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

Part 9 out of 14

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WASHINGTON, _December 12, 1867_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

On the 12th of August last I suspended Mr. Stanton from the exercise of
the office of Secretary of War, and on the same day designated General
Grant to act as Secretary of War _ad interim_.

The following are copies of the Executive orders:

EXECUTIVE MANSION,
_Washington, August 12, 1867_.

Hon. EDWIN M. STANTON,
_Secretary of War_.

SIR: By virtue of the power and authority vested in me as President by
the Constitution and laws of the United States, you are hereby suspended
from office as Secretary of War, and will cease to exercise any and all
functions pertaining to the same.

You will at once transfer to General Ulysses S. Grant, who has this day
been authorized and empowered to act as Secretary of War _ad interim_,
all records, books, and other property now in your custody and charge.

EXECUTIVE MANSION,
_Washington, D.C., August 12, 1867_.

General ULYSSES S. GRANT,
_Washington, D.C._

SIR: The Hon. Edwin M. Stanton having been this day suspended as
Secretary of War, you are hereby authorized and empowered to act as
Secretary of War _ad interim_, and will at once enter upon the discharge
of the duties of the office.

The Secretary of War has been instructed to transfer to you all the
records, books, papers, and other public property now in his custody and
charge.

The following communication was received from Mr. Stanton:

WAR DEPARTMENT,
_Washington City, August 12, 1867_.

The PRESIDENT.

SIR: Your note of this date has been received, informing me that by
virtue of the powers and authority vested in you as President by the
Constitution and laws of the United States I am suspended from office
as Secretary of War, and will cease to exercise any and all functions
pertaining to the same, and also directing me at once to transfer to
General Ulysses S. Grant, who has this day been authorized and empowered
to act as Secretary of War _ad interim_, all records, books, papers, and
other public property now in my custody and charge.

Under a sense of public duty I am compelled to deny your right under
the Constitution and laws of the United States, without the advice and
consent of the Senate and without any legal cause, to suspend me from
office as Secretary of War or the exercise of any or all functions
pertaining to the same, or without such advice and consent to compel
me to transfer to any person the records, books, papers, and public
property in my custody as Secretary.

But inasmuch as the General Commanding the armies of the United States
has been appointed _ad interim_, and has notified me that he has
accepted the appointment, I have no alternative but to submit, under
protest, to superior force.

The suspension has not been revoked, and the business of the War
Department is conducted by the Secretary _ad interim_.

Prior to the date of this suspension I had come to the conclusion that
the time had arrived when it was proper Mr. Stanton should retire from
my Cabinet. The mutual confidence and general accord which should exist
in such a relation had ceased. I supposed that Mr. Stanton was well
advised that his continuance in the Cabinet was contrary to my wishes,
for I had repeatedly given him so to understand by every mode short of
an express request that he should resign. Having waited full time for
the voluntary action of Mr. Stanton, and seeing no manifestation on his
part of an intention to resign, I addressed him the following note on
the 5th of August:

SIR: Public considerations of a high character constrain me to say
that your resignation as Secretary of War will be accepted.

To this note I received the following reply:

WAR DEPARTMENT,
_Washington, August 5, 1867_.

SIR: Your note of this day has been received, stating that public
considerations of a high character constrain you to say that my
resignation as Secretary of War will be accepted.

In reply I have the honor to say that public considerations of a high
character, which alone have induced me to continue at the head of this
Department, constrain me not to resign the office of Secretary of War
before the next meeting of Congress.

This reply of Mr. Stanton was not merely a disinclination of compliance
with the request for his resignation; it was a defiance, and something
more. Mr. Stanton does not content himself with assuming that public
considerations bearing upon his continuance in office form as fully
a rule of action for himself as for the President, and that upon so
delicate a question as the fitness of an officer for continuance in his
office the officer is as competent and as impartial to decide as his
superior, who is responsible for his conduct. But he goes further, and
plainly intimates what he means by "public considerations of a high
character," and this is nothing else than his loss of confidence in his
superior. He says that these public considerations have "alone induced
me to continue at the head of this Department," and that they "constrain
me not to resign the office of Secretary of War before the next meeting
of Congress."

This language is very significant. Mr. Stanton holds the position
unwillingly. He continues in office only under a sense of high public
duty. He is ready to leave when it is safe to leave, and as the danger
he apprehends from his removal then will not exist when Congress is
here, he is constrained to remain during the interim. What, then, is
that danger which can only be averted by the presence of Mr. Stanton or
of Congress? Mr. Stanton does not say that "public considerations of a
high character" constrain him to hold on to the office indefinitely. He
does not say that no one other than himself can at any time be found to
take his place and perform its duties. On the contrary, he expresses a
desire to leave the office at the earliest moment consistent with these
high public considerations. He says, in effect, that while Congress is
away he must remain, but that when Congress is here he can go. In other
words, he has lost confidence in the President. He is unwilling to leave
the War Department in his hands or in the hands of anyone the President
may appoint or designate to perform its duties. If he resigns, the
President may appoint a Secretary of War that Mr. Stanton does not
approve; therefore he will not resign. But when Congress is in session
the President can not appoint a Secretary of War which the Senate does
not approve; consequently when Congress meets Mr. Stanton is ready to
resign.

Whatever cogency these "considerations" may have had on Mr. Stanton,
whatever right he may have had to entertain such considerations,
whatever propriety there might be in the expression of them to others,
one thing is certain, it was official misconduct, to say the least of
it, to parade them before his superior officer.

Upon the receipt of this extraordinary note I only delayed the order of
suspension long enough to make the necessary arrangements to fill the
office. If this were the only cause for his suspension, it would be
ample. Necessarily it must end our most important official relations,
for I can not imagine a degree of effrontery which would embolden the
head of a Department to take his seat at the council table in the
Executive Mansion after such an act; nor can I imagine a President so
forgetful of the proper respect and dignity which belong to his office
as to submit to such intrusion. I will not do Mr. Stanton the wrong to
suppose that he entertained any idea of offering to act as one of my
constitutional advisers after that note was written. There was an
interval of a week between that date and the order of suspension, during
which two Cabinet meetings were held. Mr. Stanton did not present
himself at either, nor was he expected.

On the 12th of August Mr. Stanton was notified of his suspension and
that General Grant had been authorized to take charge of the Department.
In his answer to this notification, of the same date, Mr. Stanton
expresses himself as follows:

Under a sense of public duty I am compelled to deny your right under
the Constitution and laws of the United States, without the advice and
consent of the Senate and without any legal cause, to suspend me from
office as Secretary of War or the exercise of any or all functions
pertaining to the same, or without such advice and consent to compel
me to transfer to any person the records, books, papers, and public
property in my custody as Secretary.

But inasmuch as the General Commanding the armies of the United States
has been appointed _ad interim_, and has notified me that he has
accepted the appointment, I have no alternative but to submit, under
protest, to superior force.

It will not escape attention that in his note of August 5 Mr. Stanton
stated that he had been constrained to continue in the office, even
before he was requested to resign, by considerations of a high public
character. In this note of August 12 a new and different sense of public
duty compels him to deny the President's right to suspend him from
office without the consent of the Senate. This last is the public duty
of resisting an act contrary to law, and he charges the President with
violation of the law in ordering his suspension.

Mr. Stanton refers generally to the Constitution and laws of the "United
States," and says that a sense of public duty "under" these compels him
to deny the right of the President to suspend him from office. As to his
sense of duty under the Constitution, that will be considered in the
sequel. As to his sense of duty under "the laws of the United States,"
he certainly can not refer to the law which creates the War Department,
for that expressly confers upon the President the unlimited right to
remove the head of the Department. The only other law bearing upon
the question is the tenure-of-office act, passed by Congress over the
Presidential veto March 2, 1867. This is the law which, under a sense
of public duty, Mr. Stanton volunteers to defend.

There is no provision in this law which compels any officer coming
within its provisions to remain in office. It forbids removals--not
resignations. Mr. Stanton was perfectly free to resign at any moment,
either upon his own motion or in compliance with a request or an order.
It was a matter of choice or of taste. There was nothing compulsory in
the nature of legal obligation. Nor does he put his action upon that
imperative ground. He says he acts under a "sense of public duty," not
of legal obligation, compelling him to hold on and leaving him no
choice. The public duty which is upon him arises from the respect which
he owes to the Constitution and the laws, violated in his own case.
He is therefore compelled by this sense of public duty to vindicate
violated law and to stand as its champion.

