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History of the Impeachment of Andrew Johnson, President of the United States by Edumud G. Ross

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Little is now known to the general public of the history of the
attempt to remove President Andrew Johnson in 1868, on his
impeachment by the House of Representatives and trial by the
Senate for alleged high crimes and misdemeanors in office, or of
the causes that led to it. Yet it was one of the most important
and critical events, involving possibly the gravest consequences,
in the entire history of the country.

The constitutional power to impeach and remove the President had
lain dormant since the organization of the Government, and
apparently had never been thought of as a means for the
satisfaction of political enmities or for the punishment of
alleged executive misdemeanors, even in the many heated
controversies between the President and Congress that had
theretofore arisen. Nor would any attempt at impeachment have
been made at that time but for the great numerical disparity then
existing between the respective representatives in Congress of
the two political parties of the country.

One-half the members of that Congress, both House and Senate, are
now dead, and with them have also gone substantially the same
proportion of the people at large, but many of the actors therein
who have passed away, lived long enough to see, and were candid
enough to admit, that the failure of the impeachment had brought
no harm to the country, while the general judgment practically of
all has come to be that a grave and threatening danger was
thereby averted.

A new generation is now in control of public affairs and the
destinies of the Nation have fallen to new hands. New issues have
developed and will continue to develop from time to time; and new
dangers will arise, with increasing numbers and changing
conditions, demanding in their turn the same careful scrutiny,
wisdom and patriotism in adjustment. But the principles that
underlie and constitute the basis of our political organism, are
and will remain the same; and will never cease to demand constant
vigilance for their perpetuation as the rock of safety upon which
our federative system is founded.

To those who in the study of the country's past seek a broader
and higher conception of the duties of American citizenship, the
facts pertaining to the controversy between the Executive and
Congress as to the restoration and preservation of the Union, set
out in the following pages, will be interesting and instructive.
No one is better fitted than the author of this volume to discuss
the period of reconstruction in which, as a member of the Federal
senate, he played so potent and patriotic a part, and it is a
pleasure to find that he has discharged his task with so much
ability and care. But it is profoundly hoped that no coming
generation will be called upon to utilize the experiences of the
past in facing in their day, in field or forum, the dangers of
disruption and anarchy, mortal strife and desolation, between
those of one race, and blood, and nationality, that marked the
history of America thirty years ago.




The close of the War of the Rebellion, in 1865, found the country
confronted by a civil problem quite as grave as the contest of
arms that had been composed. It was that of reconstruction, or
the restoration of the States lately in revolt, to their
constitutional relations to the Union.

The country had just emerged from a gigantic struggle of physical
force of four years duration between the two great Northern and
Southern sections. That struggle had been from its inception to
its close, a continuing exhibition, on both sides, of stubborn
devotion to a cause, and its annals had been crowned with
illustrations of the grandest race and personal courage the
history of the world records. Out of a population of thirty
million people, four million men were under arms, from first to
last, and sums of money quite beyond the limit of ordinary
comprehension, were expended in its prosecution. There was
bloodshed without stint. Both sides to the conflict fought for an
idea--on the one side for so-called State Rights and local
self-government--on the other for national autonomy as the surest
guaranty of all rights--personal, local, and general.

The institution of negro slavery, the basis of the productive
industries of the States of the South, which had from the
organization of the Government been a source of friction between
the slave-holding and nonslave-holding sections, and was in fact
the underlying and potent cause of the war, went under in the
strife and was by national edict forever prohibited.

The struggle being ended by the exhaustion of the insurgents, two
conspicuous problems demanding immediate solution were developed:
The status of the now ex-slaves, or freedmen--and the methods to
be adopted for the rehabilitation of the revolted States,
including the status of the revolted States themselves. The sword
had declared that they had no constitutional power to withdraw
from the Union, and the result demonstrated that they had not the
physical power--and therefore that they were in the anomalous
condition of States of though not States technically in the
Union--and hence properly subject to the jurisdiction of the
General Government, and bound by its judgment in any measures to
be instituted by it for their future restoration to their former
condition of co-equal States.

The now ex-slaves had been liberated, not with the consent of
their former owners, but by the power of the conqueror as a war
measure, who not unnaturally insisted upon the right to declare
absolutely the future status of these persons without
consultation with or in any way by the intervention of their late
owners. The majority of the gentlemen in Congress representing
the Northern States demanded the instant and complete
enfranchisement of these persons, as the natural and logical
sequence of their enfreedment. The people of the late slave
States, as was to have been foreseen, and not without reason,
objected--especially where, as was the case in many localities,
the late slaves largely out-numbered the people of the white
race: and it is apparent from subsequent developments that they
had the sympathy of President Lincoln, at least so far as to
refuse his sanction to the earlier action of Congress relative to

To add to the gravity of the situation and of the problem of
reconstruction, the people of the States lately in rebellion were
disfranchised in a mass, regardless of the fact that many of them
refused to sanction the rebellion only so far as was necessary to
their personal safety.

It was insisted by the dominant element of the party in control
of Congress, that these States were dead as political entities,
having committed political suicide, and their people without
rights or the protection of law, as malcontents.

It is of record that Mr. Lincoln objected to this doctrine, and
to all propositions that contemplated the treatment of the late
rebellious States simply as conquered provinces and their people
as having forfeited all rights under a common government, and
under the laws of Nations entitled to no concessions, or even to
consideration, in any proposed measures of restoration. That he
had no sympathy with that theory is evidenced by the plan of
restoration he attempted to establish in Louisiana.

It was at this point that differences arose between Mr. Lincoln
and his party in Congress, which became more or less acute prior
to his death and continued between Congress and Mr. Johnson on
his attempt to carry out Mr. Lincoln's plans for restoration.

The cessation of hostilities in the field thus developed a
politico-economic problem which had never before confronted any
nation in such magnitude and gravity. The situation was at once
novel, unprecedented, and in more senses than one, alarming.
Without its due and timely solution there was danger of still
farther disturbance of a far different and more alarming
character than that of arms but lately ceased; and of a vastly
more insidious and dangerous complexion. The war had been fought
in the open. The record of the more than two thousand field and
naval engagements that had marked its progress and the march of
the Union armies to success, were heralded day by day to every
household, and all could forecast its trend and its results. But
the controversy now developed was insidious--its influences, its
weapons, its designs, and its possible end, were in a measure
hidden from the public--public opinion was divided, and its
results, for good or ill, problematical. The wisest political
sagacity and the broadest statesmanship possible were needed, and
in their application no time was to be lost.

In his annual message to Congress, December 8th, 1863, Mr.
Lincoln had to a considerable extent outlined his plan of
Reconstruction; principally by a recital of what he had already
done in that direction. That part of his message pertinent to
this connection is reproduced here to illustrate the broad,
humane, national and patriotic purpose that actuated him, quite
as well as his lack of sympathy with the extreme partisan aims
and methods that characterized the measures afterward adopted by
Congress in opposition to his well-known wishes and views, and,
also, as an important incident to the history of that controversy
and of the time, and its bearing upon the frictions that followed
between Congress and Mr. Lincoln's successor on that subject. Mr.
Lincoln said:

When Congress assembled a year ago the war had already lasted
twenty months, and there had been many conflicts on both land and
sea, with varying results. The rebellion had been pressed back
into reduced limits; yet the tone of public feeling and opinion,
at home and abroad, was not satisfactory. With other signs, the
popular elections, then just past, indicated uneasiness among
ourselves, while, amid much that was cold and menacing, the
kindest words coming from Europe were uttered in accents of pity
that we were too blind to surrender a hopeless cause. Our
commerce was suffering greatly by a few armed vessels built upon
and furnished from foreign shores; and we were threatened with
such additions from the same quarter as would sweep our trade
from the sea and raise our blockade. We had failed to elicit from
European Governments anything hopeful upon this subject. The
preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, issued in September, was
running its assigned period to the beginning of the new year. A
month later that final proclamation came, including the
announcement that colored men of suitable condition would be
received into the army service. The policy of emancipation, and
of employing black soldiers, gave to the future a new aspect,
about which hope and fear and doubt contended in uncertain
conflict. According to our political system, as a matter of civil
administration, the General Government had no lawful power to
effect emancipation in any State; and for a long time it had been
hoped that the rebellion could be suppressed without resorting to
it as a military measure. It was all the while deemed possible
that the necessity for it might come, and that, if it should, the
crisis of the contest would then be presented. It came, and, as
was anticipated, was followed by dark and doubtful days. Eleven
months have now passed, and we are permitted to take another
review. The rebel borders are pressed still further back, and by
the complete opening of the Mississippi the country dominated by
the rebellion is divided into distinct parts, with no practical
communication between them. Tennessee and Arkansas have been
substantially cleared of insurgent control, and influential
citizens in each, owners of slaves and advocates of slavery at
the beginning of the rebellion, now declare openly for
emancipation in their respective States. Of those States not
included in the Emancipation Proclamation, Maryland and Missouri,
neither of which three years ago would tolerate any restraint
upon the extension of slavery into the new Territories, only
dispute now as to the best mode of removing it within their own

Of those who were slaves at the beginning of the rebellion, full
one hundred thousand are now in the United States military
service; about one half of which number actually bear arms in the
ranks; thus giving the double advantage of taking so much labor
from the insurgent cause, and supplying the places which must
otherwise be filled with so many white men. So far as tested, it
is difficult to say they are not as good soldiers as any. No
servile insurrection, or tendency to violence or cruelty, has
marked the measure of emancipation and arming the blacks. Those
measures have been discussed in foreign countries, and
contemporary with such discussion the tone of sentiment there is
much improved. At home the same measures have been fully
discussed, and supported, criticised, and denounced, and the
annual elections following are highly encouraging to those whose
official duty it is to bear the country through this great trial.
Thus we have the new reckoning. The crisis which threatened to
divide the friends of the Union is past.

