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Title: Twenty Years of Congress, Volume 2

Author: James Gillespie Blaine

Release date: December 8, 2006 [eBook #20065]

Language: English


E-text prepared by an anonymous volunteer

Transcriber's note:

   The chapter summaries in the Table of Contents are repeated
   in the text at the start of each chapter.

   Footnotes are at the end of the chapter (or section of a Table
   of Congress), referenced by parenthesized numbers, e.g. (1).

   The capitalization of hyphenated words is inconsistent,
   following the text, as is the use of the comma in lists.

   The tables of the 39th and 40th Congresses are moved to the

Line 2874: "gauge of battle" changed to "gage of battle"

Line 12981: missing numerator in "3/10" supplied from preceding text.

Non-standard spellings: domicil; hinderance; cotemporary]


From Lincoln to Garfield

With a Review of the Events Which Led to the Political Revolution of 1860.


Volume II.

Norwich, Conn.:
The Henry Bill Publishing Company.
Copyright, 1884,
by James G. Blaine.
All rights reserved.

Electrotyped and Printed
By Rand, Avery, and Company,
Boston, Mass









AGGREGATE DEBT, JANUARY 1, 1866, $2,730,491,745.—$1,600,000,000








Abraham Lincoln expired at twenty-two minutes after seven o'clock on the morning of April 15, 1865. Three hours later, in the presence of all the members of the Cabinet except Mr. Seward who lay wounded and bleeding in his own home, the oath of office, as President of the United States, was administered to Andrew Johnson by Chief Justice Chase. The simple but impressive ceremony was performed in Mr. Johnson's lodgings at the Kirkwood Hotel; and besides the members of the Cabinet, who were present in their official character, those senators who had remained in Washington since the adjournment of Congress were called in as witnesses. While the death of Mr. Lincoln was still unknown to the majority of the citizens of the Republic, his successor was installed in office, and the administration of the Federal Government was radically changed. It was especially fortunate that the Vice-President was at the National Capital. He had arrived but five days before, and was intending to leave for his home in Tennessee within a few hours. His prompt investiture with the Chief Executive authority of the Nation preserved order, maintained law, and restored confidence to the people. With the defeat and disintegration of the armies of the Confederacy, and with the approaching disbandment of the armies of the Union, constant watchfulness was demanded of the National Executive. It is a striking tribute to the strength of the Constitution and of the Government that the orderly administration of affairs was not interrupted by a tragedy which in many countries might have been the signal for a bloody revolution.

The new President confronted grave responsibilities. The least reflecting among those who took part in the mighty struggle perceived that the duties devolved upon the Government by victory—if less exacting and less critical than those imposed by actual war—were more delicate in their nature, and required statesmanship of a different character. The problem of reconstructing the Union, and adapting its varied interests to its changed condition, demanded the highest administrative ability. Many of the questions involved were new, and, if only for that reason, perplexing. No experience of our own had established precedents; none in other countries afforded even close analogies. Rebellions and civil wars had, it is true, been frequent, but they had been chiefly among peoples consolidated under one government, ruled in all their affairs, domestic and external, by one central power. The overthrow of armed resistance in such cases was the end of trouble, and political society and public order were rapidly re-formed under the restraint which the triumphant authority was so easily able to impose.

A prompt adjustment after the manner of consolidated governments was not practicable under our Federal system. In the division of functions between the Nation and the State, those that reach and affect the citizen in his every-day life belong principally to the State. The tenure of land is guaranteed and regulated by State Law; the domestic relations of husband and wife, parent and child, guardian and ward, together with the entire educational system, are left exclusively to the same authority, as is also the preservation of the public peace by proper police-systems—the National Government intervening only on the call of the State when the State's power is found inadequate to the suppression of disorder. These leading functions of the State were left in full force under the Confederate Government; and the Confederate Government being now destroyed, and the States that composed it being under the complete domination of the armies of the Union, the whole framework of society was in confusion, if not indeed in chaos. To restore the States to their normal relations to the Union, to enable them to organize governments in harmony with the fundamental changes wrought by the war, was the embarrassing task which the Administration of President Johnson was compelled to meet on the very threshold of its existence.

The successful issue of these unprecedented and complicated difficulties depended in great degree upon the character and temper of the Executive. Many wise men regarded it as a fortunate circumstance that Mr. Lincoln's successor was from the South, though a much larger number in the North found in this fact a source of disquietude. Mr. Johnson had the manifest disadvantage of not possessing any close or intimate knowledge of the people of the Loyal States. It was feared moreover, that his relations with the ruling spirits of the South in the exciting period preceding the war specially unfitted him for harmonious co-operation with them in the pending exigencies.

The character and career of Mr. Johnson were anomalous and in many respects contradictory. By birth he belonged to that large class in the South known as "poor whites,"—a class scarcely less despised by the slave-holding aristocracy than were the human chattels themselves. Born in North Carolina, and bred to the trade of a tailor, he reached his fifteenth year before he was taught even to read. In his eighteenth year he migrated to Tennessee, and established himself in that rich upland region on the eastern border of the State, where by altitude the same agricultural conditions are developed that characterize the land which lies several degrees further North. Specially adapted to the cereals, the grasses, and the fruits of Southern Pennsylvania and Ohio, East Tennessee could not employ slave-labor with the profit which it brought in the rich cotton-fields of the neighboring lowlands, and the result was that the population contained a large majority of whites.

Owing much to a wise marriage, pursuing his trade with skill and industry, Johnson gained steadily in knowledge and in influence. Ambitious, quick to learn, honest, necessarily frugal, he speedily became a recognized leader of the class to which he belonged. Before he had attained his majority he was chosen to an important municipal office, and at twenty-two he was elected mayor of his town. Thenceforward his promotion was rapid. At twenty-seven he was sent to the Legislature of his State; and in 1840, when he was in his thirty-second year, he was nominated for the office of Presidential elector and canvassed that State in the interest of Mr. Van Buren. Three years later he was chosen representative in Congress where he served ten years. He was then nominated for governor, and in the elections of 1853 and 1855 defeated successively two of the most popular Whigs in Tennessee, Gustavus A. Henry and Meredith P. Gentry. In 1857 he was promoted to the Senate of the United States, where he was serving at the outbreak of the civil war.

While Mr. Johnson had been during his entire political life a member of the Democratic party, and had attained complete control in his State, the Southern leaders always distrusted him. Though allied to the interests of slavery and necessarily drawn to its defense, his instincts, his prejudices, his convictions were singularly strong on the side of the free people. His sympathies with the poor were acute and demonstrative—leading him to the advocacy of measures which in a wide and significant sense were hostile to slavery. In the early part of his career as a representative in Congress, he warmly espoused, if indeed he did not originate, the homestead policy. In support of that policy he followed a line of argument and illustration absolutely and irreconcilably antagonistic to the interests of the slave system as those interests were understood by the mass of Southern Democratic leaders.

The bestowment of our public domain in quarter-sections (a hundred and sixty acres of land) upon the actual settler, on the simple condition that he should cultivate it and improve it as his home, was a more effective blow against the spread of slavery in the Territories than any number of legal restrictions or provisos of the kind proposed by Mr. Wilmot. Slavery could not be established with success except upon the condition of large tracts of land for the master, and the exclusion of the small farmer from contact and from competition. The example of the latter's manual industry and his consequent thrift and prosperity, must ultimately prove fatal to the entire slave system. It may not have been Mr. Johnson's design to injure the institution of slavery by the advocacy of the homestead policy; but such advocacy was nevertheless hostile, and this consideration did not stay his hand or change his action.

Mr. Johnson' mode of urging and defending the homestead policy was at all times offensive to the mass of his Democratic associates of the South, many of whom against their wishes were compelled to support the measure on its final passage, for fear of giving offense to their landless white constituents, and in the still more pressing fear, that if Johnson should be allowed to stand alone in upholding the measure, he would acquire a dangerous ascendency over that large element in the Southern population. Johnson spoke with ill-disguised hatred of "an inflated and heartless landed aristocracy," not applying the phrase especially to the South, but making an argument which tended to sow dissension in that section. He declared that "the withholding of the use of the soil from the actual cultivator is violative of the principles essential to human existence," and that when "the violation reaches that point where it can no longer be borne, revolution begins." His argument startlingly outlined a condition such as has long existed in Ireland, and applied it with suggestive force to the possible fate of the South.

He then sketched his own ideal of a rural population, an ideal obviously based on free labor and free institutions. "You make a settler on the domain," said he, "a better citizen of the community. He becomes better qualified to discharge the duties of a freeman. He is, in fact, the representative of his own homestead, and is a man in the enlarged and proper sense of the term. He comes to the ballot-box and votes without the fear or the restraint of some landlord. After the hurry and bustle of election day are over, he mounts his own horse, returns to his own domicil, goes to his own barn, feeds his own stock. His wife turns out and milks their own cows, churns their own butter; and when the rural repast is ready, he and his wife and their children sit down at the same table together to enjoy the sweet product of their own hands, with hearts thankful to God for having cast their lots in this country where the land is made free under the protecting and fostering care of a beneficent Government."

The picture thus presented by Johnson was not the picture of a home in the slave States, and no one knew better than he that it was a home which could not be developed and established amid the surroundings and the influences of slavery. It was a home in the North-West, and not in the South-West. Proceeding in his speech Johnson became still more warmly enamored of his hero on the homestead, and with a tongue that seemed touched with the gift of prophecy he painted him in the possible career of a not distant future. "It has long been near my heart," said he in the House of Representatives in July, 1850, "to see every man in the United States domiciled. Once accomplished, it would create the strongest tie between the citizen and the Government; what a great incentive it would afford to the citizen to obey every call of duty! At the first summons of the note of war you would find him leaving his plow in the half-finished furrow, taking his only horse and converting him into a war-steed: his scythe and sickle would be thrown aside, and with a heart full of valor and patriotism he would rush with alacrity to the standard of his country."

Such appeals for popular support subjected Johnson to the imputation of demagogism, and earned for him the growing hatred of that dangerous class of men in the South who placed the safety of the institution of slavery above the interest and the welfare of the white laborer. But if he was a demagogue, he was always a brave one. In his early political life, when the mere nod of President Jackson was an edict in Tennessee, Johnson did not hesitate to espouse the cause of Hugh L. White when he was a candidate for the Presidency in 1836, nor did he fear to ally himself with John Bell in the famous controversy with Jackson's protégé, James K. Polk, in the fierce political struggle of 1834-5. Though he returned to the ranks of the regular Democracy in the contest between Harrison and Van Buren, he was bold enough in 1842 to propose in the Legislature of Tennessee that the apportionment of political power should be made upon the basis of the white population of the State. He saw and keenly felt that a few white men in the cotton section of the State, owning many slaves, were usurping the power and trampling upon the rights of his own constituency, among whom slaves were few in number and white men numerous. Those who are familiar with the savage intolerance which prevailed among the slave-holders can justly measure the degree of moral and physical courage required in any man who would assail their power at a vital point in the framework of a government specially and skilfully devised for their protection.

In all the threats of disunion, in all the plotting and planning for secession which absorbed Southern thought and action between the years 1854 and 1861, Mr. Johnson took no part. He had been absent from Congress during the exciting period when the Missouri Compromise was overthrown; and though, after his return in 1857, he co-operated generally in the measures deemed essential for Southern interests, he steadily declared that a consistent adherence to the Constitution was the one and the only remedy for all the alleged grievances of the slave-holders. It was natural therefore, that when the decisive hour came, and the rash men of the South determined to break up the Government, Johnson should stand firmly by the Union.

Of the twenty-two senators from the eleven States that afterwards composed the Confederacy, Johnson was the only one who honorably maintained his oath to support the Constitution; the only one who did not lend his aid and comfort to the enemies of the Union. He remained in his seat in the Senate, loyal to the Government, and resigned a year after the outbreak of the war (in March, 1862), upon Mr. Lincoln's urgent request that he should accept the important post of Military Governor of Tennessee. His administration of that office and his firm discharge of every duty under circumstances of great exigency and oftentimes of great peril, gave to him an exceptional popularity in all the Loyal States, and led to his selection for the Vice-Presidency in 1864. The national calamity had now suddenly brought him to a larger field of duty, and devolved upon him the weightiest responsibility.

The assassination of Mr. Lincoln naturally produced a wide-spread depression and dread of evil. His position had been one of exceptional strength with the people. 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 on the edge of the grave—he had acquired so complete an ascendancy over the public mind in the Loyal States that any policy matured and announced by him would have been accepted by a vast majority of his countrymen. But the same degree of faith could not attach to Mr. Johnson; although after the first shock of the assassination had subsided, there was a generous revival of trust, or at least of hope, that the great work which had been so faithfully prosecuted for four years would be faithfully carried forward in the same lofty spirit to the same noble ends. The people of the North waited with favorable disposition and yet with balancing judgment and in exacting mood. They had enjoyed abundant opportunity to acquaint themselves with the principles and the opinions of the new President, and confidence in his future policy was not unaccompanied by a sense of uncertainty and indeed by an almost painful suspense as to his mode of solving the great problems before him. As has already been indicated, the more radical Republicans of the North feared that his birth and rearing as a Southern man and his long identification with the supporters of the slave system might blind him to the most sacred duties of philanthropy, while the more conservative but not less loyal or less humane feared that from the personal antagonisms of his own stormy career he might be disposed to deal too harshly with the leaders of the conquered rebellion. The few words which Mr. Johnson had addressed to those present when he took the oath of office were closely scanned and carefully analyzed by the country, even in the stunning grief which Mr. Lincoln's death had precipitated. It was especially noted that he refrained from declaring that he should continue the policy of his predecessor. By those who knew Mr. Johnson's views intimately, the omission was understood to imply that Mr. Lincoln had intended to pursue a more liberal and more generous policy with the rebels than his successor deemed expedient or prudent.

It was known to a few persons that when Mr. Johnson arrived from Fortress Monroe on the morning of April 10, and found the National Capital in a blaze of patriotic excitement over the surrender of Lee's army the day before at Appomattox, he hastened to the White House, and addressed to the unwilling ears of Mr. Lincoln an earnest protest against the indulgent terms conceded by General Grant. Mr. Johnson believed that General Lee should not have been permitted to surrender his sword as a solider of honor, but that General Grant should have received the entire command as prisoners of war, and should have held Lee in confinement until he could receive instructions from the Administration at Washington. The spirit which these views indicated was understood by those who knew Mr. Johnson to be contained, if not expressed, in this declaration of his first address: "As to an indication of any policy which may be pursued by me in the conduct of the Government, I have to say that that must be left for development as the Administration progresses. The message or the declaration must be made by the acts as they transpire. The only assurance I can now give of the future is by reference to the past."

The effect produced upon the public by this speech, which might be regarded as an Inaugural address, was not happy. Besides its evasive character respecting public policies which every observing man noted with apprehension, an unpleasant impression was created by its evasive character respecting Mr. Lincoln. The entire absence of eulogy of the slain President was remarked. There was no mention of his name or of his character or of his office. The only allusion in any way whatever to Mr. Lincoln was Mr. Johnson's declaration that he was "almost overwhelmed by the announcement of the sad event which has so recently occurred." While he found no time to praise one whose praise was on every tongue, he made ample reference to himself and his own past history. Though speaking not more than five minutes, it was noticed that "I" and "my" and "me" were mentioned at least a score of times. A boundless egotism was inferred from the line of his remarks: "My past public life which has been long and laborious has been founded, as I in good conscience believe, upon a great principle of right which lies at the basis of all things." "I must be permitted to say, if I understand the feelings of my own heart, I have long labored to ameliorate and alleviate the condition of the great mass of the American people." "Toil and an honest advocacy of the great principles of free government have been my lot. The duties have been mine, the consequences God's." Senator John P. Hale of New Hampshire, who was present on the occasion, said with characteristic wit, that "Johnson seemed willing to share the glory of his achievements with his Creator, but utterly forgot that Mr. Lincoln had any share of credit in the suppression of the Rebellion."

Three days later (April 18) a delegation of distinguished citizens of Illinois called upon Mr. Johnson under circumstances at once extraordinary and touching. The dead President still lay in the White House. Before the solemn and august procession should leave the National Capital to bear his mortal remains to the State which had loved and honored him, the Illinois delegation called to assure his successor of their respect and their confidence. Governor Oglesby who spoke for his associates, addressed the President in language eminently befitting the occasion. "In the midst of this sadness," said he, "through the oppressive gloom that surrounds us, we look to you and to a brighter future for our country. . . . The record of your past life, familiar to all, your noble efforts to stay the hand of treason and restore our flag to the uttermost bounds of the Republic, give assurance to the great State we represent that we may safely trust the nation's destinies in your hands."

Mr. Johnson responded in a speech of much greater length than his first, embodying a wider range of topics than seemed to be demanded by the proprieties of the occasion. He evidently strove to repair the error of his former address. He now diminished the number of gratulatory allusions to his own career, and made appropriate and affecting reference to his predecessor. He spoke with profound emotion of the tragical termination of Mr. Lincoln's life: "The beloved of all hearts has been assassinated." Pausing thoughtfully he added, "And when we trace this crime to its cause, when we remember the source whence the assassin drew his inspiration, and then look at the result, we stand yet more astounded at this most barbarous, most diabolical act. . . . We can trace its cause through successive steps back to that source which is the spring of all our woes. No one can say that if the perpetrator of this fiendish deed be arrested, he should not undergo the extremest penalty of the law known for crime; none will say that mercy should interpose. But is he alone guilty? Here, gentlemen, you perhaps expect me to present some indication of my future policy. One thing I will say: every era teaches its lesson. The times we live in are not without instruction. The American people must be taught—if they do not already feel—that treason is a crime and must be punished. The Government must be strong not only to protect but to punish. When we turn to the criminal code we find arson laid down as a crime with the appropriate penalty. We find theft and murder denounced as crimes, and their appropriate penalty prescribed; and there, too, we find the last and highest of crimes,—treason. . . . The people must understand that treason is the blackest of crimes and will surely be punished . . . . Let it be engraven on every mind that treason is a crime and traitors shall suffer its penalty. . . . I do not harbor bitter or resentful feelings towards any. . . . When the question of exercising mercy comes before me it will be considered calmly, judicially— remembering that I am the Executive of the Nation. I know men love to have their names spoken of in connection with acts of mercy, and how easy it is to yield to that impulse. But we must never forget that what may be mercy to the individual is cruelty to the State."

This speech was reported by an accomplished stenographer, and was submitted to Mr. Johnson's inspection before publication. It contained a declaration intimating to his hearers, if not explicitly assuring them, that "the policy of Mr. Lincoln in the past shall be my policy in the future." When in reading the report he came to this passage, Mr. Johnson queried whether his words had not been in some degree misapprehended; and while he was engaged with the stenographer in modifying the form of expression, Mr. Preston King of New York, who was constantly by his side as adviser, interposed the suggestion that all reference to the subject be stricken out. To this Mr. Johnson promptly assented. He had undoubtedly gone farther than he intended in speaking to Mr. Lincoln's immediate friends, and the correction—inspired by one holding the radical views of Mr. King—was equivalent to a declaration that the policy of Mr. Lincoln had been more conservative than that which he intended to pursue. By those who knew the character of Mr. Johnson's mind, the ascendancy of Mr. King in his councils, and the retirement of Mr. Seward from the State Department were foregone conclusions. The known moderation of Mr. Seward's views would not consist with the fierce vigor of the new administration as now clearly foreshadowed. Mr. Seward and Mr. King, moreover, were not altogether in harmony in New York; and this was so far recognized by the public that Mr. King's displacement from the Senate by the election of Governor Morgan two years before was universally attributed to the Seward influence skilfully directed by Mr. Thurlow Weed. The resentment felt by Mr. King's friends had been very deep, and the opportunity to gratify it seemed now to be presented.

As soon as the Illinois delegation had retired, the members of the Christian Commission then in session at Washington called upon the President. In reply to their earnest address, he begged them as intelligent men representing the power of the Christian Church, to exert their moral influence "in erecting a standard by which everybody should be taught to believe that treason is the highest crime known to the laws, and that the perpetrator should be visited with the punishment which he deserves." This substantial repetition of the views expressed in his Illinois speech derived significance from the fact that the clergyman who spoke for the Christian Commission (Rev. Dr. Borden of Albany) had expressed the hope in his address to the President that "in the administration of justice, mercy would follow the success of arms."

While the remains of the late President were yet reposing in the National Capital, and still more while his funeral-train was on the way to his tomb, the reception of official deputations and political bodies was continued by his successor. Mr. Johnson was always ready to explain with some iteration and with great emphasis his views of the Government's duty respecting those who had been engaged in rebellion against its authority. To a representative body of loyal Southerners who by reason of their fidelity to the Union had been compelled to flee from home, Mr. Johnson was especially demonstrative in his sympathy, and positive in his assurances. In reply to their address he said: "It is hardly necessary for me on this occasion to declare that my sympathies and impulses in connection with this nefarious rebellion beat in unison with yours. Those who have passed through this bitter ordeal and who participated in it to a great extent, are more competent, as I think, to judge and determine the true policy that should be pursued. I know how to appreciate the condition of being driven from one's home. I can sympathize with him whose all has been taken from him: I can sympathize with him who has been driven from the place that gave his children birth. . . . I have become satisfied that mercy without justice is a crime, and that when mercy and clemency are exercised by the Executive it should always be done in view of justice. In that manner alone the great prerogative of mercy is properly exercised. The time has come, as you who have had to drink this bitter cup are fully aware, when the American people should be made to understand the true nature of crime. Of crime generally our people have a high understanding as well as of the necessity of its punishment; but in the catalogue of crimes there is one, and that the highest known to the laws and the Constitution, of which since the days of Aaron Burr they have become oblivious. That crime is treason. The time has come when the people should be taught to understand the length and breadth, the height and depth, of treason. One who has become distinguished in the rebellion says that 'when traitors become numerous enough, treason becomes respectable, and to become a traitor is to constitute a portion of the aristocracy of the country.' God protect the American people against such an aristocracy! . . . When the Government of the United States shall ascertain who are the conscious and intelligent traitors the penalty and the forfeit should be paid."

A delegation of Pennsylvanians called upon him with ex-Secretary Simon Cameron as their spokesman. In reply Mr. Johnson said, "There has been an effort since this rebellion began, to make the impression that it was a mere political struggle, or, as I see it thrown out in some of the papers, a struggle for the ascendency of certain principles from the dawn of the government to the present time, and now settled by the final triumph of the Federal arms. If this is admitted, the Government is at an end; for no question can arise but they will make it a party issue, and then to whatever length they carry it, the party defeated will only be a party defeated, with no crime attaching thereto. But I say that treason is a crime, the very highest crime known to the law, and there are men who ought to suffer the penalty of their treason! . . . To the unconscious, the deceived, the conscripted, in short, to the great mass of the misled, I would say mercy, clemency, reconciliation, and the restoration of their government. But to those who have deceived, to the conscious, intelligent, influential traitor who attempted to destroy the life of a nation, I would say, on you be inflicted the severest penalties of your crime."

The inflexible sternness of Mr. Johnson's tone and the frequent repetition of his intention to inflict the severest penalty of the law upon the leading traitors, began to create apprehension in the North. It was feared that the country might be called upon to witness, after the four years' carnival of death on the battle-field and in the hospital, an era of "bloody assizes," made the more rigorous and revengeful from the peculiar sense of injury which the President, as a loyal Southerner, had realized in his own person. This feeling was probably still further aggravated by his avowed sympathy with the thousands in the South who had been maimed, driven from home, stripped of all their property, simply because of the fidelity to the Constitution and the Union of their fathers. The spirit of the Vendetta, unknown in the Northern States, was frequently shown in the South, where it had long been domesticated with all its Corsican ferocity. It had raged in many instances to the extermination of families, and in many localities to the destruction of peace and the utter defiance of law—not infrequently indeed paralyzing the administration of justice in whole counties. Often seeking and waging open combat with ferocious courage, it did not hesitate at secret murder, at waylaying on lonely roads with superior numbers, and it sometimes went so far as to torture an unhappy victim before the final death-blow. The language of Mr. Johnson was interpreted by the merciful in the North as indicating that his own injuries and fierce conflicts during the war has possibly inspired him with the fell spirit of revenge, which in his zeal he might mistake for the rational demands of justice.

A personal and somewhat curious illustration of Mr. Johnson's temper and purpose at the time is afforded by a conference between himself and Senator Wade of Ohio. Mr. Wade was widely known as among the radical and progressive members of the Republican party. His immediate constituents of the Western Reserve were a just and God-fearing people, amply endowed with both moral and physical courage; but they were not men of blood, and they were not in sympathy with the apparent purposes of the President. It is not improbable that Mr. Wade's views were somewhat in advance of those held by the majority of the people he represented, but he was evidently not in accord with the threatenings and slaughter breathed out by the President.

"Well, Mr. Wade, what would you do were you in my place and charged with my responsibilities?" inquired the President. "I think," replied the frank and honest old senator from Ohio, "I should either force into exile or hang about ten or twelve of the worst of those fellows; perhaps by way of full measure, I should make it thirteen, just a baker's dozen."—"But how," rejoined the President, "are you going to pick out so small a number and show them to be guiltier than the rest?" —"It won't do to hang a very large number," rejoined Wade, "and I think if you would give me time, I could name thirteen that stand at the head in the work of rebellion. I think we would all agree on Jeff Davis, Toombs, Benjamin Slidell, Mason, and Howell Cobb. If we did no more than drive those half-dozen out of the country, we should accomplish a good deal."

The interview was long, and at its close Mr. Johnson expressed surprise that Wade was willing to let "the traitors," as he always styled them, "escape so easily." He said that he had expected the heartiest support from Wade in a policy which, as he outlined it to the senator, seemed in thoroughness to rival that of Strafford. Mr. Wade left the Executive Mansion with his mind divided between admiration for the stern resolve and high courage of the President on the one hand, and his fear on the other that a policy so determined and aggressive as Mr. Johnson seemed bent on pursuing might work a re-action in the North, and that thus in the end less might be done in providing proper safeguards against another rebellion, than if too much had not been attempted.

The remains of the late President lay in state at the Executive Mansion for four days. The entire city seemed as a house of mourning. It was remarked that even the little children in the streets wore no smiles upon their faces, so deeply were they impressed by the calamity which had brought grief to every loyal heart. The martial music which had been resounding in glad celebration of the national triumph had ceased; public edifice and private mansion were alike draped with the insignia of grief; the flag of the Union, which had been waving more proudly than ever before, was now lowered to half-mast, giving mute but significant expression to the sorrow that was felt wherever on sea or land that flag was honored.

Funeral services, conducted by the leading clergymen of the city, were held in the East Room on Wednesday the 19th of April. Amid the solemn tolling of church-bells, and the still more solemn thundering of minute-guns from the vast line of fortifications which had protected Washington, the body, escorted by an imposing military and civic procession, was transferred to the rotunda of the Capitol. The day was observed throughout the Union as one of fasting, humiliation, and prayer. The deep feeling of the people found expression in all the forms of religious solemnity. Services in the churches throughout the land were held in unison with the services at the Executive mansion, and were everywhere attended with exhibition of profound personal grief. In all the cities of Canada business was suspended, public meetings of condolence with a kindred people were held, and prayers were read in the churches. Throughout the Confederate States where war had ceased but peace had not yet come, the people joined in significant expressions of sorrow over the death of him whose very name they had been taught to execrate.

Early on the morning of the 21st the body was removed from the Capitol and placed on the funeral-car which was to transport it to its final resting-place in Illinois. The remains of a little son who had died three years before, were taken from their burial-place in Georgetown and borne with those of his father for final sepulture in the stately mausoleum which the public mind had already decreed to the illustrious martyr. The train which moved from the National Capital was attended on its course by extraordinary manifestations of grief on the part of the people. Baltimore, which had reluctantly and sullenly submitted to Mr. Lincoln's formal inauguration and to his authority as President, now showed every mark of honor and of homage as his body was borne through her streets, Confederate and Unionist alike realizing the magnitude of the calamity which had overwhelmed both North and South. In Philadelphia the entire population did reverence to the memory of the murdered patriot. A procession of more than a hundred thousand persons formed his funeral cortége to Independence Hall, where the body remained until the ensuing day. The silence of the sorrowful night was in strange contrast with the scene in the same place, four years before, when Mr. Lincoln, in the anxieties and perils of the opening rebellion, hoisted the National flag over our ancient Temple of Liberty, and before a great and applauding multitude defended the principles which that flag typifies. He concluded in words which, deeply impressive at the time, proved sadly prophetic now that his dead body lay in a bloody shroud where his living form then stood: "Sooner than surrender these principles, I would be assassinated on this spot."

In the city of New York the popular feeling was, if possible, even more marked than in Philadelphia. The streets were so crowded that the procession moved with difficulty to the City Hall, where amid the chantings of eight hundred singers, the body was placed upon the catafalque prepared for it. Throughout the day and throughout the entire night the living tide of sorrowful humanity flowed past the silent form. At the solemn hour of midnight the German musical societies sang a funeral-hymn with an effect so impressive and touching that thousands of strong men were in tears. Other than this no sound was heard throughout the night except the footsteps of the advancing and receding crowd. At sunrise many thousands still waiting in the park were obliged to turn away disappointed. It was observed that every person who passed through the hall, even the humblest and poorest, wore the insignia of mourning. In a city accustomed to large assemblies and to unrestrained expressions of popular feeling, no such scene had ever been witnessed. On the afternoon appointed for the procession to move Westward, all business was suspended, and the grief of New York found utterance in Union Square before a great concourse of people in a funeral oration by the historian Bancroft and in an elegiac ode by William Cullen Bryant.

Similar scenes were witnessed in the great cities along the entire route. Final obsequies were celebrated in Oakridge Cemetery near Springfield on the fourth day of May. Major-General Joseph Hooker acted as chief marshal upon the occasion, and an impressive sermon was pronounced by Bishop Simpson of the Methodist-Episcopal church. Perhaps in the history of the world no such outpouring of the people, no such exhibition of deep feeling, had ever been witnessed as on this funeral march from the National Capital to the capital of Illinois. The pomp with which sovereigns and nobles are interred is often formal rather than emotional, attaching to the rank rather than to the person. Louis Philippe appealed to the sympathy of France when he brought the body of the Emperor Napoleon from St. Helena twenty years after his death; but the popular feeling among the French was chiefly displayed in connection with the elaborate rites which attended the transfer of the dead hero to the Invalides, where the shattered remains of his valiant and once conquering legions formed for the last time around him. Twelve years later the victorious rival by whom the imperial warrior was at last overcome, received from the populace of London, as well as from the crown, the peers, and the commons of England, the heartiest tribute that Britons ever paid to human greatness.

The splendor of the ceremonials which aggrandize living royalty as much as they glorify dead heroism, was wholly wanting in the obsequies of Mr. Lincoln. No part was taken by the Government except the provision of a suitable military escort. All beyond was the spontaneous movement of the people. For seventeen hundred miles, through eight great States of the Union whose population was not less than fifteen millions, an almost continuous procession of mourners attended the remains of the beloved President. There was no pageantry save their presence. There was no tribute but their tears. They bowed before the bier of him who had ben prophet, priest, and king to his people, who had struck the shackles from the slave, who had taught a higher sense of duty to the true man, who had raised the Nation to a loftier conception of faith and hope and charity. A countless multitude of men, with music and banner and cheer and the inspiration of a great cause, presents a spectacle that engages the eye, fills the mind, appeals to the imagination. But the deepest sympathy of the soul is touched, the height of human sublimity is reached, when the same multitude, stricken with a common sorrow, stands with uncovered head, reverent and silent.


From saddening associations with the tragical death of Mr. Lincoln, popular attention was turned three weeks after his interment to a great military display in the Capital of the Nation in honor of the final victory for the Union. The exigencies of the closing campaign had transferred the armies commanded by General Sherman from the Mississippi Valley to the Atlantic coast. The soldiers of Port Hudson and Vicksburg, the heroes of Donelson, Chattanooga, and Atlanta, had been brought within a day's march of the bronzed veterans whose battle-flags were emblazoned with the victories of Antietam and Gettysburg and with the crowning triumph at Appomattox. It was the happy suggestion of Secretary Stanton which assembled all these forces in the National Capital to be viewed by the Commander-in-Chief. Through four years of stern and perilous duty, there had been no holiday, no parade of ceremony, no evolution for mere display, either by the troops of the East or of the West. Their time had been passed in camp and in siege, in march and in battle, with no effort relaxed, no vigor abated, no vigilance suspended, during all the long period when the fate of the Union was at stake. It was now fitting that the President, attended by the chief officers of the Government, should welcome them and honor them in the name of the Republic. They had brought from the field the priceless trophy of American Nationality as the reward of their valorous struggle. By the voice of the people a "triumph" as demonstrative, if not as formal, as that given to a conqueror in Ancient Rome was now decreed to them. They had earned the right to be applauded on the via sacra, and to receive the laurel-wreath from the steps of the Capitol.

The first day's review, Wednesday, May 23, was given to the Army of the Potomac, of which General Meade had remained the commander since the victory at Gettysburg, but whose operations during the closing year of the struggle had been under the personal direction of General Grant. A part only of its vast forces marched through Washington on that day of loyal pride and gladness; but the number was large beyond the power of the eye to apprehend, beyond any but the skilled mind to reckon. An approximate conception of it can be reached by stating that one hundred and fifty-one regiments of infantry, thirty-six regiments of cavalry, and twenty-two batteries of artillery passed under the eye of the President, who reviewed the whole from a platform in front of the Executive Mansion.

On the ensuing day the Army of the Tennessee and the Army of Georgia, constituting the right and left wing of General Sherman's forces, were reviewed. There was naturally some rivalry of a friendly type between the Eastern and Western soldiers, and special observation was made of their respective qualities and characteristics. The geographical distinction was not altogether accurate, for Western troops had always formed a valuable part of the Army of the Potomac; while troops from the East were incorporated in Sherman's army, and had shared the glories of the Atlanta campaign and of the March to the sea. It was true, however, that the great mass of the Army of the Potomac came from the eastern side of the Alleghanies, while the great mass of Sherman's command came from the western side. The aggregate number reviewed on the second day did not differ materially from the number on the first day. There were some twenty more regiments of infantry on the second day, but fewer cavalry regiments and fewer batteries of artillery.

The special interest which attached to the review, aside from the inestimable significance of a restored Union, consisted in the fact that the spectators, who were reckoned by tens of thousands, saw before them an actual, living, fighting army. They were not holiday troops with bright uniforms, trained only for display and carrying guns that were never discharged against a foe. They were a great body of veterans who had not slept under a roof for years, who had marched over countries more extended than those traversed by the Legions of Cæsar, who had come from a hundred battle-fields on which they had left dead comrades more numerous than the living who now celebrated the final victory of peace. It was the remembrance of this which in all the glad rejoicing over the past and all the bright anticipation of the future lent a tinge of sadness to the splendid and inspiring spectacle of the day. The applause so heartily given for the soldiers who were present could not be unaccompanied by tears for the fate of that vast host which had gone down to death without even the consolation of knowing that they had not died in vain.

In the four years of their service the armies of the Union, counting every form of conflict, great and small, had been in twenty-two hundred and sixty-five engagements with the Confederate troops. From the time when active hostilities began until the last gun of the war was fired, a fight of some kind—a raid, a skirmish, or a pitched battle—occurred at some point on our widely extended front nearly eleven times a week upon an average. Counting only those engagements in which the Union loss in killed, wounded, and missing exceeded one hundred, the total number was three hundred and thirty,—averaging one every four and a half days. From the northernmost point of contact to the southernmost, the distance by any practicable line of communications was more than two thousand miles. From East to West the extremes were fifteen hundred miles apart.

During the first year of hostilities—one of preparation on both sides —the battles were naturally fewer in number and less decisive in character than afterwards, when discipline had been imparted to the troops by drill, and when the materiel of war had been collected and stored for prolonged campaigns. The engagements of all kinds in 1861 were thirty-five in number, of which the most serious was the Union defeat at Bull Run. In 1862 the war had greatly increased in magnitude and intensity, as is shown by the eighty-four engagements between the armies. The net result of the year's operations was highly favorable to the Rebellion. In 1863 the battles were one hundred and ten in number—among them some of the most significant and important victories for the Union. In 1864 there were seventy-three engagements, and in the winter and early spring of 1865 there were twenty-eight.

In fact, 1864-65 was one continuous campaign. The armies of the Union did not go into winter-quarters to the extent of abandoning or suspending operations. They felt that it was in their power to bring the struggle to an end at once, and they pressed forward with prodigious vigor and with complete success. General Grant with his characteristic energy insisted that "active and continuous operations of all the troops that could be brought into the field regardless of season and weather were necessary to a speedy termination of the war." He had seen, as he expressed it in his own terse, quaint language, that "the armies of the East and the West had been acting independently and without concert, like a balky team, no two of them ever pulling together." Under his direction the forces of the Union, however distant from each other, were brought into harmonious co-operation and with the happiest results. The discipline of the Union army was never so fine, its vigor was never so great, its spirit was never so high, as at the close of that terrible campaign which under Grant's command in the East began at the Wilderness and ended with Lee's surrender, and which under Sherman's command in the West began with the march towards Atlanta, and closed with the complete conquest of Georgia and the Carolinas.

A grave moral responsibility rests upon those who continue a contest of arms after it is made clear that there is no longer a possibility of success. However far the laws of war may justify a belligerent in deceiving an enemy, the laws of honorable and humane dealing are violated with one's own partisans when a brave and confiding soldiery are led into a fight known by their commanders to be hopeless. Early in January, 1865, Jefferson Davis indicated the desire of the Confederate authorities to negotiate with the National Government for the arrangement of the terms of peace, and as a result the famous conference was held at Fortress Monroe. This step was taken by Mr. Davis because he saw that further effort on the part of the Confederates must be utterly futile. When he failed at this conference to secure any recognition of his government, he spitefully turned to the prolongation of the struggle. Every life destroyed in the conflict thereafter was needless slaughter, and the blood of the victims cries out against the Confederate Government for compelling the sacrifice.

When at last through sheer exhaustion the Confederate Armies ceased resistance and surrendered, they did so on precisely the same terms that had been offered by the Government of the Union three months before. In the interim the Confederate leaders had been deluding their people with the pretense that the "Lincoln Government" had outraged the South in refusing to recognize Confederate Nationality even long enough to treat with it for peace. "Nothing beyond this," exclaimed Mr. Robert M. T. Hunter in a speech delivered at a meeting in Richmond held immediately after the Peace Conference to which he had been one of the commissioners,—"Nothing beyond this is needed to stir the blood of Southern men." In the course of his inflammatory address Mr. Hunter made the naïve confession: "If our people exhibit the proper spirit they will bring forth the deserters from their caves; and the skulkers, who are avoiding the perils of the field, will go forth to share the dangers of their countrymen." The "skulkers" and "deserters" referred to were no doubt brave men who, having fought as long as there was hope, were not ambitious to sacrifice their lives to carry on the shameless bravado of the political leaders of the Rebellion.

Mr. Hunter spoke with singular intemperance of tone for one who was usually cool, guarded, and conservative. He was followed by the Mephistopheles of the Rebellion, the brilliant, learned, sinister Secretary of State, Judah P. Benjamin. He spoke as one who felt that he had the alias of an English subject for shelter, or possibly the Spanish flag for protection, when the worst should come, and thus he might continue to play the part of Confederate citizen so long as it favored his ambition and his fortune. He delivered a speech full of desperate suggestion—so desperate indeed that it re-acted and injured the cause for which he was demanding harsh sacrifices on the part of others. He urged upon his hearers that the States of the Confederacy had nearly seven hundred thousand male slaves of the age for military service. He gave the assurance that if freedom should be conceded to these men they would fight in aid of the Rebellion. Besides advocating a guaranty of emancipation to all these black men,—for the right to keep whom in slavery the war had been undertaken,—Mr. Benjamin urged that every bale of cotton, every hogshead of tobacco, every pound of bacon, every barrel of flour, should be seized for the benefit of the common cause.

Happily Mr. Benjamin went too far. His over-zeal had tempted him to prove too much. The Southern people who had desired to build up a slave empire, and who despised the negro as a freeman, were asked by Mr. Benjamin to surrender this cherished project, and join with him in the ignoble design of founding a confederacy whose corner-stone should rest on hatred of the Northern States, and whose one achievement should be the revival and extension of English commercial power on this continent. When the end came, Mr. Benjamin did not share the disasters and sacrifices with the sincere and earnest men whom he had done so much to mislead, and to whom he was bound in an especial manner by the tie which unites the victims of a common calamity. Instead of this magnanimous course which would in part have redeemed his wrong-doing, Mr. Benjamin took quick refuge under the flag to whose allegiance he was born. He left America with the full consciousness that to the measure of his ability, which was great, he had inflicted injury upon the country which had sheltered and educated him, and which had opened to him the opportunity for that large personal influence which he had used so discreditably to himself and so disastrously to the cause he espoused.

Mr. Benjamin became a resident of London and subsequently won distinction at the English Bar—rising to the eminence of Queen's counsel. His ability and learning were everywhere recognized, but it was at the same time admitted that he owed much of his success to the sympathy and the support of that preponderating class among British merchants who cordially wished and worked for our destruction,—who, covertly throughout the entire civil conflict, and openly where safe opportunity was presented, did all in their power to embarrass and injure the Union. If Mr. Benjamin had been loyal, and had honorably observed the special oath which he had taken to maintain and defend the Constitution, he might in vain have sought the patronage of that large number of Englishmen who enriched him with generous retainers. No one grudged to Mr. Benjamin the wages of his professional work, the reward of ability and industry; but the manner in which he was lauded into notoriety in London, the effort constantly made to lionize and to aggrandize him, were conspicuous demonstrations of hatred to our Government, and were significant expressions of regret that Mr. Benjamin's treason had not been successful. Those whom he served either in the Confederacy or in England in his efforts to destroy the American Union may eulogize him according to his work; but every citizen of the Great Republic, whose loyalty was unswerving, will regard Mr. Benjamin as a foe in whom malignity was unrelieved by a single trace of magnanimity.

The Confederates had failed in war, but their leaders had not the moral courage to accept the only practicable peace. Their subsequent course in Congress, in the Cabinet, and in the field, exposed in very striking outline the strong points and the weak points of Southern character. It exhibited Southern men as possessed of the utmost physical courage—often carried indeed to foolish audacity. It exhibited them at the same time as singularly deficient in the attribute of moral courage. When the Southern leaders knew the Confederate cause to be hopeless not a single man among them displayed sufficient heroism to brave public opinion with the declaration of his honest belief. The absolute suppression of free discussion which had long prevailed in the South, the frequent murder of those who attempted to express an unpopular opinion however honestly entertained, had deprived brave men of every trait of that higher form of courage which has given immortality of fame to the moral heroes of the world.

Not individually alone but in combined action this weak trait of Southern character was made manifest. Only a month before the time when the Confederacy was in ruins and the members of its Congress were fugitives from its Capital, they united in an inflammatory address to the people of the South, urging them to continue the contest. They made assertions and employed arguments which as men of intelligence they could not themselves believe and accept. They strove by exciting evil passions and blind animosities to hurl the soldiers of the Confederacy once more into a desperate fight with all its suffering and with certain defeat. In this address, which was the unanimous vote of the Confederate Senate and the Confederate House of Representatives, the people were told that if they failed in the war, "the Southern States would be held as conquered provinces by the despotic government at Washington;" that they "would be kept in subjugation by the stern hand of military power as Venice and Lombardy have been held by Austria, as Poland is held by the Russian Czar." A still more terrible fate was foretold. "Not only," continued the address, "would we be deprived of every political franchise dear to freemen, but socially we would be degraded to the level of slaves. . . . Not only would the property and estates of vanquished rebels be confiscated, but they would be divided and distributed among our African bondsmen."

Even the extravagance and absurdity of the foregoing declarations were outdone in other parts of the address. These senators and representatives—not ignorant men themselves—presumed so far upon the ignorance of their constituents as to assure them that "our enemies with a boastful insolence unparalleled in the history of modern civilization have threatened not only our subjugation, but some of them have announced their determination if successful in this struggle to deport our entire white population, and supplant it with a new population drawn from their own territory and from European countries. . . . Think of it! That we the descendants of a brave ancestry who wrested from a powerful nation by force of arms the country which we inhabit—bequeathed to us by them, and upon which we have been born and reared; that we should be uprooted from it and an alien population planted in our stead is a thought that should inspire us with undying hostility to an enemy base enough to have conceived it."

The white population of the eleven Confederate States was at that time between five and six millions. Of course no man who signed the address believed its statements. No one believed that the Government of the United States or the loyal people of the North were so inhuman and so unpatriotic as to advocate the deportation of this vast population, or so foolish as to think that such a task would be practicable even if it were desirable. The address was read in the North immediately after it was issued, and created a mingled feeling of astonishment, amusement, and sorrow. The severest comment made upon it was the remark of a Republican representative in Congress who had a most kindly feeling for the men of the South—that "the deportation for life of the men who signed and issued the libel would not only be a just punishment for the offense, but would be an undoubted advantage to both North and South." The close of the address was in harmony with its opening, and contained an argument which to some minds relieved the whole document from wickedness by making it ludicrous. Its last words insisted that "failure makes us vassals of an arrogant people—secretly if not openly hated by the most enlightened and elevated portions of mankind. Success records us forever in letters of light upon one of the most glorious pages of history. Failure will compel us to drink the cup of humiliation even to the bitter dregs of having the history of our struggle written by New-England historians."

The same lack of moral courage to face the inevitable and deal frankly with friends and supporters was still more palpably shown by Jefferson Davis when he sent a message to the Confederate Congress on March 13, three weeks before the fall of Richmond, in a tone similar to that of the famous address. Even after he was a fugitive, and the Capital of the Confederacy was in the possession of the Union Army, Mr. Davis halted long enough at Danville, to issue a proclamation in which he said, "We have now entered upon a new phase of the struggle. Relieved from the necessity of guarding particular points, our army will be free to move from point to point to strike the enemy in detail far from his base. Let us but will it, and we are free. . . . Let us not despond, my countrymen, but, relying on God, meet the foe with fresh defiance, with unconquered and unconquerable hearts." It is clearly established that Mr. Davis was fully aware of the state of affairs when he issued this misleading and inexcusable proclamation. Four days after its publication the army upon which he relied even for personal protection surrendered to General Grant, and Mr. Davis again sought safety in flight.

These extravagant misrepresentations do infinite damage to the Confederate cause and to the Confederate leaders in history. They reveal in strong light the method by which those leaders were willing to impose and actually did impose upon the almost unlimited credulity of the white population of their States. Prejudice on the question of slavery could be easily stimulated, and no effort was spared to poison the minds of the Southern people against the National Government and against the Northern people. But the exaggerations at the close of the struggle were no greater than those which had been employed at its commencement. From beginning to end the Rebellion was based upon the suppression of that which was true and the suggestion of that which was untrue. To mete out the proper share of responsibility to the leaders who organized the insurrection would be a task at once ungracious and impossible. The aggressive character of the movement was not concealed, and the motives underlying it were understood. That which was not understood, and which still remains to be accounted for, was the conduct of the thousands of Southern Unionists who did not express their opinions and maintain their faith with the firmness and effectiveness which had been widely hoped for and expected in the North. From the timidity of the friends of the Union and the boldness of the advocates of Secession, it is not difficult to understand how the large class of poor whites in the South could be urged into a contest in which every blow struck by them was in support of a system to whose baleful influence they owed their own ignorance, their social degradation, their pitiable poverty.

The wonder excited by the raising of the vast army which saved the Union from destruction was even surpassed by the wonder excited by its prompt and peaceful dissolution. On the day that the task of disbandment was undertaken, the Army of the United States bore upon its rolls the names of one million five hundred and sixteen men (1,000,516). The killed, and those who had previously retired on account of wounds and sickness and from the expiration of shorter terms of service, aggregated, after making due allowance for re-enlistments of the same persons, at least another million. The living among these had retired gradually during the war, and had resumed their old avocations, or, in the great demand for workmen created by the war itself, had found new employment. But with the close of hostilities many industries which had been created by the demands of war ceased, and thousand of men were thrown out of employment. The disbandment of the Volunteer Army would undoubtedly add hundreds of thousands to this number, and thus still further overstock and embarrass the labor-market. The prospect was not encouraging, and many judicious men feared the result.

Happily all anticipations of evil proved groundless. By an instinct of self-support and self-adjustment, that great body of men who left the military service during the latter half of the year 1865 and early in the year 1866 re-entered civil life with apparent contentment and even with certain advantages. Their experience as soldiers, so far from unfitting them for the duties and callings of Peace, seem rather to have proved an admirable school, and to have given them habits of promptness and punctuality, order and neatness, which added largely to their efficiency in whatever field they were called to labor. After the Continental Army was dissolved, its members were found to be models of industry and intelligence in all the walks of life. The successful mechanics, the thrifty tradesmen, the well-to-do farmers in the old thirteen States were found, in great proportion, to have held a commission or carried a musket in the Army of the Revolution. They were, moreover, the strong pioneers who settled the first tier of States to the westward, and laid the solid foundation which assured progress and prosperity to their descendants. Their success as civil magistrates, as legislators, as executives was not less marked and meritorious than their illustrious service in war. The same cause brought the same result a century later in men of the same blood fighting with equal valor the same battle of Constitutional liberty. The inspiration of a great cause does not fail to ennoble the humblest of those who do battle in its defense. Those who stood in the ranks of the Union Army have established this truth by the twenty years of honorable life through which they have passed since their patriotic service was crowned with victory.

The officers who led the Union Army throughout all the stages of the civil conflict were in the main young men. This feature has been a distinguishing mark in nearly all the wars in which the American people have taken part, and with a few notable exceptions has been the rule in the leading military struggles of the world. Alexander the Great died in his thirty-second year. Cæsar entered upon the conquest of Gaul at forty. Frederick the Great was the leading commander of Europe at thirty-three. Napoleon and Wellington, born in the same year, fought their last battle at forty-six years of age. On the exceptional side Marlborough's greatest victories were won when he was nearly sixty (though he had been brilliantly distinguished at twenty-two), and in our own day the most skillful campaign in Europe was under the direction of Von Moltke when he was in the seventieth year of his age.

Washington took command of the Continental Army at forty-three. Lafayette was a major-general at twenty. Nathaniel Greene was a general officer in the military establishment of the Revolution at thirty-three, and entered upon his memorable campaign in the South at thirty-eight. Winfield Scott was but twenty-eight when he commanded at Chippewa and Lundy's Lane. Macomb was thirty-two when he gained the famous victory over Sir George Prevost at Plattsburg. Jackson was forty-seven when he won the decisive battle over Pakenham at New Orleans. On the other hand, Taylor was sixty-three when he conquered at Buena Vista, and Scott was sixty-one when he made his celebrated march from Vera Cruz to the Capital. Scott enjoys the rare distinction of having held high and successful command in two wars which were a full generation of men apart. In 1847 he commanded in Mexico the sons of those officers who aided in his brilliantly successful campaign against the British on the borders of Canada in 1814.

At the opening of the war of the Rebellion General Scott again assumed command, but his seventy-five years pressed heavily upon him, and he soon gave way to younger men who came rapidly forward with patriotic ardor and with worthy ambition. Nearly all the graduates of the United-States Military Academy who achieved distinction were in what might be termed their middle youth; a few were in their twenties; none were old. General Grant won his campaign of the Tennessee, and fought the battles of Henry, Donelson, and Shiloh when he was thirty-eight years of age. Sherman entered upon his onerous work in the South-West when he was forty-one, and accomplished the march to the sea when he was forty-four. Thomas began his splendid career in Kentucky when he was forty-three, and fought the critical and victorious battle of Nashville when he was forty-six. Sheridan was but thirty-three when he confirmed a reputation, already enviable, by his great campaign of 1864 in the Shenandoah Valley. Meade won the decisive battle of Gettysburg when he was forty-seven. McClellan was but thirty-five when he succeeded General Scott in command of the army. McDowell was forty-five when he fought the first battle of magnitude in the war. Buell was forty-two when he joined forces with Grant's army on the second day's fight at Shiloh. Pope was scarcely over forty when he attained the highest credit for his success in the South-West. Hancock was forty-one when he approved himself one of the most brilliant commanders in the army by his superb bearing on the field of Spotsylvania. Hooker was forty-six when he assumed command of the Army of the Potomac.

General Schofield was thirty-four when he commanded with signal ability and success in the battle of Franklin. John Reynolds was forty-three when he fell at the head of his corps in the first day's fight at Gettysburg. Rosecrans was forty-two when he gained the important victory at Stone River. Burnside was thirty-seven when he made the admirable record of his North-Carolina campaign. Howard was thirty-two when he was assigned to the command of a corps, and only a year older when he succeeded McPherson in the command of the army of the Tennessee. McPherson was thirty-five when he gave up his heroic life on the bloody field before Atlanta. Slocum was thirty-eight when he handled his division with consummate skill at White-Oak Swamp. Joseph J. Reynolds was a major-general before he was forty. Parke was at the head of a corps when he was thirty-five. Hazen was thirty-four when he led in the important capture of Fort McAllister. McKenzie, Custer, Kilpatrick, and Ames had each won his star before he had passed his twenty-sixty hear. The only West-Point man who became conspicuous in the command of troops after he was fifty years of age was David Hunter. He entered upon his sixtieth year on the day of the unfortunate battle of Bull Run, and engaged thenceforth in severe and meritorious field-service. Montgomery C. Meigs, one of the ablest graduates of the Military Academy, was kept from the command of troops by the inestimably important services he performed as quartermaster-general, in which office he succeeded Joseph E. Johnston when the latter cast his fortunes with the Confederacy. Perhaps in the military history of the world there was never so large an amount of money disbursed upon the order of a single man as by the order of General Meigs. The aggregate sum could not have less during the war than fifteen hundred millions of dollars, accurately vouched and accounted for to the last cent. General Meigs is still living, vigorous in mind and body, active in good works, and enjoying the unstinted confidence and admiration of his countrymen.

Among the officers who volunteered from civil life the success of young men as commanders was not less marked than among the graduates of West Point. General Logan, to whom is conceded by common consent the leading reputation among volunteer officers, and who rose to the command of an army, went to the field at thirty-five. General Butler was forty-two when he was placed at the head of the Army of the Gulf, and began his striking career in Louisiana. General Banks was forty-four when with the rank of major-general he took command of the Department of Maryland. Alfred Terry, since distinguished in the regular service, achieved high rank as a volunteer at thirty-five. Garfield was a major-general at thirty-one with brilliant promise as a solider when he left the field to enter Congress. Frank Blair at forty-one was a successful commander of a division in the arduous campaign which ended with the fall of Vicksburg. Jacob D. Cox had achieved his reputation in the field at thirty-four. Sickles was forty-one when, desperately wounded, he was borne from the head of his corps at Gettysburg. Cadwallader Washburn in his forty-third year was in command of an important district in the South-West. Rawlins was high in General Grant's confidence and favor at thirty when he filled the important post of chief of staff. James B. Steedman was forty-four when he received Mr. Lincoln's special encomium for bravery. Franz Sigel was in command of a corps before he was thirty-five. Crawford was thirty-three when his division did its noble work at Gettysburg. Chamberlain was thirty-four when he associated his name indelibly with the defense of Little Round-Top. Corse was but twenty-nine when he held the pass at Altoona. Beaver was still younger when he received his terrible wound and his promotion. Grenville Dodge had risen to the rank of a major-general and approved his merit in the Atlanta campaign before his was thirty-three. Hawley did splendid service in the field at thirty-five, and rose rapidly to the rank of brigadier-general. Gresham had made his brave record at thirty-two, and bears wounds to attest his service. The McCooks were all young, all gallant, all successful. Negley was a brigadier-general at thirty-two. Robert Potter commanded a corps before he was thirty-seven. Joseph B. Carr achieved an honorable reputation in his early thirties. Hartranft was highly distinguished before he was thirty-seven. Nelson A. Miles left his counting-room at twenty-one, enlisted as a private, and in two years was a brigadier-general. Selden Connor was rewarded with the same rank for his conduct at the battle of the Wilderness before he was twenty-seven. Nicholas L. Anderson was under thirty when he received his brevet of major-general for a military career worthy in all respects of his eminent kinsman who fired the first gun in defense of the Union. The only general of volunteers beyond fifty years of age who acquired special distinction was James S. Wadsworth who in his fifty-seventh year fell in one of the most sanguinary battles of the war.

The list, both of regulars and volunteers, who achieved high command while still young, might be largely increased. The names given are selected from a roll of honor that has never been surpassed for gallantry of spirit and intrepidity of action in the military service of any country,—a roll too long to have full justice done to all the names borne upon it. Indeed, one of the obstacles to widespread popular fame for many, was in the great number of generals who fairly earned the laurels due to exalted heroism. In a military establishment so vast that the major-generals number one hundred and fifty, and the generals of brigade nearly or quite six hundred, with battles, engagements, and skirmishes in full proportion to the force which such a number of commanders implies, it is difficult to give even the names of all who are worthy of lasting renown. Battles such as established Scott's fame in the Niagara campaign, or Jackson's at New Orleans, or Taylor's at Buena Vista, were in magnitude repeated a hundred times during the civil conflict under commanders whose names are absolutely forgotten by the public. A single corps of Grant's army at the Wilderness, or of Sherman's at Atlanta, or of Meade's at Gettysburg, or of McClellan's on the Peninsula, or of Hooker's at Chancellorsville, contained a large number of troops than Washington or Scott ever commanded on the field, a larger number than Taylor or Jackson ever saw mustered. A more correct conception of the real magnitude of the Union Army can be reached by measuring the proportions of the several branches of the service, than by simply stating the aggregate number of men. There were in all some seventeen hundred regiments of infantry, over two hundred and seventy regiments of cavalry, and more than nine hundred batteries of artillery. These numbers are without parallel in the military history of the world.

There was a very strong and patriotic disposition to engage in the war, on the part of the sons of the Northern statesmen who had been prominent during the generation preceding the outbreak of hostilities. It was no doubt felt by the juniors to be a chivalric duty to defend on the field what had been advanced by the seniors in Congress and in Cabinet. A very notable instance was that of the brothers Ewing,—Hugh, Thomas, and Charles, sons of the eminent Thomas Ewing of Ohio,—each of which attained through gradual promotion, fairly earned by meritorious service in the field, the rank of brigadier-general. They were all young, the eldest not being over thirty-five when he received his commission, the youngest under thirty. Senator Fessenden of Maine had two sons who rose to the rank of brigadier-general; a third with the rank of captain, was killed in the second battle of Bull Run. Vice-President Hamlin had one son who attained the rank of brigadier-general; another who served as colonel. William H. Seward, jun., also reached the rank of brigadier-general. William H. Harris, son of Mr. Seward's successor in the Senate, honorably distinguished himself in the service. Benjamin Harrison of Indiana commanded a brigade before he was thirty, and made a military record which did honor to the illustrious name which he inherits. Fletcher Webster lost his life while bravely commanding a Massachusetts regiment in a war which his illustrious father's exposition of the Constitution had served the arm of the Government to maintain. Similar instances in the Union Army might be cited in great number. The same disposition was manifested on the Confederate side, and it may be said with truth that almost every name which grew into prominence in the long political contention between the North and the South was represented in the conflict of arms to which it led.

That men without previous military education should prove to be intelligent, brave, efficient, and skillful officers, was a constant surprise to the foreign critics of our campaigns. The commanders of batteries, of regiments, of brigades, not to speak of battalions and companies, were almost wholly from the volunteer service. Many of the volunteers, as already indicated, rose to the command of divisions, a few to the command of corps, and in some marked instances to the command of separate armies and to the military direction of vast districts. At the same time the value of strict military training was shown by the superior prominence attained in proportion to their numbers by the officers who had been educated at the West Point Military Academy. The wisdom of maintaining that institution was abundantly vindicated by the results of the war. Its graduates worked in harmony with the volunteers, and, as matter of fact, the field offices they held during the war were, with few exceptions, under the law for the organization of the volunteer forces. They imparted to the entire army the discipline, the organization, and the efficiency of a regular military establishment. There was naturally at the beginning of the war a certain jealousy between the regulars and the volunteers, but none that did not yield to the patriotism and good sense of both. The two services were rapidly and most happily combined, and demonstrated by their joint prowess the strength of the country for defense, and, if need by, for offense. Without maintaining a large military establishment, which besides its expense entails multiform evils, it was shown that the Republic possesses in the strong arms and patriotic hearts of its sons an unfailing source of military power.


Mr. Johnson continued his public receptions, his interviews and his speeches for nearly a month after his accession to the Presidency—until indeed, in the judgment of his most anxious and most cautious friends, he had talked too much. All were agreed that the time had now come when he must do something. He evidently sought to impress the country with the belief that his Administration was to be marked by a policy of extraordinary vigor, that the standard of loyalty was to be held high, that the leaders of the Rebellion were to be dealt with in a spirit of stern justice. His position gave satisfaction to those who thought the chief conspirators against the Union could not be punished too severely; but it led to uneasiness among the anti-slavery philanthropists, lest, in wreaking vengeance upon white traitors, the President might leave the loyal negroes unprotected in their newly acquired civil rights.

On the 10th of May the President issued a proclamation declaring substantially that actual hostilities had ceased, and that "armed resistance to the authority of the Government in the insurrectionary States may be regarded as at an end." This great fact being officially recognized, the President found himself face to face with the momentous duty of bringing the eleven States of the Confederacy into active and harmonious relations with the Government of the Union. He had reached the point where he must take the first step in the serious task of Reconstruction, and the country awaited it with profound interest. He had in other official stations given distinct intimations of the conditions which he considered essential to the restoration of a rebel State to its place in the Union, but in the numerous speeches he had delivered since his accession to the Presidency he had studiously avoided a repetition of his former position, and had with equal care refrained from a public committal to any specific line of action.

The manner in which the insurrectionary States should be dealt with at the close of hostilities had been the object of solicitous inquiry throughout the war. It was indeed often a question of angry disputation in Congress, in the press, and among the people. The tentative and somewhat speculative efforts in this field, which had been made or at least encouraged by Mr. Lincoln, had confused rather than solved the problem, and yet his action could not fail to exert an embarrassing and possibly a decisive influence upon the course of his successor. Difficult as it might have proved to Mr. Lincoln himself to go forward on the line he had marked out, it would obviously prove far more difficult to Mr. Johnson to maintain the same policy with the inevitable result of renewing the conflict with Congress which Mr. Lincoln had only allayed and postponed—not removed. A brief review of what Mr. Lincoln had done in the field of Reconstruction will give a more accurate knowledge of President Johnson's policy, which afterwards became the subject of prolonged and bitter controversy. Mr. Lincoln had naturally been anxious from the beginning of the war to re-establish civil government in any and every one of the Confederate States where actual resistance should cease. A military autocracy controlling people who were engaged in the ordinary avocations of life was altogether contrary to his views of expediency, altogether repugnant to his conceptions of right.

At the end of the first year of the war (April, 1862) the rebel fortifications on the Lower Mississippi and the city of New Orleans surrendered to the guns of Farragut, and not long afterwards a movement was made to re-establish in Louisiana a civil government that would be loyal to the Union. The first step was the election on the third of December, 1862, of Benjamin F. Flanders and Michael Hahn, old citizens of Louisiana, as Representatives in Congress.

On the 9th of February, 1863, when the Thirty-seventh Congress was drawing to its close, Messrs. Flanders and Hahn were admitted to their seats, though not without contention and misgiving. They had been chosen at an election ordered by the military governor of Louisiana (General George F. Shepley), and their credentials bore the signature of that official. General Shepley had undoubtedly been permitted, if not specifically authorized, by the National Administration to take this step; though it was afterwards perceived by all friends of the Union to be useless if not mischievous, and its repetition for the ensuing Congress was seriously opposed. On the 21st of November—only a fortnight before the election ordered by General Shepley—Mr. Lincoln addressed him a note which in effect was a warning that Federal officers, not citizens of Louisiana, must not be chosen to represent the State in Congress. "We do not," said the President, referring to the South, "particularly need members of Congress from those States to enable us 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 here as representatives, elected as would be understood (and perhaps really so) at the point of the bayonet, would be disgraceful and outrageous."

Previous to this instruction to Governor Shepley, Mr. Lincoln had been in correspondence with Cuthbert Bullett, Esq., a Southern gentleman, who enjoyed his personal regard and confidence. In a letter to Mr. Bullett of July 28, 1862, the President reviewed some of the impracticable methods of re-establishing civil authority desired by certain citizens of Louisiana who were very anxious to prevent any interference with property in slaves. Mr. Thomas Durant was the spokesman for this large class of men who professed anxiety for the fate of the Union but were unwilling to do any thing to aid in saving it. Mr. Lincoln's letter is very characteristic. He says, "Mr. Durant speaks of no duty, apparently thinks of none resting upon Southern Union men. He even thinks it injurious to the Union cause that they should be restrained in trade and passage without taking sides. They are to touch neither a sail nor a pump, live merely as passengers ('dead-heads' at that) to be carried snug and dry throughout the storm and safely landed right side up. Nay, more, even a mutineer is to go untouched, lest these sacred passengers receive an accidental wound. Of course the Rebellion will never be suppressed in Louisiana if the professed Union men there will neither help to do it nor permit the Government to do it without their help. . . . What would you do in my position? Would you drop the war where it is, or would you prosecute it in the future with elder-stalk squirts charged with rose-water? Would you deal lighter blows rather than heavier ones? Would you give up the contest leaving every available means unapplied? I am in no boastful mood: I shall not do more than I can, but I shall do all I can to save the Government, which is my sworn duty as well as my personal inclination. I shall do nothing in malice. What I deal with is too vast for malicious dealing."

The pressure of these political events in Louisiana had increased Mr. Lincoln's desire to attempt some form of reconstruction, and the admission of Messrs. Flanders and Hahn to seats in the House of Representatives had to a certain degree misled him as to the temper and tendency of Congress on the whole subject of re-establishing civil government in the insurrectionary States. During the year 1862, when the original movements were made in Louisiana, the military situation grew so critical and so discouraging that the Administration had no time for the consideration of any other subject than the raising of men and money. But in 1863 the Government was incalculably strengthened by General Meade's victory at Gettysburg and by the opening of the Mississippi River to navigation in consequence of General Grant's capture of the rebel stronghold of Vicksburg. The latter event practically destroyed the military power of the Rebellion on the western side of the Mississippi, and opened, as Mr. Lincoln hoped, a great opportunity for the formation of State governments loyal to the Union and able to aid effectively in the overthrow of the Rebellion.

To this end the President proposed a definite plan of reconstruction in his message of December 8, 1863, sent to the Thirty-eighth Congress at its first session. He accompanied the message with a public proclamation which more fully embodied his conception of the necessities of the situation and the duties of the loyal people. According to the message of the President "the constitutional obligation to guarantee to every State in the Union a Republican form of government and to protect the State in such cases is explicit and full. . . . This section of the Constitution contemplates a case wherein the elements within a State favorable to Republican government in the Union may be too feeble for an opposite and hostile element external to or even within the State, and such are precisely the cases with which we now are dealing. An attempt to guarantee and protect a revived State government constructed in whole or in preponderating part from the very element against whose hostility and violence 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."

In his proclamation the President made known that "to all persons who have directly or by implication participated in the existing rebellion except as herein after excepted, a full pardon is hereby granted with restoration of all rights of property except as to slaves, upon condition that every such person shall take and subscribe an oath, and thenceforward maintain said oath inviolate," to the following effect: viz., to "henceforth faithfully support and defend the Constitution and the Union of the States thereunder," and to abide by all laws and proclamations "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." Those excepted from the benefits of the pardon were first the civil and diplomatic officers of the Confederate Government; second, those who left judicial stations in the United-States Government to aid the rebellion; third, military officers of the Confederacy above the rank of colonel, and naval officers above the rank of lieutenant; fourth, all who left seats in the Congress of the United States to aid the rebellion; fifth, all who left the National Army or Navy to aid the rebellion; sixth, all who had treated colored persons found in the military or naval service of the United States otherwise than as prisoners of war.

The President was willing to intrust the task of establishing State governments to a population whose loyalty to the Union should be tested by taking the prescribed oath, provided that the population should be sufficiently numerous to cast a vote one-tenth as large as that cast at the Presidential election of 1860. A government thus established, the President declared, "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 each State a Republican form of government." At the same time the President was careful to affirm 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."

The Union men in Louisiana had been so encouraged by the admission of Flanders and Hahn to seats in Congress, that they were active in the year 1863 in maturing schemes for re-establishing a loyal State government. But the decisive step was not taken until the opening of the ensuing hear. On the 8th of January, 1864, a large Free-State Convention was held in New Orleans, which proved to be in harmony with the National Administration at all points, accepting the emancipation policy of the President as the basis of all their action. General Banks, then in command of the military district, at once issued a proclamation as requested by the convention, appointing an election for State officers on the 22d of February—the officers chosen, to be installed on the 4th of March. Michael Hahn was elected governor as the especial representative of the President's firm yet cautious and moderate policy. B. F. Flanders and C. Roselius were the opposing candidates, the former representing a more radical the latter a more conservative policy than the President was willing to accept.

Mr. Hahn was duly installed in office on the 4th of March, and on the 15th the President issued an order declaring the new governor to be "invested until further orders with the powers exercised hitherto by the military governor of Louisiana." In a personal note to Governor Hahn at the same time the President said, "I congratulate you on having fixed your name in history as the first Free-State Governor of Louisiana. Now you are about to have a convention which among other things will probably define the elective franchise. I barely suggest for your private consideration whether some of the colored people may not be let in, as for instance the very intelligent and especially those who have fought gallantly in our ranks. They would probably help in some trying time in the future to keep the jewel of Liberty in the family of Freedom." The form of the closing expression, quite unusual in Mr. Lincoln's compact style, may have been pleonastic, but his meaning was one of deep and almost prophetic significance. It was perhaps the earliest proposition from any authentic source to endow the negro with the right of suffrage, and was an indirect but most effective answer to those who subsequently attempted to use Mr. Lincoln's name in support of policies which his intimate friends instinctively knew would be abhorrent to his unerring sense of justice.

The scheme of reconstruction in Louisiana was completed by the assembling of a convention to form a constitution for the State. The convention was organized early in April, and its most important act was the prompt incorporation of an anti-slavery clause in the organic law. By a vote of seventy to sixteen the convention declared slavery to be forever abolished in the State. The constitution was adopted by the people on the fifth 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 at the Presidential election of 1860 was 50,510, the new State government had obviously fulfilled the requirement of the President's proclamation in demonstrating that it was sustained by more than one-tenth of that number. The President's scheme had therefore so far succeeded that Louisiana was at least in form under a loyal government. It was, however, a government that could not sustain itself for a day if the military support of the Nation should be withdrawn, and therein lay the weakness of the President's plan.

The action of Louisiana was accompanied, indeed in some parts preceded, by a similar action in Arkansas. A loyal governor (Isaac Murphy) was elected, an anti-slavery constitution adopted, a government duly installed over the State, and senators and representatives in Congress were elected in due form. These successive steps were taken in the early spring of 1864. But when the senators, Messrs. Fishback and Baxter, presented themselves for admission to the body to which they were thus chosen, it was found that Congress was not in sympathy with what was derisively termed the "short-hand" method of reconstruction proposed in Mr. Lincoln's proclamation. Mr. Sumner, when the credentials were presented, 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 re-admitted by a vote of both Houses of Congress; and the Senate will decline to entertain any such application from any such rebel State until after such a vote of both Houses."

Mr. Sumner's resolution embodied a radical and absolute dissent from the President's scheme of reconstruction. The Senate, however, was not quite ready for so emphatic a declaration, and the resolution was referred with the credentials to the Judiciary Committee. A few weeks alter, on the 27th June (1864), the committee made a report covering substantially the ground of Mr. Sumner's resolution. By a vote of twenty-seven to six the State declared that "the rebellion is not so far suppressed in Arkansas as to entitle that State to representation in Congress, and therefore Messrs. Fishback and Baxter are not entitled to admission as senators." Similar action was taken in the House—the representatives not being allowed to take seats.

The conflict between the President and Congress on the subject of reconstruction was made still more apparent by the further action of each. After the Arkansas case had been disposed of, Congress passed a bill embodying its own views of the proper process of reconstruction. By this measure it was directed that the President should appoint a provisional governor for each of the States declared to be in rebellion; that said governor should, as soon as military resistance to the United States ceased, make an enrolment of the white male citizens, submitting to each an oath to support the Constitution. If a majority of the citizens should take and subscribe the oath, the governor was to order an election of delegates to a constitutional convention.

It was made the duty of the convention as its initial proceeding to declare on behalf of the people of the State their submission to the Constitution of the United States, and to incorporate in their own organic law three fundamental provisions: First, No one who has held any office under the Confederate Government except civil offices merely ministerial, or military office below the rank of colonel, shall vote for or be a member of the Legislature, or shall vote for or be elected governor. Second, Involuntary servitude shall be forever prohibited, and the freedom of all persons in the State guaranteed. Third, No debt, State or Confederate, created in aid of the rebellion shall ever be paid. In the event of a constitution being framed with these provisions inserted, and then adopted by a majority of the popular vote as already enrolled, the governor shall certify that fact to the President, and thereupon the President, after obtaining the assent of Congress, shall recognize the State government so established as a legitimate and constitutional government competent to elect senators and representatives in Congress and electors of President and Vice-President.

This bill was passed on the last day of the session, July 4, 1864. It was commonly regarded as a rebuke to the course of the President in proceeding with the grave and momentous task of reconstruction without waiting the action or invoking the counsel of Congress. Some of the more radical members of both Houses considered the action of the President as beyond his constitutional power, and they were very positive and peremptory in condemning it. But Mr. Lincoln, with his habitual caution and wise foresight, had specially avoided any form of guaranty, or even suggestion to the States whose reconstruction he was countenancing and aiding, that their senators and representatives would be admitted to seats in Congress. Admission to membership he took care to advise them was a discretion lodged solely in the respective Houses. What he had done was in his own judgment clearly within his power as Commander-in-Chief of the Armies of the Union, and was thus obviously and solely an Executive act.

Mr. Lincoln was not therefore in the humor to be rebuked by Congress. Though the least pretentious of men, he had an abounding self-respect and a full appreciation of the dignity and power of his office. He had given careful study to the duties, the responsibilities, and the limitations of the respective departments of the Government, and he was not willing that his judgment should be revised or his course censured, however indirectly, by a co-ordinate branch of the Government. He therefore declined to sign the bill. He did not veto it but let it quietly die. 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 plan of Reconstruction—"which plan," he remarked, "it is thought fit to lay before the people for their consideration."

The President further stated in his proclamation that he had "already propounded 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 also "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 also "unprepared to declare a constitutional competency in Congress to abolish slavery in the States"—though "sincerely hoping at the same time 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 in these words: "Nevertheless I am fully satisfied with the plan of restoration contained in this 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 so soon as the 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 cases military governors will be appointed with directions to proceed according to the bill."

It must be frankly admitted that Mr. Lincoln's course was in some of its aspects extraordinary. It met with almost unanimous dissent on the part of Republican members of Congress, and violent opposition from the more radical members of both Houses. If Congress had been in session at the time, a very rancorous hostility would have been developed against the President. Fortunately the senators and representatives had returned to their States and districts before the proclamation was issued, and they found the people united and enthusiastic in Mr. Lincoln's support. No contest was raised, therefore, by the great majority of those who had sustained the bill which the President had refused to approve. The pending struggle for the Presidency demanded harmony, and by common consent agitation on the question was abandoned. Two of the ablest, most fearless, most resolute men then in public life—Senator Wade of Ohio, and Representative Henry Winter Davis of Maryland—were exceptions to the general rule of acquiescence. They were respectively the chairmen in Senate and House of the "Committees on the Rebellious States," and were primarily and especially responsible for the bill which the President criticized in his proclamation. They united over their own signatures in a public "Protest" against the action of Mr. Lincoln. The paper was prepared by Mr. Davis, which of itself was guaranty that it would be able, caustic, and unqualified. Mr. Wade was known to be a man of extraordinary courage, both physical and moral. To these qualities Mr. Davis added a highly cultivated mind and a style of writing which in political controversy has rarely been surpassed—a style at once severe, effective, and popular.

The "Protest" embodied a sharp contrast between the President's plan of Reconstruction in his proclamation of December 8 (1863), and that contained in the bill presented by Congress for his approval. "The bill," said Messrs. Wade and Davis, "requires a majority of the voters to establish a State government, the proclamation is satisfied with one-tenth; the bill requires one oath, the proclamation another; the bill ascertains voters by registering, the proclamation by guess; the bill exacts adherence to existing territorial limits, the proclamation admits of others; the bill governs the rebel States by law equalizing all before it, the proclamation commits them to the lawless discretion of military governors and provost marshals; the bill forbids electors for President (in the rebel States), the proclamation with the defeat of the bill threatens us with civil war for the exclusion of such votes."

The criticisms of the President's course closed with the language of stern admonition if not indeed of absolute menace. The act of the President was denounced as "rash and fatal," and as "a blow at the friends of the Administration, at the rights of humanity, and at the principles of Republican government." The President was warned that the support of the Republican party was "of a cause and not of a man," that the "authority of Congress is paramount and must be respected," that the "whole body of Union men of Congress will not submit to be impeached by him or rash and unconstitutional legislation," that he must "confine himself to his Executive duties—to obey and execute, not make the laws;" that he "must suppress armed rebellion by arms and leave political re-organization to Congress."

No political result followed the publication of this remarkable paper save that it probably defeated the renomination of Mr. Davis for Congress. The Democrats were of course hostile to it in spirit and in letter, and the leading Republicans saw in it the seeds of a controversy between the President and Congress which might rapidly grow into dangerous proportions. The very strength of the paper was, by one of the paradoxes that frequently recur in public affairs, its special weakness. It was so powerful an arraignment of the President that of necessity it rallied his friends to his support with that intense form of energy which springs from the instinct of self-preservation. It was at once seen and profoundly realized by the great majority of the loyal people that even if the President had fallen into an error, no result could possibly flow from adhering to it that would prove half so perilous to the Union cause as would dissension and division in the ranks of those who were relied upon to keep the Government in the control of an Administration, devoted heart and soul to the preservation of the Union. It was, they thought, safer to follow Mr. Lincoln who had all the power in his hands than to follow Messrs. Wade and Davis who had no power in their hands.

When Congress convened in December (1864), Mr. Lincoln, who had meanwhile been re-elected to the Presidency, studiously refrained from any reference in his annual message to the controversy over his proclamation. With the intuitive sagacity and caution which never failed him, he did not touch upon the question of reconstruction. He had foreseen that the unhappy differences with which the close of the previous session of Congress had been marked might be renewed, and thence lead the party into warring factions if he should again attempt to urge his own views. This was undoubtedly a disappointment to those who had regarded the controversy with the President as only postponed till the assembling of Congress, and who were impatiently awaiting its renewal. The assumed views of the President were antagonized later in the session by the passage of a joint resolution "declaring certain States not entitled to representation in the electoral college." This was done to cut off the electoral votes (should any such votes be returned) of Louisiana and Arkansas, satirically referred to by the opponents of the Administration policy as Mr. Lincoln's "ten per cent States"—in allusion to the permission given to one-tenth of the population to organize a State government.

The passage of this joint resolution, to which great importance was attached by the critics of the President, was met by Mr. Lincoln in a spirit and with a tact which deprived its authors of all sense of triumph. In a brief special message (February 8, 1865) the President declared that he had "signed the joint resolution in defence to the view of Congress implied in its passage and presentation." In his own view, however, the two Houses of Congress, convened under the twelfth article of the Constitution, "have complete power to exclude from counting all electoral votes deemed by them to be illegal, and it is not competent for the Executive to defeat or obstruct the power by a veto, as would be the case if his action were at all essential to the matter." The President further informed Congress that "he disclaims all right on the part of the Executive to interfere in any way in the matter of canvassing or counting the electoral votes, and he also disclaims that by signing said resolution he has expressed any opinion of the recitals of the preamble or any judgement of his own upon the subject of the resolution."

The message was indeed throughout a sarcastic reflection upon the action of Congress. It was as if the President had said, "You have passed a resolution making certain declarations which nobody controverts: you have claimed certain powers which nobody denies. If I should sign your resolution without explanation, it might imply my right to veto it, and thereby take from you your undoubted Constitutional power. You are really guilty of weakening your own prerogatives under the Constitution by asking me to assent to their existence. If you intended your resolution as a reflection on my policy of reconstruction, you might have spared yourself the trouble, for that policy never contemplated the slightest violation of the rights and prerogatives of Congress." The message throughout was a singularly apt illustration of that keen perception and abounding common sense which made Mr. Lincoln so formidable an antagonist in every controversy political and official in which he became involved. His triumph was complete both in the estimation of Congress and of the people.

Mr. Lincoln really adhered with unexpected tenacity to the plan of reconstruction which he had attempted, and which, putting aside the opprobrious names applied to it, was called by himself "The Louisiana Plan." He had stubbornly maintained his ground against the almost unanimous protest of Republican senators and representatives, and he justified himself by elaborate argument. He had been much influenced by the representations made by General Banks who was commander of the Military District, and much impressed by the perfect faith in its success entertained by leading men of the State. In the last speech he ever made (April 11, 1865), referring to the twelve thousand men who had organized the Louisiana Government, the President 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 nor 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 vague and undefined when and where and how. If this course, 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 recognize 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 desired the elective franchise. He will yet attain it sooner by saving the already advanced steps towards it than by running backward over them. Concede that the new government of Louisiana is only to what it should be as the egg is to the fowl, we shall sooner have the fowl by hatching the egg than by smashing it."

Mr. Lincoln described also at some length the process by which he had been induced to try the Louisiana plan. Like all his conclusions it was reached after much consultation and serious reflection. He was conscientiously convinced that, all things considered, it was the promptest and most feasible process of re-establishing civil government in the insurrectionary States. Mr. Lincoln was especially anxious that neither the ruling power nor the conquered rebels should be needless procrastination become accustomed to military government—a form of administration which he regarded as very tempting, but very sure to undermine, and in time to destroy, the real spirit of independence and self-government. It was his belief, as he expressed it himself, that "We must begin with and mold 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. As a general rule I abstain from reading the reports of attacks upon myself, wishing not to be provoked by that to which I cannot properly make answer. In spite of this precaution, however, it comes to my knowledge that I am much censured for some supposed agency in setting up and seeking to sustain the new State Government of Louisiana. In this I have done just so much and no more than the public knows." He then gave somewhat full details of the successive steps he had taken in his attempt at reconstruction,—steps already detailed with precision in this chapter. After completing his recital he stated with entire frankness that he had done nothing else. "Such," said he, "has been my only agency in setting up the Louisiana Government." He was thus explicit because certain members of Congress, in the excitement caused by the hostility to the President's plan, had been rash enough to insinuate that the President had a secret understanding with certain rebels, who, as soon as the President's hand was withdrawn, would turn the control of the State over to the unrepentant Democracy who had been so active in precipitating the war.

Concluding his remarks to an audience loath to leave and eager to hear every word from lips which seemed then to be those of an oracle, Mr. Lincoln dwelt with great seriousness, even with solemnity, upon this subject which now wholly engrossed his mind. The contest of arms was over, but the President realized that the great pressure of duty which had been weighing him down was not removed by the coming of peace. Its character was changed, its exactions were perhaps less urgent, but withal he felt that the war would have been in vain unless, in exchange for all its agonies and all its burdens, there should come to the institutions of the country some great reforms, and to the people a new baptism of patriotic interest and philanthropic duty. He dwelt with deep solicitude on the situation in the rebellious States, and, unable to speak as fully as he desired, and with evident emotion, "It may be my duty to make some new announcement to the people of the South. I am considering, and shall not fail to act when satisfied that action will be proper."

The "new announcement" to the South was never made. Three days after it was promised, Mr. Lincoln met his fate. What changes might have been wrought if he had lived to make the promised exposition can only be surmised. It may be well believed however that the confidence reposed in him universally in the North, and the respect he had as universally won in the South, would have given such commanding power to his counsel as would have seriously influenced, if not promptly directed, the mode of reconstruction. Mr. Lincoln's position when he spoke his closing words was very different from that which he held when Senator Wade and Henry Winter Davis ventured upon a controversy with him the preceding summer—boldly assailing his measures and challenging his judgment. He was at that time a candidate for re-election, undergoing harsh criticism and held rigidly accountable for the prolongation of the war. Now he stood triumphant in every public relation—chosen by an almost unprecedented vote to his second term, the rebellion conquered, the Union firmly re-established! Never since Washington's exalted position at the close of the Revolution, or his still more elevated station when he entered upon the Presidency, has there been a man in the United States of so great personal power and influence as Mr. Lincoln then wielded.

It was perhaps not unnatural that from the day of Mr. Lincoln's death, his views as to the proper mode of reconstruction should become a subject of warm dispute between the partisans of different theories; yet no controversy could be less profitable for the single reason that it was absolutely incapable of settlement. Beyond his experiment with the "Louisiana plan" Mr. Lincoln had never given the slightest indication either by word or deed as to the specific course he would adopt in the rehabilitation of the insurrectionary States. His characteristic anecdote of the young preacher who was exhorted "not to cross 'Big Muddy' until he reached it" was a perfect illustration of the painstaking, watchful habit in which he dealt with all public questions. He invariably declined to anticipate an issue or settle a question before it came to him in its natural, logical order. Louisiana was wholly in the possession of the Union troops in 1862-3, and presented a question that to his view had ripened for decision. Hence his prompt and definite procedure in that State. Severely challenged for what his accusers deemed a blunder, Mr. Lincoln defended himself with fair and full statements of fact, and was apparently justified in adopting the policy he had chosen. 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." His "promise was out," he said, to sustain this policy, but "bad promises," he significantly added, "are better broken than kept, and I shall treat this as a bad promise and break it whenever I shall be convinced that keeping it is adverse to the public interest."

It is apparent therefore that Mr. Lincoln had no fixed plan for the reconstruction of the States. Pertinently questioned on the subject by one whose personal relations entitled him to unreserved confidence, the President answered by one of his homely and apt illustrations: "The pilots on our Western rivers steer from point to point as they call it—setting the course of the boat no farther than they can see; and that is all I propose to myself in this great problem." This position was practically re-affirmed in the speech, already copiously quoted. "So great peculiarities pertain to each State, and such important and sudden changes occur in the same State, and withal so new and so unprecedented is the whole case, that no exclusive and inflexible plan can safely be prescribed in details and collaterals. Such exclusive and inflexible plan would only become a new entanglement." Such was the latitude of judgment which the President reserved to himself, such the liberty of action which he deemed essential to the complex problem, for whose solution there was no prescribed rule, no established precedent. On all questions of expediency the President maintained not only the right but the frequent necessity of change. "Principle alone," said he, "must be inflexible."

