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Great Commoner.-A title_given to Thaddeus Stevens and also to Henry Clay. The phrase was originally used with reference to William Pitt, a great leader in the English House of Commons in the latter part of the last century, Great Pacificator.
- This name
is applied to Henry Clay on account of his propensity to suggest compromises for the purpose of settling disputes. (See Missouri Compromise; Compromise of 1850; Compromise Tariff.)
Greeley, Horace, was born at Amherst, New Hampshire, February 3, 1811, and died near New York City, November 29, 1872. He was a printer by trade; turning his attention to journalism he founded the New York Tribune in 1841. In 1848 and 1849 he sat in the House of Representatives as a Whig, and in 1872 he was the presidential nominee of the Liberal Republicans. His newspaper became one of the most prominent abolition papers; through it he also advocated a protective tariff and internal improvements. Personally he was very eccentric, one of his peculiarities being his custom of wearing a white high hat both winter and summer, a style that became known as Greeley” hats.
Greenback-Labor Party.-The demand for agricultural products on the part of the government during the war tended to render farmers
prosperity was increased by the payment in greenbacks of debts previously contracted, and these concurrent circumstances have tended to make agricultural sections look on the unlimited issue of paper money as the cure for all economic evils. A convention of Greenbackers was held in 1874, and it was resolved that it was desirable to have all bank currency withdrawn and only national currency issued, and, moreover, to have the principal of that portion of the national debt not in terms made payable in gold, paid in currency. As early as 1868 this plan had been known as the Ohio Idea. The Democratic party in 1875 showed some leaning toward these views, but it soon fell off from them. In 1876 the Greenbackers held a national convention, and adopt
ing the name of Independent party nominated Peter Cooper, of New York, for the presidency. The party polled a total of about 80,000 votes. Its strength lay mainly in the agricultural regions, in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas and Michigan. In 1877 the party's vote in the State elections was about 185,000. About this time the labor reform parties assumed greater prominence, and in several States the labor and greenback parties united. In 1878 a national convention adopted the name of National party. In that year its vote rose to 1,000,000, and a number of National representatives were elected usually by fusions with whichever party happened to be in the minority in any district. In 1880 James B. Weaver, of Iowa, was nominated for President, polling about 300,000 votes; in 1884 the nominee was Benjamin F. Butler, of Massachusetts, who was also the Anti-Monopoly candidate, the joint ticket being known as the People's party, and the vote about 130,000. The principles of the party as constituted at that time are given under Party Platforms.
Greenbacks.-A familiar name applied to the National bank notes and the Legal tender notes by reason of the appearance of the reverse side.
Green Mountain Boys.--A name applied to the male inhabitants of Vermont, from the chief range of mountains in the State, and used especially in referring to regiments from Vermont in the Revolution and the Civil War.
Guano Statesman. (See Peruvian Guano Troubles.)
Gunboat System.-President Jefferson and the Republicans (see Democratic-Republican Party) opposed The formation of a navy on the ground of its cost. As an alternative Jefferson proposed the building of gunboats for defensive purposes, and the act of February 28, 1803, appropriated $50,000 for the purpose. In the following years the subject was further amplified and a complete system of coast defense on this plan was adopted il 1806. Gunboats to the number of 250 were to be built, of these a few were to remain in active service, the remainder to be properly stored at the princi
pal seaports, and in case of danger to be manned by local seamen and militia trained for the purpose. This system of coast defense, moreover, included heavy movable batteries to be placed at convenient points on the coast; these were to be moved to the spot at which danger threatened, and to be used against hostile fleets attempting to land. During the war of 1812 the necessity of a sea-going fleet became apparent, and the gunboat system was abandoned.
Habeas Corpus is a writ which takes its name from its characterizing Latin words ut habeas corpus. There are several varieties of this writ, but the one referred to in the Constitution and generally meant is that of habeas corpus ad subjiciendum, which is issued by a court directing that the body of a prisoner be produced before it, that it may inquire into the cause of his detention and discharge him if he is unlawfully restrained. It is granted as a matter of right on the verified petition of the prisoner or some one acting in his behalf. The right to this writ was secured to the English people by Magna Charta and confirmei by the Petition of Right. The Constitution of the United States (Article 1, section 9, clause 2) provides that “the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it.” The States, also, provide for the issuance of the writ in their several courts. Federal courts grant the writ when the imprisonment is under pretense of federal authority or federal rights are involved. The power to suspend the writ of habeas corpus has been held by the Supreme Court to rest with Congress alone, though that body may delegate its authority to the President by statute. In sudden emergencies it is sometimes necessary for the President to suspend the writ without previous authority, but Congress may afterward validate his course.