Looking now to the present, and future, and with reference to a
resumption of national authority within the States wherein that
authority has been suspended, I have thought fit to issue a
Proclamation, a copy of which is herewith transmitted. On
examination of this Proclamation it will appear, as is believed,
that nothing is attempted beyond what is amply justified by the
Constitution. True, the form of an oath is given, but no man is
coerced to take it. The man is only promised a pardon in case he
voluntarily takes the oath. The Constitution authorizes the
Executive to grant or withhold the pardon at his own absolute
discretion, and this includes the power to grant on terms, as is
fully established by judicial and other authorities.

It is also proffered that, if in any of the States named a State
Government shall be, in the mode prescribed, set up, such
Government shall be recognized and guaranteed by the United
States, and that under it the State shall, on the constitutional
conditions, be protected against invasion and domestic violence.
The constitutional obligation of the United States to guarantee
to every State in the Union a republican form of government, and
to protect the State, in the cases stated, is explicit and full.
But why tender the benefits of this provision only to a State
Government set up in this particular way? This section
contemplates a case wherein the element within a State favorable
to a republican government, in the Union, may be too feeble for
an opposite and hostile external to or even within the State; and
such are precisely the cases with which we are dealing.

Any attempt to guaranty and protect a revived State Government,
constituted in whole, or in preponderating part, from the very
element against whose hostility it is to be protected, is simply
absurd. There must be a test by which to separate the opposing
elements, so as to build only from the sound; and that test is a
sufficiently liberal one which accepts as sound whoever will make
a sworn recantation of his former unsoundness.

But if it be proper to require, as a test of admission to the
political body, an oath of allegiance to the Constitution of the
United States, and to the Union under it, why also to the laws
and Proclamation in regard to slavery? Those laws and
Proclamations were enacted and put forth for the purpose of
aiding in the suppression of the rebellion. To give them their
fullest effect, there had to be a pledge--for their maintenance.
In my judgment they have aided, and will further aid, the cause
for which they were intended. To now abandon them would be not
only to relinquish a lever of power, but would also be a cruel
and an astounding breach of faith. I may add at this point, that
while I remain in my present position, I shall not attempt to
retract or modify the Emancipation Proclamation; nor shall I
return to slavery any person who is free by the terms of the
Proclamation, or by any of the acts of Congress. For these and
other reasons it is thought best that support of these measures
shall be included in the oath; and it is believed the Executive
may lawfully claim it in return for pardon and restoration of
forfeited rights, when he has clear constitutional power to
withhold altogether or grant upon terms which he shall deem
wisest for the public interest. It should be observed, also, that
this part of the oath is subject to the modifying and abrogating
power of legislation and supreme judicial decision.

The proposed acquiescence of the National Executive in any
reasonable temporary State arrangement for the freed people is
made with the view of possibly modifying the confusion and
destitution which must, at best, attend all classes by a total
revolution of labor throughout whole States. It is hoped that the
already deeply afflicted people of those States may be somewhat
more ready to give up the cause of their affliction, if, to this
extent, this vital matter be left to themselves; while no power
of the National Executive to prevent an abuse is abridged by the

The suggestion in the Proclamation as to maintaining the
political frame-work of those States on what is called
reconstruction, is made in the hope that it may do good without
danger of harm. It will save labor and avoid great confusion.

But why any proclamation on this subject? This question is beset
with the conflicting views that the step might be delayed too
long or taken too soon. In some States the elements for
resumption seem ready for action, but remain inactive apparently
for want of a rallying point. Why shall A. adopt the plan of B.,
rather than B. that of A.? And if A. and B. should agree, how can
they know but that the General Government here will reject their
plan? By the Proclamation a plan is presented which may be
accepted by them as a rallying point, and which they may be
assured in advance will not be rejected here. This may bring them
to act sooner than they otherwise would.

The objection to a premature presentation of a plan by the
National Executive consists in the danger of committals on points
which could be more safely left to further developments. Care has
been taken to so shape the document as to avoid embarrassment
from this source. Saying that, on certain terms, certain classes
will be pardoned, with rights restored, it is not said that other
classes on other terms will never be included. Saying that
reconstruction will be accepted if presented in a specified way,
it is not saying it will not be accepted in any other way.

The movements, by State action, for emancipation in several of
the States not included in the Emancipation Proclamation, are
matters of profound gratulation, and while I do not repeat in
detail what I have heretofore so earnestly urged upon this
subject, my general views and feelings remain unchanged, and I
trust that Congress will omit no fair opportunity of aiding these
important steps to a great consummation.

In the midst of other cares, however important, we must not lose
sight of the fact that the war power is still our main reliance.
To that power alone can we look, for a time, to give confidence
to the people in the contested regions that the insurgent power
will not again over-run them. Until that confidence shall be
established, little can be done anywhere for what is called
reconstruction. Hence our chiefest care must still be directed to
the Army and Navy, who have thus far borne their hardest part
nobly and well. And it may be esteemed fortunate that in giving
the greatest efficiency to these indispensable arms, we do also
honorably recognize the gallant men, from commander to sentinel,
who compose them, to whom, more than to others, the world must
stand indebted for the home of freedom disenthralled,
regenerated, enlarged and perpetuated.

Abraham Lincoln.
December 8, 1863.

The following is the Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction
referred to in the foregoing Message, and further illustrates Mr.
Lincoln's plan for the restoration of the Union:



Whereas, in and by the Constitution of the United States, it is
provided that the President "shall have the power to grant
reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States,
except in cases of impeachment;" and

Whereas, a rebellion now exists whereby the loyal State
governments of several States have for a long time been
subverted, and many persons have committed, and are guilty of
treason against the United States; and

Whereas, with reference to said rebellion and treason, laws have
been enacted by Congress, declaring forfeitures and confiscations
of property and liberation of slaves, all upon terms and
conditions therein stated, and also declaring that the President
was thereby authorized at any time thereafter, by proclamation,
to extend to persons who may have participated in the existing
rebellion, in any State or part thereof, pardon and amnesty, with
such exceptions and at such times and on such conditions as he
may deem expedient for the public welfare; and

Whereas, the Congressional declaration for limited and
conditional pardon accords with well established judicial
exposition of the pardoning power; and

Whereas, with reference to said rebellion, the President of the
United States has issued several proclamations, with provisions
in regard to the liberation of slaves; and

Whereas, it is now desired by some persons heretofore engaged in
said rebellion to resume their allegiance to the United States,
and to reinaugurate loyal State Governments within and for their
respective States; therefore,

I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, do proclaim,
declare, and make known to all persons who have, directly or by
implication, participated in the existing rebellion, except as
hereinafter excepted, that a full pardon is hereby granted to
them and each of them, with restoration of all rights of
property, except as to slaves and in property cases where rights
of third parties shall have intervened, and upon the condition
that every such person shall take and subscribe an oath, and
thenceforward keep and maintain said oath inviolate, and which
oath shall be registered for permanent preservation, and shall be
of the tenor and effect following, to-wit:

I, ___ __ ___ , do solemnly swear, in presence of Almighty God,
that I will henceforth faithfully support, protect, and defend
the Constitution of the United States, and the Union of the
States thereunder; and that I will, in like manner, abide by and
faithfully support all acts of Congress passed during the
existing rebellion with reference to slaves, so long and so far
as not repealed, modified or held void by Congress, or by the
decision of the Supreme Court; and that I will, in like manner,
abide by and faithfully support all proclamations of the
President made during the existing rebellion having reference to
slaves, so long and so far as not modified or declared void by
decision of the Supreme Court. So help me God.

The persons exempted from the benefits of the foregoing
provisions are all who are, or shall have been, civil or
diplomatic officers or agents of the so-called Confederate
Government: all who have left judicial stations under the United
States to aid the rebellion; all who are or shall have been
military or naval officers of said so-called Confederate
Government above the rank of Colonel in the army or Lieutenant in
the Navy; all who have left seats in the United States Congress
to aid the rebellion; all who resigned commissions in the army or
navy of the United States and afterward aided the rebellion; and
all who have engaged in any way in treating colored persons, or
white persons in charge of such, otherwise than lawfully as
prisoners of war, and which persons may have been found in the
United States service as soldiers, seamen, or in any capacity.

And I do further proclaim, declare, and make known that whenever,
in any of the States of Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi,
Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina and North
Carolina, a number of persons, not less than one-tenth in number
of the votes cast in such State at the Presidential election of
the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty, each
having taken the oath aforesaid and not having since violated it,
and being a qualified voter by the election laws of the State
existing immediately before the so-called act of secession, and
excluding all others, shall reestablish a State government which
shall be republican, and in no wise contravening said oath, such
shall be recognized as the true government of the State, and the
State shall receive thereunder the benefits of the constitutional
provision which declares that "the United States shall guarantee
to every state in this Union a republican form of government, and
shall protect each of them against invasion; and, on the
application of the legislature, or the executive (when the
legislature cannot be convened) against domestic violence."

And I do further proclaim, declare, and make known, that any
provision which may be adopted by such State government in
relation to the freed people of such State, which shall recognize
and declare their permanent freedom, provide for their education,
and which may yet be consistent as a temporary arrangement with
their present condition as a laboring, landless, and homeless
class, will not be objected to by the National Executive.

And it is suggested as not improper that, in constructing a loyal
State government in any State, the name of the State, the
boundary, the subdivisions, the constitution, and the general
code of laws, as before the rebellion, be maintained, subject
only to the modifications made necessary by the conditions
hereinbefore stated, and such others, if any, not contravening
said conditions, and which may be deemed expedient by those
framing the new State government.

To avoid misunderstanding, it may be proper to say, that whether
members sent to Congress from any State shall be admitted to
seats, constitutionally rests exclusively with the respective
houses, and not to any extent with the Executive. And still
further, that this proclamation is intended to present to the
people of the States wherein the National authority has been
suspended; and loyal State governments have been subverted, a
mode in and by which the National authority and loyal State
governments, may be re-established within said States, or, in any
of them; and while the mode presented is the best the Executive
can suggest, with his present impressions, it must not be
understood that no other possible mode would be acceptable.

Given under my hand at the City of Washington, the eighth day of
December, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and
sixty-three, and of the Independence of the United States of
America, the eighty-eighth.

[L. S.]

By the President: Abraham Lincoln.
William H. Seward,
Secretary of State.

