Imágenes de páginas

forth the condition and aims of his Government. In November the Minister for Foreign Affairs announced that certain pending difficulties with the Turkish Government, relative to two frontier fortresses-Zakar and Little Svornik-were to be settled by negotiation with the Porte, and not by foreign intervention.


The Greek Government underwent two changes of Ministry this year. In January M. Zaïmes gave place to M. Bulgares, after which the Chamber was dissolved, and a new general election took place. In July Bulgares was superseded by M. Deligeorges. The last Ministerial crisis was brought about by the question of the Laurium mines, which, after undergoing a constant blundering treatment for a year past, was brought into European prominence this autumn by the course of events. The dispute now rested on the claim of the Greek Government to tax the scoria and débris of the old mines in the district which the French adventurer M. Roux, and the Italian M. Serpieri, had, in 1864, purchased the right of working. The lessees complained of an ex post facto law, charging them for liabilities for eight years back. At the end of the year the question was referred to the Governments of Austria, Germany, and Russia, who agreed in recommending arbitration.


NORTH AMERICA.—UNITED STATES.—International Questions with England—Assas.

sination of James Fisk-Break-down of the Erie Ring-Jay Gould— Trials of
Oakey Hall and of Judge Barnard-Decision of Supreme Court on the Mormons
--Bills in Congress, Speech of Senator Sumner-Presidential Election Campaign
-Horace Greeley-Conventions at Cincinnati, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Louis-
ville, Pittsburg-State Elections of October - Election of General Grant as
President-Death of Mr. Greeley-Opening of Congress-President's Message-
Finance Death of Mr. Seward—Fire at Boston-Politics of Louisiana-Arizona
Diamond Bubble.
MEXICO.-Death of President Juarez-Honduras Civil War.
Sortu AMERICA.-BRAZIL.–Treaty with Paraguay.
Peru.- Revolution, and Murder of President Balta.
BOLIVIA.-Murder of President Morales.
Asia.--China. The Emperor's Marriage-Treaty with Japan.
JAPAN.-Reforms - Railway opened.


The two leading subjects of interest this year, in the history of the United States, are the diplomatic relations of the Government with the Government of Great Britain ; and the Presidential election, with the circumstances connected with it. The first series of incidents filled up the earlier part of the year, culminating in the Geneva Arbitration in September, with the subsequent arbitration of the Emperor of Germany in the San Juan boundary question on the 21st of October.

The Presidential election took place on the 5th of November, and was the central spring of internal politics from the time that Congress was prorogued in June.

The international negotiations and discussions with England on the Alabama question, the Indirect Claims, the Supplemental Treaty, the Award, the Counter-claims, and the San Juan Arbitration, have already come under review in the English portion of our history, and we shall therefore not return to them here, but occupy our space with the history of the Presidential election, and also with some other matters, which, if of less wide and stirring interest, nevertheless carry on the record of the internal policy of the United States, or reveal some characteristic features of the national life.

The assassination of Colonel James Fisk, on the 6th of January, removed from the scene of action the most notorious of the speculators who had enriched themselves and damaged the credit of their country by the transactions connected with the “Erie Ring.” Fisk was shot dead in the Grand Central Hotel, New York, by Edward Stokes, a rival in the affections of a mistress whom he was visiting. Great was the excitement in New York at the news; greater, it is said, than any public event had caused since the assassination of President Lincoln. Stokes was apprehended and committed for trial. The death of Fisk had the effect of deepening the popular movement against the Ring, while it removed from the working of that fraudulent conspiracy its ablest and most energetic member. Mr. Jay Gould, who had hitherto shared with Fisk the principal hazard and responsibility, now found himself in difficulties which he was incompetent to surmount. A panic set in among the directors; one by one they dropped off; and when the final attack by the indignant public was made on the 11th of March in the Grand Opera House, which had been the main triumph of Fisk's magnificence and the citadel of his government, Gould, after struggling at his post against the newly-elected Board, literally forced to retire from room to room, while the police force he had summoned declined to aid him, finally on the following day succumbed, capitulated, and acquiesced in seeing the respectable names of General Dix, General M Clellan, and Mr. Sherman substituted in the chief direction of the Erie Railway for those of the broken and disgraced “Ring” of which he had been so prominent a member. The repeal of the "Erie Classification Act” soon afterwards, by the New York Legislature, completed his defeat. The new direction quitted the Opera House, the scene of former frauds, to re-establish their head. quarters in the former office of the Railway.

