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these evils rise to a great height and compromise the very existence of the country. When a simple candidate seeks to rise by intrigue, his manoeuvres must be limited to a very narrow sphere; but when the Chief Magistrate enters the lists, he borrows the strength of the Government for his own purposes. . If the representative of the Executive descends into the combat, the cares of Government dwindle for him into second-rate importance, and the success of his election is his first concern." 1
Nothing can be more true than these remarkable words, which are completely verified in what we now behold. The whole diversified machinery of the National Government in all its parts, operating in State, District, Town, and Village, is now at work to secure the reelection of the President, as for some time before it worked to secure his renomination, the whole being obedient to the central touch.
Look for a moment at this machinery, or, if you please, at this political hierarchy, beginning with Cabinet officers, and reaching to the pettiest postmaster, every one diligent to the single end of serving Presidential aspiration. The Jeffersonian rule was, "Is he honest? Is he capable? Is he faithful to the Constitution?" But this is now lost in the mightier law, "Is he faithful to reelection?" This failing, all merit fails. Every office-holder, from highest to lowest, according to his influence, becomes propagandist, fugleman, whipper-in. Members of the Cabinet set the example, and perambulate the country, instructing the people to vote for reëlection. Heads of Bureaus do likewise. Then, in their respective localities, officers of the Customs, officers of the
1 Democracy in America, ed. Bowen, (Cambridge, 1863,) Ch. VIII. Vol. J. pp. 172-73.
Internal Revenue, marshals with their deputies, and postmasters, each and all, inspired from the National Capitol, are all calling for reelection. This organized power, variously estimated at from sixty to eighty thousand in number, all paid by the Government, and overspreading the whole country in one minute network, has unprecedented control at this moment, partly from increased facilities of communication, and partly from the military drill which still survives the war, but more, perhaps, from the determined will of the President, to which all these multitudinous wills are subjugated. This simple picture, which nobody can question, reveals a tyranny second only to that of the Slave Power itself,which Jefferson seems to have foreseen, when, after portraying the Legislature as most to be feared in his day, he said, "The tyranny of the Executive will come in its turn." Even his prophetic vision did not enable him to foresee the mournful condition we now deplore, with the One-Man Power lording itself through all the offices of the country.
The recent election in North Carolina made this practically manifest. Even without a telescope, all could. discern the operations of the field. Postmasters and officers of Internal Revenue were on haud, each in his place; then came the Marshal, with files of deputies, extemporized for the occasion; while, ranging over the extensive circuit, was the Supervisor of the Revenue; the whole instructed and animated by members of the Cabinet, who abandoned their responsible duties to help reelection, which for the time was above all departments of Government and all exigencies of the public service. In the same way the chief Custom-Houses of the country
1 Letter to Madison, March 15, 1789: Writings, Vol. III. p. 5.
have been enlisted. Each has become a political centre whose special object is reëlection. Authentic evidence before a Congressional Committee shows that Thomas Murphy, while Collector of New York, acting as Lieutenant of the President, sought to control the Republican State Convention by tendering office to four men, in consideration of the return of certain delegates, promising that "he would immediately send their names on to Washington and have them appointed"; and by way of enforcing the Presidential supremacy, he announced with startling effrontery that "President Grant was the representative and head of the Republican party, and all good Republicans should support him in all his measures and appointments, and any one who did not do it should be crushed out." If this were not authenticated under oath, it would be hard to believe. But the New Orleans Custom-House has a story much worse. Here Presidential pretension is mixed with unblushing corruption, in which the Collector, a brother-in-law, is a chief actor. And all for reëlection.2
This prostitution of the offices of the country to the Presidential will can be upheld only by unhesitating partisan zeal, discarding reason and patriotism. Already it has been condemned in an official Report made to the House of Representatives, November 25, 1867, by Mr. Boutwell, as Chairman of the Committee on the Judiciary, and signed by him. His direct object was to arraign Andrew Johnson; but these words declare a rule applicable to all Presidents:
1 New York Custom-House Investigation: Senate Reports, 42d Cong. 2d Sess. No. 227, Vol. III. pp. 582, 626.
2 See Report on Affairs in Louisiana: House Reports, 42d Cong. 2d Sess. No. 92.
"The presence and active participation of two of the Heads of Departments in a political convention at Philadelphia, having for its object the organization of a party to sustain the policy of the President and defeat the will of Congress and the people, and one of those functionaries the prime agent in the removals from and appointments to office for political reasons,' is a fact well known to the country. The like had not happened before in its history. In the view of right-minded men, it was something more than a public scandal.” 1
The Report adduces the authority of John Locke, the eminent philosopher, as declaring "the employment of 'the force, treasure, and offices of the society to corrupt the representatives, or openly to preëngage the electors, and prescribe what manner of persons shall be chosen,' as among those breaches of trust in the executive magistrate which amounts to a dissolution of the Government; for 'what is it,' he says, 'but to cut up the Government by the roots, and poison the very fountains of public security?'"2 But all this we witness here. The offices are employed to preëngage the electors, and prescribe the persons to be chosen. Nor do I see any corrective of this undoubted abuse, especially after the example now set in high quarters, so long as the President is a candidate for reëlection.
Therefore, to arrest a flagrant tyranny, and to secure purity in the Government, also to save the President from himself, should this Amendment be adopted; and since Horace Greeley is known to be its strenuous supporter, we have an unanswerable reason in his behalf.
1 House Reports, 40th Cong. 1st Sess., No. 7, p. 41.
2 Ibid., as there condensed from the original: Two Treatises on Government, Book II. § 222.
FROM the practical question of Civil Service Reform I pass to Reconciliation, being the most important issue ever presented to the American people, reconciliation not only between the two once warring sections, but also between the two races. This issue, so grand and beautiful, was distinctly presented, when Horace Greeley, in accepting the Republican nomination at Cincinnati, wrote these memorable words:
"In this faith, and with the distinct understanding, that, if elected, I shall be the President, not of a party, but of the whole people, I accept your nomination, in the confident
trust that the masses of our countrymen, North and South, are eager to clasp hands across the bloody chasm which has too long divided them, forgetting that they have been enemies, in the joyful consciousness that they are, and must henceforth remain, brethren."
The issue was again presented, when thereafter the Democratic Party in National Convention, acting under an irresistible movement of the people, nominated the author of these words.
It is difficult to see how this noble aspiration can find other than a generous response. Nothing but a party spirit which forgets the obligations of Christian duty could treat it with indifference, much less make it the occasion of misrepresentation. By no effort of ingenuity or malignity can it be tortured into anything but an offer of reconciliation, while the very letter of acceptance, where it appears, declares the established supremacy of Equal Rights. Observe also that it is made only when the work of Reconstruction is ended. Here is the
1 American Annual Cyclopædia, 1872, p. 778.