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A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Presidents by James D. Richardson

Part 10 out of 14

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with the President on the subject.

I have had no correspondence with the President since the 12th of August
last. After the action of the Senate on his alleged reason for my
suspension from the office of Secretary of War, I resumed the duties of
that office, as required by the act of Congress, and have continued to
discharge them without any personal or written communication with the
President. No orders have been issued from this Department in the name
of the President with my knowledge, and I have received no orders from
him.

The correspondence sent herewith embraces all the correspondence known
to me on the subject referred to in the resolution of the House of
Representatives.

I have the honor to be, sir, with great respect, your obedient servant,

EDWIN M. STANTON,

_Secretary of War_.

_General Grant to the President_.

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE UNITED STATES,

_Washington, January 24, 1868_.

His Excellency A. JOHNSON,

_President of the United States_.

SIR: I have the honor very respectfully to request to have in writing
the order which the President gave me verbally on Sunday, the 19th
instant, to disregard the orders of the Hon. E.M. Stanton as Secretary
of War until I knew from the President himself that they were his
orders.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

U.S. GRANT, _General_.

_General Grant to the President_.

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE UNITED STATES,

_Washington, D.C., January 28, 1868_.

His Excellency A. JOHNSON,

_President of the United States_.

SIR: On the 24th instant I requested you to give me in writing the
instructions which you had previously given me verbally not to obey any
order from Hon. E.M. Stanton, Secretary of War, unless I knew that it
came from yourself. To this written request I received a message that
has left doubt in my mind of your intentions. To prevent any possible
misunderstanding, therefore, I renew the request that you will give me
written instructions, and till they are received will suspend action on
your verbal ones.

I am compelled to ask these instructions in writing in consequence
of the many and gross misrepresentations affecting my personal honor
circulated through the press for the last fortnight, purporting to come
from the President, of conversations which occurred either with the
President privately in his office or in Cabinet meeting. What is written
admits of no misunderstanding.

In view of the misrepresentations referred to, it will be well to state
the facts in the case.

Some time after I assumed the duties of Secretary of War _ad interim_
the President asked me my views as to the course Mr. Stanton would have
to pursue, in case the Senate should not concur in his suspension,
to obtain possession of his office. My reply was, in substance, that
Mr. Stanton would have to appeal to the courts to reinstate him,
illustrating my position by citing the ground I had taken in the case
of the Baltimore police commissioners.

In that case I did not doubt the technical right of Governor Swann to
remove the old commissioners and to appoint their successors. As the old
commissioners refused to give up, however, I contended that no resource
was left but to appeal to the courts.

Finding that the President was desirous of keeping Mr. Stanton out of
office, whether sustained in the suspension or not, I stated that I had
not looked particularly into the tenure-of-office bill, but that what
I had stated was a general principle, and if I should change my mind in
this particular case I would inform him of the fact.

Subsequently, on reading the tenure-of-office bill closely, I found that
I could not, without violation of the law, refuse to vacate the office
of Secretary of War the moment Mr. Stanton was reinstated by the Senate,
even though the President should order me to retain it, which he never
did.

Taking this view of the subject, and learning on Saturday, the 11th
instant, that the Senate had taken up the subject of Mr. Stanton's
suspension, after some conversation with Lieutenant General Sherman and
some members of my staff, in which I stated that the law left me no
discretion as to my action should Mr. Stanton be reinstated, and that I
intended to inform the President, I went to the President for the sole
purpose of making this decision known, and did so make it known.

In doing this I fulfilled the promise made in our last preceding
conversation on the subject.

The President, however, instead of accepting my view of the requirements
of the tenure-of-office bill, contended that he had suspended Mr.
Stanton under the authority given by the Constitution, and that the same
authority did not preclude him from reporting, as an act of courtesy,
his reasons for the suspension to the Senate; that, having appointed me
under the authority given by the Constitution, and not under any act of
Congress, I could not be governed by the act. I stated that the law was
binding on me, constitutional or not, until set aside by the proper
tribunal. An hour or more was consumed, each reiterating his views on
this subject, until, getting late, the President said he would see me
again.

I did not agree to call again on Monday, nor at any other definite time,
nor was I sent for by the President until the following Tuesday.

From the 11th to the Cabinet meeting on the 14th instant a doubt never
entered my mind about the President's fully understanding my position,
namely, that if the Senate refused to concur in the suspension of Mr.
Stanton my powers as Secretary of War _ad interim_ would cease and Mr.
Stanton's right to resume at once the functions of his office would
under the law be indisputable, and I acted accordingly. With Mr. Stanton
I had no communication, direct nor indirect, on the subject of his
reinstatement during his suspension.

I knew it had been recommended to the President to send in the
name of Governor Cox, of Ohio, for Secretary of War, and thus save all
embarrassment--a proposition that I sincerely hoped he would entertain
favorably; General Sherman seeing the President at my particular request
to urge this on the 13th instant.

On Tuesday (the day Mr. Stanton reentered the office of the Secretary of
War) General Comstock, who had carried my official letter announcing
that with Mr. Stanton's reinstatement by the Senate I had ceased to be
Secretary of War _ad interim_, and who saw the President open and read
the communication, brought back to me from the President a message that
he wanted to see me that day at the Cabinet meeting, after I had made
known the fact that I was no longer Secretary of War _ad interim_.

At this meeting, after opening it as though I were a member of the
Cabinet, when reminded of the notification already given him that I was
no longer Secretary of War _ad interim_, the President gave a version of
the conversations alluded to already. In this statement it was asserted
that in both conversations I had agreed to hold on to the office of
Secretary of War until displaced by the courts, or resign, so as to
place the President where he would have been had I never accepted the
office. After hearing the President through, I stated our conversations
substantially as given in this letter. I will add that my conversation
before the Cabinet embraced other matter not pertinent here, and is
therefore left out.

I in no wise admitted the correctness of the President's statement of
our conversations, though, to soften the evident contradiction my
statement gave, I said (alluding to our first conversation on the
subject) the President might have understood me the way he said, namely,
that I had promised to resign if I did not resist the reinstatement.
I made no such promise.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

U.S. GRANT, _General_.

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE UNITED STATES,

_January 30, 1868_.

Respectfully forwarded to the Secretary of War for his information.

U.S. GRANT, _General_.

[Indorsement of the President on General Grant's note of January 24,
1868.[49]]

JANUARY 29, 1868.

As requested in this communication, General Grant is instructed in
writing not to obey any order from the War Department assumed to be
issued by the direction of the President unless such order is known by
the General Commanding the armies of the United States to have been
authorized by the Executive.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

[Footnote 49: See p. 613.]

_General Grant to the President_.

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE UNITED STATES,

_Washington, January 30, 1868_.

His Excellency A. JOHNSON,

_President of the United States_.

SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the return of my note of the 24th
instant,[49] with your indorsement thereon, that I am not to obey any
order from the War Department assumed to be issued by the direction of
the President unless such order is known by me to have been authorized
by the Executive, and in reply thereto to say that I am informed by the
Secretary of War that he has not received from the Executive any order
or instructions limiting or impairing his authority to issue orders to
the Army, as has heretofore been his practice under the law and the
customs of the Department. While this authority to the War Department is
not countermanded it will be satisfactory evidence to me that any orders
issued from the War Department by direction of the President are
authorized by the Executive.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

U.S. GRANT, _General_.

[Footnote 49: See p. 613.]

HEADQUARTERS ARMY UNITED STATES,

_January 30, 1868_.

Respectfully forwarded to the Secretary of War for his information.

U.S. GRANT, _General_.

_The President to General Grant_.

EXECUTIVE MANSION, _January 31, 1868_.

General U.S. GRANT,

_Commanding United States Armies_.

GENERAL: I have received your communication of the 28th instant,[50]
renewing your request of the 24th,[49] that I should repeat in a written
form my verbal instructions of the 19th instant, viz, that you obey no
order from the Hon. Edwin M. Stanton as Secretary of War unless you have
information that it was issued by the President's directions.

