The conditions which confronted President Hayes when the final decision of the Electoral Commission placed him in the executive chair did not make it probable that he could carry out a program of positive achievement. The withdrawal of troops from the South had been almost completed, but the process of reconstruction had been so dominated by suspicion, ignorance and vindictiveness that sectional hostility was still acute. As has been seen, the economic problems which faced the country were for the most part unsolved; on the subjects of tariff, finance and the civil service, neither party was prepared to present a united front; and the lack of foresight and statesmanlike leadership in the parties had given selfish interests an opportunity to seize control. Nor did the circumstances surrounding the election of Hayes tend to simplify his task, for the disappointment of the Democrats was extreme, and they found a natural difficulty in adjusting themselves to the decision against Tilden. Democratic newspapers dubbed Hayes "His Fraudulency" and "The Boss Thief," printed his picture with "Fraud" printed across his brow and referred to his election as the "steal" and a "political crime."

The man who was to essay leadership under such conditions had back of him a useful even if not brilliant career. He had been born in Ohio in 1822, had graduated from Kenyon College as valedictorian of his class, attended Harvard Law School and served on the Union side during the war, retiring with the rank of a brevet Major General. He had been twice elected to Congress, but had resigned after his second election to become governor of his native state, a position which he had filled for three terms.

Hayes was a man of the substantial, conscientious and hard-working type. He was not brilliant or magnetic, he originated no innovations, burst into no flights of imaginative oratory. His state papers were planned with painstaking care - first, frequently, jotted down in his diary and then elaborated, revised, recopied and revised again. The vivid imagination and high-strung emotions that made Clay and Blaine great campaigners were lacking in Hayes. He was gentle, dignified, simple, systematic, thoughtful, serene, correct. In making his judgments on public questions he was sensitive to moral forces. The emancipation of the slaves was not merely wise and just to him - it was "Providential." He favored a single six-year term for the President because it would safeguard him from selfish scheming for another period of power. Partly because of the lack of dash and compelling force in Hayes, but more because of the low standards of political action which were common at the time, his scruples seemed puritanical and were held up to ridicule as the milk-and-water and "old-Woman" policies of "Granny Hayes." His public, as well as-his private life, was unimpeached in a time when lofty principles were not common and when scandal attached itself to public officers of every grade. To his probity and the "safe" character of his views, as well as to his record as governor of an important state, was due his elevation to the presidency.[1] In his habit of self-analysis, Hayes was reminiscent of John Quincy Adams. Like Adams he kept a diary from his early youth, the serious and mature entries in which cause the reader to wonder whether Hayes ever had a childhood. When he had just passed his twentieth birthday he confided to his diary that he found himself unsatisfied with his progress in Blackstone, that he must curb his "propensity" to read newspapers to the exclusion of more substantial matter, and in general that he was "greatly deficient in many particulars." Then and in later years he noted hostile criticisms of himself and combated them, recorded remarks that he had heard, propounded questions for future thought, expressed a modest ambition or admitted a curbed elation over success.

In the field of politics Hayes was looked upon as a reliable party man, a reputation which was justified by his rigid adherence to his party and by his attitude toward the opposition. In both these respects he was the ordinary partisan. Nevertheless he thought out his views with unusual care, made them a matter of conscience and measured policies by ethical standards that were more exacting than the usual politician of the time was accustomed to exercise. The only remark of his that gained wide circulation reflects his type of partisanship: "he serves his party best who serves his country best." In these latter respects - his thoughtfulness, conscientiousness, exacting standards of conduct and less narrowly partisan spirit - he formed a contrast to the most influential leaders of his party organization. Altogether it seemed likely at the start that Hayes might have friction with the Republican chiefs.

