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ing, after I had made known the fact that I was no longer Secretary of War ad interim.
At this meeting, after opening it as though I were a inember of the cabinet, when reminded of the notification already given him that I was no longer Secretary of War ad interim, the President gave a version of the conversations alluded to already. In this statement it was asserted that in both conversations I had agreed to hold on to the office of Secretary of War until displaced by the courts, or resign, so as to place the President where he would have been had I never accepted the office. After hearing the President through, I stated our conversations substantially as given in this letter. I will add that my conversation before the cabinet embraced other matter not pertinent here, and is therefore left out.
I in nowise admitted the correctness of the President's statement of our conversations, though, to soften the evident contradiction my statement gave, I said (alluding to our first conversation on the subject) the President might have understood me the way he said, namely, that I had promised to resign if I did not resist the reinstatement. I made no such promise. I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
U. S. GRANT, General. His Excellency A. JOHNSON,
President of the United States.
No. 3.-ENDORSEMENT OF THE PRESIDENT ON
No. 5. THE PRESIDENT TO GENERAL GRANT.
January 31, 1868. GENERAL: I have received your communication of the 28th instant, renewing your request of the 24th, that I should repeat in a written form my verbal instructions of the 19th instant, viz: That you obey no order from the honorable Edwin M. Stanton, as Secretary of War, unless you have information that it was issued by the President's directions.
In submitting this request, (with which I complied on the 29th instant,) you take occasion to allude to recent publications in reference to the circumstances connected with the vacation, by yourself, of the office of Secretary of War ad interim, and, with the view of correcting statements, which you term "gross misrepresentations," give at length your own recollection of the facts under which, without the sanction of the President, from whom you had received and accepted the appointment, you yielded the Department of War to the present incumbent.
As stated in your communication, some time after you had assumed the duties of Secretary of War ad interim, we interchanged views respecting the course that should be pursued in the event of non-concurrence by the Senate in the suspension from office of Mr. Stanton sought that interview, calling myself at the War Department. My sole object in then bringing the subject to your attention was to ascertain definitely what would be your own action should such an attempt be made for his restoration to the War Department. That object was accomplished, for the interview terminated with the distinct understanding that if, upon reflection, you should prefer not to become a party to the controversy, or should conclude that it would be your duty to surrender the department to Mr. Stanton, upon action in his favor by the Senate, you were to return the office to me prior to a decision by the Senate, in order that, if I desired to do so, I might designate some one to succeed you. It must have been apparent to you that, had not this understanding been reached, it was my purpose to relieve you from of War ad interim, and to appoint some other the further discharge of the duties of Secretary person in that capacity.
No. 4. GENERAL GRANT TO THE PRESIDENT. HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE UNITED STATES, WASHINGTON, January 30, 1868. SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the return of my note of the 24th instant, with your endorsement thereon, that I am not to obey any Other conversations upon this subject ensued, order from the War Department assumed to be issued by the direction of the President, unless all of them having, on my part, the same obsuch order is known by me to have been author-ject, and leading to the same conclusion, as the ized by the Executive; and in reply thereto to say, that I am informed by the Secretary of War that he has not received from the Executive any order or instructions limiting or impairing his authority to issue orders to the army as has heretofore been his practice under the law and the customs of the department. While this authority to the War Department is not countermanded, it will be satisfactory evidence to me that any orders issued from the War Department, by direction of the President, are authorized by the Executive.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your
His Excellency A. JOHNSON,
first. It is not necessary, however, to refer to any of them, excepting that of Saturday, the 11th it was then known that the Senate had proinstant, mentioned in your communication. As ceeded to consider the case of Mr. Stanton, I was anxious to learn your determination. After visions of the tenure of office bill were freely a protracted interview, during which the prodiscussed, you said that, as had been agreed upon in our first conference, you would either return the office to my possession in time to enable me to appoint a successor before final action by the Senate upon Mr. Stanton's sus pension, or would remain as its head, awaiting a decision of the question by judicial proceedings. It was then understood that there would be a further conference on Monday, by which
with an understanding more than once repeated, which I thought had received your full assent, and under which you could have returned to me the office which I had conferred upon you, thus saving yourself from embarrassment, and leaving the responsibility where it properly belonged-with the President, who is accountable for the faithful execution of the laws.