In submitting this request (with which I complied on the 29th
instant[51]) you take occasion to allude to recent publications in
reference to the circumstances connected with the vacation by yourself
of the office of Secretary of War _ad interim_, and with the view of
correcting statements which you term "gross misrepresentations" give
at length your own recollection of the facts under which, without the
sanction of the President, from whom you had received and accepted the
appointment, you yielded the Department of War to the present incumbent.

As stated in your communication, some time after you had assumed the
duties of Secretary of War _ad interim_ we interchanged views respecting
the course that should be pursued in the event of nonconcurrence by the
Senate in the suspension from office of Mr. Stanton. I sought that
interview, calling myself at the War Department. My sole object in then
bringing the subject to your attention was to ascertain definitely
what would be your own action should such an attempt be made for his
restoration to the War Department. That object was accomplished, for
the interview terminated with the distinct understanding that if upon
reflection you should prefer not to become a party to the controversy or
should conclude that it would be your duty to surrender the Department
to Mr. Stanton upon action in his favor by the Senate you were to return
the office to me prior to a decision by the Senate, in order that if I
desired to do so I might designate someone to succeed you. It must have
been apparent to you that had not this understanding been reached it was
my purpose to relieve you from the further discharge of the duties of
Secretary of War _ad interim_ and to appoint some other person in that
capacity.

Other conversations upon this subject ensued, all of them having on my
part the same object and leading to the same conclusion as the first.
It is not necessary, however, to refer to any of them excepting that of
Saturday, the 11th instant, mentioned in your communication. As it was
then known that the Senate had proceeded to consider the case of Mr.
Stanton, I was anxious to learn your determination. After a protracted
interview, during which the provisions of the tenure-of-office bill were
freely discussed, you said that, as had been agreed upon in our first
conference, you would either return the office to my possession in time
to enable me to appoint a successor before final action by the Senate
upon Mr. Stanton's suspension, or would remain as its head, awaiting a
decision of the question by judicial proceedings. It was then understood
that there would be a further conference on Monday, by which time I
supposed you would be prepared to inform me of your final decision. You
failed, however, to fulfill the engagement, and on Tuesday notified me
in writing of the receipt by you of official notification of the action
of the Senate in the case of Mr. Stanton, and at the same time informed
me that according to the act regulating the tenure of certain civil
offices your functions as Secretary of War _ad interim_ ceased from
the moment of the receipt of the notice. You thus, in disregard of the
understanding between us, vacated the office without having given me
notice of your intention to do so. It is but just, however, to say that
in your communication you claim that you did inform me of your purpose,
and thus "fulfilled the promise made in our last preceding conversation
on this subject." The fact that such a promise existed is evidence of
an arrangement of the kind I have mentioned. You had found in our first
conference "that the President was desirous of keeping Mr. Stanton out
of office whether sustained in the suspension or not." You knew what
reasons had induced the President to ask from you a promise; you
also knew that in case your views of duty did not accord with his
own convictions it was his purpose to fill your place by another
appointment. Even ignoring the existence of a positive understanding
between us, these conclusions were plainly deducible from our various
conversations. It is certain, however, that even under these
circumstances you did not offer to return the place to my possession,
but, according to your own statement, placed yourself in a position
where, could I have anticipated your action, I would have been compelled
to ask of you, as I was compelled to ask of your predecessor in the War
Department, a letter of resignation, or else to resort to the more
disagreeable expedient of suspending you by a successor.

As stated in your letter, the nomination of Governor Cox, of Ohio, for
the office of Secretary of War was suggested to me. His appointment as
Mr. Stanton's successor was urged in your name, and it was said that
his selection would save further embarrassment. I did not think that
in the selection of a Cabinet officer I should be trammeled by such
considerations. I was prepared to take the responsibility of deciding
the question in accordance with my ideas of constitutional duty, and,
having determined upon a course which I deemed right and proper, was
anxious to learn the steps you would take should the possession of the
War Department be demanded by Mr. Stanton. Had your action been in
conformity to the understanding between us, I do not believe that the
embarrassment would have attained its present proportions or that the
probability of its repetition would have been so great.

I know that, with a view to an early termination of a state of affairs
so detrimental to the public interests, you voluntarily offered, both on
Wednesday, the 15th instant, and on the succeeding Sunday, to call upon
Mr. Stanton and urge upon him that the good of the service required his
resignation. I confess that I considered your proposal as a sort of
reparation for the failure on your part to act in accordance with an
understanding more than once repeated, which I thought had received your
full assent, and under which you could have returned to me the office
which I had conferred upon you, thus saving yourself from embarrassment
and leaving the responsibility where it properly belonged--with the
President, who is accountable for the faithful execution of the laws.

I have not yet been informed by you whether, as twice proposed by
yourself, you have called upon Mr. Stanton and made an effort to induce
him voluntarily to retire from the War Department.

You conclude your communication with a reference to our conversation at
the meeting of the Cabinet held on Tuesday, the 14th instant. In your
account of what then occurred you say that after the President had given
his version of our previous conversations you stated them substantially
as given in your letter; that you in no wise admitted the correctness of
his statement of them, "though, to soften the evident contradiction my
statement gave, I said (alluding to our first conversation on the
subject) the President might have understood me the way he said, namely,
that I had promised to resign if I did not resist the reinstatement.
I made no such promise."

My recollection of what then transpired is diametrically the reverse of
your narration. In the presence of the Cabinet I asked you--

First. If, in a conversation which took place shortly after your
appointment as Secretary of War _ad interim_, you did not agree either
to remain at the head of the War Department and abide any judicial
proceedings that might follow nonconcurrence by the Senate in Mr.
Stanton's suspension, or, should you wish not to become involved in such
a controversy, to put me in the same position with respect to the office
as I occupied previous to your appointment, by returning it to me in
time to anticipate such action by the Senate. This you admitted.

Second. I then asked you if, at our conference on the preceding
Saturday, I had not, to avoid misunderstanding, requested you to state
what you intended to do, and, further, if in reply to that inquiry you
had not referred to our former conversations, saying that from them I
understood your position, and that your action would be consistent with
the understanding which had been reached. To these questions you also
replied in the affirmative.

Third. I next asked if at the conclusion of our interview on Saturday
it was not understood that we were to have another conference on Monday
before final action by the Senate in the case of Mr. Stanton. You
replied that such was the understanding, but that you did not suppose
the Senate would act so soon; that on Monday you had been engaged in a
conference with General Sherman and were occupied with "many little
matters," and asked if General Sherman had not called on that day. What
relevancy General Sherman's visit to me on Monday had with the purpose
for which you were then to have called I am at a loss to perceive,
as he certainly did not inform me whether you had determined to retain
possession of the office or to afford me an opportunity to appoint a
successor in advance of any attempted reinstatement of Mr. Stanton.

This account of what passed between us at the Cabinet meeting on the
14th instant widely differs from that contained in your communication,
for it shows that instead of having "stated our conversations as given
in the letter" which has made this reply necessary you admitted that my
recital of them was entirely accurate. Sincerely anxious, however, to
be correct in my statements, I have to-day read this narration of what
occurred on the 14th instant to the members of the Cabinet who were then
present. They, without exception, agree in its accuracy.

It is only necessary to add that on Wednesday morning, the 15th instant,
you called on me, in company with Lieutenant-General Sherman. After some
preliminary conversation, you remarked that an article in the National
Intelligencer of that date did you much injustice. I replied that I had
not read the Intelligencer of that morning. You then first told me that
it was your intention to urge Mr. Stanton to resign his office.

After you had withdrawn I carefully read the article of which you had
spoken, and found that its statements of the understanding between us
were substantially correct. On the 17th I caused it to be read to four
of the five members of the Cabinet who were present at our conference on
the 14th, and they concurred in the general accuracy of its statements
respecting our conversation upon that occasion.

