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the annual appropriation, and indeed, for that or any other purpose, it has now been absorbed in the Revised Statutes, although, oddly enough, its substance there appears under the citation of a different act. But we will quote it as it was enacted sixty-five years ago, when the whole expenditures of the government scarcely exceeded $13,000,000, and that part of them affected by this act must have fallen short of $ 100,000.
In the first place, the carelessness of engrossing clerks, one after another, has done injustice to the title of the act. It does not relate merely to “ministers and consuls on the coast of Barbary," but it is entitled “an act fixing the compensation of public ministers, and of consuls residing on the coast of Barbary, and for other purposes”; it covered the whole diplomatic establishment of the infant Republic as it then existed, and the consular establishment so far as we had any, and it repealed two previous acts upon the same general subject. Its principal purpose was to define and limit salaries, the maximum for a minister plenipotentiary being fixed at $9,000; for a chargé des affaires, $4,500; for a secretary of legation, $ 2,000; for a consul to reside at Algiers, $ 4,000; for a consul to reside at any other of the states on the coast of Barbary, $2,000; not more than one consul to be appointed for any one of these states. "It allowed not exceeding “one year's full salary” to be paid to a minister plenipotentiary or chargé des affaires as outfit,-a provision of law that was maintained until 1855 ; but at the same time carefully provided that "no consul shall be allowed an outfit in any case whatever, any usage or custom to the contrary notwithstanding." By the second section, provision was made to prevent the payment of these or any salaries to any person not duly appointed ; this part of the act, which has no doubt always been in force, and is incorporated in the Revised Statutes, has not always, we fear, been strictly observed. Next followed the third section, to which the appropriation refers, in these words :
“SECTION 3. And be it further enacted, That where any sum or sums of money shall be drawn from the treasury, under any law making appropriation for the contingent expenses of intercourse between the United States and foreign nations, the President shall be;
and he hereby is, authorized to cause the same to be duly settled annually with the accounting-officers of the treasury, in the manner following, that is to say : By causing the same to be accounted for specially, in all instances wherein the expenditure thereof may in his judgment be made public; and by making a certificate of the amount of such expenditures as he may think it advisable not to specify; and every such certificate shall be deemed a sufficient voucher for the sum or sums therein expressed to have been expended."
As re-enacted in the Revised Statutes, where it stands as section 291, with a marginal reference to an act of February 9, 1793, which was repealed in 1798, the section applies to “any sum of money which has been or shall be issued from the treasury for the purpose of intercourse or treaty with foreign nations in pursuance of any law," and gives the President precisely the authority in the section just cited from the act of 1810, substituting the word “specifically” for “specially” (probably a clerical error in the act of 1810), and by using in the last clause, after the semicolon, the phrase, “and by making or causing, the Secretary of State to make a certificate," etc. The provision applies therefor as a matter of standing law to the usual appropriation“ for the contingent expenses of foreign intercourse proper and of all the missions abroad,” which this year* is $ 100,000, the same sum which it has been for several years past. Until recently these appropriations were divided; whether together or separate, nearly the whole sum is necessarily absorbed by the most ordinary expenses of diplomatic officers, for there is no other appropriation from which they can be paid. Even with the addition of $ 20,000 for expenses under the Neutrality Act, the sum which could be applied to any secret purpose would be too small to give ground for alarm. The Neutrality Act, it is probably unnecessary to say, is the act of 1818, of which so much was said during the discussion of the Alabama claims, now forming title 67 of the Revised Statutes. For want of such an act, or for want of such effective proceedings on the part of the
* The vote taken in the House of Representatives on the 11th of February last would reduce the appropriation for this purpose for the next fiscal year to $50,000. It relates exclusively to the diplomatic service.
executive as that act authorizes and requires, Great Britain was mulcted in damages to the amount of $ 15,500,000. We can well afford to keep the act upon our statute-book, to appropriate $ 20,000 a year for the expenses of its execution, and to allow the President large liberty of discretion in the expenditure. In point of fact the expenses are not large, and in some years the fund is not drawn upon at all.