How the revolted States could be most successfully and
expeditiously restored to their constitutional relations to the
Union on the cessation of hostilities, was the momentous question
of the hour, upon which there were views and schemes as varied
and antagonistic as were the mental differences and political
disagreements of those who felt called upon to engage in the
stupendous work. As history had recorded no similar conditions,
and therefore no demand for the solution of such a problem, there
were no examples or historic lights for the guidance of those
upon whom the task had fallen.

It is apparent that Mr. Lincoln maintained the indestructibility
of the States and the indivisibility of the Union--that the
resolutions of secession were null and void, and that the States
lately in rebellion were never in fact but only in theory out of
the Union--that they retained inherently, though now dormant,
their State autonomy and constitutional rights as before their
revolutionary acts, except as to slavery, and that all their
people had to do, to re-establish their former status, as he
declared to the Emperor of the French when that potentate was
about to recognize the Confederacy, was to resume their duties as
loyal, law-abiding citizens, and reorganize their State
Governments on a basis of loyalty to the Constitution and the
Union. The terms he proposed to formally offer them were first
illustrated in the case of Louisiana, early in 1863, and later in
the foregoing Message and Proclamation; and clearly indicated
what was to be his policy and process of reconstruction.

Messrs. Flanders and Hahn were admitted to the House of
Representatives as members from Louisiana agreeably to the
President's views thus outlined. They had been chosen at an
election ordered by the Governor of the State (Gov. Shepley), who
had undoubtedly been permitted, if not specially authorized by
the President, to take this step, but they were the last to be
received from Louisiana under Mr. Lincoln's plan, as the next
Congress resolved to receive no more members from the seceded
States till joint action by the two Houses therefor should be

Prior to the election at which these gentlemen were chosen, Mr.
Lincoln addressed a characteristic note to Gov. Shepley, which
was in effect a warning that Federal officials not citizens of
Louisiana must not be chosen to represent the State in Congress,
"We do not," said he, referring to the South, "particularly need
members of Congress from those States to get along with
legislation here. What we do want is the conclusive evidence that
respectable citizens of Louisiana are willing to be members of
Congress and to swear support to the Constitution, and that other
respectable citizens are willing to vote for them and send them.
To send a parcel of Northern men as Representatives, elected, as
would be understood, (and perhaps really so) at the point of the
bayonet, would be disgraceful and outrageous."

Mr. Lincoln would tolerate none of the "carpet-bagging" that
afterwards became so conspicuous and offensive under the
Congressional plan of Reconstruction.

These steps for reconstruction in Louisiana were followed by the
assembling of a convention to frame a new constitution for that
State. The convention was organized early in 1864, and its most
important act was the prompt incorporation of an antislavery
clause in its organic law. By a vote of 70 to 16 the convention
declared slavery to be forever abolished in the State. The new
Constitution was adopted by the people of the State on the 5th
day of the ensuing September by a vote of 6,836 in its favor, to
1,566 against it. As the total vote of Louisiana in 1860 was
50,510, the new government had fulfilled the requirement of the
President's Proclamation. It was sustained by more than the
required one-tenth vote.

In a personal note of congratulation to Gov. Hahn, of Louisiana,
the President, speaking of the coming convention, suggested that
"some of the colored people be let in, as for instance, the very
intelligent, and especially those who have fought gallantly in
our ranks." "They would," said he, "probably help in some trying

This action in regard to Louisiana was accompanied, indeed in
some particulars preceded, by similar action in Arkansas. A
Governor was elected, an anti-slavery Constitution adopted, a
State Government duly installed, and Senators and Representatives
in Congress elected, but were refused admission by Congress. Mr.
Sumner, when the credentials of the Senators-elect were
presented, foreshadowing the position to be taken by the
Republican leaders, offered a resolution declaring that "a State
pretending to secede from the Union, and battling against the
General Government to maintain that position, must be regarded as
a rebel State subject to military occupation and without
representation on this floor until it has been readmitted by a
vote of both Houses of Congress; and the Senate will decline to
receive any such application from any such rebel State until
after such a vote by both Houses."

A few weeks later, on the 27th of June, 1864, this resolution was
in effect reported back to the Senate by the Judiciary Committee,
to which it had been referred, and adopted by a vote of 27 to 6.
The same action was had in the House of Representatives on the
application of the Representatives-elect from Arkansas for
admission to that body.

This was practically the declaration of a rupture between the
President and Congress on the question of Reconstruction. It was
a rebuke to Mr. Lincoln for having presumed to treat the seceded
States as still in any sense States of the Union. It was in
effect a declaration that those States had successfully
seceded--that their elimination from the Union was an
accomplished fact--that the Union of the States had been
broken--and that the only method left for their return that would
be considered by Congress was as conquered and outlying
provinces, not even as Territories with the right of such to
membership in the Union; and should be governed accordingly until
such time as Congress should see fit (IF EVER, to use the
language of Mr. Stevens in the House) to devise and establish
some form whereby they could be annexed to or re-incorporated
into the Union.

It was at this point--on the great question of Reconstruction, or
more properly of Restoration--that the disagreements originated
between the Executive and Congress which finally culminated in
the impeachment of Mr. Lincoln's successor; and that condition of
strained relations was measurably intensified when, on the
following July 4th, a bill was passed by Congress making
provision for the reorganization and admission of the revolted
States on the extreme lines indicated by the above action of
Congress and containing the very extraordinary provision that the
recognize the State Government so established. That measure was
still another and more marked rebuke by Congress to the President
for having presumed to initiate a system of restoration without
its consultation and advice. Naturally Mr. Lincoln was not in a
mood to meekly accept the rebuke so marked and manifestly
intended; and so the bill not having passed Congress till within
the ten days preceding its adjournment allowed by the
Constitution for its consideration by the President, and as it
proposed to undo the work he had done, he failed to return it to
Congress--"pocketed" it--and it therefore fell. He was not in a
mood to accept a Congressional rebuke. He had given careful study
to the duties, the responsibilities, and the limitations of the
respective Departments of, the Government, and was not willing
that his judgment should be revised, or his course censured,
however indirectly, by any of its co-ordinate branches.

Four days after the session had closed, he issued a Proclamation
in which he treated the bill merely as the expression of an
opinion by Congress as to the best plan of Reconstruction--"which
plan," he remarked, "it is now thought fit to lay before the
people for their consideration."

He further stated in this Proclamation that he had already
presented one plan of restoration, and that he was "unprepared by
a formal approval of this bill to be inflexibly committed to any
single plan of restoration, and was unprepared to declare that
the free State Constitutions and Governments already adopted and
installed in Louisiana and Arkansas, shall be set aside and held
for naught, thereby repelling and discouraging the loyal citizens
who have set up the same as to further effort, and unprepared to
declare a constitutional competency in Congress to abolish
slavery in the States, though sincerely hoping that a
constitutional amendment abolishing slavery in all the States
might be adopted."

While, with these objections, Mr. Lincoln could not approve the
bill, he concluded his Proclamation with these words:

"Nevertheless, I am fully satisfied with the plan of restoration
contained in the bill as one very proper for the loyal people of
any State choosing to adopt it, and I am and at all times shall
be prepared to give Executive aid and assistance to any such
people as soon as military resistance to the United States shall
have been suppressed in any such State and the people thereof
shall have sufficiently returned to their obedience to the
Constitution and laws of the United States--in which Military
Governors will be appointed with directions to proceed according
to the bill."

"It must be frankly admitted," says Mr. Blaine in reciting this
record in his 'Thirty Years of Congress,' that Mr. Lincoln's
course was in some of its respects extraordinary. It met with
almost unanimous dissent on the part of the Republican members,
and violent criticism from the more radical members of both
Houses. * * * Fortunately, the Senators and Representatives had
returned to their States and Districts before the Reconstruction
Proclamation was issued, and found the people united and
enthusiastic in Mr. Lincoln's support."

In the last speech Mr. Lincoln ever made, (April 11th, 1865)
referring to the twelve thousand men who had organized the
Louisiana Government, (on the one-tenth basis) he said:

"If we now reject and spurn them, we do our utmost to disorganize
and disperse them. We say to the white man, you are worthless, or
worse. We will neither help you or be helped by you. To the black
man we say, 'this cup of liberty which these, your old masters
hold to your lips, we will dash from you, and leave you to the
chances of gathering the spilled and scattered contents IN SOME
discouraging and paralyzing to both white and black, has any
tendency to bring Louisiana into proper practical relations with
the Union, I have so far been unable to perceive it. If, on the
contrary, they reorganize and sustain the new Government of
Louisiana, the converse of all this is made true. We encourage
the hearts and nerve the arms of twelve thousand men to adhere to
their work and argue for it, and proselyte for it, and fight for
it, and grow it, and ripen it to a complete success. The colored
man, too, in seeing all united for him, is inspired with
vigilance and with energy and daring to the same end. Grant that
he desires the elective franchise. HE WILL YET ATTAIN IT SOONER
BACK OVER THEM. Concede that the new Government of Louisiana is
only to what it should be as the egg to the fowl; we shall sooner
have the fowl by hatching the egg than by smashing it."

It is manifest that Mr. Lincoln intuitively foresaw the danger of
a great body of the people becoming accustomed to government by
military power, and sought to end it by the speediest practicable
means. As he expressed it, "We must begin and mould from
disorganized and discordant elements: nor is it a small
additional embarrassment that we, the loyal people, differ among
ourselves as to the mode, manner, and measure of reconstruction."

Louisiana was wholly in possession of the Union forces and under
loyal influence in 1863, and in his judgment the time had come
for reconstructive action in that state--not merely for the
purpose of strengthening and crystallizing the Union sentiment
there, at a great gate-way of commerce, that would become a
conspicuous object-lesson to foreign governments in behalf of
more favorable influences abroad, but also to the encouragement
of Union men and the discouragement of the rebellion in all the
other revolted States. He had fortified his own judgment, as he
frankly declared, "by submitting the Louisiana plan in advance to
every member of the Cabinet, and every member approved it."

