PRESIDENT - THIRD YEAR-- THE CONTEST WITH CON-
GRESS - SUCCESSFUL MAINTENANCE OF
THE EXECUTIVE PREROGATIVE--
THE PANAMA CANAL
THE first three months of the third year of Mr. Hayes's
Administration were of absorbing interest by reason of a
contest between the President and the Democratic majority of
the Forty-sixth Congress. Two of the great appropriation bills
the Army Bill, and the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial Bill
- had failed of passage in the Forty-fifth Congress. The Demo-
cratic majority of the House had insisted on attaching "riders"
to the bills which the Republican Senate refused to accept. These
riders were to repeal the law authorizing the use of the army
"to keep the peace at the polls," and to repeal the jurors' test-
oath law and the federal election law.
The President called a special session of the Forty-sixth Con-
gress to meet March 18, 1879, to repair the neglect of its
predecessor. In this Congress, for the first time in twenty years,
the Democrats had a majority in both houses. They came to-
gether with the expressed determination to refuse to pass the
appropriations except with the objectionable riders attached. Mr.
Hayes was as fully determined not to yield to coercion -not to
be forced to sign a bill containing provsions to which he con-
scientiously objected under the threat that otherwise supplies for
the conduct of the Government would be refused. He vetoed bill
after bill containing the questionable "riders," his veto messages
winning increasing popular approval. "The Democrats who had
started out in March with the boast that they would wipe all
the federal election laws off the statute book or block the wheels
of Government, had been forced, by the President's firmness
and by indignant public opinion, to recede, step by step, in their
efforts to make political capital out of the unnecessary special
528 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
session they had imposed on the country, till when they returned
to their homes in July they had nothing to show for their
labors but the refusal to appropriate a few hundred thousand
dollars to pay marshals' fees."* All the honors of the contest
rested with the President. His popularity had never been so
great nor the Republican party so united in his support.
In September the President made a journey through the Mid-
dle West going as far as central Kansas. Everywhere he was
received with spontaneous enthusiasm and every indication of
popular approval and regard. His most important speech was
made at Youngstown, Ohio, September 17. It was a forceful
presentation of the fundamental principles of our dual system
of government, of the causes and results of the War for the
Union, and of the duty of maintaining unimpaired "the settle-
ments of the war in favor of equal rights and the supremacy of
the laws of the Nation," which attracted universal attention and
During the year the activities of Ferdinand de Lesseps in
promoting his plans for his Panama Canal project brought the
President to a thorough consideration of the correct attitude of
America towards any inter-oceanic canal. He formulated his
ideas on the subject in a message to Congress which was pre-
sented at the beginning of his last year in the White House.]
March 9, 1879. - The Forty-fifth Congress adjourned without
making provision for the support of the army, and for the pay-
ment of the civil list. I therefore immediately called a special
session of the Forty-sixth Congress to meet the 18th--two
weeks after the adjournment of the Forty-fifth Congress. The
appropriation bills were defeated by a disagreement between the
House and Senate. The House insisted on the right to force
its views on several questions of general legislation upon the
Senate by the threat of defeating appropriations if the Senate
did not yield. The Senate adhered to its own views. Hence no
appropriations for the purposes named. Now the question
will come to me.
*"Life," vol. ii, p. 204.
PRESIDENT--THIRD YEAR 529
The Senate and House in the Forty-sixth Congress being both
Democratic will insist on the right to repeal the election laws,
and, in case of my refusal, will put the repeal on the appropriation
bills. They will stop the wheels- block the wheels of govern-
ment, if I do not yield my convictions in favor of the election
laws. It will be a severe, perhaps a long contest. I do not fear
it. I do not even dread it. The people will not allow this revolu-
tionary course to triumph.
See Thurman in Record, March 8, p. 13. Quote in reply to
this Jackson's claim to represent the Nation.
March 18, 1879. - The House organized today by electing Mr.
Randall Speaker. Tomorrow I will send in my short message to
Congress in special session. An important struggle then begins.
The Democrats will attempt by coercion of the President to
secure a repeal of legislation which I deem wise and important.
This is to place the Executive "under the coercive dictation" of
a bare majority of the two houses of Congress. This is a mode
of evading the constitutional provision as to the President's
participation in legislation. It is a "measure of coercion," a
I must resist it to the last extremity. I say, first, I object to
the repeal of important legislation designed to protect the elec-
tions, to secure the purity, the honesty, the sanctity of the bal-
But what is of far more importance, I object to the bill be-
cause it is an unconstitutional and revolutionary attempt to de-
prive the Executive of one of his most important prerogatives;
to coerce him to approve a measure which he in fact does not
approve. The measure is "attached to an appropriation bill
as a means of coercion."
No precedent shall be established with my consent to a meas-
ure which is tantamount to coercion of the Executive. I stand
for "the equal" and constitutional "independence of the Execu-
tive." The independence of the different departments of the
Government are [is] essential to the progress and the existence
of good government. Loving the order, the peace, the perpetuity
of our institutions, I must go on to the end of my term.
530 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
If in these laws there are provisions which interfere with free
and fair elections, let those provisions be so amended as to secure
such elections. All attempts to improve them have my sympathy,
and all wisely directed efforts to that end shall have my support.
I will not be driven to consider the repeal of these laws under
unlawful duress and menace, [which would be attempted if the
repeal is] attached to appropriation bills.
If separate bills are presented for the repeal of laws author-
izing soldiers to be sent to the polls at elections to keep the
peace, and to repeal all laws prescribing test oaths (See Beck,
[Record] March 8, [page] 10), I would consider and approve
them. But to attach these measures to appropriation bills for
the purpose of coercing the action of the Executive presents a
very different question.
As to some of the measures which it is sought to repeal, I
would regard it a duty to approve separate bills framed in the
usual way for that purpose. And as to all of them, I would
consider with favor independent measures modifying, amending,
and improving them without impairing their efficiency. But pre-
sented in a way and for the purpose of coercion, I cannot even
consider their merits.
March 21, 1879.--Yesterday was Webb's birthday. He is
twenty-three years old. Without the scholarship I wish he had,
he is yet a boy to be content with. He is honest, cheerful, very
sensible, and full of social and friendly qualities, with good habits
My war horse, old "Whitey," died yesterday at Fremont.
Two dispatches were received telling the fact. Little Fanny in
the presence of strangers spoke lightly of it, but she had a good
cry over it alone.
We had General Garfield and Mr. Hiscock, of the House, with
Dr. Waddell and Miss Devens at dinner last evening. The talk
was very interesting -- chiefly on the political situation.
The threatened deadlock on the appropriation bills is main-
tained, but the manner in which Democrats will present it is
not yet known to the Republicans. Perhaps it is not yet decided
how to do it. Many of our Senators are in favor of vetoing all
PRESIDENT--THIRD YEAR 531
bills repealing either the discretionary test oath, the right to
preserve peace at [the] polls, and [or] the election laws. My in-
clination is to approve the first two measures, if presented to me
separately, and I shall certainly veto any repeal of the election
laws which does not substitute equally efficient measures in their
But it is conjectured that these measures will be presented
to me as riders to different appropriation bills. Suppose this is
done, how shall I treat the appropriation bills which contain the
repeals which I would approve if they were separate bills? Is
not this a sound view? The repeal, for example, of the dis-
cretionary test oath is attached to an appropriation bill as a
measure of coercion. I will not consider the merits of the bill
so presented. The appropriation bill is essential to the con-
tinuance of the Government. It is perfectly well known that the
Executive approves it. It is the duty of Congress to pass it.
The rider is attached to it to get rid of the constitutional exercise
of the veto power to defeat that measure in case the President
does not approve it. This is the first attempt in our history to
break down the functions of the Executive by coercion. I
cannot approve it.
March 22, 1879. - The Democratic members of the two houses
of Congress have held caucuses and appointed committees to
decide the course they will take as to the measures which caused
the deadlock between the House and Senate, at the end of the last
session. It now seems probable that they will put all of their
repealing measures into one bill; a bill which will repeal the
jurors' oaths, the law authorizing soldiers to keep the peace at
the polls, and the law which provides for the appointment of
deputy marshals to protect the polls. If presented to me, I
should probably feel it to be my duty to veto such a bill.
The law as to the appointment of marshals to protect the
supervisors and [to] prevent violence and fraud may require
extensive modifications. But that there should be such officers
- officers as impartial as possible - is almost a necessity. Do
not the States provide some such machinery for state elections?
Is mere supervision enough? Do not the States provide for
532 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
keeping the peace at the polls at state elections? Should not
the Nation do it at national elections? Whatever force by means
of civil officers the States provide should be provided by the
Mem.: - Get the laws of a few of the leading States -the
new and the old.
Experience has shown that the protection and conduct of
national elections cannot safely be left to the States.
I cannot consent to the repeal of the election laws enacted
by Congress unless others equally effective are substituted.
Believing that the national authority is ample to protect and
secure free and fair congressional elections, I must insist upon
retaining the existing laws until more efficient and better are
enacted. If national military force is not allowed to keep the
peace at the polls, civil authority should be provided for that
The enactment into law of this bill will turn over to the mere
local authorities the most important national elections. The
Constitution does not contemplate this. It provides (Article I,
Section 4):- "The times, places, and manner of holding elec-
tions for Senators and Representatives shall be prescribed in each
State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any
time, by law, make or alter such regulations, except as to the
place of choosing Senators."
The principle of the bill is a denial of the right and duty of the
Nation to legislate for the security of congressional elections.
The State may have its military at the polls and its police,
but the Nation is to be powerless. Or rather, the bill admits
the right, the duty, and the necessity for national supervision,
but denies the power to make it effective.
March 23, 1879. - The Democrats in Congress show signs of
receding from their revolutionary programme. They now talk
of trying to remove the objectionable features in the election
laws. But the claim still seems to be all but universal that the
National Government has no right to use force, either military
or civil, to protect the freedom of the elections. The States alone
PRESIDENT--THIRD YEAR 533
are to be allowed such powers. They may have both military
and police forces, but the Nation is to be confined to mere super-
vision, observation, and the like. This will not do. The author-
ity of the National Government must be maintained.
The proposed compromise measure does not protect the polls
from military interference. There may be soldiers, police, and
the posse comitatus at the polls, but they must be under state
authority. The National Government alone is forbidden to ex-
hibit force to keep the peace and protect electors. This is not
the principle of the Constitution. This whole power is expressly
vested in the United States.
The facts in which the law had its origin are well known. In
the opinion of many well informed citizens, the election ten
years ago in the first State in population and political power,
was carried by frauds. The true result of the state, Presidential,
and congressional elections were [was] reversed. An investiga-
tion confirmed the belief of the public and this law was enacted.
Recent elections in several States have shown that state regu-
lations are not to be relied on to secure free and fair elections.
It is believed that if the congressional elections, at which members
of the present House of Representatives were chosen, had been
free and fair, and their results correctly reported and acted upon,
that there would have been a majority of the present House op-
posed to the bill I am now considering. With the experience
of the last twenty years before us, we are forced to the conclu-
sion that the ample powers which the Constitution confers to
regulate congressional elections should be exerted in furtherance
of laws as equal and impartial in their operation as can be de-
vised. If the present laws need changes, in order to render them
more effective and at the same time more impartial, less expen-
sive, and less liable to abuse, I shall cheerfully unite with
Congress in securing such modifications of existing statutes.
But to repeal these laws without substituting better--especially
if it be done on the principle that the national authority is to be
subordinate to the state--is in my judgment wholly inad-
If there had been free and fair elections in [all] the States
534 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
during the last few years, there would now be Republican ma-
jorities in both Houses of Congress--in the Senate and in the
The question presented by this bill is not whether we shall
have the present law or a better one, but between this law and
no national law at all for the protection of the elections. If the
present laws are not so efficient as may be desired; if, notwith-
standing these laws, great outrages have been committed against
the freedom and fairness of elections, it is our duty to provide
It is not to be denied that in the last elections great wrongs
were done; the laws conferring suffrage on citizens were not
regarded in some parts of the country. These provisions should
be enforced. Let us have an effort to do it.
It is not the plain duty of the National Government to make
such regulations respecting the election of members of the House
of Representatives as will secure free and fair elections, in case
the States fail to do it?
Suppose the President should say, I will sign no bill on any
subject of general legislation until the appropriation bills are
I do not call in question the motives of those with whom I am
unable to agree, but believing the tendency of this bill is to de-
prive the President of the share in legislation which is conferred
upon him by the Constitution, I cannot approve it. The attempt
to pass a measure under a menace that the Government shall be
stopped if the President declines to yield his convictions of duty
has never yet succeeded - has never before been made. To
consent to it is to make a radical change in the character of the
Government. The House of Representatives, in case this prin-
ciple is established, becomes the Government. With the sole
power to originate the measures upon which the existence of
government depends, and with the doctrine established that the
House may legitimately refuse to act unless the other branches
of the Government obey its commands, the House of Represen-
tatives will become a despotism with unlimited power.
If in all of the States the last Congressional elections had been
PRESIDENT--THIRD YEAR 535
free and fair elections, this bill would, it is believed, never have
been passed by Congress.
For my views on fair elections see message on registry laws
in Ohio and the last regular message.