time I supposed you would be prepared to in- | form me of your final decision. You failed, however, to fulfill the engagement, and on Tuesday notified me, in writing, of the receipt by you of official notification of the action of the Senate in the case of Mr. Stanton, and at the same time informed me that according to the act regulating the tenure of certain civil offices your functions as Secretary of War ad interim I have not yet been informed by you whether, ceased from the moment of the receipt of the as twice proposed by yourself, you have called notice. You thus, in disregard of the under-upon Mr. Stanton, and made an effort to induce standing between us, vacated the office without him voluntarily to retire from the War Departhaving given me notice of your intention to do ment. 80. It is but just, however, to say that in your You conclude. your communication with a communication you claim that you did inform reference to our conversation at the meeting of me of your purpose, and thus " fulfilled the the cabinet held on Tuesday, the 14th instant. promise made in our last preceding conversa- In your account of what then occurred, you say tion on this subject." The fact that such a that after the President had given his version of promise existed is evidence of an arrangement our previous conversations, you stated them of the kind I have mentioned. You had found substantially as given in your letter; that you in our first conference "that the President was in nowise admitted the correctness of his statedesirous of keeping Mr. Stanton out of office, ment of them, "though, to soften the evident whether sustained in the suspension or not." contradiction my statement gave, I said (alludYou knew what reasons had induced the Presi-ing to our first conversation on the subject) the dent to ask from you a promise; you also knew President might have understood me in the way that in case your views of duty did not accord he said, namely: that I had promised to resign with his own convictions, it was his purpose to if I did not resist the reinstatement. I made no fill your place by another appointment. Even such promise." ignoring the existence of a positive understanding between us, these conclusions were plainly deducible from our various conversations. It is certain, however, that even under these circumstances, you did not offer to return the place to my possession, but, according to your own statement, placed yourself in a position where, could I have anticipated your action, I would have been compelled to ask of you, as I was com pelled to ask of your predecessor in the War Department, a letter of resignation, or else to resort to the more disagreeable expedient of superseding you by a successor.
As stated in your letter, the nomination of Governor Cox, of Ohio, for the office of Secretary of War was suggested to me. His appointment, as Mr. Stanton's successor, was urged in your name, and it was said that his selection would save further embarrassment. I did not think that in the selection of a cabinet officer I should be trammelled by such considerations. I was prepared to take the responsibility of deciding the question in accordance with my ideas of constitutional duty, and, having determined upon a course which I deemed right and proper, was anxious to learn the steps you would take should the possession of the War Department be demanded by Mr. Stanton. Had your action been in conformity to the understanding between us, I do not believe that the embarrassment would have attained its present proportions, or that the probability of its repetition | would have been so great.
My recollection of what then transpired is diametrically the reverse of your narration. In the presence of the cabinet I asked you:
First. If, in a conversation which took place shortly after your appointment as Secretary of War ad interim, you did not agree either to remain at the head of the War Department and abide any judicial proceedings that might follow non-concurrence by the Senate in Mr Stanton's suspension; or, should you wish not to become involved in such a controversy, to put me in the same position with respect to the office as I occupied previous to your appointment, by returning it to me in time to anticipate such action by the Senate. This you admitted.
Second. I then asked you if, at our conference on the preceding Saturday, I had not, to avoid misunderstanding, requested you to state what you intended to do, and further, if, in reply to that inquiry, you had not referred to our former conversations, saying that from them I under stood your position, and that your action woul be consistent with the understanding which had been reached. To these questions you also 14plied in the affirmative.
Third. I next asked if, at the conclusion f our interview on Saturday it was not understood that we were to have another conference un Monday, before final action by the Senate in the case of Mr. Stanton. You replied that that such was the understanding, but that you did not suppose the Senate would act so soon; that on Monday you had been engaged in a I know that, with a view to an early termina- conference with General Sherman, and were tion of a state of affairs so detrimental to the occupied with "many little matters," and asked public interests, you voluntarily offered, both on if General Sherman had not called on that day. Wednesday, the 15th instant, and on the suc- What relevancy General Sherman s visit to me ceeding Sunday, to call upon Mr. Stanton, and on Monday had with the purpose for which you urge upon him that the good of the service were then to have called, I am at a loss to perrequired his resignation. I confess that I conceive, as he certainly did not inform me whether sidered your proposal as a sort of reparation for you had determined to retain possession of the the failure, on your part, to act in accordance office, or to afford me an opportunity to appoint
a successor in advance of any attempted reinstatement of Mr. Stanton.