The steps taken in Louisiana were to be but a beginning. The
nature of subsequent proceedings on his part must be governed by
the success of this--that under then existing conditions it was
inexpedient, in view of further possible complications, to
forecast further proceedings, and especially to attempt to
establish, at the outset, and under the chaotic conditions of the
time, a general system of reconstruction applicable to all the
States and to varying conditions. So the beginning was made in
Louisiana. It is manifest that the purpose of this immediate
action was two-fold--not only to restore Louisiana to the Union
at the earliest practicable day--but also to so far establish a
process of general restoration before Congress should reconvene
at the coming December session, that there would be no sufficient
occasion or excuse for interfering with his work by the
application of the exasperating conditions that had been
foreshadowed by that body.

On this point Mr. Welles, his Secretary of the Navy, testifies
that at the close of a Cabinet meeting held immediately preceding
Mr. Lincoln's death, "Mr. Stanton made some remarks on the
general condition of affairs and the new phase and duties upon
which we were about to enter. He alluded to the great solicitude
which the President felt on this subject, his frequent recurrence
to the necessity of establishing civil governments and preserving
order in the rebel States. Like the rest of the Cabinet,
doubtless, he had given this subject much consideration, and with
a view of having something practical on which to base action, he
had drawn up a rough plan or ordinance which he had handed to the

"The President said he proposed to bring forward that subject,
although he had not had time as yet to give much attention to the
details of the paper which the Secretary of War had given him
only the day before; but that it was substantially, in its
general scope, the plan which we had sometimes talked over in
Cabinet meetings. We should probably make some modifications,
prescribe further details; there were some suggestions which he
should wish to make, and he desired all to bring their minds to
the question, for no greater or more important one could come
before us, or any future Cabinet. He thought it providential
that, this great rebellion was crushed just as Congress had
BODY TO HINDER AND EMBARRASS US. If we were wise and discreet, we
should reanimate, the States and get their governments in
successful operation, with order prevailing and the Union
thought important. We could do better, accomplish more without
than with them. There were men in Congress who, if their motives
were good, were nevertheless impracticable, and who possessed
feelings of hate and vindictiveness in which he did not
sympathize and could not participate. Each House of Congress, he
said, had the undoubted right to receive or reject members, the
Executive had no control in this matter. But Congress had NOTHING
TO DO WITH THE STATE GOVERNMENTS, which the President could
recognize, and under existing laws treat as other States, give
the same mail facilities, collect taxes, appoint judges,
marshals, collectors, etc., subject, of course, to confirmation.
There were men who objected to these views, BUT THEY WERE NOT

The subjugated States were in a condition that could not be
safely permitted to continue for any indefinite period. It would
be inconsistent with the purpose of the war, incongruous to the
American system and idea of government, and antagonistic to
American political, or even commercial or social autonomy.
Naturally upon Mr. Lincoln would fall largely the duty and
responsibility of formulating and inaugurating some method of
restoration. With the abolition of slavery, the most difficult of
settlement of all the obstacles in the way of reconstruction had
been removed. Naturally, too, during the later months of the war,
when it became manifest that the end of the struggle was near,
the question of reconstruction and the methods whereby it could
be most naturally, speedily, and effectively accomplished, came
uppermost in his mind. A humane, just man, and a sincere,
broad-brained, patriot and far-seeing statesman, he instinctively
rejected the many drastic schemes which filled a large portion of
the public press of the North and afterwards characterized many
of the suggestions of Congressional action. With him the prime
purpose of the war was the preservation of the political,
territorial and economic integrity of the Republic--in a word, to
restore the Union, without needless humiliation to the defeated
party, or the imposition of unnecessarily rigorous terms which
could but result in future frictions--without slavery--and yet
with sufficient safeguards against future disloyal association of
the sections; and that purpose had been approved by an
overwhelming majority of the people in his re-election in 1864.

In these purposes and methods Mr. Lincoln appears to have had the
active sympathy and co-operation of his entire Cabinet, more
especially of Mr. Stanton, his Secretary of War. Indeed, Mr.
Stanton is understood, from the record, to have been the joint
author, with Mr. Lincoln, of the plan of reconstruction agreed
upon at the later meetings of the Cabinet immediately prior to
Mr. Lincoln's death. Mr. Stanton proposed to put it in the form
of a military order--Mr. Lincoln made an Executive order. The
plan was embodied in what afterwards became known as the "North
Carolina Proclamation," determined upon by Mr. Lincoln at his
last Cabinet meeting and promulgated by Mr. Johnson shortly after
his accession to the Presidency as Mr. Lincoln's successor, and
is inserted in a subsequent chapter.

Mr. Lincoln unquestionably comprehended the peculiar conditions
under which the Republican party had come to the control of the
legislative branch of the Government, and fully realized the
incapacity of the dominant element in that control for the
delicate work of restoration and reconstruction--leading a
conquered and embittered people back peacefully and successfully,
without unnecessary friction, into harmonious relations to the

No such responsibility, no such herculean task, had ever before,
in the history of civilization, devolved upon any ruler or
political party.

Mr. Lincoln seems to have realized the incapacity of party
leaders brought to the surface by the tumult and demoralization
of the time, whose only exploits and experiences were in the line
of destruction and who must approach the task with divided
counsel, to cope successfully with the delicate and responsible
work of restoration the close of the war had made imperative. He
comprehended the incongruities which characterized that great
party better than its professed leaders, and foresaw the futility
of any effort on its part, at that time and in its then temper,
to the early establishment of any coherent or successful method
of restoration. Hence, unquestionably, his prompt action in that
behalf, and his failure to call the Congress into special
session, to the end that there should be no time unnecessarily
consumed and lost in the institution of some efficient form of
civil government in the returning States--some form that would
have the sanction of intelligent authority competent to restore
and enforce public order, without the dangers of delay and
consequent disorder that must result, and did afterwards result,
from the protracted debates sure to follow and did follow the
sudden precipitation of the questions of reconstruction and
reconciliation upon a mass of Congressmen totally inexperienced
in the anomalous conditions of that time, or in the methods most
needed for their correction.

That Mr. Lincoln contemplated the ultimate and not remote
enfranchisement of the late slaves, is manifest from his
suggestion to Gov. Hahn, of Louisiana, hereinbefore quoted in
connection with the then approaching Convention for the
re-establishment of State Government there, and again still more
manifest from his last public utterance on April 11, 1865,
deprecating the rejection by Congress of his plan for the
restoration of Louisiana, in which, he said, speaking of that
action by Congress rejecting the Louisiana bill: "Grant that the
colored male desires the elective franchise. He will attain it
sooner by saving the already advanced steps towards it than by
running back over them."

It is also apparent in the light of the succeeding history of
that time and of that question, that if Mr. Lincoln's views had
been seconded by Congress, the enfranchisement of the negro would
have been, though delayed, as certain of accomplishment, and of a
vastly higher and more satisfactory plane--and the country saved
the years of friction and disgraceful public disorder that
characterized the enforcement of the Congressional plan
afterwards adopted.

As to the success of Mr. Lincoln's plans, had they been
sanctioned, or even had they not been repudiated by Congress, Mr.
Blaine, in his book, asserts that Mr. Lincoln, "By his four years
of considerate and successful administration, by his patient and
positive trust in the ultimate triumph of the Union, realized at
last as he stood upon the edge of the grave--he had acquired so
complete an ascendancy over the public, control in the loyal

It was indicative of the sagacious foresight of Mr. Lincoln that
he did not call the Congress into special session at the close of
the war, as would have been natural and usual, before attempting
the establishment of any method for the restoration of the
revolted States. The fact that he did not do so, but was making
preparations to proceed immediately in that work on his own lines
and in accordance with his own ideas, and with the hearty accord
of his entire Cabinet, of itself affords proof that he was
apprehensive of obstruction from the same element of his party
that subsequently arose in opposition to Mr. Johnson on that
question, and that he preferred to put his plans into operation
before the assembling of Congress in the next regular winter
session, in order that he might be able then to show palpable
results, and induce Congress to accept and follow up a humane,
peaceful and satisfactory system of reconstruction. Mr. Lincoln
undoubtedly hoped thus to avoid unnecessary friction. Having the
quite unlimited confidence of the great mass of the people of the
country, of both parties and on both sides of the line of
hostilities, there seem to be excellent reasons for believing
that he would have succeeded, and that the extraordinary and
exasperating differences and local turmoils that followed the
drastic measures which were afterward adopted by Congress over
the President's vetoes, would have been in a very large degree
avoided, and THERE WOULD HAVE BEEN NO IMPEACHMENT--either of Mr.
Lincoln had he lived, or of Mr. Johnson after him.

It was the misfortune of the time, and of the occasion, which
determined Mr. Lincoln to institute a plan of restoration during
the interim of Congress, that the Republican party, then in
absolute control of Congress, was in no sense equipped for such a
work. Its first and great mission had been the destruction of
slavery. Though not phrased in formal fashion, that was the logic
of its creation and existence. It was brought into being purely
as an anti-slavery party, illustrated in the fact that its
membership included every pronounced anti-slavery man, known as
abolitionists, in the United States. All its energies, during all
its life up to the close of the war had been bent to that end. It
had been born and bred to the work of destruction. It came to
destroy slavery, and its forces had been nurtured, to the last
day of the war, in pulling down--in fact, did not then wholly

The work of restoration--the rebuilding of fallen States--had now
come. The Republican party approached that work in the hot blood
of war and the elation of victory--a condition illy fitting the
demands of exalted statesmanship so essential to perfect
political effort.

Never had nation or party thrust upon it a more delicate duty or
graver responsibility. It was that of leading a conquered people
to build a new civilization wholly different from the one in
ruins. It was first to reconcile two races totally different from
each other, so far as possible to move in harmony in supplanting
servile by free labor, and the slave by a free American citizen.
The transition was sudden, and the elements antagonistic in race,
culture, self-governing power--indeed, in all the qualities which
characterize a free people.

