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Babcockism And The Republican Party

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The Republican press begin to intímate that thn President means to plead the infidelity of Babcock and Porter, bis military secretarie?, as not an excuse oniy, but alniosta reason for theexeeutive mismanagemeut and the executive niisdemeanoiB whieh thn Democratie housa is now layiug at hifi door. To this we havo no denire to answer with a I umphant spirit : " We told you so ;" and yot our readers will bear witness :iow persistently ajid eftrtiestly during ong years we have pointed out the ille gality of the service In which these military young men have boen eugaged at the White-house, and warned the couutry that it would end in disaster and in disgraco for the President. There is not, and thero never was, any law authorizing the Comraanderinchief of the Arniy to detail these officers for such civil clerical work. Every member of the Cabinet and every Kepublican lawyer in the Seuate knew this, or ought to have known it. Every time Babcock or Portel appeared in the Senate with a message frota the President was a fresh meliace to the law. Thia the " law lords" of the Sonate at least saw and feit. They had studied the statutes, and tiiey porfectly well understood that if the Président could order army officors to be private secretarie for himself, he could order them in the same cnpacity to serve the Vice-president, or the Speaker, or the Chief-justice. The President cannot oommand the army out of militarv into civil business. The assignment of Babcock to duty on the aqnednct and public buildings of Washington has a different footing, because by one law of 1790 and auother of 1859 the Chicf of Engineers (now Gen. Humphreys), under direction of the President, has charge of those works, and hocau lawfully assign an annyofïicer to them. Gen. Humphreys is therefore resDousib'.e for the present doings of Babcock as a commissioner of the aqueduct and public buildings of Washington, " under such regulations as may be prescribed by the President." And, under the President and the Chief of Eugineers, Babcock has been, and stül is, in charge of these important affairs ! Why is it? But neither the law of 1790, nor that of 1859, declared that cither Babcock or Porter or Dent could bo military secretary of tho President in timo of peace ; or if military secretarios, that they could concern themselves with any other than military things. Tliis, we repeat, every Repubhcan lawyer, at least in the Cabi net or in Congress, must h;ive known and feit, if he had iutelligence enough to know and feel anvthinp; about tem of govemment and the relations of the army to civil administraron. Of course thcre is no reason to siippose that Orant knew or feit anything about the matter except that he liked Porter and Babcock and wanted theni to be his eeretaries and to get as much pay as posetble. But a Republicai Cabinet and Congress cotild, either by remonstrance or by a law, have enlightoned the ignorance and put a stop to tho blundoring of the President in tliis business. The country now sees, what the Eejjublican leaders in Washington must have long seen, that Babcock and Porter from the flrst kept putting their fingers officiously into every department of tho Government iuto which they could be safely thrust. They soon came to be the moral and political keepers and representatives of the President's official conscience and puiposes. Whom they marked either for executive dostruction or esaltation quickly feit the touch. They surrounded Grant as a cloud. They excited his sympathies wich, or antipathies against, this man or that, as suited their game. Daily they looked into tho President's hand, and into the hand of all who came to him. It niay be that all this time the President was innocent and unsuspecting. Whyshould he not have been trustful and confiding with these two youug men whom he had distmguished and elevated? Possibly he sincerely thoughtthat the enemies of Babcock were his enemies, and the friends of Babcock his friends. But there were Bepublican Senators who kuew better, and who saw plainly whither the President and tbe natiou were being led. Why did they not sound the alarm? Why did the Republican leaders in and out of Congress stand dumb, or bow iu absurd coinplaisanco to tho military ring around the President ? Why did they in nrate servility see upright Eepublicans like Sumner and others, in the Cabinet and out of it, reviled and pestered by this military ring acting in shameless combination witli unscrupulous partisans and needy adventurers ? They stood dumb. They bowed in absurd comiilaisance, and tho result is that the whole Republican hierareby is to-day indelibly taiuted and poisoned by the doings of this combination of which Babcock was the forco-pipe of injection and ejection leading into the very closet of the President. If there is to be any attempt at a separation, ia this matter, of Ropublican sheep from Eepublican goats, Babcockism will be the test. And to establish the relations of any given Republican leader with Babcockism during the last year or two, since public suspicion has fi1 atened on the ring, will not bo euough. The inquiry must go further back. To evcry prominent and aspiring Republicau in the Cabinet or in Congross, the honest men of the country will put the question: " Has Babcockism backed or opposedyou? Has the White-house ring been in hostility and couspiracy against you ? Or has it been upholding, assistiug aad applauding you diuing long years?" If the Republican party caunot find a clean and unsmirched man prominent enough to be its Presidential candidate, who is not only free in fact, but is universally bolieved to be free from sordid motives, and who can show, if not a long record of active hostility on the part of the White-house ring, at least a record of indiflereuco and dislike, tho Republican party will go into tiie canvass of 1876 beaten in advance by Babcockism, utterly divorced from public coufidence, and disappear into a grave of ignominy and dishonor. We repeat that no recent iucidonts in such a candidate's record will be enough, for the country will iusist that the inquiry go back to the dato when Sumner and Schurz sounded the alarm in the Santo Domingo business and in the Fronch arms scandal. Then tho finger of suspicion and danger poiuted inflexibly to the White-house. From that date whom in the Republican party has Babcockism befriended aud against whom lias it conspiretl ?-


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