This was not the first occasion in which Mr. Stanton, in discharge of
a public duty, was called upon to consider the provisions of that law.
That tenure-of-office law did not pass without notice. Like other acts,
it was sent to the President for approval. As is my custom, I submitted
its consideration to my Cabinet for their advice upon the question
whether I should approve it or not. It was a grave question of
constitutional law, in which I would, of course, rely most upon the
opinion of the Attorney-General and of Mr. Stanton, who had once been
Attorney-General.

Every member of my Cabinet advised me that the proposed law was
unconstitutional. All spoke without doubt or reservation, but Mr.
Stanton's condemnation of the law was the most elaborate and emphatic.
He referred to the constitutional provisions, the debates in Congress,
especially to the speech of Mr. Buchanan when a Senator, to the
decisions of the Supreme Court, and to the usage from the beginning of
the Government through every successive Administration, all concurring
to establish the right of removal as vested by the Constitution in the
President. To all these he added the weight of his own deliberate
judgment, and advised me that it was my duty to defend the power of
the President from usurpation and to veto the law.

I do not know when a sense of public duty is more imperative upon a head
of Department than upon such an occasion as this. He acts then under the
gravest obligations of law, for when he is called upon by the President
for advice it is the Constitution which speaks to him. All his other
duties are left by the Constitution to be regulated by statute, but this
duty was deemed so momentous that it is imposed by the Constitution
itself.

After all this I was not prepared for the ground taken by Mr. Stanton in
his note of August 12. I was not prepared to find him compelled by a new
and indefinite sense of public duty, under "the Constitution," to assume
the vindication of a law which, under the solemn obligations of public
duty imposed by the Constitution itself, he advised me was a violation
of that Constitution. I make great allowance for a change of opinion,
but such a change as this hardly falls within the limits of greatest
indulgence.

Where our opinions take the shape of advice, and influence the action
of others, the utmost stretch of charity will scarcely justify us in
repudiating them when they come to be applied to ourselves.

But to proceed with the narrative. I was so much struck with the full
mastery of the question manifested by Mr. Stanton, and was at the time
so fully occupied with the preparation of another veto upon the pending
reconstruction act, that I requested him to prepare the veto upon this
tenure-of-office bill. This he declined, on the ground of physical
disability to undergo at the time the labor of writing, but stated his
readiness to furnish what aid might be required in the preparation of
materials for the paper.

At the time this subject was before the Cabinet it seemed to be taken
for granted that as to those members of the Cabinet who had been
appointed by Mr. Lincoln their tenure of office was not fixed by the
provisions of the act. I do not remember that the point was distinctly
decided, but I well recollect that it was suggested by one member of the
Cabinet who was appointed by Mr. Lincoln, and that no dissent was
expressed.

Whether the point was well taken or not did not seem to me of any
consequence, for the unanimous expression of opinion against the
constitutionality and policy of the act was so decided that I felt no
concern, so far as the act had reference to the gentlemen then present,
that I would be embarrassed in the future. The bill had not then become
a law. The limitation upon the power of removal was not yet imposed, and
there was yet time to make any changes. If any one of these gentlemen
had then said to me that he would avail himself of the provisions of
that bill in case it became a law, I should not have hesitated a moment
as to his removal. No pledge was then expressly given or required.
But there are circumstances when to give an expressed pledge is not
necessary, and when to require it is an imputation of possible bad
faith. I felt that if these gentlemen came within the purview of the
bill it was as to them a dead letter, and that none of them would ever
take refuge under its provisions.

I now pass to another subject. When, on the 15th of April, 1865, the
duties of the Presidential office devolved upon me, I found a full
Cabinet of seven members, all of them selected by Mr. Lincoln.
I made no change. On the contrary, I shortly afterwards ratified a
change determined upon by Mr. Lincoln, but not perfected at his death,
and admitted his appointee, Mr. Harlan, in the place of Mr. Usher, who
was in office at the time.

The great duty of the time was to reestablish government, law, and order
in the insurrectionary States. Congress was then in recess, and the
sudden overthrow of the rebellion required speedy action. This grave
subject had engaged the attention of Mr. Lincoln in the last days of his
life, and the plan according to which it was to be managed had been
prepared and was ready for adoption. A leading feature of that plan was
that it should be carried out by the Executive authority, for, so far as
I have been informed, neither Mr. Lincoln nor any member of his Cabinet
doubted his authority to act or proposed to call an extra session of
Congress to do the work. The first business transacted in Cabinet after
I became President was this unfinished business of my predecessor.
A plan or scheme of reconstruction was produced which had been prepared
for Mr. Lincoln by Mr. Stanton, his Secretary of War. It was approved,
and at the earliest moment practicable was applied in the form of a
proclamation to the State of North Carolina, and afterwards became the
basis of action in turn for the other States.

Upon the examination of Mr. Stanton before the Impeachment Committee he
was asked the following question:

Did any one of the Cabinet express a doubt of the power of the executive
branch of the Government to reorganize State governments which had been
in rebellion without the aid of Congress?

He answered:

None whatever. I had myself entertained no doubt of the authority of the
President to take measures for the organization of the rebel States on
the plan proposed during the vacation of Congress and agreed in the plan
specified in the proclamation in the case of North Carolina.

There is perhaps no act of my Administration for which I have been more
denounced than this. It was not originated by me, but I shrink from no
responsibility on that account, for the plan approved itself to my own
judgment, and I did not hesitate to carry it into execution.

Thus far and upon this vital policy there was perfect accord between the
Cabinet and myself, and I saw no necessity for a change. As time passed
on there was developed an unfortunate difference of opinion and of
policy between Congress and the President upon this same subject and
upon the ultimate basis upon which the reconstruction of these States
should proceed, especially upon the question of negro suffrage. Upon
this point three members of the Cabinet found themselves to be in
sympathy with Congress. They remained only long enough to see that the
difference of policy could not be reconciled. They felt that they should
remain no longer, and a high sense of duty and propriety constrained
them to resign their positions. We parted with mutual respect for the
sincerity of each other in opposite opinions, and mutual regret that the
difference was on points so vital as to require a severance of official
relations. This was in the summer of 1866. The subsequent sessions of
Congress developed new complications, when the suffrage bill for the
District of Columbia and the reconstruction acts of March 2 and March
23, 1867, all passed over the veto. It was in Cabinet consultations upon
these bills that a difference of opinion upon the most vital points was
developed. Upon these questions there was perfect accord between all the
members of the Cabinet and myself, except Mr. Stanton. He stood alone,
and the difference of opinion could not be reconciled. That unity of
opinion which, upon great questions of public policy or administration,
is so essential to the Executive was gone.

I do not claim that a head of Department should have no other opinions
than those of the President. He has the same right, in the conscientious
discharge of duty, to entertain and express his own opinions as has the
President. What I do claim is that the President is the responsible head
of the Administration, and when the opinions of a head of Department are
irreconcilably opposed to those of the President in grave matters of
policy and administration there is but one result which can solve the
difficulty, and that is a severance of the official relation. This in
the past history of the Government has always been the rule, and it is a
wise one, for such differences of opinion among its members must impair
the efficiency of any Administration.

I have now referred to the general grounds upon which the withdrawal
or Mr. Stanton from my Administration seemed to me to be proper and
necessary, but I can not omit to state a special ground, which, if it
stood alone, would vindicate my action.

The sanguinary riot which occurred in the city of New Orleans on the
30th of August, 1866, justly aroused public indignation and public
inquiry, not only as to those who were engaged in it, but as to those
who, more or less remotely, might be held to responsibility for its
occurrence. I need not remind the Senate of the effort made to fix that
responsibility on the President. The charge was openly made, and again
and again reiterated all through the land, that the President was warned
in time, but refused to interfere.

By telegrams from the lieutenant-governor and attorney-general of
Louisiana, dated the 27th and 28th of August, I was advised that a body
of delegates claiming to be a constitutional convention were about to
assemble in New Orleans; that the matter was before the grand jury, but
that it would be impossible to execute civil process without a riot; and
this question was asked:

Is the military to interfere to prevent process of court?

This question was asked at a time when the civil courts were in the full
exercise of their authority, and the answer sent by telegraph on the
same 28th of August was this:

The military will be expected to sustain, and not to interfere with,
the proceedings of the courts.

