John Savage.

The life and public services of Andrew Johnson. Including his state papers, speeches and addresses online

. (page 1 of 53)
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LIFE AXD PUBLIC SERVICES



or



ANDREW JOHNSON,



SEVENTEENTH PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.




Spared "byAHt:





SEVENTEENTH PRESIDENT OT THE TJNTTF '



THE



LIFE AND PUBLIC SERVICES



07



ANDREW JOHNSON,

SEVENTEENTH PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.



INCLUDING niS



State papers, %wc|es anb Qtitomu.



By JOHN SAVAGE,

AUTHOR OF "OUR LIVING REPRESENTATIVE MEN," ETC.



WITH AX ACCURATE PORTRAIT OX STEEL BY RITCHIE



AM) OTIIKIt 1LI.VSTKATI0XS.



NEW YORK:

DERBY & MILLER, PUBLISHERS,

No. 5 SPRUCE STREET.

1866.






Till



Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1865, by

DEEBT & MILLEB,

In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the Southern

District of New York.



NEW YORi:;

EDWARD O. JENKINS, PRINTEE,

20 NORTH WILLIAM ST.



-
















PREFACE.



Tx a work published in 1SG0, designed lo present fa*
more than opinions, the writer presented a sketch of the
subject of the accompanying Memoir, as one of the pn rai-
ncnt Statesmen of the Republic upon whom the Presidential
mantle might fall. In 1864; during the Presidential cam-
paign, he wrote for the publishers of this work an enlarged,
though still circumscribed, " Life and Services of Andrew
Johnson," in which, however, as a " War Democrat " he felt
not only at liberty, but compelled, to express a profound ad-
miration for the daring intellect anil the harassing. th
heroic labors which distinguished the invincible Southern
champion of the Union.

After the stupefaction which possessed all heads and
hearts at the assassination of Mr. Lincoln had been some-
what removed by the imperative necessities of the hour, the
present work was suggested: and undertaken the more
readily in the belief that the author could in no way more
usefully add to such efforts as he devoted to the Union

cause than by presenting to the public the record of a life

(3)



4 PEE FACE.

which so wonderfully illustrated the generous influences of
Democratic institutions.

No life more eminently illustrates the blessings of the
American system than that of Andrew Johnson in the past ;
and it is not too much to say that the moral sense of justice
which guided, the mental faculties which sustained, and the
accumulating experiences which accompanied his upward
and honorable struggle, are, combined in the person of a
Chief Magistrate, the very first and best possessions of a
people passing through a crisis like the present.

To the people, and the children of the people everywhere,
a career such as is here, however inadequately, portrayed,
is an unanswerable incentive to faith in Republicanism ;
while to citizens of the Republic it is equally unanswerable
as an argument for the integrity of the Union. Union is
the inspiration and bulwark of our institutions. The checks
it imposes and the license it allows, the respect it commands
and the equality it confers, work with a harmony which
nothing less strongly symmetrical could evoke, and anything
more exacting could not control. These apparent contra-
dictions in our system astonish Europe and compel it, while
the Union triumphs, to acknowledge that Republicanism is
not only a theory, but that man is capable of self-govern-
ment.

The record of the public services of the President of the
United States is therefore presented to the People from
whom Andrew Johnson sprung. The documents from which
the central narrative is drawn are partly original, and all
authentic. In addition, a residence of nearly five years in



PREFACE. 5

Washington, engaged in the active duties of journalism dur-
ing an era of deep interest and political excitement, made
the author acquainted with sources of information, and led
to a daily observation of prominent men and important
measures, the results of which have been used to make the
running history of events, and of contemporaneous political
leaders, as full as the nature of the work allowed.

Every important speech of President Johnson, with
numerous minor though characteristic addresses, and every
measure with which his name is associated, are represented
here : together with views of debates in Congress and inci-
dents connected therewith ; making, it is hoped, an accepta-
ble contribution to the political history of the time, and a
comprehensive picture of the life and labors, the mind and
mettle of the Statesman upon whom at this moment the eyes

of civilization arc intently centered.

J. S.
Fordiiam, X. Y., 1SG5.



CONTENTS.



PAGE

Preface 1



CHAPTER I.
1803 to 1833 13

CHAPTER II.
1831 to 1845 26

CHAPTER III.
1845 to 1857 37

CHAPTER IV.
The Homestevd Bill. 1857-1858 51

CHAPTER V.
Homestead Blll — Continued. 1860 72

CHAPTER VI.

