The President's message.
The message of President Johnson
to the Congress begins by expressing thanks to God, in the name of the people, for the presentation of the Union
, alludes to the death of the late Chief Magistrate
with expressions of deep regret, and modestly expresses great diffidence in his own ability to support the heavy responsibility cast upon him by that event.
Then follows a glowing tribute to the Constitution of the United States
, calling especial attention to its powers of self-preservation. "It has power to enforce the laws, punish treason, and insure domestic tranquillity;" and "the best security for the perpetual existence of the States is the supreme authority of the Constitution
"The perpetuity of the Constitution
brings with the perpetuity of the States; their mutual relation makes us what we are, and in political system their connexion is indispensable.
The whole cannot exist without nor the parts without the whole.
So long as the Constitution
endures the States will endure; the destruction of the one is the destruction of the other; the preservation of the one is the preservation of the other."
In laying down his policy, the President
says that it has been his "steadfast object to escape from the sway of momentary passions and to derive a healing policy from the fundamental principles of the Constitution
." He gives with great power his reasons for appointing Provisional Governors
in the seceded States instead of establishing military governments.
They would have, he says, "rather annoyed hatred than have restored affection," that it would have "brought with it a train of men expecting profit from the miseries of their erring fellow-citizens," and that precise limit for their continuance was conceivable, endangering thereby the liberties of loyal States.
Of the pardoning power, he says that he "taken every precaution to connect it with the clearest recognition of the binding force of the United States
laws," and the change in to the existence of slavery. "Every must wish for a general amnesty at the earliest epoch consistent with public safety." "Treason of a flagrant character has been committed." "Persons charged with its commission should have a fair and impartial trial in the highest civil
tribunals of the country. "
As to the right of freedmen to suffrage, he favors leaving that to the several States.
To give them a right to vote in the Southern States
would be to give them the same right in the Northern
, and the Executive
has no warrant for such measures in the Constitution
He urges a dispassionate treatment of the subject, and desires a fair trial as to the ability of the two races to live side by side, and advises against forced removal or colonization.
He refers to the vast natural wealth of the eight or nine States nearest the Gulf
, and predicts for them great prosperity, now that the monopoly of slave labor is removed, and calls for legislation that all monopolies be "sternly guarded against."
A summary follows of the reports of the Secretaries of the Interior
and Postmaster General
The latter shows favorable progress in re-establishing Southern postal service, and a surplus of $861,430 receipts over expenditures.
Summaries of the reports of the Secretaries of War
and Navy show the great reduction in the army and navy.
Referring to the report of the Secretary of Treasury
, he favours the greatest economy as to expenditures, and recommends private individuals to be on their guard and ready to return to a gold standard.
Of foreign affairs, he says "our relations with the Emperor
are most friendly." "The unbroken harmony between the United States
and the Emperor
is about to receive additional support" from a telegraphic line to be established between them across Asia
Cordial relations exist with Brazil
He complains at length of Great Britain
for "the formal accordance of belligerent rights to the insurgent States," of the materials of war furnished, and of the vessels sent out from British ports to prey upon the Union
He regrets to say that the propositions for an arbitrament of the questions between the United States
and Great Britain
were declined by the latter, and an unsatisfactory proposition from Great Britain
declined by the United States
He advises against an attempt to redress by legislation, but wishes to rest on the basis of friendship and mutual justice.
The correspondence between the United States
(in reference to questions in discussion) will be laid before Congress at the proper time.
The message concludes with a patriotic outburst, full of praises of the past glories of the country and high anticipations for its future.