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WASHINGTON, D. C., February 5, 1868. SIR: The Chronicle of this morning contains a correspondence between the President and General Grant, reported from the War Department, in answer to a resolution of the House of Representatives. I beg to call your attention to that correspondence, and especially to that part of it which refers to the conversation between the President and General Grant at the cabinet meeting on the 14th of January, and to request you to state what was said in that conversation. Very respectfully, yours, ANDREW JOHNSON.
LETTER OF THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY.
SIR: I have received your note of the 5th inst., calling my attention to the correspondence between yourself and General Grant, as published in the Chronicle of yesterday, especially to that part of it which relates to what occurred at the cabinet meeting on Tuesday, the 14th ultimo, and requesting me to state what was said
in the conversation referred to.
I cannot undertake to state the precise language used; but I have no hesitation in saying that your account of that conversation, as given in your letter to General Grant under date of the 31st ultimo, substantially and in all important particulars, accorded with my recollection of it.
With great respect, your obedient servant, HUGH MCCULLOCH. The PRESIDENT.
LETTER OF THE POSTMASTER GENERAL.
POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT, WASHINGTON, February 6, 1868. SIR: I am in receipt of your letter of the 5th February, calling my attention to the correspondence published in the Chronicle, between the President and General Grant, and especially to that part of it which refers to the conversation between the President and General Grant at the cabinet meeting on Tuesday, the 14th of January, with a request that I "state what was said in that conversation."
In reply, I have the honor to state that I have read carefully the correspondence in question, and particularly the letter of the President to General Grant, dated January 31, 1868. The following extract from your letter of the 31st of January to General Grant, is, according to my
recollection, a correct statement of the conversation that took place between the President and General Grant at the cabinet meeting on the 14th of January last. In the presence of the cabinet, the President asked General Grant whether, "in a conversation which took place after his appointment as Secretary of War ad interim, he did not agree either to remain at the head of the War Department and abide any judicial proceedings that might follow the nonconcurrence by the Senate in Mr. Stanton's suspension; or, should he wish not to become in. volved in such a controversy, to put the President in the same position with respect to the office as he occupied previous to General Grant's appointment, by returning it to the President in time to anticipate such action by the Senate. This General Grant admitted.
The President then asked General Grant if, at the conference on the preceding Saturday, he had not, to avoid misunderstanding, requested General Grant to state what he intended to do; and, further, if in reply to that inquiry he, General Grant, had not referred to their former conversations, saying that from them the President understood his position, and that his (General Grant's) action would be consistent with the understanding which had been reached.
To these questions General Grant replied in the affirmative.
The President asked General Grant, if, at the conclusion of their interview on Saturday, it was not understood that they were to have another conference on Monday, before final action by the Senate in the case of Mr. Stanton.
General Grant replied that such was the understanding, but that he did not suppose the Senate would act so soon; that on Monday, he had been engaged in a conference with General Sherman, and was occupied with "many little matters," and asked if "General Sherman had not called on that day."
I take this mode of complying with the request contained in the President's letter to me, because my attention had been called to the subject before, when the conversation between the President and General Grant was under consideration.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant, ALEX. W. RANDALL, Postmaster General.
To the PRESIDENT.
LETTER OF THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, WASHINGTON, D. C., February 6, 1869. SIR: I am in receipt of yours of yesterday, calling my attention to a correspondence between yourself and General Grant, published in the Chronicle newspaper, and especially to that part of said correspondence "which refers to the conversation between the President and General Grant at the cabinet meeting on Tuesday, the 14th of January," and requesting me "to state what was said in that conversation."
In reply, I submit the following statement: At the cabinet meeting on Tuesday, the 14th of January, 1868, General Grant appeared and took his accustomed seat at the Board. When he had been reached in the order of business, the
President asked him, as usual, if he had any thing to present.
In reply, the General, after referring to a note which he had that morning addressed to the President, enclosing a copy of the resolution of the Senate refusing to concur in the reasons for the suspension of Mr. Stanton, proceeded to say that he regarded his duties as Secretary of War ad interim terminated by that resolution, and that he could not lawfully exercise such duties for a moment after the adoption of the resolution by the Senate; that the resolution reached him last night, and that this morning he had gone to the War Department, entered the Secretary's room, bolted one door on the inside. locked the other on the outside, delivered the key to the Adjutant General, and proceeded to the headquarters of the army, and addressed the note above mentioned to the Presilent, informing him that he (General Grant) was no longer Secretary of War ad interim.