There was a wide margin for honest differences between statesmen
of experience. A universal sentiment could not obtain. The
accepted political leaders of the time were illy equipped to meet
the issue--much less those who had been brought to prominence,
and too often to control, in the hot blood of war and the
frictions of the time, when intemperate denunciation and a free
use of the epithets of "rebel," and "traitor," had become a ready
passport to public honors. It was a time when the admonition to
make haste slowly was of profound significance. A peril greater
than any other the civil war had developed, overhung the nation.
Greater than ever the demand for courage in conciliation--for
divesting the issues of all mere partyism, and the yielding of
something by the extremes, both of conservatism and radicalism.



Mr. Lincoln had been elected President in 1860, distinctively as
a Republican. In 1864, however, the conditions had changed. The
war had been in progress some three years, during which the
insurgents had illustrated a measure of courage, endurance, and a
command of the engineries of successful warfare that had not been
anticipated by the people of the North. It was seen that to
insure the success of the Union cause it was imperative that
there should be thorough unity and cooperation of the loyal
people of all parties--that it was no time for partisan division
among those who hoped ever to see a restored Republic--that it
was necessary to lay aside, as far as possible, mere partisan
issues, and to unite, in the then approaching campaign, upon a
non-partisan, distinctively Union ticket and platform.

Mr. Lincoln had given so satisfactory an administration so
wisely, efficiently, and patriotically had he conducted his great
office, that he was on all sides conceded to be the proper person
for nomination and election. The Convention of 1861 was not
called as a Republican Convention, but distinctively as a Union

"The undersigned," so ran the call, "who by original appointment,
or subsequent delegation to fill vacancies, constitute the
Executive Committee created by the National Convention held at
Chicago on the 10th day of May, 1860, do hereby call upon all
vigorous war, and all apt and effective means; to send delegates
to a convention to assemble at Baltimore, on Tuesday, the 7th day
of June, 1864, at 12 o'clock noon, for the purpose of presenting
candidates for the offices of President and Vice President of the
United States."

The delegates met pursuant to this call. Hon. Edwin D. Morgan, of
New York, Chairman of the Union National Committee, called the
Convention to order, and Robert J. Breckinridge, of Kentucky, was
chosen temporary Chairman. In the course of his introductory
address, Mr. Breckinridge said:

Passing over many things which it would be right for me to say,
did the time serve, and were this the occasion--let me add,--you
are a Union party. Your origin has been referred to as having
occurred eight years ago. In one sense it is true. But you are
far older than that. I see before me not only primitive
Republicans and primitive Abolitionists, but I see also primitive
Democrats and primitive Whigs. * * * As a Union party I will
follow you to the ends of the earth, and to the gates of death.
But as an Abolition party--as a Republican party--as a Whig
party--as a Democratic party--as an American party, I will not
follow you one foot.

Mr. William Dennison, of Ohio, was chosen President of the
Convention. On taking the chair he said:

'In no sense do we meet as members or representatives of either
of the old political parties which bound the people, or as the
champions of any principle or doctrine peculiar to either. The
extraordinary condition of the country since the outbreak of the
rebellion has, from necessity, taken from the issues of these
parties their practical significance, and compelled the formation
of substantially new political organizations; hence the
organization of the Union Party--if party it can be called--of
which this Convention is for the purpose of its assembling, the
accredited representative, and the only test of membership in
which is an unreserved, unconditional loyalty to the Government
and the Union.'

After perfecting its organization the Convention proceeded to
ballot for a nominee for the Presidency, and Mr. Lincoln was
unanimously nominated--the Missouri delegation at first casting
its 22 votes for Gen. Grant, but afterwards changing them to Mr.
Lincoln, giving him the total vote of the Convention--506--on the
first and only ballot.

Nominations for the Vice Presidency being next in order, Mr.
Lyman Tremaine, of New York, an old time Democrat, nominated
Daniel S. Dickinson, another old time Democrat and a very
distinguished citizen of that State. In his nominating speech Mr.
Tremaine again emphasized that this Convention was a Union, and
not a partisan body, in these words:

'It was well said by the temporary and by the permanent Chairman,
that we meet not here as Republicans. If we do, I have no place
in this Convention; but, like Daniel S. Dickinson, when the first
gun was fired on Sumter, I felt that I should prove false to my
revolutionary ancestry if I could have hesitated to cast partisan
ties to the breeze, and rally around the flag of the Union for
the preservation of the Government.'

The Indiana delegation nominated Andrew Johnson, also a Democrat,
and the nomination was seconded by Mr. Stone, speaking for the
Iowa delegation.

In the earlier proceedings of the Convention there had seemed a
disposition to exclude the Tennessee delegation, and Parson
Brownlow, an old line Whig, being called on for a speech,
evidenced in the course of his remarks the small part which
partisan considerations were permitted to play in the purposes
and proceedings of the Convention. He said:

'There need be no detaining this Convention for two days in
discussions of various kinds, and the idea I suggest to you as an
inducement not to exclude our delegation is, that we may take it
into our heads, before the thing is over, to present a candidate
from that State in rebellion, for the second office in the gift
of the people. We have a man down there whom it has been my good
luck and bad fortune to fight untiringly and perseveringly for
the past twenty-five years--Andrew Johnson. For the first time,
in the Providence of God, three years ago we got together on the
same platform, and we are fighting the devil, Tom Walker, and
Jeff. Davis, side by side.'

Mr. Horace Maynard, a conspicuous Republican of Tennessee, said:

'Mr. President, we but represent the sentiment of those who sent
here the delegation from Tennessee, when we announce that if no
one else had made the nomination of Andrew Johnson, which is now
before the Convention, it would have been our duty to make it by
one of our own delegation. That citizen, known, honored,
distinguished, has been presented to this Convention for the
second place in the gift of the American people. It needs not
that I should add words of commendation of him here. From the
time he rose in the Senate of the United States, where he then
was, on the 17th day of December, 1860, and met the leaders of
treason face to face, and denounced them there, and declared that
the laws of the country must and should be enforced, for which he
was hanged in a effigy in the City of Memphis, in his own State,
by the hands of a negro slave, and burned in effigy, I know not
in how many places throughout that portion of the country--from
that time, on during the residue of that session of the Senate
until he returned to Tennessee after the firing upon Fort Sumter,
when he was mobbed in the City of Lynchburg, Virginia--on through
the memorable canvass that followed in Tennessee, till he passed
through Cumberland Gap on his way North to invoke the aid of the
Government for his people--his position of determined and undying
hostility to this rebellion that now ravages the land, has been
so well known that it is a part of the household knowledge of
many loyal families in the country. * * * When he sees your
resolutions that you have adopted here by acclamation, he will
respond to them as his sentiments, and I pledge myself by all
that I have to pledge before such an assemblage as this, that
whether he be elected to this high place, or whether he retire to
private life, he will adhere to those sentiments, and to the
doctrine of those resolutions, as long as his reason remains
unimpaired, and as long as breath is given him by his God.

Two ballots were taken on the nomination for Vice President. Mr.
Johnson, whose nomination was known to be desired by Mr. Lincoln
and his friends because of his prominence as a Southern Democrat
and an influential supporter of the Union cause in his State,
received 200 votes on the first ballot, and 404 on the
second--the delegations of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont,
Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware,
Maryland, Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee, Ohio,
Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Iowa, Minnesota, Oregon, West
Virginia, Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, and Nevada, voting solidly
for him--Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Kentucky, Wisconsin and
Minnesota, only, being divided.

Thus a Republican and a Democrat were made the nominees of the
Convention, and its non-partisan character found further
expression in the first three Resolutions of the Platform
adopted, which were as follows:

Resolved, 1st. That it is the highest duty of every American
citizen to maintain against all their enemies the integrity of
the Union and the paramount authority of the Constitution and
laws of the United States; and that laying aside ALL DIFFERENCES
OF POLITICAL OPINION, we pledge ourselves as Union men, animated
by a common sentiment and aiming at a common object, to do
everything in our power to aid the Government in quelling by
force of arms the rebellion now raging against its authority, and
in bringing to the punishment due to their crimes the rebels and
traitors arrayed against it.

2nd. That we approve the determination of the Government of the
United States not to compromise with Rebels, or to offer them any
terms of peace, except such as may be based upon an unconditional
surrender of their hostility and a return to their just
allegiance to the Constitution and laws of the United States, and
that we call upon the Government to maintain their position, and
to prosecute the war with the utmost possible vigor to the
complete suppression of the Rebellion, in full reliance upon the
self-sacrificing patriotism, the heroic valor and the undying
devotion of the American people to their country and its free

3rd. That as slavery was the cause, and now constitutes the
strength, of this Rebellion, and as it must be, always and
everywhere, hostile to the principles of Republican Government,
justice and the National safety demand its utter and complete
extirpation from the soil of the Republic; and that, while we
uphold and maintain the acts and proclamation by which the
Government in its own defense, has aimed a death blow at this
gigantic evil, we are in favor, furthermore, of such an amendment
to the Constitution, to be made by the people in conformity with
its provisions, as shall terminate and forever prohibit the
existence of slavery within the limits or jurisdiction of the
United States.

So there seems to be good ground for saying that this was in no
sense a partisan Convention, but, on the contrary, that it was a
Convention of the loyal people of the Northern and Border States,
of all parties, who were ready to lay aside party creeds and
partisan considerations, the better to make common cause for the
preservation of the Union.

Before the war, Mr. Johnson had been a Democratic Senator from
Tennessee, and during the war, a gentleman of great influence in
support of the Union cause. So pronounced and effective had been
his loyalty that Mr. Lincoln appointed him a Brigadier General
and Military Governor of Tennessee, to accept which he resigned
his seat in the Senate, and so judicious and successful had been
his administration of that office in behalf of the Union cause
and of Union men, that Tennessee was the first of the revolted
States to be readmitted to representation in Congress after the
close of the war.

So it may be said of Mr. Johnson that he was a persistent and
consistent Union Democrat of the old school--for war so long as
war might be necessary to the preservation of the Union--for
peace when the war was ended by the abandonment of the struggle
by the insurgents--and for the restoration of the Union on terms
consistent with then existing conditions--without slavery, which
was dead--and the return of the people of the South to their
loyalty to and support of the Government without debasing
exactions--after they had laid down their arms. Aggressively
radical so long as the people of the South continued in
rebellion, he was considerate and merciful so soon as they
yielded themselves to the authority of law and of the Union.

