Page images
PDF
EPUB

with themselves. They shall name in their ballots the person voted for as President, and in distinct ballots the person voted for as Vice-President; and they shall make distinct lists of all persons voted for as President, and of all persons voted for as VicePresident, and of the number of votes for each, which lists they shall sign and certify and transimit sealed to the seat of the Government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate. The President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates, and the votes shall then be counted. The person having the greatest number of votes for President shall be the President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of electors appointed; and if no person have such majority, then from the persons having the highest numbers, not exceeding three, on the list of those voted for as President, the House of Representatives shall choose immediately, by ballot, the President. But in choosing the President the votes shall be taken by States, the representation from each State having one vote. A quorum for this purpose shall consist of a member or members from two-thirds of the States, and a majority of all the States shall be necessary to a choice. And if the House of Representatives shall not choose a President, whenever the right of choice shall devolve upon them, before the 4th day of March next following, then the Vice-President shall act as President, as in the case of the death or other constitutional disability of the President.

[Extract from "An act relative to the election of a President and Vice-President of the United States, and declaring the officer who shall act as President in case of vacancies in the offices both of President and Vice-President," approved March 1, 1792.]

SEC. 1. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That * * * electors shall be appointed

in each State for the election of a President and Vice-President of the United States * * in every fourth year succeeding the last election, which electors shall be equal to the number of Senators and Representatives to which the several States may by law be entitled at the time when the President and Vice-President thus to be chosen should come into office: Provided always, That where no apportionment of Representatives shall have been made after any enumeration at the time of choosing electors, then the number of electors shall be according to the existing apportionment of Senators and Representatives.

*

["An act to establish a uniform time for holding elections for electors of President and Vice-President in all the States of the Union," approved January 23, 1845.]

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the electors of President and Vice-President shall be appointed in each State on the Tuesday next after the first Monday in the month of November of the year in which they are to be appointed: Provided, That each State may by law provide for the filling of any vacancy or vacancies which may occur in its college of electors when such college meets to give its electoral vote: And provided also, When any State shall have held an election for the purpose of choosing electors, and shall fail to make a choice on the day aforesaid, then the electors may be appointed on a subsequent day in such manner as the State shall by law provide.

[Extracts from "An act relative to the election of a President and Vice-President of the United States, and declaring the officer who shall act as President in case of vacancies in the offices both of President and Vice-President," approved March 1, 1792.]

SEC. 2. And be it further enacted, That the electors shall meet and give their votes on the said first Wednesday in December, at such place in each State as shall be directed by the legislature thereof; and the electors in each State shall make and sign three certificates of all the votes by them given, and shall seal up the same, certifying on each that a list of the votes of such State for President and Vice-President is contained therein, and shall, by writing under their hands or under the hands of a majority of them, appoint a person to take charge of and deliver to the President

[graphic]

of the Senate, at the seat of Government, before the first Wednesday in January then next ensuing, one of the said certificates; and the said electors shall forthwith forward by the post-office to the President of the Senate, at the seat of Government, one other of the said certificates, and shall forthwith cause the other of the said certificates to be delivered to the judge of that district in which the said electors shall assemble.

SEC. 3. And be it further enacted, That the executive authority of each State shall cause three lists of the names of the electors of such State to be made and certified, and to be delivered to the electors on or before the said first Wednesday in December, and the said electors shall annex one of the said lists to each of the lists of their votes.

SEC. 4. And be it further enacted, That if a list of votes from any State shall not have been received at the seat of Government on the said first Wednesday in January, that then the Secretary of State shall send a special messenger to the district judge in whose custody such list shall have been lodged, who shall forthwith transmit the same to the seat of Government.

SEC. 5. And be it further enacted, That Congress shall be in session on the second Wednesday in February, 1793, and on the second Wednesday in February succeeding every meeting of the electors, and the said certificates, or so many of them as shall have been received, shall then be opened, the votes counted, and the persons who shall fill the offices of President and Vice-President ascertained and declared agreeably to the Constitution.

SEC. 6. And be it further enacted, That in case there shall be no President of the Senate at the seat of Government on the arrival of the persons intrusted with the list of the votes of the electors, then such persons shall deliver the lists of votes in their custody into the office of the Secretary of State, to be safely kept and delivered over as soon as may be to the President of the Senate.

