Skip to main content

Full text of "Politics Principle And Prejudice 1865 1866"

See other formats


PREJUDICE, 1865-181" ? 

Of Nt ' 


"One of the most exciting and most illumi- 
nating studies in American history that I have 
read in many a year." Richard N. Current, 
University of Wisconsin 

Brilliant re-evaluation of original source mate- 
rials and two exciting pieces of historical detec- 
tion form the basis for this significant reinter- 
pretation of the political struggle that reached its 
climax in the attempt to impeach President An- 
drew Johnson. 

The authors have used many unpublished 
source materials, including the important Barlow 
papers. Their vast research has led them to the 
exciting discovery of a most extraordinary and 
powerful lobby under the direction of William 
H. Seward, a force previously unknown to his- 
torians. It has also led to identification of Seward 
as the author of certain drafts of Johnson's Presi- 
dential messages previously either disregarded or 
erroneously attributed to the President. 

These discoveries, combined with careful scru- 
tiny of a whole body of materials, is at the core 
of the authors' reinterpretation: that genuine prin- 
ciple played a major role in the Radicals' defeat of 
Johnson's Reconstruction program and that the 
President and his supporters were motivated as 
much by political considerations as were their 
Radical opponents. 

The authors find that the conflict between 
Congress and President Johnson, far from being 

(Continued on back flap) 


D DDDi onaais E 

973-81 C87P 64--O1823 


Politics^ principle, and prejudics 


975.81 C87P 6*4-01823 

Cox $6QQ 

Politics, principle, and prejudice 


kansas city ||g| public library 

kansaS; city, missouri 

- ' ' V'i . .' , ^ ' 

Books will be issued only 

on presentation of library card. 
Please report lost cards and 

change of residence promptly. 
Card holders are responsible for 

all books, records, films, pictures 
or other library materials 
checked out on their cards. 






Dilemma of Reconstruction America /\1\IJU XTlTliJiJ UUlOJi 




Printed in the United States of America 

All rights in this book are reserved. No part of this book 
may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever 
without written permission except in the case of brief 
quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews. 

For information, address: 

The Free Press of Glencoe 
A Division of The Macmillan Company, 
The Crowell-Collier Publishing Company 
60 Fifth Avenue, New York n 

Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 63-10647 
Collier-Macmillan Canada, Ltd., Toronto, Ontario 

To m. c. 




struction has been a long time in the making. We should 
like the reader to know that we undertook this research with no 
intent to write a political study but rather in pursuit of what 
seemed a quite different problem. We began without questioning 
the interpretation of the conflict between President Johnson and 
Congress then current and still quite generally held though re- 
cently challenged by a number of scholars, notably Alfred H. 
Kelly, Stanley Coben, David Donald, Jack Scroggs, Bernard 
Weisberger, Robert P. Sharkey, Irwin Unger, Hans Trefousse, 
Eric McKitrick, David Montgomery, Ira V. Brown, and Benja- 
min P. Thomas with Harold M. Hyman. When interpretation^ 
contrary to those then generally accepted first occurred to us, we 
viewed them with skepticism but could not refrain from pursuing 
them with vigor. Although in substance a part of the new re- 
visionism, our work had its origins neither in contemporary aware- 
ness of the civil rights issue nor in the provocative findings of the 
new scholarship. Rather, it represents a judgment independently 
conceived and examined through a careful scrutiny of primary 
source materials. The reader will judge the validity of our find- 
ings on the basis of the evidence here presented, but we wish him 
to accept our assurance that the study was undertaken without 



preconceptions and that we did not set out either to upset a 
thesis or to establish one. 

Our conclusions are in agreement with those of other recent 
studies, which find that the Radicals did not represent a unity of 
economic interest or purpose, that their antagonists utilized race 
prejudice as political capital, and that Andrew Johnson had a large 
share of responsibility for the break in early 1866 between Con- 
gress and the President. In explanation of that tragic impasse, we 
have found two key factors that heretofore have received little 
attention: an effort to jettison the old Republican coalition in 
favor of a Conservative Union party attractive to Democrats in 
both North and South; and a crystallization of Republican oppo- 
sition to Johnson over the issue of basic civil rights, short of 
suffrage, for the freed Negro. We cannot agree that what the 
Republican North wished of the defeated South was mere 
symbol; by March of 1866 the peace terms demanded were sub- 

Although Andrew Johnson's record as President was one of 
failure, we do not see him as a politically inept Chief Executive 
during the first year of his administration nor as a martyr to un- 
compromising constitutional principles. Rather, we have found 
a seasoned political veteran, who with good reason accepted a 
view of politics then widely current namely, that the times 
were ripe for a new or transformed Union party centered about 
his leadership and his restoration policies. We have also found his 
position in respect to restoration of the South prior to his break 
with Congress in March, 1866, more ambiguous than has been 
generally recognized. 

William H. Seward emerges as a central, though not decisive, 
figure in post-Civil War politics. The fact that Johnson rejected 
his Secretary's counsel of concession to Republican majority 
opinion while accepting Seward's national and political goals may 
have been decisive in bringing defeat to the President and turmoil 
to the nation. Greatly complicating the political scene was the 
eagerness of Democratic leaders to control Johnson and the 
nation's future and their abiding animosity toward Seward and 
his political. lieutenant, Thurlow Weed. 

Preface ix 

We have not attempted a comprehensive re-examination of the 
leading Radical extremists, though we believe one is needed; 
several recent studies point the way to a more understanding 
evaluation of their motives. From our own work, it is clear that 
the Radicals were on the defensive during the first year of Re- 
construction and in danger of being eliminated as an effectroe 
political force. If they emerged as victors, the result was due not 
so much to their efforts as to the deliberate decision of moderate 
Republicans. The significance of this decision of the Moderates, 
in our judgment, cannot be explained away on the basis of po- 
litical pressure or party loyalty. Though these factors were oper- 
ative, added to them was a concern for principle and a reluctant 
disillusionment with the Chief Executive. 

Though it was not evident in 1866 that the nation would fail 
to effect a post-Civil War settlement of moderation or to achieve 
civil equality for the freed Negro, we have found the roots of that 
failure firmly established before the elections of that year. Op- 
position on the part of Andrew Johnson and the Conservatives 
to effective national protection of the freedman's basic civil rights, 
short of suffrage, destroyed the opportunity that existed in 1865 
and 1866 to achieve reunion and a resolution of the Negro prob- 
lem with a minimum of conflict and a maximum of good will and 

Since the bulk of historical writing in this field until very 
recently has emphasized the principles of the pro- Johnson forces 
and the politics of their opponents, we have tried to call attention 
to the principles of those who supported Congress and the politics 
of those who followed the President. We have not meant to imply 
that concern for either principle or political advantage was the 
exclusive possession of either camp. In some respects the conflict 
over Reconstruction policy held the character of classic drama, 
with one "right" pitted against another compassion and fellow- 
ship for defeated white Southerners against compassion and pro- 
tection for Negro Southerners. In our judgment, however, the 
scales of historical justice do not balance evenly. 

Two manuscript collections, for the most part but recently 
open for investigation at the time we first saw them, convinced 


us of the need for a fresh look at the Northern politics of Re- 
construction: the Freedmen's Bureau records in the National 
Archives, and the Seward and Weed Papers at the University of 
Rochester. A close scrutiny of the Johnson Papers in the Library 
of Congress and of contemporary newspaper files has also had a 
major effect upon our work. The S. L. M. Barlow Papers, which 
we had been fruitlessly pursuing for years, fortunately were pur- 
chased by the Huntington Library and kindly made available to 
us in the summer of 1960 before their cataloguing had been 
completed. The collection proved of major importance, and it 
confirmed with a wealth of fresh detail conclusions -already 
reached. Reference to most of the other manuscript collections 
that we consulted will be found in the footnotes. 

We have incurred debts to librarians and their staffs too numer- 
ous for listing. Their helpfulness has been such that we wish to 
make record of the fact apparent to all workers in this vineyard 
that it is not manuscripts alone that make possible critical re- 
search. ; Of almost equal importance is the freely given knowledge 
of those men and women who work constantly and intimately 
with the collections. Of these, we should like to pay a special 
tribute to Sara Dunlap Jackson of the National Archives and to 
Margaret Butterfield of the University of Rochester Library. 

We should also like to express our appreciation of the grants- 
in-aid extended in the very early stages of our work by the Social 
Science Research Council and the American Philosophical Society. 
The direction of our research took a turn not anticipated when 
application was made for their assistance; we trust they will not 
consider this a breach of obligation. 

Finally, we should like to make affectionate acknowledgment 
of the encouragement we have received over the years from our 
good friend, the late Howard K. Beale. When last we saw him, 
the summer before his death, he was most insistent that we 
speedily finish this study. Since he knew something of our find- 
ings, this persistent interest in our work was a mark not only of 
his friendship but also of his open mind as scholar. We do not 
suppose that he would agree with all of our conclusions, many 

Preface xi 

of which are in sharp contrast to the ones he arrived at some 
thirty years ago in a study that will always stand as a landmark 
of American historiography and a point of departure for all 
serious students of Reconstruction. 

JOHN H. Cox 















NOTES 233 


INDEX 287 








inescapable a consequence of the American Civil War that even 
the historical imagination finds difficulty in recapturing the un- 
certainty, tension, and passion that surrounded the final passage 
through Congress of the Thirteenth Amendment. True, opponents 
of the Amendment conceded that slavery was dying or dead a 
casualty of war that could not be resurrected. Yet they none the 
less argued with bitterness and conviction the unconstitutionality, 
the inexpediency, the futility, and the danger of interment by 
constitutional amendment. Some even harbored a hope that the 
doomed institution might linger on for a gentler death. The op- 
position in the House of Representatives, and indeed throughout 
the North, was confined to the ranks of the Democratic party. 
But the Democrats were numerous. They had fought the recent 
presidential election with the slogan "The Constitution as it is 
[i.e., with slavery] and the Union as it was.'* And although they 
had been cheated of victory at the polls by the victories of North- 
ern armies in the field, the elections of November would not affect 
the composition of the House until the assembling of the Thirty- 
ninth Congress. Therefore, in January, 1865, when the Amend- 


ment came up for reconsideration, the Democratic opposition 
again, as in the previous June, held the power to deny it the 
requisite two-thirds vote of opproval. 

Whether the Democrats would exercise that power, no man 
knew with certainty until the final vote had been taken. When 
Representative James M. Ashley of Ohio called up the measure 
for reconsideration on January 6, 1865, its friends were divided 
in their predictions, but there was a note of cautious optimism. 1 
President Lincoln had forcefully but tactfully urged its passage 
in his December message, arguing that the people had given their 
decision for the Amendment in the recent elections and that the 
next Congress would certainly pass it. In his discreet but unequiv- 
ocal manner he was exercising the power of his high office in 
behalf of the Amendment letting it be known that in case of 
defeat he would call the new Congress into special session, hold- 
ing personal interviews with border-state members and lame-duck 
Democrats, probably supplementing Presidential eloquence with 
an intimation of Presidential favor. 2 But after a few days of House 
debate, the Democratic opposition tightened; reporters agreed 
that the measure lacked three or four necessary votes. Ashley did 
not push for the early decision originally planned, but postponed 
final debate until the end of the month. 3 

By January 3 1, the day for decision, the friends of the measure 
were counting votes hopefully, but there was still "profound 
anxiety." 4 According to a well-informed report, "they could not 
tell whether opposition members pledged to vote for it would 
hold firm when the hour of trial came. One or two did not. One 
man had gone so far as to prepare a little speech in its favor, but 
quailed when the hour came. He lacked the moral courage to meet 
the sneers of his comrades." 5 Courage was requisite for those 
Democrats who supported the Amendment. They feared ostra- 
cism by their party associates, dreaded the bitter label of "aboli- 
tion disunionist," hesitated before the anticipated anger of their 
Democratic constituents those "lovers of the country, friends of 
'the Constitution as it is' " to whom they owed election. 6 Those 
Democrats who spoke out pleaded their devotion to party in the 
past and their pledged faithfulness to its future; they argued that 

L The Seaward Lobby and the Thirteenth Amendment 3 

only by burying the slavery issue could the Democracy once 
again gain majority favor and public offices. But unconvinced 
that they had moved their fellow Democrats to understanding, 
they summoned brave words of defiance. If this act dug his 
political grave, declared one, he would descend into it with a 
clear conscience. 7 Indeed, on the final vote only two of the sixteen 
Democratic "yeas" came from members who had won re-election 
to the succeeding Congress; the others came from lame ducks, 
who had little political fortune to hazard. 8 

From the perspective of almost a century, it is difficult to 
comprehend the widespread distaste for emancipation among 
Democratic voters of the North. The arguments of their spokes- 
men appear in retrospect feeble buttresses for the archaic insti- 
tution of human slavery. But beyond the logic of opposition lay 
passions more readily understandable. There was the old, ac- 
cumulated hatred for Abolitionists on the part of those who held 
them at least as responsible as Southern fire-eaters for disunion 
and conflict; the bitter accusation of the war-weary that Lincoln 
was prolonging the war and repelling Southern overtures for 
peace, in order to secure the Abolitionists' goal; and just be- 
neath the surface, sometimes emerging to the level of debate the 
dark, deep-rooted prejudice of race. 

These deep passions had proved to have explosive political po- 
tential the previous July, when Southern emissaries were reported 
to be waiting in Canada and to be properly accredited to make 
peace. Lincoln had then issued his famous "To Whom It May 
Concern," stating his readiness to treat with anyone authorized on 
behalf of Jefferson Davis to make peace on the basis of the restor- 
ation of the Union and the abandonment of slavery. 9 The popular 
reaction as it reached the sensitive ears of Secretary of State 
William H. Seward and his political alter ego, that master prac- 
titioner of practical politics, Thurlow Weed, warned of dire con- 
sequences. The President's open letter was a "Death distroying 
[$ic\ Epidemic"; it had "killed" Mr. Lincoln. 10 Lincoln himself 
may have hesitated, for a new peace authorization was drafted 
calling only for restoration of the Union, all other questions to 
be left for adjustment. Lincoln, however, held firm, and the 


more yielding authorization was not executed. 11 Charles A. Dana, 
then Assistant Secretary of War, believed that Lincoln would 
have hopelessly alienated a majority of the Radicals had he 
omitted emancipation from his terms for peace. 12 Seward and 
Weed, however, handled the issue gingerly and ambiguously. In 
his important and widely acclaimed political speech of September, 
Seward gave what he termed an "explicit" answer on the question 
of slavery. While rebels waged war, military measures affecting 
slavery would continue; when they laid down their arms, such 
measures would cease and all questions including those affecting 
slavery would "pass over to the arbitrament of courts of law and 
to the councils of legislation." Seward made no mention of the 
proposed amendment to which his party and his President were 
pledged. 13 Little wonder that Hugh McCulloch, fellow Conserva- 
tive in the Cabinet, appreciatively commended Seward's speech 
as "captivating and adroit" 'I 14 

Shortly thereafter, Seward refused to answer a friendly request 
for clarification of his remarks about slavery. The Secretary did 
"not think it necessary" to enter into correspondence on the sub- 
ject; he had no objection to the publication of the inquiry. 15 Even 
after Lincoln's December message to Congress, the Administra- 
tion's most faithful newspaper, the New York Times, chose to 
interpret the President's position as one that would welcome 
Southern peace proposals without prior commitment on slavery. 16 
If leaders of the party pledged to emancipation saw political 
hazard in supporting peace with freedom, it is understandable 
that their opponents, bound to the "Constitution as it is," hesi- 
tated to support the emancipation amendment. Although the end 
of effective Southern resistance was in sight by January, 1865, 
peace was still elusive. There were widespread rumors of peace 
missions, and there were fears of protracted guerrilla warfare 
ahead. Despite the argument of the Administration that passage of 
the Thirteenth Amendment would hasten peace and insure its 
permanence, many saw noncommitment on the future of slavery 
as the most effective inducement that could be offered the South 
for total capitulation. 

Beyond the immediate concern for peace lay the fear of re- 

1. The Seward Lobby and the Thirteenth Amendment 5 

union accompanied by sudden freedom for the thousands upon 
thousands of Negro Southerners who as yet knew only the state 
of bondage. In the House of Representatives Robert Mallory of 
Kentucky warned his colleagues of the falseness of the argument 
that the Amendment would put away once and for all the disturb- 
ing question of slavery. With slavery, "we know the status of the 
Negro," but what of the liberated slaves? Were they to remain 
in the South? Were they to enjoy suffrage? These were revo- 
lutionary times and one step would lead to the next. "Now 
is the time to resist the radical party and save our form of gov- 
ernment." 17 And C. A. White of Ohio asked, "What will be the 
effect of turning loose this mass of people? Where will they go?" 
Is it proposed, he queried, to make them before the law the equals 
of the white man, to give them the right of suffrage, the right to 
hold office, the right to sit upon juries? "Do you intend, in other 
words, to make this a mongrel Government, instead of a white 
man's Government?" In the Mississippi Valley, he stated bluntly, 
"we have prejudices. . . . We cannot eradicate them if we 
would." 18 

The New York World, "exponent of the present attitude and 
future tendencies of Democratic opinion" 19 and the guidepost for 
wavering Democratic congressmen, saw the Amendment as a 
futile gesture unless accompanied by additional amendments that 
would leave the states shorn of powers on nearly every subject 
and the Constitution "abolished." It would lead to the destruction 
of the right of trial by jury in the state in which an offense is 
committed. There would need be an end to such undoubted rights 
of the states as those prohibiting the residence of free Negroes, 
denying them the right to bear witness against white citizens, 
depriving them of the power to own real estate or inherit and 
transmit property, excluding them from schools and poorhouses, 
imprisoning them for debt and then putting the debtors to work 
at hard labor, arresting adult Negroes under vagrancy laws and 
binding out their children as those of paupers. To abolish slavery 
without such additional amendments would leave the Negro ex- 
posed to "intolerable oppression." The World was arguing not 
for further amendments but against "hasty action" on the pro- 


posed amendment. 20 It had given assurance that "the Democratic 
party will never give over the battle for the freedom of the 
states." 21 

A further peril to the Amendment lay in the mutual suspicions 
of practical politics. On the floor of the House, Democratic mem- 
bers accused Republicans of the lowest political aims in pushing 
the Amendment. The party In power was seeking to continue the 
war and an army of office holders; its "leading motive" was to 
control the government through the Negro, "to fix the destinies 
of this Union indefinitely." 22 Republicans viewed the Democratic 
opposition as equally partisan and unprincipled. In their eyes the 
Northern opposition leaders were laboring to get the South back 
without exterminating slavery, so that they could "with the South 
control the government in four years." 23 

So tense was the atmosphere, so uncertain the fate of the 
Thirteenth Amendment in December and January, that "one vote 
was then most momentous." 24 To gain the crucial votes needed 
for passage was the object of an extraordinary lobby. Organized 
and directed by the Republican Secretary of State, its members 
were predominantly Democrats. They were men influential in 
their day and forgotten in ours. Some were so obscure that their 
very identities remain unknown. The central figures, however, 
can be identified, and their character and careers are as improb- 
able as their sponsorship and their activities. 

The most important member of the lobby, or at least the one 
whose activities are best documented in the Seward correspond- 
ence, was W. N. Bilbo of Nashville, Tennessee. A former Whig 
whose devotion to the old party he described as one of "super- 
stitious adoration," 25 Bilbo was a lawyer of prominence in prewar 
Tennessee. Nashville residents had laughed in the 1850'$ when he 
bought up coal lands on the Cumberland Plateau, but he had sold 
them to Northern capitalists at a good profit. He was also known 
for his elaborate waistcoasts, his long sideburns, and his elegant 
manners. 26 From his letters, it is apparent that Bilbo enjoyed wide 
personal acquaintance with Southern leaders and with influential 
political figures of New York State. He claimed to know every 
governor of the Confederate states and most members of the 

L The Se<ward Lobby and the Thirteenth Amendment 7 

Confederate Congress, and there is more reason to credit than to 
discount his assertion. 27 

The early years of the Civil War had found BUbo in Ten- 
nessee and northern Alabama, selling supplies of quinine and 
morphine to the Confederate forces, pasturing Confederate horses, 
presuming upon his "limited acquaintance" with General A. S. 
Johnston to recommend a Tennessean for promotion to the rank 
of Brigadier General, joining with prominent political and busi- 
ness figures of Nashville in a letter to Jefferson Davis urging the 
appointment of a fellow Nashville citizen to the office of chief 
collector of the state. 28 In those years he was apparently a loyal 
Southerner, speaking of his "ardent and unabated solicitude for 
whatever can promote the success and glory of our arms and the 
permanent achievement of our independence." 29 He even gave 
testimony against a suspected Union spy. 30 Yet some time in 1864 
he left the South and arrived in New York, "ready to do good 
service to the National cause." 31 Neither Bilbo's letters, military 
records, nor State Department archives disclose the occasion for 
this break with the Confederacy or the nature of Bilbo's early 
contact with Secretary Seward. There are only obscure refer- 
ences to his "long personal acquaintance" with Seward and the 
Secretary's "kindness to, and confidence in me upon my return 
from Richmond in i864." 32 In a letter to Andrew Johnson, to 
whom Bilbo wrote as a personal friend, he spoke of having suf- 
fered in "Jeff Davis' hellish Confederacy" and of his "intense 
hatred for Davis and Isham G. Harris," the latter Confederate 
governor of Tennessee and wartime aide to the Confederate 
Army of the West. 33 

Bilbo left from New York for Washington in mid-November, 
1864, armed with letters of introduction to Lincoln from Simeon 
Draper, Collector of the Customs, Moses H. Grinnell, prominent 
New York merchant and public figure, and Bilbo's "old friend," 34 
Horace Greeley, editor of the influential Tribune. Each vouched 
for his loyalty and the importance of his mission. 35 Apparently 
Bilbo won the desired interview with Lincoln, for he subsequently 
referred to his introduction to the President by Judge Homer A. 
Nelson, representative in Congress from New York. 36 Bilbo's 


services to the Union were quite equal to the honor, for in addi- 
tion to his intensive activity on behalf of the Thirteenth Amend- 
ment, Bilbo aided the cause "by beguiling the so-called Con- 
federate spies and auxiliaries in the City of New York/* by fur- 
nishing information "of the number, condition, and movement of 
the Confederate armies," and by "sending to General Sherman 
then at Savannah a Gentleman whom I brought with me from 
the South, whom he honored with a position on his staff, to pilot 
as he did successfully his army from Savannah to Raleigh, N.C." 3T 
At the war's end, Bilbo continued to give support to the Ad- 
ministration* Before returning to Nashville, he attempted with 
friends to purchase either the New York Daily News or the 
World in order to transform one of these opposition Democratic 
papers into a Government organ. 38 Back in Tennessee, he labored 
to win acquiescence in the Executive requirements for recon- 
struction and to promote appreciation of Johnson and Seward. 
Apparently honoring a promise to Seward, he also sent long re- 
ports on political conditions in Tennessee and other Southern 
states. 39 

In January, 1865, q u i te 31 but hard at work in New York gar- 
nering Democratic support for the Amendment and assisting in 
the detention of a Confederate messenger, Bilbo was suddenly 
threatened with arrest as a Confederate spy. He at once wired 
Secretary Seward: 40 

Some Tennessean has charged me to General Thomas of being a 
Southern spy and General Thomas has ordered General Dix to arrest 
me and send me to Nashville at once. Mr. Seward you know this is 
false. Please see the President and get him to order my release im- 

General Dix, too, telegraphed the Secretary of State, and Seward 
promptly wired back assurances of Bilbo's loyalty and added that 
he was "heartily cooperating with us in promoting the object of 
all loyal men." 41 The same day an order came by wire from 
President Lincoln directing General Dix to discharge Bilbo on 
his parole. 42 Bilbo at once signed an oath of allegiance and 
continued his labors. With "unfeigned gratitude for my prompt: 

1. The Seward Lobby and the Thirteenth Amendment 9 

release," he wrote President Lincoln of his successes with Demo- 
cratic friends and included a self-characterization that is the only 
personal evaluation of the man that we have found: "I may be 
justly charged of being impulsive, defiant, and precipitant, but 
never a hypocrite or spy never, never." 43 Some time later Bilbo 
described himself as a Southerner who loved "with an almost 
idolatrous affection the clime that gave me birth," but loved "my 
country more." 44 Whether his affirmation of loyalty to the Con- 
federacy in 1 86 1 and to the Union in 1865 were equally sincere, 
can only be left to conjecture. Certainly Bilbo's letters and activ- 
ities from 1864 to 1866 indicate an ebullient, dedicated man. The 
only favor he seems to have asked for his services to Seward was 
a request in 1867 for support of his claim to compensation for the 
destruction of his property in Nashville by Union forces while he 
was in the North. In that letter, the last in the Seward correspond- 
ence, he referred to himself as in "necessitous circumstances," but 
he did not elaborate. 45 

In his efforts to influence New York Democrats, Bilbo leaned 
heavily upon the assistance of one George O. Jones, a man who 
was as unlikely a midwife to the Thirteenth Amendment as Bilbo 
himself. Jones was a professional lobbyist, first in Albany and later 
in Washington, D.C In Albany, Jones did business for Com- 
modore Vanderbilt of the New York Central Railroad and for 
"Uncle Daniel" Drew, the notorious speculator, with whom he 
became a partner in the New York stock market. 46 His profes- 
sional services at Albany brought him some twenty to tihirty 
thousand dollars annually, but his sense of propriety was outraged 
by the outright purchase of votes by Vanderbilt and Gould in 
their struggle for control of the Erie Railroad in 1868. Shortly 
thereafter he turned his back on the "Vanderbilts, Clarks, Schells, 
etc." and began to denounce them and railroad corporations gen- 
erally as the source of corruption among public officials. He 
called for public regulation of railroads, reduction of their capital 
stock, limitation on dividends, monthly public statements, and the 
establishment of rates by a state railroad commission. Called a 
"striker," a "fool," then a "fanatic," Jones maintained his de- 
termination "to start afresh and see if something could not be 


done to relieve the people from the unjust burdens that have been 
imposed upon them." 47 He became a devoted stalwart of the 
Greenback party and ran as their candidate in 1885 for governor 
of New York, thereby winning 2,130 votes and the affectionate 
title of "Governor" from his friends. He died in 1895 at ^e age 
of seventy, still well known to the New York press and to poli- 
ticians who spent their evenings at the Fifth Avenue Hotel. 48 
Back in the winter of 1864-65, when he aided Bilbo through his 
intimate acquaintance with New York Democratic politicians, 
Jones had not yet embarked upon his career as reformer. 

In Washington the legislator whom Bilbo found most helpful, 
though at first he "would not kindly listen to me," was Judge 
Homer A. Nelson. 49 Nelson was then serving his only term in 
Congress. A lawyer by training, he had gained his title of "Judge" 
by eight years of service on the bench in Dutchess County, his 
home district in New York. He was already well on his way to 
local distinction as a a prominent member of the bar and a con- 
spicuous and influential member of the Democratic party." 50 
Subsequently he served as secretary of state of New York, as a 
delegate to the state constitutional convention in 1867, as state 
senator, and as a member of the commission to revise the judiciary 
article of the state constitution in 1890. Nelson was also a rec- 
ognized, but unsuccessful, aspirant for the Democratic nomina- 
tion as governor both in 1872 and in i882. 51 A loyal Democrat, 
Nelson's record during the Civil War had not been tainted by 
suspicion of undue sympathy with the South. He had raised the 
1 59th Regiment of New York Volunteers and then resigned its 
colonelcy to serve in the Thirty-eighth Congress. There he made 
"an honorable record as a War Democrat," supporting Admin- 
istration measures to raise men and money for the conflict. 52 
Probably he was a good personal friend of Bilbo, for we know 
that it was Judge Nelson who introduced the Tennessean to 
President Lincoln, and that he shared Bilbo's hotel room during 
the December recess of Congress while the two men were work- 
ing for the Amendment. 

Another helpful New Yorker was Emanuel B. Hart, a former 
Democratic member of Congress from New York City. Like 

1. The Seward Lobby and the Thirteenth Amendment n 

Judge Nelson, Hart worked with the lobby both in the metropolis 
and at the Capitol. His political connections were excellent, for 
under President Buchanan he had held for four years the strategic 
post of surveyor of the port of New York. 53 Merchant, lawyer, 
and philanthropist as well as politician, Hart was remembered by 
a contemporary as "the leading representative and the best type 
of the Hebrews of New York, watching the vast charities of his 
race as their trustee and counselor." 54 

Resembling Hart in that he enjoyed excellent connections with 
Democrats of the Buchanan administration, but of much less 
honorable repute, was Robert W. Latham. Latham, also a New 
Yorker, shared honors with Bilbo as a leader of the Seward lobby. 
For fifteen years he had been a personal friend of the Secretary's, 
and one keenly concerned with the advancement of Seward's po- 
litical fortunes. Annoyed and distressed by his friend's loss of the 
presidential nomination in 1860, he was in 1864 still hoping and 
maneuvering for Seward's elevation to the Presidency. 55 He had 
already performed one semiofficial mission for the Secretary, hav- 
ing helped with the establishment of the West Virginia govern- 
ment and carried back through twenty miles of hostile territory 
the dispatches that brought news of the Wheeling Convention of 
May, 1 86 1. For this service, Latham had received a small amount 
from Seward's son, who acted as his father's personal and official 
assistant, but made clear his lack of interest in any further favor 
by way of money or appointments. 56 He had also sent the Secre- 
tary political advice for stemming the drift of public opinion 
away from the Administration in the dark days of August, i864. 5r 
Probably Latham's services in connection with the antislavery 
amendment were requested by the Secretary. 

Latham was no novice in lobbying at the Capitol. His past 
activity had given rise to public accusations of proffered bribery 
for changed votes. Even more damaging to his reputation had 
been his close association with John B. Floyd, Buchanan's Secre- 
tary of War, whose service ended in scandal and disgrace. As 
Floyd's business manager, Latham was regarded as the avenue 
through which confidential information reached New York spec- 
ulators and army contractors, to their financial profit. He was also 


suspected of having an interest in other irregularities of Floyd's 
administration. 58 Called before a House committee investigating 
the disappearance of bonds held in trust for the nation's Indian 
wards an unsavory mystery in which Floyd's name figured 
Latham proved a reluctant witness, answering questions cau- 
tiously and frequently refusing to answer at all. 59 In 1864 he was 
an active agent of the Union Pacific Railroad and was associated 
with its New York contractors, Samuel Hallett and Company. 60 
In his pursuit of votes for the Amendment, Latham enlisted a 
certain "Colonel Barrett," "Benett," or "Berrett." After a number 
of false leads and considerable frustration, we have definitely 
identified the unmiBtary colonel as James G. Berret, ex-mayor of 
Washington, D.C. 61 Berret was the welcoming mayor of the 
capital when Lincoln took office, but he did not depart that post 
in the usual course of political events. Rather, he left the mayor- 
alty by what amounted to a forced resignation. His abdication 
was in fact required and given as a condition for his release from 
a three-weeks' confinement in Fort Lafayette, where he had been 
sent upon arrest in Washington, August 24, 1861, on suspicion of 
disloyalty. Amidst the confusion and near hysteria of the nation's 
Capital in the early months of the war, Berret's Southern sympa- 
thies made him suspect, but it was apparently an inflated sense 
of the importance and independence of his office that led to his 
arrest. As the elected mayor of Washington, Berret had refused 
to take the oath of allegiance required of all Government officials 
by a recent act of Congress, and asked of him as ex officio mem- 
ber of the local board of commissioners appointed by the Presi- 
dent. His arrest was summary, with no charges preferred and 
no hearing given; within twenty-four hours Berret was delivered 
to the commanding officer at Fort Hamilton, New York, along 
with orders from the Secretary of War to keep him in custody 
until otherwise ordered by the War Department. 62 Some seven 
months after his release, Lincoln graciously indicated his confi- 
dence in the ex-mayor's loyalty by appointing him one of the 
commissioners under an act of Congress abolishing slavery in the 
District. Berret declined the appointment but chose to regard it as 
a vindication of his earlier conduct and an acknowledgment that 

L The Sewctrd Lobby and the Thirteenth Amendment 13 

his imprisonment had been undeserved. These assumptions Lin- 
coln repudiated, holding that the mayor had made a mistake that 
justified "men having less evidence to the contrary than I had, to 
suspect your loyalty, and to act accordingly." 63 

Though long in public service in Washington, as clerk in the 
Treasury office, chief clerk of the Pension Bureau, postmaster, 
and then mayor, Berret began and ended his political career in 
his native Maryland, which he served as legislator and as presi- 
dential elector. 64 Like most members of the Seward lobby, he was 
a Democrat. Curiously, Berret was known as a "good and true 
friend" of Sewards 65 despite the fact that his arrest had been on 
order of the Secretary of State. Of course, Seward may have had 
only ex post facto knowledge of the arrest, as was the case with 
Lincoln. Whoever was responsible for Berret's detention, it was 
Seward who ordered him released from imprisonment; and the 
Secretary's action seems to have been at least hastened by the 
solicitations of a common friend and also by Berret's brother. 66 

There is another matter of interest concerning Berret that may 
well have affected his role in the lobby. The fact cannot be 
definitely established, but evidence suggests that Berret made an 
important connection with the venerable National Intelligencer 
in January, 1865, when the paper passed into new editorial 
hands. 67 If so, this must have made his cooperation all the more 
desirable in the eyes of Latham, his sponsor in the lobby. Latham, 
as we know from his letters, took care to gain the support of 
Thomas B. Florence, editor of Washington's leading Democratic 
newspaper. 68 It is evident that Secretary Seward and his friends 
were keenly aware of the importance of the press. Though we 
have been unable to establish their identity, at least two members 
of the lobby were themselves newsmen connected with the New 
York Herald. 

Among the lords of finance and power upon whom George O. 
Jones turned his back when he decided to expiate his past services 
as lobbyist by future services to the people was one who had 
been his fellow worker in the Seward lobby. Richard Schell was 
a Wall Street "insider," a bold and daring speculator. His fi- 
nancial exploits "furnished food for innumerable witticisms and 


sarcastic reflections for more than a generation," and for unre- 
strained invective as well. 70 Eldest son in the large family of a 
Dutchess County merchant, Richard Schell had the advantage of 
little formal education but of much self-teaching. By temperament 
optimistic and a born gambler, one lesson was beyond his ken: he 
never learned to husband his winnings, and his career as Wall 
Street broker was finally shattered by the panic of 1873. This left 
him with liabilities exceeding a million dollars and dubious assets 
of a comparatively small amount. Some creditors charged favorit- 
ism and duplicity and succeeded in foiling his attempt to go 
through bankruptcy. 71 This ungenerosity was said to have had 
such a disheartening effect upon him that it hastened his death. 

Schell himself was as generous and open-handed as he was 
optimistic. He accepted his losses with perfect good humor and 
was never known to have uttered an unseemly oath. Genial, 
quick-witted, kind-hearted, delighting in good company and 
festive occasions, he was welcome everywhere and always the 
"life of his circle." 72 These social graces undoubtedly endeared 
Schell to the Secretary, and more than a hundred letters in the 
Seward Papers at the University of Rochester bear witness to the 
intimacy of their friendship. 

Although Schell reportedly was not overly scrupulous in turn- 
ing to personal profit the opportunities afforded by personal 
friendships, he had a genuine devotion to the Secretary of State. 
His wide circle of friends was ever at Seward's service. They in- 
cluded Northern capitalists, Southern statesmen, national and 
local Democratic leaders (Schell was a "Democrat of most in- 
flexible character" and a prominent member of Tammany Hall), 73 
and European figures of political and financial eminence. In the 
dreary days of November, 1861, he wrote, "I am a little tinctured 
with Sewardism [I] want you to rise and when it costs nothing 
[Schell was proposing that the Secretary send a New York 
capitalist to visit France] you may as well make a friend that 
might be of use to you hereafter, as this Rebellion is not to be the 
End of all things. . . . You will all find the Sun and the Moon 
will rise again." 74 On close terms with James Gordon Bennett, he 
used his good offices with the crotchety editor to promote 

1. The Seivard Lobby and the Thirteenth Amendment 15 

Seward's interest. 75 Assuming a role of confidential adviser to the 
Secretary, he sent financial advice of political import and behind- 
the-scenes information in respect to Democratic politics and 
Southern peace maneuvers. 76 

In the last years of his life, Schell became an ardent Green- 
backer, but this did not convert him into a reformer. His prefer- 
ence for paper issues as opposed to a hard-money policy was of 
long standing. He scorned the egocentrism that led others to cry 
panaceas "from the top of a house," and he considered the outcry 
against Administrative corruption sheer nonsense. "Read Lecky's 
History of England in the Eighteenth Century," he advised. "You 
will find that there was more bribery and corruption in the British 
Parliament than we ever dreamed of. And it did only good to 
England in the long run." 77 

Such was the unforgettable cast of forgotten men whom the 
Secretary of State placed upon the stage of history at a momen- 
tous hour in the nation's development. The major actors Bilbo, 
Latham, and Schell undertook their roles out of a sense of warm 
and respectful friendship for the Secretary. Secretary Seward 
himself was chief director of their performance. 

The earliest letter to throw light upon the activities of the 
lobby was written to Secretary Seward by Bilbo in late Novem- 
ber, or early December, 1864. He reported calling upon Thurlow 
Weed u as you directed," but Weed had replied " 'that he was no 
Abolitionist and that he would not have anything to do with it.' 
Of course I was much surprised," Bilbo continued, "but not less 
determined I promised you the requisite votes, and neither 
energy time or money shall be wanting upon my part to attain 
our end We will accomplish it I believe in spite of my Lord 
Cardinal." 78 Weed's refusal to help must have been both a blow 
and a challenge. Whether Seward's chief dispenser of patronage 
eventually relented and gave assistance cannot be determined with 
certainty. When the prospect of success darkened during the con- 
gressional debates, a member of the lobby asked Seward to send 
for Weed; but we know only that Weed was in Washington soon 
thereafter 79 and that some two months later the press was com- 
menting on the "strangest of Mr. Weed's inconsistencies and 


vagaries," namely, his shift from pre-election denunciations of the 
abolition policy of the government to recent assertions that the 
war was continued by and for slavery." 80 It seems unlikely, how- 
ever, that Weed contributed his formidable influence to the cause, 
Writing in November, 1865, Bilbo expressed willingness to for- 
give Weed a for refusing to aid us in the passage of the Constitu- 
tional Amendment." 81 

On December 12, again from New York City, Bilbo reported 
success "in procuring the requisite number of Democratic votes tc 
pass the measure so dear to your heart." He was leaving for Wash- 
ington the next night with much news for the Secretary about 
movements hostile to the Administration policy. 82 From Willard's 
Hotel at the nation's Capital a week later, he sent written word 
that George O. Jones had returned from New York after seeing 
Democratic Governor Horatio Seymour and Dean Richmond 
the powerful behind-the-scenes leader of the Albany Regency. 82 
Richmond and Seymour had committed themselves not to advise 
Democrats in Congress to vote against the Amendment and hac 
admitted that "no party North can maintain its political statu; 
that opposes it." Jones says, concluded Bilbo, "that the New Yorl 
Democrats will suffice to carry it." Then a postscript: "Jones maj 
tomorrow see you." 84 The same day from the same hotel, Jone< 
sent Seward a note explaining that engagements made by Judge 
Nelson before Bilbo's return from Seward's home made it neces- 
sary that he and Nelson postpone their engagement to see the 
Secretary until ten o'clock the following morning. 85 

When the Amendment came before the House after the Christ- 
mas holidays, R. W. Latham was on hand in Washington. In tw< 
separate letters written January 7, he sent Seward an accounting 
of what must have been a very busy round of persuasive inter 
views. He had seen Senators S. C. Pomeroy of Kansas and John S 
Carlile of Virginia, Representative Samuel S. Cox of Ohio, Colone 
Berret, and T. B. Florence, editor of the Democratic Constitu 
tlonal Union. He hoped that day also to go to Baltimore and "en 
list some of the Democrats there." Senator Pomeroy had beei 
"much pleased with your views and will do all he can to carr; 
them out." This promise from the Radical Midwestern Republi 

1. The Seivard Lobby and the Thirteenth Amendment 17 

can appears out of place in the pursuit of Democratic votes, but 
perhaps had reference to some master strategy that Seward had 
evolved. 86 Senator Carlile had proved to be "not only your friend 
but an enthusiastic friend." Carlile, a Unionist who acted with the 
Democrats in the Senate, had absented himself from the voting 
on the Amendment when it was before the upper house; pre- 
sumably this Southerner would carry weight with representatives 
of the border states and the Northern Democracy. Cox was an> 
outstanding figure in the House, witty in debate and influential 
with his colleagues; he had talked with Lincoln and promised aid 
in passing the Thirteenth Amendment provided the Administra- 
tion made an earnest effort to obtain peace with the South. 87 The- 
Democratic leader, Latham reported, would call upon Seward, 
and so would Berret and Florence if they knew when it would 
be convenient for the Secretary. Latham was confident "that it 
can be passed"; he would be in to talk with Seward for a few 
moments in the morning. 88 

Two days later, taking care to mark his communication "Pri- 
vate," Latham wrote that "our friend Carlile has been completely 
bluffed off"; he "has not the courage." Editor Florence, however,, 
would "do his best." Latham hoped shortly to have Emanuel B. 
Hart and Richard Schell in Washington. He still had "no doubt 
about passing it. Money will certainly do it, if patriotism fails." 80 

The next day, however, came a less encouraging report from 
Bilbo: 90 

The discussions in Congress, are not aiding us the most strenuous, 
efforts are made by the Leaders of the Democracy, to unite every 
member in the House against the Amendment. If your friend 
[Schell?] has arrived send him to Judge Nelson and let them confer- 
He will make a speech today if he deem it discreet. [Nelson made no- 
speech.] They beset him on all sides because he is on the Democratic 
National Committee. 91 I can not do anything with Fernando Wood 92 
nor do I much regret it. All our party should work today. We will 
leave at 12 o'clock for the House. Write if you have any suggestions 
to submit us. 

At this juncture, as Bilbo accurately indicated, matters were 
not progressing well for friends of the Amendment. The course 
that discussion had taken in the House, the Herald correspondent 


reported, was "tending to consolidate the opposition." 93 The New 
York Times dispatch from Washington on January n told of 
fears that there was now "no hope" for the Amendment's pas- 
sage. 04 In this crisis, the lobby was strengthened by the arrival 
of Hart and Schell and the close cooperation of John W. Forney 
Secretary of the Senate, proprietor of the Philadelphia Press and 
the Washington Chronicle, and a key figure in Pennsylvania's pre- 
war Democracy whose support of Lincoln had been richly ac- 
knowledged by Administration patronage. Forney had the reputa- 
tion of a "manipulating and trading politician." 95 Called out of 
town that same day on important newspaper business, Forney 
telegraphed explanations to Hart and Seward, and on his return 
immediately sought a conference with the Secretary. Meanwhile 
Hart and Colonel Berret were "working with all their power." 06 

On January 12, Samuel S. Cox, with whom it is only reasonable 
to suppose that Latham and Seward had continued their contact, 
created a sensation in the House by arguing that the Amendment, 
"while inexpedient, was unquestionably constitutional, thus pulling 
out from under the Democratic opposition its major argument. 97 
It was during these critical days when "rumor was rife that three 
votes were lacking" that Cox made it a point to see party friends 
in his boardinghouse room in order to persuade them that it was 
necessary for the "upbuilding of the party ... to drive this 
question [slavery] . . . from the political arena." 98 In the biog- 
raphy written jointly by a nephew and a good friend, it is noted 
with pride that Secretary Seward in a public speech of 1868 
praised Cox as the man "to whom personally, more than any 
other member, is due the passage of the Constitutional Amend- 
ment in Congress abolishing African slavery." 99 This tribute was 
made despite the fact that, in the end, Cox voted against the 

By January 13, the Herald's correspondent reported that 
friends of the measure were much encouraged and believed th^t 
a sufficient number of Democrats would change their votes to 
secure the necessary two-thirds. The following day, however, 
found Bilbo writing his friend Andrew Johnson, then military 
governor of Tennessee, that the vote had been postponed two 

1. The Seward Lobby and the Thirteenth Amendment 19 

weeks because u we need two votes more for the Bill, and three 
absentees.'* He urged Johnson to have the Tennessee convention 
at once emancipate the slaves and provide for the election of 
members to Congress, so that the congressional votes of Ten- 
nessee could "come to our assistance." 100 On a scrap of paper of 
the same date, Bilbo sent word to Seward that he was leaving for 
New York in the evening and desired to see him before he went. 101 
Eleven days later, having meanwhile faced the ordeal of possible 
arrest and forceful return to Tennessee, Bilbo wrote from New 
York to thank Seward and the President for his release and to 
add "one word as to our "Amendment Bill.' We have been very 
assiduous in our efforts, and now it is all safe. Governor Seymour 
said to George O. Jones that now he was perfectly indifferent as 
to its passage, and that he would not offer any opposition to it." 102 
Schell's activities in the Democratic metropolis centered upon 
the influential New York World. They were meant to be par- 
ticularly persuasive, as the following frank letter makes abund- 
antly clear: 103 

I have just had an interview with S L M Barlow one of the 
Proprietors of the New York World he has promised to have an 
article written and show it to me in favour of the "Constitutional 
Amendment" to be published in said paper which if done will pass 
the Bill this is a matter that I cannot say will be untill [sic] it 
is done for here I have to depend on others I have no doubt of his 
doing so he has an object of doing me a favour for I have made 
him ten thousand dollars & paid him over the money today since I ltd 
from Washington which I think will give me controul [sic] over him 
but shall know in two days as he told me he would submit to me 
the article tomorrow 

The reason of my not writing to you before I had a sure thing in 
the way of money making and sent for him to come and see me let 
him and think I have got controul [sic] of him 

Richard Schell's "sure thing in the way of money making" was a 
gold speculation, a record of which is still preserved in the Barlow 
Papers along with Schell's note enclosing his check. A postscript 
reads: "Would like to see you a moment." 104 

The editorial position of the World was of key importance in 
the struggle for Democratic votes. In mid-December the paper 


had apparently absolved individual Democrats from any party 
obligation by conceding their right to think and act as they 
pleased on the subject of slavery, 105 but then its policy changed 
abruptly. In effect, the World directed Democratic congressmen 
to vote, but not to speak, against the Amendment. It defended its 
opposition on the ground that if Democrats held up the measure 
the result would be a "manifest advantage" to the South to return 
speedily to the union "and defeat the Constitutional Amendment 
in the next Congress. It is the duty of the Democratic party to 
keep this door open." 106 In the midst of the House debate, the 
World had published the long, incisive editorial noted earlier, 
arguing that the Amendment was needless, inexpedient, and 
futile. 107 Even Bilbo's optimism was not proof against this hazard. 
Three days after writing that all was safe, he sent word that he 
had just returned from the editorial room of the World: 1 - 08 

The Editor [Manton Marble] told me that on Friday or Saturday 
he would write an article declaring it was no test of Democracy to 
vote "for" or "against" the "Amendment Bill" on Tuesday rather 
indicating to its party that they had better vote for it. ... Had you 
not better have the article copied in our Government Organ the 
Chronicle to ease some of the conscientious scruples of some Dem- 
ocrats. If you see Judge Nelson tell him this so that he can use it 
with Democrats. 

Neither Bilbo nor Schell, however, succeeded in getting the 
World to publish the desired editorial. Barlow, on whom Schell 
had used such tempting "persuasion," was never convinced of the 
expediency of the Thirteenth Amendment. In a letter to Samuel 
S. Cox shortly after House approval of the measure, he stated that 
it had always seemed to him "an utter blocking of the wheels of 
peace and union" and an intrusion "upon questions which were 
intended to be left to the control of the States." 109 To August 
Belmont, the banker, Barlow predicted that the Amendment 
would not be ratified, and of this he was glad, "as the time may 
come, when some of the Southern States will see that it is for their 
true interests to return to the Union and by voting against the 
Amendment, kill the monstrosity of unconditional, immediate 

1. The Seivard Lobby and the Thirteenth Amendment 21 

abolition without any provision for the maintenance of the un- 
happy objects of our misapplied philanthropy." 110 

By the time Secretary Seward received Bilbo's letter, the final 
vote in the House was fast approaching. The outlook for success 
had brightened, 111 but prospective victory might still turn to de- 
feat. The extremely influential New York Herald, which flaunted 
its political independence but was generally to be found in the 
Democratic camp and was always ready to give the party friendly 
admonition, ran a long editorial on January 28, urging passage 
and taking precaution to sweeten its advice by assuring Demo- 
crats that the Amendment was opposed by the Abolitionist Radi- 
cals! 112 There is no reason to believe that the efforts of the lobby 
slackened, although there were no more reports to "Headquar- 
ters," except a postvictory account from Bilbo of his final week's 
activities. He had not returned to Washington preceding the pas- 
sage of the Amendment "because while there the Woods, Brooks, 
Voorhees and some other intense Democrats seemed to suspect 
my purposes." Instead he had enlisted the assistance of "every 
Democrat whom I knew or my friends knew who had any influ- 
ence with the members of Congress." 

Bilbo himself had managed a two-hour interview alone with 
Seymour when the governor providentially arrived for a visit in 
New York City. Seymour told Bilbo that he had resolved not to 
write letters to congressmen nor to express any opinion on the 
Amendment nor to make it a party question, in short "that it was 
no test of Democratic loyalty to vote for or against the measure." 
Bilbo immediately communicated this information to Democratic 
friends in Congress. "It was Governor Seymour," he wrote, "that 
silenced the 'World' which paper at first tried to make it a party 
question to defeat it." The Tennessean regretted that the World 
"disappoints us in the Article of last Saturday which it promised 
me it would write giving the measure an indirect support"; but 
concluded, "Perhaps its silence achieved as much for its sup- 
port." 113 Except for a plea for peace on the basis of "leaving 
slavery in status quo" which appeared January 24, the World 
published no last-round editorials that might be considered 
counsel to vote against the Amendment. 114 


Shortly after noon on Tuesday, January 31, 1865, the House 
assembled for final debate and vote on the Amendment. James 
Ashley in charge of the measure, at once yielded to Democrat 
Archibald McAllister of Pennsylvania, who sent to the Clerk of 
the House for reading a brief statement explaining why he had 
decided to change his vote and support the Amendment. This 
brought applause from the Republican side of the Chamber. Re- 
gaining the floor, Ashley again yielded to a Pennsylvania Demo- 
crat, Alexander H. Coffroth, for a similar explanation. One more 
time Ashley yielded to a Democrat, Anson Herrick of New York, 
who had decided to reverse his action of June and vote for the 
Amendment. This was too much for the opposition; a most ex- 
traordinary proceeding, they objected, this parceling out of time. 
But Speaker Colfax upheld Ashley. Herrick graciously granted 
five minutes to an irate Pennsylvania Democrat who lashed out 
at his renegade colleagues. Then Herrick spoke at some length, 
arguing that the vote was no longer a party question, that each 
Democrat was free to act as he thought best for the restoration 
of the Union, and that unless the question was disposed of the 
Democrats would lose every election contest in New York State 
except those in New York City and Brooklyn. If the Amendment 
were passed, he continued, there was a chance the Southern 
states, relieved from the humiliation of making terms on slavery, 
would return and other states be moved to "yet save slavery from 
the doom which certainly awaits it in any other contingency." 
Then came the speeches of opposition, Martin Kalbfleisch of New 
York, the last speaker, was bitter to the end. He hoped that this 
glorious country would "not be doomed to become the land of a 
race of hybrids, and thus by degrees be blotted out of existence 
in accordance with the immutable laws of nature"; he condemned 
the Amendment as "the consummation of a policy which has led 
to the bloodiest war in history." 

Three o'clock came, the hour set for voting. Ashley allowed 
the opposition to continue talking; Thaddeus Stevens and other 
Republicans crowded about him, angrily protesting. At 3:30 
every Republican member of the House, without a single ex- 
ception, was present on the floor; the Democrats were still hoping 

1. The Seaward Lobby and the Thirteenth Amendment 23; 

to stall the voting. Ashley moved on to the preliminary tests, a 
morion to table, another to order the main question. There was 
profound silence, the crowded galleries were tense and excited. 
Senators and members of the Supreme Court were watching from 
the floor. Both motions passed, but a two-thirds vote was lacking. 
Now it was time for final decision. 

Behind the scenes that afternoon much had been happening. 
The opposition had received word that Southern commissioners 
were waiting to talk peace terms, as indeed they were waiting at 
General Grant's headquarters. These reports were seized upon 
in a last determined effort to defeat the Amendment; wavering 
Democrats were pressed not to jeopardize peace and reunion. 
Arriving at the House at 12:30 prepared to vote for the Amend- 
ment, Samuel S. Cox was informed of the news. Cox was doubtful, 
having received assurances, apparently from Secretary Seward, 
that the recent mission of Francis P. Blair, Sr., to Richmond had 
failed, and that no further negotiations were possible. He in- 
sisted that Ashley check the truth of the rumors. A reply came 
from the President's secretary, John Hay, denying knowledge of 
a wailing peace commission. The reports persisted. Ashley feared 
the Amendment lost unless Lincoln could authorize him to con- 
tradict the rumors. Then a carefully phrased note came from 
Lincoln himself, denying that peace commissioners were on their 
way to Washington. Lincoln, of course, was well informed con- 
cerning the waiting mission and had issued orders permitting the 
Southerners to proceed to Fortress Monroe. Indeed, the very day 
of the vote, January 31, 1865, he wrote an authorization directing 
Seward to treat with them, and the following day the Secretary 
left Washington to meet them. Cox read Lincoln's note, made 
further inquiries, and decided that the President was either "mis- 
taken or ignorant" of what was happening at Army headquarters. 

The Clerk was calling the roll. James E. English, Democrat of 
Connecticut: "Aye." "A burst of applause greets this unexpected 
result, and the interest becomes thrilling. The speaker's hammer 
falls heavily, and restores silence. Clerk 'John Ganson' Democrat 
of New York: 'Aye.' Applause again, repressed by the Speaker. 
Angry calls among the Democrats and great irritation of feeling.'* 


And on went the roll, with Speaker Colfax calling repeatedly for 
order. The Speaker added his own "Aye," an almost unprece- 
dented action from the Chair, and Democrats muttered angrily. 
Then came the announcement of passage and an outburst of 
enthusiasm. Republican members sprung to their feet, ignoring 
parliamentary rules by cheering and clapping. Men in the galleries 
waved their hats and called out; the ladies rose and waved hand- 
kerchiefs. All was excitement. Then a motion to adjourn "in 
honor of this immortal and sublime event," and again the cheering 
and demonstrations. 115 

When the news reached New York, George O. Jones wired 
Seward congratulations. "You deserve all credit for the Amend- 
ment." Then he added, "Now extend the olive branches to all 
who ever took pride in calling themselves Americans and if pos- 
sible give us an ocean-bound republic." 116 Bilbo sent congratula- 
tions the same day, and they carried similar admonition and 
anticipation of a magnanimous policy toward the South. "If Peace 
Commissioners do visit Washington from the South, do you be 
personally kind to them" He counseled generosity in respect to 
amnesty and confiscation and even a few millions to the South in 
compensation for the loss of slave property. 117 It is worthy of 
note that these messages of Jones and Bilbo implied a verbal com- 
mitment from the Secretary of State that passage of the Amend- 
ment would be coupled with a policy of peace and reconciliation 
which Southerners might accept with relief and Northern Demo- 
crats with enthusiasm. 

The last word from the lobby was yet to come. It arrived in the 
form of a letter from Richard Schell addressed to Secretary 
'Seward's son and Assistant Secretary. The letter merits quotation 
in full: 118 

A Gentleman called today to have me give an acct of expenses 
to Washington. 

Which amt to nothing at any time that I can be of any service 
to the Hon Sec of State or yourself I will do all I can but at my 
own expence [sic]. 

One of the members of Congress told me not to come on the floor 
the day the Vote was taken for I might be attacked So I went to 

L The Seward Lobby and the Thirteenth Amendment 25 

buying shilling Gold & made five thousand out of my visit besides 
my Expencess. 

We played Poker on the way home and I took the Boys for one 
hundred fifty besides this is private So you see I had a good time 

The New York speculator had obviously enjoyed his venture in 
national politics] 

The antislavery amendment was through Congress and on its 
way to the states for ratification. Would it have passed without 
the efforts of the Seward lobby? No answer to this question can 
be definitive, but the weight of evidence indicates that the lobby 
played a critically important role. As the World laconically ob- 
served the day after passage, "The affirmative vote of a few 
Democratic members and the absence from their places of others, 
secured its passage/' 119 The measure passed with just two votes to 
spare; the count stood 119 for, 56 against, and 8 (all Democrats) 
absent. 120 In fact, the Amendment commanded support from 
fewer than two-thirds of the entire House membership. While it 
is true that Lincoln had exerted pressure independently of the 
lobby, particularly upon border-state members whose support 
was of great importance, and while other influences were un- 
doubtedly at work to convince wavering Democrats, the number 
of New York Democrats to vote for the Amendment strongly 
suggests the influence of the Seward lobby, which centered its 
attention upon New York congressmen. Of the sixteen affirmative 
Democratic votes, 121 six came from New York men. 122 Pennsyl- 
vania took second honors, with three Democrats voting for the 
measure and one absenting himself from the roll call. 123 

The importance of the lobby in shaping newspaper comment 
and the weight of such editorial opinion are impossible to assess, 
but these factors certainly were not negligible. Although the 
World disappointed Bilbo and Schell, its silence was undoubtedly 
golden. Moreover, its early editorial seemingly freeing Demo- 
crats from any party obligation may well have owed something 
to Bilbo's early work among New York Democratic leaders. The 
Herald may have arrived at its support of the Amendment quite 
independently of the lobby, but the fact should not be ignored 
that at least two members of Bilbo's active staff were attached to 


that paper. Also, Seward may have set the stage for the Herald's 
approval. The Seward manuscripts reveal that the Secretary had 
approached James Gordon Bennett through a trusted inter- 
mediary in October, flattering the erratic but susceptible editor 
by giving him a memorandum on the projected policies of the 
Administration. 124 The cooperative T. B. Florence edited the 
leading Democratic paper of the Capital. The National Intelli- 
gencer, the other Washington paper that might have carried 
weight with Democratic congressmen, 125 was at least neutral. 
Having reprinted the World's damning editorial of January 9, it 
did not otherwise join in the attack upon the Amendment. It is 
possible, though it can not be definitely established, that Colonel 
Berret played an important role in obtaining the Intelligencer's 
silent acquiescence. 126 

After Lincoln's death, in an effort to discredit Seward and 
Weed and to advance his own claims for political preferment at 
the hands of the new President, Montgomery Blair wrote Andrew 
Johnson a letter that indicates Blair had some vague knowledge 
of the Seward lobby. "I know," he stated, "that Mr. Seward made 
Lincoln believe that he had carried that amendment by corrup- 
tion." This, Blair maintained, was false. The Amendment was 
carried through the influence of Dean Richmond, whose upstate 
or "County Democracy" he distinguished from the "Demoralized 
City Democracy" with which Thurlow Weed acted. The writer 
claimed to have had "some influence in persuading them to go the 
Amendment which they did exclusively for patriotic & party con- 
siderations." Only one man had been influenced by corruption, 
Anson Herrick, "whose vote was paid for by an appt & was not 
needed for we had a dozen more votes that were not cast for it 
but would have been cast if they had been needed." 127 Blair's 
contention that the Amendment had votes to spare does not 
square with contemporary accounts. Nor can Montgomery's be- 
littling of Seward's influence carry weight. The Blair hostility to 
Seward was notorious. Seward and Stanton, Montgomery wrote 
frankly, "are indeed obnoxious to me & to every one & it will be 
a relief to me and will be to the country when they are dismissed 
from public employment." 128 Furthermore, it is clear that Blair 

L The Seward Lobby and the Thirteenth Amendment 27 

had not been privy to the details of Seward's activities, for we 
know that the Secretary was acting independently of Weed and 
that Dean Richmond was among those leaders of the New York 
Democracy with whom the lobby had excellent contact. On the 
other hand, Blair's statement that Lincoln attributed success to 
Seward is credible and significant. 

The Blair letter raises the question of corruption. There are 
a number of hints from contemporaries (but for the most part 
they are only hints) that bribery was used to gain votes. George 
W. Julian of Indiana, then a member of the House, later wrote 
obscurely of negotiations "the particulars of which never reached 
the public." 129 Lincoln's secretary, John Hay, was probably one 
of the sources for the intimation in the Nicolay and Hay biog- 
raphy of Lincoln that along with public and moral considerations 
there were "not unlikely influences of a more selfish nature." 130 
In the House debate there were allusions to Presidential patronage, 
to arguments "outside of the legitimate subject-matter which is 
before us," to "motives moving Gentlemen" that were hidden 
from view, "if not impalpable they are invisible." 131 During the 
New York campaign the following fall, Senator Wilson of Massa- 
chusetts asserted that Democrats voted against the Amendment 
"unless they had their pay for it," a charge that was interpreted 
as an accusation against William Radford, representative from 
Yonkers. 132 

A direct accusation of attempted bribery came a number of 
years after the event from Samuel S. Cox. He told of a boarding- 
house incident in which his Radical Republican host, in anger at 
Cox's vote against the Amendment, had blurted out the informa- 
tion that it had lost him ten thousand dollars promised by "New 
York parties for influencing the writer's vote favorably to the 
amendment." Cox continued, "The writer discovered the party 
who raised the fund which was said to be ready and freely used 
for corrupting members. Can anything be conceived more mon- 
strous than this attempt to amend the Constitution upon such a 
humane and glorious theme, by the aid of the lucre of office- 
holders?" He claimed to have made this charge "after the war in 
response to Mr. Dawes, and with much detail. It was never chal- 


lenged. It is true." 138 Unfortunately, Cox's reference to the con- 
gressional debate is so vague that we have not been able to find 
his exchange with Mr. Dawes. Cox's version of the incident, how- 
ever, although he claimed to have received verification in writing 
long afterward, is highly improbable. In the light of the reports 
of the lobby to Seward, it is difficult to believe that they would 
have been so inept as to have given a Radical Republican the as- 
signment of influencing an outstanding Democratic leader of the 
House whose cooperation they were enjoying through personal 
contact. 134 That money and patronage were available to speed 
passage of the Amendment, however, is not merely credible; it is 
undoubtedly correct. 

In their letters to Secretary Seward, it will be recalled that 
Bilbo, Latham, and Schell each referred to money and only 
Bilbo's statement might with charity be interpreted as an allusion 
to any other use than bribery. Bilbo, however, in a letter to 
Andrew Johnson, clearly indicated that some form of bribery 
was used to persuade Democrats to vote for the Amendment or 
to absent themselves from the roll call. "As you may well con- 
jecture," he wrote, "we have had to use . . . some 'knockdown* 
material arguments." 135 Future patronage and favors were im- 
plied in Bilbo's retrospective letter to Seward. He listed the names 
of most of the members of the lobby and reminded the Secretary 
of State that "the President and yourself must not forget" them. 136 
The fact that Seward or his son sent a "Gentleman" for an ac- 
count of Schell's "expenses to Washington" suggests not only that 
cash expenditures were expected but also that the Secretary's of- 
fice was prepared to pick up the bill. That no accounting was 
made does not constitute proof that there were no expenses. On 
the other hand, it is clear that personal friendships and "patri- 
otism," including all manner of political argument, constituted the 
lobby's first line of persuasion. In short, money was available for 
bribery; the records do not establish whether it was used for that 

Information as to payment by patronage is only a little less 
obscure. Anson Herrick of New York, according to Blair, was 
paid by an appointment. This reference was undoubtedly to the 

1. The Seaward Lobby and the Thirteenth Amendment 29 

promise of an appointment as internal revenue assessor in New 
York to Herrick's brother, a promise to which Judge Nelson was 
a party. 137 Moses F. Odell, a lame-duck congressman from 
Seward's home state one of the two Democrats to vote for the 
Amendment both in June and in January was later made Navy 
Agent in New York. George Yeaman, the Kentucky Democrat 
with whom Lincoln's personal influence was decisive, became 
Minister to Denmark in 1865. Judge Nelson, whom Bilbo re- 
ported "by far the most efficient" of the members of Congress 
who had assisted him, 138 was offered, but declined, an appoint- 
ment to a post abroad at the close of his congressional term in 
March, i865. 139 More than a year later, Nelson sought Seward's 
aid in obtaining a Treasury Department office, citing among other 
qualifications his vote for the Amendment. 140 Lincoln's tender 
to James Gordon Bennett of the prestige post of Minister to 
France in February is generally presented as a payment for the 
editor's support of Lincoln prior to the November election, 141 
but Bennett's help in persuading Democrats to vote for the 
Amendment may well have been the determining factor. Ben- 
nett's pre-election support was hardly of a character to justify 
grand favors. After heaping reiterated scorn upon both Lincoln 
and McClellan as failures and urging the Electoral College to 
repudiate both and elect Grant, the Herald on November 7 and 
8 condescended to admit that, while neither were first-class 
candidates, it entertained "no fears of the ruin of this country" 
with the defeat of either! 142 

In evaluating the evidence of patronage, one should not con- 
sider a proffer of office after passage of the Amendment as proof 
of bribery. Moreover, the technique of a respectable lobbyist, 
such as George O. Jones, implied but did not promise favors to 
come. The brazen purchase of votes offended Jones's sensitivities, 
or so we are informed by the official stenographer of the New 
York legislature. He added, however, that it was only fair to say 
that a member who received no direct assurances from a lobby- 
ist "got what he would have received had it been named in the 
bond." 143 The motives of public men are seldom simple and 
single; we trust that the historian, at least in this instance, may 


be excused from a speculative weighing of the relative strength 
of the diverse ingredients that motivated the Democratic vote for 
the antislavery amendment. 

For another query, the historian cannot shun a measure of 
responsibility. What did it matter that the Amendment was passed 
by the Thirty-eighth Congress instead of awaiting the action of 
its favorably disposed successor, the Thirty-ninth? Waiving the 
always possible occurrence of the unlikely, the historian can yet 
say with assurance that such a postponement would have critically 
altered the course of American post-Civil War history. Either 
there would have been a special session of Congress on hand at the 
time of Lincoln's assassination or shortly thereafter, or no consti- 
tutional amendment would have been on its way to the states until 
the regular December session, months after Southern surrender. 
Either alternative would have changed the course of Presidential 
Reconstruction. It is inconceivable that with Congress in session, 
President Johnson would have proceeded to set the conditions 
for readmission of the Southern states without consultation and 
compromise with congressional opinion. Had there been no spe- 
cial session, there would have been no antislavery amendment to 
whose ratification the new President could commit the seceded 
states as a condition of Executive support for reinstatement. 

Furthermore, President Johnson fell heir to the plans for the 
future implied in Seward's negotiations with the Democrats 
generous peace terms to the South, a swift and friendly welcome 
of the returning states to full reinstatement in the Union, con- 
tinued cooperation between Conservative Republicans and the 
moderate elements of the Democracy. The long-range political 
implications of the work of the Seward lobby will be examined 
in connection with what we have termed the "Conservative Of- 
fensive." They were to prove a not insignificant element in the 
confused pattern of national politics under President Johnson, for 
they were part of a continuing effort to effect a major party re- 




gress, Reconstruction policy failed "to bind up the nation's 
wounds." Until very recently, the consensus of modern scholar- 
ship has placed primary responsibility for this tragedy upon the 
shoulders of the Radical Republicans, although some historians, 
particularly in the early years of the century, attributed the 
debacle in part to defects of Johnson's personality and leadership. 1 
The Radicals have been the subject of much hostile attention; 
often they have been presented in a role little short of diabolic. 2 
In the interest of a more balanced historical appraisal, we wish 
here to focus attention upon the responsibility of their opponents, 
the Conservatives. 

The Conservatives sought a realignment of political forces that 
would freeze out the Radicals and leave them politically im- 
potent. Lincoln's policy of "Justice for all" had maintained a 
workable unity among the diverse elements that went into the 
making of the Republican party, but it had not lessened inter- 
necine warfare. With Lincoln's re-election in 1864, the Con- 
servatives had reason to believe that they were in a position to 
destroy their party opponents. After his assassination and Andrew 

3 1 


Johnson's advent to the Presidency, success for a time seemed 
within their grasp; for President Johnson, after an initial flirtation 
with their opponents, himself assumed leadership of the Con- 
servative movement. In the end, it was Johnson and the Conserva- 
tives who were isolated and beaten. Their wounds were not those 
of innocent bystanders; they had flung down the challenge. And 
in a stubborn pursuit of total political victory, President Johnson 
destroyed all possibility of a moderate, constructive reconstruc- 
tion of the Union. 3 

In order to gain the support of War Democrats for the sus- 
tained civil and military effort needed to win the war with the 
South and in order to attract the votes needed to avoid political 
defeat by the still powerful and critical Democracy of the North, 
the Republican party in 1864 had assumed the "Union" label and 
had chosen Johnson, a life-long Democrat, as its vice-presidential 
candidate. Secretary of State William H. Seward later spoke of 
the 1864 victory of Lincoln and Johnson as the choice of the 
people who "were neither a republican party nor a democratic 
party, but avowedly and heroically a Union people." 4 Thus, by 
1865 a new postwar party structure already had some founda- 
tion. Further, the November defeat had shaken the confidence of 
many who had clung to the Democracy. During the campaign, 
the Democratic party had been successfully stigmatized as the 
sympathizer, even the abettor, of treason. Might not the politically 
ambitious better face down this accusation, and also the party's 
pre-Civil War record of support for Southern slavery, under a 
new party label? Republicans looking to the future also faced 
hazards. Theirs had been a minority sectional party how could 
it gain majority support in a reunited nation? The cement of the 
party had been opposition to slavery; with slavery dead, what 
would hold the party together? What issues should be substi- 

Plans for a reshaping of parties might have been harmless 
enough except for two things. Planners among the Conservatives 
were tempted by a vision of practically unchallenged political 
control, of a fusion in the name of national unity so embracing 
that effective opposition would be impossible for a generation or 

2. The Conservative Offensive 33 

two. And they were determined to isolate the Radical Republi- 
cans along with the Copperhead Democrats as if the former had 
contributed as little as the latter to the national effort to preserve 
the Union as if the antiracist convictions of the one were as ir- 
relevant to the postwar nation as the proslavery sympathies of the 

With the shape of things to come uncertain, party leaders were 
constrained to speak with circumspection. A reporter could be 
more bold, particularly when attached to one of the few papers 
of the day that was not a party organ. The Washington corre- 
spondent of the New York Herald wrote on February 10, 1865, 
"There are rumors as numerous as the frogs of Egypt of reorgani- 
zation of new parties. The drift of events is in that direction." The 
occasional harangues and innuendo threats against the President 
by the Radicals, he noted, "have generally arisen from fear that 
they are soon to be considered outside of the administration party. 
They have seen the growing confidence of the conservative or 
moderate men of both parties in the President, with an apparent 
desire to cut off from them." 5 This statement, showing the Radi- 
cals as victims rather than aggressors in the political struggle, is 
of particular interest and carries a special weight, since the 
Herald was consistently hostile to the Radicals. The tone of the 
report was not one of sympathy but rather one of gloating at their 
discomfiture. The correspondent reported the exact nature of the 
developing realignment as yet uncertain and did not name names, 
with a few significant exceptions Thurlow Weed, Secretary 
Seward, Dean Richmond and the Albany Regency. Clearly, a 
major impetus for the new political order came from the Con- 
servative leaders of New York. 

In New York the split between Radicals and Conservatives was 
embittered by memories of Horace Greeley's part in frustrating 
Seward's 1860 bid for the presidential nomination and by Weed's 
desperate effort to maintain his long dominance of party 
machinery and patronage, first Whig, then Republican. During 
the Civil War years, Weed's ascendancy was challenged with 
some notable successes by the opposing Greeley-Field-Opdyke- 
Bryant forces. 6 By mid- 1862 there were rumors of Weed's 


maneuvering for cooperation with the Democrats at the expense 
of the Republican Radicals, and the rumors reappeared in 1863 
and i864. 7 

The harassment and uncertainty which Lincoln faced in the 
fight for re-election in 1864 afforded the Weed-Seward faction a 
golden opportunity. Seward supported his Chief with unqualified 
loyalty; if his own desire for the Presidency lingered, no political 
move was permitted to give it expression. The Radicals, on the 
other hand, carried the onus of a series of anti-Lincoln move- 
ments: the early Pomeroy Circular attacking Lincoln and pro- 
moting Chase, Seward's Radical rival in the Cabinet; Fremont's 
nomination by the Cleveland convention; the unsuccessful effort 
to postpone the regular (and Administration- controlled) Repub- 
lican nominating convention set for Baltimore in June; the forcing 
of Montgomery Blair from the Cabinet despite Lincoln's personal 
confidence and wish to retain him; the Wade-Davis Manifesto 
with its intemperate blast at Lincoln's Reconstruction policies; 
the postnomination attempts to replace Lincoln with a "stronger" 
candidate, climaxed by the call for another convention in Cin- 
cinnati. 8 Radicals were not the only element in the Republican 
party to disparage the President and his political strength; not all 
Radical leaders were equally implicated in the anti-Lincoln moves, 
and in the end Radicals closed ranks to help carry Lincoln and the 
party to victory. Weed, however, exploited the situation to the 

In the press, and in private correspondence meant for the 
President's eye, Weed attacked Chase. He pictured the Treasury 
under Chase as a malign political influence used to undermine the 
President, a center of supplies for the Rebels, a nest of fraud and 
speculation! 9 

I care not how much of political neglect and injustice the friends 
of Mr. Lincoln in this state have been or may be subjected to if the 
welfare and safety of the Government and Union are assured. In- 
dividuals and Parties, in this connection, are as nothing. Our Country 
is the first, last, and only consideration. It is in this aspect of public 
affairs that I regard Mr. Chase's connection with the Administration 
as alike disastrous to the President and the Government. . . . He has, 

2. The Conservative Offensive 35 

and can have, no motives in remaining in the Cabinet of a President 
of whom he speaks contemptuously, but to prolong a system of 
official rapacity which will bankrupt the Treasury, disgrace the Ad- 
ministration and destroy the Government. ... I do not now say or 
see that Mr. Lincoln^ reelection is certain under any circumstances 
but I do see and say that if he goes into the canvass with this 
millstone tied to him, we will inevitably sink. 

