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Reverdy Johnson, who had submitted in the Senate the minority report of the Committee on Reconstruction, was chosen chairman, and Senator Cowan, of Pennsylvania, chairman of the committee on resolutions. The resolulutions were reported on August 17, and unanimously adopted by the convention. They re-affirmed the fundamental principles set forth in the call of June 25, and appealed to the people of the United States to elect none to Congress but those who "will receive to seats therein loyal representatives from every State in allegiance to the United States.” They reiterated the claim that in the ratification of constitutional amendments all the States “ have an equal and an indefeasible right to a voice and vote thereon.” In concession to Northern sentiment, they declared that the South had no desire to re-establish slavery; that the civil rights of the freedmen were to be respected, the rebel debt repudiated, the national debt declared sacred and inviolable, and the duty of the government to recognize the services of the federal soldiers and sailors admitted. A final resolution commended the President in the highest terms, as worthy of the nation, “having faith unassailable in the people and in the principles of free government." :

These views were fully elaborated in an address prepared by Henry J. Raymond, and read before the convention. Little attempt was made to qualify or render less offensive the argument that the Southern States must be allowed their representation in Congress, whether or not such action was for the best interest of the Union. Referring to this the address declared that “we have no right, for such reasons, to deny to any portion of the States or people rights expressly conferred upon them by the Constitution of the United States." We should trust to the ability of our people

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“to protect and defend, under all contingencies and by whatever means may be required, its honor and welfare.":

A committee of the convention hastened formally to present its proceedings to President Johnson, who had taken the keenest interest in the plans of the National Union party. In his remarks to the committee he feelingly referred to the somewhat theatrical entrance of the delegates of South Carolina and Massachusetts, "arm in arm, marching into that vast assemblage, and thus giving evidence that the two extremes had come together again, and that for the future they were united, as they had been in the past, for the preservation of the Union." Speaking to a sympathetic audience, who applauded him to the echo, and believing that the people were now endorsing his opposition to Congress, he saw no necessity for tempering his statements, and cast aside his discretion. His characterization of Congress was as follows: “We have witnessed, in one department of the government, every endeavor to prevent the restoration of peace, harmony and union. We have seen hanging upon the verge of the Government, as it were, a body called, or which assumes to be, the Congress of the United States, while in fact it is a Congress of only a part of the States. We have seen this Congress pretend to be for the Union, when its every step and act tended to perpetuate disunion and make a disruption of the States inevitable. Instead of promoting reconciliation and harmony, its legislation has partaken of the character of penalties, retaliation and revenge. This has been the course and policy of one portion of the Government.”. Again, to show the disinterestedness of his own course, he said: “If I had wanted authority, or if I had wished to perpetuate my own power, how easily could I have held and wielded that power which

Blaine, Twenty Years of Congress, ii, 222.
? McPherson, History of the Reconstruction, 127.


was placed in my hands by the measure called the Freedmen's Bureau bill (laughter and applause). With an army, which it placed at my discretion, I could have remained at the capital of the nation, and with fifty or sixty millions of appropriations at my disposal, with the machinery to be unlocked by my own hands, with my satraps and dependents in every town and village, with the Civil Rights bill following as an auxiliary (laughter), and with the patronage and other appliances of the Government, I could have proclaimed myself dictator.” (“That's true !” and applause.)"

But his indiscretions did not end with speeches before his sympathizers. Two weeks later he started on a trip, nominally to assist in the ceremony of laying the cornerstone of the Douglas monument in Chicago. As a matter of fact, however, he was merely taking advantage of an opportunity to defend his policy publicly. Johnson was of too impassioned a nature to be able to judge as to how far the President of the United States could afford to adopt the methods of the stump speaker. All constraint was thrown away, and he acted at many times the part most natural to him, that of a popular orator addressing the masses. His speeches at no time lacked clearness. All could see where he stood, and nothing was left for speculation.