It is the right and duty, and the necessity exists, that the Presi-
dent should exhaust his constitutional authority to secure to every
American citizen possessing the qualifications of an elector the
right to cast at each congressional election one unintimidated
ballot and to have it honestly counted. The existing legislation
enacted with this end in view - for this purpose--is not so
effective as it should be; it may be liable to abuses; but it should
not be repealed without providing in its stead a measure more
wisely framed to accomplish the desired object.
Authority exists in most of the States to use the military at
the polls (?). If the red-shirts can be present at the polls in
South Carolina, why cannot the bluecoats be called in also?
Authority exists in the States, also, to marshal civil officers
at the polls to keep the peace, make arrests, and the like. May
not the Nation do the same?
To protect the rights of citizens and to secure peaceful and
fair elections, the States generally have provided laws author-
izing at state elections the military to keep the peace and to pro-
tect the voters. There are also laws authorizing civil officers,
sheriffs, police, and the like, to maintain the freedom of the state
elections. In the absence of regulations by the national authority,
the States would still have soldiers at the polls and civil officers
authorized to make arrests. But the Constitution confers su-
preme authority on the National Government as to the regulation
of the national congressional elections.
March 25.- The Constitution makes the national laws su-
preme in the regulation of congressional elections. But if the
laws now on the statute books regulating these elections are
repealed, without the enactment of others in their place, the State
Governments will have full control at these elections. State
executive officers may have state troops at the polls; state
sheriffs and police may be there to exercise all the authority
conferred by these laws on national officials. The complaint is,
536 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
that there are to be soldiers and officers of the law at the polls.
This is not changed by this bill. It merely puts state soldiers
and officials in place of national soldiers and officials as safe-
guards for national elections. The experience of the past is
against this change.
Washington, March 26, 1879.--I begin a new book in the
midst of serious and perplexing events. A deadlock on appro-
priation bills [exists]. The debates so far have been very
meagre. Mr. Hoar in the Senate today made a profound speech
against the Democratic revolution. Conkling yesterday spoke on
the election of new officers in the Senate. The Democrats turned
out all of the old elective officers. Conkling managed to drag
in by the heels his hatred of me. Poor man, he will never for-
give me for having beaten him in the Cincinnati convention. He
has been a traitor to his party three times. His treachery stopped
short of results only because he lacked the backbone required
to make it notorious and effective. Once, in 1876, in the elec-
tion; in 1877, in the electoral count; and in 1878, in the Potter
Committee's attack on the Presidential title. I showed my dis-
regard of his attack yesterday by sending to the Senate today
the name of one of his friends, President A. D. White, a capital
man, for the Berlin mission.
March 27, 1879.--The question still lacks adequate state-
ment. If the two houses of Congress make the approval of any
measure of general legislation a condition without which they
will refuse to make the requisite appropriations to carry on the
Government, should the President yield to that coercion?
Curtis, Volume 2, p. 257: -"The authority of Congress at
any time to make or alter such regulations when exercised must
be paramount, whether a state regulation exists at the time or
The authority of the general Government to regulate by law at
any time the congressional elections is paramount.
Whatever is to be done in regard to elections, here is ample
power to do it. Whatever the States may do as to their elections,
the United States may do as to congressional elections--and
PRESIDENT--THIRD YEAR 537
that, as Curtis says, "whether a state regulation exists at the
time or not."
Believing that the National Government under the Constitution
has power to enact and enforce laws regulating congressional
elections so as to secure fair and peaceful elections, and con-
vinced that the necessity for such legislation exists, I cannot
approve any measure for the repeal of the present laws on that
subject which does not provide wise and efficient safeguards in
pursuance of the fourth section of the first article of the Con-
stitution for the elections which are under the national control.
By the Constitution Congress has ample power to "make"
"regulations" prescribing "the times, places, and manner of hold-
ing elections for Senators and Representatives" in Congress.
Congress is thus invested with all the powers now exercised by
the States in relation to these elections, and can prescribe elec-
tion districts, provide for election officers, the mode of announc-
ing, authenticating, and declaring the results, and prescribe
offenses for officers, voters, and others, in all respects affecting
or connected with such elections. The Constitution "authorizes
Congress to do supremely whatever the state Legislatures may do
provisionally on any part of the subject."
Note. - Mr. Webster in regard to the right of suffrage, lays
down "two great principles of the American system: 1. The
right of suffrage shall be guarded, protected, and secured against
force and against fraud. 2. Its exercise shall be prescribed by
previous law," etc. - [Volume] 6, Webster's Works, 224.
The laws which it is proposed to repeal are safeguards of hon-
est elections, of fair and peaceable elections.
I am convinced that it is my duty to exhaust every
executive authority committed to me by the Constitution
and the laws to secure to every citizen having the requisite qual-.
ifications the right to cast one unintimidated ballot and to have
it honestly counted.
These laws, framed as safeguards of honest elections, adopted
by more than two-thirds majorities in both houses of Congress,
approved by the President, carried into effect during the last
eight years in many States without serious question of their
538 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
validity by any court of the United States, called into action on
the suggestion [or] application of both political parties in dif-
ferent States, with a very general conviction among the people
that national laws are necessary to secure from violence and
fraud the national elections, I cannot consent to their absolute
repeal. If national laws can be framed which will better secure
impartiality, less expense, or greater efficiency, I will cheerfully
concur with Congress in such legislation. But if it is sought to
repeal this or any other legislation and to obtain the approval of
the President by the threat that Congress will grant no supplies
to carry on the Government unless such approval is had, I am
compelled by my convictions of duty to use every constitutional
authority (means) at my command to prevent the repeal upon
Every measure should stand or fall on its own merits. This
should be the fundamental principle in legislation.
EXECUTIVE MANSION, WASHINGTON, March 27, 1879.
MY DEAR S--:- I have your note of the 24th. The inter-
viewer, Michaels, called as others do. His talk was sensible,
but he got nothing from me that would hurt if correctly re-
ported. I can't imagine what he could say that would either
alarm or surprise my friends. On my part, the conversation was
such as you would expect, and on his, nothing noticeable as I
K- has not changed at Chicago. I knew him in Columbus.
He imposed with old papers on Shellabarger and others, so that
they endorsed him. McD- should not put him where harm
can be done.
We are in the midst of another revolutionary movement. It
is not unlike the Potter affair. Already there are signs of
weakening in the camp of the ringleaders. But the speeches of
last session by [Senators] Beck and Thurman have committed
the Senate, and the less pronounced serenade speeches of Ran-
dall and Blackburn embarrass them. Otherwise, there would
be an instant letting down. As it is, we may have a protracted
PRESIDENT--THIRD YEAR 539
struggle. Of course, I don't believe in test oaths, and do not
care to use the military. But the state-rights heresy that the
Nation can not enact safeguards for national elections, and the
still more dangerous doctrine that a bare majority in the two
house[s] can absorb all the powers of all the Departments of
the Government, cannot be, under any conceivable circumstances,
approved when embodied in legislation.
We are all well. Our kindest regards to you and yours.
R. B. HAYES.
HONORABLE WILLIAM HENRY SMITH.
March 28. -The appropriation bill for the army was intro-
duced into the House yesterday in accordance with the caucus
plan and considerable progress was made towards its passage.
There is tacked to it the repeal of the right to employ the army
to keep the peace at elections.
I do not regard the measure thus tacked to the Army Appro-
priation Bill as of vital importance. The army, as a matter of
fact, cannot and will not be used for that purpose. But the
measure is objectionable. It applies to all elections, national as
well as state, and denies therefore the right of the Nation to
keep the peace at the national elections which by the Constitu-
tion are under the national control, and at the same time leaves
the power to the States to use state troops at the national elec-
tions. There should be no such discrimination against the
national authority. If the presence of the military at elections
should be forbidden, the prohibition should apply equally to all
soldiers --to those of the States as well as to those of the
Nation. A general and equal measure framed to accomplish the
purpose of preventing any soldiers, whether state or national,
from interfering in the elections would meet my approval.
The army can be supported without these appropriations sev-
eral months, and in case of great necessity they might be post-
poned until the next regular session of Congress.
This repeal prevents persons in the civil service of the United
States - the civil as well as the military officers of the United
540 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
States-from keeping the peace at the polls. It is not the
military power of the United States alone, but it is the civil
power also which is to be excluded from the elections.
The President's right is to exercise his discretion and judg-
ment upon all bills presented to him, without constraint or
duress laid upon him by a coordinate branch of the Government.
March 29, 1879. -This is a controversy which cannot and
ought not to be compromised. The revolutionists claim that a
bare majority in the House of Representatives shall control all
legislation by tacking the measures they can't pass through the
Senate, or over the President's objections, to the appropriation
bills which are required to carry on the Government. They
claim the right to do this under the Constitution and say it is
according to the practice and precedents in England. In the
presence of this claim it is idle to talk of compromises as to the
particular measures which are used as riders on the appropriation
bills. These measures may be wise or unwise. It is enough to
say in regard to them, that used as they are to establish a doc-
trine which overthrows the constitutional distribution of power
between the different Departments of the Government, and con-
solidates in the House of Representatives the whole lawmaking
power of the Government, and with it the judicial and executive
authority as well, we will not discuss or consider them when
they are so presented.
Let the appropriation bills be passed in the usual and orderly
course of legislation. Let there be no attempt to coerce either
the Senate or the Executive. And then, at the proper time and
in the proper way, we will be prepared by repeal or amendment
to get rid of whatever is objectionable in the existing legislation.
I am not a believer in the continuance of the test oaths. I do not
wish to see soldiers either under the state or the national author-
ity at the polls. I would have all of the regulations as to the
safeguards of the elections impartial, fair, and economical. But
none of these questions ought to be even considered under the
revolutionary threat that unless the President yields up his dis-
cretion and judgment concerning them, the revolutionists will
destroy the Government.
PRESIDENT--THIRD YEAR 541
Unquestionably, the true rule of legislation is that each measure
should stand or fall on its own merits. This wise and salutary
rule has, however, been departed from so often, and the practice
has been so long established by the action of all parties, that I
may not now insist upon its non-observance as a ground for with-
holding my approval to bills submitted to me. There are also,
it is believed, several cases in which the House has practically
carried its point against the Senate or the Executive by tacking
(under pain of losing) the measure to the appropriation bills.
But no example has been found in our legislative history in
which this has been attempted on the ground that the [whole
line blank], until the opening of this controversy at the close
of the last Congress.
To tack political measures to appropriation bills and
to threaten that no appropriations will be made unless the
political measures are approved, is not in my judgment consti-
Private and Confidential.
EXECUTIVE MANSION, WASHINGTON, March 29, 1879.
MY DEAR MAJOR:--I send you an interviewer's report of
President White's views. Please notice the last paragraph, and
give it wide circulation.
Of course you are not taking stock in sensational reports of
"lack of backbone," "backing down," etc., etc., at the White
R. B. HAYES.
MAJOR WM. D. BICKHAM,
March 30, 1879. - To incorporate political measures in ap-
propriation bills and think to make the approval of such legis-
lation by the President the condition on which appropriation
bills for the support of the Government can alone be passed, is
revolutionary and unconstitutional.
To attach conditions to an appropriation bill is revolutionary
and unconstitutional. I cannot consent to consider, even to dis-
542 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
cuss, conditions attached to appropriation bills for the purpose
-the purpose not disguised, but openly avowed and asserted
to be a proper and constitutional exercise of the power of a
mere majority in the two houses of Congress-to compel the
President to give up his right to exercise his discretion and
judgment upon all bills presented to him. It is the principle of
coercion embodied in this bill which can under no circumstances
receive my approval. It is an attempt to compel the President
to approve a measure of general legislation under the penalty of,
if he withholds his approval, of stopping the operations of
Government by denying the supplies necessary to carry them on.
The object of this struggle is the removal of national authority
in any efficient form from the polls, even at national elections.
State authority with force at its back, both military and civil,
is to be permitted to remain, but all national authority, whether
military or civil, is denied.
No case has been presented in the debates on the question
in which a bare majority of the two houses of Congress has
claimed the right or undertaken to coerce the President by tack-
ing political legislation to appropriation bills.
March 31.-We had at family dinner yesterday (Sun-
day) my kinsman, Linus Austin, of Cleveland, Senator and Mrs.
Dawes, Mr. and Mrs. Shellabarger, Mr. Hiscock, General Mc-
Cook, General Keifer, and the young people, Miss McDowell, of
Chicago, Tracy, classmate of Rutherford at Cornell, and Webb
and Rutherford. An unusually chatty and lively dinner. Gen-
eral Keifer explained the word "gerrymander." All knew the
history of the first part of the word in its connection, but Gen-
eral Keifer explained that the animal the misshapen district
resembled was the salamander. "Oh no," said one, "it is a
Gerrymander." Mr. Dawes explained how caucus came from
caulkers with whom Samuel Adams and Hancock arranged be-
forehand to control the public meetings in Faneuil Hall and the
Old South Church. I told how the Ohio "tinpan" was a trans-
lation (sic) of the Latin name of the saloon, called the cantine.
A res-taurant is [so] called because it is a bully of a thing.