The President expressed great surprise at the course which General Grant had thought proper to pursue, and, addressing himself to the General, proceeded to say, in substance, that he had anticipated such action on the part of the Senate, and being very desirous to have the constitutionality of the tenure-of-office bill tested, and his right to suspend or remove a member of the cabinet decided by the judicial tribunals of the country, he had some time ago, and shortly after General Grant's appointment as Secretary of War ad interim, asked the General what his action would be in the event that the Senate should refuse to concur in the suspension of Mr. Stanton, and that the General had then agreed either to remain at the head of the War Department till a decision could be obtained from the court, or resign the office into the hands of the President before the case was acted upon by the Senate, so as to place the President in the same situation he occupied at the time of his (Grant's) appointment.
The President further said that the conversation was renewed on the preceding Saturday, at which time he asked the General what he intended to do if the Senate should undertake to reinstate Mr. Stanton; in reply to which the General referred to their former conversation upon the same subject, and said you understand my position, and my conduct will be conformable to that understanding; that he (the General) then expressed a repugnance to being made a party to a judicial proceeding, saying, that he would expose himself to fine and imprisonment by doing so, as his continuing to discharge the duties of Secretary of War ad interim, after the Senate should have refused to concur in the suspension of Mr. Stanton, would be a violation of the tenure-of office bill; that in reply to this he (the President) informed General Grant he had not suspended Mr. Stanton under the tenure-ofoffice bill, but by virtue of the powers conferred on him by the Constitution; and that as to the fine and imprisonment, he (the President) would pay whatever fine was imposed, and submit to whatever imprisonment might be adjudged against him, (the General ;) that they continued the conversation for some time, discussing the law at length; and that they finally separated,
without having reached a definite conclusion, and with the understanding that the General would see the President again on Monday.
In reply, General Grant admitted that the conversations had occurred, and said that at the first conversation he had given it as his opinion to the President, that in the event of non-concurrence by the Senate in the action of the President in respect to the Secretary of War, the question would have to be decided by the court; that Mr. Stanton would have to appeal to the court to reinstate him in office; that the ins would remain in till they could be displaced, and the outs put a by legal proceedings; and that he then thought so, and had agreed that if he should change his mind, he would notify the President in time to enable him to make another appointment; but that at the time of the first conversation he had not looked very closely into the law-that it had recently been discussed by the newspapers, and that this had induced him to examine it more carefully, and that he had come to the conclusion that if the Senate should refuse to concur in the suspension, Mr. Stanton would thereby be reinstated, and that he (Grant) could not continue thereafter to act as Secretary of War ad interim without subjecting himself to fine and imprisonment, and that he came over on Saturday to inform the President of this change in his views, and did so inform him; that the President replied that he had not suspended Mr. Stanton under the tenure of-office bill, but under the Constitution, and had appointed him (Grant) by virtue of the authority derived from the Constitution, &c.; that they continued to discuss the matter some time, and, finally, he left without any conclusion having been reached, expecting to see the President again on Monday. He then proceeded to explain why he had not called on the President on Monday, saying that he had had a long interview with General Sherman, that various little matters had occupied his time till it was late, and that he did not think the Senate would act so soon, and asked: "Did not General Sherman call on you on Monday?"
I do not know what passed between the Presi dent and General Grant on Saturday, except as I learned it from the conversation between them at the cabinet meeting on Tuesday, and the foregoing is substantially what then occurred precise words used on the occasion are not, of course, given exactly in the order in which they were spoken, but the ideas expressed and the facts stated are faithfully preserved and presented.
I have the honor to be, sir, with great respect, your obedient servant, O. H. BROWNING. The PRESIDent.