A Treasury appointment in New York that aroused Weed's ire 
was actually the occasion for Secretary Chase's reluctant exit from 
the Cabinet. Throughout the campaign and beyond, Weed also 
carried on a private vendetta, in bold public view, with his local 
political enemies. 10 His accusations of fraud and plunder resulted 
in a sensational libel suit against him by ex-mayor Opdyke, 
lawyers' fees of eleven thousand dollars for the defense (paid 
through subscription by Weed's friends), and a hung jury 
generally regarded as a Weed victory. The Herald's correspond- 
ent, a month later, characterized the suit as "simply part and 
parcel of the contest that is waging between the factions to 
secure the control in the new deal of parties." 11 

Meantime the Weed-Seward forces had labored strenuously and 
effectively for Mr. Lincoln.^ The Seward Papers bear convinc- 
ing witness to the Secretary's active concern both with major 
strategy and with the indispensable minutiae of the election cam- 
paign. Henry J. Raymond, who as the new chairman of the 
National Union Executive Committee held at least nominally 
top party command and responsibility, was a close political ally 
of Seward and Weed. He sought the Secretary's advice and his 
intercession at Washington to effect needed "cooperation." In 
early August, Raymond was appealing to Seward for assistance in 
getting Government contractors paid more in bonds and less in 
certificates subject to discount (this would be worth fifty thou- 
sand dollars to the campaign fund in New York City alone); 
in obtaining dismissals and political contributions in the Navy 
Yard, Customhouse, and Internal Revenue Service; in establishing 
a more generous allocation of permits to bring cotton from the 
rebel states. 13 Through his personal friend Richard Schell, the 
Democratic politico and New York speculator who was to figure 


so prominently in the Seward lobby for the Thirteenth Amend- 
ment, the Secretary received confidential information on Demo- 
cratic maneuvers. Weed, too, used his personal friendships with 
opposition leaders to keep Seward well posted on political strat- 
egy. 14 Other informants wrote Seward, apparently at his invita- 
tion, from New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. The 
Secretary's Auburn address in September, 1864, was itself a 
major political contribution, widely hailed and distributed as a 
campaign document. 15 Seward also undertook the delicate task of 
neutralizing the hostility toward the Administration of the influ- 
ential editor of the Herald, James Gordon Bennett. 16 

These evidences of Seward's hand in practical politics are all 
the more notable because it was his practice to leave such matters 
to Weed or to his son Frederick. The calculated image of himself 
that the Secretary sought to draw for contemporaries and pos- 
terity was that of the great statesman, aloof from the details of 
political battle. He took care to keep from his correspondence 
"matters unsuitable to a public record," such as mention of local 
politics and patronage, and directed friends to make inquiries in 
regard to such matters "other than by direct correspondence." 17 
"Heads of Administration," he once explained irritably when 
under pressure from an importuning friend, "can't write freely 
about appointments ... as corner grocers or stockholders can. 
Anything any one wants to know can be learned verbally from 
me." He would depart from practice so far as to say that there 
was no such vacancy as the one desired. "Show this to Mr. M. 
Burn it and tell him that my patience is taxed enough by oppo- 
nents. It ought to be spared by friends." 18 Seward's concern to 
keep from the record his behind-the-scenes role in practical 
politics underlines the importance of his activities in 1864 and 

With New York in the uncertain column until the very end 
of the 1864 campaign, and with the President eager for a decisive 
vote of confidence, the skillful marshaling of support constituted 
an important political asset for the Seward- Weed Conservatives. 
Before the election, they obtained the most coveted Federal 
patronage plums available in New York: the customs collector 

2. The Conservative Offensive 37 

of the port, the surveyor of the port, the postmaster of New York 
City. 19 Incoming letters to the Secretary after election, requesting 
a variety of Government offices, strongly suggest that Seward en- 
joyed wide influence in the general distribution of patronage. The 
Weed-Seward ascendancy was clearly demonstrated in February, 
when Lincoln sent to the Senate the nomination of Edwin D. 
Morgan, New York senator, as Secretary of the Treasury. In- 
deed, on the national level, Seward emerged as the dominant per- 
sonality in the Cabinet. Blair and Chase were out, and the Secre- 
tary of State enjoyed a unique place in the confidence of the 
President. No wonder that a close friend could write of a 
pleasant visit with Seward at Washington early in December: 
"The talk of Sunday night was more like old times than any that 
has occurred for a long time it explained many things about 
which many of your best friends have thought hardly of you 
during the last 3 or 4 years I did not realize or appreciate before 
the difficulties & embarrassment which have encompassed you as 
well from Mr. Lincoln as from the nefarious crew that surrounded 
Mm in the offsett [sic] & monopolised his confidence and abused 
it." 20 The implication is clear; after the election victory, Seward 
felt that his ascendancy with the President was secure. 

The Seward- Weed maneuvering on behalf of the Conserva- 
tives at the expense of the Radicals also drew strength from 
President Lincoln's desire to welcome back the Southern rebels 
with moderation and generosity. In his September address, Seward 
in effect spoke for the President when he gave assurances that re- 
turning Southerners would be received into the "common ark of 
our national security and happiness" in a manner that "becomes a 
great, magnanimous, and humane people to grant to brethren 
who have come back from their wanderings." 21 Already the 
Secretary had gone on record as approving a simple plan of re- 
construction by which the vacant seats in both Houses of Con- 
gress should be declared ready for the return of the representa- 
tives of the seceding states. 22 Seward combined loyal support of 
the President with an effective personal appeal to Northern War 
Democrats and to Southerners themselves. His September speech, 
as one correspondent wrote, voiced sentiments that "I as well as 


many thousands of true Southern Union men will ever hold in 
grateful remembrance." 23 

In the Cabinet, the Secretary of State held the key role, next 
to that of the President, in the negotiations for peace; 24 it was 
Seward to whom Lincoln entrusted a share of responsibility for 
the promising but abortive conference with Southern leaders held 
at Hampton Roads, February 3, 1865. It will be recalled that both 
Bilbo and Jones, Seward's lieutenants in the lobby for the 
Thirteenth Amendment, expected him to assume leadership in 
making a generous peace with the South. 25 "Governor," Bilbo had 
written, "you are regarded by the public outside as the great 
Pacificator of the Administration. If you can staunch the multi- 
tudinous wounds of our afflicted country if you can bind us 
once more in an indissoluble fraternity of affection and interest 
the transitory renown of being President would pale its ineffectual 
light before an achievement like this. For he who accomplishes 
this his name will be ubiquity his fame eternity." 26 There is 
reason to believe that the Secretary of State recognized the po- 
litical advantage to be gained from his close association with the 
Executive clemency. The Herald's correspondent reported that 
peace negotiations at Hampton Roads were linked to the move- 
ment for party reorganization, "and that Secretary Seward seized 
upon the movement to secure whatever eclat there might be con- 
nected with it, in hopes that if peace was the result he would be 
able to ride upon the wave of joy of a grateful people, and thus 
become the standard bearer of the great conservative party in 
i868." 27 

There is little in Seward's own letters to throw light upon his 
political thinking. However approachable and informative he 
may have been in private conversation, the Secretary attempted 
to keep his letters free of political comment. He believed in 
discreet silence, not only as to patronage but as to grand strategy 
as well. The following from Seward's answers to friends make 
this intent unmistakable: "I cannot discuss in my private corres- 
pondence policies which divide the country into parties"; after 
some vague political comments, "I err in writing at all about 
them"; the effect upon "party organization" of the abolition of 

2. The Conservative Offensive 39 

slavery and renewed loyalty in the South was "too low a question 
for you to consider or even for me to write upon"; "It would be 
foreign from my habits to discuss legislative questions or even 
popular ones in private correspondence"; "I abhor confidential or 
private letters of statesmen upon public questions." 28 And to the 
latter correspondent he added, "I try to make myself understood 
therefore always by public debates." 

Seward's mastery of vague generalization in public address 
makes questionable his desire always "to make myself under- 
stood." But in view of the elusive character of his public and 
private pronouncements, Seward's speech of November n, 1864, 
in response to a serenade celebrating the Administration victory 
at the polls is revealing. A careful reading confirms the hints and 
speculations found in other sources: the Secretary was looking 
forward to a grand alliance that would dominate the future 
political scene^ All must be friends, he said, both Unionists and 
the Democrats who have been voting against them. Four years 
hence, he predicted, "we will be in perfect harmony, not only 
throughout all the free states, but throughout the whole Union. 
And I will tell you why I think it will be so." Then he proceeded 
to recount the disappearance of the Tories after the Revolution, 
and of the Federalists after the War of 1812, and the coming of 
an era of good feeling when all the people were Republicans. "It 
is my judgment that we will all come together again." There 
would soon be a constitutional amendment abolishing slavery, 
and with slavery removed, gone would be "the only element of 
discord among the American people." "I know that it will not be 
the fault of the administration if we do not have an era of peace 
and harmony, and go on, resuming our proud career among the 
nations, and advancing the interests of our country, of freedom, 
of self-government, and humanity." 29 

The abolition of slavery by constitutional amendment here 
was a cause befitting the statesman of the "Higher Law," a course 
that could only strengthen the Secretary's hold upon Presidential 
gratitude, a milestone on the road to a new political order. What- 
ever the balance of motives that gave it birth, Seward's lobby for 
the Thirteenth Amendment unmistakably gave impetus to a re- 


alignment of political forces. W. N. Bilbo, the hard-working 
Southern member of the lobby, wrote Seward the day after pas- 
sage of the Amendment: "Governor, you have by this measure 
allied to you all the conservative Democrats of the Nation. This 
is true, and the President and yourself can rely upon them in any 
great Conservative object/' 30 

Significantly, the other two leaders of the lobby had earlier 
anticipated a national political reorganization. In December, 1861, 
Richard Schell advised Seward's son to "make yourself friends 
with some of our Party. In the Revolution going on the proba- 
bility is we shall all be together." 31 The previous February, 
Latham, as an "old friend, and a faithful friend," had implored 
Seward "to take the lead in, and be the head of, the great national 
union party, which is sure to be the great power and ruling influ- 
ence in this Land, if the Country holds together." 32 

The House debate on the Thirteenth Amendment also bore 
witness, though cautiously, to the expectation of new political 
strategy and patterns. When this amendment is an accomplished 
fact, Yeaman of Kentucky had prophesied, there will be an end 
to "the other dangerous schemes [i.e., of the Radicals] that are 
now associated with it in the public mind." 33 "Upon the con- 
summation of this measure," said New York's Democratic Herrick 
in urging adoption, "a new organization of parties will be in- 
evitable." 34 "We are told," scornfully commented a member of 
the Democratic opposition, that if we adopt this amendment, "all 
conservatives can act together against this radical party and defeat 
the purposes by which they really seek to revolutionize this gov- 
ernment." 35 And one of his like-minded colleagues, significantly 
a Democrat from New York, bitterly repudiated advice to the 
Democracy "from men who have spent their lives in misrepre- 
senting the Democratic party and in vilifying its leaders. These 
men have become very suddenly solicitous for the welfare of the 
Democracy, . . . I am suspicious of this new-born zeal." Too much 
importance, he warned, had been given to "this new school of 
Democratic advisers." 36 All signs point to Seward as the current 
head of "this new school." 

Suggestions of impending political realignment linked with pas- 

2. The Conservative Offensive 41 

sage of the Amendment also appeared in the press. In an editorial 
written in mid- January, James Gordon Bennett anticipated that 
before the year's close there would be an end of slavery and "a 
reconstruction of States and parties upon different principles than 
those of Northern abolitionists and Southern fire-eaters." 37 When 
the measure passed the House, Bennett commented, "We can 
look forward now to a reconstruction of the Union, of our politi- 
cal parties, and of Northern and Southern society upon a har- 
monious footing." 38 A few days earlier, in words reminiscent of 
Seward's November address, the National Intelligencer 32 char- 
acterized the contemporary political scene as "An Era of Good 
Feeling." It thought the Administration would not be "unmind- 
ful of the elements upon which this generous and patriotic sup- 
port is based," that the President "thinks comparatively little of 
mere party." Should he "in a party sense" go into retirement, 
"the machinery which usually appertains to party would be found 
without much motive power to propel it." The Intelligencer 
stood ready to defend the President from hateful intrigues among 
those claiming the special title of his political friends. 40 

The February 10 dispatch of the Herald's Washington corre- 
spondent made all this explicit in a retrospective report. In evalu- 
ating this column, it should be recalled that at least two Herald 
men were active members of the Seward lobby; it is not unlikely 
that the Washington correspondent was one of them. 41 

Long before the constitutional amendment passed* the House there 
were rumors afloat that the moment that question was disposed of 
there would be important developments in reference to the forma- 
tion of a new party, composed of the conservative elements of both 
of the old parties, leaving the extreme men of each out by themselves 
to seek an alliance or quarrel, just as they might deem best. . . . This 
movement, although it was almost exclusively a secret one, had more 
to do with the passage of the amendment to the constitution than is 
generally supposed. It was one of the strong powers that secured its 

In plain words, Seward in pursuing Democratic votes for the 
Amendment had let it be understood that there would follow a 
generous policy of peace and reconstruction, and that there would 


be a secure political berth for moderate Democrats in a new 
Conservative coalition. 

As soon as the Amendment was passed, the Herald correspond- 
ent continued, there was pressure upon the President to reorganize 
the Cabinet so that it would leave out entirely the radical element 
of the Republican party and secure the support of conservative 
men of all parties. On several occasions it looked as though the 
movement would carry everything before it, but "some trivial 
matter has at each time prevented it, and for the time being, 
seemed to have defeated the whole thing." The reporter was un- 
certain what turn the whole question would take. But he held as 
certain that the President was inclined to a conservative course, 
that the Democrats were willing to enter a new conservative party 
if given Administration encouragement, and that whatever the 
issues and whoever the guiding minds "new party lines will have 
to be drawn." 42 

Had Lincoln lived through his second term of office, the Radi- 
cals might never haved faced the danger of political ostracism. It 
is true that the Seward-Weed faction during Lincoln's last 
months in office was enjoying more influence than at any time 
prior to the November, 1864, elections; it is also true that Lincoln 
desired to pursue a moderate and magnanimous policy toward the 
South. But despite these signs of a "conservative" Presidential 
course, there were others indicating that Lincoln had not aban- 
doned his policy of "Justice for all." If patronage appointments 
were weighted in favor of the Conservatives, that group did not 
have the field to itself, especially in respect to positions of major 
importance. 43 No Presidential decision was more distasteful to the 
Conservatives than Lincoln's appointment of Samuel P. Chase to 
the Chief Justiceship on December 6, 1864. Nor did the Conserva- 
tives gain control of the Cabinet. Lincoln confirmed the interim 
appointment of William Dennison, a Radical, as Postmaster Gen- 
eral and named James Harlan, also a Radical, Secretary of the 
Interior. These selections were balanced by that of Hugh Mc- 
Culloch, a Conservative, to head the Treasury after Senator 
Morgan had declined the post and that of James Speed, then 
considered a Conservative, as Attorney General. In fact, both the 

2. The Conservative Offensive 43 

Speed and Harlan appointments were more personal than political 

While Lincoln's intent to "bind up the nation's wounds" was 
clear enough, the exact nature of his peacetime Reconstruction 
plans and strategy was still under consideration and undecided^ 
A fragmentary bit of evidence is suggestive of Lincoln's probable 
attitude toward a reorganization of parties. Writing to President 
Johnson in June, 1865, John Hogan, a Democratic representative- 
elect from Missouri and a personal friend of Lincoln, offered to 
sustain Johnson under a new party label. He told of a conversation 
the previous winter with Lincoln in which the President had 
suggested that Hogan retain his political affiliation "so as if pos- 
sible to bring the Democratic members into such union with his 
Conservative friends, as might insure an ample majority of the 
House to carry out his conciliatory purposes." 44 The distinction 
between support as a Democrat and support as member of a new 
party may not have appeared important to Hogan. It suggests, 
however, that Lincoln while laying a basis for Democratic support 
of his Reconstruction policy was not contemplating the formation 
of a new Conservative party. Also relevant to conjectures re- 
garding the course Lincoln might have taken was his loyal sup- 
port during the 1864 campaign of Radical Republicans seeking 
renomination and election to Congress. When opposing party 
factions threatened George W. Julian of Indiana and William 
D. Kelly of Pennsylvania, both outstanding Radicals in the 
House, Lincoln intervened on their behalf. He also brought pres- 
sure upon Secretary Seward to disavow the opposition of his 
New York political friends to the nomination and election of 
Roscoe Conkling, whom Seward's allies were reputed to have 
defeated for re-election in i862. 45 

In retrospect, Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles wrote that 
Lincoln "continued to be on friendly and intimate terms with 
certain prominent and leading minds that were for extreme and 
radical measures, such as Love joy and Sumner. . . . He often con- 
sulted them on important measures and had at all times their sup- 
port and confidence." 46 A fact often obscured is that Lincoln's 
nomination for the Presidency in 1860 was based upon assurances 


to the extreme antislavery faction that Lincoln possessed to- 
gether with his "constitutional conservatism" "that radicalism 
which a keen insight into the meaning of the anti-slavery conflict 
is sure to give." 47 Declared the Chicago Tribune editorially, "In 
all the fundamentals of Republicanism he is radical." 48 Also 
worthy of note is the private judgment of no less a political 
sophisticate than the Democratic leader, S. L. M. Barlow. To him 
Lincoln seemed "insane on the subject of slavery." 49 Barlow be- 
lieved Lincoln's re-election in 1864 to be an endorsement of 
every "fallacy & monstrosity, which the folly of fanaticism of the 
Radicals may invent, including miscegenation, negro equality, 
territorial organization and subjugation." 50 He later wrote: 51 

No unprejudiced man can deny that every appointment, every let- 
ter, every act of Mr. Lincola for four years, has looked in the direc- 
tion of slavery and the negro in some form. . . . The wailing of a 
dozen New England women, "slab-sided, who believe in God" has 
always been more powerful with him than the united voice of the 
great democratic party . . . which might at any time in the past, as 
now, be brought over in solid phalanx to the support of the President 
if he would "ignore slavery." 

The Radicals had been troublesome for Lincoln throughout the 
war; but he had lived with them, made concessions to them, and, 
more importantly, understood and valued them. In their anti- 
slavery position, the Radicals had been ahead of public sentiment, 
ahead of Lincoln; but they had helped set the stage within the 
party and throughout the North for the achievement that, next to 
preservation of the Union, Lincoln prized most the death of the 
institution of human slavery. It is not likely that Lincoln would 
have willingly scuttled the Radicals; nor is it likely that Lincoln, 
with his great understanding of men and of issues, would ever 
have driven them into a position from which there was no exit 
except by open and unrelenting conflict with the Executive. 

This unhappy development open warfare between Radicals 
and the Executive was due primarily to President Johnson, but 
Seward shared responsibility. Had Seward stood opposed to a re- 
alignment of parties and remained loyal to the old Republican 
amalgam rather than helping to forward the idea of political 

2. The Conservative Offensive 45 

reorganization, the whole course of Reconstruction would have 
been vastly different from the tragic sequence of events that is 
now recorded history. 

After Lincoln's assassination and the attempt upon his own life, 
Seward emerged with heightened prestige as the nation's foremost 
statesman, the spokesman of the martyred President, the man 
who could stem the tide of angry vindictiveness toward the South 
that surged across the nation. 52 There were rumors of his retire- 
ment, but they were forcefully denied on behalf of both the 
Secretary and the President. Johnson let it be known that he re- 
garded the preservation of the stricken Secretary's life "as second 
to that of no man in the nation," and that he awaited impatiently 
the time when he could have "the benefit of Mr. Seward's coun- 
sel." 53 

The relationship that developed between the new President and 
the Secretary was undoubtedly based upon both political and 
personal considerations. Among the latter was the critically im- 
portant support that had been given Johnson by the Seward- 
Weed forces in the contest for the vice-presidential nomination. 
Probably even more endearing to the Tennessean was the fact 
that Seward and Weed had refrained from joining in the criti- 
cism after the humiliating episode of his drunken inaugural ad- 
dress. In fact, the Vice President's critics had also aimed their 
barbs against Seward and Weed as the culprit's sponsors. Lewis D. 
Campbell, a personal friend and political adviser, could assure the 
new President that "Seward had been his devoted friend through 
good report and through evil report." 54 Johnson was not a man 
to forget such loyalty, particularly when it coincided with politi- 
cal expediency. And to have dumped Seward overboard would 
most certainly have been inexpedient. For one thing, it would 
have freed Seward and his friends to make an open bid for the 
Presidency in 1868. For another, had the President repudiated the 
Secretary of State, he would have antagonized the whole Whig 
wing of the Republican party and many others beside. Seward 
was, and remained, Johnson's most important link with the party 
that had elected him; so long as the President had Seward's sup- 
port he could brush off accusations of "Tylerizing" the party. 


Had Seward ever repudiated Johnson, the political consequences 
^ould have been momentous. 

During the early months of the new Administration, the Secre- 
tary was weighted down by his physical injuries, by anxiety for 
his son's life, and by grief at the loss of his beloved wife; but his 
influence on affairs of state was not long absent. Less than three 
weeks after Lincoln's funeral the President and Cabinet met with 
Seward at his home, and ten days later the Secretary was at his 
office. 55 Neither did he lose touch with local politics. Thurlow 
Weed was writing Seward of patronage problems by May 1 1, and 
soon thereafter was conferring with his chief in Washington. 56 
Although far from being the sole architect of Administration 
policy, as was sometimes charged, or the unchallenged dispenser 
of Administration patronage, Seward had undoubted influence 
with President Johnson throughout his term of office. Gideon 
Welles, no friend of Seward, bore witness to this by the com- 
plaints and criticisms he entrusted to his diary, and by his later 
references to the close relationship between the President and the 
Secretary of State. 57 

Despite the Secretary's characteristic silence as to political ob- 
jectives, there is no reason to doubt that the Seward- Weed forces 
continued to seek leadership in a broadly based Conservative 
movement. The new coalition would center about a generous 
policy toward the South and support for President Johnson. The 
New York Times, their recognized organ (Raymond told Weed 
to " 'go in and have things as you like' ") 58 left a friendly door 
open to the Democrats. The Democratic party, it argued gently 
in May, 1865, could not survive public remembrance of its 1864 
platform; it would go the way of the old Federalist party. Indi- 
vidual Democrats should recognize this "and prepare themselves 
for some other political organization, the better for their own 
credit and for the good of the country." 59 The paper hailed a 
giant public meeting for endorsement of the President held at 
Cooper Institute in June as an indication that public opinion was 
overriding all divisions of party and "rallies to the support of 
ANDREW JOHNSON." 60 The resolutions presented and endorsed at 
the rally included a sharp attack upon the perpetuation of parties, 

2, The Conservative Offensive 47 

now that the principles and issues that had formerly divided 
them were "substantially settled and decided." Parties without 
principles were decried as mere mediums for corruption and 
intrigue, "wholly pernicious in their influences and effects." 61 
Surveying the political scene in May, 1865, the New York Herald 
saw the "New York Seward clique" as systematically at work to 
obtain the inside track of a new organization of parties. 62 In June 
it confidently foresaw a union of "the war democracy, the 
Richmond Regency, the Seward-Weed faction and the inde- 
pendent portion of the free soil democratic element" in a party 
to support President Johnson's administration, and confidently 
predicted that the organization would be "irresistible." 63 In July, 
its Albany correspondent reported that the state Democracy was 
moving to "back up Seward and Weed with a power that prom- 
ises impregnable strength to them and permanent ruin to the 
radical interest." Weed and Seward were maneuvering to "place 
the abolition radicals in a situation which must result for them in 
a far more miserable fiasco than their Fremont failure in opposi- 
tion to Lincoli^" 64 

Weed and Seward were quietly building wide contacts and 
friendly support in the South, especially among former Whigs. 
Indeed, their vision of the new Conservative party may have been 
very much like the one that Woodward has shown to have guided 
the conciliators in the compromise of 1877 in bringing together 
Southern Democrats (mostly former Whigs) and Hayes 1 Republi- 
cans. 65 Southerners wrote to the Secretary of State to give first- 
hand accounts of political and social conditions, to ask help in 
untangling personal postwar problems, to seek his influence in 
gaining office, and to obtain interviews for fellow Southerners. 
To these overtures Seward replied graciously and helpfully. 66 

Weed was alert to the sensitivities of Southerners. When he 
read reports of the handcuffing of Jefferson Davis at Fortress 
Monroe, he dashed off letters to Seward and to Secretary of War 
Stanton, beseeching the latter to take action. "It is impossible that 
such a dreadful blunder can have been committed." 67 Seward 
promptly replied that he had spoken to Stanton. 68 By September, 
Weed was writing to ask whether Stephens of Georgia could not 


be pardoned. "Loyal Georgians say that he is disposed and can do 
good and the public judgment is against his longer imprison- 
ment." 69 He was also raising money for a Virginia newspaper, the 
Richmond Republic. 70 The New York Times maintained a 
friendly and sympathetic attitude toward the South. By June it 
was counseling patience, pointing out that Southerners had been 
sincere in their attitudes that led to rebellion and that it would 
be unwise to break their spirit or crush their self-respect. 71 

The position of influence that Seward and Weed enjoyed, how- 
ever, was not unchallenged. In their letters one senses a nervous 
uncertainty lest political opponents gain ascendancy with the 
President. Writing in August to James W. Webb, an intimate 
friend and old political associate, who apparently was seeking a 
change in diplomatic post, Seward explained that his own illness 
together with that of the President had led to delays and even 
to lack of communication on such matters. More importantly, he 
feared that this condition would continue. "There is a preference 
for new men from new states and political operations which you 
will be able to imagine although I err in writing at all about 
them. ... I have endeavored to abstain from writing anything 
that would embarrass me if it should become known yet I fear 
that I have written too much." 72 And some weeks later in an un- 
usual burst of anger precipitated by a letter from Webb that 
Seward had returned to Webb's son, the Secretary wrote: 

If you knew what has occurred here how it has affected the gov- 
ernment and how it has affected myself physically mentally morally 
only half as well as you assume to do you would not think that 
anyone much less you have a right to reprove or upbraid me. 

He added that despite all Webb's unwise effort, he would not be 
drawn into writing about matters unsuitable to a public record. 73 
About the same time, Seward's New York supporters were 
worried lest Abram Wakeman, Seward's friend and political ally, 
be removed as surveyor of the port of New York, the most im- 
portant patronage post then held by the Seward- Weed forces. 
Rumors reached the press that Wakeman was soon to be replaced 
by a War Democrat. 74 Seward forwarded to the President a letter 

2. The Conservative Offensive 49 

which made clear both Wakeman's loyalty to Johnson and that 
his removal would inflict a personal wound upon the Secretary. 75 
Wakeman remained as surveyor of the port, but Seward's action 
suggests that his friends' apprehensions were not without cause. 
Letters from Secretary of Treasury McCulloch confirm the fact 
that a new appointment to the office was under consideration. 76 
Whether or not alarm was justified in respect to Wakeman, there 
is no question but that political opponents of the Secretary were 
wooing the President and had his confidence. 




more dangerous and persistent challenge to Seward's leadership 
than the often noted but short-lived encouragement it gave to 
Radical leaders. Loyal Democrats, shocked by the assassination, 
reacted first from impulse, then with calculation, by a tender of 
support to his successor. The day after Lincoln's death, S. L. M. 
Barlow, the World's influential part-owner, was writing in private 
that "for myself I feel that there can no longer be an opposition to 
the Government The very existence of the Country seems to 
be at stake." 1 Within a week, Barlow was intriguing to obtain a 
reconstruction of the President's Cabinet that would "secure the 
united support of the whole democracy North & South." His 
counsel, meant for the President's eye, was sweetened by the 
prediction that "with ordinary prudence, Mr. Johnson, if he is 

ambitious of public * may build up a party that will be 

irresistible in i868." 2 By June, Barlow was writing in confidence, 
"We cannot now expect an abandonment of the Republican 
party, its organization or its principal men all this will follow in 

* Illegible word. 

3. The Blairs and the Democracy 51 

good time." 3 Seward and Stanton were the "principal men" 
marked for "abandonment." 

Johnson's succession to the Presidency had fired Democrats 
with a vision of political rejuvenation and predominance. One of 
their own, an old Democrat never turned Republican, was now 
President. He was publicly stating that his future course of action 
would be determined "by those principles which governed me 
heretofore"; he was emphasizing the integrity of the states and 
giving assurance of his opposition to centralization of power. 4 
President Johnson's proclamation of amnesty and his order for the 
re-establishment of state government in North Carolina, both 
dated May 29, 1865, indicated a conciliatory policy toward the 
South that Democrats North and South might conscientiously and 
advantageously support. Some of the Democratic hopefuls were 
men who formed part of the amalgam that was the Republican 
party, some were War Democrats who had acted with the Union 
party in 1864 in both these groups there existed explosive re- 
sentment against old- Whig influence; others still carried the party 
label of the Democracy. These rival claimants for Presidential 
preference, it should be noted, were overwhelmingly of Con- 
servative rather than Radical bent. The danger was that the antic- 
ipated great Conservative party of the future would be a thinly 
disguised resurrection of the Democracy. 

In the first months of his administration, Johnson received a 
stream of letters from Democrats, showering praise and pledging 
support. Within a week, a committee of New York War Demo- 
crats were writing to ask greater recognition in appointments and 
party machinery, and to express their confidence that under 
Johnson's leadership "a regenerated liberty-loving and redeemed 
Democracy, with you as their chosen chieftain, will control the 
destinies of the Republic for years to come." 5 A few days later 
George Bancroft, historian and prominent Democrat, sent word 
that the new President's speeches were winning friends every- 
where "I hope we may rally to your side the best part of the old 
democracy." 6 A War Democrat of Philadelphia, writing on be- 
half of a number of associates, appealed to Johnson for their 
political protection. They did not want to lose their identity and 


be subject to the discipline of the old Whig and Republican lead- 
ers, nor did they want to be driven to acting with their old party 
that had been "polluted by lawless sympathy with traitors." 7 A 
Harrisburg politician, a delegate to the approaching state Demo- 
cratic convention, wrote of plans to commit the "Great Con- 
servative Democratic party of Pennsylvania" to Johnson's ad- 
ministration. 8 John Hogan, Missouri Democratic member-elect to 
Congress, pledged support in the next Congress and reported that 
"in all this region the old Democratic masses hope much from 
your position, and whether old party names are maintained or not 
I think they will rally to your standard." 9 George W. Morgan, 
prominent Democratic leader of Ohio, reported that in the next 
Congress the President would "find your firmest supporters in 
the democratic party, provided your policy of 'restoration' be 
continued. A strong conservative element is growing up in the 
republican ranks, which must soon place the democracy again 
in the ascendant." 10 Republican Senator James Dixon of Con- 
necticut reported that Johnson was receiving warm support 
among Democrats, and that an "era of good feeling" seemed at 
hand. 11 The old and honored Jacksonian, Duff Green, sent 
counsel and a reminder that he was a good friend, ever ready to 
serve Johnson. 12 

A number of important New York Democrats visited the new 
President or sent friendly letters. Davis S. Seymour, lawyer of 
Troy, talked with Johnson in May and then returned home to 
work for an endorsement of the President by the Democratic 
party at its September state convention. 13 An interview with the 
President in July by John Cochrane gave rise to newspaper 
speculation that the Democracy was to be brought to support the 
Administration through the intercession of leaders of the War 
Democrats. 14 Daniel S. Dickinson, prominent War Democrat who 
had received appointment as U.S. District Attorney from Lincoln 
shortly before his death, wrote at length of New York politics, 
the reorganization of parties, and of Johnson's political future. 15 
He sent a letter from the former editor of the Albany Argus, 
Edwin Croswell; 16 the Argus was the leading upstate Democratic 
paper. One of the New York Democrats who had voted in the 

3. The Blairs and the Democracy 53 

House for the Thirteenth Amendment, John Steele of Kingston, 
wrote Johnson on his return from a visit to Washington to thank 
the President for a reappointment of a local postmaster, made at 
Steele's request. He pledged his personal support and his influ- 
ence with leading men of the party. As for the officeholders in his 
congressional district, presumably Republicans, Steele promised 
that he would make no effort "to have any one of them removed 
so long as they discharge the duties of their office faithfully and 
are true to their President and his administration and Policy." 17 

Steele's letter suggests both the friendliness of Johnson's re- 
sponse to Democratic overtures and his desire not to antagonize 
Republicans* The new President was in an enviable and unprec- 
edented position of power. From all directions came the expecta- 
tion of party reorganization, with a powerful new coalition find- 
ing its center and leadership in Johnson himself. To be certain, 
this power position was not consolidated in the summer of 1865; 
Johnson did not yet have the official party endorsement of the 
Northern Democracy for this he would be expected to give 
hostage for future actions. Moreover, so experienced a political 
figure as the Tennessean must have realized that party reorganiza- 
tion, even under the most favorable conditions, would be a deli- 
cate operation. None the less, with support from both Democratic 
and Republican politicos, and overwhelming public approval, 
Johnson seemed the master of his own and the nation's political 
future. That he would share the power and future destiny more 
largely with his Democratic supporters than with his Republican 
adherents was the hope of moderate Democrats, the fear of Re- 
publican Conservatives. To use the Herald's phrase, there were 
"so many irons in this fire, that some of them must get spoiled 
by too much heat." 18 

Of Seward's rivals for Presidential support, the Blairs presented 
the greatest immediate danger. Prominent in the Democratic wing 
of the Republican party, the family maintained important con- 
tact with the opposition Democracy. Indeed, prior to the election 
of 1864, Montgomery Blair had attempted, through his friend 
Barlow, to keep General McClellan out of the political opposition 
and to obtain the support of regular Democrats for Lincoln as 


head of a Union party. 19 Like Seward, Blair looked to a reorgani- 
zation of parties. 20 Also, in striking parallel to Seward's action, he 
had urged upon his Democratic friends support of the Thirteenth 
Amendment as a way of putting an end to the slavery contro- 
versy and of opening an avenue to a magnanimous settlement with 
the South. This would, according to Montgomery, "slaughter the 
malignants of the confiscating disfranchising party," strand "the 
whole abolition crew," "utterly demolish the indignants [so] that 
all fears of bad usage will disappear at the South," and together 
with the "destruction of the radicals" bring a reconstruction of 
parties. 21 The Blairs were in an even better position than was the 
Secretary of State to solicit future political support from the 
South. "No man on earth is more thoroughly a southern man than 
I am," Montgomery had written, "my kindred all dwell there and 
they are a most numerous and most clannish family of the South 
I am studying their real interests in all I do I want to save their 
lives. ... I want to prevent the confiscation of their vast real 
property & secure to them that most inestimable right the right 
to share in the Govt of this great republic." 22 

After the passage of the Amendment, Montgomery sought to 
draw a political dividing line between the "ultra-abolitionists," on 
the one hand, and the South with its Northern friends, on the 
other. In the latter category, he would include both Lincoln and 
the Northern Democracy. The issue, as he saw it, was to be 
"Negro Equality" in Reconstruction. 23 Barlow, to whom Blair had 
appealed for support, was still unreconciled to abolition by Fed- 
eral action. He wrote Montgomery that a union of the "Con- 
servative elements of both parties" could be had only if President 
Lincoln would ignore slavery and be prepared to restore the 
Union without its destruction. 24 In that event, it would be pos- 
sible to build up a great national party in opposition to the 
Radicals that would draw "many adherents in the present Repub- 
lican party" and "control the entire South, so far as it is ever 
brought back to us," 25 Neither Lincoln nor Blair, however, was 
prepared to compromise on the extinction of slavery by consti- 
tutional amendment. 
With Lincoln's death, the Blairs quickly embraced the concept 

3. The Blairs and the Democracy 55 

of a Johnson party one that would accept the new President as 
its head but be under the firm control of former and present 
Democrats. The family had won a place of personal esteem and 
influence with Johnson after his unhappy inaugural as Vice 
President. Together with his, and their, good friend Preston King, 
former senator from New York, the Vice President had been 
whisked off to the Blairs's home at Silver Spring for refuge and 
recovery. Soon after Johnson's succession to the Presidency, the 
press and contemporary politicos were agreed in recognizing the 
influence with the new President of this powerful, ambitious, and 
arrogant family- Early in May, the Herald commented that "the 
Blair family are looking up again in the world; that they have 
'great expectations' Old Blair and all the Blairs of 'Andy 
Johnson. 7 " 26 Leaders of the Northern Democracy looked to the 
Blairs to restrain Johnson's "ultra proclivities" toward severity 
against Southerners and the South. 27 These public and private 
expectations had solid foundation; the Johnson Papers bear un- 
mistakable testimony to the privileged position of the Blair family 
with the new President. 

Before Lincoln's remains were laid to rest, the Blairs were 
sending on to Johnson a pledge of support from the independent 
Philadelphia Public Ledger provided that Johnson would carry 
out the conciliatory policy of Mr. Lincoln. The Ledger's editor 
expressed the hope that the Blairs would keep the President a out 
of the hands of the radicals for if they should control him there 
will be trouble ahead." 28 His assumption that the Blairs would 
oppose the Radicals had firm foundation; the Radicals had forced 
Montgomery Blair from Lincoln's Cabinet to them, he was the 
leading Republican exponent of an intolerable attitude: namely, 
that "This is a white man's country." The antagonism was re- 
ciprocated in full measure. The Blairs wished to "smother the 
Radicals," and they stoutly maintained that the Negro could never 
be the equal of the white man socially or politically. Negroes 
were, and must remain, a caste apart; the only possibility of full 
citizenship and equality for the Negro, according to the Blairs, 
lay in his removal to some territory set apart for his exclusive 
use. 20 According to Montgomery, a war with Maximilian's Mex- 


ico, should it come, would carry the advantage of obtaining "a 
home for our negroes . . . where we can send some 100,000 black 
soldiers to take possession permanently & send their families to 
join them thus opening the way to the separation of the races & 
disposing them on the soils adapted to their special natures." 30 His 
father, of like mind, viewed "colonization & segregation as the 
means of saving the colored race." 31 

Montgomery was soon forewarding warnings to the new Presi- 
dent that Supreme Court Justice Chase, formerly the outstanding 
Radical in Lincoln's official family,* was making political hay in 
Florida and that Johnson should take steps to counter his influ- 
ence. 32 He also relayed political reports and advice from Ken- 
tucky, telling of opposition to the surrender of any state regu- 
latory power over the emancipated Negro and counseling the 
removal of martial law. 33 Old Frank Blair, through his son, cau- 
tioned the President in respect to Stanton's attitude toward Gen- 
eral Sherman. The reference was to the Secretary of War's open 
opposition to the political commitments Sherman had made in 
accepting General Johnston's capitulation. This, according to 
Blair, was creating a "bar" to the Democracy's inclination to join 
the Administration, a "stumbling block" to Johnson. The remedy 
suggested was the appointment of Frank Blair, Jr., as Secretary of 
War. 34 In August the patriarch sent Johnson a twenty-page letter 
of observations and advice ranging from race relations to the for- 
mation of a new Cabinet. He saw a new combination of parties in 
process and assured Johnson that the Democrats would support 
him. 35 

Of major political importance was Montgomery's role in inter- 
ceding for the President with Northern Democratic leaders, par- 
ticularly those of New York State. He forwarded to Johnson 
what amounted to the terms upon which they would support the 
President and at the same time urged the Northern Democracy 
to give Johnson their unqualified and immediate support. To use 
his own expression, Montgomery attempted "to bring about an 
entente cordiale between him [Johnson] and his natural sup- 
porters." 36 In this effort, S. L. M. Barlow was Blair's chief contact 
with New York's Democratic leaders. He also sought to influence 

3. The Blairs and the Democracy 57 

Dean Richmond, the Albany boss of the party, more directly 
through Representative Samuel S. Cox, key Democrat in Con- 
gress. 37 

In his shocked reaction to the news of the assassination, Barlow 
had at once written to Montgomery Blair offering to be of service 
to Johnson through the New York press. 38 Montgomery promptly 
replied that he would "make known to the new President your 
sentiments," adding that "the Democracy if they are true to their 
own principles must sustain Andrew Johnson." 39 There followed 
during the spring and summer a steady correspondence between 
the two men, supplemented by at least two visits from Mont- 
gomery, one in early May and the other in early June. 40 Barlow 
conferred with Democratic leaders and participated in confer- 
ences held to determine policy in respect to the Administration. 
These he reported in his letters to Montgomery. Until late July, 
the regular Democrats, though interested, drew back before any 
action that might be considered a definite commitment. 

The major issue of principle that made them hesitate was the 
Administration's continued use of arbitrary arrests, military 
courts, and the suspension of habeas corpus. They insisted upon 
"a return to laws and constitutions" and an end to "the meddling 
impertinence of Provost Marshals." 41 The military trial, convic- 
tion, and hanging of Booth's associates in June and early July 
deeply troubled Barlow and his friends. They made no case for 
those convicted, but believed the method used unconstitutional 
and the precedent set a dangerous one. The most consistently 
principled opposition of which we have evidence in the Barlow 
correspondence came from his intimate friend Judge William D. 
Shipman of Connecticut. Shipman's criticism of military courts 
was scathing. Unlike more charitable or more politic Democrats, 
he was unwilling to absolve the President from major respon- 
sibility and to strike only at Stanton and Holt. "I am afraid that J. 
loves to play the tyrant. If this is his game, I prefer a radical in 
his place, provided only the radical is sound on personal liberty." 42 
As late as mid-August, Judge Shipman believed that Johnson was 
"either destitute of principle or he is a weak instrument wielded 
by unscrupulous hands." If the Radicals would publicly avow 


support for personal liberty and the supremacy of civil over mili- 
tary power, he was ready to work with them, "even to the sup- 
port of their negro suffrage scheme." He saw Johnson as building 
political power "to secure a second lease of office" by courting 
Southern support in opposing Negro suffrage and Northern Re- 
publican approbation by using military courts and military com- 
manders in the South. 43 

Montgomery sent vague reassurances: Johnson was being "stiff 
on the punishment of traitors" only "for the present" as a pre- 
liminary to a break with the Radicals; after a conference with 
the President, he wrote that there was "a growing feeling against 
Military Tribunals." He emphasized those aspects of Administra- 
tion policy pleasing to Democratic ears. In private conversation 
Johnson had committed himself against interference with suffrage 
in the South, "further than to exclude traitors from voting"; he 
had accepted "the Democratic principle in the fundamental ques- 
tion of Reconstruction." 44 This meant the restoration of the 
Southern states to their old places in Congress and constituted 
"the transcendant interest of the Democratic party . . . without 
that Representation we shall not have a responsible Executive 
Govt With it we shall have a faithful Execution of the law & 
the constitution." 45 

Gradually Barlow's doubts and indignation over the Admin- 
istration's use of military power subsided; these activities became 
mere "pricks," against which it was "useless to kick ... no 
matter how much we may dislike the action of the Pres't or of 
Holt & Stanton." 46 Judge Shipman clung to his apprehensions 
somewhat longer. The President's words might be satisfactory 
but "words amount to nothing unless verified by deeds," and 
Johnson's "official acts are purely revolutionary." 47 Even in early 
September, Shipman remained skeptical. To him the political situ- 
ation looked dubious, and only one thing seemed certain, "and 
that is, somebody is to be sold Who, & at what price I am not 
able to guess." 48 Even the good Judge, however, shortly weakened 
in his opposition and succumbed to the assurances of words. He 
was encouraged by Johnson's friendly response to a delegation of 
Southerners on September n. The President had assured them 

3. The Blairs and the Democracy 59 

that he was "of the Southern people, and I love them and will do 
all in my power to restore them." 49 Meantime, Shipman had 
digested a long incisive letter from Barlow arguing for the strat- 
egy of Democratic support of the President and affirming his per- 
sonal belief in Johnson's promises. The Judge had also heard the 
news that the New York Democracy, in convention assembled, 
had strongly endorsed the President. 

In their negotiations with Johnson prior to endorsement, Dem- 
ocratic leaders had not been concerned with principle alone. From 
the beginning they were insistent that Seward and Stanton compro- 
mised the President in the eyes of the party and that both should 
be eliminated from the Cabinet. Their presence in the Administra- 
tion was interpreted as support for a policy based upon military 
authority, but national policy was not the only issue. The De- 
mocracy were prepared to support a political reorganization that 
would "bring them a large portion of the moderate men" from 
the Union-Republican camp, but only if they could "be entirely 
freed from the worst part of the Republican party, viz: their 
leaders here." To negotiation and argument they added a not too 
subtle threat. If Johnson sought such allies as Seward, Weed, and 
Raymond, he would be "overwhelmed." 50 In a letter that the 
Blairs laid before the President, Barlow warned: "If the demo- 
cratic party, which combined with that of the South will be 
overwhelming, in its strength, ceases to be an administration 
party, the President alone will be the cause." 51 

With a sharp eye for the fulcrum of political power, Boss 
Richmond refused to make any commitment to the Administra- 
tion so long as Johnson was uncommitted on "the main question 
of the Seward control." In his view the Democracy held the ace 
card: Johnson could not hope "to retain the support of the late 
Republican party, as a unit"; he would "be forced to ask the aid 
of the Democracy." 52 Richmond and a number of his political 
associates intended to give that aid upon their own terms. Appar- 
ently they would consider abandoning the old Democratic party 
and supporting Johnson as presidential candidate in 1868, but only 
if these maneuvers were guaranteed to bring them the substance 
of political power. 


Montgomery Blair's reassurances were not limited to matters of 
principle but included as well the hard realities of political power 
and patronage. If the Democratic leaders would support the 
President, they "should soon have not only a Democratic policy 
but democratic politicians to execute it." 53 In a subsequent letter 
he stated categorically, "I know that Johnson will give them [the 
progressive territorial Democracy] the Govt if they will take 
it." 54 Montgomery made use of the gentle threat. Dean Rich- 
mond was merely playing into Weed's hand. It was unwise for 
Democrats to postpone support of Johnson simply because "for 
the time the President deems it expedient to keep them about 
him." Only as "the Democratic party rallies to Johnson & he can 
dispense with the support of the Radicals just in that degree he 
will dispense with them in office." The President could not be 
driven; he would take his own course and come out right in the 
end. Johnson was certain to carry with him a large part of the 
Democratic party; and if their leaders hesitated now and waited 
until he had turned out his Cabinet, "there may be mischief 
done." 55 New York's Democratic leaders, however, could not be 
convinced by assurances and arguments from the Blairs alone. As 
secessionists from the old Democracy, and a family strong in its 
own ambitions, the Blairs were undoubtedly viewed with some 

Suddenly, on July 24, Barlow capitulated. He sent word to 
Montgomery "that the whole party is today a Johnson party: that 
the South just as rapidly as his reconstruction plans are carried 
out, will be a Johnson party." His Democratic friends were even 
willing to put up with the present Cabinet so long as Mr. John- 
son's general Reconstruction policy remained sound. The World's 
owner anticipated surprise "at so great a change in my views." 
He attributed his conversion to "Dick" Taylor, Major General in 
the Confederate army, son of Zachary Taylor and brother-in-law 
of Jefferson Davis. Taylor had been in New York and was on 
his way to Washington to see the President. Barlow described 
him as a statesman farseeing, able, a Union man, "and more 
than all ... a Johnson man. He says the Southern people are 
universally pleased with the Johnson course. . . . He says Mr. 

3. The Blairs and the Democracy 61 

Johnson must be supported, at the North, no matter what he may 
do, that we think wrong, or injudicious; as otherwise he will 
never get right, and . . . that it must be earnest and active and 
unqualified [support] from the outset." Barlow ended his letter 
with the hopeful prediction that the Seward-Weed forces would 
be well whipped in the coming Republican state convention. He 
added plaintively that this could not be certain "so long as Weed 
claims, with seeming truth, to be the immediate representative of 
the controlling power in the cabinet." 56 Barlow's hostility to 
Weed was still bitter and uncompromising. He confided to Mont- 
gomery, who thought the confidence intended for the President, 
that Weed had been willing to trade with the Democracy for a 
month after Lincoln and Johnson's nomination, then backed down 
after the adoption of the Chicago peace platform. "Then, we lost 
him and shall never find him again, with our consent." 57 

The capitulation of the New York Democracy was neither so 
abrupt nor so unconditional as Barlow's letter seemed to attest. 
News reports of mid- July indicated that leaders of the party 
were hesitant to act and wished reassurances. 58 Barlow's paper, 
the World, continued to qualify its confidence in the President. 
In late July it asserted that Democratic principles under the 
Democracy's banner would triumph "either with him [Johnson] 
or over him." 59 A few days later an editorial sharply criticized 
the Administration for nullifying the results of the city elections 
in Richmond, Virginia, and for continuing "this wretched bus- 
iness of administering local affairs of the South by the federal 
government." 60 A week later the World predicted that the state 
Democracy in its coming convention would endorse the Presi- 
dent, but "no farther than he agrees with them"; whether they 
would continue to support him after the restoration of the 
Southern states was left to the future. 61 

In this politically uncertain atmosphere, Thomas G. Pratt, 
former Democratic governor of Maryland and wartime supporter 
of the Confederacy, supplemented the efforts of Montgomery 
Blair and General Taylor as intermediary. In mid- August, Pratt 
had "a very satisfactory talk" with the President and sent a full 
report to Barlow, a fact of which he duly informed the President. 


The interview as reported by Pratt was most certainly "satis- 
factory"; indeed, it was quite extraordinary. The President had 
declared that he would "go for the admission of the Southern 
States, they to decide for themselves in regard to negroe [sic] 
suffrage He will restore the Habeas Corpus to ea state having 
an organized Govt & consequently abolish the military trials 
arrests." When Pratt pressed for the removal of Seward and 
Stanton, Johnson u said that this shld be done' In answer to 
Pratt's complaint that "Thousands of persons had taken the oath 
of allegiance under his proclamation who were still treated as 
Rebels & that this tended to keep up excitement," the President 
"said that all persons who had taken this oath, shld. be considered 
loyal unless by subsequent conduct their disloyalty was evinced." 
Pratt "told him that however far he might go with the Radicals, 
that there was no chance of his getting their support. He [John- 
son] said he was fully aware of it, & that he would get rid of them 
as fast as he could." In addition to all this, the President indicated 
that a public and official announcement of principles would 
be shortly forthcoming. 62 

Barlow was delighted with Governor Pratt's report. If the 
President "adopts the course proposed he can without difficulty 
secure the constant, earnest and effective support of the Demo- 
cratic party, North and South." Still, he hedged, "By any other 
policy he will find himself without a party, in three months." The 
New York state Democratic convention was fast approaching, 
and Barlow thought it imperative to "make our people believe 
what you believe"; in that case, "there would be no trouble in 
securing an endorsement of the President." He had urged Rich- 
mond to see the President for confirmation, but the Albany boss 
had insisted that Barlow and Tilden make the visit and report to 
him. "If the Prest will remodel his cabinet, conform generally to 
our ideas of policy and they are his, as well as ours, I will do all 
in my power to support him as I know the whole party will." 63 

Pratt asked permission to place Barlow's letter before the 
President, a request to which Barlow consented in a letter meant 
for the President's eye. "So far as I am concerned," he wrote, "and 
I have no doubt with Richmond also, your statement of the posi- 

3. The Blairs and the Democracy 63 

tion of matters, which you ascertain directly from the President, 
in person, will be entirely satisfactory and conclusive." He con- 
tinued, "So far as I know, and I do not speak without reasonable 
knowledge, the United Northern Democracy will cheerfully sup- 
port Mr. Johnson, and this too, without attempting to control 
him, even by a suggestion, as to offices, in his cabinet or else- 
where. . . . The most that anyone would think of doing would 
be to suggest those who should not be appointed." Barlow 
warned Pratt to use the utmost discretion: "you will understand 
that the fact that there has been any correspondence on this sub- 
ject, in which Mr. Richmond's name is mentioned, should not be 
made known to anyone but the Pres't or some other equally 
discreet person." 64 Governor Pratt sent both of Barlow's letters 
on to the President. "I believe they will do good," he wrote, "but 
I still hope you will see him, & get from him the reiteration of the 
views he expressed to me." 65 

What the Northern Democracy desired of the President in 
return for its official endorsement had been spelled out at great 
length by Jeremiah Black, prominent Pennsylvanian who had 
served in Buchanan's Cabinet as Attorney General and Secretary 
of State. Black had been informed by the former chairman of the 
National Central Committee of the Democratic party, after a 
"long and satisfactory interview," that the President was out- 
spoken on the subject of states' rights and "old fashioned de- 
mocracy." The Democratic politico had hopes of Johnson's re- 
turn to "the true fold" and had urged Black to visit or at least 
write the President. 66 In a July letter to Montgomery Blair, which 
his father took to the White House, Black bluntly stated that the 
Democracy of Pennsylvania wanted to make up "a perfect recon- 
ciliation" with President Johnson, provided he would adopt 
measures they could "conscientiously" approve. In that case they 
would sustain him against the opposition he would provoke 
among "the Abolitionists." 

The desired assurances were explicitly stated and numbered as 
seven "fundamental points of our faith." The President should 
hold to the following positions: that the states had not gone, and 
could not go, out of the Union; that the states stood where they 


had stood before their individual members engaged in rebellion- 
that the South must be governed by the Constitution and laws, not 
military force; that there must be trial by jury, habeas corpus, 
free press, and free speech; that no act of Congress or the Execu- 
tive could determine suffrage within a state; that the army be re- 
duced to protect the country from insolvency and the South 
from Negro domination; and finally, the recognition that "this 
is a government framed by the white race for themselves . . . and 
we will not agree to hand it over to the negroes." Black added 
that he did not believe the President could be "bullied by the 
Abolitionists into measures opposite to those which his past 
records show him to be sincerely attached to ... but it becomes 
more and more important everyday that we should know it." The 
Democratic state convention was fast approaching, and Johnson 
was "more interested than we are. He can not be indifferent to 
the opinion of such a state as this We are I firmly believe in a 
clear majority." 67 Johnson's response is not known; there is evi- 
dence, however, that Black saw the President in the company of 
Montgomery Blair and that Johnson assured them that he would 
not abandon the Reconstruction policy he had initiated. 68 The 
Pennsylvania Democratic state convention in August did give the 
President approval and support, but qualified their endorsement. 
It was conditioned upon "the belief that he will execute the 
law ... in all parts of the country . . . not allow the military to 
interfere in state elections . . . suffer no person to be murdered 
by military commission." Montgomery Blair complained to Black 
that "too many qualifications" were made. 6 * 

The leaders of the New York Democracy were more tactful, 
and their terms were less exacting and explicit. Johnson gave 
them assurances, though the records do not indicate the extent of 
his commitment. The understanding between the President and 
state leaders initiated by Blair, Taylor, and Pratt, and promoted 
by Barlow's and Johnson's friend Russell Houston of Kentucky, 
was confirmed personally by Samuel J. Tilden. A few days before 
the Democratic state convention, at Barlow's request and as the 
representative of the New York Democracy, Tilden went to 
Washington to see the President Richmond and Barlow did not 

5. The Blairs and the Democracy 65 

accompany him because they felt that their visit would be 
widely commented upon and might embarrass the President. 10 
These astute politicians recognized that the Union-Republican 
President would hazard his prestige and influence among Re- 
publican voters if he openly negotiated with the opposition. How- 
ever, Barlow assured Tilden that the President "expects to see 
you," made arrangements to insure Tilden an early reception, 
and furnished him with a letter to be read to the President. On 
one subject only, Barlow indicated, was it necessary "to be en- 
tirely free from ambiguity," namely, "freedom from military 
power," North and South. 71 There is no record of the Tilden 
interview, but we know from Barlow's references to it in his per- 
sonal letters that the meeting lasted for two hours and that the 
"Prest promises all that we could ask," especially on the subject 
of military power. 72 Tilden "returned satisfied," and the result of 
his report was the formulation of resolutions, duly passed by the 
convention, strongly supporting the President, The substance of 
the resolutions as they were finally passed was drawn in the 
World office, a fact Barlow took care to make known to the 
President and his intimates. They were then put into final shape 
in Albany by Manton Marble, the World's editor, Tilden, and 
Cassidy of the Argus. 73 

Though negotiations were kept secret, rumors reached the 
press. Shortly before the opening of the state convention, but 
prior to Tilden's trip to Washington, the Albany correspondent 
of the Democratic Sunday Mercury sent word of a report circu- 
lating among politicians that the President had given assurances to 
several very prominent Democrats that he would, as soon as 
possible, restore to the Southern states their constitutional rights, 
remove the Federal troops, and rid his Cabinet of Seward and 
Stanton. "If half of what we hear is true," the reporter com- 
mented, "certain Democratic leaders occupy relations with the 
President entirely too intimate to suit the party that elected him." 
He looked for a hearty endorsement of the President despite the 
hostility of ex-governor Horatio Seymour and his friends, for 
Dean Richmond was firmly in control of the party machinery. 74 
The New York Democratic convention did, indeed, give the 


President "a hearty endorsement," unblemished by any of the 
qualifications embodied in the Pennsylvania party platform. 

This development, added to the evidence in the private papers 
of Johnson, Tilden, and Barlow, leaves no doubt that the Presi- 
dent was actively and deliberately negotiating with the Northern 
Democracy. His commitments to them, his interest in their sup- 
port, and their pressure to realize the principles that were "his, as 
well as ours" would affect the President's policy toward the 
South. They would also influence his attitude toward the Radi- 
cals: from a party that had reluctantly accepted the Thirteenth 
Amendment came no counsels of forbearance or concession 
toward those who had championed emancipation and were vitally 
concerned with the freedman's future status as a free man. Quite 
the contrary. Barlow had explained to the doubting Judge Ship- 
man that opposition to Johnson on the part of the Democratic 
organization would only "compel him so to change his present 
plans as to secure unanimity on the part of the Radicals." 75 

In backing Johnson, the New York Democratic leaders believed 
that they had much to gain and nothing to lose. They were in no 
degree overlooking the "absolute necessity of taking good care of 
our own rights." This could best be done by getting the Southern 
representatives back in Congress, then "*we not the Pres't., will 
have an absolute majority in both branches of Congress, and he 
will then be under the control of our organization, or powerless 
outside of it." If the President did not keep his promises, "in six 
months we shall have the whip hand." 76 

The anti-Seward animus of the Blairs and their New York 
Democratic friends tremendously complicated the political scene. 
They were determined to destroy Seward's influence and sooner 
or later force him from the Cabinet. Montgomery used every 
conceivable means of undermining the Secretary, overlooking no 
opportunity to set the President against him. For example, in 
transmitting one of Barlow's letters, he had commented invidi- 
ously^ "I have no apprehensions that either Seward or Stanton or 
anybody else would rule you, and in time I am sure others will see 
has Ida"" 

When private persuasion failed, Montgomery made public 

3. The Blairs and the Democracy 67 

attacks upon the Secretary of State hoping to arouse enough 
public pressure to force him out of office, Montgomery openly 
accused Seward of responsibility for the Civil War by paralyzing 
action and deceiving the President in pre-Sumter days. In his 
handling of the Mexican situation, the Secretary of State was de- 
nounced as subordinating American interests to Napoleon's 
policy, of "treachery to the Monroe Doctrine," Blair insinuated 
that Seward's motive was an unprincipled desire to foster personal 
political fortunes by posing as the champion of peace and thereby 
gain the support of bondholders, who "prefer to run up their 
stock by submission to France rather than . . . preserve the free 
institutions of their country ... by patriotic sacrifices," 78 He 
asked Barlow to get his diatribe published in the Herald and in the 
Tribune and to enlist the support of the New York Democracy 
in making an issue of the Monroe Doctrine. In doing all this, 
Montgomery assured Barlow, he knew that he was not hurting 
Johnson's feelings. 79 Although arguing that a bold policy would 
prevent bloodshed, he was quite ready to hazard outright war 
over Mexico. Montgomery's stand was in keeping with his father's 
attempt the previous January to bring peace between North and 
South by proposing to Jefferson Davis a united offensive against 
the French in Mexico. 

Montgomery's performance was both a bid for support of the 
Blair family as champions of the Monroe Doctrine and a vicious, 
demagogic attack upon the Secretary of State. Seward's friends 
were outraged. 80 The Secretary himself took the view that "the 
Blair thing" was not worth an official or authorized answer. 81 
However, even before Montgomery's public blast, Seward was 
weE aware that the Blairs were trying to make a political plat- 
form of "decided and minatory action toward France." 82 It is 
more reasonable to interpret Seward's official silence as political 
strategy rather than as complacent security; the Blairs were dan- 
gerous enemies. And just ahead loomed a major test of strength, 
the New York state election of 1865. 





lesser state offices, much was at stake. Seward and Weed faced 
bitter battle with the Blair-Democratic alliance, one in which 
defeat would jeopardize Seward's influence not only in the state 
but in the nation's counsels as well. Even more momentous con- 
sequences rested upon the outcome, perhaps the very course of 
national action in respect to the South. "Everything depends on 
yr vote this fall," wrote Montgomery Blair to Barlow. "If it is 
carried by the Democrats I think there will be no contest about 
the admission of the South to seats in the Houses of Congress. If 
not we may have a most serious struggle between the Executive 
& Congress.*' 1 Barlow himself predicted that "upon our success 
here, the success of the Prest. policy will in great degree turn." 2 
The fall campaign was preceded by startling developments on 
the New York patronage front. In mid- August Simeon Draper, 
the collector of the customs, was replaced by Preston King, John- 
son's personal friend and confidant, a Republican of Democratic 
antecedents and a man possessed of an unusual faculty "for con- 
centrating, combining and organizing men in party measures and 
action." 3 There was a long-standing friendship between King and 


4. The New York Battle 69 

the Blairs; Weed, on the other hand, had deserted him in 1863, 
when, with Greeley's support, Kong had sought renomitiation as 
senator. The World saw King's appointment as an attempt to 
harmonize Republican factions and conciliate the Democrats. 
This was all very well as a temporary arrangement, but the 
World warned the President that "any such no-party namby- 
pambyism" would not do as a permanent policy, that the hostile 
elements were irreconcilable. 4 

A few days later the Democrat Moses F. Odell, one of the New 
Yorkers who had voted for the Thirteenth Amendment, was 
appointed naval officer. 5 Politicians considered Odell "a strong 
democratic politician," who would "make his appointments from 
that side." 6 The Herald hailed these changes as an indication of 
the President's determination to make a clean sweep of "Chase, 
Jacobin and disunion radical agitators," and the news columns of 
the World agreed that the Radicals were to be "decapitated." 7 
At first, the Herald interpreted the moves as making possible a 
revival of the Democracy "which will control its [New York's] 
action for half a century." 8 Soon, however, it recognized that 
there was no certainty as to which political faction would benefit 
from the patronage changes, that the President's intent was to 
build a new "Andy Johnson Party," and that in feeding this new 
amalgam by "serving out the Custom House soup" Thurlow 
Weed stood at Preston King's elbow. 9 

Though Simeon Draper had been a close associate of Weed and 
Seward, his removal from the all-important collector's post was 
not unwelcome to them; indeed, it may have been engineered by 
Weed. Draper had maintained good relations with the opposition 
Radical faction of the Republicans, and seems to have sided with 
Governor Fenton when he turned upon the Weed-Seward inter- 
ests early in iSdj. 10 Weed was shrewd enough to recognize that in 
building for the inclusive party of the future, a cooperative 
former Democrat in the state's key patronage post could be of 
immense service. A postelection letter from Weed stated that 
King's appointment "accomplished all I promised. Without it this 
state would have been demoralised and lost. Now it is fixed with 
the President and for his Policy." 11 Despite the implication in this 


letter, it is unlikely that Weed had suggested King's appointment, 
though it is true that he had earlier established a good political re- 
lationship with King. 12 There is no doubt, however, that Weed 
was intimate with the new collector and helped guide him in an 
effort to build a broad pro- Johnson Union political machine. 

Some limitations upon King's exercise of the patronage power 
may have been directed by the President. In the ensuing campaign 
the Democrats, though angered by King's close bonds with Weed 
and the Republicans, publicly maintained that Johnson had given 
instructions that the Federal patronage should not be used to 
defeat the Democratic ticket, that the President's position was one 
of neutrality. 13 The Herald later reported as a fact that King had 
been prohibited from making any removals of note until after 
the fall elections. 14 Whatever in fact may have been Johnson's 
policy, Democratic leaders in private made bitter complaint 
during the campaign that "the whole power of the adm'n through 
the Custom House and Post Office is against us" and "in the 
hands of Weed playing for Seward." They were particularly 
affronted by assessments levied against officeholders for the sup- 
port of their opponents. 15 They were not appeased by the expla- 
nation that if such assessments had been made, it was without the 
President's knowledge. 16 

The political struggle for power between Johnson's friends 
made neutrality on the part of the collector a near impossibility. 
Just after the elections, King jumped into the cold waters of 
New York harbor from a Hoboken ferry. He had a past record 
of mental instability, but the strain of being in a position which 
was likened to that of "the famous donkey between the bundles 
of hay" 17 probably contributed to his untimely end. Just before 
the suicide, Weed had written that Kong allowed the small things 
of the Customhouse to worry him, and that he was imagining ruin 
and disgrace. 18 After King's death, the Democratic press insinu- 
ated that he had committed suicide because of conscientious 
scruples and remorse in yielding to Weed's pressure for political 
appointments, a charge which Republicans considered "thor- 
oughly fiendish." 19 The demands of New York politics in 1865 

4. The Ne<w York Battle 71 

called for finesse and fortitude; they might have driven mad most 
any man in the collector's post. 

Before either party had gathered in convention, Horace Gree- 
ley smelied treachery. The state Union-Republican committee, 
by a shift of one vote, had defeated the Radicals who desired an 
early convention and set the date of meeting two weeks after 
that of the Democrats. Greeley in effect charged that Weed was 
acting in collusion with the Democrats and intended to jettison 
his own party. 20 It is possible that Weed contemplated a con- 
solidation with the Democrats if union could be had on terms 
favorable to the Republican Conservatives. Barlow's World, how- 
ever, had served warning that the Democratic party had no in- 
tention of accepting the New York Times: 7 contention that it was 
a dying organization. As compared with the Republicans, the 
Democrats were "united on all rising issues of the future," their 
state-rights view was the "pivotal question of the epoch," and the 
margin of their defeat in 1864 promised victory for the future. 21 
Certain elements of the Democracy may have been ready for 
union on their own terms; but the Weed-Seward men were 
certainly not prepared to accept a subordinate role in the party 
of the future. A possible explanation of Weed's preconvention 
maneuver is that he meant to use the expected Democratic ap- 
proval of Johnson's policies as a weapon with which to wrest 
control of the Union convention from Greeley J s friends; once 
the Democrats had endorsed the President's popular Southern 
policy, Radicals would have to accept the Conservative program 
or face the likelihood of party defeat at the polls. 

Although anticipating Democratic support for the President, 
the Seward-Weed forces were hardly prepared for the dramatic 
action of the Democratic convention, which met at Albany 
September 6 and 7. Eliminating every trace of hesitation or 
criticism, it had adopted as the party platform the pledge of sup- 
port for Johnson drafted by Marble, Tilden, and Cassidy. The 
chairman of the resolutions committee explained that the purpose 
was to give President Johnson such a hearty endorsement as "to 
make him the great leader of the people and of the Democratic 
party" and to reject "VaUandighamism," "Jerry Black Buchan- 


anism," and "Camden and Amboy Rip Van Winkelism" a refer- 
ence to the Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey Democratic plat- 
forms. 22 To head their ticket as candidate for secretary of state, 
the convention chose Henry W. Slocum, a Union general who 
had been a Republican in good standing since prewar days. For 
judge of the Court of Appeals, the Democracy named another 
old Republican, Martin Grover; and for comptroller they selected 
their opponent's own incumbent, Lucius Robinson, a thorough- 
going Radical who had deserted the Unionists in 1864 because 
he distrusted Lincoln on the slavery issue. The Democracy clearly 
was determined to "get back its men" from the opposition 
ranks. 23 The World heralded the convention's action as marking 
an end of questions that had divided parties in the past and as an 
open invitation to all who agreed with the Democracy on present 
issues, chief of which was the President's policy toward the 
South. 24 The Herald thought the New York Republicans now 
had no choice but "to fall in line with the reconstructed de- 
mocracy and their comprehensive ticket." 25 

The first reaction of Raymond's New York Times, speaking for 
the Republican Conservatives, was to view the whole proceedings 
as a "surrender of the Democratic party" which Unionists could 
accept with pleasure. 26 The Times, rejoined the World, is at its 
wit's end; it "is perfectly silly" to speak of Democratic surrender. 
If the Republicans approve the Democratic candidates and plat- 
form, let them vote the ticket; then it will be apparent which 
party has surrendered! 27 The Time? enthusiasm quickly abated; 
an apprehensive editorial termed the Democratic action a bold 
and treacherous "coup d'etat," a characterization that delighted 
the World. Now, exulted the Democratic organ, Republicans are 
beginning to see what the Democratic "'surrender" really amounts 
to! The Republicans might choose to disguise their defeat by 
endorsing the Democratic candidates and claiming victory as their 
own, but such a claim would be a preposterous and transparent 
fraud 28 The World could rejoice. The Weed Unionists might 
not choose to surrender, but their design to erect a broad pro- 
Johnson party had been anticipated by the opposition. They now 
faced the possibility of desertion by the War Democrats as well as 

4. The New York Battle 73 

the probability of battle with their Radical protagonists for con- 
trol of the state Union party. Republicans conceded privately that 
they would be defeated in the fall voting. 29 Montgomery Blair 
rejoiced at the prospective "overthrow of Seward & Weed as 
political powers. Between two fires one from Greeley & the other 
from the Democratic press we have these rogues in a tight 
place." 30 

Thurlow Weed, the seasoned political generalissimo, was equal 
to the challenge. His masterly skill was mobilized to corral sympa- 
thetic delegates to the forthcoming Union convention; 31 the 
Times argued persuasively for unity of the party in the face of 
danger. 32 When the Union convention met at Syracuse, Weed 
was securely in control, a goodly array of War Democrats were 
conspicuously present, and Radical hostility yielded grudgingly to 
the forms of harmony. 33 The Unionists endorsed the President, 
and Weed fashioned a state ticket "in man fashion, with doors 
open to all true friends of the administration." 34 The slate was 
headed by an ex-Democrat and general, Francis C. Barlow; no 
Republican on the Democratic ticket was given endorsement. 
"We are alright in the state," Weed triumphantly reported to the 
Secretary of State, "and only need to be left alone" that is, to be 
free from Presidential displacement of Union officeholders. 35 
Weed hastened to Washington but returned without seeing the 
President. Still, he was in good spirits and confidently predicted 
success. "A very few extreme Radicals may bolt," he wrote 
Seward on his return to New York, "but we can spare them." He 
seemed even to have found some comfort in the camp of the enemy; 
Dean Richmond had paid him a visit. "We do not differ much in 
our view of the course things will take." 36 

For all Weed's assurance, the uncertainties of battle lay ahead, 
and the hostility of Barlow and Blair was implacable. The state 
offices to be won or lost were almost irrelevant. Each party 
sought the favorable verdict of the people in order to gain "the 
inside track" with the President and to establish itself as the con- 
trolling nucleus for what the Herald called "the Ruling National 
Party for the Next Fifty Years." 37 The revival of the Democratic 
party through a New York victory was a prospect frightening to 


Republican insiders. Even in the last weeks of the campaign, 
Assistant Secretary of the Treasury William E. Chandler wrote 
from Washington of his anxiety. Better "lice and locusts" than a 
Democratic victory; if only the Union ticket could carry the 
state, "all lingering doubt as to the policy of certain parties here 
will vanish." 38 The President, apparently, was watching the race 
from the judges' stand. 

As Johnson's position became apparent to Barlow, the tone of 
his personal letters took on a sharp edge. "If he [Johnson] desires 
our defeat as I suppose he does," he wrote to General Richard 
Taylor, "he may accomplish it If we win we owe him nothing 
and will pay it!" 39 Barlow received no satisfaction when he com- 
plained that the President "if he wants us to win . . . must call 
off his dogs [the reference was to the campaign activities of 
Stanton, District Attorney Dickinson, and General H. J. Kil~ 
patrick] and do it effectively and publicly, through Genl Grant 
or the War Dept., and at once." 40 Taylor tried to get some definite 
answers from the President but reported, "I am of the opinion 
that there is no intention of giving such answer." 41 In writing to 
Judge Shipman, Barlow tried to maintain a calm perspective. The 
Judge had needled his friend by suggesting that it would be a 
huge joke "if you should all be sold by the President To go on 
such a shearing expedition and come home shorn down to the 
skin would be a practical joke of the roughest kind." 42 Barlow 
explained: 43 

Johnson is trying to ride two horses and he probably means to join 
the party which finally keeps uppermost If we win he will gladly 
join us. If we fail he will avoid a break with the Republicans and 
submit to the leadership of Sewaxd & Stanton, distasteful as it really 
is to him I look upon him as a consummate politician, and as pos- 
sessing many of the most important elements of a statesman. 

His course toward the South has been continually wise. . . . No 
matter what his political course may be in the future, we shall have 
secured for the people of the South the practical blessings of 
peace. . . . 

If he finally becomes Radical and compels us to oppose him I shall 
be sincerely sorry, but I shall feel that he, not we, has been shorn in 
tills pursuit of wool But apart from this, we had no other course. 

4. The New York Battle 75 

To have opposed him in any of the Northern States at this election, 
would have been madness as a mere question of party policy. We 
should have been beaten terribly and the prestige of such a success 
of our opponents would have injured us three years hence. Now we 
are free. If the Prest. does as he ought, we can make him the head of 
the great Northern & Southern party which is bound to win the next 
fight and if he joins our adversaries we can beat him. 

The contest for the votes of the uncommitted was vigorously 
pressed by the World on behalf of the Democrats and the Times 
on behalf of the Unionists. They made it quite clear that the 
issues, as they saw them, were of major national importance. 
Their arguments revealed publicly, though perhaps unintention- 
ally, the general political confusion and the partisan bids for 
power that had developed in the summer of 1865 about Johnson's 
program of restoration. Both sides championed the President and 
spoke in his name, but their views of his wishes and intentions 
were contradictory. Both claimed disinterested concern for the 
nation's welfare, but each showed a keen eye for party advantage. 
Both freely predicted the course of congressional policy, but saw 
it headed in quite different directions. 

The World did battle with a confidence equal to Weed's own. 
At first taking credit for forcing the Republicans to endorse the 
President, it soon began an attack upon the Syracuse platform as 
"a cloud of cajoling words," an "intolerable straddling," and a 
refusal to approve Johnson's plan of immediate restoration. Weed 
had succeeded only in spreading over the Republicans a "thin 
conservative varnish." He could not control the Republican 
party; he did not have the confidence of its majority. Acqui- 
escence in his conservatism was a fraud, a temporary expedient. 
Republicans would not follow Weed for long. The real issue in 
the canvass was between the President and the Radicals. The 
President recognized that the recently insurgent states were now 
states in the Union, entitled to recognition when Congress con- 
vened; the Radicals did not, and would refuse to seat Southern 
representatives elected under the President's plan. They would 
destroy the rights of the states and hold the South under military 
rule. Even Republicans who professed to sustain the President's 


policy dissembled: "Why should they approve a policy which is 
certain, if successful, to bring their political opponents into 
power?" Republicans who truly supported the President should 
rally for the peace of the Union and cooperate with the Democ- 
racy: "We appeal from conventions, from party organs, from 
politicians. . . . Men of the North, the nation calls upon you 
today not less loudly than it called in April, 1861." The World 
welcomed back into the fold Democrats who in their dislike for 
slavery had joined with old Whigs to form the Republican party, 
and spurred others to follow their example now that slavery was 
dead. The people could not elect members to Congress that fall, 
but they could express their opinion "in respect to President 
Johnson and his state-rights, anti-negro suffrage plan of restoring 
the Union," could express it so decidedly that Congress would 
not dare disregard their wishes. Indeed, the result of the New 
York election "determines the fate of President Johnson's plan 
for an immediate restoration of the Union." A victory of the 
party that elected him would imperil this "first and great measure 
of his administration." 44 

The Democracy pictured itself as the party of the Union. The 
World reported a revolution in public opinion; Northern senti- 
ment wanted no more of the old sectional antipathies now that the 
Southern people had nobly submitted to the decision of war. The 
only hazard to a beneficent consummation of the Union in affec- 
tion as well as form lay in that sectional party of the North 
"founded on hatred of the South" and "so long the curse of the 
country." But it had "nearly run its mischievous career." 45 

For the Democracy, the World claimed the President as their 
very own, "a Democrat, following Democratic principles." Read- 
ers were assured that he would cast his lot with those who sup- 
ported him on the issues of the day. Midway in the campaign, 
John Van Buren, Democratic candidate for state attorney general 
and a leading party strategist, proposed the immediate nomination 
of Andrew Johnson as Democratic candidate for the next presi- 
dential election. This question, trumpeted the World, is the 
"fork in the road"; the real supporters of the President were 
those who would nominate him for re-election, the sham support- 

4. The New York Battle 77 

ers those who would not. "The 'party of the President 5 must 
necessarily be the conservative Democratic party of the Union," 
for the opposition was disintegrating. The Republican Evening 
Post was already "squirming out of the Republican ranks," and 
Greeky in the Tribune was proclaiming his preference to act as a 
minority in opposition rather than sacrifice his Radical principles. 
The "Weed-Raymond club" was behaving like a "jealous, petu- 
lant child," insisting "that the executive shall have no friends un- 
less they be enrolled in the little joint-stock company of which 
Seward is president." But, concluded the World, "Mr. Johnson 
has no idea of making the number of his friends in this state so 
'conveniently small.' " Its editorial columns heaped ridicule upon 
the New York Times 7 claim that the President was interested in 
the success of the Union party in the state. "President Johnson 
would be a very intelligent politician, would he not, to desire 
the success here and now of the party which opposes his policy, 
or even of the Weed rump, called and confessed to be the Judas 
rump, which can't control a party, help him in Congress, or 
strengthen him in the country." The President, the World 
asserted, shared the "wide-spread conviction that the Republican 
party is out of harmony with the condition of the country," that 
it "now exists only to keep the South out of the Union." 46 

Democratic campaigners used the specter of Negro suffrage as 
a major campaign weapon. They tried to make it the foremost 
"living issue" of the contest. Their opponents, they argued, did 
not intend to permit the return of any Southern state until it al- 
lowed all Negroes to vote. The Syracuse convention had adopted 
with deliberate intent a "platform with a negro in it." The Re- 
publican party was the party of Negro suffrage, of Chase and 
Stunner and Wendell Phillips, however much a "dozen or so 
Republicans" might try to hide the design. Montgomery Blair, 
speaking at a Democratic rally in New York City, developed the 
Negro suffrage theme at some length. The "fate of races" was at 
stake. If Negro suffrage were imposed upon the South, the Negro 
and "poor white" would be demoralized, the old aristocracy 
driven out, Northern capitalists would dominate, and amalgama- 
tion of the races would be the order of the day. "It is for this 


end we are to have negro equality, negro suffrage, negro freed- 
men's associations, negro troops to take full possession of the 
country; while the right of the white race in the constitution, in 
the soil, in all the improvements of property to which their civil- 
ization has given birth is to be surrendered." 47 

As this quotation suggests, Democratic campaigners tried to 
tar their opponents with a broad brush, and did not hesitate to 
exploit anti-Negro feeling. Their arguments were generally built 
upon the premise that the opposition stood for an immediate grant 
of the ballot to all Southern Negroes imposed by the Federal 
Government in violation of the constitutional right of the states 
to govern their own internal affairs. But recognizing the preju- 
dices of their supporters, spokesmen for the Democracy did not 
conceal their opposition to the unquestionably constitutional right 
of Northern states to extend the ballot to Northern Negroes by 
state action. The Democracy also voiced its equal distaste for 
suggestions that the Negroes of the South be permitted a limited 
suffrage based upon military service or the ability to read and 
write. The defeat of a state constitutional amendment extending 
suffrage to Negroes in Connecticut, where literacy tests were 
required of all voters, was welcomed as a party victory for the 
Democrats. The World pointed to Johnson's record as military 
governor of Tennessee as an indication that the President, like the 
Democracy, opposed the extension of suffrage to the Negro even 
by state action. 48 

The New York Times, whose editor, Henry J. Raymond, was 
both an ally of Weed and Seward and chairman of the Union 
Executive Committee, parried the World's blows and landed 
some of its own. The one aim of the Union party, the Times 
confidently asserted, was to hold the state firmly in support of 
the national Administration; it was united in that resolve. Demo- 
crats were inventing tales of conflict within the Union ranks 
because they were dismayed by the harmony that had prevailed 
at the Syracuse convention. There was not the slightest ground 
for the expectation of any material disagreement between the 
President and the Union party in Congress. The party had no 
intention of destroying states rights; it would uphold the true 

4. The New York Battle 79 

rights of the states but also the constitutionality of the war pow- 
ers, Negro suffrage was not at issue in the campaign; politically 
bankrupted by the late rebellion, the Democracy was straining to 
make it an issue they could not yet surrender the Negro as 
political capital. 

The whole suffrage question was a complicated one, the 
Times explained. There was no difficulty in deciding that color 
ought not of itself to exclude from the franchise, but how could 
such a decision be made practically operative in the South where 
not one white man in forty would agree? If either the President 
or Congress forced Negro suffrage upon the South, the states 
once restored would act as they pleased. Contrary to the World's 
insinuations, the Republican paper asserted that the President was 
not opposed to Negro suffrage as such. He had taken no stand 
except to disclaim any right himself to impose such a condition; 
he was leaving the question to the deliberations of Congress. 
There were differences of opinion among party members on this 
matter, and there were questions other than suffrage that would 
be considered by Congress before receiving back the South; but 
differences would be discussed in a fair spirit and decisions would 
receive universal acquiescence. The Times itself agreed with the 
President that suffrage was a matter for the states to determine. 
Northern opinion might approve of Negro suffrage per se, and 
be pleased if Southerners would admit intelligent and deserving 
freedmen to the franchise; but Northern opinion was not in favor 
of attempting to establish it by the Federal Government. There 
was no basis at all for saying that Negro suffrage as a condition 
for the readmission of the Southern states "was one of the essential 
principles of the Union party. Democrats were trying to create 
a "first class bugbear." 49 

As for the Democracy's own support of the President, Ray- 
mond and Weed challenged its sincerity. They pointed out that 
the Democratic party opposed what Andrew Johnson stood for: 
his denunciation of treason, his support of the Thirteenth Amend- 
ment, his encouragement to Negroes, his admonition that the 
South elect as congressmen only men who could take the required 
ironclad oath. Had the New York Democracy been sincerely 


determined to uphold the President's policies, they would have 
offered to support the Union party on condition that it nominate 
a ticket and adopt a platform pledged to the President or at least 
have offered to meet with the Unionists and together select the 
candidates and frame the platform. But no, the Democracy had 
sought to destroy the Union party, to drive Union men away 
from the President, to create mutual suspicions, and get the 
President under their sole and exclusive control. Could any con- 
clusion be drawn except that the Democrats were after power 
and office? If the Democracy were sincere, they could stand the 
test of party defeat at the election; only then, should they remain 
true to the President, would their professions be worthy of con- 
fidence. Meanwhile, every man who believed what the Democrats 
pretended to believe, should vote the Union ticket. 

The Times made a long and careful analysis to demonstrate that 
the Democratic theory of Reconstruction and the Presidential 
one were in sharp conflict: 

Their theory is that the close of the war of itself revives the rela- 
tions of the rebel States to the Union. . . . On the other hand, 
President Johnson's principle is that the abeyance of constitutional 
rights does not pass away^vith the mere close of the war. . . . The 
Democratic party considers that the Southern States have a right to 
restoration, immediate and unconditional. President Johnson, on the 
other hand, deems it to be both his right and his duty to impose 

The position of the Northern Democracy was encouraging the 
Southerners to talk of their constitutional rights and withhold 
assent to the President's conditions. Defeat of the Democratic 
party in the North would show the South that it must accept in 
good faith the logical consequences of the war. Here lay the road 
to speedy restoration. 

To the Times, the World's claim that Johnson covertly sup- 
ported the Democrats and would turn his back upon the party 
that had elected him was sheer effrontery. Nothing Johnson had 
said or done gave the slightest foundation for such "outrageous 
misrepresentation." There had been no changes in his Cabinet. 

4. The New York Battle 81 

The only Democrat he had appointed to office was a personal 
friend; not a Copperhead nor an adherent of the Democratic 
organization had received an appointment. How could the Presi- 
dent be going over to the Democrats when he insisted that the 
Southern states declare their ordinances of secession null and void, 
prohibit slavery in their constitutions, and ratify the Thirteenth 
Amendment? And did the World suppose that President Johnson 
had forgotten the invective it had formerly directed against 
him, the charge that he was a demagogue, low-lived in manners 
and morals, a public figure comparable to Nero and Caligula! 

Beyond the denials and the countercharges, the Times relied 
most heavily upon a call to voters to support the party that had 
saved the Union, to repudiate the party that had nourished 
disloyalty. The overriding question was whether any party could 
"safely play the game of faction in a National crisis." The De- 
mocracy should be spurned on the basis of its war record and its 
Chicago peace platform. "A fate should be visited upon the politi- 
cal organization which lent itself to Copperheadism that shall 
serve as a warning for a thousand years." The loyal people of the 
North should fix the lesson that "no political organization can 
befriend treason with impunity." The Demc cratic party should be 
dealt "blow after blow" until it should become "utterly de- 
funct." 50 

The Radical's chief organ, the New York Tribune, took little 
part in the early weeks of the campaign. The public exchange of 
recriminations between Greeley and Weed together with Weed's 
triumph at Syracuse robbed the Tribune's editor of any enthu- 
siasm for the cause. The cautious wording of the platform in re- 
spect to Negro rights, and developments in the South under John- 
son's program of restoration were further discouragements to 
Greeley. At one point he appeared ready to call upon Radicals 
to repudiate the Conservative platform and to demand Negro 
suffrage. 51 However, he rallied to the support of the ticket with a 
strong appeal addressed to those intending to stay away from the 
polls in protest against the Syracuse platform and Johnson's 
course. His readers were told to stand firmly by the Union party 


even though it might not be all that they wished. To break down 
the party would "throw the Government wholly into the hands 
of our Democratic politicians, with whom negro-hate and negro 
degradation form their most profitable stock in trade." 52 The 
Tribune faltered in its confidence in the President, but did not 
renounce its faith in his good intentions. Its editor was immensely 
reassured when Johnson let it be known that were he in Tennessee 
he would support a limited, gradual enfranchisement of the 
Negro. 53 The close of the campaign found Greeley attacking the 
opposition candidates and calling for a resounding defeat of the 
Democracy. 54 The Times made no comment on Greeley's threat- 
ened bolt or on his return, but its editorial policy was consistently 
conciliatory and respectful toward those of the party who 
favored a program more vigorous than its own on behalf of the 
freedmen. This reflected both Raymond's own reasonableness and 
the fact that a widespread deflection of Radical sympathizers 
would have jeopardized the Conservatives' bid for power. 

The national significance of the New York contest was also 
indicated by the personal attention it received from both Mont- 
gomery Blair and Secretary Seward. Blair campaigned vigorously 
for the Democracy, speaking in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Rochester, 
and Auburn. Though he began by affirming that he did not speak 
"as a party man," he made clear his support of the Democracy in 
their drive to unite under Johnson's leadership Democrats who 
supported the war and Republicans 'who were opposed to com- 
pelling Southern states "to resign their constitutional rights and 
receive dictation from the North." 55 Seward's role was more 
restrained, in keeping with his custom and his official station. 
Before his townsmen of Auburn on October 20, he delivered an 
address that was a paean of praise for Andrew Johnson and his 
plan of restoration. The latter, he asserted, had "distinctly offered 
itself to the last Administration" and was "the only plan which 
then or ever afterward could be adopted." Duty required "ab- 
solute and uncompromising fidelity" to that policy from all, 
^Vhosoever and whatsoever party they may be." 56 His appeal 
reads as though it were addressed as much to the confidence of 

4. The New York Battle 83 

the President as to that of his fellow New Yorkers. Barlow's 
friend Judge Shipman scornfully" referred to it as Seward's 
"Uriah Heap speech." 57 Senator Henry Wilson of Massachusetts 
and Representative William D. Kelley of Pennsylvania were 
brought into New York for active assistance in the canvass, prob- 
ably to reassure Radical sympathizers. And Secretary of War 
Stanton, at the time closely linked to Seward, used a visit to New 
York City, made ostensibly for relaxation, to work behind the 
scenes quietly but effectively for Weed's ticket. 58 

Seward's private papers hold unmistakable evidence of the 
Secretary's keen concern for success in the New York contest. 
Less than a week before the election, he received through Weed a 
check from two New York friends amounting to thirty-five 
hundred dollars to be used to insure an Administration victory. In 
transmitting their contribution and letter, Weed explained that 
he had told them "how important we regarded the approaching 
election in this state." 59 On the night of the election returns, Weed 
sent Seward three successive telegrams to report the reality and 
extent of victory. 60 A few days later, a Seward worker wrote with 
enthusiasm of the election's rebuke to Radicals and Democrats. It 
was a verdict "which must satisfy President Johnson that he is 
in no wise reduced to a reliance upon the World and the Argus 
for efficient support." 61 

The victory for Weed and Seward was a decisive one, a ma- 
jority of over 27,000 votes as compared with one of less than 
7,000 for Lincoln in 1864. Although the elections were reported 
as quiet and arousing litde interest, the number of voters was 
better than 78 per cent of those who had cast their ballots in the 
presidential campaign, a very good showing indeed for a minor 
off-year election in which there seemed little choice between the 
two parties in platform or candidates. 62 Significantly, the Times 
greeted the news of the Union triumph by wishing Mr. Mont- 
gomery Blair a "return to the bosom of the Blair family a wiser if 
not a better man." 6S And preserved in the Seward Papers is a 
yellowed clipping of a lengthy doggerel, "Respectfully dedicated 
to Montgomery." Its ending reads as follows: 


Montgomery changes his coat once more, 
Rejoins the party he'd hated before. 
Democracy's heart to him at once warms, 
And it bids him welcome with open arms, 
And thus receives with becoming mummery 
The convert Blair whose name's Montgomery. 

Then to the stump Montgomery flies 

And calls on the copperheads to arise; 

Some thought they had heard the blare of a trumpet 

When Montgomery B, began to stump it; 

But it proved to be only a penny affair 

Faintly blown through by b-l-air. 

But it rallied the copps in New York state, 

And over in Jersey they grew elate; 

For they hoped to kill the party radical, 

And for this they fancied Montgomery had a call, 

But the votes were counted 

And they amounted 
To such an insignificant sum 

That each Democrat, he 

Said Montgomery B. 

Would have served them better by staying to hum; 
So now when a copperhead wants to find, 
An orator suited to his mind, 

To speak without notes 

And to drum for votes 

He says if he wants to get a good drummer, he 
Wont call on the Blair that's christened Montgomery. 

In battling the Democracy and wooing voters from the ranks 
of the Radicals, the Seward forces did not forget their ultimate 
objective, a grand national Conservative party under their 
hegemony. The door was left open for Democrats who fought 
them in this campaign to join them in the next. Raymond would 
not restrict the great work of restoring the Union "to Republi- 
cans or any other party class." 64 If the Union party were foolish 
enough to divide in the future and refuse the Administration 
support, then "it will inevitably give rise to new political organi- 
zations and combinations." 65 Should the seed sown by the De- 
mocracy at Albany take firm root, despite the lack of harvest 
this election, the next election would show "the full advantage 

4. The New York Battle 85 

of being on the right side." 66 "Whether the Union party is to be 
perpetuated in its present form or not, it is enough for it that its 
name will stand forever honored. ... If ever the time comes for 
the Union party to die, let it die." 67 After the election, the Times 
consoled its opponents with the thought that their position was 
in some respects better than had they pursued a different course; 
they had professed to be loyal and patriotic, and if they had the 
wisdom to remain so, they would have laid "the foundation for 
more substantial claims upon the country hereafter." 68 But the 
Times told the Democracy to accept the verdict of the people 
and to recognize that their party organization was doomed. Dem- 
ocrats should join with the great Union organization sustaining 
the President, and gradually find an honorable place hi the new 
parties that a new order of things would generate. 69 

Barlow's World showed little inclination to accept the Times' 
invitation. It professed to have obtained its objective in foiling the 
designs of the Radicals to prevent a return of the Southern states 
except with Negro suffrage. The Democracy had coerced the Re- 
publicans at Syracuse; now it would "practice the same kind of 
coercion on the Republican Congress." If Republicans chose to 
go before the people in the congressional elections as opponents 
of the President, Democratic victory would be easy. If they 
should consent to the President's program, the Democrats would 
still be the victors. The Southern states would return to the po- 
litical arena and the Democratic party would be on the "high road 
to permanent success." It would dominate in the coming re- 
organization of parties. 70 

In private Barlow expressed much the same views. He professed 
to have no regrets for the course pursued and "few for the result 
of the election"; the Democrats had forced Republican support 
for Johnson's policy, and their own proper attitude had placed 
the Democratic party in a position where it could maintain itself 
in the future. He did not try, however, to disguise the general re- 
sentment of Democratic leaders at the President's lack of support; 
and he indicated no willingness whatsoever to be reconciled with 
Seward and Weed. C When he [the President] succeeds in build- 
ing up a Johnson party in the North without us, through Seward 


& Weed, the millennium will be close at hand." 71 Barlow at- 
tempted to draw a line between future support of the President's 
policy and support for Johnson personally. All save success for 
the Reconstruction plan, he asserted, was unimportant "except 
perhaps to himself, if he is ambitious of remaining at the head of a 
great party." 72 Although Barlow would have liked Taylor, whose 
mediation had played so important a role in bringing Democratic 
leaders to Johnson's support, to stop in Washington for a talk 
with the President, he recognized that Johnson had "no occasion 
for his services" and that a visit would be "embarrassing to 
both." 73 

Montgomery Blair saw the Republican victory as a result of 
party prestige gained by success in the war effort, their support 
of Johnson, and the fact that the new question of restoration was 
not yet "fully ground into the public mind." He expected the 
Sumnerites soon to carry the party organization for Negro 
suffrage and rejection of the Southern members-elect to Congress, 
thus creating a distinct issue that would bring advantage to the 
Democracy. Montgomery advised that Marble, the World's ed- 
itor, "keep the even tenor of his way, make no point with the 
Administration whilst the President adheres to his policy of re- 
ferring suffrage to the States . . . & we are as sure of triumph as 
the sun rises." 74 

The World still had high hopes for the defection of old Demo- 
crats from the Union-Republican ranks and their reunion with 
the Democratic party. The Republican Evening Post, which 
represented the former group, was then criticizing its own party 
for a tendency toward dangerous centralization of power and 
predicting that out of the prevailing political confusion and 
ferment would emerge a new Democratic party with "fresh 
youag blood and hope in its veins." 75 The World quoted the 
editorial at length, praised the views of the Post, and commented 
that there was no need for haste. Events would accomplish the 
reunion of Democrats without "engineering by small politicians." 
Until the time was ripe, the prodigal brethren might as well stay 
in the RepubEcan party as "a sort of missionaries." 76 

4. The New York Battle 87 

Seward, Raymond, and Weed had blunted the drive of the 
Blairs and the Democracy to obtain ascendancy with the Presi- 
dent, but the Democracy had not capitulated. The two forces 
would unite with the President against the Radicals in 1866, but 
theirs would be an uneasy and contentious alliance. 





cals which invited open warfare, were directed by Andrew John- 
son. Even before the break with Congress his actions were no 
mere reflex to pressures from the Weed-Seward or Blair- 
Democratic forces. He weighed the opinions and reports of 
others, particularly of those more singly attached to his person; 
and he made up his own mind. 

No voice spoke more loudly and persistently to Johnson of his 
virtues, his power, and his political future than that of James 
Gordon Bennett's New York Herald. During the summer and fall 
of 1865, in both its editorials and in its news columns, the paper 
extolled the new President personally, approved his every political 
move, assured him that he was "master of the situation," He was 
the Bright man in the right place"; he had few vices, clear con- 
victions, the highest intellectual power, moral and physical 
courage; he was comparable to Abraham Lincoln and Andrew 
Jackson- in short he was a "great man." 1 Andrew Johnson could 
do no wrong. When other papers faltered in their support, the 
Herald liked to boast, it alone held steadfastly to the President. 2 
TheHirofaTs uncompromising approval of what the President did, 


5. The Man with Two Coattails 89 

and of what the Herald thought the President was about to do, 
involved its editorial columns in turnings and twistings and eva- 
sions, but its editor could correctly assert that t We have kept up 
with Andy Johnson thus far, and shall never let him get ahead of 
us upon the right road." 3 

The Herald saw Johnson as the leader in the "revolution of 
parties," the unchallengeable head of an emerging Conservative 
party that would control the nation for the next fifty or a hundred 
years. He would "keep his own conscience and his own counsel; 
give advice instead of taking it, and make a start from a new 
standpoint."* With scorn and delight, Bennett informed all politi- 
cal factions that they were impotent without the president. 
Fortunately, he consoled them, Andy Johnson had two coattails; 
the Republicans could cling to one, the Democrats to the other. 
AH the South was for him, the Middle states too; he could count 
upon the whole loyal people "except the Chase-Sumner faction 
who don't belong to the people." Let the politicians, the "wire- 
pullers," the cliques beware of opposing his policies; they would 
be courting disaster. And they particularly the Democrats 
should not be so presumptuous as to call upon Johnson to join 
them. "He is the mountain Mohamet must go to the Mountain." 5 
Before the November elections in New York, Bennett counseled 
the contestants, "The Northern party which adopts Mtn now as 
its candidate for the succession will be the party of the future." 6 
After the election, the Herald reminded Republicans that they 
owed success to their support of Johnson. Should they falter in 
adherence to his policy, their power would be superseded by that 
of a new party; the "masses" would uphold the President. 7 

Such unstinting praise and support from one of the most widely 
read newspapers of the country would please any President. John- 
son was grateful. Two days after the Herald called for his im- 
mediate nomination as presidential candidate for 1868, Johnson 
wrote James Gordon Bennett a long letter marked "Private." He 
thanked Bennett for the "able and disinterested manner" in which 
he had defended Administration policy. He hoped to prove that 
Bennett's "timely help and confidence" had not been misplaced. 
He wrote in general terms of his policy, his determination to abide 


by the law and the Constitution and to restore the Union. He 
assured Bennett that he would not be deterred by "taunts or 
jeers," or "over-awed by pretended or real friends, or bullied by 
swaggering or presuming enemies." Johnson identified himself 
with the people. They had always sustained him in public life, 
and he would stand by them. In their name, "in the people's cause, 
I need and ask your aid. . . . There is no man in America, who can 
exercise more power in fixing the Government upon a firm and 
enduring foundation than you can. with such aid the task will be 
made easy." 8 

There is additional evidence to suggest that Johnson main- 
tained confidential relations with Bennett, and that he considered 
carefully the editor's advice and views. In reply to Johnson's let- 
ter, Bennett sent his son with a brief note stating that whatever 
was said to the son "will be the same as what is said to me." 9 A 
member of the Herald staff, first Henry Wikoff and then W. B. 
Phillips, acted more regularly as intimate liaison between editor 
and President. At a later date, the Herald's Washington corre- 
spondent was chosen at Johnson's request, and was given more 
intimate access to the President and his Cabinet than any other 
member of the Washington press. 10 Wikoff and Phillips reported 
Bennett's views, sent copies of Herald editorials, and consulted 
with the President about others to come. Phillips wrote, "If you 
think proper, as I said to you when I had the honor of an inter- 
view, to suggest any views of your wishes through your son or 
otherwise I shall be happy to attend to them." 11 Before public 
announcement of one of the most critical decisions in Johnson's 
career, the veto of the Freedman's Bureau Bill, a telegram went 
from the White House to James Gordon Bennett, Jr., notifying 
the Herald of the President's decision. 12 

In view of the relationship between the Herald and the Presi- 
dent, the "disinterested" nature of Bennett's support and views 
merits careful examination. The Herald's self-characterization, 
that it was "independent of everybody and everything" and set 
forth its views "with perfect frankness and impartiality" has 
often been accepted uncritically by students of this period. 13 The 
paper was an independent one, in the sense that unlike most of its 

5. The Man 'with Two Coattails 91 

contemporaries it was the organ of no political party or faction. 
It not infrequently appeared capricious in its editorial twistings 
and turnings; and it was undeniably outstanding in its news 
coverage. But the Herald was not objective or impartial, nor was 
it fair in presenting views with which it disagreed. Though 
noted for its sensitivity to public opinion, its ability to shift with 
the prevailing winds, it often miscalculated or distorted. Bennett's 
cynicism, his sense of Realpolitik, made for a lively and informa- 
tive paper; it also crippled his ability to detect or understand 
motives other than those of garnering the loaves and the fishes. 

Bennett had decided political opinions and prejudices, which 
were reflected in the Herald's editorials and often in its news 
columns. His attitude toward Johnson, whom he championed, 
was no more objective than had been his attitude toward Lincoln, 
whom he had for the most part criticized and deprecated. 
Toward Seward, he was restrained, but his dislike of the Secre- 
tary was obvious. Bennett thought Seward had presidential am- 
bitions, which he gladly predicted would be fruitless. For what 
he termed the "Blair-Seward War . . . for Control of President 
Johnson's Policy," the editor had a pat solution cast both aside 
for "new and honest men." He was quick to accuse Seward and 
his closest political associates of treachery toward the President, 
though he did not press the charge. 14 Independent of party and 
bitter toward the Copperheads, still Bennett was at heart with the 
Democrats. Of all the local politicos, Dean Richmond of the 
Albany Regency came nearest to being the Herald's fair-haired 
boy. Bennett's columns made known his desire to see the Demo- 
crats victorious in the New York elections of 1865 and predom- 
inant in the new "Andy Johnson party" of the future. 15 One can- 
not read page after page of Herald editorials without sensing that 
its editor wanted to be a political power. This hypothesis is con- 
sistent with the reports to Lincoln that what Bennett most desked 
was attention and recognition. It also squares with the editor's flat 
assertion that the paper had the power not only to judge public 
opinion, but also to "influence and direct it." 16 In the midst of the 
New York pre-election struggle, Bennett boasted that "the only 
political magnates that are left with heads upon their shoulders are 


Andy Johnson, John B. Haskin, Dean Richmond and the NEW 
YORK: HERALD." IT In respect to Andrew Johnson and his political 
future, Bennett was not at all "disinterested." 

Bennett's attitude toward the Radicals was one of intense 
hostility; his references to them were invariably intemperate, either 
vindictive or disparaging. They were "nigger worshippers" or 
"niggerheads," "Jacobins,' 7 "political thugs," "fussy and imprac- 
ticable" Abolitionists, "demagogues" who proposed to abolish the 
Pope, the Jews, religion generally, and distinction of dress be- 
tween the sexes. 18 Bennett's characterization had contradictions: 
the Radicals were impractical idealists, but they were also men 
who "look upon the negro, not as a man, but as a mere voting 
machine." 19 Whether idealists or realists, they were linked with 
Southern fire-eaters and Northern copperheads as "Rebels," and 
Bennett hopefully predicted that they would be "buried so deep 
in the grave of public opinion that they will never have a resur- 
rection." 20 Bennett helped to build up the myth, already popular 
among Southern sympathizers, that responsibility for the Civil 
War lay with the opponents of slavery, and he added the charge 
that the "negro worshippers" were conspiring to foment race 
strife and even the dissolution of the Union in order to divert an 
indignant public from holding them accountable for the spent 
blood and treasure. The Bostonians who supported suffrage for 
the Negro, including the Board of Trade, were Jacobins and 
traitors, inciting to insurrection. The President should arrest them 
and incarcerate them in Fortress Monroe alongside Jefferson 
Davis; or better still, their leaders should be strung up on the 
same tree with a half-dozen leading Southern rebels. This being 
impractical, Bennett counseled seriously that the Radicals be 
"completely expelled from our National party organization." 21 

A Herald editorial of July 7, 1865, reached a vicious low that 
fully revealed Bennett's venom and distortion. Headlined "The 
Abolitionists and their New Crusade," it struck out at Abolition- 
ists past and present. Looking at the past, it ridiculed the idea that 
Lovejoy had been a martyr, and spoke instead of his "worthless- 
ness." Before the organization of the "negro party," the Aboli- 
tionists according to Bennett had been Fourierites, attempting 

5. The Man with Two Coattails 93 

to bring the millennium but instituting societies that were "mere 
brothels." Not content with the end of slavery, like Jacobins 
"their taste of blood has but sharpened their appetite for more." 
They were now working for "universal negro suffrage, universal 
free love and amalgamation of races. Such at least is the inevitable 
tendency of their new crusade." 22 

As the quotations indicate, Bennett's hostility was indiscrimi- 
nate. Although generally identifying the "negro worshippers" 
with the demand for immediate universal Negro suffrage, a char- 
acterization of the Radicals' position which was too sweeping to 
be accurate, the Herald's net of vituperation was so broad as to 
endanger any friend of the Negro. Among its victims was the 
Freedmen's Bureau. Serious students of the Bureau have all found 
much more to commend than to criticize in its work. In the first 
days of its organization, the Herald itself viewed the Bureau's 
problems sympathetically and commended its chief, General 
O. O. Howard, as able, practical, and conscientious. 23 By August, 
however, it was attacking the Bureau's policy as one of arbitrarily 
acting on the principle that the white man had no rights the 
Negro need respect. 24 In mid-September Bennett opened up with 
gross ridicule and exaggeration. There were millions of helpless 
women and girls; if there were no bureau to take care of their 
rights, how absurd to maintain one for "broad-shouldered, gi- 
gantic Sambos, well developed, greasy wenches, and pickaninnies 
indescribable and innumerable." Why couldn't the "gigantic 
nigger" fight his own way in the world as well as "these faint- 
hearted and feeble ones"? General Howard was managing "the 
bureau for the support of big, fat buck niggers with great piety 
and success," but what benevolence was there in his pious and 
charitable heart for the nation's four million poor women? Not 
that Bennett was serious in his concern for the women. Why not 
ridicule a Woman's Bureau, he asserted; "no one considers the 
Freedmen's Bureau either a piece of Quixotism or a joke of 
course not." 25 With characteristic inconsistency, the Herald had 
kindly words for the Freedmen's Bureau the following January; 
but a few weeks later, when the bill to renew the Bureau was be- 
fore Congress, its editorial columns returned to the attack. The 


bill was denounced as wild and wicked legislation designed to 
demoralize the Negro; the Bureau was characterized as a gigan- 
tic and preposterous government poorhouse. 26 

The Herald's recklessness was not merely one of words; it af- 
fected the substance of Bennett's advice to the President. Im- 
plicitly and explicitly his editorial pages urged no compromise 
with congressional opposition to the President's Southern poli- 
cies. If Congress should reject the Southern representatives elected 
under procedures set by the President, its action would be revolu- 
tionary. The President would then have full authority to exercise 
all powers vested in him in times of insurrection "to put an end 
to their revolutionary work." 27 A conflict between Executive and 
Congress would be unfortunate, would embarrass national fi- 
nances and paralyze industry, but "would not necessarily be the 
worst of evils. The country would be kept disturbed another year 
or so; but the people would settle the difficulty at the next 
elections," and a new Conservative party would grow up and sink 
present factions. 28 The President had fulfilled his role as Repub- 
lican; he was free to "stand upon his own platform and build up 
his own party." 29 Harmony between the two branches of govern- 
ment was desirable, but "it is clear that it is the legislative branch 
that should harmonize with the executive." 30 Johnson should not 
alter his course; he held the trump cards, such as the New York 
Customhouse, and these would be effective against the "present 
republican party" whose cardinal principles were "the five loaves 
and two fishes." 31 The President should pay "no more attention to 
their antics than General Grant to an army firing popguns." 32 
Congressional abuse was a compliment; Johnson should be bold. 33 

This was extraordinary and dangerous counsel The Herald 
was prodding Johnson, a man who had inherited rather than won 
the presidential office, to ignore the majority opinion of the na- 
tion's elected legislative body. He was urged to do so, not on an 
issue of limited scope, but in a broad area of decision arising out 
of four years of bloody warfare and one clearly critical to the 
nation's social and political development for years to come. The 
exact degree of responsibility that rests upon the Herald for 
Johnson's fateful decision to declare war on his congressional op- 

5. The Man with Two Coattails 95 

ponents cannot be assessed; the historian has no precision scale in 
which to weigh such matters. 34 But for the tragic consequences of 
that warfare, the Herald can not escape indictment. 

The assurances that Bennett publicly gave the President of his 
power to shape the future and emerge as its dominant political 
personality were apparently confirmed by the praise and predic- 
tions that reached Johnson in private letters. His correspondents 
likened him to Washington and Jackson; he was "the greatest 
man living." 35 Johnson's prospects of restoring the Union were 
bright, wrote Senator Dixon of Connecticut early in May, and 
"a grateful people will reward you with renewed honors." 36 
Even Supreme Court Justice Chase in those early days was writ- 
ing Johnson of his desire for a presidential success so illustrious 
that "the people will be as little willing to spare Andrew Johnson 
from their service as to spare Andrew Jackson." 37 Duff Green 
prophesied that the good opinion of the country would be ''indi- 
cated by the election of i868." 38 Others wrote, too, with hope or 
assurance that popular acclaim would continue Johnson in the 
Presidency. 39 Who should be the standard bearer of the new 
party so truly democratic, so catholic, so comprehensive that 
every true patriot could adhere to it, asked New York's influen- 
tial Daniel S. Dickinson. He gave the answer: "He must be before 
the people now, & well & widely known, & enjoy the popular 
confidence. In your own person, you have these essential requi- 
sites, & fine success in your administration will give you the future 
as you have the present. ... If you have future ambitions, as it is 
right & proper you should have . . . present success will secure 
future triumph." 40 

Was it possible that Ajidrew Johnson was without the ambition 
it was "right and proper" he should have? Any occupant of the 
White House, even one of great humility and little ambition, 
would have been stirred to hope. Andrew Johnson was not a 
humble man, nor one of small ambition. He had raised himself 
from the obscurity of an illiterate tailor by a fierce ambition; and 
he had done battle behind a shield of self-confidence, hard tem- 
pered to protect him from the slights of those who considered 
themselves his superiors. He was, indeed, a man incapable of self- 


effacement. In the bitter contest of 1866, Johnson's "I," "me," and 
"my" opened him to ridicule; they were no new phenomena. In 
his uninhibited inaugural speech as Vice President, Johnson had 
used the personal pronoun "I" no less than twenty-seven times! 41 
Lincoln in his classic address upon the same occasion had used the 
pronoun but once, and that parenthetically. 

Johnson's sympathetic biographer, R. W. Winston, believed 
that Johnson had visions of succeeding himself, "but this was not 
his operating motive." 42 The knowledgeable Washington cor- 
respondent of the Springfield Republican wrote in October, 1865, 
"Andy Johnson is a shrewd politician, and I have little doubt 
means to be the next president." 43 Johnson disclaimed any ambi- 
tion except to be an instrument in restoring the Union, 44 but such 
a disavowal is in the innocent, accepted pattern of political 
verbiage. Gideon Welles, cynical observer of the political scene 
but true friend of the President, believed at the time that John- 
son clung until the bitter end to the expectation of presidential 
nomination in i868. 45 In a draft manuscript of recollections con- 
cerning President Johnson, Welles later wrote: "It was a mis- 
take, a fatal error on his part that he ever thought of prolonging 
his term and being a candidate for the presidency in 1868. 1 know 
not from any record or expression from himself that he enter- 
tained an idea of being nominated, but I can in no other way ac- 
count for errors and acts which I lamented and sought to pre- 
vent." 46 

According to his confidential private secretary, President 
Johnson in 1868 also seemed "anxious for the nomination," more 
concerned about it than he had been about the results of the im- 
peachment proceedings. When word of Seymour's nomination 
reached the White House, the President "said little but I could 
see that he felt the disappointment." 47 The same source recorded 
Johnson's earlier derogatory view of potential rivals, notably of 
General Grant and Secretary of Treasury McCulloch. In the 
President's eyes, Grant was "controlled by prejudice and pas- 
sion," incapable of "understanding in respect to government," an 
inept general, "a mere figurehead who, by fortuitous circum- 
stances had won a reputation far above his real deserts." 48 John- 

5. The Man with Two Coattails 97 

son had thought well of Secretary McCulloch; but when he had 
reason to consider the Secretary an aspirant for the Presidency, 
Johnson remarked that "there was a man out West who could do 
infinitely better as Secretary of the Treasury than the present in- 
cumbent." 49 On the other hand, the President expressed himself 
as willing to help Secretary of State Seward "in seeking a nomina- 
tion for the Presidency," but at the same time made it clear that 
"the old man" had "lost all strength in his own state," and was 
"rather a dead carcass." 50 In other words, the only candidacy 
other than his own which Johnson could regard with equanimity 
was a hopeless one. 

The spark of ambition for presidential office was kindled in 
Johnson before fate thrust him into that high office. As Tennes- 
see's senator, according to the recent work of a careful Johnson 
scholar, he was an eagerly ambitious man with an eye on the 
Presidency. 51 In 1860 he had been a favorite-son candidate for the 
Democratic nomination, and his political lieutenants for a time 
were not without hope. Again, during the war, there had been a 
movement to promote Johnson as presidential timber. 52 Certainly 
there was no good reason for Johnson to have shed presidential 
ambitions upon his accession to the office of Chief Executive, and 
there was much to rekindle them. Lincoln, a statesman of unusual 
humility, admitted to a desire for a second term; a like ambition 
on the part of his successor was not only "right and proper" but 
to contemporaries a self-evident reality of political life. Indeed, 
the surprising fact is that historians have so generally disregarded 
Johnson's ambition in seeking to understand his stubborn and un- 
compromising course. To weigh the goal of re-election in inter- 
preting Johnson's course is not to make of it the one "operative 
motive," not to view Johnson as the victim of unprincipled am- 
bition. Human motives are too complex and interrelated, the po- 
litical situation in 1865 and 1866 was far too confused and uncer- 
tain to make the historic Andrew Johnson a mere seeker of 
power. But a recognition of his ambition explains much that can 
otherwise be accounted for only on the premise of a stubborn 
disposition and an inflexible adherence to a limited states'-rights 
view of the Constitution. 


Johnson's record does not warrant the Interpretation of inflexi- 
bility and of scrupulous regard for states' rights which has been 
offered to explain his policy as President. As state legislator he had 
shown an ability to accommodate when he reversed an opposition 
to internal improvements after it had brought political defeat. 53 No 
change of attitude and policy was ever more startling than John- 
son's transformation from an advocate of vengeance 54 his op- 
position to Lincoln's amnesty, his assertion that treason must be 
made odious, traitors punished and their property confiscated 
to the embodiment of Executive clemency. To one position, it 
is true, he held with unqualified consistency. In Johnson's view, 
no state of the Union by secession could lose its character as a 
state and be reduced to mere territory or conquered land; but 
this view of the Constitution was theoretical warrant for his 
own status as loyal senator from Tennessee, Vice President, and 
finally President. In practice, Johnson's constitutional and states' 
rights scruples were not unyielding. As a senator he had found 
nothing without warrant in the Constitution in Lincoln's call for 
volunteers without congressional consent. 55 As military governor 
of Tennessee he had displayed no tender regard for the rights of 
the state and the people thereof. On the contrary, he had wel- 
comed rigged and unrepresentative political conventions that up- 
held his objectives. He had sanctioned, perhaps initiated, an extraor- 
dinary election oath that disqualified not only state citizens who 
had been rebel sympathizers but in addition loyal men who sup- 
ported the Democrat's McClellan against the Union ticket. He 
had brushed aside consideration of state constitutionality. "Sup- 
pose you do violate law," he counseled, "if by so doing you re- 
store the law and the constitution, your conscience will approve 
your course, and all the people will say, amen!" 56 Johnson may 
have been stubborn and principled, but these characteristics were 
not so unqualified as to alone explain his conduct as President. 
The political temper of 1865 and Johnson's own ambition were 
important elements in determining the course of Presidential 
policy toward Reconstruction. In retrospect Johnson may appear 
to have defied inexorable forces of political power, but at the 
time he seemed to be riding a mighty wave of the future. 

5. The Man with T<wo Coattails 99 

Johnson made no obvious, open bid for re-election; to have 
done so in the first year of his presidency would have been politi- 
cally inept, premature, and unnecessary. The policy of generosity 
toward the vanquished and restoration of national unity became so 
intimately linked with his person that public approval of the 
policy and public support for Johnson's personal future were in- 
exorably intertwined. There was, it is true, some effort notably 
on the part of Secretary Seward to represent Johnson's policies as 
simply Lincoln's policies extended into action. This view has 
colored historical assessments, but it does not represent the domi- 
nant note struck by Johnson or sounded by his contemporaries. 
The Democratic New York World with persistence and pleasure 
pointed to "the absurdity of the claim that Mr. Lincoln's rotten- 
borough system ... is the same as Mr. Johnson's plan of restora- 
tion." 57 Johnson frequently invoked, and so did his admirers, the 
authority of the Constitution, the example of Washington and of 
Jackson, but seldom the name of Abraham Lincoln. The "great 
principles of our government . . . enunciated by me," Johnson 
asserted in an address typical of his response to public commenda- 
tion of his Restoration policy, "comprehend and embrace the 
principles upon which the government rests, and upon which, to 
be successful, it must be administered. . . . Taking all my ante- 
cedents, going back to my advent into political life, and con- 
tinuing down to the present time . . . they have been my constant 
and unerring guide." 58 

A disavowal in February, 1866, of any ambition beyond the 
restoration of the Union, "for my mission will then have been 
fulfilled," and the affirmation of a readiness then to retire "if 
there be any envious and jealous of honor and position, I shall 
be prepared to make them as polite a bow as I know how" 59 could 
not disentagle Johnson's own future from that of his policy. Per- 
haps as a transient impulse they were meant to do so, but even 
that is doubtful. General William T. Sherman, after the con- 
fidence of such a disavowal made in private, sent the President on 
February n, 1866, an "earnest wish" that he would not only 
succeed in restoring the Union "but that by a renewal of the 
term of office you may perpetuate the peace that you have done 


so much already to secure. 60 When Bennett's Herald, in a sur- 
prising shift of editorial policy a fortnight after Johnson's pub- 
lic renunciation of presidential ambition, came forth with fair 
words for General Grant as a presidential possibility, W. B. 
Phillips, the paper's editorial writer and liaison with the President, 
was obviously embarrassed and sent Johnson an extended ex- 
planation. Bennett's decision had been made with the idea that it 
was "the true way to aid you in the work of restoration and 
bringing peace to the country." It would "take the wind out of the 
sails of the politicians," would u allay hostility and rivalry to you." 
Phillips continued, "Mr. Bennett has a very high opinion of Gen- 
eral Grant. . . . He has not, however, a less exalted opinion of 
you. . . . He would be as ready, and, perhaps, more ready to go 
for you as a candidate for the next term, when the proper time 
shall arrive." 61 A few days later a Southern supporter of the Presi- 
dent revealed even more explicitly the friendly disbelief in John- 
son's prospective abdication; indeed, he interpreted Johnson's re- 
cent public disavowals of further ambition as leaving the door open, 
for a presidential nomination in 1868. "I trust that nothing will 
impel you to express a purpose, on any occasion, to decline a re- 
election. Your enemies will try to provoke you to make such a 
declaration. I trust you will be guarded against it. The ground 
taken by you in one or two of your late speeches, is the true 
position." 62 

That Johnson accepted the prevalent assumption of a re- 
alignment of parties, and also the Herald's prediction that he was 
the man with "two coattails" around whose leadership the tri- 
umphant party of the future would coalesce, seems certain with- 
out a reasonable doubt. That he did so is consistent with con- 
temporary opinion and with his own actions and his words. When 
in a private interview of October, 1865, later made public with 
the President's sanction, he was faced with the charge of "going 
over" to the Democrats, Johnson laughingly replied that the 
Democratic party had found its position untenable and "is coming 
to ours; if it has come up to our position, I am glad of it." 63 A 
few days earlier he had been reported, less authoritatively, as 
having told the Democratic leader Dean Richmond that he con- 

5. The Man with T<wo Coattails 101 

sidered himself pledged to no party, that only those who ap- 
proved of his present policy would be regarded as his friends. 64 
In analyzing the political situation shortly thereafter, Barlow wrote 
General McClellan, who was in Europe, that "Johnson is insane 
enough to suppose that he can build up a personal party in the 
South as well as in the North, which shall embrace the conserva- 
tive elements of all the old factions and that thus he can rid him- 
self of the necessity of an alliance with the democratic party 
proper." 65 

Some months later, just before he threw down the gaundet of 
challenge to the Radicals by his first veto message, Johnson de- 
clared that those who accepted his principles would find them- 
selves "surely coming together . . . while those who disclaim 
them, who are willing to repudiate them, and set them at naught, 
will be found disintegrating and travelling in a divergent direc- 
tion. ... I care not by what name the party administering the 
Government may be denominated the Union party, the Republi- 
can party, the Democratic party, or whatnot." 66 During the pre- 
liminaries of the 1866 campaign Johnson admonished his fol- 
lowers: "Let parties sink into insignificance. If a party must be 
maintained let it be based on the great principles of the constitu- 
tion." 67 Even after his hope of an independent candidacy had been 
cruelly dashed and the only avenue of vindication and ambition 
lay through nomination by the regular Democratic convention, 
Johnson scorned supplication and held to the conviction that the 
Democratic party should seek him. "Why should they not take 
me up?" he remarked plaintively to his private secretary. "They 
profess to accept my measures. ... I am asked why don't I join 
the Democratic party! Why don't they join me?" 68 

President Johnson took care to create a public image of him- 
self as one who could "afford to do right," who thought only of 
the Union, and one who rested secure in the approbation of the 
great masses of the people. There are, however, a number of in- 
dications that his own political fortunes were not left entirely 
to chance. In the early days of his presidency. Johnson summoned 
to Washington as one of his most intimate political advisers the 
man who had initiated a Johnson-for-President movement in 1861, 


Lewis D. Campbell. Campbell was a hard-drinking Ohio poli- 
tician, whom one of Johnson's staunchest Ohio supporters pri- 
vately characterized as a "low fellow" and a "scamp." 68 The 
Ohioan was considered by fellow politicians to be a man of "ex- 
traordinary tact in the management of political matters." 70 The 
letters of advice which Campbell sent on his return home did not 
explicitly refer to the presidential campaign ahead, but they 
spoke first of his "indescribable interest in your success" and then 
of his paper's having raised the Johnson banner for President as 
early as i86i. 71 In writing the President's son-in-law, Campbell 
sent an oblique warning meant for the President's eye: the friends 
of Chief Justice Chase (a recognized aspirant for the Presidency) 
were "impregnating the popular mind with prejudices against 
Johnson." At the same time he expressed a conviction that the 
Union party was "going under" and that the only hope lay in 
organizing "a party on the basis of the President's patriotic 
policy". The President should take the initiative and cut himself 
off from his enemies. Of particular interest is the argument that he 
stated as follows: "If he [Johnson] has the remotest idea that he 
will ever be accepted as a leader among these radicals (even if 
he could adopt their vagaries) he should at once be relieved of 
such a delusion." 72 Campbell not only gave advice, directly and 
indirectly, he also kept an active hand in Ohio politics and acted 
as consultant on Ohio patronage appointments. 73 

Of all the emissaries President Johnson sent to the South, per- 
haps the one he trusted most was Harvey M. Watterson, fellow 
Tennessee politico, life-long Democrat, and Unionist. From June 
through October, 1865, Watterson sent back a series of dispatches 
on conditions in the South. As with Lewis Campbell, so with 
Watterson there are intimations of a sharp eye and a helping hand 
for Johnson's political future. From North Carolina he wrote that 
many had sought his acquaintance because he hailed from the 
President's own state. "In every instance you formed a large share 
of the conversation. Of course I am at home on that subject, and 
rest assured that I have done it ample justice. You know, and I 
know, what you have done for the Southern people since your 
inauguration, and I never fail to detail all that act by act. . . . 

5. The Man with Two Coattails 103 

I say to these people, suppose Chase, or Sumner or even Hannibal 
Hamlin were president." In one paragraph he gave assurances 
of the growing confidence of the people in Andrew Johnson 
and in the next predicted that "you are to have a war with the 
friends of Chase, who is evidently a candidate for the next 
Presidency." 74 From Alabama, Watterson wrote that the Southern 
press now had nothing but compliments for President Johnson, 
and that "an undivided South and every conservative man in the 
North, will ere long be rallying around and sustaining the Na- 
tional Administration. 75 From Mississippi, he sent word that 
"Long life to him [President Johnson], is the fervent prayer of 
all." 76 From Georgia came the assurance that the South would 
stand by Johnson, "it was just as certain as that God made Moses. 
I need not tell you that I have done all I could to strengthen and 
give consistency to this confidence." 77 On his return to Washing- 
ton, Watterson was appealed to as "an intelligent & reliable 
source" and as "the personal and political friend of Prest. John- 
son" for advice on the senatorial election in the Georgia legis- 
lature in order that nothing inexpedient would be done that 
might "bring down on the President an immediate attack by the 
Thad Stevens faction." 78 

Harvey Watterson's son, the "Marse Henry" of later fame 
whose journalistic skill had effectively served the Confederate 
cause, was engaged in a successful newspaper venture at Nash- 
ville. In December, 1865, he wrote the President: "On arriving 
in Nashville after I left you, I began work in earnest and have 
labored ceaselessly ever since. How far my work may have 
proved of value in a political point of view, I am of course un- 
prepared to decide. ... I wish to repeat what I said to you at 
Washington, that my object is to support your policy and to 
strengthen your hands. I wish to join, so far as one of such poor 
capacity can do, in the construction of that National Administra- 
tion party, on which reposes the sole hope of the country. ... I 
have nothing to ask of you but your confidence and counsel. 
I don't need any patronage; and am already indebted more than 
I can repay, for your kindness to me and mine." 79 According to 


his biographer, young Watterson was ready to support Johnson 
as the leader of a third party had the movement crystallized. 80 

A number of letters in addition to Henry Watterson's indicate 
that President Johnson kept a vigilant eye on the political situa- 
tion in Tennessee. In September he received word that plans 
were about complete for an Administration newspaper in west 
Tennessee. 81 He also had an encouraging report from the friendly 
Union general and Kentucky congressman, L. H. Rousseau, who 
had hurried to Nashville after seeing Johnson in Washington. 
Rousseau had spoken with most of the leading men of Tennessee 
and found them "heartily and cordially for your policy and your 
Self"; he was about to depart on a similar mission to sound out 
leaders in Illinois and Indiana. 82 About the same time, Johnson's 
friend and fellow wartime Tennessee official, Edward H. East, 
was consulting him on the advisability of encouraging public 
pro- Administration meetings, a delicate question that continued 
to be a matter of careful concern to Tennessee friends. 83 While 
young Watterson was busily getting his paper underway, still 
another Nashville editor with an "ambition to be useful" was re- 
porting success and asking the President's son to suggest a partner 
for the enterprise and a good Washington correspondent. 84 Mean- 
time an interesting series of letters reveal that Johnson at the in- 
stance of Tennessee friends had taken action to have the Gov- 
ernment-operated railroads of the state turned back to private 
interests, and was receiving in return more than perfunctory 
thanks. Railroad men were reported as "doing all in their power to 
sustain your administration" and as having given assurances that 
they would employ no man on their roads unless he fully sus- 
tained the Administration. The new directors of the Nashville 
and Chattanooga had been selected either from a list approved 
by the President or from men known to be Johnson's "personal 
and political friends." At their stockholders' meeting, resolu- 
tions were adopted not only thanking the President for return 
of the roads, but also commending his general policy and extend- 
ing to him a "firm cordial and hearty support." Similar resolutions 
followed at the annual stockholders' meeting of the East Ten- 
nessee and Virginia Railroad Company. 85 

/. The Man with TIVO Coattails 105 

The evidence of Johnson's intention to build up a third party 
that would carry him back into the Presidency in 1868 is largely 
circumstantial, but nonetheless conclusive. In the midst of the 
New York campaign of 1865, Barlow had sent a complaint and 
a warning meant to reach the President through the Kentuckian, 
Russell Houston, who had played an important role along with 
Montgomery Blair, Governor Platt, and General Taylor in secur- 
ing the support of New York Democratic leaders for Johnson. 
"Mr. Johnson had it in his power to make our success certain 
He has chosen to oppose us, certainly not from any doubt as to 
our principles, or our honesty of intention, toward him, but 
really, I suppose because he fears, in case he allies himself with 
us, and we are defeated, he will be practically without a party 
in Congress." But defeat of the Democracy, according to Barlow, 
would find the Republican party hopelessly divided with its main 
strength in the hands of the opponents of Seward, Johnson's "per- 
sistent and unappeasable" enemies. "Does he suppose that the 
Democratic party will be reconstructed to take in Seward & 
Stanton? If so he will soon be undeceived." With slavery dead, 
the Democracy could make an alliance with the Radicals because 
they were sound on questions of civil liberty, but "we cannot unite 
with Mr. Seward on any question. Nor will there be a party in any 
one of the Southern States during Mr. Johnson's life, that will 
be led by Seward and his allies Again, when Seward gets the 
control of any party of real power, no matter when or hpw, it 
will be a Seward party, not a Johnson party. . . . Possibly if we 
had understood the President's views our actions would have beer 
different. 7 ' 86 

Houston's reply from Washington gave Barlow little satisfac- 
tion and clearly indicated that the President agreed not with the 
Democrat's prognosis that he "would be politically stranded but 
rather with James Gordon Bennett's forecast of a triumphant 
Andy Johnson party. The Kentuckian wrote: "As I have said 
to you before, in very earnest, if not very strong terms, Mr. John- 
son is eminently a national man is struggling to make his admin- 
istration national. ... I will trust him without a shadow of mis- 
giving or doubt. Adhering to the Resolutions of your late Con- 


vention at Albany, you cannot form an alliance with any mere 
sectional party. Those are national resolutions ... be patient. 
. . . Carry out your resolutions & we will have, in a very short 
time, a great National Party, embracing three fourths of the 
American people. . . . That is my party & you must be of this 
great family." 87 




President merits close examination. In the eyes of political sophis- 
ticates it constituted the "loaves and fishes" of practical politics, 
and in its disposition they sought the clues to his larger intentions. 
Many letters to the President urged speedy and sweeping use of 
the patronage power and attributed the strength of the Radicals 
to his failure to dislodge opponents from office. These contempo- 
rary admonitions have misled historians into the conclusion that 
Johnson committed a grave and obvious error of practical poli- 
tics by failing to wield promptly and drastically his power of re- 
moval and appointment. 1 Were this view correct, it would suggest 
that Johnson was unmindful of his chances in 1868, for no re- 
source at the disposal of a Chief Executive has been a more ef- 
fective or more recognized means of obtaining renomination. 

There is no reason to believe that Johnson was restrained by 
any sense of delicacy about removing men from office for their 
political opinions or activities. According to James Ford Rhodes, 
Johnson "decapitated 7 * some 1283 postmasters plus numerous 
customhouse and internal revenue officials in order to replace 
them with his own adherents during the campaign of i866. 2 Judg- 



ing from the incomplete appointments records of his presidency, 
this action was concentrated in the three months preceding the 
November congressional elections; and those who criticize John- 
son's earlier restraint see in August a marked, if fatally belated, 
change of policy. 3 Published lists show that between December, 
1866, and the following April 20, the Senate either rejected or 
failed to confirm 1039 nominations. Some of these represented a 
second choice for a rejected candidate, which would lessen the 
number of offices involved, but they do not, of course, include 
nominations which the Senate confirmed. 4 Whatever the exact 
number of removals, it was considerable enough to indicate that 
Johnson regarded patronage as a legitimate political weapon. And 
after the pro- Johnson Philadelphia Convention of August the 
President publicly stated Ms determination to give office only to 
men who sustained its principles; when clamor followed removals, 
he justified them by "that good old doctrine of rotation in of- 
fice." 5 

The President's tardiness in making sweeping removals has ob- 
scured two interesting facts: namely, that he did make important 
use of his appointing powers before August, 1866; and that his 
restraint in making removals was a calculated political strategy 
attributable, at least in part, to the influence of Seward and Weed. 6 
It cannot be construed as a want of concern to garner all possible 
support for his policies or for himself. That the strategy was a 
"mistake" is questionable; that it contributed materially to his 
defeat is even more doubtful. The congressional victory of 1866 
was so sweeping that the role of place holders, Radical or Con- 
servative, clearly could not have been decisive. 

For the President to have adopted earlier than he did a policy of 
large-scale turnover in officeholders might well have lessened 
rather than improved his political strength. Before the sharp break 
with Congress initiated by his veto messages of February and 
March and climaxed by the call issued June 26 for a convention 
of his followers in mid- August, removals threatened to antagonize 
men who might otherwise remain loyal to the President. The ap- 
pointment of new men, moreover, was beset by hazards on all 
sides. Who was friend and who was foe posed a question, the an- 

6. The Problem of Patronage 109 

swer to which was necessarily obscured by the very lack of 
definition of the issues at stake. In mid- July a Michigan Johnson 
man advised that for the best interests of the President fko more 
Federal appointments should be made in the state until after the 
Philadelphia Convention, when "we can see Vho is who.' " 7 

Uncertainty was confounded by the welter of animosity, sus- 
picion and incrimination between parties and factions of parties. 
Democrats saw the vast majority of Republicans as enemies of the 
President's policies; Conservative Republicans viewed the bulk 
of their party as friendly to the President and potential battalions 
in his army. Strong Union men, whether of Whig or Democratic 
antecedents, bristled at the prospect of favors to "Copperheads"; 
Democrats who had reviled Lincoln labeled themselves the truest, 
most reliable friends of President Johnson. Since the Republicans 
were in office, and the Democrats out of office, change was al- 
most impossible without either seeming to cast the coalition of 
the future in a predominantly Democratic mold or giving the ap- 
pearance of ingratitude toward the now loyal Democracy. Even 
after the meeting of the Philadelphia Convention, patronage re- 
mained a dangerous weapon for him who wielded it. An anti- 
Radical Iowa Republican late in August appealed through Mont- 
gomery Blair to the "political good sense of the Head of Ad- 
ministration" not to let the contest over the restoration of the 
Union degenerate into a scramble for office. "Now it would be 
folly prior to the election to oust the well-behaved republican 
appointees. Fill one hungry aspirant's mouth, and the six others 
disappointed in the boone broche grow cold and disaffected. Wait, 
the ousted may also become open working enemies, where now 
they are half-disposed friends."* 

Incoming letters to Thurlow Weed, who played a key though 
not unchallenged role in the disposition of New York patronage, 
abound in evidence of the difficulty in determining whether 
changes in particular offices would benefit the Administration. 
They also disclose the political damage that followed certain re- 
movals. 9 Just before the election, Weed wrote Seward appre- 
hensively: "I do not know how we shall come out of the election. 
. . . We are weakened by removals and appointments of Post- 


masters. The changes at Little Falls and Oswego will cost many 
hundred votes." 10 Many patronage problems received the direct 
attention of the President, and his files also reflect their hazards. 
Complaints reached him that men were being discharged who 
were his friends; in some cases prudence or "justice" required 
reinstatements. 11 In one instance, the President wrote a personal 
letter of apology to an ousted official. 12 Not willing to trust the 
usual channels of patronage information, the President initiated 
private direct reports to advise him, in the words of one such in- 
former, "of your friends in office and your enemies." 13 One of 
Johnson's agents was the colorful Dan Rice, famous circus 
clown, who combined politics with both his performances and 
his off-duty leisure. "Persons who hold office under the govern- 
ment I devote particular attention to," he reported; "from the 
nature of my calling I have a splendid opportunity to discover 
who are worthy and who unworthy of government patronage." 14 
The gravest danger, perhaps, was that appointments would 
seem to confirm the damaging suspicion that the President's party 
of the future would turn out to be the old wolf of the "Peace" 
Democracy hiding under the patriotic hood of Johnson's wartime 
record, or the deadly charge that the President himself was fol- 
lowing Tyler's example in deserting the party that had elected 
him. As late as April, 1866, one observer could find the key to 
Johnson's political appointments only hi "his frantic fear of being 
what he calls 'Tylerised.' " 15 Early in August a Philadelphia War 
Democrat was delighted that the work of removing officeholders 
had begun, but warned that "there is a Scylla as well as a Charyb- 
dis in the path." The reported appointment of a man identified 
with the sympathizers in the rebellion "cannot help, but will cer- 
tainly injure your cause." He hoped that the rumor was erroneous 
and that a more judicious selection would be made from the War 
Democrats. 16 Though appointment of men with Union military 
records was the most attractive policy open to the President, 17 
even that might appear injudicious in the case of a well-known 
Democrat. Some Democrats with an eye to ultimate rather than 
immediate advantage counseled against any Democratic appoint- 
ments. From a Massachusetts man came the message: "What I 

6. The Problem of Patronage 1 1 1 

mean by your friends touching the distribution of offices, is, con- 
servative Republicans, not democrats of which I am one they 
will sustain you in any event." 18 George W. Morgan, Democratic 
candidate for the Ohio governorship in 1865, wrote that "the 
democracy have no favors to ask in the way of offices, but they 
do respectfully, but earnestly hope that your enemies . . . may be 
removed, and that conservative republicans may be appointed to 
fill their places." 19 

To find acceptable Republican Conservatives was often no 
easy task. The chairman of the Democratic State Central Com- 
mittee of Kentucky asked that appointments be held up on the 
ground that the Democratic party in the state was the only 
political organization from which the President could hope for 
any support. 20 One New Hampshire Democrat who had returned 
from an encouraging patronage talk with the President in Wash- 
ington wrote within a few weeks to complain of recent appoint- 
ments going to men he considered Radicals. This was repelling the 
Democratic party, which would sustain the President's measures 
but would be "obliged to look only to its own organization for its 
future success." There was no support in the state for the Ad- 
ministration, he stoutly maintained, "outside the Democratic 
Party." 21 As this letter suggests, many Democrats were not con- 
tent with the long view but expected recognition forthwith, and 
some scarcely veiled a threat that without it the Democracy 
would abandon the President. 

Where the availability of Conservative Republicans was greater 
than in New Hampshire or Kentucky, formidable hazards to their 
appointment had to be recognized. Though loyal to the Presi- 
dent when named for office, they might not remain so. The 
danger lay not only in their developing attitudes that might differ 
from those of the President, but also in their attachment to rival 
candidates for the 1868 nomination. "Don't appoint a General 
Grant man," a New Yorker cautioned Johnson ia reference to 
the influential post of naval officer. "No, no. All Johnson men, or 
all radicals; but do not appoint any from our side who are for any- 
body but you: when the time comes should you then decline a 


canvass, it will be time enough to appoint men who are looking 
towards other men than yourself for President." 22 

Johnson's failure to make swift and sweeping use of the patron- 
age does not mean that his power of appointments was a negligible 
factor during his first fifteen months in office. At his disposal 
were vacancies that occurred in the normal course of events, all 
Federal offices in the seven Southern states without loyal govern- 
ments at the time of Lincoln's death, and even state and local of- 
fices there to which appointments were made by his provisional 
governors. Another aspect of his power is suggested by an ex- 
change of letters between New York's Senator Morgan and an 
apprehensive California postmaster who had been appointed in 
July, 1865, but whose name had not yet been sent to the Senate 
for confirmation by March, 1866. "I will state," wrote Morgan, 
"that there are a great number of Post Master and other Federal 
Officers, whose appointments were made during the past sum- 
mer and autumn, still awaiting the action of the President: and it ' 
is impossible to give any decided opinion, as to when they will be 
again considered by him/' 23 Since without such Presidential action 
the appointees would be out of office after Congress adjourned, 
the delay made them in effect hostages for political fidelity. A few 
judicious removals, or even rumor of removal, could also serve 
as insurance against disloyalty. Action taken on one key office 
set off major repercussions. A removal made in San Francisco 
in November, 1865, was reported to have filled other officeholders 
critical of the Administration's Reconstruction policy with con- 
sternation and alarm. "It was an exhibition of power and nerve 
which appalled them." 24 S. L. M. Barlow, the influential New York 
Democrat, wrote in December that it was unnecessary to turn 
out any large number of officeholders. One or two prominent ap- 
pointments if well made would insure the control not only of 
New York but of a half-dozen other states as well. 25 

The President, however, did not everywhere limit removals to 

a selected few. In Pennsylvania, before the end of April, 1866, he 

set "radical heads flying in all directions." 26 He may have intended 

to make the state an unmistakable example to others, or he may 

* have meant the Pennsylvania removals as the beginning of a gen- 

6. The Problem of Patronage 113 

eral patronage offensive. If the latter, he was probably persuaded 
to defer it either in view of the hazards already mentioned or 
because such an overt attempt to punish men for sustaining the 
views of Congress endangered Senate confirmation and stirred up 
a threat in Congress to cripple his patronage power by legislation. 

In November, 1865, Montgomery Blair offered an interesting 
explanation for some of the appointments he did not approve in 
particular that of General Kilpatrick, who had campaigned in 
New York for the Republicans, to a diplomatic post in Chile. He 
wrote Barlow: "These appointments tho disagreeable to me & 
such as I never wd adopt is yet intended to enable him to divide 
the Rep party & to insure our success. It is more effectual he thinks 
than my plan wd be. No one can teU which plan is best nor is 
it material. I think either will succeed. Mine has the advantage of 
being more direct." 27 

Perhaps the most important Federal patronage posts in the 
i86o's were those in the Customshouse of New York City. Here 
in mid- August, 1865, Johnson removed both the naval officer and 
the collector, gave the Democrat Odell the former office and his 
close personal friend Preston King the collectorship. These moves, 
as we have seen, were considered of major political significance in 
connection with New York's November election. 28 After King's 
suicide Johnson faced an important and difficult appointment 
decision, one he did not finally make until the following April. 
A wealth of private correspondence discloses the pressures and 
problems involved in this appointment, and their resolution il- 
luminates Johnson's method and aim in handling the patronage. 

The War Democrats, those who like Johnson had supported 
Lincoln in 1864, early began pressing for a man of their own. 
General John A. Dix and General John Cochrane, both of whom 
had supported the pro- Johnson Democratic movement in New 
York, were their leading candidates. War Democrats were not 
agreed on one candidate, but they were of one mind in opposing 
any Weed-Seward man and in urging delay until false friends 
could be separated from true. The appointment would be the 
signal to determine the future complexion of politics; it could 
be the bridge over which to bring the Democratic masses to a 


loyal support of the President. The most important consideration, 
they argued, was to beware of men long in politics and to find a 
man uncommitted to others who would "without any doubt what- 
ever, support you and your policy in 1868." Their motto was: 
"Grind your own axe upon your own grindstone." For aid they 
turned to Montgomery Blair, to James Gordon Bennett, and in 
their anti-Weed animus even wished to conciliate Horace 
Greeley. 29 

Other Democrats of greater political regularity and closer to 
the center of party power in the state also offered advice and 
candidates. Apparently overtures were not initiated until the third 
week in December. By this time the resentment of New York 
leaders over Johnson's failure to aid them in the November elec- 
tion had been buried under their satisfaction with his December 
message to Congress. After reading that state paper, Barlow had 
sent an enthusiastic letter to James Hughes, a political confidant 
and a Washington attorney who handled business matters and 
lobbying for Barlow. The letter had declared the President "in 
the front ranks of statesmen" and had predicted that if he pressed 
the announced policy "without being driven from his course by 
the Congressional Caucus, he will not only win, but will place 
himself above the partizanship of all sections, now seeking power 
through the ordinary acts of mere politicians." 30 Without asking 
permission, Hughes immediately sent Barlow's letter on to the 
President. 31 Barlow was not displeased, though he made it clear 
that he also wished Johnson to know that the one obstacle to a 
union of Conservatives powerful enough to give the President 
control of Congress was his adherence to Stanton and Seward. 32 
Barlow thought the Republican party was on the verge of disin- 
tegration and held that moderate Republicans would join the 
Democrats in support of the President. He expected that "Seward 
and Stanton will seek to influence the new party as they have 
the Republican party in the past, and I am utterly opposed to any 
alliance with them and to the formation of any new party in 
which they are to become the permanent leaders." 33 

Writing for Dean Richmond as well as himself, and including 
the assurance that the state party was committed to the President's 

6. The Problem of Patronage u 5 

plan of reconstruction, Barlow in a letter of December 21 asked 
Hughes to talk with Johnson about the New York collectorship. 
He wanted the President to know "that if he wants any sugges- 
tions from Mr. Richmond ... he can have them." If the President 
found it necessary to appoint a Republican or a Democrat under 
Weed's control, "we prefer to have nothing to do with the selec- 
tion. If he is able to appoint a democrat, then we can readily suggest 
names to him." Barlow did not wait to name the man who would 
receive the most complete endorsement from his political as- 
sociates. He was Sanford E. Church, a regular McCleUan Demo- 
crat with a good record of supporting the war effort. "In one 
month he would have the state of New York in his hand against 
the combined force of Weed, Greeley and all the rest." 34 The 
next day Barlow wrote to recommend his friend Judge Shipman 
of Connecticut, as perhaps more available than Church since he 
was not so prominent a Democrat, having been out of active poli- 
tics for some years. If the President could "screw his courage 
up to the mark . . . and appoint a full blooded war democrat, 
then Church is the man, but if he is afraid of this as being too 
bold, then Shipman will in reality do just as well." 35 Apparently 
Barlow obtained Dean Richmond's approval for his suggestion of 
Shipman, though Church was the Albany boss's first choice. 

At Hughes' suggestion, Barlow sent Church an urgent letter 
early in January urging the candidate to make a special trip to 
consult with the Washington attorney. Church readily agreed to 
do so. 36 Barlow's preference, however, was for his friend the 
Judge; but the overridingly important consideration was that the 
appointee should be a good Democrat. If the President were ready 
to go even further with the Democracy than would be the case if 
he appointed Church, the World's owner and his associates would 
be pleased to have John Van Buren, the prominent Democratic 
leader and vigorous campaigner of 1865, who had proposed the 
immediate nomination of Johnson as the Democratic presidential 
candidate for 1868. They had hope, however, of getting Van 
Buren into the Cabinet and another man of their liking in the col- 
lectorship. 37 

Barlow was soon writing Montgomery Blair to enlist his in- 


fluence with the President. "We are all very much exercised 
about the Collectorship of the Port. Mr. Johnson has it in his 
power by one bold, wise, move to crush the Radical Congress. 
. . . But to make this move effective, the President must select a 
prominent member of our organization, one who had the con- 
fidence of Richmond, ,* Tilden and others of that class. 

If he does not, he will gain nothing from our side and will in the 
end find that he has no party. He needs a politician who can con- 
trol our whole strength and at the same time draw from the ranks 
of the Republicans." 38 Montgomery was of a like opinion that 
the new collector should be a regular Democrat from the Demo- 
cratic organization. 39 Throughout the negotiations he held himself 
"bound to act in concert with you [Barlow] & your clan in New 
York." 40 Within a few days Montgomery had a long interview 
with the President, presenting the Democratic position and but- 
tressing it with his usual incisive arguments. He told Johnson that 
the latter could not succeed "except by recognizing the Demo- 
cratic party as his party," that he could "get nothing from the 
Republican party but Mr. Raymond's very qualified support." 
Montgomery reported that his speech seemed to strike 41 the 
President, "& he will I have little doubt act on the views I expressed 
to him." 42 John Van Buren also saw the President about this time, 
and felt hopeful. Barlow had sent a long letter meant to guide 
him in the interview; it attacked all candidates for the office save 
the Democracy's own and ended on the note that the President 
had it in his "power to build up a great party." 43 

Names other than those of Church, Shipman, and Van Buren 
were offered by the New York Democracy, but they were men 
firmly committed to the party. John B. Haskin, who claimed as 
his own the pro- Johnson platform of the 1865 Democratic con- 
vention, thought it would be "poetic justice" and "a proper re- 
buke to the treachery of Republican leaders" if the appointment 
went to General Henry W. Slocum, who had headed the Demo- 
crats' fall ticket. 44 Slocum was acceptable to Barlow. 45 Haskin, 
Barlow and Tilden all counseled the President with a great flour- 

* Name illegible. 

6. The Problem of Patronage 117 

ish of solicitude that he must appoint his own man, one (to use 
Haskin's words) "bound to you by 'hooks of steel.' " 46 They 
wanted, of course, a man "who will not be predetermined to help 
within the republican machine." 47 Apparently they saw no in- 
consistency in urging Johnson to chose as his "own man" some- 
one firmly bound to their own interests. But then, they believed 
that the "future Johnson party will be the democratic party with 
accretions from all ranks at the North, and in the South" and that 
Johnson was "about to become our leader*" 48 Even so, there was a 
note of conscious hypocrisy in their pleadings. < We are now try- 
ing to turn Cuckoo and lay our eggs in the Republican nest, 
with Johnson," Barlow wrote a close friend at the end of Janu- 
ary, "and I think we shall succeed." 49 

After Johnson's first veto, the Democrats had high hopes of a 
break between the President and his party, with an accompanying 
reorganization of the Cabinet. Their strategy then shifted from 
pressure for an immediate appointment to pressure for delay in 
selecting the collector. "His best friends here," wrote Tilden to 
Montgomery Blair, "are of the opinion that the President will 
best consult his own interests, the success of the policy upon 
which he has staked his own reputation and the hopes of the 
country, by deferring all action for the present in this important 
case. ... It is decidedly expedient for the President to let men, 
cliques & parties develop themselves somewhat before he places 
a great power in hands from which he may wish, but feel em- 
barrassed, in recalling it. ... His disinterested and real friends 
here will be content to wait, to advise what is best for his inter- 
ests, without seeking to check him into surrendering the great 
power of this office to themselves." 50 

Until the very end, the Barlow-Blair faction maintained an 
adamant opposition to any reconciliation with Seward and Weed. 
In the very last days of the appointment uncertainty, Montgomery 
was still vigorously attacking Seward in public and in private. A 
draft letter to the President, which before sending Blair softened 
in words but not in sentiment, read as follows: "I intend to ad- 
here to my opposition to Mr. Seward, who I really believe .is 


more dangerous to our principles than Thad Stevens and Charles 
Sumner both together." 51 

Like the War Democrats and the regulars of the Democratic 
organization, the Weed-Seward interests, which included E. D. 
Morgan the businessman, former war governor and current sena- 
tor from New York, and also Henry J. Raymond, the Times' 
editor now acting as leader of the Johnson Republicans in the 
House, had a lively concern in the collectorship appointment. 
As compared with the pressure from their opponents, their own 
counsel to the President appears relatively conciliatory. Their 
favorite candidate was H. H. Van Dyck, assistant treasurer in 
New York and a Republican of Democratic antecedents. Secre- 
tary of Treasury Hugh McCulloch opposed this suggestion on 
the ground that Van Dyck was too good a man to be spared from 
the Treasury post. Seward readily acquiesced in the elimination, 
Morgan did so more reluctantly, and Weed had a dozen alternate 
names to suggest. Moreover, Weed wrote Morgan that no one 
was "more concerned than the President this thing should be 
right and what is right for him is right for us." 52 

That McCulloch's opposition was prompted alone by his con- 
cern for the Treasury service appears doubtful. His candidate was 
J. F. Bailey, a confidential agent of the Department. Bailey had 
the support of Parke Godwin of the New York Evening Post, a 
moderate Republican paper of Democratic lineage that clung 
both to the ideal of limited Federal power and to that of justice 
for the Negro. Godwin, like so many others, anticipated the dis- 
integration of old parties and the emergence of new ones and 
advised the President to gather around him as officials able young 
men "not identified in any manner with the old factions or 
cliques" who would do justice to all and help mold the political 
future. 53 On the question of Bailey, the Weed forces, if not en- 
tirely adamant, certainly were not accommodating. Raymond 
believed the appointment would not be regarded as defensible 
by either the political or commercial interests involved, though 
"his promises on political matters are all that could be desired." 54 
Senator Morgan was more emphatic: Bailey was unknown to the 
merchants and to the party; "it will not do." 55 Weed feared the 

6. The Problem of Patronage 1 19 

appointment, considering Bailey "a Massachusetts man brought 
here by Chase, and can never be anything else." 56 The Chase al- 
legation probably had foundation in fact, for one of Bailey's 
endorsers was John J. Cisco, the former Treasury official whom 
Weed had attacked and Chase had defended at the cost, as it 
turned out, of his place in Lincoln's Cabinet. Barlow, who was 
equally opposed to Bailey, considered him "simply Chase's tool." 57 

During the earlier phase of the struggle over the collectorship, 
Thurlow Weed would have willingly settled for a War Demo- 
crat. Henry G. Stebbins, a former Democratic member of Con- 
gress who had served briefly in the Union army, was on Weed's 
approved list; and he also had Democratic support, 58 though not 
that of Barlow, who called him a "mere nominal democrat." Bar- 
low feared that Johnson would assume that Stebbins "represents 
the party," when in fact he was the "merest puppet in the hands 
of Pierrepont & Stanton & Blatchford & Seward"; and Barlow had 
taken steps to so inform the President. 59 A strong letter for 
Stebbins had arrived from J. W. Forney of the Philadelphia Press 
and Washington Chronicle early in January, when the relations 
between the editor and the President were still cordial, Forney 
had commended Stebbins as an able, honest, intensely national 
man with an organizing mind that "would make you a party or 
fight your battle, single handed." 60 After the break that followed 
Johnson's first veto, Forney's recommendation must have be- 
come a serious liability to Stebbins. 

The political confusion among Union-Republicans and the 
delight among stalwart Democrats that followed upon the veto 
message and Johnson's intemperate February 22 speech attacking 
Sumner, Stevens, and Wendell Phillips as traitors, stiffened Thur- 
low Weed's attitude toward the New York appointment. Even 
before the break with Congress, a news report had gone out from 
Washington that the appointment of a Democrat would indicate 
that the President had gone over to the opposition. 61 After the 
veto such a choice would certainly be construed as evidence that 
Johnson was deserting the party which had placed him in office. 
At the end of February, Weed wrote Seward that it had become 
imperative "that a Republican be appointed Collector. That will 


confound the enemy." 62 And two weeks later his almost illegible 
scrawl reiterated the message to the Secretary. "Now it [the 
collectorship] is of vital importance. Two months ago I should 
have preferred to have seen it given to a War Democrat, like Col 
Stebbins, or Judge (A. J.) Johnson. Now it is essential very 
essential that some such man as Leavenworth, Little] ohn, Bowen 
or Harvey should be appointed." The same day Weed sent an al- 
most identical report to Senator Morgan, adding, "Now it ought 
to be a man of Whig antecedents." Weed was consulting with 
"leading Democrats (not Copperhead) who are preparing the 
way for political reconstruction" and sent assurance that the 
"Loyal Democrats want to come to us." 63 Weed's "Loyal Demo- 
crats" could not have included Barlow or Manton Marble. Hear- 
ing that Leavenworth, "a friend of Weed and Seward," was about 
to be appointed, due to "Morgan's lately acquired influence," 
Marble urged Montgomery Blair to oppose the appointment as 
"an insuperable obstacle in the way of forming a Johnson party." 
Any such decision, according to Marble, would be a ruinous 
blunder in view of "the number of votes in the Electoral College 
cast by Ny." 6 * 

On March 16, there was a long consultation between Weed and 
Dean Richmond, leader of the upstate Democracy. If Weed's re- 
port was accurate, the Albany boss must have been acting in- 
dependently of Barlow and Marble. According to Weed, the con- 
ference resulted in agreement upon a plan of political operation 
for the state and upon De Witt C. Littlejohn, a Weed Republican 
and former speaker of the Legislature, as the best choice "in the 
aspect we are viewing things." 65 Some time later Raymond sent 
Weed an account of a two-hour conference with the President. 
"We are out of the woods about Collector," he wrote. "The 
Prest. has been made to feel the absolute necessity of at once 
quieting the fears and strengthening the faith of the Union 
party." Raymond thought the appointment would be announced 
the following day and would go to either Bowen or Littlejohn or 
Depew. 66 In reply Weed expressed his hope that the choice would 
be Bowen or Littlejohn; he still thought of Stebbins, the War 
Democrat, as a possibility. 67 

6. The Problem of Patronage 121 

By this time Senator Morgan was leaning toward Chauncey M. 
Depew, former New York secretary of state whom the Demo- 
crats, unhappily, held in bitter memory as the perpetrator of what 
they termed a "census fraud." Morgan was apprehensive about 
confirmation in the Senate if either of the other two candidates 
Raymond mentioned were chosen. Weed was willing to accept 
Depew, but distrusted him. Depew "has so far, kept along with 
both wings of our Party. I do not know him well enough to say 
that he can be a divided man." In this letter Weed spoke of the 
"Adversary" as vindictive and adroit, but predicted that the 
"People" would "be right" once they were satisfied that those 
who charge the President with deserting Union principles and 
Union men were in truth slanderers. 68 

The Weed camp, however, had to contend with the strong in- 
fluence of Senator James Dixon of Connecticut, one of Johnson's 
three pillars of strength among Republicans in the Senate. Dixon 
had been supporting Judge Henry E. Davies of the New York 
Court of Appeals, a man of high repute but of uncertain past 
loyalty to the Republican party, and one generally tagged as an 
anti-Weed candidate. No less an authority than Secretary Seward 
believed in late January that Johnson preferred Davies over all 
others, and Weed had written the Secretary that Davies, "as 
you know, is a nuisance. Pray, if possible, avert such a calamity." 69 
Barlow, too, emphatically opposed Davies, whom he considered 
"an obsequious ass" with "no friend or influence anywhere*" 70 

Senator Dixon kept pressing the Davies appointment, and by 
March Secretary McCulloch had abandoned Bailey and embraced 
Davies* cause. Montgomery Blair believed that the New York 
judge would be appointed, although he himself thought Dixon 
had erred in not going for an "out and out Democrat." 71 Senator 
Morgan countered by inspiring and sending to the President a 
letter from Van Dyck, who bowed out of the picture as a candi- 
date but took the occasion to do a polished hatchet job on Judge 
Davies. The Judge was bracketed with "your facile, softly- 
spoken, gently-pressing, individuals, who promise everything even 
before they are asked," and are " 'be all things to aU men,' not in 
the Christian hope of 'saving some,* " but in the expectation of 


benefits for themselves. 72 Morgan thought he had scotched Davies, 
but three weeks after the President had read Van Dyck's letter the 
Judge still appeared to be Johnson's favorite candidate. R. M. 
Blatchford, banker intimate of Weed and Seward, wrote the 
Secretary on hearing from Washington that either Davies would 
yet obtain the coveted appointment or it would go to a Democrat 
after the Senate had adjourned. Davies had just seen Blatchford to 
tell him that his appointment waited only upon Seward's consent 
and had made "all kinds of promises of devotion to you and 
Weed, etc. Is it not best to take such promises and go in for him? 
I would be willing to be on his Sureties and thus help to keep him 
straight." 73 There is nothing to indicate that Seward withdrew 
his opposition. Just a few days before final decision was an- 
nounced, Senator Dixon intensified his pressure upon the Presi- 
dent and arranged "another interview" between Johnson and 
Davies. Senator James Henry Lane of Kansas, who had just de- 
serted fellow Republicans to support the President's second veto, 
also made a last-minute appeal for Judge Davies. 74 

The Weed-Seward forces, as well as Dixon, had the President's 
ear, but it is not likely that they enjoyed his full confidence. The 
pleas that had reached him for delay in selecting a collector had 
largely been motivated by a desire to block an appointment 
favorable to the Weed interests. The insinuations and charges of 
disloyalty made against Seward and his allies appeared to have 
some foundation in Raymond's acquiescence at the opening of 
Congress in the establishment of the Joint Committee on Recon- 
struction. The Herald in December advised the President to keep 
Raymond's associates out in the cold if they had the impudence to 
present themselves at the White House with a candidate for the 
collector's post; let them wait "and see how the New York 
Congressmen vote on the question of reconstruction when the 
report of the Joint Committee comes before Congress." 75 Secre- 
tary Seward had forestalled a rebuff to Weed by persuading him 
not to ask for an interview with the President after Weed had 
come to Washington expressly for that purpose. 76 The Spring- 
field Republican's able Washington correspondent sent a report 
early in February that Johnson "means to hold the vacant place 

6. The Problem of Patronage 123 

as a rod over New York republicans." 77 Senator Morgan had re- 
mained faithful in upholding the President's first veto; but in the 
interval between Raymond's reassuring report to Weed and 
Johnson's announcement of the appointment, the Senate on 
April 6, 1866, had upset the second veto with Morgan's vote 
counted against the President. In the House balloting three days 
later, Raymond vindicated his loyalty by supporting the veto, but 
the Republican representative from Seward's home district voted 
against the President. Montgomery Blair quickly seized upon this 
as evidence to persuade Johnson of Seward's perfidy: "He will not 
even allow Mr. Pomeroy the Representative of the Auburn Dis- 
trict who is known to do nothing he does not sanction to sustain 
you." 78 

A week after Blair's letter, Johnson announced his decision. The 
office of collector went to Henry A. Smythe, President of the 
Central National Bank of the City of New York. In mid- 
December there had been a long interview between Smythe and 
the President, which had left the banker and his friends sanguine 
but without a definite commitment. Although Weed had received 
a confidential note some weeks later that Smythe was very much 
in the running, and although Smythe himself claimed that all 
parties advocated him from every city and nearly every state, he 
had apparently not been considered a major contender for the 
office. 79 The few references to Smythe in the Johnson letters 
before late March were brief and slighting. Smythe was character- 
ized by a McCulloch ally as popular among his personal friends 
and a worthy citizen but physically infirm and one who "would 
add no positive strength to the administration." 80 In his December 
letter, Barlow had dismissed Smythe as "an excellent merchant 
(a connection of mine) and a good fellow," but "as for use to the 
Country he may be counted out as of no importance whatever." 81 

Smythe, who was Mrs. Barlow's cousin, had written Barlow in 
November asking him to "pull a string in my favor I can get 
any number of merchants to back me but politically I am no- 
where except that I am sound & loyal but as you know I am no 
politician do not like those who are & would rather not get 
anywhere than accomplish it through Weed & Co., or anyone 


who would expect to control or govern me. I should expect to 
serve my govt & the administration & to please the merchants & 
after that anybody that choses to be suited." 82 Barlow, however, 
had not chosen to pull any wires. Not until the end of March, 
apparently after further importuning from Smythe, did he write 
Montgomery Blair as he had "promised and said everything I 
could properly say under the circumstances." 83 What he could 
properly say was that Smythe was "one of the best fellows 
alive," "a friend of the President, and can be trusted," a "thousand 
fold better" than men such as Davies and Stebbins, but that he was 
not enough of a politician to be able to do the President "much 
real service." Barlow still preferred "an out and out democrat," 
particularly Shipman, but if this were unattainable Smythe's ap- 
pointment would be the next best thing. He would "do very- 
well if he knew that the President expected him to take advice. 
... I think Srnythe has sense enough to know that in such mat- 
ters Richmond's head is better than his own, though I still cling to 
the idea of Shipman." 84 

Montgomery Blair recognized that Barlow's letter was "dic- 
tated by private friendship" and did not constitute a political 
endorsement. He had not presented it to the President because 
he had been trying, on word from Richmond, to prevent an ap- 
pointment if possible. "If however you the Sachem say Smythe, 
why so be it Smythe's brother in law Dr. E. C. Franldin [?] is 
a special friend of mine & I wd greatly rejoice to favor him." 85 
After this cordial invitation to give Smythe clearance, Barlow did 
so, but with reluctance, making it clear that Richmond and his 
associates preferred Judge Shipman. To use his own characteriza- 
tion, made months later, Barlow had been "finally dragooned into 
writing." 86 Since his Connecticut friend, he inferred, would not 
receive the nomination, he asked for him the place of New York 
district attorney, recently opened by its incumbent's decease. As 
for Cousin Smythe, "well if the President appoints him, we shall 
be satisfied & Harry wiU do as the President advises, provided he 
tells him plainly what he expects, and after Shipman we all prefer 
him, to Davies, who has no friend or influence anywhere, or to 
Depew or Litdejohn who are already sold, body & breeches to 

6. The Problem of Patronage 125 

Seward." 87 Montgomery read to the President that part of Bar- 
low's letter concerning the collectorship; they discussed the mat- 
ter at length, and Montgomery "did not conceal the fact that 
Smythe's appt would be agreeable to me on your account." John- 
son "finally told me I might write you that Smythe wd be ap- 
pointed. I think he had almost come to that conclusion before I 
saw him, but not quite." 88 

Meantime Smythe, chagrined at being kept waiting as the will- 
ing bride at the altar, had appealed in late March to Johnson's 
son-in-law, Judge Patterson. "It is said, there is no one near the 
President to strongly advocate me may I ask you to speak for 
me?" 89 He had also stimulated a number of supporting letters: 
from Charles G. Halpine, an influential Irish Democrat and 
journalist-poet who had fought Tammany before the war, served 
in the Union forces, and now edited the Citizen, the newspaper of 
New York city reformers; from William S. Huntington of Jay 
Cooke and Company; from Robert J. Walker, former Mississippi 
senator, expansionist, speculator, and close associate of bankers; 
and from the prominent Democratic senator from Maryland, 
Reverdy Johnson. Smythe and his friends pushed his selection as 
the merchants' collector businessmen would count his appoint- 
ment "a noble recognition of their value to the body politic" and 
as the man who could free the President from "cliques" and "wire 
pullers." Smythe pledged himself ready to unselfishly "serve 
Andrew Johnson" and no one else. The Democrat Walker em- 
phasized Smythe's qualification as "a Johnson Republican. . . . 
The appointment of a democrat, will keep back wavering Re- 
publicans." Halpine gave assurances that the nomination would 
be "most acceptable" to the Democrats; Reverdy Johnson was 
certain that it would receive "the sanction of the South." 90 

It is clear that Smythe was not the choice of the Seward faction, 
though Weed at the last moment probably gave his assent to 
Smythe as a lesser evil than Judge Davies or a Democrat. Weed 
certainly accepted the appointment loyally and helped to secure 
Smythe's confirmation when that appeared in doubt Morgan 
thought Smythe was incompetent and that the President had taken 
a great hazard, but did not oppose the nomination in the Senate. 


In mid-June, following the appointment, Weed was reporting to 
Seward that Collector Smythe was well disposed but inexperi- 
enced; a few months later, however, Raymond was sending a 
quite different message. "I cannot explain it nor understand it 
but Collector Smythe is against us." And Secretary McCulIoch 
was giving Weed feeble consolation; he could "not imagine what 
influence was operative upon Smythe that he was still giving 
cause for complaint to the friends of the Administration. 7 ' 91 

Though Smythe was presented as a Republican of Whig ante- 
cedents, his political past was so unknown and uncertain that in 
order to quiet Senatorial apprehensions Weed and Morgan had to 
obtain from him an explicit disavowal of the rumor that he had 
voted for McClellan and Seymour. 82 It is extremely doubtful that 
Smythe's denial, at least in respect to McClellan, was an honest 
one. In September, 1864, he had written his cousin giving advice 
meant to aid McClellan's candidacy and flatly stated, "I intend 
to go in for him, & to support him." 93 The Herald editorially in- 
terpreted the appointment as a Presidential signal that the fight 
for his Southern policy was to be made within the lines of the 
Republican party. 94 Yet Smythe had just been actively aiding the 
Democratic gubernatorial candidate in neighboring Connecticut, 
with the President's knowledge, probably with the President's 
approval, and perhaps at the President's instigation! 95 The Her- 
ald's news columns reported that while Weed was claiming con- 
trol of the new collector, anti-Tammany Democrats and anti- 
Weed Radicals were busily contesting his pretensions. 96 This 
remarkably ambidextrous "non-politico" was accomplishing the 
feat, to credit his own report, of having "the strongest kind" of 
letters sent off to doubting senators from James Gordon Bennett, 
Thurlow Weed, and Horace Greeley! 97 Within a few weeks the 
Herald's editorial columns added a further incongruous note by 
asserting that all the cliques claiming Smythe had been out- 
generalled by Richard B. Connolly, loyal son of Tammany and 
Mozart Hall, with "Alphabet Barlow" acting as his aide-de- 


camp 98 

Senator Morgan understood what had happened. "I shall make 
the best of it," he wrote Weed. "It is the President's appoint- 

6. The Problem of Patronage 127 

ment." 99 The chosen man, it would appear certain, had convinced 
the Chief Executive that "I have but the two aims viz to be an 
unexceptionable collector & to serve and sustain the President 
throughout." 100 Even to the discomfiture of those who had 
given the counsel, the President had prepared to grind his own ax 
upon his own grindstone. After the initial surprise and confusion, 
all factions might lay claim to the new collector, but like Senator 
Morgan and S. L. M. Barlow they were trying to make the best of 
it. Johnson had made free with his coattails, but he had held fast 
to the coat itself. 

The New York collectorship episode is a revealing case study 
of the complications attendant upon the political use of appoint- 
ments. It in no way suggests, however, that Johnson ignored the 
power of patronage nor that it was a negligible factor in politics 
prior to the August harvest of officeholders. Those who look to 
the "loaves and fishes" as determinants of politics might well 
consider the wonder expressed in a letter of late February, 1866, 
from a friendly Ohioan to the President. "It is a strange sight!" he 
wrote. "You have both patronage and principle with you; and yet 
there are more men, not fanatics, who appear to side with Con- 
gress as against your present policy." 101 

The crux of the difficulty, and the explanation of the puzzle, 
lay not in Johnson's handling of the patronage, but in the dissent 
of many Union-Republicans to the Ohioan's assumption that 
principle as well as patronage resided exclusively with the Presi- 
dent. One such, the postmaster of Atchison, late colonel of the 
Kansas infantry and personal friend of the President, wrote in 
August to offer his resignation. He believed that the Republican 
party was not "all that it should be, & some of its members are 
rash & reckless," but he could not bring himself to give approval to 
the call for the Philadelphia Convention. Party policy as indicated 
by congressional approval of what was to be the Fourteenth 
Amendment he believed the most satisfactory basis attainable for 
a generous and just settlement of the Southern problem. Though 

in need of office, he wrote, "I cannot stoop to pretence I hold 

principle far, far above the benefits to be derived from holding 
official place, and if, as an honest and sincere Union-Republican 


I cannot retain position under a Union-Republican Administra- 
tion, I must give it up. And in regard to this you alone can 
decide.'' 102 Atchison's postmaster had taken a stand based on 
principle rather than patronage, but he had not yet repudiated the 
President By the time he wrote, however, there was left little 
middle ground; with the fall campaign gaining momentum, the 
time was fast approaching when the choice must be either for 
Andrew Johnson or against him. 



strength between late February and early November, 1866, was 
in startling contrast to the wide and cordial support given the 
President during his first ten months in office. Many factors help 
to explain this apparent fickleness of public opinion. Of these, the 
one which has received least recognition from historians is the 
amazing ambiguity that characterized President Johnson's attitudes 
and policies up to the veto messages. Though in some degree the 
ambiguity persisted even beyond the vetoes, these marked the 
beginning of the end for that uncertainty in respect to the Presi- 
dent's intentions which had enabled men of opposite convictions, 
prejudices, and aims to accept without rancor and generally with 
approval the President's policy toward the South. Before the 
vetoes, only a few had spoken out in sharp opposition to Johnson; 
their leadership had been rejected as lacking in that moderation 
and wisdom requisite for the great task of binding up the nation's 

Despite the general approval of the President, there existed in 
the months prior to the vetoes an undercurrent of uncertainty 
and apprehension. The Democrats' chief organ, the World, 



awaited the President's December message to Congress for certain 
knowledge of whether or not "he will yield to the clamor of the 
revolutionists who insist that he shall reconstruct the Union, in- 
stead of restoring it." The Administration had as yet encountered 
"no ostensible and organized opposition," which in view of the 
"vehement antagonism of views known to exist among our citi- 
zens ... is as remarkable a phenomenon as any in the history of 
politics." The annual message would terminate "the present un- 
natural state of things, in which men holding the most conflicting 
views on the most fundamental questions, are alike courting and 
claiming the President." 1 Still smarting from the November defeat 
in New York, Barlow was writing the Confederate General 
Richard Taylor: "Our people are rather more inclined to favor 
Johnson than when you left. They believe that his action has been 
taken in pursuance of a policy, looking solely to the restoration 
of the States in Congress & that he believes, no matter how 
erroneously, that he could not win in any other way. But as we 
shall have his message in ten days there is no use in speculation." 2 
Greeley's Tribune likewise awaited the message, counseling 
against acceptance of what the "Sham Democracy" represented 
to be the President's attitude and plan. "No other person can 
interpret the President so fairly and clearly as himself." 3 The 
Herald's Washington correspondent reported much speculation 
and solicitation about the message as members of Congress gath- 
ered for their first session under the. Johnson administration. 4 On 
the very eve of the message, a fellow journalist sent word to the 
Springfield Republican of "all sorts of reports and conjectures as 
to the probable course of the President." One Washington paper 
anticipated no material difference between the Chief Executive 
and Congress on the Reconstruction question; another saw a wide 
divergence. 5 Through the deluge of editorial comment that fol- 
lowed the message ran a persistent reference to the "intense anxi- 
ety" and "popular suspense" with which the President's statement 
had been awaited by the public, North and South, Democrat and 
Republican. 6 The people, stated one such editorial, "have been 
eagerly seeking explanation for many months." 7 Another com- 

7. Restoration, Reconstruction, and Confusion 131 

mented, "Wall Street has stood in almost silent expectancy; and 
everywhere have been presented those indications which mark a 
people swayed alternately by fear and doubt and hope." 8 Some 
papers issued extras to meet "the urgent desire of the public" to 
read "the anxiously expected document"; 9 innumerable others 
curtailed their usual news and comments to make room for the 
complete text of the President's message. Distant papers were 
markedly appreciative of the Administration's forethought in 
sending out advance copies of the document. 

Editorial response to the message paid tribute, time and time 
again, to Johnson's statement of his policy toward the South as 
"clear," "frank," "free from ambiguity," containing nothing 
"enigmatic or deceptive," without "evasion or equivocal opinions" 
on the issues at stake. True, there were a few dissenting voices 
that challenged its forthrightness; but convincing evidence of its 
disingenuous character appears not so much in their distrust as 
in the diametrically opposed interpretations placed upon the mes- 
sage even by those who extolled its clarity. The skillfull wording 
of George Bancroft, the historian and sturdy Democrat to whom 
the President entrusted the writing of the message, left an im- 
pression of frankness and complete definition. Johnson's decisions 
as to the substance of the document prolonged the tortuous am- 
biguity that held the nation in suspense. 

Most Democratic papers found the message a vindication of the 
position of the Democracy, a repudiation of Radical doctrine, and 
a certain indication that warfare between Congress and the 
President lay ahead. Most Republican papers held that the mes- 
sage extinguished any danger of conflict between the President 
and the party; one even characterized its principles as "un- 
mistakably Radical" and another asserted it could not ask "any- 
thing more radical of the President!" 10 

On more specific issues interpretation of the message was 
equally conflicting. On the one hand, it was seen as indicating a 
fast approaching end to military occupation and military trials. 
On the other hand, it was read as giving no assurance of the re- 
moval of Negro troops, as passing over the matter of military 


arrests, and even as leaving open an indefinite continuation of 
martial law as a threat to coerce Southern states against their 
will. 11 Here are some of the questions raised by the message and 
the answers, in substance, as given by the press. 

Had Johnson indicated that his policy to date 'was a success and that 
he 'would adhere to it? 

yes He declares himself satisf ed with the results of his policy 
and declares his intention to adhere to it firmly. 12 

no Johnson does not say in all respects that his policy has 
been successful; he intends sterner methods so far as 
milder ones do not have the desired result. 13 

uncertain He says nothing as to the success of his efforts at restora- 
tion. 14 

Did he wish the immediate admission of the Southern states with rati- 
fication of the antislavery amendment as the only condition to their 

yes The President's position is clear; with the adoption of 
the Amendment nothing more is necessary and Congress 
should admit the Southern states forthwith. 15 

no He extends to the rebels no invitation to share in gov- 
ernment; so far from advocating the immediate and un- 
reserved admission of the late rebellious states, he de- 
clares their functions suspended for any period thought 
necessary for the safety of the country. 16 

uncertain The President implies that he favors admission from 
states that have adopted the Amendment, but recom- 
mends nothing. 17 

Did Johnson support the test oath that disqualified -former rebels from 
taking seats in Congress to which they were elected? 

yes The public can see from the President's position why he 
has manifested a strong desire that no objectionable men 
[ie., rebel leaders] shall be elected in the South. 18 

uncertain The question of the test oath and admission of southern 
members he touches very gingerly. 19 

7. Restoration, Reconstruction, and Confusion 133 

Had the President turned over to Congress the decision in respect to 

yes He candidly leaves Congress an unrestricted field of ac- 
tion; his previous course led us to hope that he would 
insist upon rapid restoration but he abandons the entire 
matter to Congress; nothing is more admirable than the 
unreserved way the President has submitted the solution 
of the reconstruction question to Congress. 20 

no Johnson has left no part whatsoever for Congress; such 
states as have complied with his terms are clearly entitled 
to their seats in Congress and any opposition would be 
regarded by the President as unconstitutional and revo- 
lutionary; the President assumes that it is for him alone 
to decide what qualifies the states for admittance, Con- 
gress has power only to judge the technical qualifica- 
tions of members elect. 21 

Editorial writers generally accepted at face value Johnson's as- 
sertion that the freedmen must be protected in their property and 
liberty and saw on the President's part a sincere concern for the 
Negro's future. But they disagreed as to how he meant protection 
to be guaranteed. Most believed that as distinct from the right to 
grant suffrage, which the President assigned to the states, he held 
that the national government had constitutional power to establish 
and enforce the freedmen's rights as free men. Some saw this 
protection attributed to Executive action, some to the courts, but 
most commentators held that Johnson had invited Congress to 
legislate on the matter. "Without any doubt any action which 
that body may take towards accomplishing the proposed object, 
will meet with the cordial approval of the President." 22 Some 
readers of the message, however, saw in the President's words an 
exclusive delegation to the states of all action to secure civil rights 
for the freedmen, or even that such an advance in status must 
rest upon the former slave's own record and the benevolence of 
his late master. 23 

The support for the President that was widespread among 
moderate Republicans, and not exceptional among those who con- 
sidered themselves Radicals, depended in large measure upon two 
related interpretations of his actions and his words. They read 


them as granting to Congress a major share in formulating the 
conditions upon which the rebellious states would be received 
back into the body politic and as giving assurance that justice and 
equal rights, in all matters save suffrage, would be secured for the 
liberated slaves. These expectations of most Republicans were to 
prove unwarranted, but for this not they but the President was 

In a close scrutiny of Johnson's policies and attitudes it is 
difficult to arrive at any more charitable conclusion than that the 
ambiguity so evident in the December message was consciously 
assumed. Perhaps it resulted from the instinctive reactions of the 
politician rather than from deliberate design. In either event full 
responsibility for misconception and subsequent disillusionment 
rests with Johnson. 

Students of history have often seen in the conflict between 
Johnson and Congress a clash between the executive and legisla- 
tive branches of government as to which was possessed of the 
legal power to deal with the seceded states. Yet Johnson himself 
did not claim that Reconstruction, or restoration as he preferred 
to designate the process, was an exclusively executive function. 
Such a claim would need to have rested on the war powers of the 
Presidency, an authority used by Lincoln to justify the Emancipa- 
tion Proclamation. In the nearly nine months prior to the meeting 
of Johnson's first Congress, he established for the Southern states 
a procedure for restoration. When he came to explain this, how- 
ever, he relied primarily upon pragmatic rather than Upon 
theoretical justification. Military government, he said, would have 
been divisive, expensive, damaging to peaceful restoration, danger- 
ous in the power of patronage and rule it entrusted to one man. 
Hence he had appointed civil provisional governors directed to 
call conventions and order elections. Though in effect the regime 
of the provisional governors was a military occupation, Johnson 
did not recognize it as such nor justify his course on the basis of 
the war powers of the Commander-in-Chief . When Congress met, 
he did not assert an exclusive authority over the South but did 
acknowledge the right of each House "to judge, each of you for 
yourselves, of the elections, returns, and qualifications of your own 

7. Restoration, Reconstruction, and Confusion 135 

members." 2 * This expression was diversely interpreted, as we 
have seen, but generally accepted as an invitation to Congress to 
participate in the Reconstruction process. 

Had Johnson wished his attitude toward Congress to have been 
unequivocal, the message could easily have made his meaning ex- 
plicit. Secretary Seward had sent to the President, probably at the 
latter's invitation, a draft for the message which left little room 
for doubt. The relevant passages of Seward's version read as 
follows: 25 

When such governments shall have thus been established, It will be 
as necessary as it will be just, and in harmony with the Constitution 
to receive Representatives from the insurrectionary states into the 
Congress of the United States. The power, however, in this respect, 
belongs, not to the executive department of the government, but to 
Congress. I leave it there with entire confidence in the wisdom, pru- 
dence and patriotism of the National Legislature. . . 

I have not at any time fixed, and it is not my purpose now to insist 
upon, or ask Congress to fix with exactness, upon a detailed scheme 
to be applied In all cases for the restoration of their political connec- 
tion with the Union. On the contrary, I have held, and with the sanc- 
tion of Congress, shall for the present continue to hold, through the 
agents of the national government in the several states, such control 
therein as would be sure to prevent anarchy, and at the same time 
favor the efforts which are being made by the people in those states 
to effect on their part, the restoration so much desired by all. I am 
anxious that the Executive department of the government shall be 
relieved, as soon as compatible with the public safety, of these respon- 
sibilities, which are as delicate as they are exceptional in their nature 
and foreign to the habits of our countrymen. I have thought It 
proper, however, for the executive department to insist upon three 
conditions, which are deemed essential preliminaries of a healthful, 
successful and permanent restoration. . . . With the fulfilment of 
these conditions, of which, relying upon the agreement of Congress, 
I still am hopeful, I shall be content, so far as depends upon the execu- 
tive department of the government, to accept and recognize the lately 
insurgent states, as loyal members of the national Union, and their 
citizens as brethren, in foil standing within the national family and 
entitled to equal participation in its manifold and precious advantages 
and benefits. 

Despite Seward's characteristically verbose writing, his passages 
clearly acknowledged that Congress was entitled to a role beyond 


that of technically passing upon the credentials of the members- 
elect from the South. Had Johnson wished to be equally explicit 
he would not have adopted as his own the phraseology of the final 
message. An explicit recognition of congressional authority, how- 
ever, would have antagonized the Northern Democracy and the 

On the other hand, Johnson could readily have made a clear 
statement of the theory dear to the Democracy: namely, that 
Congress had no right to decide whether the rebellious states were 
ready for readmission or to prescribe conditions. To have done so 
would have alienated a large part of the Union-Republican mem- 
bership. Johnson chose to be ambiguous. 

That Johnson avoided a clear statement as to congressional au- 
thority points up the fact that there was not an obvious and con- 
sistent Presidential theory of Reconstruction. The President's 
position did not rest upon a claim of exclusive executive juris- 
diction. Nor was it consistent with the careful formulation later 
made by William Archibald Dunning, the father of modern 
historical scholarship in respect to Reconstruction. Dunning states 
that according to Johnson's theory, the seceded states, being 
indestructible as states, required only the removal by Presidential 
pardon of the disability attached to their officers and people by 
the fact of their having been insurgents. "With the removal of 
this disability, the ante-bellum status returned." 26 Under such a 
theory there would be no place for the imposition, either by the 
President or by Congress, of any conditions upon the states once 
they were reorganized by citizens who had received the grace of 
Presidential pardon. 

Dunning's formulation is a reasonable interpretation of John- 
son's statements in the December message as to the status of the 
Southern states. Johnson there held that a state could not secede, 
could not as a state commit treason, that by the attempt to secede, 
states "placed themselves in a condition where their vitality was 
impaired, but not extinguished their functions suspended, but 
not destroyed*" He said that he had exercised the power of 
pardon "exclusively vested in the executive," taking care to ex- 
act a recognition of "the binding force of the laws of the United 

7. Restoration, Reconstruction, and Confusion 137 

States" and of the "great social change of condition in regard to 
slavery which has grown out of the war." 2T But the President did 
not say either that he had no power to impose conditions upon 
the states or that he had not done so. Johnson said neither; but 
he implied both. 

In respect to the antislavery amendment, Johnson stated that he 
had extended "an invitation" to the Southern states "to participate 
in the high office of amending the Constitution"; that it was not 
too much "to ask of the States which are now resuming their 
places in the family of the Union to give this pledge of perpetual 
loyalty and peace." 28 In other words, Johnson seemed to be say- 
ing, "I have required nothing beyond the terms of the pardon; in 
respect to anything more I have merely given friendly advice." 
Some two weeks earlier, in fact, Johnson had reassured the 
Mississippi legislature in almost these words that the Administra- 
tion had no disposition "to dictate what their action should be but 
on the contrary, simply advise a policy" that would help restore 
normal relations. 29 

For Johnson to have implied that in directing the restoration 
process he had required nothing more than the amnesty or pardon 
oath was a patent fiction. Without examining in detail Johnson's 
dealings with the South, it is sufficient to state the indisputable 
fact that the President made clear to the formerly rebel states that 
as states they must (i) abolish slavery by organic state law and 
also ratify the Thirteenth Amendment; (2) declare null and void 
their acts of secession; and (3) repudiate all debts incurred in 
support of the rebellion. Held under military rule, with their 
future uncertain and apparently in the hands of the President, 
the secession states had little freedom of choice; conformity to 
Johnson's directives had been equivalent to acceptance of peace 
terms imposed by victor upon vanquished. A Washington corre- 
spondent had appraised the situation in a terse sentence: "The 
President is really dictator; that is, the southern people understand 
his strength, not only physical but moral and whatever he says 
must be done, they do." 30 Though some states were hesitant in 
acting, or did so with qualification, the explanation lies in the 
opportunity which Johnson's "kindly advice" approach seemed 


to present. His conditions, however, were substantially met; and 
they clearly did not represent the free decisions of Southern 
state conventions and legislatures. 

Evidence that the actions desired from the states were recog- 
nized by the Administration as executive requirements, rather 
than advice to be freely accepted or rejected, is afforded by 
Seward's draft of the December message. The relevant passage 
is included in the long extract given above, but bears repetition; 
"I have thought it proper, however, for the executive department 
to insist upon three conditions, which are deemed essential pre- 
liminaries of a healthful, successful and permanent restoration." 
Seward then enumerated the conditions: each state must, first, 
abolish slavery by organic state law; second, accept the anti- 
slavery amendment; third, disallow and annul pretended secession 
and all debts resulting therefrom. 

Seward's version of the message together with the course of 
events in the South during 1865 are conclusive. Johnson did not 
take his stand upon the basis of a clear and logical theory such as 
that seen by Dunning. Presidential actions were not consistent 
with it; Presidential words avoided its explicit statement. In itself, 
the lack of consistency implies no criticism, for Lincoln's distrust 
of "mere pernicious abstraction" as a guide to restoration of the 
South was eminently sensible in view of the unprecedented and 
extraconstitutional nature of the problem. Johnson, however, did 
not similarly disavow theory; rather, his words of December, 
1865, implied a theory, but the implication did not square with 
the facts. 

The impression given by the December message and earlier 
statements yielded a practical advantage to the President in his 
relations with the Democracy, North and South. Their potential 
protest against Presidential pressure during the process of 
Southern constitution-making, elections, and basic legislation was 
restrained by the fiction of "kindly advice" and "free consent." 
The South and its Northern supporters could bury animosity 
toward the President under the belief that his theoretical posi- 
tion was theirs. Their position, as emphatically stated by the 
World, was that the seceding states had never been "out of the 

7. Restoration, Reconstruction., and Confusion 139 

Union" and were entitled to all rights of states within the Union. 
This was the same position that Jeremiah Black had insisted the 
President must assume if he were to receive the support of the 
Democrats. The distinction between this and Johnson's position 
that the states had not seceded nor lost their character as states 
was, in fact, decidedly elusive. Indeed, though Johnson did not 
use the phrase in the formal exposition of his message, he is re- 
ported to have done so in private conversation; and it is a matter 
of record that he told a delegation from Virginia that he could 
not take the position that "a State which attempted to secede is 
out of the Union." 31 

The logical implication of the "not~out-of-the~Union" view 
was that the Southern states rightfully possessed all authority over 
their local affairs and all the rights of decision in respect to na- 
tional matters which they had enjoyed before secession. This 
would preclude martial law, national interference in adjusting 
race relations, and any conditions preliminary to readmission of 
their representatives to Congress. Johnson's generalities about the 
Constitution and state rights enabled the Democracy to claim 
their conclusions as the logic of the President's own position and 
to press him for corresponding action. Johnson was unready to 
capitulate completely to the practical requirements that followed 
from the logic of the "not-out-of-the-Union" theory; neither was 
he prepared to deny the expectations which the Northern De- 
mocracy and the South derived from the conviction that he was in 
head and heart their champion. So long as the Democracy could 
hold to the fiction that nothing was required of the seceded states 
but loyalty, inconsistencies in the President's course could be 
condoned as politic diversions to outmaneuver the Republicans. 
The merit of the President's message, one Democratic paper com- 
mented, "consists of its generality. It leaves the President at 
liberty to finally side with the Democracy." 32 

Failure to recognize the ambiguity in the President's attitude 
toward Congress and the South has led to a distorted interpreta- 
tion of an interesting episode that occurred at the opening session 
of the House of Representatives, December 4, 1865. Edward Mc- 
Pherson, Clerk of the House, omitted from the roll call all names 


of members-elect from the formerly rebellious states. When 
Horace Maynard of Tennessee rose to protest the omission of his 
name, he was refused recognition. This incident has been pre- 
sented as a Radical conspiracy, a declaration of war against the 
President, the beginning of a Radical revolution. 

Actually, the matter of the roll call had been under discussion 
in the public press for weeks. Wendell Phillips had raised the 
question in July when he stated forcefully his fear that Presi- 
dential pressure would result in McPherson's calling the names of 
all Southern members-elect and thus effect the immediate admis- 
sion of the seceded states. 83 Long before Congress met, Bennett's 
Herald, together with the World and a number of other Demo- 
cratic papers, were demanding that McPherson do just that. An 
act of March 3, 1863, directed the Clerk to make a roll of 
representatives-elect, and to place thereon the names of all per- 
sons, and such persons only, whose credentials showed that they 
had been regularly elected in accordance with the laws of their 
states or those of the United States. This was interpreted by the 
Herald and the Democratic press as permitting or requiring their 
comments appear inconsistent as to the permissive or mandatory 
nature of the law the inclusion of Southern members in the roll 
call of the House. They anticipated with delighted satisfaction 
that the Southern members would then wield the balance of 
power in the election of speaker and that once this was accom- 
plished no requirements, not even the test oath, could interfere 
with the swearing in of representatives from the secession states. 
The Clerk of the House, exulted the Herald, "may have a golden 
opportunity for a brilliant coup d'etat in support of President 
Johnson. . . . [He] may play a leading part in one of the most 
important revolutions of the nineteenth century." 34 Both the 
Herald and the World anticipated that before Congress met the 
case for roll call and admission would be made unassailable by 
the President's proclaiming the insurgent states restored to the 
Union, a proclamation that was not, however, forthcoming. The 
World, undaunted, pointed to the message of Benjamin Perry, 
provisional governor of South Carolina, as representing the views 

7. Restoration., Reconstruction, and Confusion 141 

of the President; Perry had stated that it was the duty of the 
Clerk of the House to call the names of Southern members. 35 

The New York Times, on the other hand, raised the question 
of whether elections held under the Southern provisional gov- 
ernments would meet the conditions set by the law of 1863 
John Forney of the Philadelphia Press and Washington Chronicle, 
then loyally supporting the President, considered the Democratic 
expectations of McPherson "extraordinary" and cited precedents 
for excluding the Southern states from the roll call. 37 A. K. Mc- 
Clure, prominent Pennsylvania politician and publisher, inter- 
preted the law as actually forbidding the Clerk to include mem- 
bers from the seceded states. 38 Greeley's Tribune saw in the de- 
mands of the Democratic journals an intent "to settle all questions 
of reconstruction" in a manner that would preclude Congress 
from any voice in their decision. 39 

In the midst of the controversy McPherson let it be known that 
he would not place the names of representatives from the formerly 
rebellious states on the roll of regularly elected members. The 
House itself must pass upon their claims; for him to do so, he 
quite reasonably held, would be to himself decide one of the 
most important questions before Congress. 40 Well before the 
legislators assembled for their first session, it was recognized that 
the names of the Southern members-elect would not appear on the 
House roll call. The Times' Washington correspondent, in fact, 
reported that the question of seating Southern claimants had al- 
most ceased to attract discussion in view of the certainty that they 
would be excluded. 41 The Springfield Republican in commenting 
upon McPherson's decision, observed that the President had dis- 
avowed any desire to interfere with the action of Congress, that 
no Southern member would be seated until Congress had judged 
his state entitled to representation and himself both regularly 
elected and personally loyal, and that "Nobody can object to 
this." 42 

The omission of the secession states and their elected delegates 
from the House roll was neither unexpected, revolutionary, nor 
in defiance of the President. Had they been included, then indeed 
would the Clerk of the House have effected a coup d'etat. He 


would have been pronouncing a judgment as to their status and 
their right to resume their places in the Union more explicit than 
any President Johnson himself had announced. 

The establishment of the Joint Committee of Fifteen, like the 
omission of Southern names from the roll call, has been generally 
interpreted in accordance with the strictures of the Herald and 
the World. Two days before the opening of Congress, the Union- 
Republican caucus on motion of Thaddeus Stevens unanimously 
agreed to establish a committee to inquire into the condition of 
the seceded states and report whether they, or any of them, 
were entitled to representation; pending the committee's report, 
none of their members-elect would be seated. The caucus de- 
cision and the House action that followed have been seen simply 
as a skillfull and successful maneuver by Stevens, the Radical 
leader, to defeat the President by committing the entire Union 
party "knowingly or unknowingly . . . against the policy of the 
President." 43 

What has been overlooked is that this disposition of the prob- 
lem of seating Southern representatives was first suggested in 
October by Samuel Bowies' Springfield Republican, a moderate, 
conciliatory Republican paper. The Republican welcomed the 
action of the House as an acceptance of its own proposal and as 
altogether "proper and prudent." It denied the Democratic charge 
that the move meant support for the theories of Sumner and 
Stevens. "On the contrary it implies a disposition to admit loyal 
representatives from loyal states on sufficient evidence." Admit- 
ting that Stevens might like to annul all that the President had 
done toward restoration, the paper asserted "all that the majority 
of the republican members want is evidence of the soundness of 
reconstruction as it stands, and security that the reorganized 
states will behave loyally and keep faith with the freedmen." 44 

Despite the apprehensions that preceded and the different inter- 
pretations that followed the President's December message, most 
Republicans believed that Johnson was willing for Congress to 
participate in the Reconstruction process. Many thought his 
actions and his words before Congress assembled indicated disap- 
pointment in the behavior of the states under provisional govern- 

7. Restoration, Reconstruction, and Confusion 143 

ments and a readiness to let their representatives, except those of 
Tennessee, stand waiting outside the doors of the House and the 
Senate, not indefinitely but for at least some litde time. 45 The 
establishment of the Joint Committee was not a defiance of the 
President's wishes, as most Republicans interpreted them, nor did 
it create any fatal necessity for eventual conflict between Johnson 
and Congress. Cooperation and mutual adjustment were the 
earnest desire of the Republican majority; they intended to con- 
duct the functions appropriate to the legislative branch of the 
government in friendship, and with accommodation. Johnson's 
vetoes, not Stevens' so-called maneuver, marked a beginning of 
the battle between Congress and the President. Only then did 
Johnson depart from the wide margin of ambiguity that had 
obscured a basic disagreement of purpose and principle. 

The ambiguous nature of Johnson's statements and actions re- 
sulted in confusion not only at the nation's Capital, but in local 
politics as well. The fall campaign in New York, as we have seen, 
was replete with contradictory interpretations of the President's 
policy and with conflicting claims upon his support. 46 The Con- 
necticut elections in the spring of 1866 are another example of 
confused practical politics. This state of affairs was, of course, 
intimately linked with Johnson's intention of creating a new na- 
tional Johnson party. Though an expectation, it was not a reality 
nor even an officially acknowledged objective; meanwhile, local 
battles for office, in the traditional manner of American politics, 
were waged between the two established political parties. 

In Connecticut, prenomination maneuvering began in Novem- 
ber, 1865; and party conventions chose candidates and set forth 
platforms in mid-February, 1866, before the first veto. The 
Democrats wrote into their platform a strong pledge of support 
for President Johnson, approving the sentiments "which he has 
expressed against negro suffrage, the proposed amendments to 
the Constitution by the radicals, and his declared policy in favor 
of restoring the Southern States to their proper position in the 
Union, and the admission of their Senators and Representatives to 
the halls of Congress." 47 The Republican convention reconciled 
differences of opinion in committee and unanimously adopted 


resolutions that expressed confidence in both Johnson and Con- 
gress, and in their ability "to cooperate in securing ... the ex- 
tinction of the doctrine of Secession; the repudiation of all 
pecuniary obligations incurred in support of the Rebellion; the 
sacred inviolability of the national debt; the complete destruction 
of slavery in fact as well as in name; and the enactment of appro- 
priate laws to assure to every class of citizens the full enjoyment 
of the rights and immunities accorded to all by the Constitution 
of the United States." 48 Then the convention adjourned with 
three cheers for Andrew Johnson. 49 

For governor, the Democrats chose James E. English, a sub- 
stantial and respected former member of Congress who had 
voted in January, 1865, in favor of the Thirteenth Amendment. 
The Republicans selected General James R. Hawley, a staunch 
Union man, war hero, friend of the Negro, and one of the pro- 
prietors and editors of the influential Hartford Press. Gideon 
Welles, an old friend and intimate political associate of Hawley, 
considered him "really well intended and [as] fairminded as one 
can be who has been a zealous Abolitionist and is hopeful of politi- 
cal honors." 50 

Despite the harmonious nature of the Union-Republican con- 
vention, the campaign started off on a sour note that greatly em- 
barrassed both Hawley and Welles. The Radical Hartford Post 
was smarting under the impact of a recent address by the Presi- 
dent to a Virginia delegation in which he had equated "extreme 
men North" with Southern secession extremists and had stated 
that such Northerners stood in the way and "must get out of it." 51 
The day after the convention, the Post's leading editorial com- 
mended Hawley as "one of the men who, loving justice and 
devoted to the interests of humanity, is considered by President 
Johnson equally dangerous to the Union, with the rebels of the 
Southern States one who must, in the language of the President, 
get out of the way." It continued, "The people of Connecticut 
by an unmistakeable majority, will demonstrate the impossibility 
of thus smothering the earnest convictions of thinking, progres- 
sive men." 52 The moderate Hartford Courant, widely believed to 
represent the sentiments of Republican Senator Dixon, took up 

7. Restoration, Reconstruction, and Confusion 145 

the Post's comment and demanded a statement from General 
Hawley. The Post replied by attacking the Courant for turning 
"grand inquisitor," defended its right to the free expression of its 
own opinion, and absolved Hawley from responsibility for any- 
thing except his own statements. 53 But the National Intelligencer, 
the Administration newspaper in Washington, was soon quoting 
the Post on Hawley, commending the Democratic endorsement of 
Johnson, and criticizing the Republican platform. 54 The whole 
Democratic press of Connecticut seized upon the opportunity 
to make political capital and to emphasize the Democratic view 
that English was a "Johnson man" and Hawley was not. The 
latter's embarrassment was increased by Johnson's veto of the 
Freedmen's Bureau Bill and the attack upon Summer and Stevens 
in the President's speech of February 22. 

In his paper, the Press, and in his own speeches, Hawley main- 
tained a moderate tone, arguing that the entire Union party, Con- 
gress and the President included, were seeking the same ends and 
had no essential difference of principle, that the question at issue 
was one of "fact as to the state of loyalty at the South, the sub- 
mission of its bigoted elements to law and order, the protection 
and opportunity afforded freedmen for "anything like an equal 
chance in the race for life." The party was strong enough to admit 
and tolerate differences of opinion and to work out satisfactory 
decisions. Hawley pointed to the conditions and restrictions 
which Johnson had already imposed upon the South, challenged 
the Democrats to approve them, and accused his opponents of 
hypocrisy and self-seeking in their attitude toward the President. 55 
Privately, the Union-Republican candidate was much troubled. 
He wrote Welles of his apprehensions and asked if it were not 
reasonable for the Union party to have some expression of good 
wishes from the Administration. "Let us deal honestly with one 
another," he told his old friend. "Perhaps I am blinded. I try to 
keep cool, but I do not see how any gentleman can fail to regret 
the President's speech on the 22nd. The universal feeling here is 
one of sadness and humiliation. Does he really mean to leave us 
entirely? . . . Who cares for scattered angry or weak utterances 
of Stevens and Sumner? They are not Congress nor the Union 


majority thereof For my life I cannot see the foundation for 

the President's hostility to Congress. He must have some personal 
friends and advisers who malignantly misrepresent all things. The 
whole loyal North was disposed not only to respect and support 
but admire and love him. But if Tom Florence & Co give him the 
coloring how can we be rightly judged?" 56 

No public endorsement came from the Secretary of the Navy. 
He did, however, write the editor of New Haven's leading Re- 
publican paper, clearly indicating that his views were not for 
publication, of his "personal regard for General Hawley," his 
own desire for the success of Administration policy and of those 
who supported it, and his "belief' that Hawley concurred and 
would act in conformity with that policy. 57 In his private diary, 
Welles confided his conviction that Hawley intended to support 
both the President and Congress, that the two would be difficult 
to reconcile, and that "if compelled to make an election he would 
be more likely at the present moment to do wrong, I fear, than 
right." 58 Welles rationalized his own conflict between loyalty to 
old friends and his desire for an uncompromising executive atti- 
tude toward Congress with the argument that the President should 
have made an issue with Congress in December. Since the Con- 
necticut nominations had been made prior to a clear-cut issue, it 
was "too late now to change front or get up a new arrange- 
ment." 59 

Though restrained in his public statements, General Hawley 
was too honest a man to dissimulate. In response to a series of 
loaded questions at a public meeting, the General stated his views 
frankly. He recognized the force of many of the President's ob- 
jections to the Freedmen's Bureau Bill, but admitted that had 
he been a member of Congress he would have supported the 
measure. He thought the President had spoken with provocation 
but with undue severity in respect to Sumner and Stevens, though 
he himself differed with some ideas of both, particularly with 
Stevens' plan for wholesale confiscations. He forthrightly sup- 
ported suffrage for the Negro in Connecticut and expressed a per- 
sonal desire for a constitutional amendment prohibiting discrimi- 
nation on the basis of race, color, or religion; but he stated that he 

7. Restoration, Reconstruction, and Confusion 147 

did not favor extending the right of suffrage by Federal legisla- 
tion. Making unmistakably clear his respect for Johnson, he said 
that he was "nobody's man but his wife's." A truncated version 
of the questions and answers was widely publicized by the Dem- 
ocrats as Hawley's anti- Johnson, pro-Negro "platform." 60 

The Democrats found much to stimulate their hope for vic- 
tory, but they too had apprehensions as to the President's course. 
Their candidate, English, came out unequivocally in support of 
Johnson's veto and the speech of February 22, and also stated his 
opposition to any further agitation on the question of Negro 
suffrage, in Connecticut or elsewhere. 61 Under the banner of "The 
Union, Johnson and English," a party rally wildly cheered when 
the Republican postmaster of Hartford, E. S. Cleveland, deserted 
General Hawley and spoke in favor of English as the candidate 
who supported the President. 62 But privately, Democratic leaders 
were writing Welles to complain of the President's silence, of 
Postmaster General Dennison's letter of support for New Hamp- 
shire Unionists, of local officeholders' activities on behalf of their 
opponents, of Republican claims that the Administration wished 
the success of Hawley and spurned the votes of "Copperheads." 63 
In an attempt to relieve themselves of these handicaps, candidate 
English made a pilgrimage to Washington and talked earnestly 
with the President. Johnson was favorably impressed; 64 but, to 
quote S. L. JVL Barlow's report, "The President unhesitatingly 
approves English, in private, but publicly his refusal to act, leaves 
thousands in Conn, in the dark as to Ms real wishes." 65 

The rumors of Presidential support for English which his 
Washington visit evoked, together with jibes from the Demo- 
cratic press to the effect that Hawley was an anti-Johnson man 
and opposed to the speedy restoration of the South, brought a 
long and defensive letter to Welles from General Hawley. He 
explained that in his speeches he always referred to the President 
"in terms of the highest respect, while acknowledging . . . differ- 
ences of opinion in the party." He desired, as a preliminary to 
restoration, only to be "very sure" that the Southern states would 
fulfill the conditions that had been "asked by the President 1 '-, re- 
manding the South to a territorial status or "prolonging the ab- 


normal & unnatural state of 'subjugated provinces' are ideas ab- 
horrent to me." The Hartford Times and the New Haven 
Register, Hawley assured Welles, were misrepresenting his posi- 
tion. Had the Secretary heard his statements on the stump, "I 
KNOW that . . . while we might not agree precisely, you would not 
find fault with my discretion, or my general principles." 66 

On March 20, Welles read the letter from Hawley to the 
President. 67 The next day General Hawley was present in person 
to talk with him and with Johnson. The Connecticut candidate 
asked a letter of endorsement from his old friend, held a two-hour 
interview with the President, and returned to tell Welles that he 
was satisfied with Johnson's views and his intent to take no part 
in a local election. 68 It is clear from subsequent correspondence 
that Hawley hoped Welles would send a friendly commendation 
for publication. But in answer to Hawley's request, Welles, in 
effect, took the position that the policies of Congress and those 
of the President were antagonistic, and that Hawley must make a 
choice between them. He argued that Hawley's difficulties were 
due to the nature of the platform resolutions adopted by the 
Connecticut Republicans, and to Hawley's own failure to express 
a preference for either Congress or the President. Also, according 
to Welles, the letter Hawley had written him in February, after 
Johnson's attack upon Sumner and Stevens, had expressed "some 
apprehensions in regard to the President and some ideas respecting 
the powers of Congress . . . [that] lean to the policy of the 
radicals." If Hawley would send an avowal of his support for 
the President's policy that would absolve him of the "ambiguity 
and duplicity" of the Republican platform, then Welles could 
"speak clearly, understandingly and explicitly to the President and 
if deemed expedient to the public." 69 No reply came from General 
Hawley, and no public statement was issued by Welles. Hawley 
continued the campaign without departing from his position of 
good will toward both the Republican Congress and the Presi- 

The two candidates for governor were not alone in seeking 
clarification from the President. Indeed, during the closing days 
of the campaign, there were a series of interviews between John- 

7. Restoration, Reconstruction., and Confusion 149 

son and Connecticut politicos, both Democratic and Union-Repub- 
lican. After each consultation, a reassuring report of the Presi- 
dent's wishes was made public for Connecticut constituents; and 
these reassurances were as promptly denied by conflicting reports 
or interpretations of the same interview emanating from the oppo- 
site camp. 70 It was agreed that the President desired the success of 
"Union" candidates; but the Democrats labeled the Republicans 
"disunionists" and considered themselves the "Unionists." The 
Union-Republicans stoutly maintained that the Democratic inter- 
pretation was a ridiculous distortion of the President's view. 71 On 
the whole, the Democrats had the better of these exchanges, 
though in the end they lost the election by a very narrow margin. 

The Hawley forces finally took the position that the President 
quite properly did not intend to interfere in a local contest, 
though his sympathies were still held to be with their candidate, 
and that they had asked for no interference on their behalf. 72 
Toward the end of the heated contest, however, a sharp dis- 
crepant note was sounded in the editorials of Hawley's Press. 
"If Mr. Johnson considers Mr. English a better Union man than 
Gen. Hawley, he differs with his whole cabinet, with the entire 
republican party in Congress . . . and what is of more conse- 
quence to us than all else, he differs with THE REPUBLICAN PARTY 
OF CONNECTICUT which in lawful convention laid down its plat- 
form and with extraordinary unanimity chose Gen. Hawley as 
its candidate." 73 And a few days later, after questioning a report 
in the New York World that Johnson favored the candidates 
who supported his policy, the Press concluded, "The Union men 
of Connecticut are not, however, accustomed to vote under in- 
structions from New York or elsewhere. There is too much of 
the spirit of old Put. in the Nutmeg State for that." 74 

There was good reason for this minor but unmistakable theme 
of asperity from the Union-Republicans. Evidence is now avail- 
able that Johnson did, indeed, wish English to win. He was un- 
doubtedly restrained by Welles and James F. Babcock, the most 
unreservedly loyal pro- Johnson men among Connecticut Union- 
RepubHcan leaders, and probably also by Seward and by the dis- 
taste of other Cabinet members for any disassociation of the 


Administration from the "War party." 75 The President, however, 
had not pursued a strictly "hands-off" policy. He had publicly 
refused the proffered resignation of Cleveland, the apostate Hart- 
ford postmaster, and sent written approval of "your political ac- 
tion in upholding my measures and policy." 76 The President's 
Kentucky friend and political advocate, General L. H. Rousseau, 
had spoken for English in the last days of the Connecticut con- 
test. And just before the campaign ended, Johnson himself had 
sent a telegram which was triumphantly read at an "English and 
Johnson" rally. The President wired: 77 

In reference to the elections in Connecticut or elsewhere, ... I 
am for the candidate, who is for the general policy, and the specific 
measures promulgated, of my administration in my regular message, 
veto message, speech on 2 id February, and the veto message sent in 
this day. There can be no mistake in this, I presume it is known, or 
can be ascertained, what candidates favor or oppose my policy, or 
measures as promulgated to the country. 

The implication could hardly be mistaken. General Hawley and 
the Press had openly differed with the President on the Freed- 
men's Bureau veto and the February 22 speech, and they were 
maintaining that the Civil Rights veto had no relevance for the 
Connecticut vote. 78 

Some weeks later, a key Democratic strategist wrote Welles 
that the English ticket would have won, "had we been favored 
with two weeks more, after that declaration of the President." 79 
The accuracy of his diagnosis is questionable in the light of 
election results in other states the following October and Novem- 
ber. Before then, however, even a man of Hawley 's good will 
could no longer refuse to acknowledge a sharp conflict between 
the intentions of Congress and those of the President. 




among Republicans, particularly those of the Eastern states, than 
his attitude toward the freedrnen. As a people, Americans have 
always been alert to motives and intent behind matters judged of 
moral consequence; and both Johnson's contemporaries and 
historians have passed judgment upon his attitude toward the 
Negro. This raises a question which admits of no easy answer. 

The December message, as we have seen, was generally re- 
ceived as reassuring. Sharp and bitter dissent, however, came from 
Wendell Phillips' National Anti-Slavery Standard; it found the 
tone of the President toward the freedmen "utterly repulsive." 1 
The Liberator^ William Lloyd Garrison's venerable weekly, also 
challenged Johnson's sincerity. Fair words, according to the 
Liberator, must be interpreted by acts; and it saw the President 
as working to place the governments of the Southern states in the 
hands of those already re-enacting Black Codes. 2 A more moder- 
ate and friendly challenge to the President, but one that, for this 
very reason, must have been the more disconcerting to its readers, 
was voiced by the Brooklyn Daily Union: 3 



If the nation is bound to defend the rights of the blacks, why has 
not the President incorporated such a defence in the conditions of re- 
admission? If justice only is the thing which can save us from suffer- 
ing in the solution of the negro problem, why has the President 
quietly ignored justice just at the point where it becomes most abso- 
lutely essential that it should be observed? Just when the President 
proposes to establish each State securely and impregnably behind the 
banners of resumed Statehood, why does he leave the negro helpless? 

President Johnson himself told a delegation of Negroes in Feb- 
ruary, 1866, that the "feelings of my own heart" had been "for 
the colored man"; that he had opposed slavery, first, because it 
had been a great monopoly that enabled an aristocracy to derive 
great profits and rule with an iron hand and, secondly, be- 
cause of the abstract principle of slavery. But as a political leader 
in prewar Tennessee, Andrew Johnson, though an antagonist of 
the slaveholding aristocracy, had not been known as an opponent 
of slavery. A kindly master to the slaves of his household, he had 
on occasion spoken harsh words in respect to the Negro. It is clear 
that he regarded the whites as a race superior to the blacks, and 
that he harbored a deep antagonism to Northern Abolitionism, 4 
Shortly after Johnson took office as President, the antislavery 
New York Tribune pointed out that the new Chief Executive 
would not be open to charges of "nigger-worship" since he had 
"always till now voted and acted as though Blacks had no rights 
which Whites are bound to respect." 5 Although the tone of the 
Tribune*$ comment was friendly, its characterization may not 
have been altogether fair. During his wartime governorship of 
Tennessee, Johnson pledged to the Negro populace that he would 
be their "Moses"; he recognized that the war would kill slavery, 
welcomed its passing as the end of a disturbing element in the 
body politic, and loyally strove to implement Lincoln's desire that 
Tennessee should officially bury the institution. 6 He did not, how- 
ever, attempt to prevent the exclusion of Negroes "not only from 
the ballot box, but also from the witness-box," a fact that the 
Democratic press later delighted in citing. 7 

In October, 1865, President Johnson went far toward repudi- 
ating the view associated with the Blairs and the Democracy, and 

8. Johnson and the Negro 153 

one most obnoxious to Republican friends of the Negro, namely 
that "this is a white man's country." "This is your country as 
well as anybody else's country," he told a regiment of Negro 
soldiers who had gathered to pay him tribute. "This country is 

founded upon the principle of equality He that is meritorious 

and virtuous, intellectual and well informed, must stand highest, 
without regard to color." 8 Private letters to the President, how- 
ever, strongly suggest that Johnson's views were close to those of 
the Democracy. A Tennessee friend remembered well "your 
remark, and that was, Gorham, I am for a White Man's Govern- 
ment in America." 9 Harvey Watterson, Johnson's trusted repre- 
sentative in the South, commended a general for command in 
North Carolina. "Like yourself, too, he is for a white man's 
government, and in favor of free white citizens controlling this 
country." 10 There is grave doubt that Johnson's private views 
were ever completely emancipated from Ms heritage of Southern 
racial attitudes. His private secretary, in 1868, noted in his short- 
hand diary that "the President has at times exhibited a morbid 
distress and feeling against the negroes." He made note of the 
President's querulous demand, on seeing a half-dozen Negroes at 
work about the White House grounds, whether "all the white 
men had been discharged." The secretary consoled the President 
with the comment that "the evident discrimination made here on 
behalf of the negroes, was sufficient to excite the disgust of all 
reflecting men." 11 

Johnson's public statements, even that to the Negro soldiers 
quoted above, seemed to carry an implication that colonization or 
separate Negro communities might well prove the ultimate solu- 
tion of the Negro problem. The great question, Johnson told the 
colored regiment, is whether "this race can be incorporated and 
mixed with the people of the- United States to make a harmoni- 
ous and permanent ingredient in the population Let us make 

the experiment, and make it in good faith. ... H we have to be- 
come a separate and distinct people (although I trust that the 
system can be made to work harmoniously) . . . Providence . . . 
will point out the way, and the mode, and the manner by which 
these people are to be separated," 12 The December message also 


spoke of an "experiment in good faith" and cautioned against 
hasty assumptions that the two races could' not live side by side. 
Some weeks later the President spoke with great emphasis to a 
Negro delegation of the mutual enmity between "the colored 
man and the non-slaveholders" and urged the Negro leaders, who 
had come with a plea for suffrage, to tell their people that they 
could "live and advance in civilization to better advantage else- 
where than crowded right down there in the South." 13 Although 
the Thirty-eighth Congress had attempted to put an end to 
colonization schemes, James Mitchell, who had been appointed 
Commissioner of Emigration by Lincoln in 1862, clung to his 
office. In the fall of 1865, Mitchell was actively canvassing politi- 
cal centers from New York to Wisconsin for support of coloniza- 
tion. He reported to President Johnson that he had found many 
men "anxious to go with us on the question of the separation of 
the White and Black races." 14 Men close to the President desired 
separation as the solution of the Negro problem, and Johnson 
himself may have viewed it with greater favor than his public 
comment indicated. 15 

Even on the question of Negro suffrage, where Johnson's posi- 
tion seems clearer than on most questions relating to the freed- 
men, there was room for uncertainty and contradiction. Before 
his proclamation of May 29, 1865, establishing a provisional gov- 
ernment for North Carolina, he considered the possibility of im- 
posing Negro suffrage upon the rebellious states with enough 
sympathy to kindle the hopes of men committed to this end. Once 
this first step toward restoration was followed in mid- June by a 
similar government for Mississippi without extending the vote to 
any portion of the Negro people, Johnson's policy was generally 
recognized as based upon the position that the question of suffrage 
pertained exclusively to the states. There was a lively difference 
of opinion, however, as to whether or not the President approved 
and desired extension of the suffrage to Negroes by state action. 
In a June interview with a white delegation from South Carolina, 
Johnson indicated that he feared the late slaveholders would con- 
trol the Negro vote, if suffrage were granted, and use it against 
the poorer white men of the South. 16 A few days later Secretary 

8. Johnson and the Negro 155 

Welles, while defending the Administration's hands-off policy in 
respect to state suffrage, reassured Charles Sunnier that there was 
not "on the part of the President or Ms advisers any opposition to 
most liberal extensions of the elective franchises." 17 

In the battle over Negro suffrage waged in Connecticut during 
the fall of 1865,' the Democracy as we have seen identified 
their opposition with the President's cause. 18 Johnson's Connecti- 
cut Secretary of Navy, Gideon Welles, was reported in the local 
press as having expressed without hesitation "his opinion as de- 
cidedly opposed to negro suffrage," and this was used as evidence 
that "President Johnson is opposed to negro suffrage, as he is op- 
posed to forcing negro voting upon the South." Connecticut Re- 
publicans, who were fighting hard for the liberalizing amendment 
to their state constitution, were alarmed at this damaging blow to 
the cause and appealed to Welles for a public contradiction. 
Welles declined to make a statement for publication but author- 
ized a denial that he had "expressed any opinion on the subject 
of the constitutional amendment now pending." 19 

Just as the voters of Connecticut were deciding the issue with 
the Democrats and against the Republicans, a dedicated but con- 
ciliatory antislavery man from neighboring Massachusetts, George 
L. Stearns, sought from the President a direct answer to this now 
politically freighted question. In an interview which he later ob- 
tained permission to make public, Stearns heard from the Presi- 
dent that were he in Tennessee "I should try to introduce negro 
suffrage gradually; first those who had served in the army; those 
who could read and write; and perhaps a property qualification 
for the others, say $200 or $250. It would not do to let the negro 
have universal suffrage now; it would breed a war of races," 20 
This statement greatly pleased Eastern Republicans. Greeley's 
Tribune, for example, commented that judicious men would "re- 
joice that Mr. Johnson is willing to use even his indirect and un- 
official influence that justice may be done to the blacks of the 
South." The World was not unduly disturbed. If the Tribune or 
anyone else can find satisfaction in Johnson's "private views 
which he steadily refuses to embody in official action we do not 


object. Give us his official acts, and you are welcome to his 
private sentiments." 21 

Much of Johnson's popularity among Southerners rested upon 
the conviction that the President alone stood between them and 
the dire fate of Negro suffrage. They relied not only upon his 
official policy in restricting elections under the provisional gov- 
ernments to whites but also upon unofficial assurances. Watterson 
during his stay in North Carolina had let it be known "in the 
right quarter" that the President would never be driven by 
"the Chases and Sumners" from the position "that the suffrage 
question belongs to the States alone." 22 Letters that reached the 
President made unmistakably clear the Southern aversion to an 
extension of the suffrage and the gratitude for his stand. 23 Like the 
World) Southerners could pass over Johnson's remarks to Stearns, 
approving a limited state grant of voting privileges to Negroes, so 
long as he left the question in their hands. The prediction of an 
Alabama Unionist proved erroneous; the statement in favor of 
qualified Negro suffrage, he wrote the President, "is enough for 
these southern people not only to condemn you while liveing [sic] 
but will try to blacken your future name and history." 2 * The 
Alabaman was not in error, however, in assuming an overwhelm- 
ing opposition to Negro voting in the South. In view of this at- 
titude, which was undoubtedly clear to Johnson, the following 
sentence in his December message appears evasive and mis- 
leading: 25 

In my judgment, the freedmen, if they show patience and manly 
virtues, will sooner obtain a participation in the elective franchise 
through the States than through the General Government, even if it 
had power to intervene. 

President Johnson's often cited recommendation to the pro- 
visional governor of Mississippi that the state grant limited suf- 
frage to the Negro requires examination in a larger perspective 
than it has generally received. The Mississippi convention which 
met in Jackson on August 14, 1865, was the first such convention 
to assemble under Johnson's plan of restoration. On August 15, 
the President sent to Governor W. L. Sharkey a telegram urging 

8. Johnson and the Negro 157 

abolition of slavery in the state constitution and the ratification of 
the pending Thirteenth Amendment. The telegram continued: 26 

If you could extend the elective franchise to all persons of color 
who can read the constitution of the United States in English and 
write their names, and to all persons of color who own real estate 
valued at not less than two hundred and fifty dollars and pay taxes 
thereon, you would completely disarm the adversary and set an 
example the other states will follow. 

This you can do with perfect safety. ... I hope and trust your 
convention will do this, and as a consequence the Radicals, who are 
wild upon negro franchise, will be completely foiled in their attempts 
to keep the Southern States from renewing their relations to the 
Union by not accepting their Senators and Representatives. 

On August 20, Sharkey wired back that the convention would 
amend the state constitution to abolish slavery, but that the right 
to testify in court and the right of suffrage would probably be left 
to the legislature. 27 The President replied that he was "much 
gratified to hear of your proceedings being so favorable," and 
that "your convention can adopt the Amendment to the Consti- 
tution of the United States or recommend its adoption by the 
Legislature." He pointed out "the importance of being prompt 
and circumspect in all that is being done," since the Mississippi 
proceeding would "set an example that will be followed by all 
the other States." But not one word in the reply made reference 
to his previous recommendation for qualified Negro suffrage. 28 
Four days later the President sent another telegram of commenda- 
tion, promising an early removal of Federal troops and expressing 
his belief that if the other Southern states followed Mississippi's 
example the day of restoration was not distant. Again he omitted 
any mention of the suffrage issue. Governor Sharkey read this 
telegram to the legislature, which heard it with satisfaction. 29 

The convention soon adjourned, and Sharkey sent the President 
a report of its actions including its charge to the legislature to en- 
act laws to protect the Negro in his rights of person and property. 
He continued, "How it will do this I cannot say, possibly it may 
allow the negro to testify. . . . The right of suffrage I do not 
think will be extended to them; indeed there is an inclination to 
limit the right of suffrage with the white man. In regard to the 


amendment of the Constitution of the United States prohibiting 
slavery I do not think the State ever will adopt the second article 
or provision of the amendment." He continued with complaints 
against the military and the Freedmen's Bureau and concluded by 
asserting that both he and the people of Mississippi thought they 
were entitled now to be relieved of martial law and "to be 
treated as though the rebellion had ended." 30 

In the face of this recalcitrant reaction to his recommendations 
and the almost peremptory request for complete self-rule, John- 
son permitted his congratulatory message to remain without qual- 
ification, public or private. He did not, however, completely 
remand Mississippi to the inclinations of its people. Two weeks 
after the assembling of the Mississippi legislature Johnson re- 
newed his pressure for ratification of the antislavery amendment 
in a telegram to Governor Sharkey of November i, 1865, holding 
out the inducement that its adoption would "make the way clear 
for the admission of Senators and Representatives to their seats 
in the present Congress." Once again he abandoned the recom- 
mendation for an extension of the vote to qualified Negroes. 31 
On the 1 6th, while a joint committee was considering the Amend- 
ment, the elected governor, Benjamin Humphreys, sought addi- 
tional reassurances. He reported that the legislators appeared will- 
ing to permit freedmen to testify in courts if assured the Federal 
troops would be withdrawn, but they feared "that one conces- 
sion will only lead to others. What assurances can I give on the 
subject?" 32 In his reply the next day, the President stated: 33 

There can be no other or greater assurance given than has hereto- 
fore been on the part of the President. There is no concession required 
on the part of the people of Mississippi or the Legislature, other than 
a loyal compliance with the laws and constitution of the United 
States, and the adoption of such measures giving protection to all 
freedmen, or freemen, in person and property without regard to 
color, as will entitle them to resume all their constitutional relations 
in the Federal Union. . . . 

There must be confidence between the Government and the States 
while the Government confides in the people the people must have 
faith in the Government. This must be mutual and reciprocal, or all 
that has been done will be thrown away. 

8. Johnson and the Negro 159 

While refusing to make a definite commitment in respect to with- 
drawal of troops and while placing legislation to protect the 
freedmen under the designation of "concession required," in this 
same telegram Johnson gave the assurance, quoted earlier, that 
he was not dictating action but only offering kindly advice. 
Within ten days, the Mississippi legislature adopted a civil rights 
act for freedmen so inequitable that the Administration had to 
set aside certain of its provisions. The legislature also accepted 
the recommendation of its joint committee not to ratify the 
antislavery amendment. 34 

Thus, in the face of Southern hostility and defiance, Johnson 
completely discarded his Negro suffrage recommendation. 35 He 
had urged an extension of voting privileges, not as a matter of 
equity or of personal conviction, but as an expedient to out- 
maneuver the Radicals. Perhaps he felt confident of an early 
restoration without this concession. He did not repeat the advice 
of August 15, either to Mississippi or to any other of the Southern 
states. Greeley's "judicious men" might rejoice at the Steams' 
interview of October 3 and hope that the President would use his 
"indirect and unofficial influence" for qualified Negro suffrage; 
but he had already tried and abandoned the effort. In his Decem- 
ber message Johnson argued at length the case for state control 
of suffrage on the basis of history and the Constitution. He did 
not include the suggestion forwarded by his friend and political 
adviser, Lewis Campbell, that he recommend an end to suffrage 
restrictions which deprived of the vote men of any class "white, 
black, or mixed" who possessed virtue, intelligence and patri- 
otism. 36 Most Republican advocates of Negro suffrage accepted 
Johnson's argument as sincere but took issue with his logic. It is 
not difficult to understand their view that Johnson had as much 
right under the Constitution to obtain an extension of suffrage 
from the rebel states as he had to establish provisional govern- 
ments, insist that they abolish slavery, ratify the Thirteenth 
Amendment, and repudiate their acts of secession and war debt. 
Even the Herald had stated that the President undoubtedly had 
the power in closing up the rebellion to insist upon Negro suf- 
frage but deemed it wiser to leave the matter to the states. 37 The 


correspondence between Johnson and the Mississippi governors 
illustrates the inconsistency and embarrassment in his "advice-not- 
dictation" posture, as well as the ineffectual character of his en- 
dorsement of limited suffrage for the freedmen. 

