DURING the exciting scenes just described, the President was beset on all sides. In both Houses of Congress his enemies had built up such majorities against him that, whenever agreed among themselves, they could override his vetoes. Although elected as the candidate of the National Union party and faithfully carrying out the declared policies of that party, Johnson had been largely deserted by its politicians and was being forced to depend upon Democrats for support. This he did reluctantly, for the Southern Democrats were impenitent and impotent; while the Northern ones, too often deserving the appellation of "Copperhead," seemed more interested in filling Federal offices than in sustaining the President. The Southern legislatures were adding to Johnson's troubles, the Northern Conservatives were quailing before the storm, and to cap it all, four of the Constitutional advisers of the President were giving him grave concern.
As far back as March 3, Gideon Welles-who never hesitated, equivocated or faltered in his forthright support of his chief, and whose judgment, courage and loyalty made the latter affectionately term him "a perfect brick"--became apprehensive that there was "treachery to the President" in the Cabinet.1 He thought Johnson was aware of it, but that he was unwisely giving his ear to the temporizers. Upon nearly every issue which was discussed in the Cabinet, Dennison, Harlan, Speed and Stanton advised a course of action which would play into the hands of the Radicals.2
Dick Taylor came to Washington in the spring and had many long interviews with General Grant.3 Both approved Johnson's policy and both agreed that, to succeed in it, the President must get rid of Seward and Stanton. They called at the White House and put their views frankly before the President, who "responded to them favorably, earnestly, and decidedly."
To Grant's amazement, Stanton called on him at his home the next day, and informed the General that he was ready to join him and Taylor in backing Johnson, even to the point of abandoning Seward. Much puzzled, the General of the Armies told the story to Taylor, who hastened to the White House to