LETTER OF THE SECRETARY OF STATE. DEPARTMENT OF STATE, WASHINGTON. February 6, 1868. SIR: The meeting to which you refer in your letter was a regular cabinet meeting. While the members were assembling, and before the Presi dent had entered the council chamber, General Grant, on coming in, said to me that he was in attendance there not as a member of the cabinet, but upon invitation, and I replied by the inquiry whether there was a change in the War Depart
ment. After the President had taken his seat | the Senate should disapprove of Mr. Stanton's business went on in the usual way of hearing suspension, until the question should be decided matters submitted by the several secretaries. upon by the courts; that he remained until very When the time came for the Secretary of War, recently of that opinion, and that on the SaturGeneral Grant said that he was now there, not as day before the cabinet meeting a conversation Secretary of War, but upon the President's invi- was held between yourself and him, in which the tation; that he had retired from the War De- subject was generally discussed. General Grant's partment. A slight difference then appeared about statement was, that in that conversation he had the supposed invitation, General Grant saying stated to you the legal difficulties which might that the officer who had borne his letter to the arise, involving fine and imprisonment under the President that morning, announcing his retire- civil-tenure bill, and that he did not care to subment from the War Department, had told him ject himself to those penalties; that you replied that the President desired to see him at the cab- to this remark that you regarded the civil-tenure inet; to which the President answered, that bill as unconstitutional, and did not think its when General Grant's communication was de- penalties were to be feared, or that you would livered to him, the President simply replied that voluntarily assume them; and you insisted that he supposed General Grant would be very soon General Grant should either retain the office unat the cabinet meeting. I regarded the conver- til relieved by yourself, according to what you sation thus begun as an incidental one. It went claimed was the original understanding between on quite informally, and consisted of a statement yourself and him, or, by seasonable notice of on your part of your views in regard to the un- change of purpose on his part, put you in the derstanding of the tenure upon which General same situation in which you would be if he adGrant had assented to hold the War Department hered You claimed that General Grant finally ad interim, and of his replies by way of answer said in that Saturday's conversation that you and explanation. It was respectful and courteous understood his views, and his proceedings thereon both sides. Being in this conversational after would be consistent with what had been so form, its details could only have been preserved understood. General Grant did not controvert, by verbatim report. So far as I know, no such nor can I say that he admitted this last statement. report was made at the time. I can only give Certainly General Grant did not at any time in the general effect of the conversation. Certainly the cabinet meeting insist that he had, in the you stated that although you had reported the Saturday's conversation, either distinctly or reasons for Mr. Stanton's suspension to the Sen- finally advised you of his determination to retire ate, you nevertheless held that he would not be from the charge of the War Department otherentitled to resume the office of Secretary of War, wise than under your own subsequent direction. even if the Senate should disapprove of his sus- He acquiesced in your statement that the Saturpension, and that you had proposed to have the day's conversation ended with an expectation question tested by judicial process, to be applied that there would be a subsequent conference on to the person who should be the incumbent of the subject, which he, as well as yourself, supthe Department, under your designation of Sec- posed could seasonably take place on Monday. rectary of War ad interim, in the place of Mr. You then alluded to the fact that General Grant Stanton. You contended that this was well un- did not call upon you on Monday, as you had derstood between yourself and General Grant; expected from that conversation. General Grant that when he entered the War Department as admitted that it was his expectation or purpose Secretary ad interim, he expressed his concur- to call upon you on Monday. General Grant rence in the belief that the question of Mr. Stan- assigned reasons for the omission. He said he ton's restoration would be a question for the was in conference with General Sherman; that courts; that in a subsequent conversation with there were many little matters to be attended General Grant you had adverted to the under- to; he had conversed upon the matter of the instanding thus had, and that General Grant ex- cumbency of the War Department with General pressed his concurrence in it; that at some con- Sherman, and he expected that General Sherversation which had been previously held General man would call upon you on Monday. My own Grant said he still adhered to the same construc- mind suggested a further explanation; but I do tion of the law, but said if he should change his not remember whether it was mentioned or not, opinion he would give you seasonable notice of namely: that it was not supposed by General it, so that you should, in any case, be placed in Grant on Monday that the Senate would decide the same position in regard to the War Depart- the question so promptly as to anticipate further ment that you were while General Grant held it explanation between yourself and him, if delayed ad interim. I did not understand General Grant beyond that day. General Grant made another as denying, nor as explicitly admitting these explanation, that he was engaged on Sunday statements in the form and full extent to which with General Sherman, and I think also on you made them. His admission of them was Monday, in regard to the War Departmert matrather indirect and circumstantial, though I did ter, with a hope, though he did not say in an not understand it to be an evasive one. He said effort, to procure an amicable settlement of the that reasoning from what occurred in the case of affair of Mr. Stanton, and he still hoped that it the police in Maryland, which he regarded as a would be brought about. parallel one, he was of opinion, and so assured you, that it would be his right and duty, under your instructions, to hold the War Office after
I have the honor to be, with great respect, your obedient servant, WILLIAM H. SEWARD.
