Franklin Repository: 11 08, 1865Go To Page : 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |
An Hour With Andrew Johnson
(Column 1)Summary: A synopsis of A. K. McClure's interview with President Johnson. McClure, the chief editor of the Repository, initially supported Johnson's candidacy for Vice-President but admits to having grave reservations about his choice since the nominating convention in Baltimore in 1864. The two men discussed a number of topics, including Johnson's view on reconstruction, the proposed trial of Jeff Davis, and the merits of confiscation.
Full Text of Article:
Editorial Correspondence of the Franklin Repository.
Washington, October 31, 1865.
I was of those, in a humble way, who fashioned Andrew Johnson into a Vice President at Baltimore--having publicly supported his nomination before the meeting of the Convention and voted for him in that body. I have since then had occasion to complain of my own work, and have never after the inauguration, been free from grave apprehensions as to the wisdom of that choice. Differing with most men who besiege the Executive department in this very important particular, that the administration has no [illeg] I aspire to, I may differ with most of them also alike in the frankness with which I counsel, when invited to do so, and in the convictions which result from contact with rulers.
I found myself here on Friday for the first time since February last, and during the afternoon of the same day, called at the White House to see President Johnson. I found the halls, the ante-chamber and all other available spaces around the Executive room, crowded with a motley mass of men, with an anxious female face here and there giving variety to the scene--all waiting, and some from day to day, to gain an interview with the President and plead for restoration of citizenship and property. Soon the door opened and a genteel lady emerged from the President's room with a large official envelope clutched nervously in her hand, and a benignity of countenance that told more plainly than words that another citizen had been born again to the Republic. Soon after another and then another came with like trophies of success, and as each one passed out the mass would sway toward the door to catch the name of the next one called. In a little time I gained admission and had my first interview with Andrew Johnson as President.
There are few men who could make a more favorable impression upon a stranger on first acquaintance than the President. He differs from Mr. Lincoln in most external characteristics, and in many contrasts favorably. He lacks Mr. Lincoln's jolly humor; improves upon his ungainly ways; is vastly more diplomatic, and wears a uniform and quiet dignity that would have been shockingly out of place in his lamented predecessor, but which well becomes the Chief Executive of a great Nation. He is about five feet ten in height, rather stoutly and symmetrically built, has long hair well silvered by the frosts of time, rather a cold grey eye that looks as if in its calmest glances there slumbers behind it quite enough to quicken it; a finely chiseled Roman face, usually sad in expression, at times relieved by a genial smile, and in manner and dress serenely plain and unaffected. Such is, in brief, a portrait of Andrew Johnson, but two years ago the despised, the reviled of traitors: the man upon whose head fell their fiercest denunciations and against whom were hurled their keenest and deadliest shafts, and now the President of the United States with his foes at his feet supplicating his pardon, and charged with the highest duties and responsibilities ever imposed on mortal man.
He meets the visitor cordially, and speaks in the softest tone and in well measured sentences. There was little formality--the usual greetings and thence we passed to questions of graver moment. However reticent he may be on some issues, he seems to have no reserve as to the policy he conceives to be the true one to bring back the insurgent States. He discussed the position of those States and their people with great interest and occasional warmth, and with a frankness that left no doubt as to his purpose. He holds that they were never out of the Union; that secession, however accomplished as a fact, cannot be accomplished in law, that the supreme authority of the government in those States was not overthrown by rebellion, but simply in abeyance, and of course it logically follows his premises that, since rebellion has ceased, the States resume their proper place in the Union and restoration is accomplished. This, in brief, was the stand point from which the President discussed the question of reconstruction for more than an hour, and answered suggestive objections at times with an earnestness that demonstrated how ardently he is working to give success to his policy. I could not but remind him that his theory stripped all traitors of the protection they might claim as public enemies; that it would stamp as guilty of treason within the law every man who aided the rebellion, and of necessity demand at his hands commensurate punishment for what he must hold as unmitigated crime--as appalling murder and desolation for which there is no extenuation to be plead. "You have," I added, "given us on every hand the Nation's monuments of mercy--where will be its monuments of Justice? Davis is a proclaimed assassin, as well as traitor--his agents have died, another (Werze) will follow--how are the principals to atone to a people doubly bereaved in their homes and in their chief sanctuary of power?" To this the President answered with much animation that the measure of, and the time for, atonement were yet for the future to determine. I shall not soon forget the emphasis with which he declared that the South must come back and be a part of us, and "it must come," he added, "with all its manhood--I don't want it to come eviscerated of its manhood!" To this proposition abstractly there could be no objection made. We want the South with all its manhood, which I would conceive to be the Southern people with their treason abandoned and their crimes punished--not punished revengefully; not in imitation of the Guillotine of France or the Inquisition of Spain; but by making the leaders who conspired to overthrow the government, strangers to its honors and its citizenship and thus through life the monuments of the power, the justice and the magnanimity of the mightiest nation of the earth. The President said that such may be the measure of punishment; that he had pardoned but few who would come under such a rule; that there are exceptions to all rules, and there were both civil functionaries and army officers who might be pardoned with propriety. He said that he had not yet gone as far in his amnesty, either general or special, as Mr. Lincoln proposed. He explained what is not generally known, that his pardons are mainly of business men, many of whom were Union men, who must have pardons to enable them to sell or mortgage their lands, or to get credit in their business operations; and added that he had not yet reached the consideration of such cases as Lee, Stephens, Longstreet, Beauregard and others of that class.
