From their castles, planted on the gjfeat thoroughfares, 
they practised the most capricious extortions on commerce and 
travel, and thus gave to modern language the phrase " to levy 
black mail." ^ The consolidation of our great industrial and 
commercial companies, the power they wield, and the relations 
they sustain to the States and to the industry of the people, do 
not fall far short of Fourier's definition of commercial or indus- 
trial feudalism. The modern barons, more powerful than their 
military prototypes, own our greatest highways, and levy tribute 
at will upon ail our vast industries. And, as the old feudalism 
was finally controlled and subordinated only by the combined 
efforts of the kings and the people of the free cities and towns, 
so our modern feudalism can be subordinated to the public 
good only by the great body of the people acting through their 
governments by wise and just laws. 

My theme does not include, nor will this occasion permit, the 
discussion of methods by which this great work of adjustment 
may be accomplished. But I refuse to believe that the genius 
and energy that have developed these new and tremendous 
forces, will fail to make them, not the masters, but the faithful 
servants of society. It will be a disgrace to our age and to us 

1 " A very large proportion of the rural nobility lived by robbery. Their castles, 
as the ruins still bear witness, were erected upon inaccessible hills, and in defiles 
that command the public road. An Archbishop of Cologne having built a fortress 
of this kind, the governor inquired how he was to maintain himself, no revenue 
having been assigned for that purpose : the prelate only desired him to remark that 
the castle was situated near the junction of four roads." — Hallam's Middle Ages, 
Vol. II. p. 95 (London, i868). 


if we do not discover some method by which the public func- 
tions of these organizations may be brought into full subordina- 
tion to the public, and that too without violence, and without 
unjust interference with the rights of private individuals. It will 
be unworthy of our age and of us, if we make the discussion of 
this subject a mere warfare against men. For in these great in- 
dustrial enterprises have been, and still are, engaged some of 
the noblest and worthiest men of our time. It is the system, 
its tendencies and its dangers, which society itself has pro- 
duced, that we are now to confront. And these industries must 
not be crippled, but promoted. The evils complained of are 
mainly of our own making. States and communities have 
willingly and thoughtlessly conferred these great powers upon 
railways, and they must seek to rectify their own errors without 
injury to the industries they have encouraged. 

Already methods are being suggested. Massachusetts is dis- 
cussing the proposal to purchase and operate a portion of her 
railroad system, and thus bring the rest into competition with 
the State as the representative of the people. It is claimed that 
the success of this plan has been proved by the experience of 
Belgium. Another proposition is that the State purchase the 
roads and open them, like other highways, to the free use of 
the public, subject to such regulations and toll as the safety of 
transportation and the maintenance of the system may require. 
This, it is claimed, would remove the stocks and bonds from 
the gambling operations of the markets, and place the levying 
of the transportation tax in the hands of the State, and under 
the control of those who pay. Others, again, insist that the 
system has overgrown the limits and the powers of the separate 
States, and must be taken in hand by the national government, 
under that provision of the national Constitution which empow- 
ers Congress to regulate commerce among the several States. 
When it is objected that this would be a great and dangerous 
step towards political centralization, — which many think has 
already been pushed too far, — it is responded that, as the rail- 
way is the greatest centralizing force of modern times, nothing 
but a kindred force can control it; and it is better to rule it 
than to be ruled by it. Other solutions have been proposed ; 
but these are sufficient to show how strongly the current of 
public thought is setting towards the subject. Indications are 
not wanting that the discussion will be attended by passion, and 


by a full exhibition of that low, political cunning -^ 
with the passions and prejudices of men, and measu 
by results, and not by the character of the means en 
have ventured to criticise the judicial application of 
mouth College case; and I venture the further o] 
some features of that decision, as applied to the i 
similar corporations, must give way, under the ne 
which time has added to the problem. But this mu< 
not by denouncing judges who faithfully administer t 
by such prudent changes in the law, and perhaps in 
tutions, as will guide the courts in future adjudicatioi 

It depends upon the wisdom, the cOlture, the self 
our people, to determine how wisely and how well th 
shall be settled. But that it will be solved, and sol 
interest of liberty and justice, I do not doubt. And : 
will open the way to a solution of a whole chapter 
questions that relate to the conflict between capital 
The gloomy views of socialistic writers on this quesi 
have more force, if the dangers here discussed had gi 
spite of our efforts to prevent them. But the fact is 
grown by our help, while we were unconscious of th 
they were dangers. 

The intelligence and national spirit of our people ex 
capacity for dealing with difficult problems. Those 
the terrible elements of destruction that burst upon 
years ago, in the fury of civil war, would have b« 
dreamers and enthusiasts had they predicted that I 
witness the conflict ended, its cause annihilated, the 
and hatred it had occasioned nearly gone, and the n< 
union and unity restored, smiling again over the turl 
million soldiers* graves. 

Finally, our great hope for the future — our great 
against danger — is to be found in the general and 
education of our people, and in the virtue which ace 
such education. And all these elements depend \\ 

* One member of the court, Mr. Justice Duvall, dissented from th 
the Court in the Dartmouth College case. Even Chief Justice Mars 
nouncing the opinion of the court, used ejcpressions which would not at 
our railway companies. He said, " These eleemosynary institutions d< 
place which would otherwise be occupied by the government, but that \ 
otherwise remain vacant." (4 Wheaton, 647. j There has been a gro' 
against the enlarged application of this principle. 


measure upon the intellectual and moral culture of the young 
men who go out from our higher institutions of learning. From 
the standpoint of this general culture we may trustfully encoun- 
ter the perils that assail us. Secure against dangers from 
abroad ; united at home by the strongest ties of common inter- 
est and patriotic pride ; holding and unifying our vast territory 
by the most potent forces of civilization ; relying upon the in- 
telligent strength and responsibility of each citizen, and most 
of all upon the power of truth, — without undue arrogance, we 
may hope that, in the centuries to come, our republic will con- 
tinue to live and hold its high place among the nations, as 

**.... the heir of all the ages, in the foremost files of time." 




September i6, 1873. 

In furnishing the Geauga County Historical Society with the manu- 
script of the following address, Mr. Garfield sent a letter, dated Washing- 
ton, D. C., December 13, 1873, in which he stated the sources fi-om 
which he had drawn his historical data. The most valuable part of the 
letter was a lengthy extract from his remarks of February 18, 1873, 
made on the following paragraph of the Miscellaneous Appropriation 
Bill then "pending: "To enable the Joint Committee on the Library to 
purchase and print a series of unpublished historical documents relating 
to the early French discoveries in the Northwest, and on the Mississippi, 
j 1 0,000, or so much thereof as may be necessary, the printing of the same 
to be under the direction of the said committee." 

Mr. Garfield's remarks on that question in full were as follows : — 

" Mr. Chairman, — We appropriate every year considerable sums of 
money for the purpose of increasing the library of Congress; We pro- 
pose here to designate a particular kind of purchase which we desire to 
have made. It is just as much a part of our discretion and right as any 
appropriation that we can make. 

" And now what is it for which we seek to provide ? For the period 
of two whole centuries the French were exploring a great part of this 
continent, and from 1669 to 1750 they occupied a great portion of the 
valley west of the Alleghany Mountains. Under the direction of their 
government, learned men, anny officers, men interested in science, were 
sent out to make explorations along the great rivers of the Northwest, 
along all our Great Lakes, and through the Rocky Mountains, long before 
a man of the Anglo-Saxon race, or a man speaking the English language, 
had ever trodden any of these wilds. They made full reports to the 
government at Paris, but in those days such reports were buried in the 
archives of the government, and were considered secret papers. They 


have never seen the light The archivist of the navy department of 
France, Pierre Margry, has had possession of these documents for years, 
and has with great pains transcribed them. I have received a letter from 
the greatest of our recent historians, Mr. Francis Parkman, in which he 
says : ' I have known about this collection many years, and have several 
times seen it, and examined it sufficiently to get a clear idea of its con- 
tents. Many of the most important documents composing it have been 
in my hands. I can testify in the strongest terms to its rare value for 
the history of the West. To the best of my belief, none of these docu- 
ments which M. Margry now proposes to print have ever been in print 

" M. Margry has prepared for publication matter that will make nine 
volumes, according to the testimony before the committee. Three vol- 
umes relate to the discoveries of La Salle and his companions, Joutel, 
Tonty, Galinier, and Dollier de Casson ; one, to La Mothe Cadillac, and 
the settlement of Detroit ; two, to discoveries and explorations in the 
Rocky Mountains, in 1752, by De Niseville and the brothers La V^ran- 
drye ; one, to Fort Du Quesne and Natchitoches ; two, to the settlement 
of Louisiana. The volumes will be published by M. Margry, under his 
own direction, if he can be assured of a subscription to a certain number 
of copies in advance, to be paid for only when the volumes are delivered. 

" Now a book of this sort will be litde popular in France, as it relates 
to so distant a country ; but, here at home, and especially in the great 
Northwest, it will be of vital interest, as adding to our knowledge of our 
ancient history; and we propose, in putting this $10,000 into the hands 
of the Committee on the Library, that, instead of placing on our shelves 
a great number of the worthless books that always find their way there, 
they shall put in this work of inestimable historical value, which cannot 
be duplicated elsewhere, which cannot be published except by the gov- 
ernment, and which may be lost, and was so near being lost in the late 
war of the Commune. It seems to me that no wiser or more appropriate 
use could be, made of any amount which we may devote to the library." 

This appropriation was made. In 188 r, the fourth volume of the 
Margry Papers was published. 

MR. Chairman and Fellow-Citizens, — When I ac- 
cepted the invitation to address you on this interesting 
occasion, I did not assume that I could contribute anything in 
the way of original materials to the history of this portion of 
the Western Reserve. I hoped, however, that I might be able 
to point out some of the resources from which these materials 
may be drawn, and to express my interest in the effort you are 


making to rescue a portion of them from the destroying hand 
of time. 

From the historian's standpoint, our country is peculiarly and 
exceptionally fortunate. The origin of nearly all great nations, 
ancient and modem, is shrouded in fable or traditionary legend. 
The story of the founding of Rome by the wolf-nursed brothers, 
Romulus and Remus, has long been classed among the myths 
of history ; and the more modern story of Hengist and Horsa's 
leading the Saxons to England, is almost equally legcndary. 
The origin of Paris can never be known. Its foundation was 
laid long before Gaul had written records. But the settlement, 
civilization, and political institutions of our country can be 
traced from their first hour by the clear light of history. It is 
true that over this continent hangs an impenetrable veil of tra- 
dition, mystery, and silence. But it is the tradition of races 
fast passing away; the mystery of a still earlier race, which 
flourished and perished long before its discovery by the Euro- 
peans. The story of the mound-builders can never be told. 
The fate of the Indian tribes will soon be a half-forgotten tale. 
But the history of European civilization and institutions on this 
continent can be traced with precision and fulness, unless we 
become forgetful of the past, and neglect to save and perpetu- 
ate its precious memorials. 

In discussing the scope of historical study in reference to 
our country, I will call attention to a few general facts con- 
cerning its discovery and settlement. 

First The romantic period of discovery on this continent 

There can scarcely be found in the realms of romance any- 
thing more fascinating than the records of discovery and ad- 
venture during the two centuries that followed the landing of 
Columbus on the soil of the New World. The greed for gold, 
the passion for adventure, the spirit of chivalry, the enthusiasm 
and fanaticism of religion, all conspired to throw into America 
the hardiest and most daring spirits of Europe, and made the 
vast wilderness of the New World the theatre of as stirring 
achievements as history has recorded. 

Early in the sixteenth century, Spain, turning from the con- 
quest of Granada and her triumph over the Moors, followed her 
golden dreams of the New World with the same spirit that in 
an earlier day animated her crusaders. In 15 12, Ponce de Leon 
began his search for the fountain of perpetual youth, the tradi- 


tion of which he had learned among the natives of the West 
Indies. He discovered the low-lying coasts of Florida, and 
explored its interior. Instead of the fountain of youth, he 
found his grave among its everglades. A few years later, De 
Soto, who had accompanied Pizarro in the conquest of Peru, 
landed in Florida with a gallant array of knights and nobles, 
and commenced his explorations through the Western wilder- 
ness. In 1 541, he reached the banks of the Mississippi River, 
and, crossing it, pushed his discoveries westward over the great 
plains% but, finding neither the gold nor the South Sea of his 
dreams, he returned to be buried in the waters of the great 
river that he had discovered. 

While England was more leisurely exploring the bays and 
rivers of the Atlantic coast, and searching for gold and peltry, 
the chevaliers and priests of France were chasing their dreams 
in the North, searching for a passage to Asia and the realms 
of far Cathay, and telling the mystery of the cross to the Indian 
tribes of the Far West. Coasting northward, her bold naviga- 
tors discovered the mouth of the St. Lawrence; and, in 1535, 
Cartier sailed up its broad current to the rocky heights of 
Quebec, and to the rapids above Montreal, which were after- 
wards named La Chine in derision of the belief that the adven- 
turers were about to find China. In 1609, Champlain pushed 
above the rapids, and discovered the beautiful lake that bears 
his name. In 1615, Father Le Caron pushed northward and 
westward through the wilderness, and discovered Lake Huron. 
In 1639, the Jesuit missionaries founded the Mission St. Mary. 
In 1654, another priest had entered the wilderness of Northern 
New York, and found the salt springs of Onondaga. In 1659- 
60, French traders and priests passed the winter on Lake Supe- 
rior, and established missions along its shores. 

Among the earlier discoverers, no name shines out with more 
brilliancy than that of Rene-Robert Cavclier, Sicur dc la Salle. 
The story of his explorations can scarcely be equalled in roman- 
tic interest by any of the stirring tales of the crusaders. Born 
of a proud and wealthy family in the North of France, he was 
destined for the service of the Church and of the Jesuit order. 
But his restless spirit, fired with the love of adventure, broke 
away from ecclesiastical restraints to confront the dangers of 
the New World, and extend the empire of Louis XIV. From 
the best evidence accessible, it appears that he was the first 


white man who saw the Ohio River. At twenty-six years of 
age, we find him with a small party near the western extremity 
of Lake Ontario, boldly entering the domain of the dreaded 
Iroquois, travelling southward and westward through the win- 
try wilderness until he reached a branch of the Ohio, probably 
the Alleghany. He followed it to the main stream, and de- 
scended that, until, in the winter of 1669-70, he reached the 
Falls of the Ohio, near the present site of Louisville. His com- 
panions refusing to go further, he returned to Quebec and pre- 
pared for still greater undertakings. • 

At the same time the Jesuit missionaries were pushing their 
discoveries on the Northern Lakes. In 1673, Joliet and Mar- 
quette started from Green Bay, dragging their canoes up the 
rapids of Fox River, crossed Lake Winnebago, found Indian 
guides to conduct them to the waters of the Wisconsin, de- 
scended that stream, and, on the 17th of June, reached the 
Mississippi near the spot where now stands the city of Prairie du 
Chien. To-morrow will be the two hundredth anniversary of 
that discovery. One hundred and forty-two years before that 
time, De Soto had seen the same river more than a thousand 
miles below; but during that interval it is not known that any 
white man had looked upon its waters. 

Turning southward, these brave priests descended the great 
river, amid the awful solitudes. The stories of demons and mon- 
sters of the wilderness, which abounded among the Indian tribes, 
did not deter them from pushing their discoveries. They con- 
tinued their journey southward to the mouth of the Arkansas 
River, telling as best they could the story of the cross to the 
wild tribes along the shores. Returning by way of the Kas- 
kaskia, and travelling thence to Lake Michigan, they reached 
Green Bay at the end of September, 1673, having on their jour- 
ney paddled their canoes more than twenty-five hundred miles. 
Marquette remained to establish missions among the Indians, 
and to die, three years later, on the eastern shore of Lake 
Michigan, while Joliet returned to Quebec to report his dis- 

In the mean time, Count Frontenac, a noble of France, had 
been made Governor of Canada, and found in La Salle a fit 
counsellor and assistant in his vast schemes of discovery. La 
Salle was sent to France, to enlist the court and the ministers of 
Louis XIV. ; and in 1678 returned to Canada, with full power 




under Frontenac to carry forward his grand enterprises. He 
had developed three great purposes: first, to realize the old 
plan of Champlain, the finding of a pathway to China across 
the American continent; second, to occupy and develop the 
regions of the Northern Lakes ; and, third, to descend the Mis- 
sissippi and establish a fortified post at its mouth, thus securing 
an outlet for the trade of the interior, and checking the progress 
of Spain on the Gulf of Mexico. 

In pursuance of this plan, we find La Salle and his compan- 
ions, in January, 1679, dragging their cannon and materials for 
building a ship around the Falls of Niagara, and laying the keel 
of a vessel two leagues above the cataract, at the mouth of 
Cayuga Creek. She was a schooner of forty-five tons burden, 
and was named "The Griffin." On the 7th of August, 1679, 
with an armament of five cannon, and a crew and company of 
thirty-four men, she started on her voyage up Lake Erie, the 
first sail ever spread over the waters of that lake. On the fourth 
day she entered Detroit River; and, after encountering a terri- 
ble storm on Lake Huron, passed the straits, and reached Green 
Bay early in September. A few weeks later she started back 
for Niagara, laden with furs, but was never heard from again. 

While awaiting the supplies which the Griffin was expected 
to bring. La Salle explored Lake Michigan to its southern 
extremity, ascended the Saint Joseph, crossed the portage to 
the Kankakee, descended the Illinois, and, landing at an In- 
dian village on the site of the present village of Utica, Illinois, 
celebrated mass on New Year's Day, 1680. Before the winter 
was ended he became certain that the Griffin was lost. But, 
undaunted by his disasters, on the 3d of March, with five com- 
panions, he began the incredible feat of making the journey to 
Quebec on foot, in the dead of winter. This he accomplished. 
He reorganized his expedition, conquered every difficulty, and, 
on the 2 1st of December, 1681, with a party of fifty-four 
Frenchmen and friendly Indians, set out for the present site of 
Chicago, and, by way of the Illinois River, reached the Missis- 
sippi, February 6, 1682. He descended its stream, and on the 
9th of April, 1682, standing on the shores of the Gulf of Mex- 
ico, solemnly proclaimed to his companions and to the wilder- 
ness, that in the name of Louis the Great he took possession 
of the great valley watered by the Mississippi River. He set 
up a column, and inscribed upon it the arms of France, and 



named the country Louisiana. Upon this act rested the claim 
of France to the vast region stretching from the Alleghany to 
the Rocky Mountains, from the Rio Grande and the Gulf to the 
farthest springs of the Missouri. 

I will not follow further the career of the great explorers. 
Enough has been said to exhibit the spirit and character of their 
work. I would I were able to inspire the young men of this 
country with a desire to read the history of these stirring days 
of discovery, which opened up to Europe the mysteries of this 
New World. Theodore Irving has well said of their work, — 

" It was poetry put in action ; it was the knight-errantry of the Old 
World carried into the depths of the American wilderness ; indeed, the 
personal adventures, the feats of individual prowess, the picturesque 
descriptions of steel-clad cavaliers, with lance and helm and prancing 
steed, glittering through the wilderness of Florida, Georgia, Alabama, 
and the prairies of the Far West, would seem to us mere fictions of ro- 
mance, did they not come to us recorded in the matter of fact narratives 
of contemporaries, and corroborated by minute and daily memoranda of 
eyewitnesses." ^ 

Second. The struggle for national dominion. 

I next invite your attention to the less stirring, but not less 
important, struggle for the possession of the New World, which 
succeeded the period of discovery. 

At the beginning of the eighteenth century, North America 
was claimed mainly by three great powers. Spain held posses- 
sion of Mexico, and a belt reaching eastward to the Atlantic, 
and northward to the southern line of Georgia, except a portion 
near the mouth of the Mississippi held by the French. Eng- 
land held from the Spanish line on the south to the Northern 
Lakes and the St. Lawrence, and westward to the Alleghanies. 
France held all north of the Lakes and west of the Alleghanies, 
and southward to the possessions of Spain. Some of the boun- 
dary lines were but vaguely defined ; others were disputed ; but 
the general outlines were as stated. 

Besides the struggle for national possession, the religious 
element entered largely into the contest. It was a struggle 
between the Catholic and Protestant faiths. The Protestant 
colonies of England were enveloped on three sides by the vig- 
orous and perfectly organized Catholic powers of France and 

^ The Conquest of Florida by Hernando de Soto, by Theodore Irving, p. 24 
(New York, 1869). 


Spain. Indeed, at an early date, by the Bull of Pope Alexan- 
der VI., all America had been given to the Spaniards. But 
France, with a zeal equal to that of Spain, had entered the lists 
to contest for the prize. So far as the religious struggle was 
concerned, the efforts of France and Spain were resisted only 
by the Protestants of the Atlantic coast. 

The main chain of the AUeghanies was supposed to be im- 
passable until 1 7 14, when Governor Spotswood of Virginia led 
an expedition to discover a pass to the great valley beyond. 
He found one somewhere near the western boundary of Vir- 
ginia, and by it descended to the Ohio. On his return, he 
established the ** Transmontane Order," or " Knights of the 
Golden Horseshoe." On the sandy plains of Eastern Virginia 
horseshoes were rarely used, but in climbing the mountains he 
had found them necessary; and, on creating his companions 
knights of this new order, he gave to each a golden horseshoe, 
inscribed with the motto, " Sic jurat transcendere montes." 

Spotswood represented to the British ministry the great im- 
portance of planting settlements in the Western valley ; and, with 
the foresight of a statesman, pointed out the danger of allowing 
the French the undisputed possession of that rich region. 

The progress of England had been slower, but more certain, 
than that of her great rival. While the French were establish- 
ing trading-posts at points widely remote from each other, along 
the Lakes and the Mississippi, and in the wilderness of Ohio, 
Indiana, and Illinois, the English were slowly but firmly plant- 
ing their settlements on the Atlantic slope, and preparing to 
contest the rich prize of the Great West. They possessed one 
great advantage over their French rivals. They had cultivated 
the friendship of the Iroquois confederacy, the most powerful 
combination of Indian tribes known to the New World. That 
confederacy held possession of the southern shores of Lakes 
Ontario and Erie ; and their hostility to the French bad con- 
fined the settlements of that people mainly to the northern 
shores. During the first half of the eighteenth century, many 
treaties were made by the English with these confederated 
tribes, and some valuable grants of land were obtained on the 
eastern slope of the Mississippi Valley. About the middle of 
that century, the British government began to recognize the 
wisdom of Governor Spotswood, and perceived that an empire 
was soon to be saved or lost 


In 1748 a company was organized by Thomas Lee, and Law- 
rence and Augustine Washington, under the name of the Ohio 
Company, and received a royal grant of half a million acres 
of land in the valley of the Ohio. In 1751 a British trading- 
post was established on the Big Miami; but in the following 
year it was destroyed by the French. Many similar efforts of 
the English colonists were resisted by the French, and during 
the years 1751-53 it became manifest that a great struggle 
was imminent between the French and the English for the 
possession of the West. The British ministers were too much 
absorbed in intrigues at home to appreciate the importance of 
this contest; and they did but little more than to permit the 
colonists to protect their rights in the valley of the Ohio. 

In 1753 the Ohio Company had opened a road, by Will's 
Creek, into the Western valley, and were preparing to locate 
their colony. At the same time, the French had sent a force to 
occupy and hold the line of the Ohio. As the Ohio Company 
was under the especial protection of Virginia, the Governor of 
that Colony determined to send a messenger to the commander 
of the French forces, and demand the reason for invading the 
British dominions. For this purpose, he selected George Wash- 
ington, then twenty-one years of age, who, with six companions, 
set out from Williamsburg, in the middle of November, for the 
waters of the Ohio and the Lakes. After a journey of nine days 
through sleet and snow, he reached the Ohio at the junction of 
the Alleghany and the Monongahela ; and his quick eye seemed 
to foresee the destiny of the place. " I spent some time," said 
he, " in viewing the rivers. The land in the Fork has the abso- 
lute command of both." On this spot Fort Pitt was afterwards 
built, and still later the city of Pittsburg. As Bancroft has said, 
" After creating in imagination a fortress and a city, he and his 
party swam their horses across the Alleghany, and wrapped their 
blankets around them for the night on its northwest bank." 
Proceeding down the Ohio to Logstown, he held a council with 
the Shawnecs and the Delawares, who promised to secure the aid 
of the Six Nations in resisting the French. He then proceeded 
to the French posts at Venango and Fort Le Boeuf (the latter 
fifteen miles from Lake Erie), and warned the commanders that 
the rights of Virginia must not be invaded. He received for his 
answer, that the French would seize every Englishman in the 
Ohio Valley. Returning to Virginia in January, 1754, he re- 



ported to the Governor, and immediate preparations were made 
by the Colonists to maintain their rights in the West, and resist 
the incursions of the French. In this movement originated the 
first important miUtary union among the English Colonists. 

Although peace still existed between France and England, 
formidable preparations were made by the latter to repel 
encroachments on the frontier, from Ohio to the Gulf of St. 
Lawrence. Braddock was sent to America, and in 1755, at 
Alexandria, he planned four expeditions against the French. 
It is not necessary to speak in detail of the war that followed. 
After Braddock's defeat near the forks of the Ohio, which oc- 
curred on the 9th of July, 1755, England herself took active 
measures for prosecuting the war. On the 25 th of November, 
1758, Forbes captured Fort Duquesne, which thus passed into 
the possession of the English, and was named Fort Pitt, in 
honor of the great minister. In 1759 Quebec was captured by 
General Wolfe, and the same year Niagara fell into the hands 
of the English. In 1760 an English force under Major Rogers 
moved westward from Niagara, to occupy the French posts 
on the Upper Lakes. They coasted along the south shore of 
Erie, — the first considerable body of English-speaking people 
that sailed its waters. Near the mouth of the Grand River, they 
met in council the great warrior Pontiac and his chiefs. Three 
weeks later, they took possession of Detroit. "Thus," says 
Mr. Bancroft, " was Michigan won by Great Britain, yet not for 
itself. There were those who foresaw that the acquisition of 
Canada was the prelude of American independence." Late in 
December, Rogers returned to the Maumee, and, setting out 
from the point where Sandusky City now stands, crossed the 
Huron River to the northern branch of White Woman's River, 
and passing thence by the English village of Beaverstown, and 
up the Ohio, reached Fort Pitt on the 23d of January, 1761, just 
a month after he left Detroit. 

Under the leadership of Pitt, England was finally triumphant 
in this great struggle ; and by the treaty of Paris, of February 
10, 1763, she acquired Canada and all the territory east of the 
Mississippi River and southward to the Spanish possessions, 
excepting New Orleans and the island on which it is situated. 

During the twelve years which followed the treaty of Paris, 
the English Colonists were pushing their settlements into the 
newly acquired territory; but they encountered the opposition 



of the Six Nations and their allies, who made fruitless efforts to 
capture the British posts of Detroit, Niagara, and Fort Pitt. 
At length, in 1768, Sir William Johnson concluded a treaty 
at Fort Stanwix with these tribes, by which all the lands south 
of the Ohio and the Alleghany were sold to the British, the 
Indians to remain in undisturbed possession of the territory 
north and west of those rivers. New companies were organized 
to occupy the territory thus obtained. ** Among the foremost 
speculators in Western lands at that time," says the author of 
" Annals of the West," ^ " was George Washington." In 1 769 
he was one of the signers of a petition to the King for a grant 
of two and a half millions of acres in the West. In 1 770 he 
crossed the mountains and descended the Ohio to the mouth of 
the Great Kanawha, to locate the ten thousand acres to which 
he was entitled for services in the French war. Virginians now 
planted settlements in Kentucky, and pioneers from all the Col- 
onies began to occupy the frontiers, from the Alleghany to the 

Third. The war of the Revolution, and its relations to the 

How came the thirteen Colonies to possess the valley of the 
Mississippi? The object of their struggle was independence, 
and yet, by the treaty of peace in 1783, not only was the inde- 
pendence of the thirteen Colonies conceded, but there was 
granted to the new republic a Western territory bounded by the 
Northern Lakes, the Mississippi, and the French and Spanish 
possessions. How did these hills and valleys become a part of 
the United States? It is true that, by virtue of royal charters, 
several of the Colonies set up claims extending to the " South 
Sea." The knowledge which the English possessed of the ge- 
ography of this country, at that time, is illustrated by the fact 
that Captain John Smith was commissioned to sail up the 
Chickahominy, and find a passage to China! But the claims 
of the Colonies were too vague to be of any consequence in 
determining the boundaries of the two governments. Virginia 
had indeed extended her settlements into the region south of the 
Ohio River, and during the Revolution had annexed that country 
to the Old Dominion, calling it the county of Kentucky. But 
previous to the Revolution, the Colonies had taken no such 
action in reference to the territory northwest of the Ohio, 

* J. H. Perkins. St Louis, iCsa 


The cession of that great territory, under the treaty of 1783, 
was due mainly to the foresight, the courage, and the endurance 
of one man, who never received from his country any adequate 
recognition for his great service. That man was George Rogers 
Clarke ; and it is worth your while to consider the work that he 
accomplished. Born in Virginia, he was in early life a surveyor, 
and afterwards served in Lord Dunmore's war. In 1776, he 
settled in Kentucky, and was in fact the founder of that Com- 
monwealth. As the war of the Revolution progressed, he saw 
that the pioneers west of the Alleghanies were threatened by 
two formidable dangers: first, by the Indians, many of whom 
had joined the standard of Great Britain ; and second, by the 
success of the war itself; for, should the Colonies obtain their 
independence while the British held possession of the Missis- 
sippi Valley, the Alleghanies would be the western boundary of 
the new republic, and the pioneers of the West would remain 
subject to Great Britain. 

Inspired by these views, he made two journeys to Virginia 
to represent the case to the authorities of that Colony. Fail- 
ing to impress the House of Burgesses with the importance 
of warding off these dangers, he appealed to the Governor, 
Patrick Henry, and received from him authority to enlist seven 
companies to go to Kentucky subject to his orders, and to 
serve for three months after their arrival in the West. This 
was a public commission. Another document, bearing date 
Williamsburg, January 2, 1778, was a secret commission, which 
authorized him, in the name of Virginia, to capture the military 
posts held by the British in the Northwest. Armed with this 
authority, he proceeded to Pittsburg, where he obtained am- 
munition, and floated it down the river to Kentucky. He 
succeeded in enlisting seven companies of pioneers, and in 
the month of June, 1778, commenced his march through the 
untrodden wilderness to the region of the Illinois. With a 
daring that is scarcely equalled in the annals of war, he cap- 
tured the garrisons of Kaskaskia, Kahokia, and Vincennes, sent 
his prisoners to the Governor of Virginia, and by his energy 
and skill won over the French inhabitants of that region to 
the American cause. 

In October, 1778, the House of Burgesses passed an act 
declarincr that " all the citizens of the Commonwealth of Vir- 
ginia, who are already settled there, or shall hereafter be sct- 

VOL. II. 6 


tied on the west side of the Ohio, shall be included in the 
District of Kentucky, which shall be called Illinois County." 
In other words, George Rogers Clarke conquered the Northwest 
Territory in the name of Virginia, and the flag of the republic 
covered it at the close of the war. 

In negotiating the treaty of peace at Paris, in 1783, the British 
commissioners insisted on the Ohio River as the northwestern 
boundary of the United States ; and it was found that the only 
tenable ground on which the American commissioners could 
sustain our claim to the Lakes and the Mississippi as the boun- 
dary, was the fact that George Rogers Clarke had conquered 
the country, and Virginia was in undisputed possession of it at 
the cessation of hostilities. Judge Burnet says : " That fact [the 
capture of the British posts] was affirmed and admitted, and 
was the chief ground on which the British commissioners re- 
luctantly abandoned their claim." ^ 

It is a stain upon the honor of our country that such a man 
— the leader of pioneers who made the first lodgment on the 
site now occupied by Louisville, who was in fact the founder of 
the State of Kentucky, and who by his personal foresight and 
energy gave nine great States to the republic — was allowed 
to sink under a load of debt incurred for the honor and glory 
of his country. 

In 1799, Judge Burnet rode some ten or twelve miles from 
Louisville into the country to visit this veteran hero. He says 
he was induced to make this visit by the veneration he enter- 
tained for Clarke's military talents and services. This is Bur- 
net's description : — 

" He had the appearance of a man bom to command, and fitted by 
nature for his destiny. There was a gravity and solemnity in his 
demeanor, resembling that which so eminently distinguished the ven- 
erated father of his country. A person familiar with the lives and 
character of the military veterans of Rome, in the days of her greatest 
power, might readily have selected this remarkable man as a specimen 
of the model he had formed of them in his own mind ; but he was 
rapidly falling a victim to his extreme sensibility, and to the ingratitude 
of his native State, under whose banner he had fought bravely and with 
great success. 

** The time will certainly come when the enlightened and magnani- 
mous citizens of Louisville will remember the debt of gratitude they owe 

1 Notes on the Early Settlement of the Northwestern Territory, p. 77* 


the memory of that distinguished man. He was the leader of the pio- 
neers who made the first lodgment on the site now covered by their 
rich and splendid city. He was its protector during the years of its 
infancy, and in the period of its greatest danger. Yet the traveller who 
had read of his achievements, admired his character, and visited the 
theatre of his brilliant deeds, discovers nothing indicating the place 
where his remains are deposited, and where he can go and pay a tribute 
of respect to the memory of the departed and gallant hero." * 

This eulogy of Judge Burnet's is fully warranted by the facts 
of history. There is preserved in the War Department at 
Washington a portrait of Clarke, which gives unmistakable evi- 
dence of a character of rare grasp and power. No one can 
look upon that remarkable face without knowing that the origi- 
nal was a man of unusual force. 

Fourth. Organization and settlement of the Western Reserve. 

Soon after the close of the Revolution, our Western country 
was divided into three Territories : the Territory of the Missis- 
sippi, the Territory South of the Ohio, and the Territory North- 
west of the Ohio. In this address, I shall consider only the 
organization and settlement of the latter. 

It would be difficult to find any country so covered with con- 
flicting claims of title as the Territory of the Northwest. Several 
States, still asserting the validity of their royal charters, set up 
claims more or less definite to portions of this Territory. First, 
by royal charter of 1662, confirming a Council charter of 1630, 
Connecticut claimed a strip of land bounded on the cast by the 
Narragansett River, north by Massachusetts, south by Long 
Island Sound, and extending westward between the parallels of 
41 degrees and 42 degrees 2 minutes north latitude, to the 
mythical " South Sea." Second, New York, by her charter of 
1614, claimed a territory, marked by definite boundaries, lying 
across the boundaries of the Connecticut charter. Third, by 
the grant to William Pcnn, in 1664, Pennsylvania claimed a ter- 
ritory overlapping part of the territory of both these Colonics. 
Fourth, the charter of Massachusetts also conflicted with some 
of the claims above mentioned. Fifth, Virginia claimed the 
whole of the Northwest Territory by right of conquest, and in 
1778, by an act of her Legislature, annexed it as a county. 
Sixth, several grants of special tracts had been made by the 
different States to incorporated companies. And, finally, the 

* Notes on the Early Settlement of the Northwestern Territory, pp. 81, 82. 


whole Territory of the Northwest was claimed by th 
as their own. 

The claims of New York, Massachusetts, and pa 
claim of Pennsylvania, had been settled before the cloj 
war by royal commissioners ; the others were still un 
It became evident that no satisfactory settlement could 
except by Congress. That body urged the several 
make a cession of the lands they claimed, and thus ei 
general government to open the Northwest for settlemc 

On the 1st of March, 1784, Thomas Jefferson, Samuc 
Arthur Lee, and James Monroe, delegates in Congress, 
a deed of cession in the name of Virginia, by which th< 
ferred to the United States the title of Virginia to th 
west Territory, but reserving to that State one hunt 
fifty thousand acres of land, which Virginia had pre 
George Rogers Clarke and the officers and soldiers ^ 
him captured the British posts in the West. Also, 
tract of land between the Scioto and Little Miami, 1 
Virginia to pay her promised bounties to her offi< 
soldiers of the Revolutionary army. 

On the 27th of October, 1784, a treaty was made 
Stanwix,* with the Six Nations, by which these tribes • 
the United States their vague claims to the lands n< 
west of the Ohio. On the 31st of January, 1785, a tn 
made at Fort Mcintosh,^ with the four Western tri 
Wyandottes, the Delawares, the Chippewas, and the 
by which all their lands in the Northwest Territory wei 
to the United States, except that portion bounded I 
drawn from the mouth of the Cuyahoga up that rive 
portage between the Cuyahoga and Tuscarawas ; theni 
that river to the mouth of the Sandy; thence we 
to the portage of the Big Miami, which runs into th< 
thence along the portage to the Great Miami, or Maun 
down the southeast side of that river to its mouth ; then« 
the shore of Lake Erie to the mouth of the Cuyahoga, 
ritory thus described was to be forever the exclusive pc 
of these Indians. 

In 1788, a settlement was made at Marietta, and so 
other settlements were begun. But the Indians were 
fied, and, by the intrigues of their late allies, the British 

* Now Rome, New York. ' Now Beaver, Pennsylva 


age and bloody war ensued, which delayed for several years the 
settlement of the territory. The campaign of General Harmar 
in 1790 was only a partial success. In the following year a 
more formidable force was placed under the command of 
General St. Clair, who suffered a disastrous and overwhelming 
defeat on the 4th of November of that year, near the head- 
waters of the Wabash. 

It was evident that nothing but a war so decisive as to break 
the power of the Western tribes could make the settlement 
of Ohio possible. There are but few things in the career of 
George Washington that so strikingly illustrate his sagacity and 
prudence as the policy he pursued in reference to this subject. 
He made preparations for organizing an army of five thousand 
men, appointed General Wayne to the command of a special 
force, and, early in 1792, drafted detailed instructions for giv- 
ing it special discipline to fit it for Indian warfare. During that 
and the following year, he exhausted every means to secure the 
peace of the West by treaties with the tribes. But agents of 
England and Spain were busy in intrigues with the Indians in 
hopes of recovering a portion of the great empire they had 
lost by the treaty of 1783. So far were the efforts of England 
carried that a British force was sent to the rapids of the Mau- 
mee, where they built a fort, and inspired the Indians with the 
hope that the British would join them in fighting the forces of 
the United States. All efforts to make a peaceable settlement 
on any other basis than the abandonment on the part of the 
United States of all territory north of the Ohio having failed, 
General Wayne proceeded with that wonderful vigor which had 
made him famous on so many fields of the Revolution, and, on 
the 20th of August, 1794, defeated the Indians and their allies 
on the banks of the Maumee, and completely broke the power 
of their confederation. On the 3d of August, 1795, General 
Wayne concluded, at Greenville, a treaty of lasting peace with 
these tribes, and thus opened what is now Ohio to settlement. 
In this treaty, there was reserved to the Indians the district 
west of the Cuyahoga described in the treaty of Fort Mcin- 
tosh of 1785. 

Fifth. Settlement of the Western Reserve. 

I have now noticed briefly the adjustment of the several 
claims to the Northwestern Territory, excepting that of Con- 
necticut It has already been seen that Connecticut claimed a 


strip westward from the Narragansett River to the Mis 
between the parallels of 41 degrees and 42 degrees 2 
but that portion of her claim which crossed the terr 
New York and Pennsylvania, had been extinguished by 
ment. Her claim to the territory west of Pennsylvania 
settled until September 14, 1786, when she ceded it al 
United States, except that portion lying between the \ 
above named, and a line one hundred and twenty miles 
the western line of Pennsylvania and parallel with it, ; 
western line of that State. This tract of country wa 
the size of the present State of Connecticut, and wa< 
" New Connecticut " ; also, the ** Western Reserve." 

In May, 1792, the Legislature of Connecticut granted 1 
of her citizens whose property had been burned or ot 
spoliated by the British during the war of the Revoluti< 
a million of acres from the west end of the Reserve, whic 
called " the Fire Lands." 

On the 5th of September, 1795, Connecticut executed 
to John Caldwell, Jonathan Brace, and John Morgan, t 
for the Connecticut Land Company, for three million a 
the Reserve, lying west of Pennsylvania, for $1,200,000 
the rate of forty cents per acre. The State gave only . 
claim deed, transferring only such title as she possesse 
leaving all the remaining Indian titles to the Reserve to 
tinguished by the purchasers themselves. With the exc 
of a few hundred acres previously sold, in the neighbc 
of the Salt Spring Tract, on the Mahoning, all titles tc 
east of the Fire Lands rest on this quitclaim deed of Cc 
icut to the three trustees, who were all living as late as 
and joined in making deeds to the lands on the Reser 

On the same day that the trust deed was made, artic 
association were signed by the proprietors, providing f 
government of the company. The management of its 
was intrusted to seven directors. They determined to 
guish the Indian title, and survey their land into townshij 
miles square. Moses Cleaveland, one of the Directors, was 
General Agent; Augustus Porter, Principal Surveyor; anc 
Pease, Astronomer and Surveyor. To these were adde( 
assistant surveyors, a commissary, a physician, and thirty- 
other employees. This party assembled at Schenectady, 
York, in the spring of 1796, and prepared for their expedi 


It is interesting to follow them on their way to the Reserve. 
They ascended the Mohawk River in batteaux, passing through 
Little Falls, and from the present city of Rome took their boats 
and stores across into Wood Creek. Passing down the stream, 
they crossed Oneida Lake ; thence down the Oswego to Lake 
Ontario, coasting along the lake to Niagara. After encounter- 
ing innumerable hardships, the party reached Buffalo on the 17th 
of June, where they met Red Jacket and the principal chiefs 
of the Six Nations, and on the 23d of that month completed 
a contract with those chiefs by which they purchased all the 
rights of the Indians to the lands on the Reserve, for five hun- 
dred pounds. New York currency, to be paid in goods, two 
beef cattle, and one hundred gallons of whiskey, besides gifts 
and provisions. Setting out from Buffalo on the 27th of June, 
they coasted along the shore of the lake, some of the party in 
boats and others marching along the banks. 

In the journal of Seth Pease, published in Whittlesey's His- 
tory of Cleveland, I find the following : — 

" Monday, July 4th, 1 796. We that came by land arrived at the con- 
fines of New Connecticut and gave three cheers precisely at five o'clock, 
p. M. We then proceeded to Conneaut, at five hours thirty minutes ; our 
boats got on an hour after ; we pitched our tents on the east side." * 

In the journal of General Cleaveland is the following entry : — 

" On this creek (Conneaught) in New Connecticut Land, July 4th, 
1796, under General Moses Cleaveland, the surveyors, and men sent by 
the Connecticut Land Company to survey and settle the Connecticut Re- 
serve, and were the first English people who took possession of it 

And, after many difficulties, perplexities, and hardships were surmounted, 
and we were on the good and promised land, felt that a just tribute of 
respect to the day ought to be paid. There were in all, including women 
and children, fifty in number. The men, under Captain Tinker, ranged 
themselves on the beach, and fired a Federal salute of fifteen rounds, and 
then the sixteenth in honor of New Connecticut. We gave three cheers, 
and christened the place Port Independence. Drank several toasts. 
.... Closed with three cheers. Drank several pails of grog, supped, 
and retired in good order." ^ 

Three days afterward General Cleaveland held a council with 
Paqua, chief of the Massasagas, whose village was at Conneaut 
Creek. The friendship of these Indians was purchased with a 
few trinkets and twenty-five dollars' worth of whiskey. A cabin 

* Early History of Cleveland, p 180. ^ Ibid., pp. 181, 182. 


was erected on the bank of Conneaut Creek, and, in honor of 
the commissary of the expedition, was called " Stow Castle." 
At this time the white inhabitants west of the Genesee River, 
and along the coasts of the Lakes, were the garrison at Niagara, 
two families at Lewistown, one at Buffalo, one at Cleveland, 
and one at Sandusky. There were no other families east of 
Detroit, and, with the exception of a few adventurers at the 
Salt Springs of the Mahoning, the interior of New Connecticut 
was an unbroken wilderness. 

The work of surveying was commenced at once. One party 
went southward on the Pennsylvania line to find the forty- 
first parallel, and began the survey; another, under General 
Cleaveland, coasted along the lake to the mouth of the Cuya- 
hoga, which they reached on the 22d of July, and there laid the 
foundation of the chief city of the Reserve. A large portion of 
the survey was made during that season, and the work was com- 
pleted in the following year. 

By the close of the year iSoo there were thirty-two settle- 
ments on the Reserve, though as yet no organization of gov- 
ernment had been established. But the pioneers were a people 
who had been trained in the principles and practices of civil 
order; and these were transplanted to their new home. In 
New Connecticut there was but little of that lawlessness which 
so often characterizes the people of a new country. In many 
instances, a township organization was completed, and their 
minister chosen, before the pioneers left home. Thus they 
planted the institutions and opinions of Old Connecticut in their 
new wilderness homes. 

There are townships on this Western Reserve which are more 
thoroughly New England in character and spirit than most of 
the towns of the New England of to-day. Cut off as they were 
from the metropolitan life that had gradually been moulding and 
changing the spirit of New England, they preserved here in the 
wilderness the characteristics of New England as it was when 
they left it at the beginning of the century. This has given to 
the people of the Western Reserve those strongly marked qual- 
ities which have always distinguished them. 

For a long time it was difficult to ascertain the political and 
legal status of the settlers on the Reserve. The State of Con- 
necticut did not assume jurisdiction over its people, because 
that State had parted with her claim to the soil. By a procla- 


mation of Governor St Clair, in 1788, Washington County had 
been organized, its limits extending westward to the Scioto, and 
northward to the mouth of the Cuyahoga, with Marietta as the 
county seat These limits included a portion of the Western 
Reserve. But the Connecticut settlers did not consider this a 
practical government, and most of them doubted its legality. 

By the end of the century, seven counties, Washington, Ham- 
ilton, Ross, Wayne, Adams, Jefferson, and Knox, had been 
created, but none of them were of any practical service to the 
setders on the Reserve. No magistrate had been appointed for 
that portion of the country, no civil process was established, 
and no mode existed of making legal conveyances. But in the 
year 1800 the State of Connecticut, by an act of her Legislature, 
transferred to the national government all her claim to civil 
jurisdiction. Congress assumed the political control, and the 
President conveyed by patent the fee of the soil to the govern- 
ment of the State, for the use of the grantees and the parties 
claiming under them. Thereupon, in pursuance of this author- 
ity, on the 22d of September, 1800, Governor St Clair issued a 
proclamation establishing the county of Trumbull, to include 
within its boundaries the Fire Lands and adjacent islands, 
and ordered an election to be held at Warren, its county seat, 
on the second Tuesday of October. At that election forty-two 
votes were cast, of which General Edward Payne received thirty- 
eight, and was thus elected a member of the Territorial Legisla- 
ture. All the early deeds on the Reserve are preserved in the 
records of Trumbull County. 

A treaty was held at Fort Industry on the 4th of July, 1805, 
between the commissioners of the Connecticut Land Company 
and the Indians, by which all the lands in the Reserve west of 
the Cuyahoga belonging to the Indians were ceded to the 
Connecticut Company. 

Geauga was the second county of the Reserve. It was cre- 
ated by an act of the Legislature, December 31, 1805 ; and by 
a subsequent act its boundaries were made to include the pres- 
ent territory of Cuyahoga County as far west as the Fourteenth 
Range. Portage County was established on the loth of Feb- 
ruary, 1807, and on the i6th of June, 18 10, the act establishing 
Cuyahoga County went into operation. By that act all of Geauga 
west of the Ninth Range was made a part of Cuyahoga County. 
Ashtabula County was established on the 22d of January, 181 1. 


A considerable number of Indians remained on th 
Reserve until the breaking out of the war of i8i2. W 
Canadian tribes took up arms against the United Sta 
struggle, and a portion of the Indians of the Westen 
joined their Canadian brethren. At the close of that 
sional bands of these Indians returned to their old haui 
Cuyahoga and the Mahoning; but the inhabitants o 
serve soon made them understand that they were u 
visitors, after the part they had taken against then 
the war of 1 8 1 2 substantially^ cleared the Reserve of 

In this brief survey, I have attempted to indicate th 
character of the leading events connected with the 
and settlement of our country. I cannot, on this 
further pursue the history of the settlement and buildi 
the counties and townships of the Western Reserve, 
already noticed the peculiar character of the people ) 
verted this wilderness into the land of happy homes > 
now behold on every hand. But I desire to call the 
of the young men and women who hear me to the c 
owe to themselves and their ancestors, to study care 
reverently the history of the great work which has 
complished in this New Connecticut. 

The pioneers who first broke ground here accomf 
work unlike that which will fall to the lot of any su 
generation. The hardships they endured, the obstac 
encountered, the life they led, the peculiar qualities the) 
in their undertakings, and the traits of character devcl 
their works, stand alone in our history. The generat 
knew these first pioneers is fast passing away. But tl 
sitting in this audience to-day a few men and womci 
memories date back to the early settlement Here sit 
tleman near me who is older than the Western Reser 
remembers a time when the axe of the Connecticut 
had never awakened the echoes of the wilderness here 
strange and wonderful a transformation has taken plac 
he was a child ! It is our sacred duty to rescue from < 
the stirring recollections of such men, and to preserve t 
memorials of the past, as lessons for our own inspirati- 
for the instruction of those who shall come after us. 


The materials for a history of this Reserve are rich and abun- 
dant. Its pioneers were not ignorant and thoughtless adven- 
turers, but men of established character, whose opinions on 
civil and religious liberty had grown with their growth, and 
become the settled convictions of their maturer years. Both 
here and in Connecticut, the family records, journals, and letters 
which are preserved in hundreds of families, if brought out and 
arranged in order, would throw a flood of light on every page 
of our history. Even the brief notice which informed the citi- 
zens of this county that a meeting was to be held here to-day 
to organize a pioneer society, has called this great audience 
together; and they have brought with them many rich histori- 
cal memorials. They have brought old Colonial commissions 
given to early .Connecticut soldiers of the Revolution, who 
became pioneers of the Reserve, and whose children are here 
to-day. They have brought church and other records which 
date back to the beginning of these /settlements. They have 
show^n us implements of industry which the pioneers brought in 
with them, many of which have been superseded by the supe- 
rior mechanical contrivances of our time. Some of these im- 
plements are symbols of the spirit and character of the pioneers 
of the Reserve. Here is a broad-axe brought from Connecticut 
by John Ford, father of the late Governor Ford ; and we are 
told that the first work done with this axe by that sturdy 
old pioneer, after he had finished a few cabins for the families 
that came with him, was to hew out the timbers for an acad- 
emy, — the Burton Academy, — to which so many of our older 
men owe the foundation of their education, and from which 
sprang Western Reserve College. 

These pioneers knew well that the three great forces which 
constitute the strength and glory of a free government are the 
family, the school, and the church. These three they planted 
here, and they nourished and cherished them with an energy 
and devotion scarcely equalled in any other quarter of the 
worl^. On this height were planted in the wilderness the sym- 
bols of this trinity of powers; and here let us hope may be 
maintained forever the ancient faith of our fathers in the 
sanctity of the home, the intelligence of the school, and the 
faithfulness of the church. Where these three combine in 
prosperous union, the safety and prosperity of the nation are 
assured. The glory of our country can never be dimmed while 
these three lights are kept shining with an undimmed lustre. 





December 19, 1873. 

At a meeting of the Regents of the Smithsonian Instit 
the above date, the Secretary, Professor Joseph Henry, ar 
deaths, since the last meeting of the Board, of two of the m< 
members of the Board, Chief Justice Chase and Professor 1 
Hannibal Hamlin moved the appointment of a committe 
resolutions expressive of the sentiments of the Board in i 
death of these Regents. Mr. Garfield seconded the moti 
lowing remarks. 

MR. CHANCELLOR, — I rise to second the mc 
appointment of a committee to draft resolutic 
ence to the death of our distinguished brother Re| 
Justice Chase and Professor Agassiz. 

Never before in a single year has the Board of R 
fered so severe a loss. It would be difficult to f 
organization, two men more eminent, and represent 
range of culture, than the two Regents who have falk 
last meeting of this Board. This is not the occasic 
at length on the subject ; but as my term of service 
before the next meeting, I ask the indulgence of the I 
I refer briefly to some of the marked characteristics 
distinguished associates. 

Few Americans have filled so many high places o 
honor as Salmon P. Chase ; and few have brought ' 
charge of the duties of their high stations such mast 
and such rare and varied accomplishments. His c 


another to the many illustrations of the truth, that he who loses 
his life for the truth's sake shall find it. In his early manhood, 
following his own convictions of duty, he committed himself 
without reserve to a cause which seemed, at the time, to shut 
him out from all hope of public preferment. He stood by his 
convictions, and lived, not only to see his doctrines prevail, but 
to be one of the honored leaders in the cause he had espoused. 

Whether at the bar in the practice of his profession, in the 
executive chair of his own State, in the national Senate, as the 
great finance minister of the republic in the stormy days of 
war, or as Chief Justice of the United States, there ran through 
his whole life a depth of conviction, a clearness of comprehen- 
sion, and a force of utterance, that made his power felt, and 
marked him as a man who filled and overfilled, honored and 
adorned, the great stations to which he was called. If in the 
course of his high career he felt the promptings of that ambi- 
tion which has been called " the last infirmity of noble mind," 
it must be acknowledged that he aspired to no place beyond his 
capacity to honor. 

Throughout his long and honored life the cares and demands 
of public place did not diminish his ardent love for the pursuits 
of science and the keen enjoyment of literature and art. The 
great masters of song were his daily companions. I was his 
guest for many weeks, during the stormy and troublous winter 
of 1862-^3, when to the deep anxieties of the war were added the 
gravest financial problems that have ever confronted an Ameri- 
can Secretary of the Treasury, and many a time, at the close of 
a weary day of anxious care and exhausting labor, I have seen 
him lay aside the heavy load, and, in the quiet of his study, 
read aloud, or repeat from memory, the rich verse of Tennyson, 
or of some other great master of song. It was this life of art 
and sentiment, within the stormy life of public duty, that fed 
and refreshed his spirit, and kept his heart young, while his 
outer life grew venerable with years and honors. 

As the Chancellor of this Institution, we saw in happy and 
harmonious action his ample knowledge of our institutions, his 
wide experience of finance, his reverential love for science and 
art, and his unshaken faith in the future of his country as the 
grand theatre for the highest development of all that is best and 
greatest in human nature. No contribution to science offered 
to this Board escaped his attention. Nothing that was high or 


worthy in human pursuits failed to elicit his appreciative and 
powerful support. 

In Professor Agassiz we have lost a man of kindred powers, 
whose life was spent in a different, though hardly less conspicu- 
ous field of action. Few lives were ever so sincerely and en- 
tirely devoted to the highest and best aims of science. I was 
led to appreciate this by a remark which Professor Agassiz 
made to me several years ago, which is, I believe, the key to 
his own career, and deserves tp be remembered by all who 
would follow in his footsteps. His remark was, that he had 
made it the rule of his life to abandon any intellectual pursuit 
the moment it became commercially valuable. 

He knew that others would utilize what he discovered, — that 
when he brought down the great truths of science to the level 
of commercial values, a thousand hands would be ready to take 
them and make them valuable in the markets of the world. 
Since then I have thought of him as one of that small but elect 
company of men who dwell on the upper heights, above the 
plane of commercial values, and who love and seek truth for its 
own sake. Such men are indeed the prophets, the priests, the 
interpreters of nature. Few of their number have learned 
more, at first hand, than Professor Agassiz ; and few, if any, 
have submitted their theories to severer tests. 

It was a great risk for the astronomer Leverrier to announce 
that the perturbations of the planet Uranus could only be ac- 
counted for by a planet as yet unknown, and to predict its size 
and place in the solar system, trusting to the telescope to con- 
firm or explode his theory. But perhaps Professor Agassiz took 
even a greater risk than this. Who does not remember the letter 
that he addressed to Professor Peirce of the Coast Survey, just 
before he set out on the Hassler expedition, predicting in detail 
what evidences of glacial action he expected to find on the con- 
tinent of South America, and what species of marine animals he 
expected to discover in the deep-sea soundings along that coast? 
He risked his own reputation as a scientific man on the predic- 
tions then committed to writing. What member of this Board 
will forget the lecture he delivered here after his return, detail- 
ing the discoveries he had made, and showing how completely 
his predictions had been verified ? 

While he was the prince of scholars, and a recognized teacher 
of mankind, yet Agassiz always preserved that childlike spirit 


which made him the most amiable of men. He studied nature 
with a reverence born of his undoubting faith. He believed 
that the universe was a cosmos, not a chaos ; and that through- 
out all its vast domains there are indubitable evidences of cre- 
ative power and supreme wisdom. 

We have special cause for regret that his early death has de- 
prived this community and the world of a series of lectures 
which were to have been delivered here this winter, on subjects 
of the deepest interest to science. His death will be deplored 
in whatever quarter of the globe genius is admired and sci- 
ence cherished. He has left behind him as a legacy to man- 
kind a name and a fame which will abide as an everlasting 



March 5, 1874. 

On the i6th of February, 1874, Mr. Garfield, from the 
on Appropriations, introduced the bill making appropriati 
legislative, executive, and judicial expenses of the govemn 
fiscal year ending June 30, 1875, and for other purposes, 
the House resolved itself into Committee of the Whole for 
eration of said bill, when he made the following speech. 

MR. CHAIRMAN, — I regret that I have to ask 
tion of the Committee of the Whole at so lat 
of the day ; but in the present condition of the publi 
I am unwilling longer to delay the consideration of t 
priation bills. 

The bill now pending before the Committee of the 
the best gauge by which to measure the magnitude 
of the national government. Its provisions extend 
leading function of the government in the three gres 
ments, — legislative, executive, and judicial, — and in 
civil functions of the military and naval cstablishmenti 
propriates for all the salaries and contingent expenses 
officers and employees of the civil service. If its j 
could be thrown upon canvas, they would form an out 
exhibiting the character and the magnitude of the go 
of the United States. This bill is the proper standp 
which to study the public expenditures, to examine th 
of expenditures to taxation, and of both to the prosp 
well-being of the nation. What the House may do 


bill will be the test of what they will do with the appro- 
priation bills generally. Their action upon it will be the base 
line from which the scale of our expenditures for the coming 
fiscal year is to be measured; and it is for that reason, Mr. 
Chairman, that I ask the attention of the House, not only to 
the bill, but to the larger question of our expenditures and 
our revenues. 

A government is an artificial giant, and the power that moves 
it is money, — money raised by taxation and distributed to the 
various parts of the body politic according to the discretion of 
the legislative power. We have frequently heard it remarked 
since the session began, that we should make our expendi- 
tures come within our revenues, — that we should "cut our 
garment according to our cloth." This theory may be cor- 
rect when applied to private affairs, but it is not applicable 
to the wants of nations. Our national expenditures should be 
measured by the real necessities and the proper needs of the 
government. We should cut our garment so as to fit the per- 
son to be clothed. If he be a giant, we must provide cloth 
sufficient for a fitting garment. 

The Committee on Appropriations are seeking earnestly to 
reduce the expenditures of the government; but they reject 
the doctrine that they should at all hazards reduce the ex- 
penditures to the level of the revenues, however small those 
revenues may be. They have attempted rather to ascertain 
what are the real and vital necessities of the government, — to 
find what amount of money will suffice to meet all its honest 
obligations, to carry on all its necessary and essential functions, 
and to keep alive those public enterprises which the country 
desires its government to undertake and accomplish. When 
the amount of expenses necessary to meet these objects is 
ascertained, that amount should be appropriated; and ways 
and means for procuring that amount should be provided. 

There are some advantages in the British system of man- 
aging their finances. In the annual budget reported to the 
House of Commons, expenditures and taxation arc harnessed 
together. If appropriations are increased, taxes are corre- 
spondingly increased ; if appropriations are reduced, a reduc- 
tion of taxes accompanies the reduction. On some accounts, it 
is unfortunate that our work of appropriations is not connected 
directly with the work of taxation. If this were so, the ne- 

VOL. II. 7 


cessity of taxation would be a constant check upon 
agance, and the practice of economy would promis 
immediate result, the pleasure of reducing taxation. 

Revenues and expenditures may be considered fi 
points of view ; in relation to the people and their in 
and in relation to the government and the effective 
of its machinery. So far as the people are concern 
willingly bear the burdens of taxation, when they 
their contributions are honestly and wisely expended t 
tain the government of their choice, and to accompli: 
objects which they consider necessary for the general 
So far as the government is concerned, the soundnei 
financial affairs depends upon the annual surplus of 
enues over expenditures. A steady and constant 
drawn from sources that represent the prosperity 
nation, — a revenue that grows with the growth of 
wealth, and is so adjusted to the expenditures that a 
and considerable surplus is annually left in the Treas 
surplus that keeps the Treasury strong, that holds it ab 
fear of sudden panic, that makes it impregnable ag: 
private combinations, that makes it a terror to all stocl 
and gold-gambling, — this is financial health. This is i 
ation that wise statesmanship should endeavor to supp 
maintain. Of course in this discussion I leave out the c 
though important subject of banking and currency. 1 
plus, then, is the key to our financial situation. Ever} 
legislation should be studied in view of its effects u 
surplus, upon which two sets of forces are constantly 
It is increased by the growth of the revenue and 
decrease of expenditure. It is decreased by the re 
reduction of taxation, and by the increase of expen 
When both forces conspire against it, when taxes are 
ished and expenditures are increased, the surplus diss 
With the disappearance of the surplus comes disaster, — 
to the Treasury, disaster to the public credit, disaster to 
public interests. In times of peace, when no sudden em< 
has made a great and imperious demand upon the Trei 
deficit cannot occur except as the result of unwise leg 
or reckless and unwarranted administration. That leg 
may consist in too great an increase of appropriations, o 
great a reduction of taxation, or in both combined. 



Twice in the history of this nation a deficit has occurred in 
time of peace. In both instances it has occurred because Con- 
gress went too far in the reduction of taxation, — so far as to 
cripple the revenues and deplete the Treasury. It may be 
worth our while to study those periods of our history in which 
deficits have thus occurred. I do not speak of periods of war, 
for then the surplus is always maintained by the aid of loans ; 
but I speak of deficits occurring in times of peace. 

From the close of the last war with England, in 181 5, our 
revenues maintained a healthy and steady growth, interrupted 
only by years of financial crisis. A constant surplus was main- 
tained, sufficient to keep the Treasury steady and diminish the 
public debt, and finally complete its payment. But in 1833 the 
great financial discussion, which at one time threatened to dis- 
solve the Union, was ended by the passage of the Compromise 
TarifT, — a law that provided for the scaling down of the rates 
of taxation on imports in each alternate year until 1842, when 
all should be reduced to the uniform rate of twenty per cent 
ad valorem. By this measure the revenues were steadily de- 
creased, and in 1840 the Treasury was empty. During the nine 
preceding years the receipts had averaged $32,000,000 a year; 
but in 1840 they had fallen to $19,500,000, and in 1841 to less 
than $17,000,000. True, the expenditures had grown with the 
growth of the country; but no large or sudden expenditure 
appeared in any of those years. The deficit appeared, and it 
was unquestionably due to too great a reduction of taxation. 
This deficit brought political and financial disaster. To meet 
it, a special session of Congress was convened in June, 1841, 
and President Tyler sent in a message, in which he declared that 
by March 4, 1842, there would be a deficit of $11,406,132.98, 
and a further deficit by September, 1842, of $4,845,000. In his 
message of December 7, 1841, he reported a still further deficit, 
and declared that these accumulated deficits were the results of 
the too great reduction of taxation by the legislation of 1833. 
These accumulated deficits amounted to more than all the 
receipts for that year. They were to that time what a deficit 
of $300,000,000 would be to us to-day. 

I understood the gentleman from Massachusetts ^ to declare 
that Congress had never increased taxation in time of peace. 
Our history does not bear him out in this assertion. The Con- 

1 Mr. Dawes. 


gress of 1841-42 was called upon to repair the wasted reve- 
nues by an increase of taxation. The debates of that body 
show that the bill which they passed was treated wholly as a 
necessity of the revenue. The bill itself was entitled " An Act 
to provide Revenue for the Government." It became a law in 
1842, and under its influence the revenues revived. In 1843 
the surplus reappeared, and again the revenues continued to 
grow with the growth of the country. 

Excepting the period of the Mexican war, which, like all 
other modern wars, was carried on by the aid of loans, the sur- 
plus continued down to and including the first year of Buchan- 
an's administration. In the four years of Pierce's administration, 
the revenues had exceeded $70,000,000 a year; but the first 
year of Buchanan's term, an act was passed so largely reducing 
the duties on imports that the revenues dropped to $46,500,000 
in 1858, and a deficit appeared which continued and accumu- 
lated until the coming in of Lincoln's administration in 1861. 

Let us notice the growth of that deficit. On July i, 1857, 
the public debt, less cash in the Treasury, was $11,350,270.63; 
on July I, i860, the account stood, total debt, less cash in the 
Treasury, $61,140,497, showing a deficit of $50,000,000 in the 
space of three years. When Mr. Lincoln was inaugurated 
the debt had increased to nearly $90,000,000, and there had 
accumulated a deficit of more than $70,000,000. And those 
four years of Buchanan's administration were not years of 
extraordinary expenditures. Indeed, the average for the four 
years had not been so high as in the last year of the admin- 
istration of Mr. Pierce. The deficit then did not arise from 
an increase of expenditure, but from a decrease of revenue. 
For four years the government had been paying its ordinary 
expenses by the aid of loans at ruinous rates, and by forced 
loans in the form of Treasury notes. Here, as in the former 
case, the final remedy for the deficit was taxation. 

The first act of the last session of Congress in Buchanan's 
term was an act to authorize the issue of Treasury notes to meet 
the expenditures of the government; and almost the last act 
of that session was the act of March 2, 1861, to provide for 
the payment of outstanding Treasury notes, and to meet the 
expenditures of the government by increasing the duties on 
imports. This act was passed by a Republican Congress, and 
was reluctantly approved by a President whose policy and 


whose party had produced the deficit, and brought financial 
distress upon the country by cutting too deeply and too reck- 
lessly into the public revenues. 

Mr. Niblack. I want to inquire simply whether that deficit did not 
arise mainly fh)m the timidity which Congress felt about increasing taxes 
in time of peace, and which we now feel about assessing additional taxes ? 

Quite likely there was timidity about putting on taxes. But 
the deficit was caused by taking too many of them oflf, and the 
surplus was restored by putting them on again. 

Mr. Niblack. Is it not the old story over again, an unwillingness 
to tax imless some emergency like a great war compels us to do so ? 

I am merely stating the history of these two deficits. Before 
I close I will discuss the question whether we are to have 
another or not 

Mr. Niblack. I only want to make a note as we go along, for, as 
the gendeman will remember, I happened to be here in Congress at 
that time, and I know that to have been the case. 

I have been appealing to the past to learn how deficits occur. 
In view of their history, I am warranted in the declaration that 
our deficits in time of peace have resulted from legislation that 
has crippled the revenues, and that such deficits have been 
overcome only by replacing taxes too recklessly repealed. 

Mr. Chairman, when this House convened in December last, 
we werb startled by the declaration that another deficit was about 
to appear. We were informed that we might look for a deficit 
of $42,000,000 by the end of the current fiscal year. This ' 
announcement was indeed the signal for alarm throughout the 
country ; and it became the imperative duty of Congress to in- 
quire whether there would be a deficit, and, if so, to ascertain its 
cause and provide the remedy. 

In this instance, to the ordinary causes that produce a deficit, 
there had been superadded the disastrous financial calamity 
which visited a portion of the business interests of this country 
in September last; a panic that fell with unparalleled weight 
and suddenness, and swept like a tornado, leaving destruction 
in its track. We have not yet sufficiently recovered from the 
shock to be able to measure with accuracy the magnitude of its 
effects. We cannot yet tell how soon and how completely the 
revenues of the country will recover from the shock. But we 


have sufficient data to ascertain, with some degree of accuracy, 
the part that the legislation of Congress has played in producing 
the situation in which we now find ourselves. That we may 
more clearly trace the legislative steps by which we have reached 
our present position, I invite your attention to the condition of 
our finances at the close of the war. 

Leaving out of view the fiscal year ending June 30, 1865, in 
which there was paid over the counter of the Treasury the enor- 
mous sum of $1,290,000,000, the accumulated product of taxa- 
tion and of loans, we begin our examination with the year that 
followed the close of the war, the fiscal year ending June 30, 
1866. In that year, our aggregate revenues, from all sources, 
exclusive of loans, amounted to $558,000,000, and our expendi- 
tures to nearly $521,000,000, leaving us a clear surplus of 
$37,000,000. These were the gigantic proportions of our in- 
come and our payments. From these as a base line we measure 
the subsequent history' of our finances. With these vast totals 
the work of triple reduction began; — reduction of the revenue 
by the repeal of taxes ; reduction of ordinary payments by the 
decrease of expenditures; reduction of the public debt by ap- 
plying to it the annual surplus. 

I present a table which exhibits in parallel columns the annual 
receipts and expenditures from 1866 to 1873. These columns 
represent the converging lines that mark the reduction of taxes 
and the reduction of expenditures. As these lines approach 
each other, the surplus diminishes ; whenever they touch and 
cross each other, the surplus is gone and a deficit will appear. 

Receipts and Expenditures of the Government. 

For the Fiscal Year Secretary's Receipts exclusive Expenditures exdusive of 

ending Annual Report. of Loans. Principal of Public Debt 

June 30. 1866 Page 3 ^558/)32.620.o6 ^520.750,940.48 

June 30. 1867 33, 34 490,634,010.27 346,729»i29-33 

June 30, 1868 24, 25 405,638,083.32 377,340,284.86 

June 30, 1869 20 370,943.747.21 321,490,597 75 

June 30, 1870 3 411.255,477.63 309.653.560.75 

June 30, 1871 5 383*323.944.89 292,177,188.25 

June 30, 1872 5 374.106,967.56 277,517,962.67 

June 30, 1873 4.5 333.738,204.67 290,345,245.33 

From this table it will be seen that every year since the war 
save one the revenues have been decreased by the reduction of 
taxes ; and every year save two the expenditures have decreased. 


Two forces have been constantly at work, the one reducing 
expenditures, the other repealing taxes. And yet, by the aid 
of one and in spite of the other, a handsome surplus has been 
maintained in each of these years. By comparing the two col- 
umns given in the table, it will be seen that, notwithstanding 
the diminution of taxes, the surplus increased, until in 1870 it 
reached $100,000,000. 

Keeping in view the column of receipts into the Treasury, let 
us call to mind the various acts and amounts by which the bur- 
dens of taxation have been lessened. The echoes of the last 
battle had hardly died away when Congress began the grateful 
work of reducing taxation. This is shown by the following 

Reduction of Taxes since the War. 

By the act of July 13, 1866, internal duties were repealed 

to the amount of ^65,000,000 

By the act of March 2, 1867, internal duties were further 

reduced by the sum of 40,000,000 

By the acts of February, March, and July, 1868, internal 

duties were still further reduced by the sum of ... . 68,000,000 
By the act of July 14, 1870, the reduction was : — 

On customs ^29,526,410 

On internal revenue 55,000,000 

By the acts of May i, and June 6, 1872, the reduction, as 
stated by the chairman of the Committee of Ways and 
Means, was, for eleven months of last year : — 

On customs 1441365,364 

On internal revenue 1 7*695,456 


Making a total reduction, since the close of the fiscal year 
1866, of l3i9»SS7>230 

I have here stated, not the amounts that these taxes would 
have produced if allowed to remain on the statute-book, but 
the amounts they were producing at the dates of their repeal, 

I have now examined the course of revenue and expendi- 
ture to the close of the last fiscal year. On the ist of July, 
1873, the Treasury closed with a surplus of $43,392,959, of 
which amount, however, more than $29,000,000 was due to the 
sinking fund. If this year is to show a deficit, it will be because 


the expenditures have increased, or the revenues diminished, 
from those of last year. 

What are the facts? I give the figures for the two years, 
omitting the sinking fund from each; those for 1873 as they 
stand on the books of the Treasury, those for 1874 as estimated 
by the chairman of the Committee of Ways and Means in his 
speech of February 12, as follows: — 

1873, — Receipts ^333»73S,204.67 

1874, — Receipts 281,777,972.99 

Decrease 151,960,231.68 

I do not admit the correctness of these estimates for the cur- 
rent year. The condition of the Treasury has improved since 
the gentleman from Massachusetts ^ made his speech. But tak- 
ing the estimate as he gave it, and considering the situation in 
its worst aspect, the figures of the gentleman from Massachu- 
setts show this : that, comparing this fiscal year with the last, 
our revenues have fallen off more than $52,000,000; and there- 
fore it is undeniably true that, if we are about to meet a defi- 
cit, that deficit will occur not because increased expenditures 
have cut away the surplus, but because the revenues have suf- 
fered a loss of $52,000,000 during the current fiscal year, — a 
loss $9,000,000 greater than the surplus of last year. Now, 
lyir. Chairman, how came we to lose this large amount of 
revenue, if, indeed, it is lost? The explanation of that loss 
can be found by examining our legislation that has reduced the 
revenues. Let us, then, go back to the month of July, 1870. 

The fiscal year had just closed with a surplus of $100,000,000. 
It was an opportunity to afford relief from the burdens of 
taxation. Congress determined, by the act of July 14, 1870, 
to establish the sinking fund on a firm basis, by making a 
permanent appropriation for its annual support; and, hav- 
ing done that, repealed and reduced taxes to the amount of 
$84,500,000. That was the repeal which swept away the income 
tto, although it was to be collected for the following year. The 
Treasury did not at once feel the whole effect of so sweeping a 
repeal. In fact, the income tax, repealed at that date, has been 
paying revenue into the Treasury ever since. During the last 
year even, we received more than $5,000,000 of revenues from 
back taxes on incomes. But, notwithstanding this heavy reduc- 

^ Mr. Dawes. 


tion, others were made in the months of May and June, 1872, 
which more particularly concern the question of deficit we are 
now discussing. 

In spite of the reduction of 1870, an unexpected amount of 
revenue came pouring into the Treasury during the year 1872, — 
an amount sufficient, by the aid of reduced expenditures, to 
leave a surplus of more than $90,000,000. Was that a stable 
surplus? Could it be relied on to continue and increase, even 
if no further reduction of taxes were made? Manifestly not. 
The Treasury had not yet felt the full effect of the reduction of 
1870. There was paid into the Treasury in 1872 more than 
$19,000,000 of back taxes on articles and occupations from 
which the tax had been removed by the act of 1870, But there 
was another consideration which should have been borne in' 
mind by Congress in its legislation of 1872. We were that year 
receiving an amount of revenue from customs far in excess of 
any other year. From commercial and other causes, which I 
will not pause to discuss, there had been an unusual and abnor- 
mal increase in the amount of foreign importations, an increase 
that we could not expect to continue. The revenues from cus- 
toms that year were $30,000,000 above the average for the four 
preceding years, and $10,000,000 more than in any other year 
of our history. It was not safe for Congress to calculate upon 
the continuance of that unusual revenue from customs. 

For all these reasons it was inevitable that, with any further 
repeal of taxes, the years 1873 and 1874 would show a fallipg 
off in revenues, resulting from former legislation, from the natu- 
ral decrease of revenues from miscellaneous sources, and from 
the necessary falling off of importations from the unusual 
amount of the preceding year. These facts should have been 
taken into consideration in the spring of 1872, when it was pro- 
posed to make further reduction of taxes. No doubt a consid- 
erable reduction was possible and safe. The best estimate that 
could be made at that time fixed the limit of safe reduction at 
$50,000,000. On the 3d of May, 1872, the chairman of the 
Committee of Ways and Means, in introducing his bill for fur- 
ther reduction of taxes, said : *' Fifty millions of reduction of 
taxes, including the reduction on tea and coffee [which had 
been made just two days before], was the utmost limit of reduc- 
tion admitted possible by any one who has the slightest respon- 
sibility for the administration of affairs for the financial credit 


of the nation." Let it be remembered as a part of 1 
history of our legislation, that the chairman of the 
of Ways and Means, speaking not only by the auth< 
own position, but by the authority of the Treasury D 
declared that $50,000,000 was the utmost limit to w 
safe to go in the reduction of taxes ; and yet, by tli 
of May I and June 6, 1872, Congress cut off fron 
revenues of the government more than $62,000,0 
$45,000,000 of which was in gold. We have the te 
the chairman of the Committee of Ways and Meanj 
committee of conference, in the final adjustment o 
would have cut down still $5,000,000 deeper but fo 
nest protest of the Treasury Department In his spe« 
4th of June, when the chairman presented the conf 
port to the House, he said that, when the amount of 
reduction " came to the ears of the Treasury offic 
brought down upon the committee official statemen 
that, if they reduced the revenues $58,000,000, those 
responsible for the administration of the governmer 
the opinion that we should not have enough to pay 
ing fund." But for that protest the reduction would 1 
$5,000,000 greater; it would have been $67,000,000 in 
Now, Mr. Chairman, if the whole amount of this 
had afforded relief to the people from the burdens of 
and had been safe for the Treasury, it would have bee 
four public rejoicing. But we have the authority of t 
man of the Committee of Ways and Means for the d< 
that, while the act of May i, 1872, deprived the Tr« 
more than $25,000,000 in gold, it did not relieve th< 
of the people by a single dollar; that the whole of 
sum was divided between the foreign producer and th 
sale dealer. I quote from his speech of February 12: 
we took off the $25,000,000 from tea and coffee, it 
reduce the price to the consumer of either article c 
penny. I have the prices current of the country to 
out that I am substantially, if not mathematically, 
in the statement that the whole of the duty taker 
divided between the producer at the one end, and th 
sale dealer at the other." If this revenue, thus uselessly 
away, were to-day coming into our Treasury, we shoi 
no fear of a deficit 


Mr. Chairman, it is a grateful task to remove burdens from 
the industries and the earnings of the American people. No 
more grateful work can an American Congress be called upon 
to perform. But while we are relieving the people from the 
burdens of taxation, it should always be borne in mind that we 
are in danger of so crippling the revenues as to embarrass 
the government and endanger the public credit It is a great 
thing to remove all burdensome taxes; but there is danger 
that, — while Congress may imitate Tennyson's Godiva, who 

" Took the tax away, 
And built herself an everlasting name," — 

yet in so doing it may cause the public credit to go forth from 
a despoiled Treasury, and, like the Lady Godiva, to ride naked 
in the streets of the world. We have had abounding faith in 
the elasticity of our revenues. We have found that even reduc- 
tion of rates frequently brings us increased revenues ; that the 
buoyant and almost immortal life of our industries will make 
the tree of our revenues bloom again, how often so ever we may 
pluck its flowers and its fruits. We think of it as the fabled 
tree which Virgil's hero found in the grove of Avernus. When- 
ever the bough of gold was plucked away, another sprang out 
in its place, — 

" Primo avulso non deficit alter 
Aureus, et simili frondescit virga metallo." 

But, sir, we may pluck the golden bough once too often. We 
may pluck away with it the living forces of the tree itself. Just 
that mistake has been made twice before in our political his- 
tory, — a mistake which has always been atoned for only by 
planting new shoots on which new revenues might grow. 

Mr. Cox. My friend from Ohio, in 1872, I think, endeavored to 
cut down the taxes, along with other gentlemen on both sides of the 
House. I would like to know from him what part of that action he 
objects to now, — whether it was the removal of the duty on tea, or on 
coffee, or on what particular article. He reproaches us for our work. 
Will the gendeman, then, tell us wherein we were wrong ? 

My worthy and learned friend will perhaps be relieved and 
pleased to learn that I was one of that small but unpopular com- 
pany of twenty-five who voted against the repeal of the duty 
on tea and coffee in 1872, because they thought it unwise legis- 


Now, Mr. Chairman, is it wonderful, in view of these facts, 
that our estimated revenues for the current year should be 
$102,000,000 less than the revenues for 1871? What more is 
needed to explain this falling off than the admitted fact that, 
since the beginning of the fiscal year 1 871, we have repealed 
and reduced taxes to the amount of $146,500,000? And yet, 
with that enormous reduction, no man would question the 
soundness of the Treasury; no man would doubt but that 
to-day, in spite of the commercial crisis and all its effects, we 
should have a strong surplus in the Treasury but for the useless 
repeal of the duty on tea and coffee. I do not say that it is 
necessary to restore that duty. I am pointing out the effect of 
its repeal. With the single exception of the reduction on tea 
and coffee, I have heartily joined in all our legislation to reduce 

On the 1 2th of December last, the Secretary of the Treasury 
addressed a letter to the Committee of Ways and Means sug- 
gesting higher taxes on spirits, tobacco, and gas, and on several 
classes of corporations. In writing this letter, the Secretary sur- 
veyed the situation as it appeared when the worst effects of the 
crisis were felt by the Treasury. It was at that date that a 
deficit seemed imminent ; and it was the duty of the Secretary 
of the Treasury and of the chairman of the Committee of Ways 
and Means to give Congress the facts. 

If there be a deficit, the duty of Congress is plain. First, to 
ascertain the smallest amount by which the necessary expendi- 
tures of the government may be met; and, if there still be a 
deficit, to meet it by restoring some of the revenues which we 
have crippled by too great a reduction of taxes. Retrenchment 
of expenses is the first duty, and the performance of that duty 
may be a perfect and complete remedy ; but I do not indorse 
the doctrine that the expenditures must be cut down, at all 
hazards, to the level of the revenues. If necessary, there must 
be help on both sides of the ledger. If there be a chasm to be 
bridged, it must be bridged by building from both shores ; by 
decreasing the expenditures on one side, and increasing the 
revenues on the other. 

But, Mr. Chairman, the study which I have given to this sub- 
ject leads me to believe that the revival of business from the 
disastrous effects of the crisis will so increase our revenues that, 
by the aid of such reduction as may be made in the expendi- 


tures of the next fiscal year, no deficit will occur; that the 
Treasury will not go to protest ; that the public credit will not 
be impaired. Even the gentleman from Massachusetts,^ who, 
to say the least, does not paint the situation with the color 
of the rose, tells us that we shall have at the end of the pres- 
ent fiscal year, after all our deficiency appropriations are made, 
a surplus of $10,000,000. I think we shall have a larger sum. 
The receipts for the last month show a marked improvement 
The official statement, published four days ago, shows that the 
debt was decreased during the month of February by the sum 
of $2,590,047.45 ; and at the close of the month the Secre- 
tary estimated that the receipts for the current year will be 
$8,000,000 more than the estimate which he sent to the Com- 
mittee of Ways and Means at the beginning of that month. 

Mr. Chairman, if I have been successful in this presentation 
of facts, I have made it apparent that, whatever danger of a 
deficit may have threatened the Treasury, that danger has been 
produced by two causes, — too great a reduction of taxes, and 
the temporary crippling of the revenues by the commercial 
crisis. The last of these causes was beyond the control of legis- 
lation; but, in spite of the storm, no question of the sound- 
ness of the Treasury would have been raised if it had been kept 
strong by a sufficient surplus. 