To the PRESIDENT.
8.-GENERAL GRANT TO THE PRESIDENT. HEADQU'RS ARMY OF THE UNITED STATES, WASHINGTON, D. C., February 11, 1868. His Excellency A. JOHNSON,
President of the United States. SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your communication of the 10th instant, accompanied by statements of five cabinet ministers, of their recollection of what occured in cabinet meeting on the 14th of January. Without admitting anything in these statements where they differ from anything heretofore stated by me, I propose to notice only that portion of your communication wherein I am charged with insubordination. I think it will be plain to the reader of my letter of the 30th of January, that I did not propose to disobey any legal order of the President, distinctly given; but only gave an interpretation of what would be regarded as satisfactory evidence of the President's sanction to orders communicated by the Secretary of War. I will say here that your letter of the 10th instant contains the first intimation I have had that you did not accept that interpretation.
Now, for reasons for giving that interpretation: It was clear to me, before my letter of January 30th was written, that I, the person having more public business to transact with the Secretary of War than any other of the President's subordinates, was the only one who had been instructed to disregard the authority of Mr. Stanton where his authority was derived as agent of the President.
On the 27th of January I received a letter from the Secretary of War, (copy herewith,) directing me to furnish escort to public treasure from the Rio Grande to New Orleans, &c., at the request of the Secretary of the Treasury to him. I also send two other enclosures, showing recognition of Mr. Stanton as Secretary of War by both the Secretary of the Treasury and the Postmaster General, in all of which cases the Secretary of War had to call upon me to make the orders requested, or give the information desired, and where his authority to do so is derived, in my view, as agent of the President.
With an order so clearly ambiguous as that of the President, here referred to, it was my duty to inform the President of my interpretation of it, and to abide by that interpretation until I received other orders.
Disclaiming any intention, now or heretofore, of disobeying any legal order of the President, distinctly communicated, I remain, very respectfully, your obedient servant, U. S. GRANT, General.
LETTER OF SECRETARY STANTON.
WASHINGTON CITY, January 27, 1868. GENERAL: The Secretary of the Treasury has requested this department to afford A. F. Randall, special agent of the Treasury Department, such military aid as may be necessary to secure and forward for deposit from Brownsville, Texas, to New Orleans, public moneys in possession of custom-house officers at Brownsville, and which are deemed insecure at that place.
You will please give such directions as you
may deem proper to the officer commanding at Brownsville to carry into effect the request of the Treasury Department, the instructions to be sent by telegraph to Galveston, to the care of A. F. Randall, special agent, who is at Galveston waiting telegraphic orders, there being no telegraphic communication with Brownsville, and the necessity for military protection to the public moneys being represented as urgent.
Please favor me with a copy of such instructions as you may give, in order that they may be communicated to the Secretary of the Treasury. Yours, truly,
EDWIN M. STANTON,
To General U. S. GRANT,
LETTER OF SECRETARY M'CULLOCH. TREASURY DEPARTMENT, January 29, 1868. SIR: It is represented to this department that a band of robbers has obtained such a foothold in the section of country between Humboldt and Lawrence, Kansas, committing depredations upon travellers, both by public and private conveyance, that the safety of the public money collected by the receiver of the land office at Humboldt requires that it should be guarded during its transit from Humboldt to Lawrence. I have, therefore, the honor to request that the proper commanding officer of the district may be instructed by the War Department, if in the opinion of the Hon. Secretary of War it can be done without prejudice to the public interests, to furnish a sufficient military guard to protect such moneys as may be in transitu from the above office for the purpose of being deposited to the credit of the Treasury of the United States. As far as we are now advised, such service will not be necessary oftener than once a month. Will you please advise me of the action taken, that I may instruct the receiver and the Commissioner of the General Land Office in the matter.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant, H. McCULLOCH, Secretary of the Treasury. To the Hon. SECRETARY Of War.
Respectfully referred to the General of the army to give the necessary orders in this case, and to furnish this department a copy for the information of the Secretary of the Treasury. By order of the Secretary of War.