Retrenchment 88

(9)



10 CONTEXTS.

CHAPTER VII.

PAGE
RETRENCHMENT EN GOVERNMENT EXPENDITURES . . .118

CHAPTER VIII.
The Slavery Question 139

CHAPTER IX.

Johnson's Compeers in the United States Senate . . 149

CHAPTER X.
The Presidential Conventions of 1860 .... 178

CHAPTER XI.
The Development of Disunion 186

CHAPTER XII.

The Development of Disunion — Continued . . .199

CHAPTER XIII.

Johnson on the Right of Secession. Great Speech of

December 18th and 19th, 1860 211

CHAPTER XIV.
Secession. Break up of Buchanan's Cabinet . . . 220

CHAPTER XV.
Terrorism ln Tennessee . . . . . . .234

CHAPTER XVI.

Johnson Military Governor of Tennessee . . . 248



COX TEXTS. 11

CHAPTEK XVII.

PAGE

Johnson's Administration in Tennessee — Continued . . 269

CHAPTER XVIII.

Nomination of Johnson for Vice-Presidency . . . 285

CHAPTER XIX.
The Candidates and Canvass of 1864 .... 301

CHAPTER XX.

The Rebellion Ended. Lincoln Assassinated. Johnson

-ldent 323

CHAPTER XXI.
Johnson as President. End of Armed Rebellion . . 334

CHAPTER XXII.
Reconstruction of the Southern States .... 370

Appendix .... v 1



CONTENTS OF APPENDIX,



Speech in Reply to Senator Lane op Oregon in the

Senate op the United States, March 8, 1861 . . 12

Secession op Tennessee, Documents Relating to . 15
Speech on the War for the Union in the Senate op

the United States, July 23, 27, 1861 .... 20
Speech on the Proposed Expulsion op Mr. Jesse D.

Bright ln the United States Senate, Jan. 31, 1862. 63
President Johnson's Opinion op the Use op Ardent

Spirits 87

The Home op Andrew Johnson 88

Order Relatlng to the Settlement op the Freedmen . 90

Speech to .the Negro Soldiers, Oct. 10, 1865 ... 90

President Paroles A. H. Stephens and Others . . 95
Proclamation Rescinding Martial Law in Kentucky,

Oct. 12 95

Interview op the South Carolina Delegation with

the President 97

The President to South Carolina Convention . . 100
The President on Restoration and the Status of the

Negro 100

The President on the Reeel War Debt .... 103

Reception op the Embassy from Tunis .... 104

The President and the Fenians 105

Thanksgiving for Peace and Union . . . . 106

The President to Governor Humphreys, op Mississippi 107

Revocation of Rewards 108

The President to Governor Holden, op North Caro-
lina 108

Governor Holden to the President . . . .109

Proclamation restoring the Writ of Habeas Corpus

in Certain States 109

President's Message, Opening op the Thirty-ninth Con-
gress, Dec. 5, 1865 . . 110




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LIFE OF ANDREW JOHNSON.



CHAPTER I

1808 to 1833.

His Birtii — Orphanage — Apprenticeship — Early Struggles for knowledge —
Journeyman — Goes to Greenville, Tenn. — Marries — Progress in Educa-
tion — Rewards of Industry — Alderman — In a Debating Society — His Lit-
tle House on the Hill and his Great Book — Re-elected Alderman — Mayor
f>r Three Terms — Views of Nullification in 1S32.

Andrew Johnson was born at Raleigh, N. C, on the
29th of December, 1808. His father, a man in humble life,
but of noble nature, dying from exhaustion, after having
saved Colonel Thomas Henderson, editor of the Raleigh
Gazette, from drowning, left his son an orphan, before he
had completed his fifth year.* The sad event of his father's
death made the energies of the child necessary to his own
support, and a trade was the most reliable resource. He
was accordingly, at the age of ten years, apprenticed to a
tailor, in his native town.

Thus commenced the struggle of the future patriot and
President in the battle of life, the very outset of his manly
career indicating the energy and self-reliance which has so
distinguished it, and which oifer such hopeful examples to
the great mass of our youth, who can only be nerved for the
life-struggle by stout hearts and honest purposes.