The talk was mainly on political topics. Garfield's speech,
McCook thought the finest speech he ever heard. All praised
PRESIDENT--THIRD YEAR 543
it. Mr. Evarts and the young ladies came in during the evening;
also Senator Hoar and General Devens. Mr. Evarts regards the
controversy as growing out of the wish of party leaders to make
issues for the next Presidential election. That the Democrats
began it and that the Republicans are now in it. That the Ad-
ministration should keep out of it.
He doesn't seem to see that it is merely a new form of the
old conflict between ultra state rights and the national doctrines.
The state-rights men are for putting all power in local author-
ities. We believe the national authority should be exerted to
protect elections which are national, so far [as] the Constitution
sanctions. We have none too many safeguards for the elections.
Mr. Hoar agreed with me that in the present situation I may
properly veto any appropriation bill which contains political
legislation tacked to it for the purpose of compelling me to ap-
prove it under the threat that otherwise the Government shall
be stopped for want of supplies, no matter what may be the
merits of such legislation. In doing it, the history of this extra
session may be given to show the purpose of the House in at-
taching a political measure to an appropriation bill. They mean
to obtain and establish a precedent which will lead to the
consolidation of all of the powers of the Government in the
hands of a bare majority of the House of Representatives.
The present controversy is in no sense partisan and it is not
a question of race or color. The old question, State's rights, al-
ways seems closely related to sectional and race conflicts, but
this is chiefly as a reminiscence. No present interest of a sec-
tional character is involved. The laws concerned are mainly
employed in the densely-peopled regions of the North.
The law proposed to be repealed was passed by the concurrent
action of both political parties and became a law by the approval
of President Lincoln.
April 2, 1879. - Wherever United States laws are violated
there should be United States authority, civil or military, to en-
The practice of annexing general legislation to appropriation
[bills] has become a serious abuse. Every measure should stand
on its own bottom. The two houses of Congress and the Ex-
544 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
ecutive should insist upon a return to the old method of legisla-
tion on this subject. If there were no other objection to this
measure than the fact that it embodies in an appropriation bill,
essential to the support of the Government, legislation which is
not pertinent to the general purpose of the bill, [that] would be
a sufficient objection - the bill having passed by a bare majority
vote- to justify the President in withholding his approval of the
There has been and there will be no such use of the military
of the United States to keep the peace at elections, as justifies
a discrimination against the military of the Nation. If there is
to be such prohibition, it should include also the military of the
States. What the States may do as to state elections, the United
States should not be forbidden to do as to national elections.
April 3, 1879. -There is no urgent demand for this measure
on account of military interference in elections. No complaint
of such interference has been heard from any quarter at the
recent elections, or at any election under the present Administra-
tion. There is no pretense even that the military power of the
United States has been exhibited at or near any place of elec-
tion. The army is fully employed guarding the frontiers and
the Territories. There is no practical necessity for prohibiting
the military forces of the United States from keeping the peace
at the polls, and no petitions, memorials, or complaints have been
received from the people. If the necessity existed for preventing
military interference with elections, this measure is not broad
enough. The national elections should be protected from all
military interference. The state military force should be ex-
cluded as well as the national forces. The power of the United
to regulate and control the congressional [elections] is ample
and supreme. If military interference is feared in the future,
there should be no discrimination against the United States at
these elections. Let the state forces be prohibited.
But the practical importance of this measure is not in its
provisions against military authority at the polls. It forbids all
United States power from being present at the polls to keep the
peace. The prohibition extends to the civil authority as well as
to the military. The terms of this bill are: "No military or
PRESIDENT--THIRD YEAR 545
naval officer or other person engaged in the civil, military, or
naval service of the United States, shall order, bring, etc., etc."
In short, this bill denies to the United States the power to pro-
tect its own elections by either military or civil auhority. This
power is granted to the United States in express terms by Sec-
tion 4 of Article I, and may be exercised at any time. The power
granted is ample and supreme.
THE WHOLE CASE STATED
My objections to the bill are as follows:
First. The measure of repeal is uncalled for, and wrong.
1. No demand for it; no practical necessity for it.
2. The national military and not the state forbidden.
3. The United States civil as well as the military authority
Second. The method of annexing it to an appropriation bill
1. All tacking of political legislation on appropriation bills
2. This case is one of an attempt to coerce the President; and
herein of the history of this attempt at the last session--its
consequences, and my purpose.
It has been said that the President possesses no part of the
legislative power of the Government. This is not the doctrine
of the fathers. General Jackson says, Volume 2, page 844:
"The legislative power, subject to the qualified negative of the
President, is vested in the Congress of the United States."
April 5, 1879. - The bill has two parts. It makes appropria-
tions and it amends the election laws - the laws relating to the
When was the first restriction placed on the power of the
United States to keep the peace at the polls, and elsewhere?
Has it not been a power always used? Prior to the act of
February, 1865, the United States forces might be placed under
civil or military authority whenever the officers in command
of them might in their discretion order.
Suppose the governor of New York called on the President
546 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
under Article 4 of the Constitution, and the circumstances re-
quired action at the polls on election day; does this bill forbid
April 6, 1879. - The House is to originate revenue bills; but
this method claims for the House the right to originate all legis-
Where matter is tacked to an appropriation bill which is not
pertinent to it, it ought not to become a law unless two-thirds of
both houses consent to it.
Section 6 of the bill makes criminal the acts of marshals which
are authorized by the general elections laws, and yet does not re-
peal those laws. Keeping the peace is a duty of the marshal
under the general election law.
What is the reenactment of the act of 1865 in the Revised
Statutes? When? Did the reenactment imply approval by
Congress? - 1873 or 1874. Act of June 18, 1878, prohibits use
of army as posse comitatus. Sections 5529, 2003, and 2024, Re-
vised Statutes, prohibit army from interference. These three
sections cover the whole subject.
The executive power to approve or return without approval,
according to the conscience and judgment of the President, is
a trust. It can't be given away without a violation of official
oath. It is my duty to guard as a trust the powers conferred
on the office which has devolved upon me.
No power denied to the army by this bill now belongs to the
army. If there was doubt on this question the act of June 18,
1878, removed it. The last elections for members of Congress
and all of the recent elections in all of the States have been
held without, so far as I am informed, a single complaint even of
April 7, 1879. - The question as to United States regulation
of congressional elections is in no sense a sectional question or
a question of the Civil War. The legislation grew out of a be-
lief that the vote of the largest State in the Union had been de-
frauded of its true result at [the] Presidential, state, and con-
gressional election in 1868. The violations are found in all
parts of the country. Let the legislation be fair, impartial, and
PRESIDENT--THIRD YEAR 547
with ample guaranties against oppression and corruption. I
shall cheerfully cooperate in such legislation.
April 8.--In 1792, May 2, marshals were given the same
powers to execute the laws of the United States that sheriffs
have in the States.
The Confederate Constitution contained this provision - (Sec-
tion 20, Article I): "Every law, or resolution having the force
of law, shall relate to but one subject and that shall be expressed
in the title." Let it be understood that to tack to an appropria-
tion bill any legislation plainly foreign to its general purpose
will imperil the adoption of the law.
Since the passage of the act of June 18, 1878, no soldier of
the United States under orders has been seen at the place of any
election in any State.
The United States troops cannot now be lawfully used to
interfere with any elections under the pretext that they are keep-
ing the peace at the polls. This prohibition by the foregoing
statutes, framed for the purpose of preventing it, and which are
amply effective to that end.
The objectionable features of present laws should be removed.
The laws should be impartial, non-partisan, fair, and effectual
as safeguards of the purity of elections. But the safeguards are
necessary. The Nation has the constitutional power to enact
them. I cannot consent to the repeal of existing laws, except
in connection with the adoption of measures to take their place
which are free from the objectionable features of the present
laws and at least equally effective as safeguards of honest elec-
April 13, 1879. - My opportunity to examine the evidence in
the case of General [Fitz-John] Porter is too limited to express
a decided opinion as to the finding of the Board, but the char-
acter of the Board, and of the investigation and finding are such
that I deem it my duty to send their report and the evidence
to Congress, as presenting a case which deserves their attention.
548 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
EXECUTIVE MANSION, WASHINGTON, April 19, 1879.
MY DEAR SIR:-I am advised that Allen, collector internal
revenue second district of Illinois, is, on account of ill health,
inefficient, and that Hildrup, now United States marshal be put
in his place, and A. M. Jones, of Jo Daviess County, be made
What do you say to all that? I don't want to put my worries
on to you, but "I am waiting for the facts."*
R. B. HAYES.
HONORABLE WILLIAM HENRY SMITH.
EXECUTIVE MANSION, WASHINGTON, April 25, 1879.
MY DEAR S-: - I have your valued letter. I have no reason
to suppose that Mr. Hildrup wants to give up his present office,
and certainly a new marshal ought not [to] be made of the sort
named. The suggestion will not, I presume, be insisted on. The
affair may drop and should not be talked about.
Our deadlock is at hand. The bill in the Senate will probably
pass today. My action will be rather prompt. Not more than
three days after the bill reaches me.
R. B. HAYES.
HONORABLE WILLIAM HENRY SMITH.
April 26. - The Army Appropriation Bill passed the Senate
yesterday about 4 P. M., and when we returned from our ride
before 6 P. M., Mr. Hanna, M. C., met me with the enrolled bill
ready for my approval. We had the Chief Justice, Mr. Young,
of Toledo, Mr. Cummings [and] Mr. Davis, of the same place,
*Mr. Smith replied that it was evidently a scheme to find a place for
Jones ("Long" Jones), a henchman of Logan and "a blatant opponent
of your Administration"; that decidedly Jones would not do at all.
PRESIDENT--THIRD YEAR 549
with [their] wives to dinner; also Mr. John H. Boalt. To a
family dinner which passed off well.
I put the last paragraphs to my veto message last night. It is
now printed. I have read it to Schurz and Devens. They ap-
prove. Colonel Thompson approved the substance of it as I
stated it to him. Webb is a treasure in such a case. Rogers
assisted, and now, at 4 P. M., I am ready to send in my veto. It
will not go in until day after tomorrow, Monday.
EXECUTIVE MANSION, WASHINGTON, April 26, 1879.
MY DEAR GENERAL: - I have your letter of the 22d. It finds
me with a veto -another veto in the course of preparation. I
want to send it in Monday noon. The bill reached me last night
-within an hour or two of its passage. I mean to be equally
I had read your article on the Porter case. I must not enter
upon that topic with you - only to say that I appreciate your
feelings on the subject (and here from the copyist I got the last
page of my message and rewrote and recast the last sentence-
what a relief!) . . .
R. B. HAYES.
GENERAL M. F. FORCE.
April 27, 1879. - The civil appropriation bill passed the House
yesterday. It will no doubt pass the Senate. The House ad-
journed until Tuesday. My veto of the Army Appropriation
Bill cannot go in until that time. I must now prepare to veto
the civil bill. The message may allude to the veto of the army
bill for the general grounds of objection and state briefly:-
1. The authority of the National Government to regulate
(an ample word) the congressional elections.
2. The necessity for such regulation, as shown in New
York and the South.
550 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
3. Refer to the abuse of tacking incongruous legislation
to appropriation bills.
4. Which is wholly inadmissible if it is done to coerce an-
other branch of the Government.
If the election laws are imperfect or objectionable, let others
more perfect and less objectionable be substituted. Amendment
and not repeal is the true remedy.
April 28. -I read my veto message last evening to Judge
Carter. He said: "It is all gold -pure gold. It will be your
great act," and the like. Schurz and Devens approved of it de-
cidedly after hearing it all read. I told the points of it fully to
Colonel Thompson and he approved. Sherman, Key, and Mc-
Crary fully endorsed my general views before the paper was
written. Mr. Evarts, on hearing my account of it Saturday eve-
ning, fully approved. I may not call a Cabinet meeting to hear
it. There is betting and selling of pools here and in New York
on the question whether I will sign or veto. Friendly Republicans
all feel confident I will sign.* Hostile Republicans profess to
be in doubt and hope I will sign.* Their number is now small;
only the implacables-the patronage brokers.
April 30, 1879.- I sent my veto message to the House yes-
terday. It was received, but by reason of the death of Rush
Clark, a popular member from Iowa, it was not read. If I had
known of his death in time I would not have sent the message
to the House yesterday. It was given out to the press as soon as
it was delivered to the House. It seems to be well received.
Now for the other bill - the civil bill. I may deal with it
very briefly - merely refer to the former message, and in a few
propositions state my objections to it. I will insist on the con-
stitutionality of the election laws and on their necessity. They
have been in force (how long?). Committees of the House
(how many?) have examined, made investigations, as to their
operation. The only report I have seen is very laudatory.
The two committees, one from each party, agree that the elec-
*Undoubtedly a slip of the pen for "veto."
PRESIDENT--THIRD YEAR 551
tion of 1868 was a monstrous fraud. Mr. Lawrence's committee
estimates the fraud at twenty-five thousand in New York City
alone. Mr. Cox in his report estimates [it] at more than twenty
per cent of the total, or not less than 35,424. Or 22.72 per
cent (nearly 23 per cent) of the total vote was fraudulent.
May 1, 1879. - The message was read in the House and the
further consideration of the subject was deferred. In the Sen-
ate, nothing on the topic of the day was done. Caucuses were
held, but with what debate or result I do not yet know.