Encouraged by the result of the controversy, if it may be so termed, between the President and Congress as to the mode of reconstruction, Andrew Johnson determined to re-organize the government of his State. Though Vice-President he was still discharging the functions of military governor of Tennessee. A popular convention, originating from his recommendation and assembling under his auspices, was organized at Nashville on the ninth day of January, 1865. Membership of the body was limited to those who "give an active support to the Union cause, who have never voluntarily borne arms against the Government, who have never voluntarily given aid and comfort to the enemy." The manifest purpose, indeed the proclaimed intention, was to re-organize the State, so as to bring all its powers distinctly and unreservedly under the control of that small minority of the population which had remained loyal to the Government of the Union. The preamble which prefaced their action cited the Declaration of Rights in the constitution of Tennessee to the effect that "all power is inherent in the people, and the people have an inalienable right to alter, reform, to abolish the Government in such manner as they may think proper." This was followed by a declaration which might well be viewed as a non sequitur. "Therefore," said the convention, "a portion of the citizens of the State of Tennessee and of the United States of America in convention assembled do propound the following amendments to the Constitution, which when ratified by the sovereign, loyal people shall be and constitute a part of the permanent constitution of the State of Tennessee."

It was very easy by strict logic to state grave objections to this mode of procedure. It was easy to say that "a portion of the people" did not constitute "the people" in the sense in which the phrase was used in the constitution of Tennessee. It was easy to charge that the proposed mode of proceeding embodied all the heresy of the Dorr Rebellion of Rhode Island in 1842-43, which had fallen under the animadversion of every department of the United States Government. But in answer to such objections, Governor Johnson, and those who co-operated with him, could urge that the objections and cavilings of all critics seemed to ignore the controlling fact that they were acting in a time of war, and were pursuing the only course by which the power of civil government in Tennessee could be brought to the aid of the military power of the National Government. Tennessee, as Johnson bluntly maintained, could only be organized and controlled as a State in the Union by that portion of her citizens who acknowledged their allegiance to the Government of the Union.

Under this theory of procedure the popular convention proposed an amendment to the State constitution "forever abolishing and prohibiting slavery in the State," and further declaring that "the Legislature shall make no law recognizing the right of property in man." The convention took several other important steps, annulling in whole and in detail all the legislation which under Confederate rule had made the State a guilty participant in the rebellion. Thus was swept away the ordinance of Secession, and the State debt created in aid of the war against the Union. All these proceedings were submitted to a popular vote on the 22d of February, and were ratified by an affirmative vote of 25,293 against a negative vote of 48. The total vote of the State at the Presidential election of 1860 was 145,333. Mr. Lincoln's requirement of one-tenth of that number was abundantly complied with by the vote on the questions submitted to the popular decision. Small as was the ratio of avowed Union men at the time, Mr. Johnson argued with much confidence that Tennessee, freed from coercion, would adhere to the Union by a large majority of her total vote. His faith was based on the fact that when the plain and direct question of Union or Disunion was submitted to the people in the winter of 1860-61, the vote for the former was 91,813, and for the latter only 24,749.

Under this new order of things, William G. Brownlow, better known to the world by his soubriquet of "Parson" Brownlow, was chosen governor without opposition on the fourth day of March, 1865, the day of Mr. Lincoln's second inauguration. The new Legislature met at Nashville a month later, on the 3d of April, and on the 5th ratified the Thirteenth Amendment; thus adding the abolition of slavery by National authority to that already decreed by the State. The Legislature completed its work by electing two consistent Union men, David T. Patterson and Joseph S. Fowler, to the United-States Senate. The framework of the new Government was thus completed and in operation before the death of Mr. Lincoln. It had not received the recognition and approval of the National Government in any specific or direct manner. But Andrew Johnson was inaugurated as Vice-President on the 4th of March, and the only form of government left in Tennessee was that of which Brownlow was the acknowledged head. The crucial test would come when the senators and representatives, elected under the Brownlow government, should apply for their seats in Congress.

The course pursued in Tennessee afforded a significant index to Mr. Johnson's conception of what was deemed necessary to prepare a State that had been in rebellion, for its full rehabilitation as a member of the Federal Union. His position was rendered still more pronounced and positive by his declarations in the remarkable speech delivered by him when he took the oath of office as Vice-President: "Before I conclude this brief Inaugural address in the presence of this audience, . . . I desire to proclaim that Tennessee, whose representative I have been, is free. She has bent the tyrant's rod, she has broken the yoke of slavery, she stands to-day redeemed. She waited not for the exercise of power by Congress; it was her own act; and she is now as loyal, Mr. Attorney-General, as the State from which you come. It is the doctrine of the Federal Constitution that no State can go out of this Union. Thank God, Tennessee has never been out of the Union! It is true the operations of her government were for a time interrupted; there was an interregnum; but she is in the Union, and I am her representative. This day (March 4, 1865) she elects her Governor and her Legislature, which will be convened on the first Monday of April, and her senators and representatives will soon mingle with those of her sister States; and who shall gainsay it, for the Constitution provides that to every State shall be guaranteed a Republican form of government."

The very positive declaration by Mr. Johnson that "Tennessee has never been out of the Union" indicated the side he would take in a pending controversy which was waxing warm between the disputants. Whether the act of Secession was void ab initio and really left the State still a member of the Union, or whether it did, however wrongfully, carry the State out of the Union as claimed by those engaged in the Rebellion, was one of the purely abstract political questions concerning which men will argue without ceasing,—reaching no conclusion because there is no conclusion to be reached. Both propositions were at the time affirmed and denied with all the earnestness, indeed with all the temper, which distinguished the mediæval theologians upon points of doctrine once regarded as essential to salvation, but the very meaning of which is scarcely comprehended by modern ecclesiastics. With his mental acumen and with his never-failing common sense, Mr. Lincoln declined to take part in the discussion. In his last public speech he treated this question with admirable perspicuity, and with his wonted felicity of homely illustration: "I have been shown what is supposed to be an able letter," said he, "in which the writer expresses regret that my mind has not seemed to be definitely fixed upon the question whether the seceded States, so called, are in the Union or out of it. . . . It would perhaps add astonishment to his regret to learn that as it appears to me, that question has not been and is not a practically material one, and that any discussion of it could have no effect other than the mischievous one of dividing friends. As yet, whatever it may become, the question is bad as the basis of a controversy—a merely pernicious abstraction. We all agree that the seceded States, so called, are out of their proper practical relation with the Union, and that the sole object of the Government is to get them back into their proper practical relation. I believe it is easier to do this without deciding or even considering whether those States have ever been out of the Union. The States finding themselves once more at home, it would seem immaterial to me to inquire whether they had ever been abroad."

The essential difference between the upholders and the opponents of this theory was not shown in the practical treatment proposed for the States which had been in rebellion. It was in truth a difference only in degree. The stoutest defenders of the dogma that the States had not been out of the Union did not propose to permit the re-organization of their local governments except upon conditions prescribed by the National authority, and did not assert the rightfulness of their claims to representation in the Senate and House until the prescribed conditions were complied with. Those who protested against the dogma did not assert the right to keep the States out of the Union, but only claimed an unrestricted power to exact as the prerequisite of re-admission such conditions as might be deemed essential to the public safety—especially such as would most surely prevent another rebellion against National authority. The two schools in short marked the dividing line between the radical and the conservative. Perhaps another feature might still more clearly indicate the difference between the two. The conservatives thought the process of reconstruction could be accomplished under the sole authority and direction of the Executive Department of the Government, while the radicals held it to be a matter for the exclusive determination of Congress, affirming that the President's right of intervention was limited to approval or veto of the bills which Congress should send to him, and to the execution of all laws which should be constitutionally enacted.

An extra session of Congress seemed specially desirable at the time, and had one been summoned by the President, many of the troubles which subsequently resulted might have been averted. The propriety of ordering an earlier assemblage of the Thirty-ninth Congress than that already provided by the Constitution had been discussed to a very considerable extent among the members of the Thirty-eighth, as its final adjournment (March 3, 1865) approached. The rebellion seemed tottering to its fall, and it was the belief of many of the leading men both of the Senate and the House, that it might be a special advantage if Congress should be in session when the final surrender of the Confederate forces should be made. But the prevailing opinion was in favor of leaving the matter to Mr. Lincoln's discretion. It was felt by the members that if the situation should demand the presence of Congress, Mr. Lincoln would promptly issue his proclamation, and if the situation should not demand it, the presence of Congress might prove hurtful, and would certainly not be helpful. The calamity of Mr. Lincoln's death had never entered into the public mind, and therefore no provision was made with any view of its remotest possibility.

Mr. Johnson, however, is scarcely to be blamed for not calling an extra session of Congress. Aside from his confidence in his own power to deal with the problems before him, he shared, no doubt, in the general dislike which Presidents in recent years have shown for extra sessions. Indeed, to the Executive Department of the Government, Congress, even in its regular sessions, is a guest whose coming is not welcomed with half the heartiness with which its departure is speeded. But an extra session, especially at the beginning of an Administration, is looked upon with almost superstitious aversion, and is always to be avoided if possible. It was remembered that all the woes of the elder Adams' Administration, all the intrigues which the choleric President fancied that Hamilton was carrying on against him in connection with our French difficulties, had their origin in the extra session of May, 1797. It was remembered also that the unpopularity which attached to the Presidency of Mr. Madison was connected with the two extra sessions which his timid Administration was perhaps too ready to assemble. So deeply was the hostility to extra sessions implanted in the minds of political leaders by the misfortunes of Adams and Madison that another was not called for a quarter of a century. In September, 1837, Mr. Van Buren inaugurated the ill-fortune of his Administration by assembling Congress three months in advance of its regular session. John Tyler in turn never recovered from the dissensions and disasters of the extra session of May, 1841,—though it was precipitated upon him by a call issued by President Harrison. All those extra sessions except the one in Mr. Van Buren's Administration had been held in May, and even in his case the proclamation summoning Congress was issued in May. No wonder, therefore, that ill-luck came to be associated with that month. When the necessity of assembling Congress was forced upon Mr. Lincoln by the firing on Sumter, Mr. Seward warned him that in any event he must not have the session begin in May. It must be confessed therefore that the precedents were sufficiently alarming to influence Mr. Johnson against an extra session. Nor was there any popular demand for it because the President's policy had not as yet portended trouble or strife in the ranks of the Republican party.


Declining to seek the advice of Congress in the embarrassments of his position, President Johnson necessarily subjected himself to the counsel and influence of his Cabinet. He had inherited from Mr. Lincoln an organization of the Executive Department which, with the possible exception of Mr. Seward, was personally agreeable to him and politically trusted by him. He dreaded the effect of changing it, and declined upon his accession to make room for some eminent men who by long personal association and by identity of views on public questions would naturally be selected as his advisers. He had not forgotten the experience and the fate of the chief magistrates who like himself had been promoted from the Vice-Presidency. He instinctively wished to avoid their mistakes and to leave behind him an administration which should not in after years be remembered for its faults, its blunders, its misfortunes.

The Federal Government had existed fifty-two years before it encountered the calamity of a President's death. The effect which such an event would produce upon the personnel of the Government and upon the partisan aspects of the Administration was not therefore known prior to 1841. The Vice-President in previous years had not always been on good terms with the President. In proportion to his rank there was no officer of the Government who exercised so little influence. His most honorable function—that of presiding over the Senate—was purely ceremonial, and carried with it no attribute of power except in those rare cases when the vote of the Senate was tied—a contingency more apt to embarrass than to promote his political interests. He was, of course, neither sought nor feared by the crowds who besieged the President. He was therefore not unnaturally thrown into a sort of antagonism with the Administration—an antagonism sure to be stimulated by the coterie who, disappointed in efforts to secure favor with the President, were disposed to take refuge in the Cave of Adullam, where from chagrin and sheer vexation the Vice-President had too frequently been found. The class of disappointed men who gathered around the Vice-President held a political relation not unlike that of the class who in England have on several occasions formed the Prince of Wales' party—composed of malcontents of the opposition, who were on the worst possible terms with the Ministry.

John Tyler, as President Johnson well knew from personal observation, began his Executive career with an apparent intention of following in the footsteps of the lamented Harrison, to which course he had been indeed been enjoined by the dying President in words of the most solemn import. Tyler gave assurances to his Cabinet that he desired them to retain their places. But the suggestion—which he was too ready to adopt—was soon made, that he would earn no personal fame by submissively continuing in the pathway marked out by another. With this uneasiness implanted in his mind, it was impossible that he should retain a Cabinet in whose original selection he had no part, and whose presence was the symbol of a political subordination which constantly fretted him. A cause of difference was soon found; difference led to irritation, irritation to open quarrel, and quarrel ended in a dissolution of the Cabinet five months after Mr. Tyler's accession to the Executive chair. The dispute was then transferred to his party, and grew more angry day by day until Tyler was driven for political shelter and support to the Democratic Party, which had opposed his election.

Mr. Fillmore had not been on good terms with General Taylor's Administration, and when he succeeded to the Presidency he made haste to part with the illustrious Cabinet he found in power. He accepted their resignations at once, and selected heads of departments personally agreeable to himself and in political harmony with his views. He did not desert his party, but he passed over from the anti-slavery to the pro-slavery wing, defeated the policy of his predecessor, secured the enactment of the Fugitive-slave Law, and neutralized all efforts to prohibit the introduction of slavery in the Territories. In this course Mr. Fillmore had the support of the great leaders of the party, Mr. Clay and Mr. Webster, but he disregarded the young Whigs who under the lead of Mr. Seward were proclaiming a new political dispensation in harmony with the advancing public opinion of the world. Mr. Fillmore did not leave his party, but he failed to retain the respect and confidence of the great mass of Northern Whigs; and his administration came to an end in coldness and gloom for himself, and with the defeat, and practically the destruction, of the party which had chosen him to his high place four years before. His faithlessness to General Scott gave to the Democratic candidate an almost unparalleled victory. Scott encountered defeat. Fillmore barely escaped dishonor.

With the ill-fortune of these predecessors fresh in his memory, Mr. Johnson evidently set out with the full intention not merely of retaining the Cabinet of his predecessor, not merely of co-operating with the party which elected him, but of espousing the principles of its radical, progressive, energetic section. A Southern man, he undoubtedly aspired to lead and control Northern opinion—the opinion which had displayed the moral courage necessary to the prolonged anti-slavery struggle in Congress, and had exhibited the physical courage to accept the gage of battle and prosecute a gigantic war in support of deep-rooted convictions. The speeches of the President had defined his position, and the Nation awaited the series of measures with which he would inaugurate his policy. Public interest in the subject would indeed have caused greater impatience if public attention had not in every Northern State been intently occupied in welcoming to their homes the troops, who in thinned ranks and with battered standards were about to close their military career and resume the duties of peaceful citizens.

The personal character and political bias of the members of the Cabinet, and especially their opinions respecting the policy which the President had indicated, became therefore a matter of controlling importance. The Cabinet had undergone many changes since its original organization in March, 1861. The substitution of Mr. Stanton for Mr. Cameron and of Mr. Fessenden for Mr. Chase has already been noticed; but on the day of Mr. Lincoln's second inauguration Mr. Fessenden returned to the Senate, resuming the seat which he had left the July previous, and which had in the interim been filled by Nathan A. Farwell, an experienced ship-builder and ship-master of Maine, who possessed an extraordinarily accurate knowledge of the commercial history of the country. Mr. Farwell is still living, vigorous in health and in intellect.

When Mr. Fessenden left the Treasury, he was succeeded by Hugh McCulloch, whose valuable service as Comptroller of the Currency had secured for him the promotion with which Mr. Lincoln now honored him. Mr. McCulloch was a native of Maine, who had gone to the West in his early manhood, and had earned a strong position as a business man in his Indiana home. He was a descendant of that small but prolific colony of Scotch and Scotch-Irish who had settled in northern New England, and whose blood has enriched all who have had the good fortune to inherit it. Mr. McCulloch was a devoted Whig, and was so loyal to the Union that during the war he could do nothing else than give his influence to the Republican party. But he was hostile to the creed of the Abolitionist, was conservative in all his modes of thought, and wished the Union restored quite regardless of the fate of the negro. He believed that unwise discussion of the slavery question had brought our troubles upon us, and that it would be inexcusable to continue an agitation which portended trouble in another form. The policy which he desired to see adopted was that which should restore the Rebel States to their old relations with the Union upon the freest possible conditions and within the shortest possible time.

Mr. Stanton, though originally a pro-slavery Democrat, had by the progress of the war been converted to the creed of the most radical wing of the Republican party. The aggressive movement, the denunciatory declarations made by Mr. Johnson against the "rebels" and "traitors" of the South, immediately after his accession to the Presidency, were heartily re-echoed by Mr. Stanton, who looked forward with entire satisfaction to the vigorous policy so vigorously proclaimed. Mr. Stanton's tendency in this direction had been strengthened by the intolerance and hatred of his old Democratic friends,—of whom Judge Black was a type,—who lost no opportunity to denounce him as a renegade to his party, as one who had been induced by place to forswear his old creed of State rights. Such hostility should, however, be accounted a crown of honor to Mr. Stanton. He certainly came to the public service with patriotic and not with sordid motives, surrendering a most brilliant position at the bar, and with it the emolument of which in the absence of accumulated wealth his family was in daily need.

Mr. Stanton's observation and wide experience through the years of the war had taught him to distrust the Southern leaders. Now that they had been subdued by force, yielding at the point of the bayonet when they could no longer resist, he did not believe that they should be regarded as returning prodigals to be embraced and wept over, for whom fatted calves should be killed, and who should be welcomed at once to the best in their father's house. He thought rather that works meet for repentance should be shown by these offenders against the law both of God and man, that they should be held to account in some form for the peril with which they had menaced the Nation, and for the agony they had inflicted upon her loyal sons. Mr. Stanton was therefore, by every impulse of his heart and by every conviction of his mind, favorable to the policy which the President had indicated, if not indeed assured, to the people.

Gideon Welles of Connecticut, Secretary of the Navy, was a member of the original Cabinet of Mr. Lincoln. He belonged by habit of thought and former affiliation to the Democratic party: he had united with the Republicans solely upon the slavery issue. With the destruction of slavery his sympathies with the party were lessened. The industrial policy which the Republicans had adopted during the war was distasteful to Mr. Welles in time of peace. He had been a bureau-officer in the Navy Department during Mr. Polk's administration, and believed in the wisdom of the tariff of 1846, to which he gave the support of his pen. He possessed a strong instinct, but manifested little warmth of feeling or personal attachment to any one. He was a man of high character, but full of prejudices and a good hater. He wrote well, but was disposed to dip his pen in gall. He was careful as to matters of fact, fortified his memory by an accurate diary, and had an innate love of controversy. With slavery abolished, the tendency of his mind was towards a lenient policy in Southern matters and for the promptest mode of reconstruction.

James Harlan of Iowa was Secretary of the Interior. Caleb B. Smith, who was a member of Mr. Lincoln's original Cabinet, had resigned in order to accept a Federal judgeship in Indiana, and his able assistant-secretary, John P. Usher, had been promoted to the head of the department, fulfilling his trust to Mr. Lincoln's satisfaction. He in turn resigned, and was succeeded by Mr. Harlan who was nominated by Mr. Lincoln, and unanimously confirmed by the Senate on the 9th of March—the confirmation to take effect on the 15th of May. It was an exceptional form of appointment; but when the date was reached, President Johnson insisted that the new Secretary should assume the duties of the office. Mr. Harlan was a well-educated man with strong natural parts. He had shown admirable capacity for public affairs in various positions in Iowa, and had served that State efficiently in the Senate of the United States, which he entered March 4, 1855, at thirty-five years of age. He was a pronounced and unflinching Republican, ready from personal attachment to Mr. Lincoln to follow him in any public policy, and while somewhat distrustful of Johnson was undoubtedly gratified and re-assured by the tone of his speeches. Mr. Harlan was not hasty in judgment but thoughtful and reflective, and aimed always to be just in his conclusions.

William Dennison of Ohio was Postmaster-General. He had succeeded Montgomery Blair during the Presidential campaign of 1864, when that officer's resignation was asked by the President as a means of appeasing the unreasonable and unreasoning body of men who had attempted to divide the Republican party at the height of the war by the nomination of General Frémont as a candidate for the Presidency. Mr. Dennison was an amiable man of high principles and just intentions, but he was not endowed with executive force or the qualities of a leader. He had secured the warm friendship of Mr. Lincoln during his service as war governor of Ohio. His selection of president of the convention that nominated Mr. Lincoln a second time was due to the zeal and the warmth with which he had supported the National Administration. His sympathies and associations were all with the strong Republican element of the country, and he was sure to be firm and exacting in his views of a reconstruction policy.

James Speed was Attorney-General. He had succeeded Edward Bates in December, 1864, and was selected for reasons which were partly personal, partly public. He was a Kentuckian and a Clay Whig, two points in his history which strongly attracted the favor of Mr. Lincoln. But more than all, he was the brother of Joshua Speed, with whom in young manhood, if not indeed in boyhood, Mr. Lincoln had been closely associated in Illinois. Of most kindly and generous nature, Mr. Lincoln was slow to acquire intimacies, and had few close friendships. But those who knew him well cannot fail to remember the kindling eye, the warmth of expression, the depth of personal interest and attachment with which he always spoke of "Josh Speed," and the almost boyish fervor with which he related incidents and anecdotes of their early association. James Speed, to whom Mr. Lincoln had been thus drawn, was a highly respectable lawyer, and was altogether a fit man to succeed Mr. Bates as the Border-State member of the Cabinet. As a Southern man, he was expected to favor a lenient policy towards his offending brethren, and was supposed to look coldly upon much that was implied in the President's declarations.

Of the six Cabinet ministers thus enumerated, it will be seen that three—Mr. McCulloch, Mr. Welles, and Mr. Speed—might be regarded as favoring a conservative plan of reconstruction, and three—Mr. Stanton, Mr. Harlan, and Mr. Dennison—a radical plan. These positions were thus assigned from circumstantial evidence rather than from direct declarations of the gentlemen themselves. At a time so critical, responsible officials were naturally reserved and cautious in the expression of opinions. But it was instinctively perceived by close observers of public events, that in correctly estimating the influence of the Cabinet upon the policy of President Johnson, great consideration must be given to the attitude which Mr. Seward might assume. If his strength should go with Mr. Stanton and the radical wing of the Cabinet, the President would be readily and completely confirmed in the line of policy frequently forecast in his speeches. If on the other hand, Mr. Seward should follow the generally anticipated course, and take ground against the harsh and vengeful spirit indicated by the President, a struggle would ensue, of which the issue would be doubtful.

During the period in which Mr. Johnson had been copiously illustrating the guilt of treason, and avowing his intention to punish traitors with the severest penalty known to the law, Mr. Seward lay wounded and helpless. His injuries, received at the hands of the assassin, Payne, at almost the same moment in which Booth fired his fatal shot at the President, were at first considered mortal. The murderous assault came only a short time after a severe injury Mr. Seward had received in consequence of being violently thrown from his carriage. The shock to his nervous system from the attack of the assassin was so great that his physicians did not for some days permit him to learn the fate of the President, or even to know that his own son, Mr. Frederick Seward, who had been his faithful and able assistant at the State Department, was also one of the victims of the plot of assassination, and was lying, as it was feared, and indeed generally believed, at the point of death.

To the joy no less than to the surprise of the entire country Mr. Seward rallied and regained his strength very rapidly. He was wounded on the night of the 14th of April. By the first of May he had so far recovered as to be informed somewhat minutely of the sorrowful situation. By the tenth of the month he received visits from the President and his fellow-members of the Cabinet, and conferred with them on the engrossing questions that pressed upon the Administration. On the 20th he repaired to the Department of State—which then occupied the present site of the north front of the Treasury building—and held conference with foreign ministers, especially with the minister of France, touching the complication in Mexico. From that time onward, though still weak, and bowed down with grief by the death of Mr. Lincoln and the possibly impeding death of one still nearer to him, Mr. Seward gave close attention to public affairs. The need of action and of energy so pressed upon him that he found no time to utter lamentation, none to indulge even in the most sacred personal grief. The heroic element of the man was displayed at its best. His moral strength, his mental fibre, his wiry constitution were all tested to their utmost, and no doubt to the serious shortening of his days.

Mr. Seward feared that the country was in danger of suffering very seriously from a possible, if not indeed probable, mistake of the Administration. In the creed of his own statesmanship, there was no article that comprehended revenge as a just motive for action. No man had suffered more of personal obloquy from the South than he, no one living had received deeper personal injury from the demoniac spirit, the wicked inspiration of the rebellion. But he did not for one moment permit those causes which would have powerfully influenced lower natures to control his action, or even to extort a single word of passionate resentment.

It had been Mr. Seward's fortune at different epochs in the country's history and in different phases of his own career to incur the harshest censure from political associates. He had been accused at one time of urging the anti-slavery cause so far as to endanger the Union; and, when the Union was endangered, he was accused of being willing to sacrifice the anti-slavery cause to save it. "The American people," said he in February, 1861, "have in our day two great interests,—one the ascendency of freedom, the other the integrity of the Union. The slavery interest has derived its whole political power from bringing the latter object into antagonism with the former. Twelve years ago Freedom was in danger, and the Union was not. . . . To-day practically Freedom is not in danger, and the Union is. With the loss of the Union, all would be lost." Mr. Seward, influenced by this belief, went farther in the direction of conciliation for the avoidance of war than his associates were willing to follow. His words gave offense to some who had long been his most earnest supporters,—a fact thus pointedly recognized by him: "I speak now singly for Union, striving if possible to save it peaceably; if not possible, then to cast the responsibility upon the party of slavery. For this singleness of speech, I am suspected of infidelity to freedom." But Mr. Seward held his course firmly, and waited for vindication as men of rectitude and true greatness can afford to wait. "I refer myself not to the men of my time, but to the judgment of history."

A similar dedication of himself to the judgment of history was in Mr. Seward's opinion again demanded of him. He was firmly persuaded that the wisest plan of reconstruction was the one which would be speediest; that for the sake of impressing the world with the strength and the marvelous power of self-government, with its Law, its Order, its Peace, we should at the earliest possible moment have every State restored to its normal relations with the Union. He did not believe that guarantee of any kind beyond an oath of renewed loyalty was needful. He was willing to place implicit faith in the coercive power of self-interest operating upon the men lately in rebellion. He agreed neither with the President's proclaimed policy of blood, nor with that held by the vast majority of his own political associates, which, avoiding the rigor of personal punishment, sought by exclusion from political honor and emolument to administer wholesome discipline to the men who had brought peril to the Government and suffering to the people.

Mr. Seward was undoubtedly influenced in no small degree in these conclusions by the habit of mind he had acquired in conducting the foreign affairs of the Government during the period of the war. He had keenly felt the reproach, the taunt, and the open or ill-disguised satisfaction reflected by a large number of the public men of Europe that we were no longer and could never again be "the United States of America." He felt that the experiment of Imperial Government in Mexico, then in progress under Maximilian, was a disturbing element, and tended by possible conflicts on this continent to embroil us with at least two great European powers. The defense against that unwelcome alternative, and the defense against its evil result, if it should come, would in his judgment be found in a completely restored Union—with the National Government supreme, and all its parts working in harmony and in strength. He believed moreover that the legislation which should affect the South, now that peace had returned, should be shared by representatives of that section, and that as such participation must at last come if we were to have a restored Republic, the wisest policy was to concede it at once, and not nurture by delay a new form of discontent, and induce by withholding confidence a new phase of distrust and disobedience among the Southern people.

Entertaining these views, and deeply impressed with the importance of incorporating them in the plan of reconstruction, Mr. Seward rose from his sick-bed, pale, emaciated, and sorrowful, to persuade his associates in the Government, of the wisdom and necessity of adopting them. He had undoubtedly a hard task with the President. The two men were naturally antagonistic on so many points that agreement and cordiality seemed impossible upon a question in regard to which they held views diametrically opposite. Mr. Johnson inherited all his political principles from the Democratic party. He had been filled with an intense hatred of the Whigs and with an almost superstitious dread of the Federalists. Mr. Seward and he were therefore political antipodes. The one was the eulogist and follower of John Quincy Adams, the other was a sincere believer in the creed and the measures of Andrew Jackson. As Adams and Jackson had agreed only in devotion to the Union, so now Seward and Johnson seemed to have no other principle of Government in common, and that principle was equally strong in each.

Not only was this obstacle of inherent difference of political view in Mr. Seward's way, but he also encountered an intense personal prejudice which even while he was disabled by wounds had been insinuated into the President's mind. Nor had Mr. Seward any force of popularity at the time with the Republican party of the country. It had fallen to his lot during the four eventful years of the war to assume unpleasant responsibilities and to perform ungracious acts. He was not at the head of a department where popular applause awaited his ablest work, or where popular attention was attracted by the most brilliant triumphs of his diplomatic correspondence.

The successful placing of a vast loan among the people redounded everywhere to the praise of Mr. Chase. The gaining of a victory in the field reflected credit upon Mr. Stanton. But a series of diplomatic papers far outreaching in scope and grasp those of any statesman or publicist with whom he was in correspondence, recalling in skill the best efforts of Talleyrand, and in spirit the loftiest ideals of Jefferson, did not advance the popularity of Mr. Seward because the field of his achievements and triumphs was not one in which the masses of the people took an active interest. The most difficult and in many cases the most successful of diplomatic work is necessarily confidential for long periods. In legislative halls, discussion on questions of interest enlists public attention and holds the popular mind in suspense before the fate of the measure is decided. But the dispatches and arguments of a minister of Foreign Affairs, which may lead to results of great consequence to his country, are not gazetted till long after they have borne their fruit; and the public rejoicing in the conclusion, seldom turns to examine the toilsome process by which it was attained. It was from the comparative isolation of the Department of State, four years removed from active contact with the people, that Mr. Seward now assumed the task of controlling the new President and directing his policy on the weightiest question of his Administration.

Those who thoroughly knew Mr. Seward through all the stages of his political career were aware that, great as he was in public speech, in the Senate, at the Bar, before popular assemblies, cogent and powerful as he had so often proved with his pen, his one peculiar gift, greater perhaps than any other with which he was endowed, was his faculty, in personal intercourse with one man or with a small number of men, of enforcing his own views and taking captive his hearers. With the President alone, or with a body no larger than a Cabinet, where the conferences and discussion are informal and conversational, Mr. Seward shone with remarkable brilliancy and with power unsurpassed. He possessed a characteristic rare among men who have been long accustomed to lead,—he was a good listener. He gave deferential attention to remarks addressed to him, paid the graceful and insinuating compliment of seeming much impressed, and offered the delicate flattery, when he came to reply, of repeating the argument of his opponent in phrase far more affluent and eloquent than that in which it was originally stated.

In his final summing up of the case, when those with whom he was conferring were, in Dr. Johnson's phrase, "talked out," Mr. Seward carried all before him. His logic was clear and true, his illustration both copious and felicitous, his rapid citation of historical precedents surprising even to those who thought they had themselves exhausted the subject. His temper was too amiable and serene for stinging wit or biting sarcasm, but he had a playful humor which kept the minds of his hearers in that receptive and compliant state which disposed them the more readily to give full and generous consideration to all the strong parts of his argument. It might well indeed be said of Mr. Seward as Mr. Webster said of Samuel Dexter, "The earnestness of his convictions wrought conviction in others. One was convinced and believed and assented because it was gratifying and delightful to think and feel and believe in unison with an intellect of such evident superiority."

Equipped with these rare endowments, it is not strange that Mr. Seward made a deep impression upon the mind of the President. In conflicts of opinion the superior mind, the subtle address, the fixed purpose, the gentle yet strong will, must in the end prevail. Mr. Seward gave to the President the most luminous exposition of his own views, warm, generous, patriotic in tone. He set before him the glory of an Administration which should completely re-establish the union of the States, and re-unite the hearts of the people, now estranged by civil conflict. He impressed him with the danger of delay to the Republic and with the discredit which would attach to himself if he should leave to another President the grateful task of reconciliation. He pictured to him the National Constellation no longer obscured but with every star in its orbit, all revolving in harmony, and once more shining with a brilliancy undimmed by the smallest cloud in the political heavens.

By his arguments and his eloquence Mr. Seward completely captivated the President. He effectually persuaded him that a policy of anger and hate and vengeance could lead only to evil results; that the one supreme demand of the country was confidence and repose; that the ends of justice could be reached by methods and measures altogether consistent with mercy. The President was gradually influenced by Mr. Seward's arguments, though their whole tenor was against his strongest predilections and against his pronounced and public committals to a policy directly the reverse of that to which he was now, almost imperceptibly to himself, yielding assent. The man who had in April avowed himself in favor of "the halter for intelligent, influential traitors," who passionately declared during the interval between the fall of Richmond and the death of Mr. Lincoln that "traitors should be arrested, tried, convicted, and hanged," was now about to proclaim a policy of reconstruction without attempting the indictment of even one traitor, or issuing a warrant for the arrest of a single participant in the Rebellion aside from those suspected of personal crime in connection with the noted conspiracy of assassination.

In this serious struggle with the President, Mr. Seward's influence was supplemented and enhanced by the timely and artful interposition of clever men from the South. A large class in that section quickly perceived the amelioration of the President's feelings, and they used every judicious effort to forward and develop it. They were ready to forget all the hard words of Johnson, and to forgive all his harsh acts, for the great end to be gained to their States and their people by turning him aside from his proclaimed policy of punishing a great number of rebels with the utmost severity of the law. Johnson's wrath was evidently appeased by the complaisance shown by leading men of the South. He was not especially open to flattery, but it was noticed that words of commendation from his native section seemed peculiarly pleasing to him.

The tendency of his mind under such influences was perhaps not unnatural. It is a common instinct of mankind to covet in an especial degree the good will of the community among whom the years of childhood and boyhood are spent. Applause from old friends and neighbors is the most grateful that ever reaches human ears. When Washington's renown filled two continents, he was still sensitive respecting his popularity among the freeholders of Virginia. When Bonaparte had kingdoms and empires at his feet, he was jealous of his fame with the untamed spirits of Corsica, where among the veterans of Paoli he had received the fiery inspiration of war. The boundless admiration and gratitude of American never compensated Lafayette for the failure of his career in France. This instinct had its full sway over Johnson. It was not in the order of nature that he should esteem his popularity among Northern men, to whom he was a stranger, as highly as he would esteem it among the men of the South, with whom he had been associated during the whole of his career. In that section he was born. There he had acquired the fame which brought him national honors, and after his public service should end he looked forward to a peaceful close of life in the beautiful land which had always been his home.

Still another influence wrought powerfully on the President's mind. He had inherited poverty in a community where during the slave system riches were especially envied and honored. He had been reared in the lower walks of life among a people peculiarly given to arbitrary social distinction and to aristocratic pretensions as positive and tenacious as they were often ill-founded and unsubstantial. From the ranks of the rich and the aristocratic in the South, Johnson had always been excluded. Even when he was governor of his State or a senator of the United States, he found himself socially inferior to many whom he excelled in intellect and character. His sentiments were regarded as hostile to slavery, and to be hostile to slavery was to fall inevitably under the ban in any part of the South for the fifty years preceding the war. His political strength was with the non-slave-holding white population of Tennessee which was vastly larger than the slave-holding population, the proportion indeed being twenty-seven to one. With these a "good fellow" ranked all the higher for not possessing the graces or, as they would term them, the "airs" of society.

As Mr. Johnson grew in public favor and increased in reputation, as his talents were admitted and his power in debate appreciated, he became eager to compel recognition from those who had successfully proscribed him. A man who is born to social equality with the best of his community, and accustomed in his earlier years to its enjoyment, does not feel the sting of attempted exclusion, but is rather made pleasantly conscious of the prestige which inspires the adverse effort and can look upon its bitterness in a spirit of lofty disdain. Wendell Phillips, descended from a long line of distinguished ancestry, was amused rather than disconcerted by the strenuous but futile attempts to ostracize him for the maintenance of opinions which he lived to see his native city adopt and enforce. But the feeling is far different in a man who has experienced only a galling sense of inferiority. To such a one, advancing either in fortune or in fame, social prominence seems a necessity, without which other gifts constitute only the aggravations of life.

It was therefore with a sense of exaltation that Johnson beheld as applicants for his consideration and suppliants for his mercy many of those in the South who had never recognized him as a social equal. A mind of true loftiness would not have been swayed by such a change of relative positions, but it was inevitable that a mind of Johnson's type, which if not ignoble was certainly not noble, should yield to its flattering and seductive influence. In the present attitude of the leading men of the South towards him, he saw the one triumph which sweetened his life, the one requisite which had been needed to complete his happiness. In securing the good opinion of his native South, he would attain the goal of his highest ambition, he would conquer the haughty enemy who during all the years of his public career had been able to fix upon him the bade of social inferiority.

On the 29th of May (1865), nineteen days after Mr. Seward's first interview with President Johnson, and nine days after his first visit to the State Department, two decisive steps were taken in the work of reconstruction. Both steps proceeded on the theory that every act needful for the rehabilitation of the seceded States could be accomplished by the Executive Department of the Government. This was known to be the favorite doctrine of Mr. Seward, and the President readily acquiesced in its correctness. There in nothing of which a public officer can be so easily persuaded as of the enlarged jurisdiction which pertains to his station. If the officer be of bold mind, he arrogates power for purposes of ambition; and even with timid men power is often assumed as a measure of protection and defense. Mr. Johnson was a man of unquestioned courage, and was never afraid to assume personal and official responsibility when circumstances justified and demanded it. Mr. Seward had therefore no difficulty in persuading him that he possessed, as President, every power needful to accomplish the complete reconstruction of the rebellious States.

The first of these important acts of reconstruction, upon the expediency of which the President and Mr. Seward had agreed, was the issuing of a Proclamation of Amnesty and Pardon to "all persons who have directly or indirectly participated in the existing Rebellion" upon the condition that such persons should take and subscribe an oath —to be registered for permanent preservation—solemnly declaring that henceforth they would "faithfully support, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States and the union of the States thereunder;" and that they would also "abide by and faithfully support all laws and proclamation which have been made during the existing Rebellion, with reference to the emancipation of slaves." It was the first official paper which Mr. Seward attested as Secretary of State under President Johnson. He undoubtedly intended to signalize his return to health and his resumption of official duty by public participation in an act which he regarded as one of wisdom and mercy —an act which was wise because merciful.

The general declaration of amnesty was somewhat narrowed in its scope by the enumeration, at the end of the proclamation, of certain classes which were excepted from its benefit. In naming these classes a keen discrimination had been made as to the character and degree of guilt on the part of those who had participated in the Rebellion.

—First, "All diplomatic officers and foreign agents of the Confederate Government" were excluded. Their offense was ranked high because of their efforts to embroil us with other nations.

—Second, "All who left judicial stations under the United States to aid the Rebellion." They were held to be specially culpable because they had been highly honored by their Government, and because they could not, like many, plead in excuse the excitement and antagonisms which spring from an active participation in political affairs.

—Third, "All military and naval officers of the Confederacy above the rank of colonel in the army or lieutenant in the navy." The men who actually bore arms were, of course, the chief offenders; but holding officers only of high grade accountable, was intended as an act of marked and significant leniency to the multitude of the rank and file.

—Fourth, "All who left seats in the Congress of the United States to join the Rebellion." These should, indeed, have been first named, for they, above all other men, fomented the Rebellion in its early stages.

—Fifth, "All who resigned, or tendered resignations, in the Army or
Navy of the United States to evade duty in resisting the Rebellion."
These men were even more culpable than those who joined the Rebellion.
They were not openly traitors, but were popularly and significantly
termed "sneaks."

—Sixth, "All who have been engaged in treating otherwise than as lawful prisoners of war, persons found in the United-States service as officers, soldiers, or seamen." This was specially directed against those who had maltreated negro troops and attempted, by personal cruelty, to frighten them from the National service.

—Seventh, "All persons who have been, or are, absentees from the United States for the purpose of aiding the Rebellion." The men who had misled public opinion in England, and who hovered along the Canadian border during the war, concocting schemes for burning Northern cities, and for spreading the infection of yellow-fever and the plague of small-pox in the loyal States, were especially aimed at in this exclusion.

—Eighth, "All officers in the rebel service who had been educated at the United-States Military or Naval Academy." These men had received the bounty of the Government, shared its confidence, and were under peculiar obligation to defend it.

—Ninth, "All men who held the pretended offices of governors of States in insurrection against the United States." As the civil war had for its basis the dogma of State-rights, the chief executive officers of States represented in an especial manner the guilt of the Rebellion.

—Tenth, "All persons who left their homes within the jurisdiction and protection of the United States, and passed beyond the Federal military lines into the pretended Confederate States for the purpose of aiding the Rebellion." The personal guilt of these men lay in the fact that, according to their own theory of State-rights, they were traitors. They did not adhere to the States which gave them birth, or to the States of which they were citizens.

—Eleventh, "All persons who have been engaged in the destruction of the commerce of the United States upon the high seas, and all persons who have been engaged in destroying the commerce of the United States upon the lakes and rivers that separate the British Provinces from the United States." The acts of these men were specially reprobated because they did not proceed according to the laws of war. In the popular mind they were held amenable to the charge of piracy.

—Twelfth, "All persons who, at the time when they seek to obtain amnesty and pardon, are in military, naval, or civil confinement, as prisoners of war, or persons detained for offenses of any kind either before or after conviction." Many prisoners in the custody of the Government were charged with acts of peculiar cruelty or perfidy, especially with the committal of personal outrages which did not, in any degree, affect the fortunes of the war, and were not therefore entitled to the excuse of having been the necessities of a bad cause.

—Thirteenth, "All participants in the Rebellion, the estimated value of whose taxable property is over twenty thousand dollars." The intention of this exception was to draw the line between the men who could exert influence in their respective communities, and those who were necessarily led by others. Fixing this partition between voluntary and involuntary guilt on the property line was a favorite measure with President Johnson. It met with much opposition from the loyal as well as the disloyal.

A fourteenth class was excepted, not from the benefits of the proclamation of amnesty, but from the necessity of taking the oath demanded from the other classes. Full pardon was granted, without further act on their part, to all who had taken the oath prescribed in President Lincoln's proclamation of December 8, 1863, and who had thenceforward kept and maintained the same inviolate. The status of every man in the Confederate States was thus determined and proclaimed, —a procedure which was intended to be the corner-stone of the work of reconstruction.

Standing naked and unqualified these thirteen exceptions might seem to imply a harshness of treatment inconsistent with the spirit of forgiveness and generosity upon which Mr. Seward had been insisting, and to which the President had apparently assented. The classes excepted were more numerous and far more comprehensive than those excluded from amnesty under the proclamation issued by Mr. Lincoln on the 8th of December, 1863. That proclamation not only embodied the views of Mr. Lincoln, but was approved by Mr. Seward in whole and in detail. The difference between the two proclamations was not, however, radical, and was readily reconcilable with Mr. Seward's purpose. He had indeed equalized their attributes of mercy by inducing President Johnson to insert a proviso declaring that "special application may be made to the President for pardon by any person belonging to the excepted classes," and the assurance was added that "such clemency will be liberally extended for amnesty and pardon." Applications came in great numbers from the South. In the archives of the State Department there are some twenty-four large volumes recording the pardons granted in less than nine months after the proclamation. The aggregate number is nearly fourteen thousand, and the list includes prominent men of all classes in the South, who, recognizing the fact that the Rebellion had failed, turned, as the only alternative, to the Government which had conquered and was now ready to extend a magnanimous forgiveness. Many of those sought to place themselves in harmony with the restored Union, and looked forward hopefully to the events of the future. Many others, as it must be regretfully but truthfully recorded, appeared to have no proper appreciation of the leniency extended to them. They accepted every favor with an ill grace, and showed rancorous hatred to the National Government even when they knew it only as a benefactor.

Having by the proclamation extended amnesty on the simple condition of an oath of loyalty to the Union and the Constitution, and obedience to the Decree of Emancipation, the President had established a definite and easily ascertainable constituency of white men in the South to whom the work of reconstructing civil government in the several States might be intrusted. A circular from Mr. Seward accompanied the proclamation, directing that the oath might "be taken and subscribed before any commissioned officer, civil, military, or naval, in the service of the United States, or before any civil or military officer of a loyal State or Territory, who, by the laws thereof, may be qualified to administer oaths." Every one who took the oath was entitled to a certified copy of it, as the proof of his restoration to all civil rights, and a duplicate, properly vouched, was forwarded to the State Department, to be "deposited and remain in the archives of the Government." Mr. Seward had thus adapted the simplest, most convenient, and least expensive process for the administration of the oath of loyalty. Indeed the certifying officer was almost brought to the door of every Southern household. The mercy and grace of the Government fell upon the great mass of those who had been engaged in rebellion as gently and as plenteously as the rain from heaven upon the place beneath the feet of the offenders.

With these details complete, a second step of great moment was taken by the Government on the same day (May 29). A proclamation was issued appointing William W. Holden provisional governor of the State of North Carolina, and intrusting to him, with the co-operation of the constituency provided for in the first proclamation, the important work of reconstructing civil government in the State. The proclamation made it the duty of Governor Holden "at the earliest practicable period, to prescribe such rules and regulations as may be necessary and proper for assembling a convention—composed of delegates who are loyal to the United States and no others—for the purpose of altering or amending the Constitution thereof, and with authority to exercise, within the limit of said State, all the powers necessary and proper to enable the 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 State to the guaranty of the United States therefor and its people against invasion, insurrections, and domestic violence."

It was especially provided in the proclamation that in "choosing delegates to any State Convention no person shall be qualified as an elector or eligible as a member unless he shall have previously taken the prescribed oath of allegiance, and unless he shall also possess the qualifications of a voter as defined under the Constitution and Laws of North Carolina as they existed on the 20th of May, 1861, immediately prior to the so-called ordinance of secession." Mr. Lincoln had in mind, as was shown by his letter to Governor Hahn of Louisiana, to try the experiment of negro suffrage, beginning with those who had served in the Union Army, and who could read and write; but President Johnson's plan confined the suffrage to white men, by prescribing the same qualifications as were required in North Carolina before the war. The convention that might be chosen by the voters whose qualifications were thus preliminarily defined, or the Legislature which the convention might order to meet, were empowered to prescribe the permanent qualifications of voters and the eligibility of persons to hold office under the Constitution and Laws of the State—"a power," as the President was careful to declare, "which the people of the several States composing the Federal Union have rightfully exercised from the origin of the Government to the present time."

The military commander of the Department of North Carolina and all officers and persons in the military and naval service of the United States were directed to aid and assist in carrying the proclamation into effect, and they were specially ordered to "abstain from hindering, impeding, or discouraging the loyal people in any manner whatever from the organization of a State Government as herein authorized." The several heads of the Executive Departments were directed to re-establish the entire machinery of the National Government within the limits of North Carolina. The Secretary of the Treasury was directed to nominate for appointment, collectors of customs, assessors and collectors of internal revenue, and such other officers of the Treasury Department as were authorized by law. The Postmaster-General was directed to re-establish the post-offices and postmasters. The United-States district judge was directed to hold courts in North Carolina, and the Attorney-General was ordered to "enforce the administration and jurisdiction of the Federal courts." In short, every power of the National Government in North Carolina was re-asserted, every function re-established, every duty re-assumed. In making appointments for office, it was ordered in the proclamation that "preference shall be given to qualified loyal persons residing within the districts where their respective duties are to be performed. But if suitable residents of the districts shall not be found, then persons residing in other States or districts shall be appointed."

A fortnight later, on the 13th of June, a proclamation was issued for the reconstruction of the civil government of Mississippi, and William L. Sharkey was appointed provisional governor. Four days later, on the 17th of June, a similar proclamation was issued for Georgia with James Johnson for provisional governor, and for Texas with Andrew J. Hamilton for provisional governor. On the 21st of the same month Lewis E. Parsons was appointed provisional governor of Alabama, and on the 30th Benjamin F. Perry was appointed provisional governor of South Carolina. On the 13th of July the list was completed by the appointment of William Marvin as provisional governor of Florida. The precise text of the North-Carolina proclamation, mutatis mutandis, was repeated in each one of those relating to these six States. The process was designed to be exhaustive by fully restoring every connection existing under the Constitution between the States and the National Government. Viewed merely as a theory it was perfect. The danger was that in the test of actual practice it might end like so many similar experiments in other countries. An opponent wittily characterized it as Government by diagram, accurately drawn on an Executive blackboard.

For the reconstruction of the other four States of the Confederacy different provisions were made. In Virginia Francis H. Pierpont had been made governor after the State had seceded and the State of West Virginia had been established. He was the head of the Loyal Government of Virginia, which gave its assent to the division of the State. His Government, the shell of which had been preserved after West Virginia's separate existence had been recognized by the National Government, with its temporary capital at Alexandria, was accepted by President Johnson's Administration as the legitimate Government of Virginia. All its archives, property, and effects, as was afterwards said by Thaddeus Stevens, were taken to Richmond in an ambulance. As early as the 9th of May President Johnson had issued a proclamation recognizing Mr. Pierpont as governor of the State, and assuring him that he would be "aided by the Federal Government, so far as may be necessary, in the lawful measures he may take for the extension and administration of the State Government throughout the geographical limits of said State." The same proclamation declared that "All acts and proceedings of the political, military, and civil organizations which have been in a state of insurrection and rebellion within the State of Virginia against the laws and authority of the United States are declared null and void." The proclamation further declared that any person assuming to exercise any authority in Virginia by virtue of a military of civil commission issued by Jefferson Davis, President of the so-called Confederate States, or by John Letcher, or William Smith, Governors of Virginia, "shall be deemed and taken as in rebellion against the United States, and dealt with accordingly."

A course not dissimilar to that adopted in Virginia was followed in Louisiana, Arkansas, and Tennessee. In all of them the so-called "ten per cent" governments established under Mr. Lincoln's authority were now recognized. Governor Hahn was held to be the true executive of Louisiana,—a concession all the more readily made, because, under the revised constitution of the State, the people would be called upon in the approaching autumn to choose his successor. In Arkansas also, the Government, with Isaac Murphy at its head, was now recognized; and in Tennessee the authority of William G. Brownlow as governor was promptly accepted as constitutional and regular. This Government, as already narrated, had been brought into existence by the earnest effort of Mr. Johnson in the period which had elapsed between his election and inauguration as Vice-President. The direct committal of the President to the legality of his own work was the controlling cause which led to the recognition of the Governments of the four States under consideration. But for the impossibility of disowning or in any way discrediting the existing Government of Tennessee, it is probably that the plan by which provisional governments were established in seven of the rebellious States would have been uniformly applied to the entire eleven which formed the Confederacy. The same executives would doubtless have been selected for provisional service, but there would have been evident advantage in treating all the States in precisely the same manner.

The scope and design of the President's reconstruction policy were thus made fully apparent. The work was committed to the white men of the several States, who, outside of the excepted classes, were ready to take the oath of allegiance to the Government. They were empowered to form the Convention which should shape the organic law of the State, and in that law they were authorized to establish the basis of suffrage,—a right which the President held to belong to the State, to be, indeed, inalienable from the State. It was, therefore, evident that the white men who were allowed to regain all the rights of citizenship by a mere oath of fidelity would not, in framing an organic law for the State, exclude the classes whom the President had excepted from pardon. The excluded classes had been the leaders, the commanders, the men of position, the friends and the patrons of those who, only less guilty because less influential and powerful, were now intrusted with the initial work in the re-establishment of civil Government in their respective States.

It was not a possible supposition that these men, when they assembled in convention, would exclude the entire leading class of the South, or even one member of it, from the full constitutional privileges and benefits of the civil Government they were about to re-organize. The suffrage conferred on others would, in like manner, be conferred on them: the offices of rank and emolument in the new Government would likewise be open to them, and it would thus be made evident that the President's exclusion of these classes was merely an inhibition from doing a preliminary work which others would do equally well for them. Unless, therefore, some other form of denial or exclusion should be announced,—and none other apparently was intended,—the President's policy would end in promptly handing over to the authors and designers of the Rebellion the complete control of the States whose civil power they had willfully perverted and turned against the National authority. Mr. Seward's magnanimity, his boundless confidence in human nature, had led him to believe that this was wise policy. He believed it so firmly that he had persuaded the President—against his own will and purpose —to adopt it, and to attempt its enforcement.

It soon became evident that President Johnson realized how completely he had excluded men of the colored race from any share of political power in the Southern States by his process of reconstruction. It is true that he stood loyally by the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which had been submitted to Congress before his accession to the Presidency but had not yet been ratified by the States. He used his influence, which was commanding, to induce the Southern States to accept it in good faith. But he saw, as others had seen before him, that this was not going far enough to satisfy the reasonable desire of many in the North whom he felt it necessary to conciliate. To emancipate the negro and conceded to him no possible power wherewith to protect his freedom would, in the judgment of many Northern philanthropists, prove the merest mockery of justice. This sentiment wrought on Mr. Johnson so powerfully that against his own wish he was compelled to address a circular to his provisional governors, suggesting that the elective franchise should be extended to all persons of color "who can read the Constitution of the United States, and write their names, and also to those who own real estate valued at not less than two hundred and fifty dollar, and pay taxes thereon."

In writing to Governor Sharkey of Mississippi in relation to this subject the President argued that his recommendations touching colored suffrage could be adopted "with perfect safety," and that thereby "the Southern States would be placed, with reference to free persons of color, upon the same basis with the free States." That Mr. Johnson made this recommendation simply from policy and not from any proper conception of its inherent justice is indicated by the closing paragraph in his letter to Governor Sharkey. Indeed, by imprudent language the President made an unnecessary exposure of the character of his motives, and deprived himself of much of the credit which might otherwise have belonged to him. "I hope and trust," he wrote to his Mississippi governor, "that your convention will do this, and as a consequence the Radicals, who are wild upon negro franchise, will be completely foiled in their attempt to keep the Southern States from renewing their relations to the Union by not accepting their senators and representatives."

At this period the President did not contemplate a break with the Republican party, much less a coalition with its opponents. He had the vanity to believe, or was at least under the delusion of believing that —with the exception of those whom he denominated Radicals—he could induce the party to follow him. Mr. Seward had undoubtedly influenced him to this conclusion, as the Secretary of State indulged the same hopeful anticipation himself. The President seemed to have no comprehension of the fact that with inconsiderable exceptions the entire party was composed of Radicals, men who in aim and sympathy were hostile to the purposes indicated by his policy. His own radicalism, from which Mr. Seward had succeeded in turning him, was the radicalism of revenge upon the authors of the Rebellion. The radicalism to which he now contemptuously indicated his opposition was that which looked to the broadening of human rights, to philanthropy, to charity, and to good deeds. Every intelligent Republican saw that the attempt which the President was now making with his provisional governors to secure a partial franchise to the colored man, was really only a petition to the States to act in a certain manner upon a subject over which, by his own proclamation, their power of control was declared to be absolute. With the prejudices which inspired the South,—prejudices made still more intense by the victory of the Union,—it was altogether certain that the Southern Conventions would not extend the elective franchise or civil right of any kind to the colored men of any class. The Southern States would undoubtedly agree pro forma to the Thirteenth Amendment as a means of regaining their representation in Congress. Beyond that, so long as the National Government conceded their right of control, it was probable that every step which did not conflict with the Constitution and Laws of the United States would be taken by the Southern States to deprive the negro of all power or opportunity for advancement. Mr. Seward, by the generous instinct of his own philanthropy, believed all things for the Union, which had been regenerated by the emancipation of the slave, and hoped all things for the Southern people, who had been chastened by defeat. His philanthropy taught him a faith in others as strong as his own consciousness of right; and, by assuming the full responsibility of the President's position, he brought to its support thousands of advocates who, but for his personal influence and persuasive power, would have opposed and spurned it.

The whole scheme of reconstruction, as originated by Mr. Seward and adopted by the President, was in operation by the middle of July, three months after the assassination of Mr. Lincoln. Every step taken was watched with the deepest solicitude by the loyal people. The rapid and thorough change in the President's position was clearly discerned and fully appreciated. His course of procedure was dividing the Republican party, and already encouraging the hopes of those in the North who had been the steady opponents of Mr. Lincoln's war policy, and of those in the South who had sought for four years to destroy the Great Republic. It soon became evident that the Northern Democrats who had been opposed to the war, and the Southern Democrats who had been defeated in the war, would unite in political action, and that the course of the National Administration would exercise a potential influence upon their success or failure. In turn, the course of the National Administration would certainly be influenced, and its fate in large degree determined, by the conduct of the Southern men, in whom the President was placing unbounded trust. Public interest was therefore transferred for the time from the acts of the President at the National Capital to the acts of the Reconstruction conventions about to assemble in the Southern States.


A great opportunity was now given to the South. It was given especially to the leading men of the South. Only a few weeks before, they had all been expecting harsh treatment, many, indeed, anticipated punishment, not a few were dejectedly looking forward to a life of exile and want. The President's policy, which had been framed for him by Mr. Seward, charged all this. Confidence took the place of apprehension, the fear of punishment was removed, those who conscious of guilt had been dreading expatriation were bidden by the supreme authority of the Nation to stay in their own homes, and to assist in building up the waste and desolate places.

Never in the history of the world had so mighty a rebellion been subdued. Never had any rebellion been followed by treatment so lenient, forgiving, and generous on the part of the triumphant Government. The great mass of those who had resisted the National authority were restored to all their rights of citizenship by the simple taking of an oath of future loyalty, and those excepted from immediate re-instatement were promised full forgiveness on the slightest exhibition of repentance and good works. Mr. Seward believed, and had induced the President to believe, that frank and open generosity on the part of the Government would be responded to in like spirit on the part of those who had just emerged from rebellion. The Administration, therefore, waited with confidence for its justification, which could be made complete only by the display of a manly appreciation and noble course on the part of those who had participated in the Rebellion.

The desire for a complete restoration of all the States to their normal position, as pictured so attractively by Mr. Seward, was general and deep throughout the North. The policy of the President was therefore essentially aided by the patriotic and ardent love for the Union,—a love always present with the loyal people of the free States, but developed in an extraordinary degree by the costly struggle which the slaveholders' rebellion had precipitated. If the Southern States should meet the overture of the Administration in the spirit in which it was made, the probability was decidedly in favor of their restoration to their old places without condition, without promise, without sacrifice. Observing men in the loyal States regarded such a policy not only as weak and maudlin, but as utterly insufficient and assuredly dangerous to the future safety of the Government. But they realized at the same time that the most important demands of far-seeing statesmanship and of true patriotism might be disregarded, and even contemned, by a wild, unreasoning wish of the people to see the old Government, in all its parts, promptly and fully re-established. The popular cry which demanded "the Union as it was, the Constitution as it is," was echoed by many from emotional love of country, and by many more from a conviction that the financial interests of the Government and the commercial interest of the people called for the speediest settlement of all political questions. The Administration believed, and with good reason, that the combined influence of sentiment for the Union and the supposed necessities of trade would overcome all obstacles, and that the rebellious States would be so promptly and completely reconstructed that their senators and representatives would be admitted at the beginning of the next session of Congress.

In forming an estimate of the probably response of the South to the plan of reconstruction now submitted, the Administration was certainly justified in believing that its own spirit of liberality and good will would be met with like spirit by those who, having failed in war, were specially interested in promptly securing all the conditions of a magnanimous peace. It could not anticipate that quibbles would be made by the defeated and lately suppliant parties, that captious objections would be interposed, that carping criticism would be indulged, that gross outrages would be perpetrated, that absurd conditions would be demanded, and that finally a postponement of the whole procedure would be hazarded, indeed its utter failure secured, by the lack of tact, by the willfulness, and by the apparent ignorance of the Southern men who were in control.

The kindness, consideration, gentleness of Mr. Seward's recommendations, instead of securing a return of like feeling, seemed rather to inflame the misjudging men of the South with a new sense of resentment. Instead of calling forth the natural and proper response, it appeared rather to impress them afresh with that vain imagination of Northern timidity which had always been the besetting weakness of the South. It seemed impossible at the time, it seems even more plainly impossible on a review of the facts after the lapse of years, that any body of reasonable men could behave with the ineffable folly that marked the proceedings of the Reconstruction Conventions in the South, and the still greater folly that governed the succeeding Legislatures of the lately rebellious States.

In the President's proclamation accompanying the appointment of provisional governors he had taken the ground that "the Rebellion, in its revolutionary progress, has deprived the people (of the revolting States) of all civil Government." It is evident, therefore, that the President—eager and even impatient as he was for the process of reconstruction to be completed—expected that a new Government would be built on the full recognition of the new order of things, casting behind all that pertained to the old, or had the spirit of the old. "No man putteth a piece of new cloth unto an old garment, for that which is put in to fill it up taketh from the garment, and the rent is made worse." This Scripture was exactly applicable to the Southern Conventions which assembled for reconstruction. They could begin anew with organic laws adapted to the great revolution which had swept over them, or they could patch up the old constitutions now become indissolubly associated with a rebellion which had been fostered and protected under their provisions. In every State the Southern leaders chose the latter form of procedure. They assumed that the old constitutions were still in full force and vigor, and they made only such amendments to them as would in their judgment promptly insure to their States the right of representation in Congress. They did not even stop to submit these changes to the popular vote, but assumed for their own assemblages of oligarches the full power to modify the organic laws of their States—an assumption without precedent and without repetition in the history of State constitutions in this country, and utterly subversive of the fundamental idea of Republican Government.

With these incomplete and ill-digested changes in the organic laws of their respective States, the Reconstruction conventions usurped legislative power, and hastily proceeded to order the election of representatives in Congress. The Congressional elections proved to be little else than partisan assemblages under the dictatorial direction of rebel authorities—just as the Reconstruction Conventions were, in their membership and their organization, little else than consulting bodies of Confederate officers under the rank of brigadier-general, actually sitting throughout their deliberations in the uniform of the rebel service, and apparently dictating to the Government of the Union the grounds on which they would consent to resume representation in the National Congress. A joint committee of Congress subsequently commented with appropriate directness upon this offensive phase of the Southern Conventions. "Hardly is the war closed," said the committee, "before the people of the insurrectionary States come forward and haughtily claim, as a right, the privilege of participating at once in that Government which they have for four years been fighting to overthrow. Allowed and encouraged by the Executive to organize State Governments, they at once placed in power leading rebels, unrepentant and unpardoned, excluding with contempt those who had manifested an attachment to the Union, and preferring in many instances those who had rendered themselves peculiarly obnoxious. In the face of the law requiring an oath that would necessarily exclude all such men from Federal offices, they have elected, with very few exceptions, as senators and representatives in Congress, the very men who have actively participated in the Rebellion, insultingly denouncing the law as unconstitutional."

The oath referred to in the foregoing extract from the committee's report is that popularly known as the "Ironclad oath," prescribed by the Act of July 2, 1862, to be taken by every person elected or appointed to any office of honor or profit under the Government of the United States, either in the civil, military, or naval departments of the public service, the President alone excepted. The officer, before entering upon his duties or receiving any emolument, was compelled to swear that he had "never voluntarily borne arms against the United States;" that he had "voluntarily given no aid, countenance, counsel, or encouragement to persons engaged in armed hostility to the National Government;" that he had "neither sought nor accepted nor attempted to exercise the functions of any office whatever under authority or pretended authority in hostility to the United States;" that he had "never yielded a voluntary support to any pretended Government within the United States, hostile or inimical thereto." Of course the men who had been waging war against the Government could not take this oath except by committing perjury and risking its pains and penalties. But nothing daunted by the existence of this obstacle at the threshold of public service, the most notorious rebels sought election to the Senate and House, boasting that they would prove the unconstitutionality of the Ironclad oath, and demand their seats.

Alexander H. Stephens "had the assurance," as the committee already quoted declared, "with that oath staring him in the face, to lay his credentials on the table of the Senate as a senator-elect from Georgia." When Congress adjourned, March 3, 1865, Mr. Stephens was acting as the Vice-President of the rebel Confederacy. Six weeks later the Confederacy was destroyed, and with a political agility unparalleled, with a degree of presumption unprecedented, Mr. Stephens secured an election to the Senate, and was in Washington at the ensuing session of Congress, asking admission to a seat as cooly as if every living man had forgotten that for four years he had been exerting his utmost effort to destroy the Constitution under which he now claimed the full rights of a citizen. In his astounding effrontery Mr. Stephens even went so far as to insist on interpreting to those loyal men, who had been conducting the Government of the United States through all its perils, the Constitution under which they had been acting, and to point out how they were depriving him of his rights by demanding an oath of loyalty and good faith as the condition on which he should be entitled to take part in legislating for the restored Union. The same committee, worthy at all times to be cited, declared further, that "Other rebels of scarcely less note and notoriety than Mr. Stephens were selected from other quarters. Professing no repentance, glorying apparently in the crime they had committed, avowing still, as the uncontradicted testimony of Mr. Stephens and many others proves, an adherence to the pernicious doctrine of secession, and declaring that they yielded only to necessity, they insist with unanimous voice upon their rights as States, and proclaim that they will submit to no conditions whatever as preliminary to their resumption of power under that Constitution which they still claim the right to repudiate."

Not only were the official acts of the Southern Conventions inspired by a spirit of apparently irreconcilable hatred of the Union, but the popular manifestations in the South were for more decided in the same direction. A sense of official propriety, no doubt, in some degree governed the conduct and modified the language of the members of the conventions. It was left to the press and the stump-orators of the South to give full expression to what they knew to be the ruling sentiment of the people. The report of the Congressional Committee, whose members had closely investigated all the facts, stated that "the Southern press, with few exceptions, abounds with weekly and daily abuse of the institutions and people of the loyal States; defends the men who led, and the principles which incited, the Rebellion; denounces and reviles Southern men who adhered to the Union; and strives constantly and unscrupulously, by every means in its power, to keep alive the fire and hate and discord between the sections; calling upon the President to violate his oath of office, overturn the Government by force of arms, and drive the representatives of the people from their seats in Congress. The National banner is openly insulted and the National airs scoffed at, not only by an ignorant populace, but at public meetings, and once, among other notorious instances, at a dinner given in honor of a notorious rebel, who had violated his oath and abandoned his flag. The same individual is elected to an important office in the leading city of his State, although an unpardoned rebel, and so offensive that the President refused to allow him to enter upon his official duties. In another State the leading general of the rebel armies in openly nominated for governor by the House of Delegates, and the nomination is hailed by the people with shouts of satisfaction and openly indorsed by the press."

These representations of the prevailing spirit in the South and of the conduct of Southern men were not the loose and exaggerated statements of Northern partisans put forth in influence political opinion in the loyal States. They were the deliberate and conscientious statements of an eminent committee of the two Houses of Congress, of which Senator Fessenden of Maine was chairman. The quotations already made are from the same official report—a report based upon exhaustive testimony and prepared with scrupulous care. In that report, which is to be taken as an absolutely truthful picture of the Southern States at the time, it is averred that "witnesses of the highest character testify that, without the protection of United-States troops, Union men, whether of Northern or Southern origin, would be obliged to abandon their homes. The feeling in many portions of the country toward the emancipated slaves, especially among the ignorant and uneducated, is one of vindictive and malicious hatred. The deep-seated prejudice against color is assiduously cultivated by the public journals and leads to acts of cruelty, oppression, and murder, which the local authorities are at no pains to prevent or punish."

It was further declared by Mr. Fessenden's committee "that the evidence of an intense hostility to the Federal Union, and an equally intense love for the late Confederacy, nurtured by the war, is decisive. While it appears that nearly all are willing to submit, at least for the time being, to the Federal authority, it is equally clear that the ruling motive is a desire to obtain the advantages which will be derived from a representation in Congress." It was also proved before the committee, on the testimony, or rather the admissions, of witnesses who had been prominent in the Rebellion, that "the generally prevailing opinion in the late Confederacy defends the legal right of secession and upholds the doctrine that the first allegiance of the people is due to the States and not to the United States." It was further admitted by the same class of witnesses that "the taxes levied by the United States will be paid only on compulsion and with great reluctance," and that "the people of the rebellious States would, if they could see a prospect of success, repudiate the National debt." It was stated by witnesses from the South, with evident pride, that "officers of the Union Army, on duty in the South, and Northern men who go there to engage in business, are generally detested and proscribed," and that "Southern men who adhered to the Union are bitterly hated and relentlessly persecuted."

Upon the conclusion of the work of the respective conventions, the election of State Legislatures and of senators and representatives in Congress followed as promptly as was practicable in the several States. The Legislatures were all in session before the close of the year 1865, and their proceedings startled the country. If any need existed for proof of the spirit that animated the conventions, or of the ends to which they had directed their work, it was furnished in full by the action of the Legislatures. Indeed, when the latter bodies assembled, they were inspired with a fresh accession of courage and daring, imparted by the example of the former and the apparent acquiescence of the North in their proceedings. The period between the adjournment of the conventions and the assembling of the Legislatures was so short that there was no time for the maturing of public opinion in the North, and still less for bringing it to bear in any way upon Southern action. It is, moreover, doubtful whether any representation, however strong, from the North, would have exerted the slightest influence in holding the South back from its mad course. Emboldened by the support of the National Administration, the Southern leaders believed that they could carry their designs through, and, instead of being restrained by the protest or the advice of Republicans, they chose with apparent gladness the course that would prove most offensive to them. It would indeed, according to their own boasts, add a peculiar gratification to their anticipated triumph if they could feel assured that it would bring chagrin or a sense of humiliation to the Republican masses of the loyal States.

At this critical period it was the ill fortune of the South to be misled by the Democratic press and the Democratic orators of the North, as it had been before on perilous occasions. The South had been induced by the same press and the same orators to believe, in the winter of 1860-61, that efforts at secession would not be resisted by arms. Many Northern Democrats had indeed given the assurance that if any attempt at coercion should be made by the Republican National Administration, they would themselves meet it with force, and that, if war should come, it would be in the free States and not in the slave States. The South, in 1865, had apparently forgotten these baseless assurances; they had forgotten that, in the hour of conflict, the Democrats who did not become loyal, at once became silent, and that the few—scattering exceptions to a general rule—who were demonstrative and loud in their sympathy for the rebels were compelled to flee or accept imprisonment in Fort Lafayette. They seemed again ready and eager to believe all the unsupported assertions which the Northern Democrats, in a spirit of effrontery and not without gasconade, ventured to put forth. It might be difficult to determine which displayed the greater folly—those who made false representations, or those who, warned by previous deception, appeared so ready to be influenced anew by deception equally gross.

The truth was that the Republicans of the North, constituting, as was shown by the elections of 1865, a majority in every State, were deeply concerned as to the fate and fortune of the colored population of the South. Only a minority of Republicans were ready to demand suffrage for those who had been recently emancipated, and who, from the ignorance peculiar to servitude, were presumably unfit to be intrusted with the elective franchise. The minority, however, was composed of very earnest men of the same type as those who originally created and combined the anti-slavery sentiment of the country, and who now espoused the right of the negro to equality before the law. Equality, they believed, could neither be conferred nor maintained unless the negro were invested with the badge of American manhood—the right to vote—a right which they were determined to guarantee as firmly to the colored man as it was already guaranteed to the white man.

The great mass of the Republicans stopped short of the demand for the conferment of suffrage on the negro. That privilege was indeed, still denied him in a majority of the loyal States, and it seemed illogical and unwarrantable to expect a more advanced philanthropy, a higher sense of justice, from the South than had been yet attained by the North. But without raising the question of suffrage, there were rights with which the negro must be endowed before he could essentially better his material condition or advance in knowledge. It was, first of all, required that he should have the full protection of the law of marriage, of which he had always been deprived, and that with the privilege he should be subjected to the honest observance of the obligations which marriage imposes—to the end that good morals should be inculcated, and that every child should have a responsible father. It was, in the second place, in the highest degree necessary that he should have the benefit of such laws as would assure to him the wages of his labor and confer upon him the right to acquire and hold real estate and other property, with the same security and protection enjoyed by the whites. In the third place, it was imperatively demanded that some provision be made for the rudimentary instruction of colored children, in order that they might learn the mechanical arts and have the privilege of working at such callings as were best adapted to them. The list of requirements might be enlarged, but the three which are given represent primary and indisputable necessities, without the concession and free establishment of which the negro, with nominal freedom, would be in a worse condition than if he had been left in slavery.

In view of these facts, the course of the new organized Legislatures was watched with deep and jealous interest. It was in their power to repair, in large degree, the blunders of policy—nay, the crimes against human rights—which the Reconstruction Conventions had abetted if not committed. The membership of the Legislatures in all the States was composed wholly of those who, either in the military or civil service, had aided the Rebellion. If in such an organization a spirit of moderation and justice should be shown, if consideration should be exhibited for the negro, even so far as to assure to him the inherent rights of human nature, a deep impression would be made on the conscience and the public opinion of the North. Such a course in the South might, indeed, open the way for the success of the simple and speedy process of reconstruction, upon which Mr. Seward had staked his reputation as a statesman, and to which Mr. Johnson had pledged the power and committed the fortunes of his Administration.

As soon as the Southern Legislatures assembled, it was made evident that their members disregarded, and even derided, the opinion of those who had conquered the Rebellion and held control of the Congress of the United States. If the Southern men had intended, as their one special and desirable aim, to inflame the public opinion of the North against them, they would have proceeded precisely as they did. They treated the negro, according to a vicious phrase which had at one time wide currency, "as possessing no rights which a white man was bound to respect." Assent to the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution by the Southern States was but a gross deception as long as they accompanied it with legislation which practically deprived the negro of every trace of liberty. That which was no offense in a white man was made a misdemeanor, a heinous crime, if committed by a negro. Both in the civil and criminal code his treatment was different from that to which the white man was subjected. He was compelled to work under a series of labor laws applicable only to his own race. The laws of vagrancy were so changed as, in many of their provisions, to apply only to him, and under their operation all freedom of movement and transit was denied. The liberty to sell his time at a fair market rate was destroyed by the interposition of apprentice laws. Avenues of usefulness and skill in which he might specially excel were closed against him lest he should compete with white men. In short his liberty in all directions was so curtailed that it was a bitter mockery to refer to him in the statutes as a "freedman." The truth was, that his liberty was merely of form and not of fact, and the slavery which was abolished by the organic law of a Nation was now to be revived by the enactments of a State.

Some of these enactments were peculiarly offensive, not to say atrocious. In Alabama, which might indeed serve as an example for the other rebellious States, "stubborn or refractory servants" and "servants who loiter away their time" were declared by law to be "vagrants," and might be brought before a justice of the peace and fined fifty dollars; and in default of payment they might be "hired out," on three days' notice by public outcry, for the period of "six months." No fair man could fail to see that the whole effect, and presumably the direct intent, of this law was to reduce the helpless negro to slavery for half the year—a punishment that could be repeated whenever desired, a punishment sure to be desired for that portion of each recurring year when his labor was specially valuable in connection with the cotton crop, while for the remainder of the time he might shift for himself. By this detestable process the "master" had the labor of the "servant" for a mere pittance; and even that pittance did not go to the servant, but was paid into the treasury of the county, and thus relived the white men from their proper share of taxation. There may have been more cruel laws enacted, but the statute-books of the world might be searched in vain for one of meaner injustice.

The foregoing process for restoring slavery in a modified form was applicable to men or women of any age. But for "minors" a more speedy and more sweeping methods was contrived by the law-makers of Alabama, who had just given their assent to the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution. They made it the "duty of all sheriffs, justices of the peace, and other civil officers of the several counties," to report the "names of all minors under the age of eighteen years, whose parents have not the means or who refuse to support said minors," and thereupon it was made the duty of the Court to "apprentice said minor to some suitable person on such terms as the Court may direct." Then follows a suggestive proviso directing that "if said minor be the child of a freedman" (as if any other class were really referred to!) "the former owner of said minor shall have the preference;" and "the judge of probate shall make a record of all the proceedings," for which he should be entitled to a fee of one dollar in each case, to be paid, as this atrocious law directed, by "the master or mistress." To tighten the grasp of ownership on the minor who was now styled an apprentice, it was enacted in almost the precise phrase of the old slave-code that "whoever shall entice said apprentice from his master of mistress, or furnish food or clothing to him or her, without said consent, shall be fined in a sum not exceeding five hundred dollars."

The ingenuity of the Alabama legislators in contriving schemes to re-enslave the negroes was not exhausted by the odious and comprehensive statutes already cited. They passed an Act to incorporate the city of Mobile, substituting a new charter for the old one. The city had suffered much from the suspension and decay of trade during the war, and it was in great need of labor to make repairs to streets, culverts, sewers, wharves, and all other public property. By the new charter, the mayor, aldermen, and common council were empowered "to cause all vagrants," . . . "all such as have no visible means of support," . . . "all who can show no reasonable cause of employment or business in the city," . . . "all who have no fixed residence or cannot give a good account of themselves," . . . "or are loitering in or about tippling-houses," "to give security for their good behavior for a reasonable time and to indemnify the city against any charge for their support, and in case of their inability or refusal to give such security, to cause them to be confined to labor for a limited time, not exceeding six calendar months, which said labor shall be designated by the said mayor, aldermen, and common council, for the benefit of said city."

It will be observed even by the least intelligent that the charge made in this city ordinance was, in substance, the poverty of the classes quoted—a poverty which was of course the inevitable result of slavery. To make the punishment for no crime effective, the city government was empowered "to appoint a person or persons to take those sentenced to labor from their place of confinement to the place appointed for their working, and to watch them while at labor and return them before sundown to their place of confinement; and, if they shall be found afterwards offending, such security may again be required, and for want thereof the like proceeding may again be had from time to time, as often as may be necessary." The plain meaning of all this was, that these helpless and ignorant men, having been robbed all their lives of the fruit of their labor by slavery, and being necessarily and in consequence poor, must be punished for it by being robbed again of all they had honestly earned. If they stubbornly continued in their poverty, the like proceeding (of depriving them of the fruits of their labor) "may again be had from time to time, as often as may be necessary." It would, of course, be found "necessary" just as long as the city of Mobile was in need of their labor without paying for it.

It has been abundantly substantiated, by impartial evidence, that when these grievous outrages were committed under the forms of law, by the joint authority of the Alabama Legislature and the city government of Mobile, the labor of thousands of willing men could be hired for the low wages of twenty-five cents per day, with an allowance of a peck of corn-meal and four pounds of bacon for each man per week. It does not change the character of the crime against these humble laborers, but it certainly enhances its degree that the law-makers of Alabama preferred an oppressive fraud to the honest payment of a consideration so small as to be almost nominal. A man must be in abject poverty when he is willing to work an entire week for a sum usually accorded in the Norther States for the labor of one day. But only a community blind to public justice and to public decency as well, could enact a law that in effect declares the poverty of the laborer to be a crime, in consideration of which he shall be deprived of the beggarly mite for which he is willing to give the sweat of his face.

Apparently fearing that the operations of the law already referred to would not secure a sufficient number of laborers for the work required in the city, the law-makers of Alabama authorized the municipal government of Mobile to "restrain and prohibit the nightly and other meetings or disorderly assemblies of all persons, and to punish for such offenses by affixing penalties not exceeding fifty dollars for any one offense; and in case of the inability of any such person to pay and satisfy said fine or penalty and the cost thereof, to sentence such person to labor for said city for such reasonable time, not exceeding six calendar months, for any one offense, as may be deemed equivalent to such penalty and costs, which labor shall be such as may be designated by the mayor, aldermen, and common council of the city."

Power was thus given to consider any evening meeting of colored persons a disorderly one, and to arrest all who were participating in it. Nothing was more natural than that the negroes, with their social and even gregarious habits, should, in their new estate of freedom, be disposed to assemble for the purpose of considering their own interests and their future prospects. It is eminently to the discredit of the State of Alabama and of the city of Mobile that so innocent a purpose should be thwarted, perverted, made criminal and punished.

The fact will not escape attention that in these enactments the words "master," "mistress," and "servant" are constantly used, and that under the operation of the laws a form of servitude was re-established, more heartless and more cruel than the slavery which had been abolished. Under the institution of slavery a certain attachment would spring up between the master and his salve, and with it came a certain protection to the latter against want and against suffering in his old age. With all its wrongfulness and its many cruelties, there were ameliorations in the slave system which softened its asperities and enabled vast number of people possessing conscience and character to assume the relation of master. But in the treatment of the colored man, now proposed, there was absolute heartlessness and rank injustice. It was proposed to punish him for no crime, to declare the laborer not worthy of his hire, to leave him friendless and forlorn, without sympathy, without rights under the law, socially an outcast and industrially a serf—a serf who had no connection with the land he tilled, and who had none of the protection which even the Autocracy of Russia extended to the lowliest creature that acknowledged the sovereignty of the Czar.

These laws were framed with malignant cunning so as not to be limited in specific form of words to the negro race, but they were exclusively confined to that race in their execution. It is barely possible that a white vagrant of exceptional depravity might, now and then, be arrested; but the negro was arrested by wholesale on a charge of vagrancy which rested on no foundation except an arbitrary law specially enacted to fit his case. Loitering around tippling-shops, one of the offenses enumerated, was in far larger proportions the habit of white men, but they were left untouched and the negro alone was arrested and punished. In the entire code this deceptive form, of apparently including all persons, was a signally dishonest feature. The makers of the law evidently intended that it should apply to the negro alone, for it was administered on that basis with rigorous severity. The general phrasing was to deceive people outside, and, perhaps, to lull the consciences of some objectors at home, but it made no difference whatever in the execution of the statutes. White men, who had no more visible means of support than the negro, were left undisturbed, while the negro, whose visible means of support were in his strong arms and his willingness to work, was prevented from using the resources conferred upon him by nature, and reduced not merely to the condition of a slave, but subjected to the demoralization of being adjudged a criminal.

In Florida the laws resembled those of Alabama, but were perhaps more severe in their penalties. The "vagrant" there might be hired out for full twelve months, and the money arising from his labor, in case the man had no wife and children, was directed to be applied for "the benefit of the orphans and poor of the county," although the negro had been declared a vagrant because he had no visible means of support, and was therefore quite as much in need of the avails of his labor as those to whom the law diverted them. Among the curious enactments of that State was one to establish and organize a criminal court for each county, empowered to exercise jurisdiction in the trial of all offenses where the punishment did not affect the life of the offender. It is obvious that the law was originated mainly for the punishment of negroes; and to expedite its work it was enacted that "in the proceedings of said court, no presentment, indictment, or written pleading shall be required, but it shall be sufficient to put the party accused upon his or her trial, that the offense and facts are plainly set forth with reasonable certainty in the warrant of arrest." It was further provided that when fines were imposed and the party was unable to pay them, "the county commissioner may hire out, at public outcry, the said party to any person who will take him or her for the shortest time, and pay the fine imposed and the cost of prosecution." The fines thus paid went in the county treasury for the general expenses of the county. The law was thus cunningly contrived to hurry the negro into an odious form of slavery, and to make the earnings which came from his hard labor pay the public expenses, which were legitimately chargeable upon the property of the county.

Accompanying the Act establishing this court was a law prescribing additional penalties for the commission of offenses against the State; and this, like the former, was framed especially for the negro. Its first section provided that where punishment of an offense had hitherto been limited to fine or imprisonment, there should be superadded, as an alternative, the punishment of standing in the pillory for one hour, or whipping, not exceeding thirty-nine lashes, on the bare back. The latter punishment was reserved expressly for the negro. It was provided further that it "shall not be lawful for any negro, mulatto, or person of color to own, use, or keep and bowie-knife, dirk, sword, fire-arms, or ammunition of any kind, unless he first obtain a license to do so from the judge of probate for the county in which he is a resident." The judge could issue the license to him only upon recommendation of two respectable white men. Any negro attempting to keep arms of any kind was to be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, compelled to "forfeit the arms for the use of the informer, stand in the pillory" (and be pelted by the mob) "for one hour, and then whipped with thirty-nine lashes on the bare back." The same penalty was prescribed for any person of color "who shall intrude himself into any religious or other public assembly of white persons, or into any railroad-car or other vehicle set apart for the accommodation of white persons," and with a mock show of impartiality it was provided that a white man intruding himself into an assembly of negroes, or into a negro-car, might be subjected to a like punishment. This restriction upon the negro was far more severe than that imposed in the days of slavery, when, in many of the Southern States, the gallery of the church was permitted to be freely occupied by them. A peculiarly atrocious discrimination against the negro was included in the sixth section of the law from which these quotations are made. It was provided therein that "if any person or persons shall assault a white female with intent to commit rape, or be accessory thereto, he or they, upon conviction, shall suffer death;" but there was no prohibition and no penalty prescribed for the same crime against a negro woman. She was left unprotected by law against the brutal lust and the violence of white men.

In the laws of South Carolina the oppression and injustice towards the negro were conspicuously marked. The restriction as to fire-arms, which was general to all the States, was especially severe. A negro found with any kind of weapon in his possession was punished by "a fine equal to twice the value of the weapon so unlawfully kept, and, if that be not immediately paid, by corporal punishment." Perhaps the most radically unjust of all the statutes was reserved for this State. The Legislature enacted that "no person of color shall pursue the practice, art, trade, or business of an artisan, mechanic, or shopkeeper, or any other trade or employment besides that of husbandry, or that of a servant under contract for labor, until he shall have obtained a license from the judge of the District Court, which license shall be good for one year only." If the license was granted to the negro to be a shopkeeper or peddler, he was compelled to pay a hundred dollars a year for it; and if he wished to pursue the rudest mechanical calling, he was compelled to pay a license-fee of ten dollars. No such fees were exacted of white men and no such fees were exacted of the free black man during the era of slavery. Every avenue for improvement was closed against him; and in a State which boasted somewhat indelicately of its chivalric dignity, the negro was mercilessly excluded from all chances to better his condition individually, or to improve the character of his race.

Mississippi followed in the general line of penal enactments prescribed in South Carolina, though her code was possibly somewhat less severe in the deprivations to which the negro was subjected. It was, however, bad enough to stir the indignation of every lover of justice. The Legislature had enacted a law that "if the laborer shall quit the service of the employer before the expiration of his term of service without just cause, he shall forfeit his wages for the year up to the time of quitting." Practically the negro was himself never permitted to judge whether the cause which drove him to seek employment elsewhere was just, the white man being the sole arbiter in the premises. It was provided that "every civil officer shall, and every person may, arrest and carry back to his or her legal employer any freedman, free negro or mulatto, who shall have quit the service of his or her employer before the expiration of his term of service without good cause, and said officer shall be entitled to receive for arresting and carrying back every deserting employee aforesaid the sum of five dollars, and ten cents per mile from the place of arrest to the place of delivery, and these sums shall be held by the employer as a set-off for so much against the wages of said deserting employee; provided that said arrested party, after being so returned home, may appeal to a justice of the peace, or a member of the Board of Police, who shall summarily try whether said appellant is legally employed by the alleged employer."

It required little familiarity with Southern administration of justice between a white man and a negro to know that such appeal was always worse then fruitless, and that its only effect, if attempted, would be to secure even harsher treatment than if the appeal had not been made. The provisions for enticing a negro from his employer, included in this Act, were in the same spirit and almost in the same language as the provisions of the slave-code applicable to the negro before the era of emancipation. The person "giving or selling to any deserting freedman, free negro or mulatto, any food, raiment, or other things, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor," and might be punished by a fine of two hundred dollars and costs, or he might be put in prison, and be also sued by the employer for damages. For attempting to entice any freedman or free negro beyond the limits of the State, the person offending might be fined five hundred dollars; and if not immediately paid, the court could sentence the delinquent to imprisonment in the county jail for six months. The entire code of Mississippi for freedmen was in the spirit of the laws quoted. Justice was defied, and injustice incorporated as the very spirit of the laws. It was altogether a shameless proclamation of indecent wrong on the part of the Legislature of Mississippi.