On the same 28th of August the following telegram was sent to Mr.
Stanton by Major-General Baird, then (owing to the absence of General
Sheridan) in command of the military at New Orleans:

Hon. EDWIN M. STANTON,
_Secretary of War_:

A convention has been called, with the sanction of Governor Wells, to
meet here on Monday. The lieutenant-governor and city authorities think
it unlawful, and propose to break it up by arresting the delegates.
I have given no orders on the subject, but have warned the parties that
I could not countenance or permit such action without instructions to
that effect from the President. Please instruct me at once by telegraph.

The 28th of August was on Saturday. The next morning, the 29th, this
dispatch was received by Mr. Stanton at his residence in this city. He
took no action upon it, and neither sent instructions to General Baird
himself nor presented it to me for such instructions. On the next day
(Monday) the riot occurred. I never saw this dispatch from General Baird
until some ten days or two weeks after the riot, when, upon my call for
all the dispatches, with a view to their publication, Mr. Stanton sent
it to me.

These facts all appear in the testimony of Mr. Stanton before the
Judiciary Committee in the impeachment investigation.

On the 30th, the day of the riot, and after it was suppressed, General
Baird wrote to Mr. Stanton a long letter, from which I make the
following extract:

SIR: I have the honor to inform you that a very serious riot has
occurred here to-day. I had not been applied to by the convention
for protection, but the lieutenant-governor and the mayor had freely
consulted with me, and I was so fully convinced that it was so strongly
the intent of the city authorities to preserve the peace, in order to
prevent military interference, that I did not regard an outbreak as a
thing to be apprehended. The lieutenant-governor had assured me that
even if a writ of arrest was issued by the court the sheriff would not
attempt to serve it without my permission, and for to-day they designed
to suspend it. I inclose herewith copies of my correspondence with the
mayor and of a dispatch which the lieutenant-governor claims to have
received from the President. I regret that no reply to my dispatch to
you of Saturday has yet reached me. General Sheridan is still absent
in Texas.

The dispatch of General Baird of the 28th asks for immediate
instructions, and his letter of the 30th, after detailing the terrible
riot which had just happened, ends with the expression of regret that
the instructions which he asked for were not sent. It is not the fault
or the error or the omission of the President that this military
commander was left without instructions; but for all omissions, for
all errors, for all failures to instruct when instruction might have
averted this calamity, the President was openly and persistently held
responsible. Instantly, without waiting for proof, the delinquency of
the President was heralded in every form of utterance. Mr. Stanton knew
then that the President was not responsible for this delinquency. The
exculpation was in his power, but it was not given by him to the public,
and only to the President in obedience to a requisition for all the
dispatches.

No one regrets more than myself that General Baird's request was not
brought to my notice. It is clear from his dispatch and letter that if
the Secretary of War had given him proper instructions the riot which
arose on the assembling of the convention would have been averted.

There may be those ready to say that I would have given no instructions
even if the dispatch had reached me in time, but all must admit that
I ought to have had the opportunity.

The following is the testimony given by Mr. Stanton before the
impeachment investigation committee as to this dispatch:

Q. Referring to the dispatch of the 28th of July by General Baird, I ask
you whether that dispatch on its receipt was communicated?

A. I received that dispatch on Sunday forenoon. I examined it carefully,
and considered the question presented. I did not see that I could give
any instructions different from the line of action which General Baird
proposed, and made no answer to the dispatch.

Q. I see it stated that this was received at 10.20 p.m. Was that the
hour at which it was received by you?

A. That is the date of its reception in the telegraph office Saturday
night. I received it on Sunday forenoon at my residence. A copy of the
dispatch was furnished to the President several days afterwards, along
with all the other dispatches and communications on that subject, but it
was not furnished by me before that time. I suppose it may have been ten
or fifteen days afterwards.

Q. The President himself being in correspondence with those parties upon
the same subject, would it not have been proper to have advised him of
the reception of that dispatch?

A. I know nothing about his correspondence, and know nothing about any
correspondence except this one dispatch. We had intelligence of the riot
on Thursday morning. The riot had taken place on Monday.

It is a difficult matter to define all the relations which exist between
the heads of Departments and the President. The legal relations are well
enough defined. The Constitution places these officers in the relation
of his advisers when he calls upon them for advice. The acts of Congress
go further. Take, for example, the act of 1789 creating the War
Department. It provides that--

There shall be a principal officer therein to be called the Secretary
for the Department of War, who shall perform and execute such duties
as shall from time to time be enjoined on or intrusted to him by the
President of the United States; and, furthermore, the said principal
officer shall conduct the business of the said Department in such manner
as the President of the United States shall from time to time order and
instruct.

Provision is also made for the appointment of an inferior officer by the
head of the Department, to be called the chief clerk, "who, whenever
said principal officer shall be removed from office by the President
of the United States," shall have the charge and custody of the books,
records, and papers of the Department.

The legal relation is analogous to that of principal and agent. It is
the President upon whom the Constitution devolves, as head of the
executive department, the duty to see that the laws are faithfully
executed; but as he can not execute them in person, he is allowed to
select his agents, and is made responsible for their acts within just
limits. So complete is this presumed delegation of authority in the
relation of a head of Department to the President that the Supreme Court
of the United States have decided that an order made by a head of
Department is presumed to be made by the President himself.

The principal, upon whom such responsibility is placed for the acts
of a subordinate, ought to be left as free as possible in the matter
of selection and of dismissal. To hold him to responsibility for an
officer beyond his control; to leave the question of the fitness of
such an agent to be decided _for_ him and not _by_ him; to allow such
a subordinate, when the President, moved by "public considerations of
a high character," requests his resignation, to assume for himself an
equal right to act upon his own views of "public considerations" and to
make his own conclusions paramount to those of the President--to allow
all this is to reverse the just order of administration and to place
the subordinate above the superior.

There are, however, other relations between the President and
a head of Department beyond these defined legal relations, which
necessarily attend them, though not expressed. Chief among these is
mutual confidence. This relation is so delicate that it is sometimes
hard to say when or how it ceases. A single flagrant act may end
it at once, and then there is no difficulty. But confidence may be
just as effectually destroyed by a series of causes too subtle for
demonstration. As it is a plant of slow growth, so, too, it may be
slow in decay. Such has been the process here. I will not pretend to say
what acts or omissions have broken up this relation. They are hardly
susceptible of statement, and still less of formal proof. Nevertheless,
no one can read the correspondence of the 5th of August without being
convinced that this relation was effectually gone on both sides, and
that while the President was unwilling to allow Mr. Stanton to remain
in his Administration, Mr. Stanton was equally unwilling to allow the
President to carry on his Administration without his presence.

In the great debate which took place in the House of Representatives
in 1789, in the first organization of the principal Departments, Mr.
Madison spoke as follows:

It is evidently the intention of the Constitution that the first
magistrate should be responsible for the executive department. So far,
therefore, as we do not make the officers who are to aid him in the
duties of that department responsible to him, he is not responsible
to the country. Again: Is there no danger that an officer, when he is
appointed by the concurrence of the Senate and has friends in that body,
may choose rather to risk his establishment on the favor of that branch
than rest it upon the discharge of his duties to the satisfaction of the
executive branch, which is constitutionally authorized to inspect and
control his conduct? And if it should happen that the officers connect
themselves with the Senate, they may mutually support each other, and
for want of efficacy reduce the power of the President to a mere
vapor, in which case his responsibility would be annihilated, and the
expectation of it is unjust. The high executive officers, joined in
cabal with the Senate, would lay the foundation of discord, and end in
an assumption of the executive power only to be removed by a revolution
in the Government.

Mr. Sedgwick, in the same debate, referring to the proposition that
a head of Department should only be removed or suspended by the
concurrence of the Senate, used this language:

But if proof be necessary, what is then the consequence? Why, in nine
cases out of ten, where the case is very clear to the mind of the
President that the man ought to be removed, the effect can not be
produced, because it is absolutely impossible to produce the necessary
evidence. Are the Senate to proceed without evidence? Some gentlemen
contend not. Then the object will be lost. Shall a man under these
circumstances be saddled upon the President who has been appointed for
no other purpose but to aid the President in performing certain duties?
Shall he be continued, I ask again, against the will of the President?
If he is, where is the responsibility? Are you to look for it in the
President, who has no control over the officer, no power to remove him
if he acts unfeelingly or unfaithfully? Without you make him responsible
you weaken and destroy the strength and beauty of your system. What is
to be done in cases which can only be known from a long acquaintance
with the conduct of an officer?

I had indulged the hope that upon the assembling of Congress
Mr. Stanton would have ended this unpleasant complication according
to his intimation given in his note of August 12. The duty which I have
felt myself called upon to perform was by no means agreeable, but I feel
that I am not responsible for the controversy or for the consequences.