I come now to speak more particularly of our recent ex- 
penditures. We have seen how taxation has been reduced 
since the war; it is now necessary to inquire what has been 
done on the other side of the ledger. We have thus far 
been considering the revenues. What have been our ex- 
penditures? And here, Mr. Chairman, I am sorry to turn 
aside from the main line of discussion to notice the fact that 
frequent attempts have been made during the last three months 
to impress the public mind with the belief that the esti- 
mates, the appropriations, and the expenditures have not only 
been extravagant, but increasing, in recent years. If this is 
so, it brings to the door of Congress, and to all those whom 
Congress has intrusted with any share of the responsibility on 
this subject, an imperative obligation to show cause for what 
they have done. I should not speak of this but for the fact that 
it has several times been referred to on this floor. That we may 
know just what the allegations are, I will quote three paragraphs 

^ Mr. Dawes. 


from the Congressional Record. On the 15th of I 
1 873* in the debate on revising the estimates, the gentl< 
Massachusetts said : — 

'^ Could I have my own way about it, the knife would go int 
of Estimates*. . . . imtil the difference between current receip 
rent expenditures should no longer exist Sir, the Book of 1 
a marvel to me. When I take up that broad book, so unlike 
to carry under my arm, it is most unintelligible to me. The 
about it I can realize and imderstand is, that year after year tl 
are going on increasing, until this year, in the face of these exi{ 
grand total of estimates is about twelve millions more than it 1 
year, and about fourteen millions more than the actual appro] 
last year." * 

In the next place, I call attention to a paragraph in 
made by the gentleman from Kentucky* on the 12th ol 
1874. In the debate on the naval appropriation bill h( 

" At the last session of the last Congress, after the last Ptesid 
tion was over, and when members were not soon to be called 
to the people, then, for the first time since I have been in Co 
the first time in the history of the country as I believe, Congr 
priated 115,329,000 more than all the estimates of all th 
ments. Three hundred and eight million dollars was the ai 
Departments asked : Congress gave them 1319,600,000, and | 
more the other day, making I3 23,000,000, an excess of 1 15,0c 
highest amount ever given in time of peace, and that, too, in 
after the last Presidential election."* 

And that we may have the whole chapter before i 
attention to the following paragraph in the speech of 
tleman from Massachusetts, made on the 12th of Febi 

" In 1873 ^c expenditures ran up to ^290,345,245.33, an( 
but 143,667,630.05 of the public debt This year our appr 
have gone up from ^290,000,000, our expenses for the last 
^319,000,000, without paying one dollar of the public debt.* 

To these three points, as they represent the three 
estimates, appropriations, and expenditures, I desire nc 
spond briefly. I did respond to two of them at the 
will not pause to notice the rather singular criticism mad 

^ Congressional Record, December 15, 1873, pp. 212, 213. ' Mr 

* Congressional Record, January 12, 1874, p. 597. 

* Ibid., February 12, 1874, p. 1449. 


gentleman from Massachusetts ^ in reference to the bulk of the 
Book of Estimates, except to say that two years ago the Com- 
mittee on Appropriations found this fault with the book, — that 
it was too condensed in its statements, — that the estimates and 
the reasons therefor were not given with sufficient detail ; and at 
the suggestion of the committee, the Secretary of the Treasury 
ordered a fuller statement, and gave us a quarto instead of a 
duodecimo. Now, while the quarto is somewhat too large for a 
pocket companion, yet it happens that the bulk of the book is 
not a measure of the appropriations asked for, and that the 
modest duodecimo that former chairmen of the Committee on 
Appropriations carried under their arms estimated a great many 
millions more of appropriations than the swollen quarto which 
I have had the honor to carry the last two years. 

Referring to the statement of the gentleman from Kentucky,^ 
it would indeed be a grave matter, and one requiring explana- 
tion, if Congress had appropriated $i 5,000,000 above the amount 
estimated as necessary for the public service. I answered at the 
time, that what the gentleman called the estimates of last session 
were only the aggregate given in the regular Book of Estimates 
sent in on the first day of the session. I also showecj that, from 
die day that book was sent in until the last day of the session, 
additional estimates were constantly coming in. For instance, a 
whole book of estimates of deficiencies, amounting to more than 
$6,000,000, came in after the regular Book of Estimates was 
printed. I have here compiled from the records of the Com- 
mittee on Appropriations a list of those estimates that came to 
the House or to the committee from the several Departments 
after the Book of Estimates came in, and the total amounts to 
the sum of $23,392,540.36. These were just as really estimates 
as though they had been printed in the Book of Estimates ; and 
when the appropriations of Congress are compared with the 
estimates, we must compare them with the whole, and not with 
a part. The gentleman was wholly wrong in his allegation. 
The appropriations made by Congress at the last session were 
far below the estimates. 

Mr. Beck. Is it not a fact that the Secretary of the Treasury, on the 
ist of December last, — December, 1873, — in his Book of Estimates, 
page 175, states that all the estimates for the year 1874 were ^308,323,256, 
whfle the gentleman himself has stated on this floor that the appropriations 
were 1319,000,000? 

i Mr. Dawes, * Mr. Beck. 


The sum of $3o8,ooo,ocx), of which the gentleman 
what is found in the Book of Estimates only, and 
include the additional estimates to which I have just 

Mr. Beck. Ah ! but this is the question : After all thesi 
bills were passed, on the ist of December, 1873, did not tl 
of the Treasury in his Book of Estimates again repeat that . 
mates for the year 1874 were ^308,000,000? 

He did not. In this year's Book of Estimates he s 
his estimates were for 1874. But that statement is tak 
from millions down to cents, from the Book of Estims 
previous year, which book was in print and on our tab 
first day of the session, in December, 1872. All this 
out to the gentleman in the debate some weeks ago. 

Mr. Beck. I wiU say this, and then I will not interrupt th< 
further. I will make good, when I come to reply to him, n 
statement that we appropriated 1319,000,000, when the estim; 
called for ^308,000,000, but I will make good also that the gen 
led the chairman of the Committee of Ways and Means,* 
him admit that the sinking fund was included in this year's app 
and not in other years', when he ought to have known that 1 
fund was included in them all, and I wiU demonstrate that fac 

When the gentleman attempts that demonstration 1 
ready to try the question of arithmetic with him. I < 
to the last of the three paragraphs which I have qu< 
the Record, and that is the statement of the gentle 
Massachusetts.^ I would not refer to that statement nc 
ularly in the absence of the distinguished gentleman, b 
fact that the answer which I made at the moment, i 
the gentleman very frankly acknowledged before tl 
was correct, does not seem to have reached the cour 
Accusation rides on horseback, while refutation tra 
slowly on foot. The gentleman from Massachusetts st 
House, at least for a moment, and startled the counti 
statement which has been read at the Clerk's desk, th 
the current fiscal year the appropriations had swo 
$290,000,000, the figures of last year, to $319,000 
figures of this year; in other words, that the extravj 
Congress had swollen the expenditures by the enormoi 
$29,000,000. That was indeed a startling statement, bu 

1 Mr. Dawes. 


diing startling about it was the $29,000,000 ; and when the cor- 
rection was made by which the $29,000,000 was taken bodily 
out of his statement, the cause of the alarm was gone, and the 
alarm itself ought also to have disappeared with it. But, sir, 
though the correction was made in open House, I desire to 
show the committee how little the country understands what the 
correction was. The daily papers the next morning contained 
about two columns of the Associated Press report of the speech 
of the gentleman from Massachusetts, and I will read the only 
portion of that report which relates to the correction : " Mr. 
Garfield criticised some of Mr. Dawes's figures, especially those 
relating to the sinking fund." I will add that the special de- 
spatches contained a much fuller report. But most of the public 
journals received only the despatches of the Associated Press. 
I have no doubt that the reading public generally understand to 
this day that the first statement of the gentleman from Massa- 
chusetts remains uncontradicted, and that we have spent during 
the current fiscal year nearly $30,000,000 more than during the 
preceding year. 

But, Mr. Chairman, it is not just to compare the appropria- 
tions of one fiscal year with the expenditures of another, for the 
plain reason that expenditures do not equal appropriations. 
Appropriations are intended to be made large enough to cover 
and more than cover the expenditures. Although there may 
be deficiencies on some items, yet there are always still large 
sums of unexpended balances to be covered into the Treasury 
each year. It is because of that very difference between ap- 
propriations and expenditures that the gentleman from Massa- 
chusetts could point to the fact that there were $72,000,000 of 
unexpended balances of former years ready to be covered into 
the Treasury at the end of the present fiscal year. 

I have compiled from the annual and permanent appropria- 
tions a statement of the amounts appropriated for each fiscal 
year since 1869, not including the sinking fund. Stating it in 
round millions the account stands thus : — 

For fiscal year ending June 30, 1870 . . 
For fiscal year ending June 30, 1871 . . 
For fiscal year ending June 30, 1872 . . 
For fiscal year ending June 30, 1873 . . 
For fiscal year ending June 30, 1874 . . 
VOL. n. 8 

Total Appropria- Deficienqr Appropriations 

tion*. for former Years. 

. 1317,000,000 . . . $23,000,000 

. 315.000,000 . . . 22,000,000 

295,000,000 . . . 14,000,000 

. 291,000,000 . . . 6,500,000 

290,000,000 . . . 11,000,000 


From this table it will be seen that in every year 
priations, including those for deficiencies, exceed th 
tures; and that there has been a decrease in the 
appropriations for each of those years. 

In answer to all that has been said on the subject, 
the fact that the appropriatious made at the last scssi 
gress, for the current year, were less than the approp 
any year since the war. 

Mr. Chairman, as I have already said, there have 
years since the war in which the expenditures were g 
during the preceding years. One was the year 1868 
expenditures appeared greater by $30,000,000 thai 
1867. The other was in 1873, when the expenditure! 
$12,000,000 greater than in 1872. This latter year < 
was the first year of my service as chairman of the ( 
on Appropriations. Whatever share of responsibili 
to me for that increase I cheerfully bear. Not the 
cult part of my task was to follow in the footsteps < 
tinguished gentleman from Massachusetts,^ whose 
had largely reduced expenditures the preceding year, 
made it all the more difficult to continue the reduc 

It ought also to be borne in mind, that reduction < 
penditures cannot be carried on indefinitely. The red 
have made since 1866 were possible only because we 
coming down from the high level of war expenditures 
level of peace. It is apparent that we must soon read 
of reduction, must soon reach a point where the cor 
rapid growth of the country, its increase of populati< 
settled territory, will bring us under the control of t! 
law of increase ; and that thenceforward our expenses i 
with the growth and the development of the country, 
tures thus adjusted are not only necessary and defei 
they are the real index by which we measure the h 
prosperit>' of a nation. Have we reached that limit 
tion ? In a speech which I delivered on the legislati^ 
priation bill of two years ago, I ventured to predi 
peace continued undisturbed, we should reach the lim 
sible reduction in 1876, — that by that time the in 
the public debt would be reduced to $95,000,000, an< 
total annual expenditures, including this interest, v 

1 Mr. Dawes. 


exceed $230,ooo,coo. Perhaps that was too hopeful a view. 
The heavy reduction- of revenues makes it doubtful whether 
we can reduce the interest to the figure suggested ; and then 
there seems to be a sort of immortality in war bills. 

For the information of the House, I have made a careful 
analysis of the actual expenditures of the fiscal year which ended 
on the 30th of June, 1873. I have grouped these expenditures 
into three classes: first, those which were made directly on 
account of the war ; secondly, the expenses of the army and 
navy ; thirdly, all other expenditures, including the civil estab- 
lishment and public works. 

L Amounts paid during the fiscal Year 1873, on Account of Expenses 

growing directly out of the late War. 

Jomt Select Committee on Alleged Outrages in Southern States . 11,087.20 

loTestigatioiis in relation to elections in Louisiana and Arkansas . 20,000.00 

Payment of judgments of Court of Claims .... * 489,034.70 

Southern Claims Commission 52,80004 

Tribunal of arbitration at Geneva .....' 62,210.22 

Expenses of national currency 181,654.84 

Expenses of national loan 2,806,863.94 

Refunding national debt r • • 54>7 26.83 

Cost of assessing and collecting internal revenue, including pay- 
ments of drawbacks and amounts illegally collected .... 6,687,039.49 

Defending claims for cotton seized 52*95 

Salaries of direct tax commissioners 540-55 

Expenses of collecting direct tax in Delaware 22.46 

Repayment for lands sold for direct taxes 9>075.oo 

Return of proceeds of captured and abandoned property .... 1,960,679.26 
Collection of captured and abandoned property, records and evi- 
dence respecting same 84,459.50 

Refunding internal taxes illegally collected 1,507.44 

Refunding proceeds of cotton seized 3,282.00 

Premium on bonds purchased in currency 5,105,919.99 

Payment of interest on the public debt 104,750,688.44 

Bounties 465,049.14 

Keeping, transporting, and supplying prisoners of war 258,080.11 

Miliury telegraph 17,220.36 

National cemeteries 431,219.22 

Maintenance of steam-rams 14,54893 

Gunboats on Western rivers 33408.28 

Providing for comfort of sick and discharged soldiers I1305.79 

Payment of stoppages or fines due National Asylum for Disabled 

Volunteer Soldiers 193,75059 

Travelling expenses of California and Nevada volunteers . . . 28,000.00 

Travelling expenses of First Michigan Cavalry 500 00 

Commutation of rations to prisoners of war in Rebel States . . . 2,000.00 

Draft and substitute fund 42,792.84 

Amount carried forward ^123,759,520.11 



Amount brought forward ( 

Appliances for disabled soldiers 

Transportation of insane volunteer soldiers - 

Support of Freedmen's Hospital and Asylum, Washington, D. C. • 
Support of Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands 


Support of Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands 


Horses and other property lost in the military service 

Reimbursing State of Kansas for military expenses 

Reimbursing State of Kentucky for military expenses 

Refunding to States expenses incurred in raising volunteers . . . 
Defraying expenses of minute-men and volunteers in Pennsylvania, 

Maryland, Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky 

Supplying arms and munitions of war to loyal citizens in revolted 

States : . . 

Capture of Jefferson Davis 

Claims of loyal citizens for supplies furnished during the rebellion. 

Bounty for destruction of enemy's vessels 

Payment to captors of the Rebel ram Albemarle 

Payment to officers and crew of the United States steamer Kear- 

sarge . 

Pensions ^ 

Relief acts (various) 

Total |l 

II. Expenses of Military and Naval Establishments^ 

For the Army, after deducting payments for the late 
war, already mentioned in the first group, and for 
improvements of rivers and harbors, and other 
public works 132,524,548.64 

For the Navy 21,474,433.61 


III. Civil Service proper^ being all the Expenditures not 

in the First and Second Groups, 

I. The civil list, including expenses of legislative, 
judicial, and executive officers of the govern- 
ment, not including Internal Revenue and Cus- 
toms Departments 116,026,321.32 

Increase of salaries by act of March 3, 1873 . . . i,948,2iao4 

Foreign intercourse 1,292,008.49 

Indians 7,946309.53 

Expenses of mints, coast survey, light-house service, 

revQnue-cutter service, and marine hospitals . . 4312,183.58 
Cost of collecting customs duties, exclusive of reve- 
nue-cutter service, and building and repairing 
custom-houses, including the refunding of excess 
of deposits and amounts illegally collected . . 12,586,045.93 

Amounts carried forward f44f6i 1,578.89 I2 

1 A portion of this amount is for penuona to soldiers of the war 


Amounts broDght forward *44.6i 1,578.89 $21 i,26i,398x)6 

Deficiencies in the revenues of the Post-Office De- 
partment 4f765.475a> 

Msil-cteamship service 725,000.00 

Expenses of eighth and ninth census 105,762.44 

Survey of public lands, and land funds to States . . 1401,971.27 

Government of Territories 271,985.56 

Steamboat inspection service 221,917.50 

2. Extraordinary expenses : — 

Investigation of Senatorial election in Kansas . . ao^ooo 00 

Survey of boundary between United States and Brit- 
ish possessions 2,304.63 

Commissioners to International Penitentiary Congress 

at London 5,000.00 

Copies of proceedings of same 1,362.65 

International Exposition at Vienna 111,146.26 

Payments for coin, nickels, &c, destroyed by fire at 

Chicago 370.813.24 

Ifisoellaneous 1,662,634.86 

^ , ,. , 154,277.052.10 

3. Public works : — 

Custom-houses and post-offices, and repairs and pres- 
ervation of same l3>270^329 90 

Marine hospitals 61,928.73 

Light-houses and repairs 1,408,851.49 

Court-houses, post-offices, and building for State, 

War, and Navy Departments 5f352>452.34 

Arsenals and armories, and Military Academy build- 
ings 9J6,476.33 

Forts and fortifications 1,801,766.92 

Rivers and harbors 6,371,687.32 

Navy yards 11370,587.06 

Interior Department building 10,000.00 

Buildings, Government Hospital for Insane, Columbia 
Hospital, and Columbia Institution for Deaf and 

Dumb 179,800.00 

Improvements of public grounds, streets, and avenues 
in the city of Washington, including Washington 
Aqueduct and bridges across the Potomac River, 
extension of Capitol grounds and Capitol build- 
ing 4.062,915.08 


Grand total ^290,345,245.33 

It will be seen by an examination of this analysis that every 
expenditure enumerated in the first group is a direct charge 
of the late war. Now, that group amounts in the total to 
$157,262416.81 ; that is, 54 per cent of all the expenditures 
of the government for the last fiscal year, excluding the sink- 
ing fund. In examining those items one by one, I find but 


a single place where it seems to me there has beei 
travagance whatever ; and that is the expenses of th< 
loan, to which I will refer before I am done. I a< 
men to go over those items, and say what portic 
$157,000,000 expended in paying the charges of the 
possibly have been left out with justice. 

In the second group I have placed the army and th( 
not counting in the public works for rivers and hart 
yards, arsenals, and the like, that have been built in c* 
with the navy and the army, but the net charges of 
and the navy themselves. These make the secont 
and they amount to $53,998,982.25 ; that is, just 19 p< 
the whole expense of the year. 

The third group embraces all other expenditure 
have sub-grouped them for convenience into thre< 
first, the civil service proper, the civil establishmej 
sented by this bill and other kindred appropriations ; 
extraordinary civil expenses that came in during t 
thirdly, public works of all kinds grouped togethc 
this third group and its sub-groups amount in the 
$79,083,847.27, or 27 per cent of the entire expense 

Now, Mr. Chairman, take the results : $290,000,000, 
cent directly for the war; 19 per cent for our mili 
naval establishments ; and 27 per cent for all other 
put together. When gentlemen attack the expend 
the government, they ought to go carefully through t 
one by one, and specify those that are extravagai 
should specify the item that is wrongfully there. It 
do to declaim against extravagance in general, and no 
where it is. I have endeavored, in this statement, t( 
out as on an open "scroll the expenditures of the govc 
and I ask the help of every man in this House to poin 
places where real, efifective, wise retrenchment can be n 

It will be observed that in the first group I have pla< 
those items of expenditure which grew directly out of 
yet it will not be denied that a very considerable portic 
expenses in the other two groups were made necessary 
sequence of the war. But as they all belong to the 
expenditures of our civil and military establishments, it 
cult to say just what portion is fairly chargeable to tha 


It will not be denied that the vast masses of accounts for 
bounty, for back pay, for materials furnished, for war claims in 
all their innumerable forms, that came to the Treasury for set- 
tlement, have required a very great increase of clerical force in 
all the auditing and accounting departments of the government; 
and the numerous payments which have been made on account 
of the war fund up to the current year show that a large por- 
tion of the force in all these departments is still employed on 
this business. Again, the destruction of our light-houses along 
the Southern coast, the neglect of our rivers and harbors, and 
of public buildings, in all the States lately in the rebellion, has 
brought upon the country the necessity for restoration, repair, 
and rebuilding, which has greatly increased that class of our 
expenditures. We are still maintaining an increased civil es- 
tablishment because of the war. And it is in this part of our 
civil administration where we shall find most opportunity for 
retrenchment, where we shall find it possible to muster out 
employees and abolish expenditures, which, though they have 
been needed, can be dispensed with in the future without crip- 
pling the ordinary service of the government. In the pending 
bill, the Committee on Appropriations have indicated by legis- 
lative provisions such measures of retrenchment as they believe 
the service will bear without injury. And they invite the House 
to examine, with the closest scrutiny, the items of expenditure 
exhibited in the table I have given, and to aid the committee in 
pointing out places where further reduction can possibly be 
made. Let our criticisms be accompanied by legislative pro- 
visions that will rectify the errors of which we complain. 

Now, Mr. Chairman, I have drawn, from my own study of 
these groups, a few conclusions as to what can be done. I 
speak for the Committee on Appropriations when I say that we 
have agreed upon this principle, that we will not undertake to 
cut the appropriations down at all hazards to the level of rev- 
enues, however low that level may be. We do not believe in 
that. We believe that if a cutting down, such as ought to be 
made for its own sake, does not carry the Treasury through, 
then it is the business of Congress to provide ways and means ; 
it is the business of Congress to tax whenever taxation is 
needed to prevent a deficit. 

But the Committee on Appropriations propose two things: 
first, that wherever an unnecessary expenditure has grown out 


of the war, or grown up in any other way, or an abuse has crept 
in, that expenditure and that abuse should be lopped off, — in 
other words, if any expense can be mustered out, we propose 
to muster it out for all future time. Having done that, there 
is just one other thing that we think can be done. Going over 
the proper and fitting expenditures of the government, if we 
come to any that can be postponed for a year without seriously 
impairing any great national interest, we say postpone it 
When we have done those two things, we do not propose to 
cut down another dollar anywhere. And if in this bill gentle- 
men can show us that we have anywhere cut into the life of the 
government or its necessary functions, we desire to restore what 
has been taken away. If in any place we ought to have in- 
creased expenditures or appropriations, and have not done so, 
point it out and we will move an increase. 

Guided by these two principles, the Committee on Appropri- 
ations desire to suggest in what ways retrenchment can be 
made; and to that end I submit the estimates for the next year 
as we find them. It should be understood that the estimates 
set down in the Book of Estimates are not all that we must pass 
upon. Others come which are not written in that book. On the 
eighth page of his annual report, the Secretary of the Treasury 
states that the estimates of appropriations for the fiscal year 
ending June 30, 1875, will be $319,198,736.82. This amount 
is given in full detail in the B«ok of Estimates. It is a large 
sum. It includes all the estimates coming under the head of 
permanent appropriations; it includes the interest and the 
premium on the public debt ; it includes the sinking fund ; it 
includes almost all the public works ; but there are some things 
which it does not include. It does not include the estimates 
for continuing the work on the State, War, and Navy Depart- 
ment building. That building, for some reason, has never been 
reported in any of the regular Books of Estimates. The reason 
is, I suppose, that it has thus far been under the charge of the 
Secretary of State, and he sends in his estimate directly. It 
has not yet come in; but I understand that his estimate is 
$1,000,000 for the next fiscal year. Again, it does not include 
the deficiency estimates of nearly $3,000,000, which were sent 
in a few days since. In the next place it includes no estimate 
for the Centennial Exposition. That estimate seems to have 
sprung up in the two houses themselves, or perhaps it has 


come to us from the country. Whatever that estimate is, it is 
to be added to make up the total. It has not yet assumed a 
very definite shape. In the next place, the estimates of the 
Board of Public Works are not in the Book of Estimates, but 
come to us from the President, and amount to about $4,000,000. 
And, finally, there has been appropriated, on an average, for 
the last two years, $3,500,000 in the form of relief acts, pension 
bills, and bills sent to us from the Southern Claims Commission, 
which do not appear in any Book of Estimates. 

I believe I have now enumerated all the estimates which 
are likely to come to us ; and the grand total is a little over 
$330,000,000. Large as the amount is, it is more than a million 
less than the corresponding estimates of last year. It includes 
of course the sinking fund; it includes all estimates that I can 
hear of from all sources. Of course a large number of these 
items we shall not appropriate for; but taking $330,000,000 as 
the total of all possible, or at least probable estimates, what re- 
duction can we make? The Committee on Appropriations have 
gone over all the bills except one with some care, at least far 
enough to find out what they think will be needed. We have 
made no estimate as to how much reduction can be made in 
the postal service, and for the reason that when the new lettings 
come in they may change the entire gauge and basis of the esti- 
mates. I therefore leave out of the calculation the Post-Office 
appropriation bill altogether. Leaving that out, I give the 
following as the facts thus far elicited: we have passed the 
Army, Navy, and Fortification appropriation bills; and these 
three bills, as they passed the House, appropriate a total of 
$11,663,287 less than the original estimates. The gentleman 
from New York made the statement correctly as to the bills 
themselves ; but one item was not given in his statement, the 
item estimated at a million and a quarter for arming the forti- 
fications, which did not go into either bill, which the committee 
agreed to drop, and which was therefore never reported to the 
House in any form. 

So the three bills which have passed the House have appro- 
priated $11,500,000, in round numbers, below the original esti- 
mates. In the bill now under discussion, the reduction below 
the estimates is four and a half millions. One million of this 
reduction results from the repeal of the law of a year ago enact- 
ing an increase of salaries. One half-million more results from 


the reduction of the number of clerks and other employees in 
the departments, as proposed by the Committee on Appro- 
priations in the pending bill. In the Indian Appropriation 
Bill, reported yesterday, the reduction below the estimates is 
$1,700,000, in round numbers. 

There now remains to be considered the great Miscellaneous 
Appropriation Bill. We believe it will be possible to reduce on 
light-houses $1,000,000; on navy yards, $400,000; on arsenals, 
$300,000 ; on the public buildings and grounds in the District 
of Columbia, which are under the charge of the Supervising 
Architect of the Capitol and of the Commissioner of Public 
Buildings and Grounds, $900,000; and on appropriations for 
buildings under the charge of the Supervising Architect of the 
Treasury, $2,500,000; making a total reduction in the miscel- 
laneous appropriation bill of $5,100,000. 

The committee are of opinion that the very large estimates 
for rivers and harbors ought to be reduced $11,500,000. The 
estimates are nearly $16,000,000, and we have rarely given 
$5,000,000 in any one year. If $4,000,000 were given, it 
would be about the average for several years, and would enable 
us to make a reduction of $1 1,500,000 on that bill. 

The pensions will remain nearly stationary. Although the 
gentleman in charge of that bill authorized me to say to the 
House that he thinks we can reduce half a million, I do not 
reckon that in, thinking we shall probably not be able to 
make a reduction there. If there be a reduction, it will be 
simply because the pensions are expiring. 

The Military Academy Bill will remain almost precisely at 
the figures of last year. The gentleman in charge of that bill 
informs me that he does not see now that he can make a 
reduction of more than $10,000 below the figures of last year, 
for the reason that the number of cadets in the Military Acad- 
emy is increased by forty-nine, in consequence of the increase 
of Congressional districts. Last year the Committee on Appro- 
priations reported in favor of extending the term of study 
to six years. But that proposition was not adopted. We 
cannot therefore more than maintain the old level as regards 
t-he Military Academy. 

The Consular and Diplomatic Bill remains about the same. It 
represents the steady and even growth of our foreign relations. 

Putting all these items of decrease together, I am enabled to 


figure up a reduction of $34,300,000 below the gross estimates 
which I have already presented. A large portion of this re- 
duction was proposed by the heads of the departments in their 
revised estimates. The reduction here proposed is a reduction 
of items set down in the Book of Estimates. That is, it is a 
reduction from the three hundred and nineteen millions. It 
remains to be considered how much we shall be able to reduce 
the estimates which come to us in addition to those found in the 
Book of Estimates. Probably we shall not be able to make a 
large reduction on the deficiencies asked for, for as they now 
stand they are much smaller than the average deficiencies 
granted within the last eight years. What Congress will do in 
reference to the Centennial Exposition and in reference to the 
estimates for the Board of Public Works, and how much will be 
appropriated in the form of relief bills, claim bills, and pension 
bills, members of the House can estimate as well as I. These 
things ought to be fairly considered by the House, and deter- 
mined on their merits. It is therefore impossible to say what 
figure will represent the ultimate amount of reduction. But I 
believe I am reasonably safe in saying that we. can reduce the 
expenditures, exclusive of the sinking fund, to $270,000,000 
for next year, provided the House sustain the Committee on 
Appropriations as they have done in the bills already reported. 
It will be observed, Mr. Chairman, that I have everywhere 
counted in the sinking fund as one of the expenditures which 
we are bound by every obligation of good faith and wise 
policy to meet. It is unfortunate that no separate account 
of the sinking fund was kept until 1869-70, although large 
amounts of the principal of the public debt had been paid off 
before that time. For the last four years we have kept that 
account- separate, and now it is included in the regular esti- 
mates. The sinking fund is the sacred symbol and shield of 
the public faith. It is a perpetual memorial to the world that 
we are paying our public debt. I would far sooner levy 
additional taxes than see the sinking fund neglected. When, 
therefore, I say I believe it possible to reduce expenditures 
for the next year to $270,000,000, exclusive of the sinking fund, 
I mean to say that I regard it as the unquestioned duty of 
Congress to provide for $300,000,000 to meet our aggregate 
expenditures, including the sinking fund and the interest on the 
public debt. 


Now, Mr. Chairman, I desire, in concluding my remarks upon 
this bill, to call attention to two or three points. I cordially 
concur with the gentleman from Massachusetts ^ in all his aspi- 
rations for retrenchment. But it is important that propositions 
for retrenchment be put into the form of legislation. 

There were several leading points in which the gentleman 
recommended retrenchment and reform. In the first place, he 
alluded to the necessity of doing away with our permanent 
appropriations as far as possible. In that he has the cordial 
support of the Committee on Appropriations ; for on the 26th 
of January, in obedience to the directions of the Committee 
on Appropriations, I introduced into the House two resolu- 
tions, of which one was an order to report in this bill now 
pending a proposition to repeal the law which makes per- 
manent appropriations for the expenses of the national loan, 
and to make it a subject of annual appropriation. And the 
other empowered and directed the Committee of Ways and 
Means to undertake a like work in reference to the laws for 
collecting customs. The system by which we provide for the 
expense of collecting customs is an old one, bom with the 
government, and has been subject to constant abuses. It 
needs, as it has needed for many years, thorough revision; 
and no committee is so well qualified to make that revision 
as the Committee of Ways and Means. They are familiar 
with our customs laws, and can best determine how the needed 
reform can be accomplished. 

The Committee on Appropriations have given at least two 
full weeks of work to the subject of the expenses of national 
loans, and have provided in this bill for repealing all laws that 
make permanent appropriations for those expenses. If the 
committee will indulge me, I will state what was the peculiar 
difficulty in that case. 

During the war, when a great loan was issued, there was 
added to the act authorizing it a clause that a certain sum or a 
certain per cent of this particular loan should be used to pay 
for the expenses of negotiating it and printing the bonds. But 
in 1872 the Committee of Ways and Means brought in a 
bill, which passed without debate, making a permanent appro- 
priation of one per cent of all notes, bonds, and fractional cur- 
rency issued or reissued in any one year as the expense of 

^ Mr. Dawes. 


the national loan. And during the past year there was nearly 
five hundred millions of such paper printed and issued at 
the Treasury Department, making thus an annual appropri- 
ation, without the revision of Congress, of nearly $5,000,000, 
which the Secretary could use at his discretion. Out of the 
appropriations for the expenses of the national loan has grown 
up the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, with its twelve hun- 
dred employees. There are to-day twelve hundred persons 
employed in that Bureau, and not only the number of em- 
ployees, but their salaries, are regulated by the Secretary of 
the Treasury. And besides that, in four of the offices of the 
Treasury Department there are five hundred extra clerks and 
employees whose salaries are not provided for in our annual 
bills, but are paid out of this permanent appropriation for the 
national loan, according to the discretion of the Secretary. 
What is more, the number of these clerks is also subject to 
his discretion. We have undertaken to sweep this law away, 
and fix the number of clerks and employees, and make an 
annual appropriation based on the annual estimates. We have 
largely reduced the appropriation. Last year the cost of col- 
lecting the customs was unusually large, and it was paid under 
a permanent appropriation. It ought not to be so, and we 
hope that before this bill is through the House the Com- 
mittee of Ways and Means may devise a scheme by which we 
may regulate the cost of collecting our revenues from cus- 
toms, as we have done for the loans. 

The most difficult thing we have encountered is the very 
great expense of public works; and here, Mr. Chairman, I may 
say that I am not hostile to our public works, but rather am 
proud of them, as far as they are necessary to the public ser- 
vice. They belong to that class of our expenditures that should 
be called investments for the comfort, convenience, and growth 
of the nation. The greatest of these expenditures is on our 
rivers and harbors, and I call attention to the fact that in fifteen 
of the last thirty-four years not a dollar was appropriated for 
rivers and harbors in the United States. Our friends on the 
other side of the House, when they were in power, believed the 
doctrine that Congress has no right to make internal improve- 
ments; and for fifteen of their years of power, our docks and 
piers were rotting, and our harbors were filling up, because the 
theory of no-improvements left them to perish. More than 


seventy-five per cent of all that has ever been appropr 
open our rivers, and clear out our harbors, and make a 1 
for commerce on our coasts and upon our inland lakes 
ers, has been appropriated since the war by the party 
power. I name these works only to praise them. They 
ried on under the War Department, and no man, I beli 
charged corruption in the expenditure of the money. ] 
one of that class of expenditures that can in part be pos 
that need not be done in a year. It is well that enoi 
been done to make it possible for us to open our inten 
nues of commerce as the growth of trade requires. 

Another branch of our public service, which no n 
think of without being proud of it, is our light-house 
I look upon it as one of the wonders of our early histoi 
in the first three months of the life of the First Congr 
fathers struck out a new line, unknown in the history of 
tion, when they declared in one simple act that the ligh 
gleamed from every Pharos on our shores should be 
the ships and sailors of all nations. Until recently, the 
States has stood absolutely alone among nations in allow 
whole world to have the benefit of its lights without 
I always feel a keen sense of satisfaction when I am pe 
to aid in making appropriations to keep these lights bun 
our shores. The life-saving stations which have been 
are expenses of the same character. I would do notl 
cripple these great interests. 

One branch of our public works I think we have overd 
at least we have been going faster in it than we ou 
go ; and that is our public buildings, — our post-offices, 
houses, and official buildings of that sort. But there hj 
a demand all over the country for their increase, — ad 
which sometimes the committees of this House have nc 
able to resist. I remember how greatly the distinguished 
man of the Committee on Appropriations in 1871 ^ was j 
with these demands. I remember that, on the 27th o 
ruary of that year, he brought in his Sundry Civil Apj 
ation Bill, and himself, by direction of his committee, 
to suspend the rules to make it in order to put into t 
fifteen buildings never before authorized. I remembc 
they were put into the bill under a suspension of the 

1 Mr. Dawes. 


But amendments for still other buildings were added in the 
House, until the bill sank under their weight, and was laid on 
the table on the motion of the distinguished gentleman from 
Indiana.^ Although that bill was once defeated, it was after- 
wards reconsidered and passed, with several of the new build- 
ings stricken out. Yet they were left as a legacy to subsequent 
years. I allude to this to show what a pressure there has been 
on all committees on appropriations for increasing the expendi- 
tures on the public works. 

The Forty-first Congress authorized sixteen new buildings in 
addition to those then in progress, and it was mainly because of 
that large increase in the buildings authorized that the expendi- 
tures for 1873 were increased over those of 1872. During the 
Forty-second Congress fourteen new buildings were authorized, 
most of them the buildings that had been inserted in the Mis- 
cellaneous Bill of 1 87 1, and then thrown out before that bill 
became a law. I know how strong the pressure is to increase 
the number and size of public buildings, but I hope the House 
will not appropriate any more money the coming year for 
works not already begun. This is good economy; first, be- 
cause our whole force in the architect's office are engaged to 
the top of their ability on works now in progress ; and, second, 
because we really cannot afford to do all the work on buildings 
which are fairly begun. Let the seventeen untouched buildings 
wait for a year, and then come in one by one, as the old ones 
are finished. We will go on with the work already in progress. 
We are erecting buildings which are worthy of the country. 
By these, and by our other internal improvements, we will make 
for this great nation a beautiful body, in which its great soul may 
dwell. But let us make it slowly ; let us make it carefully ; let 
us make it wisely. 

And now, Mr. Chairman, from this review of the facts in the 
case, I am warranted in the assertion that, if the House will 
pursue the course which I have indicated, we shall pass through 
the present and the coming fiscal year without crippling any of 
the necessary expenditures of the government, without aban- 
doning any great and important public work already begun, 
and neither encounter a deficit nor bring the Treasury to pro- 
test or the public credit to shame. I believe that with the re- 
vival of business, — which the gentleman from New York ^ 

^ Mr. Holman. ^ Mr. Roberts. 



shows has increased the revenues $8,ocx>,ooo more than was 
estimated up to the beginning of this month, — and with the 
restoration of public confidence, we shall be enabled to get 
through this year and the next without additional taxation; 
but if, at the end of our efforts to limit expenditures on the 
basis indicated, we find it necessary to impose a new tax, I 
have no doubt that Congress will stand up to its duty, and re- 
store where it has cut too deeply into the revenues. I do not 
believe it will be necessary to increase the taxes. I believe we 
shall come through with no deficit, but with a reasonable sur- 
plus for the future. 

Thanking the committee for the very kind attention with 
which they have honored me, I will relieve their patience. 


ENDING JUNE 30, 1875. 


June 23, 1874. 

On the last day of the session of 1873-74, Mr. Garfield reviewed 
the legislation of the session from the standpoint of his position, that of 
chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations, in the following 

MR. SPEAKER, — I was entitled to an hour this morning, 
if I had chosen to use it, pending the conference report 
on the Sundry Civil Appropriation Bill. But it was so important 
that the bill should go at once to the engrossing clerks that I 
occupied no time in general debate, but said I should ask the 
indulgence of the House later in the day, for no political speech, 
as my friends across the way seem to apprehend, but simply for 
the purpose of making, as far as I can and as accurately as pos- 
sible, a summary of what has been done this session in regard to 
public expenditures. I therefore avail myself of the courtesy 
of the gentleman from Kansas,^ to state what has been done in 
the way of appropriations. 

Gentlemen will remember that when the Legislative Appro- 
priation Bill was called up for action on the 5th of March, I 
spoke somewhat at length upon the general subject of revenues 
and expenditures, and indicated the leading features of the bills 
which the Committee on Appropriations would recommend to 

* Mr. Cobb, who had moved a reconsideration of the vote by which the confer- 
ence report on the Tariff Bill was rejected, and then yielded the floor to Mr. 

VOL. IL 9 



the House, and what we believed would be possible in the way 
of reducing the expenditures for the next fiscal year. The 
reductions then suggested were of two kinds: first, the actual 
mustering out of expenditures by the repeal or scaling down of 
laws authorizing and requiring payments from the Treasury; 
and second, the postponement of items of expenditure which, 
though ultimately necessary, could, without serious detriment to 
the public service, be deferred until the pressure on the Treas- 
ury had passed. It was of great importance that we should be 
able to tide over the present and the next fiscal years without 
additional taxation, and for the time being the postponement of 
an expense was almost as important as a permanent reduction. 
In that speech I expressed the belief that by postponing some 
expenses and abolishing others we could reduce the appropria- 
tions for the next fiscal year about $34,ooo,ocx) below the esti- 
mates of the several departments, and that we could thus reduce 
the expenditures to an aggregate of $270,ooo,ocx), exclusive of 
the sinking fund. We have now reached Ihe end of the ses- 
sion, and it is worth while to see how far the expectations of 
four months ago have been realized. 

I presume that not all gentlemen have thought sufficiently upon 
this subject to appreciate the difficulty of scaling down without 
injuring the efficiency of so vast and complicated a machine as 
the government of the United States. It is a vast Colossus, 
whose every motion depends upon the expenditure of money, — 
a vast machine, the motive power of which is money ; and the 
appropriations made by Congress determine and limit the activ- 
ity of every function from the highest to the lowest. I say that 
few people have considered how difficult it is to take such an 
organization and scale it down about ten per cent, and still pre- 
serve its necessary working force unimpaired. We might by an 
unwise reduction cripple some one function, and thus block the 
operations of a whole department, but I believe that this Con- 
gress has made its reductions so carefully that no serious injury 
will follow. 

Before stating the amounts appropriated by the several bills I 
will point out some of the measures of legislation that have 
been incorporated into these bills for the purpose of reforming 
the laws which regulate the expenditures of public money. 

In the first place, we have endeavored to take a further step 
in the direction in which Congress has been moving for severaJ 


years past, — I mean the effort to bring all expenditures, as far 
as possible, directly under the eye of Congress. We have 
transferred several important items of expenditure from the per- 
manent appropriations, over which Congress has no immediate 
supervkion, to the annual appropriation bills. This has neces- 
sarily swollen the annual bills, but it has brought those expendi- 
tures, where they ought to have been brought long ago, under 
the immediate eye of the people through their representatives in 

There is no hope of insuring careful economy in expenditures 
without specific provision, declaring the object of an appropria- 
tion and limiting the amount to be expended. In the present 
session the Committee on Appropriations have proposed sev- 
eral improvements which have been cordially indorsed by the 
House, and which I think will prove to be of very considerable 
service to the government. As an instance of this I refer to 
the expenses of the national loan, which amounted to $3,806,000 
last year. That amount was expended in maintaining the 
Bureau of Engraving and Printing, and in the employment 
of several hundred clerks and other employees, and both their 
number and pay were left wholly to the discretion of the Sec- 
retary of the Treasury. It is too great a discretion to put in 
the hands of any one man in the ordinary work of the govern- 
ment It enabled him to employ, and he had in his employ- 
ment when this session commenced, not less than eighteen 
hundred people, paying them from $5,000 a year down to 
seventy-five cents a day at his discretion. I think that upon 
the whole the work was reasonably well done ; I do not think 
there was corruption or misuse of government funds; but it 
was an extravagant method of conducting the public business. 
All that has been swept away by an amendment to the legisla- 
tive bill. All the money now appropriated for this service is 
in specific sums, and in every case, except as to the number of 
employees in the Printing Bureau of the Treasury, a definite 
number of persons arc to be employed and their salaries are 
fixed. In doing this we have made a reduction of $500,000 in 
that one item alone ; but of course the effect of this change is 
to swell the annual appropriation bills about $3,250,000 above 
what they would have been but for the adoption of this reform, 
though it correspondingly reduces the amount to be expended 
under the head of permanent appropriations. 


A similar reform has been made by the aid of the Committee 
on Military Affairs and the Committee on Civil Service Reform 
in regard to the employment of soldiers as clerks in the War 
Department. By the provisions of laws passed during the war 
and soon after its close many hundreds of enlisted men were 
detailed for duty as clerks and messengers in that department, 
receiving extra compensation for rations and quarters, which 
raised their pay to about $1,000 a year, while they were in fact 
soldiers of the army at the rate of thirteen dollars per month. 
All that has been swept away. We have made appropriations 
for the employment of these persons at a fixed salary, and have 
limited the number to be employed. The effect of this is to 
swell the amount appropriated by that bill nearly half a million 
dollars ; but it reduces the permanent appropriation by consid- 
erably more than that amount, and it has mustered out a large 
number of persons who were thus employed, and has made the 
force of civil employees a fixed and definite number. 

In this connection, also, I will mention another feature of the 
appropriation bills of this session, which I think will everywhere 
be recognized as an improvement on the old method. Hitherto 
it has been the custom to appropriate contingent funds in the 
lump for the several departments. But this year the Committee 
on Appropriations have brought all the contingent funds down 
to items. For example, instead of appropriating $350,0CX) for 
contingencies in the Treasury Department, we have separated 
it into all the various items ; they cover several closely printed 
pages of the law as it now stands, and state definitely so much 
for rent, so much for fuel, so much for lights, so much for the 
other items, leaving an actual contingent fund of only some 
$25,000 to meet expenses that could not be enumerated. That 
plan has been carried through all the appropriation bills, and I 
believe in so doing we have done a good service in limiting the 
expenses of the government. 

When I addressed the House in March last, I presented a 
detailed statement of expenditures of the last fiscal year, so 
grouped and exhibited as to show what portion of the expendi- 
tures were directly in consequence of the war, and what were 
employed in carrying on the ordinary functions of the govern- 
ment. With the leave of the House I will here restate that 
analysis, because it forms the basis of all the reduction we have 
attempted to make for the next fiscal year. 


[This analysis, with the comments upon it, is found in the Speech 
OD "Revenues and Expenditures," delivered March 5, 1874.^] 

I then suggested the different items on which reduction could 
safely be made, and expressed the belief that the appropria- 
tions for the next fiscal year could be reduced by the sum of 
$34,000,000 below the estimates made by the several depart- 
ments, and from $20,000,000 to $25,000,000 below the actual 
appropriations of last year. An examination of the situation 
as it then existed, March 5, led to the following conclusion: — 

" And now, Mr. Chairman, from this review of the facts in the case, I 
am warranted in the assertion that, if the House will pursue the course 
which I have indicated, we shall pass through the present and the coming 
fiscal year without crippling any of the necessary expenditures of the 
government, without abandoning any great and important public work 
already begun, and neither encounter a deficit nor bring the Treasury 
to protest or the public credit to shame. I believe that with the revival 
of business .... and with the restoration of public confidence we 
shall be enabled to get through this year and the next without additional 

In this connection I call the attention of the House to one 
element that all will admit enters largely into the problem of 
public expenditures. 

Gentlemen sometimes say that the aggregate expenditures 
of the government during its first fifty years were no more 
than they are now for one year. That is a striking, and to 
some a startling statement. But I call the attention of the 
House to the growth of the country, to the area of square 
miles at four or five different periods of our history. When 
the Constitution was adopted, we had, under the treaty of 
peace of 1783 with Great Britain, an area of 827,844 square 
miles. In 1 803, by the acquisition of Louisiana, we more than 
doubled the amount of our territory by enlarging it to the 
amount of 1,999,775 square miles. Forty-five years later, in 
1848, by the annexation of Texas and our acquisitions from 
Mexico, we reached 2,980,959 square miles. To-day wc have 
3,603,884 square miles of territory, being more than five times 
the area of the territory we had when the Constitution went into 
operation. Now these increments of growth have not been 
mere additions of territory; they have been accompanied by 
the creation of new States and Territories, at a rate even more 

1 Seeaw/^, pp. 115- 118. 



rapid than the growth of our area in square miles. Of course 
every new State and Territory has added to the expenditure of 
the government. 

I will detain the House no longer except to call attention to 
the appropriations made at the present session. Making a 
comparison between law and law, not between estimates and 
appropriations, I present a table which exhibits the appropria- 
tions of the fiscal year now closing, and the corresponding 
appropriations for the one to come : — 

Twelve regular Appropriation Bills for the Years 1874 and 1875. 

Tide of BiU. 




Legislative, Executive, and Ju- 



Military Academy 



Consular and Diplomatic . . . . 


Sundry Civil 

River and Harbor 

Total decrease 

For fiscal year 

June 30, 1874. 










For fi«ad year 

June 30, 1875. 












• • • • tf > 

• ••••• 

2,1 14,045.00 








By glancing over this table, gentlemen will see in what bills 
the reductions of appropriations have been made. 

In the Naval Bill the reduction amounts to nearly $5,500,000; 
part of this reduction arises from the fact that we have reduced 
the rank and file of the navy, and also reduced the enlisted 
force of the Marine Corps twenty per cent ; and part of it arises 
from the fact that last year we made a large appropriation — a 
little more than $3,000,000 — for building new sloops of war, 
which does not reappear in the bill for this year. The appropri- 
ations for the army are reduced a little more than $4,000,000. 
This was made possible mainly by the fact that we provided for 
the reduction of the enlisted men of the army by the number 
of five thousand. The Fortification Bill shows a reduction of 
very nearly $1,000,000, and is an example of a public expendi- 
ture that can be postponed without detriment to the public 
service. The Legislative Appropriation Bill shows a reduction 
of a little more than $3,000,000 from the corresponding ap- 



propriations of last year. The reduction would have been 
$6,000,000 but for the fact that there has been placed in this 
bill more than $3,000,000 which formerly was expended under 
the head of Permanent Appropriations for the National Loan. 
The reduction has been effected mainly by the repeal of the 
Salary Bill, which alone made a reduction of $1,000,000, by 
reducing the force in the various departments of the civil ser- 
vice, and by reducing contingent expenses. The Indian Appro- 
priation Bill shows a small increase over that of last year ; but 
it should be remarked that a large portion of our deficiencies 
have been for the Indian service of the current year. The 
appropriations for the Military Academy are nearly the same 
as those of the current year, although the number of cadets 
has been increased forty-nine. The Deficiency Bill of this year 
appropriates nearly $9,000,000 less than the deficiency bills of 
last year. The appropriations from the Treasury for postal 
service are about $100,000 greater than the amount for last 
year. It will be noticed that I have set down only the amount 
appropriated out of the Treasury. The revenues of that De- 
partment are not covered into the Treasury, but are expended 
directly for the service by the Department itself. The total ex- 
penditures of that Department will be over $2,000,000 greater 
for the next fiscal year than for the current year. But the in- 
crease of the rates of postage provided for in the bill will, it is 
estimated, produce about $2,000,000 of additional revenue. The 
Consular and Diplomatic Bill appropriates about the ordinary 
amount for consular and diplomatic service ; but there has been 
added this year nearly $2,000,000 to that bill as the amount 
required to pay the award of the mixed British and American 
commission under the treaty of Washington. The Pension Bill 
this year is half a million dollars less than the Pension Bill of last 
year. But the legislation of the session in regard to pension 
laws leads me to believe that we shall have to appropriate next 
year for a deficiency large enough to bring up the appropria- 
tion to what it was last year. Had I known when the Pension 
Bill was under consideration what I know now about the ex- 
penses of the Pension Bureau, I should have insisted upon 
keeping the amount the same as last year. You may there- 
fore expect next year half a million for deficiencies in the Pen- 
sion Bureau. The Sundry Civil Bill shows a reduction of 
$5,290,000 from that of the corresponding bill of last year. 


This arises in the main from a reduction in the amounts appro- 
priated for public buildings ; but the bill of this year has been 
increased by an appropriation of $400,000 to aid the sufferers 
by the overflow of Southern rivers. The River and Harbor Bill 
of this year shows a decrease of $885,000 below that of last 
year, and this although about $200,000 is added for general 
surveys in connection with schemes of cheap transportation 
between the East and the West, — an appropriation which is 
no part of the River and Harbor Appropriation Bill proper. 

Summing up the results of the table here presented, the 
aggregate appropriations made in the twelve regular appro- 
priation bills is $26,844,006.96 less than the amounts appropri- 
ated in the corresponding bills last year. 

I have not taken into account in this statement the $4,000,000 
appropriated in what is known as the " Naval Emergency 
Bill " ; but, on the other hand, I have more than balanced this 
$4,000,000 by including in these bills the appropriations for 
expenses of the national loan, and other similar appropriations, 
which have been transferred from the list of permanent appro- 
priations to the regular bills. Nor have I included in this state- 
ment the amount appropriated by Congress in the form of 
claim bills and relief bills. Though the number of private bills 
which have passed at this session is probably greater than those 
of the preceding year, yet I am satisfied that the amount appro- 
priated in such bills is considerably less than the appropriations 
of last year. The appropriations of this class amounted last 
year to $3,354,842.17. I do not believe that this year they will 
reach $1,500,000. 

The summing up of the amounts appropriated in the bills 
that have passed within the last day or two has been done 
somewhat hurriedly, and I will not vouch for the absolute cor- 
rectness of the figures here given ; but I am satisfied they are 
not far out of the way. I may safely affirm that the appropri- 
ations made at the present session of Congress are in the aggre- 
gate $25,000,000 less than those of last year. I ought also to 
add, that in this statement no account has been taken of the 
unexpended balances in either year. 

I desire to say, in conclusion, for myself and for my associates 
on the Committee on Appropriations, that we feel under great 
obligations to the House for the confidence with which it has 
accepted our work. I have no doubt that we have at times 


appeared to many members unreasonable in our opposition to 
measures of expenditure, but the House has generally shown 
an unwavering purpose to follow the line of genuine economy 
in its management of public affairs. In this connection I may 
state (and I do so in no disparaging or invidious spirit) that 
almost every bill sent from this House to the Senate has come 
back to us larger in the amount of the appropriation than when 
it left us ; and in almost every instance, the bills that have come 
back to the House from a conference committee have come 
back with smaller amounts of appropriation than when they 
were sent to the committee. No conference committee on any 
of the appropriation bills has enlarged the bill in its charge ; 
but, on the contrary, nearly all such committees have decreased 
the appropriations. I shall watch with deep interest the finan- 
cial history of the next fiscal year, with some apprehension that 
in some places we have cut too deeply. But I shall confidently 
expect to see the expenditures kept within the aggregate of the 
permanent and annual appropriation bills. 

On the 29th of July, 1876, the House being in the Committee on the 
State of the Union, Mr. Garfield said : — 

In the year 1872, soon after I became chairman of the Com- 
mittee on Appropriations, I made an analysis of the expendi- 
tures of the government from the official records of the Treasury 
Department, with a view to classifying them in such a manner 
as to make the various kinds of expenditures easily understood. 
I divided all the expenditures, exclusive of payments on the 
principal of the public debt, into three groups. The first em- 
braced all those expenditures that grew directly out of the war. 
It did not include the very large incidental expenses of the 
war, such as the increase of the clerical force in nearly all of 
the departments, but included only those items as to which 
there could be no doubt that they were occasioned directly 
by the war itself. The second group consisted of expendi- 
tures for the army and navy in time of peace, but did not 
include those civil expenditures under the control of the War 
Department for rivers and harbors, and similar public works. 
The third group consisted of the expenditures for the civil 
service proper. 


This analysis was continued year by year down to and includ- 
ing 1874. It was continued at the present session by the gen- 
tleman from Maine.^ And now that the fiscal year ending June 
30, 1876, is closed, I have obtained from the Treasury Depart- 
ment a similar analysis for that year, and present it in the fol- 
lowing table, which also includes the four years 1873, 1874, 1875, 
and 1876; being the four years for which appropriations were 
made when I was chairman of the Committee on Appropriations. 

It will be remembered that near the close of the last session 
of the Forty-third Congress I reviewed the appropriations and 
expenditures up to that time, and expressed the opinion that, 
the work of the four years would show a reduction of at least 
$30,000,000 in the expenditures of the government during that 
period. But the value of any speculative opinion can be tested 
only by time ; and the following table speaks for itself. 

[He then presented a comparative statement of expenditures for the 
years ending June 30, 1873, 1874, 1875, and 1876. His analysis was 
even more minute than the analyses found in the preceding speeches. 
These are the total expenditures by years : — 

First Group, 

1873. 1874. 1875. 1876. 

Amount paid directly on account of 

the war 1157,262,4x5.81 i54ii7i» 130.50 147*882,034.75 140,9x9,679. aj 

Percentage of the whole for each year 54.x 53.7 53.8 54.5 

Second Group, 

Army and Navy 53»998.983-25 58»693,305.69 48,314,499-50 47>2x8,384.66 

Percentage of the whole for each year 18.6 30.4 17.4 X8.3 

Third Group, 

Civil Service proper 79,083,847.27 74»a69,437.57 78,426,858.59 70f33i,733-44 

Percentage of the whole for each year 27.3 2 5.9 28.8 27.2 

ToUls ^a90.345>a46.33 ^87, 133,873.76 274,623,392.84 258,459,797.33 

Mr. Garfield then added : — ] 

From this official exhibit it will be seen that the expendi- 
tures, under the first group, that have grown directly out of 
the war, have been reduced from $157,250,000 to a little less 
than $141,000,000; for the army and navy proper, from near 
$54,000,000 to a little more than $47,200,000; for the civil ser- 
vice proper, from $79,000,000 to $70,321,733; and that the 
aggregate reduction of expenditures during that period of four 
years is nearly $32,000,000, It will be seen that 54)^ per cent 
of all the expenditures for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1876, 
grew directly out of the war. 

1 Mr. Hale. 



When the current fiscal year shall have ended and a similar 
analysis is made, we can judge precisely the merit of the work 
of this session. I shall not stint any just praise due to this 
House for whatever good work it has accomplished in that 
direction. But much the largest share of reductions that have 
been made in the bills already passed, and those yet to be acted 
upon by the House, have been postponements of necessary 
appropriations, and not an actual mustering out of expenditures. 
I make this statement for the purpose of doing justice to the 
work heretofore done, and also of laying the foundation of a 
just estimate of the appropriations of the present session. 



March 17, 1874. 

The principal facts in this case can be inferred from Mr. Garfield's 
argument. . As the court were equally divided in their opinions, no 
decision was reached, and hence no trace of the case appears in the 
reports. The effect was to confirm the decision of the court below. 

MAY IT PLEASE THE CoURT, — The facts in this case have 
been so fully and clearly stated by the distinguished 
counsel on the other side, that I need not state them at length ; 
but I deem it important that, as two cases are being considered 
together, it should be clearly understood in what respects they 
differ as to the facts. There are several important points of 
difference between the two cases. 

In case No. 228,^ the assured survived the war, and tendered 
to the company payment of his back premiums after the war 
was over. In the case now before your Honors, the assured 
did not survive the war, but died while it was in progress, and 
there was no tender of payment of premium after the conclu- 
sion of the war. In case 228 it is alleged that the executors of 
the assured had equitable claims, growing out of a surrender of 
a former policy, to the amount of eight or nine hundred dollars, 
which should be considered as a paid-up policy for that amount. 
In this case there is only one policy, and the annual premiums 

1 The case of The Mutual Life Insurance Co. of New York v, Peter Hamilton, 
Executor of D. W. Goodman. 


which had been paid to keep it alive, to be considered. In the 
other case there were dividends due, alleged to be sufficient in 
amount to cover the premium of 1861. That, I believe, was 
denied ; but it was set forth in the record, and counsel insisted 
that it was the duty of the company to credit Goodman with 
dividends sufficient in amount to cover the payment of premi- 
ums during the war. In this case no dividends were due. There 
was an express stipulation in the charter of the New York Life 
Insurance Company that, when the accumulation of surplus 
should reach $500,000, and not till then, dividends should be 
declared by the company. It did not reach that sum, and the 
company were not bound to make a dividend in 1861, and as a 
matter of fact did not, to any of their members. 

There is still another item of difference which ought to be 
noticed, and that is in reference to the status of the parties 
themselves. It was set forth in a note appended to the policy 
itself in case 228, that " agents of the company are authorized 
to receive the premium when due." In this case it is a special 
provision of the charter of the company that their place of 
business is in the city of New York, and not elsewhere. I refer 
your Honors to the fifteenth section of the charter, as quoted 
in the record. In further illustration of this difference in the 
two cases, I refer to a note on the margin of Dr. Bond's pol- 
icy, as printed in the record, which reads as follows : " All re- 
ceipts for premiums paid at agencies are to be signed by the 
President or Actuary." It results from these facts, that no 
agent is authorized to receive any premium on a policy already 
issued, until he has received from the home company a receipt 
in blank, signed by the President or Actuary of the company ; 
and it is shown in the testimony, that this was the uniform cus- 
tom of the company. These, I believe, constitute the main 
differences of fact in the two cases. 

The case now before your I^onors rests on these plain facts : 
that the life of Dr. Bond was insured by a contract with the 
New York Life Insurance Company, made October 17, 1854; 
that he paid the annual premiums regularly until October 17, 
1861, when, through another person, he tendered the amount 
of the premium for that year to Kirtland, who had been the 
agent of the company at Memphis ; and that Kirtland refused 
to receive it, alleging that he had no signed receipt giving him 
authority from the company, and that it was impossible for him 


to transmit the money to New York, even if he had authority to 
receive it. As stated, the only authority Kirtland ever had to 
receive renewal premiums from assured persons was conferred 
by the company's sending him receipts bearing the signature of 
the President or Actuary for that particular purpose ; and the 
fact that he had received no such authorization makes it true 
that he was not the agent of the company for that purpose in 
October, 1861. 

The Court. These receipts, I suppose, were ordinarily sent to the 
agent after he had received the money. 

That is not my understanding of the fact. It was the uniform 
custom of the company to send blank receipts to their agents 
before the day of payment 

The Court. What does the record say about it? 

Mr. Curtis. " All receipts for premiums paid at agencies are to be 
signed by the President or Actuary." That is in the policy ; and they 
were always signed in anticipation. 

I refer your Honors also to the place in the record where a 
witness, who had been in the employment of the New York 
Life for fifteen years, says that, during the time of his connec- 
tion with the company, no agent had authority to collect pre- 
miums until he had received receipts signed by the President 
or Actuary. I refer your Honors also to the testimony of the 
President of the company, which is to the same effect. The 
same fact is embodied in the bill of exceptions, as part of the 
ruling of the court below. 

The Court. Is this a bill in chancery ? 

There seems to have been some doubt on that question in 
the minds of counsel in the court below. But we have the 
opinion of the court, printed in full, as a part of the record. 

To conclude my statement of facts. On the 17th of Octo- 
ber, 1 861, a tender was made to Kirtland, who had been an 
agent, and his response was, that he had received no blank re- 
ceipts, as he usually had done, authorizing him to accept pay- 
ment. The lagent made the further statement, that he had no 
means of communicating with the home office, and gave that 
as a further reason for not receiving the money. A few months 
later, the assured died at his home, near Memphis, Tennessee, 
within the Rebel lines. About two years after his death a 


demand was made upon the company in New York for the pay- 
ment of the policy, less the unpaid premiums. The company 
refused, and suit was brought to enforce payment. 

In my judgment, there are but two vital questions in this 
cause. The first is, the nature of the contract, and the rights 
of the parties under it ; the second is the effect of the war upon 
the contract I shall pass the first point with the briefest 
notice, leaving its consideration to my distinguished colleague. 
I will say, however, that we hold that the payment of the 
premiums required by this contract cannot justly be called a 
condition at all, whether precedent or subsequent, but is of the 
essence of the contract itself. I desire to call the attention of 
your Honors to the peculiar language of this policy : ** This pol- 
icy of insurance witnesseth, that the New York Life Insurance 
Company, in consideration of the sum of $224.50, to them in 
hand paid by Samuel Bond, and of the annual premium of 
$224.50, to be paid on the 17th of October in every year during 
the continuance of this policy, do assure the life of Samuel 
Bond," etc. Now, it seems to us that the payment of the first 
sum is no more a part of the essence of the contract than the 
payment of the subsequent sums. The payment of the first sum 
and of the subsequent sums is made the fundamental basis of the 
contract. We cannot separate the two. Suppose the first had 
never been paid, could Dr. Bond or his executors have claimed 
any payment from the company? The first payment did two 
things. It bound the company to pay $5,000 in case Bond died 
within the year; and it gave him the right to renew the pol- 
icy at the end of the year, by paying the next premium. The 
payment of the second premium was as vital to the life of the 
policy as the payment of the first. There follows in the con- 
tract, after the usual stipulations, a clear and unequivocal dec- 
laration that it is the understanding of both parties that a failure 
to pay on the appointed day makes it void, — that it ceases to 
be a contract. 

In considering the effect of war upon this contract, I will first 
notice the suggestion of my learned friend who has just ad- 
dressed your Honors, that, if Bond was in default, it was because 
the action of the government in reference to the war made it 
impossible for him to perform his part of the contract. He 
quotes from a case in the Court of Queen's Bench, Taylor v. 
Caldwell, to show that a party is excused from performance of 


a contract where performance is impossible. That was a case 
where the defendant had rented to the plaintiff, for four nights, 
a certain music hall and gardens for concerts. Before the first 
concert was given, the hall was destroyed by fire. The court 
held that, the existence of the hall being necessary to the per- 
formance of the contract, the defendant was excused for non- 
performance. My friend read this passage from the opinion of 
'the court : — 

" In contracts in which the performance depends on the continued 
existence of a given person or thing, a condition is implied that the im- 
possibility of performance arising from the perishing of the person or 
thing shall excuse the performance." 

That we may know the reason for this view, I read the con- 
cluding paragraph of the opinion : — 

" In the present case, looking at the whole contract, we find that the 
parties contracted on the basis of the continued existence of the Music 
Hall at the time when the concerts were to be given ; that being essen- 
tial to their performance. We think, therefore, that the Music Hall 
having ceased to exist, without the fault of either party, both parties are 
excused, — the plaintiffs from taking the gardens and paying the money, 
the defendants from performing their promise to give the use of the 
Hall and gardens and other things." * 

The court construes the contract to release both parties. I 
submit that this does not change its terms. In this connection, 
I cite the authority of this court in a case later than the English 
case just referred to. In Dermott v, Jones, Mr. Justice Swayne, 
speaking for the court, says : — 

" It is a well-settled rule of law, that if a party by his contract chaise 
himself with an obligation possible to be performed, he must make it 
good, unless its performance is rendered impossible by the act of God, 
the law, or the other party. Unforeseen difficulties, however great, will 
not excuse him. 

" The application of this principle to the class of cases to which the 
one under consideration belongs, is equally well settled. If a tenant 
agree to repair, and the tenement be burned down, he is bound to re- 
build. A company agreed to build a bridge in a substantial manner, and 
to keep it in repair for a certain time. A flood carried it away. It was 
held that the company was bound to rebuild. A person contracted to 
build a house upon the land of another. Before it was completed it was 
destroyed by fire. It was held that he was not thereby excused firom the 

1 32 Law Journal, 164. 


performance of his contract. A party contracted to erect and complete 
a building on a certain lot. By reason of a latent defect in soil, the 
building fell down before it was completed. It was held (School Trus- 
tees r. Bennett, a case in New Jersey, cited by counsel) that the loss 

must be borne by the contractor 

** The principle which controlled the decision of the cases referred to 
rests upon a solid foundation of reason and justice. It regards the sanc- 
tity of contracts. It requires parties to do what they have agreed to do. 
If unexpected impediments lie in the way, and a loss must ensue, it 
leaves the loss where the contract places it. If the parties have made 
no provision for a dispensation, the rule of law gives none. It does not 
allow a contract fairly made to be annulled, and it does not permit to be 
mteTXX>lated what the parties themselves have not stipulated." * 

Now, in this contract of insurance, did the insured reserve 
the right to plead non-performance if certain unforeseen diffi- 
culties should arise? The contract provides for none of these 
so-called impossibilities. It does not except the acts of God. 
It does not except the difficulties of communication. It makes 
no exception whatever. In the case I have just quoted, there 
is one and only one excuse that may be pleaded as implied in 
a contract, and that is when performance is prevented by the 
law. The learned counsel suggests that in this case the govern- 
ment of the United States intervened, cut off communication 
between the company and the assured, and girdled his domicile 
with a wall of bayonets, so that, if he was in default, it was 
because of the law, which made performance impossible. I 
ask your Honors to consider whether the war did, in fact, 
make the payment of the premium of October 17, 1861, impos- 
sible. Bond was under obligation to pay his premiums, not to 
Kirtland, but to some authorized agent or officer of the com- 
pany. Was there an impossibility in this case? Could not Dr. 
Bond have separated himself from the Rebellion? Could he 
not have left the Rebel States, and made his payments directly 
to the company in New York, or to some authorized agent 
within the national lines? 

The learned counsel who argued the other case yesterday 
suggested that, when the law interposed between the assured 
and his payment, at that moment it became impossible for him 
to change his domicile so as to make his payment, and therefore 
it was not possible for him to make the payment at all. I call 

I 2 Wallace, 7, 3. 
VOL. II. 10 


your Honors' attention to the judgment of this court in a case 
that seems to me to bear directly upon this point, — the case of 
The William Bagaley. 

"The duty of a citizen, when war breaks out, if it be a foreign war, 
and he is abroad, is to retum without delay ; and if it be a civil war, 
and he is a resident in the rebellious section, he should leave it as soon 
as practicable, and adhere to the regular established government. .... 

" Personal property, except such as is the produce of the hostile soil, 
follows as a general rule the rights of the proprietor ; but if it is suffered 
to remain in the hostile country after war breaks out, it becomes im- 
pressed with the national character of the belligerent where it is situ- 
ated. Promptitude is therefore justly required of citizens resident in the 
enemy's country, or having personal property there, in changing their 
domicile, severing their business relations, or disposing of their effects, 
as matter of duty to their own government, and as tending to weaken 
the enemy. Presumption of the law of nations is against one who lingers 
in the enemy's country, and if he continue there for much length of time, 
without satisfactory explanation, he is liable to be considered as remo- 
rant, or guilty of culpable delay, and an enemy." * 

Bagaley was a citizen of Indiana, and a member of a firm 
doing business in Alabama. The court says: "The effect of 
the war was to dissolve the partnership, and the history of the 
period furnishes plenary evidence that ample time was afforded 
to every citizen desiring to improve it, to withdraw all such and 
dispose of all such interests.*' 

As a matter of fact, the assured in this case had ample time 
and opportunity to abandon the Rebel territory. In May, 1861, 
the State of Tennessee declared itself free from the Federal 
bond; and although on the 13th of July following Congress 
passed the act empowering the President to proclaim non-in- 
tercourse between the belligerents, that proclamation was not 
made until the i6th of August. Until then there certainly 
was nothing to prevent Dr. Bond from making his election to 
remain with the public enemy and suffer the dissolution of his 
insurance policy, or to come within the national lines and save 
it. Even after the proclamation, there followed three months in 
which he could have saved his contract; for the record shows 
that his premium was not due until October 17, 1861. He made 
his election. He chose to stay where it finally became impos- 
sible for him to make payment Can he now plead this impos- 

1 5 Wallace, 408. 


sibility as a lawful excuse for not making the payment? It was 
not only possible, but easy, for Dr. Bond to have put himself in 
a position where he could make the payment, and his own 
choice cannot now be pleaded as an impossibility to perform his 
part of the contract. The opinion of this court in the case I 
have cited, if applied to Bond, would clearly indicate that it was 
his duty as a citizen to abandon the enemy's territory. This 
view is in accordance with public policy. It would, indeed, 
be strange if, having elected to become a public enemy, Jiis 
representatives shall now say that it was impossible for him to 
perform his part of the contract, and he may not only be ex- 
cused, but shall suffer no loss, either for his choice or his non- 

The Court. Does that case refer to residents of the South? 

I think, your Honors, the reasoning of the court in that case 
does apply to residents of the South. 

The Court. Then all loyal citizens South would be obbged to emi- 
grate North in order to preserve their rights ? 

I should say, if they did not wish to be classed as enemies, 
and suffer the losses that a state of war would bring, they must 
abandon the enemy's territory. 

The Court. The question is, Did they lose anything? 

I should say they did ; that they lost the right to compel a 
loyal company to continue to do business for them while they 
were public enemies. When they elected to stay with the 
enemy, they elected to suflfer the consequences, — to suffer such 
losses as a state of war would bring upon their business relations 
with loyal men. 

I will not weary your Honors with many citations of author- 
ities, for the books are full of them, but will state in a summary 
way what we understand are the doctrines already settled by 
the courts in regard to the effect of war upon the business rela- 
tions between belligerents. 

And, first, it is well settled, both by the laws of nations and 
by municipal law, that contracts cannot be made between belli- 
gerents, and that executory contracts which require any further 
intercourse or action by the parties thereto are dissolved when- 
ever the parties become enemies by a declaration of war. This 
principle was frequently asserted by this court in the years im- 
mediately following the last war with Great Britain. 


In the case of The Julia, Mr. Justice Story, in delivering the 
opinion of the court, brings to bear on this question the author- 
ity of international law, and states at great length the grounds 
on which the opinion of the court is based. He declares that 
'' no contract is considered as valid between enemies, at least so 
far as to give them a remedy in the courts of either govern- 
ment."^ I refer also to 3 Washington, 127. This doctrine has 
since been reiterated in a long line of decisions, extending down 
even to the present term of this court. The court has stated the 
doctrine very succinctly, in the case of The William Bagaley. I 
quote : " Executory contracts with an alien enemy, or even with 
a neutral, if they cannot be performed except in the way of com- 
mercial intercourse with the enemy, are ipso facto dissolved by 
the declaration of war, which operates to that end and for that 
purpose, with a force equivalent to that of an act of Congress."* 
In The United States v, Lap^ne, No. 96 of this term, Mr. Jus- 
tice Hunt, delivering the opinion of the court, says : " All com- 
mercial contracts with the subjects or in the territory of the 
enemy, whether made directly by one in person, or indirectly 
through an agent who is neutral, are illegal and void. This 
principle is now too well settled to justify discussion."^ With 
that intimation from the court I need not say more. 

The Court. Contracts made pending the war. Not contracts made 
before the war. 

But, your Honors, in the decisions referred to, it is held that 
not only contracts made by belligerents during the war, but 
also executory contracts made before the war, which require 
intercourse, are dissolved by war. It is not affirmed that all 
contracts are made void by war; the doctrine is confined to 
those which require intercourse and further action on the part 
of belligerents. 

Second. It is well settled, and is admitted in the brief of the 
learned counsel on the other side, that partnerships are dissolved 
when war makes partners public enemies. I will not stop to 
discuss this proposition. 

Third. The same rule applies to agencies, except that an 
agent appointed before the war may during war receive pay- 
ment for a debt due his principal; but he can make no new 

1 8 Cranch, 194- * 5 Wallace, 407. » 17 Wallace, 602, 603. 


Fourth. It is also well settled that marine insurance policies 
are abrogated by war. The doctrine is clearly stated in Gray v, 
Sims €t al. In that case the court says : " If the contract 
[of insurance] be legal when it is made, and the performance 
of it rendered illegal by a subsequent law, the parties are both 
of them discharged from its obligations. The insured loses his 
indemnity, and the insurer his premium." ^ The principles 
upon which this doctrine is founded are set forth very fully 
and clearly by Mr. Duer, in his work on Marine Insurance,^ to 
which reference has been made in our brief. 

Such being the decisions of the court in reference to execu- 
tory contracts, partnerships, agencies, and policies of marine 
insurance, we may inquire whether the principles on which 
these decisions were based will not, with equal justice, apply to 
a contract of life insurance. I believe no case has yet been 
determined by this court which directly involves such a policy. 
I submit that it is incumbent upon the learned counsel on the 
other side to show why a contract of life insurance should be 
excepted from the general rule. 

And now, may it please your Honors, let us consider the 
grounds on which the various decisions already referred to rest. 
On what principles have the courts proceeded in determining 
the effect of war on executory contracts, partnerships, agencies, 
and policies of marine insurance? These decisions appear 
to rest mainly on three grounds of public policy, — grounds 
which appear with more or less distinctness in the reasonings 
of the courts in all the cases referred to. 

And the first is, that public policy forbids the continuation of 
any business or commercial relations that require intercourse 
bet\v-een belligerents. Commercial intercourse between public 
enemies is held to be inconsistent with public policy. It will not 
be denied that, in all these cases, the chief reason given by the 
courts why war abrogates a contract of marine insurance, and 
contracts relating to other classes of business referred to, is that 
their continuance requires intercourse and communication be- 
tween belligerents, which war makes unlawful. It can hardly 
be claimed that the business of life insurance could be carried 
on by a company in New York, with the insured member within 
the Rebel lines, without intercourse. The charter of the com- 
pany requires that blank receipts be sent to the agent that he 

1 3 Wash. 28a 2 Vol. I. pp. 413-478 (New York, 1845). 


may receive renewal premiums. The agent must keep the com- 
pany informed whether the assured has so complied with the 
terms of the policy as to be entitled to renewal, and the pre- 
miums paid must be forwarded to the company by the agent 
In fact, the relation of insurer and insured requires free and 
frequent communication, which is wholly inconsistent with a 
state of war. 

The second ground, especially as applied to policies of ma- 
rine insurance, is that the object insured is liable to capture by 
the enemy. Between most nations that go to war, the sea rolls, 
and ships sail ; and one of the first efforts of a belligerent is 
directed to the destruction of the commerce of the enemy. A 
contract of marine insurance is directly affected, because ships, 
the subject matter of such insurance, are liable to capture by 
the enemy. Apply this principle to a policy of life insurance. 
The subject matter of such insurance is life, — and in this case 
the life of an enemy. If a contract of marine insurance is 
made void by war, because the ship insured is liable to cap- 
ture, how much more would the life of a belligerent enemy be 
an improper subject matter for the other belligerent to insure ! 
If ships are part of the materials of war, much more are lives. 
It would seem to be in the highest degree against public policy 
that a company in the loyal States should continue to insure 
the lives, and be interested in the preservation of the lives, of 
those who arc public enemies. 

It is no sufficient answer to say that the insured in this case 
was a non-combatant. He was none the less a public enemy, 
whose life and influence were thrown into the scale against the 
national government. If the policy of insurance had remained 
in force, the company would have had a direct interest in the 
preservation of his life, and in the continued payments of his 

A third reason which appears in many of the decisions touch- 
ing the effect of war upon executory contracts is that the carry- 
ing on of a business, or the keeping alive of a contract requiring 
additional performance on the part of the belligerents, would 
tend to increase the resources of the enemy. In the opinion of 
Judge Emmons, which is a part of the record, this phase of the 
case is very fully discussed. It seems clear that, if a great com- 
pany in New York be required to discharge all its. functions, to 
perform all its duties as a corporation, and through all the 


years of a great war to keep alive a contract for the benefit of a 
public enemy, that company will be adding to the resources of 
the enemy. I cannot believe that one belligerent will require 
its citizens to manage their business for the benefit of the citi- 
zens of another belligerent. 

The learned counsel on the other side has quoted the case of 
The United States v. Grossmayer, to show that an agent may 
receive a debt ; and he has suggested that, if he may receive a 
debt, it was lawful for Mr. Kirtland, our agent, to receive the 
premium in October, 1861. I believe the case cited contains 
one of the two qualifications which this court has made since 
the war, restricting the broad and sweeping application of the 
doctrine of the effect of war upon business relations between 
belligerents. It was there decided, that an agent might receive 
money or property for a belligerent in payment of a debt. But 
the court says that " in such a case the agency must have been 
created before the war began, for there is no power to appoint 
an agent for any purpose after hostilities have actually com- 
menced; and to this effect are all the authorities/*^ 

This opinion should be considered in connection with the 
case of The United States v, Lap^ne, already cited. In that 
case, an agent had been empowered before the war to collect 
debts in the South. He had also been empowered to purchase 
cotton with the moneys thus collected. The court held that in 
the receiving of money on debts due the agent acted lawfully. 
But it appeared that, after having received the money, he pro- 
ceeded to purchase cotton, in pursuance of his authority as pur- 
chasing agent. This the court decided he could not do. The 
court says : — 

" The agency to purchase cotton was terminated by the hostile posi- 
tion of the parties. The agency to receive payment of debts due to 
Lapdne & Co. may well have continued. But Avegno was no debtor to 
that firm. He advanced* money to their agent when it was legal to do 
so. With this money, and other moneys belonging to them, while in an 
enemy's country, the agent of the plaintiffs bought the cotton in question. 
This purchase gave effectual aid to the enemy, by furnishing to them the 
sinews of war. It was forbidden by the soundest principles of public 
law." 2 

The mere receiving of money by an agent in payment of a 
debt was lawful; but when the agent undertook to transact 

1 9 Wallace, 75. ^ 17 Wallace, 604. 


other business, to make a purchase which he had been author- 
ized to make, the court says that he did what was forbidden by 
the soundest principles of public law. 

Now, by what logic can the learned counsel on the other side 
bring this case of Grossmayer into their service? Will they hold 
that the payment of this premium was only the payment of a 
debt? In what recognized sense of the term can a premium on 
a life insurance policy be called a debt? Nothing is a debt that 
is not collectible by law. Dr. Bond was under no obligation 
whatever to pay the premium. It was within his power to 
decline to pay for any reason, good or bad, and the company 
had no resource ; they could not compel him to pay. It was 
a unilateral contract, which left the insured free to pay or not, 
as he pleased. If he paid, the company was bound by the con- 
tract. But whether he paid or did not pay was a matter of his 
own choice. The premium cannot, therefore, be called a debt 
In its relations to war, the premium differs from a debt in this : 
the Confederacy could confiscate a debt, whether paid to an 
agent or not. If Dr. Bond had owed a debt to the New York 
Life, the Confederate government could have confiscated it in 
Dr. Bond's hands just as well as it could after it had been 
paid over to Kirtland. It did not change the status of the 
property. And it appears to me a sufficient reason why the 
court has decided that an agent may receive a debt, because in 
so doing it does not change the status of the property in rela- 
tion to belligerent parties. But suppose Dr. Bond had paid the 
premium to Kirtland as the agent of the New York company. 
The moment before payment it was Bond's money, not liable to 
confiscation by the Confederate authorities ; but the moment he 
took the $224.50 from his estate, and delivered it over to a 
recognized agent of the New York company, that moment it 
would have been enemy's property in Kirtland's hands, and 
that moment it would have been liable* to confiscation by the 
Confederate authorities. And this fact makes the power of an 
agent to receive money in payment of a debt wholly unlike the 
power of an agent to receive money as a premium on an insur- 
ance policy. 

I desire to call your Honors' attention to another aspect of 
this case. If the view contended for by counsel on the other 
side be correct, the war conferred special legal benefits upon all 
assured persons within the territory of the Rebellion. A large 


per cent of those who hold life insurance policies annually fail 
to pay their premiums. This happens partly by accident and 
partly by their own choice. Now, if the doctrine contended for 
by the opposing counsel be adopted, it will follow that war ex- 
cuses all assured persons from the necessity of paying their pre- 
miums to any company belonging to a belligerent, but does not 
release the company from its obligations to keep the policy alive, 
and to pay the loss whenever the war is over. Thus the assured 
enemy enjoys all the benefits of the insurance, and incurs no 
risk by failure to pay his premium. Indeed, the war not only 
excuses him from payment, but gives him all the rights and 
benefits of his policy, even though he did not intend to make 

If it should be determined that an insured enemy is entitled 
to have his insurance policy carried all through the war, this 
will follow : the insured is under no obligation to pay his pre- 
mium* because the war excuses him;, but the company ^s 
obliged to carry and protect the interest of the insured, without 
enjoying the benefit of the premiums, or the interest that it is 
entitled to derive therefrom. Now, the life of the company 
depends upon receiving its premiums promptly, and investing 
them, so as to make it possible to pay losses. Yet it must go 
forward without its premiums, or interest thereon, to keep alive 
a contract with a public enemy who incurs no risk, no danger of 
a lapse, no loss in any way, and who is shielded from obligation 
to pay only because he has elected to stay with the enemy. I 
cannot believe that this would be equitable, even if it should be 
held that life insurance policies are only suspended, and not 
abrogated, by war. 

There is another phase of this case to which I desire to call 
your Honors' attention. There is in the State of New York a 
public officer called the Insurance Commissioner, whose duty it 
is to examine the condition of insurance companies, to see that 
each policy claimed to be in force is sustained by the proper 
legal reserve in possession of the company. Companies which 
do not hold the requisite legal reserve to cover the policies 
which they consider in force, are declared insolvent, and are 
closed up. Now, if the doctrine insisted on by the counsel on 
the other side should be adopted, it might result that, while the 
New York company was doing all in its power to keep itself in 
a sound condition, yet, because so many of its members be- 


longing to a belligerent government had not paid their premi- 
ums, the reserves of the company might fall below the amount 
required by law, and that the Commissioner would report the 
company insolvent, and wind it up. In that case, the company 
would be insolvent only because the court should declare it 
to be the duty of the company to carry ten thousand policies, 
perhaps, on the lives of enemies. 

The counsel who last addressed the court cited a case, the 
case of Semmes v, Hartford Insurance Company.^ I submit 
that there is nothing in that case which throws any light on the 
question of the validity of insurance policies during war. In 
that case the loss occurred before the war began, and there 
was a complete obligation on the part of the company to pay. 
It so happened that, before the sixty days had elapsed within 
which the company was obliged to make payment, the war 
broke out. It was simply a question as to the construction of 
the statute of limitations as affected by the war. 

Mr. Phillips. I merely cited it as authority to show that the war 
was an excuse for the non-performance of a thing expressly stipulated in 
the contract. 

The case shows clearly that it was simply a question whether 
the failure to bring suit within the length of time was excused 
by the war. 

