Andrew Johnson: A Study in Courage

By Lloyd Paul Stryker | Go to book overview

LXXXVII
JOHNSON RETURNS TO TENNESSEE

JOHN COYLE, one of the editors of the National Intelligencer, extended the hospitality of his home to Johnson and his family, and there for twelve days they stayed, while purchases were made for the old home in Greeneville, which he had not seen since 1861.1 For the first time in thirty years Johnson was a private citizen again. He faced the future quietly but with resolute determination. During his final days at the White House, and especially during those last trying hours, no word of complaint escaped him. His vindication would yet come!2 What would the immediate future hold? Some thought that he would make a European trip. English, French and German steamship companies tendered free passage for his family and himself.3 But Johnson took no gifts.

The city of Baltimore sought an opportunity to do him honor before he should return to Tennessee. Johnson accepted. And so, on the 12th of March, business was forgotten in that city. At the rotunda of the Post Office he stood from one till three, while men, women and children passed by to shake his hand.4 At Barnum's Hotel that night a banquet was given in his honor. This was one of the toasts: "Our guest,--the patriot statesman, Andrew Johnson, as President of the United States, the bulwark of equal rights, the champion of the only true and permanent Union of the United States, and the defender and martyr of the Constitution. History will vindicate his fame, and record an impeachment of his impeachers. . . . Baltimore . . . bids him welcome to a place in the hearts of a great people, for whose protection and happiness he bared his breast to the shafts of calumny, and for their sakes hazarded all that was dear to the man and the citizen. In his retirement in the full vigor

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