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elected by the people, and compelled to report on presumptions, instead of facts, or give the commissioned gentleman another chance, by searching over the State of New Jersey for illegal votes. Sir, the motion made here was a part of the same system. But the gentleman did not remember that the word lawful could have none of its magic influence on this resolution, where there were so many other expressions to command and control it. We were ordered to report forthwith, but not so as to stop or delay our investigations into the ballot box. So long as these expressions continued in the resolutions of instruction, the word lawful could be made to apply only to those votes cast in the election, which the law and the rules of evidence declare lawful, until the contrary be shown by evidence. In his zeal and precipancy, and mislead by the effect of the same word in dissimilar propositions in the committee room, the gentleman from New York failed to follow up his motion to insert the word lawful, by other motions to strike out the word forthwith, and the whole proviso at the close of the resolution. This failure was fatal to his object. It lost every advantage which he was seeking to acquire. The gentleman and his friends soon perceived it, when they found the whole Democratic party of the House still voting for the instructions, notwithstanding the insertion of that word. Thereupon the whole Whig party, with no remembered exception, voted against it, in the face of their own favorite word “lawful.” This, sir, is the resolution, as finally adopted :
“ Resolved, That the Committee of Elections be authorized to report to this House such papers and such of their proceedings as they may desire to have printed by order of the House and that they be instructed also to report forthwith which five of the ten indviduals claiming seats from the State of New Jersey, received the greatest number of lawful votes from the whole State for Representatives in the Congress of the United States, at the election of 1838 in said State, with all the evidence of that fact in their possession : Provided, That nothing herein contained shall be so construed as to prevent or delay the action of said committee in taking testimony, and deciding the said case on the merits of the election.”
The gentleman from Maryland, as the minority of the committee, have complained much of the construction which was ously sought to make the impression that it was resolved to put Messrs. DICKINSON and VROOM and their associates into their seats, right or wrong, on legal or illegal votes. Sir, nothing can be further from the truth. We have not counted one single vote for them which has not been passed upon and decided to be legal by the constituted authorities of New Jersey, the judges and inspectors of elections. They have solmny adjudged every vote to be lawful before we have allowed it. The law takes their judgment as binding, until the country shall be shown by evidence taken in the case. Not only did the majority decide that the votes received should be presumed and taken as lawful votes, but every member of the minority decided so with us. They voted without exception for the following resolution :
“Resolved, That all votes received by authorized officers acting in conformity with the laws, are prima facie legal.”
Now, sir, we have not counted one solitary vote which was not of that description. To escape from this, we are told on the other side that the word “lawful” was not used by the House in this prima facie or presumptive sense, but referred to the final and absolute lawfulness which might be established by the evidence. Sir, how can this be so, when the House knew that the testimony had not yet been taken—when the House knew that the parties had just left the city for the purpose of taking it—when the House knew that two months had been allowed them for that purpose ?
How then could they have meant to call for a report to be made forthwith, on testimony not in existence, and which would not be in our possession before the second Monday of April next. They must have meant that we should report without delay on the lawful votes, as they stood as such on the records of New Jersey and the testimony before the committee-on the votes which then stood as lawful, according to the laws of New Jersey, and not on the votes which might hereafter be found legal when the taking of the testimony was completed. The House was demanding the report only to settle the right of presentoccupancy, as to put one party or the other in their seats, until the final right should
appear. . I nis is put beyond all question by the proviso which expressly declares that the inquiry into the merits of the election should not be suspended or prevented.
