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no one who has labored harder than I to have the rineipals, the intelligent and conscious oflenoeis, brought to justice and have the principle vindicated that “treason is a crime."
But, while conscious and intelligent traitors are to be punished, should whole communities and States be made to submit to the penalty of death ? I have quite as much asperity, and perhaps as much resentment, as a man oughtto have; but we must reason regarding man as he is, and must conform our action and our conduct to the enample of Him who founded our holy religion. , '
I came into power under the Constitution of the country, and with the approbation of the people, and what did I find? I found eight millions of people who were convicted, condemned under the law, and the penalty was death; and, through revenge and resentment, were they all to be an— nihilated? Oh! may I not exclaim, how difi'erent would this be from the example set by the Founder of our holy religion, whosedivine arch rests its extremities on thehorizon while its span embraces the universe! Yes, He that founded this great scheme came into the world and saw men condemned under the law, and the sentence was death. What was his example? Instead of puttin the world or a natiOn to death, He went fort on the cross and testified with His wounds that He would die and let the world live. Let them repent; Yet them acknowledge their rashness; let them become loyal, and let them be supporters of our glorious stripes and stars, and the Constitution of our country. I say let the leaders, the conscious, intelligent traitors, meet the penalties of the law. But as for the reat mass, who have been forced into the rebe lion—misledin otherinstances—let there be clemency and kindness, and a trust and a confidence in them. But, my countrymen, after having passed through this rebellion, and having given as much evidence of enmity to it as some who croak a great deal about the matter—when I look back over the battle—field and see many of those brave men in whose company I was, in localities of the rebellion where the contest was most dillicult and doubtful, and who yet were patient; when I look back over these fields, and where the smoke has scarcely passed away ; where the blood that has been shed has scarcely been absorbed—before their bodies have passed through the stages of decomposition—what do I find? The rebellion is put
own by the strong arm of the Government in the field. But is this the only way in which we can have rebellions? This was astruggle against a. change and a revolution of the Government, and before we fully get from the battle-fields— when our brave men have scarcely returned to their homes and renewed the ties of aliection and love to their wives and their children—we are now almost inaugurated into another re~ bellion.
One rebellion was the elTort of States to secede, and the war on the part of the Government was to prevent them from accomplishing that, and thereby changing the character of our Government and weakening its }power. When the Government has succeeded, t ere is an attempt
now to concentrate all power in the hands of a
few at the federal head, and thereby bring about a consolidation of "the Republic, which is equally objectionable with its dissolution. We find a power assumed and attempted to be exercised of a most extraordinary character. We see now that governments can be revolutionized without goin into the battle-field; and sometimes the revo utions most distressing to a people are ef' fected without the shedding of blood. That is, the substance of your Gov ernmentmay be taxen away, while there is held out to you the form and the shadow. And now, what are the attempts, and what is being pro osed? We find that by an irresponsible centra directory nearly all the powers of Congressare assumed, without even consulting the legislative and executive departments of the Government. By aresolution reported b a committee, upon whom and in whom the lbgislative power of the Government has been lodged, that great principle in the Constitution which authorizes and empowers the legislative department, the Senate and House of Representatives, to be the judges of elections, returns, and qualifications of its own members, has been virtually taken away from the two respective branches of the national legislature, an conferred upon a committee, who must report before the body can act on the question of the admission of members to their seats. B this rule they assume a State is out of the men, and to have its practical relations restored by that rule, belore the House can jud e of the ualifications of its own members. hat posi~ tionis that? You have been struvgling for four years to put down a rebellion. on contended at the be inning ofthat struggle that a State had not a rig t to 0 out. You said it had neitr»: the ri ht nor t e power, and it has i. 1. n settled that t e States had ‘ueiiher the . all nor the power to go out of the Union. And when we etermine by the executive, by the military, and by the public judgment, that these States cannot have any right to gr- out, this committee turns around and assumes. L'.a1 they are out, and that they shall not come i.\ . , ~I am free to say to you, as your Executive, that I am notprepa red to take any such position. I said in the Penate, in the very inception of this rebellion. that the States had no right to secede. That question has been settled. Thus determined, I cannot turn round and give the lie direct to all that I roless to have done during the last four years. Isny that when the States that attempted to secede comply with the Con‘ stitution, and give suflicient evidence of loyalty, I shall extend to them the right hand of fellowship, and let peace and much 'be restored. I am opposed to the Davrses, the 'l‘oom bees, the Slidells, and the long list of such. But Wnen I perceive, on the other hand, men—[A vmce, ‘Call them ofi"‘]-—I care not by what name you call them— still opposed to the Union, I am iree to say to' you that I am still with the people. I am still for the preservation of these States, for the preservation of this Union, and in favore' this greatGovernment accomplishing its destiny._ [Here the President was called upon to give the names of three of the members of Congress to whom he had alluded as being opposed to the Union.]