It is gratifying to observe that contemporaneously with the measures taken by Congress within the last few years for improving the organization of the consular department, there has been an improvement in the matter of appointments, and some symptoms have appeared of a willingness to introduce the system of promotion within the service, which, if persevered in, would prove a most powerful stimulus to its efficiency. Mr. John M. Francis, who had been our minister resident in Greece since 1871, resigned in 1873. To fill this vacancy, Mr. J. Meredith Read, Jr., who had been our consulgeneral at Paris since 1869, was appointed minister resident to Greece. Mr. A. T. A. Torbert, who had been our consulgeneral at Havana since 1871, was appointed to be consulgeneral at Paris. Mr. Henry C. Hall, who had been our consul at Matanzas since 1864, was appointed to be consulgeneral at Havana. All three of these promotions were effected by appointments to the new positions under date of November 7, 1873. Finally, to fill the vacancy caused by Mr. Hall's transfer to Havana, Mr. James W. Steele was appointed to be consul at Matanzas under date of March 19, 1874, this being a new appointment from outside the service. The salary of the consul at Matanzas is $3,000; that of the consulsgeneral at Havana and at Paris, $6,000; that of ministerresident in Greece at the time of Mr. Read's appointment, was $7,500. The promotion to a post of greater responsibility and higher compensation was in each case a well-deserved recognition of the value of the services of a faithful and efficient public officer.
It would facilitate such transfers of a consul from one post to another, if it should be made a matter of usage, to which we can conceive of no objection, to make the original nomination by the President transmitted to the Senate for confir
mation, that of John Jones for instance, as “consul of the United States," without specifying any particular post for his service. The nomination once confirmed by the Senate, the officer would be duly appointed “consul,” and he might be stationed for duty at first, if this be thought necessary, at the post contemplated at the time of his nomination ; but he could be readily transferred to other posts from time to time as the exigencies of the service might require or the abilities he displayed might warrant. It would be thought a singular thing if a separate appointment, with the confirmation of the Senate, were required to invest a navy officer with the command of each particular ship to which he may be appointed; or an army officer to the command of each particular military post where his services may be needed. The absurdity of a precise designation of the post of duty in the first appointment is, however, equally great in the consular service.
The usage we suggest would moreover go far to mitigate the inconveniences to which we have alluded as arising when a vacancy occurs from the death of a consul at an important post, and for which the presence of a vice-consul is at best but an insufficient remedy, if the Secretary of State, or, in case of unusual emergency, the minister of the United States in the foreign country could at once send to the spot where the vacancy has arisen a consul of experience who might be spared temporarily at least from his regular post.
It would be easy to suggest some other matters in which, perhaps, improvements might be introduced into the consular service; but the great progress which has been quietly made within the last few years should assure the people of the United States that their interests will not be neglected in this respect, and give confidence that any check in the path of advance will be but temporary. Under all the drawbacks of insufficient salaries, unequal and inadequate allowances, entire want of system in appointments and absence of promotions, without pensions or retiring allowances, the consuls of the United States have heretofore proved themselves as a body as faithful and efficient as those in the similar service of any other country. Many distinguished gentlemen have been numbered in their ranks, and have displayed their abilities as occasion offered by
acts of singular merit. To some of these men and deeds we had proposed to refer, but the limits we have already exceeded forbid. We esteemed it one of the special advantages of the recent improvements in the system, that meritorious officers already in the service might be led in consequence of them to continue in a career which, under the watchful supervision of the Department and intelligent legislation of Congress, seemed likely at last to deserve in some degree that name. It is to be hoped that the spasmodic and short-sighted action of the House of Representatives within the last few weeks may not operate as a discouragement.
ART. IV.-CHIEF JUSTICE CHASE.
In speaking briefly of the life and character of Chief Justice Chase, no attempt will be made here to go much beyond those decided characteristics of the man that seem to mark him as one of the most distinguished of the present century, which has been by no means deficient in the number or qualities of its eminently great and good men. Omitting all discussion, except incidentally, of Mr. Chase's education, both preparatory and professional, and also of his services at the bar, and as Governor of Ohio, and Secretary of the Treasury, we shall limit ourselves mainly to two leading points, — his conservatism as a statesman, and his eminent qualities as a judge.
I. The world recognizes Mr. Chase as one of the most, if not the most, earnest and devoted among American advocates of antislavery principles. But he is even more distinguished, perhaps, for the quality and character of his opposition to slavery than for its earnestness and sincerity. While most reforms of this character, and this in particular, have been largely based upon the theory of schism and separation from the established order of things, both in the organic law of the government and especially in its administrative functions, there is nothing of this character, in any very marked degree certainly, in any thing said or done by Mr. Chase in opposition to slavery.