Unpleasant as this necessary change in my Cabinet has been to me upon
personal considerations, I have the consolation to be assured that so
far as the public interests are involved there is no cause for regret.

Salutary reforms have been introduced by the Secretary _ad interim_, and
great reductions of expenses have been effected under his administration
of the War Department, to the saving of millions to the Treasury.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

WASHINGTON, _December 14, 1867_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

In compliance with the resolution of the House of Representatives of the
9th instant, I transmit herewith a copy of the papers relating to the
trial by a military commission of Albert M.D.C. Lusk, of Louisiana.
No action in the case has yet been taken by the President.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

WASHINGTON, _December 17, 1867_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I transmit for the information of the House of Representatives a report
from the Secretary of State, with an accompanying paper.[32]

ANDREW JOHNSON.

[Footnote 32: Report of George H. Sharpe relative to the assassination
of President Lincoln and the attempted assassination of Secretary
Seward.]

WASHINGTON, _December 17, 1867_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In answer to the resolution of the Senate of the 6th instant,
concerning the International Monetary Conference held at Paris in
June last, I transmit a report from the Secretary of State, which
is accompanied by the papers called for by the resolution.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

WASHINGTON, _December 17, 1867_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit, for the consideration of the Senate, an agreement between
the diplomatic representatives of certain foreign powers in Japan,
including the minister of the United States, on the one part, and
plenipotentiaries on the part of the Japanese Government, relative
to the settlement of Yokohama.

This instrument can not be legally binding upon the United States unless
sanctioned by the Senate. There appears to be no objection to its
approval.

A copy of General Van Valkenburgh's dispatch to the Secretary of State,
by which the agreement was accompanied, and of the map to which it
refers, are also herewith transmitted.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

WASHINGTON, D.C., _December 18, 1867_.

_Gentlemen of the Senate and of the House of Representatives_:

An official copy of the order issued by Major-General Winfield S.
Hancock, commander of the Fifth Military District, dated headquarters in
New Orleans, La., on the 29th day of November, has reached me through
the regular channels of the War Department, and I herewith communicate
it to Congress for such action as may seem to be proper in view of all
the circumstances.

It will be perceived that General Hancock announces that he will make
the law the rule of his conduct; that he will uphold the courts and
other civil authorities in the performance of their proper duties, and
that he will use his military power only to preserve the peace and
enforce the law. He declares very explicitly that the sacred right of
the trial by jury and the privilege of the writ of _habeas corpus_ shall
not be crushed out or trodden under foot. He goes further, and in one
comprehensive sentence asserts that the principles of American liberty
are still the inheritance of this people and ever should be.

When a great soldier, with unrestricted power in his hands to oppress
his fellow-men, voluntarily foregoes the chance of gratifying his
selfish ambition and devotes himself to the duty of building up the
liberties and strengthening the laws of his country, he presents an
example of the highest public virtue that human nature is capable of
practicing. The strongest claim of Washington to be "first in war,
first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen" is founded
on the great fact that in all his illustrious career he scrupulously
abstained from violating the legal and constitutional rights of his
fellow-citizens. When he surrendered his commission to Congress, the
President of that body spoke his highest praise in saying that he had
"always regarded the rights of the civil authorities through all dangers
and disasters." Whenever power above the law courted his acceptance, he
calmly put the temptation aside. By such magnanimous acts of forbearance
he won the universal admiration of mankind and left a name which has no
rival in the history of the world.

I am far from saying that General Hancock is the only officer of the
American Army who is influenced by the example of Washington. Doubtless
thousands of them are faithfully devoted to the principles for which the
men of the Revolution laid down their lives. But the distinguished honor
belongs to him of being the first officer in high command south of the
Potomac, since the close of the civil war, who has given utterance to
these noble sentiments in the form of a military order.

I respectfully suggest to Congress that some public recognition of
General Hancock's patriotic conduct is due, if not to him, to the friends
of law and justice throughout the country. Of such an act as his at such
a time it is but fit that the dignity should be vindicated and the virtue
proclaimed, so that its value as an example may not be lost to the nation.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

WASHINGTON, _December 19, 1867_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit to the Senate, in answer to a resolution of that body
of the 16th instant, a report[33] from the Secretary of State, with
accompanying papers.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

[Footnote 33: Relating to the removal of Governor Ballard, of the
Territory of Idaho.]

WASHINGTON, _December 20, 1867_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

I herewith transmit to Congress a report, dated the 20th instant,
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, _December 31, 1867_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

In answer to a resolution of the House of Representatives of the
18th instant, requesting information concerning alleged interference
by Russian naval vessels with whaling vessels of the United States,
I transmit a report from the Secretary of State and the papers referred
to therein.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

WASHINGTON, _January 6, 1868_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I herewith transmit to the Senate a report from the Secretary of the
Treasury, containing the information requested in their resolution of
the 16th ultimo, relative to the amount of United States bonds issued to
the Union Pacific Railroad Company and each of its branches, including
the Central Pacific Railroad Company of California.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

WASHINGTON, _January 7, 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 yesterday, making inquiry
how many and what State legislatures have ratified the proposed
amendment to the Constitution of the United States known as the
fourteenth article.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

WASHINGTON, _January 7, 1868_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

A Spanish steamer named _Nuestra Senora_ being in the harbor of Port
Royal, S.C., on the 1st of December, 1861, Brigadier General T.W.
Sherman, who was in command of the United States forces there, received
information which he supposed justified him in seizing her, as she was
on her way from Charleston to Havana with insurgent correspondence on
board. The seizure was made accordingly, and during the ensuing spring
the vessel was sent to New York, in order that the legality of the
seizure might be tried.

By a decree of June 20, 1863, Judge Betts ordered the vessel to be
restored, and by a subsequent decree, of October 15, 1863, he referred
the adjustment of damages to amicable negotiations between the two
Governments.

While the proceeding in admiralty was pending, the vessel was appraised
and taken by the Navy Department at the valuation of $28,000, which sum
that Department paid into the Treasury.

As the amount of this valuation can not legally be drawn from the
Treasury without authority from Congress, I recommend an appropriation
for that purpose.

It is proposed to appoint a commissioner on the part of this Government
to adjust, informally in this case, with a similar commissioner on the
part of Spain, the question of damages, the commissioners to name an
arbiter for points upon which they may disagree. When the amount of the
damages shall thus have been ascertained, application will be made to
Congress for a further appropriation toward paying them.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

WASHINGTON, D.C., _January 14, 1868_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I transmit herewith a communication from the Secretary of War _ad
interim_, with the accompanying papers, prepared in compliance with a
resolution of the House of Representatives of March 15, 1867, requesting
information in reference to contracts for ordnance projectiles and small
arms.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

WASHINGTON, D.C., _January 14, 1868_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

I transmit herewith the report made by the commissioners appointed under
the act of Congress approved on the 20th day of July, 1867, entitled
"An act to establish peace with certain hostile Indian tribes," together
with the accompanying papers.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

WASHINGTON, _January 14, 1868_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In answer to the resolution of the Senate of yesterday, calling for
information relating to the appointment of the American minister at
Pekin to a diplomatic or other mission on behalf of the Chinese
Government by the Emperor of China, I transmit a report from the
Secretary of State upon the subject, together with the accompanying
papers.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

WASHINGTON CITY, _January 14, 1868_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I herewith lay before the Senate, for its constitutional action thereon,
the following treaties, concluded at "Medicine Lodge Creek," Kansas,
between the Indian tribes therein named and the United States, by their
commissioners appointed by the act of Congress approved July 20, 1867,
entitled "An act to establish peace with certain hostile Indian tribes,"
viz:

A treaty with the Kiowa and Comanche tribes, concluded October 21, 1867.

A treaty with the Kiowa, Comanche, and Apache tribes, concluded October
28, 1867.

A treaty with the Arapahoe and Cheyenne tribes, dated October 28, 1867.

