which it is the custom of the President to lay before Congress immediately on its assembling. Washington and Adams read these to Congress in person. Jefferson inaugurated the custom since followed of sending it to the House. This message deals, in more or less detail, with the internal and foreign affairs of the nation, stating what steps have been taken in any direction, and recommending such as the President deems necessary. The message of President Cleveland to the Fiftieth Congress at its first session was an exception in this respect, dealing only with the subject of the reduction of the tariff, his object being to emphasize the importance of that subject, in view of the rapidly increasing surplus. This course had been adopted by but one President before him. President Madison's messages in 1813 and 1814, during the War of 1812, related exclusively to that struggle.

Primary Convention. (See Nominating Convene Hons.)

Privateer.—A privateer is an armed vessel owned, equipped and manned by private parties, which bears a commission (called letters of marque or letters of marque and reprisal) from a government to attack and seize the property of enemies* at sea. The inducement to individuals to engage in privateering is a share in the prizes captured. The practice has been recognized by international law. The advantage to a belligerent State is an increase of its effective naval forces, which is especially desirable when the regular navy is small. The drawbacks to the system are that privateers, actuated by the hope of gain and not being under any naval discipline, are liable to infringe the rights of neutrals and to disregard the limits of legitimate war. During the last hundred years various steps have been taken to abolish privateering. The most important step was taken in 1856,

i'ust after the Crimean War, when by the Declarations of }aris many of the nations of Europe agreed not to employ privateers against each other. All the chief states of Europe and America have since given their adherence to this declaration except Spain, the United States and Mexico. The United States was willing to become a party to the agreement only on condition that all private property at sea, not contraband, should be exempt from capture. But this "Marcy" or "American" amendment, as it was called, was not accepted. During the Civil "War the Confederate States offered letters of marque to persons of all countries, but no admittedly foreign vessels were so commissioned. During the same period the Congress of the United States empowered the President to grant commissions to privateers, but none such were granted. In 1861 the United States offered to assent to the Declarations of Paris, but England and France declined our adherence unless on condition (which was, of course, not accepted) that our action should have no bearing on the "internaldifferences prevailing in the United States." This government is far from favoring the system of privateering, although Congress is permitted by Article 1, section 8, of the Constitution, to "grant letters of marque and reprisal/'*and among civilized nations the commissioning of privateers is practically at an end.

Private Legislation is the passage by Congress, or a State Legislature, of an act which affects only individuals or particular classes of men or things. "Private act "is a term used in opposition to a "general law" which affects the whole community.

Proclamation of Amnesty.—In the history of this country there have been five such proclamations: all had relation to the Civil War. The first was issue I by President Lincoln December 8, 1863. The Act of Congress of July 17, 1862, had authorized it, notwithstanding the fact that a general pardoning power, in cases of offense against the United States, is granted to the President by the Constitution. This proclamation offered pardon and restoration of all property, except slaves or in cases where rights of third parties would be interfered with, to all persons then in rebellion against the government, on condition of their taking a prescribed oath. This oath declares adherence to and support of the Constitution and. the Union and of all laws and proclamations regarding slaves and slavery "so long and so far as not modified or declared void by the decision of the Supreme Court." From this offer there were excepted all persons that had left any Federal position or office to join the Confederacy, all civil or diplomatic officers and army or navy officers of the Confederate States above certain rank, and those that had treated Federal colored soldiers otherwise than lawfully as prisoners of war. March 26, 1864, a supplemental proclamation stated that the offer was not open to prisoners of war. May 29, 1865, President Johnson issued a similar proclamation, the oath being somewhat shorter, but of the same import as of the former To the former exceptions were added Confederate foreign agents, Confederate soldiers or officers who were graduates from West Point and Annapolis, Governors of rebel States, deserters, privateersmen, Canada raiders, persons worth over $20,000, and those that had broken an oath taken under the former proclamation. In 1867 a bill was passed repealing the Act of July 17,1862. Johnson neither signed nor vetoed it, and it became a law. September 7, 1867, Johnson issued another proclamation, the third of the kind. It offered amnesty to all that would take an oath almost identical with that of the proclamation of 1865, excepting only the President, Vice-President and heads of departments of the Confederacy, army and navy officers above certain high ranks, foreign agents, Governors of States, those that had treated prisoners of war unlawfully, those held in legal confinement and parties to Lincoln's assassination. President Johnson's proclamation of July 4,1868, offered amnesty to all except those under indictment in a Federal court, and his proclamation of December 25, 1868, offered it to all unconditionally without the formality of any oath. Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment places disability to hold office on those that had held certain officers under the United States and had then engaged in rebellion, but Congress was empowered to remove the disability by a two-thirds vote of each House. Many have availed themselves of this power. The Act of May 22, 1872, removed the disability of all except only those that had been members of the Thirtysixth and Thirty-seventh Congresses, judicial, army or navy officers, heads of departments or foreign ministers, and holding such offices had engaged in rebellion. An attempt to sweep away even these restrictions failed in 1873.