The opening of the administration found public interest centered on the inaugural address and the Cabinet.[2] The inaugural set forth with clearness and dignity the problems which the administration desired to solve: the removal of the barriers between the sections on the basis of the acceptance of the war amendments, southern self-government and the material development of the South; reform in the civil service, thorough, radical and complete; and the resumption of specie payments. To the choice of a cabinet, Hayes devoted much painstaking care. For Secretary of State, he nominated William M. Evarts of New York, an eminent lawyer who had aided Charles Francis Adams in his diplomatic battle with England during the Civil War and later in the Geneva Arbitration, had shown wit and finesse in the defence of Andrew Johnson in the impeachment trial, and had valiantly assisted the Republican cause before the Electoral Commission. In addition, Evarts was a man of the world who knew how to make the most of social occasions and was an orator of reputation. The Secretary of the Treasury was John Sherman of Ohio, who had been for years chairman of the finance committee of the Senate, and was an example of the more statesmanlike type of senator of war and reconstruction times.

The nomination of Carl Schurz, as Secretary of the Interior, and David M. Key, as Postmaster-General, caused an uproar among the party leaders. Schurz was a cosmopolitan, a German-American, a scholar, orator, veteran of the Civil War, friend of Lincoln, and independent thinker. His devotion to the cause of civil service reform recommended him to the friendship of the President and to the enmity of the political leaders. The politicians scored Schurz as not a trustworthy Republican - he was independent by nature and had been a leader in the Liberal Republican movement; and they denounced him as an impractical man, whose head was full of transcendental theories - which was a method of saying that he was a civil service reformer. No little excitement was occasioned by the appointment of Key. The President had desired to appoint to the cabinet a southerner of influence, and had thought of Joseph E. Johnston as Secretary of War. The choice of General Johnston would have been an act of great magnanimity, but since General Sherman, to whom Johnston had surrendered only twelve years before, was commander of the army, it would have placed Sherman in the singular position of taking military orders from a former leading "rebel." When Hayes consulted his party associates, however, he found their feelings expressed in the exclamation of one of them: "Great God! Governor, I hope you are not thinking of doing anything of that kind!" He thereupon reluctantly gave way and turned to Key. The latter was less prominent than Johnston, but had been a Confederate leader, was a Democrat and a man of moderate counsels. The remaining members of the cabinet were men of much less moment, but altogether it is clear that few presidents have been surrounded by so able a group of advisers.[3]

Seldom, also, has a president's announcement of his cabinet caused so much dissent among his own supporters. Senator Cameron, of Pennsylvania, had urged a cabinet appointment for his son, and on being refused became hostile to Hayes. Senator Blaine, of Maine, was piqued because Hayes refused to offer a place to a Maine man; the friends of General John A. Logan, of Illinois, were dissatisfied at the failure of Hayes to understand the qualifications of their favorite; Conkling disliked Evarts and besides desired a place for his associate Thomas C. Platt; and the latter considered the nomination of Evarts a "straight-arm" blow at the Republican organization. Departing, therefore, from the custom in such cases, the Senate withheld confirmation of the nominations for several days, during which it became apparent that the rest of the country had received the announcement of the cabinet with favor, and then the opposition disappeared. During the remainder of his presidency, however, Hayes fared badly in making his nominations to office, for fifty-one of them were rejected outright, a larger number than had ever before been disagreed to when the President and the Senate were of the same party. The frequency with which the nominations were rejected and the combative manner in which the contests were carried on by the Senate indicated that it was determined to regain and hold fast the influence in federal counsels that it had relinquished to the executive during the war.

Aside from the nomination of members of the cabinet, the first important executive action that tested the attitude of the Senate toward the President was in relation to the southern problem. By March, 1877, all the former Confederate states except Louisiana and South Carolina had freed themselves from Republican rule by the methods already mentioned, and in these states the Republicans were kept in power only by the presence of troops. In Louisiana, both Packard, a Republican carpet-bagger, and Nicholls, a Louisiana Democrat, claimed to be the rightful governor. In South Carolina, the Republican contestant was Chamberlain, a native of Massachusetts; the Democrat was Wade Hampton, a typical old-time southerner. Hayes could withdraw the troops, in pursuance of his conciliatory policy, but if he did the Republican governments would certainly collapse because they were unsupported by public opinion. Furthermore, the returning board which had declared Hayes the choice of Louisiana in the presidential election had asserted that the Republican Packard was elected. Blaine, in the Senate, championed the doctrine that Hayes could not forsake the southern Republicans without invalidating his own title. Speaking in a confident and aggressive manner, he held that the honor, faith and credit of the party bound it to uphold the Republican claimants. Nevertheless, the President investigated conditions in both states, satisfied himself that public opinion was back of the Democratic governments and then recalled the troops, hardly more than a month after his inauguration. The Republican governments in the two states promptly gave way to the Democrats, and the storm was on in the Senate.[4]

