The performance of the promises alleged by you to have been made by me would have involved a resistance to law, and an inconsistency with the whole history of my connection with the suspension of Mr. Stanton. From our conversations, and my written protest of August 1, 1867, against the removal of Mr. Stanton, you must have known that my greatest objection to his removal or suspension was the fear that some one would be appointed in his stead who would, by opposition to the laws relating to the restoration of the Southern States to their proper relations to the government, embarrass the army in the performance of duties especially imposed upon it by these laws; and it was to prevent such an appointment that I accepted the office of Secretary of War ad interim, and not for the purpose of enabling you to get rid of Mr. Stanton by my withholding it from him in opposition to law, or not doing so myself, surrendering it to one who would, as the statement and assumptions in your communication plainly indicate was sought. And it was to avoid this same danger, as well as to relieve you from the personal embarrassment in which Mr. Stanton's reinstatement would place you, that I urged the appointment of Governor Cox, believing that it would be agreeable to you and also to Mr. Stanton--satisfied, as I was, that it was the good of the country, and not the office, the latter desired. On the 15th ultimo, in presence of General Sherman, I stated to you that I thought Mr. Stanton would resign, but did not say that I would advise him to do so. On the 18th I did agree with General Sherman to go and advise him to that course, and on the 19th I had an interview alone with Mr. Stanton, which led me to the conclusion that any advice to him of the kind would be useless, and I so informed General Sherman. Before I consented to advise Mr. Stanton to resign, I understood from him, in a conversation on the subject
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