Two other incidents throw some additional light upon John- 
son's attitude toward Negro suffrage. On January 18, 1866, the 
House of Representatives passed by a large majority, though no 
Democrat voted yea, a bill striking the word "white" from the 
qualifications for voters in the District of Columbia. A preceding 
motion would have recommitted the bill with instructions to 
amend by extending the suffrage only to those who could read 
the Constitution or had served in the Union forces. These changes 
would have brought the measure in line with Johnson's position. 
The Union-Republicans split on this motion, but the Democrats 
to a man voted against it, thereby defeating a qualified extension 
of the suffrage. 38 The New York Times accused the Democrats 
of two aims: to stir up trouble between the Union party and the 
President, and to facilitate passage of a measure that could be 
used to agitate the Negro question in their constituencies. 39 

Johnson received word that there were enough votes in the 
Senate to defeat the bill and was requested to send for the sena- 
tors who were "sound," tell them his views and unite with them 
for action. 40 His response is not a matter of record, but on Jan- 
uary 28 he had an interview with his loyal Republican supporter, 
Senator Dixon of Connecticut, which was at once made public. 
Here he "expressed the opinion that the agitation of the negro 
franchise question in the District of Columbia at this time was the 
mere entering-wedge to the agitation of the question throughout 
the States, and was ill-timed, uncalled for, and calculated to do 
great harm." The interview dealt principally with his position in 
respect to amending the Constitution, a matter then engaging the 
urgent attention of the Joint Committee on Reconstruction and of 
Congress. Johnson held that any amendment at the time was of 
dubious propriety, would tend to diminish respect for the Con- 
stitution, and was quite unnecessary. However, if any were to be 
made, he knew of none better than the simple proposition that di- 
rect taxation be based upon the value of property and representa- 

8. Johnson and the Negro 161 

tion be based upon the number of voters. Such an amendment, he 
thought, "would remove from Congress all issues in reference to the 
political equality of the races" and leave to the states the absolute 
determination of "qualifications of their own voters with re- 
gard to color." 41 Johnson's reluctant approval for an amendment 
that would give to the South a choice between lessened repre- 
sentation and an extension of suffrage to Negroes represented 
the farthest limit of his support for a measure of Negro suffrage. 
In respect to the substance of the District of Columbia bill he 
avoided approval or disapproval, or any suggestion for its modi- 

An amendment of the nature Johnson haltingly endorsed at the 
end of January, 1866, by then had no chance of obtaining con- 
gressional approval. The proposal that representation be based 
upon voters had been made by Robert Schenck, representative 
from Ohio, at the opening of Congress; it had been approved by 
Thaddeus Stevens and the Joint Committee on Reconstruction, 
but it had run into opposition from New Englanders. Their ob- 
jection was that this formula would result in an inequitable de- 
crease of representation for their section. Due to westward emi- 
gration New England's population, the current basis of apportion- 
ment, had a disproportionate number of women and children 
to men; also, the number of voters in the New England states was 
relatively less than in other states because of educational require- 
ments for voting. New England objections had led to a revision 
of the proposed amendment retaining population as the basis of 
representation but providing a reduction wherever the franchise 
was denied on the basis of race. 42 The President's endorsement of 
the original proposal could have no practical effect except to 
embarrass the New England Radicals. A Johnson political strate- 
gist was urging in March that a vote be pressed on the representa- 
tion-based-on-voters amendment. New England would reject it, 
and thereby "show the country that New England selfishness is 
not willing to accept any basis of representation that diminishes 
her political power" this would "shut their mouths." 43 

Ten days after the interview with Senator Dixon, the Presi- 


dent received a delegation of Negroes that included Frederick 
Douglass, who came to express the hope that their people would 
be fully enfranchised. In reply, Johnson spoke with emotion of 
the scorn which he insisted the slave had held for the poor white 
man and was the basis for a continuing enmity between Negro and 
nonslaveholder. The colored man had gained much as the result 
of the rebellion, he said, the poor white had lost a great deal; on 
what principle of justice could they be "placed in a condition 
different from what they were before?" It would commence a 
war of races; to force universal suffrage without the consent of 
the community would deny the "first great principle of the right 
of the people to govern themselves." Without recognizing any in- 
consistency in his devotion to the principle of government by 
consent of the governed, Johnson claimed for white Southerners 
the right to determine whether or not the Negro should vote. 
He made no allusion to the desirability of a beginning through a 
qualified franchise. 44 

The interview buried the hopes of those who still looked to the 
President for unofficial support in breaching the race barrier 
against Negro suffrage. It delighted many a believer in white 
supremacy. "I cannot forbear to express to you the great pleasure 
I felt on reading your remarks to the colored man," wrote an 
old friend. He continued: 45 

The principles you enunciated are the same expressed to me in a 
conversation I had with you last Autumn, and in which I fully agreed 
with you. You said to me then that every one would, and must admit 
that the white race was superior to the black, and that while we ought 
to do our best to bring them [the blacks] up to our present level, that 
in doing so we should, at the same time raise our own intellectual 
status so that the relative position of the two races would be the 
same. . . , 

I am astonished, and more than astonished, at the persistency with 
which the radical idea of placing negroes on an equality with whites, 
in every particular, is pressed in Congress. . . . Until the tide of 
fanaticism, which is now in full flood, shall turn, as it must, unless 
sanity has departed from the people, we must place our trust in you 
to keep us safe "from the pestilence that walketh in darkness, and the 
destruction that wasteth at noon-day." 

8. Johnson and the Negro 163 

Men of like views might have looked with even greater con- 
fidence to the President as the bulwark against Negro "equality" 
had they been privy to Johnson's private reactions to the delega- 
tion headed by Douglass. According to one of the President's pri- 
vate secretaries who was present at the occasion, on the departure of 
the "darkey delegation" the President "uttered the following terse 

Saxon: 'Those d d sons of b s thought they had me in a 

trap! I know that d d Douglass; he's just like any nigger, and 

he would sooner cut a white man's throat than not.' " 46 

Republican opinion was far from united in respect to Negro 
suffrage, but it was substantially agreed that the freedmen should 
enjoy all other rights and privileges pertaining to free men and 
citizens. On the matter of these civil rights, Johnson's pre-veto 
record seemed to indicate that here he stood squarely with North- 
ern liberal opinion. There were grave apprehensions, however, 
that Presidential authority might prove inadequate to obtain from 
the South that measure of justice which was considered the freed- 
man's due, or at least, obtain it in time to effect speedy restora- 
tion. During the meeting of the Mississippi convention in August, 
1865, the New York Times, which enjoyed an unofficial status 
as spokesman for the Administration, gave warning in an editorial 
entitled "The Real Question as to the Future Political Status of 
the Negro." The "real question" was not whether the freedman 
should vote but whether he should be protected against injustice 
and oppression. The North would be watching to see that the 
convention did not proceed "upon the principle that the colored 
race are to be kept in a state of subordination, and made the sub- 
ject of peculiar restraints and exactions." This would be "the great 
index" to whether or not restoration would soon be effected. 
"The government, anxious as it is to hasten this end, can make 
no concession here." 47 The Times was not happy with the work 
of the convention though it acknowledged that Northern doubts 
might be settled if the Mississippi legislature faithfully fulfilled 
the duties assigned it by the convention. But why, it asked, was 
so important a matter left to the faithfulness or unfaithfulness of 
legislators? 48 

Ever loyal to the President, and adhering to his position as they 


saw it, the editorial staff of the Times succinctly posed the dif- 
ference that divided the President and the Republican Radicals. 
"President Johnson founds all his practical policy upon the pre- 
sumption that the South is fit to be trusted. His radical opponents 
found theirs upon the presumption that the South is unfit to be 
trusted." Though the Times agreed with the President, there was 
yet a doubt and a threat in its comment. "When the contrary is 
shown, then and not until then, will the time come for a different 
policy." 49 The Times hoped for speedy reinstatement of the 
Southern states, but recognized that in Congress various questions 
would first be considered, particularly whether more complete 
securities should not be required for the protection of the rights 
of the freedmen. 50 As political activity accelerated under John- 
son's plan of conventions, elections and legislative action, the 
Times hoped for a "clean sweep of the old black codes, and giving 
to the blacks substantially the same equality with the white men 
before the law, that prevails in the Northern states." No solid 
ground was left for opposition to admission of the formerly 
rebellious states, it asserted, save assurance that once reinstated 
in all their old municipal powers these would not be used to harm 
the freedmen; on this the government must find some kind of 
security in advance of readmission. The Southern people would 
not be put in unlimited control of the freedman until they had 
given proof that they would befriend and not injure him. As of 
mid-November, "no such proof has yet been given." 51 

The news from Mississippi in October and November was not 
reassuring. Where the question of Negro testimony had entered 
the local canvass for the legislature, the nonadmission candidates 
had won the elections. The defeat by a decided majority of a 
Negro testimony bill after the legislature convened was hailed by 
a local paper as a "Glorious Result," an honor to the legislators 
who had withstood "home threats" and "outside influences." 
"They have been importuned, threatened, reasoned with and im- 
plored to admit the negro to equality in our judicial tribunals, but 
the representatives of the people have frowned upon the proposi- 
tion, and will never permit the slave of yesterday to confront his 
former master in the witness-box." 52 Henry J. Raymond, the 

8. Johnson and the Negro 165 

Times editor, was telling cheering Republicans in mid-October 
that the President's plan included such provision in Southern con- 
stitutions and laws "as shall put all their citizens upon an equality 
before the law." 53 Editorially, the Times reinforced the point by 
stating that President Johnson had given "the power and influence 
of his position without reserve" to securing for the freedmen 
"all the great civil safeguards of person and property. , . . They 
have made themselves felt in no small measure through his Pro- 
visional Governors and through the Freedmen's Bureau; and the 
effects will be made palpable to all in the favorable enactments for 
the freedmen, in the legislatures of the late rebel states, soon to 
assemble." 54 To underscore the differences between the Democ- 
racy and the President, the Times pointed out that the former 
held that for restoration the Southern states had only to reor- 
ganize "in accordance with their own will" while the President in- 
sisted that full rights were not restored until certain conditions 
had been met including "effective laws . . . for the protection 
of the natural rights of the freedmen." 55 In a rejoinder to the 
Louisville Journal, which had criticized Northerners for meddling 
with the status of the freedmen, the Times warned that the South 
could disarm the "fanatics" by taking measures to secure the 
Negroes in their civil rights, to educate them, and to prepare them 
for responsible duties. "7f the South will not do this, the nation 
MUST. It cannot be left undone." The influential Louisville Journal 
would do better to stimulate the Southern people to their duty 
rather than waste its energies in denouncing Northerners. 56 

The New York Democratic convention, while embracing the 
President and his policy, denounced any attempt by prolonging 
military rule or denying representation to coerce the Southern 
states "to adopt negro equality or negro suffrage" as tending to 
subvert the principles of government and the liberties of the 
people. 57 However, the Democracy's chief organ, the World, 
recognized as an integral part of Johnson's program "entire equal- 
ity before the law" for the emancipated slaves. It even urged 
upon the South that it give Negroes the right to testify in 
court, and pointed with pleasure to favorable reaction to its sug- 
gestion in Southern and Northern Democratic newspapers. "In 


this fact is a conclusive refutation of the charge falsely made 
against the Democratic party that they are willing to exclude 
negro freedmen from that justice and equality be-fore the law 
which is their right. . . . We believe that we express the views of 
President Johnson, as we know that we do the views of the 
great mass of the Democratic party of the North, in saying that 
this equality be-fore the law ought not to be, and cannot prudently 
be, denied to negro freedmen." 5S The Herald reinforced this 
view of the President's position. "It is the simple policy of recog- 
nizing the emancipated blacks as citizens, entitled without delay 
to all the rights and protection of other citizens in the civil 
courts." An editorial subtitled "What the Southern States Have 
to Do" listed civil rights for Negroes along with the requirements 
of abolishing slavery, ratifying the Thirteenth Amendment, repu- 
diating ordinances of secession, and recognizing an obligation to 
share the national debt. The grant of limited suffrage was placed 
in a separate category, not a "must," but a "wise" concession. 59 

Thus there was substantial evidence of Johnson's intentions: 
the agreement of the Times, the World., and the Herald; the Presi- 
dent's public telegram to Governor Humphreys, quoted earlier, 
asserting that the Mississippi legislature must adopt measures to 
protect freedmen without regard to color; the enforcement of 
equal rights by the Freedmen's Bureau under the authority of the 
President. Republicans generally could, and did, credit him with 
the best intentions in respect to the freedman's civil status. Yet the 
situation in the South generally, not just in Mississippi, was dis- 
turbing. The Southern states, under great pressure, were meeting 
the President's conditions reluctantly and partially. The President 
was quoted as saying that the "foolish Georgians were hindering 
him in the carrying out of his plans a good deal more than the 
worst of the northern radicals." The cruel part, continued the 
reporter, is that this occurs just when the President and his friends 
have been inculcating the idea of nonintervention in the South. 60 
Johnson's orders to provisional governors to retain their positions 
even after elected governors were ready to take over authority 
was interpreted as a stern Presidential answer to Southern ob- 
stinancy. 61 Contrary to the President's known wishes, Southern 

8. Johnson and the Negro 167 

voters were choosing men to represent them at home and in Con- 
gress who had held leadership in the rebellion. Reports abounded 
that with the liberal grant of pardons and the apparently official 
standing of the theory that the states were entitled to full rights 
within the Union, the earlier submissive mood of Southerners was 
turning to one of thinly disguised defiance. Private letters to the 
President, Secretary Seward, and Secretary Welles spoke with 
concern of this changing temper of "obstinancy and bitterness" 
in the South. 62 The provisional governors for North Carolina and 
Georgia had in desperation appealed to the President for support 
in obtaining repudiation of the war debts and general acquies- 
cence in the Administration's program. Johnson had replied with 
strong telegrams that were used with effect upon lawmakers. 63 
Florida had ratified the Amendment only after a pointed dispatch 
sent by Secretary Seward on behalf of the President. 64 Even with 
open Presidential pressure, South Carolina had refused to repu- 
diate the debt and Mississippi to ratify the Amendment. Florida 
and Georgia had balked at declaring the ordinances of secession 
"null and void," either "repealing" or "annulling" them instead. 
Resistance to giving the freedmen equal treatment under state 
laws was even greater. Some states reluctantly allowed Negroes to 
testify in civil courts in order to be free of the jurisdiction of 
Freedmen's Bureau courts; but even where this was done under 
Administrative agreement, lawmakers hesitated to act because of 
an. overwhelmingly hostile public sentiment against receiving 
Negro testimony. 65 In the face of this reaction, and despite the 
sharp pressure in the case of Mississippi and more discreet pres- 
sures upon other states, certain of Johnson's reactions to the is- 
sue of civil rights, though not publicized at the time, were omi- 
nous, In Alabama both Provisional Governor Lewis E. Parsons and 
the Freedmen's Bureau administrator, Wager Swayne, were labor- 
ing to obtain from the convention an organic law to permit Negro 
testimony. 66 Governor Parsons reported difficulty to the Presi- 
dent in mid-September and asked to be informed "by telegraph 
immediately, if you regard it indispensible [sic] to the interests 
of the people of Alabama that such a clause should be inserted." 67 
No word came from the President, The convention merely en- 


joined the legislature to pass laws to protect the freedmen. Gov- 
ernor Parsons appealed again to the President. The important 
question "was and is whether it is necessary to declare in the 
Constitution that 'no distinction should be made on account of 
color, as to the competency of witnesses in this state.' There could 
be no room for cavil if that had been done. . . . But the individual 
members of Convention, some of them, were afraid of conse- 
quences to themselves if they put it in the constitution. If it had 
been done the fight [for restoration] would then have to be made 
on the precise line where I understand you to have placed it 
viz the right of the people of these states to declare who shall 
vote. ... I beg to assure you that Alabama approves and will 
in good faith do all things necessary to sustain your policy with 
regard to her." 68 The Alabama convention remained in session 
for another week, but no answer to Governor Parsons' appeal ar- 
rived from the President. After the convention's adjournment, 
Johnson sent a brief telegram commending its proceedings as 
having "met the highest expectations of all who desire the restora- 
tion of the Union. All seems now to be working well, and will 
result as I believe in a decided success." 69 

From Tennessee also came requests, both unofficially in Octo- 
ber and officially in November, that the President send a statement 
of his views on the subject of Negroes testifying in the courts. 
It "would save infinite trouble" so great is "the enthusiasm you 
have kindled among the people." 70 Johnson finally replied on 
December 9. He would have answered sooner, he said, but 
thought his message which "would indicate my views, upon the 
subject of negro testimony, in all cases where they are parties, 
would be conclusive. It is to be regretted that our Legislature 
failed to make some advance at its present session upon this 
question." 71 Two points in connection with this reply are of 
special interest: first, the December message made no specific 
mention of Negro testimony; secondly, Johnson's formula as to 
the right of Negroes to testify where "they are parties" was 
much less comprehensive than Governor Parsons' version that 
"no distinction shall be made on account of color." 

Johnson had made specific reference to Negro testimony in an 

8. Johnson and the Negro 169 

interview granted to a distinguished white delegation from South 
Carolina October 13, 1865. The statement was reported as 
follows: 72 

The President thought many of the evils would disappear if they 
inaugurated the right system. Pass laws protecting the colored man 
in his person and property and he can collect his debts. He knew how 
it was in the South. The question when first presented of putting a 
colored man in the witness stand made them shrug their shoulders. 
But the colored man's testimony was to be taken for what it was 
worth by those who examined him and the jury who hear it. Those 
coming out of slavery cannot do without work. . . . They ought to 
understand that liberty means simply the right to work and enjoy 
the products of labor, and that the laws protect them. That being 
done, and when we come to the period to feel that men must work 
or starve the country will be prepared to receive a system applicable 
to both white and black. . . . But get the public mind right and you 
can treat both alike. Let us get the general principles and the details 
and collaterals will follow. 

Johnson's advice is quoted above at some length, for this state- 
ment, like the December message, invited favorable reaction from 
men of fundamentally differing convictions. Republicans could 
seize with satisfaction upon the idea of "treating both alike"; 
Southerners could read into the reference to taking testimony 
"for what it was worth" an invitation to concede the form 
without the substance of equality before the law. After bitter 
battles, Southern legislators, during the period of Johnson's con- 
trol over the Reconstruction process, conceded to the Negro the 
right to testify. They limited this, however, to cases in which 
he was a party and denied to the freedmen Tennessee made the 
denial a specific proviso of its testimony bill the right to sit as 
jurors. 73 Efforts made in the summer and fall of 1865 by Freed- 
men's Bureau officers to implement the President's desire to re- 
mand jurisdiction over Negroes to civil courts resulted, in a 
number of instances, in local courts permitting Negro testimony. 74 
The results of local justice, however, did not provide substantive 
protection for the freedmen, 75 

Even more ominous for the future of the freedmen, and for 
future relations between Johnson and the Republican majority 


as well, was the concession made by Secretary Seward in the 
President's name in respect to the Thirteenth Amendment. South- 
ern states were willing to recognize that slavery was dead, but 
they were not willing to ratify a constitutional provision that 
gave to Congress the power of enforcement. The fear was that 
under this authority Congress would pass legislation affecting the 
status of freedmen in the Southern states. Considerable opinion 
in and out of Congress held that the Amendment gave just such 
power to protect the rights of Negroes as free men. Even the 
Herald had stated editorially that the Amendment "in giving to 
Congress the 'necessary legislation' to carry the abolition of 
slavery into effect, gives to Congress some discretionary power 
touching the late slave codes of the State concerned." 76 Yet in a 
message to Provisional Governor B. J. Perry of South Carolina, 
November 6, 1865, Secretary Seward stated: "The objection you 
mention to the last clause of the constitutional amendment is 
regarded as querulous and unreasonable, because that clause is 
really restraining in its effect, instead of enlarging the powers of 
Congress." 77 South Carolina then ratified the Amendment with 
the following qualification: 78 

That any attempt by Congress toward legislating upon the political 
status of former slaves, or their civil relations, would be contrary to 
the Constitution of the United States as it now is, or as it would be 
altered by the proposed amendment, in conflict with the policy of the 
President, declared in his amnesty proclamation and with the restora- 
tion of that harmony upon which depend the vital interests of the 
American Union. 

Alabama and Florida subsequently accepted the Amendment with 
the proviso that it did not confer upon Congress power "to legis- 
late upon the political status of the freedmen in this State." Mis- 
sissippi's consent was finally granted contingent upon qualifica- 
tions even more extended than those of South Carolina. They in- 
cluded the explicit statement that the second section "shall not 
be construed as a grant of power to Congress to legislate in regard 
to the freedmen of this state." 79 

Clearly the Southern states were determined to obtain full 
control over the freedmen. In some instances there was open 

8. Johnson and the Negro 171 

avowal of the intent, once restoration was complete, to repeal 
civil rights that had been granted under pressure and return the 
Negro to "his place." 80 Various provisions of the legislation in 
respect to Negroes under consideration or recently enacted in 
Mississippi, South Carolina, and other Southern states appeared to 
be flagrant attempts legally to remand the freedmen to an in- 
ferior status. Troubled Republicans found consolation in the 
President's reported characterization of his policy as an "experi- 
ment"; Democrats deprecated or denied the remark and insisted 
that the President would not be moved from his present policy. 81 
The Administration gave assurances that it would stand by the 
freedmen, but it also had been thought to promise early with- 
drawal of military forces and Freedmen's Bureau jurisdiction in 
the South. 82 To the confusion and concern that marked the fall 
and early winter of 1865 was added Seward's curious and limiting 
interpretation of the enforcement clause of the Thirteenth 

As Congress began its labors there was much evidence to arouse 
fears that Southerners were not yet ready to meet the freedman 
in his new status with justice and without discrimination. The 
congressional majority approached the problem with confidence 
in the President's good intentions. But there were portents, not 
yet generally recognized, that Johnson's version of "the security 
of the freedmen in their liberty and in their property" might 
hold concessions to Southern prejudice that could not be recon- 
ciled with the Republican view that Negroes were citizens en- 
titled to equality before the law. 




by Samuel S. Cox, Democratic leader in the House of Representa- 
tives, to Manton Marble on the day following Johnson's veto of 
the Freedmen's Bureau Bill. "He [Johnson] is in great earnest. 
I am sure," Cox further advised the editor of the most influential 
Democratic paper in the nation, "that you cannot say too much 
now tho I have been very wary." 1 North and South and West, the 
Democracy rejoiced and prepared for battle under Johnson's 
banner. Moderate men in the Union-Republican ranks were con- 
fused and dismayed. < We had ... a veto yesterday," the concilia- 
tory Henry L. Dawes of Massachusetts "wrote home to his wife. 
"Everything looks very dark and what is before us cannot well 
be seen." 2 And two days later he added, "The veto has made 
Congress very furious and the war has begun which can end 
only in general ruin of the party." 3 Those who could not, or 
would not, recognize a second Sumter were soon shaken by the 
reverberation of further blasts Johnson's February 22 speech and 
his March veto of the Civil Rights Bill. The second veto, the 
Herald trumpeted, "is in fact an emphatic declaration of war 
against the radicals. . . . The veto of the Freedmen's Bureau bill 


9. The President Declares War 173 

was but the distant thunder announcing the approaching storm. 
This veto is the storm itself. ... It is a declaration of war against 
the radicals and their impracticable schemes, and Andrew John- 
son, as in the rebellion, is the man to fight it through on his 
platform of the Union and the Constitution." 4 One Democratic 
paper greeted the Freedmen's veto as: 5 




The war which President Johnson declared in February and 
March of 1866 brought to a climax the long-standing design to 
force the Radicals out of the Union-Republican party and in- 
augurate a reorganization of national parties. Much of the pres- 
sure for an assault upon the Radicals came from the Democrats, 
both the "regulars," who had opposed the war, and the War 
Democrats who had wholeheartedly supported the national ef- 
fort. It is difficult to determine the exact expectation of the 
former group in their support of Johnson and their attack upon 
the Radicals. Some of their number clearly welcomed the pros- 
pect of a new Johnson party which would purge them of any 
guilt of association with the peace plank of the wartime Democ- 
racy. For them, the issue was the extent to which they would be 
able to control the new party. Others sought merely to split the 
Union-Republican ranks into an ineffectual opposition, regain 
political ascendancy with the support of a restored South, and 
use the presidential influence for their own party advantage. This 
use of Johnson's prestige and power might, or might not, include 
a tacit understanding that he would be offered the Democratic 
nomination for the Presidency in 1868. Others hedged, waiting 
upon events to decide whether they would transfer allegiance to 
a new Union party or gather up dissident Republicans into the 
old organization of the Democracy, Individual Democrats shifted 
from one expectation to another with the changing currents of 
the political scene. Both "regulars" and War Democrats, and Con- 
servative Republicans as well, sought for themselves a central role 
of power in postwar politics. 


The drive to isolate the Radicals had gained momentum since 
the convening of Congress. Even as that body assembled for its 
first session since victory, Democrats were scheming to "precipi- 
tate the fight with the Radicals." An intimate was informing 
Marble, the World's editor, that "I have inspired Cox to set 
things in train (if he can do it so convertly as not to seem officious) 
for launching some sort of thunderbolt immediately on the read- 
ing of the message to set the Radicals on fire and kindle a con- 
flagration. ... I hope a fight may be brought on in such a way 
that only the Radicals may take part against us. If the President 
will give us a good pretext for fighting the Radicals under his 
banner, we can get them wild, widen the breach by an exciting 
debate, and all will come out right. 5 ' 6 The wartime Democratic 
governor of New York, Horatio Seymour, was soon advising 
Montgomery Blair that the "President must strike" at the Radi- 
cals. 7 Through the correspondence and comment respecting the 
long, sharp contest over the appointment to the vacant New York 
collectorship there flowed a pervasive expectation of impending 
political realignments in which the winner of that patronage plum 
would be expected to play a key role. 8 

As the weeks passed, Democrats, and even some Union men 
ready to join forces with them under Johnson's leadership, grew 
restive. "Action is what the Democratic party requires from the 
President before putting its entire faith in him," read an editorial 
of the Newton, New Jersey, Herald and Democrat, "and any 
new party got up to sustain him, must show that his actions sus- 
tain his sentiments. A veto on any of the unconstitutional acts 
of the present congress would be vastly more effectual than all 
the addresses he has ever made since he became President." 9 
Lewis D. Campbell, Johnson's Whig-Republican political lieuten- 
ant, wrote from Ohio that "the sooner you cut yourself loose 
from them [the Radicals] the better for you and for the coun- 
try." 10 What was needed, in Campbell's view, was the organiza- 
tion of a party on the basis of the President's policy. "The Union 
party as an organization is rapidly going under. Burnt brandy 
won't save it. . . . He [Johnson] must sooner or later accept the 
fact that the great Union party has fulfilled its mission." 11 By 

9. The President Declares War 175 

the end of January, the Springfield Republican's Washington cor- 
respondent was reporting that the President and Senator Dixon 
of Connecticut "have gone into a scheme to smash up the radicals 
. . . and to prepare the way for the great Johnson party which 
(according to Doolittle, Cowan and others) is to grow out of the 
ruins of the present two political organizations 7 ' 12 The National 
Intelligencer, which was already beginning to be recognized as 
spokesman for the Administration, 13 commented four days be- 
fore the veto that the day was "not now distant" when a spontane- 
ous movement of the people in behalf of the President might 
lead to "A JOHNSON PARTY." 14 The World's position was more 
ambiguous, but left the door open for such a development. While 
ridiculing Bennett's call for a new Johnson party and joyfully 
citing past election figures to support the contention that the 
Democracy, the "Party of the Past," would be the "Party of the 
Future," the World's editor also praised Johnson's fitness "for 
the double work of a disintegrator and a reorganizer." The Presi- 
dent was "the nucleus around which the party of the future is to 
crystallize," since he enjoyed "contact and sympathy with all that 
is sound and healthy in every considerable party,*' 15 

Two days before the final passage of the Freedmen's Bureau 
Bill, John Cochrane, War Democrat of New York, wrote the 
President that the Democratic masses were "restlessly expectant 
of the period when an overt act by you, in resistance of systematic 
Congressional encroachment, shall enable them to muster into 
your service." 16 Two days after the passage of the bill, Edward 
Bates, Lincoln's conservative Attorney General, sent off a long 
letter denouncing the intended extension of the Freedmen's 
Bureau jurisdiction and reassuring the President that in a split 
between the Administration and the Radicals the latter would 
be "trodden out like so many sparks on the floor." 17 A Democratic 
leader in Pennsylvania, eager to secure an endorsement of the 
President at the approaching state Democratic convention, 
damned the Freedmen's Bureau Bill and sent word that "Con- 
siderations of this kind weigh with our Delegates. ... I hope 
you will veto that Freedmans Bill," 18 

John Cochrane may not have anticipated that the "signal" so 


eagerly awaited would be the veto of the Freedmen's measure, 
for he had counseled that in any conflict there should be not "even 
the colour of an inference that your line of policy is unfriendly 
to the negro." 19 All was in readiness, however, whatever might 
be the "overt act," particularly in the key political state of New 
York. There Cochrane was ardently engaged in consultations with 
Dean Richmond, the upstate Democratic boss, with Bennett of the 
Herald, and with General J. B. Steedman of Ohio, one of John- 
son's most trusted military politicos. Dean Richmond, Cochrane 
reported, was awaiting developments in Washington and wanted 
the President to know that whenever he was in a position to ac- 
cept the cooperation of his Democratic friends, support would 
"not be delayed." Bennett was urging the feasibility and im- 
portance of "a coalition between the moderate Republicans and 
the loyal Democrats." General Steedman had promised to confer 
with the President "upon the propriety of holding a large meet- 
ing here in behalf of your policy and to write me the result. 
Whenever you think it seasonable you must be aware that a 
formidable demonstration can be made." 20 Cochrane and Bennett 
held that pro- Johnson voters, rank-and-file Democrats, aftd Union 
men mostly former Democrats would have a preponderance of 
50,000 in New York and a proportional majority in the central 
and northwestern states, and that the "logical sequence" of their 
organization would be the "reproduction of your power in 
i868." 21 

The anticipated "signal" may have been the ousting of Secre- 
tary Stanton from the Cabinet and his replacement by General 
Steedman as Secretary of War. Within a week, at the end of Jan- 
uary and the beginning of February, letters of recommendation 
for General Steedman reached the President from Dean Rich- 
mond, Samuel J. Tilden, George H. Pendleton of Ohio, Horace 
Greeley, and Augustus Schell, the affluent and influential brother 
of Seward's friend Richard SchelL 22 A change in the post of 
Secretary of War could have signaled a new direction not only 
in respect to personalities and patronage but also in regard to the 
role of the army and the Freedmen's Bureau in the still-occupied 
South; for the Secretary's office held a large measure of in- 

9. The President Declares War 177 

fluence over the conduct of those arms of the national govern- 
ment. Rumors of Stanton's exit from the Cabinet, however, 
proved premature, probably in large part because he had power- 
ful support from the Seward-Weed forces. 23 Another possibility 
to which some Johnson men looked hopefully as the cleaver by 
which the Radicals could be severed from the Union ranks was 
the bill passed by the House, but later buried in the Senate, to 
extend suffrage to Negroes in the District of Columbia. 24 The 
issue of Negro suffrage would have afforded to Conservatives a 
tactical advantage. Johnson was ready to veto the District of 
Columbia bill had it passed the Senate. 25 

In contrast, a veto of the Freedmen's Bureau Bill held certain 
disadvantages. The bill was identified not with the Radicals, but 
with the moderate leadership in Congress, and it enjoyed over- 
whelming support among Republicans in and out of Congress. 
Rumors of an impending veto alarmed Republicans friendly to the 
President. They feared such action would be received as an indi- 
cation that the Administration was not determined to protect the 
Negro, and they saw in it a potential rupture between the Presi- 
dent and the Union party which would disastrously shatter the 
latter. 26 On the other hand, unlike the question of suffrage in an 
area clearly under congressional jurisdiction, the freedmen's bill 
afforded an opportunity for a direct statement on Reconstruction 
policy. In addition, a veto of the measure would allay the bitter 
resentment of the Bureau in the South and the stock Democratic 
complaint in the North against the "unconstitutional" interference 
of the military in civil affairs. The leading Democratic organ, the 
World, had denounced the Bureau bill in a comprehensive indict- 
ment; and not one Democrat had voted for the measure in either 
the Senate or the House. 27 The veto also gave Johnson an op- 
portunity to flatter James Gordon Bennett, whose editorials were 
belaboring the bill and calling for a Presidential veto. 28 When the 
President's message was released, a telegram went from the White 
House to James Gordon Bennett, Jr.: "Your Saturday's article in 
reference to the Freedmen's Bureau Bill is highly approved. Veto 
message has just gone in." 29 

The Tennessee President was particularly sensitive to opinion 


and pressures from the border states, and letters that reached his 
desk during January and February made their demands articulate 
and unmistakable. They wanted an end to the Freedmen's Bureau, 
to military jurisdiction, and to the suspension of habeas corpus. 
The governor of Kentucky threatened that unless the Bureau "be 
taken away" he himself would take the lead in compelling the 
Negro to leave Kentucky or starve. His threat was to convene 
the state assembly and procure an act making it a crime for any 
white person to lease or rent lands or houses or to employ in any 
way any Negro or mulatto. 30 Johnson undoubtedly knew, with- 
out waiting to be told, that his support in the border states 
would be in jeopardy unless he took some step toward removing 
the Freedmen's Bureau and restoring habeas corpus. "I say to you 
frankly if that is not done," wrote a Kentucky state senator, "you 
will not get a cordial endorsement from Kentucky." 31 A few days 
later his belligerent admonisher hailed the veto message "with in- 
finite satisfaction and approval" 32 

The President was well aware that the Bureau was as unpopular 
in the deep South as in the border states. He had been for some 
time under much pressure from leading men of South Carolina 
who were hostile to the Bureau and the provisions of the new bill, 
particularly those in respect to the Sea Island lands. 33 Benjamin 
F. Perry, Johnson's provisional governor and now senator-elect 
from South Carolina, made clear the Southern position toward 
the Bureau bill in a letter to the National Intelligencer. Trumbull's 
bill was "a monstrous injustice to the planter," a "demoralizing 
influence on the freedman," "ruinous" to the culture of Sea 
Island cotton, a startling extravagance that would tax the poor 
white men of the North "to support the vicious and vagrant 
Southern negro." Perry returned from Washington with con- 
fidence that Southern representatives would soon be admitted and 
that "the radicals will be utterly defeated and routed." 34 Just 
prior to the veto, Southerners were cheered by a series of re- 
ports that the President was holding firm against any congres- 
sional requkements preliminary to admission of their representa- 
tives; and they were anticipating "an approaching crisis. 35 
Despite much speculation by contemporaries and historians, it 

9. The President Declares War 179 

is extremely unlikely that Johnson experienced any real indecision 
as to his course once the Freedmen's Bureau Bill had reached his 
desk. Two days after the passage of the measure, and eleven 
days before the veto message, "the clerks & so on, down in the 
Executive office" were "unanimous ... in declaring that John- 
son will veto the Freedmen's Bureau Bill." 36 Among the Presi- 
dential manuscripts there have been preserved six working papers 
for the message. All are arguments against the bill, apparently 
solicited by the President. 37 There exists in the Johnson Papers 
not one such brief in support of the measure. The contention 
that the veto was a last-minute decision dependent upon the ac- 
tion of the Joint Committee on Reconstruction in respect to 
Tennessee has been convincingly refuted by Eric McKitrick. 38 
Johnson's action has also been attributed to irate reaction to Radi- 
cal provocation, such as the remarks of Stevens, Sumner, and 
Wendell Phillips. Such a hypothesis ignores too many aspects of 
the contemporary scene the plans for party reorganization, the 
pressures upon Johnson for some such action as the veto, the 
moderate rather than Radical sponsorship of the bill, and the 
large measure of deference and concession which most Republi- 
cans in and out of Congress still offered the President. Sumner and 
Stevens, let alone Wendell Phillips with their sharp words and 
their desires for Negro suffrage, confiscation, and prolonged ter- 
ritorial status for the South did not speak for the congressional 
majority. And it was the congressional majority that had spoken 
for the freedmen's bill. Clearly, Presidential hostility to the ex- 
treme Radicals cannot alone explain the veto. Neither can it be 
attributed solely to Johnson's constitutional principles, for they 
were not so consistent and sharply defined as to constitute a 
compelling necessity for so sweeping a rejection of the bill. 39 
The weight of evidence, including a comparison of the final mes- 
sage with the drafts from which it was prepared, indicates that 
Johnson's first veto represented a considered decision. In view of 
the letters that had crossed his desk and the comments of the 
press, it was a decision Johnson could not possibly have made 
without giving thought to its political impact. It would strengthen 
his ties with the Northern Democracy and the South, force an 


issue with those of the Republicans who he considered his op- 
ponents, and signal the beginning of a major political realign- 
ment under his leadership. 

William H. Seward's role in the veto message is of particular 
interest in view of his pre-eminent position in Johnson's official 
family, his early identification with a generous policy toward the 
South, and his long-standing interest in a reorganization of parties. 
The Secretary's policy of refraining from political comment in 
his personal letters 40 sorely handicaps the inquiring historian. We 
know that Seward supported the veto in Cabinet meeting, 41 and 
that he later defended it skillfully in an effective public appear- 
ance in New York City. These facts reveal little. Fortunately, 
there is another source of information Seward's own draft for 
the veto message. This paper, and other Seward draft messages, 
have long been available in the Johnson manuscripts at the Library 
of Congress, but their authorship was unknown. The type of 
paper used and the characteristic manner of writing on alternate 
lines were the identifying clues. 42 It is unlikely that Seward com- 
posed his draft for the veto, which is written in the presidential 
first person, without prior consultation with the President; hence 
we cannot be certain whether Seward advised that the measure 
be rejected, or simply acquiesced in Johnson's decision. There is 
much, however, that Seward's version does reveal. 

Seward's central argument was that the enlargement and exten- 
sion of the Bureau at that time was unnecessary, although he 
acknowledged that future developments might require additional 
legislation to prolong the Bureau. He interpreted the existing 
law as maintaining the Bureau in force until a full year after a 
formal declaration of peace, an announcement which had not 
yet been made, and expressed hope that by the end of that year 
the necessity for the Bureau would have ceased. Seward made 
little use of any other argument against the bill, though in pass- 
ing he gently criticized its extension of the Bureau both as to 
time, which he considered indefinite, and as to jurisdiction, which 
included all parts of the United States containing refugees and 
freedmen. He also pointed out that martial law and military tri- 
bunals should be used only on occasion of absolute necessity and 

9. The President Declares War 181 

that the fiscal condition of the country required "so far as pos- 
sible" severe retrenchment. He had kind words for the Bureau, 
making reference to its "beneficent operations" and the "care and 
fidelity" with which it had been administered. 

Seward also raised the general problem of restoration. His draft 
expressed pleasure that the bill contemplated a full restoration of 
the several states. Here his reference was to the bill's provision for 
terminating Bureau jurisdiction over freedmen's civil rights in 
any state fully restored "in all its constitutional relations to the 
United States," and enjoying the unobstructed functioning of the 
civil courts. He added, however, that the bill was "vague and un- 
certain in defining the conditions which will be accepted as evi- 
dences of that full restoration," and continued: 

It is hardly necessary for me to inform the Congress that in my own 
judgment most of those states so far at least as depends upon them- 
selves have already been thus fully restored and are to be deemed as 
entitled to enjoy their constitutional rights as members of the Union. 
Since Congress now proposes to make so important a proceeding as 
the prolongation of the Freedmen's Bureau dependent upon a restora- 
tion in some sense which differs from the one entertained by the 
Executive Department it would seem to be important that Congress 
and the President should first agree upon what actually constitutes 
such restoration. 

He ended the draft on a similar note: 

Without trenching upon the province of Congress I may be per- 
mitted in explaining my own course on the present occasion to say 
that when a state at some previous time comes not only in an attitude 
of loyalty and harmony but in the persons of representatives whose 
loyalty cannot be questioned under any existing constitutional or legal 
test that in this case they have a claim to be heard in Congress espe- 
cially in regard to projected laws which bear especially upon them- 

In short, Seward's draft of the veto message both in ref erring to 
the bill itself and in stating the Presidential theory of restoration 
was gentle and conciliatory. Unlike the official message, it did 
not make a slashing indictment of the military jurisdiction 
through which the Bureau was to operate in the future, as it 
had in the past, to protect the civil rights of freedmen whenever 


they were discriminated against by "local law, custom, or preju- 
dice." Unlike the official message, it did not criticize the bill for 
providing relief for destitute freedmen and lands for the building 
of asylums and schools and for rental to those who could not find 
employment. Neither did it object to the provision that freed- 
men holding lands under Sherman's order on the Sea Islands be 
confirmed in their possession for three years, with the proviso that 
any such land could earlier be restored to its original owner if 
the Bureaus' commissioner procured for the freedmen occupants, 
with their written consent, other lands for rental or purchase. 
Nor did Seward's draft imply, as did the President's official mes- 
sage, that special protection for the newly freed Negro was in 
effect discrimination against white men. 

A comparable divergence between Seward's approach and that 
of the President is apparent in the references to Congress and the 
restoration process. That part of the official message incorporated 
much of Seward's wording but changed the order and emphasis, 
omitted phrases, and added comments. The result was a virtual 
Presidential fiat to Congress. The right of each house to judge 
the qualifications of its members, read a critically important sen- 
tence, "cannot be construed as including the right to shut out, 
in time of peace, any State from the representation to which it 
is entitled by the Constitution." 43 Because the President was 
chosen by all the states, Johnson asserted that he as President 
stood in a different relationship to the country than did any mem- 
ber of Congress; it was his duty to present the "just claims" of 
the eleven states not represented in either House of Congress. He 
closed the message with what was in effect a challenge to Congress 
to submit the issues he had raised to the "enlightened public 
judgment" of the people. 

Seward's draft for the veto was a statement to which the mod- 
erates of the Republican party, and even many men known as 
Radicals, might have accommodated without too much strain. 
Johnson's veto included a few passages that could be interpreted 
as conciliatory if taken out of the context of the message as a 
whole, but in essence it did not invite Congress to negotiate but 
defied Congress to act. The message still held a measure of that 

9. The President Declares War 183 

ambiguity so characteristic of Johnson's actions and statements 
during the previous months, but only a small measure. 44 To most 
Democrats and Radicals who were his contemporaries, and to 
historians who look back upon the course of events, the ambiguity 
was resolved. Only Republicans who were moderate and trusting, 
timid or self-interested, or more Democrat than Republican in 
their view of race and their attitude toward states' rights and 
Federal power only such men clung to the illusions with which 
the President's December message had been so generally and hope- 
fully received. The surprising fact is that their number was con- 
siderable. Seward's influence was in part responsible, for he pub- 
licly interpreted the President's veto in the spirit of the one which 
he had written and would doubtless have preferred. 

It is evident from Seward's draft that the Secretary had some 
share of responsibility for the veto of the Freedmen's Bureau 
Bill. Also, this document confirms what would seem apparent 
from his earlier and later public statements and action: namely, 
that Seward wished the rebellious states to be promptly read- 
mitted to their old seats in Congress in keeping with his wartime 
contention that the government had no intent to "subjugate" 
them, but only to restore the Union. 45 In this essential commit- 
ment to a policy of speedy reunion and reconciliation, Seward's 
position coincided with that of the Democracy. In other respects, 
however, his arguments in the draft message conceded little to 
Democratic contentions and attitudes. We can be certain, in 
view of the political activities of Thurlow Weed, that Seward and 
his political manager were still planning a reorganization of 
parties; we cannot be equally certain that they welcomed a veto 
of the freedmen's bill as the starting signal for realignment. If 
such were the case, Seward clearly did not wish that signal to 
carry the boom and destruction of cannon fire in defense of the 
entrenched positions of the old Democracy. 

Andrew Johnson, in contrast, went far toward accepting and 
defending the position of the Democrats. He did not, it is true, 
go so far as to voice the Democratic argument that any federal 
action on behalf of the freedmen by the Federal Government was 


an invasion of state and local rights. The common ground which 
he, but not Seward, held with the Democracy was of considerable 
extent. It is evident in the following aspects of the official mes- 
sage: the sweeping nature of the condemnation of the bill and by 
implication of the Bureau itself; the omission of any kindly word 
for the Bureau or of any assurance of its continuation; the em- 
phasis upon violation of the constitutional rights of white men by 
the Bureaus' jurisdiction over cases involving discrimination to 
Negroes; the argument that a federal "system of support of in- 
digent persons" was contrary to the Constitution; the contention 
that the message would keep the freedmen in a state of expectant 
restlessness; the assurance that the Negro could protect himself 
because his labor was necessary to the Southern economy; the 
censure of the Sea Island provisions as a violation of the property 
rights of Southern owners; the stress upon the immense Federal 
patronage and expense that the bill allegedly would make manda- 
tory; and lastly, the oblique appeal to race prejudice. 

The President's veto was greeted by a series of "spontaneous" 
demonstrations, mass meetings, and resolutions of support and ap- 
proval. The 2 ind of February, Washington's birthday and a 
holiday, resounded with the firing of cannon and the oratory of 
prominent public figures celebrating the "patriotic and statesman- 
like act of the present chief executive." 46 The largest, noisiest, and 
most successful of these meetings was held in New York's Cooper 
Institute, and it was Secretary Seward's show. Thousands were 
reportedly unable to find room within the hall, and minor orators 
were hurriedly enlisted to entertain the crowds outside the build- 
ing. Within, the hall was gay with patriotic decorations, music, 
and a huge portrait of Andrew Johnson. Making his first public 
appearance in New York since the assassination attempt upon 
his life, Seward in his entrance upon the stage was "greeted with 
the most rapturous applause, the whole house rising and cheering 
vociferously." 47 The "eloquent scar" across his cheek, the "broken 
voice," added to the drama of the old Republican's appearance to 
explain and support Johnson's action. He spoke leaning with his 
left arm and his body against the rostrum, yet his delivery was 

9. The President Declares War 185 

reported as reaching at times as high a "pitch of animation and 
vigor" as ever it had shown in the prewar years. 48 

Seward assumed a light touch in his oratory, evoking laughter 
by his sallies, reassuring his audience that "There are no dangers, 
there are no perils, there is no occasion for alarm." The country 
was safe, the difference between Congress and the President was 
only a "dispute between the pilots," all honest, all well meaning, 
all seeking the same port. President and Congress agreed that the 
freedmen could not be abandoned during the transition from war 
to peace. The President thinks the transition period is nearly 
ended, that there is no necessity for an indefinite extension of 
the Bureau; "for that reason" he vetoed the bill. Seward explained 
that the Bureau would continue under the original law for another 
year; if Congress then found it still needed, Congress could take 
"the necessary steps." The President ought not to be denounced, in 
the absence of any necessity, "for refusing to retain and exercise 
powers greater than those of any imperial magistrate in the 
world!" 49 

The meeting was page one news in the New York press, and 
most of the editorial comment was an enthusiastic endorsement. 
The chief voice of dissent came from the columns of Greeley's 
Tribune. It conceded that Seward's speech was "ingenious, and 
in some points able" but objected that Seward like the other 
speakers ignored the real questions in the controversy. These 
were two: whether the late rebel states had shown such signs of 
returning loyalty as to make it prudent to restore all their sus- 
pended rights; and whether the nation ought not to interpose "a 
fixed, absolute and impassable barrier" between the freed Negroes 
and "the few Southern Whites who seek to oppress them." 50 The 
Herald's Friday treatment was warm, including pleasant refer- 
ences to the "distinguished" Secretary of State; its Saturday com- 
ments became critical of Seward's optimism, his "incapacity to 
practically comprehend the vital questions which agitate the 
country." 51 The first reaction of the World to the triumphant 
performance of the man so long and bitterly assailed in its col- 
umns was caustic: 52 


Secretary Seward's speech to the repentant Republicans at the 
Cooper Institute last night was pitched in the key of his famous ninety 
day prophecies. 

The Ship of State has out-breasted the storm and is now in the 
haven of rest. There is no cloud in the future; the Union is fully re- 
stored; it does not much matter whether Congress or the President 
prevail all will come right in the end. In short, according to the 

"Everything is lovely 
And the goose hangs high" 

The query is, if everything is so serene, why was the meeting held? 
and why did Mr. Seward come all the way from Washington to give 
it his countenance? 

Seward was a "rose-water statesman"; "the greater affairs of the 
world are moved by the passions; but Mr. Seward is passionless, 
and therefore blind." Yet his speech would do great good, "not 
as he intends by uniting and reconciling, but by hastening the di- 
vision and disintegration of the doomed Republican party." 53 On 
second thought, however, the World softened its tone and joined 
the general chorus of acclaim for the meeting. Seward had been 
speaking for readers in Europe, which was quite within his prov- 
ince; the point of the meeting was that the "respectable Republi- 
can gentlemen" who ran it "have indorsed [sic] Mr, Johnson in 
his fight with the Radicals in Congress . . . have proclaimed the 
present Congress to be a Rump Congress, and the Radicals . . . 
to be Disunionists." The World would accept them, presumably 
even Seward, as "new recruits" and after their fortitude had been 
tested, even advance them "to the post of honor." 54 

Seward and Weed clearly had no intention of playing the role 
of penitent sinners turned novitiates under the rule of the World. 
They recognized, as Weed wrote Senator Morgan a few days 
after the meeting, that "We are in a crisis." 55 Both Weed and 
Wakeman, the Seward politico who held the office of surveyor 
of the port, had sent Seward urgent appeals to address the meet- 
ing. "It is deemed important that you should be present," wired 
Wakeman on the ipth. 56 "Can you come to our meeting," read 
Weed's telegram of the loth; "I have reflected well and hope you 
can come," 57 "Our meeting" was designed not just to rally sup- 

9. The President Declares War 187 

port for the President, but in the discreet words of the official 
call "to promote harmony in the public Councils of the 
Country." 58 It was Weed and Seward's most important public 
move to keep the pro- Johnson movement under their control; to 
do this, not only did they need to maintain some good Democratic 
contacts, but most importantly they also needed to retain a sub- 
stantial following among Republicans. With Democrats pledging 
unqualified allegiance to the President, their leaders were in a 
position to assert authority as commanding generals. Seward and 
Weed had to assemble all the political strength they could rally 
to counter this danger and particularly "to promote harmony" in 
the RepubKcan ranks. 

The roster of vice presidents, officers, and speakers for the 
Cooper Institute meeting included not only Seward's faithful 
among the New York Republicans but also such leaders of the 
dissident faction as William C Bryant, editor of the Evening 
Tost, David Dudley Field, and George Opdyke. James Gordon 
Bennett was there also. Democrats were not excluded; Daniel S. 
Dickinson, prominent War Democrat sent a letter which was read 
from the platform, and Francis B. Cutting, a prewar ultra- 
Southern Democrat who had supported Lincoln and the war 
effort, was permanent chairman of the meeting. Although there 
appeared nowhere in the proceedings the name either of Fer- 
nando Wood or of his brother Ben, editor of the Daily News, the 
enthusiastically warm response of the Ne*ws to the meeting sug- 
gests that this extreme wing of the New York Democracy had 
not been overlooked by Weed and Wakeman in their prepara- 
tions for the meeting. The roster, however, did not include the 
most prominent War Democrats such as Dix and Cochrane, nor 
did it contain the names of leaders among the regular Democrats 
such as Tilden and Barlow. 

Preserved among the Seward papers is an anonymous printed 
lampoon of the meeting. 59 This opens with a scene in a back room 
at Washington, just before the veto, where Seward, Weed, and 
Richard Schell were planning the New York meeting. Weed 
urged the need to "obtain strength from the Union War Demo- 
crats; Seward was made to reply: 


Yes, and they are ready to help us on; but you must remember that 
they may impress the President too strongly and claim our places. This 
point must not be lost sight of. Will not lesser lights answer our pur- 
pose and make us stronger, rather than jeopardize our future! 

We have no evidence to indicate whether Weed asked Dix to par- 
ticipate and he refused, as the skit implied, or whether the most 
prominent War Democrat of the state was deliberately omitted 
from the list of sponsors. As for Tilden and other close associates 
of the World's editor, the ungracious attitude of that paper to- 
ward the meeting suggests that they were not among the espe- 
cially invited. 

Contemporaries variously assessed the political complexion of 
the Cooper Institute meeting. The hostile Tribune thought the 
meeting "bore the unmistakable marks of a good old-fashioned 
Democratic gathering." 60 The World jibed that the crowd con- 
sisted of repentant rank-and-file Republicans and "the entire corp 
of anxious officeholders in the city of New York." 61 Bryant's 
Evening Post reported that it was a respectable gathering com- 
posed of men of all parties, "old democrats, old whigs, old free- 
soilers, and old conservatives." 62 Bennett's Herald agreed that the 
meeting was composed of "our most respectable classes," although 
"we believe that they all belong to one political party." 63 Seward's 
organ, the New York Times, characterized the occasion as one 
"for the suppression of everything like mere party and partisan 
feeling." 64 The urbane George Templeton Strong commented in 
his diary that it was a " 'Conservative' meeting. . . . got up by 
men of weight, political purity, and unquestioned loyalty, Re- 
publicans and War Democrats." 65 Despite these conflicting 
opinions indeed, in view of the particular political orientation of 
each it is evident that the meeting was largely Republican in 

This was clearly shown in the formal resolutions and accom- 
panying address which were presented by David Dudley Field. 
Although unqualified in approval of Johnson's position, they 
emphasized that the participants in the meeting, and also both 
Congress and the President, were agreed that the freedmen must 
have "all the civil rights of any other class of citizens . . . they 

9. The President Declares War 189 

must have equality before the law" Field stated that the only di- 
viding question was whether the freedmen should have the 
suffrage. He summarized with remarkable equity and lack of 
rancor the arguments on each side of this question, and then took 
his stand against suffrage. Those who argue that the Negro could 
not be protected in his rights without the franchise, Field pointed 
out, forget the power given to Congress by the enforcement 
clause of the Thirteenth Amendment and also forget that the men 
and women of the South have a sense of justice. 66 The emphasis 
upon the Negro's civil rights had a distinctively Republican 

Seward and Weed had scored a local victory at the Cooper 
Institute. Their support from Greeley's former allies within the 
Union-Republican party, however, could be retained only so long 
as there was confidence in Johnson's readiness to protect the 
freedman as a citizen. Nor did their success on February 22, any 
more than their triumph in the election of the previous Novem- 
ber, bring a capitulation from Democratic rivals among the friends 
of the President. After the meeting, Seward wired his son, the 
President, and Senator Morgan an almost identical message: "ALL 


was not safe and the work had not ended. John Dix sent off an 
emissary to Johnson; 68 Tilden utilized the influence of Montgom- 
ery Blair to warn the President that he could not succeed if he 
placed "an exclusive reliance on the republican machine" Pres- 
sure mounted from the Democrats in respect to the New York 
collectorship, and it was directed primarily against the Seward- 
Weed forces. 70 Weed reassured Seward that he was "in frequent 
communication with leading Democrats (not Copperheads) who 
are preparing the way for political reconstruction." For success, 
however, "the new organization" must be "based on the Conserva- 
tive Plan in the Union Platform." 71 

Other than in New York City, it was the Democracy which 
dominated the movement to celebrate and endorse the President's 
veto. Democrats showered the President with individual letters 
and joint resolutions of approval, some direct from party conven- 
tions. In meetings "irrespective of party," they sought to place 


Conservative Republicans, and especially Republican officehold- 
ers, conspicuously on the front rows, while keeping direction of 
the proceedings in their own hands. Often Republicans balked at 
the prospect of appearing on programs which to them seemed 
calculated merely to reinvigorate their old foes the Copper- 
heads and Peace Democracy. 72 The most persuasive argument 
against such meetings came from the conciliatory but principled 
John A. Andrew, former governor of Massachusetts, in reply to 
the elder Frank Blair, who had asked Andrew's support of a John- 
son meeting: 

-r. 73 

Seeing so clearly as I do, the duty of us all, of endeavoring to meet 
the present and coming emergencies, in the spirit, and in the manner 
of calm, patriotic, liberal minded statesmanship, I am opposed to 
public meetings, called in support of, or the interest of, any man, 
leader or party. All the men whose names are made prominent in a 
controversial way, will have to yield something of what they may 
have said. . . . And in this remark, I include President Johnson. . , 

Now, if one set of men get up meetings for Paul, another set will 
get up meetings for Apollo. The result will be antagonism, not 

The calm approach that Andrew desired to the problem of the 
freedmen and of restoration had been made more difficult by 
Johnson's own speech of February 22, in which he had named 
Sumner, Stevens, and Wendell Phillips as traitors and intimated 
that the Radicals were bent upon his assassination. Democrats 
hailed the performance. General George McClellan, the Demo- 
crat's 1864 presidential candidate who was vacationing in Europe, 
was so pleased with the speech that he came to the conclusion 
that "the least the country can do for him [Johnson] is to make 
him the next President," and encouraged his political friends in 
the States to initiate such a movement. 74 Conciliatory Republicans 
attempted to explain it away as an intemperate emotional outburst 
under provocation. Both Seward and Weed, however, wired 
Johnson congratulations on his speech; 75 yet observers noted a 
marked differences of approach between the Secretary and the 
President. A friend wrote Seward that he had read his speech with 

9. The President Declares War 191 

gratitude; "but what shall I say of the speech of the President!" 76 
Bryant's Evening Post remarked sadly that Johnson seemed to for- 
get what Seward had emphasized, that the difference between the 
President and certain leading Republicans "is a question of 
methods and not one of different ends." The Post trusted that 
Johnson would apologize for the "shocking imputation that 
Stevens, Sumner and others were seeking to incite assassination.'* 77 
Johnson himself never repudiated his statement; indeed, he sub- 
sequently insisted in connection with the Connecticut guberna- 
torial election that those who wished his support must sustain the 
controversial speech as well as his various messages to Congress. 78 
Johnson's veto and speech aroused excitement, concern, and 
indignation among Republicans. John W. Forney of the Washing- 
ton Chronicle and Philadelphia Press had been publishing strong 
statements of confidence and denouncing Democratic efforts to 
"fabricate opinion" for the President. 79 With the announcement 
of the veto, he turned upon Johnson with bitterness. He revealed 
that despite his earlier declarations of faith in the President, he 
had been apprehensive when Johnson had failed to declare for 
the Union party prior to the New York and Pennsylvania elec- 
tions, had received Democratic leaders "almost in state," and had 
for a time made John Van Buren a "daily confidant." The veto 
would, according to Forney, postpone or defeat "every essential 
amendment of the National Constitution," remand the freedmen 
to new horrors, lead to the merciless proscription of "independent 
and earnest men," and to the "resuscitation by federal patronage 
of the entire Copperhead party." The nation's leading Radical 
paper, the Chicago Tribune, which had long since lost its early 
confidence in Johnson, now attacked relentlessly, not hesitating to 
accuse the President of "deep hypocrisy" in respect to Negro 
rights and of deliberate intent to cement the loyalty of Southern 
states whose votes he expected to make him President. The 
Tribune's attack was echoed by a number of papers of the Mid- 
west, where there was an acute awareness that VaEandigham, 
the notorious Ohio Copperhead, was claiming the President as a 
convert to his platform. Greeley's Tribune was firm in opposi- 


tion, but spoke more in stern sorrow than in anger. 80 These papers 
accepted the challenge of the veto. 

More of the Republican press, however, refused to acknowl- 
edge the Presidential declaration of war. They did not damn the 
veto entirely but saw in it a balance of valid and invalid argu- 
ment, some tipping the scale for Johnson, others against him. A 
number accepted the Seward position that the difference between 
Executive and Congress was a matter not of ends, but of means. 
There was a general expectation that a modified version of the 
Bureau bill would receive the President's assent. Many papers 
ignored the President's denial to Congress of any authority to set 
conditions before a restoration of the former rebel states to full 
participation in the nation's councils. With notable exceptions, the 
pervasive tone of the Republican press was one of respect, a re- 
fusal to follow Forney and the Chicago Tribune in impugning the 
motives of the President. The dominant sentiment among Repub- 
licans was still one of accepting Johnson as their president and 
scorning Democratic claims that he was theirs or that a chasm 
had been opened between the Chief Executive and the Union- 
Republican party. 

Evidence of this moderation and openness to conciliation is 
certain beyond question. The Herald's Washington correspondent 
sent word that the Republican caucus held the evening after the 
President's speech was a "singular" affair, without the passion and 
"spicy time" anticipated. A majority had not been willing "to 
declare an open war against Andrew Johnson." He predicted that 
since the congressional majority would not declare war then, 
when excitement was at its height, they would not be able to do 
so later, for with time the moderate men of the party would be 
increasingly "inclined to go with Johnson." 81 The World cyni- 
cally remarked that "the Radicals rather than give up the offices, 
are preparing to surrender at discretion." 82 

The President still enjoyed the support of influential and articu- 
late moderates, notably that of Senator John Sherman and Gov- 
ernor Jacob D. Cox of Ohio. Governor Cox had talked with the 
President and released a reassuring letter to the press. Samuel 

9. The f resident Declares War 193 

Bowles, editor of the highly respected Springfield Republican, 
was in Washington and sent home reports of "A Lull in the Con- 
flict at the Capital." He saw in the conversation between Gov- 
ernor Cox and the President a basis for "cooperation and har- 
mony"; meantime, "Congress is doing nothing and saying nothing 
to aggravate matters," 83 By March 8, Senator Morgan was report- 
ing to Weed: "We are gaining here, but our friends in the Senate 
were very angry for some time." 84 A week later, Representative 
Dawes was writing his wife that there would probably be no open 
rupture during the current session of Congress. 85 Henry Ward 
Beecher's support of the President in the Freedmen's Bureau veto 
must have led many an old Abolitionist to suspend judgment. 86 
Charles Sumner, the most uncompromising of the Radicals, was 
weakening in his opposition to anything short of equal suffrage. 
Indeed, Wendell Phillips, in apprehension, tried to persuade Sum- 
ner that "this is no time to consult harmony" Phillips disparaged 
not only Doolittle and Raymond, avowed Johnson supporters, 
but also Senators Trumbull and Fessenden, moderates, and Henry 
Wilson of Massachusetts, a Radical, as examples of "cowardly Re- 
publicanism." 87 A compromise program for restoration of the 
Southern states suggested by Senator William M. Stewart of 
Nevada was receiving wide support. 88 Senator Trumbull believed 
that his Civil Rights Bill, which would protect Negro rights 
through regular court procedures rather than the extralegal 
agency of the Bureau and the Army, had the approval of the 
President. In short, to quote an authority on the work of the Joint 
Committee on Reconstruction, there was "much peace talk in and 
out of Congress." 89 

The conciliatory reaction of Republicans generally, the flood 
of approving letters that reached his desk, the overwhelming 
support indicated by the numerous press clippings which his staff 
assembled all these may have given Andrew Johnson an unwar- 
ranted confidence that he was "master of the situation." To be 
certain, letters and clippings were weighted heavily by Northern 
Democratic opinion and Southern jubilation. The President, how- 
ever, was not unmindful of the Democracy and the South; and 


neither the South nor the Democracy wished compromise and 
reconciliation between the President and the congressional ma- 
jority. Andrew Johnson chose war, not peace. On March 27, 1866, 
he returned Trumbull's Civil Rights Bill to the Senate with a 
Presidential veto. 



protection for the basic civil rights, not including suffrage or 
officeholding, of the skves now made free men by the Thirteenth 
Amendment. The veto of the Civil Rights Bill, officially entitled 
"An Act to protect all persons in the United States in their civil 
rights, and furnish the means of their vindication," reopened the 
conflict between Executive and Congress. The second veto, like 
the first, can be viewed as an accommodation to the sentiment of 
the South and of the Northern Democracy. 1 Not one Democratic 
vote had been cast for the bill in either House. A few days after 
its passage, George W. Morgan, the Democratic candidate for 
governor defeated by Jacob D. Cox in Ohio the previous fall, sent 
the proceedings of a pro- Johnson meeting and die message: **We 
are looting for another veto." 2 The elder Frank Blair wrote John- 
son a letter with four pages of argument against the bill. His ob- 
jections were all directed to the heart of the matter: under the 
bill, as Blair saw it, the states would be able to make "no dis- 
crimination between Whites & Black," a result he considered dis- 
astrous. tc No man can advocate an amalgamation of the white & 
black races and so create a mongrel nation. . . . The policy of the 



country must therefore be a gradual segregation of the Races. 
This will be attempted by the legislation of the States now filled 
by negroes.'* These states must retain such rights, for example, as 
that to send black convicts to penal colonies outside the country 
while retaining white convicts in local workhouses. They must be 
able to induce manufacturing companies into the South by educat- 
ing the rising generations of the white race while restricting the 
blacks "to the ruder trades and to the producing of the raw 
material." Blair concluded the long letter: 3 

An infinite variety of municipal regulations grow up in the econ- 
omy of states to advance the interest of the Race who made the Govt 
& to whom it belongs by making discriminations Congress forbids. 
Has it a right to do it? 

Although stated with typical indiscretion, Blair's position repre- 
sented widespread opinion at the South and among the Northern 

In contrast, eminent Republicans who had supported the 
President after the Freedmen's Bureau veto, ardently desired 
Presidential approval of civil rights legislation. Henry Ward 
Beecher, invoking the privilege of one who had "suffered, as 
being a friend of President Johnson," urged Johnson to sign 
TrumbulTs Civil Rights Bill. The "thing itself is desirable," it 
would harmonize feelings, strengthen "your friends' hands," frus- 
trate those who had tried to create the impression "that you have 
proved untrue to the cause of liberty," meet the prevailing "deep 
tide of moral feeling." 4 Governor Cox wrote from Ohio pleading 
^ or a PP rova ^ even if it meant that the President must "strain a 
point." The people looked to the purposes of the bill: namely, to 
give the freedmen "the same rights of property and persons, the 
same remedies for injuries received and the same penalties for 
wrongs committed, as other men This they approve, and they 
know that you and I and all true Union men have constantly 
desired this result." Though many of the provisions for enforce- 
ment were objectionable, Governor Cox argued that they were 
still "civil provisions . . . not the unrestrained despotism of mili- 
tary power which was embodied in the Freedmen's bureau bill." 

10. Civil Rights: The Issue of Reconstruction 197 

If the Southern people would "do right themselves," by breaking 
down "the distinctions between classes," the law would be of 
little "practical moment ... a dead letter." Executive approval 
of a bill, the Ohio Governor counseled, "by no means implies 
full assent to a measure," only that its objectionable features are 
not so "gross" as to make it an executive duty to interpose. The 
long letter made an appeal based upon practical politics. Cox had 
found the Ohio Democracy hypocritical in their support of the 
President; inasmuch as they had no disposition "to abandon their 
organization as a party," no real help could come from them ex- 
cept "as we convert individuals" Approval of the Civil Rights Bill 
would make Johnson with "our Western people," "fully master 
of the situation," would remove any possibility of opposition in 
Union ranks to other Administration measures, and would greatly 
assist in "holding together our State organizations, but this is a 
consideration I would not feel like urging upon you." 5 

On the eve of the veto, aware of its imminence, Thurlow Weed 
wrote Seward a letter meant for the President's eye. If the Civil 
Rights Bill were to be vetoed, the President must make a point of 
his long-standing "paternal regard for a race whose changed con- 
dition" required such legislation. "If he manifests a desire that the 
Negroes shall be protected in all that concerns his personal rights 
and material welfare the People will go with him." 6 Seward him- 
self sent a hurried and unsigned note to the President: "If you can 
find a way to intimate that you are not opposed to the policy of 
the Mil but only to its detailed provisions, it will be a great im- 
provement and make the support of the veto easier to our friends 
in Congress." 7 

As in the case of the earlier Freedmen's Bureau Bill, Secretary 
Seward's attitude toward the Civil Rights Bill is revealed in a draft 
message prepared for the President. 8 Once again, Seward was con- 
ciliatory where Johnson was hostile. He objected at length to cer- 
tain aspects of the bill, "rather questions of form than questions of 
substance," particularly the enforcement provisions; but in effect, 
Seward invited Congress to frame a new bill that would eliminate 
objectionable features yet effectively safeguard civil equality for 
the Negro through the Federal judiciary. The object of the bill, 


"to secure all persons in their civil rights without regard to race 
or color," received Seward's explicit approval, as did the status 
of citizenship for the freedmen. So far from challenging the right 
of Congress to pass such legislation, he pointed to a constitutional 
basis for the bill in the enforcement clause of the Thirteenth 
Amendment and in the privileges and immunities clause of the 
original Constitution. He tried to counter apprehensions that a 
guarantee of civil rights would open the door to congressional 
legislation granting suffrage to the Negro. Qualifications for vot- 
ing and officeholding, according to Seward, would be left with 
the states, "precisely as if the bill were not enacted into law." 9 
In all these aspects, Seward's attitude was in sharp contrast to 
the position taken by Johnson in the official message. This is true 
despite the fact that the President borrowed liberally from 
Seward's draft. 10 Johnson challenged the assumption that the 
newly emancipated slaves were qualified for citizenship. 11 By 
indirection, he defended discrimination by state law on the basis 
of race. He raised the objection that if Congress had the power 
to abrogate state discriminations in respect to certain civil rights, 
it would also have the power to decide who should be juror, 
judge, and voter. He affirmed that Congress had no power over 
states, as it did over territories " 'to make rules and regulations' 
for them." 12 The weight of argument in the President's message, 
as this quotation indicates, was against the position that Congress 
possessed authority to pass civil rights legislation; it implied that 
such legislation would be an invasion of the reserved rights of the 
states. The message, however, did not squarely face the basic ques- 
tion of congressional authority. At one point, the President re- 
ferred to the enforcement clause of the Thirteenth Amendment 
as presumably the authority by virtue of which the bill gave 
Federal courts exclusive jurisdiction over cases involving discrimi- 
nation. Without agreeing or disagreeing with that presumption, 
he continued, "It cannot, however, be justly claimed that, with a 
view to the enforcement of this article of the Constitution, there 
is at present any necessity for the exercise of all the powers which 
this bill confers." 13 Toward the close of the message, the Presi- 
dent included a strong states'-rights statement drafted by Secre- 

10. Civil Rights: The Issue of Reconstruction 199 

tary Welles. This passage condemned the bill's provisions gener- 
ally as an interference with municipal legislation that would 
destroy the Federal system of limited powers and intrude upon 
the reserved rights of the states. 

Seward had ended his draft with a Presidential promise to ap- 
prove "any bill that should provide, in harmony with the con- 
victions I have expressed, for the protection of the civil rights of 
all classes of persons throughout the United States by judicial 
process in conformity with the Constitution of the United 
States." In a slightly more qualified version, Johnson added 
Seward's conclusion to his own veto. In the context of the mes- 
sage as a whole, however, it was a meaningless concession. 

Despite the ambiguous concluding promise, Johnson's message 
when compared with Seward's draft clearly indicates that Presi- 
dential opposition to civil rights legislation was a matter not of 
form but of substance. In fact, Johnson refused to make any sub- 
stantive concessions to moderate Republicans, Seward included, 
who desired a federally enforceable status of civil equality, short 
of voting and officeholding, for the former slave. Conclusive evi- 
dence can be found in the letters of Senator Edwin D. Morgan. 
Senator Morgan, it will be recalled, was closely associated with 
Seward and Weed. He had voted to uphold the Freedmen's 
Bureau veto; even after the veto of the Civil Rights Bill, he coun- 
seled against hasty condemnation of the President and made 
known his desire that "the great body of those with whom I am 
politically associated will continue acting together, and acting 
with the President." 14 He refused to bend before the pressure of 
"the malcontents," insisting that "the President means to do 
right." 15 

Morgan was ill during this period, but he was much concerned 
about the civil rights measure and kept in touch with Seward. On 
the 26th, the day before the veto, he sent an urgent note to 
Seward requesting information. "I am all in the dark as to what 
is going on and I want much to know more than I do concerning 
the Veto which it is said will be sent to the Senate perhaps to- 
day." 16 Secretary Seward sent Morgan's plea to the Executive 
Mansion with the notation: "Have the President please read and 


enable me to answer Gov. Morgan." The penciled reply to 
Seward read: "It will not go in before tomorrow Mr. Moore 
will be over to see you." 17 The President's secretary, however, 
apparently did not appear. He wrote Seward that the President 
had directed another copy of his message to be made and expected 
that "it would be prepared in time for your examination this 
evening. He finds, however, that but little progress has been 
made, and fears that if he arrests the work he will not be able to 
obtain a correct copy in time for the Cabinet meeting tomorrow 
morning. He therefore directs me to say that it will be ready for 
you at any hour in the morning that you may designate." 18 This 
correspondence suggests not only Morgan's apprehensions and 
his desire to act in harmony with the President, but also a Presi- 
dential reluctance to discuss the message privately with Seward 
on the very eve of its release. In view of what we now know of 
Seward's position and its variance with that of the President's, the 
report of the Cabinet meeting next morning, March 27, which 
Welles noted in his diary, is of special interest. Welles wrote, 
"Seward said he [had] carefully studied the bill and thought it 
might be well to pass a law declaring negroes were citizens, be- 
cause there had been some questions raised [on that point] 
though there never was a doubt in his own mind." 19 This passage 
suggests that Seward made a final, but ineffectual, plea for a major 
modification of the position Johnson had taken. 

Between the veto and the vote upon it in the Senate, Senator 
Morgan conferred with the President in an attempt to secure "an 
understanding in relation to a new 'Civil Rights Bill,' free from 
Constitutional objections, and that will afford all necessary pro- 
tection." He was convinced that this would achieve "harmony, in 
the party; and unity in the Nation." 20 At first he was hopeful. 
Thurlow Weed, whom Morgan kept informed of his position and 
activities, sent words of encouragement and counsel. Morgan's 
statement of his support of the President had quieted apprehen- 
sions among friends in New York and Albany. "Pray do not let 
the Friends of the Administration be kept in a negative position," 
Weed continued. "You need affirmative ground to stand on. The 

10. Civil Eights: The Issue of Reconstruction 201 

president can be invincible if to wisdom he adds calmness and 

On April 6, in a dramatically close vote, the Senate overrode 
Johnson's veto of the Civil Rights Bill. Senator Morgan, to the 
applause of the galleries, cast his vote for the bill and against the 
President. Two days later he sent Thurlow Weed an explanation. 
He had made "most earnest efforts with Mr. Fessenden and with 
the President to have a compromise bill agreed upon and passed. 
It looked hopeful at one time but failed. The difficulty really was 
the President's objections to the first section of the bill. It was then 
this bill or nothing. ... It is unfortunate perhaps that the bill was 
not signed. But if it had been returned with the President's objec- 
tions to the second section only we could have got along with it 
very well and maintained ourselves which is a matter of some 
consideration." Morgan argued that with the issue out of the way 
in the elections, the President would be in a better position than 
if the bill had been defeated. 22 The first section of the bill, to 
which Morgan referred as crucial in the negotiations with the 
President, was the section granting Negroes citizenship and equal 
civil rights. 

Other personal letters of Morgan repeated and elaborated his 
explanation to Weed. Had the President disavowed objections to 
the "Principle and pointed out the defects of the details, the 
Senate would have amended and passed the bill without any break 
or serious trouble, as we all knew that the second section was 
objectionable. But the first section declaring the Blacks Citizens, 
we could not and would not give up." 23 

When the Civil Rights Bill was returned to the Senate, Lyinan 
Trumbull rose to voice the conclusion of a moderate man who felt 
a profound obligation to the newly freed Negroes of the South: 24 

Whatever may have been the opinion of the President at one time 
as to "good faith requiring the security of the freedmen in their lib- 
erty and their property" it is now manifest from the character of Ms 
objections to this bill that he will approve no measure that will ac- 
complish the object. 

