Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

66 The

The value of this stake was 1,400 crowns. Sir Garnet had only arrived a couple of days previously from Baden-Baden, where he had been running in splendid form. For the fifth race, over one mile and a quarter, seven horses were entered, out of whom Father Claret, Roscius, Aladdin, and Crecy came to the post. Father Claret took the lead, but was soon caught by Crecy, who came in first in 2 min. 21 sec., closely followed by Aladdin, while Father Claret was a bad third. The value of the stakes was 800 crowns. The sixth race, a trotting match for Danish horses, over 4,000 yards, was won by Thora, the value of the stakes being 400 crowns. The jockeys were all English, and nearly all handled their horses in excellent style. Racing is now finished in Denmark until the next spring meeting."

A notable event in Denmark in 1877 was a State trial, the result of which (a verdict of not guilty, and expenses to be charged to the national treasury) will strengthen the Ministers of that country in their future dealings with the Radical majority; who," said a Copenhagen correspondent, “ may now learn the absurdity of rushing headlong into State trials of Ministers without any reasonable expectation of success, simply as a party move." trial,” remarked the same correspondent, “ arose out of the sale of the so-called Marble Church to M. Tietgen, the well-known director of the Private Bank and the Great Northern Telegraph Company. This church, or rather this ruin, was originally intended to be a second Duomo of Milan, and the foundation was laid about a hundred and fifty years ago by one of those extravagant kings whose absurd desire to imitate Louis XIV. in France nearly ruined Denmark. The church was to be built of Norwegian marble, but was only about half completed, and, as there was no more money, was left as a ruin, encumbering one of the most important public sites in Copenhagen. M. Tietgen having most generously offered to buy the ruin and to have it completed, it was sold to him by the late Cabinet-or, rather, the Chancellor of the Exchequer—for the sum of 200,000 crowns. The Radicals, however, maintained that the Ministers had exceeded their powers in selling what they were pleased to call one of the State domains without a special vote of the Lower House, and they also maintained that it would have been more profitable to pull the ruin down and sell the site for building purposes, valuing the ground at nearly half a million crowns, and claiming the difference from the Ministers. A vote was passed, ordering the trial of the Ministers, and it is this trial which now has been concluded.”

The Battle of the Budget, before referred to, continued almost to the end of the year; but, after eleven hours' debate, the Rigsdag came to an understanding with the Government on November 8, a day that terminated a most momentous political crisis, and which henceforth will be an important landmark in the Constitutional

* See Annual Register, 1876, p. 233.

history of Denmark. The Lower House having annulled the Ministerial Provisional Finance Bill, the country was left without any law authorising the collection of taxes, and a dead-lock resulted. In this dilemma the President of the Council declared that if within twenty-four hours both Houses did not vote the collection of taxes and the payment of current expenses until a budget was passed, he would have recourse to Royal Orders in Council. The debate in the Lower House was stormy in the extreme, members accusing each other of falsehood without hesitation; but “during the third meeting,” said the Copenbagen correspondent of the Pali Mall Gazette, “a proposal was made which was accepted by the Government, and which was then immediately carried before the Upper House, which may be said to have sat en permanence, meeting and adjourning no fewer than eight times during the day, when it was altered and sent back to the Lower House, which rejected the alteration, and returned the resolution in its original shape. It was now past nine o'clock, and everything was at a dead-lock, only about two hours being left for a final decision whether the Constitution should be a dead letter or not. The President of the Upper House was just about closing the sitting when a communication was made to him, and immediately a joint committee was proposed and accepted by both Houses. The committee met instantly, and after half an hour's deliberation a resolution was agreed upon, which was accepted by the Cabinet ; and about half-past eleven the President of the Council was able to proceed to the Castle of Amalienborg (where his Majesty, who had come in from his country residence at Fredensborg, had been waiting the final result) to obtain the Royal signature, which finally made the resolution law. This provisional result of the crisis-for it was in reality only a six weeks' armistice--was accepted by all parties with the greatest delight.”

