These and other free gifts from a grateful people were acknowledged with the quiet modesty characteristic of the man.
He who had done so much to crush the rebellion, who knew the terrible cost of the war in blood and treasure, who had learned by experience the spirit of the rebels, like all true and patriotic soldiers did not wish to see all that blood and treasure wasted, and all the toils, burdens, and sufferings of those four long years borne in vain.
If the rebels, humbled and penitent, would accept in good faith the results of their foolish and wicked contest, and seek to restore the Union
upon a permanent basis of freedom and justice, he was disposed to treat them leniently.
It was in the hope of securing such a disposition on the part of the rebels that he had granted magnanimous terms to Lee
's army, and by that precedent to all the rebels in arms.
When, not long after the war, he made a tour of inspection at the South
, he was encouraged by the conduct of most of those with whom he came in contact to believe that the great majority of the late rebels did honestly accept the situation, and were ready to submit to such conditions as the government might impose, in order to resume their relations with the Union
, and restore the exhausted resources of their states.
Such, undoubtedly, at that time was the sentiment; of these men, so utterly defeated in the field, ruined in property, and hopeless, except in the clemency of their conquerors.
But Andrew Johnson
, usurping the prerogatives of Congress, undertook to restore the rebel states according to what he denominated “my policy,” and destroyed