The learned counsel also made another suggestion to which I 
desire to call your Honors' attention. He held that ours was an 
insurrection rather than a war. For a full answer to this sug- 
gestion, I refer to the decision of this court in the Prize Cases,^ 
where it is shown that our war was not merely an insurrection, 
not merely a rebellion, but a great territorial civil war, with defi- 
nitely defined boundaries, — a contest to be carried on in ac- 
cordance with the laws of nations, the laws of war. It was as 
really a war as though it had been waged between England and 
the United States. If these two had been the belligerents, the 
insurance cases likely to arise would have been cases of marine 
insurance ; but from the fact that ours was a war between those 
who had been fellow-citizens, and had been in close business 
relations with each other, it has resulted that contracts of life 
insurance have borne to the Rebellion a relation analogous to that 
which contracts of marine insurance ordinarily bear to a foreign 

1 13 Wallace, 158. « 2 Black, 63, 6$. 


war. From our study of the principles that underlie both kinds 
of insurance, it seems to us that the great doctrines which have 
been held by this court in a long series of decisions require only 
to be applied in the same spirit that they have already been 
applied in ordinary contracts of partnership, agency, and marine 
insurance, to enable us to reach a just conclusion in this case. 

It is not out of place to suggest, that a decision which shall 
determine that this life insurance company is bound to keep 
alive its contracts with public enemies will probably strike a 
staggering blow to those companies that had a large Southern 
membership before the war. But the future is more important 
than the past, provided it be determined that, when a civil war 
breaks out, those citizens who elect to stay with rebels shall lose 
nothing on their life insurance policies, but, by playing the part 
of non-combatants, shall be able to hold their grip on loyal life 
insurance companies, while uninsured enemies go into the field 
and do the fighting. I submit that it is far more in accord- 
ance with public policy that every citizen should know that he 
c^innot rebel against his country without losing the benefits 
which result from a policy of life insurance; that to maintain 
such a policy he must commit his fortune and his life to the 
cause of his country, and not to the cause of her enemies. 

effects' of the rebellion on so 
ern life insurance contract 


April 26, 1876. 

These cases were decided at the October term of the court 
and the decision, pronounced by Mr. Justice Bradley, is found in ; 
Reports. The Reporter thus states the history of the two cases : 

" The first of these cases is here on appeal from, and the sec< 
writ of error to, the Circuit Court of the United States for the Sc 
District of Mississippi. 

" The first case is a bill in equity, filed to recover the amou 
policy of life assurance, granted by the defendant (now appelk 
1 85 1 on the life of Dr. A. D. Statham, of Mississippi, from the pr 
of certain funds belonging to the defendant attached in the hands 
agent at Jackson, in that State. It appears from the statements 
bill that the annual premiums accruing on the policy were all re, 
paid until the breaking out of the late civil war, but that, in consec 
of that event, the premium due on the 8th of December, 1861, w 
paid ; the parties assured being residents of Mississippi, and the d 
ant a corporation of New York. Dr. Statham died in July, 1862. 

" The second case is an action at law against the same defend 
recover the amount of a policy issued in 1859, on the life of He; 
Seyms, the husband of the plaintiff. In this case, also, the prei 
had been paid until the breaking out of the war, when, by reason th 
they ceased to be paid, the plaintiff and her husband being reside; 
Mississippi. He died in May, 1862." 

This is the Reporter's syllabus of the decision : — 

'* I. A policy of life assurance which stipulates for the paymc 
an annual premium by the assured, with a condition to be void on 
payment, is not an insurance fi*om year to year, like a commo 


policy ; but the premiums constitute an annuity, the whole of which is 
the consideration for the entire assurance for life ; and the condition is 
a condition subsequent, making, by its non-performance, the policy void. 

" 2. The time of payment in such a policy is material, and of the 
essence of the contract ; and a failure to pay involves an absolute for- 
feiture, which cannot be relieved against in equity. 

** 3. If a failure to pay the annual premium be caused by the in- 
tervention of war between the territories in which the insurance com- 
pany and the assured respectively reside, which makes it unlawful for 
them to hold intercourse, the policy is nevertheless forfeited if the com- 
pany insist on the condition ; but in 3uch case the assured is entitled to 
the equitable value of the policy arising from the premiums actually paid. 

" 4. This equitable value is the difference between the cost of a new 
policy and the present value of the premiums yet to be paid on the for- 
feited policy when the forfeiture occurred, and may be recovered in an 
action at law or a suit in equity. 

" 5. The doctrine of revival of contracts, suspended during the war, 
is based on considerations of equity and justice, and cannot be invoked 
to revive a contract which it would be unjust or inequitable to revive, — 
as where time is of the essence of the contract, or the parties cannot be 
made equal. 

** 6. The average rate of mortality is the fundamental basis of life as- 
surance, and as this is subverted by giving to the assured the option to 
revive their policies or not after they have been suspended by a war 
(since none but the sick and dying would apply), it would be unjust to 
comjDel a revival against the company." 

Hon. Matt H. Carpenter opened, and Mr. Garfield closed for the 

MAY IT PLEASE THE CoURT : — It IS certainly a ground 
for congratulation, both to the court and the bar, that 
we have so nearly reached the end of the discussion of the 
vexed questions involved in these cases. But, after the court 
has been deluged with the argument of three hundred causes, 
and now, near the close of a long term, is asked to consider for 
the third time the complicated questions growing out of the 
effects of war upon a policy of life insurance, I may safely say 
that the man who presses to your Honors' lips the cup which 
contains the dregs of this long debate needs the sympathy, if not 
the forgiveness, of the court. In closing the argument of these 
causes, therefore, I shall avoid, as far as possible, any repetition 
of what has been so well said by my learned colleague. 


He has stated very clearly the chief ground upon which the 
business of life insurance rests; but as there is also another 
element worthy of consideration, I will state the two in con- 
nection. Both elements grow out of the very curious — I 
might perhaps say the mysterious — doctrine of chances, or 
rather the law of averages. The late Baron Quetelet, of Bel- 
gium, a leading authority on this subject and on vital statistics, 
has shown that, if a pair of dice be thrown a million times, the 
lowest count being two and the highest twelve, the aggregate 
count will be almost exactly seven millions. The mathemati- 
cal average will be realized in the practical result. In fact, 
the variation from that average will disappear long before the 
millionth throw. Nothing is more uncertain than the result 
of any one throw ; few things more certain than the result of 
many throws. 

When applied to human life, the law of averages exhibits 
many striking results. The element of sex in population would 
seem to be, at first thought, wholly fortuitous. In one family 
all the children are boys ; in the next, all girls ; apparently an 
irregular distribution, controlled by no law. But whenever large 
masses of population are considered, the law of averages ap- 
pears in full force, and with the most remarkable constancy. 
Throughout the civilized world, it appears that to every one 
thousand females there are born one thousand and fifty-six 
males. Quetelet has collected and tabulated the vital statistics 
of twenty-seven countries of Europe; and has shown, not only 
that the grand average of male and female births is as I have 
stated, but that in each country the average is almost exactly 
the same. Indeed, when so small a territory as a county of 
twenty-five thousand inhabitants is considered, the variation 
from this ratio is very small. Soon after I first read Quetelet's 
book, there fell into my hands a copy of the annual report of 
the Registrar of Rhode Island, a small State three thousand 
miles away from the nearest of the twenty-seven kingdoms on • 
which his average had been calculated ; and turning to the rec- 
ord of births, I found that the ratio for the year was one thou- 
sand females to one thousand and fifty-seven males, a variation 
of but one in a thousand from the general average of all Europe. 

This law applied to the death rate shows results equally strik- 
ing. Few things are more uncertain than the chances of any 
one life ; yet, of a large group of people, the per cent that will 


die annually can be predicted with almost mathematical cer- 
tainty. From this law of nature the individual seems wholly 
free ; yet to a great group of individuals it applies with inex- 
orable certainty, — 

" So careful of the type she seems. 
So careless of the single life." 

This law as exhibited in the average expectation of life is 
one of the two bases, I may say one of the two piers, on which 
the superstructure of life insurance rests. No company could 
undertake to insure just one life ; but, trusting to the great law 
of averages, it may, with perfect safety, insure a great group of 
lives. Thus a contract of life insurance is made possible. The 
business of the company is made safe, because its income is 
calculated on the sure basis of the law of averages ; and the in- 
sured is protected against the loss arising from the uncertainty 
of a single life. The certainty that a fixed per cent of the in- 
sured will die in each year, makes it necessary that, with equal 
certainty, those who live and remain in the company shall pay 
their annual premiums, and thus enable the company to meet 
their annual losses. 

But there is another element in a contract of life insurance, — 
a second pier upon which the structure rests, — that should be 
considered in construing the contract. I refer to the per cent 
of lapses as a source of income to the company. Of those who 
become insured, and at the time intend to continue during life, 
a considerable number, from choice, necessity, or accident, aban- 
don their policies after a few years, and forfeit the premiums 
they have paid. I have asked the New York Life Insurance 
Company to furnish me with a statement of the annual per cent 
of lapses ; and their letter shows, from the aggregate experience 
of all the life companies in America, that the average of lapses 
is nearly ten per cent; that is, ten per cent of the insured aban- 
don their policies after having paid one or more premiums. 

Mr. Justice Miller. My impression was that the Insurance Com- 
missioners of New York ajid other places have put it just the other way ; 
that not more than ten per cent ever came to bearing. 

I do not now speak of those who die, but of those who live 
and allow their policies to lapse. 

Mr. Justice Miller. Is it not true that ninety per cent of those who 
take out policies never die with the policies in existence ? 


I do not so understand it. 

Mr. Justice Miller. I know very well the enormous ratio which the 
Commissioners of several of the States show ; and that is where all the 
profit and hardship come in. My impression was, that out of eight poli- 
cies not more than one continues until death. 

I am informed by an officer of the New York Life, that nearly 
fifty per cent of their policies issued to persons still living are 
valid to-day.^ 

Mr. Justice Bradley. The annual report and each policy shows its 
own number. They can show, therefore, how many they have paid, and 
how many still are standing. Of course it is much more than ten per 
cent that remain in existence to the end of life. 

It is not essential to my argument that I state the per cent 
correctly; but certainly there is a per cent per annum of persons 
insured who allow their policies to lapse, and the forfeited pre- 
miums are a second source of income to the companies. 

Mr. Justice Bradley. Do your companies ever take that into con- 
sideration as a basis of insurance ? 

That element, I was about to say, is a source of profit to the 
companies. It is one of their two original sources of income, a 
source found in the certainty, derived from the law of averages, 
that a certain number of policies will lapse. 

^ The following note is appended to this argument in the edition published by 
the Insurance Company. 

" There was manifestly a misunderstanding between the court and the counsel in 
reference to time included in the statement of the per cent of lapses. The counsel 
was speaking of the annual per cent of lapses. The letter referred to by counsel 
was in answer to an inquiry as to the per ceni per annum, and is here inserted : — 

"Nbw York, April 25, 1S76. 
" W. H. Beers, Esq., Arlington Hotels Washington^ D. C, 

" Dear Sir, — On receipt of your telegram to Mr. Franklin, I went to the Mutual 
Life and had an interview with Mr. Lawton. From their last experience [in] inves- 
tigations, the average rate of terminations from all causes except deaths has been, 
from the beginning of the company, not far from five per cent ; commencing at ten 
per cent the first year, and gradually running down. 

" In our own experience, I find that in an investigation made in 1869, the average 
rate of terminations from all causes up to that time had been about 6|^ per cent. 
Calling deaths one per cent would leave about 5)^ per cent for terminations from 
other causes ; but if this had been brought down to date I think the result in both 
companies would have been a higher percentage, as I find by the New York report 
for 1875 that the average ratio of terminations by surrenders and lapses, in all 
companies combined, was about 10^ per cent. Of course, in all these investiga- 
tions no account was taken of * not taken policies.* The ratios are on those only on 
which premiums had been paid. 

" Yours, truly, 

" P. S. Lincoln." 


In a mutual company like the New York Life, the profits, from 
whatever source, — and I have indicated the two original sources 
of revenue, namely, the premiums paid by those who continue 
till death, and the premiums paid on policies which are allowed 
to lapse, — belong to the insured. Of course the interest that 
the company receive on their investments is a subsequent mat- 
ter ; but all the profits resulting from these original and sec- 
ondary sources of income, in a mutual company like this, find 
their way back to all the members in the form of dividends, 
.under rules and regulations adopted by the company. Now, 
the courts must, I take it — 

Mr. Justice Bradley. I think that consideration is one that would 
be subject to this criticism. What you have said with regard to the ne- 
cessary basis of life insurance upon the average of human life is undoubt- 
edly correct ; but with regard to this matter of lapses, taking any one 
insurance company, it has no right to presume on any lapses until they 
occur. At the commencement of the war, if the company chose to con- 
sider these Southem policies as lapses it might do so, but it was at its own 
peril that it did so. If it did so, it would have for that year a large profit 
exhibit on its books ; but that was its own fault ; it must know what the 
law is. The question is. What is the law ? 

Certainly, your Honor. But the law depends upon the con- 
tract which the parties made ; and that contract was based upon 
the two facts I have stated. Having in view these two sources 
of revenue and the obligations to be incurred by the company, 
they proceeded to make this contract of insurance, which must 
be regarded as a private law. This law the court is called upon 
to construe and enforce ; and we should, in the first place, ex- 
amine its terms without regard to the war. To make ourselves 
sure that we understand the obligations mutually entered into by 
these parties, we must examine the contract itself, and interpret 
it by the intent of the parties that made it. That intent, as ex- 
pressed in its terms, is the law to both parties. Beyond that 
law we cannot go. This court has said, in Dermott v. Jones,^ 
that they will not interpolate new conditions, but will hold the 
parties to their own agreement. The court will not make con- 
tracts. Parties are bound by their own agreements. If they 
have made a hard contract, they must abide by its terms. 

Our learned friends on the other side are disturbed about the 
doctrine of conditions, — conditions subsequent and conditions 

* 2 Wallace, i. 



precedent. But it is our duty to inquire what the parties them- 
selves have stipulated in the contract between them. Turning 
to pages of the record in the Seyms case, we find that the 
parties do use the word " conditions " in one portion of their 
contract. In the first paragraph they declare that the con- 
tract itself is made in consideration of a sum of money paid in 
hand, and of another sum to be paid each year. I ask our 
learned friends on the other side whether they think the first 
payment was a condition precedent to insurance or not Sup- 
pose, after the terms of the policy had been agreed upon, the^ 
application filed and approved, and the policy drawn up and 
ready to be signed, the applicant should not pay the first pre- 
mium ; or suppose that, as in the case I recently had the honor 
to argue before this court, he should offer a horse instead of the 
money ; it cannot be doubted that the court would say, as it said 
to me in that case, " The delivery of the horse is not payment, 
and, unless the first premium is paid, there is no contract." The 
very language of the policy is, that this contract is made in con- 
sideration of the first and subsequent premiums. No payment, 
no contract ; and the subsequent premiums are embraced in the 
same clause, as an inseparable part of the consideration for the 
creation and the continued existence of the contract. 

Mr. Justice Cufford. If the party died before the expiration of the 
first payment, was it not a contract? 

Certainly; for it declares here that he shall be insured up to 
the 23d of December, at noon. But the payment of the sec- 
ond premium is as essential to the life of the contract for the 
second year as the first was for the first year. 

Mr. Justice Clifford. So you divide it into many contracts. 

Yes, your Honor; and this is the uniform construction given 
to such contracts in England. Nor has there been any different 
construction in this country, until the question became involved 
in complications growing out of our late war. 

After thus stating the consideration for which the contract is 
made, the parties proceed to describe some of its subsequent 
terms as conditions. They say, ** The same is accepted by the 
assured upon these express conditions : that if the assured shall 
pass beyond [certain geographical limits] without the consent 
of the company, or enter into any military or naval service 


whatever, or die in consequence of a duel, or by the hands of 
jtisti€:e« etc., etc., this policy shall be null and void." These 
are, in fact, conditions. The parties so denominate them. But 
none of these provisions are in controversy in this case. Fur- 
ther on in the instrument we find the clauses out of which 
this suit springs; and they are clauses which the parties do 
not call conditions. But they are of the very essence and sub- 
stance of the contract itself. This is the language employed 
by the parties : — • 

" And it is understood and agreed to be the true intent and meaning 

hereof, that if the declaration made by the said Charlotte Seyms, and 

bearing date the 13th day of December, a. d. 1859, and upon the faith 

of which this agreement is made, shall be found in any respect untrue, 

then and in such case this policy shall be null and void ; or in case the 

said Charlotte Seyms shaH not pay the said premiums on or before the 

several days hereinbefore mentioned for the payment thereof, then and 

in every such case the said company shall not be liable to the payment of 

the sum insured, or in any part thereof, and this policy shall cease and 


Now, I submit to your Honors, that, in the above paragraph, 
we have passed beyond the chapter of conditions set forth by 
the parties themselves, and * have reached a clause which de- 
scribes and limits the risk taken. And it is the declared intent 
of the parties that the risk taken shall be limited as herein de- 
scribed. They fix the termination of the contract; they limit 
the time beyond which it shall not exist, namely, the time when 
an annual premium is payable and is not paid. I refer your 
Honors to the American Jurist,^ where there is a very able 
article on " Conditions and Limitations," and the distinction be- 
tween them. The author, after defining the word '* conditions,'* 
says : " A limitation is conclusive of the time of continuance, 

and of the extent of the estate granted Limitations are 

imperative. They fix the end and duration of an estate." We 
may fairly say that the paragraphs of the policy now under 
consideration are not conditions at all, but are the two limita- 
tions which the parties have agreed upon to define the extent 
of the risk ; one relating to the truthfulness of the representa- 
tions made in the application for insurance, the other relating to 
the time at which the contract shall cease and determine if the 
payment be not made. 

* Vol. XI. pp. 42, 43. 


Now, my colleague cited the case of House v. Mul 
reported, in which it appears that a false statement 1: 
made by the insured in his application. But although tl 
ment was against himself and favorable to the compa 
Honors held that he could not be permitted to mak 
statement even against himself; and that the contract, b; 
terms, made the policy void in that case. Thus your 
have construed one half of the paragraph which defines 
its the risk. But the paragraph contains two limitatio 
that the statements of the applicant shall be true, and t 
that he shall pay. You have already decided that, in 
one failed, the contract was void. Is it not clear that t 
doctrine should be applied to the next clause, which is s 
from the first only by a semicolon, and is really a pai 
same sentence? They must be construed together, 
view be correct, it is unnecessary for us to discuss the 
of conditions in order to determine whether the payme; 
annual premiums is a condition precedent or a conditio 

But our opponents insist upon discussing the do( 
conditions, and we accept their challenge. They wil 
deny that, up to the time when life insurance contra* 
affected by our late war, few, if any, leading decisions 
courts at home or abroad can be found in which the \ 
of the annual premium is called a condition subsequei 
continuance of the policy. On the contrary, the whole 
of authorities, until these very recent cases, sweeps tl 
way with the force of a torrent. From the case of 
Blunt,^ where Lord Ellenborough distinctly declared : 
payment of the quarterly premium was a condition pi 
to the continuance of the contract, down through th 
cases cited in our brief, there is no exception to the ru 
insist that, if we are to consider these clauses as cond: 
all, we are in the current of authorities which brings us 
inevitable conclusion that payment of premiums on 
named is a condition precedent to the continuation of tl 
tract. But whether this provision of the policy be coi 
a limitation of the risk, or a condition precedent, the p 
ble result will be the same. The premium was not p; 
hence the contract " ceased and determined." The p* 

1 22 Wallace, 42. 212 East, 1S3. 


the contract are not to be excused by any hardship that may 
result from it ; nor are they to be excused from performance 
of the contract by the act of God, or of the law. On this 
point several authorities are cited in our brief, to one of which 
I desire to call special attention, viz. the case of the Earl of 
Shrewsbury v, Scott, decided by the Court of Queen's Bench 
in 1859. 

Far back in the first quarter of the fifteenth century, Henry 
VI. created the earldom of Shrewsbury, to which were annexed 
immense estates in half a dozen counties in England. The 
earldom was to descend in the male line, and the estates were 
to follow the title. But in the year 1700, one of the earls, 
having resolved never to marry, made a deed of settlement to 
adjust the descent of the title and the estate. Doubts were 
however raised as to his power to make such settlement ; the 
case was taken to Parliament, and an act was passed in 171 8 
ratifying his settlement. It was a period of excitement in Eng- 
land on the Catholic question, and a proviso was added in the 
House of Lords, and became a part of the act, that no person 
holding the earldom should have power to alienate the estates. 
But it was further provided, that, if within six months after the 
heir became eighteen years of age he should make the declara- 
tion and take the oaths prescribed in the act of 30 Charles II., 
declaring himself a Protestant, renouncing the Catholic religion, 
and should continue to be a Protestant after he was twenty-one, 
he might alienate them. This settlement stood undisturbed for 
a hundred and forty years. The later agitation of the Catholic 
question swept away all laws prescribing oaths for Catholics. 
But in the year 1856, Bertram Arthur, the seventeenth earl, died 
without issue; and by going back two centuries a collateral 
branch of the family was found who succeeded to the title. 
Just before Arthur died, he executed a disentailing deed, by 
which he transferred to Scott, the defendant, a portion of his 
estates. The successor of Arthur brought an action of eject- 
ment; and when the case came on for hearing, the question 
arose whether, under the act of 171 8, the late Earl had the 
power to alienate his land, as he attempted to do in the dis- 
entailing deed. The counsel for the plaintiff insisted that the 
taking of the oaths prescribed in the act of 171 8. was a condi- 
tion precedent to the authority of the Earl to alienate his estates. 
The defendant responded, that compliance with that law had 


been rendered impossible by subsequent legislation; that the 
act of 30 Charles II. had been repealed; that Parliament had 
made it impossible for him to take the oaths. On this question 
the Chief Justice said: — 

*' It is urged .... that the performance of the condition has become 
impossible. Assuming this for a moment, it seems to me to follow, as a 
necessary consequence in point of law, that alienation has become im- 
possible. There is here a condition precedent upon alienation, and it 
is elementary knowledge that a condition precedent is a thing which 
cannot be got over." 

The court then quotes the well-known passage from Black- 
stone on the subject of conditions, and also the following from 
Egerton v. The Earl of Brownlow : — 

" * Supposing it to be illegal, if it be a contingency or condition pre- 
cedent, and the event does not happen, or if it be impossible, and there- 
fore cannot happen, the party never obtains the estate ; if it be a condi- 
tion subsequent, he never loses what he has got' (4 House of Lords 
Cases, I. 120.) 

" This I take to be the true rule of law upon this subject," the court 
continues. " Now, here we have an estate tail from which the incident 
of alienability is taken away by positive enactment, but to which aliena- 
bility may be restored upon the performance of a condition precedent 
If the performance of the condition precedent is prevented, no matter 
how, and the condition does not take effect, that which was conditioned 
upon it cannot possibly take effect either. It cannot therefore avail the 
defendants to say that the condition has become impossible [by law], 
.... If impossibility of performance of the condition has supervened, 
.... the power to alienate is gone." * 

The case is one full of historic interest ; and the doctrine is 
clearly stated, that, even when the performance of a condition 
precedent is made impossible by law, the party not performing 
has no remedy. 

I refer your Honors to another case, not mentioned in our 
brief, — the case of Barker v, Hodgson.^ It appears in this 
case that the owner of a ship declared on a charter-party of 
affreightment, made between himself and a shipper in Liver- 
pool, that he was to go to Gibraltar and deliver a cargo tliere, 
and then load, take back, and deliver another cargo in Liver- 
pool. The running time was to be sixty days. He went out 
to Gibraltar, anchored in the stream, and landed his cargo by 

1 6 C. B. N. S. 176, 178. « 3 Maulc and Sclwyn, 267. 


means of a lighter; but before he had loaded his return cargo 
a pestilence broke out in Gibraltar, and under the local statute 
it was made unlawful for anybody to pass out from the wharf 
to the ship, or for the ship to come into the dock. The law had 
reared an impassable barrier around Gibraltar, and between him 
and the wharf. He waited until the sixty days had elapsed; 
and, hoisting sail, returned to Liverpool, claiming that the law 
had intervened to make it impossible for him to carry out his 
part of the contract. After stating the case. Lord Ellcnborough 
said: — 

"Perhaps it is too much to say that the freighter was compellable 
to load his cargo ; but, if he was unable to do the thing, is he not an- 
swerable for it upon his covenant? Is not the freighter the adventurer, 
who chalks out the voyage, and is to furnish, at all events, the subject 
matter out of which freight is to accrue ? The question here is, on which 
side the burthen is to fall. If indeed the performance of this covenant 
had been rendered unlawful by the government of this country, the 
contract would have been dissolved on both sides, and this defendant, 
inasmuch as he had been thus compelled to abandon his contract, would 
have been excused for the non-performance of it, and not liable to dam- 
ages. But if, in consequence of events which happen at a foreign port, 
the freighter is prevented from furnishing a loading there which he has 
contracted to furnish, the contract is neither dissolved nor is he excused 
for not performing it, but must answer in damages. '* ^ 

In other words, he was to deliver his outward cargo and bring 
another back to Liverpool, as a condition precedent to receiving 
payment on the contract; and though the lex loci made per- 
formance impossible, yet such impossibility was no excuse for 
non-performance, and was so held by the court. 

But it is quite clear that there was no such impossibility in 
the present case. We have cited in our brief the dates at which 
the governments of the Confederate States and of the United 
States forbade intercourse between the belligerents, and also the 
dates at which the United States invited all its loyal citizens who 
proposed to adhere to the government to come within the Union 
lines. At the same time, those in the South who elected to ad- 
here to the Union were ordered, by the Confederate authorities, 
to leave the Rebel lines ; and it was possible and practicable at 
that time for any citizen who chose to adhere to the Union dur- 
ing the struggle to put himself in a position where, without 

* 3 Maule and Selwyn, 270, 271. 


obstruction or violation of law, he might keep alive his contract 
of insurance. This court strongly intimated, in the case of Tlic 
William Bagaley,^ and the case of Mrs. Alexander's Cotton,^ what 
the duty of the loyal citizen was in such a situation. It may per- 
haps be going too far to say that it was the duty of every person 
to abandon his property and leave the home of his birth ; but 
we are now discussing the possibility or impossibility of his 
saving his contract by so doing. And we hold that our friends 
on the other side cannot show that it was impossible for their 
clients to put themselves in a situation to keep their contracts 
alive. They insist, first, that they were under no obligation to 
make performance possible ; secondly, that they have lost noth- 
ing by non-performance ; and, finally, they propose to throw 
upon us all the burdens resulting from their own failure. 

Thus far I have sought to interpret the contract by the plain 
intent of the parties who made it ; to ascertain the conditions 
and limitations which they imposed upon each other ; and have 
asked your Honors to enforce that intent in accordance with the 
conditions and within the limitations of the instrument itself. 
The parties declare it to be their intent, that, if the money be 
not paid before the day and hour specified, the contract of in- 
surance ceases and determines. The parties have set up that 
limit for themselves, and either one is estopped from asking this 
court to change the contract by taking away that limit or by 
setting up any other. 

Our learned friends say that the late war was a surprise to 
everybody; that the parties did not have in their minds the 
thought or the possibility of war ; and that the court should 
therefore interpolate into the contract such modifications as a 
state of war requires. I invite our friends to examine the con- 
tract more closely, to see whether the parties did not have the 
idea of war in their minds when they made it. 

The policy itself shows that the parties attempted to state ex- 
haustively, both affirmatively and negatively, the conditions and 
contingencies which might affect the obligation to insure; and 
they distinctly allude to a state of war. They declare that, if 
the assured shall enter any military or naval service (the militia 
not in actual service excepted), this policy shall be null and 
void. Can it be doubted that, in making this provision, the par- 
ties contemplated a state of military and naval activity, — a state 

> 5 Wallace, 377. * 2 Wallace, 421. 


of war? The exception of the militia not in actual service 
strengthens this conclusion. It is fair to assume that these par- 
ties provided for peace and for war. It is fair to presume that 
they made a contract exhausting the possibilities of the situa- 
tions in which they might be placed ; and having so exhausted 
them, it is difficult to see how the court can now interpolate 
into the contract any conditions that the parties themselves did 
not provide. 

My learned friend who has just addressed the court has re- 
ferred to the case of Semmes v. Hartford Insurance Company,^ 
as sustaining his position that war only suspends a contract of 
life insurance. It needs but a glance at that case to discover 
that the issue was wholly confined to the remedy for collecting 
a debt True, the debt grew out of a contract of life insurance ; 
but the loss had occurred before the war began, and the repre- 
sentatives of the deceased had a vested right to recover on the 
policy. The decision of the court was clearly in accordance 
with the acknowledged rule of law, that debts are not forfeited, 
but that the remedies for the collection of debts of belligerents 
are suspended, by war. The case turned upon a clause in the 
policy which provided that no suit or action should be brought 
to recover on a policy, unless brought within twelve months 
after the loss should occur. The loss had happened, the debt 
had been incurred, before the war ; but as the war began before 
the twelve months expired, the court held that the executors of 
the insured could recover by bringing suit within twelve months 
after the return of peace. That decision does not at all apply 
to a case of life insurance, where the loss occurred after the 
war began. The case now before the court docs not involve the 
question of debt. Nothing was due to the insured when the 
war began. He was not compelled to pay his. annual premiums. 
He had the option to pay and revive his insurance, but of that 
option the company had no control. 

The effect of war on the business relations of belligerents 
cannot be more clearly and tersely stated than it has been done 
in Montgomery v. United States, where the court says : — 

" It is certain that ' every kind of trading or commercial dealing or 
intercourse, whether by transmission of money * *' — I emphasize that, 
because it applies to a case like this, — "'whether by transmission of 
money or goods, or orders for the delivery of cither between two coun- 

13 Wallace, 158. 


tries (at war), directly or indirectly, or through the intervention of third 
persons or partnerships, or by contracts ' " — I emphasize that — " * in 
any form, looking to or involving such transmission,* is prohibited. If 
this be allowed, the enemy is benefited, and his property is protected 
firom seizure or confiscation." * 

I cite this paragraph to show how great is the difference, in 
their relations to war, between a debt and an unexecuted con- 
tract of life insurance. We admit that one part of the policy is 
an executed contract, namely,, the insurance for the year that 
was begun before the war, and for which the premium had been 
paid. If the insured had died before the expiration of that 
year, even after the war began, I have no doubt the company 
would be liable for the loss ; for it would have been a debt due 
under an executed contract. Nothing further was needed, on 
either side, except to make the proof of loss. The war sus- 
pended the machinery by which the proof could be made and 
the debt collected. But that executed part of the contract is 
not at all involved in this case. The question now in issue 
grows out of the second, or executory part of the contract, — 
that part which defines the limitation of the risk, which declares 
that, if the payment of premium is not made on a certain day, 
the policy shall cease and determine. The payment of the 
premium is the life of the policy. During the year which is 
covered by payment already made, it was a living, an executed 
contract ; that part which permits a future insurance upon future 
payment is an executory contract. 

Mr. Justice Clifford. But there was no necessity for a new contract 
at the expiration of the first year. 

The form of a contract exists, but its life is gone whenever 
it strikes against the hour of the day when payment must be 
made in order to protract its life. 

Mr. Justice Clifford. But it had life until it received the blow. 

Certainly, your Honor; but I would not say it was killed by 
the blow. It lived and had its being by virtue of payment 
already made. The second payment, made at the time pre- 
scribed, would have breathed into it the life of another year; 
if not made, the contract died of inanition, expired by its own 

* 1 5 Wallace, 40a 


The contract now under consideration lived until the noon of 
December 23, 1861. Up to that moment it was an executed con- 
tract; but all else was executory, was contingent upon payment, 
— payment at the time prescribed, — prepayment. Was it pos- 
sible for one who had adhered to the Rebellion, and remained 
within tlie Rebel lines, to make that payment, December 23, 
1861? Manifestly not, without intercourse. Several acts of 
intercourse must necessarily have been performed in order to 
give life to the policy for another year ; money must have been 
transmitted, receipts delivered, letters sent; in short, the con- 
tract must have been renewed ; and this court has said that all 
such intercourse is prohibited by war. 

My learned friend on the other side insists that the cases cited 
in our brief from 12 East and 8 House of Lords Cases are 
based upon conditions precedent, and do not apply to this case. 
This is begging one of the questions at issue. But these cases 
were not quoted for the purpose of proving that payment in this 
case is a condition precedent. They were quoted for the pur- 
pose of showing, by the unchallenged authority of the English 
courts, that a contract of life insurance is a contract from year 
to year, or from quarter to quarter; that it was not one, but 
many; a series, consisting of one actual and many possible con- 
tracts. In the House of Lords case, the payments were to be 
made quarterly; and the court held that it was a contract for 
three months, and quarter by quarter, if premiums were paid. 
It was not of one piece, like an iron rod, but in sections, like 
the vertebrae of a snake. 

In order to understand more clearly the character of this con- 
tract, let us consider the effect upon the parties of a decision 
that these policies were only suspended during the war, to be 
revived and enforced on the return of peace. Of all the people 
in the South who were insured at the beginning of the war, a 
certain per cent — a large per cent — would have allowed their 
policies to lapse ; and their premiums already paid would have 
belonged to the company. These lapses happen in accordance 
with the inexorable law of averages, and are a recognized ele- 
ment in the business of life insurance. Now, if the court hold 
that the contract was only suspended during the war, it will fol- 
low that every death occurring during the war, among those 
who should voluntarily allow their policies to lapse, must be 
paid for by the company insuring ; for, in every such case, 



executors will tender the back premiums and demand payment 
Thus tlie court would compel the company to pay losses that 
happened long after the voluntary abandonment of the policy 
by the insured ; and thus the company would lose all Ae in- 
come that flows into its treasury from one of its two sources 
of revenue. By such a construction dead men are to be treated 
as though they were alive, and, at the close of the war, .had 
elected to pay back premiums and continue the insurance. 
This the living will not do. They know it will be cheaper to 
take out new policies than to pay the arrears of the old ones. 
But the policies of the dead have drawn prizes ; and, of course, 
their executors will elect to pay for the fortunate tickets. This 
construction interpolates into the contract a provision which no 
insurance oflicer outside of an insane asylum would ever dream 
of making, — a provision which allows dead men to determine 
whether their policies shall be renewed or abandoned. Now, 
upon the supposition that the war had lasted twenty years in- 
stead of four, the evil resulting from such a construction would 
be measureless ; or, rather, it would ruin the company, and carry 
down with it all its policies. North and South. This construc- 
tion would not be proposed by our learned friends, had they 
not confounded an executory contract with an ascertained debt 

To exhibit in another way the broad distinction between this 
kind of contract and a debt, I refer to the question of agency. 
It is insisted that we were bound to keep an agent in the South 
during the war. For what purpose? To receive premiums? 
If so, his business would have consisted in the work of convert- 
ing suspended policies into debts. Every premium received or 
tendered would instantly have become the property of a bellige- 
rent, and, under the confiscation laws of the Confederacy, 
would have been swept into the Rebel treasury. Thus every 
premium would aid in filling the coffers of the Confederate 
government; and yet our friends on the other side charge us 
with breaking the contract, because we did not send an agent 
to Mississippi, not only to put our revenues where we should 
lose them, bjut to place them in the treasury of a hostile govern- 
ment This view of the case demonstrates how utterly impossi- 
ble it was to keep this contract alive during the war. 

But suppose the contract was only suspended during the war. 
The insured in both these cases died while it was suspended, — 
before it revived. Can they now take the benefit? Can they 


take the benefit of a contract that was dead when they died ? 
If anybody can take the benefit of such a suspended contract, 
it must be one who lived beyond the period of suspension, and 
after its revival tendered his arrears of premium. Such a case 
would present a question very different from the one now under 

But, if your Honors hold that this contract was only suspended 
during the war, two results will follow : first, the company re- 
ceives not one dollar from those policy-holders who survived 
the war, for they are unwilling, and the company has no power 
to compel them, to revive their policies ; secondly, the company 
must pay every policy whose holder died, even though he was 
one of that large number who would have allowed his policy to 
lapse. I cannot believe that your Honors will thus interpolate 
into the contract conditions that no company ever did, or ever 
would, propose or tolerate. 

Now, I have no sympathy with those arguments and decis- 
ions in favor of the insurance companies which are founded on 
drums and cannon, — on the assumption that anything which 
hurts rebels, and helps defenders of the flag, should be looked 
on with favor. This contract should be studied by the white 
light of the law, and by the aid of all the equities which this 
court is authorized to employ. If the court think that there 
are hardships in this case which they have a right to consider, — 
if the court think that there are equities in either case which 
they can fairly administer (and one of these is a case of equity), 
— if the court find a place to apply the rules of equity so as to 
save the policy-holders something for what they have already 
paid, let us inquire what rule of adjustment ought to be adopted. 

In this connection, I take the liberty of referring to the fifth 
point made in the brief of my learned friend, Mr. Hinckley, 
in the case of the New York Life Insu^-ance Company v, Hen- 
dren, argued last week, where the several rules of adjustment 
are stated. The substance of that point is this: if the court 
will not hold that war destroys a contract originally valid so 
far as to forfeit all the rights of the insured under it, because 
the war makes it impossible for him to keep it alive by pay- 
ment, then let the scales of justice hang even, and do not 
construe impossibility to pay into a right to pay or not to pay^ 
as he chooses, at some future, indefinite time. If there be no 
forfeiture, then at least there should be no extension of a privi- 


lege. To allow the insured the surrender value of the policy 
as it stood at the beginning of the war would avoid both ex- 

If any form of equitable adjustment should be found lawful 
and right, I venture to suggest that the court ought to follow 
the rule of partnerships. A mutual Ufe insurance company is 
virtually a partnership, — a sort of incorporated partnership. 
And your Honors have decided again and again, that a part- 
nership between belligerents is dissolved by war. The property 
of the partners is not forfeited, but the power to distribute it is 
suspended. Some of the parties are within the jurisdiction of 
one belligerent, and others are within the jurisdiction of the 
other. The partnership is not suspended to revive again on 
the return of peace, but is dissolved by the fact of war. Nor 
can its affairs be settled during the war. But on the return of 
peace, the court will require a statement of accounts, just as 
they stood on the day of the dissolution. If this analogy be fol- 
lowed, it would be held that war dissolved contracts of insurance, 
and that each policy-holder whose policy was alive when the 
war began would be entitled to the surrender value of the policy 
at that date. This would avoid, on the part of the insured, 
the hardship of involuntary forfeiture of premiums already paid, 
and also the injustice of requiring the company to pay on all 
lapsed policies, whether voluntary or involuntary. 

There is no ground for the assumption that, on the day when 
the war struck this policy, the insured had a vested right to the 
whole amount for which he had been insured. Our learned 
friend spoke of his client as holding a vested right. Did he 
mean a vested right to eight thousand dollars? Certainly not 
when the war began ; certainly not on the day he failed to make 
payment. But if your Honors determine that, after the day on 
which the war struck the policy with paralysis, you cannot re- 
vive it for his benefit, the most that can then be done for him 
will be to give him its surrender value on the day of its paraly- 
sis, in accordance with some one of the four rules so ably 
stated by Mr. Hinckley. 

And now, thanking your Honors for the patient attention 
with which you have listened to this long discussion, I leave 
the case for your consideration and judgment 



April 9, 1874. 

On the 29th of January, 1874, Mr. Horace Maynard, of Tennessee, 
reported from the Committee on Banking and Currency a bill " to 
amend the several acts providing a national currency, and to establish 
free banking, and for other purposes." These were its more important 
provisions : — 

1. Section 31 of the National Banking Act of June 3, 1864, to be so 
amended that the banks shall not hereafter be required to keep on hand 
any amount of money whatever by reason of the amount of their respect- 
ive circulations ; but the money reserves required to be kept at all times 
on hand to be determined by the amount of deposits, as provided by 
said section of said act 

2. Section 21 of said act, and the amendments thereto, so far as they 
restricted the circulation of the banks, to be repealed. 

3. Every national bank to keep and have on deposit in the treasury 
of the United States, in lawful money of the United States, a sum equal to 
five per cent of its circulation, to be held and used only for the redemp- 
tion of such circulation. The entire amount of United States notes out- 
standing and in circulation at any one time not to exceed the sum of 

4. The banks to keep their lawful money reserves within their own 
vaults at the places where their operations of discount and deposit are 
carried on. 

5. Section 8 of the Maynard bill ran as follows: "That the Secre- 
tary of the Treasury is hereby authorized and directed to issue, at the 
beginning of each and every month from and including July, eighteen 
hundred and seventy-four, two millions of United States notes not bear- 
ing interest, payable in gold two years after date, of such denominations 
as he shall deem expedient, not less than ten dollars each, in exchange, 
and as a substitute, for the same amount of the United States notes 
now in circulation, which shall be cancelled and destroyed, and not re- 


issued. And any excess of gold in, or hereafter coming into, the Treas- 
ury of the United States, after payment of interest on the public debt, 
and supplying any deficiency in the revenues provided to meet the cur- 
rent expenses of the government, shall hereafter be retained as a reserve 
for the redemption of such notes." 

April 9, Mr. Garfield entered his protest against the bill in the follow- 
ing speech. April lo, Sections 7 and 8 were stricken out on motion 
of the friends of the bill. April 14, the bill as thus amended passed the 
House. The bill now went to the Senate, where it was amended. Next, 
it passed through the hands of two conference committees. After un- 
dergoing many changes, more or less important, and losing some of its 
original features and taking on new ones, it passed both houses, and was 
approved, June 22, 1874. The banks were relieved of some of their 
former limitations and restrictions, and the maximum of United States 
notes was fixed at ^382,000,000. 

At the same time that this bill was under discussion in the House, im- 
portant financial propositions of a somewhat analogous character were 
pending in the Senate. Especial attention may be drawn to one. 
March 23, Senator Sherman reported Senate Bill No. 617, entitled "A 
Bill to provide for the Redemption and Reissue of United States Notes, 
and for free Banking." This bill passed both houses, and was vetoed by 
President Grant, April 22, 1874. These facts explain Mr. Garfield's 
reference in his second sentence to the ** four months of debate in the 
Senate, and nearly three weeks of debate in the House." 

*' Thou shalt have a perfect and just weight, a perfect and just measure shall thou have : 
that thy days may be lengthened in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee." — Dntt, 
XXV. 15. 

*' A false balance is abomination to the Lord ; but a just weight is his deUghf — Proverbs 

XL I. 

" Capitol may be produced by industry, and accumulated by economy ; but jugglers only 
will propose to create it by legerdemain tricks with paper." — Thomas Jefferson. 

<* We are in danger of being overwhelmed with irredeemable paper ; mere paper represent- 
ing, not gold, nor silver, — no, sir, representing nothing but broken promises, bad £aith, bank- 
rupt corporations, cheated creditors, and a ruined people." — Daniel Webster. 

MR. SPEAKER, — The hour for argument has passed. 
Four months of debate in the Senate, and nearly three 
weeks of debate in the House, have demonstrated that this 
Congress has determined to reverse the policy of its predeces- 
sors, and to enter upon a path new to our recent history, but 
well known as an old path of disaster and disgrace. I have 
sought the floor to put on record my protest against the step 
about to be taken. My opinions may be of but little conse- 


quence to others, but I should be untrue to myself, untrue to 
my deepest convictions, did I not take the occasion to warn the 
House and the country against what I firmly believe to be the 
most dangerous and fatal legislation that I have known in my 
service in this House. 

This legislation is framed to answer a demand for what several 
gentlemen have called " cheap money." I hope they will take 
no offence if I say they would more fitly characterize the thing 
they are aiming at if they would apply to it the old, homely 
epithet " cheap and nasty." I hope they will take no offence if 
I quote a paragraph which strikingly exhibits my opinion of the 
result of this measure. In his essay entitled, " Shooting Niagara ; 
and after? " Thomas Carlyle says that one of the three things 
which are visibly before us Americans is free racing, erelong 
with unlimited speed, in the career of cheap and nasty. 

** * Cheap and nasty ' ; there is a pregnancy in that poor, vulgar prov- 
cib, which I wish we better saw and valued ! It is the rude, indignant 
protest of human nature against a mischief which, in all times and places, 
haunts it or lies near it, and which never in any time or place was so like 
utterly overwhelming it as here and now. Understand, if you will con- 
sider it, that no good man did, or ever should, encourage ' cheapness * at 
the ruinous expense of unfitness y which is always infidelity, and is dishon- 
orable to a man." ^ 

I cannot better express my opinion of the policy that seems 
to have been fixed upon by the late votes of the two houses, 
than to say that we are proposing now to make a surrender of 
reality for the sake of an apparent good, — to grasp at empty 
shadows and lose the substance. In discussing the questions 
which now confront us, it is not always easy to find the path 
of duty. The conditions of the problem before us are so com- 
plicated, the subject is so many-sided, that men may well differ 
in methods. But we ought to follow our measures out to their 
inevitable consequences, and confront results as well as methods. 
It was easy to see and to follow the path of duty, when citizens 
were called upon to decide by the wager of battle between the 
destruction of the nation and its salvation. But next to the 
g^eat achievements of the nation in putting down the rebellion, 
destroying its cause, and reuniting the republic on the principle 
of liberty and equal rights to all, was that series of financial 

* Miscellaneous Essays, Vol. VII. pp. 226, 227 (New York, 1872). 
VOL. II. 12 


achievements by which the enormous charges of the war were 
paid, the debt funded, the public credit maintained, and the 
nation launched upon its career of prosperity. The financial 
perils through which we have passed were almost equal to the 
direst perils of the war. Let us trace the steps by which the 
nation came up through its dangers to the basis of safety and 

There is a fellowship among the virtues by which one great, 
generous passion stimulates another. When the patriotism of 
the people had risen to the height of the sublime in their pur- 
pose to put down the Rebellion, they manifested an equally 
noble purpose of meeting all their obligations incurred in the 
sacred work. Under the pressure of an overmastering neces- 
sity, and upon that plea alone, the nation issued its treasuiy 
notes, and made them a legal tender in payment of debts ; but 
by the most solemn sanctions they gave their pledge to the 
world that the volume should never exceed $400,ocx),ooo, and 
that at the earliest possible moment they would redeem their 
promises and restore the currency to the standard of the Con- 
stitution. Scarcely had the echoes of their cannon died away, 
when they set about the work of redeeming these pledges. In 
1866, by the almost unanimous voice of both houses of Con- 
gress, the work was commenced for the redemption and cancel- 
lation of these notes. The great revenues of the nation were 
applied to this purpose, and to the reduction of the interest- 
bearing debt 

Hardly had the great cost of the war been stated, when the 
nation was menaced with the formidable threat of repudiation. 
The worst elements of American politics were appealed to, and 
the passions of selfishness and cupidity were summoned to the 
aid of those who joined in the assault on the public faith. The 
autumn of 1867 and the spring of 1868 were days of darkness 
and gloom; but during the summer and fall of 1868 the Repub- 
lican party appealed with confidence to the American con- 
science to put down repudiation in every form, to keep the 
public faith, and to pay the sacred obligations of the war to the 
uttermost farthing. No issue was ever more sharply defined than 
that on which the presidential canvass of 1868 was made. That 
issue was declared in the national platform of the Republican 
party, and the victorious results were announced in the inaugu- 
ral address of President Grant, wherein he stated that " to pro- 


tect the national honor every dollar of government indebtedness 
should be paid in gold, unless otherwise expressly stipulated in 
the contract. Let it be understood that no repudiator of one 
farthing of our public debt will be trusted in public places, 
and it will go far toward strengthening a credit which ought to 
be the best in the world." This victory was sealed by the first 
act of Congress to which President Grant gave the approval of 
his signature, and which has been so often quoted in this de- 
bate. It was a victory won in the name of the public con- 
science, the public honor, the public faith, — in the name of 
truth. From that moment the public credit was enhanced, 
month by month, and the national faith met no shock until the 
great struggle of 1870, when a most formidable attempt was 
made to break {(own the barriers of public confidence, and 
launch the nation again upon a career of irredeemable paper- 
money expansion. 

I believe no argument has been advanced during this debate 
that was not presented in the debate of 1870. I have now in 
my possession nearly fifty bills on this question, introduced into 
the two houses of Congress in that year, in which every shade 
of opinion now entertained in this House is expressed and ad- 
vocated, — bills to abolish the national bank system and issue 
greenbacks in place of national bank notes, and bills, to author- 
ize the reissue of the $44,000,000 of greenbacks already retired 
and cancelled. No one then ventured the opinion that the 
Secretary of the Treasury had power to reissue those notes 
without further authority from Congress. The result of that 
debate was that the banking facilities of the South and West 
were increased, and additional notes were authorized to the 
extent of $54,000,000 ; but to prevent the inflation of the cur- 
rency and the derangement of values, it was provided that, the 
three per cent certificates, which were used as bank reserves 
and clearing-house certificates, should be retired and cancelled 
pari passu with the increase of national bank-notes. 

Those who favored a great enlargement of the currency at 
that time denounced the measure as wholly insufficient to meet 
the wants of the country. The fifty-four millions was said to 
be wholly inadequate to the demands of business. We were 
told that that amount would be taken up so soon as speedily 
to demonstrate its insufficiency. But, sir, the most significant 
possible answer to that opinion is the fact that the $54,000,000 


was issued so slowly that even to-day four and one third mil- 
lions of that amount has not been taken by national banks 
in the States that had less than their proportion of circulation. 
Let gentlemen explain this significant fact before they ask us 
to follow their lead. 

And now, Mr. Speaker, in a time of profound peace, nine 
years after the last hostile gun was fired, we are called upon to 
reverse all our past policy, — to break down the dikes and let 
the sea roll in upon us. We are asked to declare that it was a 
mistake to take any steps toward the resumption of specie pay- 
ments ; that it was a mistake to redeem our solemn promises to 
pay ; that it was a mistake even to keep our faces turned to- 
ward the solid ground of stable values. How many years of 
disastrous experience are needed to enforce the lesson that there 
are immutable laws of nature which no Congress can safely 
ignore, and which no legislation can overturn ? Underlying all 
exchange, all trade, all active industry, there are three elements 
which cannot be ignored ; — elements that enter into every con- 
tract and are of the essence of every exchange ; elements that 
are recognized in the national Constitution. They are the meas- 
ure of extension, whether of length, breadth, depth, or capacity; 
the measure of weight, which is intimately related to that of 
extension; and the measure of value, which is closely related to 
both. The Constitution empowers Congress to fix the standards 
of weights, of measures, and of values. But Congress cannot 
create extension, nor weight, nor value. It can measure what 
exists ; it can declare, and subdivide, and name a standard ; but 
it cannot make length of that which has no length ; it cannot 
make weight of that which has no weight ; it cannot make value 
of that which has no value. 

With what care has our government protected its standards ! 
The gentleman from Massachusetts ^ sneeringly asked. Why does 
not some one argue in favor of redeeming the yardstick, the 
quart-pot, or the Fairbanks scales? In that paragraph he uses 
words without significance. We do not redeem these standards, 
but we do in regard to them what is analogous to the redemption 
of our standard of value. Our yardstick is a metallic bar copied 
from the standard yard of England, which is nearly three hun- 
dred years old. It is deposited in the office of the Coast Sur- 
vey, and is sacredly guarded from change or injury. The best 

1 Mr. Butler. 


efforts of science have been brought to bear to make the yard- 
stick as little liable as possible to mutilation or change. Two 
methods have been adopted to test the accuracy of the stan- 
dard and preserve it from loss. One is to find a pendulum 
which, swinging in vacuo, will make one vibration a second, at a 
given altitude from the level of the sea ; the other, the method 
adopted by France when, in the last century, she sent her sur- 
veyors to measure six hundred miles of a meridian line, from 
Dunkirk to Barcelona. Thus she made her meter a given ali- 
quot part of the earth's circumference, so that should her stan- 
dard be lost the measure of the globe itself would furnish the 
means of restoring it. Both these standards are deposited in 
the Coast Survey, and, together with the standard measures of 
capacity, are furnished to the several States as the standards to 
which all our State and municipal laws refer. Every contract 
for the sale and delivery of anything that can be weighed or 
measured is based upon these standards, and the citizen who 
changes the weight or the measurement commits a misde- 
meanor, for which he is punished by the law. The false weight 
and balance are still an abomination. Sir, we do not redeem our 
yardstick ; but we preserve it, and by the solemn sanctions of 
the law demand that it shall be applied to all transactions where 
extension is an element Let us with equal care restore and 
preserve our standard of value, which must be applied to every 
exchange of property between man and man. An uncertain 
and fluctuating standard is an 6vil whose magnitude is too vast 
for measurement. 

Let me call attention to a few features of the bill now before 
the House. Its fir^ section abolishes all the reserves by which 
our statesmen have hitherto protected the circulation of the 
banks and kept them in readiness to redeem their notes. This 
great safeguard is thrown away. The ballast is tossed from the 
boat of the balloon ; the cables are cut which held it to the 
earth. The section will also operate unequally and unjustly. 
For example, it requires five and a half millions less of reserve 
to be held by the banks of New York, and five and a half mil- 
lions more by the banks of Boston, than is now required by 
law. Inflation in New York, contraction in Boston.^ Section 5 

* The editor is indebted to Hon. John Jay Knox, Comptroller of the Currency, 
for the following note : — 

** The bill then pending provided for the repeal of all acts requiring money to 


works a revolution in the system of bank balances. It requires 
five per cent in lawful money of the circulation of every na- 
tional bank to be kept in New York and Washington. This 
takes twenty millions of greenbacks away from the sixteen re- 
demption cities of the United States, and places them in Wash- 
ington and New York, for the purpose of making the officers of 
the Treasury assort and redeem the mutilated currency of the 
banks and issue new notes in their place. By the third section 
forty-four millions are added to the greenback circulation. By 
this we are to lose all we have gained in the way of redeeming 
the promise of the nation to pay its long overdue paper. This 
is a permanent postponement of specie payments ; it hopelessly 
cripples the machinery by which that result is to be reached. 
To this is added an unlimited increase of national bank notes. 

By this measure we invite two dangers. With one hand we 
throw overboard the ballast ; with the other we spread the sails, 
and thus commit the ship of our public credit 

" To the god of storms, 
The lightning and the gale." 

I believe, Mr. Speaker, that the proposition before us is 
fraught with measureless mischief. If you will authorize free 
banking coupled with some wise restriction, something that will 
lead us slowly but surely toward specie payments, — if we can 
reach the two great results, specie payments and free banking, 
— we shall preserve the quality, of our currency and shall leave 

be kept on hand as a reserve for circulation. It required, however, that the banks 
should keep on hand a redemption fund in the treasury amounting to five per cent 
of the circulation. • 

'' The act then in force authorized the national banks in the redemption cities to 
keep one half of their reserve in New York City, — the country banks to keep a 
reserve of fifteen per cent, three fifths of which might be kept in the redemption 
cities. The banks in New York were required to keep all their reserve on hand. 

** The proposed law decreased the reserves in New York by abolishing the re- 
serve upon circulation. It also decreased the reserve in Boston, and in the other 
banks, in the same way ; but at the same time it largely increased the total reserve 
to be kept on hand, by repealing the sections of the act then in force, which authoiw 
ized such banks to keep large amounts in the hands of their correspondents. 

** The figures of General Garfield were given in round numbers, and were an es- 
timate, but the effect of the bill would have been as he stated, — a diminution of 
reserves in New York, and an increase of reserves to be kept on hand elsewhere. 
The bill, as it finally passed, did not change the proportion of reserves on deposits 
to be held with their correspondents by banks outside of the city of New York, 
and allowed the five per cent redemption fund to be counted as a part of such re- 



its quantity to be regulated by the demands of trade. There 
never did exist on this earth a body of men wise enough to de- 
termine by any arbitrary rule how much currency is needed for 
the business of a great country. The laws of trade, the laws 
of credit, the laws of God, impressed upon the elements of this 
world, are superior to all legislation ; and we can enjoy the ben- 
efits of these immutable laws only by obeying them. 

I desire, Mr. Speaker, that all the real wants of the Great 
West and of the whole country shall be fully supplied ; but let 
them be supplied by that which is reality, and not by broken 
and dishonored promises. Let us not offer to the people of this 
country the apples of Sodom, that shall turn to ashes on their 
lips. I believe, sir, if this legislation prevails, that the day is 
not far distant when the cry will come up from those who labor 
in humblest fields of industry, denouncing those wHb have let 
loose upon them the evils enveloped in this bill. It has been 
demonstrated again and again that upon the artisans, the farm- 
ers, the day-laborers, falls at last the dead weight of all the 
depreciation and loss that irredeemable paper money carries in 
its train. Let this policy be carried out, and the day will surely 
and speedily come when the nation will clearly trace the cause 
of its disaster to those who deluded themselves and the peo- 
ple with what Jefferson fitly called " legerdemain tricks with 

I was greatly surprised to hear gentlemen quote the fathers 
of the republic as supporters of irredeemable paper money. 
The gentleman from Pennsylvania ^ has referred to Franklin to 
support his opinions. I appeal from the Franklin of 1729 and 
1764 to the Franklin of riper experience.^ I have been, if not 
a thorough, yet a reverent reader of those great men whose 
names illuminate the pages of our history; and I affirm that 
they are almost unanimous in their condemnation of any stan- 
dard of value except that of the Constitution, or any kind of 
paper money except such as is redeemable in gold at the will 
of the holder. From the days of Washington to the present 
hour, no President, no Secretary of the Treasury, and scarcely 
a statesman whose name is enrolled among the illustrious dead, 
has failed to make his protest against the weak and wicked 
policy of issuing and permanently maintaining an irredeemable 

1 Mr.Kellcy. 

• See the paper entitled "The Currency Conflict," /^j/, p. 255. 


paper currency. I should be false to history, false to the past 
of our nation, if I did not refer to this instructive fact I ask 
leave to put on record a few paragraphs on this subject from 
some of the great men who have adorned the records of our 
country.^ It will be seen that from the beginning until now our 
leading statesmen have uttered their warning voices. At no 
period have their warnings been more needed than at the pres- 
ent moment. Gentlemen may despise the wisdom of the past, 
but at last the truth will vindicate and avenge itself. 

Gentlemen hope that this bill will give relief to the country ; 
but that hope is delusive. Any relief it may bring will be tem- 
porary, and it will bring in its train greater evils than those we 
now suffer. By the currency act of 1870, the West and South 
are now entitled to a distribution of $25,000,000 of banking cir- 
culation, to be taken from the overplus of the Eastern States. If 
*that is not enough, let the amount be increased; but let the 
increase be coupled with provisions that shall prevent the fur- 
ther depreciation of the mass. Above all things, let us take no 
step backward ; but persevere in the purpose to restore to the 
people their standard of value, and make their money better, 
rather than worse. 

1 The pamphlet edition of this speech issued by its author contained quotations 
from J. S. Mill, (Political Economy, Book III. Chap. XIII. sec. 3) ; Dr. Franklin 
(Works, Vol. VIII. p. 368, and Vol. X. p. 9) ; Richard Henry Lee and George 
Washington (Washington's Works, Vol. IX. pp. 120, 186, 187, 231-233); John 
Adams (Life and Works, Vol. VIII. p. 410) ; Pelatiah Webster and W. M. Gouge 
(Gouge's History of Paper Money, pp. 30,31); The Madison Papers (Elliott's 
Debates, Vol. V. pp. 434, 435) ; Alexander Hamilton (Works, Vol. III. pp. 124, 
125) ; Thomas Jeflferson (Works, Vol. VI. pp. 139, 142, 232, 241, 245-247) ; James 
Madison (Writings, Vol. I. pp. 243, and Vol. III. p. 166) ; Daniel Webster (Works, 
Vol. III. pp. 53, 542) ; John C. Calhoun (Debates in Congress, Vol. XIV. Part I. 
P- 476); James Buchanan (Debates in Congress, Vol. XIV. Part I. p. 355) ; S. ?• 
Chase (Financial Reports, December 9, 1861, pp. 40, 41, and December 4, 1862, 
p. 16). 

These quotations fill several pages, and need not be reproduced in this place. 




CEN'SUS [a Latin word, from censeOy censum, to " weigh, 
estimate, tax, assess " ; a registering and rating of Roman 
citizens; the censors' lists; the registered property of Roman 
citizens; Fr. recensement^ a "statement, return, verification"; 
cens, " census," or amount of direct tax qualifying one to be an 
elector; Eng. cense (obsolete), a " public rate," " rank," "con- 
dition"; also cess (obsolete), to "rate," to "assess"], an offi- 
cial enumeration of the inhabitants of a state or municipality. 
The various forms and significations of the word, as given above, 
indicate the chief objects for which the census has been used 
in the different periods of history, though in many cases other 
objects have been associated with these. 
I. The Census of Ancient Nations. — An inquiry into 

the censuses of ancient nations is valuable only in so far as it 
exhibits the objects had in view and the methods employed. It 
is alleged that China ordained a census more than twenty cen- 
turies before Christ ; also, that a census was taken in Japan a 
century before the Christian era ; also, that statistical informa- 
tion was taken by officials in Peru under the reign of the Incas. 
But these and similar notices of ancient censuses are too vague 
and uncertain to possess much value. This article will be di- 
rected chiefly to those nations of which history speaks with 
definiteness and reasonable certainty. 

I . T/ie yewish Census. — It was ordered in the Jewish law 
that the first-born of man and beast, as well as the first fruits of 
agricultural produce, should be set apart for religious purposes; 
the first-born of man to be redeemed, the first-born of the beasts, 
excepting the ass, and the first fruits of the earth, to be offered 
unto the Lx)rd (Ex. xiii. 1 1-13 ; xxii. 29). According to Arch- 

1 86 CENSUS. 

bishop Ussher*s chronology, this enactment must be referred to 

the year 1491 B. C. The law further provided that when the sum 
of the children of Israel was taken they should give every man 
a ransom for his soul, amounting to a half-shekel of silver (Ex. 
XXX. 12-16). So far as appears, this is the original institution of 
the Jewish census. It is clear that it was primarily for religious 
purposes. The Hebrew word answering to census or enumera- 
tion means a " numbering combined with lustration," from a 
verb signifying to " survey, in order to purge." The four most 
notable enumerations recorded in the Old Testament were: 
1st. In the third or fourth month after the Exodus the males of 
the Hebrews, twenty years of age and upwards, were enumerated 
by Divine command, chiefly for the purpose of raising money for 
the tabernacle (Ex. xxxviii. 26). The enumeration amounted to 
603,550. The number of men at the time of leaving Egypt is 
stated (Ex. xii. 37), but it is hardly probable that a formal enu- 
meration was made at that time. Probably the result, 600,000, 
was retrospectively inferred from the first numbering at Sinai. 
2d. A second enumeration was made at Sinai in the second 
month of the second year after the Exodus (Num. i. 2, 3). Here 
a new idea appears, as this numbering was to ascertain (i.) the 
number of fighting men between the ages of twenty and fifty; 
and (2.) the amount of the redemption offering. Exclusive of the 
Levites, the result was the same as the first 3d. The next enu- 
meration was made just before the tribes entered Canaan, thirty- 
eight years after the one just mentioned (Num. xxvi. 63-65). 
The number of men had slightly fallen off. 4th. The most not- 
able of the Jewish censuses was that taken in the reign of King 
David. Its history can be gathered from 2 Sam. xxiv. 1-9; 
I Chron. xxi. 1-7, 14; xxvii. 23, 24. This enumeration was fol- 
lowed by a three days' pestilence, which destroyed 70,000 men. 
The pestilence is credited to David's presumption. It is not 
altogether clear in what his offence consisted. According to 
Josephus (Antiquities, vii. 13, § i), the king's transgression was 
in not collecting the redemption offering required by the law. 
This account is more generally followed by Biblical scholars, 
but some attribute the pestilence to David's presumption and 
pride, of which the enumeration is regarded as an indication. 
It appears from Ex. xxx. 12, either that the customary ransom 
was to avert a plague among the people, or that such plague 
was to be the penalty for neglecting to require the offering. 

CENSUS. 187 

The pestilence made a lasting impression on the minds of men ; 
for to this day, in both Mohammedan and Christian countries, 
especially in the former, there are superstitious fears attending 
enumerations of the people. David's enumeration of the people 
was not recorded. All the objects comprehended in the Jewish 
census are stated above. It does not appear that the law made 
any provision as to the time or manner of making the enumer- 
ations. The censuses referred to in the New Testament were 
taken under Roman authority, and were in no proper sense 

2. The Greek Census, — History gives us no definite knowledge 
of a census in any portion of Greece except at Athens, where 
the census was established by Solon, who held the office of 
Archon from 558 to 549 B. C. He made a radical change in 
the constitution of Attica. Before his time the honors and 
duties of the citizen were based on birth ; he introduced what 
was called the timocracy^ or government based on wealth. He 
distributed all free citizens, without regard to birth or rank, into 
four classes, according to the amount of property they owned. 
The classes were, — ist. Those whose annual income was equal 
to or exceeded 500 medimni of corn (about 700 English bush- 
els). 2d. Those whose income was less than 500 and more than 
300 medimni. 3d. Those whose income was less than 300 and 
more than 200 medimni. 4th. All whose property yielded an 
income less than 200 medimni. The medimnus of corn was 
valued, in the time of Solon, at about one drachma, or 9%^/. 

The first class (IlevTaKoaioficBL/jLvoi) alone were eligible to 
the principal public offices. The second class flTTTret?) were 
knights, or those having sufficient income to keep horses and 
perform cavalry service. The third class (ZevycTac, so named 
from their being able to keep a yoke of oxen) formed the heavy- 
armed infantry. The fourth class (Orjres:), which comprised the 
great body of the people, were ineligible to any office, paid but 
Httle if any tax, and in case of war served only as light-armed 
infantry, with weapons furnished by the state. 

The census was instituted for the double purpose of making 
this classification of citizens, and of laying the foundation of the 
Athenian system of taxation. The idea of assessment was as 
much a part of the census as that of enumeration. The Greek 
word for assessment (reXeiv) has also the general meaning of 
rank or class; and the phrase reXelp to t€\o9, which signifies 

»» . 

1 88 CENSUS. 

** to comply with the requisition assessed/' signifies also to belong 
to a class. The census was taken, at first, by the Naucrari, and 
afterwards by the Demarchi. A record was kept, showing the 
class to which each citizen belonged, and the list of his taxable 
property. The census was taken sometimes once a year, and 
sometimes once in four years, according as property fluctuated 
in value. The classification of Solon lasted, with some modifi- 
cation, to the close of the Peloponnesian war (404 B. c), and 
was in part preserved after the renovation of the democracy in 
the following year. The classification of citizens and the mode 
of assessment were changed during the archonship of Nausini- 
cus (in 378 B. c), in order to levy increased taxes for carrying 
on the war against Sparta. 

(For the latest and fullest discussion of the Greek census see 
Boeckh's " Political Economy of the Athenians," (English trans., 
Boston, 1857,) Book IV. chap. 5 ; Grote's ** History of Greece, 
Vol. III. chap. 1 1 , and Vol. X. chap. 87 ; Plutarch's ** Solon 
and Smith's ** Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, 
words Censor and Census,) 

3. The Roman Census. — The institution of the census at 
Rome was intimately connected with the great reform in the 
Roman constitution consummated by Servius TuUius. Before 
his time all the political and military authority was wielded by 
a few powerful Roman families, and clans or groups of fami- 
lies, called gentes. The word populus applied to these families 
alone. Around the members of this ruling class were gathered, 
under the name o{ clients ^ a large number of foreigners {metoect) 
residing at Rome, subjugated people, and freedmen, who pos- 
sessed no political rights, paid no regular taxes, and were 
neither compelled nor permitted to serve in the army. Most 
of them were farmers, and many were wealthy. As the city 
grew, this plebeian class rapidly increased. In order to equal- 
ize the burdens of the state, but particularly to strengthen the 
army and make it more national, Servius TuUius so. changed 
the constitution as to place the burdens of taxation and the 
duties and honors of military service, not upon the patricians 
as such, but upon freeholders between the ages of seventeen 
and sixty, without regard to family or rank. All these were 
distributed into five classes, according to the amount of land 
owned by each. It has been held by most writers that the 
classification was based upon the amount of wealth, in any form, 

CENSUS. 189 

possessed by the citizen ; but Mommsen and other late authori- 
ties insist that the basis was land. 

The first class comprised those who owned an entire hide of 
land, — a full Roman farm, — not less than twenty jugera (about 
fourteen acres). The second, third, fourth, and fifth classes 
consisted of those who owned respectively three fourths, one 
half, one fourth, and one eighth of a hide of land. The non- 
freeholders {proletarii)j counted by some authorities as the 
sixth class, were called capite censi (i. e. "counted by the 
head"). They could not vote, paid no taxes, and were not 
liable to perform military service. The rights and duties of all 
Romans were determined by the class to which they were thus 

In order to effect these changes in the government, Servius 
TuUius instituted the census (SSSB. c). Every citizen was 
compelled to declare his name, age, and tribe, the name of his 
father, the number of his children, the value of his estate, and 
the number of his slaves. The record thus made was both a 
land register and a roster or rank roll of the Roman people. 
When the enumeration and registration were completed, the 
people were assembled in the Campus Martius, where the re- 
ligious solemnities of the lustration were performed. The sac- 
rifices attending it were called suovetaurilia^ because a pig, a 
sheep, and an ox, after being led three times around the cam- 
pus, were sacrificed for the purification of the people. This 
was called the closing of the lustrum. As the census was taken 
quinquennially, the word lustrum came to signify a period of 
five years. 

At first, the census was taken by the kings in person. After 
the expulsion of the kings it was taken by the consuls ; but the 
duties accompanying the census became so important that in 
443 B. c. two magistrates, called censorSy were chosen from the 
patricians, to whom this duty was intrusted. The office of the 
censors ranked next to that of dictator. Their powers and du- 
ties were threefold : — ist. They took the census and made and 
kept the official record. In performing this duty they were the 
sole judges of the qualifications required by law for the rank or 
class to which a citizen should be assigned. 2d. They were 
conservators of public and private morals. This branch of 
their power was called regimen morum. If in their judgment a 
citizen was guilty of immoral or unworthy conduct, they placed 


him in a lower class. They could even degrade a senator by 
omitting his name from the senatorial list. Ulpian says in his 
** Digest" (tit. 1-6), "Roman citizens are free who have been 
made free by the act of manumission, by the census, or by a 
lawful will." (See also Cicero, Top. ii. lo.) Any one known 
to absent himself from the registration was called incensus, and 
was subject to the severest punishment. In the time of Servius 
Tullius this punishment might be imprisonment or death. In 
the days of the republic the incensus might be sold as a slave : 
" Maxima capitis diminutio est, per quam et civitas et libertas 
amittitur, veluti cum incensus aliquis venerit." (Ulpian, Di- 
gest, tit. xi. II.) 3d. They were charged with the adminis- 
tration of the finances of the state. The tribute assessed upon 
a Roman citizen depended upon the amount of his property, 
as registered in the census ; and the regulation of taxes was 
placed in their hands, though they did not receive nor disburse 
the revenues. The censorship continued 421 years, when its 
powers were absorbed by the emperors. Augustus extended 
the census to the provinces, and ordered a general enumeration 
of persons and property throughout the empire. Domitian 
assumed the title of " perpetual censor." The enumeration con- 
tinued to be made for several centuries, but the ceremony of 
lustration was not observed after the reign of Vespasian ; and', 
later, the censuses were taken but once in fifteen years. With 
the dissolution of the Roman empire, the census seems to have 
disappeared from history ; and, in the general decline of intel- 
lectual life that followed, even the original meaning of the word 
was practically lost from the customs of nations. 

II. The Census during the Middle Ages. — In medi- 
aeval times the word " census " was still employed, but it was 
applied almost exclusively to the records of landed estates and 
the assessment of taxes. Until the thirteenth century there is 
no record of a distinct enumeration of the population in the 
annals of any mediaeval people. In that dreary waste of his- 
tory, a few attempts were made to learn something concerning 
the people and their condition. In the year 780, Charlemagne 
appointed officers called missi dominici^ or royal commission- 
ers, who travelled from province to province to examine the 
condition of his empire. Their reports contained some valua- 
ble statistics concerning the people, the soil, and the products 
of his vast dominions. (See Martin's " Histoire de France," 


CENSUS. 191 

Tom. II. pp. 277-284.) These reports were not kept up after 
the death of Charlemagne. A more elaborate and successful 
effort in the same direction was made in England (1080-86) by 
William the Conqueror, in the famous " Domesday Book.'* An 
inquisition was made throughout the kingdom concerning the 
quantity of land contained in each county, the name of each 
Saxon and Norman proprietor of land, and the slaves and cattle 
belonging to each. All these were registered in a book, each 
article beginning with the king's property, and proceeding down- 
ward according to the rank of the proprietors. By this register 
the king could know the wealth, rank, and position of all his 
subjects. It served as the basis of taxation, and was used in the 
courts as the evidence of property. Of this book Burke says, " It 
was a work in all respects useful, and worthy of a better age." 
Several early attempts at a census were made in Spain, — one 
by Peter the Ceremonious, king of Aragon, in the fourteenth 
century, the results of which were not published until the pres- 
ent century ; and another in the fifteenth century, by order of 
the Crown of Castile. In different parts of Europe a few statis- 
tical works appeared; but their scope was narrow, and their 
materials were scanty and inaccurate. It would appear that a 
comprehensive census is found only in enlightened despotisms 
and in free communities. Neither of these were frequent in the 
Middle Ages, and this may account for the absence of enumer- 
ations of the people during that period. 

III. The Census in Modern Times. — The modern cen- 
sus is of slow growth, and seems to have developed only as 
nations came to appreciate the fact that the strength and glory 
of a state depend upon the condition of its people and their 
industries. While rulers were unwilling to allow their people 
any share in public affairs, there was little attention paid to the 
« population and its condition. Till within the last two centuries 
scarcely an effort was made in any modern country to obtain 
any comprehensive knowledge of the people. 

I. European Nations, — Sweden has the honor of being the 
first modern government to establish a systematic plan, and to 
record important facts concerning its population. The fre- 
quent recurrence of famine and pestilence in that country near 
the beginning of the sixteenth century led the clergy to keep a 
register of the marriages, baptisms, and burials within their 
several parishes. The keeping of this register was made obli- 

192 CENSUS. 

gatoiy by an ecclesiastical law of 1686, which is still in force. 
That law required a register of marriages, births, and deaths, 
with many accompanying particulars ; a record of all persons 
removing to or from each parish ; a list of the inhabitants by 
houses and households ; and a record of all extraordinary acci- 
dents occurring during the year. These registers were intended 
to serve the requirements of religion, and also to afford the 
means of correcting the register of landed property and house- 
holds kept by the tax-collectors. As these registers were made 
on a uniform plan, and by a body of intelligent and cultivated 
men, who were well acquainted with the people of their par- 
ishes, the records were exceedingly accurate and valuable. 
For a long time the results were not collected ; but in conse- 
quence of a memorial presented to the Diet in 1746 by the 
Academy of Sciences of Stockholm, schedules of questions 
concerning the movement and condition of the population were 
distributed among the parishes, with orders to the pastors to 
make returns from their registers for the previous twenty-five 
years. In the year 1749 a return was made, which contained a 
large number of valuable details concerning the condition of 
the population, but it was many years before these facts were 
published. The number of inhabitants was long regarded as 
one of the most important state secrets ; and it was forbidden 
under heavy penalties to reveal to the public anything respect- 
ing it. It was only in 1762 that permission was given to pub- 
lish some extracts from the official reports concerning the 
progress of the population. It was from facts thus obtained 
that Doctor Price prepared his first essay, in the form of a 
letter to Doctor Franklin, which laid the basis for the famous 
life-tables founded on the statistics of Sweden. From 1749 
to 1 75 1 the reports of population were made annually; from 
1754 to 1772, triennially; from 1775 to the present time, the 
census has been taken once in five years. In towns, the head 
of the household, in accordance with instructions, fills up the 
schedules, which are collected by the agents of the police. In. 
the country districts, the census is still taken by the pastors as 
a part of their parochial duties. 

England was very slow in achieving a census. In lS92f when 
the plague was in London, records were kept of the number of 
deaths in the city ; but the practice soon fell into disuse, and 
was not revived until 1603, the first year of the reign of James I., 

CENSUS. 193 

when a weekly account of burials and christenings in Lon- 
don was ordered to be kept. These records were regularly 
kept thereafter, but little attention was paid to them until the 
year i66i»when Sir William Petty, writing under the name of 
Captain John Graunt, published a tract entitled " Natural and 
Political Observations, mentioned in a following Index, and 
made upon the Bills of Mortality of London, with reference to 
the Government, Religion, Trade, Growth, Air, Diseases, and 
several Changes of said City.*' This work attracted much at- 
tention, and the author followed it up by several similar works : 
one on the mortality bills in Dublin; another, in 1686, entitled 
" An Essay concerning the Multiplication of Mankind and the 
Growth of the City of London " ; also, " Essays on Political 

It is curious to observe what vague and erroneous opinions 
prevailed, even among the most intelligent thinkers of that time, 
concerning the number of people in any state or city. A strik- 
ing illustration of this may be seen in the fact, that, when Sir 
William began his investigation of the population of London, 
he mentions it as a matter of general belief that the city then 
contained several millions of people.* The imperfections of the 
statistical methods employed in his day may be seen in the 
following passage from Sir William's " Third Essay on Political 
Arithmetic," 1686, pp. 21, 22: — 

" Proofs that the number of people in the 134 Parishes of the London 
Bills of Mortality, without reference to other cities, is about 696 thou- 
sand, viz. : — 

" I know but three ways of finding the same. 

" I . By the houses, and families, and heads living in each. 

"2. By the number of burials in healthful times, and by the propor- 
tion of those that live to those that die. 

" 3. By the numBer of those who die of the plague in pestilential 
years, in proportion to those that 'scape." 

In applying his first method he has no count of the houses, 
but, as he says, *' pitches upon a number " as a rough estimate, 
then guesses at the average number of families to a house and 
persons in a family, and finally applies his arithmetic. His 
second and third methods were even more vague. 

During the eighteenth century several efforts were made to 
guess at the population of England, but nothing of value was 
accomplished till near the close of that century. Considering 

VOL. ir. 13 

194 CENSUS. 

the fact that economic science had already attained a high de- 
gree of development in England, that many writers had suc- 
cessfully investigated and ably discussed statistical subjects, 
and that censuses had been ordered in the American colonies 
by the home government since the seventeenth century, it is 
surprising that no attempt was made to ascertain the population 
of any one of the three united kingdoms by actual inquiry until 
1790, when Sir John Sinclair, a high authority in matters of 
public finance in his time, and a man of rare intelligence, enter- 
prise, and perseverance, undertook the compilation of a com- 
plete population, agricultural, commercial, and industrial census 
of Scotland. For this purpose he addressed one hundred and 
sixty questions, on as many different subjects, to all the clergy- 
men of the Established Church. He had much difficulty in 
obtaining answers from them, but by dint of persistently re- 
peated appeals he succeeded, after several years, in securing 
returns from nearly all the parishes. The returns were pub- 
lished by him in a series of twenty-one successive volumes. 
The energy of this remarkable man may be judged from the 
fact that he secured no less than nine hundred contributors to 
his census, and that the whole compilation and publication were 
completed in just seven years. He subsequently prepared a 
masterly compendium of the series, entitled an " Analysis of 
the Statistics of Scotland." His statistics were not absolutely 
accurate, but they formed, although the work of a single indi- 
vidual, a more complete census than any yet undertaken by 
any government. Sir John Sinclair may be said to be the 
founder of British public statistics; for it was mainly at his 
suggestion that Parliament, on December 31, 1800, passed an 
act providing for a general enumeration of the population of 
England, Wales, and Scotland in the following spring, and 
every tenth year thereafter. The bill was offered in the Com- 
mons by Charles Abbott (afterwards Lord Tenterden), and the 
motion for leave to introduce it was seconded by Mr. Wilber- 
force. The first census was taken on the loth of March, 1801, 
in England and Wales ; for Scotland a later day was assigned, 
owing to the inclemency of the season. The law contained 
but one schedule, and the following inquiries were made. The 
number of houses, inhabited and uninhabited ; the number 
of families; the number of inhabitants, male and female; a 
classification of the population according to occupation, in 

C£NS(/S. . 195 

three divisions: ist, persons chiefly employed in agriculture; 
2d, persons chiefly employed in trade and manufactures or 
handicrafts ; 3d, all other persons not comprised in these two 
classes; the number of baptisms and burials each tenth year, 
from 1700 to 1800; and the number of marriages from 1754 to 
1 801. In the two subsequent enumerations, in 181 1 and 1821, 
the same schedule was followed, except that the occupations 
of the heads of families only were entered. In that of 1821, a 
classification of ages was also adopted. In 1831, a uniform sys- 
tem of registration of births, marriages, and deaths was estab- 
lished by act of Parliament for England and Wales, under the 
supervision of the registrar-general's office. Under the act the 
territory to which it was applied was divided into over two 
thousand registration districts. The same act provided that 
subsequent enumerations in England and Wales should be taken 
by the local registrars, under the direction of the registrar-gen- 
eral. The creation of a regular statistical service greatly facili- 
tated the census of 1841 in England and Wales. In Scotland, 
the less eflScient method of employing the parish schoolmasters 
as local census-takers was continued. 

In Ireland, the first attempt at a general census was made in 
181 1, with very unsatisfactory results. It was repeated in 182 1, 
but produced nothing more than an enumeration of doubtful ac- 
curacy. The next census, taken in 1 831, was subjected to a cor- 
rection in 1834. In 1 841, the constabulary force was employed 
as census-takers, with better results. An attempt was made, in 
connection with the census of the year last named, to obtain 
statistics of the rural economy of the Irish kingdom, which 
proved very successful. 

Great efforts were made to render the sixth census of Eng- 
land, Wales, and Scotland, in 1851, superior in results to the 
preceding enumerations. The special law enacted for the pur- 
pose provided that the census should be taken on one and the 
same day — the 3 ist of March — in the three parts of the king- 
dom named. For that purpose 30,610 competent enumerators 
were appointed, with the authority of the registrar-general, by the 
2,190 district registrars then in function in England and Wales. 
Only as much territory was assigned to each enumerator in the 
registration districts as could be conveniently canvassed by one 
person. There being no uniform system of registration in Scot- 
land, the thirty-two sheriffs of that kingdom were authorized to 

196 CENSUS. 

appoint 1,010 temporary registrars, — generally parochial 
masters, — and 8,130 enumerators; the government ap] 
257 enumerators for the smaller islands. Some days 
the day fixed, the enumerators delivered to every occupi* 
house or tenement a " householder's schedule," contain 
quiries as to the name, the head of family, condition, se 
occupation, and birthplace of every person in Great j 
and also as to the number of blind, deaf, and dumb 
the use of the lower classes of Wales schedules were pri 
Welsh. The schedule was to be filled up in the night of 
30-31. No one present in any household on that night 
be omitted, except workingmen and others performinj 
labor away from their habitations. Travellers were enunr 
at the hotels and houses at which they arrived on the fol 
morning. Simultaneously with the household schedul 
enumerators distributed in the proper quarters forms f 
lecting information respecting places of worship, scholas 
tablishments, and miscellaneous institutions. The schcduh 
taken up by the enumerators at an early hour on the 
March. The collectors filled up those parts which persoi 
either neglected or were unable to fill. They were also re 
to note all the unoccupied houses and buildings in cot 
construction. The floating population — that is, such p 
as spent the night named in barges or boats on canals 01 
streams, in barns, sheds, tents, and the like — the enum< 
were required to estimate according to the best informatio 
could obtain. Special notice was to be taken of all exti 
nary assemblages of people anywhere at the time of the c 
The enumerators were allowed one week for the transcript 
their schedules and the completion of summaries and est 
called for in their very full instructions. The revision 
returns by the district registrars, in which the latter were ' 
particular attention to nine specially defined points, had 
completed in a fortnight. The revised returns were sub 
to another revision by the supervising registrars before 
were finally transmitted to the census office. The custom- 
officers took the census of sea-going vessels in port. P 
belonging to the navy and commercial marine were also 
ratcly enumerated by the proper authorities. The gover; 
furnished the statistics of the army, half-pay officers, anc 
sioners, the civil service, the civilians and Europeans in th< 

CENSUS. 197 

India Company's service, and of all 3ritish subjects living in 
foreign parts, as far as they could be ascertained through con- 
sular and diplomatic organs. 