NORWAY.

The same writer stated that, according to official information published by the Government of Norway, the mercantile fleet of that country, in the latter part of 1876, consisted of 7,814 vessels, of which 7,596 were sailing vessels and 218 steamers. The total number of the crews was put down at 60,281 persons, and he remarked that, “considering the population of Norway is barely 2,000,000 souls, the proportion of sailors to the total number of inhabitants is unusually high--probably higher than in any other country."

CHAPTER X.

UNITED STATES- SOUTH AMERICA— MADAGASCAR-CHINA

JAPAN.

UNITED STATES—Disputed Presidential Election-Electoral Commission-Hayes

declared President-Inauguration of the President--His Address-Policy of Conciliation-The Cabinet-Federal Troops withdrawn from the South-Conflicts with the Indians-- Negro Population of the Southern States--Commercial and Industrial Depression-Railway Strikes and Riots—Civil Service Reform-President Hayes in Vermont-Mr. Sherman's Speech-President Hayes in the South-United States' Embassy to the Sioux Chief-Remonetisation of Silver Bill—Repeal of the Resumption Act--Anomalies of Presidential Government–The President's National Policy-President Hayes' First Annual Message--Award of Fishery Commission-The Mormons-Execution of Lee-Death of Brigham Young - United

States and Mexico. SOUTH AMERICA.-Earthquakes, Floods, and Famine. MADAGASCAR.-- Abolition of Slavery. CHINA.-Foreign Trade with the Treaty Ports-Opening of three more Towns to Foreign

Commerce-Famine in the Northern Provinces--Floods in the South of China. JAPAN.-Imperial Government and the Daimios—The Prince of Satsuma-Retrospect

of Japanese History-Clan of Satsuma-Insurrection in Satsuma-Causes of Complaint-The Budget-Army and Navy of Japan.

UNITED STATES.

In the United States the year 1877 opened gloomily amid the difficulties and uncertainties, the turmoil and strife, of a disputed Presidential Election. It was, in fact, a more important political crisis than had occurred for a dozen years. Party feeling ran very high, and there were dreary prognostics that " in less than a hundred days” the citizens of the Great Republic “would be cutting each other's throats.”

The votes of the Presidential Electors were almost equally balanced, and whether Mr. Tilden and Mr. Hendricks, the Democratic Candidates, or Mr. Hayes and Mr. Wheeler, the Republican Candidates, would be declared President and Vice-President for the next four years, depended on the admission or rejection of the votes of three of the Southern States, viz., Florida, Louisiana, and South Carolina. In these States Republican Legislatures had appointed partisan-returning Boards, and these were accused by the opposite party of falsifying the returns. The Democrats, therefore, demanded an investigation; but the Republicans maintained that, according to the Constitution, the certificate of the Governor of a State legalised the returns and could not be upset. How could the dispute be adjusted ? In what way might a peaceful settlement be arrived at ?

The ultra Republicans contended that the solution of the difficulty rested with the President of the Senate, whose province it was to control the counting of the votes; but the extreme Democrats declared that Congress also could exercise that control, and that both Houses had the power of rejecting disputed votes. If no compromise could be effected, two rival Presidents, or two rival Pretenders to the Presidency, would divide the country into two hostile factions, each claiming that its candidate was the lawfullyelected “ King of the Kingless land ;" a state of things that would be very likely to end in civil war, or at least in a dead-lock of all the machinery of Government-a paralysis of commerce and industry, a damaged national credit, and a political and social chaos of the most serious nature,

In this dilemma the common sense and political sagacity of the practical and law-respecting people of the United States devised a means of escape.

The Senate and the Lower House agreed to appoint an Electoral Commission, composed of five members taken from each branch of the Legislature and the five Judges of the Supreme Court. The functions of this Committee of Fifteen were intended to be judicial; but the members of it, whether senators, deputies, or judges, voted simply for the interests of their respective parties without any reference whatever to the merits of the case. It was ruled by a majority of one that Congress should not inquire into the credentials of a Presidential Elector.