* The following obituary notice of the father of the President, is taken from
an old Raleigh (N. C.) paper, dated January 10, 1812:

" Died, in this city, on Saturday last, Jacob Johnson, who had for years occu-
pied a humble but useful station in Society. He was city constable, sexton,
and porter to the State Bank. In his last illness he was visited by the principal
inhabitants of the city, by all of whom he was esteemed for his honesty, indus-
try, and humane and friendly disposition. Among all to whom he was known
and esteemed none lament him more (except, perhaps, his relatives) thau the
publisher of this paper; for he owes his life, on a particular occasion, to the
boldness and humanity of Johnson."



14 LIFE AND PUBLIC SERVICES

At this period of his life the nature of Andrew Johnson
unfolded itself, in the gradual development of characteristics
which, under proper direction, are the sure guarantees of
success to the possessor. While notably patient in the pur-
suit, and attentive to the routine of his occupation, he occa-
sionally betrayed that waywardness which is a phase only
of the self-will and resolution so attractively prominent in
the lives of all self-made men. Even as a boy, Andrew
Johnson could see no difficulties in the way of any purpose
upon which he had cast his heart ; could meet no oppression
which his spirits would not surmount. He might be disap-
pointed, but could not be defeated. If he were thwarted
one day, he tried again the next. Obstacles only excited
his energies, and where he tumbled to-day he would triumph
to-morrow. These characteristics of boyhood are not with-
out deep significance in contemplating the life of such a
man as Johnson. He never had the benefit of one dav's
school routine in his life, and in no instance was the leading
feature of his character more worthily brought into promi-
nent action than in the determination to achieve by perse-
verance the benefits denied by poverty.

The necessity which apprenticed him at such an early
age, and the indenture which bound him, equally and effect-
ually deprived him of all advantages for education. He
saw this : the boy craved for knowledge, and was resolved
to attain some means to its possession — a resolution excited
and concentrated by occurrences which are worthy of par-
ticular mention.

There was at this time a gentleman in Ealeigh who was
in the habit of visiting the tailor's shop, and of reading
aloud while the journeymen and apprentices were at work.
His favorite book was a volume of speeches, embracing many
of eminent British orators and statesmen ; the beauties of
which were enhanced by the admirable style and emphasis
of the reader. Young Johnson became interested, and his



OF ANDREW JOHNSON. 15

first ambition was to equal the visitor as a reader, and
become familiar with those speeches which had a special
effect on his mind. He took up the alphabet without an
instructor ; but ire obtained assistance by applying now to
one journeyman and then to another. Having acquired a
knowledge of the letters, he desired to borrow the book
which he had so often heard read and in which ho was so
profoundly interested. The owner, however, kindly made
him a present of it, with the additional gift of some instruc-
tion on the use of letters in the formation of words. Thus
it may be said, he learned to spell and read at the same time
in that book. As may be imagined, the difficulties were
great, but by close application he soon learned to read with
considerable facility.

The new and dazzling region of enjoyment thus opened
to young Johnson's vision, dispelled the sense of drudgery
by which it was won ; and inspired him with an insatiate
and restless anxiety to explore the mines of knowledge
which lay sealed up in books. ""Working, steadily, from
ten to twelve hours daily, the desire to refresh himself at
the intellectual springs of greatness could receive but little
gratification. The thirst for knowledge, however, must at
least find some appeasement ; and the apprentice, after his
labor was done, devoted a couple of hours nightly to the
r-till widening fascination of books.

In the autumn of 182-1 the term of his apprenticeship
expired, and he entered the world without a cent as a basis
of action ; but with a trade, rich in energy, and sensitive
with the anxieties of an education begun and continued
uudcr exacting difficulties.*

* Mr. Litchford, an old journeyman tailor of Raleigh, foreman in the shop
where young Johnson partially learned his trade, gives some reminiscences of
the youth of the President of the United States, which, while not differing in
any material way with the narrative in the text, adds in a very racy manner
some details accounting for the apprentice's movements; and are altogether
characteristically illustrative of that period of his life. Mr. Litchford thinks it



16 LIFE AND PUBLIC SERVICES

We next find young Johnson as a working journeyman —
a love story, which his celebrity since has brought to light,
tracing him to the vicinity of Laurens Court House.
S. C. Here, as the story goes, he fell in love with an
estimable young lady ; but he was a stranger— he was poor,
he was young, not yet near out of his teens ; and he passion-
ately fled away from what to him seemed cold hearts and
pitying smiles, which his youthful sensitiveness could
brook less patiently than open sneers. However naturally
unpleasant such an episode to a young and ambitious man,
the sensitiveness which renders it annoying also furnishes to
a man of strong will, pride to overcome its results. Instead
of depressing young Johnson's spirits, it gave him strength
of purpose to lift himself above the circumstances of the
occasion.