Like Mr. Lincoln, he opposed the idea strenuously advanced by
Sumner, and Stevens, and that wing of the Republican party which
they led, that the States in rebellion had committed suicide and
were therefore dead and without rights, or entitled to
consideration, even, in any proposition that might be adopted for
their rehabilitation.

This record very effectually disposes of the criticisms of Mr.
Johnson's course, so common after he came to the Presidency and
growing out of his disagreements with the extremists of Congress,
that he had deserted and betrayed the Republican party after it
had elected him to the Vice Presidency and thus made him Mr.
Lincoln's immediate successor--the facts of history showing that
neither Mr. Lincoln nor Mr. Johnson were elected by the
Republican party as Republicans, nor by the Democratic party as
Democrats, but by a union of all parties of the North
distinctively as a Union party and on a Union ticket and platform
for the preservation of the Union and the destruction of
slavery--and when those purposes were accomplished, the war ended
and the Union party disbanded and was never heard of again. Mr.
Lincoln, had he lived, would doubtless have still been a
Republican, as Mr. Johnson was still a Democrat, as before the
war--the purpose of that war and of the Convention that nominated
him having been accomplished--and under no obligations,
especially of a partisan character, to adopt or promote the
partisan purposes relative to reconstruction or otherwise, that
came to actuate the Republican party.

As stated. Mr. .Johnson had, during the later years of the war,
been acting as Military Governor of Tennessee, of which State he
had been a citizen nearly all his life. His administration had
been so efficient that Tennessee was practically restored to the
Union at the close of the War, and so satisfactory to the loyal
people of the country, that though an old line Democrat and a
Southern man, Mr. Johnson's nomination by the National Convention
for Vice President on the ticket with Mr. Lincoln for President,
was, as has been shown, logical and consistent. Though a
pronounced State Rights Democrat and a citizen of a Southern
State in rebellion, he regarded himself as a citizen of the
United States, to which he owed his first allegiance. State
Rights meant to him, the rights of the States IN the Union, and
not OUT of the Union.

In evidence of the confidence and esteem in which Mr. Johnson was
generally held by those who knew him and knew of the valuable
services he had rendered the cause of the Union, the following
letter from Mr. Stanton, then secretary of War under Mr. Lincoln,
is here reproduced. It was written to Mr. Johnson on his tender
to the War Office of his resignation of the Military Governorship
of Tennessee to accept the office of Vice President of the United

War Department, Washington, March 3, 1865.

Sir:--This Department has accepted your resignation as Brigadier
General and Military Governor of Tennessee. Permit me on this
occasion to tender to you the sincere thanks of this Department
for your patriotic and able services during the eventful period
through which you have exercised the highest trust committed to
your charge. In one of the darkest hours of the great struggle
for National existence, against rebellious foes, the Government
called you from the comparatively safe and easy duties of civil
life to place you in front of the enemy and in a position of
personal toil and danger, perhaps more hazardous than was
encountered by any citizen or military officer of the United
States. With patriotic promptness you assumed the post, and
maintained it under circumstances of unparalleled trial, until
recent events have brought safety and deliverance to your State
and to the integrity of the Constitutional Union, for which you
so long and so gallantly periled all that is dear to man on
earth. That you may be spared to enjoy the new honors and perform
the high duties to which you have been called by the people of
the United States, is the sincere wish of one who in every
official and personal relation has found you worthy of the
confidence of the Government and the honor and esteem of your
fellow citizens.

Your obedient servant,

Edwin M. Stanton.

His Excellency, Andrew Johnson, Vice-President elect.



Mr. Johnson succeeded to the Presidential office on the death of
Mr. Lincoln, April 15th, 1865. The conditions of the time were
extraordinary. The war, so far as operations in the field were
concerned, was at an end. The armies of the rebellion had been
vanquished and practically disbanded. The States lately in revolt
were prostrate at the feet of the conqueror, powerless for
further resistance. But the general rejoicing over the happy
termination of the strife had been inexpressibly saddened by the
brutal assassination of the President who had so wisely and
successfully conducted his great office and administered all its
powers to the attainment of that happy result, and it was not
unnatural or strange that the shocking event should greatly
re-inflame the passions of the strife that the joys of peace had
at last well nigh laid.

It was an especial misfortune that he who had so wisely and
safely conducted the Nation through the conflict of arms and had
foreshadowed his beneficent measures of peace and the restoration
of the shattered Republic, was taken away as he and the Nation
stood at last at the open door of successful rehabilitation on a
broader and grander basis than had ever been reached in all
previous efforts of man at Nation building. From day to day he
had watched, with his hand on the key-board, the development and
trend of events. They had resulted as he had planned, and he had
become the most conspicuous, the best loved, and the most
masterful of living man in the control of the future. In his
death the Union lost its most sagacious and best trusted leader,
and, the South its ablest, truest, and wisest friend.

It was under these circumstances that Mr. Johnson came to the
Presidency as Mr. Lincoln's successor--without a moment of
warning or an hour of preparation for the discharge of the
crushing responsibilities that had so suddenly fallen to his

Actuated, doubtless, and not unnaturally, by feelings of
resentment over the manner and circumstances of Mr. Lincoln's
death, Mr. Johnson at first gave expression to a spirit of
hostility toward the leaders of the rebellion, and foreshadowed a
somewhat rigorous policy in his methods of Reconstruction in
accordance with the views of the leaders of the Republican party
in Congress who had differed with Mr. Lincoln on that subject;
but later on, under the advice of his Cabinet--notably, it is
understood, of Mr. Seward--and under the responsibility of
action--his views became modified, till in time, it is not
impossible, but by no means certain, that he went even beyond the
humane, natural and logical views and purposes of Mr. Lincoln in
that regard.

This did not comport with the purposes of the Congressional
faction that had opposed Mr. Lincoln's plans, which faction,
under the pressure of the general indignation over his murder,
quickly rose to the absolute control of Congress. Mr. Lincoln no
longer stood in their way, and Mr. Johnson was then comparatively
unknown to the great mass of the dominant party, and therefore at
a corresponding disadvantage in the controversy. He had risen
step by step to his new position from the humblest walks of
Southern life, and each succeeding step to advancement had been
made through personal conflicts such as few men in public life in
this or any other country had ever borne. It was not unnatural,
therefore, that he should have faith in himself, and in the
superiority of his judgment, or little in that of others--and
more especially when he was approached by those who had opposed
Mr. Lincoln's plans in an attitude of dictation, and with
suggestions and unsought advice as to the course he should pursue
in the then absorbing question of the restoration of the States
lately in rebellion--himself a citizen of one of those States,
and for the preservation of which, as a State in the Union, he
had staked his life.

As with Mr. Lincoln, so with Mr. Johnson--the first thing to be
done, or sought, was the restoration of the Union by the return
of the States in rebellion to their allegiance to the
Constitution and laws of the country. Mr. Lincoln, to use one of
his characteristic Western phrases, had "blazed the way," and Mr.
Johnson took up that trail. A few weeks after his inauguration he
issued a Proclamation outlining a plan for the reorganization of
the State of North Carolina. That paper was confessedly designed
as a general plan and basis for Executive action in the
restoration of all the seceded States. Mr. Lincoln had, of
course, foreseen that that subject would come up very shortly, in
the then condition of affairs in the South, and it had therefore
been considered in his later Cabinet meetings, as stated, more
especially at the meeting immediately preceding his death, and a
plan very similar to that afterwards determined upon by Mr.
Johnson, if not identically so, was at that meeting finally
adopted. That plan was set out in the North Carolina
Proclamation, the essential features and general character of
which became so conspicuous a factor in the subsequent
controversies between the President and Congress. It was as

Whereas: The Fourth Section of the Fourth Article of the
Constitution of the United States declares that the United States
shall guarantee to every State in the Union a Republican form of
Government, and shall protect each of them against invasion and
domestic violence; and whereas, the President of the United
States is, by the Constitution, made Commander-in-Chief of the
Army and Navy, as well as chief civil executive officer of the
United States, and is bound by solemn oath faithfully to execute
the office of President of the United States, and to take care
that the laws be faithfully executed; and whereas, the rebellion
which has been waged by a portion of the people of the United
States against the properly constituted authority of the
Government thereof in the most violent and revolting form, but
whose organized and armed forces have now been almost entirely
overcome has, in its revolutionary progress, deprived the people
of the State of North Carolina of all civil government: and
whereas, it becomes necessary and proper to carry out and enforce
the obligations of the United States to the people of North
Carolina in securing them it, the enjoyment of a republican form
of Government:

Now, therefore, in obedience to the high and solemn duties
imposed upon me by the Constitution of the United States, and for
the purpose of enabling the loyal people of said State to
organize a State Government; whereby justice may be established,
domestic tranquility insured, I, Andrew Johnson, President of the
United States and Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy of the
United States, do hereby appoint William W. Holden Provisional
Governor of the State of North Carolina, whose duty it shall be,
at the earliest practicable period, to prescribe such rules and
regulations as may be necessary and proper for convening it
Convention, composed of delegates to be chosen by that portion of
the people of the said State who are loyal all to the United
States and no others, for the purpose of altering or amending the
Constitution thereof; and with authority to exercise, within the
limits of said State, all the powers necessary and proper to
enable such loyal people of the State of North Carolina to
restore said State to its constitutional relations to the Federal
Government, and to present such a republican form of State
Government as will entitle the said State to the guarantee of the
United States therefor, and its people to protection by the
United States against invasion, insurrection and domestic
violence: PROVIDED, that in any election that may be hereafter
held for choosing delegates to any State Convention as aforesaid,
no person shall be qualified as an elector, or shall be eligible
as a member of such Convention, unless he shall have previously
taken and subscribed to the oath of amnesty, as set forth in the
President's Proclamation of May 29th, A. D. 1865, and is a voter
qualified as prescribed by the Constitution and laws of the State
of North Carolina in force immediately before the 20th of May, A.
D. 1861, the date of the so-called ordinance of secession; and
the said Convention, when convened, or the legislature that may
be thereafter assembled, will prescribe the qualifications of
electors, and the eligibility of persons to hold office under the
Constitution and laws of the State--a power the people of the
several States comprising the Federal Union have rightfully
exercised from the origin of the Government to the present time.
And I do hereby direct:

First--That the Military Commander of the Department, and all
officers in the Military and Naval service, aid and assist the
said Provisional Governor in carrying into effect this
Proclamation, and they are enjoined to abstain from, in any way,
hindering, impeding, or discouraging the loyal people from the
organization of a State Government as herein authorized.