His first important effort while on his journey was at New York on August 29, where he responded to a toast proposed by the mayor of the city. In this speech he defined the issue as follows: "The rebellion has been suppressed, and in the suppression of the rebellion it (the government] has * * * established the great fact that these States have not the power, and it denied their right, by forcible or peaceable

McPherson, History of the Reconstruction, 129. This manner of indicating his disinterestedness caused great offense in some quarters. See the account below of the Pittsburg convention of soldiers and sailors of September 26.

? See Blaine, Twenty Years of Congress, ii, 237–239.

means, to separate themselves from the Union. (Cheers, “Good !") That having been determined and settled by the Government of the United States in the field and in one of the departments of the government—the executive department of the government—there is an open issue; there is another department of your government which has declared by its official acts, and by the position of the Government, notwithstanding the rebellion was suppressed for the purpose of preserving the Union of the States and establishing the doctrine that the States could not secede, yet they have practically assumed and declared and carried up to the present point, that the Government was dissolved and the States were out of the Union. (Cheers.) We who contended for the opposite doctrine years ago contended that even the States had not the right to peaceably secede; and one of the means and modes of possible secession was that the States of the Union might withdraw their representatives from the Congress of the United States, and that would be practical dissolution. We denied that they had any such right. (Cheers.) And now, when the doctrine is established that they have no right to withdraw, and the rebellion is at an end

we find that in violation of the Constitution, in express terms as well as in spirit, that these States of the Union have been and still are denied their representation in the Senate and in the House of Representatives." Then, speaking of the people of the South: “* * Do we want to humiliate them and degrade them and drag them in the dust? (“No, no!' Cheers.) I say this, and I repeat it here to-night, I do not want them to come back to this Union a degraded and debased people. (Loud cheers.) They are not fit to be a part of this great American family if they are degraded and treated with ignominy and contempt. I want them when they come

1 McPherson, History of the Reconstruction, 130.

back to become a part of this great country, an honored portion of the American people." ;

Another representative speech was the one which he made in Cleveland on September 3: “I tell you, my countrymen, I have been fighting the South, and they have been whipped and crushed, and they acknowledge their defeat and accept the terms of the Constitution; and now, as I go around the circle, having fought traitors at the South, I am prepared to fight traitors at the North. (Cheers.) God willing, with your help we will do it. (Cries of 'We won't.') It will be crushed North and South, and this glorious Union of ours will be preserved. (Cheers.) I do not come here as the Chief Magistrate of twenty-five States out of thirty-six. (Cheers.) I came here to-night with the flag of my country and the Constitution of thirty-six States untarnished. Are you for dividing this country? (Cries of 'No.') Then I am President, and I am President of the whole United States. (Cheers.)”?

Speeches of this nature, coming at a time when the out

McPherson, History of the Reconstruction, 131, 132. ? McPherson, 135. The following is a good example of the manner in which Johnson lowered himself to the level of the disorderly element, who made a bedlam out of some of the meetings he attended. The extract is from the Cleveland speech: “Who can come and place his finger on one pledge I ever violated, or one principle I ever proved false to? (A voice, * How about New Orleans?' Another voice, ‘Hang Jeff Davis.') Hang Jeff Davis, he says. (Cries of . No' and *Down with him!) Hang Jeff Davis, he says. (A voice, * Hang Thad. Stevens and Wendell Phillips.') Hang Jeff Davis. Why don't you hang him? (Cries of 'Give us the opportunity.') Have you not got the court? Have not you got the Attorney General? (A voice, “Who is your Chief Justice who has refused to sit upon the trial?' Cheers.) I am not the Chief Justice. I am not the prosecuting attorney. (Cheers.) I am not the jury.

“I will tell you what I did do. I called upon your Congress that is trying to break up the government. (Cries, 'You be d-d !' and cheers mingled with bisses. Great confusion. •Don't get mad, Andy:') Well, I will tell you who is mad. “Whom the gods wish to destroy, they first make mad.' Did your Congress order them to be tried? (“Three cheers for Congress '),” etc.

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