Skip to main content

Full text of "Diary of Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy Under Lincoln and Johnson"

See other formats


Google 



This is a digital copy of a book that was preserved for generations on library shelves before it was carefully scanned by Google as part of a project 

to make the world's books discoverable online. 

It has survived long enough for the copyright to expire and the book to enter the public domain. A public domain book is one that was never subject 

to copyright or whose legal copyright term has expired. Whether a book is in the public domain may vary country to country. Public domain books 

are our gateways to the past, representing a wealth of history, culture and knowledge that's often difficult to discover. 

Marks, notations and other maiginalia present in the original volume will appear in this file - a reminder of this book's long journey from the 

publisher to a library and finally to you. 

Usage guidelines 

Google is proud to partner with libraries to digitize public domain materials and make them widely accessible. Public domain books belong to the 
public and we are merely their custodians. Nevertheless, this work is expensive, so in order to keep providing tliis resource, we liave taken steps to 
prevent abuse by commercial parties, including placing technical restrictions on automated querying. 
We also ask that you: 

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Google Book Search for use by individuals, and we request that you use these files for 
personal, non-commercial purposes. 

+ Refrain fivm automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort to Google's system: If you are conducting research on machine 
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the 
use of public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help. 

+ Maintain attributionTht GoogXt "watermark" you see on each file is essential for in forming people about this project and helping them find 
additional materials through Google Book Search. Please do not remove it. 

+ Keep it legal Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just 
because we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States, that the work is also in the public domain for users in other 
countries. Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of 
any specific book is allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Google Book Search means it can be used in any manner 
anywhere in the world. Copyright infringement liabili^ can be quite severe. 

About Google Book Search 

Google's mission is to organize the world's information and to make it universally accessible and useful. Google Book Search helps readers 
discover the world's books while helping authors and publishers reach new audiences. You can search through the full text of this book on the web 

at |http: //books .google .com/I 



DIARY OF 

GIDEON WELLES 

IN THBEB VOLUMES 

VOLUME in 



ft 



V* 



^wi 



n 



i. 



DIARY OF 

GIDEON WELLES 



BBCBETTABT OV THB NATT UNDBB 
LINCOLN AND JOHNSON 



WnS AN INTBODUCTION BY JOHN T. MOBSE, JB. 
WITH nXUSIBATIONS 

vounsK in 

JANUABY 1, 1867— JUNE 6, 1860 




B09ION AlTD MIW TOBK 
HODOHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY 



4- 



-773.7 







V.5 



 i . 



COmUORT, 1909, AND .V^O, . BY BDGAR T. WKLLBS 

COPYKXOBT, 191 1, BT BDOAR T. WKLLBS AND HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMFANT 

' ' ' ' "... 

ALL RIGHTS BBSBRVBD 



FiqMkm( Oet^ber tftt 






1 




« V 




' «  






. 


*  : * 


1 






 
• 


 


« , 


1 

f 


V 









; J  .1 

■:/■'■•  ' . / • t.. '■ 



CONTENTS 

XLV 

JANUARY, 1867 

C|d>inet IMscussion of t)ie Message vetoing tlie Distiict of ColumbU 
Reorganisation Bill — The Bay of Saman^ Purchase Scheme meets 
with Difficulties — Congress overrides the Veto — Representative 
Ashley of Ohio introduces a Resolution to impeach the President — 
Seward submits to the Cabinet the Articles of a Proposed Treaty 
^th Prussia — An Anmesty Proclamation agreed upon — The 
President asks the Opinions of the Cabinet Members in regard to 
Territorialising the States — Senator Grimes as Chairman of the 
Naval Committee — General Grant's Position on the Dbtrict of Co- 
lumbia Suffrage Bill — His Lack of Political Principles — The Sen- 
atorial Fight in Pennsylvania results in the Nomination of Cam- 
eron — Rosooe Conkling nominated in New York — Cabinet Dis- 
cussion of the Right of a Territory to organise itself as a State — 
The Senatorial Elections — Conkling, Cameron, and Trumbull — 
The Italian and Chilian Missions — Motley resigns as Minister to 
Austria — Seward's Calls at the Capitol — The Cabinet decides 
not to sell out the Dunderberg to the Contractor — The Swatara re- 
turning from Nice with Surratt — Action of the House in regard to 
the Ship Idaho — The President vetoes the Colorado and Nebraska 
Bills — The Army moving to get Possession of the Indian Bureau — 
A Committee from North Carolina submits a Reconstruction Pro- 
posal to the President. 3 

XLVI 
FEBRUARY, 1867 

The Circumstances attending Motley's Rerignation discussed in Cab- 
inet — The North Carolina Plan published in the Richmond Papers 
— The Matter of the R R Cuyler, bought by the Colombian Gov- 
ernment and seized by the United States — Failure of the Saman^ 
Negotiations — Thaddeus Stevens's Proposal to establish Military 
Governments in the Southern States opposed in the House — Banks 
leads the Opposition — Stanton's Sensational Report on the En- 
forcement of the Civil Rights Act — Plain Talk with the President 
about Stanton — Stevens's Bill passes the House — Sherman's Sub- 
stitute adopted in the Senate — The House makes Further Amend- 
ments — Impeachment discussed in the Cabinet — The Tenure-of- 
Office Bill condemned in the Cabinet 34 



vi C50NTENTS 

XLVII 

MARCH, 1867 

Seward and Stanton prepare the Veto Message on the Tenure-of-Offioe 
Bill — Vetoes of this and the Military Government Bill sent in — 
Reverdy Johnson's Extraordinaiy Course — Butler's Animosity 
towards Grant — The Chances of Impeachment — The Close of 
One Congress and the Beg^ning of Another — The Powers of the 
Military Governors — The President's Exclamation in regard to 
Impeachment — Ex-Congressman Law of Indiana on Andrew 
Johnson — The President's Reticence — Randall's Conciliatory At- 
titude towards the Radicals — Stanton apparently to select the 
Military Governors — Sickles among the Generals chosen as Gov- 
ernors — Wall Street's Influence in Congress — The Alaska Pur- 
chase Treaty — Death of Charles Eames — His Career — Senator 
Foster and the Austrian Mission — No Opposition to the Russian 
Treaty in the Cabinet — The ex-Confederate Admiral of the Peru- 
vian Navy to be saluted by American Officers — Indian A£fairs — 
The President wishes to offer the Austrian Mission to General 
Blair — Judge Blair's Story of the Action of General Grant and 
General Dick Taylor against Seward and Stanton — Private Secre- 
tary Moore's Relations with Stanton — Congress refuses to adjourn 
— The Alaskan Treaty rigned — Seward tells ex-Minister Bigelow 
how he shaped Lincoln's Cabinet 54 

XLVIII 

APRIL AND MAY, 1867 

Union Success in the Connecticut Election — Seward seeks to reward a 
Political Trimmer with the Cuban Consul-^eneralship — The Pre- 
sident receives Word that an Injunction against him is to be asked 
from the Supreme Court — Conversation with General Butler on 
Public Affairs — The Senate confirms the Alaska Purchase Treaty 

— Attempts to fill the Cuban Consul-Generalship — Admiral 
Goldsborough seeks through his Wife to be retained on the Active 
List -^ Senator Wilson electioneering in the South — Thaddeus 
Stevens denies Wilson's Authority to make Promises — Governor 
English of Connecticut — Most of his Message to the Legislature 
written by Secretary Welles — A Delegation of Japanese visits the 
President — The House Judiciary Committee seeking Evidence on 
which to impeach — McCulloch talks plainly to the IVesident about 
Stanton — The French buying War Vessels in the United States 

— Seward considers acquiring Snake Island in the West Indies — 
Wilkes Booth's Diary — The Price of the Danish West Indies — 
Attorney-General Stanbery examining the Military Government ^ 
Act — The Indian Troubles — The Japanese conclude to buy the '* 
Ship Stonewall — The President to visit North Carolina . . • • 77 



CONTENTS vii 



JUNE, 1867 

Tlie President goes to North Carolina, accompanied by Seward and 
' Randall — Chief Justice Chase to hold Court in North Carolina — 
The Judiciary Committee decides against Impeachment but reports 
a Resolution of Censure against the President — A Visit to the Naval 
Academy with Admiral Farragut — Parting with Farragut — Far- 
ragut the Great Hero of the War — Sheridan's Removal of Gov- 
ernor Wells oi Louisiana — Stanbery's Liberal Interpretation of the 
Biilitary Government Act — Talk with Governor Pease of Texas — 
A Faction in Colombia proposes to tax Foreign Residents — Sew- 
ard's Presidential Ambitions and Crase for the Acquisition of Ter- 
nUay — Tlie Attorney-General's Opinion on the Reconstruction 
Bills an Able Document — Mrs. Goldsborough presses the Admir- 
al's Claims to Retention on the Active List — The President invites 
Secretary Welles to accompany him on a Journey to Boston — 
Cabinet Discussion of the Attorney-General's Opinion on the Mili- 
tary Government Law — Commander Roe's Action in seising 
Santa Anna — The President starts for Boston — The Publication 
of Cabinet Proceedings — Sheridan's Insubordination — The 
President's Faltering Conduct — His Administration a Failure — 
General Sickles's Letter against the Secretary of the Navy — The 
President courteously received in New Englaxid — Grant's Probable 
Candidacy — Montgomery Blair's Opinion of Grant as a General 
— Admiral Farragut sails for Europe with two of the Secretary's 
Sons accompanying him — Conversation with the President on his 
Return from the South 101 



JULY, 1807 

Seward proposes to purchase Two Islands from Denmark for S7,400,000 
— Cabinet Discussion of Sheridan's Letter to Grant — Maximilian 
shot in Mexico — Congress meets in Extra Session — General Hal- 
leck proiKwed as Commissioner to go to Alaska — Seward justifies 
Commander Roe in the Capture of Santa Anna — Stanton ignores 
the President in addressing a Conmnmication directly to the 
Speaker of the House — Reconstruction Bill passed — The Influ- 
ence of Seward and Stanton on the Administration — Conversation 
with a Memb^ of the British Parliament on Constitutions and Re- 
construction — The President vetoes the Reconstruction Bill with- 
out consulting the Cabinet — Congress passes a Resolution of Sym- 
{Mithy with Cretan Insurrectionists — General Banks calls to urge a 
Removal and an Appointment — The President's Leniency in Mat- 
ters of Pardon — iVoops sent to Tennessee — Grant's Change of 
Views — General Rousseau proposed for Sheridan's Place — Prcn 



viii CONTENTS 

poeal to appoint Frederick Douglass to the Head of the Freedmen's 
Bureau — The President receives Papers revealing a CJonspiracy 
to manufacture Evidence against him — Sheridan removes Gov- 
ernor Throckmorton of Texas and appoints E. M. Pease in his Place 

— McCulloch discouraged at the Political Outlook 124 

LI 

AUGUST, 1867 

The President consults with his Cabinet as to the Advisability of 
removing Sheridan — The Conover Allegations — McCulloch'a 
Compromises — His Great Ability as a Financier — Grant depre- 
cates the Removal of Sheridan — Grant going over to the Radicals 
— Conversation with the President as to the Possibility of Stanton's 
Retirement — Postmaster-General Randall asks for Leave of Ab- 
sence — The President requests Stanton to resign — Stanton re- 
fuses — The Tenure-of-Office Act in Relation to the Question of 
Stanton's Removal — Randall's Shakiness — Thurlow Weed's At- 
tack on Chase — Secretary Wdles advises the President to remove 
Judge-Advocate-Greneral Holt with Stanton and to appoint one of 
the Blairs Secretary of War — The President discusses the Matter 
with Montgomery Blair — The Jury in the John H. Surratt Case 
disagrees — The President suspends Stanton and appoints General 
Grant ad interim — General Sickles prohibits Civil Process in his 
Military Department — Alleged Conspiracy against Judge-Advo- 
cate-General Holt — Stanton's Dismissal makes Little Commotion 

— Correspondence between the President and General Grant re- 
lative to the Removal of Sheridan — Conversation with Grant on 
the Subject of Reconstruction — A Political Ignoramus — General 
Sickles announces his Intention of obstructing the United States 
Court — Passage between Grant and Assistant Attorney-General 
Binckley in Cabinet — Suspicions in regard to Randall — A Reor- 
ganization of the Cabinet talked of in the Papers — Conversation 
with Montgomery Blair about Grant — Grant, insubordinate in 
Cabinet, is rebuked by the President — The President's Strength 
and Weaknesses 149 

LII 

SEPTEMBER, 1867 

Grant's Insubordination — Form of a Proclamation of General Pardon 
— Newspaper Rumors of DifiFerences between the President and 
Grant — Amnesty proclaimed — Newspaper Reports of an In- 
tended Prorogation of Congress in case of an Attempt at Impeach- 
ment — Exercises at the Antietam Battle-Field — Governor Geary's 
Followers try to turn the Affair into a Radical Demonstration — 
Death of Sir Frederick Bruce — The President consults with Lewis 



^CONTENTS iz 

V. Bogy of St Louig^teemlAh Q. ^ads as «d Adviser of tfaa 
Ptaident -- Thfr Case of Pa^FiMMter adtspa^ 
elada diacoflMd in Gabinel — Creneral Sickles asks for a Court oi 
Inquiry — Tbe Quertion of the Po¥rar of State and Municipal 
Courts to diBciiaif^ Men enlisted ip! the United States Service — 
The Attorney-General consulted on the Subject — The Matter d]»« 
eoBsed in Cabinet — Stanbeiy's Views pa to the Habeas Corpus 
Writ «^ Admiral Gkxioa on the Naval Battb at Fort Royal • • • 193 

LHI 

OCTOBER, 1867 

Attorney-General Stanbery reads his Opinion on the Habeas Corpus 
Case — The President calls General' Sherman to Washington — 
Colonel Cooper on the Pofitical Situation in New York State — A 
Sketch of Party Politics in New Yorlc -^ James A. Beddon's Api^- 
cation for Pardon — Governor Cox of Ohio mentioned for the War 
Portfolio — General Blair's Qualificationis for the Position — Sher- 
man's Relations with Grant -^ £lecti6n Returns from Pennsylvania 
and Ohio indicate an Overthrow of the Radicals — The President 
has a Fnxik Talk with Grant, who assures him that he should ex- 
pect to obey Orders — Boutwdl disavows any Intention of attempt- 
ii^ to arrest the Preddent 218 

UV 

NOVEMBER AND DECEMBER, 1867 

Cabinet Discussion of the Question of Arrest — The President's Mes- 
sage — The Judiciary Committee of the House reports in favor of 
Impeachment — The Preddent's Message to the Senate giving Rea- 
sons for suspending Stanton — The Alabama Clums discussed in 
Cabinet — A Complaint from Alabama against General Pope's Op- 
pression — Grant's Presidential Aspirations — Senator Nye intro- 
duces a Bin to establish a Board of Survey to supervise the Naval 
Bureaus — Admiral Porter thought to be behind it — Porter's 
Services and Ambition — Thurlow Weed moving for Grant — The 
Retirement of Captain R. W. Meade, U.S.N., called up for Re- 
vision — Raymond and the Philadelphia Convention . • • • . 237 

LV 

JANUARY, 1868 

Senator Grimes wishes to reorganize the Engineer Corps of the Navy — 
Jealousy between the Line Officers and the Engineers — The Indian 
"War" — Stanton's Case in Congress — Charles Francis Adams 
lesigDs the Ministry to England -r The President considers appoint- 



X CONTENTS 

log General l^cGKOan to tiie PlAoe — John Shertnan'B Instability 

— Grant leaves the War Department «-* Hla Explanation of lidbi 
Coorae, made in Cabinet — Will Stanton resign? — The Naral 
Estimates and the House Committee on Appropriations — Grant 
keeps away from the White House — Mrs. WdJes's Reception «— 
Grant's Interriew with Stanton — The Political Situation in Ooo- 
necticut — Grant writes the President denying the Reports of his 
Action in abandoning his Position as Secretary of War ad itUerim . 252 

LVI 

FEBRUARY, 1868 

Grant's treachery -— Conversation with the President on the Subject 
of Preparation for an Emergency — Proposal to make Washington 
a Militaiy Dqwrtment and order Sherman to it — Excitement over 
the CorTeq;)ondence between the President and Grant — Grant's 
Account ci his Interview with Stanton — Grant's DisUke for and 
Subjecticm to Stanton — His Indifference to Human life — Stan-> 
ton goading the Radicals to Impeachment — He dreads bdng out 
of Place — The President sends to the House the Account of his In* 
terview with Grant, with the Statements of the Cabinet Members 

— Hancock remonstrates against an Order of Grant's — General 
liorenzo Thpmas ordered to resume his Duties as Adjutant-General 
at Washington — A New Military Department created at Wadi- 
ington and Sherman placed in Command — Sherman asks to be ex- 
cused from coming to Washington — The President removes Stan- 
ton — McCleUan nominated as Minister to England — Excitement 
in Congress over Stanton's Removal — Adjutant-General Thomas 
arrested — The President nominates Thomas Ewing Secretary of 
War — Stanbery an Honest Lawyer and Faithful to the Preddent, 
but too Dependent on Precedents in an Emergency — Jeffries, Reg- 
ister of the Treasury, advises the President to use Strong Measures 
— ' GfiBcers sunmioned from an Evening Party — Genend Thomas's 
Unfitness for the Place of Secretary of War ad irUerim — The Ques- 
tion of the Tenure of the Four Hold-over Members of the Cabinet 
—•The House votes to impeach the President — Conversation 
with John Bigelow on the Situation — Repugnance of the Conserv- 
ative Senators to the Possibility of Wade's becoming President — 
G^ieral Lorenso Thomas arrested and then discharged — Sugges- 
tions as to the Democratic Candidate for the Presidency — A Nitro- 
Glycerine Scare in Congress — Stanbery considers resigning to de- 
vote himself to the President's Cause 200 

LVII 

MARCH, 1868 

Fteparations for the Impeachment Trial — The Notice of Impeaeh- 
^ ment served on the Preddent — Selecting the President's Counad 



CONTENTS 



-- Steidiery detMoifiiea taferign hb Cal^et P 
takmg the Prandent'B Caae -- Stanton fortified in the War I>c^^ 
ment — Radical Vietory in the New Hampahire Election — A 
Sketch of New Hampdiire PoUtlca — Stanbery hands in his Reaig- 
natioii— The PreakkDt's Ill-oonaldered Talks with Newspaper Men 
--> Senator Shennan wishes a Nayal lieutenant court-martialed for 
using Disrespectful Language of Con0«ss — The President's Un» 
eommunioativeness. — Judge Black on Seward's Handling of the 
Alta Vela Affair — Hie Impeachment ProceedingB open with Little 
Excitement — Judge Black withdraws from the President's Case — • 
Ph)bable Reasons (or his Course — A Spirit of Mischief in the Ha- 
waiian Islands — Black's Letter to the President withdrawing from 
the Case and denouncing Seward's Conduct in the Alta Vela Matter 

— I^^lson and Sumner and the Naval Appropriation Bill — Gen- 
efal Butler's Opening in the Impeachment Trial 800 

LVIII 

APRII4 1868 

Glocnny Political Outlook in Connecticut — English reSlected, how- 
ever, by an Increased Majority — Curtis opens for the President 
hi the Impeachment Trial — Consultation as to the Introduotioa 
of General Sherman's Testimony — The Need of a Lawyer who 
can meet Butler and Bingham on their own Ground — Sherman's 
Testimony admitted — Secretary Welles on the Stand — Manager 
Wilson's Elaborate Speech interjected into the Proceedings — The 
President nominates General Sdiofidd as Secretary of War — 
Senator Grimes on the Impeachment Trial — Surmises as to the 
Preadent's Reasons for nominating Schofield — Vice-Admiral 
Porter said to be fishing for the Secretarsrship of the ^avy — The 
Speeches of Thaddeus Stevens and Thomas Williams — Stanbery, 
though ill, is confident of Success — Evarts's Speech 828 

LIX 

MAT, 1808 

A VUt to Mount Vernon — The President's Disappointment at Black's 
Desertion — The Outcome of the Impeachment hanging in the Bal- 
' ance — The Doubtful Senators — The Carpet-Bag Constitutions of 
ArlEansas and South Carolina transmitted to Congress — Bing- 
ham's Qosing Speech for the Prosecution — Congressional Inquiry 
Into the Sale of the Ironclads Oneota and Catawba — The Case of 
the Hannah Grant — An Exciting Afternoon and Evening in the 
Senate — Speeches of Sherman, Grimes, Trumbull, and Fessenden 

— Hopeful Outiook — The Vote on Impeachment postponed — 
ninesB of Senator Grimes — Public Opinion manufactured in Wash- 
ington by the Radicals •— The Vote on the Eleventh Article fails to 



rii CX)NTENTS 

convict the Preddent — A Call on Senator Grimes — Attack on- 
Roes of Kansas for his Vote in f avcv of the President — The Candi- 
dates before the Republican Convention at Ctiicago — Grant and 
the Radicals — Rumors of Cabinet Changes — Japanese Affairs — 
Grant and Colfax nominated at Chicago — The Acquittal of the 
President — The News comes to the Cabinet in Session — Charges 
of Corruption — Stanton leaves the War Department — His Char- 
acter and Abilities and his Administration of the Department — 
Sohofidd's Appointment as Secretary of War sticks in the Senate — 
A Seminole Chief on the Written Constitution 343 

LX 

JUNE, 1868 

Whites and Blacks in the Washington Election — Death of ex-Pre- 
sident Buchanan — His Character — Oregon goes Democratic — 
Stanbery, renominated as Attorney-General, is rejected by the Sen- 
ate — The Senate compliments Stanton — The Powers of the 
Comptrollers and Auditors in the Treasury Department — Chase 
talked of for the Presidency — Burlingame and the Chinese Am- 
bassadors — City Election in Washington — Chase's Candidacy 
for the Democratic Nomination to the Presidency — Hopelessness of 
President Johnson's Desire for the Nomination — Admiral Porter 
and the Controversy between the line and Staff Officers of the 
Navy — The IfdeUigencer attacks McCulloch — Congressional In- 
quiry into the Sale of the Ironclads Oneota and Catawba — The 
House accepts the Arkansas Constitution over the President's Veto 
— The Attack on McCulloch instigated by Seward — Evarts nonw 
inated Attorney-General — Intimations of Another Impeachment 
Movement 374 

LXI 

JULY, 1868 

A Proclamation of General Amnesty read In Cabinet — Jefferson Da- 
vis the only Person excepted — The President draws, up another 
making no Exception — The New York Convention nominates 
Horatio Seymour and Francis P. Blair — An Unfortunate Nomina- 
tion — The Result brought about by the Tammany Managers 
^- Disappointment of the President — Seward Close-mouthed on 
the Nominations — Conversation with the President in regard to 
Seward, Stanton, and McCulloch — Doolittle invited to become 
an Independent Candidate — The President prepares a Message 
recommending Certain Changes in the Constitution — Cabinet Dis- 
cussion of it — A Talk with Montgomery Blair — The Blain and 
the Ftesldent — Evarts takes his Seat in the Cabmet — The Two 
New Cabinet Membcfs, Sdiofield and Evarts— John A. Gxiswold 



C30NTENTS im 

daiming Credit for the Monitor to the Ezdiuion of the Navy Db- 
partmeot — Omgrees, insteed of adjoamiDg, takee a Reoeas till 
September 21 — Seward reada in Cabinet a Prodamation relating 
to the Fourteenth Amendment — General Banks and the Navy 
Yard Appointments — Conditions in Georgia 303 

Lxn 

AUGUST AND SEPTEMBER, 1868 

A Tour of Inspection of the Navy Yards — Talk of an Extra Sesrfon of 
Congress — The Railroads and Congress — Sanford E. Church and 
Dean Richmond (the younger) on a Political Mission from New 
York — The Power of State Sheriffs to call on Army Officers for 
Assistance — Death of Thomas H. Seymour — His Career and the 
Part played in it by Mr. Welles — Radical Gains in the Maine 
Election — The ''Alexandrine Chain" — Senator Morgan and 
Representative Schenck issue a Call for Congress to reassemble — 
Congress meets and adjourns ?— General John A. Dix's anti* 
Seymour Letter — His Character and Political Views — Marriage 
of Robert T. Lincoln — The Pacific Railroad 422 

LXIII 

OCTOBER AND NOVEMBER, 1868 

Dahlgren's Management of the Ordnance Bureau — The Political Out- 
look — Getting the Election Returns — Proposal to withdraw Sey- 
mour and substitute another Democratic Candidate for the Pre- 
sidency — The Democratic Mistake and how it came about — The 
Governor of Arkansas asks for Arms — Troops to be sent to Mem- 
phis — Seward's Table of Treaties — Dinner of the New York Bar 
to Attorney-General Evarts — Grant's Spite against Members of 
the Cabinet — Minister Washburn in Paraguay — Minister Rev- 
erdy Johnson submits a Protocol on the Alabama Claims — Discus- 
sion of the Subject 445 

LXIV 
DECEMBER, 1868 

Report on the Pacific Railroad — The New York Evening Poet on Van- 
derbilt and the Merrimac — The Alabama Claims — Congress as- 
'sembles — Senator Trumbull makes an Unreasonable Request — 
The President's Annual Message and its Reception in Congress — 
Proposal to annex San Domingo — Attorney-General Evarts and 
the Law relating to Courts Martial — Grant's Probable Course as 
Preeddent — Discussion of the Finances of the Country — Fox's 
Conversation with Admiral P6rter — Fonnal Acquisition of League 



xiv CONTENTS 

Idand for the New Na^ Yard — Bowles of the Sprinafkid Rgpub- 
Uean aneBted at the Suit of .Fiak — Relationa of Grant with Pre* 
aident Johnaon and Members of the Cabinet — Cabinet DiscussioQ 
of the Currency Question — The End of an Eventful Year . • • 472 

• • • 

LXV 

JANUARY, 1869 

The P^emdent's New Year's Reception — Grant's Failure to call on the 
President — The President decides not to attend Grant's Inaugura- 
tion — The Naval Surgeons seeking to be made Commodores — 
Death of General Rousseau — The Tenure-of-Office Repeal Bill 
passes the House — Seward concludes his Fifty-sixth Treaty — 
Evarts favors abandoning Confiscation Proceedings — Senatorial 
Elections — The Alabama Claims Treaty discussed in Cabinet — 
Fenton defeats Morgan for the Republican Senatorial Nomination 
— Seward's Subserviency to Grant — Senator Grimes introduces 
a Bill to reorganise the Navy • • 496 

LXVI 

FEBRUARY, 1869 

Students of Georgetown College visit the President — John P. Hale as 
Minister to Spain — General Schofield advocates consolidating the 
War and Navy Departments — President Lincoln's Clemency to- 
wards the Defeated South — Did Grant and Sherman act under In- 
structions from him in making the Terms of the Surrender? — Sensp 
tor Morrill of Vermont compliments the Administration of the Navy 
Department — Insurrection in Cuba — The Butler and Bingham 
Factions among the Radicals — General Dix resigns as Minister to 
France — Hawley urged for Grant's Cabinet — The Panama Canal 
Treaty — Grant's Nepotism — Simeon Johnson and Coombs's 
Claim — Johnson's Ignorance of the Duties of the Departments — 
Grant's Cabinet stiU in . Doubt — The Question of governing 
Alaska — The Course to be followed by President Johnson and his 
Cabinet on Inauguration Day 518 

LXVII 
MARCH, 1869 

Diseusrion of the Inauguration Ceremonies — The President's Last 
Reception — Good-byes at the Department — How President 
Johnson and his Cabinet spent the Last Moments of the Adminis- 
tration — The Inaugural Ceremonies and Procession — Grant's 
Cabinet — A.T. Stewart illegally nominated Secretary of the 'Dreas- 
ury — Somner's Wrath at Grant's Course in regard to his Cabinet 



CONTENTS XV 

— Stewart, after offering to trustee his Buanees, finally declines the 
Secaretaryship — Prasure for Boutwell as Secretary of the Treasury 

— Mr. Faxon and Mr. £. T. Welles leave the Navy Department ~- 
Hamilton Fish succeeds Waahbume as Secretary of State and the 
Latter is appointed Minister to France — General Rawlins made 
Secretary of War — Admiral Porter, in charge of the Navy De- 
partment, appoints Chief Engineer King in Isherwood's Place -^ 
Porter's Management of the Department — Debate on the Repeal 
of the Tenure-of-Office Act — Grant's Scheme of reorganising 
the Navy — Moses H. Grinnell made Collector at New York — 
Porter's Intrusion in the Navy Department — The Story of hia 
Appointment as Vice-Admiral — Butler expresses Contempt for 
Grant — Ex-President Johnson in Tennessee — Montgomery Blair 
on Colonel Moore and other Associates of Johnson in Washington 

— Butler outgeneraled and the Tenure-of-Office Repeal Bill com- 
promised 5S6 

Lxvin 

APRIL, MAY, AND JUNE, 18^9 

The Compromise on the Tenure-of-Office Bill passes Both Houses ~- 
Porter as "Lord of the Admiralty" — Connecticut goes Radical in 
the State Election — Possibility of War with Spain — Congress 
adjourns after placing the Matter of Reconstruction in the Pre- 
sident's Hands — Morton's Amendment requiring the Adoption of 
the Fifteenth Amendment to the Constitution before a State is ^ven 
Representation — Corruption not confined to one Party — A Gen- 
eral Sweep of Official Incumbents — Diplomatic Appointments — * 
Motley goes to England, Washbume to France — The Senate re- 
jects the Alabama Treaty after a Speech against it by Sumner — 
Regrets at leaving Washington — A Courtesy from Vice-Admiral 
Porter — Reflections on relinquishing Office — The Return to Hart- 
ford — Call on Admiral Farragut in New York — The Admiral 
suffering from Official Neglect — Changes in Hartford in Eight 
Years — Getting settled — Grant's Unfitness for the Presidency — 
Secretary Borie a Nonentity — Admiral Porter's Order to change 
the Names of Men-of-War — The Alabama Question and the Brit- 
ish PubUo 568 

INDEX 001 



} :. 



• • 



ILLUSTRATIONS 



▲VDBSW JoH2f80K Photogrovun frontitpuoi 

Jamms W. Gbdoes 14 

GiDBON Wkllbs 86 

Edwih M. Stamtok 158 

Ultbsks S. Grakt 200 

William M. Eyarts 808 

WujJAM Pitt EE88Bin>E]i 860 

WiLLLUf Faxon 886 

Jamxs R. Doolittlb 402 

Datid D. Fobtke 660 



DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES 



VOLUME m 



JANUARY 1, 1867— JUNE 6, 1869 



DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES 



JANUABY 1, 1867— JUNE 6. 1869 



XLV 

Cabinet Diseasrion of the MeMage vetoing the Distriet of Colombia ReoN 
ganUation Bill — The Bay of SamanA Purehase Scheme meets with 
Diflficultiee — Ck>ngre8B overrides the Veto — Representative Ashley of 
Ohio introduces a Resolution to impeach the President — Seward sub- 
mits to the Cabinet the Articles of a Proposed Treaty with Prussia — 
An Amnesty Proclamation agreed upon — The Preeddent asks the 
Opinions of the Cabinet Members in regard to Territorialising the 
States — Senator Grimes as Chairman of the Naval Committee — 
General Grant's Position on the District of Columbia Suffrage Bill — His 
Lack of Political Principles — The Senatorial Fight in Pennsylvania 
results in the Nomination of Cameron — Roscoe Conkling nominated Im 
New York — Cabinet Discussion of the Right of a Territory to organise 
itself as a State — The Senatorial Elections — Conkling, Cameron, and 
Trumbull — The Italian and Chilian Missions — Motley resigns as 
Minister to Austria — Seward's Calls at the Capitol — The Cabinet 
decides not to sell out the Dunderberg to the Contractor — The Swa- 
tara returning from Nice with Surratt — Action of the House in regard 
to the Ship Idaho — The President vetoes the Colorado and Nebraska 
Bills — The Army moving to get Possession of the Indian Bureau — A 
Committee from N(«th Carolina submits a Reconstruction Proposal to 
the President. 

January 1, 1867, Tuesday. I neither called on the Pre* 
sident nor did I receive this New Year's Day. My nephew, 
Robert G. Welles, was buried this tm. Funeral at his 
father's in Glastonbury. 

January 4, Friday. At the Cabinet to-day the President 
read his veto message on the bill reorganizing the District 
of Columbia, which excluded those who had given comfort 
to the Rebels but allowed negroes to vote. I was not aware 
until to-day that the bill had been sent him. When I last 



4 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [jan.4 

conversed with him, about a week since, he said he had not 
received it. He had, moreover, requested the Cabinet to 
consider the subject, for he should wish their written opin- 
ions. I was therefore surprised, when, without official Cab- 
inet consultation or opinion, he to-day brought forward his 
proposed message. The docimient is one of length, too 
much on the defensive of himself and the Supreme Court, 
and does not, I think, take hold of some of the strongest 
points for a veto. 

Seward gave it his approval and made quite a random 
general speech without much point. Said he had always 
advocated negro suffrage and voted for it in New York. 
Here and in the States where there was a large preponder- 
ating negro population it was different, — if they were not 
in a majority they were a large minority. That eventually 
universal suffrage was to prevail, he had no doubt. All gov- 
ernments were coming to it. There are to-day represent- 
atives in service in Egypt elected, etc., — but he approved 
the message. 

McCuUoch approved the message because he was op- 
posed to giving this privilege to the negro. That was the 
sentiment of his State, as well as of himself, and he had 
alwajrs voted in conformity to it. 

Stanbery occupied much the same position. Had as a 
member of the Ohio Legislature voted against negro suf- 
frage. Should do the same to-day if there, and believed 
that on the naked question there were at least one himdred 
thousand majority against it in that State. 

Stanton took from his portfolio a brief and carefully 
prepared written statement, to the effect that he had 
examined the bill and could perceive no constitutional 
objections to any of its provisions; he therefore hoped the 
President would give it his approval. 

I read from some rough notes that the bill proposed to 
do something more for the blacks than to raise them to an 
equality with the whites, — it proposed to elevate them 
above a certain class of whites of admitted intelligence and 



lOTl THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBU BILL 5 

eharacter who, heretofore, were entitled to and had exer- 
cised suffrage. If suffrage is claimed for the blacks on the 
ground that they are rightfully entitled to it as citizens of 
the United States, then to deprive the white citizens of 
that right which they now enjoyed is to inflict a punish- 
ment upon them and subject them to a forfeiture, and it is 
proposed to do this without due form of law, — that is, 
without trial and conviction, they, by an ex post facto law, 
are to be condenmed. The Constitution would thus be 
violated in two of its most important provisions, deemed 
essential to the preservation of liberty, and the act, if sanc- 
tioned, will stand as a precedent for any similar violation 
hereafter, etc. On the other points I agreed with the 
gentlemen that Congress ought to pass no such law until 
the States had at least gone as far, — that the people of the 
District (the white people) ought to be heard. I expected 
that Stanton would have met me defiantly, but he said not 
a word. 

Browning was opposed to the bill for the reasons stated 
in the veto, and so was Randall. 

After all had expressed themselves, Attorney-General 
Stanbery inquired how long the veto could be delayed. 
The President said until Monday. Stanbery remarked 
that would not be sufficient for his purpose. He had rea- 
son to believe the Supreme Court would give its opinion 
on the test oath question on Monday, which he thought 
would embrace the point which I had raised. He had not 
turned his mind to the constitutional question, but be- 
lieved the objection well taken. Stanton still said nothing. 
I thought, however, that he was of Stanbery's opinion, 
m General Grant, who was present by invitation, was very 
emphatic against the bill, not because it disfranchised 
Rebels, for he said he rather liked that, but he thought it 
very contemptible business for Members of Congress whose 
States excluded the negroes, to give them suffrage in this 
District. 
1 I agreed with him, but remarked there were other and 



6 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [jan.4 

stronger reasons also, which, in a difference between the 
President and Congress, should not be overlooked. 

McCidloch said he doubted if it would be politic to 
bring forward the constitutional objection at this time, 
for the Radicals would seize hold of it and insist that we 
were in sympathy with the Rebels. 

Randall was also decisive against it. The message was 
just right; he would add nothing nor take anything away. 

I stated I had no controversy in regard to the message, 
but that if there was a constitutional point against a bill 
which was to be vetoed, that point ought, in my opinion, 
never to be omitted. 

Ten members of the Arkansas Legislature were in waiting 
when the Cabinet met, and the President proposed to intro- 
duce them. They had been appointed a committee to visit 
Washington and ascertain the views of the Government. 
The interview was brief. Seward requested them to dine 
with him to-morrow evening and invited the Cabinet to 
oome also. I promised to call in the course of the evening, 
but asked to be excused from the dinner. McCulloch and 
Btanbery concurred. 

Not being satisfied that the President should omit the 
oonstitutional point in his veto message, I called on him 
this evening for further conversation. Stanbery was with 
him. The President produced a file of letters of Fom^, 
Clerk of the Senate, written while he was paying court to 
the President, strongly urging him to take the position he 
has pursued, praising and complimenting him. Yet this 
fellow is now attacking, abusing, and misrepresenting the 
President summarily in his "two papers, both daily.*' 

The President heard my suggestions in regard to the 
constitutional objection; agreed with me;! admitted, as I 
urged, the importance of it and of his concurrence with the 
Court; but did not say, nor did I ask or expect him to say, 
whether he would make that point in his message. I am 
inclined to think he will not. The question of expediency 
raised by McCulloch and Randall, and the point not hav- 



18671 SAMANA SCHEME IN DIFFICULTIES 7 

mg been ori^iDAl with himself, as all are aware, have their 
influence. Yet he hesitates. This is his great infirmity^ 
The President has firmness, but is greatly wanting in 
prompt decision. He is unwilling to ttJce a step, but when 
it is once taken he does not recede. 

We discussed the whole subject of sujffrage and civil 
ri^ts after Stanbery left, — the views of Jefferson and 
others. I quoted from Jefferson and he wished to know 
where he could find the passage. I could not tell him and 
promised I would give it to him in the morning. 

January 5, Saturday. Seward's scheme to purchase the 
Bay of Samani, St. Domingo, meets with imtoward dif<^ 
Acuities. His son, who is to be the negotiator, started in 
the Gettysburg, which got hard aground before she had 
proceeded three miles from Annapolis. The Don was then 
ordered round from New York, which took on board pass- 
engers, etc., from the G. and proceeded to sea. The Gettys- 
burg got off directly after and was ordered to Hampton 
Boads, Norfolk. To-day Admiral Porter telegraphed me 
that the Don encountered a gale, lost h^ mainmast, and 
had returned to Norfolk for repairs. He now wants the 
Gettysburg. Directed him to take her. I am not in favor 
of this purchase. It is a scheme, personal and political, on 
the part of Seward. A tub thrown to assure Thad Stevens 
and Fessenden. 

Gave the President the passage quoted from Jeff^Bon. 
It is in the first volume of Jefferson's works, — his Autobi- 
c^raphy, page 20. It is quoted by De Tocqueville. I again 
advised that the constitutional objection should be pre- 
sented in his message. 

Went with McCuUoch to Seward's and spent an hour or 
two with the Arkansas gentlemen. Told them I knew of 
nothing they had to reconstruct. If Congress admitted 
them to their rightful re^Hresentation, in accordance with 
the Constitution, all was well with them. In regard to the 
Constitutional Amendment^ assured them I was opposed 



8 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [jan.6 

to it as a Northern man as well as Southern. As an Ameri- 
can citizen I wanted no such interpolation in the Consti- 
tution. 

' McCulloch tells me that General Grant urged upon them 
to adopt the Amendment; said the North was in favor; 
that they had decided for it in the late election; that if not 
adopted the Government would impose harder terms. What 
nonsense! What business has Congress to impose terms 
upon States? General Grant, not very enlightened, has 
been led astray, I trust unwittingly on his part, by Stanton 
and Washbume. 

January 7, Monday. The veto went in to-day. But a 
party vote overrode it, as was expected. The message was 
courteous in terms, and the argument and reason very well, 
though not as strong and exhaustive as could have been 
wished; sufficiently so, however, to have satisfied all who 
ure not partisans or fanatics. No calm, considerate, and 
true statesman or legislator can believe it correct to im- 
pose this bill upon the District against the imanimous 
voice of the people. The ignorant, vicious, stupid negroes 
who have flocked hither cannot vote intelligently; are unfit 
to be jurymen. The States and constituencies from which 
these came would oppose it within their own jurisdictions. 

In the House of Representatives fanaticism, prompted 
by partisanship, ran wild. The reckless leaders were jubi- 
lant ; the timid followers were abject and obedient. Ashley ^ 
introduced a resolution to impeach the President, or to 
authorize inquiry, and by an almost strict party vote it was 
fulopted and referred to the Judiciary Committee under 
the previous question. It will never result, even imder 
party drill, in an impeachment and conviction, but it is 
disreputable and demoralizing that a packed party major- 
ity should so belittle the government and free institutions 
as to entertain such a resolution from such a source. But 
he has not done it without consulting others. 

^ James M. Aihley of Ohio. 



lOTi PROPOSED TREATY WITH PRUSSIA 9 

January 8, Tuesday. Seward submitted the articles of a 
proposed treaty between the United States and Prussiai 
proposing an arbitrament of claims of citizens of the two 
governments, which had been prepared and agreed upon 
by himself and Baron Gerolt, the Prussian Minister. It 
was asked, first I believe by Stanton, whether it embraced 
or excluded those Prussians who were domiciled in the 
Rebel region and who had sustained losses by the War. 
Seward made a long talk, claiming it did not, because such 
persons could not come under the law of nations. Brown* 
ing undertook also to say the commissioners who would be 
appointed would be sensible men, and would not give such 
cases consideration. I asked why not, then, insert an arti- 
cle excluding such. Stanton said that if a man were to 
claim his house and was willing to submit to arbitration to 
decide if the title was in him, it did not follow that he (S.) 
would consent to arbitrate. After a long, full, and free dis- 
cussion the opinion was unanimous against the treaty as 
presented. Browning, perhaps, finally expressed no opinion 
dtherway. Randall was absent. It was one of the frequent 
mistaken schemes of our Secretary of State, who is not a 
diplomatist, not a wise statesman, and is iJways imsafoy 
notwithstanding he has plausible talent. 

The President brought forward the question of issuing a 
proclamation for more extended amnesty; referred to Mr. 
lincoln's successive proclamations, beginning with that of 
September, 1862, and showing consistency and uniformity 
of proceedings and views. 

Stanton stated that he had this morning received a copy 
of the act which had just passed the legislature of North 
Carolina, granting amnesty and oblivion ; said that all our 
officers and soldiers were liable to be harassed and arrested 
through the Southern States for trespass and injury; 
thought it would be well there should be reciprocal am- 
nesty. The suggestions struck all favorably and will, I 
think, receive consideration and action. 

Another matter the President remarked he wished to 



10 DIARY OP GIDEON WELLES ijan. 8 

bring forward, and that was, in view of what was taking 
place around us, especially on the subject of dismantling 
States, throwing them into a Territorial condition and an- 
nulling their present organization and government, he con- 
sidered it important he should know the opinions and views 
of each member of the Cabinet. If we are united, that fact 
would carry weight with it, here and before the country; if 
we were not united there was weakness. 

I had observed through the whole sitting that the Pre- 
sident was absorbed and prepared for an energetic move- 
ment, and from what he had said to me on Saturday, I an- 
ticipated what his purpose was. But he had been slow, and 
procrastinated, and until he broached the subject I had not, 
after previous experience, much faith that we should reach 
it to-day. When he commenced, however, his coimtenance 
indicated firm and fixed resolution. He was pale and cahui 
but no one could mistake that he was determined in his 
purpose. 

I doubt if any one but myself was aware of what was 
passing in his mind. Perhaps McCulloch may have thought 
of it, for I told him on Saturday evening of my interview* 
He said he had repeatedly spoken to the President, and had 
similar intimations, but he had little confidence. 

Seward was evidently taken by surprise. Said he had 
avoided expressing hiioself on these questions; did not 
think it judicious to anticipate them; that storms were 
never so furious as they threatened; but as the subject had 
been brought up he would say that never, imder any circum- 
tBtances, could he be brou^^t to admit that a sovereign 
State had been destrojred, or could be reduced to a Terri- 
torial condition. 

McCulloch was equally decided that the States could not 
be converted into Territories. 

Browning, who sat next to him, began to express his 
views, —a discourtesy which he not unfrequently conmiits 
but I think will not again, —when Stanton interrupted him 
and requested him to wait his tunu 



turn TERRTTORIALIZINQ THE STATES 11 

Stanton said he had o(Mximunioated his views to no i^^ 
Here, in the Cabinet, he had assented to and cordially ai>- 
proved of eveacy Bb&p whidi had been taken to reorganise 
the governments of the States which had rebelled, and saw 
no cause to change or depart [from it. Stevens' propoeitioa 
he had not seen, and did not care to, for it was one of those 
schemes which would end in noise and smoke, Hehadcoor 
versed with but one Member, Mr. Sumner, and that was 
one year ago, when Sumner said he disapproved of the polioy 
of the Administration and intended to upset it. He had 
never since conversed with Sumner nor any one else. He did 
not concur in Mr. Sumner's views, nor did he think a State 
would or could be remanded to a Territorial condition. 

I stated my concurrence in the opinions which had been 
expressed by the Secretary of War and that I held Con- 
gress had no power to take from a State its reserved rights 
and sovereignty, or to impose terms on one State which 
were not imposed on all States. 

The President interrupted. He said the power to i»e- 
scribe terms was one thing; the expediency was another. I 
said I was opposed to the whole subject or theory of pre- 
scribing or imposing terms external to the Constitution on 
sovereign States on the score of expediency as well as of 
want of power. If there was no power it certainly could 
not be expedient. I confessed I had not been as reserved 
as the Secretary of State and Secretary of War in express- 
ing my opinions. When friends had approached me and 
conversed on these or indisputable fundamental questions, 
I had not refrained from stating my views, especially to 
those who had consulted me. It seemed to me proper that 
we should do so. I had conversed with Mr. Simmer in the 
early part of last session, about the period that the Secre- 
tary of War had his interview, and then Sumner had 
taken exception to the omission to give negro suffrage, 
and for that reason, and that only, he had opposed the 
Ptmdent's policy of Reconstruction. 

Stanbery said he was clearly and unqualifiedly against 



12 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [jan.s 

the whole talk and theory of territorializing the States. 
Congress could not dismantle them. It had not the 
power, and on that point he would say that it was never 
expedient to do or attempt to do that which we had not 
the power to do. 

Browning declared that no State could be cut down or 
extinguished. Congress could make and admit States, but 
could not destroy or extinguish them after they were 
made. 

The resolution to impeach the President, Seward and 
others treat lightly. My impressions are that it will not 
result in a conviction, although infamous charges,inf amous 
testimony, and infamous proceedings will be produced as 
easily, honestly, and legally as Butler could get spoons in 
New Orleans; but, the preliminary step having been taken, 
backed by strong party vote, the Radicals are committed. 
Ashley, who introduced the resolution, is a calculating fan* 
atic, weak, designing, fond of notoriety, not of very high- 
toned moral calibre. I do not think, however, that he is, 
as some suppose, a tool of others entirely, — certainly not 
an imwilling tool. He seeks the notoriety and notice, and 
hounds like Boutwell and Williams of Pittsburg edge him 
on. Colfax, though feeble-minded, is Speaker, seeks to be 
foremost, and has been an adviser with Ashley and pion- 
eered the way for him to introduce the resolution. Stevens, 
much shrewder and abler than either, keeps in the back- 
groimd, though the chief conspirator. 

It is a necessity for the Radicals to get rid of the Pre- 
sident. Unless they do, they cannot carry out their plans 
of dwarfing the States imder the torture of Reconstruction 
with the judiciary opposed to their revolutionary schemes. 
At present the Senate is not prepared to convict, even if 
the conspiracy to impeach should pass the House. But 
there is not much reliance on the present Senate. The hon- 
est instincts of a majority are against the whole scheme, 
but a considerable portion of them are without moral cour- 
age or high integrity. Perhaps they may herd together and 



1867] AN INTRIGUE OF SENATOR GRIMES 18 

hold out; but} individuallyy very few of them can stand up 
against tiie dictates of party. 

January 9, Wednesday. Mr. Eames was yesterday 
touched with a slight fit of apoplexy when arguing the case 
of the Grey Jacket in the Supreme Court. Called upon 
him this evening and found him better than I apprehended. 

Sent in replies, one to the Senate and one to the House, 
through the President. The first called for detailed orders 
issued to officers, mechanics, laborers, etc., in all the navy 
yards and all correspondence at the Norfolk Yard. The 
response to this call embraced probably two thousand 
pages. Most of it mere routine orders, and the whole call is 
an abuse and valueless. The object was to get at a certain 
communication from the Radicals at Norfolk, who, while 
CTtiployed at the navy yard, had been active partisans, — 
had attended, whilst receiving pay from the Government, 
the sectional Southern delegation at Philadelphia, been 
displaced or suspended by Admiral Rowan, and his action 
had been confirmed by the Department. Clements, one of 
the dismissed men, had been employed here on the Capitol 
for two or three years, had formed partisan acquaintance 
with Radical Members of Congress, and believed he could 
compel the Department to reinstate him. Senator Grimes, 
to whom he appealed and from whom I have reason to be* 
lieve he had assurances of support, did not like to appear 
in the matter, and he therefore induced Senator Hender- 
son of Missouri to offer the resolution. Admiral Smith, 
who was a good deal disgusted with the imnecessary parti- 
san call, knowing some of the facts, charged Grimes with 
having instigated the movement. Grimes, who is jealous, 
suspicious, and intensely sectional in party matters, but 
proud and ambitious, was enraged to learn that his intrigue 
was known to and imderstood by the Department. Under 
high impulse, immediately on getting to the Senate, he 
introduced a resolution for discontinuing the Norfolk Yard 
and putting it in charge of the Commandant of Marines. 



14 DIARY OP GIDEON WELLES [jan.q 

This was to get rid of Rowan, whoee course I approved. It 
was a pitiful exhibition of spite, malice, and evil passion^ 
of which I have no doubt he will in due time be ashamed; 
but it shows the course of action, personal and party 
motives, and narrow and vindictive malevolence of one of 
the ablest of the Radical leaders. Strange that a man and 
Senator of his good sense should so give way to party ! 

Senator Grimes is ambitious, dissatisfied, always sus- 
picious, and at times ungenerous. He is intelligent, haa 
moral courage, but is not always bold to act. Beyond any 
other one man he is responsible for the present calamitous 
condition of affairs. Siunner and Stevens are open and un-> 
disguised in their hostility and without aid from Grimes 
they could accomplish little. Yet Grimes does not respect 
them or their motives and to me invariably condenma 
them. He knows his own ability and is vexed that Johnson, 
an old associate Senator but not a Radical, is in a higher 
position than himself. Fessenden and he act in concert, 
and Wilson of Iowa is stimulated, counseled, and controlled 
by him. 

The course of the Radicals has received its direction more 
from Grimes than almost any other man, and yet others, 
for whom he has not high regard, instead of himself have 
the odium and the honor also of friends or opponents of the 
measiu^. This irritates and vexes him, but he would get 
angry with any one who should openly tell him the truth 
and give him his right position. 

I regret that Admiral Smith should have informed him 
of what we know of his movements. I have hitherto got 
along very well with Grimes, for he has flattered himself 
that I was not aware of his operations and intrigues, be- 
cause I have not put myself in his way. As chairman of the 
Naval Conmiittee, with such a Congress as we now have, 
with such a chairman as J. P. Hale through the War, there 
has been no alternative but to submit in a degree to the 
disposition of measures which he might propose. By yield- 
ing to his suggestions I was sometimes able to modify hia 




JAM1£ W. GRIMES 



18671 GRANT ON THE DISTRICT BILL lit 

opinions when we counseled together, if he was not publidy 
committed. 

JanwxrylOfThvrsday. The New York Times correspond* 
ent states, tolerably correctly, the position of General 
Grant on the suffrage bill of the District of Columbia. He 
condenmed the Members of Congress for imposing negro 
suffrage on this District imtil their States had adopted the 
principle. The worst thing in the bill, he said, was that 
which violated the Constitution. Punishing Rebels by an 
ex poet facto law was right; condemning them without trial 
he did not object to. Yet General Grant will very likely 
be the next President of the United States. I do not think 
he intends to disregard the Constitution, but he has no raver* 
ence for it, — he has no poUtical principles, no intelligent 
ideas of constitutional government, and it is a day when 
the organic law seems to be treated as of less binding 
authority than a mere resolution of Congress. 

Dined this evening with the President, the Cabinet, and 
their families. General Grant and the Tennessee delegation 
and their wives being present. Mrs. Taylor, wife of the 
Member from the Eastern District of Tennessee, says she 
buried her dresses to keep them from the Rebels, and the 
one she wore this evening she owned before the War and 
had buried it for over four years. Occasionally she un- 
earthed her clothing, evenings, to air and preserve it. Col- 
onel Hawkins said all his wife's dresses, save what she wore 
at the time, had been stolen from her, and what the Rebels 
could not carryawaytheyhad torn up and destroyed. Mrs. 
Taylor said she carried arms and was at all times ''ready 
with her shooter." The people of Tennessee, particularly 
those of East Tennessee, were great sufferers during the 
Civil War. 

Jatmary 11, Friday. Senatorial nominations were made 
last evening in several of the States. That in Pennsylvania, 
in place of Cowan, excites most interest. The competing 



16 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [jan.u 

Radical candidates were Thad Stevens, Cameron, Govern- 
or Curtin, Forney, and Judge Kelley. The two latter with- 
drew some weeks since, and their combined strength was 
concentrated on Stevens. The Radical press in that State 
and throughout the country generally also favored him. 
Governor Curtin, however, had a distinctive and active 
newspaper and party support. Stevens, with some parade 
and an announcement of the fact on the floor of Congress, 
left his seat in the House and repaired to Harrisburg to 
superintend his own election. Forney left the Clerk's desk 
to aid him. Both Stevens and Curtin addressed a caucus 
of the Members. 

A single ballot was taken, at which Cameron was nomin- 
ated, getting 46 votes, Curtin 23, and the combined forces 
of Stevens, Forney, and Kelley but 7, — a few scattering. 
Forney last week made a violent attack on Cameron in his 
paper, the Philadelphia Press. The result surprises all, 
more in the fact that Stevens was so feebly supported than 
that Cameron succeeded. While I have not a high estimate 
of Cameron in many respects, I think him greatly prefer- 
able to either of his competitors. No worse man than 
Stevens could be elected. Curtin is limber, deceptive, and 
unreliable. Cameron is not great but adroit; his instincts 
are usually right, but he will sacrifice the right for selfish 
purposes. He is, however, equal to an average of the 
Senate. Is a politician of the second class. 

In New York, Conkling is nominated to succeed Judge 
Harris, who has been sly and manoeuvring and has de- 
feated himself. Conkling is vain, has ability with touches 
of spread-eagle eloquence, and a good deal of impetuous 
ardor. He may improve and he may not. At present he is 
an intense Radical. If he has real sense he will get the bet- 
ter of it with experience. Conkling and Horatio Seymour 
are brothers-in-law, and either is a fair offset to the other. 
Both are ambitious and intense partisan poUticians, but 
of opposing parties. 

Little of interest at the Cabinet to-day. In a conversa- 



1867] A SELF-PERPETUATING CONGBESS 17 

tion with McCulloch he did not conceal that he was dis« 
couraged. The condition of the country is^indeed deplor- 
able, — that, I said, should make us the more resolute* 
But the great majority of the Radicals who are making war 
on his financial ix)licy and striving to embarrass him, he 
says correctly, makes it a hard struggle. That the Presi- 
dent is BO slow in coming to a decision he feels to be a weak- 
ness in administration. The South is becoming rapidly de- 
moralized. I expressed myself gratified that the President 
had, the other day, got Stanton unequivocally committed 
for the policy of the Administration and against the theory 
of territorializing the States. McCulloch says that Stanton, 
whenever it becomes an object, will deny this, or modify 
and change his views to suit his purposes; that S. is false 
and treacherous, and, he believes, a steady spy upon all of 
us. I apprehend there is much in McCulloch's suspicions. 

Although the President has committed no act that can 
subject him to impeachment, and is in many respects one 
of the best and most single-minded Executives we have ever 
had, I have little doubt that the Radical leaders intend to 
try to get rid of him. This they feel to be essential to con- 
summate their usurping schemes. There is a conspiracy 
maturing. How can they reduce the States to the condi- 
tion of corporations, territorialize them, deprive them of 
their original, reserved, and guaranteed constitutional 
rights, without the aid of the Judiciary? How can they get 
control of the Coiuii except by enlarging its numbers? If 
the niunber is to be increased, how can they get Radicals, 
except by displacing Johnson and getting Wade or one like 
him in his place? 

January 12, Saturday. A law has passed the two houses 
convening the next Congress on the 4th of March. We 
have passed through the pressure and difl5culties of the War 
without any such necessity, but Radicalism, which is striv- 
ing to exclude certain States from participating in the gov- 
ernment and to consolidate all power in Congress, like the 

8 



18 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [jan. 12 

Rump Parliament, desires a peipetual session to override 
the Executive. We are living in a revolutionary period, and 
the character of the government is undergoing a strain 
which may transform it into a different character. 

Erastus Coming writes me, earnestly, pressing that Cap- 
tain De Camp may be made a commodore, and sends me 
the copy of a letter from Vice- Admiral Porter, stating that 
he ought to have that rank, that he (Porter) voted for him 
in the Board of Admirals and was disappointed he had not 
received it. This statement, if genuine, is a breach of con- 
fidence and of regulations; is unjust and unfair towards his 
associates; for the Board did not recommend De Camp; is, 
moreover, grossly wrong to the Department, and in every 
way unworthy of Vice-Admiral Porter. 

De Camp is one of Porter's pets, — a trifling, disap- 
pointed, lazy officer, but popular good fellow with his 
cronies ; ought to have been long since on the retired list 
and would have been but for some underhand intrigue. 

January 14, Monday. It is given out that Senator 
Grimes intends making an assault on the Navy Depart- 
ment, or, in other words, an attack on the Secretary for 
dismissing Radicals from the Norfolk Navy Yard. His viru- 
lent and sectional hate, which has warped his better sense 
and led him to secretly push on others, compels him to now 
come forward, he being chairman of the Naval Committee, 
and show himself when one of his troop is removed. The 
man for whom he is interested went to Philadelphia to 
attend a sectional party convention; the money to pay 
his expenses was raised, or a part of it, in the Navy Yard, 
against regulations. Admiral Rowan suspended him, and 
I confirmed it, but being an intense Radical, Grimies would 
shield and sustain him. 

January 15, Tuesday. The President submitted three 
bills, — one relating to suffrage in the Territories, one to the 
qieeting of Congress on the 4th of March, and one covqt- 



18671 THE RIGHTS OF TERRITORIES 19 

ing the repeal of a clause in the amnesty law. This last was 
considered as of no moment, — it neither enlarged nor dim- 
inished the authority of the President. The second, al- 
though a mere party scheme, unwise and uncalled-for and 
of mischievous intent, was not such a bill as the President, 
under the circumstances, could very well veto. I suggested 
that no necessity for such an early session had existed dur- 
ing the War and there was certainly none at this time. 

On the first proposition, or bill, there was considerable 
debate. Browning insisted it was operative no longer than 
the people of a Territory formed their constitution. I asked, 
if, in framing this constitution, they changed the principle 
and excluded the negroes, whether the appUcation for 
admission into the Union would not be confronted with this 
law, and admission denied them because they disregard it. 
He thought not, because the people of the Territory would 
decide this matter for themselves. Stanton came to Brown- 
ing's assistance and said the constitution of a Territory or 
State was no law until Congress had sanctioned it. I dis- 
sented from this doctrine. The people in their sovereign 
capacity framed their local organic law, and if they had the 
sovereign abiUty as well as the sovereign power, they 
might maintain their position. The Federal Government 
would refuse to admit such State into the Union, but if 
their constitution did not conflict with the Federal Consti- 
tution, they might, if suflBciently powerful, remain a State 
without the Union. Such a conflict was not probable, but 
should not be invited. The President did not commit him- 
self, but was evidently not in accord with Browning. 

The tone and language of the press and of considerate 
men are against the impeachment project; but the Radical 
leaders have a purpose to accomplish and intend to press 
the subject. Not to do so, after what they have said and 
done, would check the conspiracy and be a defeat that 
would in all probability injure them as a party. Whether 
it will not injure them more to proceed and fail, they do 
not pause to consider. They are vindictive and restless. 



20 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [jan.15 

regardless of rights and constitutional restraint and ob- 
ligations. Thus far they have been successful in exercising 
arbitrary and unauthorized power, and they will not hesi- 
tate in the future, as in the past, to usurp authority, — to 
try without cause and to condemn without proof. Nor 
will they scruple to manufacture evidence if wanted. 

There is nothing judicial or fair in this proceeding. It is 
sheer partisanism with most of them, a deliberate conspir- 
acy with the few. The subject was taken up in caucus. A 
farce was then gone through with. A committee is sitting 
in secret, — a foul conspiracy, — trying to hunt up charges 
and evidence against as pure, as honest, as patriotic a chief 
magistrate as we have ever had. It is for his integrity they 
conspire against him. 

I see by the papers this evening that the Radical legis- 
latures of one or two States are taking the matter in hand, 
and urging impeachment without any facts, or fault, or 
specified crime, as a mere party measure, but it is all in 
character, — a conspiracy against the Constitution and 
the President for adhering to it. 

January 16, Wednesday. An election of Senators took 
place in several States yesterday. Conkling was chosen in 
place of Judge Harris in New York. The Judge has been a 
cimning manager, as he thought; has, against his own con- 
victions, gone with the Radicals and received his just re- 
ward. Conkling is vigorous and vain, full of spread-eagle 
eloquence and Radical violence. Time may temper his zeal 
and conduct, but this can hardly be expected under this 
recent success. 

In Pennsylvania, Simon Cameron was elected in place 
of Cowan. The latter is a good lawyer and fair and well- 
meaning legislator. A man of talent and right instincts, a 
safe Senator, but not a politician or statesman of the first 
class. Until his election as Senator he had confined his 
studies to the law. 
* Cameron is an adroit and bold party operator. He does 



18671 THE SENATORIAL ELECTIONS 21 

not attempt to deny that he uses money, party influencei 
legislative abuses, and legislative grants to secure an elec- 
tion. In carrying his points, he is unscrupulous and cun- 
ningly audacious. His party tools he never forgets, so long 
as they are faithful in his cause and interest, and he freely 
gives his time, labor, and money to assist them. He is ac- 
curate and sharp, but has no enlarged view or grasp of 
mind; is supple as well as subtle and resorts to means which 
good men would shun. Against him were combined Thad 
Stevens, a man of as little principle as, but vastly more 
genius than, Cameron, and Forney, and Kelley, who sup- 
I>ort Stevens. The entire strength of this formidable com- 
bination commanded seven votes in the legislative Repub- 
lican caucus. I have not thought Kelley corrupt, though a 
flaming and intense politician, but Stevens and Forney are 
infinitely worse than Cameron. Stevens has higher culture, 
more genius, learning, and education than Cameron, but 
less party tact and sagacity. He would sacrifice a prin- 
ciple, a constitutional question, for a joke, yet by his sar- 
castic power and the necessity of using him he is extolled 
in Forney's Chronicle and Press as the **Great Commoner" 
and controls the legislation of the country. 

Trumbull was reelected in Illinois after something of a 
struggle in the Radical Party. Trumbull has ability and 
culture, but is querulous, captious, and freaky. He has 
changed his principles withm a year. 

I had a long conversation with the President to-day and 
warned him that the leaders intended, if possible, to press 
impeachment, and inquired whether he had marked out the 
line of policy he should pursue; told him I thought it 
should be understood by the friends he could trust and that 
it should be bold and decided. 

Jamuiry 17, Thursday. In the Senate, Henderson of Mis- 
souri made his attack on me. It was based on a letter of 
mine to Rear-Admiral Rowan in command of the Norfolk 
Navy Yard, in which I informed him that the Department 



22 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [jan.i? 

gave no encouragement to disunionists, whether secession- 
ists or exclusionists. Henderson had neither the manliness 
nor the fairness to give the whole letter, but he may make 
the most of the extract which he tears from the body of the 
letter. The sentiments expressed I have always avowed, 
and the doctrine I shall maintain so long as I live and there 
is a Union. As to the employment of workmen, I have left 
that to the officers of the yards. Before the suppression of 
the Rebellion none who were Secessionists were employed 
if their views were known. Many poor men who lived in 
Norfolk and Portsmouth had worked to support their fam- 
ilies and been pressed into the Rebel service, though neu- 
tral Unionists. Appeals in behalf of these poor men were 
made to me by the best Union men in Virginia, and it was 
on their appeal that the letter was written. 

There was a pleasant reception this evening at the Pre- 
sident's, which was very generally attended, except by the 
more vindictive partisans in Congress who are conspiring 
against him. I was glad to witness it, for the President is 
vilely slandered and greatly misunderstood by many. 

January 18, Friday. A fire early this morning consumed 
the greater part of the conservatory building and destroyed 
most of the plants at the Executive Mansion. 

At the Cabinet-meeting the President submitted bills 
which had passed Congress for admitting Colorado and 
Nebraska with certain fundamental conditions as to the 
qualification of voters. All the Cabinet, except Stanton, 
were opposed to them, not only because they had not suf- 
ficient population, but because of the constitutional ob- 
jection against the fimdamental proposition. The want of 
statesmanship and of intelligence with the demagogism 
exhibited in these bills is lamentable. The population of 
the Territories is not sufficient for one Congressional Dis- 
trict, yet it is proposed to give them two Representatives 
and four Senators in Congress. While they are doing this 
for the sparsely peopled Territories on the frontier, the 



18671 A FRAUDULENT CONTRACTOR 23 

same Members of Congress refuse to permit Georgia, with 
a million population, to have her constitutional right of 
representation; and so of other States. 

: A long discussion took place on the case of C , a f raudr- 

ulent contractor now in the penitentiary, having been con- 
fined nearly three years. The Attorney-General and the 
Secretary of War argued the case, the former for his release 
and the latter opposed. I think from the representation C. is 
a great rascal and so stated, but if he would pay the judg- 
ment I would leave the matter of clemency to the Pre- 
sident, — merely as an act of clemency to an old man who 
had already been severely punished. The example had done 
its work, — the War is over. I would not be vindictive. 
Seward and McCuUoch were for clemency; Browning and 
Randall, with Stanton, opposed. Stanton was ferociously 
vindictive; was for holding the prisoner the whole period, 
etc. 

A letter to General Dix on Mexican matters, with docu- 
ments, was submitted by Seward, and one on Indian dif- 
ficulties by Browning. 

I rode with Stanton back to Department. He said he 
wished this matter of vetoes might be over. I said it was 
unavoidable whilst Congress passed imconstitutional laws. 
Told him that in my opinion there must be equality of 
rights among the States, or we should have an imequal 
tmion or no union. He said he had no doubt on that sub- 
ject as regarded the ten States, but he was not so clear 
on the question with Territories. I remarked that while 
Territories they might be governed, but that when they 
became States they were endowed with the same political 
rights as the other States. He replied that he had not given 
that question so much consideration as he desired, and for 
that reason had waived any expression of opinion on that 
point imtil he had examined the subject. 

Sumner has been making a violent denimciatory speech 
against the President, which he will be ashamed of if he 
lives many years. It would hardly be excusable in a party 



24 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [jan. is 

gathering if made by a demagogue filled with whiskey, and 
is wholly unworthy of one of the pretensions of Sumner. 
Loon of Missoiui has delivered himself of a counterpart in 
the House. Coif ax, the Speaker^ with his heartless, ever- 
lasting smile and dender abilities, decided Loon to be in 
order, and the House, of course, sustained the little dema- 
gogue. A more selfish and aspiring fellow is not to be 
found in either house, or one more unscrupulous, though 
always skulking from frank and open responsibility. 

^January 19, Saturday. The mails from the North are 
detained by a great snow-fall, which the high wind has 
drifted in places to the height of twenty feet. 

I saw it stated a few days since that Senator Foster was 
to have the Italian Mission, and asked the President if such 
was the fact. He said it was the first time the subject had 
been mentioned to him and proceeded to say that some 
hasty and inconsiderate appointments had been made. 
The Chilian Mission he particularized as one of that char- 
acter. I remarked that I was glad he had spoken of that, 
for it always appeared to me to be one of those imf ortunate 
New York movements which were harmful. General Kil- 
patrick had that place given him by Seward at the instiga- 
tion of Thurlow Weed, more to spite General Slocum, a 
fcrue friend of the Administration, than to reward K. 

Motley has tendered his resignation in a pet. One of 
Seward's spies had reported, it seems, that some of our 
foreign ministers and consuls were free in their censures of 
the President. Without going to the parties implicated, 
Seward appears to have forwarded extracts to all. Motley 
has evidently spoken freely and improperly and felt him- 
self cornered, and, after a petulant letter, tendered his re- 
signation, llie President, instanteTf as Seward closed read- 
ing the document, ordered the acceptance, without remark 
or word from any one. 

Perry, consul at Timis, sends his resignation imder 
mmilar drcumstanoes. 



1887] DEURinM AMONG. THE^ RADICALS 26 

* Seward stated yesterday that E. Jay Morris, our Min^ 
ister at Constantinoplei was at variance with Brown, 
Secretary of Legation, and called the attention of Attorney- 
General Stanbery to the subject, who, it seems, is an old 
friend of Brown. He (Stanbery) thought there should be 
no hasty action against B., who is a competent man, long a 
resident at Constantinople, had been the efficient man with 
all our ministers for years. Seward, with a manner not 
very unusual, but which is very offensive, said he had but 
one course to pursue in cases of this kind, and that was 
they must settle their difficulties or both quit. This was 
about what he had done with Hale and Perry at Madrid 
and had brought them to their senses very soon. 

I remarked that I did not approve of the policy of put- 
ting the good and the bad on the same level ; that one or 
the other of the parties in each of them, and in most other 
controversies, was chiefly in fault, and from my knowledge 
of the principals I should believe they were culpable; that 
Hale was notoriously imfit for his position. 

The occurrences of the week have not improved the 
prospect of a£fairs. There is a wild delirium among the 
Radical Members of Congress which is no more to be com- 
mended and approved than the Secession mania of 1860. 
In fact it exhibits less wisdom and judgment, or regard for 
the Constitution, whilst it has all the recklessness of the 
Secession faction. By the exclusion of ten States a partisan 
majority in Congress, under the machinery of secret cau- 
cuses controlled by an irresponsible directory, has posses- 
sion of the Government and is hurrying it to destruction, 
breaking down State barriers and other departments be- 
sides the legislature. Whether some of the better-disposed 
but less conspicuous men among the Radicals will make a 
stand is imcertain. As yet they have exhibited no independ- 
ence, or political or moral firmness. 

Li the mean time the President, conscious of his right 
intentions and from habit, holds still and firm. Seward, 
relying on expedients, is dancing round Stevens, Sumner, 



26 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [jan. 19 

Boutwell, Banks, and others. Runs to the Capitol and seats 
himself by Stevens in the House and by Sumner in the Sen- 
ate. This makes comment in the galleries, and paragraphs 
in the newspapers, and, Seward thinks, will, through their 
leaders, conciliate the Senators and Representatives to- 
wards himself, if not towards the President. 

Simmer is easily and always flattered by attentions and 
notice, though he will not relinquish what he esteems his 
great mission of taking care of the negroes and subordin- 
ating and putting down the Southern whites. Seward is 
willing the negroes should have all Sumner would give 
them, for he sets no high estimate on suffrage and citizen- 
ship. 

• Stevens has none of the sincere, fanatical fervor of Stun- 
ner, nor much regard for the popular element, or for public 
opinion, but, having got power, he would exercise it arbi- 
trarily and despotically towards all who differ with him. 
He has no professed respect for Seward, but feels compli- 
mented that the Secretary of State should come into the 
House of Representatives and sit down by and court the 
'' Great Commoner.'' It is an observance that gratifies his 
self-esteem, a homage that soothes his arrogance. 
. Stanton continues to occupy an intermediate position on 
some important questions, differing with the President but 
almost obsequiously deferring to him. McCuUoch says he 
is treacherous and a spy. He does not, however, I think, 
make regular report to any one. The Radicals receive his 
subtle advice and promptings and give him their support. 
The President understands him, but still consults him as 
fully as any member of the Cabinet. Seward and Stanton 
continue to cooperate together. Seward, I think, has 
doubts of Stanton's "divinity," yet, in view of his Radical 
associates, considers him more than ever a power and im- 
presses the President with that fact. 

Gradually the Radical Members are pressing on impeach- 
ment. Under the lead of the New York Herald and Forney's 
Chronicle f the Radical presses are getting into the move- 



18871 THE CASE OF THE DUNDERBERG 27 

ment. Yet the exclusionists, or centralists, have doubts if 
they can succeed, though earnestly striving to that end. 
Violent partisanship but no statesmanship, no enlarged or 
comprehensive views, are developed in either house. 

The States which were in rebellion are each organized 
and in full operation as before the Rebellion, but Congress 
did not do this nor have any part in it. The people them- 
selves in the respective States did it, and the lesser lights 
in Congress are told that they must assist in imdoing the 
work which has been well and rightly done by the people 
interested, and compel the States to go through the process 
of disorganizing in order to organize. 

The President remains passive and firm, but with no de- 
clared policy if the Radicals pursue their design to impeach 
and suspend him during trial. He said to me one day what 
he would do in a certain contingency, but it was rather 
thinking aloud what he might do th£m declaring a policy. 

What General Grant and certain others might do, were 
Congress to proceed to extremities, neither the President 
nor any of his true friends are aware. I doubt if Grant him- 
self knows. The Radicals, who distrust him, are neverthe- 
less courting him assiduously. 

January 23, Wednesday. The question of relinquishing 
the contract for the Dunderberg was to-day before the 
Cabinet. Seward brought it forward by request of Webb, 
the builder, who finds he has a losing bargain with the 
Navy Department and wishes to sell the vessel, he says, 
to Colombia. To this Seward states there is no objection, 
or violation of neutrality. If this is the case, the Secretary 
of State has nothing to do with the matter, though Seward 
introduced it with pomp and reference to the Attorney- 
General and myself. 

I stated that I had on two or three occasions presented 
this subject to the President and Cabinet by request of 
Mr. Webb, who has proposed in various ways to repay the 
Government for all advances and take the vessel into his 



28 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [jan.23 

possession, with a view of reimbursing himself by dispos- 
ing of her to some other government. No arrangement has 
ever been agreed upon, for he has wanted credit imtil he 
disposed of the vessel. But after advisement with our 
naval constructors, I would not object to receiving back 
our money and permitting Webb to take her. It is repre- 
sented to me by oiur constructors and experts that there is 
much green timber and that there are other defects. I doubt 
if he can effect a sale, but would release him on return of 
the money which had been advanced. 

Stanton objected to giving up the vessel. Was apprehen- 
sive that England or France would get her. One million 
and a quarter dollars was nothing, in his estimation, even 
if she had green timber and rotted down in half a dozen 
years. McCulloch thought best to keep the vessel, and 
Browning concurred. The President thought best to post- 
pone the subject to Friday. 

^*^ January 26, Friday. The subject of the sale of the Dun- 
derberg, or the relinquishing of liie vessel to the contractor, 
was considered. Mr. Webb had proposed to me to take her 
and refund to the Government the amount which had been 
paid, or, if that was not done, he desired that there should 
be a conunittee appointed to say what should be paid him 
on his losing contract. He called on me yesterday to con- 
verse on the subject. I advised him to put his views or 
propositions in writing, which led to the letter as above. 
As the contract with the Government stipulated the price, 
neither I nor the Administration could vary the contract, 
or authorize a conunittee to do so. 

Stanton and McCulloch were very earnest and decided 
against selling, though each declared himself ready to defer 
to my opinion, which I had freely stated; but I requested 
that the subject should be disposed of by the Government 
in Cabinet. We could build a better vessel than this, but 
it would require time. Over three years have been given to 
the Dimderberg. 



l«7l SUEJEIATT ON HIS WAY, TO AMERICA 2» 

It was concluded not to sell, and I so infonned Webb. 

Letters from Admiral Goldsborough inform the Depart* 
ment that the Swatara left Nice on the 8th of January with 
Surratt on board. She may arrive at any time, but cannot 
reach Washington at present, the Potomac being closed by 
ice for forty miles below. Baltimore and Annapolis Harbors 
are also closed. It is lurged by Seward and Stanton that the 
Swatara remain at Hampton Roads with Siuratt on board 
imtil further orders or till the ice disappears from the river. 

The House of Representatives has passed an act direct* 
ing the Secretary of the Navy to receive the Idaho at 
$550,000. We have offered her to Forbes, the contractor, 
for $275,000. We could not get for her $150,000. Forbes 
sought this contract ; said he could make a better and faster 
vessel than any in the Navy and in less time; guaranteed 
fifteen-knot speed ; was to have delivered the vessel in about 
a year; was to have but $300,000 imtil completed. The 
vessel was not completed to time, cannot make over eight 
or ten knots; Congress long ago ordered $250,000 to be 
paid in addition to the $300,000 which had been paid. The 
whole is a failure, and Congress now steps in to relieve 
the contractor from the liabihties of his folly, error, and 
imprudence. 

January 26, Saturday. Congress does not make mudi 
progress in the schemes of Reconstruction and impeach* 
ment. The Radical portion of the Republicans are as keen 
as ever and will continue to be so, especially on impeach- 
ment, but the considerate hesitate. It is a party scheme 
for party purposes, not for any criminal or wrong act of the 
President. 

On Reconstruction, as it is called, there are differences 
and doubts and darkness. None of the Radicals have any 
clear conception or perception of what they want, except 
power and place. Nowell-defined policy has been indicated 
by any of them. Stevens wants a stronger government 
than the old Union. 



80 DIARY OP GIDEON WELLES [jan.26 

' Violence of language has broken out two or three tunes 
during the week. The Speaker, whilst ready to check the 
Democrats, pennits the Radicals to go to extreme length. 
The President is denoimced and vilified in the worst and 
most vulgar terms without any restraint or intimation of 
impropriety from the presiding oflScer, yet Mr. Colfax 
wishes to be popular. His personal aspirations warp his 
judgment, which is infirm, and, like most persons, in striv- 
ing to reach a position for which he is unfitted he fails. 
Those who may be pleased for the moment with his parti- 
san leanings will not confide in him beyond the moment, j 

January 28, Monday. The President sent in his veto on 
the Colorado Bill to-day, giving cogent and suflScient rea- 
sons why that Territory should not with the present popu- 
lation be admitted as a State. A veto on the admission of 
Nebraska will go in to-morrow. Both these vetoes have 
been looked for. 

January 29, Tuesday. The Army desires to get posses- 
sion of the Indian Bureau, and the Interior Department is 
not disposed to relinquish it. Stanton professes to care 
nothing about it, and thrusts forward Grant and other 
military men as the movers. I can perceive that they 
have in him a prompter and willing coadjutor. As the Rad- 
icals are in sympathy with Stanton and not with Brown- 
ing, the question will be likely to go with the War rather 
than the Interior Department, whatever may be the 
merits involved. 

It is a great mistake to change good Indian agents, if 
any there are. Political party adventurers and speculators, 
without conscience or principles, seek these positions to 
enrich and elevate themselves at the expense of the poor 
Indians. The old, single-hearted agents studied the char- 
acter of the Indian, studied his habits, and interested 
themselves in his welfare. Military men are to a great ex- 
tent natiural enemies of the Indian, and if intimacy brings 



18671 THE ARMY AND THE INDIANS 31 

them into friendly relations, it can last only for a brief 
period, when they and their commands are ordered away 
to other duty. They are sojourners, not residents, and do 
not, like old and faithful agents, become identified with 
any Indian policy. 

January 31, Thursday. The President sent for me this 
P.H. to call if convenient and when I could spare the time. 
When I met him, he inquired as to the arrival of the 
Swatara and Surratt and when they might be expected. 
I replied at any time, yet they might not reach Hampton 
Roads for ten days. At present the boat could not ap- 
proach Washington on account of the ice, and she would 
necessarily be detained till it disappeared. 

The President remarked that no good could result from 
any communication with Surratt, and that the more reck- 
less Radicals, if they could have access to him, would be 
ready to tamper with and suborn him. The man's life was 
at stake, he was desperate and resentful. Such a person 
and in such a condition might, if approached, make almost 
any statement. He, therefore, thought he should not be 
allowed to communicate with others, nor should unauthor- 
ized persons be permitted to see him. In these views 
and suggestions I coincided, and told the President what 
Admiral Goldsborough had communicated and that the 
orders were stringent. 

Passing from this subject, the President alluded to the 
condition of the country and the importance of bring- 
ing about an early reestablishment of the Union. The 
Constitutional Amendment, which had been the policy of 
Congress, so far as they had a policy, was a failure, and 
something was now requisite to be done. He asked 
what I thought of a proposition from one or more of the 
occluded States for a compromise, — how would it be 
received? 

I replied that would depend, of course, on the character 
of the proposition; but that I knew of nothing which was 



82 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [jan. 8i 

required of those States but submission to tlie Constitu- 
tion, and ihat they had made. Individuals were amenable 
to the laws which they had violated, but I knew of nothing 
which the States were to do as States, beyond acquiescence, 
which they had already done. 

The President assented, but asked whether, in the ex- 
cited condition of the country and the party feeling which 
prevailed, it would not be well to take some steps which 
might be considered a compromise. Let the Rebel States 
themselves make a tender. Some Constitutional Amend- 
ment might be proposed which might be satisfactory and 
could, perhaps, imite all. In order to more clearly indicate 
his object, he wished to submit to me a paper which he 
had. This he brought from the library, and, sitting down 
together, he requested me to read it aloud. 

It was a series of resolutions which the State of North 
Carolina proposed to adopt, and a committee, he said, was 
waiting to get from him an expression in regard to them. 
It was for this purpose he had sent for and desired to con- 
sult with me. The docimient had been prepared with some 
care, and there were interlineations in red ink which had 
been made. I do not mention the details of this paper be- 
cause the President said, after having my brief criticisms, 
"To-morrow is Cabinet day, and likely the subject had 
then better be discussed. Moreover, if adopted, they will 
hereafter be published, altered and changed, perhaps, in 
some features or details.'' 

In one or two suggestions made by me, one seemed to 
strike the President with force. A proposed Constitutional 
Amendment declared in effect that no State should retire 
from the Union and that the Union should be perpetuated. 
I proposed to amend by saying that no State should volun- 
tarily withdraw or be excluded from the Union, or deprived 
of its constitutional right of representation, but that the 
Union should be perpetual. This was the idea; as regards 
the phraseology I was indifferent; but it seems to me, after 
past and present experience, and with the centraliziqg 



1W71 PROPOSAL FROM NORTH CAROLINA 33 

schemes and intrigues now upon us, that the organic law 
should not only be against the voluntary withdrawal of a 
State, but against its exclusion by the arbitrary desire of 
any accidental party majority in Congress. As the Radicals 
act from no fixed principles, but from party impulse and 
greed of power, they will object. 

8 



XLVI 

* 

The Circumstanoes attending Motley's Resignation discussed in Cabinet — 
The North Carolina Plan published in the Richmond Papers — The 
Matter of the R. R. Cuyler, bought by the Colombian Government and 
seized by the United States — Failure of the Samani Negotiations — 
, Thaddeus Stevens's Proposal to establish Military Governments in the 
Southern States opposed in the House — Banks leads the Opposition — 
Stanton's Sensational Report on the Enforcement of the Civil Rights 
Act — Plain Talk with the President about Stanton — Stevens's Bill 
passes the House — Sherman's Substitute adopted in the Senate — 
The House makes Further Amendments — Impeachment discussed in 
the Cabinet — The Tenure-of-Office Bill condemned in the Cabinet. 

February 1, Friday. The President did not bring forward 
the document which he submitted to me yesterday, nor 
make any allusion to it. A number of gentlemen from the 
South, committeemen from their respective States, are 
here, or have been recently, many of whom have called on 
me, and each has had something to say on the imhappy 
condition of affairs. The Radical leaders look upon them 
and all the Southern people not as fellow coimtrymen, but 
treat them as though they had no rights and as if they did 
not intend they should be considered as equals, or as citi- 
zens who have, or are entitled to, a voice in the Govern- 
ment. 

Seward spoke of the call which had been made or was 
being made on him for the letters and author of the accusa- 
tions against Mr. Motley and others. He was, as usual 
when in difficulty and especially conscious that he may 
have made a mistake, very talkative, almost garrulous. 
The letters which passed between Seward and Motley, end- 
ing with the resignation of the latter, have been published, 
and very generally the Secretary of State has been cen- 
sured and severely condemned. Men and papers of all 
parties are against him. Although his method and manner 



1S571 MOTLEY'S RESIGNATION 35 

mi^t have been di£ferent, I do not think this the most 
objectionable act which he has committed. His informant, 
who, he says, is an American gentleman traveling in Eu- 
rope, told him that some of our representatives abroad are 
denouncing the Administration, particularly the President, 
and expressing views that are un-American and offensive. 
To have taken no notice of such a communication, coming 
from a person of position and character, would have been 
reprehensible, yet such it is generally claimed by his 
opponents would have been his proper course. 

Senator Sumner, who has been conspicuous in this mat- 
ter, is indignant that an obscure person, as he assimies this 
informant to be, should have received a moment's atten- 
tion when making statements affecting Minister Motley, 
the historian. But if less notorious than Motley, he may be 
as intelligent, patriotic, and worthy, and entitled to as 
much consideration as the official who, in a foreign land, 
slanders the Grovemment. ''A cat may look upon a king," 
and a patriotic American citizen can hear and disapprove 
and make known the objectionable and offensive utter- 
ances of one of his coimtrymen who is officially clothed and 
recognized as a representative. 

Mr. Motley denies a portion of the letters, and that part 
of it, if Mr. M. is one of the offenders alluded to, consti- 
tutes a question of veracity between the informant and the 
Minister. As Mr. M. disavows the opinions, he should 
have the privilege and right of relieving himself. If, how- 
ever, he has been censorious or offensive, or careless in his 
language and utterances, why should not the fact be com- 
mimicated? He speaks of his right to express his opinions 
within his own walls. Such would be the case undoubtedly 
were he a private citizen ; but a public man with stranger 
guests, the representative of his Government at a foreign 
Court, is not to be justified in defaming before a miscel- 
laneous company the public authorities at home. 

This subject has not been, perhaps, managed discreetly 
and courteously, such as becomes the Secretary of State, 



36 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [feb. i 

but he could not have passed the matter without notice. 
Supposing the whole statement were true and admitted to 
be true by M. himself, would he be justified or excused 
because he is a writer and historian, and the informant an 
obscure man, as Senator Sumner declares? How was the 
Secretary to know without inquiry, and in what way so 
well as by direct application to Motley himself ? 

Seward says he shall answer the call of the Senate by giv- 
ing the whole letter and the name of his informant. I said 
that was not, in my opinion, right unless his informant con- 
sented; that I did not like this tamely responding to calls 
which neither house had a right to make, if the conmum- 
ication was given in confidence. Seward, without stating 
whether his informant was or was not willing, replied that 
it was best to throw the whole matter before Congress; 
that, if we declined, it would only make them the more 
noisy and peremptory. I replied that I would act on no 
such principle. Some one interrupted by asking the name 
of the informant, and he said it was, I think, McCracken, 
a gentleman of character and large wealth, the former 
proprietor of Fort Washington, New York. 

There may be circumstances and facts desirable to be 
made public, and the informant may consent to the sur- 
render of his name, but I apprehend not, and if not, the 
disclosure is impolitic and wrong. I have so Uttle confid- 
ence m the judgment, discretion, and courage of Seward 
that I shall feel imcomfortable imtil I know more. He 
is timid when cornered, and does many things that are 
strange. He stated to-day, among other things, that when 
he a few weeks ago brou^t forward Mr. Motley's letter of 
resignation, he had in his portfolio a soothing letter in reply, 
to the effect that his tender of resignation was perhaps 
made without due consideration, he would please recon- 
sider, etc. This letter, he says, by some inadvertence had 
been sent ofif to Mr. M., the President, in the mean time, 
having accepted the resignation and nominated another 
person. 



18m NORTH CAROLINA PLAN PUBLISHED 37 

All this may be so, yet there is something in the man- 
agement and way of doing things that is suspicious and 
strange, to say the least. Mr. Motley may, on reading this 
unauthorized letter expressing softly the sentiments of Mr. 
Seward, become reconciled to him personally and doubly 
vindictive towards the President. 

Febmary 5, Tuesday. Seward handed me in Cabinet a 
dispatch from Mr. Hovey, our Minister to Peru, inclosing 
correspondence with Admiral Dahlgren relative to Tucker, 
a Rebel deserter, formerly Commander in oiur Navy and 
now Admiral in the Peruvian Navy, and wished I would 
try to get the matter adjusted. It is a troublesome dif- 
ficulty and not easy to dispose of, though not of great 
moment. 

Seward also read McCracken's letter concerning Motley 
and other ministers and consuls abroad who are out- 
spoken Radicals and, he says, objectionable and officious 
in other respects. I again asked if McCracken was willing 
to have his name given to the public. Without answering 
my question direct, he said if men wrote letters concerning 
public men and public business, they must take the risk of 
their being published. McCracken,'Seward says, is a New- 
Yorker of wealth, a relative of Charles O'Conor, has influ- 
ence, and if Simmer and his men want to fight the down- 
town bugs, damn them, let them. This is, I suppose, sec- 
ond-hand from Thurlow Weed. 

The Richmond papers have the Southern proposed plan 
which the President showed me a few days since. It was 
not my suggestion to set off ezclvsum and secession. This, 
I think, shows want of judgment and tact on the part of 
those who have the subject in hand, nor do I think it wise 
to publish the plan before it has even been submitted to 
the lepslatiu^ of any one State. There is an undercurrent 
in this, as in the Philadelphia Convention, that I dislike. 
As regards the project itself, I do not admire it as a whole, 
or as a compromise. In fact, I am not disposed to tamper 



Lt . 



38 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [peb.6 

with the Constitution at any time, but if changes are to 
be made, let the whole country participate, and let there be 
deliberation and consultation and comparison of opinions. 
I am apprehensive that we may be on the eve of great and 
serious movements which are to affect our government 
and institutions most deeply, 

February 8, Friday. The Secretary' of the Treasury 
brought forward the question of the seizure of the R, R. 
Cuyler, a steamer once owned by the Government, but 
which had been sold to private parties after the close of the 
War. Recently she has been contracted for by the Repub- 
lic of Colombia, and was seized by our Government on the 
eve of sailing. It seems by the contract she was to leave 
imder the American flag and that the transfer was to take 
place at a Colombian port. The Colombian Minister, 
Salgar, protests against the seizure and claims the transac- 
tion to be legal and in good faith. Seward says the sale is 
fictitious or a cover; that the vessel is to be converted into 
a privateer, or passed over to the Peruvians; and that no 
attention should be paid to Salgar, who is a weak man 
and can be easily imposed upon. He, therefore, justifies the 
seizure and proposes to turn the whole matter over to 
the Attorney-General and the courts. 

I remarked that I had given the question no study, but 
from the statement of the Secretary of State I doubted the 
propriety of these proceedings. If the Colombian Govern- 
ment is not at war with any other power, she has an un- 
doubted right to purchase; the acts of her representative, 
or minister, are her acts. These interpositions to check 
and embarrass the sale of vessels, on mere suspicion, would 
injure an important branch of industry, and our mechan- 
ical and business interests were already greatly depressed. 
Under the circumstances, I thought the Colombian Min- 
ister was to be respected and his Government must be 
responsible for his acts. 

Stanton desired me to repeat what I said in regard to 



18671 THE MATTER OF THE R. R. CUTLER 89 

shipbuilding and mechanics, which I did. He said he took 
an altogether different view. We had complained of Laird 
and the builders of Rebel vessels at Glasgow. But the Eng- 
lish Government claimed their mechanics had a right to 
build and sell Alabamas. This was the very matter now in 
issue with that Government, and we must not embarrass 
the State Department, which had those negotiations, by 
committing a similar wrong. 

I denied that the cases were parallel. The Rebels were 
belligerents, wagmg war against a Government in friendly 
relations with Great Britain; but Colombia was not a bel- 
ligerent, and had as good a right to buy of us, and we as 
good a right to sell to her, as England or France. 

The Attorney-General and Browning fully concurred 
with me, and in answer to a remark of Seward's that these 
South American states were poor and their ministers, some 
of them, indifferent men, Mr. Stanbery said we were not 
the conservators of those stetes. They are entitled to the 
comity of nations. 

Stanton and Seward reiterated their claims, the former 
repeating that it was a question for the Secretary of State 
and that he would defer to him. Seward said it was a legal 
question and should be left to the Court ; he therefore pro- 
posed to turn the matter over to the Attorney-General. 

If there were l^al points and nothing else, I said, that 
might be well, but I insisted this is a political question 
between us and a foreign government; that it devolved 
properly on the Secretary of State and should not be treated 
as a legal question. 

Like many others, most men perhaps, Seward is dis- 
posed to evade responsibility when there is uncertainty 
and an impending storm. Li this matter of the R. R. Cuy- 
ler, there is, in my opinion, no justifiable reason for her de- 
tention. Om- shipbuilders and shipowners ought to be able 
to sell to a neutral government at peace ; otherwise we shall 
drive all oiur customers away and into other markets. 
There is want of energetic national feeling in the State 



40 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [feb. 8 

Department which is emasculating the oomitry of all 
vigor. 

The subject of the R. R. Cuyler being disposed of, I 
brought up the case of the Dunderberg. Mr. Webb, the 
contractor, claims he can sell her at a great advance to 
a foreign government and wishes to refund advances and 
take her. To this, individually and officially, I would not 
object, but others of the Administration do. My own im- 
pression is that Webb will find difficulty in disposing of her, 
and if we refuse him the opportunity he will come back for 
a gratuity or advance award above the naval contract. 

Mr. Seward brought his son Fred, Assistant Secretary, 
to state the result of his mission, which is a failure. The 
Dominicans are not disposed to sell. I am glad of it. We 
can, if at war with them, capture when there is necessity 
easier than we can purchase, or cheaper at all events. Dur- 
ing the Civil War it would have been convenient to have 
had a station in the West Indies. But in case of a foreign 
war with England, France, or Spain, we can captiu'e with- 
out difficulty one or more of these islands. 

Seward and Stanton had made arrangements to send 
General Meigs to Denmark to purchase or negotiate for 
St. Thomas. I doubted the necessity; but the President 
ended the matter by saying he was opposed to the prac- 
tice, which was being introduced, of sending officers on 
traveling excursions for their personal benefit 'at the 
Government's expense. General Meigs is a worthy man 
and a good officer, but a pet of Seward's and too much 
disposed to pander to him. I was, therefore, gratified at 
the prompt and emphatic decision of the President. 

February 9, Saturday. The House has been excited for 
a day or two. A proposition submitted by Stevens from 
the Reconstruction Committee, proposing to establish mil- 
itary governments over the Southern States, meets with 
opposition from many Republicans who are not yet Radi- 
cals. There has been but little legislation this session in the 



ism THE MILITARY GOVERNMENT BILL 41 

[proper] sense of the word. A Radical party caucus decides 
in relation to the course to be pursued on all important 
questions. Two thirds of the Republicans and all of the 
Radical partisans attend. A majority of them follow 
Stevens and company. Those who hesitate or are opposed 
have neither the courage nor the ability to resist. The 
measure, however offensive or even unconstitutional, hav- 
ing the caucus sanction, is brought into the House, the 
previous question is moved and carried, and, without de- 
bate, adopted. But on the matter of these vice-royalties, 
a stand was made against Stevens, and the previous ques- 
tion was not sustained. Grovemor Banks appears to have 
been the leading man in opposition, but he had no plan or 
policy to propose. To-day, I am told, he introduced some 
rude scheme for a commission to take charge of each of the 
ten States which are imder the Radical ban of exclusion. 
These commissions are to disorganize the States and then 
reorganize them. 

There is neither wisdom nor sense in the House, but 
wild, vicious partisanship continues and is increasing. 

Febrtuiry 11 f Monday. Eliot of Massachusetts, chairman 
of a committee sent out by Congress to New Orleans, 
made a report for upsetting'the State Government of Lou- 
isiana and converting the State into a province or Territory, 
over which there is to be a governor and council of nine, to 
be appointed by the President and Senate. These Rad- 
icals have no proper conception of constitutional govern- 
ment or of our republican federal system. On this absurd 
scheme of Eliot and Shellabarger, both centralists, the 
House has ordered, without debate, the previous question, 
— prostrating a State, tearing down our governmental 
fabric, treating States as mere corporations. 

February 12, Tuesday. The subject of the R. R. Cuyler 
was reported upon by the Attorney-General, who thought 
the vessel should be surrendered to the parties, they giving 



42 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [feb.12 

bonds as required by statute. The conclusion was right, 
and Seward and Stanton acquiesced. 

Webb, builder of the Dunderberg, called on me yester^ 
day in relation to his vessel or contract. He wants more 
money. Senator Morgan was with him, and will, I suppose, 
introduce a resolution for a committee. Webb has thought 
I might exercise equity power, but this I shall not do, al- 
though the Attorney-General has given an opinion to that 
effect, for the power, I conceive, is not given me, but the 
law and contract must govern me. Equity power is with 
Congress. 

February 15, Friday. A call was made, on the 8th of Jan- 
uary, on the President for any facts which had come to his 
knowledge in regard to failure to enforce the Civil Rights 
Bill. When the resolution reached the President, he 
brought it before the Cabinet for answer, and it was re- 
ferred to the Attorney-General on the suggestion of Stan-- 
ton, that he should forward copies to the heads of Depart- 
ments for answer. On receiving the resolution I answered 
immediately, without an hour's delay, and so, I think, did 
the other members, except Stanton. The subject had 
passed from my mind and I supposed had been reported 
until to-day, when Stanton brought in his answer to the 
President. It was a strange and equivocal document, ac- 
companied by a report which he had called out from Gen- 
eral Grant, and also one from General Howard. Grant's 
report was brief, but was accompanied by a singular paper 
transmitted to him by Howard, being an omnimn-gatherum 
of newspaper gossip, rumors of negro murders, neighbor- 
hood strifes and troubles, amoimting to 440 in niunber, — 
vague, indefinite party scandal which General Howard and 
his agents had picked up in newspapers and all other ways 
during four weeks, under and with the assistance of the 
War Department, who had aided in the search. There was 
but one sentiment, I think, among all present, and that 
was of astonishment and disgust at this presentation of 



1867] STANTON'S SENSATIONAL. REPORT 43 

the labors of the War Department. The Attorney-General 
asked what all this had to do with the inquiry made of the 
President. The resolution called for what information had 
come to the knowledge of the^President respecting failures 
to execute the law imder the Civil Rights Bill, and here 
was a mass of uncertain material, mostly relating to negro 
quarrels, wholly unreliable, and of which the President had 
no knowledge, collected and sent in through General 
Grant as a response to the resolution. 

Two or three expressed surprise at these documents. 
Stanton, who is not easily dashed when he feels he has 
power and will be sustained, betrayed guilt, which, how- 
ever, he would not acknowledge, but claimed that the in- 
formation was pertinent, was furnished by General Grant. 
If, however, the President did not choose to use it, he could 
decline doing so. Subsequently he thought the Attorney- 
General should, perhaps, decide. 

Seward imdertook to modify and suggest changes. I 
claimed that the whole was wrong and that no such reply 
could be made acceptable under any form of words. 

Randall thought the letter of Stanton and the whole 
budget had better be received, and that the President 
should send in that he knew nothing about them when this 
Senate resolution was passed, but that, having since re- 
ceived this information, he would have it looked into and 
thoroughly investigated. 

Stanton, who showed more in countenance and manner 
than I ever saw him, caught at Randall's proposition. Said 
he would alter his report to that effect and went to work 
with his pencil. 

Seward indorsed Randall. Said he thought all might be 
got along with if that course was pursued. 

I dissented entirely and deprecated conmumicating this 
compilation of scandal and inflammable material, gath- 
ered by partisans since the action of Congress, and repre- 
sented to be a matter of which the President had knowledge 
when the resolution was passed. It would be said at once 



44 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [feb.15 

by mischievous persons that here was information of which 
Grant complained, but of which the President took no 
notice; that Congress had called out the information and 
Grant commimicated it, and that there is maladministra- 
tion. [I said] that this was the purpose of the call; the 
design probably of the Members who got it up. 

Stanton looked at me earnestly. Said he was as desirous 
to act in unison with the President as any one, no matter 
who ; that this information seemed to him proper, and so, 
he said, it seemed to General Grant, who sent it to him; 
but if others wished to suppress it they could make the 
attempt, but there was little doubt that Members of Con- 
gress had seen this, — likely had copies. 
. Finally, and with great reluctance on his part, it was 
arranged that he should, as the rest of us had done, give all 
the information called for which had come to his know- 
ledge in answer to the resolution, and that the reports of 
Grant and Howard should, with the rumors, scandal, and 
gossip, be referred to the Attorney-General for investiga- 
tion and prosecution if proper. 

It was evident throughout this whole discussion of an 
hour and a half that all were alike impressed in regard 
to this matter. McCulloch and Stanbery each remarked to 
me before we left that here was design and intrigue in con- 
cert with the Radical conspirators at the Capitol. Stanton 
betrayed his knowledge and participation in it, for, though 
he endeavored to bear himself through it, he could not 
conceal his part in the intrigue. He had delayed his answer 
imtil Howard and his subordinates scattered over the 
South could hunt up all the rumors of negro quarrels and 
party scandal and malignity, and pass them, through Gen- 
eral Grant, on to the President. It would help generate 
difference between the President and the General, and, if 
sent out to the country under the call for information by 
Congress, would be used by the demagogues to injure the 
President and, perhaps. Grant also. 
, Seward obviously saw the intent and scope of the thing 



isffn PLAIN TALK WITH THE PRESIDENT 4S 

and soon took up a book and withdrew from the discussion. 
His friend Stanton was in a position where he could do 
little to relieve him. Randall played the part of trimmer 
to extricate Stanton, who availed himself of the plank 
thrown out. 

Seward made allusion to the difficulty between our naval 
officers and Tucker, the unpardoned Rebel whom the Peru- 
vians have made rear-admiral, and wished the members 
of the Cabinet, exclusive of him and myself, to consider 
and be prepared to act upon the subject at the Cabinet- 
meeting on Tuesday. 

February 16, Saturday. Had a brief conversation with 
Browning, who was at my house at reception last evening, 
concerning the proceedings yesterday. He expressed his 
amazement at the course of Stanton. Said he listened and 
observed without remark till the close, and was compelled 
to believe that there was design and villainy, if not ab- 
solute treachery, at the bottom. It was with reluctance he 
came to this conclusion, but it was impossible to do other- 
wise. 

I have been so disturbed by it and by the condition of 
affairs that I made it a point to call on the President and 
communicate my feelings. I told him that it was with re- 
luctance I was compelled to express an imf avorable opin- 
ion of a colleague and that I would not do so except from 
a sense of duty. I adverted to the occurrences of yesterday 
and told him I had carefully and painfully pondered them, 
and my first impression was fully confirmed by reflection, 
that the details of Stanton's report, the introduction of 
Grant and Howard, with their catalogue of alleged mur- 
ders and crimes unpunished, which had been industriously 
gathered up, was part of a conspiracy which was on foot to 
destroy him and overthrow his Administration ; that it was 
intended the statement of reported murders should go 
abroad under his name, drawn out by Congress, and spread 
before the country on the passage of the bill establishing 



'46 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [feb. 16 

miKtary govemments over the Southern States as a justi- 
fication for legislative usurpation. That report was to be 
the justification for the act. There had been evident pre- 
concert in the matter, and Radical Congressmen were act- 
ing in concert with the Secretary of War. I alluded to the 
manipulation of oflScers by the War Department, and men- 
tioned how improper men had been placed at important 
pomts, bemg first unpressed with the views of the Secre- 
tary, which we all knew to be Radical and hostile to the 
President's policy. I said that I could perceive Grant had 
been strongly but unmistakably prejudiced, — perhaps 
seduced, worked over, and enlisted, — and that gradually 
the Administration was coming under the War Depart- 
ment. 

The President listened and assented to my observations; 
spoke of the painful exhibition which Stanton made of 
himself; said he should, but for the rain, have sent for 
Grant to know how far he really was involved in the mat- 
ter, etc. ; that as regards the military govemments, they 
were not yet determined upon, perhaps would not be. 
He still hesitates, fails to act, retains bad advisers and 
traitors. 

February 18, Monday. The session of the Senate on Sat- 
lurday continued through the night and until 6.30 yester- 
day morning. The subject under consideration was the 
establishment of military govemments over the South- 
em States. A bill to this effect was introduced by Thad 
Stevens from the Reconstruction CoDMnittee, and was 
carried imder his management and dictation through the 
House. Very few attempt to indorse or justify the meas- 
ure, yet all the Radicals and most of the Republicans voted 
for it. There is very little firmness or moral courage in the 
House. The Members dare not speak nor act according to 
their convictions. Indeed, their convictions are feeble and 
there is little sincerity in them. 
\ In the Senate, Wade, Sunmer, and company undertook 



18871 THE MILITARY GOVERNMENT BILL 47 

to force through the bill at the Saturday's session. A stand 
was made by the minority against such precipitate and un- 
reasonable l^islation on so important a measure. Various 
amendments were offered and voted down, but at length, 
on Sunday morning, Mr. Sherman offered a substitute 
which was adopted. It is in one or two respects less offens- 
ive than the House bill, but is still an outrage upon the 
Constitution, the rights of the people, and the rights of 
the States. Simmer was violent, and Grimes tells me swore 
savagely when Sherman's substitute was adopted. He left 
the Senate in a rage. Grimes and Sunmer, though both 
Radicals, are not friends or on speaking terms. Of course 
Grimes is enjoying Sumner's disappointment. 