*

*

*

*

SEC. 8. And be it further enacted, That if any person appointed to deliver the votes of the electors to the President of the Senate shall, after accepting of his appointment, neglect to perform the services required of him by this act, he shall forfeit the sum of $1,000.

*

[Extract from "An act making compensation to the persons appointed by the electors to deliver the votes for President and Vice-President," approved February 11, 1825.]

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the person appointed by the electors to deliver to the President of the Senate a list of the votes for President and Vice-President shall be allowed, on delivery of said list, 25 cents for every mile of the estimated distance by the most usual route from the place of meeting of the electors to the seat of Government of the United States, going and returning.

[Extract from "An act relative to the election of a President and Vice-President of the United States, and declaring the officer who shall act as President in case of vacancies in the offices both of President and Vice-President," approved March 1, 1792.]

SEC. 12. And be it further enacted, That the term of four years for which a President and Vice-President shall be elected shall in all cases commence on the 4th day. of March next succeeding the day on which the votes of the electors shall have been given.

[graphic]

["An act to prevent officers of the Army and Navy, and other persons engaged in the military and naval service of the United States, from interfering in elections in the States," approved February 25, 1865.]

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That it shall not be lawful for any military or naval officer of the United States, or other person engaged in the civil, military, or naval service of the United States, to order, bring, keep, or have under his authority or

control any troops or armed men at the place where any general or special election is held in any State of the United States of America, unless it shall be necessary to repel the armed enemies of the United States or to keep the peace at the polls. And that it shall not be lawful for any officer of the Army or Navy of the United States to prescribe or fix, or attempt to prescribe or fix, by proclamation, order, or otherwise, the qualifications of voters in any State of the United States of America, or in any manner to interfere with the freedom of any election in any State or with the exercise of the free right of suffrage in any State of the United States. Any officer of the Army or Navy of the United States, or other person engaged in the civil, military, or naval service of the United States, who violates this section of this act shall for every such offense be liable to indictment as for a misdemeanor in any court of the United States having jurisdiction to hear, try, and determine cases of misdemeanor, and on conviction thereof shall pay a fine not exceeding $5,000 and suffer imprisonment in the penitentiary not less than three months nor more than five years, at the discretion of the court trying the same; and any person convicted as aforesaid shall, moreover, be disqualified from holding any office of honor, profit, or trust under the Government of the United States: Provided, That nothing herein contained shall be so construed as to prevent any officers, soldiers, sailors, or marines from exercising the right of suffrage in any election district to which he may belong, if otherwise qualified according to the laws of the State in which he shall offer to vote.

SEC. 2. And be it further enacted, That any officer or person in the military or naval service of the United States who shall order or advise, or who shall, directly or indirectly, by force, threat, menace, intimidation, or otherwise, prevent or attempt to prevent any qualified voter of any State of the United States of America from freely exercising the right of suffrage at any general or special election in any State of the United States, or who shall in like manner compel or attempt to compel any officer of an election in any such State to receive a vote from a person not legally qualified to vote, or who shall impose or attempt to impose any rules or regulations for conducting such election different from those prescribed by law, or interfere in any manner with any officer of said election in the discharge of his duties, shall for any such offense be liable to indictment as for a misdemeanor in any court of the United States having jurisdiction to hear, try, and determine cases of misdemeanor, and on conviction thereof shall pay a fine of not exceeding $5,000 and suffer imprisonment in the penitentiary not exceeding five years, at the discretion of the court trying the same; and any person convicted as aforesaid shall, moreover, be disqualified from holding any office of honor, profit, or trust under the Government of the United States.

By command of General Grant:

E. D. TOWNSEND, Assistant Adjutant-General.

WAR DEPARTMENT, Washington City, November 4, 1868.

By direction of the President, Brevet Major-General E. R. S. Canby is hereby assigned to the command of the Fifth Military District, created by the act of Congress of March 2, 1867, and of the Military Department of Texas, consisting of the State of Texas. He will, without unnecessary delay, turn over his present command to the next officer in rank and proceed to the command to which he is hereby assigned, and on assuming the same will, when necessary to a faithful execution of the laws, exercise any and all powers conferred by acts of Congress upon district

[graphic]

commanders and any and all authority pertaining to officers in command of military departments.

