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[418] a just and faithful administration of the laws, including the reconstruction acts. I added: ‘And the President knows from General Schofield's acts what he means by this,—if, after these conditions have been fully stated to the President, he sends my name to the Senate, I will deem it my duty to say nothing on the subject of accepting or declining the appointment until the Senate has acted upon it.’

Mr. Evarts intimated that the above was satisfactory, and the interview then ended.

I returned to Richmond on Thursday, April 23, being then in command in Virginia, executing the reconstruction acts. On the 24th the President sent to the Senate my nomination as Secretary of War. On the morning of the 26th I received from General Grant a confidential letter, dated April 25, advising me under the circumstances to decline the secretaryship in advance.1

To the above letter I sent the following letters in reply:

(Confidential.)

Richmond, Va., April 26, 1868.
dear General: I regret exceedingly that your advice came too late. I have already promised not to decline the nomination in advance of any action of the Senate.

Yours very truly,


Richmond, Va., April 26, 1868.
dear General: I see from the papers that the President has nominated me to the Senate as Secretary of War. You are aware that I do not want that office; yet under existing circumstances, if the Senate should wish me to serve I could not decline. I presume my nomination will not be confirmed, but have no right to act upon such presumption.

Yours very truly,


1 From all the circumstances it is fair to assume that General Grant's change of attitude was owing to his opinion as to the effect the nomination would have on the impeachment proceedings.

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