This account of what passed between us at the cabinet meeting on the 14th instant widely differs from that contained in your communication, for it shows that instead of having "stated our conversations as given in the letter," which has made this reply necessary, you admitted that my recital of them was entirely accurate. Sincerely anxious, however, to be correct in my statements, I have to-day read this narration of what occurred on the 14th instant to the members of the cabinet who were then present. They, without exception, agree in its accuracy. It is only necessary to add that on Wednesday morning, the 15th instant, you called on me, in company with Lieutenant General Sherman. After some preliminary conversation, you remarked that an article in the National Intelligencer of that date did you much injustice. I replied that I had not read the Intelligencer of that morning. You then first told me that it was your intention to urge Mr. Stanton to resign his office.
After you had withdrawn, I carefully read the article of which you had spoken, and found that its statements of the understanding between us were substantially correct. On the 17th, I caused it to be read to four of the five members of the cabinet who were present at our conference on the 14th, and they concurred in the general accuracy of its statements respecting our conversation upon that occasion.
In reply to your communication, I have deemed it proper, in order to prevent further misunderstanding, to make this simple recital of facts. Very respectfully, yours,
General U. S. GRANT,
Commanding U. S Armies.
No. 6.-GENERAL GRANT TO THE PRESIDENT. HEADQ'RS ARMY OF THE UNITED STATES, WASHINGTON, February 3, 1868. SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your communication of the 31st ultimo, in answer to mine of the 28th ultimo. After a careful reading and comparison of it with the article in the National Intelligencer of the 15th ultimo, and the article over the initials J. B. S., in the New York World of the 27th ultimo, purporting to be based upon your statement and that of the members of your cabinet therein named, I find it to be but a reiteration, only somewhat more in detail, of the "many and gross misrepresentations" contained in these articles, and which my statement of the facts set forth in my letter of 28th ultimo was intended to correct; and I here reassert the correctness of my statements in that letter, anything in yours in reply to it to the contrary notwitl.standing.
I confess my surprise that the cabinet officers referred to should so greatly misapprehend the facts in the matter of admissions alleged to have been made by me at the cabinet meeting of the 14th ultimo as to suffer their names to be made the basis of the charges in the newspaper article referred to, or agree in the accuracy, as you affirm they do, of your account of what occurred at that meeting.
You know that we parted on Saturday, the 11th ultimo, without any promise on my part, either express or implied, to the effect that I would hold on to the office of Secretary of Wat ad interim against the action of the Senate, or, declining to do so myself, would surrender it to you before such action was had, or that I would see you again at any fixed time on the subject. The performance of the promises alleged by you to have been made by me would have involved a resistance to law, and an inconsistency with the whole history of my connection with the suspension of Mr. Stanton.
From our conversations, and my written protest of August 1, 1867, against the removal of Mr. Stanton, you must have known that my greatest objection to his removal or suspension was the fear that some one would be appointed in his stead who would, by opposition to the laws relating to the restoration of the southern States to their proper relations to the government, embarrass the army in the performance of duties especially imposed upon it by these laws; and it was to prevent such an appointment that I accepted the office of Secretary of War ad interim, and not for the purpose of enabling you to get rid of Mr. Stanton by my withholding it from him in opposition to law, or not doing so myself, surrendering it to one who would, as the statement and assumptions in your communication plainly indicate was sought. And it was to avoid the same danger, as well as to re lieve you from this personal embarrassment in which Mr. Stanton's reinstatement would place you, that I urged the appointment of Governor Cox, believing that it would be agreeable to you and also to Mr. Stanton-satisfied as I was that it was the good of the country, and not the office, the latter desired.
On the 15th ultimo, in presence of General Sherman, I stated to you that I thought Mr. Stanton would resign, but did not say that I would advise him to do so. On the 18th I did agree with General Sherman to go and advise him to that course, ad on the 19th I had an interview alone with Mr. Stanton, which led me to the conclusion that any advice to him of the kind would be useless, and I so informed General Sherman.