The gentleman calls for three names. I am talking to my friends and fellow‘citizens here. 511 pose I should name to you those whom I 1001 upon as being opposed to the fundamental principles of this Government, and as now labor1ng to ‘iestroy them. I say Thaddeus Stevens, of Pennsylvania; I say Charles Sumner, of Massachusetts; I say Wendell Phillips, of Massachusetts. [A voice, “ Forney l”)
I do not waste my fire on dead ducks. I stand for the country, and though my enemies may traduce, slander, and vituperate, I may say, that has no force.
In addition to this, I do not intend to be ov‘ed by real or retended friends, nor do intend to be bullie by my enemies. An honest conviction is my sustenance, the Constitution my guide. I know, my countrymen, that it has been insinuated—nay, said directly, in high places— that if such a usurpation of power had been exercised two hundred years 1100, in articular reigns, it would have cost an in ividua his head. What usurpation has Andrew Johnson been guilty of? [Cries of “ None."] M _ only usurpation has been committed b stan ing between the people and the encroac 1ments of power. And because I dared say in a conversation with a fellow-citizen and a Senator too, that I thought amendments to the constitution ought not to be so frequent, lest the instrument lose 'all its sanctit and dignity,\and be wholly lost sight of in a. s ort time, and because I happened to say in conversation that I thought that such and such an amendment was all that onghtto be adopted, it was said that I had suggested such a usurpation of power as would have cost a king his head in a. certain period! In connection with this subject, one has exclaimed that we are in the 7" midst of earthquakes and he trembled." Yes, there is an earthquake approaching, there is a
roundswell coming, of popular judgment and 1ndi nation. The American people will speak, and y their instinct, if in no other way, know who are their friends, when and where and in whatever position I stand—and I have occupied many positions in the government, going through both branches of the legislature. Some gentleman here behind me says, “ And was atailor." Now, that don’t affect me in the least. When I was a tailor I always made a close fit, and was always punctual to my customers, and did good work.
A voice. No patchwork] he PRESIDENT. No, I did not want any atchwork. But we pass by this digression. Intimations have been thrown out—and when principles are involved and the existence of my country imperiled, I will, as on former occa< sions, speak what I think. Yes! Cost him his head! Usurpation! When and where have I been guilty of this? Where is the man in all the positions I have occupied, from that of alderman to the Vice Presidenc , who can say that Andrew Johnson ever ma e a pledge that he did not redeem, or ever made a romise that he violated, or that he acted with alsity to the people!
They may talk about beheading; but when I am beheaded I want the American people to be the witness. I do not want by inuendoes of an indirect character in high places to have one
say to a man who has assassination broiling in his heart, “there is a fit subject," and also exclaim that the “presidential obstacle” must be got out of the way, when possibly the intention Was to institute assassination. Are those who want to destroy our institutions and change the character of the Government not satisfied with the blood that has been shed? Are the not satisfied with one martyr? Does not the lood of Lincoln appease the vengeance and wrath of the opponents of this Government? Is their thirst still unslaked? Do they wantmore blood? Have they not honor and courage enough to effect the removal of the presidential obstacle otherwise than through the hands of the assassin? I am not afraid of assassins; but. if it must be, I would wish to be encountered where one brave man can oppose another. I hold him in dread only who strikes cowardly. But if the have courage enough to strike like men, (I now they are willing to wound, but they are afraid to strike;) it my blood is to be shed because I vindicate the Union and the preservation of this Government in its original purity and character, let it be so; but when it is done, let an altar of the Union be erected, and then, if necessary, lay me upon it, and the blood that now warms and animates my frame shall be poured out in a 1 st libation as a tribute to the Union; and let e opponents of this Government remember that when it is cured out the blood of the martyr will be t e seed of the church. The Union will grow. It will continue to increase in stren th and ower, though it may be cemented an cleanse with blood.