Second--That the Secretary of State proceed to put in force all
laws of the United States, the administration whereof belongs to
the State Department, applicable to the geographical limits

Third--That the Secretary of the Treasury proceed to nominate for
appointment assessors of taxes, and collectors of customs and
revenue, and such other officers of the Treasury Department as
are authorized by law, and put in execution the revenue laws of
the United States within the provisional limits aforesaid. In
making appointments, the preference shall be given to qualified
loyal persons residing in the districts where their respective
duties are to be performed. But if suitable residents of the
district shall not be found, then persons residing in other
States or districts shall be appointed.

Fourth--That the Postmaster General proceed to establish
postoffices and post routes, and put into execution the postal
laws of the United States within the said State, giving to loyal
residents the preference of appointments: but if suitable
residents are not found, then to appoint agents, etc., from other

Fifth--That District Judges for the judicial districts in which
North Carolina is included, proceed to hold courts within said
State, in accordance with the provisions of the Act of Congress.
The Attorney General will instruct the proper officers to libel,
and bring to judgment, confiscation and sale, property subject to
confiscation, and enforce the administration of justice within
said State in all matters within the cognizance and jurisdiction
of the Federal Courts.

Sixth--That the Secretary of the Navy take possession of all
public property belonging to the Navy Department within said
geographical limits, and put in operation all Acts of Congress in
relation to naval affairs having application to said State.

Seventh--That the Secretary of the Interior put in force all laws
relating to the Interior Department applicable to the
geographical limits aforesaid.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the
seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this 29th day of May, in the
year, of our Lord 1865, and of the Independence of the United
States the 89th.

By the President: Andrew Johnson.
William H. Seward.
Secretary of State.

North Carolina was the first of the revolted States to which this
identical plan of reconstruction, or reorganization, was applied
by Mr. Johnson. Its application to the several States then lately
in revolt, was continued till the meeting of Congress in the
following December, 1865.

On this matter Mr. Johnson, himself, testifies in his
communication to the Senate in 1867, relating to the removal of
Mr. Stanton, that "This grave subject (Reconstruction) 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 was to be carried out by Executive
authority. * * * The first business, transacted in the Cabinet
after I became President was this unfinished business of my
predecessor. A plan or scheme of reconstruction had been prepared
for Mr. Lincoln by Mr. Stanton. 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."

Mr. Stanton also testified before the House Impeachment Committee
of 1867, that he had "entertained no doubt of the authority of
the President to take measures for the reorganization 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."

In the first attempt to impeach the President, in 1867, Mr.
Johnson's method of Reconstruction was the most conspicuous
feature of the prosecution. It was insisted by the extremists
that it was a departure from Mr. Lincoln's plan--an unwarranted
assumption of authority by Mr. Johnson--that its purpose was the
recognition of the people of the South as American citizens with
the rights of such, and even as an act not far removed from
treason. In reference to this action of the President, General
Grant was called before the Committee and testified as follows:

Question: I wish to know whether, at or about the time of the war
being ended, you advised the President that it was, in your
judgment, best to extend a liberal policy towards the people of
the South, and to restore as speedily as possible the fraternal
relations that existed prior to the war between the sections?

Answer: I know that immediately after the close of the rebellion
there was a very fine feeling manifested in the South, and I
thought we ought to take advantage of it as soon as possible.

Ques. I understood you to say that Mr. Lincoln had inaugurated a
policy intended to restore these governments?

Ans. Yes Sir.

Ques. You were present when the subject was brought before the

Ans. I was present, I think, twice before the assassination of
Mr. Lincoln, when a plan was read.

Ques. I want to know whether the plan adopted by Mr. Johnson was
substantially the plan which had been inaugurated by Mr. Lincoln
as the basis for his future action.

Ans. Yes sir: substantially. I do not know but that it was
verbatim the same.

Ques. I suppose the very paper of Mr. Lincoln was the one acted

Ans. I should think so. I think that the very paper which I heard
read twice while Mr. Lincoln was President, was the one which was
carried right through.

Ques. What paper was that?

Ans. The North Carolina Proclamation.

In additional testimony that Mr. Johnson was endeavoring to carry
out Mr. Lincoln's methods of reconstruction, the following
extracts from a speech by Gov. O. P. Morton, of Indiana,
delivered at Richmond, that State, Sept. 29th, 1865, are here

An impression has gotten abroad in the North that Mr. Johnson has
devised some new policy by which improper facilities are granted
for the restoration of the rebel States, and that he is
presenting improperly and unnecessarily hurrying forward the work
of reconstruction, and that he is offering improper facilities
for restoring those who have been engaged in the rebellion to the
possession of their civil and political rights.

It is one of my purposes here this evening to show that so far as
his policy of amnesty and reconstruction is concerned, he has
absolutely presented nothing new, but that he has simply
presented, and is simply continuing THE POLICY WHICH MR. LINCOLN
Johnson's policy differs from Mr. Lincoln's in some restrictions
it contains, which Mr. Lincoln's did not contain. His plan of
reconstruction is absolutely and simply that of Mr. Lincoln,
nothing more or less, with one difference only, that Mr. Lincoln
required that one-tenth of the people of the disloyal States
should be willing to embrace his plan of reconstruction, whereas
Mr. Johnson says nothing about the number; but, so far as it has
been acted upon yet, it has been done by a number much greater
than one-tenth. * * * Their plans of amnesty and reconstruction
cannot be distinguished from each other except in the particulars
already mentioned, that Mr. Johnson proposed to restrict certain
persons from taking the oath, unless they have a special pardon
from him, whom Mr. Lincoln permitted to come forward and take the
oath without it. * * * That was Mr. Lincoln's policy at the time
he was nominated for re-election by the Union Convention at
Baltimore, last summer; and in that convention the party
sustained him and strongly endorsed his whole policy, of which
this was a prominent part. MR. LINCOLN WAS TRIUMPHANTLY AND

In his last annual message to Congress, December, 1864, he again
brings forward this same policy of his, and presents it to the

Again, on the 12th of April, 1865, only two days before his
death, he referred to and presented this policy of amnesty and
reconstruction. That speech may be called his last speech, his
dying words to his people. It was after Richmond had been
evacuated. It was the day after they had received the news of
Lee's surrender. Washington City was illuminated. A large crowd
came in front of the White House and Mr. Lincoln spoke to them
from one of the windows. He referred to the organization of
Louisiana under his plan of amnesty and reconstruction, and in
speaking of it he gave the history of his policy. He said:

In my annual message of December, 1863, and accompanying the
Proclamation, I presented a plan of reconstruction, as the phrase
goes, which I promised if adopted by any State, would be
acceptable and sustained by the Executive Government of this
Nation. I distinctively stated that this was a plan which might
possibly be acceptable, and also distinctively protested that the
Executive claimed no right to say when or whether members should
be admitted to seats in Congress from such States.

The new constitution of Louisiana, (said Mr. Lincoln) declaring
emancipation for the whole State, practically applies the
Proclamation to that part previously exempted. It does not adopt
apprenticeship for freed people, and is silent, as it could not
well be otherwise, about the admission of members to Congress. As
it applied to Louisiana, every member of the Cabinet approved the
plan of the message. * * * Now, we find Mr. Lincoln, just before
his death; referring in warm and strong terms to his policy of
amnesty and reconstruction, and giving it his endorsement; giving
to the world that which had never been given before--the history
of that plan and policy--stating that it had been presented and
endorsed by every member of that able and distinguished Cabinet
of 1863. Mr. Lincoln may be said to have died holding out to the
Nation his policy of amnesty and reconstruction. It was held out
by him at the very time the rebels laid down their arms. Mr.
Lincoln died by the hand of an assassin and Mr. Johnson came into
power. He took Mr. Lincoln's Cabinet as he had left it and he
took Mr. Lincoln's policy of amnesty and reconstruction as he had
left it, and as he had presented it to the world only two days
ATTEMPTED TO ADMINISTER THAT POLICY, which had been bequeathed by
that man around whose grave a whole world has gathered as
mourners. I refer to these for the purpose of showing that Mr.
Johnson's policy is not a new one, but that he is simply carrying
out a policy left to him by his lamented predecessor--a policy

Again Gov. Morton said:

An impression has gotten abroad in the North that Mr. Johnson has
devised some new policy by which improper facilities are granted
for the restoration of the rebel States and that he is presenting
improperly and unnecessarily hurrying forward the work of
reconstruction, and that he is offering improper facilities for
restoring those who have been engaged in rebellion, to the
possession of their civil and political rights. It is one of my
purposes here this evening to show that so far as his policy of
amnesty and reconstruction is concerned, he has absolutely
presented nothing new, that he has simply presented, and is

The following are extracts from Mr. Johnson's Message to
Congress, in December, 1865, on the re-assembling of that
body--the first session of the 39th Congress. Indicating, as it
did, a policy of reconstruction at variance with the views of the
Congressional leaders, it may be said to have been another
incident out of which arose the conditions that finally, led to
his impeachment. Mr. Johnson said:

I found the States suffering from the effects of a civil war.
Resistance to the General Government appeared to have exhausted
itself. The United States had recovered possession of its forts
and arsenals, and their armies were in the occupation of every
State which had attempted to secede. Whether the territory within
the limits of those States should be held as conquered territory,
under Military authority emanating from the President as head of
the Army, was the first question that presented itself for
decision. Military Governments, established for an indefinite
period, would have offered no security for the early suppression
of discontent; would have divided the people into the vanquishers
and the vanquished; and would have envenomed hatred rather than
have restored affection. Once established, no precise limit to
their continuance was conceivable. They would have occasioned an
incalculable and exhausting expense. * * * The powers of
patronage and rule which would have been exercised, under the
President, over a vast and populous and naturally wealthy region,
are greater than, under a less extreme necessity, I should be
willing to entrust to any one man. They are such as, for myself,
I should never, unless on occasion of great emergency, consent to
exercise. The wilful use of such powers, if continued through a
period of years, would have endangered the purity of the General
Administration and the liberty of the States which remained
loyal. * * * The policy of military rule over conquered territory
would have implied that the States whose inhabitants may have
taken part in the rebellion had, by the act of those inhabitants,
ceased to exist. But the true theory is, that ALL PRETENDED ACTS
CAN NOT COMMIT TREASON, nor screen the individual citizens who
may have committed treason, any more than they can make valid
treaties, or engage in lawful commerce with any foreign power.
The States attempting to secede placed themselves in a condition
where their vitality was IMPAIRED, BUT NOT EXTINGUISHED--THEIR

Reports had been circulated in the North, and found ready
credence with a great many, that the people of the South were as
a rule, insubordinate and indisposed to accept the changed
conditions there, and that insubordination and turmoil were the
rule. To ascertain the facts in this regard, during the later
months of 1865 Mr. Johnson commissioned General Grant and others
to make a tour of inspection and investigation of the condition
of affairs in the Southern States, especially as to their
disposition with reference to the acceptance by the people of
those States, of their changed relations to the Union, and to
report to him the results of their observations.