Ironically, the Herald agreed. Ten days earlier its editorial col- 
umns had characterized the bill as "a practical, just and benefi- 


cent measure," in no way conflicting with the "declared opin- 
ions and policy of President Johnson"; 25 now it jubilantly greeted 
the veto as the signal of a political revolution: 26 

The objections submitted against the first section of the bill, how- 
ever, are those which mark the impassable barrier between him and 
the ruling radicals of Congress. He is opposed to the recognition at 
present, by law, of the blacks as citizens of the United States, and he 
is opposed to any further legislation by Congress affecting the domes- 
tic affairs of the several States. . . . 

Just after the veto, the conciliatory Henry L. Dawes, who had 
harsh words for the President's extreme opponents, wrote his 
wife that Johnson had deprived "every friend he has of the least 
ground upon which to stand and defend him." 27 

No oratory of Charles Sumner, no lash of Thaddeus Stevens' 
tongue nor of his reputed political whip, could drive the Republi- 
can majority in Congress into sustained open warfare with the 
President. This accomplishment was Johnson's own. By refusing 
Presidential support to any program that would effectively secure 
equality before the law to the four million slaves whom the 
national government had made free, he fatally alienated the rea- 
sonable men who wished to act with him rather than against him. 
For some, the principle of equal status was decisive; for others, 
the prospect of repudiation by their Republican constituencies 
may have been sufficient reason. Johnson might have called for 
modified civil rights legislation or asked for a constitutional 
amendment to put beyond question the right of Congress to 
secure for the freedmen civil equality. 28 He did neither. 

By giving countenance to the Democratic claim that the Civil 
Rights Act was unconstitutional, Johnson helped to destroy any 
possibility that the civil rights issue, as Senator Morgan had 
hoped, would be removed from the political arena. When Con- 
gress subsequently formulated its own amendment, with the 
vital section one on citizenship and equal rights, Johnson might 
have accepted it in whole or in part, or he might have used it as 
a point of departure for compromise. Instead, the President made 
dear his disapproval of any constitutional amendment whatsoever 
before the South had been fully restored to a voice in national 

10. Civil Eights: The Issue of Reconstruction 203 

affairs. 29 It was obvious at the time, as it is evident in retrospect, 
that no civil rights amendment could have received the requisite 
two-thirds vote of both Houses of Congress with the South fuUy 
represented. Neither in March of 1866, nor later, did Andrew 
Johnson give to the moderates of the party that had elected him 
any alternative with which they might spare the nation a dread 
conflict between Congress and the Chief Executive. 30 

In declaring war upon the Radicals, Johnson chose to make as 
well an issue with moderate Republicans. His action on the CivE 
Rights Bill, like that on the Freedmen's Bureau Bill, cannot be ex- 
plained on the sole basis of Radical provocation or constitutional 
principles. It must be viewed in the context of pressures from the 
Democracy, North and South, and of plans to precipitate a re- 
organization of national parties that would result in a new or 
transformed Union party under his personal leadership. Yet a new 
or transformed Union party would be only the Democracy in 
disguise unless it could command the support of moderate men 
in the Republican ranks. Whether Johnson wished the substance 
or only the appearance of a new amalgam, we cannot know. If the 
former, his unyielding attitude on the civil rights issue was a 
major blunder. He may have been blinded by his own racial atti- 
tudes or by his victory in the battle over the Freedmen's Bureau 
BilL Contemporary evidence, however, should have made un- 
mistakably clear the near unanimity of Republican public opinion 
on behalf of some national guarantee of equal civil rights for the 

The advice of Henry Ward Beecher, of Governor Cox, of 
Thurlow Weed, and of Secretary Seward indicated the impor- 
tance of the civil rights issue to continued support from rank- 
and-file Republicans. Even Senator Cowan in advising the second t 
veto cautioned the President to "Be careful to put it distinctly as 
a question of power not of policy indeed it might be recom- 
mended to the States with propriety," 31 It will be recalled that 
John Cochrane, who had labored so diligently to prepare the way 
for a Johnson party centered about the War Democrats, had 
sent similar advice. He had cautioned Johnson that in the ap- 
proaching conflict with his "disguised enemies" it would be 


essential that the line of Presidential policy could not be inter- 
preted as unfriendly to the Negro. "That concession to public 
opinion" would enable Johnson to carry the North. 32 R. P. L. 
Baber, a diligent Johnson political lieutenant, wrote from Ohio 
both before and after the veto to Senator DooHttle, Secretary 
Seward, and the President about the strategy needed for success 
in the approaching congressional elections. A central requisite was 
"Some effective and Constitutional law to enable the Freedmen 
to enforce in the Federal Courts, rights denied them in the State 
Courts, as to the protection of person and property." 33 Russell 
Houston, an old personal friend who had acted as an intermediary 
between Johnson and the New York Democracy, wrote Johnson 
from Kentucky advising that the President's supporters in Con- 
gress take the lead in advocating a civil rights bill that would not 
be unconstitutional or inappropriate. "It is important to you and 
to the country, that when the issues now being made, shall go 
before the people, you should appear as you are and have been, 
the advocate, the friend and the promoter of the freedom of all 
the people of our Country whether of one race or another. . . . 
Under ordinary circumstances, I might say that no legislation on 
the subject was necessary, but under present circumstances, I 
think differently." 34 A New Jersey representative wrote the 
President to explain that his vote on the Civil Rights Bill did not 
indicate any desire to desert the Administration. "Whilst a differ- 
ent course would not have sustained you practically it would have 
been a violation of my own sense of right, and in decided contra- 
vention of the will of our friends whose opinion I have ascertained 
by personal observation during my stay at Trenton last week. 
They strongly desire protection to the freedmen and fear the 
States would be slow to accord it." 35 

Private letters to Secretary Seward and to Senator Morgan bear 
eloquent testimony to the importance of the civil rights issue. 
Seward's public defense of the Freedmen's Bureau veto evoked 
from an old friend and political supporter words of harsh but 
sorrowful repudiation. "Had any one predicted even a single year 
ago you would in so brief a period be found side by side with 
the Hoods, Vallandighain, Pearce, Buchanan, Voorhees, Brooks, 

10. Civil Rights: The Issue of Reconstruction 205 

Davis and other aiders and abetters of the rebellion, I should 

have deemed him as a libeller [Your friends] have the painful 

mortification of seeing you co-operating with your life-long 
enemies and the enemies of Freedom, Justice, Humanity and the 
Union, to fasten upon the country a system of slavery ten times 
more odious and cruel than that which the Army of the Republic 
has destroyed." 36 After the second veto, another former admirer 
wrote: "Your former friends are all deserting you. . . . Your re- 
construction policy is believed by the people fatal to the true 
interests of liberty and the life of the Nation. Justice to the loyal 
whites of the South and the Freedmen is justice to the nation, so 
the people believe." 37 The pastor of New York's Trinity Church 
wrote to commend Morgan for sustaining the Civil Rights Bill. 
"That Bill seemed to us to be the necessary Legislation to give 
vitality to the late Amendment to the Constitution of the United 
States and to make freedom a real thing to the emancipated. . . . 
It is high time to assert by Legislation, the Union and Nationality 
of this great Country, and to maintain the citizenship of every 
native born American." 38 Another minister expressed satisfaction 
in the passage of the kw for much the same reasons: C If our 
people are not to be protected by national law in the Civil Rights 
that are secured even in the empires of Europe, with what face 
can we stand up among the free nations of the world?" 39 A New- 
York banker succinctly stated the issue: "The Freedmen's Bureau 
Bill involved a question of expediency about which earnest Union 
men might differ the Civil Rights Bill however stood upon a 
.different basis. The people whose rights as Citizens are sought to 
be protected by the Bill, were entitled to receive from the Gov- 
ernment a law that would secure to them the practical enjoyment 
of those rights." 40 A New York lawyer congratulated Morgan 
upon his vote: "I am not radical but I am confident you will never 
regret the aid you gave to common humanity in sustaining that 
bill." 41 

The response of the press also indicated that Republican opin- 
ion was committed to some form of civil rights action. Republi- 
can papers were much more united in their support of Congress 
than had been the case after the first veto. Bryant's Evening Post, 


which had supported the President earlier, now regretfully dis- 
sented. The moderate and conciliatory editor of the Springfield 
Republican reluctantly concluded that the Civil Rights Bill must 
be passed over the President's veto "or the hope of any special 
legislation for the protection of the freedmen must be aban- 
doned." 42 A few days later, at the very time when Senator Mor- 
gan was seeking compromise, Bowles wrote an extended analysis 
of the political situation. The President's purpose, according to 
the Springfield Republican's, editor, had been to drive off from 
the Republican party a small faction of extreme radicals and 
consolidate the mass of Republicans with War Democrats of the 
North and loyalists of the South into a powerful party that would 
bring the Union "peace and prosperity" and "give him a tri- 
umphant re-election." Even after the February 22 speech, the 
President might have held half the Republicans, "led Congress to 
his plan of reconstruction," and gained a larger power with the 
country than he had ever before possessed. The veto of the Civil 
Rights Bill, however, "instead of driving off from him a small 
minority of the republican party, or even the half of it, drives off 
substantially the whole of it. There is but one voice among re- 
publicans on this point. ... If Mr. Johnson is to stand by the 
doctrine of that document, he must inevitably part company with 
all the great body of his old supporters, and rely for his friends 
upon the northern democrats and the reconstructed rebels of the 
South. . . . For though they might give up everything else; waive 
universal suffrage, concede the admission of southern Congress- 
men, abolish the test oath, grant general amnesty, they cannot 
give up national protection to the weak and minority classes in 
the South." 43 The Democrat and Free Press of Rockland, Maine, 
gave a similar warning. "Mr. Johnson is mistaken if he supposes 
that fanaticism is at the bottom of the movement to give the 
negroes the rights of free men. It is not fanaticism, but cool 
judgment; it is not sustained by the few, but by the great mass 
of those who fought down the rebellion." 44 The Columbus, Ohio, 
Journal commented that by the veto, the President "had done 
more to strengthen the supporters of Congress and to determine 
the policy of the wavering, than months of argument." 45 

10. Civil Rights: The Issue of Reconstruction 207 

Even the Republican papers that remained friendly in their 
attitude toward the President made clear their own support for 
some form of national guarantee of the freedmen's rights. A few 
reconciled their own attitude with that of the President by point- 
ing to his concluding promise, the one Johnson had incorporated 
from Seward's draft, and insisting that the President was not 
opposed to Federal protection. Most of the Republican press, 
however, saw the veto as drawing a sharp line between the po- 
sition of the President and that of their party. 46 

What had been taking place in the Republican party since the 
close of the civil conflict was a gradual metamorphosis, similar to 
the one that had taken place during the war. The war years trans- 
formed the Republicans, a political amalgam originally united on 
the principle of opposition to the extension of slavery, into a party 
committed to the destruction of slavery. This objective had been 
formally embodied in the party platform of 1864. The platform, 
however, had not included a plank supporting equal legal status 
for the freed slaves, despite the fact that such a plank was offered 
and considered. By the winter of 1865, RepubHcans generally had 
expanded their repudiation of slavery into a condemnation of 
legal discriminations which by then seemed to them the last 
vestiges of slavery. Important elements within the party held that 
the freedmen's rights must include an equality of suffrage, but 
on this more advanced position. Republicans were not yet agreed. 
They had, however, come to identify Republicanism with a de- 
fense of basic civil rights for the freed slave. 47 Sometimes this 
identification of Republicanism with the principle of equal 'Status 
before the law was stated explicitly; sometimes it was expressed 
through generalizations that invoked liberty, freedom, or hu- 
manity. A characteristic argument, advanced by one Republican 
paper, was that if the position on equal civil rights embodied in 
Johnson's veto message were correct, then "all the principles of 
democracy and freedom upon which our creed of Republicanism 
rests are false and we must recant them." 48 When RepubHcans 
accused Johnson of treachery to the Republican party and Re- 
publican principles, or with greater forbearance simply asked 
that he give them some unmistakable evidence so that they might 


"continue to confide in. him as a Republican"** they were identi- 
fying their party with the principle of equality in legal status for 
all freedmen. 

Thus what had once been an advanced, or "Radical," position 
within Republican ranks, by 1866 had become accepted and 
moderate. To most opponents of equal civil status, however, the 
principle still appeared "Radical." Herein lies one clue to the 
confusion in the use of the term "Radical" which plagues any 
serious student of the period. The term is inescapable; yet a man 
labeled a "Radical" by one set of contemporaries or historians is 
often found designated a "moderate" by another group of con- 
temporaries or historians. All would agree that Charles Sumner, 
Thaddeus Stevens, and Wendell Phillips, extreme men though not 
of one mind, were the prototypes of Radicalism. The term radical, 
however, has often been used to identify, and castigate, all 
Republican opponents of Andrew Johnson. Many of these men 
were almost as critical of Sumner, Stevens, and Phillips as were 
their Conservative adversaries. Few followed Stevens in his de- 
mand for confiscation; most were ready to abandon or drastically 
compromise Sumner's aim of Negro suffrage. Though they 
wished to proceed with caution, there was no strong desire 
among them for an indefinite postponement of restoration by re- 
ducing the South to the status of "territories" or "conquered 
provinces." In other words, many Radicals were moderate men. 
The Radical opponents of President Johnson were united in one 
demand that of national protection for the freedmen. On other 
issues of Reconstruction they held widely divergent views. 

It has sometimes been assumed that a common economic atti- 
tude united Radicals and marked them off from pro- Johnson men. 
This assumption is demonstrably false. Some were protariff men, 
some antitariff men; some advocated cheap money, some upheld a 
sound gold standard; some were spoilsmen, others were among 
the spoilsmen's bitterest critics. 50 In 1865 and 1866 substantial 
members of the business community were as often found in the 
ranks of the President's supporters as in those of the opposition. 51 
John A. Dix, a key figure in the Johnson movement, was president 
of the Union Pacific. A twenty-thousand dollar reception and 

10. Civil Rights: The Issue of Reconstruction 209 

dinner at the famed Delmonico's, at the opening of Johnson's ill- 
fated Swing-around-the-Circle, was attended by many of the most 
powerful figures of New York business and finance. 52 As late as 
September, 1866, the New York Times, in an editorial entitled 
"Business and Politics the Conservatism of Commerce" spoke 
of the "great unanimity of the commercial and business classes 
in supporting the conservative policy of the Administration, and 
in opposing with their might the schemes of the Radical Destruc- 
tives." 53 

Nor were the Radicals distinguishable from the general run of 
Union men, as is often claimed, by vindictiveness toward the 
South or clamor for the heads of "traitors." Indeed, New York's 
outstanding Radical leader, Horace Greeley, was a leading figure 
in the movement for amnesty and forgiveness. Henry Wilson, 
Radical senator from Massachusetts, wrote to Johnson in support 
of a plea for the parole of Clement C. Clay of Alabama. 54 Even 
Thaddeus Stevens offered his services in the defense both of Clay 
and of Jefferson Davis. 55 The feeling against Southern leaders of 
the rebellion, which found expression both in a stubborn indigna- 
tion at the prospect of their speedy return to the halls of Congress 
and in an emotional demand for Jefferson Davis' trial and convic- 
tion, cut across the division between pro- Johnson and anti- Johnson 
men. Thus in December, 1865, the House passed a resolution sup- 
porting the stringent Test Oath of July, 1862, as binding without 
exception upon all branches of government. Only one Republican 
registered opposition. 56 A few days earlier, without a single dis- 
senting voice, the House had declared treason a crime that should 
be punished; thirty-four Democrats joined the Republicans in 
voting "yea." 57 In June, after the break with the President, a reso- 
lution calling for the trial of Jefferson Davis passed by a vote of 
105 to 19, with no Republican voting against it. Six of the seven 
Conservatives "who had broken with the majority of their party to 
support Johnson in the Civil Rights veto, registered their approval 
of this demand. 58 

The only common denominator that united the Radicals of 
1866, and the only characteristic they shared which could logi- 
cally justify the term radical? was their determination that the rebel 


South, should not be reinstated into the Union until there were 
adequate guarantees that the slaves liberated by the nation should 
enjoy the rights of free men. 59 It is true that Johnson's opponents 
believed Congress should have some voice in Reconstruction and 
that they were profoundly disturbed by the prospect of a re- 
stored South, united with the Northern Democracy, immediately 
controlling the destinies of the nation. They were also extremely 
sensitive to any patronage moves that might seem to indicate 
Johnson's support of the Democracy or an intent to punish Re- 
publicans for failure to agree completely with the President's po- 
sition. These attitudes, however, can hardly be termed radical; and 
they were not decisive factors with most of the men who broke 
with the President after the veto messages. Possibly, without the 
civil rights issue, one of these points of friction might have gen- 
erated warfare and become the dividing line between Johnson's 
opponents and his supporters; but this is extremely doubtful. The 
testimony of such men as Samuel Bowles, Thurlow Weed, Jacob 
D. Cox, and John Cochrane must be given weight. They believed 
that the President could achieve his goal of speedy restoration 
and renewed fellowship between North and South if only he en- 
dorsed some effective national guarantee of the freedmen's civil 
rights as citizens. 60 One of the most distinguished students of con- 
gressional Reconstruction, thoroughly sympathetic to Johnson, 
concluded that the moderate leadership in Congress desired just 
three conditions and would have settled for two: a guarantee of 
"the negroes' civil rights" and recognition of "the prerogative of 
Congress." 61 Since executive action alone could not guarantee the 
South's permanent acquiescence in the freedmen's newly gained 
rights, such security could be had only by way of the second con- 
dition, acceptance of some congressional action in the matter. In 
other words, the two conditions were inseparable; Johnson's con- 
sent to the first would have automatically fulfilled the second. 
Had Johnson come to terms with the moderates on the civil rights 
issue, the truly radical men of the party would have been clearly 
distinguishable from Republicans generally; and the true "Radi- 
cal" would have faced the choice of compromise or defeat. In- 
stead, except for a handful of Conservatives who totally accepted 

10. Civil Rights: The Issue of Reconstruction ^ 1 1 

Johnson's leadership, "Republican" tended to become synony- 
mous with "Radical." 

The Democracy had a major responsibility for the blurring of 
distinction between the terms Radical and Republican. Even be- 
fore the vetoes, they had tended to stigmatize the entire Republi- 
can leadership in Congress as "Radical"; after the vetoes, they 
delighted in maligning the Freedmen's Bureau Bill and the Civil 
Rights Act as parts of a sinister Radical design to defeat Johnson's 
plan for speedy restoration. This was good political strategy. Po- 
litical expediency and propaganda, however, are not a complete 
explanation. In the eyes of Democrats, North and South, the claim 
of "equality," in any form, for the newly freed Negro was indeed 
radical, an outrageous postwar version of prewar Abolitionism, 
Both before and after the vetoes, one finds expressions in the 
Democratic press and in private letters of the period which indi- 
cate an unmistakable identification of "Radical" with "Abolition- 
ist." Thus, a Tennessee judge, complaining about the interference 
of the military, started to write that this was "just what the 
abominable Abolitionis [sic]" desired, then crossed out "Aboli- 
tionis" and substituted the word "Radicals." 62 It is true that 
Northern Democratic spokesmen and responsible Southerners at 
times urged upon the Southern states full equality in civil proceed- 
ings; but they did so because this appeared to them not only an 
inescapable concession to Republican opinion but a necessary 
condition for Presidential support as well. Moreover, so long as 
exclusive state authority were maintained, concessions made by 
state action before restoration could be undone by state action 
after restoration. 

There is a certain validity in the Democratic equation that de- 
nied the historical differences between oldtime Abolitionists, post- 
war extremists, and those moderate Republicans of 1866 who up- 
held equal civil rights for the Negro. Between pro- Johnson Con- 
servatives and anti- Johnson Radicals whether the latter were 
moderate or extreme the dividing line was marked by a distinc- 
tion in race attitude. Wide differences existed on each side of the 
line, and there were those who took their places in each camp for 
reasons primarily of political expediency and advantage. Yet by 


1866 all Radicals accepted, indeed most held as an article of faith, 
a nationally enforceable equality of civil status, even though 
their attitudes might differ in respect to equality of suffrage 
and equality of social status for the Negro. The position of 
Johnson supporters varied from extreme racism to an uncom- 
fortable accommodation to the probability that legal discrim- 
ination and inequitable treatment for the freed slave would 
follow upon an unrestrained local autonomy in race relations. 
The anti- Johnson side attracted men with a deep sense of 
concern and responsibility for the freed slave; the pro- Johnson 
ranks drew men who thought national responsibility had ended 
with the destruction of property rights in human beings. The lat- 
ter preferred to base formal argument upon aversion to central- 
ized government, a defense of states' rights, respect for the Con- 
stitution, and devotion to a reunited Union. But behind such 
arguments there most often lay some shade of that prejudice of 
race which still divides the nation. 

The racist tendency among Northern Democrats hardly needs 
further demonstration. If evidence is desired, it can be found 
among the editorials with which the veto messages were greeted. 
Johnson does not believe, wrote one New England Democratic 
editor, "in compounding our race with niggers, gipsies and 
baboons, neither do we ... [or] our whole Democratic people." 63 
A Washington paper editorialized: 64 

The negro is to have full and perfect equality with the white man. 
He is to mix up with the white gentlemen and ladies all over the land 
... at all public meetings and public places he is to be your equal 
and your associate. . . . How long will it be if Congress can do all 
this before it will say the negro shall vote, sit in the jury box, and 
intermarry with your families? Such are the questions put by the 

The Ohio Statesman declared it was no crime for the President 
to "esteem his race as superior to an inferior race. In this hour of 
severe trial, when the President is endeavoring so to administer 
the government that the white man shall not be subordinated to 
the negro race, will not the white man stand by him." 65 The 
Radicals, commented a Pennsylvania paper with satisfaction, 

10. Civil Rights: The Issue of Reconstruction 213 

"now find that President Johnson regards this government as the 
White man's." 66 One set of huge headlines read: 67 













The limitations of Andrew Johnson's own benevolence toward 

the freedmen have already been explored. 68 A word more should 
be added as to the overtones of race prejudice apparent in his veto 
message. These may have been unintended expressions of Ms own 
bias or, more probably, deliberate appeals to the race prejudice 
of others. The first veto offended much less overtly than the sec- 
ond, although it called forth at least one protest against its appeal 
to "a low prejudice against color." 69 The offending passage was 
the argument that Congress could hardly appropriate moneys for 
relief, lands, and schools for the freedmen when it had never con- 
sidered itself authorized "to expend the public money for the rent 
or purchase of homes for the thousands, not to say millions of the 
white race who are honestly toiling from day to day for their 
subsistence." The Civil Bights veto claimed that "the distinction 
of race and color is, by the bill, made to operate in favor of the 
colored and against the white race." It also raised the emotion- 
laden subject of intermarriage between whites and blacks, al- 
though the matter had litde relevance to the President's argument. 
And in a passage clearly not intended as a compliment, it equated 
"the entire race designated as blacks, people of color, negroes, 
mullattoes, and persons of African blood" with Chinese, Indians,, 
and "the people called Gipsies." 70 

The racist attitudes of the Blairs and of James Gordon Bennett* 


men whose influence with Johnson was very considerable, have al- 
ready been sufficiently established. 71 The attitude of Conservative 
Republicans who stood with the President is less evident and re- 
quires examination. 

Though not without criticism of the President, Gideon Welles 
agreed more completely with him than did any other member 
of the original Cabinet. Welles alone thoroughly approved of the 
Civil Rights veto. What he criticized in Johnson's conduct of 
affairs was too little of the very qualities most other critics have 
thought the Tennessean had in excess inflexibility and boldness. 
The fact is that Welles at one end of the Republican spectrum was 
at least as dogmatic and extreme as was Charles Sumner at the 
other. An old Jacksonian Democrat, Welles's narrow views of 
national power and states' rights were unaffected by his adher- 
ence to the Republican party. Qualified only by fading personal 
loyalties and a stout defense of the war effort, his sympathies 
throughout the postwar period were with the Democrats. A 
sanctimonious curmudgeon, whom history has largely taken at 
his own self-evaluation, Welles had kind words for few men. Even 
so, the sustained animus and distortion that he directed against the 
Radicals in his famed diary are particularly malicious. 

With a record of having broken with the Democratic party 
over slavery and of having ordered the wartime Navy to protect 
runaway slaves and to enlist Negroes, Welles's hostility toward 
the Radicals might be thought to have arisen entirely from his 
states'-rights views. This, however, was not the sole explanation* 
In the diary, Welles revealed a marked distaste for the "ingrained 
Abolitionism" 72 which he thought motivated Johnson's opponents. 
He was also frank in stating that he was "no advocate for social 
equality, nor do I labor for political or civil equality for the 
negro. I do not want him at my table, nor do I care to have him 
in the jury-box, or in the legislative hall, or on the bench." 73 The 
Washington correspondent of the Springfield Republican, while 
unconvinced by rumors that Welles had told his Democratic 
friends in Connecticut that he was opposed to Negro suffrage 
just before the state was to vote upon the question, thought it 
quite likely that Welles, who "never was very radical on the 

10. Civil Rights: The Issue of Reconstruction 215 

slavery question . . . retains many of Ms prejudices against the 
colored people." 74 Welles agreed with Sumner that there was "a 
dreadful state of things South" and that "the colored people were 
suffering"; but his own concern was for the whites who had also* 
passed through a terrible ordeal and had hardship enough without 
"any oppressive acts from abroad." 75 Sumner told Welles that he y 
New England's representative in the Cabinet, misrepresented New- 
England sentiment; 76 in this judgment, Sumner was most certainly 

Senator Doolittle of Wisconsin, the strongest pro-Johnson Re- 
publican in Congress, was not without compassion for the Negro, 
but his view of future race relations precluded any possibility of 
equality. Before and during the civil conflict, Doolittle had been 
acutely aware of the race problem and the difficulty of its solu- 
tion. In his opposition to the extension of slavery, a key con- 
sideration was the desire to save the western lands for white 
settlers. He had been willing that the North should join in paying' 
the expense of colonizing Southern Negroes in Latin America 
and he had developed a strong feeling of resentment against the 
Abolitionists. 77 

In the fall of 1865, Doolittle proposed as a solution of the Negro 
problem that a part of Texas, and perhaps of Florida as well, be 
ceded to the Federal Government for a segregated freedmerfs 
territory. His object was to attract the entire Negro population 
of the South to these exclusively Negro territories by the offer of 
free homesteads. Only thus, in his view, could they "save them- 
selves from being trodden under foot by the advancing tide of 
Caucasion emigration from Europe and from all the North." 78 " 
Short of such a territorial haven, Doolittle,, apparently thought 
that the problem would be resolved'only by the passing away of 
the Negro -due to Ms excessively high death rate in freedom. 79 
He believed that rather than the comprehensive freedom given 
by the Thirteenth Amendment, it would have been far better for 
the slaves had their emancipation been gradual, with those bora 
after a certain date made free at twenty-one or even thirty years 
of age. 80 After the veto of the Civil Rights Bill, the Wisconsin 
legislature instructed Doolittle, who had not voted on its original 


passage, to support the measure. When he refused to do so, the 
legislature called for his resignation. 81 

The draft argument of Senator Edgar Cowan of Pennsylvania 
for Johnson's veto of the Freedmen's Bureau Bill is revealing. In 
it there is no land word for the freedmen nor for the Bureau. 
Cowan viewed with distaste not only the military jurisdiction 
which the bill authorized but also the fact that it went "the whole 
length of putting the negroes upon the same footing precisely as 
the whites as to all civil rights and immunities:'' He not only 
argued a want of power on the part of the Federal Government 
to purchase lands for the relief of destitute freedmen or to estab- 
lish school buildings for their benefit, but added: 82 

The people were willing to emancipate the slave in order that he 
might have a chance to take care of himself but they will be very 
unwilling to pay for his maintenance and support out of the public 
purse and they say justly that if he is unable to cope with his neigh- 
bors, in the battle for life he must be content with the fate which 
awaits him and not expect them to feed him at the nation's expense. 

After the first veto, it is clear that Cowan recognized that general 
opinion in the North was not altogether in accord with his own. 
He urged Johnson to veto the Civil Rights Bill, but warned that 
the President's public opposition to the measure should not in- 
clude an attack upon its principle of equal status. 83 

Cowan had been one of the three Republican senators voting 
against the Civil Rights Bill on its passage in early February, be- 
fore the first veto; the other thirty-three Republicans who voted 
supported the measure. 84 On the Freedmen's Bureau Bill a few 
days earlier he had registered no vote, but in the course of discus- 
sion, when he had referred to himself as a friend of the Negro, 
Senator Henry Wilson had sharply attacked his record. "Why, Sir, 
there has hardly been a proposition before the Senate of the United 
States for the last five years leading to the emancipation of the 
negro and the protection of his rights that the Senator from 
Pennsylvania has not sturdily opposed. . . . He has made himself 
the champion of 'how not to do it.' " 85 A sympathetic student of 
Cowan's public career quotes Wilson's speech at length, and then 
comments, "These were strong words yet underneath them there 

10. Civil Rights: The Issue of Reconstruction 217 

was much truth." 86 The following May, Cowan was arguing that 
the men who were repudiating the Union-Republican platforms 
of Chicago (1860) and Baltimore (1864) were not those who 
stood by the President, but those "who go away after false lights, 
who wander in dangerous places, who cook up Freedmen's Bureau 
and civil rights bills." 87 

About James Dixon of Connecticut, the third of Johnson's 
Republican supporters in the Senate, we have little evidence. In 
October, 1865, he wrote the President that "the People desire 
justice to the Negro but they are tired of the perpetual reiteration 
of his claims upon their attention to the exclusion of all other 
interests. Moreover, as you will see by the recent vote of Con- 
necticut on the question of extending suffrage to the colored 
population, there are grave doubts as to his fitness to govern the 
country, even here" s& These words do not sound like those of 
a man with a deep concern for the Negro and his status. The same 
implication appears in an attack upon Senator Dixon by a fellow 
Connecticut Republican, who publicly accused him in 1863 of 
caring only for power. "I was forced to the conclusion that his 
[Dixon's] sympathies were not with his own section, but were 
with the Southern oligarchy. . . . That he hated republicanism 
for its humanity, and its self-sacrificing devotion to principle." 89 

The Thomas Ewings were among the most influential of John- 
son's political counselors. Both father and son had a staunchly 
antislavery prewar record; yet the elder Ewing was known as a 
conservative Whig and Republican, not "as one of the 'earnest* 
or 'progressive* men of his time." 90 That the want of "earnestness" 
characterized his view of the Negro would seem evident from 
Ewing's notes for a public statement in 1867. In arguing against 
Negro suffrage in the South, he maintained that in the North "the 
popular mind cannot be excited to enthusiasm in favor of negro 
equality, social or political." Neither laborers, mechanics, nor 
professional men would admit a Negro man or woman on terms 
of equality to their parties, dinners, or dances, for the consequence 
would be mixed marriages. The feeling might be "vulgar preju- 
dice, but if so, I am content to acknowledge myself therein essen- 
dally vulgar I would be most unwilling to have a black daughter 


in law." According to Ewing, some Republicans thought that 
Providence would interfere and bring about Negro suffrage be- 
cause it was founded on eternal justice, but God knew when he 
created man what was good for his creatures. "It is not probable 

that he will by a special miracle suddenly change his nature his 

instincts, his prejudices and his passions, in order to adapt him to 
any man's or any party's purposes." 91 

Two intimate associates of Ewing's were brought into Johnson's 
Cabinet in 1866 on his recommendation, Henry Stanbery as At- 
torney General and Orville H. Browning as Secretary of the 
Interior. Though a Republican, Stanbery described himself to 
Democrats in 1868 as having been an "old guard" Whig who 
ceased to be one only when that party ceased to exist. Apparently 
he had not voted for Lincoln: "My last vote was given to that 
party [Whig] in the Presidential contest of i86o." 92 He was the 
author of those passages in Johnson's Civil Rights veto which ap- 
pealed to race prejudice by interjecting the question of mixed 
marriages. 93 According to Gideon Welles, Stanbery told Cabinet 
members in 1867 that as a member of the Ohio legislature he had 
voted against Negro suffrage, and that he would do so again were 
he in Ohio. 94 Before the Supreme Court in 1875, it was Stanbery 
who argued the famous case of U.S. w. Reese, thereby helping to 
set aside the Civil Rights Enforcement Act of iSyo. 95 

Stanbery's colleague in the Cabinet, Orville Browning, had been 
an antislavery man, but one of the most conservative variety, an 
outspoken opponent of Abolitionists. 96 During the war he de- 
plored Lincoln's action in issuing the Emancipation Proclama- 
tion. 97 The Thirteenth Amendment, in Browning's opinion, 
merely gave the slaves personal freedom and did not confer other 
rights "not necessary incidents of personal liberty, and not neces- 
sary for its enjoyment"; and he was opposed to further legislation 
or constitutional amendment to secure additional liberties. "If the 
general government will take its hands off, and let the thing alone, 
it will soon adjust itself upon a better and more satisfactory basis 
for all parties, than it can ever be forced to do by Federal inter- 
ference." 98 Even after the ratification of the Fifteenth Amend- 
ment, Browning was numbered among those who opposed suf- 

10. Civil Rights: The Issue of Reconstruction 219 

frage and nonsegregation for the Negroes in the conviction that, 
as an "inferior" race, their legal equality would threaten Anglo- 
Saxon institutions." 

Alexander W. Randall, who came into the Cabinet along with 
Stanbery and Browning, had been a vigorous war governor of 
Wisconsin, and then as Assistant Postmaster under Lincoln had 
assisted effectively in mending the President's political fences in 
preparation for his re-election in i864. 100 Retaining that politically 
strategic post under Johnson, Randall was soon recognized as an 
active political lieutenant of the new President. In the Cabinet re- 
organization of 1866, he was raised to the rank of Postmaster 
General. While a young man in Wisconsin politics, Randall had 
helped prepare a proposal for Negro suffrage to be submitted for 
referendum in connection with the revision of the state constitu- 
tion, an action which made him highly unpopular and kept Mm 
out of politics for some time. 101 Although associated with the 
Free Soil Democracy, he is said to have taken little part in its 
activities because of his opposition to the radical ideas of its 
leaders. 102 There is little evidence of his racial attitudes dining 
the Johnson period. To judge from Ms position as reported by 
Gideon Welles, Randall was equivocal and politically minded 
rather than either prejudiced or deeply concerned in respect to 
matters touching equality for the freedmen. 103 

Hugh McCulloch, Secretary of the Treasury under both Lin- 
coln and Johnson, believed firmly in the superior intelligence and 
energy of the wMte race. 104 He was reported to have said that "so 
far as the pretended equality of races was concerned," history 
showed that the Anglo-Saxon race in contact with an inferior 
one must '"dominate or exterminate." 105 Like many another resi- 
dent of Indiana, he was opposed to granting the vote to the 
Negroes even in the Northern states. 106 Charles Sumner, who 
found it 'difficult to condone the position of Seward and Welles 
on the question of Negro suffrage in the South, was inclined to 
more charity toward McCulloch as one "imbued with the per- 
nicious folly of Indiana.** 107 McCulloch was aware that Johnson's 
veto of the Civil Rights Bill, together with his February 22 speech, 
had "turned not only the Republican party but the general public 


sentiment of the northern states against him"; yet he had wanted 
the Administration forces to make an open attack upon the pro- 
posed Fourteenth Amendment. 108 In his reminiscences written 
more than two decades after the struggle between Johnson and 
Congress, when the Reconstruction amendments were the law of 
the land, McCulloch characterized the Negroes as "an alien race" 
and held that the Federal Government should abstain "from all 
interference with local affairs" on their behalf. Once outside "in- 
terference" was discontinued and "colored people understand 
that the government, by their emancipation, had done for them 
aH it can do, and that hereafter their welfare and elevation must 
depend upon their own efforts, the great problem of what is to be 
the political future of these states must be worked out by the joint 
action of the two races." 109 

Lewis D. Campbell, perhaps Johnson's most active personal 
political emissary in the West, was a man who had only scorn for 
the prewar Oberlin antislavery movement and its underground 
railroad activities. 110 An ardent opponent of Negro suffrage in Ohio 
as well as in the South, he held that in crushing secession, slavery 
had been only an incidental casualty and that there was no basis 
for the idea being promulgated by "wild one-idea fanatics" that 
the mission of the Union party was "to advance the interests of the 
black man and disregard those of the 'white man." 111 Campbell's 
perception was so limited that when Sumner, during a private in- 
terview with the President at which Campbell was present, ex- 
pressed concern for the freedmen, the Ohioan saw in Sumner's 
attitude only the shedding of "crocodile tears." 112 

The support given to the President by Seward and by Raymond 
is of special interest. Neither man was a party to that prejudice 
of race so common among adherents of Johnson's cause. Raymond 
broke with the pro- Johnson movement during the campaign of 
1866; Seward remained loyal to the President until the bitter end. 
A definitive historical understanding and evaluation of Seward, 
if ever one can be reached, must wait upon a comprehensive 
modern study of the man. His prewar national repute was based 
upon his public identification with the opposition to slavery as a 
moral wrong; he had rallied devotion to himself and to the Re- 

10. Civil Rights: The Issue of Reconstruction 22 1 

publican party by his appeal to "the higher law" and the "irrepres- 
sible conflict." Whatever part the pull of oratory or of political 
ambition may have played in calling forth Seward's ringing 
phrases, there is no reason to think that they cloaked hypocrisy 
or an antislavery stand concerned only with the interest of white 
men. Seward's ardor may have weakened since the days when his 
words stirred the nation. There had been the cruel defeat of his 
presidential aspirations, due in considerable part to the very 
effectiveness of his phrases; there was the death of his wife, which 
severed a close personal tie between Seward and the moral in- 
tensity of antislavery sentiment. 113 The uncertainty of conjecture 
is compounded because in the postwar years, as we have noted, 114 
Seward did not wish to reveal even in private his innermost con- 
victions and intentions. Yet he retained more than compassion for 
the former slaves. He believed in their right to citizenship and 
equal status before the law even equality of suffrage though 
for the attainment of the latter, in his characteristically sanguine 
way, Seward would rely upon some vague development of the 
future rather than upon Federal authority. 115 It was Seward's 
adamant opposition that prevented an open attack upon the pro- 
posed Fourteenth Amendment, a position favored by the Presi- 
dent, in issuing the call for the Philadelphia Convention to mobi- 
lize the pro-Johnson forces for the election battle of i866. 116 After 
the Radical victory, the paper which Seward submitted 'as a basis 
for the President's message to Congress was conciliatory, leaving 
open an avenue for accommodation to congressional policy. 117 It 
was this draft message, its authorship unknown, which has been 
interpreted, erroneously, as evidence that Johnson in November, 
1866, first decided not to oppose the Amendment further, then 
changed his mind, revived the quarrel with Congress and urged 
Southern states not to reconsider their refusal to ratify. 118 Not 
Johnson, but Seward, sought conciliation; and there is nothing to 
suggest a change of mind on the part of the Secretary of State. 119 
With these attitudes, why did Seward defer to Johnson? Why 
did he not like other moderates of similar sympathies break with 
the President? Why did he open himself to bitter repudiation by 
old friends and to political isolation, a fate which must at least 


have loomed as an ominous possibility by late spring of i866? 120 
Again, we cannot say with certainty; but a number of considera- 
tions come readily to mind. Seward believed that he had already 
made a major contribution to the cause of freedom by his part in 
the abolition of slavery and the treaty with Britain to suppress the 
slave traffic. With these great ends accomplished, and his always 
hopeful view of the future, perhaps he felt, as Weed had implied 
in explanation to an English friend's concern for the freedmen, 
that what "the Freedmen must suffer while the relationships aris- 
ing between capital and labour are being adjusted" was a minor 
evil, to be borne with rather than publicly fought. 121 And the 
consequence of an open fight, the surrender of his post as Secre- 
tary of State without assurance of some other major position in 
national affairs, would have been a hard and selfless decision. 

Since the days of battle for the Thirteenth Amendment, Seward 
had been committed to a reorganization of parties that would 
attract the support of Southerners and of Northern Democrats 
by a speedy and generous restoration of the secession states. He 
had undoubtedly been influential in directing Johnson toward that 
objective. Indeed, opinion in Congress in 1866 viewed him as the 
"head and front of the new party movement," though by the end 
of July he was thought to have given it up for "reconciliation 
between the President's particular friends and the body of the 
Union party." 122 And the President, while withholding full sup- 
port for Seward's strategy as to both practical politics and basic 
policy, nevertheless deferred to him to an extent that would 
naturally have evoked Seward's loyalty and also his hope for a 
political victory that would renew his national influence and 
prestige. Then there was the Secretary's concern with the record 
and the achievement of his stewardship of foreign affairs. These 
were delicately balanced in 1865 and 1866, and he may well have 
felt that his departure from the Cabinet would lead to a danger- 
ously adventuristic policy toward Mexico such as the Blairs had 
been urging. Or he may have been concerned lest any recognition 
on his part of basic disunity in the country weaken the nation's 
position abroad. In addition, Seward together with Stanton had 
become the symbol of Johnson's refusal to embrace the Democ- 

10. Civil Rights: The Issue of Reconstruction 223 

racy unconditionally.^ To the Secretary, this role may have 
appeared not mere symbol but substance. What other man in the 
Cabinet could offset the fall pressure of the Democracy? And if 
they were not kept at arm's length what might not be the conse- 
quences? The possible result was a matter of patronage and party 
power, but not that alone. There were extreme programs of ac- 
tion in the air, defiance of Congress with a denial of its legitimacy, 
recognition of a national legislature with Southern representatives 
seated by force if necessary. Contemporaries feared another civil 
war, more fratricidal than the first. 124 The possibility of such dire 
consequences may have stirred Seward's very real sense of de- 
votion and responsibility to the nation. 

Which considerations weighed with Seward, whether he 
viewed them as politician or statesman or something of both, 
we cannot know. But in his papers for 1868 there is an interesting 
passage, not revealing, but suggesting much. It appears in the 
draft of a response to an affectionate letter from a friend, a 
reply that was a far from modest affirmation of Ms historic role 
as "first secretary to the President." The passage reads: "The 
Government has been seriously endangered first by ambition on 
one side and the reckless passions on the other. I have been felt 
if not always seen in saving it from both. Only four months of 
trial remain, before the Government and the Constitution thus 
saved are in a constitutional way to be delivered into the keeping 
of a new administration when I shall be entitled to my dis- 
charge." 125 

Although Raymond voted to uphold Johnson's veto of the Civil 
Rights Bill, Ms entire course shows a consistent concern to protect 
the basic rights of the freedmen. In the summer and fall of 1865, 
the New York Times editorials made this objective abundantly 
clear and identified it with the President's policy* Raymond's 
paper even found no difficulty in accepting the principle that 
color should not be a basis for exclusion from the voting fran- 
chise, although it did not favor the national, government's forcing 
Negro suffrage upon the South. 126 It had hoped that the President 
might sign the Civil Rights Bill. The critical first section, with its 
"absolute equality of civil rights," was, according to the Times, 


"unquestionably just and right"; the objection was to the arbitrary 
enforcement provisions of the second section. 127 This position 
was very close to Senator Morgan's. 128 

Raymond was the Administration leader in the House, Chair- 
man of the Union (Republican) National Executive Committee, 
and a close ally of Seward. These political commitments consti- 
tuted a very formidable restraint upon his championship of equal- 
ity for the freedmen. Yet in the House of Representatives, the 
Times editor voted "yea" on the roll call for the Fourteenth 
Amendment. The fact that no enabling legislation accompanied 
the passage of the Amendment, which would have made clear 
that its ratification was a condition for readmission of the rebel- 
lious states, helped Raymond reconcile his vote for the Amend- 
ment with his support of the President, who publicly opposed 
any prerequisite to the return of Southern representatives. 129 Ray- 
mond had considered the object of the Freedmen's Bureau Bill 
of "utmost importance" and explained that he had not supported 
the Civil Rights Bill because he, along with Bingham and others, 
thought that it was not warranted by the Constitution. He had 
introduced an alternate proposal to declare all persons born in the 
United States citizens, entitled to the privileges and immunities of 
citizenship. All the main principles of the Fouteenth Amendment 
he considered "eminently wise and proper." 130 

It was the desire to placate Raymond and to insure the support 
of the Times for the pro- Johnson movement which broke down 
the intent of Welles, Cowan, DooHttle, Browning, and McCulloch 
to include an open attack upon the proposed Fourteenth Amend- 
ment in their call for the Philadelphia Convention. 131 For that 
meeting, Raymond prepared an address which recognized the 
need for the enlargement of Federal powers in respect to the 
freedmen's rights, and also the power of Congress and the states to 
make such amendments; but this part of his statement evoked 
sharp opposition and was deleted. 132 The resolutions adopted by 
the convention stated that it was the desire and purpose of the 
Southern states that all inhabitants should receive "equal protec- 
tion in every right of person and property," but omitted any 
statement that might be interpreted as acquiescence in Federal 

10. Civil Rights: The Issue of Reconstruction 225 

authority over civil rights unless by amendment after the admis- 
sion of the Southern states and with their free consent. 133 This 
was the most that Raymond could achieve in his effort to gain 
Southern agreement to the principle of "equal protection by law, 
and by equal access to courts of law, of all the citizens of all the 
states, without distinction of race or color." 134 He himself was 
ready to accept the provisions of the Fourteenth Amendment as 
the platform of the party, and he felt that the President had "made 
a great mistake in taking ground against those amendments." 135 
Johnson's defeat in the fall elections of 1866 was interpreted by 
Raymond as a popular decision in favor of the principles of 
the Amendment, particularly "the absolute equality of civil rights 
to all the people of the United States." 136 

Although Raymond's break with Johnson did not come over 
the civil rights issue, his defection to the opposition was consonant 
with his basic convictions in respect to equality of citizenship for 
the Negro. Most other key Republican moderates who took their 
stand against Johnson shared those convictions. Senator John 
Sherman had long been troubled by the probability that freed- 
men would be oppressed if they had no share of political power. 
As for the Civil Rights Bill, he wrote, "I felt it so clearly right that 
I was prepared for the very general acquiescence in its provisions 
both North and South. To have refused the negroes the simplest 
rights granted to every other inhabitant, native or foreigner,, 
would be outrageous." 137 The veto was a major factor in Sher- 
man's repudiation of Johnson, whom he had hitherto defended. 
"The President's course on the Civil Eights Bill and constitu- 
tional amendment was so unwise that I could not for a moment 
allow anyone to suppose that I meant with him to join a coali- 
tion with the rebels and Copperheads." 138 Senators Lyman Tram- 
bull of Illinois, James Grimes of Iowa, and William Fessenden 
of Maine were aE men of moderation and principle, able to with- 
stand terrific pressures, as their votes against Johnson's convic- 
tion on impeachment charges kter made amply clear; their 
principles included a commitment to basic civil rights for the 
freedmen. All three wished to work with the President rather 
than against him, but, to use WeQes's characterization of the 


latter two men, "their natural tendency would I knew incline 
them to the opposition. They are both intense on the negro." 13 * 
The same might be said for other moderates, for Governor John 
Andrew of Massachusetts, for Henry Ward Beecher, for Samuel 
Bowles of the Springfield Republican, for John Bingham of 
Ohio, for Henry Dawes of Massachusetts, for James Hawley of 
Connecticut, and for General O. O. Howard of the Freedmen's 

The case of the two influential Midwestern governors, Oliver P. 
Morton of Indiana and Jacob D. Cox of Ohio, is not so clear. 
Both were chief executives of a citizenry much given to dis- 
crimination against the Negro and closely divided between Repub- 
licans and Democrats. Although Cox had strong convictions in 
respect to the evil of slavery and took great satisfaction as a mil- 
itary officer in freeing refugee "contrabands," he disappointed 
antislavery men who had hoped that his early Oberlin training and 
his close relationship to Charles G. Finney would bring support 
for Negro suffrage. Such support Cox refused, and instead is- 
sued a public statement proposing separation of the races in the 
Southern states, with schools, homesteads, and full political 
privileges for the Negroes. 140 Later in advising Johnson to accept 
the Civil Rights Bill, Cox stressed political expediency; but he also 
assumed that the President as well as himself and "all true Union 
men" believed in the principle of equality before the law that it 
was "right." 141 While still supporting Johnson, he accepted the 
Fourteenth Amendment, expressing privately his approval of all 
parts of the Amendment except the disqualifying clause of the 
third section. 142 In the campaign of 1867 to amend the Ohio 
constitution, he argued for Negro suffrage since it had akeady 
been forced upon the South. 143 

Governor Morton was a political enemy of Radicals in Indiana; 
and his public opposition in September, 1865, to making Negro 
suffrage a condition for Southern restoration was widely publi- 
cized and enthusiastically received by pro- Johnson men. An 
examination of his speech discloses not an opposition to Negro 
suffrage as such but the argument that Indiana was in no condi- 
tion to urge voting privileges for Negroes in the South when the 

10. Civil Eights: The Issue of Reconstruction 227 

state itself discriminated so grossly against the "many veiy intelli- 
gent and well qualified" colored people within its own borders, 
Morton pointed out the restriction not only upon their political 
power but also upon their testimony in court, their access to 
public schools, and, if they had come into the state since 1850, 
their legal right to make valid contracts. He spoke highly of the 
fighting record of the Indiana colored regiment and pointed to 
the ironic fact that half the men who composed it could not 
legally come back into the state. The tone of the address was not 
one of defending discrimination but one of gently criticising his 
fellow Hoosiers. As for Southern freedmen, Morton believed that 
they should have time to acquire property and obtain a litde 
education, and then "at the end of 10, 15, or 20 years, let them 
come into the enjoyment of their political rights." 144 The gov- 
ernor was clearly in advance of state sentiment in advocating for 
Negroes the benefit of schooling and the right to testify in 
court. His sponsorship of the repeal of the state statute which ex- 
cluded their testimony finally resulted in the elimination of that 
discrimination. 145 It was Morton who warned Johnson that a veto 
of the Civil Rights Bill would separate the President and the Union- 
Republican party, that if he did not sign the measure the two 
men could not again meet in political friendship. 146 Morton's 
decision to oppose Johnson was no doubt essentially a political 
one, but his attitude toward the Negro was not identical with 
that of the President. 147 

Behind conciliatory Republican leaders whose personal atti- 
tudes might in other circumstances have enabled them to accept 
a solution which would leave the future status of the freedmen 
in the hands of Southern whites, there was the pressure of mass 
Republican opinion. The overwhelming preponderance of Repub- 
lican sentiment was behind a national guarantee for basic civil 
equality, short of suffrage, for the freedmen. This sentiment is 
unmistakable in newspaper editorials and private correspond- 
ence; 148 it was. also reflected in the congressional vote on what was 
to become the Fourteenth Amendment. In the Senate, Republi- 
cans divided thirty-three to four in its favor. The "nays" were 
those of Senators Cowan, Doolitde, Norton of Minnesota and 


Van Winkle of West Virginia. Senator Dixon was absent and 
not voting. In the House, 138 Republican votes were cast for the 
Amendment; not a single Republican voted against it 149 This 
vote was taken before Johnson made clear his political intentions 
by issuance of the call for the Philadelphia Convention. 

After the Civil Rights veto, Republican opinion had crystallized 
in a determination to set further conditions before accepting 
Southern representatives back into the counsels of the nation, but 
not just any conditions. 150 The matters dealt with in sections two 
and three of the Fourteenth Amendment, namely the basis of 
future Southern representation, the granting of suffrage to the 
Negro, and the degree of proscription of Confederate leaders 
were negotiable; the question of equality before the law, federally 
enforceable, was no longer open to compromise. The issue of 
civil rights and national protection for the freedmen was not, as 
has sometimes been implied, the product of campaign propaganda 
and exaggeration, nor even of the shocking impact of the Mem- 
phis and New Orleans riots. The civil rights issue predated those 

Although in deference to Seward and Raymond the pro- John- 
son leaders had attempted to evade discussion of the Fourteenth 
Amendment, it was generally recognized as being at stake in the 
ensuing campaign. After Radical victories in the states that voted 
in September and early October, pressure was put upon the 
President to accept the Amendment. As early as September 19, 
Bennett in the Herald foresaw defeat unless the President would 
"take up" the proposed Fourteenth Amendent and "push it 
through all the still excluded Southern States as rapidly as pos- 
sible" with the kind of pressure he had used in behalf of the 
Thirteenth Amendment. Bennett at last deplored the condition 
he had done so much to provoke, "the widening of his [Johnson's] 
conflict with the radicals to a conflict with Congress." He now 
viewed the Amendment as "not a radical measure, but a measure 
of the republican conservatives of Congress." 151 When Samuel S. 
Cox asked the President about the rumors that he would modify 
his oppositition to the Amendment in keeping with "the poplar 
[sic] current," Johnson "got as ugly as the Devil. He was regu- 

10. Civil Rights: The Issue of Reconstruction 229 

larly mad. . . . There's no budge in him. Browning's letter is his 
view." 152 

S. L. M. Barlow's attitude toward the Amendment's role in 
campaign strategy is pertinent. He was much opposed to the 
President's yielding unless the Johnson forces should suffer de- 
feat in New York. In that event, he thought the President might 
be "compelled to yield on the Constitutional amendment, but to 
yield to the pressure now, before our election, would destroy 
him & be in gross bad faith ... as we are making a good fight & 
cannot now change our course." 153 If faced with defeat in No- 
vember, however, Barlow thought Johnson could say to the 
South, "While I have not thought the ratification of the amend- 
ment necessary . . * the Northern people have decided other- 
wise You must be represented Ratify the amendment there- 
fore." Barlow explained that Johnson could "be supported in this, 
if necessary, after November, not only here but by the ablest: 
presses of the South in New Orleans, Mobile, Charleston & Rich- 
mond To change now would deprive him., practically of every 
paper and every voter The Radicals would not be won back to 
him and he would lose the whole power of the democratic 
party." 154 

Browning's letter, to which Representative Cos referred, is 
additional proof of the importance of the Amendment as a 
campaign issue. It is also, and more importantly, added evidence 
that the opposition of the pro- Johnson forces to the Amendment 
was not merely limited to a distaste for section three, which 
denied Southern leaders state and national office. The heart of 
Browning's argument, approved by the President, was that sec- 
tion one, the civil rights guarantee, would restrict the states in 
functions properly their own. It would subject the "authority and 
control of the States over matters of purely domestic and local 
concern . . . to criticism, interpretation and adjudication by 'the 
Federal tribunals, whose judgments and decrees will be su- 
preme." 155 

Johnson's refusal, despite great pressure and much advice, to 
capitulate on the Fourteenth Amendment after his election de- 
feat cannot be attributed alone to his stubborn nature. The ex- 


planation that he decided for conciliation, then reversed course on 
the basis of the Radicals' behavior, is exploded by the identifica- 
tion of the early conciliatory draft message as the work of 
Seward. 156 Another factor entered into policy considerations, the 
hope of ultimate victory and the tactical advantage to be gained 
by encouraging extreme action on the part of the opposition 
with a view to ultimate popular reaction against it. Doolittle 
wrote Browning on November 8: "The elections are over and 
we are beaten for the present. But our cause will live. If all 
the states not represented refuse to ratify the amendment . . . 
the extreme Rads will go ... for reorganizing the southern states 
on negro suffrage. . . . That will present the issue squarely of 
forcing negro suffrage upon the South and upon that we can 
beat them at the next Presidential election." 157 A short time later, 
Weed was writing Seward that he had rebuffed Senator Morgan's 
suggestion of an organization in Congress against "extreme men." 
Weed explained, "I think that if the pressure should be withdrawn 
the Radicals would hang themselves" From Ohio the predic- 
tion reached the President that "If Congress resorts to rash and 
violent means to carry out the destructive purposes of the radi- 
cals, their own party will break to pieces." 159 From New York 
came more positive advice: "Are those proposed amendments to 
be adopted, changing the whole nature of our government. I trust 
not. I think a year or two of Radicalism more, will satisfy the 
country that the principles contained in that old instrument are 
too dear to us to be frittered away. ... I believe that with you 
standing firmly on the ground you have assumed and each state 
organizing her conservative men on the Philadelphia platform, 
two years more will have seen the end of the Radical race." 160 
Analysts of the 1866 election returns pointed out to the President 
that if the potential vote of the unrepresented South were added 
to the Conservative vote in the North, a large majority of the 
nation supported the President and opposed the Amendment, and 
that ultimately the President must triumph. 161 

Raymond's editorials in the Times had urged the President to 
accept the decision of the people in favor of the Amendment, 
and either to recommend its ratification by the Southern states or 

10. Civil Rights: The Issue of Reconstruction 23 1 

to stand aside while they made a settlement with Congress upon 
the basis of its principles. By the end of December, however, 
Raymond had come to the conclusion that Johnson's opposition 
to the Amendment was unyielding. The President, he explained, 
intended to hold to his earlier position in the conviction that 
his policy would ultimately prevail. Johnson believed that the 
Supreme Court would set aside any conditions Congress might 
impose upon the South or, failing such a resolution of the con- 
flict, that the use of military power to enforce congressional 
policy would become so "expensive, odious and intolerable" that 
the voters would expel from power the party responsible for such 
a policy. 162 

The losses which the Radicals sustained in the state elections of 
1867 seemed to justify the President's hope of victory and the 
strategy of no compromise. News of the defeat of the Radicals 
in Connecticut's April election of that year was received by 
Johnson as "the turn of the current" and by Welles as "the first 
loud knock, which admonishes the Radicals of their inevitable 
doom," 163 Welles believed that the returns from Pennsylvania 
and Ohio in October "indicates the total overthrow of the Radi- 
cals and the downfall of that party." 164 In November, 1867, John- 
son celebrated the election results by a victory speech before a 
group of serenaders in which he held that "the people have spoken 
in a manner not to be misunderstood." 165 The President's "stub- 
bornness" of the previous November seemed to have prepared 
the way for success in the presidential election of 1868. The hope 
proved an illusion; but the hope was present, and died hard. 166 

In refusing to accept the equal rights provisions of the Civil 
Rights Act or of the Fourteenth Amendment, Johnson won last- 
ing gratitude from white Southerners to whom the concept of 
equality between the races was anathema, 161 and this despite the 
ordeal of military government and immediate universal Negro 
suffrage which they in all likelihood would have been spared had 
Johnson's course been different. But with this decision, the Presi- 
dent lost the confidence and respect of moderate Republicans. Ly- 
man Trumbull and John Sherman both felt a sense of betrayal in 
Johnson's veto of the Civil Rights Bill. "Besides," confided Sher- 


man to his brother, "he [Johnson] is insincere; he has deceived 
and misled his best friends." 168 The confidence in Johnson's 
assurances of justice for the freed people, which characterized 
Republican opinion, except that of extreme Radicals, in December, 
1865, turned to distrust. No longer were misgivings directed to- 
ward Presidential policy alone; they came to embrace the Presi- 
dent's intention and integrity, and corroded his public influence. 
"The truth is," Senator Fessenden wrote to Senator Morgan in 
mid- 1 8 67, "Mr, Johnson has continued to excite so much distrust 
that the public mind is easily played upon by those who are seek- 
ing only the accomplishment of their own purposes." 169 By stand- 
ing adamant against a federally enforceable pledge of minimum 
civil equality for the Negro as a prerequisite to restoration of the 
secession states, Johnson precipitated a great issue of moral prin- 
ciple central to the battle over Reconstruction; and he brought 
upon himself an unparalleled humiliation. 




1. New York Herald, Dec. 5, 1864, Jan. 7, 1865; New York Tribune, 
Jan. 10, 1865; The Independent, Dec. 19, 1864, J aEl X 5 1865. 

2. J. G. Randall and Richard N. Current, Lincoln the President: 
Last Full Measure (New York, 1955), pp. 308-12; Isaac N. Arnold, 
Life of Abraham Lincoln (Chicago, 1909), pp. 358-59; John G. 
Nicolay and John Hay, Abraham Lincoln: A History (10 vols., 
New York, 1890), X, pp. 84-85; Mallory, Cong. Globe, 38 Cong., 
2 sess., p. 179 (Jan. 9, 1865). $ ee a ^ so ^ e episode related by 
Charles A. Dana in Recollections of the Civil War (New York, 
1899), p. 176, which Earl S. Pomeroy has related to the Thirteenth 
Amendment. "Lincoln, the Thirteenth Amendment and the Ad- 
mission of Nevada," Pacific Historical Review, XII (Dec., 1943), 
pp. 362-68. 

3. New York Herald, Jan. 10, 1865, Jan. u, 1865, Janl 12, 1865; 
New York Tribune, Jan. 12, 1865, Jan. 13, 1865; Washington 
National Intelligencer, Jan. 13, 1865. 

4. New York Herald, Jan. 28, 1865; New York Times, Jan. 28, 
1865, Jan. 31, 1865; The Independent, Jan. 30, 1865. 

5. The Independent, Feb. 9, 1865. 

6. Johnson of Pennsylvania, in repudiating two Democratic col- 
leagues who had spoken for the Amendment, Cong. Globe, 38 
Cong., 2 sess., p. 524 (Jan. 31, 1865). 


234 Chapter z: Notes 7-24 

7. Coffroth of Pennsylvania, ibid., p. 523 (Jan. 31, 1865). 

8. The two were Alexander H. Coffroth of Pennsylvania and Wil- 
liam Radforth of New York. 

9. Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln (Roy P. Easier et aL, eds., 
9 vols., New Brunswick, N.J., 1953-1955), VII, p. 451 (July 18, 

10. T. S. Faxton to Weed, Aug. 10, 1864, Weed MSS, University of 
Rochester Library; E. D. Smith to Seward, Aug. 22, 1864, Seward 
MSS, University of Rochester Library; Glydon G. Van Deusen, 
Thurlow Weed: Wizard of the Lobby (Boston, 1947), p. 310; 
James Ford Rhodes, History of the United States (7 vols., New 
York, 1896-1919), IV, pp. 514-15. 

11. Copy in Seward MSS, Aug. 24, 1864; Raymond to Lincoln, Aug. 
22, 1864, Lincoln to Raymond, Aug. 24, 1864, and notes on 
conference, Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, VII, 517-18. 

12. Dana to Raymond, July 26, 1864, George Jones MSS, New York 
Public Library. 

13. Seward's speech Sept. 3, 1864, Auburn, New York, in George E. 
Baker, ed., Works of William H. Seward (5 vols., Boston, 1884), 
V, pp. 49 1-504. 

14. Italics are McCulloch's. McCulloch to Seward, Sept. 8, 1864, 
Seward MSS. 

15. Henry T. Cheever to Seward, Sept. 10, 1864, with accompanying 
letter from John D. Baldwin, Seward to Baldwin, Sept. 24, 1864, 
ibid. (Seward's letter is a letterpress copy. Where a letter cited 
is obviously a copy, in this or other MSS collections, we have not 
so designated it.) 

1 6. New York Times, Dec. 7, 1864; quoted in Washington National 
Intelligencer, Dec. 12, 1864. 

17. Cong. Globe, 38 Cong., 2 sess., p. 179 (Jan. 9, 1865). 

18. Ibid., p. 216 (Jan. n, 1865). Both Mallory and White were Demo- 
crats and voted against the Amendment. 

19. The paper was so characterized by the Washington National 
Intelligencer, Dec. 21, 1864. 

20. New York World, Jan. 9, 1865; reprint in Washington National 
Intelligencer y Jan. 13, 1865. 

21. New York World, Dec. 21, 1864. 

22. Mallory, Cong. Globe, 38 Cong., 2 sess., p. 179 (Jan, 9, 1865); 
Wood, ibid., p. 194 (Jan. 10, 1865). 

23. Philo S. Shelton to Weed, Jan. 22, 1865, Weed MSS; New York 
Herald, Jan. 10, 1865. 

24. Samuel S. Cox, Democratic Congressman from Ohio, in his Three 
Decades of Federal Legislation, 1855 to 1885 (Providence, RJL, 
1886), p. 329. 

Chapter 2: Notes 25-46 235 

25. Bilbo to Seward, May i, 1866, Seward MSS; see also Bilbo To 
Lincoln, Jan. 26, 1865, Lincoln MSS, Library of Congress. 

26. Ethel Ames, The Story of Coal and Iron in Alabama (Birming- 
ham, Ala., 1910), pp. 363-64. We are indebted to Mrs. Gertrude 
M. Parsley, reference librarian, Tennessee State Library and 
Archives, for this reference and also for a careful check of local 
histories, biographical works, and archival materials. Few traces 
of the man remain, despite his active political and social role. 

27. Bilbo to Seward, Jan. 26, 1865, Seward MSS. 

28. Vouchers of March 25, 1862, Nov. 6, 1862, Aug. 22, 1868, Bilbo 
to Surgeon Scott, May 20, 1862, Bilbo to Johnston, Dec. 5, 1861. 
Recommendation to Jefferson Davis, n.d., Confederate Citizens* 
File, War Department Collection of Confederate Records, Na- 
tional Archives. 

29. Bilbo to Johnston, Dec. 5, 1861, ibid. 

30. Testimony of Bilbo in Confederate States vs. H. J. Higgins or 
Wiggins, March, 1862, ibid. 

31. Greeley to Lincoln, Nov. 16, 1864, Lincoln MSS. 

32. Bilbo to Seward, May i, 1866, Seward MSS. 

33. Bilbo to Johnson, Jan. 10, 1865, May 17, 1865, Johnson MSS t 
Library of Congress. 

34. Bilbo to Seward, n.d., filed Nov. 30, 1864, Seward MSS. 

35. Draper to Lincoln, No. 12, 1864, Grinnel to Lincoln, Nov. 12, 
1864, Greeley to Lincoln, Nov. 16, 1864, Lincoln MSS. 

36. Bilbo to Lincoln, Jan. 26, 1865, ibid. 

37. Bilbo to Seward, Jan. n, 1867, Seward MSS; see also Blbo to 
Seward, Dec. 23, 1864, ibid., and Bilbo to Johnson, May 17, 1865, 
Johnson MSS. 

38. Bilbo to Johnson, May 17, 1865, Johnson MSS. 

39. Bilbo to Seward, Nov. 2, 1865, March 21, 1866, May i, 1866, 
May 22, 1866, Seward MSS. 

40. Bilbo to Seward, Jan. 20, 1865, Department of State, Miscellaneous 
Letters, National Archives. 

41. Dix to Seward, Jan. 20, 1865, Seward to Dix, Jan. 20, 1865, Union 
Provost Marshal's file, War Department Collection of Confederate 

42. Lincoln to Dix, Jan. 20, 1865, ibid. 9 also printed in Collected 
Works of Abraham Lincoln, VM, p. 226. 

43. Bilbo to Lincoln, Jan. 26, 1865, Lincoln MSS. 

44. Bilbo to Seward, Nov. 2, 1865, Seward MSS. 

45. Bilbo to Seward, Jan. n, 1867, ibid. 

46. Hudson C. Tanner, 'The Lobby" and Public Men from Tburlow 
Weed's Time (Albany, New York, 1888), pp. 37 2 ~75* 

Chapter i : Notes 47-63 

47. George O. Jones, To the Merchants and Property -Owners of 
New York City; The Causes which Are Driving Commerce from 
your Doors, Forcing Trade into Other Cities, Destroying the 
Value of your Property, and Impoverishing the Country, (pam- 
phlet, n.d., nup., [New York? 1872?]). 

48. New York Tribune, July 28, 1890, Oct. 10, 1894, and obituaries, 
Jan. 1 8, 1895 in Mid., New York Herald, and New York Times. 

49. Bilbo to Seward, Feb. i, 1865, Seward MSS. 

50. Paul A. Chadbourne and Walter B. Moore, The Public Service 
of the State of New York (3 vols. in 4 parts, 1882), II, Pt. r, p. 

51. Biographical Directory of the American Congress (Washington, 
1928), p. 1351; Homer A. Stebbins, A Political History of the 
State of New York, 1865-186$ (New York, 1913), pp. 53, 90, 
178-79, 208, 360; DeAlva S. Alexander, A Political History of the 
State of New York (3 vols., New York, 1906-1909), III, pp. 226- 
27, 297, 488. 

52. Chadbourne and Moore, The Public Service, II, Pt. i, p. 151; 
Nelson to Seward, Nov. 20, 1866, Seward MSS. 

53. Biographical Directory of the American Congress, p. 1069; 
Stebbins, Political History of the State of New York, pp. 323, 

54. John W. Forney, Anecdotes of Public Men (New York, 1873), 
p. 70. 

55. Latham to Seward, Feb. 23, 1861, Jan. 25, 1864, Aug. 20, 1864, 
Seward MSS. 

56. Ibid., Jan. 25, 1864. 

57. Ibid., Aug. 20, 1864. 

58. Roy F. Nichols, Disruption of American Democracy (New York, 
1948), pp, 79, 174, 424. 

59. Report on Abstracted Indian Trust Bonds (36 Cong., 2 sess., 
House Report 78, Serial 1105), pp. 217-28. 

60. Latham to Seward, Jan. 25, 1864; Letterhead, Latham to Seward, 
Aug. 20, 1864, Seward MSS. 

<5i. The records of the War Department, National Archives, failed 
to reveal Berret's name as an officer of the United States. During 
his campaign for the office of mayor in 1858, Berret was referred 
to as "Col." Washington National Intelligencer, June r, 1858. 

62. W. B. Bryan, A History of the National Capital (2 vols., New 
York, 1916), H, pp. 486-87; War of the Rebellion, Official 
Records (128 vols., Washington, 1880-1901), Series 2, II, pp. 229, 
2 37* 59 6 ~99- 

63. Draft of a letter from Lincoln to Berret, April 22, 1862, probably 
never sent, Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, V, pp. 195-96. 

Chapter i: Notes 64-86 237 

64. Sketch of Berret by William J. Rhees, in The Smithsonian In- 
stitution 1846-1896: The History of its First Half Century 
(George B. Goode, ed., Washington, 1897), pp. 82-83. 

65. Schell to Seward, Sept. 9, 1865, also Ms letter, n.d., filed Sept. 31, 
1865, Seward MSS. 

66. War of the Rebellion, Official Records, Series 2, II, pp. 156, 597. 

67. Henry J. Raymond later sought a Washington office for a Mr, 
Barnett (or Barrett or Bennett), whom he described as one of 
the editors of the National Intelligencer "under its new regime 
Raymond to Seward, March 22, 1865; in 1867 Berret, together 
with Thomas C. Pratt, presented a claim on behalf of the Na- 
tional Intelligencer, memorandum August 1867, Seward MSS. 
Berret was listed in Boyd's Washington and Georgetown Direc- 
tory of 1865 and 1866 as a lawyer in the Intelligencer building, 

68. Latham to Seward, Jan. 7, 1865, Jan- 9, 1865, Seward MSS. 

69. Bilbo to Seward, Feb. i, 1865, ibid. 

70. Obituary, New York Times, Nov. n, 1879. For Schell, see also 
obituaries of same date in the New York Herald, New York 
World, New York Tribune, and the sketch by Oliver W. Holmes 
of a younger brother, Augustus Schell, in the Dictionary of 
American Biography. 

71. New York Times, Jan. 12, 1876, March 22, 1876, May, 4, 1876, 
May 6, 1876, June 10, 1876. 

72. New York Herald, Nov. u, 1879. 

73. Ibid., New York Tribune, Nov. n, 1879. 

74. Schell to Seward, Nov. 20, 1861, Seward MSS. 

75. Schell to Seward, Oct. 24, 1862, Nov. 29, 1862, Dec. 23, 1862, 
Feb. 19, 1863; ScheE to F. W. Seward, Dec. 13, 1862, ibid. 

76. Schell to Seward, Jan. 12, 1863, Feb. n, 1863, Feb. 21, 1863, Oct. 
8, 1863, Oct. 15, 1863, June 27, 1864, Aug. 12, 1864, Aug. 26, 1864, 
ibid.-, Schell to Weed, Aug. 6, 1864, Aug. 20, 1864, Weed MSS. 

77. New York Her aid , Nov. n, 1879. 

78. Bilbo to Seward, n.d., filed Nov. 30, 1865, Seward MSS. 

79. New York Herald, Jan. 24, 1865. 

80. Rochester Democrat, April 8, 1865. 

81. Bilbo to Seward, Nov. 2, 1865, Seward MSS. 

82. Bilbo to Seward, Dec. 12, 1864, ibid. 

83. Sidney D. Brummer, Political History of Ne*w York State during 
the Period of the Civil War (New York, 1911), p. 25; Stebbins, 
Political History of the State of New York, p. 26. 

84. Bilbo to Seward, Dec. 20, 1864, Seward MSS. 

85. Jones to Seward, Dec. 20, 1864, ibid. 

86. Possibly relevant is the fact that Pomeroy, early in 1864, had 
called for the organization of a new party on Radical principles 

238 Chapter i: Notes 87-102 

including support of an anti-slavery amendment, and also the fact 
that Pomeroy's public career was shot through with charges of 
bargain and corruption. 

87. Cox, Three Decades, p. 310. 

88. Two letters, Latham to Seward, Jan. 7, 1865, Seward MSS; Cox 
did talk with Seward, Three Decades, p. 310. 

89. Latham to Seward, Jan. 9, 1865, Seward MSS. 

90. Bilbo to Seward, Jan. 10, 1865, ibid. 

91. Bilbo was apparently mistaken; Nelson was named a member of 
the New York Democratic State Central Committee in Septem- 
ber, 1865, and may have held a similar position in January. 

92. Fernando Wood was the political boss of New York City's 
Mozart Hall, an extremely prosouthern faction of the state 
Democracy; he was also a member of the House, speaking and 
voting against the amendment. 

93. New York Herald, Jan. n, 1865; New York Times, Jan. 12, 

94. New York Times, Jan. 12, 1865. 

95. Harry J. Carman and Reinhard H. Luthin, Lincoln and the 
Patronage (New York, 1943), pp. 119-21, 236. 

96. Latham to Seward, Jan. 12, 1865; Forney to Seward, Jan. n, 
1865; Forney to Hart, Jan. n, 1865; Forney to Seward, Jan. 13, 
1865; Seward MSS. 

97. Cong. Globe, 38 Cong., 2 sess., pp. 238-42 (Jan. 12, 1865); New 
York Herald, Jan. 13, 1865. 

98. Samuel S. Cox, Eight Years in Congress from 2857-186$ (New 
York, 1865), p. 397, and his Three Decades, p. 321. 

99. William Van Zandt Cox and Milton H. Northrup, Life of Samuel 
Sullivan Cox (Syracuse, New York, 1899), p. 95; Seward's speech 
of Oct. 31, 1868, Baker, Works of William H. Seward, V, p. 554. 
A footnote indicates that Cox was understood to have persuaded 
other Democrats to vote for the amendment, although he voted 
against it. In a letter to Manton Marble, Cox denied the report 
that he had urged James English, Connecticut Democrat, to vote 
for the amendment; he stated, however, that he "did not dissuade 
any one from voting for it." He thought that only with the 
slavery question buried was there hope u for Democratic ascend- 
ancy." Cox to Marble, Feb. 13, 1865, Marble MSS, Library of 

100. Bilbo to Johnson, Jan. 14, 1865, Johnson MSS. 

101. Bilbo to Seward, Jan. 14, 1865, Seward MSS. 

102. Bilbo to Seward, Jan. 23, 1865, ibid.; Bilbo to Lincoln, Jan. 26, 
1865, Lincoln MSS. 

Chapter i: Notes 103-121 239 

103. Schell to Seward, Jan. 23, 1865, Seward MSS. 

104. Schell to Barlow, Jan. 23, 1865; Schell to Kinne and Carver, 
Jan. 1 8, 1865, Barlow MSS, Huntington Library. 

105. New York World, Dec. 19, 1864; Washington National Intel- 
ligencer, Dec. 21, 1864. 

106. Italics in the original, New York World, Dec. 21, 1864, Dec. 
30, 1864. 

107. New York World, Jan. 9, 1865. 

108. Bilbo to Seward, Jan. 26, 1865, Seward MSS. 

109. Barlow to Cox, Feb. 9, 1865; Barlow to Wadsworth, Dec. 28, 
1864; Barlow to M. Blair, Jan. 10, 1865, Jan. 16, 1865; M. Blair 
to Barlow, Jan. 12, 1865, Barlow MSS. 

no. Barlow to Belmont, Feb. 14, 1865, *^- 

in. New York Times, Jan. 9, 1865, Jan. 28, 1865, Jan. 31, 1865. 