Brevet Major-General J. J. Reynolds is hereby relieved from the command of the Fifth Military District.

J. M. SCHOFIELD,

Secretary of War.

FOURTH ANNUAL MESSAGE.

WASHINGTON, December 9, 1868.

Fellow-Citizens of the Senate and House of Representatives:

Upon the reassembling of Congress it again becomes my duty to call your attention to the state of the Union and to its continued disorganized condition under the various laws which have been passed upon the subject of reconstruction.

It may be safely assumed as an axiom in the government of states that the greatest wrongs inflicted upon a people are caused by unjust and arbitrary legislation, or by the unrelenting decrees of despotic rulers, and that the timely revocation of injurious and oppressive measures is the greatest good that can be conferred upon a nation. The legislator or ruler who has the wisdom and magnanimity to retrace his steps when convinced of error will sooner or later be rewarded with the respect and gratitude of an intelligent and patriotic people.

Our own history, although embracing a period less than a century, affords abundant proof that most, if not all, of our domestic troubles are directly traceable to violations of the organic law and excessive legislation. The most striking illustrations of this fact are furnished by the enactments of the past three years upon the question of reconstruction. After a fair trial they have substantially failed and proved pernicious in their results, and there seems to be no good reason why they should longer remain upon the statute book. States to which the Constitution guarantees a republican form of government have been reduced to military dependencies, in each of which the people have been made subject to the arbitrary will of the commanding general. Although the Constitution requires that each State shall be represented in Congress, Virginia, Mississippi, and Texas are yet excluded from the two Houses, and, contrary to the express provisions of that instrument, were denied participation in the recent election for a President and Vice-President of the United States. The attempt to place the white population under the domination of persons of color in the South has impaired, if not destroyed, the kindly relations that had previously existed between them; and mutual distrust has engendered a feeling of animosity which, leading in some instances to collision and bloodshed, has prevented that cooperation between the two

[graphic]

races so essential to the success of industrial enterprise in the Southern States. Nor have the inhabitants of those States alone suffered from the disturbed condition of affairs growing out of these Congressional enactments. The entire Union has been agitated by grave apprehensions of troubles which might again involve the peace of the nation; its interests have been injuriously affected by the derangement of business and labor, and the consequent want of prosperity throughout that portion of the country.

The Federal Constitution—the magna charta of American rights, under whose wise and salutary provisions we have successfully conducted all our domestic and foreign affairs, sustained ourselves in peace and in war, and become a great nation among the powers of the earth-must assuredly be now adequate to the settlement of questions growing out of the civil war, waged alone for its vindication. This great fact is made most manifest by the condition of the country when Congress assembled in the month of December, 1865. Civil strife had ceased, the spirit of rebellion had spent its entire force, in the Southern States the people had warmed into national life, and throughout the whole country a healthy reaction in public sentiment had taken place. By the application of the simple yet effective provisions of the Constitution the executive department, with the voluntary aid of the States, had brought the work of restoration as near completion as was within the scope of its authority, and the nation was encouraged by the prospect of an early and satisfactory adjustment of all its difficulties. Congress, however, intervened, and, refusing to perfect the work so nearly consummated, declined to admit members from the unrepresented States, adopted a series of measures which arrested the progress of restoration, frustrated all that had been so successfully accomplished, and, after three years of agitation and strife, has left the country further from the attainment of union and fraternal feeling than at the inception of the Congressional plan of reconstruction. It needs no argument to show that legislation which has produced such baneful consequences should be abrogated, or else made to conform to the genuine principles of republican government.

Under the influence of party passion and sectional prejudice, other acts have been passed not warranted by the Constitution. Congress has already been made familiar with my views respecting the “tenure-ofoffice bill." Experience has proved that its repeal is demanded by the best interests of the country, and that while it remains in force the President can not enjoin that rigid accountability of public officers so essential to an honest and efficient execution of the laws. Its revocation would enable the executive department to exercise the power of appointment and removal in accordance with the original design of the Federal Constitution.

The act of March 2, 1867, making appropriations for the support of the Army for the year ending June 30, 1868, and for other purposes, contains

M P-VOL VI-43

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »