Andrew Johnson: A Study in Courage

By Lloyd Paul Stryker | Go to book overview

XXXI
JOHNSON NAMES THE TRAITORS

ON the evening of the day the Radicals had selected to burlesque Lincoln's memory, a large popular meeting assembled in Washington to express its appreciation of Johnson's veto of the Freedman's Bureau bill.1 After the adoption of suitable resolutions the meeting adjourned and its members marched in one enthusiastic body to the White House. On the same portico where Lincoln had last addressed an audience before he died, Andrew Johnson spoke to those who had come to pay him their just tribute.

Thanking his fellow citizens for their endorsement, he reminded them that it was the "day that gave birth to him who stood at the portal when all these states entered into glorious Confederacy. . . . Washington whose name this city bears, is embalmed in the hearts of all who love their government. [A voice, 'So is Andy Johnson.']"2

Referring to a call from the association that was laboring to complete the Washington monument, and the pledges for its completion placed within it, Johnson continued: "Let me refer to one from my own state--God bless her--which has struggled for the preservation of this Union in the field and in the councils of the nation. . . . The sentiment which that state inscribed upon her stone . . . deposited within the monument . . . she is struggling to stand by . . . and she is now willing to maintain. . . . It is the sentiment enunciated by the immortal and illustrious Jackson--' The Federal Union, it must be preserved.'"3

His massive head thrown back, erect, strong, his black eyes flashing fire, he continued with sonrous and compelling voice: "I stand before you as I did in the Senate of the United States in 1860. I denounced there those who wanted to disrupt the gov-

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