112. New York Herald, Jan. 28, 1865. The Herald had supported the 
amendment earlier, see Nov. 29, 1864, Dec. 5, 1864. 

113. Bilbo to Seward, Feb. i, 1865, Seward MSS. 

114. New York World, Jan. 24, 1865. 

115. This account is based upon Cong. Globe, 38 Cong., 2 sess., pp. 
523-31 (Jan. 31, 1865); Cox, Eight Years m Congress, pp. 397- 
98; Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln,, VIII, pp. 246-52, 
274-85; and newspaper reports of Washington correspondents, 
particularly in New York Times, Feb. i, 1865, New York 
Tribune, Feb. i, 1865, and The Independent, Feb. 9, 1865. Cox 
wrote the World's editor that he would have liked to vote for 
the amendment had it been possible to do so and keep faith 
with Democratic friends and place no obstacle in the way of 
reunion. He thought that the amendment would be fatal to 
negotiations with the southern commissioners. Cox to Marble, 
Feb. i, 1865, Feb. 2, 1865, Marble MSS. See also David Lindsey, 
"Sunset" Cox: Irrepressible Democrat (Detroit, 1959), pp. 93-95- 

116. Jones to Seward, Feb. i, 1865, Seward MSS. 

117. Bilbo to Seward, Feb. i, 1865, ibid. 

1 1 8. Schell to F. W. Seward, Feb. 13, 1865, ibid. 

119. New York World, Feb. i, 1865. 

120. Edward McPherson, Political History of the United States of 
America during the Great Rebellion (3rd ed., Washington, 

1876), p. 59- 

121. Ibid. Party lines were confused during the Civil War years.. 
McPherson classifies, with the Democrats all those generally 

acting with that party irrespective of the label under which 
they had been elected. The New York Times, Feb. i, 1865, 
identifies the same sixteen as Democrats and added an ad- 
ditional name; Rhodes, however, analyzes the affirmative vote 

240 Chapter i : Notes 222-236 

as including 13 border-state men and n Democrats. History of 
the United States, V, p. 50. 

122. John Ganson, Buffalo; Anson Herrick, New York City; Homer 
A. Nelson, Poughkeepsie; Moses F. Odell, Brooklyn; William 
Radforth, Yonkers; John B. Steele, Kingston. Only Odell had 
voted for the amendment the previous June. 

123. Joseph Bailey, Alexander Coifroth, Archibald McAllister; Jesse 
Lazear was absent. Missouri gave two affirmative Democratic 
votes, those of James S. Rollins and Austin A. King. Of the 
additional such votes, one each came from Michigan, Connecti- 
cut, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Kentucky. 

124. Abram Wakeman to Seward, Oct. 22, 1864, Seward MSS. 

125. The exact political complexion of the Intelligencer in this period 
is somewhat obscure. Beginning as a Democratic organ, it had 
turned Whig, then pro-Bell; Joseph Gales, its longtime editor, 
died in 1860 and his partner, W. W. Seaton, retired December 
31, 1864. The paper became a Johnson organ during his presi- 
dency, and in 1869 was classified as Democratic. 

126. See above, footnote 67. 

127. Blair to Johnson, June 16, 1865, Johnson MSS. Blair attempted to 
persuade Barlow and New York Democratic leaders to support 
the Thirteenth Amendment. Blair to Barlow, Dec. 20, 1864, 
Dec. 24, 1864, Jan. 15, 1865, J an - *7, 1865, Barlow MSS. 

128. Blair to Johnson, June 16, 1865, Johnson MSS. 

129. George W. Julian, Political Recollections, 1840 to 2872 (Chicago, 
1884), p. 250. 

130. Nicolay and Hay, Abraham Lincoln, X, pp. 84-85; Rhodes, 
History of the United States, V, p. 50; Randall and Current, 
Lincoln the President, p. 310; Carl Sandburg, Abraham Lincoln: 
the War Years (4 vols., New York, 1939), IV, pp. 7-9. If Pro- 
fessor Porneroy is correct in believing that Charles Dana in 
retrospect confused Lincoln's interest in the admission of Nevada 
with his concern over the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment, 
Dana's account is another evidence of patronage promises. 
Pomeroy, "Lincoln, the Thirteenth Amendment and the Ad- 
mission of Nevada," pp. 362-68; Dana, Recollections, p. 176. 

131. Mallory, Cong. Globe, 38 Cong., 2 sess., p. 179 (Jan. 9, 1865). 

132. New York Times, Oct. 10, 1865. 

133. Cox, Three Decades, p. 329. Cox did not mention the incident in 
his recollections published in 1865; otherwise the two accounts 
are substantially the same. 

134. See above, footnotes 87 and 88. 

135. Bilbo to Johnson, Jan. 10, 1865, Johnson MSS. 

136. Bilbo to Seward* Feb. i, 1865, Sewaxd MSS. 

Chapter 2: Notes 1-2 241 

137. Nelson wrote Seward asking that the promise be kept; Nelson to 
Seward, July 29, 1865, ibid. 

138. Bilbo to Seward, Feb. i, 1865, ibid. 

139. Chadbourne and Moore, The Public Service, II, Pt. i, p. 151. 

140. Nelson to Seward, Nov. 20, 1866, Seward MSS. 

141. Carman and Luthin, Lincoln and the Patronage, pp. 125, 285-86; 
Randall and Current, Lincoln the President, pp. 44-45, 241; 
Oliver Carlson, The Mem Who Made News: James Gordon 
Bennett (New York, 1942), p. 370. 

142. New York Herald, Sept. 6, 1864, Sept. 9, 1864, Oct. 28, 1864, 
Oct. 29, 1864, Oct. 31, 1864, Nov. 7, 1864, Nov. 8, 1864. 

143. Tanner, ''The Lobby / p. 374. 



1. The recent work of Eric McKitrick, Andrew Johnson and 
Reconstruction (Chicago, 1960), is a major dissent, placing re- 
sponsibility upon Johnson. For a careful analysis of Johnson 
historiography prior to 1959, see Willard Hays, "Andrew John- 
son's Reputation," East Tennessee Historical Society, Publications^ 
No. 31 (1959)5 PP- 1-3 if No. 32 (1960), pp. 18-50. 

2. For recent reappraisals of the Radicals, see David Donald, 
Lincoln Reconsidered (New York, 1956), pp. 103-27; Hans L. 
Trefousse, "Ben Wade and the Negro," Ohio Historical 
Quarterly, LXVin (April, 1959), pp. 161-76; David Montgomery, 
"Radical Republicanism in Pennsylvania, 1866-1873," Pejmsylvmw 
Magazine of History and Biography, LXXXV (Oct., 1961), 
pp. 439-57; Ira V. Brown, "Pennsylvania and the Rights of the 
Negro, 1865-1887," Pennsylvania History, XXVTO (Jan., 1961), 
pp. 45-57, and his "William D. Kelley and Radical Reconstruc- 
tion," Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, LXXXV 
(July, 1961), pp. 316-29. Also relevant 'are Ralph Korngold, 
Thaddeus Stevens: A Being Darkly Wise md Rudely Great (New 
York, 1955); Fawn M. Brodie, Thaddeus Stevens: Scourge of the 
South (New York, 1959); and Benjamin P.. Thomas and Harold 
M. Hyman, Stanton: The Life md Times of Lincoln's Secretary 
of War (New York, 1962). 

The earlier hostile view of the Radicals owed much to tie 
general approval which most historians gave to Johnson's program 
and to the widely accepted identification of his policy with that of 
Lincoln. Racist bias and economic determinism, a psychological 

242 Chapter 2: Notes 3-15 

interpretation of Civil War origins which in effect revived the 
"devil" role concept of anti-slavery extremists, together with a 
renewed interest in Johnson between 1927 and 1932 that resulted 
in a literature of near adulation, are other elements that help 
explain the unsympathetic treatment which Radicals have received. 

3. See below, Chapters 9 and 10. 

4. Speech of Oct. 31, 1868, in Baker, Works of William H. Seward, 
V, p. 544. 

5. New York Herald, Feb. 12, 1865. 

6. Horace Greeley, editor of the Radical paper the New York 
Tribune; David Dudley Field, outstanding member of the bar; 
George Opdyke, Mayor of New York City, 1862-1863; William 
Cullen Bryant, editor of the New York Evening Post. 

7. Brummer, Political History of New York State, pp. 203-04, 290; 
Van Deusen, Thurlow Weed, pp. 301, 310; Alexander, Political 
History of the State of New York, III, p. 37. 

8. For the 1864 political scene, see Randall and Current, Lincoln 
the President, Chapters 6, 7, and 10; Carmen and Luthin, Lincoln 
and the Patronage, Chapters 9 and 10; William F. Zornow, 
Lincoln and the Party Divided (Norman, Oklahoma, 1954); 
Brurnmer, Political History of New York, Chapters 14 and 15; 
David Donald, ed., Inside Lincoln^ Cabinet: The Civil War 
Diaries of Salmon P. Chase (New York, 1954), pp. 23-33, 
Chapter 7. 

9. Seward forwarded to President Lincoln this letter together with 
one from Case denying Weed's public accusations. Chase to 
Seward, May 30, 1864; Weed to F. W. Seward, June 2, 1864; 
Seward to Lincoln, June 4, 1864, Seward MSS. 

10. Van Deusen, Thurlow Weed, pp. 312-16; Brummer, Political 
History of New York, pp. 384$^ 

11. New York Herald, Feb. 12, 1865. 

12. The President was "dependent largely on the Seward- Weed in- 
fluence in carrying New York State." Carman and Luthin, 
Lincoln and the Patronage, p. 279. 

13. Raymond to Seward, Aug. 5, 1864; also his letters of June 21, 1864, 
Aug. 16, 1864, Aug. 18, 1864 (with Lincoln's endorsement); and 
Weed to Seward, Sept. 28, 1864, Oct - *4> l86 4 Seward MSS. 

14. Weed to Seward, Aug. 6, 1864, Aug. 10, 1864, Aug. n, 1864; 
Schell to Seward, Aug. 26, 1864, ibid. 

15. Letters to Seward from C. H. White, Sept. i, 1864; Weed 
Parsons & Co., Printers, Sept. 6, 1864; Hugh McCulloch, Sept. 8, 
1864; Wm. M. Evarts, Sept. 16, 1864; I- P- M. Epping, Sept. 30, 
1864; I- N. Arnold, n.d., filed Sept. 30, 1864; I. W. Thompson, 

Chapter 2: Notes 16-44 2 43 

n.d., erroneously filed July, 1864; "M.S." [?] n.d., received Oct. 6, 

1864, ibid. 

1 6. Abram Wakeman to Seward, Oct. 22, 1864, ibid., and see above. 
Chapter i, footnote 124. 

17. Seward's letters to Geo. M. Fowle, June 8, 1865, J. W. Webb, 
Sept. 23, 1865, R. Schell, Oct. 12, 1866, ibid. Not Seward's letters, 
but rather those to him, furnish the evidence of his activity during 
the campaign. 

1 8. Seward to Weed, Oct. 3, 1865, Weed MSS. 

19. Simeon Draper, Abram Wakeman, James Kelly, respectively; 
Brummer, Political History of Ne*w York, pp. 394-95; Van 
Deusen, ThurloiD Weed, pp. 310-11. 

20. R. M. B. [Blatchford] to Seward, Dec. 10, 1864, Seward MSS. 

21. Baker, ed., Works of William H. Seward, V, p. 504. 

22. Seward's statement to the French government in 1862, New York 
Herald, Oct. 25, 1864. 

23. I. P. M. Epping to Seward, Sept. 30, 1864, Seward MSS. 

24. Letters respecting the peace mission of C. G. Baylor of Georgia, 
August through November, 1864, and Baylor to Seward, Jan. 14, 

1865, ibid. 

25. See above. Chapter i, footnotes 116 and 1 17. 

26. Bilbo to Seward, Jan. 23, 1865, Seward MSS. 

27. New York Herald, Feb. 12, 1865. 

28. Seward's letters to L. Laboulaye, Sept. 19, 1865, J. W. Webb, 
Aug. 9, 1865, Lord Lyons, Sept 21, 1865, R. Balcom, Dec. 29, 
1865, July 14, 1866, Seward MSS. 

29. Baker, ed., Works of William H. Seward, V, pp. 513-14. 

30. Bilbo to Seward, Feb. i, 1865, Seward MSS. 

31. ScheU to F. W. Seward, Dec. 14, 1861, ibid. 

32. Latham to Seward, Feb. 23, 1861, ibid. 

33. Cong. Globe, 38 Cong., 2 sess., p. 171 (Jan. 9, 1865). 

34. Ibid., p. 526 (Jan, 31, 1865). 

35. Mallory, ibid., p. 180 (Jan. 9, 1865). 

36. Kalbfleisch, ibid., p. 528 (Jan. 31, 1865). 

37. New York Herald, Jan. 15, 1865. 

38. Ibid., Feb. 2, 1865. 

39. Though more Democratic than Republican, the Natkmml In- 
telligencer was somewhat 'ambiguous in its party affiliations, See 
above, Chapter i, footnote 125. 

40. Washington National Intelligencer, Jan. 27, 1865. 

41. New York Herald, Feb. 12, 1865, 

42. Ibid. 

43. Carman and Luthin, Lincoln and the Patronage, Chapter 2. 

44. Hogan to Johnson, June 19, 1865, Johnson MSS. 

244 Chapter 2: Notes 45-71 

45. Seward to Lincoln, Aug. 13, 1864; Ward Hunt to Lincoln, Sept. 
24, 1864; Hunt to Seward, Sept. 24, 1864, Seward MSS; Carman 
and Luthin, Lincoln and the Patronage, pp. 282-85. 

46. Draft of MS, undated, Gideon Welles MSS, New York Public 

47. Chicago Tribune, Feb. 16, 1860. 

48. Ibid., May 16, 1860. 

49. Barlow to S. F. Butterworth, March 22, 1865, Barlow MSS. 

50. Barlow to M. Blair, May 10, 1864, ibid. 

51. Barlow to M. Blair, Feb. 1 1, 1865, ibid. 

52. This reaction was reflected both in private letters and in the 
public press. For examples, letters to Seward from A. de Gasparin, 
May i, 1865, John Reid, May 14, 1865, G. Herman, June 19, 1865, 
Seward MSS; New York Tribune, April 17, 1865. 

53. New York Times, April 25, 1865, May 13, 1865. 

54. Campbell to Weed, May i, 1865, Weed MSS. 

55. Diary of Gideon Welles (Howard K. Beale, ed., 3 vols., New 
York, 1960), II, pp. 304, 307; New York Times, May 13, 1865. 

56. Weed to Seward, May n, 1865, May 12, 1865, Seward MSS. 

57. For example, Diary of Gideon Welles, III, pp. 66, 492; "Recollec- 
tions of President Johnson and his Cabinet," undated, Welles 

58. Weed to Seward, May 23, 1865, Seward MSS; see also D. Morrison 
to Weed, March 31, 1866, Weed MSS. 

59. New York Times, May 6, 1865, May 7, 1865. 

60. Ibid,, June 7, 1865, June 8, 1865. 

61. Ibid., June 8, 1865. 

62. New York Herald, May 19, 1865. 

63. Ibid., June 4, 1865. 

64. Ibid., July 10, 1865. 

65. C. Vann Woodward, Reunion and Reaction: The Compromise of 
1877 and the End of Reconstruction (New York, 1951). For the 
attitude of Tennessee's former Whigs toward party reorganiza- 
tion, see Thomas B. Alexander, "Whiggery and Reconstruction 
in Tennessee," Journal of Southern History, XVI (Aug., 1950), 
p. 298. 

66. H. W. Hilliard to Seward, Aug. i, 1865; Seward to Hilliard, 
Aug. 10, 1865; Seward to W. H. Boyce, Aug. 10, 1865; Seward to 
W. Woodbridge, Sept. 25, 1865, Seward MSS. 

67. Weed to Seward, May 29, 1865, ibid. 

68. Seward to Weed, June i, 1865, Weed MSS. 

69. Weed to Seward, Sept. 23, 1865, Seward MSS. 

70. Weed to Seward, Sept. 12, 1865, ibid. 

71. New York Times, June 12, 1865. 

Chapter 3: Notes 1-23 245 

72. Seward to Webb, Aug. 9, 1865, Seward MSS. 

73. Seward to Webb, Sept. 23, 1865. Seward apparently regretted Ms 
outburst and wrote two days later a friendly letter, ibid. 

74. New York World,, Aug. 18, 1865. 

75. W. A. Darling to Seward, Aug. 25, 1865, with notation "returned 
from the President," Seward MSS. 

76. McCulloch to Johnson, Aug. 23, 1865, Sept. 12, 1865, with 
W. E. Chandler to McCuiloch, Sept. n, 1865, Johnson MSS. 



1. Barlow to W. H. Wadsworth, April 15, 1865; Barlow to M. Blair, 
April 15, 1865, Barlow MSS. 

2. Barlow to M. Blair, April 21, 1865, April 29, 1865, ibid. 

3. Barlow to T. G. Pratt, June 8, 1865, ibid. 

4. Johnson's reply to an Illinois delegation. New York Times, 
April 19, 1865; Johnson's remarks at an interview with citizens of 
Indiana, April 15, 1865; Edward McPherson, Political Manual for 
1866 (Washington, 1866), pp. 44-47. 

5. H. C. Page to Johnson, April 2 1, 1865, Johnson MSS. 

6. Bancroft to Johnson, April 26, 1865, ibid. 

7. H. Brewster to Johnson, May 5, 1865, ibid. 

8. J. Tiegler to Johnson, May 15, 1865, ibid. 

9. Hogan to Johnson, May 17, 1865, ibid. 

10. Morgan to Johnson, Sept. 4, 1865, ibid. 

11. Dixon to Johnson, May 5, 1865, ibid.- 

12. Green to Johnson, June 25, 1865, ibid. 

13. Seymour to Johnson, Sept. 8, 1865, ibid. 

14. New York Herald, July 29, 1865. 

15. Dickinson to Johnson, Aug. 19, 1865, Aug. 21, 1865, Johnson MSS. 

1 6. Croswell to Dickinson, Aug. 10, 1865, ibid. 

17. Steele to Johnson, July 30, 1865, ibid. 

1 8. New York Herald, May 12, 1865. 

19. Blair to Barlow, May i, 1864, May 4, 1864,, May 11, 1864, May 27, 
1864; Barlow to Blair, May 3, 1864, May 10, 1864, May 19, 1864, 
Barlow MSS. 

20. Blair to Barlow, Oct. 15, 1864, ibid. 

21. Blair to Barlow, Dec. 20, 1864, n.d. [ca, Dec. 24, 1864], Jan. 7, 
1865, Jan. 12, 1865, .ibid. 

22. Blair to Barlow, Jan. 7, 1865, ibid. 

23. Blair to Barlow, Feb. 9, 1865, ibid. 

246 Chapter y Notes 24-50 

24. Barlow to Blair, Feb. u, 1865, ibid.; and see above, Chapter i, 
fotnotes 109, no, and 127. 

25. Barlow to Blair, Feb. 21, 1865, Barlow MSS. 

26. New York Herald, May 12, 1865; William E. Smith, The Francis 
Preston Blair Family in Politics (2 vols., New York, 1933), II, 
pp. 327-29, 335, 343, 344, 346, 348, 360. 

27. Geo. McClellan to Barlow, March 27, 1865, May 30, 1865; Barlow 
to McClellan, April 21, 1865, June 8, 1865; Barlow to Blair, April 
21, 1865, Barlow MSS. 

28. G. W. Childs to F. P. Blair, April 17, 1865, Johnson MSS. 

29. Smith, The Francis Preston Blair Family, II, pp. 335, 338, 345, 

348, 358. 

30. Blair to Barlow, July 16, 1865, Barlow MSS. 

31. F. P. Blair to Johnson, Aug. i, 1865, Johnson MSS. 

32. H. Reed to Blair, June 26, 1865, ibid. 

33. W. A. Dudley to Blair, June 23, 1865; M. C. Johnson to Blair, 
Aug. 21, iS6$,ibid. 

34. F. P. Blair to M. Blair, June 22, 1865, ibid. Montgomery cynically 
interpreted Stanton's attack on General Sherman as a calculated 
effort to ingratiate himself with Johnson by destroying a 
"supposed rival of Johnson for the succession"; Blair to Barlow, 
April 28, 1865, Barlow MSS. 

35. F. P. Blair to Johnson, Aug. i, 1865, Johnson MSS. 

36. Blair to Barlow, June 14, 1865, Barlow MSS. 

37. Cox to Barlow, Aug. 13, 1865, ibid. 

38. Barlow to Blair, April 15, 1865, ibid. 

39. Blair to Barlow, April 18, 1865, ibid. 

40. Montgomery's brother Frank also visited at Barlow's home in 
June. Barlow to Geo. McClellan, June 8, 1865, ibid. 

41. Barlow to Blair, May 10, 1865, May 16, 1865, ibid.; June 15, 1865, 
July 19, 1865, Johnson MSS. (A copy of each of the later two 
letters is in the Barlow MSS; the originals were submitted by 
Blair to the President.) 

42. Shipman to Barlow, July 12, 1865, July 22, 1865, Barlow MSS. 

43. Shipman to Barlow, Aug. 12, 1865, ibid. 

44. Blair to Barlow, May 13, 1865, May 25, 1865, June 14, 1865, ibid. 

45. Blair to Barlow, July 8, 1865, ibid. 

46. Barlow to Shipman, Aug. 22, 1865, ibid. 

47. Shipman to Barlow, Aug. 26, 1865, ibid. 

48. Shipman to Barlow, Sept. 9, 1865, ibid. 

49. Two letters, Shipman to Barlow, both dated Sept. 13, 1865, ibid. 
The text of Johnson's speech is in the New York Herald, Sept. 12, 

50. Barlow to M. Blair, June 10, 1865, Barlow MSS. 

Chapter 3; Notes 5 7-72 247 

51. Barlow to IVL Blair, July 19, 1865, Johnson MSS. 

52. Barlow to M. Blair, June 10, 1865, Barlow MSS. 

53. Blair to Barlow, June 14, 1865, ibid. 

54. Blair to Barlow, June 15, 1865, ibid. 

55. Blair to Barlow, June 14, 1865, June 15, 1865, ibid. 

56. Barlow to Blair, July 24, 1865, Johnson MSS. Taylor's own 
account indicates that he saw the President on a number of 
occasions but does not indicate the nature of their discussions 
except in reference to Taylor's request to visit Jefferson Davis. 
Richard Taylor, Destruction md Reconstruction: Personal Ex- 
periences of the Late War (New York, 1879), pp. 239-46. 

57. Barlow to Blair, Sept. n, 1865, ibid. 

58. New York Herald, July 20, 1865. 

59. New York World, July 27, 1865. 

60. Ibid., Aug. i, 1865. 

61. Ibid., Aug. 7, 1865. 

62. Pratt to Barlow, Aug. 16, 1865, Barlow MSS. 

63. Barlow to Pratt, Aug. 17, 1865, Johnson MSS. 

64. Barlow to Pratt, Aug. 21, 1865, ibid. 

65. Pratt to Barlow, Aug. 22, 1865, Barlow MSS. 

66. Ch. Mason to Black, June 14, 1865, Black MSS, Library of 

67. Black to Blair, July 15, 1865, Johnson MSS. 

68. Blair to Black, Aug. 31, 1865, Black MSS. 

69. Blair to Black, Aug. 5, 1865, Aug. 31, 1865, ibid. 

70. Barlow to Pratt, Aug. 21, 1865, Johnson MSS. Richmond did go to 
Washington for an interview with the President shortly after the 
Democratic convention, but public notice of the visit was held 
to a niinirnurn. Springfield Republican, Sept. 29, 1865; New York 
Herald, Sept. 28, 1865. 

71. Barlow to Tilden, two letters, both dated Aug. 31, 1865, Tilden 
MSS, New York Public Library. 

72. Barlow to Shipman, Sept. n, 1865, Barlow MSS. Johnson's 
negotiations with the Democratic leaders cannot be explained 
away on the assumption that he merely listened while they spoke. 
Gideon Welles may have been correct in noting that the President 
had a habit of silently listening which was often mistaken for 
consent; but the nature of the references to the President's state- 
ments reported in private letters, together with the obvious per- 
sistence of New York leaders in their effort to obtain a commit- 
ment that could not be misunderstood, preclude such an explana- 
tion in respect to the series of conferences which preceded the 
endorsement of the President by the state Democratic convention. 

248 Chapter 4: Notes 1-12 

Johnson gave assurances, but this fact should not be read as a 
political capitulation to the Democracy. For the President's in- 
dependent political objective, see below , Chapters 4 and 5. 

73. Barlow to Blair, Sept. n, 1865, Johnson MSS; Barlow to Pratt, 
Sept. n, 1865; Barlow to Houston, Sept. 12, 1865, Barlow MSS. 

74. Reprinted in New York Tribune, Aug. 29, 1865. 

75. Barlow to Shipman, Sept. n, 1865, Barlow MSS. 

76. Ibid. 

77. Blair to Johnson, June 16, 1865, Johnson MSS. 

78. New York Times, July 14, 1865; New York World, July 13, 
1865, Aug. 28, 1865, Sept. 13, 1865, Oct. 3, 1865, Oct. 4, 1865; 
Smith, The Francis Preston Blair Family, II, pp. 340-43. 

79. Blair to Barlow, July 8, 1865, July n, 1865, July 16, 1865; Barlow 
to Shipman, July n, 1865, July 19, 1865, Barlow MSS; Barlow to 
Blair, July 19, 1865, Johnson MSS. 

80. Letters to Seward from J. W. Forney, July 22, 1865, J. M. Scovil, 
July 29, 1865, Weed, Sept. 12, 1865, Seward MSS. 

81. Seward to Weed, July 22, 1865, Weed MSS. 

82. Seward to John Bigelow, July i, 1865, Seward MSS. 


1. Blair to Barlow, Sept. 13, 1865, Barlow MSS. 

2. Barlow to R. Houston, Oct. 3, 1865, ibid. 

3. New York Herald, Aug. 15, 1865; Diary of Gideon Welles, II, 
p. 386. 

4. New York World, Aug. 19, 1865. 

5. New York Herald, Aug. 17, 1865. 

6. G. W. Blunt to Fox, Sept. 29, 1865, Gideon Welles MSS, Library 
of Congress. 

7. New York Herald, Aug. 16, 1865; New York World, Aug. 18, 

8. New York Her aid, Aug. 16, 1865. 

9. Ibid., Aug. 22, 1865, Aug. 24, 1865, Sept. 2, 1865, Sept. 14, 1865. 

10. Ibid., July 10, 1865, Aug. 16, 1865; New York World, Aug. 15, 
1865, Oct. 7, 1865; E. D. Webster to Seward, Aug. 14, 1865, 
Seward MSS. 

11. Weed to Seward, Nov. u, 1865, Seward MSS. 

12. Weed to Seward, May 27, 1865, ibid. 

Chapter 4: Notes 13-46 249 

13. New York World, Oct. 7, 1865, Oct. 18, 1865. 

14. New York Herald, April 19, 1866. 

15. Barlow to R. Houston, Oct. 3, 26, 28, 1865, Barlow MSS. 

16. R. Houston to Barlow, Nov. i, 1865, ibid. 

17. New York Herald, Sept. 14, 1865. 

18. Weed to Seward, Nov. 4, 1865, Nov. n, 1865, Seward MSS. 

19. Albany Argus, reprinted in New York Tribune, Nov. 22, 1865. 

20. New York Tribune, Aug. 19, 1865. 

21. New York World, July 18, 1865, July 27, 1865; ^ ew York Times, 
July 1 6, 1865. 

22. Letter of John B. Haskins, reprinted in New York Tribune, 
Sept. 22, 1865. 

23. New York Herald, Aug. 24, 1865. 

24. New York World, Sept. 8, 1865, Sept. 9, 1865. 

25. New York Herald, Sept. 9, 1865. 

26. New York Times, Sept. 8, 1865. 

27. New York World, Sept. 9, 1865. 

28. New York Times, Sept. 9, 1865, Sept. n, 1865; New York World, 
Sept. 12, 1865, Sept. 15, 1865. 

29. Henry Wilson to Raymond, Sept. 12, 1865, Henry J. Raymond 
MSS, New York Public Library; Greeley to Chase, Oct. 23, 1865, 
Horace Greeley MSS, New York Public Library. 

30. Blair to Barlow, Sept. 15, 1865, Barlow MSS. 

31. Weed to Morgan, Sept. 18, 1865, Edwin D. Morgan MSS, New 
York State Library. 

32. New York Times, Sept. n, 1865. 

33. Ibid., Sept. 21, 1865. 

34. Jms. Kelly to Seward, Nov. 9, 1865, Seward MSS. 

35. Weed to Seward, Sept. 23, 1865, ibid. 

36. Weed to Seward, Sept. 30, 1865, ibid. 

37. New York Herald, Oct. 4, 1865, 

38. Chandler to H. J. Raymond, Oct. 20, 1865, George Jones MSS. 

39. Barlow to Taylor, Oct. 21, 1865, Barlow MSS. 

40. Ibid. 

41. Taylor to Barlow, Oct. 25, 1865, ibid. 

42. Shipman to Barlow, Oct. 23, 1865, ibid. 

43. Barlow to Shipman, Oct, 25, 1865, ibid. 

44. The quotations and 'Summary of the World's position in this 
paragraph and the paragraphs following are from the paper's 
editorials of the following dates: Sept. 12, 21, 22, 23, 25, 26, 27, 29; 
Oct. 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 14, 17, 18, 26; Nov. 16, 1865. 

45. See footnote above. 

46. See footnote 44 above. 

2 50 Chapter 4: Notes 47-76 

47. Blair's speech, as reported in New York Times, Oct. 19, 1865. 
For speeches of Slocum and Van Buren, see ibid., Oct. 5, 1865, 
Oct. 6, 1865. 

48. New York World, Sept. 18, 1865. For the Democratic position on 
the Connecticut referendum on Negro suffrage, see ibid., Sept. 
13, 1865, Oct. 3, 1865, Oct. 4, 1865. 

49. The summary of the Times' position, in this paragraph and the 
four following, are from the paper's editorials of the following 
dates: Sept. 21, 23, 27, 29, 30; Oct. 3, 10, 13, 15, 16, 17, 18, 21, 23, 
24, 25; Nov. 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 1865; also Weed's letter published Oct. 3, 
1865, and Raymond's campaign speech in Albany, printed Oct. 15, 

50. See footnote above. 

51. New York Tribune, Oct. 7, 1865. 

52. Ibid., Oct. 20, 1865. 

53. Compare the Tribune editorials of Oct. 7, 1865 and Oct. 18, 1865 
with those of Oct. 23, 1865 and Oct. 26, 1865. 

54. Ibid., Oct. 21, 24, 25, 26, 28, 30, 31; Nov. i, 4, 6, 7, 1865. 

55. Speech at Cooper Institute, printed in New York Times, Oct. 19, 
1865; Smith, The Francis Preston Blair 'Family , II, pp. 344-46. 

56. Mr. Seward at Auburn in 1865 (pamphlet, n.d., n.p.), Seward MSS. 

57. Shipman to Barlow, Oct. 23, 1865, Barlow MSS. 

58. Weed to Seward, Nov. 3, 1865, Seward MSS. 

59. R. B. Minturn to Weed, Nov. 3, 1865 (on behalf of himself and 
Samuel G. Ward), Weed to Seward, Nov. 3, 1865, ibid. 

60. Telegrams, Weed to Seward, Nov. 7, 1865, ibid. 

6 1. Geo. Babcock to E, D. Webster, Nov. i r, 1865, && 

62. The total votes cast for Secretary of State were 26,172 fewer 
than in 1863, 85,983 more than in 1861. 

63. New York Times, Nov. 8, 1865. 

64. Raymond's speech at Albany, ibid., Oct. 15, 1865. 

65. Ibid., Oct. 1 6, 1865. 

66. Ibid., Oct. 17, 1865. 

67. Ibid., Oct. 24, 1865. 

68. Ibid., Nov. 10, 1865. 

69. Ibid., Nov. 14, 1865. 

70. New York World , Nov. 10, 1865, Nov. n, 1865. 

71. Barlow to Jms. Hughes, Nov. 8, 1865, Barlow to H. D. Bacon, 
Nov. 10, 1865, Barlow to Blair, Nov. 8, 1865, Barlow MSS. 

72. Barlow to R. Houston, Nov. 15, 1865, ibid. 

73. Barlow to Jms. Hughes, Nov. 16, 1865, ibid. 

74. Blair to Barlow, Nov. 12, 1865, Nov. 18, 1865, ibid. 

75. New York Evening Post, Nov. 27, 1865. 

76. New York World, Nov. 28, 1865. 

Chapter j: Notes 2-3$ 251 



1. For example, see New York Herald, April 23, 1865, May 2, 1865, 
May 19, 1865, June 19, 1865, Aug. 23, 1865, Sept 15, 1865. 

2. Ibid., May 14, 1865, Aug. 20, 1865, Sept. 20, 1865. 

3. /fef., Sept. 15, 1865. 

4. /Z?^., April 27, 1865. 

5. 7iif., May 25, 1865, July 10, 1865, Aug. 8, 19, 22, 28, 1865, Sept. 2, 
9, 19, 1865. 

6. Ibid., Oct. 4, 1865, Oct. 9, 1865. 

7. ZZrzW., Nov. 9, 10, 1 6, 1865. 

8. Johnson to Bennett, Oct. 6, 1865, Johnson MSS. 

9. Bennett to Johnson, Oct. 15, 1865, ibid. 

10. H. Calkin to Marble, Jan. 22, 1867, Marble MSS. 

11. Wikoff to Johnson, July 30, 1865, Aug. 21, 1865, Oct. 26, 1865; 
Bennett to Johnson, Aug. 26, 1865; Phillips to Johnson, Oct. 26, 
1865, Johnson MSS. 

12. W. Rives to Bennett, Feb. 19, 1866, ibid. 

13. New York Herald, Aug. 13, 1865. 

14. Ibid., May 19, 1865, Aug. 29, 1865, Sept. n, 1865, Dec. 10, 1865, 
Dec. 13, 1865. 

15. Ibid., Sept. 9, 1865, Sept. 14, 1865- 

1 6. Ibid., Aug. 13, 1865. 

17. Italics added. Ibid., Sept. 23, 1865. 

18. Ibid., May 24, 1865, June 7, 1865, Aug. 9, 1865, Aug. 31, 1865, 
Sept. 15, 1865. 

19. Ibid., June 19, 1865. 

20. Ibid., June 21, 1865. 

21. Ibid., June 21, 23; July 7, 10, 18; Aug. 9, 22, 1865, Feb. 26, 1866. 

22. Ibid., Aug. 7, 1865. 

23. Ibid., May 20, 1865. 

24. Ibid., Aug. 20, 1865. 

25. Ibid., Sept. 13, 14, 1 6, 1865. 

26. Ibid., Jan. 7, 28, 30, 1866. 

27. Ibid., Nov. 6, 1865; see also Aug. 3, 1865, Aug. 20, 1865. 

28. Ibid., Dec. 7, 1865. 

29. Ibid., Oct. 4, 1865. 

30. Ibid.,Dec. n, 1865. 

31. Ibid.,Dec. 13, 1865. 

32. Ibid., Dec. 17, 1865. 

33. Ibid., May 17, 1866. 

252 Chapter 5: Notes 34-52 

34. We do not wish to be misunderstood as suggesting that Bennett 
framed Johnson's policy; the President's decisions were his own. 
We believe it is clear, however, that the opinion of the Herald 
was one of the elements upon which the President based his 
assessment of the political scene. For Johnson's close attention to 
the paper's editorial position, see footnotes 8 through 12 above 
and 60 below; see also Chapter 9, footnote 29. 

35. M. A. Sono to Johnson, Sept. 29, 1865, Johnson MSS. 

36. Dixon to Johnson, May 5, 1865, Sept. 26, 1865, ibid. 

37. Chase to Johnson, May 12, 1865, ibid. 

38. Green to Johnson, June 25, 1865, ibid. 

39. Letters to Johnson from W. W. Boyce, July 12, 1865, A. Rich, 
July 14, 1865, J. S. Carlile, July 16, 1865, N. Ranny, July 21, 1865, 
Wm. Thorpe, Aug. 16, 1865, T. J. Rawls, Sept. 12, 1865, 
A. H. Kerr, Nov. 2, 1865, G. W. Jones, Nov. 5, 1865, ibid. 

40. Dickinson to Johnson, Aug. 19, 1865, ibid. 

41. Text of Johnson's speech, New York Times, March 20, 1865. 

42. Robert W. Winston, Andrew Johnson, Plebeian and Patriot (New 
York, 1928), p. 339; see also George Fort Milton, The Age of 
Hate: Andrew Johnson and the Radicals (New York, 1930), 
pp. 635-39, and Jonathan T. D orris, Pardon and Amnesty under 
Lincoln and Johnson (Chapel Hill, N.C., 1953)1 pp. 316, 354-56. 

43. Springfield Republican, Oct. 13, 1865. 

44. Winston, Andrew Johnson, p. 305; Johnson's speech to a delega- 
tion from Montana, Feb. 7, 1866, and his reply to a Virginia 
delegation, Feb. 10, 1866, revised clippings, Johnson MSS; see 
below, footnotes 59 through 62. 

45. Diary of Gideon Welles, III, pp. 398, 454, 455. 

46. Undated, Welles MSS, N.Y. P.L. 

47. Entries for July 7, 8, 9, 1868, transcript of Col. W. G. Moore's 
shorthand diary, Johnson MSS. 

48. Entries of Aug. 24, 1867, March 27, 1868; see also entry of Oct. 25, 
1866, ibid. 

49. Entry of Aug. 14, 1867, ibid. 

50. Ibid. 

51. Le Roy P. Graf, editor of the projected publication of the 
Andrew Johnson papers. After Lincoln's election, Johnson became 
the most influential patronage broker in Tennessee. In the use of 
this power, Johnson gave consideration to old party associates 
and to the building of a "Johnson Party" at the expense of con- 
solidating former Whig and Bell Unionist influence behind the 
new Administration. See Graf's "Andrew Johnson and the Com- 
ing of the War," Tennessee Historical Quarterly, XIX (Sept., 
1960), pp. 208, 214, 216-17, 220; also J. Milton Henry, "The 

Chapter jr: Notes 52-73 253 

Revolution in Tennessee, February, 1861, to June, 1861," ibid., 
XVIII (June, 1959), pp. 108-10, 117-19. 

52. Winston, Andrew Johnson, pp. 119-20; L. D. Campbell to Weed, 
May i, 1865, Weed MSS; Campbell to Johnson, May 8, 1865, 
Johnson MSS. 

53. Winston, Andrew Johnson, p. 34. 

54. For Vice-President Johnson's severity toward the South, see 
Charles A. Dana, Recollections of the Civil War (New York, 
1899), pp. 269-70. 

55. Winston, Andrew Johnson, 212 ff. 

56. Clifton R. Hall, Andrew Johnson, Military Governor of Tennes- 
see (Princeton, 1916), p. 170; for the election oath and the protest 
it evoked, see Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, VIII, pp. 58- 
72; also, J. T. Dorris, "The Treatment of Confederates by 
Lincoln and Johnson," Lincoln Herald, LXI (Winter, 1959), 
p. 146. 

57. New York World, Oct. 25, 1865; see also Sept. 18, 1865, Sept. 23, 
1865, Oct. 13, 1865, Oct. 14, 1865, ibid. 

58. Speech to a delegation from Montana, Feb. 7, 1866, revised 
clipping, Johnson MSS. 

59. Ibid.; also Johnson's reply to a Virginia delegation, Feb. 10, 1866, 
revised clipping, ibid. 

60. Sherman to Johnson, Feb. u* 1866, ibid. 

6 1. W. B. Phillips to Johnson, Feb. 23, 1866, ibid. 

62. H. W. Milliard to Johnson, Feb. 28, 1866, ibid. 

63. Interview with George L. Stearns, Oct. 3, 1865, McPherson, 
Political Manual for 1866, p. 48. Johnson had long preferred to be 
the courted rather than the courtier; Graf, "Andrew Johnson and 
the Coming of the War," pp. 216-17. 

64. Springfield Republican, Sept. 30, 1865. 

65. Barlow to McClellan, Oct. 12, 1865, Barlow MSS. 

66. Speech to a delegation from Montana, Feb. 7, 1866, revised 
clipping, Johnson MSS. 

67. Reported in the New York Herald, Aug. 29, 1866. 

68. Entry of July 3, 1868, transcript of Moore's diary, Johnson MSS. 

69. Ewing to Wm. T. Sherman, Thomas Ewing MSS, Library of 

70. A. G. M. Bumey [?] to Johnson, March 7, 1866, Johnson MSS. 

71. Campbell to Johnson, May 8, 1865, ibid.; see also Campbell to 
Weed, May i, 1865, Weed MSS, 

72. Campbell to D. T. Patterson, Jan, 22, 1866; see also Campbell to 
Johnson, Jan. 19, 1866, Johnson MSS. 

73. Campbell to Johnson, June 22, 1866, Aug. 21, 1866; H. S. Burnett 
to Johnson, March 24, 1866, ibid. 

254 Chapter 6: Notes 1-9 

74. Watterson to Johnson, July 8, 1865, ibid. 

75. Watterson to Johnson, Sept. 26, 1865, ibid. 

76. Watterson to Johnson, Oct. 7, 1865, ibid. 

77. Watterson to Johnson, Oct. 20, 1865, *b*d. 

78. V. [?] S. Harris to Watterson, Dec. 29, 1865, ibid.; see also, 
Martin Abbott, ed., "A Southerner Views the South, 1865: 
Letters of Harvey M. Watterson," Virginia Magazine of History 
and Biography , LXVIII (Oct., 1960), pp. 478-79. 

79. Henry Watterson to Johnson, Dec. 7, 1865, ibid. 

So. Joseph F. Wall, Henry Watterson: Reconstructed Rebel (New 
York, 1 956), pp. 63-64. 

8 1. R. S. Saunders to Johnson, Sept. 6, 1865, see also his letter of July 
13, 1865, Johnson MSS. 

82. Rousseau to Johnson, Sept. n, 1865, ibid. Rousseau was an ex- 
perienced politician, having served in both the Indiana and New 
York State legislatures. 

83. East to Johnson, Sept. 23, 1865; G. W. Jones to Johnson, Nov. 5, 
1865, ibid. 

84. F. C. Dunnington to Robert Johnson, Dec. 1 1, 1865, ibid. 

85. Letters to Johnson from M. Burns, Aug. 22, 1865, Sept. 2, 1865, 
S. Milligan, Aug. 22, 1865, Sept. i, 1865, J. Keyes, Dec. 10, 1865, 

86. Barlow to Houston, Oct. 28, 1865, Barlow MSS. 

87. Houston to Barlow, Nov. i, 1865, ibid. 



1. This is not, however, the view of Eric McKitrick, see Andrew 
Johnson and Reconstruction, pp. 377-94. 

2. Rhodes, History of the United States, V, p. 621. 

3. Appointment Records, Johnson MSS. 

4. Three untitled pamphlets on appointments, ibid. 

5. Report of interview with a New Hampshire delegation and 
speech at Philadelphia, New York Herald, Aug. 20, 1866, Aug. 29, 

6. See above, Chapter 2, footnote 75 and Chapter 4, footnote 35. 

7. A. Van Eyck to Maj. C. S. Jones, July 19, 1866, Johnston MSS. 

8. J. A. Kasson to Blair, Aug. 28, 1866, ibid. 

9. Letters to Weed from H. J. Raymond, June 8, 1866, E. J. Fowle, 
June 19, 1866, F. W. Seward, July 6, 1866, A. Hawley, July 15, 

Chapter 6: Notes 10-32 255 

1866, D. C. Little] ohn, Aug. 8, 1866, W. EL Rice, Aug. 10, 1866, 
G. W. Ernst, Aug. 13, 1866, Oct. 2, 1866, E. H. Downs, Aug. 22, 
1866, Sept. 24, 1866, H. A. Phillips, Aug. 23, 1866, J. W. Sherman, 
Aug. 23, 1866, A. Roggen, Aug. 30, 1866, V. W. Smith, Oct. i, 
1866, Oct. 21, 1866, C. A. Harrington, Oct. 2, 1866, W. S. Lincoln, 
Oct. 4, 1866, H. McCulloch, Oct. n, 1866, J. W. Adams, Oct. 19, 
1866, J. H. Kidd, Oct. 23, 1866, St. J. B. L. Skinner, Oct. 26, 1866, 
L. A. Spalding, Oct. 27, 1866, G. P. Eddy, Oct. 29, 1866, 
G. J. J. Barber, Nov. i, 1866, Weed MSS. 

10. Weed to Seward, Oct. 27, 1866, Seward MSS; see also Weed to 
Johnson, Oct. 2, 1866, Johnson MSS. 

u. For examples, see letters to Johnson from A. R. Corbin, June 25, 
1866, A. Smith, July 17, 1866, J. W. Hinkle, July 31, 1866, 
N. P. Sawyer, Aug. 20, 1866, Johnson MSS. 

12. Johnson to D. M. Fleming, Oct. 14, 1866, ibid. 

13. F. O'Byrne to Johnson, April 16, 1866; H. S. Burnett to Johnson, 
March 24, 1866, ibid. 

14. Rice to Johnson, June i, 1866, June 23, 1866, July 31, 1866, ibid. 

15. Wm. Shipman to Barlow, April 8, 1866, Barlow MSS. 

16. W. Power to Johnson, Aug. 2, 1866; J. G. Jones to Johnson, 
Sept. 22, 1866, Johnson MSS. 

17. R. P. L. Baber to Johnson, March 30, 1866, ibid. 

18. J. Smith to Johnson, May i, 1866, ibid. 

19. Morgan to Johnson, July 7, 1866, ibid. 

20. R. W. Scott to Johnson, July 31, 1866, ibid. 

21. E. Burke to Johnson, July 30, 1866; see also his letter of June 19, 
1^66^ ibid. 

22. A. R. Corbin to Johnson, June 25, 1866, ibid. 

23. Morgan to G. Rowland, April 19, 1866, Morgan MSS. 

24. J. F. Miller to D. T. Patterson, Nov. 10, 1865, Johnson MSS. 

25. Barlow to J. Hughes, Dec. 21, 1865, ibid. 

26. Springfield Republican, April 27, 1866, April 28, 1866. 

27. Blair to Barlow, Nov. 18, 1865, Barlow MSS. 

28. See above. Chapter 4, footnotes 3 through 12. 

29. Blair to Johnson, Nov. 21, 1865, enclosing Cochrane to Blair, Nov. 
19, 1865; Cochrane to Blair, Dec. 22, 1865; Bennett to Johnson, 
Feb. i, 1865; Cochrane to Johnson, Feb. 4, 1866, Feb. 12, 1866; 
H. C. Page to Johnson, Dec. 22, 1865, April 10, 1866; E. Pierre- 
pont to Johnson, March 13, 1866, March 24, 1866; C. G. Halpine 
to Johnson, March 21, 1866, Johnson MSS. 

30. Barlow to Hughes, Dec. 6, 1865, Barlow MSS. 

31. Hughes to Barlow, Dec. 7, 1865, ibid. 

32. Barlow to Hughes, Dec. 9, 1865, ibid. 

256 Chapter 6: Notes 33-59 

33. Barlow to R. Taylor, Dec. 9, 1865; Barlow to Hughes, Dec. 9, 

1865, ibid. 

34. Barlow to Hughes, Dec. 21, 1865, Johnson MSS. 

35. Barlow to Hughes, Dec. 22, 1865, Dec. 26, 1865, Barlow MSS. 

36. Barlow to Church, Jan. 2, 1866, Jan. 4, 1866, ibid. 

37. Barlow to M. Blair, Jan. 18, 1866, ibid. 

38. Barlow to Blair, Jan. 13, 1866, ibid. 

39. Blair to S. J. Tilden, March 14, 1866, Tilden MSS. 

40. Blair to Barlow, April 7, 1866, Barlow MSS. 

41. The word may be "shake"; Montgomery Blair's handwriting was 
appalling, as Barlow complained and Blair acknowledged. 

4*. Blair to Barlow, Jan. 18, 1866, Feb. 12, 1866, Barlow MSS; Blair to 
Tilden, March 14, 1866, Tilden MSS. 

43. Barlow to Van Buren, Jan. n, 1866; Blair to Barlow, Jan. 18, 

1866, Barlow MSS. 

44. Haskins to Johnson, March 21, 1866, Johnson MSS. 

45. Barlow to S. F. Butterworth, Jan. 31, 1866, Barlow MSS. 

46. Haskins to Johnson, March 21, 1866, Johnson MSS. 

47. Tilden to Blair, March 10, 1866, Blair MSS, Library of Congress. 

48. Barlow to T. J. Barnett, Jan. 24, 1866; Barlow to J. Hughes, 
Dec. 22, 1865, Barlow MSS. 

49. Barlow to J. T. Doyle, Jan. 30, 1866, ibid. 

50. Tilden to Blair, March 10, 1866, Blair MSS; Barlow to R. Taylor, 
March 7, 1866; Blair to Barlow, April 7, 1866, Barlow MSS. 

51. Draft, Blair to Johnson, April 9, 1866, Blair MSS; Blair to John- 
son, April n, 1866, Johnson MSS. 

52. Weed to Seward, Nov. 13, 1865, Nov. 14, 1865, J an - 2 9 1866, 
Seward MSS; Weed to Morgan, Dec. 5, 17, 27, 1865, Morgan MSS; 
Raymond to Weed, Dec. 15, 1865, Weed MSS. 

53. McCulloch to Johnson, Dec. 16, 1865, enclosing J. A. Stewart to 
McCulloch, Dec. 15, 1865; McCulloch to Johnson, Dec. 28, 1865, 
enclosing Godwin to McCulloch, Dec. 25, 1865; Godwin to 
Johnson, Dec. 25, 1865, Johnson MSS. War Democrat H. C. Page 
listed Bailey with the "committed" men who should be ruled 
out. Page to Johnson, Dec, 22, 1865, ibid. 

54. Raymond to Weed, Dec. 15, 1865, Weed MSS. 

55. Morgan to Weed, Dec. 15, 1865, Dec. 26, 1865, Morgan MSS. 

56. Weed to Morgan, Dec. 17, 1865, ibid. 

57. Barlow to Blair, Jan. 13, 1866, Barlow MSS. 

58. E. Croswell to W. Radford, Feb. 19, 1866, Feb. 26, 1866, E. 
Pierrepont to Johnson, March 13, 1866, Johnson MSS. 

59. Barlow to J. Van Buren, Jan. 11, 1866; Barlow to Blair, Jan. 13, 
1866, Barlow MSS. 

Chapter 6: Notes 60-84 257 

60. Forney to Johnson, Jan. 2, 1866, Johnson MSS. 

6 1. Springfield Republican, Feb. 2, 1866. For an analysis of the 
reaction to the first veto and February 22nd speech, see beloiUy 
Chapter 9. 

62. Weed to Seward, Feb. 28, 1866, Seward MSS. 

63. Weed to Seward, March 12, 1866, ibid.; Weed to Morgan, March 
12, 1866, Morgan MSS. 

64. Marble to Blair, March 10, 1866; Marble to [?], March u, 1866, 
Marble MSS. 

65. Weed to Seward, March 17, 1866, Seward MSS; for Barlow on 
Little] ohn see Barlow to J. Hughes, April 14, 1866, Barlow MSS. 

66. Raymond to Weed, n.d. [ca. early April, 1866], Weed MSS; see 
also Morgan to Weed, April 4, 1866, Morgan MSS. Barlow 
deprecated Depew as well as Littlejohn; Barlow to J. Hughes, 
April 14, 1866, Barlow MSS. 

67. Weed to Raymond, April 3, 1866, George Jones MSS. 

68. Morgan to Weed, April 4, 1866; Weed to Morgan, April 6, i86<5, 
Morgan MSS. 

69. Weed to Seward, Jan. 29, 1866, Seward MSS; Morgan to Weed, 
Jan. 25, 1866, Weed MSS. 

70. Barlow to M. Blair, Feb. 14, 1866, April 14, 1866, Barlow to J. 
Hughes, Feb. 14, 1866, April 14, 1866, Barlow MSS. 

71. Blair to Tilden, March 14, 1866, Tilden MSS. 

72. Van Dyck to Morgan, March 6, 1866, March 7, 1866; R. Morrow 
(of the President's staff) to Morgan, March 8, 1866; see also 
Morgan to Van Dyck, March 4, 1866, Morgan MSS. 

73. Blatchford to Seward, March 30, 1866, Seward MSS. 

74. Lane to Johnson, April 13, 1866, Johnson MSS. For other refer- 
ences to Davies, see Dixon to Johnson, March 31, 1866, April 12, 
1866, April 13, 1866, ibid.; Weed to Seward, March 17, 1866, 
March 30, 1866, Seward MSS; Morgan to Weed, March 8, 1866, 
Morgan MSS. 

75. New York Herald, Dec. 12, 1865, Dec. 30, 1865. 

76. Weed to Seward, Dec. 27, 1865, Dec. 29, 1865, Seward MSS. 

77. Springfield Republican, Feb. 2, 1866. 

78. Blair to Johnson, April n, 1866, Johnson MSS. 

79. New York Herald, Dec. 15, 1865; [?] to Weed with Weed's 
notation, Jan. 18, 1866, Morgan MSS; Smythe to D. T. Patterson, 
March 20, 1866, Johnson, MSS. 

80. J. A. Stewart to McCulloch, Dec. 15, 1865, Johnson MSS. 

81. Barlow to J. Hughes, Dec. 21, 1865, ibid. 

82. Smythe to Barlow, Nov. 18, 1865, Barlow MSS. 

83. Barlow to Smythe, March 31, 1866, ibid. 

84. Barlow to Blair, March 31, 1866, ibid. 

258 Chapter 6: Notes 85-102 

85. Blair to Barlow, April 7, 1866, ibid. 

86. Barlow to Blair, March 19, 1867, ibid. 

87. Barlow to Blair, April 14, 1866; see also Barlow to J. Hughes, 
April 14, 1866, ibid. 

88. Blair to Barlow, April 15, 1866, ibid. 

89. Smythe to D. T. Patterson, March 20, 1866, Johnson MSS. 

90. See letters to Johnson from Halpine, March 21, 1866, Huntington, 
March 27, 1866, Walker, March 30, 1866, April 14, 1866, R. 
Johnson, April 15, 1866; also Smythe to Johnson, April 13, 1866, 

91. New York Herald, April 18, 1866, April 21, 1866; Weed to 
Morgan, April 19, 1866, April 22, 1866, Morgan MSS; Morgan 
to Weed, April 21, 1866, April 23, 1866, McCulloch to Weed, 
Sept. 10, 1866, Weed MSS; Weed to Seward, June 16, 1866, 
Raymond to Seward, Seward MSS. Reports had reached Seward 
of disparaging remarks made about him by Smythe, apparently 
in respect to Seward's drinking habits; Seward accepted Smythe's 
disavowal. Smythe to Seward, Dec. 27, 1865, ibid. 

92. Morgan to Weed, April 21, 1866, April 23, 1866, Weed MSS; 
Weed to Morgan, April 22, 1866, Morgan MSS. 

93. Smythe to Barlow, Sept. 8, 1864, Barlow MSS. 

94. New York Herald, April 25, 1866. 

95. W. S. Huntington to Johnson, March 27, 1866, Johnson MSS. 

96. New York Herald, April 18, 19, 21, 1866. The Brooklyn post- 
master, a self-designated Radical, had commended the appoint- 
ment to the Kings County Union League! G. B. Lincoln to 
Johnson, April 21, 1866, Johnson MSS. 

97. Smythe to Johnson, April 19, 1866, Johnson MSS. 

98. New York Herald, May 15, 1866. 

99. Morgan to Weed, May 5, 1866, Weed MSS. 

100. Smythe to E. Cooper (of the President's staff), July 16, 1866, 
Johnson MSS. 

101. R. B. Warren to Johnson, Feb. 26, 1866, ibid. 

102. J. A. Martin to Johnson, Aug. 4, 1866, ibid. 



1. New York World, Nov. 22, 1865. 

2. Barlow to Taylor, Nov. 22, 1865, Barlow MSS. For Taylor, see 
Chapter 3, footnote 56. 

Chapter 7: Notes 3-25 259 

3. New York Tribune., Nov. 13, 1865; see also Oct. 7, 1865. 

4. New York Herald, Nov. 28, 1865. 

5. Springfield Republican, Dec. 5, 1865. 

6. Newspaper clippings on Annual Message, 1865, Scrapbook, John- 
son MSS. The clippings are not always completely identified, 
hence those cited below are in some instances but partially 

7. Brooklyn Daily Union, Dec. 8, 1865, ibid. 

8. Baltimore Evening Transcript, ibid. 

9. Pittsburgh Commercial, Dec. 6, 1865, ibid. 

10. St. Louis Democrat, Dec. 6, 1865; St. Louis Evening News, Dec. 
6, 1865, ibid. 

11. Compare Lancaster Intelligencer, Dec. 6, 1865, and reprint from 
Daily South Carolinian, Dec. 7, 1865, with Vicksburg Herald, 
Dec. 12, 1865, an d reprint from Louisville Democrat, ibid. 

12. Lancaster Intelligencer; Petersburgh [Va.] Daily Index; Doyles- 
town Democrat, ibid. 

13. [Portland, Me.] Eastern Argus, ibid. 

14. Brooklyn Daily Union, ibid. 

15. New York Atlas*, Chicago Tribune-, St. Louis Republican, ibid. 

16. LaFayette [Ind.] Daily Journal; Fort Smith New Era; Cincinnati 
Daily Gazette, ibid. 

17. New York Sun; Port Royal New South, ibid. 

1 8. Memphis Appeal, ibid. 

19. New York Sun, ibid. 

20. Concord [N.H.] Democrat-, [Augusta, Me.] Kennebec Journal; 
New York Evening Post; Brooklyn Daily Union; Philadelphia 
Press and Times; Philadelphia Daily Chronicle; Philadelphia 
North American; Chicago Republican; St. Louis Democrat; 
Atchison Daily Champion, ibid. 

21. [Boston] Eight Way; Lancaster Intelligencer; Chicago Tribune; 
Milwaukee Sentinel; Memphis Appeal; Norfolk Post; Richmond 
Times; Iowa City State Press, ibid. 

22. Clarksburg [W. Va.] National Telegram; [Augusta, Me.] Port 
Kennebec Journal; New York Evening Post; New York Times; 
Philadelphia Inquirer; Philadelphia Press and Times; Washington 
National Republican; Philadelphia North American; Cincinnati 
Daily Gazette, ibid. 

23. New York Evening Post; Doylestown Democrat; Milwaukee 
News; Milwaukee Free Press; Montgomery Ledger, ibid. 

24. Annual Message, Dec. 4, 1865, McPherson, Political Manual for 
iS66, pp. 64-65. 

25. Messages, Johnson MSS. For identification of the Seward draft, 
see John and LaWanda Cox, "Andrew Johnson and His Ghost 

2 6o Chapter 7: Notes 2650 

Writers," Mississippi Valley Historical Review, XL VIII (Dec., 
1961), p. 461. 

26. William A. Dunning, Essays on the Civil War and Reconstruction 
(New York, 1904), pp. 103-104. 

27. McPherson, Political Manual for 1866, pp. 64-65. 

28. Italics added. Ibid., p. 65. 

29. Johnson to B. G. Humphrey, Nov. 17, 1865, Johnson MSS. 

30. Springfield Republican, Nov. 18, 1865. 

31. Revised clipping, Johnson MSS, also in McPherson, Political 
Manual for 1866, p. 58; A. K. McClure's report of an interview, 
New York Times, Nov. 14, 1865. 

32. Lafayette [Ind.] Daily Journal, clippings on Annual Message, 
Scrapbook, Johnson MSS. 

33. Speech at Framington, Mass., reported in New York World, July 
10, 1865. 

34. New York Herald, Sept. 29, 1865, Oct. 30, 1865, Nov. 2, 1865, 
Nov. 6, 1865; New York World, Oct. 10, 1865, Oct. 26, 1865, Nov. 
i, 1865, Nov. 9, 1865. 

35. New York World, Nov. 3, 1865. 

36. New York Times, Nov. 8, 1865. 

37. Reprint of Forney letter, New York Tribune, Nov. 7, 1865. 

38. New York Times, Nov. 14, 1865. 

39. New York Tribune, Oct. 31, 1865. 

40. Ibid., Oct. 31, 1865, Nov. 4, 1865; New York World, Oct. 26, 
1865; Springfield Republican, Oct. 26, 1865; New York Herald, 
Oct. 26, 1865; New York Times, Nov. 3, 1865. 

41. New York Times, Nov. 30, 1865, Jan. 29, 1865; New York Herald, 
Nov. 1 8, 1865. 

42. Springfield Republican, Nov. 14, 1865. 

43. Of the many accounts, the most authoritative is that of Benjamin 
B. Kendrick, The Journal of the Joint Committee of Fifteen on 
Reconstruction (New York, 1914), pp. 139-43. 

44. Springfield Republican, Oct. 21, 1865, Oct. 26, 1865, Nov. 28, 
1865, Dec. 4, 5, 9, 1865. 

45. Ibid., Nov. 22, 1865, Nov. 23, 1865; New York Evening Post, 
Nov. 30, 1865; New York Times, Nov. 9, 13, 20, 1865; and see 
above, footnotes 13, 16, 20. 

46. See above, Chapter 4. 

47. Hartford (weekly) Connecticut Courant, Feb. 10, 1866. 

48. C. Day to Welles, Feb. 15, 1866, A. E. Burr to Welles, March 
12, 1866, Welles MSS, L. C; New Haven Palladium, Feb. 15, 
1866; Hartford Evening Press, Feb. 15, 1866. 

49. N. D. Sherry to W. Dennison, Feb. 14, 1866, Johnson MSS. 

50. Diary of Gideon Welles, II, p. 433. 

Chapter 7: Notes 51-70 261 

51. Revised clipping, Johnson MSS, also in McPherson, Political 
Manual for 1866, p. 58. 

52. Hartford Daily Post, Feb. 15, 1866. 

53. Ibid., Feb. 17, 1866. 

54. Washington National Intelligencer, Feb. 19, 1866; editorial and 
also reprint from Hartford correspondent of Boston Advertiser, 
New Haven Daily Register, March 12, 1866. 

55. Hartford Evening Press, Feb. 19, 20, 21, 23, 28, 1866, March i, 
1866, report of Hawley's speech in issue of March 3, 1866. 

56. Hawley to Welles, Feb. 26, 1866, Welles MSS, L. C. 

57. Welles to W. A. Croffut, March 15, 1866, ibid. 

58. Diary of Gideon Welles, II, p. 452. 

59. Ibid., pp. 455-56- m m 

60. For the Democratic version, see New Haven Daily Register, 
March 27, 1866, April 2, 1866; for a Republican version see 
Hartford correspondent, New York Times^ March 31, 1866. 
Probably neither was an accurate report of just what Hawley 
had said on the occasion; the one oversimplified his response and 
the other may have overelaborated it. 

61. New Haven Dally Register, March 19, 1866. 

62. Ibid.) March 20, 1866 and March 21, 1866. 

63. M. A. Osborn to Welles, March u, 1866, A. E. Burr to Welles, 
March 12, 1866, Welles MSS, L. C. 

64. Diary of Gideon Welles, H, pp. 452-53, 454* 

65. Barlow to T. G. Pratt, March 16, 1866, Barlow MSS. 

66. Hawley to Welles, March 17, 1866, Welles MSS, L. C. 

67. Diary of Gideon Welles, H, p. 457. 

68. Ibid., pp. 457-&>- 

69. Hawley to WeUes, March 22, 1866, WeUes to Hawley, March 

24, 1866, Welles MSS, L. C. 

70. For the Democratic view of Republican Hawley's interview, see 
New Haven Daily Register, March 23, 1866 and March 27, 1866; 
compare New Haven Palladium, March 22, 1866 and March 23, 
1866. For the E. H. Owen and W. Griswold [Republican] 
interview, compare New Haven Palladium, March 22, 1866, March 
23, 1866, with New Haven Daily Register, March 22, 1866. For 
James F. Babcock's visit with Johnson, see the New Haven 
Daily Register, March 24, 1866, and the New Haven Palladium, 
March 24, 1866; and for his and F. W. Smith's public letter, 
ibid. The Hartford correspondent of the New York Times, 
March 31, 1866, gave two versions of the meeting between 
Johnson and A. E. Burr and C. M. Ingersoll [Democrats]; see 
also New Haven Daily Register, March 26, 1866, and New 
Haven Palladium, March 24, 1866. For conflicting accounts of 

262 Chapter 7; Notes 7 1-79 

James T. Pratt's [Republican] visit with the President, see Hart- 
ford Evening Press, March 29, 1866, and New Haven Daily 
Register, March 29, 1866. 

71. Hartford Evening Press, March 24, 1866. 

72. lbid. 9 March 26, 1866, March 31, 1866. 

73. Ibid., March 24, 1866. 

74. Ibid., March 28, 1866. 

75. Diary of Gideon Welles, II, pp. 454, 461-62, 465; Babcock to 
Weed, April 16, 1866, Weed MSS; Babcock to Welles, July 12, 
1866, Welles MSS, L. C. In the latter letter, Babcock wrote: "We 
made a great mistake here in not electing English. . . . The 
President was right in that thing and I was wrong." 

76. Springfield Republican, March 26, 1866. 

77. Johnson to Huntington, March 27, 1866, Johnson MSS: see also 
Huntington to Johnson March 27, 1866, March 28, 1866, ibid., 
New Haven Daily Register, March 27, 1866; Babcock to Welles, 
March 29, 1866, Welles MSS, L.C. 

78. Hartford Evening Press, March 27, 1866. 

79. A. K Burr to Welles, April 27, 1866, Welles MSS, L.C. 



1. National Anti-Slavery Standard, Dec. 9, 1865, clippings on An- 
nual Message, Scrapbook, Johnson MSS. 

2. Liberator, Dec. 15, 1865, ibid. 

3. Brooklyn Daily Union, Dec. 8, 1865, ibid, 

4. Lloyd P. Stryker, Andrew Johnson: A Study in Courage (New 
York, 1936), Chapter 5; Winston, Andrew Johnson, pp. 134, 142, 
145, 266. See also, Graf, "Andrew Johnson and the Coming of 
the War/' p. 215. 

5. New York Tribune, April 22, 1865. 

6. Nashville speech, June 9, 1864, McPherson, Political Manual -for 
1866, p. 46, footnote; Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, 
VIII, pp. 216-17; Milton Lomask, Andrew Johnson: President on 
Trial (New York, 1960), pp. 16-17, 24-26; Milton, Age of Hate, 
pp. 136-37. 

7. New York World, Sept. 18, 1865. 

8. McPherson, Political Manual for 1866, pp. 50-51. 

9. "Gorham" to Johnson, June 3, 1865, Johnson MSS. 

10. Watterson to Johnson, June 20, 1865, ibid. 

11. Entry of April 9, 1868, transcript of Moore's diary, ibid. 

Chapter 8: Notes 12-35 

12. McPherson, Political Manual -for 1866, p. 51; see also report of 
Johnson's interview with colored clergymen, New York Herald, 
May 12, 1865. 

13. McPherson, Political Manual for 1866, p. 55. 

14. Mitchell to Johnson, Nov. 21, 1865, Johnson MSS; see also 
Mitchell to Seward, Sept. 14, 1865, and his printed pamphlet 
Brief on Emigration and Colonization and Report in Answer to a 
Resolution of the Senate (Washington, 1865), both in Seward 

15. Compare Howard K. Beale, The Critical Year: A Study of 
Andrew Johnson and Reconstruction (New York, 1930), pp. 

1 6. Report of interview, New York Herald, June 25, 1865. 

17. Welles to Sumner, June 30, 1865, Welles MSS, L.C. 

1 8. See above, Chapter 4, footnote 48. 

19. C. D. Warner to Welles, Sept. 20, 1865, including clipping from 
Hartford Times of Sept. 19, 1865; W. A. Croffut to Welles, 
Sept. 20, 1865; Welles to Croffut, Sept. 22, 1865; Welles to 
Warner, Sept. 22, 1865; Welles MSS, L.C. 

20. Interview of Oct. 3, 1865, McPherson, Political Manual for i866 y 
pp. 48-49. This appeared in the press of Oct. 23, 1865. 

21. New York Tribune^ Oct. 23, 1865; New York World, Oct. 24, 

22. Watterson to Johnson, June 27, 1865, Johnson MSS. 

23. Letters to Johnson from C. D. McLean, June 29, 1865, Watterson, 
July 8, 1865, J. E. Brown, July 24, 1865, J. B. Steedman, Aug. 15, 
1865, W. Conner, Sept. 13, 1865, also A. G. Mackey to C. Schurz, 
July 23, 1865, M. C. Johnson to M. Blair, Aug. 21, 1865, ibid. 

24. J. C Bradley to Johnson, Nov. 15* 1865, ibid. 

25. McPherson, Political Manual for 1866, p. 6. Note that Mississippi's 
rejection of the President's recommendation of limited Negro 
suffrage, discussed below, preceded the December message. 

26. Johnson to Sharkey, Aug. 15, 1865, Johnson MSS. 

27. Sharkey to Johnson, Aug. 20, 1865, ibid. 

28. Johnson to Sharkey, Aug. 21, 1865, ibid. 

29. Johnson to Sharkey, Aug. 25, 1865, ibid.; New York Herald, 
Aug. 26, 1865. 

30. Sharkey to Johnson, Aug. 28, 1865, Johnson MSS. 

31. Johnson to Sharkey, Nov. i, 1865, ibid. 

32. Humphreys to Johnson, Nov. 16, 1865, ibid. 

33. Johnson to Humphreys, Nov. 17, 1865, ibid. 

34. McPherson, Political Manual for 1866, pp. 20, 31. 

35. In early September, Johnson had been quoted as recommending 
Negro suffrage on the basis of literacy to a Louisianan with the 

264 Chapter 8: Notes 36-57 

argument that "there were not five hundred negroes in Louisiana 
that can stand this test, but it will be doing justice and will 
stop northern clamor." A month later, he was reported as telling 
an Alabaman that "political rights, such as suffrage, sitting on 
juries, &c are not expected to be conferred on them at this time." 
Springfield Republican, Sept. 9, 1865, Oct. 9, 1865; see also Oct. 
17, 1865. 

36. Campbell to Johnson, Nov. 16, 1865, Johnson MSS. 

37. W. B. Phillips to Johnson, Nov. 24, 1865, with clipping from 
Herald enclosed, ibid. 

38. McPherson, Political Manual for 2866, pp. 114-15. 

39. New York Times, Jan. 22, 1866. 

40. G. C. Smith to Johnson, Jan. 20, 1866, Johnson MSS. 

41. McPherson, Political Manual for 1866, pp. 51-52. 

42. Kendrick, Journal of the Joint Committee on 'Reconstruction^ 
pp. 41, 51, 199; Joseph B. James, The Framing of the Fourteenth 
Amendment (Urbana, 1956), pp. 37, 46, 60. 

43. R. P. L. Baber to Johnson, March 29, 1866, Johnson MSS. 

44. McPherson, Political Manual for 1866, pp. 52-55. 

45. R. R. French to Johnson, Feb. 8, 1866, Johnson MSS. 

46. P. Ripley to Marble, Feb. 8, 1866, Marble MSS. 

47. New York Times, Aug. 19, 1865; see also Aug. 18, 1865, Aug. 26, 

48. Ibid., Aug. 29, 1865. 

49. Ibid.) Sept. 14, 1865. 

50. Ibid., Sept. 21, 1865. 

51. Ibid., Oct. 3, 13, 15, 1865. 

52. Jackson Daily News, Nov. 14, 1865, clipping enclosed in R. S. 
Donaldson to J. W. Weber, Nov. 17, 1865, Johnson MSS; New 
York Times, Oct. 5, 8, n, 1865. After the President's telegrams 
of Nov. 17, 1865, one to elected Governor Humphreys and the 
other to Provisional Governor Sharkey, expressly mentioning 
Negro testimony, the Mississippi legislature did yield a circum- 
scribed right of testimony but only as part of a general act that 
included harsh and discriminating provisions against the Negro 
in respect to the ownership and leasing of lands and the enforce- 
ment of labor contracts. For the act, see McPherson, Political 
Manual for 1866, p. 31. 

53. Speech of Raymond reported in New York Times, Oct. 15, 

54. New York Times, Oct. 23, 1865. 

55. Ibid., Nov. 6, 1865. 

56. Ibid., Nov. 7, 1865, Nov. 8, 1865. 

57. New York Herald, Sept. 8, 1865. 

Chapter 8: Notes 58-70 265 

58. Italics added. New York World, Sept. 21, 1865, Oct. 21, 1865. 

59. Italics added. New York Herald, Oct. 12, 15, 31, 1865. 

60. Springfield Republican, Nov. 3, 1865; see also B. C. Truman to 
W. C. Browning (of the President's staff), Nov. 9, 1865, Johnson 

61. Springfield Republican, Nov. 15, 1865, Nov. 18, 1865. 

62. W. W. Boyce to F. P. Blair, Oct. 17, 1865, letters to Johnson 
from J. C. Bradley, Oct. 13, 1865, Nov. 15, 1865, A. H. Wilson, 
Oct. 25, 1865, H. Kennedy, Nov. 23, 1865, R. J. Powell, Nov. 26, 
1865, F. G. Clark, Dec. 4, 1865, and A. S. Wallace to W. H. 
Seward, Dec. 25, 1865, Johnson MSS; letters to Seward from 
M. G. Dobbins, Nov. n, 1865, B. J. Sanford, Nov. 23, 1865, P. 
Moller, n.d., red. Nov. 29, 1865, L J- Stiles, Dec. 9, 1865, T. Cott- 
man, Dec. n, 1865, A. Dockery to R. I. Powell [?] Nov. 13, 
1865, Seward to Dobbins, Nov. 21, 1865, Sewad to Cottmann, 
Dec. ii, 1865, Seward MSS; M. Howard to Welles, Nov. 13, 
1865, Dec. 2, 1865, Dec. 16, 1865, Welles MSS, L.C. 