ED. SCHRIVER, Inspector General.
LETTER OF THE SECOND ASSISTANT POSTMASTEB
POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT, CONTRACT OFFICE, WASHINGTON, February 3, 1866. SIR: It has been represented to this department that in October last a military commission was appointed to settle upon some general plan of defence for the Texas frontiers, and that the said commission has made a report recommending a line of posts from the Rio Grande to the Red river.
An application is now pending in this depart
ment for a change in the course of the San Antonio and El Paso mail, so as to send it by way of Forts Mason, Griffin, and Stockton, instead of by camps Hudson and Lancaster. This application requires immediate decision, but before final action can be had thereon it is desired to have some official information as to the report of the commission above referred to.
Accordingly, I have the honor to request that you will cause this department to be furnished,
as early as possible, with the information desired in the premises, and also with a copy of the report, if any has been made by the commission. Very respectfully, &c., &c., GEORGE W. MCLELLAN,
Second Assistant Postmaster General. The Honorable the SECRETARY OF WAR. Referred to the General of the army for report. EDWIN M. STANTON, Secretary of War.
FEBRUARY 3, 1868.
LETTERS, PAPERS, TESTIMONY, POLITICO-MILITARY ORDERS, AND REPORT OF GENERAL GRANT.*
I. General Order No. 3, series 1861, from beadquarters department of the Missouri, is still in force and must be observed. The necessity of its strict enforcement is made apparent by the numerous applications from citizens for permissson to pass through the camps to look for fugitive slaves. In no case whatever will permission be granted to citizens for this purpose.
II. Fugitive slaves may be employed as laborers in the quartermaster's, subsistence, and engineer departments, and wherever by such employment a soldier may be saved to the ranks. They may be employed as teamsters, as company cooks (not exceeding four to a company,) or as hospital attendants or nurses. Officers may employ them as private servants, in which latter case the fugitive will not be paid or rationed by the Government. Negroes not thus employed will be deemed unauthorized persons, and must be excluded from the camps.
III. Officers and soldiers are prohibited from enticing slaves to leave their masters. When it becomes necessary to employ this kind of labor, commanding officers of posts or troops must send details (always under the charge of a suitable non-commissioned officer) to press into service the slaves of disloyal persons to the number
II. All slaves at Fort Donelson at the time of its capture, and all slaves within the line of military occupation that have been used by the enemy in building fortifications, or in any manner hostile to the Government, will be employed by the quartermaster's department for the benefit of the Government, and will under no circum-required. stances be permitted to return to their masters.
III. It is made the duty of all officers of this command to see that all slaves above indicated are promptly delivered to the chief quartermaster of the district.
By order of Brig. Gen. U. S. GRant.
JNO. A. RAWLINS, A. A. G.
HEADQUARTERS DIST. OF WEST TENNESSEE,
General Orders, No. 72.
Recent acts of Congress prohibit the army from returning fugitives from labor to their claimants, and authorize the employment of such persons in the service of the Government. The following orders are therefore published for the guidance of the army in this military district in this matter.
I. All fugitives thus employed must be registered, the names of the fugitives and claimants given, and must be borne upon morning reports of the command in which they are kept, showing how they are employed.
For other papers of General Grant, see pages 67, 68, 120, 121, 122, 123 of the Manual of 1866, and 73, 74, and 78 of the Manual of 1867; or 67, 68, 120, 121, 122, 123, 199, 200, and
204 of the combined Manuals.
IV. Citizens within the reach of any military station, known to be disloyal and dangerous, may be ordered away or arrested, and their crops and stocks taken for the benefit of the Government or the use of the army.
V. All property taken from rebel owners must be duly reported and used for the benefit of Government, and be issued to troops through the proper departments, and, when practicable, the act of taking should be avowed by the written certificate of the officer taking, to the owner or agent of such property.
It is enjoined on all commanding officers to see that this order is strictly executed. The demoralization of troops consequent on being left to execute laws in their own way, without a proper head, must be avoided.
By order of Maj. Gen. U. S. GRANT.
HEADQUARTERS DEPART. OF THE TENNESSEE, MILLIKEN'S BEND, LA., April 22, 1863. General Orders, No. 25. [Extract.]
I. Corps, division, and post commanders will afford all facilities for the completion of the negro regiments now organizing in this department. Commissaries will issue supplies and