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there should be two returns from Oregon,-a Republican State where one of the three electors chosen was claimed to be disqualified,—the return bearing the Governor's seal naming one Democrat along with two Republican electors. They argued, Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander; if the Governor's seal is taken as settling everything, we gain the one electoral vote we need; if, confronted by the Oregon case, the commission decide that they may go back of the governor's seal,—that opens the three Southern States to our rightful challenge. But the commission, or its Republican members, were not to be so easily posed; in the case of Oregon, they accepted the seal of the Secretary of State, certifying the three Republicans. As the Springfield Republican bluntly put it, “ The electoral commission decided that there was no way of recovering the stolen goods in the Louisiana case; it has found a way of restoring the Oregon vote to its rightful owner."
That the goods were stolen, at least in Louisiana, there can scarcely at this day be any doubt. Whether the commission did its duty in declining to investigate and right the wrong may be debated, but the judgment of history will probably say that neither equity nor statesmanship, but partisanship guided the decision. Undoubtedly in Louisiana, and probably in Florida, the returning board deliberately threw out some thousands of votes for no other reason than to change the State's vote, and the Presidency. The commission refused to correct or even investigate the wrong, on the plea of scrupulous respect for State rights. A great victory for the principle of local rights, argues Senator Hoar in his autobiography. Possibly. But it is also open to say, that the general government having tolerated and supported an iniquitous local oligarchy, a special and supreme tribunal of the nation allowed that oligarchy to decide the Presidency by a fraud.
The popular judgment of the matter at the North was largely affected by the belief that the frauds of the Republicans were offset by intimidation on the part of the Demo crats. In various parts of the South, notably in Mississippi and South Carolina, and probably in Louisiana, there was a wide terrorizing of the negro Republicans. “One side was about as bad as the other," was a common feeling. A year or two later, the New York Tribune unearthed and translated a number of cipher telegrams, which disclosed that while the dispute over the result was going on, agents high in the confidence of the Democratic leaders made efforts to buy up a returning board or a presidential elector. So both parties were badly smirched, and the election and its sequel furnished one of the most desperate and disreputable passages in American politics.
Yet the better sentiment of the country, triumphant in the creation of the commission, but baffled by its partisan action, shone clear again when the decision was deliberately and calmly accepted by the beaten party. Congress had reserved to itself the power to reverse by a concurrent vote of both Houses the commission's decision upon any State. But each decision was accepted by a party vote, except that in the case of Louisiana two Massachusetts Republicans, Julius H. Seelye and Henry L. Pierce, spoke and voted against their party. But when the final count gave a majority to Hayes, the formal declaration of the result was supported by all save about eighty irreconcilables, chiefly Northern Democrats, who were overborne in a stormy night session. It had become simply a question between order and anarchy, and the party of order, by a strange chance, was led for the occasion by Fernando Wood, the "copperhead" of earlier days. For the body of the Southern Democrats, Henry Watterson spoke manly words, accepting the inevitable with resolution and dignity. But among the influences that
weighed with the Southern Congressmen was the assurance from Hayes's friends that as President he would make an end of military interference in the South. In the giving of the assurance there was nothing unworthy, for the withdrawal of the troops was dictated by the whole logic of recent events, and was in keeping with Hayes's convictions.
So, quickly following the inauguration of President Hayes came the withdrawal of the blue-coats from South Carolina and Louisiana and the Republican State governments tumbled like card houses. Nicholls took the governorship in New Orleans and Hampton in Columbia. But it was not by this act alone that the new President inaugurated a new régime. He called to his Cabinet as postmaster-general, David M. Key, of Tennessee, who had fought for the Confederacy. Schurz, liberal and reformer of the first rank, was given the department of the interior. Evarts in the State department; Devens, of Massachusetts, as attorneygeneral; Sherman in the treasury, to complete the work of resumption; McCrary, of Iowa, and Thompson, of Indiana, for the war and navy; and Blaine, Morton, Conkling, Chandler,—nowhere. The administration went steadily on its way, little loved by the old party chiefs; under some shadow from the character of its title; but doing good work, achieving resumption of specie payments; ending the administrative scandals which had grown worse to the end of Grant's term; reforming the civil service. It was peaceful and beneficent revolution, and in its quiet years the Southern turmoils subsided, and for better or for worse South Carolina and Mississippi worked out their own way as New York and Ohio worked out theirs.
“Evil is good in the making,” says the optimist philosopher. Even the more sober view of life reveals
That men may rise on stepping-stones
Out of the calamities and horrors of war came to the nation a larger life. Communities had been lifted out of pettiness, churches had half forgotten their sectarianism, to millions of souls a sublimer meaning in life had been disclosed. Lowell said it in two lines:
Earth's biggest country's got her soul,
The South had suffered far more than the North, and the South reaped the larger profit. The fallacy of the old Southern civilization had been the idea that labor is a curse and is to be shirked on to somebody else. Overthrow and impoverishment brought labor as a necessity to every one, and slowly it was revealed as a blessing.
When General Lee, stately in figure and bearing and splendid in dress, met in surrender the sturdy Grant, in worn and homely service uniform, it was emblematic of the yielding of the aristocratic order to the industrial democracy. There was significance in the victor's kindly words, “Let your soldiers keep their horses; they will need them when they get home for the spring plowing." That was
it,they turned from chargers to plow-horses, and much to their safety and gain. Their masters, too, from fighters became toilers, and if it seemed a fall it proved a rise.
Before long on the street cars of Charleston and New Orleans were seen young men of good family as drivers and conductors. Anything for an honest living! Our fine old friend, Thomas Dabney, had been ruined along with everybody else. He and his family undauntedly set themselves to do their own household work. General Sherman was reported to have said, “ It would be a good thing if this sent every Southern woman to the wash-tub.” “Did Sherman say that?” said Dabney; "he shall not send my daughters to the wash-tub!” and the old hero turned laundry-man for the family as long as the need lasted. But the educated class soon found fitter work than as laundrymen or car conductors. The more exacting places called for occupants. There was a great enlistment in the ranks of teachers. Lee took the presidency of Washington university and gave to its duties the same whole-hearted service, the same punctilious care, that he had given to the command of the army of Northern Virginia. In peace as in war he was an exemplar to his countrymen,—and his countrymen now were spread from Maine to California.
But what was to be the fate of the emancipated negro? Jefferson had believed that he must be sent back to Africa.
Colonization ” had been the watchword of Southern emancipators, so long as there were any. Even Lincoln apparently looked to that. But wholesale colonization was clearly impossible. The freedmen neither could nor would be transported in a body to Africa. And had it been possible it would have stripped the land of laborers and left it a waste.
The South's assumption was that the negro was intrinsically an inferior and must be kept subordinate to the