The British census of 185 1 was the most successful statistical 
operation, both as regards quickness and accuracy of execution, 
performed up to that time in any country where public statis- 
tics were cultivated. The plan of the census of 1861 did not 
vary in any essential respect from that of the preceding one. 
Its execution was equally rapid and fruitful of satisfactory 
results, in spite of the greater difficulty of the task from the 
growth of population, etc. 

In Ireland the censuses of 185 1 and 1861 were again taken 
by the constabulary force. The mode of enumeration was 
essentially the same as in England, except that the schedules 
represented a wider field of inquiry. The additional interrog- 
atories related to insanity, idiocy, degree of education, attend- 
ance at school, buildings other than habitations, and language. 
Since 1804 a general registration of births and deaths in Ireland 
is made by civil officers ; up to that time registers were kept 
only for the Protestant population. While both in Ireland and 
in Scotland an agricultural census, which serves to determine 
the area devoted to the culture of different products of the 
soil, and the number of live stock, had been required for many 
years, the first cattle census was taken in England and Wales 
only in May, 1866; it was followed soon after by a comprehen- 
sive agricultural census. 

In 1871 the eighth census of the United Kingdom was taken. 
Over 32,000 enumerators were employed in taking it. Several 
minor inquiries were added to the schedules, and some impor- 
tant inquiries concerning education were made to supply the 
demand for information by the School Board established under 
the Elementary Education Act of 1870. In London alone the 
School Board was supplied with certain particulars concerning 
the 700,000 children between the age of three and thirteen liv- 
ing within the limits of the London School Board district. 

The digestion of the English and Irish census reports by the 
central statistical authorities is conducted in a thoroughly sci- 
entific manner. The general reports and the special compila- 
tions therefrom on a variety of subjects are unsurpassed by the 
corresponding records of any other country. Their great value 
to statisticians and economists is universally acknowledged. 

198 CENSUS. 

The movement of the population of the United Kingdom is 
annually determined by the registrar-general's office through 
the agency of the district registrars. 

France established a census only after many ineffectual at- 
tempts, and against formidable obstacles. The first compre- 
hensive suggestion of a census was made by Vauban, the great 
engineer and scholar of the seventeenth century. Seeing the 
distress into which France had been plunged by the long wars 
of Louis XIV., and deploring the heavy and unequal burdens 
of taxation which had been laid upon the people, he entered 
upon a careful survey of the condition of France, and in the 
first years of the eighteenth century developed a plan to sweep 
away the great army of fiscal officers and establish a uniform 
tax on all the property of the realm. This he called the 
"projet d'une dixme royale," which he published in a vol- 
ume addressed to the king. In order to apply his plan, it 
was necessary to know the number and classes of the popula- 
tion. His method of estimating the number was peculiar. 
Selecting a portion of France which he regarded as having an 
average density of population, he caused it to be accurately 
measured and its population estimated. From this he calcu- 
lated the area of France and its population; but near the con- 
clusion of his book he appealed to the king to provide by law 
for the numbering of the people, and set forth in strong and 
eloquent language the advantages of such an enumeration. 
" There is no battalion," said he, " in the kingdom, however in- 
significant it may be, that is not subject at least to a dozen 
reviews and inspections during each year. If such pains be 
taken with one battalion, of how much greater importance it is 
to enumerate and review the condition of that great body of 
the people from which the king draws all his glory and all his 
riches ! " This book appeared in January, 1707. It gave great 
offence to Louis XIV., because it assumed that the glory of the 
realm consisted of the people and their wealth, and it further 
assumed that kings and ministers needed to study the people 
and their wants, in order to the proper performance of their 
duties. By a royal decree of February 14, 1707, the book was 
ordered to be seized and burned in the pillory, and all the 
booksellers were forbidden, under heavy penalties, to keep or 
sell it. Vauban survived the shock of this disgrace but six 
weeks. He died of a broken heart. The treatment he received 

CENSdS. 199 

is a striking illustration of that arrogant ignorance which refuses 
to draw instruction from the only true source of knowledge and 

Several attempts were made at different times to ascertain 
such facts relating to the people as would aid the French mon- 
archs in making their military levies ; but nothing of value was 
accomplished except by individual effort. In the latter part of 
the reign of Louis XV., M, Gourney, Minister of Commerce, 
organized a bureau of information, which gave some attention 
to the subject of population. M. Moheau, who was attached to 
this bureau, collected some important statistics, which were pub- 
lished by order of the government in 1774. In 1784 appeared 
the work of M. Necker, Minister of Finance of Louis XVI., en- 
ititled " Trait6 de TAdministration des Finances,*' in which the 
number and condition of the population were discussed. But 
nothing was done to establish a census until after the Revolution 
of 1789. Before the close of the eighteenth century a law was 
passed requiring prefects of the departments to prepare from 
the civil registers exact annual abstracts of the number of mar- 
riages, births, and deaths. This liaw, with some modifications, is 
still in force. In 1801, the legislature decreed that national cen- 
suses should be taken once in five years. A census was taken in 
1801, and another in 1806. No other was taken under the first 
Napoleon. The next general enumeration was taken in 1821, 
six years after the restoration of the Bourbons. Since that year 
quinquennial censuses have been the rule. 

Belgium has carried the work of census-taking to a high de- 
gree of thoroughness and completeness since the revolution 
which made her an independent sovereignty. This revolution 
was immediately followed by active efforts in the direction of 
statistics. One of the first acts of the provisional government, 
in 1 83 1, was the creation of a special statistical service. In 
1841, a central commission of statistics was established by royal 
decree, with which M. Quctelet and other distinguished statisti- 
cians have been connected from its organization. In 1843, pro- 
vincial statistical commissions were instituted throughout the 
kingdom. In 1856, a law was enacted newly regulating the 
mode of taking the census and keeping the civil register. It 
provided that a general census should be taken every ten years 
throughout the kingdom, and that the population returns should 
form tlic basis of representation. The census was to be taken in 


200 CENSUS. 

such a manner as to give the actual, as well as the legal popula- 
tion. The prescribed inquiries included surnames and Christian 
names, sex, age by year and month, birthplace, civil status, oc- 
cupation or condition, habitual domicile, and residence, whether 
town or country. Three schedules, printed in the French, 
German, and Flemish languages, were distributed and collected 
throughout the kingdom by special census agents. Both the dis- 
tribution and collection were to be made in one day. Temporary 
census bureaus were established, one for each province, which 
were to receive the returns of the agents after they had been 
revised by the communal juries, — bodies appointed for each 
community, and consisting of officials and private citizens. The 
statistics of schools and public institutions were taken by means 
of special schedules. The military authorities were charged* 
with the army census. The refusal to give information to the 
census agents was punishable by fine and imprisonment. The 
law of 1856 also contained provisions regarding the keeping of 
civil registers, which insured greater accuracy in the recording 
of the movement of the population. Two general censuses have 
been taken under the law of 1856, — one in that year and an- 
other in 1866. In the latter, comprehensive inquiries into the 
agricultural, mining, and manufacturing industries of the king- 
dom were made. In 1858, a special census of deaf mutes and 
the blind was taken. The central statistical commission receives 
the returns of the successive censuses, yearly abstracts from the 
civil registers, and the results of special inquiries, and prepares 
the whole for publication. 

Prussia, — As in many European countries, Prussia obtains 
her population reports through a central bureau of statistics, 
which was established in 1805, and continues to the present day, 
though with some modifications. The labors of the bureau are 
directed to, — i, general statistics; 2, births, marriages, and 
deaths; 3, schools and churches; 4, medical statistics; and 5, 
statistics of mechanical trades and manufactures. From 1805 to 
1820 these inquiries were made annually, but since the latter 
date information relative to the first, third, and fourth subjects 
was collected but once in three years. When the Customs- 
Union of 1834 was established, triennial censuses of the popu- 
lation were authorized, and have been taken regularly since 
that date. At first, the inquiries concerning population were 
the actual population, according to sex, age, birthplace, religion, 


immigration, and emigration. In 1840 the enumeration was 
made nominative, which resulted immediately in a large increase 
in the population returns. In 1846, the number of families was 
determined, and in 1849 the distribution of the population by- 
habitations. In 1858, the persons of the two sexes between 
seventeen and forty-five years of age were returned in five 
classes. In 1861, the unmarried and widowed were specially 
classified. With the census of the same year an inquiry was 
added in reference to the language spoken and the social condi- 
tion and occupations of the population. The Prussian census is 
taken by civil officers, in the month of December, on one day, 
by means of printed schedules. Great expedition is shown in 
the publication of the returns. In addition to the statistics of 
population, many statistics are obtained showing the nature, ex- 
tent, and distribution of real property, wages and salaries, insur- 
ance, aid and co-operative societies, and the numerical strength 
of the Catholic and Protestant Churches. 

Austria, — During the last half of the eighteenth and the first 
half of the nineteenth century no censuses were taken in Austria 
except such as were connected with military conscription and 
inquiries to ascertain what portion of the population were liable 
to do military duty. Separate systems of enumeration prevailed 
in the different provinces, and the materials for a general knowl- 
edge of the whole population of the empire were very meagre. 
A uniform enumeration was made throughout the empire for 
the first time in 1851 ; but its results were so imperfect that in 
1855 a commission of high administrative officers was appointed 
for the preparation of a new census law, which received the 
imperial sanction in 1857. By its provisions the military needs 
of the state were no longer the main motive for a census ; but 
statistics of population, wealth, and industry were to be obtained 
as a basis for the safe conduct of public affairs. It provided 
that a census, based on the actual population, should be taken 
once in six years, exclusively by the civil authorities. Printed 
schedules were distributed by municipal and administrative offi- 
cers, to be filled up by the heads of families, owners of tene- 
ment-houses, and those in charge of convents, schools, and 
public institutions. Detailed printed instructions accompanied 
the schedules. Those who intentionally failed to furnish the 
desired information were punished by fine and imprisonment. 
The schedules called for information under the following heads : 

202 CENSUS. 

composition of families, including servants; age; sex; i 
and titles ; civil status ; social condition ; religion ; occup; 
marriages, births, and deaths ; the number of cities, towns, 
lets, villages, dwellings, and renters. The number of Au 
subjects living in foreign parts was obtained through the 
rial legations. The census of the naval and military popu 
was separately taken by the proper authorities. In 1828, ; 
tral bureau of statistics was created, and charged with the 
of consolidating the census returns and preparing them foi 

Rtissia, — Partial censuses were taken by order of the Ri 
government in 1700, 1704, 1705, and 17 10. In 17 18, Pete 
Great required all landed proprietors to make a declarat 
the number of serfs belonging to each. The same year 1 
ganized a special commission to visit the separate provin 
his empire, for the purpose of making a general census, 
enumeration of females was made in these early censuses, ^ 
were taken solely for the purposes of revenue and militar> 
scription. A decree of 1722 directed that a census shou 
taken once in twenty years ; but this interval of time wa 
regularly observed during the remainder of the eighteenth 
tury. In 1802 a central bureau of statistics was organized 1 
the direction of the Minister of the Interior, who superintc 
the returns of population, agriculture, commerce, and indi 
This bureau was reorganized in 1852 under the name o 
statistical commission. The commission has taken census 
1812, 1815, 1834, 1850, i860, and 1870. The census is 1 
by means of printed schedules distributed by the local aut 
ties, who are made responsible for the proper returns, 
work of consolidating and publishing the returns devolves 
the statistical commission. 

Norway. — A decennial census was instituted in Norw; 
18 15, and has continued up to the present time, compr 
inquiries as to age, sex, civil status, number of families and 
itations, useful domestic animals, and the territorial area of 
district. A bureau of statistics superintends all forms of p 
statistics except those pertaining to the administration of ju: 
public education, and financial administration. Inquiries 
made once in five years in regard to the condition of indt 
Annual exhibits are made of births, marriages, and deatl 
commerce and navigation, of the administration of justice 

CENSUS. 203 

of the population sufTering from physical and mental disa- 

Spain paid but little attention to public statistics after her 
census of 1798 until 1856, when a central statistical commission 
was organized, under whose supervision a general census was 
taken in 1857, and since then once in three years. The census 
is taken in one night by government officials charged with the 
collection, verification, and consolidation of the returns. A final 
revision is made by the statistical commission. 

Sivitserland, — The original constitution of the Swiss federa- 
tion required a census to be taken once in twenty years. Most 
of the inquiries were conducted by the several Cantonal govern- 
ments. The returns were not uniform, and were generally in- 
accurate. In i860 a law of the federal assembly prescribed a 
decennial census for the whole federation, and instituted a fed- 
eral bureau of statistics under the direction of the Interior de- 
partment. The first census under the new law was in i860. 
The inquiries included sex, age, civil condition, origin, birth- 
place, domicile, religion, language, physical disabilities, immi- 
g^ration, the distribution of real property, the number of families, 
and the number of habitations and other buildings. The sta- 
tistical bureau is endeavoring to extend the range of the cen- 
sus, but finds its efforts somewhat impeded by the difficulty of 
dealing with twenty-five Cantonal governments. The Cantonal 
statistics collected by the local governments are consolidated 
and published by the central bureau. The latter is endeavor- 
ing to give a more national character to the statistical service. 
Until a few years ago, the different Cantons followed different 
methods in the collection of vital and mortuary statistics, but 
at the instance of the bureau they have now adopted a uniform 
plan. In 1866 the central bureau initiated the census of live- 
stock, and later collected very full statistics of railways, savings 
banks, and fire-insurance companies. 

Italy. — Soon after the establishment of the modern kingdom 
of Italy, a bureau of statistics was created, in 1859 and i860, 
with ample powers, under the direction of Doctor Maestri, an 
eminent statistician. The first general census, which was to 
afford the basis of representation in the national parliament, was 
taken, December 31, 1861, under a law prescribing general enu- 
merations once in ten years. The census is taken in one day 
by means of previously distributed schedules. Since 186 1 the 

204 CENSUS. 

central bureau has been charged with additional inquiries rela- 
tive to mutual aid societies, savings banks, public charities, 
industrial corporations, libraries, and institutions of education. 

The census in modern Greece dates from her last struggle for 
independence. The first general enumeration of her people 
was made in 1836. From that date censuses were taken annu- 
ally until 184s, since which time they have been taken at irregu- 
lar intervals, viz. 1848, 1853, 1856, 1861, and 1868. 

The Statistical Congress, — The work of taking modern cen- 
suses has been greatly facilitated, and the value of the results 
greatly increased, hy the efforts of the " International Statistical 
Congress," an organization which resulted from the Great Expo- 
sition held in London in 185 1. The congress is composed prin- 
cipally of men from all civilized nations, who in their own coun- 
tries are members, leaders, and chiefs of bureaus of statistics, 
or who have charge of the census. Sessions of the congress 
were held in Brussels in 1853, Paris in 1855, Vienna in 1857, 
London in i860, Berlin in 1863, Florence in 1867, at the Hague 
in 1869, and the eighth and last at St. Petersburg, August, 1872. 
The census has been a leading topic of discussion by the con- 
gress. Statements of the condition of the census movement in 
the various countries have been made, and the congress ear- 
nestly recommends uniformity in the census inquiries, in order 
that comparisons of the vital statistics of the different coun- 
tries may be made. Many valuable modifications have been 
made in the censuses of nearly all the nations, in consequence 
of the suggestions of the congress. As a result of these ef- 
forts, MM. Quetelet and Heuschling published at Brussels in 
1865 a volume of international statistics, in which the popu- 
lation reports of the United States and of all the leading 
states of Europe are collected and arranged in comparative 

2. The Census of the United States, — Considering the char- 
acter of the present work, the census of the United States should 
receive much more attention than that of any other country. 
The matter will be distributed under three heads : — 

(i.) T/ie Colonial Period, — The American census originated 
in the Colonial period of our history. The British Board of 
Trade played an important part in Colonial affairs. At times it 
was almost the supreme directing power, and under its instruc- 
tions several enumerations of the population of the Colonies 



were attempted. The tables were prepared under the immediate 
direction of the Colonial governors by the sheriffs and justices 
of the peace, and were exceedingly inaccurate. Mr. Bancroft, 
speaking of enumerations in the latter part of the seventeenth 
century, says, " The positive data in those days are half the time 
notoriously false." (History, Vol. II. p. 450, note.) Speaking 
of the same materials in the middle of the eighteenth century, 
he says, " Nearly all are imperfect." (Vol. IV. p. 128, note.) 
The so-called enumerations should rather be called computa- 
tions. No general examination, embracing all the Colonies, was 
ever attempted. The tables prepared for the Board of Trade 
were in great part based on muster-rolls and returns of taxables. 
" Enumeration is a slow and laborious process," says Sir G. C. 
Lewis, " and until experience has taught us its necessity where 
correctness is required, there is a disposition, especially among 
uncultivated people, to rely upon computation." Besides, the 
segregates found in the tables were no doubt generally too large. 
"To count," says Doctor Johnson, ** is a modern practice ; the 
ancient method was to guess ; and when numbers are guessed 
they are always magnified." That no accurate enumerations 
of population were made in the Colonial period should excite 
no surprise. The census had not yet assumed scientific form 
and definiteness. England took her first census in 1801, and 
even then the work was so imperfectly done that the results 
were of no great value. On general grounds it would be absurd 
to suppose that the Board of Trade took accurate enumerations 
of the British colonists in America a half-century or century 
before England counted her own people. Besides, the direct- 
ing authority was three thousand miles distant from the people 
to be enumerated, and the sparseness of the population, scat- 
tered over immense areas, as well as the free and independent 
modes of life prevailing in many localities, made thoroughness 
and accuracy impossible. Superstition also opposed census- 
taking. In 1712, Governor Hunter undertook an enumeration 
of the inhabitants of New York. In writing to the home govern- 
ment he excused the imperfection of the returns in part by say- 
ing that ** the people were deterred by a simple superstition and 
observation that the sickness followed upon the last numbering 
of the people." (Colonial History of New York, Vol. V. p. 339.) 
Governor Burnett, of New Jersey, in a communication to the 
English Board in 1726, alluding to an enumeration made in 

206 CENSUS. 

New York three years before, said : " I would have then or- 
dered the like accounts to be taken in New Jersey, but I was 
advised that it might make the people uneasy, they being gen- 
erally of a New-England extraction, and thereby enthusiasts; 
and that they would take it for a repetition of the same sin that 
David committed in numbering the people, and might briftg on 
the like judgments. This notion put me off from it at that 
time, but, since your Lordships require it, I will give the orders 
to the sheriffs that it may be done as soon as may be." (Ibid., 

p. 777') 
The tables prepared under the direction of the Board of 

Trade are so inaccurate, that the more careful of recent writers 
have generally preferred to construct new tables rather than 
rely on them. Mr. Bancroft constructs a valuable table, show- 
ing the population at different dates from 1750 to 1790. (His- 
tory of the United States, Vol. IV. pp. 127, 128, note.) He 
uses as data the returns, computations, and official papers of 
current history, and also private letters and journals. Mr. 
Bancroft says : ** He who .... will construct retrospectively 
general tables from the rate of increase in America since 1790 
will err very little." In 1688, the period of the English Revolu- 
tion, the population of the Colonies was about 200,000. The 
aggregates found in three tables prepared for the Board of Trade 
are here presented (see Bancroft, Vol. IV. p. 128, note) : — 

Year. Whites. Blacks. Total. 

1 714 375»750 5M50 434,600 

1727 502,000 78,000 580,000 

1754 1,192,896 292,738 1,485,634 

Mr. J. D. B. DeBow, following Holmes's "Annals" as his 
chief authority, gives these other totals (Compendium U. S. 
Census, 1850, p. 39) : — 

Year. Total 

1 701 262,000 

1749 1,046,000 

1775 2,803,000 

(2.) The Continental Period, — In the Continental Congress 
the question early arose. How shall the burdens of the war be 
distributed? During the whole struggle for independence. 
Congress found no more perplexing question. On the 26th of 
December, 1775, that body authorized and directed the emis- 

CENSUS. 207 

sion of $3,000,000 in bills of credit It also resolved that the 
thirteen United Colonies be pledged for the redemption of these 
bills; that each Colony provide ways and means to sink its 
proportion in such manner as it sees fit ; that the proportion of 
each Colony be determined according to the number of its in- 
habitants of all ages, including negroes and mulattoes ; and that 
it be recommended to the Colonial authorities to ascertain in 
the most effectual manner their respective populations, and to 
send the returns to Congress properly authenticated. Most of 
the Colonies failed to comply with this recommendation. Imme- 
diately after the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, 
Congress began to discuss the form of a confederation to be 
entered into by the States. After long discussion the Articles 
of Confederation were perfected, and submitted to the States 
in 1777; but failing of an earlier ratification, they did not go 
into operation until March i, 178 1. The ninth article declared: 
" The United States in Congress assembled shall have authority 
.... to agree upon the number of land forces, and to make 
requisitions from each State for its quota, in proportion to the 
nuniber of white inhabitants in such State." In November, 1 781, 
a resolution was introduced into the Congress recommending 
to the several States that they cause to be taken and transmitted 
to Congress the number of their white inhabitants, pursuant to 
the ninth article of the Confederation. The resolution failed 
to pass, and the article was inoperative. The financial ma- 
chinery provided by the eighth article of the Confederation 
w^holly broke down; rather, it was never set in motion. In 
1783, Congress sought to induce the States to provide new ma- 
chiner}^ An amendment to the eighth article was proposed, 
which declared that " All charges of war and all other expenses 
that have been or shall be incurred for the common defence or 
general welfare, and allowed by the United States in Congress 
assembled, except so far as shall be otherwise provided for, 
shall be defrayed out of a common treasury, which shall be 
supplied by the several States in proportion to the whole num- 
ber of white and other free citizens and inhabitants, of every 
age, sex, and condition, including those bound to servitude for 
a term of years, and three fifths of all other persons not com- 
prehended in the foregoing description, except Indians not 
paying taxes in each State ; which number shall be triennially 
taken and transmitted to the United States in Congress assem- 

208 CENSUS. 

bled, in such mode as they shall direct and appoint." (Journals 
of Congress, April i8, 1783, Vok VIII. p. 141.) This amend- 
ment did not prevail, and the Articles of Confederation re- 
mained unchanged until they were superseded by the present 
national Constitution. The proposed amendment, however, con- 
tains the original suggestion of the " three-fifths rule." During 
the Continental period no general enumeration of population 
was secured. Various estimates and computations were pro- 
duced in Congress from time to time, but they came no nearer 
accuracy than those made in the Colonial period. Thus far, no 
complete enumeration had been effected; but it had become 
clear that there never could be such enumeration until the work 
was done by a central directing authority. It was left to the 
Constitution to give us first an enumeration of population, and 
afterwards a national census. 

(3.) The Cofistittitional Period, — The framers of the Consti- 
tution had few, if any, more difficult questions to deal with than 
the apportionment of representatives and direct taxes. After 
long deliberation the matured opinion of the Federal Conven- 
tion assumed the well-known form : " Representatives and direct 
taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may 
be included within this Union according to their respective num- 
bers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole number 
of free persons, including those bound to service for a term of 
years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other 
persons. The actual enumeration shall be made within three 
years after the first meeting of the Congress of the United States, 
and within every subsequent term of ten years, in such manner 
as they shall by law direct." In a subsequent clause this enu- 
meration is called a census, but it did not contemplate a census 
in the present received sense of that word. Enumerations of 
the people have almost always originated in military or fiscal 
necessities, and have been used for immediate practical ends. 
The varied and important uses for which statistics are now 
gathered are altogether modern. But while the framers of the 
national Constitution never contemplated a census that should 
answer the thousand questions of social and political science, 
they nevertheless provided an instrument by which many of 
those questions are now answered. At its second session, the 
First Congress passed a law to carry the constitutional provis- 
ion into effect. It was approved March i, 1790. As this law 

CENSUS. 209 

was the model of subsequent legislation upon the same subject 
for sixty years, its leading provisions are here stated. 

The marshals of the several judicial districts were authorized 
and required to cause the inhabitants within their districts, 
excluding Indians not taxed, to be enumerated ; the marshals 
were empowered to appoint as many assistants as the service re- 
quired; the enumeration was to commence on August i, 1790, 
and was to be completed within nine months thereafter; the 
marshals were to file the returns with the clerks of their respect- 
ive District Courts, who were directed to receive and carefully 
preserve the same; the aggregates were to be transmitted to 
the President of the United States by September i, 1791 ; each 
assistant marshal was required to cause a correct schedule of 
the inhabitants enumerated within his division, duly signed, to 
be set up for inspection at two of the most public places within 
said division ; and every person above sixteen years of age was 
required to give the census- taktr all necessary information in 
his possession. The law further prescribed the necessary oaths, 
penalties, forms, and compensation. Although all inquiries 
pertained solely to population, the schedule incorporated in 
the law covered two or three items of information not strictly 
required by the Constitution. The inquiries were six in num- 
ber: I. Names of the heads of families; 2. Free white males 
of sixteen years and upwards, including heads of families; 
3. Free white males under sixteen years; 4. Free white fe- 
males, including heads of families; 5. All other free persons ; 
6. Slaves. Under this law the first real enumeration of popu- 
lation within the United States was made. 

Just before the census law of 1800 was enacted, two learned 
societies memorialized Congress on the subject. The Ameri- 
can Philosophical Society, of which Thomas Jefferson was then 
President, represented that the decennial census offered an occa- 
sion of great value for ascertaining sundry facts highly impor- 
tant to society, and not otherwise to be obtained. It therefore 
prayed that the next census might be so taken as to present a 
more detailed view of the inhabitants of the United States under 
several different aspects ; such as the effect of soil and climate 
on human life, the increase of population by birth and emigra- 
tion, and the conditions and vocations of the people. To gain 
the first of these ends, the society suggested that the population 
should be much more minutely analyzed with respect to age. 
VOL. ir. U 


To gain the second, it was proposed that a table should be used, 
presenting in separate columns the respective numbers of native 
citizens, citizens of foreign birth, and aliens. To reach the third 
end, it was proposed that the number of free male inhabitants of 
all ages engaged in different professions and pursuits should be 
ascertained, such as merchants, agriculturists, handicraftsmen, 
mariners, etc. The other memorial came from the Connecticut 
Academy of Arts and Sciences, of which Timothy Dwight was 
President. It had in contemplation to collect the materials for a 
complete view of the natural history of man and society in this 
country. Its suggestions were similar to those contained in the 
former memorial, but were less detailed. Both memorials were 
presented to the Senate, January lo, 1800, and were referred to 
the committee already charged with drafting a census bill. They 
do not appear to have attracted any attention. In the year 1800 
the national legislature was poorly prepared to appreciate the 
value of such a census as these^memorialists prayed for ; but it is 
interesting to note the fact that there were then thoughtful men 
in the country, who appreciated the importance of statistical in- 
vestigation, and who saw that the national Constitution had pro- 
vided all necessary machinery to gather its materials. 

The law of 1800 contained some new features of minor impor- 
tance. The schedule was considerably extended. It registered 
the name of the county, parish, town, etc. where the family re- 
sided ; the name of the head of each family ; free white males 
under ten years of age ; free white males of ten and under six- 
teen; free white males of sixteen and under twenty-six; free 
white males of twenty-six and under forty-five ; free white males 
of forty-five and upwards. The last five inquiries were dupli- 
cated in reference to females. All other free persons, except 
Indians not taxed and slaves, were also enumerated, but with- 
out distinction of age. The general direction of the census was 
placed in the State Department, where it remained until the 
passage of the present census law. 

In 1 8 10, the population schedule of 1800 was used without 
change or modification. The scope of the census was enlarged 
so as to embrace other statistics than those relating to popula- 
tion. An act approved May I, 1810, amendatory of the census 
act approved March i, 1810, — thereby showing that the en- 
largement was an afterthought, — required the marshals and 
their assistants, at the time for taking the enumeration, to take. 

CENSUS. 211 

under the direction of the Secretary of the Treasury, and ac- 
cording to such instructions as he should give, an account of 
the several manufacturing establishments within their several 
districts and divisions. The construction of the schedule was 
left to the discretion of the Secretary of the Treasury. The one 
used was a mere aggregation of items, and evinced no skill in 
selecting and classifying the inquiries. For this reason, as well 
as for die further one that the manufacturers were but poorly 
prepared to co-operate with the census-takers, the results ob- 
tained were of no great value. 

The census of 1820 presents no new features of marked im- 
portance. The population schedule discriminated between for- 
eigners naturalized and not naturalized, while slaves and free 
colored persons were classified with respect to age. A new 
manufacturers' schedule was introduced, which was an improve- 
ment upon that of 18 10. It comprehended fewer details, but 
was much more discriminating in inquiries and more scientific 
in arrangement This part of the work, however, was so imper- 
fectly done by the census-takers that the results obtained pos- 
sessed but litde value. 

In the census of 1830 no attempt was made to obtain indus- 
trial statistics of any sort. The schedule made a more minute 
classification of population than had been before attempted. 
The number of the deaf and dumb and the blind in the three 
great classes of white, free colored, and slave population, was 
ascertained as far as practicable in conducting a new experi- 

In 1840 still other statistics of population were collected, the 
number of insane and idiotic people was recorded, the number 
of persons engaged in the great industries, such as agriculture, 
mining, manufactures, and commerce, was ascertained ; likewise 
the number of Revolutionary pensioners. Several columns were 
added to the schedule for educational statistics of universities 
or colleges, academies, and grammar, primary, and common 
schools ; the number of scholars in these schools ; together 
with the number of white persons over twenty years of age who 
could not read and write. The attempt to obtain statistics of 
industry was renewed, and an extended though badly arranged 
list of questions was incorporated in the population schedule. 
As there was no penalty for refusing to answer these questions, 
in some localities the people refused to answer them, on the 

212 CENSUS, 

ground that they were illegal and inquisitorial. A leading jour- 
nal asked : " Is this Federal prying into the domestic economy 
of the people a precursor to direct taxes? Is nothing to escape 
its inquisitors or tax-gatherers? Is it worthy of the dignity and 
high functions of the Federal government to pursue such petty 
investigations?" (See ** Compendium of the United States 
Census," 1850, p. 12.) The industrial statistics obtained, how- 
ever, were the most valuable yet procured. 

There have been two important events in the history of the 
American census : first, the incorporation in the national Consti' 
tution of the clause requiring a decennial enumeration of the 
people ; secondly, the passage of the law under which the last 
three censuses have been taken. 

As the time for taking the seventh census drew near, the sub- 
ject began to attract an unusual degree of attention. A census 
board, consisting of the Secretary of State, the Attorney-General, 
and the Postmaster-General, was created by an act approved 
March 3, 1849. This board was empowered to appoint a sec- 
retary, and was charged with the duty of preparing forms, 
schedules, etc. for taking the next census, but was instructed 
not to incorporate into the schedules more than one hundred 
questions of all kinds. At the next session of Congress the 
Senate raised a special committee on the census, and imposed 
upon it a similar task. Several eminent statisticians were called 
to Washington for consultation. As the result of this prepara- 
tory work, a bill was finally matured and passed which greatly 
extended the sphere of the census. This act, approved May 23, 
1850, is entitled "A general Act providing for the Census of 
1850, and for every subsequent Census." It created a census 
office in the newly created Department of the Interior, and placed 
the taking of the seventh and each succeeding census under the 
charge of an officer known as the Superintendent of the Census. 
The six schedules incorporated in the law bore the following 
names by number: i. ** Free inhabitants." 2. "Slave inhab- 
itants." 3. " Persons who died during the year ending June i." 
4. "Productions of agriculture." 5. "Products of industry." 
6. " Social statistics." Two important new features were incor- 
porated in the first schedule : the name, age, sex, and color of 
each person, together with the place of his birth, whether State, 
Territory, or country, were required. The third, or mortality 
schedule, contained a class of inquiries wholly new in the Amer- 

CENSUS. 213 

ican census, which led to valuable results. The fourth, fifth, 
and sixth schedules related to subjects that had received some 
attention in previous censuses, but they were now for the first 
time investigated with much thoroughness. The census of 1850 
was a great improvement on all its predecessors, and went far 
to place our census in the front rank of national enumerations. 
The census of i860 was taken, under the superintendence of 
Mr. J. C. G. Kennedy, on the same plan as that of 1850, with but 
few modifications. Its statistics, however, were more complete 
than those of 1850. 

Before the census of 1870 was taken, an attempt was made 
to procure a new law which should provide new machinery and 
remodel the old schedules.^ An elaborate bill passed the House 
of Representatives, but failed to receive the sanction of the 
Senate. The census of 1870 was taken under the law of 1850, 
with such modifications as were required by the amendments 
to the Federal Constitution. Some important additions to the 
inquiries were also made by the Census Office, under the super- 
intendence of Mr. Francis A. Walker. In consequence of the 
abolition of slavery, the old schedule relating to slaves was 
dropped. To meet the requirements of the Fourteenth Amend- 
ment to the Constitution, two columns were added to the popu- 
lation schedule : the first, to obtain the number of male citizens 
of the United States in each State of twenty-one years of age 
and upwards ; the second, to obtain the number of such citizens 
whose right to vote is denied or abridged on other grounds 
than rebellion or crime. Many changes were made by the 
Census Office in the forms of the inquiries, by which they were 
rendered more definite and more easily understood. Besides 
the inquiries concerning " place of birth," two columns were 
added requiring a statement of the parentage of each person. 
This has enabled us to know the number of our people born 
of foreign parents. An inquiry was also added concerning the 
public debt of towns, cities, counties, and States, the results 
of which are very interesting. A striking new feature was the 
publication in the Report of fourteen finely engraved graphic 
maps, illustrating various classes of statistics. They represent 
the density of the total population ; the distribution of the col- 

' A full history of the attempt to procure the new law is found in the Remarks 
and Speech entitled **Thc Ninth Census," April 6, 1869, "The Ninth Census," 
December 16, 1869, and " The Fourteenth Amendment and Representation," De- 
cember 12, 187 1, all found in the first volume. 

214 CENSUS. 

ored and foreign elements of population ; the dispersion over 
the States of natives of the leading European countries; the 
illiteracy and the wealth of each section in contrast; the geo- 
graphical and political divisions of the United States at each 
period from the organization of the government to 1870; the 
range in degree of four leading groups of diseases; and the 
range in degree of five principal agricultural products. 

The ninth census was completed in a much shorter space of 
time than any of its predecessors. The actual enumeration of 
inhabitants began on June I, 1 870, and was completed on the 9th 
of January, 187 1. On the ist of November, 1872, the Superin- 
tendent announced the completion of his report It is not too 
much to say, that the reports of the ninth census form one of 
the noblest contributions which any country has ever made to 
statistical science. 

It clearly appears from this historical review, that the census 
of the United States is the result of a uniform and steady 
development Its germ is found in the national Constitution, 
and its epochs of growth are the periods of the recurring de- 
cennial enumerations. Instead of one schedule, comprehending 
six inquiries, as in 1790, we now have five schedules, compre- 
hending about one hundred inquiries. Two other series of facts 
exhibit this growth in a manner equally striking ; viz. the offi- 
cial publication of the results of the successive censuses, and 
the total cost of each census. These facts are shown in the fol- 
lowing exhibit. 

1790. " Return of the whole Number of Persons within the 
several Districts of the United States," etc., — an octavo pam- 
phlet of 52 pages, published in 1792. Cost of first census, 

1800. " Return of the whole Number of Persons within the 
several Districts of the United States," etc., — a folio of 78 
pages, published in 1801. Cost of second census, $66,609.04. 

1 8 10. The report of this census was in two folio volumes : 
I- " Aggregate Amount of Each Description of Persons within 
the United States," etc., — an oblong folio of 90 pages, the date 
of publication not named. II. ** A Series of Tables showing 
the several Branches of American Manufactures, exhibiting 
them in every county of the Union, so far as they are returned 
in the reports of the Marshals and the Secretaries of the Terri- 
tories, and of their respective Assistants, in the autumn of 18 10; 

CENSUS. 215 

together with returns of certain doubtful goods, productions 
of the soil, and agricultural stock, so far as they have been re- 
ceived," — 170 pp., 4to. Cost of third census, $178,444.67. 

1820. I. "Census for 1820," etc., — a folio of 164 pp., pub- 
lished in 1 82 1. II. "Digest of Accounts of Manufacturing 
Establishments," etc., — a folio of 100 pp., 1823. Cost of fourth 
census, $208,525.99. 

1830. " Fifth Census of Enumeration of the Inhabitants of 
the United States," — a folio of 163 pp., 1832. (This report was 
so badly printed that Congress required by law a republi- 
cation, which was made the same year under the immediate 
direction of the Secretary of State.) Cost of the fifth census, 


1840. I. " Compendium of the Enumeration of the Inhabit- 
ants and Statistics of the United States," — a folio of 378 pp., 
1 841. II. " Sixth Census or Enumeration of the Inhabitants of 
the United States," — folio, 470 pp., 1841, III. "Statistics of 
the United States," etc., — folio, 410 pp., 1841. IV. "Census 
of Pensioners of Revolutionary and Military Service, with their 
names, ages, and places of residence," etc., — 4to, 196 pp. Cost 
of sixth census, $833,370.95. 

1850. I. "The Seventh Census of the United States," — 4to, 
1022 pp., 1853. II. " Statistical View of the United States," 
— 8vo, 400 pp., 1854. III. "Mortality Statistics of the Sev- 
enth Census,'* etc., — 8vo, 304 pp., 1855. IV. "Digest of the 
Statistics of Manufactures," — Svo, 143 pp., 1859. Cost of 
seventh census, $1,329,027.53. 

i860. I. " Preliminary Report of the Eighth Census, i860," — 
8vo, 284 pp., 1862. II. " Final Report." Vol. I. " Population," 
694 pp., 1864; Vol. II. "Agriculture," 292 pp., 1864; Vol. III. 
" Manufactures," 746 pp., 1865 ; Vol. IV. " Mortality and Mis- 
cellaneous Statistics," 584 pp., 1866. Cost of eighth census, 

1870. " Ninth Census of the United States." Vol. I. "The 
Statistics of the Population of the United States, embracing the 
tables of race, nationality, sex, selected ages, and occupations, 
to which are added the statistics of school attendance and illit- 
eracy, of schools, libraries, newspapers and periodicals, churches, 
pauperism and crime, and of areas, families, and dwellings," — 
4to, 804 pp., 1872. Vol. II. The Vital Statistics of the United 
States, embracing the tables of deaths, births, sex, and age, to 


2i6 CENSUS. 

which are added the statistics of the blind, the deaf and dumb, 
the insane, and the idiotic," — 4to, 679 pp., 1872. Vol. III. " The 
Statistics of the Wealth and Industry of the United States, em- 
bracing the tables of wealth, taxation, and public indebtedness, 
agriculture, manufactures, mining, and the fisheries, with which 
are reproduced, from the volume on Population, the major tables 
of occupations," — 4to, 813 pp., 1872. Also, "A Compendium 
of the Ninth Census, compiled pursuant to a concurrent Reso- 
lution of Congress," and a "Statistical Atlas of the United 
States." Cost of the ninth census, $3,336,511.41. 

(4.) State Censtises. — In most of the States of the Union a 
census is required at some time within the interval between the 
national censuses, for the purpose of ascertaining the basis of 
representation in their legislatures. In some of the States (for 
example, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New York) the enu- 
merations are made with great care, and many valuable statis- 
tics are obtained in connection with them. But in most of the 
States nothing more than a simple enumeration is attempted, and 
this is made with little accuracy. In all the States, except Con- 
necticut, Georgia, and West Virginia, a census is authorized or 
required by their constitutions. The constitution of Indiana, 
adopted in 185 1, requires a census in 1853, and every six years 
thereafter. The constitution of Pennsylvania requires a census 
to be taken once in seven years, in such manner as the legisla- 
ture may direct. In Kentucky, a census was required to be 
taken in 1857, and every eight years thereafter. In the follow- 
ing States censuses are required once in ten years, beginning as 
follows: Tennessee, 1841 ; Michigan, 1854; Illinois, New York, 
Wisconsin, and California, 1855; Massachusetts, Kansas, Min- 
nesota, and Oregon, 1865; Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Iowa, 
Louisiana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, South Carolina, 
and Texas, 1875; and Missouri, 1876. The constitutions of 
Maryland, New Jersey, and Rhode Island permit the taking of 
a census once in ten years. The constitution of Mississippi 
requires a census to be taken once in ten years, after a day to 
be fixed by the legislature. The constitution of Maine permits 
a census once in five years, and requires it once in ten years. 
Delaware and New Hampshire have no provisions in their con- 
stitutions requiring a census. The constitution of Ohio per- 
mits a State census ; for many years the legislature has provided 
for a State statistician, who makes annual reports on vital and 
other statistics. 

CENSUS. 217 

The classes enumerated in the several State censuses are as 
follows. In Kentucky and Tennessee, qualified voters ; in Penn- 
sylvania, taxable inhabitants; in Michigan, white inhabitants 
and civilized persons of Indian descent not belonging to Indian 
tribes ; in Indiana, white male inhabitants over twenty-one years 
of age; in Illinois, Oregon, and Texas, white inhabitants; in 
Maine, the whole population, except foreigners not naturalized 
and Indians not taxed ; in Nebraska and Wisconsin, the whole 
population, except Indians not taxed, and soldiers and sailors 
in the army and navy of the United States ; in New York, the 
whole population, except aliens and colored persons not taxed. 
In all the other States where a census is required, the whole 
population is taken. 

Besides the works already referred to, the following may be 
consulted on the general subject: Sinclair (Sir John), " Analy- 
sis of the Statistical Account of Scotland," 8vo, Edinburgh, 
1825; Macaulay's "History of England," Vol. I. chap. 3; 
McClintock and Strong, " Encyclopaedia of Biblical, Ecclesi- 
astical, and Theological Literature " ; Smith, " Dictionary of 
the Bible," 3 vols., Svo, London, 1860-63 ; Smith, " Dictionary 
of Greek and Roman Antiquities," 8vo, London, 1842; Bab- 
bage, " Ninth Bridgewater Treatise," 8vo, London, 1837; "Jour- 
nal of the Statistical Society of London," Vols. I. to XXXIV., 
Svo, London, 1839; Hume, "Essay on the Populousness of 
Ancient Nations," Philosophical Works, Vol. HI., Boston edi- 
tion, 1854; Captain John Graunt (Sir William Petty), " Natural 
and Political Observations upon the Bills of Mortality," 5th edi- 
tion, i6mo, London, 1676; " Annuaire de I'liconomie Politique 
et de la Statistique," i*'-28* annee, Paris, 1844-72; "Journal 
des ficonomistes," r-28'' ann^e, Paris, 1841-69; " Report of the 
Proceedings of the International Statistical Congress, Fourth 
Session, at London, i860," 4to, London, 1861 ; " British Al- 
manac for the Year 1872," i2mo, London, 1873; Ad. Quete- 
let. "Statistique Internationale" (Population), 4to, Bruxellcs, 
1865; and, " Physique Sociale, ou Essai sur le Dcveloppcment 
des Facult^s dc I'Homme," Bruxellcs, 1869, 2 vols., 8vo; Mo- 
reau de Jonn^s, " ^fitat ficonomiquc et Social de la France de- 
puis Henri IV. jusqu'i Louis XIV.," Paris, 1867.^ 

* In the Cyclopaedia this article is credited to Mr. Garfield and B. A. Hinsdale, 
President of Hiram College. It is proper to say that Mr Garfield cast the whole ar- 
ticle, and that he wrote all of it except the subsections " The Jewish Census," and 
** The Census of the United States," both of \\ hich were written by Mr. Hinsdale. 



January 12, 1876. 

The Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution, Sec. 3, imposed 
disabilities as follows : *' No person shall be a Senator or Repres« 
tive in Congress, or Elector of President and Vice-President, or 
any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any S 
who, having previously taken an oath as a member of Congress, ( 
an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legisla 
or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Cc 
tution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection o 
bellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies the 
But Congress may, by a vote of two thirds of each house, remove 

At different times Congress legislated upon this subject, remc 
disabilities both from individuals and from certain disabled classes, 
following act was approved. May 22, 1872 : ** Be it enacted^ etCy 
thirds of each house concurring therein,) That all legal and poli 
disabilities imposed by the third section of the Fourteenth Articl 
the Amendments of the Constitution of the United States are he 
removed from all persons whomsoever, except Senators and Repres 
atives of the Thirty- sixth and Thirty-seventh Congress, officers in 
judicial, military, and naval service of the United States, heads of 
partments, and foreign ministers of the United States.'* This act 
the disabilities imposed by the Fourteenth Amendment resting u 
comparatively a small number of persons, — Mr. Garfield says in 
following speech, upon only seven hundred and fifly. 

December 15, 1875, Mr. S. J. Randall, of Pennsylvania, introdt 
this bill in the House of Representatives : " Be it enacted, etc, ( 
thirds of each house concurring therein,) That all disabilities impc 
and remaining up>on any person by virtue of the third section of 
Fourteenth Article of the Amendments of the Constitution of the Un 
States be, and the same are hereby, removed, and each and every ] 
son is hereby forever relieved therefrom." 


January 6, Hon. J. G. Blaine submitted the following^ which he said 
he should offer as an amendment at the proper time : '* Be it enacted^ etc.^ 
That all persons now under the disabilities imposed by the Fourteenth 
Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, with the excep- 
tion of Jefferson Davis, late President of the so-called Confederate States, 
shall be relieved of such disabilities upon their appearing before any 
judge of a United States court, and taking and subscribing in open 
court the following oath, to be duly attested and recorded, namely: 
" I, A. B., do solemnly swear, or affirm, that I will support and defend 
the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and 
domestic ; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same ; that I 
take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of 
evasion ; and that, to the best of my knowledge and ability, I will well 
and faithfully discharge the duties of a citizen of the United States." 

Pending this subject, Mr. Garfield addressed the House in the follow- 
ing speech. The day after his speech was delivered, the Randall bill 
was sent to the Judiciary Committee, from which it came back with an 
amendment requiring the person who wished to take the benefit of the 
proposed amnesty to take an oath of allegiance before a United States 
judge, or a State court of record. January 14, the bill fell, failing to re- 
ceive a two-thirds vote, as the Constitution requires. 

MR. SPEAKER, — No gentleman on this floor can regret 
more sincerely than I do the course that the debate has 
taken, especially that portion which occurred yesterday. To 
one who reads the report of that discussion, it would be diffi- 
cult to discover the real question at issue, or to learn the 
scope and character of the pending measure. I regret that 
neither the speech of the gentleman from New York,^ nor 
that of the gentleman from Georgia,^ has yet appeared in 
the Record. I should prefer to quote from the full report, 
but, replying now, I must quote them as their speeches ap- 
peared in the public journals of yesterday and to-day. But 
they are here, and can correct any inaccuracy of quotation. 
Any one who reads their speeches would not suspect that they 
were debating a simple proposition to relieve some citizens of 
political and legal disabilities incurred during the late war. For 
example, had I been a casual reader and not a listener, I should 
say that the chief proposition yesterday was an arraignment of 

1 Mr. Cox. 2 Mr. HilL 


the administration of this government for the last fifteen years. 
If I had been called upon to pick out those declarations in the 
speech of the gentleman from Georgia which embody the topic 
of debate, I should have said they were these : — 

" If, with the history of the last fifteen years firesh in the memory of 
this people, the country is prepared to talk about the grace and magna- 
nimity of the Republican party, argument would be wasted. With mas- 
ters enslaved, intelligence disfranchised, society disorganized, industry 
paralyzed. States subverted, legislatiu-es dispersed by the bayonet, the 
people can accord to that party the verdict of grace and magnanimity, 
may God save the future of oiu* country from grace and magnanimity ! " * 

I should say that the propositions and arguments arrayed 
around that paragraph were the centre and circumference of his 
theme. Let me, then, in a few words, try to recall the House 
to the actual subject of this debate. 

A gentleman on the other side of the House, a few weeks 
ago, introduced a proposition in the form of a bill to grant 
amnesty to the persons who are not yet relieved of their 
political disabilities under the Constitution. That is a plain 
proposition for practical legislation. It is a very important 
proposition. It is a proposition to finish and complete forever 
the work of executing one of the great clauses of the Consti- 
tution of our country. When that bill shall have become a 
law, much of the Fourteenth Amendment will have ceased 
to be an operative part of the Constitution. Whenever so 
great and important a matter is proposed, a deliberative body 
should bring to its consideration the fullest and most serious 
examination. But what was proposed in this case? Not to 
deliberate, not to amend, not even to refer to a committee for 
the ordinary consideration given even to a proposition to repeal 
the tax on matches. No reference to anybody ; but a member 
of the House, of his own motion and at his own discretion, 
launches that proposition into the House, refusing the privilege 
of amendment and the right of debate, except as it might come 
from his courtesy, and proposes to pass it, declaring as he 
does so that the time has come to do justice to an oppressed 

Under circumstances like these, Mr. Speaker, a large number 
of gentlemen on this floor felt that they had a right — under the 

1 Congressional Record, January ii, 1876, pp. 345, 346 


rules of the House and in the forum of justice and fair-dealing, 
an undoubted right — to deliberate on the proposition; that it 
should be open for amendment and debate. Every expression 
on this side of the House showed that we were earnestly in 
favor of closing the drama of war so far as it relates to dis- 
abilities; that it should be closed forever, — closed in good 
faith and with good feeling. We deeply regretted that the at- 
tempt was made to cut us off from deliberation and amend- 
ment, and we therefore threw ourselves back upon our rights ; 
and it is by virtue of those rights that we debate this question 

The gentleman from Maine ^ offered a criticism on the bill. 
He suggested that there were two points in which it ought to 
be changed. One was that the seven hundred and fifty persons 
who are still forbidden to hold office under the Constitution 
should have free and absolute amnesty whenever they declare, 
by taking the oath of allegiance in open court, that they want 
it ; that, like God's mercy and perfect pardon, amnesty should 
be granted on the asking for it. It was suggested that we 
should follow the rule that we have followed hitherto in all sim- 
ilar cases. That was the first point. Another point was sug- 
gested, that there is one person, and only one, who ought to be 
excepted from the operation of the proposed law. Now these 
criticisms may have been wise, or they may have been unwise, 
as a matter of statesmanship, but they were questions deserving 
debate, deliberation, and answer. 

The proposition of the gentleman from Pennsylvania ^ is an 
affirmative one, and should be supported by affirmative reasons. 
If we allege any reasons against it, we ought to be answered. 
Two allegations have been made : first, that there ought to be 
an oath of allegiance before a court; and, second, that one 
man ought to be excepted. How have these propositions been 
met ? How have these suggestions been answered ? The first 
response was a speech full of brilliant wit and personalities. It 
was like joking at a funeral to joke on such an occasion. They 
have been answered, in the second place, by the speech of yes- 
terday, which arraigns not the Republican party alone, but 
arraigns twenty-five millions of people, arraigns the history of 
the republic for fifteen years, including everything that is glori- 
ous in its record and high and worthy in its achievements. I 

1 Mr. Blaine. a Mr. Randall. 


was deeply pained that such an arraignment should have been 
made on such a subject. If the gentleman had confined him- 
self to a reply to the argument which had been offered to show 
why the exception should be made, it would have been a re- 
sponse pertinent to the subject-matter in controversy. While I 
occupy the attention of the House, I shall endeavor to confine 
myself to the question and to the speech of the gentleman from 

Let me say in the outset that, so far as I am personally con- 
cerned, I have never voted against any proposition to grant am- 
nesty to any human being who has asked for it at the bar of the 
House. Furthermore, I appeal to gentlemen on the other side 
who have been with me in this hall many years, whether at any 
time they have found me truculent in spirit, unkind in tone or 
feeling, toward those who fought against us in the late war. 
Twelve years ago this very month, standing in this place, I said 
this: "I believe a truce could be struck to-day between the 
rank and file of the hostile armies now in the field. I believe 
they could meet and shake hands together, joyful over returning 
peace, each respecting the courage and manhood of the other, 
and each better able to live in amity than before the war." I 
am glad to repeat word for word what I said that day. For the 
purposes of this speech I will not even claim the whole ground 
which the government assumed toward the late rebellion. For 
the sake of the present argument, I will view the position of 
those who took up arms against the government, in the light 
least offensive to them. Leaving out of sight for the moment 
the question of slavery, which evoked so much passion, and 
which was the producing cause of the late war, there were still 
two opposing political theories which met in conflict. Most 
Southern statesmen believed that their first obedience was due 
to their State. We believed that the allegiance of an American 
citizen was due to the national government, not by the way of a 
State capital, but in a direct line from his own heart to the gov- 
ernment of the Union. Now, that question was submitted to the 
dreadful arbitrament of war, to the court of last resort, — a court 
from which there is no appeal, and to which all other powers 
must bow. To that dread court the great question was carried, 
and there the right of a State to secede was put to rest forever. 
For the sake of peace and union I am willing to treat our late 
antagonists as I would treat litigants in other courts, who, when 


they have made their appeal, and the final judgment is rendered, 
pay the reasonable costs and bow to its mandates. But our 
question to-day is not that, yet is closely connected with it 
When we have made our arguments, and the court has rendered 
judgment, it may be that in the course of the proceedings the 
court has used its discretion to disbar some of its counsellors for 
malpractice, for unprofessional conduct. In such a case, a mo- 
tion may be made to restore the disbarred members. Applying 
this illustration to the present case, there are seven hundred and 
fifty people who are yet disbarred before the highest authority 
of the republic, the Constitution itself. The proposition is to 
oflTer again the privileges of official station to these people ; and 
we are all agreed as to all of them save one. 

I do not object to Jefferson Davis because he was a conspicu- 
ous leader. Whatever I may believe in theology, I do not 
believe in the doctrine of vicarious atonement in politics. Jef- 
ferson Davis was no more guilty for taking up arms, than any 
other man who went into the Rebellion with equal intelligence. 
But this is the question : In the high court of war did he prac- 
tise according to its well-known laws, — the laws of nations? 
Did he, in appealing to war, obey the laws of war? or did he so 
violate those laws that justice to those who suffered at his hands 
demands that he be not permitted to come back to his old privi- 
leges in the Union ? That is the whole question ; and it is as 
plain and fair a question for deliberation as was ever debated 
in this House. Now, I wish we could discuss it without any 
passion, — without passionate thoughts, such as we heard ex- 
pressed yesterday. The words were eloquent, for the gentleman 
from Georgia well knows how to utter passionate thoughts with 
all the grace and eloquence of speech. 

What answer has been made to the allegations of the gentle- 
man from Maine, — to the reasons he gave why a full amnesty 
should not be offered to Jefferson Davis? The gentleman from 
Georgia denies, and so also apparently did the gentleman from 
New York,^ the authenticity of the charges of atrocities at An- 
dersonville. The gentleman from New York spoke of the com- 
mittee from whose report the gentleman from Maine read, as a 
** humbug committee." The gentleman from Georgia spoke of 
it as an ex parte and partisan committee, — a committee that 
wrote and reported out of its fury and rage. Now, Mr. Speaker, 

I Mr. Cox. 


I am unwilling that this case shall turn upon the mere authority 
of a committee, however high ; but I want to say, without argu- 
ing its merits, that, whether the charge was just or unjust, it was 
a charge made by the government of the United States. I mean 
to place the responsibility of the charges on the high ground of 
the authority of the government, which no self-respecting man 
can call trivial and unworthy of his serious attention. On the 
4th of May, 1864, the Secretary of War, speaking with the au- 
thority of one of the Executive Departments of the national 
government, addressed a communication to a committee of 
Congress, which I will read. It is found in a volume of reports 
of committees of the first session of the Thirty-eighth Congress, 
1 863-64, and is as follows : — 

" War Department, Washington Cffy, May 4, 1864. 
" Sir, — I have the honor to submit to you a report made to this de- 
partment by Colonel Hoffman, Commissary-General of Prisoners, in re- 
gard to the condition of Union soldiers who have, until within a few days^ 
been prisoners of war at Richmond, and would respectfully request that 
your, committee immediately proceed to Annapolis to take testimony 
there and examine with their own eyes the condition of those who have 
been returned from Rebel captivity. The enormity of the crime com- 
mitted by the Rebels towards our prisoners for the" last several months 
is not known or realized by our people, and cannot but fill with horror 
the ci\ilized world when the facts are fully revealed. There ap{>ears to 
have been a deliberate system of savage and barbarous treatment and 
starvation, the result of which will be that few, if any, of the prisoners 
that have been in their hands during the past winter will ever again be in 
a condition to render any service, or even to enjoy life. 

" Your obedient servant, 

" Edwin M. Stanton, Secretary of War. 

" Hon. B. F. Wade, Chairman of Joint Committee on Conduct of the IVar" * 

On the receipt of this letter, the joint committee of the two 
houses, known as the Committee on the Conduct of the War, 
went to Annapolis, to hold their sessions in the presence of the 
thousands of returned prisoners who had just been landed ; and 
as the result of their deliberations, and after taking testimony on 
the spot from officers and men who had just returned, they re- 
ported not only their opinions, but the testimony in full, in the 
volume which I hold in my hand. That committee was com- 
posed of Republicans and Democrats, and its report is unan- 

1 House Report No. 67, isl Sess. 3Sth Cong., p. 4. 


imous. The Democrats on the committee were among the 
foremost Democratic members of the Senate and House. One 
of them was Mr. Odell, of New York, a gentleman not now hv- 
ing, who was one of the best men that party has had on the 
floor of this House since I have been a member. Another was 
Senator Harding, of Oregon. That committee made an elab- 
orate report, from which I will read a few paragraphs : — 

" The evidence proves, beyond all manner of doubt, a determination 
on the part of the Rebel authorities, deliberately and persistently prac- 
tised for a long time past, to subject those of our soldiers who have been 
so unfortunate as to fall into their hands to a system of treatment which 
has resulted in reducing many of those who have survived and been per- 
mitted to return to us to a condition, both physically and mentally, which 
no language we can use can adequately describe. Though nearly all the 
patients now in the Naval Academy Hospital at Annapolis and in the 
West Hospital in Baltimore have been under the kindest and most intel- 
ligent treatment for about three weeks past, and many of them for a 
greater length of time, still they present literally the appearance of living 
skeletons, many of them being nothing but skin and bone ; some of 
them are maimed for life, having been frozen while exposed to the in- 
clemency of the winter season on Belle Isle, being compelled to lie on 
the bare ground without tents or blankets, some of them without over- 
coats or even coats, with but little fire to mitigate the severity of the 
winds and storms to which they were exposed 

" It will be observed from the testimony, that all the witnesses who tes- 
tify upon that point state that the treatment they received while confined 
at Columbia, South Carolina, Dalton, Georgia, and other places, was far 
more humane than that they received at Richmond, where the authori- 
ties of the so-called Confederacy were congregated, and where the power 
existed, had the inclination not been wanting, to reform those abuses 
and secure to the prisoners they held some treatment that would bear a 
public comparison to that accorded by our authorities to the prisoners 
in our custody. Your committee, therefore, are constrained to say that 
they can hardly avoid the conclusion, expressed by so many of our re- 
leased soldiers, that the inhuman practices herein referred to are the 
result of a determination on the part of the Rebel authorities to reduce 
our soldiers in their power, by privation of food and clothing, and by 
exposure, to such a condition that those who may survive shall never 
recover so as to be able to render any effective service in the field." * 

I am not now discussing the merits of the charge at all, but 
am showing that such is, and for twelve years has been, the au- 

1 House Report No. 67, rst Scss. 38th Conjy., pp. i, 3. 
VOL. ir. 15 


thoritative official charge of an Executive Department of the 
government, and of a joint committee of the two houses. So 
much for the responsible character of the charge. To this I 
should add, that this charge is believed to be true by a great 
majority of the people whom we represent on this floor. I now 
inquire, Is this charge true? 

The gentleman from Georgia denies generally the charge that 
atrocities were practised upon our prisoners at Andersonville. 
He makes a general denial, and asserts that Mr. Davis did ob- 
serve the humane rules of modern warfare. As a proof, he 
quotes the general order issued by the President of the Con- 
federate government, under which the prison was established, — 
an order providing that it should be located on healthy ground, 
where there was an abundance of good water, and trees for 
healthful and grateful shade. That is a perfect answer so far as it 
goes. But I ask how that order was executed? To whose hands 
was committed the work of building the Andersonville prison? 
To the hands of General Winder. And who was General 
Winder? He was a man of whom the Richmond Examiner 
used these words the day he took his departure from Rich- 
mond to assume command of the proposed prison: "Thank 
God that Richmond is at last rid of old Winder. God have 
mercy upon those to whom he has been sent ! " He was, as 
the testimony in the Wirz trial shows, the special and intimate 
friend of Jefferson Davis, the President of the Confederacy, 
by whom he was detailed on this business, and detailed with 
the send-off that I have read you from a paper of his own city 
warmly in the interest of the Rebel cause. What next? How 
did General Winder execute the order after he went to An- 

I turn to the record of the Wirz trial, and read from it only 
such authorities as the gentleman from Georgia recognizes, — 
officers of the Rebel army. The gentleman stated yesterday 
that there was nothing in this book connecting the head of the 
Confederate government with the Andersonville atrocities. Be- 
fore I am through we shall see. On the 5th of January. 1864, a 
report was made concerning those atrocities by D. T. Chandler, 
a lieutenant-colonel of the Confederate army. This report was 
offered in evidence in the Wirz trial, and Colonel Chandler was 
himself a witness at that trial, and swears that the report is gen- 
uine. I quote the following from the report: — 



** Anderson, January 5, 1864. 
CoLONEX, — Having, in obedience to instructions of the 25 th ultimo, 
carefully inspected the prison for Federal prisoners of war and post at 
this place, I respectfully submit the following report : — 

•* The Federal prisoners of war are confined within a stockade fifteen 
feet high, of roughly hewn pine logs about eight inches in diameter, in- 
serted five feet into the ground, inclosing, including the recent extension, 
an area of five hundred and forty by two hundred and sixty yards. A 
railing around the inside of the stockade, and about twenty feet from it, 
constitutes the " dead line," beyond which the prisoners are not allowed 
to pass, and about three and one fourth acres near the centre of the en- 
closure are so marshy as to be at present unfit for occupation; reducing 
the available present area to about twenty-three and one half acres, which 
gives somewhat less than six square feet to each prisoner. Even this is 
being constantly reduced by the additions to their number. A small 
stream passing from west to east through the enclosure, at about one hun- 
dred and fifty yards from its southern limit, furnishes the only water for 
washing accessible to the prisoners. Some regiments of the guard, the 
bakery, and the cook-house, being placed on the rising grounds bor- 
dering the stream before it enters the prison, renders the water nearly 

unfit for use before it reaches the prisoners 

" D. T. Chandler, 
Assistant Adjutant and Jfispector Gemral. 

■• Cou R. H. Chilton, Assistant Adjutant and Inspector Getural.^* ^ 

Here is an oflScial exhibit of the manner in which the officer 
detailed by Jefferson Davis chose the place with respect to 
health, running water, and agreeable shade. He chose a piece 
of forest ground that had a miasmatic marsh in the heart of 
it and with a small stream running through it; but the troops 
stationed outside of the stockade were allowed to defile the 
pure water before it could reach the stockade; and then, as if 
in the very refinement of cruelty, as if to make a mockery of 
the order quoted by the gentleman from Georgia, he detailed 
men to cut down every tree and shrub in the enclosure, leav- 
ing not a green leaf to show where the forest had been. And 
subsequently, when the burning sun of July was pouring down 
its fiery heat upon the heads of those men, with but six square 
feet of ground to a man, and when a piteous petition was 
made by the prisoners to Winder to allow details to go outside, 
under guard, and cut pines from the forest to make arbors un- 
der which they could shelter themselves, they were answered 
with all the loathsome brutality of malignant hate, that they 

> Wirz Trial, (Washington, 1868,) p. 224. 


should have no bush to shelter them. And thus, under the fierce 
rays of the Southern sun, they miserably perished. These last 
statements are made on the authority of Ambrose Spencer, a 
planter of Georgia, who resided within five miles of Anderson- 
ville. I quote from his testimony : — 

"Between the ist and 15th of December, 1863, I went up to An- 
dersonville with W. S. Winder, and four or five other gendemen, out of 
curiosity, to see how the prison was to be laid out .... I asked him if 
he was going to erect barracks or shelter of any kind. He replied that he 
was not ; that the damned Yankees who would be put in there would 
have no need of them. I asked him why he was cutting down all the 
trees, and suggested that they would prove a shelter to the prisoners 
from the heat of the sun, at least. He made this reply, or something 
simikr to it : ' That is just what I am going to do ; I am going to build 
a pen here that will kill more damned Yankees than can be destroyed in 
the front* Those are very nearly his words, or equivalent to them." * 

So much for the execution of the President's order to locate 
the prison. 

But I am not yet done with the testimony of Colonel Chand- 
ler. A subsequent report was made by him in the month of 
August. He went back and re-examined the horrors of that 
prison-pen, and as the result of his examination he made a sec- 
ond report, from which I quote the last few sentences : — 

" Andersonville, August 5, 1S64. 
" Colonel : . . . . My duty requires me respectfully to recommend a 
change in the officer in the command of the post, Brigadier-General J. H. 
Winder, and the substitution in his place of some one who unites both 
energy and good judgment with some feeling of humanity and considera- 
tion for the welfare and comfort (so far as is consistent with their safe 
keeping) of the vast number of unfortunates placed under his control ; 
some one who at least will not advocate deliberately and in cold blood 
the propriety of leaving them in their present condition until their num- 
ber has been sufficiently reduced by death to make the present arrange- 
ment suffice for their accommodation ; who will not consider it a matter 
of self-laudation and boasting that he has never been inside of the stock- 
ade, a place the horrors of which it is difficult to describe, and which b a 
disgrace to civilization ; the condition of which he might, by the exercise 
of a little energy and judgment, even with the limited means at his com- 
mand, have considerably improved 

"D. T. Chandler, 

Assistant Adjutant and Inspector- GencraL 
" Col. R, H. Chilton, Assistant Adjutant and Inspector General C. S, A^ Hick- 
mondf Vir^nia."^ 

1 Wir2 Trial, p. 359. * Ibid., pp. 226, 227. 


Now, M^hat do honorable gentlemen suppose would naturally 
be done >vith such a report as that? Remember that Colonel 
Chandler was a witness before the court that tried Wirz, and re- 
affirmed every word of this report. If he is living, I would 
gladly make a pilgrimage to see him and thank him for the hu- 
manity and tenderness with which he treated my unfortunate 
comrades. So anxious was he that the great crime of Winder 
should be rebuked, that he went to Richmond, and in person 
delivered his report to the Secretary of War, a member, of 
course, of the cabinet of Jefferson Davis. If I am not correct 
in this, I believe there is a member of that cabinet now on this 
floor who can correct me. Of course, being a soldier, Colonel 
Chandler first delivered his report to the Adjutant-General, and 
that officer, General Cooper, on the i8th of August, 1864, wrote 
upon the back of the report this indorsement : — 

** Adjutant and Inspector General's Office, 

August 18, 1864. 

" Respectfully submitted to the Secretary of War. The condition of 
the prison at Andersonville is a reproach to us as a nation. The engi- 
neer and ordnance departments were applied to, and authorized their 
issue, and I so telegraphed General Winder. Colonel Chandler's recom- 
mendations are coincided in. 
•* By order of General S. Cooper. 

" R. H. Chilton, 
Assistant Adjutant and Inspector Generai,^^ ^ 

Not content with that indorsement, Colonel Chandler went to 
the office of the Secretary of War himself; but, the Secretary 
being absent at the moment, the report was delivered to the 
Assistant Secretary of War, J. A. Campbell, who wrote below 
General Cooper's indorsement these words, with his signature : 
" These reports show a condition of things at Andersonville 
which calls very loudly for the interposition of the department, 
in order that a change be made." 

Mr. Reagax. Does not the gentleman know that the Adjutant-Gen- 
eral could only have made such an order by direction of the President? 

I do not know what the habit was in the Confederacy. It is 
not so in this government. 

Mr. Reagan. The gentleman will allow me to say, that all persons 
familiar with the business of that office know that the Adjutant- General 

1 Wirz Trial, p. 230. 


executes direct orders made by the President, but has not himself 
ity to make such orders. 

That may have been the rule in the Confederate govern 
but it was never the rule here. The Adjutant-General < 
army signs no order except by direction of the Secret 
War. The Adjutant-General is the clerk of the Secret 
War, and the Secretary of War is in turn the clerk of the 
dent. But the gentleman from Texas ^ will soon see tl 
cannot defend Davis by the indorsement of General C< 
The report did not stop with the Adjutant-General. I 
carried up higher and nearer to Davis. It was delivered t 
sistant Secretary Campbell, who wrote the indorsement I 
just read. The report was lodged in the Department of 
whose chief was one of the confidential advisers of Mr. Da^ 
a member of his official family. What was done with it? 
record shows, Mr. Speaker, that a few days thereafter an 
was made in reference to General Winder. To what e 
Promoting him ! Adding to his power in the field of h 
famy ! He was made Commissary-General of all the pi 
and prisoners throughout the Confederacy. That was th 
swer that came as the result of this humane report of Cc 
Chandler; and this new appointment of Winder came fron 
Seddon, the Confederate Secretary of War, by order o 
President. All appointments were made by the Presiden 
the gentleman from Georgia says that they carried our C( 
tution with them, and hugged it to their bosoms. But tl 
not all. The testimony in the Wirz trial shows that at one 
the Secretary of War himself became shocked at the bru 
of Winder, and, in a moment of indignation, relieved him 
command. For my authority upon this point I refer t( 
testimony of Cashmyer, a detective of Winder's, who v 
witness before the Wirz court. That officer testified that ^ 
Mr. Seddon, Secretary of War, wrote the order relieving 
der, the latter went with it to Jefferson Davis, who immedi 
wrote on the back of it, " This is entirely unnecessary anc 
called for." Winder appears to have retained the confid 
and approval of Davis to the end, and he continued on 
until the merciful providence of God struck him dead ii 
tent in the presence of the witness who gave this testimony. 

Now, who will deny that in the forum of law we do trac< 

^ Mr. Reagan. 

AMNESTY. 23 1 

responsibility for these atrocities to the man who is before us to 
be relieved of all his political disabilities? If not, let gentlemen 
show it. Wipe out the charge, and I will be the first man here 
to vote to relieve him of his disabilities. 

Winder was allowed to go on. What did he do ? I will give 
only results, not details. I will not harrow my own soul by the 
revival of those horrible details. There is a group of facts in 
military history well worth knowing, which will illustrate the 
point I am discussing. The great Napoleon did some fighting 
in his time, as did his great antagonist, the Iron Duke. In 1809 
was fought the battle of Talavera; in 181 1, the battle of Albu- 
cra; in 1812, the battle of Salamanca; in 1813, Vittoria; in 
181 5, the battles of Ligny, Quatre Bras, Waterloo, Wavre, and 
New Orleans; and in 1854 and 1855, the battles of the Crimean 
war. The number of men in the English army who were killed 
in these battles, or died of wounds received in them, amounted, 
in the aggregate, to 12,928. But this Major-General Winder, 
from April, 1864, to April, 1865, tumbled into the trenches of 
Andersonville the dead bodies of 12,644 prisoners, — only 284 
less than all the Englishmen who fell, or died of wounds re- 
ceived, in the great battles that I have named. Now, Mr. 
Speaker, I have simply given these results. Percentages pale 
and fade away in the presence of such horrible facts. 

And the gentleman from Georgia denies the charge of atroci- 
ties at Andersonville, and charges us with greater ones ! I will 
give his words as they are quoted in the morning papers: 
•• When the gentleman from Maine speaks again, let him add 
that the atrocities of Andersonville do not begin to compare 
with the atrocities of Elmira, of Fort Douglas, or of Fort Dela- 
ware; and of all the atrocities, both at Andersonville and 
Elmira, the Confederate government stands acquitted from all 
responsibility and blame." I stand in the presence of that 
statement with an amazement that I am utterly incapable of 
expressing. I look upon the serene and manly face of the gen- 
tleman who uttered it, and I wonder what influence of the super- 
nal or nether gods could have touched him with madness for 
the moment, and led him to make that dreadful statement. I 
pause, and ask the three Democrats on this floor who happen 
to represent the Congressional districts wherein are located the 
three places named, if there is one of them who does not know 
that this charge is fearfully and awfully untrue. [A pause.] 


Their silence answers me. They are strangers to me, but I know 
they will repel the charge with all the energy of their manhood. 

[Here Mr. Garfield yielded the floor while the following letter, offered 
by Mr. Piatt, was read, and Mr. Walker made the accompanjring state- 

" Brooklyn, N. Y^ January 12, 1876. 

" To Hon. T. C. Plait, House of Representatives y Washingtm^ D. C. : — 
" The facts justify your denial of cruelty, inhumanity, or neglect in 
the treatment of prisoners at Elmira. There was no suffering there 
which is not inseparable from a military prison. First, there was no 
dead-line. No prisoner was ever shot for attempting to escape. Sec- 
ond, the food was ample and of the best quality. Thousands of dollars 
were expended in the purchase of vegetables, in addition to the army 
ration. No Congressman in Washington eats better bread than was 
given daily to the prisoners. The beef was good, and of the same qual- 
ity and quantity as that distributed to our own soldiers guarding the 
camp. Third, the dead were not buried in trenches, but the remains 
were placed in neat coflins and buried in separate graves, with a head- 
board bearing the name, company, and regiment, and time of death, 
and all were buried in the public cemetery at Elmira. Fourth, there was 
no better supplied military hospital in the United States than the hos- 
pital in the prison camp. Fifth, all the prisoners were comfortably quar- 
tered in new wooden barracks, built expressly for them. From the time 
I took command, in September, all the sawmills in the vicinity of Elmira 
were kept constantly running to supply lumber for buildings, etc. The 
barracks for prisoners were first built, and in the extreme cold weather 
of winter the prisoners were all in barracks, while the soldiers guard- 
ing them were still in tents. I was criticised for this in the Army and 
Navy Journal, I think it was, at the time, by an officer of oiu: army. 
Sixth, the camp and all the buildings were well policed, and kept scrupu- 
lously clean. Seventh, the mortality which prevailed was not owing to 
neglect or want of sufficient supplies or medical attention, but to other 
and quite different causes. 

"B. F. Tracy, 
Late Commandant Military Post Union^^ 

Mr. Walker. Mr. Speaker, as the member from the district in which 
Elmira Depot is located, I take pleasure in mdorsing every word of 
Colonel Tracy's despatch. I was almost daily at Elmira during the war, 
and I know that Confederate prisoners had the same care and treatment 
that the Union soldiers had, and I never heard a complaint.] 

Mr. Speaker, the lightning is our witness. From all quarters 
of the republic denials are pouring in upon us. Since I came 


to the House this morning, I have received the following de- 
spatch from an honored soldier of Ohio, which tells its own 
story : — 

"Cleveland, Ohio, January 12, 1876, — 10.33 ^' m- 
•* To General Garfield, House of Representatives : — 

" By authority of Secretary of War I furnished fifteen thousand Rebel 
prisoners at Elmira with the same rations — coffee, tobacco, coal, wood, 
clothing, barracks, medical attendance — as were given to our own sol- 
diers. The dead were decently buried in Ehnira cemetery. All this can 

be proved by Democrats of that city. 

" General J. J. Elwell." 

Mr. Hn«L. By permission of the gendeman from Ohio, I desire to 
say that there was no purpose on my part, by any of my remarks on 
yesterday, to charge inhumanity upon anybody at Elmira, or anywhere 
else. I only read the evidence from official sources, as I understood it. 
I simply say that I was reading the evidence of cruelties, in the language 
of that letter, " inseparable from prison life." Then I read of the small- 
pox epidemic at Elmira, and its character. But the remark which the 
gentleman is now commenting on was not connected with any charge of 
inhumanity upon any person in the world. I wish it distinctly under- 
stood that I meant to charge inhumanity upon nobody. I was simply 
speaking of those horrors that are inseparable from all prison life ; and I 
wound up my statement by saying that the official reports of Secretary 
Stanton, on the 19th of July, 1866, afler the war was over, gave the rela- 
tive mortality of prisoners in Federal hands and prisoners in Confederate 
hands, and that the mortality of Confederate prisoners in Northern pris- 
ons was twelve per cent, while the mortality of Federal prisoners in Con- 
federate hands was less than nine per cent. Now, I simply said that, 
judging by that test, there was more atrocity (if you please to call it 
so) — I meant, of course, mortality — in the prisons of the North than 
in those of the South. Let the gentleman take the benefit of that state- 
ment, I simply referred to the report of Secretary Stanton. I do not 
undertake to say to what special cause the mortality on either side was 
attributable. I say it was attributable to those horrors inseparable from 
prison life everywhere ; and I simply entered my protest against gentle- 
men seeking to stir up those old past horrors on either side to keep alive 
a strife that ought to be buried. That is all. 

I am glad to hear what the gentleman says ; and to give it 
more force by contrast, I quote again the words he used, as re- 
ported in the newspapers this morning : " When the gentleman 
from Maine speaks again, let him add that the atrocities of 
Andersonville do not begin to compare with the atrocities of 


Elmira, of Fort Douglas, or of Fort Delaware; and of all the 
atrocities, both at Andersonville and Elmira, the Confeder- 
ate government stands acquitted from all responsibility and 
blame." ^ 

I refer to it to show why I could not — 

Mr. Hill. I liave no doubt the gendeman's motive is good ; but he 
will permit me to remind him that what he has just read was said by me 
after reading Secretary Stanton's report ; and of course, while I men- 
tioned prison places at the North, I did not mean to charge inliumanity 
upon any one as a class. 

But let me say another word to close this branch of the 
subject. The only authority introduced to prove the pretend- 
ed atrocity at Elmira was an anonymous letter, printed in the 
New York World. The Roman soldiers who watched at the 
sepulchre of the Saviour of mankind attempted to disprove his 
resurrection by testifying to what happened while they were 
asleep. Bad as this testimony was, it was not anonymous; but 
in this case the testimony is that of a shadow, an initial, — 
nobody. Stat nominis umbra. What the substance was we 
know not. But anonymous as this letter is, it would have been 
well for the cause of justice if the gentleman had been kind 
enough to quote it all. I read, I believe, from the very book 
from which the gentleman quoted, — the Life of Davis, — a 
sentence omitted by him, but which I hope he will have printed 
in his speech. It is this : ** The facts demonstrate that, in as 
healthy a location as there is in New York, with every remedial 
appliance in abundance, with no epidemic," etc. So that even 
this anonymous witness testifies that we planted our Elmira 
prison in as healthy a place as there is in the State of New 
York. It ought to be added, that the small-pox broke out in 
that prison very soon after the date of this letter; and the mor- 
tality that followed was very much greater than in any other 
prison in the North. 

How we have kept alive our vindictiveness will be seen by the 
fact that Congress, at its last session or the session before the last, 
passed a law making the Rebel cemetery at Elmira a part of the 

^ Neither this quotation, nor anything answering to it. can be found in Mr. HiU*s 
speech in the Record. It will be observed that he does not, in his explanatory 
statements, claim that the quotation did him injustice, but only the construction 
placed upon it. It seems evident that Mr. Hill toned his speech down before its 

AMNESTY. ^ 235 

national-cemetery system ; and to-day, this malignant Adminis- 
tration, this ferocious Constitution-hating and South-hating Ad- 
ministration, is paying an officer for tenderly caring for the 
enclosure that holds the remains of these outraged soldiers! 
At another place, Finn's Point, in Virginia, wc have within the 
past few montlis brought another Rebel cemetery under the law 
and protection of our national- cemetery system. All this out of 
the depths of our wrath and hatred for our Southern brethren ! 

Mr. Hill. In response to what the gentleman has said, I desire to 
state as a fact what I personally know, that on the last occasion of deco- 
rating soldiers' graves in the South, our people, uniting with Northern 
soldiers there, decorated in harmonious accord the graves of the fallen 
Federals and the graves of the fallen Confederates. It is because of this 
glorious feeling that is being awakened in the countr)* that I protest 
against the revival of these horrors about any prison. 

So do I. I wish this same fraternal feeling would come out 
of the graveyard and display itself toward the thirty or forty 
maimed Union soldiers who were on duty around this Capitol, 
but who have been displaced by an equal number of soldiers on 
the other side. 

There is another point that the gentleman made which I am 
frank to say I am not now able to answer. 

[Here followed a long colloquy touching the appointees of the House, 
and points of order, in which several members participated. Mr. Gar- 
field proceeded : — ] 

Mr. Speaker, I was about to refer to another point made by 
the gentleman from Georgia in his statement of the number of 
prisoners taken by us and taken by them, and the relative num- 
ber of deaths. I have this morning received from the Surgeon- 
General references to all the pages of official reports on that 
subject, but I have not been able, in the hurried moments of the 
session since I arrived here, to examine the figures. The gen- 
tleman from Illinois^ has made up a part of the statement, which 
I am now able to present. That statement shows that during 
the war we took 476,169 prisoners, while on the other side they 
took 188,145 prisoners. This is a statement to which the Sur- 
geon-General referred me in a note received since I took my 
seat in the House this morning ; it is in a printed report on the 
treatment of prisoners of war by the Rebel authorities,^ which 
gentlemen can examine at their leisure. 

1 Mr. Burchard. * Third Session of Foriictli Congress, p. 228. 

236 . AMNESTY. 

It ought to be added in this connection, that the conscription 
laws of the Confederate Congress forced all able-bodied citizens 
between the ages of seventeen and fifty into the service, while 
our laws limited the conscription to the usual military ages. 
This, of course, put into their army a large number of immature 
boys and broken-down old men, among whom the mortality 
would naturally be greater than in an army made up of men be- 
tween the ordinary ages. 

I turn now to another point. The gentleman from Georgia 
makes another answer concerning these atrocities, — that what- 
ever was suffered by the prisoners, for at least a considerable 
portion of the time, was in consequence of our refusal to make 
an exchange of prisoners, — was because we would not give 
them the fresh men in our prisons, and take in return our 
shadows and skeletons that were in theirs. This is a part, and 
an important part, of a piece of history which must not be 
omitted in this debate ; and I will very briefly refer to its lead- 
ing points. 