Louisiana probably attained the worst eminence in this vicious legislation. At the very moment when the Thirty-ninth Congress was assembling to consider the condition of the Southern States and the whole subject of their reconstruction, it was found that a bill was pending in the Legislature of Louisiana providing that "every adult freed man or woman shall furnish themselves with a comfortable home and visible means of support within twenty days after the passage of this act," and that "any freed man or woman failing to obtain a home and support as thus provided shall be immediately arrested by any sheriff or constable in any parish, or by the police officer in any city or town in said parish where said freedman may be, and by them delivered to the Recorder of the parish, and by him hired out, by public advertisement, to some citizen, being the highest bidder, for the remainder of the year." And in case the laborer should leave his employer's service without his consent, "he shall be arrested and assigned to labor on some public works without compensation until his employer reclaims him." The laborers were not to be allowed to keep any live-stock, and all time spent from home without leave was to be charged against them at the rate of two dollars per day, and worked at that rate. Many more provisions of the same general character were contained within the bill, the whole character and scope of which were forcibly set before the Senate by Mr. Wilson of Massachusetts. It was not only a proof of cruelty enacted into law, but was such a defiance to the spirit of the Emancipation amendment that it subjected the Legislature which approved the amendment and enacted these laws, to a charge of inconsistency so grave as to make the former act appear in the light of both a legal and moral fraud. It was declaring the negro to be free by one statute, and immediately proceeding to re-enslave him by another.

By a previous law Louisiana had provided that all agricultural laborers should be compelled to "make contracts for labor during the first ten days of January for the entire year." With a demonstrative show of justice it was provided that "wages due shall be a lien on the crop, one-half to be paid at times agreed by the parties, the other half to be retained until the completion of the contract; but in case of sickness of the laborer, wages for the time shall be deducted, and where the sickness is supposed to be feigned for the purpose of idleness, double the amount shall be deducted; and should the refusal to work extend beyond three days, the negro shall be forced to labor on roads, levees, and public works without pay." The master was permitted to make deduction from the laborer's wages for "injuries done to animals or agricultural implements committed to his care, or for bad or negligent work," he, of course, being the judge. "For every act of disobedience a fine of one dollar shall be imposed upon the laborer;" and among the cases deemed to be disobedience were "impudence, swearing, or using indecent language in the presence of the employer, his family, or his agent, or quarreling or fighting among one another." It has been truthfully said of this provision that the master or his agent might assail the ear with profaneness aimed at the negro man, and outrage every sense of decency in foul language addressed to the negro woman; but if one of the helpless creatures, goaded to resistance and crazed under tyranny, should answer back with impudence, or should relieve his mind with an oath, or retort indecency upon indecency, he did so at the cost to himself of one dollar for every outburst. The agent referred to in the statute was the well-known overseer of the cotton region, who was always coarse and often brutal, sure to be profane, and scarcely knowing the border-line between ribaldry and decency. The care with which the law-makers of Louisiana provided that his delicate ears and sensitive nerves should not be offended with an oath or with an indelicate word from a negro, will be appreciated by all who have heard the crack of the whip on a Southern plantation.

The wrongs inflicted under the name of law, thus far recited, were still further aggravated in a majority of the rebellious States by the exaction of taxes from the colored man to an amount altogether disproportionate to their property. Indeed, of property they had none. Just emerging from a condition of slavery in which their labor had been constantly exacted without fee or reward of any kind, it was impossible that they could be the owners of any thing except their own bodies. Notwithstanding this fact, the negroes, en masse, were held to be subjects of taxation in the State Governments about to be re-organized. In Georgia, for example, a State tax of three hundred and fifty thousand dollars was levied in the first year of peace. The property of the State, even after all the ruin of the war, exceeded two hundred and fifty million dollars. This tax, therefore, amounted to less than one-seventh of one per cent upon the aggregate valuation of the State,—equal to the imposition of only a dollar and a half upon each thousand dollars of property. The Legislature of the State decreed, however, that a large proportion of this small levy should be raised by a poll-tax of a dollar per head upon every man in the State between the ages of twenty-one and sixty years. There were in Georgia at the time from eighty-five thousand to ninety thousand colored men subject to the tax: perhaps, indeed, the number reached one hundred thousand. It was thus ordained that the negroes, who had no property at all, should pay one-third as much as the white men, who had two hundred and fifty millions of property in possession. This odious and unjust tax was stringently exacted from the negro. To make sure that not one should escape, the tax was held as a lien upon his labor, and the employer was under distraint to pay it. In Alabama they devised for the same purpose two dollars on every person between the ages of eighteen and fifty, causing a still larger proportion of the total tax to fall on the negro than the Georgia law-makers deemed expedient.

Texas followed with a capitation tax of a dollar per head, while Florida levied upon every inhabitant between the ages of twenty-one and fifty-five years a capitation tax of three dollars, and upon failure or refusal to pay the same the tax-collector was "authorized and required to seize the body of the delinquent, and hire him out, after five days' public notice before the door of the Court House, to any person who will pay the said tax and the costs incident to the proceedings growing out of said arrest, for his services for the shortest period of time." As the costs as well as the capitation tax were to be worked out by the negro, it is presumable that, in the spirit of this tax-law, they were enlarged to the utmost limit that decency, according to the standard set up by this law, would permit. It is fair to presume that, in any event, the costs would not be less than the tax, and might, indeed, be double or treble that amount. As a negro could not, at that time, be hired out for more than seven dollars and a half per month, the plain inference is that for the support of the State of Florida the negro might be compelled to give one month's labor yearly. Even by the capitation tax alone, without the incident of the costs, every negro man was compelled to give the gains and profits of nearly two weeks' labor.

A poll-tax, though not necessarily limited in this manner, has usually accompanied the right of suffrage in the different States of the Union, but in the rebellious States it conferred no franchise. It might be supposed that ordinary generosity would have devoted it to the education of the ignorant class from which it was forcibly wrung, but no provision of the kind was even suggested. Indeed, in those States there was scarcely an attempt made to provide for the education of the freedmen, and the suggestions made in that direction carried with them another display of studied wrong. As an example of rank injustice the course of the Legislature of Florida may be profitably cited. That body passed an Act concerning schools for freedmen, in which the governor was authorized to appoint a superintendent of common schools for freedmen, and in each county the county commissioners were authorized to appoint assistant superintendents. These officers were directed to "establish schools for freedmen when the number of colored children in any county will warrant the same, provided" (and the proviso is one of great significance) "that the sums hereinafter authorized shall be sufficient to meet the expenses thereof." The funds provided for this seemingly philanthropic design were to be derived exclusively from a tax upon the colored man. The law directed that all colored men between the ages of twenty-one and fifty-five years should pay annually a dollar each, to be collected at the same time and in the same manner as the three-dollar poll-tax, which should be paid into the treasury of the State for the use of the freedmen, and should constitute a fund to be denominated "the common-school fund for the education of freedmen." It was further provided in this law, that "a tuition-fee shall be collected from each pupil, under such regulations as the superintendents shall prescribe, and paid into the treasury as a portion of the common-school fund for freedmen."

The salary of the superintendents of the schools for freedmen was fixed at a thousand dollars, and of the county superintendents at two hundred dollars. There were, at that time, about twelve thousand negro men subject to the capitation tax of three dollars, already referred to, and under that law they paid thirty-six thousand dollars annually into the State Treasury of Florida; but the school law forbade that the salary of superintendents and assistant superintendents should be paid from the fund derived from the poll-tax. They provided that it should be chargeable solely to the fund raised for common schools. As there were thirty-seven counties in Florida at that time, it is a fair presumption that twenty-five of them had assistant superintendents, whose aggregate salaries would amount to five thousand dollars. With the superintendent's salary, which was a thousand dollars, a draft of six thousand dollars for the salaries of white men was at once made upon the twelve thousand dollars which were to be collected from freedmen. Every teacher who was to teach in these schools was required to pay five dollars for his certificate, which also went into the school-fund; and the end of the whole matter was, that a bare pittance was left for the thirty thousand negro children in Florida of the school age. The whole scheme was a ghastly wrong, one which, if attempted upon that class of any population in the North which is able to pay only a poll-tax, would consign the party attempting it to defeat and disgrace, and, if its enforcement were attempted, would lead to riot and bloodshed.

These laws, with all their wrong (even a stronger word might be rightfully employed), were to become, and were, indeed, already an integral part of the reconstruction scheme which President Johnson had devised and proclaimed. Whoever assented to the President's plan of reconstruction assented to these laws, and, beyond that, assented to the full right of the rebellious States to continue legislation of this odious type. It was at once seen that if the party which had insisted upon the emancipation of the slave as a final condition of peace, should now abandon him to his fate, and turn him over to the anger and hate of the class from whose ownership he had been freed, it would countenance and commit an act of far greater wrong than was designed by the most malignant persecutor of the race in any one of the Southern States. When the Congress of the United States, acting independently of the Executive power of the Nation, decreed emancipation by amending the Constitution, it solemnly pledged itself, with all its power, to give protection to the emancipated at whatever cost and at whatever sacrifice. No man could read the laws which have been here briefly reviewed without seeing and realizing that, if the negro were to be deprived of the protecting power of the Nation that had set him free, he had better at once be remanded to slavery, and to that form of protection which cupidity, if not humanity, would always inspire.

The South had no excuse for its course, and the leaders of its public opinion at that time will always, and justly, be held to a strict accountability. Even the paltry pretext, afterwards so often advanced, that they were irritated and maddened by the interposition of carpet-bag power, does not avail in the least degree for the outrages in the era under consideration. When Mr. Johnson issued his proclamation of reconstruction, the hated carpet-bagger was an unknown element in the Southern states. What was done during the year immediately following the surrender of the rebel armies was done at Southern suggestion, done by Southern men, done under the belief that the President's policy would protect them in it, done with a fixed and merciless determination that the gracious act of emancipation should not bring amelioration to the colored race, and that the pseudo-philanthropy, as they regarded the anti-slavery feeling in the North, should be brought into contempt before the world. They deliberately resolved to prove to the public opinion of mankind that the negro was fit only to be a chattel, and that in his misery and degradation, sure to follow the iniquitous enactments for the new form of his subjection, it would be proved that he had lost and not gained by the conferment of freedom among a population where it was impossible for him to enjoy it. They resolved also to prove that slavery was the normal and natural state of the negro; that the Northern people, in taking any other ground, had been deceived by a sentiment and had been following a chimera; that the Southern people alone understood the question, and that interference with them by war or by law should end in establishing their justification before the public opinion of the world. The Southern men believed and boasted that they would subject to general reproach and expose to open shame that whole class of intermeddlers and fanatics (as they termed opponents of slavery) who had destroyed so many lives and wasted so much treasure in attempting the impossible and, even if possible, the undesirable.

There can be no doubt that the objectionable and cruel legislation of the Southern States—examples of which might be indefinitely cited in addition to those already given—exerted a strong influence upon Mr. Seward's mind. It is well known that, to those who were on intimate terms with him, he expressed a sorrowful surprise that the South should respond with so ill a grace to the liberal and magnanimous tenders of sympathy and friendship from the National Administration. He could not comprehend why confidence did not beget confidence, why generosity should not call forth generosity in return. There are good reasons for believing that Mr. Seward desired some modification of the President's policy of Reconstruction after he comprehended the spirit which had been exhibited by the Southern Conventions, and the still more objectionable spirit shown by the Southern Legislatures. His philanthropic nature, the record of his public life, his great achievements in the anti-slavery field, all forbid the conclusion that he could knowingly and willingly consent to the maltreatment and the permanent degradation of the freedmen. If he had no higher motives, the selfish one of preserving his own splendid fame must have inspired him.

Mr. Seward had reached the age of sixty-five years, and he surely could not consent to undo the entire work of his mature manhood. Consistency, it is true, is not the highest trait of statesmanship. Crises often arise in the conduct of National affairs when cherished opinions must be sacrificed and new departures taken. But this necessity can never apply to that class of political questions closely and inseparably allied with moral obligation. Mr. Seward had himself taught the nation that conflict on questions involving the rights of human nature is irrepressible. The slavery against which he had warred so long and so faithfully had been abolished in vain if another form of servitude, even more degrading in some of its aspects, was to take its place. To desert the colored man, and leave him to his fate, undefended, and defenseless against the wrongs already perpetrated and the greater wrongs foreshadowed, would do dishonor to the entire spirit of Mr. Seward's statesmanship, and would certainly be unworthy of his fame.

He strove no doubt to persuade himself, as Mr. Marcy had done in the Cabinet of President Pierce, that even if he did not approve the policy pursued, it was better for him to remain and prevent many evils sure to follow if he should resign. Mr. Seward felt moreover a certain embarrassment in deserting the Administration after he had induced the President to adopt the very policy which was now resulting adversely. But for his energetic interposition the President would have been executing an entirely different policy—one of severe and perhaps sanguinary character. After persuading Mr. Johnson to abandon his proposed line of action and to adopt that which Mr. Seward had himself originated, it might well occur to the distinguished Secretary of State that good faith to the President required him to remain at his post and aid in working out the best result possible. It would to Mr. Seward's apprehension be an act of unpardonable selfishness if in such a crisis to the Republic he should seek to increase his own popularity in the Northern States by separating from Mr. Johnson who had generously trusted him and cordially accepted his leadership. By resigning he could only add to the excitement which he especially desired to allay, whereas he might by continuing in his place of power be able to hold a part of the ground which would all be finally lost if he should join the crusade against the Administration. Under these motives Mr. Seward retained his portfolio. He staid on and on, continually hoping to do some act of patriotic service, and steadily losing that great host of friends who for twenty years had looked to him with unfaltering faith for counsel and direction.

Many who had been steadfastly devoted to Mr. Seward for the whole generation in which he had been prominent in public affairs, never could become reconciled to his course at this period. Some, indeed, refused to concede to him the benefit of worthy motives. He had, as they believed and declared, been incurably wounded in his pride, and disappointed in his ambition, when Mr. Lincoln, then a comparatively unknown man, was preferred to him by the Republican party as a candidate for the Presidency in 1860. He had, as they believed, bided his time for revenge. During the war, the pressure of patriotic duty, as his new but reluctant enemies alleged, held him steadily to his old faith; but now, when he could do it without positive danger to the country, he was bent on administering discipline to the party and its leaders. They likened him to Mr. Van Buren, revengefully defeating General Cass in 1848; to Mr. Webster, who on his death-bed gave his sympathy to the party which had always reviled him; to Mr. Fillmore, who deserted his anti-slavery professions in the hour of most pressing responsibility. Comments even more severe were made by many who had been deeply attached to Mr. Seward, and had deplored his defeat at Chicago. At such a period of excitement, it was not possible that a man of Mr. Seward's exalted position could in any degree change his party relations without great exasperation on the part of old friends, —an exasperation sure to lead to extravagance of expression and to personal injustice.

Mr. Seward's course at this period must not be judged harshly by a standard established from a retrospective view of the circumstances surrounding him. It is more just to consider the situation as it appeared to his own observation when his eyes were turned to the future. He no doubt looked buoyantly forward, according to his temperament, trusting always to the healing influences of time and to that re-action in the headlong course of Southern men which he felt sure would be brought about by the sting of personal reflection and the power of public opinion. A silver lining to the darkest cloud was always visible to his eye of faith, and he now brought to the contemplation of the adverse elements in the political field a full measure of that confidence which had always sustained him when adverse elements in the field of war caused many strong hearts to faint and grow weary.

The course of events developed occasions when Mr. Seward's influence proved valuable to the country, but it did not serve to recall his popularity. He was thwarted and defeated at all points by the Southern leaders whom he had induced the President to forgive and re-instate. These men had originally established their relations with Mr. Johnson by reason of Mr. Seward's magnanimous interposition. But once established they had been able, from motives adverted to in the previous chapter, to fasten their hold upon Mr. Johnson even to the exclusion of Mr. Seward. When Mr. Seward was beaten for the Presidential nomination in a convention composed of anti-slavery men who had learned their creed from him, Senator Toombs, in a tone full of exultation but not remarkable for delicacy, declared that "Actæon had been devoured by his own dogs." The fable would be equally applicable in describing the manner in which the Southern men, who owed their forgiveness and their immunity to Mr. Seward, turned upon him with hatred and with imprecation. They were graciously willing to accept benefits and favors at his hands so long as he would dispense them, but they never forgave him for the work of that grand period of his life, between his election to the Senate and the outbreak of the civil war, when he wrought most nobly for humanity and established a fame which no error of later life could blot from the minds of a grateful people.

Mr. Seward could not have been surprised at the treatment he thus received. He had for nearly half a century been an intelligent observer of the political field, and he could not recall a single Northern man who had risked his popularity at home in defense of what were termed the rights of the South who had not in the supreme crisis of his public life been deserted by the South. Mr. Webster, General Cass, William L. Marcy, Mr. Douglas, and President Pierce were among the most conspicuous of those who had been thus sacrificed. The last sixty days of Mr. Buchanan's Presidency furnished the most noted of all the victims of Southern ingratitude. Men of lower rank but similar experience were to be found in the years preceding the war in nearly every Norther State—men who had ventured to run counter to the principles and prejudices of their own constituency to serve those who always abandoned a political leader when they feared he might have lost the power to be useful to them. The pro-slavery men of the South, in following this course, presented a striking contrast to the anti-slavery men of the North who, under all circumstances and against all temptation, were faithful to the leaders who proved faithful to their cause.


During the progress of events in the South, briefly outlined in the preceding chapter, the Thirty-ninth Congress came together—on the first Monday of December, 1865. The Senate and House each contained a large majority of Republicans. In the House Mr. Colfax was re-elected Speaker, receiving 139 votes to 36 cast for James Brooks of New York. The address of the Speaker on taking the chair is usually confined to thanks for his election and courteous assurance of his impartiality and good intentions. But Mr. Colfax, instinctively quick, as he always was, to discern the current of popular thought, incorporated in the ceremonial address some very decisive political declarations. Referring to the fact that the Thirty-eighth Congress has closed nine months before, with "the storm-cloud of war still lowering over us," and rejoicing that "to-day, from shore to shore in our land there is peace," he proceeded to indicate the line of policy which the people expected. "The duties of Congress," said he, "are as obvious as the sun's pathway in the heavens. Its first and highest obligation is to guarantee to every State a republican form of government, to establish the rebellious States anew on such a basis of enduring justice as will guarantee all safeguards to the people and protection to all men in their inalienable rights." . . . "In this great work," he said, "the world should witness the most inflexible fidelity, the most earnest devotion to the principles of liberty and humanity, the truest patriotism and the wisest statesmanship."

The remarks of Mr. Colfax had evident reference to the perverse action of the Southern rebels, and were so entirely in harmony with the feeling of the House that at different stages of the brief address the Republican side of the chamber broke forth into loud applause. As soon as the election of Speaker and of the subordinate officers of the House was completed, Mr. Thaddeus Stevens, recognized as the leader of the majority, offered a resolution for the appointment of a "joint committee of fifteen members—nine from the House and six from the Senate—who shall inquire into the condition of the States which formed the so-called Confederate States of America, and report whether they, or any of them, are entitled to be represented in either House of Congress, with leave to report at any time by bill or otherwise." His resolution demanded that "until such report shall have been made and finally acted upon by Congress, no member shall be received into either House from any of the so-called Confederate States," and further directed that "all papers relating to the representation of the said States shall be referred to the said committee without debate." Mr. Eldridge of Wisconsin objected to the introduction of the resolution, and was met by Mr. Stevens with a motion to suspend the rules, which was carried by 129 ayes to 35 noes. Mr. John L. Dawson of Pennsylvania inquired whether it would not be in order to postpone the resolution until after the receipt of the President's message; but the House was in no disposition to testify respect for Mr. Johnson, and the resolution was adopted by as large a vote as that by which it had been received.

Mr. Niblack of Indiana offered a resolution that "pending the question as to the admission of persons claiming to have been elected representatives to the present Congress from the States lately in rebellion, such persons be entitled to the privileges of the floor of the House." This was a privilege always accorded to contestants for seats, but Mr. Wilson of Iowa now objected; and, on motion of Mr. Stevens, the House adjourned without even giving the courtesy of a vote to the resolution. No action of a more decisive character could have been taken to indicate, on the threshold of Congressional proceedings, the hostility of the Republican party, not merely to the President's plan of reconstruction, but to the men who, under its operation in the South, had been chosen to represent their districts in Congress. Against a bad principle a good one my be opposed and the contest proceed in good temper. But his is not practicable when personal feeling is aroused. The presence in Washington of a considerable number of men from the South, who, when Congress adjourned in the preceding March, were serving in the Confederate Army, and were now at the Capital demanding seats in the Senate and House, produced a feeling of exasperation amounting to hatred. The President's reconstruction policy would have been much stronger if the Southern elections to Congress had been postponed, or if the members elect had remained at home during the discussion concerning their eligibility. The presence of these obnoxious persons inflamed minds not commonly given to excitement, and drove many men to act from anger who were usually governed by reason.

In the Senate the proceedings were conducted with even more disregard of the President than had been manifested in the House. An entire policy was outlined by Mr. Sumner, without the slightest reference to what the President might communicate "on the state of the Union," and a system of reconstruction proposed which was in absolute hostility to the one that Mr. Johnson had devised. Mr. Sumner submitted resolutions defining the duty of Congress in respect to guarantees of the National security and National faith in the rebel States. While the conditions were not put forth as a finality, they were significant, if not conclusive, of the demands which would be made, first by the more advanced Republicans, and ultimately by the entire party. These resolutions declared that, in order to provide proper guarantees for security in the future, "Congress should take care that no one of the rebellious States should be allowed to resume its relations to the Union until after the satisfactory performance of five several conditions, which must be submitted to a popular vote, and be sanctioned by a majority of the people in each of those States respectively." These condition were, in some respects, marked by Mr. Sumner's lack of tact and practical wisdom as a legislator. He required stipulations, the fulfillment of which could not really be ascertained.

Mr. Sumner demanded, first, "the complete re-establishment, in loyalty, as shown by an honest recognition of the unity of the Republic, and the duty of allegiance to it at all times, without mental reservation or equivocation of any kind." How Mr. Sumner could determine that "the recognition of the unity of the Republic" was honest, how he could know whether there was not, after all, a mental reservation on the part of the rebels now swearing allegiance, he did not attempt to inform the Senate. The next or second condition was somewhat more practical in fact, but might have been expressed in simpler form. He demanded "the complete suppression of all oligarchical pretensions, and the complete enfranchisement of all citizens, so that there shall be no denial of rights on account of race or color." His third condition was "the rejection of the rebel debt, and the adoption, in just proportions, of the National debt and the National obligations to Union soldiers, with solemn pledges never to join in any measure, directly or indirectly, for their repudiation, or in any way tending to impair the National credit." His fourth condition was "the organization of an educational system for the equal benefit of all, without distinction of color or race." His fifth had some of the objectionable features of his first, demanding "the choice of citizens for office, whether State or National, of constant and undoubted loyalty, whose conduct and conversation shall give assurance of peace and reconciliation." The rebel States were not to be, in Mr. Sumner's language, "precipitated back to political power and independence, but must wait until these conditions are, in all respects, fulfilled." In addition, he desired a declaration of the Senate that "the Thirteenth Amendment, abolishing slavery, has become and is a part of the Constitution of the United States, having received the approval of the Legislatures of three-fourths of the States adhering to the Union." He declared that "the votes of the States in rebellion are not necessary, in any way, to its adoption, but they must all agree to it through their Legislatures, as a condition precedent to their restoration to their full rights as members of the Union." With these resolutions Mr. Sumner submitted another long series declaratory of the duty of Congress in respect to loyal citizens in the rebel States. His first series had defined what the lately rebellious States must agree to by popular vote, and he now outlined quite fully what would be the duty of Congress respecting the admission of those States to representation in the Senate and the House. The sum of the whole, or the central fact of the whole series, was that the color of the skin must not exclude a loyal man from civil rights.

On the succeeding day, the President, having received notice of the organization of the two Houses, communicated his annual message. It had been looked for with great interest and with varying speculations as to its character. It was expected, and as the event proved with good reason, that it would affect the relation of parties in the Northern States; that it would produce ill-feeling between the President and the Republicans, who had chosen him; and that it would lead, with equal certainty, to a tender of support from the Democrats who had hitherto opposed him. But Mr. Johnson had evidently resolved to exhibit a spirit of calmness and firmness in his official communication, and, while steadily maintaining his own ground, to avoid all harsh words that might give offense to those who differed from him. The moderation in language and the general conservatism which distinguished the message were perhaps justly attributed to Mr. Seward, who had no doubt hoped, by kindly words of conciliation, to avert the threatened break in the ranks of the Republican party. Mr. Seward had never in his Congressional career been a compromiser, but he now worked most earnestly to bring about an accommodation between the Administration and Congress. His argument was the one skillfully employed by all who seek an adjustment between those who ought to be friends: Let each party give way a little; let a common ground of action be established; and, above all, let the calamity of a party division be averted.

The President in his message dwelt at some length in a tone of moderation upon the condition of affairs in the South. He saw before him but two modes of dealing with the insurrectionary states,—one was "to bring them back into practical relations with the Union;" the other was to "hold them in military subjection." . . . "Military government," said the President, "established for an indefinite period, would offer no security for the suppression of discontent, would divide the people into the vanquishers and the vanquished, and would envenom hatred rather than restore affection. . . ." The President set forth the danger of permanent arbitrary rule. "Once established, no precise limit to the continuance of the military governments is conceivable. They would occasion an incalculable and exhausting expense. Peaceful emigration would be prevented, for what emigrant abroad, what industrious citizen at home, would willingly place himself under military rule?"—"Besides," asked the President, "would not the policy of military rule imply that the States whose inhabitants may have taken part in the rebellion have, by the act of those inhabitants, ceased to exist? whereas the true theory is, that all pretended acts of secession were from the beginning null and void." The President then briefly explained how he had proceeded in the appointment of provisional governors, the calling of conventions, the election of civil governors and Legislatures, the choosing of senators and representatives in Congress,—compactly sketching the progress of events from the date of his accession until the date of the message.

Discussing his proposed policy he said with great frankness, "I know very well that for its success it requires, at least, the acquiescence of those States which it concerns; that it implies an invitation to those States, by renewing their allegiance to the United States, to resume their functions as States of the Union; but it is a risk that must be taken, and in the choice of difficulties, it is the smallest risk." He urged very earnestly the adoption of the Thirteenth Amendment in order that the negro should be freed, and with equal strength maintained that, as respected the qualifications for suffrage in each of the States "the General Government should not interfere, but leave that matter where it was originally left,—in the Federal Constitution." But the most partial friend of the President could hardly claim that he frankly communicated the proceedings or the spirit of the Southern conventions and Legislatures. He chose to ignore that subject, to hide it by fluent and graceful phrase from public criticism, and thus to keep from the official knowledge of Congress the most important facts in the whole domain of reconstruction. It was a great mistake in the President to pass over this subject in silence. Such a course enforced one of two impressions, either of which was hurtful to him. He must, according to the common understanding of Congress, have thought the character of Southern legislation so offensive that he could find no excuse for it and therefore would not mention it; or he must have regarded it as outside the line of his observation and beyond the pale of his power of review. Either construction was bad, but the second and more probable one was especially offensive.

The leading men of the Thirty-ninth Congress were mainly those of the Thirty-eighth, though there had been a few important changes. The eminent senator from Vermont, Jacob Collamer, died on the 9th of November (1865); and Luke P. Poland, afterwards a member of the House of Representatives, appeared as his successor. Mr. Solomon Foot, who announced Judge Collamer's death, survived him but a few months. On the 28th of March Mr. Sumner announced his death to the Senate; and eight days later—on the 5th of April (1866)—George F. Edmunds was sworn in as his successor. His first speech was in eulogy of his predecessor. Mr. Edmunds rose rapidly to prominence in the Senate and after the habit of his State has been maintained for a long period in his position.

Honorable James Guthrie of Kentucky, who had been Secretary of the Treasury under President Pierce, now entered the Senate as the successor of Lazarus W. Powell. He was a man of strong parts, possessing a steady industry and thrift not common to the South. He had for many years occupied a commanding financial position in the South-West. Richard Yates, the War Governor of Illinois, displaced William A. Richardson, the intimate friend of Douglas. John P. Hale gave way to Aaron H. Cragin. In recognition of Mr. Hale's ability and long and faithful public service, Mr. Lincoln nominated him to the Spanish Mission. John A. J. Creswell came from Maryland as the successor of Anthony Kennedy. George H. Williams, a Republican, came from Oregon to take the place of Benjamin F. Harding, a Democrat. John P. Stockton of New Jersey, a Democrat, took the place of John C. Ten Eyck, a Republican. Samuel J. Kirkwood entered as the successor of James Harlan to fill his unexpired term, and performed a somewhat unusual service in presenting the credentials of James Harlan as his successor for the first full term, beginning March 4, 1867. This was the first appearance of Mr. Kirkwood in the National field, though he had long been well known for honorable and eminent service in his State.

In the House the changes were more significant than in the Senate. Gilman Marston entered anew, having been absent serving with great credit as a brigadier-general in the war. General Banks resumed the seat which he had left to accept the governorship of Massachusetts in 1857. His checkered and remarkable career, both civil and military, during the eight intervening years had greatly increased his reputation. Henry C. Deming of Connecticut entered fresh from the field of war, choosing a political life rather than a return to literary labor. New York was greatly strengthened in her delegation. Roscoe Conkling resumed the seat which he had lost in the political reverses of 1862. Among the new members were Henry J. Raymond, the able founder and editor of The New-York Times, Robert S. Hale, who became at once distinguished in the arena of debate, and Hamilton Ward, afterwards Attorney-General of his State. These additions gave to the delegation a prestige which its numbers did not always secure. John H. Ketcham, who had attained the rank of brigadier-general by successful service in the field, took his seat in this Congress, destined to hold it for a long period, destined also to exert large political influence without ever once addressing the House of Representatives or an assembly of the people. Reuben E. Fenton, after long and able service in the House, was now transferred to the gubernatorial chair of his State.

Three new men of note entered from Pennsylvania—John M. Broomall, an independent thinker and keen debater, inflexible in principle, untiring in effort; Ulysses Mercur, whose learning as a lawyer and whose worth as a man have since received their reward in a promotion to the Supreme Bench of his State; George V. Lawrence, one of the best known and most sagacious political leaders of Western Pennsylvania, inheriting his capacity from his honored father, Joseph Lawrence, who died during his membership of the Twenty-seventh Congress. John L. Thomas, junior, entered as the representative of the city of Baltimore; and the venerable Francis Thomas returned from his hermitage and his weird life in the Alleghanies.

Ohio grew even stronger than before, and her delegation was again recognized as the leading one of the House. Samuel Shellabarger, John A. Bingham and Columbus Delano re-entered with reputation already established by previous service in Congress. William Lawrence, a conscientious legislator and careful lawyer, entered from the Bellefontaine District. Martin Welker, since promoted to the bench in his State, came from the Wooster District. One of the Cincinnati districts was represented by Benjamin Eggleston, a man of great force and energy; and the other, by a modest man, without experience in legislation, but who had been a good and true soldier in the war for the Union and was highly esteemed by his neighbors. He did not take an active part in Congress, but was destined to a prominence of which he little dreamed—Rutherford B. Hayes.

The Indiana delegation was strengthened on the Democratic side by the return of William E. Niblack, who had made a good record in the Thirty-seventh Congress, and by the entrance of Michael C. Kerr, who served for a long period and ultimately became Speaker of the House. Messrs. Julian, Orth, and Dumont were again elected. The last-named had made a reputation in the preceding Congress as a keen and able man. The Illinois delegation, which had contained a large majority of Democrats in the Thirty-eighth Congress, now returned strongly Republican,—Mr. Lincoln's victory of 1864 having, with three exceptions, carried with it every Congressional district. Four men of marked characteristics were among the new members of the delegation, one of whom was already widely known: the three others were destined to become so in different degrees—John Wentworth, Shelby M. Cullom, Burton C. Cook, and Jehu Baker. Wentworth had been in the House as a Democrat prior to the war, having represented the Chicago District continuously from March 4, 1843 to March 4, 1851; and again from March 4, 1853 to March 4, 1855. He was endowed by nature with a mind as strong as his body, and that was of Titanic proportions. He was an ardent partisan in behalf of any cause he espoused; was willful, aggressive, and dominating. He was, at the same time, genial and kindly in many relations of life, not without gifts of both wit and humor, and courageous to the point of absolute fearlessness. He had been well educated at Dartmouth College in his native State, and long practice had made him a dangerous antagonist in debate. He had been an intense Democrat, but he refused to join Douglas in the repeal of the Missouri Compromise, and subsequently united with the Republicans.—Shelby M. Cullom, with good natural parts and sound education, amiable, pleasing, and endowed with the gracious quality which attracts and holds friends, won his way promptly in the House and gave early promise of the success which afterwards elevated him to the governorship of Illinois, and thence transferred him to the Senate of the United States.—Burton C. Cook was recognized as an able lawyer from the beginning of his service. He constantly grew in influence and strength during the eight years of his continuous membership, and at its close returned to the bar with an enviable reputation and with the assurance of that eminent success which has since attended his professional career.—Jehu Baker was a man of peculiarities, not to say oddities, of bearing; but these did not conceal his worth and ability, nor retard the growing reputation which has since retained him in a diplomatic position.

Missouri, then under the control of the Republican party, included in her delegation Robert T. Van Horn, a Pennsylvanian by birth, who had borne a conspicuous part in the contest with the disloyal elements of the State of his adoption; and John Hogan, a genial Irish Democrat from the St. Louis District. The Michigan delegation was the same as in the Thirty-eighth Congress, with the exception of Thomas W. Ferry, who now entered for the first time, and Roland E. Trowbridge, who had served in the Thirty-seventh Congress. The Iowa delegation was the same as in the Thirty-eighth Congress,—a very able body of men with growing influence in the House. The Wisconsin delegation was also in large part the same. But the new members were men of note. Among them were Halbert E. Paine and Philetus Sawyer. General Paine had served with distinction in the war and had lost a leg in battle. He was a lawyer in full practice, a man of the highest integrity, without fear and without reproach. Born in the Western Reserve, he was radical in his views touching the slavery question and progressive in all matters of governmental reform.—Philetus Sawyer was a native of Vermont, who, when a young man, had emigrated to Wisconsin. Without early advantages, either of education or fortune, he was in the best sense of the phrase a self-made man. He engaged in the business of lumbering and by sagacity had acquired wealth. It is easy to supply superlatives in eulogy of popular favorites; but Mr. Sawyer, in modest phrase, deserves to be ranked among the best of men,—honest, industrious, generous, true to every tie and to every obligation of life. He remained for ten years in the House, with constantly increasing influence, and was afterward promoted to the Senate. California sent an excellent delegation—McRuer, Higby, and Bidwell; and West Virginia contributed a valuable member in the person of Chester D. Hubbard.

The members of the House had been elected in 1864—borne to their seats by the force of the same popular expression that placed Mr. Lincoln in the Presidential chair for a second term. It is scarcely conceivable that had Mr. Lincoln lived any serious differences could have arisen between himself and Congress respecting the policy of reconstruction. The elections of 1865, held amid the shouts of triumph over a restored union, went by default in favor of the Republicans, who were justly credited with the National victory so far as any one political party was entitled to such honor. The people had therefore given no expression, in any official or registered form, touching the policy outlined by Mr. Johnson. He was the duly-elected Vice-President. He had come to the magistracy in presumed sympathy and close affiliation with the Republicans whose suffrages he had received. All beyond these facts was surmise or inference. No one knew any thing with precision respecting the new President's intentions.

He undoubtedly had control of an enormous public patronage. The Peace establishment of the Army, it was thought at that time, would not be less than seventy-five regiments, and this, with the necessary staff, would give to him the appointment of nearly two thousand officers without disturbing the commissions of those already in the regular service. A like increase was expected in the naval establishment. The internal-revenue system, devised for the support of the war, was all-pervasive in its character, and required for its administration a great number of officers and agents, all removable and appointable at the pleasure of the Executive. The customs' service was correspondingly large, having grown immensely during the war. In proportion to the population of the country there never had been, there has never since been, and perhaps there will never again be, so vast an official patronage placed at the absolute disposal of the President.

Public opinion, which has in later years tended to restrain the Executive Department from the personal use of the patronage of the Government, did not at that time exert a perceptible influence in this direction. The maxim originating with William L. Marcy, but frequently attributed to President Jackson, that "to the victor belong the spoils," was then held in full honor; and though it was deprecated by many and openly opposed in Congress by a few, it was acquiesced in by the vast majority and was the rule and practice of the National Administration. The patronage placed a formidable weapon in the hands of the President which could be so used as to annoy or help every Republican representative in Congress,—so used, indeed, as to prevent the election of many who were peculiarly offensive to Mr. Johnson. He had been reared in the Democratic school of proscription, and had measured the force and indulged in the use of patronage throughout all his political life in Tennessee. Though a man of the strictest personal integrity, he had apparently no scruples on this subject, but believed that the patronage of the Government might be honestly used to build up his own political power. When he entered political life he imbibed this doctrine from the teachings of President Jackson; he afterwards received its advantage under Van Buren; he aided in its enforcement under Polk; and when a senator, during the Administration of Buchanan, he witnessed its prodigious power in the overthrow of Douglas as a Presidential candidate, though a large majority of the rank and file of his party desired his nomination. While the Democratic masses were, in fact, clamorous for Douglas, he was defeated by combinations brought about through the active instrumentality of United-States district attorneys, collectors, marshals, and their deputies—all acting, as they had good reason to know, in harmony with the wishes of the Administration from whose favor they had received their places.

The Republicans of the loyal States, whose convictions and whose prejudices were strongly developed by the controversy between the President and Congress, had grave apprehensions as to the ultimate issue. At various times during the fifteen years preceding the war, they had seen men of strong anti-slavery professions, with strong anti-slavery constituencies, "palter in a double sense" when intrusted with the duties of a representative in Congress, and fall from the faith, influenced by what were termed the blandishments of power, or as was sometimes more plainly said, corrupted by the gifts of patronage. They had seen this results brought about by an Administration which the tempted and yielding representatives had been specially chosen to oppose. They had now double ground to fear that many more would prove treacherous to their professions of principle, since they could take refuge under the protection of an Administration chosen by their own party and still nominally professing to be Republican. The magnitude of the patronage at the President's disposal intensified the popular alarm; and the promptness with which a large proportion of those holding office echoed the President's sentiments and defended his policy, was taken as a signal that acquiescence therein would be the one condition upon which the honors and emoluments of public place could be enjoyed.

The great mass of loyal Republicans had descried a peculiar danger in the gentle, persuasive, insinuating words with which the President, in his annual message, sought to commend his policy. Phrasing of a specious type can deceive an individual far more easily that it can deceive a multitude of men. The quick comprehension of the people so far transcends that of a single person as to amount almost to the possession of a sixth sense. While the single person might be misled by fallacious statements and suppressions of truth by the President, the people discerned with keen precision the absolute facts of the case. They saw that the policy of the President was at war with the creed and the spirit of the Republican party, and that, if carried into effect, the legitimate fruits of the bloody struggle which had afflicted the Nation would be lost to posterity, the laws of humanity would be violated, and a fresh rebellion against National authority would be invited. The ancient maxim, that the voice of the people is the voice of God, is illogical in its direct statement, and like all adages it covers both a truth and an untruth. Its truth was now signally vindicated, when, against the authority of those in high places, against the instruction of those who had always before been trusted, the mass of the Republican party stood with heroic firmness for what they believed to be right. They stood against the seductions of patronage in the hands of the President whom they had elected, and against the eloquent pleadings of the Secretary of State who for ten years before the war had been their sagacious guide, their profound philosopher, their trusted friend.

It was this common instinct and prompt expression by the people which rescued Congress from the danger of injurious complication. The first test in the Senate, as to the solidity of the Republican party, was made on the 12th of December, when the resolution to form a select committee of reconstruction, passed by the House on the first day of the session, came up for consideration. It was amended on the motion of Mr. Anthony, by striking out that portion of it which provided that no member should be received into either House from the so-called Confederate States until the report of the committee was received and acted upon. This was held to impinge on the power of each House to be the judge of its own elections, and was expunged by general consent. On the propriety of the resolution thus amended a brief debate occurred, which to a certain extent enabled senators to define their position; and before it was concluded it was made evident that Mr. Cowan of Pennsylvania, Mr. Dixon of Connecticut, and Mr. Doolittle of Wisconsin, would separate from the mass of their Republican associates, would support the reconstruction policy of the President, and would ultimately become merged in the Democratic party. Mr. Norton of Minnesota not long afterwards became one of the supporters of the President, making a net loss of four to the Republican side of the chamber. The Senate, at that time, contained fifty members, twenty-five States being represented. Of this number the Democrats had but eleven. The loss of four still left the Republicans in possession of more than two-thirds of the seats in the Senate. The House had even a larger proportion of Republican members. These facts were destined to exert a wide and then unforseen influence upon the legislation of Congress and upon the political affairs of the country.

The House concurred promptly in the amendment which the Senate had made to the resolution providing for a joint committee on the subject of Reconstruction. It is not often that such solicitude is felt in Congress touching the membership of a committee as was now developed in both branches. It was foreseen that in an especial degree the fortunes of the Republican party would be in the keeping of the fifteen men who might be chosen. The contest, predestined and already manifest, between the President and Congress might, unless conducted with great wisdom, so seriously divide the party as to compass its ruin. Hence the imperious necessity that no rash or ill-considered step should be taken. Both in Congress and among the people the conviction was general that the party was entitled to the services of its best men. There was no struggle among members for positions on the committee; and when the names were announced they gave universal satisfaction to the Republicans. There was some complaint by the Democrats that they had only one representative upon the committee in the Senate and two in the House, but the relative strength of parties in both branches scarcely justified a larger representation of the minority.(1)

Even before the announcement of the names a great number of resolutions were offered in the House, intended to call forth expressions of opinion that should operate as instructions to the new committee, but none of them were of marked importance, except one indicating the pronounced divergence of the two parties regarding the mode of reconstruction. Each political party, in such parliamentary declarations, seeks to get the advantage of the other and each is in the habit of overrating the importance of expressions in this form. They are diligently contrived for catches and committals to be subsequently used in political campaigns, but it may well be doubted whether they ever produce substantial effect upon legislation or prove either gainful or hurtful in partisan contests. The practice is somewhat below the dignity of a legislative body, has never been resorted to in the Senate and might with great advantage be abandoned by the House.

The debate on Reconstruction, perhaps the longest in the history of National legislation, was formally opened by Mr. Thaddeus Stevens on the 18th of December (1865). He took the most radical and pronounced ground touching the relation to the National Government of the States lately in rebellion. He contended that "there are two provisions in the Constitution, under one of which the case must fall." The Fourth Article says that "new States may be admitted by the Congress into this Union." "In my judgment," said Mr. Stevens, "this is the controlling provision in this case. Unless the law of Nations is a dead letter, the late war between the two acknowledged belligerents severed their original contracts and broke all the ties that bound them together. The future condition of the conquered power depends on the will of the conqueror. They must come in as new States or remain as conquered provinces." This was the theory which Mr. Stevens had steadily maintained from the beginning of the war, and which he had asserted as frequently as opportunity was given in the discussions of the House. He proceeded to consider the probable alternative. "Suppose," said he, "as some dreaming theorists imagine, that these States have never been out of the Union, but have only destroyed their State governments, so as to be incapable of political action, then the fourth section of the Fourth Article applies, which says, 'The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a republican form of government.'" "But," added he, "who is the United States? Not the Judiciary, not the President; but the sovereign power of the people, exercised through their representatives in congress, with the concurrence of the Executive. It means political government—the concurrent action of both branches of Congress and the Executive." He intended his line of debate to be an attack, at the very beginning, upon the assumption of the President in his attempt at Reconstruction. "The separate action of the President, or the Senate or the House," added Mr. Stevens, "amounts to nothing, either in admitting new States or guaranteeing republican forms of government to lapsed or outlawed States." "Whence springs," asked he, "the preposterous idea that any one of these, acting separately, can determine the right of States to send representatives or senators to the Congress of the Union?"

Though many others had foreseen and appreciated the danger, Mr. Stevens was the first to state in detail the effect which might be produced by the manumission of the slaves upon the Congressional representation of the Southern States. He pointed out the fact that by counting negroes in the basis of representation, the number of representatives from the South would be eighty-three; excluding negroes from the basis of representation, they would be reduced to forty-six; and so long as negroes were deprived of suffrage he contended that they should be excluded from the basis of representation. "If," said he, "they should grant the right of suffrage to persons of color, I think there would always be white men enough in the South, aided by the blacks, to divide representation and thus continue loyal ascendency. If they should refuse to thus alter their election laws it would reduce the representation of the late slave States, and render them powerless for evil." Mr. Stevens's obvious theory at that time was not to touch the question of suffrage by National interposition, but to reach it more effectively perhaps by excluding the entire colored population from the basis of Congressional representation, until by the action of the Southern States themselves the elective franchise should be conceded to the colored population. As he proceeded in his speech, Mr. Stevens waxed warm with all his ancient fire on the slavery question. "We have," said he, "turned or are about to turn loose four million slaves without a hut to shelter them or a cent in their pockets. The diabolical laws of slavery have prevented them from acquiring an education, understanding the commonest laws of contract, or of managing the ordinary business of life. This Congress is bound to look after them until they can take care of themselves. If we do not hedge them around with protecting laws, if we leave them to the legislation of their old masters, we had better have left them in bondage. Their condition will be worse than that of our prisoners at Andersonville. If we fail in this great duty now when we have the power, we shall deserve to receive the execration of history and of all future ages."

In conclusion Mr. Stevens declared that "Two things are of vital importance: first, to establish a principle that none of the rebel States shall be counted in any of the Amendments to the Constitution, until they are duly admitted into the family of States by the law-making power of their conqueror; second, it should now be solemnly declared what power can revive, re-create and re-instate these provinces into the family of States and invest them with the rights of American citizens. It is time that Congress should assert the sovereignty and assume something of the dignity of a Roman Senate." He denounced with great severity the cry that "This is a white man's Government." "If this Republic," said he with great earnestness, "is not now made to stand on solid principle, it has no honest foundation, and the Father of all men will still shake it to its centre. If we have not yet been sufficiently scourged for our national sin to teach us to do justice to all God's creatures, without distinction of race or color, we must expect the still more heavy vengeance of an offended Father, still increasing his afflictions, as he increased the severity of the plagues of Egypt until the tyrant consented to do justice, and when that tyrant repented of his reluctant consent and attempted to re-enslave the people, as our Southern tyrants are attempting to do now, he filled the Red Sea with broken chariots and drowned horses, and strewed the shore with the corpses of men. Sir, this doctrine of a white man's Government is as atrocious as the infamous sentiment that damned the late Chief Justice to everlasting fame, and I fear to everlasting fire."

The speech of Mr. Stevens gave great offense to the Administration. He had not directly assailed the President by name, and had even assumed to construe one of the paragraphs of the message as referring the question of reconstruction anew to Congress; but this assumption was simply for effect and was well known by Mr. Stevens to be unfounded. The Administration did not misapprehend the drift and intention of Mr. Stevens, and its members saw that it was the first gun fired in a determined war to be waged against its policy and its prestige. They were especially anxious that its defense should not be undertaken by Democrats, or at least that Democrats should not take the lead in defending it. Mr. Stevens spoke on the 18th of December, and Congress had already voted to adjourn on the 21st for the Christmas recess. The Administration desired the Mr. Stevens's speech should not be permitted to go unanswered to the country and thus hold public attention until Congress should re-assemble in January. It was important that some response be made to it at once; and Mr. Henry J. Raymond, widely known to the political world but now in Congress for the first time, was selected to make the reply.

In a political career that was marked by many inconsistencies, as consistency is measured by the party standard, with a disposition not given to close intimacies or warm friendships, Mr. Raymond had continuously upheld the public course of Mr. Seward, and had maintained a singular steadiness of personal attachment to the illustrious statesman from New York. On the other hand, he was the rival of Horace Greeley in the field of journalism and had become personally estranged from the founder of the Tribune; though in his early manhood he had been one of his editorial assistants. The fact that the Tribune was against the Administration would of itself dispose Mr. Raymond to support it. But aside from this consideration, the chivalric devotion of Mr. Raymond to Mr. Seward would have great weight in determining his position in the pending conflict. Mr. Seward's committal to the policy and the assault upon it by the New-York Tribune would therefore through affection on the one side and prejudice on the other, naturally fix Mr. Raymond's position. He had acquired wide and worthy fame as conductor of the New-York Times, had achieved a high reputation as a polemical writer, was well informed on all political issues and added to his power with the pen the gift of ready and effective speech.

On the twenty-fist day of December, the last day before the recess, Mr. Raymond, desiring the floor, was somewhat chagrined to find himself preceded by Mr. Finck of Ohio, a respectable gentleman of the Vallandingham type of Democrat,—representing a political school whose friendship to the Administration at that time was a millstone about its neck. Mr. Raymond followed Mr. Finck late in the day, and could not help showing his resentment that the ground which the Administration intended to occupy should be so promptly pre-empted by the anti-war party of the country. "I have," said Mr. Raymond at the opening of his speech, "no party feeling which would prevent me from rejoicing in the indications apparent on the Democratic side of the House, of a purpose to concur with the loyal Administration of the Government and with the loyal majorities in both Houses of Congress in restoring peace and order to our common country. I cannot, however, help wishing, sir, that these indications in the preservation of our Government had come somewhat sooner. I cannot help feeling that such expressions cannot now be of as much use to the country as they might once have been. If we could have had from that side of the House such indications of an interest in the preservation of the Union, such heartfelt sympathy with the friends of the Government for the preservation of the Union, such hearty denunciations for all those who were seeking its destruction, while the war was raging, I am sure we might have been spared some years of war, some millions of money and rivers of blood and tears." This utterance was sharpened and made significant by the manner and by the accent of Mr. Raymond. No more pointed rebuke, no more keen reproach (not intended for Mr. Finck personally, but for his party) could have been administered. What the Administration or especially what Mr. Seward desired, and what Mr. Raymond was to speak for, was Republican support; and the prior indorsement of Mr. Johnson's position by the Democracy was a hinderance and not a help to the cause he had espoused.

Mr. Raymond's principal aim was to join issue with Mr. Stevens on his theory of dead States. "The gentleman from Pennsylvania," said Mr. Raymond, "believes that what we have to do is to create new States out of this conquered territory, at the proper time, many years distant, retaining them meanwhile in a territorial condition, and subjecting them to precisely such a state of discipline and tutelage as Congress and the Government of the United States may see fit to prescribe. If I believed in the premises he assumes, possibly though I do not think probably, I might agree with the conclusion he has reached; but, sir, I cannot believe that these States have ever been out of the Union or that they are now out of the Union. If they were, sir, how and when did they become so? By what specific act, at what precise time, did any one of those States take itself out of the American Union? Was it by the ordinance of secession? I think we all agree that an ordinance of secession passed by any State of the Union is simply a nullity because it encounters the Constitution of the United States which is the supreme law of the land.

"Did the resolutions of those States," continued Mr. Raymond, "the declarations of their officials, the speeches of the members of their Legislatures, or the utterances of their press, accomplish the result desired? Certainly not. All these were simply declarations of a purpose to secede. Their secession, if it ever took place, certainly could not date from the time when their intention to secede was first announced. They proceeded to sustain their purpose of secession by arms against the force which the United States brought to bear against them. Were their arms victorious? If they were, then their secession was an accomplished fact. If not, it was nothing more than an abortive attempt—a purpose unfulfilled. They failed to maintain their ground by force of arms. In other words, they failed to secede."

Mr. Raymond's speech was listened to with profound attention, and evoked the high compliment of frequent interruptions from leading men on the Republican side of the House. Messrs. Schenck, Bingham and Spalding of Ohio, Mr. Jenckes of Rhode Island, and Mr. Kelley of Pennsylvania, all put pointed questions and were at once answered with undoubted tact and cleverness. Mr. Raymond was helped to a specious point by Mr. Niblack of Indiana, of which he made prompt and vigorous use, to the effect that the theory of Mr. Stevens, if carried to its legitimate consequences, would make those who resisted the Confederacy in the insurrectionary states guilty of treason to that power; and that therefore "we would be unable to talk of loyal men in the South. Loyal to what? Loyal to a foreign and independent power, which the gentleman from Pennsylvania was really maintaining the Confederacy for the time being to represent."

Immediately after the recess the Reconstruction debate was resumed, and an able speech made by Mr. Spalding of Ohio, reviewing the subject generally rather than specifically replying to Mr. Raymond. Representing one of the districts of the Western Reserve (the most radical section of the United States), it is interesting to see what Mr. Spalding declared would be satisfactory to the mass of his constituents as conditions precedent to the re-admission of the rebel States. He laid down five requirements: First, "to give a qualified right of suffrage to the freedmen in the District of Columbia;" second, to "so amend the Constitution of the United States that people of color shall not be counted with the population in making up the ratio of representation in Congress, except in those States where they are permitted to exercise the elective franchise;" third, "to insert a provision in the Constitution prohibiting nullification and secession;" fourth, "to insert a provision in the Constitution prohibiting the repudiation of the National debt and also prohibiting the assumption of the rebel debt;" fifth, to provide in the Constitution that "no person who has at any time taken up arms against the United States shall ever be admitted to a seat in the Senate or House of Representatives."

On the eighth day of January, two days after the re-assembling of Congress, Mr. Shellabarger of Ohio specifically answered the speech of Mr. Raymond. He spoke with care and preparation, as was his habit. He wasted no words, but in clear, crisp sentences subjected the whole question to the rigid test of logic. "I shall inquire," said Mr. Shellabarger, "whether the Constitution deals with States. I shall discuss the question whether an organized rebellion against a government is an organized State in that government; whether that which cannot become a State until all its officers have sworn to support the Constitution, remains a State after they have all sworn to overthrow that Constitution. If I find it does continue to be a State after that, then I shall strive to ascertain whether it will so continue to be a Government—a State—after, by means of universal treason, it has ceased to have any constitution, laws, legislatures, courts, or citizens in it."

"If, in debating this question," continued Mr. Shellabarger, "I debate axioms, my apology is that there are not other questions to debate in Reconstruction. If," said he with well-timed sarcasm, "in the discussion, I make self-evident things obscure or incomprehensible, my defense shall be that I am conforming to the usages of Congress. I will not inquire whether any subject of this Government, by reason of the revolt, passed from under its sovereignty or ceased to owe it allegiance; nor shall I inquire whether any territory passed from under that jurisdiction, because I know of no one who thinks that any of these things did occur. I shall not consider, whether, by the Rebellion, any State lost its territorial character or its defined boundaries or subdivisions, for I know of no one who would obliterate these geographical qualities of the States. These questions, however much discussed, are in no practical sense before Congress."

"What is before Congress?" asked Mr. Shellabarger. "I at once define and affirm it in a single sentence. It is, under our Constitution, possible to, and the late Rebellion did in fact, so overthrow and usurp, in the insurrectionary States, the loyal State Governments, as that during such usurpation such States and their people ceased to have any of the rights or powers of Government as States of the Union, and this loss of the rights and powers of Government was such that the United States may, and ought to, assume and exercise local powers of the lost State Governments, and may control the re-admission of such States to their powers of Government in this Union, subject to, and in accordance with, the obligation to guarantee to each State a republican form of Government."

Upon the broad proposition thus laid down by Mr. Shellabarger, he proceeded to submit an argument which, for closeness, compactness, consistency and strength had rarely, if ever, been surpassed in the Congress of the United States. Other speeches have gained greater celebrity, but it may well be doubted whether any speech in the House of Representatives ever made a more enduring impression, or exerted greater convincing power, upon the minds of those to whom it was addressed. It was a far more valuable exposition of the Reconstruction question than that given by Mr. Stevens. It was absolutely without acrimony, it contained no harsh word, it made no personal reflection; but the whole duty of the United States, and the whole power of the United States to do its duty, were set forth with absolute precision of logic. The Reconstruction debate continued for a long time and many able speeches were contributed to it. While much of value was added to that which Mr. Shellabarger had stated, no position taken by him was ever shaken.

Mr. Raymond had asked repeatedly and with great emphasis what specific act had deprived these rebellious States of their rights as States of the Union. Mr. Shellabarger gave an answer to that question, which, as a caustic summary, is worthy to be quoted in full. "I answer him," said the member from Ohio, "in the words of the Supreme Court, 'The causeless waging against their own Government of a war which all the world acknowledge to have been the greatest civil war known in the history of the human race.' That war was waged by these people as States, and it went through long, dreary years. In it they threw off and defied the authority of your Constitution, your laws, and your Government. They obliterated from their State constitutions and laws every vestige of recognition of your Government. They discarded all their official oaths, and took, in their places, oaths to support your enemies' government. They seized, in their States, all the Nation's property. Their senators and representatives in your Congress insulted, bantered, defied and then left you. They expelled from their land or assassinated every inhabitant of known loyalty. They betrayed and surrendered your arms. They passed sequestration and other Acts in flagitious violation of the law of nations, making every citizen of the United States an alien enemy, and placing in the treasury of their rebellion all money and property due such citizens. They framed iniquity and universal murder into law. For years they besieged your Capital and sent your bleeding armies in rout back here upon the very sanctuaries of your national power. Their pirates burned your unarmed commerce upon every sea. They carved the bones of your unburied heroes into ornaments and drank from goblets made out of their skulls. They poisoned your fountains, put mines under your soldiers' prisons, organized bands whose leaders were concealed in your homes, and whose commissions ordered the torch to be carried to your cities, and the yellow-fever to your wives and children. They planned one universal bonfire of the North, from Lake Ontario to the Missouri. They murdered, by systems of starvation and exposure, sixty thousand of your sons as brave and heroic as ever martyrs were. They destroyed, in the four years of horrid war, another army so large that it would reach almost around the globe in marching-column. And then to give to the infernal drama a fitting close, and to concentrate into one crime all that is criminal in crime and all that is detestable in barbarism, they murdered the President of the United States."

"I allude to these horrid events," continued Mr. Shellabarger, "not to revive frightful memories, or to bring back the impulses towards the perpetual severance of this people which they provoke. I allude to them to remind us how utter was the overthrow and the obliteration of all government, divine and human, how total was the wreck of all constitutions and laws, political, civil and international. I allude to them to condense their monstrous enormities of guilt into one crime, and to point the gentleman from New York to it and tell him that that was the specific act."

Mr. Voorhees of Indiana followed on the day succeeding Mr. Shellabarger's speech, in support of a series of resolutions which he had offered on the same day that Mr. Raymond addressed the House, and further embarrassing Mr. Raymond by the proffer of Democratic support, and proportionately discouraging the Republicans from coming forward in aid of the Administration. The resolutions of Mr. Voorhees declared in effect that "the President's message is regarded by the House as an able, judicious and patriotic State paper;" that "the principles therein advocated are the safest and most practicable that can be applied to our disordered domestic affairs;" that "no State or number of States confederated together can in any manner sunder their connection with the Federal Union;" and that "the President is entitled to the thanks of Congress and the country for his faithful, wise and successful efforts to restore civil government, law and order to the States lately in rebellion." Mr. Voorhees made an exhaustive speech in support of these resolutions, indicating very plainly the purpose of the Democratic party to combine in support of the President. He was answered promptly and eloquently, though not without some display of temper, by Mr. Bingham of Ohio, who at the close of his speech moved a substitute for the series of propositions made by Mr. Voorhees—simply declaring that "this House has an abiding confidence in the President, and that in the future as in the past, he will co-operate with Congress in restoring to equal position and rights with the other States in the Union, the States lately in insurrection."

Up to this period there had been no outbreak of the Republican party against the President. There had been coolness and general distrust, with resentment and anger on the part of many, but the hope of his co-operation with the party had not yet been entirely abandoned. Mr. Bingham's resolution represented this hope, if not expectation, but the Republican members of the House were not willing to make so emphatic a declaration of their confidence as that resolution would imply; and when Mr. Bingham demanded the previous question he was interrupted by Mr. Stevens, who suggested that the whole subject be referred to the Joint Committee on Reconstruction. Mr. Bingham changed his motion accordingly; and the roll being called, the series of resolutions offered by Mr. Voorhees, with the substitute of Mr. Bingham, were sent to the Committee on Reconstruction by 107 ayes against 32 noes. Mr. Raymond and his colleague, Mr. William A. Darling, were the only Republicans who voted with the Democrats. The act was simple in a parliamentary sense, but its significance was unmistakable. A House, four-fifths of whose members were Republicans, had refused to pass a resolution expressing confidence in the President who, fourteen months before, had received the vote of every Republican in the Nation. From that day, January 9th, 1866, the relation of the dominant party in Congress to the President was changed. It may not be said that all hope of reconciliation was abandoned, but friendly co-operation to any common end became extremely difficult.

Mr. Raymond was bitterly disappointed. Few members had ever entered the House with greater personal prestige or with stronger assurance of success. He had come with a high ambition—an ambition justified by his talent and training. He had come with the expectation of a Congressional career as successful as that already achieved in his editorial life. But he met a defeat which hardly fell short of a disaster. He had made a good reply to Mr. Stevens, had indeed gained much credit by it, and when he returned home for the holidays he had reason to believe that he had made a brilliant beginning in the parliamentary field. But the speech of Mr. Shellabarger had destroyed his argument, and had given a rallying-point for the Republicans, so incontestably strong as to hold the entire party in allegiance to principle rather than in allegiance to the Administration. If any thing had been needed to complete Mr. Raymond's discomfiture after the speech of Mr. Shellabarger, it was supplied in the speech of Mr. Voorhees. He had been ranked among the most virulent opponents of Mr. Lincoln's Administration, had been bitterly denunciatory of the war policy of the Government, and was regarded as a leader of that section of the Democratic party to which the most odious epithets of disloyalty had been popularly applied. Mr. Raymond, in speaking of the defeat, always said that he could have effected a serious division in the ranks of Republican members if he could have had the benefit of the hostility of Mr. Voorhees and other anti-war Democrats.

Three weeks after Mr. Shellabarger's reply Mr. Raymond made a rejoinder. He struggled hard to recover the ground which he had obviously lost, but he did not succeed in changing his status in the House, or in securing recruits for the Administration from the ranks of his fellow Republicans. To fail in that was to fail in every thing. That he made a clever speech was not denied, for every intellectual effort of Mr. Raymond exhibited cleverness. That he made the most of a weak cause, and to some extent influenced public opinion, must also be freely conceded. But his most partial friends were compelled to admit that he had absolutely failed to influence Republican action in Congress, and had only succeeded in making himself an apparent ally of the Democratic party—a position in every way unwelcome and distasteful to Mr. Raymond. His closing speech was marked by many pointed interruptions from Mr. Shellabarger and was answered at some length by Mr. Stevens. But nothing, beyond a few keen thrusts and parries and some sharp wit at Mr. Raymond's expense, was added to the debate.

Mr. Raymond never rallied from the defeat of January 9th. His talents were acknowledged; his courteous manners, his wide intelligence, his generous hospitality, gave him a large popularity; but his alliance with President Johnson was fatal to his political fortunes. He had placed himself in a position from which he could not with grace retreat, and to go forward in which was still further to blight his hopes of promotion in his party. It was an extremely mortifying fact to Mr. Raymond that with the power of the Administration behind him he could on a test question secure the support of only one Republican member, and he a colleague who was bound to him by ties of personal friendship.

The fate which befell Mr. Raymond, apart from the essential weakness of the issue on which he staked his success, is not uncommon to men who enter Congress with great reputation already attained. So much is expected of them that their efforts on the floor are almost sure to fall below the standard set up for them by their hearers. By natural re-action the receive, in consequence, less credit than is their due. Except in a few marked instances the House has always been led by men whose reputation has been acquired in its service. Entering unheralded, free from the requirements which expectation imposes, a clever man is sure to receive more credit than is really his due when his is so fortunate as to arrest the attention of members in his first speech. Thenceforward, if he be discreet enough to move slowly and modestly, he acquires a secure standing and may reach the highest honors with the House can confer.

If, ambitious of a career, Mr. Raymond had been elected to Congress when he was chosen to the New-York Legislature at twenty-nine years of age, or five years later when he was made Lieutenant-governor of his State, he might have attained a great parliamentary fame. It has long been a tradition of the House that no man becomes its leader who does not enter it before he is forty. Like most sweeping affirmations this has its exceptions, but the list of young men who have been advanced to prominent positions in the body is so large that it may well be assumed as the rule of promotion. Mr. Raymond was nearly forty-six when he made his first speech in the House. While he still exhibited the intellectual acuteness and alertness which had always been his characteristics, there was apparent in his face the mental weariness which had come from the prolonged and exacting labor of his profession. His parliamentary failure was a keen disappointment to him, and was not improbably one among many causes which cut short a brilliant and useful life. He died in 1869, in the forty-ninth year of his age.

This first debate on reconstruction developed the fact that the Democrats in Congress would endeavor to regain the ground they had lost by their hostility to Mr. Lincoln's Administration during the war. The extreme members of that party, while the war was flagrant, adhered to many dogmas which were considered unpatriotic and in none more so than the declaration that even in the case of secession "there is no power in the Constitution to coerce a State." They now united in the declaration, as embodied in the resolution of Mr. Voorhees, that "no State or number of States confederated together can in any manner sunder their connection with the Federal Union." This was intended as a direct and defiant answer to the heretical creed of Mr. Stevens, that the States by their attempted secession were really no longer members of the Union and could not become so until regularly re-admitted by Congress. By antagonizing this declaration the Democrats strove to convince the country that it was the accepted doctrine of their political opponents, and that they were themselves the true and tried friends of the Union.

The great majority of the Republican leaders, however, did not at all agree with the theory of Mr. Stevens and the mass of the party were steadily against him. The one signal proof of their dissent from the extreme doctrine was their absolute unwillingness to attempt an amendment to the Constitution by the ratification of three-fourths of the Loyal States only, and their insisting that it must be three-fourths of all the States, North and South. Mr. Stevens deemed this a fatal step for the party, and his extreme opinion had the indorsement of Mr. Sumner; but against both these radical leaders the party was governed by its own conservative instincts. They believed with Mr. Lincoln that the Stevens plan of amendment would always be questioned, and that in so grave a matter as a change to the organic law of the Nation, the process should be unquestionable—one that could stand every test and resist every assault.

The Republicans, as might well have been expected, did not stand on the defensive in such a controversy with their opponents. They became confidently aggressive. They alleged that when the Union was in danger from secession the Northern Democrats did all in their power to inflame the trouble, urged the Southern leaders to persevere and not yield to the Abolitionists, and even when war was imminent did nothing to allay the danger, but every thing to encourage its authors. Now that war was over, the Democrats insisted on the offending States being instantly re-invested with all the rights of loyalty, without promise and without condition. At the beginning of the war and after its close, therefore, they had been hand in hand with the offending rebels, practically working at both periods to bring about the result desired by the South. Their policy, in short, seemed to have the interests of the guilty authors of the Rebellion more at heart than the safety of the Union. Their efforts now to clothe the Southern conspirators with fresh power and to take no note of the crimes which had for four years drenched the land in blood, constituted an offense only less grave in the eyes of the Republicans than the aid and comfort given to the Rebellion in the hour of its inception.

These were the accusations and criminations which were exchanged between the political parties. They lent acrimony to the impending canvass and increased the mutual hostility of those engaged in the exciting controversy. The Republicans were resolved that their action should neither be misinterpreted by opposing partisans nor misunderstood by the people. They were confident that when their position should be correctly apprehended it would still more strongly confirm their claim to be the special and jealous guardians of the Union of the States—of a Union so strongly based that future rebellion would be rendered impossible, the safety and glory of the Republic made perpetual.

[(1)NOTE.—The members of the Joint Committee on Reconstruction were as follows:—

On the part of the Senate.—William P. Fessenden of Maine, James W. Grimes of Iowa, Ira Harris of New York, Jacob M. Howard of Michigan, George H. Williams of Oregon, and Reverdy Johnson of Maryland.

On the part of the House.—Thaddeus Stevens of Pennsylvania, Elihu B. Washburne of Illinois, Justin S. Morrill of Vermont, John A. Bingham of Ohio, Roscoe Conkling of New York, George S. Boutwell of Massachusetts, Henry T. Blow of Missouri, A. J. Rogers of New Jersey, and Henry Grider of Kentucky.]


The debate on the direct question of Reconstruction did not begin at so early a date in the Senate as in the House, but kindred topics led to the same line of discussion as that in which the House found itself engaged. During the first week of the session Mr. Wilson of Massachusetts had submitted a bill for the protection of freedman, designed to overthrow and destroy the odious enactments which in many of the Southern States were rapidly reducing the entire negro race to a new form of slavery. Mr. Wilson's bill provided that "all laws, statutes, acts, ordinances, rules and regulations in any of the States lately in rebellion, which, by inequality of civil rights and immunities among the inhabitants of said States is established or maintained by reason of differences of color, race or descent, are hereby declared null and void." For the violation of this statute a punishment was provided by fine of not less than five hundred dollars nor more than ten thousand dollars, and by imprisonment not less than six months nor more than five years.

In debating his bill Mr. Wilson declared that he had "no desire to say harsh things of the South nor of the men who have been engaged in the Rebellion. I do not ask their property or their blood; I do not wish to disgrace or degrade them; but I do wish that they shall not be permitted to disgrace, degrade or oppress anybody else. I offer this bill as a measure of humanity, as a measure that the needs of that section of the country imperatively demand at our hands. I believe that if it should pass it will receive the sanction of nineteen-twentieths of the loyal people of the country. Men may differ about the power or the expediency of giving the right of suffrage to the negro; but how any humane, just and Christian man can for a moment permit the laws that are on the statute-books of the Southern States and the laws now pending before their Legislatures, to be executed upon men whom we have declared to be free, I cannot comprehend."

Mr. Reverdy Johnson replied to Mr. Wilson in a tone of apology for the laws complained of, but took occasion to give his views of the status of the States lately in rebellion. "I have now," said Mr. Johnson, "and I have had from the first, a very decided opinion that they are States in the Union and that they never could have been placed out of the Union without the consent of their sister States. The insurrection terminated, the authority of the Government was thereby re-instituted; eo instanti they were invested with all the rights belonging to them originally—I mean as States. . . In my judgment our sole authority for the acts which we have done during the last four years was the authority communicated to Congress by the Constitution to suppress insurrection. If the power can only be referred to that clause, in my opinion, speaking I repeat with great deference to the judgment of others, the moment the insurrection was terminated there was no power whatever left in the Congress of the United States over those States; and I am glad to see, if I understand his Message, that in the view I have just expressed I have the concurrence of the President of the United States."

Mr. Sumner sustained Mr. Wilson's bill in an elaborate argument delivered on the 20th of December. There was an obvious desire in both branches of Congress and in both parties—those opposed to the President's policy and those favoring it—to appeal to the popular judgment as promptly as possible, and this led to a prolonged and earnest debate prior to the holidays, an occurrence unusual and almost unprecedented. Mr. Sumner declared that Mr. Wilson's bill was simply to maintain and carry out the Proclamation of Emancipation. The pledge there given was that the Executive Government of the United States, including the military and naval authority thereof, would recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons. "This pledge," said Mr. Sumner, "is without limitation in space or time. It is as extended and as immortal as the Republic itself, to that pledge we are solemnly bound; wherever our flag floats, as long as time endures, we must see that it is sacredly observed. The performance of that pledge cannot be intrusted to another, least of all to the old slave-masters, embittered against their slaves. It must be performed by the National Government. The power that gives freedom must see that freedom is maintained."

"Three of England's greatest orators and statesmen," continued Mr. Sumner, "Burke, Canning and Brougham, at successive periods unite in declaring, from the experience of the British West Indies, that whatever the slave-masters undertook to do for their slaves was always arrant trifling; that whatever might be its plausible form it always wanted the executive principle. More recently the Emperor of Russia, in ordering the emancipation of the serfs, declared that all previous efforts had failed because they had been left to the spontaneous initiative of the proprietors." . . . "I assume that we shall not leave to the old slave-proprietors the maintenance of that freedom to which we are pledged, and thus break our own promise and sacrifice a race." In concluding his speech Mr. Sumner referred to the enormity of the wrongs against the freedmen as something that made the blood curdle. "In the name of God," said he, "let us protect them; insist upon guarantees; pass the bill under consideration; pass any bill, but do not let this crying injustice rage any longer. An avenging God cannot sleep while such things find countenance. If you are not ready to be the Moses of an oppressed people, do not become their Pharaoh."

Mr. Willard Saulsbury of Delaware made a brief reply to Mr. Sumner, not so much to argue the points put forward by the senator from Massachusetts, not so much to deny the facts related by him or to discuss the principles which he had presented, as to announce that "it can be no longer disguised that there is in the party which elected the President an opposition party to him. Nothing can be more antagonistic than the suggestions contained in his Message and the speeches already made in both Houses of Congress." He adjured the President to be true and faithful to the principles he had foreshadowed, and pledged him "the support of two million men in the States which have not been in revolt, and who did not support him for his high office."

Mr. Cowan of Pennsylvania, one of the Republican senators who had indicated a purpose to sustain the President, was evidently somewhat stunned by Mr. Sumner's speech. He treated the outrages of which Mr. Sumner complained as exceptional instances of bad conduct on the part of the Southern people. "One man out of ten thousand," said Mr. Cowan, "is brutal to a negro, and that is paraded here as a type of the whole people of the South; whereas nothing is said of the other nine thousand nine hundred and ninety-nine men who treat the negro well." Mr. Cowan's argument was altogether inapposite; for what Mr. Sumner and Mr. Wilson had complained of was not the action of individual men in the South, but of laws solemnly enacted by Legislatures whose right to act had been recognized by the Executive Department of the National Government, and which had indeed been organized in pursuance of the President's Reconstruction policy,—almost in fact by the personal patronage of the President. The situation was one very difficult to justify by a man with the record of Mr. Cowan. He had been not merely a Republican before his entrance into the Senate but a radical Republican, taking ground in the campaign of 1860 only less advanced than that maintained by Mr. Thaddeus Stevens himself.

These debates in both Senate and House, at so early a period of the session, give a full and fair indication of the temper which prevailed in the country and in Congress. The majority of the members had not, at the opening of the session, given up hope of some form of co-operation with the President. As partisans and party leaders they looked forward with something of dismay to the rending of all relations with the Executive, and to the surrender of the political advantage which comes to the party and to the partisan from a close alliance between the Executive and Legislative Departments. On the re-assembling of Congress after the holidays a great change was seen and realized by all. It was feared by many, even of the most conservative, that the policy of Congress and the policy of the President might come into irreconcilable conflict, and that the party which had successfully conducted the Government through the embarrassments, the trials and the perils of a long civil war, might now be wrecked by an angry controversy between two departments of the Government, each owing its existence to the same great constituency,—the loyal people of the North.

Circumstances suggested the impossibility of a successful contest against the President and the Democratic party united. Even those elections which result, in the exuberant language of the press, in an overwhelming victory on the one side and an overwhelming defeat, on the other, are often found, upon analysis, to be based on very narrow margins in the popular result, the reversal of which requires only the change of a few thousand votes. This was demonstrated in many of the great States, even in the second election of Mr. Lincoln, when to the general apprehension he was almost unanimously sustained. From this fact it was well argued by Republicans in Congress that great danger to the party was involved in the impending dissension. Even the most sanguine feared defeat, and the naturally despondent already counted it as certain. Never before had so stringent a test of principle been applied to the members of both Houses. The situation was indeed peculiar. The great statesman who had been honored as the founder of the Republican party was now closely allied with the Administration. His colleague who had sat next him in the Cabinet of Mr. Lincoln, and who, in the judgment of his partial friends, was the peer of Mr. Seward both in ability and in merit, did not hesitate to show from the exalted seat of the Chief Justice his strong sympathy with the President.

The leading commercial men, who had become weary of war, contemplated with positive dread the re-opening of a controversy which might prove as disturbing to the business of the country as the struggle of arms had been, and without the quickening impulses to trade which active war always imparts. The bankers of the great cities, whose capital and whose deposits all rested upon the credit of the country and were invested in its paper, believed that the speedy settlement of all dissension and the harmonious co-operation of all departments of the Government were needed to maintain the financial honor of the nation and to re-instate confidence among the people. Against obstacles so menacing, against resistance so ominous, against an array of power so imposing, it seemed to be an act of boundless temerity to challenge the President to a contest, to array public opinion against him, to denounce him, to deride him, to defy him.

It is to the eminent credit of the Republican members of Congress that they stood in a crisis of this magnitude true to principle, firm against all the power and all the patronage of the Administration. No unmanly efforts to compromise, no weak shirking from duty, sullied the fame of the great body of senators and representatives. Even the Whig party in 1841, with Mr. Clay for a leader, did not stand so solidly against John Tyler as the Republican party, under the lead of Fessenden and Sumner in the Senate and of Thaddeus Stevens in the House, now stood against the Administration of President Johnson. The Whigs of the country, in the former crisis, lost many of their leading and most brilliant men,—a sufficient number indeed to compass the defeat of Mr. Clay three years later. The loss to the Republican party now was so small as to be unfelt and almost invisible in the political contests into which the party was soon precipitated. The Whigs of 1841 were contending only for systems of finance, and they broke finally with the President because of his veto of a bill establishing a fiscal agency for the use of the Government,—merely a National Bank disguised under another name. The Republicans of 1866 were contending for a vastly greater stake,—for the sacredness of human rights, for the secure foundation of free government. Their constancy was greater than that of the Whigs because the rights of person transcend the rights of property.

On the 12th of December Mr. Cowan had submitted a resolution requesting the President to furnish to the Senate information of "the condition of that portion of the United States lately in rebellion; whether the rebellion has been suppressed and the United States again put in possession of the States in which it existed; whether the United-States post-offices are re-established and the revenues collected therefrom; and also, whether the people of those States have re-organized their State governments; and whether they are yielding obedience to the laws and Government of the United States." Mr. Sumner moved an amendment, directing the President to furnish to the Senate at the same time "copies of such reports as he may have received from the officers or agents appointed to visit this portion of the Union, including especially any reports from the Honorable John Covode and Major-General Carl Schurz." The President's message, sent to the Senate a week later, in response to this resolution, was brief, being simply a statement of what had been accomplished by his Reconstruction policy, with an expression of his belief that "sectional animosity is surely and rapidly merging itself into a spirit of nationality; that representation, connected with a properly adjusted system of taxation, will result in a harmonious restoration of the relations of the States to the National Union." He transmitted the report of Mr. Schurz and also invited the attention of the Senate to a report of Lieutenant-General Grant, who had recently made a tour of the inspection through several of the States lately in rebellion.

The President evidently desired that General Grant's opinions concerning the South should be spread before the public. From the high character of the General-in-Chief and his known relations with the prominent Republicans in Congress, the Administration hoped that great influence would be exerted by the communication of his views. His report was short and very positive. He declared his belief that "the mass of thinking men of the South accept the present situation of affairs in good faith." At the same time he thought that "four years of war have left the people possibly in a condition not ready to yield that obedience to civil authority which the American people have been in the habit of yielding, thus rendering the presence of small garrisons throughout these States necessary until such time as labor returns to its proper channels and civil authority is fully established."

It was General Grant's opinion however that acquiescence in the authority of the General Government was so universal throughout the portions of the country he visited, that "the mere presence of a military force, without regard to numbers, is sufficient to maintain order." He urged that only white troops be employed in the South. The presence of black troops, he said, "demoralizes labor" and "furnishes in their camps a resort for freedmen." He thought there was danger of collision from the presence of black troops. His observations led him 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 "during the process of reconstruction they want and require protection from the Government;" that "they are in earnest, and wishing to do what they think is required by the Government, not humiliating to them as citizens;" and that "if such a course were pointed out they would pursue it in good faith." "The questions," continued General Grant, "heretofore dividing the people of the two sections—slavery and the right of secession—the Southern men regard as having been settled forever by the tribunal of arms. I was pleased to learn from the leading men whom I met that they not only accepted the decision as final, but now that the smoke of battle has cleared away and time has been given for reflection, that this decision has been a fortunate one for the whole country." He suggested that the Freedmen's Bureau be put under command of military officers in the respective departments, thus saving the expense of a separate organization. This would create a responsibility that would secure uniformity of action throughout the South. His general characterization of the Bureau was, that it tended to impress the freedman with the idea that he would not be compelled to work, and that in some way the lands of his former master were to be divided among the colored persons.

The supporters of the Administration considered General Grant's report a strong justification of their position towards the South, and they used it with some effect throughout the country. The popularity of the Lieutenant-General was boundless, and of course there was strong temptation to make the most of whatever might be said by him. Mr. Sumner immediately demanded the reading of the report of Mr. Schurz. He likened the message of the President to the "whitewashing" message of President Pierce with regard to the enormities in Kansas. "That," said he, "is its parallel." Mr. Doolittle criticized the use of the word "whitewashing," and asked Mr. Sumner to qualify it, but the Massachusetts senator declared that he had "nothing to modify, nothing to qualify, nothing to retract. In former days there was one Kansas that suffered under a local power. There are now eleven Kansases suffering as one: therefore, as eleven is more than one so is the enormity of the present time more than the enormity of the days of President Pierce." Later in the debate, Mr. Sumner indirectly qualified his harsh words, saying that he had no reflection to make on the patriotism or the truth of the President of the United States. "Never in public or in private," said he, "have I made such reflection and I do not begin now. When I spoke I spoke of the document that had been read at the desk. I characterized it as I though I ought to characterize it." The distinction he sought to make was not clearly apparent, the only importance attaching to it being that Mr. Sumner had not yet concluded that a bitter political war was to be made upon the President of the United States.

The character of Mr. Schurz's report at once disclosed the reason of Mr. Sumner's anxiety to have it printed with the report of General Grant. It was made after a somewhat prolonged investigation in the States of South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and the Department of the Gulf. Mr. Schurz's conclusions were that the loyalty of the masses and of most of the leaders in the South "consists of submission to necessity." Except in individual instances, he found "an entire absence of that national spirit which forms the basis of true loyalty and patriotism." He found that "the emancipation of the slaves is submitted to only in so far as chattel-slavery in the old form could not be kept up; and although the freeman is no longer considered the property of the individual master he is considered the slave of society, and all independent State legislation will share the tendency to make him such. The ordinances abolishing slavery, passed by the conventions under the pressure of circumstances, will not be looked upon as barring the establishment of a new form of servitude." "Practical attempts," Mr. Schurz continued, "on the part of the Southern people to deprive the negro of his rights as a freedman may result in bloody collision, and will certainly plunge Southern society into resistless fluctuations and anarchical confusion."

These evils, in the opinion of Mr. Schurz, "can be prevented only by continuing the control of the National Government in the States lately in rebellion, until free labor is fully developed and firmly established. This desirable result will be hastened by a firm declaration on the part of the Government that national control in the South will not cease until such results are secured." It was Mr. Schurz's judgment that "it will hardly be possible to secure the freedman against oppressive legislation and private persecution unless he be endowed with a certain measure of political power." He felt sure of the fact that the "extension of the franchise to the colored people, upon the development of free labor and upon the security of human rights in the South, being the principal object in view, the objections raised upon the ground of the ignorance of the freedmen become unimportant."

Mr. Schurz made an intelligent argument in favor of negro suffrage. He was persuaded that the Southern people would never grant suffrage to the negro voluntarily, and that "the only manner in which the Southern people can be induced to grant to the freemen some measure of self-protecting power, in the form of suffrage, is to make it a condition precedent to re-admission." He remarked upon the extraordinary delusion then pervading a portion of the public mind regarding the deportation of the freedmen. "The South," he said, "stands in need of an increase and not a diminution of its laboring-force, to repair the losses and disasters of the last four years. Much is said of importing European laborers and Northern men. This is the favorite idea among planters, who want such emigrants to work on their plantations, but they forget that European and Northern men will not come to the South to serve as hired hands on the plantations, but to acquire property for themselves; and even if the whole European emigration, at the rate of two hundred thousand a year, were turned into the South, leaving not a single man for the North and West, it would require between fifteen and twenty years to fill the vacuum caused by the deportation of freedmen."

Mr. Schurz desired not to be understood as saying that "there are no well-meaning men among those who are compromised in the Rebellion. There are many, but neither their number nor their influence is strong enough to control the manifest tendency of the popular spirit." Apprehending that his report might be antagonized by evidence of a contrary spirit shown in the South by the action of their conventions, Mr. Schurz declared that it was "dangerous to be led by such evidence into any delusion." "As to the motives," said Mr. Schurz, "upon which the Southern people acted when abolishing slavery (in their conventions) and their understanding of the bearings of such acts, we may safely accept the standard they have set up for themselves." The only argument of justification was that "they found themselves in a situation where they could do no better." A prominent Mississippian (General W. L. Brandon) said in a public card, according to Mr. Schurz, "My honest conviction is that we must accept the situation until we can once more get control of our own State affairs. . . . I must submit for the time to evils I cannot remedy." Mr. Schurz expressed his conviction that General Brandon had "only put in print what a majority of the people say in more emphatic language."

The report of Mr. Schurz was quoted even more triumphantly by the opponents of the President's policy than was General Grant's by its friends. It was a somewhat singular train of circumstances that produced the two reports, while the sequel, so far as the authors were involved, was quite as remarkable as the contradictory character of the views set forth. In the early summer (1865) when Mr. Johnson had yielded many of his preconceived views of reconstruction to the persuasions of Mr. Seward, but was still adhering tenaciously to some exactions which the Secretary of State deemed unwise if not cruel, it had occurred to the President to procure an accurate and intelligent report of the Southern situation by a man of capacity. Mr. Johnson held at that particular time a middle ground, measuring from the original point of his extreme antagonism towards the Southern rebels to the subsequent point of his extreme antagonism towards the Northern Republicans. His selection of Mr. Schurz for the special duty was deemed significant, because at that period of a political career consistent only in the frequency and agility of its changes Mr. Schurz happened to take an extreme position on the Southern question—one that was in general harmony with the views entertained and avowed by Mr. Sumner. Mr. Schurz, according to his own declaration, had communicated his "views to the President in frequent letters and conversations," and added an assurance, the truth of which all who know Mr. Schurz will readily concede—"I would not have accepted the mission had I not felt that whatever preconceived opinions I might carry with me to the South I should be ready to abandon or modify, as my perception of facts and circumstances might command their abandonment or modification."