A letter of this date from the Secretary of the Interior, transmitting
said treaties, is herewith inclosed.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

WASHINGTON, _January 17, 1868_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

With reference to the convention between the United States and Denmark
for the cession of the islands of St. Thomas and St. John, in the West
Indies, I transmit a report from the Secretary of State on the subject
of the vote of St. Thomas on the question of accepting the cession.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

WASHINGTON, D.C., _January 23, 1868_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In compliance with the request of the Senate of yesterday, I return
herewith their resolution of the 21st instant, calling for information
in reference to James A. Seddon, late Secretary of War of the so-called
Confederate States.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

WASHINGTON, _January 23, 1868_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I have received the following preamble and resolution, adopted by the
Senate on the 8th instant:

Whereas Senate bill No. 141, and entitled "An act for the further
security of equal rights in the District of Columbia," having at this
present session passed both Houses of Congress, was afterwards, on the
11th day of December, 1867, duly presented to the President of the
United States for his approval and signature; and

Whereas more than ten days, exclusive of Sundays, have since elapsed in
this session without said bill having been returned, either approved or
disapproved: Therefore,

_Resolved_, That the President of the United States be requested to
inform the Senate whether said bill has been delivered to and received
by the Secretary of State, as provided by the second section of the act
of the 27th day of July, 1789.

As the act which the resolution mentions has no relevancy to the subject
under inquiry, it is presumed that it was the intention of the Senate to
refer to the law of the 15th September, 1789, the second section of
which prescribes--

That whenever a bill, order, resolution, or vote of the Senate and
House of Representatives, having been approved and signed by the
President of the United States, or not having been returned by him with
his objections, shall become a law or take effect, it shall forthwith
thereafter be received by the said Secretary from the President; and
whenever a bill, order, resolution, or vote shall be returned by the
President with his objections, and shall, on being reconsidered, be
agreed to be passed, and be approved by two-thirds of both Houses of
Congress, and thereby become a law or take effect, it shall in such
case be received by the said Secretary from the President of the Senate
or the Speaker of the House of Representatives, in whichsoever House it
shall last have been so approved.

Inasmuch as the bill "for the further security of equal rights in the
District of Columbia" has not become a law in either of the modes
designated in the section above quoted, it has not been delivered to
the Secretary of State for record and promulgation. The Constitution
expressly declares that--

If any bill shall not be returned by the President within ten days
(Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the
same shall be a law in like manner as if he had signed it, unless
the Congress by their adjournment prevent its return, in which case
it shall not be a law.

As stated in the preamble to the resolution, the bill to which it refers
was presented for my approval on the 11th day of December, 1867. On the
20th of same month, and before the expiration of the ten days after the
presentation of the bill to the President, the two Houses, in accordance
with a concurrent resolution adopted on the 3d [13th] of December,
adjourned until the 6th of January, 1868. Congress by their adjournment
thus prevented the return of the bill within the time prescribed by the
Constitution, and it was therefore left in the precise condition in
which that instrument positively declares a bill "shall not be a law."

If the adjournment in December did not cause the failure of this bill,
because not such an adjournment as is contemplated by the Constitution
in the clause which I have cited, it must follow that such was the
nature of the adjournments during the past year, on the 30th day of
March until the first Wednesday of July and from the 20th of July until
the 21st of November. Other bills will therefore be affected by the
decision which may be rendered in this case, among them one having the
same title as that named in the resolution, and containing similar
provisions, which, passed by both Houses in the month of July last,
failed to become a law by reason of the adjournment of Congress before
ten days for its consideration had been allowed the Executive.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

WASHINGTON, _January 27, 1868_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

In answer to a resolution of the House of Representatives of the
22d instant, calling for a copy of the report of Abram S. Hewitt,
commissioner of the United States to the Paris Universal Exhibition of
1867, I transmit a report from the Secretary of State and the papers
which accompany it.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

WASHINGTON, _January 27, 1868_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

I transmit a report from the Secretary of State and the documents to
which it refers, in relation to the formal transfer of territory from
Russia to the United States in accordance with the treaty of the 30th
of March last.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

WASHINGTON, _January 28, 1868_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit, for the consideration of the Senate with a view to its
ratification, an additional article to the treaty of navigation and
commerce with Russia of the 18th of December, 1832, which additional
article was concluded and signed between the plenipotentiaries of the
two Governments at Washington on the 27th instant.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

WASHINGTON, _February 3, 1868_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

I transmit to Congress a report from the Secretary of State, suggesting
the necessity for a further appropriation toward defraying the expense
of employing copying clerks, with a view to enable his Department
seasonably to answer certain calls for information.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

WASHINGTON, _February 3, 1868_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

In answer to a resolution of the House of Representatives of the 27th
ultimo, directing the Secretary of State to furnish information in
regard to the trial of John H. Surratt, I transmit a report from the
Secretary of State.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

WASHINGTON, _February 3, 1868_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I transmit herewith a report[34] from the Secretary of State, in answer
to a resolution of the House of Representatives of the 28th of January.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

[Footnote 34: Relating to the famine in Sweden and Norway.]

WASHINGTON, _February 10, 1868_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I transmit herewith a communication from the Secretary of the Navy,
relative to depredations upon and the future care of the reservations
of lands for the "purpose of supplying timber for the Navy of the
United States."

ANDREW JOHNSON.

WASHINGTON, D.C., _February 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 Postmaster-General, in
reference to the appointment of a special agent to take charge of the
post-office at Penn Yan, in the State of New York.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

WASHINGTON, _February 10, 1868_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit a report from the Secretary of State, with the accompanying
papers, on the subject of a transfer of the Peninsula and Bay of Samana
to the United States. The advice and consent of the Senate to the
transfer, upon the terms proposed in the draft of a convention with the
Dominican Republic, are requested.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

WASHINGTON, _February 10, 1868_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I submit to the Senate, for its consideration with a view to
ratification, the accompanying consular convention between the
United States and the Government of His Majesty the King of Italy.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

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

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit herewith a report from the Attorney-General, prepared
in compliance with the resolution of the Senate of the 30th ultimo,
requesting information as to the number of justices of the peace now
in commission in each ward, respectively, of the city of Washington.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

WASHINGTON, _February 10, 1868_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

In 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
two years last past, I transmit a partial report from the Secretary of
State, which is accompanied by a portion of the papers called for by
the resolution.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

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

_To the House of Representatives_:

In compliance with the resolution adopted yesterday by the House of
Representatives, requesting any further correspondence the President
"may have had with General U.S. Grant, in addition to that heretofore
submitted, on the subject of the recent vacation by the latter of the
War Office," I transmit herewith a copy of a communication addressed
to General Grant on the 10th instant, together with a copy of the
accompanying papers.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

EXECUTIVE MANSION, _February 10, 1868_.

General U.S. GRANT,

_Commanding Armies of the United States, Washington, D.C._

GENERAL: The extraordinary character of your letter of the 3d instant[35]
would seem to preclude any reply on my part; but the manner in which
publicity has been given to the correspondence of which that letter
forms a part and the grave questions which are involved induce me to
take this mode of giving, as a proper sequel to the communications which
have passed between us, the statements of the five members of the
Cabinet who were present on the occasion of our conversation on the 14th
ultimo. Copies of the letters which they have addressed to me upon the
subject are accordingly herewith inclosed.

You speak of my letter of the 31st ultimo[36] as a reiteration of the
"many and gross misrepresentations" contained in certain newspaper
articles, and reassert the correctness of the statements contained in
your communication of the 28th ultimo,[37] adding--and here I give your
own words--"anything in yours in reply to it to the contrary
notwithstanding."

When a controversy upon matters of fact reaches the point to which this
has been brought, further assertion or denial between the immediate
parties should cease, especially where upon either side it loses
the character of the respectful discussion which is required by the
relations in which the parties stand to each other and degenerates in
tone and temper. In such a case, if there is nothing to rely upon but
the opposing statements, conclusions must be drawn from those statements
alone and from whatever intrinsic probabilities they afford in favor of
or against either of the parties. I should not shrink from this test in
this controversy; but, fortunately, it is not left to this test alone.
There were five Cabinet officers present at the conversation the detail
of which in my letter of the 28th [31st[37]] ultimo you allow yourself
to say contains "many and gross misrepresentations." These gentlemen
heard that conversation and have read my statement. They speak for
themselves, and I leave the proof without a word of comment.

I deem it proper before concluding this communication to notice some of
the statements contained in your letter.

You say that a performance of the promises alleged to have been made by
you to the President "would have involved a resistance to law and an
inconsistency with the whole history of my connection with the
suspension of Mr. Stanton." You then state that you had fears the
President would, on the removal of Mr. Stanton, appoint someone in his
place who would embarrass the Army in carrying out the reconstruction
acts, and add:

"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 withholding it from him in opposition to
law, or, not doing so myself, surrendering it to one who would, as the
statements and assumptions in your communication plainly indicate was
sought."