In reply to your communication, I have deemed it proper, in order to
prevent further misunderstanding, to make this simple recital of facts.

Very respectfully, yours,

ANDREW JOHNSON.

[Footnote 49: See p. 613.]

[Footnote 50: See pp. 613-615.]

[Footnote 51: See p. 615.]

_General Grant to the President_.

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE UNITED STATES,

_Washington, D.C., February 3, 1868_.

His Excellency A. JOHNSON,

_President of the United States_.

SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your communication
of the 31st ultimo,[52] in answer to mine of the 28th ultimo[53]. After
a careful reading and comparison of it with the article in the National
Intelligencer of the 15th ultimo and the article over the initials
J.B.S. in the New York World of the 27th ultimo, purporting to be based
upon your statement and that of the members of your Cabinet therein
named, I find it to be but a reiteration, only somewhat more in detail,
of the "many and gross misrepresentations" contained in these articles,
and which my statement of the facts set forth in my letter of the 28th
ultimo[53] was intended to correct; and I here reassert the correctness
of my statements in that letter, anything in yours in reply to it to the
contrary notwithstanding.

I confess my surprise that the Cabinet officers referred to should so
greatly misapprehend the facts in the matter of admissions alleged to
have been made by me at the Cabinet meeting of the 14th ultimo as to
suffer their names to be made the basis of the charges in the newspaper
article referred to, or agree in the accuracy, as you affirm they do,
of your account of what occurred at that meeting.

You know that we parted on Saturday, the 11th ultimo, without any
promise on my part, either express or implied, to the effect that I
would hold on to the office of Secretary of War _ad interim_ against the
action of the Senate, or, declining to do so myself, would surrender it
to you before such action was had, or that I would see you again at any
fixed time on the subject.

The performance of the promises alleged by you to have been made by me
would have involved a resistance to law and an inconsistency with the
whole history of my connection with the suspension of Mr. Stanton.

From our conversations and my written protest of August 1, 1867,
against the removal of Mr. Stanton, you must have known that my greatest
objection to his removal or suspension was the fear that someone would
be appointed in his stead who would, by opposition to the laws relating
to the restoration of the Southern States to their proper relations
to the Government, embarrass the Army in the performance of duties
especially imposed upon it by these laws; and it was to prevent such an
appointment that I accepted the office of Secretary of War _ad interim_,
and not for the purpose of enabling you to get rid of Mr. Stanton by my
withholding it from him in opposition to law, or, not doing so myself,
surrendering it to one who would, as the statement and assumptions in
your communication plainly indicate was sought. And it was to avoid this
same danger, as well as to relieve you from the personal embarrassment
in which Mr. Stanton's reinstatement would place you, that I urged the
appointment of Governor Cox, believing that it would be agreeable to you
and also to Mr. Stanton, satisfied as I was that it was the good of the
country, and not the office, the latter desired.

On the 15th ultimo, in presence of General Sherman, I stated to you that
I thought Mr. Stanton would resign, but did not say that I would advise
him to do so. On the 18th I did agree with General Sherman to go and
advise him to that course, and on the 19th I had an interview alone with
Mr. Stanton, which led me to the conclusion that any advice to him of
the kind would be useless, and I so informed General Sherman.

Before I consented to advise Mr. Stanton to resign, I understood
from him, in a conversation on the subject immediately after his
reinstatement, that it was his opinion that the act of Congress entitled
"An act temporarily to supply vacancies in the Executive Departments in
certain cases," approved February 20, 1863, was repealed by subsequent
legislation, which materially influenced my action. Previous to this
time I had had no doubt that the law of 1863 was still in force, and,
notwithstanding my action, a fuller examination of the law leaves a
question in my mind whether it is or is not repealed. This being the
case, I could not now advise his resignation, lest the same danger
I apprehended on his first removal might follow.

The course you would have it understood I agreed to pursue was in
violation of law and without orders from you, while the course I did
pursue, and which I never doubted you fully understood, was in
accordance with law and not in disobedience of any orders of my
superior.

And now, Mr. President, when my honor as a soldier and integrity as a
man have been so violently assailed, pardon me for saying that I can but
regard this whole matter, from the beginning to the end, as an attempt
to involve me in the resistance of law, for which you hesitated to
assume the responsibility in orders, and thus to destroy my character
before the country. I am in a measure confirmed in this conclusion by
your recent orders directing me to disobey orders from the Secretary of
War, my superior and your subordinate, without having countermanded his
authority to issue the orders I am to disobey.

With the assurance, Mr. President, that nothing less than a vindication
of my personal honor and character could have induced this
correspondence on my part,

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

U.S. GRANT, _General_.

Respectfully forwarded to the Secretary of War for his information, and
to be made a part of correspondence previously furnished on same subject.

U.S. GRANT, _General_.

[Footnote 52: See pp. 615-618.]

[Footnote 53: See pp. 613-615.]

WASHINGTON, _February 17, 1868_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

In reply to the resolution adopted by the House of Representatives on
the 19th of December last, calling for correspondence and information
in relation to Russian America, I transmit reports and accompanying
documents from the Secretary of State and the Secretary of the Treasury,
respectively.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

WASHINGTON, _February 18, 1868_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

In answer to a resolution of the House of Representatives of the 17th of
January last, calling for information in regard to the execution of the
treaty of 1858 with China, for the settlement of claims, I transmit a
report of the Secretary of State and the papers which accompany it.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

WASHINGTON, D.C., _February 19, 1868_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I transmit herewith a report from the Attorney-General, prepared in
compliance with the resolution of the House of Representatives of the
26th November, 1867, requesting a list of all pardons "granted since
the 14th day of April, 1865, to any person or persons charged with or
convicted of making or passing counterfeit money, or having counterfeit
money or tools or instruments for making the same in his or their
possession, or charged with or convicted of the crime of forgery or
criminal alteration of papers, accounts, or other documents, or of the
crime of perjury, and that such list be accompanied by a particular
statement in each case of the reasons or grounds of the pardon, with a
disclosure of the names of persons, if any, who recommended or advised
the same."

ANDREW JOHNSON.

WASHINGTON, D.C., _February 19, 1868_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit herewith a report from the Attorney-General, prepared in
compliance with a resolution adopted by the Senate on the 2d day of
December last, requesting "a full list of the names of all persons
pardoned by the President since May 1, 1865, who have been convicted of
counterfeiting United States bonds, greenbacks, national-bank currency,
fractional currency, or the coin of the United States, with the date of
issuing each pardon, reasons for issuing it, and by whom recommended."

ANDREW JOHNSON.

WASHINGTON, _February 20, 1868_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In answer to a resolution of the Senate of the 18th of December last,
requesting information in regard to the island of San Juan, on Puget
Sound, I transmit a report from the Secretary of State and the papers
which accompanied it.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

WASHINGTON, _February 20, 1868_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

With reference to the convention between Denmark and the United States
concluded on the 24th of October last, I transmit to the Senate a copy
in translation of a note of the 19th instant addressed to the Secretary
of State by His Danish Majesty's charge d'affaires, announcing the
ratification of the convention by the Government of Denmark and stating
his readiness to proceed with the customary exchange of ratifications.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

WASHINGTON, _February 21, 1868_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

I transmit herewith a communication from the Chief of the Engineer Corps
of the Army, accompanied by a report, in reference to ship canals around
the Falls of the Ohio River, called for by the resolution of the House
of Representatives of the 18th instant.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

WASHINGTON, D.C., _February 21, 1868_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

On the 12th day of August, 1867, by virtue of the power and authority
vested in the President by the Constitution and laws of the United
States, I suspended Edwin M. Stanton from the office of Secretary of
War.

In further exercise of the power and authority so vested in the
President, I have this day removed Mr. Stanton from office and
designated the Adjutant-General of the Army to act as Secretary
of War _ad interim_.