The Republican politicians believed that no good thing could come from the "rebels," that the President was abandoning the negro, and that he was surrendering the principles for which the party had contended. "Stalwarts," was the name applied by Blaine to these uncompromising party men who would not relinquish the grip of the organization on the southern states. Hayes was freely charged with having promised the removal of the military forces in return for the electoral votes of the two states concerned, and some color seemed to be lent to this accusation when he proceeded to reward the Louisiana and Florida returning boards with appointments to office. Even the New York Times, which usually supported Hayes with vigor, characterized the Louisiana settlement as "a surrender." William E. Chandler who had assisted Hayes as counsel in the disputed election attacked him in a pamphlet, "Can such Things be and overcome us like a Summer Cloud without our Special Wonder?" Most of the influential leaders in both houses of Congress scarcely disguised their hostility. Indeed the discontent went back into the states where, as in New Hampshire, a contest over the endorsement of Hayes was so bitter that the newspaper reporters had to be excluded from the state convention to prevent public reports of schism in the party. The Democrats could not come to his support since they were unable to forget the election of 1876 even in their satisfaction over the treatment accorded the South. In six weeks the President was without the backing of most of his party leaders. On the other hand, a few men of the type represented by Hoar and Sherman commended the President's policy. Independent publications such as Harper's Weekly did likewise, and when the Republican convention of 1880 drew up the party platform the leaders made a virtue of necessity and adopted a plank enthusiastically supporting the Hayes administration.

After he had finished with the southern problem, Hayes confided to his diary, "Now for civil service reform!" And for appointments in general he recorded several principles: no sweeping changes; recommendations by congressmen to be investigated - not merely accepted; and no relatives of himself or his wife to be appointed, however good their qualifications might be. In the meanwhile Secretary Schurz set to work to put the Department of the Interior on a merit basis. The principles that Hayes set up for himself and the steps that Schurz took were in conformity with the party platform of 1876 and with the President's inaugural address; nevertheless the party leaders were displeased, if not surprised, for platform promises were lightly regarded and inaugural addresses were sometimes not to be taken very seriously.

The earliest acts of Hayes were not such as to facilitate the further progress of reform. The appointment of the members of the Louisiana Returning Board to federal offices gave color to charges that they were receiving their reward for assisting the President into his position. Furthermore, on June 22, 1877, he issued an executive order forbidding any United States officials to take part in the management of political organizations and declaring that political assessments on federal officers would not be allowed. So drastic an order brought amazement to the party leaders, who had not dreamed of anything so radical. Perhaps the order was too sudden and sweeping, considering the practices of the time. At any rate it was not enforced and the President seemed to have set a standard to which he had not the courage to adhere. Nevertheless, reform principles were successfully tested in the New York Post Office by Thomas L. James, a vigorous exponent of the merit system who had been appointed by President Grant and was now re-appointed and upheld by President Hayes.

But the great battle for the new idea came in connection with the New York Custom House. Through the port of New York came two-thirds to three-fourths of the goods which were imported into this country, and the necessity for a businesslike conduct of the custom house seemed obvious. Yet there had for some time been complaints concerning the service, and Sherman appointed commissions, with the approval of the President, to investigate conditions in New York and elsewhere. The commission which studied the situation in New York reported that one-fifth of the persons employed there were superfluous, that inefficiency and neglect of duty were common, and that the positions at the disposal of the collector had for years been used for the reward of party activity. The commission recommended sweeping changes which Secretary Sherman and President Hayes approved. It then appeared that the New York officials were not favorable to the President's reform plans. Furthermore, Chester A. Arthur, the collector of the port, was a close friend of Roscoe Conkling, the head of the state machine; and A.B. Cornell, the naval officer, was chairman of the state and national Republican committees; It was evident that an attempt to change conditions in New York would precipitate a test of strength between the administration and the New York organization.

