Messages and Papers of Andrew Johnson

Contents:
Author: Andrew Johnson

Special Messages.

[The following messages were sent to the special session of the Senate.]

WASHINGTON, March 28, 1867.

To the Senate of the United States:

I transmit to the Senate, in answer to their resolution of the 20th instant, a report * from the Secretary of State, with accompanying documents.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

*Relating to the exequatur of the consul of the Grand Duchy of Oldenburg residing at New York.

WASHINGTON, April 12, 1867.

To the Senate of the United States:

I transmit to the Senate, in answer to their resolution of the 10th instant. calling for information relative to prisoners of war taken by belligerents in the Mexican Republic, a report from the Secretary of State, with accompanying papers.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

WASHINGTON, April 13, 1867.

To the Senate of the United States:

In compliance with a resolution of the Senate of the 28th of January last; requesting certain information in regard to governors, secretaries, and judges of Territories, I transmit herewith reports+ from the Secretary of State, the Secretary of the Interior, and the Attorney-General.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

+ Relating to the absence of Territorial officers from their posts of duty.

WASHINGTON, April 15, 1867.

To the Senate of the United States:

I transmit to the Senate, in answer to their resolution of the 13th instant, a report * from the Secretary of State.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

* Relating to the absence of Governor Alexander Cumming from the Territory of Colorado since his appointment as governor.

WASHINGTON, April 16, 1867.

To the Senate of the United States:

I transmit herewith reports from the heads of the several Executive Departments, in answer to the resolution of the Senate of the 11th instant, requesting "copies of any official opinions which may have been given by the Attorney-General, the Solicitor of the Treasury, or by any other officer of the Government on the interpretation of the act of Congress regulating the tenure of office, and especially with regard to appointments by the President during the recess of Congress."

ANDREW JOHNSON.

[The following messages were sent to the Fortieth Congress, first session.]

WASHINGTON, July 5, 1867.

To the Senate of the United States:

I transmit to the Senate, for its consideration with a view to ratification, a convention for commercial reciprocity between the United States and His Majesty the King of the Hawaiian Islands, which convention was signed by the plenipotentiaries of the parties in the city of San Francisco on the 21st day of May last.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

WASHINGTON July 5, 1867.

To the Senate and House of Representatives:

I transmit to Congress a copy of a convention between the United States and the Republic of Venezuela for the adjustment of claims of citizens of the United States on the Government of that Republic. The ratifications of this convention were exchanged at Caracas on the 10th of April last. As its first article stipulates that the commissioners shall meet in that city within four months from that date, the expediency of passing the usual act for the purpose of carrying the convention into effect will, of course, engage the attention of Congress.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

WASHINGTON, July 6, 1867.

To the Senate and House of Representatives:

I transmit to Congress a copy of a treaty between the United States and His Majesty the Emperor of all the Russias, the ratifications of which were exchanged in this city on the 20th day of June last.

This instrument provides for a cession of territory to the United States in consideration of the payment of $7,200,000 in gold. The attention of Congress is invited to the subject of an appropriation for this payment, and also to that of proper legislation for the occupation and government of the territory as a part of the dominion of the United States.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

WASHINGTON, July 6, 1867.

To the Senate of the United States:

I transmit to the Senate, for its consideration with a view to ratification, a convention between the United States, Great Britain, France, the Netherlands, and Japan, concluded at Yedo on the 25th of June, 1866.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

WASHINGTON, July 8, 1867.

To the House of Representatives:

I transmit herewith a report from the Attorney-General, additional to the reports submitted by him December 31, 1866, and March 2, 1867, in reply to a resolution of the House of Representatives of December 10, 1866, requesting "a list of names of all persons engaged in the late rebellion against the United States Government who have been pardoned by the President from April 15, 1865, to this date; that said list shall also state the rank of each person who has been so pardoned, if he has been engaged in the military service of the so-called Confederate government, and the position if he shall have held any civil office under said so-called Confederate government; and shall also further state whether such person has at any time prior to April 14, 1861, held any office under the United States Government, and, if so, what office, together with the reasons for granting such pardon, and also the names of the person or persons at whose solicitation such pardon was granted."

ANDREW JOHNSON.

WASHINGTON, July 9, 1867.