Copies of the communications upon this subject addressed to Mr. Stanton
and the Adjutant-General are herewith transmitted for the information of
the Senate.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

WASHINGTON, D.C., _February 22, 1868_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I have received a copy of the resolution adopted by the Senate on the
21st instant, as follows:

Whereas the Senate have received and considered the communication of
the President stating that he had removed Edwin M. Stanton, Secretary
of War, and had designated the Adjutant-General of the Army to act as
Secretary of War _ad interim_: Therefore,

_Resolved by the Senate of the United States_, That under the
Constitution and laws of the United States the President has no power
to remove the Secretary of War and designate any other officer to
perform the duties of that office _ad interim_.

This resolution is confined to the power of the President to remove the
Secretary of War and to designate another officer to perform the duties
of the office _ad interim_, and by its preamble is made expressly
applicable to the removal of Mr. Stanton and the designation to act
_ad interim_ of the Adjutant-General of the Army. Without, therefore,
attempting to discuss the general power of removal as to all officers,
upon which subject no expression of opinion is contained in the
resolution, I shall confine myself to the question as thus limited--the
power to remove the Secretary of War.

It is declared in the resolution--

That under the Constitution and laws of the United States the President
has no power to remove the Secretary of War and designate any other
officer to perform the duties of that office _ad interim_.

As to the question of power under the Constitution, I do not propose at
present to enter upon its discussion.

The uniform practice from the beginning of the Government, as
established by every President who has exercised the office, and the
decisions of the Supreme Court of the United States have settled the
question in favor of the power of the President to remove all officers
excepting a class holding appointments of a judicial character. No
practice nor any decision has ever excepted a Secretary of War from this
general power of the President to make removals from office.

It is only necessary, then, that I should refer to the power of the
Executive, under the laws of the United States, to remove from office a
Secretary of War. The resolution denies that under these laws this power
has any existence. In other words, it affirms that no such authority is
recognized or given by the statutes of the country.

What, then, are the laws of the United States which deny the President
the power to remove that officer? I know but two laws which bear upon
this question. The first in order of time is the act of August 7, 1789,
creating the Department of War, which, after providing for a Secretary
as its principal officer, proceeds as follows:

SEC. 2. _And be it further enacted_, That there shall be in the said
Department an inferior officer, to be appointed by the said principal
officer, to be employed therein as he shall deem proper, and to be
called the chief clerk in the Department of War, and who, whenever the
said principal officer shall be removed from office by the President of
the United States, or in any other case of vacancy, shall during such
vacancy have the charge and custody of all records, books, and papers
appertaining to the said Department.

It is clear that this act, passed by a Congress many of whose members
participated in the formation of the Constitution, so far from denying
the power of the President to remove the Secretary of War, recognizes
it as existing in the Executive alone, without the concurrence of the
Senate or of any other department of the Government. Furthermore, this
act does not purport to confer the power by legislative authority, nor
in fact was there any other existing legislation through which it was
bestowed upon the Executive. The recognition of the power by this act is
therefore complete as a recognition under the Constitution itself, for
there was no other source or authority from which it could be derived.

The other act which refers to this question is that regulating the
tenure of certain civil offices, passed by Congress on the 2d day of
March, 1867. The first section of that act is in the following words:

That every person holding any civil office to which he has been
appointed by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, and every
person who shall hereafter be appointed to any such office, and shall
become duly qualified to act therein, is and shall be entitled to hold
such office until a successor shall have been in like manner appointed
and duly qualified, except as herein otherwise provided: _Provided_,
That the Secretaries of State, of the Treasury, of War, of the Navy,
and of the Interior, the Postmaster-General, and the Attorney-General
shall hold their offices, respectively, for and during the term of
the President by whom they may have been appointed and for one month
thereafter, subject to removal by and with the advice and consent of
the Senate.

The fourth section of the same act restricts the term of offices to the
limit prescribed by the law creating them.

That part of the first section which precedes the proviso declares that
every person holding a civil office to which he has been or may be
appointed by and with the advice and consent of the Senate shall hold
such office until a successor shall have been in like manner appointed.
It purports to take from the Executive, during the fixed time
established for the tenure of the office, the independent power of
removal, and to require for such removal the concurrent action of the
President and the Senate.

The proviso that follows proceeds to fix the term of office of the seven
heads of Departments, whose tenure never had been defined before, by
prescribing that they "shall hold their offices, respectively, for and
during the term of the President by whom they may have been appointed
and for one month thereafter, subject to removal by and with the advice
and consent of the Senate."

Thus, as to these enumerated officers, the proviso takes from the
President the power of removal except with the advice and consent of the
Senate. By its terms, however, before he can be deprived of the power to
displace them it must appear that he himself has appointed them. It is
only in that case that they have any tenure of office or any independent
right to hold during the term of the President and for one month after
the cessation of his official functions. The proviso, therefore, gives
no tenure of office to any one of these officers who has been appointed
by a former President beyond one month after the accession of his
successor.

In the case of Mr. Stanton, the only appointment under which he
held the office of Secretary of War was that conferred upon him by my
immediate predecessor, with the advice and consent of the Senate. He has
never held from me any appointment as the head of the War Department.
Whatever right he had to hold the office was derived from that original
appointment and my own sufferance. The law was not intended to protect
such an incumbent of the War Department by taking from the President the
power to remove him. This, in my judgment, is perfectly clear, and the
law itself admits of no other just construction. We find in all that
portion of the first section which precedes the proviso that as to civil
officers generally the President is deprived of the power of removal,
and it is plain that if there had been no proviso that power would just
as clearly have been taken from him so far as it applies to the seven
heads of Departments. But for reasons which were no doubt satisfactory
to Congress these principal officers were specially provided for, and as
to them the express and only requirement is that the President who has
appointed them shall not without the advice and consent of the Senate
remove them from office. The consequence is that as to my Cabinet,
embracing the seven officers designated in the first section, the act
takes from me the power, without the concurrence of the Senate, to
remove any one of them that I have appointed, but it does not protect
such of them as I did not appoint, nor give to them any tenure of office
beyond my pleasure.

An examination of this act, then, shows that while in one part of the
section provision is made for officers generally, in another clause
there is a class of officers, designated by their official titles, who
are excepted from the general terms of the law, and in reference to whom
a clear distinction is made as to the general power of removal limited
in the first clause of the section.

This distinction is that as to such of these enumerated officers as hold
under the appointment of the President the power of removal can only be
exercised by him with the consent of the Senate, while as to those who
have not been appointed by him there is no like denial of his power to
displace them. It would be a violation of the plain meaning of this
enactment to place Mr. Stanton upon the same footing as those heads of
Departments who have been appointed by myself. As to him, this law gives
him no tenure of office. The members of my Cabinet who have been
appointed by me are by this act entitled to hold for one month after the
term of my office shall cease; but Mr. Stanton could not, against the
wishes of my successor, hold a moment thereafter. If he were permitted
by that successor to hold for the first two weeks, would that successor
have no power to remove him? But the power of my successor over him
could be no greater than my own. If my successor would have the power to
remove Mr. Stanton after permitting him to remain a period of two weeks,
because he was not appointed by him, but by his predecessor, I, who have
tolerated Mr. Stanton for more than two years, certainly have the same
right to remove him, and upon the same ground, namely, that he was not
appointed by me, but by my predecessor.

Under this construction of the tenure-of-office act, I have never
doubted my power to remove Mr. Stanton.

Whether the act were constitutional or not, it was always my opinion
that it did not secure him from removal. I was, however, aware that
there were doubts as to the construction of the law, and from the first
I deemed it desirable that at the earliest possible moment those doubts
should be settled and the true construction of the act fixed by decision
of the Supreme Court of the United States. My order of suspension in
August last was intended to place the case in such a position as would
make a resort to a judicial decision both necessary and proper. My
understanding and wishes, however, under that order of suspension were
frustrated, and the late order for Mr. Stanton's removal was a further
step toward the accomplishment of that purpose.

