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as to be legal evidence to the clerk, is legal evidence to the Governor and Council.
Can there be a doubt about it. Why, the very same statute which prescribes the mode of proceeding in the election of representa-, tives to Congress, from the act of nominating to the act of commissioning, prescribes the same for the election of electors of President and Vice President, the directions are the same, word for word. And is it possible, that electors of the first officers of the Union are to be the creatures of county clerks. If the Governor and Council are mere automatons, and can move only as an insignificant county clerk shall pull the wire, in one case, they are so in the other. A House of Representatives may correct the error in the first-but the elector once commissioned, there is no power on earth, to look behind that commission, or to stay his hand. The doctrine is wrong in theory, and would be monstrous in practice.
The people never so intended—the legislature never so intended, the law is not so. But suppose it had been a doubtful question of construction ; suppose honest men might possibly differ about the terms of the statute-and no one, surely would doubt the intention, how should an honest Governor and Council have acted? Should they not have leaned to that construction which, while it carried out the intention of the law, arrived at the truth and justice of the case, gave effect to the will of the people, and favored liberty ? Or should they have done as this Governor and Council did-strain a point to give effect to fraud, to reach a false result, and violate the sacred principles and genius of republicanism?
But again. The doctrine advanced by the Governor and Privy Council, that“ they have no right to go beyond the mere form of the returns, and cannot amend, correct, or reject, or set them aside for any other reason, than that they are not made in due form of law,” (we quote from their official exposé ) is not only absurd, but in direct opposition to all former precedents, and was in fact, violated by this very Council.
1. It is contrary to precedent. In 1828, by the return of the clerk of Burlington, it appeared that John J. Ely, John S. Ely, and John F. Ely, had been voted for; the Governor and Council "amended” the return by transferring all these votes to the name of John J. Ely. Several other errors of the same kind were corrected in the same manner; votes given to Peter D. Vroom were transferred to Peter D. Vroom, junior; votes given to Robert McCarter were transferred to Robert H. McCarter; and votes given to Abraham Godman were transferred to Abraham Godwin. In 1830 the Clerk of the county of Gloucester returned nine hundred and twenty-six votes given to Silas Condict; the names of Silas Condict and Silas Condit were both on nomination for Congress, and the latter had received the vote in other counties, but
had not sufficient to elect him without the addition of the Gloucester vote. A Democratic privy council transferred these votes to him, and declared him elected, though he was a political opponent, and, by this amendment of the returns, was elected over a political friend. In 1832 the officers of election of Millville township, in Cumberland, failed to make their return to the county clerk within the time limited by law. The law required the return to be made before five o'clock on the tenth of November, and it was not received until twelve o'clock at night. The Clerk completed his list and sent it to the Governor on the tenth, omitting the Millville vote; but, on the twelfth, he sent up a certificate of the facts, and the Governor and Council added the Millville votes to their general list, and declared the whole Democratic ticket elected, though, by excluding the returns from that township, Lewis Condit would have had a majority. This was a federal council, composed, in part, of Governor Southard, Ex-Governor Williamson, and Mr. Sealey, who was afterwards Governor, and Dr. Condit was the candidate of their party. This case was exactly similar to that of last October. In both cases the return from Millville was received too late; in the first case at twelve, and in the second at eleven, P. M. of the last return day. In both cases the Clerk omitted the vote of that township in making his return to the Governor. In both cases the vote of Millville cast the majority on the Democratic side. In the first case the omission was “corrected;" in the last the power of correction was denied.
2. It was in fact violated by this very council. This same Cumberland Clerk returned, as we have seen, nine hundred and thirteen votes, given to Thomas Jones York and others, as Representatives in the twenty-sixth Congress; and also in his explanatory note of the Deerfield return, gives one hundred and seventy-seven votes to Thomas Jones York and others, as Representatives in the thirtysixth Congress. Yet the Council “ amended and corrected” the returns by carrying all these votes to the account of Thomas Jones Yorke and others, as members of the twenty-sixth Congress. This was necessary to make out Mr. Yorke's majority. In the return from Hunterdon the vote for William Halsted is given “one thousand six hundred and eight.” The Council resorted to other evidence beyond the official return, discovered that the vote for Mr. Halsted in Hunterdon was one thousand six hundred and eighty, and "amended and corrected ”the return of the Clerk accordingly.
One more aspect of this case remains to be reviewed. We shall do it very briefly.
It is said that the returns from the townships of South Amboy and Millville not having been made to the clerks of the respective counties in due form, within the proper time, ought not to have been counted by the Governor and Council. The facts are these :
The South Amboy return was made up in due form, except that it was not signed by the Clerk of the election, and that no certificate of the election of James M. Warren, as one of the inspectors, he having been duly elected to that office on the morning of the first day of election, was sent with the return. The return was delivered to the Clerk of the county on the twelfth of October, by Mr. Wood, the Clerk of election; he states, under oath, that he delivered it on that day to Mr. Booream, and “asked the said Nicholas Booream if it was correct, so that if it was not it might be made correct, to which the said Nicholas Booream replied, as this deponent believes, that it was all right, and proceeded to take down the votes for members of Congress from off the said certificate along with the returns of other townships, before deponent left the office." And the fact is that he did, in the first official list prepared by him, include the South Amboy return, for Mr. Steele has deposed that Booream showed him the official list, with all the townships in it, on the fifteenth, in the Clerk's office. The first return from Millville was informal in two or three
particulars; but the only objection to the second was, that it was received six hours after the appointed time, though four days before the county Clerk actually made up his return for the county. For the second return for Millville was delivered to the Clerk at ten, P. M. on Saturday, the thirteenth of October, and his return to the Governor is dated the seventeenth. The grounds, therefore, upon which these returns were rejected are:
1. For want of the signature of the Clerk of election; and
2. For want of a certificate of the election of an inspector in South Amboy; and
3. Because received six hours after time in the Millville case.
Now, upon examination of the official returns from all the counties on file in the Secretary of State's office in New Jersey, it appears that no certificate of the election of the person who acted as judge in Dover township, Monmouth county, was received in time, and that no lawful certificates of the election of either judges or inspectors in Shrewsbury or Dover townships, were ever received by the county Clerk. In Burlington county the returns from the townships of Burlington, Washington, Chesterfield, New Haven, and Little Eggharbour, were neither of them signed by the Clerks of election; the return from Mansfield township was without the signature of the Clerk and one of the inspectors; and that from Chester township was received open and unsealed; and in Somer. set county no certificate was ever filed with the Clerk of the election of William Parker, who appears, by the returns, to have acted as one of the inspectors in Franklin township.
Yet the returns from all these townships, though accompanied with the evidence of these informalities, were received and counted.
Thus, while the township returns of South Amboy, giving a Democratic majority of two hundred and fifty-two, were rejected for want of the signature of the Clerk, and the certificate of the election of an inspector, the returns of ten federal townships, giving a federal majority of eight hundred and forty-nine votes, though all wanting one or both the requisites adjudged vital in the Amboy case, or some other equally important, were received and counted.
We have now seen that the decision in the Millville case was in violation of the principle settled in 1832; and that the decision in the Amboy case was in violation of the principles settled in ten other identically similar cases, at the same election, by the Governor and Council in 1838.
We have thus presented a brief narrative of the facts and circumstances of the most alarming fraud ever perpetrated against the right of suffrage in this country since the establishment of our national independence. We have seen the candidates for Congress nominated, voted for, and elected by the people, set aside by a Gov. ernor and Council, opposed to them in politics, and men commissioned in their stead, whom the people have rejected, because they had no confidence either in their political principles, or personal qualifications. We have seen this conspiracy generated in the fraud and perfidy of two federal returning officers, rejecting the votes of whole townships without legal authority, and in direct violation of all precedent and usage; the Governor refusing to do his duty under pretext of as petty a quibble as ever disgraced a tyro at pettifogging, and urging the want of the very evidence he was bound to procure as a reason for rejecting all other evidence of the truth of facts in themselves as clear as noon-day. We have seen a Governor and Council, adhering to a settled rule so far as it favored their own party, and setting it aside whenever it favored their opponents-counting informal returns from the townships which gave them majorities, and refusing to count informal returns from townships which gave majorities against them. We have seen them officially declaring persons elected whom they knew, and
every body knew, were not elected ; leaping over the restraints of law, the obligations of duty, and the sanctity of their oaths, to reach a false result, to carry out and give effect to fraud, and to reverse the decision of the people of a free State.
And now, what are we told ? That. Nicholas Booraem did right in expunging the return of South Amboy, after having declared to one of the officers of election that it was correct, after entering it upon his general list and exhibiting it to the public ; concealing from them all suspicion of the informality, although the inquiry was made with a view to its amendment in lawful time; and not even certifying what the return was, and wherein it was informal? Do they say that Josiah Fithian did right in suppressing the Millville return, though made to him in due and legal form, four days before he made up his general list; and in omitting, contrary to the uniform usage in such cases, established as correct, by his predecessors in office, and recognised as correct, by the Governor and Council in 1832, to certify the return with the fact of its late reception ? Do they say the Governor and Council did right in refusing to send express for the omitted returns, in shutting their eyes against all collateral evidence and refusing to procure the evidence which they pretended was, alone,legal;—in counting informal returns when in their favor, and refusing to count like informal returns when against them ;-in amending and correcting returns when it suited them, and contending that they had no power to do so when it did not suit them ; in giving effect to fraud- validity to falsehood-and certifying that to be a fact which was not so? No! there is scarce one still small voice, that now fortifies, defends, or palliates those acts.
But it has been discovered that the judge and inspectors of election at Millville, acting upon their construction of the Constitution of New Jersey, which declares that “all inhabitants of the State worth fifty pounds, and having resided in the county a year shall be entitled to vote," admitted several persons who were “inhabitants,' of sufficient property and residence, but not naturalized, to vote at the election; the first vote of whom, and the only one challenged, was a federalist, as were several of the others. And the whole tune of the federal leaders is changed. They abandon all their former grounds, and put themselves upon the allegation that they were defeated by illegal votes. Yet they cling to their fraudulent commissions. They hope to dodge the question as to the legality of these, slip into the House of Representatives under the wing of a federal majority, upon the prima facie evidence of the Governor's commissions, and hold on while the House takes a twelve months' hunt after illegal votes through one hundred and fifty townships in the State, assured that the hunt, if it produced nothing else, will result in a mass of testimony utterly incapable of examination, from its very voluminousness-and that the House would, probably, to get