To the House of Representatives:

In compliance with the resolution of the House of Representatives of the 5th of July, requesting the President "to inform the House what States have ratified the amendment to the Constitution of the United States proposed by concurrent resolution of the two Houses of Congress, June 16, 1866," I transmit a report from the Secretary of State.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

WASHINGTON, July 10, 1867.

To the House of Representatives:

In compliance with so much of the resolution of the House of Representatives of the 8th instant as requests information in regard to certain agreements said to have been entered into between the United States, European and West Virginia Land and Mining Company and certain reputed agents of the Republic of Mexico, I transmit a report from the Secretary of State and the papers accompanying it.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

WASHINGTON, July 11, 1867.

To the House of Representatives:

In compliance with the resolution of the House of Representatives of the 3d instant, requesting me to transmit all the official correspondence between the Department of State and the Hon. Lewis D. Campbell, late minister to Mexico, and also that with his successor, I communicate a report from the Secretary of State and the papers accompanying it.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

WASHINGTON, July 12, 1867.

To the Senate of the United States:

In compliance with the resolution of the Senate of the 8th instant, requesting me to transmit "all the official correspondence between the Department of State and the Hon. Lewis D. Campbell, late minister of the United States to the Republic of Mexico, from the time of his appointment, also the correspondence of the Department with his successor," I communicate herewith a report on the subject from the Secretary of State, from which it appears that the correspondence called for by the Senate has already been communicated to the House of Representatives.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 15, 1867.

To the Senate of the United States:

I transmit herewith reports from the Secretary. of War and the Attorney-General, containing the information called for by the resolution of the Senate of the 3d instant, requesting the President "to communicate to the Senate copies of all orders, instructions, circular letters, or letters of advice issued to the respective military officers assigned to the command of the several military districts under the act passed March 2, 1867, entitled ’An act to provide for the more efficient government of the rebel States, and the act supplementary thereto, passed March 23, 1867; also copies of all opinions given to him by the Attorney-General of the United States touching the construction and interpretation of said acts, and of all correspondence relating to the operation, construction. or executionof said acts that may have taken place between himself and any of said commanders, or between him and the General of the Army, or between the latter and any of said commanders, touching the same subjects; also copies of all orders issued by any of said commanders in carrying out the provisions of said acts or either of them; also that he inform the Senate what progress has been made in the matter of registration under said acts, and whether the sum of money heretofore appropriated for carrying them out is probably sufficient."

In answer to that portion of the resolution which inquires whether the sum of money heretofore appropriated for carrying these acts into effect is probably sufficient, reference is made to the accompanying report of the Secretary of War. It will be seen from that report that the appropriation of $500,000 made in the act approved March 30, 1867, for the purpose of carrying into effect the "Act to provide for the more efficient government of the rebel States," passed March 2, 1867, and the act supplementary thereto, passed March 23, 1867, has already been expended by the commanders of the several military districts, and that, in addition, the sum of $1,648,277 is required for present purposes

It is exceedingly difficult at the present time to estimate the probable expense of carrying into full effect the two acts of March last and the bill which passed the two Houses of Congress on the 13th instant. If the existing governments of ten States of the Union are to be deposed and their entire machinery is to be placed under the exclusive control and authority of the respective district commanders, all the expenditures incident to the administration of such governments must necessarily be incurred by the Federal Government. It is believed that, in addition to the $2,100,000 already expended or estimated for, the sum which would be required for this purpose would not be less than $14,000,000--the aggregate amount expended prior to the rebellion in the administration of their respective governments by the ten States embraced in the provisions of these acts. This sum would no doubt be considerably augmented if the machinery of these States is to be operated by the Federal Government, and would be largely increased if the United States, by abolishing the existing State governments, should become responsible for liabilities incurred by them before the rebellion in laudable efforts to develop their resources, and in no wise created for insurrectionary or revolutionary purposes. The debts of these States, thus legitimately incurred, when accurately ascertained will, it is believed, approximate $100,000,000; and they are held not only by our own citizens, among whom are residents of portions of the country which have ever remained loyal to the Union, but by persons who are the subjects of foreign governments. It is worthy the consideration of Congress and the country whether, if the Federal Government by its action were to assume such obligations, so large an addition to our public expenditures would not seriously impair the credit of the nation, or, on the other hand, whether the refusal of Congress toguarantee the payment of the debts of these States, after having displaced or abolished their State governments, would not be viewed as a violation of good faith and a repudiation by the national legislature of liabilities which these States had justly and legally incurred.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

WASHINGTON, July 18, 1867.