He spoke freely of the proposed trial of Davis, and said that as yet the government had not taken any steps in the matter. If he is to be tried in Richmond, the trial must necessarily be postponed until the civil authority is fully restored, and then it will be a question for consideration under the condition of affairs which may at that time exist. As Virginia is still practically under martial law, certainly wholly under military rule, I judge that many moons may wax and wane before we can have a great State trial. I do not question the wisdom of this delay, for it is certainly better for the government to avoid the danger of defeat in attempting to convict of constructive treason in Washington, than to force a trial which might afford a technical escape for Davis and leave the great questions undetermined. If I were going guess on the subject, I would say that Davis is more likely to be paroled during the next year than to be tried, and if he is ever hanged, he must do it himself.
The President is clearly adverse to confiscation and that question is practically settled. Whatever might be the views of Congress, confiscation is not possible with an Executive determinedly hostile to it and with the pardoning power in his hands. I infer however, that on this point Congress will harmonize with the Executive, as a number of even the radical leaders, such as Greeley and Sumner, openly oppose it. If our credit can be sustained otherwise I am content. Five years hence we shall be wiser on that point than now.
I believe that the President will wield all his power to effect the admission of the representatives of the rebellious States into Congress during the next session. The Senate being organized the question cannot come up there until it is brought up in order; but there will be a strong pressure to force the admission of the Southern members by placing their names on the roll when the House meets. This Mr. McPherson will not do, and on all votes of instructions he will call only those who are returned from States clearly entitled to representation. The law forbids him to do otherwise, and he will be faithful to it. The question of their admission will then agitate the House, and I fear make a sad breach between the President and Congress. The South is encouraged by the position of the administration to be importunate in its demand for admission, and it is not improbable that it will in the end be admitted. I have seldom seen Congress struggle against power and hold out to the end. The history of such conflicts is always dotted with frail ones who fall by the way. I have ever felt that the revolted States should take no part in the government they vainly sought to destroy until all issues arising from the war, and all its logical results, should be settled by faithful men. To the victors, not to the vanquished--to the friends, not to the foes of the government does this duty belong, and if it shall be otherwise, there are many who will tremble for the safety of the Republic.
On the future of the freedmen the President talks well. He displays more sense than sentiment on the question and means to solve the problem fairly as demanded by civilization and humanity. Of their ability to win a position that will enable them to be incorporated into our system of government as citizens, he is not eminently hopeful, but feels that it must be fairly tried with an open field for the negro. That failing, he looks upon colonization as the only alternative.
It would be foolish to disguise the fact that the President, both by word and deed, disclaims the position of a partizan Executive, and that he is not insensible to the flattering approval of his administration by the Democratic party. I do not mean by this that he is not wholly in sympathy and fellowship with them; but I do mean that he is not wholly in sympathy against them; and he will, I feel warranted in saying, adhere to the political fortunes of the Southern States without regard to political consequences. This may or may not sever him from the party that sustained and cherished him in the darkest days through which he passed, and that won him the highest honors of the Nation through a flood of obloquy; but if it does, I infer that he will accept the situation. He evidently means above all other things, to compass the admission of the Southern members and the complete restoration to power of those States, and if Massachusetts and South Carolina can strike hands over the same administration, then will we have a faithful President and a harmonious country. If not--I leave the future to tell the story. Where in all this record soon to be made up the Nation shall see that "treason is the greatest of crimes and must be punished," is not to my mind apparent.