On the 10th of December, 1865, on motion of Mr. Cowan, of
Pennsylvania, the following resolution was adopted by the Senate:

Resolved, That the President of the United States be, and he is
hereby requested to furnish the Senate information of the state
of that portion of the Union lately in rebellion; whether the
rebellion has been suppressed and the United States put again in
possession of the States in which it existed; whether the United
States courts are restored, post offices re-established and the
revenue collected; and also whether the people of those States
have reorganized their State governments, and whether they are
yielding obedience to the laws and Government of the United
States. And at the same time furnish to the Senate copies of such
reports as he may have received from such officers or agents
appointed to visit that portion of the Union.

December 19th, 1865, in response to this resolution of the
Senate, the President transmitted the following Message to the
Senate inclosing Gen. Grant's Report:

In reply to the resolution adopted by the Senate on the 12th
inst., I have the honor to state that the rebellion waged by a
portion of the people against the properly constituted
authorities of the Government of the United States has been
suppressed; that the United States are in possession of every
State in which the insurrection existed; and that, as far as
could be done, the courts of the United States have been
restored, postoffices re-established, and steps taken to put into
effective operation the revenue laws of the country. As the
result of the measures instituted by the Executive, with the view
of inducing a resumption of the functions of the States
comprehended in the inquiry of the Senate, the people in North
Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi,
Louisiana, Arkansas, and Tennessee, have reorganized their
respective State Governments, and 'are yielding their obedience
to the laws and Government of the United States' with more
willingness and greater promptitude than under the circumstances
could reasonably have been anticipated. The proposed amendment to
the Constitution, providing for the abolition of slavery forever
within the limits of the country, has been ratified by each one
of those States, with the exception of Mississippi, from which no
official information has yet been received; and in nearly all of
them measures have been adopted or are now pending, to confer
upon freedmen rights and privileges which are essential to their
comfort, protection and security. In Florida and Texas, the
people are making considerable progress in restoring their State
Governments, and no doubt is entertained that they will at the
Federal Government. In that portion of the Union lately in
rebellion, the aspect of affairs is more promising than, in view
of all the circumstances, could have been expected. The people
throughout the entire South evince a laudable desire to renew
their allegiance to the Government, and to repair the
devastations of war by a prompt and cheerful return to peaceful
pursuits. An abiding faith is entertained that their actions will
conform to their professions, and that, in acknowledging the
supremacy of the Constitution and laws of the United States,
their loyalty will be given unreservedly to the Government; whose
leniency they cannot fail to appreciate, and whose fostering care
will soon restore them to a condition of prosperity. It is true,
that in some of the States the demoralizing effects of war are to
be seen in occasional disorders; but these are local in
character, not frequent in occurrence, and are really
disappearing as the authority of the civil law is extended and
sustained. * * * From all the information in my possession, and
from that which I have recently derived from the most reliable
authority, I am induced to cherish the belief that sectional
animosity is surely and rapidly merging itself into a spirit of
nationality, and that representation, connected with a properly
adjusted system of taxation, will result in a harmonious
restoration of the relations of the States and the National

Andrew Johnson.

The following is General Grant's Report transmitted to Congress
with the foregoing Message:

Headquarters Armies of the United States,
Washington, D. C., Dec. 18, 1865.

Sir:--In reply to your note of the 16th inst., requesting a
report from me giving such information as I may be possessed,
coming within the scope of the inquiries made by the Senate of
the United States, in their resolution of the 12th inst., I have
the honor to submit the following:

With your approval, and also that of the Honorable Secretary of
War, I left Washington City on the 27th of last month for the
purpose of making a tour of inspection through some of the
Southern States, or States lately in rebellion, and to see what
changes were necessary to be made in the disposition of the
Military forces of the country; how these forces could be reduced
and expenses curtailed, etc., and to learn as far as possible,
the feelings and intentions of the citizens of those States
towards the General Government.

The State of Virginia being so accessible to Washington City, and
information from this quarter therefore being readily obtained, I
hastened through the State without conversing or meeting with any
of its citizens. In Raleigh, North Carolina, I spent one day; in
Charleston, South Carolina, I spent two days; Savannah and
Augusta, Georgia, each one day. Both in traveling and while
stopping, I saw much and conversed freely with the citizens of
those States, as well as with officers of the Army who have been
stationed among them. The following are the conclusions come to
by me:

I am satisfied that the mass of the thinking men of the South
accept the present situation of affairs in good faith. The
questions which have heretofore divided the sentiments of the
people of the two sections--Slavery and State Rights, or the
right of a State to secede from the Union--they regard as having
been settled forever by the highest tribunal--arms--that man can
resort to. I was pleased to learn from the leading men whom I
met, that they not only accepted the decision arrived at, as
final, but that now, when the smoke of battle has cleared away,
and time has been given for reflection, this decision has been a
fortunate one for the whole country, they receiving like benefits
from it with those who opposed them in the field and in council.

Four years of war, during which law was executed only at the
point of the bayonet throughout the States in rebellion, have
left the people possibly in a condition not to yield that ready
obedience to civil authority the American people have been in the
habit of generally yielding. This would render the presence of
small garrisons throughout those States necessary until such time
as labor returns to its proper channels and civil authority is
fully established. I did not meet anyone, either those holding
places under the Government or citizens of the Southern States,
who think it practicable to withdraw the Military from the South
at present. The white and black mutually require the protection
of the General Government. There is such universal acquiescence
in the authority of the General Government throughout the
portions of the country visited by me, that the mere presence of
a military force, without regard to numbers, is sufficient to
maintain order. The good of the country and economy require that
the force kept in the interior where there are many freedmen
(elsewhere in the Southern States than at forts upon the sea
coast, no more is necessary,) should all be white troops. The
reasons for this are obvious without mentioning any of them. The
presence of black troops, lately slaves, demoralizes labor both
by their advice and by furnishing in their camps a resort for
freedmen for long distances around. White troops generally excite
no opposition, and therefore a small number of them can maintain
order in a given district. Colored troops must be kept in bodies
sufficient to defend themselves. It is not thinking men who would
use violence towards any class of troops sent among them by the
General Government, but the ignorant in some cases might, and the
late slave seems to be imbued with the idea that the property of
his late master should of right belong to him, or at least should
have no protection from the colored soldiers. There is danger of
collision being brought on by such causes.

My observations lead me to the conclusion that the citizens of
the Southern States are anxious to return to self government
within the Union as soon as possible; that while reconstructing
they want and require protection from the Government; that they
are in earnest in wishing to do what they think is required by
the Government, not humiliating to them as citizens, and that if
such is pointed out they would pursue it in good faith. It is to
be regretted that there cannot be a greater commingling at this
time between the citizens of the two sections, and particularly

I did not give, the operation of the Freedmen's Bureau that
attention I would have done if more time had been at my disposal.
Conversations on the subject, however, with officers connected
with the Bureau, led me to think that in some of the States its
affairs have not been conducted with good judgment and economy,
and that the belief, widely spread among the freedmen of the
Southern States, that the land of their former masters will, at
least in part, be divided among them, has come from the agents of
this Bureau. This belief is seriously interfering with the
willingness of the freedmen to make contracts for the coming
year. In some form the Freedmen's Bureau is an absolute necessity
until civil law is established and enforced, securing to the
freedmen their rights and full protection. At present, however,
it is independent of the Military establishment of the country,
and seems to be operated by the different agents of the Bureau
according to their individual notions, every where. Gen. Howard,
the able head of the Bureau, made friends by the just and fair
instructions and advice he gave; but the complaint in South
Carolina was that, when he left, things went on as before. Many,
perhaps the majority of the agents of the Bureau, advised the
freedmen that by their industry they must expect to live. To this
end they endeavor to secure employment for them: to see that both
contracting parties comply with their agreements. In some
instances; I am sorry to say, the freedman's mind does not seem
to be disabused of the idea that a freedman has a right to live
without care or provision for the future. The effect of the
belief in the division of lands is idleness and accumulation in
camps, towns, and cities. In such cases, I think it will be found
that vice and disease will tend to the extermination, or great
reduction of the colored race. It cannot be expected that the
opinions held by men at the South can be changed in a day, and
therefore the freedmen require for a few years not only laws to
protect them, but the fostering care of those who will give them
good counsel and in whom they can rely.

U. S. Grant, Lieutenant General.

This report was at once vigorously denounced in and out of
Congress, by the extremists. Mr. Sumner characterized it in the
Senate, as a "whitewashing report." The standing of General Grant
in the country at large, however, was such that few had the
indiscretion to attack him openly.

The controlling element of the party which had elected Lincoln
and Johnson, had acquiesced for a time in the plan of
reconstruction foreshadowed by Mr. Lincoln and adopted by Mr.
Johnson, but during the summer of 1865, frictions developed

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