There was much trouble about the exchange of prisoners be- 
tween the two belligerents ; first, because for a long time we did 
not acknowledge the Confederates as belligerents. We hoped 
under the ninety-days theory of Mr. Seward to get through with- 
out recognizing them, but that hope failed. Our enemies were 
as gallant a people as ever drew the sword, and we were com- 
pelled to recognize them as a belligerent power. Finally, an 
arrangement was made under which it was possible to exchange 
prisoners; and on the 22d of July, 1862, a cartel was agreed 
upon between the belligerents, which provided that within ten 
days after a prisoner was taken he should be paroled and sent 
home ; and whenever it was announced by either side that a 
certain number was relieved from the parole, a corresponding 
number should be relieved on the other side, and in that way 
the exchange was effected. There were two points of delivery 
of prisoners. One was at Vicksburg. Another was at a point 
near Dutch Gap, in Virginia. And the exchange went on for 
some time, until a series of events occurred which interrupted 
it. To these events I desire to call attention for a moment 
The first in order of time was a proposition which was read 
before the House yesterday, and which I incorporate in my 
remarks, not for the sake of making any personal point, but to 
preserve the continuity of the history. In October, 1862, a reso- 


lution was introduced into the Confederate Senate by Senator 
Hill, of Georgia, — 

" That every person pretending to be a soldier or officer of the United 
States, who shall be captured on the soil of the Confederate States after 
the ist of January, 1863, shall be preiumed to have entered the territory 
of the Confederate States with intent to excite insurrection and to abet 
murder, and that, unless satisfactory proof be adduced to the contrary 
before the military court before which his trial shall be had, he shall suffer 

That was the first step in the complication in regard to the 
exchange of prisoners of war. That resolution appears to have 
borne early fruits. On the 22d of December, 1862, Jefferson 
Davis, the man for whom amnesty is now being asked, issued 
a proclamation, a copy of which I hold in my hand. I read a 
few paragraphs : — 

" First. That all commissioned officers in the command of said Benja- 
min F. Buder be declared not entitled to be considered as soldiers 
engaged in honorable warfare, but as robbers and criminals deserving 
death ; and that they and each of them be, whenever captured, reserved 
for execution." 

" Third. That all negro slaves captured in arms be at once delivered 
over to the executive authorities of the respective States to which they 
belong, to be dealt with according to the laws of said States. 

" Fourth. That the like orders be executed in all cases with respect to 
all commissioned officers of the United States, when found serving in 
company with said slaves in insurrection against the authorities of the 
different States of this Confederacy." 

Two great questions were thus raised: first, that a certain 
class of officers, merely because they served under General But- 
ler, should be declared not entitled to the rights of prisoners of 
war, but should be put to death when taken. These men were 
serving, not Benjamin F. Butler, but the Union. They did not 
choose him as their general. They were assigned to him ; and 
by this proclamation that assignment consigned them to death 
at the hands of their captors. But the second question was still 
more important. It was an order that all men who had been 
slaves, and had enlisted under the flag of the Union, should be 
denied all the rights of soldiers, and when captured should be 
dealt with as runaway slaves under the laws of the States where 
they formerly belonged, and that commissioned officers who 
commanded them were to be denied the rights and privileges of 


prisoners of war. The decision of the Union people everywhere 
was, that, great as was the suffering of our poor soldiers at An- 
dersonville and elsewhere, we would never make an exchange of 
prisoners until the manhood and the rights of our colored sol- 
diers were acknowledged by the belligerent power. And for 
long weary months we stood upon that issue, and most of the 
suffering occurred while we waited for that act of justice to be 
done on the other side. 

To enforce Mr. Davis's proclamation a law was passed by 
the Confederate Congress, reported, doubtless, from the Judi- 
ciary Committee by the gentleman who spoke yesterday, and 
approved May i, 1863, in which the principles of the proclama- 
tion were embodied and expanded. Here are three sections: — 

" Sec. 4. That every white person, being a commissioned officer, or 
acting as such, who, during the present war, shall command negroes or 
mulattoes in arms against the Confederate States, or who shall arm, train, 
organize, or prepare negroes or mulattoes for military service against the 
Confederate States, or who shall voluntarily aid negroes or mulattoes in 
any military enterprise, attack, or conflict in such service, shall be deemed 
as inciting servile insurrection, and shall, if captured, be put to death, or 
be otherwise punished, at the discretion of the court. 

" Sec. 5. Every person, being a commissioned officer, or acting as 
such, in the service of the enemy, who shall during the present war ex- 
cite, attempt to excite, or cause to be excited, a servile insurrection, or 
who shall incite or cause to be incited a slave to rebel, shall, if captured, 
be put to death, or be otherwise punished, at the discretion of the court" 

** Sec. 7. All negroes and mulattoes who shall be engaged in war or 
be taken in arms against the Confederate States, or shall give aid or com- 
fort to the enemies of the Confederate States, shall, when captured in the 
Confederate States, be delivered to the authorities of the State or States 
in which they shall be captured, to be dealt with according to the pres- 
ent or future laws of such State or States." 

"Approved, May i, 1863." 

Now, Mr. Speaker, I am here to say that this position taken 
by the head of the Confederacy, indorsed by his Congress, and 
carried into execution by his officers, was the great primal trou- 
ble in all this business of the exchange of prisoners. There were 
minor troubles, such as claims by both sides that paroles had 
been violated. I think General Halleck reported that a whole 
division of four brigades, Stevenson's division, which had not 
been properly exchanged, fought us at Lookout Mountain; but 


that may have been a mistake. It was one of the points in 
controversy. But the central question was that the govern- 
ment of the United States had committed itself to the doctrine 
that the negro was a man and not a chattel, and that being a 
man he had a right to help us in fighting for the Union ; and 
we would perish rather than that he, being a soldier, should not 
be treated as a soldier. To show that I am not speaking at 
random, I will read from an official report which I hold in my 
hand, a report of the Secretary of War on the difficulty of the 
exchange of prisoners. This paper is dated August 24, 1864. 
I think it is a misprint for 1863; but no matter as to that. 
General Meredith reported : — 

•• To my demand * that all officers commanding negro troops, and 
negro troops themselves, should be treated as other prisoners of war, and 
be exchanged as such,' Mr. Ould declined acceding, remarking that they 
(the Rebels) would * die in the last ditch ' before giving up the right to 

send slaves back to slavery as property recaptured 

" I am. General, very respectfully, your obedient servant, 

** S. A. MEREDrra, 
Brigadier- General and Commissioner for Exchange, 

'Major-Genkral K a. Hitchcock, Commissioner for Exchange of Prisoners, 
Washington, D. C" 

Thus it appears that in the negotiation, as late as the month 
of August, 1863, the refusal of the Rebel authorities to treat the 
negro as a man and a soldier prevented the exchange of pris- 
oners. One other point in that connection, and I will leave this 

I have here a letter, dated March 17, 1863, written by Robert 
Ould, Rebel agent for the exchange of prisoners, and addressed 
to that man of " bad eminence," General Winder, in which Mr. 
Ould, speaking of his arrangement for the exchange of prison- 
ers, says : ** The arrangements that I have made work largely 
in our favor. We get rid of a set of miserable wretches, and 
receive some of the best material I ever saw.*' Now, that single 
line, in a communication between two men, not par nobile fra- 
trum, but par turpe diaboloriimy is proof that the object of the 
atrocities at Andersonville was to make our men useless to us 
on their exchange; and it throws light upon the charge about 
our treatment of prisoners held in the North. 

Now, Mr. Speaker, I return from all this to the direct discus- 
sion of the question touching Jefferson Davis. It seems to 


me incontrovertible, that the records adduced lay at his door 
the charge of being himself the author, the conscious author, 
through his own appointed instrument, of the terrible work at 
Andersonville, for which the American people still hold him 
unfit to be admitted among the legislators of this nation. 

Before I leave that subject, let me say another word on another 
point. J see around me here a large number of gentlemen who 
did not hesitate to take the oath of allegiance to the government 
of the United States, who did not hesitate to ask to be relieved 
of their political disabilities ; and I ask if any one of them, in 
the years that they have served here with us, has ever been 
taunted with the fact that he was thus relieved of disabilities at 
his own request? Can any one of them recall a discourteous 
remark that has ever been made here in debate because he had 
asked and accepted the amnesty of the government? Do you 
want us to say that the remaining seven hundred and fifty need 
not ask what you asked ? Do the honorable gentlemen who are 
here to-day want easier terms for the others than the terms on 
which they themselves came back? 

Mr. Hill. I desire to ask a question for information, for I want the 
facts, and my recollection differs from that of the gentleman fix)m Ohio. 
The act of 1872, granting a partial amnesty to quite a large number, does 
not, as I understand it, make any such requisition as is contained in the 
amendment of the gentleman from Maine. 

The gentleman is right. 

Mr. Hill. It was an unconditional amnesty, like that contained in 
the bill of the gentleman from Pennsylvania. It required no oath or 
anything of the sort. 

Certainly not. 

Mr. Hill. I am very siu-e that it was under that act that I was re- 
lieved. And I never applied for any amnesty at all, but I would not 
have felt it any loss of pride had I done so. 

Certainly not. I remember very well that we relieved a large 
number of soldiers in one act But we did not relieve those 
who, at the time the Rebellion broke out, held offices and com- 
missions under the government, which they had sworn before 
God they would protect and defend, and who afterward went 
into the Rebellion. Those are the people that we have required 
to ask for amnesty. 



BiCr. Hnx. Allow me to call the attention of the gentleman to a 
collection of his statement. The act of Congress of 1872 relieved all 
persons, as I understand it, from disabilities who had been members of 
any State legislature, or had been an executive or judicial officer of any 
State, and relieved all in civil or military service, or who had even been 
in the Congress of the United States, excepting the Thirty-fifth or 
Thirty-sixth Congress. 

The Thirty-sixth and Thirty-seventh Congresses. 

Mr. Hnx. WeU, one or the other. It relieved all those who were 
not in Congress at the time of secession, all members of State legisla- 
tures, all civil and military officers, except the few remaining, some seven 
hundred and fifty. You granted them relief without any condition what- 

The gentleman will observe that those to whom he refers did 
not, at the time the war broke out, hold commissions as United 
States officers. 

Mr. Hill. Yes. 

We excepted from amnesty all those who held in their hands 
a commission from the Federal government, and who had sworn 
to be true to their commission ; and we did this because they 
had added to rebellion — I must use words — the crime of per- 
jury in the eyes of the law. 

• Mr. Tucker. Do I understand the gentleman fix)m Ohio, speaking 
here to-day of kindness to gentlemen on this side of the House, to say 
that any man who held a commission under the United States at the 
time the war broke out, and who went into secession, was guilty of 

I will repeat precisely the measured words I used. I said 
" the crime of perjury in the eyes of the law." In view of the 
fact of flaming war, I do not say those men should be regarded 
as ordinary perjurers; I never said that. But what will the 
gentleman call it? By what other name does the law know it? 
I did not make the dictionary, nor did I make the law. The 
gentleman certainly knows me well enough to know that I am 
incapable of making a reference to any personal matter in this 
discussion. He must see that I am using the word as it is used 
in the law. 

Mr. Tucker. I do not ask to interrupt the gentleman that I may ex- 
cuse myself, but to excuse some of the noblest men that I have ever 
known, and of whom the gentleman might be proud to claim to be a 


VOL. n. 16 


There were some passages in the speech of yesterday which 
make me less reluctant to speak of breaking oaths. The gentle- 
man said : — 

"We charge all our wrongs upon that 'higher-law* fanaticism that 
never kept a pledge nor obeyed a law. The South did seek to leave the 
association of those who, she believed, would not keep fidelity to their cov- 
enants ; the South sought to go to herself; but so far fi*om having lost our 
fidelity for the Constitution which our fathers made, when we sought to 

go we hugged that Constitution to our bosoms and carried it with us 

But to you, gentlemen, who seek still to continue strife, and who, not sat- 
isfied by the sufferings already endured, the blood already shed, the waste 
already committed, insist that we shall be treated as criminals and op- 
pressed as victims only because we defended our convictions, — to you 
we make no concessions. To you, who followed up the war after the 
brave soldiers that fought it had made peace and gone to their homes, — 
to you we have no concessions to offer. Martyrs owe no apologies to 
tyrants." * 

There is a certain sublimity of assumption in this which chal- 
lenges admiration. Why, the very men of whom we are talking, 
who broke their oaths of office to the nation, — when we are 
speaking of relieving them, we are told that they went out 
because we broke the Constitution and would not be bound by 
oaths. Did we break the Constitution? Did we drive them 
out? I invoke the testimony of Alexander H. Stephens, now 
a member of this House, who, standing up in the Secession 
Convention of Georgia, declared that there was no just ground 
for Georgia's going out; declared that the election of a Pres- 
ident according to the Constitution was no justifiable ground 
for secession, and declared that, if under the circumstances the 
South should go out, she would herself be committing a gigan- 
tic wrong, and would call down upon herself the thunders and 
horrors of civil war. Thus spoke Alexander H. Stephens in 
i860. Over against anything that may be said to the contrary, 
I place his testimony that we did not force the South out; that 
they went out against all the protests, and prayers, and humilia- 
tion that a great and proud nation could make without absolute 

Mr. Davis. The gendeman has used a term that touches the honor 
of more men than one in this House and in the South. I desire, there- 
fore, to ask him this question : Whether the war did not result from a dif- 

1 Congressional Record, January 11, 1876^ p. 351. 


ference of views between gentlemen of the North and gentlemen of the 
South with regard to what was the true construction of the Constitution. 
That being so, I desire to ask him further, whether the oath of fidelity to 
the Constitution was best observed by those people of the section which 
he represents, — those of his own party, who declared that there was a 
law higher than the Constitution, and declined to obey that instrument, 
— or by those who observed faithfully their constitutional obligations, and 
who, when raids were made upon them, merely defended themselves, as 
they understand it, from unconstitutional aggression ? 

" I wish to say, further, for myself and for those who are here with me, 
that the Constitution having been amended, — the * higher-law * party 
having incorporated in that instrument the abolition of slavery, and cer- 
tain other features which we have now sworn to support along with the 
rest of the instrument, — if in the future we fail to observe that oath be- 
fore high Heaven, then we may be declared perjured ; then we may be 
declared rebels ; then we may be declared traitors." 

If the gentleman has understood me, he cannot fail to see that 
I have not used the word traitor in any offensive sense, but in 
its plain and ordinary acceptation, as used in the law. We held 
that the United States was a nation, bound together by a bond 
of perpetual union, — a union which no State or any combina- 
tion of States, which no man or any combination of men, had 
the right, under the Constitution, to break. The attempt of the 
South to overthrow the Union was crime against the govern- 
ment, — the crime of rebellion. It can be described by no 
other name. It is so known to the laws of nations. It is so 
described in the decisions of the Supreme Court. The gentle- 
man from North Carolina ^ calls the war on one side a raid. I 
will never consent to call our war for the Union ** a raid," least 
of all a raid upon the rights of any human being. I admit that 
there was a political theory of State rights, — a theory held, 
I have no doubt, by gentlemen like the gentleman from Vir- 
ginia* who spoke a moment ago, — believed in as sincerely as 
I believe the opposite, — which led them to think it was their 
duty to go when their State went. I admit that that greatly 
mitigates what the law calls a violation of an oath. But I will 
never admit — for history gives the lie to the statement in every 
line — that the men who fought for the Union were making a 
" raid " upon the rights of the South. 

Read the Republican platforms of 1856 and of i860. What 
did we contend for in those years? Simply that slavery should 

1 Mr. Davis. « Mr. Tucker. 


not be extended into any territory already free. That was a! 
We forswore any right or purpose on our part in time of pea< 
to touch slavery in any State. We claimed only that in tl 
Territories, the common heritage of all the Union, slavei 
should never travel another inch; and, thank God, it no long< 
pollutes our soil or disgraces our civilization. Now that slaver 
the guilty cause of the Rebellion, is no more, and that, so far 5 
I know, nobody wants it restored, — I do not believe these gei 
tlemen from the South desire its restoration — 

Mr. Hill. We would not have it 

They would not have it, the gentleman from Georgia say 
Then let us thank God that in the fierce flames of war the ii 
stitution of slavery has been consumed ; and let us hope thi 
out of its ashes a better than the fabled Phcenix will arise, - 
a love of the Union high and deep, " As broad and general s 
the casing air," enveloping us all, and that it shall not t 
counted shame for any man who is not still under political di: 
abilities to say, with uplifted hand, " I will be true to it, an 
take the proffered amnesty of the nation." But let us n< 
tender it to be spurned. If it is worth having, it is wort 
asking for. 

And now, Mr. Speaker, I close as I began. Toward thos 
men who gallantly fought us on the field, I cherish the kinde; 
feeling. I feel a sincere reverence for the soldierly qualiti< 
they displayed on many a well-fought battle-field. I hope tl: 
day will come when their swords and ours will be crossed ov< 
many a doorway of our children, who will remember with pric 
the glory of their ancestors. The high qualities displayed i 
that conflict now belong to the whole nation. Let them be coi 
secrated to the Union and its future peace and glory. I sha 
hail that consecration as a pledge and symbol of our perpetuit 
But there was a class of men referred to in the speech of th 
gentleman yesterday for whom I have never yet gained tl 
Christian grace necessary to say the same thing. He said th; 
amid the thunder of battle, through its dun smoke, and abo\ 
its roar, they heard a voice from this side saying, *' Brother 
come back." I do not know whether he meant the sanr 
v*oice, but I heard a voice behind us. I heard that voice, an 
I ^^recoUect that I sent one of those who uttered it through 01 
Jin ^s, — a voice owned by Vallandigham. General Scott sai< 


in the early days of the war, " When this war is over, it will re- 
quire all the physical and moral power of the government to 
restrain the rage and fury of the non-combatants." It was 
that non-combatant voice behind us that cried, " Halloo ! " to 
the other side ; that always gave cheer and encouragement to 
the enemy in our hour of darkness. I have never forgotten 
and have not yet forgiven those Democrats of the North whose 
hearts were not warmed by the grand inspirations of the Union, 
but who stood back finding fault, always crying disaster, rejoi- 
cing at our defeat, never glorying in our victory. If these are 
the voices that the gentleman heard, I am sorry he is now 
united with those who uttered them. But to those most noble 
men. Democrats and Republicans, who together fought for the 
Union, I commend all the lessons of charity that the wisest 
and most beneficent men have taught. I join you all in every 
aspiration that you may express to stay in this Union, to heal 
its wounds, to increase its glory, and to forget the evils and 
bitternesses of the past ; but do not, for the sake of the three 
hundred thousand heroic men who, maimed and bruised, drag 
out their weary lives, many of them carrying in their hearts 
horrible memories of what they suffered in the prison-pen, — 
do not ask us to restore the right to hold power to that man 
who was the cause of their suffering, — that man still unshriven, 
unforgiven, undefended. 



February, 1876. 

IN the autumn of 1862 I spent several weeks with Secre- 
tary Chase, and was permitted to share his studies of the 
financial questions which were then engrossing his attention. 
He was preparing to submit to Congress his matured plans 
for a system of banking and currency to meet the necessities of 
the war, and this subject formed the chief theme of his con- 
versation. He was specially anxious to work out in his own 
mind the probable relations of greenbacks to gold, to the five- 
twenty bonds, to the proposed national bank notes, and to the 
business of the country. One evening the conversation turned 
on some question relating to the laws of motion, and Mr. Chase 
asked for a definition of motion. Some one answered, " Matter 
is inert ; spirit alone can move ; therefore motion is the spirit 
of God made manifest in matter." The Secretary said, " If 
that is a good definition, then legal-tender notes must be the 
Devil made manifest in paper ; for no man can foresee what mis- 
chief they may do when they are once let loose." He gravely 
doubted whether that war-born spirit, summoned to serve us 
in a dreadful emergency, would be mustered out of service with 
honor when the conflict should end, or, at the return of peace, 
would capture public opinion and enslave the nation it had 
served. To what extent his fears were well founded may be 
ascertained by comparing the present state of the public mind 
in regard to the principles of monetary science with that which 
prevailed when our existing financial machinery was set up. 

More than a million votes will be cast at the next Presiden- 
tial election by men who were schoolboys in their primers 
when the great financial measures of 1862 were adopted; and 


they do not realize how fast or how far the public mind has 
drifted. The log-book of this extraordinary voyage cannot be 
read too often. Let it be constantly borne in mind that four- 
teen years ago the American people considered themselves well 
instructed in the leading doctrines of monetary science. They 
had enjoyed, or rather suffered, an extraordinary experience. 
There was hardly an. experiment in banking and currency that 
they or their fathers had not fully tested. 

In the first place, I shall examine the currency doctrines of 

The statesmen of that period, the leadefrs of public thought, 
and the people of all political parties, were substantially unani- 
mous in the opinion that the only safe instrument of exchange 
known among men was standard coin, or paper convertible into 
coin at the will of the holder. I will not affirm that this opinion 
was absolutely unanimous ; for doubtless there was here and 
there a dreamer who looked upon paper money as a sort of 
fetich, and was ready to crown it as a god. There are always 
a few who believe in the quadrature of the circle and per- 
petual motion. I recently met a cultivated American who is a 
firm believer in Buddha, and rejoices in the hope of attaining 
Nirvana beyond the grave. The gods of Greece were dis- 
crowned and disowned by the civilized world a thousand years 
ago; yet within the last generation an eminent English scholar 
attested his love for classical learning and his devotion to the 
Greek mythology by actually sacrificing a bull to Jupiter, in 
the back parlor of his house in London. So, in 1862, there 
may have been followers of William Lowndes and John Law 
among our people, and here and there a philosopher who 
dreamed of an ideal standard of value stripped of all the gross- 
ness of so coarse and vulgar a substance as gold. But they 
dwelt apart in silence, and their opinions made scarce a ripple 
on the current of public thought. 

No one can read the history of that year without observing 
the great reluctance, the apprehension, the positive dread, with 
which the statesmen and people of that day ventured upon the 
experiment of making treasury notes a legal tender for private 
debts. They did it under the pressure of an overmastering 
necessity, to meet the immediate demands of the war, and with 
a most determined purpose to return to the old standard at the 
earliest possible moment. Indeed, the very act that made the 


greenbacks a legal tender provided the effective means for retir- 
ing them. Distressing as was the crisis, urgent as was the need, 
a large nilmber of the best and most patriotic men in Congress 
voted against the act. The ground pf their opposition was well 
expressed by Owen Lovejoy, of Illinois, who, after acknowl- 
edging the unparalleled difficulties and dangers of the situation, 
said, " There is no precipice, there is no chasm, there is no pos- 
sible yawning bottomless gulf before this nation, so terrible, so 
.appalling, so ruinous, as this same bill that is before us." ^ 

Of those who supported the measure, not one defended it as 
a permanent policy. All declared that they did not abate a jot 
of their faith in the soundness of the old doctrines. Thaddeus 
Stevens said : " This bill is a measure of necessity, not of choice. 
No one would willingly issue paper currency not redeemable on 
demand, and make it a legal tender. It is never desirable to 
depart from that circulating medium which, by the common 
consent of civilized nations, forms the' standard of value."* 

In the Senate the legal-tender clause was adopted by only 
five majority. The Senators who supported it were keenly alive 
to its dangerous character. Mr. Fessenden, chairman of the 
Committee on Finance, said, " The bill proposes something 
utterly unknown in this government from its foundation : a re- 
sort to a measure of doubtful constitutionality, to say the least 
of it, which has always been denounced as ruinous to the credit 
of any government which has recourse to it ; .... a measure 
which, when it has been tried by other countries, as it often has 
been, has always proved a disastrous failure." With extreme 
reluctance he supported the bill, but said the committee was 
bound ** that an assurance should be given to the country that 
it was not to be resorted to as 2i policy ; that it was what it pro- 
fesses to be, but a teniporary measure, .... I have not heard 
anybody express a contrary opinion, or, at least, any man who 

has spoken on the subject in Congress All the gentlemen 

pretty much who have written on the subject, except some wild 
speculators in currency, have declared that as a policy it would 
be ruinous to any people ; and it has beat defended^ as I have 
stated, simply and solely upon the ground that it is to be a single 
measure standing by itself , and not to be repeated, .... It is put 
upon the ground oi absolute y overwhelming necessity'' ^ 

1 Congressional Globe, February 6, 1862, p. 691. * Ibid, p. 687. 

» Ibid., February 12, 1862, pp. 763, 764. 



Mr. Sumner, who supported the bill, said : " Surely we must 
all be against paper money, — we must insist upon maintaining 
the integrity of the government, — and we must all set our faces 
against any proposition like the present, except as a temporary 
expedient, rendered imperative by the exigency of the hour. 
.... A remedy which at another moment you would reject is 
now proposed. Whatever may be the national resources, they 
are not now within reach except by summary process. Reluct- 
antly, painfully, I consent that the process should issue. And 
yet I cannot give such a vote without warning the government 
against the dangers from such an experiment. The medicine of 
the Constitution must not become its daily bread." * 

Such was the unanimous sentiment which animated Congress 
in making its solemn pledge to return to the old path as soon 
as the immediate danger should pass. 

The close of the war revealed some change of opinion, but 
the purpose of 1862 was still maintained. December 18, 1865, 
the House of Representatives resolved, " That this House cor- 
dially concurs in the views of the Secretary of the Treasury in 
relation to the necessity of a contraction of the currency, with a 
view to as early a resumption of specie payments as the busi- 
ness interest of the country will permit; and we hereby pledge 
co-operative action to this end as speedily as practicable." 
This resolution was adopted, on a call of the ayes and noes, by 
the decisive vote of one hundred and forty-four to six. 

The last ten years have witnessed such a change of sentiment 
as seldom occurs in one generation. During that time we have 
had a Babel of conflicting theories. Every exploded financial 
dogma of the last two hundred years has been revived and 
advocated. Congresses and political parties have been agitated 
and convulsed by the discussion of old and new schemes to 
escape from the control of the universal laws of value, and to 
reach prosperity and wealth without treading the time-worn 
path of honest industry and solid values. All this recalls Mr. 
Chase's definition of irredeemable paper money. 

The great conflict of opinion resulting from this change of 
sentiment finds expression in the cries of " hard money " and 
•• soft money," which have been so constantly echoed from State 
to State during the last six months. Following these as rally- 
ing-cries, the people are assembled in hostile political camps, 

' Congressional Globe, February 13, 1862, pp. 799, 800. 


from which they will soon march out to fight the Presidentia 
battle of 1876. 

The recently invented term " soft money " does not convey 5 
very precise notion of the doctrine it is intended to describe 
In fact, it is applied to the doctrines of several distinct groupi 
of theorists, who differ widely among themselves, but who al 
agree in opposing a return to specie as the basis of our mone 
tary system. The scope of these opinions will be seen in th< 
declarations which recent public discussions have brought forth 

(i.) Most of the advocates of soft money deny that politica 
economy is a universal science. They insist that each natior 
should have a political economy of its own. In pursuance o 
this opinion, they affirm that our country should have a stan- 
dard of value peculiar to itself, and a circulating medium whicl 
other nations will not use ; in short, a non-exportable currency 
The following quotations will serve as examples. 

W. D. Kelley : — ** Beyond the sea, in foreign lands, it [oui 
greenback currency] fortunately is not money ; but, sir, when 
have we had such an unbroken career of prosperity in business 
as since we adopted this non-exportable currency? " 

Henry C. Baird's motto : — " Money should be a thing, of 01 
belonging to a country, not of the worlc}. An exportable com- 
modity is not fitted to be money." 

B. F. Butler : — "I desire the dollar to be made of such mate- 
rial that it shall never be exported or desirable to carry it out ol 
the country." ^ 

The venerable Henry C. Carey, under date of August 15, 
1875, addressed a long letter to the chairman of the Detroit 
Greenback Convention, in which he argues that this country 
ought to ** maintain permanently a non-exportable circulation." 
He says, " This important idea was first promulgated by Mr, 
Rauget, thirty-six years ago." 

I will quote one other financial authority, which shows that 
the honor of this discovery does not belong to Rauget, nor to 
the present century. In his work entitled, ** Money and Trade 
considered, with a Proposal for Supplying the Nation with 
Money," published in 1705, John Law says: " If a money is 
established that has no intrinsick value, and its extrinsick value 
be such as it will not be exported, nor will not be less than the 
demand for it within the country, wealth and power will be 

^ Speech at Cooper Institute, New York, October 15, 1S75. 


attained, and will be less precarious The paper money 

[herein] proposed being always equal in quantity to the de- 
mand, the people will be employed, the country improved, man- 
ufacture advanced, trade domestic and foreign carried on, and 
wealth and power attained ; and not being liable to be exported, 
the people will not be set idle, etc., and wealth and power will 
be less precarious." ^ The subsequent experiments of Law are 
fitting commentaries. 

(2.) They propose to abandon altogether the use of gold and 
silver as standards of value or instruments of exchange, and 
hold that the stamp of the government, not the value of the 
material on which it is impressed, constitutes money. 

B. F. Butler: — "I want the dollar stamped on some con- 
venient and cheap material, of the least possible intrinsic value, 
.... and I desire that the dollar so issued shall never be re- 

Governor Allen of Ohio: — "A piece of pig-metal is just as 
much money as a piece of gold, until the public authority has 

stamped it, and said that it shall be taken for so much 

Suppose then that, instead of taking a bar of silver or a bar of 
pig-metal, the government of the United States takes a piece of 
paper called a greenback, and says that this shall pass for a legal 
tender in the receipt and expenditure of government dues, and 
in all the transactions of the people. Suppose this government 
to be a government of good standing, of sound credit, and re- 
sponsible for its paper. This dollar thus stamped, instead of 
a piece of metal being stamped, is to all intents and purposes 
equivalent to a silver dollar when it has been made such by 
the government of the United States." ^ 

W. P. Groom : — " The use of gold or other merchandise as 
money is a barbarism unworthy of the age." 

Britton A. Hill: — ** The pretence of redemption in gold and 
silver is of necessity a delusion and an absurdity." 

O. S. Halsted : — ** The government can make money of any 
material, and of any shape and value it pleases." 

(3.) They are not agreed among themselves as to what this 
new soft money shall be. They do agree, however, that the 
national banking system shall be abolished, and that whatever 
currency may be adopted shall be issued directly from the 

* Glasgow, 1750, pp. 191, 192. 

^ Speech at Gallipolis, Ohio, July 21, 1875. 


treasury as the only money of the nation. Three forms are 
proposed : — 

First The legal tenders we now have, their volume to be 
increased and jtheir redemption indefinitely postponed. The 
advocates of this form are the inflationists proper, who care 
more for the volume than the character of the currency. 

Second. " Atfeolute money " ; that is, printed pieces of pa- 
per, called dollars, to be the* only standard of value, the only 
legal tender for all debts, public and private, the only circulat- 
ing medium. The advocates of this kind of " money," though 
few in numbers, claim the highest place as philosophers. The 
ablest defence of this doctrine will be found in a brochure 
published in St. Louis during the present year, in which the 
author says : " If such national legal-tender money is not of 
itself sovereign and absolute, but must be convertible into some 
other substance or thing, before it can command universal cir- 
culation, what matters it whether that other substance or thing 
be interest-bearing bonds or gold or silver coin? .... The 
coin despotism cannot be broken by substituting in its place 
the despotism of interest-bearing bonds." ^ 

Third- A legal-tender note not redeemable, but exchangea- 
ble, at the will of the holder, for a bond of the United States 
bearing 3.65 per cent interest, which bond shall in turn be ex- 
changeable, at the will of the holder, for legal-tender notes. In 
order that this currency shall be wholly emancipated from the 
tyranny and barbarism of gold and silver, most of its advocates 
insist that the interest on the bonds shall be paid in the pro- 
posed paper money. This financial perpetual motion is regard- 
ed as the great discovery of our era, and there are numerous 
claimants for the honor of being the first to discover it. Mr. 
Wallace P. Groom, of New York, has characterized this cur- 
rency in a paragraph which has been so frequently quoted, 
that it may be fairly called their creed. It is in these words: 
** In the interchangeability (at the option of the holder) of na- 
tional paper money with government bonds bearing a fixed rate 
of interest, there is a subtle principle that will regulate the move- 
ments of finance and commerce as accurately as the motion of 
the steam-engine is regulated by its governor. Such PAPER 
Money Tokens would be much nearer perfect measures of 
value than gold or silver ever have been or ever can be. The 

* Absolute MMiey, by Britton A. Hill, p. 53. 


use of gold or other merchandise as money is a barbarism un- 
worthy of the age." 

(4.) The paper-money men are unanimous in the opinion 
that the financial crisis of 1873 was caused by an insufficient 
supply of currency, and that a large increase will stimulate in- 
dustry, restore prosperity, and largely augment the wealth of 
this country. Hon. Alexander Campbell, of Illinois, a leading 
writer of the soft-money school, thinks there should now be in 
circulation not less than $1,290,000,000 of legal-tender notes.^ 
John G. Drew, another prominent writer, insists that, " as Eng- 
land is an old and settled country, and we are just building 
ours," we ought to have at least $60 per capita^ or an aggregate 
of $2,500,000,000.^ 

No doubt, the very large vote in Ohio and Pennsylvania in 
favor of soft money resulted, in great measure, from the de- 
pressed state of industry and trade, and a vague hope that the 
adoption of these doctrines would bring relief The discussion 
in both States was able ; and, toward the close of the campaign, 
it was manifest that sound principles were every day gaining 
ground. Important as was the victory in those States, it is a 
great mistake to suppose that the struggle is ended. The advo- 
cates of soft money are determined and aggressive, and they 
confidently believe they will be able to triumph in 1876. 

It ought to be observed, as an interesting fact of current his- 
tory, that the soft-money men are making and collecting a litera- 
ture which cannot fail to delight the antiquarian and the reader 
of curiosities of literature. They are ransacking old libraries to 
find any 

" Quaint and curious 
Volume of forgotten lore " 

which may give support to their opinions. In a recent pam- 
phlet, Henry Carey Baird refers to Andrew Yarranton as " the 
father of English political economy." The forgotten treatise 
which is now enrolled among the patristic books of the new 
school was published in London in 1677, ^^^ ^s entitled, " Eng- 
land's Improvement by Sea and Land. To outdo the Dutch 
without Fighting, to pay Debts without Moneys, and to set at 
work all the Poor of England with, the Growth of our own 
Lands." The author proposes a public bank, based on the 

1 Northwestern Review, November, 1873. p. 1 52. 

* Our Currency : What it is, and what it should be. 


registered value of houses and lands, *' the credit whereof mak- 
ing paper go in trade equal with ready money, yea better, in 
many parts of the world, than money." He was, perhaps, the 
first Englishman who suggested a currency based on land. On 
pages 30-33 of his book may be found his draft of a proposed 
law, which provides " that all bonds or bills issued on such regis- 
tered houses may be transferable, and shall pass and be good 
from man to man in the nature of bills of exchange." 

The writings of John Law are also finding vigorous defenders. 
Britton A. Hill, in the pamphlet already quoted, devotes a chap- 
ter to his memory, compares him favorably with Leibnitz and 
Newton, and says, " John Law is justly regarded as one of the 
most profound thinkers of his age, in that he originated the first 
fundamental principle of this proposed absolute money." The 
admirers of " father " Yarranton should see to it that the outdoer 
of the Dutch is not robbed of his honors by the great Scotsman. 

English history is being hunted through to find some comfort 
for the new doctrines in the writings of that small minority who 
resisted the Bullion Report of 18 10, and the resumption of cash 
payments in 1819, and continued to denounce them afterwards. 
History must be rewritten. We must learn that Mathias Att- 
wood (who?), not Lord Liverpool, Huskisson, or Peel, was the 
fountain of financial wisdom. Doubleday, whom no English 
writer has thought it worth while to answer, is much quoted by 
the new school, and they have lately come to feel the profound- 
est respect for Sir Archibald Alison, because of his extravagant 
assault upon the Resumption Act of 18 19. Alison holds a place 
in English literature chiefly because he wrote a work which 
fills a gap in English history not otherwise filled. In 1846 he 
wrote a pamphlet entitled, " England in 181 5 and 1845; or, a 
Sufficient and a Contracted Currency," which the subsequent 
financial and commercial events in his country have so fully 
refuted, that it has slept for a generation in the limbo of things 
forgotten. It is now unearthed, and finds an honored place in 
the new literature. As a specimen of Alison's financial wisdom, 
I quote the following: "The eighteen years of war from 1797 
to 181 5 were, as all the world knows, the most glorious, and, 
taken as a whole, the most prosperous, that Great Britain had 

ever known Never has a prosperity so universal and 

unheard of pervaded every department of the empire." He 
then enumerates the evidences of this prosperity, and prominent 



among them is this : '* While the revenue raised by taxation 
was but ;^2 1, 000,000 in 1796, it had reached £72/^00,000 in 
1815; the total expenditures from taxes and loans had reached 
;C 1 17,000,000."* Happy people, whose burdens of taxation 
were quadrupled in eighteen years, and whose expenses, con- 
sumed in war, exceeded their revenues by the sum of $225,000,000 
in gold ! 

The inflationists have not been so fortunate in augmenting 
their literary store from the writings and speeches of our early 
American statesmen. Still, they have made vigorous efforts to 
draft into their service any isolated paragraph that can be made 
useful for their purpose. So far as I have seen, they have found 
no comfort in this search except in very short extracts from 
three of the great leaders of public thought. 

The first is from a juvenile essay in defence of paper money, 
written by Benjamin Franklin in 1 729, when he was twenty-two 
years of age. This has been frequently quoted during the last 
four years. They are not so fond of quoting Franklin the 
statesman and philosopher, who after a life-long experience 
wrote, in 1783, these memorable words: "I lament with you 
the many mischiefs, the injustice, the corruption of manners, 
etc., that attended a depreciated currency. It is some conso- 
lation to me that I washed my hands of that evil by predicting 
it in Congress, and proposing means that would have been 
effectual to prevent it if they had been adopted. Subsequent 
operations that I have executed demonstrate that my plan was 
practicable; but it was unfortunately rejected." ^ 

A serious attempt has been made to capture Thomas Jeffer- 
son, and bring him into the service. The following passage 
from one of his letters to John VV. Eppes has been paraded 
through this discussion with all the emphasis of italics, thus : 
** Bank paper must be suppressed^ afid the circulating medium 
must be restored to the nation, to whom it belongs. It is the only 
fund on which they can rely for loans ; it is the only resource 
which can never fail them, and it is an abundant one for every 
necessary purpose. Treasury bills bottomed on taxes, bearing or 
not bearing interest, as may be found necessary, thrown into cir- 
culation, will take the place of so much gold and silver, which 
last, when crowded, will find an efflux into other countries, and 
thus keep the quantum of medium at its salutary level." ^ 

1 Pages 2, 3. 2 V/orks, Vol. X. p. 9. » Works, Vol. VI. p. 19^ 


This passage was quoted as a strong point for the soft-monej 
men in their campaign documents in Ohio, last fall. They di( 
not find it convenient to quote the great Virginian more fully 
When this letter was written, the United States was at war witl 
England, with no friendly nation from whom to obtain loans 
The demand for revenue was urgent, and the treasury wa 
empty. Mr. Jefferson had long been opposed to the Stat( 
banks, and he saw that by suppressing them and issuing treas 
ury notes, with or without interest, the government could ac 
complish two things : destroy State bank currency, and obtaii 
a forced loan, in the form of circulating notes. In enforcing 
this view, he wrote from Monticello to Mr. Eppes, June 24 
1813: — 

'' I am sorry to see our loans begin at so exorbitant an interest An( 
yet, even at that, you will soon be at the bottom of the loan-bag. W< 

are an agricultural nation In such a nation there is one and on< 

only resource for loans, sufficient to carry them through the expense of i 
war ; and that will always be sufficient, and in the power of an hones 
government, punctual in the preservation of its faith. The fond I meai 
is the mass of circulating coin. Every one knows that, although not lit 
erally, it is nearly true that every paper dollar emitted banishes a sihre 
one from the circulation. A nation, therefore, making its purchases an( 
payments with bills fitted for circulation, thrusts an equal sum of coii 
out of circulation. This is equivalent to borrowing that sum ; and ye 
the vendor, receiving payment in a medium as effectual as coin for hi 

purchases or payments, has no claim to interest In this way I an 

not without a hope that this great, this sole resource for loans in ai 
agricultural country might yet be recovered for the use of the natioi 
during war ; and, if obtained in perpetuum^ it would always be sufficien 
to carry us through any war, provided that in the interval between wa 
and war all the outstanding paper should be called in, coin be permitte< 
to flow in again, and to hold the field of circuktion until another wa 
should require its yielding place again to the national medium." * 

From this it appears that Jefferson favored the issue of treas- 
ury notes to help us through a war ; but he insisted that the) 
should be wholly retired on the return of peace. His thre< 
long letters to Eppes are full of powerful and eloquent denun 
ciations of paper money. The soft-money men appeal to Jef 
ferson. We answer them in his own words : " The truth is 
that capital may be produced by industry, and accumulated 

1 Works, Vol. VI. pp. 139, 141. 


by economy; but jugglers only will propose to create it by 
legerdemain tricks with paper." ^ 

Their third attempt to elect some eminent statesman as an 
honorary member of the new school affords a striking illustra- 
tion of a method too often adopted in our politics. It was very 
confidently stated by several advocates of soft money that John 
C. Calhoun had suggested that a paper money, issued directly 
by the government and made receivable for all public dues, 
would be as good a currency as gold and silver. Mr. Hill 
finally claimed Calhoun's authority in support of his absolute 
money, and printed a passage from a speech of Calhoun's.^ 
This extract was used in the Ohio campaign of 1875 with much 
effect, until it was shown that there had been omitted from the 
passage quoted these important words : " leaving its creditors 
to take it [treasury-note circulation] or gold and silver at their 
option^ After this exposure, the great NuUifier was left out of 
the canvass. 

Thus far I have attempted no more than to exhibit the state 
of public opinion in regard to the currency in 1861-^2, the 
changes that have since occurred, and the leading doctrines 
now held by the soft-money men. Most of these dogmas are 
old, and have long ago been exploded. All are directly op- 
posed to principles as well established as the theorems of 
Euclid. Believing that this generation of Americans is not 
willing to ignore all past experience, and to decide so great an 
issue as though it were now raised for the first time, I shall 
attempt to state, in brief compass, the grounds on which the 
doctrine of hard money rests. 

Hard money is not to be understood as implying a currency 
consisting of coin alone, (though many have held, with Benton, 
that no other is safe,) but that coin of ascertained weight and 
fineness, duly stamped and authenticated by the government, is 
the only safe standard of money ; and that no form of credit 
currency is safe unless it be convertible into coin at the will of 
the holder. 

As preliminary to this discussion, it is necessary to determine 
the functions which money performs as an instrument of ex- 
change. As barter was the oldest form of exchange, so it was 
and still is the ultimate object and result of all exchanges. For 
example : I wish to exchange my commodities or services for 

^ Works, Vol. VI. p. 241. 2 See pp. 56, 57 of his pamphlet. 

VOL. II. 17 


commodities or services of a different kind. I find no one at 
hand who has what I want, and wants what I have. I therefore 
exchange, or, as we say, sell, my commodities for money, 
which I hold until I find some one who wishes to sell what I 
want to buy. I then make the purchase. The two transactions 
have, in fact, resulted in a barter. It amounts to the same 
thing as though, at the start, I had found a man who wanted 
my commodities, and was willing to give me in exchange the 
commodities I desired. By a sale and a purchase I have ac- 
complished my object. Money was the instrument by which 
the transactions were made. The great French economist, 
J. B. Say, has justly described a sale as half a barter, for we see, 
in the case above stated, that two sales were equivalent, in effect, 
to one act of simple barter. But some time may elapse between 
my sale and the subsequent purchase. How are my rights of 
property secured during the interval? That which I sold carried 
its value in itself as an exchangeable commodity ; when I had 
exchanged it for money, and was waiting to make my purchase, 
the security for my property rested wholly in the money result- 
ing from the sale. If that money be a perfect instrument of 
exchange, it must not only be the lawful measure of that which 
I sold, but it must, of itself, be the actual equivalent in value. 
If its value depends upon the arbitrary acts of government or 
of individuals, the results of my transaction depend not upon 
the value of that which I sold nor of that which I bought, nor 
upon my prudence and skill, but upon an element wholly be- 
yond my control, — a medium of exchange which varies in 
value from day to day. 

Such being the nature of exchanges, we should expect to find 
that, so soon as man begins to emerge from the most primitive 
condition of society and the narrowest circle of family life, he 
will seek a measure and an instrument of exchange among his 
first necessities. And in fact it is a matter of history that, in the 
hunting state, skins were used as money, because they were the 
product of chief value. In the pastoral state, — the next advance 
in civilization, — sheep and cattle, being the most valuable and 
negotiable form of property, were used as money. This ap- 
pears in the earliest literature. In the Homeric poems oxen 
are repeatedly mentioned as the standard by which wealth was 
measured. The arms of Diomed are declared to be worth nine 
oxen, and those of Glaucus to be worth one hundred. In the 


twenty-third book of the Iliad, a tripod, the first prize for 
wrestlers, is valued at twelve oxen, and a woman captive skilled 
in industry at four.^ In many languages the name for money 
is identical with that for some kind of cattle. Even our word 
"fee" is said to be the Anglo-Saxon "feoh," meaning both 
money and cattle. Sir H. S. Maine, speaking of the primitive 
state of society, says that kine, being counted by the head, 
were called capitaU^ whence the economic term capital^ the law 
term chattel^ and our common name cattle? In the agricultural 
and manufacturing stage of civilization, many forms of vege- 
table and manufactured products were used as money, such as 
com, wheat, tobacco, cacao nuts, cubes of tea, colored feathers, 
shells, nails, etc * 

All these species of wealth were made instruments of ex- 
change, because they were easily transferable, and their value 
was the best known and least fluctuating. But the use of each 
as money was not universal; in fact, was but little known 
beyond tiie bounds of a single nation. Most of them were non- 
exportable ; and though that fact would have commended them 
to the favor of some of our modern economists, yet the mass of 
mankind have entertained a different opinion, and have sought 
to find a medium whose value and fltness to be used as money 
would be universally acknowledged. 

It is not possible to ascertain when and by whom the pre- 
cious metals were first adopted as money ; but for more than 
three thousand years they have been acknowledged as the forms 
of material wealth best fitted to be the measure and instrument 
of exchange. Each nation and tribe, as it has emerged from 
barbarism, has abandoned its local, non-exportable medium, 
and adopted what is justly called " the money of the world." 
Coinage was a later device, employed for the sole purpose of 
fashioning into a convenient shape the metal to be used as 
money, and of ascertaining and certifying officially the weight 
and fineness of each piece. And here has arisen the chief error 
in reference to the nature of money. Because the government 
coins it, names its denominations, and declares its value, many 
have been led to imagine that the government creates it, — that 
its value is a gift of the law. 

The analogy of other standards will aid us at this point. Our 
Constitution empowers Congress to fix the standard of weights 

^ JcYons's Money and the Mechanism of Exchange, p. 21. * Ibid., p. 23. 


and measures, as well as of values. But Congress cannot cre- 
ate extension, or weight, or value. It can measure that which 
has extension, it can weigh that which is ponderable, it can 
declare, and subdivide, and name a standard; but it cannot 
make length of that which has no length, it cannot make weight 
of that which is imponderable, it cannot make value of that 
which has no value. Ex nihilo nihil fit. The power of Con- 
gress to make anything it pleases receivable for taxes is a 
matter wholly distinct from the subject now under discussion. 
Legislation cannot make that a measure of value which neither 
possesses nor represents any definitely ascertained value. 

Now apply to the operations of exchange a given coin, whose 
weight and fineness &re certified by public authority. We can- 
not do this better than by borrowing the language of Frederic 
Bastiat, found in his Maudit Argent: — 

" You have a crown. What does it signify in your hands? It is the 
testimony and the proof that you have at some time performed a work ; 
and, instead of profiting by it yourself, you have allowed the community 
to enjoy it in the person of your client. This crown is the evidence that 
you have rendered a service to society ; and it states the value of that 
service. Moreover, it is the evidence that you have not drawn fiom the 
community the real equivalent, as was your right. In order to enable 
you to exercise that right when and as you please, society, by the hand 
of your client, has given you a recognition^ a title, a bond of the common- 
wealth, a toketiy in short a crown, which differs from other fiduciary 
titles only in this, that it carries its value in itself; and if you can read 
with the eyes of the mind the inscription which it bears, you will dis- 
tinctly decipher these words : ' Render to the bearer a service equivalent 
to that which he has rendered to society; a value received, stated, proved, 
and measured by that which is in me* .... If you now give that crown 
to me as the price of a service, this is the result : your account with so- 
ciety for real services is found regular, is balanced and closed, .... 
and I am justly in the position where you were before." * 

Edmund Burke expressed the same opinion when he said, 
" Gold and silver are the two great, recognized species that rep- 
resent the lasting conventional credit of mankind." 

Three thousand years of experience have proved that the 
precious metals are the best materials of which to make the 
standard of value, the instrument of exchange. They are them- 
selves a store of value ; they are durable, divisible, easily trans- 

1 CEuvres Completes, etc., (Paris, 1854,) Vol. V. pp. 80^ 81. 


ported, and more constant in value than any other known 
substances. In the form of dust and bars, as merchandise, 
their value is precisely equal to their declared value as money, 
less the very small cost of coinage. Coin made of these metals 
measures wealth, because it represents wealth in itself, just as 
the yardstick measures length, and the standard pound meas- 
ures weight, because each has in itself that which it measures. 

Again, the precious metals are products of labor, and their 
value, like that of all other merchandise, depends upon the cost 
of production. A coin represents and measures the labor re- 
quired to produce it ; it may be called an embodiment of labor. 
Of course, this statement refers to the average cost of produc- 
tion throughout the world, and that average has varied but little 
for many centuries. It is a flat absurdity to assert that such a 
reality as labor can be measured and really represented by that 
which costs little or no labor. For these reasons the precious 
metals have been adopted by the common law of the world as 
the best materials in which to embody the unit of money. 

The oldest and perhaps the most dangerous delusion, in ref- 
erence to money, is the notion that it is a creation of law ; that 
its value can be fixed and maintained by authority. Yet no 
error has been more frequently refuted by experience. Every 
debasement of the coin, and every attempt to force its circula- 
tion at a higher rate than the market value of the metal it con- 
tains, has been punished by the inevitable disasters that always 
follow the violation of economic laws. The great Parliamentary 
debate of 1695, on the recoinage of English money, affords an 
absolute demonstration of the truth, that legislatures cannot re- 
peal the laws of value. Mr. Lowndes, the Secretary of the Treas- 
ury, though he held that a debasement of the coinage should 
be rejected as " dangerous and dishonorable," really believed, 
as did a large number of members of Parliament, that, if by 
law they raised the name of the coin, they would raise its value 
as money. As Macaulay puts it, — 

" Lowndes was not in the least aware that a piece of metal with the 
king's head on it was a commodity of which the price was governed by 
the same laws which govern the price of a piece of metal fashioned into 
a spoon or a buckle ; and that it was no more in the power of Parlia- 
ment to make the kingdom richer by calling a crown a pound, than to 
make the kingdom larger by calling a furlong a mile. He seriously be- 
lieved, incredible as it may seem, that if the ounce of silver were divided 


into seven shillings instead of five, foreign nations would sell us 
wines and their silks for a smaller number of ounces. He had a 
siderable following, composed partly of dull men who really be) 
what he told them, and partly of shrewd men who were perfectly v 
to be authorized by law to pay a hundred pounds with eighty." ^ 

It was this debate that called forth those masterly essa 
John Locke on the nature of money and coin, which stil 
main as a monument to his genius, and an unanswerable < 
onstration that money obeys the laws of value, and is no 
creature of arbitrary edicts. At the same time, Sir Isaac 1 
ton was called from those sublime discoveries in science v 
made his name immortal, to aid the King and Parliame 
ascertaining the true basis of money. After the most thor« 
examination, this great thinker reached the same conclus 
The genius of these two men, aided by the enlightened st 
manship of Montague and Somers, gave the victory to h< 
money, and preserved the commercial honor of England 

In discussing the use of paper as a representative of a 
money, we enter a new field of political science, namely 
general theory of credit. We shall go astray at once if w 
to perceive the character of this element. Credit is not ca; 
It is the permission given to one man to use the capit 
another. It is not an increase of capital ; for the same proj 
cannot be used as capital by both the owner and the borr 
of it, at the same time. But credit, if not abused, is a j 
and beneficent power. By its use the productiveness of ca 
is greatly increased. A large amount of capital is owne* 
people who do not desire to employ it in the actual produ 
of wealth. There are many others who are ready and w; 
to engage in productive enterprise, but have not the necei 
capital. Now, if the owners of unemployed capital have 
fidence in the honesty and skill of the latter class, they 
their capital at a fair rate of interest, and thus the produ' 
of wealth is greatly increased. Frequently, however, the ' 
tal loaned is not actually transferred to the borrower, b 
written evidence of his title to it is given instead. If this ti 
transferable, it may be used as a substitute for money ; for, w 
certain limits, it has the same purchasing power. When 1 

1 History of England, Vol. IV. p. 503. 

* See Macaulay's History, Vol. IV. pp. 493-512. 


evidences of credit are in the form of checks and drafts, bills of 
exchange and promissory notes, they are largely used as substi- 
tutes for money, and very greatly facilitate exchanges. But all 
are based upon confidence, upon the belief that they represent 
truly what they profess to represent, — actual capital, measured 
by real money, to be delivered on demand. 

These evidences of credit have become, in modern times, the 
chief instruments of exchange. The bank has become as indis- 
pensable to the exchange of values as the railroad is to the 
transportation of merchandise. It is the institution of credit 
by means of which these various substitutes for money are 
made available. It has been shown that not less than ninety 
per cent of all the exchanges in the United States are accom- 
plished by means of bank credits. The per cent in England is 
not less than ninety-five. Money is now the small change of 
commerce. It is perhaps owing to this fact, that many are so 
dazzled by the brilliant achievements of credit as to forget that 
it is the shadow of capital, not its substance ; that it is the sign, 
the brilliant sign, but not the thing signified. Let it be con- 
stantly borne in mind that the check, the draft, the bill of ex- 
change, the promissory note, are all evidences of debt, of money 
to be paid. If not, they are fictitious and fraudulent If the 
real capital on which they are based be destroyed, they fall with 
it, and become utterly worthless. If confidence in their prompt 
payment be impaired, they immediately depreciate in propor- 
tion to the distrust. 

We have mentioned among these instruments of credit the 
promissory note. Its character as an evidence of debt is not 
changed when it comes to us illuminated by the art and mys- 
tery of plate-printing. Name it national bank note, greenback. 
Bank of England note, or what you will, — let it be signed by 
banker, president, or king, — it is none the less an evidence of 
debt, a promise to pay. It is not money, and no power on 
earth can make it money. But it is a title to money, a deed for 
money, and can be made equal to money only when the debtor 
performs the promise, delivers the property which the deed 
calls for, pays the debt. When that is done, and when the 
community knows, by actual test, that it will continue to be 
done, then, and not till then, this credit currency will in fact be 
the honest equivalent of money. Then it will, in large measure, 
be used in preference to coin, because of its greater conve- 


nience, and because the cost of issuing new notes in place 
those which are worn and mutilated is much less than the Ic 
which the community suffers by abrasion of the coin. To t 
extent, therefore, that paper will circulate in place of coin, as 
substitute and an equivalent, such circulation is safe, convenie 
and economical. And what is the limit of such safe circulatio 
Economic science has demonstrated, and the uniform expe 
ence of nations has proved, that the term which marks that lim 
the sole and supreme test of safety, is the exchangeability 
such paper for coin, dollar for dollar, at the will of the hold 
The smallest increase in volume beyond that limit produc 
depreciation in the value of each paper dollar. It now requh 
more of such depreciated dollars to purchase a given quanti 
of gold or of merchandise than it did before depreciation bege 
In other words, prices rise in comparison with such currenc 
The fact that it is made a legal tender for taxes and privs 
debts does not free it from the inexorable law that increase 
volume decreases the value of every part. 

It is equally true that an increase of the precious meta 
coined or uncoined, decreases their value in comparison wi 
other commodities ; but these metals are of such universal ci 
rency, on account of their intrinsic value, that they flow to 
parts of the civilized world, and the increase is so widely d 
tributed that it produces but a small increase of prices in a; 
one country. Not so with an inconvertible paper money. It 
not of universal currency. It is national, not international, 
is non-exportable. The whole effect of its depreciation is f 
at home. The level of Salt Lake has risen ten feet during t 
last thirty years, because it has no outlet. But all the floods 
the world have made no perceptible change in the general le\ 
of the sea. 

The character of inconvertible paper money, the relation 
its quantity to its value, and its inevitable depreciation by 
increase of volume, were demonstrated in the Bullion Report 
l8io by facts and arguments whose force and conclusivenc 
have never been shaken. In the great debate that followed. 
Parliament and through the press, may be found the countc 
part of almost every doctrine and argument which has be 
advanced in our own country since the suspension of spec 
payments. Then, as now, there were statesmen, doctrinain 
and business men, who insisted that the bank-notes were n 


depreciated, but that gold had risen in value ; who denied that 
gold coin was any longer the standard of value, and declared 
that a bank-note was " abstract currency." Castlereagh an- 
nounced, in the House of Commons, that the money standard 
was " a sense of value, in reference to currency as cofnpared with 
commodities*^ Another soft-money man of that day said : " The 
standard is neither gold nor silver, but something set up in the 
imagination, to be regulated by public opinion^ Though the 
doctrines of the Bullion Report were at first voted down in Par- 
liament, they could not be suppressed. With the dogged per- 
sistency which characterizes our British neighbors, the debate 
was kept up for ten years. Every proposition and counter 
proposition was sifted, the intelligence and conscience of the 
nation were invoked; the soft-money men were driven from 
every position they occupied in 1811, and at last the ancient 
standard was restored. When the Bank redeemed its notes, the 
difference between the mint price and the market price of bul- 
lion disappeared, and the volume of paper money was reduced 
in the ratio of its former depreciation. During the last half- 
century few Englishmen have risked their reputation for intelli- 
gence by denying the doctrines thus established. 

These lessons of history cannot be wholly forgotten. It is 
too late to set up again the doctrines of Lowndes and Vansit- 
tart They may disturb and distract public opinion, but can 
never again triumph before an intelligent tribunal. I commend 
to the soft-money men of our time the study of this great de- 
bate, and that of 1695. When they have overturned the doc- 
trines of Locke and Newton, and of the Bullion Report, it will 
be time for them to invite us to follow their new theories. 

But we need not go abroad to obtain illustrations of the truth 
that the only cure for depreciation of the currency is converti- 
bility into coin. Our American Colonics, our Continental Con- 
gress, and our State and national governments, have demon- 
strated its truth by repeated and calamitous experiments. The 
fathers who drafted our Constitution believed they had " shut 
and bolted the door against irredeemable paper money " ; and 
since then no President, no Secretary of the Treasury, has pro- 
posed or sanctioned a paper currency, in time of peace, not re- 
deemable in coin at the will of the holder. Search our records 
from 1787 to 1 86 1, and select from any decade twenty of our 
most illustrious statesmen, and it will be found that not less than 


nineteen of them have left on record, in the most energc 
language, their solemn protest and warning against the v< 
doctrines we are opposing. 

The limits of this article will allow only the briefest sta 
ment of the evils that flow from a depreciated currency, — ei 
both to the government and to the people, which overbalan 
a thousand to one, all its real or supposed benefits. The wc 
** dollar " is the substantive word, the fundamental condition, 
every contract, of every sale, of every payment, whether at t 
treasury or at the stand of the apple- woman in the street. T 
dollar is the gauge that measures every blow of the hamm 
every article of merchandise, every exchange of proper 
Forced by the necessities of war, we substituted for this dol 
the printed promise of the government to pay a dollar. TI 
promise we have not kept. We have suspended payment, a 
have compelled the citizen to receive dishonored paper in pla 
of money. The representative value of that paper has pass< 
by thousands of fluctuations, from one hundred cents down 
thirty-eight, and back again to ninety. At every change m 
lions of men have suffered loss. In the midst of war, with risii 
prices and enormous gains, these losses were tolerable. B 
now, when we are slowly and painfully making our way back 
the level of peace, now when the pressure of hard times is up( 
us, and industry and trade depend for their gains upon smj 
margins of profit, the uncertainty is an intolerable evil. Th 
uncertainty is increased by doubts as to what Congress will d 
Men hesitate to invest their capital in business, when a vote 
Congress may shrink it by half its value. Still more strikir 
are the evils of such a currency in its effects upon internation 
commerce. Our purchases from and sales to foreign natioi 
amount in the aggregate to $1,200,000,000 per annum, evei 
dollar of which is measured in coin. Those who export 01 
products buy with paper and sell for gold. Our importers bu 
with gold and sell for paper. Thus the aggregate value of 01 
international exchanges is measured, successively, by the tw 
standards. The loss occasioned by the fluctuation of thes 
currencies in reference to each other falls wholly on us. W 
alone use paper as a standard. And who among us bears th 
loss? The importer, knowing the risk he runs, adds to h 
prices a sufficient percentage to insure himself against los: 
This addition is charged over from importer to jobber, fror 


jobber to retailer, until its dead weight falls at last upon the 
laborer who consumes the goods. In the same way^ the ex- 
porter insures himself against loss by marking down the prices 
he will pay for products to be sent abroad. In all such trans- 
actions capital is usually able to take care of itself. The la- 
borer has but one commodity for sale, his day's work. It is 
his sole reliance. He must sell it to-day, or it is lost forever. 
What he buys must be bought to-day. He cannot wait till 
prices fall. He is at the mercy of the market. Buying or sell- 
ing, the waves of its fluctuations beat against him. Daniel 
Webster never uttered a more striking truth than when he said: 
" Of all the contrivances for cheating the laboring classes of 
mankind, none has been more effectual than that which deludes 
them with paper money. This is the most effectual of inven- 
tions to fertilize the rich man's field by the sweat of the poor 
man's brow." 

But here we are met by the interconvertible-bond-and-cur- 
rency men, who offer to emancipate us from the tyranny of gold 
and secure a more perfect standard than coin has ever been. 
Let us see. Our five per cent bonds are now on a par with 
gold. Any actuary will testify that in the same market a 3.65 
bond, payable, principal and interest, in gold, and having the 
same time to run, is worth but seventy-five cents in gold ; that 
is, thirteen cents less than the present greenback. How much 
less the bond will be worth if its interest be made payable in the 
proposed interconvertible currency, no mortal can calculate. It 
is proposed, then, to make the new currency equivalent to a 
bond which, at its birth, is thirteen cents below the greenback 
of to-day. We are to take a long leap downward at the first 
bound. But " interconvertibility " is the charm, the ** subtle 
principle,** the great " regulator of finance," which will adjust 
everything. The alternate ebb and flow of bond into paper 
dollar, and paper dollar into bond, will preserve an equilibrium, 
an equipoise; and this equipoise is the base line from which 
to measure the new standard of value. The lad who sold his 
two-dollar dog for fifty dollars, and took his pay in pups at ten 
dollars each, never doubted that he had made a profit of forty- 
eight dollars until he found how small a sum the whole litter 
would sell for in the market. 

Undoubtedly the beam will lie level that is weighted with the 
bond at one end and the paper money at the other. But what 


will be the relation of that level to the level of real values 
Both the bond and the currency are instruments of credit, evi 
dences of debt. They cannot escape the dominion of those uni 
versal laws that regulate prices. If made by law the only lega 
tender, such a currency would doubtless occupy the field. Bu 
what would be the result? To a certain extent the bonds them 
selves would be used as currency. The clearing-house bank 
of New York would doubtless be glad to get interest-bearing 
bonds instead of the government certificates of indebtedness 
bearing no interest, which for convenience they now use ir 
the settlement of their 'balances. The reserves of public anc 
private banks, which now amount to more than $200,000,000 
would largely be held in these interest-bearing bonds. Thu< 
the first step would result in compelling the government to pa> 
interest on a large portion of the reserves of all the banks, pub- 
lic and private. It will hardly be claimed, however, that any- 
body will part with his property for bonds of this description, 
to hold as a permanent investment. Capital in this country is 
worth more than 3.65 per cent How then will the new cur- 
rency be set afloat? The treasury can pay it out only in ex- 
change for the new bonds, or in payment of public dues. Shall 
we violate public faith by paying the gold bonds already out- 
standing in this, new and greatly depreciated paper? Or shall 
we, as some of the soft-money men have proposed, enter upon 
a vast system of public works in order to put the new currency 
in circulation? No doubt means would be found to push it into 
circulation, so long as enterprise or speculation should offer a 
hope of greater profits than 3.65 per cent. Once out, it would 
inevitably prove a repetition of the old story : an artificial stimu- 
lation of business and of speculation ; large issues of currency ; 
inflation of prices, depreciation of paper, delirium, prostration ; 
" up like a rocket, then down like a stick." They tell us that this 
cannot happen, because, as the volume of paper increases, the 
rate of interest will fall, and when it reaches 3.65 per cent the 
currency will be exchanged for bonds. But all experience is 
against them. Inflation has never brought down the rate of 
interest. In fact, the rate is always highest in countries afflicted 
with irredeemable paper money. For all practical purposes, the 
proposed currency would be unredeemed and irredeemable; and 
this is what its advocates desire. General Butler sees " no more 
reason for redeeming the measure of value than for redeeming 



the yardstick or the quart pot." This shows the utmost confu- 
sion of ideas. We do not redeem the yardstick or the quart pot. 
They are, in reality, what they profess to be. There is nothing 
better for measuring yards than a yardstick. But, in regard to 
the yardstick, we do what is strictly analogous to redemption 
when applied to currency. We preserve our yardstick undi- 
minished and unchanged ; and, by the solemn sanction of penal 
law, we require that it shall be applied to the purchase and sale 
of all commodities that can be measured by the standard of 
length. The citizen who buys by a longer yardstick or sells by 
a shorter one than our standard, is punished as a felon. Com- 
mon honesty requires that we restore, and with equal care pre- 
serve from diminution or change, our standard of value. 

It has been already shown that the soft-money men desire a 
vast increase of currency above the present volume. The as- 
sumed necessity for such an increase was a leading topic in the 
debates that preceded the late elections. The argument, often 
repeated, ran substantially thus : — 

" Fellow-citizens, you are in great distress. The smoke of your fur- 
naces no longer ascends to the sky ; the clang of your mills and work- 
shops is no longer heard. Your workers in metal and miners in coal are 
out of employment. Stagnation of trade, depression of business, and 
public distress are seen on every hand. What has caused these disas- 
ters? Manifestly, a lack of money. Is there any man among you who 
has money enough ? If there be let him stand forth and declare it. Is 
there one who does not need more money to carry on his business? 
[Cries of No ! No !] The hard-money men have brought you to this 
distress, by contracting the volume of the currency, by destroying the 
people's money, your money. And they propose to complete your ruin 
by forcing the country to resume specie payments. We come to save 
you from this ruin. We insist that you shall have more money, not less. 
We are resolved to make and keep the volume of currency * equal to the 
wants of trade.* " 

These assumptions were answered by undeniable facts. It 
was shown that our large volume of paper currency had helped 
to bring on the crisis of 1873, and had greatly aggravated its 
effects; but that the main cause was speculation, overtrading, 
and, in some branches of business, a production beyond the 
demands of the market. A striking illustration of the effect of 
over-production was drawn from the history of one of the in- 
terior counties of Northern Ohio. 


In the midst of a wilderness, far away from the centres of 
trade, the pioneers commenced the settlement of the county at 
the beginning of the present centur}'. Year by year their num- 
ber was augmented. Each new settler was compelled to buy 
provisions for Ms family until he could raise his first crop. For 
several years this demand afforded a ready market, at good 
prices, for all the products of the farm. But in 1818 the supply 
greatly exceeded the demand. The wheat market was so glut- 
ted that twenty bushels were frequently offered for one pound 
of tea, and often refused, because tea could be bought only for 
money, and wheat could hardly be sold at all. If the soft-money 
men of our time had been among those farmers, they would 
have insisted that more money would raise the price of their 
wheat and set the ploughboys at work. But the pioneers knew 
that, until the stock on hand was reduced, the production of 
another bushel to be sold would be labor wasted. The cry 
for more currency shows that soft-money men confound credit 
with capital, and that they vaguely imagine that if more paper 
dollars were printed they could be borrowed without security. 

In whatever form the new currency be proposed, whether in 
the so-called absolute money or in the ** interconvertible paper 
money tokens," as a relief from distress it is a delusion and a 
snare. All these schemes are reckless attempts to cut loose 
from real money, — the money known and recognized through- 
out the world, — and to adopt for our standard that which a 
great gold gambler of Wall Street aptly called " phantom gold." 
Their authors propose a radical and dangerous innovation in 
our political system. They desire to make the national treas- 
ury a bank of issue, and to place in the control of Congress the 
vast money power of the nation, to be handled as the whim, the 
caprice, the necessities, of political parties may dictate. Fed- 
eralist as Hamilton was, he held that such a power was too 
great to be centralized in the hands of one body. This goes a 
hundred leagues beyond any measure of centralization that has 
yet been adopted or suggested. 

In view of the doctrines herein advocated, what shall be said 
of the present condition of our currency? It is depreciated. 
Its purchasing power is less than that of real money by about 
fourteen per cent. Our notes are at a discount; not because 
the ability of the nation to redeem them is questioned, but 
partly because its good faith is doubted, and partly because the 


volume of these notes is too great to circulate at par. What 
that volume ought to be no man can tell. Convertibility into 
coin is a perfect test, and is the only test. The duty of the gov- 
ernment to make its currency equal to real money is undeni- 
able and imperative. 

First, because the public faith is most solemnly pledged, and 
this alone is a conclusive and unanswerable reason why it should 
be done. The perfidy of one man, or of a million men, is as 
nothing compared with the perfidy of a nation. The public 
faith was the talisman that brought to the treasury thirty-five 
hundred million dollars in loans, to save the life of the nation, 
which was not worth saving if its honor be not also saved. The 
public faith is our only hope of safety from the dangers that 
may assail us in the future. The public faith was pledged to 
redeem these notes in the very act which created them, and the 
pledge was repeated when each additional issue was ordered. 
It was again repeated in the act of 1869, known as the " Act to 
strengthen the Public Credit," and yet again in the act of 1875, 
promising redemption in 1879. 

Second, the government should make its currency equal to 
gold because the material prosperity of its people demands it. 
Honest dealing between man and man requires it. Just and 
equal legislation for the people, safety in trade, domestic and 
foreign, security in business, just distribution of the rewards of 
labor, — none of these arc possible until the present false and un- 
certain standard of value has given place to the real, the certain, 
the universal standard. Its restoration will hasten the revival of 
commercial confidence, which is the basis of all sound credit. 

Third, public morality demands the re-establishment of our 
ancient standard. The fever of speculation, which our fluctu- 
ating currency has engendered, cannot be allayed till its cause 
is destroyed. A majority of all the crimes relating to money 
that have been committed in public and private life since the 
war have grown out of the innumerable opportunities for sud- 
den and inordinate gains which this fluctuation has offered. 

The gold panic of 1869, which overwhelmed thousands of 
business men in ruin, and the desperate gambling in gold which 
is to-day absorbing so many millions of capital that ought to be 
employed in producing wealth, were made possible only by the 
difference between paper and gold. Resumption will destroy 
all that at a blow. It will enable all men to see the real situa- 


tion of their affairs, and will do much toward dissipating those 
unreal and fascinating visions of wealth to be won without in- 
dustry which have broken the fortunes and ruined the morals 
of so many active and brilliant citizens. 

My limits will not allow a discussion of the hardship and 
evils which it is feared will accompany the restoration of the old 
standard. Whatever they may be, they will be light and tran- 
sient in comparison with those we shall endure if the doctrine 
of soft money prevails. I am not able to see why the approach 
to specie may not be made so gradual that the fluctuations in 
any one month will be less than- those which we have suffered 
from month to month since 1869. We have travelled more than 
half the distance which then separated us from the gold standard. 

A scale of appreciation like that by which England resumed 
in 1 82 1 would greatly mitigate the hardships arising from the 
movement. Those who believe that the volume of our cur- 
rency is but little above its normal level need not fear that there 
will be much contraction ; for, with free banking, they may be 
sure that all the paper which can be an actual substitute for 
money will remain in circulation. No other ought to circulate. 

The advocates of soft money are loud in their denunciation of 
the English Resumption Act of 18 19, and parade the distorted 
views of that small and malignant minority of English writers 
who have arraigned the act as the cause of the agricultural dis- 
tress of 1822, and the financial crash which followed, in 1825. 
The charge is absolutely unjust and unfounded. In 1822 a 
committee of the House of Commons, having investigated the 
causes of the agricultural distress of that and the preceding year, 
found that it was due to the operation of the corn laws, and to 
the enormous wheat crops of the two preceding seasons. Their 
report makes no reference to the resumption act as a cause of 
the distress. In both that and the following year, a few of the 
old opponents of hard money offered resolutions in the House 
of Commons, declaring that the resumption act was one of the 
causes of the public distress. The resolution of 1822 was de- 
feated by a vote of one hundred and forty-one to twenty-seven, 
and that of 1823 was defeated by the still more decisive vote 
of one hundred and ninety-two to thirty. An overwhelming 
majority of intelligent Englishmen look back with pride and 
satisfaction upon the act of resumption as a just and benefi- 
cent measure. 


But methods and details of management are of slight impor- 
tance in comparison with the central purpose so often expressed 
by the nation. From that purpose there should be no retreat. 
To postpone its fulfilment beyond the day already fixed is 
both dangerous and useless. It will make the task harder than 
ever. Resumption could have been accomplished in 1867 with 
less difficulty than it can be in 1879. It can be accomplished 
more easily in 1879 than at any later date. It is said that we 
ought to wait until the vast mass of private debts can be adjust- 
ed. But when will that be done? Horace has told us of a 
rustic traveller who stood on the bank of a river, waiting for its 
waters to flow by, that he might cross over in safety: "At 
ille labitur et labetur in omne volubilis aevum." The succes- 
sion of debts and debtors will be as perpetual as the flow of 
the river. 

We ought to be inspired by the recent brilliant example of 
France. Suffering unparalleled disasters, she was compelled to 
issue a vast volume of legal-tender notes in order to meet her 
obligations. But as soon as the great indemnity was paid, she 
addressed herself resolutely to the work of bringing her cur- 
rency up to the standard of gold. During the last two years 

she has reduced her paper currency nearly 750,000,000 francs ; 
and now it is substantially at par. Amidst all her disasters she 

has kept her financial credit untarnished. And this has been 

her strength and her safety. To meet the great indemnity, she 

asked her people for a loan of 3,000,000,000 francs; and twelve 

and a half times the amount was subscribed. In August, 1874, 

the American Minister at Paris said, in one of his despatches : 

"Though immense amounts were taken abroad, yet it seems 

they are all coming back to France, and are now being absorbed 

in small sums by the common people. The result will be, in 

the end, that almost the entire loan will be held in France. 

Every person in the whole country is wishing to invest a few 

hundred francs in the new loan, and it has reached a premium 

of four and one half to five per cent." 

Our public faith is the symbol of our honor and the pledge 

of our future safety. By every consideration of national honor, 

of public justice, and of sound policy, let us stand fast in the 

resolution to restore our currency to the standard of gold. 

VOL. II. 18 




February 7, 1876. 

Mr. Garfield made the following remarks in the Committee of the 
Whole, pending the bill making appropriations for the diplomatic and 
consular expenses of the government for the fiscal year ending June 30, 
1877, and for other purposes. 

MR. CHAIRMAN, — I do not desire to detain the House 
long, nor to make anything like an elaborate argument 
on this bill ; but I wish, if possible, to appeal to the judgment 
of the House as I would to a board of trade in an important 
business transaction. There is, I think, no bill on the whole 
list of appropriation bills more commercial in its character, 
more largely based upon business principles, than the bill which 
makes appropriations for our diplomatic and consular expendi- 
tures. There ought to be no party politics in such a bill. We 
ought to go to work upon it as though we were a board of rail- 
way directors making provision for the management of our 
road. And in what I shall say, I hope there will not be found 
a tinge of partisanship. 

I will say, in the outset, that I sympathize with the Committee 
on Appropriations in all their laudable efforts to cut down ex- 
penditures. I know how hard that task is ; I know how much of 
local pressure is brought to bear upon them from every quarter 
from interested parties who desire to swell appropriations ; and 
I know, moreover, that every executive department tends to 
enlarge the field of expenditure within its jurisdiction, so that 
it is the business of that committee to resist pressure from all 
sides, — pressure from the Administration, pressure from this 


House, and pressure from their friends outside, who are always 
asking for more. 

Now, I sympathize with the committee in their efforts at 
reform. I think there are several places where they can cut 
down very decidedly. Without stopping to indicate particulars, 
I will say generally that on the Fortification Bill, (though it was 
smaller the last year than ever before,) they can make and 
ought to make a good deal of reduction. In all that relates to 
public works, public buildings, rivers and harbors, whole estab- 
lishments in the way of construction can be and ought to be 
considerably reduced. I have no doubt, also, that the same is 
true of many of our civil establishments here in Washington, 
that grew largely out of the war, and became greatly over- 
grown in consequence of the work which the war threw upon 
them. I think there ought to be a reduction of ten or fifteen 
millions below the appropriations of last session. But I am 
not a little surprised, I must confess, to find the bill now before 
us reported in its present shape by the Committee on Appro- 

I believe every gentleman of intelligence on this floor will 
admit that the foreign service of the United States, the State 
Department, both as it is exhibited at home in its civil func- 
tions and abroad in its diplomatic and consular functions, has 
been for years the most economically conducted, the most 
honestly managed, the most carefully kept up, of any of our 
departments. All men of all parties in years past have given 
their testimony to that general truth. Now, when I remember 
that our diplomatic expenses, in recent years, have been only 
about a million and a third of dollars per annum for all our 
complicated relations, consular and diplomatic, it seems to me 
a surprising thing, considering the magnitude of our govern- 
ment and the extent of our relations to the world, that we have 
been able to keep them down to so low a figure. 

The bill proposes, I believe, a reduction of $435,000 on an 
aggregate of about $1,350,000. A little more than $174,000 of 
this reduction, as I understand, it is proposed to make in the 
diplomatic service by cutting off six ministers, by reducing the 
salaries of others, and by reducing the contingent and other 
expenses relating to the diplomatic service. In the consular 
service the proposed reduction is about $260,000. The com- 
mittee propose to abolish forty-four consulates and consular 


agencies, and to make a reduction in contingent and other ex- 
penses connected with the consular service. 

I will say but little in regard to the salaries of ministers 
abroad, or in regard to the general treatment that our foreign 
ministers receive in this bill. If gentlemen will examine the 
statutes as they stood prior to the act of 1855, they will find 
that our laws regulating the salaries of foreign ministers had 
stood unchanged since 1803. Yet in that period our ministers 
of the highest grade were receiving in some instances as high 
as $23,250 a year in salary and allowances, on account of the 
method then followed of giving an outfit and an infit, and in 
consequence of their remaining in service for a very short time. 
Under that system great evils grew up. A man would get his 
outfit, which was equivalent to one year's salary; he would stay 
at home six or eight months before starting for his post of 
duty, drawing pay from the date of accepting his commission ; 
he would then go abroad and stay a few months, get his year's 
salary, together with an infit of $2,250, and come home. To 
show that I do not speak at random, I quote the following 
paragraph from a speech made by Mr. Mason, of Virginia, in 
the United States Senate, when the bill of 1855 was under 

" Under the present system, — I cannot call it the present law, there 
being very little legislation applicable to the subject, — the actual allow- 
ance to a minister plenipotentiary to any of the courts for the first year 
of his mission is ^23,250. The amounts, very briefly, which make up 
that sum are, outfit, ^9,000; salary, ^9,000; infit, ^2,250; and the 
average of the overlapping salary, ^3,000 ; making ^23,250 as the actual 
expenses to the government in the case of a foreign minister who re- 
mains abroad one year. If he remains abroad two years upon a fiiU 
mission, under the present system, the actual expense to the govern- 
ment is ^32,250, and the receipts of the minister, ^16,250 [annually]. 
If he remains abroad four years, or one Presidential term, the actual 
expense to the government is {50,250, and the receipts of the minister 
are 112,562 [annually]."^ 

It was found that some of our representatives abroad were 
paid far too much, while the majority of those who served any 
great length of time were paid such small salaries that none but 
wealthy men could enter the service. And so, after a most 
elaborate debate, which gentlemen will find in the Globe for 

^ Congressional Globe, February 24, 1855, p. 917. 


1855, with full tables and exhibits showing the working of our 
consular and diplomatic system, — information very instructive 
indeed, — a discussion in which the giants of debate in both 
houses took part, — it was found that the majority of our min- 
isters who served any considerable time were wretchedly under- 
paid, considering the cost of living abroad at that time. So 
the salary of $I7,SCX), without allowances, without outfit or infit, 
was fixed upon as a fair, reasonable compensation for first-class 
ministers. The bill passed in 1855, Whigs and Democrats alike 
agreeing to it as a wise measure. 

Now, every man knows that the cost of living throughout the 
world has almost doubled in the last ten years, and more than 
doubled in many countries in the last twenty years. Yet with 
the cost of living so greatly increased, with all the items going 
to make up that cost so greatly enhanced, the Committee on 
Appropriations think they ought to cut down the salaries about 
twenty per cent below the rates fixed twenty-one years ago. 
It occurs to me, Mr. Chairman, that they have departed from 
all just principles of business management in their judgment 
of that subject. I submit this suggestion without going into 

Of course the result will be that these places can be held only 
by rich men. By the law of natural selection it brings wealthy 
men into our offices, and shuts out those who are unable out of 
private fortunes to live abroad and do duty for the government. 
If that is so, if gentlemen desire to establish a plutocracy in this 
country, let us have it, but let us have it with our eyes open to 
the fact. 

I do not care much about some of the missions which it is 
proposed to abolish, and perhaps some of them can be abolished 
without much damage. But there is one class of missions 
whose abolition I should regret to see, as a great calamity to 
this country. I speak of our missions to the South American 
States, Japan, and China. There is no part of the world where 
the United States has so much right and so great a duty to be 
chief in the councils of international powers as in South Amer- 
ica on the one side, and Japan and China on the other. And 
yet our friends seem, by a sort of fatuity, to have seized upon 
those very countries as the places in which to limit and restrict 
our diplomatic relations. I do not believe they intended to do 
it I must believe it was an accident, an oversight. We are to 


send ministers to represent us at three or four South American 
republics, at a salary of $6,500 a year apiece. As an example 
of the effect of this bill, I submit a table showing the British 
diplomatic service in South America, taken from the Blue Book 
of January i, 1875, contrasted with that of the United States as 
fixed by the present bill. 

[The table is here omitted. It shows that, while Great Britain expended 
{59,500 a year on her diplomatic service in Chili, Peru, Ecuador, Colom- 
bia, and the Argentine Republic, the United States expended but {19,500.] 

It is proposed that we shall spend but $19,500 a year to keep 
up diplomatic relations with these countries of South America, 
in which Great Britain is spending $59,5CX) for the same pur- 
pose. We allow Great Britain, if this bill shall pass, to spend 
more than three times as much as we spend. Can any man be 
surprised hereafter, if we shall cut the cords which bind us to 
the South American republics and allow Great Britain to have a 
stronger hold on them, — that the trade, the business, and other 
interests of that great continent shall gravitate, not toward us, as 
they ought to do, but toward Great Britain, as they will? 

Mr. Springer. Will the gentleman from Ohio tell us what effect the res- 
idence of a minister will have upon our commerce with thqse countries? 

I will speak of their commerce when I come to speak of the 
consular service. Of course, the object of ministers to these 
countries is to keep up political relations; but their political 
headship is the power controlling all their commercial relations. 
We need at the capitals of these States intelligent, cultivated 
American gentlemen, to keep us informed of their political 
condition and necessities. We need our men there, not only 
to inform us, but to encourage these young republics. On 
every account let us keep up our relations with them. I would 
rather blot out five or six European missions than these South 
American ones. It is far more important to us to keep them 
up. I beseech gentlemen, therefore, to strike at some other 
nations than these South American republics. They are our 
neighbors and friends. 

Let me now call your attention to our consular relations. 
This bill proposes to strike out forty consulates and to dispense 
with four commercial agencies, making in all forty-four. And 
the chief ground for this is that we do not get enough money 
back from these consular posts to make up the expenses, and 


therefore we must cut them off. Now I hold in my hand, and 
I will print in my remarks, a statement concerning some of the 
consulates cut off by this bill ; and in order to show how Great 
Britain treats interests of this class, I have also embraced in the 
table a statement of how much she pays for consular service 
at the same places. 