I have talked longer, my countr men, than Iintended. With many acknowle gments for the honor you have done me, I will say one word in reference to the amendments to the Constitution of the United States. Shortly after I reached Washington, for the purpose of being inaugurated Vice President, I had a conversation with Mr. Lincoln. We were talking about the condition of affairs, and in referencefto matters in my own State. I said we had called aconvention and demanded a constitution abolishing slavery in the State, which provision was not contained in the President’s proclamation. This met with his approbation, and he gave me encoura ement. In talking upon the subject of amen ments to the Constitution. he said, “ when the amendment to the Constitution now proposed is adopted by three-fon:ths of the States, I shall be prett nearly or quite done as regards forming amen ments to the Constitution if there should be one other adopted." I asked ‘what that other amendmentsuggested was, and he replied, “ I have labored to preserve this Union. I have toiled four ears. I have been subjected to calumny an misre resentation, and my great and sole d'esire has lieen to preserve these States intact under the Constitution, as they were be: fore; and there should be an amendment to the Constitution which would compel the States to send their Senators and Representatives to the Congress of the United States." He saw, as part of the doctrine of secession, that the States could, if they were prepared, withdraw their Senators and Representatives; and he wished to remedy this evil b the adoption of the amendment suggested. ven that ortion of the Constitution which differs from ot 1er organic law says that no State shall be deprived of its representation. We now find the position taken that States shall not he recognized; that we will impose taxation; and where taxes are to be imposed the Re resentatives elect from thence are met at the cor, and told: “,No; you must pay taxes, but you cannot participate in a Government which is to all'cct you for all time." Is this just? [Voices—“ No! No !"] We see, then, where we are going. I repeat, that I am for the Union. I am for preservi all the States. They may have erred, but is us admit those into the counsels of the nation who are unmistakably loyal. Let the man who acknowl— edges allegiance to the Government, and swears to support the Constitution, (he cannot do this in good faith unless he is loyal; no amplification of the oath can make any difi'erence; it is mere detail, which I care nothing about;) let him be unquestionably loyal to the Constitution of the United States and its Government, and willing to support it in its peril, and I am willing to trust him. I know that some do not attach so much importance to the principle as I do. One principle that carried us through the revolution was, that there should be no taxation without representation. 1 hold that that principle. which was laid down b our fathers for the country‘s good then, is important to its good now. If it was worth battling for then, it is worth battling for now. It is fundamental, and should be preserved so long as our Government lasts. I know it was said by some during the rebellion that the Constitution had been rolled up as a piece of archment, and should be put away, and that in time of rebellion there was no constitution. But it is now unfolding; it must now be read and adjusted and understood by the American eople.
I come here to- ay to vindicate, in so far as I can in these remarks, the Constitution ; to save it, as I believe; for it does seem that encroachment after encroachment is to be ressed; and as I resist encroachments on the overnment, I stand to-day prepared to resist encroachments on the Constitution, and thereby preserve the Government. It is now peace, and let us have
once. Let us enforce the Constitution. Let us .ive under and by its provisions. Let it be published in blazoued characters, as though it were in the heavens, so that all may read and all may understand it. Let us consult that instrument, and, understanding its principles, let us apply them. I tell the opponents of this Government, and I care not from what quarter they come—East or \Vcst, North or South—~“ you that are engaged in the work of breaking up this Government are mistaken. The Constitution and the principles of free government are deeply rooted in the American heart." All the powers combined, I care not of what character they are, cannot destroy the image of freedom. They may succeed for a time, but their attempts will be futile. They may as well attempt to lock up the winds or chain the waves. Yes, they may as well attempt to re cal it, (as it _ would seem the Constitution can 0,) by a con
current resolution ; but when it is submitted to the po aular judgment, they will find it just as wellto introduce a resolution repealing the law of grmitation; and theidea of preventing the restoration of the Union is as about as feasible as resistance to the great law of gravity which binds all to a common centre. This grfiat law of gravitation will bring back those States to harmony and their relations to the Federal Government, and allgmachinations North and South cannot prevent it.. All that is wanting is time, until the American people can understand what is going on, and be ready to accept the view Just as it appears to me. I would to God that the whole American people could be asse — bled here to-day as you are. I could wish'% have an am ihitheatre large enough to contain the whole thirty millions, that they could be here and witness the great struggle to reserve the Constitution of our fathers. hey could at once see what it is, and how it is, and what kind of spirit is manifested in the attempt to destroy the great princi les of free government; and the could nn erstand who is for them and who is against them, and who was for ameliorating their condition. Their opposeis could be placed before them, and there might be a regular contest, and in the first tilt the enemies of the country would be crushed. I have detained you longer than I intended; but in this struggle I am your instrument. Where is the man or woman, in private or public life, that has not always received my attention and my time? Sometimes it is said, “that man Johnson is aluck man." I will tell you what cou~ stitutcs goo fortune. Doing right and being for the people. The people in some particular or other,’ notwithstanding their sa acity and judgment, are frequently underrate or underestimated ; but somehow or other the great mass of the people will find out who is for them and who is against them. You must indulge me in this allusron, when I say I can lay my hand on m bosom and say that in all the positions in which I have been placed—many of them as trying as any in whic mortal man could be put ——so tar, thank God, I have not deserted the
eople, nor do I believe they will desert me. BVhat sentiment have I swerved from? Can my calumniators put their finger on it? Can they dare indicate a discrepancy or a deviation from principle? A
Have you heard them at any time quote my predecessor, who fell a martyr to his course, as coming in controvers with anything I advocated? An inscrutab e Providence saw proper to remoVe him to, I trust, a better world than , this, and I came' into power. Where is there one principle in reference to this restoration that I have departed from? Then the war is not simply upon me, but-it is upon my predecessor. I have tried to do my duty. I know some are jealous in view of the White House, and I say all that fiummery has as little influence on me as it had heretofore. The conscious satisfaction of havin performed in duty to my country, In chil ren, and my 0d, is all the reward w ich I shall ask.