As Arthur and Cornell would not further the desired reforms and would not resign, the President removed them. When he nominated their successors, however, the Senate, led by Conkling, refused to add its confirmation and there the matter rested for some months. Eventually the President's nominations were confirmed, an outcome which seems to have been brought about in part at least by letters from. Secretary Sherman to personal friends in the Senate in which he urgently pressed the case of the administration. The President's victory emphasized the disagreement of the powerful state organization with the reform idea, and while the reformers rejoiced that the warfare had been carried into the enemy's country, newspaper opinion varied between the view that the President was playing politics and that he was actuated by the highest motives only. Agitation for reform, meanwhile, continued to increase. The literary men among the reformers, aided by scores of lesser lights, conducted a campaign of education; the New York Civil Service Reform Association, founded in 1877, and the National Civil Service Reform League, in 1881, gave evidence of an effort towards the organization of reform sentiment.

While the attention of the President and the politicians was directed toward the reform of the civil service, there occurred an event for which none of them was prepared. Early in the summer of 1877 train hands on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad struck because of a reduction in wages, the fourth cut that they had suffered in seven years. The strike spread with the speed of a prairie fire over most of the northern roads between New England and the Mississippi. At the height of the controversy at least 100,000 strikers and six or seven thousand miles of railway were involved, while at several points especially Martinsburg, West Virginia, and Pittsburg, rioting and destruction took place. A considerable number of people were killed or wounded, and the loss of property in Pittsburg alone was estimated at five to ten millions of dollars. Eventually, when the state militia failed to check the disorder, the President was called upon for federal troops and these proved effectual. That even so thoughtful and conscientious a man as Hayes was far from understanding the meaning of the strike was indicated in his message to Congress in which he merely expressed his gratification that the troops had been able to repress the disorder. Repression, that is to say, was the one resource that occurred to the mind of the chief executive and to the majority of the men of his day. That repression alone could not remedy evils permanently, that salutary force ought to be immediately supplemented by a study of the rights and wrongs of the two sides and by a dispassionate correction of abuses, - all this did not even remotely occur to the thoughts of the political leaders of the time.

The breach in the ranks of the Republicans which was made by the events of the early days of the Hayes administration was closed in the face of an attack by the common enemy - the Democrats. The latter, being in control of the House, appointed the "Potter Committee" to investigate the title of Hayes to the Presidency, hoping to discredit him and thereby turn the tables in the election of 1880. The committee examined witnesses and reported, the Democrats asserting that Tilden had been elected and the Republicans that Hayes had been. The Republican Senate, meanwhile, had prepared a counterblast. By legal proceedings a committee had obtained from the Western Union Telegraph Company over thirty thousand of the telegrams sent by both parties during the campaign. The Republicans declared that the "cipher despatches" among these messages showed that the Democrats had offered a substantial bribe for the vote of an Oregon Republican elector. Before the dispatches were returned to the telegraph company, somebody took the precaution to destroy those that concerned Republican campaign methods and to retain those relating to the Democrats. The latter were published by the New York Tribune and revealed attempts to bribe the Florida and South Carolina Returning Boards. Most of them had been sent by Tilden's nephew or received by him, so that the corrupt trail seemed to lead straight to the candidate himself, but the evidence was inconclusive. The Potter Committee then investigated the telegrams, together with a great number of witnesses, and another partisan report resulted. It thus appeared that both pot and kettle were black and there the matter rested. The Democrats had done themselves no good and had done the Republicans no harm.[5]