The last utterance of the coercion doctrine was on the 17th
[of April]. Mr. Gunter, of Arkansas, said: -"I assert that we
only exercise the high prerogative conferred on us by the Con-
stitution of the country when we attach such legislation as we
deem vital to the interests and liberties of the people to the
appropriation bills and say without the one you cannot have the
other. Like the Indian chieftain . . . 'A-la-bam-a', 'Here
we rest.' "--Record, April 27, p. 25.
It seems not improbable that the Democrats will decide to pass
a separate bill forbidding the presence of troops at elections.
This is fine and simple. I may sign. They yield two points -
the right to use civil force at elections, and the claim I make in
favor of separate bills for general legislation. If a Senator or
Representative, I might vote against such a measure as uncalled
for and needless, believing as I do that the soldiers of the United
States should not be used at the polls.
Sunday, May 11, 1879. - The Democrats have not been con-
servative or, as I think, politically wise. They have passed an
affirmative new measure which repeals for the day of election
many valuable laws. They call them war measures, and seem to
think that as the war is ended these laws should now be mustered
out. We are ready to muster out the soldiers, but we don't
muster out the flag nor the powers of the law and of the Con-
stitution which enabled us to gain the victory. We don't muster
in again the evils that caused the war. Besides, it is for the
victors to say what shall remain, not for the vanquished.
May 15. - My veto has been well received. I am congratu-
552 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
lated by Senators and Representatives and by people of all sorts.*
I am glad to have had an opportunity to do something for the
true principles of the Constitution. My first veto maintained
the prerogatives of the Executive and the separate and inde-
pendent authority of each branch of it [the Government] against
the grasping ambition of the House of Representatives. The
second maintained the right of the executive branch to exercise
power enough to enforce the laws. And now I am likely on the
Civil-the Legislative, Judicial, and Executive Appropriation
Bill, with its rider repealing the election laws, to have an op-
portunity to do something for purity and fairness in elections.
Mr. Kernan in his speech yesterday (see it) admitted the fair-
ness - the conspicuous fairness - of the elections in 1874-5-6-7.
May 17, 1879. -We grow corpulent as age creeps on us.
Lucy weighed yesterday one hundred and seventy pounds. I
weigh one hundred and ninety-three, and little Scott aged eight,
following his parents, weighed eighty-two.
In treating the question as to the necessity for these election
laws, show the state of opinion about the probability of fraud
at elections. Quote Bayard's despair of good government in
great cities, Greeley's letter to Tilden, etc., etc.
May 18. - Mr. Eaton, of Connecticut, described our govern-
ment as "a representative republic of sovereign States"!!
It is claimed that the election of Congressmen is a matter
which concerns the States alone, that those elections should be
*Illustrative of the tone of letters received by the President, the fol-
lowing paragraph from a letter from William Henry Smith of May 10
is noteworthy:-"I bad hoped to congratulate you verbally on the
ability, political sagacity, and good judgment-the broad statesmanship-
of your message. I sent you some comments of the newspapers, but
since have been too busy to follow up with many others. Nothing but
words of commendation are heard among the people. You have not
only solidified the Republican party but you have otherwise strengthened
it by bringing back some who erstwhile voted with the Democrats.
But aside from all this your friends are especially pleased. That after
weeks of discussion, in which the ablest men in Congress and the entire
newspaper press participated, you should make an argument wholly new
and superior in all respects to the arguments advanced by those who
preceded you, is cause for congratulation."
PRESIDENT--THIRD YEAR 553
controlled by the States, and not be regulated by the United
May 24.--A novel spectacle in the city for some days past.
The same thing, doubtless, in all of the large cities. The post-
masters, collectors, and subtreasurers have had authority to
sell small four per cent bonds - not more than one hundred dol-
lars to the same person, so as widely to distribute them among
small investors - among the people of small means. These bonds
are now at a premium of two to four per cent. Speculators
employ parties to buy for them. Two dollars is made every time
one hundred dollars is bought. The poor themselves also rush
to get them. The consequence is great crowds of negroes,
women, boys, etc., gather daily at the Treasury in long proces-
sions-each in turn to get his one hundred dollars' worth of
bonds. This morning as early as 7 A. M. the whole open space
at the north end of the Treasury was filled with the "cue" of
investors. Some of them to sell their places in the cue or pro-
cession and do so at from ten to twenty cents or more according
to proximity to the selling desk.
May 25. - The veto message of the Civil Appropriation [Bill]
with its attachment of clauses repealing the election [laws] is
printed for final revision and correction.
My habit is, if time permits, to write my documents, to print,
and then, having them before me in satisfactory shape, to make
the final additions and corrections. I have not in such work been
careful as to style, except to have my papers state principles
in a way to satisfy men of ability and culture that the statement
is sound, and to so phrase and put my propositions that the
plain people can readily understand them.
I rode out yesterday with William Henry Smith [and] William
Penn Nixon, of Chicago. Both talked pleasantly of the improved
condition of public sentiment towards the Administration. Nixon
is connected with the Inter Ocean which has been hostile.
The exodus of colored people from the South still attracts
some attention. Its effect is altogether favorable. The tend-
ency will be to force the better class of Southern people to sup-
press the violence of the ruffian class, and to protect colored
554 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
people in their rights. Let the emigrants be scattered through-
out the Northwest; let them be encouraged to get homes and
The annexation to the United States of the adjacent parts
of the continent both north and south, seems to be, according
to the phrase of 1844, our "manifest destiny." I am not in
favor of artificial stimulants to this tendency. But I think I see
plainly that it is now for the interest of both Canada and the
United States that properly and in order, and with due regard
to the feelings of Great Britain, the two countries should come
under one government. If it were known that we would prob-
ably pay the whole or part of the Canadian debts, or would as-
sume to pay them, would it not stimulate the feeling in favor of
annexation in Canada?
May 28, 1879.--Lucy and Fanny returned last night after a
short trip to Ohio. Birchard came with them, also Howard
Smith and his bride, Lizzie McKell [a cousin of Mrs. Hayes].
Lucy went out to Chillicothe to attend their wedding. It is very
gratifying to see the heartiness and warmth of friendship for
Lucy. Her large warm heart and lively sympathy for or with
all around her, with a fair share of beauty and talents, have
made her wonderfully popular. Old Joseph, the veteran at the
[Soldiers'] Home, who takes care of our house there, told Dr.
and Mrs. Bushnell who are visiting us, that "the old soldiers
love and worship her. She is so human--not cold, or lofty
At the Christian Y. M. A. [Young Men's Christian Associa-
tion] reception Monday evening, a young man from Indianapolis
told an incident: "A sweet, lovely little girl of eight, returning
from church with her good grandfather, not a church member,
said to him, 'Grandpa, why don't you belong to the church? I
wish you would be a Christian'; and the grandfather, greatly
moved, thought of it until he did join church--a decision due
under Providence to that little girl. That grandchild is now the
wife of the President of the United States." And the house
PRESIDENT--THIRD YEAR 555
June 2, 1879. - It is now reported that the Joint Democratic
Caucus Committee has agreed on a plan of operations with re-
gard to the deadlock. It is in effect a backdown. But it does
relieve the party to some extent from its awkward predicament.
It may in some of its features be quite as objectionable as former
measures. This will depend on details which I must carefully
The new plans of the Democrats are too [so] foggy in the ru-
mors of them that I do not see clearly the way out. If they pro-
pose to defeat old laws, laws long ago placed on the statute books,
or constitutional provisions, they can do it in two ways:--1.
Simply appropriate for other objects but not for these. 2. They
can prohibit the enforcement of these laws, or the use of money
appropriated, or the incurring of obligations in their enforcement.
I probably could not veto a bill merely because it fails to make
all the appropriations which are required. I should [not] oppose
a bill which contains nothing but what is right. If it is not
enough, and the omission is important, I may call a special ses-
sion to supply the deficiency. But if their new bills deprive by
prohibition the Executive of authority which belongs to him by
existing laws or constitutional provisions, it will require a veto.
EXECUTIVE MANSION, WASHINGTON, June 2, 1879.
MY DEAR SIR:--I need not attempt to tell you how much I
regret the conclusion you have reached as to remaining in Eng-
land as our Representative. The feeling I have on the subject is
increased by the considerations which you name and which
compel me to acquiesce in your views. During your whole stay
in that most important and conspicuous service, I have rested
with perfect confidence in your judgment and tact and character.
I have known that in everything which pertains to public duty,
and personal conduct in private affairs, you would in all things
be an honor to the country and to my Administration. Your
appointment I felt to be a privilege when I made it, and I shall
always count it as one of the most fortunate facts in my conduct
of the office I hold. If you adhere to your purpose to return in
556 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
August, and I beg you to change it if you feel that you properly
can, I shall nevertheless still feel under very great obligation to
you, for remaining in England so long as you have.
This is written hurriedly, but you will not I trust doubt that
it is the expression of my most deliberate and sincere feeling and
sentiment in regard to your service.
R. B. HAYES.
HONORABLE JOHN WELSH,
Legation of the United States,
June 4, 1879. 5 A. M. - Forty-five years ago this morning I
started in the stage on my first journey from my home at Dela-
ware, Ohio. Mother, Uncle Birchard, and sister Fanny were
with me. We started at about 4 A. M. I was permitted to ride
on the outside with the driver. Going to visit kinsfolk in New
England - to Vermont and Massachusetts --to see mountains,
the lake, steamboats, canals, cities! All of my dear kindred,
mother, uncle, sister, long since dead. How I loved them and I
do love them still!
The Democrats, instead of squarely backing out of their awk-
ward position or manfully sticking to it, seem disposed to creep
out of it in a way to enable them to say that they have gained
something by their contest. They can't repeal the laws they
object to. They therefore propose to cripple the Government
in its efforts to enforce them - to make it impossible to enforce
them --to make it unlawful to enforce them. The laws remain
unrepealed. The Democratic plan is to prevent their enforcement.
This plan also embodies the principle that the House may
coerce the Executive. It refuses appropriations for the most
necessary duties of the Government, unless the Executive signs
a bill which contains provisions which it is known he does not
approve. In the regular official and constitutional methods, his
views of duty have been communicated to the House. As to the
great body of purposes for which appropriations have been pro-
posed by the House, there is absolute and complete concurrence.
PRESIDENT--THIRD YEAR 557
As to one subject, not strictly germane to an appropriation bill,
but general legislation, there is a difference of opinion. The
House insists that no appropriation shall be made unless the
Executive yields his convictions on this subject of general legis-
lation. Having failed to secure the direct repeal of the election
laws, it is now proposed to prevent their enforcement.
June 6.--Lucy and I have had a few minutes' talk on this
laborious, anxious, slavish life. It has many attractions and
enjoyments, but she agrees so heartily with me as I say: "Well,
I am heartily tired of this life of bondage, responsibility, and
toil. I wish it was at an end. I rejoice that it is to last only a
little more than a year and a half longer."
We are both physically very healthy; unusually capable of
bearing the fatigues incident to the place. We can travel longer,
night and day, without losing our spirits than almost any persons
we ever meet. Our tempers are cheerful. We are social and
popular. But it is one of our greatest comforts that the pledge
not to take a second term relieves us from considering it. That
was a lucky thing. It is a reform - or rather a precedent for a
reform, which will be valuable.
June 7.- The nomination of General Ewing in Ohio for gov-
ernor may prove disastrous to the Republicans. He is an able
man, a good popular debater, and of excellent private character.
He is the ablest and most consistent of the Greenback leaders.
His aim will be to secure the votes of both the Democratic and
the National or Greenback parties. Combined, they outnumber
the Republicans [by] perhaps thirty thousand votes.
What should be the Republican plan? The energetic presen-
tation of the best issues. What are the issues, and which of
them are, for the Republicans, the best? 1. The conduct of the
Ohio Legislature and the administration of state affairs. 2. The
conduct of the Democratic party in Congress. 3. The financial
In a spirited contest, state issues and state affairs lose their
importance as the canvass proceeds. But in this case they are
very greatly in our favor and should not be lost sight of. The
long session, the gerrymander, the abuses in the state institutions,
558 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
and the taxes and expenditures, all furnish topics of more or less
But of far more importance is [are] the Democratic proceed-
ings in Congress. The revival of the nullification and secession
doctrines of Calhoun will be influential and salient points for
attack. The extra session, the attempt to crowd and cripple the
Executive and the general Government, the dismissal from office
of Union soldiers, and the like.
I suspect, however, that more important than all is the position
and record of General Ewing in favor of irredeemable paper
money and against coin, and his opposition to resumption and to
honest money. His speeches should be carefully examined, both
those made in Congress and on the stump. His opposition to
Thurman in 1876 [and] the outgivings of Democratic hard-money
papers and men should be utilized. This is a real living issue.
General Ewing is squarely, and I suspect honestly, on the wrong
side. Let it be pushed from the beginning to the end of the
canvass, and the best results possible will, in my judgment, be
obtained. A collection should be begun at once of all resolutions
in conventions or in Congress - all bills presented - all speeches
made by Ewing, etc., etc.
June 11, 1879. - Soon after the inauguration in 1877 Lucy
received a fine large copy, two volumes, of the Dore Bible from
an unknown friend. We now have learned from Mrs. Secretary
Thompson that the giver is James N. Jones, of Boston. Writing
to Mrs. Thompson about it, he says:
"In regard to the Dore Bible, I merely had a curiosity to
know whether it had been received. I would much prefer that
Mrs. Hayes should be kept in ignorance from whence it came.