[The consulates abolished were those of Ningpo, Hakodadi, Odessa, 
Beirut, Tamatave, Nantes, La Rochelle, Algiers, Barcelona, Oporto, 
Santa Cruz, Copenhagen, Port Said, Tampico, Stettin, Maranham, Rio 
Grande, Cyprus, Bucharest, Talcahuano, and Venice, at which the 
United States paid $32,500 in salaries. Great Britain paid {81,350 in 
salaries and allowances to support consulates in the same places.] 

At twenty-one of the consular stations which by this bill are 
abolished, and for which we have hitherto been paying $32,500, 
and by cutting off which we save the same sum, — at those 
same ports Great Britain is paying $81,350 a year for consular 
officers to keep up her commercial relations. While she re- 
ceives a total of only $6,010, she pays $81,350 a year, not for 
the sake of the money she gets back now, but for the trade in 
the future, for keeping up commercial relations in pursuance of 
her far-reaching policy as a great commercial nation. And yet 
to save $32,500 we propose to abolish at a blow all those con- 
sulates, and abandon the field to Great Britain. 

Mr. Randall. Does the gentleman not understand what is the law 
about that, — that wherever a consulate such as we have disposed of 
becomes in the least necessary, the law gives the consul-general the right 
to appoint what is known as a consular agent, who takes the fees ? In 
no instance — and I defy the gentleman to show any such instance — 
where we have cut off these consulates have we in the least degree inter- 
fered with the commerce of the country. 

I think my friend will agree with me that it would be far 
wiser for us to keep that interest in our own hands, and not let 
it be delegated to a step-mother, under no special, central, 
directing control, like our present consular system. 

But, Mr. Chairman, the general statement which I have just 
made is not sufficient. I want to apply it more closely to our 
consular relations with South America. Here is a table show- 
ing what our consular service at the several countries costs 
us. The amount is $34,500; we get back from the same coun- 
tries $36,942.83. I have given it here by countries and by 
aggregates. In other words, we receive from the whole of 


South America over $2,000 a year more than the service costs 
us. And yet in these very South* American countries our 
friends have cut down almost as much as in any other part. 
Some of those consulates pay as much as they cost ; some less, 
some more. But the balance-sheet for South America is in 
our favor. Shall we pick out some of the consulates that do 
not now pay in our present depressed condition, and blot them 
out? If so, we abandon all hope of making them pay in the 
years to come. 

[Here Mr. Garfield presented a memorandum of the relative cost of 
the consular service of the United States and Great Britain, and of the 
amount received by each for fees in several South American States; 
viz. the Argentine Republic, Brazil^ Chili, Colombia, Ecuador, Pera, 
Uruguay, and Venezuela.] 

From this table we see that Great Britain pays $94,250 at the 
same consular ports in South America where we pay $34,500; 
and she gets back only $23,270, while we get back $36,942.83. 
She expends $70,980 a year at these ports more than she re- 
ceives, while we spend less than we receive from them. And 
yet our friends propose to cut still deeper into our consular 
relations with South America, and leave the field to Great Brit- 
ain. I cannot believe that, when gentlemen reflect upon this 
from a business point of view, they will persist in this course. 
Why, sir, thfe great business houses of New York spend more 
money in proportion to their wealth in keeping up their com- 
mercial relations with South America, and with the ports where 
they trade, than the United States spends. Intelligent selfish- 
ness would do more than is here proposed. Let us be as intelli- 
gent at least as the ordinary commercial traders of our cities. 

Turn now to our relations with Japan and China. By the 
addition of Alaska to our domain, we have established relations 
most important for our commercial future with those two great 
countries of Asia. I once said on this floor, on another subject, 
that it seemed to me just to say that at all eras of the world 
civilization has been grouped around some one sea as the focal 
centre of its life and activity. Once the Mediterranean Sea 
was the centre of the civilization of the world. The great 
empires that then governed mankind had their home and seat 
on its shores. After a lapse of centuries the human race, 
leaving ruined empires in its track, turned away and sought a 
broader theatre than the Mediterranean. The Atlantic became 


what the Mediterranean had been, and it is the great sea of to- 
day. But if there be anything in the lessons of history, the 
central sea of the future will be still grander ; for the time will 
yet come when the centre of civilization shall be shifted to the 
Pacific Ocean, and our republic, holding the northern half of 
its eastern shore and reaching out an arm of islands a thousand 
miles to the northwest, ought to be the arbiter of that sea, the 
controller of its comAierce, and the chief nation that inhabits 
Its shores. For that reason we have extended commercial rela- 
tions, have opened up close and intimate relations of commerce 
and amity with China and Japan. The old East has approached 
the new West, and we, the youngest born of Time, have clasped 
hands with the most ancient nations of the world. We have 
sent ministers to China and Japan ; we have sent out commer- 
cial agents and consuls to carry on our business with those 
countries ; and now we send them from our mint half a million 
a week of coined dollars to be the trade dollars of Asia. Now 
what have our friends of the Appropriation Committee done in 
regard to our relations with the Japanese and Chinese govern- 
ments? They have shorn us down to the smallest and narrow- 
est proportions, such as will in effect drive us out of those 
countries as a power. Let me state a few facts. 

In Japan the United States pays consular, etc. 

salaries $14,500.00 

Received consular fees (1873) 8,001.27 


Pays diplomatic salaries 1 7,000.00 

Total payments ^23,498.73 

Great Britain pays consular salaries .... $67,285.00 

Received no fees. 

Pays diplomatic salaries 27,750.00 

Total payments $95,035.00 

In China the United States pays consular salaries $43,200.00 

Received fees (1873) 20,848.12 


Pays diplomatic salaries 17,000.00 

Total payment $39,35 1.88 

Great Britain pays consular salaries . . . $255,535.00 

Received no fees (1873). 

Pays diplomatic salaries 38,000.00 

Total payments ^293,535.00 


From this it will be seen that England pays nearly four 
hundred thousand dollars a year and receives nothing, and yet 
our friends of the Appropriation Committee think we are far 
too extravagant They can make a little fun at the expense of 
our ministers, by talking about their conversation in broken 
Chinese with the Celestials, and they seem to think that is 
enough to laugh out of Congress all our efforts to keep up our 
relations with that great nation of more than five hundred 
million people. Gentlemen, I beg of you, do not cripple and 
utterly ruin this young and growing commerce that shall bind 
Asia to the United States. 

Our friends of the Appropriation Committee seem to have 
adopted the rule that, when they have any doubt about an ap- 
propriation, in the absence of any definite knowledge as to how 
it should be cut down, they will divide it by two. For example : 
the contingent expenses of our foreign and diplomatic service 
they have divided by two, making the amount $50,000, instead 
of $100,000 as heretofore. I hold in my hand a table, prepared 
at the State Department, which shows the total contingent ex- 
penses of our foreign missions and foreign intercourse service 
since 1853. The table shows, among other things, the average 
contingent expenses of foreign missions and intercourse per year 
for the several administrations since July i, 1853. The sum- 
maries are given : — 

Pierce, 1853-57 {109,810.67 

Buchanan, 1857-61 120,336.95 

Lincoln, 1861-65 132,283.75 

Johnson, 1865-69 140,731.69 

Grant, 1869-73 i09>759-9i 

From this it will be seen that, during the last twenty-four 
years, the average expenditure for the contingent expenses of 
foreign missions and foreign intercourse has been considerably 
more than $100,000. In no administration, except the first 
term of General Grant, have the appropriations been brought 
down to the average of $100,000 a year. Now, the average of 
the last forty years has not been as low as $100,000; yet the 
Committee on Appropriations, following their principle of di- 
viding by two, have cut down this contingent item to $50,000. 
Sir, it exceeded that amount fifty years ago, and has never been 
lower than that since the time of Thomas Jefferson. Now, 


upon what principle have the committee acted ? Is it simple 
division, to save labor, or what is it? You may ask the Secre- 
tary of State to furnish you the exact details of contingent 
expenses for any year for the last half-century, and you will 
find that the sum will not be so small as you have put it in 
this bill. 

I next call the attention of the Committee of the Whole to the 
clause found in lines 271 and 272 of the bill, ''For the relief and 
protection of American seamen in foreign countries, $60,000." 
Now, section 4577 of the Revised Statutes provides that 

" It shall be the duty of the consuls, vice-consuls, commercial agents, 
and vice-commercial agents, from time to time, to provide for the •sea- 
men of the United States who may be found destitute within their dis- 
tricts, respectively, sufficient subsistence, and passages to some port in 
the United States, in the^most reasonable manner, at the expense of the 
United States, subject to such instructions as the Secretary of State shall 
give. The seamen shall, if able, be bound to do duty on board the 
vessels in which they may be transported, according to their several 

The consul cannot neglect this duty without violating the 
law. He must send the American sailor home. Now, the ex- 
perience of years shows that from $75,000 to $150,000 a year 
is used in this way, and that we cannot get along with less. 
I remember that, two years ago I think it was, we had to 
make an extra appropriation of a large amount, because of the 
wrecking of our whaling fleet by the ice in the Pacific. I have 
here a table furnished me by the State Department, showing 
how much has actually been expended for the relief of Amer- 
ican seamen, with the amounts paid for transportation to the 
United States and loss by exchange, in each year since 1861, 
by which it is seen that in no year has the amount been so 
small as that proposed by this bill for this purpose. The 
range is from $64,640.72, in 1874, to $226,705.63, in 1863. 
The amount expended in 1872 for relief of seamen at Hono- 
lulu, in consequence of the disasters to shipping in the Pacific 
in that year, was $121,855.42. The total average for fourteen 
years, since 1861, is $125,000. 

Now, if you appropriate for this purpose only $60,000, this 
will be the result. When the $60,000 shall have been ex- 
hausted, drafts will be sent in from all parts of the world from 
which American seamen are sent home; and of course they 


will be dishonored, for there will be no money to pay them. 
There may be a hundred little drafts, amounting in all to thirty 
or forty thousand dollars, from twenty different countries, sent by 
our consuls, and they will be dishonored simply because of this 
unnecessary effort to show a cutting down of expenses. There 
will be no more of this fund used than is called for under the 
strict letter of the law. Let us appropriate enough to cover 
what we understand to be the fair expectation of expenditures 
for this purpose. If it is not all used, there will be no harm 
done. It is true the Democratic party will not have the credit 
of cutting down our expenditures by a few thousand dollars; 
but you will have saved American seamen from distress, and 
also our government from shame and protest. Let us do that. 

I have one other matter to refer to, and that is a very small 
one. It has been our custom for many years to appropriate a 
small fund with which to pay foreigners who, by acts of gal- 
lantry, save any of our citizens from shipwreck. Whenever 
some gallant English or French sailor has leaped into the sea 
and rescued an American seaman from death, our State Depart- 
ment has made him a small present, it may be a chronometer, a 
watch, a compass, or a medal, or fifty dollars in money, with 
a letter of recognition of his courage. During the last forty 
years about $5,cxx) a year has been used, and never has the 
amount gone above $7,500. Now, if there is anything in the 
world which we ought to keep untouched, it is that little appro- 
priation of $5,000 for this worthy purpose, to let men all over 
the world know that, if they take care of an American citizen, 
or save his life, they will have the thanks of the United States 
as a memorial to carry with them. Now the committee come 
to that estimate, and, following their new rule, divide it by two, 
making it $2,500. Why should they higgle about a matter 
like this, which, though small in amount, is in its relations to the 
world and to our honor and our pride a great and important 
matter? I presume the provision of the bill on this point is an 
oversight; I do not think anybody would make such a reduc- 
tion except as the result of oversight. Let it be corrected. 

I have here a table, carefully prepared in the office of the 
Fifth Auditor, showing how much the great nations of the 
world — France, Russia, Great Britain, Spain, and the United 
States — expend at the various consular ports where they all 
have consular offices. This table is very interesting, for it 


shows at a glance how valuable the consular service is sup- 
posed to be by these great powers, and how we regard it. It 
is a little mortifying to find that in every case the United States 
b away down at the foot of the list, even right at our very doors, 
— in Cuba, in the islands of the Atlantic, and on the coasts 
of South America. So far as we can practise economy while 
doing our work as well as they, let us practise it; but I trust 
that this bill will not finally be put in such a shape that before 
the nations of the world we shall be ashamed of the way we treat 
our foreign and consular service. 

On the loth of December, 1878, pending the Consular and Diplo- 
niatic Appropriation Bill for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1879, Mr. 
Garfield said, in Committee of the Whole : — 

Mr. Chairman, — So far as I have studied the current of 
public thought and of political feeling in this country, no feel- 
ing has shown itself more strongly than the tendency of the 
public mind in the past few months. The man who attempts 
to get up a political excitement in this country on the old sec- 
tional issues will find himself without a party and without sup- 
port The man who wants to serve his country must put 
himself in the line of its leading thought, and that is the res- 
toration of business, trade, commerce, industry, sound political 
economy, honest money, and honest payment of all obliga- 
tions. And the man who can add anything in the direction 
of the accomplishment of any of these purposes is a public 



February 24, 1876^ 

Mr. Garfield made the following remarks while these resolutions 
were pending in the House : — 

" Resolved^ That this House has heard with deep regret the announce- 
ment of the death of Henry H. Starkweather, late a member of this 
House from the State of Connecticut. 

" Resolved^ That, as a testimony of respect to the memory of the de- 
ceased, the officers and members of the House will wear the usual badge 
of mourning for thirty days. 

" Resolved^ That a copy of these resolutions be transmitted by the 
Qerk to the family of the deceased. 

" Resolved^ That, as a further mark of respect, the House do now 

" Resolved^ That the foregoing resolutions be forthwith transmitted to 
the Senate." 

MR. SPEAKER, — In some respects this hall is the coldest, 
the most isolated place in which the human heart can 
find a temporary residence. We are in the service of distant 
constituencies, each of us representing the wishes and aspira- 
tions of separate communities, people with whom we are far 
more closely connected than with each other. Few of us have 
been neighbors, or even acquaintances. We are here, not for 
each other, but for the public ; and the duties of our temporary 
sojourn are such as necessarily to keep us isolated from each 
other, I have often been saddened by the thought that in no 
place where my life has been cast have I seen so much neces- 
sary isolation as here. True, our work brings us together 
every day; we see each other's faces; we compare opinions 


upon public questions ; we divide, combine, clash, agree, attack, 
and defend; but, after all, this life is a wonderful isolation. 
The accidents of committee service, of the seats we may occupy- 
in this hall, of the places in the city where we may reside, — 
all these frequently determine whether we shall really know 
much or little of each other. And usually it is difficult without 
the favorable concurrence of these accidents for two busy mem- 
bers of this House to become very intimately acquainted with 
each other. 

Mr. Starkweather was a member of this House several years 
before I could say that I had any intimate acquaintance with 
him. It was only when our duties brought us together upon 
the same committee that I came to realize how much I had lost 
in the four years during which he had been a member of this 
body. Our service together on a very laborious committee gave 
me unusual opportunities to study the character of his mind 
and heart, and to know that, in the best meaning of the words, 
he was a true, genuine, manly man. Foremost among his high 
qualities was his unselfishness. He was one of the few men we 
meet, in this ambitious tussle of public Ufe, who are willing 
to take up a difficult and tangled subject, patiently work it 
out, and put his results into the common fund of work as 
cheerfully and faithfully as if the duties and honors were all his 
own. Without complaining, quietly, patiently, and faithfully 
he did his work, finding his reward in the consciousness of duty 
well done. 

There was another circumstance that enabled us to know more 
of his character than would otherwise have been possible. I 
have sometimes thought that we cannot know any man thor- 
oughly well while he is in perfect health. As the ebb-tide dis- 
closes the real lines of the shore and bed of the sea, so feebleness, 
sickness, and pain bring out the real character of a man. Who 
knew better than he the sacred ministry of pain? Who fought 
more bravely for life? Who struggled more courageously to 
do his duty uncomplainingly and appear to be well? I have 
seen him in the committee-room in such paroxysms of cough- 
ing that it seemed he must die in his chair. Yet, with a rare 
hopefulness and courage that rejected help, he waved his friends 
off, as if annoyed that they should notice his weakness. Thus, 
for years, he pushed away the hand that was reaching for his 
heart-strings, and bravely worked on until his last hour. I do 


not doubt that his will and cheerful courage prolonged his life 
many years. 

He was a man of uncommon soundness of judgment, of rare 
common sense. I recently heard one of our foremost scholars 
and thinkers say that, of all the men who had made the most en- 
during impress upon the character and history of our institutions, 
the men of sound judgment had done vastly more for us than 
all our brilliant men had accomplished. He noticed, especially, 
the example of Washington. 

Hamilton was the master of a brilliant style, — clear and bold 
in conception and decisive in execution; Jefferson was pro- 
foundly imbued with a philosophic spirit, — could formulate the 
aspirations of a brave and free people in all the graces of power- 
ful rhetoric ; and other master minds of that period added their 
great and valuable contributions to the common stock; but, 
whether in the camp or in the cabinet, the quality that rose 
above all the other great gifts of that period was the compre- 
hensive and unerring judgment of Washington. It was that all- 
embracing sense, that calmness of solid judgment, that made 
him easily chief; not only the first man of his age, but fore- 
most ** in the foremost files of time." 

I was deeply impressed with this tribute to the value of sound 
judgment, of saving common sense, as contrasted with the more 
flashing qualities of genius. And I may say that our departed 
friend was girded with a calm, balanced judgment, that made him 
a man to be trusted in moments of doubt and difficulty. I have 
known but few men who knew so perfectly the drift and current 
of public thought, and what it would be just right and fitting 
and wise to do. It was this which made Mr. Starkweather so 
valuable a member of the committees on which he served. They 
found him never fickle, always wise, never extreme, always 
steady, having the courage of his opinions and always ready to 
defend them. 

He had one experience that almost every man must have be- 
fore his character can be fully tested. He was tried in the fiery 
furnace of detraction and abuse. I remember well, in that pe- 
riod of assault, how calmly, how modestly, and yet how bravely, 
he bore himself, — without bitterness, without shrinking, — boldly 
meeting all assaults, calmly answering^ bearing himself through 
the storm like a genuine man, as he was. That was the test 
which set the seal of character and gave assurance that he 


was made of the real stuff of which genuine, heroic men are 

But, after all, we have but small ground to judge of a man's 
real merits here. We can judge of many qualities ; but if we 
would know a man's heart and learn how the foundations of his 
character have been laid, we must enter that circle where he has 
been known from his youth, and in which his life has been 
developed. Well as I knew Mr. Starkweather, I confess that I 
never knew until we bore his body back to his home, and saw 
his neighbors gathered around his bier, how true, how tender, 
and how noble a soul was his. 

We know but little of each other here. Behind this public 
life lies a world of history, of quiet, beautiful home-life, within 
which the religious opinions and sentiments are manifested, — a 
world of affection, the features of which are rarely brought out 
in this forum. Who of us knew the deep, the profound religious 
life of our departed friend? None of us ever saw anything in 
him inconsistent with the highest religious character; but who 
of us had learned that, at home, in the circle of his family and 
his church, he was a steady, clear light, illuminating the whole 
circle in which he moved, and filling with the radiance of a 
sweet and beautiful religious life the hearts of all who knew him. 
On the evening of his very last day at home, only a month be- 
fore he came here to die, he spoke in his own church, in a quiet 
social gathering, such words as we found were echoing and 
trembling in the stricken hearts of those who came to follow 
his bier. 

There was no religious cant in this man, — no ostentatious 
pararde of piety. It was with him, as he said of Senator Ferry, 
not a sentiment merely, but a controlling force, that lighted his 
pathway and moulded his whole life. And it was this that 
bowed my soul in reverence and love as I stood beside his 
grave. I believe we may say, in every good sense of the word, 
that his life has been a noble and worthy success, — a life that 
we ought to remember for our own sakes and for the sake of 
our country, — a life that those who knew him can never 

VOL. iL 19 




June 22, 1876.^ 

** The crown and head, 
The stately flower of female fortitude.'* 

MR. PRESIDENT, — You have called me to a duty at once 
most sad and most sacred. At every step of my prepa- 
ration for its performance, I have encountered troops of throng- 
ing memories, that swept across the field of the last twenty-five 
years of my life, and so filled my heart with the lights and 
shadows of their joy and sorrow, that I have hardly been able 
to marshal them into order, or give them coherent voice. I 
have lived over again the life of this place. I have seen again 
the groups of young and joyous students ascending these green 
slopes, dwelling for a time on this peaceful height in happy and 
workful companionship, and then, with firmer step and with 
more serious and thoughtful faces, marching away to their posts 
in the battle of life. And still nearer and clearer have come 
back the memories of that smaller band of friends, the leaders 
and guides of those who encamped on this training-ground. On 
my journey to this assembly it has seemed that they, too, were 
coming, and that here I should once more meet and greet them. 
And I have not yet been able to realize that Almeda Booth 
will not be with us. 

After our great loss, how shall we gather up the fragments of 
the life we lived in this place? We are mariners, treading the 

* The following is Mr. Garfield's dedication of this Address : " To the thousands 
of noble men and women whose generous ambition was awakened, whose early cul- 
ture was guided, and whose lives have been made nobler, by the thoroughness of 
her instruction, by the wisdom of her counsel, by the faithfulness of her friendship, 
and the purity of her life, this tribute to the memory of Almeda A. Booth is affec- 
tionately dedicated." 


lonely shore in search of our surviving comrades and the frag- * 
ments of our good ship, wrecked by the tempest To her, 
indeed it is no wreck. She has landed in safety, and ascended 
the immortal heights beyond our vision. What manner of 
woman* she was, by what steps and through what struggles 
her character was developed, to what ends her life was directed, 
what she accomplished for herself and for us, and what rich 
fruitage may be gathered from the trees of her planting, I 
shall attempt to portray as best I can. 

We can study no life intelligently except in its relations to 
causes and results. Character is the chief element, for it is both 
a result and a cause, — the result of all the elements and forces 
that combined to form it, and the chief cause of all that is ac- 
complished by its possessor. 

Who, then, was Almeda Ann Booth ? and what were the ele- 
ments and forces that formed her character and guided her life? 

Every character is the joint product of nature and nurture. 
By the first, we mean those inborn qualities of body and mind 
inherited from parents, or, rather, from a long line of ancestors. 
Who shall estimate the effect of those latent forces infolded in 
the spirit of a new-born child, which may date back centuries, 
and find their origin in the. unwritten history of remote ances- 
tors, — forces, the germs of which, enveloped in the solemn mys- 
tery of life, have been transmitted silently from generation to 
generation, and never perish? All-cherishing Nature, provident 
and unforgetting, gathers up all these fragments, that nothing 
may be lost, but that all may reappear in new combinations. 
Each new life is thus the ** heir of all the ages," the possessor of 
qualities which only the events of life can unfold. By the second 
element — nurture, or culture — we designate all those influ- 
ences which act upon this initial force of character to retard or 
strengthen its development. There has been much discussion 
to determine which of these elements plays the more important 
part in the formation of character. The truth doubtless is, 
that sometimes the one and sometimes the other is the greater 
force; but, so far as life and character are dependent upon vol- 
untary action, the second is no doubt the element of chief im- 

Not enough attention has been paid to the marked difference 
between the situation and possibilities of a life developed here 
in the West during the first half of the present century, and 


those of a life nurtured and cultivated in an old and settl 
community like that of New England. Consider, for examp 
the measureless difference between the early surroundings 
John Quincy Adams and Abraham Lincoln. Both were p< 
sessed of great natural endowments. Adams was blessed w: 
parents whose native force of character and whose vigorous a 
thorough culture have never been surpassed by any marri 
pair in America. Young Adams was thoroughly taught by 1 
mother until he had completed his tenth year ; and then, accoi 
panying his father to France, he spent two years in a trainin 
school at Paris, and three years in the University at Leydc 
After two years of diplomatic service under the skilful guidan 
of his father's hand, he returned to America, and devoted thr 
years to study at Harvard, where he was graduated at the a 
of twenty-one ; and three years later was graduated in the 1« 
under the foremost jurist of his time. With such parentage a: 
such opportunities, who can wonder that, by the time he reach 
the meridian of his life, he was a man of immense erudition, ai 
had honored every great office in the gift of his country? 

How startling the contrast in every particular, between Adam: 
early life and that of Abraham Lincoln ! The facts concernii 
the latter are too well known to require a statement. Born 
an inheritance of the extremest poverty, wholly unaided I 
his parents, surrounded by the rude forces of the wildernej 
only one year in any school, never for a day master of his o\ 
time until he reached his majority, forcing his way to the pr 
fession of the law by the hardest and roughest road, and begi 
ning its practice at twenty-eight years of age, yet by the for 
of unconquerable will and persistent hard work he attained 
foremost place in his profession. 

Who can tell what the results might have been if the situ 
tions of these two men had been reversed? It is often remarkc 
as ground of encouragement to young men, that just such stru 
gles as these in which Lincoln engaged are necessary to brii 
out the native force of character, and produce great result 
and no doubt this is partly true. But where one succee 
under such circumstances, how many thousands fail! 

Our people frequently refer with pride to the exceptional 
prominent place which Ohio has taken in all the walks of publ 
and professional life during the last twenty years. That pron 
nence is probably due to the fact, that those citizens of Oh 


who have been leaders of their generation during the last twenty 
years are the first-born of the pioneer founders of our State. 
The inspirations of the Revolution were still acting in full vigor 
upon the people of the original thirteen States when the settle- 
ment of Ohio began. By the law of natural selection, only 
those became pioneers who were best fitted by natural energy 
and force of character to conquer the difficulties attending such 
a career ; and their children have not only inherited a part of 
that energy, but have enjoyed means of culture which were far 
beyond the reach of the pioneers themselves. In old and set- 
tled communities we find more culture; in pioneer life, more 
force. And it will doubtless prove true that, in succeding gen- 
erations, Ohio will produce a higher type of scholars, — men of 
arts and letters ; but it is also probable that they will lose in 
rugged force a part at least of what they gain in culture. 

Striking as was the difference between the two examples re- 
ferred to, the contrast of such conditions is still greater when 
applied to the possibilities of the culture and development of 
woman. Man is better fitted for a rough struggle with rude 
elements. His is a coarser fibre, his ** the wrestling thews that 
throw the world." 

•* Iron-jointed, supple-sinewed, they shall dive, and they shall run, 
Catch the wild goat by the hair, and hurl their lances in the sun." 

But woman's nature is of a finer fibre, — her spirit attuned to 
higher harmonics. ** All dipped in angel-instincts,*' she craves 
more keenly than man the celestial food, — the highest culture 
which earth and heaven can give ; and her loss is far greater 
than his when she is deprived of those means of culture so 
rarely found in pioneer life. Success in intellectual pursuits, 
under such conditions, is the strongest possible test of her char- 

With these general reflections* as guides to the study of the 
life we have met to commemorate, let us inquire what were the 
elements and conditions out of which that life grew. 

Almeda Ann Booth was a child of the pioneers, and of hardy 
New England stock. Her father, Ezra Booth, was born near 
the Housatonic River, in Newton, Fairfield County, Conn., 
February 14, 1792; and her mother, Dorcas Taylor, was born 
in Great Barrington, Mass., June 30, 1800. Both were swept 
westward, in early childhood, by that tide of emigration which, 
in the beginning of the present century, began to people the 


wilderness of Northeastern Ohio. The precise date at which 
Ezra Booth came to the West, I have not ascertained. The 
parents of Dorcas Taylor came in 1813, and found a home in 
the woods of Nelson, Portage County. 

As we know the Western Reserve to-day, with its 350,000 
people, its growing cities, its vast industries, and its thousands 
of comfortable and elegant homes, we can hardly realize what it 
was when the parents of Miss Booth, first saw it. At the begin- 
ning of the century it was an unbroken wilderness, with but 
1,302 white inhabitants. Indeed, in 18 10 the whole number of 
white inhabitants within the present limits of Portage County 
was considerably less than the population of Hiram to-day. 
Between 18 10 and 1830, 17,000 pioneers had settled in this 
county, and 70,000 had found homes in the Western Reserve. 
They brought with them little wealth, and few of the comforts 
of life. Patient and courageous toil was the first necessity of 
the men and women who transformed that wilderness into the 
beautiful and happy homes inherited by their children. But the 
pioneers did not forget the faith and traditions of their fathers. 
While building their homes, they planted also the school and 
the church, and thus laid deep and strong the foundations of 

In the midst of such stirring scenes, Ezra Booth began his 
career. He was a man of more than ordinary powers of mind, 
— gentle, affectionate, impressible, and deeply religious. His 
early intellectual training did not go beyond the rudiments 
taught in the common schools of Connecticut ; but he was an 
inveterate reader of books, and the armful of choice volumes 
that lay on the shelves of his little library was probably a greater 
number than could have been found in one house out of every 
thousand on the Reserve, Possessed of slender means, he 
adopted a profession which rendered the acquirement of wealth 
wellnigh impossible. He early entered the ministry of the 
Methodist Episcopal Church, and was assigned to a circuit of 
nearly a thousand miles, embracing in its range the township of 
Nelson ; and there, in 18 19, he married Dorcas Taylor, and fixed 
his home. Soon after entering the ministry, he sent eleven 
silver dollars to England to purchase a Greek lexicon ; and he 
so far mastered the language as to read the Greek Testament 
with ease. He used to say that, in the early days of his min- 
istry, he and a Mr. Charles Elliott were the only Methodist 


preachers west of the Alleghanies who were able to read 

In a small frame house about three and a half miles eastward 
from this place, on the farm now owned by Mr. Ferris Couch, 
Almeda, the only child of Ezra and Dorcas Booth, was born, 
on the 15th of August, 1823. She inherited a hardy and vig- 
orous constitution, a clear and powerful intellect, and a spirit 
of remarkable sweetness and gentleness. These qualities of 
mind and heart shone with clear and steady light from early 
childhood until her last hour. Her life appears to fall into three 
very distinct periods, separated from each other by marked 
events. Indeed, she may be said to have lived three separate 
lives. These will appear as we review her history. 

Her first twelve years were passed in Nelson. All the tra- 
ditions that have come to us from that period are redolent of 
the fragrance of a sweet and loving childhood. In her fourth 
year she attended the district school at Nelson Centre, a mile 
and a half distant from her home. The school was taught at 
that time by Miss Jane Hopkins, afterwards Mrs. Nathan Wads- 
worth. How long she continued with this teacher I have not 
learned; but at the close of Miss Hopkins's school Almeda 
received a locket, the prize for making the greatest progress in 
spelling. Miss Clarissa Colton was also her teacher in Nelson 
for several terms, and was remembered with great affection in 
after years. I have not been able to learn the names of her 
other teachers in that place. The honored President of the 
Board of Trustees of this College, who saw her frequently when 
she was a little child, tells us this pleasing and characteristic 

When Almeda was about twelve years of age, she used to 
puzzle her teachers with questions, and distress them by correct- 
ing their mistakes ; and one of them (a male teacher, of course), 
who was too proud to acknowledge the corrections of a child, 
called upon Mr. Udall, the President, for help and advice in re- 
gard to a point in dispute between them. Mr. Udall told him 
he was evidently in error, and must acknowledge his mistake. 
The teacher was manly enough to follow this wise advice, and 
thereafter made the little girl his friend and helper in the scho- 
lastic difficulties which he encountered. It was like her to help 
him quietly, and without boasting. During her whole life, what 
one of her friends ever heard an intimation from her that she 


had ever achieved an intellectual triumph over anybody in the 
world ? 

In 1835 h^^ family removed to Mantua, about four miles to 
the northwest of this place, where they resided for more than 
thirty years. Her progress had been so great under the in- 
struction of her favorite teacher, Miss Colton, that her parents 
induced that young lady also to remove to Mantua. Almeda's 
progress as a scholar was continuous and rapid. Dr. Squire, 
who knew her well from the time she first attended the district 
school at Mantua, in the winter of 1835-36, tells us that "she 
was known as a thorough scholar, the best speller in the dis- 
trict, and, though dressed in the plainest style possible, was the 
pride of the neighborhood for her youthful attainments and 
gentleness." Hon. A. G. Riddle, who knew her as a child in 
Mantua, has drawn this charming picture : — 

" You ask me for my recollections of Almeda Booth. What I can 
recall of her associates her with a single spring and summer, — idyllic, 
as one long day of green foliage, apple blossoms, humming bees, and 
sunshine, coming from nothing which preceded, and connected with 
nothing which followed. 

** There was a beautiful, secluded neighborhood in the northeastern part 
of Mantua, where two little travelled highways crossed. In the northwest 
angle thus formed stood the farmhouse, the homestead of Deacon Seth 
Harmon, my home at that time. The east and west road in its front was 
filled with cherry-trees. South of this highway stood a grand old and 
quite extensive apple orchard, over the tops of which, and two or three 
hundred yards away, embowered in fruit and forest trees, could be seen 
the roof of Almeda's home. A winding footpath led down from it to the 
road in front of the Harmon homestead. 

** I knew Almeda as an only child, — a maiden of twelve or thirteen 
years, well grown, ruddy-cheeked, and buxom. Martha Harmon, dark 
and slight, was of about the same age. They were quite constant com- 

" About the Harmon house and grounds, in the highway, along that 
footpath, through the orchard, amid falling apple blossoms and hum- 
ming bees, I can see and hear these two laughing, light-hearted girls ; 
and that is all. I can connect them with no incident, or any certain 

" I have a sort of an impression, and only that, of attending a winter 
school with Almeda. 

" She must have had the power of fixing herself well in one's memory. 
I did not see her again for ten years, and knew her at once ; and I recall 


the lively satisfaction I felt at being remembered by her. Through all 
the years since, I have been familiar with her name, though meeting her 
but seldom." 

There must necessarily be much loneliness in the life of an 
only child. That Almeda felt this is 'evident from one of her 
early essays which has been preserved, and in which she says, 
" I am one of those unfortunate beings whom Mrs. Sigourney 
so much pities, — a person destitute of brothers and sisters." 
And yet, for a thoughtful child, such a life had its compensa- 
tions. She found early and sweet companionship with her 
father in his studies, and, like him, became an ardent lover of 
books. At that period few juvenile books were published ; and 
the stirring works of legend and romance rarely found their way 
to the shelves of a preacher's library. The extent and charac- 
ter of her early reading I have not learned ; but she once told 
me that she read Rollings Ancient History and Gibbon's ** De- 
cline and Fall of the Roman Empire " when she was twelve 
years of age. I doubt if, at so early an age, any person in this 
assembly had done as much. At the age of fourteen she had 
pretty thoroughly mastered the studies then taught in the dis- 
trict school ; and, for a short time, she attended a select school 
in Painesville, boarding at the house of a Rev. Mr. Winans. 

When she was seventeen, she taught her first school, in a log 
schoolhouse, near her home in Mantua. She next engaged to 
teach, for five months, the school near what was known as the 
" Brick Tavern," south of Mantua Centre. There, as in her first 
school, she was very popular; but she became homesick, and by 
the aid of friends secured a change in the contract, by which the 
term was shortened to three months. She greatly disliked the 
custom of that time, which required her to " board around the 
district"; because it resulted in such a waste of her time, and 
cut her off from the opportunity of reading which she so highly 
prized. But she conquered all the discomforts of the work, and 
continued to teach, using for the advancement of her own cul- 
ture the pittance then paid to a woman teacher, which some- 
times did not exceed four dollars per month. 

In 1842 and 1843 she attended during several terms the As- 
bury Seminary, at Chagrin Falls, which at that time was under 
the charge of L. D. Williams, who was afterwards a distin- 
guished Professor in Meadville College. In later years she 
frequently spoke of him in terms of the highest respect and 



reverence. I have not been able to learn the range of her 
studies at Chagrin Falls ; but she has left a small package of 
essays, written as school exercises while there, which exhibft 
that clearness and masterful force of expression so character- 
istic of her style in later years. The penmanship bears a few 
traces of the formal schoolgirl hand, especially in the construc- 
tion of the capital letters ; but it also shows the outline of that 
elegant and graceful chirography with which we are now so 
familiar. The brief marginal notes and criticisms of her instruc- 
tors indicate the pride and satisfaction they felt in her develop- 
ment. One of these notes is signed " Mattison" ; another, " H. 
H. Moore " ; and another is in these words : " Very good. The 
errors are few, and none of them bad ones. L. D. W." (evi- 
dently L. D. Williams). I have read these short essays with a 
deep and mournful interest. Though written as formal school 
exercises, they are charming pictures of the progress of her 
mind and the genuine earnestness of her convictions. To quote 
them here, however, would be unjust to her maturer fame. 
Among them is a dialogue, in her handwriting, between herself 
and Miss Elizabeth Hayden, daughter of the late Rev. William 
Hay den. Even at that early age, Miss Booth exhibited unusual 
aptitude for that species of dramatic composition in which she 
subsequently developed so much power. 

Until she reached the age of twenty-four, her life had been 
devoted to home duties, to study, and teaching. In the family 
of her nearest neighbor, she had formed the intimate acquaint- 
ance of Martyn Harmon, a young man of rare and brilliant 
promise. Like herself, he was an enthusiastic student. Am- 
bitious of culture, he had pushed his way through the studies of 
Meadville College, and was graduated with honor. He had 
given Almeda his love, and received in return the rich gift of 
her great heart. The day of their wedding had been fixed. He 
was away in Kentucky teaching ; while she was in Mantua pre- 
paring to adorn and bless the home of their love. On the 6th 
of March, 1848, he died of some sudden illness, and was buried 
near Frankfort, Kentucky. Funeral services were held in Man- 
tua, at which Almeda took her place as chief mourner. Her 
plans of life and the hopes of her earthly future seemed buried 
in his grave. 

This event closes the first period of her history. It seemed 
for a time to end her ambition and her hopes. Her heart was 



wedded by ties as sacred as any which marriage can consecrate. 
From that time forward she walked alone in the solitude of vir- 
gin widowhood. In her subsequent life she rarely spoke of the 
suffering of that period; but she never ceased to cherish the 
memory of Martyn Harmon, as that of an immortal husband 
who awaited her coming in the life beyond. Her faithfuless to 
him excluded the thought of marriage with any other. 

After such a loss, what was left to a soul like hers? To her 
heart, the consolations of the Christian faith ; and to her life, 
the power of serving and blessing others. It is one of the pre- 
cious mysteries of sorrow, that it finds solace in unselfish work. 
Patient and uncomplaining, with a spirit chastened and sweet- 
ened by her great sorrow, Almeda gathered up the fragments 
of her broken life, and devoted her powers to the work of 

Making her father's home the centre of her activities, she 
commenced teaching in the most difficult and unpromising 
school-districts in her neighborhood. Her success was such 
as few teachers in a similar field have ever achieved. She found 
happiness in her work, and was rewarded with the admiration 
and love of those whose minds were moulded and guided by 
her influence. Besides this, she found solace and strength in 
her old habit of reading. Her spirit, ranging beyond the nar- 
row circle of her every-day life, found in books a noble com- 
panionship with the good and great of other days. I find 
among her papers a few pages of personal reminiscences, writ- 
ten twenty-one years ago, which probably refer to the period 
of her life of which I am now speaking. I am sure her friends 
will listen to her own words with more pleasure than to any- 
thing that I can say. She writes : — 

" Through the mists and clouds of later life, remembrance brings a 
warm glow to our hearts, as we think of the friends we loved, and the 
books we read. Yes, the books ! Who has not some old, torn, dingy 
favorite of a book, that he remembers with more affection than any vol- 
ume he has seen for many a year ? I remember one that to me, in those 
years, was a source of never-failing delight. I fondly cherish the mem- 
ory of that old book, both for itself and its pleasant associations. I 
chanced to find it in a family where I was allowed to visit, into whose 
possession it had come in payment of a debt for which nothing else 
could be obtained. It was a bound volume of a periodical that had 
been started in Philadelphia by some lover of literature who mistook the 


tastes of the age ; and his magazine soon failed for want of patronage. 
It had been bound ; but when I was so happy as to make its acquaint- 
ance, its leaves had escaped from their confinement, causing me no 
little trouble as I turned over the unwieldy mass. It contained no 
original matter, but choice selections from English and American litera- 
ture. Here I first read * L* Allegro 'and * II Penseroso ' ; and, though I 
was delighted with the 

' Goddess fair and free. 
In heaven ycleped Euphrosyne, 
And by men heart-easing Mirth,' 

yet by the time I had read through to 

* These pleasures, Melancholy, give, ^ 

And I with thee will choose to live,' 

I usually felt like giving in my adhesion to the ' goddess sage and holy.' 
There, too, I read * Mazeppa,* — that wild ride related 

' After dread Pultowa's day. 
When fortune left the royal Swede,* — 

and I could never understand how, when 't was done, the king could 
have been * an hour asleep.* There were Mackenzie's * Man of Feeling ' ; 
Goldsmith's simple, natural, and inimitable * Vicar of Wakefield * ; also, 
those stories of exquisite beauty and pathos, * The Lights and Shadows 
of Scottish Life.' And there I first found the letters of our own Dr. 
Franklin, and his life, written by himself, for his son, which I could never 
sufficiently admire : it seemed so truthful and honest, as he related the 
indiscretions of his early years, and remembered his errors, one by one. 
But I read nothing in that book with more thrilling interest than the old 
English ballad of * Chevy Chase.' As I read how that famous hunt fell 
out, how noble knights and barons bold went down in death, how brave 
Lord Percy fell, and Scotland's pride, Earl Douglas, too, my enthusiasm 
was never chilled by a thought that I was reading events * totally ficti- 
tious,' as Spaulding tells us they are. But, of all the treasures I there 
found, I oftenest read the letters of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, 
which have always been regarded as models of epistolary composition. 
It is objected that she sometimes seems unamiable and unfeeling ; yet, 
even then, she is so witty and charming, one is almost tempted to for- 
give her. Still, I think, there is reason for this charge against her earli- 
est letters. The absurdities and follies of the gay and courdy circle in 
which she moved appeared so ridiculous, in the light of her strong un- 
derstanding, that, in letters to her friends, she often hit off those she met 
with the severest sarcasm. Addison, Pope, and other distinguished 
writers of that age, were proud of her firiendship ; but Pope quailed be- 
fore her peerless wit and sarcasm, and from a most ardent friend turned 
to an implacable enemy." 


After describing, at some length, the character and career of 
Lady Montagu, the manuscript concludes: — 

" She [Lady Montagu] was proficient in Greek and Latin, and seems 
to have read almost everything that had ever been written in any lan- 
guage. In a letter to her daughter, in relation to the education of her 
granddaughter, she says : ' Learning, if she has a real taste for it, will 
not only make her contented, but happy. No entertainment is so cheap 
as reading, nor any pleasure so lasting.* Thus much for the old book. 
I saw its firiendly, honest face, soiled and time-worn, only a few months 
ago ; but it is not so perishable as earth's frail children. I gazed upon 
it with mingled emotions of pain and pleasure ; for I remembered that 
the dear ones, who in those happy hours had read from that book with 
me, were all gone. The glad voices of seven children once rang through 
that home ; but now every one is hushed in death, and the poor, stricken 
parents are left alone. I remembered when the father — a man of un- 
common tenderness of feeling — said to me, a few days before his last 
child was laid in the grave, his voice trembling, and his eyes full of tears, 
' Oh ! I had hoped the Lord would spare me one child ; but his will be 

" So that old book is very dear to me." 

This charming sketch of the old book is a striking picture of 
her own mind and heart during the early days of her sorrow. 

But, by slow degrees, her sorrow gave place to ambition for 
larger culture. In the autumn of 1848 she attended a select 
school at Mantua Centre, taught by Norman Dunshee, and, 
among her other studies, began Latin. In the winter of 1849-50 
she taught the school in the Darwin-Atwater district, and in 
the winter of 1850-51 taught at Hiram Rapids her last district 
school. She is still remembered with enthusiastic affection by 
the people of that neighborhood. 

Her success as a teacher was well known to Charles D. Wil- 
ber, at whose suggestion President Hayden secured her services 
to the young Eclectic; and in the spring of 185 1 she came 
here as a teacher in the English department. Up to that time 
no lady had taught in the Eclectic, except in the primary de- 
partment, which was established at the opening of the insti- 
tution in November, 1850, and maintained for several years. 
Before the end of her first term, the Trustees found that, in se- 
curing her services, they had drawn a rich prize. 

The Eclectic was compelled to create its own scholarship and 
culture. Very few of its early students had gone beyond the 


ordinary studies of the district school ; and a large majority 
of them needed thorough discipline in the common English 
branches. I doubt if any teacher at Hiram was equal to Miss 
Booth in the power to inspire such students with the spirit of 
earnest, hard work, for the love of it. 

In August next it will be twenty-five years since I first saw 
"her. I came to the Eclectic as a student in the fall term of 
185 1, and, a few days after the beginning of the term, I saw a 
class of three reciting in mathematics, — geometry, I think. 
They sat on one of the red benches, in the centre aisle of the 
lower chapel. I had never seen a geometry; and, regarding 
both teacher and class with a feeling of reverential awe for the 
intellectual height to which they had climbed, I studied their 
faces so closely that I seem to see them now as distinctly as I 
saw them then. And it has been my good fortune since that 
time to claim them all as intimate friends. The teacher was 
Thomas Munnell ; and the members of his class were William 
B. Hazen, George A. Baker, and Almeda A. Booth. 

Let us pause here to consider the situation and attainments 
of Miss Booth in 185 1, at the beginning of what we may call 
her second life. She was twenty-eight years of age. In many 
respects her character was fully matured. She had enjoyed 
somewhat better advantages than most women of that period, 
who, born of the pioneers and unblessed by wealth, were reared 
in the narrow circle of country life. Though she had made the 
most of her opportunities, yet she had hardly entered the circle 
of that larger scholarship and broader culture which women 
enjoy in older communities. As a means of estimating more 
accurately her abilities and merits, let us contrast her attain- 
ments at that time with those of a woman of wider fame, who 
was greatly admired by Miss Booth, and who was very like her 
in intellectual force. 

Margaret Fuller was born at Cambridge, Mass., and from 
early life breathed the atmosphere of the highest culture of 
New England. Her father, a graduate of Harvard, an accom- 
plished French scholar, thoroughly read in general history and 
literature, a prominent lawyer, and for many years a distin- 
guished member of Congress, early devoted himself personally 
to the work of his daughter's education. At six years of age 
she was able to read Latin ; and soon her young imagination 
was fired by the strong and beautiful legends of classic history 


and mythology. Wandering at will in her father's well-filled 
library, and gathering such food as her young spirit could 
assimilate, she read, when eight years of age, " Romeo and 
Juliet," the quaint and wonderful humor of Cervantes, and the 
bright pictures of Parisian life portrayed in the pages of Mo- 
li^re. In her nineteenth year she had finished a thorough 
course in one of the best training-schools of Massachusetts. 
At twenty-two she had mastered the German language, and 
read the principal German authors. At twenty-three she was 
teaching the languages, and attracting to herself the minds and 
hearts of all who came within her reach. Mr. Emerson says of 
her at that period, " She was an active and inspiring companion 
and correspondent; and all the heart, thought, and nobleness 
of New England seemed at that moment related to her and she 
to it." At twenty-five she was translating the correspondence 
of Goethe, was devouring the works of Madame de Stael in 
French, and of Epictetus in Latin, and was ranging at will 
through the realms of English literature and philosophy. At 
twenty-eight she became the editor of a literary journal, and was 
assisted by Ralph Waldo Emerson, George Ripley, and many 
other prominent writers. Her wide acquaintance, and still 
wider correspondence, placed at her command the culture and 
literary wealth of both hemispheres. From that time forward 
she rose rapidly from height to height, until a tragic death 
closed her career in 1850. Her native powers of mind were 
undoubtedly great, and she would not have remained unknown 
in any sphere of life, however humble ; but it must be acknowl- 
edged that very much of her success was due to her rare oppor- 
tunities for early culture. 

Contrast with this brilliant picture the situation of Miss 
Booth at twenty-eight years of age. We have followed the 
history of her toilful life up to that period. Wc saw her moving 
in a narrow and humble sphere, creating her own means of cul- 
ture, unaided by the companionship of superior minds to in- 
spire and guide her development. After the light of her young 
life had been quenched in a great sorrow, we saw her turning 
sadly away from the wreck of her hopes, and beginning the 
hard task of creating the new conditions out of which she might 
gain a broader, deeper culture, and become more useful to her 
generation. We found her not fartlier advanced in technical 
scholarship at twenty-eight years of age than Margaret Fuller 


was at seventeen; and even then her further advancement 
depended upon what she could accomph'sh for herself, while 
teaching six or seven great classes a day, and discharging the 
other numberless duties which fell to her lot as chief lady 
teacher in a mixed school of two hundred and fifty scholars. 

Highly as I appreciate the character of Margaret Fuller, 
greatly as I admire her remarkable abilities, I do not hesitate 
to say, that in no four years of her life did her achievements, 
brilliant as they were, equal the work accomplished by Miss 
Booth during the four years that followed her coming to 

I was never a member of a class that recited to her, and I 
cannot speak of her work as a teacher as seen from the stand- 
point of a pupil ; but I know from personal observation, and 
from the unanimous testimony of thousands who were so for- 
tunate as to be her pupils, that her power over classes as a 
whole, and over every member, was very great and beneficent. 
In the earlier years of her teaching here she frequently took 
advanced classes in grammar and arithmetic, numbering from 
ninety to one hundred each. Without any parade of authority, 
without appearing to govern at all, she always held them in 
most admirable order. What was still more remarkable, each 
pupil felt that his relations to her were those of very direct per- 
sonal responsibility and sympathy, and that he owed her a 
personal apology for any dereliction or failure on his part, and 
a debt of affectionate gratitude for the largest measure of his 

Her classes in botany and astronomy were always filled with 
enthusiasm for their work, and with affectionate admiration for 
Miss Booth. She did not deliver formal lectures on these sub- 
jects, but she carried to almost every recitation a memorandum 
of brief notes, from which, during the course of the lesson, she 
threw out fertile and striking suggestions, which illuminated the 
subject, and made every pupil feel that to be absent from a 
recitation of her class was to suffer personal loss. I have found 
among her papers many of these memoranda, full of strong and 
beautiful suggestions. 

Besides doing her full share of the heavy work of the class- 
room, Miss Booth had special charge of the ladies, and from 
1852 onward devoted much time to them as their confidential 
counsellor and friend. There are hundreds of noble women 


who have worn the royal crown of maternity these many years, 
— and some of them are present to-day, — whose hearts are still 
full of precious memories of those familiar lectures, or rather 
conversations, in the lower chapel, in which Miss Booth gave 
them the benefit of her rich experience and wise counsel in the 
conduct of life. The notes of some of these conversations I 
have found among her manuscripts. One was written out in 
full, in which she unfolded her conception of how solemn a 
thing it is to live and to perform those duties which fall to the 
lot of woman. 

She aided in organizing and maintaining the first ladies' liter- 
ary society in the Eclectic, and for several years took an active 
part in its proceedings. Her essays prepared for its meetings 
are models of sound judgment and of finished, graceful style. 

I first became acquainted with her qualities as a writer in the 
spring term of 1852, when Cory don E. Fuller and I were ap- 
pointed to aid her in writing a colloquy for the public exercises 
at the close of the school year. Having chosen a theme found- 
ed on historical events in the time of Pope Leo X., she sketched 
the outline of the piece, assigned portions to her two associates, 
set them to reading up the history of the period to which the 
piece related, directed and corrected their work, adapted it to 
her own, cast the parts, criticised and trained those who were to 
perform them, took the most difficult and least desirable part 
herself, and put the piece on the stage with such skill as to 
surprise and delight the great audience that assembled under 
the bower built among the apple-trees north of the College. 
I esteemed myself especially fortunate and highly honored in 
being chosen to aid her in that work. My admiration of her 
knowledge and ability was unbounded. And even now, after the 
glowing picture painted upon my memory in the strong colors 
of youthful enthusiasm has been shaded down by the colder 
and more sombre tints which a quarter of a century has added, 
I still regard her work on that occasion as possessing great 
merit. I have read again some of the pages of the faded manu- 
script, a few of which survive ; and I find that her part of it 
still justifies much of my early enthusiasm. 

To her marked success in this piece is due the fact that, dur- 
ing many subsequent years, an original drama — or, in the 
school dialect, a "colloquy" — was the most attractive feature 

of commencement days. There are many present to-day who 
VOL. H. 20 


remember these colloquies; — that of 1853, founded on the 
Book of Esther; " Burr and Blennerhassett," in 1854, when O. 
P. Miller and Philip Burns played the heavy parts ^ of Adams 
and Jefferson, and Rhodes and Pettibone the less pious but 
more exciting rdles of Burr and Blennerhassett; " Lafayette," in 
1856; " Ivanhoe/' in 1857, in which the stirring scenes of the 
Crusades were revived; "The Conspiracy of Orsini/' in 1858, 
(suggested by the reading of Ruffini's " Doctor Antonio,") in 
which Elias A. Ford trod the stage as Louis Napoleon, — with 
Electa Beecher as empress and Amzi Atwater as prime minis- 
ter, — while White, Chamberlain, and Ferry were treacherously 
seeking his imperial life. Then there was " The Highland 
Chiefs," in 1859, in which Henry James and Henry White were 
Lochiel and McAlpine, in deadly feud with Chamberlain and 
Dudley, Lords of Glencoe and Keppoch, mustering their clans 
for battle to determine which of these fierce knights should 
win the hands of Sophia Williams and Myra Robbins, the Ellen 
and the Margaret of the hour. There was " Pickwickian Poli- 
tics," in i860, with Brown and Bennett as stars; and "Zenobia," 
in 1 86 1, in which Mary E. White was the proud Queen of Pal- 
myra, with half a score of young men as bold Romans leading 
her away in triumph. In all these pieces, the parts which were 
surest to touch the heart and win approval were those written 
by Miss Booth. They showed how varied were her intellectual 
resources, and with what power and grace she could employ 

Occupied as she was in the daily discharge of such exacting 
duties, one would think she had small leisure for any other 
work. But we shall see what more she was able to accomplish. 
She saw that, so long as she taught only the English studies, 
the bright and ambitious pupils to whom she was so strongly 
attached would pass out of her reach, by entering upon studies 
in which she could not guide them. The desire to avoid this 
gave a new impulse to her ambition for higher scholarship; 
and in the autumn of 185 1 she began those studies necessary 
to fit her for teaching in the higher grades. When a class was 
formed in anything she had not mastered, she arranged to have 
it recite before or after school hours, and took her place as 
one of its members. Thus she kept in advance of her own 
pupils, and abreast with the foremost students of the institution. 

I am not certain when she began Greek; but I remember 


that she and I were members of the class that began Xeno- 
phon's Anabasis, in the fall term of 1852. Near the close of 
that term, I also began to teach in the Eclectic, and thereafter, 
like her, could only keep up my studies outside of my own 
teaching hours. In mathematics and the physical sciences I 
was far behind her; but we were nearly at the same place in 
Greek and Latin, each having studied them about three terms. 
She had made her home at President Hayden's almost from the 
first ; and I became a member of hi$ family at the beginning of 
the winter term of 1852-53. Thereafter, for nearly two years, 
she and I studied together, and recited in the same classes, fre- 
quently without other associates, till we had nearly completed 
the classical course. 

From a diary which I then kept, and in which my own studies 
are recorded, I am able to state, quite accurately, what she 
accomplished in the classics, from term to term, in the two fol- 
lowing years. During the winter and spring terms of 1853, 
she read Xenophon's Memorabilia entire, reciting to Professor 
Dunshee. In the summer vacation of 1853, twelve of the more 
advanced students engaged Professor Dunshee as a tutor for 
one month. John Harnit, H. W. Everest, Philip Burns, C. C. 
Foote, Miss Booth, and I were of the number. A literary soci- 
ety was formed, in which all took part. During those four 
weeks, besides taking an active part in the literary exercises of 
the society. Miss Booth read thoroughly, and for the first time, 
the Pastorals of Virgil, — that is, the Georgics and Bucolics 
entire, — and the first six books of Homer's Iliad, accompanied 
by a thorough drill in the Latin or Greek Grammar at each 
recitation. I am sure that none of those who recited with her 
would say she was behind the foremost in the thoroughness 
of her work or the elegance of her translations. 

During the fall term of 1853, she read one hundred pages of 
Herodotus, and about the same amount of Livy. During that 
term, also, Professors Dunshee and Hull, and Miss Booth and I, 
met at her room two evenings of each week, to make a joint 
translation of the Book of Romans. Professor Dunshee con- 
tributed his studies of the German commentators De Wette and 
Tholuck ; and each of the translators made some special study 
for each meeting. How nearly we completed the translation I 
do not remember; but I do remember that the contributions 
and criticisms of Miss Booth were remarkable for suggestive- 


ness and sound judgment. Our work was more thorough than 
rapid; for I find this entry in my diary for December 15, 1853 : 
" Translation Society sat three hours at Miss Booth's room, and 
agreed upon the translation of nine verses." 

During the winter term of i853-S4> she continued to read 
Livy, and also read the whole of Demosthenes " On the Crown." 
The members of the class in Demosthenes were Miss Booth, 
A. Hull, C. C. Foote, and myself. During the spring term of 

1854, she read the Germdnia and Agricola of Tacitus, and a 
portion of Hesiod. 

In the autumn of 1854, having secured from the Board of 
Trustees a leave of absence for one year, she entered the Senior 
class of Oberlin College. Though she had not yet completed 
several of the important Junior studies, yet during her one year 
in college she not only brought up all arrears, but thoroughly 
accomplished all the work of the Senior year, and in August, 

1855, was graduated as Bachelor of Arts in the full classical 
course, ranking among the very first in her class. Three years 
later she received the honorary degree of Master of Arts. 

A student no further advanced than Miss Booth was in 185 1 
usually needs three years of preparatory study to enter the 
Freshman year, and four years more to complete the course. 
But in the four years that followed her coming to Hiram, she 
taught ten full terms, prepared herself for college, and com- 
pleted with remarkable thproughness the full course of college 
study. If any man or woman has done more in the same length 
of time, I do not know it. It should be mentioned, to the honor 
of Oberlin College, that, but for the wise and liberal policy which 
opened the full course of study to women. Miss Booth could 
hardly have taken the bachelor's degree anywhere in this 

She returned to Hiram at the beginning of the fall term of 
1855, and for ten years, without intermission, devoted herself to 
the work of teaching. Each year added to her thoroughness 
in the class-room, and increased her influence over students. 
Besides taking a few of the more advanced classes in the ordi- 
nary studies, she taught the higher mathematics, and Latin and 
Greek, maintaining her habit of making special preparation for 
each recitation. She handled these classes also with remark- 
able thoroughness and success. I cannot speak from persona] 
knowledge of the later teachers of Latin and Greek in this insti- 


tution ; but during the time she was here no one of her associ- 
ates was her superior in those studies. 

As the earlier teachers were called away to other fields of 
duty, their places were supplied by selection from those who 
had been Eclectic students; and thus Miss Booth found her- 
self associated with teachers whose culture she had guided, and 
who were attached to her by the strongest ties of friendship. 
I know how apt we are to exaggerate the merits of those we 
love; but, making due allowance for this tendency, as I look 
back upon the little circle of teachers who labored here under 
the leadership of our honored and venerable friend, Mr. Hayden, 
during the first six years of the Eclectic, and upon the younger 
group associated with me from 1856 until the breaking out of 
the war, I think I wrong no one of them by saying, that for 
generous friendship and united earnest work, I have never 
seen, and never expect to see, their like again. Enough new 
members were added to the corps of teachers from year to year 
to keep alive the freshness of young enthusiasm ; and yet enough 
experience and maturity of judgment were left to hold the school 
in a steady course of prosperity. 

The influence of Miss Booth, especially during the later period 
to which I have referred, was not surpassed by any member of 
that circle. A majority of her associates had been her students, 
— the children of her intellect and heart. She had watched 
their growth with something akin to maternal pride ; and she 
welcomed them to that circle with no touch of envy, but with 
most generous and helpful friendship. I am sure that Rhodes, 
Everest, Atwater, Hinsdale, Miss Wilson, and the rest, can never 
forget that golden age of our lives ; and all will agree with me, 
that one light at least shone always steady and clear, — the 
light that beamed upon us from the mind and heart of Almeda 
A. Booth. 

The few spare hours which the school work left us were de- 
voted to such pursuits as each preferred ; but much study was 
done in common. I can name twenty or thirty books which 
will forever be doubly precious to me, because they were read 
and discussed in company with her. I can still read, between 
the lines, the memories of her first impression of the page, and 
her judgment of its merits. She was always ready to aid any 
friend with her best efforts. When I was in the hurry of pre- 
paring for a debate with Mr. Denton, in 1858, she read not less 

- ' - 


than eight or ten volumes, and made admirable notes for me, on 
those points which related to the topics of discussion. In the 
autumn of 1859 she read a large portion of Blackstone's Com- 
mentaries, and enjoyed with keenest relish the strength of the 
author's thought and the beauty of his style. From the rich 
stores of her knowledge she gave with unselfish generosity. 
The foremost students had no mannish pride that made them 
hesitate to ask her assistance and counsel. In preparing their 
orations and debates, they eagerly sought her suggestions and 
criticisms. Ever)nvhere the literary life of Hiram bore abun« 
dant marks of her guiding hand. 

It is quite probable that John Stuart Mill has exaggerated the 
extent to which his own mind and works were influenced by 
Harriet Mill. I should reject his opinion on that subject as a 
delusion, did I not know from my own experience, as well as 
that of hundreds of Hiram students, how great a power Miss 
Booth exercised over the culture and opinions of her friends. 

From what I have said of her influence over young men, it 
must not be inferred that she was wanting in sympathy or in- 
fluence with her own sex. It is true, that giddy and superficial 
women, who care more for the adornment of their bodies than 
for the enlightenment of their minds, were not strongly attracted 
to Miss Booth ; but by all the better class of thoughtful and ear- 
nest women she was loved with ardent and enthusiastic devotion. 

The war for the Union, which broke up so many happy 
circles, and changed the plans of so many lives, wrought great 
changes in Hiram, and swept into the fiery current a hundred 
of our best students. Their fortunes were watched with patri- 
otic pride and affection by those who remained to sustain the 
institution and promote its success. During those trying years. 
Miss Booth stood at her post of duty, always loyally faithful to 
her associates, and more indispensable to the institution than 
ever. In one of her letters to me, written in August, 1861, she 
said : — 

" In all my early forecastings of your future, and that of the noble men 
who went with you, I never counted upon the possibility of war ; and I 
hardly know how to adjust my mind to its dreadful realities. Ah me ! to 
think what may come ! We shall follow you all with our hearts, and do 
our best to keep the light of the Eclectic burning. The task is a great 
one ; but at a time of such anxiety hard work is a blessing, and just now 
our hands are very full of it." 


Through the darkness of the war, and into the light of victory 
and peace, she worked on, reaping each year a larger and 
richer harvest of results. 

About the end of 1865 a new and sacred duty called her to 
leave the field in which for nearly fifteen years she had achieved 
such remarkable success. Her parents had become old and 
feeble, and her father had so far failed in body and mind as to 
need those tender personal services which none but she could 
render. Without a murmur, she closed the long period of her 
brilliant career at Hiram ; and, leaving a circle of which she was 
the chief ornament, she removed with her parents to Cuyahoga 
Falls, established a quiet and unpretending home, and began a 
new life of uncomplaining self-sacrifice. During the first year 
of her residence there, she was manager and sole servant of her 
household, and with the tenderest filial piety devoted herself 
wholly to the care of her parents. In the autumn of 1866, her 
father's health had so far recovered, that, in addition to her 
home cares, she accepted the place of Assistant Principal in the 
Union School at Cuyahoga Falls, then under the superintend- 
ence of V. P. Kline, one of her Hiram students, and a cherished 
friend. There she continued to teach four years, when she was 
chosen Superintendent of all the schools of the village, and for 
three years discharged the duties of that position with her 
wonted success. 

Her life at Cuyahoga Falls exhibited all her peculiar powers, 
and attracted the same enthusiastic love which she had enjoyed 
among the students at Hiram. But her long and arduous work 
had begun to make inroads upon her health ; and, withdrawing 
from the superintendency of the schools, she gave private les- 
sons to select classes in French and German and other advanced 
studies during the two succeeding years. At the close of 1874 
her health was prostrated by a dangerous and painful disease, 
which required the most skilful professional treatment. Few, 
even of her most intimate friends, knew through what a terrible 
ordeal of bodily sufifering she passed the last year of her life. 
In the autumn of 1875, she determined to remove to Cleveland, 
where she could receive the more constant attention of eminent 
' physicians. 

Just before leaving Ohio, in October last, I called on her in 
Cleveland, where she was spending a week near her physicians, 
and making arrangements for a change of residence. She 


showed no signs of depression of spirits. Patient and cheerful, 
she looked forward to the hope of regaining her health, and 
finding a home near the friends of her earlier life. I expressed 
the desire that she might yet do me the very great favor to 
train my boys for college. The tears filled her eyes as she 
said, •' I should dearly love to do that ; it would seem like living 
our own lives over again " ; and then, pausing as if in doubt 
whether it were not self-praise, she added, " I believe I can 
teach the classics better than I could when I was in Hiram." 
She spoke of her friends in that warm and earnest way so 
peculiarly her own ; and I bade her good by with the promise, 
and in the confident hope, that I would meet her in the Cen- 
tennial summer, and enjoy again the blessings of that friend- 
ship which for nearly a quarter of a century was one of the 
noblest and richest gifts that Heaven has vouchsafed to me. 
But it was ordered otherwise by a wisdom higher than ours. 
She removed to Cleveland on the loth of November last, with 
health apparently improving. She set in pleasant order her 
new home, in the midst of a little colony of her dear old friends. 
Jennie Eggleston was living with her ; Harry Rhodes and his 
wife, Henry James, and Virgil Kline, all familiar Hiram names, 
were her neighbors; and she and they looked forward to a 
pleasant winter, to be made brighter by frequent renewals of 
old memories; and the reunipns had begun. 

On the 8th of December she and Miss Eggleston spent the 
evening at Kline's, where they read and conversed several 
hours. Alhieda read aloud Emerson's essay on " Compensa- 
tion," and appeared to be all herself again. She seemed so 
bright and so well that her friends thought a long life of health 
and happiness was before her. But that reunion was her last 
Let me repeat the last half-page she ever read : — 

" The compensations of calamity are made apparent to the under- 
standing also after long intervals of time. A fever, a mutilation, a cmel 
disappointment, a loss of wealth, a loss of friends, seems at the moment 
unpaid loss and unpayable. But the sure years reveal the deep remedial 
force that underlies all facts. The death of a dear friend, wife, brother, 
lover, which seemed nothing but privation, somewhat later assumes the 
aspect of a guide or genius ; for it commonly operates revolutions in our 
way of life, terminates an epoch of infancy or of youth which was wait- 
ing to be closed, breaks up a wonted occupation, or a household, or style 
of living, and allows the formation of new ones more friendly to tlie 


growth of character. It permits or constrains the formation of new ac- 
quaintances, and the reception of new influences, that prove of the first 
importance to the next years ; and the man or woman who would have 
remained a sunny garden-flower, with no room for its roots, and too 
much sunshine for its head, by the falling of the walls and the neglect of 
the gardener, is made the banian of the forest, yielding shade and fiiiit to 
wide neighborhoods of men.'' ^ 

I cannot doubt that she felt the truth of these words ; for they 
portray with singular fidelity the course of her own life. Late 
that night she was taken ill ; and after a week of great suflfering, 
borne with uncomplaining fortitude, she died on the morning of 
December 15, 1875. One of her friends, who stood by her at 
the closing scene, wrote me : — 

•* She passed quietly away. Her face was so peaceful in death, no 
trace of pain upon it. There she lay before us, as though, weary with 
labor, she had fallen asleep. All that loving hands could do for her we 
did. We wreathed her coffin with flowers, and bore her remains to 
Cuyahoga Falls, where a mournful and tearful audience awaited us at the 
church. In the hearts of her last pupils, as in the hearts of her earlier 
ones, there was deepest grief. All felt, as we stood by her grave, that no 
nobler, grander, purer spirit ever dwelt on the earth, or went up to 

Such is the story of her life, all too poorly told. I have at- 
tempted to trace her long and toilful progress through its sev- 
eral stages. We have seen that, in fact, she lived three lives in 
one; — first, the life of early struggle, promising to culminate in 
the happy contentment of a home, with the companionship and 
love of a husband ; second, the larger life, born of a great sor- 
row, but leading her along a rugged path to the calm heights of 
a broad and beautiful culture, — a life devoted to great and suc- 
cessful achievements as one of the very foremost teachers of 
her time ; and, third, a life of heroic and unselfish devotion to a 
sacred filial duty, with added years of noble and beautiful work 
as a teacher. 

It remains to inquire what she has left to us as a legacy and 
a lesson. Her life was so largely and so inseparably a part of 
our own, that it is not easy for any of us, least of all for me, to 
take a sufficiently distant standpoint from which to measure its 

We shall never forget her sturdy, well-formed figure; her 

1 Emerson's Works, Vol. I. p. 281 (Boston, 1882). 


head that would have appeared colossal but for its symmetry of 
proportions ; the strongly marked features of her plain, rugged 
face, not moulded according to the artist's lines of beauty, but 
so lighted up with intelligence and kindliness as to appear posi- 
tively beautiful to those who knew her well. 

The basis of her character, the controlling force which devel- 
oped and formed it, was strength, — extraordinary intellectual 
power. Blest with a vigorous constitution and robust bodily 
health, her capacity for close, continuous, and effective mental 
work was remarkable. No stronger illustration is possible than 
the fact, already exhibited, that she accomplished in four years 
the ordinary work of ten. 

It is hardly possible for one person to know the quality and 
strength of another's mind more thoroughly than I knew hers. 
From long association in her studies, and comparing her with 
all the students I have known here and elsewhere, I do not hes- 
itate to say that I have never known one who grasped with 
greater power, and handled with more ease and thoroughness, 
all the studies of the college course. I doubt if in all these re- 
spects I have ever known one who was her equal. She caught 
an author's meaning with remarkable quickness and clearness ; 
and, mastering the difficulties of construction, she detected, 
with almost unerring certainty, the most delicate shades of 
thought. She abhorred all shams in scholarship, and would 
be content with nothing short of the whole meaning. When 
crowded with work, it was not unusual for her to sit by her lamp, 
unconscious of the hours, till far past midnight. 

Her powers were well balanced. When I first knew her, it 
was supposed that her mind was specially adapted to mathe- 
matical study. A little later, it was thought she had found her 
fittest work in the field of the natural sciences ; later still, one 
would have said that she had found her highest possibilities in 
the languages ; and Professor Monroe tells us with what ease 
she fathomed the depths of so severe an argument as Butler's 

Her mind was many-sided, strong, compact, symmetrical. 
It was this symmetry and balance of qualities that gave her 
such admirable judgment, and enabled her to concentrate all 
her powers upon any work she attempted. 

To this general statement concerning her faculties there was, 
however, one marked exception. While she enjoyed, and in 


some degree appreciated, the harmonies of music, she was al- 
most wholly deficient in the faculty of musical expression. 
After her return from college, she determined to ascertain by 
actual test to what extent, if at all, this defect could be over- 
come. With a patience and courage I have never seen equalled 
in such a case, she persisted for six months in the attempt to 
master the technical mysteries of instrumental music, and even 
attempted one vocal piece. But she found that the struggle 
was nearly fruitless; the music in her soul would not come 
forth at her bidding. A few of her friends will remember that, 
for many years, to mention " The Suwanee River " was the sig- 
nal for not a little good-natured merriment at her expense, and 
a reminder of her heroic attempt at vocal and instrumental 

The tone of her mind was habitually logical and serious, not 
specially inclined to what is technically known as wit ; but she 
bad the heartiest appreciation of genuine humor, such as glows 
on the pages of Cervantes and Dickens. Clifton Bennett and 
Levi Brown will never forget how keenly she enjoyed the quaint 
drollery with which they once presented, at a public lyceum, a 
scene from Don Quixote; and I am sure there are three 
persons here to-day who will never forget how nearly she was 
once suffocated with laughter over a mock-presentation speech 
by Harry Rhodes. 

Though possessed of very great intellectual powers, or, as 
the arrogance of our sex accustoms us to say, ** having a mind 
of masculine strength," it was not at all masculine in the oppro- 
brious sense in which that term is frequently applied to women. 
She was a most womanly woman, with a spirit of gentle and 
childlike sweetness, with no self-consciousness of superiority, 
and not the least trace of arrogance. 

I take pleasure in re-enforcing my own views of the com- 
bined strength and gentleness of her character, by quoting the 
following letter from the Hon. James Monroe, who was one of 
her esteemed professors at Oberlin. 

" House of Representatives, Washington, D. C, 

May 28, 1876. 

"My dear General, — I leam that you are preparing an address 
upon the life and character of Miss Almeda A. Booth ; and I cannot 
resist the impulse to write you a note upon this interesting subject, thus 
contributing my rill of memories to your broader and deeper current 


" It is among the gratifying recollections of my life that Miss Booth 
was a pupil of mine for a considerable period of time, in connection with 
a college class at Oberlin. Soon after I began to observe the habit of 
her mind, I discovered that she was a remarkable woman. What at first 
struck my attention was the union in her character, in a degree very 
uncommon, of masculine intellectual strength and perfect wonoanly gen- 

" Her intellectual powers were such as would at once have attracted 
attention in any undergraduate in any college. She had not only great 
force, but force which worked with evident ease, without friction, and 
without conscious effort. I shall never forget her recitations in Butler's 
Analogy. Often, when one member in the class after another had 
failed rightly to interpret some difficult paragraph. Miss Booth, when 
called upon, would at once, without hesitation, without self-conscious- 
ness, and with no idea whatever of being superior to others, set the pas- 
sage in the truest and clearest light, both as to its intrinsic meaning and 
its relation to the context. She used to recite the Analogy as if she 
had written it. I remember the pleased expression of relief which 
passed over the faces of her classmates when she extricated them fix)m 
some difficulty. They all esteemed and praised her, and her superiority 
made no one envious. 

" Her gentleness of character was as remarkable as her strength of 
intellect. She seemed to think well of all her acquaintances, and never, 
to my knowledge, thought she had a grievance. She was noticeably 
kind and helpful to those who needed attention, and loved her fellow- 
creatures with the same love which led Christ to die for them. On the 
whole, she was as good an example of combined * sweetness and light * 
as I have ever met with. 

" After she left Oberlin you knew much more of her than I did. I 

often regretted that I could not continue my acquaintance with her. 

But I frequently heard of her great useftilness, and of the high esteem 

in which she was held wherever she resided. She was a large, strong, 

loving soul ; and any community which was favored with her presence 

must have been the better for it. 

" Yours very truly, 

"James Monroe," 

Though possessing these great powers, she was not unmind- 
ful of those elegant accomplishments, the love of which seems 
native to the mind of woman. 

In her earlier years she was sometimes criticised as caring 
too little for the graces of dress and manner; and there was 
some justice in the criticism. The possession of great powers, 
no doubt, carries with it a contempt for mere external show. 


In her early life Miss Booth dressed neatly, though with the 
utmost plainness, and applied herself to the work of gaining 
the more enduring ornaments of mind and heart. In her first 
years at Hiram she had devoted all her powers to teaching and 
mastering the difficulties of the higher studies, and had given 
but little time to what are called the more elegant accomplish- 
ments. But she was not deficient in appreciation of all that 
really adorns and beautifies a thorough culture. After her re- 
turn from Oberlin she paid more attention to the mint, anise, 
and cumin of life. During the last fifteen years of her life, 
few ladies dressed with more severe or elegant taste. As a 
means of personal culture, she read the history of art, devoted 
much time to drawing and painting, and acquired considerable 
skill with the pencil and brush. 

She did not enjoy miscellaneous society ; great crowds were 
her abhorrence ; but in a small circle of congenial friends she 
was a delighted and a delightful companion. 

Her religious character affords an additional illustration of 
her remarkable combination of strength and gentleness. At an 
early age she became a member of the Methodist Episcopal 
Churchr, and continued in faithful and consistent relations with 
that organization until she united with the Disciples, soon after 
she came to Hiram. Her firmness was severely tested by the 
religious changes which occurred in her own home. Her 
father's enthusiastic temperament led him to study any new 
phases of religious opinion, with a somewhat impressible credu- 
lity. The Mormon movement of 1830-32 swept him for a time 
into its turbulent current ; ten or fifteen years later, he was in- 
terested in the socialistic theories of the Shakers, with whom, as 
I understand, he united for a short time; later still, he paid 
much attention to the Spiritualistic philosophy. But while Miss 
Booth thoroughly respected the sincerity of her father's opin- 
ions, and from them doubtless became wisely tolerant and lib- 
eral in her opinions, she maintained firmly, but without bigotry, 
her faith in God and in the life to come. She cared little for 
mere differences of ecclesiastical form, and abhorred every spe- 
cies of ostentatious and noisy piety ; but her life was full of the 
calmness and beauty of religion ; her heart was filled with the 
charity that ** sufTereth long and is kind,'* and, still greater, that 
" thinketh no evil." At the memorial meeting held here soon 
after her death, the very just and striking statement was made 

r'- f-y ^- 


by one who had known her from childhood* Ifuift ke '' had never 
heard her speak evil of any human being.? 

I venture to assert, that in native pofwen «f mind, in thor- 
oughness and breadth of scholarship, in vOflMnly sweetness of 
spirit, and in the quantity and quality of efcdive, unselfish work 
done, she has not been excelled by any American woman. 
What she accomplished with her great powers, thoroughly 
trained and subordinated to the prindplci of a Christian life, has 
been briefly stated. 

She did not find it necessary to make v^ ar upon society, in 
order to capture a field for the exercise of her great qualities. 
Though urging upon women the necessity of the largest and 
most thorough culture, and demanding for them the amplest 
means for acquiring it, she did not waste her years in bewailing 
the subjection of her sex, but employed them in making herself 
a great and beneficent power. She did far more to honor and 
exalt woman's place in society than the thousands of her con- 
temporaries who struggle more earnestly for the barren sceptre 
of power than for fitness to wield it. 

She might have adorned the highest walks of literature, and 
doubtless might thus have won a noisy fame. But it tnay be 
doubted whether in any other pursuit she could have conferred 
greater or more lasting benefits upon her fellow-creatures, than 
by the life she so faithfully and successfully devoted to the 
training and culture of youth. With no greed of power or of 
gain, she found her chief reward in blessing others. 

I do not know of any man or woman, who, at fifty-one years 
of age, had done more or better work. I have not been able to 
ascertain precisely how long she taught before she came to 
Hiram ; but it was certainly not less than fifteen terms. She 
taught forty-two terms here, twenty-one terms in the Union 
School at Cuyahoga Falls, and, finally, two years in private 
classes ; in all, nearly twenty-eight years of faithful and most 
successful teaching, to which she devoted the wealth of her 
great faculties and admirable scholarship. 

How rich and how full was the measure of gratitude poured 
out to her, from many thousands of loving hearts I And to- 
day, from every station in life, and from every quarter of our 
country, are heard the voices of those who rise up to call her 
blessed, and to pay their tearful tribute of gratitude to her 
memory. On my own behalf I take this occasion to say, that 


for her generous and powerful aid, so often and so efficiently 
rendered, for her quick and never-failing sympathy, and for 
her intelligent, unselfish, and unswerving friendship, I owe her 
a debt of gratitude and affection for the payment of which 
the longest term of life would have been too short. To this 
institution she has left the honorable record of a long and 
faithful service, and the rich legacy of a pure and noble life. 
1 have shown that she lived three lives. One of these, the sec- 
ond, in all its richness and fulness, she gave to Hiram. More 
than half of all her teaching was done here, where she taught 
much longer than any other person has taught ; and no one has 
done work of better quality. She has here reared a monument 
which the envious years cannot wholly destroy. As long as 
the love of learning shall here survive; as long as the light 
of this College shall be kept burning; as long as there are 
hearts to hold and cherish the memory of its past; as long 
as high qualities of mind and heart are honored and loved 
among men and women, — so long will the name of Almeda 
A. Booth be here remembered, and honored, and loved. All 
who knew her at any period of her career will carry her 
memory as a perpetual and precious possession. With the 
changing of a single word, we may say of our friend what the 
Poet Laureate of England said of Isabel : — 

** The intuitive decision of a bright 
And thorough-edged intellect to part 
Error from crime ; a prudence to withhold ; 
The laws of friendship charactered in gold 
Upon the blanched tablets of her heart ; 
A love still burning upward, giving light 
To read those laws ; . . . . 
A courage to endure and to obey ; 
A hate of gossip parlance, and of sway ; 
.... the world hath not another 
(Though all her fairest forms arc types of thee. 
And thou of God in thy great charity) 
Of such a finished chastened purity." 



April 6^ 1876. 

On the 30th of January, 1875, ^^ representatives of the United 
States and of the king of the Hawaiian Islands signed a commercial reci- 
procity treaty in the city of Washington. Legislation was necessary to 
carry it into effect. Pending the bill introduced for that purpose in the 
Committee of the Whole, Mr. Garfield made these remarks. 

MR. CHAIRMAN, — I do not approve of the Hawaiian 
treaty because it looks in the direction of securing 
possession of those islands. I wish to state distinctly that, 
except in the north, — I make an exception there, — I trust we 
have seen the last of our annexations ; and in this remark I 
include the whole group of West India Islands and the whole of 
the Mexican territory contiguous to the United States. Both 
these islands and Mexico are inhabited by people of the Latin 
races strangely degenerated by their mixture with native races, 
— a population occupying a territory that naturally enfeebles 
man, — a population and a territory that I earnestly hope may 
never be made an integral part of the United States. I cannot 
more strongly state my view of that subject than by saying 
that, if the island of Cuba were offered to us with the consent 
of all the powers of the world, and $100,000,000 in gold were 
offered as a bonus for its acceptance, I would unhesitatingly 
vote to decline the offer. We occupy a portion of that great 
northern zone which girdles the world, and which has been 
the theatre of the greatest achievements of civilization, espe- 
cially in the history of the Anglo-Saxon race; and should 
we extend our possessions into the tropical belt, we should 
weaken the powers of our people and government. Hence I 


disclaim any purpose or suggestion of annexing the Hawaiian 
Islands as any part of my reason for supporting the treaty. 
On the contrary, one of the reasons why I favor the treaty is 
that it will be a satisfactory substitute for all probable schemes 
of annexation. It is the best solution of the question. 

Mr. Chairman, there are two reasons why I specially desire 
the passage of this bill. The first is on the ground of the duty 
which the nation owes to the Pacific coast; the second is on 
the ground of the general good of the whole country. 

The Pacific coast, the latest born of our possessions, was in a 
most perilous position fifteen years ago. Far remote from us, 
there was great danger that a feeling of isolation and of aliena- 
tion would spring up between the people of that coast and the 
people cast of the Rocky Mountains ; hence arose the Convic- 
tion that these distant commercial and industrial interests 
should be more closely united. And to me it is one of the 
sublimest facts in our recent history, that, in the face of the 
opening horrors and dangers of our great war, when it was in 
question whether our republic would live or die, the great 
men of that period who filled these seats and the seats in the 
other chamber dared to show their faith in the future of the 
republic by proposing and finally carrying a measure to make 
the largest appropriation that, up to that time, had ever been 
made in a single act by any nation of the World. It was sub- 
stantially to appropriate $100,000,000 in order to bind by mate- 
rial bonds of iron the Pacific coast to the Atlantic, and thus 
hold together in nearer ties of commerce, amity, and brother- 
hood the two coasts of this republic. I speak, of course, of the 
legislation that looked toward the construction of the Pacific 
Railroad. It was a great act of statesmanship. The purchase 
of Alaska was another step in that direction, not so marked, 
not so important, but yet important, for it secured to us the 
extreme northern American coast of this great Pacific Sea. 