In conclusion of what I have to say, let me ask this vast concourse, this sea of upturned
faces, to go with me—or I will go with you— and stand around the Constitution ofour country; it is again unfolded, and the people are invrted to read and understand it, and to maintain its provisions. Let us stand by the rinciples of our fathers, though the heavens t'al ; and then, though factions array their transient forces to give vituperation after vituperation in the most ' virulent manner, I intend to stand by the Con— stitution as the chief ark of our safety, as the
alladium of our civil and religious liberty.
es, let'us cling to it as the mariner clings to the last plank when the night and the tempest close around him.
Accept my thanks, gentlemen, for the indul» games you have given me in my extemporaneous remarks. Let us go on, forgetting the past and looking only upon the future, and trusting in Him that can control'all that is on high and here below, and hoping that hereafter our Union will be restored, and thatwe will have peace on earth and good will towards man.
April 1%), 1866—1 have nothing more to say to you on this occasion than to thank you for this compliment you have laid mein presenting yourselves before me on this your day of cele
ration. I come forward for the purpose of indicating my approbation and manifesting my appreciation of the respect thus ofi'ered or con— fer-red.
I thank you for the compliment, and I mean what I say. And Iwill remark in this connection to this vast concoiirse that the time will come, and that, too, before a great while, when the colored population of the United States will find out who have selected them as a hobby and a pretence by which they can be successful in obtaining and maintaining power, and who have been their true friends, and wanted them to participate in and enjoy the blessings of freedom,
The time will come when it wil be made known who contributed as much as any other man, and who, without being considered egotistio, I may say contributed more, in procuring the great national guarantee of the abolition of slavery in all the States, by the ratification of the amendment to the Constitution of the United States—giving a national guarantee that slavery shall no longer be ermitted to exist or be reestablished in any tate or jurisdiction of the United States. _
I know how easy it is to cater to rejudices, and how easy it is to excite feelings o prejudice and unkindness. I care not for that. I have been engaged in this work in which my all has been periled. I was not engaged in it as a
hobby, nor did I ride the colored man for the sake of gaining power. What I did was for the purpose of establishing the greatprlnciples of freedom. And, thank God, I feel and know it to be so, that my efforts have contributed as much,if not more, in accom lishing this great national guarantee, than those of -any other livin man in the Iinited States.
It is very easy for colored men to have retendcd friends, ensr cured in high places, an fax removed'l'rom dan ger, ,whose eyes have only abstractly gazed on freedom; who have never exposed their limbs or property, and who never contributed a. sixpcnce in furtherance of the great cause, while another perilcd his all, and put up everything sacred and dear to man, and those whom he raised and who lived with him now enjoy his prope'ty with his consent, and receive his aid and assistance ; yet some who assume, and others who have done nothing, are considered the great de.‘enders and protectors of the colored man.
I repeat, my colored friends, here to-day, the time will come, and thrt not far distant, when it will be proved who is practically your best friend. i
My friendship, so far as it has gene, has not been for place or power, for I had these already. It has been a principle with me, and I thank God the great princip c has been established, that wherever an individual, in the language of a distinguishc orator and statesman,treadsAnierican soil, his soul swells within him beyond the power of chains to bind him, in appreciation of the great truth that. he stands forth redeemed, regenerated, and disenthralled by the genius of universal emancipation! _
Then let me mingle with on in celebration of the day which commence your freedom. I do it in sincerity and truth, and trust in God the blessings which have been conferred may be enjoyed ard appreciated by you, and that you may give them a proper direction.