For a short time Gould's name was allowed to remain among the directors, but he soon retired altogether, and a suit was instituted against him by the new managers for damages incurred by his maladministration. The bill of complaint was served upon the defendant on the 1st of July. It recited numerous breaches of trust and violations of law from the time of Gould's election as President in October, 1867, to his being ousted from his office. His management was charged with causing an over-issue of capital stock of the Erie Railway, the repeated elections of fraudulent Boards of Directors, and the unlawful issue of $10,000,000 bonds appropriated to himself and his confederates. The bill of complaint also adverted to the injury to the Erie Railway from Gould's Right to the State of New Jersey some years before, and his expenditure of $1,000,000 of the railway money to extricate himself from the embarrassments caused by his frauds; also to another fraudulent issue of $38,000,000 bonds to "water” the stock, unlawful payment of heavy claims to Vanderbilt and others, fraudulent transactions with connecting railways, the building and leasing of the Grand Opera House, &c. For all of these things damages were claimed amounting to $10,000,000. The suit was still pending, when, several months later in the year, Gould contrived to mix himself up in a swindling operation known as the “ North Western Corner,” which furnished such strong evidence of malpractices on his part that, on being arrested, he became frightened, and agreed, in consideration of the Erie Directors withdrawing their suit against him, to make restitution of property to the amount of more than $9,000,000, this restitution embracing 60,000 shares of Erie common stock, and the Grand Opera House itself.

The trial of Mayor Hall, of " Tammany” notoriety, was proceeding simultaneously with the Erie Revolution. It ended abruptly, however, on a technical point, the New York Recorder deciding that Judge Daly's Court, by which the Mayor was being tried, had no legal existence; and that he, the Recorder alone, by the laws of New York, was authorized to hold a Court of Sessions such as Judge Daly was improperly holding. The eleven jurors were, therefore, discharged, the Court dissolved, and the Mayor set free. After their discharge the jurors are said to have assured the Mayor that no evidence that they had heard implicated him in any criminal action.

He was tried again in October, when, after the counsel had occupied two days in their closing speeches, and after a charge by Judge Brady, the jury announced that they could not agree, and were consequently discharged.

Another triumphant incident in the war of public opinion against the fraudulent “Rings” of Tammany and Erie was the deposition of Judge Barnard from the judicial bench in the same month of October. The constitution of the State of New York gives the people security against a bad judge by providing for his removal after impeachment before the Senate of the State. Of late years, however, this protection had been imaginary rather than real, for, if the Judges had been notoriously corrupt, the Senate was so likewise. But the tide of popular opinion, which swept Mr. Tweed and Mr. Gould successively out of power, came to be felt even in the Senate at Albany, so that the prosecution of the three judges implicated in the evil deeds of the Erie Ring appeared no longer a hopeless work. Before the charges against these officers came to maturity one of them died, another resigned; but Judge Barnard, the boldest, ablest, and most guilty of the three, stood his trial daringly, pressing as many as possible of the influences which he once swayed, and which remained still unbroken, into his defence. If, however, after the fall of his accomplices in the Erie and Tammany conspiracies, there remained to him any remnant of favour in the Senate at Albany, the vehemence and unanimity of public opinion compelled this friendship to silence. Upon the most serious charge Barnard was found guilty. Having been convicted of having used the immense powers of his judicial office, embracing both the common law and an equity jurisdiction, for the service of Fisk and the Erie Ring, he was sentenced to removal from his place on the Bench and disqualified for re-election.