First of all, you here admit that from the very beginning of what
you term "the whole history" of your connection with Mr. Stanton's
suspension you intended to circumvent the President. It was to carry out
that intent that you accepted the appointment. This was in your mind at
the time of your acceptance. It was not, then, in obedience to the order
of your superior, as has heretofore been supposed, that you assumed the
duties of the office. You knew it was the President's purpose to prevent
Mr. Stanton from resuming the office of Secretary of War, and you
intended to defeat that purpose. You accepted the office, not in the
interest of the President but of Mr. Stanton. If this purpose, so
entertained by you, had been confined to yourself; if when accepting
the office you had done so with a mental reservation to frustrate the
President, it would have been a tacit deception. In the ethics of some
persons such a course is allowable. But you can not stand even upon
that questionable ground. The "history" of your connection with this
transaction, as written by yourself, places you in a different
predicament, and shows that you not only concealed your design from
the President, but induced him to suppose that you would carry out his
purpose to keep Mr. Stanton out of office by retaining it yourself after
an attempted restoration by the Senate, so as to require Mr. Stanton to
establish his right by judicial decision.

I now give that part of this "history" as written by yourself in your
letter of the 28th ultimo:[38]

"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."

Now, at that time, as you admit in your letter of the 3d instant,[39]
you held the office for the very object of defeating an appeal to the
courts. In that letter you say that in accepting the office one motive
was to prevent the President from appointing some other person who would
retain possession, and thus make judicial proceedings necessary. You
knew the President was unwilling to trust the office with anyone who
would not by holding it compel Mr. Stanton to resort to the courts.
You perfectly understood that in this interview, "some time" after
you accepted the office, the President, not content with your silence,
desired an expression of your views, and you answered him that Mr.
Stanton "would have to appeal to the courts." If the President reposed
confidence _before_ he knew your views, and that confidence had been
violated, it might have been said he made a mistake; but a violation of
confidence reposed _after_ that conversation was no mistake of his nor
of yours. It is the fact only that needs be stated, that at the date of
this conversation you did not intend to hold the office with the purpose
of forcing Mr. Stanton into court, but did hold it then and had accepted
it to prevent that course from being carried out. In other words, you
said to the President, "That is the proper course," and you said to
yourself, "I have accepted this office, and now hold it to defeat that
course." The excuse you make in a subsequent paragraph of that letter
of the 28th ultimo,[38] that afterwards you changed your views as to
what would be a proper course, has nothing to do with the point now
under consideration. The point is that _before_ you changed your views
you had secretly determined to do the very thing which at last you
did--surrender the office to Mr. Stanton. You may have changed your
views as to the law, but you certainly did not change your views as
to the course you had marked out for yourself from the beginning.

I will only notice one more statement in your letter of the 3d
instant[39]--that the performance of the promises which it is alleged
were made by you would have involved you in the resistance of law. I
know of no statute that would have been violated had you, carrying out
your promises in good faith, tendered your resignation when you
concluded not to be made a party in any legal proceedings. You add:

"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."

On the 24th[39] ultimo you addressed a note to the President requesting
in writing an order given to you verbally five days before to disregard
orders from Mr. Stanton as Secretary of War until you "knew from the
President himself that they were his orders."

On the 29th,[40] in compliance with your request, I did give you
instructions 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."

There are some orders which a Secretary of War may issue without the
authority of the President; there are others which he issues simply as
the agent of the President, and which purport to be "by direction" of
the President. For such orders the President is responsible, and he
should therefore know and understand what they are before giving such
"direction." Mr. Stanton states in his letter of the 4th instant,[41]
which accompanies the published correspondence, that he "has had no
correspondence with the President since the 12th of August last;" and
he further says that since he resumed the duties of the office he has
continued to discharge them "without any personal or written
communication with the President;" and he adds, "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."

It thus seems that Mr. Stanton now discharges the duties of the War
Department without any reference to the President and without using his
name.

My order to you had only reference to orders "assumed to be issued by
the direction of the President." It would appear from Mr. Stanton's
letter that you have received no such orders from him. However, in your
note to the President of the 30th ultimo,[42] in which you acknowledge
the receipt of the written order of the 29th,[43] you say that you have
been informed by Mr. Stanton that he has not received any order limiting
his authority to issue orders to the Army, according to the practice
of the Department, and state that "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."

The President issues an order to you to obey no order from the War
Department purporting to be made "by the direction of the President"
until you have referred it to him for his approval. You reply that you
have received the President's order and will not obey it, but will obey
an order purporting to be given by his direction _if it comes from the
War Department_. You will not obey the direct order of the President,
but will obey his indirect order. If, as you say, there has been a
practice in the War Department to issue orders in the name of the
President without his direction, does not the precise order you have
requested and have received change the practice as to the General of
the Army? Could not the President countermand any such order issued to
you from the War Department? If you should receive an order from that
Department, issued in the name of the President, to do a special act,
and an order directly from the President himself not to do the act, is
there a doubt which you are to obey? You answer the question when you
say to the President, in your letter of the 3d instant,[44] the Secretary
of War is "my superior and your subordinate," and yet you refuse
obedience to the superior out of a deference to the subordinate.

Without further comment upon the insubordinate attitude which you
have assumed, I am at a loss to know how you can relieve yourself
from obedience to the orders of the President, who is made by the
Constitution the Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy, and is
therefore the official superior as well of the General of the Army
as of the Secretary of War.

Respectfully, yours,

ANDREW JOHNSON.

[Footnote 35: See pp. 618-620.]

[Footnote 36: See pp. 615-618.]

[Footnote 37: See pp. 613-615.]

[Footnote 38: See pp. 613-615.]

[Footnote 39: See pp. 618-620.]

[Footnote 40: See p. 613.]

[Footnote 41: See p. 615.]

[Footnote 42: See pp. 612-613.]

[Footnote 43: See p. 615.]

[Footnote 44: See pp. 618-620.]

[Letter addressed to each of the members of the Cabinet present at the
conversation between the President and General Grant on the 14th of
January, 1868, and answers thereto.]

EXECUTIVE MANSION, _Washington, D.C., February 5, 1868_.

SIR: The Chronicle of this morning contains a correspondence between the
President and General Grant reported from the War Department in answer
to a resolution of the House of Representatives.

I beg to call your attention to that correspondence, and especially to
that part of it which refers to the conversation between the President
and General Grant at the Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, the 14th of
January, and to request you to state what was said in that conversation.

Very respectfully, yours,

ANDREW JOHNSON.

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

The PRESIDENT.

SIR: Your note of this date was handed to me this evening. My
recollection of the conversation at the Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, the
14th of January, corresponds with your statement of it in the letter of
the 31st ultimo[45] in the published correspondence.

The three points specified in that letter, giving your recollection of
the conversation, are correctly stated.

Very respectfully,

GIDEON WELLES.

[Footnote 45: See pp. 615-618.]

TREASURY DEPARTMENT, _February 6, 1868_.

The PRESIDENT.

SIR: I have received your note of the 5th instant, calling my attention
to the correspondence between yourself and General Grant as published in
the Chronicle of yesterday, especially to that part of it which relates
to what occurred at the Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, the 14th ultimo, and
requesting me to state what was said in the conversation referred to.

I can not undertake to state the precise language used, but I have no
hesitation in saying that your account of that conversation as given in
your letter to General Grant under date of the 31st ultimo[45]
substantially and in all important particulars accords with my
recollection of it.

With great respect, your obedient servant,

HUGH McCULLOCH.

[Footnote 45: See pp. 615-618.]

POST-OFFICE DEPARTMENT,

_Washington, February 6, 1868_.

The PRESIDENT.

SIR: I am in receipt of your letter of the 5th of February, calling my
attention to the correspondence published in the Chronicle between the
President and General Grant, and especially to that part of it which
refers to the conversation between the President and General Grant at
the Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, the 14th of January, with a request that
I state what was said in that conversation.

In reply I have the honor to state that I have read carefully the
correspondence in question, and particularly the letter of the President
to General Grant dated January 31, 1868.[45] The following extract from
your letter of the 31st January to General Grant is, according to my
recollection, a correct statement of the conversation that took place
between the President and General Grant at the Cabinet meeting on the
14th of January last. In the presence of the Cabinet the President
asked General Grant whether, "in conversation which took place after his
appointment as Secretary of War _ad interim_, he did not agree either
to remain at the head of the War Department and abide any judicial
proceedings that might follow the nonconcurrence by the Senate in Mr.
Stanton's suspension, or, should he wish not to become involved in such
a controversy, to put the President in the same position with respect to
the office as he occupied previous to General Grant's appointment, by
returning it to the President in time to anticipate such action by the
Senate." This General Grant admitted.