To the Senate of the United States:

In compliance with the resolution of the Senate of the 8th instant, requesting me to furnish to that body copies of any correspondence on the files of the Department of State relating to any recent events in Mexico, I communicate a report from the Secretary of State, with the papers accompanying it.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

WASHINGTON, July 18, 1867.

To the House of Representatives:

In compliance with that part of the resolution of the House of Representatives of the 8th instant which requests me to transmit to the House of Representatives any official correspondence or other information relating to the capture and execution of Maximilian and the arrest and reported execution of Santa Anna in Mexico, I inclose herewith a report from the Secretary of State, from which it appears that the correspondence called for by the House of Representatives has already been communicated to the Senate of the United States.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

WASHINGTON, July 20, 1867.

To the House of Representatives:

I have received a resolution adopted by the House of Representatives on the 8th instant, inquiring" whether the publication which appeared in the National Intelligencer and other public prints on the 21st of June last, and which contained a statement of the proceedings of the President and Cabinet in respect to an interpretation of the acts of Congress commonly known as the reconstruction acts, was made by the authority of the President or with his knowledge and consent," and "whether the full and complete record or minute of all the proceedings, conclusions, and determinations of the President and Cabinet relating to said acts of Congress and their interpretation is embraced or given in said publication," and also requesting that "a true copy of the full and complete record or minute of such proceedings, conclusions, and determinations in regard to the interpretation of said reconstruction acts" be furnished to the House.

In compliance with the request of the House of Representatives, I have to state that the publication to which the resolution refers was made by proper authority, and that it comprises the proceedings in Cabinet relatingto the acts of Congress mentioned in the inquiry, upon which, after taking the opinions of the heads of the several Executive Departments of the Government, I had announced my own conclusions. Other questions arising from these acts have been under consideration, upon which, however, no final conclusion has been reached. No publication in reference to them has, therefore, been authorized by me; but should it at any time be deemed proper and advantageous to the interests of the country to make public those or any other proceedings of the Cabinet, authority for their promulgation will be given by the President.

A correct copy of the record of the proceedings, published in the National Intelligencer and other newspapers on the 21st ultimo, is herewith transmitted, together with a copy of the instructions based upon the conclusions of the President and Cabinet and sent to the commanders of the several military districts created by act of Congress of March 2, 1867.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

IN CABINET, June 18, 1867.

Present: The President, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary of War, the Secretary of the Navy, the Postmaster-General, the Attorney-General, the Acting Secretary of the Interior.

The President announced that he had under consideration the two opinions from the Attorney-General as to the legal questions arising upon the acts of Congress commonly known as the reconstruction acts, and that in view of the great magnitude of the subject and of the various interests involved he deemed it proper to have it considered fully in the Cabinet and to avail himself of all the light which could be afforded by the opinions and advice of the members of the Cabinet, to enable him to see that these laws be faithfully executed and to decide what orders and instructions are necessary and expedient to be given to the military commanders.

The President said further that the branch of the subject that seemed to him first in order for consideration was as to the instructions to be sent to the military commanders for their guidance and for the guidance of persons offering for registration. The instructions proposed by the Attorney-General, as set forth in the summary contained in his last opinion. will therefore be now considered.

The summary was then read at length.

The reading of the summary having been concluded, each section was then considered, discussed, and voted upon as follows:

1. The oath prescribed in the supplemental act defines all the qualifications required, and every person who can take that oath is entitled to have his name entered upon the list of voters.

All vote "aye" except the Secretary of War who votes "nay."

2. The board of registration have no authority to administer any other oath to the person applying for registration than this prescribed oath, nor to administer any oath to any other person touching the qualifications of the applicant or the falsity of the oath so taken by him.

No provision is made for challenging the qualifications of the applicant or entering upon any trial or investigation of his qualifications either by witnesses or any other form of proof.

All vote "aye" except the Secretary of War, who votes "nay."