He returned to Raleigh in May, 1826, procured journey
work, and remained there until the September following,
when he turned his footsteps westward, taking with him his

was in 1818 that "Andy," as he called him, was bound apprentice to J. J. Selby.
He is described as a wild " harum-scarum boy," but had no " wwhonorable traits
about him." He was exceedingly restless, and his activity in climbing fences,
trees, etc., with the natural sequence thereof of tearing his clothing, was a great
source of trouble to his mistress. On account of his propensities in this direc-
tion, she once made him a coarse, heavy shirt of homespun goods, and the young
gentleman for a short time was obliged to wear a whole under-garment. In
1824 he " cut," not because he was sent to a corn-field to work, as some one has
said, but on account of a " scrape with a lady by the name of Wells, who had
two right smart daughters." With another boy, named Grayson, an apprentice
in a rival shop, Andy "chunked the old lady's house" one Saturday night.
Next day she heard who it was, and threatened to " persecute them on Monday."
They heard of it and "cut." Mr. Litchford believes " he knew his A B C's
when he came to the shop, but I think I taught him to read." Mr. Litchford
continued, " and he deserves unbounded credit, for some people say as how
they had a grand start, and I reckon he started underground." He went to
South Carolina, and returned after a year and a-half, during which time he had
earned his living with his needle. On his arrival he applied to Mr. Litchford,
then keeping an establishment of his own, for work, but didn't get it because he
- had been " advertised" as a runaway, and the law prevented any oue from har-
boring him, Mr. Selby had, during Andy's absence, sold out and moved into
the countrv • but, with a desire to make due amends for his misdemeanor, the
runaway walked twenty miles to see him and tried to make arrangements to
pay him for his time. Mr. Selby required security, and Andy could not get it.



OF ANDREW JOHNSON. 17

mother, who was wholly dependent on him for support ; and
whom, to his glory and honor be it said, he always tenderly,
and as his fortune increased, handsomely supported until her
death. He stopped at Greenville, Tenn., commenced work
as a journeyman, and counted the close of his eighteenth
year. His good star had led him thither. He remained in
Greenville about a year, married a most worthy lady, and
pushed still further West in search of fortune. Failing to
find a suitable place to settle, he returned to Greenville and
commenced business, his industry and energy intensified
by the family cares he had undertaken. I have said his
good star led him to Greenville, and truly! for there the
youth found a wife who became his Egeria.

Up to this time his education was limited to reading.
We have seen the difficulties under which that was accom-
plished. He had no opportunity "1" learning how to write
or of becoming acquainted with the mysteries of arithmetic.
Under the loving tutelage of his excellent wife, lie soon

lie told Mr. Litchford that he wouldn't let him be security if he would, and so
he departed again, this time going to Tei Mr. Litchford next beard of

him as a Member of Congress from that State, but didn't believe it was "his
boy Andy" until he saw it " advertised in the papers, about the mechanics in
Congress, and saw the word ' tailor' after his oame." A pamphlet copy of one of
his speeches sent to Mr. Litchford under his Congressional frank, is yet in the
possession of the latter.

After his first session he returned to Ruleigh and made a speech, " pitching
into Parson Rrownlow and Gales, the editor of the Rcjistsr." It seems that
Brownlow, a political opponent of Johnson at that time, had sent to Gales for
" family items." Gales furnished them, and hence Johnson's attack on him
and Brownlow. The citizens at Raleigh at that time thought it something re-
markable that the "tailor's apprentice" of their recollection should be able to
make such a speech, but Johnson told Mr. Litchford " how it was." His wife
had " learned him" while he was on the tailor's board working for his bread in
Tennessee. During this visit, Mr. Johnson asked Litchford to show him his
father's grave, and he did so. It has but a plain gray-stone slab at the head,
and simply marked "J. J.," and is nearly hidden from view by the overgrowth
of weeds and brambles.

The house in which President Johnson was born is still standing, and is an
object of no little curiosity to the many strangers who visit Raleigh. It is a
small frame building, a story and a-half high, containing only two or three
rooms. Relic mongers have already commenced tearing oil' the weather-beaten
sideboards.