Shortly after the inauguration I spent an evening in her com-
pany, and I was so much pleased with her gentleness of char-
acter that I determined to send her something, and I knew of
nothing more fitting than the best of all books. It was not sent
for any sinister design or purpose. I have an utter loathing for
those who act for a prospective advantage. So I adopted the
anonymous way I did in sending it to her. Of course I should
feel gratified in having an autograph letter from the wife of our
PRESIDENT--THIRD YEAR 559
good President, but I must forego that pleasure. However, I
leave that matter entirely in your hands, to do as you think best."
The Judicial Bill is the only one I have any doubt about. It
leaves the election laws without the means for their enforcement.
If that was all there would be no ground for a veto. Perhaps
it goes further. I must look into it. It prohibits any officer or
any department from incurring any obligation or contracting any
liability. This is intended to nullify the law, leaving it unre-
pealed. Does it have that effect? May I direct the marshals to
appoint deputies notwithstanding this provision? May the
courts appoint supervisors? May these officers act? If not, it
amounts to a repeal of the law.
No duty devolving on Congress is plainer than the duty to
provide the necessary means by suitable appropriations for the
enforcement of the laws. Title 26 is in force. It provides that
- it makes it the duty of - certain officers to make appointments
of deputy marshals and supervisors. The duties of these officers
remain. By this bill it is provided that they shall not be per-
formed. Their performance involves the liability of the United
States to pay such officers. All officers and each department are
forbidden to do this. It is tantamount to a repeal of the law for
The execution of the law is required during the next fiscal
year in but a few districts and is of comparatively small im-
portance. But it is wrong in principle.
Several of the questions presented by this bill have been ex-
amined in prior communications, and my views in regard to them
have been fully presented to the House of Representatives.
These questions are:--
1. As to tacking legislation on appropriation bills, with a
view to forcing the Executive to approve the legislation in order
to obtain the appropriations.
2. As to the constitutionality and necessity for the election
laws embraced in section 26 of the Revised Statutes.
June 13, 1879.- I want to get from Mr. Clark, the architect
of the Capitol, Downing's plan for laying out as one park
all of the public ground from the Capitol to the Potomac. This
560 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
has been a favorite hobby of mine. Last night I learned from
Mr. Kasson that it is not [an] original thought of mine--or
rather that Downing long ago urged the same thing. At the
meeting of the Monument Commission today I will talk to Mr.
Clark about it.
EXECUTIVE MANSION, WASHINGTON, D. C., June 14, 1879.
MY DEAR SIR:- The people of this country have from time to
time indulged the hope that your public duties at home might
admit of your paying a visit to this kindred nation across the sea,
and that your personal inclinations might not dissuade you from
gratifying this hope. I need not say that at any time this many
years your eminence in the public life of your own country would
have insured you a most cordial reception from our people. It
will not, I am sure, seem either unnatural or displeasing to you
that this title to our respect should be heightened by the appre-
ciation of the great value to us of your opinions and their cour-
ageous maintenance during the stress upon our Constitution and
free government through which we have now, it may be hoped,
I trust that an impression I have received that you are now
entertaining the purpose of making this visit is well founded.
It will give Mrs. Hayes and myself the greatest pleasure to re-
ceive you as our guest at Washington at such time and as long
as may comport with your own comfort and convenience; and
you will find in all parts of the country a disposition to make
your stay with us in all respects agreeable to your own wishes
in respect to the measure and the modes of our hospitality.
I am, my dear sir,
Very truly yours,
R. B. HAYES.
THE RIGHT HONORABLE JOHN BRIGHT, M. P.,
June 20, 1879. - The congressional contest with the Executive
is near its end for the present. The Legislative Bill is in such
PRESIDENT--THIRD YEAR 561
a shape that I can sign it without a question. The bill is awk-
wardly framed, but there is no objection to the appropriations
which it contains; it can be executed and the fact that proper
appropriations are omitted is not a ground for a veto. The
Army Bill is supported by the great majority of the Republicans
in Congress, by the Republican press, and by the Administration.
It contains a clause which prevents the army from being used
as a police force at the polls.
The rule as to the use of the military at elections was stated by
me as follows in the veto message on the Army Bill. The doc-
trine there laid down has been received as sound by the Repub-
licans of the country, and, I think, also by Democrats gen-
erally who are not blinded by the partisan excitement of the
time. It is the business of "the police," the civil authorities, to
make arrests of the disorderly and of repeaters and of others
guilty of violating the election laws at the polls. They will
thus keep the peace at the elections. The marshals are authorized
to appoint deputies enough with ample authority to do this under
ordinary circumstances. If these civil authorities are unable
to do this, the military will aid them in all cases - not at all as
a police, but as part of the military power of the country. They
may be used whenever it is necessary to enforce the laws. That
is to say, whenever the opposition to their enforcement is too
powerful for the ordinary police or other civil officers to over-
come, the military may be employed to suppress such opposition.
This was the law when Congress met. It is the law now. It
has not been changed. Before the assembling of the extra session
my views were correctly published in the Republican of this city.
The action taken since by me is in strict conformity with that
publication. So much for the past. But the important thing is
the present situation. The issues now presented to the country
cover all the points of the controversy. The Democrats refuse
needed appropriations unless the election laws are repealed or
nullified in the same measure.
1. This raises the question of their right to dictate to the
President what measures he will approve. It deprives him of
his veto power.
562 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
2. It raises the states'-rights question by denying to the
Nation powers with respect to the national elections which the
States are left free to exercise.
3. The right and expediency of any national election laws;
we have offered them amended and improved laws.
4. It admits the right and duty of national supervision by
leaving untouched the supervisors.
Wednesday, June 25, 1879. - My fourth veto message at the
present session was sent to the House Monday. It seems to be
well received by party friends and has certainly thrown our ad-
versaries into the greatest confusion. In a vote yesterday in the
House our side on the question of adjournment without appro-
priations had a majority of twenty-two! Seventeen Democrats
and all of the Greenbackers united with our friends. Judge
Thurman has backed out of his "vast question" doctrine, and is
one of the most urgent advocates of appropriations without any
riders! It is not yet decided after several caucuses what to do.
But the probability seems to be that the Democrats will pass a
Judicial Expenses [Bill] without the objectionable section--
the second section - and also without any provision for marshals
or their deputies. Another bill for the marshals, with the objec-
tionable rider attached, will also be sent to me.
June 27. - Yesterday attended commencement exercises of
the Catholic college - Georgetown - in the large unfinished hall
of their fine new building. The young men's performances were
creditable. Many prizes were distributed to members of the
lower classes. Weather very warm; room airy and cool.
The Democrats have introduced their bills in the form an-
ticipated. The Judicial Expenses Bill was passed through the
House. Its riders are the repeal of the test-oath law and the
provision for non-partisan juries. This bill I shall approve.
The marshals' bill with its objectionable rider will probably
pass today and may reach me tomorrow. I think it is not nec-
essary to repeat in a veto message the arguments heretofore
used. A simple recapitulation of the objections will suffice. I
will probably show the importance of the marshals and the deputy
marshals of the United States, which they propose to leave un-
PRESIDENT--THIRD YEAR 563
provided for, if I refuse to approve their objectionable partisan
EXECUTIVE MANSION, WASHINGTON, June 30, 1879
MY DEAR SIR:--I have a note from Mr. Curtis "that a man
named Grace, who was convicted a year or two ago of a flagrant
assault upon Surveyor Sharpe has been nominated" in violation
of rules, although there are several names available on the lists
of the board, etc., etc.
You know my earnest desire to keep the New York office
above all criticism. Please deal judiciously and kindly, but with
the utmost firmness, in this and all such matters.
R. B. HAYES.
HONORABLE JOHN SHERMAN,
July 1, 1879. - I have heard arguments by Ingersoll and
Wakeman in favor of pardoning D. M. Bennett, convicted of
sending obscene matter through the mails, viz., a pamphlet of a
polemical character in favor of free love. While I am satisfied
that Bennett ought not to have been convicted, I am not satisfied
that I ought to undertake to correct the mistakes of the courts -
constantly persisted in - by the exercise of the pardoning power.
There is great heat on both sides of the question. The religious
world are against the pardon, the unbelievers are for it.
EXECUTIVE MANSION, WASHINGTON, July 2, 1879.
MY DEAR SIR: - It would be very agreeable to me to visit you
and to meet the good people who will attend your fair. My ex-
pectation is to remain in Washington during this month and
August. In September we shall remain in Ohio, fulfilling en-
gagements of several months' standing. While I am compelled,
564 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
therefore, to decline your kind invitation, you will not doubt,
I trust, that I appreciate as I ought your encouraging words.
SENATOR HOAR. R. B. HAYES.
July 3, 1879.- I am now experiencing one of the "ups" of
political life. Congress adjourned on the first after a session of
almost seventy-five days, mainly taken up with a contest against
me. Five vetoes, a number of special messages, and oral con-
sultations with friends and opponents have been my part of it.
At no time - not even after the nomination at Cincinnati--
has the stream of commendation run so full. The great news-
papers, and the little, have been equally profuse of flattery. Of
course, it will not last. But I think I have the confidence of the
country. When the Tribune can say, "The President has the
courtesy of a Chesterfield and the firmness of a Jackson" (!), I
must be prepared for the reactionary counterblast.
My convictions have been adhered to equally against party
friends and foes. Party friends have insisted that I ought to
extend the veto (1) to the repeal of the test oaths; (2) to the
jury clauses which provide for men of opposite parties as
officers to prepare the lists from which juries are to be drawn;
and (3) to the clauses against the use of the army "as a police"
at the polls. But I steadily resisted and in the end have, I think,
vindicated the power of the National Government over congres-
sional elections and the separate authority of the Executive De-
partment of the Government.
Inasmuch as I stood firmly and successfully against the dicta-
tion of my own party leaders in the Senate, I have a feeling that
the applause given to the firmness exhibited against the preten-
sions of the adversary as to the powers of a bare majority of
Congress, is not altogether unreasonable.
We go today on the Tallapoosa to spend the Fourth at For-
Soldiers' Home, July 7, 1879.--We came out to the Home
for the summer on our return from the "ocean voyage" Saturday
evening, July 5.
PRESIDENT--THIRD YEAR 565
On the third at 3 P. M. we started down the Potomac on the
United States vessel (steamboat) Tallapoosa, Captain Mc-
Ritchie. Our party consisted of Secretaries of the Treasury,
War, Navy, and Attorney-General, and Mrs. Thompson and
two daughters and two sons, Mrs. McCrary and Georgy, [and]
my boys, Webb and Rud. We reached Fortress Monroe early
on the Fourth. Salute fired; escorted by General Getty and
troops to the fort. At his house until firing of bombs and large
guns at target. Interesting. In the afternoon we steamed out
of the Chesapeake, passing near Cape Henry, into the ocean for
two or three hours. Returning, we visited the great unfinished
fort on the ripraps. A huge mass of good masonry, with blocks
of granite almost enough perhaps to complete it.
Fireworks at the fort at night; also at the Hampton Home
and on vessels in the roads. - Left Fortress Monroe about 10
[On the] fifth, about 7 A. M., reached the vicinity of Wash-
ington's birthplace, sixty miles below Washington in Westmore-
land County, at Pope's Creek. Water shallow; anchored a
mile out. Sent a boat ashore to spy out the land. After break-
fast, boat not in sight, the four Secretaries, Captain McRitchie,
and Webb in a cutter attempted to land. Too shallow. The
sailors carried us ashore. With Webb pushed out from left
of Pope's Creek. Found Mr. Muse plowing. Engaged him to
show us the birthplace, one mile off, by a circuitous route by
reason of marshes, to the pile of brick where the chimney stood.
A beautiful clump of big trees also showed where the home of
the Washingtons stood. It is perhaps sixty yards from Pope's
Creek and in a direct line half a mile from the Potomac. It
has fine views of the river. The land is covered with sea-shells,
not barren. This is one of the first visits to the home of Wash-
ington; certainly the first by President and Cabinet. A monu-
ment is to be erected at the spot, simply to mark it. It will be
often visited hereafter.
Wrote today to Governor Ramsay, of Minnesota, inviting him
to take the place of Secretary of War, on the retirement of Mr.
McCrary, who is to be judge of the Iowa United States circuit
566 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
The Home, July 8, 1879.- This has been an unusually cool
and dry summer. No rain at the Home for a long time - not,
I am told, since June 10. Last night there was a slight shower.
I walked this morning about two and one-half miles passing
out of the northeast gate near the cemetery and returning
through the east gate into the tulip avenue and west of the
hospital by the power house to the Scott statue.
July 10, 1879.- Yesterday the surgeon of the Home, Dr.
Huntington, left word that there was at the hospital an old
soldier named Sergeant Gaines who fought under Croghan at the
defense of Fort Stephenson.
This morning, taking my six o'clock walk, I called at the
hospital and inquired for Sergeant Gaines. I was told that he
was the old gentleman wearing a straw hat sitting on the porch.
