Andrew Johnson: A Study in Courage

By Lloyd Paul Stryker | Go to book overview

XLIX
THE TENURE-OF-OFFICE BILL BECOMES A LAW

THERE were only twenty-eight days in February, 1867, but the Radicals had determined that everyone of these should count. While Wade was making every effort to pack the High Court of Impeachment, Williams of Oregon, the sponsor of the Tenure- of-Office Bill, was devising new traps in which he hoped the President would fall. Meanwhile Stevens steadily was driving on his Reconstruction measures for the humiliation of the South. Washington was a seething cauldron!

Retiring as Secretary of the United States legation in Paris, it was during this month that John Hay returned for a brief visit to the national capital. As Lincoln's former private secretary his opportunities for observation were unusual. He saw and talked with everyone. Of Seward he wrote: "He never seemed to me to better advantage. His utter calmness and cheerfulness, whether natural or assumed, is most admirable. . . . He speaks utterly without bitterness of the opposition to him and the President. He thinks the issue before the country was not fairly put, but seems rather to admire the cleverness with which the Radical leaders obscured and misstated the question to carry the election."1

One evening Hay attended a reception at the White House. "The President," he wrote, "was very cordial to me; said I must come and see him. Mrs. Johnson received for the first time; a quiet invalid old lady. The crowd not choice, but as good an average as ever; scarcely any distinguished people and none squalid. We used to have plenty of both."2 And on another occasion: "They took me in the afternoon to the President's to make a bow to Mrs. Patterson and Mrs. Stover. The White House is much more richly and carefully furnished than in my

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