The President then asked General Grant if at the conference on the
preceding Saturday he had not, to avoid misunderstanding, requested
General Grant to state what he intended to do, and, further, if in reply
to that inquiry he (General Grant) had not referred to their former
conversations, saying that from them the President understood his
position, and that his (General Grant's) action would be consistent with
the understanding which had been reached.

To these questions General Grant replied in the affirmative.

The President asked General Grant if at the conclusion of their
interview on Saturday it was not understood that they were to have
another conference on Monday before final action by the Senate in the
case of Mr. Stanton.

General Grant replied that such was the understanding, but that he did
not suppose the Senate would act so soon; that on Monday he had been
engaged in a conference with General Sherman, and was occupied with
"many little matters," and asked if General Sherman had not called on
that day.

I take this mode of complying with the request contained in the
President's letter to me, because my attention had been called to the
subject before, when the conversation between the President and General
Grant was under consideration.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

ALEX W. RANDALL,

_Postmaster-General_.

[Footnote 45: See pp. 615-618.]

DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR,

_Washington, D.C., February 6, 1868_.

The PRESIDENT.

SIR: I am in receipt of yours of yesterday, calling my attention to
a correspondance between yourself and General Grant published in the
Chronicle newspaper, and especially to that part of said correspondence
"which refers to the conversation between the President and General
Grant at the Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, the 14th of January," and
requesting me "to state what was said in that conversation."

In reply I submit the following statement: At the Cabinet meeting on
Tuesday, the 14th of January, 1868, General Grant appeared and took his
accustomed seat at the board. When he had been reached in the order of
business, the President asked him, as usual, if he had anything to
present.

In reply the General, after referring to a note which he had that
morning addressed to the President, inclosing a copy of the resolution
of the Senate refusing to concur in the reasons for the suspension of
Mr. Stanton, proceeded to say that he regarded his duties as Secretary
of War _ad interim_ terminated by that resolution, and that he could not
lawfully exercise such duties for a moment after the adoption of the
resolution by the Senate; that the resolution reached him last night,
and that this morning he had gone to the War Department, entered the
Secretary's room, bolted one door on the inside, locked the other on the
outside, delivered the key to the Adjutant-General, and proceeded to the
Headquarters of the Army and addressed the note above mentioned to the
President, informing him that he (General Grant) was no longer Secretary
of War _ad interim_.

The President expressed great surprise at the course which General
Grant had thought proper to pursue, and, addressing himself to the
General, proceeded to say, in substance, that he had anticipated such
action on the part of the Senate, and, being very desirous to have the
constitutionality of the tenure-of-office bill tested and his right
to suspend or remove a member of the Cabinet decided by the judicial
tribunals of the country, he had some time ago, and shortly after
General Grant's appointment as Secretary of War _ad interim_, asked the
General what his action would be in the event that the Senate should
refuse to concur in the suspension of Mr. Stanton, and that the General
had then agreed either to remain at the head of the War Department till
a decision could be obtained from the court or resign the office into
the hands of the President before the case was acted upon by the Senate,
so as to place the President in the same situation he occupied at the
time of his (Grant's) appointment.

The President further said that the conversation was renewed on the
preceding Saturday, at which time he asked the General what he intended
to do if the Senate should undertake to reinstate Mr. Stanton, in reply
to which the General referred to their former conversation upon the same
subject and said: "You understand my position, and my conduct will be
conformable to that understanding;" that he (the General) then expressed
a repugnance to being made a party to a judicial proceeding, saying that
he would expose himself to fine and imprisonment by doing so, as his
continuing to discharge the duties of Secretary of War _ad interim_
after the Senate should have refused to concur in the suspension of Mr.
Stanton would be a violation of the tenure-of-office bill; that in reply
to this he (the President) informed General Grant he had not suspended
Mr. Stanton under the tenure-of-office bill, but by virtue of the powers
conferred on him by the Constitution; and that, as to the fine and
imprisonment, he (the President) would pay whatever fine was imposed
and submit to whatever imprisonment might be adjudged against him (the
General); that they continued the conversation for some time, discussing
the law at length, and that they finally separated without having
reached a definite conclusion, and with the understanding that the
General would see the President again on Monday.

In reply General Grant admitted that the conversations had occurred, and
said that at the first conversation he had given it as his opinion to
the President that in the event of nonconcurrence by the Senate in the
action of the President in respect to the Secretary of War the question
would have to be decided by the court--that Mr. Stanton would have to
appeal to the court to reinstate him in office; that the _ins_ would
remain in till they could be displaced and the _outs_ put in by legal
proceedings; and that he _then_ thought so, and had agreed that if he
should change his mind he would notify the President in time to enable
him to make another appointment, but that at the time of the first
conversation he had not looked very closely into the law; that it had
recently been discussed by the newspapers, and that this had induced him
to examine it more carefully, and that he had come to the conclusion
that if the Senate should refuse to concur in the suspension Mr. Stanton
would thereby be reinstated, and that he (Grant) could not continue
thereafter to act as Secretary of War _ad interim_ without subjecting
himself to fine and imprisonment, and that he came over on Saturday to
inform the President of this change in his views, and did so inform him;
that the President replied that he had not suspended Mr. Stanton under
the tenure-of-office bill, but under the Constitution, and had appointed
him (Grant) by virtue of the authority derived from the Constitution,
etc.; that they continued to discuss the matter some time, and finally
he left, without any conclusion having been reached, expecting to see
the President again on Monday.

He then proceeded to explain why he had not called on the President on
Monday, saying that he had had a long interview with General Sherman,
that various little matters had occupied his time till it was late, and
that he did not think the Senate would act so soon, and asked: "Did not
General Sherman call on you on Monday?"

I do not know what passed between the President and General Grant on
Saturday, except as I learned it from the conversation between them at
the Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, and the foregoing is substantially what
then occurred. The precise words used on the occasion are not, of
course, given exactly in the order in which they were spoken, but the
ideas expressed and the facts stated are faithfully preserved and
presented.

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

O.H. BROWNING.

DEPARTMENT OF STATE,

_Washington, February 6, 1868_.

The PRESIDENT.

SIR: The meeting to which you refer in your letter was a regular Cabinet
meeting. While the members were assembling, and before the President had
entered the council chamber, General Grant on coming in said to me that
he was in attendance there, not as a member of the Cabinet, but upon
invitation, and I replied by the inquiry whether there was a change in
the War Department. After the President had taken his seat, business
went on in the usual way of hearing matters submitted by the several
Secretaries. When the time came for the Secretary of War, General Grant
said that he was now there, not as Secretary of War, but upon the
President's invitation; that he had retired from the War Department. A
slight difference then appeared about the supposed invitation, General
Grant saying that the officer who had borne his letter to the President
that morning announcing his retirement from the War Department had told
him that the President desired to see him at the Cabinet, to which the
President answered that when General Grant's communication was delivered
to him the President simply replied that he supposed General Grant would
be very soon at the Cabinet meeting. I regarded the conversation thus
begun as an incidental one. It went on quite informally, and consisted
of a statement on your part of your views in regard to the understanding
of the tenure upon which General Grant had assented to hold the War
Department _ad interim_ and of his replies by way of answer and
explanation. It was respectful and courteous on both sides. Being in
this conversational form, its details could only have been preserved by
verbatim report. So far as I know, no such report was made at the time.
I can give only the general effect of the conversation. Certainly you
stated that, although you had reported the reasons for Mr. Stanton's
suspension to the Senate, you nevertheless held that he would not be
entitled to resume the office of Secretary of War even if the Senate
should disapprove of his suspension, and that you had proposed to have
the question tested by judicial process, to be applied to the person who
should be the incumbent of the Department under your designation of
Secretary of War _ad interim_ in the place of Mr. Stanton. You contended
that this was well understood between yourself and General Grant;
that when he entered the War Department as Secretary _ad interim_ he
expressed his concurrence in a belief that the question of Mr. Stanton's
restoration would be a question for the courts; that in a subsequent
conversation with General Grant you had adverted to the understanding
thus had, and that General Grant expressed his concurrence in it; that
at some conversation which had been previously held General Grant said
he still adhered to the same construction of the law, but said if he
should change his opinion he would give you seasonable notice of it,
so that you should in any case be placed in the same position in
regard to the War Department that you were while General Grant held
it _ad interim_. I did not understand General Grant as denying nor as
explicitly admitting these statements in the form and full extent to
which you made them. His admission of them was rather indirect and
circumstantial, though I did not understand it to be an evasive one.
He said that, reasoning from what occurred in the case of the police in
Maryland, which he regarded as a parallel one, he was of opinion, and so
assured you, that it would be his right and duty under your instructions
to hold the War Office after the Senate should disapprove of Mr.
Stanton's suspension until the question should be decided upon by the
courts; that he remained until very recently of that opinion, and that
on the Saturday before the Cabinet meeting a conversation was held
between yourself and him in which the subject was generally discussed.