I approached him, he arose with a pleasant smile and greeted
me with genuine politeness as I told him that I was President
Hayes. He was rather below medium height with a good kindly
face, and an intelligent-looking man. In reply to questions, he
"I enlisted at Knoxville, Tennessee, in 1812 at the age of
fourteen. I was eighty last Christmas. Was born in Frederick,
Maryland; went to Lexington, Kentucky, to an uncle named
Daviess; from there, to an uncle at Knoxville. He died and I
soon after enlisted in Captain Armstrong's company, Colonel
Addison's Regiment, the Twenty-fourth Infantry. My name is
William Gaines. We marched to the Ohio river; spent the
winter; crossed the Ohio and marched to Franklinton, the last
town before reaching the Black Swamp. Then to Fort Findlay
and to Fort -. At the time of the battle under Croghan,
we had been stationed at Fort Seneca, ten miles above Lower
Sandusky. Croghan was weak, and five men from each com-
pany were sent down to reenforce him. Five were from my
company. We reached the fort just as the enemy, the British,
were landing below. The fort was on the edge of a hill. On
the hill side our defense was pickets and logs placed ready to
roll down on the enemy if they attacked on that side. On the
west side were two blockhouses; one at the southwest corner
PRESIDENT--THIRD YEAR 567
and one at the northwest corner, and a deep ditch reaching
between them. The firing began within twenty minutes after
we reached the fort. Only one man was killed on our side,
a young fellow from my company. He said he meant to kill
one British soldier. He lay down on top of the blockhouse to
shoot. A cannon ball took off his head. He was from Tennessee.
His name was Samuel Thurman. The Nineteenth and Seven-
teenth Infantry had men in the fort. I saw a number of officers
there that I knew. We soon after crossed the lake in open
boats, landed at Malden and overtook Proctor and defeated
him at the Thames."
Touching the Bennett case, I must stick to my rule to mind
my own business--to see that the laws are executed, not to
trench on the province of the legislature or of the judiciary.
The pardoning power must not be used to nullify or repeal
statutes, nor to overrule the judgments of the courts. Palpable
mistakes, hasty decisions, newly discovered facts, may all furnish
occasions for pardons.
The true rule as to obscene matter is, Does it tend to excite
the passions or to inflame the sensual appetite or desires of the
young? Does the book or pamphlet belong to that class of
publications which are sold secretly to the young? The fact
that it is atheistic, or infidel, or immoral in doctrine, does not
make it obscene.
July 11, 1879. - The most important and interesting question
before me is the case of Bennett's application for pardon. I
am turning it over carefully, trying to see all of its bearings.
The pamphlet is a wrong-headed affair- a free-love argument,
an argument against the institution of marriage. Its doctrines
are opposed to all my principles and notions. But it is a con-
troversial or polemical document, [such] that its publication and
sale are open and public in the State of Massachusetts where
it originated, and in the State of New York where the prosecu-
tion and conviction of Bennett were had. It may, therefore, be
assumed that no law of these States has been violated by its
publication and circulation. Only two prosecutions for its cir-
culation have been had. (It is sold by the thousand; the notoriety
568 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
given to it by these prosecutions has given it a wide circulation.)
It has been alleged to be obscene in two cases under the statute
of the United States against the circulation of obscene matter
through the mails.
July 13. Sunday. -We used in the early days of anti-
slavery movements [to] hold conventions in Ohio on the 13th
of July because it was the date of the Ordinance of 1787 -"the
Jeffersonian anti-slavery ordinance," as Chase was fond of call-
I heard a strong, sensible, and practical sermon by Dr. Lana-
han on self-examination this morning. I have not yet missed at-
tending morning service since I came to Washington in March,
At church thought of this course of observation in my talks
to people this fall. Avoid mere electioneering topics; call at-
tention to what I said a year ago to the effect that we were on the
threshold of better times, that the true course, the wise course,
was to let well enough alone, that resumption would come if
there was no more tinkering, and that until it came there could
be no solid prosperity, and that with it good times were certain.
Now the resumption fires are starting up in all directions, the
good times are coming, coming, and have come. And what now
is wisdom, what is good conduct, what will keep the times good?
What will enable us to feel that resumption has come to stay?
Again I say, let well enough alone. The policy which brought
resumption and better times will make resumption and prosperity
The one thought I would like to lodge in all minds is, Keep
out of debt. If in debt, now is the time to get out of it in the
only safe way, by honestly paying them. The honest payment
of debts is the safest way to get rid of them.
But let every man, every corporation, and especially let every
village, town, and city, every county and State, get out of debt
and keep out of debt. It is the debtor that is ruined by hard
July 19.- I have, after very careful consideration, reached
the conclusion that I ought not to pardon Bennett. To do so
PRESIDENT--THIRD YEAR 569
would be to nullify the law as expounded by the judicial depart-
ment. This would be an improper use of the pardoning power;
an abuse of it. No doubt in cases near the line between what is
right and what is forbidden, it is a mistake to prosecute.
In this case Heywood [Bennett] wrote a book in opposition
to marriage, and in favor of free-love practices. He put into
it many passages not required for the argument, in language and
sentiment indecent, which enable the seller to advertise it as
"spicy," as "rich, rare, and racy," and which add greatly to the
demand for it. In short, obscenity to make money, may be
truthfully alleged of it.
While I maintain inflexibly the authority of the Executive
Department against all attempts to cripple it by other depart-
ments, I must not magnify it at the expense of the just preroga-
tives of either the judicial or legislative departments.
July 24. - Sherman made an effective speech at Portland yes-
terday. He is now a candidate for the Republican Presidential
nomination. I would make two criticisms [of the speech] :--
(1) It gives encouragement to sectionalism. (2) It is not
sound on the financial question. On the latter question he ex-
presses the opinion that legal tender notes ought to be, or may
very well be, a part of the paper currency of the country. Now,
in my opinion, (1) these notes are not, in time of peace, a
constitutional currency, and (2) they are a dangerous currency,
depending as they do wholly on congressional discretion as to
their amount, their issue, and all of their functions.
July 26, 1879.--Parton in an article in the Magazine of
American History says Washington was in favor of a single
Presidential term of seven years. [Parton writes:] "The term
of seven years is probably as long as any man can advantageously
hold the Presidency. The strain upon the faculties of a good
man is too severe to be longer borne and a young country must
needs grow faster than an elderly mind."
This is true. The strain is hard to bear. It grows harder as
Soldiers' Home, August 1, 1879. - The death of Judge Collins
is surprising and a great calamity to his family and my friends,
570 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
John and Harriet Herron. He seemed assured of a long life.
A young man with me in [Cincinnati] at the bar and in the
Literary Club, his death breaks a circle of the most intimate
and dearest friends. He was amiability itself. With a fair and
good mind, his excellent disposition and rather elegant literary
culture were his noticeable characteristics.
August 3.--If we would prolong the period of good times,
postpone the return of hard times and soften their severity,
keep out of debt. When hard times come and begin to pinch,
that man suffers least whose debts are least, and the same is true
of city, county, State, and Nation.
EXECUTIVE MANSION, WASHINGTON, August 13, 1879.
MY DEAR GENERAL:--I have your note as to the interference
of federal office-holders in the Republican county convention.
It is the first I have heard of it. I agree with you that the inter-
ference of public officers with partisan political management
ought to be stopped, and that the order on the subject should be
enforced. The truth is, that the less public officers have to do
with partisan political management the better it is for the public
service and for their party. A public officer can best promote
the interest of his party by rendering faithful and efficient service
in performing the duties of his office.
If you will send me the names of those you complain of, with
a brief statement of the facts alleged against them, I will see
that the affair is looked into, and justice done.
I am glad to know that the rule on the subject is more gen-
erally complied with as it is better understood, and that public
sentiment sustains it.
R. B. HAYES.
GENERAL T. L. YOUNG,
August 14, 1879.--The weather still continues cool. The
Conkling scandal is the newspaper sensation of the time. This
PRESIDENT--THIRD YEAR 571
exposure of Conkling's rottenness will do good in one direction.
It will weaken his political power, which is bad and only bad.
August 15. - We had a good little shower last evening which
has laid the dust and which gives us a fresh cool morning.
No doubt I am somewhat affected by the Washington malaria.
Symptoms, slight headache at night, bad dreams, a tendency of
blood to the head, flushed face at times, etc., etc. Not serious,
but I shall be glad to get away next month.
EXECUTIVE MANSION, WASHINGTON, August 21, 1879.
MY DEAR SIR:--I hardly know how to thank you for your
kind offer of the interesting collection of Japanese articles, nor
what to say about it. I do not wish to accept presents of great
value. Tokens of friendly feeling, as books, canes, etc., etc., I
receive as a matter of course. In case of applicants for office,
I make it a rule not to accept any presents, and where presents
are accepted before applications [are] made, I do not appoint
the givers. My preference in this matter is either to return the
articles or to pay for them, if the cost is not beyond what I am
willing to invest in such curiosities.
I have written in great haste.
R. B. HAYES.
DR. R. T. HAYES,
Los Angeles, California.
September 5. - Monday morning we go via Baltimore and
Ohio Railroad to Cincinnati. Our party will consist of Lucy,
Birchard, Fanny, Scott, Isaiah and Winnie. General Sherman
and his aides, Colonels Tourtelotte and Bacon, will accompany
us. . . . We remain three days at Cincinnati. Thence to
Fremont. I am to go to Youngstown the 17th and to Detroit
Fremont, September 21. Sunday. -After about two weeks
of rather severe travel, with receptions, speech-making, and
572 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
hand-shakings, we are at our restful home in Fremont. Our
tour has been in all respects prosperous and agreeable. We go to
FREMONT, OHIO, September 22, 1879.
MY DEAR SIR:--We have had agreeable meetings so far
everywhere. We go West this morning, to return here on the
3d [of] October. I shall make no more full speeches, and shall
get off with as little talking as may be.
I notice your views of the gold accumulation, and your de-
cision. No doubt you are right.
I will inquire as to General Tillson and Wheeler.
R. B. HAYES.
HONORABLE JOHN SHERMAN,
October 5, 1879. Sunday. Fremont. - Our western trip has
been most enjoyable. At Chicago, the evening of the 22d, our
welcome was enthusiastic and hearty, and so on the 23d through-
out the day in Illinois down to and including Quincy. We were
late at Hannibal, Missouri. It had rained, the night was dark
and threatening, and a few youngsters were persistent in calling
"Hayes, Hayes," "President Hayes," etc., etc. I finally stepped
out and talked a few minutes; was treated with respect, but the
papers got it that the crowd was insolent and violent! Nothing
of it, in fact.
[The] 24th we breakfasted at Colonel Jaynes' beautiful home
in Sedalia and had a fine reception by the citizens of this grow-
ing town. Thence into Kansas at Fort Scott, and to Parsons in
the evening. Great interest and friendliness in Kansas every-
where, with large and enthusiastic crowds of laboring, intelligent
Governor St. John and wife with us throughout. The Neosho
Fair was in the newer part of southern Kansas but numerously
attended and very interesting. [This on the] 25th.
PRESIDENT--THIRD YEAR 573
[The] 26th, A. M., we were at Fort Dodge. Captain Brad-
ford and ladies. The Arkansas nearly dry. At Larned, a fair
and great spirit. Evening, with noise, fireworks, and welcoming
shouts, at Topeka, at the agreeable home of Judge and Mrs.
[The] 27th, receptions at Topeka [and] Lawrence. (A most
interesting visit to the university. A noble view from its tower.
A beautiful reception in the large hall of the university.) At
night a most uproarious welcome at Leavenworth, especially by
the colored people.
[The] 28th, Sunday, spent delightfully at General Pope's.
Visited the wonderful views of the grand country around Fort
Leavenworth. Church in the excellent military prison, A. M.,
and at the Episcopal army chaplain's services in the evening.
[The] 29th, warm welcome at Atchison and St. Joseph,
Missouri, and all along the route to Hannibal. Evening a beau-
tiful reception at the Congregational church- a handsome
church - with capital music. Nothing better than Hannibal with
its supper in the basement. Colonel Hatch, M. C., particularly
happy in his remarks.
[The] 30th entered Springfield, Illinois, at daylight with Gov-
ernor and Mrs. Cullom and daughters. All most agreeable.
See papers. The tomb of Lincoln and its monument, etc., etc.,
with the associations, are most impressive. His old home is
neglected. It may as well be taken down as left so.
[The] first [of] October, reached Grand Hotel, Indianapolis.
This was the reception of our tour in all respects. They rate:
1. Indianapolis, 2. Cincinnati, 3. Detroit, 4. Springfield, Youngs-
town, Topeka, Neosho, Hannibal, etc.
[The] third [of] October, reached Fremont; visited county
fair. Home - rest - content.
The fourth, my birthday. Fifty-seven years old. Let me try
to live during my remaining years a useful life. To make others
happy and to make men and women better to the extent of my
power - this must be my aim.
October 6. Fremont.-William Henry Smith and his wife
left our house for their home in Chicago (Lake Forest) at 10:30
574 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
P. M. last night. We talked over many matters. Our place we
shall call Birchard Grove after its former owner Uncle Sardis
Birchard. His name, Spiegel Grove,--fanciful and eccentric
- does not stick.* We never used it.