Before I consented to advise Mr. Stanton to resign, I understood from him, in a conversation on the subject immediately after his reinstatement, that it was his opinion that the act of Congress, entitled "An act temporarily to supply vacancies in the executive departments in certain cases," approved February 20, 1863, was repealed by subsequent legislation, which materially influenced my action. Previous to this time I had had no doubt that the law of 1863 was still in force, and notwithstanding my action, a fuller examination of the law leaves a question in my mind whether it is or is not repealed. This being the case, I could not now advise his resignation, lest the same danger I apprehended on his first removal might follow.
The course you would have it understood I agreed to pursue was in violation of law, and without orders from you; while the course I did pursue, and which I never doubted you fully understood, was in accordance with law, and not in disobedience of any orders of my superior.
and I leave the proof without & word of counment.
I deem it proper, before concluding this communication, to notice some of the statements contained in your letter.
And now, Mr. President, when my honor as a soldier and integrity as a man have been so violently assailed, pardon me for saying that I can but regard this whole matter, from the beginning to the end, as an attempt to involve me in the resistance of law, for which you hesitated You say that a performance of the promises to assume the responsibility in orders, and thus alleged to have been made by you to the Presito destroy my character before the country. Ident "would have involved a resistance to law, am in a measure confirmed in this conclusion by and an inconsistency with the whole history of your recent orders directing me to disobey orders my connection with the suspension of Mr. Stanfrom the Secretary of War-my superior and ton." You then state that you had fears the your subordinate without having counter- President would, on the removal of Mr. Stanton, manded his authority to issue the orders I am appoint some one in his place who would emto disobey. barrass the army in carrying out the reconstruction acts, and add:
With the assurance, Mr. President, that nothing less than a vindication of my personal honor and character could have induced this correspondence on my part,
"It was to prevent such an appointment that I accepted the office of Secretary of War ad interim, and not for the purpose of enabling you to get rid of Mr. Stanton, by my withholding it from him in opposition to law, or not doing so myself, surrendering it to one who would, as the statements and assumptions in your communication plainly indicate was sought." General.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant, U. S. GRANT,
His Excellency A. JOHNSON,
President of the United States.
No. 7.-THE PRESIDENT TO GENERAL GRANT. EXECUTIVE MANSION, February 10, 1868. GENERAL: The extraordinary character of your letter of the 3d instant would seem to preclude any reply on my part; but the manner in which publicity has been given to the correspondence of which that letter forms a part, and the grave questions which are involved, induce me to take this mode of giving, as a proper sequel to the communications which have passed between us, the statements of the five members of the cabinet who were present on the occasion of our conversation on the 14th ultimo. Copies of the letters, which they have addressed to me upon the subject, are accordingly herewith en
You speak of my letter of the 31st ultimo as a reiteration of the "many and gross misrepresentations contained in certain newspaper articles, and reassert the correctness of the statements contained in your communication of the 28th ultimo, adding-and here I give your own words "anything in yours in reply to it to the contrary notwithstanding."
When a controversy upon matters of fact reaches the point to which this has been brought,
further assertion or denial between the immedi
First of all, you here admit that from the very
ate parties should cease, especially where, upon
written by yourself in your letter of the 28th ult.:
war ad interim, the President asked me my views as to the course Mr. Stanton would have to pursue, in case the Senate should not concur in his suspension, to obtain possession of would have to appeal to the courts to reinstate him, illus his office. My reply was, in substance, that Mr. Stanton trating my position by citing the ground I had taken in the
"Sometime after I assumed the duties of Secretary of
Now, at that time, as you admit in your letter of the 3d instant, you held the office for the very object of defeating an appeal to the courts. In that letter you say that in accepting the office one motive was to prevent the President from appointing some other person who would retain possession, and thus make judicial proceedings necessary. You knew the President was unwilling to trust the office with any one who would not, by holding it, compel Mr. Stau
duties of the office he has continued to discharge them "without any personal or written communication with the President;" and he adds: "No orders have been issued from this Department in the name of the President with my knowledge, and I have received no orders from him."