General Grant's statement was that in that conversation he had stated
to you the legal difficulties which might arise, involving fine and
imprisonment, under the civil-tenure bill, and that he did not care to
subject himself to those penalties; that you replied to this remark that
you regarded the civil-tenure bill as unconstitutional and did not think
its penalties were to be feared, or that you would voluntarily assume
them; and you insisted that General Grant should either retain the
office until relieved by yourself, according to what you claimed was
the original understanding between yourself and him, or, by seasonable
notice of change of purpose on his part, put you in the same situation
which you would be if he adhered. You claimed that General Grant finally
said in that Saturday's conversation that you understood his views, and
his proceedings thereafter would be consistent with what had been so
understood. General Grant did not controvert, nor can I say that he
admitted, this last statement. Certainly General Grant did not at
any time in the Cabinet meeting insist that he had in the Saturday's
conversation, either distinctly or finally, advised you of his
determination to retire from the charge of the War Department otherwise
than under your own subsequent direction. He acquiesced in your
statement that the Saturday's conversation ended with an expectation
that there would be a subsequent conference on the subject, which he,
as well as yourself, supposed could seasonably take place on Monday.
You then alluded to the fact that General Grant did not call upon you
on Monday, as you had expected from that conversation. General Grant
admitted that it was his expectation or purpose to call upon you on
Monday. General Grant assigned reasons for the omission. He said he was
in conference with General Sherman; that there were many little matters
to be attended to; he had conversed upon the matter of the incumbency of
the War Department with General Sherman, and he expected that General
Sherman would call upon you on Monday. My own mind suggested a further
explanation, but I do not remember whether it was mentioned or not,
namely, that it was not supposed by General Grant on Monday that the
Senate would decide the question so promptly as to anticipate further
explanation between yourself and him if delayed beyond that day. General
Grant made another explanation--that he was engaged on Sunday with
General Sherman, and I think, also, on Monday, in regard to the War
Department matter, with a hope, though he did not say in an effort,
to procure an amicable settlement of the affair of Mr. Stanton, and
he still hoped that it would be brought about.

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

WILLIAM H. SEWARD.

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

_To the House of Representatives_:

The accompanying letter from General Grant, received since the
transmission to the House of Representatives of my communication of this
date, is submitted to the House as a part of the correspondence referred
to in the resolution of the 10th instant.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE UNITED STATES.

_Washington, D.C., February 11, 1868_.

His Excellency A. JOHNSON,

_President of the United States_.

SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your communication
of the 10th instant,[46] accompanied by statements of five Cabinet
ministers of their recollection of what occurred in Cabinet meeting on
the 14th of January. Without admitting anything in these statements
where they differ from anything heretofore stated by me, I propose to
notice only that portion of your communication wherein I am charged with
insubordination. I think it will be plain to the reader of my letter of
the 30th of January[47] that I did not propose to disobey any legal
order of the President distinctly given, but only gave an interpretation
of what would be regarded as satisfactory evidence of the President's
sanction to orders communicated by the Secretary of War. I will say here
that your letter of the 10th instant[48] contains the first intimation
I have had that you did not accept that interpretation.

Now for reasons for giving that interpretation. It was clear to me
before my letter of January 30[47] was written that I, the person having
more public business to transact with the Secretary of War than any
other of the President's subordinates, was the only one who had been
instructed to disregard the authority of Mr. Stanton where his authority
was derived as agent of the President.

On the 27th of January I received a letter from the Secretary of War
(copy herewith) directing me to furnish escort to public treasure from
the Rio Grande to New Orleans, etc., at the request of the Secretary
of the Treasury to him. I also send two other inclosures, showing
recognition of Mr. Stanton as Secretary of War by both the Secretary
of the Treasury and the Postmaster-General, in all of which cases the
Secretary of War had to call upon me to make the orders requested or
give the information desired, and where his authority to do so is
derived, in my view, as agent of the President.

With an order so clearly ambiguous as that of the President here
referred to, it was my duty to inform the President of my interpretation
of it and to abide by that interpretation until I received other orders.

Disclaiming any intention, now or heretofore, of disobeying any legal
order of the President distinctly communicated,

I remain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

U.S. GRANT, _General_.

[Footnote 46: See pp. 603-610.]

[Footnote 47: See p. 615.]

[Footnote 48: See pp. 603-605.]

WAR DEPARTMENT,

_Washington City, January 27, 1868_.

General U.S. GRANT,

_Commanding Army United States_.

GENERAL: The Secretary of the Treasury has requested this Department
to afford A.F. Randall, special agent of the Treasury Department, such
military aid as may be necessary to secure and forward for deposit
from Brownsville, Tex., to New Orleans public moneys in possession of
custom-house officers at Brownsville, and which are deemed insecure
at that place.

You will please give such directions as you may deem proper to the
officer commanding at Brownsville to carry into effect the request of
the Treasury Department, the instructions to be sent by telegraph to
Galveston, to the care of A.F. Randall, special agent, who is at
Galveston waiting telegraphic orders, there being no telegraphic
communication with Brownsville, and the necessity for military
protection to the public moneys represented as urgent.

Please favor me with a copy of such instructions as you may give, in
order that they may be communicated to the Secretary of the Treasury.

Yours, truly,

EDWIN M. STANTON,

_Secretary of War_.

POST-OFFICE DEPARTMENT, CONTRACT OFFICE,

_Washington, February 3, 1868_.

The Honorable the SECRETARY OF WAR.

SIR: It has been represented to this Department that in October last a
military commission was appointed to settle upon some general plan of
defense for the Texas frontiers, and that the said commission has made
a report recommending a line of posts from the Rio Grande to the Red
River.

An application is now pending in this Department for a change in the
course of the San Antonio and El Paso mail, so as to send it by way
of Forts Mason, Griffin, and Stockton instead of Camps Hudson and
Lancaster. This application requires immediate decision, but before
final action can be had thereon it is desired to have some official
information as to the report of the commission above referred to.

Accordingly, I have the honor to request that you will cause this
Department to be furnished as early as possible with the information
desired in the premises, and also with a copy of the report, if any has
been made by the commission.

Very respectfully, etc.,

GEO. W. McCLELLAN,

_Second Assistant Postmaster-General_.

FEBRUARY 3, 1868.

Referred to the General of the Army for report.

EDWIN M. STANTON,

_Secretary of War_.

TREASURY DEPARTMENT, _January 29, 1868_.

The Honorable SECRETARY OF WAR.

SIR: It is represented to this Department that a band of robbers has
obtained such a foothold in the section of country between Humboldt and
Lawrence, Kans., committing depredations upon travelers, both by public
and private conveyance, that the safety of the public money collected by
the receiver of the land office at Humboldt requires that it should be
guarded during its transit from Humboldt to Lawrence. I have therefore
the honor to request that the proper commanding officer of the district
may be instructed by the War Department, if in the opinion of the
honorable Secretary of War it can be done without prejudice to the
public interests, to furnish a sufficient military guard to protect such
moneys as may be _in transitu_ from the above office for the purpose of
being deposited to the credit of the Treasurer of the United States. As
far as we are now advised, such service will not be necessary oftener
than once a month. Will you please advise me of the action taken, that
I may instruct the receiver and the Commissioner of the General Land
Office in the matter?

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

H. McCULLOCH,

_Secretary of the Treasury_.

Respectfully referred to the General of the Army to give the necessary
orders in this case and to furnish this Department a copy for the
information of the Secretary of the Treasury.

By order of the Secretary of War:

ED. SCHRIVER,

_Inspector-General_.

[The following are inserted because they have direct bearing on the two
messages from the President of February 11, 1868, and their inclosures.]

WAR DEPARTMENT,

_Washington City, February 4, 1868_.

Hon. SCHUYLER COLFAX,

_Speaker of the House of Representatives_.

SIR: In answer to the resolution of the House of Representatives of the
3d instant, I transmit herewith copies furnished me by General Grant of
correspondence between him and the President relating to the Secretary
of War, and which he reports to be all the correspondence he has had

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