October 7. -Last night at a meeting of [the] trustees of the
Birchard Library I offered, in order to put the institution on a
solid basis, to assume the indebtedness, about fourteen thousand
dollars, and to take for it the Birchard and Boalt tract in Toledo,
- that is to say, the library interest in it, nominally fifteen thou-
sand dollars. This puts on me a burden of seven thousand dol-
lars, the debt to the express company. But my desire to see
Uncle's monument (the library) in good condition compels me
to this course.
Birchard Grove, October 10, 1879. - The hot weather con-
tinues without abatement; 84 degrees in the shade every day for
a week, and more.
The tall elm northeast of the porch lost its leaves a fortnight
or more ago, and is now leafing out again.
We had a charming visit to Mrs. Judge Lane the 8th and 9th
at Sandusky. I saw many old friends.
October 11, 1879. --Yesterday Mr. G. A. Grow, of Pennsyl-
vania, and I. F. Mack, of Sandusky, held a meeting here. We
invited them to dine with us. Mr. Sherwin, Member of Con-
gress, of Aurora, Illinois, Mr. Cheseborough, of Detroit, General
Leake, of Chicago, district-attorney, were here with citizens of
Fremont, viz., Wilson, Miller, General and S. Buckland, Mower,
Keeler, Everett, Krebs. An agreeable dinner party.
Birchard Grove, October 14, 1879. - Election day. Weather
still warm. . . . Rutherford came from Cornell to cast his
first vote for Foster and the Republican ticket. Three voters
in the family besides myself. The election is important. If
Foster has a good majority and we have the Legislature so as to
secure Judge Thurman's seat in the Senate, it will improve the
temper of all sides towards the Administration and strengthen
* But "Spiegel Grove" did "stick", and Mr. Hayes came to like it.
"Birchard Grove" was used - if at all -only for a brief period.
PRESIDENT--THIRD YEAR 575
as for good works. Ohio also needs a change. The Democratic
party has good and able public men, but they are powerless in
the presence of the bad and reckless elements of their party.
This is perhaps too strong a statement. But it is true that if not
powerless, they are at least unable to control the general course
of their party. On the other hand, the reckless public men of the
Republican party are compelled to take their direction from the
better elements of their party.
I am glad my boys voted. To vote is like the payment of a
debt--a duty never to be neglected, if its performance is pos-
Birchard Grove, October 15, 1879. - The election, as at pres-
ent appears, has gone strongly with us. Foster's majority, I
judge, will reach fifteen thousand. This is a valuable victory.
Two questions were debated mainly, the currency and the su-
premacy of the general Government. Inflation and State's rights
are badly beaten. It is a verdict in favor of a sound and honest
currency- a currency of gold and silver, or of paper convertible
into coin at the will of the holder, a currency which will defraud
no man, a currency worth its face in the markets of the world.
It is a judgment in favor of the perpetuity of the Union, the
supremacy of the National Government, and the enforcement of
the laws. It is the voice of Ohio that Congress should make all
appropriations needful and proper to enable the Executive De-
partment of the Government to execute all laws not declared to
be unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, and that the Execu-
tive Department of the Government will be sustained in the
faithful enforcement of all such laws.
Washington, White House, October 21, 1879. -Returned this
morning after a six weeks' absence in seven States, viz., Ken-
tucky, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, and Kansas.
EXECUTIVE MANSION, WASHINGTON, October 27, 1879.
MY DEAR GENERAL: - Mrs. Hayes and myself will be glad to
receive you and Mrs. Grant with any members of your family
who may be with you, as our guests on the occasion of the un-
576 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
veiling of the statue in honor of General Thomas. It occurs on
the 19th and 20th of next month, and long enough after the
Chicago reunion to enable you to be present, if other engage-
ments do not prevent. Preparations are making to give you a
hearty reception here. Your welcome back will be a warm and
friendly one. We shall be glad to have you remain with us
as long as it may be convenient for you to do so.
With best wishes,
R. B. HAYES.
GENERAL U. S. GRANT,
WASHINGTON, October 31, 1879.
MY DEAR SIR:--You are altogether right in supposing that
I have not changed my attitude towards the mischievous and
dangerous practice of using the federal offices to manage and
control partisan politics. On the contrary, my experience in my
present office confirms the convictions expressed on that subject
in my Letter of Acceptance, and I am more than ever satisfied
that the assumption by members of Congress of the executive
prerogative of making appointments to office to secure in return
the support of the persons appointed by them, is fraught with
serious dangers both to the purity and efficiency of administration
and to the essential principle of representative government. In-
deed, in my judgment, the assumption of the power of appoint-
ment by legislators has been the principal cause of whatever
corruption and inefficiency have been found to exist in our polit-
This evil is undoubtedly deeply rooted and many public men
believe themselves personally interested in maintaining it.
[R. B. HAYES.]
White House, November 5, 1879.- The Republican victory
yesterday was complete everywhere in the North except in New
York. In New York we carry the Legislature. This secures
PRESIDENT--THIRD YEAR 577
the election of a Republican Senator in the place of Mr. Kernan.
We also elect the governor by reason of the bolting of the
Tammany Democrats, who refused to support the nominee of
Mr. Tilden, Governor Robinson, and voted generally for [John]
Kelly. The remainder of the Republican state ticket is, I fear,
beaten. Our full force was not at the polls. Many Republicans,
opposed to machine politics, were disgusted by the Conkling
control of the convention and the nomination of Mr. Cornell. I
did all I could to save the cause by urging friends to lay aside
their opposition. But there was too much Conkling in the ticket.
Hence its weakness and probable defeat.*
With a popular nomination for governor and no dissatisfaction
in the party, we should have elected our whole ticket. New York
would have been no exception to the general course of Republi-
can success this year. All of the Northern States have done
better for the Republicans this year than they did last year ex-
cept New York. In New York alone have the Republicans
failed to do as well as last year. Last year our plurality was
almost forty thousand. This year I fear we are beaten on the
popular vote. There is but one cause for this, viz., too much
of Roscoe Conkling and his machine politics.
The defeat of Governor Robinson is the defeat of Tilden and
foreshadows his overthrow next year either in the Democratic
National Convention or at the polls.
November 26. - I sent to the printer last evening the last re-
vise of the Message. Its topics are finance, Mormonism, a para-
graph about the South, and civil service reform. There was
small difference of opinion in the Cabinet about the questions
discussed in the Message. Colonel Thompson and Mr. Evarts,
looking at the political effect, say we should do nothing to change
the issues now before the country. I recommend stopping silver
coinage and retiring the greenbacks. Both Mr. Evarts and Mr.
Thompson fear the effect of this. It seems to me sound policy,
however, to do both. The sooner we take the true position, the
easier it will be to convince the people of its wisdom.
* The full returns gave the Republicans four, the Democrats three, of
the State officers.
578 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
November 28.--I spent Thanksgiving day--yesterday--at
Bishop Simpson's, 1807 Mt. Vernon Street, in Philadelphia.
With Isaiah Lancaster, my servant, I left here on the 5:30 P. M.
train on the Baltimore and Potomac Railroad. We travelled in
the common car. Heretofore, since I became President, I have
had a special car when travelling. Being without a "party,"
I preferred to go without fuss. I had a ticket to Baltimore.
But paid forty cents, apparently for Isaiah, but I didn't under-
stand it. A family ticket which I had, included, I suppose,
servants. I was as polite as the conductor, and made no remark.
Fare was paid from Baltimore to Philadelphia for both of us,
I think three dollars each. On my return I paid fifteen dollars
for fare on Baltimore and Ohio and for sleeping berths-two
sections, leaving Philadelphia at 11:30 P. M. Soon after lying
down the conductor told me he had orders to return my fare. I
took it without counting. This morning at 7 A. M. before leav-
ing the car, the conductor told me he had orders to return me the
fare paid on the 26th and gave me three dollars. The money
paid back was nine dollars altogether. This was for fare I
suppose, leaving me to pay for my own sleeping berth. All of
this pleasantly done, but I suspect I make less trouble if I ask
for a special car.
On the way up a Mr. Sutton of the Eastern Shore - clerk in
the great wholesale drygoods store of Jacob --- & Co.,
Philadelphia, took a seat by my side. I got much interesting
information about his business and the trade generally.
At Bishop Simpson's met the family and Lucy and Fanny
[who had preceded me]. A happy home; a cheerful, pious
family--a family of good works and most lovable character.
The Bishop and his son Barney met me at Broad Street Depot
at midnight or near it. Mrs. Simpson is a warm-hearted and
motherly lady who is full of good works. A home for aged
women and now [one] for orphans are her pet hobbies. The
fair is in the interest of the orphans. Mrs. Bowie, a married
daughter, wife of a Methodist Episcopal preacher in Harrisburg,
was visiting her parents. Two sweet daughters, a blonde and a
brunette, young ladies, complete the family.
PRESIDENT--THIRD YEAR 579
The bishop's eloquence and success are due to a tender, sincere
nature, great modesty, good culture, and sound common sense.
These high qualities, added to unshaken faith in Christianity and
in its vast importance, make him a man of great power in the
pulpit and in private life. He possesses also unusual love and
capacity for hard work.
Thanksgiving day we rode northeast six or eight miles to at-
tend the opening of an improved church in Frankfort. The
bishop preached a hopeful sermon. A collection to pay for the
church improvement was tolerably successful. Returned and
dined with the bishop's family, also President Allen of Girard
College and a few others. After dinner callers - MacVeagh and
others. Then a drill of a military company of orphan boys in
front of the house. In the evening at the crowded fair in the
great hall; hand-shakings and great enthusiasm. At 11:30 P.M.
left Philadelphia for Washington (home!). Lucy and Fanny
remained for a day or two longer. A rapid, busy, delightful
EXECUTIVE MANSION, WASHINGTON, December 1, 1879.
MY DEAR GOVERNOR:-- Several friends of Chief Justice Waite
purchased a portrait of him, painted by Mrs. Fassett of this city,
and presented it to Miss Mary F. Waite, the daughter of the
Chief Justice. The letter enclosed herewith shows that Miss
Waite wishes the portrait to be presented to the State of Ohio.
It has accordingly been sent to you, and I trust you will see that
it is suitably placed in the State House. I am confident that the
people of Ohio will be glad to see in their capitol this portrait
of their honored and eminent fellow citizen, the Chief Justice
of the United States.
R. B. HAYES.
GOVERNOR R. M. BISHOP,
580 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
EXECUTIVE MANSION, WASHINGTON, December 4, 1879.
MY DEAR SIR: - I agree with you. I know of no good reason
why Mr. Blaine and I should not be on the best of terms with
each other. In the first year of my Administration, he said and
did things which I thought needlessly hostile; for example, his
speech at Woodstock [Connecticut, July 4, 1877,] on Mexican
affairs. I have understood that he was offended by an appoint-
ment which I made in Maine. He was opposed to it. I thought
it was my duty to make it. There was certainly not the least
intentional disrespect to him in the act itself or in the manner of
doing it. I sincerly regretted that he felt as he did about it.
The Cincinnati platform, my Letter of Acceptance, and my
convictions led me to oppose the senatorial usage by which the
appointing power of the President was usurped by Senators.
This was the cause for a time of much irritation. I regarded
the controversy as a difference of principle, and I never allowed
it to disturb my relations with any Senator if I could avoid it.
In the affair referred to, I have suspected that some misappre-
hension caused the feeling that was exhibited. I have through-
out regarded Mr. Blaine as a gentleman with whom I would
like to be on good terms.
I do not wish to be understood as intimating that explanations
are needed on either side to bring us more cordially together.
I do not feel that the past stands in the way of good relations.
Thanking you for your friendly suggestions, I remain,
R. B. HAYES.
HONORABLE WILLIAM WALTER PHELPS.
EXECUTIVE MANSION, WASHINGTON, December 4, 1879.
MY DEAR MOORE:- You want money to be plenty, the rate of
interest to be low, and at the same time you want the money to be
good. You can only have this state of things when there is con-
fidence in the stability of the currency. Capital will not go where
it is uncertain in what currency debts will be paid next month
and next year. If the legal tender for debts depends on the
PRESIDENT--THIRD YEAR 581
whim, the ambition, and the interest of Congressmen, there will
be a want of confidence. The only constitutional legal tender
is gold and silver. Depart from that and confidence is gone.
All the world now believes that investments in America are
likely to be profitable. A sound financial policy will bring us
money from all the commercial nations of the earth. In good
times prepare for hard times. In good times pay debts. The
legal tender notes are debts. Let them be paid by the coin in the
treasury and the coin that is coming in from abroad and it will
not contract the circulation. Let our ship be headed in the right
direction. It is a sound policy which has brought good times.
The same policy will continue good times.
R. B. HAYES.
J. P. MOORE.
EXECUTIVE MANSION, WASHINGTON, December 13, 1879.
MY DEAR SIR:--Your note of the 12th instant, tendering your
resignation of the office of Secretary of War, with a view to the
acceptance of the position of judge of the circuit court of the
United States for the Eighth Circuit, is received, and the resig-
The expressions of personal regard with which the tender
of your resignation is accompanied are very heartily recipro-
cated and the termination of our intimate official relations is
attended with the very gratifying reflection that your eminent
capacity for usefulness in the public service will be transferred
to the responsible duties of the important and permanent judicial
position to which you will hereafter devote your attention.
With the best wishes for your success and happiness,
R. B. HAYES.
HONORABLE GEORGE W. McCRARY.