Now, as we still desire to complete the work of amity with 
our Pacific brethren, we must get a foothold on the southern 
line of our western border. The whole Pacific coast, with 
hardly a dissenting voice, comes and asks us for this legisla- 
tion ; and if we have doubts ourselves on the ground of general 
policy, we owe it to these men, our brethren, who are among 
the choicest, bravest, and most enterprising spirits from all our 
Eastern, Middle, Western, and Southern States, who have 

VOL. II. 21 


planted that wonderful civilization on the Pacific coast, to meet 
their wishes, unless there be strong reasons why we should not. 
Their wishes are strong with me as controlling my view of this 

The other reason relates to the interests of the whole country. 
It seems to me that no man can look into the remote, or even 
the near future of this country, remembering the vastly impor- 
tant relations which have sprung up between us and the two 
ancient kingdoms of the East, where our young country has 
met the old in that strange union which recent years have devel- 
oped, and where the quaint civilizations of those old countries 
are pouring their influence upon us, and we answer back with our 
fresh young life, — no man, I say, thinking of that new and vast 
development of the relations of our country to these can be in- 
sensible to or neglectful of anything, however insignificant, that 
may be considered necessary to perpetuate the new relations 
of these two civilizations. 

Now, here is a group of islands midway between Asia and 
the United States, the resting-place for the great caravans of 
the sea, — the halting-ground whereon travellers on the ocean 
stop to recruit their shattered ships, it may be, or supply them- 
selves with needed materials for carrying on the work of com- 
merce. This group of islands, fortunately for us, is to-day 
dominated in all its leading influences by Americans, our own 
brethren. Their hearts warm toward us as their first choice in 
forming alliances. They are ours in blood and sympathy, and 
in this treaty they offer us the first place, an exceptionally 
favorable place, in their relations to the world. And they are so 
situated that, if we reject it, they must go elsewhere for alliances. 
If we reject this treaty they will be compelled to go to England 
or tb France. Both of these countries have for years and years 
been longing for just such an opportunity in reference to this 
group of islands as we have to-day. It is the simple logical 
result of the rejection of this treaty, that before many months 
these islands will be taken, controlled, and dominated either by 
England or by France ; and it is for us to say whether we shall 
consent to that alien union by rejecting this offer, or shall make 
that other union impossible by closing with this one ourselves. 

I have heard no argument against this treaty that appears to 
me to have any considerable weight beyond the one of cost ; 
and, as applied to this bill, it is a strange argument. It is not 


that cost which we must pay out of the treasury from revenues 
we have collected as taxes from the people. It is only that 
cost which declines to tax. It is not an expenditure, but a 
remission of taxation, that the treaty calls for. It does not 
call for the appropriation of a dollar. It simply calls for the 
repealing of taxes as to a class of our citizens. 

Now, our friends on both sides of the House have already 
shown themselves anxious to reduce expenditures to such an 
extent that they could remit taxes. The most grateful work 
that an American legislator is ever called upon to do for his 
people, is to remit some of their burdens of taxation. And 
the thing proposed to be done by this bill, and the only thing 
that is seriously criticised, is that by it we do remit a little less 
than $400,000 of duties which our people are now required to 
pay upon Hawaiian products that they import. That objec- 
tioii, it seems to me, wholly fails to rise to the height of this 
great question. 

I have but a few more words to add. Remembering that 
every Secretary of State, of whatever political party, before 
whom this subject ever came, has recommended this policy 
earnestly; that the men whom we are most willing to regard 
as our political teachers have held it strongly; remembering 
also that it is clear that this group of islands must seek an 
alliance, if not with us, then with our rivals, — I cannot con- 
ceive that the grounds upon which gentlemen base their oppo- 
sition to this treaty can overcome the reasons in its favor. 

I said in the outset of my remarks, that one of my reasons 
for favoring this treaty is that it will obviate any necessity for 
annexing these islands. Let us make this alliance, and while 
it lasts, the respect which the name of the United States carries 
with it among the nations of the earth will prevent any attempt 
on the part of any other nation to obtain control there. They 
will not undertake any scheme of annexation at the risk of 
quarrelling with the United States. But if we do not conclude 
this treaty, schemes of annexation will vex us from year to 
year, until we shall be compelled to annex these islands as a 
matter of self-protection. This treaty will completely avoid 
such a result as that. 



July 5, 1876. 

The Tribunal of Award constituted by virtue of the Treaty of Wash- 
ington, concluded May 8, proclaimed July 4, 1871, to consider the Ala- 
bama and other similar claims, awarded the United States an indemnity of 
115,500,000 in gold, which was duly paid into the treasury of the United 
States. Distribution was made to the claimants for damages directly 
resulting from the depredations of the Rebel cruisers Alabama, Florida, 
and Shenandoah, under the act of June 23, 1874, creating a ''Court of 
Commissioners of Alabama Claims," subject to certain Umitations and 
restrictions contained in the act. But when such distribution had been 
made, a large sum remained undisposed of. The law provided that such 
surplus should remain in the treasury, as a special fund, subject to future 
action. In July, 1876, three bills for the distribution of this suiplus 
were pending in the House of Representatives. What Mr. Garfield calls 
" the bill of the majority " (of the Committee on the Judiciary) proposed 
to distribute the money, first, to such vessel owners as had suffered loss 
from Rebel cruisers and who had been excluded by the act of June, 
1874, as not coming within the scope of the Geneva Award ; and sec- 
ondly, to vessel owners who had paid premiums for war risks, whether 
to insurance companies or to individuals. The " Lawrence Bill " pro- 
posed to ^pply the unexpended balance to paying the national debt. 
The " Knott Bill " proposed to give the money to insurers of vessel 
property who had suffered losses from the Rebel cruisers. The bill of 
the majority was carried in the House, but fell without action in the 
Senate. Mr. Garfield opposed the first two bills, and supported the 
third, in the following remarks. An act approved June 5, 1882, is virtu- 
ally the majority bill of 1876. 

MR. SPEAKER, — It is too late in this debate to make any 
argument on this great question. But 1 have desired to 
state very briefly the general grounds on which my mind has 


finally come to rest in the consideration of this subject. I have 
felt a very deep anxiety about this bill ; first, for the credit of 
the United States, for the national name ; second (and I say 
second not in iaiportance, perhaps, but in order of statement), 
that exact justice shall be done to all parties concerned. The 
conclusions to which I have come can be stated in very few 

It seems to me that very few grander phenomena have ever 
been witnessed in the affairs of nations than the settling of so 
great difficulties, as we were involved in with Great Britain on 
the basis of friendly judicial arbitration. It was substantially the 
setting up of a high court, — a court probably higher than any 
other the world has known, — to consider and adjudge a great 
international dispute, and to make a final settlement. The two 
governments established the high tribunal, and filed the case 
and the counter case, the argument and the reply. When all 
were in, both governments pledged the sanctity of their national 
faith to abide by the result The award was given by the Ge- 
neva tribunal in language very specific in every respect save 
one. The pecuniary part of the award was* a gross sum, not 
distributed item by item to the several parties on whose account 
it was granted. But the tribunal did what was the next most 
definite thing. They named in the solemn and precise words 
of the judgment itself every vessel for whose depredations the 
government of Great Britain was responsible, and they also 
stated specifically the names of all the vessels for which the 
United States had claimed such responsibility, but for which 
they did not find that Great Britain was liable. They discrimi- 
nated so far, for example, as to state that one vessel, the Shen- 
andoah, before she departed from the harbor of Melbourne, 
did nothing for which Great Britain was liable, but that after 
her departure from Melbourne all the damage that she inflicted 
upon American commerce was justly to be charged against 
Great Britain. So specific and careful were they in all the 
items of the award, that they gave the grounds affirmatively 
and negatively on which the award was made. 

And here I pause to notice an argument which has frequently 
been urged in this debate: that since the tribunal awarded " to 
the United States a sum of $15,500,000 in gold as indemnity 
to be paid by Great Britain to the United States for the satis- 
faction of all the claims referred to the consideration of the 


tribunal," therefore the amount of the indemnity may be ap 
plied to any of the alleged claims. It is a most singular use o 
words to say that a clause authorizes payment for claims whicl 
the award itself rejects as not valid. This argument proceed 
upon a narrow and indefensible use of the word " award," a 
though the money alone was the award. The language of th 
judgment of the tribunal is decisive of this question. Afte 
reciting the authority by which they acted, and the proceeding 
of the high contracting parties, by their agents and attorneys 
the tribunal say that, having " fully taken into their considera 
tion the treaty, and also the cases, counter-cases, document! 
evidence, and arguments, and likewise all other communication 
made to them by the two parties during the progfress of thei 
sittings, and having impartially and carefully examined the same 
has arrived at the decision embodied in the present award." ^ 

Then follow the decision and award, which consist, first, c 
conclusions of law, in which the legal ground of the responsi 
bility of Great Britain is stated ; secondly, of conclusions of fad 
in which it is stated for what cruisers and for what time Grea 
Britain was responsible ; and, thirdly, the amount of indemnit 
to be paid. This triple statement is the judgment, and nothinj 
but the most violent construction can separate its elements am 
call any one of them the judgment of the tribunal. 

Now, in my opinion, we are bound by the whole judgment 
and every sentiment of national honor should lead us to follow 
the award in its letter and its spirit. We have no right t 
inquire into the wisdom or unwisdom of the judgment. N 
doubt there were citizens who suffered as great and as grievou 
losses from the depredations of the exculpated cruisers as fror 
any which the tribunal included in the list of inculpated cruis 
ers; but this is a question, not of making an award, but c 
executing a judgment, and from that duty we should not b 
diverted by any considerations but the language and comman 
of the judgment itself. 

Now, what is the award? The claims filed by the Unite 
States were of two kinds, national claims and claims of privat 
citizens. In regard to the claims known as national claims, th 
tribunal of arbitration announced, — 

" That, after the most careful perusal of all that has been urged on th 
part of the government of the United States in respect of these claim: 

1 Executive Documents, 1872-73, Geneva Arbitration, Vol. IV. p. 5a 


they have arrived, individually and collectively, at the conclusion Aat 
these claims do not constitute, upon the principles of international law 
applicable to such cases, good foundation for an award of compensation, 
or computation of damages between nations, and should, upon such 
principles, be wholly excluded from the consideration of the tribunal in 
making its award, even if there were no disagreement between the two 
governments as to the competency of the tribunal to decide thereon." * 

After this solemn decision, how can it be affirmed that any 
part of the indemnity belongs to the nation as the payment of 
national damages? They were ^'wliolly excluded from the 
consideration of the tribunal in making its award." So they 
must be from our consideration in distributing the indemnity. 

In order to learn precisely what was excluded by the above 
judgment, I read the following from the order of the President 
of the United States to the agent, which was read to the tribu- 
nal and made a part of its proceedings : — 

" The declaration made by the tribunal, individually and collectively, 
respecting the claims presented by the United States for the award of 
die tribunal, for, first, the losses in the transfer of the American commer- 
cial marine to the British flag ; second, the enhanced payment of insur- 
ance ; and, third, the prolongation of the war, and the addition of a 
hrge sum to the cost of the war and the suppression of the rebellion, is 
accepted by the President of the United States as determinative of their 
judgment upon the important question of public law involved. The 
agent of the United States is authorized to say that, consequently, the 
above-mentioned claims will not be further insisted upon before the 
tribunal by the United States, and may be excluded from all considera- 
tion in any award that may be made." ^ 

This specific statement by our government would be conclu- 
sive and binding upon us, even if the judgment of the tribunal 
were not. 

There remained still two grounds of controversy: first, the 
direct losses growing out of the destruction by the cruisers of 
the vessels which the tribunal should adjudge "inculpated"; 
and, secondly, the expenses incurred by the United States in the 
pursuit of these cruisers. In reference to this second class the 
judgment of the tribunal is in the following language: — 

" Whereas, so far as relates to the particulars of the indemnity claimed 
by the United States, the costs of pursuit of the Confederate cruisers are 
not, in the judgment of the tribunal, properly distinguishable from the 

* Executive Documents, 1872-73, Geneva Arbitration, Vol. IV. p. 20. 

* Sec Ibid., Vol. II. pp. 579, 580 : Minister Schcnck to Secretary Fish. 


general expenses of the war carried on by the United States ; the tribunal 
is therefore of opinion, by a majority of three to two voices, that there 
is no ground for awarding to the United States any sum by way of indem- 
nity under this head." ^ 

Thus was excluded the only remaining form of national 
claims ; and we have the authority of the tribunal for declaring 
that no part of the $15,500,000 was allowed for any form of 
national claims. 

There then remained only the losses to American citizens by 
the depredations of the inculpated cruisers within the time for 
which the tribunal found that Great Britain was responsible. 
Now, with such limitations fixed by the tribunal and acknowl- 
edged by the United States, an estimate was made of the 
amount of damages to private citizens, and the award was 
made in a gross sum, for two reasons: first, that the United 
States might have it immediately to distribute to the people 
who were entitled to it; and, secondly, that England should not 
be required to dribble it out in small payments, but might dis- 
charge herself of ^11 further obligation by a single payment 
After this came the final result of fifteen and a half millions 
of gold paid into our hands under the award for specific dam- 
ages described in the judgment of the tribunal. 

In view of the facts I have stated, it seems to me that we can- 
not, without the greatest national dishonor, use one dollar of 
this money for any other purposes than those declared in the 
award itself. When we have distributed the indemnity in strict 
accordance with the finding of the tribunal, if there be left a sur- 
plus of one million or five million, national honor demands that 
we return that surplus to Great Britain. I should consider it a 
proud honor for the American Congress to vote to send it back 
to Great Britain, with this message : " When we examined more 
carefully the items of loss, we found they were not so great as 
we had supposed. The difference is yours, not ours, and we 
return it.*' 

Let us not put our nation in the shameful position of driving 
a sharp bargain to get a large sum on behalf of our citizens, 
and then put the difference into our treasury, or vote it away to 
parties to whom it was not awarded. I shall vote against the 
bill of the majority, against the bill of my colleague,* and in 
favor of the bill of the gentleman from Kentucky.* 

^ Executive Documents, 1872-73, Geneva Arbitration, Vol. IV. p. 53. 
^ Mr. Lawrence. 'Mr. Knott 




On the 27th of March, 1876, " A Bill to provide for a Deficiency in the 
Printing and Engraving Bureau in the Treasury Department, and for the 
Issue of Silver Coin of the United States in place of Fractional Cur- 
itncy," was considered in the House of Representatives. The second 
section, which related to silver, was as follows : — 

" That the Secretary of the Treasury is hereby directed to issue silver 
coins of the United States of the denomination of ten, twenty, twenty- 
five, and fifty cents, of standard value, in redemption of an equal amount 
of fractional currency, whether the same be now in the Treasury awaiting 
redemption, or wherever it may be presented for redemption ; and the 
Secretary of the Treasury may, under regulations of the Treasury Depart- 
menty provide for such redemption and issue by substitution at the regu- 
lar Subtreasuries and public depositories of the United States, until the 
whole amount of fi'actional currency outstanding shall be redeemed." 

The appropriation was made, and the above section, with a single ver- 
bal change, passed both houses and became law. Mr. Garfield made the 
following remarks : — 

MR. CHAIRMAN, — I desire to say at the outset that there 
are but two points for this House to determine in order 
to decide whether they will pass or reject this bill. The first is 
its relation to economy in expenditure. We are confronted by 
the fact that the appropriation for printing the fractional currency 
has run out, and we are now called upon to appropriate $418,000 
to keep up the work for the remainder of the fiscal year. The 
Committee on Appropriations find, if we issue the silver that 
we have on hand, and proceed to substitute silver for paper 
fractional currency as far and as fast as we can, that we shall 
need but $163,000 to eke out the supply of the paper fractional 
currency while the substitution is taking place. If we do not, if 


the silver portion of this bill is rejected, we must appropriate 
just $255,000 more than that amount. We must take it in hand 
at once, and determine whether we will turn back from the sil- 
ver policy of the government and at once appropriate a quarter 
of a million more to print paper scrip, or go on with silver re- 
sumption and save immediately by this bill that sum of money. 
The other point is the relation of this bill to the general ques- 
tion of the resumption of specie payments. These are the 
two principles involved. But before I come directly to the 
merits of the two points, I wish to call attention for a few 
moments to some of the criticisms that have been made. 

First, to my great amazement, is the charge made by the 
gentleman from Pennsylvania,^ that the Director of the Mint 
had done a disgraceful thing, which ought to make the cheek 
of any man redden with shame, because he had put into his 
annual report a statement of the condition of the great silver 
mine of this country. I will quote the language of the gen- 
tleman, so that I may do him no injustice: — 

" The report of the Director of the Mint is little more than an adver- 
tisement of old Townsend's genuine sarsaparilla. It is a pamphlet 
moulded upon the advertising pamphlets of that physician whose sands 
of life are nearly run. Pages of it are covered with evidence of the 
increasing value of the stock of the mines on the Comstock lode, and its 
bulk is swollen so that it is inconvenient for carriage by the insertion 
of maps of mines and their machinery, intended to demonstrate the 
truth of his advice to the people that if they want to buy stock in the 
Comstock mines, they had better do it at once." * 

I will say in response to that, what my friend from Pennsyl- 
vania ought to have known, that we have for years annually 
appropriated $10,000 to $15,000 to secure statistics of the 
precious metals, and nearly two years ago that particular work 
was placed under the control of the Director of the Mint by the 
Secretary of the Treasury. He was but obeying the laws of the 
United States and the order of his superiors when he made the 
report of which the gentleman complains. But, sir, who ever 
before heard a statesman finding fault because his government, 
or the officers of it, were doing what they could to ascertain the 
facts concerning the greatest silver mine this world has ever 
known ? Who else but a man that had a scheme to further, or 
a special policy to carry out, which policy came into collision 

^ Mr. Kelley. ' Congressional Record, March 16, 1876, p. 1769^ 


with so g^eat a fact as this great silver mine, would have found 
fault because the government was ascertaining its character. 
Why, sir, I hold in my hand copies of official letters from the 
French government in which the great finance minister, L^on 
Say, details an officer to be sent over to the United States with 
instructions to go in person and examine these silver mines and 
make a report that will show what this great American silver 
product is, and wb&t its effect is likely to be upon the money of 
the world. Shall we, then, in the American Congress, attack 
our own government for taking such means at a less expense to 
ascertain our own silver product? I will print these papers as a 
part of my remarks.^ 

•* Paris, February x, 1876. 

" Sir, — In conformity with instructions that have been transmitted to 
me by the Minister of Finance, and of which you are cognizant, I beg to 
request you to transmit to me reports upon everything appertaining to the 
monetary questions and circulations in the United States, and more par- 
ticularly upon the production of mines. The following are the principal 
points to which for the present I call your attention : — 

" First Monetary question in the United States. Ways and means 
proposed to prepare the resumption of specie payments within the 
fixed period of three years. 3tatistics of the national banks and other 
financial establishments. Amount of the issue of greenbacks and other 
paper moneys. 

** Second. Organization and administration of the United States Mint. 
Statistics of the coinage. Circulation of gold and silver coin, and what 
is the s];>ecial importance of the coinage of the trade dollar, and its use. 

" Third. Production of gold, silver, and quicksilver in the Pacific States, 
and more particularly in California and Nevada. 

" Fourth. To point out the leading silver mines now being worked on 
the great Comstock lode in Nevada, and the importance of the auriferous 
lands and grants of California. 

" Fifth. Valuation of the production, domestic consumption, and expor- 
tation of precious metals. 

" I shall avail myself of the opportunity of asking you for such other in- 
formation as will complete the points above indicated. 

" Accept, sir, the assurance of my sentiments of high consideration. 

" L. RuAN, Director of the Mint, 
"Colonel Jules Berton." 

I come now, Mr. Chairman, to notice some criticisms on 
this bill by the gentleman from New York.^ When he first 

^ Only the principal letter is here given ; the other two are merely formal. 
« Mr. Hewitt 


started out in his speech he said : " For one, I here declare my 
readiness and my intention not to permit any party trammels, 
or any fear of the political consequences, to interfere with my 
duty in this respect, and I here state that I am quite ready to 
advocate any policy, wherever it may originate, which will bring 
us back to the only sure ground of a specie basis." 

I thoroughly agreed with him, and expected to hear a good 
business speech from a business standpoint. ^But before he had 
gone a bowshot from his introduction he began to say this 
is a Republican, not a Democratic measure, and appealed to 
his Democratic associates not to bolster up by their indorse- 
ment a Republican measure, which, if unaided, may fail and 
disgrace the party that originated it. And all through the 
speech I was impressed with this thought: that, rather than have 
a Republican measure prove successful, he would see it fail in 
order that the Republican party might not get any credit for it 
For example, he said : — 

'' But the existing laws regulating the finances of the country are 
essentially in execution of the policy of the Republicans, and will be 
discussed as such. The act of January 14, 1875, *To provide for the 
Resumption of Specie Payments ' on the ist of January, 1879, was agreed 
upon by a caucus of Republican Senators, and made a party measure 
both in the Senate and the House of Representatives, the Democrats 
generally voting, and many of the leaders of the Democratic party speak* * 
ing against it. It was, therefore, a Republican, and not a Democratic 
measure ; and, unless the majority in this House sees fit to assume the 
responsibility by indorsing it in whole or in part, the failure of this act 
to produce any beneficial results to the suffering business of the country, 
its tendency to aggravate the evils under which the people are groaning, 
and the want of statesmanship apparent in the framing of legislation con- 
fessedly powerless for good unless supplemented by further legislation, 
are chargeable to the Republican party, and the Republican party alone." * 

This is not my ideal of patriotic statesmanship. I do not 
hesitate to say that, if the majority of this House propose a 
measure which will bring prosperity to this country and restore 
the ancient standard of values, I will go with them heart and 
soul, if the measure would give you a quarter of a million of 
votes. I am amazed that men should stand up here on great 
questions of this sort, and make it a matter of first inquiry 
which party may be helped or hurt by it. 

^ Congressional Record, March x6, 1876^ p. 1764. 


I pass from that consideration to another criticism. My 
friend from New York says that the only reason why there is 
any possibility of issuing this silver successfully is not because 
of the wisdom of the Republican party, but because of a streak 
of good luck they have had. He says that they have stumbled 
upon two items of good luck, — the discovery of the great Bo- 
nanza mines, and the demonetization of silver in Germany. Let 
me ask my friend if he has carefully read the history of this 
matter? I turn to the Congressional Record, and read a para- 
graph from the speech of my friend Senator Sherman, on the 
22d of December, 1874, when the resumption bill was reported. 

" The first section of the bill provides for the resumption of specie 
payments on the fractional currency. It is confined to that subject aJone. 
It so happens that at this particular period of time the state of the money 
maxkety the state of the demand for silver bullion, and more especially 
the recent action of the German Empire, which has demonetized silver 
and thus cheapened that product, enables us now, without any loss of 
revenue, without any sacrifice, to enter the market for the purchase of 
balliony and resume specie payments on our fractional currency." ^ 

He then went on to say that our fractional currency and sub- 
sidiary silver were almost on a level of value. There was no 
luck about that. The demonetization of silver in Germany had 
taken place two years before that time. The Bonanza mines 
had been discovered long before. It was a plain matter pi fact, 
well known at the time and announced by the author of the bill. 
Where is the luck? 

Mr. Hewitt. How was it six weeks afterward ? 

As a matter of course fluctuations followed, which it was 
easily foreseen might follow. But I have quoted these remarks 
by Senator Sherman to show my friend from New York that it 
was not a matter of mere blind luck, as he stated. 

Now I call attention, in the next place, to what seems to be 
the Malakoff of my friends on the other side, especially the 
gentleman from New York, namely, the question of economy ; 
and in this I observe that there is another Bonanza besides 
silver. The gentleman from New York called for bids from 
two corporations to see whether we cannot get the work done 
cheaper than it is being done in the Treasury, and these two 
bids are printed in his speech ; one bank-note company saying 

^ Congressional Record, Dec. 22, 1S74, p. 194. 


they can do the work for a round million of dollars ; the other 
saying they can do it for perhaps $950,000 ; and then he at- 
tempts to show we are paying $1,410,000 for the same work. 
For what work? The work of the gentleman's two bank-note 
companies? By no means. Did the gentleman suppose that 
the printing and engraving of these notes was the whole cost 
of the fractional currency? By no means. What more? We 
have a great bureau in the Treasury where these notes have to 
be counted, recounted, and counted again. We have a bureau 
in New York to gather up these very fractional notes, and twelve 
men are in the employ of the United States for the sole purpose 
of sorting, counting, and returning to the Treasury the filthy, 
worn-out fractional currency. We have eight more men in 
Boston for that purpose ; five or six more in Cincinnati ; and in 
all the Subtreasuries of the United States we keep a force of 
men employed on this very business. But what is the $1,410,000 
of which the gentleman from New York speaks? I have here 
an official paper from the Treasury Department which gives 
$1,082,521 as the expense incurred last year by the bureau to 
do the engraving and printing, we furnishing the paper; not the 
paper of commerce on which the bank-note companies would 
print, but our distinctive paper, which is a safeguard against 
counterfeiting, and more expensive than that of those bank-note 
companies. The gentleman will find, on a full examination of 
the facts, that the work is done cheaper in the Treasury than 
his bank-note companies do it. Then there is the expense in- 
curred for counters in the currency division, $60,000; $65,000 
for the same purpose in the Register's office; $181,000 in the 
Treasurer's office ; and the expense of express charges on frac- 
tional currency to and from the Treasurer's office, $20,000 

[Here Mr. Garfield submitted a statement of the expense of preparing, 
issuing, and redeeming the fractional currency of the United States for 
the fiscal year 1875. The total is 11,410,746.95. He continued : — ] 

Nearly half a million of the charge that this paper money 
costs us is not for printing and engraving, but for handling, which 
would necessarily be done if the bank-note companies had the 
work. Therefore, on the score of economy, the gentleman has 
mistaken wholly and totally the elements of the problem. If 
the gentleman wants to give this work to the company that 


manufactured notes for the Southern Confederacy, he cannot 
sustain his position on the score of economy. 

Now, Mr. Chairman, take another view of this question. Do 
gentlemen of the House know what we have paid out for the 
printing of fractional currency? Do they know how much has 
been issued? I will tell them. The whole amount issued up 
to the 30th of June, 1875, reaches the enormous aggregate of 

The public debt statement shows the amount of fractional 
currency outstanding at the end of June in each year since 
1864. The average outstanding amount during the last 
twelve years has been about thirty- five millions, and the 
amount outstanding on the first day of the present month 
was $45,124,134.47. 

I have also a table, compiled from the official records, show- 
ing the face value of the fractional currency issued each year 
since 1869, and the cost of printing and engraving it. This 
table shows that during the last six years the average amount 
issued has been over thirty-four millions a year of face value, 
and the average cost has been $955,024.90. This of course 
does not include the cost of assorting, counting, and redeeming. 
Could we estimate the expense of assorting and counting at 
the various Subtreasuries, it would swell the cost to consid- 
erably more than a million and a half per year. 

It costs us very nearly $2,000,000 a year to keep up our 
firactional currency. Now, if we issue silver in place of this 
fractional currency, it will stay out forty or fifty years without 
renewal, and after one issue it will be half a century before we 
shall be called upon to replace it at all except in cases of actual 
loss. The gentleman refuses to give up a currency which must 
be renewed every ten months; we propose a currency that need 
not be renewed for half a century. He refuses to abandon a 
currency that costs nearly $2,000,000 a year; we propose a 
currency which costs but one fiftieth of that after the expense 
of the first issue is borne. Therefore, for the purpose of econ- 
omy, we should pass the bill as reported by the committee. 

But in the second place the gentleman says that this bill 
will rob the poor man. I will quote a paragraph from his 
speech : — 

" And who, Mr. Chairman, will be robbed, and who will get the ben- 
efit of the fiiaud? The fractional currency is essentially the poor man's 


money. The bulk of it at any one time is in the actual possession of 
the laboring classes of this coimtry. If you take away from them what 
is worth eighty-seven and one half cents in gold and replace it with 
what is worth only eighty-two and five eighths cents, you rob the work- 
ing classes of nearly five per cent, — five cents out of every dollar of 
their scanty possessions. No human device can ever prevent debased 
money, when redundant, from falling to its true value as compared with 
other commodities. The dollar may be still called a dollar, but the 
adulteration not apparent on its face will betray itself in the increased 
price of every commodity which the poor man's family consumes.*' * 

Mr. Chairman, did anybody ever before hear that a piece of 
silver, stamped with the government stamp " half a dollar," 
is not better than a piece of paper with " fifty cents " printed 
on it? By what logic, by what possible feat of intellect, can a 
man confront a proposition of that sort, and not absolutely 
burst forth in laughter at the absurdity of his own concep- 
tion ? Cheat the laboring man ! Does not my friend know 
that this question of the relation of silver coin to gold coin is 
two hundred years old? Two hundred years ago all the intelli- 
gence that Newton and Locke could bring to bear upon this sub- 
ject resulted in proving the impossibility of sustaining in equi- 
poise two standards of value, the one silver and the other gold. 
The attempt was made to keep up two standards of value, 
one of gold, one of silver, and it was found utterly impossible, 
because the value of the two metals fluctuated in the market ; 
and finally, after a thorough discussion of the whole subject, 
the attempt was abandoned. Some nations took silver as their 
standard of value, and some took gold ; but almost all nations 
have adopted one metal for their standard coin, and ^another 
metal for a subsidiary coinage for the sake of change. Most 
nations have adopted gold as the standard of value, and silver 
as a subsidiary currency. Why? They cannot so well divide 
gold as silver for small coin. The case is well stated by a 
recent author : — 

" There is no law, statute or common, which gives any private person, 
company, or institution the right to take silver to the mint and demand 
coin in exchange. Thus it is left in the hands of the treasury and the 
mint to issue so much and such denominations of silver coins as they 
may think needful for the public service. This state of the law is per- 
fectly right, because, as the silver coins are tokens, they cannot be got 
rid of by melting or exportation at their nominal values. If individuals 

* Congressional Record, March i6^ 1876, p. 17661 


were fiee to demand as much silver coin as they liked, a surplus might 
be thrown into drculation in years of brisk trade which in a subsequent 
year of depressed trade would lie upon people's hands." 

The United States has also adopted this wise policy, and our 
silver coin is to-day under our laws more valuable than that of 
any other nation. Here is a table showing the relative valua- 
tion of the subsidiary silver coinage of different nations : — 

Legal Ratios of Value of Gold and Stiver. 

United States i4-95 ^^ ^ 

Great Britain 14.2 to i 

France 13.2 to i 

Germany 13.9 to i 

Latin States Coinage Union 13.2 to i 

Scandinavian States Coinage Union . . . . 14.8 to i 

France, Belgium, Italy, and Switzerland, making the Latin 
Union, coin a silver five-franc piece on the basis or ratio of 1 5 ^ 
to I, which is an unlimited tender in payment; all denominations 
below it are subsidiary and limited. 

The United States silver coinage is a little more valuable than 
the silver coinage of the other countries named. 

Now, the gentleman from New York must make his attack 
against England and against all the countries of the world 
which follow the wise practice of the last two hundred years, if 
he raises the question of injury to the poor man. 

Mr. Hewtit. Will it always retain that relative value ? 

We can always keep our silver coin in proper relation to 

Mr. Hewtit. Will you redeem it in gold ? 

It is a legal tender for the payment of debts up to five 
dollars. For all ordinary purposes of change, it does exactly 
what a gold dollar would do. 

The wisdom of the last two hundred years has taught the 
nations that this is the wisest thing to do. 

The only possible danger I can see in this measure is, that, 
should Congress so behave as to depreciate the value of green- 
backs until gold should reach a premium of 120, the silver 
might become more valuable than the greenbacks and be driven 

out of circulation But I remind gentlemen of the fact, that, 
VOL. II. 22 


notwithstanding all this fluctuation, the premium on gold has 
not been so high as 120 since 1871, and we ought to have 
enough faith in ourselves, and enough determination not to 
permit such unwise legislation as shall make this bill dangerous 
in that respect. 

Our friend from New York says that this will be no step 
toward specie payments. He seems to prefer paper for our 
fractional currency. I do not know that my friend means to 
stand by that ; but his language seems to imply that he wants 
us to resume in gold, and have a paper fractional cur- 

Mr. Hewitt. I mean just the opposite. 

I hope he did mean the opposite, but he did not say it 

Mr. Hewitt. I certainly did say it. 

In order to do the gentleman no injustice, I quote in full what 
he did say, and it is as follows : " But I deny that the substitu- 
tion of subsidiary silver coin for the fractional currency has any- 
thing to do with the resumption of specie payments. It is the 
substitution of metallic tokens for paper ones. The only specie 
resumption known to the law or to the great commercial nations 
is resumption in gold. For minor coins, copper, nickel, silver, 
or paper may be used ; and their purchasing power, whenever 
they may be in excess of ttu demand, will be measured by what 
they will produce in gold." 

The remainder of what I desire to say is to this point : Will 
this measure be a step towards the resumption of specie pay- 
ments ? If not, then I am opposed to it, however economical 
it might be. If it is a fair step towards specie payments, then I 
am in favor of it, however costly it .may be. Now, what is the 
fact? Does any gentleman believe that we shall ever have re- 
sumption of specie payments until we get back to our old stan- 
dard of gold, with a subsidiary coinage of silver? Are we not 
bound to do that? And if we cannot do both at once, shall we 
show our unwillingness to do the one thing that it is possible for 
us to do ? That is the whole question. We have now coined, 
in pursuance of law, $14,000,000 of subsidiary silver coin, upon 
which we have lost nothing. The gentleman from New York 
says we have lost $1,000,000. Even counted in gold, the differ- 
ence is only $222,000, as will be seen by the following state- 
ment from the Director of the Mint. 


"The amount of silver bullion purchased under the act of January 14, 
1875, has been 11,130,072 standard ounces, at an average rate or price 
of 109 cents per ounce standard in gold coin, the cost of which bullion 
was ^12,239,643. The present rate in London is 54 J pence, which cor- 
responds with 107 cents per ounce United States standard, and makes the 
depreciation of the stock in the hands of the government about I2 2 2,000, 
and not ^1,000,000, as stated by Mr. Hewitt With silver at 107 cents 
per ounce United States standard, a dollar in subsidiary silver coins is of 
the gold value of eighty-six cents. Gold was 114 J yesterday, which 
makes the greenback dollar eighty-seven cents and three mills." 

What shall we do with that amount of silver coin? Shall we 
turn back on our tracks and refuse to issue it, or shall we issue 
it in place of the perishable, wasting, uncertain paper currency 
that now circulates for change? The gentleman from Missouri ^ 
has shown that there has been lost by wastage in the hands of 
the people about $IS,0CX),0CX) of this paper fractional currency. 
And these very poor laboring people, for whom the gentleman 
from New York has so much sympathy, have suffered all, or 
nearly all, that loss. ' 

Now shall we put into their hands a currency less perishable? 
Shall we familiarize the American people with the use of coin, — 
of the coin recognized under our old laws, our laws before the 
war? Or shall we put off this opportunity which is now open 
to us to educate the people by putting in their hands $25,ocx),ooo 
of coined money, of lawful coin, although it is subsidiary coin, 
and not up to the full value of gold? It is a legal tender, and 
is lawful coin of the country. Shall we do that much toward 
resumption of specie payments? 

Mr. Kelley. Legal tenders to what amount? 

To the amount of five dollars. Shall we do that much now, 
when we can, when we have already half done it? We have 
half enough silver coin ready to be issued for the purpose of 
supplying what everybody knows will be a sufficient amount 
of change for the business of the country. And if we do just 
as much more as we have already done, we shall have made 
the substitution complete. We can then dismiss an army of 
clerks, and counters, and workmen, who are now making our 
paper fractional currency, and in the common school of the 
silver currency we can begin the work of educating our peo- 
ple up to the gold standard when that comes. 

1 Mr. Wells. 


.1 hope we shall not change our policy, — that we shall not 
here show our unwillingness to resume specie payments, when 
we can hurt nobody, when we shall be wronging nobody, when 
we shall not be affecting injuriously any great interest of the 
country. No one pretends that this will produce any shock to 
business. The stock argument used against our resuming pay- 
ments in gold does not apply to this. It is safe, easy, and 
economical ; it is honest ; it is keeping good faith for us so to 
do. I dare not vote against it, for in so doing I should take 
a step toward repudiation ; I should aid in breaking the public 
faith. I shall vote for this measure, whatever its origin. Demo- 
cratic or Republican. 

June 28, 1876, pending a bill authorizing the minting of an additional 
amount of subsidiary silver coin, the House adopted this amendment, 
proposed by Mr. Landers : " And be it further provided ^ That the Secre- 
tary of the Treasury is directed to authorize the coinage of the standard 
silver dollar of the same weight and fineness in use January i, 1861 ; and 
said dollar shall be a legal tender in payment of all debts, public and 
private." The Senate disagreed, and the bill went to a conference com- 
mittee. On the 13th of July, upon the question of adopting the confer- 
ence report (which did not contain the " Landers amendment "), Mr. 
Garfield spoke as follows : — 

I CAN hardly conceive a situation in which the House could 
be brought more directly face to face with what seems to pre- 
sent on the one hand public honor, and on the other the deep- 
est public disgrace, than in the alternative propositions now 
presented to the House in this report. Everything in the way 
of controversy hinges upon the proposed amendment of the 
gentleman from Indiana.^ It is claimed that, by the terms of 
the act of 1869, it would be lawful for us to pay the public 
•debt in silver dollars such as might have been coined under 
the law as it stood in 186 1. 

Now I desire to recall to the mind of the House the letter and 
the spirit of that law. Afler all the doubt and the turbulent 
excitement about what the actual obligation of the nation was in 
regard to the public debt, the first act of Congress approved by 
President Grant made a solemn declaration designed to put all 
those doubts to rest It was declared by Congress that " the 

^ Mr. Landers. 


faith of the United States is solemnly pledged to the pay- 
ment — " In what? Not in silver, not in gold, not in coin, but 
" in coin or its equivalent of all the obligations of the United 
States not bearing interest, known as United States notes, and of 
all the interest-bearing obligations of the United States, except 
in cases where the law authorizing the issue of any such obliga- 
tion has expressly provided that the same may be paid in law- 
ful money, or other currency than gold and silver." 

The declaration there was that the payment of all these 
national obligations not specifically currency obligations was to 
be in " coin or its equivalent" Now, what did Congress mean ? 
What were our laws before 1861? Why, Mr. Speaker, since 
1834 we have had one standard, a dollar, and we have by law 
embodied it in two metals, gold and silver. But all the time, in 
order to have one standard, not two, we have sought to make 
the coins of the two metals conform to the one standard ; keep- 
ing the amount of metal in one so adjusted to the amount of 
metal in the other that a dollar of gold should be equivalent to 
a dollar of silver. Every hour that we had a double standard it 
was double only on the ground of equivalency ; and when, by 
reason of the shifting value of the two metals in reference to 
each other, the silver dollar and the gold dollar have varied from 
each other in value, Congress has undertaken to equalize them 
by increasing tlie amount of metal in one, or decreasing the 
amount of metal in the other. We always sought to avoid the 
evil of having two kinds of dollar, one worth more than the other. 
And when Congress promised to pay in coin it was a promise 
to pay gold coin or silver coin of equal value with the same 
nominal sum in gold. I cannot believe that this statement will 
be denied. 

Congress saw, a few years ago, that it was going to be difficult 
to keep up the equality or equivalency of the dollar in the two 
metals ; so it dropped one of the metals, except as a subsidiary 
coin, and left the national standard of value embodied in the 
other, namely, in gold. Now, the fact that in 1873 we adopted 
a device to preserve the constancy of the value of the dollar 
does not by any means signify that we meant to change the old 
obligation so that men to whom the government owes money 
can lawfully be paid in money of different value. 

By monetary changes abroad, and by mining developments 
at home, causing fluctuations in the relative values of the two 


metals, it happens that to-day silver is so depreciated that, if it 
were now a legal standard of payment of all amounts, the em- 
ployees and other creditors of the government could be com- 
pelled to accept seventy-nine cents as full payment for every 
dollar due them, and thus they would be swindled to the extent 
of twenty-one cents on the dollar by being compelled to receive 
silver rather than gold, or to the extent of ten cents on the 
dollar by paying them silver rather than Treasury notes. And 
the most amazing feature of the case is that some good men, 
holding these places of high responsibility, do not see that this 
would be as dishonest as it would be ruinous in its results to the 
credit of the nation. 

Let it be remembered that we are solemnly bound by the act 
of 1869 to pay in coin or its equivalent. Dare any man say that 
we can pay in this so greatly depreciated silver, and really obey 
the law of equivalency which was the basis and spirit of the 
statute of 1869? He denies the principle of equivalency who 
proposes to pay in this silver coin. He violates the law who 
violates the essential object of it, — equivalency. 

If you insist on paying in silver, then I insist that your silver 
dollar must be equivalent to your gold dollar. Do gentlemen 
consent to maintain equivalency in the two standards, and then 
pay in silver? Manifestly not. Their incentive is gone the 
moment they are asked to pay one hundred cents on a dollar. 
Some one has said that there is an innate desire in the human 
mind to cheat somebody. A great minister said that there 
were two things in human nature which, when united, made 
iniquity complete, — one was the desire to do a dishonorable 
thing, and the other was the opportunity to do it. It has hap- 
pened in the fluctuations of these metals that there is now a 
notable opportunity to cheat several millions of men by adopting 
the baser metal as the standard of payment, and thus accom- 
plishing a swindle on so grand a scale as to make the achieve- 
ment illustrious. By the proposed measure one fifth of the 
enormous aggregate of public and private debts can be wiped 
out as with a sponge. This nation owes $2,100,000,000, and 
private citizens of the United States probably owe $2,500,000,000, 
possibly more. At the present moment the relation of debtor 
and creditor in the United States involves nearly $5,000,000,000. 
It is proposed by the amendment of the gentleman from Indiana 
that, at one fell stroke, one fifth of all this enormous sum shall 


be wiped ofT, repudiated, and that this process shall be called 
honest legislation! Since I have been in public life I have 
never known any proposition that contained so many of the 
essential elements of vast rascality, of colossal swindling, as this. 
I do not charge that such is the purpose of the gentleman ; yet 
such, in my judgment, is the effect of the amendment proposed. 
But, aside from the political ethics involved in this scheme, we 
should consider its effects upon the business of the country. 

Gentlemen may remember the financial shock of 1837, the 
later shock of 1857, and that still later in 1873. Conceive them 
all united in one vast crash, and the financial ruin, the overthrow 
of business, would be light in comparison with the shock which 
would follow if the provision here proposed were adopted. By 
a principle improperly called Gresham's Law, for it was known 
as far back as the days of Aristophanes,^ where two legal stan- 
dards of value are put in circulation in the same country, the 
less valuable always drives out the more valuable. Put in 
operation the provision now suggested, and all our gold coin 
will leave the country as fast as it can be carried abroad. Do 
this, and a revolution in our monetary affairs, utterly unparal- 
leled in the history of our nation, will follow. The gentleman 
from Pennsylvania,^ in his remarks, gave the key to the philoso- 
phy of this proposed legislation. " Why," said he, " what does 
a man want to do with silver when he can have something made 
of white metal that the thief will not care to steal ? " What is 
the meaning of that? It is that he wants money so cheap and 
so valueless that nobody will care to steal it. 

Mr. Kelley. I was speaking, not of money, but of household 

It amounts simply to the grim summary of Thomas Carlyle, 
the theory of " cheap and nasty," — quantity at the expense of 
quality, glittering sham at the expense of reality. 

On the 13th of December, 1876, " A Bill to utilize the Product of Gold 
and Silver Mines, and for other Purposes," introduced by Mr. Bland of 
Missouri at the previous session of the Forty-fourth Congress, was pending. 
The House adopted the following substitute, and then passed the bill : — 

" That there shall be, from time to time, coined at the mints of the 

* Sec Macaulay, History of England, Vol. IV. p. 495 (Harper's edition), 
s Mr. Kelley. 


United States, silver .dollars of the weight of 412)^ grains standard silver 
to the dollar, as provided for in the act of January 18, 1837 ; and that 
said dollar shall be a legal tender for all debts, public and private, except 
where payment of gold coin is required by law." 

This bill was never acted on by the Senate. The following are Mr. 
Garfield's remarks : — 

Mr. Speaker, — I do not think I shall use the whole of the 
ten minutes granted me, but only enough to state the reasons 
which will guide my vote on this bill. 

I suppose that the officer of the United States army who had 
charge of the excavations at Hell Gate, an hour before the ex- 
plosion, could have given you the lay of the ground on every 
square foot of Hell Gate ledge, and the depth of the water at all 
stages of the tide, because, by years of patient study, he had 
learned all about it; but if he had pretended to tell any one, just 
after the explosion occurred, how the ledge lay, how deep the 
water was, and what the situation of the channel was in regard 
to navigation, he would have proved himself a charlatan and a 
cheat. After those tons of dynamite had exploded under the 
ledge, there was a new set of conditions ; and like a sensible 
officer he would have said to all comers, " I must put down my 
sounding apparatus ; I must make a careful exploration of this 
ledge before I can tell you anything accurately or definitely of 
the situation.*' In the course of a few weeks he was able to do 
that, and do it intelligently and thoroughly. 

I have stated this as an illustration of my view of the pres- 
ent state of the silver question. For a long time the relation 
between silver and gold had been very accurately understood, 
and had continued without great and violent fluctuations. 
These two metals had been used by the governments of the 
world, in some definitely ascertained proportions, as the basis 
for standard coin ; and men knew with tolerable accuracy their 
relative values. But within the last few years, and notably 
within the last few months, there has been an explosion un- 
der silver as it stands related to gold, — an explosion as much 
greater than the one under Hell Gate ledge as the continents 
of Europe, Asia, and America are greater than Hell Gate 
itself. Now, while the fragments of this mighty explosion are 
falling in confusion all over the world, while the upheaval is 
still going on, and while we are still involved in the uncertainty 
which it has caused everywhere, — when we have sent out our 


explorers ^ by the wise order of both houses of Congress to 
make soundings and report what they find, — even while we 
are waiting for their coming (and they tell us we may expect 
them soon), — it is proposed in the hot haste of a two hours' 
debate, under the tyranny of the previous question, the two 
hours being parcelled out into fragments of five or ten minutes 
apiece, — it is proposed in this chamber that we settle this 
world-wide question and determine it to-day. 

If I had no other reason to urge against this bill, this to my 
mind would be overwhelming and unanswerable. Who, in this 
brief space of two hours, can go into the philosophy of the 
great revolution that has occurred? Who can state its causes 
calmly and dispassionately? Who can point out the probable 
future course of silver in the markets of the world? We know 
that a year or two ago it was bought and sold at 60 J pence per 
ounce; that on the 13th of July last it had, by extraordinary 
fluctuations, tumbled down almost to 46 pence per ounce ; and 
now again, faster than the thermometer indicates the changes 
of temperature, it is up again to 57. Yet on this rising and 
falling tide, in the midst of fluctuations almost equal to the 
political passions of a Presidential campaign, we are asked to 
settle for years this question, when the intelligence that we re- 
quire is near at hand, but not yet received ; we must settle it 
before we hear. It is said that Rhadamanthus and his brother 
judges in the lower world, when the accused was brought before 
them, first castigated him, then made him confess that he was 
properly punished, and then heard his case. Now perhaps that 
is a mode of procedure fit for the court below, but it is not a 
method fit for the House of Representatives. 

What I ask for, Mr. Speaker, is information and time for 
deliberation before we proceed to settle this great question. 
There is no emergency pressing us to a decision to-day. I am 
free to say, if I am forced to a choice of evils, that I like the 
substitute better than the original bill. I have no objection 
to voting for the substitute, but I shall vote against the bill, 
whether the substitute be adopted or not, as the case now 

Let me call the attention of gentlemen to another fact. Can 
they say this country is going to get any good out of this bill? 

^ llie Silver Commission, created by joint resolution of August 15, 1876; re- 
ported, March 2, 1877. 


Pass it, and what can be done? Every man who owns silver 
bullion in America, or who can buy it from abroad, can take it 
by the car-load to the Mint of the United States, and have it 
coined under our laws without cost to himself, and can take 
away in silver coin all the difference between the value of his 
bullion and the nominal value of his coin. The owner oif the 
bullion will make the difference, and the government make 
nothing. Why should we give away all the difference, whichs. 
in July last would have been thirty per cent, to the accidental 
owner of bullion, or the one who chooses to speculate in itr^ 
Why should we offer so great a premium to domestic and for— 
eign speculators in metals, and forbid our national treasury to 
have any share in it? And where will gentlemen find any goo<I. 
Qoming to the people by this policy? 

There is no time in this brief debate to discuss the philoso— 
phy of a single or double standard. I am willing that in som& 
way, properly restricted, we shall enlarge the scope of our silver^ 
coinage. I hope the Silver Commission may show us how this 
can safely be done. But I am unwilling to undertake so gfrave 
a work without full information and deliberation. 

I wish to say, in the remaining moments left to me, that it is 
impossible, within the brief space we have, even to go carefully 
through the history of the legislation which has brought us 
where we are. That legislation has been denounced as a " legis- 
lative trick," as a delusion, as something intended to cheat the 
American people. I will not even on this occasion go so far 
as the gentleman who advocated, if he did not introduce, the 
original bill ; but let me read from the Congressional Globe of 
April 9, 1872, the reason given by him for its passage. I read 
the language of my friend from Pennsylvania,^ who now sits 
near me : — 

" I wish to ask the gentleman who has just spoken ^ if he knows of 
any government in the world which makes its subsidiary coinage of full 
value ? The silver coin of England is ten per cent below the value of 
gold coin. And acting under the advice of the experts of this country, 
and of England and France, Japan has made her silver coinage within 
the last year twelve per cent below the value of gold coin, and for this 
reason : // is impossible to retain the double standard. The values of 
gold and silver continually fluctuate. You cannot determine this year 
what will be the relative values of gold and silver next year. They 
were 15 to i a short time ago ; they are 16 to i now. 

A Mr. Kcllcy. « Mr. PoUcr. 


" Hence all experience has shown that you must have one standard 
cm^ which shall be a legal tender for all others, and then you may pro- 
mote your domestic convenience by having a subsidiary coinage of silver, 
which shall circulate in all parts of your country as legal tender for a 
limited amount, and be redeemable at its face value by your govern- 

" But, sir, I again call the attention of the House to the fact that the 
gentlemen who oppose this bill insist upon maintaining a silver dollar 
worth three and a half cents more than the gold dollar, and worth seven 
cents more than two half-dollars, and that so long as those provisions 
remain you cannot keep silver coin in the country." * 

I have read the whole of that extract, Mr. Speaker, in order 
to do full justice to the gentleman from Pennsylvania who re- 
ported the bill. Now, I am sure he was not guilty of a legisla- 
tive trick. I am sure he gave the House full notice of what they 
were doing, and the reason why he asked them to do it. And 
he gave as a reason, that at that moment silver was worth more 
than gold, and you could not keep two standards from fluctuating 
in reference to each other. Just now it happens that silver is a 
little below the value of gold, and gentlemen will see, and the 
House will see, that we must have a basis for our judgment 
broader than the uncertain chances of an uncertain market. I 
have not quoted the passage to affirm that I wholly disbelieve 
in the double standard, but to show the great difficulty of real- 
izing it 

I wish to make another remark. When the report of that 
Commission is made, I hope it will instruct us as to the interna- 
tional relations of this question. One nation alone cannot put 
silver up, or put it down, and control all the markets of the 
world. If seven or eight of the leading nations of the world 
should form a monetary treaty on the subject, and should 
agree that silver be adopted, to be issued within certain limits in 
each, I have no doubt that silver coin could be kept in equipoise 
with gold. But let one half of the leading nations of the globe 
drop the silver coinage, and let only one like our own insist 
upon it, and then we shall see a flood of silver coin pouring into 
the hands of our brokers, who would bring it to the Mint, and 
fill their own pockets with the difference between silver bullion 
and silver coin. 

^ Congressional Globe, April 9, 1872, p. 2316. 


On the 3ist of February, 1878, the bill authorizing the recoinage of sfl- 
ver dollars was carried through the House under the previous question 
without serious debate. In the three minutes allotted him Mr. Garfield 
made these remarks : — 

Mr. Speaker, — Every man who is opposed to the use of 
silver coin as a part of the lawful currency of the country, I dis- 
agree with. Every man who is opposed to the actual legal use 
of both metals, I disagree with. Every man who is in favor of 
any bill that will drive one of these metals out of circulation and 
give us only the other as money, with him I disagree. It is a 
matter of deep regret to me that on this greatest financial meas- 
ure which has come before Congress for many years we have 
come down at last to the turbulent scene of this single hour, 
not of deliberation, but of experimenting, without debate or 
opportunity for amendment. 

The amendments which have come from the Senate are wise, 
so far as they go, and I shall vote for them all. If any man 
could convince me that the bill as it now stands would bring the 
silver and gold dollars to a substantial equality, I would not only 
vote for it with all my heart, but I would vote against the Sen- 
ate amendment which forbids free coinage. I would endow the 
two dollars with equality, and make the coinage free. But no 
adequate discussion is allowed ; and we are permitted no oppor- 
tunity so to amend the bill as to secure that equality. 

Believing, as I do, — and I shall rejoice if the future proves 
me mistaken, — believing, as I do, that this bill will not bring 
the two metals to equality, nor keep them there, that it will 
bring no relief to the suffering and distress which now afflict the 
country, that it will seriously injure the public credit, and 
thereby injure every citizen, I shall vote to lay the bill upon 
the table. 

On the 1 7th of May, 1879, the House of Representatives having under 
consideration " A Bill to amend certain Sections of the Revised Statutes of 
the United States, relating to Coinage and Coin and Bullion Certificates, 
and for other Purposes," Mr. Garfield made the following remarks. The 
bill passed the House, but no action was had in the Senate. 

Mr. Speaker, — We have probably never legislated on any 
question the influence of which reaches farther, both in terri- 


tory and in time, and which touches more interests, — more vital 
interests, — than this and similar bills. No man can doubt that 
within recent years, and notably within recent months, the lead- 
ing thinkers of the civilized world have become alarmed at the 
attitude of the two precious metals in relation to each other ; 
and many leading thinkers are becoming clearly of the opinion 
that, by some wise, judicious arrangement, both the precious 
metals must be kept in service for the currency of the world. 
And this opinion has been gaining ground within the last six 
months to such an extent that England, which for more than 
half a century has stoutly adhered to the single gold standard, 
is now seriously meditating how she may harness both these 
metals to the monetary car of the world. And yet, outride 
of this Capitol, I do not this day know of a single great and 
recognized advocate of bi-metallic money who regards it pru- 
dent or safe for any nation to increase the coinage of silver 
at the present time largely beyond the limits fixed by exist- 
ing laws. France and the other states of the Latin Union, 
who have long believed in bi-metallism, maintained it against 
all comers, and have done all in their power to advocate it 
throughout the world, dare not coin a single silver coin, and 
have not done so since 1874. The most strenuous advocates of 
bi-metallism in those countries say it would be ruinous to bi- 
metallism for France or the Latin Union to coin any more silver 
at present The remaining stock of German silver now for sale, 
amounting to from forty to seventy-five millions of dollars, is a 
standing menace to the exchanges and silver coinage of Europe. 
One month ago the leading financial journal of London pro- 
posed that the Bank of England buy one half of the German 
surplus and hold it five years, on condition that the German 
government shall hold the other half off the market. The time 
is ripe for some wise and prudent arrangement among the 
nations to save silver from a disastrous break-down. 

Yet we, who, during the past two years, have coined far more 
silver dollars than we ever before coined since the foundation of 
the government, — ten times as many as we coined during half 
a century of our national life, — are to-day ignoring and defying 
the enlightened, universal opinion of bi-metallists, and saying 
that the United States, single-handed and alone, can enter the 
field and settle the mighty issue. We are justifying the old 
proverb, that ** Fools rush in where angels fear to tread." 


It is sheer madness, Mr. Speaker. I once saw a dog on a 
great stack of hay which had been floated out into the wild, over- 
flowing stream of a river, with its stack-pen and foundation still 
holding together, but ready to be wrecked. For a little while 
the dog appeared to be perfectly happy. His hay-stack was 
there and the pen around it, and he seemed to think the world 
bright, and his happiness secure, while the sunshine fell softiy 
on his head and his hay. But by and by he began to discover 
that the house and the barn, and their surroundings, were not 
all there as they were when he went to sleep the night before ; 
and he began to see that he could no longer command all the 
prospect and peacefully dominate the scene as he had done. So 
with this House. We assume to manage this mighty question 
which has been launched on the wild current that sweeps over 
the whole world, and we bark from our legislative hay-stacks 
as though we commanded the whole world. In the name of 
common sense and sanity, let us take some account of the flood ; 
let us understand that a deluge means something, and try, if we 
can, to get our bearings before we undertake to settle the affairs 
of all mankind by a vote of this House. 

To-day we are coining one third of all the silver that is being 
coined in the round world ; China is coining another third ; and 
all other nations are using the remaining one third for subsidiary 
coin. And if we want to take rank with China, and part com- 
pany with all the civilized nations of the Western world, let us 
pass this bill, and then '* bay the moon,*' as we float down the 
whirling channel to take our place among the silver monometal- 
lists of Asia. 

What this country needs, above all other things, is that this 
Congress shall pass the appropriation bills, adjourn, and go 
home, and let the forces of business and good order and brother- 
hood, working in their natural and orderly way, bring us into 
light and stability and peace. We want time to adjust this 
great international question. Now, while I am speaking, the 
Executive is opening negotiations with all the Western nations, 
to see if there cannot be some international arrangement where- 
by this question of bi-metallism may be wisely settled ; and we 
should await the result. 


On the 25 th of May, 1880, this paragraph in the Sundry Civil Appro- 
priation Bill was considered in the House of Representatives: "To 
enable the Secretary of the Treasury to provide suitable accommodation 
for the storage of coin, 1 100,000." The point of order was raised that 
there was no existing law under which this appropriation could be made. 
Mr. Garfield made the following remarks, the last that he ever made in 
the House of Representatives, 

Mr. Chairman, — If, by a provision in the Legislative, Ex- 
ecutive, and Judicial Appropriation Bill, the number of clerks 
in any department or bureau is increased, I take it that no one 
would doubt that that provision would be a sufficient law to 
authorize the purchase of a sufficient number of desks for the 
office in which these clerks were to do their work. It would 
not be necessary to get a special statute passed for the purchase 
of an additional amount of paper, ink, and stationery to be used 
in the particular bureau in which the additional clerks had been 
appointed by authority of law. 

We have a law compelling the Director of the Mint to coin 
at least two million silver dollars a month. We have another 
law which allows the purchase of silver bullion and the issue of 
certificates therefor. Under those laws, the United States this 
day owns $64,0CX),0CX) in silver coin, dollars and fractional coin, 
and $4,CXX>,0CX) of silver bullion besides, making $68,000,000 of 
silver coin and bullion, in addition to the gold coin. 

Now, an ordinary car-load of concentrated silver is eight tons. 
We own to-day, and are holding in our Subtreasury buildings, 
two hundred and fifty car-loads of silver coin and silver bullion. 
The coinage for the next three, four, or five months, if addi- 
tional accommodations are not provided, will necessarily have 
to be stacked up without protection, without a vault to put it in, 
without a place even in which to lock it up, if the law continues 
as it now is. The necessity for this appropriation is just as 
manifest as the necessity for an appropriation for a desk, for a 
lock and key, or for pens, ink, and paper for additional clerks 
authorized by law. 

I do not believe in the policy of continuing the coinage of 
silver; but that is not the question now. The question is upon 
the point of order ; and I say that, if you will buy horses, you 
must have stables for them. 

I do not desire to prolong this debate. We are likely to be 
misled on this point by the language of the clause which relates 


to the storage of coin. The wording of this section is, " to ena- 
ble the Secretary of the Treasury to provide suitable accommo- 
dation for the storage of coin, — $100,000." Now, of course, 
" storage " means building room, and storage of coin means 
vaults. It would have been better, therefore, and less liable to 
ambiguity, if the language had been simply " to build a vault." 
That is all it means. By no stretch of construction can this be 
considered as authorizing the erection of a new building, be- 
cause, if a new building is to be put up, it requires the selection 
of a site, the acquirement of a title to the lands, and all that ; 
but this simply provides an accommodation suitable for the 
storage of coin. It is all in connection with the Treasury 
buildings here. It is simply to provide accommodation. The 
recommendation of the Secretary of the Treasury, upon which 
this provision was inserted in the appropriation bill, was simply 
to provide more vault room; and I call attention to the fact 
that, under the decision of the chairman of the committee on a 
point of order raised yesterday, it is an appropriation for con- 
tinuing work already in progress and authorized by law. All 
these buildings, and all ordinary repairs made upon them, are 
works of progress, and the Secretary is simply authorized to 
put up fixtures in a building already authorized by law ; and 
under the same decision of the chairman held yesterday this is 
manifestly in order. 




August 4, 1876. 

On the 2d of August, 1876, Mr. L. Q. C. Lamar made a speech in the 
House of Representatives on general politics, his evident purpose being 
to influence public opinion, especially at the North, in the Presidential 
election that would ensue in the following November. On the 4th, the 
House being in Committee of the Whole on the bill to transfer the 
conduct of Indian Affairs from the Interior Department to the War De- 
partmenty Mr. Garfield replied in the following speech. 

MR. CHAIRMAN, — I regret that the speech of the gen- 
tleman from Mississippi has not yet appeared in the 
Record, so that I might have had its full and authentic text 
before oflfering my own remarks in reply. But his propositions 
were so clearly and so very ably stated, the doctrines that run 
through it were so logically connected, that it will be my own 
fault if I fail to understand and appreciate the general scope and 
purpose of his speech. 

In the outset, I desire for myself, and for a majority at least 
of those for whom I speak, to express my gratitude to the gen- 
tleman for all that portion of his speech which had for its object 
the removal of the prejudices and unkindly feelings that have 
arisen among citizens of the republic in consequence of the late 
war. Whatever faults the speech may have, its author ex- 
presses an earnest desire to make progress in the direction of a 
better understanding between the North and the South ; and in 
that it meets my most hearty concurrence and approval. 

VOL. II. 23 


I will attempt to state briefly what I understand to be the 
logic of the gentleman's speech. He sets out with deploring 
the evils of party, and expressing the belief that the great mass 
of the American people are tired of much that belongs to party, 
and that, looking beyond and above mere party prejudices and 
passions, they greatly desire to remove public corruptions, and 
reform the manifold errors and evils of administration and legis- 
lation. He holds that those errors and evils consist mainly of 
two things : first, of a generally corrupt state of public admin- 
istration ; and, secondly, of a deplorable state of the civil service ; 
that this state of affairs is buttressed and maintained by an enor- 
mous army of a hundred thousand civil office-holders and a hun- 
dred thousand more expectants of office ; and that because of 
this vast force the people have hitherto been unable to make the 
reforms they desire. This is his major premise. The next point, 
his minor premise, is that the Republican party is incapable of 
effecting the great reforms which the people desire. And hence 
his conclusion from these premises is that the Democratic party 
ought to be brought into power in the coming election. This is 
the summary, and, I may say, abrupt conclusion of his reasoning. 

The gentleman seemed to be aware that there might be some 
apprehensions in the minds of the people that it would not quite 
yet be safe to recall the Democratic party to power ; and he 
endeavored to quiet those apprehensions by stating, in the first 
place, that there need be no fear that the South lately in rebel- 
lion would again control the government; that they were pros- 
trated; that their institutions had been overthrown; that their 
industries had been broken up ; that in their weak and broken 
condition there need be no fear that they would again be placed 
at the head of public affairs ; and, finally, that the South has 
united with the Democratic party, not from choice, but because 
forced to do so by inexorable necessity as their only means of 

In the second place, there is apprehension, he said, that the 
Democracy, if they came into power, would not preserve the 
beneficent results of the war. But he assures, us that this fear 
is groundless ; that the people of the South have no aspirations 
which are not bounded by the horizon of the Union ; that they 
as well as the Democracy of the North accept, honestly and 
sincerely, the great results of the war ; and that they can be 
trusted to preserve all the good that has been gained. 


Again, he says it is feared, on the part of many, that the col- 
ored race, lately enslaved, will not be safe in the full enjoyment 
of ail the rights resulting from the war and guaranteed by the 
amendments to the Constitution. This he also assures us is a 
groundless fear, because the people of the South understand the 
colored race, appreciate their qualities, and are on such a foot- 
ing of friendship and regard that they are in fact better fitted to 
meet the wants of that people, and help them along in the way 
of civilization, enlightenment, and peace, than those who are 
further removed from such knowledge. 

He emphasizes the statement that the South cheerfully ac- 
cepts the results of the war ; and admits that much good has 
been achieved by the Republican party which ought to be pre- 
served. I was gratified to hear the gentleman speak of Lincoln 
as " the illustrious author of the great act of emancipation." 
That admission will be welcomed everywhere by those who be- 
lieve in the justice and wisdom of that great act. While speak- 
ing of the condition of the South and its wants, he deplored two 
evils which afflict that portion of our country: first. Federal 
supervision; and, secondly, negro ascendency in its political 
affairs. In that connection, it will be remembered, he quoted 
from John Stuart Mill and from Gibbon; from the one to show 
that the most deplorable form of government is where the slave 
governs, and from the other to show the evils of a government 
which is in alien hands. The gentleman represented the South 
as suff*ering the composite evils depicted by both these great 
writers. That I may be sure to do him justice, I quote a para- 
graph from the Associated Press report of his speech. 

" The inevitable effect of that reconstruction policy had been to draw 
one race to its support, and drive the other race to its opposition. He 
quoted Gibbon, the historian, as sa,ying that the most absurd and oppress- 
ive system of government which could be conceived of is that which 
subjects the natives of a country to the domination of its slaves. He also 
quoted from John Stuart Mill, to the effect that, when a government is 
administered by rulers, not responsible to the people governed, but to 
some other community or power, it is one of the worst of conceivable gov- 
ernments, and he said that the hideous system established in the South is 
a composite of those two vicious systems. The people are subjected to 
the domination of their former slaves, and are ruled over by people 
whose constituents were not the people for whom they should act, but 
the Federal government." * 

1 Sec Congressional Globe, August 2, 1876, p. 5091. 


Now, I have stated — of course very briefly, but I hope with 
entire fairness — the scope of the very able speech to which we 
listened. In a word it is this : the Republican party is oppress- 
ing the South; negro suffrage is a grievous evil; there are 
serious corruptions in public affairs in the national legislation 
and administration ; the civil service of the country especially 
needs great and radical reform ; and therefore the Democratic 
party ought to be placed in control of the government at this 
time, by the election of Tilden and Hendricks. 

It has not been my habit, and it is not my desire, to discuss 
mere party politics in this great legislative forum. And I shall 
do so now only in so far as a fair review of the gentleman's 
speech requires. My remarks shall be responsive to his ; and I 
shall discuss party history and party policy only as the logic of 
his speech leads into that domain. 

From most of the premises of the gentleman, as matters of 
fact and history, I dissent ; some of them are undoubtedly cor- 
rect ; but, for the sake of argument only, admitting that all his 
premises are correct, I deny that his conclusion is warranted by 
his premises ; and before I close I shall attempt to show that 
the good he seeks cannot at this time be secured by the as- 
cendency of the Democratic party. 

Before entering upon that field, however, I must notice this 
remarkable omission in the logic of his speech. Although he 
did state that the country might consider itself free from some 
of the dangers which are apprehended as the result of Demo- 
cratic ascendency, he did not, as I remember, by any word at- 
tempt to prove the fitness of the Democracy as a political or- 
ganization to accomplish the reforms which he so much desires ; 
and without that affirmative proof of fitness his argument is 
necessarily an absolute failure. It is precisely that fear which 
has not only made the ascendency of the Democratic party so 
long impossible, but has made it incompetent to render that 
service so necessary to good government, — the service of main- 
taining the position of a wise and honorable opposition to the 
dominant party. Often the blunders and faults of the Republi- 
can party have been condoned by the people because of the 
violent, reactionary, and disloyal spirit of the Democracy. 

He tells us that it is one of the well-known lessons of politi- 
cal history and philosophy, that the opposition party often comes 
in to crystallize and preserve the measures which their antago- 


nists inaugurated ; and that a conservative opposition party is 
better fitted to accomplish such a work than an aggressive 
radical party, who roughly pioneered the way and brought in 
the changes. And to apply this maxim to our own situation, 
he tells us that the differences between the Republican and the 
Democratic parties, upon the issues which led to the war and 
those which grew out of it, were rather differences of time than of 
substance ; that the Democracy followed more slowly in the Re- 
publican path, but have at last arrived, by prudent and constitu- 
tional methods, at the same results; and hence they will be sure 
to guard securely and cherish faithfully what the Republicans 
gained by reckless and turbulent methods. There is some truth 
in these " glittering generalities," but, as applied to our present 
situation, they are entitled only to the consideration which we 
give to the bright but fantastic pictures of a Utopian dream. 

I share all the gentleman's aspirations for peace, for good 
government at the South ; and I believe I can safely assure him 
that the great majority of the nation share the same aspira- 
tions. But he will allow me to say that he has not fully stated 
the elements of the great problem to be solved by the states- 
manship of to-day. The actual field is much broader than the 
view he has taken. And before we can agree that the remedy 
he proposes is an adequate one, we must take in the whole 
field, comprehend all the conditions of the problem, and then 
see if his remedy is sufficient. The change he proposes is not 
like the ordinary change of a ministry in England, when the 
government is defeated on a tax bill, or some routine measure 
of legislation. He proposes to turn over the custody and man- 
agement of the government to a party which has persistentl}' 
and with the greatest bitterness resisted all the great changes of 
the last fifteen years, — changes which were the necessary re- 
sults of a vast revolution, — a revolution in national policy, in 
social and political ideas, — a revolution whose causes were not 
the work of a day nor a year, but of generations and centuries. 
The scope and character of that mighty revolution must form 
the basis of our judgment when we inquire whether such a 
change as he proposes is safe and wise. 

In discussing his proposition we must not forget that, as the 
result of this revolution, the South, after the great devastations 
of war, the great loss of life and treasure, the overthrow of its 
social and industrial system, was called upon to confront the 


new and difficult problem of two races, one just relieved from 
centuries of slavery, and the other a cultivated, brave, proud, 
imperious race, — the two now to be brought together on terms 
of equality before the law. Every point of that problem bristles 
with new, difficult, delicate, and dangerous questions. But that 
is not all of the situation. On the other hand, we see the 
North — after leaving its three hundred and fifty thousand dead 
upon the field of battle, and bringing home its five hundred 
thousand maimed and wounded to be cared for — crippled in its 
industries and staggering under the tremendous burden of pub- 
lic and private debt. Both North and South are weighted with 
unparalleled burdens and losses, — the whole nation suflTering 
from that loosening of the bonds of social order which always 
follows a great war, and from the resulting corruption both in 
the public and the private life of the people. These, Mr. 
Chairman, constitute the vast field which we must survey in 
order to find the path which will soonest lead our beloved 
country to the highway of peace, of liberty, and of prosperity. 
Peace from the shock of battle ; the higher peace of our streets, 
of our homes, of our equal rights, we must make secure by 
making the conquering ideas of the war everywhere dominant 
and permanent. 

With all my heart I join with the gentleman in rejoicing that 

" The war-drum throbs no longer, and the battle-flags arc furled,** 

and I look forward with joy and hope to the day when our 
brave people, one in heart, one in their aspirations for freedom 
and peace, shall see that the darkness through which we have 
travelled was a part of that stern but beneficent discipline by 
which the Great Disposer of events has been leading us on 
to a higher and nobler national life. But such a result can be 
reached only by comprehending the whole meaning of the revo- 
lution through which we have passed and are still passing. I 
say still passing; for I remember that after the battle of arms 
comes the battle of history. The cause that triumphs in the 
field does not always triumph in history. And those who 
carried the war for union and equal and universal freedom to 
a victorious issue can never safely relax their vigilance until 
the ideas for which they fought have become embodied in the 
enduring forms of individual and national life. Has this been 
done? Not yet 


I ask the gentleman in all plainness of speech, and yet in all 
kindness, Is he correct in his statement that the conquered party 
accept the results of the war? Even if they do, I remind the 
gentleman that accept is not a very strong word. I go further. 
I ask him if the Democratic party have adopted the results of the 
war? Is it not asking too much of human nature to expect such 
unparalleled changes to be not only accepted, but, in so short a 
time, adopted by men of strong and independent opinions? 

The antagonisms which gave rise to the war and grew out of 
it were not born in a day, nor can they vanish in a night. Mr. 
Chairman, great ideas travel slowly, and for a time noiselessly 
as the gods, whose feet were shod with wool. Our war of in- 
dependence was a war of ideas, of ideas evolved out of two 
hundred years of slow and silent growth. When, one hundred 
years ago, our fathers announced as self-evident truths, that all 
men are created equal, and that the only just powers of govern- 
ments are derived from the consent of the governed, they uttered 
a doctrine that no nation had ever adopted, that not one king- 
dom oh the earth then believed. Yet to our fathers it was so 
plain, that they would not debate it. They announced it as a 
truth " self-evident." 

Whence came the immortal truths of the Declaration ? To me 
this was for years the riddle of our history. I had searched 
long and patiently through the books of the doctrinaires to find 
the germs from which the Declaration of Independence sprang. 
I found hints in Locke, in Hobbes, in Rousseau, and in F6ne- 
lon ; but they were only the hints of dreamers and philosophers. 
The great doctrines of the Declaration germinated in the hearts 
of our fathers, and were developed under the new influences of 
this wilderness world, by the same subtle mystery which brings 
forth the rose from the germ of the rose-tree. Unconsciously 
to themselves, the great truths were growing under the new 
conditions until, like the century-plant, they blossomed into the 
matchless beauty of the Declaration of Independence, whose 
fruitage, increased and increasing, we enjoy to-day. 

It will not do, Mr. Chairman, to speak of the gigantic revo- 
lution through which we have lately passed as a thing to be 
adjusted and settled by a change of administration. It was 
cyclical, epochal, century-wide, and to be studied in its broad 
and grand perspective, — a revolution of even wider scope^ so 
far as time is concerned, than the Revolution of 1776. We 


have been dealing with elements and forces which have been 
at work on this continent more than two hundred and fifty 
years. I trust I shall be excused if I take a few moments to 
trace some of the leading phases of the great struggle. And in 
doing so, I beg gentlemen to see that the subject itself lifts us 
into a region where the individual sinks out of sight and is 
absorbed in the mighty current of great events. It is not the 
occasion to award praise or pronounce condemnation. In such 
a revolution men are like insects, that fret and toss in the 
storm, but are swept onward by the resistless movements of 
elements beyond their control. I speak of this revolution not 
to praise the men who aided it, or to censure the men who 
resisted it, but as a force to be studied, as a mandate to be 

In the year 1620 there were planted upon this continent two 
ideas irreconcilably hostile to each other. Ideas are the grea,t 
warriors of the world ; and a war that has no ideas behind it is 
simply brutality. The two ideas were landed, one at Plymouth 
Rock from the Mayflower, and the other from a Dutch brig at 
Jamestown. One was the old doctrine of Luther, that private 
judgment, in politics as well as religion, is the right and duty 
of every man ; and the other, that capital should own labor, that 
the negro has no rights of manhood, and the white man may 
justly buy, own, and sell him and his offspring forever. Thus 
freedom and equality on the one hand, and on the other the 
slavery of one race and the domination of another, were planted 
on this continent. In our vast expanse of wilderness, for a long 
time, there was room for both ; and their advocates began the 
race across the continent, each developing the social and politi- 
cal institutions of their choice. Both had vast interests in com- 
mon ; and for a long time neither was conscious of the fatal 
antagonisms that were developing. 

For nearly two centuries there was no serious collision ; but 
when the continent began to fill up, and the people began to 
jostle against each other, when the Roundhead and the Cava- 
lier came near enough to measure opinions, the irreconcilable 
character of the two doctrines began to appear. Many con- 
scientious men studied the subject, and came to the belief that 
slavery was a crime, a sin, or, as Wesley said, " the sum of all 
villanies." This belief dwelt in small minorities for a long 
time. It lived in churches and vestries, but later found its way 


into the civil and political organizations of the country, and 
finally found its way into this chamber. A few brave, clear- 
sighted, far-seeing men announced it here, a little more than a 
generation ago. A predecessor of mine, Joshua R. Giddings, 
following the lead of John Quincy Adams, almost alone, held 
up the banner on this floor, and from year to year comrades 
came to his side. Through evil and through good report he 
pressed the question upon the conscience of the nation, and 
bravely stood in his place in this House in the thick of the 

And so the contest continued ; the supporters of slavery be- 
lieving honestly and sincerely that slavery was a divine insti- 
tution, that it found its high sanctions in the living oracles of 
God and in a wise political philosophy, that it was justified by 
the necessities of their situation, and that slaveholders were 
missionaries to the dark sons of Africa, to elevate and bless 
them. We are so far past the passions of that early time that, 
without sharing in the crimination and recrimination that at- 
tended it, we can now study the progress of the struggle as a 
great and inevitable development. If both sides could have 
seen that it was a contest beyond their control, — if both parties 
could have realized the truth, that " unsettled questions have no 
pity for the repose of nations," much less for the fate of politi- 
cal parties, — the bitterness, the sorrow, the tears, and the blood 
might have been avoided. But we walked in the darkness, our 
paths obscured by the smoke of the conflict, each following his 
own convictions through ever-increasing fierceness, until the de- 
bate culminated in **the last argument to which kings resort." 

This conflict was not one of sentimental feeling merely ; it in- 
volved our whole political system ; it gave rise to two radically 
different theories of the nature of our government, the North 
believing and holding that we were a nation, the South insist- 
ing that we were only a confederation of sovereign States, and 
insisting that each State had the right, at its own discretion, to 
break the Union, and constantly threatening secession when the 
full rights of slavery were not acknowledged. 

Thus the defence and aggrandizement of slavery and the 
hatred of abolitionism became, not only the central idea of the 
Democratic party, but its master passion, — a passion intensi- 
fied and inflamed by twenty-five years of fierce political con- 
test, which had not only driven from its ranks all those who 


preferred freedom to slavery, but had absorbed all the extreme 
proslavery elements of the fallen Whig party. Against this party 
was arrayed the Republican party, asserting the broad doctrines 
of nationality and loyalty, insisting that no State had a right to 
secede, that secession was treason, and demanding that the insti- 
tution of slavery should be restricted to the limits of the States 
where it already existed. But here and there, many bolder and 
more radical thinkers declared, with Wendell Phillips, that there 
never could be union and peace, freedom and prosperity, until 
we were willing to see John Hancock under a black skin. 

That we may see more clearly the opinions which were to be 
settled by war, I will read two passages from the Congressional 
Globe, not for the purpose of making a personal point against 
any man, but simply to show where honest men stood when 
that contest was approaching its crisis. I read from a speech 
made on the 19th of December, 1859, by a distinguished gentle- 
man from Mississippi,^ then and now a member of this House. 

"The South will never submit to that state of things. It matters not 
what evils come upon us ; it matters not how deep we may have to wade 
through blood ; we are bound to keep our slaves in their present position. 
And let me ask you, What good would you bring to the slaves by tliis pro- 
cess of abolition ? You may possibly have the object in view of bene- 
fiting the slaves, or benefiting the white race, or both ; but suppose you 
could carry out your plans, and confine us to our present area, and suj>- 
pose that the institution of slavery should abolish itself, what would you 
have done ? You know it is impossible for us to live on terms of equal- 
ity with them. It is not to be supposed for a moment that we can do 
so. The result would be a war between the races, which would per- 
haps involve the utter annihilation of one or the other ; and thus you see 
that, instead of benefiting either, you would have brought disaster upon 

" But I tell you here, to-day, that the institution of slavery must be 
sustained. The South has made up its mind to keep the black race in 
bondage. If wc are not permitted to do this inside of the Union, I tell 
you that it will be done outside of it. Yes, sir ; and we will expand this 
institution ; we do not intend to be confined within our present limits ; 
and there are not men enough in all your borders to coerce three million 
armed men in the South, and prevent their going into the surrounding 
territories." * 


In the course of that debate, the same gentleman said: "I 
am one of those who have said, and here repeat it, if the Black 

1 Mr. Singleton. ^ Congressional Globe, ist Sess. 36th Cong., App., p. 51. 


Republican party elect a President, I am for dissolving the 

I have no doubt the gentleman fairly and faithfully repre- 
sented the opinions of his State. Not long before the date of 
this speech, it will be remembered that two distinguished mem- 
bers of the Republican party had uttered their opinions on this 
question. Mr. Lincoln had said that it was impossible for a 
country to remain partly slave and partly free; and Mr. Seward 
had declared that there was an irrepressible conflict between 
the systems of free and slave labor, which could never cease 
until one or the other was wholly overthrown. The Republi- 
can party, however, disclaimed all right or purpose to interfere 
with slavery in the States ; yet they expressed the hope that 
the time would come when there should be no slave under our 
flag. In response to that particular opinion, the distinguished 
gentleman from Mississippi,^ then a member of this House, on 
the 23d of December, 1859, said this: — 

'• I was upon the floor of the Senate when your great leader, William 
H. Seward, announced that startling programme of antislavery senti- 
ment and action And, sir, in his exultation, he exclaimed — for 

I heard him myself — that he hoped to see the day when there would 
not be the footprint of a single slave upon this continent. And when he 
uttered this atrocious sentiment, his form seemed to dilate, his pale, thin 
fece, furrowed by the lines of thought and evil passions, kindled with 
malignant triumph, and his eye glowed and glared upon Southern Sena- 
tors as though the fires of hell were burning in his heart." '^ 

I have read this passage to mark the height to which the 
antagonism had risen in 1859. And this passage enables us to 
measure the progress which the gentleman has since made. I 
mark it here, as one of the notable signs of the time, that the 
gulf between the position then occupied by the gentleman from 
Mississippi and the position he occupies to-day is so deep, so 
vast, that it indicates a progress worthy of all praise. I con- 
gratulate him and the country that, in so short a time, so great 
a change has been possible. 