The Democrats also attacked the election laws, under which federal officials supervised elections, and federal judges and marshals had jurisdiction over cases concerning the suffrage. Under these laws, also, troops could be used to enforce the judgments of the Courts. There is no doubt that intimidation, unfair practices and bribery were all too common in the North as well as in the South. The lack of official ballots and secret voting made abuses inevitable. In New York, Cincinnati and other northern cities, and on a smaller scale in the rural districts, abuses of one sort or another were normal accompaniments of elections. Intimidation in the South was notorious and not denied. The existing election laws gave the dominant party an opportunity to appoint large numbers of deputy-marshals - largely party workers, of course-paying them from the national treasury and so solidifying the party organization. In the election of 1876 about $275,000 had been spent in this way. Some of the federal supervisors had been extremely energetic - so much so that in one case in Louisiana their registration lists showed 8,000 more colored voters in 1876 than were discovered by the census enumerators four years later.

If the Republicans saw involved in the laws both a principle and a party weapon, the Democrats saw both a principle and an opportunity. They attached a "rider" to an army appropriation bill, which made it unlawful to use any part of the army for any other than the purposes expressly authorized by the Constitution or by act of Congress. Since the Constitution allowed the use of troops only to "execute the laws of the Union, to suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions," the new law would prevent the employment of armed forces for civil purposes at the polling places. The President was compelled to yield to save the appropriation bill.

In the next Congress the Democrats controlled both House and Senate and they advanced to the attack on the remainder of the election laws. Attempts were made to prevent the appointment of special deputy-marshals by forbidding the payment of any compensation to them or to the regular marshals when used in elections. Each time that Congress passed such a law the President vetoed it, even though special sessions had to be called to make up for lost time. He saw in the use of the rider a dangerous assertion of coercive power on the part of Congress. By means of it, Congress was withholding funds essential for military and civil purposes until the President should assent to legislation totally unconnected with the appropriations. He felt himself being threatened and driven by a hostile legislature. For the President to give way before such constraint would be to lose the veto power and to destroy the independence of the executive as a branch of the government. The Democrats were unable to muster force enough to overrule the veto, and here the matter rested while other forces, which have already been described, were sapping the strength of the election laws. On the whole, the result was probably to bring the Republican factions together and so to strengthen the party for the election of 1880. The Democrats, on the other hand, probably lost ground.

In the meanwhile a difficult and technical problem - the monetary question - was forcing itself upon the attention of Congress and of the country. The rapid development of the economic life of the United States was demanding an increased volume of currency with which to perform the multitude of exchanges which constantly take place in the life of an industrial people. Unless the volume of the currency expanded proportionately with the increase of business, or there was a corresponding increase in the use of bank checks, the demand for money would cause its value to go up - that is, prices to go down. If the volume expanded more rapidly than was necessitated by business, the value of money would fall and prices would go up. A change in the price level in either direction, as has been seen, would harm important groups of people. The exact amount, however, by which the volume should be increased was not easy to determine. Furthermore, assuming that both gold and silver should be coined, what amount of each would constitute the most desirable combination? What ought to be the weight of the coins? If paper currency was to supplement the precious metals, what amount of it should be in circulation? These are difficult questions under any circumstances. They did not become less so when answered by a bulky and uninformed Congress acting under the influence of definite personal, sectional and property interests.

Several facts tended to restrict the kind of money whose volume could be greatly increased. It was not advisable to expand the greenbacks because legislation had already limited their amount and because such action would unfavorably affect the approaching resumption of specie payments. The quantity of national bank notes, another common form of paper money, was somewhat rigidly determined by the amount of federal bonds outstanding, for the national bank notes were issued upon the federal bonds as security. Moreover, the bonds were being rapidly paid off during the seventies and it was, therefore, impossible to expect any increase of the currency from this source. Normally the supply of gold available for coinage did not vary greatly from year to year and certainly did not respond with exactness to the demand of industry for a greater or smaller volume of circulating medium. It seemed to remain for silver to supply any needed increase.