3. As to citizenship and residence:

The applicant for registration must be a citizen of the State and of the UnitedStates, and must be a resident of a county or parish included in the election district. He may be registered if he has been such citizen for a period less than twelve months at the time he applies for registration, but he can not vote at any election unless his citizenship has then extended to the full term of one year. As to such a person, the exact length of his citizenship should be noted opposite his name on the list, so that it may appear on the day of election, upon reference to the list, whether the full term has then been accomplished.

Concurred in unanimously.

4. An unnaturalized person can not take this oath, but an alien who has been naturalized can take it, and no other proof of naturalization can be required from him.

All vote "aye" except the Secretary of War, who votes "nay."

5. No one who is not 21 years of age at the time of registration can take the oath, for he must swear that he has then attained that age.

Concurred in unanimously.

6. No one who has been disfranchised for participation in any rebellion against the United States or for felony committed against the laws of any State or of the United States can take this oath.

The actual participation in a rebellion or the actual commission of a felony does not amount to disfranchisement. The sort of disfranchisement here meant is that which is declared by law passed by competent authority, or which has been fixed upon the criminal by the sentence of the court which tried him for the crime.

No law of the United States has declared the penalty of disfranchisement for participation in rebellion alone; nor is it known that any such law exists in either of these ten States, except, perhaps, Virginia, as to which State special instructions will be given.

All vote "aye" except the Secretary of War, who dissents as to the second and third paragraphs.

7. As to disfranchisement arising from having held office followed by participation in rebellion:

This is the most important part of the oath, and requires strict attention to arrive at its meaning. The applicant must swear or affirm as follows:

"That I have never been a member of any State legislature, nor held any executive or judicial office in any State, and afterwards engaged in an insurrection or rebellion against the United States or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof; that I have never taken an oath as a member of Congress of the United States, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial office of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, and afterwards engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the United States or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof."

Two elements must concur in order to disqualify a person under these clauses: First, the office and official oath to support the Constitution of the United States; second, engaging afterwards in rebellion. Both must exist to work disqualification, and must happen in the order of time mentioned.

A person who has held an office and taken the oath to support the Federal Constitution and has not afterwards engaged in rebellion is not disqualified. So, too, a person who has engaged in rebellion, but has not theretofore held an office and taken that oath, is not disqualified.

All vote "aye" except the Secretary of War, who votes "nay."

8. Officers of the United States:

As to these the language is without limitation. The person who has at any time prior to the rebellion held any office, civil or military, under the United States, and has taken an official oath to support the Constitution of the United States, is subject to disqualification.

Concurred in unanimously.

9. Militia officers of any State prior to the rebellion are not subject to disqualification.

All vote" aye" except the Secretary of War, who votes "nay."

10. Municipal officers--that is to say, officers of incorporated cities, towns, and villages, such as mayors, aldermen, town council, police, and other city or town officer--are not subject to disqualification.

Concurred in unanimously.

11. Persons who have prior to the rebellion been members of the Congress of the United States or members of a State legislature are subject to disqualification, but those who have been members of conventions framing or amending the constitution of a State prior to the rebellion are not subject to disqualification.

Concurred in unanimously.

12. All the executive or judicial officers of any State who took an oath to support the Constitution of the United States are subject to disqualification, including county officers. They are subject to disqualification if they were required to take as a part of their official oath the oath to support the Constitution of the United States.

Concurred in unanimously.

13. Persons who exercised mere employments under State authority are not disqualified; such as commissioners to lay out roads, commissioners of public works, visitors of State institutions, directors of State institutions, examiners of banks, notaries public, commissioners to take acknowledgments of deeds.

Concurred in unanimously; but the Secretary of State, the Secretary of the Treasury, and the Secretary of War express the opinion that lawyers are such officers as are disqualified if they participated in the rebellion. Two things must exist as to any person to disqualify him from voting: First, the office held prior to the rebellion, and, afterwards, participation in the rebellion.

14. An act to fix upon a person the offense of engaging in rebellion under this law must be an overt and voluntary act, done with the intent of aiding or furthering the common unlawful purpose. A person forced into the rebel service by conscription or under a paramount authority which he could not safely disobey, and who would not have entered such service if left to the free exercise of his own will, can not be held to be disqualified from voting.

All vote "aye" except the Secretary of War, who votes "nay" as the proposition is stated.