Now, I ask the gentleman if he is quite sure, as a matter of 
fact, that the Democratic party, its Southern as well as its 
Northern wing, have followed his own illustrious and worthy 
example in the vast progress that he has made since 1859? He 
assures us that the transformation has been so complete, that 

' Mr. Lamar. ^ Congressional Globe, Dec. 23, 1859, pp. 228, 229. 


the nation can safely trust all the most precious fruits of the 
war in the hands of that party who stood with him in 1859? If 
that be true, I rejoice at it with all my heart; but the gentle- 
man must pardon me if I ask him to brace my wavering faith 
by some evidence, some consoling proofs. When did the great 
transformation take place ? Certainly not within two years after 
the delivery of the speech I have quoted ; for two years from 
that time the contest had risen much higher, — it had risen to 
the point of open, terrible, and determined war. Did the change 
come during the war? O, no; for in the four terrible years 
ending in 1865, every resource of courage and power that the 
Southern States could muster was employed, not only to save 
slavery, but to destroy the Union. So the transformation had 
not occurred in 1865. When did it occur? Aid our anxious 
inquiry, for the nation ought to be sure that the great change 
has occurred before it can safely trust its destinies to the Demo- 
cratic party. Did it occur in the first epoch of reconstruction, 
•^- the two years immediately following the war. During that 
period the attempt was made to restore the State governments 
in the South on the basis of the white vote. Military control 
was held generally ; but the white population of the Southern 
States were invited to elect their own legislatures, and establish 
provisional governments. In the laws, covering a period of two 
and a half years, — 1865, 1866, and a portion of 1867, — enacted 
by those legislatures, we ought to find proof of the transforma- 
tion if it had then occurred. What do we find? What we 
should naturally expect, — that a people, accustomed to the 
domination of slavery, re-enacted in almost all of the Southern 
States, and notably in the States of Mississippi and Louisiana, 
laws limiting and restricting the liberty of the colored man, — 
vagrant laws and peonage laws, whereby negroes were sold at 
auction for the payment of a paltry tax or fine, and held in a 
slavery as real as the slavery of other days. I believe that this 
is true of nearly all the Southern States ; so that the experiment 
of allowing the white population of the South to adjust that ver>' 
question proved a frightful failure. Then it was that the national 
Congress intervened ; they proposed an act of reconstruction, 
an act which became a law on the 2d of March, 1867. 

And what was that act? Gentlemen of the South, you are 
too deeply schooled in philosophy to take umbrage at what I 
shall now say, for I am dealing only with history. You must 


know, and certainly do know, that the great body of the nation, 
which had carried the war to success and triumph, knew that 
the eleven States which had opposed the Union had plunged 
their people into crime ; — a crime set down in the law — a law 
signed by President Washington — at the very top of the cata- 
logue of crimes, — the crime of treason, and all that follows it. 
You certainly know that, under that law, every man who volun- 
tarily took up arms against the Union could have been tried, 
convicted, and hanged as a traitor to his country. But I call 
your attention to the fact that the conquering nation said, in 
this great work of reconstruction, ** We will do nothing for re- 
venge, everything for permanent peace " ; and you know there 
never was a trial for treason in this country during the whole of 
the struggle, nor after it. No man was executed for treason ; 
no man was tried. There was no expatriation, no exile, no con- 
fiscation after the war. The only revenge which the conquering 
nation gratified was in saying to the South, " You may come 
back to your full place in the Union when you do these things : 
join with the other States in putting into the Constitution a pro- 
vision that the national debt shall never be repudiated; that 
Jrour Rebel war debt shall never be paid ; and that all men, with- 
out regard to race or color, shall stand equal before the law, not 
in suflfrage, but in civil rights; that these great guaranties of 
liberty and public faith shall be lifted above the reach of politi- 
cal parties, above the legislation of States, above the legislation 
of Congress, and shall be set in the serene firmament of the 
Constitution, to shine as lights forever and forever. And under 
that equal sky, under the light of that equal sun, all men, of 
whatever race or color, shall stand equal before the law." 

TTiat was the plan of reconstruction offered to those who had 
been in rebellion. — offered by a generous and brave nation ; 
and I challenge the world to show an act of equal generosity to 
a conquered people. What answer did it meet? By the advice 
of Andrew Johnson, a bad adviser, backed by the advice of the 
Northern Democracy, a still worse adviser, ten of the eleven 
States lately in rebellion contemptuously rejected the plan of 
reconstruction embraced in the Fourteenth Amendment of the 
Constitution. They would have none of it ; they had been in- 
vited by their Northern allies to stand out, and were told that, 
when the Democracy came into power, they should be permitted 
to come back to their places without guaranties or conditions. 


This brings us to 1868. Had the transformation occurred 
then? For remember, gentlemen, I am searching for the date 
of the great Democratic transformation, similar to that which 
has taken place in the gentleman from Mississippi. We do not 
find it in 1868. On the contrary, in that year we find Frank 
P. Blair, of Missouri, writing these words, which, a few days 
after they were written, gave him the nomination for the Vice- 
Presidency on the Democratic ticket : " There is but one way 
to restore the government and the Constitution ; and that is for 
the President elect to declare all these acts" — the Reconstruc- 
tion Acts and the Constitutional Amendments with them — to 
declare all these acts "null and void, compel the army to undo its 
usurpations at the South, disperse the carpet-bag State govern- 
ments, allow the white people to reorganize their own govern- 
ments, and elect Senators and Representatives." ^ 

Because he wrote that letter he was nominated for Vice- 
President by the Democratic party. Therefore, as late as July, 
1868, the transformation had not occurred. 

Had it occurred in 1872? In 1871 and 1872 the three amend- 
ments of the Constitution had been adopted, against the stub- 
born resistance of the Northern and Southern Democracy. I 
call you to witness that, with the exception of three or four 
Democratic Representatives who voted for the abolition of 
slavery, the three great Amendments, the Thirteenth, the Four- 
teenth, and the Fifteenth, met the determined and united oppo- 
sition of the Democracy of this country. Each of the amend- 
ments now so praised by the gentleman was adopted against 
the whole weight of your resistance. And two years after the 
adoption of the last amendment, in many of your State plat- 
forms they were declared to be null and void. 

In 1 87 1 and 1872 occurred those dreadful scenes enacted by 
the Ku-Klux organization throughout the South, of which I 
will say only this, that a man facile primeps among the Dem- 
ocrats of the old slaveholding States, Reverdy Johnson, who 
was sent down to defend those who were indicted for their 
crimes, held up his hands in horror at the shocking barbarities 
that had been perpetrated by his clients upon negro citizens. 
I refer to the evidence of that eminent man as a sufficient proof 
of the character of that great conspiracy against the freedom 
of the colored race. So the transformation had not come in 
the Ku-Klux days of 187 1 and 1872. 

1 Letter to J. O. Brodhead, dated Washington, D. C, June 30, 1868. 


Had it come in 1873 and the beginning of 1874? Had it 
come in the State of Mississippi? Had it come in one quarter 
of the States lately in rebellion? Here is a report from an 
honorable committee of this House, signed by two gentlemen 
who are still members, Mr. Conger and Mr. Hurlbut, — a report 
made as late as December, 1874, in which there is disclosed, by 
innumerable witnesses, the proof that the White Line organiza- 
tion, an armed military organization formed within the Demo- 
cratic party, had leagued themselves together to prevent the 
enjoyment of suffrage and equal rights by the colored men of 
the South. I will quote two or three paragraphs from that 
report, dated December 14, 1874. 

" The * White Line.* — This interior organization has not yet assumed 
definitely, in the State of Mississippi, such precise form and so distinct 
an existence as in the State of Louisiana, but is, unquestionably, an 
extension into Mississippi of the 'White League' organization, whose 
headquarters are in New Orleans. In Wairen County it is sometimes 
called the ' White Line,' and by that name is familiarly spoken of by the 
leading papers of Vicksburg, as well as by some of the prominent wit- 
nesses before this committee. It is also known as ' People's Clubs ' ; but 
in all instances the formation of the clubs, or civil organization, is accom- 
panied by establishing within the clubs themselves a military organiza- 
tion, officered, equipped, and armed. 

"Thus the clubs and the Taxpayers* League are open associations 
apparently directed toward objects in which all citizens might lawfully 
unite, but controlled from within by the military and partisan organiza- 
tions whose purposes are special and unlawful. 

" The purposes of these clubs or White Line companies are these, as 
they are openly avowed or secretly cherished : — 

" I. They are first to make a census and enrolment of all the white 
men in the State. 

" 2. To incorporate into the interior military organizations all the 
whites who will join with them. 

" 3. To set aside by whatever means may be necessary the election 
of colored men to office, and to nullify in practice the enabling and 
enforcement acts of Congress, granting and enforcing the right of all 
citizens, without distinction of color, to hold offices, if properly elected 
to them. 

" 4. To allow none but white men to be elected to office or to hold 
office." ^ 

And how was it about the same time, and even later, in other 
States? Here is a report upon Louisiana, the report from 

^ House Report No. 265, 2d Sess. 43d Cong , p. 2. 


which the gentleman quoted, — a report that exhibits the same 
condition of affairs, signed by the gentleman who sits in front 
of me.^ Although made by a minority of the committee, it is 
a report of great power and of indubitable truth. I quote : — 

" The White League is an organization which exists in New Orleans, 
and contains at least from twenty-five hundred to three thousand mem- 
bers, armed, drilled, and officered as a military organization. Organiza- 
tions bearing the same name extend throughout many parts of the State. 
.... On the 14th of September, 1874, it rose upon and attacked the 
police of the city, the pretext of the attack being the seizure of arms 
which it had imported from the North, and having defeated them with 
considerable slaughter, it took possession of the State-house, overthrew 
the State government, and installed a new Governor in office, and kept 
him in power until the United States interfered. This rising was planned 

beforehand The White League of New Orleans itself was and is 

a constant menace to the Republicans of the whole State We 

cannot doubt that the effect of all Aese things was to prevent a full, 
free, and fair election, and to intimidate the colored voters and the white 
Republicans." * 

So the transformation had not occurred in August, 1874. I 
come down now to 1875, to the late autumn of that year, and 
ask if the transformation had then occurred. I will not detain 
the House by reading the testimony of the cloud of witnesses 
which gathers around me, but will print a few specimens of 
the proof, most of them relating to the recent State election in 
Mississippi. While I say, to the honor of the gentleman from 
Mississippi, that in his own State he spoke against the White 
Line, it is unquestionably true that he was not supported by 
like action on the part of the great mass of his political asso- 
ciates. With the permission of the House I will quote from a 
number of papers in his State, which say with the utmost bold- 
ness that though Colonel Lamar spoke against the White Line, 
and though the State Convention ignored it, yet back of the 
Convention, and back of the gentleman himself, the White Line 
was formed and carried the election, and intends in the same 
way to carry the next. The quotations need no comment. 
First I quote the Columbus Index of August, 1875. 

" Already do we see signs in our State of the good effects of the color 
line. Prior to its organization there was no harmony or unity of action 
among the whites. The negroes had perfected their race in oiganiza- 

> Mr. Hoar. ^ House Report No. 261, 2d Scss. 43d Cong., p. 18. 


tions, and were able to control the politics of the State. The whites, 
after having attempted every scheme to secure an intelligent government 
and a co-operation of the negroes in this behalf, wisely gave it up, and 
determined to organize themselves as a race, and meet the issue that had 
presented itself for ten years. 

"Now we recognize the fact that the State is most thoroughly aroused, 
more harmonious in its actions, and more determined to succeed in the 

coming election than it has been since the days of secession So 

the grand result of the color line has been accomplished in organizing 
the white people of the State, and placing them in a position to control 
the coming election. No other policy could have effected the result. 
.... We stand on the color line, because it is tacitly indorsed by the 
platform, and because we believe it to be the only means of redeeming 

this and other countries from negro rule The necessities of the 

State of Mississippi recall this injunction, and give emphasis to the par- 
allel, — Put none but Democrats in office. We have gained a great 
victory, — BuU Run or Chickamauga. Let us follow it up to the secur- 
ing of results. The white people must be welded into one compact 
organization. All differences of opinion, all personal aspirations, must 
be settled within our own organization, and from its decision there must 
be no appeal. Otherwise each recurring election produces its dis- 

In July, 1875, the Raymond Gazette, whose editor is now a 
member of the Legislature, and which is published only eight 
miles from Clinton, where the bloody riot of last September 
occurred, made this startling demand : — 

" There are those who think that the leaders of the radical party have 
carried this system of fraud and falsehood just far enough in Hinds 
County, and that the time has come when it should be stopped, — peace- 
ably if possible, forcibly if necessary. And to this end it is proposed 
that, whenever a radical powwow is to be held, the nearest anti-radical 
club appoint a committee of ten discreet, intelligent, and reputable 
citizens, fully identified with the interests of the neighborhood and well 
known as men of veracity, to attend as representatives of the tax-payers 
of the neighborhood and the county and true friends of the negroes 
assembled, and that whenever the radical speakers proceed to mislead 
the negroes, and open with falsehoods and deceptions and misrepresen- 
tations, the committee stop them right then and there, and compel them 
to tell truth or quit the stand.*' 

The Clinton riot was the direct outgrowth of this demand. 
What followed? The same paper, of July 26, 1876, shows 
that this vicious policy has been renewed in Hinds County, as 
follows : — 

VOL. II. 24 



" The county executive committee of the Democrats and Conserva- 
tives of Hinds County held a meeting at Raymond the other day, at 
which, on motion, it was ordered that each club in the county appoint a 
special committee, whose business it shall be to attend any and every 
radical meeting held in its vicinity, and that each of said committees 
shall report to its own club and to this executive committee the action, 
attendance, and general tone and temper of said meeting. 

"A very general system of coercion was adopted throughout the 
South by Democratic clubs and associations, agreeing not to employ 
negroes who voted the Republican ticket, not to lease them lands, nor 
to furnish them with or allow them to obtain for themselves any means 
of subsistence." 

Ex-Governor Benjamin G. Humphreys, of Mississippi, made 
a speech at a reunion of the Thirteenth Mississippi Confederate 
Infantry, at Meridian, on the 22d of November, 1875, ^^ which 
he said : — 

" We have surrendered none of our convictions and still claim the right 
of vindication. In looking back at our past actions and motives, and 
the wrongs we have suffered and are still suffering, we confess that we 
have no regrets for the choice we made between the * higher-law* 
license of majorities in the Union and the sacred security of self-govern- 
ment in the States, between the Federal and Confederate governments. 
We are not conscious of a solitary dereliction of duty, either as citizens 
or soldiers, and feel that truth, reason, and religion exculpate us from 
wrong-doing. We know we were right, and though crushed to earth we 
shall ever remember, and teach our children to remember, our cause was 
just. We are sxHSl proud of the cause and glory in the fight we made." 

After the election, the Meridian Mercury of November 20, 
1875, said: — 

" We have to contend with the blunder of the Fifteenth Amendment 
while it stands as best we can. Ridiculous appeals to the reason and 
judgment of the negro have been the cause of incalculable injury in the 
inflation of his vanity and making him believe he was of real conse- 
quence as a governing element in the body politic. Now that the negro 
in this State is down, and his personal self-conceit well knocked out of 
him, it is probably a fit time for the white people to impress upon him that 
the white people will in future control the politics of this State, and that 
he should keep himself in his proper sphere and leave to the intelligent 
white man the exclusive use of state-craft for the best interest of both 
races. Impress him continually with the idea of his unfitness for the 
ballot, and his proper place on election day away from the polls." 


I could fill many columns of the Congressional Record with 
evidences like those above quoted from the gentleman's own 
State.^ In the light of this testimony, is it possible for us to 
believe that the transformation had occurred in the gentle- 
man's own State where the election of the Legislature that made 
him a Senator took place? If the testimony of the Democratic 
press of Mississippi is to be credited, the late election in that 
State was tainted with fraud and managed by intimidation un- 
paralleled by anything in our recent political history. Let the 
gentleman explain this striking fact. There are many thousand 
more colored than white voters in Mississippi. In the election 
of 1873 the Republican party had 22,976 majority; in the elec- 
tion last autumn the Democratic party had 30,922. How came 
about this change of more than 53,000 in the short space of two 
years, if there was a free and uncoerced vote of the electors of 
that State ? 

The President of the United States has sent to the Senate a 
letter addressed by him to Governor Chamberlain, of South 
Carolina^ under date of July 26, 1876, from which I read a few 
words bearing upon the point I am now discussing: — 

" The scene at Hamburg, as cruel, bloodthirsty, wanton, unprovoked, 
and as uncalled for as it was, is only a repetition of the course that has 
been pursued in other Southern States within the last few years, notably 
in Mississippi and Louisiana. Mississippi is governed to-day by officials 
chosen through fraud and violence, such as would scarcely be accredited 
to savages, much less to a civilized and Christian people. How long 
these things are to continue, or what is to be the final remedy, the Great 
Ruler of the universe only knows. But I have an abiding faith that the 
remedy will come, and come speedily, and I earnestly hope that it will 
come peacefully. There has never been a desire on the part of the 
North to humiliate the South ; nothing is claimed for one State that is 
not freely accorded to all others, unless it may be the right to kill ne- 
groes and Republicans without fear of punishment and without loss of 
caste or reputation. This has seemed to be a privilege claimed by a 
few States.*** 

But it is aside from my purpose to go into the question of 
the validity of the late election in Mississippi. That subject is 
being investigated by a committee of the Senate, and I shall 

^ Much of the evidence actually presented by Mr. Garfield is here omitted. 
He made quotations similar to the above from a large number of Southern, and 
espedally Mississippi, newspapers. 

* See McPherson's Handbook of Politics, 1876, p. 207. 


be surprised if, from the evidence they have taken, they do not 
concur in the opinion I have expressed. I desire gentlemen to 
remember that the great question I am discussing is, Had 
the great transformation taken place among the gentlemen's 
constituents in the late autumn of 1875? The answer of his 
own people is overwhelmingly in the negative. I now ask, Had 
the transformation occurred in the winter and spring of the 
present year? I hold in my hand the report of an address of 
Rev. Taylor Martin, of Charlotte, North Carolina, the town to 
which Congress lately gave a mint building to be used for 
school purposes. The address was made on Decoration Day, 
May 5, 1876. I quote: — 

" The South is to-day ruled over by the miserable thrall of Yankee- 
dom ; but they cannot muzzle our chivalry and patriotic devotion to the 
* lost cause.' We have fought for our rights, but in God's dispensation 
we are vanquished, but not cowed. Slavery was a divine institution, 
and we must have that institution, or the South will ever be bankrupt 
They speak of our cause as the Most cause.' If so, shall it be lost 
forever? No ! a new generation has sprung up, and at a not far distant 
day there will be * stars and bars ' floating proudly over our sunny South, 
In the next political campaign we must, even if in the minority, support 
a Southern man who will build up our interests and hurl the Yankee 
pickpockets from our midst. We are to-day united to the Puritanical 
host by an artificial tie ; but we are a distinct people, and God and the 
right will enable us to show to the world the truth and the equity of our 
claims. Our statesmen now in Congress are the cream of that body, and 
are the only element that reflects credit on the United States. Is it not 
better to hang on to the * lost cause * than to stay in a government of 
corruption ? " 

Mr. Yeates. With the consent of the gentleman from Ohio, I want 
to state that I have seen under the signature of the gentleman from 
whom he has just quoted a statement denying in toio every word of what 
has just been read ; and a number of gentlemen who heard the speech 
certify that the quotation is false in every particular. 

If that be the fact I will cheerfully strike the extract from 
my speech. I never before heard its authenticity denied. 

Mr. Yeates. There is no doubt of the correctness of my statement. 

Let the extract and the denial stand together. But, sir, I will 
quote a recent utterance of public opinion, the authenticity of 
which I am quite sure gentlemen will not deny. They will nei- 


ther deny the ability nor the prominence of Robert Toombs of 
Georgia, formerly a Senator of the United States, and afterwards 
the Confederate Secretary of State. On the 25th of January, 
1876, he addressed the Legislature of Georgia by invitation; 
and the following extract from his speech will show how far the 
transformation has taken place in him and his followers : — 

" We got a good many honest fellows into the first legislature, but I 
will tell you how we got them there. I will tell you the truth. The 
newspapers won't tell it to you. We got them there by carrying the black 
vote, by intimidation and bribery, and I helped to do it ! I would 
have scorned the peq)le if they had not done it ! And I will buy them 
as long as they put beasts to go to the ballot-box I No man should be 
given the elective franchise who has not the intelligence to use it prop- 
erly. The rogue should not have it, for government is made to punish 
him ; the fool should not have it, for government is made to take care of 
him. Now these miserable wretches — the Yankees — have injected 
five millions of savages into the stomach of our body politic, and the 
man who sa)rs he accepts negro suffrage, I say, accursed be he ! I will 
accept everything ; I will accept Grant and empire before I will accept 
such a Democrat ! The poor ignorant negro, — talk of him governing 
you and me ! It takes the highest order of intellect to govern the people, 
and these poor wretches talk of governing us ! Why, they can't perpet- 
uate their own negro power. In the counties where they were in the 
majority they did not preserve their power and perpetuate their rule. 
My remedy helped us to break that up. We carried them with us by 
bribery and intimidation. I advised it and paid my money for it 1 You 
all know it, but won't say it. But I will say it, for I fear no man, and I am 
prepared to render an account to none but the Great Judge, before 
whom I must appear in a few years ; for my enemies have thought my 
services to my country so great, that they have done me the honor to 
exclude me from again serving my people. I contest that honor with 
our chief, Mr. Davis. I am just as good as he is, and he is no better 
than I am. I demand that they shall place me beside him. I thank 
them for it ! It is very few things that I have to thank them for, but I 
do thank them for that." 

In view of the testimony I have offered, we must wait for an 
answer to the question, When and where did the transforma- 
tion occur? It occurred long ago in the philosophical and pa- 
triotic mind and heart of the gentleman from Mississippi; but 
has it occurred in the majority of the eleven millions who joined 
with him to destroy the Union, to perpetuate slavery, to defend 
the cause that is now "lost"? Had it occurred last week in 


the town of Meridian, in the gentleman's own State. I quote 
from the Meridian Mercury of July 29th, 1876. 

" We heard Lamar's Scooba speech, and while his truth to his beloved 
South, perhaps, flamed out a little more than common, we remarked 
nothing inconsistent with his other speeches we had heard or read of. 
The morning of his arrival here the Mercury contained a sharp fling at 
him about the Sumner oration, and that night at the court-house he ven- 
tured to chastise us sharply for it, in the house of our friends, and was 
boisterously applauded. We consoled ourself that the applause might 
have been more in compliment to the excellence of the oratory than in 
satisfaction at our castigation. We had our revenge, though, in taking 
which we inaugurated the policy of the canvass in spite of him which 
carried the State like a prairie on fire. He, and others who wanted to 
dress up in a nice starched and ironed white shirt that would shame the 
bloody shirt, established a laundry at Jackson, on the 4th of August, and 
a great many patronized it and came out in snowy white fronts to pre- 
sent themselves creditably before the Northern public sentiment. In 
their party powwow of that day, disregarding the deep under-current of 
public opinion, they declared by formal resolution against the White Line 

" The Mercury had sounded the depths of that under-current, and we 
knew it would not do. In heart we felt with the platform, but our judg- 
ment assured us that the canvass must be lost on it, and that to practise 
it were a fatal error. We denounced the platform upon the instant, and 
took what care we could that Lamar's speeches upon his national repu- 
tation should not ruin our canvass. We called upon the people to 
' step across the platform ' . . . . and form the White Line beyond it 
The summons was music to their ears, and the unconquered and un- 
conquerable Saxon race of Mississippi rallied to the slogan 

We have got the State ; we know how we got it ; we know how to keep 
it; and we are going to keep it without regard to race or numerical 

Mr. Chairman, after the facts I have cited, am I not warranted 
in raising a grave doubt whether the transformation has occurred 
at all except in a few patriotic and philosophic minds? The light 
gleams first on the mountain peaks; but shadows and dark- 
ness linger in the valley. It is the valley masses of those lately 
in rebellion that the light of this beautiful philosophy, which 
I honor, has not penetrated. Is it not safer to withhold from 
them the custody and supreme control of the precious treasures 
of the republic until the midday sun of liberty, justice, and 
equal laws shall shine upon them with unclouded ray? 



In view of all the facts, considering the centuries of influ- 
ences that brought on the great struggle, is it not reasonable 
to suppose that it will require yet more time to effect the great 
transformation. Did not the distinguished gentleman from 
Massachusetts ^ sum up the case fairly and truthfully when he 
said of the South, in his Louisiana report of 1874: " They sub- 
mitted to the national authority, not because they would, but 
because they must. They abandoned the doctrine of State sov- 
ereignty, which they had claimed made their duty to the States 
paramount to that due to the nation in case of conflict, not 
because they would, but because they must. They submitted 
to the Constitutional Amendments, which rendered their for- 
mer slaves their equals in all political rights, not because they 
would, but because they must. The passions which led to the 
war, the passions which the war excited, were left untamed and 
unchecked, except so far as their exhibition was restrained by 
the arm of power." 

The gentleman from Mississippi says there is no possibility 
that the South will again control national affairs, if the Democ- 
racy be placed again in power. How is this? We are told 
that the South will vote as a unit for Tilden and Hendricks. 
Suppose those gentlemen also carry New York and Indiana. 
Does the gentleman believe that a Northern minority of the 
Democracy will control the administration? Impossible! But 
if they did, would it better the case? 

Let me put the question in another form. Suppose, gentle- 
men of the South, you had won the victory in the war ; that 
you had captured Washington and Gettysburg, Philadelphia and 
New York ; and we of the North, defeated and conquered, had 
lain prostrate at your feet. Do you believe that by this time 
you would be ready and willing to intrust to us — our Garri- 
sons, our Phillipses, our Wades, and the great array of those 
who were the leaders of our thought — to intrust to us the 
fruits of your victory, the enforcement of your doctrines of 
State sovereignty and the work of extending the domain of 
slavery? Do you think so? And if not, will you not pardon 
us when we tell you that we are not quite ready to trust the 
precious results of the nation's victory in your hands? Let it 
be constantly borne in mind that I am not debating a question 
of equal rights and privileges within the Union, but whether 

^ Mr. Hoar. 


those who so lately sought to destroy it ought to be chosen t« 
control its destiny for the next four years. 

I hope my public life has given proof that I do not cherish \ 
spirit of malice or bitterness toward the South. Perhaps the] 
will say I have no right to advise them ; but at the risk of beinj 
considered impertinent I will express my conviction that th< 
bane of the Southern people, for the last twenty-five years, ha* 
been that they have trusted the advice of the Democratic party 
The very remedy which the gentleman from Mississippi offen 
for the ills of his people has been and still is their bane. The 
Democratic party has been the evil genius of the South in all 
these years. They yielded their own consciences to you on the 
slavery question, and led you to believe that the North would 
always yield. They made you believe that we would not fight 
to save the Union. They made you believe that, if we ever 
dared to cross the Potomac or Ohio to put down your rebellion, 
we could only do so across the dead bodies of many hundred 
thousands of Northern Democrats. They made you believe that 
the war would begin in the streets of our Northern cities ; that 
we were a community of shopkeepers, of sordid money-getters, 
and would not stand against your fiery chivalry. You thought 
us cold, slow, lethargic ; and in some respects we are. There 
are some differences between us that spring from origin and 
influences of climate, — differences not unlike the description of 
the poet, — 

" Bright and fierce and fickle is the South, 
And dark and true and tender is the North," — 

differences that kept us from a good understanding. 

You thought that our coldness, our slowness, indicated a lack 
of spirit and of patriotism, and you were encouraged in that 
belief by most of the Northern Democracy ; but not by all. 
They warned you at Charleston in i860. And when the great 
hour struck, there were many noble Democrats in the North 
who lifted the flag of the Union far above the flag of party : but 
there was a residuum of Democracy, called in the slang of the 
time " Copperheads," who were your evil genius from the begin- 
ning of the war till its close, and ever since. Some of them sat 
in these seats, and never rejoiced when we won a battle, and 
never grieved when we lost one. They were the men who sent 
their Vallandighams to give counsel and encouragement to your 
rebellion, and to buoy you up with the false hope that at last 



you would conquer by the aid of their treachery. I honor 
you, gentlemen of the South, ten thousand times more than I 
honor such. Northern Democrats. 

I said they were your evil genius. Why, in 1864, when we 
were almost at the culminating point of the war, their Vallan- 
dighams and Tildens (and both of these men were on the com- 
mittee of resolutions) uttered the declaration, as the voice of 
the Democracy, that the war to preserve the Union was a fail- 
ure, and that hostilities should cease. They asked us to sound 
the recall on our bugles, to call our conquering armies back 
from the contest, and trust to their machinations to save their 
party at the expense of a broken and ruined country. Brave 
soldiers of the lost cause, did you not, even in that hour of peril, 
in your hearts loathe them with supremest scorn? But for their 
treachery at Chicago in 1864 the war might have ended, and a 
hundred thousand precious lives been saved. But your evil 
genius pursued you, and the war went on. And later, when you 
would have accepted the Fourteenth Amendment and restora- 
tion without universal suffrage, the same evil genius held you 
back. In 1868 it still deceived you. In 1872 it led you into 

" A gulf profound as that Serbonian bog 
Betwixt Damiata and Mount Casius old, 
Where armies whole have sunk." 

Let not the eloquence of the gentleman from Mississippi lure 
you again to its brink. 

Mr. Chairman, it is now time to inquire as to the fitness of 
this Democratic party to take control of our great nation and 
its vast and important interests for the next four years. I put 
the question to the gentleman from Mississippi, What has the 
Democratic party done to merit that great trust? He tried to 
show in what respects it would not be dangerous : I ask him 
to show in what it would be safe. I affirm, and I believe I do 
not misrepresent the great Democratic party, that in the last 
sixteen years they have not advanced one great national idea 
that is not to-day as dead as Julius Caesar. And if any Demo- 
crat here will rise and name a great national doctrine his party 
has advanced, within that time, that is now alive and believed in, 
I will yield to hear him. [A pause.] In default of an answer, 
I will attempt to prove my negative. 

What were the great central doctrines of the Democratic 
party in the Presidential struggle of i860? The followers of 


Breckinridge said slavery had a right to go wherever the Con- 
stitution goes. Do you believe that to-day? Is there a man 
on this continent who holds that doctrine to-day > Not one. 
That doctrine is dead and buried. The other wing of the 
Democracy held that slavery might be established in the Ter- 
ritories if the people wanted it. Does anybody hold that doc- 
trine to-day? Dead, absolutely dead ! 

Come down to 1864. Your party, under the lead of Tilden 
and Vallandigham, declared the war to save the Union a failure. 
Do you believe that doctrine to-day? That doctrine was shot 
to death by the guns of Farragut at Mobile, and driven by 
Sheridan, in a tempest of fire, from the valley of the Shenan- 
doah, less than a month after its birth at Chicago. 

Come down to 1868. You declared the Constitutional Amend- 
ments revolutionary and void. Does any man on this floor say 
so to-day? If so, let him rise and declare it. Do you believe 
in the doctrine of the Brodhead letter of 1868, that the so- 
called Constitutional Amendments should be disregarded? No; 
the gentleman from Mississippi accepts the results of the war! 
The Democratic doctrine of 1868 is dead ! 

I walk across that Democratic camping-ground as in a grave- 
yard. Under my feet resound the hollow echoes of the dead. 
There lies slavery, a black marble column at the head of its 
grave, on which I read: " Died in the flames of the civil war; 
loved in its life ; lamented in its death ; followed to its bier by 
its only mourner, the Democratic party." But dead ! And here 
is a double grave : " Sacred to the memory of Squatter Sov- 
ereignty. Died in the campaign of i860." On the reverse 
side : " Sacred to the memory of Dred Scott and the Breck- 
inridge doctrine." Both dead at the hands of Abraham Lin- 
coln ! And here is a monument of brimstone: " Sacred to the 
memory of the doctrine that the war against the Rebellion is a 
failure; Tildett et Vallandigham fecerunty A. D. 1864." Dead 
on the field of battle ; shot to death by the million guns of the 
republic. The doctrines of Secession and of State Sovereignty. 
Dead. Expired in the flames X)f civil war, amid the blazing raft- 
ers of the Confederacy, except that the modern i£neas, in the 
person of the honorable gentleman from the Appomattox dis- 
trict of Virginia,^ fleeing out of the flames of that ruin, bears on 
his back the Anchises of State sovereignty, and brings it here. 
All else is dead. 

1 Mr. Tucker. 


Now, gentlemen, are you sad, are you sorry for these deaths? 
Are you not glad that Secession is dead ? that Slavery is dead ? 
that Squatter Sovereignty is dead? that the doctrine of the fail- 
ure of the war is dead ? Then you are glad that you were out- 
voted in i860, in 1864, in 1868, and in 1872. If you have tears 
to shed over these losses, shed them in the graveyard, but not 
in this House of living men. I know that many a Southern 
man rejoices that these issues are dead. The gentleman from 
Mississippi has clothed with eloquence his joy. 

Now, gentlemen, if you yourselves are glad that you have 
suffered defeat during the last sixteen years, will you not be 
equally glad when you suffer defeat next November? But par- 
don that remark ; I regret it ; I would use no bravado. 

Now, gentlemen, come with me for a moment into the camp 
of the Republican party and review its career. Our central 
doctrine in i860 was that slavery should never extend itself 
over another foot of American soil. Is that doctrine dead? 
It is folded away like a victorious banner ; its truth is alive 
forevermore on this continent. In 1864 we declared that we 
would put down the Rebellion and Secession. And that doc- 
trine lives and will live when the second centennial has arrived ! 
Freedom, national, universal, and perpetual, — our great Con- 
stitutional Amendments, — are they alive or dead ? Alive, thank 
the God that shields both Liberty and Union. And our national 
credit, saved from the assaults of Pendleton, saved from the 
assaults of those who struck it later, rising higher and higher 
at home and abroad, and now in doubt only lest its chief, its 
only enemy, the Democracy, should triumph in November. 

Mr. Chairman, ought the Republican party to surrender its 
truncheon of command to the Democracy? The gentleman 
from Mississippi says, if this were England, the ministry, with 
such a state of things as wc have here, would go out in twenty- 
four hours. Ah, yes ! that is an ordinary case of change of 
administration. But if this were England, what would she have 
done at the end of the war? England made one such mistake 
as the gentleman asks this countty to make, when she threw 
away the achievements of the grandest man that ever trod 
her highways of power. Oliver Cromwell had overturned the 
throne of despotic power, and had lifted his country to a place 
of masterful greatness among the nations of the earth ; and 
when, after his death, his great sceptre was transferred to a 


weak though not unlineal hand, his country, in a moment of 
reactionary blindness, brought back the Stuarts. England did 
not recover from that folly until, in 1688, the Prince of Orange 
drove from her island the last of that weak and wicked line. 
Did she afterward repeat the blunder? For more than fifty 
years, Pretenders were seeking the throne ; and the wars on her 
coast, in Scotland, and in Ireland, threatened the overthrow of 
the new dynasty and the disruption of the empire. But the 
solid phlegm, the magnificent pluck, the roundabout common- 
sense of Englishmen, steadied the throne till the cause of the 
Stuarts was dead. They did not change as soon as the battle 
was over, and let the Stuarts come back to power. 

And how was it in our own country, when our fathers had 
triumphed in the war of the Revolution? When the victory 
was won, did they open their arms to the Loyalists, as they 
called themselves, or Tories, as our fathers called them? Did 
they invite them back? Not one. They confiscated their lands. 
The States passed decrees that no Tory should live on our soil. 
And when they were too poor to take themselves away, our 
fathers, burdened as the young nation was with debt, raised 
the money to transport the Tories beyond seas or across the 
Canada border. They went to England, to France, to Nova 
Scotia, to New Brunswick, and especially to Halifax ; and that 
town was such a resort for them, that it became the swear- 
word of our boyhood. ** Go to Halifax " was a substitute for 
a more impious, but not more opprobrious expression. The 
presence of Tories made it opprobrious. 

Now I do not refer to this as an example which we ought to 
follow. O, no. We live in a milder era, in an age softened by 
the more genial influence of Christian civilization. Witness the 
sixty-one men who fought against us in the late war, and who 
are now sitting in this and the other chamber of Congress. 
Every one of them is here because a magnanimous nation freely 
voted that they might come, and they are welcome. Only 
please do not say that you are just now especially fitted to rule 
the republic, and to be the apostles of liberty and of blessing 
to the colored race. 

Gentlemen, the North has been asked these many years to 
regard the sensibilities of the South. We have been told that 
you were brave and sensitive men, and that we- ought not to 
throw firebrands among you. Most of our people have treated 


you with justice and magnanimity. In some things we have 
given you just cause for complaint; but I want to remind you 
that the North also has sensibilities to be regarded. The ideas 
which they cherished and for which they fought triumphed in 
the highest court, the court of last resort, the field of battle. 
Our people intend to abide by that verdict and to enforce the 
mandate. They rejoice at every evidence of acquiescence. 
They look forward to the day when the distinctions of North 
and South shall have melted away in the grander sentiment of 
nationality. But they do not think it is yet safe to place the 
control of this great work in your hands. In the hands of some 
of you they would be safe, perfectly safe ; but into the hands of 
the united South, joined with the most reactionary elements of 
the Northern Democracy, our people will not yet surrender the 

I am aware that there is a general disposition " to let by- 
gones be bygones," and to judge of parties and of men, not 
by what they have been, but by what they are and what they 
propose. That view is partly just and partly erroneous. It is 
just and wise to bury resentments and animosities ; it is errone- 
ous in this, that parties have an organic life and spirit of their 
own, — an individuality and character which outlive the men 
who compose them; and the spirit and traditions of a party 
should be considered in determining their fitness for managing 
the affairs of a nation. For this purpose I have reviewed the 
history of the Democratic party. 

I have no disposition, nor would it be just, to shield the Re- 
publican party from fair and searching criticism. It has been 
called to meet questions novel and most difficult. It has made 
many mistakes. It has stumbled and blundered ; has had some 
bad men in it; has suffered from the corruptions incident to the 
period following a great war; and it has suffered rebuke and 
partial defeat in consequence. But has it been singular and 
alone in these respects? With all its faults, I fearlessly chal- 
lenge gentlemen to compare it with any party known to our 
politics. Has the gentleman shown that the Democratic party 
is its superior either in virtue or intelligence? Gentlemen, the 
country has been testing your qualities during the last eight 
months. The people gave you a probationary trial by putting 
you in control of this House. When you came here, in Decem- 
ber last, the same distinguished gentleman to whom I am reply- 


ing addressed you, on the evening of your first caucus, in thes 
words: "There has been for some time in the public mind 
conviction, profound and all-pervading, that the civil service c 
the country has not been directed from considerations of publi 
good, but from those of party profit, and for corrupt, selfisli 
and unpatriotic designs. The people demand at our hands ; 
sweeping and thorough reform, which shall be conducted in ; 
spirit that will secure the appointment to places of trust anc 
responsibility of the honest, the experienced, and the capable." 

That is sound doctrine ; and I have advocated it here an( 
elsewhere during the last eight years. I remind him that th< 
pernicious doctrine that "to the victors belong the spoils" ii 
of Democratic origin ; that nearly half a century of Democratic 
tradition and practice has fastened it upon the country. W< 
found it, and have been cursed by it ever since; and thougl 
some efforts have been made to reform the service, the gooc 
work is hardly begun. When, therefore, the gentleman fron: 
Mississippi, as chairman of the Democratic caucus, at the open- 
ing of the session, announced the doctrine I have quoted, wc 
had reason to hope that a new era of civil service had dawned 
upon the Capitol. But what performance has followed his high- 
sounding proclamation? No sooner did this reforming party 
take possession of this House, than it began the most whole- 
sale, sweeping changes of officials, from the highest to the 
humblest employees of the House, that has been known in our 
history. Many of these officers had come to us from our 
Democratic predecessors ; but they were almost all dismissed 

give place to hungry partisans. Sixty-seven Union soldiers, 
who were faithfully doing their duties here, were turned out, 
and among those who filled their places were forty-seven Rebel 

Mr. Holman. As a matter of justice and fair play, the gentleman 
fi-om Ohio certainly knows and should admit that a large number of dis- 
abled soldiers who are Republicans are still holding offices in this House. 

In answer to the gentleman from Indiana, I understand that a 
considerable number of Democratic Union soldiers were ap- 
pointed ; but I was discussing civil service reform, and the dec- 
laration of the gentleman from Mississippi that appointments to 
office should not be used as party rewards. 

I desire to glance for a moment now at the career of this 
House, and at what the Democratic majority have done and 


omitted to do. Passing by their treatment of contested election 
cases, their appointment of officers, employees, committee clerks, 
who have reflected no credit upon the body, I desire to ask, 
What valuable work of general legislation has this House ac- 
complished ? 

We had hardly been here a month, when, in disregard of the 
deep feelings of the Northern people, it was proposed, among 
the first things demanded, to crown Jefferson Davis with full 
and free amnesty, notwithstanding he had contemptuously de- 
clared he never would ask for it ; and this must be done, or no 
amnesty would be granted to any one. And when we objected 
because he was the author of the unutterable atrocities of Libby 
and Andersonville prisons, the debate which followed disclosed 
the spirit and temper of the dominant party. 

We were hardly in our seats when the gentleman from Vir- 
ginia^ brought in a bill to repeal a statute of 1866, which no 
Democrat had before that proposed to disturb, so far as I know, 
— a statute which provided that no man who voluntarily went 
into the rebellion against the Union should ever hold a commis- 
sion in our army or navy. And a Democrat from my own State,^ 
the chairman of the Committee on Military Affairs, became the 
champion of that bill, and this House passed it. 

Again, we had passed a law to protect the sanctity and safety 
of the ballot in national elections, so that the horrors of the Ku- 
Klux and the White Line should not run riot at the polls, and 
among the earliest acts of this House was a clause added to one 
of the appropriation bills to repeal the election law ; and to 
effect that repeal they kept up the struggle lately under the 
fierce rays of the dog-star. They have been compelled by a 
Republican Senate to abandon the attempt. 

But what have they neglected? Early in the session, indeed 
in the first days of it, a proposition was made, introduced by 
the gentleman from Maine,^ so to amend the Constitution as 
to remove forever from the party politics of the country the 
vexed and dangerous question of church and state by prevent- 
ing the use of the school funds for sectarian purposes. That 
amendment was sent to the Committee on the Judiciary to sleep, 
perhaps to die ; for it is said to have been three times voted 
down in that committee. 
Again, the Secretary of the Treasury officially informed us 

1 Mr. Tucker. « Mr. Banning. * Mr. Blaine. 


that his power further to refund the public debt was exhausted ; 
and that if we would give him the requisite authority he couk 
refund four or five hundred millions more at so favorable a rate 
as to save the treasury in interest at least one per cent pei 
annum. The Senate passed the bill more than six month* 
ago, but this House has taken no action upon it. 

Our revenues have been threatened with a deficit, and our in* 
dustries have been shaken with alarm, by bills reported to the 
House, but never brought to a vote ; for example, the tariff bill 
floating lazily upon the stagnant waters of the House, — 

" As idle as a painted ship 
Upon a painted ocean," — 

a promise to free-traders, a threat to manufacturers, — but with 
no prospect or purpose of our acting upon it. 

And the government has been crippled by the withholding ol 
necessary appropriations ; withheld, as I do not hesitate to say, 
for the purpose of making political capital at the coming elec- 
tion, in which the gentleman from Mississippi desires his party 
to succeed in the name of honesty and reform. His colleague 
was frank enough to declare that he wanted to reduce the gen- 
eral appropriations, so as to have money enough to devote to 
schemes for his section, such as the cotton claims and the 
Southern Pacific Railroad. 

But party necessity has prevented the launching of many 
waiting schemes and claims. They are anchored in the lobbies 
and committee-rooms of this House till the election is over. 
There is the bill to refund the cotton tax to the amount of 
sixty million dollars, waiting to be launched when the election 
is over. A subsidy of a hundred million dollars is waiting up 
stairs in the Pacific Railroad committee-room, ready to come 
down upon us when the election is over. There are thirty-eight 
million dollars of private claims. Southern claims, war claims, 
waiting to burst up from the committee-rooms below stairs 
when the election is over. 

While these things surround us, — while the very earth shakes 
with the tramp of the advancing army of schemers, who are 
coming " with the Constitution and an appropriation," — the 
gentleman from Mississippi thinks that as a measure of re- 
form the Democratic party ought at once to be brought back 
into power! 

Meanwhile, what has been the chief employment of this 


House? It has divided itself into a score of police courts, in 
the hope of finding corruption. Like those insects that feed 
upon sores, it has hoped to live and thrive upon the corruption 
of others. Like that scavenger of the air, the carrion bird that 
buries its beak in the rotten carcass, the Democratic party seeks 
to fatten on the refuse which is here and there thrown out of 
the public service. This House has adopted eighty-three reso- 
lutions ordering investigations of the Departments, besides a 
legion of resolutions of inquiry. Twenty-five standing commit- 
tees and eight select committees, up to the 20th of June, — in 
all thirty-three committees, — have been raking all the slums of 
the nation, to find, if possible, some foulness with which to im- 
pregnate the air during the coming election. And what have 
they found? Has any one of these committees found that a 
single dollar has been stolen from the treasury of the United 
States? If so, let them declare it. Why, sir, the Republican 
party for the last three years has been investigating its own ad- 
ministration far more effectually than you have investigated it. 
It has had not only the courage of its opinions, but the courage 
to punish its own rascals. 

But, gentlemen, after all that may be said of corruption and 
wrong-doing, do you show, on that ground, any good reason 
why the Republican party should surrender the government to 
the Democracy? Would it be better? It is a matter of official 
record that the treasury suffered a far greater percentage of 
loss by mismanagement and defalcation under your adminis- 
tration than it has suffered under ours. In an official letter to 
the Senate, under date of June 19, 1876, the Secretary of the 
Treasury copies from his records the aggregate losses by defal- 
cations and the loss per thousand dollars, in each period of 
four years since 1834, in all the departments and bureaus of the 
government. Without quoting the table at length, the grand 
aggregate stands thus. 

From January i, 1834, to July i, 1861, the total disburse- 
ments of the government were $1,369,977,502.52; the total de- 
falcations were $12,361,722.91; or a loss of $9.02 to $1,000. 
From July i, 1861, to July i, 1875, the total disbursements were 
$12,566,892,569.53; the total defalcations were $9,905,205.37; 
or a loss of twenty-six cents to the $1,000. In the latter period 
the disbursements were nearly ten times as great as in the for- 
mer, and the defalcations one third less. 

vol- II. 25 


Is this country so given over to corruption as the gentleman 
from Mississippi suggests? I will answer by quoting two dis- 
tinguished witnesses. In his able speech on the Belknap im- 
peachment trial, one of the Democratic managers, the gentleman 
from New York,^ said : — 

" Senators, I am one of those who believe in progress. I believe that 
this age is the best age which the sun has ever shone upon ; I believe 
there is more of religion, more of humanity, more of love, more of 

charity, in this age, than in any age that has preceded it There 

is now a higher and healthier sentiment than in any former age. Men 
are held to official responsibilities now, thank God, that they never were 
before. Tlie time has been, in the recollection of many of you, when a 
person thought he had the right to use his official position for his own ad- 
vantage ; but that time has gone by, and a good deal of what we see and 
hear, which leads a great many so mournfully to say that the age is going 
backward and we are receding to barbarism, very much which occasions 
the apparent increase ,of wrong, arises from the higher demands of a 
greater civilization, from the higher plane of an enlightened people." * 

Now I quote a paragraph from the Centennial Oration of 
Rev. Dr. Storrs, a man fit to be the teacher of his race : — 

" I scout the thought that we as a people are worse than our fathers ! 
John Adams, at the head of the war department in 1776, wrote bitter 
laments of the corruption which existed in even that infant age of the 
republic, and of the spirit of venality, rapacious and insatiable, which 
was then the most alarming enemy of America. He declared himself 
ashamed of the age which he lived in. In Jefferson's day all Federalists 
expected the universal dominion of French infidelity. In Jackson's day 
all Whigs thought the country gone to niin already, as if Mr. Biddle had 
had the entire public hope locked up in the vaults of his terminated 
bank. In Polk's day the excitements of the Mexican war gave life and 
germination to many seeds of rascality. There has never been a time — 
not here alone, in any country — when the fierce light of incessant in- 
quiry blazing on men in public life would not have revealed forces of 
evil like those we have seen, or when the condemnation which followed 
the discovery would have been sharper. And it is among my deep>est 
convictions that, with all which has happened to debase and debauch it, 
the nation at large was never before more mentally vigorous or morally 
sound." 3 

Now, Mr. Chairman, notwithstanding all the fearful corrup- 
tion of his time described by John Adams, our fathers never 

* Mr. Lord. * Trial of W. W. Belknap, pp. 340, 341. 

• New York Centennial Celebration, (New York, A. D. F. Randolph,) p. 61. 


thought it necessary to call the Tories back to take charge of 
their newly gained liberties. 

I will close by calling your attention again to the great prob- 
lem before us. Over this vast horizon of interests, North and 
South, above all party prejudices and personal wrong-doing, 
above our battle hosts and our victorious cause, above all that 
we hoped for and won, or you hoped for and lost, is the grand, 
onward movement of the republic, to perpetuate its glory, to 
save liberty alive, to preserve exact and equal justice to all, to 
protect and foster all these priceless principles, until they shall 
have crystallized into the form of enduring law, and become in- 
wrought into the life and the habits of our people. And until 
these great results are accomplished, it is not safe to take one 
step backward. It is still more unsafe to trust interests of such 
measureless value in the hands of an organization whose mem- 
bers have never comprehended their epoch, have never been in 
sympathy with its great movements, who have resisted every 
step of its progress, and whose principal function has been ** to 
He in cold obstruction " across the pathway of the nation. It 
is most unsafe of all to trust that organization, when, for the 
first time since the war, it puts forward for the first and second 
place of honor and command men who, in our days of greatest 
danger, esteemed party above country, and felt not one throb of 
patriotic ardor for the triumph of the imperilled Union, but from 
the beginning to the end hated the war, and hated those who 
carried our eagles to victory. No, no, gentlemen ; our en- 
lightened and patriotic people will not follow such leaders in 
their rearward march. Their myriad faces are turned the other 
way; and along their serried lines still rings the cheering cry, 
" Forward, till our great work is fully and worthily done ! " 



December 19, 1876. 

Mr. Garfield made these remarks, the House having under consid- 
eration the following resolution : — 

" In the Senate op the United States, 
December 19, 1876. 

" Resolved by the Senate, {the House of Representatives concurring^ 
I. That the statues of John Winthrop and Samuel Adams are accepted 
in the name of the United States, and that the thanks of Congress are 
given to the State of Massachusetts for these memorials of two of her 
eminent citizens whose names are indissolubly associated with the foun- 
dation of the Republic. 

"2. That a copy of these resolutions, engrossed upon parchment 
and duly authenticated, be transmitted to the Governor of the State of 

MR. SPEAKER, — I regret that illness has made it impos- 
sible for me to keep the promise which I made a few days 
since to offer some reflections appropriate to this very interest- 
ing occasion. But I cannot let the moment pass without ex- 
pressing my great satisfaction with the fitting and instructive 
choice which the State of Massachusetts has made, and the 
manner in which her Representatives have discharged their duty 
in presenting these beautiful works of art to the Congress of 
the nation. 

As from time to time our venerable and beautiful hall has been 
peopled with statues of the elect of the States, it has seemed to 
me that a third house was being organized within the walls of 
the Capitol, — a house whose members have received their high 
credentials at the hands of history, and whose term of office will 


outlast the ages. Year by year we see the circle of its immortal 
membership enlarging; year by year we see the elect of their 
country, in eloquent silence, taking their places in this Amer- 
ican Pantheon, bringing within its sacred circle the wealth of 
those immortal memories which made their lives illustrious; 
and, year by year, that august assembly is teaching a deeper 
and grander lesson to all who serve their brief hour in these 
more ephemeral houses of Congress. And now, two places of 
great honor have just been most nobly filled. 

I can well understand that the State of Massachusetts, embar- 
rassed by her wealth of historic glory, found it difficult to make 
the selection. And while the distinguished gentleman from 
Massachusetts ^ was so fittingly honoring his State by portray- 
ing that happy embarrassment, I was reflecting that the sister 
State of Virginia will encounter, if possible, a still greater diffi- 
culty when she comes to make the selection of her immortals. 
One name I venture to hope she will not select; a name too 
great for the glory of any one State. I trust she will allow us 
to claim Washington as belonging to all the States, for all time. 
If she shall pass over the great distance that separates Washing- 
ton from all others, I can hardly imagine how she will make the 
choice from her crowded roll. But I have no doubt that she 
will be able to select two who will represent the great phases of 
her history as happily and worthily as Massachusetts is repre- 
sented in the choice she has to-day announced. It is difficult 
to imagine a happier combination of great and beneficent forces 
than will be presented by the representative heroes of these two 
great States. 

Virginia and Massachusetts were the two focal centres from 
which sprang the life-forces of this republic. They were in 
many ways complements of each other, each supplying what 
the other lacked, and both uniting to endow the republic with 
its noblest and most enduring qualities. 

To-day, the House has listened with the deepest interest to 
the statement of those elements of priceless value contributed 
by the State of Massachusetts. We have been instructed by 
the clear and masterly analysis of the spirit and character of 
that Puritan civilization, so fully embodied in the lives of Win- 
throp and Adams. I will venture to add, that, notwithstanding 
all the neglect and contempt with which England regarded her 

» Mr. Hoar. 


Puritans two hundred years ago, the tendency of thought in 
modern England is to do justice to that great force which 
created the Commonwealth, and finally made the British Islands 
a land of liberty and law. Even the great historian Hume was 
compelled reluctantly to declare that "the precious spark of 
liberty had been kindled, and was preserved, by the Puritans 
alone ; and it was to this sect, whose principles appear so frivo- 
lous, and habits so ridiculous, that the English owe the whole 
freedom of their constitution." ^ 

What higher praise can posterity bestow upon any people 
than to make such a confession? Having done so much to 
save liberty alive in the mother-country, the Puritans planted 
upon the shores of this new world that remarkable civilization 
whose growth is the greatness and glory of our republic. In- 
deed, before Winthrop and his company landed at Salem, the 
Pilgrims were laying the foundations of civil liberty. While the 
Mayflower was passing Cape Cod and seeking an anchorage, in 
the midst of the storm, her brave passengers sat down in the 
little cabin and drafted and signed a covenant which contains 
the germ of American liberty. How familiar to the American 
habit of mind are these affirmations of the Plymouth Declara- 
tion of Rights of 1636, " that no act, imposition, law, or ordi- 
nance be made or imposed upon us at present- or to come but 
such as shall be enacted by the consent of the body of freemen 
or associates, or their representatives legally assembled." 

The New England town was the model, the primary cell, 
from which our republic was evolved. The town meeting was 
the germ of all the parliamentary life and habits of Americans. 
John Winthrop brought with him the more formal organization 
of New England society ; and, in his long and useful life, did 
more than perhaps any other to direct and strengthen its 

Nothing, therefore, could be more fitting, than for Massachu- 
setts to place in our memorial hall the statue of the first of the 
Puritans, representing him at the moment when he was stepping 
on shore from the ship that brought him from England, and 
bearing with him the charter of that first political society which 
laid the foundations of our country; and that near him should 
stand that Puritan embodiment of the logic of the Revolution, 
Samuel Adams. I am glad to see this decisive, though tardy, 

1 History of England, (Boston, 1854,) Vol. IV. p. 141. 


acknowledgment of his great and signal services to America. 
I doubt if any man equalled Samuel Adams in formulating and 
uttering the fierce, clear, and inexorable logic of the Revolution. 
With our present habits of thought, we can hardly realize how 
great were the obstacles to overcome. Not the least was the 
religious belief of the fathers, — that allegiance to rulers was 
obedience to God. The thirteenth chapter of Romans was to 
many minds a barrier against revolution stronger than the bat- 
talions of George III.: "Let every soul be subject unto the 
higher powers. For there is no power but of God : the powers 
that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resistcth 
the power, resisteth the ordinance of God." * 

And it was not until the people of that religious age were led 
to see that they might obey God and still establish liberty, in 
spite of kingly despotism, that they were willing to engage in 
war against one who called himself " king by the grace of God." 
The men who pointed out the pathway to freedom by the light 
of religion as well as of law, were the foremost promoters of 
American independence. And of these, Adams was unques- 
tionably chief. 

It must not be forgotten that, almost at the same time while 
Samuel Adams was writing the great argument of liberty in 
Boston, Patrick Henry was formulating the same doctrines in 
Virginia. It is one of the grandest facts of that grand time that 
the Colonies were thus brought, by an almost universal con- 
sent, to tread the same pathway, and reach the same great 


But most remarkable of all is the fact, that, throughout all 
that period, filled as it was with the revolutionary spirit, the 
great men who guided the storm exhibited the most wonderful 
power of self-restraint. If I were to-day to state the single 
quality that appears to me most admirable among the fathers 
of the Revolution, I should say it was this : that amidst all the 
passions of war, waged against a perfidious enemy from beyond 
the sea, aided by a savage enemy on our own shores, our fathers 
exhibited so wonderful a restraint, so great a care to observe 
the forms of law, to protect the rights of the minority, to pre- 
serve all those great rights that had come down to them from 
the common law, so that when they had achieved their inde- 
pendence they were still a law-abiding people. 

^ Romans xiii. i, 2. 


In that fiery meeting in the Old South Church, after the 
Boston Massacre, when, as the gentleman from Massachusetts 
has said, three thousand voices almost lifted the roof from the 
church in demanding the removal of the regiments, it is noted by 
the historian that there was one solitary, sturdy " Nay " in the 
vast assemblage ; and Samuel Adams scrupulously recorded the 
fact that there was one dissentient. It would have been a mortal 
offence against his notions of justice and good order, if that one 
dissentient had not had his place in the record. And after the 
regiments had been removed, and after the demand had been 
acceded to that the soldiers who had fired upon citizens should 
be delivered over to the civil authorities to be dealt with accord- 
ing to law, Adams was the first to insist and demand that the 
best legal talent in the Colony should be put forward to defend 
those murderers; and John Adams and Josiah Quincy were 
detailed for the purpose of defending them. Men were detailed 
whose hearts and souls were on fire with the love of the popular 
cause ; but the men of Massachusetts would have despised the 
two advocates, if they had not given their whole strength to the 
defence of the soldiers. 

Mr. Speaker, this great lesson of self-restraint is taught in the 
whole history of the Revolution ; and it is this lesson that to- 
day, more perhaps than any other that we have seen, we ought 
to take most to heart. Let us seek liberty and peace, under 
the law; and, following the pathway of our fathers, preserve 
the great legacy they have committed to our keeping. 




January i6, 1877. 

The appointment of Presidential Electors in the State of Louisiana, 
in 18769 and the action of the Electors appointed, became the subject 
of investigation b]f the House of Representatives. The general facts 
out of which the investigation grew are stated in the introductions to 
the speech on "Counting the Electoral Vote," and to the arguments 
made in the Electoral Commission on the Florida and Louisiana cases, 
and in the speech and arguments themselves. The House sent to 
Louisiana a committee to investigate the public charges of fraud, per- 
jury, and violations of law, in the appointment of the Electors; and 
also the charge that the Electors had not proceeded in the manner 
directed by the laws of the State. Four of the Electors upon whom 
subpoenas had been served by the committee refused to obey them. 
On the 1 6th of January, 1877, the conduct of these Electors. was 
brought before* the House in a report from the Committee on the Judi- 
ciary, of which this is the conclusion : — 

"This House having appointed a committee to investigate these 
charges, your committee are of opinion that J. Madison Wells, Thomas 
C. Anderson, G. Casanave, and I^wis M. Kenner, in refusing to obey 
the writ of subpana duces tecum to appear and bring with them certain 
papers named in the writ, have violated the privilege of this House. 
They therefore recommend the adoption of the following resolution : — 

" Resolved, That the Speaker of this House issue a warrant under his 
hand and the seal of the House of Representatives, directing the Ser- 
geant-at- Arms of this House, either by himself or his special deputy, to 
arrest and bring to the bar of the House without delay J. Madison 
Wells, Thomas C. Anderson, G. Casanave, and Lewis M. Kenner, to 
answer for a contempt of the authority of this House, and a breach of 
privilege in refusing to produce to the special committee of which Hon. 
William R. Morrison is chairman, now sitting in New Orleans, certain 
papers, in obedience to a subpoena duces tecum which was duly served 


upon them, and to be dealt with as the law under the facts may re- 

Pending this report Mr. Garfield addressed the House. Some of the 
points here made are more fully elaborated in his speech of January 
25, on " Counting the Electoral Vote." 

MR. SPEAKER, — The strength of the case presented by 
the committee is found in the words of the report which 
I am about to read. After quoting the article of the Constitu- 
tion in relation to the power of the States to appoint Electors of 
President and Vice-President, the committee say : "This clause 
secures to the United States the right to require that the per- 
sons claiming to act as Electors for any State shall have been 
appointed in such manner as the legislature of the State shall 
have directed. The power to ascertain that fjct is, and must 
be, in Congress, and if legislation is necessary to carry out this 
provision of the Constitution, Congress alone has the power to 
legislate upon the subject." Therefore, it is claimed, Congress 
has the power to make the inquiries necessary as the basis of 
legislation. I take it that there can be no stronger argument 
made in favor of the power of the House to pass the pro- 
posed resolution than the one I have just read. I acknowledge 
its strength in so far as it is sustained by the Constitution. I 
will read the only two clauses from which it is claimed that Con- 
gress derives any power whatever to inquire into the action of 
the States in appointing Electors of the President and Vice- 
President. The second clause of the first section of Article II. 
provides as follows : — 

" Each State shall appoint, in such manner as the legislature thereof 
may direct, a number of Electors equal to the whole number of Senators 
and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress ; 
but no Senator or Representative, or person holding an office of trust or 
profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector." 

And the fourth clause of the same section provides : — 

" The Congress may determine the time of choosing the Electors, and 
the day on which they shall give their votes ; which day shall be the same 
throughout the United States." 

These two clauses contain all the powers conferred upon the 
States in appointing Electors, and contain also all the limitations 
upon these powers. There are five expressed or implied limita- 


tions upon the power of the States, and only five. The limita- 
tions are either absolute in the Constitution itself, or they are 
such as authorize Congress to fix limitations; and if Congress 
has any authority whatever to interfere with the action of the 
States in the appointing of Electors, that authority must be 
found in some one or more of the five limitations. Now, what 
are these five limitations? 

First. It must be a State that appoints the Elector ; and as 
Congress alone has authority to admit new States into the Union, 
if there should be any political organization not a State that 
cast a vote for Electors, and if such pretended Electors send a 
certificate of their vote for President and Vice-President to the 
President of the Senate, the Congress would undoubtedly have 
power to inquire into the right of such political organization 
to participate in the election. That is the first limitation. 

Second. No State can have more Electors than the number 
of Senators and Representatives to which that State is entitled 
in Congress at the time of the election. If any State presumes 
to appoint more, no doubt that can be inquired into. The sur- 
plus cannot be counted. That is the second limitation. 

Third. No person shall be appointed an Elector for President 
and Vice-President who is either a Senator or Representative in 
Congress, or who holds any office of trust or profit under the 
United States. Without doubt a violation of this provision may 
be inquired into, for it is a distinct limitation of the authority of 
the State. That is the third limitation. 

Fourth. Congress is empowered by the Constitution to fix 
the day when the States shall choose Electors; and as Congress 
has fixed a day, the Tuesday after the first Monday in Novem- 
ber, the State has no right to choose Electors on any other 
day, except that when a State, having held an election on that 
day, has failed to make a choice, its legislature may provide for 
holding an election on a subsequent day, in accordance with the 
act of Congress approved January 23, 1845. Doubtless the in- 
quiry may be made whether the election was held on the day 
fixed by law. That is the fourth limitation. 

Fifth. The Constitution provides that Congress may deter- 
mine the day on which the Electors in all the States shall give 
their votes for President and Vice-President. By the act of 
March i, 1792, that fixed day is the first Wednesday of Decem- 
ber, within thirty-four days of the date of the general election. 


From this it follows that all the steps which are necessary to 
complete the appointment of the Electors must have been taken 
by the first Wednesday in December, when the Electors are to 
vote for President and Vice-President. That is the fifth limitation. 
For the purposes of this debate I do not follow the process of 
electing a President beyond the appointment of the Electors. 

To sum up these limitations in brief. Congress, in obedience 
to the Constitution, fixes the day for choosing the Electors and 
the day when they must vote. The Constitution prescribes that 
States only shall choose Electors. It prescribes the number of 
Electors for each State, and their qualifications. These are the 
limitations upon the authority of the States in the appointment 
of Electors of the President, and I defy any man to find any 
other limitation whatever upon their power. Every other act 
and fact relating to the appointment of Electors is as absolutely 
and exclusively in the power of the States as is their power to 
elect their Governors or their justices of the peace. Across the 
line of these limitations Congress has no more right to interfere 
with the States than it has to interfere with the election of offi- 
cers in England. To speak more accurately, I should say that 
the power is placed in the legislature of the States ; for if the 
Constitution of any State were silent upon the subject, its legisla- 
ture is none the less armed with plenary authority conferred upon 
it directly by the national Constitution. Now apply these con- 
siderations to the recent appointment of Electors by Louisiana. 

It is not denied that Louisiana is recognized by every de- 
partment of the national government as one of the States within 
the Union. It is not denied that, on the day fixed by law, an 
election for Electors of President and Vice-President was held in 
that State. It is not denied that, within the time prescribed by 
the national statute, the officers empowered by the legislature 
of Louisiana to canvass, compile, and make return of the votes 
cast in that State, did declare that six persons, the number re- 
quired by the Constitution, had received a majority of the votes 
for Electors at said election, and were duly elected. And it is 
not alleged that any of the persons so chosen were ineligible 
to such appointment under the Constitution. It is not denied 
that the Electors so appointed met on the day fixed by law, and 
cast their votes for President and Vice-President 

If any of these facts is denied, I have not heard of it. But 
the validity of the appointment of these Electors is vehemently 


and passionately assailed. It is not a little remarkable that, 
though their appointment was proclaimed on the 6th of Decem- 
ber last, no statement has yet been made, so far as I am aware, 
of the authority on which Congress, or either house of Congress, 
claims the right to challenge the validity of the appointment. 
The intimation that somebody may forbid the counting of the 
votes which these Electors cast for President and Vice-President 
is a topic quite apart from the validity of their appointment. 
It is incumbent upon those who question its validity to show 
their authority for so doing. They cannot find it in the Consti- 
tution or laws of the United States, unless their objection be 
based upon one or more of the five grounds I have mentioned. 
If this House bases its right to inquire into the election in 
Louisiana upon any of these limitations, their inquiry might 
have some ground of authority ; but if we presume to inquire 
as to any other point, we are absolutely violating the Constitu- 
tion of the United States. The manner of appointment within 
these five limitations is absolutely and exclusively in the control 
of the State legislature. The words of the Constitution declare 
it The laws of Congress acknowledge it, and the ablest and 
earliest expounders of the Constitution confirm it. Listen to 
the words of Charles C. Pinckney, one of the foremost members 
of the Convention that framed the Constitution, and long a con- 
spicuous member of the Senate. Seventy-seven years ago, 
while discussing the very clause of the Constitution we are now 
considering, he said : — 

" Knowing that it was the intention of the Constitution to make the 
President completely independent of the Federal legislature, I well re- 
member it was the object, as it is at present not only the spirit, but the 
letter, of that instrument to give to Congress no interference in or con- 
trol over the election of a President This right of determining 

on the manner in which the Electors shall vote, the inquiry into the qual- 
ifications, and the guards necessary to prevent disqualified or improper 
men voting, and to insure the votes being legally given, vests, and is 
exclusively vested, in the State legislatures. If it is necessary to have 
guards against improper elections of Electors, and to institute tribunals to 
inquire into their qualifications, with the State legislatures, and with them 
alone, rests the power to institute them, and they must exercise it." ^ 

Here is a plain and authoritative declaration that Congress 
has no authority whatever to inquire into the vote of a State for 

^ Annals of Congress, March 28, 1800, p. 130. 


Electors of the President, — not even to provide against fraud- 
ulent and improper elections. This speech of Pinckney was 
made upon a bill then pending in Congress, to prescribe a 
mode of deciding disputed elections of President and Vice- 
President. The bill, which in different forms passed both 
houses, but unfortunately failed to become a law, contained, 
in all the various forms it assumed, one proviso which is most 
significant. I will read it, as found in the eighth section. 
** Provided always^ That no petition or exception shall be 
granted, allowed, or considered by the sitting committee which 
has for its object to dispute or draw into question the number 
of votes given for an Elector in any of the States, or the fact 
whether an Elector was chosen by a majority of votes in his 
State or district." From this it appears that the great states- 
men who lived in the early days of the republic, and acted un- 
der the fresh and immediate inspirations of the Constitution, 
disclaimed any authority on the part of Congress even to listen 
to a petition which had for its object to dispute or draw into 
question the votes of a State for Electors. What more weighty 
or conclusive authority against the position assumed by our 
Judiciary Committee to-day can be conceived? 

Now let us follow this line of thought a little further. It is 
none of our business how a State exercises this power to ap- 
point Electors, so long as it keeps within the five limitations I 
have named. The legislature of a State may itself choose the 
Electors, as was frequently done in the early days of the repub- 
lic. A State may authorize its Governor or its courts to ap- 
point the Electors; it may allow a sheriff to appoint them. 
In 1796, the State of Vermont had no word in her Constitution 
or her laws to regulate the appointment of Electors, and no 
election of Electors was held by the people. But when the day 
for appointing Electors came, the legislature of Vermont, with- 
out any State law, without any constitutional provision on the 
subject, elected the Electors, whose election was valid, and 
whose votes were counted without question. Why? Because 
that legislature drew its authority directly frodi the Constitu- 
tion of the United States, and its action was final and con- 

Mr. Speaker, I have never believed in the Democratic theory 
of State sovereignty; I do not believe in it to-day; but if there 
be one power more sovereign than another, if there be differ- 


ences between supreme acts, then I would say that the su- 
premest act that a State can perform is the act of casting its 
vote for the President of the United States ; and if that be done 
within the five limitations, there is not a prince, a potentate, a 
power, a legislature, a Congress, much less a committee of 
Congress, that can forbid or question such act. The pending 
resolution is based upon an assumption of power to break over 
the limitations, to penetrate the very heart of State indepen- 
dence, by arresting its officers, seizing its archives, and inquiring 
what votes were cast, and whether they were honestly cast 

Now I admit that an impure ballot-box is a fearful evil ; a 
fraudulent election and a false count arc sins that cry to Heaven ; 
but anarchy is a greater evil, for it includes all others. A viola- 
tion of the fundamental law is the open door by which anarchy 
enters; and I warn this House that, if they pass this resolu- 
tion, they are about to open a new and wide door, and beckon 
the fiend to enter. I wish to remind the House that never yet 
since we- have had a government has any Congress passed a 
law, or even proposed a law, going behind the declared major- 
ity of the votes of a State for Electors, and inquiring how that 
majority was obtained. Such an inquiry as that never has been 
attempted ; but not because there were no frauds. What care- 
ful student of American history does not know that, in the year 
1844, Henry Clay was robbed of the electoral vote of this same 
State of Louisiana, and that, by the most shameless and out- 
rageous fraud and violence, it was delivered over to James K. 
Polk? I refer, of course, to the Plaquemines frauds. To show 
that I do not speak at random, I refer gentlemen to Senate 
Document No. 173 of the Twenty-eighth Congress, when the 
Senate Committee on the Judiciary embodied in their report 
— made, however, .upon another subject — a long and exhaust- 
ive report of the legislature of Louisiana, with all the testimony, 
in which it appeared that, under the leadership of John Slidcll, 
a steamboat load of men, who had voted in New Orleans on 
the 4th of November, went to Plaquemines, by violence and 
intimidation drove Whig voters from the polls, and in shameless 
violation of the law, and in collusion with the election officers 
of that place, voted by hundreds, many of them voting many 
times. They put into that ballot-box more votes than there 
were white male inhabitants within the precinct; they put into 
it three times as many votes as were put into it at the Presidcn- 


tial election four years before, and twice as many as were put 
into it four years afterward, when General Taylor, the pride of 
Louisiana, was the Whig candidate for President. The judges 
of the election ''counted all the ballots actually cast," as some 
gentlemen desire the Louisiana Returning Board to do now. 
And the contents of that box alone changed the result in Lou- 
isiana, and gave its electoral vote to Mr. Polk. But there was 
not a statesman in the House or in the Senate of that day who 
claimed any right on the part of Congress to go behind the 
declared majority of that State, and to unearth and rectify even 
that outrageous and open fraud. Sad and disgraceful as that 
proceeding was, the vote of Louisiana was counted in this Cap- 
itol for James K. Polk, because there was no authority here to 
question it. 

Even on the five grounds I have mentioned, Congress has 
always been reluctant to question the action of a State. In a few 
instances the question has been raised whether a political or- 
ganization which has thrown an electoral vote was really a State 
within the Union; but generally the benefit of the doubt has 
been given in favor of counting the votes. In many cases Elec- 
tors have been appointed who were disqualified by the Constitu- 
tion ; but no vote of an Elector has ever been rejected on that 
ground. In one instance, the Electors of a State did not cast 
their votes on the day fixed by law ; but their votes were never- 
theless counted. In no instance has a Congress even proposed 
to inquire into the election by which the Electors were ap- 
pointed. It seems to be reserved for this House, with its large 
majority of professed believers in State sovereignty, to go a 
thousand bowshots beyond any of its predecessors, and assume 
the power to revise the elections in any State it pleases. 

Now I will go a step further, and affirm, although I regret 
the fact, that under the national Constitution and laws Congress 
has no authority to contest an election of Electors for President, 
except upon the five grounds I have named ; and if it had the 
authority, the Constitution and laws have made it physically 
impossible to inaugurate and adjudicate such a contest Follow 
me for a moment, and I believe members of the House will 
agree with me. Our fathers intended that the election of a 
President should be a certain and summary proceeding. They 
required the vote to be taken everywhere on the same day. 
Then they required that within thirty-four days after the vote was 


cast the Electors themselves should meet and vote for President 
and Vice-President Why did they limit it to thirty- four days? 
If you will read the proceedings of the convention that framed 
the Constitution of the United States, and of the early Con- 
gresses, you will find that our fathers determined to make the 
time just as short as would suffice to receive the returns in the 
different States. And the fact is, that in many of the large 
States, even with our increased facilities for communication, the 
time is so short that the official returns are not complete until 
the very night before the Presidential Electors must meet. 
Therefore there is no time, it is physically impossible, to insti- 
tute and conclude a contest after the appointment of Electors 
and before the day when they must meet and cast their votes. 
I. do not know of a single State in the Union that has provided 
for such a contest. The action of their returning boards in 
announcing the majority of votes has always been final. 

Nor is a contest possible after the electoral college has voted. 
The Electors meet on the first Wednesday of December, vote 
by ballot for President and Vice-President, and at once sign and 
seal up the certificate of their votes, and send the packages 
to the President of the Senate. For two months and a half no 
human being has any right to break the seals. During that time 
no contest can be instituted upon their vote, because the only 
official evidence of their action is locked under the silence of 
their seals by the authority of the Constitution itself. If a 
contest in regard to the appointment of Electors cannot be 
made between the day of the election and the meeting of the 
electoral college, nor between the day of the meeting of the 
college and the opening of the certificates, can it be done after 
the seals are broken? Manifestly not, for two unanswerable 
reasons. Here also the language of the Constitution and laws 
of the United States is peremptory. The law requires that on 
one day of all the days of the year both houses of Congress 
shall be in session. That day is the second Wednesday of Feb- 
ruary. One day they are to be in session to witness the open- 
ing of the certificates. Then comes the imperial command of 
the Constitution : ** The President of the Senate shall .... 
open all the certificates, and the votes shall then be counted." 
" Then " .' ** Then " ! Here is no time for a contest in regard 
to the appointment of Electors ! If the certificates disclose the 
fact that there has been no choice, the House shall iinmedi- 

VOL. II. 26 


ately choose the President. In less than three weeks from the 
day the seals are broken the Congress ceases to exist. The 
whole proceeding was intended to be brief, summary, decisive. 
Read the record from beginning to end, and there will be found 
no time for a contest, and no authority for one if there were 

Review the long line of illustrious statesmen, and find, if you 
can, even one who before the present year ever claimed that 
Congress had the power to go beyond these five limitations and 
question the Presidential vote of a State. If we may question 
the vote in one State, we may question it in all. If we may 
examine one returning board, we may examine all the officers 
of elections in all the States. We may open every ballot-box 
and revise and count the votes of seven million voters. Such a 
view of the Constitution defeats its own provisions, and renders 
the election of a President by the States absolutely impossible ; 
because it would always lie in the power of one house or the 
other, by the brute force of numbers or the power of party 
spirit, to object, and examine, and inquire, until the arrival of 
the day when Congress would expire by limitation. 

Mr. Speaker, we are dealing with mighty issues. Gentlemen 
are proposing to have the House seize, and bring to its bar as 
prisoners, four officers of a State, who are not charged with 
having violated any clause of our Constitution; who are not 
charged with having violated any law of the United States ; who 
are not charged with having failed in any point of their duty as 
defined in our Constitution or laws. The House proposes to 
go beyond all this, — to invade the clear, unquestioned right of 
a State, — to drag its officers fourteen hundred miles away from 
their capital, and bring with them a portion of the public ar- 
chives of their State, and surrender them to us. These officers 
have tendered to our committee the free use of their records 
to be copied ; but they stand on their rights as the lawful custo- 
dians of the records of their State, — and for that you propose 
to punish them. If the House can make this demand, we can 
bring to our bar every officer of every State of the Union ; and 
can make them bring all the archives of all the States. We can 
thus cause a State to die by inanition, by holding all its officers 
prisoners at our bar, and turning over all its archives to our 

Now, Mr. Speaker, if the defence I am making be the defence 


of State rights, then I am for State rights within those limits ; I 
believe I have always been to that extent at least a champion of 
the rights of the States. Ho y we swing like a pendulum ! Six- 
teen years ago, in the name of State sovereignty, it was proposed 
by a great party, in this hall, to break the Union in pieces ; six- 
teen years ago, in the name of State sovereignty, it was declared 
that a certain portion of our people would never submit to an 
election that declared Abraham Lincoln President; and now, in 
defiance of all State rights, it is proposed that these great com- 
munities — these thirty-eight sisters that you call sovereign, 
though I do not — shall be chained to the wheels of this Con- 
gressional chariot, and dragged in fetters to the national Capitol 
as vassals of the imperial will of — what? — a party in the House 
of Representatives ; not the nation, not the Congress, not the 
House, but a partisan majority of the House, bent upon the 
accomplishment of a party purpose. Now, gentlemen, in the 
name of our country, as you revere the glories of its great 
past, and would preserve all that is worthiest in the possibilities 
of its great future, I beg you to pause before you commit this 
fatal assault upon whatever there may be of sovereignty in the 
thirty-eight States of the Union. 

The proceedings of the House Committee of Investigation in Louisi- 
ana brought into prominence the power of the House over private tele- 
graphic despatches, copies of which were in the custody of the telegraph 
companies. On the 20th of December, 1876, Mr. Garfield expressed 
these views touching the general question. 

Mr. Speaker, — If we take the position suggested by the 
gentleman from Kentucky,^ that there is no difference between 
telegraphic communications and oral communications so far as 
this privilege is concerned, we need take only one other step 
to destroy the last possible protection that the American people 
enjoy against the invasion of their privacy by their servants, the 
House of Representatives. If we now declare that the tele- 
graph is to be put down on the level of mere oral communica- 
tion, — that one of the greatest corporations of the country is 
to turn common informer against all private citizens, — the next 

' Mr. Knott 





and last step will be to declare that the post-office is to be put 
on the plane of the telegraph. Here is a great institution, un- 
known tp the old law-writers, wh«ch has grown up within the 
last thirty-five years, and which is probably to-day, next to the 
post-office, the custodian of more secrets in relation to public 
and private affairs than any other institution on earth. Every 
day hundreds of thousands of our fellow-citizens intrust their 
most sacredly private affairs to the telegraph companies, under 
the seal of their confidence. It is now proposed that all the 
transactions conducted through this great instrumentality shall 
be put down to the level of open oral communications. All that 
public or private malice needs is, by the process of the House, 
to seize the telegraph operator at any office, require him to bring 
in his bundle of despatches, and this inquisitorial body can fish 
out from among them whatever evidence may happen to suit its 
passion or its caprice. There never was an Anglo-Saxon law, in 
any country of the Anglo-Saxon world, that would permit so 
great an invasion of private rights. 

Besides destroying the telegraph as a great instrument of com- 
merce and business intercourse, you break down, in the minds 
of our people, that security under the law which they have en- 
joyed for so many generations. I say to gentlemen frankly that 
you and I have never yet seen a Congressional investigation 
the objects of which were sufficiently important to warrant so 
great a change in the laws of the country. It were better that 
every thief should go unwhipped of justice, than that the old 
guaranties of the law should be destroyed in order to secure his 

In 1870 this question came up in the committee of which I 
was chairman, the Committee on Banking and Currency, before 
which a very important investigation was going forward, and 
there are some gentlemen here who sat with me upon that 
committee. We were called to investigate the causes which led 
to the gold panic on what was known as Black Friday. After a 
large amount of testimony had been taken, it was found that at 
a given moment the Secretary of the Treasury, under direction 
of the President, wrote a despatch ordering the sale of gold in 
New York City ; and within a few minutes thereafter the gold 
market had broken twenty or thirty per cent. But the break 
came about ten minutes before the official despatch reached 
New York City ; and it was strongly probable that some 


trusted officer of the government had been faithless, and had 
privately informed parties in New York that the order was 
coming. It was vitally important to the honor and good faith 
of the nation, that it should be known whether that supposition 
was true or not. We called the telegraph managers before us 
to inquire how far they felt at liberty to disclose to us what 
had passed over their wires, between Washington and New 
York, within the brief period of half an hour; and by the unani- 
mous agreement of the committee, Democrats and Republicans 
alike, we narrowed the question down in this way. First, that 
within a period of twenty minutes of time we would make our 
inquiry; second, that it should relate only to telegrams bearing 
upon the government order to sell gold ; and, third, that if the 
telegrams disclosed under these conditions were any of them 
clearly private, they should be returned to the telegraph com- 
pany, and not one of them published. That was as far as I 
thought we could go, and I think it was a wise precedent. 

We shall make a most serious mistake if we break over the 
well- settled rules established for the protection of the business 
correspondence of citizens. I do not know that the question 
now proposed will harm any man of either party; but we ought 
to remember that the safeguards of liberty are only in danger 
in times of public passion, and in such times it becomes all 
thoughtful men to take special heed to their steps, and make no 
precedents which may come back in calmer times to plague the 



January 25, 1877. 

The Presidential election of 1876 was strenuously contested by the 
two great political parties at every point There were 369 Electors to 
be chosen. When November 7, the day for appointing Electors in the 
States, had passed, this was the situation that was presented to the 
country. Concerning the election of 184 Democratic and 163 Repub- 
lican Electors there was no question. But the remaining 22 were dis- 
puted. The Democrats claimed them, and the Republicans claimed 
them. If these votes were counted for Mr. Tilden, the Democratic 
candidate, he would have a majority of 21 ; if for Mr. Hayes, he would 
have a majority of one. The Electors whose elections were in doubt 
were those of Florida, Louisiana, South Carolina, and Oregon. The 
questions of fact and of law involved in the controversy need not be 
here stated further than to say that there were charges of intimidation 
of voters at the polls, of corruption and fraud on the part of State 
canvassing and returning officers, and of disability, in two or three 
cases, to exercise the duties of the office on the part of the Electors 
alleged to be appointed. There were double electoral colleges in the 
four States, and plural sets of votes for President and Vice-President 
were transmitted to the seat of government, directed to the President of 
the Senate. Hence arose the question. Who shall canvass the returns 
sent to Washington, and decide what votes shall be counted? This 
question involved this further one. Who shall decide, in the case of the 
disputed States, which were the legal electoral colleges and the legal 
electoral votes? Some said the power to decide these questions was 
lodged in the President of the Senate ; others, that it was lodged in the 
two houses of Congress. The interpretation of the Constitution, and 
the practice under the Constitution, were thus both involved in heated 
and passionate contention. In view of this state of affairs, a joint com- 
mittee of the two houses of Congress was raised " to prepare and report 
without delay such a measure, either legislative or constitutional, as may.