I repeat that my own convictions as to the true construction of the law
and as to its constitutionality were well settled and were sustained
by every member of my Cabinet, including Mr. Stanton himself. Upon the
question of constitutionality, each one in turn deliberately advised me
that the tenure-of-office act was unconstitutional. Upon the question
whether, as to those members who were appointed by my predecessor,
that act took from me the power to remove them, one of those members
emphatically stated in the presence of the others sitting in Cabinet
that they did not come within the provisions of the act, and it was
no protection to them. No one dissented from this construction, and
I understood them all to acquiesce in its correctness. In a matter of
such grave consequence I was not disposed to rest upon my own opinions,
though fortified by my constitutional advisers. I have therefore sought
to bring the question at as early a day as possible before the Supreme
Court of the United States for final and authoritative decision.

In respect to so much of the resolution as relates to the designation
of an officer to act as Secretary of War _ad interim_, I have only to
say that I have exercised this power under the provisions of the first
section of the act of February 13, 1795, which, so far as they are
applicable to vacancies caused by removals, I understand to be still
in force.

The legislation upon the subject of _ad interim_ appointments in the
Executive Departments stands, as to the War Office, as follows:

The second section of the act of the 7th of August, 1789, makes
provision for a vacancy in the very case of a removal of the head of the
War Department, and upon such a vacancy gives the charge and custody
of the records, books, and papers to the chief clerk. Next, by the act
of the 8th of May, 1792, section 8, it is provided that in case of a
vacancy occasioned by death, absence from the seat of Government, or
sickness of the head of the War Department the President may authorize
a person to perform the duties of the office until a successor is
appointed or the disability removed. The act, it will be observed, does
not provide for the case of a vacancy caused by removal. Then, by the
first section of the act of February 13, 1795, it is provided that in
case of any vacancy the President may appoint a person to perform the
duties while the vacancy exists.

These acts are followed by that of the 20th of February, 1863, by the
first section of which provision is again made for a vacancy caused by
death, resignation, absence from the seat of Government, or sickness of
the head of any Executive Department of the Government, and upon the
occurrence of such a vacancy power is given to the President--

to authorize the head of any other Executive Department, or other
officer in either of said Departments whose appointment is vested in
the President, at his discretion, to perform the duties of the said
respective offices until a successor be appointed or until such absence
or inability by sickness shall cease: _Provided_, That no one vacancy
shall be supplied in manner aforesaid for a longer term than six months.

This law, with some modifications, reenacts the act of 1792, and
provides, as did that act, for the sort of vacancies so to be filled;
but, like the act of 1792, it makes no provision for a vacancy
occasioned by removal. It has reference altogether to vacancies arising
from other causes.

According to my construction of the act of 1863, while it impliedly
repeals the act of 1792 regulating the vacancies therein described, it
has no bearing whatever upon so much of the act of 1795 as applies to a
vacancy caused by removal. The act of 1795 therefore furnishes the rule
for a vacancy occasioned by removal--one of the vacancies expressly
referred to in the act of the 7th of August, 1789, creating the
Department of War. Certainly there is no express repeal by the act of
1863 of the act of 1795. The repeal, if there is any, is by implication,
and can only be admitted so far as there is a clear inconsistency
between the two acts. The act of 1795 is inconsistent with that of 1863
as to a vacancy occasioned by death, resignation, absence, or sickness,
but not at all inconsistent as to a vacancy caused by removal.

It is assuredly proper that the President should have the same power to
fill temporarily a vacancy occasioned by removal as he has to supply
a place made vacant by death or the expiration of a term. If, for
instance, the incumbent of an office should be found to be wholly unfit
to exercise its functions, and the public service should require his
immediate expulsion, a remedy should exist and be at once applied, and
time be allowed the President to select and appoint a successor, as is
permitted him in case of a vacancy caused by death or the termination of
an official term.

The necessity, therefore, for an _ad interim_ appointment is just as
great, and, indeed, may be greater in cases of removal than in any
others. Before it be held, therefore, that the power given by the act
of 1795 in cases of removal is abrogated by succeeding legislation an
express repeal ought to appear. So wholesome a power should certainly
not be taken away by loose implication.

It may be, however, that in this, as in other cases of implied repeal,
doubts may arise. It is confessedly one of the most subtle and debatable
questions which arise in the construction of statutes. If upon such a
question I have fallen into an erroneous construction, I submit whether
it should be characterized as a violation of official duty and of law.

I have deemed it proper, in vindication of the course which I have
considered it my duty to take, to place before the Senate the reasons
upon which I have based my action. Although I have been advised by
every member of my Cabinet that the entire tenure-of-office act is
unconstitutional, and therefore void, and although I have expressly
concurred in that opinion in the veto message which I had the honor
to submit to Congress when I returned the bill for reconsideration,
I have refrained from making a removal of any officer contrary to the
provisions of the law, and have only exercised that power in the case of
Mr. Stanton, which, in my judgment, did not come within its provisions.
I have endeavored to proceed with the greatest circumspection, and have
acted only in an extreme and exceptional case, carefully following the
course which I have marked out for myself as a general rule, faithfully
to execute all laws, though passed over my objections on the score of
constitutionality. In the present instance I have appealed, or sought
to appeal, to that final arbiter fixed by the Constitution for the
determination of all such questions. To this course I have been impelled
by the solemn obligations which rest upon me to sustain inviolate the
powers of the high office committed to my hands.

Whatever may be the consequences merely personal to myself, I could not
allow them to prevail against a public duty so clear to my own mind, and
so imperative. If what was possible had been certain, if I had been
fully advised when I removed Mr. Stanton that in thus defending the
trust committed to my hands my own removal was sure to follow, I could
not have hesitated. Actuated by public considerations of the highest
character, I earnestly protest against the resolution of the Senate
which charges me in what I have done with a violation of the
Constitution and laws of the United States.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

WASHINGTON, _February 25, 1868_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In further answer of the resolution of the Senate of the 13th of January
last, relative to the appointment of the Hon. Anson Burlingame to a
diplomatic or other mission by the Emperor of China, I transmit a report
from the Secretary of State and the communication which accompanied it.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

WASHINGTON, D.C., _February 26, 1868_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit herewith a report from the General Commanding the Army of the
United States, prepared in compliance with the resolution of the Senate
of the 4th instant, requesting copies of all instructions relating to
the Third Military District issued to General Pope and General Meade.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

WASHINGTON, _March 4, 1868_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In answer to the resolution of the Senate of the 17th February ultimo,
concerning the alleged interference of the United States consul at Rome
in the late difficulty in Italy, I transmit a report from the Secretary
of State, containing the information called for by the resolution.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

WASHINGTON, _March 5, 1868_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit a report of this date from the Secretary of State, and the
accompanying papers, in regard to the revolution in the Dominican
Republic.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

WASHINGTON, _March 5, 1868_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In answer to the resolution of the Senate of the 21st of February last,
in relation to the abduction of one Allan Macdonald from Canada, I
transmit a communication from the Secretary of State, accompanied by the
papers relating to that subject.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

WASHINGTON, _March 5, 1868_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

In answer to the resolution of the House of Representatives of the
7th of January last, in relation to the claim of the late Benjamin W.
Perkins against the Russian Government, I transmit a communication from
the Secretary of State, which is accompanied by the papers called for
by the resolution.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

WASHINGTON, _March 6, 1868_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit to the Senate the accompanying report[54] of the Secretary of
State, in answer to their resolution of the 13th January,

ANDREW JOHNSON.

[Footnote 54: Relating to a claim, under the act of Congress of August
18, 1856, of citizens of the United States to guano on Alta Vela, an
island in the vicinity of Santo Domingo.]