ton to resort to the courts. You perfectly un- | and he further says, that since he resumed the derstood that in this interview "sometime" after you accepted the office, the President, not content with your silence, desired an expression of your views, and you answered him, that Mr. Stanton "would have to appeal to the courts " If the President had reposed confidence before he knew your views, and that confidence had been vio lated, it might have been said he made a mistake; but a violation of confidence reposed after that conversation was no mistake of his, nor of yours. It is the fact only that needs be stated, that at the date of this conversation you did not intend to hold the office with the purpose of forcing Mr. Stanton into court, but did hold it then, and had accepted it, to prevent that course from being carried out. In other words, you said to the President, "that is the proper course;" and you said to yourself, "I have accepted this office, and now hold it, to defeat that course." The excuse you make in a subsequent paragraph of that letter of the 26th ultimo, that afterwards you changed your views as to what would be a proper course, has nothing to do with the point now under consideration. The point is, that before you changed your views you had secretly determined to do the very thing which at last you did surrender the office to Mr. Stanton. You may have changed your views as to the law, but you certainly did not change your views as to the course you had marked out for yourself from the beginning.
I will only notice one more statement in your letter of the 3d instant-that the performance of the promises which it is alleged were made by you would have involved you in the resistance of law. I know of no statute that would have been violated had you-carrying out your promises in good faith-tendered your resignation when you concluded not to be made a party in any legal proceedings. You add :
It thus seems that Mr. Stanton now discharges the duties of the War Department without any reference to the President, and without using his name. My order to you had only reference to orders "assumed to be issued by the direction of the President." It would appear from Mr. Stanton's letter that you have received no such orders from him. However, in your note to the President of the 30th ultimo, in which you acknowledge the receipt of the written order of the 29th, you say that you have been informed by Mr. Stanton that he has not received any order limiting his authority to issue orders to the army, according to the practice of the Department, and state that "while this authority to the War Department is not countermanded, it will be satisfactory evidence to me that any orders issued from the War Department by direction of the President are authorized by the Executive."
The President issues an order to you to obey no order from the War Department, purporting to be made "by the direction of the President," until you have referred it to him for his approval. You reply that you have received the President's order, and will not obey it, but will obey an order purporting to be given by his direction, if it comes from the War Department. You will not obey the direct order of the Presi dent, but will obey his indirect order. If, as you say, there has been a practice in the War Department to issue orders in the name of the President without his direction, does not the precise order you have requested, and have received, change the practice as to the General of the army? Could not the President countermand any such order issued to you from the War Department? If you should receive an order On the 24th ultimo you addressed a note to from that Department, issued in the name of the the President, requesting, in writing, an order, President, to do a special act, and an order digiven to you verbally five days before, to disre-rectly from the President himself not to do the gard orders from Mr. Stanton as Secretary of War, until you "knew from the President himself that they were his orders."
"I am in a measure confirmed in this conclusion by your recent orders directing me to disobey orders from the Secretary of War, my superior and your subordinate, without having countermanded his authority to issue the orders I am to disobey."
On the 29th, in compliance with your request, I did give you instructions in writing "not to obey any order from the War Department assumed to be issued by the direction of the President, unless such order is known by the General commanding the armies of the United States to have been authorized by the Executive."
act, is there a doubt which you are to obey? You answer the question when you say to the President, in your letter of the 3d instant, the Secretary of War is " 'my superior and your subordinate;" and yet you refuse obedience to the superior out of deference to the subordinate.
Without further comment upon the insubor dinate attitude which you have assumed, I am at a loss to know how you can relieve yourself from obedience to the orders of the President,
who is made by the Constitution the Commanderin-Chief of the army and navy, and is, therefore, the official superior, as well of the General of the army as of the Secretary of War.
Respectfully, yours, ANDREW JOHNSON. General U. S. GRANT, Commanding Armies of the United States, Washington, D. C.
There are some orders which a Secretary of War may issue without the authority of the President; there are others which he issues simply as the agent of the President, and which purport to be by direction" of the President. For such orders the President is responsible, and he should, therefore, know and understand what they are before giving such "direction." Mr. Stanton states in his letter of the 4th instant, which accompanies the published correspondence, that he has had no correspondence with the President since the 12th of August last;"14th of January, 1868:
Copy of a letter addressed to each of the members of the cabinet present at the conversation between the President and General Grant on the