A. K. V.
Trailer: A. K. M.[No Title]
(Column 3)Summary: Word has arrived that the overwhelming majority of the soldiers in the 77th Regiment voted, and it is expected that most of them cast their ballots for McConaughy, which would give the Republican candidate an edge over his rival, and presumed victor in the contest, C. M. Duncan. Should the soldiers' returns not give McConaughy a majority of the vote, the article informs readers that all is not lost since it has been discovered that some 80 deserters voted illegally in the election, giving their support to Duncan.
(Names in announcement: David McConaughy, C. M. Duncan)Full Text of Article:[No Title]
OUR advices from the 77th regiment leave no room for doubt that most of its members voted, and we look for a return in a very few days that will reverse Mr. Duncan's majority and fairly elect Mr. McConaughy. We have seen an officer of the Battery that was connected with the 77th, who says that the most, if not all of the companies voted, and that the State Commissioner has the returns. He started North by Cairo, while the Battery returned by water, and he may be looked for daily.
If our information on this point is correct as to the vote cast--and we can see no reason to doubt it--Mr. McConaughy is fairly elected as the full return will demonstrate, and on a contest he will be promptly given Mr. Duncan's place. If, however, the army vote should disappoint us, we are assured that not less than 80 deserters voted for Mr. Duncan in the district in violation of the act of Congress, and on that ground the Senate would certainly eject Mr. Duncan in a contest.
Looking over the whole case as it now presents itself, we feel safe in saying that Mr. McConaughy will be our next Senator.
(Column 3)Summary: At the Werze trial, reports the article, the defendant has argued that he was only following orders and that he was "a creature of other and abler men who were his superiors in authority." If this claim proves to be true, it contends, then all of the high officials implicated by his testimony "should die or Werze should live."Harrisburg
(Column 4)Summary: The Repository's correspondent details the machinations embroiling the Democratic party over the selection of its next gubernatorial nominee.Washington
(Column 5)Summary: It is reported that a "great deal of gossip, argument and speculation" has been swirling about the capital over the issue of whether the Clerk of the House will admit the names of the men elected from the rebellious states. According to Repository's Washington correspondent, the Clerk, McPherson, is "too loyal and honest a man" to commit such an irresponsible act.
Local Items--Gossip With Our Friends
(Column 1)Summary: Gossip provides a first-hand account of the fatal train accident that occurred two weeks earlier near Lancaster. In the crash, Gossip suffered a serious wound after a piece of metal crushed his leg, tearing open the flesh all the way to the bone.Local Items--Court Proceedings
(Column 1)Local Items--An Impostor
(Column 2)Summary: It is reported from Lancaster county that a swindler by the name of Patterson is collecting money there under the pretense that the donations are to be used to aid the poor in Franklin county. A $50 reward is offered for Mr. Patterson's arrest.
Origin of Article: Lancaster ExpressLocal Items--A Veteran Gone
(Column 2)Summary: John Abbott, a veteran of the War of 1812, died in Chambersburg on Thursday October 25th.
(Names in announcement: John Abbott)Origin of Article: Greencastle PilotLocal Items--A Row
(Column 2)Summary: Last Saturday, an altercation occurred outside of the drinking house on Water St., in which William Henneberger and Marion Elliott were severely beaten.Local Items--Political
(Names in announcement: William Henneberger, Marion Elliott)
(Column 3)Summary: The official tally for the home and army vote for Senator and Assembly.