Stevens, Boutwell, and the extreme Radicals are as 
indignant as Simmer, and will make fight against the bill 
in its present shape and likely secure amendments. The 
Republicans, though disliking and mistrusting each other 
more and more each day, are not yet prepared to break. 
There is no shrewd man among the Democrats to take 
advantage of or to manage their rising differences or to 
lead his own party wisely. 

Seward and Stanton confuse and bewilder the mind of 
the President, prevent him from pursuing a straightfor- 
ward and correct course and from taking and maintaining 
a bold, decisive policy. They are weakening the executive 
power daily and undermining the constitutional fabric. 
Seward acts, as usual, from no fixed principles, but from 
mere expediency, his own self -wisdom, not with a design 
to injure the President or to help the Radicals. He tries to 
resuscitate, vitalize, and perpetuate the old Whig Party 
and to imdo and destroy the Democratic Party, each for 
the glory of Seward. Stanton is deep in the Radical in- 
trigues, but contrives to get along with and to use Seward 
and his superficial wisdom, and is so far successful as to 
keep his place, although the President knows his mischiev- 
ous designs and purposes. 
- The country is in poor legislative hands and the prospect 



48 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES ifeb. 18 

is sadly foreboding. The Constitution and the great prin* 
ciples of union and free government on a federal basis are 
disregarded. 

February 22, Friday. The politicians in and out of Con- 
gress have been busy for several days on the subject of gov- 
erning the Southern States. Sherman's amendment went 
down to the House, was disagreed to, and some abomin- 
able additions were made. Partisans, and factions, and 
fanatics, and demagogues were each and aU at work. Fin- 
ally a bill was adopted establishing military governments 
and martial law in and over those States. Where Congress 
gets the power to do these things no one attempts to point 
out. The Members of Congress evidently confound mar- 
tial law with military law, and know no distinction. Con- 
gress has the undoubted right to enact military laws for 
the government of the land and naval forces; but martial 
law exists and is in operation where there is no law. The 
will of the military officer in command is supreme. He can 
order courts martial or military commissions to try citizens 
as well as soldiers, but citizens cannot be tried by military 
law. Martial law abolishes jury trials; Congress cannot 
abolish them. Martial law may abridge freedom of speech 
and of the press, but Congress cannot. 

When there is a congress or legislature to enact laws, 
there can be no martial law. It would be a solecism. Yet 
this Radical Congress has undertaken to enact martial law. 
In other respects the bill is subversive of government, de- 
stroys titles, and introduces chaos. 

Tlie President, as commander-in-chief of the Army and 
Navy, exercised the power, which devolved upon him 
when the Rebellion was suppressed, and the military 
forces occupied the Rebel States, and there was no law, 
and chaos reigned, of appointing provisional governors and 
ordering other measures to establish order and system 
and reintroduce law. Congress could not do this. It had 
no authority or power. All its powers are derived from the 



1887] TWO BUXS BEFOBE THE CABINET 49 

Gonstitutkm, the organic law; but when martial law pre^ 
vails, municipal law is suspended. 

To-day the President laid this bill, and also the one re- 
q)ecting the tenure of office, before ibe Cabinet. The bill 
for the military government of the States was the (mly one 
considered. On this there was the usual uncertainty. No 
one of the Cabinet advised the President to approve the 
bill but Stanton. He said that, though he would have 
framed the bill differently and altered it in some respects, 
he should give it his sanction, and advised the President to 
give it his approvaL 

Following him, I wholly dissented, and plainly and 
directly advised the President to put his veto upon it. 

Reverdy Johnson, the Senatorial trinuner, gave his 
vote in the Senate for this infamous bill. Stanton quoted 
him as an example and an authority. How long will the 
President be able to go on with such an opponent at his 
council board? 

February 25, Monday. I read some suggestions on the 
Tenure-of-Office Bill to the President. They were prepared 
in response to an opinion of the Attorney-General some 
months since, but are applicable to^the bill. The Pre« 
sident was pleased with them. I also left with him some 
views on the bill for the military government of the South- 
em States. These views, which relate to the strange plan 
of enacting martial law by Congress, chimed in with his 
opinions. 

On taking the paper, the President alluded to the Cab- 
inet coimcil on Friday and the pitiful exhibition which 
Stanton made of himself, and wondered if he (S.) supposed 
he was not understood. The sparkle of the President's eyes 
and his whole manner betokened intense though sup- 
pressed feeling. Few men have stronger feeling; still fewer 
have the power of restraining themselves when evidently 
excited. 
1 1 remarked that it was but part of the drama which had 

8 



so DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [feb.26 

long been enacting and asked what was to be the condition 
of things, if impeachment were pressed and an att^npt to 
arrest him was made. This subject the President himself 
had brought forward at the Friday meeting. Seward and 
Stanton wished to give it the go-by, though each had his 
own theory. Seward said it was not wise to anticipate such 
a thing, — to discuss it even among ourselves, — had an 
anecdote to tell, and his experience on the McCracken 
correspondence. I differed with him, and thought it both 
wise and prudent to be prepared for an emergency which 
was threatened and had been undoubtedly discussed. 
Others agreed with me and the President earnestly. Thus 
pressed, Seward said it might be considered a law question, 
coming particularly within the province of the Attorney- 
General whenever it came up, but if the Attorney-General 
should advise the President to submit to an arrest before 
conviction, he would demand the immediate dismissal of 
the Attorney-General. I asked if the demand would be 
made on legal or political grounds. Stanton tried to evade 
jthe matter; did not believe that impeachment would be 
pursued; the session is near its close, etc. 
r The President was evidently not satisfied with this 
treatment of the subject when we had our conversation on 
Saturday, and was now a good deal indignant. But whether 
he will make any demonstration in that direction remains 
to be seen. I have little expectation that he will, althou^, 
had I not previously had similar strong intimations with- 
out any result, I should from his expressive manner have 
l^xpected a change. 

February 26, Tuesday. At the Cabinet the subject of 
the Tenure-of-OflSce Bill came up. It had been postponed 
at the request of the Attorney-General on Friday. He said 
he had not read it until to-day, but he required no time to 
express his imqualified condemnation of it. In this the 
,whole Cabinet were united. Stanton was very emphatic 
and seemed glad of an opportunity to be in abcdid with his 



18671 VETO OP TENXJRE-OF-OFFICE BILL 51 

colleagues. The President said he was overwhehned with 
many pressing matters which must be disposed of, and he 
would be glad if Stanton would prepare a veto or make 
suggestions. Stanton asked to be excused, for he had not 
time. The Attorney-General said it was impossible for 
him to do the work. The President turned to Seward, 
who said he had not recently given these subjects attention, 
but he would take hold if Stanton would help him. The 
President suggested that both the War and Navy must 
help in this matter, and McCulloch expressed a special de- 
sire that I should participate. I saw tlxat Seward was not 
taken with that proposition. 

Some general discussion followed, and, before we left, 
Seward spoke across the room to Stanton and requested 
him to call and enter upon their duties; but no invitation 
was extended to me. The President turned to me and 
in an undertone remarked that I had given this subject 
a good deal of thou^t and he reckoned I had better pre- 
pare a paper. I told him I would have no objection to 
contribute to the document, but it had gone into hands 
that seemed willing to grapple with it, and I apprehended 
after what had been said that they would do it justice. 
If, however, anything was wanted of me, I would be 
r»stdy to contribute at any time. 

February 27, Wednesday. I called on the President to- 
day with a brief communication to the House of Represent- 
atives, declining to furnish certain information which had 
be^i called for at the instigation of a claim agent, which 
response I thought had better pass through the President. 
The anterooms were very much crowded. In the coimcil- 
room, at the President's table, was a gentleman busily 
writing, who did not lift his head while I was in the room, 
but who, I am confident, was Judge Jeremiah Black. My 
interview with the President was necessarily brief, for I 
saw he was engaged and none were admitted. I have no 
doubt that Black is assisting in preparing the veto message 



62 DIARY OF GmEON WELLES [fbb.27 

on the Military Govemment Bill, stating some of the legal 
objections. 

Thisevening, just before I left the Department, Seward's 
clerk Smith, his legal clerk, called and said Mr. Stanton 
was with Mr. Seward and they wished to know where they 
could get a copy of Mr. Webster's speech on removals from 
office, to which I had made reference in some of our discus- 
sions. I told him I could not get the volume at that time, 
nor did I know whether it was published in Webster's 
Works, but that it was in the great debate on Calhoun's 
resolution in 1834. He said that could not be, that the 
speech must have been in 1830; they had searched for it 
through 1830, 1831, and 1832. I told them they had not 
looked late enough, that Calhoun was then Vice-President 
and not a Senator. 

No invitation came for me to participate. This is best. 
Our views are so different in many respects that it is well 
I should be absent. The principles of Seward and Stanton 
and their party education were different, and all may work 
out well, — better than if I were with tibem. 

February 28, Thursday. Young Ruger, of Janesville, "Wis- 
oonsin, who was nominated postmaster at that place, was 
rejected by the Senate and has come on here. In an inter- 
view with Senator Howe, that gentleman said to Ruger the 
Senate would confirm no man for any office who did not 
vote for Lincoln and Johnson. Mr. Randall, Postmaster- 
General, thinks it best to nominate only such Republicans 
as will be confirmed, and so told Ruger. Under such course 
and practice the President will have very little opportimity 
to strengthen himself or maintain his rightful authority. 
Randall was confirmed by the Senate under suspicious cir- 
cumstances. There are many indications that he is imder 
bad influences. Some of his associations are bad. 

Simmer and Chandler made a gross and indecent attack 
on McCuUoch in the Senate, and were rebuked by Sher- 
man and Fessenden. The condition of the country is de- 



18671 ATTACK ON McCULLOCH 63 

plorable when such men, m such positions, thus exhibit 
themselves. Chandler's instincts are low and debasing, 
always. Sumner is domineering, arrogant, insolent, and 
presuming. He is angry because a brother-in-law was 
removed for malconduct. Chandler is mad because he 
cannot dictate all the Michigan appointments. High Sena- 
torial duties are discharged by men who in their official 
acts are governed by narrow personal considerations. 
Little regard is felt for the country, while private resent- 
ments are all-controlling. I am not certain that judicious 
selections are always made, but I do know that good and 
judicious men are rejected for no cause. 



XLVII 

Seward and Stanton prepare the Veto Message on the Tenure-of-Offioe Bill 
— Vetoes of this and the Military Government Bill sent in — Reverdy 
Johnson's Extraordinary Course — Butler's Animosity towards Grant 
! — The Chances of Impeachment — The Close of One Congress and the 
Beginning of Another — The Powers of the Military Governors — The 
President's Exclamation in regard to Impeachment — Ex-Congressman 
Law of Indiana on Andrew Johnson — The President's Reticence — 
Randall's Conciliatory Attitude towards the Radicals — Stanton ap- 
parently to select the Military Governors — Sickles among the Genends 
chosen as Governors — Wall Street's Influence in Congress — The 
Alaskan Purchase Treaty — Death of Charles Eames — His Career — 
Senator Foster and the Austrian Mission — No Opposition to the Rus- 
sian Treaty in the Cabinet — The ex-Confederate Admiral of the Peru- 
vian Navy to be saluted by American Officers — Indian Affairs — The 
President wishes to offer the Austrian Mission to General Blair — Judge 
Blair's Story of the Action of General Grant and General Dick Taylor 
against Seward and Stanton — Private Secretary Moore's Relations 
with Stanton — Congress refuses to adjoium — The Alaskan Treaty 
signed — Seward tells ex-Minister Bigelow how he shaped Lincoln's 
Cabinet. 

March 1, Friday. Seward and Stanton have prepared 
and handed to the President the veto message on the bill 
for the tenure of office. They did not see fit to submit it to 
me, and I hesitated whether to inform the President of the 
fact. Amidst other multitudinous duties he supposes, I 
have no doubt, that I have participated in and revised the 
message. On the whole, concluded to say nothing unasked. 

But little was done in Cabinet. Some little discrepancies 
between Stanbery and Black, who has been consulted, 
have delayed the veto on the Military Government Bill, 
which is the absorbing measure in this exciting time of 
extraordinary measxires. 

Business of importance has been as usual delayed to the 
close of the session. Office and place have been the en- 
grossing subjects of the Members. Legislation by which 
the appointments may be transferred from the Executive 




l»7i TWO/ VETOES SENT IN 55 

to Ck>ngres8| by which Radkals in office may be retained 
in place, or that will secure Radical appointmentB, has 
been a primary object. To break down State independence 
and State rights, to midennine and destroy the character 
of the executive and judicial departments of the Govern- 
ment, are great purposes with the Radical leaders. There 
is no doubt that the Government is to be subverted and 
constitutional limitations are to be swept away, provided 
the Radicals can succeed. Hate at the Rebels and of all 
whites, whether Rebds or not, if they lived in the Rebd 
States, with intense love for the negro, the "wards of the 
nation,'^ for whom the ri^ts and feelings of white men are 
freely sacrificed, Gharacteri2se& Congress. > 

March 2, Saturday. The President is greatly pressed 
with business. Sent in t<Mlay his two vetoes. That on the 
establishment of military governments over the ten Stated 
was received with deep interesti The bpinions of a majors 
ity of the Republicans are imdoubtedly against the prin- 
ciples of the bill, but they have not the independence and 
moral courage to act in conformity to their convictions and 
confront the Radicals. Party subjection overpowers them. 
Thad Stevens and the discipline of the caucus are potent. 

In the Senate, as in the House, party dominates over 
country. Fear comes over the feeble-minded, who com- 
prise nearly one half of the Senate. If two or three hesi- 
tated, the recent extraordinary course of Reverdy Johnson 
decided than to submit to the demands of party. Johnson 
knows and says the bill is unconstitutional and wrong, yet 
he violates his oath and votes for it. His justification is 
that the Radicals, in their fury, will impose harder terms if 
these are not accepted, and he wants the country should 
have repose. It is known, however, that his son-in-law is 
an earnest candidate for the office of District Attorney of 
Maryland, and he could not, under existing circimistancesi 
expect to be confirmed by this Senate, were the President 
to nominate him. ^This aposta^ of Johnson will insure the 




56 DIAKY OF GIDEON, WELLES (biabch 2 

son-in-law's confinnation, provided he gets the nomination, 
and Reverdy, to say nothing of other malign influences, 
fancies that his position as Senator and one of the judges 
of the President in case of impeachment will secure the 
selection. I have no doubt this old political prostitute has 
been governed by these mercenary personal considera- 
tions. He has a good deal of l^al ability, but is not over* 
burdened with political principles. This conduct occasions 
less surprise on that account. Sad is the condition of the 
country when such men influence its destiny. 

March 3, Sunday. Spent two or three hours at the Pre- 
sident's this morning. McCulloch and Browning called for 
me. Seward and Randall were there. The President was 
calm, but I thought more dejected than I had almost ever 
seen him. Not that he expressed himself despondingly , but 
fais air and manner were of that appearance. Perhaps it 
was because he had' had but little sleep, for he spoke of 
transactions past midni^t. 

> While the President was absent for a short time in the 
library, Browning remarked that he felt disturbed by 
the state of things. ^'How," said he, ''is Grant? Does any 
one know his opinions, and what stand he takes? " 

Seward] said he would know to-morrow at 2 p.m., or 
perhaps at 2 p.m. on Tuesday. Browning pricked up his 
ears and opened his eyes. "How,** inquired he, ''shall I 
know?" "Why," repUed Seward, "Benjamm F. Butler 
will be sworn in by that time, and his animosity towards 
Grant is so much greater than it is towards the President 
that he will make his opinions known and understood upon 
the floor of the House. When that is done, you will all 
understand where Grant stands." 

This was delivered very oracularly, and I have no doubt 
Seward has turned this matter over in his mind and come 
to the conclusion that the President will have a fast friend 
in Grant in consequence of the disagreement between him 
and Butler. Whether Stanton has helped to impress this 



18871 THE CHANCES OF IMPEACHMENT ^7 

on Seward is uncertain. I am inclined to think he has been 
instrumental in practicing on the too ready credulity of 
the Secretary of State in this matter. He is too ready to be^ 
lieve what he wishes, if he has even but sUght authority. 

Bandall thought tiiere was not much probability that 
the impeachment scheme would be pressed any further. 
Encoiuraged by this, Seward said nothing would be done. 
"But," remarked Browning, " provided they should go on, 
what have we to depend upon?" Seward evaded a direct 
answer; spoke of the discontent of the business men; said 
the Members were also disturbed. Randall took the same 
view; said Congress would not consent to this thing. 

I said that was the common-sense view, and if there 
were any reliable intelligence and firmness in Congress 
there would be an end of the matter at once. But, unfor- 
tunately, there was neither good sense, ability, nor inde- 
pendence among the Radicals. There is no individuality 
among the well-meaning Members. A few leaders and the 
Radical cohorts had entire control of the whole mass of Re- 
publicans. Stevens, Butler, Boutwell, Schenck, Kelley, and 
a few other violent partisans led the positive element, 
and in revolutionary times such as these the positive and 
the violent always controlled. If the men I had named 
and a few others willed it, the House would imquestion- 
ably impeach, whether they foimd a reason therefor or 
not. I, therefore, thought Browning's inquiry pertinent 
and that the subject should receive attention. 

Seward admitted that the positive element invariably 
bore sway, and told of some who had dined with him the 
past week and swore they would not vote to impeach, but 
he told them they would despite their assertions, if Stevens 
demanded it, — that they were drawn on step by step. 

Randall made no further remark. I have a distrust of 
him that I can't remove. I regret it and hope I am mis- 
taken. He is not treacherous, that I am aware, to the Pre- 
sident, but he is on terms with the President's enemies 
and has bad associates. • 



• • 



58 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [uabch 8 

" The President said he had last night, after one o'clock, 
a letter from Reverdy Johnson requesting that his son-in- 
law, Ridgely , might be nominated District Attorney. This, 
the President remarked, was about as cool a piece of as- 
surance as he had ever witnessed. It does not surprise me. 
What will the President do? 

March 4, Monday. Went at half-past nine to the Capi- 
tol. The President directed the Cabinet to meet at that 
time. I called at the Executive Mansion on my way and 
found the President very busy. He had signed all the bills 
sent him save three. One was the Army Appropriation 
Bill, the second section of which, as well as some others, 
was objectionable, — so much so that I could not advise 
him to sanction it. Another was the Woolens Bill, which 
I had not examined, but which McCulloch thought the 
President had better sign with a protest. 

The two houses were in session until after meridian. 
Time was set back. The session was called as of the 2d of 
March, Simday being dies non. The houses had each taken 
frequent recesses without adjourning. It was the only 
evidence of regard for the Constitution which I witnessed, 
and this was a fiction. 

I looked briefly into the Senate, where the new Senators 
were being sworn in. It is the only time I have seen the 
Senate in session since I was there at the adjournment last 
July. I could not respect the body or many of its members. 
They are, in their intense faction hate of Southern whites 
and zeal for the negro, determined to pull down the pillars 
of the Republic. 

Foster and I met in the passage as I was going into the 
Senate. He was looking disconsolate, but I wasted no 
sympathy on him, and in the few words which passed I was 
not hypocrite enough to express any regret that his term 
had closed. I was sorry that Cowan, frank and bold, hon-' 
est as regards measiues, though not always correct in his 
estimate of men, should leave. The Senate in its meanness 



18671 POWERS OP MILITARY GOVERNORS 59, 

did not act on his nomination to Vienna. It neither rejected 
nor confirmed him. 

Reverdy Johnson^s son-in-law was nominated and con- 
firmed to be District Attorney for Maryland. So much for 
disregarding principle, conviction, and duty. Who influ- 
enced the President in this matter I know not. Seward, I 
am satisfied, assented to it, if he did not advise it. Johnson 
was frequently in and out, and I saw Cowan with him. Not 
unlikely the good-natured Senator was persuaded to ap- 
peal to the forbearing President. 

I went with McCulloch to the House of Representatives, 
which was crowded. The Clerk was just commencing to 
call the roll for Speaker, and I left. Some changes take 
place in this body. Ten States are excluded and unrepre- 
sented, but the Radical fragment will press forward all 
all the more earnestly for mischief. 

March 5, Tuesday. Some of the Radical revolutionary 
measiu'es were discussed to-day in Cabinet. The legisla- 
tion and action of Congress have thrown several hundred 
(^oers out, and the public funds are in jeopardy. Intent 
on oflBce, place, and power, the real interests of the coun- 
try have been neglected or not considered by the Radicals. 
Want of comprehension of consequences and a feeling of 
irresponsibility have been manifest throughout. 

A question came up as to the power and jurisdiction of 
the miUtary governors who were to be placed in charge of 
the Southern States. Stanton said they must be subordin- 
ate and accoimtable to their superiors who were in charge 
of the military departments. Stanbery doubted the cor- 
rectness of this view. I put the distinct question whether, 
if there were conflicts of opinion between the military gov- 
ernor and his superior, — as for instance if the brigadier 
governor of Georgia and Alabama should take a position, 
or issue an order which was disapproved by Major-General 
Thomas, in command of that military department, would 
he override and annul the order of the military governor? 



60 DIART OF GIDEON WELLES [1£abch5 

Stanton said General Thomas' order would control. I 
questioned it and claimed that the special authority con- 
ferred by the act, if the act was of any validity, made the 
brigadier independent of General Thomas in governing 
the States to which he was assigned. 

This seemed the prevailing opinion, but at Stanton's 
request, decision was deferred until Friday, he promising 
in the mean time to investigate the subject. 

March 6, Wednesday. I was with the President on a 
little business, and Stanbery was present at the early part 
of our interview. The subject of yesterday's decision on 
the powers of the brigadiers was introduced by S., who 
said he had not a shadow of a doubt in regard to it; he 
thinks Stanton and his friends have overshot the mark. 

After Stanbery left, the President continued the conver- 
sation on the same topic, and if he intended to enforce an 
unconstitutional law in regard to the importance of select- 
ing the right men for military governors, I urged him to 
be certain in regard to his men for those positions and 
to have an mterview with each bef oie giving them ordeiB. 
He assented fully. 

I then alluded again to the condition of things here in 
Washington. In the event of the Radical leaders succeeding 
in their intrigue to procure an impeachment, the first step 
after impeachment should be voted would be to order his 
arrest. If he was not prepared to submit to an arrest, was 
he prepared to meet it? Whom could he confide in? Who of 
the military men, or of the War Department, would stand 
by him against an order issued by Congress, or the Senate 
as a court, under the signature of the Chief Justice, com- 
manding his arrest? I had on two or three occasions, I re- 
marked, introduced this topic, not that it was pleasant or 
interesting to me, but it was important to him and the 
country. Once he had himself brought forward the sub- 
ject, but a direct and positive answer by the Cabinet or 
some of the Cabinet had been evaded by the Cabinet 



18S7I THE PRESIDENT'S HESITATION 61 

or some of the members. The President said yes, he was 
aware of it, but he would bring the subject to a decision 
next Friday. I told him it was in my opinion due to 
himself, although Mr. Seward had said it was not best to 
anticipate. 

But it has been the misfortune, the weakness, the great 
error of the Pi^esident to delay, — hesitate before acting. 
It has weakened him in public estimation, and given the 
impression that he is not strong in his own opinions. Yet 
I know of no man who is more firm, when he has once taken 
a stand. But promptness, as well as firmness, is necessary 
to inspire public confidence. 

March 7, Thursday. The Radicals are divided in opinion 
on the subject of impeachment, and also as to the adjourn- 
ment. Some wish a continuous session, some wish to 
adjourn to May, others until October or November, The 
Senate seem determined to adjourn over until the fall, 
iiiule the extreme Radicals wish to continue in session, al- 
though there is no business requiring their presence. J3ut 
they desire to administer the government and impeach the 
President. Not that he has committed any wrong or that 
any o£fense can be stated; but they have had a committee 
searching the coimtry to find, if possible, some mistake, 
some error, some act which can be construed into a polit- 
ical fault and thus justify his removal, because he is an 
obstacle in the way of Radicalism. 

March 8, Friday. Very little was done to-day in Cabinet. 
It was expected, I think, by all that the President would 
bring forward measiues in relation to the Military Govern- 
ment Act, and, therefore, they had omitted pressing any 
business except such as was absolutely necessary from the 
Departments. But the President made no allusion to the 
subject. He said he was very much engaged, as he must 
be, not only on that of the military government but other 
matters wUch should be immediately disposed of. v "^ *^ ^ 



62 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [march 8 

After the meeting, or the regular session, was over, Mc- 
Culloch reached over the table, at the end of which the 
President was sitting, I being as usual on his left, and 
Browning came and seated himself on the opposite side 
and said something in a low tone which I did not hear, or 
which passed out of my mind in consequence of what 
subsequently occurred. He said it — his suggestion, what- 
ever it was — would check the impeachment movement. 
The President replied hastily: ''I will do nothing to check 
impeachment, if there is any wish to press it. I am tired 
of hearing allusions to impeachment. God Almighty 
knows I will not turn aside from my public duties to attend 
to these contemptible assaults which are got up to embar- 
rass the Administration. Let the House go forward and 
busy themselves in that matter if they wish." 

There are rumors as to the persons to be selected as mili- 
tary governors, and I think the President is, imfortimately 
for himself, consulting with General Grant. How far Grant 
confers with Stanton, I know not, nor does the President, 
— if he confers at all. That Grant may be biased by Stan- 
ton and Holt, with whom he has constant, intimate inter- 
coiu'se is not improbable. However, my impression has 
been that Grant is himself rightly disposed, though there 
are some things which indicate subtlety and duplicity. 

March 9, Saturday. Law of Indiana, who was a Mem- 
ber of the Thirty-seventh and Thirty-eighth Congresses, 
called on me, being on a visit to Washington. We have 
been good friends since our first acquaintance. He said he 
had just paid his respects to the President and reminded 
hm of an incident. In the summer of 1861, he, L., was at 
the Burnett House in Cincinnati on his way to Washing- 
ton in pursuance of the call of President Lincoln for an 
extra session. He had just finished his meal, — breakfast, I 
think, — and came out on the piazza, when a troop of horse, 
both riders and animals somewhat jaded, rode up, and 
opening in line, a citizen, in citizen's dress much dusted, 



iSftTi EX-CONGBESSMAN LAW ON JOHNSON 63 

came forward and dismounted. That man, exhausted and 
covered with dust, was Andrew Johnson, a Senator from 
Tennessee on his way to Washington under the call of the 
President, and the military authorities had dispatched a 
troop of horse to escort and guard him across the State of 
Kentucky. ^'I little thought/' said Law, 'Hhat I should 
ever hear Andrew Johnson denoimced as a Rebel, or a sym- 
pathizer with Rebels; that partisan malice would ever 
accuse him of want of fidelity to the Union; but God only 
knows what we are coming to in these Radical times. Such 
a patriot as Johnson,'' said Law, with tears running down 
his cheeks, ''a man who has suffered and done so much^ 
deserves better treatment from his countrymen." 

March 11, Monday. Senator Morgan says Nye returns 
from CJonnecticut, where he has been making political 
speeches, very much alarmed at the prospect, and if extra 
efforts are not put forth, Deming will lose his election to 
Congress. Were the election to take place at this time, I 
am inclined to think the Radicals would be beaten, but 
much can be done in three weeks. 

Stanbery and myself were with the President a short 
time this morning. Business disposed of, some conversation 
followed in regard to the selection of military governors. 
We both dwelt on the importance of judicious, good, re- 
liable men. The President assented and said he hoped to 
finish up the matter to-day, but he made no intimation as 
to the persons whom he should designate. I had no desire 
to ask, and Stanbery seemed likewise disposed. 

The President is without doubt too reticent with his 
Cabinet advisers, and perhaps with all his friends, although 
inclined to much public speaking and free utterance on 
matters that are public. From his silence on the subject 
of military governors I do not anticipate a judicious selec- 
tion, and shall not be siuprised if Grant, in whom he still 
•has confidence, and possibly Stanton, are the only persons 
whom he consults. If so he will have trouble. 



64 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [march 12 

' March 12, Tv^sday. Current matters of no special inter- 
est to-day in Cabinet. Appointments and rejections were 
talked over. I do not learn that the President and some 
of the Departments have any system in this matter of 
appointments and removals. Randall equivocates, trims, 
and gives in to the Radicals. It is said he was confirmed 
with that understanding. He has no backbone or power. 
If the Senate rejects a good man because he is friendly to 
the President and adheres to the Constitution, Randall is 
content to present another of an entirely different charac- 
ter, a tool of the Senate, an enemy to the President, a wild 
Radical. Of course no party can succeed under such man- 
agement, and the Administration is consequently making 
no headway. McCulloch is a different and much better 
man than Randall in every respect; but, overwhelmed 
with the financial difficulties of the coimtry, he is for 
conciliating the Radicals, yields too much, and Randall 
and others increase that infirmity. The tendency is all 
wrong. 

Nothing was said by the President in Cabinet on the 
subject of military governors. [He took Stanton aside and 
had a conversation of some fifteen minutes with him, while 
the rest were waiting. At the close Stanton was unusually 
jubilant, had a joke or two with McCulloch and could not 
suppress his feelings. I shall not be disappointed if Stan- 
ton selects or controls the military governors, and I think 
Seward has advised that he should. These two men have 
contrived to break down the Administration, — Seward 
without intending it. Thurlow Weed has been in town for 
a day or two, almost as much at the War as at the State 
Department. His counsel is always pernicious. 

March 13, Wednesday. Judge Field called on me to-day. 
He is very soimd and correct on the great questions before 
the coimtry. He concurred with me as to the peculiar char- 
acteristics of the President and the misf ortimes which he 
has brought on himself and the country by failing to ^fst 



1867] SIC5KLES ONE OF THE GOVERNORS 65 

promptly on his own convictions, and by listening to the 
advice of those who are not his friends. 

Judge Field has no confidence in Stanton and fears he 
will influence bad appointments for military governors, 
and expressed a strong hope that General Sickles would 
not be selected. 

The pai)er this morning announces the generals who 
have been designated, and Sickles is one of them. Sickles 
is a favorite of Stanton, who defended him for murdering 
Key. I do not think the selections in several respects ju- 
dicious. That of Sickles accounts for Stanton's exuberant 
feelings yesterday and confirms my impression that he has 
been instrumental in selections, some of which will be likely 
to cause diflBiculty. It would not be easy, however, to go 
among the military men and choose five in whom to repose 
full confidence. In listening to Stanton the President has 
made no friends. The War Department has made itself 
felt in the appointments. ''The slime of the serpent is over 
them all.'' General Grant has apparently borne himself 
under all influences as well as could be expected, yet I 
think he is to some extent affected and has been swayed 
by Radical influence. 

March 14, Thursday. McCulloch spent some time with 
me this evening. He is a good deal desponding. Sa3n3 
Congress is very corrupt. Certain Wall Street operators 
know daily what is done in the Finance and Ways and 
Means Committees. He gets information of the trans- 
actions of that committee by way of Wall Street before 
the committee reports to or advises with him, and his own 
movements are also in that way betrayed. These Radical 
patriots are swindling the country while imposing on its 
credulity. 

The want of prompt and decisive action on the part 
of the President, who is deceived by Stanton, aided by 
Seward, who supports Stanton, we both lamented. It has 
made the Administration a failure and transferred power 

8 



66 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [makchw 

from the Executive to CongresSi which is now omnipotent 
and mirestrained. On every hand the Elxecutive has been 
hedged in and crippled. It annoys McCulloch that Stan- 
ton should have the ear and confidence of the Presidenti 
while to him it is obvious that the President is betrayed; 
the rest of the Cabinet, who are faithfully discharging 
their duties, are assaUed, while Stanton, who is faithless 
and treacherous, escapes, — has all the appropriations he 
asks. 

But McCulloch does not realize what is obvious to me, 
— that Seward has the ear and the confidence of the 
President, and is the man who by his efforts and repre- 
sentations retains Stanton. These two men have sacri- 
ficed the President. He has permitted it and thereby made 
his Administration impotent. 

March 16, Friday. Seward produced a treaty for ac- 
quiring the Russian possessions in North America. All 
assented to submitting it to the Senate. 

The subject of naval courtesies with Tucker, the Rebel 
deserter, whom Peru has made admiral of her navy, came 
up. No one stood by me, of the Cabinet. The President 
patiently listened. Stanton declared his heart and sym- 
pathies were with me, but the question of international 
courtesies he thought should be left with the Secretary of 
State and Attorney-General. This lugging in the Attorney- 
General on international law and political questions and 
committing them to him I do not like. It is to enlist 
Stanbery and relieve Seward of responsibility in a matter 
which belongs to the State Department. 

I could perceive that the Attorney-General had been 
consulted, and was prepared to give an opinion as the 
Secretary of State wished. As usual the Secretary of 
State disregards not only the national pimctilio but the 
national points [8ic]j — surrenders all when the easy work- 
mg of his own Department is concerned. 

Stanton, who has heretofore, and, as he declared, de- 



1867] DEATH OF CHARLES EAM^S 67 

liberately, agreed with me, fell away at the crisis. This 
did not disi^point me. He always goes with Seward. 
They are one. 

March 16, Saturday. Charles Eames died this after- 
noon. He was in many respects a very superior man, and, 
though a private citizen, his death is a public loss. I con- 
sider him to have been the best-read and most correct 
admiralty lawyer in the coimtry, and the best authority 
on questions of maritime law. I have seen but little of 
him for a year past, — he has been so immersed in busi- 
ness, — but I have made it a point to get his opinion on 
important questions when I had doubts and when I dif- 
fered with others whose opinions I thought of value. 

Twenty years ago we became acquainted during Polk's 
Administration. He was a clerk for a short time in the 
Navy Department. Appleton was then Chief Clerk. Both, 
though my juniors, are now dead. Eames became editor 
of the Union,^ was commissioner to the Sandwich Islands, 
Minister to Venezuela, etc. His attainments placed him, 
though impretentious, high as a publicist and statesman. 
As a politician he lacked force, but was an excellent 
adviser. His politics were democratic Republican. As a 
critic he was acute and accurate. Marcy, Everett, and 
Guthrie submitted to him some of their most important 
papers before giving them publicity. He was the young- 
est and best scholar in the most renowned class which 
ever graduated at Harvard. 

Buchanan treated Eames shabbily, and when I came 
here at the commencement of Lincoln's Administration, 
he was low in finance and business and somewhat de- 
jected. We soon renewed our acquaintance, became so- 
cial, and I was enabled to assist him. He was a politician 
in the best sense of the word and did not love the practice 
of the law, but necessity impelled him, and, being thrown 
out of public employment by the perverse action and 

^ A Waahington newspaper. 



68 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [maechw 

opposition of Seward and the cold duplicity of Chase, he 
applied himself to the profession. The prize cases brou^t 
him forward, and the Treasury availed itself of his ability. 
Not endowed with a strong constitution, he broke down 
under the pressiu*e of certain great cases intrusted to 
him. His phjrsical system was not equal to his mental 
power and the demands upon him. Farewell, old friend! 
There is no one to supply your place to me. 

March 18, Monday. Senator Foster called on me to- 
day to aid him in obtaining the mission to Vienna. S&yB 
Seward advised him to consult me. Seward knew that, 
though I had personal regard for Foster and appreciated 
his qualities, I did not think this a judicious appointment 
at this time and imder existing circumstances. He assured 
me that nothing had, up to that time, been said to him 
by Foster, nor would he entertain the matter without 
consulting me. I have no doubt that he is turning his 
thougihts to Foster for this mission and has advised this 
call. I could give F. no assurance, nor yet was I prepared 
to tell him flatly I would oppose him. For Seward has, not 
imlikely, consulted and enlisted the President, and if the 
point is already determined, to resist it would be foolish- 
ness. 

Foster, after recent occurrences, has certainly no claims 
on the Administration. He has not, it is true, been vindic- 
tive and acrimonious like some Senators, but he has been 
steady in his opposition, the slave of factious party dis- 
cipline, often, as I have reason to believe, against his 
own conviction. He timidly threw away his own chance 
for reelection and sacrificed those who stood by him. 

March 19, Ttiesday. Had the Russian treaty on the 
tapis. No division of opinion as to the measure. 

The question of coiutesy to Tucker, the Rebel deserter, 
whom the Peruvians have, discourteously to us, made 
admiral and consequently outranking his seniors in our 



1887] INDIAN AFFAIRS 69 

service who were not Rebels, was brought forward by 
SewanL I stated that my opinion had undergone no change, 
but that I should, of course, although it might be humili- 
ating to American officers, conform to the decision of the 
Flmdent and Cabinet. If, however, we yielded to the 
discourtesy, we should, besides doing an act tending to 
demoraliase our Navy, be setting a bad precedent. 

Stanton again repeated that his feelings and sympathies 
were with me, but as it was an international question, he 
should defer to the Secretary of State. Browning gave up 
the question without understanding it and was very 
earnest for Peru. Under the circumstances and with the 
united opinion against me, the President thought Dahl- 
gren had better give up the point. I am, therefore, to in- 
form him that the President has directed that Paragraph 
96 of Navy Regulations, which I had authorized him to 
waive, would be hereafter observed by the South Pacific 
Squadron. 

A long discussion followed between Stanton and 
Browning, growing out of the attempts of the military 
to interfere in Indian afifairs. Browning claims that the 
agents, if respected and not interfered with by the army 
officers, will save us from an Indian war. Stanton thinks 
army officers are better judges as to the treatment of the 
Indians than the traders and agents. He protests against 
thdr selling arms and ammunition to the Indians. Brown- 
ing says it is necessary for their existence that they should 
have firearms. 

My views were and are with Browning. With firearms 
I believe the Indians are less furious than with bow and 
arrow and tomahawk. The attempt to prevent them from 
having arms they would naturally consider imfriendly 
and hostile. 

Stanton attempts to fortify himself behind Grant. 

March 20, Wednesday. In an interview with the Pre- 
sident, after disposing of other matters, I read to him a 



70 DIARY OP GIDEON WELLES imabch26 

letter from Connecticut on the approaching election, in 
which a very strong wish was expressed that Foster should 
not receive the appointment to Austria, as reported in the 
papers he had, — at all events, that it should not take 
place until after the election. 

The President was much pleased with the tone and 
spirit of the letter and remarked that the writer might 
rest easy as regarded Mr. Foster. He said Seward had 
proposed Foster's name this morning, shortly before I 
called, and "I asked him," said the President, "what 
in God's name F. had done that we should select him. 
There are others, as good and as capable men as he who 
have stood firm and done service that should be remem- 
bered. Mr. Foster has no preeminent qualifications for 
the place; he has been here all winter voting for these 
abominable measiu'es which we pronotmce unconstitu- 
tional, and believe and know to be so, and so does he; 
and now, when thrown out of place by his own weakness, 
we are expected to take him up. What can be thought of 
our sincerity if we do this? If Mr. Foster is with us, why 
don't he go home and take a manly part in the elections? 
Why is he lingering here? " 
^ "What," inquired I, "did Mr. Seward reply?" 

"Not a word," said the President. "He took up his 
budget and left. I am sick of such things." 

I informed him that Mr. Foster had called on me also 
and I could not otherwise than inform him of the object of 
Mr. F.'s visit; but after his remarks it was unnecessary 
to say more on the subject. 

Some conversation as to the expediency of sending in 
General Blair's name followed. 

March 21, Thursday. Wrote letter to Admiral Dahlgren 
on the subject of courtesies to Tucker in obeditece to in- 
structions from the President. . Sent it to Seward for his 
perusal. Also sent him the correspondence which had 
passed between Admiral Goldsborough and E. J. Morris, 



1867] THE AUSTRIAN MISSION 71 

our Minister at Constantinople. The latter has been urg* 
ing Admiral G. to send a ship to Candia to transport the 
Cretans to Greece, — a direct infringement of neutrality* 
Morris justified himself on the ground of assurance from 
the Secretary of State. 

March 22, Friday. There was no meeting of the Cabi- 
net to-day. A severe snowstorm through the whole day. 
The President on subject of veto of supplemental bill to 
the military governments. 

March 23, Saturday. Read to the President my letter 
of instructions to Rear-Admiral Dahlgren relative to 
interchange of courtesies with Tucker, the Rebel, late 
Commander in our service, now Admiral in the Peruvian 
Navy. Told him I had nothing to say after the discussion 
which had been had. He remarked it was a matter which 
he did not like, but the Secretary of State seemed to con- 
sider it important, and others coincided with him. I re- 
marked that, as a general thing, I paid little attention 
to what I called Mr. Seward's qualities. That his opinions 
on international law had never impressed me; that the 
national honor seemed of little concern to him and never 
stood in the way of his schemes of expediency; that this 
might be a troublesome precedent in the future. So far as 
Peru was concerned, she had bestowed her highest honors 
on a man who had been false to his coimtry and flag. 

We had a few words in regard to the Austrian Mission. 
The President said he had sent in no nomination, that he 
had sent to Judge Blair to advise with him in regard to 
the nomination of General Blair, but the Judge had not 
since called on him. I said if he was to communicate with 
the General, it might be diflScult, for he was in Connecti- 
cut. 

March 25, Monday. I called this morning on Judge 
pursuant to an understanding with the President 



72 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES |Mahch25 

on Saturday to ascertain if he had heard from his brother. 
He said he had not. I then expressed an opinion that the 
President had better nominate Frank and let the Senate 
dispose ,of the measure. If they conj&rmed him and he 
refused to accept, it were better that he knew nothing on 
the subject, — iif the Senate rejected, or adjourned without 
action, he would not be dishonored. The Judge agreed 
with me and I subsequently saw the President, who 
adopted the suggestion. 

In my interview with Judge Blair he again expressed 
dissatisfaction with the President for retaining Seward 
and Stanton, and said some things were to him inex- 
plicable. He informs me in confidence, that nearly a year 
ago General Dick Taylor^ was in Washington and had 
spent some time with General Grant. The two discussed 
very fully the condition of affairs, and both concurred 
in approving the President's policy, but [thought] that to 
carry it out, he must rid himself of Seward and Stanton. 
With these views they saw the President and had a full 
and free interchange of opinion with him, and the Pre- 
sident responded to them favorably, earnestly, and de- 
cidedly. 

On the day following, Stanton called on General Grant, 
I think at his house, where he had never previously called, 
for he was not on intimate terms with the General; but 
on this occasion he opened his mind fully to Grant, and was 
ready to imite with him and Taylor in sustaining the Pre- 
sident and his policy, even to the sacrificing of Seward. 
General Grant knew not what to make of this and com- 
municated the conversation to General Taylor, who re- 
fused to have any connection with Stanton whatever, and 
immediately sought the President and told him that they 
had been betrayed, that Stanton had become possessed 
of their views and was ready to unite with them, provided 
he could retain his place in the War Department. But this, 

^ Richard Taylor, son of Preflident Zachary Taylor and a lieutenant- 
general in the Confederate service. 



18871 PRIVATE SECRETARY MOORE 78 

Taylor declared, was out of the question, for he had no 
confidence in Stanton and would not be connected with 
him. The President, he said, seemed confused, but there 
the matter dropped. Blair thinks the President commun- 
icated the subject to Stanton, and it gives him distrust 
and dissatisfaction. 

Revolving the subject in my mind, I question whether the 
President is in fault, yet there are some singular circum- 
stances which seem to confirm it. Again my attention 
turns to Colonel Moore, the President's confidential sec- 
retary, who was turned over to him by Stanton, who is 
an officer of the War Department, and whose grateful 
feelings may influence him when Stanton is in danger. It 
is mere vague surmise on my part. I am and have been 
favorably impressed by Colonel Moore, who has appeared 
to me to be an honorable man in all my intercourse with 
him and who seems invaluable to the President. But 
there have been some singular things in the President's 
course which are wholly beyond my comprehension, and 
which I cannot reconcile or account for satisfactorily in 
any way except that he is betrayed. 

March 29, Friday. Congress has been making itself a 
reproach to the country and to free government by its 
coiLrse in relation to adjournment, by its assaults on public 
men, by its rejection of some of the best men nominated 
for public position, and its efforts to invade and destroy 
the executive department of the Government. The lowest 
and most vituperative partisanship is exhibited, towards 
the President especially, who is denounced as a traitor 
and public enemy. One objection raised to an adjournment 
until next December is that the Radical majority must see 
the laws executed. 

The Constitution makes it the duty of the President 
to see the laws executed, but the Radical majority openly 
usurp this power and propose a perpetual session in order 
to cripple the Executive and concentrate all power in 



74 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [mabch29 

m 

Congress. Propositions to adjourn from month to month, 
to adjourn and authorize the presiding officers to convene 
the two houses, or to adjourn them without meeting, have 
been made and supported by leading Radicals with a 
shameless disregard of their duty and oaths. If the public 
necessities require, the Constitution makes it the duty of 
the President to convene Congress in special session. 

It is stated freely and without contradiction that 
Stanton and Grant both were on the floor of the two 
houses, beseeching the Members not to adjourn over to 
next winter and thus leave the administration of the 
government with the President. I was imwilling to be- 
lieve this, particularly of Grant, but fear it is true. 
* The Senators show an unfriendly feeling towards army 
officers whom the President nominates for civil position, 
and Grant cannot have failed to see there is jealousy of 
the military among aspiring politicians. I am not sorry 
to see this, not that I approve of the proscription of men 
because they have been officers, or because they are friends 
of the President; but there is a disposition on the part of 
the military to be clannish and to grasp political office and 
power, which should not overshadow civil merit. 

We had to-day a long discussion over Indian affairs. 
The military officers have assimied the control of matters 
which the law confides to the Indian agents, and have issued 
orders which conflict with and subjugate the agents. To 
this the Secretary of the Interior, who has charge of In- 
dian affairs, objects and demands that the miUtary orders 
be revoked. TTie Secretary of War thinks the officers are 
to be justified and brings forward Generals Grant and 
Sherman as his backers. 

Seward is for compromising and after long discussion 
opposes the revocation of the order. McCulloch concurs 
with him because the army is there to protect the agents 
and settlers. Stanton is very emphatic the same way, of 
course. I dissented from the three who preceded me and 
took a different view from McCulloch. The military are 



ism THE ALASKAN TREATY SIGNED 75 

there subordinate to the agents and the law, and should 
not control. All who followed me concurred with me. 
Stanbery made quite an argument. 

March 30, Saturday. Dined with Seward to meet 
Bigelow, our late Minister to France. None present but 
Mrs. W., B. and wife, Senator Cattel of New Jersey, and 
Seward and family. 

Congress adjourned to-day, until next July, when if a 
quorum is not present, presiding officers wiU adjourn then 
over to December, — a silly attempt to evade and get round 
the Constitution, which confides the subject to the Pre- 
sident. 

The President and Cabinet were at the Capitol at 10 
A.M. and remained until twelve, when the adjournment 
took place. 

Seward and mjrself were first on the groimd. He told 
me that he and Stoeckel signed the treaty for the cession 
of Russian America at four this morning, having been up 
an night for that purpose. The consideration is $7,200,000. 
He had informed Sumner, and the treaty was to be sent 
in as soon as the President arrived. I suggested that Stun- 
ner might, as he was opposed to adjournment, avail him- 
self of the occasion to delay adjournment. Seward was 
a good deal startled for a moment; said he hoped there 
was no need of prolonging the session. I asked what 
provision had been made for payment. He said that 
would not take place immediately, but could be made next 
winter. 

He then called in, one at a time, four or five Senators 
and made special confidants of each, beginning with 
Cole. I was somewhat amused and not a little disgusted 
with the little acts and overpowering egotism he exhibited. 
The last is a growing infirmity. 

Dining with him this evening, the whole time was 
spent in talking of himself and his doings, and his plans. 
Bigelowy I perceive, is very much taken with him and 



76 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [bcabchso 

credulous in his belief of what he says, on all subjects. 
Attendance at Court has had an influence on B., greater 
than I should have believed. 

Among other things Seward undertook to tell Bigelow 
how he had shaped the Cabinet of Mr. Lincoln, after it 
was formed. He commenced by saying that he had no- 
thing to do with being brought into the Cabinet, of which, 
however, I knew more than he was aware. But, viewing 
the condiition of the country in March, 1861, he perceived, 
he said, the necessity of entire unanimity and concert in 
the Cabinet council and his great object was harmonious 
action among all the members. This he succeeded in 
bringing about. Blair had sometimes been a little cap- 
tious and Chase ambitious. The latter wanted to compete 
for the Presidency against Lincohi, which he (Seward) 
knew would not answer. 

The truth is, no member was so meddlesome and in- 
triguing as Seward; he was making more difficulties and 
committing more errors than all the others. They toler- 
ated him because Mr. Lincohi did, and because it was 
necessary, as he says, in the then condition of the country. 

He complimented the Cabinet as the ablest and best 
that the country had ever had; said that Jefferson and 
Hamilton, who were in Washington's, could never have 
carried the cotmtry through the War and the difficulties 
and the embarrassments we have had. The diary of Jeffer- 
son he condenmed as unworthy. Bigelow says Jefferson's 
letters from France are infinitely inferior to Franklin's, 
who preceded him. He was astonished at the contrast. 



XLVIII 

Union Suocefls in the Connectieut Election — Seward seeks to reward a 
Political Trimmer with the Cuban Consul-Generalship — The President 
receives Word that an Injunction against him is to be asked from the 
Supreme Court — Conversation with General Butler on Public Aflfairs 

— The Senate confirms the Alaska Purchase Treaty — Attempts to fill 
the Cuban Consul-Generalship — Admiral Goldsborough seeks through 
his Wife to be retained on the Active List — Senator Wilson electioneer- 
ing in the South — Thaddeus Stevens denies Wilson's Authority to 
make Promises — Governor English of Connecticut — Most of hie 
Message to the Legislature written by Secretary Welles — A DelegatioQ 
of Japanese visits the President — The House Judiciary Committee 
seeking Evidence on which to impeach — McCulloch talks plainly to the 
President about Stanton — The French buying War Vessels in the 
United States — Seward considers acquiring Snake Island in the West 
Indies — Wilkes Booth's Diary — The Price of the Danish West Indies 

— Attorney-General Stanbery examining the Military Government Act 

— The Indian Troubles — The Japanese conclude to buy the Ship 
Stonewall — The President to visit North Carolina. 

April If Monday. The annual election took place 
to-day in Connecticut. It has been a severe struggle, 
warmly contested on both sides. The issues were those 
which the Radicals in Congress have forced on the coun- 
try, and the importance of the result was generally felt. 
In the selection of candidates the anti-Radicals showed 
wisdom and shrewdness. There were old party organiza- 
tions, and prejudices and impracticables to encounter, 
but objectionable candidates were avoided and obnoxious 
individuals were kept from the meetings. The few re- 
turns sent forward this evening leave no doubt that the 
Union men, who support the Admmistration and disap- 
prove the Congressional usurpations and innovations on 
the Constitution, have been successful, electing English 
and three of the four Members of Congress. In the last 
Congress all were Radicals. 

I went to the President with the first dispatch received 



78 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [april i 

and told him I was satisfied the Radicals were defeated 
in the State and three Congressional districts. He was 
much gratified and said it was the turn of the current. 

April 2, Tuesday. The Connecticut election creates 
quite a commotion among the politicians. It is the first 
loud knock which admonishes the Radicals of their in- 
evitable doom. Seward attempts to talk sound philosophy 
and to account for the result, which he says could not have 
been obtained a month ago. I think, and so told him, 
that we should have done quite as well a month ago. 
The speech and vote of Reverdy Johnson, who had be- 
come a renegade, and the acquiescence of the South, or 
their submission rather, had been discouraging and de- 
pressing to the true Constitutional men in Connecticut. 
Very little aid had reached them from without the State. 

April 3, Wednesday. When at the Cabinet yesterday, 
Seward informed me that the consulship at Panama is 
vacant and asked if Earl Martin or some good Connecti- 
cut man did not want it. He felt anxious, he said, to give 
recognition to Connecticut for the good work she had 
done. 

. As I have no personal acquaintance with Martin, I could 
not advise him, but said I did not feel anxious to send a 
good man to a place where the yellow fever was raging 
and which was always imhealthy. 

This evening he called at my house with Senator Dixon 
and said they had come to consult with me in relation to 
the place of Consul-General to Cuba. Governor Minor 
has sent in his resignation. Seward received it, he sajrs, 
yesterday afternoon, after seeing me, and, accidentally 
meeting Senator Dixon, that gentleman had proposed 
Gideon Hollister for the position, but he thought proper 
before coming to a final conclusion that he should see me» 
and had, therefore, got Mr. Dixon to call with him. Dixon, 
being quite deaf and engaged in reading the Hartford 



MBT] THE CDBAN CONSUL-GENERALSHIP 79 

• 

papers, did not listen or understand Seward's conversa- 
tion, further than he knew its general purport, until I 
called him to listen. I told them I was not prepared to 
advise the appointment, that it did not strike me as par- 
ticularly favorable in a political point of view, or that it 
would be received by the people who had elected English 
as a special compliment to them. 

Our conversation was not very extended, but was such 
as led them both to suggest that the subject should be 
further considered, and Dixon is to call on me to-morrow 
morning in regard to it. 

HoUister is a personal adherent and crony of Dixon, a 
sly and slippery partisan who has run himself ashore by 
little intrigues. Personally I have always been on terms 
with him, but the election of mere office-seekers who have 
no distinctive principle does not beget confidence. 

The Democratic and conservative papers are jubilant 
over the election, and the Radicals are extremely bitter. 
Hawley vents his grief and disappointment in a rancorous 
article in his paper, denunciatory of me and spiteful 
towards Dixon. 

« 

April 4, Thursday. Dixon called this a.m., rather late, 
in regard to the consulate at Havana. I think he has in the 
mean time seen Seward. 

I told him I had thought a good deal on the subject 
ance last evening's interview and that my opposition to 
it had increased; that Hollister was in no sense a repre- 
sentative man of the party or people who had just achieved 
a victory in the State; that I had not heard of him through 
this hard-fought campaign; that I did not even know 
that he voted for the Administration, though I presumed 
he did for most of it, not from any deep conviction, but 
because he (D.) was for it; that the appointment would 
injure him (D.), for it would be at once said he had availed 
himself of the labors of others to get an important posi- 
tion for a personal friend; that the appointment would 



80 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES tAPBiL4 

not strengthen the Admmistration or do it any good at 
home. 

He was evidently impressed with my suggestions. 
Said he feared he had been hasty; that he supposed I had 
been consulted by Seward before he knew anything of the 
case; that Seward had sent for him and he met him after 
receiving the note, and at once and without much thought 
named Hollister; that Seward had replied, "Very well/' 
but subsequently proposed that I should be seen. In the 
mean time, Dixon says, he wrote inconsiderately to Hol- 
lister that he could have the place, relying on what Seward 
said. 

As it is, he thinks the appointment had better not go 
to Hartford, he has become so unfortimately complicated, 
but as Hollister may decline, the subject had better remain 
quiet for a day or two. 

I was with the President in the course of the afternoon 
and introduced the subject of consul-general to Cuba, 
informing him, as I had Dixon, that a different man, 
like Judge James Phelps or Hovey of Norwich, would be 
a stronger and better appointment, and that English and 
others should be consulted. The President agreed with 
me, and said when Mr. Seward called on him to make the 
appointment he inquired what I thought of it, and said 
it would be proper to get my views. 

All of this Seward has concealed from me, and strove 
to get Dixon committed with him without informing me. 
When the President sent him to me, he came with his 
story of accidentally meeting Dixon, but D. assured me, 
and twice repeated, that Seward had sent for him, — 
written him a note. Such is Seward. A great victory 
achieved by the friends of the Administration is per- 
verted to personally enrich and reward a trimmer. 

April 5, Friday. President called the Cabinet to a 
special session at 9 a.m., relative to notice given him of 
a motion which was to be made to the Supreme Court for 



1867] TALE WITH GENERAL BUTLER 81 

an injunctioii on him and general order to stay proceed- 
ings under the miUtary bill for constructing the Rebel 
States. Attorney-General was directed to object to the mo- 
tion, — the President, as the representative of the United 
States, cannot be sued. 

General Butler called on me yesterday, ostensibly on 
some little matter of business. When it was disposed of, 
he asked whether he was to congratulate or condole with 
me on the result of the Connecticut election. I replied 
that I was gratified at the result and, of course, had no 
need of condolence; that I congratulate myself and others 
on what had taken place. This opened the subject of our 
pubUc affairs, on which we had a pretty free and apparently 
unreserved conversation, though he is neither frank nor 
reliable. He is not, I perceive, satisfied with his position, 
nor with his treatment by a portion of the Radicals. I 
spoke of the election as being favorable to the President, 
Mr. Johnson, whose policy I approved; the policy had 
commenced with Mr. Lincoln, and I believed it correct. 
I asked wherein he could except to it. He said that per- 
haps Congress should have been consulted, — he thought 
so. I inquired by what authority Congress could inter- 
vene. Congress was the legislative, not the executive, de- 
partment of government, had none but granted powers, 
and where was the power conferred on Congress to con- 
struct or destroy a State? He answered there is no 
grant, but it grew out of the War; the Rebel States were 
conquered States; the President had no more power than 
Congress. 

'^ Therein,'' said I, ''we differ. I hold, as did Mr. Lin- 
coln and as does Mr. Johnson, that when Lee and Johns- 
ton surrendered, martial law prevailed from the Potomac 
to the Rio Grande, and the President, as commander-in- 
chief, had the tmdoubted right under the war power to 
govern those States, temporarily, and to bring order out 
of chaos. He could have turned ihe matter over to General 
Grant and oth^ military subordinates, but he preferred 

8 



82 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [Aprils 

to do it himself. He appointed a provisional governor, 
first in North Carolina and subsequently in other States, 
as you, General Butler, being in chief command in the 
Gulf, appointed Deming a provisional mayor in New Or- 
leans. Mr. Lincoln had no intention of calling on Congress 
to assist in this matter. Every one knew this, who had 
any knowledge of Mr. Lincoln. Mr. Colfax was here on 
the day of his death to bid him good-bye, for he was in- 
tending to cross the Plains and be absent until October. 
As Speaker he would not have absented himself, had there 
been any intention of convening Congress. 

"Then,'* said I, '^ these military despotisms over the 
States, — the assembling of the State Governments, — 
I don't see, General, how you, if a democratic Republican^ 
can sanction such measures." 

"I had nothing to do with them," said he. "They were 
enacted before I took my seat." 

"But," said I, "you are identified with that party and 
those acts." 

"Begging yoiur pardon, I do not indorse those acts 
nor approve them. I am not identified with them, nor 
responsible for them." 

I remarked that I was glad to hear him say so. 

"Why," he asked, "does not the President test them? 
Why does he submit to such laws and attempt to carry 
them out? He declares them unconstitutional. If so, they 
are no laws. Why does he obey them?" 

I called his attention to the constitutional require- 
ment, that he should see all laws faithfully executed. 

"But it is no law," said Butler; "the President sajrs 
it is no law. He is one of the departments of the Govern- 
ment and must decide for himself. If, however, he wants 
to get a decision from the Court, there is no difficulty. 
Let a suit be instituted in Virginia and brought at once 
before the Supreme Court now in session." 

He then went on to detail the modus operandL 

On the whole, I am satisfied that Butler is dissatisfied. 



lam THE SENATE REJECTS NOMINATIONS 83 

April 17, Wednesday. My time has been so occupied 
that I could make no record of daily occurrences in this 
book. Important events have occurred; some of the details 
should have been jotted down. 

The Senate continues in session, rejecting the nomina- 
tions which the President sends in, — not that the nom- 
inees are not competent and faithful, but because they 
are his friends and support his measures. Some of the 
Senators declare they will vote to confirm no man who 
is not a RadicaL Dixon tells me that Sunmer made his 
boast, in extra session, that he had allowed none but 
Radicals to be appointed to any office in Massachusetts, 
where the Senate has a voice. I have little confidence in 
Randall as Postmaster-General, under such circumstances. 
He gives in, trims, lacks vim and strength, if nothing else. 
I apprehend his course has some influence on McCul- 
loch, who, loaded down with the financial difficulties, 
wants to conciliate. It requires some courage to meet a 
not overscrupulous body of men clothed with authority, 
and who can, if they choose, embarrass the Government 
without financial accountability. The President has held 
his own very well, considering his surroundings. Seward 
he probably consults most, and Seward has, as Mr. Clay 
said of him, "no convictions," — is an egotist and selfish 
aspirant. Randall, whose confirmation is imderstood to 
have been secured by pledges to Radical Senators, is greatly 
under Seward's influence, and the President cannot, with 
his reticence, avoid committing errors with such advisers. 
The result is the President is appointing more enemies 
than friends, and his Administration is thereby weakened. 
Seward seldom selects or makes a good appointment. He 
thinks he is helping himself and cares little about helping 
the President, except as it may ultimately benefit himself 
and his former Whig friends. 

The treaty for the acquisition of Russian America 
was finally confirmed, only two Senators voting against 
it, though quite a number spoke against it. Some de- 



84 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [aprili? 

nounced it with violence, but voted for it at last, — mere 
partisans wanting in legislative wisdom and moral cour- 
age. 

The New York Tribune, Mr. Greeley, made a ferocious 
attack on the treaty, ridiculed and denounced the ac- 
quisition, but found he had no influence where he thought 
himself all-powerful. 

Dixon has urged me to imite with him in behalf of 
Gideon H. HoUister as Consul-General to Cuba. I have 
declined. Told him I was not aware HoUister was a repre- 
sentative of those who carried the late election; that I 
considered him a party trinmier without much regard for 
principle. 

Dixon says he has become complicated. Repeats that 
Seward wished him to call and see him, asked him to 
nominate, and he supposed I had been consulted and was 
aware of the steps Seward had taken. Seward called with 
Dixon on me after all this had occurred, and opened the 
subject to me in confidence, wanted us to imite, etc. My 
views were fully expressed in his presence at that time, 
and it was subsequently that Dixon told me how Seward 
had first approached him. A day or two after the two had 
paid me a visit, the President spoke of the appointment, 
said Seward had brought him Hollister's name and he 
asked if I had been consulted. Seward said he had consulted 
the Senator from Connecticut, and the President desired 
that I should be seen. It was this order which had brought 
about the interview between S. and D. with me at my 
house. 

I stated finally, after repeated calls from Dixon, who 
has behaved weU enough so far as I am concerned, that 
I would give HoUister^s true character to the President 
and there leave it, for he and I ought not to be in con- 
flict. 

The result is HoUister has been nominated. He is a 
hanger-on to Dixon, writes sonnets to Mrs. D., has a bad 
poUtical record and no force. 



18671 THE SENATE ADJOURNS 86 

April 20, Saturday. Hollister was promptly rejected. 
I then proposed Judge James Phelps, whom I had first 
named. Dixon assented, but afterwards suggested that 
Phelps' appointment would create a vacancy which the 
Radicals would fill. Ferry wrote Faxon a note that 
Phelps would be confirmed, but that lippitt of New 
London, whom I had suggested with Phelps, would prob- 
ably be rejected. On this state of facts, with a disposition 
to be kind to New London, where the people had been 
made sore by Brandegee and others on the Navy Yard 
question, I advised sending in Lippitt's name. He was 
at once rejected. The President then proposed to go else- 
where than Connecticut, and I could not object. Ellby 
Smith was nominated, and his name laid on the table. 

So the consulate is not filled, nor is the Austrian Mis- 
sion, and several other places. 



The Senate adjourned on Saturday, the 20th, at 9 p.m. 
From day to day, and on Saturday from hour to hour, 
the adjournment was postponed, in order to arrange for 
the offices. The President yielded to some extent as he 
has done before, which I regretted, for tampering with 
enemies and surrendering his constitutional prerogative 
weakens his position. In their usurpations, Senators claim 
the right to dictate in regard to appointments for which 
the President and not the Senators is responsible, and he, 
without acknowledging their right, yields to their usurping 
pretensions. 

Rear-Admiral Goldsborough continues to press his 
claims for four years' addition to his time on the active 
list. He will in January have been an officer of the Navy 
fifty-five years, but as he did not from sheer favoritism 
receive orders for sea xmtil four years after his appoint- 
ment he now claims that those four years should not count 
against him. He has had the benefit of them for more 
than fifty years, giving him priority over others. Were 
he here to attend to his own case personally, I could get 



86 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [april20 

along, but, being absent, he stimulates and pushes for- 
ward his wife, the daughter of Attorney-General William 
Wirt, a very worthy woman and very devoted to him, 
and with her there is no reasoning. She is satisfied that 
her husband is the best officer in the Navy, has done more 
service than any other, and, being not only the wife of 
a Rear-Admiral, but the dau^ter of an Attorney-General, 
there is no convincing her. I do not controvert the facts 
which she assumes in regard to her husband. No one 
could. And her law is as good as his war statements. 

She has consulted Chief Justice Chase, her former in- 
structor and friend, Attorney-General Stanbery, and 
Reverdy Johnson, successor of Wirt, and some others, 
who all, without knowing the facts, assinre her that her 
husband ought to be continued four years longer on the 
active list. Mr. J. P. Kennedy, late Secretary of the Navy, 
also favors Goldsborough, and has written a book, which 
has been printed, to prove that G. should continue to 
receive extraordinary favors. 

April 29, Monday. The injunction cases in behalf of 
Georgia and Mississippi have been before the Court and are 
still pending. Attorney-General and Mr. O'Conor made 
arguments on Friday. The latter is evidently more of a 
lawyer than statesman, studies law more than constitu- 
tions, cases more than governmental principles. Nothmg 
will be got from the Court, I apprehend, and there are 
embarrassments in the case. The Attorney-General's 
positions cannot be subscribed to in all respects. Why 
O'Conor and his associates make no use of the recent 
decision of the Court in Milligan's case I don't understand. 
Congress, under color of law, cannot invest brigadiers with 
power to abolish jury trial or to suspend the privilege of 
habeas corpus in time of peace. 

Senator Wilson is electioneering through the Southern 
States, stirring up the blacks, irritating and insulting the 
whites, promising the people recognition and that they 




GUtEON WKLLES 



18C71 SENATOR WILSON IN THE SOUTH 87 

may have their constitutional rights, provided they will 
submit to the unconstitutional and unwarranted dictation 
of the Radicals. 

Thad Stevens has issued a card denying Wilson's au- 
thority to make promises for the Radicals. He, Stevens, 
intends to play the part of tyrant and dictator to the 
South for years, will not permit them to be represented, 
intends to exclude them and to confiscate the property of 
the Rebels. These differences among the Radical leaders 
may have the effect of brin^uig considerate men in the 
North to their senses, lead them to examine the principles 
on which the government is founded, and cause them to 
look again to the Constitution which they have thrust 
aside for some time past. 

The North must retrieve itself from its errors growing 
out of resentment and evil passions, and in retrieving it- 
self will extricate the country from the slough in which 
the Radicals have plunged it. 

May 1, Wednesday. A delegation of Japanese have 
arrived here for some purpose. Seward sent Chilton, one 
of his clerks, to take them in charge, and they have been 
brought to Washington. Their arrival hastened Seward's 
return from Auburn, where he had gone to make his semi- 
annual visit and, it was said, to make his semi-annual 
speech. Happily the Japanese, or some other cause, saved 
the infliction. 

May 2, Thursday. The new Governor of Connecticut, 
English, was inaugurated yesterday. His message is dif- 
ferent in sentiment and principle from the views of his 
predecessor. Governor Hawley. I do not think, however, 
that H. has any well-defined opinions or convictions on 
great governmental or political questions. If so he does 
not consistently adhere to them. He began his career as 
an Abolitionist and was earnest and enthusiastic with 
probably more sentimentality than principle. As the 



88 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [may 2 

cause expanded^ he became bewildered, but clung to his 
humanitarianism as the Alpha and Omega of party. 
Since the emancipation and suppression of the Bebellioni 
he has floated with the current, impulsive by nature, yet 
Republican rather than Radical. . . . 
f The Radicals of Connecticut and of New England are 
narrow-minded party men of Puritanic-Calvinistic notions 
in politics and religion, intolerant and prejudiced in their 
opinions. Hate, revenge, and persecution enter largely 
into their composition. They think, — or believe, for they 
do not give so much thought as they should to the sub- 
ject, — they believe that force, oppression, compulsion 
are necessary to govern the South and that the Radicals 
of the North should govern them; that the people of the 
South must be disciplined; that since the Rebellion they 
are without the pale of the Constitution and should be 
less tolerated than if they were aliens. These fanatics 
want a God to pimish, not to love, those who do not agree 
with them. 

May 3, Friday. The President compliments the message 
of Governor English, and the Radical editors, without 
controverting it, call it names. 

Governor English has been a successful merchant in 
New Haven and represented his town and district in the 
legislature, without any marked distinction, but with a 
degree of fairness that led to his election to the Thirty- 
seventh Congress and his reelection to the Thirty-eighth. 
His course in the national legislature had, of coiu'se, no- 
thing brilliant, but he acquitted himself during that try- 
ing and turbulent period in a manner that was moro 
acceptable to men of all parties than that of either of his 
colleagues. Although a Democrat, he supported the Ad- 
ministration in most of its War measiu-es, and voted with 
the Republicans on some of the test questions of party 
without forfeiting the confidence of his associates, or polit- 
ical constituents. The good judgment he displayed rather 



I8d7] A JAPANESE DELEGATION 80 

than any shining qualities or marked genius led to his 
nomination and election as Governor. Most of the message 
which the President commends, and which the Radicals 
condemn, was written by me, but of this the President 
knows nothing, and I apprehend English himself is not 
fully informed. It was written with a view of calling 
public attention to the vital political questions before the 
country. 

Senator Wilson extends his jomney South, making of- 
fensive speeches, which are permitted, because the man- 
liness as well as the haughty arrogance which once char- 
acterized the South is broken and completely subdued. 
They seem to have no spirit in them. It can scarcely be 
doubted, however, that the slumbering wrath will yet be 
aroused. But Wilson's success has started out another 
set of Radical orators, who are going South to enkindle 
party animosity, arouse the ignorant blacks, and excite 
them against the whites. This is the Radical process of 
Reconstruction. 

Seward had the Japanese to see the President to-day. 
Spoke of them in Cabinet. Says they have not yet dis- 
closed their object; supposes they wish to buy ships; likely 
may want to make some inquiry about the two that were 
built for them by Weed and Lansing, to whom they in- 
trusted funds ; but that all is friendly. 

I hope that everything may prove satisfactory to them 
and that they have not been wronged; but have my appre- 
hensions that they have been cheated and swindled badly. 
Seward knows that I have not fallen in with the course 
he has pursued towards them. We could have their friend- 
ship and their commerce, — we may have it still, but it is 
in jeopardy, for they have not been well and fairly treated 
by us. I have already, and in former pages, made mention 
of these circumstances, and my official letters to Seward 
have expressed my opinions. He looks upon me, I think, 
with some distrust in this matter. I know his friend Weed 
does. 



90 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [BiAT4 

May 4, Saturday. I offered Commodore Lee to-day the 
Naval Observatory. He declined it. Said he had a house 
of his own and to take the observatory would lessen his 
percentage in consequence of the house there which he 
should have to take. I asked him if he would like the 
Norfolk Navy Yard. He said no, he would not, but he 
should be glad to have the Ordnance Bureau, which Wise 
was about leaving. I told him that I was not aware that 
Wise desired to relinquish that position. My impression 
was that he did not. Lee said that Mrs. Wise had given 
out that her husband was going to Europe and would give 
up the Ordnance. That, I remarked, was woman's talk. 
He said if Wise was not going to give up the bureau, he 
wished a day or two to think of the other matter, to which 
I assented. He is mercenary and avaricious to a wonder- 
ful extent. 

The Judiciary Committee of the House has reassembled 
in Washington to pursue inquiries and see if they cannot 
obtain something on which to impeach the iSresident. 
No facts, no charges, no malconduct are known or pre- 
ferred, for the slip-slop of Ashley was long since discarded, 
but a standing comjnittee is advertised and has assem- 
bled to ascertain whether something cannot be found which 
may be tortured or twisted against the President, whom 
they cannot induce to go with them in their revolution- 
ary schemes, and who is, consequently, in their way. A 
more scandalous villainy never disgraced the country. 

McCulloch tells me he has had a talk with the President 
and told him he had brought these troubles upon him- 
self by the hesitating course he had pursued ; that he had 
retained a man in his Cabinet who is notoriously op- 
posed to his Administration, a man who, from the begin- 
ning, has been an embarrassment ; that there was never any 
free interchange of opinion when that member was pre- 
sent, but there was reserve; yet in many of the important 
measures and movements that false member had a con- 
trolling voice and often was the only person consulted. 



lam JAPAN WANTS TO BUY SHIPS 91 

McC. instanced the appointment or selection of the mili- 
tary governors, which had been made without consultation 
with any member of the Cabinet, save the false and un- 
faithful one. The President listened and assented to the 
remarks, but having, under the influence of Seward, com- 
menced in error, he will be likely under the same influence 
to continue in weakness, as regards Stanton. 

I have seen all these errors, have adverted to them when 
opportimity presented, have had my opinions indorsed, 
but there the subject has ended. Seward, and Randall, 
whom he uses, are not elements of strength, but they are 
different from Stanton, for whom they apologize and whom 
they justify and sustain. They are weak; he is wicked. 
By weak I mean their course and counsel, politically, are 
worse than worthless. They have no sincere convictions, 
— no treacherous intentions, but are full of tricks and 
expedients, which accomplish nothing, while they beget 
distrust. 

May 6, Monday. Dined at Seward's on Satiu-day with 
the Cabinet and the Japan Embassy. Senator Sunmer and 
others were present, among them Madame Juarez, wife 
of the President of Mexico, and daughters. Each of the 
Cabinet and some others were introduced to them and to 
each of the Japanese. One of their number talked English, 
and others understood it. 

To-day Seward called on me with some of the Japanese, 
who want to purchase naval vessels. A serious rebellion 
prevails in Japan. They profess to seek advice and assist- 
ance. Say they wish to act in good faith in carrying out 
the treaty. 

Seward had informed them that we had various kinds 
of vessels. They wanted monitors, but had learned it 
was difficult handling and navigating them. I told them 
we could well spare some monitors, but it would be scarcely 
possible to get them to Japan. Any vessels which we could 
spare I would be glad to have them possess. 



92 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [mays 

Seward and myself called on the President on their be- 
half , and I have detailed Commodore Jenkins to go with 
the commission to Aimapolis, examine the school and ves- 
sels, and have an interview with the superintendent. 

May 7, Tuesday. Webb, builder of the Dunderberg, 
informs me he has made sale of that vessel to an agent 
of the French Government. And Quintard has also sold 
that Government the Onondaga. Secor and Swift apply 
to purchase five more monitors, doubtless for sale to foreign 
governments. Their proposition is to resimie or retake the 
vessels, refunding to the Government the amoimt we have 
paid. 

Seward and the Cabinet were taken aback when I in- 
formed them that the French were purchasing our naval 
vessels. Seward had stated that Berth6my, the French 
Minister, had called upon him to remonstrate, or inquire 
into the sale of war vessels to Prussia, and he had some- 
thing of a querulous story to tell. When he had got through 
and I told him what the French were doing, he stood in 
amazement. 

I submitted the proposition of Secor and Swift for the 
five vessels. He seemed disposed to sell, but Stanton, who 
objected, would sell none of these vessels. Others pro- 
posed to c6mmit the whole subject to my discretion. I 
informed them it was not a matter for me to decide, but 
for the President, with the advice of the Cabinet, to dis- 
pose of. I was, however, individually decidedly in favor 
of selling so far as I had a voice. 

May 11, Saturday. Thomas Ewing called on me at the 
solicitation of Mrs. Dahlgren, who insists on going out 
to her husband in the South Pacific. She wants a public 
vessel to convey her, her two infant twins, their nurses, 
etc., from Panama. A great pressure has been made upon 
me from the time Admiral Dahlgren received his orders, 
and Mr. Ewing has on one or two former occasions spoken 



tun OFFICERS' WIVES ON SHIPBOARD 93 

on the subject. It has been before the Cabinet. At this 
time the matter comes up in a new form. The yellow fever 
prevails at Panama, and Mr. Ewing says that Admiral 
D. represents it is on board the packet ships. I asked if 
that was not an intimation that he deemed it inexpedient 
and ill-advised for Mrs. D. to leave the country with her 
infants. It has been the policy not to send women out in 
naval vessels, and I think it unfortunate that the ladies 
go abroad to their husbands on foreign stations. In this 
instance I remarked it appeared extremely injudicious, 
for Dahlgren had but a year and a half to serve. If Mrs. 
D. should be with her family at Lima it would, imavoid- 
ably, influence the movements of the Admiral and the 
squadron. Mr. Ewing assented to the correctness of my 
views, but said Mrs. D. was resolved to go if she had to 
take the sickly steamers. 

Stanton y^terday made an exhibit of the requisitions 
for expenditures by the military governors, or satraps, in 
the territorialized States. They will draw largely on the 
Treasury. Sheridan especially ''goes in with a rush'' as 
they say. He is brave and patriotic, but not an adminis- 
trative officer whom I should select for civil duties. But 
the officers are less blamable for this military government, 
whether well or poorly administered, than the Congress 
which passed the laws creating it. 

May 13, Monday. Have talked with several naval 
officers on the subject of taking their wives on naval ves- 
sels, and found them generally opposed to it. There are, 
however, exceptions, and most of them admit there may 
be occasions abroad when it would be pleasant and ex- 
cusable, perhaps, to give them passage, but it nevertheless 
disarranges and invariably causes discontent. 

I have xmder the circumstances given a permit to Mrs. 
D. to go on a public vessel from Panama. 

May 14, Tuesday. Attorney-General Stanbery read a 



94 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [may u 

number of pages of his opinion on the subject of registra- 
tion and suffrage, under what is known as the military 
bill for governing the Rebel States. It is very elaborate 
and has been carefully prepared. He promises the re- 
mainder at the next Cabinet-meeting on Friday. He will 
give much more extended suffrage to the whites than was 
intended by the Radical concocters of the law. Stanton 
was somewhat annoyed by it, and I was satisfied from his 
remarks that his intimacy with that bill has been early 
and thorough. I have little doubt that he was consulted, 
if he did not advise, perhaps originate, the measure. 

May 15, Wednesday. Returning from the Department 
this P.M., I met Seward, who was going with his sons to 
call on me. I got into his carriage and rode with him, as 
he had a matter to conmiimicate. Some New-Yorker has 
informed him of an iminhabited island, called Snake 
Island,^ near St. Thomas, which has a capacious and ex- 
cellent harbor. His informant occupied the island prior 
to the War and was engaged in making sugar-hogsheads. 
The island, he says, is low and well timbered. I asked why, 
if it had such excellent harbor, it had remained unoccupied. 
Seward could not inform me, nor what nation claimed it, 
but he supposed the Spaniards. I apprehend there must 
be a want of water. Seward promises to send me the 
papers. 

I advised, if the facts were as stated, that his New York 
friend should resume possession and that we would defend 
him in his rights. If Spain should claim jurisdiction, we 
must adjust the matter with her. I told him I much pre- 
ferred this to buying St. Thomas. 

May 16, Thursday. Was at the President's on a little 
matter of business when the MetropoUtan police came 
for review. Randall and myself supported the President. 

^ The island of Culebra (Spanish for "snake") b between St. Thomas 
and Puerto Rioo and belongs to the latter. 



1M7] PRICE OF DANISH WEST INDIES 85 

Afterward Randall read to us his testimony before the 
Judiciary Committee. 

The President submitted to us the letters of Judge 
Holt and Stanton in regard to Booth's diary and a copy 
of the contents, and inquired what we thought of its 
publication. I asked what objections there could be. It 
was a great mystery and was construed to mean whatever 
any diseased imagination might conceive. Randall thought 
as I did. The President said Stanton was violently op- 
posed to its pubUcation. 

May 17, Friday. Seward had a long tale to tell in regard 
to his testimony before the Judiciary Committee. He 
makes himself, I perceivei the hero with Stanton of Mr. 
Lincoln's Administration. I shall be curious to see that 
testimony when published. Many things in regard to 
Reconstruction and organizing the provisional govern- 
ments of the Rebel States occurred while he was sick and 
unable to attend to his duties. 

May 21, Tuesday. Seward presents a telegraphic cor- 
respondence with Raasloff,^ now at Copenhagen, and a 
memorandum given to Senator Doolittle relative to the 
piu*chase of the Danish West India Islands. Denmark 
wants $15,000,000 for the whole or $10,000,000 for St. 
Thomas, with consent of the inhabitants to the transfer. 
Seward sent a dispatch to Yeaman, our Minister, to offer 
$5,000,000, ultimatum $10,000,000, Any expression of 
inhabitant must be before treaty. 

McCulloch and myself expressed surprise that more 
than $5,000,000 had been or should be offered. McCul- 
loch said he beUeved something had been said about 
going up to $7,500,000 for the whole. I stated that I pre- 
ferred not to purchase even at $5,000,000. At all events, 
would not go beyond that. During the War I had felt 

^ General Raasloff was Danish Minister to the United States. The nego- 
tiations for the purchase of the islands had been conducted through hi^iu ^ 



06 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [mat ft 

that a station in the West Indies was desirable, but we 
should experience no such want again. We are now as well 
accommodated as if we owned St. Thomas. In case of a 
war with either of the great powers, — British, French, 
or Spanish, — we could seize one of these islands. In the 
condition of owe Treasury I did not care to buy. Attorney- 
General Stanbery preferred to take Snake Island than to 
buy an inhabited island. 

Seward is anxious to make a purchase somewhere. Has 
loose, indefinite, and selfish notions. It is more the glory 
of Seward than the true interests of the country, I appre- 
hend. He craves constant notoriety, and the purchase of 
the Danish Islands for $15,000,000 or even $10,000,000 
would, I think, give him more than he expects, or perhaps 
would want. 

The Attorney-General presented another installment of 
his opinion on the Military Government Bill. Stanton 
criticized it closely, controverted some of the points, k 
friendly to the bill, and probably had much to do in its 
preparation if he did not originate the measure. He 
defended it with all the earnestness and tenacity of an 
author, and took ground such as would suit the strongest 
Radicals. 

As the act and supplemental act are palpably and clearly 
imconstitutional, I see nothing substantial or valuable in 
the opinion which the Attorney-General has been, and 
is, elaborating, unless in the fact that he is giving a more 
liberal or enlarged scope to suffrage than the Radicals 
intended. More whites will be allowed to exercise their 
rights than was designed by the Radicals. All blacks, of 
coiuw, are to vote, though they have no such right, nor 
has the Central Government authority to confer it. Hear- 
ing Stanton controvert positions, dissent from the opinion, 
tell what is the proper construction and meaning of an 
act which is no law, because unconstitutional, is highly 
absurd. Almost as absurd is the learned attempt of Stan- 
bery to expound their acts. 



18571 THE MTTjJTAfiY GOVERNMENT ACT 97 

I have asked what is the status of the people ux the 
proscribed StatecL Are they foreigners? If so^ not one of 
them can vote until naturalized. There noiust be a uni-; 
form system of naturalization. Are the^ citizens? They 
cannot be disfranchised nor^their States overthrown, nor 
jury triab abdished, nor can they be tried and condemned 
by military commissions. No one answered my questions* 
The Attorney-General says the unconstitutionality of the 
law is beyond question. That point he does not touch. 
But that is the great essentiali the foundation of all argu^ 
ment. If there is no foundation, how can he build? Heha^ 
an insoluble problem and undertakes to e^ve a result, f > 

Stanton never touches the question of constitutionality^ 
neither assenting nor dissenting, nor discussing it. 

May 72 J Wednesday. Tbfd Japanese ^ve concluded to 
buy the Stonewall. 

Webb wants me to let him have the Dunderberg on his 
depositing government securities, delaying jmyment foi; 
a year. He has produced an opinion from Lowry, indorse^ 
by Evarts, that this is the intent of the law. When I de^ 
clined considering the proposition, Webb became quitj^ 
vexed and excited. He is selfish, jealous, and grasping^ 
His object is to get the interest on a million and a quarter 
of dollars for a year. 

May 23, Tkwrsday. A special Cabinet-meeting. Seward 
submitted a modified proposition to Denmark for the 
purchase of her West India Islands, making $7,500,000 an 
ultimatum. McCuUoch, Stanbery, and myself thought it 
best to guard the Treasury at this time; that we wanted 
money more than West Indian people. Seward was very 
earnest. It was necessary to get these islands, or a foot* 
hold in the West Indies, as a preservative measure, — aif 
a means of security. It would insure peace. He had talked 
with the Senators. Grimes and Wade were earnest for it, 
and of course others were. 

« 

8 



98 DIARY OF GIDE(»f WELLES iiiAT28 

Stanton, Randall, and Browning went with him. I 
stated we had no need of a station in time of peace. We 
could take any of the islands from any power with which 
we might be at war. 

A further installment from Mr. Stanbery was read on 
the Reconstruction or Military Government Act. Seward 
and the members generally expressed themselves as satis- 
fied. Stanton dissented. 

I thou^t Stanbery had done as well as one could who 
iDvias compelled to try to make sense out of nonsense, law 
Out of illegality. The act is admitted by everybody to 
be imconstitutional; of course, that being the case, it has 
no validity. It is a fraud perpetrated by a majority 
of a fragmentary Congress. I, th^*eforey cared not to 
comment on the opinion, and attempted practical work- 
ings of the bill. Why strive to solve an insoluble pro- 
blem? 

'The Indian troubles were discussed at some length 
without coming to a conclusion. General Grant was sent 
for and was present. He and Stanton are in S3anpathy 
tnth the military men on the Plains, and there seems a de- 
termination to have an Indian war. Were there no troops 
tiiere, or only a few at the posts to sustain the agents, we 
should probably have no war, but the military claim to 
supersede the agents and are sustained by the War De- 
partment and General Grant. 

' Letters were read from 6olonels Wynkoop and Leaven- 
worth, stating the destruction of three hundred lodges 
with all their contents, — tools, utensils, buffalo robes, 
etc., — constituting not only all the wealth of some fifteen 
hundred Indians, but the necessary means of shelter and 
subsistence for themselves, their women and children. 
the only excuse for this destruction which brings misery 
to so many is that the woin^n and children fled from the 
lodges as the troops approaciied and- could not be per- 
suaded to return. Fear, it is admitted, influenced them 
in running away. ' 



18671 THE INDIAN TROUBLES 99 

May 2A^ Friday. Jere Black, Buchanan's Attorney- 
General, called relative to the claim of Bear-Admiral 
Goldsborough for four years' additional continuance on the 
active list. After a pretty full and frank discussion, I think 
he became satisfied there was little law and merit in Golds- 
borough's claim. 

We then had a long and interesting conversation on the 
condition of our public affairs. Our views in the main coin- 
cided. Some of my positions appeared to be new to him, 
or were presented in a way that seemed to impress him, 
I thought, with a stronger conviction. He said it would 
be well for the President to prepare a calm and considerate 
address to his countrymen, something in the character 
and strain of Washington's and Jackson's. I was not pre- 
pared to urge this or even adopt it. Had the President 
been more calm, made no speeches or harangues, it would 
be different. But his weak talk has weakened him, and his 
silence for the last five months leaves little doubt that he 
is aware of it. 

May 25, Saturday. The Japanese conclude to buy the 
Stonewall. There will be trouble in getting her to them. 
The Navy Department will have to take the labor, care, 
etc., of all this, and the State Department will take credit, 
should there be any. 

May 27, Monday. The opinion of the Attorney-Gen- 
eral on Reconstruction is published and seems to stir up 
the Radicals, who know not what to say of it. 



May 28, Tuesday. The Indian matters occupied over 
two hours. It is evident the military intend to control 
Indian affairs to the annihilation of the whole race. 
Hancock admits the destruction of the three hundred 
Indian lodges and all the utensils and household gods and 
goods. His excuse is that the women and children fled 



100 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [may 28 

when the chief said they should not; that they would not 
return, were afraid of the troops; all of which was in bad 
faith. 

I listened to the numerous dispatches of the Indian 
agents to the Interior Department in behalf of the Indians, 
and those of the military to the War Department, and the 
discussion on both sides, with painful interest. 

General Grant was present, and his sympathies and 
feelings were naturally with the military, but he was more 
reasonable than Stanton. 

Seward was querulous and pointless and meaningless in 
some sprawling remarks intended to conciliate Grant and 
Stanton. Nothing patriotic, or humane, or just escaped 
him. 

May 31, Friday. The President concludes to go to 
Raleigh, North Carolina, and will be accompanied by 
Seward. At one time it was understood he would be ac- 
companied by some of the members of his family and one 
or two of his personal staff, but that none of the Cabinet 
would go with him. To-day it is stated that Seward will 
be his companion and that none of his family will be of the 
party. It is unfortimate for the President that he permits 
himself to be absorbed by Seward, who is, not without 
some cause, so universally distrusted and disliked. He is 
delighted with traveling, feasting, notoriety, and both he 
and Stanton make the President a convenience and help 
to themselves in all matters where they can. 



XLIX 

Hie Preodent gpes to North Carolina, accompanied by Seward and Randall 

— Chief Justice Chase to hold Court in North Carolina — The Judiciary 
Committee decides against Impeachment but reports a Resolution of 
Censure against the President — A Visit to the Naval Academy with 
Admiral Farragut — Parting with Farragut — Farragut the Great 
Hero of the War — Sheridan's Removal of Governor Wells of Louisiana 

— Stanbery's Liberal Literpretation of the Military Government Act- 
Talk with Governor Pease of Texas — A Faction in Colombia pro- 
poses to tax Foreign Residents — Seward's Presidential Ambitions and 
Craze for the Acquisition of Territory — The Attorney-General's 
Opinion on the Reoonstruction Bills an Able Document — Mrs. Golds- 
borough presses the Admiral's Chums to Retention on the Active List — 
The President invites Secretary Welles to accompany him on a Journey 
to Boeton — Cabinet Discussion of the Attorney-General's Opinion on 
the Military Government Law — Commander Roe's Action in seizing 

i Santa Anna — The President starts for Boston — The Publication of 
Cabinet Proceedings — Sheridan's Insubordination — The President's 
Faltering Conduct — His Administration a Failure — General Sickles's 
Letter against the Secretary of the Navy — The President courteously 
received in New England — Grant's Probable Candidacy — Mont- 
gomery Blair's Opinion of Grant as a General — Admiral Farragut sails 
for Europe with two of the Secretary's Sons accompanying him — 
Conversation with the President on his Return from the Sou&. 

June 3, Monday. Admiral Farragut came on Friday and 
is stopping with me for a few days. I called with him on 
the President on Saturday and dined at Seward's that 
evening with him. 

The President got off on Saturday, Seward and Randall 
went with him, McCulloch expressed his regret that any 
of the Cabinet had gone, but, as Seward went, was rather 
glad Randall had gone also, I take a different view, but it 
confirms my impressions of Randall and his afi^ty with 
Seward. 

Chief Justice Chase told me Saturday evening that he 
intended going to North Carolina on Monday to hold 
court. Martial law being established by Congress and 
miUtary governments in full sway, he can now, after 



102 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [junbs 

evading and avoiding his duties for two years, hold court 
there. He is very aspiring and in some respects an un- 
suitable man for his position. 

The municipal election was held to-day in Washington. 
It was an abuse and a farce. The negroes, imder Radical 
training, have controlled the result, and negro votes will 
be sought and managed in the future of the South. All 
this strife, or usurpation, is in flagrant disregard of the 
principles on which our government and institutions are 
founded, as it is in disregard of and detrimental to in- 
telligent citizenship and enlightened freodom. Under the 
pretense of elevating the negro, the Radicals are degrading 
the whites and debasing the elective franchise, bringing 
elections into contempt. 

June 4, Tuesday. The Judiciary Committee have, by 
a vote of five to four, decided against impeachment, but 
by a strict party vote passed a resolution of censure against 
the President. A more shameless and disgraceful proceed- 
ing than this whole impeachment conspiracy has never 
been enacted. For many months a conmiittee, composed 
mostly of extreme partisans, has been in session with 
extraordinary powers to send for persons and papers, and 
with the public treasury and an army of public scavengers 
to assist them, to find, if possible, some act or transaction 
or expression which would justify or excuse an arraignment 
of the Chief Magistrate. His pubUc and his private acts 
have been scanned, his household affairs, his domestic 
life, his bank accounts, his social intercourse, as well as 
all his speeches, conversations, and doings as a man and 
President, have been scrutinized. Failing in their intrigue, 
scandal and defamation have been set to work to palliate 
these outrageous proceedings. Most of the members of the 
Cabinet and, I believe, all but myself, have been sum- 
moned before this conmiittee, as well as his private sec- 
retaries and members of his family. Why I was spared, 
I know not. I have an impression and intimations in fact 



18671 A VISIT .TO THE NAV^^ ACADEMY 103 

that Stanton ptopoeed and ordered I should not be called. 
Both he and Seward, in a conversation which took place 
as to disclosing proceedings in Cabinet, thought the matter 
might be got along with by answeijing pretty fully all 
questions that were put without any allusion to the £act 
whether it was or was not a Cabinet subject. I doubted 
whether it was right to disclose what had occurred in 
Cabinet to such a committeOi — perhaps to any one at 
present. 

I went with Admiral' Farragut, Commodore Jenkins^ 
my wife and two eldest sons, and a few other friends to 
Annapolis to visit the Academy. The board of visitors now 
in session will probably close their labors to-morrow. 
The visit was gratifying in all respects. Vice-Admiral 
Porter, with some weaknessi, is in many respects a proper 
man for the position. No one appreciates it more hi^Iy 
tiian himself. In some respects he is a hard officer for th^ 
Secretary; his demands and requisitions are great and 
such as Congress might decline to sanction. 

The improvements are very considerable, and the 
money si)ent to repair the waste and injury of the military 
and improve the place has been in the main judiciously 
expended. 

The midshipmen are a credit to the coimtry, and will 
do honor to it in the future, as they are a credit to it now. 
Foreign wars are likely to be in the future almost ex- 
clusively maritime, yet a large portion of the politicians 
and people seem not aware of it* There is, on the part of 
the more intense party men, a rigid parsimony and re- 
luctance to make grants to the Navy, while appropriating 
immense sums to the military branch of the service. 

I shall always r^ret that the naval school should not 
have been established at Newport News on the beautiful 
sheet of water at Hampton Roads. There would have 
been more ample accommodations and space, deeper water, 
— an abundance of it, — with every facility for such an 
institution. But Grimi^ and otheps, with a narrowness 



i04 DIARV <»? QlDfiON WELLES [JUNistt 

of feeling that surprised me, while admitting these ad- 
viantagesi would not oonsent to transfer the school so far 
South as Virginia. Port^ first favored the measiue, but 
ms silenced l^ the Maryland authorities, deserted moi 
and helped to influence Grimes. 

JwM 7, Friday. Admiral Fartagut went home to-day. 
He has been my guest for a week. Gave him yesterday 
his orders to the European Squadron, and he expects to 
sail within a fortnight. In biddbig him good-bye I was 
more affected than he was aware, and I perceived that 
he was to some extent similarly affected. We have both 
[reached that period of life when a paarting of two yearo 
'may be a parting forever on earth. Girciunstances have 
brought us together, and we are under mutual obligations, 
{selected him for important duties, and he proved him- 
jself worthy of the trust and confidence. In addition to 
^his great service to the country, unsurpassed, he has given 
just fame to niy administration of the Navy, and I honor 
'htm for his tmassiiming modesty as well as for possessing 
^e heroic qualities which I expected. I trust we may 
live to meet again on earth and enjoy memories of the 
past. If not, God's will be done. I esteem the choice of 
Farragut to command the Gulf Squadron the most judi- 
cious and best selection which could have been made in 
the entire service. I consider him the great hero of the 
: War, and am happy in the thought that I was the means 
of carrying him to the head of his profession, where he 
had an opportunity to develop his power and ability. 

June 8, Boiurday. The President and party retmned 
. to-day from North Carolina. All appears to have passed 

off well. 

;^ There is much talk and feding in regard to Sheridan's 
^ movements, wBich are arbitrary, tyrannical, and despotic. 
' Hife removal of Wells, the poor Gov^nor of Louisiana, is 
' justified by most of the ttlEtdicalSi althou^ it is an outrage 



1887) TALK WITH GOVERNOB PEASE 106 

cm our laws and institutioiis. The trimming course of 
Wells and his want of honest character palliates Sheri* 
dan's conduct, which, however, is wholly indefensible. 

June 11, Tuesday. Attomey-<3eneral Stanbery tead 
80 much of his opinion on the powers and duties of the 
military governors as he has written. It follows out his 
former opinion and softens the hard features of the bill 
in some respects in its execution. He claims that the 
military governor and force are there to support ordar 
and the provisional governments, not to destroy them^ 
etc. 

Stanton dissented; claimed the governors were omni- 
potent, that martial law existed by authority of CongreaSi 
which made the generals supreme 

There is no doubt this was the intent of Congress, and 
I have so construed the act, taking the same view as the 
President in his vetoes. It is, however, a solecism for 
the Congress or the legislature to enact martial law, but 
tiie whole law is an absurdity, unconstitutional, abomin- 
able. If the Attorney-General can modify it and so eon- 
strue it as to make it less odious, very well. 

June 12, Wednesday. Governor Pease of Texas called 
CTi me. We had a very eamedt talk on the condition of Uie 
country. He attempted to justify or excuse the Recon- 
struction bills, but, finding he could not, threw himself 
back upon the whole subject. He preferred despotism, if 
it would give security to persons and proi)erty, rather than 
a continuance of the condition of things which had ex- 
isted in Texas for the last six- years. The Union people 
have imdoubtedly suffered greatly. I asked if he could not 
peaceably enjoy his property in Texas if he remained paes- 
ive. He admitted he could, but said that was despotism^ 
He could not freely express his opinions and have open 
-discussion. I asked him if he could have that imder % 
deqwtism. The condition oftbeUniobists is undoubtedly 



106 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [junew 

unpleasant in Texas, but time and forbearance will bring 
relief. 

June 14, Friday. An extended Cabinet session. Seward 
read a long dispatch which he had prepared to the Ameri- 
can Minister to Colombia in relation to a tax which one 
of the parties there propose to levy for belligerent pur- 
poses on foreign residents, as well as their own citizens. 
In his dispatch Seward says the citizens (American) must 
protest and that the naval authorities will see that our 
oountrymen are not ccmipelled to submit to exactions by 
either faction. 

The Attorney-General asked what he meant by dither 
faction, and which and what is the legitimate government. 
Seward said he recognized no legitimate government; that 
the President had usiirjped ix)wer and dissolved CongresSi 
and that the opposing faction was going to war with 
him. 

I inquired how naval officers could interfere. They could 
not go on shore and imdertake to resist forcibly the civil 
authorities. Seward said things would never reach tiiat 
point. We had only to let them know what we would do 
and that would end the difficulty. I expressed my dis- 
sent to such proceedings, to mere threats, and gasconading 
blasts to a weak government and people. The Attorney* 
General was very emphatic on two or three points. Stanton 
excepted to certain positions taken in regard to civil 
war. 

' No one seemed to second Seward, and he took back his 
dispatch to modify it. There was mischief under it. 
^ward has really the Presidential fever and flatters him- 
self that he can swim on the current of acquisition of terri- 
tory. The accession of Russian America, which is really 
not his work, although he has been the instrument, or 
agent, on our part in that transaction, has made him de- 
finous. He is now crazy on the subject of obtaining terrir- 
tinryi and his aim is to be a candidate on that specialty^ 



lOTi SEWARD'S, CRAZE FOR TERRITORY 107 

— the enlarging of our territory. The Isthmus of Panamai 
he thmks^ may be obtained. The revolutionists have pos* 
seesion of the government in that State. He therefore 
proposes we shall resist them and at the same time rer 
fuse to recognize Mosquera, the President, whom he calls 
a usurper. In this state of things he himself disclosed his 
purpose inadvertently by saying there was a strong party 
there desirous of annexation to the United States, which, 
of course, will be likely to increase in numbers, if we make 
forcible and successful resistance against excessive taxes. 
If we relieve those who are under our flag, all will wish 
to come under it. There is no mistaking the design of 
Seward, who is not scrupulous where he has power and is 
without convictions or principle in such matters. 

The Attorney-General read the remainder of his opinion 
on the Reconstruction bills. It is a docmnent of ability 
and will cause the Radicals to resist. Not xmlikely it may 
insure the assemblage of Congress, and an attempt to im- 
peach the President if he carries into effect the policy 
marked out, — and I have little doubt he will. That is, he 
will disapprove the removal of the governors and judges, 
the prohibition against the assembling of legislators, the 
substitution of codes of law prepared by the military 
oommanders, and ordered to go into effect as substitutes 
for the enactments and laws of the States, some of them 
in execution for more than two centuries. His efforts to 
preserve law and popular government will cause him 
to be denounced, and his impeachment will be demanded. 
The conspirators are watching their opportunity. 

^ June 15, Saturday. Mrs. Admiral Goldsborough called 
on me to-day in great excitement and under much feel- 
ing, in regard to the retirement of her husband, which goes 
into effect next Tuesday, on which day he will have heesa 
fifty-five years in the service. It was a most unpleasant 
interview. She accuses me of cruelty and injustice, threat- 
ens that her husband will go to Congress, accuses js^ qi 



106 DIART OF GIDEON WELLES [junbis 

prejudice agailist him for eome cause she knows not what, 
says I have some favorite whom I wish to promote, etc 
TJntil within a few months she admits I have been friendly 
tmd kind, but since this question has come up, I have been 
obstinate and unreasonable. She said she had been to the 
President and he told her I had never submitted the case 
to him, which she thought very cruel; that I had once or 
twice talked over the case with him, but had not submitted 
it for his decision. It was in vain that I tried to explain 
to her that there was nothing for the President to decide; 
that the law controlled in this matter; that these cases 
were never submitted to the President; that when an 
officer attained the age of sixty-two he went on to the retired 
list, imless he received the vote of thanks, in which case 
he was not retired until he had been fifty-five years in 
service; that Admiral G, would have been fifty-five years 
in service next Tuesday. She denied it, and under her 
strong appeals I told her I would present the case to the 
President, and I did so this p.m. In an interview of more 
than one hour I went over the case with him. He had 
evidently been seen. 

Mrs. Goldsborough told me that Judge Beach, her at- 
torney, had seen the President on the subject. Reverdy 
Johnson, she said, had failed her; some officers had in- 
fluenced him, but she did not tell me who. 

While we had the subject under discussion, Seward 
came in. He said Mrs. Goldsborough had been to him. 
He declined to act. She said it would come up in Cabinet, 
and he told her if so he would give it consideration. 

The President asked what he had to do with the matter 
anyhow. I replied he was expected to reverse my conclu- 
sions if wrong, or if he supposed them wrong ; that I had 
brought the subject to his notice by special request of Mrs. 
G. and because the Admiral himself was absent; that the 
law was to my mind clear and expticit, but that for myself, 
'While I had no doubts on the subject, I should not feel 
aggrieved if overrode and my action set aside, farther than 



i«7i STANBBBY ON RECONSTRUCTION 109 

as it might affect the service. Persoiially I have none bat 
friendly feelings towards Admiral G.^ but I do not think he 
is entitled to fifty-nine years, as he claims. 

The Presidenti as I was about leaving this long inters 
view, spoke of his proposed journey to Boston; ^ asked 
how long since I had been to Connecticut, and intimated 
very strongly a wish that. I would accompany him. I 
told him I should, of coiurse, obey any order. He said he 
could give no order in these cases; he was invited and it 
would be pleasant to have me along as companion. Seward 
and Randall had volunteered to go to North Carolina 
with him. I told him I regretted it and would have 
preferred he should have gone only with his family and 
personal staff. I thought it would be much better if none 
of his Cabinet went with him to Boston. The Masons had 
invited him, but none of the Cabinet, and I thought we 
should be considered intruders. Besides, I beUeved the 
impression woidd be better if he went without any of USt 
I know the Boston Masons don't want Seward. 

June 20, Thursday. The week has been one of incess* 
ant, imremitting labor. Cabinet-meetings of protracted 
length have been held daily, requiring constant and earnest 
attention in addition to current business. The chief sub- 
ject of deliberation in Cabinet has been the Attorney- 
General's opinions on Reconstruction. The President, 
unfortunately I think, yielded to Mr. Stanbery, who 
naturally believes his professional children remarkable and 
worthy of universal nursing, and assented to a proposition 
to have a record of Cabinet proceedings kept and the vote 
of each member on each point recorded. 

No one could object to this course, if the President re- 
quired it, although I said to one or two that I preferred 
tiie old course, — let the President require in writing the 
opinion of each member. Then if either wishes to state 

^ President Johnson attended the la3ring of the corner-stone of a new 
Masonic Temple in Boston, June 24, 1867. ^ 



110 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES (JUNsao 

4 

his reason for the opmion he entertains and expresses, he 
has the opportunity. 

But Stanbery had another course. I think the plan was 
concocted by both. The President is nervous and ap- 
prehensive. He has, not without cause, an aversion to the 
reassembling of Congress during the regular vacation, 
for he knows the object is war upon himself. Striving to 
do right, intending to do no wrong, he is assailed and de- 
nounced for laboring to carry into effect the strange, 
wicked, abominable, imconstitutionai Reconstruction acts, 
as they are called. 

In a few conversational remarks on the introduction of 
the subject on Monday, I repeated what I have before 
said on one or two occasions, — that the Reconstruction 
acts were so abominable, so flagrantly unconstitutional, 
that I did not feel inclined to have anything to do with 
them; but the President had a duty to perform and it was 
a duty on our part to advise and act when he required us. 
The Attorney-General had labored to raise an edifice which 
has no foundation, had worked out a system which seemed 
consistent with iteelf and the laws, and I was willing to 
acquiesce in his opinion in the detail or the aggregate. 
He had done more for popular rights, under a law which 
despotically deprived the people of their undoubted guar- 
anteed rights, than I had supposed possible, and, while 
I was opposed to the Reconstruction laws, I assented to 
his expositions if the law was to go into effect. 

McCuUoch said something similar. Seward said he did 
not know about giving the entire credit of the exposition 
to Stanbery. 

Dxuing the discussion and criticisms and agreements 
which occupied us for four days, it was obvious to my mind 
that Stanton was an original adviser if not the originator 
of these laws. He may not have drafted them, but he, and 
probably Holt in consultation with him, devised the plan 
of military, despotic government to rule the South. It 
was equally obvious that the President was most solicit- 



1M7J DISCUSSION OF STANBERY^S VIEWS 111 

0U8 to conciliate and bring Stanton into harmonious 
action with himself and the rest of the Cabinet. But for 
past observation and experience, I should have concluded 
that we had reached a crisis and that we should now be 
imited, or we should part. Such may have been the Pre- 
sident's thought and intention, as it has been before, but 
it will end in nothing. 

Stanbery was chief fugleman. Submitted his summary, 
pioneered, advocated, controverted, and managed his 
ease. Stanton was antagonistic. Seward was pliable^ 
plausible, often querulous, sometimes sensible, seldom 
earnest. Randall followed Seward, of course, especially 
when he was in harmony with the President. Ilie views of 
McCulloch and myself have been stated. We were, under 
the circmnstances, for acquiescing in the opinion and pro* 
positions which Stanbery had elaborated, though they were 
not our views. Stanton took direct issue ^dth Stanbery. 
Their differences were fundamental. On the second day 
Stanton brought in a paper defining his position. Reclaimed 
that the laws established military governments and in- 
vested the commanders with absolute power. That they 
could displace and appoint officers in the civil or pro- 
visional State Governments, etc. I shall not particularize 
the differences in detail. Stanton did not attempt to 
justify the laws or to claim they were constitutional, but 
was for rigidly enforcing them, and for maintaining the 
despotic authority of the military governors ; denied that 
the President could control them, and claimed that Rebels 
w^^ disfranchised without conviction and without a law 
condemning them to disfranchisement for treason. 

I listened to these differences over laws that were in 
direct conflict with the Constitution and without war- 
rant from it. At the close I stated to the President and 
Cabinet that I had listened attentively to the discussion, 
but I wished to be distinctly understood as in no way. 
giving my sanction to the bill; that I considered him aa 
placed in an extraordinary and embarrassing position; 



112 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [nnm^t 

that he had sworn to support the Constitution and also 
to see the laws faithfully ^cecuted; that the two wef6 
incompatible; that in appointing military governors the 
President has done all, perhaps, that could be expected 
of him. But the governors disagreed, were not united 
in opinion, were embarrassed how to proceed, and had 
applied to him for instruction. He had very properly 
referred the subject to the law officer of the Government, 
who had given a very elaborate and able opinion, which I 
was willing they should accept and carry out. But I was 
quite as willing the President should go no farther thansen4 
it out as the opinion of the law officer of the Government^ 
his construction of the act, and leave the generals to carry 
On their respective governments, for I concurred with the 
Secretary of War in the opinion that the majority of the 
fragmentary Congress which enacted these laws intended 
to strike down popular or civil governments and estab^ 
lish military supremacy, had undertaken to enact martial 
law, — an absurdity and a solecism. During the War, 
extraordinary power had been necessarily exercised, and 
what was a sad necessity then had begotten this moo^ 
strosity now. 

The time has come when this defective, arbitrary, un^- 
constitutional, impracticable law is to be put in operation* 
The President may attempt it, but he cannot succeedi 
The Attorney-General has presented his ideas, and th^ 
are condemned. A reassembling in July of the Congress 
which enacted these usurping laws, is demanded. We ara 
threatened with this, if the will of these military govern^ 
ors, — viceroys, — who cannot interpret the act alike, 
is interfered with. I have little doubt that Congress will 
come together, and am willing they should. Let them pass 
a declaratory or explanatory law of their own act. There 
can be no unity among themselves unless opposed. They 
disregard or set aside all constitutional limitations itf 
landmarks, all constricted restraints, and have substituted 
their own will as onmipotent and above and beyond ibq 



18C71 DISCUSSION OF STANBERY'S VIEWS 113 

GonstitutioiL Let them carry out their weak and wicked 
enactments. It is as legitimate for them to execute as to 
enact such laws. 

The President was, I perceived, impressed with my 
remarks. Seward looked at me, amazed and thoughtful. 
Stanton for the first time seemed troubled. 

Stanbery said that matters were pretty much as I 
stated, but the President must act, — must see the laws 
executed, — there is no evading that. I replied I did not 
propose evasion, but the President could send his, the 
Attorney-General's, exposition for these generals; that 
the Cabinet had assented that the views taken by him 
should go out as the view which the law officer of the 
Government took. 

McCulloch asked if we had not gone too far to stop now. 
I answeiBd no; that my opinions and convictions had 
undergone no change in consequence of any action taken 
or argument presented. I considered the law unconsti- 
tutional, and therefore action under it nugatory. ^ It is 
defective and impracticable, aside from its unconstitu- 
tionality. The Attorney-General, to whom the President 
properly referred the subject, has worked out a theory 
which I assent to, so far at least as to advise the President 
to send it to the military governors, in response to their 
inquiries, as the opinion of the law officer of the Govern- 
ment, and that there may be imiformity in their proceed- 
ings. Not that I cared to give the monster shape; no harm 
would follow conffictirg action on the part of the govern- 
ors under the bills, or difference of interpretation. The 
fact that there are differences — that no two of them can 
agree as to the meaning and proper construction of these 
acts — was a commentaiy on such legislation. Now let 
Congress convene and tell what they really do mean. 
I have no doubt they intended to give the governors ar- 
bitrary and absolute power, to give siiffrage to the negro, 
to exclude and proscribe most of the white population, to 
authorize refusal of jury trials for alleged offense, all of 

8 



114 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [junib20 

which are unconstitutional, revolutionary, and can have 
no sanction or approval from me. This being my position 
on the laws, I was willing the opinion and theory of the 
Attorney-General should go out as his exposition, but I 
did not wish the President to give his sanction to the law, 
or be committed to it. 

Randall said he did not see why that might not be done; 
that it might be said, whereas the generals were embar- 
rassed in executing these laws, and had asked for instruc- 
tions, the President had referred the subject to the At- 
torney-General and taken advice of the Cabinet, and had 
come to the following conclusion. 

Stanton and Stanbery each wrote a preamble. I objected 
to the word "conclusion'^ in Stanton's, which, after 
emendation, I thought preferable to Stanbery's, which 
was an executive order adopting his opinion and theory. 

Seward, who seemed shocked when I said Congress 
would in my opinion assemble on the 3d of July, appeared 
relieved after Stanton's preamble was read. It was Ran- 
dall's, he declared. It was able, just the thing. This matter 
would go over, and all come right, he had no doubt of it. 

June 21, Friday. The President left this morning for 
Boston. Seward accompanied him, and Randall, who 
left last evening, is to join him in New York. The papers 
this morning contain a statement of proceedings, or rather 
votes, in the Cabinet on the several points embraced in 
the smnmary of the Attorney-General. I did not under- 
stand that publicity was to be given to our doings in de- 
tail, though I care nothing about it, personally. A record 
of Cabinet doings is, itself, a novelty. I cannot say that 
I am pleased with the innovation. I should have pre- 
ferred that the President call upon the members to give 
each his opinion in writing, and then that he should decide 
for himself. In that way the position and reasons of each 
member would be stated by himself. This published 
record states correctly my votes, and the votes of othefs 



im COMMANDER ROE AND SANTA ANNA 116 

also, on Stanbery^s exposition and theory. It may be 
the true and accepted interpretation of the law; never- 
theless the loen who passed it, intended differently. They 
designed to break down the State Governments, to divest 
the President of all power except that of designating the 
military commanders and passing upon the death penalty, 
of which the legislative majority could not deprive him. 

I should have been willing to leave this bad law to its 
own working, without devising a plan or system to carry 
it into efifect. This was my suggestion, and the President, 
perhaps, intends to leave the subject in the form pre- 
sented in these publications. 

It has, however, as the case now stands, an unfortimate 
aspect for the President, — indicating timidity, a desire 
to have others share the responsibilities which belong to 
him. All this impairs his strength before the coimtry. 
The President should make himself felt and understood 
as a power, should stand out prominent above others. 
But Seward and Stanton have dwarfed him, I fear, — 
made V^ith hesitate and doubt when his own nature is to 
be firm. 

I wrote hastily, and when tired and exhausted, a sketch 
of Cabinet proceedings on the matter of the Attorney- 
General's opinion. 

I took to the Cabinet and read a strange dispatch 
from Commander Roe of the Tacony, who, under the ad- 
vice of the American and British Consuls, took upon him- 
self to seize Santa Anna,^ place him on the ship in which 
he came to Vera Cruz, escort him twenty miles to sea, 
and forbid his return. It was an extraordinary proceed- 
ing, and I made it a point to read the whole dispatch in 
Cabinet. Seward said, ''That was all right," and asked 
me to send him the dispatch, or a copy, for he wanted to 
keep the record. No one else seemed to trouble himself 
about the matter, except the President, who remarked 

^ The wen-known Mencan general and president, at this time a revolo- 
tionary agunst the itaieh. 



116 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [June 21 

that the Mississippi and the levees were giving us much 
trouble by the overflow, and he thought it might be a 
blessing if the waters could go on and drench Mexico and 
wash out her faithlessness. I regret that Roe should have 
permitted himself to be a tool of the consuls, though I 
doubt not his intentions were right, but I apprehended 
that some exceptions would have been taken to Roe's 
conduct, and that I might have to recall and take action 
in the case. As it is, I think the Admiral must give his 
attention to Mexican affairs. 

June 22, Saturday. The President and party got through 
very well to New York, and all passed off pleasurably 
by accounts on board the Franklin, Admiral Farragut's 
flagship, which he visited. He passed directly through 
or past Philadelphia without stopping, the city author- 
ities having failed to extend to him an invitation. It is 
a specimen of the old Whig spite of former days. The 
Radicals are the baser materials of that bygone party. 
Their Reconstruction acts, their disregard of constitu- 
tional obligations and limitations, and the general demor- 
alization and corruption crop out, — are parts and parcels 
of the old bank-debauchers of 1834, and the Hard-Cider 
politicians of 1840. 

I cannot but regret that President Johnson is so much 
under the influence of Seward, who is a man of expedients 
and not of sterling, fixed principle. His publication of 
Cabinet proceedings amuses me the more I reflect upon 
it. McCulloch tells me that he was as much siuprised as 
myself when he saw that record in print; that he had no 
conception the President intended to publish it. 

On Thursday evening, as I was riding out, I met Seward 
near Columbian College. He called to me, I being on 
horseback, and said that he thought the President had 
better get out his paper to-morrow (Friday) morning. 
It had been understood and agreed that he would issue an 
order to the military governors, in answer to their call 



18671 SHERIDAN'S INSUBORDINATION 117 

for infonnation, communicating the smimiary of exposi- 
tions of the Attorney-General. This I had thought would 
relieve him of embarrassment in consequence of his ve- 
toes, in which be had taken different views. Moreover, as 
he had pronounced the acts unconstitutional, and was 
sworn tc support and defend the Constitution, he could 
send out the opinion of the Attorney-General, the law' 
officer, as a guide for the generals and as conducive on 
their part to uniformity of action. 

But this publication of Cabinet proceedings is a differ- 
ent phase and, I think, an unfortunate one. I am appre- 
hensive that Seward, in his interview on Thursday evening, 
achieved it, although he made no intimation to me of such 
a purpose, farther than to speak of that ''paper" instead 
of that "order." Stanbery, who is a good lawyer, lacks 
certain qualities as a poUtician. He sometimes wants tact, 
and is too sensitive for a public man. It would be in char- 
acter with him to advise the publication. His opinion 
has been violently assailed, and it soothes him to find that 
the Cabinet, with one exception, sustains, or more properly 
submits to and acquiesces in, his exposition. He was ad- 
vising to, if not the originator of the proposition of making 
a record of the views of each of the heads of the Depart- 
ments. The results he feels to be a relief, and persuades 
himself, perhaps, that the publication will relieve him 
before the public. 

June 24, Monday. An impudent and disrespectful, if not 
disobedient, letter of Sheridan's is published on the sub- 
ject of registration, in which he puts himself in opposition 
to the President and his order to keep open registration 
till August. I am apprehensive that the President will not 
promptly detach him. How Stanton and Grant will act 
and advise, I shall be glad to know. 

They cannot, it appears to me, do otherwise than re- 
commend his removal. Grant thinks much of Sheridan 
as a brave, dashing officer, but he is unfit for the deUcate 



118 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [JUNBa* 

duties of civil governor, nor is his judgment in civil 
matters worthy of much weight. He, Grant, may, in his 
partiality, think reproof and a peremptory order sufficient. 
Stanton knows that, were he in the President's position, 
a telegram for Sheridan's removal could not g^t to New 
Orleans quick enough, but what he will do and advise 
\mder the circmnstances is a question. 

For twenty months the President has submitted to 
humiliation from the War Department, has been tame, 
passive, and submissive under palpable wrong, has seen 
the military oflficers and the Army gradually alienated from 
him by intriguing and cunning manipulation. So far as 
delicacy and propriety would permit, he has been warned 
and advised, has many times determined that he would 
act resolutely, but at the crisis has from some malign influ- 
ence faltered and failed until his Administration itself is a 
failure. The President is no longer regarded as a power, 
the head of the Government, because he fails to exercise 
his imdoubted authority in vindication of what he knows 
to be right, but defers, delays, and suffers. 

The Army and officers generally were with him in his 
Reconstruction policy at the commencement, as they were 
with Mr. Lincoln, who initiated it. Stanton was not, and 
Howard was not, — though the latter was not contuma- 
cious, — and Holt was not. Stanton and Holt were in 
Buchanan^s Cabinet; had been mixed up with the Seces- 
sionists for a time, and the hostility between them and 
the Rebels became implacable. Hate was mutual. 

Neither Stanton nor Holt desired immediate reconcilia- 
tion or an early restoration of the Union, for that would 
necessitate their retirement. Their policy, therefore, 
never was and could not be the policy of the President, 
for he desired speedy peace, harmony, and good will be- 
tween States and sections. All their efforts, all their influ- 
ence, has been in another direction. Yet the Secretary of 
War, exercising this influence, using and abusing his power 
and patronage, aided by Seward, has been able to hold his 



1867] THE PRESIDENT'S BOSTON TRIP 119 

place and so far to control, not only his Departmenti but 
in a great d^pree the Administration. 

Seward, who has not been, like Stanton and Holt, op- 
posed to an inunediate restoration of the Union, has never- 
theless been the constant supporter and friend of Stanton, 
has constantly impressed upon the President the necessity 
of retaining that gentleman in his Cabinet as essential to 
his Administration. The two — Seward and Stanton — 
have steadily played into each other's hands, Stanton all 
the time strengthening and fortifying himself and all the 
time weakening the President and bringing the Adminis- 
tration and its measures into disfavor. 

June 25, Tuesday. The papers publish a letter from 
General Sickles to Senator Wilson, in which he says the 
Secretary of the Navy will do nothing in favor of the Re- 
construction laws. Congress appropriated $500,000 to 
carry into effect Reconstruction; $5,000,000 will be re- 
quired. Only a small appropriation was made to begin 
with, in order to delude and cheat the people into acqui- 
escence, but millions will be expended. To make up the 
deficiency, money and means are to be stolen from other 
sources, other appropriations, and other Departments. 
Sickles sent to me for two steamboats to be placed at his 
service. I had neither boats, oflBcers, crews, nor money 
for him. Congress had placed no appropriation at my 
disposal for such piupose. 

June 26, Wednesday. The President has been coiui»- 
ously and properly received by the people of New England, 
— a striking contrast with some portions of the North- 
west. None of the governors have run away, — absented 
themselves like Morton, Oglesby,^ and others. Sumner and 
Wilson do not appear to have been present, or mingling 
with the authorities. The President has spoken less than 
when he went West. It would be better were he and all 

^ Governon of Indiana and niinols respectively. 



i.— 



120 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [junem 



Presidents to Avoid addressing miscellaneous public 
semblages. And so of the Secretaries. Seward in 
speeches indicates an intention of being a candidate for 
President and to run on the territorial acquisition claim. 
The purchase of Russian America has demented him in 
this direction, and he really flatters himself , though doubfc- 
ingly, that the people will rally around him. He has, how- 
ever, no party, no popular strength, and his retention in 
the Cabinet has greatly injiu^ the President. It is un- 
fortunate that the President does not realize this and that 
the constant companionship of Seward is a mistake for 
both. 

A telegraph from Calcutta informs us of the wreck of 
the Sacramento in the Bay of Bengal, Collins commanding. 
This is a misfortune, but no loss of lives, thank Heaven. 
Collins is an honest, straightforward, patriotic man. He 
has not, I think, particular love or aptitude for the service. 

June 27, Thursday. Montgomery Blair has become 
quite indifferent in regard to the fate of President John- 
son. Says he is completely under the dominion of Seward 
and Stanton, who have demoralized him; that the Pre- 
sident has listened to them until he has become nervous 
and apprehensive, without resolute courage to carry out 
or maintain his conviction, and that he is in constant 
dread of impeachment. 

Blair is shrewd and observing, though of strong pre- 
judices. He thinks it absolutely necessary to revive the 
Democratic Party and its organization in order to rescue 
the government from centralizing hands. This has been 
the policy of himself and some others for some time past. 
The policy has its disadvantages as well as advantages. 
One cause of the failure of the Union movement a year 
since was the attempt to bring forward as leaders and 
candidates those Democrats who had made themselves 
obnoxious for their extreme partisanship, and especially 
their opposition to the measures of the Government for 



1887J GRANTS PROBABLE CANDIDACY 121 



the preBervation of the Union. The people were not dis- 
posed to invest Gopperiieads, Rebel 8ympathi2sers, and 
Rebels with power whUe the soU was yet wet with the blood 
of patriots, and Blair and others injure themselves at 
this time in pressing forward prematurely that class of 
peiBons. In the conversation to-day we spoke of Grant 
in connection with the Presidency, and from present in-* 
dications I expressed the opinion that he was disposed 
to be a candidate, and if so, he would probably be elected. 
Blair said he could not be if he was the Radical candidate. 
I said Grant would endeavor to be the Army and Union 
candidate; without much political intelligence or principle, 
he had party cimning and would strive to be a candidate 
but not strictly a party candidate; that the Radicals did 
not want him, but they could not help themselves, nor 
p^aps could Grant. They felt that they must nominate 
him in order that they might succeed; he felt that he could 
not reject their candidacy, if they took him up, but really 
pr^ers the Democrats to the Republicans. 

Blair has been and still is friendly to Grant, but peiv 
ceives that G. is becoming aUenated from old friends and 
getting in with new ones, and it arouses his opposition. 
I asked whom he would have for a candidate in opposi-* 
tion to Grant. He said he cared not who it was. Nor I, 
was my reply, but whom can you present? He said Mo- 
Clellan. That, said I, insures defeat. The people will not, 
and I think ought not to, rally imder him. 

We then had some talk on the War and the gdherals. 
Grant, he said, was after all the only real general we had. 
Not that he had the genius and mental resources of Sher- 
man, but he had dogged courage, unwavering persistency. 
No other general had these qualities. His remarkable 
conduct in the campaign, and the slaughter between the 
Wilderness and Richmond, Blair admitted were horrible. 
Still, Grant never flagged or doubted. Having got in the 
nei^borhood of Richmond, he smoked his cigars and 
waited, until Sherman reached the seaboard and was 



i22 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [jtjnb27 

ooming up through the Carolinas, when the Te Deum of 
the nation, which was singing hosannas to Shennan, 
roused Grant to the necessity of doing something lest 
there should be another and greater hero who would 
eclipse him. This led to Grant's final blows, for, Wilmington 
having been captured, Grant could have remained quiet 
and Sherman would have marched steadily up in the rear 
of Richmond. In that event, it would have been Sherman's 
name, not Grant's, and this, though Sherman's friend, he 
would not permit. 

Blair says he once inquired of Grant why he moved at 
all when there was no necessity, and the final close was 
inevitable. Grant was a little puzzled to answer for a 
moment, but replied that he did it, not from military 
necessity or any strategic purpose, but to suppress sec- 
tional animosity. All the hard fighting and successes had 
been by Western men; the Army of the Potomac was dis- 
tinguished for no great success; they had remained calm 
before Richmond, having all m then- grip, it wss true, but 
if the Western army, after marching to the sea, came up 
and captured Richmond while the Eastern army was in 
camp, there would have been jealousy and sectional feel- 
ing growing out of it. It was the selfish jealousy of Grant 
himself, whose feelings towards Sherman exceeded those 
of the sections in the West. 

June 28, Friday. A committee to inquire into the ord- 
nance transactions of the War and Navy Departments, 
composed of as unprincipled a set of scoundrels, with 
scarcely an exception, as is in Congress, is in session. I have 
told Wise, Chief of Ordnance in Naval Bureau, to give 
them every facility for inquiry; if he, or any one had done 
wrong, I desired it should be exposed. This startles Wise, 
who is nervously excitable, and not over-profoxmd and 
firm, and who, I have sometimes thought, was a Uttle too 
intimate with some of the larger contractors, — not that 
I have ever believed him corrupt or pecuniarily interested. 



1867J FARRAGUT SAILS FOR EUROPE 123 

How he will succeed before the committee^ who will try 
to confuse and bewilder him, is uncertain. He is pretty 
sagacious, but mentally timid, though not, I apprehend, 
wanting in physical courage. Of the transactions of the 
Ordnance Biueau I have known less than of any others. 
Their contracts are excepted from advertisements, their 
busmess a specialty. Ptesident Lincoln busied himself 
in that branch and Wiard and Ames, two disappointed 
contractors whom he favored, are pets of the committee. 

Jum 29, Soiurduay. Admiral Farragut sailed yesterday 
from New York in the Franklin for Europe, to take com- 
mand of the European Squadron. My two yoimgest sons 
have gone with him. I Imow no better man to whom to 
intrust them. One is his private secretary; the other is 
derk to Pennock, who is Captain of the Franklin. 

The President and party are expected home to-day. 
miey have had, apparently, a pleasant tour. Too much 
speaking, but less than in the Chicago jaunt last year. 

JuTie 30, Sunday. Called this morning on the President 
and congratulated him on his safe return and m apparently 
improved health. He was very cordial, disposed to talk. 
Was not fully posted on occurrences and events of the 
last ten days. Talked of Sheridan, of Congress, of Stan- 
bery's opinions, etc. In regard to Stanton, he expressed 
himself convinced that he had played a part for himself, 
had an understanding with the violent Radicals, had em- 
barrassed the Administration and thwarted its policy; 
and he was surprised that Stanton should persist in hold- 
ing on to his place, and mixing with us. I remarked it 
was now of little consequence. He had so managed with 
the Radicals as to cripple the Administration until it 
was powerless, and he might remain on to the close, or 
be might leave soon. The President assented; presumed 
Stanton intended to be a candidate. 



Seward proposes to purchase Two Islands from Denmark for $7,400,000 — 
Cabinet Discussion of Sheridan's Letter to Grant — Maximilian shot In 
Mexico — Congress meets in Extra Sesdon — General Halleck pro- 
posed as Commissioner to go to Alaska — Seward Justifies Commander 
Roe in the Capture of Santa Anna — Stanton ignores the President in 
addressing a Commimication directly to the Speaker of the House — 
Reconstruction Bill passed — The Influence of Seward and Stanton on 
the Administration — Conversation with a Member of the British Par- 
liament on Constitutions and Reconstruction — The President vetoes 
the Reconstruction Bill without consulting the Cabinet — Congress 
passes a Resolution of Sympathy with Cretan Insurrectionists — 
General Banks calls to urge a Removal and an Appointment — The 
President's Leniency in Matters of Pardon — Troops sent to Tennessee 

— Grant's Change of Views — General Rousseau proposed for Sheri- 
dan's Place — Proposal to appoint Frederick Dou^ass to the Head a£ 
the Freedmen's Bureau — The President receives Papers revealing a 
Conspiracy to manufacture Evidence against him — Sheridan r^noves 
Governor Throckmorton of Texas and appoints E. M. Pease in his Place 

— McCulloch discouraged at the Political Outlook. 

July 2, Tuesday. At the Cabinet-meeting to-day Seward 
brought forward a proposition to purchase of Denmark 
the two smaller islands in the West Indies for $7,400,000, 
Stanton and Randall strongly supported him. McCul- 
loch doubted ; was willing the subject should be presented 
and submitted to the Senate, though, if himself a Sena- 
tor, would vote against it. 

Stanbery claimed not to be sufficiently posted to act, 
but his impressions were against it. I was perhaps strong- 
est in opposition of any; stated we wanted these islands 
for no present purpose; that, St. Thomas being a free 
port, we had every facility we could have were these 
islands ours; that the population is not American; the 
possession would be costly to keep and maintain; that 
the coimtry was enormously in debt and needed the mil-* 
lions more than these islands; that in the event of a for- 



1867] PROPOSED WEST INDIAN PURCHASE 126 

eign war we could easier and at less expense capture one 
or more islands than hold them. 

Seward, a little nettled by my views, said we wanted a 
station in the West Indies for naval coaling purposes, and 
we could not have Saman^, — that was ended. I said I was 
glad of it; I had never wanted Saman^, and I wished this 
Danish matter was ended also. Still, as the others as- 
sented, and the Secretary of State lurged its importance 
for ulterior purposes which he claims the Senate will 
sanction with unanimity, I would not oppose its going to 
that body. McCulloch took much the same view. 

The truth is, Seward has become almost a monomaniac 
on the subject of territorial acquisition, that being the 
hobby on which he expects to be a candidate for Pte- 
sid^Qt. It shows itself in everything. 

The subject of Sheridan's insulting and impertinent, 
disrespectful and disobedient letter to General Grant, 
which is in the newspaper, was brought forward by the 
President, who said he had received no official notice of 
the letter, — knew nothing of it save what he saw in the 
newspapers and the remarks of others. 

The Attorney-General was emphatic against the letter; 
said it was insolent and insubordinate, and could not be 
passed without notice. 

Stanton said the letter had not been communicated to 
him officially; that, if authentic, as he did not question it 
was, Sheridan had, perhaps, been rebuked aheady by 
General Grant for his impulsiveness ; that the letter might 
have been stolen from the telegraph by some of the news- 
paper correspondents and published without the know- 
ledge and against the wishes of Sheridan. He would 
advise that the matter should pass without producing any 
inquiry. 

Seward said he had very little, doubt that the matter 
had got into the papers as Stanton suggested, and prob- 
ably without Sheridan's knowledge. It was published in 
the Herak{ on Sunday, and they had in some way got hold of 



126 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [jult2 

it. He never noticed newspaper articles; would not notice 
this. I said it was not a newspaper article, but an official 
document from Sheridan's headquarters and signed by 
Sheridan himself. While I was not prepared to say what 
coiurse had best be taken in regard to it, I by no means 
assented to the suggestion that the document had been 
surreptitiously obtained or that it was not written expressly 
for publication. No man could read it and say he believed 
it was a private, unofficial communication to General 
Grant. It was intentionally disrespectful to the President, 
and had been so received and considered by friends and 
opponents. 

Stanton said it was an improper letter, and if it had 
been addressed to him, he should have rebuked Sheridan, 
not only for what he said of the President but for the al- 
lusion to the Attorney-General, the head of a Department. 

McCulloch thought we had better get along without 
taking much notice of the letter, as the President had never 
received it officially. To move in it would stir up excite- 
ment without doing any good. I was aware from previous 
conversation with McCulloch that he wished to avoid col- 
lision with Congress, and that he had very Uttle confidence 
that the President would take a stand against Sheridan 
and persist in it, backed as he would be by Stanton and 
Grant. He said to me that Stanton would control the 
President on this or any subject that had a military 
bearing or connection, sooner than the true men in his 
Cabinet. I was therefore more grieved than surprised at 
McCulloch's remark. 

Randall said very little, but did not know what could 
be done, though the letter was very improper. 

Stanbery and Stanton di£fered essentially and discussed 
some points. The President produced a dispatch from 
Sheridan of the 29th ult., stating he should continue regis- 
tration until August as ordered. As the Secretary of Wat 
had not the correspondence between Grant and Sheridan, 
the President thought it best to defer the farther discD&- 



18571 SHERIDAN^S LETTER DISCUSSED 127 

sion of the subject until it was prociued^ and he would 
probably call a special Cabinet-meeting for its considera- 
tion. 

Delay, of course, destroys the effect, if it does not pre- 
vent any action. I remained with the President to dispose 
of some Department business after the others had left, 
and said to him that promptness and decision were im- 
portant in matters of this kind; that in postponing action 
he was suffering before the country, and in a few days 
nothing could be done. He agreed with me, and said he 
would have sent for Grant when Stanton made known 
that he had not the correspondence, but the session had 
been so long that he could not have got him to the council 
in season. Then, as regards Stanton's remark that he had 
no copy of the letter, — that it had not been commun- 
icated to him, — "Do you suppose," asked the President, 
''that there has been communication between Grant and 
Stanton about that letter?" I replied that it could hardly 
be otherwise than that they should have conversed and 
interchanged views on such a paper which was before tiiie 
public, and probably there was an imderstanding between 
them that it should be kept back and officially commun- 
icated. And that was the foundation of Stanton's pro- 
position that the subject should pass without pressing any 
inquiry. 

The President's hesitating and irresolute disposition 
and the influence of Seward and Stanton will be very likely 
to prevent any special Cabinet-meeting, and perhaps any 
farther steps in this matter. McCuUoch is hopeless. 
Randall will fall in with Seward. Stanbery feels woimded 
personally, as well as being indignant that the President 
should be treated with such disrespect. He may rouse the 
President to vindicate himself and his office. I have said 
in the Cabinet and in private all that is proper I should 
say, without much effect. 

^ July 3. On Sunday evening I received a dii^atch fijom 



128 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES ijulyB 

Commander Roe that Maximilian^ the guoai Emperor of 
Mexico, was shot on the 19th of Jime. It is one of the 
mistakes of that unhappy and distracted country. Ai>- 
prehensions are entertained that the European powers 
will attempt to avenge his death, but I do not participate in 
those apprehensions. Europe has learned a lesson on the 
impolicy of interference in the fate of Maximilian and 
the results of French intrigues in that country. 

Vera Cruz still holds out. No exceptions have as yet 
been taken to Roe's course in seizing Santa Anna. As he 
has been since taken from the Virginia at Sisal by the 
Mexicans, they may siunmarily dispose of him, though 
for a generation he has, like a cat, alighted on his feet 
when thrown, seemingly, down a precipice. 

Congress met to-day. A quorum was present, thou^ 
I am sorry to see many, perhaps most, of the Democrats 
are absent. There is, it is true, not only no public neces- 
sity for the meeting of Congress, but a public injury from 
its coming together. Still, as the majority had desired it, 
with them be the responsibility. Members individually 
should do their duty. 

There is a malignant and revolutionary spirit among 
the leading Radicals, who continue to be reckless and ut- 
terly regardless of the Constitution. These men will de- 
sire to push measures to extremes, in the belief that they 
can thereby retain their party ascendancy. But it will 
not surprise me if the means to which they must resort 
shall react and overthrow them. Indeed, I expect it. They 
cannot go on with these violent and proscriptive measures 
without rousing indignation, and if any regard for the 
Constitution remains, the people, though strangely in- 
different, will rally to its defense. 

July 5, Friday. Yesterday, the 4th, was a quiet day, 
more quiet than Sunday. It was to me a day of rest, and 
I enjoyed it. 

No matter of special importance was to-day before the 



1W71 RECONSTRUCTING RECONSTRUCTION 129 

Cabinet. Seward and McCuUoch arranged for a revenue 
eutter to Sitka. Stanton proposed that Halleck should be 
the Commisdoner^ and Seward concurred. I did not like 
it, for I do not like Halleck, but I said nothing. Neither did 
the President nor any other member of the Cabinet. 

The President made no allusion to Sheridan's order and 
his correspondence with General Grant. 

In Congress but little was done except to determine 
to reconstruct Reconstruction. Sumner and some of the 
extreme Radicals were not satisfied with this conclusion, and 
there is really so little sense and wisdom in Congress that 
there is no certainty they will adhere to their determina- 
tion. They evidently know not what they want, nor how 
to do it. 

On the 2d of March they passed their Reconstruction 
Bill, — their first step since the fall of Richmond. Two 
years were wasted in intrigues how not to reestablish the 
Union. The succeeding Congress, which met two days 
after promulgating the Reconstruction Act, passed a sup- 
plemental bill to correct deficiencies and weaknesses, and 
another bill, limiting expenses to five hundred thousand 
dollars. Three bills in less than one month, and now Con- 
gress is again assembled to further legislate on the subject, 
and declare they will take up no other subject. They have 
no confidence in themselves. 

Generals Schenck and Logan have imdertaken to exclude 
all the Kentucky Representatives from the House because 
they are not Radicals. These two lawyer generals are Rad- 
ical electioneerers. Schenck opposes Bamum of Con- 
necticut, whose election is disputed because he used money. 
I have no idea that he used more if as much as his Radical 
opponent, and Schenck knows that Indiana and some 
other States have been seciued to the Radicals by fraud 
and corruption. This move is to turn attention from their 
own villainies to another quarter, and to throw discredit on 
then: opponents. The use of money is destroying confidence 
in our elections. "^ 



130 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES (julyq 

July % Tuesday. The dispatch of Sheridan was not 
alluded to. As Congress is in session, and calls for cone- 
spondence are made, the omission is not singular, but I 
apprehend the whole will be shuffled over. 

The House of Representatives made haste, by a strict 
party vote, to pass a resolution of thanks to Sheridan for 
insolence and insubordination. No official communication, 
no report of any committee called for thanks, but his dis- 
courteous and highly improper letter had been published, 

— the pubUcation being itself an act of insubordination, 

— and a vote of thanks is given him by the Radical l^is- 
lators in the House of Representatives. The Senate has 
not simk quite to the level of the House, and the resolution 
has been checked in that body. 

Some differences are manifested among the Radicals 
in both houses. Some of the more intelligent and saga- 
cious have mustered sufficient courage to oppose the 
extremists. 

July 10, Wednesday. The loose, reckless violence and 
inconsiderate action of Congress make it irksome and pain- 
ful for me to read their proceedings. How little regard 
have the members for their oaths and their coimtry's wel- 
fare I The worst principles of tyranny and outrage they 
avow and encourage. The President is coarsely, falsely, 
and vindictively assailed by leaders as well as by followers, 
who are secretly prompted. The Constitution and its 
limitations are ridiculed and condemned. 

Senator Wade equivocates and backs down from his 
recent aggressive speech. Instead of a step in advance, as 
he boasted, he takes a step to the rear. 

A curious letter in the New York Herald, reciting a con- 
versation and certain avowals of Thad Stevens, is attract- 
ing attention, and he to-day on the floor of the House 
made remarks on the letter. Almost all which this vicious 
old man does is premeditated, dramatic, and for effect. 
The letter was evidently carefully prepared by himself. 



1887] SEWARD JUSTIFIES ROE 131 

Not that he wrote it, but the correspondent had the 
catechism and answers fumished him. Stevens is perhaps 
a worthy leader for such a party, — the "Great Com- 
moner." 

Jvly 11, Thursday. Some discourse in the House to- 
day, followed by votes, indicates a division in the House 
on the subject of impeachment. There is no cause, excuse, 
or justification for the long, labored, and shameful pro- 
ceeding on this subject. The President differs with the 
Radicals, and justly and properly views their course with 
abhorrence. He sometimes expresses his burning indigna- 
tion against measures and men that are bringing untold 
calamities upon the country. 

Jtdy 12, Friday. Seward read a long document on the 
subject of the capture of Santa Anna, fully justifying 
Commander Roe, and approving his course and that of 
our consul at Vera Cruz. 

Stanton presented two communications, which he pro- 
posed to send to Speaker Colfax, asking an appropriation of 
$5,000,000 for Indian wars and an additional $1,600,000 
for Reconstruction. This latter was so worded as to create 
a false impression, leaving it to be supposed that this is 
the whole simoi, whereas there was already half a million 
appropriated for the latter purpose, making over two 
millions. Much of this, a considerable percentage, will be 
expended in Radical electioneering. 

I objected to the head of a Department addressing 
commimications of this character to the Speaker and 
claimed that application for such appropriation should 
properly go through the President. No one differed from 
me but Stanton, who said very little. Seward saw that 
Stanton was vexed, and he put in a garrulous mess of 
pottage, about his always sending to Congress through 
the President, and believed it was proper for the heads 
of Departments generally to do this. But sometimes, be 



132 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES Ijuly12 

said, the Secretary of War had occasion to go direct to 
Congress, and on the whole, he thought it was well enou^, 
— perhaps best ; he approved of it. I insisted that it was 
neither respectful nor right to ignore the President at any 
time, and especially now, when Congress was trying to 
degrade and belittle the office. I thought no head of a 
Department should encourage the schemers by passing by 
the President. 

' The President, I saw, felt hurt, and made a remark or 
two, but concluded by telling Stanton that the Secretary 
of War would do as he thought best. "Then," said Stan- 
ton, *' I will send both commimications to the Speaker." 
" Very well," said the President. Pshaw! 

This is the way things go on. Congress has got another 
edition of Reconstruction law about completed, which 
robs the President of his constitutional rights, transfers 
his powers to the General of the Army, the military gov- 
ernors, and the Secretary of War. Seward, who is chief 
counselor and Stanton's supporter, will not dissent from 
this, but, if he says anything, will advise acquiescence. 
Stanton is in concert with the Radicals in these aggressive 
matters, as the President knows, and has himself said to 
me. I do not expect, therefore, that any becoming stand 
will be taken to vindicate the executive prerogative, and it 
is perhaps too late, if there were energy and decision, to 
attempt it. Steady, constant aggression, and tame, passive 
yielding under the assimiing and calculating Stanton and 
the pliant, flexible Seward have effectually broken down 
the Administration. I shall be thankful if it does not break 
down the government. 

July 13, Saturday. Seward overtook me this evening 
as I was riding out on 14th Street, and says he has sent 
me a copy of his long statement in regard to the capture of 
Santa Anna. He evidently thinks it a great paper, and 
prides himself on its properties. 

I understand the two houses have passed their Recon- 



18671 RECONSTRUCTION BILL PASSED 133 

struction Bill. Thad Stevens took occasion to sneer at 
those who still clung to the remnants of the shattered Con- 
stitution, which he ridiculed as a thing of the past. He is 
one of those who never r^arded it as more obligatory than 
the resolutions of a last year's party convention. Its over- 
throw and destruction he would consider a party triumph. 
This is the spirit and feeling of the ''Great Conmioner/' 
the Radical leader. 

JtiZy 15. There is among the Congressional majority 
who call themselves Republicans or Radicals a wide dif- 
ference, but there is want of patriotism with some, and of 
tact and talent with all. They are incompetent and vicious. 
The violent leaders are coarse and vulgar; the more con- 
servative are weak and cowardly. The former defy, ridi- 
cule, and disregard the Constitution; the latter dare not 
cbfendit. Both can xmite against the Administration, 
which adheres to the great principles of the fundamental 
law and maintains the rights of the States and the union 
of the States. 

Unfortunately for the President, his chief adviser has 
no faith in the principles which the President most r^ards. 
Seward has no faith, nor has he any strength. To the Presi- 
dent the Secretary of State is an element of weakness. The 
people have no confidence in him and they doubt and dis- 
trust the President, who has. His association with Lincoln 
weakened the power of the Administration. Still Seward 
does not oppose, resist, or attempt to coerce the President, 
but the latter knows he is from the great State and erro- 
neously believes him the chief of a great party. 

Stanton is more positive; but would often fail were he 
not aided by the sinuous, pliable, flexible Seward. The two 
hunt in couples, and, though of different temperaments, 
are both of them subtle and have a full imderstanding to 
stand by each other. Both are playing a game, and the 
ctmning, wily Mephistophelesis outwitted by Mars. Stan- 
ton is treacherous. Seward is not, though a dissembler. 



134 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [julyis 

Stanton, while a part of the Admmistration, acts with the 
Radicals, and in a great measure directs their movements. 
They trust him; they hate and despise Seward. 

To the President, Seward is always pliant and yielding, 
yet he contrives to do much towards shapmg the Pre- 
sident's course and often sadly misleads him. 

Stanton sometimes plants himself in opposition to the 
President, and, when honest and sincere, not infrequently 
carries his point, though its rectitude may be question- 
able. When, however, he perceives that the President is 
resolute and determined, Stanton becomes as humble and 
obsequious as Uriah Heep. The President, who is courte- 
ous and attentive to all, is extra so to Stanton, — is more 
particular, I think, to salute him than any one else. 
This is more formal than earnest, and the politeness is 
reciprocal. 

Stanton is sometimes more presuming because he knows 
he has a supporter or friend in Seward who will apologize 
for and excuse him. Between them the President has been 
prostrated and his Administration made powerless. From 
this, Stanton may, in certain contingencies, profit; but 
Seward cannot. 

Both these men played a double part during the closing 
months of Buchanan's Administration. While ostensibly 
opposed, they had a secret imderstanding and were in con- 
stant communication. Stanton betrayed the South, and 
they know it. He knows that they know it, and henoe he is 
not anxious that they should have power or influence in 
the Government whilst he is here. Whatever the President 
does, or proposes, to reestablish the South is secretly, some- 
times openly, coimteracted and defeated ; the measure is 
resisted, and he is denounced as a traitor to the party that ' 
elected him, — not to the country, — as sympathizing 
with traitors, because he strives to ameliorate the condition 
of the people of the South, to promote general harmony, 
and to reestablish the people and the States that have 
rebelled in the Uni(m. < 



1W7J CJONVERSATION WITH MR. CAVE, M.P. 135 

Jviy 16. The President is disinclined to appoint Otter- 
bourg, the Gennan, or German Jew, Minister to Mexico, 
although Seward is very persistent for him. Randall orig- 
inally proposed Otterbourg and would be pleased to have 
him promoted, but, seeing the President's hesitancy, does 
not press it. Seward, however, holds on vigorously. 

Judge Chase has had it published that he has gone to 
Albany to attend a wedding. It was a morning wedding 
in the family of Judge Harris. This pretext of Chase is 
to cover an electioneering tour. He still at times has the 
Presidential mania. 

Wade, who is also diseased with the Presidential fever, 
has lost his vivacity and form, — is tame and passive; — 
his '^jimip forward" in anticipation [?] has apparently 
broken his knee-joints or backbone. 

The Japanese indemnity was again up. They request 
delay in last installment. Seward is not disposed to grant 
it, and was anxious to push the matter by, without much 
talk or explanation. Although unpleasant to always op- 
pose, or to express dissenting opinion, I again spoke of my 
regret that we were mixed up with England and France 
in that matter, and thought we should suffer no wrong by 
extending to them this favor which they asked. 

I read my letter to the Speaker in answer to a resolution 
introduced by Schenck, calling for information touching 
the retention of Rear-Admiral Goldsborough on the active 
list beyond fifty-five years. Schenck's brother. Commo- 
dore S., is, like other officers, affected, and dissatisfied that 
my decisions and the usage of the Department are over- 
ruled. Seward, I saw, was disturbed; thought Stanton 
should examine the letter and suggest alterations. S. and 
I both declined. 

In a conversation with Mr. Cave, a member of the Brit- 
ish Parliament, who called on me with Chevalier Wykoff , 
some conversation took place in regard to what is called 
the British Constitution and our own, the two governments 
a^d that of Mexico, France, etc. I remarked that the great 



136 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [jxtlyw 

difiference between the Teutonic and the Latm race consisted 
in the fact that the former had faith and the latter had not, 
— that Anglo-Saxons trusted each other, adhered to their 
traditions, observed and preserved the great principles of 
freedom ; if there were abuses and departures from the great 
landmarks, a speedy return to first principles was required 
and exacted by the people; that these imderlying princi- 
ples were what was called the English Constitution, un- 
written but understood, adhered to and loved by the Eng- 
lish people, who had made them the basis on which their 
governmental superstructure was built. We Americans 
had embodied the great principles of freedom in a written 
constitution which all could read and understand, and 
from which those who were intrusted with legislative, ex- 
ecutive, or judicial authority could not ignorantly wander. 
But, unhappily for us, our written Constitution is at 
this time no check or barrier against legislative abuse. 
The organic law is violated. A fragment of Congress has 
usurped the powers of government, trampled on the Con- 
stitution, and is exercising undelegated authority. This 
fragment had overthrown the constitutions of ten States 
and established military governments in their stead, had 
broken down the rights and power of the Executive and 
virtually declared themselves omnipotent and supreme. 

In due time I trusted and believed these abuses would be 
remedied and the Constitution restored. A reaction usually 
follows excessive action, and our coimtrymen would befow 
long correct Congressional errors and usurpations. 

The Latin race, unlike the Teutonic, had not fixed, stead- 
fast principles. Their changes are impulsive and revolu- 
tionary, and their governments are established and main- 
tained by force. The popular element had no abiding faith, 
no well-recognized principles around which the people 
could rally. In other and plain words, they had no fixed 
principles embodied in a written constitution like the 
American, or unwritten but well-grounded and known law 
like that of England. 



1M7] RECONSTRUCTION BILL VETOED 137 

What is most to be apprehended among us, perhaps, is 
a change in the habits, thoughts, and character of our peo- 
ple, brought about by a mixture of races, resulting from 
emigration and from the jH^esent attempt to bring the n^ro 
race into the government. Neither the emigrants nor the 
negroes understand or can comprehend the foundation 
principles of American and British freedom. 

The Radical Party in their humanitarianism were striv- 
ing to establish imiversal equality and individual liberty, 
without conventional rules, and regardless of constitu- 
tional freedom and constitutional restraints and limita- 
tions. Li order to promote, and with a view of exalting, 
the negro, the Radicals did not scruple to trample on the 
rights of the white men, rights inherent and secured by 
all that was sacred and inviolate in the organic law. 

Jvly 22. Congress adjourned on Saturday. The Pre- 
sident sent in his veto on the supplemental bill on Friday. 
It is stated that all the Cabinet except Stanton gave 
the veto their approval. For my own part, I neither saw 
it, heard it read, nor knew its contents until I saw it in 
the newspapers. McCulloch says the same, and I have 
reason to suppose this of others. My opinion is that no 
one but Stanbery was cognizant of it. He probably had 
the principal preparation of it, though the President 
himself does more in the preparation of these documents 
than is generally supposed. 

Stanbery is a good lawyer and takes a professional or 
lawyer's view of questions rather than a statesman's or 
poUtician's. Sometimes he is a little too technical, and too 
much inclined to exhibit the attorney's knowledge and 
capacity. Seward always defers to him. I do not remember 
when he has dissented, though he may have been embar- 
rassed and compelled to trim if Stanton arrayed himself 
in opposition, as he often does. 

The veto is, in its general features, essentially as I sup- 
posed it would be. Had I leave to advise, I would have 



138 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [jult22 

counseled brevity. There was no necessity of extended 
argument to such a Congress. No reasoning or truths, 
however cogently presented, would influence a single 
Member. The leading Radicals were predetermined, and 
their followers had not the moral courage to act out an 
honest, independent opinion. The bill, like its prede- 
cessors, is flagrantly imconstitutional, anti-republican and 
despotic, but there is the essence and spirit of Radical- 
ism. 

There is extreme bitterness among the Radicals, which 
manifested itself in the Senate and the House. Chandler, 
coarse, vulgar, and violent, assailed Fessenden, who was 
indignantly cowardly and apologetic to his furious anta- 
gonist. 

Jvly 23, Tuesday. Seward had a proclamation prepared 
against Mexican filibustering. The House had passed a 
resolution calling for it. I excepted to the paper, and es- 
pecially to that part of it which said, "Now, therefore, I, 
A. J., being satisfied, etc., etc.," unless the President or 
Secretary of State had such information and was satis- 
fied. If they had, or there was any necessity for a pro- 
clamation, I regretted that there should have been delay. 
. • . The President said he was aware of no reason for 
the step. Seward said there was nothing serious, nor did 
he suppose there would be, but he thought it prudent, 
imder the circiunstances, to send out the paper. 

A more embarrassing subject was a resolution which 
had passed the two houses expressing sympathy with the 
insurrectionists in Crete, and requiring the Administra- 
tion to communicate this fact to the Turkish Government. 
It was one of those loose, indiscreet measures which an 
inconsiderate Congress foolishly enacts. Seward had put 
his letter to the Minister in as unexceptionable a form as 
he could, but it can hardly be otherwise than offensive. 
The President regretted his attention had not been called 
to the subject, for he would not have signed the resolu- 



1867J THE CRETAN INSURRECTION 139 

tion. Seward said he knew not how the resolution origin- 
ated. I told him that it originated with Morris, the Min- 
ister to Constantinople, and if it resulted in his recall or 
a request for him to leave, good might come of it. For 
months he had made himself busy in trying to induce our 
naval officers to break through neutrality and interfere in 
this insiurection. 

July 24, Wednesday. General Banks called on me to- 
day with S. P. Hanscom in order to procure the removal 
of Mr. Hartt, Naval Constructor, and the appointment of 
Isaiah ELanscom to the Charlestown Navy Yard. I told 
him I knew of no reason for a change; that Mr. Hartt was 
discharging his duties faithfully and well, so far as I was 
advised. He said the people there were opposed to Mr. 
Hartt, who was no naval constructor, but a mere boat- 
swain, — that he governed the yard. I asked what he 
meant by saying Hartt was not a constructor, but a boat- 
swain. He had passed his examination first as an assistant 
constructor, and then as a constructor, — was educated 
a constructor. Hanscom was not. Well, he was imaccept- 
able to the people. I asked wherein, — he was not a 
partisan as I had once heard. Banks said he busied him- 
self in matters and things, and the people of the yard 
were against him. I said no such information had ever come 
to me; that Commodore Rodgers would have been likely to 
advise me if such were the case. He said Rodgers was 
under the influence of Hartt. 

''Am I to imderstand that you decline to remove him?" 
said B. in a loud voice. 

''Certainly I do, as at present advised," I replied; "but 
I will inquire more particularly into this matter, and if 
you have any facts, — anything specific, — I should be 
glad to have you commimicate them." 

He said that was unnecessary; if I would not remove 
Hartt, he must take other measures. 

"Very well," said I, "a good officer cannot be removed 



140 DIARY OP GIDEON WELLES [july34 

without cause. I regret the illness of Mr. Lenthall, Chief 
of the Construction Bureau, but I will myself look into 
this case farther. At present I shall not dismiss Hartt." 

July 25, Thursday. The President sent for me. He 
wished to dispose of the case of Major Field of the Ma- 
rines, who was court-martialed last April and convicted, 
and was again subsequently court-martialed and again 
convicted. As the case is, in every view of it, bad, and the 
President has long hesitated, delaying from time to time 
acting, I had left the whole subject with him to dispose 
of when [ready, expressing myself decidedly against Field* 
• • . Sam Randall has once or twice approached me, but 
I told him neither party nor personal feeling should be 
permitted to intrude; they would not with me; they' 
ought not with the Plesident. 

One of the greatest defects of the President, as Chief 
Magistrate, is a reluctance — an apparent incapacity -^ 
to discriminate in matters of pardon, or rather a failure to 
act on general principles. His sympathies for the criminal 
are easily enlisted in behalf of any man whom he has 
power to relieve. He lets off the drunkard, breaker of 
regulations, slanderer of the court, etc., etc., without 
reflecting on the demoralizing effect of his mistaken len- 
iency on the service and the country. 

July 26. The President showed me a telegram from 
Grant at Long Branch to Stanton. Grant says General 
Thomas has been ordered to Memphis; thinks it un- 
necessary for him (Grant) to go to Nashville ; tells of troops 
that will be gathered at Memphis. The President said he 
was glad that regulars were moving into Tennessee, for it 
would have the effect of checking the movements of 
Brownlow's militia, who were striving to control the elec- 
tions; but he compared the conduct of Stanton and Grant 
in the Tennessee election with that pursued by them in 



18071 TROOPS SENT TO TENNESSEE Wi 

r^ard to Maryland. Last fall neither of them could get 
any armed force to Baltimore. 

I recollect that Stanton was extremely sensitive at that 
time about overawing elections with troops. Grant, I 
think, had the impression that he, personally, could do 
better than soldiers, and deemed it more important that 
he should remain here and take charge of local elections 
than that he should go with Campbell to Mexico. 

I remarked to the President that Grant had, unconr 
sciously perhaps, very much changed his views within a 
year; that it was perceptible; that I had frequently al- 
luded to this change; that Stanton, and Holt, and perhaps 
others had succeeded in twisting or modifying Grant's 
opinion and action. It had been with them a study, and 
be, the President, had permitted it to go on until th^y 
more than he were, in some respects, the Executive. The 
President recognized the truth of my remarks, and said, 
yes, Congress had conferred more power on the military 
governor than the President had ever exercised. *'That,'' 
said I, ''is but a part of the system. I know not tha]t 
General Grant has been in the intrigue to cripple the Pre- 
adent, though he has been, and is, used by the intriguers, 
— in my opinion, willingly used. You are advised to send 
General Halleck to Sitka. Seward has several times urged 
it. I do not think highly of Halleck, or his management, 
and do not wish the Administration to indorse him, or to 
give him additional reputation. He has got himself fast- 
ened on the Government for life, at high pay, without 
having rendered any valuable service.'' 

In answer to the President as to who there had best be 
selected, I told him it was difficult to say, for most of the 
military officers had been gradually drawn into the Rad- 
ical or Congressional policy through the manipulation of 
ihe War Department. But General Rousseau had been 
recently appointed, had borne himself well as a civilian, 
was, I imderstood, to go to Washington or Oregon. Why 
not let the transfer of Russian America be made to him? . 



142 DIARY^OP GIDEON WELLES [jult26 

^ The President hesitated a moment and said: '^Roud- 
seau is now at New Orleans. Here is a telegram from 
him, saying affairs are in a terrible condition there, and 
advising immediate correction. What would you, th^ 
.think of substituting him for Sheridan?" 

"If Sheridan is to leave, my impression is that jrou 
cannot do better than select Rousseau, as things are. It 
is a pity, however, that this could not have been done 
earlier. The Radicals have been at great pains to enlist 
public opinion for Sheridan, in the full belief that he 
would, and conscious that he ought to, be removed. Th^ 
have encouraged his insolence and insubordination in 
order to compel his removal, or to show that the Admin- 
istration was too weak to vindicate itself. The managing 
Radicals know Sheridan's imfitness for administrative 
duties, but he is a brave and distinguished officer whom 
they are using, — availing themselves of his military re- 
putation before the country. Had he been sununarily 
disposed of when his insolent letter was written, or when 
he removed that trimming Governor Wells and the judge,* 
the people would have justified the act, and the Admixi- 
istration would have been strengthened for a righteous 
exhibition of energy. But the time has gone by for that 
display. There may be other causes." 

The President again asked me what I thought of put- 
ting Fred Douglass at the head of the Freedmen's Bu- 
reau, instead of Howard. I said if he proposed to appoint 
negroes to any office, that perhaps would be as appropriate 
as any. Howard is a very good sort of man, but loose in 
taking and appropriating public property, and so intensely 
Radical that I wished him removed, and an overturn in 
the management of the Bureau. 

But I was not prepared to appoint or reconunend to be 
appointed to so responsible a position a person because 
he is a negro or a mulatto. Mr. Sumner and others have 

^ Judge Abell, who had declared the Louisiana convention of 1866 an 
illeg^ body. 



1867] THE CONOVER ALLEGATIONS 143 

expressed a hope that negroes would fill public and trusted 
positions, but I cannot. They may succeed, under their 
despotic and oppressive laws, in getting a few negroes 
into Congress, but there would, in all probability, be a 
sequence to this partisan negro philanthropy which would 
be calamitous to the poor negroes themselves. 

July 30, Tuesday. But little of importance at the Cab- 
inet-meeting. After we were through, the President re- 
quested me to remain for a few moments. Seward and 
Stanbery were not at the meeting, and are absent from 
the city. Mr. Hunter, who represented the State Depart- 
ment, was present for a short time, but had left, and Stan- 
ton was allowed to depart. McCuUoch, Randall, Browning, 
and myself remained. The President said he had invited 
us to stop for a few moments, for some papers had just 
been placed in his hands of a character which seemed to 
him to deserve consideration. 

It was, he said, proper for him to state that a woman 
representing herself as the wife of Conover,^ now in prison, 
had called upon him, on, I think, the preceding Saturday 
evening, in behalf of her husband. She said promises and 
assurances of pardon had been held out to him by certain 
parties on condition he would do certain things, but he 
had been put off and tantalized until they (C. and his 
wife) knew not what to make of it. They had, however, 

N* Sanford Conover, cdiaa Charles A. Dunham, convicted of perjury in 
connection with the trial of Jefferson Davis for complicity in Lincoln's assas- 
sination. The first communication referred to here, dated July 26, 1867, 
and received on Saturday, the 27th, was a petition for pardon accom- 
panied by recommendations to clemency from Congressman Ashley, Judge- 
Advocate-General Holt, and A. G. Riddle, on the ground that while in jail 
Conover had disinterestedly aided in the prosecution of John H. Surratt. 
The communication of July 29, received on the 30th, was an extraordinary 
letter purporting to reveal a conspiracy into which Conover had entered 
with Ashley, Riddle, Holt, and B. F. Butler, to suborn testimony to show 
that President Johnson had been a member of the conspiracy to assassin- 
ate Lincoln. These papers were published on August 10, but they were 
regarded with some suspicion and Conover did not receive his pardon till 
February 9, 1869. ^ 



144 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [jultso 

got a paper from Riddle,^ indorsed by Judge- Advocate- 
General Holt, commending him to clemency. With this 
paper, there was, inadvertently, mixed up a note from 
Ashley, the impeaching Representative from the Toledo 
district, calling for the document. '' Perhaps," said the 
President, "the best way will be to read the whole papers, 
but it will be proper to say that this note of Ashley led to 
further inquiry, which resulted in her bringing me this 
morning a petition from her husband and sundry papers, 
which I have detained for you to examine, and to give me 
your advice as to what had best be done with them." 

He then called on Colonel Moore from the library with 
the papers, and directed him to read them. As they will 
doubtless be printed, I need say no farther here than that 
they furnish conclusive evidence of an atrocious conspiracy 
to impeach the President by manufactured testimony, 
which was to be furnished by this man Conover, alias 
Dunham, who was to be released from prison on condi- 
tion he procured persons to testify as the parties de- 
sired. 

When these papers had been read, and the surprise 
of all expressed, — not so much at the conspiracy, for 
none of us had any doubt of the villainy of the impeach- 
ment conspiracy (it is nothing else), but at the folly of 
Ashley and others in leaving traces of their intrigue and 
wickedness, — the President asked what should be done. 

I advised that authenticated copies of the papers should 
be taken and lodged with different parties, and that the 
original should be carefully preserved. In this all con- 
curred. The question then was as to disclosing the papera, 
— when and where. McCuUoch and myself advised 
prompt publication. Randall advised delay to get other 
facts and testimony, — certain names and documents 
referred to. Browning hesitated, but was inclined to an 
early publication, and the President inclined to as little 

^ Albert Gallatin Riddle, an ex-Congressman, one of the counsel for the 
prosecution of Surratt. ^. 



18671 THE CONOVER ALLEGATIONS 146 

delay as possible. Randall walked the room a few times 
and then came into that view also. 

Conover, cUias Dunham, after having been kept here 
by the court for months, had been suddenly hurried o£f 
to the penitentiary at Albany, so that he could not be 
seen. I told the President that was in consequence of 
Conover's wife having called on him, — that it satisfied 
me of what I had long believed, there were spies upon him 
and in his household. The fact that she had called on the 
President had been communicated to the conspirators, 
and C. was inmiediately hurried off to prevent him from 
having communication with any friend of the President 
to whom he might make disclosures. 

It was concluded that we should meet again to-morrow^ 
and in the mean time, each was to revolve the matter in 
his mind and bring the results of his reflections to the 
meeting. The President expected Mrs. Conover to call 
upon him to-morrow, and would ascertain if she had other 
papers or facts, but she would make no promises to pro- 
cure them. 

July 30. At the meeting to-day the President and the 
four members of his Cabinet who were together yester- 
day again took up the subject of the conspiracy and Cono- 
ver's disclosures. Randall was again very earnest for 
postponing any publication until the names of the two 
witnesses referred to in Conover's petition could be ascer- 
tained and also the memoranda of the testimony which 
was wanted, and which they were to swear to, were pro- 
cured. Ashley alluded to those papers in one of his notes, 
and is evidently anxious to get them. Randall says that as 
soon as it is known that C. has betrayed them, they will 
hasten to get these papers and to bribe these men. Mc- 
Culloch gave in to these suggestions and was for delay, in 
order to make a perfect and complete thing of it. Brown- 
ing was disposed to take the same view. 

I suggested that a delay and failure to procure the 

8 



146 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [julyw 

papers and names would weaken the case, and it would be 
well to look at all sides of the question. Would not the pub- 
lication be likely to draw out other testimony and lead to 
these very disclosures which we wanted? A frank and 
prompt publication carried weight in itself. Delay and 
hesitancy, in the hope of something more, would be losing 
an opportunity. If Randall could be perfectly successful 
in his scheme, and get the names and papers, it might 
justify delay. Was it advisable to run this risk on such an 
uncertainty? 

Randall proposed to go himself to-night to Kinderhook 
and there meet Reynolds, a lawyer friend of his in Albany, 
to whom he would immediately telegraph. Mrs. Conover 
should go on to-night also in order to see her husband, 
and get from him the names. R. would be his lawyer and 
perhaps see C. with his wife. 

The plan appeared to meet with favor, and R. was so 
confident of success, and so ready to go and get his lawyer 
and detectives at work that one could not well object. I 
thought there seemed a little overanxiety on the part of 
Randall to figure and operate, but sometimes such men 
accomplish more than is expected. 

General Sheridan has removed Governor Throckmorton 
of Texas and appointed my old friend E. M. Pease to be 
Governor of Texas in his place. This is a good selection, 
provided the change could be legally made; but I deny the 
authority of General Sheridan to do this, — deny that Con* 
gress can give him authority to do it. Pease was here two 
or three weeks since on his way to Texas, and I have little 
doubt that he was called thither for the purpose of receiv- 
ing that office. It is a step in a conspiracy of which he is 
not cognizant. 

In a contest between Throckmorton and Pease for the 
office of Governor some twenty months since, the people of 
Texas elected T. by a vote of six or seven to one over P. 
This was then the voice of Texas. This is probably about 
the present position of a£fairs with the legal voters. . -^^ 



1887] Mcculloch discouraged 147 

In my opinion Pease is the best, wisest, and safest 
man, but the public whom he is to govern are of a different 
opinion. He has, from the Rebellion and the policy pur- 
sued, become warped in mind, and his principles are unset- 
tled, but he will, I think, commit no imprudent or oppress- 
ive act. I regretted he was not elected, and regret the 
President did not originally appoint him provisional gov- 
ernor instead of Hamilton. He was presented by me at 
that time, but the President listened to bad men here, ap- 
pointed one of them, who was the tool of the vicious gang 
who then were commencing an intrigue against him, and 
this appointee Hamilton became a traitor to the President 
and an ingrate. Stanton, who did not know Pease, I have 
no doubt took him up on my old recommendation, — a 
twofold object. 

July 31. Had a short evening walk and talk with Mc- 
Culloch, who is, not without reason, a good deal discour- 
aged. A crowd of sharpers, mercenary party plunderers 
from Pennsylvania, — Flannigan, Sawyer, and others, — 
are crowding around the President, declaring their in- 
tention to so organize the Republican Party that it will 
not unite with Democrats. They all want ojffices for them- 
selves or want to sell oflBces to their friends. The President 
has, McC. says, listened to these sharpers and thereby in- 
jured himself and his Adnunistration in the estimation of 
good men. The revenues have been and are being defrauded 
by miserable partisan appointments, and the President 
sadly imposed upon. McCuUoch proceeded to tell me how 
arrangements have from time to time been made by him- 
self with the Radicals for dividing the oflBces, — a pernicious 
arrangement, — that sometimes they have in the Senate 
come up and confirmed appointments thus arranged, and 
the President has then failed to carry out the agreement. 

I told him I should be sorry if the President ever broke 
faith, but I must frankly say to him I disliked the bargain- 
bg, — dividing with the traffickmg, greedy, unprincipled 



148 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [jultsi 

Radicals. McC. said it was necessary, we could not get 
along without it. The offices would not be filled. 

I told him that a fimii steady hand from the beginning 
would have avoided this; there had been temporizing, con- 
ceding to factions, siurendering executive rights to the 
enemies of the President, mistaken arrangements, all of 
which had weakened the Administration and encouraged 
and stimulated the Radicals; that we could never make a 
stand, — have a policy, — nor could the Executive be the 
head, or a power in the Government, while we pimsued such 
a course. This has gone so long and so far, however, that 
I know not that much can be done to retrieve the error 
and strengthen the Administration, but I would not divide 
nor surrender the executive power, patronage, authorityi 
prerogative, rights, and duties to them. 



LI 

The Piremdent consulta ^th his Cabinet as to' the Advisability of removing 
fflieridan — The Conover Allegations — McCulloch's Compromises — 
His Great Ability as a Financier — Grant deprecates the Removal of 
Sheridan — Grant going over to the Radicals — Conversation with the 
President as to the Possibility of Stanton's Retirement — Postmaster- 
General Randall asks for Leave of Absence — The President requests 
Stanton to resign — Stanton refuses — The Tenure-of-Office Act in 
Relation to the Question of Stanton's Removal — Randall's Shakiness 

— Thurlow Weed's Attack on Chase — Secretary Welles advises the 
President to remove Judge-Advocate-General Holt with Stanton and to 

' appoint one of the Blairs Secretary of War — The President discusses 
I the Matter with Montgomery Blair — The Jury in the John H. Surratt 
Case disagrees — The President suspends Stanton and appoints Gen- 
eral Grant €ut interim — General Sickles prohibits Civil Process in his 
Military Department — Alleged Conspiracy against Judge-Advocate- 
General Holt — Stanton's Dismissal makes Little Commotion — Cor- 
respondence between the President and General Grant relative to the 
Removal of Sheridan — Conversation with Grant on the Subject of 
Reconstruction — A Political Ignoramus — General Sickles announces 
his Intention of obstructing the United States Court — Passage be- 
tween Grant and Assistant Attorney-General Hinckley in Cabinet — 
Suspicions in regard to Randall — A Reorganisation of the Cabinet 
talked of in the Papers — Conversation with Montgomery Blair about 
Grant — Grant, insubordinate in Cabinet, is rebuked by the President 

— The President's Strength and Weaknesses. 

Atigtiat 2. After the adjoximment of the Cabinet and 
Stanton had left, inquiry was made of Randall if he had 
been to Albany, or whether any steps had been taken in 
relation to further developments of the conspiracy for 
impeachment. He said no, that Conover's wife declined 
to go, and wanted his pardon on the documents already 
produced. 

The President here remarked that as those of us who 
were present could each freely speak his views, he wished 
to know our several opinions in regard to the removal of 
Sheridan. 

McCuUoch at once declared he thought it would be 



150 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [aug.2 

injudicious, — would strengthen the extreme Radicals, who 
really wanted the President to take this step in order that 
they might make successful war against him. It would 
discourage the conservative portion, who were becoming 
much disquieted with the leaders, and who would, if not 
shocked by any rash step, defeat the impeachment move- 
ment. The Radicals were becoming divided among ihemr 
selves, and if we abstained from any movement, they would 
hush up. 

Browning earnestly pressed the last idea. Let them go 
on with their violent and obnoxious measures, — their 
usurpation and tyranny, — and it would break them down. 
The better portion of them were already sick of their 
measures. I asked, provided such were the fact, — which 
I did not believe, for the conservatives are cowards, — if it 
were proper administration to stand quietly by and per- 
mit such outrages upon the States and people to go on, or 
whether the Executive had not some duties to perform be- 
sides temporizing with corruption? We must not suppose 
we could escape responsibility. The idea of our dcnng 
nothing when great wrongs were being comjnitted by the 
military governors would not answer. What have we done 
to prevent it? I think Sheridan ought never to have been 
put in such a position ; I never advised it, nor that of Sickles, 
a different man. Being, then, in a responsible position ifor 
which he had no proper qualifications, I think he should 
have been promptly removed when he took upon himself 
to oust State officers and to appoint others in their places. 
I so stated on the day of their occurrence and had always 
regretted that he had not been at once displaced and sent 
the other side of the Mississippi after his insolent letter. 

I have no animosity towards Sheridan, who is a brave 
soldier, and whose gallantry and services I honor, but he 
is unjust and made vain by his military successes, and 
absolutely spoiled by partisan flattery and the encourage^ 
ment of the conspirators. The more he defied the President, 
and the greater the outrages on the people of Louisiana and 



1807] REMOVAL OF SHERIDAN DISCUSSED 151 

Texas, the more would he be praised by bad men who were 
imposing on his weaknesses. 

From the tame, passive course which has been pursued, 
the Administration had lost confidence and strength. It 
has to-day no positive, established, successful policy; dis- 
{days no executive power and energy; submits to insults; 
and we are now discussing no measure of the Administra- 
tion, and it is assumed that we ought to have none, — that 
we must suppress our convictions, abdicate our duty, and 
in our helplessness trust to division among the Radicals, who 
have a policy, and who by their presumption and our sub- 
mission have crippled the Executive, encroached upon lus 
prerogative, and deprived him of his constitutional rights. 

Randall became excited and advocated turning 'Hhe 
little fellow'* out. The President warmed up under my 
remarks; his eyes flashed. ^' What have we to expect from 
long keeping quiet? Will the Republicans, the conserv- 
ative portion of them, come into our views? They are 
always promising, but they never perform. It may be said 
this will enrage them and that they will then go forward 
and impeach me. If they would impeach me for ordering 
away an officer who I beUeve is doing wrong, — afflicting 
and oppressing the people instead of protecting and sus- 
taining them, — if I am to be impeached for this, I am 
prepared.'* 

I asked the President if he had any information from 
those States as to the sentiments and feelings of the people, 
— whether anything but the removal of the Governor of 
Texas and the overthrow of the municipal government in 
New Orleans had come to his knowledge. It would not be 
advisable to move in so important a matter without cause. 
These were sufficient. But weeks ago the same acts had 
been conmoitted as regards the Governor of Louisiana, 
Attorney-General, judge, etc. The President said there 
was nothing additional now, but there was universal 
complaint of disorganization, confusion, insincerity, and 
oppression. > 



152 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES iavq.2 

McCulloch said he should deprecate the removal of 
Sheridan, because he was exceedingly popular, and it would 
bring down violence on the Administration. He had a 
talk with Wilson of Iowa before he left for home, who 
said if the President did nothing rash, and — alluding to 
this very movement — would not disturb Sheridan, all 
would go along well, and the extreme Radicals would be 
defeated; a division would certainly take place. 

"What," said I, "if Sheridan should proceed to hang 
some of the prominent and best men in Louisiana who 
differ from him? Would Wilson expect, or you advise, 
that he should still be continued?" 

The President was called into the adjoining room, and 
McCulloch, turning to me, said he was afraid my remarks 
would produce great harm. " To do our duty will produce 
harm! How," I exclaimed, "are we subdued and hum- 
bled!" 

On the subject of Conover's disclosures some further 
discussion took place. The President was inclined to 
pardon him on the application of Holt and Riddle, and let 
the reasons and documents follow which led to the par- 
don. But the rest of us were united in the opinion that 
the publication of the documents should precede pardon, 
and to postpone the pardon for a short time at all events. 

It was also understood that Sheridan's case would be 
delayed for the present. 

August 3, Saturday. McCulloch called on me early 
this morning. He was very much exercised in regard to 
the removal of Sheridan. It had disturbed him through the 
night, and as he was intending to be absent for a day or 
two, he besought me to see the President and prevent 
hasty action. The conservative and timid Republicans 
and some Radicals have been intimate with McCulloch 
and impressed him with their cowardly, shrinking views. 
He has been persuaded by them to compromise, and to 
bargain in regard to office. In all this he has been actu- 



18671 MCCULLOCH'S COMPROMISES 163 

ated by good| though I think mistaken^ motives. The bad 
features of the Radicals may have been softened at times, 
but their violence and strength have not been impaired 
thereby. On the contrary, they have been fortified and 
made more powerful by their success in invading the Ex- 
ecutive, while the Administration has been weakened. It 
has for the time being made matters more easy for the 
Secretary of the Treasury, who has, indeed, a difficult task 
to perform, but eventually these concessions to timid 
men who sustain wrong acts of thek leaders will be dis- 
astrous to the Administration, which has been putting 
its opponents in place, — establishing, as it were, little 
Radical fortifications in almost every Congressional dis- 
trict, to batter us down. They retain and exercise all the 
powers granted them, usurp the powers of the Executive, 
and we yield to them in fear. 

I advised McCulloch to call himself on the President 
and freely conununicate his views. But he seemed to 
think it would be of little avail. I sometimes am inclined 
to believe the President does not so fully appreciate the 
value of McC.'s services as he should, for I think him 
the best financier we have had for years in the Treasury, 
with a difficult part to perform were he supported instead 
of opposed by Congress. If he possessed the firmness and 
political experience of Guthrie, he would be his equal in 
every respect. But he is politically timid and is wanting 
in political tact, persistency, and force. 

In this matter of Sheridan, I told him I could not answer 
the President otherwise than I did when he put the in- 
quiry to us whether Sheridan ought to be detached. There 
is no question in my mind that it would be right to relieve 
the people of Louisiana and Texas of an officer who has so 
little discretion, such infirm judgment in civil matters, 
and who knows so little how to exercise power. The law 
itself is an outrage, a violation of the Constitution, and 
Sheridan outrageously administers it, removing and mak- 
ing api>ointments at will. It cannot be otherwise than he is 



154 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [Aua.s 

secretly backed up and supported by some power, for he 
is accustomed to obey, not to disobey. 

I called on the President, as McC. requested, and had a 
free conversation with him. Said to him that while Sheri- 
dan deserved rebuke and removal, I would not be obstin- 
ate but defer to him. It might, as things were now, be 
impolitic or inexpedient to make the removal; it would 
undoubtedly lead to a violent assault upon him; the con- 
spirators — extreme Radicals — would avail themselves 
of the act to be more vindictive and ferocious, and the 
timid would be more cowed and submissive to them; while 
I had an inherent confidence in the great principles of 
right as the rule of action, there was no doubt it often 
tried the most resolute and required moral courage and 
steady persistency to make the right prevail. 

''What," said the President, ''have I to fear, what to 
gain or lose by keeping this man who delights in opposing 
and counteracting my views in this position? It is said 
that the weak Radicals — the conservative ones — wiU join 
the ultras to impeach me. If Congress can bring them- 
selves to impeach me, because in my judgment a turbulent 
and unfit man should be removed and because I, in 
the honest discharge of my duty to my ooimtry and the 
Constitution, exercise my judgment and remove him, let 
them do it. I shall not shim the trial, and if the people can 
sanction such a proceeding, I shall not lament the loss of 
a position held by such a tenure." 

I remarked that Sheridan was really but a secondary 
personage after all in the business. He would never have 
pimsued the course he has if not prompted and encouraged 
by others to whom he looked, — from whom he recdved 
advice, if not orders. Little would be attained if only he 
were taken in hand. 

The President said there was no doubt of that, and he 
was giving the subject attention. He said he had had a 
long interview with General Grant, ... in which inter- 
view they had gone over these subjectSi but Grant was 



i«7i GRANT GOING OVER 165 

hesitating. He then went to his desk and brought me a 
letter of Grant's, elicited by the conversation which had 
passed between them. Grant deprecated the removal of 
Sheridan, who, he says, possesses immense popularity; 
thinks it is not in the power of the President to remove 
the Secretary of War since the passage of the Teniu«-of- 
Qffice Bill, and that it would be imwise as well as inex- 
pedient to make these movements just when Congress has 
adjourned. 

The letter was not such as I should have at one time 
expected from Grant, — was not discreet, judicious, nor 
excusable even from his standpoint. If not disingenuous, 
he has, without perhaps being aware of it, had his opinions 
warped and modified within a year. I remarked as I 
finished reading the letter, ''Grant is going over." 

"Yes,'* said the President, ''I am aware of it. I have 
no doubt that most of these offensive measures have 
emanated from the War Department." 

"Not only that," said I, '*but almost all the ofl5cers of 
the Army have been insidiously alienated from your sup- 
port by the same influences. If you had been favored with 
an earnest and sincere supporter of your measures in the 
War Department, the condition of affairs in this country 
would this day have been quite different. It is unfortun- 
ate, perhaps, that you did not remove all of the Cabinet 
soon after yom* Administration commenced; certainly 
some who have made it a business to thwart and defeat 
your measures ought to have been changed." 

He assented, with some emotion, to the last remark, 
but expressed a doubt whether he could have got rid of 
Stanton. It would, he said, be impleasant to make the 
attempt and not succeed. He presumed Grant had com- 
municated the conversation which had taken place, and 
that the suggestion came from Stanton himself. 

I doubted if Stanton would persist in holding on as an 
adviser when he understood the President wished him 
away, or he was requested to relinquish his ofi&ce, although 



156 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [ato.3 

it was obvious he was very tenacious of his place, and 
clung to it from personal considerations. Yet I was not 
sure but things had about reached the point when he was 
prepared to leave. He was in close friendship with the 
Radicals who had the control of Congress ; through that fac- 
tion was as much a favorite of the conservatives as of the 
extreme Radicals. Congress having taken the whole gov- 
ernment into its keeping, and he being a favorite, he mig^t 
think it would conduce to his benefit to be dismissed, com- 
piled to leave. They would be dissatisfied to have him 
retire; Seward and Holt would oppose it, and probably 
Grant also now, though he had at one time favored it. 

The conversation on this point closed with his repeating 
the remark he had twice before made, — that he intended 
to bring this matter to a conclusion in a few days. 

The President said he was annoyed by Randall's course. 
He seemed imsettled, anxious to be running about the 
country, leaving his duties to McClellan,^ who was filling 
all the post-offices with Radicals, perhaps with R.'s con- 
fient, certainly without his opposition. Now he comes 
with a request to be absent and to leave the coimtry for 
six weeks. ''I told him," said the President, '4t appeared 
to me no time to be absent, that he was wanted at lus 
post now, if ever." But R. thought he could be absent; 
his wife was abroad; he could, having a free pass, go for 
her without expense; to send for her would cost him six 
himdred dollars. The President repeated to him that 
he thought his duties were here, but he should leave the 
subject with him after what had been said. 

In the matter of Sheridan, I do not get any sufficient 
cause for moving now that has not existed for weeks and 
months. The removal of Throckmorton is following out 
the first step, the removal of Wells. The insulting letter 
has got cold Still I have not a word for Sheridan. 

August 5, Monday. I called on the President this A.M., 

^ Qeoige W. MoQelbm, Seoond Aasifltant Postmaster-General. 



18671 STANTON REQUESTED TO RESIGN 157 

and, after my errand, mentioned that no publication of 
Conover's case had yet been made. He said he had, aftei^ 
consideration, given that matter a different turn. It wa8 
an application for pardon, and he had passed over the 
papers to the Attorney-General, and given it the same 
direction as other applications for pardon. I inquired if 
Stanbery had returned. He said no, but the assistants 
were quite as competent for this case. 

I asked about the Sheridan case, remarking that I was 
glad, as things are, that he was giving the subject de« 
liberate thought. He said he had dropped Sheridan for 
the present and gone to the f oimtain-head of mischief, — 
that he had this morning sent a note to Stanton requesting 
him to resign. ^'It is impossible,'' said he, ''to get along 
with such a man in such a position, and I can stand it 
no longer. Whether he will send in his resignation is un- 
certain. What do you think he wiD do?" 

'^I think he will resign," I replied, ''and not intrude 
himself upon you, and longer embarrass you; yet his 
friends are the ones who have tried to tie your hands." 

"Yes, and he instigated it. He has, I am satisfied, been 
the prolific source of difiKculties. You have alluded to 
this, but I was unwilling to consider it, — to think that 
the man whom I trusted was plotting and intriguing 
against me." 

"Well," said I, "it is better, if you are to act, that this 
coimse should be taken. Sheridan is only a secondary 
man in these matters, and to smite him would only aggra- 
vate and excite, without accomplishing any good beyond 
punishing insolence to you, and wrong to the people over 
whom he has been placed. He has been sustained and 
encouraged by other minds." 

I do not see how Stanton can do otherwise than resign, 
and yet it will not surprise me if he refuses. Should he 
refuse, the President may be embarrassed, for Stanton 
has contrived, I suspect, to get a controlling influence 
over General Grant. Judge Cartter is a creature of Stanton^ 



168 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES iaug.5 

and his court is under subjection to the same influence. 
The President has, against all admonitions and warnings, 
been passive and impenetrable, imtil he is powerless. I do 
not perceive any benefit to himself by removing Stanton 
at this time. One year ago it would have been effective, 
and he would have retained Grant and the Army ; he would 
have had a different Congress; the coimtry was then with 
him, and would have continued so. But the conspirators 
and intriguers have boimd him hand and foot; he has 
permitted his prerogative to be despoiled, the executive 
authority and rights to be circumscribed, until he is weak 
and powerless. 

Stanton may defy him, and shelter himself imder the 
Temure-of-Office Bill, which contains a clause in relation 
to Cabinet-officers, introduced by his friends and for the 
special purpose of retaining him in place. When this sub- 
ject was before the Cabinet, no one more strongly repror 
bated this flagrant abuse or more strongly declared that 
the law was imconstitutional than Stanton. He protested 
with ostentatious vehemence that any man who would 
retain his seat in the Cabinet as an adviser when his advice 
was not wanted was unfit for the place. He would not^ 
he said, remain a moment. I remember his protestations, 
for I recollected at the time he had been treacherous and 
faithless to Buchanan. I knew, moreover, he had since 
as well as then betrayed Cabinet secrets. 

Atigust 6. Before the session of the Cabinet commenced 
this morning, the President invited me into the library and 
informed me that he had a note from Stanton refusing to 
resign. I was a good deal astonished, though since yester- 
day my doubts in regard to his coiu'se have increased. His 
profuse expressions of readiness to resign, declarations 
that any gentleman would decline to remain an intruder, 
etc., etc., when the Tenure-of-Office Bill was under con- 
sideration were mere pretenses to cover his intrigues. 
The President had requested Seward, Stanton, and myself 




EDWIN M. STANTON 



18671 STA1«:0N'S TENURE 159 

• 

to prepare a veto on that bill. Neither of them consulted 
me farther than to send to me for mformation concemmg 
the debates. 

The President asked if he had better communicate the 
oorrespondence to the Cabinet at this time. I advised it 
by all means. 

All the Cabinet except Stanbery were present. When the 
correspondence was read a good deal of surprise was mani- 
festedi and felt, not only with the invitation but the re- 
fusal. Stanton did not attend, and considers himself, it 
would seem, not of the Cabinet. 

Seward immediately inquired when Stanbery would be 
back. The Tenure-of-Office Bill was examined and com* 
mented upon. Doubts were expressed whether the Pre- 
ffldent could remove a Cabinet-officer. Seward thought 
it indispensable that Stanbery should be here. It was a 
question of law, and the law officer was the proper person 
to expoimd it. 

The President seemed embarrassed how to act. As the 
law is, in the opinion of the whole Cabinet, including 
the Attorney-General, imconstitutional, I said this was a 
political as well as a legal question ; that the Chief Magis- 
trate could select and remove his advisers; that the legis- 
lative department could not take away the constitutional 
rights of the Executive ; that the power of removal belonged 
to the President of right; that there has been too much 
concession to legislative usurpations. I do not consider 
that the President is under obligations to be an instru- 
ment in these violations of the Constitution, — to cripple 
the executive department by a fragment of Congress. 

After an hour and more of discussion, the subject was 
postponed, and the Conover subject taken up. The Act- 
ing Attorney-General had embodied into a report, or 
opinion, the petitions of Conover, alias Dunham, the 
notes, etc. This it was thought ought to be printed at 
once. 
^ McCulloch came to see me this evening. He is a good 



160 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [avq. 6 

deal disturbed. Laments that the President had not taken 
this step in regard to Stanton at least a year ago. Thinks 
it now too late to do any good, and fears Stanton, aided 
by the Radicals, will make successful war and overcome 
the President. Much will depend on the President him- 
self, and he would come to right conclusions and carry 
them out but for Seward, who is bewildered and has not 
Weed here to ad\dse him. If he listens to Seward, who has 
been taken by surprise, all will be frittered away, no de- 
cisive stand will be taken and held, but the honest purpose 
of the President will be defeated. Stanton, assisted by the 
Radicals in Congress, has been active in preparing himself 
for this event by crippling the President on every hand 
and in every way and by fortifying himself. He has got 
Grant and other army oflScers. He has got the court in 
this District. Judge Cartter, I am told, spent an hour or 
two with Stanton after he received the Resident's note, 
in the War Department. He is a coarse, vulgar Radical 
in the hands of Stanton; has complete control of his 
associate Fisher. Olin and Wiley are different men, but 
I know not how they would act at this time. 

Av,gu8t 7. Nothing new has developed to-day. The 
Conover matter is not published, nor has anything been 
done with the Secretary of War. The present idea of the 
President is to suspend Stanton and order General Grant 
to take charge ad interim, but though Grant was willing 
and earnest when proposed a year ago, he would, I think, 
be reluctant now. I know not how he would disobey. Not 
imlikely Seward will try to patch up some sort of arrange- 
ment to gratify and soothe Stanton. 

Herein is the President's danger. His strength, power, 
energy, and force are destroyed by Seward. He can do 
nothing to extricate himself while Seward has a directing 
influence. Stanbery, influenced by Seward, takes also a 
narrow view of things. 

My own advice would have been, had the Presidwit 



18671 A LOST OPPORTUNITY 161 

asked it, not to have executed the imcoDstitutional Be- 
coDstruction law, — to have assigned no military conv- 
manders to govern States in time of peace. If for this 
they attempted an impeachment, or sought by party drill 
to carry the unconstitutional law into effect, I would have 
gone to the people, appealed to them to uphold the Govern*- 
ment and the Constitution, to stand by the Executive. 
It would hardly do for me, unasked, to suggest these 
tilings, to advise the President to offer himself a sacri- 
fice, yet I wished it, — wished I could have been in his 
place in that emergency. It would have been a glorious 
privil^e to have seized the horns of the altar, planted 
one's self on the Constitution, rallied the patriotism of the 
nation, immolated himself, if necessary, in defending 
the Government of his coimtry and the integrity of the 
Union. But before asking the several opinions of his Cab- 
inet, he announced that he should execute the law, and 
I saw it was under the advice of Seward, Stanbery, and 
Stanton, — for Stanton was then a busy counselor, di- 
rectly and indirectly, through Seward, in all measures, 
msidiously working to destroy the power and influence 
of the President while professing friendship. 

The President informs me that the Conover matter 
will be published and appear on Saturday. I saw Gobright, 
the general correspondent of the Associated Press, in the 
Secretary of State's rooms, and presume Seward has suc- 
ceeded in procuring the document, which is quite long, to 
be sent forward to New York to appear simultaneously 
with its publication here. This was unnecessary, for these 
papers would readily have copied it. Now the whole thing 
will have something of the appearance of having been 
gotten up for effect, which is not true. Things may be 
overdone. 

I met Randall at the coxmcil room. While waiting for 
the President, I spoke to him concerning certain changes, 
loudly called for, and which he had promised should be 
made, in a few post-ofBces. He said Dixon was urging 

3 



162 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [Aua. 7 

him to turn out some good men, friends of the President. 
I asked if he knew this to be so, — if he were acquainted 
with the facts and men personally. He said he knew 
they gave money freely for the organization. I inquired 
when and what organization. Did they assist in electing 
Oovemor English, and Hotchkiss Member of Congress, or 
did they oppose both? He confessed he did not know about 
that, which I told him was important, if support of the 
Administration was to be considered. I had no doubt that 
some changes should be made, as Dixon recommended, for 
other than party reasons. I saw that he did not like my 
comments, and he soon went out. Before leaving, he told 
me his wife was sick, and he thought he should have to 
cross the Atlantic for her, and it would be best for the 
President to fill his place. This was said half-slyly, half- 
earnestly, and satisfies me that he is shaky. I have been 
for some time convinced there is foundation in the rumor 
that his confirmation was received by pledges to Radical 
Senators, who do not like Dixon and would not strengthoi 
him by appointments at home. 

August 9. Stanton's course and what is to be done with 
him were discussed. Seward is extremely anxious to get 
the opinion of the Attomey-Oeneral, who is absent, 
before coming to any conclusion. Some one remarked that 
it was reported one of Mr. Lincoln's Cabinet, and who is 
now of Mr. Johnson's, sympathized with Stanton, and 
might resign if he did. I told them I had not heard the 
rumor, but they were at Uberty to say to any one and to 
all that I was not the man to leave the Cabinet for that 
reason, but if the President ever invited me, I should not 
decline his invitation to leave. 

The debates in the Senate on the Tenure-of-OflSice Bill 
and Senator Sherman's strong declarations were quoted. 
I remarked that they were not stronger than the declarar 
tions of Stanton himself to us at this board, as they would 
all remember. He had, with Mr. Seward, prepared the veto 



18671 THURLOW WEED'S ATTACK ON CHASE 163 

on the Tenure-of-Office Bill, but that was much milder 
than his declarations of the unconstitutionality as well as 
impolicy of that bill. 

Seward said but little, and Randall was reserved. 
Perhaps there was no reason to sharpen my suspicion; 
but it is evident they are not forward in the measure or in 
efforts to encourage the President. The removal of Stan- 
ton was undoubtedly a surprise and disappointment to 
Seward, who has sustained him. 

Weed has been making some more assaults on Chief 
Justice Chase, accusing him of getting rich while Secre- 
tary of the Treasury. I have heard these charges before. 
There were some strange proceedings in granting permits, 
and Chase had in Harrington and some others strange 
associates; but this charge, at this time, is, I have little 
doubt, in concert with Seward, who has been to Auburn 
and met Weed there. I am aware of no reason to suspect 
Chase of adding to his fortune after entering the Treasury. 
Weed has, I know, become wealthy since 1861. 

Things have taken a turn which disappoints both 
Seward and Weed. Seward has thought of fishing for the 
Presidency and supposes Chase one of the obstacles. 
Neither of them stands any more chance of reaching the 
Presidency than of being created Sultan of Turkey. After 
the others had gone out, I had half an hour with the Pre- 
sident, who requested me to stay. Advised him to remove 
Holt with Stanton. It would be more effective and proper 
to remove the two together. I looked upon both as con- 
spirators, as having contributed more than any others 
to the embarrassments of the Administration. They had 
each a personal interest in preventing a restoration of the 
Union, for, having been associated in Buchanan's Cabinet, 
where one played, to say the least, an equivocal, and the 
other a treacherous, game towards the South, they dread 
a reconciled Union. 

I suggested that the time was not inauspicious to strike 
an effective blow against Radical usurpations. The delay 



164 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [Aua© 

had, it was true, matured the plots, schemes, and intrigueB 
of the conspirators, by which the South was prostrated 
and the whole coimtry had become demoralized. But he 
could now in a measure rouse the South and the better 
portion of the country, and to some extent retrieve past 
error, by sweeping out the whole batch of generals who were 
governing the States of the South in violation of the Con« 
stitution and had made themselves part of the usurping 
conspiracy. There is a deliberate conspiracy to subject 
the executive department to the legislative. Congress 
has, in defiance of the Constitution, passed a law which 
is subversive of the States and the Federal Government, 
and they have designated the President as the instrument 
to destroy the Constitution which he has sworn to defend. 
Why consent to be that illegal instrument? He had en- 
deavored to carry out the Reconstruction Act under the 
theory of the Attorney-General, whose construction of 
the law was that the military were a mere police force, 
subordinate to the civil authorities, or to act codperat- 
ively with them; but since Congress, at its late session, 
had placed the military above the civil power, virtually 
assailed the State Governments, and openly trampled on 
the Constitution, he would be justified in refusing to be 
their instrument or to take part in that outrage. 

They might in this Radical House, imder their gag rules, 
prefer articles of impeachment; possibly the Senate 
might, in its partisan violence convict, but I doubted it. 
At all events, the great questions, involving the welfare 
of the government and the preservation of the principles 
on which it was foimded, would be fully discussed, public 
attention would be drawn to the subject, and the danger 
understood. At present, the people seem dull, passive, 
and indifferent to what so nearly concerns them. At the 
worst he would be sacrificed for adhering with fidelity 
to the Constitution, but his historic record would be worth 
more than any ofiSce. If his appeal to the coimtry could 
not be responded to until there was an election, he need 



- - "■'' 



im F. BLAIR FOR SECRETARY OF WAR 165 

have no fear of the verdict which his countrsmtien would 
ultimately render. 

The President listened to me attentively, earnestly, 
occasionally intemiptmg me with afiSrming exclamations, 
and with expressions of contempt at impeachment threats. 

I suggested the appointment of one of the Blairs to be 
Secretary of War. Seward, Thurlow Weed, and his tribe 
hated and had abused the Blairs and tried to get up a 
prejudice against them, but they were bold, fearless, 
honest men whom Stanton feared. Were Frank Blair 
appointed, Stanton, who, though a blusterer, is a coward, 
would fly out of one door as Frank entered at the othar. 
The President laughed and cordially assented. 

August 10, Saturday. Gave the President some papers 
left with me by Doctor Duhamel ^ and Captain Chandler 
concerning Conover, alias Dunham. The Intelligencer 
this A.M. contains the report of Assistant Attorney- 
G^ieral Binckley and documents referred to him in that 
case. 

Talked with the President about the case, and also 
the course of Stanton. Again repeated my wish that he 
would not permit himself to be made an instrument to 
break down the Constitution and destroy the character 
of the government. If for this Congress would impeach, 
let them. But in order to meet this question he would 
need a new Secretary of War, one who is reliable and true. 
"Who," asked the President, ^'is the man?" He read to 
me a telegram from Senator Dixon, advising the removal 
of Stanton forthwith, and the appointment of Steedman. 
I asked if Steedman was better than Frank Blair. He 
answered no, but hesitated, and looked inquiringly at me. 
I comprehended his meaning and admitted there is a pre- 
judice against the Blairs, created in a great degree by 
Seward's man Weed, in which others of that school had 

^ Doctor William Duhamel, chief physician in the United States prison 
to the District of Columbia. 



■JJ^mkt •'-  



166 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [aug.io 

joined and prejudiced the country. "But is it for you or 
me, to listen to, or be influenced by, this prejudice and 
injustice? Have you better, more reliable, and, in the 
main, more intelligent and trusty friends than the Blairs? 
True, they are party politicians, but they are politicians 
in the higher sense also." He said they were among the 
best and most sensible men in the country. "Then," said 
I, "they should not be dropped to gratify their enemies, 
who are not your sincere friends. I do not mean to press 
any one for the Cabinet, — no one should. The selection 
should be yours entirely, — men in whom you have con- 
fidence, — and the dismissal of any one diould also be 
the President's own act." 

"Where is Frank at this time?" he inquired. But I 
could not tell him, though I informed him it could be 
ascertained with little difficulty, for Montgomery had 
returned from Virginia for a few days. 

The President said he would send for Montgomery, and 
began writing a note, when I told him I would do the op- 
rand. He might not be at his house, and it would be neces- 
sary in that event to look him up. He thanked me and 
wished me to find Montgomery and invite him to call at 
the White House. I went immediately to Blair's house; 
he was, fortimately, in and his father also. I told M, 
the President wanted to see him, and advised him to go 
directly, but did not disclose his purpose. 

Later in the day, I saw M., who told me he had the 
interview but nothing definite had taken place. The con- 
versation had been prolonged, and he, M., had been 
frank and free in his remarks. He says the President is 
intensely ambitious and all his thou^ts are bent on a 
nomination and election; that Seward, having the same 
object in view for himself, was using the President, and 
creating enmity between him (the President) and General 
Grant. 

The trial of Surratt terminated to-day, having been 
in hand about two months. The jury did not agree. This 



18671 THE JOHN H. SURRATT CASE 167 

was expected. I have not read all the evidence. That 
Surratt was m the conspiracy to kidnap I have always 
bdieved, but I have had the impression that when the con- 
clusion was to kill, he flinched, and his mother favored his 
absence, in order that he should not be under the influence 
of Booth. But this may be all a mistake on my part. 

The judge was disgracefully partial and unjust, I thought, 
and his charge highly improper. The senior Bradley ^ 
was irascible, violent, and indiscreet, — some difficulty 
brought him and the judge in collision almost, — and th6 
judge, at the conclusion of the trial, ordered his name 
stricken from the roll of attorneys, an arbitrary act. 

August 11, Sunday. Saw the President this fm. He 
tells me he has seen General Grant and had a pleasant, 
aodal, and friendly interview. They had come to a mutual 
understanding. The President wished to know if there 
was any aUenation, or substantial difference, between 
them. Grant replied there was not, except that he had 
not last fall concurred in the President's opposition to the 
Constitutional Amendment. 

The President assured him that Stanton must leave 
the War Department, and he desired him, od interim^ to 
discharge the duties. Grant said if Stanton's removal was 
decided upon he had nothing further to say on that point. 
As regarded himself, he always obeyed orders. He seemed 
pleased with the proposed arrangement and withdrew. 

The President thinks he had better suspend Stanton 
without reference to the Teniue-of-Office Bill, and he 
perhaps is right under the existing embarrassments. He 
seemed anxious to have me satisfied on that point, and 
we talked over the whole subject in detail. I expressed 
a beUef that it would strengthen the Executive were both 
Stanton and Holt to retire, for they have been willful, 
intriguing mischief-makers, and sectional exclusionists — 

^ Joeeph H.Bradley, senior oounael for Sanratt. His associates were R. T. 
Merrick and Joseph H. Bradley, Jr. ^' 



^-_i ■_ _ 



168 DIARY OP GIDEON WELLES [Aira. u 

really disunionists — from the time ihe R^Is surrendered; 
Their study has been to produce hate and alienation, 
and beyond others they have prompted the violent Rad* 
icals, — conspired with them. 

In talking of Stanton's course, the President expressed 
a derire that the fact that Stanton with Seward prepared 
the veto of the Tenure-of-Offioe Bill should be made pub- 
IiC| and also Stanton's emphatic remarks against that bill, 
its principles, and its unconstitutionality. This desire he 
has before expressed. 

McCulloch tells me he well remembers Stanton's op- 
position to the bill and that he quoted Buchanan. 

AiigtLst 12, Monday. Montgomery Blair called on me 
this morning and desired me to prociue an interview with 
the President for his father. I assented, though just at this 
time, and with the President's^peculiar temperament, it is 
a Uttle embarrassing and will likely cause comment. 

The President consented to receive Mr. B. at any time* 
He showed me the letters which he had prepared to Stan« 
ton, and also to Grant. They were decisive and proper. 
He said the question should be closed to-day. In oiur 
interview yest^day , he told me that Bingham ^ had called 
on him, very pleasant aild friendly. Said he had, however, 
some of the facts of Conover's disclosures six weeks ago; 
that Matchett ' was a suspicious fellow; doubted if much 
could be made of him. The whole of Bingham's talk was 
singular, and the President said he believed in his heart 
the fellow was sent by Seward to soften away the disclos- 
ures made. He expressed himself emphatically against 
S. as a weak, unsafe man, etc., etc. 

Before leaving him this morning, Mr. Seward and Gen- 
eral Rousseau came in with the instructions in regard to 

^ John A. Bingham, Member of Congress from C^o, previously a special 
judge-advocate in the trial of the Lincoln conspirators. 

* Rev. D. F. Matchett, who,iteeotding to Conover, was Ashley's "man 
Friday'' in the negotiations. . f 



M67] GRANT ACTING SECRETARY OP WAR 169 

the duties of General Rousseau as Cominissioner in effect- 
ing the transfer of the Russian territory. They wished me 
to remain, but after a little talk it was concluded best that 
the Secretary of the Treasury and General Grant should 
also be present, and we left, agreeing to come together 
at 1 P.M. 

After the consultation with those gentlemen, and 
Seward and General Grant had withdrawn, the President 
handed me Stanton's letter. He is furious, blustering, 
denying the President's authority to act without the 
consent of the Senate, but as General Grant had accepted, 
he had withdrawn with a protest. 

August 13, Tuesday. General Grant attended the Cab- 
inet-meeting, also Assistant Attorney-General Binckley. 
I can perceive that Grant is not at all displeased with hid 
new position; on the contrary there is self-satisfaction 
very obvious. Stanton is disappointed in him; I doubt 
his sincerity to the President. He is braced up, I per- 
ceive, and committed to the unconstitutional law of Re- 
construction, has been persuaded it is his duty, and feels 
that he must stand by the military governors. All this 
does not disappoint me. He will be likely, however, though 
not very intelligent on civil matters, to exercise some 
common sense, which will modify action; at all events, 
being a soldier, he will not foment Radical intrigues. 

I am at a loss as to the policy of the President, and have 
some doubts if he has finally determined in his own mind 
what it shall be. On some minor questions that came up 
to-day. Grant was very prompt to express an opinion that 
the law must be executed. If, said I, the law is palpably 
unconstitutional and destructive of the government 
and of the Constitution itself, and if a part of that law 
makes the President the instrument to destroy the Con- 
stitution, which he has sworn to protect, how is he to act? 
"Who," said Grant, "is to decide whether the law is 
unconstitutional?" I replied that X had said ^^ palpably 



170 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [aitg. 18 

unconstitutional/' and I answered by saying the Execu- 
tive is as distinct and independent a department of the 
government as Congress, and if compelled to act, he must 
decide for himself on so grave a matter whether he will 
permit himself to be coerced into a conspiracy against 
the Constitution. 

Here the subject dropped. An order of General Sickles, 
prohibiting civil process in his military department has 
been construed by some of his subordinates to authorize 
them to interpose and prevent the United States Marshal 
from discharging his duty. Sickles has been written to, 
to explain his order, but f^dls to answer. Grant said, clearly 
he had no authority to do this, and he would immediately 
instruct him on the subject. He accordingly wrote the 
substance of a dispatch, which he read, but, it being a 
little rough, said he would complete it at the Depart- 
ment. Sickles has no more power to prevent civil processes 
in the State Courts than in the United States Courts. 

Mr. Seward handed a communication from Mr. Riddle, 
implicated in the Conover matter, to the Assistant Attor- 
ney-General for him to file or dispose of as he thought 
best. He said Mr. R. wished to have it published or to 
publish it himself, and the Attomey-Gteneral could do 
what he pleased. I inquired why such a paper should be 
brought here? Mr. R. could, if he pleased, publish any docu- 
ment, without asking permission of the Administration. 

Seward was disconcerted, — told how he did with papers 
and acted queerly. The President and most of the Cabinet 
thought the paper out of place. Seward was persistent, 
and the President ordered the paper read. This, I saw, 
annoyed S. still more. It was a curious document in some 
respects, and disclosed the fact that R. had been employed 
by Seward to hunt up, or manufacture, testimony against 
Surratt. Why the State Department should busy itself 
in that prosecution is not clear. Riddle, in this letter, 
says he never saw Conover but twice, that Conover never 
gave him the name of a single witness, never furnished 



isen HOLTS REMOVAL CONSmERED 171 

a solitary fact. Why, then, did Riddle apply to the Pre^ 
sident for a pardon for C, and base his application on the 
ground of service rendered in the Surratt trial? 

The President expressed to me a wish that the state- 
ment of a correspondent of the Cincinnati Gazette, who 
proposes to give details of a Cabinet-meeting when Stan- 
bery's exposition was under consideration, might be cor- 
rected. I and others were misrepresented and misstated* 
He also repeated a wish, often made, that the fact that 
Stanton prepared, with Seward, the veto message on the 
Civil Tenure-of-Ofl5ce Bill might be made pubUc. I ad- 
vised that he had only to indicate his wish, or direct 
publication, and it would be made. 

August 14. The President called my attention to the 
different laws creating the office of Judge-Advocate- 
General and the Bureau of Military Justice, with a view 
to the removal of Holt. I remarked that both Holt and 
Stanton had early anticipated their probable removal, and 
each had endeavored to fortify himself in place by special 
l^slation. That, in my view, Congress had not the 
constitutional power to make public officers independent 
of the Executive. The Constitution had specified what 
officers should be independent, viz., the judges, but all 
other officers held their places at the will of the President. 
To make them otherwise would be to make a multiplicity 
of executives, each independent of the other. But the 
President was, by the organic law which controlled the 
different departments of the Government, made respons- 
ible for the due execution of the laws, and he could not 
be held to that responsibility if his subordinates and agents 
were independent of him. 

The President apparently acquiesced in this, but I per- 
ceive he hesitates about acting on that principle, which 
will bring him in conflict with the Radicals in Congress, 
and seeks, therefore, some other method of getting rid of 
an obnoxious officer, who, he is satisfied, is conspiring, 



172 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [ato. 14 

intriguing, and using his official position to injure the Ex- 
ecutive and weaken his influence and authority. This 
reluctance to act in defense of a high and undoubted con- 
stitutional right is weakness and impairs his strength. 
If Congress were disposed to impeach him for maintaining 
the prerogative of the Executive, let them do so, or try to 
do so. These Ck)ngressional usurpations must be stopped, 
or the government will undergo a radical and fatal change. 

August 16, Friday. At the close of the Cabinet session 
to-day, Mr. Binckley, the Acting Attorney-General, sub- 
mitted a copy of the New York Times of yesterday, con- 
taining a statement and sundry affidavits of parties who 
swear they have been bribed or suborned by Roger Pryor, 
Ben Wood, and others, to destroy the character of Holt. 
These affidavits, it is said, are filed in the office of the At- 
torney-General or War Department and office of Military 
Justice. 

General Grant hastened at once to oppose any call on 
Judge Holt for either an avowal or disclaimer of any such 
files as Mr. B. requested. He said no head of a Department 
could know all the papers which were filed in his. He knew 
of no such files in the War Department. B. explained that 
this was not the point, — he had furnished a statement 
in which he declared that all the papers in the Attomey- 
GeneraPs office relating to that subject were product 
Here was an attempt to impugn him and his veracity. 

Seward attempted to enlighten the subject, but only 
confused it. He saw, as all did, that Grant was imusually 
earnest, without fully understanding B.'s object of tracing 
these documents to the Bureau of Military Justice. 

I proposed that an inquiry should be first made to 
ascertain whether the papers were in Judge Holt's office 
before proceeding farther. This did not suit B., who 
said Holt would abstract papers were he not instantly 
removed. " Suppose," said I, " that on inquiry it is ascer- 
tained there are really nonsuch papers in any office or. 



18071 STANTON'S DISMISSAL 173 



bureauy — that the whole is a fiction, got up by the news- 
paper correspondents or other mischievous persons." - 

This suggestion seemed to strike Grant favorably, and 
all fell in with it except B., who said he had no doubt 
where the originals were, and as little doubt that others 
could be manufactured or abstracted, as Holt felt would 
be for his interest. 

Browning read a letter from Stanbery, received this 
A.M., expressing gratification with what had been done 
mth Stanton, which should, however, he says, be soon 
followed by removal. This is sensible and positive. I like 
it. 

August 17, Saturday. The dismissal, or suspension, of 
Stanton creates no commotion. None but certain Radical 
politicians regret his expulsion. The President seemed suiv 
prised that so few cared about him. One would have sup- 
posed from the Radical press that an earthquake would 
follow Stanton's retirement, and he undoubtedly expected 
a sensation. The truth is that Stanton, whose manner is 
brusque and ways subtle, is generally disliked by the best 
men of the Army, — is hated and detested by many of 
them. The people have little regard for him anywhere. 
Certain conspiring politicians, in Congress and out of it, 
with Forney and a few others connected with the press, 
have puffed and extolled their coadjutor in the Cabinet 
to give him power and influence. With his accustomed 
duplicity he has managed to deceive both the extreme and 
conservative Radicals, the latter especially. Fessenden, 
in particular, has been his dupe. Horace Greeley, so 
often misled, for a wonder has for some time past appeared 
to have a Uttle insight into Stanton's true character, but 
whether it was from sagacity as regards the man, or from 
opposition to Weed, who, as well as Seward, is devoted 
to Stanton, I am not able to' say. Ptobably the latter. 
The President has been made to believe that the removal 
of Stanton would break down his Administration. 



174 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [Auaio 

Atigiist 19, Monday. A long letter from Viceroy Gen- 
eral Pope to Grant shows the progress of despotism. 
If men will neither talk, write, nor think different from 
Pope and the Radicals, he is suie all will go on well in 
Reconstruction as Congress wishes. But there are certain 
"pestilent fellows" who will not hold their tongues, and 
"banishment" seems to be Pope's remedy in their case. 
Get all who differ from him out of the way, and all will 
go well enough. 

The affidavits which have been published implicating 
Pryor and Ben Wood are undoubtedly false and fraud* 
ulent. Whether gotten up by Holt himself, or by some 
one in his interest, is not yet ascertained. Holt publishes 
an adroitly worded letter, which, in its cunning, discloses 
the rogue, and leaves little doubt who is the real originator 
of these fraudulent affidavits. 

August 20, Tuesday. The President showed me the 
correspondence between himself and Grant relative to the 
removal of Sheridan. Grant objects to the removal, — * 
thinks it contrary to the wishes of the American people. 
The President responds, compliments the soldierly quali- 
ties of Sheridan, but thinks he has not the calm judgment, 
civil qualities, and ability of General Thomas for such k 
position, and as to the wishes of the people, he is not 
aware that they have been expressed. 

There is no doubt but Uiat the Radical politicians will 
bellow loud over the removal of Sheridan, whose fighting 
qualities and services are great. Their editors and speakers 
have imdertaken to control the course of the Government 
as regards Sheridan, and Grant, if not a participant with, 
has been led away by, them. Undoubtedly many people 
have read the papers and come to the conclusion that tiiie 
President could not — dared not — remove Sheridan, and 
his insubordinate and rash conduct has been commended 
for its ability. 

General Grant has, not without reason, personal regaid 



1867] THE REMOVAL OF SHERIDAN 176 



for Sheridan, though the judgment and administrative 
qualities of this cavahy officer. Grant does not, or did 
not, think of a high order. But the successes of Sheridan^s 
government, the hurrahs and applause with which his 
arbitrary and violent conduct have been received by the 
boisterous Radical press, have made Grant doubt whether, 
after all, Sheridan has not greater capacity and executive 
abUity than he supposed.^ 

The decision and promptitude of Sheridan, even thou^ 
wrong, have made him strong with the people, who love 
bold and resolute acticua. Were the President to display 
more of these qualities, he would be more popular, but 
he is accused of rashness when he delays. On the whole, 
I think the President appears to advantage in this cor« 

1 At a later period I became satisfied that Sheridan had been secretly 
prompted and influenced by Grant in his reprehensible course in New 
Orieans and Texas. Most of the vicerosra, or military governors, had secret 
telegrams, or oral instructions from the General-in-Chief, who was in coUu^ 
aon with Stanton (whom, however, he disliked) and the chief Radical con- 
qnrators. In all this period. Grant with great duplicity and vulgar cunning 
fuooeeded in deceiving not only the President but the rest of us. Sheridan 
wa8 flattered by the confidential communications, and encouraged in his 
faiaolenoe and insubordination towards the President by his superior officer, 
who had become enlisted in the conspiracy against the Chief Magistrate; 
Grant until the fall of 1866 was a decided and avowed supporter of the 
Administration and of the Lincoln-Johnson policy of . reestablishing the 
Union, but, flattered by attention, he began to have aspirations for poUtical 
promotion, with very little political intelligence and no political experience. 
Some men of both parties, though aware of his incapacity and unfitness for 
the performance of civil duties, thought his military ^clat might make him 
avaflable as a candidate for President. Sensible men who came in contact 
with him were aware that he was destitute of all aptitude and experience 
to qualify him for the position, and declined committing themselves to the 
Intrigue for his elevation. But the Radical conspirators were desperate, and 
in the belief that they could mould him to their wishes and views, his ignor- 
ance of and indifference to political and civil affairs made him more accept* 
able. Grant, however, hesitated for some time before he openly deserted the 
Administration, and contrived, even after he was secretly acting in concert 
with the Radicals to deceive and beguile the President, to receive his 
confidence and office at his hands. It was at this period, and while the Pre- 
sident was in daily communication with him, advising with him as freely as 
any of the Cabinet, that Grant was writing secretly to Sheridan and to the 
viceroy generals, counteracting the measures of Administration. — G« W. 



176 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES lAXxa.w 

respondence; because it displays energy as well as correct 
intentions. The removal of Sheridan will break no bones; 
had it been earlier done it would have been more popular. 
He ought never to have been detailed to command that 
department and govern those States in the first placBi 
buty having been detailed, should have been removed on 
the first exhibition of his unfitness. Sickles should also 
have been cleared out some time since. The President 
showed me after the Cabinet adjourned an impertinent 
and presuming letter from King Sickles, who insists on 
obstructing the Federal Courts and setting them at defi- 
ance, because if he and the other four viceroys, or little 
monarchs, cannot set the courts aside, the courts will set 
the little monarchs aside. I advised the President to 
make short work with King Sickles. , i 

Augvst 22, Thursday. Had this a.m. an hour's convert 
sation or more with General Grant. It was the first time 
I had met him in the War Department since he entered 
upon the duties of Secretary, and I congratulated him on 
his new position. He thought he ought to decline receiving 
congratulations on that account, but they were obviously 
acceptable. I begged to differ from him and inquired why 
he should decline congratulations on a change which had 
been so well and favorably received by the whole country. 
** Well,'' he said, '' I do not know about that ; these changes 
that are going on, striking down men who have been faith* 
ful through the War, I do not like." ''So far as the War 
Department is concerned," said I, ''the coimtry on all 
hands believe that as good and faithful a War man is in 
the place as we have had at any time." He disclaimed 
alluding to that change. "If," said I, "you have Sheridan 
and Thomas in your mind, there is no denying that Thomas 
is in every respect as good a War man, with better ad- 
ministrative powers than Sheridan, whom I would by no 
means disparage." 
^^ Wiih this opening, we went into a general discussioii 



18671 CONVH^A^nON WITH ORANT 177 

of the condition of the oonntry and the affairs of the 
Govenunent. It pained me to see how Uttle he understood 
of the fundamental principles and structure of our Govern* 
m^mti and of the Constitution itself. On the subject of 
differences between the President and Congress, and the 
attempt to subject the people to military rule, there were, 
he said, in Congress, fifty at least of the first lawyers of 
the country who had voted for the Reconstruction law, 
and were not, he asked, the combined wisdom and talent 
of those fifty to have more weight than Mr. Johnson, 
who was only one to fifty? Congress had enacted this 
law, and was not the President compelled to carry it into 
execution ? Was not Congress superior to the President? 
If the law was unconstitutional, the judges alone could 
decide the question. The President must submit and obey 
Congress until the Supreme Court set the law aside. 

I asked him if Congress could exercise powers not grant- 
ed, powers that the States, which made the Constitution, 
had expressly reserved. He thought Congress might pass 
any law, and the President and all others must obey and 
mipport it until the Supreme Court declared it imconsti- 
tutional. 

; ''You do not mean to say. General, that Congress may 
set aside and disregard all limitations, all barriers that are 
erected to guide and control their action?'^ He did not 
know who could question their acts and laws until they 
came before the Court. 

''The Constitution," said I, "presoibed that the Pre- 
adent and Senate shall appoint ministers, consuls, etc., 
but Congress may, by law, confer inferior appointments 
on judges, heads of Departments, or on the President 
alone; but it nowhere authorizes Congress to confer on 
generals the appointing power.'' 

"It authorizes Congress to confer appointments, you 
say, on the heads of Departments. Are not those districts 
under General Sickles and oUier generals Departments? '' 
said Grant. ^ 

- 8 



178 DIARt OP GIDEON WELLES [Aua. 23 

"Not in the meaning of the CJonstitution," said I, 
"and you can hardly be serious in supposing the provision 
of the Constitution alluded to, had reference to military 
districts, or any particular territory parceled out and called 
Departments." 

He did not know, he said, he was not prepared to say 
about that. The will of the people is the law in this 
coimtry, and the representatives of the people made the 
laws. 

"The Constitution gives the pardoning power to the 
Executive. Do you suppose that Congress can usurp that 
power, and take it from the President, where the Constitu- 
tion placed it?" 

To this he replied that President Johnson once re- 
marked in the Senate, in regard to talk about the Consti- 
tution, that it was well to spot the men who talked about 
it. It was, he said, just before the War, when the Seces- 
sionists talked about the Constitution. 

"The remark," said I, "was opportune, and well put 
at the men and the times. The Secessionists claimed, and 
many of them honestly believed, that their States had the 
right to secede, — that there was no constitutional power to 
prevent them. So feeling and so believing, they searched 
the Constitution and appealed to it for any prohibition 
against secession. The appeal was absurd, according to 
your and my views, because the Constitution would not 
and could not have a clause empowering a fragment, a 
dingle State, to destroy it. Secession was a delusion which 
had its run, yet the men were generally scrupulous to 
observe in other respects the organic law, and, while 
meditating and preparing for the overthrow of the Govern- 
ment, their persistent appeals to the Constitution pro- 
voked the reniark of Mr. Jc^nson to which you allude. 
While, however, the Secessioiiists professed to, and gen- 
erally did, regard the Constitution, the Radicals openly 
trample upon it, and many express their contempt for it. 
The Secessionists claimed that they violated no principle- 






1S67I CONVERSATION WITH GRANT 179 

or power or limitation in their act of secession. The Rad- 
icals do not claim, or pretend, to regard any principle 
or power or limitation of the Constitution when they 
establish military governments'[over States of the South 
and exclude them from their rights. When President John- 
son made his remark, it was to contrast their appeals to the 
Constitution in all other respects, while Secession itself 
was destructive of the Constitution which they held in 
reverent regard." 

"Would you,'* said he, "allow the Rebels to vote and 
take the government of their States into their own hands?" 
I replied that I knew not who were to take the govern- 
ment of those States in hand but the intelligent people of 
the States respectively to whom it rightfully belonged. 
The majority must govern in each and every State in all 
their local and reserved rights; other sections are not to 
govern them. A majority of the voters — and they de- 
cide for themselves who shall be voters — is the basis of 
free government. This is our system. Georgia must make 
her own laws, her own constitution, subject to the Con- 
stitution of the United States, not to the whim or will 
of Congress. Massachusetts has no power to prescribe 
the form of government of Georgia, or to govern the people 
of that State as a State. Nor is Georgia to give govern- 
ment to Massachusetts. 

Grant said he was not prepared to admit this doctrine ; it 
was something of the old State-Rights doctrine, and he did 
not go to the full extent of that doctrine. He looked upon 
Georgia and the other States South as Territories, like 
Montana and other Territories. They had rebelled, been 
conquered, and were to be reconstructed and admitted 
into the Union when we felt that we could trust them. It 
was for Congress to say who should vote, and who should 
not vote in the seceding States as well as in a Territory, 
and to direct when and how these States should again be 
admitted. 

That I told him was not only a virtual dissolution of 




180 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES lAva.29 

the Union, but an abandonment of our republican federal 
system. It was establishing a central power, which could 
control and destroy the States, — a power above and 
beyond the Constitution, and I trusted he was not pre- 
pared to go that length, but if he was, I hoped he would 
avow it. For my part I clung to the old system, the Con- 
stitution and the Union, and favored no Radical theories 
of central power. 

"Well," he said, he did not believe we could either con- 
vince the other, and we had better dispose of our business. 
I remarked that one of us was right and one wrong, and 
that it should be the object of each to put himself right, 
regardless of all partisanship, commitments, or precon- 
ceived opinions. This he admitted most fully. 

There were other points which in this hasty memoran- 
dimcx, written immediately after its occurrence, I have not 
penned, but the essential points I have sketched, and have, 
as far as I could, used the very words. On the whole, I did 
not think so highly of General Grant after as before this 
conversation. He is a political ignoramus. 

General Grant has become severely afflicted with the 
Presidential disease, and it warps his judgment, which is 
not very intelligent or enUghtened at best. He is less 
sound on great and fundamental principles, vastly less 
informed, than I had supposed possible for a man of his 
opportunities. Obviously he has been tampered with 
and flattered by the Radicals, who are using him and his 
name for their selfish and partisan purposes. 

In our conversation, when I asked if our Government 
and Union were to be maintained by force, his only answer 
was the Rebels must be put down and kept under. "Will 
that," I asked, "make friendship and imity? Must we 
not, in the dififerent States, be equal in poUtical rights? 
Is not our governmental system voluntary and not com- 
pulsory? Can we have a reestablished Union, and be one 
people by enforcing, under the bayonet, upon certain 
sections and an unwilling people (who are our countrymen, 



18871 CONVERSATION WITH GRANT 181 

our equals, and who have their own laws and mstitu- 
tions), governments and laws not of their own choice 
and which are repulsive? Proscription, alienation, exile 
will not promote reconciliation and harmony. The Rad- 
ical policy is to proscribe the intelligent, the wealthy, the 
moral portion of the South, and to place over them 
the ignorant and degraded and vicious." He said he did 
not think Jefif Davis and Benjamin ought to be put on the 
same footing and have the same voice and influence as 
those of us who had maintained the Union. I replied they 
had not so good a record, and their influence and success 
in future would depend on their own acts. We might lessen 
ours; they might improve theirs. As we now stood, I 
thought we had nothing to apprehend. 

It appears to me he was somewhat excited and stirred 
up by appeals of the Radicals and fears that he might lose 
their good will. None but Radicals, and the most mis- 
chievous of them, are hounding and stimulating and cau- 
tioning him. Anxious, as I am satisfied he is becoming, for 
the Presidency, he fears to fall out with them. Hence, be- 
lieving, as he does, that a majority of the country which 
is represented is with Congress, he is rather vexed, dissat- 
isfied, and somewhat confused, has listened to Radical 
fallacies and is strangely ignorant of the true character 
of men as well as the real principles in issue. 

I went over and saw the President, and stated my inter- 
view, and my apprehensions that Grant was weaker and 
a little farther astray than I had apprehended. [I said] that 
I thought our conversation would perhaps do some good, 
— enforce some ideas which he had not previously enter- 
tained, and perhaps correct some that were in a measure 
erroneous. He is, however, a man of little reading or 
reflection. 

I also called on Judge Blair, and requested him to see 
Grant, talk with him, get others who are right-minded to 
talk with him also, and write him, — enlighten him. He 
needs instruction. 



182 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [Aua23 

August 23, Friday. Have dispatches to-day from Ad- 
miral Bell of the Asiatic Squadron, detailing the attack 
on the natives of Formosa. Also a long statement from 
Carter, reporting affairs at Borneo, and the burning of 
the house of the consulate, which I think was set on fire 
by the consul himself. 

At the Cabinet quite a discussion grew out of a dispatch 
of an extraordinary character from General Sickles, insist- 
ing he would obstruct the power of the United States 
Court, and, alleging, as a reason, that if he did not, the 
Court would soon pass on the Reconstruction acts and 
pronounce them imconstitutional. 

Mr. Binckley, the Assistant Attorney-General, said that 
it had been his intention to present a written opinion on 
this subject, and he should not have attended the meeting 
to-day had not the President sent for him. He expressed 
his surprise that General Sickles, who is a lawyer, and 
could not be ignorant of the consequences that must follow 
an attempt to make the civil power subordinate to the 
military, should put himself in opposition to the Chief 
Justice and resist the processes of the Court. 

General Grant said he had sent an order to General 
Sickles not to obstruct the United States Coiul;, as he 
promised he would, but, after thinking of it, he had come 
to the conclusion that General Sickles might have his 
reasons for what he was doing, and as there are always two 
sides to a question, he had countermanded his order, that 
Sickles mi^t have an opportimity to be heard. Congress 
had put in his (Grant's) hands the execution of this law, 
and he intended to see it was executed, but he was willing 
to hear, or see, Mr. B.'s written opinion, when it was 
made out. 

There were some rather flippant, overbearing, and un- 
generous remarks of Grant towards Binckley, which were 
unworthy of him, when the positions of the two men were 
considered. Binckley, though a little excited, was more 
than a match for the General in such a discussion, and 




18671 RANDALL'S, SOUNDNESS, SUSPECTED 183 

did not allow himself to be put down by what was really 
arrogance and intentional insult. 

I am glad that I made no remark on th^ subject of 
Grant's declaration that he should see the law executedi for 
Congress had put it into his hands. He evidently supposed 
that it was his province, exclusively^ to decide in regard to 
this whole subject, but B. coolly said he supposed the 
General expected to exec^te it in subordination to law and 
authority. 

August 24; Saturday. I inquired by way of suggestioUi 
or 1} more properly, suggested by way of inquiry, of the 
President the subject or expediency of general amnesty. 
There might be individual exceptions, but it seemed to 
me it would be well, before voting commenced in ihe 
proscribed States, that ti;xe people should have amnesty. 
He said he had thought much on the subject and should 
before long have something definite to say in regard to it. 

Alluding to the discussions yesterday, he complimented 
Binckley, but he inquired what I thought of Randall, and 
if his conduct was not somewhat singular of late, on some of 
these important questions. I had noticed that Randall said 
but little, and that little was evasive, but the Presid^it 
saw and noted more in that quarter than I did. 

In submitting a certain document, Seward said he had 
desired to bring it before the Cabinet, in order that it 
might be borne in mind, should he not be here to explain. 
There was, I thought, something significant in the remark 
under the circumstances. I also observed that he very 
much wished Randall to take an excursion of a few days 
with him on the river and coast. R. could not go, however, 
but no other one was invited to supply his place. Seward 
evidently feels the absence of Stanton. 

Thepapersspeakof a reorganization of the Cabinet. This 
has not been imusual but is periodical. Just at this time it 
has more than ordinary significance, and the Intelligencer^ 
which I know speaks not unadvisedly, had one or two 



184 DIARY OfF GtDEON Wi^Ll£& Iavq.H 

emphatic articles on the sub|ect of an entire change. Tbb 
fire has been more particularly directed to Seward, thou^ 
McCulloch has been attacked bv harpies. The rest have 
come in for slight attacks, but all except Mr. Stanbery are 
named to go. It may be best. 

August 26, Monday. Montgomery Blair called to sug- 
gest the name of D. D. Ffeld for Secretary of State, should 
Seward resign, which he seems to suppose a fixed fact. 
I gave him to understand that it did not strike me with 
particular favor. But Blair knows Field to be very ri^t on 
present questions, — is from New York, was a Barnburner 
in 1848, something of a favorite, etc., etc., and he is recom- 
mended by William B. Reed. This last information did not 
Strengthen the matter in my estimation. Reed is a man of 
talents but impracticable, and of erratic principles and 
politics. Blair tells me he has sent Reed's letter to the 
President. 

In all my conversation with Blair he has been persistent 
in pressing General Grant as a man of shrewdness and of 
unusual popularity. He urged, I know, G.'s appointment 
to the War Department, and told me last week he was pre- 
paring an article for the New York World in favor of Grant 
for President. 1 have not been hasty to commit myself t6 
this suggestion, for, whatever may be Grant's popularity, 
growing out of military successes and services, I see no 
evidence of civil capacity, administrative ability, or general 
intelligence. He is stolid and stubborn, but has beeil tam- 
pered with, and I believe seduoed,*;by the Radical conspira- 
tors, who have the start of Blair in this idea of availability 
and mean to use him as their candidate. He has been will- 
ing to be courted, but is not quite prepared to have it 
published that the parties are engaged and to be married. 
The President is still reluctant to believe that Grant is 
unfaithful. I have uniformly stated that Grant, while 
apparently simple-minded and perhaps honestly disposed, 
'—though I have misgivings on that point, — has fallen into 



iseTj TALK WITH MR. BLAIR ON GRANT 185 

the hands of Radical rogueB, who are hnposing upon him, 
not unwillingly. They have him in their keeping, I fear. 
I spoke of these matters to Blair; asked what could be said 
or thought of Grant's course in regard to Sickles' Order 
No. 10, proclaiming a stay-law in the Carolinas, and ob- 
structing, by military force, the judgments and processes 
of the coiurts. Grant himself has said he thought this 
wrong as regarded the United States Courts, and has 
issued an order annulling so much of the Order No. 10 
as applied to the United States Courts. Within two dajrs, 
however, he coxmtermanded his own order and permitted 
Kckles to go on in his lawlessness. Of course Radical advice 
and intimacy had overcome his own better judgments 
Grant is an insincere man, I fear, very ambitious, has loW 
cunning, and is unreliable, perhaps untruthful. 
V I gave Blair to understand that my confidence in Grant, 
in his intelligence and even honesty, was less than his, — 
that it was, indeed, very much shaken. I am not prepared 
to condemn him as a bad man, but I consider him an in- 
^cere one. He has no political experience, has not 
Studied, nor made himself familiar with, our Constitution 
or the elementary principles of civil government even, but 
has permitted himself to be flattered, seduced, and led 
astray by men who are bad. Unless he can be extricated 
and that soon, he will, because he has a War record, be 
made an instrument of evil. The people admire military 
inen, and are grateful for military services. Grant has 
power and position without the Imowledge to use them 
properly. I instanced several matters. Blair heard me and 
frankly admitted that with these facts he gave Grant up, 
— that he had gone over to the Radicals, and we could 
hope nothing from him. I am imwilling to give him wholly 
up if there is any good in him. Let him have a chance to 
retrieve himself if he will, — not that I would make him 
President. 

August 27, Tuesday. The correspondence between the 



186 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES lAua 71 

President and Grant in relation to the removal of Sheridan 
has been published. There has not yet been time to get 
response. Of course the Radical press will indorse and extol 
Grant, but he certainly does not in this matter app^u: to 
advantage. EQs letter is weak, his logic is weak, the thi^g 
is feeble. The letter was written plainly for publicationi 
but the President's reply is dignified and conclusive. 

At the Cabinet to-day, a question came up respecting 
the Grovemor of IdiJio, who is represented as a cheat and 
swindler. Another was nominated and confirmed as his 
successor at the last session, but the Senate reconsidered 
the vote, and the subject remained unacted on. Over two 
hundred thousand dollars of Indian amnesties are due, but 
the Secretary of the Interior declines putting the money 
in the swindler's hands. 

The question was raised whether a successor could be 
appointed imder the Tenure-of-Office Bill. If G. is ap^ 
pointed, and B., the incumbent, refuses to give up the 
office, what is to be done? Should B. resist by force^ 
McCulloch said, call on the military. General Grant said 
in that case the military would not respond. They would 
sustain the Tenure-of-Office Bill, which Congress has 
enacted, imtil the judges said it was unconstitutional. 

General Grant addressed the President, remarking that 
he had received his order directing General Sheridan to 
proceed forthwith to Kansas and relieve General Hancock^ 
In the mean time the duties of the office would devolve on 
the next in command. But that officer was sick. No word 
had yet been received from General Thomas. It was 
known, however, he had gone to the Springs for his health. 
But he thought it would be injudicious to take General 
Hancock from the Plains, where he had varied duties. It 
would be better to carry out the original order. Let Sheri- 
dan remain, therefore, until General Thomas can relieve 
him. When Sheridan is relieved from his present com- 
mand, Grant wished him to have leave and visit Washing- 
ton. He had hardly been home since he graduated, and it 



1867] GRANT REBUKED BY PRESIDENT 187 

would be well to have him come here. Furthermore, the 
law placed the execution of the Reconstruction acts in hiS| 
Grant's, hands. He had not been consulted when he rer 
ceived orders, and those orders coimteracted, in tl^eir 
terms, some of his orders. While he had no wish to come in 
conflict with any one, he had a duty to perform. He must 
see the Reconstruction law executed. 

The President was very cool, calm, and deliberate in 
his reply to this studied and premeditated speech. He 
reminded General Grant that he himself had brought the 
surgeon's certificate in regard to General Thomas' health, 
had stated it was such that he thought it imprudent for 
General T. to go at this time to New Orleans, and had 
asked to have the order suspended. That, as regarded 
a leave to Sheridan, that could as well be granted after 
he reported on the frontier as before. Let him repair to 
Leavenworth or Denver and relieve General Hancock, 
then, if he can be spared for a visit, he can take his time 
and the several orders would be carried into effect. "Gen- 
eral Grant will understand it is my duty to see the laws are 
executed, and also that when I assign officers to their duty 
my orders must be obeyed. I have made this arrangement 
and performed this work deUberately, and it will go with 
as little delay as possible." 

Grant was humbled by this great rebuke and changed 
the subject. He said if General Sickles was to be detached, 
no better man than General Canby could succeed him. 
Canby could not, however, be very well spared from here, 
where he was familiar with details, and above all his serv- 
ices were important on the Board of Claims. As regarded 
General Sickles, two of his orders, the one intended as a 
stay-law and one establishing a code, were imauthorized. 
Both were good in themselves, but General Sickles had no 
authority to issue such orders. There might also be other 
objectionable orders. 

The President said he was glad there was concurrence of 
iiiews in regard to the future of General Canby, and as for 




188 JDIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [Aua27 

the matter of his being one of the Board of Claims, it would 
not weigh a feather. The board itself was of little import- 
ance, — had no final action. 

General Grant also remarked, in a subdued manner, 
that he wished to say that while it was proper he should 
discharge the duties ad interim of Secretary of War, he was 
no politician and preferred not to be mixed up in political 
questions. He would, therefore, prefer not to sit at the 
Cabinet consultations and pass opinions on the subjects 
which came up for consideration and decision. The Pre- 
sident told him that was at his own option. 

The General said he would wish, then, to be excused, fpr 
he had much to attend to at the Department; and he 
accordingly withdrew. 

Arigust 29, Thursday. The President narrated the par- 
ticulars of proceedings and consultations between himself 
and General Grant. He says that G., after stating on Tues- 
day that he wished to discharge his duties as an officer, but 
wished to be excused from taking any part in, or expressing 
any views or opinions on, political subjects, proceeded to 
write a long and very weak letter to him, most of it on 
matters purely political. It was such a letter as he would 
wish him to write, if he was disposed to pursue a course 
that would embarrass the Administration, for he could be 
annihilated by a reply. 

Under the circimastances, however, he thought it best to 
send for Grant. The President was frank and blunt with 
him, — told Grant he should speak without reserve, but 
intended no offense. He then took up each position in the 
letter, pointed out his errors and fallacies, and so satisfied 
was Grant himself of his imtenable positions, and the 
mistakes of his letter, that he asked to withdraw it. The 
President told him he might do as he pleased about it, but 
continued the conversation, during which Grant reached 
over, and, folding down the letter, took it and said he 
would send a note withdrawing it, but desired to take it 



; . 



I8(r7] GRANT'S LETTER AND BACK-DOWN ISft 

personally. Grant had persisted in his old error that 
Congress had superseded the President and conferred on 
him (Grant) executive authority over the ten Southern 
States. He had, therefore, in this letter taken exception 
to the President's order detaching Sheridan and ordering 
Hancock to the fifth District; supposed he could origin- 
ate measures and rules for those States, make appoint- 
ments, etc., instead of the President. The Constitution, 
as well as the President, was sxispended by Congress.! But 
he was soon satisfied, after having seen the President, 
that he had mistaken his duties, — that he was not the 
officer he supposed himself to be, and that he must back 
down. 

The President called my attention to an article in this 
morning's Chronicle, showing that the writer of the edi- 
torial was aware of the contents of Grant's letter, — that 
there had been consultations in its preparation and that 
the conmiencement of the awkward withdrawal was also 
corrected. I am glad that Grant has permitted himself to 
be convinced to the extent mentioned, for he is, to use 
a vulgar phrase, somewhat pig-headed, having in his 
ignorance been inspired with certain strange notions 
by the Radicals, without resources of his own to correct 
them, or the intelligence necessary to carry him through. 
He would not have allowed himself to be convinced by 
any other person of the Cabinet, — probably by no sup- 
porter of the Administration, — but respect, deference, 
discipline made him listen to the President, his superior, 
and, listening, his faculties were stimulated and he com- 
prehended the fact that he was making a sorry exhibition 
of himself. 

In the course of their conversation, the President in- 
formed Grant that he (Mr. Johnson) was not a candidate 
for the Presidency. Grant replied that he was not. I 
bowed acquiescence and neither expressed regret nor a 
wish, that he, the President, should be a candidate. Per- 
haps he was disappointed that I did not. 



190 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [aug. 30 

August 30, Friday. There was a pleasant Cabinet- 
meeting to-day. Stanbery and Browning were absent. 
Grant was present and communicative, with a mind much 
softened, and more disposed to fellowship than at some 
recent meetings, particularly at the last. He has wholly 
revised his stand in regard to Sickles, and b decided 
against his Order No. 10, and also the order relating to 
the code. 

August 31, Saturday. Had a pleasant talk with the 
President this evening. He has great capacity, is convers- 
ant with our public affairs beyond most men, has much 
experience, possesses great firmness, sincere patriotism, a 
sacred regard for the Constitution, is hmnane and bene- 
volent. Extreme men and extreme measures he dislikes; 
secession and exclusion are alike repugnant. The Radicals 
accuse him of being irritable and obstinate, but the truth 
is he has been patient and forbearing, almost to an infirm- 
ity, under assaults, intrigues, and abuse. Had he been less 
jrielding, less hesitating, more prompt and decided, met' 
Radical error and misrule at the threshold, checked the first 
innovations on his prerogative, dismissed at once faithless 
public officers, he would have saved himself and the 
country many difficulties. 

It is one of his greatest weaknesses that he has no con- 
fidants and seeks none. No man should hold such a posir 
tion without tried and trusty friends to whom he can 
unbosom himself, and with whom he can consult and ad- 
vise freely on all questions. To me, perhaps, he has been 
as free and as commimicative as to any one, and yet there- 
has been constant reserve. Many of his most important 
steps have been taken without the knowledge of any of his 
Cabinet, and I tiiink without the knowledge of any perspn 
whatever. He has wonderful self-reliance and inunovable 
firmness in maintaining what he believes to be right ; is dis-, 
inclined to be familiar mih men in prominent positions, or 
to be intimate with those who fill the public eye. There are 



l«67i QUALITIES OF THE PRESIDENT 191 

around him too many little busybodies, almost all of whom 
are unreliable, and often intentionally deceive him. It is a 
misfortime that he permits them to be so familiar; not that 
he means they shall influence him on important questions^ 
but in appointments they sometimes have influence and 
mislead him. He does not make these fellows his confidants 
any more than greater men, but they are intrusive, glad to 
crowd aroimd him, when men of mind and character will 
not intrude uninvited, — and he invites none. Yet he will- 
ingly listens, receives information and suggestions, but 
without reciprocating. 

Coming into the Presidency imder peculiar circmn- 
stances, he has hoped to conciliate Ck)ngress and those 
who elected him, without making proper discriminations 
as regards men and the conflicting views of his supporters 
on fundamental questions. Many of the Republican Mem- 
bers were kindly disposed towards him and believed in the 
Lincoln policy, which he adopted. These he could and 
should have detached from the extremists. They were not 
leaders, — not Radicals at the beginning; like himself, they 
were sincere Republicans, but, not having the faculty of 
receiving and giving confidence, these passive men were 
treated coolly, as were the Radicals who constituted the 
positive element opposed to him as well as to Mr. Lincoln 
before him. Stanton, who conformed to this policy in 
Mr. Lincoln's time, has been in constant intrigue with the 
Radicals to thwart the President. Seward and Weed under- 
took, with Rajrmond and partisans of this school, to make 
a division, but Raymond was so fickle, wavering, uncer- 
tain, and imreliable, that the really honest and worthy 
men, while acknowledging his genius, despised his pusillan- 
imity. Like Seward himself, Rajrmond became a source 
of weakness, a positive injury. For a time he assimied, 
imder Seward's management and givings-out, to be the 
organ of the Administration on the floor of the House, but 
under the irony and sarcasm of Thaddeus Stevens, who 
ridiculed his conscientious scruples, he soon stood alone. 



182 DIARY OF QIDEQN WELLES iaug.81 

The President really had no organ or confidential friend in 
the House, no confidant who spoke for him and his policy 
among the Representatives. Seward and Weed, to whom 
he listened, alienated the Democrats and almost all of his 
friends. 



LII 

Qmnt's InsubordinaUon — Fonn of a Pftxslaznation of General Pardon — 

, Newspaper Rumors of Diflferenoes between the President and Grant — 

^ Amnesty proclaimed — Newspaper Reports of an Intended Prorogation 

of Congress in case of an Attempt at Impeachment — Exercises at the 

Antietam Battle-Field — Governor Geaiy^s Followers try to turn the 

Affair into a Radical Demonstration — Death of Sir Frederick Bruce — 

The President consults with Lewis V. Bogy of St. Louis — Jeremiah 8. 

Black as an Adviser of the President — The Case of Paymaster Belknap 

— The Sale of Ironclads discussed in Cabinet — General Sickles asks for 

a Court of Inquiry — The Question of the Power of State and Municipal 

. Courts to discharge Men enlisted in the United States Service — The 

Attorney-General consulted on the Subject — The Matter discussed in 

Cabinet — Stanbery's Views as to the Habeas Corpus Writ — Admiral 

Godon on the Naval Battle at Port RoyaL 

September 2, Monday. General Grant has issued an 
order forbidding the district commanders from appoint- 
ing, in other words reinstating, any of the removed civil 
officers displaced by themselves or their predecessors. This 
order is in bad taste and in a bad spirit, prompted, without 
doubt, by Radical advisers. The manifest intention is to 
keep Sheridan and Sickles appointees in place, to defy his 
superior, to antagonize him, to defeat his intentions, pro- 
vided he (the President) thinks it proper and correct for 
the public interest to reappoint one or more of the local 
State officers who may have been unfairly displaced. It is 
the essence of insubordination by the General of the Amer- 
ican armies, who should be an example of obedience. 
General Grant is more intensely partisan than I was aware, 
or perhaps than he himself supposes. One of these days, 
when he calmly reviews his conduct, he will, if honest, be 
ashamed of this order and of the spirit which prompted it. 

I read to the President the form of a proclamation of 
general pardon to the Rebels. He was pleased with it, 
and requested a fair copy to be made, and at the same 

8 



194 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [sept. 2 

time showed me the draft Of one aheady prepared. It 
takes milder groimd than the one I presented, and I am 
apprehensive he will not make his work as effective as I 
wish. He too often fails to come full up to the occasion. 
In our conversation he did not dissent from my views and 
positions in any respect, and persons not acquainted with 
him would have supposed he adopted them all; but this 
is not his way. He listens, but^ unless he squarely and em- 
phatically disapproves, is disinclined to controvert. This 
trait has led many to misimderstand and to misrepresent 
him. They make statements themselves which he does 
not deny or dispute, and he is consequently represented 
as entertaining the views of his auditor or adviser. 

September 3. Received dispatches to-day from the com- 
manders of all our squadrons except the South Pacific, — 
all satisfactory. 

General Grant did not attend the Cabinet-meeting 
to-day. There was not much of special interest be- 
fore it. 

McCuUoch presented the case of a Collector and Assessor 
in Virginia, and recommended that they should be sus- 
pended. They have received repeated bribes to the amoimt 
of over thirty thousand dollars. I inquired why they should 
not be removedy and he said the Tenure-of-Ofl5ce Bill inter- 
posed. I thought, and so stated, that removal in such 
flagrant cases as these was not only justifiable but proper, 
and if Congress, or the Senate, took exceptions, let the 
facts go before the country. The people will judge and 
decide rightly in such an issue, and better understand the 
value of present legislation. The President, I see, con- 
curs with me, — is pleased with my views, — but I am 
not certain how he will do when compelled to act. His 
opinions and mine of the Tenure-of-OflSce Bill are alike. 
I hope he will not surrender the right but will act upon 
it. He would but for wrong influences and an attempt 
to reconcile contradictions. His faith is sound; I wish his 



iwj SEWARD^S PERNICIOUS INFLUENCE 195 

works were in accordance with his faith on these constitu- 
tional questions always. 

If Congress wish to impeach him for opposing unwar- 
ranted innovations on the Constitutioni for firmly and 
fearlessly maintaining the constitutional rights of the 
Executive, they will injure themselves more than him. It 
b not for me to urge him to be a martyr, if he is disinclined 
to encounter the warfare that will be waged by Radical 
partisans; but had he at the beginning resented these 
encroachments and innovations, the war would have been 
avoided that he now must encounter if he resists. . 

September 4. Montgomery Blair called to tell me that 
he had a long talk with the President. He was at my house 
Monday evening, having returned from Virginia that day, 
and was disturbed to find no farther changes had been 
made, — that things seemed at a standstill. Said nothing 
could be done for the President and Administration if 
Seward remained in the Cabinet. Showed me a dispatch 
from California and his reply. While Seward has very 
little personal popularity, and his advice and influence 
are often harmful, the President considers him the head 
of a powerful party — old-time Whigs — whose support 
is necessary for the success of his Administration. Seward 
has impressed him with this, but I cannot take part against 
him. There is very little sympathy or confidence between 
us as politicians or party men^ and has never been. We 
have different temperaments, different principles, different 
associates and lines of action, but seldom, and never of 
late, any controversy. So long as the President yields to 
Mr. Seward's views and schemes and chooses to continue 
us as colleagues, I cannot personally oppose him. Blair 
knows my estimate of Seward ; knew it when we were all 
associated in the Cabinet of Mr. Lincoln; would be glad 
to have me take an active part against Seward now, but 
I cannot. 
\i. To-day he sent his California dispatch to the President 



196 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [sept. 4 

and had quite an interview. He says he talked plain and 
blunt to the President; showed him a letter from Cassidy, 
of the Albany Argus, denouncing Johnson, declaring the 
Democrats could not and would not be identified with 
h iTn 80 long as he retained in his coimsels their avowed 
opponents. He says the President was equally frank and 
blimt. Said too many changes — too much yielding — 
would cloy the Democrats. They did not elect him, and 
though on principles of government and administration 
agreeing with him, they were reluctant to support him, 
ere, 6uC« 

September 5. There is rumor of sharp differences be- 
tween the President and Grant in an interview yester- 
day, and the sensationalists have got it in the papers. 
I should not be surprised if there were decided differences 
between them on some points, but nothing which has a 
semblance of altercation. They are not men for such 
scenes. 

Grant has less intelligence and comprehension on polit- 
ical and civil matters than is generally supposed, and is 
more in the hands and under the control of active Radical 
party managers than he or the coimtry is aware. Hence 
he is misled, blunders, misconceives, and takes feeble 
positions. I think he is conunitted to the Radicals and is 
prompted by them, but gets his lessons imperfectly. Not 
unlikely the President may have exposed his infirmities 
to him, told him his errors, and with his natural perversity, 
and ignorance. Grant may have been pig-headed and re- 
sisted the attempt to beat or screw intelligence into him. 
When he got back to the Department, or to his house, and 
was listened to, and schooled and drilled by Schenck, 
Cook, Shanks, and others, he recounted to them what 
had taken place at the White House, and it was in a few 
moments repeated with exaggerations at the hotels and 
in the papers. Grant was willing, probably intended, it 
should be understood that he and the President differ. 



ism THE AMNESTY PROCLAMATION 197 

It is Grant's cunning; he has sly cunningi if but little 
knowledge. 

September 6. Most of the time of the Cabinet was taken 
up with the subject of amnesty and pardon. The two forms 
of proclamation were submitted and discussed. Seward's 
was Improved by all, and no exception taken to the paper 
which I presented, but it was more decisive and presented 
certain impregnable points, which milder men would 
rather avoid. The drafting of a proclamation is more 
especially the province of the Secretary of State. I there- 
fore presented a paper to the President at his own request, 
as I suggested, for him to adopt or reject, in whole or in 
part. 

September 7, Saturday. Was at the President's this p.m. 
Seward was about leaving. Colonel Moore, Private 
Secretary, was transcribing the Proclamation, which the 
President had remodeled, and Seward was criticizing. 
Some of my suggestions were incorporated; some which 
I think would have given it more character and popu- 
larity were omitted. The subject of relieving from die' 
fnmchisemerU was incorporated. It was one of the points 
urged by me as important, before the Proclamation was 
decided upon. In the document read to me this p.m., 
the subject of personal rights was omitted, while the rights 
of property had received special attention. I mentioned 
the omission, and the President thanked me, said im- 
mimities were intended. In the discussion yesterday, 
I noticed that the lawyers dwelt on the rights of property, 
but gave little heed to the rights of persons. 

I would in the proclamation have alluded to the report 
of General Grant in December, 1865; would have brought 
out the fact of Congressional amnesty which was on the 
statute-book at the time the Rebels surrendered, and which 
they received and we in good faith promised, though Con- 
gress has since in bad faith repealed; would also have 



198 DIARY OP GIDEON WELLES mn.7 

more pointedly and distinctly brought out the divine 
attribute of mercy. But the document is the President's; 
I had made my suggestions; he knows my views; I would 
not urge them farther. Seward would not, of course, 
favor them, for they had not occurred to him, and he 
would not willingly admit that I should prompt or cor- 
rect him in a matter which belongs peculiarly to the 
Secretary of State. Further he prefers what he believQS 
to be expedient to what he knows to be right. 

September 9, Monday. The Proclamation is printed in 
this morning's papers. Some modifications have been 
made since Satmrday. There is a little obscurity, peiiiape, 
on the subject of amnesty and pardon, of which the Rad- 
icals will try to take advantage. I endeavored that this 
difiiculty should be avoided. The President has the power 
by the Constitution to grant pardons, but not amnesty. 
In Great Britain, to whose laws and usages we look for 
precedents, the King grants pardons to individuals, the 
Parliament grants amnesty or general pardon to the masses. 
Here no such distinction exists. The entire pardoning 
power is with the Executive; none is conferred on Congress. 
But that body of lawyers is so imbued with British law 
and British precedent that it assimies for Congress the 
powers of Parliament. 

As regards amnesty, or oblivion, there is no such action 
adapted to our government. Here we have no attainders, 
forfeitiu'es of blood, successions to the crown, requiring 
oblivion; hence it does not properly enter into our 
system. 

September 10, Tuesday. At the Cabinet-meeting some 
discussion took place in regard to certain removals and 
appointments necessary to be made, but any action that 
may be taken brings the Executive and all concerned 
within the penalties of the unconstitutional Tenure-of- 
Office Bill. The Senate having refused to confirm, or to 



18671 THE AMNESTY PROCLAMATION 199 

act on certain appointments, the functions of the govern- 
ment seem in those cases to be suspended. 

The partisan, reckless, imauthorized legislation of the 
last and present Ck>ngress is hurrying the country on to 
anarchy. I was glad General Grant was present at the 
discussion. It seemed to impress him in a degree with 
the folly and wickedness of Congress. 

September 11, Wednesday. The Radicals are full of sen- 
sation and malignity over the "Amnesty" Proclamation. 
They see in it incipient monstrosities, and the .leaders 
declare that the President shall now certainly be im- 
peached. He has pardoned Rebels, as he had the undoubted 
right to do, and this will allow them to vote, which Con- 
gress has no authority to prevent. General Butler is here. 
I saw him at the War Department, but he avoided Gen- 
eral Grant. General Banks has been here on the invitaticm 
of Seward, who is very apt to get up little by-plays for 
his own ends. In this instance he is posting Banks on the 
purchase of the Danish islands. 

September 12, Thursday. The New York World to-day 
has a very ungenerous and in a political view I think 
injudicious article, casting off President Johnson, for whose 
acts, they claim, the Democrats are not responsible, de- 
claring he is the Republican President, etc., — all for 
party, nothing for country. 

Such a course is calculated to and ought to injure any 
party. The repelling principle is not a wise one for minor- 
ities to act upon. The Democrats in New York and every- 
where else should strive to recruit, and not drive off, 
forces. But the New York Democratic leaders of these 
days are small men with slight patriotism and have but 
little sagacity. The election this fall may be carried in 
spite of their folly, the good sense of the people is so shocked 
with Radical misrule; but the policy and views of the 
Democratic leaders, whose selfish anxiety for power and 



200 DIART OF GIDEON WELLSS [sept.u 

place is so peroeptible, may continue the Radicals in 
power. 

The President may not have been as discreet, wise, and 
decisive in some respects as he should have been. He has 
thrown away oi^)ortunitieSy neglected to strike at the 
right time, often has omitted — strangely omitted — to 
strike at all. Thus he injured himself and strengthened 
his opponents. 

I met to-day, as I was going to the Treasury, several 
Pennsylvanians, — Packer, Campbell, Judge Patterson, 
etc. lliese nien, McCulloch informs me, came to Washing- 
ton expressly to see the President, had waited two or three 
hours in the ante-chambers, had seen a number *of littie, 
busy, partisan letter-writers admitted, and finally left in 
disgust, but he, McC., had persuaded them to return. 
McCulloch besought me to stop and see the President and 
procure them an interview. This I did without any in- 
quiry into the object of their mission. They are men who 
should be treated with consideration and respect. The 
President remarked, when I spoke to him, that he had 
sent out for them, but was told they had left; that per- 
sons must have their time, etc. These are, however, men 
entitled to consideration, who should not be postponed 
for letter-writers and newspaper correspondents. 

September 13, Friday. General Grant was not at the 
Cabinet-meeting. Stanbery was present, — the first time 
in some six weeks. Very little was done; the session was 
brief. 

September 14, Saturday. The New York Herald and 
some other papers have Washington letters stating the 
design of the President to prorogue Congress, etc., in case 
that body undertakes to proceed with impeachment. I 
think from certain indications that the writers of those 
letters had some authority for their statements. I there- 
fore made it a point to call attention to the Herald^ 9 



1867] ANNIVERSARY OF ANTIETAM 201 

letter, after concluding a little matter of business. The 
President said, with a laugh, he had seen the letter and 
there were some good points in it. I spoke of the proroga- 
tion. He remarked it was difficult to tell what might take 
place. 

September 18, Wednesday. Went yesterday, the 17th, 
with the President and others to the battle-field of An- 
tietam, it being the anniversary of that battle, fou^t five 
years ago. It was an interesting time, and we had a 
pleasant miscellaneous company, of politicians and mili- 
tary, — the latter much given to politics, — foreign 
legations, etc. 

Not having been absent from the District for a year, 
excepting the single occasion of going over to Annapolis, 
part of a day, on an official visit, and never having passed 
over any part of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad west 
of the Relay House, and never having visited any battle- 
groimd east of the James River, I very willingly accepted 
the invitation to be present. The route up the Potomac 
is not interesting. At the Point of Rocks, where the canal 
and railroad crowd in under the ledges upon the river, 
there is local interest, — ^the naked stone piers which stand 
as monuments of the Rebellion, the wooden superstruc- 
tures having been burnt, are there. 

The Monocacy battle-field, of which we once heard so 
much, and other points still have evidence of the ravages 
of the War. 

We reached Keedysville, where we left the cars, soon 
after noon. At the time it began to rain, which continued 
tmtil we nearly reached the place selected for the occasion. 
This was on one of the highest Antietam hills, the place 
where Lee had his headquarters during the battle. 

As the papers contain the proceedings, no record is nec- 
essary here. There was a large gathering of well-behaved 
and well-appearing people, who listened attentively to 
the proceedings. After the close of the oration of Governor 



202 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [sept. 18 

Bradford,^ a loud and evidently preconcerted and pre- 
arranged cry went up for "Geary, Geary," from fifty 
or a hundred voices. Governor Swann, the President of 
the Day, attempted to be heard so far as to assure them 
that when the programme was completed, Governor 
Geary * and other men should have an opportunity to 
address them. But this did not satisfy the rude, ill- 
mannered fellows who had accompanied Geary from Penn- 
sylvania for the purpose of making a Radical demonstra- 
tion. As Geary sat near me, I saw that he was by no 
means dissatisfied with this disgraceful scheme to interrupt 
proceedings, but that he well understood and approved 
the row. At length he stepped forward, and informed 
his boisterous followers that he and others would address 
them when the ^'programmatical^' order was completed. 

We left as soon as the ^^programmaHcaV proceedings 
closed, and, being delayed in getting the cars started, 
which were detained for those engaged in the party har- 
angues, we did not get home until nearly two o'clock in the 
morning. 

The Governors of Maine, Connecticut, New York, New 
Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Maryland were 
present. With the exception of English' and Swann, these 
are Radicals, and some of them small, very small, party 
politicians. Geary was on the ground with party designs 
and made a Radical partisan's speech in a national grave- 
yard. Fenton,* slow, deliberate, aflfected, and light in 
mental calibre, was far more decent in his bearing. 

He, Fenton, called on me to-day and was quite civil 
and patronizingly condescending; wanted to patronize me 
by asking an office for one of his stafif. Governor Englishi 
with Ingersoll, Adjutant-General, and one of his staff, 
called. He has no confidence in Postmaster-General 

1 Augustus W. Bradford, the War Governor of Maryland. He was 
succeeded by Thomas Swann, 1865-67. 

* Of Pennsylvania. He was a brigsulier-generalof volunteers in the War. 

* The Governor of Connecticut. 

* Governor Reuben E. Fenton of New York. 



1W7] DEATH OF SIR FREDERICK BRUCE 203 

Randall, and would be glad to have Seward a permanent 
resident in Auburn. Rejoices in Stanton's removal, but 
would be particularly pleased if Randall were also removed. 

September 19, Thursday. Sir Frederick W. A. Bruce, the 
British Minister, died this a.m. in Boston, of diphtheria, or 
something else. A fortnight since, I saw him in apparently 
full and vigorous health. He told me he was going to take a 
little run for relaxation, and quietly urged it upon me also 
as a necessity. It was the last time I saw him. He claims 
to be a relative, perhaps a descendant, of the Bruce. Was 
a pleasant, fine-appearing man of popular manners. A 
much more sprightly and affable man than Lord Lyons, his 
predecessor, but of less mental strength. 

September 20, Friday. Weather has been excessively 
warm the last two days. Many persons in town. The 
approaching elections excite much interest. There are 
vague and indefinite rumors of changes. Blair informs me 
that the President has invited Bogy ^ here from St. Louis 
for consultation. I think it singular. Bogy was rejected by 
the Senate last winter or spring as Indian Commissioner, — 
a position which he filled very creditably. He is earnest 
and apparently sincere, — not always judicious and dis- 
criminating, nor does he always read men and movements 
correctly. He tells Blair that the President assiures him he 
intends to remove Seward, McCuUoch, and Randall; in- 
timates that he shall perhaps make Horatio Seymour Secre- 
tary of State. This is, or would be, a strange movement, — 
a specimen of New York partyism which is about played 
out. Blair is probably ri^t in imputing the intrigue to 
Seward. I trace it to Weed, but the two go together, and 
the present great object of the master spirit. Weed, is to 
defeat the New York Democrats. The movement would 
injure the President, and it would assist the Radicals. I 
can hardly believe he will commit so grave a mistake. 

^ Lewis V. Bogy, afterwards a Democratic Senator from MiaBOorL , 



204 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES (sept.m 

In view of this information, I remained after the others 
left the Cabinet-meeting, and in a desultory conversation 
cautioned the President against the intrigues of Weed, who 
I assured him was laboring to defeat the Democrats in New 
York, regardless of any effect it might have on the Admin- 
istration. He said Weed would get nothing farther here. 
Thought Wakeman ought to be removed. I reminded him 
that Weed and Seward were one. I reminded him that 
Kilpatrick was still holding two oflSces, — Minister to 
Chili and a commission in the regular Army. At all events 
I had never heard that he had relinquished either place, 
though I had understood it had been ordered. He said that 
should be done, — should not pass the next Cabinet-meet- 
ing. 

I told Blair that I questioned the expediency of remov- 
ing McCulloch, which some were urging; that I could not 
only advise, but should object, if I was allowed to know be- 
fore a movement was made or attempted. Blair says Mc- 
Culloch has fallen under Seward's influence. I should not 
be surprised if that were so, to some extent, yet I cannot 
think it very great. He feels it necessary to carry on his 
Department, and is glad of help from any quarter. McCul- 
loch may be imposed upon, — the victim of Seward's and 
Weed's New York superfine party management, — but if 
so, it is because he does not understand the intrigues and 
their object. Blair says Bogy told him the President did 
not express himself satisfied with any of his Cabinet but 
me, but that he complimented me. 

I yesterday dined at the President's with General 
Hancock and General Mitchell, his Chief of Staff, Jere 
Black, and Colonel Cooper ^ of Tennessee. General H. 
talks very well, and I hope will act sensibly in Louisiana. 
The Radicals are a little disconcerted on account of his be- 
ing here when they wish to make a partisan demonstration 
for Sheridan, whom Hancock supersedes. At the theatre 

^ Edmund Ck)op6r, who represented a Tennessee district in the Thirty- 
ninth Congreas. 



 -JU.-_ 



1887] JEREMIAH S. BLACH 205 

on Saturday evening the audience cheered Hancocki while 
Sickles and Forney were in an adjoining box unbeknown to 
H. General Mitchell is a Mifflin County, Pennsylvaniai 
boyi known to our relations there. 

Jere Black is spending much time with the President of 
late. He was Buchanan's Attorney-General, and Secretary 
of State after Cass resigned. He has legal ability and is a 
politician of more than ordinary power, but I distrust that 
class of politicians who really promoted rebellion when 
they declared themselves paralyzed and unable to coerce 
a State. I do not consider him a good and sound adviser 
for the President, and am sorry that he is so much coiv* 
suited and deferred to, when there are sound and good men 
outside of the Cabinet — if he is driven there — whom he 
might consult. I shall not be surprised if there are some 
changes of an important character in contemplation and 
strong measures taken. The President, I know, has such 
intentions, but he hesitates, — delays executing his good 
intentions. Whether Black's advice will be judicious if it is 
sought, is questionable, yet he has a good deal of sagacity 
and shrewdness. 

Colonel Cooper was a member of the last Congress, but 
was defeated by the negro vote in the recent election. 
He thinks Brownlow will be elected to the Senate, and 
both he and Patterson ^ think him, with all his coarse 
roughness, a better and honester man than Maynard and 
Stokes.* 

Senator Thomas • of Maryland and ex-Mayor Berrett * 
made a formal call to-day in behalf of ex-Paymaster Bel- 
knap, who was dismissed, or went out of the service, several 
years since as a defaulter. There was a myBterious robbery 

, 1 David T. Patterson, one of the Senators from Tennessee. 
* Horace Maynard and William B. Stokes, Representatives from Ten- 



* Philip Francis Thomas was at the time Senator-elect from Marvland, 
but in the following February he was refused a seat on the ground of hay- 
ing given aid and comfort to the Rebellion." 
_ « J. G. Berrett, Mayor of Washington, 185S-^. k 



206 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [sept.*) 

of some hundred and thirty thousand dollars in the Brook- 
13m Navy Yard, when he was Paymaster of the Yard, for 
which he could not account, and after some two years or 
more . . . he was dismissed, having in the mean time, through 
the influence and activity of powerful friends, had oppor- 
tunity to go before Congress. A few months since. Marshal 
Murray and a Treasury detective brought a parcel of 
thieves and burglars here, who, they said, confessed them- 
selves to be the robbers. But as the case was outlawed by 
lapse of time, no pimishment could be inflicted on the 
wretches if actually guilty, which is questionable, to say 
the least, and as they had no characters, their acknow- 
ledgments I consider unreliable and unworthy of credit. 
In bringing up the case to-day, Mr. Berrett said one rea- 
son for the delay in pressing the subject before Congress 
was the difiiculty which he experienced in getting the act 
of March 2, 1865, through Congress. This act says, if an 
officer is dismissed by the President, he may demand a court 
martial, and if not granted within six months, he shall be 
reinstated. I asked if Belknap procured that law to be 
passed, and he said he with others did. "Then," said I, 
**he expected after leaving the service that a court martial 
could reappoint him. The Constitution gives all appoint- 
ments to the President and Senate, but Congress may by 
law give inferior appointments to the President alone, 
heads of Departments, or judges. It does not confer this 
authority on courts martial, and as Belknap is out, and 
has been out for several years, I am not prepared to say 
that he is restored because there has been no court martial 
in his case." Senator Thomas said this was a new view of 
the case, and the two left, Berrett saying the case should 
be submitted. 

September 24, Tuesday. At the Cabinet-meeting Seward 
proposed that it should be understood that we had no 
more ironclad or naval vessels to sell. He said the Turks 
were making application and it would be annoying. I said 



18671 SALE OF IRONCLADS DISCUSSED 207 

more annoying to me than any one else, for the Greeks 
were also applying. The Gredc Minister has called on me; 
wanted to get the small ironclads for about three hundred 
thousand dollars, and wished credit for one half until May 
next; perhaps longer. I told him to put his proposition in 
writing and I would give a written answer. One thing he 
might imderstand at once, — that we could sell no vessel 
elsewhere than in the United States. 

McCulloch thought it not advisable to refuse to sell any 
of our vessels, particularly ironclads. I said we might sell 
and ought to sell if we had an unobjectionable purchaser, 
but that we were not in the market. I so said to the Ger- 
man Minister. The truth is they are expensive to keep and 
will soon go to waste imemployed on our hands. 

General Grant presented the case of General SickleSi 
who asked a court of inquiry. Some discussion followed. 
Stanbery seems not to understand these matters. Grant 
thought an officer could demand a court of inquiry. I 
queried whether he could have one unless the President 
deemed it advisable. In this instance the court was asked, 
not for military, but civil reasons. General Sickles dis- 
liked the views of a civil officer of the Government, and 
disliked the act of the President detaching him. For these 
reasons he wanted a court of inquiry, — in other words, 
wanted to try the President and Attorney-General for 
disapproving his conduct. 

The President suggested that the elections in the pro- 
scribed States should be upon the same day. Grant inter- 
posed difficulties. Some of the States had closed registra- 
tion, fixed the day of election, -and could not well go over 
the process. Thought it would cause difficulty. I perceived 
that he and the President had conferred on the subjecti 
and I also perceived that others had had some conference 
with him. 

I went to a party at General Grant's this evening, given 
in honor of the generals now here. There was quite an 
attendance of army officers and others, and also of most 




208 DIARY OP GIDEON WELLES isbpt.m 

of the Cabinet. I went early and left early, — as soon as 
I could see Sheridan and Sickles. If Hancock came, it 
was after I left. 

September 25, Wednesday. Had a long interview with 
Rear-Admiral Godon, who gave me at great length his 
troubles with our Ministers in South America, particu- 
larly with General Webb.^ 

Mr. Roselius of New Orleans called on me this evening. 
Deplores the condition of afifairs in Louisiana and through 
the whole South; is ready to submit to any government 
that will give security to person and property. This will 
become the general cry and petition there and elsewhere if 
the mad partyismof the Radicals is not checked, as I trust it 
will be. There are indications that the sense and reason of 
the people are moving in the Northern States, I trust in the 
right direction, but partyism is stronger than patriotism. 
The extreme Etemocrats seem to consider their obligations 
to party greater than to their country. In this respect they 
are surely better than the Radicals, who are partisan in the 
extreme. The Democrats do not, however, in all their 
excitement, ignore or trample on the Constitution, as the 
Radicals do, in order to attain party ends. 

Received a telegram from Commodore Selfridge, asking 
that instructions be sent District Attorney in relation to 
refusal to submit to habeas corpus in State court, or to be 
arrested for such refusal. There has been a diflBculty aris- 
ing for some time past in relation to enlistments, — vari- 
ous contrivances to withdraw the enlisted party from the 
custody of the United States Government and Courts. 
There are, I believe, two or three naval cases and one 
army case pending, the latter being first to be tried. Com- 
modore Smith came to me a few days ago with a telegram 
from Selfridge, asking what should be done when the writ 
was served, supposing it related to one of the recruits on 

^ James Watson Webb, New York journalist, Minister to Brazil, from 
1861 to 1869. 



mn A HABEAS CORPUS CASE 200 

the receiving ship. There are many whom a ring of petti- 
foggers are constantly striving to retain after they have 
drawn advanced pay. I said he must not let the oflBicer 
come on board to serve the writ. Faxon, who was present) 
said, ' ' Resist him by armed force.'' I told the Commodore 
to call on the legal oflBioer, who had charge of these matters 
and would advise him how to proceed; that we had written 
to the District Attorney some months since, anticipating 
this trouble, but had received no answer; that he seined 
timid, afraid to meet the case, or did not know how to act. 
This telegram shows that the trouble has commenced. 
The question whether the State or municipal courts can 
interpose and discharge men enlisted in the United States 
service should be settled, and if I had confidence in the 
energy and ability of the District Attorney at Philadelphia, 
I woidd as soon have it disposed of now as ever. Were the 
Attorney-General a firm, decided man, less a technical 
lawyer and more of a statesman, so as to instruct and 
inspire Gilpin, I should feel more assured. 

September 26, Thursday. Pl^esented Admiral and Mrs. 
Godon to the Resident this morning, and took a long ride 
with them this evening. The Philadelphia papers this 
morning have a report of the proceedings before Judge 
Pierce] in the habeas corpus case, George Gormel, all of 
which was discreet and proper, save the coarse and vulgar 
speech of Mann, the District Attorney. A dispatch from 
Selfridge also asks instruction. My first thought was to 
send a letter of instructions to Commodore S., but when 
it was prepared, I thought it better to submit it to the 
Attorney-General and get his opinion whether it was 
proper and correct, and also get from him an opinion con- 
cerning the case, — whether a body of troops on the march 
or a naval vessel getting xmder weigh could be stopped by 
a local mimicipal judge. I had very little confidence that 
I should procure anything definite or satisfactory, and was 
therefore not disappointed when he began to express doubts 

3 



210 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [sept. 26 

and to hesitate. ''It is a great writ, Mr. Secretary/' he 
repeated half a dozen times at least. I did not controvert 
this, but told him this was a great country, that we were 
a great people, and the naval service itself was something; 
perhaps all could be checked and thrown out of gear by a 
person holding oflBice under a different jurisdiction than that 
of the United States. I called his attention to the Booth 
case in Wisconsin, where the Supreme Court said the 
marshal should not give up a prisoner who was in the cus- 
tody of the United States. Referred him to Judge Holt's 
book. After reading twice the article on habeas carpus^ he 
looked more wise and unbent a little, — inquired about the 
case. Who sued out the writ? Was he accused of crime? 
He must know the particulars. I told him that it did not 
seem to me necessary, — no particular case was the sub- 
ject of my inquiry. The question is, can the Gk)vemment 
— can the United States — be impleaded? Can a State court 
require the United States to show cause why it has a per- 
son in custody, — inquire into the validity of an enlist- 
ment? In answer to his question, however, I stated I sup- 
posed the writ was sued out in this instance by the father 
of the enlisted man. ''Yes, this is a great writ, Mr. Secre- 
tary, a great writ. If he were a murderer, or criminal, the 
State would demand him." "That," said I, "is not denied 
or questioned; he is neither. But if the writ can be sued 
out in this way, great public injury may follow. A vessel 
on the point of sailing — going, perhaps, on an important 
errand for the Government, one affecting peace or war — 
may in this way be stopped by factious parties and de- 
tained for days and weeks. The Government is powerless, 
if it has not the control of its enlisted men. Such an abuse 
is not to be thought of." 

After rubbing his face and hands, looking up, and then 
at the fire, he said the question was important, required 
time. I said that was not allowable, for. the judge had 
delayed the matter only until the 28th, Saturday, and 
I wished to answer Conmiodore Self ridge to-day, and 



18671 COLLISION AT NASHVILLE FEARED 211 

I desired the District Attorney, or his assistant, Mr. Valen- 
tine, who appeared to manage the case, might be advised. 
He then asked for the proceedings, — the steps which 
have been taken, — and I told him I would send over the 
correspondence and some suggestions. He desired I would 
do so and said he would give the subject prompt attention. 
On getting the correspondence from the Bureau, I find 
it pretty taut, — a little more belligerent in some respects 
than it would have been had it been submitted to me, 
— but Commodore Smith says his letter of instruction 
was obtained from the War Department. In so important 
a matter I should really have been more consulted, as 
things turn out. It is imfortunate that he went only to 
the Solicitor or Judge- Advocate of the War Department. 
The truth is none of these telegrams and orders have been 
submitted to me until the conflict came on, except in the 
single instance when I referred Commodore Smith to the 
law office for advice as to the usual form and course of 
proceedings in similar cases. 

September 27, Friday. The apprehensions of a collision 
at Nashville was the principal topic of discussion in the 
Cabinet. The municipal authorities claim the right of 
conducting the election imder their charter, which has not 
been altered. Brownlow, the Governor, insists they shall 
not, but that negroes and others shall vote and that the polls 
shall be opened and conducted by his instruments. He has 
called out the militia to enforce his plan. The city author- 
ities have organized an armed police to maintain their 
rights. 

The President directed General Grant to order General 
Thomas with regulars to Nashville that he might assist 
in preserving the peace. General Grant read to-day the 
correspondence between himself and Thomas, which will 
probably result in giving the whole question to Brownlow. 
The regulars are not to interfere, and probably could not, 
except upon application of the Governor, and he will not 



212 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [sept. 27 

make that application if he can succeed without. If he can- 
not succeed, then he will take the necessary steps to call 
General Thomas and the United States troops to his aid, 
if the President, to whom B. dislikes to appeal, will permit. 
Thomas inclines to the Radicals; at the beginning of the 
Rebellion he inclined to the Secessionists. These people, 
the Radicals, will not regard the rights of Nashville if they 
conflict with the negro. 

I brought up the subject of a conflict of authorities at 
Philadelphia, and remarked that I had placed the subject 
in the hands of the Attorney-General, who would, perhaps, 
state the case. 

With a wave of the hand and a shake of his head he said 
yes, I had called on him, but had not fully informed him as 
to the particulars, and until he had all the circumstances 
he would not undertake to give an opinion. The writ of 
habeas corpus is a great writ, and there was but one course 
that he was aware of, when it was sued out, and that was 
to produce the body. 

''What," said I, "if the judge or court has no jurisdic- 
tion?" "But," said he, "the court has jurisdiction; the 
body must be produced in all cases." I replied this was 
not done, and could not be done without bringing the 
Federal authority into contempt, and discouraging and 
demoralizing the service. 

"What," said he, "ii the habeas corpTis is for a murderer? " 
"Then," said I, "the man would be given up to be tried, 
and so would any man charged with crime without the 
habeas corpus. When, however, there is no crime, but a 
question of the validity of an enlistment, I apprehend a 
local State judge cannot interfere. The United States are 
not servable, and if not servable, how are enlisted men to 
be brought before a Pennsylvania judge, for him to decide 
whether the contract is proper and acceptable?" 

General Grant remarked that this question had given 
the Army great trouble, but he believed the question was 
pretty well settled, though there was just now a little fuss 



ISCTI THE HABEAS CORPUS QUESTION 213 

in Philadelphia with one of their oflSoers. It would not do, 
however, to have petty courts setting the soldier free. 

"But," said Stanbery, ''they must reply to the writ of 
habeas corpus and produce the man/' Grant said he 
thought the Army was not doing this to the State judges. 

Seward told Stanbery he did not believe he could get off 
from this question without investigating it; that the writ 
was a great one, but great questions were involved which 
could not be set aside by mere remarks that the body must 
be produced. McCulloch, Randall, and Otto,* all main- 
tained that they thought the Federal authority should be 
maintained. 

Finding himself sustained by none and that the ques- 
tion was not to be evaded, the Attorney-General said he 
was willing to look into it, but he must have time. He 
wanted to know all the facts and circumstances, and 
wished I would let him have them. I told him it had never 
appeared to me necessary to travel over the details of any 
particular case. We wanted a principle settled. The ques- 
tion is, Can the United States be sued in the State courts? 
Will the habeas corpus lie against an ofiScer acting under 
orders, who returns that the prisoner or person is in his 
custody by authority of the United States? I had given 
him the respectful answer of Commodore Selfridge to the 
writ, and had also sent him the correspondence. He said 
he had not seen this; his clerk having lost a child, his 
papers were behindhand. 

I remarked that the case was adjourned until to-morrow 
and Commodore Selfridge was expecting and entitled to in- 
structions. He wished me to inform the Commodore that he 
was investigating the case and would give an answer at the 
earliest moment possible. I declined ; told him that would 
not be satisfactory ; that, the case having been put in his 
hands, it was for him to make that application or request. 
He hesitated, — demurred a little. I told him I would, 
if he wished, forward it; that he might address a line to me, 

^ William T. Otto, Aasbtant Secretary of the Interior. 



214 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES isept.27 

expressing his wish for time, and I would send that. He 
assented and wrote the note. *'What," said I, "if this is 
unavailing, and the judge refuses, as I think likely he will, 
to postpone? " He said he oould not, in that event, advise. 
''But," said I, ''I must, — advise and dissent." 

September 28, Saturday. I called on the Attorney-Gen- 
eral tolerably early and found him and his clerk busy hunt- 
ing up authorities for the habeas corpiis case at Philadelphia. 
We had pretty earnest talk on two or three points. Like 
all lawyers, he is stuffed full of English law and English 
precedents, and most of his books were English authorities. 
He read to me from several voliunes regarding the writ. 
I told him I was not ignorant of its importance, especially 
in England at an earlier period than the present, and that 
it was not without value in these days and in our own 
country, but was now and here perhaps overestimated. 

''This case," said I, "could not come up in this form in 
England, to which country you are so intently looking for 
authorities, for they have not, like us, two sovereignties. 
Here there are two jurisdictions, and the lesser assumes to 
pass judgment on the superior in a matter affecting the 
latter. Commodore Selfridge, under direction from the 
Navy Department of the United States, and, for that mat- 
ter, under the President himself, denies jurisdiction, has 
returned a respectful answer to the writ, and his action is 
to be approved or disapproved. If his return is imperfect, 
let us perfect it ; if in error, let us put him right ; but I deny 
the jurisdiction of the quarter-session court of Philadelphia 
to pass judgment on the United States." 

He admitted the correctness of my suggestions; said he 
had thought of most of them himself, but we must, just 
at this time, move very cautiously. Our opponents were 
charging us with taking too much power now. I told him 
that he and I knew how false and groundless these charges 
were. The error had been in the opposite dh-ection. "lam 
a State-Rights man, and I am also for Federal rights. The 



18671 STANBERY ON HABEAS CORPUS 215 

authority conferred by the Constitution on the Federal 
Government I shall assert and maintain as sacredly and 
inviolably as the rights of the States which are reserved. 
But the error of this Administration has been that it has 
dwarfed, belittled itself, — failed to exercise the authority 
conferred by the Constitution on the executive depart- 
ment. We have been passive and shrinking, — have not 
maintained the national rights and authority intrusted to 
us by the Constitution. It is not for me to say who have 
been advisers of this policy, or who have opposed it. I, as 
a Federal oflScer, support without transcending Federal 
authority. In the matter now before us, my Department 
is involved, and I have thus far sustained, and so far as 
I have a view I intend to sustain, the authority of the 
Department and the Government against encroachment. 
I deny the jurisdiction of the State courts. I deny that the 
United States are suable in those courts, and the time 
must come when the Administration must declare and 
maintain its authority. On you, Mr. Attorney-General, 
much depends." 

He answered me that he should thoroughly look into 
this question, and believed he should give an opinion that 
would be satisfactory to me. '^ Biit the fact is, in this great 
writ one thing is always and forever essential, — the 
person must be produced in court. He may be at once 
discharged by Judge Pierce, and that would end the 
controversy." 

''Suppose he is not discharged," said I, ''what then?" 

"Ah I well, that to be sure; then we should have to carry 
the case up," said he. 

"Has Judge Pierce any business with this case?" I 
asked. "Can he try it? Was it not his duty, when applica- 
tion was made to him, to have said to the parties he had 
no jurisdiction, — that they must go to the United States 
judge?" 

Without answering my question, he said, "Supposing 
Commodore Self ridge had seized a citizen of Philadelphia 



216 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [8eft.28 

and confined him in the Yard, — a person who had not 
enlisted, — could not Judge Pierce grant a writ of habeas 
carpu8 for the production of that citizen? '' 

''Most certainly he could/' said I, ''but that is not the 
present question." 

"Then/' said he, "supposing Commodore Selfridge had 
returned that the man was enlisted, when he was not en- 
listed?" 

" In that event, Selfridge himself would have been liable. 
It would have been a wrong of T. 0. Selfridge individually, 
— not the Commodore ofl&cially, — for which he would have 
been personally responsible. He would in such case be no 
more acting for the United States than if he had stolen 
the man's watch and denied the theft." 

These are some of the points which passed between us, 
and I think the discussion had a beneficial effect. The 
Attorney-General started wrong; he intended to have put 
aside the great question; he is a little professionally con- 
ceited, but means to do right, — is a little annoyed when 
I raise points, or controvert his positions, as I sometimes 
do. Often, without arguing the question, he resorts to 
technicalities, subtleties of the law, pleadings, etc., as if 
great truths can be hidden or disposed of by such means. 
He really injures himself by these devices, — I will not 
say tricks, — the lawyer rather than the statesman ap- 
pears at such times. His habeas carpus ideas are purely 
English, not American. But the structure of the two 
governments are different, — one central, the other federal. 
It will be a little mortifying to him to come over entirely 
on to my groimd, and I ought not, perhaps, to expect it; 
but I think his views on the subject of habeas corpus have 
been modified, and as he has a good deal of ability, with 
his pedantry, I hope he will give us a fair opinion. 

September 30, Monday. Admiral Godon and wife dined 
with me yesterday. They have been some days in W., 
have driven out with me, etc., etc. Godon tells me some 



1867] ADMIRAL GODON ON PORT ROYAL 217 

facts in relation to Du Pont of which I had not previously 
been informed. They had been intimate and particular 
friends, but Du Pont evinced the little jealousy which was 
one of the banes of his life. At Port Royal, Godon placed 
his vessel, the Mohican, in a position where she en- 
filaded the Rebel batteries and literally drove them from 
thdir guns. Du Pont, instead of thanking, he says, in- 
sulted him for it. The attack by sailing in a circle was, 
Godon says, not part of the original plan but an expedient, 
an afterthought, when it was foimd more convenient to 
move from under fire than to remain. This movement was 
made by Stringham at Hatteras, and I have no doubt 
that steam vessels, which can be always in motion, prompted 
the idea. Little credit is due any officer for originating 
what would have been a culpable piece of stupidity to have 
omitted. 

I called on the President and showed some of the au- 
thorities and stated some of my reasons in the Philadel- 
phia habeas carpus cases. He appeared to enter into my 
views, and I am in hopes will encourage Stanbery in the 
right way. 

The court at Philadelphia postponed the hearing until 
next Saturday, in order to give the Attorney-General an 
opportunity to investigate the case. Mr. Courteney, Dis- 
trict Attorney at New York, has written a pretty smart 
letter in reply to Mr. Mann, the Philadelphia lawyer in 
this case, a copy of which he sent me. 



LIII 

Attorney-General Stanbery reads his Opinion on the Habeas Corpus Case 
— llie President calls General Sherman to Washington — Colond 
Cooper on the Political Situation in New York State — A Sketch of 
Party Politics in New York — James A. Seddon's Application for Par- 
don — Governor Cox of Ohio mentioned for the War Portfolio — Gen- 
eral Blair's Qualifications for the Position — Sherman's Relations with 
Grant — Election Returns from Pennsylvania and Ohio indicate an 
Overthrow of the Radicals — The President has a Frank Talk with 
Grant, who assures him he should expect to obey Orders — BoutweU 
disavows any Intention of attempting to arrest the President. 

October 1, Tuesday. Full attendance at Cabinet. Judge 
Otto appeared for Browning, who is still at the Virginia 
Springs. 

Some appointments being under consideration, there 
was little inclination to move in them by reason of the 
Tenure-of-Office Bill. 

I had a talk with Stanbery on the habeas corjms case. 
He is still hesitating and uncertain. Thinks the body 
must be produced in court, even if the coiuli has no juris- 
diction. Is overwhelmed with English law and English 
precedents, though our system of general and State gov- 
ernments is fundamentally different from theirs, and con- 
sequently a different rule must prevail. I have reverence 
for the privileges of the writ of habeas corpus and am for 
the sacred observance of the rights reserved to the States, 
but I am also for maintaining Federal rights and Federal 
authority unimpaired. There are difficulties in this case, 
— an apparent conflict of jurisdiction. 

It would have been well to have made a specific con- 
cession in the Constitution that the habeas corpus should 
not be issued by State authorities to persons in the mili- 
tary or naval service of the United States. But this was 
not done, and it is now a question to be met, and I assume 



18671 STANBERY ON HABEAS CORPUS 219 

that it is incidental and essential to the sovereignty of 
the Federal Government that it should have full and ab- 
solute control over the military and naval forces; that 
there would not be that full power, if the local State and 
municipal judges can interpose and decide on the validity 
of enlistments and set soldiers and sailors at liberty. 
Demoralization and weakness would follow from such a 
state of things. A person in the service who claims that 
he is improperly detained is not without remedy. The 
courts of the United States are open to him and to his 
friends. They have undoubted jurisdiction, and they 
alone. These are my conclusions, and I think without 
prejudice. 

At this time, when the Radicals are breaking down all 
constitutional barriers, — confoundmg and ignoring aU 
rights. State, Federal, Departmental, and individual, — 
it is the duty of those who are in position to be cautious 
but courageous, to abstain from assiunptions, but to fear- 
lessly assert the powers with which they are invested. 

Congress is disposed to usurp all the powers of govern- 
ment, and take into its own hands not only the making 
but the execution of the laws, — to adjudicate and carry 
into efifect its judgments. The President has passively 
submitted to have the executive department step by step 
encroached upon and crippled. Concession and submis- 
sion have been advised, imtil the Government is a mass 
of weakness, losing its character. If Stanbery fails me, 
I shall have none to stand by me in the Administration^ 
Sam Randall and some of the politicians have been here, 
fearing a decided course may affect the elections. The 
case is a Radical trick. 

October 4, Friday. The Attorney-General to-day read 
his opinion, prepared with much labor and at great 
length, on the habeas corpus case. I was not disappointed, 
though somewhat annoyed, with his conclusions, — that 
the prisoner or enlisted man must be produced in court 



220 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [oct.4 

and that the Commodore must not resist the decree if 
the prisoner is discharged, that the local court has juris- 
diction, etc. [He said that] if discharged, he, the Attor- 
ney-General, should instruct the District Attorney to 
carry the case to the Supreme Court. 

I inquired why he would carry it there, if the local 
courts had jurisdiction; and if their decision was not final. 
And I aaked how he was to get the case before the Supreme 
Court? He replied that he had not much doubt that G. 
would be retained and remanded to custody, but if not, 
he should have no difficulty in getting the case to the 
Supreme Court, though he knew not the precise features 
of Pennsylvania law. He went on to say, in answer to my 
former inquiries and remarks, that it was time this ques- 
tion should be settled by the highest judicial tribunal, 
because, if the local courts could interfere in military and 
naval cases, some immediate legislation would be neces- 
sary. 

I asked if Congress could legislate away a constitu- 
tional power. The local courts either have or they have 
not the right to issue this writ calling for the production 
of enlisted persons. If they have this right under the 
Constitution, Congress cannot deprive them of it; if they 
have not this right, I cannot see how they can demand 
the production of this person. 

Without meeting the points, he went off into a disserta- 
tion on the distinction between the custody of a prisoner 
under judgment of a court and custody under an enlist- 
ment in the Army and Navy. 

I asked if an enlistment was not a contract to which 
the United States is a party. He admitted such was the 
fact. I then inquired whether the United States was 
suable. He said no, but a judge in Pennsylvania had, 
under the laws of that State and under the habeas corpus 
provision, authority to demand the production of the 
person enlisted, until Congress passed laws prohibiting 
State interferences. 



isw] SHERMAN CALLED TO WASHINGTON 221 

Seward and Randall each thought there should be kn- 
mediate legislation since hearing this opinion. 

The Attorney-General produced a telegram which he had 
prepared for me to sign to Commodore Self ridge. 

The President remarked, if this, which was the first 
business of Cabinet, was disposed of, we would proceed 
to other matters. 

I was sorry that so important a question should have 
passed off without a more full and general discussion, 
and expression of opinion by others. Important principles 
are involved which should not be thus lightly disposed of » 
The liberty of the citizen, and the rights of the Federal 
and State Governments are involved, but no disposition 
was evinced to defend, discuss, or touch them. Th^^ 
was no favoring response to the Attorney-General, whose 
argument, I thought from his single reading and from 
what passed between us, is narrow, without original 
thought, power, or grasp, — a skulking from the real 
question under the precedents of local courts. That Mr. 
Stanbery is a lawyer of acquirements and ability may be 
admitted, while denying him the higher and nobler qual- 
ities of a statesman. He is, moreover, timid and shrinks 
responsibility. 

Colonel Cooper informs me that he is to remain in 
Washington as a companion and friend to the President, 
It is well. The President needs such a friend, and it is to 
be regretted, if Cooper is such, he was not invited earlier. 
I fear it is now too late, and so told Colonel Cooper. 

He says General Sherman has been called to Washing- 
ton by the President and will be here by Simday next. 
Both the President and he think Sherman may influence 
Grant by reason of their intimacy. There is no doubt 
that Sherman has more general intelligence and know- 
ledge of the government than Grant, but he is sometimes 
erratic and uncertain, whilst Grant is prejudiced, aspiring, 
reticent, cunning, and stolidly obstinate in his ignorance. 
The two men will work well and advantageously together 



222 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [ocr.i 

when they agree, but when they differ, the stubborn will 
and selfishness of Grant will overpower the yielding genius 
and generous impulses of Sherman. These are my views of 
the two men, and I so told Colonel C. That Sherman 
has a mortal antipathy to Stanton and is really in sym- 
pathy with the President, I can well suppose, but when 
he associates with Grant, I apprehend from what I have 
seen and imderstood he will be powerless. Had he been 
here for the last fifteen months, his influence upon Grant, 
who is subordinated by Stanton, whom he dislikes, mi^^t 
have been salutary. He can now do but little- 
October 7, Monday. The opinion of the Attorney-Gen- 
eral in the habeas coT'pus case does not appear to have 
been welcomed by any portion of the commimity thus far. 
It haa not, however, been much criticized, but has been 
received indifferently, without comment or respect. On 
reading it, my impressions of Friday are confirmed. It is 
a mere lawyer's brief, not a statesman's views. He and 
I have had the misfortune to differ several times on funda- 
mental questions, and this fact may have had its influence 
upon him. 

Colonel Cooper called again to-day. He has seen G^i- 
eral Sherman, and so has the President. Colonel C. says 
S. feels and talks well, but the suggestion that I made that, 
in any difference between the President and Grant, Sher- 
man would yield and go with the latter impresses him 
strongly, and he so said to the President. Though natur- 
ally sanguine and hopeful, C. is a good deal despondent. 
Says the elections to-morrow will decide the matter. 
What he meant by this I could not comprehend, and so 
said to him. To me it is uncertain how the Radicals will be 
affected, whichever way the elections may terminate. 

If the Radicals are defeated, they may feel discouraged 
and change their tactics, or they may be more vindictive 
and spiteful than ever. If they are successful, they may 
be content to let what they deem well enough alone, or 



iSfiTj TALE WITH COLONEL COOPER 223 

they may recklessly push on their usurpations and assaults 
upon the President still farther. What then, I asked C, 
could the elections of to-morrow decide? He admitted 
it was difficult to tell what would be Radical action in 
either event; but there was evidently something which 
had been discussed which he did not diisclose. 

In our conversation on Friday^ he expressed his great 
disappointment over the condition of things in New York. 
He has just been there and mixed in' freely with their lead- 
ing men. Saw Tilden, who showed him my letter. Tilden 
talked well, but the tendency was to maintain a New York 
party organization and to cut clear of the Administra- 
tion. It is a party, not a patriotic, scheme, and will fail. 
Tilden's partyism is weakness and does not surprise me 
so much as it does Cooper. The President is too much 
identified with Seward, has been too much advised by 
him, to gain the affections or even the good will of the 
New York Democrats. There was intentional rebuke of 
the President by the managing New York Democrats — 
Seymour, Tilden, etc. — in omitting the Presideut's 
name in their late State Convention, or any allusion 
to him. In this they were ungenerous and committed a 
mistake which they may regret. Their selfish ambition 
is overleaping itself. 

The political organizations of New York from the foim- 
dation of the government have had an important influence 
on public affairs in that State and the country. Hamilton 
and Burr, in the early days of the Republic, were antagon- 
istic and shaped parties. The break-up and dissolution 
of old parties, which began in that State in 1812 imder the 
lead of DeWitt Clinton, who became a candidate for the 
Presidency against Mr. Madison, was completed twelve 
years later at the close of the Monroe Administration. 
Adams, Crawford, Jackson, Clay, and Calhoim were op- 
posing candidates in that election. Crawford was the can- 
didate of the large fragment of Republicans who adhered 
to the Republican organization, but Adams was successful* 



224 DIARY OP GIDEON WELLES [oct.7 

A new organization of parties, based on new issues, which 
the decadence of old parties and the growth and progress 
of the country rendered necessary, was instituted. 

There was, at that period, a combination of powerful 
minds associated in the government of New York, who 
were Republicans of the Jeffersonian school, but anti- 
Clintonians, although Clinton was of the same school. This 
combination was stigmatized as the Regency, and their 
party was called Bucktails, from the fact that they for 
several years went to the polls wearing in their hats a 
buck's tail to distinguish them from the Clinton Repub- 
licans, who had been their party associates prior to 1812, 
but who subsequently coalesced and voted with the Feder- 
alists in support of DeWitt Clinton. 

The Regency and the Bucktail Party very generally 
supported Crawford for President in 1824, but a union of 
the friends of the other candidates i^ainst them caused 
their defeat, and eventuated in the election of J. Q. 
Adams, whom they had opposed. Although Mr. Adams 
was successful in obtaining a large portion of the electoral 
vote of New York, he was not a favorite with a majority 
of the people of that State. 

The Federalists who supported Clinton were gratified 
with Mr. Adams' election, but the Republican Clintonians 
and Clinton hhnself were not satisfied. 

In the general chaos of parties that prevailed during 
the first two years of the J. Q. Adams Administration, the 
Regency was not idle, but in the midst of their operations 
a new party organization sprang up which sunk all other 
party ties, principles, and distinctions in its opposition 
to any candidate for any office who was connected with 
the Masonic institution. Governor Clinton was a promin- 
ent Mason, and the anti-Masonic movement took from 
him a large portion of his supporters. 

It was at this jimcture that the Regency exercised and 
developed its abiUty, tact, and sagacity in organizing from 
fragmentary and opposing elements a party which for 



18671 NEW YORK PARTY POLITICS 226 

many years oohtrolled and pofisessed the government of 
New York, had deservedly the confidence of the people of 
that State, and exercised & powerful mfluence for more 
than twenty years m national affairs. The men comprising 
the Regency and who were the leaders of what became 
thenceforth the Democratic Party were Van Buren, Marcy, 
P1^S> Sam Yoimgy and Wright.^ At a later day, Dix and 
others of less vigor and power succeeded the original Re-> 
gency, but they had not the ability to combine and main- 
tain the organization of th&i predecessors. New questioifi 
arose which they could not successfully grapple, lax prin« 
ciples, abuse of power, devotion to party and adherence to 
it right or wrong; a decreasmg pohtical morality weakened 
public confidence and ultimately caused their defeat. But 
the Regency, which organized the party to victory in 1828 
and success for many succeeding years, was an association 
of politicians and statesmen of wonderful mental capacity, 
whose integrity is imquestioned and who, while main-* 
taining ascendancy, exerted themselves to administer the 
government for the good of all. 

Van Buren was the acknowledged and admitted chief of 
that Regency, and his sagacity, shrewdness, judgment, and 
forecast probably entitled him to be so considered. Hd 
was calm, self-possessed, and deliberate in the most trjring 
emergencies, cautious and prudent almost to timidity, al- 
ways safe as a projector and counselor, never impulsive, 
with admirable self-control on all occasions. 

Marcy, with less reserve and with a more rugged intei^ 
lect, had greater courage and daring than Van Biuren, but 
was always not so politic. He had the excellent, though 
rare, quality of frankly and boldly expressing his opinions 
to his friends when he thought they erred, and telling th^m 
wherever he dissented from them. This made him a valued 
and inestimable critic and adviser in that circle of which 
Van Buren was chief. Later in life and after considerable 

^ Martin Van Buren, William L. Marcy, Asariah C. Flagg, Samad 
Young, and Silas Wright. 

a 




226 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [oct. 7 

experiencei Marcy, m public and as a public man before 
his countrymen; was not so bold as he had bten with the 
friends who knew him and could make proper allowance 
for his sometimes rude speech. It was Marcy who, in the 
Senate of the United States, said, in the matter of appoint- 
ments and removals, ''To the victor belong the spoils.'' 
No man was more unsparing and unrelenting in his party 
action and exactions than Marcy. 

Flagg, who was of similar temperament and a rigid party 
disciplinarian, permitted no party dissenters, and avowed 
as a rule of political action that he would ''shoot all 
deserters." Both he and Marcy were intolerant in their 
party discipline and management. Near the close of their 
united action at Albany, Marcy, who, with his father-in- 
law, Knower,^ Treasurer of the State and a minor append- 
age of the Regency, became pecimiarily embarrassed by 
iAJudicious speculation and wavered in his principles and 
party fidelity, — flinched in his support of the national 
administration, Mr. Van Buren being President, — had 
failed in rigidly maintaining, if he did not openly oppose, 
the " independent Treasury" and financial measures of the 
Government. Coolness, if not alienation, followed, and 
the cordial intimacy which had previously subsisted was 
never again fully restored. 

Sam Yoimg, more radical and more rash, was less reli- 
able and had less influence than the others. Wright, the 
youngest, had the best qualities of all and the confidence 
of all and was most esteemed and regarded by men of all 
parties. In the highest sense he was a politician, statesman, 
and patriot. Commencing public life at the formation 
of the Democratic Party, trained and disciplined by his 
seniors in the severe requirements that the period called for, 
he may sometimes have jrielded too much to the demands 
of party, but he was catholic, generous, and tolerant in 
his views, and would not i)ermit himself to knowingly do 
wrong or depart from what he believed to be right. 

1 Benjamin Enower. . 



18871 NEW YORK PARTY POLITICS 227 

Such were the components of the famous New York 
Regency. Before the death of Mr. Wright, who though the 
youngest was the first to die, the members of the Regency 
no longer concentrated at Albany; the organization insti- 
tuted in 1828 had become enfeebled, divided, and lost 
character. 

The National Republicans, or Whigs, of New York soon 
began to imitate the Democrats and attempted a similar 
organization for party ascendancy with little regard for 
principle. Thurlow Weed, the master spirit, had been a 
conspicuous anti-Mason, and, finding success impracticable 
on that narrow and proscriptive basis, he and most of his 
anti-Masonic associates coalesced with Masonic Feder- 
alists and other cliques, and, by the free use of money, 
which was obtained in abundance from the merchants, 
manufacturers, and others in the city of New York, made 
themselves a formidable though not a compact nor, until 
the Democrats began to fail, a successful party. But the 
central directing power, a Regency composed of several 
superior minds combined and imited in the government 
and possessing the confidence of the people, was wanting. 
Weed, whose mental strength and power compared with 
Marcy and whose energy and industry were unsurpassed, 
removed to Albany and established the Journal, a paper 
in opposition to the Argus, the recognized organ of the 
Regency. Both papers were conducted with ability. Weed 
was almost alone in his political operations, while the 
editor of the Argus, surrounded and guided by others, 
became loose in his politics, and, like Marcy, indulged in 
pecuniary speculations that were imfortunate, enlisted, as 
did his antagonist Weed, in corrupt schemes, was a legis- 
lative lobbyist, lost confidence, and by his mismanagement 
contributed to the defeat of his party. Weed had no such 
backers and associates as the editor of the Argvs, but he 
found a ready and able coadjutor in Mr. Seward, who just 
at the period of his removal to Albany entered upon his 
pubhc career. There were men of intellect and ability in 



228 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [oct.7 

other parts of the State associated with thenii but they 
were not of Albany nor at Albany, and a mistrust and dis- 
trust of Weed which was general, the odor of corruption 
attending his acts, his trickery and deception, made him 
suspected and failed to win confidence. But similar infirm- 
ities in the Argiis, the frailties of its editor and the failure 
of Marcy on the financial measures which were then the 
absorbing and test questions of party, enabled the con- 
glomerate of anti-Masons and Federalists imder the name 
of Whigs to trimnph. 

Mr. Seward was elected Governor and with Weed and 
some newer personages established a sort of Whig Regency, 
where Weed was both corrupt and despotic and governed 
the heterogeneous organization with almost arbitrary 
power. Successive defeats and successes followed. Dissen- 
sions and enmities prevailed in each of the parties, which 
each constantly labored to reconcile and conceal. 

Marcy's defection did not cause immediate and entire 
estrangement, but it was instrumental in the defeat and 
ultimate prostration of Van Buren and his friends. Wright 
was sacrificed, and for a time implacable and violent hos- 
tilities existed. Marcy, though in a small minority of the 
Democrats, did not identify himself with the Whigs and 
by an adroit and skillful intrigue was brought into Polk's 
Cabinet, where he in a measure regained strength, and by 
similar services under Pierce became again a prominent 
but not fully trusted leader. 

In the mean time Seward, pressed forward by Weed and 
his associates as the ostensible chief of the Whigs, became 
conspicuous in national politics as a Senator and repre- 
sentative of that party in the great State of New York. 

Tilden in these movements was, although a younger man 
than Wright, a very active and sincere friend and supporter 
of Van Buren in the Regency, went with the Barnburners 
or Free-Soilers in the great break-up, and opposed Marcy 
and the Hunkers, as that branch of the party was called. 
It was a contest of great acrimony, in which both factions 



18671 NEW YORK PARTY POLITICS 229 

suffered, and the effect on the leadmg politicians when th^ 
finally effected a reunion was to make them more intensely 
partisan and warmer adherents to organization. 

To maintain the ascendancy in national affairs and 
regain influence at the South, the Democrats of New York, 
who climg to the organization without planting themselves 
firmly on immutable principles, became the apologists of 
the Secessionists, without, however, to any considerable 
extent adopting that theory. The consequence was the 
overthrow of the Democratic Party when Lincoln was 
elected, but the extreme men, determined to preserve the 
organization, while they did [not] subscribe to Secession, 
opposed the Administration, which struggled to put down 
that heresy and maintain the national existence. 

When the War was over, and the question [arose] of re- 
instating the States which had imdertaken to secede in the 
Federal Union, with harmony and fraternal feeling, a Radi- 
cal faction sprang up among the Republicans to prevent it, 
who taking '^stand outside the Constitution,'' denied the 
equal political rights of the States and put imder the ban 
of proscription the whole people of the South. President 
Lincoln, and President Johnson, who succeeded him, were 
Union men, but the former was assassinated early in that 
contest. President Johnson, an original Democrat, enforced 
the doctrine and principles which Lincoln had initiated. 
They were the views of the Democrats everywhere and of 
all Republicans who were not of the Radical faction ; but 
the Democratic organization, with Seymour and Tilden as 
leaders, failed to support and identify themselves with the 
Administration. Paxty was with them paramount to 
coimtry. They did not oppose President Johnson, but they 
held off and declined to be recognized as his supporters. 
They approved his views and principles, but they had not 
voted for him and their opponents had. 

October 8, Tuesday. In a dispatch to Van Valkenburg, 
which Seward read to-day in Cabinet, he instructed the 



230 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES "[OCT.8 

Minister to remonstrate with the Japanese Govemment 
in regard to their treatment of Christians. The sentiment 
was well enough as a sentiment, but I asked if there was 
any improper treatment of our countrymen or foreign 
Christians or whether it referred only to their own people. 
He said it was only the Japanese Christians that were 
harshly treated, and they not so severely as formerly. I 
questioned the propriety of pressing upon that govemment 
too far in a matter which belonged exclusively to them- 
selves, — we as a govemment and people are not religious 
propagandists. They may have a national religion, and if 
so, might deem our interference in their domestic affairs 
impertinent and offensive. As his letter was a remon- 
strance, I suggested that it might be well to cite oiu: non- 
interference and oiu: tolerance of all religious beliefs as an 
excuse for presentmg our views. Seward, who dislikes 
prompting, perceived the applicability of the suggestion, 
said he should have introduced that point but for the fact 
that Van Valkenburg had made mention of it. 

An application from Mr. Seddon * of Richmond for a 
pardon was presented by the Attorney-General. Seddon 
says he had opposed extreme measures, was in retirement 
when invited to the War Department of the Confederacy, 
did what he could to mitigate the calamities of war whilst 
in that position, made himself unpopular thereby, had 
taken the Union oath, etc., etc. Seward thought it best 
to postpone the subject imtil after the election, when it 
might be well to grant the pardon, for Seddon was a harm- 
less old man * and imdoubtedly true to the Union. 

I said that I had no spirit of persecution in me; that 
two and a half years had passed since the Rebellion was 
suppressed, and I thought it imwise and unjust to con- 
tinue this proscription; I was, therefore, ready at any time 
to consider favorably such an application as Mr. Seddon's. 

* James A. Seddon (1815-80), Confederate Secretary of War. 

* Mr. Seddon was only fifty-two at this time, but he had been in feeble 
health. 



18«7I SEDDON APPLIES FOR PARDON 231 

General Grant said very curtly and emphatically that 
he was opposed to granting any more pardons, for the 
present at least. This seemed to check the others, who 
expressed no opinion. I remarked, if as a matter of policy 
it was deemed expedient to delay three or four weeks until 
the November elections had passed, I would not object, 
but I thought the time had arrived for the display of some 
magnanimity and kindly feeling. 

A year since, General Grant expressed to me very dif- 
ferent views from those he now avows. Said he was ready 
to forgive the Rebels and take them by the hand, but 
would not forgive the Copperheads. He is pretty strongly 
conmiitted to the Radicals, — is courting and being 
courted. 

After the Cabinet adjourned, Stanbery, Browning, and 
myself remained with the President and had twenty min- 
utes' talk on the condition of affairs. Browning said that 
Governor Cox ^ was spoken of as a suitable man for Sec- 
retary of War, provided he would take the place. Stan- 
bery said he had not before heard Cox's name, but he 
thought it would be an excellent selection. Grant being 
ad interim, it was important the change should take place 
and Stanton be removed. Cox would hold on to the close 
of the session. I inquired if he was firm and reliable, and 
if he would stand by the President against Congress and 
General Grant if they resorted to revolutionary meas- 
ures, which from certain indications are not improbable. 
On that point neither of them was assured. I named Frank 
Blair as a man whom Grant respected and Stanton feared, 
who, with some infirmities, had courage and energy to 
meet any crisis, and who would be a fearless and reUable 
friend of the President and of sound constitutional prin- 
ciples. Browning responded favorably; Stanbery said 
nothing. 

The President, after the others left, expressed himself 

^ Jacob Dolson Cox, Governor of Ohio (1866-67) and afterwards Secre* 
taiy of the Interior under Grant. 



232 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [oct.s 

favorably to Blair. I urged the point farther. Told him 
Seward would be likely to object, but that, I thought, 
ought not to influence his action. I did not hesitate to 
tell him my apprehensions of Sherman, — that if Grant 
opposed the Administration, Sherman would be likely not 
to support it. Something had been said of Tom Ewing, 
senior, for a Cabinet officer, but he is too old and clumsy 
for such a period as this; but I thought him right on 
present questions, and if here, he might have influence 
with Sherman, who had been his ward and who married 
his daughter. I doubted, however, whether he would de- 
tach Sherman from Grant. The President spoke of Sher- 
man^s superior intellect to Grant. I acknowledged that 
he had more genius and brilliancy, but had not the firm- 
ness, persistency, and stubborn will which are the strong 
points of Grant, who is not a very enlightened man. When- 
ever the two are associated. Grant's obstinacy will make 
his the master mind, and if there were to be antagonism 
with Grant, the President might have to depend on some 
other man than Sherman. 

The President said that Grant had gone entirely over 
to the Radicals, and was with Congress. I told him that 
was my opinion, and I was fearful he was so far involved 
that he could not be withdrawn from mischievous influ- 
ences. The elections of to-day may have their influence, 
however, in this matter. 

October 9, Wednesday. The President showed me to- 
day General Sickles' letter demanding a court of inquiry, 
with Grant's favorable indorsement and the draft of a 
reply. The latter did not suit me, and I suggested 
changes. 

The returns of the Pennsylvania and Ohio elections show 
most extraordinary results, and indicate the overthrow 
of the Radicals and the downfall of that party. The 
reports are hardly credible. 

Montgomery Blair called this evening and is jubilant 



1887] GRANT AND SHERMAN 233 

over the election news, but expresses his mortification 
and chagrin that the President should have called Sher- 
man home, whom he denoimces as a Radical, — treacher- 
ous, ambitious, and no friend of the President. Blair's 
prejudices are deep and often mar his general good 
sense. 

October 10, Thursday. I wrote the form of an indorse- 
ment to be put on Sickles' application, or demand, for a 
court of inquiry, which I handed to the President. He 
was pleased with it, and it was certainly preferable to his 
extended document. 

I took the occasion to again express my distrust of 
Sherman as his reliable friend for such an emergency as 
was anticipated; and advised most earnestly that he should, 
if he had not already, have a frank and imreserved con- 
versation with Grant. The time, I assured him, had arrived 
when this subject should receive prompt and decisive 
attention; there could be no impropriety, but it was a 
matter of duty on his part, to have a thorough imder- 
standing with his immediate friends, and especially with 
his Secretary of War and General-in-Chief; that I knew 
not how freely he had communicated with Grant, but 
I thought G. loved office and was pleased with his posi- 
tion, was gratified with confidence and attention. There 
are indications that he is under Radical influence; if com- 
mitted to these, we should know it. I reminded him that 
on one occasion he had persuaded, or convinced. Grant 
that he was wrong, and caused him to recede and with- 
draw his letter. 

I reminded him also that Grant occupied, after himself, 
the most important post in the coimtry; that he was and 
would be a tower of strength to any party; that without 
him the Radicals and Congress could do nothing. I ad- 
mitted that he had not as enlarged and intelligent views 
as was desirable on political and governmental questions, 
that he was too much under the influence of little and un- 



234 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [OCT. 10 

worthy men, but I trusted, though selfish, he was at heart 
honest, patriotic, and desirous of doing right. If so, and 
his views were correct without political aspirations, kind 
attention, persuasion, argument, and truth from the Pre- 
sident would not be lost upon him. 

The President listened attentively, received my sug- 
gestions kindly, thanked me for them, and assured me 
he would have an interview with Grant, — to-morrow, if 
possible, though to-morrow is Cabinet day. 

October 19, Saturday. Time has been wanting for some 
days to enter occurrences. The President informs me that 
he called on General Grant in pursuance of my advice. 
He went to the War Department last Saturday, a week 
to-day, and consulted in a friendly way with General 
Grant ; told Grant he could not be ignorant of the schemes 
and threats that were made, and must be aware that it 
was his (the President's) duty to be prepared to vindicate 
the rights of the Executive and maintain the Constitu- 
tion, and resist invasions and usurpations. Should an 
attempt be made to depose or arrest him before trial or 
conviction, — if impeachment were attempted, — he de- 
sired to know if he would be sustained and whether officers 
in high position would obey his orders. 

He says Grant met him frankly, seemed to appreciate 
fully the question and the object of his inquiry; said he 
should expect to obey orders; that should he (Grant) 
change his mind he would advise the President in season, 
that he might have time to make arrangements. 

Under these declarations the President thought he 
might rely on General Grant. He could, after this avowal, 
press the point no farther. 

In this I think he was correct. Grant will make good 
his word, and act, I have no doubt, in good faith. I so 
said to the President, and expressed my gratification that 
the interchange of views had taken place. At the same 
time I requested him to continue and increase his intim- 



18671 GRANT AND THE RADICALS 236 

acy with Grant, who is not intelligent, — seems to be 
patriotic and right-minded, but the Radicals of every 
description are laboring to mislead him. Defeated in the 
recent elections, and with public opinion setting against 
the obnoxious measures, the scheming intriguers begin to 
rally around Grant, — speak of him as their candidate 
for President, — not that they want him, but they are 
fearful he will be taken up by the Democrats. 

October 23, Wednesday. Randall says that Boutwell 
disavows any intention of arresting, or attempting to 
arrest, the President before impeachment and convic- 
tion. Says it cannot be done, and does not favor the 
scheme of Stevens to that purpose. If this is so, the con- 
versation of the President with General Grant is already 
having its effects. Boutwell is a fanatic, a little insin- 
cere, violent, and yet has much of the demagogic cun- 
ning. He has been, and is, for making Grant the Radical 
candidate for President. He has the sagacity to see 
that with Grant opposed to them the Radicals would be 
annihilated. Grant had therefore, I infer, admonished 
Boutwell that he cannot be party to any movement for 
arresting the President before trial and conviction, and 
will not be an instrument in such a work. This accoimts 
for Boutwell's declarations to Randall. I so stated to the 
President this afternoon, and he seemed struck with my 
explanation. 

When the Cabinet adjourned yesterday, the President 
requested me to remain, and submitted to me a letter 
of some length addressed to the heads of Departments. 
It made mention of the condition of public affairs, the 
attempt that was to be made to arrest him, etc., etc., and 
concluded with requesting of each member his opinion on 
the subject, and in what manner each would advise him 
to proceed. I told the President the subject was important 
and that I thought he would be justified in ascertain- 
ing the opinions and views of his Cabinet fully and ex- 



236 DIARY OP GIDEON WELLES [ocr.M 

plicitly, especially if the subject was pressed. I suggested 
that in this stage of the proceedings, it was perhaps better 
to put the subject hsrpothetically than to make a positive 
assertion of what the Radicals intended. Their intrigues 
may be checked or miodified, or abandoned. He concurred, 
and will hold the matter under consideration. 



i c 



LIV 

Cabinet DiseussioD of the Question of Arrest — The PresldeDt's Message — 
The Judiciary Ck)mmittee of the House reports in favor of Impeachment 
— The President's Message to the Senate giving Reasons for suspending 
Stanton — The Alabama Claims discussed in Cabinet — A Complaint 
from Alabama against General Pope's Oppresaon — Grant's President- 
ial Aspirations — Senator Nye Introduces a Bill to establish a Board of 
Survey to supervise the Naval Bureaus — Admiral Porter thought to be 
behind it — Porter's Services and Ambition — Thurlow Weed moving 
for Grant — The Retirement of Captafai R. W. Meade, n.S.N., called 
up for Revision — Raymond and the Philadelphia Convention. 

November 30, Saturday. A long and serious illness has 
prevented me from recording some important events* 
Yesterday, though weak and debilitated, I for the first 
time in four weeks attended a Cabinet-meeting. When last 
at the council room I was quite ill; came home and went on 
to my bed, which I did not leave for twenty-one days, 
except once, on the seventh, for a few moments, which 
did me no good. Thanks to a good God, my health is 
restored, for which I am indebted to the faithful nursing 
of the best of wives and the kind attention of my physician. 

Little of interest was done in Cabinet yesterday. The 
President and all the Cabinet manifested great pleasure 
on seeing me. Each of them has been friendly in calling 
during my illness, the President sometimes twice a day. 

To-day the President laid before us his Annual Message. 
A soimd, strong, good document. After its perusal, and 
running criticism, he submitted a letter addressed to the 
Cabinet, stating the condition of afifairs, — the proposed 
impeachment and the proposition to suspend the President, 
or any officer when impeached, until after his trial, and 
judgment by the Senate. There was great xmcertainty 
of opinion on the subject in the discussion. 

That the President should submit to be tried if the House 



238 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [nov.80 

preferred articles was the opinion of all. That he should 
consent to, or permit himself to, be arrested or suspended 
before conviction was in opposition to the opinion of each 
and all. 

General Grant said it would be clearly ez post facto to 
pass a law for suspension in the case of the President, and, 
unless the Supreme Court sustained, it ought not to be 
submitted to. If Congress should pass a law directing 
that officers should be suspended whenever the House 
impeached the officer, that would be a different thing. 
Then it would be the law, known in advance. 

I agreed with General Grant that a law in the Presi- 
dent's case would be ex post facto and therefore to be re- 
sisted, if attempted. But I went farther and denied that 
Congress had authority to suspend the President, — the 
Executive, a coordinate branch of the government, — on 
the mere party caprice of a majority of the House of 
Representatives. 

Mr. Randall was very emphatic in denouncing such a 
movement as destructive to the government. 

General Grant said he thought a mere law of Congress 
would not justify suspension or authorize it, but that there 
should be an amendment of the Constitution to effect it. 

We all assented that if the Constitution so ordered, 
submission was a duty, but not otherwise. 

A few days since, the Judiciary Committee, who have 
been engaged by direction of the House to search the 
Union, ransack prisons, investigate the household of the 
President, examine his bank accounts, etc., etc., to see if 
some colorable ground for impeachment could not be 
foimd, made their several reports. A majority were for 
impeachment. Until just before the report was submitted, 
a majority were against, but at the last moment, Churchill, 
a Member from the Oswego, New York, district went over, 
without any new fact, to the impeachers. Speculators 
and Wall Street operators in gold had expected that a re- 
solution for impeachment would cause sudden rise in gold. 



1867] COMMITTEE REPORTS IMPEACHMENT 239 

Unfortunately for them, no rise took place, but there was 
a f allmg-off . If Churchill was influenced by the speculat- 
ors, as is generally supposed, his change did not benefit 
them, and in every point of view was discreditable to him. 
Boutwell, who made the report to the House, is a fan- 
atic, impulsive, violent; an ardent, narrow-minded parti- 
san, without much judgment; not devoid of talents, with 
more industry than capacity, ambitious of notoriety, with 
a mind without comprehension nor well trained; an ex- 
treme Radical, destitute of fairness where party is involved. 
The report was drawn up by Thomas Williams of Pitts- 
burg, a former partner of Stanton's, a rank disorganizer, 
a repudiator, vindictive, remorseless, unscrupulous, re- 
gardless of constitutional obligations and of truth as 
well as fairness, who was put upon the Committee because 
he had these qualities. The other three gentlemen of the 
majority may be called smoothbores, — men of small 
calibre but intense partyism. The report and its conclu- 
sions condemn themselves, and are likely to fail, even in 
this Radical House. Whether such would have been their 
fate had the elections gone differently is another question. 
The voice of the people has cooled the Radical mania, and 
checked their wild action. 

December 3, Tuesday. There was a brief session of the 
Cabinet to-day. The Message is generally well received 
notwithstanding its decision and firm tone. Some of the ex- 
treme Radicals are angry and excited by reason of the calm 
and imanswerable argmnent of the Democrats. I have 
been surprised that some of the Radical journals have 
received the Message so meekly. They try to excuse or 
relieve themselves by declaring that the President is ir- 
ritable, ill-tempered, and that in opposing the military 
governments and schemes to establish negro supremacy 
he is putting himself in antagonism to Congress. 

^ December 10, Tuesday. Am slowly recovering strength. 




240 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES tDBCijO 

Little of special interest was done in the Cabinet. We ate 
receiving shocking accounts of earthquakes and storms in 
the West Indies. Two of our naval steamers, the Monon- 
gahela and the De Soto, are reported to have been wrecked, 
— thrown ashore and left high and dry by the receding 
waves. Over a hundred shocks of earthquakies are said to 
have taken place. Oxu: accounts are by telegraph and not 
entirely reliable. 

December 12, Thursday. The President requested me by 
note to call on him at eleven to-day. Stanbery and Brown- 
ing were also there by invitation. The President sub- 
mitted a message to the Senate, communicating some of 
his reasons for suspending the Secretary of War. (No 
removal has yet taken place.) It is an able docimient. 
He first asked my opinion, and I so stated, but in view of 
the traits and peculiar attitude of Grant, in whom the 
President had not lost all confidence, suggested that it 
would be well to inform the Senate that the Secretary dd 
interim had performed the duties acceptably, and that the 
reforms he had made and the economy he had practiced 
were of benefit to the country. He says he has dismissed 
some forty supernumerary clerks. Both S. and B. con- 
curred in the suggestion. S. said it was a wise suggestion. 
A brief statement was accordingly added to the close. I 
should have made it more full and declared that General 
Grant had my confidence thus far in administering the 
office, if such is the fact, and thus have hitched him to 
the Administration. It would have made an issue between 
him and the Stanton Radicals. 

Governor Dennison, who is here, tells me that when 
Stanton was suspended, he coaxed and wheedled the com- 
mendatory letter from Grant, when taking possession of 
the Department, but did not make the return which Grant 
expected. 

December 13, Friday. After disposing of business in the 



18671 DISCUSSION OP ALABAMA CLAIMS 241 

Cabinet, spoke to the President in regard to the commun- 
ication to the Senate concerning Stanton's refusal to re- 
sign. He said he by no means intended it should be with- 
held from the public. I suggested that the Radicals did 
not intend his commimication should appear until Stanton 
could reply and in some way weaken or stave off the effect 
of his statement. 

Some days since, Seward submitted his last correspond- 
ence with Lord Stanley relative to the Alabama claims. 
Stanley declines to submit the action of the British Govern- 
ment to arbitration. Seward insists that everything shalji 
be included. Mr. Stanbery inquired whether we had not 
a case strong enough without insisting on the second point. 
Seward said, whether we had or not, he wanted that point 
should go with the other. Stanbery asked if we were not 
weak on the second point. Seward thought not. Some 
discussion took place in regard to the Queen's Proclama- 
tion and the recognition of belligerent rights, which Seward 
denoimced. Stanbery could not recall the facts. I stated 
that the declaration of blockade, which was an interna- 
tional question, instead of a closure of the ports, which was 
a domestic question, was claimed in accordance with the 
views, and a justification of the action, of the British Gov- 
ernment. ''That is the distinction," said Stanbery, ''the 
point that was in my mind." 

December 17, Tuesday. The President to-day read a 
communication which he proposed to send into Congress, 
commending Hancock for the views expressed in his gen- 
eral order and his deference to the civil law. Should he 
send it in, he will exasperate the Radicals, but it may have 
the effect of inducing a contrast between the action of 
Hancock and the other military generals now at the head 
of departments. 

December 19, Thursday. Having dispatched some busi- 
ness to-day with the President, I was £Jx>ut leaving, when 

3 



242 DIARY OP GIDEON WELLES [dbc.w 

he requested me to remain. He had, however, nothing 
special to commimicate, but evidently desired a few mo- 
ments for conversation. We ran over several subjects* 
His commimication respecting the suspension of Stanton, 
I took occasion to compliment, and [I said I thought] that 
its e£fect on the public mind was good. He spoke of his 
message in regard to Hancock, which he evidently thinks 
is a skillful movement. I spoke of it as less effective than 
the other, and [said] that the Radicals, finding themselves 
weak with Stant<m, would make fierce attack on this; but 
that would lead to criticism on the other viceroy generals 
to their disadvantage. 

Yes, he added, and would bring out before the country 
the weakness of General Grant, who, he was sorry to per- 
ceive, was becoming identified with the tyrannical and 
oppressive measures of the military commanders. This is 
true, and I have no doubt that this consideration had its 
effect in producing the Hancock Message. He told me, 
what he has before repeatedly said, that Grant had ex- 
pressed his dislike of Stanton, yet he had been induced to 
write him (the President) that improper letter, which has 
just been published. I informed him that I was satisfied 
that Grant had been seduced by Stanton to write that 
letter. Governor Dennison had told me of the letter and of 
Grant's regret that he had been persuaded to write it, — 
a fact which had reached him through some of Grant's 
staff by way of Garfield. In no other way could D. have 
known of such a letter, for he gave me this information 
some time before Grant's private letter was published. 

December 20, Friday. Whilst in Cabinet-meeting, the 
President handed me a letter from Forsyth of Alabama, 
imploring him to grant and extend to the people of that 
military district relief from the malgovemment, oppres- 
sion, and outrage of General Pope. He subsequently 
handed the letter around to some others. I heard Stanbery 
say to Browning he was glad to see this; that the true course 



1867] GENERAL POPE IN ALABAMA 243 

was to let it go on ; that the country would overwhelm Rad- 
icalism as soon as it could be reached. Seward, Grant, and 
Randall left immediately on the completion of the necessary 
official business. Stanbery and Browning had put on their 
overcoats and taken their hats to leave, when I felt that 
there really should be something said respecting the con- 
dition of things in General Pope's dominions, and asked 
the gentlemen if they had read Forsyth's letter. Stanbery 
promptly replied that he had; that everything was working 
well; that the President must not move a finger; let the 
Radicals have their own way, they are killing themselves, 
eto. To all this Browning assented. I inquired what in the 
mean time was to become of the people of Alabama. We 
were not bearing their suffering. Is the President dis- 
charging his duty, and we ours, if we quietly witness these 
wrongs, these palpable violations of constitutional rights, 
and the subversion of society and government, without 
trying to prevent it? Both S. and B. insisted that it was 
b^t and most politic to let these enormities go on ; the 
indignation of the coimtry was rising. I said the indigna- 
tion of the suffering South, but the non-suffering North 
were not indignant. 

McCuUoch said there were two sides to the question. He 
had his doubts whether the President should remain pass- 
ive, and, alluding to a remark of mine that the President 
should always do right, — that he must not permit or do 
evil that good might come, — McC. said he had been 
alarmed when the President removed Sheridan, a meas- 
ure which I advised but which he and others opposed; 
that he had apprehended the measure would be disastrous 
to the Administration, but it had not injured, it had 
strengthened, the President and damaged the Radicals. 
In view of the effect in that case, he was not prepared to 
say it was not best to deal in like manner with Pope. Stan- 
bery amd B. were vehement and earnest in their protests; 
claimed the responsibility and odium was wholly on the 
Radicals. I again asked, if the President could relieve 



rvjT I? -^ZBOSr WELLES jmc 




-%m 



.: hsmtt^ ± "rze P^ssaeni. jacwinc ?&e» wmgs and 
. -• i -•".•Lzi^i. zm^^. "367 aaf- x -yriiiti be in ^uidii giu q Sy and 



^' 



» n: inner: -yrri, ^e reoe >&ss I ab m nA 




Ij^^^r^h^ Z-L T'unfirj. A ?»▼ Ks±«s rf CongreaB le- 






cj^j ii'j •JjKi. izri -ir Mizz-trr ffioi Tbe ^ieetioos of the 

7*ar ar.d rijt -'•sr^wv.v eri-iaMe oc eoadonnatioii bj 

rh^ >i*'-P*j^ biv-r y—rjs^^ ±sz- be: there is not among 
•h^n the patriotfsi. ±z IiTy. and ci-iepeidHioe toextricate 
tr.^rrjf^Tef? frcir. 'i*? ciintrcl c: intriguing eoQ^intcwBi 
who by 5*»cr*=r: cauriics Lire zn^de it impossiUe for them 
to r<jrra/?e th-?ir rr^r^. &nd try to do ridit. Among the 
IU/'i>:aLr rhere L? little st&tesnianship. They are striving 
to retain their usurped power by outrageous measuieB and 
vioIer.ee. 

Chief Jui-tice Cha-se still aspires to be the Radical candi* 
date for President, but few, however, of the Radicals aie 
fl'inpf^fA to gratify his aspirations. Among bankeiBi 
KrK;culators, and a certain class of capitalists he finds sup- 
pr;rt/;rH, and he has a quasi strength among the Southern 
KfidicalH and negroes. The Republicans, or the conserva- 
1 ive (*\orrumt of what was the Republican Party, are favop- 
U)fc (MouoTfi] Grant. Comprising the largest segment, they 
will \)o likoly to control party action to the disgust of the 
I'fi rncsf I{adir»alH, who, however, dare not oppose the move- 
in«*fif . ( Inini himHolf is not only willing but grows daily 
inorr itiid tworr. aiixiouH; his aspirations, although he strives 
to roiuM*fil Mhum, are c<iuul to and even surpass those of the 



ifiCTi GRANT'S ASPIRATIONS 246 

Chief Justice. His reticence is all a matter of calculation; 
he fears to commit himself on anything lest he should lose 
votes. But popular opinion moves him. A year since he 
believed that the coimtry was fully committed to Radical- 
ism, and under that conviction he became identified with 
the Radicals, changing his previously expressed opinions 
and acting with them until the recent fall elections. Those 
results astonished no man more than Grant, and he has 
felt uneasy under his hasty committals, while striving to 
be reserved. Stanton, whom he dislikes, has managed 
to get him committed, which he would not have done had 
Grant better understood public sentiment. But in Wash- 
biune and other little Radicals he has had surroundings 
that controlled him. 

I am becoming impressed with the idea that Grant may 
prove a dangerous man. He is devoid of patriotism, is 
ignorant but cunning, yet greedy for office and power. In 
discussion, from time to time in Cabinet, when he has been 
necessarily to some extent drawn out, this shadow of mili- 
tary absolutism has crossed my mind. It struck me more 
forcibly to-day when the military government of the South 
was under consideration. General Hancock thinks he shall 
want another regiment or battalion of white troops. Gen- 
eral Canby writes a doleful account of destitution and 
need of help for the poor. General Ord wishes to be relieved. 
I could see that Grant was not displeased that Hancock 
called for more troops, and also that the wish of Ord met 
his approval. He gave Ord the credit of being very hon- 
est, but unsteady and fond of change. Thought it best to 
send him to the Pacific and recall McDonald to supply his 
place. In the mean time, General Gillem would discharge 
the duties. The President asked if Gillem could not as well 
fill Pope's place as Ord's. Grant, who knew the President's 
pmpose, grinned and said he did not know how that was. 
On the necessity of feeding the freedmen, especially re- 
ferred to by Canby, and alluded to by the others, with a 
very telling letter from General Gillem on the condition of 



246 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [dbcm 

affairs, there was much said, a good deal of which was not 
pertinent. Grant remarked he had seen General Howard^ 
who had some funds which would hold out until Congress 
came together, when, undoubtedly, provision would be 
made. Stanbery said the people of the South were in a 
deplorable state, and he could see no permahent relief for 
them except from the Treasury, which the people would 
not long stand. 

Seward said there were always disturbances in times of 
scanty provisions; that this was always felt most in the 
cities and often ran into riots. He told a story of a man 
who wished on a stormy night to send a message and prof- 
fered a guinea, the usual fee, to the messenger, who wanted 
two. This he refused to give, and the two parted in higji 
anger with each other. After several hours the gentleman 
gave in, tendered the two guineas, and the messenger, who 
wanted the money, accepted it and did the duty. The 
planters and negroes, he guessed, would after a while feel 
the need of each other and come together. 

I expressed dislike of the views taken, for only temporary 
and superficial rehef was talked of, or proposed, for an en- 
during evil. The whole fabric of civil government, indus- 
trial employment, and social society has been overthrown, 
upturned, and prostrated by the penurious, partisan l^is- 
lation of Congress, and the talk of relief by feeding the lazy 
and destitute negroes for a few weeks was an absiu-dity. 
There was no probability that the planter and the negro 
would come together and act harmoniously while the Fed- 
eral Government was exerting its power to make them an- 
tagonistic. Grant once or twice interrupted me, and I could 
see did not like my remarks. So also with Seward, who is 
always a temporizer, but Grant is acting with a purpose, 
and in concert with Radicals and the military. 

I see by the paper that Stanton has returned. He has 
been in Washington but little since his suspension. It is 
said he fears personal chastisement from persons whom 
while in office he has insulted and wronged. This, I thinks 



18671 NYE'S BOARD OF SURVEY BILL 247 

can hardly be the case, for he knows hunself to be still in 
office. He cannot do otherwise than make some answer to 
the President's conmiunication respecting him. 

The President informed me a few days since that Stan- 
ton's bull against Sherman for the treaty with Johnston 
was without his authority or knowledge. That being the 
fact, it was a piece of arrogance and impudence which at 
the time ought to have been rebuked. Supposing it to have 
been issued with the sanction of the President, I had with 
others submitted to it as an administrative measure and 
attempted to justify it. 

The House of Representatives soon after Congress met 
passed a resolution to curtail work at the navy yards. It 
came opportimely, for we were about issuing orders to 
reduce work, which always creates distress at this season. 
I was not unwilling that Congress, which is captious 
towards the Department, should take its share of respons- 
ibiUty when its resolution was \mcalled-f or and passed for 
self-glorification. As I expected, the dismissed workmen 
are full of complaints and suffering, and to some extent 
have annoyed the Members. 

Senator Nye introduced while I was sick a bill to estab- 
lish a Board of Survey, in other words a Board of Admir- 
alty, to be composed of the Admiral, or Vice-Admiral, as 
president, and two rear-admirals. This Board is to super- 
vise and control the bureaus, and virtually supersede the 
Secretary, It is to perform no labor and to be exempt 
from all responsibility. I have no difficulty in tracing the 
origin of this bill to Vice-Admiral Porter, who is imeasy, 
scheming, ambitious, wasteful in expenditure, partial and 
prejudiced as regards officers, a most unfit administrator 
of civil affairs, though brave and full of resources as a com- 
mander. For two or three weeks he had charge of the 
Bureau of Detail, and his action was demoralizing and 
injurious. 

As Superintendent of the Naval Academy he has been 
efficient, because there has been much to do, and he has 



248 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [dec.m 

been enabled to make large expenditures. But I have been 
compelled to check, lunit, and to some extent regulate 
these matters. I am held accoimtable for expenses; he 
derives credit for whatever is done. This is right enou^, if 
rightly imderstood. I have allowed him to have his selec- 
tion of officers, almost without restraint, and cliquism is 
the result. His officers are, in his opinion, the only good 
officers in the service, and tifiose who have been associated 
with him and under his immediate conmiand he com^ 
mends indiscriminately; and, in violation of regulations, he 
ffYes them individually, one and all, indorsement, to the 
great embarrassment of the Department. 

In war and afloat, Porter is, though always presuming, 
(me of the best officers in the service and gallantly won his 
position. I have always given him full credit for his services 
and shown my appreciation of him as an officer. At the 
Naval Academy he has done well because there has been 
much to do, but, as the work is being completed and he is 
relieved from employment, he grows restless and desires 
action in a sphere to which he is not adapted* This crude 
bantling of his, which Nye has introduced, is a miserable 
contrivance to get place and power for himself at Wash- 
ington. During the War, when we were building a hundred 
vessels yearly, had five hundred vessels in commission, and 
fifty thousand seamen in service, no such board was 
needed; they would have been a positive drag and hin- 
drance. Now, when we are building no new vessels, laxmch- 
ing but two or three a year of those commenced and on the 
stocks, the idea of such a board is absurd. Our Admiral 
and Vice- Admiral will be wanted on active duty in war, 
when such a board, if of any use, would have most to do. 
It is bureaUf not navaly service that is sought. 

December 27, Friday. Great complaints of distress and 
suffering at the South are made, not without cause. Gen- 
eral demoralization is the result of vicious partisan legisla- 
tion. There can be little doubt that General Grant, though 



18671 WEED MOVING FOR GRANT 249 

secretive, is fully, and probably irretrievably, committed to 
the Radical policy, and there are unmistakable indications 
that he was in the original movement to overthrow the 
States and establish martial law by Congressional enact* 
ments. General Ord asks to be relieved from his place in 
Mississippi and Arkansas. General Grant says he has 
asked this repeatedly for four or five months past, and he. 
Grant, now advises and urges that he may be relieved. 
Why Grant should be so extremely urgent now, while he 
has never before mentioned it, I cannot tell. The President^ 
while he seemed not anxious to relieve Ord, who appears to 
be conscientious, said he must get rid of Pope. This Grant 
did not oppose, but he did not readily concur in or advise. 

J. F. Babcock of New Haven gave me some days since an 
accoimt of an interview he had with Thurlow Weed on the 
day preceding the Grant meeting at the Cooper Institute. 
Babcock and Weed have been old friends for more than 
thirty years, personal and political. The two met in New 
York, and W. asked B. to call upon him, which he did, and 
foimd W. busy giving directions to persons in regard to the 
meeting, enjoining the necessity of having Stewart to pre* 
side, — that it must be personally seen to, etc., etc. 

After the others had left, the two entered upon political 
matters, — the Grant movement, the meeting, etc. Weed 
said he had taken up Grant as he did General Taylor; had 
told him, as he told Taylor, to make no declarations, to 
write no letters, and, if he strictly followed his advice and 
directions, he would elect him. B. asked if the coimtry was 
not getting tired of the military, — if the military govern- 
ments of the South were not sickening the nation. For his 
own part, B. said, he was tired of generals for civil service, 
— wanted some other material for President. Weed be- 
came excited, accused him of being misled, etc., etc. I am 
reminded of this by seeing a call for Grant meetings by 
Stewart and others of the Cooper Institute meeting. The 
call says they wish to take the Grant movement out of the 
hands of politicians. Yet the whole proceeding is com* 



260 DIARY OP GIDEON WELLES |i>Ba27 

menced, fed, and carried on by the most scheming, intrigu- 
ing, and imscrupnlous partisan politician in the country, 
who has cunningly contrived to persuade Stewart, Vander- 
bilt, Moses Taylor to be used without their knowing who 
used, or is using, them. 

December 31, Tuesday. The retirement of R. W. Meade * 
was called up to-day for revision. The Attorney-General 
had his law-books and documents, was anxious to find 
some book or authority to justify the President if he would 
order a review or reexamination of the case. He made 
quite an argument ; went into specialties on certain sections 
of the acts of 1862 and 1864; thought the President could 
exercise authority, etc., etc. I could perceive from certain 
promptings and suggestions of the lS*esident that he and 
the Attorney-General had been in consultation on the sub« 
ject, having been urged thereto, not only by Captain M. 
and his family, but by his brother-in-law. Judge Meigs, and 
especially by his brother. General Meade. 

It was the old question over again of favoritism and 
family influence at the expense of good administration 
and established usage. I told them that Captain Meade 
was retired by law; nevertheless the President could, if he 
chose, order a reexamination, but after all I did not see 
how it could afifect the case, or how it would if another 
board had immediately been ordered. Should we now have 
another board, let the result be as it might, whether like 
that of the former board or opposed to it, a commodore is 
to be appointed, for there is a vacancy. Meade is not at 
the head of the list. The President must either nominate 
him in opposition to the report of the board or he must 
override their report and pass Meade for the next man. 
The Senate is to act on the case, and I have little doubt 
what would be its action. I should be sorry to see the usage 
of the Department set aside in any case, very sorry to see 

* Captain Richard Worsam Meade was a brother of General George G. 
Meade. He had been retired on Deoember 11. 



18671 THE CASE OF CAPTAIN R. W. MEADE 251 

it in such a case as this, which has really no merit or claim 
whatever. It would be a bad precedent, which the Presi- 
dent would have cause to regret. These exceptional cases, 
whatever might be the influence of family or friends, 
should not be permitted. 

But the result, which I foresaw from the first was to be 
the case, was a reexamination by order of the President. 
The Attorney-General, instead of rightly advising the 
President, has been flattered by General Meade's atten- 
tions and solicitations and those of others. So it was in 
Goldsborough's case. The Administration loses respect by 
giving way when its duty is plain to stand firm. 

After Cabinet-meeting, the President intimated a wish 
that I would remain. The subject of the removal of Pope 
and the manner in which it has been received was talked 
over. 

I asked the President if he had seen Raymond's letter 
in regard to the Philadelphia Convention and his subse- 
quent action. He said he had. I remarked that it did not, 
as he knew, disappoint me to learn that Rasnnond had 
helped destroy the good effects of that convention and that 
he relapsed into Radicalism. 

Doolittle and others were deceived in that matter. I was 
satisfied of it when the call was issued. Postmaster-Gen- 
eral Randall was the tool of Seward, who was himself in- 
fluenced by Weed, to mislead those who commenced in 
good faith. Cowan and Doolittle were with me in their 
convictions. But Randall, with a set of fellows, tools of 
Seward and himself, whom I never before or since met 
with in any consultation, carried their point. Doolittle 
thought it a great thing to secure Rasnnond and the New 
York Times y and, to get him enlisted, the call was softened, 
principles were omitted, and in the end Raymond and 
the Times directed us, having first duped men who should 
not have been deceived. 



LV 

Senator Grimes wishes to reorganize the Engineer Ck)rp6 of the Navy — 
Jealousy between the Line Officers and the Engineers — The Indian 
"War'' — Stanton's Case in Congress — Charles Francis Adams re- 
signs the Ministry to England — The President considers appointing 
General McClellan to the Place — John Sherman's Instability — Grant 
leaves the War Department — His Explanation of his Course, made in 
Cabinet — Will Stanton resign? — The Naval Estimates and Uie House 
Committee on Appropriations — Grant keeps away from the White 
I House — Mrs. Welles's Reception — Grant's Interview with Stanton — 
The Political Situation in Connecticut — Grant writes the President 
denying the Reports of his Action in abandoning his Position as Secre- 
tary of War ad interim. 

January 1, 1868, Wednesday. Mrs. Welles and myself 
paid respects with the rest of the Cabinet and the Judiciary 
to the President at eleven this morning. The arrange- 
ments for reception at the Executive Mansion not very 
well systematized, but better, I think, than last year. 

The morning was unpleasant, and after the severe snow- 
storm of yesterday, the streets were not in good condition. 
About noon the weather came off pleasant. 

Received company xmtil nearly 4 p.m., commencing at 
twelve. Some four hundred calls. Found myself very tired 
and exhausted at the close, not having fully recovered 
my strength after my recent illness. 

January 2, Thursday. Some talk with Senator Grimes 
of a general character concerning naval matters. He is in- 
tensely hostile to Isherwood and the whole Engineer Corps, 
being stimulated by Porter, and has in view the prepara- 
tion of a bill for the thorough reorganization of the corps. 
I do not find, however, that he has any well-defined plan. 
Thinks there are too many engineers. Says there are fewer 
in the French service; but the French have an auxiliary 



1868] GRIMES AND THE ENGINEER CORPS 253 

force called mechanicians who answer the purpose of our 
second and third assistants. 

Grimes has imbibed all the prejudices of certain line 
officers against the engineers, who are becoming a formid- 
able power and rivals with the line officers in the service. 
His nephew Walker, now attached to the Naval Academy, 
influenced by Porter, is the moving spirit with Grimes. 
The dififerences which are growing up between the line 
officers and the engineers, fostered by Porter, who has but 
little administrative capacity or sense, can be prevented 
in but one way, and that I have suggested in my reports 
two and three years since. The officers must themselves 
become engineers as well as sailors, — be able to direct the 
motor power below as well as above the deck. 
. This proposition did not meet with favor on the part 
of most of the line officers. I hardly supposed it would, 
for they had become too old to learn, or had no talent for 
mechanism or learning. Still, the necessity of the case 
I hoped would lead to sensible conclusions. The engineers 
were as averse to being absorbed as the officers to absorb- 
ing them. 

It is, I think, the only true solution of a great difficulty, 
but to accomplish it time, energy, perseverance, and will 
are requisite, backed and sustained by Congress and by 
better coimsel than Porter's among naval men. A younger 
man than myself must embark in this conflict, and the 
policy, once commenced, must be carried forward by suc- 
ceeding Secretaries. I should have pressed the subject, 
which I had initiated, but, besides encountering the op- 
position of officers and engineers. Congress became so 
constituted and other questions so interwoven, that the 
subject could not at this time be successfully carried for- 
ward. 

I have no idea that Grimes can present a successful plan. 
He may reorganize the Engineer Department, sift it of 
some of its old and trashy members, but he cannot have 
a steam navy without engineers, and they are, and wiU be. 




254 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [janTj 

a body to be in constant rivalry and collision with the 
naval line officers. 

January 3, Friday. Little of interest in Cabinet. 
Dined with Mrs. W. at the President's. The dinner was 
complimentary to General Sherman. Only he and his 
daughter, his father-in-law Thomas Ewing, Stanbery and 
lady, who were old township acquaintances of Sherman's, 
were present, except the President and his daughters. It 
was a pleasant party. General Sherman says it is the first 
time he has ever dined at the Executive Mansion. The 
President is desirous of making close friendship with Sher- 
man, and may succeed, but he cannot detach him from 
General Grant, even if disposed. Although the two men 
are unlike, there is between them close identification. 

January 7, Tuesday. After council, at which nothing of 
special interest occiured, some conversation took place 
relative to the banquet to-morrow evening. The Attorney- 
General concludes to go and come out squarely. I had 
previously advised it, and told him I made no secret of my 
position. He said, "We are all aware of that." 

I have this evening written a brief letter to the banquet. 
These letters are always troublesome, but the committee 
made special request, and I perceived that the President 
wished it. 

January 10, Friday. Browning submitted and read ex- 
tracts from the report of the Indian Commission, which 
has been in session, composed of Generals Sherman, Har- 
vey, Terry, etc. It shows that the Indian war was no war 
at all ; that our people, not the Indians, were in fault ; that 
in the struggle which took place in the Cabinet months 
ago between Stanton and Browning, the latter was right, 
— that Stanton really desired an Indian war. After 
aggressions on the part of the whites, the Indians killed 
a number, and our army succeeded in killing six Indians. 



1868] STANTON'S CASE IN CONGRESS 255 

This war will cost the country scarcely less than fifty 
millions. The people will in due time learn the value of 
"Camot," the divine Stanton. Senator Howard has pre- 
pared an elaborate reply to the President's conmnmication 
stating the reasons for removing Stanton, which he calls 
a "Report." This he has given to the public before either 
the Senate or his committeehas seen it. He now complains 
that certain newspaper correspondents have been guilty 
of breach of confidence. But he is the first and chief crim- 
inal in this matter. His argument states a falsehood in re- 
lation to the New Orleans telegram. He asserts that "at 
once" was interpolated. This is not true; I have seen the 
telegram which Stanton sent the President, and it contains 
these words. 

January 11, Saturday. Senator Doolittle called at my 
house early this morning and says the Radicals are de- 
termined to press a vote in Stanton's case to-day. The 
Committee, except himself, adopt Howard's argument, and 
exhibit an unwillingness to give him an opportunity to 
reply or permit a minority report. He asked me to go with 
him to the President and have an immediate interview. 
The President promptly received us and heard D.'s state- 
ment calmly. I thought he did not seem displeased that 
the Radicals were hasty and violent. "But," said he, 
"does the Senate propose to proceed in this matter with-^ 
out submitting the argument and statement of Senator 
Howard?" 

I suggested to D. that he had best present a resolution 
that Howard's docimient, or a copy, should be sent to the 
President for any comment he might be pleased to make. 
This both considered proper. D. says that they have 
struck out that portion which related to the mutilation of 
the New Orleans telegram; but they must not be let oflf so. 
Howard's falsehood has gone abroad to the country, and 
should be officially corrected. The President brou^t for- 
ward the original telegram given him by Stanton, and also 



256 DIARY OP GIDEON WELLES [jan.ii 

a certified copy of what was received at the War Depart* 
ment, containing the words allied to be interpolated. 

Doolittle had to hurry away to meet his committee. 
McCulloch came in just before he left, and while we were 
there a telegram was recieved by the President from Gov- 
ernor Jenkins of Georgia to the effect that General Meade 
had ordered him to issue a warrant on the Treasurer of the 
State for the payment of the bogus Convention, and threat- 
^ling the Governor with removal in case he refused. I ex- 
pressed my astonishment and a hope that Meade would be 
asked to show by what authority he issued such order and 
by what authority he assimied to depose the Governor of 
a State. McCulloch said nothing. The President was morti- 
fied and chagrined that he should have been disappointed 
in Meade, who follows in the wake of Pope. These generals 
show their unfitness for civil position, and their ignorance 
and disregard of constitutional obligations and civil and 
individual rights. This is, I am satisfied, current among 
these generals and a secret moving power behind them. 

As McCulloch and I were leaving, the President re- 
quested me to remain. He said he wished to inform me 
that Mr. Adams had sent in his resignation as Minister, to 
take effect on the first of April, or May, he was not certain 
which, and asked me who I thought would be a proper per- 
son for the place. He had, he said, an individual in his 
mind, and his object was to see whether my mind took the 
same direction. I remarked that the subject took me by 
surprise, but his intimation that he had a person in his 
mind made me think of Mr. Seward. Not that Mr. Seward 
would be my selection were the field open, but, talking 
with him frankly and without reserve, we both knew that 
Mr. S. was a weight upon him, and that the Democrats 
would not give their confidence to an Administration 
which retained him in the Cabinet. As a political move, 
I thought it might be effected, provided S. was willing to 
take it, which was, perhaps, imoertain. 

Before I had concluded, I saw by the expression of his 



18681 C. P. ADAMSES RESIGNATION 257 

face and by his manner^ that our mmds were not in ao- 
cord, — that Seward was not the man whom he proposed 
to appoint ; and he said S. was not the man whom he had 
thought of. Running hastily over prominent characters, 
no one struck me as particularly fit, whom the President 
would be likely to appoint, and I so told him. 

He asked me what I thought of General McClellan. 
I told him I had not had time to consider the subject in 
all its bearings, but it appeared to me a bold stroke and 
perhaps an effective one. [I said that] he had received the 
votes of nearly one half of his coimtrymen for Chief Ma^a- 
trate, which was an indorsement not to be treated Ughtly; 
that he had the affection of the Army at one time mote 
devotedly than Grant or any other oflBcer; that he had 
education and abihty; that his nomination, whether con* 
firmed by the Senate or not, would be conciliatory and 
particularly acceptable to a large portion of the people who 
were now on the Union side. His dilatoriness as a general 
would, perhaps, commend him as a diplomat, but it would 
be urged against him; and his unfortxmate letter from Mai* 
vem Hill to Mr. Lincoln was not to be excused ; but none 
are exempt from error. I then told him of a conversation 
I had with General Sherman at Admiral Dahlgren's 
nearly two years ago, which I noted in my journal at the 
time, and which was an extenuation of McClellan's tardy 
movements. The President said he had mentioned the 
subject of Adams' resignation to no one. Mr. Seward 
knew it. The resignation came through him, and he had 
named two or three for the place, the most prominent of 
whom was Hamilton Fish. I told him such an appoint- 
ment would not be objectionable, but would have no 
significance except for Mr. Seward, who was willing from 
personal considerations to honor Mr. Fish. 

The President wished me to consider the subject of 
McClellan's appointment, and communicate with him soon. 
In the mean time he wished it a confidential matter be* 
tween us, for he had not named McC. to Seward even. \ 

3 



258 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [jan.u 

Some farther communication took place in relation to 
J. P. Hale, Cassius M. Clay, Burlingame, and others, who 
he said had all better come home. 

January 13, Monday. The Senate did not get to a vote 
on Stanton's case on Saturday, but they doubtless will to- 
day or to-night from what I learn. There is little doubt the 
whole subject is concocted and xmderstood by the Radicals. 
Some of them may dodge, like Sherman and Williams,^ 
who are committed by speeches which they made on the 
Tenure-of-0fl5ce Bill. It would matter little with Sher- 
man, however, who often makes an argument and votes 
against it, is not steadfast in principle, lacks stability, and 
is unreasonably partisan in his votes. 

In the House, imder the discipline and stimulation of 
the Radical leaders, there is manifested a revolutionary 
and violent spirit. Part of the conspiracy is a scheme 
to change the character of the Supreme Court, which 
Stevens and his fellows find is against them. A new Recon- 
struction bill, an act to legislate Hancock and Rousseau 
out of office, is among the topics which were before that 
body. Strict party tests were applied and enforced, and 
from this I have little doubt that Stanton will have every 
party vote of the Radicals in the Senate. I cannot but think, 
from what I see and hear, that General Grant is acting 
in concert with them, though the President on Saturday 
was xmwilling to believe that Grant was false and was de- 
ceiving him. McCuUoch expressed his belief on Saturday 
that Stanton, if reinstated, would immediately resign. I 
took issue with him, for I have no doubt Stanton will strive 
by every means in his power to retain the office. He may 
get up some hollow pretext of willingness to resign, but 
it will be untrue, a mere pretext. Stanton wants the of- 
fice, which he will recklessly and unscrupulously use, to 
keep himself in power. And the funds of the nation will 
enter largely into the elections. Had Stanton been in the 

^ Senators John Sherman of Ohio and George H. Williams of Oregon. 



1868] GRANT LEAVES WAR DEPARTMENT 259 

War Department last autumn, election results would prob- 
ably have been materisdly different. Grant did not, and 
would fear to, use money that Stanton would use without 
hesitation. 

January 14, Tuesday. General Grant attended the 
Cabinet-meeting to-day, but stated it was by special re- 
quest of the President- The Senate had notified him last 
evening that the reasons for suspending Mr. Stanton were 
insufficient, and he had therefore gone early to the War 
Department, locked the doors, and given the keys to the 
Adjutant-General. Subsequently he had sent General 
Comstock to the President with a letter and a copy of the 
resolution of the Senate, and had received a request 
through General Comstock when he returned to be pre- 
sent to-day, and had therefore come over, though he was 
now at the Headquarters and considered himself relieved 
of the duties of Secretary. 

The President asked if this proceeding conformed to 
previous understanding, etc. General Grant, without 
answering directly, said he had promised sometime ago 
that he would give the President notice before relinquish- 
ing the office ; but that he had not then examined closely 
the second and fifth sections of the Tenxu'e-of-Office BilL 
He was not willing to suffer five years' imprisonment and 
pay ten thousand dollars fine, but preferred to give up the 
office. 

The President asked why, when he had read the sec- 
tions and come to the conclusion to leave he had not in- 
formed him as agreed and remarked that he would under- 
go the whole imprisonment and fine himself, which might 
be adjudged against General Grant and said he so told 
Grant on Saturday when he spoke of apprehensions. 

The General said he was not aware of the penalties 
in the Tenure-of-Office Bill, until he saw the discussion in 
the papers; did not know when he had his first talk with 
the President; and he came over on Satimlay expressly 



260 DIARY OP GIDEON WELLES [jan.m 

to take up this subject. Had spoken of these difficulties 
at that time, and expected to see the President again on 
Monday, but he was busy with General Sherman, and 
had a good many little matters to attend to. He did not 
suppose the Senate intended to act so soon. 

" Was not our imderstanding — did you not assiure me 
some time ago, and again on Saturday, that if you did not 
hold on to the office yourself, you would place it in my 
hands that I might select another ? " said the President, 
j" That," said Grant, " was my intention. I thou^t 
dome satisfactory arrangement would be made to dispose 
of the subject. Mr. Johnson (Reverdy) and General Sher- 
man spent a great deal of time with me on Simday. Didn't 
Mr. Johnson come to see you? I sent General Sherman 
yesterday after talking the matter over. Did n't you see 
Sherman?'' 

The President said he saw each of them, but he did not 
see what the interview with either had to do with giving 
back into his hands the place agreeably to the imderstand- 
ing. "Why did you give up the keys to Mr. Stanton and 
leave the Department? " 

General Grant said he gave the key to the Adjutant- 
General and sent word to the President by General 
Comstock. 

"Yes," said the President, "but that, you know, was 
uot our understanding." 

Grant attempted some further apologies about being 
very busy, stammered, hesitated, said Sherman had taken 
up a great deal of his time, but he had intended to call on 
the President on Monday; asked to be excused, and left. 

This is, as near as I recollect, the substance of the con- 
versation as it occurred. I do not claim to give the pre- 
cise words, though in many instances I probably have done 
so. My intention and wish is to do injustice to neither, 
but fairly present what took place and the remarks of 
both. I write this on the evening of Tuesday, the 14th, 
while the subject is fresh in my mind. 




ILYSSES S. GRANT 



1S6SI GRANT'S DEFENSE OF HIS COURSE 261 

The President was calm and dignified, though manifestly 
disappointed and displeased. General Grant was humble, 
hesitating, and he evidently felt that his position was 
equivocal and not to his credit. There was, I think, an 
impression on the minds of all present (there certainly 
was on mine) that a consciousness that he had acted with 
duplicity — not been faithful and true to the man who 
had confided in and trusted him — oppressed General 
Grant. His manner, never very commanding, was almost 
abject, and he left the room with less respect, I apprehend, 
from those present than ever before. The President, 
though disturbed and not wholly able to conceal his 
chagrin from those familiar with him, used no harsh ex- 
pression, nor committed anything approaching incivility, 
yet Grant felt the few words put to him, and the cold and 
surprised disdain of the President in all their force. 

After Grant had left, the President remarked that it had 
been said no man was to be blamed for having been once 
deceived, but if the same person a second time imposed 
upon him the fault and folly were his. 

He said that Reverdy Johnson and General Sherman 
had called on him, after the consultation with Grant 
alluded to, and wanted him to nominate Governor Cox 
of Ohio, whom they had selected to be /lis Secretary of 
War. They thought the Senate might be induced to 
consent that he might have Cox, and in that way dispose 
of Stanton. 

There is no doubt that Grant has been in secret intrigue 
in this business, acting in concert with and imder the di- 
rection of the chief conspirators. He did not put the ofiSce 
in the President's hands on Saturday, because the Senate 
had not acted, but he anticipated, as I and others did, 
that they would. If, therefore, the subject was delayed 
imtil Monday it would be too late. But the Senate came 
to no conclusion on Saturday, as he expected ; he therefore 
avoided seeing the President on Monday, as he promised. 
On Tuesday he yielded to Stanton. 



262 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [jan. u 

All the members of the Cabinet present were astonished 
and declared themselves unqualifiedly against both Grant 
and Stanton, except Seward, who was very reticent, but 
expressed an opinion that no action should be taken hastily. 
On grave and important questions he always preferred 
to take a night's sleep. 

January 15, Wednesday. The President informs me 
that Grant and Sherman called on him this morning. 
Grant is disturbed with an editorial in the Intelligencer of 
this morning, which describes occurrences of yesterday 
and the equivocation and bad faith he exhibited. He 
attempted to explain, but, the President says, only 
reaffirmed the fact that he had not been true to the un- 
derstanding and his pledged word. 

January 17, Friday. No allusion was made to Stanton 
or Grant during the session of the Cabinet. After it closed, 
some general conversation took place. Seward hastened 
away. I had put on my overcoat to leave, when Colonel 
Moore brought in a scrap-book and whispered a word 
to the President, who requested us to be seated. He de- 
sired to ascertain if the recollection of the members of the 
Cabinet in regard to the interview between himself and 
General Grant on Tuesday corresponded with his own. 
His impressions were embodied in an article in the InteU 
ligencer of Wednesday, which he requested Colonel Moore 
to read from the scrap-book. Each of the gentlemen 
present — McCulloch, Randall, Browning, and myself 
— concurred in the correctness of the statement, which 
was a compend rather than detail. Browning said he had 
a more full report, which, however, corresponded with 
the statement in the IrUelligencer. He farther volunteered 
to remark that he was accustomed to make a record of 
what occurred in Cabinet-meetings. I stated I had also 
a memorandum of what took place on Tuesday, made that 
evening. 



1868] WILL STANTON RESIGN? 263 

January 18, Saturday. The proceedings of the Sen- 
ate in reinstating Stanton, Stanton's obtrusions, and 
Grant's conduct are none of them well received by the 
country, and I think all concerned in the company are 
dissatisfied. 

There appears to be a general belief and expectation 
that Stanton will resign. To this I am not a convert, un- 
less he becomes convinced that the Radical Senators will 
not sustain him. They will come to no such conclusions. 
Morgan, Fessenden, the Morrills, Patterson, and other 
limber-backed Senators have not the independence to 
demand such a step. Senator Sherman, whose brother, 
General Sherman, has been insulted and wronged by Stan- 
ton, has not self-reliance, self-respect, and strength of mind 
sufficient to do his duty. 

. It is reported that Generals Grant and Sherman have 
said to Stanton that he must resign. They may have 
done this together, but I doubt if Grant has taken such 
a stand by himself, for he is cowed and submissive before 
Stanton. Sherman, if he has had an interview, would- be 
likely to have expressed himself with some freedom and 
boldness. 

The President told me on Wednesday that Seward said 
to him: "You observed my reticence yesterday. I was 
silent because I believed you would before this [Wednesday 
noon] have had Stanton's resignation." This remark of 
Seward has, I think, an influence on the President, who' 
is daily looking for a fulfillment of Seward's prediction. 
Seward probably wishes Stanton would take himself out 
of the way. He may say as much to Stanton, but if the 
latter bluffs him with an oath and rough expression, there 
will be no further remark, for Seward droops at once imder 
rebuff from the ''divine Camot." Yet the President re- 
lies much on Seward; is inflamed by his od captaruium 
assertions and flippant prophecies, which are blundering 
guesses and mistakes. It was an error to suppose Stanton 
would resign, cowardly to keep silent. - 



264 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [jan.m 

January 20. Doolittle called last evening and read me 
the concluding portions of a speech which he proposes to 
deliver on Wednesday if he can or soon thereafter. The 
speech is very well got up. 

Colonel Babcock called a little later and spent two hours 
on various matters. Wanted my views on the subject 
of Senator. Says Dixon is anxious. I advised that the 
subject should not be agitated until after the election. ^ | 

I said the same to A. E. Burr yesterday. Burr is here, 
and speaks confidently of carrying Connecticut for the 
Democrats by an increased majority, and of securing a 
majority of the legislature. Others are alike confident, 
and I trust their expectations may be verified, for our 
coimtry is in an unhappy condition, and I am not without 
apprehension of a civil convulsion. There is among the 
Radicals neither statesmanship, sagacity, nor sense. Hate, 
revenge, thirst for power govern them. To oppress and 
persecute the white population of the Southern States 
is their delist; to place negro governments over them by 
the aid of the miUtary is their intention. 

January 25, Saturday. The week has been a busy one, 
and I have foimd little time and less inclination to open 
this book. A venomous and malignant spirit actuates cer- 
tain of the Radical leaders, and I and the Navy Depart* 
ment come in for our share of their spite. The naval esti- 
mates, made out when I was sick in bed, for the ensuing 
year are large, imusually large; but when submitting them 
I had no expectation that the appropriation would reach 
the amoimt of these estimates, nor would I have advised 
it. But the Bureaus really in that way made their sugges- 
tions for improvements as well as for current expenses, 
and I, erroneously and sick, allowed their presentation to 
go forward without curtailment, expecting to review the 
whole when well with the Naval Conmiittees. The es- 
timates for men and supplies were larger than is reqiiited, 
and I intended should be reduced in the appropriations; 



1868] THE NAVAL ESTIMATES 265 

but I was sick and confined to my bed and thought best 
to submit the whole to Congress. In so doing, however, 
I gave the petty demagogues an opportunity to attack and 
misrepresent me, and it is right I should be rebuked even 
by them for putting myself in a false position. 

The House of Representatives in November passed a 
resolution to stop work on the vessels which are building. 
The Naval Committee informed that the force would be 
limited to 8500 men, — a reduction of nearly one half, — 
that they are opposed to farther improvements in the 
navy yards, etc. Under these circumstances I have re- 
viewed and reduced our estimates nearly one half, and 
have sent in this revised estimate with a letter to the 
Speaker. It seems to have caused E. B. Washbume great 
unhappiness. He had been at work, without data or facts, 
slashing our original estimates, but had not perfected 
his onslaught when our revision went in. A day or two 
later he presented his proposition, or report, in the form 
of a bill from the Conunittee on Appropriations, and in 
doing so let off a little pent-up self and party glorification 
as to what a Republican Committee of a Republican Con- 
gress had done when compared with a Democratic Secre- 
tary of a Democratic Administration. Spaulding of Ohio, 
a Republican member of the Appropriation Committee, 
corrected and quietly rebuked him for his injustice to the 
Department. 

Went one evening for an hour to Mr. J. A. Griswold's, 
there being a gathering by invitation to witness the pre- 
sentation of a watch which belonged to Roger Sherman to 
General W. T. Sherman. It was, in a measure, a Connecti- 
cut affair, and all passed off very well. General Sherman 
was not very near kin to Roger Sherman, who was a third 
or fourth cousin of Daniel Sherman, the grandfather of 
the General. It was the first time I had gone out of an 
evening since my illness, or since October. 

"^ Jannary 28, Tuesday, After dose of official matten in 



266 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [jan.» 

Cabinet, and some little conversation of a general character, 
Mr. Seward remarked to the President that if there was 
nothing further he would leave. I suggested that he had 
better remain imtil we all left, for, having gone a Httle in 
advance of the others a few days ago, he failed to get his 
name into a discussion when he as well as the rest of us was 
cognizant of the facts. *' Ah, yes," said he, '*I read in the 
papers that there had been consultation here when I was 
notinvited." ''Well,then," said I, "remain now. Iwanted 
you to bear testimony to the interview which we all wit- 
nessed, and as you have read the statement, to aflirm 
whether it is, or is not, substantially correct." He evaded 
a direct answer, hoped he should be present when the sub- 
ject was again discussed. I told him this would not answefi 
and unless he controverted, or questioned, the statement 
or some part of it, he must be considered as affinnmg it. 
Without making any reply, he went for his overcoat. The 
President remarked with a smile, after Seward left, that 
I was not inclined to let Seward go without showing his 
hand with the rest. He said he had not seen Grant since 
he returned from Richmond. Whether he felt that he 
had not done exactly right, or that he did not want an 
interview imtil he advised Stanton to resign, or from what 
cause, he could not say, but he had absented himself. The 
President then related the interview between himself and 
Generals Grant and Sherman, also produced a letter from 
the latter, apologizing for not having seen Stanton as pro- 
mised, because he was obUged to go to Annapolis to fulfill 
an engagement and Grant was obUged to go to Richmond, 
but the subject should receive attention when they re- 
turned. 

• ••••••••• 

^ January 29, Wednesday. The first general reception of 
Mrs. Welles took place last evening. There was a large and 
pleasant company. All appeared to enjoy themselves. The 
Fkesident and his daughter, Mrs. Stover, with ladies visit- 



1868] GRANT'S INTERVIEW WITH STANTON 267 

ing at the Executive Mansion^ were present. Foreign Min- 
isters, Senators, and Representatives, as well as Cabinet 
Ministers, were among the crowd with ladies, comprising 
the ton of Washington society. All seemed and declared 
themselves pleased, which made the occasion pleasant 
to us, who wished to entertain them. 

JaniLarySO, Thursday. Congress is malignantly Radical. 
The party-servers are all-potent. Not a man of the party 
has sufficient independence to act on his own individual 
opinions and convictions. Some of them will whisper in 
confidence their disgust and dissatisfaction, but yet when 
the test is applied they succumb. 

Senator DooUttle's speech has greatly disturbed the 
whole Radical nest, who are hissing and snapping like vipers. 
Evidently they are not satisfied with themselves. I hear 
that some of them are incensed with Stanton because he 
does not resign. They expected he would at once leave on 
being reinstated. 

General Grant is disturbed; feels bad; has made a fool of 
himself; is afraid of Stanton and overawed by him. He 
wishes Stanton out of the way; dislikes him; has pro- 
mised to see him and advise him to resign, but there are yet 
no evidences that Grant has fulfilled his promises in this 
respect. Am told he went to see Stanton ; that S. had some 
information of his intention, and was in apparent rage 
when Grant called. After waiting some time for Stanton 
to subside, Grant left without daring to make known the 
object of his mission. 

The State Convention yesterday in Connecticut re- 
nominated the present ticket and passed some pretty good 
resolutions. Governor English made, or read, a good speech, 
which some one has prepared for him. Affairs are looking 
very well in Connecticut. 

January 31, Friday. After the close of the Cabinet- 
meeting the President submitted some letters from Gen- 



268 DIARY OP GIDEON WELLES [jan.si 

end Grant which confirm more fully his duplicity and sub- 
serviency to Stanton and the small politicians. He wanted 
a verbal order of the President reduced to writing, but when 
he received it, cavilled and said Stanton had not been noti- 
fied. He also wrote a long letter to the President, denying 
his words and acts in abandoning his position as Secretary 
ad interim. To this the President had prepared a reply 
which was in its rough state a recitation of the facts. Some 
suggestions and modifications were made by the members 
severally, and Seward indorsed the whole, making the five 
Cabinet members who were present at the interview with 
the President imited. There was no mistake as regards the 
conversation. Grant was confused and embarrassed, hesi- 
tated, and was conscious of his bad faith towards the Pre- 
sident, — which perhaps caused him to disremember. This 
is the most charitable view. 



LVI 

Grant's Treachery — Conversation with the President on the Subject of 
Preparation for an Emergency — Proposal to make Washington a 
Military Department and order Sherman to it — Excitement over the 
Correspondence between the President and Grant — Grant's Account of 
his Interview with Stanton — Grant's Dislike for and Subjection to 
Stanton — His Indifference to Human Life — Stanton goading the 
Radicals to Impeachment — He dreads being out of Place — The 
President sends to the House the Account of his Interview with Grant, 
with the Statements of the Cabinet Members — Hancock remonstrates 
against an Order of Grant's — General Lorenxo Thomas ordered to re- 
sume his Duties as Adjutant-General at Washington — A New Military 
Department created at Washington and Sherman placed in Command 

— Sherman asks to be excused from coming to Washington — The 
President removes Stanton — McClellan nominated as Minister to 
England — Excitement in Congress over Stanton's Removal — Ad- 
jutant-General Thomas arrested — The President nominates Thomas 
Ewing Secretary of War — Stanbery an Honest Lawyer and Faithful to 
the President, but too Dependent on Precedents in an Emergency — 
Jeffries, Register of the Treasury, advises the President to use Strong 
Measures — OflBcers summoned from an Evening Party — General 
Thomas's Unfitness for the Place of Secretary of War ad interim — The 
Question of the Tenure of the Four Hold-over Members of the Cabinet 

— The House votes to impeach the P*resident — Conversation with John 
Bigelow on the Situation — Repugnance of the Conservative Senators 
to the Possibility of Wade's becoming President — General Lorenio 
Thomas arrested and then discharged — Suggestions as to the Demo- 
cratic Candidate for the Presidency — A Nitro-Glycerine Scare in Con- 
gress — Stanbery considers resigning to devote himself to the President's 
Cause. 

February 4, Tuesday. A resolution was introduced yes- 
terday by Hubbard of West Virginia, calling for corre- 
spondence between the President, Secretary of War, and 
General Grant. The resolution was introduced about an 
hour before the last letter of Grant reached the President. 
The whole shows an intrigue and conspiracy on the part 
of Stanton, Grant, and certain Radical leaders. The Presi- 
dent to-day submitted to the Cabinet the correspondence. 
It is throughout highly discreditable to Grant's integrity, 



270 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [fbb.4 

honor, ability, and truth. He is in this matter the tool of 
Stanton and the victim of his own selfish aspirations. He 
has vulgar cimning, is deceptive {uid imreUable. . . . 

The correspondence shows that he played a false and 
treacherous part with the President throu^out. From the 
first, he has studied to deceive the man who trusted him. 
This he virtually admits; says he was afraid the President, 
in selecting his military adviser, would choose a man not 
acceptable to the Army. Denies that he agreed to see the 
President on Monday, the 20th, although he twice ad- 
mitted it on Tuesday in Cabinet-meeting and made his 
excuses and apologies for not fulfilling his promises. Pre- 
varication and downright falsehood, with deception and 
treachery towards his chief, mark the conduct of U. S. 
Grant. 

These things and other occurrences fully convince me 
that there is a conspiracy maturing for the overthrow of 
the Administration and the subversion of the government 
and our federal system. The Radicals are using Grant as 
their tool; he is prepared to use them for his purpose. As 
a general he was reckless of human life and witnessed the 
slaughter of his countrymen with composure ; he is equally 
callous as to all the sympathies and moral and friendly 
obligations which endear man to his fellow man, and 
make society dear. It will not surprise me, should cir- 
ciunstances favor him, if at no distant day he strives for 
military dictatorship and empire. 

February 5, Wednesday. The President showed me this 
P.M. a reply to Grant's last impudent and insubordinate 
letter. It was very well, provided he thinks best to con- 
tinue the correspondence. I so said to him, reminding him 
at the same time of what I had said yesterday, viz., that 
I would direct the Private Secretary, Colonel Moore, to 
inform General Grant that his last letter was of such extra- 
ordinary tone and character that no further commun- 
ication or correspondence could be had with him on that 



1868] THE CONTROVERSY WITH GRANT 271 

subject. The President said he thought it best on the 
whole to reply. He also deemed it advisable that all the 
members of the Cabinet who were present at the last Cab- 
inet interview with General Grant should state their own 
impressions. 

Colonel Moore called at my house this evening with a 
note from the President to this effect. I asked if he had 
called on the other members of the Cabinet. He said he 
had; that he had just come from Mr. Seward, who had de- 
tained him long and dictated an answer while he was there. 
I asked to see it, but Colonel Moore said Seward was to 
have it copied and sent to the President. McCulloch and 
Randall, he said, would make brief repUes; Browning would 
probably answer at length. I doubt if he has got anything 
definite from Seward; shall not be surprised if Seward per- 
suades the President to give up these answers. In some 
way he will be likely to evade and get rid of a frank and ex- 
plicit statement, or I shall be mistaken; although he is fully 
and unequivocally committed, orally, to the President's 
statement of the conversation. 

Saw the President this evening; told him I would 
make my reply to his note brief, or detail my recollection. 
He told me to do as I pleased, but a short reply would be 
sufficient. 

I took occasion to express my apprehensions of public 
affairs, and of threatening impending calamities which 
were to be met. I reminded him that it was a duty for us 
all, and particularly for him, to be prepared for approach- 
ing extraordinary emergencies; reckless, unprincipled men 
in Congress had control of the government, were usxirping 
executive authority, and would exercise these powers to 
extreme, and evidently beyond constitutional, limits. 
They had contrived to get General Grant, not imwilling, 
I apprehend, in their interest. He had entirely changed 
his ground. Having been suddenly elevated to position 
without much culture, with no experience, knowledge; or 
correct information of the principles of government. Grant 



272 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [fbb.45 

was intoxicated with his success and beginning to believe 
that with the Army he could make himself permanently 
supreme. The Radicals consider him an instrument in their 
hands. He thinks they are puppets in his. They are act- 
ing together; however^ at this time, and will imtil the crisis 
comes. 

I asked the President if he was prepared for that crisis. 
Should they attempt to seize the government, — to arrest 
him, — had he determined the course he would pursue? 
Such a step is, I know, meditated and discussed by some of 
the extreme Radicals. They have intended, by any meas- 
ure, no matter how unprincipled and violent, to get pos- 
session of and to exercise the executive authority. Grant 
would help them. Congress, unmindful of the C!onstitu- 
tion, will place the Army at his disposal instead of the 
President's. Who, I asked the President, had he got in 
whom he could confide, if a collision took place? 

The President became somewhat excited, arose, and 
walked the room. I had evidently touched on topics which 
had been in his mind. He spoke of Sherman as having been 
more emphatic in his language before he left, and sug- 
gested that Washington might be made a military depart* 
ment and Sherman ordered to it. Sherman, he knew, 
would take it. 

I expressed misgivings as to Sherman if Grant were to be 
his antagonist. He is friendly disposed, but would yield, 
I feared, and follow Grant rather than the President. I 
admitted that he was a man of superior intellect and of a 
higher sense of honor than Grant, but their military asso- 
ciation and the ties and obligations of military fellowship 
and long personal intimacy and friendship would attach 
him to Grant, thou^ I hoped not to the overthrow of the 
government. 

February 6, Thursday. Gave the President my answer 
to his note about eleven this morning. It was brief and 
direct. I again told him I would make it more extended if 



18881 THE CJONTROVERSY WITH GRANT 273 

he wished, for I had pretty full notes; but he was satisfied 
with this. I asked if any others had sent in their answers. 
None had yet been received. Seward had promised, and so 
had the others. I shall not be surprised if Seward prevails 
on the President to omit signed testimonials from the Cab- 
inet. If not, he will be likely to have a diluted and indirect 
reply, with many words and inoffensive and guarded com- 
mittals. Browning will, the President thinks, give a de- 
tailed statement. Says he made a full record of what took 
place at the time. 

February 7, Friday. The Cabinet-meeting was brief. 
Stanbery and McCulloch were not present. After business 
was over I asked the President if he had answers from the 
five gentlemen relative to Grant's conversation. He said 
he had, from all, but as he did not continue the conversa- 
tion or offer to submit them for perusal, I made no further 
remark. Browning asked me before I left if I had seen the 
letters. I replied I had not. He said that was the case with 
himself, but he thought we ought to see and compare 
them. He remained when I left, and may then have seen 
them. 

February 8, Saturday. There has been, and is, and will 
continue to be much excitement over the correspondence 
between the President and Grant. In reading it, my appre- 
hensions and suspicions of Grant's duplicity and full com- 
mittal to the conspiracy are confirmed. ... It is evident 
he has been in collusion with the Radicals, intriguing with 
them, and false to the President who has trusted him. 
Stanton he does not like, but yet, in the plot or intrigue 
against the President, he is Stanton's instrument and tool. 
Stanton's manner — bluffness and arrogance — subordin- 
ates Grant, who fears him, — dreads him. 

Randall said, a few days since, that Grant went to seQ 
Stanton and try to have him resign, but Stanton, knowing 
his object, put on an imperious and angry look, and spoke 

8 



274 DIARY OP GIDEON WELLES [feb. s 

loud and violently of some matter that offended him; which 
completely awed Grant, who sat and smoked his cigar, but 
preserved his remarkable quality of reticence for half an 
hour, when, without saying a word, he quietly left. I did 
not give much heed to the story imtil I saw the corre- 
spondence, and find that Grant states he ''did have an in- 
terview alone with Mr. Stanton, which led me to the con- 
clusion that any advice to him of this kind [resigning] 
would be useless.'^ He was, as usual, speechless. 

While Grant dislikes Stanton, he is subjected to and 
controlled by him, — more overawed throu^ others than 
directly, perhaps, for Stanton understands his man. The 
Radical politicians, some of them very small ones and oth- 
ers sharp and cunning, if not great, are Grant's advisers. 
These Stanton uses. Washbume, who is godfather to 
Grant and for his own selfish piuposes has constantly 
pushed him in Congress, has narrow, contracted, and 
grovelling ideas and is reached by Stanton through others, 
which throws off suspicion on the part of both Grant and 
Washbume. Bingham, a shrewd, sinuous, tricky lawyer, 
Stanton has extolled to Grant as an extraordinary legal 
mind, and of course, what is said by B. is received as 
conclusive by Grant. 

The resolution calling for this correspondence was of- 
fered by an obscure and dummy member, Hubbard of 
West Virginia, an old lawyer acquaintance of Stanton 
when he practiced in that section. How comes he to know 
anything of a correspondence with the President and 
Grant? How came Stanton or any one acquainted with the 
fact? Grant had intrigued with tiie Radical Members and 
with Stanton, had tried to entrap the President imder their 
direction, and wrote his insolent letters at their instigation, 
to irritate and provoke, if possible, the President into the 
commission of some rash or indiscreet act. 

. . . Grant ... is destitute of the feeling of real 
friendship; is wanting in sympathy and the finer sensibil- 
ities. The slaughter of his soldiers he viewed with indif- 



1868] GRANT'S INSENSIBILITY 275 

ference, and the sii£fering of our men in Southern prisons 
did not excite his compassion. Mr. Fox, Assistant Sec- 
letary, reported to me three years ago that Grant made 
use, to him, of the inhuman expression that we could not 
afiford to exchange healthy Rebel prisoners for the skele- 
tons at Andersonville, etc. His march from this [city] to 
Richmond was really a succession of defeats, and has been 
characterized, indeed, as a bloody swath. It has been said 
he made a macadamized road from Washington to Rich- 
mond, which he paved with the skulls of Union soldiers. 
In a conversation among the Cabinet officers one day be- 
fore the session commenced, on the subject of population, 
he asserted that the country had lost no population in con- 
sequence of the War, — that many were killed, but others 
had come forward to supply their places, so that there 
were as many Uves to-day in the country as if there had 
been no war. Whether the assertion be true or not, I stop 
not at this time to discuss, but the positiveness and indif- 
ference to life with which the remark was made, struck me 
at the time most painfully. I thought of the charge that 
he was a butcher, which had been so freely made. So far 
as my observation extends, there was among the soldiers 
none of that enthusiasm or warm attachment for Grant 
that was shown towards McClellan, Sherman, Sheridan, 
and other generals. The feeling was less marked as regards 
the officers. 

February 10, Monday. The Radicals continue vindictive 
and are beating about without aim or intelligent purpose 
to get rid of the President. Their great object is, and has 
been, from the time they found that President Johnson 
would not give up his conviction of duty to the demands 
of party, to possess themselves of executive power, and 
they are not scrupulous as to the means by which to obtain 
it. Stanton is goading them on to impeachment, but quite 
a number still hesitate. They have constituents behind 
them ; he has none. His past violent and arbitrary conduct 



276 DIARY OP GIDEON WELLES [pbb.10 

has made him enemies everywhere, and he dreads bemg 
out of place. In place he is tolerated, courted, and extolled 
in a measure by many who hate and detest him, while the 
extremists applaud and encourage him as ''Camot," the 
great War Secretary. 

February 11, Tuesday. The President this day sent in 
his letter with the statement of the members of the Cab- 
inet, to the House, in answer to a call. My letter was the 
first reply, and appears first of the list. It is the most brief 
and direct, and on the whole I am most pleased with it. 
McCulloch's is almost as brief. Randall's is direct, but 
recapitulates, which I thought imnecessary. Browning's 
is fiill and explicit. He made memoranda at the time. 
Seward has a great many words, is diplomatic and ambi- 
dextrous, and, on the whole, weakens rather than strength- 
ens by trying to steer between parties. As we all had the 
letter of the President to Grant read to us twice when to- 
gether, and each and all criticized, suggested, and assented 
to the statements, it is imgenerous and almost untruthful 
on the part of Seward to now equivocate. He distinctly, 
emphatically, and unequivocally declared on the 31st ult. 
that he recollected the remark of General Grant that he 
"did not expect the Senate would act so soon." I know 
that remark was made. The others recollect it. But Sew- 
ard says in his letter that he is not certain whether Grant 
made the remark or he (S.) had it in his own mind. 
Pshaw! the doubt is put to conciliate Grant, and help 
himself. It is characteristic. He is never reliable in a 
crisis, and is not always as direct and truthful as he 
should be. 

Grant has written a letter which came while we were at 
the President's, in reply to that part of the President's let- 
ter which speaks of his insubordination, disavowing such 
intention, etc. I presmne he is surprised at his own folly 
and errors, and will, if he does not already, regret them. 
But he is now under the management and control of vicious 



18681 HANCOCK AND GRANT 277 

and very bad men, who are using him for vicious purposes, 
and he assents with bad intent. 

February 12, Wednesday. Mrs. Welles has had her last 
reception for the season. It was largely attended by the 
notables and the fashionables, the old and yoimg. It is 
spoken of as the largest and pleasantest party which has 
yet been held this season, except perhaps the President's, 
which exceeded ours in numbers, and probably General 
Grant's, which were publicly advertised, and the whole 
public were invited through the papers without cards of 
invitation. 

The tone and excitement of the Radicals have moder- 
ated. They are less boisterous and they evidently find 
difficulty in rallying their men to extreme measures. 

How far Grant's prospects as a candidate will be affected 
by recent developments and publications remains to be 
seen. With candid and thinking men he has sxmk im- 
measurably, but partisans do not think, and have not can- 
dor. An acknowledgment on the part of the General of oiur 
armies, who should exhibit all the better qualities of the 
soldier and be the soul of honor, that he had deliberately 
and purposely deceived his superior, and accepted place, 
and imposed himself on the confidence of the man who 
trusted him, in order to cheat and deceive him, that man 
being the President of the United States, is humiliating 
and demoralizing. 

The President showed me to-day a telegram from Han- 
cock, who has dismissed some negro aldermen in New 
Orleans who were elected imder an improper and illegal 
order from Sheridan. General Grant has ordered Hancock 
to restore these negroes, — which he [Hancock] mildly 
remonstrates agamst, and if the order is persisted m, re- 
quests to be relieved. I apprehend that Stanton is in this 
thing. It is a Radical movement. But Stanton means evil, 
and, while pushing Grant forward, intends to profit him- 
self by the General's weakness and baseness. I can hardly 



278 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [pbb.12 

suppose that Grant can rouse himself and recover from the 
delusion imder which he now labors and which exhibits 
traits as bad almost as Stanton. Both have been treacher- 
ous. 

February 13, Thursday. There is an attempt to estab- 
lish a Radical ton, or condition of society, in Washington. 
General Grant, Stanton, Colfax, and others have shown 
signs of this. As Stanton is tabooed by the President and 
Cabinet, he is excusable in tabooing them in return. Per- 
haps Grant has something of the same ailment since the 
letters of the President and Cabinet were received, but 
his position is really unlike Stanton's, and he lets himself 
down by imitating him. The two attended the last weekly 
reception of Colfax; the two were last night at Senator 
Chandler's. Neither of them attend receptions at the 
President's or members of the Cabinet. Stanton cannot, 
for he is not invited. It is different with Grant, though I 
have attended none of his receptions, and could not with 
my lame knee and restrictive orders of my physicians 
in regard to evening exposure. I have only been to the 
President's this season. But were it otherwise I would not 
go to the publicly advertised jams of Grant. As regards 
Colfax, he is light timber and would be glad to be sociable. 
If I went out to general gatherings, I might and probably 
should have called upon him, though I do not subscribe 
to Seward's dictmn that he is the third officer of the 
Government. I know no such officer. 

I am told Grant looks dejected and dispirited. I have 
not seen him for a fortnight. His course with the Pre- 
sident I cannot reconcile with my previous opinion of him. 
I thought him truthful and as unselfish as could be ex- 
pected, — though somewhat coarse, low-mannered, and 
devoid of very refined feelings, — but he confesses him- 
self to have been false and faithless to the President. He 
has not a high appreciation of public intelligence ; has no 
deference to, or [regard for, the Constitution, which he 



i«»J ADJUTANT-GENERAL THOMAS 279 

considers less obligatory than lej^riative enactments; has 
fellow-feeling with the factions majority of Congress 
because he considers them with him. 
' I suggested to the President on Tuesday that it would be 
well to have a gentleman in the Adjutant-Greneral's of- 
fice who is true and faithful to him and not in fear of, or 
under the control of, Stanton. General Townsend, the 
Assistant Adjutant-General, is a worthy and estimable 
inan, but stands in dread and awe of " Camot," who dom- 
ineers over him. In fact, Stanton has taken all manhood 
out of Townsend, and I have often been pained to see with 
what humiUty the subordinate stood before the imperious 
tyrant. I spoke to the President of the importance of the 
oflSce, through which military orders of the Department 
passed. He caught promptly and at once to the suggestion, 
and said General Thomas^ i^ould be ordered to his old 
position. I asked if he had not better see him before giving 
the order. He said he probably should, but he knew Thomas 
to be right-minded. That is my impression; he is right, 
but not strong, and there are so many who wilt down in 
these days, or whom we misimderstand, or who are weak 
or imreliable. Between Stanton and Thomas there hlus 
been a difference for five years. General Fry * is another 
under the power of the great intruder. 

To-day I learned that orders were yesterday issued for 
General Thomas to resume his position and duties as 
Adjutant-General. Orders have also been issued to es- 
tablish a new department. Sherman has been nominated 
Brevet General. The President has two or three times 
spoken to me of creating a new department and putting 
Sherman in command. I have always asked if Sherman 
could be depended upon in opposition to Grant. In other 
respects I consider him right. The President thinks he 
can rely on him. He can, doubtless, if Sherman enters 
upon the subject imderstandingly, but unless he fully 

^ General Lorenso Thomas. 
* General Jamte B. Fry. 



280 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [FifiB.18 

consents and agrees in advance, he will be likelyi from old 
military associations, to cling to Grant. 

February 14, Friday. Some convasation took place in 
Cabinet to-day on the subject of commmiications to the 
Secretary of War. I asked, " Who is Secretary of War? '' 
The President looked at me significantly and said, ''That 
matter will be disposed of in one or two days." 

He then brought up the subject of removals and of 
authority on his part to assign the duties of one Cabinet 
officer to another. I asked him if he had seen a bill reported 
by Senator Trumbull on this subject, which was before the 
Senate yesterday and, from indications, I thought would 
)be rushed through Congress. Of course, there is an object 
in this bill and this haste. None had seen the bill, which 
was published in the Republican^ and on getting the paper 
and scrutinizing its provisions and preceding laws, it was 
evident it was another hedging-in of the President, which 
t diould hardly have expected of Trumbull, thou^ he is 
becoming extremely partisan. 

I think the President is prepared to take decided action 
with Stanton, and if he will do it promptly, all may yet 
be well. He should have removed Stanton before this, 
since his last intrusion. 

February 15, Saturday. Dined with the President yes* 
terday. The Cabinet were all there with their families, 
and several Senators and others. It was a pleasant meet- 
ing, and the first state dinner-party of the season. All was 
pleasant and passed off cheerfully. 

Many calls to-day. Got off an elaborate letter to Pike 
and the Naval Committee, on the subject of appropria- 
tions, and, incidentally, of estimates and the Navy gen- 
erally. In the hands of a good chairman of the Conunittee 
the paper would be effective, but Pike is lasy and uncer- 
tain. Tries to be shrewd ; is devoted to party more than 
to the service or the country; and there is consequently 



% 



18681 SHERMAN'S BREVET APPOINTMENT 281 

no certainty how much be will do. I intend, however, 
if the Navy is broken down, or impaired, that Congress 
shall be responsible for its act& 

February 17, Monday. Senator Doolittle called at my 
house last evening and read me a prepared speech which 
he proposed to deliver on Reconstruction. It is well cal- 
culated for effect among the people, and will be a little 
annoying to some of the S^:mtors, who have changed their 
votes on this subject and on negro suffrage. 

Attended reception at the President's this evening. 
A very full and general attendance, except of ultra Rad* 
icals, a few of whom were there, lliere is much spiteful* 
ness and hate among these men. 

February 18, Tuesday. No great matters of interest 
were to-day before the Cabinet. I did not know but that 
the President might commimicate something in regard 
to the conferring of a brevet appointment on General 
Sherman and assigning him to the command of this depart^ 
ment, but nothing was said. It is rumored that Sherman 
refuses the brevet, and that he has written his brothetr. 
Senator Sherman, if it is insisted upon, he will come to 
Washington -and throw up his commission. I do not 
credit this, but he is erratic and uncertain. Not unlikely 
he declines the brevet, for he expects, if Grant is elected 
President, to be made his successor; probably he may also 
wish to have duty elsewhere than here, because, as It 
friend of Grant, he wishes to avoid any conflict; but I shall 
be disappointed if General Sherman has, as the Radicals 
represent, committed anything approaching incivility 
towards the President. In any matter personal between 
the President and Grant, Sherman will endeavor to stand 
aloof, for he respects the President, while intimate and 
friendly with Grant; but, if compelled to take part, his 
leanings will favor Grant. The lS:esident flatters himsdf 
otherwise, but he is, I think, mistaken. 



f 



fi82 DIARY OP GroEON WELLES [feb 18 

In their war upon the Court, the Radicals, under the 
lead of Trumbull, have under consideration an act prohib- 
iting the Court from passing judgment on political ques- 
tions, and they have now a bill declaring what are political 
questions. These usurpations and intrigues strain our 
government. 

February 19, Wednesday. The President informs me 
this P.M. that he received this morning a letter from 
General Sherman which was sent to him through Head- 
quarters, where it has imdoubtedly been read. He sayB 
the letter is friendly and respectful, but he (S.) wishes 
to be excused from Washington, and if he is detailed to 
command this department, asks that he may be permitted 
to have his headquarters in New York. 

In view of all the circmnstances, — the rumors, which 
were not without some foundation, of his having tele- 
graphed his brother Senator Sherman, his corresponding 
with the President, who is Commander-in-Chief, through 
General Grant, and his disinclination to come here, — the 
President says he telegraphed to him at once, relieving 
him of the order and directing him to remain in his present 
command. The President thinks that, in communicating 
with him through Grant, Sherman aims to keep in with 
both sides and that he cared more to conciliate Grant than 
anything else. 

It is well these matters have taken this shape, perhaps, 
though it is dilBScult to come to any satisfactory conclu- 
sion in regard to the President's movements and inten- 
tions. Indeed, he does not declare his intentions, and there- 
in fails, I think, in sometimes coming to the best decision 
that is to be attained. Perhaps the impeachment move- 
ments and threats are over, but he certainly was not well 
prepared for a crisis such as some of us apprehended and 
some of the extremists intended. He could not, it is now 
evident, have relied on Sherman, had there been a necess- 
ity to resort to military measures. Yet he has persuaded 



18681 ADMIRAL PORTER'S INTRIGUES 283 

himself that Sherman would be his staff and reliance if 
Grant failed. How far he could have relied on General 
Emory as military conmiander of the district, I do not 
know ; nor does the President, I apprehend. My impression 
is that E. is not to be depended on in civil matters, but 
he will be f oimd where he thinks the power is. 

February 20, Thursday. The reports of the Conmiander 
and the Engineer of the Wampanoag are gratifying. Isher- 
wood has exerted himself wonderfully to make his engines 
a success and has been sustained by the Department in 
that effort. On the other hand, he has been vehemently 
and persistently opposed and denoimced by a clique imder 
Porter. There have been doleful predictions of failures of 
this vessel, but the predictions have proved false. I am 
glad, on Isherwood's accoimt as well as on my own and that 
of the service, of this favorable result. 

Vice-Admiral Porter is indulging in many intrigues 
against Isherwood and the engineers and staff generally, 
and is scheming in a way that is not creditable to bring 
himself uito position in Washington. With some good 
qualities as a naval officer, he has some great faults and 
is wholly unfitted for administrative duties or place here. 
In his restless, suggestive nature, the Department would 
experience detriment and the coimtry infinite evil. He 
should be kept afloat and in active service, but with a 
taut rein. 

February 21, Friday. Seward read a letter to-day in 
regard to the employment of O'Conor or Brady ^ to go 
out to England to defend the Fenians. He and the Pre- 
sident have had an imderstanding on the subject, which 
has been up once or twice before. I question the propriety 
of sending out coimsel in these cases. Still, there may be 
justification. 

^ Charles O'Conor, who had been counsel for Jefferson Davis, and 
James T. Brady, who had defended General Sickles in his trial. 



284 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [feb.21 

^ After disposing of regular Cabinet business, as we weM 
about rising, the President informed us he had this mom* 
ing removed Mr. Stanton. He had, he said, perhaps de- 
layed the step too long. At all evente, it was time the dif- 
ficulty was settled. 

Some one, I believe myself, inquired who was to be his 
successor. The President said General Thomas, Adjutant- 
General, would officiate ad interim and until a regular 
Secretary was appointed. 

I asked if Stanton had surrendered up the place and 
General Thomas taken possession. The President said 
General Thomas had called on S. and informed him of his 
appointment; that Stanton seemed calm and submissive; 
that some little conversation had passed between them as 
to removing his books and papers, and S. was willing that 
Thomas should act his pleasure. 

Browning said he had been informed that Stanton 
intended sending in his resignation to-day or to-morrow. 
A few remarks took place on this subject. I wholly dis- 
credited it, and expressed the belief he would under no 
circumstances resign, except on the single contingency 
of an assurance that he would not have Radical support. 
I was surprised to hear that he had quietly surrendered 
to General Thomas, and should be glad to hear that he 
had left and that General T. was in the rooms, in pos- 
session. 

McCulloch said he doubted if Stanton had resigned, or 
intended to. He and I had once differed. He had thought 
Stanton would resign as soon as reinstated. I then said he 
would not. The result McCulloch said had proved that 
I was right and he was wrong. He now concurred with me. 
Browning said he gave no credit to the rumor which he 
had heard. It came to him through Cox, his Chief Clerk, 
who caught everything afloat. 

The President said he had also brevetted Major-General 
G. H. Thomas to be lieutenant-General and General, or 
rather that he had sent in these brevets to the Senate. 



18091 STANTON^S REMOVAL 289 

He had also nominated General McClellan as Minister to 
England, in place of Mr. Adams. 

These acts of the President will excite the Radicals^ and 
the violent ones will undoubtedly improve the opportunity 
to press on impeachment. Impulse, rather than reason 
or common sense, governs them. The President is vigor- 
ous and active, but too late, and has attempted too much 
at once. 

February 22, Saturday. There was great excitement and 
many rumors last evening in regard to the President 
and Congress and others. Stanton, on getting notice of his 
removal, immediately sent it to the House of Represent- 
atives through the Speaker, and fire and wrath were 
exhibited. The movement was not imexpected. The com- 
munication was at once referred to the so-called "Recon- 
struction Committee, '^ with a resolution from cunning but 
illiterate old Covode to ''impeach the President." 

The Senate were promptly informed by the President 
himself of the removal of Stanton, and the appointment 
of Thomas ad interim. That body at once stopped all 
business and went into executive session, where a fierce 
and protracted debate took place, extending far into the 
night. A resolution was finally adopted by a strict party 
vote, except Edmunds, who, though a central partisan, 
has a legal mind, that the President had no constitutional 
or legal power to remove the Secretary of War and appoint 
another, thus giving an opinion m advance of unpeach- 
ment on a point for which the President may be presented 
to themselves for trial. 

A committee of Cameron, Cattell, Conness, and Thayer 
was appointed in a Radical caucus, hastily convened while 
the Senate was in session, who proceeded to the War 
Department, and counseled and conspired with Stanton, 
how to resist the Executive, and they afterwards called 
on General Grant, who was inclined to be ''reticent." 

This morning General Thomas was arrested, on a writ 



2g6 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [pbb.22 

issued by Judge Cartter, a tool of Stanton, on a complaint 
by Stanton that General T. had violated the Civil Tenure 
law in accepting office against requirements of that law, 
which he, Stanton, had himself emphatically declared as 
unconstitutional. 

General Thomas readily submitted to the arrest and 
gave bail to appear next Wednesday. Stanton remained 
at the Department all night with a parcel of Radical Sena- 
tors and Representatives, and is there now and has been 
all day, most of the time locked up. 

It was impolitic for Thomas, who is a subordinate and 
not an independent or self-reliant man, to have given 
bail. Better to have gone to jail and sued out a writ of 
habeas corpiis. Better still, it seems to me, if he had first 
got out process against Stanton. The people still have 
great deference to law and to legal proceedings. 

I called about noon on the President. He was in the 
library with the Attorney-General. We had a brief con- 
versation on affairs, when the Attorney-General proposed 
to the President to ask my opinion on the subject they were 
discussing when I entered. The President said that was 
his intention, and I was asked what I thought of Thomas 
Ewing, Sr., for Secretary of War. I asked if a person of his 
years was the man for the occasion, — the crisis was im- 
portant. The President said he was sound and right on the 
questions before us, trustworthy, and, he believed, reliable. 
I still hesitated and debated the subject, — his former 
standing, his relationship to Sherman,^ his great age, etc. 
Stanbery said McClellan had just been nominated Minis- 
ter to England from the Democratic side, if we now name 
Ewing from the old Whig ranks the two will go well 
together. The President smiled assent. I remarked that I 
thought it would be well to get a nomination in early. The 
President said if we two approved, he would send in Mr. 

^ Thomas Ewing was both adopted father and father-in-law to General 
Sherman. He was seventy-eight years old at this time and he had been 
Searetary of the Interior under Taylor and Fillmore. 



1868] STANBERY A MAN OP PRECEDENTS 287 

Ewing's name at once. I said if that was his view, I should 
acquiesce cheerfully; he was unquestionably the man who 
should select his own advisers. 

The President directed C!oloneI Moore to immediately 
write a nomination, which he at once signed and sent to 
the Senate. But the Senate, although it had assigned this 
day to a speech from Senator Doolittle, met and adjourned 
without doing any business, so that when Colonel Moore 
reached the Capitol the Senate was not in session. The 
day, I imderstand, was consumed by the Radical Senators in 
secret caucus. The Attorney-General, although a very good 
lawyer, is not the best adviser for administrative and exec- 
utive service in such a time as this. There is a conspiracy 
against the Executive by Senators who are to adjudge 
him, and he, the Attorney-General, searches for precedents 
and authorities, when action, decision, and novel questions 
require a stand to be taken and a path to be stricken out 
with promptness. In the little conversation we had, and so 
on some former occasions, he seemed bewildered for pre- 
cedents and undetermined how to act from the absence of 
previous authorities. In the mean time, whilst he is hesi- 
tating and groping aroimd among the books for precedents, 
the Radicals are acting regardless of precedents or law. 

The President needs, at this time, resolute and energetic 
surroimdings, — men of intelligence and courage as well as 
of caution and prudence. With them he should counsel 
freely and without reserve. I apprehend he has not suf- 
ficiently fortified himself with such men. In his Cabinet, 
he has an honest lawyer in Mr. Stanbery, who will be 
faithful to him so long as he has law and precedent, but 
when new questions arise he is at sea and knows not how 
to steer. He is not, like Seward, calculating, imreliable, and 
selfish, but he will take no new step, nor enter into any 
untrodden path. In the mean time the Radicals are break- 
ing over constitutional law and all legal restraints, and 
will, if they dare, arrest the President and his principal 
friends and imprison them. I do not anticipate this, yet 



288 DIART OF GIDEON WELLES (FEB.as 

• 

the scheme is agitated by leading conspirators and I shall 
not be surprised at any movement they may make. 

Returning from an evening ride, I called upon the Presi- 
dent; hoping to find him alone, but McCulloch and Jeffries ^ 
were with him. Jeffries was advising strong measures. 
Thought if the President were to send a conmumication to 
the Senate, or to Congress, saying he wished the constitu- 
tionality of the Tenure-of-Office Bill and the Reconstruc- 
tion acts decided by the courts, — that he would submit 
the laws to them, and if they should decide against him, or 
that the laws were constitutional, he would resign, — such 
a proposition, J. thought, would carry the coimtry with 
the President. If Congress would not acquiesce in such a 
submission or reference, but were to proceed to extrem- 
ities, then resist, seize the principal conspirators, etc. 
Fifty armed men would be all that were necessiary. The 
President made no reply, nor did he enter into any conver- 
sation with J. on the subject. I merely observed that these 
theories would not be carried out, however plausible they 
might seem when not commenced. Congress would con- 
sent to no reference of their laws and proceedings to any 
court. That would be a trial of the Legislature as well as 
the Executive by the Judiciary; it was the purpose of the 
Legislature to try the Executive themselves. And then, as 
to the fifty military men, what could they do? Here was 
the General of the armies in the conspiracy, secretly urging 
it on. He might be arrested if insubordinate, but who was 
to do it? Emory is in coromand of the District. Can the 
President depend on him in an emergency? I have but 
little confidence in him, but the President ought to know 
him, and I presume does. He should have the best friend 
he has got in the Army in that place. 

On asking the President in regard to Emory, he gave no 
satisfactory answer, but it was evident he did not fully 
confide in him. Jeffries, though a Marylander, knew little 
of E., but said Colonel Bowie, a true man, has great faith 

^ Noah L. Jeffries, Re^ster of the Treasury. 



1868] GENERAL THOMAS'S UNFITNESS 289 

in him, believes him true, etc., etc. I remembered he was 
false to the Union and pursued an equivocal course at the 
comimencement of the Rebellion, and though there was en- 
treaty and importunity to reiiBtate him, with many state- 
ments and explanations of his error and pledges of his future 
fidelity, I had little faith in him then, nor have I much now. 

I called on the President this morning in consequence of 
an incident which took place at a party given by Mrs. Ray 
last evening. After the company assembled, an orderly 
appeared, requiring all officers of the Fifth Cavalry to 
appear at Headquarters. Shortly after, another orderly, 
requiring all officers \mder General Emory's command to 
appear at Headquarters. Both orders came from E. I 
asked the President if he had made preparations, — had 
issued orders to E. He said he had not. ''Some one," said 
I, ''has. Who is it, and what does it indicate? While 
you, Mr. President, are resorting to no extreme measures, 
the conspirators have thehr spies, — have command of the 
troops. Either Stanton or Grant or both issued orders 
which were proclaimed aloud and peremptorily at this 
large social gathering." 

The President was disturbed, but said very little. It is 
an error with him that he does not more freely commun- 
icate with his Cabinet and friends. This whole movement 
of changing his Secretary of War has been incautiously 
and loosely performed without preparation. The Cabinet 
was not consulted. His friends in the Senate and House 
were taken by stuprise, and were wholly imaware of the 
movement. 

General Thomas proves himself imfit for the place of 
Secretary of War ad interim. He is like a boy, ready to 
obey orders, but cannot himself act with decision or direct 
others, — is a mere child or worse in Stanton's presence. 
Instead of taking upon himself the duties of Secretary of 
War and commanding Stanton, he submits to Stanton's 
orders, and is locked out of the Department, laughed at, 
and treated with contempt. 

3 



290 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [fbb. 22 

I am told he was weak and foolish enough last evenmg 
to attend a mask ball; was at Willard's Hotel, . • • that he 
talked openly and loudly of his being Secretary of War, — 
that he should to-day take possession, open the mails, etc. 
But he is snuffed out. 

February 24, Monday. Senator Doolittle and Attorney- 
General Stanbery called on me last evening. Their object 
was to ascertain my recollection of what took place in 
the Cabinet when the Tenure-of-OflSce Bill was \mder con- 
sideration, especially on the point which related to the 
four first secretaries, who were appointed by Mr. Lincoln. 
I recollect that they were considered as holding office by 
a different teniue than the others, who were appointed 
by Mr. Johnson, but the remarks of the several members 
I could not recall. There was entire unanimity as regarded 
the imconstitutionality of the bill itself, and this absorbed 
the minor questions. The distinctive point now alluded to 
was, I remember, discussed. Mr. Seward, I think, alluded 
to it, and I well recollect that Mr. Randall made remark 
to the effect that the law appeared to carry out the four 
members by legislation, or there was a question if it did 
not. The Attorney-General said it could have no such 
retroactive effect, even if the law was good for anything, 
but he was emphatic and decisive in pronoimcing the law 
absolutely and beyond all question unconstitutional. 
Stanton was quite as emphatic, and I think every member 
declared his readiness to surrender his place, whenever the 
President should express a wish to that effect. 

Each of these gentlemen, as did also McCulloch, who 
called on me earlier in the evening, regretted that the 
President had not in this and other instances been more 
free and communicative with his friends, and advised with 
them without reserve. While reticent towards those 
with whom he should be most intimate, he has been hold- 
mg free conversation with newspaper correspondents, and 
givmg them his opinions, and an account of his actions 



1868] RADICAL ALARMS 291 

on the most important subjects of administration. I have 
long lamented this condition of things, but I know of no 
remedy. The President has his peculiarities in this respect, 
as he had in speechmaking when ^'swinging roimd the 
circle." 

I have sometimes been almost tempted to listen to 
the accusation of his enemies that he desired and courted 
impeachment. Yet such is not the fact. He is courage- 
ous and firm, with great sagacity and wide comprehen- 
sion, yet is not in many respects wise and practical. It 
may be that he is willing the Radicals should make them- 
selves ridiculous by futile assaults, but he hardly could 
have expected this fliury for so peaceful and justifiable 
a movement. 

The Radical leaders have for some time striven to alarm 
and agitate the coimtry by whispers and insinuations 
that the President was intending to make himself dictator, 
and Senator Thayer ^ pledged his honor as a Senator that 
the President was about to assume regal power or some- 
thing of the sort, in a public speech last summer or autumn 
at Cincinnati. Forney, Secretary of the Senate, as deep in 
the conspiracy as the chiefs will permit, in his paper the 
ChronicUy which is the Radical organ, gave out that 
the President, with Governor Swann, was organizing the 
militia of Maryland to secure for himself absolute power. 
Others have tried to alarm the popular mind by similar 
silly and absurd falsehoods. 

I this morning called on the President. There were 
many waiting. Randall and Mr. Ross were with him, 
but both soon left. Stanbery was in the library, writing 
and revising a message, which the President sent to Con- 
gress in a few hours, vindicating his course and removing 
Stanton. I had called because Mr. Stanbery and myself 
had an understanding to that effect last evening, beUeving 
it best the President should see all his Cabinet on the sub- 
ject of his message or communication. But the President 

^ John M. Tliayer, of Nebraska. 



292 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [peb-M 

said he thought it unnecessary to see any others than 
Stanbery and myself. 

The House this afternoon decided by a vote of 126 to 
47 to impeach the President. The alleged cause of impeach- 
ment is the removal of a contumacious, treacherous, and 
unprincipled officer, who intrudes himself into the War 
Department \mder the authority of a law which he himself 
denoimced asimconstitutional, a law to fetter the President 
and deprive the Executive of his rights. 

The impeachment is a deed of extreme partisanship, 
a deliberate conspiracy, involving all the moral guilt of 
treason, for which the members would, if fairly tried, be 
liable to conviction and condemnation. If the President 
has committed errors, he has done no act which justifies 
this proceeding. The President is innocent of crime; his 
accusers and triers are culpably guilty. In this violent and 
vicious exercise of partyism I see the liberties and happi- 
ness of the coimtry and the stability of the government 
imperiled. 

The President has a reception this evening, and thoug}i 
neither my wife nor myself are well, and the night is in- 
clement, we shall, with all the family, be present. 

February 25, Tuesday. There is, I think, less excitement 
to-day. The weather, which is damp and dreary, perhaps 
contributes to it. A feeling of doubt and sadness per- 
vades the minds of sensible men. Some of the less intense 
Radicals are dissatisfied with their own doings. A little 
routine business was transacted in the Cabinet, princi- 
pally from the State Department. The President, though 
calm, is not without sensibility and feels the wrong and 
outrage of the conspirators, although he makes no com- 
plaint. 

The debate which has taken place on the subject of 
impeachment is disgraceful, wicked, and malicious. E. B. 
Washbiune, the . . . man of little work for Grant, was 
mendacious and villainous. • 



• • 



:Mk 



1868] JOHN BIGELOW ON IMPEACHMENT 293 



John Bigelow,' late Minister to France, spent an hour 
with me this p.m. He has been here some ten days, a 
looker-on, and is a good and honest observer. The pro- 
ceedings at the Capitol have greatly interested him. He 
complains, and perhaps with reason, that the President 
was in fault in not commimicating to his friends in Con- 
gress his purpose in removing Stanton, that they might 
have been prepared for the contest. The President's mea- 
sures, he thinks also, should have been taken with delibera- 
tion ; he should not have permitted himself to be foiled by 
Stanton; Thomas, or the man who was to take the place 
of Stanton, should have ejected him at once. All this is 
very true. It is easy, now that the matter has passed, to 
say, that so great a scoundrel, so treacherous, false, and 
deceitful a man should not have been treated like a gentle- 
man. The President has, from the first, extended to Stan- 
ton a consideration and leniency that has surprised me, for 
he knew him to be false, remorseless, treacherous, and 
base. I expressed my disbelief in his quiet retirement last 
Friday, when the President announced his removal and 
T.'s appointment. 

Bigelow is confident, or rather has high hopes, that 
impeachment will fail in the Senate. Says that the large 
conservative force in the Senate, with the Chief Justice, 
look with repugnance and horror to the accession of Wade,* 
and would prefer to continue the President. Unless, 
therefore, Wade will resign and allow some good conserv- 
ative Senator to be made President of the Senate, he 
thinks impeachment will be defeated. 

I encouraged his hopes, while I have very slight expect- 
ations. This is a party scheme, a conspiracy on a large 
scale, more offensive and reprehensible than that of se- 
cession, but the conspirators, having taken the fatal 
plunge, cannot recede. There are Representatives who 
have qualms, but these very men will stimulate hesi- 

* A^President pro tern, of the Senate, Senator Benjamin F. Wade of Ohio 
was next in line of succession to the FnadaaBjm 



. •■■].?*:*■■' 



294 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [pbb.25 

tating Senators to do as they have done, — get into the 
same boat with themselves. Radicalism will not only be 
dead, but will rot if theyfail. They know this as well as we 
know it, and, knowing it, they "give up to party what was 
meant for mankind." I fearno moral courage will be found 
among the Radical Senators, no individual independence; 
but shall wait events, calmly I hope, though it is difficult 
to restrain giving utterance to one's indignation at de- 
Uberate villainy. 

February 26, Wednesday. General L. Thomas was ar- 
rested last Saturday morning at the instigation of E. M. 
Stanton, on a writ issued by Cartter, Chief Justice of the 
District Court. General T. gave bail in $5000, and the 
case came up to-day, when he was prepared to submit to 
imprisonment, with a view of suing out a writ of habeas 
corpuLS and getting a decision from the Supreme Court on 
the constitutionality of the Civil-Tenure Bill. This the 
Radicals and Stanton dreaded, and after various twistings 
and turnings, General T. was discharged. 

Cartter, in this whole proceedmg, from its inception 
to its close, showed himself a most unfit judge. He has 
secretly visited Stanton at the War Department, and his 
associate Fisher has spent much of his time since Thomas' 
arrest, with Stanton. 

A summons was issued for Stanton to appear as a wit- 
ness for Thomas to-day, and to produce his conunission, 
but the quondam Secretary refused to appear. 

I, yesterday, and again to-day, suggested, not to say 
urged, that Judge Curtis ^ should be one of the President's 
counsel in the impeachment. The President assented to 
my suggestions, but whether he will engage C. is another 
question. Something will depend, without doubt, on the 
disposition of the Attorney-General, and perhaps Black 
will also have a voice. 

The Democratic National Conunittee has been in 

1 Beniamiii RoblnDs Curtis. 



» 1B681 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES 295 

seBsion here, and, from what I learn, have not been over- 
wise, but somewhat conceited and weakly and foolishly 
partisan. Bigelow tells me that the intention is to make 
Horatio Sejrmour the Presidential candidate. Tilden thinks 
Sejrmour will run stronger than any man in New York, 
and that is a great State, — he does not look beyond it. 
I said to B. that it was important that Democrats should 
have a ticket which would draw recruits and not repel 
them; that Sejrmour was not an acceptable candidate out 
of the pale of party and not strongly popular within it. 
It might be possible, under the mad conduct of the Rad- 
icals, to elect a strict party candidate, but not certain. He 
asked who there was that could be taken up. Said that 
Tilden assured him Doolittle would not be acceptable 
in New York. I named Hendricks, Hancock, or, if they 
would go in for a man for the coimtry, and relax as re- 
gards party, there was Charles Francis Adams. He would 
be the third of the name and family, and would be at- 
tacked for that reason, but the fact had also its strong 
side. There would be many who would, especially in these 
turbulent times, be glad to have peace and stability, such 
as the country had forty years ago imder his father. He 
has not the popular element, would not be acceptable 
to the Fenians, and therefore would not be a party can- 
didate; but the country would have in him a good pre- 
sidentf but with some family infirmities. There is some 
mihtary feeling which might be made available for 
Hancock, who is better liked than Grant. 

Febmary 27, Thursday. The feverish excitement has 
abated. Impeachment as a sensation has had its day. 
When the trial comes on in the Senate, it will be revived, 
perhaps, but with less intensity. 

Woodbridge of Vermont, one of the Judiciary Commit-* 
tee, who always opposed impeachment, came to see me 
to-day. He spoke deprecatingly of the movement; re- 
gretted that he was compelled to vote for it under party 



206 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [feb.27 

(kmands, but his colleagueB from Vermont all went for 
it, they and the party at home were violent, and it would 
have been death for him to have resisted. He voted with 
reluctance and against his wishes and convictions, for the 
President he knew to be honest and patriotic; and he so 
said to me. It is melancholy to witness such things* 
Woodbridge is but one of many who are guilty of this wrong. 
A moral infirmity or weakness. They dare not act in 
accordance with their convictions. A fear of party os- 
tracism controls them. But their acts forfeit their self- 
respect for the time, and sooner or later will lose them the 
respect of others. 

The whole impeachment scheme is a piece of party 
persecution, which, if successful to party, will be ruinous 
to the country. It is a deliberate and wicked conspiracy 
from its inception. 

Fehraary 28, Friday. Mr. Seward read to-day one of 
his strange, unstatesmanlike, and improper dispatches. 
It was addressed to Mr. Stillwell, our Minister at Vene- 
zuela, in relation to certain of the crew of the Hannah 
Grant, a whaling-schooner, who were unlawfully detained 
in that coimtry. The dispatdi was objectionable as a 
state paper, and was offensive because wanting in proper 
courtesy to the naval officer who might be ordered to 
La Guayra. Mr. Stillwell was told that a naval vessel would 
be sent (without any reference to the Secretary of the 
Navy), that the naval office would be directed to commit 
no hostile act without his (Stillwell's) direction, etc., etc. 
In other, or plain, words, the Minister and naval officer 
were authorized at thdr discretion to declare war, or make 
war, on Venezuela. 

Mr. Stanbery took exception to this part of the dispatch, 
in which I joined. Seward was annoyed by the criticism and 
objection, but finally professed to put in some pencil 
alteration. He would not presume to send a dispatch of 
this nature to Russia in regEird to the recent outrages in the 



18681 A NITR(MJLYCERINE SCARE 287 

Sea of Okhotsk ^ nor to England in regard to the Feniaiis, 
nor to France, but he can be arrogant to feeble Venezuda. 

I am inclined to think that a claim which his pet 
Sanford, our Minister to Belgiimi, has against Venezuela 
may influence him in asking for a man-of-war at Curasao, 
as much as the seamen of the Hannah Grant. 

Some laughter took place, after Cabinet coimcil, oyer 
the fortification and intrenchment of the War Depart- 
ment, and the trepidation of Stanton, who has this mom* 
ing doubled his guard. Kennedy, Chief of New York 
police, sent a letter to Speaker Colfax, that some nitro- 
glycerine had disappeared from New York, and that 
shrewd, sagacious, and patriotic functionary knew not 
where it had gone, unless to Washington. 

The chivalrous and timid Speaker at once laid this 
tremendous missive before the House, and the consterna- 
tion of the gallant band of Radicals became excessive. A 
large additional poUce force had been placed aroimd the 
Capitol, but as it was still considered imsafe, an immediate 
adjournment was called for. Stanton, unfortunate man, 
could not adjoiun. There was no refuge for him, save in 
the War Department, which is surroimded and filled with 
soldiers to protect against an inroad from old General 
Thomas. As Stanton, Grant, and the Radical Congress 
have assumed the entire control of the military, to the 
exclusion of the President, who is Commander-in-Chief, 
the apprehension seems to be that the Adjutant-General 
and his friends have resorted to nitro-glycerine. 

Browning inquired whether there should not be more free 
communication and interchange of opinion among the 
members of the Cabinet in regard to the measures before 
Congress. Seward promptly and in a manner that was 
intended to put a stop to this said the President would, he 
suppose, consult any member he pleased on any subject; 
that this matter of impeachment belonged more particu- 

'* A Russian sloop-of-war fired on an American vessel in the Sea off 
Okhotsk in December, 1867. 



298 ^ DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES fPEB.28 

larly to the Attorney-General, and he proposed they (the 
President and the Attorney-General) should do what they 
thought best; he might, he continued, be called as witness, 
and it was best to ward off any charge of conspiring, etc., 
etc. I dissented wholly from this view, as did the Attorney- 
General and indeed every other member. I regretted 
that we had not been more free in expressing our views 
to each other at all times, — though it was felt we could 
not, so long as Stanton was with us, be frank and friendly. 
McCulloch took the same view. Browning said he had, 
perhaps, done wrong in bringing the subject forward; 
it was not his intention to intrude on the President, but 
the times demanded the imited counsel of all. Seward, 
after remarking that ''too many cooks usually spoiled 
the broth," expressed his readiness to meet and consult 
at all times. 

The subject of counsel in case of a trial was then intro- 
duced. Every man advised the retention of Judge Curtis. 
O'Conor was mentioned. McCulloch objected that he 
was counsel for Jeff Davis, and that party antipathy would 
counteract his ability. Evarts was noentioned and rather 
pressed. I admitted his ability, but feared his want of 
heart in the measiue. He had united himself with the 
Radicals when their cause seemed strong; it must have 
been from no mental and moral workings of such a mind 
as his; in that act he was not true to his nature and to 
what he knew to be right. 

Seward, who has always heretofore been steadfast for 
Evarts, gave in to the correctness of my remarks, but said 
he knew not how far he had gone with the Radicals. He 
was a very cold man. After further talk it was agreed we 
would come together on Saturday evening at half-past 
seven. 

Grant has overruled General Hancock, and reestab- 
lished, or reappointed the negro aldermen in New Orleans. 
He is impUcated in the conspiracy against the President, 
— a willing party to it. ... . 



1868] STANBERY CONSIDERS RESIGNING 299 

February 29, Saturday. The impeachment committee 
have printed ten articles. Nine of them contain a mount- 
ain of words, but not even a mouse of impeachment ma- 
terial. The tenth is even weaker than the other nine, and 
has a long tail from General Emory. I never had faith in 
the firmness and honest stability of this man, who was 
false in 1861, and whimpered back into the service which 
he had deserted. His willing, volimteered testimony has been 
evidently procm^ and manuf acting, and yet is nothing. 
The President had sent for him on the 22d in conse- 
quence of information and suggestions from myself, and 
questioned him. Emory puts the questions in the form of 
averments by the President, and throughout exhibits him- 
self a Radical partisan for the time being. 

Mr. Stanbery says that Judge Curtis will be here on 
Tuesday evening next. There is, Stanbery thinks, an 
intention on the part of the managmg Radicals to exclude 
him from taking part in defense of the President before 
the coxirt of impeachment because he is Attorney-General. 
He queries whether he had not better resign forthwith, 
and devote his whole time to the case. To this we were 
each and all opposed, or to any resignation imless he were 
compelled. 

A writ of quo warranto is to be sued out, but with the Court 
in the District wholly under the influence of the Radical 
conspirators, action will be delayed as long as possible, for 
there is nothing they so much dread as a decision of the 
Supreme Court on their imconstitutional laws. 

There is no ''high crime or misdemeanor" in these ar- 
ticles that calls for impeachment, and those who may vote 
to convict upon these articles would as readily vote to 
impeach the President had he been accused of stepping on 
a dog's tail. But any pretext will serve imprincipled and 
unscrupulous partisan vengeance. He would not lend him- 
self to a series of imconstitutional measures and to get 
rid of him is imperative. 



LVII 

Preparations for the Impeachment Trial — The Notice of Impeachment 
eerved on the President — Selecting the President's Comisel — Stan- 
bery determines to resign his Cabinet Position before undertaking Uie 
President's Case — Stanton fortified in the War Department — Radical 
Victory in the New Hampshire Election — A Sketch of New Hampdiire 
Politics — Stanbery hands in his Resignation — The President's Ill- 
considered Talks with Newspaper Men — Senator Sherman widbes a 
Naval Lieutenant court-martialed for using Disrespectful Language of 
Congress — The President's Uncommunicativeness — Judge Black on 
Seward's Handling of the Alta Vela Affair — The Impeadmient Pro- 
ceedings open with Little Excitement — Judge Black withdraws from 
the President's Case — Probable Reasons for his Course — A Spirit 
of Mischief in the Hawaiian Islands — Black's Letter to the President 
withdrawing from the Case and denouncing Seward's Conduct in the 
Alta Vela Matter — Wilson and Sumner and the Naval Appropriation 
Bill — General Butler's Opening in the Impeachment Trial. 

March 3, Tuesday. The journals of the day and pub- 
lished proceedings will be a record of what occurs in mat- 
ters of impeachment. I do not, therefore, record details of 
official transactions, but such only as seem to me proper 
with individual movements. The spirit which has led to the 
impeachment movement and its consummation in the House 
is strange and various. A considerable portion of those 
who voted for it did violence to their own convictions. 
There is another large element which had no convictions, 
but are mere shallow, reckless partisans who would as 
readily have voted that the President should be himg in 
front of the White House as that he should be impeached 
in the Capitol, provided their leaders — Stevens, Bout- 
well, and others — had presented papers in form for that 
purpose. Another and different class, like Boutwell, seek 
and expect notoriety and fame. They have read Macau- 
lay's interesting history of the trial of Warren Hastings, 
and flatter themselves they are to be the Burkes and Sheri- 



m^ PREPARATIONS FOR THE TRIAL 301 

dans of some future historian. Malignant party hate and 
unscrupulous party thirst for power stimulate others. 

A shameless, brazen effrontery and villainy mark certain 
Senators. Howard and Chandler of Michigan, Sumner, 
Cameron, Conkling, and others have already made themr 
selves parties against the man whom they are to adjudge, 
— have some of them, if not all, connived in secret to urge 
on impeachment. They have broken down the barriers 
of the Constitution, while the President has striven to de- 
fend them, and for his defense he is to be tried and oon«- 
denmed by these violators, conspirators, and perjmers. 

March 4, Wednesday. Chief Justice Chase has sent a 
letter to the Senate which disturbed the Radicals. It was 
not of great moment, and will be swamped by leading im- 
peachers who are anxious to hurry on their work. Stevens, 
with his arrogance, insolence, and vicious despotism, 
threatens every Senator who shall dare to vote against 
his party; tells them they are conmiitted by their votes. 
It must shame and mortify some of the intelligent minds 
in the Senate to be held in subjection and compelled to 
receive the excoriations and threatening? of this wicked 
and bad man, but it is questionable whether they have the 
moral courage and independence to do right, when the 
terrors of this party tyrant are before them. 

Seward and I met in the council room, and, while wait- 
ing for the President, allusion was made to our meeting 
seven years ago yesterday, and of events which have since 
transpired. He says it is nineteen years this 4th of March 
since he entered the service of the United States, seven 
years since he became a Cabinet Minister. ''How few of 
all the men,'' said he, "with whom we have been associated, 
have proved faithful ! — how many have disappointed us 1 *' 
This was said in connection with present transactions, 
and had particular reference to Stanton. 

The Cabinet met last evening at half-past seven instead 
of at noon. But little official business was done. We had 



302 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [maAch 4 

a two hours' talk of the condition of public affairs, and 
especially of the great question now before the country. 
Judge Curtis was expected to-day. He is associated with 
Mr. Stanbery as one of the counsel of the President. Other 
names were talked of, but no conclusion come to. 

McCuUoch expressed a hope that the President would 
go to the Senate on the first day, but not afterwards. 
Seward said if he went the whole Cabinet ought to ac- 
company him. I objected to either. It would give dignity 
Bnd imposing form to the proceedings, which the conspira- 
tors wished, but we did not. The managers undoubtedly 
desired that the President should exhibit himself there, 
and if surrounded by his advisers it would make the scene 
more imposing. Men, and women too, would come from 
a distance, and gather at the Capitol to see the victim, 
if he should consent to gratify them. 

March 5, Thursday. The Cabinet met this evening. 
Seward brought forward the removal of Timothy Picker- 
ing from the oflSce of Secretary of State in May, 1800, by 
John Adams, as a case in point. His clerks had himted up 
this precedent, and if Congress was in session, as Seward 
says, it is in all respects like the present case, except that 
the Temu-e-of-OflBice Law had not then been enacted. 

The movement which had been made by the Republican 
Senators in 1862 to prociu^ the removal of Seward was 
brought under discussion. At that time, these Senators 
called on President Lincoln to make his Cabinet a unit 
by removing an objectionable minister, as they considered 
him. 

Judge Curtis has arrived. When I went to the Presi- 
dent's this evening, no others of the Cabinet were there, but 
I foimd Mr. Groesbeck ^ of Cincinnati with him. He was 
and is most earnestly opposed to this conspiracy and with 

* William Slocomb Groesbeck, a liberal Republican who had been a dele- 
gate to the Philadelphia Convention. He was retained as counsel for Pro- 
ddent Johnson. 




■... i-' 



18681 NOTICE OF IMPEACHMENT SERVED 303 

the President, and there has been mention of his name aa 
one of the junior counsel for the President. His bdng 
here, however, at this time was accidental, — was for 
other and business reasons. 

David D. Field was spoken of complimentarily l^ 
Browning from the repree^itation of others. Seward did 
not concur; said Field was Uie greatest small man he had 
ever known.* Stanbery thought he spread himself too 
largely, had too many [>ointa, was a book man, not an 
original. 

March 6, Friday. A brief Cabmet-meeting. Browning 
brought his diary, detailing occurrences and remarks ill 
the Senatorial Republican Caucus of 1862 for removal of 
Seward, he being at that time a Senator from Illinois. 
General Thomas was preset at the Cabinet-meeting this 
evening, but no business was transacted, nor was thrae 
a disposition to have much free discussion while he re- 
mained. I was sorry the President invited him, unless it 
is necessary to carry out explicitly the ad iTiterim ap^ 
pointment. 

March 7, Saturday. The Preeridoit was served with 
notice of impeachment this evening. I was at the White 
House a few moments after the copy was left. We had 
a Cabinet-meeting this evening. I was the fiist who ar- 
rived. The others came in soon. 

Mr. Stanbery is senative on the subject of retaining the 
office of Attorney-General while defending the President. 
Thinks exception may be taken to his appearance by ex- 
treme partisan Senators, and proposed to anticipate their 
movement by a res^piation. Says that it will involve the 
necessity of wholly giving up all attention to official bxisi- 
ness during the trial, for that and that alone shall occupy 
bis mind. But this can be got along with by turning over 

F 1 1 David Dudley Field, the eldest of four distingniahed btothen, wm ft 
vo^ large man phjrsicaUf. 




804 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES |maech7 

current official matters to his Assistant. He is, however, 
sensitive to any imputation from any quarter, and is pretty 
much determined to resign. All the members preferred he 
should not. I think, and said, if he found it a point to be 
met, he could, when challenged or when decision was 
had by the Senate, present his resignation. The effect, it 
seems to me, would be good, if so presented. Let the Rad- 
ical Senators sitting as judges hound down the President, 
— object, if they please, to his having one of his political 
family, his legal selected adviser, to defend him. 

In the consultations which have been had by the coimsel 
thus far, Stanbery, Curtis, and Black have participated. 
At the last meeting, Stanbery says. Black suggested that 
his (B.'s) appearing might prejudice the case, and while 
he was extremely solicitous to participate he would by 
no means act if it were supposed his doing so would be 
injurious to the President. Both S. and C. had appre- 
hensions it might be unfortunate, but desired the Cabinet 
to express their views, and, above all, that the President 
himself might decide on this subject. 
\ ^ McCulloch promptly expressed his opinion against the 
retention of Black as one of the counsel. Said that Senator 
Hendricks had said to him it would be injudicious; that 
the Democrats in the Senate would all be right, he had no 
doubt, but that the Republicans were hostile to Black. 

Seward was inclined to believe that this was the case, 
and perhaps some one as capable and not so obnoxious 
might be found. Several names were suggested. 

I asked if it would be wise or politic to exclude from the 
managing counsel any pronounced Democrat whatever. 
It appeared to me important that there should be one such 
lawyer among them, and while I had no great intimacy 
with, or partiality for. Black, I knew of no one who was, 
under the circumstances, in all respects his equal. We 
wanted something more than a mere lawyer for such a 
case as this, — a poUtician and statesman, one who made 
the Constitution and public affairs a study. Still, if Black 



1868] SELECTING COUNSEL 305 

was personally or by reason of his party entanglements and 
associations so offensive as to alienate any of these Sena- 
torial judges, I would not press him. But no man was fit 
to be a Senator or a member of the court, whose judgment 
would be biased by his personal or party dislike of counsel. 
I cautioned them to remember, howev^, that the friends 
and supporters of the President were ahnost all Demo- 
crats, and the ground-swell of public opinion would have 
its influence on the Senators. 

There was a general opinion that the third man should 
be a Democrat, and Thurman of Ohio was named. Seward 
favored him, and McCulloch also. Stanbery complimented 
him but did not explicitly commit himself for him. Brown- 
ing inclined to Black, if not so objectionable as to injiire 
the cause before the Senate. I stated my opinion of Thur^ 
man was favorable from what I had heard of him, but he 
had no such national reputation as Black. 

March 9, Monday. I called on the President this morn- 
ing and informed him I had reflected much on the subject 
of his counsel, and although there was opposition to Black, 
it appeared to me he ought not to give way to it, provided 
B. had his confidence. He thanked me and said the re- 
tention of Black was not an open question and he had so 
informed Mr. Seward who called last evening and wished 
to dissuade him. The President attributed the hostility 
of Seward to the fact that Black had been opposed to 
Seward in the Alta Vela matter.^ I have understood that 
Thurlow Weed was interested in that question, and his 
interest in that questionable transaction was in conse- 
quence of his intimacy and well-known infiuence with the 
Secretary of State, and I so informed the President. For 

1 This was the clcdm of Patterson and Murg^endo for damages on ao« 
eount of the sdzure by the Dominican Republic of Alta Vela, a guano island 
off the coast of the island of Hayti. The island was occupied in 1850 or 1860 
hj United States citizens and taken possession of in the name of the United 
Slates, and the seiiuie was regarded by some as a oottis ftetti. The claim was 
finally dismissed. 

8 



306 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [march 9 

a little matter, Seward has nxanifested the deepest anxiety 
in the Alta Vela business. I do not think he has any 
pecuniary interest in it, but he is solicitous for his friend 
Weed, who has. The President asked me if I knew Swett * 
of Illinois. I do slightly, but am not particularly favorably 
impressed with the idea of his being one of the counsel. 
I thought neither his abilities nor standing in the country 
would justify such a selection. The President said he knew 
very Uttle of Swett, but Seward urged him because he was 
the special friend of Mr. Lincoln, and to retain him would 
gratify Mr. L.'s friends. I besought him to be influenced 
by no such representations, and expressed my regret 
that they had been made. 

' We had a Cabinet-meeting this evening. In a desultory 
conversation at the beginning of the session, some one, 
I think Browning, stated some fact in regard to Chief 
Justice Chase which indicated his opposition to impeach- 
ment, and that his influence would be against it. Seward 
denied that Chase had any influence; there was not, he said, 
a Senator, or a press, or a community where his opinion 
w^ghed a feather, or was of the slightest consequence. 
He went on in one of his rambling, dogmatic dissertations, 
which seemed to astonish and awe Browning. I took ex- 
ceptions and insisted that Chase had official, political, and 
moral influence, that should not be lightly thrown away. 
Seward became excited. "Name a man — name a Sena- 
tor — whom he dan influence." I mentioned Fessenden, 
at which S. phev>ed, — said he had more influence with 
F. than Chase had. I congratulated him on his good 
opinion of himself with F., but assured him that / knew 
he was mistaken. The truth is, Fessenden has great 
admiration of Chase, but v^y Uttle respect for Seward. 
. No one sustained Seward, who went on dogmatizing and 
prophesying. He claims to know how both the New York 
Senators feel on the subject of impeachment. 

^ Leonard Swett, an intimate friend of linoc^'s and during hia Admin- 
Sstration employed on government cases. 







18681 SELECTING COUNSEL 307 

The question of the counsel of the Resident was dis- 
cussed. Stanbery, Black, and Curtis were decided upon 
favorably. Seward informed the President that he had 
telegraphed for Evarts, who would be here to-morrow 
morning. The President looked at me, and saw perhaps 
that I did not respond to that selection with alacrity, and 
said to Mr. Seward, ''His coming here does not insure 
that Mr. Evarts will be retained." ''No/' said Seward, 
hesitating, "but you cannot do better." All conciured 
in that opinion but myself. I admitted his high standing 
as a lawyer, his intellectual capacity, his fidelity, if he 
engaged in the cause, but this cold, calculating, selfish 
man was destitute of enthusiasm, magnetic power, or 
political influence; had abandoned the Administration 
with which he had been associated without cause and gone 
over to the Radicals. Ought such a man, though unsur- 
passed as a lawyer, technical, legal, but in his politics 
a mere calculator, to be selected in such a case as this? 
In deserting the Administration when he did, he exhibited 
weakness, — with all his legal lore, — want of conscience, 
want of fidelity to principle. Seward admitted Evarts had 
taken a strange course. I named Samuel Glover, of St. 
Louis, as a lawyer and orator, if the President was intend- 
ing to select another Western man. He said Mr. Seward 
had named Swett, and others had spoken of him. I asked 
Browning, who knew them both, as to the two men. He 
said they were not to be named together, — that Glover 
was incomparably superior. I asked Seward what were 
the particulars of Swett's California transactions, — there 
were imputations upon him coincident with those matters. 
McCuUoch said Blair told him that Swett was a tool of 
Stanton's. Seward denied this, and said the hundred 
thousand dollars which Swett obtained was his (Seward's) 
doing; that Swett was such a man as the President wanted; 
everybody knew of his intimacy with Lincoln, and it 
would bring them into good relations with the President 
were he to retain Swett, . 




308 DIARY OP GIDEON WELLES IMabch9 

No one seconded Seward in this matter. He evidently 
is using the occasion for his own personal benefit more than 
the President's. I should almost think he is in Stanton's 
interest. Evarts and Swett he has imposed on the Pre- 
sident in sly interviews. 

After an hour and a half s discussion, we went below 
to the President's evening general reception, which was 
well and fashionably attended. 

March 10, Tuesday. At the Cabinet-meeting this noon, 
Mr. Stanbery named, as the coimsel who would probably 
be retained, himself, Black, Curtis, Evarts, Groesbeck, and 
Nelson of Tennessee, whom the President has invited 
here, and who was introduced to us. Field seems to be 
excluded, which is Seward's doings, and will be a disap- 
pointment to many, — as much as the retention of Evarts. 

I spoke freely o{ Evarts, and the objections to him. 
It may be, however, that he will acquit himself with credit. 
I shall be disappointed if he does not, for he has abilities 
and the occasion is a great one. 

Mr. Stanbery says he must resign his place as Attorney- 
General in order to devote his whole time to this case. He 
is unwilling to be trammeled, or have his mind disturbed 
by any oflScial duties, obligations, or embarrassments, and 
says it will imdoubtedly be urged against him that, as the 
prosecuting officer of the Government, it is his duty to 
sustain rather than oppose the articles of impeachment. 
I am not impressed with his views. As the constitutional 
legal adviser of the President, — one of his civil house- 
hold and officially and personally a part of the Government, 
— I think he would find no difficulty in sustaining him- 
self before the Senate, and the very fact of opposition to 
him on account of his being a member of the Cabinet, 
the legal adviser of the Administration, would have a 
good influence before the coimtry. I so expressed myself. 
But Mr. Stanbery is sensitive and timid. Herein, I fear, 
he will fail before the insolent, reckless, and audacious 




WILLIAM M. EVARTS 



1868] NEW HAMPSmKE POLTTIGS 309 

Radical Managers and conspiring Senators who are to sit 
in judgment. Stevens and Butler will take pleasure in 
bluffing and insulting, and he is too courteous, gentle- 
manly, and dignified to meet and boldly rebuke them. 

Stanton is still making himself ridiculous by intrench- 
ing his person in the War Department, surrounded by a 
heavy guard. This is for effect. He is, it is true, an arrant 
coward, but can have no apprehension of personal danger 
requiring a military force to protect him. Some of his 
wise Senatorial advisers, doubtless, in their conspiracy 
to defeat executive action, counseled and advised the 
redoubtable Secretary to hold on to the War Department 
building, and to fortify himself in it. Thayer, ConnesSi 
and Cameron would have minds for such work. 

March 11, Wednesday. The election in New Hamp- 
shire yesterday resulted in the success of the Radical ticket 
by probably about the same majority as last year, on a 
great and unaccountably increased vote of both paities. 
The effect of this will be to elate the Radicals, far more than 
it will discourage the Democrats, for the former have no 
faith in their cause while the Democrats are full of con- 
fidence in the rectitude and ultimate triumph of their 
principles. 

The popular element in New Hampshire is pretty stable 
and fixed. People do not easily change their party relations. 
For a long series of years the men of the Isaac Hill class 
of politicians had a controlling influence in the Granite 
State. Their principles were sound, and the management 
of the State was judicious. A younger set of men of the 
same politics came forward and took and were awarded 
high official position by the country in consequence of the 
firm and persistent political character of the State. But 
they have not the qualifications of their predecessors 
and seniors. The firm foimdation laid by Ifill, Harvey, 
Woodbury, and others continued to uphold the party for 
years; but at length it was undermined and gave way. 



310 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [mabchii 

Pierce, Atherton, and Burke were mere politicians, wholly 
incapable of building up or maintaining a party. Their 
weakness and impracticability led to vigorous antagonism, 
and events favored their opponents, who had been schooled 
in adversity. Pierce, a vain, showy, and pliant man, was 
made President by Jeflf Davis, R. J. Walker, Gid Pillow, 
and others, and by his errors and weakness broke down 
his Administration, and his party throughout the country. 
How could such a man and his associates impart strength 
and vigor to any party anywhere? 

In the mean time, a set of younger men of opposite poli- 
tics came forward and established an efficient and energetic 
organization in New Hampshire, which swept the State, 
The repeal of the Missouri Compromise, the swindling 
villainies in Kansas, the flagrant disregard of the principles 
of their party, their debasing subserviency to the arrogant 
and insolent assumptions of the imperious Southern leaders 
— even to countenancing and affiliating with the Seces- 
sionists — demoralized and broke down the Democratic 
Party, which for a quarter of a century had held suprem- 
acy in New Hampshire. The rising young politicians of 
the opposite party assimilated with those Democrats who 
opposed central aggressions and availed themselves of the 
advantages which the feeble and weak Democrats who 
clung to organization regardless of principle threw into 
their hands. 

Chandler, Assistant Secretary of the Treasury; Rollins, 
Revenue Commissioner; Rollins, Member of Congress; 
Ordway, Sergeant-at-Arms of the House of Representa- 
tives ; Fogg, late Minister to Switzerland, and others have, 
for the last dozen years, been as efficient and powerful 
as Isaac Hill and his associates in other days. Their or- 
ganization and the discipline of party have prevented the 
State from securing its rightful position at this time; but 
the change is upon them. The Radicals are extremists or 
disunionists, and as much in fault as the Secessionists, 
and the rising yoimg Democrats will take advantage of 



uL 



1868J STANBERY RESIGNS 311 

their centralizing and disunion heresies to overthrow the 
Republican Party. 

March 12, Thursday. At a special Cabinet-meeting the 
matter of Stanbery's resignation was considered. The 
general wish was that he diould retain the office and act 
as counsel; but he prefers to be untrammded, and has 
his heart much set on the trial. The President has. re- 
cently had a conversation with a newspaper corresixxident 
(the World^s) in which he disclosed Pickering's case, who 
was removed by John Adaims, — a point on which the 
coimsel were relying and which we all had studiously kep% 
secret. 

Stanbery, having presented his resignation and thd 
matter being adjusted, was about leaving, when he stopped^ 
addressed the President, and resumed his seat, ''You are 
now, Mr. President," said he^ "in the hands of your 
lawyers, who will speak and act for you, and I must begin 
by requesting that no further disclosures be made to news* 
paper correspondents. There was in the papers, yester- 
day or this morning, what purported to be a conversa* 
tion between the President and a correspondent, in which 
the Pickering correspondence was brought out and made 
public. This is all wrong, and I have to request that these 
talks, or conversations, be stopped. They injure your case 
and embarrass your counsel." 

Mr. Browning followed in the same vein and more at 
length. The President was taken aback. He attempted 
some apologetic remark. Said the correspondence was in 
the books, accessible to all, etc. But no one justified^ 
apologized for, or attempted to excuse him. He saw that 
there was general disapproval. 

Some of these proceedings of the President are imaoi* 
countable and inexcusable. He seems to take pleasure 
in having these "talks" of the President with this or that 
correspondent published. It is in his position hardly a 
pardonable wes^ess. 



- . I 



812 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES imabch 12 

Seward has gone to New York and will visit Albany 
and Auburn before he returns. Why he selects this time to 
be absent, I cannot tell. It is not imusual for him when some 
erisisi some development, some of his own intrigues are 
about ripening to leave Washington for a few days. The 
impeachment hearing comes on to-morrow, and, though 
a postponement will take place, I know not why he should 
be away. He says he will aee friends in New York and 
can help the President more there than here. 

March 13, Friday. Impeachment was the order of the 
day. The reports render description and detail unnecessary. 
Of course the President was not there, nor were any of his 
Cabinet. The hollow farce has no friends, — hardly any 
with the Radicals, beyond mere pretense. An attempt to 
proceed forthwith to trial was made, and the Senate had 
a Star-Ghamber sitting on the measure, from which all but 
Senators were excluded. Little of interest took place at 
the Cabinet-meeting. 

Senator John Sherman sends me three affidavits, stating 
that Lieutenant Day used very improper and disrespect- 
ful language against Congress and General Grant, and 
demands that he shall be court-martialed. Day is off duty 
— on leave — at home among his friends — and in some 
discussion at a gathering, cross-roads, or railroad depot, 
expressed himself strongly and unbecomingly. Others 
may have done the same. Whilst this was reprehensible, 
and perhaps may justify admonition and reproof, since 
attention is called to it by a Senator, I do not consider it 
a military offense requiring a court martial. If all officers 
are to be court-martialed for expressing their condemna- 
tion of Congress, or any department of the Government, 
we shall have our hands full. It is bad enough to bring them 
before a court for too free utterance against their su- 
periors when on duty, but to attack them for free, though 
erroneous and improper, speech at home, when off duty, 
in regard to the Government or any department, is hardly 



1868] THE OUTLOOK AS TO THE TRIAL 313 

to be thought of. Senator Sherman would revise the 
sedition law and put a gag in the mouths of his coimtrym^i 
— especially its naval and military men — who should 
venture to give free utterance to their opinions of the bad 
acts of himself and associates. But neither Congress nor 
General Grant are above or beyond criticism. 

March 14, Saturday. I was confined to my house by order 
of Doctor H[orwitz] in consequence of a severe cold which 
threatened congestion of the limgs, but went a short time 
this evening in a close carriage to the President. Browning 
and Randall were there; no others. The President indi« 
cated more uncomfortable and imcertain feeling than I had 
before witnessed. He has great calmness, great fortitude, 
great self-reliance, but it is evident these qualities are 
put to a severe test by late proceedings. Browning is also 
disquieted, though not prepared to confess it. Randall, 
who mixes more with all classes and has better opportun- 
ities of feeling the pulse of the public here in Washington 
than others of us, expresses the strongest conviction that 
the President will be sustained and that the impeachment 
will fail. I should have no doubt myself of such a result 
in an ordinary case in ordinary times, or were the Senators 
above fanatical partisan prejudice and influence, — were 
they statesmen and independent patriots. But, I am sorry 
to say, I have so little confidence in a majority of the 
Senators that I make no reliance upon an acquittal 
Should a sufficient number evince moral principle and 
independence to discharge their duty honestly, he may 
not only be acquitted but have a majority in Ms favor. 

I have seen none of the counsel since the session of 
yesterday. They asked for forty days to prepare. The Sen- 
ate went into secret session and gave them nine. This has 
a bad look. Only nine days for so great a cause, affecting 
the Chief Magistrate and the Nation itself! Men ^o 
would so limit time in so grave a matter, even imder secret 
caucus stimulant^ can scarcely be consid^ied worthy to 



314 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES IMabch u 

sit in judgment in such a case. The charges are indeed 
frivolous, contemptible, but, the House of Representatives 
having preferred them, the President should have been 
allowed ample time for his defense. But a majority of the 
Senators have prejudged the case, and are ready to pro- 
nounce judgment without testimony. 

It is evident that the Radicals in Congress are in a con- 
spiracy to overthrow not only the President but the govern- 
ment. The impeachment is but a single act in the drama. 
Alabama is to be admitted by a breach of faith and by 
violence to honest, fair legislation. By trick, imposition, 
and breach of courtesy an act was slipped through both 
houses repealing the laws of 1867 and 1789, the effect of 
which is to take from the Supreme Court certain powerSi 
and which is designed to prevent a decision in the McCardle 
case.^ Should the Court in that case, as it is supposed they 
will, pronounce the Reconstruction laws imconstitutional, 
the military governments will fall and the whole Radical 
fabric will tumble with it. Only one course can prolong 
the miserable contrivance, and that is a President like 
Wade, who will maintain the military governments re- 
gardless of courts, or law, or right. Hence I have very 
little expectation that the President will escape conviction. 
His dei)osition is a party necessity, and the Senators have 
not individually the strength, abiUty, nor honesty to resist 
the Radical caucus decisions which Stevens, Ben Butler, 
and other chief conspirators sent out. 

March 17, Tuesday. The Cabinet met in the library, the 
coimcil room being occupied by the President's lawyers 

^ This was a habeoi eorpu8 case alleging unlawful restraint by military 
force, appealed by William H. McCardle from the Circuit Court for the 
Southern District of Mississippi. The act referred to repealed so much of the 
Act of 1867 amending that of 1789 " as authorized an appeal from the judg- 
ment of the Circuit Court to the Supreme Court of the United States, or the 
exercise of any such jurisdiction by said Supreme Court on appeals which 
have been or may hereafter be taken"; and the Court accordingly dismissed 
ih9 case for want of jurisdiction. 



ises] THE PRESIDENT'S RESERVE 315 

preparing for the impeachment trial. There was little of 
interest. General Thomas was present as the ad interim 
Secretary of War. The President is anxious and more than 
usually abstracted. I trust he communicates freely with 
his counsel, though always inclined to be reserved. It has 
been, and is, his misfortime that he has tried, and still 
does, to carry on this great government without confidants, 
— without consulting or advising, except to a very limited 
extent, with any. It wears upon him, and his measures are 
not always taken with the caution and care that wisdom 
dictates. 

In his movements the President is irregular. Sometimes 
he is inexcusably dilatory; sometimes he appears to aofe 
from impulse. His best friends expected the removal of 
Stanton two years earlier than it was made. So far as he 
communicated anything on the subject, I supposed oa 
several occasions that change would take place. But he 
delayed until Congress passed a law to prevent Stanton's 
removal and the President from acting. 

The conduct of Stanton was not gratifying to the Rad^* 
icals, or to one wing of the Republican Party, the more 
moderate. Theywerebecomingtiredof him. A little skill- 
ful management would have made a permanent break in • 
that party. But the President had no tact himself to 
effect it, he consulted with no others, the opportunity 
passed away, and by a final hasty move, without prepara* 
tion, without advising with anybody, he took a step whidi 
consolidated the Radicals of every stripe, strengthened 
Stanton, while it weakened his supporters, and brought 
down a mountain of trouble on hhnself . Had he imbos- 
omed himself to his Cabinet, received their suggestions, 
and canvassed fully and deliberately the subject, results 
would have been different. 

March 18, Wednesday. There is a strange, dull apathy 
in the public mind, when measures of great moment are 
so imminent. The proposed impeachment of the President 



816 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [mabghis 

creates but little excitement, nor does the wild, heedless, 
partisan legislation of Congress appear to disturb even 
the commercial interests. The Radical press is vociferous 
for impeachment, not because the President has committed 
any crime, but for party considerations. The Democratic 
press is cool and comparatively indifferent, because they 
apprehend that impeachment will ruin Radicalism. The 
welfare of the country, the true interests of the government, 
the salvation of the Union, the stabiUty of our institutions, 
do not affect seriously the discipline of the two great parties. 
Neither party means to abandon its organization, but 
neither of them realizes the terrible consequences that must 
result from the extreme and revolutionary proceedings of 
the conspirators. 

At a brief Cabinet-meeting this evening, nothing was 
done. The President was calm and unconmiunicative as 
usual, — perhaps with more than usual reason. 

Judge Jere Black called on me this morning and had a 
strange talk about Alta Vela. Represents Seward as be- 
having badly and to the discredit of the country in that 
matter. Told him I knew little of it, that I had been the 
confidant of neither party. Black inquired in regard to 
the naval vessels, — whether there was not one or more 
at St. Thomas which could be ordered to protect American 
interests, which Seward was abandoning. I did not like 
the direction which Black seemed disposed to give the 
affair, — the half threat of making the President ac- 
countable and responsible for Seward's errors or mis- 
management just at this time. It would be deplorable. 
Black said, and I would undoubtedly have an interview 
with the President in the course of the day on the subject. 
I remarked that nothing would be done, of course, until 
Seward returned, as it was a subject within his Depart- 
ment, and he had studied it thoroughly, whatever might 
be his views. This, I saw, did not suit Black. 

^arch 19, Thursday. The President is making some 




iseq THE ALTA VELA AFFAIR 817 

movements, but the scope and object he keeps to himself. 
Perhaps it is best, if he intends extreme measures with the 
conspirators. General Hancock is expected this evening. 
He has not been treated as he should have been by Grant. 

There is a rumor that Hancock will be assigned to this 
military department and that Gordon Granger will take 
the place of General Emory here in Washington. If such 
be the fact, I know nothing of it, nor, I apprehend, do 
other members of the Cabinet. The changes, if made, 
will be likely to stir up the conspirators, and are made too 
late to be effectual. These precautions should have been 
taken long ago, if taken at all. I do not believe that the 
President, unless personally assailed, intends serioudy 
to resort to military assistance to maintain his position; 
and military officers who are his friends can now do little 
for him, if he even wishes it. The President has a policy 
known only to himself. Honest, patriotic, devoted to hiJ9 
duties, he has failed to attach to himself a party. He would 
not lend himself to the Radicals to exclude the States, 
nor to the Democrats to secede from the Union, but has 
stood as it were alone on the constitutional policy of 
Lincoln and himself. I hope he is frank and confiding with 
his lawyers ; he has not been sufficiently so with his Cabinet. 

Black called on me again this morning and inquired 
if the President had given me any orders in relation to 
Alta Vela. I told him no order had been received. He in- 
quired if I had seen the Piesident since his and my int^y 
view yesterday. I replied that I had, but nothing had been 
said to me concerning Alta Vela. Black expressed astonish- 
ment, appeared vexed, said the President could not go on 
in this way, yet he was sorry to leave him just at this 
time. I remarked that he would not. But he turned short 
and left. His son was with him. An hour or two after, 
S[imeon] Johnson, who writes for the Intelligencer^ but 
who is a special friend and admirer of Black's, called on 
me in alarm on accoimt of a disagreement betwe^Q the 
President and Black. Says the President has not kept his 



318 DIAEY OF GIDEON WELLES (mabghm 

word with Black, and the latter has told him so. He says 
Black will not go on with the trial if the Alta Vela matter 
is not arranged. I discredited this and so told Johnson. 
The thing looks to me very suspicious. If Black is inter- 
ested, as I suppose he is, lai^ly, in the Alta Vela affair 
and thinks to take advantage of the Pre^dent's necessities 
to effect an object, he is mistaken in his man. The Pre- 
ddent is about the last man who would be moved under 
compulsion of such circumstances. That Black is deeply 
interested and has a large pecuniary stake in the results (^ 
the Alta Vela affair I am compelled to believe, and there 
is something that indicates a like deep interest on the part 
of Seward. I have supposed it was Weed who was inter- 
ested and who influenced Seward. 

March 20. No matters of great moment before the Cab* 
inet. Seward is still absent, but Fred represented him. 
This is always persistently and particularly done. Fred 
is the first on the groimd at Cabinet-meetings and the last 
to leave. He hears, sees, watches, and catches all. Bring- 
ing his assistant did much to impair the efficiency and con- 
fidence of Mr. Lincoln's Cabinet, and so of Mr. Johnson's. 
Stanton told me he would never bring forward an important 
matter when an assistant was present. 

The President has a severe cold and is, I see, affected 
by the impeachment. How could it be otherwise? I had 
a little talk with him, which gratified him. He asked me 
if Black had been to see me. I told him he had, twice. 
"Yes," said the President, "he seems to be absorbed with 
Alta Vela. Seward has also been devoting a good deal of 
time to it." I remarked I had never investigated it 
or been asked to. When the subject was up some time 
ago, Seward had politely informed us that he required 
the attention of no one but the President and Attorney- 
General, and I had therefore made it a point to avoid the 
question. Here the subject was dropped by the President, 
andlleft. 




1868] JUDGE BLACK'S WITHDRAWAL 319 

March 23, Monday. There was some effort for dramatic 
effect and crowded galleries to-day to witness the impeach- 
ment trial. But there was no great excitement nor intense 
or absorbing interest in the subject. It is one of the re- 
markable and sad events of the times that a subject of such 
magnitude, an outrage so flagrantly and vindictively par- 
tisan, a deliberate conspiracy against the Chief Magistrate 
of the nation, should be treated with such indifference here 
and elsewhere. There is idle curiosity with many, some 
of the busy actors fancying they will be the Burkes and 
Sheridans at this trial. The Radicals are so demoralized 
and depraved, are so regardless of their constitutional 
obligations and of their oaths and their duty, that nothing 
good can be expected of them. But there are unmistakable 
indications that the Democratic leaders — a set who think 
more of party than of country — secretly desire the con- 
viction and deposition of the President. Not that they 
are inimical to him, not that they believe him guilty of 
any crime deserving of unpeachment, not that they will 
vote against him, but they look upon the act as perfectly 
suicidal to the Radicals. They seem not aware that their 
own unwise conduct is scarcely less suicidal and may save 
the Radicals from annihilation. 

The President's defense is a studied and well-prepared 
paper, wanting, perhaps, in power and force in some re- 
spects. There was, I am told and from what I read, a great 
contrast between the attorney for the President and the 
Managers. Black, I perceive, did not appear, and I judge 
has abandoned the case. If so, there is something more 
than is apparent in his course. Alta Vela is the pretext, 
but there is perhaps a deeper cause, a selfish or a party one. 
Black has been named as a Democratic candidate for Pre- 
sident, and this may have influenced him. Blair said to 
me early that Black was strong and ought to be one of 
the President's counsel, but that he was in collusion with 
Stanton, and could not be relied upon to bring out Stan- 
ton's villainies, for he fears Stanton. 



820 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES iBfABC?H20 

The Judges of the Supreme Court have caved in, fallen 
throu^, failed, in the McCardle case. Only Grier and 
Field have held out like men, patriots, judges of nerve and 
honest independence. 

These things look ominous, and sadden me. I fear for 
my coimtry when I see such abasement. Fear of the usurp- 
ing Radicals in Congress has intimidated some of these 
Judges, or, like reckless Democratic leaders, they are will- 
ing their party should triiunph through Radical folly and 
wickedness. 

These are indeed evil times! Seward has on more than 
one occasion declared that he controlled Judge Nelson, 
Whether he is, or has been, intriguing in this matter, or 
taken any part, is a problem. 

The New York World of to-day has not a word in its 
editorial columns on impeachment, — a question of mo- 
mentous importance to the coimtry. It has a variety of 
articles on light and insignificant subjects. But the World 
has more than once proclaimed that it was in no way iden- 
tified with the President nor responsible for his election. 
They approve his principles, but he is not their man nor of 
their organization. Its editors fear that, if they were to 
become the vigorous champions of Johnson against his 
persecutors, the people would compel his nomination. 
Hence they are putting their cause and professed principles 
in jeopardy by failing to do right. 

But the most deplorable, or one of the most deplorable 
features in all these proceedings is to witness party as- 
semblages, conventions, and legislatures in distant States 
passing resolutions approving of the impeachment of the 
President and urging his conviction, without any fact, or 
specification, or alleged crime, or any knowledge whatever 
on the subject. Some of these proceedings are sent to Con- 
gress and received by the Senate, which sits in judgment. 
It is not difficult to see the near downfall of a government 
which shall long pursue a course such as the Radicals are 
initiating for mere party purposes. ^/ 



18681 THE Il^tPMCgMENX TRIAL 321 

March 24, Tuesday. The iji^pje&Ghment movezDent was 
again ^before Congress and the Court. The Managers on 
the part of the House were ready with their replication^ 
and there is reason to suppose it Was prepared before the 
President's reply was received. . 

On the part of Butler and some others there is an inclin- 
ation to play the part of buffoons, and display levity in a 
matter of the gravest importanoe to the nation. Sumner 
and certain Senators do not conceal their readiness to pro- 
ceed at once to judgment and condiemnation without proof 
or testimony. In their unfitness. and vindictive partisan- 
ship and hate, they would not award the President rights 
or privileges granted criminals for the court of errors or 
give him time for preparation^ Hiey are really unwilling 
to allow him to make defense. 

These usmpers and conspirators — for they are such, 
truly and emphatically, having arrogated power without 
authority, excluded States and people from their constitu- 
tional rights of representation —are now dehberately at- 
tempting the destruction of another department of the 
government by the unlawful exercise of these usurped 
powers. Were all the States represented, as they should be, 
and would be, if not wickedly and wrongfully excluded 
by an arbitrary, usurping faction, there could be no con- 
viction, and would have been no impieachment. But the 
President is arraigned for doing his duty and striving 
to defend the Constitution in conformity with his oath. 
The Constitution-breakers are trying the Constitution- 
defender ; the law-breakers are passing condemnation on the 
law-supporter; the conspirators are sitting in judgment on 
the man who would not enter into their conspiracy, who 
was, and is, faithful to his oath, his country, the Union, and 
the Constitution. What a spectacle 1 And if successful^ 
what a blow to free govenunenti What a commentary on 
popular intelligence and public virtuel 

Mr. Seward, having returned after a strange absence at 
this critical period, was present at Cabinet-meeting, ae weie .. 

3 



322 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [mabchm 

all the members, including General Thomas, ad interim of 
the War. Among the matters submitted by Seward was 
a long dispatch in relation to Captain Reynolds and the 
Lackawanna, addressed to the Hawaiian Minister. The 
positions taken were, I thought from the reading, very 
well. There is a spirit of mischief among those Islands, 
aggravated, I have little doubt, by Reynolds, and they 
have sent here a thick-headed, garrulous Minister who has 
no clear and distinct opinions, and who is obviously the 
tool and instrument of the Einglish and French intrigues 
at the Sandwich Islands. 

After the Cabinet-meeting, had some conversation with 
the President on the impeachment. Suggested the ad 
interim appointments of Mr. Lincoln when Chase resigned, 
and also when Fessenden resigned. Congress being in ses- 
«ion on both occasions; but an ad interim appointment be- 
Msame necessary until a permanent appointment was made, 
in order that the current business of the Department and 
Government might go on. 

I then remarked that Black did not appear among the 
managers and asked if he was behaving badly. The Presi- 
dent said he had withdrawn from the case, and he thought 
was behaving very badly indeed. [He said] that he had a 
letter from B. which he wished me to read. It announced 
his withdrawal in justice to his clients in the Alta Vela 
case; regretted if it should injure the President, whose 
course he justified and approved in these persecutions ; de- 
nounced Seward's conduct in the Alta Vela matter, whose 
little finger was more potent with the President than the 
loins of the law, etc., etc. I sidd that from the letter and 
Black's career I judged he had undertaken to compel him 
(the President) to make hunself a party in a private suit, 
and because he would not, he had lost the service of Mr. 
Black, and was also so far damaged as the withdrawal of 
one of his leading counsel at a' critical moment might in- 
jure him in public estimation* The President said that was 
true, but it Mr. Black had f6r a moment deceived himself 



1868] BLACK'S LETTER OF WITHDRAWAL 323 

by supposing that he would deviate a hair's breadth from 
his duty in order to retain his services or prevent convic- 
tion even, he was a sadly deceived man. As regarded the 
Alta Vela, he had not decided against Black's clients; he 
had thought there might be merit, or the color of merit, in 
the claim. The Secretary of State, whose special tiuty it 
was to look into the question, had investigated it and was 
against Black, whether rightfully or wrongfully he could 
not say. The whole subject, however, had been called for 
by Congress, and at this time and under present circiun- 
stances he could not take any step, nor was he inclined to 
make himself a party in the matter. 

I doubted if Black's withdrawal and non-appearance 
would operate injuriously to the President before Congress 
or the country, — certainly not if the facts were known. 

We both thought that Black's political aspirations might 
have influenced him in this step. He is very ambitious, 
and, as is often the fact, not the best judge in his own case, 
though undoubtedly a man of great legal ability and of 
strong mind and power. I think Stanton controls him. 

March 25, Wednesday. The Cincinnati Gazette, an ex- 
treme Radical paper, has a letter from its correspondent, 
Reid, from Washington, imputing to General Howard the 
scares and alarms which have terrified Stanton and led 
Emory to extra vigilance in his commands. He has been 
filled with suspicions and frights, which he has commun- 
icated to Stanton, who is easily alarmed. Howard, at the 
beginning of the War, was a religious man of small calibre, 
but has become a pious fraud. 

March 26, Thursday. The action of Congress and par- 
ticularly the Senate in taking from tne Supreme Court 
certain powers to prevent a decision in the McCardle case 
is shameful, and forebodes an unhappy future to the coun- 
try. There is no exercise of reason, judgment, intelligence, 
or patriotism by the Radical majority on any subject 



324 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [icabch30 

whereby their party is liable to be affected. Truth, justice, 
right, law, and Constitution are broken down and trampled 
under foot by Senators. I say this in sorrow. 

March 27, Friday. Very littie of importance at the Cab- 
inet. Every member, I think, considers conviction a fore- 
gone conclusion in the impeachment case. The Senate 
seems debauched, debased, demoralized, without inde- 
pendence, sense of right, or moral courage. It is, to all 
intents and purposes, a revolutionary body, subject to the 
dictation of Sumner, who is imperious, and Chandler, who 
is unprincipled, — botii are disliked and hated by a con- 
siderable portion of the Republicans, who nevertheless 
bow submissive to the violent extremists. 

I cannot come to the conclusion that the Senate, feeble 
and timid as it is, will convict the President of high crimes 
and misdemeanors and depose him, yet I have no con- 
fidence whatever in the fairness or justice of that body. 
There is a party necessity to obtain possession of the execu- 
tive, in order to put a Radical in the office of President next 
year. Fraud and force will be resorted to, if necessary, 
to accomplish this end. Hence impeachment is a necessity. 
Johnson must be removed, for he will coimtenance no fraud 
or wrongdomg. And men will surrender their consciences, 
violate their oaths, be recreant to every honest principle 
and instinct, and make a victim of an honest man for doing 
his duty. It is like slaughtering, shooting down, the faithful 
sentinel because of his fidelity in standing to his post. 

We are, in fact, in the midst of a revolution, bloodless as 
yet, a revolution not of arms but of ideas and govemifient, 
more effectual and complete than that of the armies of the 
Rebellion. It is a question whether the Union and the 
Constitution can be retrieved and restored, though I do not 
yet permit myself to despair of the Republic. I have not 
faith in the Senate, yet if the President should be con- 
victed and deposed, the names of those Senators who shall 
declare him guilty will go down in infamy, and be recorded 



1868] THE NAVAL APPROPRIATION BILL 826 

in history as the betrayers of truth and traitors to justice 
and freedom. 

March 28, Saturday. The Senate yesterday had under 
consideration the Naval Appropriation Bill. Unfortunate- 
ly, Grimes, the Chairman of the Committee, and Anthony, 
the only two men familiar with the subject, were absent. 
Wilson and Sumner betrayed gross ignorance as well as 
malignity in the debate. The latter I expected, but there 
is no excuse for the former. Both of them and the New 
Hampshire Senators professed to be actuated by disinter- 
ested and proper motives and were profuse in their denunci- 
ations of party appointments, yet those Senators have done 
and said more, and importuned me harder, than any and 
all other Senators to make party remov6.1s and appoint- 
ments. Wilson represented that the masters whom I ap- 
pointed were all from the Navy, — old salts, who knew 
nothing of the trade of mason, blacksmith, etc., placed 
over civilians who were unfit for the duty. Notwithstand- 
ing this assertion, no such appointments have ever been 
made; the statement is false. In order to prevent any 
abuse of that kind, which I have understood sometimes 
has existed, I established a regulation that no person 
should be appointed until after he had passed an examina- 
tion before a competent board. 

In giving expression to his party malignity, Wilson said 
the administration of the Navy Department for the last 
two or three years had been wasteful and extravagant 
beyond any other Department of the Government. This 
from the Chairman of the MiUtary Committee, where mill- 
ions upon millions have been profligately wasted, while I 
have been accused of miserly economy in expenditures. 
But this is only a specimen of Radical truth and fairness. 

Wilson and Sumner are put up to this by General Banks 
and his creatures, the chief manager being Simon P. Hans- 
com, an oflSce-broker, who professes to, and I believe does, 
act with the DemocratSi and who whispered in my ear a 



826 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [march « 

few months ago, while cooperating with Banks, that the 
scheme was Democratic, but that Banks did not know it. 
The Natick cobbler is a dupe as well as an ignoramus and 
falsifier on naval matters. 

Blundering, plimdering Nye,^ without honesty or integ- 
rity, but who has some pretensions to coarse humor, got in 
a fog and bellowed about the engineers and their rivalry 
with the oflBoers. The poor fellow knew not the difference 
between the civil engineers of the yard and the steam 
engineers. 

March 30, Monday. The opening speech of General 
Butler in the impeachment trial is variously spoken of. 
As he has talents of a certain kind and has prided himself 
in getting to be one of the Managers, where there is rivalry, 
and as he wants notoriety, he cares but little of what kind, 
and as he has impudence and audacity and the employ- 
ment is familiar, I presume he made a speech with some 
strong and forcible language. As to his facts, his history, 
his law, and correct application of principles, there is room 
for criticism and doubt. Though a Radical favorite, he is 
an unscrupulous and, in every respect, a bad man. The 
intelligent Radicals do not seem to be satisfied with his 
performance, while the Democrats do not feel that Butler 
has made much headway against the President. 

March 31, Tuesday. Nothing but current business at 
the Cabinet. The President requested us to meet him and 
his counsel this evening at eight. Just before leaving I was 
subpoenaed as a witness to appear to-morrow at twelve 
before the court of impeachment. Seward, after getting at 
the President's, said that it was Mr. Stanbery's summons 
for myself and others of the Cabinet. 

Mr. Stanbery, Evarts, and Groesbeck met us at the Pre- 
sident's. Talked over certain circumstances and incidents 
in the past. Seward said he knew nothing of Stanton's 

> James W. Nye« Senator from Nerada. 



1868J MUTTERINGS AGAINST CHASE 327 

suspension, was absent at the time. Had early seen dis- 
agreement between the President and Stanton, and had 
exerted himself to prevent a rupture. This had been his 
course, he said, with each and every member of the Cab- 
inet from the time he became connected with the Adminis- 
tration in 1861. He supposed the President had avoided 
consulting him, because of his earnest efforts to retain 
Stanton. Had never asked the President before, but did 
now. The President did not give a direct and explicit 
answer, but yet it was essentially aflSrmative. 

A diifference occurred in the Senate to-day, involving 
the power of the Chief Justice and his right to decide on 
questions subject to the decision of the Senate, in which 
he was sustained by ten majority. The extreme Radicals 
are greatly incensed, and have mutterings against Chase. 

There are growing differences between the Radical and 
Conservative Senators. The latter lack courage; the former 
lack sense. 



LVIII 

Gloomy Political Outlook In Connecticut — En^clish reelected, however, 
by an Increased Majority — Ciiitifl opens for the President in the Im- 
peachment Trial — Consultation as to the Introduction of General 
Sherman's Testimony — The Need of a Lawyer who can meet Butler 
and Bingham on their own Ground — Sherman's Testimony admitted 
— Secretary Welles on the Stand — Manager Wilson's Elaborate Speech 
interjected into the Proceedings — The President nominates Gen^^ 
Schofield as Secretary of War — Senator Grimes on the Impeachment 
Trial — Surmises as to the President's Reasons for nominating Schofield 
-^ Vice-Admiral Porter said to be fishing for the Secretaryship of the 
. Navy — llie Speeches of Thaddeus Stevens and Thomas Williams — 
Stanberyy though ill, is confident of Success — Evarts's Speech. 

April 1, Wednesday. The aspect of the campaign in 
Connecticut does not suit me. Burr writes that we will 
carry the State ticket, but probably lose the legislature. 
This is a let-down from all previous statements, and I am 
apprehensive there may be a further let-down in the re- 
sult.. The New York World, the Democratic organ in that 
city, has hurt the Democratic Party and cause in Connec- 
ticut. When it declared Johnson was not elected by the 
Democratic votes, that the impeachment was a contro- 
versy between the President and those who elected him, 
etc., etc., it damaged the cause and may have lost us the 
State. It is easy to perceive that they would not grieve 
to have the President convicted, because they believe it 
will ruin the Radicals and dispose of Johnson. While if 
they made fierce and just war against this Radical out- 
rage and persecution, it would, in their apprehension, 
enlist public sympathy for the President, who, they fear, 
may be a candidate. 

Sumner attempted to get a rule established that the 
Chief Justice should not vote or give an opinion, but was 
voted down by six majority. 




18681 THE CONNECTICTJT ELECTION 329 

'^ April 2, Thursday. Impeachment progresses, but I do 
not see that the impeachers have yet made an impeachable 
case. Still it is a question whether there is sufficient 
courage in the Senate to do right, under the threats of the 
Radical papers, party meetings, etc. 

April 3, Friday. My brother, Ck>Ionel Babcock, and 
John Cotton Smith write me with confidence in regard to 
the election, yet each speaks of the closeness of the contest, 
and the efforts being made by each party. The Radical; 
papers speak with much more confidence than last yeari 
and the editors have, I think, persuaded themselves th^y 
will win. This confidence is in itself strength. . • . , 

April 7, Tuesday. Am pressed for time. The Connec- 
ticut election has resulted, in the reelection of English by 
an increased majority, but the Radicals have both branches 
of the legislature, which will give them a Senator in Con- 
gress in place of Dixon. It will be a great political battle, 
and has cost the Radicals a great amount of money for 
speakers, to say nothing of corruption eicpenditure. T^e 
result is a great disappointment to the Radical leaders, 
here, who had persuaded themselves they should carry' 
Connecticut. On the whole, the battle has been hardly 
and skillfully fought on both sides. Michigan has gone,, 
unexpectedly, against negro suffrage by an overwhelming 
majority. 

Mr. Stanbery came upon us while in Cabinet-meeting, 
and questioned us on many points, and brought his own 
recollection and oiu*s to bear on niatters relating to im- 
peachment. 

April 10, Friday. Many occurrences pass which I have 
not time to note down. Am busy till late at night. 

Seward gave me, in Cabinet-meeting, papers frbib 
Honolulu, forwarded from thAt Government, exposing a' 
spy on board Reynolds' vessel, the^Lackawanna. The tspy 
is his own private secretary. 



330 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [april lo 

Mr. Curtis opened the case yesterday for the President 
and finished to-day. A very finished legal argument, but 
I doubt if as effective as might have been made by some 
others. Perhaps it is because I am more earnest and in- 
dignant over this infamous and infernal villainy, which is 
treated so gingerly by the professional friends of the Presi- 
dent, and so infamously and audaciously by his opponents. 

April 13, Monday. Mr. Stanbery sent me word to meet 
him last evening at the President's at eight. Was pimctu- 
ally there and f oimd the President's counselors in impeach- 
ment matters there except Mr. Stanbery. His wife had 
been taken suddenly ill, and he was thereby detained. 
Having no occasion to remain, I was about leaving, when 
the President invited me to wait. The lawyers were ex- 
amining documents most of the time. Judge Curtis and 
Evarts read over the letters of General Sherman with 
great care. Groesbeck examined certain Department 
documents. Nelson sat quietly by, saying little and doing 
notiiing. 

The conversation was chiefly on the point of pressing 
the fmliher introduction of Sherman's t^timony, and es- 
pecially the letters which they had just examined. These 
letters contamed some expressions which they, Curtis and 
Evarts, thought would do as much harm as the letters 
themselves would do good. Both these gentlemen thought 
the President had a perfectly good case as it stands, 
without farther testimony. Judge Ciui;is said he feared 
every new witness; that the other side were fishing for 
evidence. Evarts concurred. 

I was not altogether satisfied with their reasoning or 
conclusion, but I am not, of course, as capable of framing 
an opinion as these legal gentlemen who are in the case. 
It is not, however, a legal but a political question, and 
the conspirators are the triers. The Managers have a feeble 
ease or no case at all. There are no grounds for impeach- 
ment; there were none from the beginning, yet every Bad- 



1868] JUDGE CURTIS'S OPENING 831 

ical in the town voted for impeachment^ and a large portion 
of the Senators are ready to-day to vote to convict. They 
were as ready to give the same vote when the trial, as it 
is called, commenced. They had caucused on the subject 
they were to adjudicate and are still caucusing. The Sen- 
ators are many of them incapable of candid judgment, <a 
intelligent judgment. Judge C. makes a mistake, I think, 
in resting where he is. Were they, the Senators, as good 
lawyers as the Judges of the Supreme Court or governed 
by any rules, the case might be considered safe. But 
Butler gives rules to the Senatorial judges, and tells them 
how to vote, and they obey. Unfortunately they are not 
legally wise, nor honest, nor candid. They are less safe as 
triers than an ordinary intelligent jury. The latter would 
give heed to the clear mind of an intelligent and impartial 
judge. These Senators are judge and jiuy in a case of their 
own, prejudiced, self-consequential, and incompetent. 
Such a tribunal, it appears to me, is to be treated pecul- 
iarly, and not upon trust. They must have it made to 
appear to them that they are in the wrong. Earnest, 
vigorous, unwearied efforts are wanted. Scholarly, re- 
fined, legal abihty are not alone sufficient with men who 
were tested before trial was ordered and who meet in 
secret caucus daily. 

I made a few suggestions to this effect after the others 
left, and stated a few points that appear not to have been, 
touched upon. One was that Stanton, for whom the con- 
spirators were contending, never had called on the Pre- 
sident, met at his council-board, or consulted with him or 
others of the Cabinet, since last August, — had been use- 
less as an adviser, head of a Department, or executive 
officer. 

On the suggestion of Judge Ciurtis, I called this morning 
on Mr. Stanbery at his rooms in the Metropolitan, and 
Judge Curtis was there. He, with Mr. S., went over the 
same ground as last evening in regard to Greneral Sherman; 
but Mr. Stanbery dissented from his a^ociates j9aid thox^^^b)^ 



332 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [april 18 

with me they should, at all events, try to get the General's 
testunony. If refused, let the consequences be with them, 
and the refusal go out to the coimtry. 

Mr. Stanbery questioned me on one or two points; 
thought he shoiild not want me for some two or three days, 
and said Edgax could go to New York. 

I feel the want of a man of different metal from either 
of these lawyers on the part of the defense, — one who has 
audacity, can meet Butler and Bingham ^ on their own 
ground and with their own weapons. Still the courteous 
and accomplished attorneys may fight the battle, but before 
this tribimal different metal is also wanted. 

April 14, Tuesday. There was an interesting time yes- 
terday in the Senate, and that body, after vacillating, 
finally admitted General Sherman to testify in answer 
to Senator Reverdy Johnson, as to the object of the 
President in tendering him the appointment of Secretary 
ad interim. The remark of the President that he, General 
S., need have no apprehension of or from Stanton, who is 
cowardly, came out. Mr. Stanbery is sick to-day, and the 
Court adjourned over imtil to-morrow in consequence. 
Seward and Randall spent last evening with him, when, as 
they report, he appeared to be well, but his brain was 
active and excited. Browning called at my house this 
evening and says Stanbery is better. 

It appears to me impeachment has lost groimd in public 
estimation during the last few days; still I have no con- 
fidence in the partisan Senate. There are men there of 
ability suflScient to know what is right, to act independently, 
and who should have enough honesty and moral courage 
to do right. I trust they will, yet I do not rely on them 
in this excitement. As for the crowd of little creatures who 
ar^ out of place in the Senate, and who ought never to 
have been there, — like Chandler, Thayer, Morgan, Nye, 

. } Congressman John A. Bingham of Ohio was one of the Managers of the 
tdid on the part of the Hoiise. 



1868] ON THE STAND 838 



i:MiTV)i 



Conness, Cameron, and others, who are neither stal 
enUghtened legislators, nor possessed of judicial mmds, — 
no one expects from them justice or any approach to it. 
But the question is whether the abler minds will be wholly 
carried away by chief conspirators who hold in their hands 
the great amoimt of partisan small trash. 

AprU 16, Thursday. Was subpoenaed to-day as a wit- 
ness before the high court of impeachment, and attended 
about 1 P.M. I was not, however, placed upon the stand. 
Cox and Merrick ' were examined, and cross^ammed 
by Butler. More time was consumed by the Managers in 
objections to exclude the truth than by witnesses in testi- 
fying to facts. At a late hour Butler made a violent, in- 
decent party harangue, which disgraced the Senators who 
failed to call him to order and listened to his tirade with 
satisfaction. 

AtptU 17, Friday. At the cornrt of impeachment most 
the day and for two or three hours on the stand. Nearly 
every question put was objected to and discussed. The 
Chief Justice presided with fairness, and the Senators, in 
most cases by a majority, voted against the Managers. 
About twenty are violent partisans, as much interested in 
the prosecution as the Managers, and some of them taking 
an active part with them. Cameron, Conness, Howard, 
and others manifest this. There is another set of stupid, 
stolid creatures, like Morgan, Chandler, etc., — the latter 
violent, the former time-serving, — who vote uniformly 
and always to exclude all testimony for the President, and 
are, and have been, ready from the first to vote to convict. 
In point of morality, I put these fellows on a par with 
the thief and the murderer. The fear of pimishment and 

* Walter S. Cox, a lawyer of Georgetown, District of Columbia, who 
had been consulted by the President in connection with General Lorenso 
Thomas's appointment, and Richard T. Merrick, a Washington lawyer, 
who had been employed by General ThomaB. • — 



334 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [apbil it 

the opinion and judgment of others will restrain them from 
committing those crimes, not any sense of moral justice 
or obligation. Morgan has become debased, and, after first 
taking a manly stand, has become dragooned by leaders, 
fears his associates, whom he now follows Uke a whipped 
spaniel. Chandler is more coarse and free-spoken than 
Morgan, but quite as contemptible. . . . 

As my testimony will appear in the proceedings, I 
shall not attempt to here recapitulate it. Should have 
•been glad to have been permitted to state my knowledge 
on the points, without being restricted to narrow questions 
and answers. 

I perceived that the Radical leaders, as well as Managers, 
were becoming disturbed and discontented by the course 
things were taking, and, under apprehension that a pend- 
ing question might go against them, there was a concerted 
movement to adjourn. A caucus and discipline were neces- 
sary. The Managers directed it. I saw it whispered and 
passed from one to another. Judges! O what judges!! 

April 18, Saturday. The court of impeachment opened 
this morning with an elaborate speech from Manager Wil- 
son,^ crowded in on an interlocutory question, which con- 
sumed over an hour and was read from a carefully pre- 
pared manuscript. This, I soon perceived, was the speech 
which he had been weeks preparing and hoped to deliver 
at the close of the trial, but, being denied the opportimity 
by the secret caucus arrangement and decree last evening, 
it was here injected into the Senate, or court, proceedings. 
My suspicions were at once aroused that there had been 
caucusing, or both caucusing and drilling, overnight, to 
exclude, after listening to all hearsay evidence and scandal 
against him, the President's testimony refuting the lies 
and manufactured evidence. The suspicion was fully con- 
firmed by the day's action. 

Nothing from any member of the Cabmet was permit- 

^ Representative James F. Wilson of Ohio. 



1868] TESTIMONY EXCLUDED 335 

ted, from a conviction evidently that it would exculpate 
and exonerate the President. Sunmer, therefore, \(^o has 
to this time voted to admit all testimony, because he was 
predetermined to convict, absented himself now when 
votes intended to cut off evidence were to be taken. Mor- 
ton was not present at all. Sherman, Frelinghuysen, and 
the equivocal men had been last night whipped in. 

I was put forward by the counsel for the President to 
receive and answer the test questions, or to be opposed and 
rejected. This relieved Seward and yet annoyed him. It 
did not displease him that the testimony of Cabinet officers 
was prevented. He had, he said, been on friendly terms 
with Stanton, and for that reason President Johnson had 
not consulted him so freely as others. He claims he was 
the confidant of President Lincoln, and advised with him 
in certain removals. For these reasons, he declares, he did 
not wish to be placed on the stand, though Judge Ciutis 
and Evarts apparently wished it. When the Cabinet was 
in consultation with the counsel a few mornings since, 
I mentioned the particulars imder which the President 
annoimced the removal of Stanton and appointment of 
Thomas. Seward undertook to say he was informed before 
we met, but T. went to the War Department just as we 
met, and returned while we were in session. It was not 
a judicious appointment, whether advised by him or not. 

April 20, Monday. I did not attend the Senate. The 
session of the court of impeachment was brief. The fac- 
tious Radical majority, regardless of law, justice, and right, 
having decided on Saturday to exclude all testimony for 
the President, there was little to be said or done. I re- 
marked to the President to-day that I thought it would 
have been well to place Seward on the stand, that he might 
at least testify in regard to the preparation, by him and 
Stanton, of the veto message on the Tenure-of-Office Bill, 
and that he counseled the selection of General Lorenizo 
Thomas to take the War Department^ if such was the fact. 



338 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [aprilm 

order from Grant to Emory, issued by request of Stanton, 
for a guard at the War Department to preserve docimients, 
etc., issued on the 22d of February. These conspirators 
will have their works uncovered sooner or later. The Pre- 
sident yesterday, and again to-day, said this man Emory 
ought to be removed from the conmiand of this district. 
I said that he ought some time since to have left, but it 
might not be judicious at this moment. McCulloch to-day 
took the same view. 

April 25, Saturday. The argument before the court to- 
day by Mr. Groesbeck is highly spoken of by all. The 
President yesterday sent in the nomination of General 
Schofield for Secretary of War in place of Stanton. I knew 
nothing of it until I saw it in the papers, nor do I think more 
than one, and perhaps none, of his Cabinet knew of it. 
This movement is a concession, and I apprehend has been 
prompted from a friendly quarter, but I am not sanguine 
that it will be successful. 

When Fox was here ten days or a fortnight since, he in- 
formed me of a conversation with Grimes, who was to him 
outspoken in his disgust at the impeachment. There are 
several Senators who revolt at the intrigue, but, from party 
faction at home. Grimes said that there was, however, 
much embarrassment on the part of conservative men 
what to do. Their political friends expected they would 
vote to convict, regardless of the merits or demerits of the 
question, but if any should not, and were to give an honest, 
judicial vote to acquit, they might be overwhelmed by the 
President's subsequent acts. C!ould they be assured that 
the President would be guilty of no indiscretion, that he 
would commit no rash act, would consult with and listen 
to the advice of his Cabinet or a portion of it, he thought 
there would be little doubt he would be acquitted. 

Whilst I am convinced the President would have saved 
himself much trouble, and the country also, had he more 
freely consulted with reliable friendsi — conmiunicated 




18681 GENERAL SCHOFIELD'S NOMINATION 339 

and received opinions, — I nevertheless think his impetu- 
osity or rashness is much exaggerated. He has good judg- 
ment and honest intentions, although subjected to great 
noisrepresentation. His indiscretions and errors I do not 
conceal, but they are venial. 

This movement for Schofield, or the movement which 
has resulted in his nomination, has its origin, I conclude^ 
in some such prompting as that suggested to me through 
Fox. Seward, or Randall, probably the former, were more 
ready than myself to make an effort, and the President has 
yielded. His doing so may bring a friendly return, and it 
may not. It is going far on his part, for it is not a week 
since he spoke to me of the Radicalism of Schofield, which^ 
if not as offensive as that of Sickles or Sheridan, was bad 
enough. 

April 27, Monday. As I was about getting on my horse 
yesterday p.m. for my daily evening ride. Senator Doolittle 
called, and, after a brief conversation, proposed we should 
go to the President. We foimd him alone and had about 
an hour with him. Had either of us been alone, he would 
doubtless have been more communicative. Certainly 
he would have been with me. On the subject of General 
Schofield's nomination he talked pretty freely without 
conmiunicating particulars or motives beyond a desire to 
reUeve himself of Stanton. Schofield would not have been 
his choice if he could have made a free selection, but Scho- 
field, besides being a military man, occupied that peculiar 
position which would be likely to .secure a confirmation. 
I cannot suppose, however, nor can he. that the Senate will 
act whilst impeachment is pending. 

I inquired if he was satisfied Schofield would stand and 
not declme the nomination. The President said he appre- 
hended no diflficulty in that respect, — that he felt assured 
there was, on Schofield's part, no partiality for Stantoii. 
General Grant wishes Stanton out of the way, and will so 
differ from his associates as to acquiesce in, if he is not 



340 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES Iafbil27 

gratified with, Schofield, although the latter is not specially 
devoted to Grant. 

For my own part, I have little confidence in any of the 
military governors. This movement is one of that singular 
class that has sometimes astonished me, as exhibiting a 
want of administrative ability when I should expect en- 
tirely different qualities. It is Sewardism in all its aspects, 
whether Seward is in it or not. 

Doolittle and myself visited Governor Randall after 
leaving the President. If R. has had any knowledge of 
Schofield's nomination he did not disclose it. I judge he is 
as ignorant as myself, but his conclusions are like mine. 
He is confident the President will be acquitted, and says 
the Radicals are becoming afraid of that result. I have not 
that confidence, for a majority of the Senate is composed 
of very indifferent men, who will, imder caucus dictation, 
vote as partisans, not as judges. He thinks the Senate will 
not come to judgment until after the Chicago Convention, 
but this, I take it, is mere conjecture. There may be some 
talk among party men to that effect, but no such conclu- 
sion. Washington is great for rumors at all times, and the 
credulous and interested listen. 

Vice-Admiral Porter has been here several days," the 
guest of General Grant. Rumor sajrs he is fishing for 
the place of Secretary of the Navy. This is likely to 
be the case, for he is ambitious, restless, and intriguing. 
He is a very imfit man for Secretary, and would soon turn 
things upside down and destroy all unity and disregard 
systematic and practical economy. 

April 28, Tuesday. The speech of Thad Stevens yester- 
day was characteristically abusive, but displayed less abil- 
ity than I expected. I do not think he has injured the Pre- 
sident so much as he desired, though he has spent great 
labor and time on his speech, which has been three times 
rewritten and revised. His nephew, who boards at Will- 
ard's with Faxon, told the latter that he was assisting his 




18681 STANBERY CONFIDENT OF SUCCESS 341 

uncle in reading his third printed proof of what he intended 
to say. 

Thomas Williams/ who followed, is prolix, a poor 
reader, and will not make a favorable impression. . . . 
He was, I have understood, a quasi partner of Stanton in 
Pittsburg, and has been much devoted to and much used 
by him in Congress. 

Only necessary current business done in the Cabinet. 
Seward, Randall, and Browning expressed great confidence 
of the acquittal of the President, but gave no particulars. 
McCuUoch is more hopeful than I have seen him since the 
impeachment movement commenced. I called last eveniiig 
on Mr. Stanbery. He is very feeble. Says he has com- 
pleted his argument, but I advised him not to imdertake 
to deliver it, and I think he will not. He expresses great 
confidence of acquittal, and so, he says, does Evarts. 
There could be no doubt of it, were the triers imcommitted, 
— honest, candid, and capable men. All depends on the 
fact whether there are a sufficient number of such inde- 
pendent Senators. 

Poor E. B. Washbume cannot sufficiently vent his spite 
and venom against the Navy Department. My reply to 
Starkweather's resolution disappointed him. He found 
a mare's nest and set Starkweather cackling, but the eggs 
were addled. To-day he introduced a resolution of inquiry 
into the corrupt sale of ironclads. He will find his head in 
a bag, or against a stone wall in that matter. I presume 
Washbume has heard of my contempt for him and his 
mock economy, — his proverbial meanness and the way 
in which he lives off Grant, to whom, and for whom, he 
toadies. He partakes of Grant's dinners, swallows his whis- 
key, smokes his cigars, rides his horses, travels as a dead- 
head, and eats and drinks every day of his life at the pub- 
lic expense. I have seen and sneered at his penuriousness 
and meanness, his little regard for truth, and his many 
infirmities. Some Radical go-between has informed him, 

^ Of Pennsylvania. . 



342 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [april28 

I have no doubt, of my expressed and real contempt and 
disgust of him, and of his shallow pretensions, and he 
means to show proper resentment by l}dng statements in 
resolutions concerning Navy management. If the reply 
shows its falsity, his misstatements have nevertheless gone 
out ahead. The Ue will travel some distance, and get in 
some comer where it will not be exposed. 

April 30. There is but little doing by Congress. Im- 
peachment is the question. Mr. Evarts' speech is interest- 
ing and able, and men and women of all parties are greatly 
interested in it. There is an impression that the Radical 
cause is growing weaker, and indication that the Radical 
leaders have apprehensions. The arguments of the Pre- 
sident's lawyers have alarmed them, have shown them 
they have no case, that though they have deceived them- 
selves into the belief that they can deceive the country, 
there are truths which cannot be covered up and will en- 
danger their future. The conspiracy — for it is nothing 
else — is an excess of party zeal and hate, without any 
foimdation whatever. It will overwhelm them with in- 
famy. In their present state of party discipline, party 
power, and party terror, votes may not be changed, but 
conviction has struck some of them. Grimes says there 
will be no conviction, and he is one of the best judges and 
most sensible men in the Senate. But Fox, who is here 
for a few days, says that in circulating around among 
Senators and others of all parties, he finds the prevailing 
opinion seems to be that the President will be condemned. 



LIX 

A Visit to Mount Veraon — The President's Disappointment at Black's 
Desertion — The Outcome of the Impeachment hanging in the Balance 

— The Doubtful Senators — The Carpet-Bag Constitutions of Arkansas 
and South Carolina transmitted to Congress — Bingham's Closing 
Speech for the Prosecution — Congressional Inquiry into the Sale of the 
Ironclads Oneota and Catawba — The Case of the Hannah Grant — - 
An Exciting Afternoon and Evening in the Senate — Speeches of Sher- 
man, Grimes, Trumbull, and Fessenden — Hopeful Outlook — The 
Vote on Impeachment postponed — Illness of Senator Grimes — Public 
Opinion manufactured in Washington by the Radicals — The Vote cm 
the Eleventh Article fails to convict the President — A Call on Senator 
Grimes — Attack on Ross of Kansas for his Vote in favor of the Pre- 
sident — The Candidates before the Republican Convention at Chicago 

— Grant and the Radicals — Rumors of Cabinet Changes — Japanese 
Affairs — Grant and Colfax nominated at Chicago — The Acquittal of 
the President — The News comes to the Cabinet in Session — Charges 
of Corruption — Stanton leaves the War Department — His Character 
and Abilities and his Administration of the Department — Schofield's 
Appointment as Secretary of War sticks in the Senate — A Seminole 
Chief on the Written Constitution. 

May 1, Friday. I went with my family, a few visitors, 
and a small party of friends to Mount Vernon. It is the first 
time I have ever landed there, though I have often passed 
the place, and have always intended to perform a pilgrim* 
age to the tomb of the Great American Patriot. 

We had a pleasant company, and the day was pleasant. 
I enjoyed the excursion as an excursion, but it was not the 
way and manner that would have suited me to dischargjo 
a duty. Alone, or with my wife and children, or perhaps 
three or four chosen friends, not more, I should have felt 
a melancholy pleasure in such a pilgrimage. 

May 2, Saturday. A short interview with the President. 
Completed selections to Naval Academy, — always an un- 
pleasant and unwelcome duty. After this was disposed of. 



344 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [mat 2 

had a little talk on general subjects. He says the Alta Vela 
letters of Black were not obtained from him or any one 
at the White House. They must have been furnished by 
Black himself, perhaps through his son or partner. The 
conduct of Black has surprised and affected him more than 
that of almost any other person. It was unexpected, un- 
g^erous, and a betrayal or desertion at a critical period, 
and when the President was relying more on Black than 
any one else as a counselor, confidant, and friend. 

The President is by no means desponding. I think his 
faith is in an honest and sincere consciousness that he has 
been, to the best of his ability, faithful, that he has done 
his duty, and that a good Providence will not permit him 
to be sacrificed imder these circmnstances. 

While I am reluctant to believe in the total depravity of 
the Senate, I place but little dependence on the honesty 
and truthfulness of a large portion of the Senators. A 
majority of them are small lights, mentally weak, and 
wholly unfit to be Senators. They are neither intelligent 
legislators, wise statesmen, capable judges, nor good patri- 
ots. Some are vulgar demagogues . . • some are men 
of wealth who have purchased their positions . . . men of 
narrow intellect, limited comprehension, and low partisan 
prejudice. . • • 

With the party appeals and party demands from the 
Radical press and Radical leaders throughout the country, 
the narrow views and inexcusable ign^ance of Radic2^ 
generally in regard to our government, its structure and 
scope, their readiness to sacrifice the government and coun- 
try for mere party ends, I have but slight expectation of an 
acquittal. 

May 4, Monday. On Friday and Saturday there was 
a disgraceful but characteristic exhibition of Radical not- 
ables in the House, — Butler and Logan on Friday, and 
Donnelly of Wisconsin and Washbiune of Illinois on 
Saturday. 



1868] THE DOUBTFUL SENATORS a4ft 

Butler was exposed and flogged by Brooks severely. 
Washbume was more coarsely and frankly punished by 
Donnelly, a brother Radical. Had he been less loose and. 
vulgar, his speech would have been more effective. Wash- 
bume, though the oldest member, is more universally de- 
tested for his supercilious pretensions, manners, insolencei 
disregard of truth, and malignity than any man in the 
House, and all enjoyed the infliction he received. Bingham 
commenced the closing argument in the impeachment case 
to-day. It does not appear to have excited much admira- 
tion, although there is reported to have been a laxg^ 
attendance. 

May 5, Tuesday. In general conversation before busi- 
ness commenced at the Cabinet, Seward taunted Browning 
for being shaky on the question of impeachment. Brown- 
ing confessed his doubts, said he had expressed them to con- 
fidential friends and thought it best to do so. Seward did 
not agree with him as to his policy, but said he had no 
doubts as to an acquittal, and wished to wager a basket of 
champagne, which B. declined, and S. then offered two 
to one. McCulloch, who came in just at the close of the 
banter but did not hear it, was as decided in his opinion 
of an acquittal as Seward, and offered to bet a bottle of 
wine with B. I could, however, get no facts to justify the 
confidence of the State and Treasury, farther than that 
they have talked pretty freely with Members. 

It seems to be generally conceded that Fessenden will 
oppose impeachment. McCulloch has hopes that Morton 
will do the same. I have little expectation in that quarter, 
though the hypocrite has sagacity enough to see that a 
mistake is made. 

Seward quotes Banks for authority, who says Fessen- 
den and Morrill of Maine have each written arguments, 
have had one interview and are to have another with their 
written documents. Much of this Banks gets from the 
Maine Members who have tried to influence F. but 



346 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [may 5 

out success. There may be something to base this upon, but 
I do not give it the credence which Seward does. Until the 
argument is closed and the whole case committed, F. 
would not be likely to declare his opinion. I have sup- 
posed he would vote against conviction, although a de- 
cided Radical, for he has intelligence and a character 
which he wishes to preserve. I have had the same opinion 
of Trumbull for the same reasons. Both are crotchety and 
uncertain, and I therefore do not consider it siu-e by any 
means that they will go for acquittal. Other Senators, 
like Frelinghuysen, the Morrills, and others, should vote 
for acquittal, but it is most likely, from all I hear and 
see, that they will abase themselves. 

I therefore am less sanguine than either Seward or 
McCulloch. The last has, until recently, believed that 
conviction was probable. What facts have changed him I 
fail to learn. Seward is not to be relied on for accuracy in 
such matters; he catches at shadows. Grimes is chairman 
of the Naval Committee and strong in his political views 
and prejudices, but he has a legal and discriminating mind, 
and sincere respect for the President's honesty, though 
very little confidence in his tact and judgment. He will 
not commit so unjust an act as to vote to impeach, and 
Fessenden usually goes with him. Neither of them has 
much love for Sunmer or regard for Thad Stevens, which 
will strengthen them to act right when others fail. I should 
have no doubt of Trumbull if he had not done himself and 
his principles injustice on certain test questions. The 
Radical Senators continue to hold their secret meetings 
at Pomeroy^s to discipline and strengthen each other to 
do an illegal and wicked act, while sitting as judges in the 
high court. 

Seward says Morgan will go for acquittal, provided it is 
clearly ascertained in advance that there can be no con- 
viction. In this I think S. is more correct than in many 
of his oracular assertions. The President was not present 
during the greater part of this conversation, which, how- 



1888] BINGHAM'S CLOSING SPEECH 84? 

ever, was continued after he came in, canvassing many ol 
the Senators. Some of them, through friends, had made 
known their doubts and perplexities ; the friends of some 
were confident that this or that Senator was personally 
kindly and senatorially rightly disposed, and would op- 
pose the outrage, if certain appointments were made. 
The President said he was tired of these things and wished 
they were over. 

Some conversation took place between McCullochi 
Browning, and myself in regard to sending in immediately 
the new carpet-bag constitutions of Arkansas and South 
Carolina. They urged that it should be done immediately* 
I asked what of the actual, existing constitutions of those 
States, which Congress assumed to annul. Both took alanxti 
hoped the President would not oppose Congress, oppose 
the Reconstruction law, etc. I expressed the hope that he 
would do his duty faithfully. 

The President had come in from the library during the 
discussion and seated himself at the desk, my back bemg 
towards him. He sent in a brief message which he had 
prepared for Congress, merely informing that body he 
transmitted such papers as he had received. This avoided 
difficulty, for it expressed no opinion. Under the circum* 
stances this, perhaps, is the best he can do, and is not 
liable to attack. 

May 6, Wednesday. General Rousseau called on me. 
His visit to Alaska has not impaired his health, and his 
quick journey from Oregon has given him a rough and 
hardy appearance. He has been here three or four days 
and mingled freely with Congressmen and others, and ex- 
presses the fullest confidence in the acquittal of the Pre* 
sident. Still I get no facts; no names are given. 

May 7, Thursday. Bingham has closed the final argu- 
ment of the Managers, and at its close there was a scene 
in the galleries got up especially for the occasion and a part 



348 DIARY OP GIDEON WELLES [mat 7 

of this Radical drama. I have not read all of B.'s speech, 
but, from the examination given it, I do not think it great, 
and his friends seem disappointed. The subject is post- 
poned until Monday/ and the Court has agreed ix) come to 
a vote on Tuesday. If the Senators regard their oaths, 
and act as judicial officers and statesmen, there will be an 
acquittal; if partisan action controls all the Radical Sena- 
tors, or most of them, conviction is likely. The movement 
has been a partisan one from its inception 

Judge Harris, late New York Senator, called on me, and, 
discussing the great topic, tells me he had a long conver- 
sation with a prominent Radical Senator, a religious, con- 
scientious man, who said to him there was nothing against 
the President which could be called a crime or misdemeanor, 
but the President was a troublesome man, was an impedi- 
ment, and he thought the majority would be justified in 
availing themselves of a technical advantage in getting 
rid of him. Although Judge Harris called no names, I 
inferred from his remarks that Frelinghuysen was the 
Senator who made these discreditable remarks. 

May 8, Friday! The Retrenchment Committee, of which 
Senator Edmimds is chairman, held a session at the De- 
partment this morning to inquire into the sale of the iron- 
clads Oneota and Catawba, under a resolution of E. B. 
Washbume, directing inquiry into the "alleged fraudulent 
sale." I had directed copies of all the papers to be prepared 
so that there need be no delay. The Committee chose to 
examine me orally, also Faxon and Lenthall. Not ex- 
pecting to be called, I had not given the subject any close 
attention, but was willing the Committee should know 
every item of the transaction, satisfied there had been no 
fraud, but that Congress by its injudicious management had 
hurt this sale and probably prevented others. There was 
supercilious arrogance and great ignorance displayed by 
some of the gentlemen of the Committee, as well as the 
general disposition of this Congress to usurp executive andj 



1808] THE CASE OP THE HANNAH GRANT 349 

indeed, all power. They wished me to stop the sale, to 
prevent the boats from sailingi etc. Simpletons! I wish we 
could sell all. 

At the Cabinet-meeting Seward read a dispatch re- 
quiring the Venezuelan Government to make indemnity for 
the Hannah Grant, a whaling-schooner, whose voyage had 
been broken and some of her crew detained. I said that I 
had doubts whether the subject should be pursued; that 
the captain and men of the H. G. were perhaps as culp- 
able as the Venezuelan coast-guard. Our men could not 
speak Spanish nor the guard English, ai>d before they 
could come to an imderstanding the H. G. sailed off and 
left her men. Seward was taken aback ; said the Veneziie^ 
ians would be let off lightly, but some notice must be taken 
of the difficulty. 

Great confidence was expressed by all the Cabinet that 
the President would be acquitted; and such also seemed 
his impression, but I could get no fact, — perhaps ought 
to expect none. It was said Fessenden was in great distress, 
— had offered to resign, but the Maine delegation would 
not listen to it. The vote of Henderson of Missouri is re- 
lied upon through the influence of Miss Foote,^ to whom 
he expects to be married. Sprague is coimted upon through 
Mrs. S. and her father, etc. These are frail staffs to lean 
upon, yet they are taken in the absence of better. There 
may be other circumstances, or facts, which are confiden- 
tial, but they are not commimicated, if there are such. 

Colonel Halpine (Miles O'Reilley) and Mr. Roosevelt 
called on me. They are feeling for information, while pro- 
fessing to commimicate. I am satisfied they know nothing 
certain. Halpine and R. also speak most contemptuously 
of Morgan, who seems to have sxmk in every man's esti- 
mation. 

May 9, Saturday. There is a good deal of deep feeling; 
yet no boisterous excitement. The impeachers are less con- 

> Daui^ter of Judge EUaha Foote, Gommifldoner of Patents. ! 



360 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [mat 9 

fident than they were, yet express full belief in conviction. 
Their reliance is on the force, discipline, and necessities of 
party, not on crime or misdemeanor on the part of the 
President. How far the Radical Senators who have pre- 
tensions to statesmanship will debase themselves to party 
dictation is the only question. If they are really legis- 
lators, judges, and statesmen, men of independence and 
moral courage, the President will be acquitted; not other- 
wise. More than one half of the Senators are demagogues 
and blockheads, party tools, who regard not their oaths 
nor the welfare of the country. 

Numbers influence party men, so that inferior intellects 
often control superior minds. Fessenden and Morton and 
Trumbull are fearful of consequences if they boldly and 
considerately do their duty. I have no faith whatever in 
Morton, though McCuUoch has hopes of him, but McCul- 
loch is deceived. His speech at the beginning of the 
session exhibited a mind whose moral stamina was 
gone. • . . 

The President tells me this afternoon that he has no 
doubt that Fessenden will vote for acquittal. I did not ask 
his newest evidence. Riding out this evening, I met Mo- 
Culloch, who assures me, emphatically, of an acquittal. 
Says Grimes, Fessenden, Trumbull, and Van Winkle will 
vote to acquit, and others also. I conclude he has sources 
of information which are reliable. I get no facts. Of Grimes', 
Fessenden's, and Trumbull's honest opinions I have no 
doubt, but there is a terrible pressure upon them. Of Van 
Winkle I know nothing. 

May 11, Monday. Dixon came in yesterday. Has heard 
the President intends to resign, if it shall be clearly as- 
certained that he will be convicted. Told him I gave the 
rumor no credit, and he said he would not, but that the 
President once made a remark which the rumor had brought 
strongly to his mind. In an interview with the President 
on Saturday, he told D. he wished to know with certainty 




WIIJ.IAM PITT FESSENDEN 



1868] AN EXCITING DAY IN THE SENATE 351 



the result on Monday. "Why on Monday," says D. to me, 
"unless he has an object in view?" 

Doolittle called this morning, feeling, as all do, interested, 
not to say excited, but craving information. I had none 
to give. Neither he nor Dixon has confidence. They have 
no facts. Both, like me, believe that several of the leading 
minds on the Radical side are against conviction, but 
whether they have the courage and moral firmness to do 
their duty is a question. Dixon tells me of two conver- 
sations he had with Fessenden, who gave him no assur- 
ance, but yet talked in a way that left but Uttle doubt oo 
his mind, — said he did not wish to do an act which would 
disturb him the rest of his life, wanted always to wake in 
the morning with a clear conscience. 

The afternoon and evening have been exciting. Tb? 
Senatorial Court sat to-day with closed doors, the mem- 
bers expressing and discussing their views on the articles 
of impeachment. As they made their speeches, respectively, 
their opinions got outside the doors. Sherman declared 
himself opposed to the first article, but would vote for the 
second. In other words the President had the right to re- 
move Stanton, but no right to order another to discharge 
the duties. Poor Sherman! He thinks the people fools; 
they know him better than he does them. Grimes boldly 
denoimced all the articles, and the whole proceeding. Of 
course he received the indignant censure of all Radicals,; 
but Trumbull and Fessenden, who followed later, came in 
for even more violent denimciation, and more wrathful 
abuse. 

This evening the Radicals are greatly crestfallen, and 
have hardly a hope, while their opponents can scarcely 
restrain their elated feelings over the probable defeat of an 
infamous and dastardly conspiracy. A marvelous change 
has come over both parties. 

McCulloch came in overjoyed, and wished me to go with 
him to the President's. We foimd he had all the news, but 
was calm, though gratified. He showeid us the notes he 



852 DIARY OP GIDEON WELLES [biatii 

had from time to time received through the p.m. and 
evening. 

Groesbeck soon came in; said the work was accomplished, 
but there must be no exulting outbreak. Both he and Mc- 
Culloch declare there is no question of acquittal. Randall 
soon joined us, and is even more sanguine. Says the vote 
will stand at least 22 to 32, likely better than that. I would 
rather see the votes, though I have no cause to question 
his accuracy, except he is not an accurate man. 

The Senate is in session this evening; and will be, prob- 
ably, most of the night. A motion was made to recon- 
sider ihe vote ordering the vote to be taken to-morrow, but 
failed. Still I am apprehensive. The Radicals have a 
majority and are alarmed, for there are some who refuse 
to be disciplined into doing a wrong act. 

May 12, Tuesday. The Radicals, fearful of the result 
of the vote which they had ordered should this day be 
taken on impeachment, have postponed the question 
until next Saturday. The excuse for this is the illness of 
Howard,* one of their members, who is said to be delir- 
ious, — the brain fever, — some say delirium tremens. 
I suppose he is really ill, though many think not. Had it 
been one of the Senators friendly to the President, there 
would have been no four days' postponement, — nor even 
with Howard's sickness, had they [not] been limited to a 
two-thirds vote. When Attorney-General Stanbery was 
taken ill, the leading Ra,dicals would not consent to delay a 
day, although he was the principal coimsel of the President. 

The postponement did not greatly surprise me. It re- 
quired only a majority vote, and very likely a still further 
postponement will take place, if the Senatorial conspir- 
ators have not suflScient force to convict. There is little 
honor, justice, or truth with the impeaching judges. If 
by any trick or subterfuge they can succeed, the Radicals 
will resort to it, however unprincipled. The President was, 

> Jacob M. Howard of Michigan. . 




iseg] ILLNESS OF SENATOR GRIMES 863 

I think, more disturbed by the postpon^nent than I have 
ever seen him, but he soon rallied. 

Great consternation prevails among the Radical impeach* 
ers, who have never permitted themselves to doubt for 
a moment the conviction of the President, whether guilty 
or not. It was a foregone conclusion, a party decree; any 
one who disobeyed was to be denounced. Such men as the 
late Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, Chandler, are 
almost frantic. I have long assured McCulloch that Chand- 
ler was playing a double game and deceiving him; but McC. 
was incredulous, and retained him long in office. ... 

Doctor Horwitz tells me Chandler called on him some 
dajrs since, and said he had made calls on all the members 
of the Cabinet, which he designed as farewell visits, for he 
would feel impleasant to call on them after the President's 
conviction. I recollect that he called with his wife some ten 
days since, and other members of the Cabinet also inform 
me that they remember a similar visitation, but they had 
no thought of the piu*pose of his visit. It is an evidence 
of the confidence of Radicalism. 

May 13, Wednesday. There is great rage among the 
conspirators and leading Radicals. The Tribune, Chnmr 
icUy and other organs, howl over their defeat, and are 
very abusive of four Senators whom they denounce as 
recreants, apostates, Judases, etc., etc. Their greatest 
violence is against Grimes, a man of strong feelings and 
acute sensibilities, who was this afternoon struck witii 
paralysis. I trust it may not prove fatal or even serious, 
but he has for some weeks imdergone great mental excite- 
ment in consequence of the estrangement of old associates, 
and malignant assaults from his political friends, for a firm, 
honest, and conscientious discharge of his duty. This 
abuse has been trying to his system. While he has a right 
appreciation of these attacks, he is nevertheless sensitive, 
and feels it to be a wicked and ungrateful return for many 
years of faithful party and public service. 

3 



354 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [BiAY 13 

The flippant remarks of a class of superficial writers, 
who have little knowledge of the government or the proi)er 
working of our political system, is disgraceful, and it is 
lamentable that so many should be influenced and misled 
by them. Veteran legislators and statesmen who have 
grown old in the public service, and who have given 
thought and mind, and time and labor, to great questions 
are libeled and defamed by the slanders. 

May 14, Thursday. One of the tricks of the whippers-in 
to influence the doubtful Senators is to send abroad for 
letters and telegrams favoring and craving impeachment 
in order to sustain the party; to get Members of the House 
to call on the Senators and urge them to vote to convict, 
right or wrong, and in every possible way, by extra means, 
to extort a decision adverse to the President. This mon- 
strous prostitution of the conspirators is acquiesced in by 
the Radicals, who seem to think it proper, so utterly are 
they demoralized; and men making pretensions to char- 
acter participate in the abuse. Butler, Stevens, and men 
like them, taking advantage of prejudices and as yet unfor- 
giving hate growing out of the War, do not attempt to 
cover up intended villainy. One of tJie schemes now on 
foot is to admit the bogus Senators, elected under the 
bogus constitutions which the carpet-baggers, aided by 
negroes under military dictation, have imposed on the 
Southern States. Strengthened in numbers by these inter- 
lopers, they hope to carry conviction. How long can a 
government stand which is in the hands of such profligate 
and unprincipled wretches? 

Grimes is no better. I fear the worst. Still I hope he 
may recover and that soon. But he is of a family subject, 
I am told, to sudden death, and has himself been appre- 
hensive that such might be his fate. It was this, I am in- 
formed, which led him to decline a reelection. Howard is 
reported better. Conflicting rumors and opinions prevail 
in regard to tl^e final result of impeachment. I appro- 



1868] IMPEACHMENT IN THE BALANCE 355 

bend but little is known, and nothing with certainty. The 
doubtful men do not avow themselves, which, I think, is 
favorable to the President, and the impeachers display 
distrust and weakness. Still their efforts are unceasing and 
almost superhuman. But some of the more considerate 
journals, such as the New York Evening Post, Chicago Tri- 
bune, etc., rebuke the violent. The thinking and reflecting 
portion of the country, even Republicans, show sjnmptoms 
of revolt against the conspiracy. 

May 15, Friday. Only pressing and necessary public 
business is being done in these days by the Government. 
Suggestions or recommendations by the Departments are 
received with distrust by the Radical Congress, and useful 
and necessary measures are opposed and often rejected 
without consideration, so that it is better to be quiescent 
than active. The Radical leaders are revolutionary, and 
many of their associates of better mind and temper have 
become tainted, corrupted, and distempered. They have 
called the President so many vile names, applied to him 
such vile epithets, that they persuade themselves he must 
be in fault, yet they designate nothing, except that he does 
not lend himself and the Government to their party 
schemes and usiupations. They denounce him as a traitor 
because he adheres to the Constitution, holds firmly to his 
own belief, and refuses to siurender his own judgment to 
their dictation. 

The Managers of the impeachment on the part of the 
House have summoned witnesses before them to testify in 
regard to the views and opinions of the Senators and the 
President. This wholly illegal and unauthorized inquisi- 
tion, even by this presmning and usurping House, shows 
the spirit which prevails, and how personal rights are dis- 
regarded. In a very short time these men, if not checked, 
would break up the foundations of the government and of 
the whole social system. Strange that such men should get 
the ascendancy over their associates, but it is by party 



356 DIARY OP GIDEON WELLES [may is 

organization and discipline, through secret caucuses, and 
the tyranny imposed by the majority rule, sharpened by 
the angry remnants of the Rebellion which still linger and 
compel the timid, passive, and obedient to violate law. 
Constitution, equity, justice, morality, right, and any 
and all the fundamental principles of government. Abject 
subserviency! 

A few matters of current interest were disposed of in 
Cabinet. Some conversation on the topic which comes up 
in every meeting of two or more, viz., impeachment. The 
same general confidence was expressed by Seward, Mc- 
Culloch, and Randall of acquittal whenever a vote shall be 
taken, but there is doubt whether another postponement 
will not take place to-morrow. It is a question whether 
the sick men will be then in attendance. Doctor H., his 
physician, tells me that Grimes will ride up, though at 
some risk, if the vote is to be taken. 

I do not yet get from my associates, who express them- 
selves so confidently, any positive assurance of seven 
Senators from the Republicans. We can count up pretty 
sutrely five, perhaps six, but where and who is the seventh 
or eighth? Is Anthony, or Sprague, certain for acquittal? 
Pretty certain, at least on most of the articles. How stands 
Frelinghuysen? How Van Winkle, and Willey? How is 
Ross, and how are Corbett and Cole ? Not one is vouched 
for when pinned down, though there seems a general im- 
pression that Van Winkle and Fowler may be depended 
upon.^ 

To me the result looks exceedingly doubtful, although I 
have an inward faith that Providence will not permit so 
great a wrong or outrage as conviction to be committed. 
There is some good sense, some self-respect, some integrity 

* In the final vote Henry B. Anthony and William Sprague of Rhode 
Island, Frederick T. Frelinghujrsen of New Jersey, Waitman T. Willey of 
West Virginia, Henry W. Corbett of Oregon, and Cornelius Cole of Cali- 
fornia went for conviction, but Peter G. Van Winkle of West Virginia, 
Edmund 0. Ross of Kansas, and Joseph S. Fowler of Tennessee for acquit- 
tal 



\m] MANUFACTURING PUBLIC OPINION 357 

and patriotism remaining among a few of the Radicals even, 
as we see by the course pursued by Grimes and others. 
These Senators are being vilified and denounced with im- 
sparing malignity by leading Radical presses and politi- 
cians, who assume to dictate to them what the party de- 
mands should be their vote or judgment in this case. For 
a conscientious discharge of their official duty and a regard 
for their oaths, the ablest Senators of long experience are 
assailed with bitterness as apostates and renegades by the 
Secretary of the Senate, Forney, through his two pap^*s, 
and by others. 

^'*" May 16, Saturday. The day has been one of excitement. 
Such was the outside pressure and such the confidence of 
the Radical majority, after many secret meetings and 
much caucus disciplhie, that the Senate was brought to 
vote on impeachment. There has been constant caucusing 
daily and twice a day by these triers — these judges — 
since Tuesday. Letters and telegrams have been pouring 
in, especially to the doubtful, and so-called recreant^ Sena- 
tors, all prompted from here. Schenck, chairman of Ways 
and Means in the House and also of the Congressional 
Radical Committee, has sent off telegrams, — it is re* 
ported a hundred, — calling for instructions from Loyal 
Leagues to influence the Senatorial judges. Governor 
Bumside, the weak and feeble general whose silly and in- 
competent orders at Fredericksburg caused the slaughter 
of 50,000 men, responded to Schenck, whose telegram was 
published in Rhode Island and another, verbatim^ in West 
Virginia. They show beyond doubt that public opinion is 
manufactured here in Washington by the conspirators. 

Two caucuses of Radical Senators were held yesterday at 
Senator Pomeroy's, called by Theodore Tilton, a whipper^ 
in on impeachment, — the first at noon, the other in the 
evening. At this last, the members became satisfied under 
the sanguine representations of Tilton they would succeed 
on the eleventh article, provided that would be put first. 



358 DIARY OP GIDEON WELLES [mayic 

Judge Harris of Albany, who called on me this morning 
on business, said he met Van Horn, Representative from 
New York, who informed him the vote on impeachment 
would be taken to-day. They could not afford to delay 
longer. The necessities of the country and the call of the 
Party required inmiediate action. 

At twelve-thirty I went to the President's. McCulloch 
was there, and a messenger with a telegram entered as I 
did. The telegram stated a vote on the eleventh article had 
been taken, and the President was acquitted. Soon after, 
Edgar came in with the particulars on liiat vote, which had 
been made the test, and on which the Radicals considered 
themselves strongest. It was the sheet anchor of Stevens. 

The Senate was full, so far as the usurpers have permit- 
ted, and the vote was 35 to 19. Seven Republicans voted 
with the Democrats. Ross, who had been less strongly 
relied upon than some others, voted for acquittal, while 
Willey voted guilty. This last was quite a disappointment 
to the President. He had also hoped for Anthony and 
Sprague and was not without hopes for Corbett and Cole. 

Willey, after being badgered and disciplined to decide 
against his judgment at a late hour last night, agreed to 
vote for the eleventh article, which was one reason for re- 
versing the order and making it the first. Ross, it is said, 
had promised he would go for impeachment, basing his 
action on the first article, which was the basis for the 
movement. This, however, he did not communicate, but 
what he said relieved him from farther importunity, and 
the great effort was made upon Willey. Bishop Simpson, 
the high-priest of the Methodists and a sectarian poUtician 
of great shrewdness and ability, had brought his clerical 
and church influence to bear upon W. through Harlan, the 
Methodist elder and organ in the Senate. While Willey's 
vote disappointed the DemocratSi the vote of Ross disap- 
pointed the Radicals. 

When the result was known, Williams of Oregon, a 
third-rate lawyer who got into the Senate from that re- 



1888J VOTE ON THE ELEVENTH ARTICLE 369 

mote State, moved a postponement of farther proceedings 
until the 26th inst. The Chief Justice declared this not in 
order, but his decision was overruled by the majority, on 
an appeal taken on motion of Conness, a man of about the 
capacity, and as weak and corrupt, as Williams. Rules, 
orders, regulations are wholly discarded and disregarded 
by the Radical revolutionists. Their getting together in 
caucus, on a judicial question, is a specimen of Radical 
policy, character, integrity, and sense of duty. 

May 18, Monday. The wrath of the conspirators and 
their creatures the Radicals continues with little abate*- 
ment, but it has, so far as Senators are concerned, turned 
most vindictively on Ross, who is their latest disappoint- 
ment. There is, however, a determination on the part of 
the leaders to formally expel the recreants from their party, 
and to do this at their Chicago Convention. But for the 
great folly here, I should hardly beUeve such folly there. 
In excited times like these, it is to be remembered that 
the violent, the impulsive, the inconsiderate, the positive 
element prevails over the passive and the considerate. 
Whether there will be cool and reflective men in thdl*' 
convention of sufficient influence to check the madness of 
party is a question. 

As regards the seven Senators themselves, I have 
doubts. They are intelligent, and, I think, conscientious, 
but it remains to be seen whether they will have the firm- 
ness and moral courage to maintain their position inde- 
pendently through the fiery conflict in the near future. 
Whatever may be the doings at Chicago, these Senators 
are marked and spotted men so far as the Radicals are 
concerned. Yet I am inclined to think that some of them 
flatter themselves they have not lost caste, — that they 
will regain their party standing by being more radical than 
their party. A shallow delusion, which other men, thdr 
equals, have fallen into before them. 

Senator Trumbull has made haste to report the bogus 



860 DIARY OP GIDEON WELLES [may is 

constitution of Arkansas with all its enormities, in order 
to demonstrate his Radical fidelity. Doctor Horwitz tells 
me that in an interview at Grimes' room with Trumbull, 
Grimes expressed some concern or made some inquiry in 
Tegard to this movement, when T. said it was for effect, 
that the President would let it slide, with a protest, per- 
haps, and they [who are] now called the apostates would 
get the inside track on Reconstruction, and thus prove 
themselves the most skillful managers. I asked Doctor 
H. if they deceived themselves by believing the President 
oould in any way assent to such a scheme. He says Tnunbull 
seemed to so consider it. These men do not know the Pre- 
Eddent. There are rumors, asserted with great positiveness 
and apparent sincerity, that when impeachment is dis- 
posed of, there is to be a renovation or a reorganization of 
the Cabinet. It is too late to be productive of any good if 
attempted, and there is no probability that it will be at- 
t^npted. Whether the rumor is set afloat by the Radicals 
to take o£F the sharp edge of their disappointment, or by 
zealous friends of the President to conciliate the Radicals 
and help over the trial next week, the 26th, I know not, 
nor is it of any consequence. 

I called this evening on Senator Grimes, and felt sad to 
see him so afficted, yet gratified to find him so cheerful 
and his mind so clear and vigorous. It is a great public 
calamity that he should have been stricken down at this 
time, when his services are so much wanted. A number 
came in while we were there, — too many I thought, — 
among them Fessenden, whom I was glad to meet. There 
is great friendship between him and Grimes. Both of them 
smart under the attacks which axe made upon them, and 
each tells me he is in daily receipt of atrocious letters. 
These they wisely cast aside and destroy without reading 
more than what is sufficient to know their contents. They 
have, however, many cheering and encouraging letters. 
Fessenden says he reads no newspapers. Pike,^ who came 

1 FMerick A. Pike, ft RepreeentaliTe ftom Maine. 




1B68] A GALL ON SENATOR GRIMES 381 

in later, had some talk in defense of impeachment. Said 
he took a different view from Grimes and others. He wa8 
for removing the President without regard to the chargOi 
and for mere political party reasons. 

Grimes took from his table a piece of paper and read 
aloud the oath he had taken as one of the court, said it was 
not the first time such appeals had been made to him, and 
asked Pike how he would dispose of that oath. This was 
a stumper, but Pike undertook to say that he could get 
along with that. I said that such getting along showed the 
demoralization which was going on, and which actuaUy 
pervaded Congress; that if he and his party could succeed 
in removing the President for mere party considerations! 
regardless of oaths and the Constitution, one of two re- 
sults must follow, the overthrow of his party, or the gov- 
ernment; that the government could not survive such 
shocks ten years, probably not five. 

Grimes concurred with me. Pike attempted to whistle 
away the remarks, but I saw they affected him. 

May 19, Tuesday. The Senate adjourned over to Thurs- 
day, and will then do nothing until their friends get 
through at Chicago and return, in other words not till the 
26th inst., when impeachment will be again taken up, for 
I do not believe the reckless men, the real conspiratoiB, 
intend to give up the question, though the sensible men of 
their party wish it. Threats and vengeance are abundant 
against the seven ''recreants,'' and thunders are threat- 
ened from Chicago, but better counsels will be likely to 
prevail, — not better feeling, for there is intense and, for 
the present at least, unforgiving hate by the conspirators 
towards them. 

Our friends in the Cabinet pronounce impeachment 
dead. I prefer to see the vote. One man would have 
turned the scale on Saturday. How he will vote on the 
26th remains to be seen. It is a thread on which the result 
hangs. 



362 DIARY OP GIDEON WELLES [may 19 

Ross is abused most. He is to be investigated by the 
House, or his acts are, and the Senate will submit to the 
indignity. I have no idea that there has been any corrup- 
tion, as is insinuated and asserted. It is claimed he was 
pledged, that he has broken his promise, etc. Who tam- 
pered with him? Who got his pledge? Who received his 
promise in advance to give judgment? The enemies of the 
President who are going to investigate Ross' conduct. The 
Managers are sitting as a committee to investigate the 
Senators under authority of the House, and Butler, vile and 
unscrupulous, is calling men before him and compelling 
them to disclose their private affairs. Last night he spent 
several hours at Jay Cooke's bank, overhauling private 
accoimts. These outrages are tamely submitted to, and 
are justified and upheld by Radical kgi8lator8,patriot8y and 
statesmen* Heaven save the mark! 

May 20, Wednesday. Senator Henderson went before 
one of the House committees and submitted to impertin- 
ent interrogatories, but refused to go before Butler and the 
impeachment Managers. Private individuals do not get 
off so easily. There is a perfect inquisition by Butler and 
the chief conspirators, where individual rights are stricken 
down, and the outrage is sanctioned and enforced by this 
Radical Congress. The mass of telegrams sent by the 
public in confidence has been seized by these inquisitors. 
Men are required to tell how they expended their money, 
what were their pecimiary transactions, and also explain 
their correspondence. Nothing is private, nothing sacredr 

May 21, Thursday. The Chicago Convention is the sen- 
sation of the day. As Grant is to be nominated President, 
the scuffle is over the Vice-Presidency. Wade, Colfax, 
Wilson, Fenton, and Hamlin are the candidates, with little 
disposition on the part of either to give way to the other. 
There is not much to be said in favor of either. Wade has 
become demoralized, and is not the plain, single-minded, 



1808] THE CANDIDATES AT CHICAGO 363 

honest, unambitious man he was a few years since. His 
employment as one of the Committee on the Conduct of the 
War, his association with Stanton, who was indifferent and 
r^ardless of individual rights, ancj with Chandler, coarse, 
vulgar, • • • have blunted the better feelings, affected the 
habits, and tainted the principles of blufif old Ben Wade. 

The others are very conmion men, with no decent pre- 
tensions to the second position in the Government, though 
either for civil service is superior to Grant. The office of 
Vice-President is without responsibility, patronage, or any 
duty worthy of honorable aspiration. The Connecticut 
delegation are reported as bartering the vote of that State 
to Fenton, if New York will make Hawley president of the 
Convention. Judd and Logan of Illinois assert that Grant 
urged impeachment. This has been said of him by others^ 
and accords with what I have understood. He is a man of 
low instincts, not of a nice sense of honor nor of proper 
self-respect, is wanting m truthfuhiess and smcerity. and 
is grossly, shamefully ignorant of the Constitution and of 
the structure of the government. Yet he is the designated 
candidate, if not the choice, of the Radicals for the office of 
Chief Magistrate. A feeling of gratitude for military serv- 
ices, without one thought of his capacity, inteUigence, or 
experience in civil affairs, has enlisted popular favor for 
him, and the conspirators have availed themselves of it, 
though the knowing ones are aware of his unfitness for 
administrative duties. They expect to use him; he intends 
to use them. They can intrigue, but he is, with low in- 
stincts, a man of cunning and is destitute ojf affection out 
of the family circle. • . . The War brought him again into 
the Army, and E. B. Washbume, his Representative 
in Congress, made it his study and business to indorse, 
extol, and advance Grant. • • • Circumstances favored, 
and he was promoted to be General, — Major-Genend, 
Lieutenant-General were not sufficient. -There was an 
attempt to make him Commander-in-Chief over the Pre- 
sident, to which Grant was nothing loath, and finallyj^ 



364 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [mayO) 

uniting with the Radicals, he entered into the conspiracy 
to impeach the President and was slyly active in that 
intrigue. 

I have little doubt that the Radicals intend to make him 
President the next four years by fraud and force if neces- 
sary. Their moral sense is blimted, and politically they are 
unprincipled. They have Congress, which opens and de- 
clarcs the vote; they have the General of the Army, who is 
their candidate; and if they can by any means secure the 
President before the vote is coimted next February, they 
will not hesitate to override the popular verdict, should 
it be against them. The bogus Senators and Represent- 
atives, from the States which have bogus constitutions, 
will, in the mean time, be admitted to seats, and how is the 
country to rid itself of the imposition? Bold, honest, firm, 
and resolute minds are wanted for the work, — some one 
master-spirit, with tact, courage, and energy, capable and 
willing to take the lead in rescuing the government from 
the usiupers. Who is he? 

Tha:^ are some rumors of change of Cabinet and change 
of policy on the part of the Administration. I do not give 
them credit, and yet there are some singular and ominous 
movements which give colorable indication that the ru- 
mors are not wholly groundless. I should sooner believe 
a change mi^t be made in the Cabinet than there would 
be a change of policy on Reconstruction, were the Pre- 
sident to act out his own convictions. But] at this day 
nothing honorable to himself or beneficent to the country 
is to be obtained by these rumored changes, and I there- 
fore cannot believe they will be made. To give in to the 
Radical doctrine of destro3ring the States and inflicting on 
them new constitutions, repugnant in some respects to the 
people on whom they are imposed, would be an abasement 
and abandonment of all principle. 

I shall not be surprised, however, if some of his friends 
advise these measures, and are preparing for them. It is 
said that Evarts is to take Seward's place. He would be 



1S68] JAPANESE AFFAIBB 365 

the man whom Seward would select for a successor, and 
the announcement may be a feeler. Some of the Republi- 
can Senators who voted agamst impeachment are opposed 
to Seward; they brought in Schofield. It is said Seward 
some days or weeks since tendered his resignation. Not 
unlikely. He scents trouble and danger in the distance. 
No man of sagacity or reflection can be immindful of it. 
The scheme of depriving the ten Southern States of thw 
rightful governments and imposing sham substitutes will 
not be permanent, and if not quietly disposed of by an 
overwhekning vote in the Northern States next fall, may, 
if the Southern States are not too exhausted, be followed in 
the winter and spring by violence and bloodshed. In the 
latter event, Seward would be less unpleasantly situated 
in Auburn, or abroad, than in Washington. Perhaps the 
same could be said of and for each and all of us who are 
striving to do our duty. 

May 22, Friday. Seward brought forward Japan dif- 
ficulties, — the detention of the Stonewall by Commander 
Brown under our flag until the civil war in Japan is ended, 
the payment of a draft on the Barings for some $25,000 
to pay expenses of the vessel, etc. I made some queries 
in relation to the management of our affairs in Japan for 
the last seven years, and as to the regularity and legitim- 
acy of present proceedings. In his dispatch to our Minifh 
ter. Van Valkenbiu-g, written in answer to a telegram, via 
San Francisco, giving a brief and not very clear state- 
ment of affairs, Seward wrote that his proceedmgs, and 
his draft were ''approved.'' I preferred "acquiesced," 
"assented to/' or some different word, because until we 
knew the facts we could not well approve, and might, when 
the whole circumstances were known, actually disapprove; 
but, confiding in our representative, we could with pro- 
priety, on such information as we had, acquiesce in what 
he had done. Seward at no time Ukes criticism, and is a 
correct, though verbose, writer; and he is sensitive on Japan 



366 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [may 22 

matters, and to some of his acts I have heretofore taken 
exceptions. McCuUoch saw he was annoyed and thought 
to relieve him by saying he did not see much difference in 
the words, and if he preferred "approved" would retain it. 
I merely remarked that it carried a responsibility with it 
which might be unpleasant in certain contingencies, from 
which the Administration might wish itself relieved. I 
asked about the money which the Japanese had paid the 
Western Powers, and in which we had participated, I 
thought unfortunately, for the Japanese were willing to 
give us commercial advantage over others. 

In the scuffle at Chicago, little man Colfax beat his com- 
petitors and on the fifth ballot was put on the ticket with 
Grant. There was some manufactured enthusiasm in 
the convention, but very little earnest feeling; none for 
country, but calculations for party. Grant's name is not 
magnetic, while Colfax has a feeble and superficial hold on 
sound and enduring public opinion. The candidates were 
serenaded this evening, but the attendance was slight. 
Colfax is near my house and I could at my window hear 
his speech. 

The impeachment Managers are prosecuting their in- 
quisitorial inquiries in the basement of the Capitol, and 
the public are submitting to the outrage with a tameness 
that is surprismg. Outrages are so frequent and enormous, 
however, that the people look with indifference and even 
composure on new villainies. Reckless and lawless men 
like Stevens and Butler, clothed with authority, are ready 
to abuse it and trample down the Constitution, and law, 
and individual rights. Their party associates do not ob- 
ject, but lend themselves to the proceeding, provided the 
outrages and abuses are directed toward their political 
opponents. These things cannot be long continued, but 
may be submitted to until the grievance becomes intol- 
erable. Strange how a few bad men in position, sustained 
by party, can damage society, pervert government, and 
inflict disorder and evil upon a country ! • 



1868] THE OUTLOOK FOR ACQUITTAL 867 

May 25, Monday. There is deep feeling but no noiey 
excitement on the subject of impeachment. There is cau- 
cusing and canvassing among the Radical Senators for 
conviction, but it is not allowable for any two men to con- 
verse on the subject of acquittal. Butler, violent, cunning, 
unscrupulous, devilish, has control of the Managers and 
of the House and is carrying on an extraordinary game of 
inquisitorial prosecution and persecution. In view of the 
action of the Court to-morrow, he made a partial report 
to-day of broken testimony from several witnesses that 
the inquisitors had before them in secret. It made, as 
intended; something of a sensation, and may, as intended, 
lead to a further postponement. This seems the presebt 
object; but there are some Radicals, in the Court and out 
of it, who wish this matter brought to a conclusion, and 
they may, united with the anti-impeachers, be able to 
bring on a decision, when the facts and truth, now with- 
held, may to some extent appear. It is, however, hardly 
probable, for the party discipline is strong and severely 
hostile to truth. 

The impression among all parties is that there will be an 
acquittal; but, with the evident determination to convict 
for the good of the party, I by no means consider acquittal 
certain. Intrigues pervade the whole atmosphere. I hear 
of no one but the seven ' ' recreants " who can be relied upon, 
and it is not certain that Ross will vote for acquittal on 
every article. He is not expected, I beUeve, to go for ac- 
quittal on the first, which relates to Stanton's removal, 
and it is claimed he is committed for the second and eighth. 
Should he fail on these two, the probabilities are strong for 
conviction. There is some talk of Anthony, Corbett, and 
Willey, or at least one of them, on these, but I doubt if 
there is any foundation. Sherman and Howe, it is sup- 
posed, will vote against the first article, and if this is 
strongly defeated it may affect the final result on all. 

May 26, Tuesday. The Radical Senators held a caucus 



968 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [may 26 

this morning and resolved to postpone further voting on 
impeachment for four weeks. But all their number did not 
attend, and no one of the seven "recreants" was invited. 
The result was that the extreme Radicals could not carry 
all their friends with them, and after several votes the 
conclusion was to come to a decision. But here again the 
indecency and partisanship of the Senatorial impeachers 
appeared. Williams of Oregon moved to take the vote on 
the second article instead of the first, and the motion was, 
of com^, carried. Ross had, on matters of postponement, 
voted with his party through the morning, but when the 
test came on the second article, and excitement was high, 
the attention of Senators, spectators, and all concen- 
trated on him, and he in the hush and stillness that pre- 
vailed said, ^\Not guilty." A sense of relief to some and of 
wrath to others was perceptible. 

It was Cabinet day, and a telegram brought us word 
promptly of every motion made, and every vote that was 
taken. We had considered matters pretty secure, when 
word reached us that Ross was voting with the Radicals. 
This was for a few minutes a damper, but the next tele- 
gram annoimced the vote on the second article to be the 
same as it was on the eleventh, an acquittal. This was 
followed by a like vote on the third article, and this by an 
abandonment of the case, and an adjournment of the 
Court, sine die. 

The Cabinet were all present with the President when 
the various votes were announced. His countenance 
lightened up and showed a pleasant and satisfied smile, 
but the same calm, quiet composure remained. He had 
never believed otherwise than in acquittal. 

Butler's report yesterday is printed. It is artful and 
malicious. Only such testimony or parts of testimony as 
he and his Radical associates choose to disclose is brought 
out. There is no Member not of Radical politics or 
views on the Conmiittee, and the Managers can there- 
fore distort^ pervertj and falsify to any extent, and But- 



1868] AFTER THE ACQUITTAL 369 

ler and most of the Managers are not nice in their 
means.) 

By seizing the telegraphic dispatches, these unscrupul- 
ous men have obtained a clue to the transactions of every 
person who trusted to that means of communication on 
any subject in those days, and, finding many things to 
them inexplicable, they have formed their own conclu- 
sions, often erroneous and mere fallacies. All the dispatches 
which are private and have to them a suspicioiis appear- 
ance and they cannot imderstand or explain, they charge 
to impeachment. The lobby men, claim-agents, gold- 
gamblers, and the whiskey ring who gather about Con- 
gress, like buzzards around carrion, use the telegraph' 
extensively, and the Managers have, I doubt not, thrust 
their noses into the nests of these unclean birds. Not 
unlikely there were large bets and stock-gambling on the 
result of the trial, and this flock, like others, entered into 
speculation and wagers, and had their feelings and purses 
enlisted. Some of them may have tried to seduce moneyed 
fools to make them advances for improper purposes, and 
some may have used impeachment as a blind to cover 
other operations. But neither the President nor I believe 
any one of the seven Senators who refused to go with their 
party for conviction gave or received one cent for their 
vote. No intelligent, honest, candid man who regarded 
his oath would have voted otherwise than these seven 
Senators. Those Senators who voted for conviction are 
either partisan knaves, or weak, timid blockheads, the 
tools of knaves. There is not a man among them who is 
not conscious that he is guilty of wrong in the vote he has 
given. 

That Thurlow Weed should have been sought by the 
gamblers and tricksters would be expected; but he was 
too cunning and sagacious to have his name mixed up in 
the proceeding. I do not think him too honest, provided 
the matter was feasible and necessary for his purpose. 
But the Managers give only a part of his testimonyi and 

3 



370 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [MAYae 

Butler is as great a rogue as Weed and more criminal. 
I therefore, without any confidence in either, t.hinlr full 
justice may not be done W. in this instance. 

Stimg and angry over then: failure in the court of im- 
I)eachment, the Managers and Radicals returned to the 
House filled with venom, which they expended on the 
witness, Woolley,^ whom they have^under arrest, and after 
partisan ruling by the Speaker and' spiteful voting by the 
majority he was destined to confinement. 

May 27, We^taesday. The Chicago nominations create 
no enthusiasm. Neither Grant nor Colfax has the ability 
or power to magnetize the people. Grant has lost moral 
strength by his imtruthfulness, and Colfax is very weak 
and superficial Stanton has cleared out of the War Depart- 
ment mad, and ''relinquished" all to Assistant Adjutant- 
General Townsend. Last August he defied the President 
and refused, for the public good, to resign when requested, 
and five months since he crawled back into the Department 
and has held on to the place under Senatorial sanction 
without discharging its duties, or advising or communi- 
cating with the President or any member of the Adminis- 
tration. He was told to ''stick," and the public business 
has in consequence been obstructed, the Government and 
country been subjected to great inconvenience and loss, 
and lo! the result. He goes out without respect, except 
on the part of ignorant and knavish partisans. His ad- 
ministration of the War Department has been wastefully 
extravagant and a great affliction to the country. 

Stanton has executive ability, energy, and bluster. He 
is imperious to inferiors and abject to superiors. Wanting 
in sincerity, given to duplicity, and with a taste for in- 
trigue, he has been deep in the conspiracy and one of the 

» Charles W. Woolley of Cincinnati, a lawyer engaged in Washington on 
whiskey cases, who had been arrested as a recusant witness, having refused 
to testify before a committee of the House. He was suspected of bribery or 
attempted Mbery in connection with the impeachment triaL 




1868] NO SECRETARY OP WAR YET 871 

chief instigators of the outrageous proceedings of Congress, 
a secret opponent of the President's from the commence- 
ment of his administration. A host of puffers and toadies 
have ministered to his vanity by giving him imdue praise, 
and Seward made himself ridiculous by lauding him as 
''Stanton the Divme," the "Camot of the War." His 
administration of the War Department cost the country 
unnecessarily imtold millions of money and the loss of 
thousands of lives. There was some efficiency, but it was 
not alwajrs well directed. 

May 28, Thursday. There are strange but almost posi- 
tive rumors of resignations by Randall, Seward, andotiiers. 
I am incredulous, not prepared to believe them. The 
nomination of General Schofield to be Secretary of War 
in place of Stanton removed, which the President sent in 
sometime since, does not get through the Senate. The 
extremists do not like to say, by their votes, "Stanton 
removed " ; he was, when Schofield was nominated, holding 
the place with their sanction. He has since "relinquished" 
the office. I asked the President if he thought Schofield 
reliable. He said it depended on the turn things might 
take. If we were likely to be successful, he would be with 
us; if the Radicals succeeded, he would be with them. In 
other words, Schofield is for Schofield. I regret that the 
President was compelled to select and appoint such a man, 
nor do I know under what influences the appointment 
was made. Schofield will likely be under the influence 
of Grant and the Radicals, and as one of the military 
governors has done things that cannot be justified. 

May 29, Friday. Some talk but little done in Cabinet. 
No Secretary of War yet. General Thomas attends Cabinet- 
meetings, and is in the way, — doing no good, perhaps not 
much harm. Is sometimes a little obfuscated and gaiv 
rulously intrusive, and prevents free, social interchange 
of views, for he talks too much abroad* McCulloch says 



372 DIARY OP GIDEON WELLES [mat 29 

Fogg and Chandler of New Hampshire are in a quarrel. 
I told him I was glad of it and was sorry it had not opened 
sooner; that there was a New Hampshire clique that was 
very mischievous, and which he had never rightly ap- 
preciated. Of this clique his Assistant Chandler was 
one of the worst. McCulloch was a little nettled, for 
I have for two years warned him of these fellows. He 
said there were some troublesome men in Connecticut. 
I replied a good many; that I had nothing to say in their 
justification. 

Some discussion of candidates for the Court of Claims 
took place. Browning and McCulloch pressed Otto, As- 
sistant Secretary of the Interior. I spoke well of Otto, 
but remarked that ex-Senator Foster was a candidate and 
was well qualified for that position. While this had to be 
admitted, they objected that New England had already 
its representative on the bench of the Court of Claims. 
This I did not controvert, but thought if section or locality 
was to govern, we should select from the South, and for 
myself I preferred, if the right man could be found, he 
should be appointed from that quarter. 

Seward did not attend until all the members but myself 
had left. My business was soon concluded, and I withdrew 
without waiting for him to open his portfolio, — for I was 
satisfied he wished a Mephistopheles interview. There 
has been money raised in New York, I have no doubt, to 
assist the President in defraying his expenses in the im- 
peachment trial, and Seward has been the channel of 
communicating, etc. 

I was struck with the observation of a Seminole chief 
at a late conference (1868), when told that for wampum 
paper was substituted, on which was written the promises 
we mutually pledge ourselves to perform. "I," said the 
Seminole, *' would trust the inviolable faith of wampimi 
sooner than the written promises of your Constitution. 
Wampum has the faith and devotion of the Indian, while 
your written Constitution is a mere matter of calculation 



igG8] A SEMINOLE CHIEF 373 

and bargain, no longer regarded than your interest and 
conscience dictate." 

He was opposed to equality of representation on the 
part of the tribes. He wanted tribal distinction. Would 
consent to federation, but not to consolidation. The Chero- 
kees, Creeks, and Choctaws niunbered 45,000, while the 
Seminoles, Chickasaws, Sacs and Foxes, and the smaller 
tribes had scarcely half the number. What security had 
the smaller tribes against absorption and destruction by 
their greater brethren, if numbers were to control? It would 
make the great tribes greater; it would extinguish the 
smaller. He loved his people and would preserve them. 



LX 

Whites and Blacks in the Washington Election — Death of ex-President 
Buchanan — His Character — Oregon goes Democratic — Stanbery, 
renominated as Attoraey-Generali is rejected by the Senate — The 
Senate compliments Stanton — The Powers of the Comptrollers and 
Auditors in the Treasury Department — Chase talked of for the Pre- 
sidency — Burlingame and the Chinese Ambassadors — City Election 
in Washington — Chase's Candidacy for the Democratic Nomination to 
the Presidency — Hopelessness of President Johnson's Desire for the 
Nomination — Admiral Porter and the Controversy between the Line 
and Staff OflScers of the Navy — The Intelligencer attacks McCulloch — 
Congressional Inquiry into the Sale of the Ironclads Oneota and Ca- 
tawba — The House accepts the Arkansas Constitution over the Pre- 
sident's Veto — The Attack on McCulloch instigated by Seward — 
Evarts nominated Attorney-General — Intimations of Another Im- 
peachment Movement. 

June 1, Monday. The election in Washington, D. C, 
took place to-day. There has been considerable excite- 
ment, tending to conflict between the whites and blacks. 
Although this is but the beginning, the separation has 
taken place. Those who did not vote with their own color 
were exceptions. A very few, generally of the more modest 
and well-behaved, blacks voted with the whites, but they 
were very few in number. Those whites who consorted 
with the blacks were to a great extent oflBce-himting 
demagogues. 

Ex-President Buchanan died this afternoon at Lancas- 
ter. He belonged to a past generation of statesmen and 
was himself of no mean ability. Without warm attach- 
ments himself, he failed to strongly attach others, yet he 
was courtly, dignified, and studiously correct in his deport- 
ment and social intercourse. He was not a man of im- 
pulse but of calculation, and relied on intellect to manage 
and shape his actions rather than on rightful instincts or 
established principles. What in his estimation was best 
for Mr. Buchanan he adopted and pursued, regardless of 




1868] OREGON GOES DEMOCRATIC 375 

others or of his country, - — not that he would do wrong 
or intentionally injure the countiy when no benefit was 
to inure to himself. 

June 2, Tuesday. The anti-Radicals made yesterday a 
pretty successful contest in this city and carried a majority 
of the wards. It is uncertain who is elected mayor, but 
doubtless Bowen, the Radical, will be declared elected. 
This is perhaps best, for otherwise this Radical Congress 
would pass some outrageous law striking down popular 
rights still farther, and install ignorance and the blacks in 
power. 

The election in Oregon has gone Democratic by a de- 
cided majority, electing a Democratic Representative to 
Congress in place of the present Radical, and decisive 
majorities in both branches of the legislature. This is the 
first response to Chicago nominations, — the first Repre- 
sentative to the next Congress. 

General Schofield, Secretary of War, was at the Cab- 
inet-meeting. Little of interest was discussed. 

June 3, Wednesday. The Senate, in its spite, has re^ 
jected the nomination of Mr. Stanbery as Attorney-Gen*- 
eral. There is in this rejection a factious and partisan 
exhibition by Senators which all good men must regret to 
witness. I know not the vote, but am unwilling to believe 
that some of the better class of Radical Senators could have 
been guilty of so unworthy an act. Yet after the result of 
the impeachment and the proceedings which took place at 
the trial I can believe almost anything of that body. It 
will not surprise me greatly if Trumbull opposed the con- 
firmation, and perhaps others who voted to acquit the 
President, but I hope not. Some of them, and I think Trum- 
bull in particular, are extremely desirous to reinstate 
themselves in their party, and therefore in matters of 
party go with the extremists. It is a mistake, as they will 
learn. 



aw DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES ijxjnbs 

The President sent for me this evening. The House of 
Representatives has appointed a committee to attend the 
funeral of Mr. Buchanan to-morrow at Wheatland, and he 
raised the question whether some of the members of the 
Administration should not also pay respect to the departed 
statesman. The suggestion did not strike me with favor, 
and I expect I showed my feelings in my looks. I asked 
him if he proposed going. He said that was one of the 
questions. He had thought that Mr. Seward and myself 
might do well, perhaps, to consider the subject. [He said] 
that Mr. Kennedy had spoken to him respecting it and 
gone to my house and also to Mr. Seward's, but that we 
were both out, taking our evening rides. I remarked that 
if Mr. K. called again I would be able to give him an 
answer. 

He has not, at this time, past 10 p.m., called, so I trust 
the subject has been dropped. I should, under the circum- 
stances, have been compelled to decline and to advise him 
also to decline. There has been nothing personal or polit- 
ical in the course of Mr. Buchanan which requires extraor- 
dinary services from either of us on this occasion. All 
proper honors to a Chief Magistrate, living or dead, should 
be rendered, and these have been ordered. There have 
been Presidents whose obsequies I would have gone far- 
ther than Lancaster to have attended, but there is, on my 
part, no heartfelt grief nor reverence for James Buchanan 
which calls for this effort; his feeble and erring Adminis- 
tration was calamitous to the country. 

June 4, Thursday. The House manifested little feeling 
and intended slight and disparagement in regard to Mr. 
Buchanan, but finally appointed a committee to attend 
his funeral at 2 p.m. this day; but the House refused to 
adjourn over, as is done for every worthless fellow of their 
awn body who dies here or far away. The Senate ad- 
journed, but, I believe, appointed no committee. The de- 
ceased had no strong hold on the affections of his country- 




1868] THE SENATE THANKS STANTON 377 

men of any party, and manifestations of sorrow, like his 
politics, are artificial. 

The Senate passed a complimentary resolution to Stan- 
ton. It was an unusual proceeding, and done in the spirit 
of factious partyism. His administration of the War De- 
partment was energetic, but not always well directed. By 
nature he was impulsive, wayward, cruel, unjust, and in 
his administration was often wasteful and extravagant. 
To his chiefs, one and all, he was faithless. His intrigues 
against Buchanan and Johnson are known, but those 
against Lincoln were less palpable. Had Lincoln's life 
been spared, some of his duplicity would have been 
developed. Though long associated with him, I have bad 
no very profound respect for him as the "War Minister/' 
He has considerable legal abiUty, but when he has a pur« 
pose to accomplish very Uttle rectitude of mind. With 
a different Secretary of War, the War would have termin* 
ated sooner, and, I think, with a great saving of life and 
treasure. For the present he escapes censure because he 
has identified himself with the extreme men of the domin* 
ant party. A vote of thanks would have been given him 
by those men, had his atrocities been ten times greater. 
Fessenden took occasion to show that he was in principle 
and feeling as Radical as any. 

At this time the '* Reconstruction" acts are under con- 
sideration, — all in violation of the Constitution. Con» 
gress is trampling on State and personal rights and usurp- 
ing power in all these proceedings. Tnunbull justifies and 
excuses himself for voting for and supporting these male- 
volent and wicked enactments on the ground that, being 
unconstitutional, they are good for nothing, — no law. 
Others of the little statesmen, who are great factionists, 
arrogate to themselves authority to make and unmake 
States, to confer power upon them and to deprive them 
of inherent and constitutional rights, as if States were 
mere corporations, subject to the whims and caprices of 
Congress. 



878 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [junb 6 

June 5, Friday. At the Cabinet-meeting to-day McCnl- 
loch submitted some papers relating to a claim of a road 
in Kentucky which had been allowed $170,000 toll for 
army transportation by the War Department. This sum 
they had received under protest and claimed much more, 
and the Kentucky delegation had waited on him, the Secre- 
tary of the Treasury, and requested that the claim should 
be referred to the Attorney-General. 

I asked what business he had with the subject under any 
circumstances, the matter belonging to and having been 
adjusted by the War Department, — whether he and the 
Attorney-General were to revise the other Departments 
and overrule their decisions. 

McCuUoch said he preferred to send it back to the War 
Department for it to refer the matter to the Attorney- 
General, if it thought proper, and would so inform the 
Kentucky delegation. Browning said it was not a legal 
question, but an administrative one which belonged to the 
War Department alone. After some discussion the papers 
went to the Secretary of War. 

Subsequently General Schofield presented an act passed 
m February last, conferring very extraordinary powers on 
the Comptroller and Auditors. The law, he said, would 
cause embarrassment in the War Department, for whom, 
it seems, the law is to operate. McCuUoch undertook to 
go into some explanation, which showed a lamentable 
want of correct information of his own duties and of the 
rights of other Departments of the Government. He as- 
siunes that an Auditor or Comptroller can set aside the 
decisions of any Department, if they think proper, or can 
alter these decisions; in other words, administer the 
government or supervise those who do administer it. The 
truth is, the First Comptroller, who is probably an honest 
man, is manifestly ignorant of the structure of the govern- 
ment, and consequently and measurably of his own posi- 
tion and duties. He does not learn them and will not, be- 
cause the Secretary of the Treasury is afraid of him and is 



1868] CHASE TALKED OF FOR PRESIDENT 879 

to a great extent in certain important particulars gov- 
erned by him. This man Taylor, First Comptroller, was 
for some time Treasurer of the State of Ohio, where his 
word and ruling on financial matters was supreme. There 
were no checks on his action, no departments, as in the 
Federal Government, exercising executive powers, and, 
having the control of the finances as well as the custody 
of the Treasury, he was a little autocrat. He has the same 
conception of his duties here, but they are very unlike. 

"Why," says McCulloch, "you would make the Comp- 
troller and Auditor clerks." I told him they were clerks, 
and I did not intend myself to be a clerk to them. I re- 
marked that his labors had been so absorbing that he had 
not looked into the making of his Department, but had 
submitted to his subordinates, and I advised him to in- 
form himself on a subject so essential to the Government; 
told him that from the beginning of his administration of 
the Department he had failed, I thought, in not thor- 
oughly examining this question and keeping his subordin- 
ates in their places, instead of taking their assmnptions; 
requested him to read Crittenden's opinion when At- 
torney-General, etc. 

June 6, Saturday. An apparently strong demonstration 
is being made for Chase for President, particularly in New 
York. It is not sincere, nor is it a move in the right direc- 
tion, and the strength which the movement has acquired 
is itself evidence of political demoralization among Demo^ 
crats. It is New York party management and means Sey- 
mour. Not unlikely Chase has modified his creed since the 
Radicals have adopted another and different commander, 
but he was one of the originators of Radicalism, and the 
promoter of its vagaries, heresies, and wrongs. Whatever 
may be the popular sentiment, the New York leaders 
won't have Chase. 

June 8, Monday. Made a return call on Mr. Burlingame, 



880 DIAEY OF GIDEON WELLES [jura 8 

who, with the Chinese ambassadors, visited me a few days 
since at my house. He thinks we might learn some things 
useful of the Chinese, as well as they of us, in matters social 
and civil. Their practice of extinguishing annually all in- 
debtedness he thinks would be well and have a good effect 
if adopted here. A man who does not extinguish his debts 
at the close of the year, so as to commence the new year 
with a clean record, loses caste and drops to a lower grade. 
Their civil war of thirteen years, in which over ten millions 
lost their Uves and which was desolating in its effects, 
closed up without any national debt. 

June 9, Tuesday. The arbitrary and outrageous con- 
duct of Butler and the impeachment Managers begins to 
tell upon a portion of the Radicals. They cannot justify 
the imprisonment of WooUey, who seems, however, to be 
a profligate fellow, and was by his own confession on a de- 
bauch when a large portion of the $20,000 for which he fails 
to account disappeared. He and his associates were prob- 
ably conniving in intrigues and briberies with Members 
of Congress, and, not unlikely, they may have attempted 
to swindle and dupe some persons into advances under 
the pretense of influencing Senators. • • • It is a corrupt 
Congress, and the most corrupt put on the loftiest pre- 
tensions. 

The President dined the Chinese, members of the Cabi- 
net, some of the principal foreign ministers, and a few 
friends of note. Neither Grant nor Sumner was present, 
though I am confident Grant was invited. The President 
is studiously regardful of official courtesies. 

June 10, Wednesday. At the late city election the Rad- 
icals claim to have elected the mayor, but their opponents, 
the Democrats and conservatives, carried five wards, 
which gives them a majority against the mayor. This 
result has disconcerted the Radicals in Congress, who have 
been modifying and changing the charter of the city. 



ism CHASE'S CANDIDACY 381 

Nearly every black man in the city voted for Bowen, the 
Radical candidate, while probably four fifths of the whites 
voted for Given, the Democratic candidate. Since tii^ 
election there have been strange doings to get the posses- 
sion of the city government, and Congress is very much 
disposed to interfere and give the government into the 
hands of the Radicals. They are educating themselves in 
fraud and villainy, and their leaders intend by such means 
to disregard and set aside the Presidential election, should 
they not be successful at the polls. 

There are some strange indications in regard to the 
selection of a Democratic candidate for President. In New 
York a busy and noisy demonstration is made for Chief 
Justice Chase, who, with Simmer, is really the father of 
Radicalism, not of Republicanism. Reconstruction and ne- 
gro suffrage in the States have been pet measures of Chasei 
yet the opponents of these measures in New York profess 
a wish to make him their candidate. The New York Herald 
is really casting aside its principles, or the principles of the 
Democratic Party, and teaches acquiescence in the usurpa- 
tions and outrages which have imposed negro suffrage and 
bogus constitutions on the Southern States. All this is 
designed to pave the way ostensibly for Chase, but there 
is a deeper intrigue behind, perhaps the nomination of 
Seymour, — New York partyism. 

June 11, Thursday. The States are preparing for the 
July nominating convention in New York. Connecticut, 
New Jersey, and Maryland have just chosen their delegates 
and left them free to act. Many of the States have im- 
properly tied the hands of their delegates. Such a course 
is in conflict with the very object and purpose of a con- 
vention. 

WooUey is finally released. Congress has disgraced Hi- 
self in permitting Butler to imprison this man; but Con- 
gress itself is at this time a body without character or 
ability or any value. 



382 DIARY OP GIDEON WELLES ijunb 12 

June 12, Friday. Seward has gone to Auburn. Hunter ^ 
appeared for him in Cabinet-meeting, without anything 
to present. 

I am getting embarrassed by the course of the Academic 
Board at Annapolis. Some of their decisions are repre- 
hensible. The Examining Board, which attended recently, 
have permitted themselves to be made instruments to read 
me a lecture on certain subjects. 

Unf ortimately we have no man in Congress who is at all 
conversant with naval affairs, and all legislation and all 
Congressional action is in a wrong direction. Men having 
selfish schemes and purposes adapt themselves to party 
ends, and find ready supporters, regardless of the service. 

June 13, Saturday. Was last night at a review at the 
marine barracks. Had a call to-day from Governor Eng- 
lish. He apologizes in regard to his message. Says Inger- 
soil and Osbom desired to tone down my strong points 
and make it more local and less national, etc., etc. Al- 
though possessed of pretty good common sense, I perceive 
he has a touch of the fever which gets among aspiring 
politicians, and is timid and weak in consequence. 

June 15, Monday. The papers publish the proceedings 
of a Chase meeting in Philadelphia.^ It is represented that 
Doolittle, Dixon, Jeffries,' and others were of the meeting, 
but none of them were present. Doolittle has been to New 
York and says the talk for Chase is strong, yet he cannot 
suppose the leading men can be earnest. Blair sajrs Bel- 
mont and the bankers are the instigators, — that it is a 
money scheme. 

I look upon it as an intrigue for Seymour, who months 
ago announced himself not a candidate. Since then we have 
been told he was friendly to Pendleton, and latterly that 

> William Hunter, Second Assistant Secretary of State. 

 On June 10. It was a' private conference. 

* General N. L. Jeffries, Register of the Treasury. 



1808] AN INTRIGUE FOR SEYMOUR 383 

he thinks well of Chase, but all this means Seymour, who 
is subtle, artful, and not always sincere, and has a ring 
of special admirers, or cronies, who think much of manage- 
ment. The aspect of things when the Convention meets 
may be such that Seymour will absolutely decline, but if 
so, it will be because the prospect is hopelessly adverse. 
He means to be, and his friends mean that he shall be, 
nominated, and their side moves are false and deceptive. 

His brother-in-law is a Senator and resides in the same 
town with him, which operates agamst his Senatorial 
aspirations. Still, if the Presidency is not attainable or is 
doubtful, and his friends can make the Senatorship cer>- 
tain, he may acquiesce in that arrangement. 

I called with Doolittle on the President this evening, 
and we had half an hour's talk on Presidential matters, 
I expressed freely my views in regard to Chase and Sey- 
mour, to which they both assented. Doolittle concurred 
most fully. The President was more cautious and re- 
served ; said it was strange and curious to witness popular 
movements. During the last two years and more a great 
political contest has been going on for the Government 
and the Union, involving their existence, but neither Sey- 
mour nor Chase had done anything to sustain those who 
were battling for the country. They were antagonistic: 
Seymour, a Democrat, had given no support to the Ad- 
ministration; Chase had thrown his influence with the 
Radicals, yet there were Democrats who were seriously 
advocating his claims. Probably Sejrmour was not. 

The tenor of his remarks leaves little doubt on my mind 
that the President's aspirations have been, or are, in that 
direction. It has always been so with his predecessors. 
But, if indulged, it is an idle dream on his part. I do not 
think he cares so much about the office as an approval of 
his acts. The retention of Seward in his Cabinet has alien- 
ated the Democrats, particularly those of New York, from 
him. He could not expect to gain their confidence and sup- 
port when his chief minister is their lifelong opponent. 



' 884 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [jttnb 15 

In keeping Seward and refusing for two years to commit 
himself to the Democrats, or to give them countenance, he 
wilted down his mfluence, weakened his position and his 
Administration. For a year he has bestowed some favors 
on Democrats, but Seward was still with him. It is im- 
possible that he should be nominated at New York. 

June 16, Tuesday. This is the thirty-third anniversary 
of my marriage. Not much done in Cabinet. McCuUoch 
had a letter about the ironclads at New Orleans which have 
been sold, and which demagogues and specul&tors have 
represented as striving to escape surreptitiously. Wanted 
the President to issue an order on the subject, for fear the 
Collector could not detain them. I told him there was no 
necessity for calling on the President; he could apply to 
the War and Navy Departments, or the Secretary of State 
could institute action for their detention if there is any 
violation of neutrality. 

JuTie 17. Am told of intrigues and combinations and 
oliquism among certain naval men who should be in better 
'business. Vice-Admiral Porter is restless by nature; has 
his favorites, and uses and presses any and all who will 
yield into his schemes. He has some good professional 
qualities, but little administrative talent. Rajnnond 
Rodgers has abilities and culture, but not individuality or 
independence, and makes himself a voluntary dependent. 
Porter uses him, and he likes to be used. 

Junior officers at the Academy are drawn into the schemes 
of Porter, who has been injured by too rapid promotion, 
and desires to control the Navy. Members of Congress 
are imposed upon, and Porter, who is fond of politics 
without imderstanding them, and thinks himself shrewd, 
has covertly, as he supposed, allied himself with the Rad- 
icals. There has been a gathering here of some of these 
sjnrits, and the Naval Committee has given them a hear- 
ing. The principal topic was, I understand, the contro- 



isesi NEWSPAPER ATTACK ON McCULLOCH 385 

versy between line and sta£F officers. There has been folly 
and unwise management on both sides in that matter, but 
this sly intrigue is sowing the seeds of mischief which the 
authors themselves will repent. 

June 18, Thursday. The InteUigencer is making strange 
and unjustifiable attacks on Secretary McCuUoch. There 
is something mercenary and vicious in this. While McC. 
has made mistakes and been imposed upon by Radical 
intriguers in his appointments, his int^rity and intentions 
are correct, and as a financier he has had no equal since 
Guthrie. In politics and political training he was imfortu- 
nate, but his instincts were right, and experience has conr 
tributed to correct, in a measure, the errors resulting from 
early association. He told me some days since that he had 
been threatened by Coyle of the InteUigencer, a mischiev- 
ous fellow who makes himself too intimate with the Pre* 
sident, with an assault, because he would not prostitute 
himself to do wrong for Coyle's benefit. This he had re- 
sisted, and Coyie's extravagance — for he lives in princely 
style — was undoubtedly giving him (C.) trouble which 
the Treasury could not stand. 

June 19, Friday. Statements, which seem authentic, 
are made in regard to the political opinions and views of 
Chief Justice Chase which indicate quite a change. These 
statements come from those who claim to have had inter- 
views and free intercourse with him. I am glad to see these 
improved opinions; hope they are true, and that he will 
vigorously maintain them. But I cannot believe he will 
obtain the Democratic nomination, however sincere and 
thorough his conversion. Yet he is very much talked of, 
and very earnestly pressed, in some quarters where I 
should not have expected it. I should be sorry to see him 
nominated, and yet more sorry to see Pendleton, who is 
prominent, but whom the New York managers no more 
intend than Chase. Neither is the man for this emergencyi 

3 



386 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [jumb 19 

provided he could be elected, but either would be likely to 
put the election in jeopardy, and thus elevate a worse 
man. The intrigues for Seymour will be apt to elect Grant. 

In looking over some bills which were on the President's 
table for his signature, I took up an act relieving Butler of 
Tennessee from liabilities and disabilities for having par- 
ticipated in the Rebellion, restoring to him his civil ri^ts, 
and modifying the ironclad oath so as to permit him to 
take his seat in the House. I asked what that act was but 
a pardon, and whether the President ought, by signing it, 
to sanction the legislative interference with his prerog- 
ative. The President, while expressing no opinion, indi- 
cated by his manner and words that he was pleased by my 
suggestions and inquiry. No one of the members, however, 
squarely came up to the mark. Browning said the act was 
undoubtedly a pardon, and the President alone had the 
oonstitutional pardoning power. All but myself seemed to 
think it was not best for the President to interpose and 
assert the rights of the Executive. I cited a case which I 
knew of in General Jackson, who declared Congress should 
never intrude on the executive prerogative while he was 
President. Randall said General Jackson had a power in 
Congress which enabled him to do this. I replied he had 
the power because' he firmly maintained the rights of the 
Executive and would not permit them to be trespassed 
upon, and I had no doubt that if the same course had been 
pursued by this Administration we should have had 
strength in Congress. Here the subject dropped; it was 
getting serious. 

The President, who is accused of obstinacy, has often 
been too yielding, has tried to conciliate, and the greater 
his effort the more intrusive and the greater the resistance. 
A usurpmg and domineering Congress has absorbed the 
rightful constitutional power of the President in many 
respects, and crippled his authority in others. Some have 
advised and encouraged this yielding to ^Tong; I have 
never been guilty of it. 




WILLIAM FAXON 



18681 A CONGRESSIONAL INQUIRY 387 

June 20, Saturday. The Reconstruction [« Retrench- 
ment?] Conunittee to which was referred a scandalous 
resolution of E. B. Washbume, relative to an alleged 
fraudulent sale of the Oneota and Catawba, two ironclad 
vessels which have passed into the hands of the Peruvian 
Government, made report yesterday, about as scandalous 
as Washbume's resolution. The Assistant Secretary is 
directly charged with fraud, and "perhaps" the Secretary 
of the Navy. No honest, fair-minded man, with fair in- 
tentions, would make this base insinuation, or charge fraud 
on Faxon. ^ By misrepresentation and one-sided and dis- 
colored testimony, the committee may cast an imputation 
on F., but it is without foundation. 

Congress ordered, or authorized, the ironclad vessels 
of a particular class or classes to be sold, at not less than 
the affixed value to be made by five naval officers, after 
public advertising. The Board, consisting of Winslow and 
others, examined the vessels, affixed a price, the vessels 
were advertised, six or seven bids were made for the Oneota 
and Catawba. Every bidder failed; some were bogus. 
Eventually Swift & Co., the original builders, bought them 
at their affixed value. There were six other vessels of the 
same class and model, — five of which cost the Government 
more than these two, — for which mere nominal prices 
were offered, not one tenth their value. 

Swift & Co. and their associates have sold these vessels 
to the Peruvians — had undoubtedly contracted for them 
or for two of that class previously — at a much higher 
price than they gave. Of this, however, the Department 
knew nothing. No one supposed that any man or firm 
would invest half a million in an ironclad, as a matter of 
private speculation. But, because the parties purchasing 
received a large advance from Peru, the Retrenchment 
Committee insinuate fraud. 

The Government got the price at which these vessels 

> William Faxon, formerly Chief Clerk of the Department, had been 
made Assistant Secretary on Captain Fox's going to Russia, in 186(5. 



388 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES iji7NB20 

were valued by a board of its own ordering, a board whose 
integrity and capacity no one questions; any person or 
persons might have had them at that, or a higher price. 
There are six more of this class of vessels, the same 
model, equally good, which any one can have, but nobody 
wants at the same price. Yet this Retrenchment Commit- 
tee insinuate wrong. This is debased partisanship. It 
so happens that Faxon and the parties are all Republi- 
cans, or there would have been stronger assertions in all 
probabiUty. The wretched committee of partisans were 
distressed because they could find no vulnerable point 
to assail me, and, while unjustly assailing Faxon, they 
say "perhaps the Secretary" had an understanding, 
— "willing to wound but yet afraid to strike." These 
dirty, scandaUzing patriots ^ who devote their time to 
scandal and party electioneering instead of legitimate 
legislation, do not hesitate to insinuate falsehoods or 
traduce character. 

The President put a veto on the Arkansas bogus con- 
stitution, and the House, unable to controvert his position, 
hastened to accept it by a two-thirds vote. One cannot 
but be ashamed at the debased and subservient partisan- 
ship which could not exhibit a single independent mind in 
behalf of the Federal Constitution and of the great prin- 
ciples on which our political system is founded, among 
the Radical majority. 

June 22, Monday. Mr. Merritt came to see me yester- 
day. Was in a good deal of distress in consequence of the 
attempts to belie and misrepresent me for his transaction. 
Knowing, as he did, my entire ignorance of the whole trans- 
action attending his purchase and sale, — that I was not 
even aware of his connection with Swift & Co., or that 
the vessels were for Peru, — ignorant himself, as I verily 
believe, of any wrong, he seems shocked at the malignity 
and defamatory exhibition of his political party friends. 
I assured him that the slanders and insulting assaults 



1868] THE ATTACK ON McCULLOCH 389 

would not seriously disturb me, although I claimed no 
exemption from sensitive feelings under such calumnies. 

Letters were received to-day from the European, North 
and South Atlantic, and North Pacific Squadrons. All in 
pretty good condition imd doing well. 

The midshipmen had a merry week at West Point. Miss 
Loyal, who was there, writes Mrs. Welles that she was 
mortified to hear Mrs. General Grant speak with confidence 
of her occupjring the White House next season. But she is 
an ambitious and outspoken woman; her husband has 
more cunning and more reticence. 

Vice-Admiral Porter exhibits a good deal of duplicity. 
He and the Board reported strongly against a young or- 
phan boy who has no relatives. I ordered him to join the 
practice ships. Porter, who had resisted this, writes to 

B 's friend Mrs. Ann Stephens, that it was his act, 

etc., etc. His double-dealing in De Camp's case I do not 
forget, and there are repeated instances of his insincerity 
and untruthfulness. 

June 23, Tuesday. Seward was at Cabinet-meeting. 
He returned Sunday morning from Auburn. Has been 
absent about a fortnight. The attacks of the Intelligencer 
on McCuUoch commenced while S. was absent. He gener- 
ally contrives to get away when one of his explosions is ta 
take place. McCulloch is friendly to Chase and wants him 
nominated and elected. Seward does not, and would be 
willing to see any active friend of Chase's stricken down. 
I am inclined to think that McCulloch is more earnest for 
Chase than he would care to have known, — more than 
he, perhaps, is aware of. But Seward and Weed are imr 
placable in their hostility to the Chief Justice, and McC.'b 
adroitness in his behalf is more than counteracted by the 
two old stagers. But I question if McCulloch knows, 
or even suspects, the somrce of the intrigue against him. 
The President, I apprehend, has an idea prompted by the 
same set that it would benefit him were McCullod) to* 



890 DIARY OP GIDEON WELLES [junb 23 

leave the Cabinet; but in this he is mistaken. That Mc- 
Culloch has erred, greatly erred, in appointing to and re- 
taining in office a herd of violent, vindictive, and offensive 
Radicals there is no doubt. I have repeatedly cautioned 
him on this head; but I don't think Seward has done so, 
and McCuUoch has always believed, and still does per- 
haps, that Thurlow Weed was his special friend. He has 
also believed that Seward was friendly, and has had no 
suspicion that his support of Chase could cause any alien- 
ation. 

Governor Buckingham of Connecticut has been quite 
sick in Illinois. Under the impression that he might die, 
the Radicals made haste to legislate so as to secure the 
office ^ to a partisan. A large portion of the legislation of 
this, and also the last, Congress, was mere party scheming, 
while great public interests have been neglected. In the 
case of Governor Buckingham, he is likely to save them 
trouble by recovering from his illness. The papers report 
that he is much better, and about going to Chicago, where 
he can be better served. 

June 24, Wednesday. The President has nominated Mr. 
Evarts to be Attorney-General. It is doubtful whether he 
will be confirmed, and yet there is no reason why he should 
not be. I am surprised that the President should nominate 
him, and surprised that he should accept the office. But 
the finger of Seward is in this. As a lawyer Mr. E. is at 
the head of the bar; as a politician he is the opposite of the 
President. He can, however, accommodate himself pretty 
readily to any party and any set of principles, — views 
them much as he does his clients. The Senate might con- 
firm him without question, for he has avowed himself a 
Radical and opposed to the President's policy, although 
he was one of his counsel in the impeachment case. 

Mr. Pruyn tells me that Seymour or Chase will be nom- 

> William A. Buckingham, the War Governor of Connecticut, had been 
elected Senator to succeed Dizon. He took baa seat March 4, 1869. 



18681 THREAT OF ANOTHER IMPEACHMENT 891 



inated at New York. " But, " said I, "Seymour has per- 
emptorily and repeatedly signified his refusal." "Well," 
said he, " that is so, but if ^he Convention should nominate 
him, I have no doubt he would yield." Pruyn is of Albany,, 
one of the leading Democratic minds of New York, and he 
speaks, I have no doubt, the purpose and intention of the 
leaders of that party in that State, which does not mean 
Chase. I am sorry there is not more sincerity, frankness, 
and straightforward conduct among New York party 
leaders. A good and righteous man, such as we now have, 
should not be injured by such duplicity. 

June 25, Thursday. The President has nominated Col- 
lector Smythe of New York Minister to Austria, — an 
appointment that should not have been made, and I cannot 
suppose will be confirmed. In this, as well as Evarts' 
nomination, I see the finger of Weed and Seward. Perry 
Fuller, an improper selection for such a place, is nominated 
Commissioner of Internal Revenue. These nominations 
and some other movements leave little doubt on my mind 
that the President has hopes of a renomination, and there 
are those around him who encourage the delusion. I look 
upon it as beyond the bounds of probability, almost of 
possibility. He desires to be victor over the conspirators, 
more than the ofiice. 

June 26, Friday. Seward opened his budget to-day with 
statements in regard to three or four unimportant consuls. 
Grave matters for the Cabinet, while important appoint- 
ments are slipped through in a different manner! But the 
President himself is not without fault in this respect. Some 
strange and singular appointments have been made from 
time to time without consulting any one, — certainly none 
of his Cabinet. 

Intimations of another movement for impeachment by 
Thad Stevens are thrown out, — it is said, however, not with 
any expectation that the House will adopt the charges, but 



392 DIART OF GIDEON WELLES [junb 20 

that Stevens may make a speech, and that the charges 
may be suspended over the President. I doubt if the malig* 
nant and vicious old man will make this demonstration, 
but he likes notoriety and power, and his threat exhibits 
both to his satisfaction. 



LXI 

A Proclaination of General Amnesty read in Cabinet — Jefferson Davis the 
only Person excepted — The Firesident draws up another making no 
Exception — The New York Convention nominates Horatio Sesrmour 
and Francis P. Blair — An Unfortunate Nomination — The Result 
brought about by the Tammany Managers — Disappointment of the 
President — Seward Close-mouthed on the Nominations — Convei^ 
sation with the President in regard to Seward, Stanton, and McCuDoch 

— Doolittle invited to become an Independent Candidate — The Flre- 
sident prepares a Message recommending Certain Changes in the Coa^ 
Btitution — Cabinet Discussion of it — A Talk with Montgomery Blair 

— The Blairs and the President — Evarts takes his Seat in the Cabinet 

— The Two New Cabinet Members, Schofield and Evarts — John A. 
Griswold claiming Credit for the Monitor to the Exclusion of the Navy 
Department — Congress, instead of adjourning, takes a Recess tffl 
September 21 — Seward reads in Cabinet a Proclamation relating to 
the Fourteenth Amendment — General Banks and the Navy Yard 
Appointments — Conditions in Georgia. 



July 1. Much confusion prevails among Democrats 
lative to a candidate for President. Delegates to the Con- 
vention which meets at New York on the 4th, and many 
who are not delegates, have passed through Washingtcm; 
others are now here. The aspect of things does not please 
me. There has been mismanagement and weakness in New 
York, and little vigor or right intention anywhere. A per* 
sonal demonstration, and extremely partisan too, has been 
made for Pendleton, who will probably have the largest vote 
of any candidate at the commencement, but who will not 
be allowed to be nominated. He may, in the excess of 
party feeling, demonstration, and excitement, be nomin- 
ated, though it seems hardly possible for sensible men to 
make such a blunder. Chase, who is conspicuous as an 
opponent of the Democrats, as a negro suflfragist, and, until 
recently, as a Reconstructionist, is strongly pressed. The 
New-Yorkers appear to have surrendered all principle in 
a feeble, sprawling anxiety to triumph, and will thereby 



394 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [july i 

endanger success. Possibly they have overmanaged in re- 
gard to Pendleton, who has been fostered as an auxiliary, 
merely, to New York. 

The President, I perceive, has strong hopes of a nomina- 
tion. But what he might have made a certainty is, by him- 
self and his course, placed beyond the confines of possibil- 
ity. He has said nothing to me direct, and I am glad of it, 
for it would be a subject of extreme embarrassment to me. 

Hancock seems a fair man. I know not his mental 
strength, but have a favorable opinion of it. In many 
respects he would make a good candidate; he has a good 
military record, and the military feehng is prevailing at 
this time. His indorsement of Stanton two or three years 
ago in New York is to his discredit. I have no doubt it was 
procured by Stanton himself through Jere Black, — a 
political manoeuvre in which H. was used. Hendricks would 
unite as many as any one, perhaps, and is a politician as 
good, perhaps, as any suggested of the anti-War Demo- 
crats. He and Hancock have appeared to me most likely 
to strike the Convention favorably, provided it is com- 
posed of sagacious, fair-minded men, unshackled by per- 
sonal favoritism, and if the majority can swing clear of the 
great tidal wave of New York which moves for party and 
not for country. 

Doolittle is a fair and good man, whom I should name, 
if by so doing he would be made President. But he is young 
and less prominent than others, and the party Democrats 
are making too much haste to get power for such a man. 

The President has read to us a form of proclamation 
plepared by Seward for general amnesty. As usual, the 
paper is a little verbose and less direct than I like. Except 
tion was made of such persons as are under indictment. 
The President, I saw, was not pleased with that part of the 
document; asked how many there were under indictment, 
why prolong this unhappy controversy by such a clause. 
Seward thought that was as restricted as we could make 



1868] PROCLAMATION OP AMNESTY 395 

it. There were but two men, — Davis and Surratt. I 
asked if exceptions were to be made, and there were but 
two, why not name them. I thought, however, Surratt 
was arraigned for a criminal, personal matter, rather than 
treason. The President said that was so, and there is 
really but one man, — Davis. 

After the others left. Browning and myself remained 
and went over the papers again. I suggested that the pre- 
amble did not bring out as distinctly as I wished the fi^ct 
that since the proclamation of May, 1865, — his first pro- 
clamation for amnesty, — there had been no armed or 
organized resistance to the Federal authorities. Browning 
agreed with me, and the President took the idea. He said 
he should revise the document and wished us to reflect 
upon it and make suggestions. He particularly desired we 
should consider the subject of an unqualified amnesty to 
all, without any exception. 

July 2, Thursday. The New York Convention absorbs 
more attention than Congress, which, in fact, is little 
else than a party convention. I give little heed to the mapy 
strange rumors that prevail; but, looking on, I am con- 
strained to believe there is not much candid, enlightened 
intelligence as yet displayed. The New-Yorkers have over- 
refined. Have held up, restrained, and not concentrated 
sentiment. In the anticipation that there would not be 
unity they have designedly left matters loose, and they 
continue so. If they supposed they should thereby 
eventually control the result and have their own man, 
they may have failed. Chase or Pendleton may have be- 
come too strong to be controlled. Our New York friends 
purposely scattered, and may not be able to rule, the ele- 
ments. 

The President to-day laid before Browning and myself 
his proposed proclamation. It is essentially different from 
Seward's paper, and is without ''exception." Browning 
thought this a mistake, said they would try again to im- 



396 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [july2 

peach, etc. The President wished to know if they would 
frame an article based on his amnesty. I saw he was de- 
cided, and remarked he must, for himself, judge of the 
^cpediency. There was this fact: if Jeff Davis were tried 
and not convicted, we should have a strange and unsatis- 
factory result. Could he be convicted by any jury where 
he can be legally tried? 

July 6, Monday. Went to Hampton Roads, the Capes, 
and Norfolk on the evening of the 3d and returned this 
morning. A pleasant respite on the 4th and Sunday. 
Fox, Faxon, Commodore Jenkins, etc., etc., were of the 
party. Commodore Kilty, Rodgers,^ and others were glad 
to see us at the Norfolk Yard, and came with us to Fortress 
Monroe on the evening of the 4th to witness the military 
display of fireworks. A great crowd were assembled in 
and about the fort. General Barry, who is now in com- 
mand, and his friends received us most hospitably and 
kindly. 

July 7, Tuesday. While at the President's, two tele- 
grams were received from the Convention in New York, 
stating the result of the ballots to nominate candidate 
for President. Pendleton leads, as was expected, and the 
President was next, which was not expected. Most of his 
votes must have been from the South. The vote of New 
York was given for Sanford E. Church. This, I told those 
present, was a blind and meant Seymour, that the New- 
Yorkers intended Seymour should be the candidate, and 
Sesrmour also intended it, provided he became satisfied 
he would secure the nomination; but, imless certain, he 
would persist in declining. New York, I said, had been 
playing an insincere game; had, though the headquarters 
and management of the party was in New York, de- 
signated no one; had not tried to concentrate, but had 
endeavored to scatter, and, for effect, have several names 

> Captain C. B. P. RodgetB. 



1868] THE NEW YORK CONVENTION 387 

presented. Puny efiforts for local candidates like English 
of Connecticut, Parker of New Jersey, Packer of Penn- 
sylvania, as well as Church of New York, were encouraged, 
but all this frittering away strength meant Seymour> 
New York will control the Convention. McCulloch and 
Browning thought that the Pendleton men would control, 
— that they probably would not get two thirds for him, 
but that they could say who should or should not be the 
man. "If they move in a body," said I, "but that they 
will not do. When they break from Pendleton, they will 
scatter, and ultimately be gathered for Seymour." 

Seward during the conversation said nothing, and he 
made a point to leave early. The President was evidently 
gratified with the vote he received, and the cheers when 
it was announced. 

July 8, Wednesday. The platform of the Convention is 
not so good as I expected. The Pendleton policy controls, 
but it is pretty certain he will not get the nomination. If 
the New-Yorkers cannot carry Seymour they will likely 
go for Chase, though he gets no nomination or support 
at present. At the close of the day's session the run was 
for Hancock and Hendricks. The fear that Hancocl^ 
might succeed prompted an adjournment, and there will 
be intrigue to-night, — perhaps a union on Chase, though 
I can hardly believe it. Seymour, if nominated, will be 
defeated. Hancock, if the candidate, will be elected. Some 
speculations are thrown out for English, but it is mere 
flummery, though the Connecticut delegates do not imder- 
stand it. They have done better than New Jersey, which 
still holds out for Parker. The President's vote is falling 
off. There h8ts never been any intention to nominate 
him, except by a few earnest friends in Tennessee and 
perhaps a few in some of the Southern States. Seward i3 
a stumbling-block for him. 

July 9, Thursday. Horatio Seymour and F. P. Blair, Jr., 



898 DIARY OP GIDEON WELLES Ijuly9 

were nominated President and Vice-President at New 
York. Ohio dropped Pendleton and went unanimously 
for Seymour. This was followed by other States success- 
ively, ending in a unanimous vote. "A spontaneous move- 
ment," say Seymour's friends, "Unexpected," "A general 
recognition of the first statesman in the country," etc., 
with much similar nonsense. The threatened demonstra- 
tion for Chase appears to have alarmed the Pendletonians, 
who dislike him. All worked as New York intended. The 
friends of Pendleton were imwilling, I judge, that Chase, 
Hendricks, or any Western man should be selected, lest 
it might interfere with P.'s futiu-e prospects. We shall 
know more in a day or two. 

I do not consider the nomination a fortunate one for 
success or for results. Seymour has intellect, but not 
courage. His partyism predominates over patriotism. His 
nomination has been effected by duplicity, deceit, cunning 
management, and sharp scheming. He is a favorite leader 
of the Marcy school of Democrats in New York, if not of 
the Van Buren and Silas Wright school. A general feeling 
of disappointment will prevail on the first reception of 
the nomination, discouraging to Union men, but this will 
be likely to give way in the exciting election contest to the 
great questions involved. The Radicals will take courage 
for a moment from the mistakes of the Democrats. 

I was at the President's when the telegram announcing 
Seymour's nomination was received. The President was 
calm and exhibited very little emotion, but I could see he 
was disturbed and disappointed. He evidently had con- 
siderable expectation. 

The nomination of Blair with Seymour gives a ticket 
which is not homogeneous. Blair is bold, resolute, and de- 
termined; has sagacity as well as will. His recent letter 
enunciates his policy and the underlying principles of the 
present contest. Seymour, more timid and calculating, 
does not take the ground openly; but the Radicals will 
force the Democrats to accept or reject the doctrines. In 



1868] THE NOMINATIONS 399 

nominating Blair after the publication of his letter, the 
Democrats are committed to his views, if there be anything 
in partyism. Throughout the whole proceedings prelim- 
inary to and attending this convention to its close, there 
has been, on the part of the New York politicians, a selfish^ 
ness that has narrowed their vision and a want of sagacity 
and enlarged and comprehensive views that is surprising. 
The end has not yet been reached. They have put in 
jeopardy an election which they might have made certain. 

When President Johnson refused to adopt the plans and 
schemes of the Radicals to exclude the Southern States 
from Congress and to impose upon them constitutions, 
laws, and governments by Federal authority, he caused 
a rupture of the Republican Party which, had he been 
cordially seconded by the Democrats, would have insured 
the defeat of the Radicals, for the better portion of the 
Republicans concurred with him and the Democrats^ 
His course was so correct on the subject of Reconstruction, 
the rights of the States, and kindred measiu-es that the 
Democrats were generally disposed to sustain him and 
identify themselves with his Administration, but the man- 
aging Tammany men of New York, apprehensive that 
this might affect the organization and discipline of Tam- 
many, while they encouraged and supported the Presid- 
ent's policy, were careful not to identify themselves with 
and indorse the President himself, to whom they and the 
country were so much indebted. Confident that the senti- 
ment of the country was against the Radical usurpations, 
and glad to avail themselves of that sentiment, they feared 
that the President, who boldly fought those intrigues, a 
man whom they did not elect, might become popular; 
they were distant, cold, reserved towards him. 

Most of the Democratic managers had been opposed 
to the War and War measures, had opposed the election 
and reelection of Lincoln and Johnson, had sympathized 
with the Secessionists, and, in their national convention, 
declared the War a failure. Their unpatriotic and dis- 



400 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [julyo 

union course had kept them m minority for years, from 
which they now, by the folly and extreme measiu-es of 
the Radicals, who had become disunionists not by seces- 
sion but by exclusion, expected to be relieved, and they 
were impatient to be in power. 

But while a large majority of the people were opposed 
to the vicious, usurping, and centralizing schemes of the 
Radicals, they were not ready to place a Copperhead or 
anti-War Democrat at the head of the Republic. The great 
mistake of the New York Democratic managers was in 
supposing that the Radical measures were so atrocious that 
the people would accept and vote for almost any man, even 
those who were on the opposite extreme. The memories 
of the War were not, however, forgotten; there was dis- 
like and distrust of the men who opposed it, and there was 
still a strong military feeling prevailing. Neither of these 
elements could give a cordial support to Seymour or any 
one like him. 

But the New-Yorkers had neither the tolerance, tact, 
nor judgment to wait events, give resentment time to cool, 
and permit a War Democrat to be chosen. They would not 
allow Hancock or even Hendricks to be nominated. They 
feared Johnson might be. There was an excuse for the 
New-Yorkers' not supporting Johnson, because he had 
retained Seward, whom they abominated, and to whom 
they could not be reconciled. But why oppose and exclude 
Hancock, a much more popular man with the military 
than Grant, a man of more intelligence, and greater ca- 
pacity, and who, if nominated, would be elected? The 
reason was that the Tammany politicians were deter- 
mined to have Seymour, who was neither a military man, 
nor a friend to the War for the Union. 

What, therefore, might have been a certainty, the New 
York managers have made an imcertainty. They have 
professed to have no candidate, — were willing to unite 
on whoever was nominated, —but have intrigued through- 
out to prevent any man from being nominated but Sey« 



186B] THE TAMMANY MANAGERS' MISTAKE 401 

mour. As capable politicians, New York being the great 
State and New York City the headquarters of the party, 
to have designated and united on one or two men who would 
have been acceptable to the country would have brought 
success. Instead of this they professed indifference, en- 
couraged Chase, fostered Pendleton, mentioned Hendricks, 
and, having the matter in their own hands, voted for 
Saniford E. Church, whom they intended should not be 
nominated, and who had not been mentioned. 

Had the Tanmiany managers who make party a trade 
been sufficiently disinterested and patriotic to have stood 
back and let a War Democrat opposed to Radical usurpa- 
tions be nominated, Seymour might, four years hence, be 
brought forward with success, for he has intellect, but it is 
given more to party than to country. If he fails now, he 
fails forever, and I fear our Federal Union will fail also 
and consolidation obtain an endiuing ascendancy. 

July 10, Friday. The President was, I thought, more 
affected to-day than yesterday, but was quite reticent on 
the nominations. McCulloch and Browning expressed, 
and evidently felt, great dissatisfaction, — said Seymour 
was, next to Pendleton, the worst selection which could 
have been made. I said it was not, save in financial mat- 
ters, preferable to Pendleton; that P., though a demagogue, 
had played no double game, or cheated and bamboozled 
his friends, but Seymour and the New York managers had. 

McCulloch lamented the failiure of Chase, who, he 
says would have certainly succeeded had not Seymour 
been taken up, but it was foreordained that Chase should 
not, and Seymom" should be, nominated. I told him I had 
no regrets for Chase, though I greatly preferred him to 
Seymoiu". Browning united with McCulloch in the belief 
that Chase would have got more popular votes than any 
other man. 

There is a strange desire to make these matters personal. 
Leading politicians are almost invariably in fault in that 

8 



402 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES uuly lo 

respect. They fancy the people are led away by a promin- 
ent orator or politician, regardless of principles. A great 
mistake. They will abandon a favorite who is in error. 
But when a favorite agrees with them in principles, there 
is a feeling of enthusiasm aroxmd that is irresistible. Sey- 
mour can arouse no such enthusiasm, because, though in 
feeling and conviction he may now be with the people, 
he is timid and insincere. ''There is a tide in the affairs 
of men," but just at this time the tide, I fear, is not with 
Seymour, though he has got the nomination. 

Seward was very close-mouthed, and got away as soon 
as he could. I shall not be surprised if he goes for Grant. 
Yet his friend and crony Thurlow Weed has left the coun- 
try, as I have sometimes thought to avoid taking part in 
this campaign, when Seward cannot perhaps go with him. 
They were both accused of favoring Seymour, covertly, 
against Wadsworth for Governor in 1862. 

July 11, Saturday. Senator Doolittle called this morn- 
ing to breakfast, having just arrived from New York. 
He is sore, and dissatisfied with New York trickery and 
management. We went together to the President, with 
whom I had an appointment at ten. They both mani- 
fested feelings almost of resentment. I felt as much disgust 
towards the proceedings and towards Seymour's nomina- 
tion as either of them, but said: ''Here is Grant, ignorant, 
untruthful, and unreliable, as we all know, and behind 
him is the important question of State rights as against 
central despotism. Much as we may dislike Seymour and 
the disingenuousness of our New York friends, our course 
is plain. Seymour, though a heartless politician, timid, 
selfish, and the devotee of party discipline and party 
management, will be compelled to go with his friends, 
whom he has the sagacity to know to be right. Grant we 
know to be wholly incompetent." To this both assented. 
The President spoke with some bitterness, I thought, of 
Blair's letter, as overturning things, etc. I inquired if 




/ >v- 



JAMES R. DOOLITTLE 



18681 TALK WITH THE PBESIDENT 403 

they were not to be overturned, — whether these fraud- 
ulent governments unposed on the States by a usurping 
Congress were to be sanctioned and legalized, or whether 
the legitimate governments were to be permitted in time 
to regain their place. The President went into the library 
without a word. Doolittle conversed with me. 

On other occasions, when I have brought forward these 
points, the President has been disinclined to discuss them. 
They have never been matters of Cabinet discussion, — 
that is, the future of these Reconstruction questions. I 
have no doubt that Seward is for submission, acquiescence, 
although he has never said so in words, but tJiat is the bent 
of his mind; and he easily influences the President. 

After Doolittle left and we had finished business, the 
President seemed inclined to talk. Said Seymour had not 
lifted a finger to sustain us through our three years' strug- 
gle, that those of us who had maintained the government 
and its true principles were wholly ignored, that the Demo- 
cratic Party had for twelve years acted as if demented, 
and seemed determined to continue in error. 

I assented to the fact of their erroneous and factious 
course, and to their present mistakes; but remarked, in 
justice to the mass of the New York Democrats and those 
of some other States, that they could not and would not 
give their confidence to Mr. Seward and were unwilling 
to identify themselves with an administration where he 
was a ruling spirit. Neither he nor Seymour could win the 
confidence of party opponents. The nominations being 
over, we might look at this subject truthfully and philo- 
sophically. 

The President was a little annoyed, I observed, that he 
had introduced the matter, and that Doolittle, before 
he left, had said the great error was in retaining Stanton, 
when over two years ago we knew he was intriguing against 
us. 

The President did not controvert my remark, but, as if 
by way of defense, said there had been more complaint 



404 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [jult ii 

against McCulloch and the Treasury than agamst all 
others. He did not mean to say there was cause for it, or 
that it was justifiable, but he mentioned the fact and the 
difficulties he had to encounter. I replied that McCulloch 
was himself a capable financier and an honest man, but 
he had committed a great error in retaining Rollins,^ 
Chandler, and other Radicals here, and permitting them 
to crowd in swarms of Radicals all over the country. I 
believed him, however, a true friend of [the President] 
personally, and of the Administration. 

I again remarked that I spoke freely, as he had intro- 
duced the subject; that, the issues and the tickets of the 
two great parties being made up and before the country, 
it could not be supposed I had any motive to influence 
those questions, and I supposed that the two men (Seward 
and McCulloch) would continue with him to the close. 
Without expressing either assent or dissent in words, he 
left the impression that such was the case. 

July 14, Tuesday. The Democrats and conservatives do 
not yet get reconciled to the New York nominations. It 
was undoubtedly a mistake, but they must support it as 
preferable to Grant in his ignorance and Radicalism in its 
wickedness. It will not do to sacrifice the country from 
mere prejudice against, or partiality for, men. I judge 
from what I hear that Chase and his friends felt a degree 
of confidence that he would be the nominee. He had, I 
have no doubt, the money interest in his favor. 

When I went to Cabinet to-day, only Seward was in the 
council room. He said, jocosely, that he understood I was 
for the New York nominations and he opposed to them. 
Said the papers so stated. I observed that I had not 
seen the statement, but I had no hesitation in saying I was 
opposed to Grant and the Radicals, and, consequently, I 
had, under the circumstances no alternative but to go for 

^ E. A. Rollins, Commissioner of Internal Revenue and, like Chandler, 
a New Hampshire man. 



18681 DOOLITTLE; declines to run 405 

Seymour. I tried to draw from him some expression but 
without success. Others came in, and he turned the con- 
versation. 

The President submitted the Edmunds law excluding 
the electoral vote of certain States. Seward declared him- 
self very explicitly opposed to this, and so did every mem- 
ber present. Browning wanted a short message of not more 
than ten lines. The President said he was willing any of us 
should prepare a veto. No one volunteered. From Sew- 
ard's remarks I supposed he would do it, if requested, and 
he so said before we left, and though his reasons and mine 
would not be in all respects alike, I could not compete with 
him. The President would, in any event, make Seward's 
the groundwork of his message, if S. prepared one. 

July 17, Friday. The weather has been so intensely 
warm that I have tried to keep cool, and, in those dark 
evenings without a light, have been disinclined to write, 
although I feel guilty in not noting occiurences as they 
take place. Some are of interest and may be adverted to 
hereafter. There is, apparently, unappeasable discontent 
with the New York nominations. Perhaps I hear more of 
the complaints than others. Senator Doolittle a day or 
two since stated he had a letter from a number of persons 
in Pennsylvania, expressing dissatisfaction with the candi- 
dates — they could not vote for Seymour — and inviting 
Doolittle to be a candidate. He wished to consult me as to 
his answer. I said there was but one course and that was to 
decline. I was more and more satisfied the nomination of 
Seymour was not judicious, but there is now no alternative 
but to support and try to elect the ticket. That would 
save the government, reconcile sections, and give us peace. 
He said he concurred with me, and had a letter partly pre- 
pared which he intended to have brought with him. 

The President read a veto which he had prepared on the 
Edmunds Bill excluding certain States from casting elect- 
oral votes, or, if cast, to prevent them from being coimted. 



406 DIARY OP GIDEON WELLES [jult 17 

The veto is very well done and, I think, is the President's 
own work. 

He afterwards laid before us a message suggesting 
sundry alterations of the Constitution. I was uncomfort- 
able while it was being read, for I could perceive it was 
a favored bantling which he had prepared with some care. 

Seward, at once, and on its conclusion, met the subject 
frankly and candidly. Said he made no objection to the 
document as an exhibit of the President's own personal 
views, but he did object to its giving-out as an Admin- 
istration or Cabinet paper. He could readily assent to 
some of the propositions, to others he could not, and, as a 
general thing, did not admire changes of the fundamental 
law. He did not wish the Presidential term lengthened, 
nor did he wish there should be a prohibition to reelect. 

McCuUoch said as a general thing he was against consti- 
tutional changes, but thought it well for the President to 
present his views. He rather liked extending the term. 
Browning had never given the subject much thought, but 
was favorably impressed with the suggestions that were 
made. 

Schofield and Randall said very little. I concurred gen- 
erally in the remarks of Seward, but excepted, which he did 
not, to the encroachments proposed to be made on the fed- 
eration features of our system. I was not for taking away 
from the States the single sovereign vote in case there was 
no election on the first trial. It was not, I think, the ex- 
pectation, when the Constitution was framed, that the elect- 
ors would be chosen by the people, but that they would 
be appointed by the legislatures of the States respectively. 
That feature had proved a failure, however. The legisla- 
tures had surrendered the choice of electors to the people, 
and I should prefer that the people should vote direct for 
the candidates than through the making of an electoral 
ticket. If there was no election and the choice went back 
to the people, I should, in that event, wish each State to 
give one vote and but one vote, whether the State was 



1868] THE PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE 407 

great or small, thus avoiding aggregation or consolida- 
tion in the election and preserving the distinctive charac- 
ter and equality of the States. So, as regards the Senators, 
I preferred they should be chosen by the legislatures in- 
stead of being elected by the people, as the President now 
suggested. The Senators were representatives of the States 
in their sovereign capacity. Members of the House were 
the direct representatives of the people. I would sacredly 
preserve the federation features of our system and did not 
care to popularize the Senators. And I long since had 
come to the conclusion that changes in the Constitution 
should be made with great care and caution. 

Perhaps I was not as full and emphatic on all these 
points as I wished to be, for I was subject to constant in- 
terruption. The President wished, evidently, no dissent to 
his suggestions. He has, I think, prepared this document 
under an impression that it will strike the popular pulse 
and possibly make him a candidate. 

Mistaken man, if such are his thoughts I This is no time 
to bring forward and encourage constitutional changes. 
There are other great and impending questions which su- 
persede theories and speculations like these, — questions 
affecting the character and stability of the government 
that must be met and disposed of. The President is, no 
doubt, sincere in his propositions, but he evidently has not 
thoroughly examined and considered the subject in all its 
bearings. He has not reflected on the compromises which 
were made by the States when surrendering power and 
framing the Constitution, nor has he that deference and 
regard for the States and their dedicated rights, which are 
essential to union, that I should have expected. His pro- 
positions, without his intending it, are tending to a great 
consolidated central government instead of a federal 
union. 

Some one — Randall, I believe — asked which of tiie 
parties would adopt these recommendations, or if he ex- 
pected Seymour would adopt them. I did not fully eatoh 



408 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [july 17 

the inquiry^ but the Prasidenti with some vim, said we did 
not go to them, they must come to us. He did not know 
that they supported oiu: measures, and it would be well to 
understand how they stood on matters of principle, be- 
fore troubling ourselves about supporting their ticket. This 
seemed very like Seward, and I think comes from him. 
He looked much pleased when the remark was made. I am 
apprehensive that in his disappointment the President will 
permit himself to be persuaded to take a course which may 
give him much after regret. 

Montgomery Blair came to see me last evening, and re- 
ports matters at the New York nominating convention. 
He says Seymour was for Chase and so was a majority of 
the New York delegation. The final move for Seymour by 
the Ohio delegation prevented, he says, the nomination of 
Frank Blair, who was, he declares, the choice of the Con- 
vention. They were tricked out of it, etc. I make all allow- 
ance for Mongtomery Blair, for he is a very affectionate and 
devoted brother, and really thinks Frank the greatest man 
in the country. Frank has undoubtedly more courage than 
Seymour and greater sagacity and power than is generally 
supposed, but I cannot think he has any such hold on the 
popular mind as Montgomery supposes. A great many 
eminent men are favorable to him, — some that surprise 
me; but on the other hand there is a terrible prejudice 
against him by others. Thurlow Weed and Seward have 
done much to create this prejudice, and so have Chase and 
the Treasury agents, but Frank has unfortunately his own 
infirmities. The elder Blair is a remarkable man and has, 
in a long and political life, by his talents, power, and influ- 
ence, incurred enmities; and the whole family, by their 
bold denunciations, have raised an extensive feeling against 
them. I have found them honest, positive, egotistical, but 
remarkably sagacious, early to detect and prompt to ex- 
pose intrigue and fraud. 

The President is under great obligations to the Blairs, but 
Seward has succeeded in prejudicing him against them, — 



1868] EVARTS IN THE CABINET 400 

much to his own mjury, I apprehend. Montgomery BUdr 
does not conceal his defection from the President, who has 
treated his advice and warnings with but little respect, 
and in some instances has availed himself of information 
derived from Blair without giving credit and confidence 
in return. Blair says he thinks and hopes the President 
will oppose the Democratic ticket, and finally go for Grant. 
I do not, and I so told him. The President has been un* 
generously treated by leading Democrats, but the people 
respect him. 

July 21, Tuesday. Mr. Evarts appeared in Cabinet 
council to-day for the first time. He arrived in Washington 
on Sunday. This appointment makes Seward potent be- 
yond what he has hitherto been with the President, but 
that fact will not strengthen the Administration. Neither 
of the political parties like Seward. He is disliked by both, 
has not public confidence, and there is no afifection for him 
in any quarter. The President does not see this, nor will 
he; but from this time forward he will probably be too 
much under the combined influence of his Secretary of 
State and Attorney-General. 

Evarts is, naturally enough, much devoted to Seward, 
who has patronized, trained, and taught him, though 
Evarts is possessed of the superior intellect. The pupil ia 
more of a man than his tutor, and it is no disparagement 
to Seward, who himself is not a common man, to say so« 
But Evarts, though a remarkably clear-minded man, a 
stiff, sharp logician, a lawyer of extraordinary ability, is 
not a sagacious politician, has not got hold of the p6pular 
heart, nor can he do so. He is foremost in his profession, 
but a centralist in policy, with no political convictions. 
The important movement has brought Sohofield, the waf* 
rior, and Evarts, the lawyer, into the Cabinet. Both stand 
deservedly well in their professions, but, I apprehend,^ 
neither will prove serviceable administrative officers. Fpe- 
senden and Grimes, without personal partiality but.^m 



410 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [jult21 

abundant precaution, desired, after the unfortunate selec- 
tion of Lorenzo Thomas to discharge the duties of the War 
Department, that a discreet and judicious man should suc- 
ceed Stanton, which led to the appointment of Schofield; 
Evarts was brought in by Seward and his friends; the 
President quietly yielding but not selecting in either case. 
To Grimes and Fessenden and to Seward also he justly 
feels imder obligations, and has yielded to them in these 
appointments. 

I hope the President will not be induced to favor, in 
the least, the usurping Radical faction and their imconsti* 
tutional Reconstruction schemes. He cannot any more 
than myself be a personal admirer of Seymour, and, were 
the approaching election merely personal, neither of us 
could be interested in the result. Among prominent public 
men there are few in whom I have not greater confidence 
than Seymour. He is not a sincere man, and I cannot 
forget his persistent, wholesale, and disgraceful slanders of 
New England, his assaults on her population and institu- 
tions, so unjust and so unworthy a statesman of his pre- 
tensions, so uncalled-for and immerited. His speech some 
years since at St. Paul, intended as a bid for the Presidency, 
had the ingredients of a low-class politician. It was the 
more inexcusable for the reason of his having intellectual 
qualities, and also because he is of New England stock. 
But although he is personally the most objectionable to me 
of all the proposed Democratic candidates, nevertheless 
he is the selected opponent of Radicalism. I therefore 
support him in preference to Grant. 

The President will, I am confident, take the same view 
and do nothing to help Grant, unless persuaded by others, 
and only two men can do that. They are in position, and 
Evarts has openly taken ground for Grant months since, 
but the President, who detests Grant, knowing him to be 
untruthful and false-hearted, has appointed E. 

I have been anxious that the President should hasten his 
action on bills and send in his vetoes promptly, in order 



lg68i CARPET-BAGGERS IN CONGRESS 411 

that Congress might adjourn early^ but he seems disin- 
clined to facilitate their departure. Says they have wasted 
time, that we are compelled to wait here through the sum- 
mer, and that they can endure the heat as well as we. Sim- 
ilar remarks were made by Randall and Seward. I think 
it a mistake. 

July 2Aj Friday. The recklessness and disregard of the 
organic law and of the great principles of morality and 
right by the Radicals become daily more and more appar- 
ent. Their own will, schemes, and intrigues they consider 
paramoimt to the Constitution. Tests and test oaths are 
manufactured with facility to exclude by legislative enact- 
ments their opponents, and laws and usage are set aside 
with equal facility to favor their own partisans. 

A very large number of "carpet-baggers" are now ad- 
mitted into each house of Congress, and the more consider- 
ate of the Radicals begin to manifest apprehensions that 
these, with the extremists, will control all legislation. 
Seward declares that this has been his reliance, and that 
therefore he has advised to let them have their own way, 
fully satisfied they would not long harmonize. That he has 
abstained from opposition, and yielded, and urged the 
President to yield, until the Administration is powerless, 
and the government has become changed, are palpable 
facts. How the government is to right itself and the true 
principles of the Constitution be reinstated are matters 
beyond his grasp. His advice and influence in this regard 
have been neither profound, wise, nor fortunate. 

The public do not get reconciled to the nomination of 
Seymour and Blair. The indifference, not to say aversion, 
is deeper, more extreme, and less easily reconciled than I 
anticipated. I trust it may not continue and thus lose the 
election. It was without doubt an imfortunate selection, 
made under bad leadership, by a body which did not, and 
does not, realize the true condition of affairs. The occa- 
sion demanded the sacrifice of all personal considerations 



412 DIARY OP GIDEON WELLES [jult 84 

for the good of the country, but New York intrigue and 
personal spite and disappointment of the Pendletonians 
defeated Hendricks and Hancock. The country was sacri- 
ficed for personal considerations. I still have hope the 
people will rally to save the Constitution, — to rescue and 
restore it and to vindicate the cause of free government 
and self-government, — but it is not to be denied that our 
federal republic system is in danger. The election of Grant 
will ratify and confirm the usurpations which have been 
made, yet there are some, I fear many, good men who are 
not entirely divested of the War feeling, and who, in con- 
sequence of their dislike and distrust of Seymour, threaten 
to go for Grant or not vote at all. 

Little of special interest to-day in Cabinet, and the Pre- 
sident was not communicative in relation to appointments, 
of which he is making many in which it is supposed we 
more or less participate. I am importuned on these mat- 
ters outside, but, unless requested, I am not disposed to 
intermeddle out of my own Department, though one or 
two others do. 

July 25, Saturday. Received yesterday p.m. a resolution 
calling for the contract, payment, facts in relation to con- 
struction, etc., of the original Monitor, and replied at some 
length to-day. I participated in getting this resolution 
passed, in order to give the public the true history of the 
case, now gravely misrepresented. John A. Griswold, a 
wealthy iron-master and Member of Congress, has been 
nominated a candidate for Governor of New York by the 
Radicals, and there has been, and is, a persistent attempt 
to give him false credit in regard to the Monitor, and this 
by systematic and deliberate falsehood and injustice to 
the Department. Mr. Griswold is deserving of some credit. 
He was one of Ericsson's sureties and assisted in his finan- 
cial necessities. As such he is deserving of praise, even if 
he went into the concern as a business operation, which I 
suppose he did. He and his associates, I have understood. 



18681 GRISWOLD AND THE MONITOR 418 

were willing to hazard each $10,000 in the confident ex* 
pectation it would, as it did, prove a good investment. 

After the services of the Monitor at Hampton Roads, 
Winslow, one of the associates with Griswold, was very 
importunate and persistent in the claim that he and those 
associated with him should have the exclusive privilege of 
building all that class of vessels for the Govemm^it. 
Whilst treating him politely, I assured him his demand 
could not be complied with; that, if allowable, they could 
not of themselves furnish all the vessels that were wanted. 
He said they would sublet, and insisted they were en* 
titled to this privilege as much as if they had procured 
a patent. The claim was preposterous, and I refused to 
recognize it, but they were given contracts for several 
vessels. 

General Benjamin F, Butler declared a few days since 
on the floor of the House, and Mr. Griswold's biographers 
assert, that he advanced the money for building the Mon- 
itor, that he had no remuneration until after the fight with 
the Merrimac, all of which is false. The work of building 
the Monitor was paid for as it progressed. Six payments 
were made between the middle of November and 3d of 
March, before the vessel was completed and delivered. 
The last and final payment, save the reservation which by 
contract was to be retained until after a satisfactory test, 
was made before she left New York on her trial trip. Yet 
the Hon. Mr. Griswold, knowing the facts, himself a party, 
sat quietly in his seat and took to himself this false credit 
without one word of explanation or any justice to the Navy 
Department. His biographers have, I am persuaded by his 
connivance, not only made the same statement as Butler, 
but have gone farther and tried to ignore the Navy De- 
partment, or have slandered and belied it by declaring the 
Secretary was opposed, or only gave a negative support^ 
to Mr. Griswold and his associates. 

Not only this; Chaplain Boynton, the historian of the 
Navy during the Rebellion, was subsidized — I have no 



414 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES ijuly26 

doubt — and induced to give a distorted and unjust state- 
menty in which praise and glory are given to Griswold to 
which he was not entitled. In this way a fictitious charac- 
ter is manufactured for a party candidate by injustice to 
others. 

July 27, Monday. In conversation with Senator Doo- 
little yesterday, he informed me that the President in- 
tended to nominate Alexander Cummings for Commis- 
sioner of Internal Revenue. He wished to know if I was 
acquainted with Cummings, wished me to see the Pre- 
sident, and suggested the name of Judge Bradley of Rhode 
Island. 

I called at the President's an hour or two later and 
among other matters brought up the subject of the 
Commissioner of Internal Revenue. Jeffries, who had 
earnestly sought the place and had the support of McCul- 
loch, was rejected by the Senate on Saturday night by an 
overwhelming vote. At one time it was thought he would 
be confirmed, and there are various rumors in regard to him. 
He is accused of double-dealing, — of making promises to 
both parties, — there is scandal, etc., etc. I thought the 
President did not seem grieved greatly at Jeffries' rejec- 
tion, and he said to me he proposed sending in the name of 
Cummings. I remarked that Cummings was a very par- 
ticular friend of Cameron, and expressed a doubt as to his 
reliabihty, — particularly where Cameron was interested. 
There had, I added, also been nunors and charges hereto- 
fore against him, but as he has since passed the ordeal of 
nomination and confirmation to a responsible office, I sup- 
pose those charges must have been explained and dis- 
proved. 

The President said he had heard something of those 
rumors, but he thought he could depend upon Cummings, 
even against Cameron. 

This morning, when at the Capitol with the President 
and Cabinet, I found Seward very busy about appoint- 



1868] CONGRESS TAKES A RECESS 415 

mentS; and among others, about Cummings, whom he 
indorsed as a capital man for the place, — no better could 
be found. Witnessing his movements and hearing his re- 
marks, I remembered old intimacies between Seward and 
Cameron. In this connecting link I can see how move- 
ments are going on for Grant and the Radicals in quarters 
which the President does not suspect. Not that it is cer- 
tain Cummings will support Grant. He likely will not, but, 
in the position of Conmiissioner, he might, if circumstances 
required, have been influenced by Seward and Cameron 
to have taken that course, the President not being a can- 
didate. 

But few Members of either house called in at the Pre- 
sident's room during the two hours we were there. In this 
respect, there was a strong contrast with similar occasions 
in former years. The Members who voted for impeach- 
ment were generally shy and appeared ashamed to show 
themselves. There was, I thought, conscious meanness and 
abasement in their very looks. 

There was little to interest during the closing hours of 
the session, — less excitement than usual, and none of the 
great absorbing constitutional struggle, such as I have 
sometimes seen in other days. Statesmanship was wanting. 
The Members talked and acted as if in a village caucus. 
Petty intrigues, tricks, and contrivances to help the party 
were the great end and aim. Instead of the usual adjourn- 
ment sine die to meet at the regular session in December, 
Congress took what they call a recess imtil the 21st of 
September. This was a scheme to cheat the Constitution 
and innovate on the executive prerogative, for it is the 
Pre^dent's duty to convene Congress, if public necessity 
requires. But it was not pretended there was any public 
necessity. The recess was to prolong the session, and watch 
and circumscribe the President in the discharge of his 
executive duties. There being no cause for assembling, 
the Radical Members, before leaving, knowing that an extra 
session was unnecessary, signed a paper to the purport 



416 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [jxtlt27 

that they would not convene in September unless called 
together by E. D. Morgan, Senator, and Schenck, Repre- 
sentative. These two men are chairmen of the Radical 
party committees of their respective houses, and on them 
was conferred the executive authority of calling an extra 
session for party purposes. Such is Radical legislation — 
and Radical government. 

July 28, Tuesday. Judge Kelley and Stevens of New 
Hampshire, two of a committee who had visited the Phil- 
adelphia Navy Yard in relation to the purchase of tools by 
the Engineering Bureau, called on me to make statements 
and exhibit portions of testimony which they had taken. 
Stevens made a few brief remarks and left. Ferry, the 
other committeeman, did not attend. Their investigation 
had of course been ex parte, and their showing against 
Teller certainly requires explanation. But the committee 
had come to no result, — made no specific charges, — had 
a rambling talk of matters in which Judge K. manifested 
a degree of warm partisanship. After listening to him over 
two hours, I requested him to let me have the report when 
made, or, if he could present the points, charges, specifica- 
tions, in a form so that I could call for an explanation from 
Engineer Teller and others, I would demand it. 

When I went to the Cabinet-meeting this noon, I found 
Seward and General Banks with the President. I seemed to 
have interrupted them, not unexpectedly to the President, 
who said, "Well, here is the Secretary of the Navy, and 
you [General B.] and the Secretary of State can come to 
an understanding with him." I inquired the subject- 
matter. General Banks said his object was to get me to 
conform to the law in navy yard appointments; that I did 
not obey the present law, nor the law of last year. I asked 
in what particular. He said I appointed master mechanics 
from the Navy, — that Navy officers filled the places, and 
not civilians who understood the trades. I replied that 
he in the House and General Wilson in the Senate had each 



1868] A PROCLAMATION OF SEWARD'S 417 

of them publicly made that statement, but it was not true; 
that no officers except sail-makers were master mechanics 
in any of the yards. He said boatswains were employed as 
masters. ''But/' I added, ^'boatswains are not mechanics, 
sail-makers are, and the last year's law, enacted for party 
ends, not the public service, did not embrace master la- 
borers." He insisted that no civilians were masters, but 
that naval officers were. I defied him to name one. He 
said he had no details, but he understood there was not 
a single civilian in place. I told him there were no others 
except sail-makers and boatswains; that since the War 
we had, to a considerable extent, dismissed masters in 
order to save expense and retained only foremen, the gangs 
being so much reduced. It was a matter of economy. 

Driven from this pK)int, he asked if there could not be 
a change of Naval C!onstructor at Charlestown. I told him 
it might be done if there was sufficient reason, but Mr. 
Hart had commenced work which was unfinished, and it 
would be hardly fair to take him away and substitute 
another without cause. With this we parted. 

Mr. Seward read a proclamation which he had prepared 
pursuant to act and directions of Congress in relation to 
what they call the Fourteenth Constitutional Amendment. 
I passed some criticism, or rather took some exceptions. 
Thought he was too compliant, identified himself too 
much with the proceeding, and did not make his work 
appear as if the act of Congress. The President fell in with 
my suggestions, and Mr. Evarts proposed one or two verbal 
changes to carry out my views. They did not come up to 
my ideas. Seward, however, was annoyed even with them. 
Said it was hard business for him at best, and he thought 
he ought to be satisfied with what he had got to sign. I re* 
marked that was true, and was glad it did not devolve on 
me to put my name to such a paper; that I would not do 
it in that form. 

July 29, Wednesday. General Banks again called, with 

3 



\ 



418 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [jtjly20 

Mr. Stewart of New York, a member of the Naval Com- 
mittee. Banks had quoted him yesterday at the Presid- 
ent's. Said Stewart told him, when he (B.) introduced the 
amendment concerning navy yards, that I would pay it no 
attention. Stewart said it was a mistake, — he had not 
stated the case so strong. Banks changed his groimd 
somewhat. He had found himself at fault; admitted that 
the masters were civiUans, but under naval officers. I told 
him that was true. The conmiandant of the yard, who had 
general supervision and the administration of the yard, 
was by law a naval officer. So were the constructor and 
the chief engineer. He said the conmiodore who commanded 
the Charlestown Yard was of no account; that he merely 
opened and closed the gates, and lit the gas, — nothing 
else; that he was afraid of Hart, etc., etc. I told him 
John Rodgers had been esteemed a man of courage, phys- 
ical and moral. He claimed that the law required me to 
appoint masters of the several trades. X asked him to show 
me the law, and he pointed to the provision in the appropri- 
ation bill just passed. I denied that the provision estab- 
lished masters, — it merely required that masters should 
be civilians and not naval officers. I admitted I had not 
much regard for such legislation. Congress has no author- 
ity to say what class of persons shall be appointed, and what 
class excluded from office. The Executive, not Congress, 
makes and is responsible for appointments. 

"Then," said he, "you do not mean to obey the law." 
I claimed he had no authority for that remark; that it was 
my intention to detach both the boatswains and sail- 
makers; that under the reorganization of the yards we 
needed no master laborers, nor was a master sail-maker 
necessary under the reductions. 

"Then," said he, "you mean to evade the law by ap- 
pointing no masters." "That," said I, "is not correct. 
We have, and probably shall continue to have, some 
masters of large gangs; but masters are not required for 
most of the trades; foremen and quarter-men will be suf- 




10681 , BANKS. AND 1BE NAVY, YARD 419 

ficient." "That/' said he, ''is not the law." I asked what 
was thelaw. - He pointed to the provision abeady mentioned. 
"That," said I, "merely requires me when masters are 
appointed to select civilians, not naval officers. Some of 
the trades have but five, or six, or eight, or ten men. No 
masters :are required in those cases. It would be a useless 
expense to have, masters when not wanted." This he 
admitted, and wanted to knpw how many men required 
a master. I said none were really necessary at this time, 
but some may be convetnient. He still insisted that I was 
obliged to appoint masters for each of the several trader 
apd wished me to give him i^ line to the Attomey^^Gen^^l 
for an opinion. This I declined. Told him I understood the 
law without making an inquiry in any quarter. He still 
pressed me for a letter, and I still declined, but told him he 
could, if he wished, converae with the Attorney-General. 

He said he had seen that gentleman already, but he de- 
clined to give an opinion without a written request from 
me, and he (Banks) now asked it of me. The request was 
almost in the nature of a demand, I, however, continued 
to refuse, but told him I had no objection to conversing 
with the Attomey^eneral when I saw him. 

He left in ill temper^ Said he should remain in Washing- 
ton until he accomplished his object. 

.Jidy 30, Thursdqy, General Banks called again to-day. 
Said in reply to the usual complimentary inquiry as to his 
health that he was weary. Wanted to get away, but could 
not until there was some imderstanding in regard to navy 
yard appointments, but he now wished specially to know 
whether there was to be a change of Naval Constructor. 
He wanted Hart to be sent to some other yard, and 
Hanscom ordered to Charlestown. I required some cause 
for detaching Hart, who is discharging duties faithfully 
and satisfactorily, without complaint from any one but 
him, and be did not pretend that Hart was ddinquent as 
a constructor. [I siui^ ^t,, a^ regards 9aii8C(»n, he had. 



420 DIARY OF GIDEON- WELLES [jult«o 

been recently sent to Portsmouth and I did not propose to 
disturb him. ^'Then send i^nie other man/' said he, ''for 
Hart is a coarse, vulgar fellow, a tyrant, controls the 
yard, is insolent and incompetent/' I questioned the cor- 
rectness of his analysis; admitted that I thought Hart was 
sometimes arbitrary and positive, but told him I int^ided 
in a few days to visit the Charlestown Yard and would 
then make personal inquiry. 

July 31, Friday. Seward and Evarts are absent from 
Cabinet-meeting. Hutiter, who was there for Seward, 
said the S|)ani^h Minister wiis very uneasy about tlie 
Oneota and Catawba, feariiig th^y would be permitted to 
leave New Orleans. 

Attention was called to a statement from nine Geor^- 
ans who claim to have been illegally arrested, imprisoned, 
and cruelly treated. Schofield said the statement was un- 
true, a pack of lies; that his brother had been sent down 
there to examine the subject, and he reported that the 
whole story was untrue. 

Browning said he hoped it was untrue, for, as de- 
scribed, it was one of the greatest outrages he had ever 
heard of, and the credit of the Government, he thou^t, 
required it should be clearly and distinctly disproved, if 
it was really untrue. 

I questioned whether it was an entire fabrication. There 
might be some exaggeration, — probably was, — but that 
these Georgians had been arrested illegally, carried to a 
distant prison, were closely confined, etc., could hardly be 
questioned. 

Schofield admitted he had not seen the statement, but 
there had been so many false reports, and his brother was 
so convinced of it, that he gave no credit to anything he 
heard. Besides, the state of society was such there that 
strong measures were necessary. 

The President produced the Intelligencer y and the state- 
ment was read. It seemed to stagg^ Schofield, who, how- 



1868] CONDITIONS IN GEORGIA 421 

ever, still quoted his brother and cited the condition of the 
South. All, however, were emphatic against the extraor- 
dinary proceedings, and thought there should be a thorough 
investigation, — except Raadafl, who said nothing. 

Schofield produced a correspondence between Meade 
and Grant. Georgia having be^fioi reconstructed, Meade 
finds himself powerless, and wants instructions. Schofield 
thought the President should delegate authority to Meade 
to respond with his command to the Governor of Georgia. 

I objected and hoped the President would not interfere 
tmtil the pK)wer of the local authorities was exhausted 
and application was duly and properly made. 



'.^ 



LXII 



1 • 



A Tour of Inspection of the Navy Yards — Talk of an Extra Seasioa of 
Congress — Tbe RaOroads and Ck>ngre8s — Sanford E. Church and 
Dean Richmond (the younger) on a Political Mission from New York — 
The Power of State SherifiFs to call on Army Officers for Assistance — 
Death of Thomas H. Seymour — His Career and the Part played in it by 
Mr. Welles — Radical Gains in the Maine Election — The "Alexan- 
drine Chain"— '^Senator Morgan and Re]M«8entative Schenck issue a 
Cal) for Congress to reassembly — Congress meets and adjourns — 
General John A. Dix'f Anti-Seymour Letter — His Character and Polit- 
ical Views — Marriage bf Robert T. Linljohi — The Pacific Railroad. 

August 27. I have been absent a few weeks inspecting 
the several navy yards and stations. Our yard boat, the 
Tallapoosa, having freight to interchange with the different 
navy yards, I improved the opportunity of going in her. 
Doctor H. and others advised it, and the rest, change, 
etc., I was satisfied would be of benefit. Commodore Jen- 
kins, Chief of Bureau of Navigation, Admiral Radford, 
and others went with me. I had expected Admiral Smith 
to be of the party, but his health was so impaired that he 
was compelled to leave earlier. Doctor Horwitz and Mr. 
Bridge, of the Medical and of the Provision and Clothing 
Bureaus, were expected to join us. Mr. Bridge met us at 
Portsmouth and returned with us. 

The trip was, throughout, pleasant. Senator Grimes 
came on board at Rye Beach, and we made an excursion 
on the coast of Maine as far as Mount Desert. The weather 
was cool and bracing. Much of the time we wore over- 
coats. The passage among the islands was delightful. Off 
Rockland and its vicinity we fell in with the mackerel- 
fishing fleet of some three or four hundred vessels. At 
Portsmouth we witnessed the launching of the new sloop 
Alaska. The Kenosha was launched at Brooklyn, but an 
accident to our boiler detained us from it. 

The several navy yards were in good condition. But 



1868J mSPECnNO THE NAVY YARDS 428 

little work is being done at any of the yards. There was, 
however, something to be looked after. I have not visited 
the yards smoe 1863, and as I i^all soon yield up the ad- 
ministration of the Department^ I felt it a duty to give them 
this last inspection before making my final report. 

We returned safe and well on Monday last. Little of 
striking interest has occurred during our absence. I find 
on my return some of the members of the Cabinet are 
absent, and there will be, for a month or more, some ab- 
sentees. I am anxious to visit Connecticut for a day or 
two in September, but Mr. Faxon left to-day and will be 
gone probably for a month. 

There is a contrariety of opinion in regard to an extra 
session of Congress. The decision is not with the legally 
constituted Executive, who is responsible, but with an 
irresponsible partisan committee. The unpression among 
the members of the Cabinet is that there will be no extra 
session. None is necessary. My opinion has been that, as 
the question is one of paoiy expediency. Congress would 
probably be convened. 

