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cate matter for office-holders to undertake to dictate to the associations in the different districts who should go from them to the State Convention, and still more delicate to attempt to control the judgments of men employed in the different departments as to the best men to represent them." The brave Collector lieutenant of the President said, "that he should not hesitate to do it; that it was General Grant's wish, and General Grant was the head of the Republican Party, and should be authority on this subject."1 Plainly, the Republican Party was his perquisite, and all Republicans were to do his bidding. From other testimony it appears that the President, according to the statement of his lieutenant, "wanted to be represented in the Convention," being the Republican State Convention of New York, -" wanted to have his friends there in the Convention"; and the Presidential lieutenant, being none other than the famous Collector, offered to appoint four men in the custom-house for the witness, if he would secure the nomination of certain persons as delegates from his district, and he promised "that he would immediately send their names on to Washington and have them appointed." 2 And so the Presidential dictatorship was administered. Offices in the custom-house were openly bartered for votes in the State Convention. Here was intolerable tyranny, with demoralization like that of the slavemarket.
But New York is not the only scene of this outrage. The Presidential pretension extends everywhere; nor is it easy to measure the arrogance of corruption or the honest indignation it quickens into life.
1 New York Custom-House Investigation, Testimony of Gen. G. W. Palmer: Senate Reports, 42d Cong. 2d Sess., No. 227, Vol. III. p. 581. 2 Testimony of William Atkinson: Ibid., p. 626.
PRESIDENTIAL CONTRIVANCE AGAINST SAN DOMINGO.
THESE Presidential pretensions, in all their variety, personal and military, with reckless indifference to law, naturally ripened in the contrivance, nursed in hot-house secrecy, against the peace of the island of San Domingo: I say deliberately, against the peace of that island, for under the guise of annexing a portion there was menace to the Black Republic of Hayti. This whole business, absolutely indefensible from beginning to end, being wrong at every point, is the special and most characteristic product of the Administration, into which it infused and projected itself more than into anything else. In this multiform disobedience we behold our President. Already I have referred to this contrivance as marking an epoch in Presidential pretensions. It is my duty now to show its true character as a warning against its author.
A few weeks only after beginning his career as a civilian, and while occupied with military usurpations and the perquisites of office, he was tempted by overtures of Dominican plotters, headed by the usurper Baez and the speculator Cazneau: the first an adventurer, conspirator, and trickster, described by one who knows him well as "the worst man living of whom he has any personal knowledge"; and the second, one of our own countrymen, long resident on the island, known as disloyal throughout the war, and entirely kindred in character to Baez. Listening to these prompters, and without one word in Congress or in the press suggesting annexion of the island or any part of it, the President began his contrivance; and here we see abuse in every form and at every step, absolutely without precedent in our history.
1 Private letter to Mr. Sumner, quoted in Speech of March 27, 1871: Ante, Vol. XIV. p. 184.
The agent in this transaction was Orville E. Babcock, a young officer figuring in the Blue Book of the time as one of the unauthorized "secretaries" at the Executive Mansion, and also as a major of engineers. His published instructions, under date of July 13, 1869, were simply to make inquiries; but the plot appears in a communication of the same date from the Secretary of the Navy, directed to the Seminole, a war-ship, with an armament of one eleven-inch gun and four thirty-two pounders, " to give him the moral support of its guns"; and this was followed by a telegraphic instruction to Key West for another war-ship "to proceed without a moment's delay to San Domingo City, to be placed at the disposal of General Babcock while on that coast."1 With such "moral support" the emissary of the President obtained from the usurper Baez that famous Protocol stipulating the annexion of Dominica to the United States in consideration of $1,500,000, which the young officer, fresh from the Executive Mansion, professed to execute as "Aide-de-Camp to his Excellency General Ulysses S. Grant, President of the United States," - as if, instead of Chief Magistrate of a Republic, the President were a military chieftain with his foot in the stirrup, surrounded by a military staff. The same instrument contained the unblushing stipulation, that "his Excellency General Grant, President of the United States, promises, privately, to use all his influence, in order that the idea of annexing the Dominican Republic to the United States may acquire such a degree of popularity among members of Congress as will be necessary for its accomplishment ": 2 which is simply that the
1 Executive Documents, 41st Cong. 34 Sess., Senate, No. 17, p. 79; No. 45, p. 3. Senate Reports, 41st Cong. 2d Sess, No. 234, pp. 38, 39. 2 Senate Reports, 41st Cong. 2d Sess., No. 234, p. 188.
President shall become a lobbyist to bring about the annexion by Congress. Such was the strange beginning, illegal, unconstitutional, and offensive in every particular, but showing the Presidential character.
On his return to Washington, the young officer, who had assumed to be "Aide-de-Camp to his Excellency General Ulysses S. Grant," and had bound the President to become a lobbyist for a wretched scheme, instead of being disowned and reprimanded, was sent back to the usurper with instructions to negotiate two treaties,one for the annexion of the half-island of Dominica, and the other for the lease of the Bay of Samana.1 By the Constitution of the United States "ambassadors and other public ministers" are appointed by the President by and with the advice and consent of the Senate; but our Aide-de-Camp had no such commission. Presidential prerogative empowered him. Nor was naval force wanting. With three war-ships at his disposal," he concluded negotiations with Baez and obtained the two treaties. Naturally force was needed to keep the usurper in power while he sold his country, and naturally such a transaction required a Presidential Aide-de-Camp unknown to Constitution or Law, rather than a civilian duly appointed according to both.
PRESIDENTIAL VIOLATIONS OF CONSTITUTIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL LAW.
ON other occasions it has been my solemn duty to expose the outrages which attended this hateful business, where at each step we are brought face to face with Presidential pretension: first, in the open seizure of the
1 Executive Documents, 41st Cong. 3d Sess., Senate, No. 17., pp. 80-82. 2 Same, No. 34, p. 9.
war powers of the Government, as if he were already Cæsar, forcibly intervening in Dominica and menacing war to Hayti, all of which is proved by the official reports of the State Department and Navy Department, being nothing less than war by kingly prerogative, in defiance of that distinctive principle of Republican Government, first embodied in our Constitution, which places the war powers under the safeguard of the legislative branch, making any attempt by the President "to declare war" an undoubted usurpation. But our President, like Gallio, cares for none of these things. The open violation of the Constitution was naturally followed by a barefaced disregard of that equality of nations which is the first principle of International Law, as the equality of men is the first principle of the Declaration of Independence; and this sacred rule was set aside in order to insult and menace Hayti, doing unto the Black Republic what we would not have that Republic do unto us, nor what we would have done to any white power. To these eminent and most painful Presidential pretensions, the first adverse to the Constitution and the second adverse to International Law, add the imprisonment of an American citizen in Dominica by the Presidential confederate, Baez, for fear of his hostility to the treaty, if he were allowed to reach New York, - all of which was known to his subordinates, Babcock and Cazneau, and doubtless to himself. What was the liberty of an American citizen compared with the Presidential prerogative? To one who had defied the Constitution, on which depends the liberty of all, and then defied International Law, on which depends the peace of the world, a single citizen immured in a distant dungeon was of small moment. But this is only an illustration.