15. Mere acts of charity, where the intent is to relieve the wants of the object of such charity, and not done in aid of the cause in which he may have been engaged, do not disqualify; but organized contributions of food and clothing for the general relief of persons engaged in the rebellion, and not of a merely sanitary character, but contributed to enable them to perform their unlawful object, may be classed with acts which do disqualify. Forced contributions to the rebel cause in the form of taxes or military assessments, which a person was compelled to pay or contribute do not disqualify; but voluntary contributions to the rebel cause, even such indirect contributions as arise from the voluntary loan of money to the rebel authorities or purchase of bonds or securities created to afford the means of carrying on the rebellion, will work disqualification.

Concurred in unanimously.

16. All those who in legislative or other official capacity were engaged in the furtherance of the common unlawful purpose, where the duties of the office necessarily had relation to the support of the rebellion, such as members of the rebel conventions, congresses, and legislatures, diplomatic agents of the rebel Confederacy, and other officials whose offices were created for the purpose of more effectually carrying on hostilities or whose duties appertained to the support of the rebel cause, must be held to be disqualified; but officers who during the rebellion discharged official duties not incident to war, but only such duties as belong even to a state of peace and werenecessary to the preservation of order and the administration of law are not to be considered as thereby engaging in rebellion or as disqualified. Disloyal sentiments opinions, or sympathies would not disqualify, but where a person has by speech or writing incited others to engage in rebellion he must come under the disqualification.

All vote "aye" except the Secretary of War, who dissents to the second paragraph. with the exception of the words "where a person has by speech or by writing incited others to engage in rebellion he must come under the disqualification."

17. The duties of the board appointed to superintend the elections.

This board, having the custody of the list of registered voters in the district for which it is constituted, must see that the name of the person offering to vote is found upon the registration list, and if such proves to be the fact it is the duty of the board to receive his vote if then qualified by residence. They can not receive the vote of any person whose name is not upon the list, though he may be ready to take the registration oath, and although he may satisfy them that he was unable to have his name registered at the proper time, in consequence of absence, sickness, or other cause.

The board can not enter into any inquiry as to the qualifications of any person whose name is not on the registration list, or as to the qualifications of any person whose name is on that list.

Concurred in unanimously.

18. The mode of voting is provided in the act to be by ballot. The board will keep a record and poll book of the election, showing the votes, list of voters, and the persons elected by a plurality of the votes cast at the election, and make returns of these to the commanding general of the district.

Concurred in unanimously.

19. The board appointed for registration and for superintending the elections must take the oath prescribed by the act of Congress approved July 2, 1862, entitled "An act to prescribe an oath of office."

Concurred in unanimously.

IN CABINET, June 20, 1867.

Present: The same Cabinet officers as on the 18th, except the Acting Secretary of the Interior.

The President announced to the Cabinet that after full deliberation he concurred with the majority upon the sections of the summary upon which the Secretary of War expressed his dissent, and that he concurred with the Cabinet upon those sections approved by unanimous vote; that as it appeared the military commanders entertained doubts upon the points covered by the summary, and as their action hitherto had not been uniform, he deemed it proper, without further delay, to communicate in a general order * to the respective commanders the points set forth in the summary.

* See Executive order of June 20, 1867, pp. 3750-3754.

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Chicago: Andrew Johnson, "Special Messages.," Messages and Papers of Andrew Johnson in James D. Richardson, Ed., a Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Presidents, Andrew Johnson (U.S. Bureau of National Literature and Art, 1910), 6:3939 3724–3729. Original Sources, accessed August 14, 2022, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=4SY2KCNUDNFNVN2.

MLA: Johnson, Andrew. "Special Messages." Messages and Papers of Andrew Johnson, in James D. Richardson, Ed., a Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Presidents, Andrew Johnson (U.S. Bureau of National Literature and Art, 1910), 6:3939, pp. 3724–3729. Original Sources. 14 Aug. 2022. http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=4SY2KCNUDNFNVN2.

Harvard: Johnson, A, 'Special Messages.' in Messages and Papers of Andrew Johnson. cited in , James D. Richardson, Ed., a Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Presidents, Andrew Johnson (U.S. Bureau of National Literature and Art, 1910), 6:3939, pp.3724–3729. Original Sources, retrieved 14 August 2022, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=4SY2KCNUDNFNVN2.