December 14, 1879.--Colonel Josiah W. Ware has been visit-
ing us for several days. He was born August 19, 1802, [in]
Frederick County, Virginia, near where he lives, near Berry-
ville, Virginia. He says:--
582 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
"I knew your wife's grandmother after whom she was named
(Lucy Ware Webb) intimately and corresponded with her.
When she was about sixty or seventy years old her hair was cut
short and was [as] white as snow. She was a perfect specimen
of hospitality. She was very fine-looking; had as fine a face
as you ever saw, full of kindness and benevolence. She was
rather fleshy, not too much so, about the height of Lucy Hayes.
I also knew cousin Lucy's grandfather, Isaac Webb. He was a
very small man, of an active figure. I first saw them at their
house near Lexington, Kentucky,--about twelve miles, I think,
east of Lexington,--about 1825.
"James Ware, the great-grandfather of Mrs. Hayes, lived in
Clark County, Virginia (now Clark County). The family came
from Gloucester County, Virginia, where there is a Ware church
and Ware River. Some of the family moved to Georgia and one
of them was a United States Senator from Georgia. The great-
grandmother of Mrs. Hayes, wife of James Ware, was Catherine
Todd--I think it Catherine, not positive. The Todds were
from Caroline County, Virginia. Charles Webb married one of
the Miss Wares, Isaac Webb another, and Dr. Scott married
"Lucy's father, Dr. James Webb, was a very handsome man.
He had black hair and dark eyes, and was tall and straight."
December 18.--The committee of the Republican party for
the nation met here yesterday. This is the first official movement
towards the Presidential election. The committee, in a general
way, were harmonious. They were apparently about equally
divided in their preferences for next President between Grant
and Blaine, with a decided balance of power for Sherman. If
New York could, with a fair degree of unity, present a man like,
say, the Vice-President or Governor Fish, he would probably be
nominated. The general popular favorite is Grant. But many
thoughtful men dislike a departure from Washington's precedent
--dislike the third term; and many more fear a return to the
unfortunate methods and men of General Grant's former Admin-
PRESIDENT--THIRD YEAR 583
December 19, 1879. - My friend Thomas Donaldson [of Phil-
adelphia] brought me a Navajo blanket made by Indians in New
Mexico, and [it] is a present from General Henry M. Atkinson
of Santa Fe, the United States marshal. It is a very fine one,
water-proof, of red and white colors--dark red.
PHILADELPHIA, Saturday morning, 7:30 A. M.
Before breakfast! December 27, 1879.
MY DARLING: --We had a quiet nice time last night. A most
agreeable talk with General Grant for two hours alone. He looks
well and is in excellent spirits. He will go to Washington today,
and said he would call on you - probably Monday, but if Sun-
day, the ushers will of course admit him.
I go to Plainfield today, and will return to Washington Mon-
day afternoon by limited express.
With much love to Fan, and Scott, and darling.
R. B. HAYES.
January 13, 1880. - Two things that may be important have
been considered. Last Friday, the 9th, I directed the Secretary
of the Navy to order two of our national vessels to sail to the
ports in the Chiriqui Grant, one on the Gulf of Mexico and one
on the Pacific coast between Panama and the proposed Nicaragua
Canal. The purpose is to establish naval stations in these im-
portant harbors. It is claimed that an American citizen, Mr.
Ambrose Thompson, has procured a very important grant of
the lands surrounding these harbors, and of the right of way
connecting them. Mr. Thompson conveyed to the United States,
by an arrangement with President Lincoln, an interest in his
grant. If it shall be deemed best by Congress to take possession
of this interest, the presence of our ships and the establishing
of our coaling stations will give us a foothold which will be of
vast service in controlling the passage from ocean to ocean
either at Panama or at Nicaragua Lake.
584 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
The other affair is the appointment of a governor for the Ter-
ritory of Utah. This under ordinary circumstances would be a
common administrative act. But an appointment in the place
of the present very reputable governor means a change of policy
towards the Mormons. Now the Territory is virtually under the
theocratic government of the Mormon Church. The union of
church and state is complete. The result is the usual one, the
usurpation or absorption of all temporal authority and power
by the church. Polygamy and every other evil sanctioned by the
church is safe. To destroy the temporal power of the Mormon
Church is the end in view. This requires agitation. The people
of the United States must be made to appreciate, to understand,
the situation. Laws must be enacted which will take from the
Mormon Church its temporal power. Mormonism as a sectarian
idea is nothing, but as a system of government it is our duty to
deal with it as an enemy to our institutions, and its supporters
and leaders as criminals.
Saturday, January 31, 1880.- We get every week gifts of
small value from all parts of the country. I must bring up today
my arrears of acknowledgements. A basket of large, handsome
red seedling apples from Minnesota; a watch case and tidy from
Vermont; a lawn rake from Dayton, Ohio; a biography of
"Eminent Abstainers" from England; Indian trinkets from
Alaska; a robe from Pennsylvania; photographs of Indian pupils
at Carlisle; autographs of Patrick Henry and letters of Webster,
Clay, and Calhoun from the Eastern Shore of Virginia, etc., etc.,
-all recent accumulations.
February 1, 1880.--When I came into the White House,
nine presidential portraits were wanting to complete the list. I
have added Grant, Jackson, John Adams, Madison, Monroe,
Taylor, and Harrison. I must get Buchanan and Johnson, and
then each of my successors will have to add [only] the portrait
of his predecessor.
February 5, 1880. - A cousin of my wife, having a son-in-law
at West Point as an instructor, wanted me to detail her son also
to duty at the same desirable place. To this I replied:
PRESIDENT--THIRD YEAR 585
EXECUTIVE MANSION, WASHINGTON, February 5, 1880.
MY DEAR MRS. --:-You are perfectly correct in think-
ing I agree with you that nepotism and favoritism prevail in the
army. You might find examples of it in Washington as well as
at West Point. I do not expect in my short term of service to
get rid of this abuse. But I intend that my example shall be a
protest against it. At any rate, I do not permit myself to add
to the weight of the precedents in favor of the abuse. Two
young men who have their records yet to make, belonging to the
same family, in soft places at West Point would neither be
useful to them nor creditable to the service. If they and their
friends give it a little thought, I am confident that they will so
consider it. In this matter I hope you will not regard me as
other than your and their friend.
R. B. HAYES.
February 7, 1880. -Mr. John M. Morton, son of O. P. Mor-
ton, nominated by me for collector of internal revenue at San
Francisco, was rejected by the Senate by a large majority. The
California Senators opposed him and under the doctrine called
Senatorial courtesy they succeeded in rallying against him a
majority of both parties. Mr. Morton is in all respects worthy.
But there is an evident purpose to reestablish the doctrine that
the Senators from a State are entitled to control the federal
offices of their State. This has been greatly shaken during my
Administration. In many conspicuous cases it has been broken
down, or at least disregarded. The strength of the usage in the
Senate is shown by the fact that many Senators, political friends
of Senator Morton, many of them intimate personal friends of
the great leader, who had promised Mrs. Morton to sustain her
son's nomination, deserted at the finish and voted against him,
or dodged. Among those named to me who did this are Conk-
ling, Hamlin, Allison.
The object evidently is to reestablish the usage, so that the
next President will not venture to question it. Now, the ques-
tion is, what can I do to counteract this? I can emphasize my
dissent by leaving Mr. Higbee, the present incumbent, in office
586 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
until the Senate adjourns and then appoint Morton in his place.
Under this appointment, Morton can hold his office until the end
of my term, March 4, 1881. This is worth thinking of.
The most important subject now under consideration is as to
the canal across the Isthmus connecting the waters of the At-
lantic and the Pacific. The French engineer, Lesseps, the chief
man in building the Suez Canal, is actively at work organizing,
or trying to organize, a company to enter upon the work. The
time has come when the American doctrine on the subject ought
to be explicitly stated. In my judgment the United States regard
the commercial communication, whether by railroad or canal,
between the two oceans across the Isthmus at any of the points
which have been suggested, as essential to their prosperity and
safety. The right of free passage at all times, in peace or war,
for the purpose of commerce or for defense, the United States
deem essential to their safety and prosperity. They wish it to
be understood by all concerned that the United States will not
consent that any European power shall control the railroad or
canal across the Isthmus of Central America. With due regard
to the rights and wishes of our sister republics in the Isthmus,
the United States will insist that this passageway shall always
remain under American control. Whoever invests capital in the
contemplated work should do it with a distinct understanding
that the United States expects and intends to control the canal
in conformity with its own interests.
The highway between that part of the United States which
is on the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico, and that part of our
country which is on the Pacific, must not be allowed to pass
under the control of any European nation. The control must
be exclusively either in the country through which it passes, or in
the United States, or under the joint control of the American
republics. The United States should control this great highway
between that part of our country, etc., etc. This great highway
must not be controlled by Europe. It must be held and controlled
by America - by the American republics.
February 8, 1880. Sunday. - A bright, beautiful day. - The
last reception of Lucy and myself for this season was last night.
PRESIDENT--THIRD YEAR 587
It was the largest and gayest throng of the year. Many could not
get in, and left without reaching the door. Others got in and
left without entering the Blue Room- going out through win-
dows because they could not get out at the door. A very good-
natured and well-behaved crowd.
The interest of the United States in the communication- the
interoceanic canal or railroad - does not rest on the Monroe
Doctrine alone. That great highway connects the part of our
country which is on the Atlantic with that which is on the
Pacific. It is of vital importance to our prosperity and our
safety. It is a part of our general system of defensive works.
It is essential for national defense. It will not be permitted to
pass into the control of any hostile nation. We shall deal justly
with all other nations in regard to its use. We shall deal liberally
with the sister American republics which are interested in the
work and in the territory through which it passes. But it may
as well be understood that the United States will not permit
it to be held or controlled by any European nation.
February 11, 1880.- Our diplomatic reception last evening
was very successful. The Senators and Representatives quite
The event of yesterday, however, was my presentation to the
Cabinet of my views on the interoceanic canal. As my opinions
were matured, distinct, and decisive, I first gave my opinion
and then asked for theirs. I said in substance that I thought that
existing circumstances furnished an occasion for an explicit
declaration of the views and purposes of the United States with
respect to a ship canal across the southern part of North Amer-
ica. That our principles should be at an early day announced.
That in my view our position did not rest alone upon the Monroe
Doctrine. That paramount interests were involved. That the
control of the canal was essential to our prosperity and safety.
That the ocean highway from that part of our country on the
Atlantic to that part of our country on the Pacific must always
be under our control; that, if it passed into European control, our
security, our peace, our commercial and general prosperity, and
our commanding and natural position among the nations would
588 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
be endangered. That our interest in the subject was greater
than that of all European nations put together. It was there-
fore my purpose as soon as it could properly be done to take
occasion by special message to Congress to communicate these
views to them. In this way all concerned, all who proposed to
take part in the construction of the canal, would be informed
of the principles of the United States on the subject.
I then expressed the hope that the members of the Cabinet
would concur with me in my views thus expressed, and called on
them for their opinions. I was glad to find no opposition to the
general scope and purpose of what I had said.
Mr. Evarts at some length explained what he was doing in
regard to the question. That he was collecting the treaties, the
correspondence, and all [the data] that existed on the subject
showing the history of the matter. He did not decidedly speak
of the necessity for prompt action, but seemed to regard early
action as desirable.
Mr. Sherman in a single sentence decidedly concurred with
me. Governor Ramsay also spoke favorably and added circum-
stances showing the importance of American control over the
canal. Mr. Thompson with a smile said: "You know these
have been my views all along." Judge Key was brief but em-
phatic in favor of a declaration such as I had indicated.
General Devens was compelled to leave to attend a case in the
Court of Claims, but as he rose to go he explicitly assented to
the course I had suggested.
General Schurz warmly approved. He said: "No European
nation under similar circumstances would hesitate an instant
to assert its rights in such a case, and to give decided expression
of its purpose to maintain them."
So that practically the Cabinet is a unit on my side of the
February 12, 1880. -The robe given to Lucy by Mrs. S.
Newton Pettis, of Meadville, is made from skins of the guanaco,
a South American animal of the camel species--a wild variety
of the llama, three feet high and extremely swift.
PRESIDENT--THIRD YEAR 589
February 17, 1880. - The president of the Panama Railroad
gave me yesterday a very interesting account of the Isthmus, of
his railway, of Mr. de Lesseps and his surveys, and of the
prospects of the enterprise. He thinks a canal can be built at
tide level from Aspinwall to Panama; that it will not pay as an
investment but would be very useful to the United States.
February 20. - The true policy of the United States as to a
canal across any part of the Isthmus is either a canal under
American control, or no canal. We cannot allow the geograph-
ical relations of the North American continent to be essentially
changed. European control of this thoroughfare between the
different parts of the United States is wholly inadmissible.
The Isthmus canal would change essentially the geographical
relations between the east and west coast of North America and
between North America and the rest of the world. This im-
portant change in the geography of the continent cannot occur
without gravely affecting the power, the prosperity, the means of
defense, the peace, and the safety of the United States. That
canal must be controlled by the United States.
The United States cannot consent that it shall be under
European control. Either an American canal or no canal must
be our motto with respect to this subject.
Clark Centre, says Langdon, of Minneapolis, cast the Minne-
sota single vote for me on the final ballot.
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