Previous to the Civil War the Federal writ of habeas corpus had never been suspended. At the commencement of that struggle Lincoln found it necessary to suspend it, and Congress subsequently validated his action, and in March, 1863, gave the Fresident
almost unlimited discretionary power to suspend the writ. This was accordingly done, and many arbitrary arrests were made of persons suspected of disloyalty, with the result of causing much bitter feeling in the North. In October, 1864, a court-martial in Indiana sentenced several persons to death for treasonable designs; from the name of the most prominent prisoner the affair was known as the “ Milligan Case.” The United States circuit court issued a writ of habeas corpus, and being divided in opinion as to releasing the prisoners, the case was taken to the Supreme Court. There it was held in 1866 that the privilege of the writ could not be suspended in districts where the action of the civil courts was not interrupted, except that military commissions might be given jurisdiction to try residents of rebellious States, prisoners of war, and persons in the military and naval services. In December, 1865, President Johnson proclaimed the restoration of the privilege of the writ throughout most of the North; in April, 1866, everywhere except in Texas; and in August, 1866, in that State also. The Ku-Klux troubles led to an act authorizing the local suspension of the writ in 1871 for which see Ku-Klux Klan and Force Bill. One solitary instance has occurred of the suspension of the privilege of this writ in time of peace and when the public safety did not seem to demand it. In 1865 Mrs. Mary E. Surratt was in custody of the military authorities, having been condemned to death by a military commission for conspiring in the murder of President Lincoln. A writ of habeas corpus to produce her and show by what lawful authority she was held was issued by Judge Wylie of the District of Columbia and served on Gen. Hancock, the commander of the district. President Johnson, fearing the defeat of, or a delay in, the execution of Mrs. Surratt, issued the following order:
EXECUTIVE OFFICE, July 7, 1865, 10 A. M. To Major-General W. S. Hancock, Commanding, etc.:
I, Andrew Johnson, President of the United States, do hereby declare that the writ of habeas corpus has been heretofore suspended in such cases as this, and I do hereby especially sus
pend this writ, and direct that you proceed to execute the order heretofore given upon the judgment of the Military Commission, and you will give this order in return to this writ.
ANDREW JOHNSON, President.
Notwithstanding Johnson's assertion to the contrary, his action seems to have been without precedent and wholly unwarranted; but it served the purpose and Mrs. Surratt was hanged.
Hail Columbia. - The words of this national song were written by Judge Joseph Hopkinson during President John Adams'administration. The air was composed by the leader of the orchestra of the only theatre in the capital, in honor of George Washington. The composer, named Pfyles, Feyles, or Fyles, called it the President's March, but after the words had been written for it, both air and words passed under the name of Hail Columbia, the opening words of the song.
Half-Breeds. (See Stalwarts.)
Halifax Fishery Commission. In accordance with the provisions of the Treaty of Washington (see Fishery Treaties; Treaty of Washington), the joint commission to determine the compensation which the United States should pay to Great Britain for the privileges granted the former by the treaty referred to, met at Halifax, Nova Scotia, in the summer of 1877. It was composed of Hon. Ensign H. Kellogg, appointed by the President, Sir Alexander T. Galt, appointed by the Queen, and Maurice Delfosse, selected by the Austrian Minister to Great Britain. Reliable statistics could not be obtained, but finally by the casting vote of Delfosse it was decided, in November, 1877, that the United States should pay to Great Britain $5,500,000. The award created general surprise and, in the United States, much indignation, but it was duly paid the next year.
Hamilton, Alexander, was born on the Island of Nevis, West Indies, January 11, 1757, and died at New York, July 12, 1804, killed in a duel with Aaron Burr. He left King's (now Columbia) College and entered the Continental Army. He was Washington's aide during