Mr. Schurz started on his mission in the early part of July, and was engaged in traveling, observing and taking copious notes until the middle of the ensuing autumn. His report did not reach the President until the month of November. In the intervening months Mr. Johnson had been essentially and rapidly changing his views,—growing more and more favorable to the Southern leaders, less and less in harmony with the Republican leaders. He had gone far beyond the balancing-point of impartiality, where he stood when he was willing to intrust the task of Southern investigation to a man of the radical views which Mr. Schurz then professed. He was now altogether unwilling to submit the report of Mr. Schurz to Congress as an ex cathedra exposition. If not in some way counterbalanced it would necessarily be considered authoritative, and in a certain sense accredited by the Administration.

It was the President's desire to neutralize the effect of Mr. Schurz's representations, which led to the report of General Grant, the chief points of which have been already quoted. The Commander of the Army was necessarily in close relations with the Executive Department, and was recognized by the President as possessing an extraordinary popularity in the Northern States. During the months that had passed since the war closed General Grant had been received, wherever he had been induced to visit, with a display of enthusiasm never surpassed in our country. The people looked upon him simply as the illustrious soldier who had led the armies of the Union to victory. They attributed to him no political views except those of undying loyalty to his country, and they sought no party advantage from the use of his name. He had indeed made no partisan expressions, either during the war or since its close, on any subject whatever, except the necessity of maintaining the Union—and this was a partisan question only in consequence of the evil course pursued by the Democratic party during the closing years of the war.

On the civil and political aspects of the situation General Grant had not deemed it necessary to mature his views. He desired above all things the speedy restoration of the Southern States to the Union as the legitimate result of the victories in the field. But so far as action or even the exertion of any positive influence was involved, he confined himself strictly to his duties as Commander of the United-States Army. President Johnson saw an opportunity for turning the prestige of General Grant to the benefit of his Administration. Towards the close of November the general was starting South on a tour of military inspection "to see what changes were necessary in the disposition of the forces, and to ascertain how they could be reduced and expenses curtailed." The President requested him "to learn during his tour, as far as possible, the feelings and intentions of the citizens of the Southern States towards the National Government,"—a request with which the general complied in a perfunctory manner, giving merely the impressions formed in the rapid journey of a few days. He left Washington on the 27th of November and passed through Virginia "without conversing or meeting with any of its citizens." He spent one day in North Carolina, one in South Carolina and two in Georgia. This was the whole extent of the observation upon which General Grant had innocently given his views, without the remotest suspicion that his brief report was to figure largely in the discussions of Congress upon the important and absorbing question of reconstruction.

The divergent conclusions which were thus made to appear between the authors of the conflicting reports did not cease with this single exhibition. It was soon perceived that in the President's anxiety to parry the effect of Mr. Schurz's report he had placed General Grant in a false position,—a position which no one realized more promptly than the General himself. Further investigation led him to a thorough understanding of the subject and to a fundamental change of opinion. It led him to approve the reconstruction measures of the Republican party, and in a subsequent and more exalted sphere to continue the policy which these measures foreshadowed and implied. Mr. Schurz, on the other hand, received new light and conviction in the opposite direction, and from the point of extreme Republicanism he gradually changed his creed and became, first a distracting element in the ranks of the party, and afterwards one of its malignant opponents in a great national struggle in which General Grant was the leader,—the aim of which struggle was really to maintain the views which Mr. Schurz had, with apparent sincerity, endeavored to enforce in his report to President Johnson. These changes and alternations in the position of public men are by no means unknown to political life in the United States, but in the case under consideration the actors were conspicuous, and for that reason their reversal of position was the more marked.

An interesting and important case, relating to the mode of electing United-States senators, came up for decision at this session and led to a prolonged debate, which was accompanied with much personal feeling and no little acrimony.—In the winter and spring of 1865 the Legislature of New Jersey was engaged in the duty of choosing a senator of the United States to succeed John C. Ten Eyck, whose term was about to expire. After many efforts at election it had been found that no candidate was able to secure "a majority of the votes of all the members elected to both Houses of the Legislature," which was described in the rule adopted by the joint convention of the two Houses as the requisite to election. On the 15th of March the convention rescinded this stringent rule and declared that "any candidate receiving a plurality of votes of the members present shall be declared duly elected." The Legislature was composed of a Senate with twenty-one members and an Assembly with sixty members. The resolution giving to a plurality the power to elect was carried in the joint convention by a majority of one—forty-one to forty. In this vote eleven senators were in the affirmative and ten in the negative, and of the members of the House thirty were in the affirmative and thirty in the negative. It was therefore numerically demonstrated that the resolution could not have been carried with the two Houses acting separately. There would have been a majority of one in the Senate and a tie in the House.

Proceeding to vote under this new rule, John P. Stockton, the Democratic candidate, received forty votes, John C. Ten Eyck, the Republican candidate, thirty-seven votes, and four other candidates one vote each. Forty-one votes were thus cast against Mr. Stockton, but as he had secured a plurality he was duly elected according to the rule adopted by the joint convention.—Mr. Stockton was thirty-nine years of age at the time of his election. His family had been for several generations distinguished in the annals of New Jersey. His great-grandfather Richard Stockton was a member of the Continental Congress and was a signer of the Declaration of Independence; his grandfather Richard Stockton was a senator of the United States under the administrations of Washington and John Adams; his father was the well-known Commodore Robert F. Stockton, who was conspicuously effective as a naval officer in the conquest of California, and afterwards a senator of the United States. Mr. Stockton entered the Senate, therefore, with personal prestige and a good share of popularity with his party.

On the 20th of March, five days after the alleged election of Mr. Stockton, seven senators and thirty-one members of the Assembly forwarded to the Senate of the United States a protest against his admission, for the reason that he was not elected by a majority of the votes of the joint meeting of the Legislature. The substantial ground on which the argument in the protest rested, was that a Legislature means at least a majority of what constitutes the Legislature as convened at the moment of election. This had been, as they set forth at length, the undoubted law and the unbroken usage of New Jersey, and an election falling short of this primary requirement was necessarily invalid. "The Constitution of the United States direct," said this memorial, "that a senator must be chosen by the Legislature, and a minority does not constitute the Legislature." They illustrated the wrongfulness of the position by the reductio ad absurdum. "The consequences which are possible," argued the protestants, "from admitting the right to elect by a plurality vote, furnish a conclusive argument against it. If two members vote for one person and every other member, by himself, for different individuals, the person having two votes would have a plurality. Can it be that in such a case he would be senator? This indeed is an extreme case, but such cases test the propriety of legal doctrine, and many equally unjust but less extreme may easily be offered."

Mr. Stockton took his seat on the first day of the ensuing session (December 4, 1865) and was regularly sworn in. At the same time the protest was presented by Mr. Cowan of Pennsylvania and referred to the Judiciary Committee. That committee was composed of five Republicans and two Democrats, and was therefore politically biased, if at all, against Mr. Stockton. On the 30th of January, after a patient examination of nearly two months, the committee, greatly to the surprise of the Republican side of the chamber, reported that "Mr. Stockton was duly elected and entitled to his seat." The report was said to have been approved by every member of the committee except Mr. Clark of New Hampshire. The validity or invalidity of the election hinged upon the ability of the joint convention of the two branches to declare a plurality sufficient to elect. The committee decided that the convention possessed that power, and the report, drawn by Mr. Trumbull, argued the point with considerable ingenuity.

The subject came up for consideration in the Senate on the 22d of March (1866), Mr. Clark, the dissenting member of the committee, leading off in debate. He was ably sustained by Mr. Fessenden, who left little to be said, as was his habit in debating any question of constitutional law. He maintained that "the Legislature, in the election of a United-States senator, is merely the agent of the Constitution of the United States to perform a certain act. It is therefore under the control of no other power. No provision of the Constitution of New Jersey, directing the mode in which a senator shall be elected, or the course that shall be taken, or the rules of the proceeding, would bind in any way the Legislature which is to perform the act. Nor would any law of a previous Legislature have binding force. The existing Legislature is independent of every thing except the Constitution of the United States; but while it is thus independent and may disregard those provisions, being the mere agent of the Federal Constitution, still it must necessarily act as a Legislature in the performance of that duty. There must be a legislative act. . . . Whatever is done in relation to the election of a senator, must be done as a consequence of legislative action, otherwise it is no election by the Legislature. They vote to form a convention for the purpose of choosing a senator, and when they meet in convention that choice may be made. If there is legislative action previously that is sufficient. The convention can choose a senator because there has been legislative action which authorizes them to choose a senator in that form. The Legislature, when it votes to go into a convention of the two branches, may provide the mode of election. If it desires to change the ordinary and received law on the subject it may provide how the election shall be made. It may say that a plurality shall elect if it pleases. It may make any provision that it pleases, but it must be done by the Legislature. It must be the legislative body which gives the power that is to settle the mode of action. Now what are the facts in this case? There was no provision whatever made by the Legislature of the State of New Jersey as to the mode in which the senator should be chosen. The legislative action which authorized the convention was perfectly silent upon that subject. What then had the Legislature the right to conclude? Was it not this, and this only?—that when it authorized a body other than itself, though constituted of the same members, a convention to choose a senator, that body must proceed in the choice of a senator according to the universally received Parliamentary and common law upon the subject of elections. But this convention in New Jersey, without any legislative act, without any such authority conferred upon it, without any thing done on the subject by the Legislature which formed the body, undertook to say that they would change the received and acknowledged Parliamentary and common law in their mode of proceedings, and instead of acting according to that law, as the Legislature must have intended that it should do, would elect in a totally different manner from that prescribed by law, namely, by a plurality vote, for which they had no legislative sanction and for which there was no authority but their own will."

There was a long debate on the question, but the argument submitted by Mr. Fessenden was never refuted by his opponents, and it was practically repeated by every one who concurred in his general views. Mr. Stockton made an able presentation of his own case, perhaps better than any made for him, but he was never able to evade the point of Mr. Fessenden's argument, or even to dull it. The case came to a vote on the 23d of March, the first test coming upon an amendment to the committee's report, which declared Mr. Stockton "not entitled to a seat." This amendment was defeated—yeas 19, nays 21. The vote was then taken on the direct question of declaring him entitled to his seat. At the conclusion of the roll-call the yeas were 21, the nays 20, when Mr. Morrill of Maine rose and asked to have his name called. He voted in the negative and produced a tie. Thereupon Mr. Stockton rose and asked to vote. No objection being interposed his vote was received. The result was then announced 22 yeas to 21 nays, thereby confirming Mr. Stockton in his seat. Mr. Stockton, disclaiming any intention to reflect upon Mr. Morrill, intimated that he was under the obligation of a pair with Mr. William Wright (the absent colleague of Mr. Stockton) and therefore should not have voted. The two had undoubtedly been paired, but Mr. Morrill considered that the time had expired and acted accordingly. He was not only a gentleman of scrupulous integrity, but in this particular case he had taken counsel with his colleague, Mr. Fessenden, and with Mr. Sumner, safe mentors, and was advised by both that he had a clear right to vote. It cannot be denied however that Mr. Morrill's action created much ill-feeling on the Democratic side of the Senate.

Mr. Stockton's determination to vote must have been taken very hastily, without due reflection on his own part and without the advice of his political associates, who should have promptly counseled him against his unfortunate course. The Parliamentary position of the question, at the moment he committed the blunder of voting, was advantageous to him on the record. The Senate had defeated by a majority of two the declaration that he was not entitled to a seat, and the declaration in his favor, even after Mr. Morrill's negative vote, stood at a tie. Nothing therefore had been done to unseat him, and if he had left it at that point he would still have remained a member by the prima facie admission upon his regular credentials.

These proceedings took place on Friday and the Senate adjourned until Monday. Meanwhile the obvious impropriety of Mr. Stockton's vote upon his own case had deeply impressed many senators, and on Monday, directly after the Journal was read, Mr. Sumner raised a question of privilege and moved that the Journal of Friday be amended by striking out the vote of Mr. Stockton on the question of his seat in the Senate. He did this because, being on the defeated side, he could not move a reconsideration; but Mr. Trumbull and Mr. Poland, who had sustained Mr. Stockton's right to a seat, both offered to move a reconsideration, because they believed that he had no right to vote on the question. Mr. Poland made the motion and it was unanimously agreed to. Then, instead of urging the correction of the Journal of Friday, Mr. Sumner proposed a resolution declaring that "the vote of Mr. Stockton be not received in determining the question of his seat in the Senate," which was agreed to without a division. The original resolution being again before the Senate, Mr. Clark renewed his amendment declaring that John P. Stockton was not elected a senator from New Jersey, on which the yeas were 22 and the nays 21. As thus amended the resolution passed by 23 yeas to 20 nays. Mr. Riddle of Delaware voted with the majority for the purpose of moving a reconsideration on a succeeding day—a privilege from which he was excluded by the action of Mr. Clark of New Hampshire, who made the motion at once with the object of securing its defeat and thereby exhausting all power to renew the controversy. Mr. Clark of course voted against his own motion, and with its rejection Mr. Stockton ceased to be a member of the Senate.

More than half of those who sustained Mr. Stockton's right to his seat were Republicans, or had, until the current session of Congress, acted with the party. The majority of a single vote by which he was ejected would have been neutralized if Mr. Stockton's colleague could have been present. Mr. Wright was ill at his home in Newark and contradictory reports were made as to the time when he could probably be present. Some of the Republicans justified their urgent demand for a final vote on the belief entertained by them that Mr. Wright would never appear in the Senate again. As matter of fact he resumed his seat eight days after the decision of Mr. Stockton's case. His vote would have changed the result. The haste with which the question was brought to a decision can hardly be justified, and is a striking illustration of the intense party-feeling which had been engendered by the war. In a matter so directly affecting the interests and the feelings of the people of New Jersey it was certainly a hardship that the voice of the State was not heard. With one senator excluded from voting by parliamentary law and the other absent by reason of physical disability, Mr. Stockton had good ground for declaring that the Senate had not treated him with magnanimity or generosity. It is due to Mr. Stockton to say that under very trying circumstances he bore himself with moderation and dignity.

In the decision itself, however, there has been general acquiescence, and it led to an important reform in the manner of choosing United-States senators. The well-known Act of July 26, 1866, "regulating the time and manner of holding elections for senators in Congress," was the direct fruit of the Stockton controversy. Though it may not be perfect in all its details that law has done much to insure the fair and regular choice of senators. It has certainly accomplished a great deal by preventing various objectionable devices, which prior to its enactment had marked the proceedings of every senatorial election where the Legislature was almost equally divided between political parties. The reluctance to interfere with the supposed or asserted rights of States had too long delayed the needful exercise of National power. The Constitution provides that "the times, places and manner of holding elections for senators and representatives in Congress shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may, at any time, by law, make or alter such regulations, except as to the places of choosing senators."

There was a reluctance in the early administration of the Federal Government to assume any function which had been given alternatively to the States. It thus came to pass that many methods were developed in different States for choosing senators,—methods that widely differed in their essential characteristics. Hence there was variety, and even contrariety, where there should have been only unity and harmony. These divergent practices had been allowed to develop for seventy-seven years of the nation's life, when, admonished by the Stockton case of the latitudinary results to which loose methods might lead, Congress took jurisdiction of the whole subject. The exercise of this power was a natural result of the situation in which the nation was placed by the war. Previous to the civil conflict every power was withheld from the National Government which could by any possibility be exercised by the State Government. Another theory and another practice were now to prevail; for it had been demonstrated to the thoughtful statesmen who then controlled the Government, that every thing which may be done by either Nation or State may be better and more securely done by the Nation. The change of view was important and led to far-reaching consequences.

Alexander G. Cattell succeeded Mr. Stockton and served in the Senate with usefulness and high credit until March 4, 1871. He had been all his life engaged in commercial affairs, but had taken active part in politics and had held many positions of trust in his native State. In 1844, at twenty-eight years of age, he was a member of the Constitutional Convention of New Jersey and made his mark in its proceedings. His upright character, his recognized ability and his popular manners had given him a strong hold upon the people of his State.

William Wright, the colleague of Mr. Stockton, who was unable from illness to vote on his case, died the ensuing November (1866) at seventy-two years of age. He served two terms (1843-47) in the House of Representatives from the Newark district as a Whig, and was a zealous supporter of Mr. Clay in 1844. He was a wealthy manufacturer, largely engaged in trade with the South, and the agitation of the slavery question became distasteful to him. In 1850 he united with the Democratic party and was sent to the Senate in 1853.

Frederick Theodore Frelinghuysen was chosen as Mr. Wright's successor. He was in his fiftieth year when he entered the Senate, but was known as a distinguished member of the New-Jersey bar and had served as Attorney-General of his State. His grandfather, Frederick Frelinghuysen, was a senator during the first term of Jackson and ran for Vice-President on the ticket with Mr. Clay in 1844. The family came with the early emigration from Holland and soon acquired a hold upon the confidence of the people of New Jersey which has been long and steadily maintained.—Mr. Frelinghuysen soon attained prominence in the Senate, and grew in strength and usefulness throughout his service in that body.


With the disposition manifested in both Houses of Congress it was feared that the conflict between the Legislative and Executive Departments of the Government would assume a virulent and vindictive spirit. It was known that President Johnson was deeply offended by the indirect refusal of the House to pass any resolution in the remotest degree approving his course. He had doubtless been led to believe that the influence of such eminent Republicans as Mr. Seward in his Cabinet, Mr. Cowan and Mr. Doolittle in the Senate and Mr. Raymond in the House, would bring about so considerable a division in the Republican ranks as to give the Administration, by uniting with the Democratic party, the control of Congress, or at least of one branch. The test vote of January 9th was an unwelcome demonstration of the degree to which the President had almost wilfully deceived himself and had been innocently deceived by others. He foresaw the struggle and with his combative nature prepared for it.

On the last day of the preceding Congress, March 3, 1865, an Act had been passed to establish a bureau for the relief of freedmen and refugees. It was among the very last Acts approved by Mr. Lincoln, and was primarily designed as a protection to the freedmen of the South and to the class of white men known as "refugees,"—driven from their homes by the rebels on account of their loyalty to the Union. Protection was needed by both classes during the disorganization necessarily incident to so great and sudden a change in their condition and in their relations to society. The total destruction of the long-established labor system of the South—based as it had been on chattel-slavery—led inevitably to great confusion, indeed almost to social anarchy. The result was that many of the freedmen, removed from the protection of their old masters, were exposed to destitution and to many forms of suffering. But for the interposition of the National Government there was serious danger that thousands of them might be reduced to starvation. Having taken the responsibility of freeing them, first by Proclamation of the President and then by Amendment of the Constitution, it would have been a lasting reproach to the Government not to extend protection and assistance to such of them as were thrown into dire extremity of want. They could not be left to the chance relief of the alms-giver, for their number was too large. The white population of the South were themselves reduced almost to poverty by the long struggle; and even if they had been able they were in no mood to extend relief to negroes who, as they believed, had been wrongfully released from slavery.

The Act provided that the Bureau should have supervision and management of all abandoned lands and control of all subjects relating to freedmen and refugees from the Rebel States, under such regulations as might be prescribed by the Commissioner at the head of the Bureau and by the President. The Secretary of War was authorized "to direct such issues of provisions, clothing and fuel as he may deem needful for the immediate and temporary shelter and supply of destitute and suffering refugees and freedmen and their wives and children, under such rules and regulations as he may approve." The Commissioner was authorized to lease, for a term of three years, to every male citizen, whether refugee or freedman, not more than forty acres of the lands which had been abandoned by their owners or confiscated to the United States, at a rental of six per cent on the last appraised value. At the end of three years the occupant was entitled to purchase and receive the land, with such title as the United States could convey, at a price proportioned to the rental value. Very little permanent advantage came to the negro from this provision; for the abandoned lands were legally reclaimed by their owners and the confiscations, few in number, would, by the Constitution, be only for the life of the owner. Temporary relief however was afforded; but much harm was done by creating in the minds of ignorant freedmen, just redeemed from slavery, the belief that the Government would give to each of them "forty acres of land and a mule."

The Commissioner selected was Major-General Oliver O. Howard, who had gone through the war with marked honor. He was a lieutenant of ordnance when Sumter was fired upon and a brigadier-general in the regular army three years later. He had discharged his military duties with steadiness, intelligence, earnestness and courage. He was a man of pure character, of deep religious faith, and was somewhat an exception to West-Point graduates in being from the outset thoroughly anti-slavery in his intellectual and moral convictions. It was the possession of these characteristics which led Secretary Stanton to select General Howard for the important trust. For his ease and his peace of mind he should have declined the place, as he might well have done, since it was not a military duty to accept. During his administration of the office he was subjected to unreasonable fault-finding, often to censure and obloquy; but throughout the whole he bore himself with the honor of a soldier and the purity of a Christian,—triumphantly sustaining himself throughout a Congressional investigation set on foot by political malice, and confronting with equal credit a military inquiry which had its origin in the jealousy that is often the bane of army service.

On the first attempt to enforce the provisions of the original Act, its advocates and sympathizers found that it did not go far enough, nor give power enough to its agents to effect the desired object. On the 12th of January, therefore, Mr. Trumbull introduced from the Judiciary Committee a supplementary Act to enlarge the powers of the Freedmen's Bureau. By the new bill the President was authorized to "divide the section of country containing the refugees into districts, not exceeding twelve in number, each containing one or more States, and with the advice and consent of the Senate to appoint an Assistant Commissioner for each district." The Bureau, at the discretion of the President, might be placed under a Commissioner and Assistant Commissioners to be detailed from the Army. Sub-districts, not to exceed the number of counties or parishes in each State, were provided for; and to each sub-district an agent, either a citizen or officer of the Army, might be detailed for service. Each Assistant Commissioner might employ not more than six clerks. The President of the United States, through the War Department and through the Commissioner, was authorized to extend military jurisdiction and protection over all employees, agents and officers of the Bureau; and the Secretary of War was authorized to issue such provisions, clothing, fuel and other supplies, including medical stores, and to afford such aid, as he might deem needful for the immediate and temporary shelter and supply of destitute refugees and freedmen, their wives and children, under such rules and regulations as he might direct. The President was also authorized to reserve from sale or settlement under the Homestead and Pre-emption Laws, public lands in Florida, Mississippi and Arkansas, not to exceed three millions of acres of good land in all, for the use of the freedmen, at a certain rental to be named in such manner as the Commissioner should be regulation prescribe; or the Commissioner could purchase or rent such tracts of land in the several districts as might be necessary to provide for the indigent refugees and freedmen depending upon the Government for support.

It was further provided that wherever in consequence of any State or local law any of the civil rights or immunities belonging to white persons, such as the right to enforce contracts, to sue, to give evidence, to inherit, purchase, lease, sell, hold or convey real and personal property, were refused or denied to freedmen on account of race or color or any previous condition of slavery or involuntary servitude, or whenever they were subjected to punishment for crime different from that provided for white persons, it was made the duty of the President, through the Commissioner, to extend military jurisdiction and protection over all cases affecting persons against whom such unjust discriminations were made. It was made the duty of the officers and agents of the Bureau to take jurisdiction of and to hear and determine all cases, in which by local law discrimination was made against the freedmen. This was to be done under such rules and regulations as the President, through the Commissioner, might prescribe. But the jurisdiction was to cease "whenever the discrimination on account of which it is conferred shall cease," and was in no event to be exercised in any State "in which the ordinary course of judicial proceeding has not been interrupted by the Rebellion, nor in those States after they shall have been fully restored to their constitutional relations to the United States, and when the courts of the State and of the United States, within their limits, are not disturbed or stopped in the peaceable course of justice."

In the time of peace, these provisions seemed extraordinary, but the condition of affairs, in the judgment of leading Republican statesmen, justified their enactment. The Thirteenth Amendment, about to be formally promulgated by the Executive Department of the Government, as incorporated in the Constitution, had made every negro a free man. The Southern States had responded to this Act of National authority by enacting a series of laws which really introduced, as has already been shown, a new, offensive and most oppressive form of servitude. Thus not only was rank injustice contemplated by the States lately in rebellion, but they conveyed also an insulting challenge to the authority of the Nation. It was as if they had said to the National Government: "In order to destroy the Confederacy and restore the Union you have manumitted these black men; but we will demonstrate to you, by our local legislation, that you are powerless to give them any further freedom than we are willing to concede, and we defy you to show by what means you can achieve it!"

The first answer of the National Government to this defiance was Mr. Trumbull's bill conferring upon the Freedmen's Bureau a degree of power which combated and restrained the Southern authorities at every point where wrong was committed or menaced. It was designed for the purpose of extending to the freeman protection against all the wrongs of local legislation, and to make him feel that the Government which had freed him would not desert him and allow his release from slavery to be made null and void. Mr. Johnson's policy of declaring all the States at once restored to the Union and in full possession of their powers of local legislation, would carry with it necessarily the confirmation of the odious laws already enacted in those States, and also the power to make them as stringent and binding upon the freedmen as the discretion of Southern legislators might dictate. The war would thus have practically injured the negro, for after taking from him that form of protection which slavery afforded, it would have left him an object of still harsher oppression than slavery itself—an oppression that would be inspired and quickened by a spirit of vengeance.

The bill was debated at full length, nearly every prominent man in the Senate taking part. Mr. Hendricks of Indiana and Mr. Garrett Davis of Kentucky opposed it in speeches of excessive bitterness, and Mr. Guthrie of Kentucky with equal earnestness but less passion. It was sustained with great ability by all the leading Republican senators; and on the final passage, in an unusually full Senate, the vote in its favor was 37; those opposed were 10. There were only three absentees. Even those Republican senators who had given strong evidence of sympathy with the Administration did not unite with the Democrats on this issue. Mr. Cowan declined to vote, while Messrs. Dixon, Doolittle and Norton voted in the affirmative. The public opinion of the country unmistakably sustained this legislation—the purpose to extend protection to the freedmen being deep-set and all-pervading among the men of the North who had triumphed in the war. When the bill reached the House it was referred to the Select Committee on Freedmen's Affairs, of which Mr. Thomas D. Eliot of Massachusetts was chairman. It was promptly reported and came to a final vote on the 6th of February, when it was passed on a call of yeas and nays by 136 to 33. It was a clear division upon the line of party, the nays being composed entirely of Democrats, with the possible exception of Mr. Rousseau of Kentucky, who had been elected with the aid of Republican votes.

One of the most striking speeches made in the House upon the subject was by Mr. Ignatius Donnelly of Minnesota. He had carefully prepared for the debate and dwelt with great force upon the educational feature. "Education," said he, "means the intelligent exercise of liberty; and surely without this liberty is a calamity, since it means simply the unlimited right to err. Who can doubt that if a man is to govern himself he should have the means to know what is best for himself, and what is injurious to himself, what agencies work against him and what for him? The avenue to all this is simply education. Suffrage without education is an edged tool in the hands of a child,—dangerous to others and destructive to himself. Now what is the condition of the South in reference to all this? I assert that it is such as would bring disgrace upon any despotism in Christendom. The great bulk of the people are rude, illiterate, semi-civilized: hence the Rebellion; hence all the atrocious barbarities that accompanied it. . . . I repeat, the condition of the South in this respect would be shameful to any semi-civilized people, and is such as to render a republican government, resting upon the intelligent judgment of the people, an impossibility."

It is worthy of remark that the question so cogently presented and enforced by Mr. Donnelly—that of the connection between education and suffrage—disclosed the general fact that even among Republicans there was no disposition at this period to confer upon the negro the right to vote. Even so radical a Republican as Mr. Fessenden, during the debate in the Senate on this question, said, "I take it that no one contends—I think the Honorable Senator from Massachusetts himself (Mr. Sumner), who is the great champion of universal suffrage, would hardly contend—that now, at this time, the whole of the population of the recent slave States is fit to be admitted to the exercise of the right of suffrage. I presume no man who looks at the question dispassionately and calmly could contend that the great mass of those who were recently slaves (undoubtedly there may be exceptions), and who have been kept in ignorance all their lives, oppressed and more or less forbidden to acquire information, are fitted at this stage to exercise the right of suffrage, or could be trusted to do it unless under such good advice as those better informed might be prepared to give them."

The bill, as finally passed by both Houses, reached the President on the 10th of February. On the 19th he sent a message to Congress informing each House that, having with much regret come to the conclusion that it would not be consistent with the public welfare to give his approval to the measure, he returned the bill to the Senate, stating his objections to its becoming a law. The main argument of the President was based upon the principle that legislation such as that contained in the bill was not proper for States that were deprived of their right of representation in both branches of Congress. "The Constitution," he said, "imperatively declares, in connection with taxation, that each State shall have at least one representative, and fixed the rule for the number to which in future times each State shall be entitled. It also provides that the Senate of the United States shall be composed of two senators from each State, and adds with peculiar force that no State, without its consent, shall be deprived of its equal suffrage in the Senate. . . . Burdens have now to be borne by all the country, and we may best deem that they shall be borne without murmur when they are voted by a majority of the representatives of all the people. . . . At present all the representatives of eleven States are excluded, those who were the most faithful during the war not less than others. The State of Tennessee, for instance, whose authorities were engaged in rebellion, was restored to all her Constitutional relations to the Union by the patriotism and energy of her patriot people. I know no reason why the State of Tennessee should not fully enjoy all her Constitutional relations. . . . The bill under consideration refers to certain of the States as thought they had not been fully restored in all their Constitutional relations to the United States. If they have not let us at once act together to secure that desirable end at the earliest possible moment. In my judgment most of these States, so far at least as depends upon their own acts, have already been fully restored and should be deemed as entitled to enjoy their Constitutional rights as members of the Union."

He reviewed at some length the minor provisions of the bill, objected to them as unwarrantably interfering with the local administration of justice, and declared that a system for the support of indigent persons in the United States was never contemplated by the authors of the Constitution. "Nor can any good reason be advanced," said the President, "why as a permanent establishment it should be founded for one class or color of our people more than another." He objected to it on the ground of its expense. "The appropriations asked for by the Freedmen's Bureau, as already established, for the current year, amount," he said, "to $11,745,000; and it may be safely estimated that the cost to be incurred under the pending bill will require double that amount,—more than any sum expended in any one year of the Administration of John Quincy Adams."

The argument of the message based on expense and extravagance was much applauded by the opponents of the Republican party, and there was a great expectation that it would create a strong re-action in favor of the President; but those who thus reckoned utterly failed to appreciate the temper of the public mind. The disbursement of vast sums in the war had accustomed the people to large appropriations of money, and the pecuniary aspect of the case, upon which the President had much relied, made far less impression than he anticipated. The philanthropists did not deem the question at issue to be one of dollars and cents; and those less disposed to sympathize with the humanitarian aspects of the subject had not yet learned the lesson of economy which the adversity of after years taught them. The great expansion of our currency, the ease with which money had been obtained, and the extravagance with which it had been expended in all the walks of life, produced in the minds of the people an indifference to the question of economy. The President, in his own long career, had exercised a rigid watchfulness over the disbursements of public money, and he did not fully realize the great change which had been wrought in the people—a change sure to follow the condition of war if historic precedents may be trusted—a change in which economy gives way to lavishness and careful circumspection is followed by loose disregard of established rules. It is a condition not implying dishonesty or even recklessness, but one which follows from a positive inability in the public mind to estimate the expenditure of money by the standards which are applied in the era of peaceful industry, careful supervision and prudent restraint.

The Senate voted upon the veto the day after it was received. Greatly to the surprise of the public the dominant party was unable to pass the bill against the objections of the President. Messrs. Dixon, Doolittle, Morgan, Norton and Van Winkle had voted for it, but now changed their votes and thereby reversed the action of the Senate. These senators, with the addition of Nesmith and Willey, who did not vote on the passage of the bill, gave the final count of 30 in favor of the passage to 18 against—lacking the two-thirds and therefore failing to pass the bill. The result was wholly unlooked for and the vote of Governor Morgan of New York gave great uneasiness to his political associates. It was for a time believed that under the persuasive influence of Mr. Seward, with whom he had long been on terms of close intimacy, Mr. Morgan might be intending to join the Administration party. The same was thought possible with regard to Mr. Van Winkle of West Virginia, his location suggesting the possibility of such a change. The excitement among Republicans was great for a time, because if they should so far lose control of either branch of Congress as to be unable to override the vetoes of the President, all attempts to enforce a more radical policy of Reconstruction than Mr. Johnson could be induced to approve would necessarily be futile. It was soon ascertained however, that the apprehension of danger was unfounded and that Messrs. Morgan and Van Winkle did not design any change of political relations, but were only more cautious and perhaps wiser than the other Republican senators.

A few weeks later, the disaster of the veto—for such it was esteemed by Republicans—was repaired by the passage of another bill, originating in the House. This was simply a bill to continue in force the original Freedmen's Bureau Act, with some enlarging provisions to make it more effective. The Act was so framed as to escape the objections which had controlled some of the Republican votes that sustained the President's veto. Among the most important of the changes were the limitation of the statute to the term of two years and a serious modification of the judicial powers accorded to the officers of the Bureau in the preceding bill. It was not so elaborately debated in either branch as was the original act, but its passage was retarded by the interposition of other measures and it did not reach the President until the first week in July.

The President promptly returned the bill to the House with his veto. He found it to fall within the objections which he had assigned in his message vetoing the Senate bill on the same subject. He believed that the only ground upon which this kind of legislation could be justified was that of the war-making power. He admitted therefore that the original Act organizing a Freedmen's Bureau, passed during the existence of the war, was proper and Constitutional. By its own terms it would end within one year from the cessation of hostilities and the declaration of peace. It would probably continue in force, he thought, as long as the freedmen might require the benefit of its provisions. "It will certainly," said he, "remain in operation as a law until some months subsequent to the meeting of the next session of Congress, when, if experience shall make evident the necessity of additional legislation, the two Houses will have ample time to mature and pass the requisite measures." The President renewed in varied forms the expression of his belief that all the States should be admitted to the privilege of legislation, especially in matters affecting their own welfare. The House proceeded at once to vote upon the reconsideration of the bill, and by 104 in the affirmative and 33 in the negative passed it over the veto of the President. The Senate voted on the same day with the House, and passed it against the President's objections by 33 in the affirmative and 12 in the negative. A measure of very great importance to the colored race was thus completed, after serious agitation in both Houses and against two vetoes by the President. It required potent persuasion, re-enforced by the severest exercise of party discipline to prevent a serious break in both Houses against the bill. The measure had lost, under discussion, much of the popularity which attended its first introduction in Congress.

On the same day that Mr. Trumbull introduced his original bill to enlarge the powers of the Freedmen's Bureau, he introduced another bill, more important in its scope and more enduring in its character, —a bill "to protect all persons of the United States in their civil rights and furnish the means of their vindication." It was referred to the Judiciary Committee on the 5th day of January and was reported back on the 11th. The bill was one which exemplified in a most striking manner the revolution produced by the war. It declared that "there shall be no discrimination in civil rights or immunities among the inhabitants of any State or Territory of the United States on account of race, color or previous condition of servitude; but the inhabitants of every race and color shall have the same right to make and enforce contracts, to sue, be parties, give evidence, to inherit, purchase, lease, sell, hold and convey real and personal property, and to full and equal benefits of all laws and provisions for the security of personal property; and shall be subject to like punishments, fines and penalties, and none other,—any law, statute, ordinance, regulation or custom to the contrary notwithstanding."

Any person who under any law, statute or regulation of any kind should attempt to violate the provisions of the Act, would be punished by a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars or by imprisonment not exceeding one year. Very stringent provisions were made, and a whole framework of administration devised, by which the rights conferred under this enactment could be enforced through "the judicial power of the United States." The district attorneys, marshals, deputy marshals of the United States, the commissioners appointed by the Circuit and Territorial Courts of the United States, the officers and agents of the Freedmen's Bureau, and every other officer who was sufficiently empowered by the President of the United States, were, by the Act, specially authorized and required, at the expense of the United States, to institute proceedings against every person who should violate its provisions, and "cause him or them to be arrested and imprisoned for trial at such court of the United States or Territorial court as, by this Act, has cognizance of the case." Any person who should obstruct or hinder an officer in the performance of his duty or any person lawfully assisting him in the arrest of an offender, or who should attempt to rescue any person from the custody of an officer, was in turn subjected to severe penalties.

The bill was designed, in short, to confer upon the manumitted negro of the South the same civil rights enjoyed by the white man, with the exception of the right of suffrage; to give him perfect equality in all things before the law, and to nullify every State law wherever existing, that should be in conflict with the enlarged provisions of the Federal statute. It left no loophole for escape on the question of the citizenship of the negro. As the decisions of the Supreme Court of the United States then stood he was not a citizen of the United States; and to prevent this question being raised the word inhabitant was used,—thus making the conferment of civil rights so broad that it was impossible to defeat the full intent of the law by any technical evasion. It was undoubtedly a very sweeping enactment, the operation of which was not confined to the States which had been slave-holding, but bore directly upon some of the free States where the negro had always been deprived of certain rights fully guaranteed to the white man.

Lest "inhabitant" might be held to mean "citizen" in the connection in which it was used Mr. Trumbull proposed, at the initial point of the discussion, to amend by inserting the declaration that "all persons born in the United States and not subject to any foreign power are hereby declared to be citizens of the United States without distinction of color." Mr. Guthrie of Kentucky and Mr. Howard of Michigan both asked whether that would naturalize all the Indians in the United States. Mr. Trumbull thought not, because "we deal with the Indians as foreigners—as separate nations;" but he was willing to change it so as specifically to exclude Indians. Mr. Cowan asked "whether the amendment would not have the effect of naturalizing children of Chinese and gypsies born in this country." Mr. Trumbull replied that it undoubtedly would. Mr. Cowan then thought it would be proper to hear the senators from California on that question, because "at the present rate of emigration the day may not be very distant when California, instead of belonging to the Indo-European race, may belong to the Mongolians, may belong to the Chinese." Mr. Trumbull inquired if the children of Chinese born in this country were not citizens? Mr. Cowan thought they were not.

Mr. Reverdy Johnson of Maryland pointed out a difficulty not anticipated by Mr. Trumbull. By using the word inhabitant in the bill he made it impossible for any State in the Union to "draw any distinction between citizens who have been there from birth, or have been residents for a long time, and him who comes into the State for the first time as a foreigner. He becomes at once an inhabitant. If he comes from England or from any of the countries of the world he becomes that moment an inhabitant; and if this bill is to pass in the shape it stands he can buy, he can sell, he can hold, he can inherit and be inherited from and possess all the rights of a native-born citizen," without being naturalized. Mr. Johnson pointed out another difficulty which perhaps the senator from Illinois did not foresee. Many of the States in the North as well as in the South forbade the marriage of a black man with a white woman or a white man with a black woman. This law would destroy all State power over the subject; and the man who offended in the matter of marriage between the races, so far from being punished himself, could bring the judge who attempted to enforce the law against him into punishment. The bill, after much elaboration of debate and many amendments offered and defeated, came to a vote on the 2d of February and was passed by 33 yeas to 12 nays. Mr. Dixon of Connecticut, one of the Administration Republicans, voted for the bill; Mr. Cowan and Mr. Norton against it; Mr. Doolittle did not vote.

The bill immediately went to the House, and on the 1st of March that body proceeded to consider it without its reference to the Judiciary Committee. Mr. Wilson of Iowa, chairman of that committee, said they had considered it informally, and in order to save time it was brought up for action at once. The first amendment offered was to strike out "inhabitants" and insert "citizens of the United States," and thus avoid the embarrassments that might result from giving it so broad an extension. The amendment was promptly agreed to. Mr. Wilson, by another amendment, removed the difficulties suggested in the Senate by Reverdy Johnson, touching the question of marriage between the races. He supported the bill in a speech of great strength and legal research. He admitted at the outset that "some of the questions presented by the measure are not entirely free from defects. Precedents, both judicial and legislative, are found in sharp conflict concerning them. The line which divides these precedents is generally found to be the same which separates the early from the later days of the Republic. The farther the Republic drifted from the old moorings of the equality of human rights, the more numerous became the judicial and legislative utterances in conflict with some of the leading features sought to be re-established by this bill."

The debate was continued by Mr. Rogers of New Jersey, in the opposition, by Mr. Russell Thayer of Pennsylvania, who made an uncommonly able speech in its favor, and by Mr. Eldridge of Wisconsin, who tersely presented the objections entertained by the Democratic party to such legislation. There were some apprehensions in the minds of the members on both sides of the House that the broad character of the bill might include the right of suffrage, but to prevent that result Mr. Wilson moved to add a new section declaring that "nothing in this Act shall be so construed as to affect the laws of any State concerning the right of suffrage." Mr. Wilson said that the amendment he proposed did not change his own construction of the bill; he did not believe the term "civil rights" included the right of suffrage; he offered it simply from excessive caution, because certain gentlemen feared trouble might arise from the language of the bill. The amendment was unanimously agreed to, not one voice on either side of the House being raised against it. Mr. Bingham, Mr. Raymond and other prominent members of the House, to the number of forty in all, debated the bill exhaustively. It was passed by 111 yeas to 38 nays.

The bill reached the President on the 18th of March (1866), and on the 27th he sent to the Senate a message regretting that it contained provisions which he could not approve. "I am therefore constrained," he said, "to return it to the Senate, in which it originated, with my objections to its becoming a law." The President stated that by the first section the Chinese of the Pacific States, Indians subject to taxation, the people called gypsies, as well as the entire race designated as black,—people of color, negroes, mulattoes, and persons of African blood,—"are made citizens of the United States." The President did not believe that this class possessed "the requisite qualifications to entitle them to all the privileges and immunities of citizens of the United States." He sought to raise prejudice against the bill because it proposed "to discriminate against large number of intelligent, worthy and patriotic foreigners, in favor of the negro, to whom, after long years of bondage, the avenues to freedom and intelligence have now suddenly been opened." "It is proposed," he said, "by a single legislative enactment to confer the rights of citizens upon all persons of African descent born within the extended limits of the United States, while persons of foreign birth who make our land their home must undergo a probation of five years, and can then only become citizens of the United States upon the proof that they are of good moral character, attached to the principles of the Constitution of the United States, and well disposed towards the good order and happiness of the same."

The President sought to impress upon Congress, in strong language, the injustice of advancing four millions of colored persons to citizenship "while the States in which most of them reside are debarred from any participancy in the legislation." He found many provisions of the bill in conflict with the Constitution of the United States as it had been hitherto construed, and argued elaborately against its expediency or necessity in any form. "The white man and the black race," said the President, "have hitherto lived in the South in the relation of master and slave,—capital owning labor. Now suddenly the relation is changed and as to the ownership, capital and labor are divorced. In this new relation, one being necessary to the other, there will be a new adjustment, which both are deeply interested in making harmonious. . . . This bill frustrates this adjustment. It intervenes between capital and labor and attempts to settle questions of political economy through the agency of numerous officials, whose interest it will be to foment discord between the two races, for as the breach widens their employment will continue and when the breach is closed their occupation will terminate."

"The details of this bill," continued the President, "establish for the security of the colored race safeguards which go infinitely beyond any that the General Government has ever provided for the white race; in fact, the distinction between white and colored is by the provisions of this bill made to operate in favor of the colored and against the white race." "The provisions of the bill," he maintained, "are an absorption and assumption of power by the General Government, which, being acquiesced in, must eventually destroy our federative system of limited power and break down the barriers which preserve the rights of States. It is another step, or rather stride, towards centralization and the concentration of all legislative power in the General Government. The tendency of the bill must be to resuscitate rebellion and to arrest the progress of those influences which are more closely thrown around the States—the bond of union and peace."

The debate upon the President's veto was not very prolonged but was marked by excitement approaching to anger. Mr. Trumbull, who had charge of the bill, analyzed the President's argument with consummate ability and readily answered him on every point of Constitutional law which he had adduced. He did more than this. He pointed out with unflinching severity what he considered the demagogical features of the message. "The best answer," said Mr. Trumbull, "to the President's objection that the bill proposes to make citizens of Chinese and gypsies and his reference to the discrimination against foreigners, is to be found in a speech delivered in this body by the President himself, on the occasion of a message being sent to the Senate by Mr. Buchanan, then President of the United States, returning with his objections what was known as the Homestead Bill. On that occasion Senator Johnson of Tennessee said, 'This idea about poor foreigners somehow or other bewilders and haunts the imagination of a great many. I am constrained to say that I look upon this objection to the bill as a mere quibble on the part of the President, as being hard pressed for some excuse in withholding his approval of the measure. His allusion to foreigners in this connection looks to me more like the ad captandum of the mere politician or demagogue, than a grave and sound reason to be offered by the President of the United States in a veto message on so important a measure as the Homestead Bill.'"

In exposing the inconsistency between Andrew Johnson, President of the United States, and Andrew Johnson, Senator from Tennessee, Mr. Trumbull said that he would not use as harsh language as Mr. Johnson had used towards President Buchanan when he accused him of "quibbling and demagogery." Mr. Trumbull argued with great force that the citizen has a counter-claim upon the Government for the comprehensive claim which the Government has upon the citizen. "It cannot be that we have constituted a government," said Mr. Trumbull, "which is all-powerful to command the obedience of the citizen but has no power to afford him protection." "Tell it not, sir," said he, "to the father whose son was starved at Andersonville, or the widow whose husband was slain at Mission Ridge, or the little boy who leads his sightless father through the streets of your city, of the thousand other mangled heroes to be seen on every side of us to-day, that this Government, in defense of which the son and the husband fell, the father lost his sight and the others were maimed and crippled, had the right to call those persons to its defense, but now has no power to protect the survivors or their friends in any rights whatever in the States. Such, sir, is not the meaning of our Constitution: such is not the meaning of American citizenship. Allegiance and protection are reciprocal rights."

During the progress of the debate a curious incident showed the temper engendered in the Senate. Mr. Trumbull, on the 5th of April, intimated his readiness to have the vote taken if the Senate was ready. It was late in the evening. Mr. Cowan interposed the suggestion that two senators detained at home by illness, Mr. Dixon of Connecticut and Mr. Wright of New Jersey, could not with safety come out at night. The point of courtesy was strongly insisted upon by Mr. Guthrie, Mr. Hendricks and other members. Mr. Wade spoke very excitedly in reply to it. "If the President of the United States," said he, "can impose his authority upon a question like this and can by a veto compel Congress to submit to his dictation, he is an emperor and a despot. Because I believe the great question of Congressional power and authority is at stake here, I yield to no importunities on the other side. I feel myself justified in taking every advantage which the Almighty has put in my hands to defend the power and authority of this body. I will not yield to these appeals of comity on a question like this, but I will tell the President and everybody else that if God Almighty has stricken a member of this body so that he cannot be here to uphold the dictation of a despot, I thank him for it and I will take every advantage of it I can."

Mr. Wade was answered with great severity by Mr. McDougal of California. Mr. Guthrie spoke with much spirit, but not with the temper of Mr. McDougal. "I should not like it to go out from this body," said the senator from Kentucky, "that Mr. Stockton was removed to get rid of his vote. I do not want it to go out from this body that we would not extend a courtesy to sick senators because we could pass a bill without their votes when we might not pass it if they were here. The time will come when the people, being convinced of these things, will say that there is more to be feared from a combined Congress than from a President, in relation to the liberties of the people." The angry position of Mr. Wade was not sustained by the Senate and the motion to adjourn was carried by 33 to 12. The debate continued throughout the next day and disclosed during its progress that Senator Lane of Kansas had joined the small band of Administration Republicans. He attempted to take part in the debate but was unmercifully dealt with by Mr. Wade, Mr. Trumbull and others, and paid dearly for his personal defection. When the vote was taken upon passing the bill over the President's veto the ayes were 33 and the noes 15. Every senator was present except Mr. Dixon of Connecticut, still detained from the Senate from illness. There was one vacancy, Mr. Stockton's seat not having yet been filled. Among the nays were Mr. Cowan, Mr. Doolittle, Mr. Lane of Kansas, Mr. Norton and Mr. Van Winkle.

The bill went to the House and after a very brief debate came to a vote on the 9th of April—yeas 122, nays 41. Speaker Colfax directed that his name should be called in order that he might have the honor of recording himself for the bill. He then announced that having received the vote of two-thirds of each House the Civil Rights Bill had become a law, the President's objections to the contrary notwithstanding. The announcement was received with an outburst of applause, in which the members of the House as well as the throng of spectators heartily joined—the speaker being unable to restore order for several minutes. It recalled the scene of a little more than a year before, when the rejoicing over the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment was equally demonstrative.

To many persons of conservative mind the bill seemed too radical—to many it seemed positively rash. It was an illustration of how rapidly public opinion is changed, and with what force it may be brought to bear upon a given question in a period that is filled with the spirit of revolutionary excitement. If five years before the most pronounced anti-slavery man in the country had been told that not only would slavery be abolished, not only would the slave be transformed into a citizen, but that the National Government would confer upon him all the civil rights pertaining to the white man and would stretch forth its arm to protect him in those rights throughout the limits of the Republic, it would have seemed to him as the wildest fancy of a distempered brain. But his had actually come to pass through the ordinary forms of legislation, and by such a preponderating display of senatorial and representative strength as had scarcely ever before controlled a public policy since the foundation of the Government.

It was not, of course, without some misgiving, without a certain timidity and distrust, that many Republicans were brought to the support of these measures. They did not object to their inherent and essential justice and rightfulness, but with instinctive caution they feared that an attempt to wipe away the prejudices of two centuries in a single day might lead to a dangerous re-action, and to a consequent change in the political control of the country. Many who were borne along in the irresistible current of aggressive reform dreaded all the more the effect of the votes which the moral and political pressure of their constituents compelled them to give. In the Constitutional amendment abolishing slavery they went forward without distrust, with complete approbation of conscience, with undoubting belief in the expediency of the act. They knew that the great mass of the North was heartily opposed to slavery: they knew that its abolition was not merely right but was destined to be popular. It affected moreover only that great section of country which had engaged in the crime of rebellion; and if it were viewed only as a punishment of those who had sought the destruction of the Government, they felt more than justified in inflicting it.

But the legislation now accomplished was of a different type. In no State of the North had there ever been social equality between the negro and the white man. It had been most nearly approached in New England, but still there were points of prejudice which time had not effaced nor custom changed. In the Middle and Western States the feeling was much deeper. In many of their laws a discrimination was made against the negro, and a direct interference with the habits of loyal communities on this subject involved many considerations which did not in any degree attach to legislation affecting only the Southern States. There was among Democratic leaders a confidence as marked as the timidity on the part of the Republicans. They were sure of a re-action in their favor; they believed that the Republicans had taken the step which would prove fatal to them, and that with the prejudices of the people supplemented by the patronage of the President a serious division would ensue, which would prove fatal to Radical ascendency in a majority of the Northern states. Overcome in both chambers by the aggressive force of a majority which transcended the limit of two-thirds, they congratulated themselves that this very power, beyond the restraint of the Executive and exercised in defiance of his opinions, would prove the pitfall of Republicanism wherever race prejudice was kept alive.

The passage of these bills by Congress, their persistent veto by the President and their re-enactment against his objections, produced, as had been anticipated, not only an open political hostility, but one which rapidly advanced to a condition in which violent epithet and mutual denunciation indicated the deplorable relations of the two great departments of the Government. The veto of the Freedmen's-Bureau Bill, on the 19th of February, was followed by a large popular meeting in Washington, on the 22d, to approve the President's action. The meeting adjourned to the White House to congratulate the President, and he in turn made a long speech in which he broke through all restraint, and spoke his mind with exasperating frankness. "I have," said the President, "fought traitors and treason in the South. I opposed Davis, Toombs, Slidell, and a long list of others whose names I need not repeat, and now, when I turn around at the other end of the line, I find men—I care not by what name you call them (a voice: 'Call them traitors')—who still stand opposed to the restoration to the Union of these States. (A voice: 'Give us their names.') A gentleman calls for their names. Well! suppose I should give them? I look upon them, I repeat it as President or citizen, as being as much opposed to the fundamental principles of this Government, and believe they are as much laboring to pervert or destroy them, as were the men who fought against them in the Rebellion. (A voice: 'Give us the names.') I say Thaddeus Stevens of Pennsylvania. (Tremendous applause.) I say Charles Sumner. (Tremendous applause.) I say Wendell Phillips and others of the same stripe are among them. (A voice: 'Give it to Forney.') Some gentleman in the crowd says, 'Give it to Forney.' I have only to say that I do not waste my ammunition upon dead ducks." (Laughter and applause.) . . . "They may traduce me," continued the President, "they may slander me, they may vituperate, but let me say to you that it has no effect upon me; and let me say in addition that I do not intend to be bullied by my enemies. . . . There is an earthquake coming, gentlemen: there is a ground-swell coming of popular judgment and indignation. The American people will speak for their interests, and they will know who are their friends and who their enemies. What positions have I held under this Government?—beginning with an alderman and running through all the branches of the Legislature. (A voice: 'From a tailor up.') Some gentleman says I have been a tailor. (Tremendous applause.) Now that did not discomfit me in the least; for when I used to be a tailor I had the reputation of being a good one and of making close fits (great laughter); always punctual with my customers and always did good work. (A voice: 'No patchwork.') No: I do not want any patchwork. I want a whole suit. But I will pass by this little facetiousness. . . . I was saying that I held nearly all positions, from alderman, through both branches of Congress, to that which I now occupy; and who is there that will say Andrew Johnson ever made a pledge that he did not redeem or made a promise that he did not fulfill?"

Some one had spoken in Congress about the Presidential obstacle to be gotten out of the way. Mr. Johnson interpreted this as meaning personal violence to himself. "I make use," said he, "of a very strong expression when I say that I have no doubt the intention was to incite assassination and so get out of the way the obstacle to place and power. Whether by assassination or not, there are individuals in this Government, I doubt not, who want to destroy our institutions and change the character of the Government. Are they not satisfied with the blood which has been shed? Does not the murder of Lincoln appease the vengeance and wrath of the opponents of this Government? Are they still unslaked? Do they still want more blood? I am not afraid of the assassin attacking me where a brave and courageous man would attack another. I only dread him when he would go in disguise, his footsteps noiseless. If it is blood they want let them have courage enough to strike like men."

The speech produced a very unfavorable impression upon the country. Its low tone, its vulgar abuse, recalled Mr. Johnson's unhappy words at the time of his inauguration as Vice-President, and produced throughout the country a feeling of humiliation. His effort to make it appear that his political opponents meditated assassination was regarded as a thoroughly unscrupulous declaration, as an unworthy attempt to place himself beside Lincoln in the martyrdom of duty—to suggest that as Lincoln had fallen, sacrificed to the spirit of hostility in the South, so he, in pursuing his line of duty, was in danger of being sacrificed to hostility in the North. The delivery of this speech was the formal forfeiture of the respect and confidence of the great majority of the people who had elected him to his place, and he failed to secure compensation by gaining the respect or confidence of those who had opposed him. A few Democrats who wished to worry and divide the Republican party, the place-hunters who craved the favor of the Executive, a few deserters from the Republican ranks unable to pursue the path of exacting duty, represented by their combination a specious support for the President. Natives of the border States, who had been unwilling to join in treasonable demonstrations against the Government but who had not been inspired with sufficient loyalty to join actively in its defense, now naturally rallied around Mr. Johnson. The residents of Washington, consisting at that time of Southern men and Southern sympathizers, now applauded the President because they saw an opportunity to distract and defeat the Republican party. But the entire mass of those who were now eager to sustain the President exhibited but a pitiable contrast with the magnificent party which he had voluntarily abandoned.

The increasing fierceness of the struggle between the President and Congress gave rise to every form of evil suspicion and evil imputation. The close vote on the Civil Rights Bill admonished the Republicans of their danger. If Mr. Dixon had not been confined to his house by illness, if Mr. Stockton had not been a few days before deprived of his seat, the Administration would have been able to rally seventeen votes in the negative, leaving but thirty-three to the Republicans out of a Senate of fifty members. The exigencies of the situation presented the strongest possible temptation to take every fair advantage, and this naturally led to the imputation of unfair advantage. A large number of honest-minded opponents believed that a careful calculation had been made by the Republican leaders, and that they had found the margin so close as to be unsafe in a contest with the President. If the margin had been broader and the two-thirds vote assured past all reasonable danger, it was asserted, and no doubt believed, that the Constitution would not have been strained to exchange Mr. Stockton for a Republican senator, who was sure to succeed him. It was the first attempt in our history to establish the policy of the Government without regard to the President, and indeed against his power. In the case of President Tyler the reverse had been practically attempted. In his controversy with the Whigs his friends constituted more than a third in each House —thus making his veto effective and leading him to attempt the administration of the Government without regard to the opinions of Congress. Mr. Tyler had failed; but thus far in the controversy with Johnson, Congress had succeeded. It was said, however, with great pertinacity by the friends of the President, that Congress was enabled to do this only by the exclusion of eleven States of the Union from representation; and from this fact came the Democratic denunciation of the Republican party for administering the affairs of the Government in a revolutionary spirit.

The narrow escape of the measure again created great uneasiness, not only among the Republicans in Congress but throughout the country. One or two more defections would imperil Republican control of the Senate. The loyalty of every member to his party was therefore scanned with closest observation. Rumors, gossip, inventions of all kinds were set afloat in the public press,—hinting first at one man and then at another among the Republican senators as likely to weaken, as about going over to the Administration, as having just had a confidential interview with Mr. Seward, as dining the evening before with the President, or as being concerned in some matter of even less consequence. When public interest is heightened the imagination of the people is stimulated, until trifles light as air have fatal significance in one direction or the other. Throughout the spring and early summer of 1866 (the tentative period, as it may be called, in fixing the relations of the President and Congress) this suggestion of doubt, this latent apprehension, continued, and was not indeed wholly removed until the political lines were definitely drawn by the elections for representatives to Congress in the ensuing autumn.

The situation in all its bearings was one of peculiar embarrassment, beset with extraordinary difficulties to those who directed the proceedings of Congress. In reviewing the events of that day, whatever may be thought respecting their wisdom and expediency, candid men of all parties will concede that the Republican leaders exhibited great determination of purpose, remarkable steadiness of nerve and unflagging devotion to principle. They were absolutely without precedent to guide them in the exigencies and emergencies of the situation. It was well said at the time that the framers of the Constitution in 1787 were not confronted with difficulties so grave or surrounded with problems so complex and unproved, as were the leaders of Congress during the period of Reconstruction. The framers of the Constitution met for one purpose, upon which all were agreed. They had only to reconcile differences of detail and to adjust the jealousies of local interest; but in 1866 Congress was called upon to exclude the President practically from all share in the law-making power, and to charge him on his oath of duty to faithfully execute laws, against which he had constantly entered his solemn protest, not only as inexpedient but as unconstitutional. Perhaps a man of more desperate resolution than Mr. Johnson might have used his Executive power more effectively against Congress, but he must have done so at the expense of his fidelity to sworn obligations. The practical deduction as to the working of our Governmental machinery, from the whole experience of that troublous era, is that two-thirds of each House, united and stimulated to one end, can practically neutralize the Executive power of the Government and lay down its policy in defiance of the efforts and the opposition of the President.

The defection of Senator Lane of Kansas from the ranks of the most radical Republicans caused great surprise to the country. He had been so closely identified with all the tragic events in the prolonged struggle to keep slavery out of Kansas, that he was considered to be an irreconcilable foe to the party that tolerated or in any way apologized for its existence. The position he had taken in voting against the Civil Rights Bill worried and fretted him. He keenly felt his separation from the sympathy of such men as Sumner, Chandler, Wade, and the whole host who had nobly fought the battle of Kansas in the halls of Congress. He felt still more keenly the general and somewhat indignant disapproval of his action, freely expressed by the great mass of his constituents. One of his intimate friends said that on the very day of his vote he received a telegram warning him that if he voted against the bill it would be the mistake of his life. The telegram reached him after the roll had been called. He said excitedly, "The mistake has been made. I would give all I possess if it were undone." He was still further disturbed by imputations upon his integrity in connection with some transactions of the Indian Bureau—imputations which were pronounced baseless by the two senators from Indiana (Thomas A. Hendricks and Henry S. Lane), one a political opponent and the other a political friend, who had impartially examined all the facts. But under the mortification caused by parting with old political associates, and the humiliation to which he was subjected by groundless imputations upon his character, his mind gave way and on the 11th of July, 1866 he committed suicide.

General Lane was a native of Indiana, son of a reputable lawyer, Amos Lane, who was a representative in Congress during the Administrations of Jackson and Van Buren. He thus inherited Democracy of the most aggressive type. He was a man of violent passions and marked courage. He commanded a regiment of Indiana volunteers at the battle of Buena Vista, and in 1852 was elected a member of the House of Representatives. He was a warm supporter of Douglas and voted for the repeal of the Missouri Compromise. He immediately afterwards emigrated to Kansas, as he said, "to see fair play under the doctrine of popular sovereignty." His career thenceforward formed a large part of the history of Kansas. He contributed perhaps as largely as any other one man to the victory of the Free-State policy, and became as violent in his hostility to the Democratic party as he had formerly been in its advocacy. When his State was admitted to the Union in 1861 he was rewarded with the honor of being one of her first senators in Congress. His course in the Senate, until the time of his defection, had been specially marked for its aggressiveness in support of the war and the destruction of the institution of slavery. He was profoundly attached to Mr. Lincoln and had received many marks of his friendship. The motive for his strange course under President Johnson was never clearly disclosed. He was in the full vigor of life when he closed it with his own hands, being a few weeks beyond his fifty-first birthday.

The Administration of Mr. Johnson had, before the death of Mr. Lane, been unhappily associated in the popular mind with another suicide. A few days before the assembling of Congress Mr. Preston King, collector of the port of New York, had drowned himself in the Hudson River by leaping from a ferry-boat. He had been for more than twenty years an intimate friend of Mr. Johnson and held, as already narrated, a confidential relation to him at the time of his accession to the Presidency. He had been especially influential in the National Republican Convention of 1864 in securing for Mr. Johnson the nomination for the Vice-Presidency. The original disagreement with Mr. Seward was generally ascribed to the influence of Mr. King upon the President, but when, with Mr. Seward in the Cabinet, Mr. King was appointed collector of customs for the port of New York, it was understood to mean that a perfect reconciliation had taken place between all the Republican factions in his State. The change in the President's position was a complete surprise to Mr. King and left him in a peculiarly embarrassing situation. He was essentially a radical man in all his political views, and the evident tendency of the President towards extreme conservatism on the question of reconstruction was a keen distress to him. He was at a loss to determine his course of action. If he should resign his position it would be the proclamation of hostility to one to whom he was deeply attached. If he should remain in office he feared it might be at the expense of forfeiting the good will of the tens of thousands of New-York Republicans who had always reposed the utmost confidence in his fidelity to principle, and who had rewarded him with the highest honors in their power to bestow. He had not desired the collectorship, and consented to accept it only from his sincere friendship for the President and from his earnest desire to harmonize the Republican party in New York and bring its full strength to the support of the Administration. The office had given him no pleasure. It had indeed brought him nothing but care and anxiety. The applications for place were numerous and perplexing, the daily routine of duty was onerous and exacting, and his pecuniary responsibility to the Government, much exaggerated by his worried mind, constantly alarmed him. Mr. King found himself therefore so situated that, whichever way he turned, he faced embarrassment in his career, and as he imagined, disaster to his reputation. In the conflicting emotions incident to his entangled position, his brain was fevered, and his intellect became disordered. From the anguish which his sensitive nature could not endure, he sought relief in the grave.

Mr. King was born in 1806 at Ogdensburg, St. Lawrence County, New York, which throughout his life continued to be his home. He became prominent in political affairs, while still a young man, as a zealous supporter of President Jackson in whose interest he edited a paper. He attached himself to that strong school of New-York Democrats of whom Silas Wright was the acknowledged leader. After conspicuous service in the New-York Legislature, he entered Congress in 1845 and remained until 1851. When the South demanded the abrogation of the Missouri Compromise Mr. King followed his personal convictions, broke from his Democratic associations and aided in the organization of the Republican party. He adhered steadily to the fortunes of the new party and brought with him a strong popular support—the large Republican majorities in Northern New York being originally due in no small degree to his personal influence and earnest efforts.


The controversies between the President and Congress, thus far narrated, did not involve what have since been specifically known as the Reconstruction measures. Those were yet to come. The establishment of the Freedmen's Bureau was at best designed to be a temporary charity; and the Civil Rights Bill, while growing out of changes effected by the war, was applicable alike to all conditions and to all times. The province of the Special Committee on Reconstruction was to devise and perfect those measures which should secure the fruits of the Union victory, by prescribing the essential grounds upon which the revolted States should be re-admitted to representation in Congress. The principal objects aimed at were at least four in number. That which most largely engaged popular attention at the outset was the increased representation which the South was to secure by the manumission of the negroes. In the original Constitution only three-fifths of the slaves were permitted to be enumerated in the basis of apportionment. Two-fifths were now added and an increase of political power to the South appeared probably as the somewhat startling result of the civil struggle. There was an obvious injustice in giving to the white men of the South the right to elect representatives in Congress apportioned to their section by reason of the four and a half million of negroes, who were enumerated in the census but not allowed to exercise any political power. By permitting this, a Confederate soldier who fought to destroy the Union would be endowed with a larger power of control in the National Government than the loyal soldier who fought to maintain the Union. To allow this to be accomplished would be a mere mockery of justice, the utter subversion of fair play between man and man.

Another subject deeply engaging Northern thought was the definition of American citizenship. There was a strong desire to place it on such substantial foundation as should prevent the possibility of sinister interpretation by the Judiciary, and guard it at the same time against different constructions in different States. This was an omission in the original Constitution—so grave an omission, indeed, that the guarantee entitling citizens of each State to the privileges and immunities of citizens of the several States, was in many cases ignored, often indeed defied and destroyed. If we were now to have a broader nationality as the result of our civil struggle, it was apparent to the mass of men, as well as to the publicist and statesman, that citizenship should be placed on unquestionable ground—on ground so plain that the humblest man who should inherit its protections would comprehend the extent and significance of his title.

A third point had taken possession of the popular mind, quickened and intensified as it was by the conflict between the President and Congress. The President, as already stated, had by the lavish use of the pardoning power signalized his change on the subject of Reconstruction. Many of the worst offenders in the Confederate cause had received Executive clemency. Not only had the general mass of rebels been pardoned by the amnesty proclamation of May 29th, but many thousands of the classes excepted in that instrument had afterwards received special pardons from the President. The crime of treason, which they had committed, was thus condoned, and the Executive pardon could be pleaded against any indictment or any attempt to punish by process of law. If there should be no provision to the contrary, these pardoned men would thus become as eligible to all the honors and emoluments of the Republic as though they had not for four years been using their utmost efforts to destroy its existence. It was therefore the general expectation of the people that by some law, either statute or organic, the political privileges of these men, so far as the right to hold office was involved, should be restricted, and that, without contravening the full force and effect of the President's pardon, they might justly be deprived of all right to receive the honors of the Nation and of the State. From the crime of rebellion they had been freed by the President, but it was expected that Congress would clearly define the difference between pardoning a rebel for treason to his county and endowing him with the right to enjoy the honors and emoluments of office.

Other subjects had entered into the public apprehension and were brought prominently to the attention of Congress, and by Congress referred to the Reconstruction Committee. There was a fear that if, by a political convulsion, the Confederates of the South should unite with the Democratic opponents of the war in the North and thus obtain control of the Government, they might, at least by some indirect process if not directly, impair the public obligations of the United States incurred in suppressing the Rebellion. They feared that the large bounties already paid to Union soldiers, and the generous pensions already provided or which might afterwards be provided, for those who had been maimed or for the orphan and the widow of those who had fallen, might, in the advent of the same adverse political power in the Government, be objected to, unless at the same time a similar concession should be granted to the misled and deceived masses of the South, who had with reckless daring been forced into the service of the ill-starred Confederacy. It was therefore expected that Congress would, so far as organic law could attain that end, guard the sacredness of the public debt and the equal sacredness of the National pensions, and that to do this effectively it should be provided that no recognition should ever be made, either by the National Government or by any State Governments, of debts incurred in aid of the Rebellion.

Still another subject was considered to be of grave consequence. Preventive measures of the most stringent character were demanded against a threatened danger to the National credit. With the single exception of land, which is the basis of all property, the South had lost the largest aggregate investment held in one form in the entire country. The money value of Southern slaves, reckoned at current prices, was larger when the war broke out than the money value of railroads or of manufacturing establishments in the United States. For the defense of this great interest the war had been avowedly undertaken. Perhaps it would be more truthful to say that the ambitions and conspiring politicians of the South had assumed the danger to this vast investment as the pretext for destroying the Government; and they had met with the fate so solemnly foretold in Sacred Writ,—they had drawn the sword and perished by the sword. As the one grand consummation of the struggle, the institution of slavery had disappeared. It was probably, nay, it was certainly to be expected, that in the destruction of so large an investment great suffering would come to many who had not participated in the Rebellion; to many indeed who had opposed it. That remuneration for losses should be asked was apparently inevitable.

Men of financial skill and experience saw that if such a contingent liability should overhang the National Treasury the public credit might be fatally impaired. The acknowledged and imperative indebtedness of the Government was already enormous; contingencies yet to be encountered would undoubtedly increase it, and its weight would press heavily upon the people until a firmly re-established credit should enable the Government to lower the rate of interest upon its bonds. So long as the Government was compelled to pay its interest in coin, while the business of the country was conducted upon the basis of suspended paper, the burden upon the people would be great. It would be vastly increased in imagination (and imagination is rapidly transformed to reality in the tremulous balance which decides the standard of public credit) if the Nation should not be able to define with absolute precision the metes and bounds of its aggregate obligation. Hence the imperious necessity of excluding all possibility of the payment of from two to three thousand millions of dollars to the slave-holders of the South. If that were not accomplished, the burden would be so great that the Nation which had survived the shock of arms might be engulfed in the manifold calamities of bankruptcy.

The magnitude of the reforms for which the popular desire was unmistakable, may in some degree be measured by the fact that they involved the necessity of radical changes in, and important additions to, the Federal Constitution. It was frankly acknowledged that if the President's plan of Reconstruction should be followed, involving the instant admission of senators and representatives from the revolted States, these Constitutional changes could not be effected, because the party desiring them would no longer control two-thirds of both Senate and House. Mr. Seward, in his persuasive mode of presenting his views, had urged as a matter of justice that legislation affecting the Southern States should be open to the participation of representatives from those States; but Mr. Thaddeus Stevens, who had as keen an intellect as Mr. Seward and a more trenchant style, declared that view to involve an absurdity. He avowed his belief that there was no greater propriety in admitting Southern senators and representatives to take part in considering the financial adjustments and legislative safeguards rendered necessary by their crime, than it would have been to admit the Confederate generals to the camp of the Union Army, when measures were under consideration for the overthrow of the Rebellion.

The great mass of Republicans in Congress maintained that it was not only common justice but common sense to define, without interposition or advice from the South, the conditions upon which the insurrectionary States should be re-clothed with the panoply of National power. "In no body of English laws," said Mr. Stevens, in an animated conversation in the House, "have I ever found a provision which authorizes the criminal to sit in judgment when the extent of his crime and its proper punishment were under consideration." The argument, therefore, which Mr. Seward had made with such strength for the President was, in the judgment of the great majority of Norther people, altogether ill-founded. By the caustic sentence of Mr. Stevens it had been totally overthrown. The average judgement approved the sharply defined and stringent policy of Congress as set forth by Mr. Stevens, rather than the policy so comprehensively embodied and so skilfully advocated by Mr. Seward on behalf of the Administration. Whatever may have been the temptations presented by the apparent magnanimity and broad charity of Mr. Seward's line of procedure, they were more than answered by the instincts of justice and by the sense of safety embodied in the plan of Reconstruction announced and about to be pursued by Congress.

The Joint Special Committee on Reconstruction, appointed at the opening of the Thirty-ninth Congress in December, did not meet for organization until the 6th of January, 1866. As an indication of the respectful manner in which they desired to treat the President, and the care with which they would proceed in their important duties, they appointed a sub-committee to wait on Mr. Johnson and advise him that the committee desired to avoid all possible collision or misconstruction between the Executive and Congress in regard to their relative positions. They informed the President that in their judgment it was exceedingly desirable that while this subject was under consideration by the joint committee no further action in regard to Reconstruction should be taken by him unless it should become imperatively necessary. The committee plainly declared that mutual respect would seem to require mutual forbearance on the part of the President and Congress. Mr. Johnson replied in effect that, while desiring the question of Reconstruction to be advanced as rapidly as would be consistent with the public interest, he earnestly sought for harmony of action, and to that end he would take no further steps without advising Congress. This promise of each branch of the Government to wait patiently on the other was no doubt sincere, but it soon proved difficult, if not impossible, to maintain the compact. When two co-ordinate departments were holding antagonistic views on the vital question at issue, collisions between them could not be averted. As matter of fact the resolution, as has been seen by events already narrated, so far from proving itself to be an adjustment did not serve even as a truce between the President and Congress. It was found impracticable to secure repression and the contest went forward with constantly accelerating speed.

The first question on the subject of Reconstruction which engaged the attention of Congress, was the re-adjustment of the basis of representation; and for a time it absorbed all others. The first proposition to amend the Constitution in this respect had been made by Mr. Stevens on the 5th of December, providing "that representatives shall be apportioned among the States which may be within the Union according to their respective legal voters, and for this purpose none shall be named as legal voters who are not either natural born citizens of the United States or naturalized foreigners." During the month of December the question of representation was discussed, partly in public debate, but more in conference among members; and the plan of placing the basis upon legal voters, at first warmly urged, was quickly abandoned as its probable results were scrutinized. When Congress convened after the holidays, on Friday the 5th of January, Mr. Spalding of Ohio, in a speech already referred to, proposed an amendment to the Constitution in regard to representation in Congress, directing that "people of color shall not be counted with the population in making up the ratio of representation, except it be in States where they are permitted to exercise the elective franchise," and this was probably the earliest foreshadowing of the real change in the basis of representation that was made by the Fourteenth Amendment.

On the ensuing Monday Mr. Blaine of Maine proposed the following, in lieu of the Constitutional provision then existing: "Representatives and direct taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which shall be included within this Union according to their respective numbers, which shall be determined by taking the whole number of persons, except those whose political rights or privileges are denied or abridged by the constitution of any State on account of race or color." Mr. Blaine objected to taking voters as the basis of representation. "If," said he, "voters instead of population shall be made the basis of representation, certain results will follow, not fully appreciated perhaps by some who are now urgent for the change. I shall confine my examination of these results to the nineteen free States, whose statistics are presented in the census of 1860, and the very radical change which the new basis of apportionment would produce among those States forms the ground of my opposition to it. The ratio of voters to population differs very widely in different sections, varying, in the States referred to, from a minimum of nineteen per cent to a maximum of fifty-eight per cent; and some of the changes which its effect would work in the relative representation of certain States would be monstrous. For example, California has a population of 358,110 and Vermont a population of 314,369, and each has three representatives on this floor to-day. But California has 207,000 voters and Vermont had only 87,000. Assuming voters as the basis of apportionment and allowing to Vermont three representatives, California would be entitled to eight. The great State of Ohio, with nearly seven times the population of California, would have but little more than two and a half times the number of representatives; and New York, with quite eleven times the population of California, would have, in the proposed method of apportionment, less than five times as many members of this House."

Mr. Blaine adduced some other examples less extreme than those quoted, but the generalization was no doubt too broad and presented in some respects an erroneous conclusion. The only mode of getting at the number of voters was by the ballots cast at the general elections, and the relative ratio was varied by so many considerations that it did not correctly represent the actual number of voters in each State. But the facts presented by Mr. Blaine and elaborated by other speakers turned the attention of the House away from an apportionment based on voters.

Mr. Conkling, a few days later, in referring to Mr. Blaine's argument, maintained that "the ratio, in dividing the whole population of the United States into two hundred and forty-one representative districts, leaving out such extreme cases as California, would not be seriously affected by assuming the white male voters as the basis of apportionment." On the 15th of January Mr. Conkling submitted a Constitutional amendment on the subject, in two forms; making the proviso in one case that "whenever in any one State the political rights or privileges of any man shall be denied or abridged on account of race or color, all persons of such race or color shall be excluded from the basis of representation," and the other providing that "when the elective franchise in any State shall be denied or abridged on account of race or color, all persons of such race or color so denied shall be excluded from the basis of representation."

On the 22d of January the Reconstruction Committee, both in the Senate and House, reported their proposed amendment to the Constitution on this subject. It was in these words: "Representatives and direct taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State—excluding Indians not taxed; provided, that whenever the elective franchise shall be denied or abridged in any State on account of race or color, all persons of such race or color shall be excluded from the basis of representation." The amendment was substantially the second form of that proposed by Mr. Conkling. He was a member of the Reconstruction Committee and opened the discussion on the subject with a carefully prepared speech. The peculiar feature of this amendment was that if any portion of the people should be excluded by reason of race or color, every individual of that race or color would be excluded from the basis of apportionment. As Mr. Stevens expressed it, if one man should be excluded from the ballot-box on account of his race, then the whole race should be excluded from the basis of apportionment.

The proposition led to a long debate, the differences being to a great extent among members on the Republican side. Mr. Jenckes of Rhode Island objected to it, because it would not effect the object aimed at. "Suppose," said he, "this amendment is adopted by three-fourths of the States and becomes a part of the Constitution, and after its adoption the State of South Carolina should re-instate her old constitution, striking out the word 'white,' and re-establishing the property qualification of fifty acres of land or town-lots or the payment of taxes, there would then be no discrimination of color in South Carolina; yet, while the number of her voters would not be enlarged five hundred, the representation would be exactly as it is, with the addition of two-fifths of the enfranchised freedmen." Mr. Blaine objected that "if by ordinary fair play we exclude any class from the basis of representation they should be excluded from the basis of taxation, and therefore we should strike out the word 'taxes.' Ever since the Government was founded taxation and representation have gone hand in hand. If we exclude that principle from this amendment we shall be accused of narrow, illiberal, mean-spirited, money-grasping policy."

Mr. Donnelly of Minnesota supported the measure, not as a finality but as a partial step,—as one of a series of necessary laws. Mr. Sloan of Wisconsin made an urgent argument for the basing of representation upon voters, "as those voters are determined by the States." Mr. John Baker of Illinois objected to the amendment, because it "leaves any State of the Union perfectly free to narrow her suffrage to any extent she pleases, imposing proprietary and other disqualifying tests and strengthening her aristocratic power over the people, provided only she steers clear of a test based on race or color." Mr. Ingersoll of Illinois followed the speech of his colleague, Mr. Baker, by moving to add to the Constitutional amendment these words: "and no State within this Union shall prescribe or establish any property qualifications which may or shall in any way abridge the elective franchise." Mr. Jenckes of Rhode Island argued against Mr. Ingersoll's amendment as needlessly abridging the power of the States. On the 24th of January Mr. Lawrence of Ohio moved that "the pending resolution and all amendments be recommitted to the Committee on Reconstruction, with instructions to report an amendment to the Constitution, which shall, first, apportion direct taxation among the States according to the property in each, and second, apportion the representation among the States upon the basis of male voters who may be citizens of the United States."

Mr. Shellabarger followed his colleague, giving objections to the amendment as reported by the Committee on Reconstruction: "First, it contemplates and provides for and in that way authorizes the States to wholly disfranchise an entire race of people; second, the moral teaching of the clause offends the free and just spirit of the age, violates the foundation principle of our own Government and is intrinsically wrong; third, associated with that clause in our Constitution relating to the States being republican this amendment makes it read thus: 'the United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a republican form of government, provided, however, that a government shall be deemed republican when whole races of its people are disfranchised, unrepresented and ignored.'" Mr. Eliot of Massachusetts moved an amendment that representation should be based upon the whole number of persons, "and that the elective franchise shall not be denied or abridged in any State on account of race or color."

Mr. Pike of Maine made a strong speech against the amendment, the spirit of which was in favor of declaring universal suffrage. He added to the illustrations already given of the inefficacy of the proposed amendment to reach the desired end, one of special force and pertinency. "Suppose," said he, "this Constitutional amendment to be in full force, and a State should provide that the right of suffrage should not be exercised by any person who had been a slave or who was the descendant of a slave, whatever his race or color?" He suggested that it was "a serious matter to tell whether this simple provision would not be sufficient to defeat the Constitutional amendment which we here so laboriously enact and submit to the States." Mr. Conkling argued that "the amendment we are proposing is not for Greece or Rome, or anywhere where anybody besides Africans were held as slaves. It is to operate in this country, where one race, and only one, has been held in servitude." Mr. Pike replied that "in no State has slavery been confined to one race." "So far," added he, "as I am acquainted with their statutes, slavery has not been confined to the African race. I have examined the matter with some care, and I know of no slave-statute which says that Africans alone shall be slaves. Well-authenticated instances exist in every slave State, where men of Caucasian descent, of Anglo-Saxon blood, have been confined in slavery and they and their posterity held as slaves, so that not only were free blacks found everywhere but white slaves abounded."

On the 29th of January the debate closed, and the resolutions originally reported from the Committee on Reconstruction, together with the suggested amendments, were again referred to that committee. Especial interest was taken by many members in the language proposed by Mr. Schenck of Ohio: "Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to the number of male citizens of the United States over twenty-one years of age having the qualifications of electors of the most numerous branch of the Legislature;" and also in the proposition of Mr. Broomall of Pennsylvania, providing that "when the elective franchise shall be denied by the constitution or laws of any State, to any proportion of its male citizens over the age of twenty-one years, the same proportion of its entire population shall be excluded from the basis of representation." Two days afterwards, on the 31st of January, Mr. Stevens reported from the Joint Committee on Reconstruction the proposition in this form: "Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State—excluding Indians not taxed; provided that whenever the elective franchise shall be denied or abridged in any State on account of race or color, the persons therein of such race or color shall be excluded from the basis of representation." Mr. Schenck submitted his amendment basing apportionment upon the number of male citizen of the United States who are voters, but it was rejected by an overwhelming vote, only twenty-nine of the entire House voting in the affirmative. The amendment, as reported from the committee, was then adopted,—yeas 120, nays 46. It was substantially a party division, though some half-dozen Republicans voted in the negative.

The amendment reached the Senate on the thirty-first day of January and on the sixth of February was taken up for consideration. Mr. Fessenden, chairman of the Joint Committee on Reconstruction, was entitled to open the debate, but yielded to Mr. Sumner. Mr. Sumner, with his rigid adherence to principle, opposed the amendment. "Knowing as I do," said he, "the eminent character of the committee which reports this amendment, its intelligence, its patriotism and the moral instincts by which it is moved, I am at a loss to understand the origin of a proposition which seems to me nothing else than another compromise of human rights, as if the country had not already paid enough in costly treasure and more costly blood for such compromise in the past." He declared that he was "painfully impressed by the discord and defilement which the amendment would introduce into the Constitution." He quoted the declaration of Madison in the convention of 1787, that it was wrong to admit into the Constitution the idea of property in man. "Of all that has come to us from that historic convention, where Washington sat as President and Franklin and Hamilton sat as members, there is nothing having so much of imperishable charm. It was wrong to admit into the Constitution the idea than man could hold property in man. Accordingly, in this spirit the Constitution was framed. This offensive idea was not admitted. The text at least was kept blameless. And now, after generations have passed, surrounded by the light of Christian truth and in the very blaze of human freedom, it is proposed to admit into the Constitution the twin idea of inequality in rights, and thus openly set at naught the first principles of the Declaration of Independence and the guarantee of republican government itself, while you blot out a whole race politically. For some time we have been carefully expunging from the statute-books the word 'white,' and now it is proposed to insert into the Constitution itself a distinction of color."

Upon this foundation Mr. Sumner spoke at great length, his speech filling forty-one columns of the Congressional Globe. It would hardly be proper indeed to call it a speech. It was a great historic review of the foundation of the Republics of the world, an exhaustive analysis of what constituted a true republic, closing with an eloquent plea for the ballot for the freedmen. He demanded "enfranchisement for the sake of the public security and public faith." He pleaded for the ballot as "the great guarantee." The ballot, he declared, "is a peacemaker, a schoolmaster, a protector." "Show me," said he, as he approached the conclusion of his speech—"show me a creature with erect countenance and looking to heaven, made in the image of God, and I show you a man who, of whatever country or race—whether darkened by equatorial sun or blanched with the northern cold—is an equal with you before the heavenly Father, and equally with you entitled to all the rights of human nature." . . . "You cannot deny these rights without impiety. God has so linked the National welfare with National duty that you cannot deny these rights without peril to the Republic. It is not enough that you have given liberty. By the same title that we claim liberty do we claim equality also. . . . The Roman Cato, after declaring his belief in the immortality of the soul, added, that if this were an error it was an error that he loved; and now, declaring my belief in liberty and equality as the God-given birthright of all men, let me say in the same spirit, if this be an error it is an error which I love; if this be a fault it is a fault which I shall be slow to renounce; if this be an illusion it is an illusion which I pray may wrap the world in its angelic form."

Mr. Sumner's speech may be regarded as an exhaustive and masterly essay, unfolding and illustrating the doctrine of human rights. As such it remains a treatise of great value; but as a political argument calculated to shape and determine the legislation of Congress, it was singularly inapt. As a counter-proposition he submitted a preamble and joint resolution in these words: "Whereas it is provided by the Constitution that the United States shall guarantee to every State of the Union a republican form of government, and whereas, by reason of the failure of certain States to maintain governments which Congress might recognize, it has become the duty of the United States, standing in the place of guarantor," . . . "Therefore be it resolved, that there shall be no oligarchy, aristocracy, caste or monopoly invested with peculiar privileges or powers, and there shall be no denial of rights, civil or political, on account of race or color within the limits of the United States or the jurisdiction thereof, but all persons therein shall be equal before the law, whether in the court-room or at the ballot-box, and this statute, made in pursuance of the Constitution, shall be the supreme law of the land, any thing in the constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding."

Mr. Fessenden replied to Mr. Sumner in an elaborate speech in justification of the amendment proposed by the Reconstruction Committee. His argument was marked with all his peculiar ability, and the two speeches contain within themselves the fullest exposition of the difference in mental quality of the two eminent New-England statesmen who were so long rivals in the Senate of the United States. Mr. Fessenden was above all things practical; he was unwilling at any time to engage in legislation that was not effective and direct; he had no sympathy with mere declarations, was absolutely free from the vanity so often exhibited in legislative bodies, of speaking when there was no question before the body for decision, or of submitting resolutions merely in response to a popular sentiment, without effecting any valuable result. In short, Congress was with him a law-making body. It met for that business and so far as he could direct its proceedings, Mr. Fessenden, as chairman at different times of leading committees, held it to its work. He was felicitous with his pen beyond the rhetorical power of Mr. Sumner, though not so deeply read, nor so broad in scholarship and general culture.

He made an able argument for the pending amendment as the most effective method of bringing the South to do justice to the colored race. He believed that if the Southern States should feel that they could derive larger political power in the Government of the United States by admitting colored men to the elective franchise, they would in time conclude to do so; and doing so they would be compelled in the mere process to realize their indebtment to that race, and thus from self-interest, if not from a sense of justice, would extend equal protection to the whole population. Mr. Fessenden could not refrain from some good-natured ridicule of the declaratory resolutions which Mr. Sumner had offered. "Sir," said he, "does the Constitution authorize oligarchy, aristocracy, caste or monopoly? Not at all. Are you not as safe under the Constitution as you are under an Act of Congress? Why re-enact the Constitution merely to put it in a bill? What do you accomplish by it? What remedy does it afford? It is merely as if it read this way: 'Whereas it is provided in the Constitution that the United States shall guarantee to every State of the Union a republican form of government, therefore we declare that there shall be a republican form of government, and nothing else.' That is all there is of it. Of what particular use it is as a bill, practically, is more than I can tell. I presume the Honorable Senator from Massachusetts will very easily explain it, but it reminds me (I say it with all due respect to him) of a political travesty of a law argument by an eminent lawyer of his own State, running somewhat in this way;—

  'Let my opponents do their worst,
   Still my first point is point the first,
   Which fully proves my case, because,
   All statute laws are statute laws.'