63. W. W. Holden to Johnson, Oct. 17, 1865; Johnson to Holden, 
Oct. 18, 1865; R. J. Powell to Johnson, Nov. 26, 1865; Johnson 
to Holden, Nov. 27, 1865, (N.C.); James Johnson to Johnson, 
Oct. 27, 1865; Johnson to James Johnson, Oct. 28, 1865, (Ga.); 
O. P. Morton to Johnson, Oct. 31, 1865, Johnson to W. L. 
Sharkey, Nov. i t 1865, (Miss.); Johnson to B. J. Perry, Oct. 28, 
1865, Oct. 31, 1865, (S.C.); draft telegram with eleven signatures, 
to L. E. Parsons and B. Fitzpatrick, Sept. 19, 1865, (Ala.), John- 
son MSS. 

64. Seward to W. Marvin, Nov. 20, 1865, Seward MSS. 

65. George R. Bentley, History of the Freedmetfs Bureau (Phila- 
delphia, 1955). pp. 66-67. 

66. Swayne to O. CX Howard, Sept. 28, 1865, Oct. 2, 1865; Howard 
to Swayne, Oct. 19, 1865, Records of the Bureau of Refugees, 
Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, War Records Office, National 

67. Parsons to Johnson, Sept. 13, 1865, Johnson MSS. 

68. Parsons to Johnson, Sept. 23, 1865; see also Parsons to Johnson, 
Sept. 28, 1865, ibid. From Watterson, who was on hand lobbying 
with convention leaders, there came word that they were ready 
to do anything believed to be indispensable for restoration; 
Watterson made no mention of freedmen's rights. Watterson to 
Johnson, Sept. 26, 1865, ibid. 

69. Johnson to Parsons, Oct. 3, 1865, ibid. 

70. J. [?] P. Pryor to Johnson, Oct. 10, 1865, A. J. Fletcher to John- 
son, Nov. 20, 1865, ibid. 

2 66 Chapter 8: Notes 71-82 

71. Johnson to A. J. Fletcher, Dec. 9, 1865, ibid. 

72. Reported in New York Herald, Oct. 14, 1865. 

73. Copy of law of Jan. 25, 1866, with endorsement, C. B. Fisk to 
O. O. Howard; see also Fisk to Howard, Dec. 19, 1865, Freed- 
men's Bureau Records. 

74. Howard to W. W. Holden, O. O. Howard MSS, Bowdoin Col- 
lege Library; Howard to Assistant Commissioners, Sept. 6, 1865; 
Howard to C. B. Fisk, Sept. 9, 1865; Howard to B. J. Perry, Oct. 
21, 1865; W. Swayne to L. E. Parsons, July 29, 1865; Swayne to 
Howard, Aug. 4, 7, 14, 28, 1865, Sept. 29, 1865; W. L. Sharkey 
to S. Thomas, Sept. 18, 1865; Thomas to Howard, Sept. 21, 22, 
23, 29, 1865, Nov. 13, 1865; Thomas to T. J. Wood, Nov. 23, 
1865; F. H. Peirpoint to O. Brown, Oct. 7, 1865; Freedmen's 
Bureau Records. 

75. W. Swayne to Howard, Nov. 28, 1865; B. K. Johnston to E. 
Bamberger, with endorsement of R. S. Donaldson, Nov. 16, 1865; 
S. Thomas to Howard, Nov. 21, 1865, Dec. 13, 1865; F. D. 
Sewall report of inspection, April 5, 1866, ibid-, Bentiey, History 
of the Freedmetfs Bureau, pp. 67-68. 

76. New York Herald, Oct. 15, 1866. See also Governor O. O. 
Morton's message, in W. H. Schlater (of the President's staff) 
to Johnson, Nov. 12, 1865, Johnson MSS, and Lyman Trumbull 
as reported in New York Times, Dec. 20, 1865. 

77. McPherson, Political Manual for 2866, p. 23; for newspaper con- 
troversy over Seward's interpretation see New York World, Nov. 
1 8, 1865, New York Tribune, Nov. 17, 1865. 

78. Italics added. McPherson, Political Manual for 1866, p. 23. 

79. Ibid., pp. 21, 25; New York Times, Dec. 17, 1865. Compare 
Howard D. Hamilton, Legislative and Judicial History of the 
Thirteenth Amendment (Ph.D. dissertation, University of Illi- 
nois, 1950, University Microfilms, Ann Arbor, Michigan), pp. 


80. S. Thomas to O. O. Howard, Dec. 13, 1865, M. S. Hopkins to 
J. Johnson, Feb. 28, 1866, Freedmen's Bureau Records. 

81. New York World, Aug. 28, 1865; New York Herald, Aug. 20, 

82. Compare Washington correspondent, Springfield Republican, 
Nov. 1 8, 1865, and C. B. Fisk's report of presidential interview 
in ibid., Nov. 23, 1865, with New York World, Sept. 13, 1865, 
New York Herald, Sept. 14, 1865, Sept. 21, 1865, Nov. 19, 1865, 
report of President's letter to W. L. Sharkey in Springfield 
Republican, Oct. 18, 1865, and B. F. Perry to D. E. Sickles, Dec. 
7, 1865, Freedmen's Bureau Records. 

Chapter $: Notes 1-28 267 



1. Cox to Marble, Feb. 20, 1866, Marble MSS. 

2. Dawes to wife, Feb. 20, 1866, Henry L. Dawes MSS, Library of 

3. Ibid., Feb. 22, 1866. 

4. New York Herald, March 28, 1866. 

5. Columbia [Penna.] Democrat, clippings on Freedmens' Bureau 
veto, Scrapbook, Johnson MSS. 

6. J. C." to Marble, Dec. 2, 1865, Marble MSS. 

7. Seymour to Blair, Jan. 3, 1866, Blair MSS. 

8. See above, Chapter 4. 

9. Enclosed in M. Ryerson to Seward, Feb. 15, 1866, Seward MSS. 

10. Campbell to Johnson, Jan. 19, 1866, Johnson MSS. 

11. Campbell to D. L. Patterson, Jan. 22, 1866, ibid. 

12. Springfield Republican, Feb. 2, 1866. 

13. Chicago Tribune, Feb. 13, 1866; S. S. Cox to Marble, Feb. 20, 
1866, Marble MSS. 

14. Washington National Intelligencer, Feb. 15, 1866. 

15. New York World, Feb. 12, 1866, Jan. 25, 1866. 

16. Cochrane to Johnson, Feb. 4, 1866, Johnson MSS. 

17. Bates to Johnson, Feb. 10, 1866, ibid. 

1 8. J. H. Brinton to Johnson, enclosed in Brinton to T. B. Florence, 
Feb. 14, 1866, ibid. 

19. Cochrane to Johnson, Jan. 23, 1866, ibid. 

20. Ibid. 

21. Cochrane to Johnson, Feb. 4, 1866, Bennett to Johnson, Feb. i, 
1866, ibid. 

22. Letters to Johnson from Greeley, Jan. 28, 1866, Pendleton, Jan. 
28, 1866, Richmond, Jan. 31, 1866, Tilden, Feb. i, 1866, Schell, 
Feb. 2, 1866, ibid. 

23. New York Times, Feb. 6, 1866. 

24. B. Rush to Johnson, Jan. 20, 1866; Cochrane to Johnson, Jan. 
23, 1866; Memorial from Hamilton, Ohio, Jan. 23, 1866; W. 
Patton to Johnson, Jan. 30, 1866, Johnson MSS. 

25. P. Ripley to Marble, Feb. 8, 1866, Marble MSS. 

26. T. T. Davis to Johnson, Feb. 17, 1866, Johnson MSS; M. Ryerson 
to Seward, Feb. 15, 1866, Seward MSS. 

27. New York World, Jan. 29, 1866. 

28. New York Herald, Feb. 17, 1866. 

2 68 Chapter $: Notes 29-49 

29. W. Rives (of the President's staff) to J. G. Bennett, Jr., Feb. 19, 
1866, Johnson MSS. 

30. T. E. Bramlette to Johnson, Feb. 12, 1866; see also letters to 
Johnson from J. Hughes, Jan. 17, 1866, L. H. Rousseau, Jan. 17, 
1866, A. G. Hodges, Jan. 20, 1866, J. W. Graham, Feb. 6, 1866, 
C. O. Faxon, Feb. 17, 1866, and Johnson to Hughes, Jan. 19, 
1866, ibid. 

31. J. L. Helm to Johnson, Feb. 17, 1866; see also W. Dudley to M. 
Blair, Feb, 19, 1866, ibid. 

32. J. L. Helm to Johnson, Feb. 20, 1866, ibid. For an examination of 
charges against the Bureau and of the reasons for southern hostil- 
ity, see John and LaWanda Cox, "General O. O. Howard and 
the 'Misrepresented Bureau,' " Journal of Southern History, XIX 
(Nov., 1953), pp. 427-56. 

33. Columbus [Ga.] Sun, Feb. 9, 1866, quoting letter of Governor J. 
L. Orr of South Carolina to the President, Jan. 19, 1866. 

34. Columbia [S.C.] Phoenix, Feb. 25, 1866, with letter of Perry, 
Feb. 1 6, 1866. 

35. Columbus [Ga.] Sun, Jan. 10, 1866, Feb. i, 2, n, 1866, with 
quotations from Chicago Tribune, Cincinnati Gazette, Macon 
Telegram, and Philadelphia Ledger, respectively. 

36. P. Ripley to Marble, Feb. 8, 1866, Marble MSS. 

37. Cox, ''Andrew Johnson and His Ghost Writers," pp. 462-65. 

38. Andrew Johnson and Reconstruction, pp. 285-87. 

39. See above, Chapter 5, footnotes 55 and 56. 

40. See above, Chapter 2, footnotes 17 and 18. 

41. Diary of Gideon Welles, II, p. 435. 

42. Cox, "Andrew Johnson and His Ghost Writers." Three of the 
other four drafts for the veto were identified as those of Secretary 
Welles, Senator Doolitde, and Senator Cowan. 

43. McPherson, Political Manual for 1866, p. 71. 

44. Johnson's treatment of the civil rights-states' rights issue was 
evasive. See Cox, "Andrew Johnson and His Ghost Writers," 
pp. 466-67. 

45. After military defeat, Seward expected that in response to a 
judicious policy of mingled pressure and persuasion the rebel 
states would return to a genuine allegiance to the Union. Mr. 
Seward at Auburn in 1865, p. 7. 

46. New York Daily News, Feb. 23, 1866. 

47. Ibid. 

48. New York Herald, Feb. 23, 1866. 

49. Mass Meeting of the Citizens of New York Held at the Cooper 
Institute, February zzd, 1866, to Approve the Principles An- 

Chapter $: Notes 50-74 269 

nounced in the Message of Andrew Johnson, President of the 
United States (pamphlet, New York 1866), pp. 12-21. 

50. New York Tribune, Feb. 23, 1866. 

51. Compare New York Herald of Feb. 23, 1866, and Feb. 24, 1866. 

52. New York World, Feb. 23, 1866. 

53. Ibid., Feb. 24, 1866. 

54. Ibid., Feb. 26, 1866. 

55. Weed to Morgan, Feb. 26, 1866, Morgan MSS. 

56. Wakeman to Seward, Feb. 19, 1866, Seward MSS. 

57. Weed to Seward, Feb. 20, 1866, ibid. 

58. Mass Meeting at Cooper Institute, p. 3. An elaborately prepared 
copy of the call and the resolutions is also in the Johnson MSS 
under date of Feb. 28, 1866. 

59. Before the Meeting; or Behind the Scenes: A Political Extrava- 
ganza; Characters by Wm. H. Seward, Thurlow Weed, Richard 
Schell & Co. 

60. New York Tribune, Feb. 23, 1866. 

61. New York World, Feb. 23, 1866. 

62. New York Evening Post, Feb. 23, 1866. 

63. New York Herald, Feb. 24, 1866. 
64* New York Times, Feb. 24, 1866. 

65. The Diary of George Templeton Strong, IV: Post-Wear Years, 
1865-1875 (ed., Allan Nevins and M. H. Thomas, New York, 
1952), p. 70. 

66. Mass Meeting at Cooper Institute, pp. 7-12. 

67. Seward to Morgan, Feb. 23, 1866, Morgan MSS; Seward to 
F. W. Seward, Feb. 23, 1866, Seward to Johnson, Feb. 23, 1866, 
Johnson MSS. 

68. Dix to Johnson, March 2, 1866, Johnson MSS. 

69. Tilden to Blair, March 10, 1866, Blair MSS. 

70. See above, Chapter 6, footnotes 29, 33, 34, 47, 51, 75, 77, 78. 

71. Weed to Seward, March 21, 1866; see also Weed to Seward 
March 17, 1866, Seward MSS. 

72. These generalizations are based primarily upon the letters- 
received file of the Johnson MSS, Feb. 23, 1866 to March 26, 

73. Andrew to Blair, March 18, 1866, Johnson MSS. For a perceptive 
account of Andrew's position, see McKitrick, Andrew Johnson and 
Reconstruction, pp. 217-38. 

74. Barlow to Blair, April 9, 1866, quoting a recent letter from 
McClellan. General McClellan's one condition was that Johnson 
turn out Stanton. See also Barlow to Blair, July 16, 1866, 
Barlow MSS. 

2 jo Chapter $: Notes 75-^5? 

75. Seward to Johnson, Feb. 23, 1866; Weed to Johnson, Feb. 23, 
1866, Johnson MSS. 

76. M. Perry to Seward, Feb. 23, 1866, Seward MSS. 

77. New York Evening Post, reprinted in Philadelphia Evening Tele- 
graph, clippings on Freedmen's Bureau veto, Scrapbook, Johnson 

78. See Chapter 7, footnote 77. 

79. Washington Chronicle, Feb. 17, 1866. 

80. The principal source for the conclusions and quotations in this 
and the following paragraph is the extensive collection of news- 
paper clippings on the Freedmen's Bureau veto in the presi- 
dential Scrapbook, Johnson MSS. 

8 1. New York Herald, Feb. 26, 1866. 

82. New York World, March i, 1866. 

83. Springfield Republican, March i, 1866; see also Feb. 28, 1866. 

84. Morgan to Weed, March 8, 1866, Morgan MSS. 

85. Dawes to wife, March 16, 1866, Dawes MSS. 

86. Howard K. Beale reached the conclusion that the veto lost 
Johnson few friends. The Critical Year, p. 84. 

87. Phillips to Sumner, March 24, 1866, Charles Sumner MSS, 
Houghton Library of the Harvard College Library. 

88. Kendrick, Journal of the Joint Committee on Reconstruction, 
pp. 252-55; McKitrick, Andrew Johnson and Reconstruction, 
pp. 339-43; James, Framing of the Fourteenth Amendment, 
pp. 94-97. 

89. James, Framing of the Fourteenth Amendment, p. 96. On the 
desire for conciliation following the veto, see McKitrick, Andrew 
Johnson and Reconstruction, pp. 298-306. 



1. There was also some opposition to the Civil Rights Bill from 
Republican Conservative leaders. Senator Cowan urged a veto on 
the ground that otherwise "they" would be able to claim power 
to do anything, including granting the right of suffrage. Cowan to 
Johnson, March 23, 1866, Johnson MSS. Secretary Welles pre- 
pared a five-page argument against the bill; see Cox "Andrew 
Johnson and His Ghost Writers," pp. 474, 477. 

2. Morgan to Johnson, March 19, 1866, Johnson MSS. 

Chapter 10: Notes 3-29 271 

3. Blair to Johnson, March 18, 1866, Ibid. 

4. Beecher to Johnson, March 17, 1866, ibid. 

5. Cox to Johnson, March 22, 1866, ibid. 

6. Weed to Seward, March 25, 1866, ibid. 

7. The note is filed under date of March 27, 1866, ibid. 

8. See Cox, "Andrew Johnson and His Ghost Writers," pp. 474-77, 


9. Messages, Johnson MSS. 

10. The official message was a slightly edited composite of three 
working papers, Seward's, Henry Stanbery's, and Secretary 
Welles 7 . Cox, "Andrew Johnson and His Ghost Writers," pp. 473- 

77 \ 
n. This passage appeared in no one of the three drafts. 

12. In these points, the message followed Stanbery's draft. 

13. This passage appeared in no one of the three drafts. For the text 
of the official message, we have used McPherson, Political Manual 
for 1866, pp. 74-78. 

14. Morgan to I. Sherman, April 2, 1866, Morgan MSS. 

15. Morgan to H. H. Van Dyck, March 31, 1866, ibid. 

16. Morgan to Seward, March 26, 1866; see also his two notes of 
March 2, 1866, Seward MSS. 

17. Endorsement on Morgan to Seward, March 26, 1866, ibid. 

18. W. G. Moore (of the President's staff) to Seward, March 26, 

19. Diary of Gideon Welles, n, pp. 463-64. 

20. Morgan to R. Balcom, April 3, 1866; see also Morgan to Weed, 
April 4, 1866, Morgan MSS. 

21. Weed to Morgan, April 6, 1866, ibid. 

22. Morgan to Weed, April 8, 1866, Weed MSS. 

23. Morgan to J. Jay, May 16, 1866; see also Morgan to G. Dawson, 
May 19, 1866, Morgan to H. H. Van Dyck, May 19, 1866, 
Morgan MSS. 

24. Cong. Globe, 39 Cong., 2 sess., p. 1761 (April 4, 1866). 

25. New York Herald, March 17, 1866. 

26. Ibid., March 28, 1866. 

27. Dawes to wife, March 31, 1866, Dawes MSS. Dawes voted to 
override the veto. 

28. Some devoted advocates of civil rights for the freedmen, notably 
John Bingham, questioned the constitutional basis for the Civil 
Rights Act. Bingham voted against the bill for that reason, and is 
generally recognized as the father of the civil rights provisions of 
section one of the Fourteenth Amendment. 

29. See McKitrick, Andrew Johnson and Reconstruction, pp. 350-5^ 

272 Chapter i o: Notes 30-47 

30. Even after the vetoes, there was much sentiment for conciliation. 
Especially after the formulation of what was to become the 
Fourteenth Amendment, there was hope that Johnson might give 
the moderates an alternative to opposition. See Thomas Ewing, 
Jr., to his father, April 12, 1866, Ewing MSS; Diary of Gideon 
Welles, II, p. 527; New York Times, June 14, 1866, June 15, 1866. 

31. Cowan to Johnson, March 23, 1866, Johnson MSS. 

32. Cochrane to Johnson, Jan. 23, 1866. 

33. Baber to Johnson, March 29, 1866, Johnson MSS; Baber to 
Doolittle, Feb. 28, 1866, March 29, 1866, James R. Doolittle MSS, 
Historical Society of Wisconsin; Baber to Seward, March 30, 
1866, Johnson MSS. 

34. Houston to Johnson, April 5, 1866, Johnson MSS. 

35. W. A. Newell to Johnson, April 9, 1866, ibid. Evidence of 
popular support for civil rights legislation can be found in other 
private papers as well. For example, General O. O. Howard, head 
of the Freedmen's Bureau, received a letter from an associate who 
was at the time in New York City. It read: "You may be sure 
the veto of the Civil Rights Bill stirred up even the old con- 
servatives of this city. Mr. Raymond had letters from many, 
stopping the Times, whom he had not anticipated would turn 
against him. Will you get a new Bureau Bill. I hope so and think 
it can be done. There is no mistake as to the reaction among 
the people, and the President must yield." J. W. Alvord to 
Howard, April 17, 1866, Howard MSS. 

36. J. Warren to Seward, Feb. 24, 1866, Seward MSS. 

37. E. G. Cook to Seward, April 20, 1866, ibid. 

38. F, Vinton [?] to Morgan, April 7, 1866, Morgan MSS. 

39. S. Osgood to Morgan, April 18, 1866, ibid. 

40. O. D. Swan to Morgan, May 3, 1866, ibid. 

41. H. Day to Morgan, May 8, 1866, ibid. 

42. Springfield Republican, March 28, 1866. 

43. Ibid., April 4, 1866. 

44. Clipping, Scrapbook, Johnson MSS. 

45. Clipping, ibid. 

46. These generalizations are based primarily upon the extensive press 
clippings on the Civil Rights veto, ibid. 

47. Before the opening of Congress in December, 1865, Schuyler 
Colfax, Speaker of the House, made a speech which was widely 
regarded as a statement of majority Republican opinion. He 
abjured any inflexibility of policy, spoke warmly of what the 
President had already accomplished in securing commitments 
from the southern states, but made clear that some additional 
assurances were considered necessary. The first of these, and 

Chapter 10: Notes 48-58 273 

indeed the only one that was substantive, was that "the Declara- 
tion of Independence be recognized as the law of the land" by 
the protection of the freedmen in their rights of person and 
property including the right to testify. He made no mention of 
suffrage for the Negro nor of any punitive action against the 
South. For text of speech, see New York Times, Nov. 19, 1865. 

48. Clipping from a Buffalo paper, March 29, 1866, Scrapbook, 
Johnson MSS. 

49. Chicago Evening Journal, March 28, 1866, ibid. 

50. See Stanley Coben, "Northeastern Business and Radical Recon- 
struction: A Re-examination," Mississippi Valley Historical Re- 
view, XL VI (June, 1959), pp. 67-90; Robert P. Sharkey, Money, 
Class and Party: An Economic Study of Civil War and Recon- 
struction (Baltimore, 1959); Irwin Unger, "Business Men and 
Specie Resumption," Political Science Quarterly, LXXIV (March, 
I959) pp- 46-70. Howard K. Beale's study made much of eco- 
nomic issues, but his findings showed that they had not been 
central to the political campaign of 1866. Johnson's failure to 
make them such, Beale considered "a fatal error in political judg- 
ment." The Critical Year, p. 299. 

51. Letters in the Johnson MSS indicate this support, see those of 
August Belmont, March 24, 1866, A. J. Drexel, May 3, 1866, 
Alexander T. Stewart, June 18, 1866; also reports of business 
support in the letters of W. G. Smith, March 2, 1866 (Buffalo), 
J. B. Hussey, March 3, 1866 (New York), W. J. Hilton, March 7, 
1866 (Albany), R. B. Carnahan, March 16, 1866 (Pittsburgh), 
G. W. Morgan, July 14, 1866 (Ohio), D. S. Seymour, Nov. 8, 
1866 (Troy). 

52. In the Tilden MSS there are printed letters outlining the arrange- 
ments, including a seating chart for the dinner, and itemizing the 
expenses with assessments. Tilden's share of the cost was $145.38. 
Smythe, Johnson's appointee as Collector of the Port, feared die 
plans for Johnson's New York visit would give the impression 
that "a few are to get hold of you" and advised the President to 
stop at the Fifth Avenue Hotel, rather than Delmonico's to "give 
'the people' " a better opportunity to see him. Smythe to Johnson, 
Aug. 25, 1866, Johnson MSS. 

53. New York Times, Sept. 2, 1866. 

54. Wilson to Johnson, March 3, 1866, Johnson MSS. 

55. McEatrick, Andrew Johnson and Reconstruction, p. 19, footnote 2. 

56. The roll call came on a motion to table the resolution. McPherson, 
Political Manual for 1866, pp. 1 10-1 1 1. 

57. Ibid., p. 109. 

58. Ibid., p. 113; compare the vote p. 81. 

274 Chapter 10: Notes 

59. On the meaning of "Radical," compare McKitrick, Andrew John- 
son and Reconstruction, pp. 53-67. The Chicago Tribune, the 
leading Radical newspaper, had some revealing comments. Before 
the Republican convention of 1860, it identified the "more radical" 
wing of the party as a body of men "somewhat in advance of the 
party's creed," zealous, honest and possibly impractical, who 
recognized that they had no power to interfere with slavery in 
the states but still hoped "that the election of a Republican 
President will in some way tend to the crippling of the institution 
they hate." In 1866, the Tribune defined as the vestige of slavery 
"all discrimination against freedmen." Until these be removed, it 
held that the South would not be at peace with itself or with the 
North. Chicago Tribune y Feb. 6, 1860, Feb. 16, 1860, and clipping 
on Freedmen J s Bureau veto, Scrapbook, Johnson MSS. 

60. See the quotations cited above, footnotes 5, 6, 32, 43. 

61. Kendrick, Journal of the Joint Committee on Reconstruction, 
pp. 251-52. 

62. T. Barry to Grider, March 8, 1866, Johnson MSS. 

63. State and Union, April 5, 1866, Scrapbook, ibid. 

64. Constitutional Union, March 28, 1866, ibid. 

65. Clipping on Civil Rights veto, ibid. 

66. Boylestown Democrat, Feb. 27, 1866, ibid* 

67. Wayne County [Ohio] Democrat, ibid. 

68. See above, Chapter 8. 

69. Portland Press, Scrapbook, Johnson MSS. 

70. For the texts of the messages we have used McPherson, Political 
Manual for 1866. 

71. See above, Chapter 3, footnotes 29, 30, 31; Chapter 5, footnotes 
1 8, 21, 22, 25; Chapter 10, footnote 3. 

72. Diary of Gideon Welles, II, p. 369. 

73. Ibid., p. 374. 

74. Springfield Republican, Sept. 30, 1865. 

75. Diary of Gideon Welles, II, p. 431. 

76. Ibid., p. 394. 

77. James L. Sellers, "James R. Doolittle," Wisconsin Magazine of 
History, XVII (Dec., 1933), 176; (March, 1934), pp. 287-88, 293, 

78. Doolittle to Johnson, Sept. 9, 1865, Johnson MSS. 

79. J. C. G. Kennedy to Doolittle, March 9, 1866; notes for speech, 
March or April 1866, Doolittle MSS. 

80. Doolittle to wife, Mary, Nov. 1 1, 1866, ibid. 

81. Sellers, "James R. Doolittle," Wisconsin Magazine of History 
XVIII (Sept, 1934), pp. 26-27. 

Chapter 10: Notes 82-100 275 

82. Messages, Johnson MSS. See Cox, "Andrew Johnson and His 
Ghost Writers," p. 463. 

83. Cowan to Johnson, March 23, 1866, Johnson MSS. 

84. McPherson, Political Manual for 1866, p. 80. 

85. Quoted in B. J. Pershing, "Senator Edgar A. Cowan, 1861-1867," 
Western Pennsylvania Historical Magazine, IV (Oct., 1921), 
pp. 229-30. 

86. Ibid. 

87. Speech of Hon. Edgar Cowan of Pennsylvania on Executive 
Appointments and Removals, Delivered in the Senate of the 
United States,, May p, 1866 (pamphlet, Washington, 1866), p. 13. 

88. Dixon to Johnson, Oct. 8, 1865, Johnson MSS. 

89. Mark Howard, Despotic Doctrines Declared by the United 
States Senate Exposed; and Senator Dixon Unmasked (pamphlet, 
Hartford, 1863), p. 8. 

90. From the Toledo Commercial y in Ellen Ewing Sherman, comp., 
Memorial of Thomas Ewing of Ohio (New York, 1873), p. 123. 

91. Ewing MSS. 

92. Speech in reply to a toast, published in An Appeal to the Seriate 
to Modify its Policy and Save from Africanization and Military 
Despotism the States of the South, printed by order of the 
National Democratic Resident Committee (pamphlet, Washing- 
ton, 1868). 

93. Messages, Johnson MSS. See Cox, "Andrew Johnson and His 
Ghost Writers," pp. 475, 477-79, 

94. Diary of Gideon Welles, IE, p. 4. 

95. Charles Warren, The Supreme Court in United States History 
(rev. ed., 3 vols., Boston, 1937), n, p. 603. 

96. J. G. Randall and David Donald, The Civil War and Reconstruc- 
tion (Boston, 1961), p. 24. Maurice G. Baxter, Qruille H. Broom- 
ing: Lincoln** Friend and Critic (Bloomington, Indiana, 1957), 
pp. 19-20, 67-69. 

97. For Browning's wartime position, see Baxter, Orville H. Broiim- 
ing, pp. 119-20, 141-43, 148. 

98. National Union Club Documents, Speeches of Hon. Edgar Cowan^ 
Hon. Jos, R. Doolittle, Hon. Hugh McCulloch, Letter of Hon. 
O. H. Browning and an Address by a Member of the Club; also 
the Condition of the South: A Report of Special Commissioner 
B. F. Truman (pamphlet, Washington, 1866), pp. 21-22; Diary 
of Gideon Welles, n, pp. 534, 638. 

99. Baxter, Orville H. Brotoning^pp. 228, 245-56. 

100. Joseph Schafer, "Alexander W. Randall," Dictionary of Ameri- 
can Biography, XV, pp. 344-45- 

2j6 Chapter 10: Notes 101-116 

10 1. Ibid.; H. A. Tenney and David Atwood, Memorial Record of 
the Fathers of Wisconsin (Madison, 1880), pp. 134-35. 

102. Clark S. Matteson, The History of Wisconsin (Milwaukee, 
1892), p. 303. 

103. Diary of Gideon Welles., II, pp. 534, 608-09, 617-18, 628, III, 
pp. 64, 83. 

104. Hugh McCulloch, Men and Measures of Half a Century: 
Sketches and Comment (New York, 1889), p. 518. 

105. Mobile Times ) Oct. 24, 1865, reprinted in New York Herald, 
Nov. 2, 1865. 

106. Diary of Gideon Welles, III, p. 4. 

107. Ibid., II, p. 394. 

1 08. McCulloch, Men and Measures, p. 381; Diary of Gideon Welles, 
II, pp. 531, 534. 

109. McCulloch, Men and Measures, pp. 515-18. 

no. Campbell to Johnson, Aug. 21, 1865, Johnson MSS. 
in. Campbell to Johnson, Jan. 22, 1866, ibid. 

112. Campbell to Johnson, May i, 1866, ibid. 

113. The possible importance of the death of his wife was suggested 
to us by Professor Glyndon G. Van Deusen, who has a very 
special knowledge of the Seward MSS. 

114. See above, Chapter 2, footnote 28. 

115. Diary of Gideon Welles, III, p. 4. 

116. Ibid., II, pp. 534-35, 608-10. In the Seward MSS are two docu- 
ments, one of which suggests that between the overriding of 
the Civil Rights veto and the call for the Philadelphia Conven- 
tion, Seward was trying to obtain a reasonable compromise on 
an amendment; the other indicates an unyielding position on the 
part of the President during the same period. The first is a 
copy of House Bill #543, for restoring the states lately in in- 
surrection, submitted by Stevens for the Committee on Recon- 
struction April 30, 1866. In his own hand, Seward made changes 
and additions that would have softened the proposal but left 
intact the provisions for protecting civil rights. The second is a 
copy dated May 28, 1866, of the constitutional amendment 
suggested the previous January by the President that provided 
only for representation according to voters and direct taxation 
based on the value of property. On its reverse side is noted the 

"No amendment to the Constitution, or laws passed by Con- 
gress, as conditions precedent to the admission by Congress of 
loyal Representatives. 

"Representation from the several States should be left where 
the Constitution now places it. 

Chapter w: Notes 117-122 277 

"No committals to any plan or proposition which may be 
made, while incomplete, and before thorough consideration by 
the President." Note particularly the first statement. It is in 
marked contrast to Seward's proposal on the April bill that when 
any state should ratify the amendment, its senators and repre- 
sentatives would be admitted (after taking the required oaths of 

117. Messages, Johnson MSS. See Cox, "Andrew Johnson and His 
Ghost Writers," p. 461. 

1 1 8. Beale, The Critical Year, pp. 400-02. 

1 19. Welles says that Seward's endorsement of the message in cabinet 
meeting was "formal not from the heart, but yet not against it. 1 * 
Diary of Gideon Welles, II, p. 628. 

120. Letters of criticism from old friends, some written in anger, 
more in sorrow, are preserved in the Seward MSS. See letters 
to Seward from J. Warren, Feb. 24, 1866, C. C. Royce, March 
10, 1866, I. A. Gates, April 16, 1866, July 17, 1866, E. G. Cook, 
April 20, 1866, A. Conk] ing, May 4, 1866, L. M. Bond, May 24, 
1866, R. Balcom, July 13, 1866, W. G. Bacon, July 16, 1866, 
D. C. Gamble, July 18, 1866, G. Hall, July 19, 1866, 
S. M. Hopkins, July 22, 1866, J. Henderson, July 27, 1866, 
C. L. Wood, July 29, 1866, and G. Dawson to F. W. Seward, 
July 14, 1866, July 18, 1866, Seward to Ryerson, April 30, 1866, 
Seward to Conkling, May 7, 1866, Seward to Balcom, July 14, 
1866, Seward to Hopkins, July 25, 1866. The coldness of life- 
long friends broke Weed. Sarah Pellet to Seward, March 6, 1869, 
Seward MSS. 

121. A. F. Kinnaird to Weed, Dec. 30, 1865, Weed MSS. 

122. Unidentified member of the House of Representatives, quoted 
in C. L. Wood to Seward, July 29, 1866, Seward MSS. For 
Seward's public position in May, see his Corning Hall, Auburn, 
speech, draft, and printed copy, ibid. 

The failure of the Philadelphia Convention to organize a 
third party did not indicate that this goal was abandoned. One 
reason for postponement was the desire to win support from 
Republican ranks, which was essential to victory and also to the 
creation of a new party that would be more than a rejuvenation 
of the Democratic party under another label. Republicans were 
saying that no idea could be "more crazy than that of getting 
up a new Union party. There was nothing to be furnished from 
the Republican side but leaders, and the Democrats are not such 

d -d fools as to supply all the rank and file" without demanding 

leadership also. Unidentified member of the House of Repre- 
sentatives, quoted in C. L. Wood to Seward, July 29, 1866, ibid. 

2jS Chapter 10: Notes 123-133 

Raymond's curiously contradictory account of his interview 
with Johnson prior to the Philadelphia Convention is of interest 
in this connection. While Raymond opposed a third party and 
the President agreed that the convention should not attempt to 
organize one, Raymond yet reported his impression that the 
President was eager to gain a foothold in the South and to lay 
the foundation for a "National" party that would absorb the 
Democratic party of the North and West and all of the Union 
party except the Radicals. Raymond commented that this seemed 
to him a desirable object! "Extracts from the Journal of Henry 
J. Raymond (edited by his son), Fourth Paper: The Philadelphia 
Convention of 1866," Scribner's Monthly, XX (June, 1880), 
pp. 276-77; see also John A. Krout, "Henry J. Raymond on the 
Republican Caucuses of July, 1866," American Historical Review, 
XXXIII (July, 1928), p. 839. 

123. This fact is clearly evident from the correspondence in the 
Barlow MSS, 

124. Even so restrained a man as John Sherman wrote in early July, 
1866: "I almost fear he [Johnson] contemplates civil war." 
J. Sherman to W. T. Sherman, July 8, 1866, The Sherman 
Letters, Correspondence Between General and Senator Sherman 
from 1 837-1892 (Rachel Sherman Thorndike, ed., New York, 
1 894), p. 276. 

125. Italics added. Draft, Seward to Seymour, Oct. 14, 1868, Seward 

126. See above. Chapter 4, footnote 49, and Chapter 8, footnotes 47 
through 56. 

127. New York Times, March 26, 1866. 

128. See above, footnotes 22 and 23. 

129. New York Times, July 30, 1866, June 15, 1866, and McKitrick 
Andrew Johnson and Reconstruction, p. 358. 

130. Raymond's letter to the committee requesting him to run again 
for Congress, Sept. 15, 1866, in Augustus Maverick, Henry 
/. Raymond and the New York Press Hartford, 1870), pp. 175- 
84. See also Raymond's address of February, 1866, at Cooper 
Institute, in ibid., pp. 175-84. 

131. Diary of Gideon Welles, II, pp. 534, 618; III, p. 251. 

132. "Extracts from the Journal of Henry J. Raymond: The Phila- 
delphia Convention," pp. 278-79; McKitrick, Andrew Johnson 
and Reconstruction, p. 411. 

133. Edward McPherson, Handbook of Politics for iS68 (Washing- 
ton, 1869), p. 241. Raymond drafted the resolutions after hearing 
those proposed by William B. Reed of Pennsylvania, Governor 
Sharkey of Mississippi, and Senator Cowan, all of which he 

Chapter 10: Notes 134-140 279 

considered too prosouthern. "Extracts from the Journal of Henry 
J. Raymond: The Philadelphia Convention/' p. 278. 
:34. Maverick, Henry J. Raymond, p. 189. See also Raymond's ad- 
dress to the convention in The Proceedings of the National 
Union Convention Held at Philadelphia, August 14, 2866 
(pamphlet, n.p., n.d.), pp. 12-13. 

135. Raymond to R. Balcom, July 17, 1866, in Maverick, Henry 
J. Raymond, pp. 173-74. 

136. New York Times > Oct. n, 1866, Nov. 12, 1866. 

137. J. Sherman to W. T. Sherman, May 16, 1865, April 23, 1866, 
The Sherman Letters, pp. 251, 270; see also John Sherman, 
Recollections of Forty Years in the House y Senate and Cabinet: 
an Autobiography (2 vols., Chicago, 1895), ^ PP- 3^4? 366-67* 

138. J. Sherman to W. T, Sherman, Oct. 26, 1866, The Sherman 
Letters, p. 278. 

139. Diary of Gideon Welles, II, p. 448. For TrumbulTs repudiation of 
the President after the Civil Rights veto, see above, footnote 24. 

For Grimes, see William Salter, The Life of James W. Grimes, 
Governor of Iowa, 1854-1858 and Senator of the United States, 
i8$9-i869 (New York, 1876), pp. 75, 392; F. I. Herriott, "James 
W. Grimes versus the Southrons," Annals of Iowa, XV (July, 
1926), pp. 325-27; Fred B. Lewellen, "Political Ideas of James 
W. Grimes," Iowa Journal of History and Politics, XLH (Oct., 
1944), pp. 383-95. 

For Fessenden, see Francis Fessenden, Life and Public Services 
of William Pitt Fessenden (2 vols., Boston and New York, 1907), 
I, pp. 283-87, II, pp. 29^32, 34-35* 65-66, 3H-I5; and William A. 
Robinson, "William Pitt Fessenden," Dictionary of American 
Biography, VI, pp. 34&~5- 

For Trumbull, see Horace White, The Life of Lyman 
Trumbull (Boston, 1913), p. 277; also Arthur H. Robertson, 
The Political Career of Lyman Trumbull (M. A. Thesis, Uni- 
versity of Chicago, 1910), pp. 37~39> 5 6 , 59> 75- Robertson's study 
indicates that Trumbull's prewar view of the race problem in- 
cluded colonization and the conviction that Negroes could not 
be placed upon an equal social or political position with whites. 
However, by the winter of 1865-66, there can be no doubt of 
Trumbull's deep sense of national responsibility for the freedmen 
nor of his sincerity in fighting to secure for them equal rights, 
short of suffrage and officeholding. 

140. George H. Porter, Ohio Politics During the Civil War Period 
(New York, 1911), pp. 210-13; Homer C. Hockett, "Jacob 
Dolson Cox," Dictionary of American Biography, IV, pp. 476- 

280 Chapter 10: Notes 141-158 

78; Jacob Dolson Cox, Military Reminiscences of the Civil War 
(2 vols., New York, 1900), I, pp. 157-63; James Rees Ewing, 
Public Services of Jacob Dolson Cox (Ph.D. dissertation, Johns 
Hopkins University, 1902), pp. 8, 14-15; William C. Cochran, 
General Jacob Dolson Cox: Early Life and Military Services 
(pamphlet, Oberlin, Ohio, 1901), pp. 10-13. 

141. Cox to Johnson, March 22, 1866, Johnson MSS. 

142. Cox to Johnson, June 21, 1866, ibid. 

143. Ewing, Public Services of Jacob Dolson Cox, p. 15. 

144. Printed in William Dudley Foulke, Life of Oliver P. Morton 
(2 vols., Indianapolis, 1899), I, p. 449. 

145. Ibid., pp. 434, 455; James, Framing of the Fourteenth Amend- 
ment } pp. 29, 200. See also Governor Morton's message of 
November, 1865, in W. H. Schlater (of the President's staff) 
to Johnson, Nov. 12, 1865, Johnson MSS. 

146. Foulke, Life of Oliver P. Morton, I r pp. 466-67; McKitrick, 
Andrew Johnson and Reconstruction, pp. 309-10. 

147. Compare Beale, The Critical Year, pp. 106-107, 121-22, 178, 180, 

148. See above, footnotes 4-9, 20-23, 2 7> 3 X ~49- 

149. McPherson, Handbook of Politics for 1868, p. 102. 

150. Compare McKitrick, Andrew Johnson and Reconstruction, p. 443. 

151. New York Herald, Sept. 19, 1866. 

152. Cox to Marble, Oct. 9, 1866, Marble MSS. See also Barlow to 
R. Taylor, Oct. 26, 1866, Barlow MSS. 

153. Barlow to R. Johnson, Oct. 24, 1866, Barlow MSS. 

154. Barlow to T. J. Barnett, Sept. 27, i866 t ibid. 

155. Browning to W. H. Benneson and H. V. Sullivan, Oct. 13, 1866, 
printed in New York Times, Oct. 24, 1866. See also the earlier 
public statement of Democratic and Conservative members of 
Congress to the effect that the "dignity and equality of the 
States" must be preserved, including "the exclusive right of each 
State to control its own domestic concerns"; published in the 
New York Herald, July 4, 1866. 

156. Professor Beale erroneously assumed that Seward's unidentified 
draft message had been prepared by Johnson and had reflected 
his views. The Critical Year, pp. 400-403. 

157. Doolitde to Browning, Nov. 8, 1866, Doolitde MSS; see also 
James, Framing of the Fourteenth Amendment, p. 178, and 
McKitrick, Andrew Johnson and Reconstruction, pp. 464-65, 
especially footnote 38. 

158. Weed to Seward, Nov. 24, 1866, Seward MSS. By the end of 
February, Weed was apprehensive of congressional reconstruction 

Chapter w: Notes 159-169 281 

proposals and uncertain of the best presidential tactics; Weed to 
Seward, Feb. 21, 1867, ibid* 

159. P. W. Hartley to Johnson, Nov. 9, 1866, Johnson MSS. 

160. S. Smith to Johnson, Nov. 10, 1866, ibid. 

161. T. S. Seybolt to Johnson, Nov. 8, 1866, F. A. Aiken to Johnson, 
Nov. 26, 1866, ibid. 

162. New York Times, Oct. 31, 1866, Nov. 3, 9, 12, 17, 19, 1866, 
Dec. 4, 27,31, 1866. 

163. Diary of Gideon Welles, III, p. 78. 

164. Ibid.y p. 232. 

165. New York Times, Nov. 14, 1867; McKitrick, Andrew Johnson 
and Reconstruction., p. 498. 

166. See above, Chapter 5, pp. 95-106. 

167. Of the 65 votes which Johnson obtained on the first ballot for 
the presidential nomination of the Democratic party in 1868, all 
but four were from southern delegates. Charles H. Coleman, 
The Election of iS6S: The Democratic Effort to Regain Control 
(New York, 1933), pp. 164, 208. 

168. J, Sherman to W. T. Sherman, July 8, 1866, The Sherman 
Letters, p. 276. For TrumbulTs reaction see Cong. Globe, 39 
Cong., i sess., p. 1761 (April 4, 1866); and C. H. Ray to M. Blair, 
April 10, 1866, enclosure in Blair to Johnson, April 15, 1866, 
Johnson MSS. A digest and explanation of the bill, unsigned, but 
in TrumbulTs handwriting, is in the Johnson MSS; see Cox, 
"Andrew Johnson and His Ghost Writers," p. 473. 

169. Fessenden to Morgan, June 26, 1867, Morgan MSS. The distrust, 
of course, involved party as well as principle. By mid- 1866, it 
was widely believed that Johnson intended to bring the Democ- 
racy back into national power and ascendancy, and that he had 
deliberately sought to wreck the party that had elected him. 



and for them there are available to the scholar a number of useful 
guides. Hence we have decided against the inclusion of a com- 
prehensive bibliography. Footnote citations indicate most of the 
sources we have used. We thought, however, that the reader 
might find useful a selected bibliography of materials published 
since January, 1953, which are both significant and pertinent to 
this study. 


Easier, Roy P. and others, eds. Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln. 

9 vols. New Brunswick, N.J., 1953-55- 
Baxter, Maurice G. Onnlle H. Browning: UmcoMs friend mid 

Critic. Bloomington, Indiana, 1957. 
Beale, Howard K., ed. Diary of Gideon Welles. 3 vols. New York, 

Bentley, George R. History of the Freedmen's Bureau. Philadelphia, 


Bickel, Alexander M. "The Original Understanding and the Segre- 
gation Decision," Harvard Law Review, LXEX (Nov., 1955), pp. 


Briefs for Appellants and for the United States on Reargument, 
Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, in the Supreme Court 
of the United States, October Term, 1953. 

Brodie, Fawn M. Thaddeus Stevens: Scourge of the South. New 
York, 1959. 

Brown, Ira V, "Pennsylvania and the Rights of the Negro, 1865-1887," 
Pennsylvania History, XXVIII (Jan., 1961), pp. 45-57. 

Brown, Ira V. "William D. Kelley and Radical Reconstruction," 
Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, LXXXV 
(July, 1961), pp. 316-29. 

Coben, Stanley. "Northeastern Business and Radical Reconstruction: 
A Re-examination," Mississippi Valley Historical Review, XL VI 
(June, 1959), pp. 67-90. 

Cox, John H. and La Wanda. "Andrew Johnson and His Ghost Writ- 
ers: An Analysis of the Freedmen's Bureau and Civil Rights Veto 
Messages," Mississippi Valley Historical Review, XL VIII (Dec., 
1961), pp. 460-79. 

Cox, John H. and LaWanda. "General O. O. Howard and the 'Mis- 
represented Bureau,* " Journal of Southern History, XIX (Nov., 
1953), pp. 427-56. 

Cox, LaWanda. "The Promise of Land for the Freedmen," Mississippi 
Valley Historical Review, XLV (Dec., 1958), pp. 413-40. 

Donald, David, ed. Inside Lincoln's Cabinet: The Civil War Diaries of 
Salmon P. Chase. New York, 1954. 

Donald, David. Lincoln Reconsidered. New York, 1956. 

Fishel, Leslie H., Jr. "Northern Prejudice and Negro Suffrage, 1865- 
1870," Journal of Negro History, XXXIX (Jan., 1954), pp. 8-26. 
, Franklin, John Hope. Reconstruction After the Civil War. Chicago, 

Graf, Le Roy P. "Andrew Johnson and the Coming of the War," 
Tennessee Historical Quarterly, XIX (Sept., 1960), pp. 208-21. 

Hays, Willard. "Andrew Johnson's Reputation," East Tennessee His- 
torical Society, Publications^ No. 31 (1959), pp. 1-31, No. 32 
(1960), pp. 18-50. 

Henry, J. Milton. "The Revolution in Tennessee, February, 1861, to 
June, 1861," Tennessee Historical Quarterly, XVIII (June, 1959), 
pp. 99-119. 

James, Joseph B. The Framing of the Fourteenth Amendment. Ur- 
bana, 111., 1956. 

James, Joseph B. "Southern Reaction to the Proposal of the Four- 
teenth Amendment," Journal of Southern History, XXII (Nov., 

i95<0i PP- 477-97- 

Jellison, Charles A. Fessenden of Maine: Civil War Senator. Bing- 
hamton, N.Y., 1962. 

Bibliography 285 

Johnson, Andrew. Presidential Papers. Microfilm, 55 reels. Library of 

Congress, Photoduplication Service, Washington, D.C., 1961. 
Kelly, Alfred H. "The Fourteenth Amendment Reconsidered: The 

Segregation Question," Michigan Law Review, LIV (June, 1956), 

pp. 1049-86. 
Korngold, Ralph. Thaddeus Stevens: A Being Darkly Wise and 

Rudely Great. New York, 1955. 
Krug, Mark M. "On Rewriting the Story of Reconstruction in the 

United States History Textbooks," Journal of Negro History, 

XL VI (July, 1961), pp. 133-53- 
Lomask, Milton. Andrew Johnson: President on Trial. New York, 


McKitrick, Eric. Andrew Johnson and Reconstruction. Chicago, 1960. 
Montgomery, David. "Radical Republicanism in Pennsylvania, 1866- 

1873," Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, 

LXXXV (Oct., 1961), pp. 439-57. 
Randall, J. G. and Richard N. Current* Lincoln the President: Last 

Full Measure. New York, 1955. 
Randall, J. G. and David Donald. The Civil War and Reconstruction. 

Boston, 1961. 
Rawley, James A. "Senator Morgan and Reconstruction," New York 

History, XXXIV (Jan., 1953), pp. 27-53. 
Riddleberger, Patrick W. "The Break in the Radical Ranks: Liberals 

vs. Stalwarts in the Election of 1872," Journal of Negro History, 

XLIV (April, 1959), pp. 136-57- 
Riddleberger, Patrick W. "The Making of a Political Abolitionist: 

George W. Julian and the Free Sobers, 1848," Indiana Magazine 

of History, LI (Sept., 1955), pp. 221-36. 
Riddleberger, Patrick W. "The Radicals' Abandonment of the Negro 

during Reconstruction," Journal of Negro History, XLV (April, 

1960), pp. 88-102. 
Scroggs, Jack B. "Southern Reconstruction: A Radical View," Journal 

of Southern History, XXIV (Nov., 1958), pp. 407-29. 
Sharkey, Robert P. Money, Class and Party: An Economic Study of 

Civil War and Reconstruction. Baltimore, 1959. 
Shortreed, Margaret. "The Anti-Slavery Radicals, 1840-1868," Past 

and Present, No. 16 (Nov., 1959), pp. 65-87. 
Sproat, John G. "Blueprint for Radical Reconstruction," Journal of 

Southern History y XXffl (Feb., 1957), pp. 25-44. 
Thomas, Benjamin P. and Harold M. Hyman. Stanton: The Life and 

Times of Lincoln's Secretary of War. New York, 1962. 
Trefousse, Hans L. "Ben Wade and the Negro," Ohio Historical 

Quarterly, LXVffl (April, 1959), pp. 161-72. 


Unger Irwin. "Business Men and Specie Resumption," Political 
Science Quarterly, LXXIV (March, 1959), pp. 46-70- 

Weisberger, Bernard A. "The Dark and Bloody Ground of Recon- 
struction Historiography," Journal of Southern History, XXV 

(Nov I<KQ)I PP* 4 2 7"~47* 
Woodward C Vam. "Equality: America's Deferred Commitment, 

American Scholar, XXVII (Autumn, 1958), pp. 459-7*- 
Zoellner, Robert H. "Negro Colonization: The Climate of Opunon 

Surrounding Lincoln, 186^1865," Mid-America, XLII (July, 

1960)1 pp- W-S - 


Abolitionists, 3, 21, 41, 63, 64, 151, 
2ii, 214, 215, 218, 220 

see also Radicals 
Alabama, 26572 
Albany Argus, 52, 65 
Albany Regency, the, 33, 91 

see also Richmond, Dean 
Andrew, John A., 190, 226 
Ashley, James M., 2, 22-3 

Babcock, James F., 149 

Baber, R. P. L., 204 

Bailey, J. F., 118-19, 24072, 25672 

Bancroft, George, 50, 51, 131 

Barlow, Francis C, 73-4 

Barlow, S. L. M. ("Alphabet"), 
19, 20, 44, 50, 54, 56-62, 64-5, 
67, 68, 85-6, 105, ii2, 114-17 
passim, 119, 120, 123, 124, 126, 
127, 130, 147, 187, 229, 24072 
see also New York World 

Bates, Edward, 175 

Baylor, Charles G., 24322 

Beale, Howard K., 27372, 28022 

Beecher, Henry Ward, 193, 196, 
203, 226 

Belmont, August, 20 

Bennett, Sr., James Gordon, 14, 

26, 29, 36, 41, 114, 126, 187, 

and Johnson, 88-95 passim, 

1757, 2I 3~ I 4> 25272 
see also New York Herald 
Bennett, Jr., James Gordon, 90, 

Berret, James G., 12-13, ^ *7* 

18, 26, 23672, 23772 
Bilbo, William N., 6-29 passim, 

38, 40 

Bingham, John A., 224, 226, 27172 
Black Codes, 151, 164, 26472 
Black, Jeremiah, 63, 139 
Blair family, 50-67 passim, 87, 91, 

213-14, 222 ^ 

Blair, Sr., Francis P., 235 56, 190 

Blair, Jr., Francis P., 56 

Blair, Montgomery, 26-7, 34, 53- 
4, 55-8, 60, 61, 64, 66-7, 68, 
73, 77, 82, 83-4, 86, 113, 114, 
116, 117, 120, 121, 123, 124, 
125, 174, 189, 195-6, 24072, 

Blatchford, R, M., 122 

Bowles, Samuel, 142, 192-3, 210, 

see also Springfield Republican 




Brooklyn Daily Union, 151-2 
Browning, Orville H., 218, 219, 

224, 229, 230 

Bryant, William C., 33, 187, 14272 
Buchanan administration, n 

Campbell, Lewis D., 45, 102, 159, 

174, 220 

Carlile, John S., 16-17 
Cassidy, William, 65 
Chandler, William E., 74 
Chase, Samuel P., 34-5, 42, 55, 77, 

^ 95, 103, 119 

Chicago Tribune, 44, 191, 192 
Church, Sanford E., 115 
Cisco, John J., 119 
civil rights, 200, 201 
Bill, 27072, 27172 
for Negro, 5, 64, 76, 77-9, 81-2, 

86, 133-4, H 6 J 5 2 > *54-7* 

passim, 177-8, 181, 189, 193, 

218, 26472, 26572, 27272 
see also Negro suffrage 
Civil Rights Enforcement Act of 

1870, 218 
Civil Rights Veto, 150, 172, 195- 

232 passim, 27 in 
Clay, Clement C., 209 
Cleveland, E. S., 147, 150 
Cochrane, John, 52, 113, 175-6, 

187, 203, 210 
Coffroth, Alexander H., 22, 23472, 


Coif ax, Schuyler, 272-372 
Columbus Journal, 206 
Conkling, Roscoe, 43 
election of 1866, 143-50 passim, 

suffrage for Negro in, 78, 146, 


Connolly, Richard B., 126 
Conservative Party, 51, 53, 88, 89, 

94, 109-12, 114, 133, 189 
ascendancy of, after 1865, 31- 

49 passim 

coalition of, with Democrats, 

32-3, 40-2, 46, 176 
and Johnson, 32, 109-12 passim, 

174-7 passim., 209, 210-11 
and Lincoln, 41-2 
and Radicals, 88-9, 172-94 

passim, 202 

see also party reorganization 
Conservatives, 31-49 passim, 109- 

12, 174-7, 189-90, 209, 210- 

n, 214 

Constitutional Union, 16 
Copperheads, 33, 81, 92, 109, 147, 

189, 190, 191, 225 
see also Democratic Party 
corruption, 15, 17, 19, 26-30 

Cowan, Edgar, 203, 216-17, 22 4> 

227, 26872, 27072 
Cox, Jacob D., 192-3, 195, 196-7, 

2IO, 226 

Cox, Samuel S., 16-17, 18, 20, 23, 
27, 57, 172, 174, 228, 23872, 
23972, 24072 

Croswell, Edwin, 52 

Cutting, Francis B., 187 

Dana, Charles A., 4, 240 

Davies, Henry E., 121, 122, 124, 

i 2 5 

Davis, Jefferson, 7, 47, 60, 67, 209 
Dawes, Henry L., 27-8, 172, 193, 

202, 226 

Democratic Party, 1-6, 16-24, 26, 
30, 32-3, 40, 41-2, 46, 47, 50- 
67 passim, 8 1, 91, 92, 109, 131, 
147, 173, 175, 183-4, 189, 190, 
191, 195, 211, 219, 225 
bid for patronage by, 109-28 


in convention of 1868, 28172 
and Johnson, 50-67 passim, 70- 
2, 79-80, 89, 101, 109-11, 113- 
17, 125-9, 139, 143, 155, 147, 
155, 165-6, 175, 176, 178-9, 
187, 189-90, 193-4, 202 > 2 3- 
4, 222-3, 247-872 



and New York 1865 election, 

political aims of, 1-3, 6, 32, 50- 

67 passim, 76-7, 86, 173-4 
and racism, 3, 22, 32, 44, 64, 78* 

153, 162, 167, 170-1, 178, 206, 

212-20 passim 
and Thirteenth Amendment, i- 

30 passim, 40-2, 23872, 23972 
see also Copperheads; War 


Dennison, William, 42, 147 
Depew, Chauncey M., 120, 121, 

! 24 
Dickinson, Daniel S., 52, 74, 95, 


District of Columbia Bill, 160 
Dix, John A., 113, 187, 188, 189, 

Dixon, James, 52, 95, 121, 122, 

144-5, l6o 161* l 15-> 2I 7> 2l8 
Doolittle, James R., 193, 204, 215- 

16, 224, 227, 230, 26872 
Douglass, Frederick, 162, 163 
Draper, Simeon, 7, 68-9 
Drew, "Uncle" Daniel, 9 
Dunning, William A., 136, 138 

East, Edward H., 104 
economic issues and interests, 9- 
15 passim, 35, 137, 144, 166- 
7, 184, 196, 208-9, 213, 222, 

of 1865, 68-87, 91 
of 1866, 96, 101, 107-8, 143-5 

passim, 221, 225, 229, 230 
of 1867, 226, 231 
see also Connecticut; New 

Emancipation Proclamation, 134, 

English, James E., 144-5, 147, H9> 

150, 23872 

Ewing, Thomas, 217-18 
Ewing, Jr., Thomas, 217 

Fessenden, William P., 193, 201, 

Field, David D., 33, 187, 188-9, 


Fifteenth Amendment, 218 
Florence, Thomas B., 13, 16, 17, 

26, 146 

Floyd, John B., 11-12 
Forney, John W., 18, 119, 141, 

191, 192 
Fourteenth Amendment, 127, 220, 

221, 224-5, 226, 227-31 passim 

Freedmen's Bureau, 93-4, 158, 

165, 166, 169, 171, 178, 226, 
Bill, 93-4, 175, 179, 196, 203, 

205, 211, 213, 224 
Freedmen's Bureau veto, 90, 146, 

150, 172-3, 175, 177, 179-84 

passim, 193-4, J 9 6 I 97 J 99, 


Ganson, John, 240 
Garrison, William Lloyd, 151 
Godwin, Parke, 118 
Graf, LeRoy P., 25271 
Grant, IL S., 74, 96, 100 
Greeley, Horace, 7, 33, 71, 77, 
81-2, 114, 126, 176, 189, 209, 

see also New York Tribune 
Green, Duff, 52, 95 
Greenback Party, 10, 15 
Grimes, James W., 225 
GrinneU, Moses H., 7 
Grover, Martin, 72 

Hallett, Samuel, 12 
Halpine, Charles G., 125 
Harlan, James, 42-3 
Harris, Isham G., 7 
Hart, Emanuel B., 10-11, ij, 18 
Hartford Courant, 144-5 
Hartford Post, 144-5 
Hartford Press, 144, 149, 15 



Hartford Times, 148 
Haskin, John B., 92, 116-17 
Hawley, James R., 144-50 passim, 


Hay, John, 23, 27 
Herrick, Anson, 22, 26, 28-9, 40, 


Hogan, John, 52 
Houston, Russell, 64, 105, 204 
Howard, O. O., 93, 226 
Hughes, James, 114-15 
Humphreys, Benjamin, 158, 166 
Huntington, William S., 125 

Johnson, Andrew, 18-19, 26, 28, 
30, 32, 43, 44, 45-9 passim, 
71-2, 107-28 passim, 174-7, 

and New York businessmen, 

in New York 1865 election, 69- 

87 passim 
and Negro suffrage, 133, 151-71 

passim, 177, 197, 204, 26472 
patronage policies of, 107-28 

passim, 210 
as politician, 107-28 passim, 134, 

and Radicals, 75, 88, 101, 156-7, 

159, 161, 172-94 passim, 199- 

203, 209-12 passim 
second annual message of, 27772, 

see also Democratic Party; 

Radicals; Reconstruction; 

Seward, William H.; South 
Johnson, Reverdy, 125 

ambiguity of, 89, 129-50 passim, Johnston, A. S., 7 

154, 168-9, 171, 182-3, i99> J oint Committee on Reconstruc- 

ambition of, 95-106, 107, 143, 


tion, 122, 142-3, 160, 161, 179, 

Jones, George O., 9-10, 16, 19, 

attitude toward Negro of, 76, 2 4> 2 9 

78-9, 82, 133, 143, 151-71 Julian, George W., 27, 43 


Blair support of, 55-67, passim Kalbfleisc h, Martin, 22 
as candidate for re-election, 76- KeUey? William D., 43, 83 

7, 95-100, 106, 107, 115, 173, K ji patr ick, H. J, 74 

206, 231, 28172 Kin Austin A., 24072 

conflict with congress of, 31, R . p restoni 5 ^ 68 _ 70 , n 3 

68, 94-5, 119, 134-5, i7 2 -3. 

192-4, 195, 197-232 passim 
and Conservatives, 32, 109-12 Lane, James H., 122 

passim, 174-7, 209, 210-11 Latham, Robert W., n, 13, 16, 

on constitutional amendment, 17, 28, 40 

276-772 Lazear, Jesse, 24072 

disillusionment with, 127, 129, Liberator, 151 

145-6, 162, 174, 190-2, 28172 Lincoln, Abraham, 3-4, 7, 8, 12, 
first annual message of, 130-9 23, 91, 99, 

passim, 151, 153-4* 1 59> I(58 > 

169, 183 
historiography of, 88-106 

passim, 24172 

listening habit of, 247-872 
and Moderates, 199-203, 208, 

211-12, 223-7 

on party policies and reorgani- 
zation, 31-49 passim 

and Radicals, 43-4 

reconstruction policies of, 34, 
37-8, 42 

support of Thirteenth Amend- 
ment by, 2, 25, 29 



Litdejohn, DeWitt C, 120, 124 
lobbying, 6-30, 39-40, 41 
Louisville Journal, 165 

McAllister, Archibald, 22, 240 
McClellan, George B., 29, 53, 126, 

190, 26972 

McClure, A. K., 141 
McCulloch, Hugh, 4, 42, 49, 96-7, 

118, 121, 126, 219-20, 224 
McKitrick, Eric, 179, 25472 
McPherson, Edward, 1 3 9-4 1 


Mallory, Robert, 5 
Marble, Manton 20, 65, 86, 120, 

172, 174 

see also New York World 
martial law, 57-8 
Maynard, Horace, 140 
Mississippi "Black code," 159, 

constitutional convention 

1865, 156-7 
Mitchell, James, 154 
Moderates, 30, 32-3, 40, 41-2, 

46, 52-3, 177, 193, 199-206 

passim, 208, 210, 211-12, 223- 

7, 27272 

see also Johnson, Andrew 
Monroe Doctrine, 67 
Morgan, Edwin D., 37, 112, 118, 

120, 121, 122-3, 126, 127, 186, 

193, 199-201, 204, 205, 206, 


Morgan, George W., 52, in, 195 
Morton, Oliver P., 226-7 

National Anti-Slavery Standard, 

Negro, 64, 200, 201, 202, 212-20 

and separation principle, 153-4, 

215, 226 

see also civil rights; Negro suf- Nicolay, John G,, 27 
frage; race prejudice Norton, Daniel S., 227 

Negro suffrage, 58, 62, 76, 77-9, 

8 1-2, 86, 177-208 passim, 226- 

8, 26372, 26472 
and Johnson, 151-71 passim, 

197, 204 
Nelson, Homer A., 7, 10, 16, 17, 

29, 23872, 24072 
New Haven Register, 148 
Newton (NJ.) Herald and 

Democrat, 174 
New York Citizen, 125 
New York Daily News, 8, 187 
New York Evening Post, 77, 86, 

118, 187, 188, 191, 205-6 
New York Herald, 13, 17, 18, 21, 

25-6, 29, 33, 35, 36, 38, 41-2, 

88-95, 100, 126, 140, 159, 166, 

170, 172-3, 185, 188, 192, 201 

2, 228 
see also Bennett, Sr., James 

of New York State, 47, 56-7, 59-61, 

64-7, 68, 73, 75, 76, 184-9 

election of 1865, 68-87 passim, 

and patronage (customhouse of 

New York City), 113-27 

New York Times, 4, 18, 46, 48, 

7*, 7*. 73. 75. 77. 78, 82, 83- 

4, 85, 141, 1 60, 163-5, I<S6 "i 

1 88, 208, 224, 230 
see also Raymond, Henry J. 
New York Tribune, 7, 67, 77, 81- 

2, 130, 141, 152, 155, 186, 188, 


see also Greeley, Horace 
New York World, 5, 8, 19-20, 21, 

25, 50, 60-1, 65, 69, 71, 72, 75, 

76, 77, 78, 85, 86, 99, 129-30, 

138-9, 140, 149, 155-6, 165-6, 

174, 175, 177-) 1856, 1 88, 192 
see also Barlow, S. L. M.; 

Marble, Manton 



Oath, Ironclad, 62, 79, 98, 132, 

206, 209 

Odell, Moses F., 29, 69, 113, 240 
Opdyke, George, 33, 35, 187, 24272 
Ohio Statesman, 212 

Parsons, Lewis E., 167-8 

party labels, 32-3, 207-12, 23972 

see also party reorganization 
party reorganization, 30, 84-5, 89, 
114, 173, 207-8, 222, 277-872 
under Lincoln, 31-49 passim. 
under Johnson, 51-67 passim, 
105-6, 118, 172-5, 180-3, 189, 

see also Seward, William BL 

patronage, 2, 29, 35, 36-7, 42, 46, 
48, 60, 68-71, 107-28 passim, 
176, 240 

see also corruption 
Pendleton, George H., 176 
Perry, Benjamin, 140-1, 170, 178 
Philadelphia Convention, 108, 109, 

221, 224-5, 277-87Z 

Philadelphia Press, 18, 119, 141, 


Philadelphia Public Ledger, 55 
Phillips, W. B., 90, 100 
Phillips, Wendell, 77, 119, 140, 

151, 179, 190, 193, 208 
Pomeroy, Samuel C., 16, 123, 237 

Circular, 34 
Pratt, Thomas G., 61-3, 64 

race prejudice, 162, 212-20, 226 
of Bennett, J. G., 92-3, 213-14 
of the Blairs, 55-6, 195-6, 213- 

of Conservatives, 214-20 passim 

of Johnson, 64, 151-4, 162, 212- 

in North, 3, 22, 44, 78, 212-20 


in South, 153, 162, 167, 170-1, 
178, 231 

Radford, William, 27, 23472, 24072 
Radicals, 4, 21, 37, 57-8, 62, 66, 69, 
71, 76, 81, 83, 87, 88, 92, 101, 
140, 1434, I 7 2 ~"94 passim, 
199-203, 221, 229, 230, 2747? 
historiography of, 88-106 pas- 
sim, 241-272 

Lincoln's support of, 43-4 
nature of, 208-12 
postwar position of, 31-50 pas- 

see also Abolitionists; Republi- 
can Party 
railroads, 9, 12, 104 
Randall, Alexander W., 219 
Raymond, Henry J., 35, 46, 59, 
78, 82, 84, 87, 118, 120, 122-3, 

230, 27272, 277-872 
see also New York Times 
Reconstruction, 30, 34, 35, 37, 42 
the Blairs' role in, 54-67 passim 
as issue in 1865 election, 68-87 


Johnson's role in, 32, 58, 60, 64, 
81, 98-9, 133, 135, 195-232 

theory of, 31, 37, 43, 129-35 pas- 
sim, 136-7, 177, 1 8 1-2, 205, 

208, 2IO 

Republican Party, 37-43, 44-5, 

" *> 89, 

192, 225, 228 
bid for patronage by, 109-28 

and Connecticut elections, 143- 

50 passim, 155 
and New York elections, 68-87 

Whig wing of, 33, 45, 47, 51, 

see also Conservative Party; 
Moderates; party reorganiza- 
tion; Radicals; Union Party 

Rhodes, James Ford, 107 

Rice, Dan, no 



Richmond, Dean, 26, 27, 33, 47, 
57, 59-60, 62-6, 73, 91, 92, 
100, 114, 115, 120, 176, 24772 

Richmond Regency, 47 

Richmond Republic, 48 

Robinson, Lucius, 72 

Rockland (Me.) Democrat and 
Free Press, 206 

Rollins, James S., 24077 

Rousseau, L. H., 104, 150, 254*2 

Schell, Augustus, 176 

Schell, Richard, 9, 13-15, 17, 18, 

J 9> M-5> 2 8, 35> 4> *7 6 i l8 7 
Schenck, Robert Q, 161 
Seward, Frederick, n, 24-5, 28, 

36, 40, 189 
Seward, William H., 3, 30, 32, 33- 

4, 35-6> 37, 38, 45* & 47-8, 
51, 61, 91, 97, 99, 105, 108, 
114, 149, 167, 170, 171, 177, 

I97-20O, 203, 204, 219, 220- 

3, 228, 230, 25872, 26872, 27172 
and the Blairs, 53-4* 59, 66-7, 

for compromise, 169-71, 180-92 

passim, 197-200, 203, 276-722 
discretion in correspondence 

of, 4, 36, 38-9, 48, 1 80 
and drafts of presidential mess- 
ages, 135-6, 138, 180-3, 197- 

8, 207, 230 
and Johnson, 44-9 passim, 135, 

180-3 P&ssim, 197? 22 ~3 
in New York 1865 election, 70, 

71, 82-4, 87 
and patronage grants, 109-28 

position on slavery, 4, 220-1, 


as pro-amendment lobbyist, 6- 

30 passim, 39-40, 41 
on Reconstruction, 220-3 P^" 


see also Weed, Thurlow 
Seymour, Horatio, 16, 19, 21, 65, 

96, 126, 174 

Sharkey, William L., 156-8 
Sherman, John, 191, 225, 231, 


Sherman, William T., 8, 99, 24672 
Shipman, William D., 57-9, 74, 

83, 115, 124 
slavery, see Thirteenth Amend- 


Slocum, Henry W., 72, 116 
Smythe, Henry A., 123-6 passim, 

admission and basis of repre- 

sentation for, 30, 62, 68, 75, 

132-7, 139-43, 157, 158, 178, 

182, 183, 206, 228, 276-772 
and Blair family, 54-67 passim, 

conciliatory policies toward 

the, 17, 24, 30, 37-8, 41-2, 43, 

46, 51, 58, 75, 129-35, 143, 

156-9, 177-80, 183, 195, 202 

and Johnson, 60, 102-4, 125-6, 

129-34, 135-41, 145, 151-7^ 

passim, 162-3, 166-7, *77-9> 

193-4, J 95 202 > 20 9> 2 3* 2I 

and Seward, 30, 47, 167, 170, 

221, 26872 

Speed, James, 42-3 

Springfield Republican, 96, 122, 
130, 141, 142, 175, 193, 206, 
see also Bowles, Samuel 

Stanbery, Henry, 218, 219, 271*2 

Stanton, Edwin M., 26, 47, 51, 56, 
59, 74, 83, 114, 176-7, 222, 
24672, 26972 

states rights, 51, 56, 64, 76, 78-9, 
97-8, 136, 139, 154, 156, 160- 
i, 183-4, 202 > 2 * 2 i "4 
linked with the Thirteenth 
Amendment, 5-6, 20, 168, 
170, 198-9, 28072 

Steams, George L., 155, 156, 159 

Stebbins, Henry G,, 119, 120 

Steedman, James B., 176 

Steele, John B., 53, 240 



Stevens, Thaddeus, 22, 119, 142- Van Dyck, H. H., 118, 121 
3, 145, 161, 179, 190, 191, 202, Van Winkle, Peter G., 228 
208, 209 

Stewart, William IVL, 193 

Strong, George Templeton, 188 

Sumner, Charles, 43, 77, 86, 119, 
145, 146, 155, 179, 190, 191, 

193, 202, 208, 214, 215, 219, 

Sunday Mercury, 65 
Swayne, Wager, 167 

Tammany Hall, 14 

Taylor, Richard "Dick," 60-1, 64, 
74, 86, 130, 24772 

Thirteenth Amendment, 1-30 
passim, 54, 132, 137, 138, 144, 
157, 159, 166, 170, 195, 215, 

2l8, 222, 228, 24072 

enforcement clause of, 171, 

189, 198 

passage of, 24-5 
ratification of, 167, 170 
see also corruption; lobbying; 
Seward, William H.; states 
Tilden, Samuel J., 62, 64-6, 116- 

17, 176, 187, 188, 189 
"To Whom It May Concern," 

statement, 3 

Trumbull, Lyman, 178, 193, 196, 
201, 225, 231, 27972, 28172 

Union Party, 32-3, 51-4 passim, 

68-87 $ ass i m -> IO2 > *44? *49 
160, 172, 173, 174, 177, 189, 

191, 192, 209, 22O, 222, 226 

United States vs. Reese, 218 

Wade-Davis Manifesto, 34 
Wakeman, Abram, 48-9, 187 
Walker, Robert J., 125 
War Democrats, 10, 32, 37, 47, 48, 
50, 51, 52, 72, 73, 113, 115, 

118, 120, 150, 173, 175, 187- 
8, 203, 206 

Washington Chronicle , 18, 119, 
141, 191 

Washington National Intelligen- 
cer, 13, 26, 41, 145, 175, 178, 
237, 24072, 24372 

Washington's Birthday speech, 

119, 172, 184-9 
Watterson, Harvey M., 102-3, 

153, 156, 26572 
Watterson, Henry, ic -4 
Webb, James W., 48 
Weed, Thurlow, 3, 4, 33-6, 42, 

59, 60, 193, 200-1, 203, 210, 

222, 230, 280-I72 

role in Johnson's patronage 

policies, 109-28 passim 
role in New York 1865 elec- 
tions, 68-87 passim 
in Seward- Weed faction, 15- 
16, 26, 27, 34, 37, 45, 46, 47- 
8, 61, 108, 177, 183, 186-90 
passim, 197, 199 
see also Seward, William H. 
Welles, Gideon, 43, 46, 96, 144, 
145, 146, 147, 148, 149, 150, 
154-5, I( $7> 20 i 214-15, 218, 
219, 224, 225-6, 26872, 27072, 

White, Chilton A., 5 
Wikoif, Henry, 90 
Wilson, Henry, 27, 83, 193, 209, 

Vallandigharn, Clement L,, 71, Winston R. W., 96 

5 o ' Wood, Benjamin, 187 

Van Buren, John, 76, 115-16, 191 Wood ' Femand ^ l8 7 

Vanderbilt, Cornelius, 9 

Van Deusen, Glyndon G., 276/2 Yeaman, George H., 29, 40 

( Continued from front flap) 

simply the unjustified consequence of Radical 
fanaticism or self-interest, arose from 'a genuine 
concern with the principle of equal rights for the 
Negro (short of suffrage). They view Recon- 
struction as a classic drama in which one right 
was pitted against another compassion and pro- 
tection for black southerners against compassion 
and fellowship for defeated white southerners. In 
this emphasis on the civil rights issue, the authors 
make their most radical departure from theories 
that until recently have dominated assessment of 
the Reconstruction conflict. 

This emphasis establishes the background for 
their claim that Johnson's opposition to effective 
protection of the Negro's civil rights, guided in 
part by his political opportunism, destroyed the 
opportunity to achieve effective national reunion 
and a resolution of the Negro problem. 

With drama and conviction, the authors de- 
scribe the swirling political currents, the desperate 
factional maneuvering, and Johnson's own equiv- 
ocal positions that characterized the period. This 
book is a clearly organized, well written, and 
brilliantly argued contribution to our understand- 
ing of one of the most turbulent eras in Ameri- 
can history. 


LA\VANDA Cox is Associate Professor of His- 
tory at Hunter College. JOHN H. Cox is Associate 
Professor of History at City College (New York) . 


A Division of The Macmilltm Company 


Jacket design/S. A. Summit, Inc.