WASHINGTON, _March 10, 1868_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit, for the consideration of the Senate with a view to
ratification, a treaty between the United States and His Majesty the
King of Prussia, in the name of the North German Confederation, for the
purpose of regulating the citizenship of those persons who emigrate from
the Confederation to this country and from the United States to the
North German Confederation.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

WASHINGTON, _March 11, 1868_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

In further answer to the resolution of the House of Representatives of
the 25th of November, 1867, calling for information in relation to the
trial and conviction of American citizens in Great Britain and Ireland
for the last two years, I transmit a continuation of the report from the
Secretary of State upon the subject.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

WASHINGTON, _March 14, 1868_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In answer to the resolution of the Senate of the 27th of January
last, in relation to the arrest and trial of the Rev. John McMahon,
Robert B. Lynch, and John Warren by the Government of Great Britain, and
requesting to be informed what action has been taken by this Government
in maintaining the rights of American citizens abroad, I transmit a
report of the Secretary of State, which is accompanied by a copy of
the papers called for by that resolution.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

WASHINGTON, D.C., _March 18, 1868_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I herewith lay before the Senate, for its constitutional action thereon,
a treaty made on the 2d day of March, 1868, by and between Nathaniel G.
Taylor, Commissioner of Indian Affairs; Alexander C. Hunt, governor and
_ex officio_ superintendent of Indian affairs of Colorado Territory, and
Kit Carson, on the part of the United States, and the representatives
of the Tabeguache, Muache, Capote, Weeminuche, Yampa, Grand River, and
Uintah bands of Ute Indians.

A letter of the Secretary of the Interior of the 17th instant and the
papers therein referred to are also herewith transmitted.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

WASHINGTON, _March 24, 1868_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit to the Senate, for its consideration with a view to
ratification, a convention, signed on the 23d instant, for the surrender
of criminals, between the United States and the Government of Italy.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

WASHINGTON, _March 24, 1868_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I transmit herewith a report[55] and accompanying documents, in answer
to a resolution of the House of Representatives of the 18th ultimo.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

[Footnote 55: Relating to unexpended appropriations for contingent
expenses of foreign intercourse; amount remaining on deposit with
Baring Brothers & Co. September 30, 1867, etc.]

WASHINGTON, _March 25, 1868_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I transmit to the House of Representatives, in answer to a resolution
of the 9th instant, the accompanying report[56] from the Secretary of
State.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

[Footnote 56: Declining to transmit copies of correspondence,
negotiations, and treaties with German States since January 1, 1868,
relative to the rights of naturalized citizens.]

WASHINGTON, _March 25, 1868_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I transmit herewith a report and accompanying document,[57] in answer
to a resolution of the House of Representatives of the 18th ultimo.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

[Footnote 57: Statement of amounts paid for legal services by the
Department of State during each year since 1860, with names of persons
to whom paid.]

WASHINGTON, _March 25, 1868_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

In answer to a resolution of the House of Representatives of the 18th
ultimo, relating to the report of Mr. Cowdin, I transmit a report of
the Secretary of State and the document[58] to which it refers.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

[Footnote 58: Report of Elliot C. Cowdin, United States commissioner
to the Paris Exposition of 1867, on silk and silk manufactures.]

WASHINGTON, _April 2, 1868_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I transmit to the House of Representatives, in further answer to their
resolution of the 9th ultimo, the accompanying report[59] from the
Secretary of State.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

[Footnote 59: Transmitting correspondence pertaining to the convention
of February 22, 1868, with the North German Confederation, relative to
naturalization.]

WASHINGTON, _April 2, 1868_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

In further reply to the resolution adopted by the House of Representatives
on the 19th of December, 1867, calling for correspondence and information
in relation to Russian America, I transmit a report from the Secretary of
State and the papers which accompanied it.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

WASHINGTON, _April 3, 1868_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I transmit a report from the Secretary of State and the papers
accompanying it, in answer to a resolution of the House of
Representatives of the 10th of February last, requesting information
relative to the imprisonment and destruction of the property of Antonio
Pelletier by the people and authorities of Hayti.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

WASHINGTON, _April 13, 1868_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In answer to the resolution of the Senate of the 5th of February last,
calling for the correspondence upon the subject of the murder by the
inhabitants of the island of Formosa of the ship's company of the
American bark _Rover_, I transmit a report from the Secretary of State
and a report from the Secretary of the Navy, with accompanying papers.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

WASHINGTON, _April 18, 1868_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In answer to the resolution of the Senate of the 14th of April instant,
calling for information relative to any application by any party for
exclusive privileges in connection with hunting, trading, and the
fisheries in Alaska, I transmit herewith the report of the Secretary
of State on the subject, with its accompanying papers.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

WASHINGTON, D.C., _April 22, 1868_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In compliance with the resolution of the Senate of the 28th ultimo,
requesting information as to the number and designations of military
departments formed since the 1st day of August, 1867, and as to the
statute or other authority under which they have been established,
I transmit a report from the Adjutant-General's Office showing the
organization since that date of the Department of Alaska and the
Military Division of the Atlantic.

The orders issued by me upon this subject are in accordance with
long-established usage and hitherto unquestioned authority. This will be
readily seen from the accompanying report, which shows that, employing
the authority vested by the Constitution in the President as Commander
in Chief of the Army, it has been customary for my predecessors to
create such military divisions and departments as from time to time
they deemed advisable.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

WASHINGTON, _April 27, 1868_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

I submit a report of the Secretary of State, concerning the
naturalization treaty recently negotiated between the United States
and North Germany.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

WASHINGTON, D.C., _May 5, 1868_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

I transmit to Congress the accompanying documents, which I deem it
proper to state are all the papers[60] that have been submitted to the
President relating to the proceedings to which they refer in the States
of South Carolina and Arkansas.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

[Footnote 60: Constitutions of South Carolina and Arkansas.]

WASHINGTON, _May 6, 1868_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit to the Senate, in further answer to their resolution of the
14th of April last, the accompanying report[61] from the Secretary of
State.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

[Footnote 61: Relating to application for exclusive privileges in
connection with hunting, trading, and the fisheries in Alaska.]

WASHINGTON, D.C., _May 8, 1868_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I transmit herewith reports from the Secretary of the Treasury and the
Secretary of the Navy, prepared in compliance with a resolution of the
House of Representatives of the 12th of December last, requesting
information respecting the sale of public vessels since the close of the
rebellion. No report upon the subject has yet been received from the
Department of War.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

WASHINGTON, _May 9, 1868_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I transmit to the House of Representatives, in answer to their resolution
of the 14th ultimo, a report from the Secretary of State, with accompanying
papers.[62]

ANDREW JOHNSON.

[Footnote 62: Report of Freeman H. Morse, United States consul at
Condon, on "The Foreign Maritime Commerce of the United States: Its
Past, Present, and Future," etc.]

WASHINGTON, _May 9, 1868_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit herewith reports from the Secretary of the Treasury and the
Attorney-General, prepared in compliance with the resolution of the
Senate of the 17th December last, requesting information in reference to
the seizure and confiscation of property. No report upon this subject
has yet been received by me from the War Department.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

WASHINGTON, D.C., _May 11, 1868_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

I transmit to Congress the accompanying documents,[63] which embrace
all the papers that have been submitted to me relating to the proceedings
to which they refer in the States of North Carolina and Louisiana.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

[Footnote 63: Constitutions of North Carolina and Louisiana.]

WASHINGTON, _May 15, 1868_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I transmit to the House of Representatives, in answer to their
resolution of the 8th instant, a report[64] from the Secretary of State,
with accompanying papers.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

[Footnote 64: Relating to the detention, at the request of the House
of Representatives, of the ironclad monitors _Oneoto_ and _Catawba_,
purchased from the United States by Swift & Co., and supposed to be
intended for the Government of Peru, then at war with a power friendly
to the United States.]