The sequitur is obvious,—the case is proved because, inasmuch as the Constitution provides that there shall be no aristocracy, no oligarchy, no monopoly, therefore Congress has resolved that there shall not be any thing of the kind."

Mr. Fessenden would not admit the essential justice of the argument which Mr. Sumner made in behalf of universal suffrage, and showed that he was not consistent in the ground which he took. "While," said he, "the Honorable Senator from Massachusetts argued with great force that every man should have the right of suffrage, his argument, connected with the other principle that he laid down, and the application of it, —that taxation and representation should go together,—would apply with equal force and equal equity to woman as to man; but I notice that the Honorable Senator carefully and skillfully evaded that part of the proposition. If a necessary connection between taxation and representation applies to the individuals in a State, and that is the application which the Honorable Senator made of it,—an application never made by our ancestors, but applied by them to communities and not to individuals,—I should like him to tell me why, according to his own argument, every female that is taxed should not be allowed to have the right of suffrage."

"There are," said Mr. Fessenden, "but two propositions to be considered in the pending amendment; one is whether you will base representation on voters, and the other is the proposition which is before the Senate. I suppose the proposition to base representation upon actual voters would commend itself to the Honorable Senator from Massachusetts. I believe I have in my desk a proposition he made to amend the Constitution (laid before the Senate so early in the session that the bell which called us together had hardly struck its note before it was laid upon the table), in which he proposed that representation in the United States should be based on voters. Let me ask him if that does not leave in the hands of the States the same power that exists there now, and has existed heretofore? What is the difference? How does the Honorable Senator find the pending proposition so objectionable, and the one he offered so suitable to accomplish the purpose which he desires to accomplish? The two propositions, in respect to the point upon which the gentleman has made his speech, are identical in effect."

The Constitutional amendment was debated earnestly until the 9th of March. One of the boldest and most notable speeches was made by Mr. Henderson of Missouri, who surprised the Senate by taking a more radical ground than the Reconstruction Committee. He moved the following as a substitute for the committee's proposition to amend the Constitution: "No State, in prescribing the qualifications requisite for electors therein, shall discriminate against any person on account of color or race." Mr. Henderson, though representing a State lately slave-holding, was in advance of the majority of his associates from the free States; but he defended his amendment with great ability. He said, "I am aware that the Senate will vote it down now. Let them vote it down. It will not be five years from to-day before this body will vote for it. You cannot get along without it. You may adopt the other proposition, but the States will not accept it. The Northern States in my judgement will not accept it, because they will misapprehend the meaning of it." When the vote was reached ten senators, including Mr. Henderson, sustained his proposition in favor of negro suffrage. The resolution of the Reconstruction Committee, after several attempts to modify it, came to a vote,—yeas 25, nays 22. Two-thirds being required the amendment was defeated. A reconsideration was made for the purpose of resuming the discussion, but the resolution was never taken up again, having become merged in a new proposition.

Pending the consideration of the Constitutional amendment so long before Congress, the Reconstruction Committee reported, and both Houses of Congress agreed to adopt, a resolution declaring that "No senator or representative shall be admitted into either branch of Congress from any of said States until Congress shall have declared such State entitled to representation." It was the pressure of the State of Tennessee for admission which brought about this declaration. Her condition was regarded as peculiar, and her senators and representatives were seeking admission to their appropriate bodies, claiming exemption from the general requirements of the Reconstruction policy, because they had, without the aid of Congress, established a loyal State government. This was regarded as totally inexpedient, and the committee reported the resolution, as they declared, "in order to close agitation upon a question which seems likely to disturb the action of the Government, as well as to quiet the uncertainty which is agitating the minds of the people of the eleven States which have been declared to be in insurrection." The objection to this course was, that in a certain degree it involved the renunciation on the part of both Senate and House of their right to be the exclusive judge of the qualification of members of their respective bodies. Mr. Stevens was the author of the resolution and it really included, as its essential basis, the view which he had so strenuously insisted upon, that the insurrectionary States must be treated by Congress, in all that related to their restoration to the Union, as if they were new States seeking admission for the first time. Instead of each House acting as the judge of the qualifications of its members, both Houses agreed that neither should take a step in that regard until there had been common action declaring the State entitled to representation. A similar proposition at the opening of the session had been defeated in the Senate: its ready adoption now showed how the contest between the President and Congress was driving the latter day by day to more radical positions.

After the defeat in the Senate of the amendment touching representation, and the postponement by the House of another amendment reported from the Committee on Reconstruction touching the protection of citizens in their rights and immunities, there was a general cassation of discussion on the question of changing the Constitution, and a common understanding in both branches to await the formal and final report of the Committee. That report was made by Mr. Stevens on Monday, the 30th of April.(1) It consisted of a joint resolution proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States, in which were consolidated under one article the several amendments which had been proposed, and which in their aggregate, as finally shaped, made up the famous Fourteenth Amendment. In addition to this was a bill reciting the desirability of restoring the lately revolted States to full participation in all political rights, and enacting in substance that when the Constitutional amendment should be agreed to by them, their senators and representatives in Congress might be admitted. A further bill was reported, declaring certain persons who had been engaged in rebellion to be ineligible to office under the Government of the United States.

The debate on the consolidated Fourteenth Amendment was opened on the 8th of May by Mr. Stevens. The House had agreed that all speeches should be limited to half an hour. The debate was therefore condensed and direct. Mr. Stevens complained of the Senate for having defeated the amendment relating to representation, and though assenting to that which was now reported by the committee, thought it inferior to, and less effective than, the one which had failed. The third section he thought too lenient. "There is," said he, "a morbid sensibility sometimes called mercy, which affects a few of all classes from the priest to the clown, which has more sympathy for the murderer on the gallows than for his victim. I hope I have a heart as capable of feeling for human woe as others. I have long since wished that capital punishment were abolished. But I never dreamed that all punishment could be dispensed with in human society. Anarchy, treason and violence would reign triumphant. The punishment now prescribed is the mildest ever inflicted upon traitors. I might not consent to the extreme severity pronounced upon them by a provisional Governor of Tennessee—I mean the late lamented Andrew Johnson of blessed memory—but I would have increased the severity in this section. . . . In my judgment we do not sufficiently protect the loyal men in the rebel States from the vindictive persecutions of their rebel neighbors."

Mr. Blaine of Maine called the attention of Mr. Stevens to the fact that on the 17th of July, 1862, Congress had passed an Act of which the following was one section: "That the President is hereby authorized, at any time hereafter, 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, at such times and on such conditions as he may deem expedient for the public welfare." "Under and in pursuance of this Act," said Mr. Blaine, "the late President Lincoln issued a proclamation granting a great number of pardons upon certain specified conditions, and subsequently President Johnson issued his celebrated amnesty proclamation granting pardons to certain specified classes in the South that had participated in the Rebellion. . . . Do we not by the proposed action place ourselves in the attitude of taking back by Constitutional amendment that which has been given by Act of Congress, and by Presidential proclamation issued in pursuance of the law? and will not this be justly subjected to the charge of bad faith on the part of the Federal Government?"

Mr. Stevens replied that a pardon, whether by the President having the power or specifically by Act of Parliament or Congress, extinguishes the crime. "After that," said he, "there is no such crime in the individual. A man steals and he is pardoned. He is not then a thief and you cannot call him a thief, or if you do you are liable to an action for slander. None of those who have been fully pardoned are affected by this provision."

Mr. Blaine replied that the Constitutional amendment would be held to override the President's proclamation, being organic in its nature and therefore supreme. "That," said Mr. Blaine, "is my understanding and that, it seems to me, would be the legal construction; but if the gentleman from Pennsylvania is correct, then I maintain that it is the bounded duty of this House to make the language so plain that he who runs may read—that there may be no doubt about its construction."

Mr. Garfield said that "the point made by the gentleman from Maine shows that, whatever may be the intention of the committee or of the House, the section is at least susceptible of double construction. Some may say that it revokes and nullifies in part the pardons that have already been granted in accordance with law and the proclamation of the President. Others may say that it does not apply to the rebels who have been pardoned."

Mr. Stevens interrupted Mr. Garfield and said, "I was not perhaps sufficiently explicit in what I stated in answer to the interrogatory of the gentleman from Maine. I admit that a pardon removes all liability to punishment for a crime committed, but there is a vast difference between punishment for a crime and withholding a privilege. While I admit that the pardon will be full and operative so far as the crime is concerned, it offers no other advantage than an exemption from punishment for the crime itself."

Mr. Garfield, resuming, said that he was about to remark that "if the section does not apply to those who have been pardoned then it would apply to so small a number of people as to make it of no practical value, for the excepted classes in the general system of pardons form a very small fraction of the rebels."

Mr. Boyer, a Democratic member from Pennsylvania, declared that the effect of the amendment if adopted would be to disfranchise for a period of four years nine-tenths of the voting population of eleven States.

The point was subsequently alluded to by the leading lawyers of the House, with the general admission that, whatever might have been the implied pledge of the President or of Congress, or whatever might be the effect of the pardon of the President, it did not in any limit the power of the people to amend their Constitution. To the proposition to exclude those who had been engaged in the Rebellion from the right of suffrage for National office until 1870, there was a strong hostility from two classes—one class opposing because it was a needless proscription, and the other, equally large, because it did not go far enough in proscribing those who had been guilty of rebellion. The amendment came to a vote on the 10th of May and the result was 128 ayes to 37 noes. Not a single Republican vote was cast against it. Mr. Raymond voted in the affirmative, and his ringing response elicited loud applause both on the floor and in the galleries.

When the Senate proceeded to consider the Constitutional amendment it soon became evident that it could not be adopted in the form in which it came from the House. The first important change was suggested by Mr. Howard of Michigan on behalf of the Senate members of the Joint Committee on Reconstruction. He proposed to prefix these words to the first clause of the amendment: "All persons born in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the States wherein they reside." Mr. Doolittle moved to insert "excluding Indians not taxed," but Mr. Howard made a pertinent reply that "Indians born within the limits of the United States, who maintain their tribal affiliations, are not in the sense of this amendment born subject to the jurisdiction of the United States." Mr. Doolittle's amendment was supported by only ten senators on a call of the ayes and noes, and the amendment proposed by Mr. Howard was then agreed to without division. Mr. Howard next proposed to amend the second section of the constitutional amendment by striking out the word "citizens" and inserting "inhabitants, being citizens of the United States." This was done, as Mr. Fessenden explained, "to prevent a State from saying that though a person is a citizen of the United States he is not a citizen of the State, and to make it conform to the first clause as just amended."

Mr. Howard offered next to change the third clause as it came from the House by inserting a substitute, which is precisely that which became formally incorporated in the amendment as it passed. Mr. Hendricks of Indiana moved to amend by inserting after the word "shall" the words "during the term of his office," so as to read, "shall, during the term of his office, have engaged in insurrection or rebellion." Mr. Hendricks understood "the idea upon which this section rests, to be that men who held office, and upon assuming the office took the oath prescribed by the Constitution, became obligated by that oath to stand by the Constitution and the oath," and that "going into the Rebellion was not only a breach of their allegiance but a breach of their oath," and that "persons who had violated the oath to support the Constitution of the United States ought not to be allowed to hold any office." Mr. Howard hoped the amendment would not be adopted. "If," said he, "I understand the senator from Indiana right, he holds that although a person may have taken that Constitutional oath, if he has not committed insurrection during the continuance of the term of his office, but committed that act after the expiration of that term, the previous taking of the oath by him adds to the act no additional moral guilt. I do not concur with him in that view. It seems to me that where a person has taken a solemn oath to support the Constitution of the United States, there is a fair implication that he cannot afterwards commit an act which in its effect would destroy the Constitution of the United States, without incurring at least the moral guilt of perjury."

Mr. Reverdy Johnson supported Mr. Hendricks's amendment. "The effect of the amendment of the committee," said he, "would be to embrace nine-tenths, perhaps, of the gentlemen of the South, to disfranchise them until Congress shall think proper, by a majority of two-thirds of each branch, to remove the restriction. If the suggestion of the senator from Indiana is not adopted," continued Mr. Johnson, "then all who have at any time held any office under the United States, or who have been in any branch of the Legislature of a State, which they could not be without taking the oath required by the Constitution of the United States, are to be excluded from holding the office or senator or representative, or that of an elector for President or Vice-President, or any office, civil or military, under the United States." Mr. Fessenden reminded the senator from Maryland that the provision, as proposed by the committee, included exactly those classes to whom the obligation of an oath to support the Constitution was prescribed in the sixth article of the Constitution, namely "Senators and representatives and the members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial officers, both of the United States and the several States, shall be bound by oath or affirmation to support this Constitution."

Mr. Sherman of Ohio pointed out that the amendment of Mr. Hendricks would exclude from the operation of the section those who had left the army of the United States to join the Rebellion. Mr. Hendricks's amendment received but eight votes in the Senate, falling short of the admitted Administration strength. Mr. Reverdy Johnson moved to strike out the words which included members of the State Legislatures, but the amendment secured only ten votes. He also moved to strike out the words "having previously taken," and insert "at any time within ten years preceding the 1st of January, 1861, had taken;" and this also received but ten votes. Mr. Van Winkle moved to amend so that a majority of all the members elected to each House should be empowered to remove the disability, instead of two-thirds as required by the amendment. This also received but ten votes.

In further discussion of the extent to which the pardon of the President goes, Mr. Reverdy Johnson cited a case which had just been argued by himself and others but was not yet decided, in the Supreme Court of the United States, as to whether an attorney in that court could be bound to take the ironclad oath as prescribed by Act of Congress, January 24, 1865. He had no doubt, he said, that the operation of the pardon was to clear the party pardoned from the obligation to take that oath. The case referred to was that since so widely known as ex parte Garland, and decided by the Supreme Court adversely to the Constitutionality of the statute. Mr. Howe of Wisconsin interrupted the senator from Maryland and asked him whether he knew "of any authority which has gone to the extent of declaring that either an amnesty or a pardon can impose any limitation whatever upon the power of the people of the United States, through an amendment to their Constitution, to fix the qualifications of officers." Mr. Johnson replied, "That is not the question to which I spoke. It is quite another inquiry. I was speaking of the operation of a statute."

Mr. Doolittle also answered his colleague by saying, "I know it may be said that by an amendment to the Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land, you can annul all existing rights. You could, perhaps, by an amendment to the Constitution, enact a provision which would deprive individual citizens of their property, and vest the whole of it in the Government of a State or in the Government of the United States. You might, perhaps, by a Constitutional amendment, pass a bill of attainder by which certain men would be sentenced to death and to corruption of blood. But, sir, would it be right? That is the question." Mr. Doolittle was discussing it on the ground of its moral rightfulness and not upon the ground of the power of the people to amend their Constitution. An attempt was made to insert the word "voluntarily" in the amendment, so that only those would be under disabilities who had voluntarily taken part in the Rebellion; but this received only ten votes. The Senate rejected it for the obvious reason that it would open the entire amendment to evasion.

The amendment, as supported by Mr. Howard, was finally agreed to with only ten votes in the negative. Mr. Hendricks, in lieu of the amendment on the subject of representation, moved to add a clause excluding two-fifths of "such persons as have been discharged from involuntary servitude since the year 1861, and to whom the elective franchise may be denied." He did this in order that representation should be maintained on the same numerical basis that existed before the war. The amendment was rejected without a division. Mr. Doolittle offered an amendment on the subject of representation, embodying the two propositions of making voters the basis of representation and providing that "direct taxes shall be apportioned among the several States according to the value of the real and personal taxable property situated in each State, not belonging to the State or to the United States;" but after elaborate debate it received only seven votes. On motion of Mr. Williams of Oregon the amendment to section two was still further amended by substituting the words "the right to vote" for "elective franchise," as already agreed to. Mr. Clarke of New Hampshire, who had shown throughout the discussion great aptness at draughting Constitutional provisions in appropriate language, now moved to substitute for section four, which had gone through various mutations not necessary to recount here, the precise section as it now stands in the Constitution.

In the course of the discussion Mr. Doolittle had moved that in imposing political disabilities, those should be excepted "who have duly received pardon and amnesty under the Constitution and laws." He had just admitted the broadest possible power of a Constitutional amendment duly adopted, and, recognizing that the amendment as it stood would certainly include those who had received pardon from the President, desired to avert that result. His amendment was very briefly debated and on a call of the ayes and noes received only ten votes. The effect of this vote unmistakably settled, in the judgment of the law-making power of the Government, that the operation of the Fourteenth Amendment would not in the least degree be affected by the President's pardon. Before the proposed amendment of Mr. Doolittle, Mr. Saulsbury had tested the sense of the Senate practically on the same point, by moving to make the clause of the amendment read thus: "Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House and the President may by the exercise of the pardoning power, remove such disabilities;" but it was rejected by a large majority, and every proposition to permit the pardon of the President to affect the disabilities prescribed by the Fourteenth Amendment in any way whatever was promptly overruled.

As a result of this decision, Southern men who, under the Fourteenth Amendment, had incurred disabilities by reason of participation in the Rebellion, could not assume office under the National Government until their disabilities should be removed by a vote of two-thirds of the Senate and House of Representatives, even though they had previously been pardoned by the President. The language of the amendment, the very careful form in which the tense was expressed, appeared to leave no other meaning possible, and the intention of legislators was definitively established by the negative votes already referred to. The intention indeed was in no wise to interfere with the pardon of the President, leaving to that its full scope in the remission of penalty which it secured to those engaged in the Rebellion. The pertinent clause of the Fourteenth Amendment was regarded as merely prescribing a qualification for office, and the Constitutional lawyers considered it to be within the scope of the amending power as much as it would be to change the age at which a citizen would be eligible to the Senate or the House of Representatives.(2)

One of the singular features attending the discussion and formation of this amendment, was that all the Democratic senators preferred the third section as embodied in the Constitutional amendment finally passed, to that which had been proposed as it passed the House. The amendment could not probably be incorporated in the Constitution for a year and according to the original proposition of the House, therefore, it would only have excluded those who participated in the Rebellion from the ballot-box for a period of three years,—until the 4th of July, 1870; whereas the third section, as adopted, perpetually excluded the great mass of the leading men of the South from holding public office, either in Nation or State, unless their disabilities should be removed by a vote of two-thirds in each House of Congress. No adequate explanation was given for the preference, and the final vote substituting that which was incorporated in the Constitution for the House proposition was 42 in the affirmative to 1 in the negative. The negative vote was given by Reverdy Johnson; while such staunch Democrats as Guthrie of Kentucky, Hendricks of Indiana, McDougal of California and Willard Saulsbury of Delaware voted to prefer the one to the other. Mr. Johnson afterward explained that he voted under a misapprehension; so that the substitution was made, in effect, by a unanimous vote of the Senate.

On the final passage in the Senate of the consolidated amendment the ayes were 33 and the noes 11. When the amendment was returned to the House, Mr. Stevens briefly explained the changes that had been made in the Senate. The first section was altered to define who are citizens of the United States and of the States. Mr. Stevens declared this to be an excellent amendment, long needed to settle conflicting decisions between the several States and the United States. He said the second section had received but slight alteration. "I wish," he continued, "it had received none. It contains much less power than I could wish. It has not half the vigor of the amendment which was lost in the Senate." The third section, he said, had been wholly changed by substituting the ineligibility of certain high officials for the disfranchisement of all rebels until 1870. Mr. Stevens declared that he could not look upon this as an improvement. "It opens the elective franchise to such as the States may choose to admit. In my judgment it endangers the government of the country, both State and National, and may give the next Congress and President to the reconstructed rebels." The fourth section, "which renders inviolable the public debt and repudiates the rebel debt, will secure the approbation of all but traitors." "While I see," concluded Mr. Stevens, "much good in the proposition I do not pretend to be satisfied with it; yet I am anxious for its speedy adoption, for I dread delay. The danger is that before any Constitutional guard shall have been adopted, Congress will be flooded by rebels and rebel sympathizers." The House came to a final test on the Senate amendments on the 13th of June and concurred in all of them by a single vote—ayes 120, noes 32. The work of Congress in securing the Fourteenth Amendment was thus made complete.

The Constitutional amendment not requiring the assent of the President (for the good reason that the two-thirds of each House which can override a veto are here required in advance), was submitted to the Senate without delay. The notification to the States was dated June 16th. Connecticut was the first to assent to the amendment.—her Legislature being in session and her ratification made complete on the 30th,—precisely a fortnight from the date of submission. New Hampshire followed on the 7th of July. The third State was Tennessee. Her Legislature ratified the amendment on the 19th of July, by a vote of 58 to 17, counting both branches. Many of the States would doubtless have held extra sessions of their Legislatures to expedite the adoption of the amendment if such a course had been considered desirable by the leading members of Congress. It was deemed best, however, to leave the question open to discussion and deliberation, in order that the provisions of the amendment, in all their length and breadth, should be completely understood by the people before the formal assent of the States should be urged. The three States named were the only ones which ratified the amendment before Congress adjourned.(3)

When the Reconstruction Committee reported the Fourteenth Amendment, they reported with it a bill declaring that "whenever said amendment shall become a part of the Constitution of the United States, and any State lately in insurrection shall have ratified the same and shall have modified its constitution and laws in conformity therewith," such State should be admitted to representation. There had been during the entire session of Congress a disposition to make an exception in favor of the State of Tennessee. She had of her own motion elected her loyal governor, and now for a year and a half the administration of the State was in a comparative degree orderly and regular. When telegraphic intelligence of the action of the Tennessee Legislature reached the Capitol Mr. Bingham of Ohio moved a joint resolution, reciting in effect by preamble, that as the "State of Tennessee has in good faith ratified the Fourteenth Amendment, and has also shown to the satisfaction of Congress, by a proper spirit of obedience in the body of her people, her return to due allegiance to the Government, laws and authority of the United States; therefore, be it resolved that the State of Tennessee is hereby restored to her former, proper, practical relations to the Union, and is again entitled to be represented in Congress by senators and representatives duly elected and qualified, upon their taking the oaths of office required by existing laws." Mr. Boutwell of Massachusetts desired to add a condition that Tennessee, as a prerequisite to the privilege of representation, should provide "an equal and just system of suffrage for the male citizens within its jurisdiction who are not less than twenty-one years of age." Mr. Bingham declined to admit it, shutting off all amendments by the force of the previous question, for which the House sustained his demand. After a few hours' debate the House passed the joint resolution by 125 ayes to 12 noes. The Democrats all supported the measure, though they objected strenuously to some of the implications of the preamble. The few votes in the negative were given by some radical Republicans, though Mr. Stevens, the leader of that wing of the party, supported the bill.

When the bill admitting Tennessee reached the Senate, there was a discussion of some length in regard to changing the preamble which had been adopted by the House, the principal aim being to insert the declaration that "said State Government can only be restored to its former political relations in the Union by the consent of the law-making power of the United States." There was division among the Republican senators in regard to the expedience of this change. It was the judgment of the more conservative Republicans who followed Mr. Fessenden, that it was needless to risk a veto of an important bill of this character by confronting the President with a distinct negative of his own theory in a place where it practically availed nothing. After much discussion however it was concluded to change the preamble for the sake of establishing a precedent in the first one of the Confederate States restored to the right of representation in Congress. The phrase, "hereby restored to her former, proper, practical relations to the Union," was one much cherished, because it was the original expression of Mr. Lincoln in his last public speech. The House readily concurred in the change of preamble.

The President accepted the challenge of his theory embodied in the preamble, not by veto, but in the more innocent form of argument. "If," said he, in a special message of July 25th, "the ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States be one of the conditions of admitting Tennessee, and if, as is also declared by the preamble, said State Government can only be restored to its former political relations to the Union by the consent of the law-making power of the United States, it would really seem to follow that the joint resolution, which at this late day has received the sanction of Congress, should have been passed, approved and placed on the statute-books before any amendment to the Constitution was submitted to the State of Tennessee for ratification. Otherwise the inference is plainly deducible that while in the opinion of Congress the people of a State may be too disloyal to be entitled to representation, they may nevertheless have an equally potent voice with other States in amending the Constitution, upon which so essentially depends the stability, prosperity and very existence of the nation."

The argument in the message was regarded as an ingenious censure of Congress by the President, and was loudly applauded on the Democratic side of the House. He concluded by declaring that notwithstanding the anomalous character of the resolution, he had affixed his signature to it. "My approval, however," he added, "is not to be construed as an acknowledgment of the right of Congress to pass laws preliminary to the admission of duly qualified representatives from any of the States." The senators and representatives of the State were sworn in and took their seats as soon as the President's message approving the bill was read, and the reconstruction of Tennessee was complete. She had regained all her rights as a member of the Union, coming in through the gateway of two Constitutional Amendments, the Thirteenth and the Fourteenth. It was evident from that moment that no one of the Confederate States would ever again be admitted, so long as the Republican party held power in the country, except by giving their assent to the incorporation of the Fourteenth Amendment in the Constitution. The bill from the Reconstruction Committee requiring this as a condition was not enacted into law, but the admission of Tennessee was a precedent stronger than law. Of all the seceding States Tennessee was held to be the least offending, and the feeling of kindliness towards her had been manifest from the first among Republicans. It was evident therefore to the least observing, that no other State which had been engaged in the Rebellion would be permitted to resume the privilege of representation on less exacting conditions than had been imposed on Tennessee. It might be that their own conduct would cause more exacting conditions to be imposed.

Congress adjourned on the 28th of July. Elections were to be held in the ensuing autumn for representatives to the Fortieth Congress, and an opportunity was thus promptly afforded to test the popular feeling on the issue raised by the President's plan of Reconstruction. The appeal was to be made to the same constituency which two years before had chosen him to the Vice-Presidency,—augmented by the vote of Tennessee, now once more authorized to take part in electing the representatives of the nation. Seldom in the history of the country has a weightier question been submitted to popular arbitrament; seldom has a popular decision been evoked which was destined to exercise so far-reaching an influence upon the progress of the nation, upon the prosperity of the people. It was not an ordinary political contest between partisans of recognized and chronic hostility. It was a deadly struggle between the Executive and Legislative Departments of the Government, both of which had been chosen by the same party. This peculiar fact imparted to the contest a degree of personal acrimony and political rancor never before exhibited in the biennial election of representatives in Congress.

[(1) The following is the form in which the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution (consolidated from various propositions previously discussed) was originally reported from the Committee on Reconstruction by Mr. Stevens:—


"SECT. 1. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

"SECT. 2. Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed. But whenever in any State the elective franchise shall be denied to any portion of its male citizens not less than twenty-one years of age, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion or other crime, the basis of representation in such State shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of male citizens shall bear to the whole number of such male citizens not less than twenty-one years of age.

"SECT. 3. Until the fourth day of July in the year 1870, all persons who voluntarily adhered to the late insurrection, giving it aid and comfort, shall be excluded from the right to vote for representatives in Congress and for electors for President and Vice-President of the United States.

"SECT. 4. Neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation already incurred, or which may hereafter be incurred, in aid of insurrection or war against the United States, or any claim for compensation for loss of involuntary service or labor.

"SECT. 5. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article."]

[(2) Among the prominent Southern men who had received the pardon of the President, and who, desiring to hold office under the National Government, had their disabilities under the Fourteenth Amendment subsequently removed by Congress, were: M. C. Butler, James L. Orr, and William Aitken of South Carolina; Joseph E. Brown, Henry W. Hilliard, and Lafayette McLaws of Georgia; F. M. Cockrell, George G. Vest, and John B. Clarke of Missouri; J. D. C. Atkins and George Maney of Tennessee; Randall Gibson of Louisiana; Otho R. Singleton of Mississippi; Alexander R. Boteler of Virginia; Allen T. Caperton and Charles J. Faulkner of West Virginia; M. W. Ransom, Thomas S. Ashe, and A. M. Scales of North Carolina; W. B. Machen of Kentucky; John T. Morgan and James L. Pugh of Alabama.

These gentlemen had all held high positions either in the civil or military service of the Confederacy. A great number of additional names might be cited of persons who, having been fully pardoned by the President, were afterwards relieved of their disabilities by Congress. The names quoted are but a few of the more conspicuous of those who have, since the Rebellion, held high official positions under the Government of the United States.]

[(3) The form of the Fourteenth Amendment, as finally agreed upon by Congress and submitted to the States for ratification, is as follows:—


"SECT. 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

"SECT. 2. Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective number, counting the whole number of persons in each, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice-President of the United States, representatives in congress, the executive and judicial officers of a State, or the members of the Legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State.

"SECT. 3. No person shall be a senator or representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State Legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may, by a vote of two-thirds in each House, remove such disability.

"SECT. 4. The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for the payment of pensions, and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations, and claims shall be held illegal and void.

"SECT. 5. The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article."]


The hostility of the President to all measures which the Republican party deemed necessary for the proper reconstruction of the Southern States, had made a deep impression upon certain members of his Cabinet, and before midsummer it was known that a crisis was impeding. On the 11th of July Mr. William Dennison, the Postmaster-general, tendered his resignation, alleging as the chief cause the difference of opinion between himself and the President in regard to the proposed Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution. He had for some months felt that it would be impossible for him to co-operate with the President, and the relations between them were no longer cordial, if they were not indeed positively hostile. Alexander W. Randall of Wisconsin, the first assistant Postmaster-general, was an outspoken supporter of the measures of the Administration, and was using every effort to prejudice Mr. Johnson's mind against Mr. Dennison, whom he was ambitious to succeed. Mr. Dennison felt that he was seriously compromising his position at home by remaining in the Cabinet, though he had been urged to that course by some zealous opponents of the Administration, who desired, as long as possible, to restrain the President from using the patronage of the Government in aid of his policy. Mr. Randall was promptly nominated as Mr. Dennison's successor and proved, in all respects, a faithful follower of his chief.

A week later Mr. James Speed resigned his post as Attorney-general. He had been regarded as very conservative on all pending issues relating to Reconstruction, but he now saw plainly that the President was inevitably drifting, not only to extreme views on the issue presented, but to an evident alliance with the Democratic party and perhaps a return to its ranks. Against this course Mr. Speed revolted. His inheritance of Whig principles, his anti-slavery convictions, his personal associations, all forbade his following the President in his desertion of the Republican party. He saw his duty, and promptly retired from a position which he felt that he could not hold with personal consistency and honor. His successor was Henry Stanbery of Ohio, a lawyer of high reputation and a gentleman of unsullied character. He belonged to that association of old Whigs who, in their extreme conservatism on the slavery question, had been driven to a practical union with the Democratic party.

A few days after Mr. Speed's resignation Mr. James Harlan retired from the Interior Department. He would have broken his relations with the President long before, but for the same cause that had detained Mr. Dennison. He was extremely reluctant to surrender the large patronage of the Interior Department to the control of a successor who would undoubtedly use it to promote the Reconstruction policy of the President, just as Mr. Randall would use the patronage of the Post-office Department. Mr. Harlan had therefore remained in the Cabinet as long as was consistent with his personal dignity, for the purpose of protecting the Republican principles which the President and he were alike pledged to uphold. He was succeeded by Mr. Orville H. Browning of Illinois, who had been a devoted friend of Mr. Lincoln, and had done much to secure his nomination at Chicago. He had served for two years in the Senate after the death of Mr. Douglas, and but for the immediate control over his course by President Lincoln would have been a co-laborer with those who were hostile to the mode in which the war was prosecuted. His faith in Mr. Lincoln, his great admiration for his talents and his strong personal attachment to him, had for the time maintained Mr. Browning in loyalty to the Republican party; but with the restraining influence of the great President gone, Mr. Browning, by reason of his prejudices not less than his convictions, at once affiliated and co-operated with the Democratic party. He was a man of fair ability and of honorable intentions, but always narrow in his views of public policy. Any thing that could possibly be considered radical inevitably encountered his hostility.

The political campaign of 1866 was one of greater excitement than had ever been witnessed in this country, except in the election of a President. The chief interest was in choosing members of the House of Representatives for the Fortieth Congress, and in controlling the Legislatures which were to choose senators of the United States and pass upon the Fourteenth Amendment. In elections of this character, even in periods of deepest interest, the demonstrations of popular feeling are confined to the respective States, but in this instance there were no less than four National Convention, three of them, at least, of imposing magnitude and exerting great influence on popular action.

The first was called by the friends of President Johnson to meet in Philadelphia on the 14th of August. The object was to effect a complete consolidation of the Administration Republicans and the Democratic party, under the claim that they were the true conservators of the Union, and that the mass of the Republican party, in opposing President Johnson, were endangering the stability of the Government. A large majority of the delegates composing the convention were well-known Democrats, and they were re-enforced by some prominent Republicans, who had left their party and followed the personal fortunes of President Johnson. The most conspicuous of these were Montgomery Blair (who for some years had been acting with the Republicans), Thurlow Weed, Marshall O. Roberts, Henry J. Raymond, John A. Dix and Robert S. Hale in New York, Edgar Cowan of Pennsylvania, James R. Doolittle and Alexander W. Randall of Wisconsin, O. H. Browning of Illinois, and James Dixon of Connecticut. The Democrats were not only overwhelmingly in the majority, but they had a very large representation of the leaders of the party in several States. So considerable a proportion of the whole number were men who had been noticeably active as opponents of Mr. Lincoln's Administration, that the convention was popularly described as a gathering of malignant copperheads, who, during the war, could not have assembled in the city where they were now hospitably received, without creating a riot. Among the most conspicuous and most offensive of this latter class,—those who had especially distinguished themselves for the bitterness, and in some cases for the vulgarity, of their personal assaults upon Mr. Lincoln,—were Mr. Vallandingham of Ohio, Fernando Wood, Benjamin Wood and James Brooks of New York, Edmund Burke and John G. Sinclair of New Hampshire, Edward J. Phelps of Vermont, George W. Woodward, Francis W. Hughes and James Campbell of Pennsylvania, and R. B. Carmichael of Maryland. Among the leading Democrats, less noted for virulent utterances against the President, were Samuel J. Tilden, Dean Richmond and Sanford E. Church of New York, John P. Stockton and Joel Parker of New Jersey, David R. Porter, William Bigler and Asa Packer of Pennsylvania, James E. English of Connecticut, Robert C. Winthrop and Josiah G. Abbott of Massachusetts, William Beach Lawrence of Rhode Island, and Reverdy Johnson of Maryland.

Mr. Vallandingham's participation in the proceedings was met with objection. He had not spoken more violently and offensively against President Lincoln and against the conduct of the war than some other members of the convention, but his course had been so notorious and had been rendered so odious by his punishment, both in being sent beyond the rebel lines and afterwards in being defeated for governor of his State by more than one hundred thousand majority, that many of the delegates were not content to sit with him,—a sentiment which Mr. Vallandingham is said to have considered one of mawkish sentimentality, but one to which he deferred by quietly withdrawing from all participation in the proceedings. It was believed, and indeed openly asserted, at the time, that if he had chosen to remain the attempt to eject him by resolution, as was threatened, would have led to a practical dissolution of the convention.

The work of the convention was embodied in a long series of resolutions reported by Mr. Cowan of Pennsylvania, and an address prepared and read by Mr. Henry J. Raymond. Both the resolutions and the address simply emphasized the issue already presented to the country by the antagonistic attitude of the President and Congress. In the resolutions, in the address, and in all the speeches, the one refrain was the right of every State to representation in Congress. The convention challenged the right of Congress to deny representation to a State, for a single day after the war was ended and submission to the National authority had been proclaimed throughout the area of the Rebellion. In every form in which the argument could be presented, they disputed the right of power to attach any condition whatever to the re-admission of the rebel States to a free participation in the proceedings of Congress. One of the resolutions declared that "representation in the Congress of the United States or in the Electoral College is a right recognized by the Constitution as abiding in every State and as a duty imposed upon its people, fundamental in its nature and essential to the exercise of our republican institutions; and neither Congress nor the General Government has any authority or power to deny the right to any State, or withhold its enjoyment under the Constitution from the people thereof; and we call upon the people of the United States to elect to Congress, as members thereof, none but men who admit this fundamental right of representation and who will receive to seats in Congress their loyal representatives from every State in allegiance to the United States." This sentiment was embodied in many forms in Mr. Raymond's address, was, in fact, the one fundamental article in the creed of the Administration and the Democratic party, and afforded the common ground for their political co-operation.

Mr. Raymond undoubtedly marred the general effect of his address by carrying his argument to an extreme point. "It is alleged," said he, "that the condition of the Southern States and people is not such as renders safe their re-admission to a share in the government of the country, that they are still disloyal in sentiment and purpose, and that neither the honor, the credit, nor the interest of the Nation would be safe if they were re-admitted to a share in its counsels." Mr. Raymond maintained, even if the truth of this premise were granted, that it was sufficient to reply that "we have no right, for such reasons, to deny to any portion of the States or people rights expressly conferred upon them by the Constitution of the United States, and we have no right to distrust the purpose or the ability of the people of the Union to protect and defend, under all contingencies and by whatever means may be required, its honor and its welfare."

This assertion of the right of the Southern States to take part at once and peremptorily in the legislation of a country they had sought to ruin, was not conceded by the people of the loyal States. They did not require any refinement of argument to convince them that men who attempt to destroy a Government should not be permitted at once to share in its administration. They believed that the Congress of the United States would be guilty of a great wrong if it should unconditionally surrender its power to the men who demanded admission to peaceful control of the National only because they had failed to disrupt it by war. Mr. Raymond's personal friends and admirers, who were not confined to any one party, were amazed at the recklessness of his position. He did violence to sound logic by claiming more than was necessary to his argument, and he seriously injured his reputation for political shrewdness by attempting to enforce a policy which grated on the sensibilities and aroused the prejudices of the vast majority of those who had filled the ranks of the Union Army.

Great advantage was expected by the President's supporters from the fact that the convention, as they averred, was so truly "National"—having delegates from every State of the Union. This feature was presented as in hurtful contrast with Republican conventions, whose members came almost entirely from the loyal States. A striking spectacle was attempted by having members from Northern and Southern States enter the great wigwam (which had been specially prepared for the meetings of the convention) arm in arm. To intensify the effect Massachusetts and South Carolina headed the procession, General Couch and ex-Speaker Orr typifying in this display the thorough cordiality of Unionist and Confederate in the return of peace and amicable relations. The danger of all such exhibitions is that they may be made a subject of ridicule. This did not escape. The "wigwam" was parodied by the political wits of the Republican party as "Noah's Ark," into which there went, as described in Genesis, "in two and two," "of clean beasts, and of beasts that are not clean, and of fowls, and of every thing that creepeth upon the earth." The humor which this comparison evoked was of a kind especially adapted to the stump and was used most effectively. Indeed the President's supporters, long before the canvass closed, heartily regretted that they had ever resorted to dramatic scenes as a method of promoting a political cause.

The convention of the President's supporters was followed a fortnight later (September 3rd) in the same city—Philadelphia—by a still more imposing assemblage called by the loyalists of the South, who, desiring to explain their exact situation to co-operating friends, invited delegations from the Northern States to meet them. Prominent Republicans from every loyal Commonwealth responded in full force to these men who were endeavoring to reconstruct their States on an enduring basis of Constitutional liberty. Pennsylvania sent a generous delegation as hosts to those who were to enjoy the hospitalities of the State. Governor Curtin haded the list. Associated with him were General Geary, already named as his successor, General Simon Cameron, at that time a private citizen, Colonel John W. Forney, then editor of the Philadelphia Press, and representatives from every Congressional district in the State. Other States responded with equal cordiality. Senators Morgan and Harris, Horace Greeley, and John Jacob Astor, came from New York. Massachusetts sent her governor, her senators, and all her living ex-governors. It became, indeed, the fashion for the New-England States to send governors and ex-governors, and every State was represented in this way. New Jersey did likewise. The Western States were fully represented by their ablest and most zealous men. Two future Presidents were on the delegation from Ohio, with General Schenck and Stanley Matthews and the influential German editor Frederick Hassaurek. Oliver P. Morton came from Indiana, Lyman Trumbull from Illinois, Fairchild and Howe from Wisconsin, Zachariah Chandler and Carl Schurz (then editor of the Detroit Post) from Michigan. The border slave States sent strong men. N. B. Smithers came from Delaware; Senator Creswell, Francis Thomas, and C. C. Fulton of the Baltimore American, from Maryland; Governor Boreman, A. W. Campbell and Nathan Goff from West Virginia; Robert J. Breckenridge accompanied ex-Attorney-general Speed from Kentucky; while Missouri sent Governor Fletcher, sustained by an able delegation, of whom Van Horn, Finkelnburg and Louis Gottschalk were prominent members. A number of business men, headed by E. W. Fox, came from St. Louis.

Many of the Southern States were somewhat scantily represented. It was not safe in certain sections of the South to hold a convention for the selection of delegates, and yet one or more appeared from every one of the lately rebellious States. Thomas J. Durant and H. C. Warmoth came from Louisiana; D. H. Bingham and M. J. Safford from Alabama; G. W. Ashburn from Georgia; and Governor A. J. Hamilton, Lorenzo Sherwood and George W. Paschal from Texas. Albion W. Tourgee, who has since won a brilliant reputation in literature, came from North Carolina with a strong delegation; J. W. Field and H. W. Davis from Mississippi. Virginia and Tennessee, of the original Confederacy, sent a large number of good men. From the former came John Minor Botts, George W. Somers, Lucius H. Chandler, Daniel H. Hoge, Lewis McKenzie, James M. Stewart, and some hundred and fifty others; the latter was represented by Governor Brownlow, Joseph S. Fowler, Samuel Arnell, A. W. Hawkins, Thomas H. Benton, General John Eaton, Barbour Lewis, and many others whose loyalty had been tested by many forms of personal peril.

These names give a fair indication of the character and weight of the convention. It was intended to be, and was, a representative body of true Union men, of the men who had borne persecution for Loyalty's sake, of the men who, having aided in achieving great victory, were resolved that it should not fail to bear its legitimate fruits. The delegates from all the States first assembled in Independence Square, and after a meeting of congratulation, marked by great enthusiasm, proceeded to form into two conventions,—one containing the loyalists who had called the convention, and the other the Northern delegates who had met to welcome them. Of the Southern Convention Mr. Thomas J. Durant of Louisiana was selected as temporary chairman, and Honorable James Speed of Kentucky as permanent chairman; and of the Northern Convention Governor Curtis of Pennsylvania was both temporary and permanent chairman. The motive for thus separating was to leave the Southern loyalists entirely untrammeled in their proceedings, in order that their voice might have greater weight in the country than if it were apparently directed by a large majority of Northern men assembling in the same body with them.

The Northern Convention concluded its proceedings on the third day with a mass-meeting larger than any that had ever assembled in Philadelphia. The Southern Convention remained in session full five days. The interest was sustained from beginning to end, and besides the delegates present, a vast assemblage of people thronged the streets of Philadelphia during all the sessions of the conventions. In an off year, as partisans call it, there had never been seen so great excitement, enthusiasm and earnestness in any political assemblage. Mr. Durant called the Southern Convention to order with the same gavel that had been used in the Secession Convention in South Carolina. Governor Hamilton of Texas, who presented it for the occasion, reminded his audience that the whirligig of time brings about its revenges, and that it seemed a poetic retribution that a convention of Southern loyalists should be called to order with the same instrument that had rapped the South into disunion and anarchy.

On taking the chair as permanent president of the Southern Convention, Mr. Speed spoke of the Administration, of which for the past few months he had been a reluctant member, with a freedom which, during his connection with it, would have been improper if not impossible. He described the late convention in this place as one with which "we could not act." "Why was that convention here? It was here in part because the great cry came up from the white man of the South,—My Constitutional and my natural rights are denied me; and then the cry came up from the black man of the South—My Constitutional and my natural rights are denied me. These complaints are utterly antagonistic, the one to the other; and this convention is called to say which is right. Upon that question, if upon the truth as you feel it, speak the truth as you know it, speak the truth as you love permanent peace, as you may hope to establish the institutions of this Government so that our children and our children's children shall enjoy a peace that we have not known. . . . The convention to which I have referred, as I read its history, came here to simply record in abject submission the commands of one man. That convention did his commands. The loyal Congress of the United States had refused to do his commands; and whenever you have a Congress that does not resolutely and firmly refuse, as the present Congress has done, to merely act as the recording secretary of the tyrant at the White House, American liberty is gone forever."

Mr. Speed's language was a complete revelation, more emphatic than had yet been made, of the great differences which had prevailed in the Cabinet of the President with respect to his policy; and his words naturally created a sensation, not alone in the convention, but throughout the country. The fact of his identification with the President, in the closest official intercourse, ever since his accession, added vastly to the weight of Mr. Speed's address and gave to it an influence which he had not, perhaps, anticipated when he delivered it. This influence was doubtless enhanced by the fact that the author of the speech was a native and citizen of the South. It was a stimulus to the patriotic zeal of Northern Republicans to find a man from the South taking advanced ground that possibly involved peril to himself before the angry contest should be finally settled.

—The address agreed upon in the Southern Convention was in the form of an appeal "from the loyal men of the South to their fellow-citizens of the United States." It declared that the representatives of eight millions of American citizens "appeal for protection and justice to their friends and brothers in the States that have been spared the cruelties of the Rebellion and the direct horrors of civil war." "Having," said the address, "lost our champion, we return to you who can make presidents and punish traitors. Our last hope, under God, is in the unity and firmness of the States that elected Abraham Lincoln and defeated Jefferson Davis."

—"We cannot better define at once our wrongs and our wants than by declaring, that since Andrew Johnson affiliated with his early slanderers and our constant enemies, his hand has been laid heavily upon every earnest loyalist of the South."

—"History, the just judgment of the present and the certain confirmation of the future, invites and commands us to declare, that after neglecting his own remedies for restoring the Union, Andrew Johnson has resorted to the weapons of traitors to bruise and beat down patriots."

—"After declaring that none but the loyal should govern the reconstructed South, he has practiced upon the maxim that none but traitors shall rule."

—"In the South he has removed the proved and trusted patriot from office, and selected the unqualified and convicted traitor."

—"After brave men, who had fought the great battle for the union, had been nominated for positions, their names were recalled and avowed rebels substituted."

—"Every original Unionist in the South, who stands fast to Andrew
Johnson's covenants from 1861 to 1865, has been ostracized."

—"He has corrupted the local courts by offering premiums for the defiance of the laws of Congress, and by openly discouraging the observance of the oath against treason."

—"While refusing to punish one single conspicuous traitor, though great numbers have earned the penalty of death, more than one thousand devoted Union soldiers have been murdered in cold blood since the surrender of Lee, and in no cases have their assassins been brought to judgment."

—"He has pardoned some of the worst rebel criminals, North and South, including some who have taken human life under circumstances of unparalleled atrocity."

—"While declaring against the injustice of leaving eleven States unrepresented, he has refused to authorize the liberal plan of Congress, simply because they have recognized the loyal majority and refused to perpetuate the traitor minority."

—"In every State south of Mason and Dixon's line his policy has wrought the most deplorable consequences,—social, moral, and political."

Upon these indictments a powerful address was based, giving argument, illustration, fact and indisputable conclusion. The address was framed by Senator Creswell of Maryland, and the style and tone were beyond praise. It was received with great applause in the convention, was adopted with unanimity, and created a profound influence upon the public opinion of the North. It was the deliberate, well-conceived and clearly stated opinion of thoughtful and responsible men, was never disproved, was practically unanswered, and its serious accusations were in effect admitted by the South. The one objective point proclaimed in the address, repeated in the resolutions, echoed and re-echoed by every speaker, both in the Northern and Southern Conventions, was the adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment. It was evidently the unalterable determination of the Republicans to make that the leading feature of the campaign, to enforce it in every party convention, to urge it through the press, to present it on the stump, to proclaim it through every authorized exponent of public opinion. They were determined that the Democratic party of the North should not be allowed to ignore it or in any way to evade it. It was to be the Shibboleth of the Republican canvass, and the rank and file in every loyal State were engaged in its presentation and its exposition.

The friends of the Administration, feeling the disadvantage under which they labored by an apparent combination of all the earnest supporters of the war for the Union against them, sought to create a re-action in their favor by calling a soldiers' convention to meet at Cleveland, on the 17th of September. A considerable number of respectable officers responded to the summons; but relatively the demonstration was weak, ineffective and in the end hurtful to the Administration. The venerable General Wool of the regular army, the oldest major-general in the United States at the time, was made president of the convention and his selection was significant of the proceedings. He had been all his life a solider and nothing but a soldier. He was a major of infantry in the war of 1812 and had been in continuous service thereafter. He denounced the Abolitionists after the manner that had been the custom in the regular army prior to the war. He thought the convention had been called to protest against another war which he was sure the Abolitionists were determined to force on the county. "Another civil war is foreshadowed," said he, "unless the freedmen are placed on an equality with their previous masters. If this cannot be accomplished, radical partisans, with a raging thirst for blood and plunder, are again ready to invade the Southern States and lay waste the country not already desolated, with the sword in one hand and the torch in the other. These revengeful partisans would leave their country a howling wilderness for the want of more victims to gratify their insatiable cruelty. . . . Let there be peace! Yet there are those among us who are not sufficiently satiated with blood and plunder, and cry for more war." General Wool would have been severely criticised if it had not been remembered that for nearly sixty years he had been a faithful soldier and had loyally followed the flag of the Union in three wars.

Many members of the convention were outspoken Democrats and their presence, therefore, did not indicate and division in the Republican ranks,—the objective point to which all the efforts of the Administration were steadily addressed. Conspicuous representatives of this class were Generals John A. McClernand of Illinois, J. W. Denver of California, Willis A. Gorman of Minnesota, James B. Steedman of Ohio. The delegates who had been Republicans were all of the most conservative type, and it is believed that every one of them became permanently identified with the Democratic party. The most prominent of these were General Thomas Ewing of Kansas, Governor Bramlette and General Rousseau of Kentucky, and Honorable Lewis D. Campbell of Ohio. General Gordon Granger and General George A. Custer of the regular army were very active in organizing the convention. It was evident that the number of soldiers present was small; and the convention really failed in its principal aim, which was to strengthen the President in the loyal States.

A telegram, expressing sympathy with its proceedings, was received by the convention from a number of Confederate officers who were gathered at Memphis. But it was unfortunate that General N. B. Forrest was a conspicuous signer; still more unfortunate that the convention passed a resolution of thanks to Forrest and his rebel associates for the "magnanimity and kindness" of their message. Forrest's name was especially odious in the North for his alleged guilty participation in the massacre at Fort Pillow. All other circumstances united did not condemn the convention in Northern opinion so deeply as this incident. Further investigation of the Fort Pillow affair has in some degree ameliorated the feeling against General Forrest, but at that time his name among the soldiers of the Union was as bitterly execrated as was that of the Master of Stair among the Macdonalds of Glencoe, or of Haynau, at a later day, among the patriots of Hungary.

The only noteworthy speech in the convention was delivered by General Thomas Ewing. It was able, but extreme in its hostility to the policy of Congress. He and Mr. Browning were law-partners at the time of Mr. Johnson's accession to the Presidency. Both had supported Mr. Lincoln, and both now resolved to oppose the Republican party. General Ewing's loss was regretted by a large number of friends. He had inherited talent and capacity of a high order, was rapidly rising in his profession, and seemed destined to an inviting political career in the party to which he had belonged from its first organization. In supporting the policy of President Johnson he made a large sacrifice,—large enough certainly to free his action from the slightest suspicion of any other motive than conviction of duty. General Ewing has since adhered steadily to the Democratic party.

The fourth of the National Conventions which this remarkable year witnessed, was that of the citizen soldiers and sailors, held at Pittsburg on the 25th and 26th of September. Nine out of ten, perhaps even a larger proportion, of those who had defended the Union with arms, were hostile to the President's policy. As soon therefore as it was attempted to secure a political advantage for the Administration by calling the Cleveland Convention, the great mass of Union soldiers demanded that a convention be held in which their true position might be proclaimed. The response was overwhelming both in numbers and enthusiasm. Pittsburg was literally overrun. In addition to the large number of regimental and company officers who had done their duty in the service, there was an immense outpouring of privates. It was said that not less than twenty-five thousand who had served in the ranks of the Union army were present. A private soldier, L. Edwin Dudley, was chosen temporary president, and a majority of the prominent officers of the convention were privates and non-commissioned officers. Mr. Dudley was a clerk in the Treasury Department at Washington, and being refused a leave of absence for two days to attend the convention, he promptly resigned his place and joined his brethren at Pittsburg. The incident of the resignation strikingly illustrates the depth of feeling which the contest between the President and Congress had developed among the soldiery of the Union.

Officers of high rank in the volunteer service were not wanting. Generals Butler and Banks of Massachusetts, Palmer and Farnsworth of Illinois, Negley, Geary, Hartranft and Collis of Pennsylvania, Cochrane, Barnum and Barlow of New York, Chamberlain from Maine, Schenck and Cox from Ohio, Duncan and Harriman from New Hampshire, Daniel McCauley of Indiana, and many of their fellow-officers, took active and zealous part in the convention. Every loyal State except possibly Oregon was represented. Far-off California and Nevada, then without the facility of railway connection, sent delegates. The border States of the South were present in full force, and Union men who had borne their part in the civil contest came from every Confederate State. General John A. Logan had been unanimously elected as permanent president of the convention, but at the last moment he found himself unable to attend and his place was filled, with equal unanimity of selection, by General Jacob D. Cox of Ohio. General Cox, on taking the chair, made an address of great firmness. It was even radical in its positions and aggressive in its general tone.

He said it was "unpleasant to recognize the truth that it is in the minds of some to exalt the Executive Department of the Government into a despotic power and to abase the representative portion of our Government into the mere tools of despotism. Learning that this is the case, we now, as heretofore, know our duty, and knowing, dare maintain it. The citizen soldiery of the United States recognize the Congress of the United States as the representative government of the people. We know and all traitors know that the will of the people has been expressed in the complexion and character of the existing Congress. . . . We have expressed our faith that the proposition which has been made by Congress for the settlement of all difficulties in the country [the Fourteenth Amendment] is not only a wise policy, but one so truly magnanimous that the whole world stood in wonder that a people could, under such circumstances, be so magnanimous to those whom they had conquered. And when we say we are ready to stand by the decision of Congress, we only say as soldiers that we follow the same flag and the same principles which we have followed during the war."

The resolutions, read by General B. F. Butler, were explicit and unqualified in their declarations, and were indorsed with absolute unanimity. They declared that "the action of the present Congress in passing the pending Constitutional amendment is wise, prudent and just. That amendment clearly defines American citizenship and guarantees all his rights to every citizen. It places on a just and equal basis the right of representation, making the vote of a man in one State equally potent with the vote of another man in any State. It righteously excludes from places of honor and trust the chief conspirators and guiltiest rebels, whose perjured crimes have drenched the land in blood. It puts into the very frame of our Government the inviolability of our National obligations, and nullifies forever the obligations contracted in support of the Rebellion." The resolutions further declared it to be "unfortunate for the country that the propositions contained in the Fourteenth Amendment have not been received with the spirit of conciliation, clemency and fraternal feeling in which they were offered, as they are the mildest terms ever granted to subdued rebels."

The members of the convention were in a tempest of anger against the President. They declared "that his attempt to fasten his scheme of Reconstruction upon the country is as dangerous as it is unwise; that his acts in sustaining it have retarded the restoration of peace and unity; that they have converted conquered rebels into impudent claimants to rights which they have forfeited and to places which they have desecrated. If the President's scheme be consummated it would render the sacrifice of the Nation useless, the loss of her buried comrades vain, and the war in which we have so gloriously triumphed a failure, as it was declared to be by President Johnson's present associates in the Democratic National Convention of 1864." Many other propositions of an equally decisive character were announced by the convention, and General John Cochrane declared that "a more complete, just and righteous platform for a whole people to occupy has never before been presented to the National sense."

Of the four conventions held, this, of the soldiers who had fought the battles of the Union, was far the most influential upon public opinion. In its membership could be found representatives of every great battle-field of the war. Their testimony was invaluable. They spoke for the million comrades with whom they had stood in the ranks, and their influence consolidated almost en masse the soldier vote of the country in support of the Republican party as represented by Congress. Their enthusiasm was greater, their feeling more intense, their activity more marked than could be found among the civilians of the country who were supporting the same principles. They declared the political contest to be their own fight, as they expressed it, and considered themselves bearing the banner of loyalty as they had borne it in the actual conflict of arms. Their convention, their expressions, their determination were felt throughout the entire Union as an aggressive, irresistible force. From their ranks came many of the most attractive and most eloquent speakers, who discussed the merits of the Constitutional amendment before popular audiences as ably as they had upheld the flag of the Union through four years of bloody strife. Their convention did more to popularize the Fourteenth Amendment as a political issue than any other instrumentality of the year. Not even the members of Congress, who repaired to their districts with the amendment as the leading question, could commend it to the mass of voters with the strength and with the good results which attended the soldier orators who were inspired to enter the field.

Other events powerfully contributed to the political overthrow of the President. After the change in his policy in the summer and autumn of 1865, which has already been noted, the Southern rebels, who had at first been cast down and discouraged, saw before them the prospect of regaining complete ascendency in their respective States. As the division between the President and Congress widened, their confidence increased; and as their confidence increased, a reign of lawlessness and outrage against the rights of the defenseless was inaugurated. The negroes, who had begun to learn their freedom, were not only subjected to laws of practical re-enslavement, but to a treatment whose brutality could not have been foreseen. It was estimated that before the adjournment of Congress more than a thousand negroes and many white Unionists had been murdered in the South, without even the slightest attempt at prosecuting the murderers. Though the aggregate number of victims was so great, they were scattered over so vast a territory that it was difficult to impress the public mind of the North with the real magnitude of the slaughter. But this incredulity vanished in a moment when the nation was startled on the 30th of July, two days after the adjournment of Congress, by a massacre at New Orleans, which had not the pretense of justification or even or provocation.

The circumstances that led to it may be briefly stated. The convention which formed the free constitution of the State in 1864 was ordered to re-assemble by its president, upon authority which, he held, was conferred upon him by the convention at the time the constitution was formed. Apprehending that some measures were to be taken hostile to the re-establishment of rebel power in the State of Louisiana, it was resolved by the opponents of the Republican party that the members of the convention should not be allowed to come together and organize. Threats were insufficient to effect this end. Intimidation of every character had been tried in vain. The men who thought they had the right, as American citizens, to meet for conference refused to be bullied out of their plain privileges under the guarantees of the National Constitution. There was a dispute as to their legal right to take any action touching the constitution of the State—a dispute altogether proper for judicial inquiry. Even if they had assembled and proceeded to amend the constitution, their action could have had no binding effect until approved by the vote of the people. The question which lay at the bottom of the agitation was that of negro suffrage; but the negroes were not entitled to vote under the constitution as its stood, nor could they vote upon an amendment to the constitution conferring the right of suffrage upon them. Whatever the convention might do, therefore, would be ineffectual until approved by a majority of the white men of the State. It obviously followed that the men who violently resisted the assembling of the convention could not justify themselves by the declaration that negro suffrage was about to be imposed upon them. Their position practically was that a majority of the white population should not exercise the right of giving suffrage to the negro.

When the convention attempted to assemble against the desire and remonstrance of their political opponents, a bloody riot ensued—not a riot precipitated by the ordinary material that makes up the mobs of cities, but one sustained by the obvious sympathy and the indirect support of the municipal authorities of New Orleans, and by the leading rebels of the State. General Absalom Baird, an able and prudent officer of the regular army, was in command of the district, but was purposely deceived by the municipal authorities, to the end that troops might not be at hand to quell the riot and stop the assassination which had been planned with diabolical ingenuity. The slaughter, in point of numbers, resembled that of a brisk military engagement in the field. The number killed outright was about forty. The wounded exceeded one hundred and fifty, of whom perhaps one-third were severely injured, many of them mortally. The city police of New Orleans aided the rioters. General Sheridan, in command of the department, officially reported that "the killing was in a manner so unnecessary and atrocious as to compel me to say it was murder." The lamentable transaction was investigated by a committee of Congress, composed of Messrs. Eliot of Massachusetts, Shellabarger of Ohio, and Boyer of Pennsylvania, the first two being Republicans, the last-named a Democrat. An investigation was also made under the direction of the War Department, by a commission of military officers, composed of Generals Mower, Quincy, Gregg, and Baldy. These officers reported that in their opinion "the whole drift and current of the evidence tend irresistibly to the conclusion that there was among the class of violents known to exist in the State, and among the members of the ex-Confederate associations, a preconcerted plan and purpose of attack upon the convention, provided any possible pretext therefor could be found."

The majority of the Congressional Committee took the same view, declaring that "the riotous attack upon the convention with its terrible results of massacre and murder was not an accident. It was the determined purpose of the mayor of the city of New Orleans to break up this convention by armed force." The Congressional Committee did not make their investigation until the succeeding winter session of 1866-7. "We state one fact," said the committee, "significant both as bearing upon the question of preparation and as indicating the true and prevailing feeling of the people of New Orleans. Six months have passed since the convention assembled, when the massacre was perpetrated and more than two hundred men were slain and wounded. This was done by city officials and New-Orleans citizens, but not one of those men has been punished, arrested or even complained of. These officers of the law, living in the city and known to that community, acting under the eye of superiors, clothed with the uniform of office, and some of them known, as the proof shows, to the chief officer of police, have not only escaped punishment but have been continued in their places."

Not only were the men who instigated and committed the terrible murders left unpunished, but, as the committee said, "the gentlemen who composed the convention have not, however, been permitted to escape. Prosecutions in the criminal court, under an old law passed in 1805, were at once commenced and are now pending against them for breach of the peace." Another authority declares that "the judge of the criminal court in New Orleans instructed the grand jury to find bills of indictment against the members of the convention and the spectators, charging them with murder; giving the principle of law and applying it in this case, that whoever is engaged in an unlawful proceeding from which death ensues to a human being, is guilty of murder, and alleging that as the convention had no right to meet and the police had killed many men on the day of its meeting, the survivors were, therefore, guilty of murder." The Congressional Committee did not hesitate to declare that "the facts tend strongly to prove that the criminal actors in the tragedy were the agents of more criminal employés, and demonstrate the general sympathy of the people in behalf of the men who did the wrong against those who suffered the wrong."

The President came in for a full share of censure in connection with this unhappy event. The committee reported that "The President knew that riot and bloodshed were apprehended. He knew what military orders were in force, and yet, without the confirmation of the Secretary of War or the General of the Army, upon whose responsibility these military order had been issued, he gave orders by telegraph, which if enforced, as they would be, would have compelled our soldiers to aid the rebels against the men in New Orleans who had remained loyal during the war, and sought to aid and support, by official sanction, the persons who designed to suppress, by arrest and criminal process under color of law, the meeting of the convention; and all this, although the convention was called with the sanction of the governor, and by one of the judges of the Supreme Court of Louisiana claiming to act as President of the convention. The effect of the action of the President was to encourage the heart, to strengthen the hand, and to hold up the arms of those who intended to prevent the convention from assembling." Mr. Boyer, the minority member of the committee, submitted a report dissenting from the conclusions of the majority, and making, as nearly as could be done, a defense of the men who had really been the guilty aiders and abettors of the crime; but he did not deny the fact of the riot nor of the great number of its victims.

The substantial correctness of the report made by the majority of the Congressional Committee was never shaken, though it was angrily attacked by the supporters of the Administration. Aside from the credit imparted to it by the conscientious character of both Mr. Eliot and Mr. Shellabarger, the corroboration of all its material statements by the Commission of Army officers was invaluable. The military men were not suspected of partisan motives. They had no political theories to maintain, no animosities to indulge, no personal revenges to cherish. They proceeded as coolly as though they were investigating alleged frauds by army contractors or were hearing evidence touching the damage to frontier settlers by an Indian raid. The intelligence and impartiality of investigations entrusted to army officers have become proverbial, and their report of the facts in the New Orleans riot arrested the attention of the North in an unprecedented degree. Every thing possible was done by the opponents of the Republican party to break the force of the damaging facts, but apparently without success. Indeed the people of the United States have rarely been stirred to greater excitement than that aroused by the full details of this nefarious transaction as it came to them through the public press and through official reports. The effect was disastrous to the President, and was hurtful, in the extreme, to the cause of prompt reconstruction. The Northern people shrank from the responsibility of transferring the government of States to the control of men who had already shown themselves capable of desperate deeds. In their wrathful zeal for justice they would hear no apology and no defense of the President. They held him as an accomplice in the crime,—as one having in advance a guilty knowledge of the pre-arranged assassination. In every way in which public indignation can be expressed, in every form in which public anger can vent itself, the loyal people of the Northern states manifested their feelings, and did not spare in their bitter denunciations the personal character of the President or the unspeakable guilt of his Southern supporters.

The bloody tragedy of midsummer, which had weighed down the people with a sense of the gravest solicitude, was followed by what might well be termed its comedy. During the early spring the President had accepted an invitation from the citizens of Chicago to attend the ceremony of laying a corner-stone for a monument to be erected to the memory of Stephen A. Douglas. The date fixed for the President's visit was September 6th, and he left Washington on the 28th of August, accompanied by Secretary Welles, Postmaster-general Randall, General Grant, Admiral Farragut, by a considerable number of army officers and by a complement of private secretaries and newspaper reporters,—apparently intending to convert the journey into a political canvass. Mr. Seward joined the company in New York. The somewhat ludicrous effect produced by combining a series of turbulent partisan meetings to be addressed by the President with the solemn duty of paying respect to the memory of a dead statesman, did not fail to have its effect upon the appreciative mind of his countrymen, and from the beginning to the end of the tour there was a popular alternation between harsh criticism and contemptuous raillery of Mr. Johnson's conduct.

His journey was by way of Philadelphia and New York, to Albany; thence westward to Chicago. At all the principal cities and towns along the route large bodies of people assembled. Democrat and Republican, Administration and anti-Administration, were commingled. The President spoke everywhere in an aggressive and disputatious tone. It has been the decorous habit of the Chief Magistrate of the country, when upon a tour among his fellow-citizens, to refrain from all display of partisanship, and to receive popular congratulations with brief and cordial thanks. President Johnson, however, behaved as an ordinary political speaker in a heated canvass, receiving interruptions from the crowd, answering insolent remarks with undignified repartee, and lowering at every step of his progress the dignity which properly appertains to the great office. At Cleveland the meeting resembled occasions not unfamiliar to our people, where the speaker receives from his audience constant and discourteous demonstrations that his words are unwelcome. The whole scene was regarded as lamentable and one which must have been deeply humiliating to the eminent men who accompanied the President.

He made the tour the occasion for defending at great length his own policy of Reconstruction, and arraigned with unsparing severity the course of Congress in interposing a policy of its own. The most successful political humorist of the day(1), writing in pretended support of the President, described his tour as being undertaken "to arouse the people to the danger of concentrating power in the hands of Congress instead of diffusing it through one man." Wit and sarcasm were lavished at the expense of the President, gibes and jeers and taunts marked the journey from its beginning to its end. "My policy" was iterated and reiterated, until the very boys in the streets, without knowing its meaning, knew it was the source and subject of ridicule, and made it a jest and a by-word at Mr. Johnson's expense. The whole journey came to be known as "swinging around the circle," and its incidents entered daily into the thoughts of the people only as subjects of disapprobation on the part of the more considerate, and of persiflage and ribaldry on the part of those who regarded it only as a matter of amusement. With whatever strength or prestige the President left Washington, he certainly returned to the Capital personally discredited and politically ruined. Upon the direct public issue which he had raised he would undoubtedly have been beaten in nearly all the Northern states, but when his weakness had brought him within fair range of ridicule, he became powerless even in the place of power.

Meanwhile, during the National Conventions referred to and during the remarkable tour of the President, the cause of his opponents was urged in every State and in every district, with extraordinary energy on the part of leaders, with corresponding interest on the part of the people. The contest for the governorship of New York between Reuben E. Fenton and John T. Hoffman, and for the governorship of Pennsylvania between John W. Geary and Hiester Clymer, excited deep interest far beyond the borders of either State. The vote for these candidates was looked to as giving the aggregate popular expression touching the merits of the Administration, and carried with it the united interest which attached to all the Congressional districts. When at last a test was reached and the people had an opportunity to speak the Administration was overwhelmingly defeated. Vermont, usually so strong in its Republican vote, now increased the ordinary majority by thousands. Maine elected General Chamberlain governor by twenty-eight thousand majority.

Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana and Iowa were then all known in current phrase as October States. They voted for members of Congress and State officers on the second Tuesday of that month. The result was a significant verdict against the Administration. In Pennsylvania Geary, on a much fuller vote than was cast at the Presidential election two years before, led Clymer by nearly as large a majority as that by which Lincoln led McClellan. The Congressional elections resulted in the choice of eighteen Republicans to six Democratic representatives. Ohio, on her State ticket, gave forty-three thousand majority against the Administration, and elected sixteen Republican representatives in Congress, leaving only three districts to the Democrats. In Indiana, a State always hotly contested, the Republicans secured the popular vote by a majority of nearly fifteen thousand and carried every Congressional district except three. Iowa gave a popular majority of thirty-six thousand and carried every Congressional district for the Republicans.

Under the impulse and influence of these great victories in October the November States recorded a like result. New York, of course, absorbed the largest share of public interest. Two years before, Lincoln had beaten McClellan by less than seven thousand votes. Fenton had now double that majority over Hoffman and the Republicans carried two-thirds of the Congressional districts. Throughout the West, Republican victory swept every thing before it. Michigan gave thirty-nine thousand popular majority and a unanimous Republican delegation in Congress. Illinois gave fifty-six thousand popular majority, with nearly all the representatives. Wisconsin gave twenty-four thousand popular majority and elected every Republican candidate for representative except one. Northern States which had been tenaciously Democratic gave way under the popular pressure. New-Jersey Republicans elected a majority of the members of Congress and a majority of each branch of the State Legislature. Connecticut was carried by Governor Hawley against the most popular Democrat in the State, James E. English. California gave seven thousand majority for the Republicans, while Oregon elected a Republican governor and Republican representative in Congress.

The aggregate majority for the Republicans and against the Administration in the Northern States was about three hundred and ninety thousand votes. In the South the elections were as significant as in the North, but in the opposite direction. Wherever Republican or Union tickets were put forward for State or local offices in the Confederate States, they were defeated by prodigious majorities. Arkansas gave a Democratic majority of over nine thousand, Texas over forty thousand, and North Carolina twenty-five thousand. The border slave States were divided. Delaware, Maryland and Kentucky gave strong majorities for the Democrats, while West Virginia and Missouri were carried by the Republicans. The unhappy indication of the whole result was that President Johnson's policy had inspired the South with a determination not to submit to the legitimate results of the war, but to make a new fight and, if possible, regain at the ballot-box the power they had lost by war. The result of the whole election was to give to the Republicans one hundred and forty-three representatives in Congress and to the Democrats but forty-nine. The defeat was so decisive that if the President had been wise he would have sought a return of friendly relations with the party which had elected him, or at least some form of compromise which would have averted constant collision, with the certainty of defeat and humiliation. But his disposition was unyielding. His prejudices obscured his reason.

It was well known that the President felt much cast down by the result. He had, as is usual with Presidents, been surrounded by flatterers, and had not been advised of the actual state of public opinion. Political deserters, place-seekers and personal sycophants had constantly assured the President that his cause was strong and his strength irresistible. They had discovered that one of his especial weaknesses was an ambition to be considered as firm and heroic in his Administration as General Jackson had proved in the Executive chair thirty years before. He received, therefore, with evident welcome the constant adulation of a comparison between his qualities and those of General Jackson, and he came to fancy that he would prove, in his contest for the unconditional re-admission of Southern States to representation, as mighty a power in the land as Jackson had proved in his struggle with the Bank monopolists and with the Disunionists of South Carolina. But those who had studied the character of Johnson knew that aside from the possession of personal integrity, he had few qualities in common with those which distinguished Jackson. Johnson was bold and fluent in public speech, irresolute and procrastinating in action: Jackson wasted no words, but always acted with promptness and courage. Johnson was vain, loquacious, and offensively egotistic: Jackson, on the other hand, was proud, reserved, and with such abounding self-respect as excluded egotism. The two men, instead of being alike, were in fact signal contrasts in all that appertains to the talent for administration, to the quick discernment of the time for action, and to the prompt execution of whatever policy might be announced.

The Republicans had found an easier victory over Johnson than they had anticipated. They were well led in the great contest of 1866. In New England the President really secured no Republican support whatever. Soon after his accession to the Presidency he had induced Hannibal Hamlin, with whom he had been on terms of personal intimacy in Congress, to accept the Collectorship of Customs at Boston, but as soon as Mr. Hamlin discovered the tendency of Johnson's policy he made haste, with that strict adherence to principle which has always marked his political career, to separate himself from the Administration by resigning the office. It was urged upon him that he could maintain his official position without in any degree compromising his principles, but his steady reply to earnest friends who presented this view, was that he was an old-fashioned man in his conception of public duty, and he would not consent to hold a political office under a President from whose policy he instinctively and radically dissented. Mr. Hamlin's course was highly applauded by the mass of Republicans throughout the country, and especially by his old constituents in Maine. His action took from Mr. Johnson the last semblance of a prominent Republican friend in New England and gave an almost unprecedented solidity to the public opinion of that section.

The adherence of Mr. Seward to the Administration, the loss of Thurlow Weed as an organizer, and the desertion of the New-York Times, had created great fear as to the result in New York, but the popularity of Governor Fenton, supplemented by the support of Senator Morgan and of the younger class of men then coming forward, of whom Roscoe Conkling was the recognized chief, imparted an energy and enthusiasm to the canvass which proved irresistible. In Pennsylvania the contest was waged with great energy by both parties. The result would determine not merely the control of the local administration, not merely the character of the delegation in Congress, but the future leadership of the Republican party of the State. Simon Cameron sought a restoration to his old position of power by a return to the Senate. During the five years that had elapsed since he retired from the War Department Mr. Cameron's supremacy had been challenged by the political coterie that surrounded Governor Curtin. They boastfully proclaimed indeed that the sceptre of power was in their hands and could not be wrenched from them. But the reaction against them was strong and did not cease until Cameron had driven his leading enemies to seek refuge in the Democratic party.

In the West the hostility to the President and the support of the policy of Congress were even more demonstrative than in the East. All the prominent Republicans of Ohio were on the stump and the canvass was extraordinarily heated, even for a State which has had an animated contest every year since the repeal of the Missouri Compromise. Governor Morton's candidacy for the Senate gave great earnestness to the struggle in Indiana, while Senator Chandler not only rallied Michigan to the necessity of giving an immense majority, but with his tremendous vitality added nerve and zeal to every contest in the North-western States. The whole result proved to be one of commanding influence on the future course of public events. The Republicans plainly saw that the triumph of President Johnson meant a triumph of the Democratic party under an alias, that the first-fruits of such a victory would be the re-establishment of the late Confederate States in full political power inside the Union, and that in a little more than five years from the firing upon Sumter, and a little more than one year from the surrender of Lee, the same political combination which had threatened the destruction of the Union would be recalled to its control.

The importance, therefore, of the political struggle of 1866 cannot be overestimated. It has, perhaps, been underestimated. If the contest had ended in a victory for the Democrats the history of the subsequent years would, in all probability, have been radically different. There would have been no further amendment to the Constitution, there would have been no conditions of reconstruction, there would have been such a neutralization of the anti-slavery amendment as would authorize and sustain all the State laws already passed for the practical re-enslavement of the negro, with such additional enactments as would have made them cruelly effective. With the South re-admitted and all its representatives acting in cordial co-operation with the Northern Democrats, the result must have been a deplorable degradation of the National character and an ignoble surrender to the enemies of the Union, thenceforth to be invested with the supreme direction of its government.

There was an unmistakable manifestation throughout the whole political canvass of 1866, by the more advanced section of the Republican party, in favor of demanding impartial suffrage as the basis of reconstruction in the South. It came from the people rather than from the political leaders. The latter class, with few exceptions, shunned the issue, preferring to wait until public sentiment should become more pronounced in favor of so radical a movement. But a large number of thinking people, who gave more heed to the absolute right of the question than to its political expediency, could not see how, with consistency, or even with good conscience and common sense, the Republican party could refrain from calling to its aid the only large mass of persons in the South whose loyalty could be implicitly trusted. To their apprehension it seemed little less than an absurdity, to proceed with a plan of reconstruction which would practically leave the State governments of the South under the control of the same men that brought on the civil war.

They were embarrassed, however, in this step by the constantly recurring obstacle presented by the constitutions of a majority of the loyal States. In five New-England States suffrage to the colored man was conceded, but in Connecticut only those negroes were allowed to vote who were admitted freedmen prior to 1818. New York permitted a negro to vote after he had been three years a citizen of the State and had been for one year the owner of a freehold worth two hundred and fifty dollars, free of all incumbrances. In every other Northern State none but "white men" were permitted to vote. Even Kansas, which entered the Union under the shadow of the civil war, after a prolonged and terrible struggle with the spirit of slavery, at once restricted suffrage to the white man; while Nevada, whose admission to the Union was after the Thirteenth Amendment had been passed by Congress, denied suffrage to "any negro, Chinaman or mulatto." A still more recent test was applied. The question of admitting the negro to suffrage was submitted to popular vote in Connecticut, Wisconsin and Minnesota in the autumn of 1865, and at the same time in Colorado, when she was forming her constitution preparatory to seeking admission to the Union. In all four, under the control of the Republican party at the time, the proposition was defeated.

With these indisputable evidences of the unpopularity of negro suffrage in the great majority of the Northern States, there was ample excuse for the reluctance of leading statesmen to adopt it as a condition of reconstruction, and force it upon the South by law before it had been adopted by the moral sense of the North. The period, however, was one calculated to bring about very rapid changes in public opinion; and there had undoubtedly been great advance in the popular judgment concerning this question since the elections of the preceding year. The question was really in the position where it would be materially influenced by the course of events in the South. The violence and murder at New Orleans in July had changed the views of many men; and, while the more considerate and conservative tried to regard that outbreak as an exceptional occurrence, the mass of the Northern people feared that it indicated a dangerous sentiment among a people not yet fitted to be entrusted with the administration of a State Government.

While these views were rapidly taking form throughout the North, they were strongly tempered and restrained by the better hope that the people of the South would be able to restore such a feeling of confidence as would prevent the exaction of other conditions of reconstruction and the consequent postponement of the re-admission of the Southern States to representation. The average Republican sentiment of the North was well expressed by the Republican State Convention of New York, which, after reciting the provisions of the Fourteenth Amendment, and declaring that "That amendment commends itself, by its justice, humanity, and moderation, to every patriotic heart," made this important declaration: "That when any of the late insurgent States shall adopt that amendment, such State shall, at once, by its loyal representatives, be permitted to resume its place in Congress." This view was generally concurred in by the Western States; and, if the Southern States had accepted the broad invitation thus given, there is little doubt that before the close of the year they might have been restored to the enjoyment of every power and privilege under the National Constitution. There would have been opposition to it, but the weight of public influence, and the majority in both branches of Congress, would have been sure to secure this result.

[(1) Petroleum V. Nasby.]


The rejoicing over the result of the elections throughout the free States had scarcely died away when the Thirty-ninth Congress met in its second session (December 3, 1866). There was no little curiosity to hear what the President would say in his message, in regard to the issue upon which he had sustained so conclusive a defeat. He was known to be in a state of great indignation, and as he had broken forth during the campaign in expressions altogether unbecoming his place, there was some apprehension that he might be guilty of the same indiscretion in his official communication to Congress. But he was saved from such humiliation by the evident interposition of a judicious adviser. The message was strikingly moderate and even conciliatory in tone. The President re-argued his case with apparent calmness and impartiality, repeating and enforcing his position with entire disregard of the popular result which had so significantly condemned him. After rehearsing all that had been done in the direction of reconstruction, so far as his power could reach it, and so far as the Thirteenth Amendment of the Constitution was an essential part of it, the President expressed his regret that Congress had failed to do its duty by re-admitting the Southern States to representation.

"It was not," said he, "until the close of the eighth month of the session that an exception was made in favor of Tennessee by the admission of her senators and representatives." "I deem it," he continued, "a subject of profound regret that Congress has thus far failed to admit to seats loyal senators and representatives from the other States, whose inhabitants with those of Tennessee had engaged in the Rebellion. Ten States, more than one-fourth of the whole number, remain without representation. The seats of fifty members in the House and twenty members in the Senate are yet vacant, not by their own consent, nor by a failure of election, but by the refusal of Congress to accept their credentials. Their admission, it is believed, would have accomplished much towards the renewal and strengthening of our relations as one people, and would have removed serious cause for discontent upon the part of the inhabitants of those States." The President did not discuss the ground of difference between his policy and that of Congress, simply contenting himself with a restatement of the case, in declaratory rather than in argumentative form. He did not at all seem to realize, or even to recognize, the vantage ground which Congress had obtained by the popular decision in the recent elections. He apparently did not understand that every issue dividing the Executive and Legislative Departments of the Government had been decided in favor of the latter by the masters of both—decided by those who select and control Presidents and Congresses.

The President's position in pursuing a policy which had been so pointedly condemned, excited derision and contempt in the North, but it led to mischievous results in the South. The ten Confederate States which stood knocking at the door of Congress for the right of representation, were fully aware, as was well stated by a leading Republican, that the key to unlock the door had been placed in their own hands. They knew that the political canvass in the North had proceeded upon the basis, and upon the practical assurance (given through the press, and more authoritatively in political platforms), that whenever any other Confederate State should follow the example of Tennessee, it should at once be treated as Tennessee had been treated. Yet, when this position had been confirmed by the elections in all the loyal States, and was, by the special warrant of popular power, made the basis of future admission, these ten States, voting upon the Fourteenth Amendment at different dates through the winter of 1866-67, contemptuously rejected it. In the Virginia Legislature only one vote could be found for the Amendment. In the North-Carolina Legislature only eleven votes out of one hundred and forty-eight were in favor of the Amendment. In the South-Carolina Legislature there was only one vote for the Amendment. In Georgia only two votes out of one hundred and sixty-nine in the Legislature were in the affirmative. Florida unanimously rejected the Amendment. Out of one hundred and six votes in the Alabama Legislature only ten could be found in favor of it. Mississippi and Louisiana both rejected it unanimously. Texas, out of her entire Legislature, gave only five votes for it, and the Arkansas Legislature, which had really taken its action in the preceding October, gave only three votes for the Amendment.

This course on the part of the Southern States was simply a declaration of defiance to Congress. It was as if they had said in so many words: "We are entitled to representation in Congress, and we propose to resume it on our own terms; and therefore we reject your conditions with scorn. We will not consent to your Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution. We will not consent that the freedom of the negro shall be made secure by endowing him with citizenship. We demand that without giving negroes the right to vote, they shall yet be counted in the basis of representation, thus increasing our political power when we re-enter Congress beyond that which we enjoyed before we rebelled, and beyond that which white men in the North shall ever enjoy. We decline to give any guarantee for the validity of the public debt. We decline to guarantee the sacredness of pensions to soldiers disabled in the War for the Union. We decline to pledge ourselves that the debts incurred in aid of the Rebellion shall not in the future be paid by our States. We decline, in brief, to assent to any of the conditions or provisions of the proposed amendment to the Constitution, and we deny your right to amend it without our consent."

The madness of this course on the part of the Southern leaders was scarcely less than the madness of original secession; and it is difficult, in deliberately weighing all the pertinent incidents and circumstances, to discover any motive which could, even to their own distorted view, justify the position they had so rashly taken. Strong as the Republican party had shown itself in the elections, it grew still stronger in all the free States, as each of the Confederate States proclaimed its refusal to accept the Fourteenth Amendment as the basis of their return to representation. The response throughout the North, in the mouths of the loyal people, was in effect: "If these rebel States are not willing now to resume representation on the terms offered, let them stay out until their anger ceases and their reason returns. If they are not willing to concede the guarantee of the Fourteenth Amendment, and to give that pledge to the country of their future loyalty and their common sense of justice, they shall find that we can be as resolute as they, and we shall insist on the right as stubbornly as they persist in the wrong." These were not merely the declamations of statesmen, or of the press, or of the popular speakers of the Republican party. They came spontaneously, as if by inspiration, from the mass of the people, and were based on that instinctive sense of justice which the multitude rarely fails to exhibit.

It was naturally inferred and was subsequently proved, that the Southern States would not have dared to take this hostile attitude except with the encouragement and the unqualified support of the President. He was undoubtedly in correspondence, directly and indirectly, with the political powers that were controlling the action of the insurrectionary States, and he was determined that the policy of Congress should not have the triumph that would be implied in a ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment by those States. Telegraphic correspondence clearly establishing the President's position, subsequently came to light. Governor Parsons of Alabama telegraphed him indicating that the rejection of the Fourteenth Amendment might be reconsidered by the Alabama Legislature, if in consequence thereof an enabling Act could be passed by Congress for the admission of the State to representation. Johnson promptly replied on the same day: "What possible good can be obtained by reconsidering the Constitutional Amendment? I know of none in the present posture of affairs, and I do not believe the people of the country will sustain any set of individuals in attempts to change the whole character of our Government by enabling Acts or otherwise. I believe on the contrary, that they will eventually uphold all those who have patriotism and courage to stand by the Constitution and who place their confidence in the people. There should be no faltering on the part of those who are honest in a determination to sustain the several co-ordinate Departments of the Government in accordance with the original design." It was evident from this disclosure that Johnson's hand was busy throughout the South, secretly as well as openly, and that he inspired the resolute obstinacy with which the insurrectionary States resisted the fair and magnanimous offers of Reconstruction made by Congress. The Rebel element of the South had gradually come to repose implicit confidence in Johnson, and this fact increased his power to sow dissension and produce discord. His stubborn and apparently malicious course at this time, was inspired in large part by a desire to be avenged on the Northern States and Northern leaders for the stinging rebuke administered to him in the recent election.

Sustained by the same popular sentiment which had given offense to the President, Congress did not doubt its duty or hesitate in its action. Its course, indeed, was firm to the point of severity. It met the spirit of defiance on the part of the South with an answer so decisive, that the misguided people of that section were rapidly undeceived as to their power to command the situation, even with all the aid the President could bring. The principal debates for the first two months of the session related wholly to the condition of the South, and on the 6th of February (1867) Mr. Stevens, from the Committee on Reconstruction, reported a bill which after sundry amendments became the leading measure of the Thirty-ninth Congress. In its original form the preamble declared that "whereas the pretended State governments of the late so-called Confederate States afford no adequate protection for life or property, but countenance and encourage lawlessness and crime; and whereas it is necessary that peace and good order should be enforced in said so-called Confederate States, until loyal State governments can be legally established; therefore be it enacted that said so-called Confederate States shall be divided into military districts, and made subject to the military authority of the United States, as hereinafter prescribed; and for that purpose Virginia shall constitute the first district, North Carolina and South Carolina the second district, Georgia, Alabama and Florida the third district, Mississippi and Arkansas the fourth district, and Louisiana and Texas the fifth district."