But silver was not in common use except as a subsidiary coin. For many years the value of the bullion necessary for coining a silver dollar had been greater than the value of the coin. Nobody therefore brought his silver to the mint but sold it instead in the commercial markets. Indeed so insignificant was the amount of silver usually coined into dollars that an act of 1873 systematizing the coinage laws had omitted the silver dollar completely from the list of coins. The omission was later referred to by the friends of silver currency as the "Crime of 1873." At the same time a remarkable coincidence was providing the motive power for the demand that silver be more largely used as currency. Early in the seventies Germany and the Latin Monetary Union, (France, Switzerland, Belgium, Italy and Greece), had reduced the amount of their silver coinage, thus throwing a large supply of bullion on the market. Simultaneously, enlarged supplies of silver were being found in western United States. A Nevada mine, for example, which had produced six hundred and forty-five thousand dollars' worth of ore in 1873 had turned out nearly twenty-five times that amount two years later. Naturally the market price of silver fell and the mine owners began to seek an outlet for their product. Thus the people who were convinced that the volume of the currency was insufficient for the industrial demands of the nation received a new and powerful reenforcement from the producers of silver ore. There arose what the New York Tribune referred to as "The Cloud in the West."

Inevitably the cloud in the West threw its shadow into Congress where the demand was insistent that the government "do something for silver." A commission had been appointed in 1876 to study the currency problem and make recommendations. When the report was made it appeared that the opinions of the members were so divergent that little was gained from the investigation. While the commission was deliberating, Richard P. Bland of Missouri introduced a bill providing for the free and unlimited coinage of silver. Under its provisions the owner of silver bullion could present any quantity of his commodity to the government to be coined under the conditions which controlled the coinage of gold. The House responded readily to Bland's proposal. In the Senate, under the leadership of William B. Allison, the free and unlimited feature of the bill was dropped and a provision adopted limiting the purchase of bullion to an amount not greater than four million dollars' worth per month and not less than two million dollars' worth. The bullion so obtained was to be coined into silver dollars, which were to be legal tender for all debts public and private. Bland was ready to accept the compromise because he hoped to be able to increase the use of silver by subsequent legislation. "If we cannot do that," he said, "I am in favor of issuing paper money enough to stuff down the bond-holders until they are sick." The remark was typical of the sectional and class hatreds and misunderstandings which this debate aroused, and of the maze of ignorance in which both sides were groping. To the silver faction, their opponents were "mendacious hirelings" and "Gilded Shylocks." God, in His infinite wisdom had imbedded silver in the western mountains for a beneficent purpose. "The country," said one speaker, "is in an agony of business distress and looks for some relief by a gradual increase of the currency." On the other hand, the opponents of silver scorned the "delusion" of a "clipped" coin and the dishonest proposition to make ninety cents' worth of silver pass as a dollar. The "storm-driven, buffeted, and scarred" ship of industrial peace, an easterner declared, "deeply laden with all precious and golden treasure is sighted in the offing!... shall we put out the lights?... Dare we remove the ship's helm, leaving her crippled and helpless!"

Sherman believed that this limited amount of silver could be taken into the currency system without difficulty, but President Hayes thought that harm would result from making the silver dollar a legal tender when the market value of the bullion in the coin was not equal in value to that of the gold dollar. He therefore vetoed the bill on February 28, 1878. He could not carry Congress with him, however, and the measure was passed over the veto on the same day.

Party lines had disappeared during the debates over the passage of the act. Eastern members of both houses and of both parties had been opposed, with few exceptions, to the increased use of silver; the westerners had been equally united in its favor. The East, the creditor section and the holder of most of the Civil War bonds, had no desire to try an experiment with the currency which would, in their opinion, reduce the purchasing power of their income. The debtor West looked with disfavor upon an increase in the real amount of their debts which was brought about by an inadequate supply of currency. Since prices continued to decline they believed that the remedy was a greater quantity of money. Evidently the greenback controversy was reviving in a new garb.