WASHINGTON, D.C., _May 18, 1868_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

I transmit to Congress the accompanying document,[65] which is the
only paper which has been submitted to me relating to the proceedings
to which it refers in the State of Georgia.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

[Footnote 65: Constitution of Georgia.]

WASHINGTON, _May 23, 1868_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit to the Senate a report from the Secretary of State, with
accompaniments, in relation to recent events in the Empire of Japan.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

WASHINGTON, D.C., _May 27, 1868_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

I transmit to Congress the accompanying documents,[66] which are the
only papers which have been submitted to me relating to the proceedings
to which they refer in the State of Florida.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

[Footnote 66: Letter from the president of the constitutional convention
of Florida, transmitting a copy of the constitution of that State.]

WASHINGTON, _May 29, 1868_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I transmit herewith a letter from the Secretary of the Navy, in reply
to the resolution of the House of Representatives adopted on the 26th
instant, making inquiries relative to a naval force at Hayti.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

WASHINGTON, _June 2, 1868_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I communicate, for the information of the Senate, in confidence, a
report of the Secretary of State, accompanied by a copy of a dispatch
recently received from the acting consul of the United States at San
Jose, Costa Rica.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

WASHINGTON, _June 2, 1868_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I communicate, for the consideration of the Senate, a report from
the Secretary of State, accompanied by a copy of a dispatch recently
received from the acting United States consul in charge of the legation
at San Jose, Costa Rica.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

WASHINGTON, _June 5, 1868_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

In further answer to the resolution of the House of Representatives of
the 25th of November, 1867, calling for information in relation to the
trial and conviction of American citizens in Great Britain and Ireland
for the last two years, I transmit the accompanying report from the
Secretary of State upon the subject.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

WASHINGTON, _June 8, 1868_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In compliance with the resolution of the Senate of the 28th ultimo, I
transmit herewith a communication from the Postmaster-General, with a
copy of the correspondence recently had with the authorities of Great
Britain in relation to a new postal treaty.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

WASHINGTON, D.C. _June 10, 1868_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

In reply to the resolution of the House of Representatives of the
1st instant, I transmit herewith a report from the Secretary of the
Interior, in reference to a treaty now being negotiated between the
Great and Little Osage Indians and the special Indian commissioners
acting on the part of the United States.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

WASHINGTON, D.C. _June 13, 1868_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I herewith submit to the Senate, for its constitutional action thereon,
a treaty concluded on the 27th ultimo between commissioners on the part
of the United States and the Great and Little Osage tribe of Indians of
Kansas, together with a communication from the Secretary of the Interior
suggesting an amendment to the fourteenth article, and a copy of the
report of the commissioners.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

WASHINGTON, D.C., _June 15, 1868_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I transmit herewith a report from the Secretary of the Interior, made in
reply to the resolution adopted by the House of Representatives on the
13th instant.

The treaty recently concluded with the Great and Little Osage Indians,
to which the accompanying report refers, was submitted to the Senate
prior to the receipt of the resolution of the House upon the subject.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

WASHINGTON, _June, 1868_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit to the Senate, for its consideration with a view to its
ratification, a treaty between the United States and His Majesty the
King of Bavaria, signed at Munich on the 26th ultimo, concerning the
citizenship of persons emigrating from Bavaria to the United States and
from the United States to the Kingdom of Bavaria. I transmit also a copy
of the letter of the United States minister communicating the treaty, of
the protocol which accompanied it, and a translation of the Bavarian
military law referred to in the latter paper.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

WASHINGTON, D.C., _June 20, 1868_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I herewith transmit to the Senate, for its constitutional action
thereon, a treaty concluded at Fort Sumner, N. Mex., on the 1st instant,
between Lieutenant-General W. T. Sherman and Colonel Samuel F. Tappan,
on the part of the United States, and the chiefs and headmen of the
Navajo Indians, on the part of the latter. I also transmit a communication
upon the subject from the Secretary of the Interior, with the accompanying
papers.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

WASHINGTON, _June 22, 1868_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit to the Senate, in answer to their resolution of the 28th
ultimo, a report from the Secretary of State, with accompanying
papers.[67]

ANDREW JOHNSON.

[Footnote 67: Correspondence relative to the act of Congress of March
27, 1867, prohibiting persons in the diplomatic service of the United
States from wearing any uniform or official costume not previously
authorized by Congress.]

WASHINGTON, _June 23, 1868_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I transmit a report from the Secretary of State, in answer to a
resolution of the House of Representatives of the 15th instant, upon the
subject of Messrs. Warren and Costello, who have been convicted and
sentenced to penal imprisonment in Great Britain.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

WASHINGTON, _June 23, 1868_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit to the Senate a copy of a dispatch addressed to the
Department of State by the consul of the United States at Bangkok,
Siam, dated December 31, 1867, with a view to its consideration and
the ratification thereof, of the modification proposed by the royal
counselors of the Kingdom of Siam in Article I of the general
regulations which form a part of the treaty between the United States
and that Kingdom concluded May 29, 1856, of which a printed copy is
also herewith transmitted.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

WASHINGTON, _June 29, 1868_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

I transmit to Congress a copy of a dispatch from the United States
consul at Elsinore, and of an instruction from the Secretary of State
to the United States minister at Copenhagen, relative to an alleged
practice of the Danish authorities to banish convicts to this country.
The expediency of making it a penal offense to bring such persons to
the United States is submitted to your consideration.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

WASHINGTON, _July 2, 1868_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I transmit herewith a report from the Secretary of State of the 2d
instant, together with accompanying papers.[68]

ANDREW JOHNSON.

[Footnote 68: Petitions of merchants and shipowners of New York and
Boston relative to the detention, at the request of the House of
Representatives, of the ironclad monitors _Oneoto_ and _Calawba_,
purchased from the United States by Swift & Co., and supposed to be
intended for the Government of Peru, then at war with a power friendly
to the United States.]

WASHINGTON, D.C., _July 7, 1868_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I herewith lay before the Senate, for its constitutional action thereon,
a treaty concluded at Fort Laramie, Dakota Territory, on the 7th of May,
1868, between the United States and the chiefs and headmen of the Crow
Indians of Montana, and a treaty concluded at Fort Lyaramie, Dakota
Territory, on the 10th of May, 1868, between the United States and the
chiefs and headmen of the Northern Cheyenne and Northern Arapahoe tribes
of Indians.

A letter from the Secretary of the Interior suggesting amendments to
said treaties, and the papers to which he refers in his communication,
are also herewith transmitted.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

WASHINGTON, D.C., _July 7, 1868_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I herewith lay before the Senate, for its constitutional action thereon,
a treaty made and concluded at Ottawa, Kans., on the 1st day of June,
1868, between the United States and the Swan Creek and Black River
Chippewas and the Munsee or Christian Indians of the State of Kansas.

Accompanying the treaty is a letter from the Secretary of the Interior,
dated the 30th ultimo, together with the papers therein designated.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

WASHINGTON, _July 9, 1868_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit to the Senate, for consideration with a view to ratification,
additional articles to the treaty between the United States and His
Majesty the Emperor of China of the 18th June, 1858, signed in this city
on the 4th instant by the plenipotentiaries of the parties.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

WASHINGTON, _July 10, 1868_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit to the Senate, for consideration with a view to ratification,
a convention between the United States and the Mexican Republic, signed
in this city by the plenipotentiaries of the parties on the 4th instant,
providing for an adjustment of claims of citizens of the United States
on the Mexican Government and of Mexican citizens on the Government of
the United States.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

WASHINGTON, _July 10, 1868_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

Referring to my message to the Senate of the 23d of May last, I herewith
transmit a further report from the Secretary of State, with an
accompanying document, relative to late occurrences in Japan.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

WASHINGTON, _July 14, 1868_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit to the Senate a report from the Secretary of State, inclosing
a list of the States of the Union whose legislatures have ratified the
proposed fourteenth article of amendment to the Constitution of the
United States, and also a copy of the resolutions of ratification, as
called for in the Senate's resolution of the 9th instant, together with
a copy of the respective resolutions of the legislatures of Ohio and New
Jersey purporting to rescind the resolutions of ratification of said
amendment which had previously been adopted by the legislatures of these
two States, respectively, or to withdraw their consent to the same.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

WASHINGTON, _July 15, 1868_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

I hereby transmit to Congress a report, with the accompanying
papers, received from the Secretary of State, in compliance with the
requirements of the eighteenth section of the act entitled "An act to
regulate the diplomatic and consular systems of the United States,"
approved August 18, 1856.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

WASHINGTON, _July 15, 1868_.