Progressive Labor Party.—This organization began its life as a separate political party after seceding from the Syracuse, (N. Y.) Convention of the United Labor Party. (See that title.) It held its own convention in New York, September 28, 1887, adopted a platform and nominated a candidate for Secretary of State of New York. He received 7,622 votes out of a total of 1,045,376, most of the votes coming from New York City. The principal points of its platform were as follows: "That all should have free access to land and to the instruments of production without tribute to landlords and monopolists;" woman suffrage; "repeal of all conspiracy laws, tramp laws and all class legislation and privileges;" "the public ownership and management of . . . all industries involving the use of public franchises or the performance of public functions," and the submission to the people for rejection or approval of all important laws.

Prohibition.—The object of the Prohibitionists is to obtain laws prohibiting the manufacture and sale of intoxicating liquors, except for the purpose of manufacturing industries, science and art. They argue that this is advisable because vast sums of money are annually wasted by the people in the purchase of liquor, and its consumption reduces the productiveness of labor; because pauperism and crime are largely increased thereby; because the habit of drinking renders the citizen less able to serve in defense of the government when necessary; and because the government should protect the defenceless women and children who are most injured by drunkenness. The opponents of prohibition dispute some of the facts of its advocates, assert that drunkenness is rather the accompaniment than the cause of pauperism and crime, and argue that in any event prohibitory laws cannot be enforced, and that a high license system (see High License) will be more effectual in restraining the sale of liquor. They also contend that prohibitory laws infringe the individual liberty of the citizen. On December 5, 1887, the Supreme Court of the United States rendered an important decision, holding that it is within the discretionary police powers of a State to protect the public health, safety and morals, even by the destruction of property, and that the Kansas laws, providing for the destruction, without compensation, of property used in connection with liquor-selling, do not violate the provision in the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution that "no State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States, nor shall any State deprive any person of . . . property, without due process of law." The Prohibitionists have been a factor of importance in the politics of some of the States since about the middle of the century. A prohibitory law was passed in Maine in 1846, and in 1851 a more stringent one, including a provision for the seizure and destruction of intoxicating liquors, (known as the "Maine Law" and drafted by General Neal Dow), was enacted and has since been in force, except for the years 1856 and 1857. Vermont in 1852, New Hampshire in 1855, and Connecticut in 1854, passed the Maine Law; the first has retained and enforced it, the second has retained and not enforced it, and the last never enforced it and repealed it in 1872. New York had the Maine Law on the statute books between 1855 and 1857. Ohio and Michigan by their Constitutions forbade the passage of a license law, thus leaving the mere alternative between free liquor and prohibition. This clause of Michigan's Constitution has been repealed: the question of replacing it was defeated in 1887, by a small popular majority. In Ohio attempts have been made to tax the sale of liquor by the "Pond Tax Law," and the "Scott Tax Law," but both of these were pronounced unconstitutional by the courts. A Prohibitory Amendment to the Constitution of Kansas was ratified by the people in 1880, and this has been

« ForrigeFortsett »