It was made the duty of the General of the Army to assign to the command of each of said districts an officer not below the rank of Brigadier-general, and to detail a sufficient force to enable such officer to perform his duties and enforce his authority within the district to which he was assigned. The protection of life and property, the suppression of insurrections, disorders, and violence, and the punishment of all criminals and disturbers of the public peace, were entrusted to the military authority, with the power to allow civil tribunals to take jurisdiction and try offenders; and if that was not sufficient in the officer's judgment, he was authorized to organize military commissions, "any thing in the constitutions and laws of these so-called Confederate States to the contrary notwithstanding." It was further declared that all legislative acts or judicial processes to prevent the proceedings of such tribunals, and all interference by "said pretended State governments with the exercise of military authority under this Act, shall be void and have no effect." The courts and judicial officers of the United States were forbidden to issue writs of habeas corpus, except under certain restrictions which further established the military authority over the people. Prompt trials were guaranteed to all persons arrested, cruel and unusual punishments were forbidden, and no sentence could be executed until it was approved by the officer in command of the district.

Mr. Stevens, in his speech upon introducing the bill, did not attempt to conceal its positive and peremptory character. "It provides," said he, "that the ten disorganized States shall be divided into five military districts; that the Commander of the Army shall take charge of them, through his officers not below the rank of Brigadier-general, who shall have the general supervision of the peace, quiet and protection of the people, loyal and disloyal, who reside within those precincts; and that to do so, he may use, as the law of nations would authorize him to do, the legal tribunals whenever he may deem them competent; but these tribunals are to be considered of no validity per se, of no intrinsic force, of no force in consequence of their origin; the question being wholly within the power of the conqueror, and to remain until that conqueror shall permanently supply their place with something else. That is the whole bill. It does not need much examination. One night's rest after its reading is enough to digest it."

Mr. Brandegee of Connecticut followed Mr. Stevens in a speech strongly supporting the measure. "Mr. Speaker, something must be done," said he. "The American people demand that we shall do something, and quickly. Already fifteen hundred Union men have been massacred in cold blood (more than the entire population of some of the towns in my district), whose only crime has been loyalty to your flag. . . . In all the revolted states, upon the testimony of your ablest generals, there is no safety to the property or lives of loyal men. Is this what the loyal North has been fighting for? Thousands of loyal white men, driven like partridges over the mountains, homeless, houseless, penniless, to-day throng this capital. They fill the hotels, they crowd the avenues, they gather in these marble corridors, they look down from these galleries, and with supplicating eye ask protection from the flag that hangs above the Speaker's chair—a flag which thus far has unfurled its stripes, but concealed the promise of its stars."

—Mr. Le Blond of Ohio declared that "the provisions of this bill strike down every important provision in the Constitution. You have already inaugurated enough here to destroy any government that was ever founded. . . . Now, Mr. Speaker, I do not predict any thing. I do not declare war, but as one American citizen I do prefer war to cowardly submission to a total destruction of the fundamental principles of our Government."

—He was followed by his colleague, Mr. Finck, who declared that "no member on this floor who understands the Constitution of the United States, and who is friend of our Government, will pretend to urge that we have any Constitutional power to pass this bill. . . . I declare it as my solemn conviction that no government can long continue to be free when one-third of its people and one-third of the States are controlled by military power."

—Mr. Bingham of Ohio, speaking for a more conservative type of republicanism than Mr. Stevens represented, begged gentlemen to "make haste slowly in the exercise of this highest possible power conferred by the Constitution upon the Congress of the United States. For myself, sir, I am not going to yield to the proposition of the chairman of the committee, for a single moment, that one rood of the territory within the line of the ten states enumerated in this bill is conquered territory. The Government of the United States does not conquer any territory that is under the jurisdiction of the Constitution."

—Mr. William Lawrence of Ohio said, "For myself I am ready to set aside by law all these illegal governments. They have rejected all fair terms of reconstruction. They have rejected the Constitutional amendments we have tendered them. They are engines of oppression against all loyal men. They are not republican in form or purpose. Let them not only be ignored as legal governments, but set aside because they are illegal." Mr. Lawrence suggested some amendments that would give to all the people the protection of the judiciary under National authority.

—Mr. Russell Thayer of Pennsylvania argued warmly for the bill, and said, "This measure will be of brief duration, and will be followed, as I am informed, by other measures, which will secure the permanent and peaceful restoration of these States to their proper and just position in the Union, upon their acceptance of such terms as are necessary for the future security of the country. When that is done, and when order is restored, and permanent protection is guaranteed to all the citizens of that section of the country, this measure will be abrogated and abandoned."

—Mr. Shellabarger argued in favor of the bill, and said in conclusion, "This measure, taken alone, is one which I could not support unaccompanied by provisions for the rapid and immediate establishment of civil government based upon the suffrages of the loyal people of the South. I could not support a military measure like this if it was to be regarded as at all permanent in its character. It is because it is entirely the initiative, because it is only the employment of the Army of the United States as a mere police force, to preserve order until we can establish civil government based upon the loyal suffrages of the people, that I can support this measure at all. If it stood by itself, I could not, with my notions of the possibility and practicability of establishing civil governments in the South, based upon loyal suffrage, vote for this bill."

—Mr. Dawes made the pertinent inquiry whether, "after the General of the Army has, under this bill, assigned a competent and trustworthy officer to the duties prescribed, there is any thing to hinder the President of the United States, under virtue of his power as Commander-in-Chief, from removing that officer and putting in his place another of an opposite character, thus making the very instrumentality we provide one of terrible evil?"

—Mr. John A. Griswold, who became the Republican candidate for governor of New York the ensuing year, earnestly opposed the bill. "By it," said he, "we are proceeding in the wrong direction. For more than two years we have been endeavoring to provide civil governments for that portion of our country, and yet by the provisions of this bill we turn our backs on our policy of the last two years, and by a single stride proceed to put all that portion of the country under exclusively military control. . . . For one, I prefer to stand by the overtures we have made to these people, as conditions of their again participating in the government of the country. We have already placed before them conditions which the civilized world has indorsed as liberal, magnanimous, and just. I regret exceedingly that those very liberal terms have not been accepted by the South, but I prefer giving those people every opportunity to exhibit a spirit of obedience and loyalty."

—Mr. Henry J. Raymond opposed the bill in a vigorous speech. "Because we cannot devise any thing of a civil nature adequate to the emergency," said he, "it is urged that we must fly to the most violent measure the ingenuity of man could devise. Let me remind gentlemen that this has been the history of popular governments everywhere, the reason of their downfall, their decadence, and their death."

—Mr. Garfield indicated his support of the measure if it could be amended. "But," said he, "I call attention to the fact that from the collapse of the Rebellion to the present hour, Congress has undertaken to restore the States lately in rebellion by co-operation with their people, and that our efforts in that direction have proven a complete and disastrous failure." Alluding to the fact that the Fourteenth Amendment had been submitted as the basis of reconstruction, Mr. Garfield continued, "The constitutional amendment did not come up to the full height of the great occasion. It did not meet all I desired in the way of guarantees to liberty, but if the rebel States had adopted it as Tennessee did, I should have felt bound to let them in on the same terms prescribed for Tennessee. I have been in favor of waiting to give them full time to deliberate and to act. They have deliberated. They have acted. The last one of the sinful ten has at last, with contempt and scorn, flung back in our teeth the magnanimous offer of a generous nation. It is now our turn to act. They would not co-operate with us in building what they destroyed. We must remove the rubbish, and build from the bottom. . . . But there are some words which I want stricken out of this bill, and some limitations which I wish added, and I shall at least ask that they be considered."

—Mr. Kasson objected that the bill was too sweeping in its provisions, that it affected the loyally disposed in the South with the same severity as it did the disloyally disposed. "Instead of erecting," said he, "this great military power over people of some portions of the South who are, in fact, at peace and observing law and order, our rule should be so flexible that we may apply martial law wherever peace and law and order do not prevail, without imposing it upon people whose subordination to the law renders military rule unnecessary."

—Mr. Boutwell said, "To-day there are eight millions and more of people, occupying six hundred and thirty thousand square miles of territory in this country, who are writhing under cruelties nameless in their character, and injustice such as has not been permitted to exist in any other country of modern times; and all this because in this capital there sits enthroned a man who, so far as the Executive Department of the Government is concerned, guides the destinies of the Republic in the interest of the rebels; and because, also, in those ten former States, rebellion itself, inspired by the Executive Department of this Government, wields all authority, and is the embodiment of law and power everywhere. . . . It is the vainest delusion, the wildest of hopes, the most dangerous of all aspirations, to contemplate the reconstruction of civil government until the rebel despotisms enthroned in power in these ten States shall be broken up."

—Mr. Banks asked for deliberation and delay in the discussion. He believed that "we might reach a solution in which the two Houses of Congress will agree, which the people of this country will sustain, and in which the President of the United States will give us his support. And if we should agree on a measure satisfactory to ourselves, in which we should be sustained by the people, and the President should resist it, then we should be justified in dropping the subject of reconstruction, and considering the condition of the country in a different sense." The allusion of General Banks, though thus veiled, was understood to imply the possible necessity of impeaching the President. It attracted attention because General Banks had been reckoned among the determined opponents of that extreme measure.

—Mr. Kelley of Pennsylvania declared that "the passage of this bill or its equivalent is required by the manhood of this Congress, to save it from the hissing scorn and reproach of every Southern man who has been compelled to seek a home in the by-ways of the North, from every homeless widow and orphan of a Union soldier in the South, who should have been protected by the Government, and who, despite widowhood and orphanage, would have exalted in the power of our country had it not been for the treachery of Andrew Johnson."

—Mr. Allison of Iowa said, "Believing as I do, that this measure is essential to the preservation of the Union men of the South, believing that their lives, property and liberty cannot be secured except through military law, I am for this bill."

—Mr. Blaine of Maine expressed his unwillingness to support any measure that would place the South under military government, if it did not at the same time prescribe the methods by which the people of a State could by their own action re-establish civil government. He therefore asked Mr. Stevens to admit an amendment declared that "when any one of the late, so-called, Confederate States shall have given its assent to the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution, and conformed its constitution and laws thereto in all respects, and when it shall have provided, by its constitution, that the elective franchise shall be enjoyed equally and impartially by all male citizens of the United States twenty-one years of age and upwards, without regard to race, color, or previous condition of servitude, except such as may be disfranchised for participating in the late rebellion, and when such constitution shall have been submitted to the voters of said State as then defined, for ratification or rejection, and when the constitution, if ratified by the popular vote, shall have been submitted to Congress for examination and approval, said State shall, if its constitution be approved by Congress, be declared entitled to representation in Congress, and senators and representatives shall be admitted therefrom on their taking the oath prescribed by law, and then and thereafter the preceding sections of this bill shall be inoperative in said State."

—Mr. Blaine added, "It happened, Mr. Speaker, possibly by mere incident, that I was the first member of this House who spoke in Committee of the Whole on the President's message at the opening of this session. I then said that I believed the true interpretation of the election of 1866 was that, in addition to the proposed constitutional amendment, impartial suffrage should be the basis of reconstruction. Why not declare it so? Why not, when you send out this military police through the lately rebellious States, send with it that impressive declaration?"

—Mr. Schenck of Ohio earnestly urged that before calling the previous question, Mr. Stevens would allow a vote upon the amendment offered by Mr. Blaine. Mr. Stevens declined, and a motion by Mr. Blaine to refer the bill to the Judiciary Committee with instructions to report back the amendment, was defeated by ayes 69, noes 94. The bill was then passed by a vote of 109 to 55. The Republicans who voted against it were Baker of Illinois, Banks of Massachusetts, Davis of New York, Defrees of Indiana, Dodge of New York, Kuykendall of Illinois, Loan of Missouri, Randall of Kentucky, Francis Thomas and John L. Thomas, jun., of Maryland.

The bill reached the Senate on the 13th of February. On the 14th Mr. Williams of Oregon gave notice that he would offer an amendment, which was almost literally the same as that offered by Mr. Blaine in the House, but fearing that it might obstruct the passage of the bill he withdrew it. Mr. Reverdy Johnson of Maryland renewed it, with the remark that if it should be adopted it would make the bill very much less objectionable than it then was, and upon the amendment debate proceeded.

Mr. Stewart of Nevada warmly sustained the amendment, regretting that the senator from Oregon had changed his mind with regard to it. Mr. Stewart said that the history of military bills was that they were always temporary in the beginning. "But suppose the President of the United States approved it, or the next President, if you please, should like the bill, and should veto your measure repealing it, or suppose a bare majority in either House of Congress should like it, then you could not repeal it. It may be years after you desire to get rid of it before you can. I say, when you use the military for temporary purposes you should give the people of the South a chance to comply with all the requirements which you propose to make. If in the Blaine Amendment, as it is called, there are not sufficient guarantees, not enough conditions, then put in more and make it sufficient."

—Mr. Henderson of Missouri said, "If I understand the extent and scope of this bill, it will simply to give the sanction of Congress to military administration in the Southern States by the President. If there is any thing else in it, I desire to have it understood now, before we proceed any further. I am not exceedingly favorable to military government anywhere, and if I can get along without it in the Southern States I am anxious to do so. I am not pleased with it anywhere." Mr. Henderson expressed the opinion that the President of the United States could command General Grant in making the assignments of officers to the respective districts.

—Mr. Willard Saulsbury of Delaware declared that "there is not a single provision in the bill that is constitutional or will stand the test in any court of justice."

—Mr. Buckalew and Mr. Hendricks pointed out that the amendment, as Mr. Johnson had submitted it, made suffrage universal, just as the amendment had been framed in the House.

—Mr. Johnson explained that he had taken it as prepared by the senator from Oregon.

—Mr. Howard of Michigan objected to the amendment because it would permit the increase of representatives in Congress, and of Presidential electors, from the Confederate States.

—After a prolonged debate on the amendment offered by the senator from Maryland, it was agreed to lay it aside by common consent, that Senator Sherman might offer a substitute for the entire bill, the fifth section of which substantially embodied the amendment offered by the senator from Maryland and which had been known as the Blaine Amendment in the House. Mr. Sherman's substitute gave to the President his rightful power to control the assignment of officers of the army to the command of the military districts in the South. After debate the substitute of Mr. Sherman was passed by a party vote,—twenty-nine to ten.

When the bill went to the House it was violently opposed by Mr. Stevens and Mr. Boutwell. Mr. Boutwell said, "My objection to the proposed substitute of the Senate is fundamental and conclusive, because the measure proposes to reconstruct the State governments at once through the agency of disloyal men."

—Mr. Stevens said, "When this House sent the bill to the Senate it was simply to protect the loyal men of the Southern States. The Senate has sent us back an amendment which contains every thing else but protection. It has sent us back a bill which raises the whole question in dispute as to the best mode of reconstructing the States, by making distant and future pledges which this Congress has no authority to make and no power to execute."

—Mr. Blaine argued against Mr. Stevens's proposition to send the measure to a Conference Committee, and he begged those "who look to any measure that shall guarantee a republican form of government to the rebel states, with universal suffrage for loyal men," to vote for this bill as it came from the Senate.

—Mr. Wilson of Iowa sustained the bill. "Although it does not attain," said he, "all that I desire to accomplish, it embraces much upon which I have insisted, and seems to be all that I can get at this session. It reaches far beyond anything which the most sanguine of us hoped for a year ago."

—Mr. Bingham declared that "the defeat of this bill to-day is really a refusal to enact any law whatever for the protection of any man in that vast portion of our country which was so recently swept over by our armies from the Potomac to the Rio Grande."

—General Schenck spoke with great force in favor of the bill, answering the somewhat reckless objections of Mr. Stevens in the most effective manner.

—General Garfield replied to those who objected to the Senate provision giving the command of officers in the South directly to the President. He said, "I want this Congress to give the command to the President of the United States, and then, perhaps, some impeachment hunters will have a chance to impeach him. They will if he does not obey." He rebuked the gentlemen "who, when any measure comes here that seems almost to grasp our purpose, resist and tell us that it is a surrender of liberty. I remember that this was done to us at the last session, when everybody knows that if the Republican party lived, it must live by the strength of the Constitutional amendment, and when we agreed to pass it the previous question was waived to allow certain gentlemen to tell us that it was too low and too unworthy, too mean and too unstatesmanlike."

—Mr. Russell Thayer of Pennsylvania supported the bill. He said, "I see in this provision, as I believe, what the deliberate judgment of the American people will regard as ample guarantees for the future loyalty and obedience of the South. Those conditions are: first, that the Southern States shall adopt a constitution in conformity with the Constitution of the United States; second, that it shall be ratified by a majority of the people of the States, without distinction of race, color, or condition; third, that such constitution shall guarantee universal and impartial suffrage; fourth, that such constitution shall be approved by Congress; fifth, that the States shall adopt the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution; and sixth, that the amendment shall become a part of the Constitution of the United States. All this is required to be done before representation is accorded to the States lately in rebellion, and then no representative presenting himself for admission, can be received unless he can take the test oath."

—Mr. Eldridge of Wisconsin denounced the whole measure as most wicked and abominable. "It contains," said he, "all that is vicious, all that is mischievous in any of the propositions which have come either from the Committee on Reconstruction or from any gentleman upon the other side of the House."

—Mr. Elijah Hise of Kentucky declared that, "under such a system as this bill proposes, the writ of habeas corpus cannot exist, because even if the civil tribunals are not entirely abolished, they will exist only at the will of the military tyrant in command."

—Mr. Davis of New York spoke of the danger of suddenly enfranchising the whole body of rebels. "The State of Kentucky," he said, "has enfranchised every rebel who has been in the service of the Confederate States. What to-day is the condition of affairs in that State? Why, sir, her political power is wielded by rebel hands. Rebel generals, wearing the insignia of the rebel service, walk the streets of her cities, admired and courted; while the Union officers with their wounds yet unhealed, are ostracized in political, commercial and social life."

—Mr. Niblack of Indiana, one of the leading Democrats of the House, thought the bill had been much improved by the action of the Senate. "Though," said he, "it still retains many of the first features to which I objected when it was before the House for discussion, it is not now properly a military bill, nor is it properly a measure of civil administration. It is a most extraordinary attempt to blend the two principles together."

When a vote was reached, the House rejected the Senate amendment—ayes 73, noes 98. This result was effected by a coalition of all the Democrats with a minority of extreme Republicans. But thirteen days of the session remained, and it looked as if by a disagreement of Republicans all legislation on the subject of Reconstruction would be defeated. Under the pressure of this fear Republican differences were adjusted, and the Senate and the House found common ground to stand upon by adding two amendments to the bill as the Senate had framed it. It was agreed, on motion of Mr. Wilson of Iowa, to add a proviso to the fifth section, in these words: "that no person excluded from the privilege of holding office by said proposed amendment to the Constitution of the United States, shall be eligible as a member of a convention to frame a constitution for any of said rebellious States, nor shall any such person vote for members of such convention." It was also agreed, on motion of Mr. Shellabarger, that "until the people of said rebel States shall be admitted to representation in the Congress of the United States, any civil governments which may exist therein shall be deemed provisional only, and in all respects subject to the paramount authority of the United States at any time to abolish, modify, control, or supersede. . . . All persons shall be entitled to vote, and none others, who are entitled to vote under the fifth section of this act; and no person shall be eligible to any office under such provisional government, who shall be disqualified from holding office under the provisions of the Third Article of such Constitutional amendment." With these modifications both Senate and House passed the bill by a party vote. During the discussion in the Senate Mr. Doolittle moved that "nothing in this act shall be construed to disfranchise any persons in any of said States from voting or holding office who have received pardon and amnesty in accordance with the Constitution and Laws." The proposition received but eight votes. The bill went to the President for approval on the 20th of February, leaving but a small margin of time for passage over his veto if as anticipated he should decline to sign it. The decisive character of the measure had evoked fierce opposition, and this in turn had stimulated Republican advocacy to a degree of great earnestness.

On the 2d of March the President sent to the House, in which branch the bill had originated, a long veto message of very comprehensive character. He had summed up all the arguments that had been made against the measure in both Houses, and he arrayed them with greater strength than when they were originally presented. His argument against placing the States under military government was cogently stated. "This bill," said he, "imposes martial law at once, and its operation will begin as soon as the general and his troops can be put in place. The dread alternative between its harsh rule and compliance with the terms of this measure is not suspended, nor are the people afforded any time for free deliberation. The bill says to them, 'Take martial law first, and then deliberate.' And when they have done all that this measure requires them to do, other conditions and contingencies, over which they have no control, yet remain to be fulfilled before they can be relieved from martial law. Another Congress must approve the constitutions made in conformity with the law of this Congress, and must declare these States entitled to representation in both branches. The whole question thus remains open and unsettled, and must again occupy the attention of Congress; and in the mean time the agitation which now prevails will continue to disturb all portions of the people."

The President's veto reached the House on the afternoon of Saturday. On Monday, March 4th, at noon, Congress would expire by Constitutional limitation. The President had communicated his veto on the last day permitted by the Constitution, and it was generally believed that his motive for the postponement was to give the minority in one branch or the other the power to defeat the bill either by dilatory motions or by "talking against time." Mr. Le Blond and Mr. Finck or Ohio, and Mr. Boyer of Pennsylvania, frankly indicated their intention to employ all means within their power to compass this end. A system of parliamentary delay was thus foreshadowed, but was prevented by Mr. Blaine moving that the rules be suspended and a vote immediately taken on the question required by the Constitution; namely, "Will the House, on reconsideration, agree to the passage of the bill, the President's objection to the contrary notwithstanding?" The Speaker decided that the motion in this form cut off all dilatory proceedings. Mr. Finck appealed from the decision of the Chair, but only four members sustained him. The rules were suspended, and the House, by a vote of one hundred and thirty-five ayes to forty-eight noes, passed the bill over the veto of the President. The Senate concurred in the action of the House by ayes thirty-eight, noes ten; and the famous Reconstruction law, from which flowed consequences of great magnitude, was thus finally enacted against every effort of the Executive Department of the Government.(1)

The successive steps of this legislation have been given somewhat in detail because of its transcendent importance and its unprecedented character. It was the most vigorous and determined action ever taken by Congress in time of peace. The effect produced by the measure was far-reaching and radical. It changed the political history of the United States. But it is well to remember that it never could have been accomplished except for the conduct of the Southern leaders. The people of the States affected have always preferred as their chief grievance against the Republican party, that negro suffrage was imposed upon them as a condition of their re-admission to representation; but his recital of the facts in their proper sequence shows that the South deliberately and wittingly brought it upon themselves. The Southern people knew, as well as the members of Congress knew, that the Northern people during the late political canvass were divided in their opinion in regard to the requirements of reconstruction, but that the strong preponderance was in favor of exacting only the adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment as the condition of representation in Congress. It was equally plain to all who cared to investigate, or even to inquire, that if that condition should be defiantly rejected, the more radical requirements would necessarily be exacted as a last resort,—rendered absolutely necessary indeed by the truculence of the Southern States.

The arguments that persuaded the Northern States of the necessity of this step were simple and direct. "We are willing," said they, "that the Southern States shall themselves come gradually to recognize the necessity and the expediency of admitting the negro to suffrage; we are content, for the present, to invest him with all the rights of citizenship, and to except him from the basis of representation, allowing the South to choose whether he shall remain, at the expense of their decrease in representation, outside the basis of enumeration." It was the belief of the North that as the passions of the civil contest should die out, the Southern States, if not inspired by a sense of abstract justice, would be induced by the highest considerations of self-interest to enfranchise the negro, and thus increase their power in Congress by thirty-five to forty members of the House. It was the belief that when they should come to realize that the negro had brought to them this increased power and prestige in the National councils, they would treat him with justice and with fairness. It was, therefore, not merely with surprise, but with profound regret, and even with mortification, that the North found the South in an utterly impracticable frame of mind. They would do nothing: they would listen to nothing. They had been inspired by the President with the same unreasoning tenacity and stubbornness that distinguished his own official conduct. They believed that, even against the popular verdict in the North, the President would in the end prevail. They had unbounded faith in the power of patronage, and they constantly exhorted the President to turn every opponent of his policy out of office, and give only to his friends the honors and emoluments of the National Government. They had full faith that this would carry consternation to the Republican ranks, and would establish the President's power on a firm foundation.

Unless, therefore, the Loyal States were willing to allow the Rebel States to come back on their own terms, in a spirit of dictation to the Government of the Union, they were under the imperious necessity of providing some other basis of reconstruction than the one which the South had unitedly rejected. Congress was charged, in the name of loyalty, to see that no harm should come to the Republic, and the point was now reached where three ways were open: first, Congress might follow the Administration, and allow the States to come in at once without promise, without condition, without guarantee of any kind; second, it might adopt the plan of Mr. Stevens, which had just been narrowly defeated, and place the Southern States under military government, with no date assigned for its termination by National authority, and no condition held out by which the South itself could escape from it; third, it might place the Southern States temporarily under a military government, for the sake of preserving law and order and the rights of property, during the prescribed period of reconstruction—upon the basis that all loyal men, regardless of color or previous condition of servitude, should take part in the movement.

Reduced to the choice of these three methods, the considerate, well-pondered, conclusive judgment of the Republican party was in favor of the last named, and the last named was adopted. If, therefore, suffrage was prematurely granted to the negro; if, in consequence, harm came to the Southern States; if hardship was inflicted upon Southern people, the responsibility for it cannot be justly laid upon Northern sentiment or upon the Republican party. It is true, and was not denied, that the vast mass of the negroes thus admitted to suffrage were without property and without education, and that it might have been advantageous, if just treatment could have been assured them, that they should tarry for a season in a preparatory state. While it was maintained as an abstract proposition that the right of the negro to vote was well grounded, many thought it desirable, as Mr. Lincoln suggested, that at first only those who were educated and those who had served in the Union Army should be enfranchised. But the North believed, and believed wisely, that a poor man, an ignorant man, and a black man, who was thoroughly loyal, was a safer and a better voter than a rich man, an educated man, and a white man, who, in his heart, was disloyal to the Union. This sentiment prevailed, not without hesitation, not without deep and anxious deliberation; but in the end it prevailed with the same courage and with the same determination with which the party had drawn the sword and fought through a long war in aid of the same cause, for which the negro was now admitted to suffrage.

During the civil war the negro had, so far as he was able, helped the Union cause—his race contributing nearly a quarter of a million troops to the National service. If the Government had been influenced by a spirit of inhumanity, it could have made him terribly effective by encouraging insurrection and resistance on his part against his master. But no such policy was ever entertained in counsels controlled in the Cabinet by Seward and Chase and Stanton, or in operations in the field directed by Grant and Sherman and Sheridan. The negro was left to raise the crops that supplied the Confederate armies with bread, when a policy of cruelty, no worse than that of Andersonville and Belle Isle, might have made him a terror to the Southern population. The humane policy thus pursued would have been scorned by European warriors who have become the heroes of the world, but there is not a Northern man who does not look back with profound satisfaction upon the philanthropic determination that forbade the encouragement of a single insurrection, or the destruction of a single Southern life, except under the recognized and restricted laws of war.

Peace had now come, and the question was, whether the power of these four and a half millions of men should be continually used against the Northern States, against the loyalty which had saved the Union. Only three-fifths of their number, in the day when the Southern States were true to the Union, were admitted in the basis of representation. Should the disloyalty of the South which had failed to destroy the Government only by lack of power, be now rewarded by admitting the whole number of negroes into the basis of representation, and at the same time giving them no voice in the selection of representatives? Surely, if this were conceded, it would offer such a premium upon rebellion as no government guided by reason should confer; and, therefore, the question came by the instinct of justice, and with the precision of logic, to this point—the negro shall not be admitted into the basis of representation until he is himself empowered to participate in the choice of the representative. The North had hoped that the South would cordially accept the justice of this principle, but whether the South accepted it or not, the North resolved that it should become part of the organic law of the Republic.

As matter of historical truth which has been ingeniously and continuously, whether ignorantly or malignantly, perverted, this point cannot be too fully elaborated nor too forcibly emphasized:—The Northern states or the Republican party which then wielded the aggregate political power of the North, did not force negro suffrage upon the South or exact it as a condition of re-admitting the Southern States to the right and privilege of representation in Congress until after other conditions had been rejected by the South. The privilege of representation in Congress had in effect been tendered to the Southern States, upon the single condition that they would ratify the Fourteenth Amendment, which provided among other safeguards for the future, that so long as the negro was denied suffrage, he should not be included in the basis of Federal enumeration,—in other words, that the white men of the South should not be allowed to elect thirty-five or forty representatives to Congress, based on the negro population, in addition to the representatives duly apportioned to their own numbers. When all the Southern States—with the exception of Tennessee —declined to accept this basis of reconstruction by their rejection of the Fourteenth Amendment, they ought to have measured the consequences. The imperative question thenceforward was whether the loyal or the disloyal—the victorious Union or the defeated Confederacy —should prescribe the terms of Reconstruction.

The Northern States were thus compelled to consider whether they would unconditionally surrender to the Rebel element of the South or devise some other plan of reconstruction. At that point, in the order of time and in the order of events, and not until then, the just resolve was made by the Republicans to reconstruct the South on the basis of Loyalty, regardless or race or color. By refusing to co-operate with the Republicans in the work of rehabilitating their States, the Southern rebels forced the Northern States to make impartial suffrage the corner-stone of the restored Union. The South had its choice, and it deliberately and after fair warning decided to reject the magnanimous offer of the North and to insist upon an advantage in representation against which a common sense of justice revolted. The North, foiled in its original design of reconstruction by the perverse course of the South, was compelled, under the providence of the Ruler of Nations, to deal honestly and justly with the colored people. It was the insane folly of the South, in drawing the sword against the life of the Nation, that led irresistibly to the abolition of slavery. In a minor degree the folly was now repeated, in resisting the mode of Reconstruction first tendered, and thus forcing Congress to confer civil rights and suffrage upon the emancipated slave. A higher than human power controlled these great events. The wrath of man was made to praise the righteous works of God. Whatever were the deficiencies of the negro race in education, for the duties and responsibilities of citizenship, they had exhibited the one vital qualification of an instinctive loyalty, and as far as lay in their power a steadfast helpfulness to the cause of the National Union.

As the strife between the Executive and Legislative Departments had grown in intensity, President Johnson naturally sought to increase his own prestige by the use of the patronage of the Government. To this end he had already removed certain conspicuous Republicans from office, especially those who had been recommended and were now sustained by senators and representatives prominently engaged in frustrating his plan of reconstruction. The wonder in the political world was, that the President had not resorted to this form of attack more promptly, and pursued it more determinedly. His delay could be explained only by what was termed his talent for procrastination, and to a certain indecision which was fatal to him as an executive officer. But as the breach between himself and Congress widened, as the bitterness between the partisans of the Executive and of the Legislative Departments grew more intense, the belief became general, that, as soon as Congress should adjourn, there would be a removal of all Federal officers throughout the Union who were not faithful to the principles, and did not respond to the exactions, of the Administration. Outside of his Cabinet, the President was surrounded by the class of men who had great faith in the persuasive power of patronage, and the pressure upon him to resort to its use was constant and growing. Inside of his Cabinet, there were men of the same belief, but their power was somewhat neutralized by the attitude of Mr. Seward, whose faith always lay in the strength of ideas, and not in the use of force, or in the temptation of personal advantage. Mr. Seward's influence had constantly tended to hold the President back from a ruthless removal of the whole body of officers who declined to take part against the policy of Congress.

According to long-accepted construction of the Constitution, the President's power of removal was absolute and unqualified. Appointment to office could not be made unless the consent of the Senate was given in each and every case—but the consent of the Senate had not been held as requisite to the removal of an officer. The Constitution was silent upon the subject, and the existence or non-existence of power in the Senate to prevent a removal from office had been matter of dispute from the foundation of the Government. Those who contended for the right of the President to remove without consulting the Senate were fortified by the early legislation of Congress and the early practice of the Executive. The First Congress of the Union had provided for officers whose appointment depended upon confirmation by the Senate as required by the Constitution, but whose removal was left in explicit terms to the President alone. The decision to that effect was made after debate in which Madison had strenuously contended for that construction, and his high authority gave to the conclusion great weight with subsequent administrations of the Government. But there was undoubtedly a divided opinion in the Congress that conceded it, and that division has continued among Constitutional lawyers and statesmen to this day. In 1835 Mr. Webster, "after considering the question again and again," made this declaration in the Senate: "I am willing to say that, in my deliberate judgment, the original decision was wrong. I cannot but think that those who denied the power in 1789 had the best of the argument. It appears to me, after thorough and repeated and conscientious examination, that an erroneous interpretation was given to the Constitution in this respect by the decision of the First Congress. . . . I have the clearest conviction that the Convention which formed the Constitution looked to no other mode of displacing an officer than by impeachment or the regular appointment of another to the same place. . . . I believe it to be within the just power of Congress to reverse the decision of 1789, and I mean to hold myself at liberty to act hereafter on that question as the safety of the Government and of the Constitution may require."

Mr. Webster's words would have exerted a far wider influence upon public opinion if his argument had not been made under the pressure of a partisan excitement caused by General Jackson's removal of officers who were not in sympathy with the measures of his Administration. He was effectively though not directly answered by the venerable ex-President Madison. In October, 1834, in a letter to Edward Coles, Mr. Madison said, "The claim of the Senate on Constitutional ground to a share in removal as well as appointment of officers is in direct opposition to the uniform practice of the Government from its commencement. It is clear that the innovation would not only vary essentially the existing balance of power, but expose the Executive occasionally to a total inaction, and at all times to delays fatal to the due execution of the laws." A year later, and only a few months before his death, Mr. Madison in a letter to Charles Francis Adams thus repeated his views: "The claims for the Senate of a share in the removal from office, and for the Legislature an authority to regulate its tenure, have had powerful advocates. I must still think, however, that the text of the Constitution is best interpreted by reference to the tripartite theory of Government, to which practice had conformed, and which so long and uniform a practice would seem to have established. The face of the Constitution and the journalized proceedings of the Convention strongly indicate a partiality to that theory then at the zenith of favor among the most distinguished commentators on the organization of political power." Chief Justice Marshall fortified the position of Mr. Madison, by declaring that the action of the First Congress on this question "has ever been considered as a full expression of the sense of the Legislature on this important part of the American Constitution."

Of the thirty-nine members of the Convention of 1787 who signed the Constitution, thirteen, including Mr. Madison, were members of the first Congress; Alexander Hamilton was Secretary of the Treasury under the new Government; and above all, General Washington, who had presided over the deliberations of the Convention, had attentively listened to every discussion, and had carefully studied every provision, was President of the United States. More than one-third of the members of the Constitutional Convention were therefore engaged in the Executive and Legislative Departments of the new Government in applying the organic instrument which they had taken so large a part in creating. The cotemporaneous interpretation was by those facts rendered valuable if not authoritative. Cotemporaneous interpretations of organic law are not always, it is true, to be regarded as conclusive, but they are entitled to the most careful and respectful consideration, and cannot be reversed with safety unless the argument therefor is unanswerable and the motive which suggests the argument altogether patriotic and unselfish. The familiar rule laid down by Lord Coke is as pertinent to-day as when first announced: "Great regard ought, in construing a law, to be paid to the construction which the sages, who lived about the time soon after it was made, put upon it, because they were best able to judge of the intention of the makers at the time when the law was made. Contemporania exposito est fortissima in legem."

Against the early decision of the founders of the Government, against the ancient and safe rule of interpretation prescribed by Lord Coke, against the repeatedly expressed judgment of ex-President Madison, against the equally emphatic judgment of Chief Justice Marshall, and above all, against the unbroken practice of the Government for seventy-eight years, the Republican leaders now determined to deprive the President of the power of removing Federal officers. Many were induced to join in the movement under the belief that it was important to test the true meaning of the Constitution in the premises, and that this could be most effectively done by directly restraining by law the power which had been so long conceded to the Executive Department. To that end Mr. Williams of Oregon on the first Monday of December, 1866, introduced a bill "to regulate the tenure of civil offices." It was referred to the Committee on Retrenchment, and reported back with amendment by Mr. Edmunds of Vermont, who thenceforward assumed parliamentary control of the subject.

The bill came up for discussion on the 10th day of January. Its first section provided that every person except members of the Cabinet, "holding any civil office to which he has been appointed by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, and every person who shall hereafter be appointed to such office, shall be entitled to hold such office until a successor shall have been, in like manner, appointed and duly qualified, except as herein otherwise provided." The second section declared that "when any officer shall, during the recess of the Senate, be shown by evidence satisfactory to the President, to be guilty of misconduct in office, or crime, or for any reason shall become legally disqualified or incapable of performing the duties of his office; in such case, and in no other, the President may suspend such officer and designate some suitable person to perform temporarily the duties of such office, until the next meeting of the Senate, and until the case shall be acted upon by the Senate: and in such case it shall be the duty of the President, within twenty days after the first day of such meeting of the Senate, to report to the Senate such suspension, with the evidence and reasons for the same, and if the Senate shall concur in such suspension, and advise and consent to the removal of such officer, they shall so certify to the President, who shall thereupon remove such officer, and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate appoint another person to such office; but if the Senate shall refuse to concur in such suspension, such officer so suspended shall forthwith resume the functions of his office, and the powers of the person so performing its duties in his stead shall cease."

Mr. Howe wished to know why members of the Cabinet should be excepted. "Each one of those officers," he said, "is created by statute, and created not for the personal benefit of the Executive, but created for the benefit of the public service, just as much as a deputy postmaster or an Indian agent." Mr. Edmunds, in reply to Mr. Howe, said that the Committee, "after a great deal of consultation and reflection," had resolved to except members of the Cabinet from the scope of the proposed Act. He gave reasons therefor, which from the foundation of the Government have been considered conclusive—reasons founded on the personal and confidential relations necessarily existing between the President and his Constitutional advisers. The reasons did not satisfy Mr. Howe. He thought "the tenure of Cabinet officers should be under the control of law and independent of any undue exercise of Executive influence." He therefore moved to amend the bill so as to put the members of the Cabinet on the same basis as other civil officers—not removable by the President, except with the advice and consent of the Senate. But the Senate was decidedly averse to so radical a change in the practice of the Government, and Mr. Howe secured the votes of only eight senators to join him in support of his amendment.

Mr. Edmunds moved, subsequently, to amend the bill by the addition of several clauses, one declaring it a high misdemeanor for "any person, contrary to the provisions of this Act, to accept any appointment or employment in office, or to hold or attempt to hold, or exercise, any office or employment." The signing, sealing, countersealing, or issuing of any commission, or letter of authority, contrary to the provisions of the Act, was made punishable by a fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars, or by imprisonment not exceeding five years, or by both. Various other provisions of great severity were incorporated, and were adopted after brief debate.

When the bill reached the House, every provision of it was readily agreed to except that which excluded Cabinet officers from its operation. An amendment offered by Mr. Williams of Pennsylvania to strike that out was defeated—ayes 76, noes 78. Later in the day, just as the bill was passing its engrossment, Mr. Farquhar of Indiana, having voted with the majority, moved to reconsider the vote by which the amendment was rejected. The vote was taken the ensuing day, and by the zealous work of the intervening night, the motion to reconsider prevailed—ayes 75, noes 69—and the amendment was at once adopted. The bill was then passed by a party vote—ayes 111, noes 38. When it was returned to the Senate, that body refused, by a decisive vote, to concur in the amendment which placed members of the Cabinet on the same basis with other officers respecting the President's power of removal. Upon a conference between the two branches on this disagreement, a substitute was adopted, declaring that the members of the Cabinet "shall hold their offices, respectively, for and during the term of the President by whom they may have been appointed, and for one month thereafter, subject to removal by and with the advice and consent of the Senate." Both Houses agreed to the bill in this form. Mr. Farquhar's change of mind and his motion to reconsider led to the incorporation in the bill of the provision whose alleged violation by President Johnson was the direct cause of his impeachment by the House of Representatives a year later.

The final action on the measure by the Senate was on the 20th of February, so that the President had the opportunity to endanger its passage by postponing the veto, and it was generally anticipated that he would do so. He communicated it, as in the case of the Reconstruction Bill, on the 2d of March. In reviewing the measure Mr. Johnson said: "In effect it provides that the President shall not remove from their places any of the civil officers whose terms of service are not limited by law, without the advice and consent of the Senate of the United States. The bill conflicts, in my judgment, with the Constitution of the United States. The question, as Congress is well aware, is by no means a new one. That the power of removal is constitutionally vested in the President of the United States, is a principle which has been not more distinctly declared by judicial authority and judicial commentators, than it has been uniformly practiced upon by the Legislative and Executive Departments of the Government. . . . The question has often been raised in subsequent times of high excitement, and the practice of the Government has nevertheless conformed in all cases to the decision thus made. Having at an early period accepted the Constitution, in regard to the Executive office, in the sense in which it was interpreted with the concurrence of its founders, I have found no sufficient grounds in the arguments now opposed to that construction, or in any assumed necessity of the times, for changing those opinions. . . . For these reasons, I return the bill to the Senate, in which House it originated, for the further consideration of Congress which the Constitution prescribes. Experience, I think, has shown that it is the easiest, as it is also the most attractive, of studies to frame constitutions for the self-government of free states and nations; but I think that experience has equally shown that it is the most difficult of all political labors to preserve and maintain such free constitutions of self-government when once happily established."

The veto message was a very able document. In all official papers of importance the President appeared at his best. He had the inestimable advantage of Mr. Seward's calm temper and of his attractive and forcible statement of the proper argument. Few among the public men of the United States have rivaled Mr. Seward in the dignity, felicity, and vigor which he imparted to an official paper. No one ever surpassed him. In the veto message under consideration his hand was evident in every paragraph; and if it had been President Johnson's good fortune to go down to posterity on this single issue with Congress, he might confidently have anticipated the verdict of history in his favor. The delicate, almost humourous sarcasm in the closing words above quoted from the message, afford a good specimen of Mr. Seward's facility of stating the gravest of organic propositions in a form attractive to the general reader. He wrote as one who felt that in this particular issue with Congress, whatever might be the adverse votes of the Senate and House, time would be sure to vindicate the position of the President. But the message did not arrest the action, indeed scarcely the attention, of Congress, and the bill was promptly, even hurriedly, passed over the veto,—in the Senate by 35 ayes to 11 noes; in the House by 133 ayes to 37 noes.

The bill was not passed, however, without considerable misgiving on the part of many members of both Houses who voted for it. It was an extreme proposition,—a new departure from the long-established usage of the Federal Government, and for that reason, if for no other, personally degrading to the incumbent of the Presidential office. It could only have grown out of the abnormal excitement created by the dissensions between the two great Departments of the Government. The bitterness engendered resembled that which always distinguishes a family quarrel. The measure was resorted to as one of self-defense against the alleged aggressions and the unrestrained power of the Executive Department. But the history of its operation, and of its subsequent modification, which practically amounted to its repeal, is one to which the Republican party cannot recur with any sense of pride or satisfaction. As matter of fact, a Republican Congress, largely composed of the same members who had enacted the law, indirectly confessed two years later that it could not be maintained. Regarded only in the light of expediency at the time, it could readily be demonstrated (as was afterwards admitted by candid men among those who supported it) to be a blunder,—a blunder all the more censurable because the Act was not needed to uphold the Reconstruction policy of Congress, in aid of which it was devised. That policy relied for its vindication upon the judgment and conscience of the loyal people, and it was an impeachment of their good faith to say that either could be affected by the removal of one man, or of many men, from official position under the Federal Government. The Reconstruction policy stood upon a strong and enduring principle,—as strong and enduring as the question of human right,—and was sustained with vigor and enthusiasm by the great party which was responsible for the war measures that had saved the Union. The same sentiment did not attach to the Tenure-of-office Law, which indeed was only the cause of subsequent humiliation to all who had taken part in its enactment.(2)

It was part of the fixed policy of Mr. Lincoln's administration to increase the number of distinctively free States from that section of the public domain which had never been in any way contaminated by the institution of slavery. To this end he was anxious to encourage the settlement of the Territories already organized west of the Missouri river. To provide for the still more rapid creation of North-western States, two additional Territories, Idaho and Montana, were organized from the area which had been included in Dakota. Mr. Lincoln's evident motive was to place beyond the calculation, or even the hope of the disloyal States the possibility of ever again having sufficient political power to compete in the Senate for the mastery of the Republic. He was persuaded that the sectional contest would be fatally pursued as long as the chimerical idea of equality in the Senate should stimulate Southern ambition. He knew, moreover, that the war could not close with victory for the Union, without the proposal of certain changes in the Constitution, and to this end it was desirable that the loyal States should as early and as nearly as possible constitute three-fourths of the entire Union. With this motive, he had towards the close of his first term, somewhat prematurely it was believed by many, stimulated the desire of the settlers of Nevada for a State government. He had faith not only in the justice, but in the popularity, of this policy; for he took pains to issue the proclamation declaring Nevada a State in the Union only a week preceding the Presidential election of 1864, when the existence of his administration was at stake, and when every public measure was scanned with special scrutiny.

Nebraska had been organized as a Territory in the original Douglas bill repealing the Missouri Compromise, in 1854; and Colorado was made a Territory the week preceding Mr. Lincoln's first inauguration. After Nevada, these Territories offered the earliest promise of becoming States. They were both parts of the old Louisiana purchase from France, and had in popular estimation and in the classification of the earlier geographers been included within the borders of the Great American Desert. But settlers has swarmed upon the plains of Nebraska, and the waving fields of grain and the innumerable herds of cattle browsing on her rich pasture-land soon dispelled that misconception, and gave promise of the prosperous development which the State has since attained. Earlier than the farmer or the grazier could reach its soil, Colorado was settled by an intelligent mining population, whose industry has extracted from her mountains more than two hundred millions of the precious metals, contributed in the last quarter of a century to the wealth of the world. Encouraged by the policy of the Administration, and especially by the precedent of Nevada, both Territories sought an enabling Act from Congress in the winter of 1862-63. Neither succeeded at the time; but in the next Congress a bill "to enable the people of Colorado to form a constitution and State government, and for the admission of said State into the Union on an equal footing with the original States," passed both Houses, and was approved by Mr. Lincoln of the 21st of March, 1864. A month later (April 19, 1864) a similar bill for Nebraska was signed by the President.

It appeared that the citizens of each Territory who had been forward in asking an enabling Act from Congress were somewhat in advance of popular sentiment, for when the question of forming a State government was submitted to direct vote in Colorado it was rejected, and the same action was taken in Nebraska. But soon afterward (in the year 1865) the movement for a State government gained strength in both Territories. Through duly organized conventions and the formation and adoption of State constitutions, the people indicated a willingness, if not an active desire, to be admitted to the Union. In Colorado 5,895 votes were cast when the constitution was submitted, and the majority in favor of the new State was but 155. William Gilpin was elected governor, and John Evans and Jerome W. Chaffee were chosen senators of the United States. But when the new senators reached Washington (early in the year 1866) they found that the policy of the National Administration on the subject of new States had changed, and that instead of a friend in the White House, as Mr. Lincoln had steadily proved, they had a determined opponent in the person of Mr. Johnson. Congress with reasonable promptness passed the bill in both Houses for the admission of Colorado, though it was opposed by the more radical class of Republicans because negroes were excluded from the right of suffrage. It is a striking illustration of the rapid change of public sentiment, that in the winter and early spring of 1866 a bill containing that provision could pass a Congress in which the Republicans had more than two-thirds of the membership of each branch, whereas in less than a year negro suffrage was required as the condition of re-admission of the Southern States.

The Colorado bill passed the Senate by a vote of nineteen to thirteen, and the House by eighty-one to fifty-seven. It reached the President on the fifth day of May and was promptly vetoed. Mr. Johnson did not believe that the establishment of a state government was necessary to the welfare of the people of Colorado; "nor was it satisfactorily established that a majority of the citizens of Colorado desire, or are prepared for, an exchange of the Territorial for a State government." He thought that Colorado, instead of increasing, had declined in population. "At an election for a Territorial Legislature in 1861, 10,580 votes were cast; at an election in 1864 only 6,192 votes were cast; while at the election of 1865 only 5,905 votes have been cast." He said, "I regret this apparent decline of population in Colorado, but it is manifest that it is due to emigration which is going out from that Territory into other regions of the United States, which either are in fact, or are believed to be by the citizens of Colorado, richer in mineral wealth and agricultural resources." The President commented upon the injustice of creating from so small a population a State with senatorial strength equal to that of the largest State in the Union. He thought Colorado did not have a population of more than twenty thousand persons "whereas one hundred and twenty-seven thousand are required in other States for a single representative in Congress." The President did not neglect his one constant theme—the unrepresented condition of the Southern States. He insisted that "so long as eleven of the old States remain unrepresented in Congress, no new State should be prematurely and unnecessarily admitted to a participation in the political power which the Federal Government wields." The strong minority which had opposed the Colorado bill gave no hope of overriding the President's veto, which was simply laid on the table and ordered to be printed.

The bill for the admission of Nebraska came later in the session, not being introduced for consideration until the 23d of July. It passed very promptly by a vote of twenty-four to eighteen in the Senate, and by sixty-two to fifty-two in the House. As in the case of Colorado the constitution excluded the negro from the right of suffrage, and for that reason a very considerable proportion of the Republicans of each branch voted against the bill. The vote was so close in the House that but for a frank and persuasive statement made by Mr. Rice of Maine, from the Committee on Territories, it would have been defeated. He pictured the many evils that would come to the people of Nebraska, now more than sixty thousand in number, if they could not do for themselves, as a State, many things which the National Government would not do for them as a Territory. Under the influence of his speech a majority of ten was found for the bill, but Congress adjourned the day after it was finally passed by both branches, and the President quietly "pocketed" the bill; and thus the earnest and prolonged effort to create two new States came to naught for the time.

Nothing daunted by the President's veto of the bill admitting Colorado, and his pocketing the bill admitting Nebraska, Mr. Wade promptly introduced both bills anew, at the beginning of the second session of the Thirty-ninth Congress. The case of Nebraska was, in popular judgment, stronger than the case of Colorado. The population was larger, and being devoted to agriculture, was naturally regarded as more stable than that of Colorado, which was based principally upon the somewhat fortuitous discovery of mines of the precious metals. But there was an admitted political embarrassment in regard to both Territories, the principal debate on which occurred when the bill admitting Nebraska was under consideration. Congress was, at the time, engaged in passing the Reconstruction Act for the States lately in rebellion, and had made it imperative that negroes should be endowed with suffrage by those States. While insisting on this condition for the Southern States it was obviously impossible for Congress to admit two Northern States with constitutions prohibiting suffrage to the negro. In the months of the Congressional vacation public opinion in the North had made great strides on this question.

A minority of Republicans were intent on sending the bill back and having the question of negro suffrage submitted for popular decision, but in the opinion of the majority of the party this was a needless postponement of a pressing question, and all propositions looking to such postponement were rejected. A final compromise of views was reached, by inserting in the Act of admission an additional section declaring "that this Act shall not take effect except upon the fundamental condition that within the State of Nebraska there shall be no denial of the elective franchise or of any other right to any person, by reason of race or color, excepting Indians not taxed; and upon the further fundamental condition that the Legislature of said State, by a solemn public act, shall declare the assent of said State to the said fundamental condition and shall transmit to the President of the United States an authentic copy of said Act." When notified of this solemn public act by the Legislature, it was made the duty of the President to announce the fact by proclamation, and thereupon the admission of the State to the Union, without further proceedings of Congress, was to be considered complete. The objection to this compromise by those who opposed it and by others who reluctantly supported it, was that it did not have the force of Organic Law; that the proposed act of the Legislature would not be rendered any more binding by reason of being called a solemn act, and that it might be repealed by any subsequent Legislature. Much argument was expended upon this point, but the general judgment was that an act of the Legislature, made in pursuance of such an understanding with Congress, was in the nature of a compact which, without discussing the question of power, would certainly be regarded as binding upon the State. With this understanding, Congress passed a bill admitting the State, but the vote in both branches was divided on the line of party.

This action was accomplished late in January (1867), and on the 29th of that month the President vetoed the bill. He objected especially to the clause just referred to, because it was an addition to the enabling Act which Congress had no moral right to make, and because it required of Nebraska a condition not theretofore required of States, —contradicting flatly the declaration of the first section of the bill, in which the State was declared to be "admitted into the Union upon an equal footing with the original States in all respects whatever." He argued that the imposition of the condition prescribed in the bill, and its acceptance by the Legislature, was practically a change in the organic law of the State without consulting the people, which he regarded as an innovation upon the safe practice of the Government. But his arguments fell upon unwilling ears, and the bill was passed over the veto by a vote of thirty to nine in the Senate, and in the House by one hundred and twenty to forty-three.

Colorado did not fare so well. The bill was passed by both branches of Congress, though not with so full a vote nor with so much confidence in the propriety and necessity of the measure. Precisely the same condition in regard to suffrage was inserted as in the case of the Nebraska bill. It met with a prompt veto, more elaborately argued and presented with more confidence by the President than in the case of Nebraska. He said, "I cannot perceive and reason for the admission of Colorado that would not apply with equal force to nearly every other Territory now organized, and I submit whether, if this bill becomes a law, it will be possible to resist the logical conclusion that such Territories as Dakota, Montana, and Idaho must be received as States whenever they present themselves, without regard to the number of inhabitants they may respectively contain." He dwelt forcibly upon the necessity of requiring population enough to secure one representative. "The plain facts of our history," said he, "will attest that the leading States admitted since 1845, namely, Iowa, Wisconsin, California, Minnesota, and Kansas (including Texas, which was admitted in that year), have all come in with an ample population for one representative, and some of them with nearly, if not quite, enough for two."

There were really no facts before Congress tending to prove the existence of those great resources which have since advanced Colorado so rapidly in population and prosperity. Little was known of the Territory. It was several hundred miles beyond the Western border of continuous settlement, and the men who came from it were regarded as adventurous pioneers on the very outposts of civilization. Under this condition of affairs it is not strange that the Senate failed to pass the bill for the admission of the State over the veto of the President. Edmunds, Fessenden, Foster, Grimes, Harris, Morgan, and some other Republicans, less prominent, voted in the negative. The result was twenty-nine in favor of passing it over the veto, and nineteen against. Defeated in the Senate the bill did not go to the House, and the admission of Colorado was by this action postponed for several years.

The President gave specious reasons for his vetoes, especially in the case of Colorado, but they did not conceal the fact that his position was radically different from that which Mr. Lincoln had held—radically different from the position which he would himself had assumed if he had maintained in good faith the principles he had professed when he secured the suffrages of the Republican party for the Vice-Presidency. Having allied himself with the South and compromised his patriotic record by espousing the cause he had so hotly opposed, he naturally adopted all its principles and its worst prejudices. For nearly half a century the leading exponents of Southern sentiment had been envious of the growth of the free North-West, and so far as lay in their power they had obstructed it—being unwilling for a long period to admit one of its giant Territories to the Union until its power could be politically offset by one of less population and wealth in the South. Mr. Johnson in his new associations at once adopted this jealous and ungenerous policy—which had indeed lost something of its significance by the abolition of slavery, but was still stimulated by partisan considerations and was invariable hostile to the admission of a Republican State. The most bitter prejudices could not blind Mr. Johnson or the Southern leaders to the inevitable growth of free commonwealths in the North-West, but it seemed to be an object with both to keep them from participation in the government of the Union so long as possible, and to accomplish this end by every expedient that could be adopted.

An Act in relation to the President's power to grant pardon and amnesty, passed at this session, was more important in its spirit than in its results. By the thirteenth section of the Confiscation Act of July 17, 1862, the President was authorized, at any time, by proclamation, "to extend to any persons who may have participated in the existing rebellion in any state or part thereof, pardon and amnesty." Under a suspension of the rules, the House of Representatives, by a vote of one hundred and twelve to twenty-nine, repealed this section on the first day of the session (December 3, 1866). There was anxiety on the part of many, under the lead of Mr. Chandler of Michigan, to repeal it so promptly in the Senate, but it was referred to the Judiciary Committee and passed after discussion. Mr. Chandler said, "It is a notorious fact, as notorious as the records of a court, that pardons have been for sale around this town, for sale by women—by more than one woman. The records of your court in the District of Columbia show this. Any senator who desires this disgraceful business to go on, of course desired that this clause shall remain."

The repeal of the clause, however, would not take from the President his constitutional power of pardoning, but in the judgment of Mr. Trumbull, who had charge of the bill in the Senate, it took from him the power to pardon by proclamation and confined him to his right of issuing individual pardons. The difference between pardon and amnesty was defined by Mr. Trumbull. Pardon is an act of mercy extended to an individual. It must be by deed. It must be pleaded. According to Chief Justice Marshall, it is essential to its validity that it be delivered to the person pardoned. But an amnesty is a general pardon by proclamation. Mr. Trumbull thought the repeal would be a "valuable expression of opinion on the part of Congress that general pardons and restoration of property will not be continued, and if they President continues to pardon rebels and restore their property by individual acts under the Constitution, let him do so without having the sanction of Congress for his act."

Mr. Reverdy Johnson took issue with Mr. Trumbull. He maintained that the President's powers to grant pardons, as conferred by the Constitution, had not been affected by the provision of law whose repeal was now urged. He declared that the power of the President "to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States" was as broad, as general, as unrestricted as language could make it. He could find no logical ground for the distinction made by Mr. Trumbull between individual pardons and general amnesties by proclamation—in illustration of which he said President Washington had by proclamation pardoned the offenders engaged in the Whiskey Insurrection. The enactment of the provision had not, in Mr. Johnson's opinion, enlarged the President's pardoning power, and its repeal would not restrict it.

It was thought that a majority of the Senate concurred in Mr. Johnson's interpretation of the Constitution, but they passed the bill as a rebuke to the scandalous sale of pardons which Mr. Chandler had brought to the attention of the Senate. This vile practice had no doubt been pursued to some extent, but only by a class of "middle men" who had neither honor nor sensibility. They had in some form the opportunity to secure the interposition of men who could reach the ear of the President or the Attorney-General. It is hardly necessary to add that neither of those high officials was in the remotest degree reflected upon even by their bitterest opponents. However wrong-headed Mr. Johnson and Mr. Stanbery might have been considered on certain political issues, the personal integrity of both was unblemished. It was believed that the nefarious practice was stopped by Mr. Chandler's action in the Senate. Exposure made public men careful to examine each application for pardon before they would consent to recommend it to the President.

The President neither approved the bill nor objected to it, but allowed it to become a law by the expiration of the Constitutional limit of ten days. He obviously took the same view that had been advanced by Mr. Reverdy Johnson, and did not take the trouble to sign it, much less to veto it. It was brutum fulmen, and the President used his Constitutional power to pardon by proclamation just as freely after its enactment as before.

[NOTE.—"Pocketing a bill" is the phrase commonly used to describe the President's course when he permits a bill which reaches him within the last ten days of the session, to die without action on his part. It is frequently termed the "pocket veto."]

[(1) The original Reconstruction Act and the several supplementary Acts are given in full in Appendix A.]

[(2) The full text of the Act to regulate the tenure of certain civil offices, is given in Appendix B.]


The Fortieth Congress met at the very moment the Thirty-ninth closed—on the fourth day of March, 1867. The valedictory words of the presiding officers in both branches were followed immediately by the calling to order of the succeeding bodies. The contest between the President and Congress had grown so violent, the mutual distrust had become so complete, that the latter was unwilling to have its power suspended for the customary vacation of nine months between the 4th of March and the first Monday of the ensuing December; and therefore at the preceding session a law had been passed directing that each Congress should be organized immediately after the existence of its predecessor had closed. The Republican leaders felt that without the supervising and counteracting power of Congress, full force and effect might not be given to the Reconstruction laws by the President; that they might possibly be neutralized by hostile action from the office of the Attorney-General, and that for this reason it would be well, nay, it was imperatively demanded, that the legislative power should be kept ready to interpose with fresh enactments, the very moment those already in force should be dulled by adverse construction, or haltingly administered by Executive agents not in sympathy with the policy of Congress.

The membership of the Fortieth Congress was changed in some important respects in both branches. Simon Cameron, at sixty-eight years of age, returned from Pennsylvania as the successor of Edgar Cowan in the Senate. It was the third time he had entered that body, and now, as it proved, for a longer period than ever before.—Roscoe Conkling, who had been steadily growing in strength, with the Republican party of New York, was transferred from the House and took the seat of Ira Harris.—Justin S. Morrill of Vermont, after twelve years of useful and honorable service in the House, was now promoted to the Senate for a still longer and equally honorable and useful service in that body.—Oliver P. Morton, bearing his great reputation as the War Governor of Indiana, now took the seat of Henry S. Lane, whom, six years before, he had succeeded in the gubernatorial chair of his State.—James W. Patterson of New Hampshire had grown rapidly in favor by four years' service in the House and now entered the Senate as the successor of Daniel Clark.—Orris S. Ferry, who but for physical disability would have acquired wider fame, succeeded Lafayette S. Foster as senator from Connecticut.—James Harlan returned from Iowa after a somewhat extraordinary experience with the President during his two years' absence.—Charles D. Drake, fresh from bitter political controversies, entered from Missouri as the successor of B. Gratz Brown.—Cornelius Cole, who had already served in the House, came from California.—Henry W. Corbett, a successful merchant, came from Oregon. The Senate on the whole had received valuable accessions. Some of the men who entered that day became prominent and influential in the public councils for many years.

The House also received some noteworthy additions among the new members. Two marked men from the North-West, who had served as representatives in opposing parties, before the Rebellion, now returned as members of the same political organization, having in the four intervening years acquired great distinction in the war for the Union —John A. Logan of Illinois, and Cadwalader C. Washburn of Wisconsin.—Grenville M. Dodge, who had attained high rank in the volunteer service, entered from Iowa.—Norman B. Judd, who had gained much influence by his long membership of the State Senate of Illinois between 1844 and 1860, and by his service as minister to Berlin under Mr. Lincoln, now came from one of the Chicago districts.

The New-York delegation was strengthened by the advent of some new men. —Dennis McCarthy, an enterprising and successful merchant, with wide knowledge of public affairs, entered from the Syracuse district. He proved a most intelligent and useful member of the House, as he already had of the Legislature of New York. His ability, his industry, and his broadly liberal views have given him a high standing among the people of his State.—William H. Robertson entered at the same time from the Westchester district. He was a member of the House for only a single term, but he left a clear imprint of the high character which has since been put to severe tests and was never found wanting. Able and frank, conscientious and careful in the discharge of every trust, Mr. Robertson has established a reputation without spot or blemish.—Orange Ferriss, since of honorable repute as one of the Auditors in the Treasury Department, John C. Churchill, who had already attained a good standing at the Bar, and Addison H. Laflin, afterwards appointed to an important customs office in the city of New York, all entered at this session.

John Coburn, who had made a good record in the war, came from the State of Indiana. Firm and tenacious in his opinions, even to the point of obstinacy, he was for years an active and useful representative of the people. He could not be deflected from what he regarded as the line of duty and he soon acquired the respect of both sides of the House.—Morton C. Hunter, who had done good service in the Army of the Tennessee, as Colonel of an Indiana regiment, and afterwards commanded a brigade in Sherman's Atlanta campaign, now entered from the Bloomington district.—Austin Blair, who had won great praise as Governor of Michigan during the war, now entered as representative from the Jackson district. He exhibited talent in debate, was distinguished for industry in the work of the House and for inflexible integrity in all his duties. He was not a party man in the ordinary sense of the word, but was inclined rather to independence of thought and action. This habit separated him from many friends who had wished to promote his political ambition, and estranged him for a time from the Republican party. But it never lost him the confidence of his neighbors and friends, and did not impair the good reputation he had earned in his public career.—George A. Halsey, a successful manufacturer and a most intelligent, worthy man, entered from the Newark district of New Jersey, bringing to the House a thorough and valuable knowledge of the trade relations of the country, both domestic and foreign.—The New-Hampshire delegation, not present at the organization of the House, had been entirely changed by the late election. Aaron F. Stevens, a lawyer of high standing, Jacob H. Ela, afterwards for many years an Auditor in the Treasury Department, and Jacob Benton, well known in the politics of his State, were the new members.—Worthington C. Smith, an experienced man of affairs, entered from Vermont as the successor Justin S. Morrill.—Henry L. Cake, an enthusiastic representative of the Pennsylvania Germans and of the anthracite-coal minters, came from the Schuylkill district.—Green B. Raum, afterward for a considerable period Commissioner of Internal Revenue, entered from Illinois.—William A. Pile and Carman A. Newcomb, two active and earnest young Republicans, came as representatives of the city of St. Louis.

Benjamin F. Butler now took his seat in Congress for the first time. He was sent from a Massachusetts district of which he was not a resident, thus breaking a long established and approved custom. Though his military career had been the subject of adverse and bitter criticism, it had been marked by certain features which pleased the people, and he came out of the war with an extraordinary popularity in the loyal States. He engaged at once in political strife. During the canvass against the President's policy in 1866 he went through the country, it may with truth be said, at the head of a triumphal procession. He was received everywhere with a remarkable display of enthusiasm, and was fortunate in commending himself to the good will of the most radical section of the Republican party. He naturally affiliated with that side because it never was General Butler's habit to be moderate in the advocacy of any public policy. When he was a Democrat he sustained the extreme Southern wing of the party with all his force and zeal; and when the course of his political associates pointed to a disruption of the Government he turned upon them with savage hostility, declared without hesitation for the support of the Union, offered his services as a soldier, and was constantly in the vanguard of those who demanded the most aggressive and most destructive measures in the prosecution of the war. He entered Congress, therefore, with apparent advantages and in the full maturity of his powers, at forty-nine years of age.

—General Butler had long been regarded as a powerful antagonist at the bar and he fully maintained his reputation in the parliamentary conflicts in which he became at once involved. He exhibited an extraordinary capacity for agitation, possessing in a high degree what John Randolph described as the "talent for turbulence." His mind was never at rest. While not appearing to seek controversies, he possessed a singular power of throwing the House into turmoil and disputation. The stormier the scene, the greater his apparent enjoyment and the more striking the display of his peculiar ability. His readiness of repartee, his great resources of information, his familiarity with all the expedients and subtleties of logical and illogical discussion, contributed to make him not only prominent but formidable in the House for many years. He was distinguished by habits of industry, had the patience and the power required for thorough investigation, and seemed to possess a keen insight into the personal defects, the motives, and the weaknesses of his rivals. He was audacious in assault, apparently reckless in his modes of defense, and in all respects a debater of strong and notable characteristics. Usually merciless in his treatment of an aggressive adversary, he not infrequently displayed generous and even magnanimous traits. He had the faculty of attaching to himself, almost as a personal following, those members of the House who never came in conflict with him, while he regarded his intellectual peers of both political parties as natural foes whom he was destined at some time to meet in combat, and for whose overthrow he seemed to be in constant preparation.

Another marked character came from New England,—John A. Peters of Maine,—a graduate of Yale, a man of ability, of humor, of learning in the law. He had enjoyed the advantage of a successful career at the bar and was by long training and indeed by instinct devoted to his profession. In his six years' service in the House he acquired among his fellow-members a personal popularity and personal influence rarely surpassed in Congressional experience. He made no long speeches and was not frequently on the floor, but when he rose he spoke forcibly, aptly, attractively, and with that unerring sense of justice which always carried him to the right side of a question, with unmistakable influence upon the best judgment of the House. Since his retirement from Congress his career on the Supreme Bench of Maine, and more recently as its Chief Justice, has given roundness and completeness to a character whose integrity, generosity, and candor have attracted not only the confidence and respect of an entire State, but the devoted attachment of a continually enlarging circle of friends.

James B. Beck took his seat for the first time as representative from the Ashland District of Kentucky. He was born in Scotland in 1822, and though he came to the United States while yet a lad, he has retained in strength and freshness all the characteristics and peculiarities of his race. He has a strong mind in a strong body. Well grounded in the rudiments of education in his native land, he completed his intellectual training in Kentucky and bears the diploma of Transylvania University—in whose list of graduates may be found many of the ablest men of the South-West. Originally a Whig, Mr. Beck followed John C. Breckinridge into the Democratic party at a period when the pro-slavery crusaders had gone mad and were commanding, indeed morally coercing, the services of a great majority of the able and ambitious young men of the South. He became the law partner of Breckinridge, and was zealously and devoted attached to him to the end. Had Beck been a native of the South he would undoubtedly followed Breckinridge hastily and hot-headedly into the rebellion. He was saved from that fate by the abundant caution and the sound sense which he inherited with his Scotch blood.

—But Mr. Beck had all the sympathy with the Rebellion which was necessary to secure popular support in Kentucky—without which, indeed, a Democrat in that State has had no chance for promotion since the war closed. He has grown steadily in Congress from the day of his entrance. He is honest-minded, straightforward, extreme in his views on many public questions, and though a decided partisan of Southern interests has always had the tact and the good fortune to maintain kindly relations with his political opponents—a desirable end to which his generous gift of Scotch humor has essentially aided him. It is among the singular revolutions of political opinion and political power in this country, that the State and the very city made memorable by Mr. Clay's impassioned devotion to the National Union and his prolonged advocacy of protection, should be represented in Congress by a disciple of the extreme State-rights school and by a radical defender of free trade.

As soon as the Clerk of the House finished the calling of the roll and announced that a quorum had answered to their names, Mr. Brooks of New York rose and called attention to the fact that there were seventeen absent States, ten of which, belonging to the late Confederacy, were not called at all, and the remaining seven—New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Kentucky, Tennessee, Nebraska, and California—had presented no credentials of members, inasmuch as under their respective laws, Representatives to the Fortieth Congress had not yet been chosen. Among the absent were seven of the "old thirteen"—an absolute majority of the States which founded the Republic. The absentees in all amounted to eighty members; and on behalf of his political associates Mr. Brooks presented a formal protest, signed by every Democratic member present, "against any and every action tending to the organization of this House until the absent States be more fully represented." He asked that it be entered upon the Journal as the protest of the minority of the House. Under the rules the Clerk refused to receive or submit the paper for consideration, and the House immediately proceeded to the election of Speaker. Mr. Colfax was chosen for the third and last time. He received one hundred and twenty-seven votes against thirty cast for Mr. Samuel S. Marshall, a highly respectable Democrat member from Illinois. As before, Mr. Colfax, in his remarks when he took the chair, sought to present an embodiment of Republican policy on the current issues. He declared that "the freeman's hands should wield the freeman's ballot;" that "none but loyal men should govern a land which loyal sacrifices have saved;" that "there can be no safe or loyal reconstruction on a foundation of unrepentant treason or disloyalty."

The principal business of the session was to provide supplementary legislation to the Reconstruction Act which had been passed over the President's veto only two days before the new Congress assembled. That Act, from a variety of circumstances, had been forced through at the last under whip and spur. Upon close examination by the leading Republicans of both Senate and house it was found to be defective in many important respects, and especially to lack the detail necessary to give life and vigor to proceedings looking to the practical reconstruction of the Southern States. The two Houses therefore addressed themselves promptly to the task of supplying the necessary amendments and additions. On the 19th of March they sent to the President an Act prescribing in detail the mode for the registering of voters in the insurrectionary States, and for the summoning of a convention to frame a constitution preparatory to the re-admission of each State to representation. The Act declared that "if the constitution shall be ratified by a majority of the votes of the registered electors qualified to vote, at least one-half of all the registered voters voting upon the question, a copy of the same, duly certified, shall be transmitted to the President of the United States, who shall forthwith transmit the same to Congress and if it shall appear to Congress that the election was one at which all the registered and qualified electors in the State had an opportunity to vote freely and without restraint, fear, or the influence of fraud, and if Congress shall be satisfied that such constitution merits the approval of a majority of all the qualified electors in the State, and if the said constitution shall be declared by Congress to be in conformity with the provisions of the Act to which this is supplementary, and the other provisions of said Act shall have been complied with, and the said constitution shall be approved by Congress, the State shall be declared entitled to representation, and senators and representatives shall be admitted therefrom as therein provided."

The President promptly vetoed the bill. Among various objections he said, "This supplemental bill superadds an oath to be taken by every person, before his name can be admitted upon the registration, that he 'has not been disfranchised for participation in any rebellion or civil war against the United States.' It thus imposes upon every person the necessity and responsibility of deciding for himself, under the penalty of punishment by a military commission if he makes a mistake, what works disfranchisement by participation in rebellion and what amounts to such participation. . . . The question with the citizen to whom this oath is to be proposed must be a fearful one, for while the bill does not declare that perjury may be assigned for such false swearing nor fix any penalty for the offense, we must not forget that martial law prevails and that every person is answerable to a military commission, without previous presentment by a grand jury, for any charge that may be made against him, and that the supreme authority of the military commander determines the question as to what is an offense and what is to be the measure of punishment. . . . I do not deem it necessary further to investigate the details of this bill. No consideration could induce me to give my approval to such an election law for any purpose, and especially for the great purpose of framing the constitution of a State. If ever the American citizen should be left to the free exercise of his own judgment, it is when he is engaged in the work of forming the fundamental law under which he is to live. That is his work and it cannot properly be taken out of his hands."

The whole issue presented by this bill was but another of the countless phases of that prolonged and fundamental contest between those who believed that guarantees should be exacted from the rebel States, and those who believed that these States should be freely admitted, without condition and without restraint, to all the privileges which they had recklessly thrown away in their mad effort to destroy the Government. The strength of each side had again been well stated in the debates of the Senate and House and in the veto-message of the President, and no change of opinion was expected by either party from the reasoning or the protest of the other. The President's argument was therefore met by a prompt vote passing the bill over his veto, in the House by 114 ayes to 25 noes, and in the Senate by 40 ayes to 7 noes. The resistance was very slight, and the fruit of the great Republican victory of 1866 was now realized in the formidable strength which the President's opponents exhibited in both branches.

The session lasted until the thirtieth day of March, and though Congress had then completed all the business pressing upon its attention the Republican leaders would not permit an adjournment sine die. They decided to meet again in midsummer. The same necessity that had induced them to convene in March persuaded them that the President should not be allowed to have control of events for eight months without the supervision of the legislative branch of the Government. It was resolved therefore that Congress should meet on Wednesday, July 3d. The vigilance and determination evinced by this action did not prove useless or go unrewarded. Only a few weeks after Congress had taken its recess the danger anticipated by the Republican leaders, from hostile interpretation of the Reconstruction Acts by the Attorney-General, was made fully apparent. On the 24th of May and the 12th of June Mr. Stanbery gave two opinions to the President, which in many respects neutralized the force both of the original and supplementary acts of Reconstruction. His adverse views were elaborately and skilfully presented, and tended to embarrass the military commanders of the Southern districts in the administration of law, and to hinder the registration of voters and the holding of elections for constitutional conventions. Republican leaders therefore felt not only justified in the precautions they had taken to keep the power of Congress alive, but esteemed it peculiarly fortunate that they could so promptly prevent the evil effects which might otherwise flow from the unfriendly constructions of the Attorney-General. The principal business of the July session was to provide a second supplementary Act which effectually remedied all the objections and obstructions which Mr. Stanbery's acute legal knowledge had suggested. The bill passed both branches by the 13th of July and reached the President on the 14th—meeting at his hands the same fate that its predecessors had incurred. On the 19th he vetoed it—rehearsing the objections he had repeatedly stated on the same issues.

The President complained that within less than a year Congress had attempted to strip the Executive Department of the Government of some of its essential powers. "The military commander," said he, "is, as to the power of appointment, made to take the place of the President, and the General of the Army the place of the Senate, and any attempt on the part of the President to assert his own Constitutional power may, under pretense of law, be met by official insubordination. It is to be feared that these military officers, looking to the authority given by these laws, rather than to the letter of the Constitution, will recognize no authority but the commander of the district or the General of the Army. . . . If there were no other objection than this to the proposed legislation it would be sufficient. While I hold the chief executive authority of the United States, while the obligations rests upon me to see that all laws are faithfully executed, I can never willingly surrender that trust or the powers given for its execution. I can never give my assent to be made responsible for the faithful execution of laws, and at the same time surrender that trust and the powers which accompany it to any other executive officer, high or low, or to any number of executive officers."

Many of those who kept closest watch of the controversy between the President and Congress saw in the foregoing words something ominous. In their apprehensions of evil they construed it as a threat that the President would exercise his power as Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy with which he was fully invested by the Constitution, to change the assignment of military officers at will. Should he stubbornly or capriciously assert this power he might seriously embarrass the entire administration of the Reconstruction Acts in the approaching registrations and elections in the Southern States. A change of officers at a single point might frustrate all the preparations for the reconstruction of a State, and a general change might produce chaos in the South and possibly develop a spirit of violence of which no man could measure the effect. The President's words made a deep impression on Congress. Mr. Boutwell saw in them a deadly intent "which provokes and demands the exercise of the highest and gravest duty of this House"—meaning that the President should be impeached. Mr. Randall of Pennsylvania taunted Mr. Boutwell with the declaration that all the talk of impeachment was "mere bluster;" while Mr. Thaddeus Stevens, though believing that Mr. Johnson deserved impeachment, considered it "a vain and futile thing." "There are," said he, "unseen agencies at work, invisible powers operating everywhere in the country, which will protect a man like Johnson when called upon." Debate, however, was very brief, and the House passed the bill over the veto by ayes 108, noes 25. In the Senate there was no discussion whatever on the President's message, that body being content to pass the bill against his objections by 30 ayes to 6 noes.

The Senate and the House were both ready to adjourn on the 20th of July, but Mr. Sumner, Mr. Howard of Michigan, and others of the most radical type in both branches, desired that Congress might remain in session for the summer and autumn, or at least have such short vacations as would practically amount to a continuous session. Their object was to keep constant watch of the course of the Administration and be at all times ready to neutralize its evil purpose. Aside from the great personal inconvenience which this would occasion to many members, the judgment of the majority was against so radical a step. The more conservative members of the Republican party feared that a continuous session of Congress would seriously increase the uneasiness and excitement in the country by creating the impression that the Senate and House were sitting as a committee of public safety, in the apprehension of a civil revolution. The reply of those who opposed the adjournment was that the condition of public affairs did actually tend to revolution, and that instead of fanning the popular excitement by remaining in session, Congress would be thus most wisely allaying the fears which had entered the minds of so large a number of the people. But this argument did not prevail, and the conservative view secured a majority in both Houses. The vote in the Senate however was very close, there being only one more Republican in the affirmative that in the negative, leaving to Democratic votes, really, the decision of the question. A very inconvenient compromise was made by an adjournment to the 21st of November—only a fortnight before Congress would convene in regular annual session on the first Monday of December. No good reason was assigned for so extraordinary a step, and no benefit resulted from it.

The Reconstruction Acts, both original and supplementary, were now in full operation throughout the South. The President did not interpose serious objection to the assignment of the Army officers whose names were suggested by General Grant, and the ten insurrectionary States not yet re-admitted to representation were remanded to military government with apparent quiet and order. General Schofield was directed to take charge of the district of Virginia; General Sickles was placed in command of the district of North Carolina and South Carolina; General John Pope was assigned to the district of Georgia, Alabama, and Florida; General Ord to the district of Mississippi and Arkansas; and General Sheridan to the district of Louisiana and Texas. These assignments were made with due promptness after the enactment of the laws, and the several commanders at once proceeded to their novel and responsible duties.(1)

Under the enlargements of suffrage in the direction of loyalty, and its restrictions in the direction of disloyalty, the Southern States once more turned their attention to the question of Reconstruction. They saw, as the law intended them to see, that military government would exist until the loyal inhabitants of those States should present themselves before Congress with a constitution adapted to the changed circumstances resulting from the war, and to the necessities superinduced by the abolition of slavery. The Southern men who had defiantly rejected the Fourteenth Amendment, and had with confidence relied upon the power of President Johnson to vindicate their position, now discovered their mistake, and were reluctantly but completely convinced that the only road to representation in Congress for their States was through submission to the conditions imposed by the Acts of Reconstruction,—conditions far more exacting than those which had been required by the preceding Congress and which they had so unwisely refused to accept.

The assignments of Army officers to the Southern districts were made early in the spring of 1867. From that time onward it was hoped that the preservation of order would be secured in the South, and that the rights of all classes would be adequately protected. But notwithstanding the anticipation of this desirable result, there was throughout the summer and autumn of 1867 a feeling of great anxiety concerning the condition of the Southern States,—a constant apprehension that some outbreak similar to that in New Orleans the preceding year might lead to deplorable consequences, among the least of which would be the postponement of the organization of State governments. The cause of this solicitude among Northern people was the novel experiment in the South of allowing loyal men regardless of race or color to share in the suffrage and to participate in the administration of the Government. Under any less authoritative mandate than that which is conveyed in a military order with the requisite force behind it, the Southern communities would never have accepted or submitted to the conditions thus imposed. But the sympathy which their condition under other circumstances might have evoked in the North, was stifled by the pertinent consideration that they had refused other forms of Reconstruction, and had wilfully drawn upon themselves all that was unwelcome in the one now about to be enforced. It was to be noted moreover that the feature which was most unwelcome —impartial suffrage—was the one especially founded upon justice, abstract as well as practical.

Conventions were held successively in all the States, the elections being conducted in good order, while every man entitled to vote was fully secured in his suffrage. The conventions were duly assembled, constitutions formed, submitted in due time, and approved by popular vote. State governments were promptly organized under these organic laws, Legislatures were elected, and the Fourteenth Amendment ratified in each of the States with as hearty a unanimity as in the preceding winter it has been rejected by the same communities. The proceedings were approximately uniform in all the States, and the constitutions, with such minor differences and adaptations as circumstances required, were in all essential points the same. All were ordained in the spirit of liberty, all prohibited the existence of any form of slavery, and all heartily recognized the supreme sovereignty of the National Government as having been indisputably established by the overthrow of the Rebellion which was undertaken to confirm the adverse theory of State-rights.

These proceedings in the South were in full progress when the second or long session of the Fortieth Congress began, on the first Monday of December, 1867. While President Johnson had not interposed any obstructions to the working of the Reconstruction Act which had not been effectively cured by the two supplementary Acts, he had neither concealed nor abated his utter hostility to the policy of Congress,—a form of hostility that grew in rancor in proportion as he had been thwarted and rendered powerless by the enactment of the laws over his veto. When Congress came together he seemed to have gathered all his strength for a final assault upon its Reconstruction work and for a final vindication of his own policy. His message was laden with every form of attack which ingenuity could devise to throw discredit upon Congress, and if possible to affright the people by the dismal consequences destined in his judgment to follow the flagrant violation of the Constitution which he saw in the Reconstruction policy. He appealed to the people on the ground of patriotism, public safety, and personal interest. He pictured anew the advantage and the grandeur of having the old Union fully restored; he warned the people of the danger of sowing the seeds of another rebellion by allowing continued maltreatment of the Southern people; and he appealed to the commercial and financial interests of the country by pointing out how every form of property was endangered by the chaotic conditions of affairs to which, in his belief, the policy of Congress was steadily tending. Beyond these considerations he endeavored to arouse among the people all possible prejudice against negro suffrage. He declared that "of all the dangers which our Nation has yet encountered, none are equal to those which must result from the success of the effort now making to Africanize the half of our country." "We must not," said he, "delude ourselves. It will require a strong standing army, and probably more than two hundred millions per annum, to maintain the supremacy of negro governments after they are established,—a sum thus thrown away which would, if properly used, form a sinking-fund large enough to pay the whole National debt in less than fifteen years."

The argument of the President however was not merely a twice-told tale. It had been repeated many times and though never more artfully stated than now, it fell upon unlistening ears, making no impression whatever upon Congress and very little upon the country. The process of Reconstruction went on, and its first fruit was the presentation of a constitution from Arkansas, framed in exact accordance with the requirements prescribed by Congress, and accompanied by proof that the State had ratified the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution. A bill was introduced in the House by Mr. Stevens, on the 7th of May (1868), to admit the State of Arkansas to representation in Congress. The question of Reconstruction had been debated so elaborately and for so long a period of time that there was little disposition now to open the subject afresh, and with far less resistance than had been anticipated the Arkansas bill was passed in both branches, and the State declared entitled to all those rights in the Union which she, with her sisters in rebellion, had so flippantly thrown aside in 1861. A fundamental condition was attached to the admission, declaring "that the Constitution of Arkansas shall never be so amended or changed as to deprive any citizen or class of citizens of the United States of the right to vote, who are entitled to vote by the Constitution herein recognized, except as a punishment for such crimes as are now felonies at common law, whereof they shall have been duly convicted under laws equally applicable to all the inhabitants of said State."

The Act re-admitting Arkansas to the right of representation was followed immediately by one of the same general scope with respect to the States of North Carolina, South Carolina, Louisiana, Georgia, Alabama, and Florida. The same fundamental condition already cited as imposed on Arkansas was imposed on all these States, and the further condition was exacted from Georgia that certain provisions in her Constitution should be a solemn Act of her Legislature be declared null and void. The provision to be thus annulled related to the collection of debts, and their spirit and intent may be inferred from the opening declaration that "no court in the State shall have jurisdiction to try or determine any suit against any resident of this State upon any contract or agreement made or implied prior to the first day of June, 1865, or upon any contract made in renewal of any debt existing prior to the date named." The provision as the Georgia convention had framed it would have wrought great injury to a large number of creditors in the North. It was a complete outlawry of thousands of dollars legally and equitably due to honest creditors, and Georgia was compelled to agree to its nullification before her senators and representatives could be admitted to seats in Congress.

The bills admitting these States to representation did not secure Executive approval. On the 20th of June (1868) the President sent a message to the House of Representatives with his objections to the Arkansas bill. "The approval of this bill," said he, "would be an admission on the part of the Executive that the Act for the more efficient government of the rebel States, passed March 2, 1867, and the Act supplementary thereto, were proper and constitutional. My opinion however in reference to these measures has undergone no change, but on the contrary has been strengthened by the results which have attended their execution." He then proceeded to state his objections as he had so often done before, with no variation of argument, without the production of new facts.—Five days later, on the 25th of June, the President communicated his objections to the bill admitting the other Southern States to representation. He had apparently become fatigued with the reiteration of his arguments, and he frankly stated that he would not "undertake at this time to re-open the discussion upon the grave Constitutional question involved in the Reconstruction Acts." He declared that "the bill assumed authority over the States which has never been delegated to Congress," and "imposes conditions which are in derogation of equal rights." The vetoes did not evoke long debate in either House, and both bills were promptly passed over the objections of the President by a party vote, amounting indeed to more than three to one in both Senate and House.