_To the Congress of the United States_:

I submit herewith a correspondence between the Secretary of State and
Mr. Robert B. Van Valkenburgh, minister resident of the United States
in Japan. It seems to show the importance of an amendment of the law
of the United States prohibiting the cooly trade.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

WASHINGTON, _July 17, 1868_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit to the Senate, in compliance with its resolution of the 9th
instant, a report from the Secretary of State, communicating a copy of a
paper received by him to-day, purporting to be a resolution ratifying on
the part of the State of Louisiana the proposed amendment to the
Constitution of the United States known as Article XIV.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

WASHINGTON, _July 18, 1868_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit to the Senate, in compliance with its resolution of the 9th
instant, a report from the Secretary of State, communicating a copy of a
paper received by me on the 18th instant, purporting to be a resolution
of the senate and house of representatives of the State of South
Carolina, ratifying the proposed amendment to the Constitution of the
United States known as Article XIV.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

WASHINGTON, D.C., _July 18, 1868_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

Experience has fully demonstrated the wisdom of the framers of the
Federal Constitution. Under all circumstances the result of their
labors was as near an approximation to perfection as was compatible
with the fallibility of man. Such being the estimation in which the
Constitution is and has ever been held by our countrymen, it is not
surprising that any proposition for its alteration or amendment should
be received with reluctance and distrust. While this sentiment deserves
commendation and encouragement as a useful preventive of unnecessary
attempt to change its provisions, it must be conceded that time has
developed imperfections and omissions in the Constitution, the
reformation of which has been demanded by the best interests of the
country. Some of these have been remedied in the manner provided in
the Constitution itself. There are others which, although heretofore
brought to the attention of the people, have never been so presented
as to enable the popular judgment to determine whether they should
be corrected by means of additional amendments. My object in this
communication is to suggest certain defects in the Constitution which
seem to me to require correction, and to recommend that the judgment
of the people be taken on the amendments proposed.

The first of the defects to which I desire to direct attention is in
that clause of the Constitution which provides for the election of
President and Vice-President through the intervention of electors, and
not by an immediate vote of the people. The importance of so amending
this clause as to secure to the people the election of President and
Vice-President by their direct votes was urged with great earnestness
and ability by President Jackson in his first annual message, and the
recommendation was repeated in five of his subsequent communications to
Congress, extending through the eight years of his Administration. In
his message of 1829 he said:

To the people belongs the right of electing their Chief Magistrate; it
was never designed that their choice should in any case be defeated,
either by the intervention of electoral colleges or by the agency
confided, under certain contingencies, to the House of Representatives.

He then proceeded to state the objections to an election of President
by the House of Representatives, the most important of which was that
the choice of a clear majority of the people might be easily defeated.
He then closed the argument with the following communication:

I would therefore recommend such an amendment of the Constitution as
may remove all intermediate agency in the election of the President and
Vice-President. The mode may be so regulated as to preserve to each
State its present relative weight in the election, and a failure in the
first attempt may be provided for by confining the second to a choice
between the two highest candidates. In connection with such an amendment
it would seem advisable to limit the service of the Chief Magistrate to
a single term of either four or six years. If, however, it should not be
adopted, it is worthy of consideration whether a provision disqualifying
for office the Representatives in Congress on whom such an election may
have devolved would not be proper.

Although this recommendation was repeated with undiminished
earnestness in several of his succeeding messages, yet the proposed
amendment was never adopted and submitted to the people by Congress. The
danger of a defeat of the people's choice in an election by the House of
Representatives remains unprovided for in the Constitution, and would
be greatly increased if the House of Representatives should assume the
power arbitrarily to reject the votes of a State which might not be
cast in conformity with the wishes of the majority in that body.

But if President Jackson failed to secure the amendment to the
Constitution which he urged so persistently, his arguments contributed
largely to the formation of party organizations, which have effectually
avoided the contingency of an election by the House of Representatives.
These organizations, first by a resort to the caucus system of
nominating candidates, and afterwards to State and national conventions,
have been successful in so limiting the number of candidates as to
escape the danger of an election by the House of Representatives.

It is clear, however, that in thus limiting the number of candidates
the true object and spirit of the Constitution have been evaded and
defeated. It is an essential feature in our republican system of
government that every citizen possessing the constitutional
qualifications has a right to become a candidate for the office of
President and Vice-President, and that every qualified elector has a
right to cast his vote for any citizen whom he may regard as worthy of
these offices. But under the party organizations which have prevailed
for years these asserted rights of the people have been as effectually
cut off and destroyed as if the Constitution itself had inhibited their
exercise.

The danger of a defeat of the popular choice in an election by the House
of Representatives is no greater than in an election made nominally by
the people themselves, when by the laws of party organizations and by
the constitutional provisions requiring the people to vote for electors
instead of for the President or Vice-President it is made impracticable
for any citizen to be a candidate except through the process of a party
nomination, and for any voter to cast his suffrage for any other person
than one thus brought forward through the manipulations of a nominating
convention. It is thus apparent that by means of party organizations
that provision of the Constitution which requires the election of
President and Vice-President to be made through the electoral colleges
has been made instrumental and potential in defeating the great object
of conferring the choice of these officers upon the people. It may be
conceded that party organizations are inseparable from republican
government, and that when formed and managed in subordination to the
Constitution they may be valuable safeguards of popular liberty; but
when they are perverted to purposes of bad ambition they are liable
to become the dangerous instruments of overthrowing the Constitution
itself. Strongly impressed with the truth of these views, I feel
called upon by an imperative sense of duty to revive substantially the
recommendation so often and so earnestly made by President Jackson,
and to urge that the amendment to the Constitution herewith presented,
or some similar proposition, may be submitted to the people for their
ratification or rejection.

Recent events have shown the necessity of an amendment to the
Constitution distinctly defining the persons who shall discharge the
duties of President of the United States in the event of a vacancy in
that office by the death, resignation, or removal of both the President
and Vice-President. It is clear that this should be fixed by the
Constitution, and not be left to repealable enactments of doubtful
constitutionality. It occurs to me that in the event of a vacancy in the
office of President by the death, resignation, disability, or removal of
both the President and Vice-President the duties of the office should
devolve upon an officer of the executive department of the Government,
rather than one connected with the legislative or judicial departments.
The objections to designating either the President _pro tempore_ of
the Senate or the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, especially
in the event of a vacancy produced by removal, are so obvious and so
unanswerable that they need not be stated in detail. It is enough
to state that they are both interested in producing a vacancy, and,
according to the provisions of the Constitution, are members of the
tribunal by whose decree a vacancy may be produced.

Under such circumstances the impropriety of designating either
of these officers to succeed the President so removed is palpable.
The framers of the Constitution, when they referred to Congress the
settlement of the succession to the office of President in the event of
a vacancy in the offices of both President and Vice-President, did not,
in my opinion, contemplate the designation of any other than an officer
of the executive department, on whom, in such a contingency, the powers
and duties of the President should devolve. Until recently the
contingency has been remote, and serious attention has not been called
to the manifest incongruity between the provisions of the Constitution
on this subject and the act of Congress of 1792. Having, however, been
brought almost face to face with this important question, it seems an
eminently proper time for us to make the legislation conform to the

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