Full Text of Article:Local Items--Mustered Out
POLITICAL.--The following is the official home and army vote for Senator and Assembly:SENATOR County M'Conaughy Duncan Adams 2,578 2,667 Franklin 3,585 3,521 Total 6,163 6,188 Duncan's majority 25. ASSEMBLY. County Stumbaugh Shuman M'Lellan Tressler Franklin 3,619 3,528 3,611 3,458 Perry 2,273 2,283 2,030 2,052 Total 5,892 5,811 5,641 5,510 Stumbaugh over M'Lellan 251 Stumbaugh over Tressler 382 Shuman over M'Lellan 170 Shuman over Tressler 301 Union candidates in italics; Democrats in Roman
(Column 3)Summary: Independent Battery B., Pennsylvania Artillery arrived last week in Harrisburg where they paid and mustered out. Part of the Battery was raised in Chambersburg by Col. Housum, its first commander, and subsequently led by Capt. Samuel McDowell, from Chambersburg, before he fell in battle.Local Items--Serious Accident
(Names in announcement: Col. Housum, Capt. Samuel McDowell)
(Column 3)Summary: A serious accident occurred last Monday when a hand car carrying a number of railroad employees struck a large stone while passing quickly through Greencastle. The jolt threw John Simpson to the ground where one of the wagon's wheels ran over Simpson's ankle, and broke it.
(Names in announcement: John Simpson)Origin of Article: Greencastle PilotLocal Items--Robbery
(Column 3)Summary: In need of a room, a stranger stopped at the Union Hotel one night last week where the owner, Mr. Fisher, gave him use of a room belonging to a lady. During the night, the stranger fled from his lodgings, carrying several articles of the lady's clothing. The perpetrator was caught in Carlisle and the woman's clothes returned.Local Items
(Names in announcement: Fisher)
(Column 3)Summary: Capt. John Doebler, Sheriff elect, resigned his post last week at a meeting of the Directors of the Poor. He was replaced by Martin Heintzleman, of Fayettville. During the proceedings, Capt. James M. Clayton, Director elect, assumed his seat as a member of the Board.Married
(Names in announcement: Capt. James Doebler, Martin Heintzleman, Capt. James M. Clayton)
(Column 3)Summary: On Nov. 2nd, John J. Allen, of Northampton county, and Bella C. Glass were married by Rev. S. H. C. Smith.Married
(Names in announcement: John J. Allen, Bella C. Glass, Rev. S. H. C. Smith)
(Column 3)Summary: On Oct. 26th, R. E. Crooks, late editor of the Greencastle Pilot, and Kate Bechdel, of Washington county, Md., were married by Rev. William Eyster.Married
(Names in announcement: R. E. Crooks, Kate Bechdel, Rev. William Eyster)
(Column 3)Summary: On Oct. 5th, Jacob Stouffer and Mary Hoover were married by Rev. William Eyster.Married
(Names in announcement: Jacob Stouffer, Mary Hoover, Rev. William Eyster)
(Column 3)Summary: On Oct. 5th, Thomas Cunningham and Rebecca Hoover were married by Rev. William Eyster.Married
(Names in announcement: Thomas Cunningham, Rebecca Hoover, Rev. William Eyster)
(Column 3)Summary: On Oct. 19th, Daniel Gordon and Catharine Kuhnes were married by Rev. William Eyster.Married
(Names in announcement: Daniel Gordon, Catharine Kuhnes, Rev. William Eyster)
(Column 3)Summary: On Oct. 29th, John C. Kennedy, of Washington county, Ill., and Kate C. Kennedy were married by Rev. J. W. Wightman.Married
(Names in announcement: John C. Kennedy, Kate C. Kennedy, Rev. J. W. Wightman)
(Column 3)Summary: On Oct. 31st, Elam G. Frantz and Mattie B. Funk were married by Rev. W. E. Krebs.Married
(Names in announcement: Elam G. Frantz, Mattie B. Funk, Rev. W. E. Krebs)
(Column 3)Summary: On Nov. 1st, Daniel Droch and Amada J. Furry were married by Rev. H. A. Schlichter.Died
(Names in announcement: Daniel Droch, Amanda J. Furry, Rev. H. A. Schlichter)
(Column 3)Summary: On Oct. 29th, George Summers, 30, died in Greencastle.Died
(Names in announcement: George Summers)
(Column 3)Summary: On Oct. 26th, Henry F. Stover, 26, died in Waynesboro.Died
(Names in announcement: Henry F. Stover)
(Column 3)Summary: On Oct. 28th, Miller Ferree, 51, died in Greenvillage.
(Names in announcement: Miller Ferree)
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