The trial of Stokes for the murder of Fisk came on in June; but, after lasting twenty-two days, the jury were discharged, being unable to come to an agreement. Seven were in favour of a verdict of wilful murder, and five of manslaughter. Stokes was then remanded to gaol to await a second trial, which was still outstanding when the year ended. .

The cause of the Mormon community obtained a signal triumph this year in the decision of the Supreme Court of the United States in the case of Engelbrecht v. Clinton, which overruled all the recent decisions of Chief Justice M'Kean. The effect of the Supreme Court's decision was not merely to put a stop at once to the prosecution of Brigham Young and all other Mormons, and to release those already convicted : at the same time it restored the Mormon control of the courts of Utah. Chief Justice M.Kean, by a series of judgments, had ruled that the district attorney or public prosecutor appointed by the Mormon legislature had no standing in the courts of the Territory, which are United States courts, and can consequently recognize only United States officials : that, for the same reason, the Mormon marshals had no authority to summon juries for those courts, as they had been in the habit of doing, and that polygamists living in open and constant violation of the law of the land were ipso facto incapacitated to serve upon juries to administer that law. In conformity with these rulings the juries were empanelled which convicted a Mormon of bigamy, and which found true bills against Brigham Young and his leading disciples. In virtue of the new decision, all these verdicts therefore fell at once to the ground. Civil actions of very great importance, especially mining suits, involving the title to property worth millions, had been decided by juries selected under the rulings of Chief Justice

MʻKean, which were now equally invalid. It would seem probable that the decision of the Supreme Court will have a further effect in improving the chance of a favourable consideration of the Mormon petition for the admission of Utah as a State into the Union. The Mormons offer, if their petition is granted, to renounce polygamy, and to insert a clause in the Constitution of the new State strictly prohibiting the practice.

With the exception of the discussions connected with the Washington Treaty and the proposals arising out of it, upon which it will not be necessary here to enlarge, the debates in Congress during the early part of this year present little worth special notice. An Amnesty Bill for all persons excepting military or naval officers or members of Congress concerned in the late Rebellion, passed the House of Representatives in January. A Tariff Bill was passed by both Houses in June, a few days previously to their prorogation for the summer.

The greatest fight in Congress was connected with a resolution introduced by Mr. Sumner into the Senate on the 14th of February, to inquire into the sales of American arms and ordnance stores to France during the Franco-German War. In a speech arising out of this subject on the 31st of May, he took occasion to make a most violent onslaught on the President, whose candidature for the approaching election was pending. With characteristic extravagance of language, he accused General Grant, in pompous phrases, interspersed with real and imaginary examples from history, of nepotism, of pecuniary corruption, and of disregard for the letter and spirit of the Constitution; asserted that by employing military officers in civil appointments, and by ordering certain reports to be made to the Commander-in-Chief instead of the Secretary at War, he had attempted to establish despotism, or as he chose to phrase it, the “One-Man power;" quoted Mr. Buckle and the late Lord Durham as authorities for the proposition that soldiers are unfit for political functions, and declared that Marlborough and Frederick the Great were conspicuously deficient in political ability. He further recorded how Jefferson had blamed his political rival, President John Adams, for giving promotion to his son ; how Washington had refused a present of canal shares from the Virginia Assembly; and how Lord Brougham would only consent to receive a very trifling ornament from his admirers at Glasgow. With these instances Mr. Sumner contrasted the old historic tales of Papal nepotism and corruption, and compared General Grant's exercise

power and patronage to the ecclesiastical jobberies of Alexander VI. and Gregory XIII. Then he cited St. Louis of France. Unlike that virtuous monarch, who when leaving his country for a crusade “charged his queen-regent not to accept presents for herself or her children,” General Grant, he said, had not only received numerous gifts, but had in two or three instances promoted the donors to high offices of State. Then again he censured the obstinate and abortive efforts of the President to get Congress to assent to the


« AnteriorContinuar »