18 LIFE AMD PUBLIC SERVICES

wielded the pen and the slate pencil ; and these doors being
open, she soon presented him at other shrines of useful
knowledge. The time at his disposal for study was now
more limited than ever ; family responsibilities and an open-
ing and growing business demanded almost his every hour.
But diligent application, a keen economy of time, his wife
reading to and instructing him while at work, and the pur-
suit of education late at night, when the day's work was
over and the village wrapped in sleep, vouchsafed unto him
just rewards for his manual and his mental labors. His
business and his brain increased in strength together, and
the result was an humble competency of domestic comfort
from the one, and from the other, besides its intrinsic value,
a light by which to judge and appreciate the manly dignity
of labor. In a previous sketch of the subject of this Me-
moir * I indicated -the romantic interest attaching to this
period of Johnson's life :

" What material for the romancist might be found in the
history of those days of the future Senator ; when his wife,
fondly leaning by the side of the youth who was earning
bread for her, taught him to read, and decked with the fair
flowers of a healthy education the hitherto neglected garden
of his brain ! What a group ! what a study ! — the youth's
fingers mechanically plying the needle, his brain alive, fol-
lowing the instructions of his wife-teacher, or with a bright,
almost childish, satisfaction meeting her approval of his cor-
rect answers ! After work-hours she taught him to write.
What a living, ennobling romance was there being enacted
in the wilds of Tennessee thirty years ago ! But we must
hurry over this chapter of our hero's history with a mere
suggestive sentence. Young Johnson worked at his trade
with great industry and attention, extending, meanwhile, the
advantages which his capacity for knowledge presented.
The shop-board was the school where he received the rudi-

* " Our Living Representative Men." Philadelphia, 1860.



OF ANDREW J0H3S0N. 19

merits of his education, -which lie afterward, iu rare leisure
moments and in the deep silence of the midnight hours,
applied to the attainment of a more perfect system.

"The disadvantages of his position would have discour-
aged almost any other man, certainly with any other kind
of a wife. But, cheered by his excellent companion and
prompted by his own desire for self-improvement, young
Johnson brought an energy to the difficulties before him
which nothing could repr or conquer. It is not a matter
of surprise that he was hostile to every proposition that
would give power to the few at the expense of the many ;
that his hard and yet brighl made him the ex-

ponent of the wants and power ol the working cla lie

felt the force of the truth so eloquently exj - : by another
workingman, J. de dean (Ffraser), one of the poets of the
Irish movement of I

" When, by th' almighty breath of God

Each to its sphere was hurled —
The living creature— and I 1 —

The atom— au I >rld —

As trusted viceroy on the earth,

To carry out the plan
For which He rave that globe its birth,

God formed the Working-man."

Johnson soon gave voice to the feelings of the working-
men in Greenville. He made them conscious of their

strength and proud of it, in opposition to the aristocratic
coterie which had until then ruled the community, so that no

man who worked for his livelihood could be elected even
an alderman. With the dawning vision of intellect and
self-reliance he saw that all this was wrong, and he deter-
mined, with the aid of his fellow-workers, to right it. Meet-
ings were held in every part of the town, and the result was
the election (in 1828) of the young tailor to the office of
alderman by a triumphant majority. How proud the good
wife must have felt!



20 LIFE AND PUBLIC SERVICES

About this time, or a little later probably, a debating
society was formed by the young men in the neighborhood
of Greenville, and in connection with Greenville College.
In it Johnson distinguished himself and made many friends.
A collegian of the period gives us some brief reminiscences
which not only exhibit our hero's persistent endeavors to
cultivate his mind, but also present a suggestive glimpse of
the domicile and workshop which sheltered his aspiring
genius.

In the romantic valley, says our informant, between the
Alleghany and Cumberland Mountains, where the first settle-
ments were made in Tennessee, we may, by looking at
the map, find a small town in Green County called Green-
ville, near the Nolichucky River. Four miles from this
county site is Greenville College, the first institution of the
kind established in the State.

While in this college the whilom student became ac-
quainted with a young man who lived in the suburbs of
Greenville. " Though not a regular member of the school,"



Online LibraryJohn SavageThe life and public services of Andrew Johnson. Including his state papers, speeches and addresses → online text (page 1 of 53)