There is something for all to do. You have high and solemn duties to perform, and you ought to remember that freedom is not a mere idea. It must be reduced to practical reality. Men in being free have to deny themselves many things which seem to be embraced in the idea of universal freedom.
It is with you to give evidence to the world and the people of the United States, whether you are going to appreciate this great boon as it should be, and that you are worthy of being freemen. Then let me thank you with sincerity for the compliment you have paid meby passing through here to-day and paying our respects to me. I repeat again, the time Will come when you will know who has been your best friend, and who has not been our friend from mercenary considerations. ccept my thanks.
SPECIAL AND VETO MESSAGES OF PRESIDENT JOHNSON,
VOTES IN CONGRESS ON THE PASSAGE OF THE VETOED BILLS.
The Annual Message, December 4, 1865. The following extracts relate to reconstruction:
I found the States suffering from the effects of acivil war. Resistance to the General Government appeared to have exhausted itself. The United States had recovered possession of their forts and arsenals, and their armies were in the occupation of every State which had attemptedto secede. Whether the territory within the limits of those States should be held as conquered territory, under military authority emanating from the President as the head of the arm , was the first question that presented itself for ecision.
Now, military overnments, established for an indefinite perio , would have ofiered no security for the early suppression of discontent; would have divided the peeple into the vanquishers and the vanquished; and would have envenomed hatred, rather than have restored affection. Once established, no precise limit to their continuance was conceivable. They would have occasioned an incalculable and exhausting expense. Peaceful emigration to and from that portion of the country is one of the best means that can be thought of for the restoration of harmony, and that emigration would have been prevented; for what emigrant from abroad, what industrious citizen at home, would place himself willingly under military rule? The chief persons who have followed in the train of the army would have been dependents on the General Government, or men who expected profit from the miseries of their erring fellowcitizens. The powers of patrons e and rule which would have been exercise , under the President, over a vast and populous and naturally wealthy region, are greater than, unless
under extreme necessity, I should be willing to'
intrust to any one man; they are such as, for myself, I could never, unless on occasions of reat- emergency, consent to exercise. The wilSui use of such powers, if continued through a period- of years, would have endangered the mrity of the general administration and the liberties of the States which remained loyal. Besides, the policy of military rule over a conquered territory would have implied that the States whose inhabitants may have taken part in the rebellion had, by the act of those inhabitants, ceased to exist. But the true theory is, that all pretended acts of secession were,
from the beginning, null and void. The States cannot commit treason, nor screen the individ ual citizens who may have committed treason, any more than they could make valid treaties or engage in lawful commerce with an foreign power. The States attempting to sece e placed themselves in a condition where their vitality was impaired, but not extinguished—their functions suspended, but not destroyed.
But if any State neglects or refuses to perform its offices, there is the more need that the General Government should maintain all its authority, and, as soon as practicable, resume the exercise of all its functions. On this principle I have acted, and have gradually and quietly, and by almost imperceptible st s, sought to restore the rightful energy of the eneral Government and of the States. To that end, provisional governors have been appointed for the States, conventions called, governors elected, legislatures assembled, and Senators and Representatives chosen to the Congress pf the United States. At the same time, the courts of the United States, as far as could be done, have been reopened, so that the laws of the United States may be enforced through their agency. The blockade has been removed and the custom-houses re-est-ablished in ports of entry, so that the revenue of the United States may be collected. The Post Office De artment renews its ceaseless activity, and the efleral Government is thereb enabled , to communicate promptly with its 0 cers and. agents. The courts ring security to persons and property; the 0 ening of the ports invites the restoration of indhstry and commerce; the post office renews the facilities of social intercourse and of business. And is it not happy for us all, that the restoration of each one of these functions of the General Government brings ’ with it a- blessin to the States over which they are extended? s it not a sure promise of barmony and renewed attachment to the Union that, after all that has happened, the return of the General Government 1s known only as a beneficence 7
I know very well that this policy is attended with some risk; that for its success it requires
. at least the acquiescence of the States which it
concerns; that it im lies an invitation to' those States, by renewing t eir allegiance to the United States, to resume their functions as States of the Union. But it is a risk that must be taken; in the choice of difficulties, it is the smallest risk; and to diminish, and, if possible, to remove all