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[144] Stanton, and appointing General Grant Secretary of War ad interim. The general and the secretary were on the best of terms, and were agreed in their support of the congressional policy of reconstruction. While Mr. Stanton protested against the action of the President, there was no one to whom he would more readily yield the place than to Grant. And the general, who cordially expressed his “appreciation of the zeal, patriotism, firmness, and ability” with which Mr. Stanton had ever discharged the duties of Secretary of War, accepted the position in order that the department might still be administered in the interests of loyalty and the enforcement of the laws, and not be made the instrument of Andrew Johnson in opposing Congress and encouraging rebels.

Whatever might have been the motive of Mr. Johnson in appointing Grant, the people knew enough of that functionary to believe that it was not an honest desire to promote the welfare of the country. But it had an effect which was probably not intended, as it had a result which was not anticipated. If at first any doubts arose as to Grant's fidelity to the principles which he had hitherto supported, they were dispelled as soon as the facts connected with his appointment were known; and any fears for his capacity for civil office were also as speedily and certainly removed. The administration of the war department with regard to reconstruction was not changed, and its affairs were conducted with an energy, ability, and spirit of economy, which proved that General Grant's rare administrative and executive talent was none the less suited to the discharge of civil duties than to the conduct of military affairs.

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