The approach of the resumption of specie payments which had been set, it will be remembered, for January 1, 1879, increased the burden under which the westerners and the debtor classes in general were working. Favorable commercial conditions and Sherman's foresight, tact and intelligence made it possible to overcome the various difficulties in the way of accumulating a sufficient reserve of gold, and on December 31, 1878, the Treasury had on hand about $140,000,000 of the precious metal, an amount nearly equal to forty per cent. of the paper in circulation. Despite the desirability of resumption, the first effects of preparations for it were harmful to considerable bodies of people. As January 1 approached, the greenbacks, which had been circulating at a depreciated value, rose nearer and nearer to par. Debts which had been incurred when paper dollars were worth sixty cents in gold, had to be paid in dollars worth eighty, ninety or a hundred cents, according to the date when the debt fell due. Business men who were heavily in debt and farmers whose property was mortgaged found their burden daily growing in size.

Notwithstanding the steady advance of paper toward par value, Sherman nervously awaited business hours on January 2, 1879, (since the first fell on Sunday) to see whether there would be such a rush of holders of paper who would wish gold that his slender stock would be wiped out. New York, the financial center, was watched with especial anxiety. To Sherman's surprise, only $135,000 of paper was presented for redemption in gold; to his amazement and relief, $400,000 in gold was presented in exchange for paper. Evidently, now that paper and metal were interchangeable, people preferred the lighter and more convenient medium. Favorable business conditions enabled the government to continue specie payments; a huge grain crop in 1879, coupled with crop failures in England, caused unprecedented exports of wheat, corn and other products, and a corresponding importation of gold. The damage resulting from the appreciation of paper was temporary in character; the public credit was vastly benefited; and the greater amount of stability in the value of paper proved invaluable to industry.

Happily Hayes's stormy political relations were balanced by comparative quiet in foreign affairs. Only Mexico caused trouble, and that was of negligible importance. A few raiders made sporadic excursions into Texas, which necessitated an expedition for the punishment of the marauders. General Ord was directed to cross the border if necessary, but General Diaz, at the head of the Mexican government, concluded an agreement for cooperation with the United States in the protection of the boundary. The agreement was only partly successful, however, and on several occasions troops crossed the Rio Grande and fought with bandits.

On the Pacific Coast, meanwhile, the Chinese question was becoming a political issue. In earlier times the immigration of the Chinese had been encouraged because of the need of a cheap labor supply when the transcontinental railroads were being built. As the coast filled up, however, with native population, and the demand for laborers fell off, there arose numerous objections to the oriental. It was seen that since he was willing to work for extremely low wages he could drive American laborers out of their places. Labor leaders such as Dennis Kearney held meetings on the "sand lots" in San Francisco and aroused anti-Chinese feeling. Riots and violence, even, were not unknown.

Just before the inauguration of President Hayes a commission of inquiry had visited the coast and examined many witnesses. The commission reported that the resources of the Pacific states had been more rapidly developed with coolie labor than they would otherwise have been, but that the Chinese lived under filthy conditions, formed an inferior foreign element and were, on the whole, undesirable. It recommended that the executive take steps in the direction of a modification of the existing treaty with China, for fear that the problem might spread eastward with increasing immigration. The electioneering possibilities of the subject had appealed to both parties and they had earnestly demanded action in their platforms of 1876. Opinion was forming throughout the country, aided by Bret Harte's famous lines:

    Which I wish to remark 
    And my language is plain, 
    That for ways that are dark 
    And tricks that are vain, 
    The heathen Chinee is peculiar 
    Which the same I would rise to explain.

Action by Congress was hindered by the Burlingame treaty of 1868 with China, which covered the subject of immigration in unmistakable language. By its provisions citizens of China were to have the same rights of travel and residence in America as the subjects of the most favored nation. Reciprocally, China was to grant equal privileges to citizens of the United States. The process of modifying a treaty through the ordinary diplomatic channels was so slow that Congress sought to avoid delay by passing a law forbidding shipmasters to bring in more than fifteen Chinese at one time, and calling upon the President to notify China that the terms of the Burlingame treaty, in so far as they related to immigration, would not hold after July 1, 1879, when the proposed legislation would take effect. President Hayes sympathized with the purpose of the bill but felt obliged to veto it because of the Burlingame treaty. The veto message recalled that the treaty had been of American seeking and that its ratification had been applauded all over the country. The abrogation of part of the agreement would be equivalent to abrogation of the whole, leaving American citizens in China without adequate treaty protection. Furthermore Hayes felt that treaties could not rightfully be violated by legislation, but advocated other measures for the relief of the people of the Pacific Coast. He thereupon sent to China a commission, headed by James B. Angell of Michigan, which succeeded in liberally modifying the existing treaty. Under the new arrangement the United States might "regulate, limit, or suspend" the immigration of Chinese laborers; and as the treaty was promptly ratified, it redounded somewhat to the credit of the Republicans in the election of 1880.