The next day the committee met. They settled down on the construction of the resolution for which I have contended, and ordered the report to be prepared by the Tuesday following (that being Saturday.) On Tuesday the report, as prepared by the chairman, was adopted and ordered to be presented to the House. It was presented, resisted, debated; but was finally confirmed, and five of the claimants admitted to their seats by an overwhelming majority. I again affirm that every vote counted in making out that report, stood, at the time it was counted, as a good and lawful vote, according to the rules of evidence and the laws of the land. But it is true, that in making out the report the committee did not, and could not, know but what some of the votes counted might hereafter be proved to be illegal when the parties returned, on the 2d Monday in April, from taking their testimoy in New Jersey. We were not gifted with the spirit of prophecy so as to know how that might be, and the House called for present and immediate action, and did not choose to wait the developments of the future. But whatever doubt might have existed before as to the correctness of our construction of its orders, they must be removed by the subsequent action of the House. When the report came, it was resisted on the express ground that we had misconstrued the resolution of instruction. The question was debated and considered by the House. Surely the gentlemen do not mean to deny that the House understood its own orders. Well, what was its decision? It sanctioned our construction by confirming our report. Before the House we were charged with stupidity and mental delusion; now nothing can save the House itself from the same unmerited denunciation. What, sir, after all, have we done? Nothing but what the Governor of New Jersey himself declared we ought and should do. Hear his declarations, made at the time when he was cleaving down the rights of his own people. “But it will be asked, with force and propriety, is a candidate to lose his seat in Congress
Certainly not. If, through inadvertance or by design, any votes have not been returned by the clerk, it is in the power of the House of Representatives, in their discretion, to allow these votes, and give the seat to the person who, with these votes, may be elected." Well, what have we done? The votes of Millville and South Amboy had not been returned, or rather had not been counted. The committee and the House have counted them, and have given the seats accordingly. Precisely what Governor Pennington then said we ought and would do. Let me tell gentlemen we have not only done this, but we have done more. We have done what Governor Pennington ought then to have done, but which he did not and would not do. He knew that the clerks of Middlesex and Amboy had not sent up all the returns of all the townships of their respective counties, and yet he would not send an express after them as the law directed. He knew that the votes of Millville and South Amboy had not been included in their computations, and if included would have changed the result. He knew, in other words, that Messrs. Aycrigg & Co. had not received “the highest number of votes” as required by the laws of New Jersey, yet he gave them commissions at declaring them “to have been elected,” contrary to the truth of the case and the laws of the State. In the commissions which he gave, he could not and dare not say, that those to whom they had been given, had received the highest number of votes. He therefore introduced the word “elected," not known in the laws of New Jersey. Who is “elected,” is a compound, and often a difficult question to be determined, and is left under the Constitution in such a case, as this, to be decided by the House of Representatives: But“ who received the highest number of votes” in an election, is a simple matter of arithmetical computation, and has been entrusted to the Eexcutive of New Jersey as the returning officer. He has made a return, at open war with the facts of the case, and has only offered to an insulted people the poor consolation that the outrage he was committing was within the correcting powers of this House. We have corrected them. We have restored to the people of New Jersey the great and fundamental right of selfhis party assist us ? No, neither he nor they would do so. His next article is sugar. The whigs taxed that 66 per cent.-we tried to reduce that 14 per cent., and Mr. Foster and his party would not assist us even in doing that much. Mr. Foster merely adds “almost every article we use or consume” none of which, now recollected, would he then or now consent to reduce ! And yet we are told the whig party now stand where they have always stood! I know well what Mr. Foster will say to this also. He will say General Jackson changed from the time he wrote his Coleman letter. I do not think my competitor (said Mr. Brown) ever understood that letter; but granting, for argument sake, that General Jackson did undergo some change from 1824 to 1832, did he not change with him and stand by him on the same platform with Judge White, Mr. Bell, and all the rest of the Whig party? I have proven that he did; and so it follows if General Jackson changed once, (which I do not admit) Mr. Foster and his party have changed twice to his once. Will be put up
Will be put up with this poor consolation? He may say others have changed. We are not talking about others—I have nothing to do with others in this contest; I have only to do with the embodiment of the whig party in Tennessee; and if he and they have changed, my proof is full and this issue is settled. I care not what he says about Martin Luther, the Pope of Rome granting absolution to the Irishman for a stack of hay which he intended to steal but had not yet stolen. I care nothing for all such things. I hold this contested issue to be settled by the proofs, and that neither the whig party nor their standard bearer can sustain that claim to consistency in politics which they have challenged the democracy to refüte.
Mr. Foster talks much about the home market. Mr. Bell long since overturned all he says on that subject. Does he not see likewise that in trying to build up a home market in the north, by a high tariff which cripples the south and forces them to raise their own provisions, that he strikes down and destroys a home market five times as good to us as the northern one can be ? He talks of shutting up the fac