This at once gave the victory to the Republicans, and Congress having accepted the recommendation (and consequently the admission of the votes of the three Southern States without investigation) Mr. Hayes and Mr. Wheeler, the Republican Candidates, were declared to be the lawfully-elected President and VicePresident by 184 Presidential Votes to 183. Thus this important matter was settled; and though the Democrats complained of imposition, they could not dispute the legality of the decision, nor Mr. Hayes's title to the Presidential chair.

This great question was decided on March 2 at four in the morning, and in five hours from that time Mr. Hayes was greeted in Washington by General Grant and others as the President elect. On the evening of the next day he was entertained at a grand banquet at the White House, and at noon on the following daySunday-Grant's term of office expired; but the new President having been sworn in privately the previous evening by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, no interregnum occurred.

Monday, March 4, was the day of inauguration. A military and civic procession escorted the Ex-President and actual President from the White House to the Capitol, where, standing on the large platform which had been erected for the purpose in the high central portico of the Capitol, and in presence of a brilliant company--the supreme judges, members of Congress, the diplomatic corps, the high officers of State, General Sherman and officers of rank in the army and navy, the President again took the oaths of office, and then proceeded to deliver his inaugural address, which was earnest in tone and explicit in the enunciation of a policy of conciliation. Its principal topics were the condition and wants of the Southern States and the policy he intended to pursue towards them, the reform of the Civil service and the financial policy of the Union. He declared that the permanent pacifi

[merged small][ocr errors]

cation of the country upon such principles and by such measures as would secure the complete protection of all its citizens in the free enjoyment of their constitutional rights, was the one object which all thoughtful and patriotic citizens regarded as of supreme importance, and he believed that before this great principle partyinterests would fade into insignificance. “ The question for the Southern States," he said, “was government or no government ; social order, peaceful industries, and happiness, or a return to barbarism."

“ What the States of the South now imperatively require,” he went on to say, " is the inestimable blessing of wise, honest, and peaceful local self-government. But then it is not to be forgotten that only a local Government which recognises and maintains inviolate the rights of all is true self-government.

It must be a Government which submits loyally and heartily to the Constitution and the Laws—those of the Nation and those of the States themselves--accepting and obeying faithfully all the Constitution as it is." “ Let me assure my countrymen of the Southern States," he added, “that it is my earnest desire to regard and promote their truest interests—the interests of white and coloured people both equally—and to put forth my best efforts on behalf of a civil policy which will for ever wipe out of our political affairs the colour line and distinction between the North and South, to the end that we may have, not merely a united North or a united South, but a united country.”

And not only the political but the material development of the Southern States deserved the attention of the Government, for that also had been arrested, nor must the moral and intellectual condition of the people of these States be neglected. The schools should be liberally supported by State Governments. He urged, likewise, the absolute necessity of Civil Service Reform, that faithful officials might be secured. The founders of the Government never expected officials to be appointed for partisan services. Though the President necessarily owes his election to one party, to whose principles he is deeply attached, it should be remembered that he served his party best who served his country best.

To further such reform the President recommended an increase of the Presidential term of office to six years without eligibility for re-election. He said that financial depression continued, but with signs of returning prosperity; that the uncertainty of the paper currency added to the depression ; that the only safe paper currency is one at all times convertible into coin ; that legislation for early resumption is both wise and imperatively demanded. He approved the policy inaugurated by his honoured predecessor, General Grant, of submitting international disputes to arbitration. If, uuhappily, such questions hereafter arise, he would adhere to this policy. Referring to the closeness of the Presidential result and the Electoral Tribunal, he said it gave the first instance in the world's history of a great nation in the midst of a struggle of opposing parties for power hushing party tumults to adjust the contest by legal forms.

« AnteriorContinuar »