The administration of Hayes was, on the whole, an admirable one. The problems which he faced were varied and difficult, but most of them were met sensibly and with success. To be sure, he did not grasp the social and economic forces behind the monetary agitation; nor did he have the insight and originality necessary for attacking the problem of industrial unrest as it appeared in the strike of 1877. But neither did his associates, nor his successors in the presidency for many years to come. On the other hand, the ethical standards of the administration were high and the atmosphere of the White House sane and wholesome. The home life of the President was exceptionally attractive, for Mrs. Hayes was a woman of unusual charm and social capacity. The attitude of Hayes on the southern question and on civil service reform was courageous and progressive. And most of all, his ideas on public questions were stated with unmistakable clearness in a day when old issues were sinking into the background and both parties were reluctant to define their position on the new ones.


A great contribution to the understanding of Hayes's administration was made by the publication of C.R. Williams, Life of Rutherford B. Hayes (2 vols., 1914). It is complete and contains copious extracts from Hayes's diary, but is written with less of the critical spirit than is desirable; J.F. Rhodes has a valuable chapter in his Historical Essays (1909); J.W. Burgess, Administration of R.B. Hayes (1916), is a eulogy; V.L. Shores, Hayes-Conkling Controversy (1919), describes the civil service quarrel; J.R. Commons and others, History of Labor in the United States (2 vols., 1918), describes the strike of 1877; so also does J.F. Rhodes, History of the United States from Hayes to McKinley (1919), with full references. On the Chinese affair, consult Mrs. M.E. B.S. Coolidge, Chinese Immigration (1909). Most of the general histories already mentioned dwell at length on the Hayes administration.

For the official messages of this and succeeding administrations, the most convenient source is J.D. Richardson, Messages and Papers of the Presidents (10 vols., 1903).

       * * * * *

[1] For a time public interest was absorbed by the determination of President and Mrs. Hayes to serve no wines of any kind in the White House. Finally a delicious frozen punch was served at about the middle of the state dinners, known to the thirsty as "the Life-saving Station." It was popularly understood to be liberally strengthened with old Santa Croix rum, but the President later asserted that he had caused the punch to be sharpened with the flavor of Jamaica rum and that no drop of spirits was inserted. What the chef really did, perhaps nobody knows. At any rate, both sides were satisfied. Williams, R.B. Hayes, II; 312 note.

[2] Because March 4 fell on Sunday, the oath of office was privately administered to Hayes on Saturday evening, March 3. Williams, Hayes, II, 5.

[3] George W. McCrary was Secretary of War; Richard W. Thompson, Secretary of the Navy; Charles Devens, Attorney-General.

[4] Chamberlain, the Republican claimant in South Carolina, wrote in 1901 that he was "quite ready now to say that he feels sure that there was no possibility of securing permanent good government in South Carolina through Republican influences." Atlantic Monthly, LXXXVII, 482.

[5] Many of the dispatches were in a complicated cipher which resisted all attempts at solution. The Tribune published samples from time to time, keeping interest alive in the hope that somebody might solve the riddle. Finally two members of the Tribune staff were successful in discovering the key to the cipher in a way that recalls the paper-covered detective story. The newspaper aroused and excited public interest by publishing specimens and eventually achieved a sensation by putting the most damaging material into print on October 16, 1878. One of the telegrams, with its translation, ran as follows:

    "Absolutely Petersburg can procured by Copenhagen may Thomas 
    prompt Edinburgh must if river take be you less London Thames 

    Translation: If Returning Board can be procured absolutely, will 
    you deposit 30,000 dollars? May take less. Must be prompt. Thomas.