In the arguments which the President had found such frequent occasion to submit, he quietly ignored the facts of secession, the crime of rebellion, the ruthless sundering of Constitutional bonds which these States had attempted. He took no note of the immense losses both of life and property which they had inflicted upon the Nation, and gave no consideration to the suffering which they had causelessly brought upon the people. If the President's logic should be accepted as indicting the true measure of Constitutional obligation imposed on the different members of the Union, then any State might rebel at any time, seize and destroy the National property, levy war, form alliances with hostile nations, and thus subject the Republic to great peril and great outlay, her citizens to murder and to pillage. If the rebellious State be finally subdued, the National Government must not attach the slightest condition to her re-admission to the Union; must not impose discipline or even administer reproof. The fact that the rebellion fails is the full warrant for its guilty authors to be at once repossessed of all the rights and all the privileges which in the frenzy of anger and disobedience they had thrown away. Such was in effect the argument of the President throughout the Reconstruction contest; such was the demand of the leaders of the Rebellion; such was the concession which the Democratic party constantly urged in Congress, through the press, and in all the channels through which its great power was exerted.

The position of the Republicans was steadily the opposite of that described. They held that the States which had rushed into a rebellion so wicked, so causeless, and so destructive, should not be allowed to resume their places of authority in the Union except under such conditions as would guard, so far as human foresight could avail, against the outbreak of another insurrection. They should return to the Union on precisely the same terms as those on which the loyal States held their places; they should have the same privileges and be subjected to the same conditions. As slavery had been the chief inciting cause of disunion, slavery should die. As the vicious theory of State-rights had been constantly at enmity with the true spirit of Nationality, the Organic Law of the Republic should be so amended that no standing-room for the heresy would be left. As the basis of representation in the Constitution has always given the slave States an advantage, these States, now that slavery was abolished, should not be permitted to oppress the negro population and use them merely for an enlarged Congressional power to the white men who had precipitated the rebellion. As the war to maintain Union and Liberty had cost a vast treasure and sacrificed countless lives, the States that had forced the bloody contest should agree by solemn amendment to the Constitution that the National debt and the pension to the soldier should be secured. Those conditions—applying to all the States alike, to the loyal and the disloyal in the same measure—must be honorably agreed to by the States that had gone into Disunion before they should be permitted to resume and enjoy the blessings of Union. History and the just judgment of mankind will vindicate the wisdom and the righteousness of the Republican policy, and that vindication will always carry with it the condemnation of Andrew Johnson.

The long contest over Reconstruction, so far as it involved the re-admission of the States to representation, was practically ended. Eight of the eleven Confederate States, at the close of June 1868, had their senators and representatives in Congress. Three—Virginia, Mississippi, and Texas—were prevented by self-imposed obstacles from enjoying the same privilege until after President Johnson had retired from office. Of the representatives on the floor of the Fortieth Congress from the eight states lately in rebellion, only two were Democrats. The senators were unanimously Republican. Of the aggregate number about one-half were natives of the South. The war upon the "Carpet-bagger" had not yet reached the era of savage atrocity, but the indignation pervading the governing classes of the South, as they were termed, was poured forth in unstinted measure upon the heads of all native Southerners who consented to accept offices conferred by negro votes. It was evident that the admission of the States to representation was to be taken as the signal for a new contest in the South—embittered in its character and sanguinary in its results. The men who had been foremost in plunging their States into the vortex of rebellion were determined to rule them—their determination being of that type which disregards the restraint of law and considers that the end justifies the means.

With all the advantages of old association and in numberless instances of kindly relation with the colored race, the former masters showed themselves singularly deficient in the tact and management necessary to win the negroes and bind them closely to their interest, in the new conditions which emancipation had created. Of the evil results that flowed from the contest now about to ensue—a contest that had many elements of provocation and of wrong on both sides—one of the most remarkable features was the complete control which the white men from the North, entire strangers to the negro, to his habits and to his prejudices, so readily obtained over him. The late slave-masters did not adapt themselves to the new situation. They gave way to repining and regretting, to sulking and to anger, to resentment and revenge, and thereby lost a great opportunity for binding together the two races in those ties of sympathy and confidence which must be maintained as an indispensable condition of prosperity, or even of domestic order and the reign of law, in the Southern States. The lack of moral courage among the physically brave men of the South has already been indicated and illustrated. It was something of this same defect that held back the slave-masters from the condescension, as they esteemed it, of establishing any relation whatever with the negro in his new condition of freedom. Such action was frowned upon by the public opinion of this class throughout the South, and for lack of bold leadership at the critical period, for lack of that consideration which in many subsequent instances has been lavished upon the colored man, the current of fatal prejudice was set strongly against the old master in the mind of his former slave. Events, as they developed in the stirring and sorrowful years that followed, were but a continual proof of that form of original blunder on the part of the Southern whites, which in affairs of civil administration is worse than a crime.

In excuse, or at least in explanation, of this unfortunate blunder on the part of Southern men, the obstinacy and wrong-headed course of President Johnson must be pleaded. It was his causeless, voluntary, unpardonable quarrel with his party which misled Southern men at the time when they most needed lessons of wisdom and moderation. The different result which we may well conceive might have followed in the South under the considerate and kindly spirit which Mr. Lincoln would have brought to the problem, gives us by contrast some faint appreciation of the enormity of Johnson's conduct and of the evil effects flowing from it. At the very moment when the President should have stood as a generous mediator, calming the irritation of the South —an irritation inevitably incident to defeat—and restraining somewhat, at least in the manner of preferring them, the demands and requirements which the Government in its hour of victory was justified in making, Johnson committed the grievous fault of espousing the Southern cause and quarreling with the party which had confided to him the power he was abusing.

Under the patronage and protection of the President, Southern men would have been more or less than human if they had not grown arrogant and defiant towards the men of the North. The chivalric sympathy which always moves the magnanimous in their treatment of a fallen foe, was therefore drowned in the indignation to which Northern men were naturally moved by provocations as unexpected as they were extraordinary. Stimulated by the protection of the President and encouraged by his contumacious quarrel with Congress, the South was driven from one unwise step to another, until the entire situation became hopelessly entangled, and every movement affected by anger and passion;—the North resolving more and more to insist on the fruits of victory, the South resolving more and more to act as though they had conquered in the contest. It was not unnatural, under the anxieties and discouragements of the crisis, that the South should have clung to Mr. Johnson for protection; but in the calm review which the lapse of twenty years affords, the most ardent Southern partisan must see that the President's policy was at enmity with the interest and happiness of his section.

It is not to be forgotten, however, that Mr. Johnson's course was marked by the inherent qualities of his mind. He had two signal defects, either of which would impair his fitness for Executive duty; united they rendered him incapable of efficient administration:—he was conceited and he was obstinate. Conceit without obstinacy may be overcome by the advice of judicious counselors; united with obstinacy it carries its possessor beyond the bounds of prudence, almost beyond the control of reason. Obstinacy united with good judgment is softened into the virtue of firmness. It has often been said that self-made men, as they are termed, are necessarily conceited. Like all aphorisms, this must be taken with numberless exceptions, but it was singularly applicable to Johnson, who was in all respects a self-made man. His great career was never absent from his thoughts, and he was always looking at himself as he fancied he would appear in history. He came to regard himself as the hero upon a remarkable stage of action, and naturally made the reflection that if he could have had in his early years the advantages which so many possess without improving, he would have made strides in life which would have left him without rivals. It would be impossible to gain a full and correct apprehension of Mr. Johnson's character without taking into account these qualities —qualities which were both the remote and immediate cause of his extraordinary career as Chief Magistrate.

The earlier Presidents, filled with the spirit of the convention that formed the Constitution, were extremely careful in the use of the veto-power. In eight years Washington used it but twice. Neither John Adams nor Thomas Jefferson used it even once. Madison resorted to it three times, Monroe only once, John Quincy Adams in not a single instance. Under the first six Presidents, the veto-power had been used but six times in all; unless there should be included some private bills sent back for correction and not in any sense furnishing matter of contest between parties. The country had thus been educated by the sages of the era of the Constitution in the belief that only an extraordinary occasion justified a resort to what, in the popular dislike of its character, had received the name of "the one-man power." President Jackson, therefore, surprised the country and shocked conservative citizens by his frequent employment of this great prerogative. During his term he thwarted the wish and the expressed resolve of Congress no less than eleven times on measures of great public consequence. Seven of these vetoes were of the kind which, during his Presidency, received the name of "pocket-vetoes."

In Madison's administration a bill which reached the President during the last ten days of the session failed by accident or inadvertence to receive the President's signature, and did not become a law. Mr. Webster is authority for saying that there was not a single instance prior to the administration of General Jackson in which the President by design omitted to sign a bill and yet did not return it to Congress. "The silent veto," said he, "is the executive adoption of the present administration." There had been instances in which, during a session of Congress, a President, unwilling to approve and yet not prepared to veto a measure, suffered it to become a law by the lapse of the Constitutional period of ten days; but it was an entirely new device, to defeat a bill by permitting the period of less than ten days to expire at the close of the session—defeat it without action, without expression of opinion, without the responsibility which justly attaches to the Executive office. Commenting with great power, at the time, upon the new use of the veto-power in all its forms by President Jackson, Mr. Webster declared its tendency was "to disturb the harmony which ought always to exist between Congress and the Executive, and to turn that which the Constitution intended only as an extraordinary remedy for extraordinary cases, into a common means of making Executive discretion paramount to the discretion of Congress in the enactment of laws." It was literally making the extreme medicine of the Constitution its daily bread.

An example set by so strong a ruler as Jackson, especially in the establishment of a practice so congenial to man's natural love of power, was certain to be followed by other Presidents. It was followed so vigorously indeed that the forty years succeeding Jackson's advent to power presented a strong contrast with the forty years that preceded it. The one began with Washington, the other ended with Andrew Johnson. Mr. Van Buren, though in all respects a lineal heir to the principles of Jackson, did not imitate him in the frequent use of the veto-power. But Mr. Tyler on nine different occasions ran counter to the action of Congress by the interposition of his veto. Mr. Polk resorted to it in three signal instances, but neither General Taylor nor Mr. Fillmore came in conflict with Congress on a single measure. President Pierce almost rivaled General Jackson in the ten vetoes with which he emphasized his own views as distinct from those of Congress. Mr. Buchanan used his arbitrary power on four occasions during his term. Mr. Lincoln permitted one bill to be defeated, as already noted in these pages, by expiration of Congress, and arrested the passage of another by direct use of his veto. President Johnson, who in many features of his career has been suspected of an attempted imitation of Jackson, far surpassed his great prototype in the use of the veto-power, employing it directly in no less than twenty-one instances, besides pocketing at least two bills of public importance. The aggregate number of vetoes, therefore, in the forty years that followed General Jackson's first election exceeded fifty, as against six for the forty years preceding it.

It will not escape observation that the most frequent resort to the veto has been by those Presidents who were chosen by the political organization which has always declared its hostility to Executive power. The Democratic party had its origin and its early growth in the cry against the overshadowing influence of the Presidential office —going so far in their denunciations as to declare that it was aping royalty in its manners and copying monarchy in its prerogatives. The men who made this outcry defeated John Quincy Adams who never used the veto, and installed Jackson who resorted to it on all occasions when his judgment differed from the conclusion of a majority of Congress. Neither Taylor nor Fillmore—both reared in the Whig school —ever attempted to defeat the will of Congress, though each wielded Executive power at a time when questions even more exciting than those of Jackson's era engaged public attention. Mr. Lincoln presents a strong contrast with his predecessors,—Pierce and Buchanan,—illustrating afresh the contradiction that the party declaiming most loudly against Executive power has constantly abused it. Mr. Tyler and Mr. Johnson were both chosen by the opponents of the Democracy, but they were both reared in that school, and both returned to it—exhibiting in their apostasy the readiness with which the Democratic mind turns to the tyranny of the veto.

The success of reconstruction in the South carried with it the ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment by the requisite number of States. The result was duly certified by Mr. Seward as Secretary of State, on the twenty-eighth day of July, 1868, and the Amendment was thenceforward a part of the organic law of the nation. It had been carried, from first to last, as a party measure—unanimously supported by the Republicans, unanimously opposed by the Democrats. Its grand and beneficent provisions failed to attract the vote of a single Democratic member in any State Legislature in the whole Union. Wherever the Democrats were in majority the Legislature rejected it, and in every Legislature where the Republicans had control the Democrats in minority voted against it. Not only was this true, but the States of Ohio and New Jersey, which had ratified it in 1866-67 when their Legislatures were Republican, formally voted in 1868, when the Democrats had come into power, to recall their assent to the Amendment and to record their opposition to its adoption. It is very seldom in the history of political issues, even when partisan feeling is most deeply developed, that so absolute a division is found as was recorded upon the question of adopting the Fourteenth Amendment. It has not been easy in succeeding years to comprehend the deep-seated, all-pervading hostility of the Democratic party to this great measure. Even on the Thirteenth Amendment, containing the far more radical proposition to abolish slavery, a few Democrats, moved by philanthropic motives, broke from the restraint of party and honored themselves by recording their votes on the side of humanity and justice; but on the Fourteenth Amendment the line of Democratic hostility in Nation and in State was absolutely unbroken.

It seems incredible that Democrats can be satisfied with the record made by their party on this most grave and important question. Every one of the many objects aimed at in the Fourteenth Amendment is founded upon a basis of justice, of liberty, of an enlarged and enlightened nationality. Its minor provisions might be regarded as temporary in their nature, but its leading provisions are permanent and are essential to the vitality of a true republic. Even those which may be held as temporary deeply affect more than one generation of American citizens, and are of themselves sufficiently important to justify a great struggle for their adoption.

It was certainly of inestimable concern to the honor of the country that those who had shed their blood and those who had given their treasure for its defense, should have their claims upon the national justice placed beyond the whim, or the caprice, or the malice of an accidental majority in Congress. Nor would it have been wise to leave open to those who in the conflict of arms had lost their slaves, the temptation to besiege Congress and the Legislatures of their States for compensation. Such an opportunity would have been a menace to the public credit, and would have proved a constant source of corruption. The Republican therefore said, "We shall incorporate the right of the soldier to repayment, in the very Constitution of the Republic; and shall in the same solemn manner decree that as slavery instigated the drawing of the sword against the life of the nation, and justly perished by the sword, its assumed value shall not be placed upon the free people of the United States as a mortgage whose payment may be exacted from their property and their toil." Against these just provisions, which in their nature are limited as to time, the Democrats in Congress and in every Legislature of the Union recorded an absolutely unanimous vote.

Another provision of the Fourteenth Amendment, temporary in its application, indeed necessarily limited to the existing generation, was demanded by the Republicans. The great mass of those engaged in the Rebellion were pardoned the moment their arms were laid down. But the leaders who, in official position before the war, had solemnly sworn to support the Constitution, were held to be far more guilty than the multitude who followed them. They deliberately rebelled against a government to which, on their consciences and on their oaths, they had given their personal pledge of fidelity. The Republicans did not propose to visit even these chief offenders with pains and penalties; but they resolved to place in the Constitution a prohibition upon their holding office under the National government until after two-thirds of both branches of Congress, satisfied of their good intentions, should remove their disabilities. The Democrats unanimously voted against even this mild discipline to those who precipitated the desperate war, thereby declaring their willingness, if not their desire, that the most guilty should fare as well as the innocent; that for example Mr. Toombs might resume his seat as a senator from Georgia, Mr. Breckinridge as a senator from Kentucky, Mr. Benjamin as a senator from Louisiana, Mr. Jefferson Davis as a senator from Mississippi.

Still another provision of the Amendment which might prove temporary in its application, or might prove permanent, as the South should decide, was that relating to representation in Congress. On this point the Republicans held, as has been so often repeated, that the negro should not be included in the basis of representation until he was admitted to suffrage. There is such absolute justice and fair dealing in this proposition, that no reply which deserves to be called an argument has ever been made to it. The original provision in the Constitution by which three-fifths of the slaves were enumerated in the basis of representation, agreed to originally as a compromise in connection with the subject of direct taxation, had lost its relevancy by reason of emancipation as decreed in the Thirteenth Amendment. The question now before Congress was therefore a new one. It affected the rights of States and the equality of citizens. To concede four and a half millions of negroes to the basis of Southern representation, and at the same time to confine the suffrage to the whites, was not merely a harsh injustice to the colored race, but it was an insulting discrimination against Northern white men. It gave, as was well said at the time, a far greater influence in National affairs to the vote of the Confederate solider in the South than to the vote of the Union soldier in the North. In Congressional districts where the colored race constituted one-half of the total population (and in many instances the proportion was even larger), the vote of one white man offset the vote of two in a Northern district where suffrage was impartial. This ratio of influence went into the Electoral College, and gave to the white men of South Carolina, Mississippi and Louisiana double the power of that enjoyed by white men in New York, Illinois and California. The loss of Representatives to the Northern States, or more properly speaking the gain to the Southern States on existing numbers, would be nearly one-eighth of the entire House, and fully one-quarter of those likely to occupy seats on the Democratic side of the chamber. In the Electoral College, the loss to the North and the gain to the South would be nearly in the same ratio. In the rapid increase of the negro race the offensive discrimination against the North would be continually enlarging in its proportions. The corrective provision in the Fourteenth Amendment was designed to prevent this grave injustice both to the negro and to the white man—but every Democrat in Congress and in the State Legislatures voted against it through all the stages of its enactment and its ratification, and thereby expressed a willingness to give an unfair advantage to the Southern white man, and to establish an unfair discrimination against the Northern white man.

Important and essential as are the provisions of the Fourteenth Amendment just cited, indispensable as they have proved in the system of Southern Reconstruction, they are relatively of small consequence when compared with that great provision which is for all time:—that provision which establishes American citizenship upon a permanent foundation, which gives to the humblest man in the Republic ample protection against any abridgment of his privileges and immunities by State law, which secures to him and his descendants the equal protection of the law in all that relates to his life, his liberty, and his property. The first section of the Constitutional amendment which includes these invaluable provisions is in fact a new charter of liberty to the citizens of the United States; is the utter destruction of the pestilent heresy of State-rights, which constantly menaced the prosperity and even the existence of the Republic; and is the formal bestowment of Nationality upon the wise Federal system which was the outgrowth of our successful Revolution against Great Britain.

Before the adoption of this Amendment citizenship of the United States was inferred from citizenship of some one of the States, for there was nothing in the Constitution defining or even implying National citizenship as distinct from its origination in or derivation from a State. It was declared in Article IV, Section 2, of the Federal Constitution, that "Citizens of each State shall be entitled to all the privileges and immunities of citizens in the several States;" but nothing was better known than that this provision was a dead letter from its very origin. A colored man who was a citizen of a Northern State was certain to be placed under the surveillance of the police if he ventured south of the Potomac or the Ohio, destined probably to be sold into slavery under State law, or permitted as a special favor to return at once to his home. A foreign-born citizen, with his certificate of naturalization in his possession, had prior to the war no guarantee or protection against any form of discrimination or indignity, or even persecution, to which State law might subject him, as has been painfully demonstrated at least twice in our history. But this rank injustice and this hurtful inequality were removed by the Fourteenth Amendment. Its opening section settled all conflicts and contradiction on this question by a comprehensive declaration which defined National citizenship and gave to it precedence of the citizenship of a State. "All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof are citizens of the United States and of the States wherein they reside." These pregnant words distinctly reversed the origin and character of American citizenship. Instead of a man being a citizen of the United States because he was a citizen of one of the States, he was now made a citizen of any State in which he might choose to reside, because he was antecedently a citizen of the United States.

The consequences that flowed from this radical change in the basis of citizenship were numerous and weighty. Nor were those consequences left subject to construction or speculation. They were incorporated in the same section of the Amendment. The abuses which were formerly heaped on the citizens of one State by the legislative and judicial authority of another State were rendered thenceforth impossible. The language of the Fourteenth Amendment is authoritative and mandatory: "No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty or property without due process of law, nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." Under the force of these weighty inhibitions, the citizen of foreign birth cannot be persecuted by discriminating statutes, nor can the citizen of dark complexion be deprived of a single privilege or immunity which belong to the white man. Nor can the Catholic, or the Protestant, or the Jew be placed under ban or subjected to any deprivation of personal or religious right. The provision is comprehensive and absolute, and sweeps away at once every form of oppression and every denial of justice. It abolishes caste and enlarges the scope of human freedom. It increases the power of the Republic to do equal and exact justice to all its citizens, and curtails the power of the States to shelter the wrong-doer or to authorize crime by a statute. To Congress is committed the authority to enforce every provision of the Fourteenth Amendment, and the humblest man who is denied the equal protection of the laws of a State can have his wrongs redressed before the Supreme Judiciary of the Nation.

It is perhaps not strange that the Democrats of the South were hostile to the great results wrought for freedom, for justice, and for popular rights by the Fourteenth Amendment. Their education, their prejudices, their personal interests had all been in the opposite direction, and it was doubtless too much to hope that all these would be overcome by a victory for the Union—a victory which carried to their minds a sense of personal humiliation and of remediless ruin. If their course was unwise it is not altogether unintelligible. But the action of the Northern Democrats cannot be accounted for and cannot be excused. They stood stubbornly, solidly, without reason, without justification, against a great enlargement of popular rights. It is a matter of wonder that a political organization which claims Jefferson for its founder and Jackson for its exemplar, should have surrendered to its rival the sole glory of an achievement which may well be compared with that increase of liberty attained by our ancestors, when the dependence of Colonies was exchanged for the independence of States.

Two eminent judges of the Supreme Court who died after the close of the war are entitled to the admiration and gratitude of the loyal citizens of the United States. When Mr. Lincoln was inaugurated there were three judges on the Supreme Bench from the States which afterwards formed the Confederacy,—James M. Wayne of Georgia, John Catron of Tennessee, and John A. Campbell of Alabama. The last-named was placed upon the bench in 1853, and was undoubtedly the choice of Jefferson Davis, who as the leading Southern member of President Pierce's Cabinet exerted large influence, if not absolute control, over appointments from the slave-holding States. The personal and political associations of Judge Campbell led him to resign his position on the Supreme Bench, and to give the weight of his name and his learning to the Confederate cause.

Judge Wayne was appointed by President Jackson in 1835, and Judge Catron by President Van Buren immediately after his inauguration in 1837, under a bill enlarging the Court, which had been approved by General Jackson. Judge Catron had long been a favorite of General Jackson in Tennessee, and it was understood that in appointing him to the Bench Mr. Van Buren was carrying out the expressed wishes of his predecessor. Both judges came from that earlier and better school of Southern Democracy which resisted the injurious heresies of State-rights and Nullification, sustained the Force Bill under President Jackson, and stood loyally by the Union of the States. They were allied to the South by birth, by education, and by the associations of a lifetime. Their friends, their kindred, even members of their own families, joined in the Rebellion. But these patriotic men, one of whom was born during the Revolutionary war and the other during the first term of Washington's Presidency, maintained their judicial positions and were unshaken in their loyalty to the Union. Their example was followed by few officials from the states that seceded, but the steadfastness of their faith was a striking illustration of the difference between the South of Jefferson and Jackson and the South of Calhoun and Davis. They sat on the Bench throughout the entire civil struggle,—Judge Catron dying in May, 1865, in the eighty-seventh year of his age, and Judge Wayne in July, 1867, in his seventy-eighth year.

The conduct of these venerable judges is all the more to be praised because they did not personally sympathize in any degree with the Republican leaders. They did not believe in the creed or the policies of the party, and feared the result of its administration of the National Government. Their views in regard to the Constitutional rights of the slave-holders were the same as those held by the Confederate chieftains. They had both concurred with Chief Justice Taney in the Dred Scott decision. But it was enough for them now to know that Mr. Lincoln had been Constitutionally chosen President of the United States, and had been Constitutionally installed in his great office. It was not for them as Justices of the Supreme Court to know any thing of his Executive acts, except as they might properly come for review before their high tribunal. They illustrated the honorable line of duty for a Judge under the Government of the United States. Off the Bench, his right to political opinions is no more to be questioned than that of any other citizen. On the Bench, he falls short of the full measure of his exalted duty if by any way or any expression he discloses his sympathy with one political party or his prejudice against another.

It is a tribute of honor to the Supreme Court that through all the mutations of its existence only a single Justice has proved unfaithful to the Union of the States; and prior to the war three-fifths of all the Justices were appointed from the South. Southern men in all other departments of the Public Service—those eminent in our Congressional annals, in the Army, in the Navy, in the field of Diplomacy, and even one who had occupied the Presidential chair—followed the lead of their States in rebellion against the Union; or rather it may with truth be said, they led their States into rebellion against the Union. Judge Campbell, in furnishing the sole exception to the record of judicial loyalty, did not yield without a struggle. He was surrounded with peculiar embarrassments, and was not strong enough to overcome them. He realized his position, and did what he could to avert war; but when war was inevitable, he upheld the Confederate cause and became one of its directing minds. In contrast with the fall from his high estate and over against all the evil influences which forced Judge Campbell to his fate, the names of Catron and Wayne will shine in history as examples of the just judge and the incorruptible patriot.

[(1) The President's personal hostility to some of the officers thus assigned was well known, and surprise was expressed that he did not countermand or qualify the order of General Grant when first issued. He was especially unfriendly to General Sheridan, and late in the summer of 1867 relieved him from his command. General Hancock was gazetted as Sheridan's successor, but he did not reach his post until late in November, the district meanwhile being under the command, first, of General Charles Griffin, and, second, of General Joseph A. Mower. General Hancock's order assuming command, issued on the 29th of November, had a certain political significance. He expressed gratification "that peace and quiet reign in the Department," and that in his purpose to preserve this condition of things, he regarded "the maintenance of the civil authorities in the faithful execution of the laws as the most efficient under existing circumstances." He said that when insurrectionary force had been overthrown and peace established, "the military power should cease to lead, and the civil administration resume its natural and rightful dominion." "Solemnly impressed with these views," the General announced that "the great principles of American liberty are still the lawful inheritance of the people and ever should be. The right of trial by jury, the habeas corpus, the liberty of the press, the freedom of speech, the natural rights of persons, and the rights of property, must be preserved."

General Sheridan had issued an order defining the qualifications of those who might sit on juries during the period of Reconstruction. One of the first acts of General Hancock was to annul this order. He declared "that the determination of who shall and who shall not be jurors appertains to the legislative power," and he indicated his intention of carrying out the existing law of Louisiana in regard to the selection of juries. General Sheridan had distributed certain memoranda of disqualification, together with questions to be proposed, for the registrars. Their effect in substance was to disqualify all persons who, having acted, prior to January 26, 1861, as United-States senators and representatives, electors, officers of the Army and Navy, civil officers of the United States, and State officers provided for by the Constitution of the State, had afterwards engaged in the Rebellion; and also all those who in 1862 and 1864 claimed the protection of foreign powers. General Hancock set aside this action, declaring that he dissented from the construction given to the Reconstruction laws therein, and ordered the registrars to be guided by their own interpretation of the laws and of the Fourteenth Amendment. It was the popular understanding that General Hancock, in these successive steps, was acting in full sympathy with the wishes and designs of the Administration, in all of which he readily concurred as a Democrat.

The appointment of General Pope for the District of Georgia, Alabama, and Florida, had not been agreeable to the President. General Pope's political convictions were of a very positive character, and they were not at all in sympathy with the National Administration. He administered the Reconstruction laws, therefore, in their full spirit and with an entire belief in their justice and equity. He insisted on fair dealing, and suppressed all interference with voters by violence or threats of violence on the part of the late rebels. He would not permit the menace of military organizations, and expressly refused to allow any parading of armed men, except of United-States troops. It was General Pope's opinion that the South had seen quite enough of men in arms within the past four years, and he believed that safety and order would be best maintained by having no uniform worn except that of the Army of the United States, and no other flag shown than the flag of the Union. Holding these pronounced views, aggressively loyal in every thought and action, General Pope was naturally in antagonism with the policy of the President. Towards the close of the year he was relieved of his command and General Meade ordered to take his place.

General Sickles, of the District of North Carolina and South Carolina, was relieved of his command early in September (1867), and General E. R. S. Canby appointed as his successor. General Sickles had been very energetic in the administration of affairs in his department, and had shown remarkable aptitude and efficiency in the discharge of his peculiar duties,—exhibiting in his administration the very qualities most likely to prove offensive to the President. He had perhaps the most difficult command of any of the generals on duty in the South, as the State of South Carolina had from the beginning of the Rebellion presented certain phases of disobedience to Federal authority peculiar to her population and naturally arising from her antecedent history. General Sickles had some trouble with Attorney-General Stanbery, and asked for a court of inquiry, that he might vindicate himself from the accusations of that official.

General Schofield and General Ord alone of the original commanders in the Southern military districts were left to carry through the work of Reconstruction. They both discharged their duties with intelligence and fidelity. Nor was the work of Reconstruction essentially hindered by the changed in other departments. It is the trained habit of the officers of the United-States Army to carry out their orders with implicit faith, and there is seldom a conflict as to the line of duty to be followed. If there was any exception, it was in regard to the course pursued by General Hancock. His conduct became a subject of controversy, and the popular division respecting its merits was on the political line. The National Administration and the Democratic party, both North and South, applauded every thing which General Hancock said and did in Louisiana. The Republican party throughout the country, and the General commanding the army, who was about to be nominated for the Presidency, united in strong disapproval of his course. But General Hancock's construction of the laws under which he was acting was the same as that held by the Attorney-General of the United States, and he thus felt abundantly justified and fortified in his position. He disobeyed no specific order of the General commanding the army, and, even if there had been a difference between them, General Hancock was sure of the sympathy and support of their common superior—the President of the United States.

It was however the subsequent opinion of General Grant that much of the disorder and bloodshed in the State of Louisiana during the national election of 1868 had resulted from the military government of General Hancock. It was not his belief that General Hancock had the slightest desire or design to produce such results, but that they were the outgrowth of the encouragement which the rebels of Louisiana received from the changes which General Hancock inaugurated in the manner of administering the Reconstruction Laws. Aside however from the conduct of General Hancock, the removal of General Sheridan from the Louisiana District was unqualifiedly offensive to General Grant in a personal sense, and contrary to his best judgment on ground of public policy and safety. His attachment to Sheridan was very strong, and a wrong against the latter was sooner or later sure to be resented by General Grant. His feelings of the question were promptly and significantly shown when he became President. Inaugurated on the 4th of March, he caused an army order to be issued on the morning of the 5th, restoring General Sheridan to his former command in Louisiana, and ordering General Hancock to the remote and peaceful Department of Dakota.]


The financial experience of the Government of the United States in the years following the war is without precedent among nations. When Congress first met after the close of hostilities (December, 1865), it was as a ship sailing into dangerous and unknown seas without chart of possible channels. The Reconstruction problem before the country seemed at the time to be less difficult than the financial problem. Other nations had incurred great expenditures for war purposes, but had always left them in chief part as a heritage for the future. Great Britain will probably never pay the total principal of her public debt. France will be burdened perhaps as long as her nationality endures by the debts heaped upon her through the ambition of her sovereigns, and in her own struggles to enlarge the liberty of her people. But in this country the purpose was early formed, not simply to provide for the interest upon the debt incurred in the war for the Union, but to begin its payment at once, and to arrange for its rapid liquidation. In view of the magnitude of the sum involved this was a new undertaking in the administration of Government finances.

The difficulties of the situation were undoubtedly aggravated and complicated by the questions which arose from the condition of the Southern States. Could Congress expect at once that the populations in those States would begin to contribute to the revenue, would cease to require large expenditures for the maintenance of the National authority, would again add to the volume of our exports, to our commerce, and our general prosperity? Serious re-action had in other lands followed the financial expansion created by great wars, even without complications similar to those which the disturbed condition of the South seemed to render unavoidable. Ought Congress to accept such a re-action as the necessary condition of the restoration of our currency, of return to a normal situation, of adjustment of expenditure to revenue on a peace footing? Could the possibility be entertained of such a return and such an adjustment, without panic, without paralysis of industry, without temporary interruption and prostration of commerce? Grave apprehensions were felt as to the possible effect upon production and trade of the legislation required to maintain the National credit. These apprehensions derived force and peculiar seriousness from the growing conflict between President Johnson and Congress upon measures of Reconstruction and upon removals from office.

In spite however of all suggested fears and doubts, a feeling of confidence pervaded the country, and was fully shared by Congress, that the power which had saved the Union could re-establish its credit without panic and without dangerous and prolonged depression. Faith in the resources which had equipped and supported the National armies, now embraced the plainer and less exciting duties of funding and paying the debt and of protecting the notes of the United States. The loans had been placed, the money borrowed, under the excitement of war,—sometimes under the pressure of defeat, sometimes in the exaltation of victory. Without this pressure, without this exaltation, could money be secured at a rate adequate to build up a National credit worthy to be compared with that of the older and richer nations beyond the Atlantic?

The intrepidity with which Congress met its task will always compel the admiration of the student of American history. While the war lasted, the contributions by taxes and by loans had been on a munificent scale. The measures adopted at the close of the Thirty-eighth Congress, after four years of desperate struggle and on the very eve on National victory, showed as great readiness to make sacrifices, as little disposition to count the cost of saving the Union, as had marked previous legislation. Less than six weeks before the surrender of Lee the internal taxes were increased, the duties on imports were adjusted to that increase, and a new Loan Bill was enacted. The bill provided for borrowing, in addition to the authority given by previous Acts, any sum not exceeding $600,000,000 in bonds, or treasury notes convertible into bonds, at six per cent interest in coin or seven and three-tenths per cent interest in currency. This provision was found to be so comprehensive that it not only provided a strong instrumentality for meeting the immense demands incident to the disbanding of the armies and the final settlement of claims connected with that momentous change in our affairs, but also laid the foundation for the policy of funding the debt at a reduced rate of interest. These results testify to the magnificent proportions of the financial legislation during the period of hostilities.

When the Thirty-ninth Congress met in December, 1865, gold stood at 147-7/8 @ 148½. A month later, on the 1st of January, 1866, the legal-tender notes and fractional currency amounted to $452,231,810; notes bearing 7-3/10 per cent interest, to $830,549,041; compound-interest notes payable three years from date (a considerable proportion of which time had elapsed), to $188,549,041; certificates of indebtedness, payable at various dates within the current year, to $50,667,000; and the temporary loan, practically payable on demand, had reached the large sum of $97,257,194. These might all be called floating and pressing obligations, and their grand aggregate was $1,618,705,045. At the same time the amount represented by bonds (6's of 1861, 5-20's, and 10-40's) was $1,120,786,700,—showing a total National debt on New-Year's Day, 1866, of $2,739,491,745. If the National credit was to be maintained these sixteen hundred millions of floating obligations must be promptly placed on a basis that would give time to the Government to provide means for their ultimate redemption. President Johnson, in his message at the opening of the session, spoke of the debt not as a public blessing, but as a heavy burden on the industry of the country, to be discharged without unnecessary delay. This was the popular sentiment in all sections of the country, although in financial circles arguments were frequently heard in favor of creating interminable obligations and of adjusting the debt on a basis of permanency, after the European fashion. The reduction had indeed already begun, since the maximum of debt had been attained in the preceding August.

The Secretary of the Treasury, Mr. Hugh McCulloch, estimated that for the fiscal year ending with June, 1867 (for which Congress was about to provide), the revenue would exceed the expenditures by $111,682,818, and that the whole of our vast debt could be liquidated by annual payments within thirty years. Mr. McCulloch's plans were to take from the compound-interest notes their legal-tender quality, from the date of their maturity, and to sell six per cent bonds, redeemable at the pleasure of the Government, for the purpose of retiring both the compound-interest notes and the plain legal-tenders. He believed that the entire debt might be funded at five per cent, while the average of the annual interest now stood at 6-62/100 per cent. He pointed to harmony between the different parts of the Union and to the settlement of the relations of labor in the Southern States, as essential conditions to the best management of the National obligations.

The leading feature of Mr. McCulloch's financial policy was the immediate and persistent contraction of the currency. His argument in support of the policy, as given in his annual report, was not accepted by the country or by Congress without serious reservation; but his belief in the theory was strong and determined, and so far as the laws permitted he went on reducing the volume of paper in circulation until on the 12th of April, 1866, the sum of legal-tenders was brought down to $421,907,103. Financiers of the Eastern cities favored the policy of contraction, although the logical plea was urged against them that the country would grow up to the volume of currency if not harried and disturbed by new legislation. Manufacturers and the holders of their products, and many who had incurred pecuniary obligations in the expanded currency, took alarm at the rapidity with which the Treasury notes were withdrawn. The argument was urged that the heavy taxes could not be met if the withdrawal were so rapid, and that industry and trade would in consequence be paralyzed by the enforced fall in prices.

These opinions and apprehensions were developed in the debate which led to the passage of the Act of April 12, 1866. The subject was first introduced by Mr. Alley of Massachusetts. On the 18th of December (1865) he offered a resolution concurring in the views of the Secretary of the Treasury, in relation to the necessity for a contraction of the currency, with a view to as early a resumption of specie payment as the business interests of the country would permit. Under a suspension of the rules, without debate, 144 voted for the resolution, 6 against it, and 32 were not recorded. Two months later, on the 21st of February, 1866, Mr. Morrill, from the Committee on Ways and Means, reported a bill which, as he explained, would expand the authority provided by the Act of March 3, 1865, for funding interest-bearing obligations, so as to include non-interest-bearing obligations. The measure authorized the Secretary to exchange the bonds prescribed by the Act for notes or certificates, and power was given to negotiate them and make them payable either in the United States or elsewhere, but if beyond the sea at not over five per cent interest.

—Mr. Thaddeus Stevens declared that the bill put over sixteen hundred millions of Government paper under the absolute and uncontrolled discretion of the Secretary of the Treasury. "This is a tremendous bill," said he. "It proposes to confer more power upon Mr. McCulloch than was ever before conferred upon any one man in a government claiming to have a constitution."

—Mr. Hooper of Massachusetts magnified the financial achievements of the Government, urged the policy embodied in the bill, and insisted on the importance of restoring the currency to a sound condition at the earliest practicable moment. He controverted the suggestion which had been made to increase United-States notes to $1,000,000,000, on the ground that the value of that dollar would be constantly fluctuating. A minority of the commissioners appointed by the preceding Congress to inquire into the state of trade and commerce had presented a specious argument in favor of debasing the coinage, but Mr. Hooper dismissed the proposition summarily and argued strongly for a contraction of legal-tender notes.

—Mr. Hulburd of New York maintained that taxation could not be increased to meet the existing and maturing obligations of the Government. He held that under the Acts of June, 1864, and March, 1865, the Secretary had power to sell at home or abroad six per cent coin bonds in any amount to meet short obligations of the Government. "Under the proposed measure," he said, "authority is specifically asked to withdraw the fractional currency and legal-tender notes, in whole or in part, and to substitute bonds for them. The like power was never asked for Neckar or for Pitt. As a principle the proposition is dangerous." He protested vigorously against making any part of the public debt payable in foreign countries.

—Mr. John Wentworth of Illinois argued in favor of contraction, maintaining that the purpose of the pending bill was to make the Secretary of the Treasury master of the situation. "If we expect him to compete successfully with the most desperate body of men in the world we must confer upon him the necessary powers. The real question is, Shall our Government pay its pensions and all its employees and creditors in depreciated paper, when by borrowing a little money at six per cent it can bring its paper to par?" He charged that an immense lobby against the bill had thronged the hall, and was surprised to find importers among them. "But the importers have found," said he, "that a bloated currency bloats the fashions." He earnestly indorsed Mr. McCulloch as a cautious man, who would not be precipitate, no matter what power might be conferred upon him: "If we adopt his policy we shall wake up some morning and find the paper of our country at par."

—Mr. Pike of Maine doubted the necessity of enforced contraction; but if contraction was necessary, he was for taxing the circulation of national banks out of existence, and afterwards retiring greenbacks. "Once upon a specie basis," said he, "let the business of the country regulate itself." He proposed also to allow the States to tax the bonds of the United States.

—Mr. Price of Iowa asked: "Would any prudent and sensible business man who had given his note payable at his own option, without interest, be likely to give for it another note for the same amount payable at a certain time, with interest at six per cent semi-annually, in gold coin?"

—Mr. Scofield of Pennsylvania asked if the legal-tender notes were not, upon their face, payable on demand.

—Mr. Allison of Iowa insisted that "the Secretary of the Treasury does not propose to return to specie payments immediately, but he expresses the opinion that the reduction of greenbacks by the sum of one hundred million dollars will secure that result."

—Mr. Boutwell of Massachusetts was content to try the experiment of converting the interest-bearing obligations into long bonds, but was unwilling to go farther.

—Mr. Sloan of Wisconsin proposed an amendment to make "bonds and all other obligations of the United States hereafter issued payable in lawful money," but the suggestion met with no favor.

—Mr. Roscoe Conkling maintained that "in the first place, the Secretary of the Treasury has now the power, under the Act of March 3, 1865, to exchange any securities of the Government which bear interest for any other securities which bear interest. In the second place, he has the power to call in, to cancel, to annihilate, so that it shall never go out again, every particle of currency issued prior to June 30,1864; and the truth is, that substantially if not literally the whole of the currency was issued previous to that time." . . . "Only one power," said Mr. Conkling, "remains to be conferred upon him; and that is, the power to put his bonds upon the market when he pleases, where he pleases, as he pleases, sell them for money, and with that money purchase the outstanding obligations of the Government."

—Mr. Garfield argued that "under existing law, the Secretary can issue compound-interest notes and 7-30 bonds to meet current indebtedness; but these are the most expensive forms of government obligations, and therefore he ought not to use the power." He thought the proposed bill was necessary in the interest of the Government. He would "trust the Secretary to proceed cautiously in the path required by honor, to place our currency on a sound basis. . . . We have travelled one-third of the way since Congress met. Gold was then 148. It is now 130. Defeat this bill, and there will be a jubilee on Wall Street."

—Mr. Lawrence of Ohio opposed the bill, and presented a letter from Mr. Freeman Clarke, then Comptroller of the Currency, saying, "We have full power to fund every dollar of the floating debt without any legislation, and with no occasion for making any loan whatever."

—Mr. Morrill closed debate on the 16th of March; and the bill coming to a vote, was defeated,—ayes 65; noes 70. But on a motion to reconsider, it was again brought before the House on the 19th of March, and after brief debate was recommitted. When it re-appeared, four days later, it contained a proviso "that the Secretary of the Treasury shall not retire more than ten million dollars of legal-tender notes in the first six months after the passage of the Act, and not more than four million dollars a month afterwards; and shall make a report to Congress of his action under this provision." Mr. Morrill submitted a letter from Mr. McCulloch, expressing the opinion that "it will be a national calamity if Congress shall fail to grant additional powers to the Secretary." He added, that "the apprehension which exists, that if power is given to the Secretary to retire legal-tender notes the circulation will be ruinously contracted, is without any special foundation." The effect of the discussion was to strengthen the bill in the House where it was passed by ayes 83; noes 53.

The bill was favorably reported to the Senate from the Finance Committee, and came up for consideration on the 9th of April, under the charge of Mr. Fessenden.

—Mr. Sherman re-affirmed the objections made in the House, that the power conferred was greater than had ever been granted to any Secretary of the Treasury since the foundation of the Government. "The power," said he, "is absolute. The Secretary may sell securities of any form at any time and fund the whole debt. No present necessity exists for such grant of authority. The proviso for restricting contraction is not adequate for that purpose. By retaining a large balance in the Treasury, the Secretary can contract the currency without violating the proviso." He deemed it unwise "to place in the hands of any mortal man this absolute and extreme control over the currency."

—Mr. Fessenden said the true principle of this bill was, "that as soon as it can be done with safety, Congress means that we shall get back to the old system of specie payments. That is about all there is of it. The effect of rejecting the measure will be to say to everybody that the Government intends to keep depreciated paper in the financial market."

—Mr. Chandler of Michigan believed the measure "to be evil, and evil only; containing dangerous powers which should not be conferred, and which no man should be willing to accept." Mr. Howe of Wisconsin agreed with him.

—Mr. Guthrie of Kentucky (Secretary of the Treasury under President
Pierce) pronounced it "necessary and proper to give this power to the
Secretary." And Mr. Morgan of New York, agreeing with him, declared
that he desired the bill "just as it is."

—An amendment to strike out the words authorizing the sale of the bonds elsewhere than in the United States was overwhelmingly defeated, ayes 7, noes 35. The bill was then passed by ayes 32, noes 7, and by the President's signature became a law on the 12th of April, 1866.

The discussion of this important financial measure illustrates the various phases of opinion prevailing both in Congress and in the country. The desire to return to a specie basis was general, and yet not a few clung to the legal-tender notes as a permanent and standard currency. While the argument in favor of contraction was prosecuted with great force, the possibility of going too fast, even in the right direction, was conceded by the wisest financiers. The natural disinclination of the American people to entrust unrestricted power to any officer was frequently and forcibly expressed. The policy of funding the obligations bearing interest was admitted on all hands, and for this purpose the sale as well as the direct exchange of bonds was approved. But the repugnance to accepting less than par, or allowing the possibility of such a rate, had its origin and support in the patriotic instincts and in the sound judgment of the people. The requirement of a report from the Secretary and the limitation of the extent of contraction, were the essential changes which made the measure acceptable.

The enactment of this bill presents in an instructive light the character of our financial legislation and the methods by which it is accomplished. As originally presented the bill had the approval of the Secretary of the Treasury and came before the House with the favorable report of the Committee on Ways and Means. Yet it had no such standing as in the British Parliament is given to a financial project of the Government. There, such a proposition would be definitely framed at the Treasury, and its details would be elaborated when first presented. The Chancellor of the Exchequer would state the full character of the measure and the reasons for asking its adoption. Opposition or question would be expected only from the benches of the rival party. Here, on the other hand, after the House, using its own judgment, had modified the bill, criticism and hostility came from the Treasury that had originally proposed it. Several prominent members of the dominant party were pronounced in opposition. Saved by parliamentary strategy when once defeated, the bill was started into new life by the adoption of restrictions upon the power and the action of the Secretary of the Treasury. These restrictions were shown to be necessary in the progress of the debate. Individual judgment asserted itself and the Act became the harmonious resultant of the conflicting opinions of the entire House.

Congress therefore did not enact anybody's theory. It put into the statute the prudent, cautious sense of the people. Recognizing the principle of funding the floating obligations, and of contraction as a means to resumption, Congress only responded to the common sense of its great constituency, in forbidding reckless haste, and in defining the rate of speed. The purpose of keeping in Congress the control of the rate of contraction was only a part of the general determination that the representatives of the people and of the States shall prescribe the methods of conduct as well as the principles and broad measures of administration. Every Government finds by practice the system of legislation and administration best adapted to its own wants. While ministerial power and a trained following, such as obtain in England, may possess advantages under the circumstances existing in the British Empire, it is the settled judgment of this country that a perfectly free discussion, enlightened but not restrained by departmental recommendation or by dictation of committees, is best adapted to the varied and conflicting wants of the whole people. And this was never better illustrated than in the financial bill whose important provisions have been under consideration.

The revenue laws received careful attention during this session. The chief measure was the Act of July 13, 1866. It came before the House with the assurance from the Ways and Means Committee that it would steadily and materially reduce internal taxes. The system of internal revenue which had been so elaborately and intelligently constructed for war purposes, yielded $310,906,984 for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1866. Reduction were now made in the taxes on several hundred articles of manufacture, on savings banks, on the gross receipts of certain corporations; and the income tax was in some degree mitigated. The total reductions were estimated at $75,684,000, but an increase was proposed on raw cotton amounting to nearly one-third of this sum. Prolonged discussion arose over this tax and resulted in a disagreement between the two Houses. The bill was finally perfected in a conference committee and ended by reducing the total internal revenue to $265,920,474 per annum—with all allowance made for the growth of the country and the elasticity of Government receipts.

Not satisfied with the large reduction of taxes made at the first session after the close of the war, Congress resumed the subject at the second session. Early in February, 1867, Mr. Morrill, from the Committee of Ways and Means, reported a bill for the further reduction of taxes, which became a law on the 2d of March. The taxes removed were returning a yearly revenue of more than $36,000,000 to the National Treasury. The principal reductions were $19,500,000 from the income tax; $4,000,000 from clothing; $3,500,000 from woolens; $3,250,000 from leather; $1,000,000 from engines; $600,000 from sugar-refiners; $600,000 from tinware; $500,000 from castings; $500,000 from doors, sashes and blinds; with many others yielding less sums. All these formed a part of what were termed war taxes, and the steady purpose of Congress was to remove them as rapidly as the obligations of the Treasury would permit. As matter of fact they were removed long before such action was expected by the people, and before the special interests subjected to the burden had time to petition for relief or even to complain of hardship.

During the winter of 1866-67 there was a prolonged discussion in Congress over an Act finally passed March 2, 1867, authorizing the Secretary of the Treasury to exchange three per cent certificates of indebtedness for compound-interest notes, and allowing these certificates to be counted as a part of the reserve of National Banks. The first proposition was to allow interest at 3-65/100 per cent. The exchange of notes not bearing interest for those bearing compound interest was proposed by Mr. Stevens, and at first supported by a majority, but on reconsideration it was defeated. Objections was made to the bill that it was a scheme for giving to the banks interest on their reserves, which they could not otherwise receive when the compound-interest notes should be retired. Of these notes the banks held $90,000,000 and the limit proposed for the certificates was $100,000,000. Congress finally limited the amount of certificates to $50,000,000 at three per cent, and allowed them to stand for two-fifths of the reserve of any bank.

While this arrangement was an obvious advantage to the National banks, no such motive inspired Congress in passing the bill. Quite another object was aimed at in its enactment. The influence of contraction, which had gone into operation by the Act of the preceding summer, was already felt in the business of the country. The real significance of the Act just passed was that to a certain degree it checked and even neutralized the operation of the statute which ordered contraction. The compound-interest notes served the National banks as a part of their reserve, and as rapidly as they were cancelled, legal-tender notes were to be held in their stead. Their withdrawal from circulation for this purpose led therefore to a direct and forcible contraction of the actual currency of the country. By substituting the certificates of indebtedness as available for reserve this contraction was prevented, and by the concession of interest, even at three per cent, the banks were induced to surrender the securities which cost the Government a higher rate. The limit of these certificates was subsequently raised to $75,000,000,—a limit which in fact was often reached,—but as legal-tenders were needed the certificates were surrendered to the Treasury.

This is substantially the history of contraction, or of attempts at contraction made by the Thirty-ninth Congress. The successful effort to parry its effect, as already described, shows how unwelcome it had proved to the business community, and how Congress, without resorting at once to an absolute repeal of the act, sought an indirect mode of neutralizing its effect. Mr. McCulloch, in trying to enforce the policy of contraction, represented an apparently consistent theory in finance; but the great host of debtors who did not wish their obligation to be made more onerous, and the great host of creditors who did not desire that their debtors should be embarrassed and possibly rendered unable to liquidate, united on the practical side of the question and aroused public opinion against the course of the Treasury Department. An individual, by an effort of will, can bring himself to endure present inconvenience and even suffering, for a great good that lies beyond, but it was difficult for forty millions of people to adopt this resolve. Nor were the cases quite similar in motive and influence, for although it might be admitted that the entire nation would be benefitted by the ultimate result, the people knew that the process would bring embarrassment to vast numbers and would reduce not a few to bankruptcy and ruin. It was easy to see, therefore, that as each month the degree of contraction was made public, the people more and more attributed their financial troubles to its operation. Perhaps, in large degree, this was the result of imagination, and of that common desire in human nature to ascribe one's faults and misfortunes to some superior power. The effect nevertheless was serious and lasting. In the end, outside of banking and financial centres, there was a strong and persistent demand for the repeal of the Contraction Act.

The process of funding and paying the National debt, and of contracting the currency, went on with vigor and persistency during the summer and autumn of 1867. The Treasury statements for the year showed that up to November 1, 1867, the long obligations of the Government had been increased to $1,781,462,050; while the short obligations, other than currency, had been reduced to $441,655,120.63, and the currency in greenbacks, fractional notes and certificates of deposit for gold, to $402,385,677.39. The Treasury held $133,998,398.02; so that the National debt, less this cash, stood at $2,491,504,450. It thus exhibited an average reduction of the debt from its maximum, August 31, 1865, to November 1, 1867, of more than $10,000,000 per month.

Gold was lower than it had been, but great disappointment was felt because the premium, which had ranged in January, 1867, at 32-1/8 @ 37-7/8, was in November 37½ @ 48-5/8, and the latter figure was higher than the quotation at the beginning of the first session of the Thirty-ninth Congress. The charge was current, and was believed by many, that the premium had been advanced by speculators to compel Congress to enforce the policy of contraction. On the other hand, it was declared to be demonstrably true that the reduction of the volume of paper did not lower the premium on gold. It only depressed production and placed the markets of every kind under the control of reckless operators. Surely, it was argued, the contraction had been severe enough to satisfy the advocates of the most stringent Procrustean policy. The short obligations had been cut down nearly one-half since January, 1866. If account were taken of compound-interest notes the reduction in currency ought to be reckoned at $100,000,000, and even at twice that sum, since the cash held by the Treasury had been taken from the circulation of the country.

The Secretary of the Treasury still adhered to the policy of contraction, and yet was charged with putting into circulation legal-tender notes that had been once withdrawn, in order to affect the market. Thus in August, 1866, between the 8th and the 23d inclusive, he had withdrawn and destroyed $12,530,111, and of the 31st of that month he issued $12,500,000. He had again in October, 1866, cancelled $500,000 on the 24th, and issued anew the same sum on the 25th. On the 31st of January, 1867, he had issued anew $4,000,000, May 31 $2,500,000, and during December, 1867, $1,842,400. In answer to remonstrance against this practice the Secretary maintained that the authority to contract and to cancel the legal-tender notes did not require him to do it, but left it within his discretion. This was unquestionably the law of the case.

Mr. McCulloch in his official report insisted on the funding or payment of the balance of interest-bearing notes, and upon a continued contraction of the currency, as the first measure for promoting the National prosperity; and he presented a strong argument in favor of permanent specie payment. He reported that he had not always retired notes in each month to the extent permitted, but he declared that the effect of the policy as carried out had been salutary and that its continuation would be obviously wise. Yet he feared that financial views were inculcated, which if not corrected might lead to its abandonment. The truth was that the Secretary's policy was counter to the popular wish, and evidence was accumulating that Congress would not sustain him in its continued enforcement. The Secretary had confidently relied upon the bankers and commercial men of the country; but the serious fact was now developed, that many of the most prudent financiers had concluded that the changes in the volume of the currency were causing mischief, and that the process of contraction had been carried as far as was desirable.

The Secretary argued bravely and wisely in his report, in favor of paying the principal and interest of the Government bonds in coin. His argument was designed to meet heresies which had found favor in unexpected quarters. The plea was urged by the new and short-lived school of finance that the notes of the National banks should be withdrawn and greenbacks substituted for them, that all payments by the Government on the principal of the bonds should be in its own paper. It was admitted by these novel theorists that the bonds on their face promised coin for interest; but they maintained that the bonds had been issued in large part when gold was at a heavy premium for paper, and could rightfully be liquidated in paper at its advanced value. Propositions were frequently presented to stop the issue of bonds and to pay out notes for any obligations of the Government offered at the Treasury on becoming due in any form. The pressure of rapid contraction secured a hearing for every extravagant proposition. Prejudice against speculators in gold, who during the war had grown rich on the disasters of the Union, was added to the discussion, especially while the premium was maintained and the National credit charged with odium on its account.

At the opening of the second session of the Fortieth Congress (December, 1867) numerous resolutions and bills demanding the stoppage of contraction were referred to the Committee on Ways and Means. Five days afterwards Mr. Schenck reported a bill of four lines, by which the "further reduction of the currency by retiring and cancelling United-States notes is prohibited." It had the unanimous approval of the Committee on Ways and Means, and was passed by the House,—ayes 127, noes 32. The minority included a goodly number of leading Republicans. In the Senate Mr. Sherman, in supporting the bill, stated the amount of contraction since August 1, 1866, at $140,122,168. He argued from these figures that "contraction should go no farther while industry is in a measure paralyzed, and that Congress ought to resume control of the currency, which should not be delegated to any single officer." He declared that the measure was entirely preliminary to other legislation, "which must include the banking system, the time and manner of resuming specie payments, the payment of the debt and the kind of money in which it may be paid, and the reduction of expenditures and taxes." Debate was somewhat prolonged, and a conference committee gave final form to the measure, which failed to receive the President's signature, but became a law without it. It is known as the "Act of February 4, 1868, prohibiting any further reduction of the currency, and authorizing the replacing of mutilated notes." By this Act the minimum limit of legal-tender notes was fixed at $356,000,00,—the volume then afloat after Mr. McCulloch's policy of contraction had done its work.

The actual legislation of the second session of the Fortieth Congress included also the repeal of the tax on raw cotton, and the further reduction of internal revenue, by the Acts of March 31 and July 20 (1868). Great relief was given to manufactures by the abolition of the five per cent tax on a variety of products. The surrender of revenue was estimated at $23,000,000 on cotton at $45,000,000 on manufactures. These concessions were much needed, for the producers of cotton were crippled by the condition of their States, and manufacturers found that prices did not justify the payment of these war charges.

In his annual message to Congress in December, 1868, President Johnson argued "that the holders of our securities have already received upon their bonds a larger amount than their original investments, measured by the gold standard. Upon this statement of fact it would seem but just and equitable that the six per cent interest now paid by the Government should be applied to the reduction of the principal, in semi-annual installments, which in sixteen years and eight months would liquidate the entire National debt." This bold and shameless advocacy of repudiation was less mischievous than it would have been if Mr. Johnson had held a longer lease of power, and if the people had not in the Presidential election pronounced so clear and positive a verdict in favor of the maintenance of the National credit. The Senate deemed it worth while to put on record a resolution condemning this part of Mr. Johnson's message. Mr. Hendricks of Indiana moved a substitute indorsing the statement in the message, and closing with the words of the Democratic National Convention in favor of paying the bonds in lawful money. Only seven senators supported his substitute, while forty-five opposed it; and President Johnson's proposal for repudiation was, by the action of the Senate, "utterly disapproved and condemned," —ayes 43, noes 6. In the House of Representatives a similar resolution was passed by a vote of 155 ayes to 6 noes, 60 not voting. No Democratic member in that body seemed willing to assume the objectionable position taken by Mr. Hendricks in the Senate, and a declaration "that all forms of repudiation are odious to the American people" was adopted without a division.

The financial achievement of the National Government herein reviewed, for the four years following the war, may be briefly summarized. The National debt was reduced by the sum of nearly $300,000,000, while at the same time the Government reduced its revenue to the amount of $140,000,000 per annum by the repeal of a long series of internal taxes. During this period more than $35,000,000 had been paid from the Treasury towards the construction of the Union and Central Pacific Railroads, and $7,200,000 was paid to the Russian Government on account of the purchase of the Territory of Alaska. It is also to be noted that within this period were embraced all the expenses incident to the disbandment of the Union army, and also a very large addition to the pension-list. Notwithstanding all these enormous expenditures the business interests of the country continued prosperous, and the fact that so large a reduction had been made in internal taxes gave promise that within a comparatively short period the Government would be able to remove all levies that were in any degree oppressive or even vexatious to private interests.

By reason of his official and personal connection with the President, Mr. McCulloch had failed to secure cordial support from Congress, and had moreover given offense by his obvious sympathy with the free-traders, who were already beginning to assault the protective tariff which the necessities of war had led the country to adopt. The Secretary had also gone far beyond the popular wish and the best business judgment of the country in regard to the rapid contraction of the currency. But while his politics and his policies were not acceptable to Congress or to the people, he is entitled to high credit for his direct, honest, intelligent administration of the Treasury Department. In the peculiar embarrassments to the administration of the Government, caused by the course of President Johnson, it was a matter of sincere congratulation that a Secretary of the Treasury, so competent and trustworthy as Mr. McCulloch had approved himself, was firmly in place before the serious political disturbances began—a congratulation in which his most ardent Republican opponents were ready to join, knowing how fatal it might prove if President Johnson had the opportunity to nominate his successor.

Throughout the more difficult period of his administration of the department, Mr. McCulloch was aided by two most intelligent and efficient officers. Mr. William E. Chandler, though only twenty-nine years of age, was appointed First Assistant Secretary in March, 1865, and exhibited great aptitude, discrimination, and ability in his position. He developed an admirable talent for details, a quick insight into the most difficult problems that came before the Department, and at all times an honorable devotion to public duty. The Bureau of Internal Revenue, the most important of the Treasury Department, was under the direction of another citizen of New Hampshire, Edward Ashton Rollins. The Bureau for a time collected more than half the revenue of the United States, and required in its Commissioner integrity, administrative talent, and singular skill in providing against every form of fraud. No department of the Government had to contend against so many corrupt combinations to rob the Government, and the slightest relaxation of vigilance on the part of the Commissioner might involve at any time a loss of millions to the National Treasury. In the complex and difficult duties of this station, Mr. Rollins proved himself equal to every requirement.

The purchase of Alaska was completed by the Act of July 27, 1868, which appropriated the amount agreed upon in the treaty of March 30, 1867,— negotiated by Mr. Seward on behalf of the United States, and by Baron Stoeckl representing the Emperor of all the Russias. The Russian Government had initiated the matter, and desired to sell much more earnestly than the United States desired to buy. There is little doubt that a like offer from any other European government would have been rejected. The pressure of our financial troubles, the fact that gold was still at a high premium, suggested the absolute necessity of economy in every form in which it could be exercised; and in the general judgment of the people the last thing we needed was additional territory. There was, however, a feeling of marked kindliness towards Russia; and this, no doubt, had great weight with Mr. Seward when he assented to the obvious wishes of that government. But while there was no special difficulty in securing the ratification of the treaty by the Senate, a more serious question arose when the House was asked to appropriate the necessary amount to fulfill the obligation. Seven million two hundred thousand dollars in gold represented at that time more than ten million dollars in the currency of the Government; and many Republicans felt, on the eve, or rather in the midst, of a Presidential canvass, that it was a hazardous political step (deeply in debt as the Government was, and with its paper still at a heavy discount) to embark in the speculation of acquiring a vast area of "rocks and ice," as Alaska was termed in the popular and derisive description of Mr. Seward's purchase.

When the bill came before the House, General Banks, as Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, urged the appropriation with great earnestness, not merely because of the obligation imposed upon the Government by the treaty, which he ably presented; not merely by reason of the intrinsic value of the territory, which he abundantly demonstrated; but especially on account of the fact that Russia was the other party to the treaty, and had for nearly a century shown a most cordial disposition towards the United States. General Banks maintained that at every step of our history, from 1786 to the moment when he was speaking, Russia had been our friend. "In the darkest hour of our peril," said he, "during the Rebellion, when we were enacting a history which no man yet thoroughly comprehends, when France and England were contemplating the recognition of the Confederacy, the whole world was thrilled by the appearance in San Francisco of a fleet of Russian war vessels, and nearly at the same time, whether by accident or design, a second Russian fleet appeared in the harbor of New York. Who knew how many more there were on their voyage here? From that hour France, on the one hand, and England on the other, receded, and the American Government regained its position and its power. . . . Now, shall we flout the Russian Government in every court in Europe for her friendship? Whoever of the representatives of the American people in this House, on this question, turns his back, not only upon his duty, but upon the friends of his country, upon the Constitution of his Government, and the honor of his generation, cannot long remain in power."

Mr. Cadwalader C. Washburn answered the speech of General Banks on the succeeding day (July 1, 1868). He assumed the leadership of the opposition to the treaty. He proposed to demonstrate to the satisfaction of the House five distinct propositions: "First, that at the time the treaty for Alaska was negotiated, not a soul in the whole United States asked for it; second, that it was secretly negotiated, and in a manner to prevent the representatives of the people from being heard; third, that by existing treaties we possess every right that is of any value to us, without the responsibility and never-ending expense of governing a nation of savages; fourth, that the country ceded is absolutely without value; fifth, that it is the right and duty of the House to inquire into the treaty, and to vote or not vote the money, according to its best judgment." Mr. Washburn made an able speech in support of his radical propositions.

General Butler sustained Mr. Washburn's position in a characteristic speech, especially answering General Banks's argument that we should pay this amount from a spirit of friendship for Russia. "If," said General Butler, "we are to pay this price as usury on the friendship of Russia, we are paying for it very dear indeed. If we are to pay for her friendship, I desire to give her the seven million two hundred thousand dollars in cash, and let her keep Alaska, because I think it may be a small sum to give for the friendship if we could only get rid of the land, or rather the ice, which we are to get by paying for it." He maintained that it was in evidence before the House officially, "that for ten years the entire product of the whole country of Alaska did not exceed three million dollars."

—Mr. Peters of Maine pronounced the territory "intrinsically valueless; the conclusive proof of which is found in the fact that Russia is willing to sell it." He criticised the action of the Senate in negotiating the treaty. "If the treaty-making power can buy, they can sell. If they can buy land with money, they can buy money with land. If they can buy a part of a country, they can buy the whole of a country. If they can sell a part of our country, they can sell the whole of it!"

—Mr. Spalding of Ohio, on the other hand, maintained that "notwithstanding all the sneers that have been cast on Alaska, if it could be sold again, individuals would take it off our hand and pay us two or three millions for the bargain."

—General Schenck thought the purchase in itself highly objectionable, but was "willing to vote the money because the treaty has been made with a friendly power; one of those that stood by us,—almost the only one that stood by us when all the rest of the powers of the world seemed to be turning away from us in our recent troubles."

—Mr. Stevens supported the measure on the ground that it was a valuable acquisition to the wealth and power of the country. He argued also in favor of the right of the Senate to make the treaty.

—Mr. Leonard Myers was sure that if we did not acquire Alaska it would be transferred to Great Britain. "The nation," said he, "which struggled so hard for Vancouver and her present Pacific boundary, and which still insists on having the little island of San Juan, will never let such an opportunity slip. Canada, as matters now stand, would become ours some day could her people learn to be Americans; but never, if England secures Alaska."

—Mr. Higby of California answered the objections relating to climate. "I do not know," said he, "whether the people of the East yet believe what has been so often declared, that our winters on the Pacific are nearly as mild as our summers, and yet such is the fact. In my own little village, situated over fourteen hundred feet above the level of the ocean, I have seen a plant growing in the earth green through all the months from October to April."

—Mr. Shellabarger opposed the purchase. He said those nation which had been compact and solid had been the most enduring, while those which had the most extended territory lasted the least space of time.

—Mr. Price of Iowa thought that it was "far better to expend the $7,200,000 in improving the Mississippi River, in order that bread-stuffs may be transported cheaply from the West to the seaboard." He had no faith in the value of the territory proposed to be purchased.

—Mr. McCarthy of New York rejected the plea that we should purchase Alaska because Russia is a friendly power. "I ask this House," said he, "whence this friendship comes. It comes from self-interest. She is the absorbing power of the Eastern continent, and she recognizes us as the absorbing power of the western continent; and through friendship for us she desires to override and overbalance the governments of Europe which are between her and us."

—General Butler moved a proviso, that "the payment of $500,000 of said appropriation be withheld until the Imperial Government of Russia shall signify its willingness to refer to an impartial tribunal all such claims by American citizens against the Imperial Government as have been investigated by the State Department of the United States and declared to be just, and the amounts so awarded to be paid from said $500,000 so withheld."

—General Garfield, presiding at the time over the Committee of the Whole, ruled it out of order, and on an appeal being taken the decision was sustained by ayes 93, noes 27. After dilatory motions and the offer of various amendments, which were rejected, the bill was passed by ayes 113, noes 43.

—The House prefaced the bill by a preamble, asserting in effect that "the subjects embraced in the treaty are among those which by the Constitution are submitted to the power of Congress, and over which Congress has jurisdiction; and for these reasons, it is necessary that the consent of Congress should be given to the said stipulations before the same can have full force and effect." There was no mention of the Senate's ratification, merely a reference to the fact that "the President has entered into a treaty with the Emperor of Russia, and has agreed to pay him the sum of seven million two hundred thousand dollars in coin." The House by this preamble evidently claimed that its consent to the treaty was just as essential as the consent of the Senate,—that it was, in short, a subject for the consideration of Congress.

The Senate was unwilling to admit such a pretension, especially when put forth by the House in this bald form, and therefore rejected it unanimously. The matter was sent to a conference, and by changing the preamble a compromise was promptly effected, which preserved the rank and dignity of both branches. It declared that "whereas the President had entered into a treaty with the Emperor of Russia, and the Senate thereafter gave its advice and consent to said treaty, . . . and whereas said stipulations cannot be carried into full force and effect, except by legislation to which the consent of both Houses of Congress is necessary; therefore be it enacted that there be appropriated the sum of $7,200,000" for the purpose named. With this compromise the bill was readily passed, and became a law by the President's approval July 27, 1868.

The preamble finally agreed upon, though falling far short of the one first adopted by the House, was yet regarded as a victory for that branch. The issue between the Senate and the House, now adjusted by a compromise, is an old one, agitated at different periods ever since the controversy over the Jay treaty in 1794-95. It is simply whether the House is bound to vote for an appropriation to carry out a treaty Constitutionally made by the President and the Senate, without judging for itself whether, on the merits of the treaty, the appropriation should be made. After the appropriation required under the Jay treaty had been voted by the House, that body declared in a resolution which was adopted by ayes 57, noes 35, "that it is the Constitutional right and duty of the House of Representatives, in all such cases, to deliberate on the expediency or inexpediency of carrying such treaty into effect, and to determine and act thereon as in their judgment may be most conducive to the public good." But that was the declaration of the House only; whereas the preamble agreed to in the appropriation of money for the purchase of Alaska contained the assent of both branches.

Though the Constitutional principle involved may not be considered as one settled beyond a fair difference of opinion, there has undoubtedly been a great advance, since the controversy between the two branches in 1794, in favor of the rights of the House when an appropriation of money is asked to carry out a treaty. The change has been so great indeed that the House would not now in any case consider itself under a Constitutional obligation to appropriate money in support of a treaty, the provisions of which it did not approve. It is therefore practically true that all such treaties must pass under the judgment of the House as well as under that of the Senate and the President. Judge McLean of the Supreme Court delivered an opinion which is often referred to as embodying the doctrine upon which the House rests its claim of power.* "A treaty," said the learned Justice, "is the supreme law of the land only when the treaty-making power can carry it into effect. A treaty which stipulates for the payment of money undertakes to do that which the treaty-making power cannot do; therefore the treaty is not the supreme law of the land. To give it effect the action of Congress is necessary, and in this action the representatives and senators act on their own judgment and responsibility and not on the judgment and responsibility of the treaty-making power. A foreign government may be presumed to know that the power of appropriating money belongs to Congress. No act of any part of the Government can be held to be a law which has not all the sanctions to make it law."(2)

The territory which we thus acquired is of vast extent, exceeding in its entire area a half million square miles. Its extreme length is about eleven hundred miles; its extreme width about eight hundred. It stretches nearly to the seventy-second degree of north latitude, three hundred and fifty miles beyond Behring's Straits; and borders upon the Arctic Ocean for more than a thousand miles. The adjacent islands of the Aleutian group are included in the transfer, and reach two-thirds of the way across the North Pacific in the latitude of 60 degrees,—the westernmost island being within six hundred miles of the coast of Kamtchatka. The resources of the forests of Alaska are very great,—the trees growing to a good height on the mountain sides as far as two thousand feet above the tide level. The timber is of the character generally found in Northern climates: yellow cedar of durable quality, spruce, larch, fir of great size, and hemlock. In the world's rapid and wasteful consumption of wood, the forests of Alaska will prove not merely a substantial resource for the interests of the future, but a treasure-house in point of pecuniary value. To this source of wealth on land that of the water must be added, in the seal and food fish which are found in immeasurable quantities along the coast of the mainland and the islands.

From the time of the acquisition of Louisiana until the purchase of Alaska, the additions of territory to the United States had all been in the interest of slavery. Louisiana, stretching across the entire country from South to North, was of equal value to each section; but the acquisition of Florida, the annexation of Texas, the territory acquired from Mexico by the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, with the addition of Arizona under the Gadsden treaty, were all made under the lead of Southern statesmen to strengthen the political power and the material resources of the South. Meanwhile, by the inexcusable errors of the Democratic party, and especially of Democratic diplomacy, we lost that vast tract on the north known as British Columbia, the possession of which, after the acquisition of Alaska, would have given to the United States the continuous frontage on the Pacific Ocean from the south line of California to Behring's Straits. Looking northward for territory, instead of southward, was a radical change of policy in the conduct of the Government,—a policy which, happily and appropriately, it was the good fortune of Mr. Seward to initiate under impressive and significant circumstances.

[(1) Turner vs. The American Baptist Missionary Union, 5 McLean, 544.]

[(2) Mr. Jefferson, more promptly than other great statesmen of his generation, appreciated the degree of power residing in the House of Representatives. In a private letter discussing the subject he expressed views in harmony with Justice McLean's opinion, long before that opinion was delivered. He wrote to Mr. Monroe: "We conceive the Constitutional doctrine to be, that though the President and Senate have the general power of making treaties, yet whenever they include in a treaty matters confided by the Constitution to the three branches of the Legislature, an act of legislation will be necessary to confirm these articles, and that the House of Representatives, as one branch of the Legislature, are perfectly free to pass the act or to refuse it, governing themselves by their own judgment whether it is for the good of their constituents to let the treaty go into effect or not. On this depends whether the powers of legislation shall be transferred from the President, Senate, and House of Representatives, to the President, Senate, and Piamingo, or any other Indian, Algerine, or other chief."]


As the result of the great victory over the President in the political contest of 1866, and of his stubborn maintenance of a hostile attitude, the ardent and extreme men of the Republican party began, in the autumn of that year, to discuss the propriety of ending the whole struggle by impeaching Mr. Johnson and removing him from office. They believed that his contumacious and obstinate course constituted a high crime and misdemeanor, and the idea of Impeachment, as soon as suggested, took deep root in minds of a certain type. When Congress came together in December the agitation increased; and on the 7th of January (1867), directly after the holidays, two Missouri representatives (Loan and Kelso) attempted in turn to introduce resolutions in the House proposing an Impeachment, but each was prevented by some parliamentary obstruction. At a later hour of the same day Mr. James M. Ashley of Ohio rose to a question of privilege and formally impeached the President of high crimes and misdemeanors. "I charge him," said Mr. Ashley, "with an usurpation of power and violation of the law: in that he has corruptly used the appointing power; in that he has corruptly used the pardoning power; in that he had corruptly used the veto power; in that he has corruptly interfered in elections and committed acts which in contemplation of the Constitution are high crimes and misdemeanors."

Mr. Ashley's charges were very grave, but they created slight impression upon the House and did not alarm the country. Every one present felt that they were gross exaggerations and distortions of fact, and could not be sustained by legal evidence or indeed by reputable testimony of any kind. They were however referred in due form to the Judiciary Committee, with full power to send for persons and papers, to administer the customary oath to witnesses, and to make in all respects a thorough investigation. Nothing was heard from the committee until the 2d of March, when on the eve of the expiration of Congress they reported that many documents had been collected, a large number of witnesses examined, and every practicable thing done to reach a conclusion of the case; but that not having fully examined all the charges preferred against the President, they did not deem it expedient to submit any conclusion beyond the statement that sufficient testimony had been brought to the committee's notice to justify and demand a further prosecution of the investigation. They therefore passed the testimony they had taken into the custody of the Clerk of the House, as a notification to the succeeding Congress that inquiry into the matter should be pursued. The report was made by Mr. James F. Wilson of Iowa, chairman of the committee, and concurred in by all the Republican members. Mr. Rogers, a Democratic member from New Jersey, made a minority report, stating that he had carefully examined all the testimony in the case; that there was not one particle of evidence to sustain any of the charges which had been made; that the case was entirely void of proof; and that most of the testimony taken was of a secondary character, such as could not be admitted in any court of justice. He objected to continuing the subject and thereby keeping the country in a feverish state. No action was taken by the House except to lay both reports upon the table.

There was on the part of conservative Republicans a sincere hope that nothing more would be heard of the Impeachment question. If a committee industriously at work for sixty days could find nothing on which to found charges against the President, they thought that wisdom suggested the abandonment of the investigation. But Mr. Ashley, with his well-known persistency, was determined to pursue it; and on the 7th of March, the third day after the new Congress was organized, he introduced a resolution directing the Judicial Committee to continue the investigation under the same instructions as in the preceding Congress, with the additional power to sit during the recess. Mr. Ashley expressed the hope that "this Congress will not hesitate to do its duty because the timid in our own ranks hesitate, but will proceed to the discharge of the high and important trust imposed upon it, uninfluenced by passion and unawed by fear." He was answered with indignation by Mr. Brooks and Mr. Fernando Wood of New York, and the question becoming a party issue Mr. Ashley's resolution was carried without a division after an ineffectual attempt to lay it on the table,—a motion which was sustained by only thirty-two votes. The committee proceeded in their work during the recess of Congress, and reported the testimony on the 25th of the ensuing November (1867).

Some ninety-five witnesses had been examined, and the report of testimony covered twelve hundred octavo pages. Much of the evidence seemed irrelevant, and that which bore directly upon the question of the President's offense fell far below the serious character assigned to it by previous rumors. This was especially true in regard to the testimony given by General Grant. There were secret and ominous intimations that General Grant had been approached by the President with the view of ascertaining whether, if it should be determined to constitute a Congress of Democratic members from the North and rebel members from the South (leaving the Republicans to come in or stay out as they might choose), the Army could be relied upon to sustain such a movement. There is no doubt that many earnest Republicans were so impressed by the perverse course of President Johnson that they came to believe him capable of any atrocious act. They gave credulous ear, therefore, to these extravagant rumors; and in the end they succeeded in making a deep impression upon the minds of certain members of the Committee charged with the investigation into the President's official conduct.

The persons who were giving currency to these rumors never seemed to realize that General Grant, with his loyalty, his patriotism, and his high sense of personal and official honor, could not for a moment have even so much as listened to a proposition which involved an attack upon the legitimacy of the Congress of the United States, and practically contemplated its overthrow through means not different from those by which Cromwell closed the sessions of the Long Parliament. Nothing can be more certain than the fact that if President Johnson had ever made such an intimation to General Grant, it would have been at once exposed and denounced with a soldier's directness; and the President would have been promptly impeached for an offense in which his guilt would not have been doubtful.

It was not surprising, therefore, that by General Grant's testimony,(1) the entire charge was dissipated into thin air, and proved to be only one of the thousand baseless rumors which in that exciting period were constantly filling the political atmosphere. It was perhaps the intention of the Committee in examining General Grant on this point, to give him an opportunity in an official report to stamp the current rumors as utterly false. It can hardly be possible that a single member of the Committee believed that General Grant had silently received from the President a deliberate proposition to revolutionize the Government. When the essential truth of the matter was reached, it was found that General Grant had never heard any thing from the President, on the question of organizing Congress, at all different from the premises he had assumed in the series of disreputable speeches delivered by him in his extraordinary tour through the country the preceding year.

There was a marked divergence of views in the recommendations from the Judiciary Committee. The majority, Messrs. George S. Boutwell of Massachusetts, Francis Thomas of Maryland, Thomas Williams of Pennsylvania, William Lawrence of Ohio, and John C. Churchill of New York, reported a resolution directing that "Andrew Johnson, President of the United States, be impeached of high crimes and misdemeanors." Mr. Wilson of Iowa and Mr. Frederic Woodbridge of Vermont, submitted a minority report, with a resolution directing that "the Committee on the Judiciary be discharged from further consideration of the proposed impeachment of the President of the United States, and that the subject be laid upon the table." The two Democratic members of the committee, Mr. Marshall of Illinois and Mr. Eldridge of Wisconsin, while agreeing with the resolution submitted by Mr. Wilson, desired to express certain views from the Democratic stand-point. They therefore submitted a separate report, reviewing the entire proceeding in language more caustic than Mr. Wilson and Mr. Woodbridge had seen fit to employ.

The effect of Mr. Boutwell's report was seriously impaired by the fact that the chairman of the committee and another Republican member had refused to concur, and it was at once evident from the position in which this division left the question, that the House would not sustain an Impeachment upon the testimony submitted. By an arrangement to which only a few members objected, the discussion of the reports was confined to two speeches, one by Mr. Boutwell and one by Mr. Wilson. Mr. Boutwell's was delivered on the 5th and 6th of December, and Mr. Wilson's reply immediately after Mr. Boutwell had concluded on the second day. Both speeches were able and positive, holding the attention of members in a marked and exceptional degree. A large majority of the House desired the vote to be taken as soon as Mr. Wilson had concluded; but some dilatory motions kept off the decision until the succeeding day (December 7, 1867), when amid much excitement, and some display of angry feeling between members, the resolution calling for the impeachment of the President was defeated by an overwhelming majority,—ayes 57, noes 108.(2) The affirmative vote was composed entirely of Republicans, but a larger number of Republicans were included in the negative; so that apart from any action of the Democratic party the advocates of Impeachment were in the minority.

By this decisive vote the project of impeaching the President was in the public belief finally defeated. But those best acquainted with the earnestness of purpose and the determination of the leading men, who had persuaded themselves that the safety of the Republic depended upon the destruction of Johnson's official power, knew that the closest watch would be kept upon every action of the President, and if an apparently justifying cause could be found the project of his removal would be vigorously renewed. It is difficult to understand the intensity of conviction which had taken possession of certain minds on this subject—difficult to understand why the same causes and the same reasons which operated so powerfully on certain Republicans in favor of Impeachment, should prove so utterly inadequate to affect others. Why should Mr. Boutwell be so decidedly on one side and Mr. Dawes with equal firmness on the other? Why should General Schenck and William Lawrence vote for impeachment and General Garfield and John A. Bingham against it? Why should Thaddeus Stevens and Judge Kelley vote in the affirmative and the four Washburns in the negative?

Geographically there was a traceable division in the vote. In New England, usually so radical, only five members favored Impeachment. New York gave but two votes for it and Pennsylvania gave but six. The large majority of those who exhibited such an earnest desire to force the issue to extremes came from the West, but even in that section the Republicans who opposed it were nearly equal in number to those who favored it. The vote led to no little recrimination inside the ranks of the party—each side regarding the other as pursuing an unwise and unjustifiable course. The advocates of Impeachment were denounced as rash, hot-headed, sensational, bent on leading the party into an indefensible position; while its opponents were spoken of as faint-hearted, as truckling to the Administration, as afraid to strike the one blow imperatively demanded for the safety of the Republic. But outside of this quarrel of partisans the great mass of quiet citizens and more especially the manufacturing, commercial, and financial communities, were profoundly grateful that the country was not, as they now believed, to be disturbed by a violent effort to deprive the President of his great office.

The prophets of Peace were disappointed in their hopes and their predictions. A train of circumstances, not unnaturally growing out of the political situation, led in the ensuing month to the renewal of the scheme of Impeachment because of the President's attempt to appoint a new Secretary of War. The President himself narrates what he had done to secure the resignation of Mr. Stanton: "I had come to the conclusion that the time had arrived when it was proper for Mr. Stanton to retire from my Cabinet. The mutual confidence and general accord which should exist in such a relation had ceased. I supposed that Mr. Stanton was well advised that his continuance in the Cabinet was contrary to my wishes, for I had repeatedly given him to understand by every mode short of an express request that he should resign." On the fifth day of August (1867), the President addressed Mr. Stanton a brief note in these words: "Public considerations of a high character constrain me to say that your resignation as Secretary of War will be accepted." Mr. Stanton replied immediately, acknowledging the receipt of the letter and adding: "I have the honor to say that public considerations of a high character, which alone have induced me to continue at the head of this Department, constrain me not to resign the Secretaryship of War before the next meeting of Congress."

Not acting with angry haste, but reflecting for a week upon the situation resulting from Mr. Stanton's refusal to resign, the President on the 12th of August suspended him from the Secretaryship of War under the power conferred by the Tenure-of-office Act, and added in a note to him: "You will at once transfer to General Ulysses S. Grant, who has this day been authorized and empowered to act as Secretary of War ad interim, all records, books, papers and other public property now in your custody and charge." Mr. Stanton replied to the President: "Under a sense of public duty I am compelled to deny your right under the Constitution and laws of the United States, without the advice and consent of the Senate and without legal cause, to suspend me from the office of Secretary of War, or the exercise of any of the functions pertaining to the same; but inasmuch as the General commanding the armies of the United States has been appointed ad interim and has notified me that he has accepted the appointment, I have no alternative but to submit, under protest, to superior force." It is evident that General Grant and his legal advisers saw no force in Mr. Stanton's denial of the President's power to suspend him from office. The General's acceptance of the Secretaryship of War was plain proof that he recognized the President's course as entirely lawful and Constitutional. General Grant's willingness to succeed Mr. Stanton was displeasing to a certain class of Republicans, who thought he was thereby strengthening the position of the President; but the judgement of the more considerate was that as Mr. Johnson had determined in any event to remove Stanton, it was wise in General Grant to accept the trust and thus prevent it from falling into mischievous and designing hands.

By the provisions of the Tenure-of-office Law the President was under obligation to communicate the suspension to the Senate, with his reasons therefor, within twenty days after its next meeting. He did this in his message of the 12th of December (1867), in which he reviewed with much care the relations between himself and the Secretary of War. He certainly exhibited to an impartial judge, uninfluenced by personal or party motives, strong proof of the utter impossibility of Mr. Stanton and himself working together harmoniously in the administration of the Government. If the President of the United States has the right to Constitutional advisers who are personally agreeable to him and who share his personal confidence, then surely Mr. Johnson gave unanswerable proof that Mr. Stanton should not remain a member of his Cabinet. But the Senate was not influenced either by the general considerations affecting the case or by the special reasons submitted by the President. The question was not finally decided by the Senate until the 13th of January (1868), when by a party vote it was declared that "having considered the evidence and reasons given by the President in his report of December 12, 1867, for the suspension of Edwin M. Stanton from the office of Secretary of War, the Senate does not concur in such suspension." The Secretary of the Senate was instructed to send an official copy of the resolution to the President, to Mr. Stanton, and to General Grant.

Upon receipt of the resolution of the Senate, General Grant at once locked the door of the Secretary's office, handed the key to the Adjutant-General, left the War-Department building and resumed his post at Army Headquarters on the opposite side of the street. Secretary Stanton soon after took possession of his old office, as quietly and unceremoniously as if he had left it but an hour before. Perhaps with some desire to emphasize the change of situation, he dispatched a messenger to Headquarters to say in the phrase of the ranking position that "the Secretary desires to see General Grant." General Grant did not like the way in which Mr. Stanton had resumed control of the War Office. He did not think that he had been treated with the same courtesy which he had shown to Mr. Stanton when he succeeded him the preceding August. In fact, he had not expected, nor did he desire, the restoration of Mr. Stanton, and but for differences that arose between him and the President might have used his influence against Mr. Stanton's remaining. He had indeed warmly seconded a suggestion of General Sherman (who was then in Washington), made the day after Mr. Stanton's restoration, that the President should immediately nominate Governor Cox of Ohio for Secretary of War.