I do not like the aspect of affairs. There are ominous 
prospects connected with the election. It is evident that 
the Radicals intend to secure the next President by fraud- 
ulent means if others cannot prevail. In fact, all their 
Reconstruction schemes have had that end in view. TWe 
Democrats seem determined not to be defrauded, nor to 
submit to outrages. 

If Congress convenes in extra session, it will be with a 
design to resort to extreme and illegal measures to over- 
power a legitimate expression of public opinion. An un- 
checked partisan body like the present fragmentary Con- 
gress, composed in part of usurping carpet-baggers, will, in 
the heat and fury of an excited national party contest, be 
a wild, unscrupulous set, restrained by no constitutional 
barriers, or any principle of legal or moral right. There 
is no statesmanship or political wisdom in either branch, 
but there is much that is vicious and wicked. 



424 DIARY QF GIDEON WELLES [Aua27 

At the Cabinet-meeting to-day, Seward read a letter 
from the late Mexican Minister, Romero, stating he would 
meet Seward at Vera Cruz and escort him to Mexico, etc^ 
etc. Seward is alarmed for the future, and intends to 
escape from any participation in the approaching election. 

He read a letter from a Mr. Sherman of Utica, stating 
that Roscoe Conkling had recommended him, Sherman, 
for Collector. Seward indorsed the nomination and 
wanted Sherman appointed. It would gratify Conkling. 
I doubted its expediency without farther advice, but Sew- 
ard was persistent. McCuUoch is inclined to make the 
appointment on Seward's assurance. I have no faith in it. 

On the subject of alleged disturbances South, Schofield 
said they seem altogether exaggerated; that in Virginia 
there was now less crime than in Massachusetts. 

September 1, Tuesday. The subject of selling a gunboat 
to an agent of the Haytian Government was brought for- 
ward. In a recent sale of vessels at Portsmouth, the Mara- 
tanza was bid ofif by a person who avers that he bought it 
for Hayti. I assumed that my duty was ended when the 
vessel was sold and we had the pay. Whether the State 
or Treasury Departments would object to granting him or 
others a clearance were matters not for me to determine. 
My views were approved in Cabinet, and Seward said no 
one could object, or would be heard in opposition, to a sale 
to the Haytian Government; a sale to the rebels would be 
another thing and might raise a question. 

Seward expressed great desire to go to the Rocky 
Mountains. Urges the President to make the trip wiUi 
him. I judge there has been previous conversation on the 
subject. The President gave no definite answer. Said he 
was embarrassed as to any movement by the proposed 
session of Congress which Morgan and Schenek might 
convene. He could go nowhere till that was decided. 
Seward said if they went to the Rocky Mountains that 
would be decisive. The Radicals would not come here 



1868] THE RAIUtQAPS AND (X»7GB£SS :4S» 

while he was away. Whea about breaking up, Seward 
again asked iixe President if he should make arrangemeJats 
for the trip West. The President said he would give no 
final answer to-day. 

The subject of sympathy and aid for the Greek r^>^ 
in Crete was mentioned, and some other matters were Inr 
troduced relating to the Turks. The conduct of Mr. E. J. 
Morris, our Minister to Constantinople, was discussed. 
I expressed doubts of the wisdom and judgment of Morri& 
Seward says he has improved, and has modified and 
changed his opinions. Seward said evay man, woman, said 
child in the United States were against the Turks. I told 
him he would please except the Navy and Navy Departr 
ment. The President said no nation had been more 
friendly and true to us during our diffi<Hilties than the Turks, 
and instead of interfering against them in their trials, we 
had better turn our attention to oiu* own affairs and get 
our own people reconciled. Schofield fully assented to this; 
thought we had bett^ attend to the affairs of our own 
household. Seward concurred, but said our consul M 
Candia was a troubles(Hne man and was in the interest or 
feeling of the missionaries, who, as usual, were mischievous 
in the matter. The opinion seemed to be general that the 
consul had better give way. 

The Indian troubles and the plundering schemes of the 
Pacific and other Western railroads were considered. 
There has been wild and wicked legislation by Congress. 
Members are corrupt and dissolute. McCuUoch says the 
ring of railroad men had monopolized that great interest 
and is controlling Congress. 

I mentioned a fact concerning Oakes Ames, Represent* 
ative from Massachusetts, conmumicated to me by Pay* 
master Bridge, who says the half-yearly dividend of Ames, 
paid a short time ago, was S81,000 on the Sioux City 4^ 
Omaha road. This was just sixty per cent on his stock. 
I asked Bridge how he knew the fact. He tells me he got it 
from his nephew, who is presklent of the road. McCulloch 



426 DIARY OP GIDEON WELLES [sbfp. i 

says he doubts wheth^ Ames ever paid a dollar for his 
Omaha stock, but that his interest in that road is a trifle 
compared with his interest in the Pacific. This man, worth 
millionSi takes the position of Representative — seeks and 
gets it — for the purpose of promoting his private inter- 
est. 

September 2, Wednesday. I asked the President to-day 
if he had really any intention of going to the Rocky Moun- 
tains. He said he had not. I said that he would, in my 
opinion, do well to take a respite, if only for ten days; that 
I would recommend him to visit Tennessee, and, in doing 
8O9 go unaccompanied by any of his Cabinet, especially 
not by Mr. Seward; that Mr. S. was desirous of taking 
him somewhere, but it would be well for both that he should 
make one trip alone. The President smiled; said he 
thought so, too; that he certainly should not go to the 
Rocky Mountains, never had thought of it for a moment 
seriously. Congress would probably prevent his going any- 
where. Morgan and Schenck, under Radical usurpation^ 
were in this respect the Executive and directed the actions 
of the Government. 

September 3, Thursday. The President invited me to go 
with him to the German Schiltzenfest this p.m. Although 
wholly unprepared and the weather unpromising, I went. 
It is the first of these festivals I ever attended. We were 
received with great good will and respect by the managers, 
escorted to various points, and taken through the grounds 
when the rain did not prevent. The President tried a shot, 
and was made a member of the association. We were 
invited to dine with the managing directors and hospitably 
entertained throughout. There was much good feeling and 
fellowship and everything was orderly. 

These associations are becoming numerous and popular 
over the country. They are of German origin, and the 
associations are composed chiefly of Germans or those of 



1888] THE PARAGUAYAN MISSION 427 

German descent, but others largely participate. I did nciti 
however, observe any of our Irish brethren on the ground. 

September 4, Friday. Sanford E. Church of New York 
called on me and desired, after a little conversation on 
political matters, that I should go with him to the Presid- 
ent, with whom he wished an interview. He is of the Silas 
Wright school of politics and has, personally, something 
of the manner of Governor Wright. Our views and opinr 
ions corresponded on men and affairs generally. 

The President received him kindly, and after a brief 
conversation appointed to-morrow at 10 a.m. for a meeting* 
This being Cabinet day, and an hour having been assigned 
for the reception of the Austrian Minister, he would b^ 
occupied with these and other matters. 

S[eward] read a multitude of dispatches to Van Valkeiu- 
burg at Japan and one or two from him. They were not 
very edifying, although S. seemed to consider them so. 
His oral efforts to enlighten us were not very successful; 
although he had some of the strange names of the daimioSi 
etc.j by heart. 

He also read a long dispatch to Webb at Rio in relation 
to his course and that of Washburn in demanding as a right 
that the steamer Wasp might run the blockade. I respect^ 
fully differed from some of his positions; told him I wad 
glad Washburn was coming home, although we now had 
too many of the family on hand, and I wished Webb was 
returning also. Told him and the Cabinet that I saw no 
necessity for sending a Minister to Paraguay, where there 
is not a single American resident, nor had they a Minister 
here. Seward repeated a remark heretofore made, that 
the mission disposed of one of the troublesome family of 
Washburn, who are now all provided for. 

McCulloch made some inquiries in relation to payments 
in coin to the Navy and others. He also asked for informa- 
tion about moneys which, to a considerable amount, had 
been placed in the hands of Senator Pomeroy several years 



428 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [sefv; « 

junce for the deportation of negroes. Seward said he r&- 
jnembered all about it, and went into something of a narra^ 
tive of a black colony sent to Cow Island,^ most of whom 
died and the remainder returned in disgust. I told him he 
had only related the latter part of the movement; that the 
first was a scheme to send o£F the n^roes to Chiriqui, in 
iiehich Thompson first and Pomeroy subsequently figui^. 
The subject was new to most, or all, of the others. Seward, 
4n expatiating upon it, magnified his own doings. I do not 
remember that he took an active, or very active, part for 
it, but I am confident he took no part a^inst it. In the 
early stages, when there was a speculating scheme to mine 
coal by negroes, I had to resist, but good old Mr. Bates was 
heartily with me, though an advocate for deportation of 
the negro. Then they were going to mine coal for the 
Navy, and buy Thompson's grant from Central America, 
etc., which was finally checked when on the point of con- 
summation by a protest from the Minister, who denied 
the legality of the Thompson title. ^ 

I observed that Seward cared to say little or nothing of 
those transactions, and was sorry to see that he attempted 
to belittle Mr. Lincoln, who, he said, knew nothing or next 
to nothing of public a£fairs except what related to army 
movements. In this he does injustice to Mr. Lincoln, who 
better imderstood things generally than Mr. Seward. 
Seward himself was constantly dipping into questions 
which he did not imderstand, — would get a slight super- 
ficial idea and nothing beyond. Much of this he obtained 
by hanging on to Mr. Lincoln and pressing him to make 
inquiries. 

Seward's blunders as regards the blockade, his ignorance 
of admiralty law and of some of the most essential duties 
of a first minister, were xmfortunate for the Administra- 
tion and the country. Yet his readiness, his suppleness, 

* He & Vache, Haytl. Mr. Charles K. Tuckerman gives an account of this 
unfortunate venture in the Magazine of American History for October, 1886. 

* See Volume i, pages 123, 150-52. 




ism TALE WITH SANFOPEIB E. CHCKCH 429 

and his superficial knowledge answered a purpose. I see 
his object in these derogatory remarks of Mr. Lincoln, 
which he has made in my presence on one or two occasions 
that I remember, and how often on othar occasions I know 
not. His purpose is to oast off his blimders and mist^akeB 
on the dead I^esident, to whom he meant to impute all the 
faults of the State Department. 

I spoke of releasing the Otieota and Catawba, also the 
relief of the Glasgow, both of which were to have been ath 
tended to some weeks since. He was unprepared and had 
evidently forgotten them for the time, but said he would 
be ready in a few days. 

September 5, Saturday. Mr. Church informed me thisp.ii. 
that he had had a very agreeable and satisfactory inter- 
view with the President, and is to see him again to-morrow^ 
at 1 P.M., and will call after that at my house with ycamg 
Mr. Richmond. 

September 7, Monday. Mr. Church came to see me yes- 
terday. Spent over an hour with me. Young Dean Rich-^' 
mond was with him. There is a strong desire to bring the 
Administration into the support of Seymour and Blair. 
Hitherto but little has been done in this direction, llie 
leading Democrats of New York have not been cordial or 
really friendly to the President, but, while accepting Ida 
principles, they for selfish schemes preferred to be separ* 
ated from him. 

I said to Mr. Church I could make reasonable allowance 
for this distrust, because the President had continued their 
old opponent Mr. Seward in his confidence. He at once 
eagerly and earnestly responded; asked how they could 
be in harmony with one who had no sympathy or principle 
with them. Church is, however, very cautious in what fafa 
says. He is here on a mission,, somewhat diplomatic, and 
an observer and a witness more than a conunimicative 
£(peaker. He has again called; hu ^een. McCullooh and is 



480 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [sept. » 

confident all will go well. I am not sanguine, nor does he 
express himself confidently, but has stronger hopes than 
I can yet command. The New-Yorkers have over-man- 
aged, — a mistake of their party leaders for years. They 
have talked and still talk of and make the financial question 
prominent, but Reconstruction, as it is called, involving 
the structure and character of the government, is more 
in4)ortant than even that. The New-Yorkers have tried to 
make this secondary, but that question should strengthen 
Mr. Johnson, who is at issue with the Radicals on Recon- 
struction. This was before the nomination, and, having 
got the financial issue prominent, they continue it. So with 
Pendleton, who takes anti-Democratic ground. They are 
talking of the two currencies and in which of them the 
bonds shall be paid; but they should all go to work and let 
ushave but one currency. There should be no imredeem- 
able paper. 

The course and speeches of Pendleton make it clear that 
he is a disappointed and intriguing man, and that he does 
not take his disappointment kindly. His speeches, except 
in abiUty, are like Webster's when he and Clay were 
oompetitors and Clay became the candidate. 

September 8, Tuesday. Seward had more of the Japanese 
matters. No one said a word but myself. As usual, I ex- 
pressed my doubts of the wisdom of combining with the 
Western Powers, though perhaps we had now become so 
much committed and involved that there was no ready 
way of extricating ourselves. In relation to the religious 
question, I trusted we were not to become propagandists. 

Schofield read a general order of General Buchanan, 
telling the officers under him that they must obey the 
order of the sheriff when he calls out the posse comitatua 
and they cannot quiet disturbances. I excepted most 
decidedly to such a doctrine, and so did Randall. Schofield 
said Attorney-General Evaxts had so laid down the law. 
Seward defended the principle, or rather the order^ and 



1868] DEATH OF THOMAS H. SEYMOUR 431 

said Randall and myself ought to inform ourselves of 
Evarts' opinion, that the subject had been elaborately 
discussed when we were absent. I replied that I had 
opinions of my own on the subject, long since formed, 
principles in regard to the powers and duties of the Fed* 
eral and State Governments differing from him and Mr. 
Evarts. I asked if a military officer of the United States 
[became] a State officer when the President had, on the ap^ 
plication of a State, by its legislature, or by the Governor 
when the legislature was not in session, issued his proclam- 
ation. Seward replied yes. Both he and Schofield cited 
the Fugitive Slave Law. I said that law was not high au* 
thority with me, but in that matter a U. S. Commissioner^ 
if I remembered rightly, was the officer, not the State 
oherifif. They both said that law and the principle were 
coming back to torment the inventors. I replied I had no 
wish to torment any one, — certainly no one for his folly. 
In this instance, the order and action under it will be 
likely to have a good effect, for the very presence of troops 
will, perhaps, prevent disturbance. Nevertheless, the 
doctrine of Seward and Evarts is erroneous, and the order 
wrong. 

September 9, Wednesday. Colonel Thomas H. Seymour * 
died last week and was biuied on Monday, the 7th, with 
great parade. He was sixty years old and had great pop-, 
ularity; was genial, affectionate, of pleasant manners and 
kindly nature. The papers eulogize him highly, and the 
crowd which attended his fimeral attest the estimation or 
love for him that prevailed. The expectation that dis- 
tinguished men, and particularly Horatio Seymour, would 
be present swelled the crowd to some extent. 

The eulogies contain some errors of fact, and award 
him qualities which he never possessed. He is represented^ 
as a distinguished lawyer, as having acquired a competence' 

> Governor of Connecticut, 1850-63, then for four years Minister to 
{UiasiA. He was^a Peace DeilijqcraMwng tbe 1^^ 



432 DIARY OF QII>EON WELLES [8ept.§ 

in his profession, whereas, though admitted to the bar, 
it was by courtesy, not that he had legal knowledge op 
acquirements ; he never had a case or managed one, or made 
a plea in any court, save perhaps that of a justice of the 
peace. As to earning a competence, he never earned five 
dollars in any court. He is spoken of as a distinguished 
and successful editor. He undertook to edit a paper imder 
very favorable circumstances, and utterly failed, and was 
dismissed by his publishers and friends in a few months. 

His military zeal and efforts are highly lauded, and not 
without some desert. Instead of seeking service in the 
Mexican War, as stated, I procured his commission for 
him, unsolicited by himself, and he accepted it with some 
reluctance. I knew he was poor and desponding, and that 
he had a fondness for military parade and show. He was 
educated at Captain Partridge's Military School, and we 
encouraged him to drill, for a compensation, several mili- 
tary volunteer companies, — as much to help him as the 
companies. When the New England regiment was raised 
for the Mexican War, I, then being in Washington, and 
the only man from our State of any position or influence, 
saw Governor Marcy, then Secretary of War, and insisted 
that one of the field offices of that regiment should be 
pven to Connecticut. He admitted the propriety of the 
demand, but he had committed himself in some degree to 
a gentleman in Maine, and no candidate had come for- 
ward or been presented from Connecticut. He asked if 
I was prepared to name a man. It was before the days 
of telegraphs, and communication by mail was slow. The 
regiment was being made up. I gave him the name of 
T. H. Seymour on my own responsibility and wrote A. E. 
Burr and General J. T. Pratt that they must compel him 
to accept. It was a responsibility by no means pleasant to 
me, for, had he never returned, his death would have been 
charged upon me. 

Seymour did not, at the time, thank me, or make any 
acknowledgment, and I had no word or line from him imtil' 



18681 CAREER OF THOMAS H. SEYMOUR 433 

after his arrival at Vera Cruz. Some years later, in 1852 
I believe, he, in a public speech in Hartford, when he had 
been praised for his military services, declared his indebt- 
edness to me for his military position. The Hartford Times 
published, on the day of it, a notice of this acknowledg- 
ment. 

In 1833 I was nominated for Congress. Seymour was 
then editor of the Jefferaonian and had expected his father 
would be nominated Secretary of the State, for which he 
had been many years an unsuccessful candidate. But it 
was thought best by the nominating convention to have 
an entire new ticket. N. A. Phelps^ was the active man in 
e£fecting this change. Seymour, in his anger because his 
father was not nominated, immediately and violently op- 
posed my election, and in connection with others, the chief 
of whom was N. A. Phelps, defeated the ticket. 

When all was over, Seymour became aware of his error, 
— saw that he had been made a dupe by Phelps, and that 
he had done me injustice. This he ever after tried to re- 
trieve and stood firmly by me in subsequent party and 
personal conflicts. In 1835 1 procured him to be appointed 
judge of probate. I had a controlling voice in the legis- 
lature, of which I was a member, and the legislature then 
elected those judges. I was the same year elected Comp- 
troller over Elisha Phelps, the imcle of N. A. Phelps. The 
candidate for judge of probate was Isaac Perkins. Both 
he and E. Phelps had two years previously been incumbents 
of the two offices ; both had been in the combination against 
me in 1833 and instigated and misled Seymour. 

I was glad of an opportimity to punish them and to heap 
coals of fire on Seymour's head, and succeeded. He felt 
and appreciated my kindness, and though we have since 
differed widely, I am not aware that he ever did aught 
against me personally. I have seen Uttle of him, though 
always friendly, for the last fifteen years. When he re- 

^ Noah Amherst Phelps, who was hhnaelf Secretary of the State oi 
Connecticut in lS4d-44. 

3 



434 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [sept. 

turned from Russia we were widely estranged in politics, 
and I do not remember to have met him since my residence 
in Washington. 

Amiable and kind-hearted, generous without means, 
indolent by nature, a lawyer who never had a case, retiring 
but proud, with an imaginative mind, a refined taste, sin- 
cere in his convictions and tenacious to obstinacy in his 
opinions, he retained friends and acquired official distinc- 
tion. 

Probably no man in Connecticut was more opposed to 
the War or more earnestly sympathized with the^Seces- 
fiionists than T. H. Seymour, yet he did not mean to be 
unpatriotic or opposed to the Union. 

September 10, Thursday. Binckley, Solicitor of Internal 
Revenue,^ has been to New York to ferret out frauds, 
of which there are untold amounts which seem to go un- 
punished and undetected. There must be great remiss- 
ness somewhere. Whether B. is the right man to unearth 
these villainies and bring the rascals to justice is another 
question. He and Courtney, District Attorney, have had 
a disagreement, and the whole world is down on Binckley. 
I think he may have been indiscreet, but believe him 
honest and zealous. 

September 11, Friday. A thin Cabinet-meeting. Only 
McCulloch, Schofield, and myself present. A delegation 
from Tennessee was there on the subject of getting troops 
into the State. 

The report of Binckley was read. It seems he went on to 
New York by direction of the President, who had received 
advices from certain parties that villainies could be uncov- 
ered, provided a reliable person was sent there. B. thinks 
he has discovered great frauds and that the District Attor- 
ney is implicated. This seems hardly credible. I should be 
sorry if such be the fact. There are circiunstances against 

^ John M. Binckley, formerly Assistant Attorney-General. 



1868] REVENtnE FRAUDS. IN' NEWa STORK 435 

Courtney, who claims to have been slighted in the mili- 
tary proceeding^. Binckley says it viiLa because he was 
mixed up^in ihe frauds. The fact that he has done so little 
is adverse to Courtney^ The efforts, for two years, to 
ridicule and disparage B., with his not always well regu«> 
lated zeal, have got the current of pr^tidice against himi 
which is of coiu'se improved by all the rogues and cheats 
who are defrauding the revenue. They are with C. in this 
matter and shout loud against B. 

The differences between the two led B. to telegraph the 
Secretary of the Treasury for instructions. McCuUoch, 
without knowing the differences, repUed that the law gave 
these matters to the District Attorney,, but failed to re?- 
quest that B. should be associated with him on behalf of 
the Treasury. 

Courtney telegraphed Ashton, Assistant Attorney- 
General, who utterly ignored B. The result is that B. left 
New York, and came highly incensed to 'Washington and 
made report. The commission at his suggestion postponed 
the case for a week against the wishes of C. and of the 
Whiskey Ring. McCulloch feels unpleasant, and the 
President directs that C. be ordered to Washington, and 
if he will not faithfully prosecute, he intends another shalL 

September l4, Monday. InteUi^noe received of a ter- 
rible earthqfuake extending along the western coast of 
South America from Cape San Francisco, destroying cities, 
many thousand lives, and hundreds of millions of property. 
Two U. S. naval vessels, the Wateree and the FYedonia,' 
were wrecked, and every ^ui on board the latter but two 
was lost. Three of the officers were on shore and escaped* 
Th^re are no'remains of the wreck. The Wateree was thrown 
one third of a mile on shore and must be removed. Re- 
ceived dispatches from Rear-Admiral Turner on the sub^ 
ject and also from other officers.* 

^ This was the earthqualce of Au^^ 13, ISdS. Tlie Wa^r^ $nd the 
Fredonia were at Arica, ChSL -'* ^* ^* Lw >jf; : -ifi ji1:., ; 



436 BIASY OF GIDEON WELLES mn. u 

September 15, Tuesday. The election in Maine took 
place yesterday. The Radicals elect their tickets by in- 
creased majorities. Both parties put forth all their efforts, 
and the vote is the largest, probably, ever given in the 
State. The relative increase is about the same of the two 
parties. The result confirms my uni»ession that Seymour's 
nomination is unf ortimate and likely to prove disastrous. 
There was too much dexterity on the part of the managers 
in securing the nomination, to inspire confidence and 
make the election certain. It is not a selection to draw 
recruits, when recruits are essential to success, and yet 
such has been the policy in making a ticket at this time* 
There is no enthusiasm for Seymour on the part of those 
who vote for him; tens of thousands do it reluctanUy, 
but it is the only alternative to defeat Radicalism. The 
Democrats in their party zeal and inconsiderate haste 
have thrown away, I fear, a glorious opportunity, and 
postponed their triumph for at least four years. 

In 1864, when Stanton and HaUeck were filled with 
terror and apprdiension, they procured an appropriation 
of three hundred thousand dollars to place obstructions 
in the Potomac. Stanton was in constant terror, thought 
I was negligent, knew not how soon a Rebel steamer would 
come up the river and carry him and others off. As he got 
from Congress almost anything he wished, he found no 
difficulty in procuring this grant. He then appointed 
Colonel Alexander, an engineer, ... to invent or devise 
some plan of obstruction. He proposed a chain, and had 
one prepared four hundred feet long with twenty-three 
anchors, and a large niunber of floats. This crude and 
worthless contrivance now lies just below Alexandria, at 
Fort Foote. General Hmnphreys has written a letter to 
the Secretary of War inviting cooperation of the Navy 
to test the Alexandrine Chain; says that enough of the 
appropriation is, he thinks, unexpended to defray naval 
expenditures. General Schofield forwards the paper to 
me with his approval and invitation. . ^ 



I86q THE ALEXANDRINE iSHAIN 487 

I brought the subject up m Cabinet-meeting. Stated 
my objection to review and prosecute this matter now that 
the War was over and four years have elapsed, even if the 
scheme commended itself, but I thou^t it worthless, and 
to go on with it, a waste. Schofield thought we should pre- 
pare for war, and not be taken at disadvantage as was the 
case in 1861, and as this device had been commenced, it 
had better be completed. I advised that we should stop 
where we were, save our money to pay our debts, and wait 
for better days, trusting to our ironclads and torpedoes 
rather than to Alexander's contrivance. Iffis traps could 
remain where they were till our needs were less pressing. 
He admitted the times were not propitious and finally 
admitted that the subject had perhaps better be postponed. 

September 16, Wednesday. Some months since, Mr. 
Seward said Eilpatrick, Minister to Chili, had applied for 
leave to come home for three months. I remarked that he 
wanted to be here to electioneer in the coming election. 
Seward replied not, that he vouched for that, would guar- 
antee he would not. We were both earnest. I told him 
I should remember his guaranty. I see by the papers 
Kilpatrick arrived on Monday and made an electioneering 
speech last evening in New York. 

Senator Morgan and Representative Schenck, both 
chairmen of Radical Congressional Committees, have is- 
sued a call for Congress to convene — meet in extra ses- 
sion — and do nothing. These gentlemen were designated 
by the Radicals in Congress as an authority to assemble 
Congress on the 21st inst.^ if they judged proper, or, in 
plain words, if the interest of the Radical Party in their 
opinion required it. The Committee say, virtually, in their 
call, that the public interest does not require it, for they 
advise an immediate adjournment, after the members 
shall have assembled, without transacting any business. 
This is a specimen of Radical statesmanship and Radical 
regard for the Constitution. That instrument devolves 



438 DUm OF GIDEON WEZXES [sept.16 

on the President, the duty of calling extra seissdons when 
the public exigencies require it. This is a device to defeat 
that provision and executive authority altogether, and 
to have an extra session if the party desires it. 

September 17, Thursday. The returns from Maine give 
a very decided victory to the Radicals. The Democrats 
have, it is true, greatly increased their vote, but so have 
the Radicals also. All their Members of Congress are 
elected. The Democrats failed to get one, and in the legis* 
lature they have a less number than last year. This does 
not surprise me so much as it grieves me. I am not so 
familiar with the pubUc pulse as formerly, but in my view 
the prospect of success for the Democratic ticket in No- 
vember is very remote. Great stress is laid on the cen- 
tral belt of States, from the Delaware to the Mississippi. 
I confess to very little confidence in either of them. I 
hope, however, I am mistaken. 

September IS, Friday. Seward read a long document 
to-day on the transfer of the Oneota and Catawba, in 
which he is careful ; to embody the rej)ort of a partisan 
Congressional Committee, calumniating the Navy De- 
partment and misrepresen^iing the facts in relation to the 
sale of these vessels. It was wholly erroneous, as I told 
him, but nevertheless characteristic. He concludes with 
permission for the owners to have a clearance, provided 
they will give a bond that the vesssls shall never be used 
against a govemnjient with which the United States are 
at peace. This I suggested ^as absurd. 

Mr. Evarts was at the Cabinet to-day. I have not seen 
him since July. He was here, however, a week or more in 
August when I was absent. . All were present but Brown- 
ing. The subject of the adjourned and party-called extra 
session of Congress was discussed and some of the em- 
barrassments likely to result therefrom. These the Rad- 
icals Jiave not. thought. yf. ^hould there be a quorum 



1868] DEMOCRATIC MISTAKES 439 

present and an immediate adjournment, it may be neces- 
sary for the President to call an extra session at once. 

The Pacific Railroad swindle was again on the tapis. 
Villainy and plunder are the great purpose of some of the 
Radical legislators. Members of Congress are very cor- 
rupt. 

September 19, Saturday. I am apprehensive that the 
Democrats and conservatives are not managing in all 
respects wisely. They began wrong in selecting their can- 
didate. He will, however, get the strict Democratic Party 
vote, but he will not draw one single recruit from the other 
side, and the War Democrats are indifferent or have very 
little zeal. Many calm, considerate, conservative men will 
vote for Seymour, but with no earnest enthusiasm, while 
many who would cheerfully and earnestly have supported 
a War Democrat, or a Republican of Democratic ante- 
cedents, will not vote for him. Most of this class will, I fear, 
vote on the other side. 

In caucuses and conventions, the noisy, violent, un^ 
thinking enthusiasts — the j)ositive men — usually carry 
the day over the really wise, moderate, and sagacious. 
The New York Convention was composed of materials 
that would not tolerate a fair man like Hancock, or Doo* 
little, or even Hendricks. Pendleton, cunningly led on 
by Tammany for a diversion, not a nomination, was the 
strongest in the convention, but the weakest of all before 
the country. 

One of the serious errors in Maine was that of calling 
Pendleton there to open the campaign. He made not a 
single convert, cooled good men by his false financial 
theories, and his going into that field at the beginning of 
the contest roused the whole Radical element, and all their 
energies were expended to make their victory decisive and 
complete. 

September 21| Monday. Governor Swann came over 



440 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [sbft.si 

to-day from Annapolis at the instigation of Vice- Admiral 
Porter to get a change of orders for two more officers. By 
regulation, one third of the officers go out annually. On 
Porter's pei^nal application, and assignment of reasons 
which might perhaps suffice to make their cases excep- 
tional, two officers, Phythian and Matthews, will remain. 
He now urges that Luce and Sicard may also have their 
orders changed. 

It is wrong in Porter to ^ve me this embarrassment. 
Not to grant his farther application will be assumed by him 
offensive in all probability; to grant it will be violating a 
soimd rule which should be rigidly adhered to. The officers 
themselves are in league with Porter in this matter. ! A 
clique has been growing up at Annapolis under his auspices 
which should be broken up. Besides, the best interest of the 
Academy and the service require triennial changes. 

Governor Swann, sent here by Porter, went first to the 
President on this subject and was referred to me. He was 
very persistent and has a good deal of address and man- 
agement. Made the application a personal favor to him- 
self, as well as to Porter, and of great moment to the 
Academy. But I must do my duty. 

Montgomery Blair, who now devotes his time to elec- 
tioneering almost exclusively, and who has honesty and 
good sense, assures me that the Democrats will carry In- 
diana and Ohio at the October election, and he is also very 
confident of Pennsylvania. I hope he may not be mistaken, 
yet I candidly confess I have no confidence of such a result 
in either State. That should be the case, but the people 
yield passively to party discipline and to a surprising 
extent seem indifferent to the welfare of the government, 
and, stranger still, they submit with almost abject subserv- 
iency to onerous taxation. What but the madness and 
blxmders of party could have produced such a result as the 
late election in Maine? May we not expect like obtuseness 
in the Middle States? There is no love for Grant; there is 
positive dislike of Seymour. 



1866] CONGRESS MEETS AND ADJOURNS Ul 

There was a session of C!ongress pursuant to the sum- 
mons of the chairmen of two Radical Party Committees, 
who stated in their call that nothing must be done, and 
that, therefore, the Members must convene and do it. 
I have seen but brief report, but the programme seems 
to have been carried out. What a burlesque on govern- 
ment ! The two or three Democratic Representatives who 
were present appear to have been bewildered or stupefied, 
and before recovering themselves a motion to adjourn was 
made and carried without a test vote or roll call to show 
that a quorum was or was not present. 

September 22, Tueeday. Judge Mason of Annapolis, one 
of the most sensible and best minds in Maryland, called on 
me and stated some facts in relation to the intrigues of Vice- 
Admiral Porter and his partisan conduct. Among other 
things he mentioned that when General Grant went to 
Annapolis, a few days after he was nominated at Chicago, 
Porter fired salutes and made great demonstrations. For 
two days there was polishing and great exultation. Until 
about the time of the impeachment movement, Porter had 
been an open friend, and frank but not partisan supporter 
of the Administration. But when impeachment was de- 
cided upon, Porter became suddenly an intense partisan, 
scandalizing and abusing the President. About that time 
impeachment was considered certain, and the arrangement, 
as imderstood, was that Wade, if President, should make 
Porter Secretary of the Navy. Then, if Grant was elected, 
Porter was to be continued. Before Grant was nominated, 
he had never been received with salutes at Annapolis, 
though he frequently visited the Academy. 

All but Browning were present at the Cabinet-meeting. 
The Attorney-General mentioned the difiSculties in rela- 
tion to the appointment of District Attorney for the east- 
em district of Pennsylva^. Judge Cadwalader refuses to 
swear in or recognize O'NeilL Mr. Evarts says no other 
man can officiate. 



442 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [8eft. a 

McCulloch says he has been called upon by the Retrench- 
ment Committee in relation to the appointment of super- 
visors. Told them Rollins named none but intense Radical 
partisans, while he wanted business men of integrity. 

I inquired if he asked by what authority Congress passed 
a law giving the appointments vhiiually to one of his sub- 
ordinates, — whether it was competent for Congress to 
say that the Assistant Secretary of State should nominate 
to the President for appointment ministers and consuls. 
He said he did not question them on those points, they are 
so reckless of the Constitution and its restraints and re- 
quirements. Evarts said that was one of the points in this 
question, whenever it comes up. I wish McCulloch had 
a little more nerve and pui^ in those matters. 

September 23, Wednesday. General John A. Dix, Min- 
ister to France, has written a rancorous and disreputable 
letter against Seymour and favoring the Radicals. While 
I might not dififer with him essentially as to the qualities of 
Seymour, I cannot commend the sense or principles of Dix, 
as disclosed by this ebullition of spleen and disappoint- 
ment. There were some who spoke of Dix as a candidate 
for President. He evidently thought more of it than others 
did, and yet not to secure a vote, or be named even, in the 
Convention had given him great vexation. This letter is 
represented as private, but no one is so simple as to beUeve 
the statement. Every line is intended for pubUcation. 
But the letter destroys confidence in the sincerity of 
General Dix's political professions. • As a Democratic 
State-Rights man he could not, if honest, wish success to 
the Radical Party, which wholly and entirely discards 
every principle of the Democracy and strikes down the 
rights of States, yet he commits himself unequivocally to 
the Radical candidate. 

I long since distrusted General Dix's disinterestedness 
and sincerity. He has* been an inveterate place-seeker. 
Silas Wright had regard for him, but he knew not Dix, who 




1868] DlX^a . ANTJ-SEYMOtJR LETTER m 

was obsequious and deferential to Wright. There were cir« 
cumstances which occurred while Dix was in the Senate 
which caused me to hesitate and question his reliability. 
But he, like myself, was then a thorough party man and 
had the indorsement of Wright. The people would not 
elect Dix. He strove hard to be Governor of New York. 
He tried under Pierce to go to France^ and if his own state- 
ments are to be relied on, — ^ and I believe they are, — was 
cheated and deceived. 

Dxuing the Rebellion he was a major-general, without 
ever entering the field, and while ^t Fortress Monroe, he 
cuddled and favored intercourse with the Rebels, not, I 
think, for his own personal pecuniary benefit, but under 
the influence of Ludlow, his aide, and an unscrupulous in^ 
timate. I do not think Dix pecimiarily dishonest, though 
he has appeared to me to be somewhat avaricious. But he 
fears and conforms to the opinions of men in power. His 
estimate of Seymour's character is pretty correct, but he 
was not called upon by any consideration for the display of 
petty spite and maUgnity which shows out in this letter, 
and which was intended to assist that party or combina- 
tion of men who have been his political opponents and are 
now pursuing a i)olicy inconsistent with all those cherished 
principles which he and I have supported in the past. I 
have always considered him intensely selfish. 

In reading this imcalled-f or and discreditable letter, —7 
discreditable from the position and former course of the 
writer, — I am painfully impressed with the fact of the in- 
judicious and unwise nomination of Seymour. 

September 24, Thursday. The papers yesterday and to- 
day are filled with reports of a discussion and altercation 
in the Cabinet on the occasion of Seward's avowing his 
intention to support Grant and Colfax. McCuUoch and 
myself are represented as declaring ourselves for Seymour, 
etc., etc. There is no word of truth in the statement from 
beginning to end. The names of neither Grant nor Seymour 



444 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [sept. 24 

were mentioned, nor was there any allusion to parties. 
I have little doubt that Seward originated the report. It is 
one of those little manoeuvres which I dislike. 

September 25, Friday. Robert T. Lincoln, son of the late 
President, was married last evening to Mary Harlan^ 
daughter of Senator Harlan of Iowa. There were but few 
present. Bishop Simpson of the Methodist Church offici* 
ated. Young Lincoln has made my house his home when 
in Washington during the days of courtship. He and Ed- 
gar are intimate. Regard for his father made him alwajrs 
a welcome guest, and I also highly esteem and respect 
Robert himself and have done so from our first acquaint- 
ance in 1861, when he was here with his father at the 
inauguration. His deportment and character, then and 
always, impressed me favorably. 

The Pacific Railroad was the chief topic to-day in the 
Cabinet, and changes in the direction, and a board of 
engineers as conamissioners, were ordered. A few men, 
Members of Congress and others, are sadly plundering 
the country, I apprehend. 

I do not admire the policy which Seward is pursuing in 
regard to our foreign relations, but it is useless to attempt 
to change it, or obtrude my opinions. He is allowed to run 
his course, but certainly he has strange notions, and, it 
appears, little idea of the e£fect of his proceedings. 




LXIII 

Dablgren's Management of the Ordnance Bureau — The Political Outlook 
— Getting the Election Returns — Plropoeal to withdraw Seymour and 
substitute another Democratic Candidate for the Presidency — Tlie 
Democratic Mistake and how it came about — Tlie Governor of Ar* 
kansas asks for Arms — Troops to be sent to Memphis — Sewacd's 
Table of Treaties — Dinner of the New York Bar to Attom^-General 
Evarts — Grant's Spite against Members of the Cabinet — Minister 
Washburn in Paraguay — Minister Reverdy Jc^mson submits a Protoool 
on the Alabama Claims — Disouasbn of the Subject. 

October 3, Saturday. The country is absorbed with poli* 
tics and parties. More of the latter than the former. 
Speakers are overrunning the country with their hateful 
harangues and excitable trash. I read but few of the 
speeches. Those of the Radicals are manufactured, so far 
as I have seen them, of the same material. Hatred of the 
Rebels, revenge, the evils of reconciliation, the dangers to 
be apprehended if the whites of the South are not kept 
under, the certainty that they will, if permitted to enjoy 
their legitimate constitutional rights, control the govern- 
ment, — the Radicals will be deprived of power, — this is 
the stuff of which every Radical oration is made, interlarded 
sometimes with anecdotes. No allusion to the really great 
questions before the coimtry, — the rights of man, the 
rights of the States, the grants and limitations of the Con- 
stitution. 

Had the Democrats made a judicious nomination they 
would have enlisted the good sense and patriotism of the 
people and had an easy victory. As it is, they have ^ven 
the Radicals every advantage and, of course, are likely to 
suffer a terrible defeat. At all events, things appear so to 
me. Yet cool and sagacious men, who are abroad among 
the people and have better opportunities than I can have, 
express the fullest confidence in a Democratic triumph. 



446 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [OCT. 8 

Such ought to be the result. I hope they are right and my 
apprehensions groundless. 

Since Seymour was nominated, the Radicals have suc- 
ceeded in getting up some feeling for Grant. There was 
none bef ore^ for he is not a man to evoke enthusiasm or win 
respect. The Democrats have yet much to learn. Advers- 
ity has not softened, chastened, and corrected their arro- 
gance and thirst for power, and they have endangered and 
probably sacrificed a good cause by not being more gener- 
ous and forbearing. They have not learned to humble 
themselves in order to be exalted. Why they should, so 
many of them, have been willing to accept Chase, as to 
almost lose control, can be accounted for only in one way. 
The money interest was for him in New York, and prin- 
ciples gave way in that quarter to wealth. The Tammany 
leaders proposed to have no candidate in that State, — 
no choice, — and were taken at their word. 

Blair tells me that Samuel Tilden wanted to be the can- 
didate of the Democrats for President. It is hardly credi- 
ble, and yet in that way, better than any other, can his con- 
duct and that of the New York Democratic politicians be 
accounted for. He and they had professedly no candidate, 
— could name none, — were, while holding the reins, as 
meek in their professions as Uriah Heep, waiting for 
others to move, and similar silly pretensions were made 
when the country was in agony. 

Evarts is absent, attending courts in New York, while 
great legal questions are pending and the opinion of the 
Attorney-General is required. We must wait his return 
and be held accountable for the delay. 

Charles L. Woodbury, Peter Harvey, and others of 
Boston and its vicinity send me a long list of names of per- 
sons whom they wish to have appointed to places in the 
Boston Navy Yard. No disposition is made of the in- 
cumbents who are faithfully discharging their duties, — at 
least no complaint is made and these gentlemen prefer 
no charges against the men they, or I, would dismiss. They 



1868] DAHLGRBN AND THE OBDNANCE 447 

would have me incur the odium and they have no response 
ibility. If appointed, the men would thank them, not 
me; the men removed would blame me, not them. Both 
will be against me if I do my duty, which I will endeavo(c 
to discharge faithfully. 

Kilpatrick is making a fool of himself, running all over 
the country making partisan speeches, to the great annoy-^ 
ance of Seward, who guaranteed he should take no part in 
the political contests. Yesterday he read a letter from K. 
that was as supercilious as egotistical, flippantly snapping 
his finger at the Secretary of State and defying him. I* 
thought Seward desired that some of us should press a 
revocation of his leave of absence, but I was not disposed 
to gratify him after I had cautioned him of K.'s proper 
orders before leave was given. 

Dahlgren is trying to manage the Ordnance Bureau 
without responsibility^ In his selfish nature he would 
evade all responsibility whatever. He wants, however, 
undue credit. In everything he does he has Dahlgren and 
Dahlgren's interest in view. He is not a favorite with the 
officers of the Navy, who think, and not without rcfason,, 
that he has been favored. He covets more favor, howevw^ 
and that accounts for his anxiety to please all and to offend 
none. The public money flows freely where he is, — not 
tliat he would appropriate it to himself; he is too proud to 
be dishonest in that way, though he loves money exceed- 
ingly. But after great kindness to him in many ways, he 
would not hesitate to skulk from responsibility which 
honestly belongs to him and throw it upon me. 

Horatio Ames has a large claim for guns which have beeix 
rejected, and has besieged the Department for years in 
regard to them, — first belying and misrepresenting it, 
hounding Members of Congress and others for two years to 
get a contract, and at length getting an order from Mr. 
Lincoln; second, the guns not passing inspection, he has for 
three years been importuning for pay. Five years han^ 
been given to the lobby, -r t^vro to get; aQ order, thre9 >to g^t 



448 DIART OF GIDEON WELLES [ocr.s 

pay. I have no doubt he has expended a large amount of 
money in making the guns, and he doubtless thought he was 
doing good servioe to the country and himself. Under 
these circumstances, he has an equitable claim, perhaps, 
on the Government. But Congress is the branch of gov« 
emment which can grant relief. I have so told him for two 
years, and he finally went to that body. In the mean 
time a change has taken place in the Ordnance Bureau. 
Dahlgren has been placed at the head, and Ames appeals 
to him to reopen the case. Oakes Ames, his brother, is very 
rich and a Member of Congress, with a large circle of in- 
fluential Members in his interest. Dahlgren brings all of 
Ames' papers to me. I have stated to him, and he knows, 
that the case has been passed upon, — decided, — and 
unless he is satisfied or thinks his predecessor's decision is 
wrong, or that there is testimony not previously submitted, 
it should not be reopened. But he equivocates, and I at 
length indorsed on one of the documents, returning it, that 
the Department had disposed of it imless he reconmiended 
opening it or there was new evidence. He takes advantage 
of this and ''recommends" a board to examine all the 
papers, etc., etc. I replied that I could not in that way 
relieve him of his legitimate duties, etc., etc. 

October 10, Saturday. Dahlgren sends me another letter, 
changing his position, — wants six guns examined and 
tested, etc., etc. Was compelled to write him a pretty 
pointed letter. I am not disposed to be used, or made an 
instnmient, to relieve him of responsibility or to gratify 
his resentments. He is hostile to Wise, whom he succeeds 
in the Bureau, — not without reason, perhaps, for Wise 
has secretly reJ9ected on Dahlgren's services. There is no 
love lost between them. But I am not to be made a parti- 
san of either. 

It has been clearly Dahlgren's wish to have a board 
criticize and review Wise's acts in order to detect some 
error or mistake. This would humble Wise without Dal^ 



1868] LOSS OF WATEBEE AND FBEDONIA 449 

gren's implicating himself, thou^ it would be his work. 
But while I have no exalted opinion of Wise, I shall not 
intentionally be an instrument in the hands of any man 
to treat him unfairly. 

Mr. Solicitor Bolles has been making p^ decisions 
in regard to punishments under court-martial law; says 
they may sentence to death for any offense. Sent the case 
to the Attorney-General, who gives an opinion sustaining 
the Solicitor; but Evarts evidently did not prepare the 
opinion nor examine the case. He cites the opinion of At- 
torney-Generals Black and Bates to sustain him, both of 
whom gave opinions before the law of 1862 was enacted. 

Secretary Browning attended Cabinet-meeting last 
Tuesday for the first time in several weeks. The Pacific 
Railroad matters were brought forward by him on Tues- 
day and yesterday. It is, I apprehend, a giant swindle. 

There is much gossip in relation to a projected marriage 
between Secretary Seward and a Miss Risley. He is in his 
sixty-eighth year and she in her twenty-eighth. I give 
the rmnor no credit. Yet his conduct is calculated to make 
gossip. For the last six weeks he has passed my house daily 
to visit her, is taking her out to ride, etc., etc. Says he is 
an old friend of the family.^ 

Had last Friday a frost, and for two or three days quite 
cool weather. Mrs. Welles and Edgar left on Thursday for 
a week's visit to Irvington. 

Received results of court of inquiry relative to the loss 
of Wateree and Fredonia by the great earthquake at 
Arica. The conduct of the two commanders, Gillis* in leav- 
ing, and Doty ^ in remaining absent from, his ship, is re- 
prehensible. No motives of courtesy or of humanity 
should have caused either to neglect the men and vessel 
intrusted to him. It was neither hmnane nor right to be 
absent at such a time from the post of duty. 

^ Mr. Seward afterwards adopted Miss Olive Risley as his daughter, and 
she and her sister accompanied him on his journey round the world in 1S70 
and 1871. 

> Ck)mmander James H. Gillis. < T. W. Doty. 

3 



450 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [ocT.io 

A letter from General Schofield to General Grant, con- 
gratulating him on his nomination and hoping for his elec- 
tion, is published. It was written last May and confirms 
my impression that Grant was consulted by Fessenden 
and Grimes and participated in making S. a Cabinet 
officer. Schofield, like Grant, is shrewd and in the civil 
service acts with a view to his own interest in all he does. 
This is the fact as regards both. They each have astute- 
ness, a certain kind of ability. Schofield is much the best- 
informed of the two, but Grant has more obstinacy and 
self-will. It was natural enough for Schofield to ally him- 
self to his superior in conunand. Most of the army officers 
would be apt to do it. There is not, however, much en- 
thusiasm for Grant. He has not many warm personal 
friends. Sherman is quite devoted to him, — sincerely, 
I think, — others because he is the lucky man, in place, 
and the Democratic nomination renders Grant's election 
almost certain. 

Both parties continue to speak with confidence of suc- 
cess, and have generally persuaded themselves into the 
belief that their opponents will be defeated. As for the 
candidates on the ticket, I have little love or regard for 
either. Blair is the most of a man on either ticket. . . • 
Seymour, though temperate, is insincere and weakly and 
selfishly ambitious; was opposed to the Government and 
sentiment of the country, was at heart with the Rebels. 
His nomination has given the Rebels a grand opportunity 
to ring and prolong the War changes, and will be likely to 
insure Democratic defeat, when victory was, by a fair, 
discreet, and judicious coiu^, within their reach. It was 
not a time to nominate a Copperhead. Concession should 
have been made. Colfax is a small man of narrow views 
and limited capacity, superficial and Ught. 

The election next Tuesday will probably be decisive of 
the Presidential election, provided all the States go for 
either party. If the Radicals succeed in this they will be 
apt to carry their point in November. I am inclined to 



1S68] THE POLinGAL OUTLOOK 451 

think they will take all three, althou^ the Democrats 
ei^ress strong faith in a triumph in all ; but they are over- 
sanguine and too graspmg. They might with Hancock 
have succeeded. I will not discourage any with my un- 
belief; but, really, I may to myself confess I have had no 
heart in this campaign since the nominations were made. 
This Saturday night, alone by myself, I make this jotting, 
not to prophesy, but to write down frankly my opinions. 
The elections will, I think, be adverse to the Democrats 
next Tuesday, and also in November. If so, a sad fate, I 
fear, awaits our country. Sectional hate will be established. 

October 12, Monday. Admiral Dahlgren called this 
morning. Says he thought I desired him to take up and 
take action in Ames case. I asked him how he could sup- 
pose so when I had expressly told him I should not again 
take up the case if there were no new facts, or unless he 
should recommend it in consequence of some mistake, 
and even then I should take time to consider it. The truth 
is he wanted to rap Wise with other men's knuckles. 

There is great excitement in Philadelphia in regard to 
the election and a threatened conflict of authority be- 
tween the sheriff and mayor. The judges have been 
behaving scandalously. I shall not be surprised if there 
is riot and bloodshed. 

Each party continues to express undoubted confidence, 
and as nothing can be gained by round assertion to-day 
which the result to-morrow will contradict, the sincerity 
of their opinion is not to be doubted. But while the Demo- 
crats have the best cause, they have sacrificed an oppor- 
timity, — mismanaged, — and they have not, I fear, 
just now, in consequence of mismanagement and too 
grasping a course, the largest numbers. The Democratic 
leaders have very skillfully knocked out their own brains, 
or my impressions are wrong. 

October 13, Tuesday. Attorney-General Evarts was not 



452 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES tocr. la 

at the Cabinet. He has too much private professional 
business to do justice to his office. I wished much to see 
him on some matters. 

John P. Hale, Seward's Minister to Spain, has acknow- 
ledged the new government. I asked if Hale was author- 
ized to do this; Seward said he was. The Cabinet was not 
advised or consulted. We had some talk about Hale, when 
I expressed my opinion of him freely, — his unfitness for 
the place, and that he had little moral principle. Seward 
assented; said Hale had threatened him. 

Edwards Pierrepont, one of Stanton's jockey lawyers, 
writes A. T. Stewart, inclosing, or tendering, $20,000 to 
assist in the election of General Grant, and Stewart duly 
acknowledges it. Such a donation is, of course, not dis- 
interested or for an honest purpose. Pierrepont has been 
paid enormous fees by Stanton and Seward. He is a cun- 
ning and adroit lawyer, but not a true and trusty man« 
The Democrats of New York let themselves dovm when 
they made him one of the Sachems of Tammany. They 
are getting justly paid. 

Pollard ^ applies for permission to have access to the 
Rebel archives in writing the life of Jeff Davis, whom he 
does not like. Schofield was disposed to deny him, and 
Seward also. I advised that he might, in company with a 
clerk, take or have taken copies under the supervision and 
with consent of the Secretary of War. Schofield said he 
was a prejudiced enemy of Jeff Davis and of the Union 
cause. I did not deny that, but was willing the Rebels 
should tdl their own story. Thou^t Doctor lieber an 
enthusiast and as much prejudiced as Pollard. 

Went this evening to tl^ White House to get eariy 
election returns, as usual, on the eve of the election in 
the three great central States.* Found McCulloch thoe. 
Only a sin^e dispatch, and that of not much account, from 



1 Edward A. PoQazd, author 6L Ufe of Jeffenon Doris, with the Seent 
History of the Sotdhem Confederacy, wad otha books on the War. 
t PeDDByhrania, Ohio, and Indiana. 



1868] GETTING THE ELECTION RETURNS 453 

Philadelphia, had been received. McCuUoch was quite 
confident and hopeful. The President cheerful, but gave 
no opinion. He had asked me after Cabinet-meeting how 
things were going. I told him I would come over this 
evening and see. 

Remained about an hour, but no dispatches came. Un- 
like former years. The coming men are the recipients of 
the news, — Seymour and Grant. I did not say this, but 
thought it, with something of sadness that human nature 
should show such qualities. About half-past nine Randall 
came in with a budget of confused returns, and some very 
good rumors. After a little time the President's Private 
Secretary came with returns less favorable but quite as 
much confused. McCulloch's whole look and tone changed 
and he soon left. 

October 14, Wednesday. The election news is far from 
full and far from cheering. In Philadelphia the Demo- 
crats have been successful, and generally, in all the States, 
should judge they had given a larger vote than ever be- 
fore. The probabilities are that Hendricks ^ has succeeded 
in Indiana, though it is not yet certain. General Dium ' 
tells me the counting of the votes is a slow process and 
cannot be completed in many places until this evening. 
It is admitted the Democrats have made gains of Re- 
presentatives to Congress in all three States. It could 
hardly be otherwise, for the Radicals have ahnost all in 
the present Congress. 

The President says this p.m. that he had no definite 
news, — nothing more than is in the papers. No one sends 
to him. Heretofore he has always had friendly telegrams 
giving results. He says Randall called just before I did and 
was feeling very blue, and when he left said he would tele- 

^ Thomas A. Hendricks, the Democratio candidate for Governor of 
Indiana. He was defeated by the Republican Governor, Conrad Baker, by 
a very small majority. 

* General William McEee Dunn of Indiuia, afterwards Judge-Advocate- 
General. 



454 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [ocr. 14 

graph Tilden to get Seymour out of the way. It was pretty 
evident, the President said^ that the present ticket could 
have little hope. 

Although guarded in his remarks, I could perceive the 
President was not greatly displeased with the tiuii things 
were taking, and I think begins to have hopes that at- 
tention may yet be turned to himself. But his intimacy 
with and support of Seward forecloses, if nothing else 
would, any such movement. On that rock he split. It was 
Seward who contributed to the retention of Stanton; it 
was Seward who coimseled him to submit and yield to 
Radical usiupation; and it was Seward who broke down 
his Administration ; it was Seward who drove from him the 
people. The President is bold and firm when he has come 
to a decision, but is not always prompt in reaching it. The 
people would have stood by him against the usurping 
Congress, had he squarely met them at first and asserted 
the rights of the Executive and the Constitution. 

October 15, Thursday. Colonel Johnson, formerly one of 
the editors or writers of the Union, called and had a long 
conversation. He was the friend and editor of Buchanan. 
Tells me some incidents in relation to the Kansas matters. 
He is now pretty intimate with President Johnson, as are 
now many of that class. In the main [Colonel ] Johnson's 
influence is not bad on abstract poUtical questions, for 
he has studied the Constitution and understands the situ- 
ation of the government; is sounder and abler on these 
subjects than some men of higher reputation and distinction, 
but has been too long a lobbyist to have rigid ideas in pe- 
cimiary transactions. His object was, I think, to sound me 
on the subject of withdrawing Sejrmour and Blair and sub- 
stituting other names. I gave him no light, — no encour- 
agement or discouragement. In fact, as things are, I can 
say little about it. Seymour is doomed to defeat, and at 
this late day a rally for another can hardly be made, if 
attempted. 



1868] THE DEMOCRATIC MISTAKE 455 

I did not conceal from [Colonel] Johnson my views, — 
my regret that Seymour was a candidate, that I had never 
yet seen a man who approved it, that he had been a weight 
and drag on a good cause. The country required at this 
time a different candidate to conciliate and reunite differ- 
ences. He spoke of the popularity of the President and 
of the zeal which some felt for Chase, especially the bank- 
ing interest. I avoided saying much as regarded the former, 
but, whatever might be the banking views, expressed sur- 
prise that Democrats should urge Chase. Why not take 
Sumner or Wade, whose position on living political ques- 
tions — Reconstruction, negro suffrage, etc. — was much 
the same as his. There has been a good deal of talk throu^ 
the day of throwing aside the ticket and taking Chase. 
The New York World and the Intelligencer favor it. Wall 
Street prompts the former, and the President does not 
dissuade the latter. But this talk is idle. It may not be 
difficult, since the late elections, to persuade Seymour to 
withdraw, but the substitution of Chase will not now make 
the ticket stronger. The talk about the President means 
nothing. There is no intention to make him the candidate, 
though there is a strong feeling in his favor among the 
masses who do not control organization. His name is used 
by a set as a bank-note for Chase and nothing else. I am 
sorry he listens to it. 

October 16, Friday. It is pretty generally conceded that 
the Radicals have a majority — not large — in the three 
great central States. This may be considered decisive of 
the Presidential contest in November. We have not gained 
so many Members of Congress as I expected, and on the 
whole I am prepared for a signal Democratic defeat. I 
have had little hope that the Radicals would be defeated 
since Seymour was nominated, and am therefore not so 
much disappointed as others. 

The Democratic managers have thought more of party 
than of country and are reaping their reward. In June 



456 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [oct.16 

there was every probability that the Radicals would be 
defeated. The country was against them, and there was 
no feeling or enthusiasm for Grant, who, whatever may be 
his military talents, has no civil capacity on political ques- 
tions. There should have been great care to avoid making 
a War issue, unless a War candidate like Hancock was se- 
lected, for therein is Grant's strength. Without a military 
opponent Grant is formidable. The only hope of the Radi- 
cals was in an appeal to the prejudices on bygone questions 
of war, and the hatred which still lingers and is stimulated 
by them. With unaccountable stupidity, the Democrats 
took precisely the course which the Radicals wished them 
to. They stifled the military and patriotic sentiment for 
Hancock, and brought forward a Peace Democrat, a man 
whom the soldiers throughout the land disliked, whose 
sympathies were notoriously with the Secessionists, and 
who said and did some foolish things which the Radicals 
would, of course, seize, exaggerate, and amplify. 

Pendleton, an equally pronounced Peace Democrat, was 
an early and persistent candidate for the office and thought 
to avoid the great absorbing and real issue — that of pre- 
serving the Constitution and the integrity of the Union 
— by bringing forward a weak and supco^ficial financial 
scheme which captivated speculators and ignorant per- 
sons and men of a low moral standard. He did not maintain 
the true Democratic doctrine on the currency and money 
issue, but based his movements on two currencies, — one 
of paper and one of specie. True Democrats are hard- 
money men, and can favor no paper which is not convert- 
ible into money — coin — at the will of the holder. Paper 
is not money, but a promise to pay money. A broken pro- 
mise by the Government is a breach of faith and disturber 
of confidence. 

Seymour, possessed of no nerve, of no courage, a parti- 
san politician of culture and talent, occupying a prominent 
position in New York, a whilom candidate of his party, 
seemed to hesitate, shrank from the contest, played fast 



ig68] THE DEMOCRATIC MISTAKE 457 

and loose, but finallyi under the influence of Wall Streeti 
assented to and apparently became an advocate for the 
nomination of Chase, the antagonist of the Democratic 
party and Democratic principles on the great issues of 
Reconstruction and strict construction now before the 
country. Chase was, and still is, the champion of negro 
equality and favors the Radical laws of Reconstruction, 
He was, with his committee, the author of the legal-tender 
system and the father of national treasury banks. In no 
sense could he honestly be the candidate of the Demo- 
crats. Yet Seymour professedly, as did Belmont and com- 
pany, earnestly favored his nomination. 

Pendleton, however, opposed him and opposed Hendricks 
because, were they elected, it might interfere with his 
aspirations in the future. No conservative War Democrat 
would they permit to be the candidate, and when it be- 
came obvious to the Pendleton delegates in the New York 
Convention, and to the wild and turbulent crowd of out* 
siders who had been sent on from Cincinnati to control the 
convention, that Pendleton could not be nominated, they 
selected and nominated Seymour for the clearly manifest 
purpose of excluding any conservative Democrat, like 
Ha^^cock, Doolittle, or even Hendricks. 

It never entered the minds of these men that it was im- 
portant to have a candidate who would draw and not repel 
recruits. They believed the Radical measures were so 
atrocious that they could elect whoever was nominatedi 
and therefore, having the organization, passed by all War 
Democrats and nominated a Secession sympathizer. Thou- 
sands and tens of thousands who would have gone in for 
a fair, Union, conservative War Democrat would not, and 
will not, identify themselves with Seymour, whose coiurse 
during the War for the Union was as offensive as that of the 
Radicals now. 

A great opportunity has been thrown away, to the ir|:e- 
parable injury of the coimtry. It does not seem possible 
that Seymour can be elected. The movement for Chase 



458 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [ocr.W 

appears to be earnest; but the first step for his supporters 
is to get Seymour to decline. There are rumors that he 
has put his resignation in the hands of the National Demo- 
cratic Committee. If this be so, which I doubt, the Pre- 
sident and his friends will be promptly thrust aside and 
Chase pressed with energy. I am not in the secret of 
these operations, but hear much of them. If Seymour has 
resigned or should resign, Hancock or Doolittle should be 
substituted. Were either of these men at once earnestly 
and most decisively pressed, possibly something might be 
accomplished, but a change of front at this late day would 
be a pretty certain precursor of defeat. I have little faith 
in anjrthing good being effected. 

It would gratify me to see the national nominating con- 
vention system overthrown, as it would be were a candidate 
spontaneously taken up and elected. 

I asked Randall, who was uneasy during the whole 
Cabinet session, what was being done. He said nothing 
decisive; that the Blairs would rather have Frank on the 
ticket and be defeated than have any other man elected. 
This is Seward all over, and I noticed that Seward seemed 
in excellent spirits. 

He does not like Seymour or any Democrat, unless s»me 
one like Randall, an active, superficial, and super-service- 
able schemer whom he can use. As Schofield had to 
remain after Cabinet session, Randall went round and 
said to the President he would come up this evening. 
I think Randall would, if he had the opportunity, go for 
the President. I asked who would be named, if Seymour 
declined. He said Chase, or the President. I asked him 
what was to be gained by electing Chase, or making him 
the standard-bearer. It staggered him. ''Nothing," said 
he, "but I want to beat Grant." So do I. 

October 17, Saturday. Under the circumstances the 
Democrats and conservatives have done well in the late 
elections. They have been cheated and wronged to some 



1868] THE ALABAMA CLAIMS 459 

extent, I have no doubt. I am disappointed that the Dem- 
ocrats did not elect more Representatives. Had Hancock 
been on the ticket instead of Seymour, we should have 
carried Pennsylvania and Indiana and, I think, Ohio. 
As it is, I am satisfied the popular majority for the Radicals 
is not great in either State. 

I think Seymour will not decline. The scheme did not 
take so easily as the Chase men anticipated, and the whole 
aflfair will blow over. 

October 19, Monday. The Democratic committees and 
Seymour hold out against any change of ticket. There 
is some attempt to denounce Belmont, but it is feeble. 
There are conflicting rumors as regards Chase. I have no 
doubt he would willingly have lent his name, but since the 
scheme has failed he quite likely disapproves the attempt. 
The President, I am constrained to believe, has not been 
entirely indifferent in this matter. Second-rate men have 
been willing to please him by flattering assurances that the 
people wanted him and demanded the change in the ticket. 
He listened with pleasure to their assurances, if he did not 
encourage them. 

October 20, Tuesday. Seward, Randall, and Evarts were 
absent from the Cabinet session. I know not if there is 
any political significance in this. Hunter says Seward 
has gone up the Hudson to see about some real estate of his 
son's. The papers say he is to meet Peter Cooper and 
others about the canal across the Isthmus. Randall pro- 
fesses to be engaged on some arrangement for the over- 
land mail. Evarts has some important law-suits in New 
York. They are all of the same kidney. 

Hunter submitted a telegram in cipher from Reverdy 
Johnson,^ asking if the Alabama claims should be submit- 
ted to the arbitrament of the King of Prussia. McCulloch 

^ Appointed by President Johnson to succeed Charles Francis Adams as 
Minister to England. . ' ' 



460 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [ocr, 20 

would not trust him because of his family relations with 
the ,Queen. I asked what was meant by the Alabama 
claims, — whether it embraced all similar claims and the 
other incidental questions. The President thought we 
should have the whole proposition in all its parts before 
us before deciding. 

Pacific Railroad again occupied much attention. Con- 
gressional fraud and corruption are, I am satisfied, in this 
immense swmdle. 

There were extensive frauds in the late election, — per- 
haps on both sides. The Radicals are steeped in them, 
and, not yet content, there are villainous plans to cheat 
Representatives clearly and fairly elected by the Democrats 
out of their seats. Dawes and company will be ready to 
help the fraud, as they have lent themselves to great 
rascalities in the present Congress. They are destroying 
public confidence in popular government. 

October 23, Friday. At the Cabinet-meeting General 
Schofield read a letter from the Governor of Arkansas, 
expressing great apprehension of trouble from the people^ 
who are armed, and requesting that he might have United 
States arms that are in the arsenal to put in the hands of 
the militia. The militia are imderstood to be Radical par- 
tisans. General Schofield was very earnest in this matter; 
said the opponents to the Governor were Rebels who re- 
tained their arms when Kirby Smith surrendered; that 
they are organized, and unless something was done, the 
loyal men would be overpowered and killed by the Ku- 
Klux. After hearing him for some time and a few com- 
monplace expressions of concern from others, I asked if the 
Governor of Arkansas was afraid of the people of Arkansas, 
— if General S. advised the arming of the Governor's 
partisans against their opponents, the people of that State. 
In other words, is popular government a failure in Arkansas ? 
General S. said that he and the military gentlemen gener- 
ally had believed there was but one way to establish the 



1868] TROOPS TO BE SENT TO MEMPHIS 461 

Reconstruction of the States South, and that was by mar- 
tial law. I asked how long martial law should be contin- 
ued. He said imtil those governments were able to siistain 
tiiemselves. "Do you mean by that/' I inquired, "until 
the black and the ignorant element controls the intelligent 
white population? " The Greneral said he was not a pohti- 
cian nor intending to discuss the subject politically; he was 
speaking practically, how these governments were to be 
maintained. "And you come to the conclusion that force 
is requisite/' said I. "There is/' said he, "no other way 
to keep down the Rebels." 

"Then/' said McCulloch, "if I understand you. Gen- 
eral S., the Reconstruction laws are a failure. The people 
in those States are incapable of self-government." 

Browning said it was plain there must be a standing 
army to carry out the Radical policy, and it would have 
to be kept up through all time. All agreed that it was not 
best to let the Governor have the arms for his party. 

Seward proposed sending United States troops to Ar- 
kansas. This Schofield thought would perhaps answer if we 
had the troops, but we had not got them. He urged that 
General Smith, conmianding, might be authorized to issue 
arms if he thought it necessary. 

After a long and earnest but not satisfactory discus- 
sion, the compromise of Seward was adopted by Schofield, 
who proposed to order the Twelfth Regiment, stationed 
here in Washington, to proceed to Memphis, and by the 
time they reached that point, it could be determined what 
disposition should be made of them. 

I objected to any giving-out of arms, or moving military 
troops on the eve of an excited election. Claimed that 
from the showing there was no msurrection, nothing but the 
unreasonable apprehensions of a party leader who feared 
the people he professed to govern. He, with one of the 
bogus Senators, had undertaken a speculation in arms 
which had been destroyed, and he was in consequence very 
angry. We ought to keep clear of this party contest. 



462 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [oct.28 

I could perceive that Schofield was dissatisfied with my 
views, that Seward plumed himself on having suggested 
a course that was to be adopted. The President did not 
concur with Schofield nor fully with Seward, who, however, 
had his way. 

Our whole governmental system is being overturned by 
the military and the Radicals. One after another of the 
scalawag and carpet-bag governors is calling for arms and 
troops to help him in the elections, and this Administra- 
tion yields against its honest convictions on the sugges- 
tions of a trimmer. Of course the people of Arkansas are 
to be borne down imder the impression that the Federal 
Government is against them. God knows when all this is 
to end! 

The President asked Browning, Randall, and myself to 
stay after the Cabinet adjourned, and submitted a paper, 
carefully and elaborately prepared, on government ex- 
penditures. It was a faithful exposition and, sent out at 
the proper time, would have a good influence. I could 
perceive that the President flattered himself it would be 
effective and perhaps redound to his credit, perhaps bring 
him forward as a candidate. He still has dreams, idle 
dreams, that he may be elected. The people may be 
with him, but party discipline and party management and 
intrigue are all-powerful. 

October 27, Tuesday. Horatio Seymour has gone West, 
making speeches. He talks very well, but his speeches are 
likely to be unavailing. Nev^heless the spirit of the 
people who are opposed to Radicalism seems unbroken. 
Defeat in the great States has not disheartened or wholly 
discouraged them. A few men, anxious for office, have 
fallen away, but not one honest man has wavered, so far 
as I have heard, yet many will not vote for S. 

General Schofield read a telegram from Colonel Camp- 
bell of his staff, who had been to Arkansas, stating that 
it was not expedient to listen to or be governed by the 



im] SEWARD'S TABLE OF TREATIES 468 

representations of the Governor. The tone of Schofieldis 
much moderated. 

There is disturbance in Louisiana, and the reconstructed 
Governor finds himself incompetent to discharge the duties 
of the execu;tive. Radicalism is there an uneducated, im- 
regulated, and disorganized faction. The negroes are 
wholly incapable of discharging police duties, and the 
Governor calls on General Rousseau to help him. 

Seward exhibits a table of the number of treaties which 
have been negotiated, under each administration, and 
promises the President that he shall have brought forward 
more than any of his predecessors. I do not think so 
highly of the doings in this respect as others. There is 
more or less complication and entcoiglement in these treats 
ies. Few and simple regulations are best ; but Seward, not 
the most inteUigent and discreet diplomatist, will continue 
by help of Weed and his colleagues to make a good flourish 
and be extolled for his marvelous labors. 

October 30, Friday. Seward and Evarts are again absent. 
Likely both have gone home to vote. That is said and pub-* 
lished. Evarts would be glad of such an excuse to be ab« 
sent and attend to his immense private business. He has 
been at but one Cabinet-meeting for five weeks; important 
opinions are consequently postponed and action delayed. 

November 17, Tuesday. Exhausted and fatigued with 
office labor during the day and with preparing my Annual 
Report and receiving company evenings, I have been im- 
able to make note in this book for some time. 

But events of interest have transpired, and I regret that 
I did not from day to day make at least a brief memoran- 
dmn. There was excitement over the election, but acqui- 
escence in the declared result. In New York and Phila- 
delphia there was a great outcry of fraud by the Radicals, 
who as a party, now as in other days and imder other 
names, were given to frauds. They denoimce the vote ol 



464 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [nov. 17 

intelligent whites of foreign birth, while they illegally and 
by fraud polled hundreds of thousands of ignorant negro 
votes. 

The defeat of Seymour did not surprise me. There has 
been mismanagement and weakness on the part of the 
Democratic leaders, if nothing worse. The Democratic 
capitalists in New York were, under New York manage 
ment, committed for Chase, but with no sincerity on the 
part of the leaders, and when he was thrown out, the cap- 
italists were indififerent or willing Grant should be elected. 
Pendleton and his friends have acted like disappointed 
partisans, very stupidly for themselves, very badly for 
the country, and as if they were afraid something might 
happen to hereafter defeat him. 

In nominating Seymour the War issue was unavoidably 
raised and the Democrats have been busy in trying to 
make people believe Seymour to have been a good War 
man. They did not convince the voters nor believe their 
own assertions. Of course, amid shuffling issues and in- 
sincerity, all has been uphill work. There was no zeal for 
Grant until Seymour was nominated, — then men would 
have been busy had Hancock been his opponent. The Dem- 
ocrats have not only thrown away a great opportunity and 
injured their party, but done the country irreparable 
wrong. 

Grant has returned to Washington after loitering away 
several months in Galena and the region roundabout since 
he was nominated. Colfax has been back here also. He 
and Wade have again adjourned Congress, — a mockery 
upon the Constitution and honest government. 

A dinner is given by the New York Bar to Attorney- 
General Evarts this evening, to which all the Cabinet 
men were invited. I omitted writing the committee until 
Saturday evening. McCuUoch and Randall did not write 
until yesterday. The others wrote a week ago, declining. 
The papers state that Grant, who is in New York, declines 
to attend if Secretaries McCulloch and Welles and Post- 



1888] GRANT AND THE CABINET-MEMBERS 465 

master-General Randall are to be present. This announce- 
ment, publicly made, is from his factotum AdamBadeau, 
but by Grant's authority. 

When Seward came into the council room this noon he 
spoke, before being seated, of his not attending the At- 
torney-General's dinner because if he went he should have 
kept away another man. I remarked that writing an 
equivocal letter answered every purpose and propitiated 
offended dignity that disliked truth. Seward gave me a sin- 
gular look and satisfied me he felt the remark. 

He said he went to New York last Thursday; that a very 
good friend who is usually at the depot told him that Gen- 
eral Grant was occupying the Presidential car. He, S., 
said, "Very well, if he wants to see me, he can come here.'* 
Soon after his friend came to him with General Grant's 
compliments, inviting him into his car. "Another tribute,'^ 
said I, "to the equivocal manner of answering a plain and 
simple question.'^ 

He proceeded to state the incidents, etc., of the journey. 
I judge that his presence was not particularly acceptable 
to Grant and that the intercourse was formal. This, how- 
ever, did not greatly disturb Seward, who ostensibly w«at 
to New York to attend the fimeral of Mrs. Blatchf ord and 
was glad of the opporttmity to get into Grant's company. 

He says he never has exchanged a word with Grant since 
the interview at the President's last February. This, I 
find, is the fact as regards all who were then present. In 
trying a refined and subtle game the General was exposed, 
and, in an issue between himself and the President, those 
of us who were present were called upon to state the facts, 
and General Grant, it seems, in the exercise of his new 
social and official position, undertakes to proscribe those 
who cannot sacrifice the truth for him. 

The subject does not trouble me otherwise than, as a 
citizen, I regret the degradation of the highest office in the 
country. McCuUoch said that had he been aware of any 
such revengeful feeling on the part of Grant, he would 

3 



466 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [Nov. 17 

certainly ha ve gone to New York to have shut hnn off from 
the dinner. I said I would not have gone across the room 
to have either prevented or aided him in the matter. The 
General of our armies and the President-elect might make 
this exhibition of malignant spite against truth without 
disturbing me in the least. 

Mr. Seward had a large budget of letters and newspaper 
slips relative to affairs in Paraguay and our late Minister 
Washburn, who has been extremely troublesome ever since 
he has been there or in that neighborhood. For some years 
he has been the persistent friend of Lopez, and the Secre- 
tary of State aided him in his absurd claims of insisting on 
having a national vessel to run the blockade of the allies, 
in order to carry him back and forth. 
* I have remonstrated against maintaining a mission in 
the interior of South America, among a half-savage peoploi 
where there are no citizens of the United States, no com- 
merce, no intercourse of any kind, where no other govern- 
ment sends a minister, and where we should have none. 

Washburn sometime since resigned, and General Mc- 
Mahon was appointed his successor. Mr. Seward said he 
had but a single dispatch from Washburn, but the papers 
are filled with his letters, — some of them very discredit- 
able, — and his conduct appears to be reprehensible 
throughout. Seward said he had a letter from Webb at 
Rio, very well written, but Seward was csireful not to read 
it. He had prepared a singular letter to me, however, 
which he did read, in which he proposed that the whole 
affair shall be commxmicated to Admiral Davis, who is to 
proceed with an adequate force to Paraguay and demand 
redress. 

I asked where McMahon, the representative of the 
Government, was, that he was not intrusted with this duty ; 
why this responsibility was put on Davis, a naval oflScer. 
I was willing he should be directed to consult, cooperate 
with, and aid General McMahon, but the Admiral had no 
''adequate force'' to send up the river and make the de- 



1868] MINISTER WASHBURN. J[N PARAGUAY 467 

mand, even were it proper. Seward said he had great 
confidence in Davis as a discreet man who would act pru- 
dently, etc., etc. In all this I see Mephistopheles, and do 
not mean to be bamboozled by him. The President and 
Randall expressed great r^ard for McMahon. 

November 18, Wednesday. In a brief interview with the 
President I told him I thought it the proper duty of the 
Minister we had sent to Paraguay to investigate and make 
demands, if demands were to be made; that he might, and 
perhaps should, consult with Admiral Davis, but I thought 
it improper to impose the Minister's duties on the Admiral 
and make him responsible. The President concurred and 
wished me to advise with Seward. I remarked that we 
differed; that I had for several years thought we needed no 
minister at Paraguay, where we had no citizens, no com- 
merce, etc. 

I received late this p.m. from Secretary Seward the 
letter which he read yesterday to the President and Cabi- 
net relative to intrusting Admiral Davis to proceed with 
an "adequate force" to Paraguay, demand redress, etc. I 
drafted a rough letter but had not time to copy or complete. 

November 19, Thursday. Sent my instructions to Ad- 
miral Davis, taking care to copy that part of Seward's 
letter which advised the President that the Admiral should 
proceed with an adequate force, etc., wishing he had such 
force. I also wrote Seward that I thought it proper General 
McMahon should be associated with the Admiral and 
share the responsibility. 

Every one seems disgusted with Grant's conditional 
acceptance of an invitation to the Evarts dinner. None 
of his friends attempt to defend him. The little man is 
exhibiting his true traits. Very malignant, revengeful, 
because exposed in his equivocation and f akehood. An 
enemy of truth and of those who assert it, provided he is 
thereby discomfited. 




468 iDIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [sov. 20 

November 20, Friday. Told Evarts I was glad I had not 
kept him or any invited guest from his dinner. He says 
there was a great strife among the Radicals whether Grant 
should be allowed to attend; that some extreme Radicals 
got up a counter-dinner uptown to draw Grant off; that 
the conditional acceptance was intended to relieve Grant 
if any of us attended, a cunning device that failed. Ab 
none of us attended, there was no escape but for him to give 
his presence to the Evarts banquet. 

Seward said he had received my letter in the Paraguay 
matter and would attend to my suggestions. Would in- 
struct McMahon and request him to consult with Admiral 
Davis. Thought it very proper, etc. I asked him to send 
me a copy of his instructions. Said he would. Gave him 
again my opinion of Washburn and of his mission. 

November 24, Tuesday. Seward came to Cabinet coun- 
cil this morning with a queer expression on his countenance. 
We two were the first arrivals. On exchanging salutations, 
he said he was sick, quite sick. I asked his malady. He 
said he had got the damnedest strange thing from Reverdy 
Johnson for a protocol. Others came in to whom he made 
similar communication. He submitted the docimient to 
the President and Cabinet with a lugubrious look which 
cannot be described. Intended to be sad and grieved, but 
with a lurking laugh. The Alabama claims are to be sub- 
mitted to arbitration; four commissioners, two by each 
party; if not unanimous, some sovereign to be selected by 
the two governments as umpire, etc. The whole thing, 
he said, was wrong, contrary to instructions, must be 
sent back. The members were surprised and made in- 
quiries into the points of difference. He did not make 
himself clear, but said he would prepare and submit a 
dispatch at the next Cabinet-meeting. I was more inter- 
ested with the distressed looks of McCuUoch and Brown- 
ing than with the muddy exposition. They had evidently 
expected the Alabama claims were about adjusted. I re- 



1868] PROTOCOL ON ALABAMA CLAIMS 469 

marked that I had not expected the Englidi Govemm^Qt 
would ever consent to a reference of those claims to a com- 
mission, that I had now little expectation the claims would 
be paid, that the commission was closely locked up. Sew- 
ard said he would have better terms. I asked if all claims 
of either party since 1853 were submitted, including prizes 
and captured property. Seward did not give me a direct 
answer, and some incidental question from McCulloch 
furnished him an opportunity to drop it. 

When we left, McCulloch and myself came down to- 
gether. He expressed his regret that there should be de- 
lay in this matter, for the country would be disappointed. 
I told him I expected no settlement of those claims during 
this administration, — certainly not in our favor. 

November 25, Wednesday. Admiral Farragut and wife 
arrived late last night and are stopping at our house. 
They are both well and enjoy these excimsions and their 
friends. He is guileless, simple-hearted, and as sincere as 
he is brave. Mrs. F. is devoted to him, proud of him, and 
very social. 

Received a note this morning early from the President, 
who wished me to call on him. Foimd he was anxioiis about 
the treaty. Wished my views. Said he desired to accept 
and send in the treaty without fail, and he knew not why 
this was not in good shape. I said that I thought Mr. 
Seward had no disposition to hasten decision, that I had 
never supposed him much in earnest in this matter, and 
that as things are with us, he probably wished to prolong 
the negotiation. The English had never admitted they 
were responsible, and were so confident they would not be 
held responsible that they sometime ago had consented 
to arbitrament, but Mr. Seward had requested they 
should also submit their governmental action. This they 
had refused, and I had expected they always would; but 
theyhad siurendered the point, though in a way that hedged 
them in against any advantage to us. I told him I was not 



470 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [nov. 25 

sanguine we should get anything, whoever might be the 
negotiator. The President requested me to read the three 
articles aloud, and we commented on each. I remarked it 
was difficult to come to a conclusion, for Mr. Seward care- 
fully abstained from presenting his points, and we knew 
enough of the English to be aware they did not intend to 
be overreached. I asked if Seward had been with him on 
this subject and frankly stated the case. He said he had, 
and would be in again with a rough draft, and have his 
dispatch fully prepared by Friday. "Then," said I, "we 
shall have the case in full. Let us wait.'' 

November 26, Thursday. Spent the day at home socially 
with Admiral and Mrs. Farragut. The President and Mrs. 
Patterson dined with us, in company with the Admiral 
and Mrs. F. and Admiral and Mrs. Radford. 

November 27, Friday. Mr. Seward read his letter of 
instructions to Reverdy Johnson. They were not ap- 
proved by the President nor any one of the Cabinet. I had 
expected he would have the support of Mr. Evarts and 
thought probably he had consulted that gentleman, but 
from the discussion I infer neither was the fact. 

I again inquired how much was covered, — whether 
claims for captures, destruction of property, prizes, etc., 
were to be permitted; if so a commission was not desirable. 
Mr. Evarts thought so too, and said our Alabama claims 
amounted to only about eight millions, while the English 
would probably demand a himdred millions from us. I 
thought the latter not improbable if naval prizes were 
included, but should be surprised if our claims were not 
largest. McCulloch asked Seward whether, if he could not 
get better terms, he would accept the protocol presented, 
but Seward avoided an explicit answer; was confidcAt it 
would not reach that ultimatum ; the English would give in. 

The President thought it would be best to postpone a 
final decision on Seward's dispatch imtil Tuesday. This 



1868] DISCUSSION OF THE PROTOCOL 471 

disturbed Seward, who said he wished to send off a cable 
dispatch this afternoon, and he should receive an answer 
in a week which he doubted not would be favorable. 

Before the meeting closed, the President requested me 
to go with him into the library, when he asked me what 
had best be done. Said he wished the subject disposed of 
during his Administration or that the Senate should be 
responsible for the delay. I again expressed my doubts 
whether Mr. Seward was anxious for an immediate dis- 
position; asked what we were to gain by this treaty, — 
what were the advantages. Told him I had no idea that 
Mr. Seward or Mr. Reverdy Johnson would overreach the 
English negotiators. As the subject is in the hands of Sew- 
ard, he would be dissatisfied if overruled by others and 
his views set aside, and that, if prepared to conform to him, 
it would be as well to let him have an opportunity to try 
Reverdy Johnson farther. This seemed to relieve him, as 
I supposed it would. On our return to the council room, 
he told Seward to send his telegram and get his answer 
if he could in a week. 

November 28, Saturday. When at the President's to- 
day, relative to some Marine appointments, he reverted 
to the discussion yesterday. I asked him if he really under- 
stood Seward's object; why he did not press the matter 
of the Alabama claims upon the British Government him- 
self, and compel it to admit the righifulnesB of the claim; 
why refer the principle to a commission. The English 
never, in my opinion, would have submitted to arbitra- 
tion the attack on Copenhagen. Our claim should not be 
classed with theirs. 

November 30, Monday. The Attorney-General has given 
an opinion on the eight-hour law, and the payments imder 
it, which is a specimen of attorneyship unsurpassed. If he 
is wiser after investigating the subject, he has imparted 
none of his wisdom to others. 



LXIV 

Report on the Padfic Railroad — The New York Evening Poelon Vander* 
bOt and the Merrimac — The Alabama ClaimB — Congress assembke 

— Senator Trumbull makes an Unreasonable Request — The President's 
Annual Message and its Reception in Congress — Proposal to annex 
San Domingo — Attorney-General Eyarts and the Law relating to 
Courts Martial — Grant's Probable Course as President — Discussion 
of the Finances of the Country — Fox's Conversation with Admiral 
Porter — Formal Acquisition of League Island for the New Navy Yard 

— Bowles of the SpringfieM Repvbliean arrested at the Suit of Fisk — 
Relations of Grant with President Johnson and Members of the Cabinet 

— Cabinet Discussion of the Currency Question — The End of aa 
Eventful Year. 

December 1, Tuesday. Most of the session of the Cabi« 
net was consumed with reading a long report of the com- 
mittee to examine and report on the Pacific Raikoad. They 
report the road well built in the main, but that it will re- 
quire six and a half millions to put it in proper order so far 
as built, — Muddy Creek, ^ 

December 2, Wednesday. Read final proof of my eighth 
and last Annual Report as Secretary of the Navy. It has 
been an irksome task. The composition of a report is more 
laborious than five times that quantity of ordinary writ- 
ings, — so much detail, examination, comparison, etc., 
etc., with such a multitude of documents and statistics. 
But the work is done. Have had great assistance from 
Faxon. 

The newspapers are in quite a ferment over the case of 
Dick Meade, ^ who is in the lunatic asylum. Great sym- 
pathy is expressed for him, none for his family. They, 
more than he, have suffered from his malady. I have for 

^ In the southwestern comer of Wyoming. 

* Richard W. Meade, U.S.N., retired in 1867 as commodore, brother 
of General Meade. 



1868] VANDEBBILT AND THE MERRIMAC 478 

some time been aware he had an unbalanced and erratic 
mind. It is painful that his ^suffering wife and children 
should be dragged before the public and misrepresented. 

December 3, Thursday. Had a letter from G. V. Fox in- 
closing a slip cut from the New York Evening Post, giving 
credit to Stanton and Vanderbilt and ignoring the Navy 
Department in relation to the Merrimao when she came 
out of Norfolk. The falsehoods are so palpable that it 
would seem no one could be deceived by them. Neverthe- 
less false impressions are made on the pubhc mind. It 
is represented that Stanton's scouts had brought him word 
that the M. was coming down; that he sent for Vanderbilt, 
who came on, went to Hampton Roads, asked the naval 
commander if the M. was coming, etc., etc. 

Stanton was not informed by any scouts, but I was; and 
expected the Monitor would be on hand. Fox went to 
Hampton Roads to meet her. Stanton was the most 
frightened man that I ever saw. He telegraphed to North- 
ern Governors and the Mayors of the principal cities hi9 
alarm, imparted his fears to Mr. Lincoln and all who saw 
and Ustened to him, created a panic, was vexed at my cool- 
ness. But all this was on the day after the Merrimac had 
come down and sunk the Cumberland and Congress. He 
had not sent for Vanderbilt, nor had he done anything 
before, for he knew nothing, expected nothing. It was an 
uncomfortable day for me, but I had no panic, and when 
I heard, as I did by telegraph (which was in operation 
from Fortress Monroe on that dark Sunday for the first 
time), that the Monitor was there, I felt reUeved and was 
at comparative ease, while Stanton was fl}dng about, 
really very much scared, and mad because I was not. 

He did telegraph, that night, I think, or the following 
day, to Vanderbilt, for he had no faith in the Navy officers 
nor me, nor any one else, but he knew Vanderbilt had big 
steamers. Vanderbilt came here and was closeted with 
Stanton in r^ard to naval and military defenses and tiio 



474 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES idtc.8 

security of Washington. They called on Mr. Lincoln, as 
he informed me. The bluster and management of Stanton 
made the panic seriously ridiculous. The steamer Vander- 
bilt and Vanderbilt himself went to Hampton Roads; the 
steamer remained there two months or more, out of abund- 
ant precaution, and so did the Baltic, and two or three 
other large and expensive steamers, but Mr. Vanderbilt's 
military services were earUer dispensed with. Stanton's 
scare cost the country more than half a miUion dollars. 
All his work and expenditiure were after the Monitor had 
its fight, and had driven the Merrimac up EUzabeth River. 
But the lies and falsehoods sent out like this article in the 
Po9t make up history in these days. 

December 4, Friday. Seward expressed great confidence 
to-day in the success of Reverdy Johnson with his plan. 
I asked what the plan was. "Does it," said I, ''embrace 
claims of Englishmen for cotton and other property cap- 
tured or destroyed during the War?" He replied emphat- 
ically, *'No, it does not." "And, of course, this shuts off 
any claim for prizes condemned in our courts," said I. 
^'Shuts off all," said he; "they do not come within the 
treaty." 

I was in this matter explicit, and have given, I believe, 
the words which each of us used. He went on with some 
other remarks, — that nothing which could come within 
our admiralty or local jurisdiction was to be considered, 
and that they suffered like other belligerents when within 
enemy's limits. I hope his representations and imder- 
standings are all correct. It is a relief. 

The Pacific Railroad folks are here in force. Do not like 
any checking-up on their subsidies. Browning submitted 
a statement from Mr. Williams, showing that the man- 
agers have received seventeen millions more than they 
have expended. Still they are distressed for more money. 
Mr. Evarts thinks they might be accommodated by the 
Government. Talks like an attorney for them. 



1808] CONGRESS ASSEMBLES 47& 

December 5, Saturday. The combination of newspaper 
correspondents centred here in Washington is an unscru- 
pulous and corrupt combination. There may be and there 
are a few exceptions. For some days past these fellows 
have been busy with schemes to beg, bluff, steal, bribe, 
cheat, and in anyway get copies of public documents which 
are to accompany the President's Message. They almost 
lied McCulloch out of his senses. Schofield caved in without 
a struggle and surrendered. Says General Grant advised 
it, who imfortunately knows no better. I would have 
nothing to say or do with them in a matter so improper 
and disrespectful to the President, who by the Constitu- 
tion communicates information to Congress. Of course 
extra pains have been taken to get hold of my Report*' 
In to-day's Tribune there is published what is called it 
synopsis. It is, undoubtedly, made up from one sheet and 
no more, stolen from the printer's. This probably was pro- 
cured by a bribe to some poor printer, who perjured him- 
self, broke his faith, and if found out, would forfeit his 
place. Such is the morality of the New York Tribune and 
of newspaper correspondents. 

The President informed me this p.m. that his Message 
was not fully completed. He is, he says, bothered with the 
Treasury statement of the public debt. The point which 
bothered him does not seem obscure to me, but I could not 
satisfy him. 

December 7, Monday. Congress assembled. Both houses 
pretty full. The President informed them he would trans- 
mit his Message on Wednesday. I took to the President my 
Report and docmnents in duplicate for transmission^ 
Randall was therewith copies of his Report just completed, 
but had not the appendix. I was glad the President de- 
layed his Message until Wednesday and so told him. 
Randall says the Members are very uneasy and intend to 
do but little. 



476 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES ptc.» 



December 8, Tuesday. Senator Trumbull called 
morning. We had about ten minutes' pleasant conversa- 
tion, when he said he called principally in regard to an 
extension of leave to Midshipman Webster. He had writ- 
ten me yesterday and received a reply that it could not be 
granted. I explained the case. Twelve midshipmen came 
home on the Franklin. Immediately after the vessel ar- 
rived I directed that the midshipmen should have leave, 
and as the vessel did not go out of commission and was to 
be in port two months or over, six midshipmen should have 
one month's leave, and then they should relieve the other 
six, who should have like leave. Of course I could not give 
an extension of two weeks to one and deny it to the other 
eleven, unless there were special reasons which would 
make it an exceptional case. Mr. T. said there were no 
special reasons, but he had inquired and understood that 
I had sometimes extended leave. I told him not one of 
them had such extension. He said he did not mean these 
midshipmen, but extension was sometimes granted to offi- 
cers. I said that was true in isolated and exceptional cases 
when the extension could be granted without injury or 
marked favoritism, and there was reasonable ground for 
gratifying it. '*Why,then,'^ inquired he, ''cannot I have 
an extension for this boy?" "Because," I replied, ''there 
are twelve on the same footing, and all must be treated 
alike; a leave to one would be unjust to eleven others, 
would cause discontent and work harm. The young men 
must have even-handed justice and be treated alike, and 
if so treated they would be satisfied, but special favor to 
any one would have a bad moral influence and impair the 
authority of the Department." 

He manifested at once great ill-temper. Said he asked 
no favors of this Administration; he had, however, humil* 
ated himself to request that a midshipman should have 
two weeks' leave of absence, as his vessel would not 
sail for a month or more, and it was refused. He would 
not have humiliated himself to ask it but for the fact 



1868] AN UNREASONABLE REQUEST 477 

that the boy's mother had attended Mrs. T. in her last 
sickness. 

I said that was considerate and kind on his part towards 
the lad, but surely he would not on that account wish me 
to break in on the rule and government of the service 
under the circumstances. 

He grew more excited, said he did not want to break 
regulations; he asked a favor for only one person; perhaps 
the Department would want a favor one of these days. 
He asked no odds. It was in his power to embarrass or 
annoy the Navy Department as much as the Department 
could annoy him. I told him he could hardly mean all that 
he intimated ; that we were not here to annoy but to assist 
each other, and he ought not to exhibit the feeling he had; 
that I, perhaps, had not been fortunate enough to make 
the case fairly understood, and I would call Commodore 
Jenkins, Chief of Bureau of Navigation, who would state 
the facts and my course and principle of action. 

I sent for Commodore J., who has immediate charge of 
midshipmen, to whom Mr. T. presented the case a little 
strong, and was informed almost in my words of the cir- 
cumstances, and told in his (J.'s) opinion no one of the 
boys ought to have an extension; that others were making 
similar applications and were denied. Trumbull still con- 
tinued unreasonable, and I saw expected to carry his point 
by covert intimations and boisterous dissatisfaction. I 
therefore with some emphasis assured him that I must do 
my duty without favor, and if he did not, or would not, 
see the impropriety of giving to one of twelve six weeks 
and restrict the other eleven to four, I could not help it. 
I must do right, and maintain regulations, without par- 
tiality or prejudice. He lowered his tone, but went off in 
a dudgeon. 

The President read, or rather Colonel Moore, his Secre- 
tary, read his Message to the Cabinet this p.m. It was in 
print and I concluded had been seen by no one of the heads 
of the Departments. The docmnent will be distasteful iQ 



478 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [dsc.« 

the Radicals and some portions of it not acceptable to the 
Democrats. His views on Reconstruction are sound. On 
the subject of finance he is not successful, but inexcusably 
weak and erroneous. This scheme to remodel the Consti- 
tution is neither nice nor wise, striking down, as it does, 
some important features of the federal system. The lan- 
guage and tone of the document are good, but the deter- 
mined stand which he continues to maintain on matters 
when he differs from Congress will be assailed. 

Each head of a Department furnishes a synopsis of his 
Report which the President usually embodies or furnishes 
with sometimes a complimentary expression of his own. 
This has been the case with both Presidents Lincoln and 
Jdmson on every occasion of an Annual Message. Seward 
has taken more than usual space this time. But little was 
said by any one when the reading was concluded. I think 
there was on the matter of finance and the Constitutional 
Amendments a feeling of disappointment and regret with 
all. When that portion which relates to the Navy was 
read, the President, referring to the exception taken to 
the reduction of interest from six to three per cent on the 
naval pension fund, said, ''Congress has set the example, 
declared what the interest ought to be on the public debt. " 
McCulloch said three per cent would pay the Navy pen- 
sions. I remarked it was bad faith and unjustifiable. 

Mr. Browning, after a little time, got up and came round 
to the President, congratulating him on the ability of the 
Message; said he heartily approved every word of the first 
part of the paper, but that he did not indorse the proposi- 
tions to amend the Constitution. No other member gave 
expression to his opinion. We could hardly do it unin- 
vited, and the President asked no criticism, could make 
no change, for the document is in print, and is to be pre- 
sented to Congress to-morrow. I would not say to the 
President that I approved all the first part of the Message, 
though there is much that I do approve and commend. 
But I am opposed to repudiation in any form, or any 



1666] THE PRESIDENT'S ANNUAL MESSAGE 470 

tendency to bad faith towards public creditors or others. 
I xinite with Browning in disapproving the proposed Con- 
stitutional Amendments. 

The President is not a financier, does not consider his 
project a breach of faith, but a suggestion or plan to dispose 
of the debt. It is the plan essentially of Butler and others. 
But the President will be violently attacked on that part 
of his Message, which is assailable, because in that way his 
opponents can vent their spite for the wholesome lecture 
administered on Reconstruction. 

December 9, Wednesday. As I anticipated. Congress 
ventilated its rage against the President. His Message, in 
its soundest portions, annoyed them. They felt his rebuke 
and knew they deserved it. Conness, who is innately 
vulgar; Cameron, who is an unconscionable party trickster; 
and Howe, cunning and shrewd but not profound or 
wise, had their sensibilities aroused. The President had 
no business to insult Congress by communicating his opin- 
ions. It was indecorous to the Senate, and they would not 
permit it to be read. So they adjourned in a huff. 

The House permitted the Message to be read, and then 
denoimced it as infamous, abominable, wicked. Schenck, 
the leader, was against printing, and others of about the 
same calibre ranted. They attacked most violently that 
part which suggests payment of the bonds not in conform- 
ity with the original imderstanding. It is the most weak 
and indefensible. 

December 10, Thursday. The Senators have recovered 
their senses, and quietly submitted to the reading of the 
Message, after an exhibition of folly and weakness that 
would discredit a party caucus. All seemed ashamed. The 
House, however, prints only the legal number of the Mes- 
sage and documents, — no extras. 

These displays of puerile anger by the legislative body 
are ridiculous. Men assuming to be statesmen^ who ase 



480 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES idbc. 10 

Senators if not legislators, are led away by such fellows 
as Conness and Cameron. They must all hang together. 
It is really pitiful. Their inconsiderate spite will have the 
effect of insuring for the Message a pretty general reading. 

December 11 f Friday, There was little done by the Cab- 
inet. Seward read a proposition to the effect that San 
Domingo wished to come under the protection of the United 
States. In the present condition of the coimtry there can 
be little done. Radical partyism must have its insane, shal- 
low run. The real interests of the country are neglected, 
and it would be unwise to attempt to consider the subject 
now, if ever. Neither San Domingo nor Africa, if an- 
nexed or admitted, would strengthen the Union. 

Mr. Attorney-General Evarts has been engaged throu^ 
the week in endeavoring to demonstrate the constitution- 
ality of legal tenders, — that paper which is irredeemable 
in money, the equivalent of coin. When McCulloch ex- 
pressed a wish that the Court would decide that only gold 
and silver were legal currency, — that irredeemable paper 
is not money, — Evarts said we had just got rid of civil 
disturbances, but we should be thrown into something 
worse if we did not sanction the right of the Government 
to issue paper money. 

He evidently thinks that he and the Court can patch up 
a s}rstem better than the Constitution. A rigid adherence 
to the fundamental law would be temporarily an incon- 
venience and hardship, and therefore the wise lawyers 
must contrive to get round it. This man, like Seward and 
that class of politicians, has no political convictions, no 
fixed political principles. It is unfortunate for the coimtry 
that there is such a preponderance of lawyers in our public 
coimcils. Their technical training and extensive, absorb- 
ing practice imfit them to be statesmen. They are ready 
to take either side of a case for a fee, and will labor as 
earnestly for the side which they know to be wrong as for 
the right. Their]influence is often bad. They will, for party 



ms] EVARTS AND (X)URT-MARTIAI|'IiAW 481 

ends, warp and pervert the plainest provisions of the 
Constitution. 

I have had for several weeks a perplexing case. A cap- 
tain's clerk betrayed his princii>aly — treacherously , ex- 
posed his correspondence to the King and authorities at 
Honolulu. The Solicitor charged him with unofficial- like 
conduct; of which he was convicted and sentenced to ten 
years' confinement at hard labOT in the penitentiary. No 
man can be sent to the penitentiary by a naval court 
martial, except for a capital [sic] offense under the statute. 
No one ever has been. Of course it became necessary tq 
set the sentence aside. The Solicitor had his professional 
pride touched, claimed the court had the right to sentence 
to the penitentiary, and requested that the opinion of the 
Attorney-General might be obtained. Although the case 
was clear, I acceded to his request. The opinion of the 
Attorney-General was asked; considerable time elapsed 
before the opinion was received, when, to my astonish- 
ment, it sustained the sentence. I called his attention to 
certain inconsistencies and fundamental points with which 
he was in conflict. He seemed embarrassed, said he would 
examine the subject thorough^. I requested he should do 
it himself, for I told him the opinion which he gave me 
came from the Solicitor of the Navy Department through 
Assistant Attorney-General Ashton. He admitted Ashton 
prepared the opinion. I told him I had heard it betoxe 
Ashton ever saw it. 

I then added that the law was prepared under my own 
eye in the Navy Department; it was intended that none 
but for capital offenses should be sent to the penitentiary. 
After meditating for weeks, and pondering over the stat- 
utes, he writes me he is confirmed in his opinion, it is 
strengthened by my adverse suggestions, etc. All of which 
means that Ashton, Bolles, and himself have studied to 
make a plain case obscure or to pervert it. 

To-day I put before him the military and naval laws, 
passed contemporaneously, one on the 16th, the oth^* ' ^ 



482 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [dec. il 

the 17th, of July, '62. He seemed, and was indeed, sur- 
prised. Said he was aware of no such law; that it was ex- 
plicit ; that his attention had never been called to it. Said 
I could dispose of the case by disapproving the sentence; 
that I had better do it. Now it is no plainer to me, nor to 
any fair-minded man, under the military law than imder 
the naval law. The military were in the habit of sending 
soldiers to the penitentiary. The Navy never did. C!on- 
gress, to put an end to the military practice, prohibited the 
sending any person to the penitentiary except for capital 
offenses, by any court martial. The law officers of the Gov- 
ernment, it seems, knew not of the law, and put their heads 
together to make law, and to defeat the statutes. To do 
this they had no regard for personal rights, — were ready 
to make me instrumental in throwing a poor fellow into 
the penitentiary against law and usage. As a class, lawyers 
do not respect personal rights, are not statesmen or good 
administrative officers. 

December 12, Saturday. The President is disappointed 
with the manner in which his Message is received. He did 
not expect Congress or the Radicals to be pleased with his 
reiteration of his views on the question of ReconstructioUi 
but he had an idea that his financial suggestions would take 
with some of the Radicals. Not one, however, has yet 
stepped forward to defend him, and his friends strive to 
apologize and explain away his singular views. 

Colonel Moore asked me my opinion of the Message. 
I told him it was, like all the President's docmnents, cahUi 
deliberate, statesmanlike, but his friends would not unite 
on his financial propositions, nor his proposed Constitu- 
tional Amendments. The clamor of the stupid and ill- 
mannered dimderheads in Congress, and newspaper cor- 
respondents and partisans out of it, who denounced the 
Message as infamous, and denied his right to lecture Con- 
gress, or in plain words give an opinion against their 
party schemes, was absurd. 



1868] GRANT'S PROBABLE COURSE 483 

There are many, and some very whimsical, rumors and 
speculations concerning Grant's policy and Cabinet. As 
r^ards policy and measures, he has none. He can no more 
foreshadow, or anticipate, or design a course of political 
action than he can make a speech to a popular audience, or 
a plea of abatement, or a sermon on total depravity. Yet 
he has shrewdness and a certain amount of common sense, 
with avarice, selfishness, and ambition. Of the structure 
of the government, and a proper administration of its 
affairs, he is singularly and wonderfully ignorant. 

For personal rights he has as little regard as for the 
Constitution, — cares nothing for either. He has sustained 
all the wicked and vicious legislation, so violative of the 
Constitution, of the rights of the States, and of individual 
rights, which disgraced the last and present Congress, and 
has really no idea that the Constitution is any more re- 
straint upon him as President than as General. He may 
be taught better by his friends, may learn the civil duties 
of Chief Magistrate, may apprehend and comprehend the 
powers and limitations of the fundamental law; but he 
does not now understand them so well as the generality of 
his countrymen and is stupidly indifferent to them. Nev- 
ertheless, he is not destitute of judgment which, with a low 
order of common sense, enables him to get aloiLg by riding 
on the opinions of others and making them his own. Be- 
cause he does not know the fundamental law or the stat- 
utes, it must not be supposed that he disregards them, 
unless they are troublesome. 

. . . Horse-flesh has more charms for him than brains 
or intellect. He likes Bonner for his fast horses, not for his 
sharp transactions and business qualities. The race-course 
has more attractions for him than the Senate or the coimcil 
room. He loves money, admires wealth, is fond of power 
and ready to use it remorselessly. ... He does not in- 
tend to labor like a drudge in office, does not propose to 
study public affairs, has no taste for books or intellectual 
employment. If I mistake not, he designs to let his Cabinet 



484 DIARY OF GIDEON WELLES [dec. u 

perform each his own work, like department military 
commanders. He will approve or disapprove, listen when 
convenient; but leave investigation and almost entirely the 
decision to them. Appointment of his friends to oflSoe is 
ihe extent of his ideas of administrative duties. . . . 

December 14. Had a little talk with Senator Hendricks 
this morning on naval matters and political affah^. He is 
sensible and judiciouS; one of the best and most useful 
Members of Congress. 

Commodore Meade has been turned loose from the 
lunatic hospital by Judge Sutherland of New York. The 
press has been used to set him at liberty, and the court 
yielded. Meade is certainly crazy at times and ought long 
since to have been cared for. When arrested, he had five or 
six loaded pistols, and threatened the lives of several of his 
own family and others; among the latter, I imderstand 
was mjrself . He is, with all his bluster, a great coward, 
and therefore will scarcely harm any one, yet, should he 
kill, no punishment can be inflicted, for it would be proved 
that he is a lunatic.