The President did not accept the suggestion respecting the name of Governor Cox. His chief purpose was to get rid of Mr. Stanton, and he did not believe the Senate would consent in any event to his removal. He expressed surprise that General Grant did not hold the office until the question of Mr. Stanton's Constitutional right to resume it could be judicially tested. A heated controversy ensued a fortnight later on this point, leading to the exchange of angry letters between the President and General Grant. Mr. Johnson alleged that the fair understanding was that General Grant should, by retaining his portfolio, aid in bringing the case before the Supreme Court of the United States. General Grant denied this with much warmth, declaring in a letter addressed to the President that the latter had made "many and gross misrepresentations concerning this subject." It was doubtless in the beginning a perfectly honest misapprehension between the two. General Grant had on a certain occasion remarked that "Mr. Stanton would have to appeal to the courts to re-instate him," and the President, hastily perhaps, but not unnaturally, assumed that by this language General Grant meant that he would himself aid in bringing the matter to judicial arbitrament. But the President ought to have seen and realized that such a step would be altogether foreign to the duty of the Commander of the Army, and that with General Grant's habitual prudence he never could have intended to provoke a controversy with Congress, and get himself entangled in the meshes of the Tenure-of-office Law. The wrath of both men was fully aroused, and the controversy closed by leaving them enemies for life—unreconciled, irreconcilable.

The severance of friendly relations between the President and General Grant was not distasteful to the Republicans of the country. Indeed it had been earnestly desired by them. Many of those who were looking forward to General Grant's nomination as the Republican candidate for the Presidency in 1868, had been restless lest he might become too much identified with the President, and thus be held in some degree accountable for his policy. General Grant's report on the condition of the South in 1865 had displeased Republicans as much as it had pleased the President. He had created still further uneasiness in Republican ranks by accompanying the President in 1866 on his famous journey to Chicago, when he "swung around the circle." His acceptance of the War Office in 1867 as the successor to Mr. Stanton was naturally interpreted by many as a signal mark of confidence in the President. It was said by General Grant's nearest friends that in his position as the Commander of the Army he was bound in courtesy to comply with the President's requests; but others maintained that as these requests all lay outside his official duties, and were in fact political in their nature, he might decline to respond to them if he chose. It was in fact known to a few persons that General Grant had declined (though requested by the President) to accompany Minister Lewis D. Campbell to Mexico and hold an interview with the officials of the Juarez Government, in the autumn of 1866. The President, however, did not insist on General Grant's compliance with his request, and at the suggestion of the latter readily substituted Lieutenant-General Sherman, who went upon the mission, with results—according to his own narrative—more laughable than valuable. General Grant always believed that Mr. Seward had originated the suggestion, and had desired him to go upon the mission from some motives of his own not made fully apparent. The incident did not interfere with the kindly relations between the President and General Grant, as was shown by General Grant's acceptance of the War Office ten months after the Mexican Mission had come to its profitless conclusion.

From all the circumstances of the case, it is not difficult therefore to understand why the quarrel between the President and General Grant should be viewed with substantial satisfaction by the Republicans of the country. The National Convention of the party of 1868 had already been called, and it might be awkward for its members, while denouncing President Johnson in the platform, to be reminded that the candidate of their party was on terms of personal friendship with him, and had been so throughout his administration. Such a fact would embarrass the canvass in many ways, and would dull the edge of partisan weapons already forged for the contest. General Grant as a Presidential candidate was likely to draw heavily on the Democratic voters of the Northern States, and Republicans felt assured that his quarrel with Johnson would cause no loss even in that direction. In every point of view, therefore, the political situation was satisfactory to the Republicans—the last possible suggestion of discontent with General Grant's expected nomination for the Presidency having been banished from the ranks of the party.

By the Senate's refusal to concur in the suspension of Secretary Stanton, a confidential adviser under the Constitution was forced upon the President against his earnest and repeated protest. This action appears the more extraordinary, because when the Tenure-of-office Bill was pending before the Senate, the expression of opinion on the part of the majority was against any attempt to compel the President to retain an unwelcome adviser. In fact the Senate voted by a large majority to except Cabinet officers from the operation of the law. The expressions of opinion by individual senators were very pointed on this question.

—Mr. Edmunds said it was "right and just that the Chief Executive of the Nation in selecting these named Secretaries, who, by law and by the practice of the country, and officers analogous to whom, by the practice of all other countries, are the confidential advisers of the Executive respecting the administration of all his Departments, should be persons who are personally agreeable to him and in whom he can place entire confidence and reliance; and whenever it should seem to him that the state of relations between him and any of them had become so as to render this relation of confidence and trust and personal esteem inharmonious, he should in such case be allowed to dispense with the services of that officer in vacation and have some other person act in his stead."

—Mr. Williams of Oregon sustained the position of Mr. Edmunds, but added: "I do not regard the exception as of any great practical consequence, because I suppose if the President and any head of Department should disagree so as to make their relations unpleasant, and the President should signify a desire that that head of Department should retire from the Cabinet, that would follow without any positive act of removal on the part of the President. . . . It has seemed to me that if we revolutionize the practice of the Government in all other respects, we might let this power remain in the hands of the President of the United States; that we should not strip him of this power, which is one that it seems to me is necessary and reasonable that he should exercise."

—Mr. Fessenden said: "A man who is the head of a Department naturally wants the control of that Department. He wants to control all his subordinates. . . . In my judgment, in order to the good and proper administration of all the Departments, it is necessary that that power should exist in the head of it, and quite as necessary that the power should exist in the President with reference to the few men who are placed about him to share his counsel and to be his friends and agents."

—Mr. Sherman said: "If a Cabinet officer should attempt to hold his office for a moment beyond the time when he retains the entire confidence of the President, I would not vote to retain him, nor would I compel the President to have about him in these high positions a man whom he did not entirely trust both personally and politically. It would be unwise to require him to administer the Government without agents of his own choosing. . . . And if I supposed that either of these gentlemen was so wanting in manhood, in honor, as to hold his place after the politest intimation from the President of the United States that his services were no longer needed, I certainly, as a senator, would consent to his removal at any time, and so would we all."

Still more significant and conclusive was the action of both Senate and House on the final passage of the Tenure-of-office Act. That action was based upon the report of a conference committee, of which Mr. Sherman was chairman on the part of the Senate, and General Schenck on the part of the House. It will be remembered that the Senate had insisted that officers of the Cabinet should be excepted from the operation of the Tenure-of-office Act, and the House had insisted that they should not be excepted. A compromise was made by the conference committee, the result of which was thus explained to the Senate by Mr. Sherman: "In this case the committee of conference —I agreed to it, I confess, with some reluctance—came to the conclusion to qualify to some extent the power of removal over a Cabinet minister. We provide that a Cabinet minister shall hold his office, not for a fixed term, not until the Senate shall consent to his removal, but as long as the power that appoints him holds the office." General Schenck, representing the original House amendment, said: "A compromise was made, by which a further amendment is added to this portion of the bill, so that the term of office of the heads of Departments shall expire with the term of the President who appointed them, allowing these heads of Departments one month longer." These were the well-considered explanations made to their respective branches by the chairmen of the committees that composed the conference. It was upon this uncontradicted, unqualified, universally admitted construction of the Bill that the House and Senate enacted it into a law.

It must not be forgotten that if the Senate had consented to the removal of Mr. Stanton, as was confidently anticipated from the expressions of opinion above quoted, no new Secretary could have been installed without the Senate's explicit consent, and that meanwhile the War Department would remain under the control of General Grant, in whose prudent and upright discharge of duty every senator had perfect confidence. The complaint of the President's friends, therefore, was that senators, while perfectly able to exclude from the control of the War Department a man in whom they had no confidence, demanded that the President should retain at the head of that Department an officer in whom he had no confidence. Hence it was that for the first time in the history of the United States, an officer distasteful to the President and personally distrusted and disliked by him was forced upon him as one of his confidential advisers in the administration of the Government. In the prima facie statement of this case the Senate was in the wrong. Upon the record of its votes and the expression of opinion by its own members, the Senate was in the wrong. The history of every preceding Administration and of every subsequent Administration of the Federal Government proves that the Senate was in the wrong.

The situation in which the President was left by this action was anomalous and embarrassing. One of the most important Departments of the Government—especially important at that era—was left under the control of a man with whom he did not even hold personal relations. If this could be done in one Department it could with equal justice be done in all, and the extraordinary spectacle would be presented of each Executive Department under the control of an officer, who in matters of personal feeling and in public policy was deadly hostile to the President of the United States. Even those who insisted most warmly upon Mr. Stanton's being retained in his position, must have seen that such a course would contradict the theory of the National Constitution and be in direct contravention of the practice of the Federal Government. Every one could see that these circumstances had brought about an unnatural situation—a situation that must in some way be relieved. It presented a condition of affairs for which there was no precedent, and the wisest could not foresee to what end it might lead.

The issue was brought to a head by the President, who informed the senate on the 21st of February (1868), that in the exercise of the power and authority vested in him by the Constitution of the United States, he had that day removed Mr. Stanton from office and designated the Adjutant-General of the Army—Lorenzo Thomas—as Secretary of War ad interim. The communication was received with great astonishment by the Senate and with loud expressions of indignation against the President. With short debate and with little delay the Senate passed a resolution declaring "that under the Constitution and laws of the United States, the President has no power to remove the Secretary of War and to designate any other officer to perform the duties of that office ad interim." The Senate could do nothing more than express and record this opinion, but it did that promptly, resentfully, almost passionately.

The House took up the matter in hot temper and in hot haste. A flagrant offense against the Constitution and the laws had, in the judgment of a majority of its members, been committed by the President. In defiance of the letter and spirit of the Tenure-of-office Act he had removed the Secretary of War from office. He had done this under circumstances of peculiar aggravation, because the Senate had passed upon all his reason therefor when the question of Mr. Stanton's suspension was before that body; and if even the suspension was not justifiable, how very grave must be the offense of removing the Secretary from office! These views and the discussion to which they led engrossed the attention of the House as soon as it was known that the President had sent a message to the Senate communicating his action in regard to Mr. Stanton. The Senate had no sooner recorded its dissent from the Executive power of removal than Mr. Covode of Pennsylvania, on the same day, rose to a privileged question in the House and offered a resolution that "Andrew Johnson, President of the United States, be impeached of high crimes and misdemeanors." The resolution was referred to the Committee on Reconstruction and the House adjourned. On the next day (February 22d) Mr. Stevens, chairman of the Reconstruction Committee, reported the resolution back to the House with the recommendation that it pass, suggesting that the question might immediately be taken without debate.

—Mr. Brooks of New York had hoped for time to prepare a minority report, but contented himself with a long speech earnestly protesting against the Impeachment. "Suppose," said he, "you succeed. You settle that hereafter a party having a sufficient majority in the House and the Senate can depose the President of the United States. You establish a precedent which all future parties in all time to come will look to. The curse of other countries, the curse of France, the curse of the South-American Republics, has been that they followed such a precedent as you call upon us to establish here to-day—the overthrow of their Executive, not by law, not by the Constitution, but by the irregular and arbitrary and revolutionary exercise of power, in order merely to obtain a temporary possession of the Government."

—Mr. Spalding of Ohio followed Mr. Brooks, earnestly supporting the Impeachment. There seemed to be an inordinate desire among gentlemen who had hitherto been conservative on the question, as well as among those who had been constantly in favor of Impeachment, to place themselves on record against the President.

—Mr. John A. Bingham said that "the President having criminally violated the Constitution and the laws, I propose for one to put him on trial."

—Mr. Farnsworth of Illinois declared that "no student of our Constitution, no citizen, can doubt that Andrew Johnson has been guilty of a flagrant violation of our Constitution, which is justly impeachable."

—Judge Kelley of Pennsylvania warned "those who have spoken on the other side to-day, that they had better exercise the privilege of revising their words, and that it will be well for others to pause before they speak in defense of the great criminal whom the American people arraign for thousands of crimes."

—General Logan, answering those who feared that Impeachment might lead to some form of revolution, said "that a country which in time of war and excitement can stand the assassination of so good and just a President as Abraham Lincoln, can and will stand the Impeachment of as bad a President as Andrew Johnson."

—Mr. Ingersoll of Illinois, in the course of his remarks sustaining Impeachment, read a telegram from Governor Oglesby, declaring his belief "that the people of Illinois demand the Impeachment of Andrew Johnson, and will heartily sustain such action by our Congress." Mr. Ingersoll declared that the telegram from the Governor of Illinois "is but the voice of the people of the whole country on the question. There have been grave doubts with regard to the policy and the right of impeaching the President upon the facts as presented heretofore, but at the present hour I know of no man who loves his country more than party who will not pronounce a verdict against the President. And, sir, I shall for one be grievously disappointed if, within ten days from this time, honest old Ben Wade (now President of the Senate) is not President of the United States."

The proceedings were carried far into the night, and their deep seriousness had been somewhat relieved by amusing effort on the part of several Democratic members to have Washington's Farewell Address read in honor of the day. But they failed to accomplish it, because a resolution to that effect could not take precedence of the privileged subject which was holding the attention of the House. At a late hour Mr. Holman of Indiana, unable to secure the reading of the address, obtained leave to print it in connection with his remarks, and thus left in the columns of the Globe a somewhat striking contrast—on the one hand, the calm words of Washington counseling peace and good will among his countrymen, and warning them of the evils of party spirit; on the other, the exciting and inflammatory attempt to remove one of Washington's successors from office by impeaching him of high crimes and misdemeanors.

The hours of the intervening Sunday did not appease the temper or cool the ardor of the Republican representatives, now so evidently bent on impeaching the President. The House had adjourned on Saturday night to meet at ten o'clock Monday morning, with the declared intention on the part of the majority to force the resolution of Impeachment to a vote on that day. Mr. Ashley of Ohio opened the debate with a fierce attack upon the President, and was followed by Mr. Burton C. Cook of Illinois in a brief but pointed legal argument to prove that the President had violated the letter and spirit of the law.

—Mr. Julian of Indiana made a somewhat remarkable speech. "Is it not most fortunate," said he, "that this single act of lawlessness has been evoked which so beautifully consolidates into a unit all the friends of the country in this House and throughout the nation? It is true the removal of the Secretary of War is relatively a simple matter. It is scarcely a peccadillo when considered beside the New-Orleans massacre and many other of the wholesale enormities of which he has been known to be guilty for many months past, but I believe it would be regarded as scarcely sufficient ground for this proceeding if not considered in the light of far greater previous offenses."

—Mr. James F. Wilson of Iowa said: "I will vote for the pending resolution to the end that law may be vindicated by the removal of an unworthy public servant from an official position, which he has dishonored by his perverse disregard of duty and his unjustifiable contempt for the supremacy of the law."

—General Butler, after a careful recital of the acts of the President, said: "For a tithe of these acts of usurpation, lawlessness and tyranny our fathers dissolved their connection with the government of King George; for less than this King James lost his throne, and King Charles lost his head; while we, the representatives of the people, adjudge only that there is probable cause shown why Andrew Johnson should be deprived of the office he has desecrated and the power he has abused, and if convicted by the court to which we shall send him, be forever incapable of filling that office—the ambition to be again nominated to which has been the moving spring of all these crimes."

—Mr. Washburne of Illinois said: "In my judgment the safety of the country, the cause of good government, the preservation of Constitutional right and public liberty, depend upon the prompt impeachment of the President of the United States."

—Mr. Woodward of Pennsylvania, a bitter anti-war Democrat, formerly Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of his State, protested earnestly against Impeachment, on the ground that all the States not being represented either in House or Senate, there was no competent branch to impeach and none to try an officer. "If I were the President's counselor," said he, "I would advise him, if you preferred Articles of Impeachment, to demur to your jurisdiction and to that of the Senate, and issue a proclamation giving you and all the world notice that while he held himself impeachable for misdemeanors in office before the Constitutional tribunal, he never would subject the office he holds in trust to the irregular, unconstitutional, and fragmentary bodies who propose to strip him of it."

—Mr. Boutwell spoke very earnestly and ably in favor of Impeachment. "I can but indicate," said he, "the plot in which the President is engaged. He desires first to get control of the War Department, in order that, as in 1861, the munitions of war, arms and material might be used for te purpose of enabling him to succeed in his aspirations to be President of the United States. He knew that if he could corrupt the leaders of the Army, if he could bend these men to his will, these ten States were in his control, and that he could send to the Democratic Convention, to be holden on the 4th of July next, men who would sustain his claim for the Presidency. Then, upon the allegation which he could well carry out and which no other man could make good, that with the Army and his influence among the rebels of the South, whom he had brought to his support by his previous violations of law, he could secure the electoral votes of those ten States by excluding the negroes whom we have enfranchised from all participation in the election. Succeeding in this, we were to be met next February with the electoral votes of those ten States given for himself as President of the United States. If by fortune, as was his hope, he should receive a sufficient number of votes in the North to make a majority, then, with the support of the Army which he had corrupted, he had determined to be inaugurated President of the United States at the hazard of civil war. To-day, sir, we escape from these evils and dangers."

—Mr. Kerr of Indiana, speaking for the Democrats, said: "I and those with whom I act in this House had no knowledge whatever of the purpose of the Executive to do the act for which the movement is again inaugurated for his deposition. We are therefore free in every sense to submit to the guidance alone of reason and duty."

Late in the afternoon Mr. Stevens rose to close the debate. He said: "In order to sustain Impeachment under our Constitution I do not hold that it is necessary to prove a crime as an indictable offense, or any act malum in se. I agree with the distinguished gentleman from Pennsylvania, on the other side of the House (Mr. Woodward), who holds this to be a purely political proceeding. It is needed as a remedy for malfeasance in office and to prevent the continuance thereof. Beyond that it is not intended as a punishment for past offenses or for future example." He made one of his peculiarly pungent speeches, which for some unexplained reason was scarcely less bitter on General Grant than upon President Johnson. The whole day's proceedings had been extraordinary. Never before had so many members addressed the House on a single day. The speeches actually delivered and the speeches for which leave to print was given, fill more than two hundred columns of the Congressional Globe. When Mr. Stevens closed the debate, many members who still desired to be heard were cut off by the previous question.

The vote on the resolution impeaching the President resulted in ayes 126, noes 47, not voting 17.(3) Mr. Stevens immediately offered a resolution directing the "appointment of a committee of two members to appear at the bar of the Senate, and in the name of the House of Representatives and of the people of the United States to impeach Andrew Johnson, President of the United States, of high crimes and misdemeanors in office, and to acquaint the Senate that the House will in due time exhibit particular Articles of Impeachment against him and make good the same, and that the committee demand that the Senate take order for the appearance of Andrew Johnson to answer to said Impeachment." Mr. Stevens further moved that "a committee of seven be appointed to prepare and report Articles of Impeachment against Andrew Johnson, President of the United States, with power to send for persons and papers." The resolutions were adopted by a strict party vote. The Speaker appointed Mr. Stevens and Mr. Bingham the committee to notify the Senate of the impeachment of the President, and further appointed Mr. Boutwell, Mr. Stevens, Mr. Bingham, Mr. J. F. Wilson, Mr. Logan, Mr. Julian, and Mr. Hamilton Ward of New York, the committee to prepare Articles of Impeachment against the President.

Five days afterwards, on the 29th of February, Mr. Boutwell, chairman of the committee appointed to prepare Articles of Impeachment against the President, made his report. The Articles were debated with even greater manifestation of feeling than had appeared in the discussion on the resolution of Impeachment. They were adopted March 2d, by a party vote. The House then proceeded to elect managers of the Impeachment by ballot, and the following gentlemen were chosen (their names being given in the order of the number of votes which each received): John A. Bingham, George S. Boutwell, James F. Wilson, Benjamin F. Butler, Thomas Williams, John A. Logan, and Thaddeus Stevens. The votes for the several managers did not widely differ. The highest, 114, was given to Mr. Bingham; the lowest, 105, to Mr. Stevens. The latter was failing in health and was considered by many members unequal to the arduous work thus imposed on him. The Democrats presented no candidates and took no part in the election of managers.

The aggregate ability and legal learning of the Managers were everywhere conceded. Mr. Stevens in the period of his active practice held a very high rank at the bar of Pennsylvania. General Butler was in the profession of the law, as in all other relations, somewhat peculiar in his methods, but his intellectual force and his legal learning were recognized by his friends and his enemies—and he had a full quota of each. Mr. Bingham, Mr. Boutwell, Mr. Wilson, General Logan, and Mr. Williams represented the strength of the Republican party in the House. Each was well known at the bar of his State, and each was profoundly convinced of the necessity of convicting the President. The most earnest—if there was any difference in zeal among the Managers—were Mr. Boutwell and Mr. Williams. Mr. Boutwell, for a man of cool temperament, thoroughly honest mind, and sober judgment, had wrought himself into a singularly intense belief in the supreme necessity of removing the President; while Mr. Williams, who tended towards the radical side of all public questions, could not with patience hear any thing said against the wisdom and expediency of Impeachment. Mr. Bingham and Mr. Wilson were the only Managers who on the first effort to impeach the President had voted in the negative.

President Johnson was well advised during this exciting period in Congress and betrayed no uneasiness. He was guarded against the folly of talking, which was his easily besetting sin, and he sought to fortify his position by promptly submitting a nomination for Secretary of War. On Saturday, February 22d, the day following the removal of Mr. Stanton, he sent to the Senate the name of Thomas Ewing (senior) of Ohio as his successor. The Senate had adjourned when the President's Secretary reached the Capitol, but the nomination was formally communicated on the following Monday. No name could have given better assurance of good intentions and upright conduct than that of Mr. Ewing. He was a man of lofty character, of great eminence in his profession of the law, and with wide and varied experience in public life. He had held high rank as a senator in the Augustan period of the Senate's learning and eloquence, and he had been one of the ablest members of the distinguished Cabinets organized by the only two Presidents elected by the Whig party. He had reached the ripe age of seventy-eight years but was still in complete possession of all his splendid faculties. He had voted for Mr. Lincoln at both elections, had been a warm supporter of the contest for the Union, and was represented by his own blood on many of the great battle-fields of the war. The Lieutenant-General of the army, with his illustrious record of service, second only to that of General Grant, was his son-in-law.

Of whatever deadly designs Mr. Johnson might be suspected, there was no man of intelligence in the United States willing to believe that Mr. Ewing could be tempted to do an unpatriotic act, to violate the Constitution, or to fail in executing with fidelity the laws of the land. If the President intended to corrupt the army, as charged by Mr. Boutwell, he had certainly chosen a singular co-laborer in the person of Mr. Ewing. Wild rumors had been in circulation that the President was determined to install General Thomas by military force, and to eject Mr. Stanton with violence from the War Office which he refused to surrender. The public uneasiness resulting from these sensational reports was in large degree allayed, when it was announced that the President had signified his desire that a grave and considerate man with long-established reputation for ability and probity should serve as Secretary of War. The surprise in the whole matter was that the President should have selected Mr. Ewing, who, as was known to a few friends, had earnestly advised Mr. Johnson against removing Secretary Stanton.

The Senate however was in no mood to accept any nomination for the War Office from President Johnson. The issue was not whether Mr. Ewing was a judicious and trustworthy man for the vacancy, but whether any vacancy existed. If Mr. Johnson had removed or attempted to remove Mr. Stanton from office in an unlawful and unconstitutional manner, the Senate, in the judgment of those who were directing its action, would be only condoning his offense by consenting to the appointment of a successor. Mr. Johnson's right to nominate any one was denied, and when the name of Mr. Ewing was received it was known by all that a committee of Representatives might at any moment appear at the bar of the Senate to present an Impeachment against the President for unlawfully attempting to remove Mr. Stanton. The course of the Senate had been fully anticipated by the President and his advisers, and they had, in their own judgment at least, obtained an advantage before the public by so complete an abnegation of all partisan purposes as was implied in the offer to confide the direction of the War Department to Mr. Ewing.

The formal presentment of the charges against the President at the bar of the Senate, presided over by the Chief Justice of the United States, and sitting as a Court of Impeachment, was made on the fifth day of March (1868), when the House of Representatives, the grand inquest of the nation, attended the Managers as they came to the discharge of their solemn duty. Mr. Bingham, the chairman of the managers, read the Articles of Impeachment against Andrew Johnson. At the conclusion of the reading the Senate adjourned to the 13th, when the counsel of the President appeared and asked that forty days be allowed for the preparation of his answer to the charges. The time was regarded as unreasonably long, and the Senate voted to adjourn until the 23d of March, when it was expected that the President's counsel would present his answer. The President's cause was represented by an imposing array of ability and legal learning. The Attorney-General, Henry Stanbery, had from an impulse of chivalric devotion resigned his post for the purpose of defending his chief. His reputation as a lawyer was of the first rank in the West, where for nearly forty years he had been prominent in his profession. But though first named, on account of his personal and official relations with the President, he was not the leading counsel. The two men upon whom the success of the President's cause chiefly rested were Judge Curtis and Mr. Evarts.

Benjamin R. Curtis, when he appeared in the Impeachment case, was in the fullness of his powers, in the fifty-ninth year of his age. At forty-one he had been appointed to the Supreme Bench of the United States at the earnest request and warm recommendation of Mr. Webster, then Secretary of State. Mr. Webster is reported to have said that he had placed the people of Massachusetts under lasting obligation to him by inducing Governor Lincoln, in 1830, to appoint Lemuel Shaw Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the State, a position which he honored and adorned for thirty years. Mr. Webster thought he was doing an equal service to the people of the entire Union when he induced the President to call Mr. Curtis to the Supreme Bench. But judicial life had not proved altogether agreeable to Judge Curtis, and after a remarkable and brilliant career of six years he resigned, in October, 1857, and returned to the practice of the law—his learning increased, his mind enriched and broadened by the grave national questions engaging the attention of the court during the period of his service. Thenceforward during his life no man at the bar of the United States held higher rank. He was entirely devoted to his profession. He had taken no interest in party strife, and with the exception of serving two sessions in the Massachusetts Legislature he had never held a political office. In arguing a case his style was peculiarly felicitous—simple, direct, clear. In the full maturity of his powers and with all the earnestness of his nature he engaged in the President's defense; and he brought to it a wealth of learning, a dignity of character, an impressiveness of speech, which attracted the admiration and respect of all who had the good fortune to hear his great argument.

William M. Evarts, who was associated with him, was nine years the junior of Mr. Curtis. He had followed his profession with equal devotion, and, like his illustrious colleague, had never been deflected from its pursuit by participation in the honors of political life. His career had been in the city of New York, where, against all the rivalry of the Metropolitan bar, he had risen so rapidly that at forty years of age his victory of precedence was won and his high rank established. A signal tribute was paid to his legal ability and his character when, in the early stages of the civil war, the National Government sent him abroad on an important and delicate errand in connection with our international relations,—an errand which could be safely entrusted only to a great lawyer. As an advocate Mr. Evarts early became conspicuous, and, in the best sense, famous. But he is more than an advocate. He is an orator,—affluent in diction, graceful in manner, with all the rare and rich gifts which attract and enchain an audience. He possesses a remarkable combination of wit and humor, and has the happy faculty of using both effectively, without inflicting deadly wounds, without incurring hurtful enmities. Differing in temperament and in manner from Judge Curtis, the two seemed perfectly adapted for professional co-operation, and united they constituted an array of counsel as strong as could be found at the English-speaking bar.

It was expected that Judge Jeremiah S. Black would add his learning and ability to the President's counsel, but at the last moment before the trial began he withdrew, and his place was filled by William S. Groesbeck of Cincinnati. Mr. Groesbeck was favorably known to the country by his service as a Democratic representative in the Thirty-sixth Congress, but little had been heard of his legal learning outside of Ohio. He took no part in the conduct of the Impeachment case, but his final argument was a surprise to the Senate and to his professional brethren, and did much to give him a high reputation as a lawyer.—The counsel for the President was completed by the addition of a confidential friend from his own State, Hon. T. A. R. Nelson. Mr. Nelson had been closely associated with Mr. Johnson in the Tennessee struggles for the Union, had gained reputation as a representative in the Thirty-sixth Congress, and had acquired a good standing at the bar of his State.

The answer of the President to the Articles of Impeachment having been presented on the 23d, the replication of the House duly made, and all other preliminary and introductory steps completed, the actual trial began on Monday, the thirtieth day of March (1868), when General Butler, one of the Managers on behalf of the House of Representatives, made the opening argument. It was very voluminous, prepared with great care in writing, and read to the Senate from printed slips. It was accompanied by a brief of authorities upon the law of impeachable crimes and misdemeanors, prepared by Hon. William Lawrence of Ohio with characteristic industry and learning. While every point in the charges preferred by the House was presented by General Butler with elaboration, the weight of his argument against the President lay in the fact that the removal of Mr. Stanton from the office of Secretary of War was, as he averred, an intentional violation of the Tenure-of-office Act, an intentional violation of the Constitution of the United States. This was set forth in every possible form, and argued in every possible phase, with the well-known ability of General Butler; and though other charges were presented against the President, the House of Representatives relied mainly upon this alleged offense for his conviction.

General Butler in his argument was evidently troubled by the proviso in the Tenure-of-office Act, that members of the Cabinet should hold their offices "during the term of the President by whom they were appointed, and for one month longer." He sought to anticipate his opponents' argument on this point. "By whom was Mr. Stanton appointed?" asked General Butler. "By Mr. Lincoln. Whose Presidential term was he holding under when the bullet of Booth became the proximate cause of this trial? Was not his appointment in full force at that hour? Had any act of President Johnson up to the twelfth day of August last vitiated or interfered with that appointment? Whose Presidential term is Mr. Johnson now serving out? His own or Mr. Lincoln's? If his own, he is entitled to four years up to the anniversary of the murder, because each Presidential term is four years by the Constitution, and the regular recurrence of those terms is fixed by the Act of May 8, 1792. If he is serving out the remainder of Mr. Lincoln's term, then his term of office expires on the 4th of March, 1868, if it does not before."

At the conclusion of General Butler's argument, the Managers submitted their testimony in support of the charges brought by the House. Some twenty-five witnesses in all were introduced by the prosecution. Many of them were merely for the verification of official papers which were submitted in evidence. The President's speeches defaming Congress were produced and sworn to by the reporters who took the notes when the President delivered them. The Managers concluded their testimony on the fourth day of April and the Senate took a recess for five days.

On the 9th of April Judge Curtis of the President's counsel opened for the defense. He had no labored introduction, but went directly to his argument. He struck his first blow at the weak point in General Butler's strong speech. Judge Curtis said: "There is a question involved which enters deeply into the first eight Articles of Impeachment and materially touches two of the others; and to that question I desire in the first place to invite the attention of the court, namely, whether Mr. Stanton's case comes under the Tenure-of-office Act? . . . I must ask your attention therefore to the construction and application of the first section of that Act, as follows: 'that every person holding an official position to which he has been appointed by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, and every person who shall hereafter be appointed to any such office and shall become duly qualified to act therein, is and shall be entitled to hold such office until a successor shall have been in like manner appointed and duly qualified, except as herein otherwise provided.' Then comes what is 'otherwise provided.' 'Provided however that the Secretaries of the State, Treasury, War, Navy, and Interior Departments, the Postmaster-General and Attorney-General, shall hold their offices respectively for and during the term of the President by whom they may have been appointed and for one month thereafter, subject to removal by and with the advice and consent of the Senate.'

"The first inquiry which arises on this language," said Judge Curtis, "is to the meaning of the words 'for and during the term of the President.' Mr. Stanton, as appears by the commission which has been put into the case by the honorable Managers, was appointed in January, 1862, during the first term of President Lincoln. Are these words, 'during the term of the President,' applicable to Mr. Stanton's case? That depends upon whether an expounder of this law judicially, who finds set down in it as a part of the descriptive words, 'during the term of the President,' has any right to add 'and during any other term for which he may be afterwards elected.' I respectfully submit no such judicial interpretation can be put on the words. Then if you please, take the next step. 'During the term of the President by whom he was appointed.' At the time when this order was issued for the removal of Mr. Stanton, was he holding during the term of the President by whom he was appointed? The honorable Managers say, Yes; because, as they say, Mr. Johnson is merely serving out the residue of Mr. Lincoln's term. But is that so under the provisions of the Constitution of the United States? . . . Although the President, like the Vice-President, is elected for a term of four years, and each is elected for the same term, the President is not to hold his office absolutely during four years. The limit of four years is not an absolute limit. Death is a limit. A 'conditional limitation,' as the lawyers call it, is imposed on his tenure of office. And when the President dies his term of four years, for which he was elected and during which he was to hold provided he should so long live, terminates and the office devolves upon the Vice-President. For what period of time? For the remainder of the term for which the Vice-President was elected. And there is no more propriety, under those provisions of the Constitution of the United States, in calling the time during which Mr. Johnson holds the office of President, after it was devolved upon him, a part of Mr. Lincoln's term than there would be propriety in saying that one sovereign who succeeded another sovereign by death holds part of his predecessor's term."

Judge Curtis consumed two days in the delivery of his argument. He made a deep impression, not only on the members of the Senate but on all who had the privilege of listening to him. His manner was quiet and undemonstrative, with no gestures, and with no attempt at loud talk. His language expressed his meaning with precision. There was no deficiency and no redundancy. He seldom used a word more or a word less than was needed to give elegance to his diction, explicitness to his meaning, completeness to his logic. He analyzed every argument of the Impeachment with consummate skill. Those who dissented from his conclusions united with those who assented to them in praise of his masterly presentment of the President's defense.

After Judge Curtis had concluded, witnesses were called on behalf of the President. The struggle that followed for the admission or exclusion of testimony obviously strengthened the President's case in popular opinion, which is always influenced by considerations of what is deemed fair play. Exclusion of testimony by an arbitrary vote on mere technical objections, especially where men equally learned in the law differ as to its competency and relevancy, is not wise in a political case that depends for its ultimate judgment upon the sober thought of the people. Judge Curtis had maintained with cogent argument that the President was entitled to a judicial interpretation of the Tenure-of-office Law, and his associate counsel, Mr. Evarts, in the progress of the case made this proposition:—

"We offer to prove that the President at a meeting of the Cabinet while the bill was before him for his approval, laid the Tenure-of-office Bill before the Cabinet for their consideration and advice respecting his approval of the bill, and thereupon the members of the Cabinet then present gave their advice to the President that the bill was unconstitutional and should be returned to Congress with his objections, and that the duty or preparing the message setting forth the objections to the constitutionality of the bill was devolved upon Mr. Seward and Mr. Stanton." The Managers of the House objected to the admission of the testimony and the question of its admissibility was argued at length by General Butler, by Judge Curtis, and by Mr. Evarts. Chief Justice Chase decided "that the testimony is admissible for the purpose of showing the intent with which the President has acted in this transaction." Mr. Howard of Michigan thereupon demanded that the question be submitted to the Senate, and by a vote of 29 to 20 the decision of the Chief Justice was overruled and the testimony excluded. This exclusion impressed the public most unfavorably.

Mr. Evarts offered further on behalf of the President, "to prove that at the meeting of the Cabinet, at which Mr. Stanton was present, held while the Tenure-of-office Bill was before the President for his approval, the advice of the Cabinet in regard to the same was asked by the President and given by the Cabinet, and thereupon the question whether Mr. Stanton and the other Secretaries who had received their appointment from Mr. Lincoln were within the restriction upon the President's power of removal from office created by said Act, was considered, and the opinion was expressed that the Secretaries appointed by Mr. Lincoln were not within such restrictions." The Chief Justice decided "that this testimony is proper to be taken into consideration by the Senate sitting as a Court of Impeachment," whereupon Senator Drake of Missouri demanded that the question be submitted to the Senate, and by a vote of 26 to 22 the Chief Justice was again overruled and the testimony declared to be inadmissible.

On behalf of the President, Mr. Evarts then offered "to prove that at the Cabinet meetings between the passage of the Tenure-of-office Act and the order of the 21st of February, 1868, for the removal of Mr. Stanton, upon occasions when the condition of the public service was affected by the operation of that bill and it came up for consideration and advice by the Cabinet, it was considered by the President and the Cabinet that a proper regard for the public service made it desirable that upon some proper case a judicial determination of the constitutionality of the law should be obtained." The Managers objected to the admission of the testimony, and the Chief Justice, apparently tired of having his decisions overruled, submitted the question at once to the Senate. By a vote of 30 to 19 the testimony was declared to be inadmissible. All the proffered testimony on these several points was excluded while the Hon. Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy, was on the stand. He was to be the first witness to substantiate the offer of proof which the President's counsel had made; to be corroborated, if need by, by other members of the Cabinet—possibly by Mr. Stanton himself.

The testimony on both sides having been concluded, on the 22d of April General John A. Logan, one of the Managers on the part of the House of Representatives, filed his argument in the case. It was carefully prepared, well written, and throughout logical in its analysis. It was uncompromisingly pungent in tone and severe in its method of dealing with President Johnson. "The world," said General Logan, "in after times will read the history of the depth to which political and official perfidy can descend. His great aim and purpose has been to subvert law, usurp authority, insult and outrage Congress, reconstruct the rebel States in the interest of treason, and insult the memories and resting-places of our heroic dead."

Mr. Boutwell on the two succeeding days made a strong arraignment of the President. Indeed he made all that well could be made out of the charges preferred by the House. He exhibited throughout his address the earnestness and the eloquence which come from intense conviction. He believed that the President had committed high crimes and misdemeanors, and he believed that the safety of the Republic required his removal from office. With this belief his argument was of course impressive. "The House of Representatives," said he in closing, "have presented this criminal at your bar with equal confidence in his guilt and in your disposition to administer exact justice between him and the people of the United States. I do not contemplate his acquittal: it is impossible. Therefore I do not look beyond; but, senators, the people of the United States of America will never permit an usurping Executive to break down the securities for liberty provided in the Constitution. The cause of the Republic is in your hands. Your verdict of Guilty is PEACE to our beloved country." Mr. Nelson of Tennessee followed Mr. Boutwell with a long and earnest plea in behalf of the President, somewhat effusive in its character but distinguished for the enthusiasm with which he defended his personal friend.

Mr. Groesbeck next addressed the Senate on behalf of the President. He made a clear, forcible presentation of the grounds of defense. Mr. Boutwell had asserted "that the President cannot prove or plead the motive by which he professes to have been governed in his violation of the laws of the country. . . . The necessary, the inevitable presumption in law is that he acted under the influence of bad motives in so doing, and no evidence can be introduced controlling or coloring in any degree this necessary presumption of the law." In reviewing this position, Mr. Groesbeck reminded the Senate that President Lincoln had "claimed and exercised the power of organizing military commissions under which he arrested and imprisoned citizens within the loyal States. He had no Act of Congress warranting it, and the Supreme Court has decided that the act was against the express provisions of the Constitution. According to the gentleman on the other side, then, Mr. Lincoln must be convicted. . . . The gentleman seems to acknowledge that there must have been a motive. There can be no crime without motive; but when the party comes forward and offers to prove his motive, the answer is, 'You shall not prove it.' When he comes forward and offers to prove it from his warm, living heart, the answer is, 'We will make up your motive out of the presumptions of law and conclude you upon that subject. We will not hear you.'"

Mr. Boutwell renewed with vigor the argument that the exception made in the Tenure-of-office Act, in regard to members of the Cabinet, did not give the President power to remove Mr. Stanton. "We maintain," said Mr. Boutwell, "that Mr. Stanton was holding the office of Secretary of War for and in the term of President Lincoln, by whom he had been appointed. . . . It was not a new office; it was not a new term. Mr. Johnson succeeded to Mr. Lincoln's office and for the remainder of Mr. Lincoln's term of office. He is serving out Mr. Lincoln's term as President."

Mr. Groesbeck's reply on this point was effective: "The gentleman has said this is Mr. Lincoln's term. The dead have no ownership in offices or estate of any kind. Mr. Johnson is President of the United States with a term, and this is his term. But it would make no difference if Mr. Lincoln were living to-day. If Mr. Lincoln were the President to-day he could remove Mr. Stanton. Mr. Lincoln would not have appointed him during this term. It was during Mr. Lincoln's first term that Mr. Stanton received his appointment, and not this term; and an appointment by a President during one term, by the operation of this law, will not extend the appointee during another term because that same party may happen to be re-elected to the Presidency. Mr. Stanton therefore holds under his commission and not under the law."

Mr. Thaddeus Stevens attempted to address the Senate, but found himself too much exhausted and handed his manuscript to General Butler, who read it to the Senate. The argument had many of the significant features of Mr. Stevens's style, but lacked the vigor which in the day of his strength he had always shown. He was rapidly failing in health and was then within a few weeks of his death. Hon. Thomas Williams of Pennsylvania followed Mr. Stevens with a written argument, rhetorically finished and read with great emphasis. It presented in new and attractive form the arguments already submitted, but towards the close contained the imprudent expression that "the eyes of an expectant people are upon the Senate."

Mr. Evarts followed with an argument of great length, reviewing every phase and feature of the case and making a remarkably effective plea on behalf of his eminent client. It was as strong in its logic as it was faultless in its style. The concluding portion of the address was especially eloquent and convincing. "We never dreamed," said he, "that an instructed and equal people, with a government yielding so readily to the touch of popular will, would have come to the trial of force against it. We never thought that the remedy to get rid of a ruler would bring assassination into our political experience. We never thought that political differences under an elective Presidency would bring in array the departments of the Government against one another to anticipate by ten months the operation of the regular election. And yet we take them all, one after another, and we take them because we have grown to the full vigor of manhood. But we have met by the powers of the Constitution these great dangers—prophesied when they would arise as likely to be our doom—the distractions of civil strife, the exhaustions of powerful war, the intervention of the regularity of power through the violence of assassination. We could summon from the people a million of men and inexhaustible treasure to help the Constitution in its time of need. Can we summon now resources enough of civil prudence and of restraint of passion to carry us through this trial, so that whatever result may follow, in whatever form, the people may feel that the Constitution has received no wound? To this court, the last and best resort for its determination, it is to be left."

Mr. Stanbery, unable to deliver his well-prepared argument, employed one of the officers of the Attorney-General's department to read the greater part of it. During his service as Attorney-General he had become personally and deeply attached to the President, and now made an earnest plea in his behalf. "During the eighty years of our political existence," said Mr. Stanbery, "we have witnessed the fiercest contests of party. . . . A favorite legislative policy has more than once been defeated by the obstinate and determined resistance of the President, upon some of the gravest and most important questions we have ever had or are ever likely to have. The Presidential policy and the legislative policy have stood in direct antagonism. During all that time this fearful power of Impeachment was in the hands of the legislative department, and more than once a resort to it has been advised by extreme party men, as a sure remedy for party purposes; but happily that evil hitherto has not come upon us."

Hon. John A. Bingham summed up the case on behalf of the House and reviewed all the charges against the President, answering point by point the argument of his counsel. "I ask you, senators," said Mr. Bingham, "how long men would deliberate upon the question of whether a private citizen, arraigned at the bar of one of your tribunals of justice for criminal violation of law, should be permitted to interpose a plea in justification of his criminal act that his only purpose was to interpret the Constitution and laws for himself, that he violated the law in the exercise of his prerogative to test its validity hereafter, at such day as might suit his own convenience, in the courts of justice. Surely, senators, it is as competent for the private citizen to interpose such justification in answer to crime as it is for the President of the United States to interpose it, and for the simple reason that the Constitution is no respecter of persons, and vests neither in the President nor in the private citizen judicial power. . . . For the Senate to sustain any such plea would in my judgment be a gross violation of the already violated Constitution and laws of a free people."

When the counsel on both sides had finished, a certain period was allowed for senators to prepare and file their opinions on the case. This was done by twenty-nine senators(4) and the question was thus re-argued with consummate ability, for the Senate contained a number of lawyers of high rank and long experience at the bar. On the 11th of May the Senate was ready to vote, and the interest in the result was intense. There had been much speculation as to the position of certain senators, but as all the members of the body had maintained discreet silence during the trial, it was impossible to forecast the result with any degree of certainty. The only judgment that had the least significance was founded on the votes given to admit or to reject certain testimony proposed by the President's counsel. This of course gave no certain indication of the vote of senators; though the general belief was that the Impeachment would fail. The transfer of the entire House to the floor of the Senate, the galleries crowded with citizens from all parts of the Republic, the presence of all the foreign ministers in the Diplomatic Gallery eagerly watching the possible and peaceful deposition of a sovereign ruler, the large attendance of the representatives of the press,—all attested the profound impression which the trial had made and the intense anxiety with which its conclusion was awaited.

By an order of the Senate the first vote was taken on the last Article, which was a summary of many of the charges set forth at greater length in some of the preceding Articles of Impeachment. Upon the call of his name each senator was required to rise and answer "Guilty" or "Not guilty." The roll was called in breathless silence, with hundreds of tally-papers in the hands of eager observers on the floor and in the gallery, carefully noting each response as given. The result, announced at once by the Chief Justice, showed that thirty-five senators had declared the President "guilty" and nineteen had declared him "not guilty."(5) As conviction required two-thirds the Impeachment on the Eleventh Article had failed. A debate then arose on a proposition to rescind the resolution in regard to the order in which the vote should be taken upon the other Articles of Impeachment, but without reaching a conclusion, the Senate as a Court of Impeachment adjourned, on motion of Mr. Cameron of Pennsylvania, until Tuesday the 26th day of May.

During the intervening period of fifteen days the air was filled with rumors that the result would be different when the Senate should come to vote on the remaining Articles. A single senator changing against the President would give thirty-six for conviction, and leave only eighteen for acquittal. This would be fatal to the President, as it would give the two-thirds necessary for conviction. But it was not so ordained. When the Senate re-assembled on the 26th, the vote was taken on the Second Article, and then upon the Third, with precisely the same results as was previously reached on the Eleventh Article. When Mr. Ross of Kansas answered "Not guilty," there was an audible sensation of relief on the part of some, and of surprise on the part of others, showing quite plainly that rumor had been busy with his name as that of the senator who was expected to change his position. Satisfied that further voting was useless, the Senate abandoned the remaining Articles, and as a Court of Impeachment adjourned sine die.

The great trial was over, and the President retained his high office. In the ranks of the more radical portion of the Republican party there was an outbreak of indignation against the Republican senators who had voted "Not guilty." In the exaggerated denunciations caused by the anger and chagrin of the moment, great injustice was done to statesmen of spotless character. But until time had been given for reflection on the part of the excited mass of disappointed men, it was idle to interpose a word in defense, much less in justification, of the senators who had conscientiously differed from the main body of their political associates. While, however, the majority of Republicans shared in the chagrin caused by the defeat of Impeachment, a large and increasing number of the cool-headed and more conservative members of the party rejoiced at the result as a fortunate exit from an indefensible position, which had been taken in the heat of just resentment against the President for his desertion of those important principles of public policy to which he had been solemnly pledged. Still another class, even more numerous than the last-named, took a less conscientious but more sanguine view of the situation—rejoicing both in the act of Impeachment and in the failure to convict. Their specious belief was that the narrow escape which the President had made would frighten him out of all mischievous designs for the remainder of his term; while the narrow escape which the party had made, left to it in the impending Presidential contest all the advantage of a political power so firmly held by Congress, and at the same time imposed upon the Democrats the responsibility for a discredited and disgraced Administration of the Government.

The sober reflection of later years has persuaded many who favored Impeachment that it was not justifiable on the charges made, and that its success would have resulted in greater injury to free institutions than Andrew Johnson in his utmost endeavor was able to inflict. No impartial reader can examine the record of the pleadings and arguments of the Managers who appeared on behalf of the House, without feeling that the President was impeached for one series of misdemeanors, and tried for another series. This was perhaps not unnatural. The Republicans had the gravest cause to complain of the President's course on public affairs. He had professed the most radical creed of their party, had sought their confidence, had received their suffrages. Entrusted with the chief Executive power of the Nation by Republican ballots, he professed upon his accession to office the most entire devotion to the principles of the party; but he had, with a baseness hardly to be exaggerated, repudiated his professions, deserted the friends who had confided in him, and made an alliance with those who had been the bitterest foes of the Union in the bloody struggle which had just closed.

In the outraged and resentful minds of those who had sustained the Union cause through its trials, the real offenses of the President were clearly seen, and bitterly denounced:—his hostility to the Fourteenth Amendment; his unwillingness to make citizenship National; his opposition to all efforts to secure the safety of the public debt, and the sacredness of the soldier's pension; his resistance to measures that would put the rebel debt beyond the possibility of being a burden upon the whole nation or even upon the people of the Southern States; his determination that freedmen should not be placed within the protection of Organic law; his eagerness to turn the Southern States over to the control of the rebel element, without condition and without restraint; his fixed hostility to every form of reconstruction that looked to national safety and the prevention of another rebellion; his opposition to every scheme that tended to equalize representation in Congress, North and South, and his persistent demand that the negro should be denied suffrage, yet be counted in the basis of apportionment; his treacherous and malignant conduct in connection with the atrocious massacre at New Orleans; his hostility to the growth of free States in the North-West, while he was constantly urging the instant re-admission of all the rebel States; his denial of a morsel of food to the suffering and starving negro and white Unionist of the South in their dire extremity, as shown by his veto of the Freedmen's-bureau Bill; his cruel attempt to exclude the colored man from the power to protect himself by law, in his shameless veto of the Civil Rights Bill; and last, and worst of all, his heartless abandonment of that Union-loving class of white men in the South who became the victims of rebel hatred, from which he had himself escaped only by the strength of the National arms. In recounting all the acts which made up the roll of his political dishonor, Johnson had, in Republican opinion, committed none so hideous as his turning over the Southern Unionists to the vengeance of those who, as he well knew, were incapable of dealing with them in a spirit of justice, and who were unwilling to show mercy, even after they had themselves received it in quality that was not strained.

Could the President have been legally and constitutionally impeached for these offenses he should not have been allowed to hold his office for an hour beyond the time required for a fair trial. But the Articles of Impeachment did not even refer to any charge of this kind, and a stranger to our history, in perusing them, could not possibly infer that behind the legal verbiage of the Articles there was in the minds of the representatives who presented them a deadly hostility to the President for offenses totally different from the technical violation of a statue, for which he was arraigned,—a statute that never ought to have been enacted, as was practically confessed by its framers, when, within less than a year after the Impeachment trial had closed, they modified its provisions by taking away their most offensive features.

The charges on which the House actually arraigned the President were in substance, that he had violated the Tenure-of-office Act; that he had conspired with Lorenzo Thomas to violate it; that he had consulted with General Emory to see whether, independent of the General-in-Chief, he could not issue orders to the army to aid him in his determination to violate it; and lastly, that he had spoken of Congress in such a manner as tended to bring a co-ordinate branch of the Government into "disgrace, ridicule, hatred, contempt, and reproach." The charge of conspiring with Lorenzo Thomas, as well as that in respect to General Emory, appeared in the end to be not only unsustained, but trivial. The President had conspired in precisely the same way with General Sherman when he urged him to accept the post of Secretary of War as Mr. Stanton's successor. The charge that he had attempted to bring Congress into "disgrace, ridicule, hatred, contempt, and reproach," was laughingly answered in popular opinion, by the fact that he not been able to say half so many bitter things about Congress as Congress had said about him; and that, as the elections had shown, Congress had triumphed, and turned the popular contempt and ridicule against the President. Besides, the offense charged against the President had been committed nearly two years before, and seemed to be recalled now for popular effect in the construction of the Articles of Impeachment. This charge richly deserved the satire it received at the hands of Judge Curtis when he spoke of "the House of Representatives erecting itself into a school of manners, and desiring the judgment of the Senate whether the President has not been guilty of an indecorum; whether he has spoken properly?" . . . "Considering the nature of our government," said Judge Curtis, "and the experience we have had on this subject, that is a pretty lofty claim!"

In fact there was but one charge of any gravity against the President —that of violating the Tenure-of-office Act. But on the charge there was a very grave difference of opinion among those equally competent to decide. Mr. Fessenden, one of the ablest lawyers, if not indeed the very ablest that has sat in the Senate since Mr. Webster, believed on his oath and his honor—an oath that was sacred and an honor that was stainless—that the President had a lawful and Constitutional right to remove Mr. Stanton at the time and in the manner he did. Mr. Trumbull, whose legal ability had been attested by his assignment to the chairmanship of the Judiciary Committee, believed with Mr. Fessenden, as did Mr. Grimes of Iowa, one of the strongest members of the Senate, and Mr. Henderson of Missouri, whose legal attainments have since given him a high professional reputation. Let it be frankly admitted that lawyers of equal rank conscientiously believed in the President's guilt. This only proves that there was ground for a substantial and fundamental difference of opinion, and that it could not therefore with certainty be charged that the President, "unmindful of the high duties of his office, did this act in violation of the Constitution of the United States." This was the very question in dispute,—the question in regard to which lawyers of eminent learning and impartial mind, members of the Republican party and zealous opponents of the President's policy, radically differed in judgment. Opinions of distinguished lawyers on the Democratic side of the Senate, like Reverdy Johnson, are not quoted, because partisan motives would be ascribed to their conclusions.

Perhaps the best test as to whether the act of the President in removing Mr. Stanton was good ground for impeachment, would be found in asking any candid man if he believes a precisely similar act by Mr. Lincoln, or General Grant, or any other President in harmony with his party in Congress, would have been followed by impeachment, or by censure, or even by dissent. It is hardly conceivable, nay, it is impossible, that under such circumstances the slightest notice would be taken of the President's action by either branch of Congress. If there was a difference of opinion as to the intent and meaning of a law, the general judgment in the case supposed would be that the President had the right to act upon his own conscientious construction of the statute. It might not be altogether safe to concede to the Executive the broad scope of discretion which General Jackson arrogated to himself in his celebrated veto of the Bank Bill, when he declared that "The Congress, the Executive, and the Court must each for itself be guided by its own opinion of the Constitution. Each public officer who takes an oath to support the Constitution swears that he will support it as he understands it, and not as it is understood by others." But without approving the extreme doctrine which General Jackson announced with the applause of his party, it is surely not an unreasonable assumption that in the case of a statute which has had no judicial interpretation and whose meaning is not altogether clear, the President is not to be impeached for acting upon his own understanding of its scope and intent:—especially is he not to be impeached when he offers to prove that he was sustained in his opinion by every member of his Cabinet, and offers further to prove by the same honorable witnesses that he took the step in order to subject the statute in dispute to judicial interpretation.

It is to be noted that in the progress of the trial the Managers on the part of the House and the counsel of the President proceeded upon entirely different ground as to what constituted an offense punishable with impeachment. General Butler, who opened the case against the President with circumspection and ability, took care to exclude the idea that actual crime on the part of the officer was essential to justify impeachment. Speaking for all the Managers he said, "We define an impeachable high crime or misdemeanor to be one in its nature or consequences subversive of some fundamental or essential principle of government or highly prejudicial to the public interest; and this may consist of a violation of the Constitution, of law, of an official oath, or of duty, by an act committed or omitted; or, without violating a positive law, by the abuse of discretionary powers from improper motives or for any improper purpose." This of course would give great latitude in proceedings against the President. It would challenge his discretion, erect sins of omission into positive offenses, and make inquest of his motives and purposes. There has not been an occupant of the Executive Chair since the organization of the Government, who did not at some period in his career commit an act which in the judgment of his political opponents was "highly prejudicial to the public interest," and therefore if his opponents should happen to be in the majority they might impeach him, simply for disagreement upon an issue of expediency upon which men equally competent to judge might reasonable and conscientiously hold different opinions. This was in effect the same position assumed by Mr. Thaddeus Stevens, that "in order to sustain impeachment under the Constitution it is not necessary to prove a crime as an indictable offense, or any act malum in se. It is a purely political proceeding." The counsel for the President dissented altogether from this definition of the grounds of Impeachment as given by the Managers. Judge Curtis declared that "when the Constitution speaks of treason, bribery, and other high crimes and misdemeanors, it refers to and includes only high criminal offenses against the United states, made so by some law of the United States existing when the acts complained of were done. . . . Noscitur a sociis. High crimes and misdemeanors! so high that they belong in this company with treason and bribery." The position of Judge Curtis was fortified by the fact that in the five cases of Impeachment trial before the President was accused—the cases of Blount, of Pickering, of Chase, of Peck, and of Humphries—the charges preferred by the House involved criminality.

Outside of professional opinion there was supposed to be a popular demand, so far as the Republican party represented the people, for the President's conviction—a demand found to be based, when analyzed, upon other acts of the President than those for which he was arraigned in the Articles of Impeachment. The people in this respect followed precisely in the line of their Representatives. It was certainly not a praiseworthy procedure that this supposed popular wish should have been mentioned at all as an argument for conviction. The most dignified of the many comments which this feature of the trial elicited was by Senator Fessenden, in the official opinion which accompanied his vote:—"To the suggestion that popular opinion demands the conviction of the President on these charges, I reply that he is not now on trial before the people, but before the Senate. In the words of Lord Eldon, upon the trial of the Queen, 'I take no notice of what is passing out of doors, because I am supposed constitutionally not to be acquainted with it. . . . It is the duty of those upon whom a judicial task is imposed to meet reproach, and not to court popularity.' . . . The people have not taken an oath to do impartial justice according to the Constitution and the law. I have taken that oath."

The trial of President Johnson is the most memorable attempt made by any English-speaking people to depose a sovereign ruler in strict accordance with all forms of law. The order, dignity and solemnity which marked the proceedings may therefore be realized with pride by every American citizen. From the beginning to the end there was no popular menace, or even suggestion of disturbance or violence, let the trial end as it might. If the President had been convicted he would have quietly retired from the Executive Mansion and Benjamin F. Wade, President of the Senate, sworn by the Chief Justice in the presence of the two Houses of Congress, would have assumed the power and performed the duties of Chief Magistrate of the Nation. During the original agitation of Impeachment in the House of Representatives some imprudent expressions had been made by hot-headed partisans, in regard to the right of the President to disperse Congress and appeal directly to the people to vindicate his title to his office. But these declarations were of no weight and their authors would have promptly retracted them in the hour of danger.

The time within which the trial of the President was comprised, from the presentation of the charges by the House of Representatives until the final adjournment of the Senate as a Court of Impeachment, was eighty-two days. Within that period the amplest opportunity was afforded to submit testimony and to hear the pleas of counsel. The gravity of the procedure was fully realized by all who took part in it, and no pains were spared to secure the observance of every Constitutional requirement to the minutest detail. In conserving its own prerogatives Congress made no attempt to curtail the prerogatives of the President during his trial. The army and the navy were under his control, together with the power to change that vast host of Federal officers and employees whose appointment does not require the confirmation of the Senate. Confidence in the reign of law was so absolute that no one ever dreamed it possible for the President to resist the force of its silent decree against him if one more voice in the Senate had pronounced him guilty.

The trial of Warren Hastings is always quoted as a precedent of imposing authority and consequence. But that was simply the arraignment of a subordinate official, upon charges of peculation and cruelty—misdemeanors not uncommon with the Englishmen of that day who were entrusted with Colonial administration. The great length of the Hastings trial, and especially the participation of Edmund Burke as original accuser and chief manager, have given it an extraneous importance to students of English history and law. The Articles of Impeachment, drawn by Mr. Burke, were presented at the bar of the House of Lords in April, 1786. They were so elaborate as to fill a stately octavo volume of five hundred pages. Mr. Burke's opening speech was not made for two years thereafter, and his closing plea was made in June 1794. During these eight years his splendid eloquence was the admiration and pride of the English people, and gave to the arraignment of Hastings an extrinsic interest far beyond the real importance. It bore no comparison in any of its essential aspects with a change of Rulership in a Republic of forty millions of people. Scarcely an incident of Hastings' life in India would be known to the popular reader, except for the association of his name with the most celebrated period of Mr. Burke's majestic career. Baron Plassy, a far greater man in the same field of achievement, is, compared with Hastings, little known—the title not being remembered even by the mass of his countrymen to-day as part of the reward to Robert Clive for founding the British Empire in India.

But the importance of the President's Impeachment does not depend upon the fame of his accusers or upon the length of his trial. The case in itself possesses intrinsic and enduring interest. It was not affected by factitious circumstances. It is notable especially because of the extreme tension to which it subjected the Constitution, and the attestation it affords of the restraint which a free people instinctively impose upon themselves in times of public excitement. It will be studied as a precedent, or as a warning, by the citizens of the Great Republic during the centuries through which, God grant, it may pass with increasing prosperity and renown. And it may well happen that in the crises of a distant future the momentous trial of 1868, though properly resulting in acquittal of the accused, will be recalled as demonstrating the ease and the serenity with which, if necessity should demand it, the citizens of a free country can lawfully deprive a corrupt or dangerous Executive of the office he has dishonored and the power he has abused.

Mr. Stanton promptly resigned his post when the Impeachment failed and returned to private life and to the practice of his profession. He was accompanied into his retirement by a vote of thanks from Congress for "the great ability, purity and fidelity with which he had discharged his public duties"; and in confirming his successor, the Senate adopted a resolution that Mr. Stanton was not legally removed, but had relinquished his office. He was broken in health and very keenly disappointed by the failure of the Impeachment. He supported General Grant for the Presidency and made one or two important public speeches in aid of his election. On the 20th of December, 1869, he was appointed by President Grant an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. For many years of his eminent professional life this high judicial position was the one ambition which Mr. Stanton had cherished. But its realization came too late. His prolonged labors, his anxieties and his disappointments had done their work, and on the 24th of December, five days after he had completed his fifty-fifth year, he sank to his grave, after herculean labors for the safety and honor of his country.

General John M. Schofield was nominated by the President as Mr. Stanton's successor and was confirmed by the Senate. He had an unexceptional record as a soldier, was a man of spotless personal character, and possessed of sound judgment and discretion. His ability for civil administration had been tested and satisfactorily demonstrated during his command of the District of Virginia in the period of reconstruction, and also in a certain degree during the war when Mr. Lincoln entrusted to him the difficult task of preserving loyal ascendency in Missouri. He took charge of the War Department at a difficult and critical time, but his administration of it was in all respects successful and received the commendation of fair-minded men in all parties.

Immediately after his acquittal the President renominated Mr. Stanbery for Attorney-General. The Senate, in a spirit of resentment not altogether praiseworthy or intelligible, rejected him. It was rumored that Mr. Stanbery's previous course as Attorney-general "in construing the Reconstruction Acts" had given offense to certain senators. No reason, however, was assigned and indeed no good reason could be given, for this personal injustice to an able lawyer and an honorable man. He was simply a victim to the political excitement of the hour. Upon Mr. Stanbery's rejection the President nominated Mr. Evarts to his first official position under the National Government. He was promptly confirmed, and, it need not be added, discharged the duties of Attorney-General with eminent ability and with a popularity which tended to re-establish in some degree those relations of personal courtesy always so desirable between Congress and the Executive Departments.

[(1) The following is General Grant's testimony in full, touching the point referred to. It was given under oath before the Judiciary Committee on the 18th of July, 1867.

MR. BOUTWELL: "Have you at any time heard the President make any remark in reference to the admission of members of Congress from the rebel States into either House?"

GENERAL GRANT: "I cannot say positively what I have heard him say on the subject. I have heard him say as much, perhaps, in his published speeches last summer, as I ever heard him say at all upon that subject. I have heard him say—and I think I have heard him say it twice in his speeches—that if the North carried the elections by members enough to give them, with the Southern members, a majority, why would they not be the Congress of the United States? I have heard him say that several times."

MR. THOMAS WILLIAMS: "When you say 'the North,' you mean the Democratic party of the North; or, in other words, the party favoring his policy?"

GENERAL GRANT: "I mean if the North carried enough members in favor of the admission of the South. I did not hear him say that he would recognize them as the Congress. I merely heard him ask the question, 'Why would they not be the Congress?'"

MR. JAMES F. WILSON: "When did you hear him say that?"

GENERAL GRANT: "I heard him say that in one or two of his speeches.
I do not recollect when."

MR. BOUTWELL: "Have you heard him make a remark kindred to that elsewhere?"

GENERAL GRANT: "Yes, I have heard him say that, aside from his speeches, in conversation. I cannot say just when: it was probably about that same time."

MR. BOUTWELL: "Have you heard him at any time make any remark or suggestion concerning the legality of Congress with the Southern members excluded?"

GENERAL GRANT: "He alluded to that subject frequently on his tour to Chicago and back last summer. His speeches were generally reported with considerable accuracy. I cannot recollect what he said, except in general terms; but I read his speeches at the time, and they were reported with considerable accuracy."

MR. BOUTWELL: "Did you hear him say any thing in private on that subject, either during that trip or at any other time?"

GENERAL GRANT: "I do not recollect specially."

MR. BOUTWELL: "Did you at any time hear him make any remark concerning the Executive Department of the Government?"

GENERAL GRANT: "No: I never hear him allude to that."

MR. BOUTWELL: "Did you ever hear him make any remark looking to any controversy between Congress and the Executive?"

GENERAL GRANT: "I think not."]

[(2) The following is the vote of the House, in detail, on the first Impeachment resolution. Republicans are given in Roman; Democrats in Italic:—

AYES.—Messrs. Anderson, Arnell, James M. Ashley, Boutwell, Bromwell,
Broomall, Butler, Churchill, Reader W. Clarke, Sidney Clarke, Cobb,
Coburn, Covode, Cullom, Donnelly, Eckley, Ela, Farnsworth, Gravely,
Harding, Higby, Hopkins, Hunter, Judd, Julian, Kelley, Kelsey, William
Lawrence, Loan, Logan, Loughridge, Lynch, Maynard, McClurg, Mercur,
Mullins, Myers, Newcomb, Nunn, O'Neill, Orth, Paine, Pile, Price,
Schenck, Shanks, Aaron F. Stevens, Thaddeus Stevens, Stokes, Thomas,
John Trimble, Trowbridge, Robert T. Van Horn, Ward, Thomas Williams,
William Williams, and Stephen F. Wilson—57.

NOES.—Messrs. Adams, Allison, Ames, Archer, Delos R. Ashley, Axtell, Bailey, Baker, Baldwin, Banks, Barnum, Beaman, Beck, Benjamin, Benton, Bingham, Blaine, Boyer, Brooks, Buckland, Burr, Cary, Chanler, Cook, Dawes, Dixon, Dodge, Driggs, Eggleston, Eldridge, Eliot, Ferriss, Ferry, Fields, Garfield, Getz, Glossbrenner, Golladay, Griswold, Grover, Haight, Halsey, Hamilton, Hawkins, Hill, Holman, Hooper, Hotchkiss, Asahel W. Hubbard, Chester D. Hubbard, Richard D. Hubbard, Hulburd, Humphrey, Ingersoll, Johnson, Jones, Kerr, Ketcham, Knott, Koontz, Laflin, George V. Lawrence, Lincoln, Marshall, Marvin, McCarthy, McCullogh, Miller, Moorhead, Morgan, Mungen, Niblack, Nicholson, Perham, Peters, Phelps, Pike, Plants, Poland, Polsley, Pruyn, Randall, Robertson, Robinson, Ross, Saywer, Sitgreaves, Smith, Spalding, Starkweather, Stewart, Stone, Taber, Taylor, Upson, Van Aernam, Van Aucken, Van Trump, Van Wyck, Cadwalader C. Washburn, Elihu B. Washburne, Henry D. Washburn, William B. Washburn, Welker, James F. Wilson, John T. Wilson, Woodbridge, and Woodward—108.

ABSENT OR NOT VOTING.—Messrs. Barnes, Blair, Cake, Cornell, Finney,
Fox, Jenckes, Kitchen, Mallory, Moore, Morrell, Morrissey, Pomeroy,
Ram, Scofield, Seelye, Shellabarger, Taffe, Twichell, Burt Van Horn,
Windom, and Wood—22.]

[(3) The following is the vote of the House, in detail, on the second Impeachment resolution, February 24, 1868. Republicans are given in Roman; Democrats in Italic:—

AYES.—Messrs. Allison, Ames, Anderson, Arnell, Delos R. Ashley, James
M. Ashley, Bailey, Baker, Baldwin, Banks, Beaman, Beatty, Benton,
Bingham, Blaine, Blair, Boutwell, Bromwell, Broomall, Buckland, Butler,
Cake, Churchill, Reader W. Clarke, Sidney Clarke, Cobb, Coburn, Cook,
Cornell, Covode, Cullom, Dawes, Dodge, Driggs, Eckley, Eggleston,
Eliot, Farnsworth, Ferriss, Ferry, Fields, Gravely, Griswold, Halsey,
Harding, Higby, Hill, Hooper, Hopkins, Asahel W. Hubbard, Chester D.
Hubbard, Hulburd, Hunter, Ingersoll, Jenckes, Judd, Julian, Kelley,
Kelsey, Ketcham, Kitchen, Laflin, George V. Lawrence, William Lawrence,
Lincoln, Loan, Logan, Loughridge, Lynch, Mallory, Marvin, McCarthy,
McClurg, Mercur, Miller, Moore, Moorhead, Morrell, Mullins, Myers,
Newcomb, Nunn, O'Neill, Orth, Paine, Perham, Peters, Pike, Pile,
Plants, Poland, Polsley, Price, Raum, Robertson, Sawyer, Schenck,
Scofield, Seelye, Shanks, Smith, Spalding, Starkweather, Aaron F.
Stevens, Thaddeus Stevens, Stokes, Taffe, Taylor, Trowbridge, Twichell,
Upson, Van Aernam, Burt Van Horn, Van Wyck, Ward, Cadwalader C.
Washburn, Elihu B. Washburne, William B. Washburn, Welker, Thomas
Williams, James F. Wilson, John T. Wilson, Stephen F. Wilson, Windom,
Woodbridge, and the Speaker—126.

NOES.—Messrs. Adams, Archer, Axtell, Barnes, Barnum, Beck, Boyer,
Brooks, Burr, Cary, Chanler, Eldridge, Fox, Getz, Glossbrenner,
Golladay, Grover, Haight, Holman, Hotchkiss, Richard D. Hubbard,
Humprhey, Johnson, Jones, Kerr, Knott, Marshall, McCormick, McCullough,
Morgan, Morrissey, Mungen, Niblack, Nicholson, Phelps, Pruyn, Randall,
Ross, Sitgreaves, Stewart, Stone, Taber, Lawrence S. Trimble, Van
Aukern, Van Trump, Wood
, and Woodward—47.

ABSENT OR NOT VOTING.—Messrs. Benjamin, Dixon, Donnelly, Ela, Finney,
Garfield, Hawkins, Koontz, Maynard, Pomeroy, Robinson, Shellabarger,
Thomas, John Trimble, Robert T. Van Horn, Henry D. Washburn, and
William Williams.—17.]

[(4) The following senators filed opinions:—

Messrs. Ferry of Connecticut, Trumbull and Yates of Illinois, Hendricks of Indiana, Grimes and Harlan of Iowa, Pomeroy of Kansas, Davis of Kentucky, Fessenden and Morrill of Maine, Johnson and Vickers of Maryland, Sumner and Wilson of Massachusetts, Howard of Michigan, Henderson of Missouri, Tipton of Nebraska, Stewart of Nevada, Patterson of New Hampshire, Frelinghuysen and Cattell of New Jersey, Sherman of Ohio, Williams of Oregon, Buckalew of Pennsylvania, Edmunds and Morrill of Vermont, Van Winkle of West Virginia, Howe and DOOLITTLE of Wisconsin.]

[(5) The following is the vote of the Senate in detail. Republicans are given in Roman, Democrats in Italic, Administration Republicans in small capitals. Every senator was present and voted.

GUILTY.—Messrs. Anthony of Rhode Island, Cameron of Pennsylvania,
Cattell of New Jersey, Chandler of Michigan, Cole of California,
Conkling of New York, Conness of California, Corbett of Oregon, Cragin
of New Hampshire, Drake of Missouri, Edmunds of Vermont, Ferry of
Connecticut, Frelinghuysen of New Jersey, Harlan of Iowa, Howard of
Michigan, Howe of Wisconsin, Morgan of New York, Morrill of Maine,
Morrill of Vermont, Morton of Indiana, Nye of Nevada, Patterson of New
Hampshire, Pomeroy of Kansas, Ramsey of Minnesota, Sherman of Ohio,
Sprague of Rhode Island, Stewart of Nevada, Sumner of Massachusetts,
Thayer of Nebraska, Tipton of Nebraska, Wade of Ohio, Willey of West
Virginia, Williams of Oregon, Wilson of Massachusetts, and Yates of

NOT GUILTY.—Messrs. Bayard of Delaware, Buckalew of Pennsylvania, Davis of Kentucky, DIXON of Connecticut, DOOLITTLE of Wisconsin, Fessenden of Maine, Fowler of Tennessee, Grimes of Iowa, Henderson of Missouri, Hendricks of Indiana, Johnson of Maryland, McCreery of Kentucky, NORTON of Minnesota, PATTERSON of Tennessee, Ross of Kansas, Saulsbury of Delaware, Trumbull of Illinois, Van Winkle of West Virginia, and Vickers of Maryland.—19.]


The stirring events which preceded the Presidential campaign of 1868 brought both parties to that contest with aroused feeling and earnest purpose. The passionate struggle of which President Johnson was the centre, had inspired the Republicans with an ardor and a resolution scarcely surpassed during the intense period of the war. The failure, on the 16th of May, to find the President guilty as charged in the Eleventh Article of Impeachment, was received by the public as a general acquittal, without waiting for the vote of the 26th. A large proportion of the delegates to the Republican National Convention which met at Chicago on the 20th of May, gathered under the influence of keen disappointment at the President's escape from what they believed to be merited punishment. Though baffled in their hope of deposing the man whom they regarded with the resentment that always follows the political apostate, they were none the less animated by the high spirit which springs from conscious strength and power. They were the representatives of an aggressive and triumphant party, and felt that though suffering an unexpected chagrin they were moving forward with certainty to a new and brilliant victory. The chief work of the Convention was determined in advance. The selection of General Grant as the candidate for the Presidency had for months been clearly foreshadowed and universally accepted by the Republican party. At an earlier stage there had been an effort to direct public thought towards some candidate who was more distinctively a party chief, and who held more pronounced political views; but public sentiment pointed so unmistakably and irresistibly to General Grant that this effort was found to be hopeless and was speedily abandoned. The enthusiasm for General Grant was due to something more than the mere fact that he was the chief hero of the war. It rested upon broader ground than popular gratitude for his military services—great as that sentiment was. During the conflict between Congress and the President, General Grant had been placed in a trying position, and he had borne himself with a discretion and dignity which deepened the popular confidence in his sound judgment and his tact. The people felt that besides the great qualities he had displayed in war, he was peculiarly fitted to lead in restoring peace and the reign of law.

Though the main work of the Convention was simply to ratify the popular choice, the party sent many conspicuous men as delegates. Joseph R. Hawley, William Claflin, Eugene Hale, George B. Loring, and William E. Chandler were present from the New-England States. New York was especially strong in the number of its prominent men. General Daniel E. Sickles, with his honorable war record, Lyman Tremaine, who had been Attorney-General of the State, Charles Andrews, since its Chief Justice, Moses H. Grinnell, Chauncey M. Depew, Ellis H. Roberts, Frank Hiscock, and others of scarcely less rank made up the notable delegation. Pennsylvania sent Colonel Forney and General Harry White, while Colonel A. K. McClure appeared in the Convention as a substitute. Maryland sent John A. J. Creswell, afterward in General Grant's Cabinet. John A. Bingham came from Ohio. The Indiana delegation included Richard W. Thompson and Senator Henry S. Lane. John A. Logan and Emory A. Storrs represented the great State of which General Grant was a citizen. Governor Van Zandt of Rhode Island, Senator Cattell and Cortlandt L. Parker of New Jersey, Ex-Attorney-General Speed of Kentucky, Carl Schurz and Governor Fletcher of Missouri, added strength and character to the roll of delegates.

The Convention rapidly completed its work, being in session but two days. The opening speech by the Chairman of the National Committee, Governor Ward of New Jersey, was short and pointed. He expressed the dominant thought in the minds of all when he said: "If, as indicated by the unanimity of feeling which prevails here, you shall designate as our leader the great Captain of the age, whose achievements in the field have been equaled by his wisdom in the Cabinet, the Nation will greet is as the precursor of victory to our cause, of peace to the Republic." Carl Schurz was selected as temporary chairman, and his speech reflected the prevalent feeling of all Republicans. He exulted in the great achievements of the party, now freshly recalled in its first National Convention since the successful close of the war, and proclaimed its purpose to finish and perfect the work of reconstructing the Union on the broad basis of equal rights.

For permanent President of the Convention General Sickles and General Hawley had both been prominently mentioned and warmly advocated. The vote between them in the committee on permanent organization was a tie. But New York bent every thing to the purpose of nominating Governor Fenton for the Vice-Presidency, and feared that the selection of General Sickles for the highest honor of the Convention might prejudice his chances. By the casting vote of Hamilton Harris of Albany, a special friend of Governor Fenton and a man of marked sagacity in political affairs, the choice fell upon General Hawley. His speech on taking the chair was earnest and impressive. He briefly reviewed what the party had accomplished, in war and in peace, and emphasized the obligation of crowning these triumphs with the permanent establishment of equal and exact justice. He was especially forcible in rebuking the current financial heresies and in insisting that the full demands of the Nation's honor should be scrupulously observed. "For every dollar of the national debt," he declared, "the blood of a soldier is pledged." "Every bond, in letter and in spirit, must be as sacred as a soldier's grave." As these patriotic maxims were pronounced by General Hawley, the whole Convention broke forth in prolonged applause.

The platform, reported on the second day, succinctly stated the Republican policy. It made two principles conspicuous: first, equal suffrage; and second, the maintenance of the public faith. These were the pivots on which the political controversy of the year turned. They embraced the two supreme questions left by the war. The one involved the restoration of public liberty, in harmony with public safety, in the lately rebellious States. The other involved the honor of the Republic in observing its financial obligations. The Reconstruction policy rested on equal suffrage as its corner-stone, and the Convention congratulated the country on its established success, as shown by its acceptance already in a majority of the Southern States, and its assured acceptance in all. Equal suffrage was still regarded however rather as an expedient of security against disloyalty than as a measure of National right, rather as an incident to the power of re-organizing rebellious communities than as a subject of National jurisdiction for all the States.

The Fourteenth Amendment was about to be proclaimed, and would place American citizenship under Constitutional protection. The Fifteenth Amendment, ordaining equal political and civil rights, had not yet come. In this period of transition the platform asserted that the guarantee of suffrage to the loyal men of the South must be maintained, but that the question of suffrage in the loyal States belonged to the States themselves. This was an evasion of duty quite unworthy of the Republican party, with its record of consistent bravery through fourteen eventful years. It was a mere stroke of expediency to escape the prejudices which negro suffrage would encounter in a majority of the loyal States, and especially in Indiana and California, where a close vote was anticipated. The position carried with it an element of deception, because every intelligent man knew that it would be impossible to force negro suffrage on the Southern States by National authority, and leave the Northern States free to exclude it from their own domain. It was an extraordinary proposition that the South, after all the demoralization wrought by the war, should be called upon to exhibit a higher degree of political justice and virtue than the North was willing to practice.

On the financial issue the platform was earnest and emphatic. It denounced all forms of repudiation as a national crime, and demanded the payment of the public debt in the utmost good faith, according to the letter and the spirit of the law. The resolutions reflected universal Republican feeling in an impassioned arraignment of President Johnson. At the same time they commended the spirit of magnanimity and forbearance with which those who had taken up arms against the Union were received into fellowship with loyal men, and favored the removal of all political disabilities as rapidly as was consistent with public safety.

When the preliminary business of the Convention had been concluded, John A. Logan, in a vigorous and eloquent speech, presented the name of General Grant for President. On a call of the roll the nomination was repeated by the entire Convention without a dissenting voice. The announcement of his unanimous nomination was received with a great outburst of enthusiasm. The parallel to his unanimity could be found in but few instances in our political history, and it augured well for the success of the canvass in which General Grant was thus made the standard-bearer.

The absence of any contest on the chief nomination imparted unusual spirit and interest to the struggle for the Vice-Presidency. Three candidates were urged by their respective friends with great zeal and earnestness. Benjamin F. Wade, of Ohio, President pro tempore of the Senate, was already acting Vice-President. If the Impeachment trial had ended in the conviction of President Johnson, Mr. Wade would have succeeded him for the unexpired term, and from this coign of vantage would doubtless have secured the nomination for the second office. The failure of Impeachment, though fatal to his success, did not dissipate the support which his long services and marked fidelity had commanded, without any of the adventitious aids of power. He had entered the Senate seventeen years before and found there but four members devoted to the cause of free soil. Seward, Sumner, Chase, and John P. Hale had preceded him. Less favored than these senators in the advantages of early life, less powerful in debate, he yet brought to the common cause some qualities which they did not possess. His bluff address, his aggressive temper, his readiness to meet the champions of slavery in physical combat as well as in intellectual discussion, drew to him a large measure of popular admiration.

For several years Governor Fenton had been rising to leadership among New-York Republicans. His political skill had been shown while a member of the House, in forming the combination which made Galusha A. Grow Speaker of the Thirty-seventh Congress. Though not conspicuous in debate he had gained a high reputation as a sagacious counselor and a safe leader. Of Democratic antecedents, he had never been in favor with the political dynasty which so long ruled New York, and of which Thurlow Weed was the acknowledged head. With his conservative views that consummate politician could not keep pace with his party during the war, and thus lost the mastery which he had so long held without dispute. Thereupon Mr. Fenton quietly seized the sceptre which Mr. Weed had been compelled to relinquish. Elected Governor over Horatio Seymour in 1864, he was re-elected in 1866 over John T. Hoffman, and his four years in that exalted office not only increased his reputation but added largely to his political power. The New-York delegation to the National Convention was chosen under his own eye and was admirably fitted to serve its purpose. It was not only earnest in its loyalty but strong in character and ability. It embraced an unusual number of representative men, and with the favorable estimate which Republicans everywhere held of Governor Fenton's services and administration, their efforts made a marked impression upon the Convention.

The friends of Schuyler Colfax relied less on thorough organization and systematic work than upon the common judgment that he would be a fit and available candidate. He was then at the height of his successful career. He was in the third term of his Speakership, and had acquitted himself in that exacting place with ability and credit. Genial and cordial, with unfailing tact and aptitude, skilful in cultivating friendships and never provoking enmities, he had in a rare degree the elements that insure popularity. The absence of the more rugged and combative qualities which diminished his force in the stormy struggles of the House, served now to bring him fewer antagonisms as a candidate.

Beside the names of Wade, Fenton, and Colfax, two or three others were presented, though not so earnestly urged or so strongly supported. Senator Wilson of Massachusetts had warm friends and was fourth in the rank of candidates. Pennsylvania presented Governor Curtin, but with a divided and disorganized force which crippled at the outset the effort in his behalf. The delegation was nominally united for him, but fourteen of the number were friends of Senator Cameron, and were at heart hostile to Governor Curtin. Mr. J. Donald Cameron, son of the senator, appeared in person as a contesting delegate. The State Convention had assumed the authority to name the delegates from the several Congressional districts. Mr. Cameron denied that the State Convention had any such prerogative. He presented himself with the Dauphin credentials as the champion of the right of district representation. He was admitted to nothing more than an honorary seat, but the opposition of himself and his friends had the desired effect in preventing the candidacy of Governor Curtin from becoming formidable.

On the first ballot Mr. Wade led with 147 votes. Mr. Fenton was next with 126, Mr. Colfax followed with 125, and Mr. Wilson with 119. Mr. Curtin had 51, and the remainder were scattering. Several of the minor candidates immediately dropped out, and on the second ballot the vote for Wade was raised to 170, for Colfax to 145, and for Fenton to 144. The third and fourth ballots showed nearly equal gains for Wade and Colfax, while Fenton made no increase. All other names were withdrawn. Wade had been weakened by the fact that after the first ballot his own State of Ohio had given several votes for Colfax, to whom the tide now turned with great strength. Iowa was the first State to break solidly. Pennsylvania turned her vote to Colfax instead of Wade whose friends had confidently counted upon it. Other changes rapidly followed, until the fifth ballot, as finally announced, showed 541 for Colfax, 38 for Wade, and 69 for Fenton. The result was received with general and hearty satisfaction, and the Convention adjourned with undoubting faith in a great victory for Grant and Colfax. General Grant's brief letter of acceptance followed within a week, and its key-note was found in the memorable expression, "Let us have peace!" It was spoken in a way and came from a source which gave it peculiar strength and significance.

The Democratic National Convention of 1868 was invested with remarkable interest, less from any expectation that it would seriously contest and jeopard Republican ascendency, than from the several personal issues which entered into it, and the audacious public policies which would be urged upon it. The general drift of the party was clear and unmistakable, but its personal choice and the tone of its declarations would determine how bold a stand it would take before the country. Would it openly proclaim the doctrine of paying the public debt in depreciated paper money, and emphasize its action by nominating Mr. George H. Pendleton, the most distinct and conspicuous champion of the financial heresy? Would it attempt a discussion and review of its tendency and designs, and make what would approach a new departure, in appearance if not in fact, by going outside of its own ranks and nominating Chief Justice Chase? Would the recreancy of President Johnson to his own party and his hope of Democratic support find any considerable response? And aside from the issue of virtually repudiating the public debt, would the party now re-assert its hostile and revolutionary attitude towards the well-nigh completed work of Reconstruction? These various possibilities left a degree of uncertainty which surrounded the Convention with an atmosphere of curious expectation.

The movement most deliberately planned and most persistently pressed was that on behalf of Mr. Pendleton. The Greenback heresy had sprung up with rapid growth. The same influence which had resisted the issue of legal-tender notes during the war, when they were deemed vital to the National success, now demanded that they be used to pay the public debt, though depreciated far below the standard of coin. "The same currency for the bond-holder and the plough-holder" was a favorite cry in the mouths of many. This plausible and poisonous fallacy quickly took root in Ohio, whose political soil has often nourished rank and luxuriant outgrowth of Democratic heresies, and it came to be known distinctively as "The Ohio Idea." The apt response of the Republicans was, the best currency for both plough-holder and bond-holder! Mr. Pendleton was peculiarly identified with the Ohio Idea. If not its author he had been its zealous advocate, and had become widely known as its representative. The policy which typified the easy way of paying debts spread through the West and South, and brought to Mr. Pendleton a wide support. His popular address and attractive style of speech increased his strength as a candidate, and his partisans came to the Convention under the lead of able politicians, with the only movement which was well organized and which had positive and concentrated force behind it.

While the Pendleton canvass was earnestly, openly, and skilfully promoted it was also adroitly opposed. The keen and crafty politicians of New York were neither demonstrative nor frank in indicating their course, but they were watchful, sinuous, and efficient. Their plot was carefully concealed. They were ready to have a New-York candidate thrust upon them by other sections. If called upon to look outside of their own State and select from the list of avowed aspirants, they modestly suggested Mr. Hendricks of Indiana, a friend and co-laborer of Mr. Pendleton. But the favorite scheme in the inner councils of the New-York Regency, was to strike beyond the Democratic lines and nominate Chief Justice Chase. This proposition was little discussed in public, but was deeply pondered in private by influential members of the Democratic party. Mr. Chase himself presented no obstacle and no objection. He cherished an eager ambition to be President. He had desired and sought the Republican nomination in 1864, and though the overwhelming sentiment for Mr. Lincoln had soon driven him from the field, the differences he had encouraged led to his retirement from the Cabinet. His elevation to the highest judicial office in the land did not subdue or even check his political aspirations. For a