Chapter 17: California.
- General Johnston's ideas of Government. -- the right of resistance. -- the alternative presented. -- resigns and is relieved. -- imaginary plot. -- slander refuted. -- General Buell's letter. -- Governor Downey's statement. -- General MacKALLall's letter. -- incidents of resignation. -- attempted reparation by the Administration. -- Hon. -- Montgomery Blair's letter. -- Los Angeles. -- advice to citizens. -- writer's recollections. -- General Johnston's correspondence.
General Johnston had never been a politician or party-man. He had cast but one vote in his life, and that had been for General Taylor, who, he thought, would rise above party. He never forgot, however, that he was the citizen of a republic. Deeply interested in its welfare, conversant with its history, well acquainted with its practical working, long associated with its leading men, and himself a thinker and a leader in his own particular sphere, he could not fail to have decided opinions on the greater questions that divided the country. Though little bound by prejudice, his opinions were, of course, much influenced by his associations  and circumstances. A recapitulation of these will exhibit the conditions under which his ideas took form. His family affiliations, his early associations, and some of his warmest friendships, inclined him, while young, to the principles of the Whig party, then in its best days. The constitutional text-book at West Point in his cadetship was, I believe, Rawle's “Commentaries,” a book of wholesome doctrine. The military education there had a natural and necessary tendency to inspire affection for the union of the States, and exalt the Federal authority in the youthful mind; and continued service in the army increased the feeling. On the other hand, the temporary severance of his allegiance, and his service under the independent government of Texas, and its formal voluntary annexation to the United States, must have compelled him to define the nature of Federal relations in a clearer way than did most army-officers. In the latter half of his life he saw the Democratic party as the champion, interpreter, and representative of conservative ideas, especially in the South. This, with other causes, contributed to draw him nearer to it. At once strongly Southern and strongly Unionist, he regarded with aversion the Republican party, which was anti-Southern, and, in its inception and tendency, disunionist. To a soldier, that government commonly seems the best which is best administered; and the nurture and protection of liberty are less apt to engage his admiration than the display of certain other virtues. Order, justice, and vigor, are more apparent agencies than the spirit of freedom which gives them the breath of life. Power, exercised with decision, and restrained only by a sense of responsibility, appears as the model of government; and fetters upon the hands of authority seem the evidence of blind jealousy and unreasoning suspicion. Though General Johnston was something more than a mere soldier, this military ideal was not without its influence on his conception of government. A powerful, stable, energetic government, careful of the interests of the people, presents so many excellences that it is hard not to wish to see it realized. Such a vision influenced to some extent his imagination, the more so, as he deemed the spirit of personal independence the only effectual check upon the tendency to despotism present in all government. Devotion to the Union, fostered by the conviction of its unnumbered blessings, and by his military service, made him unwilling to consider it otherwise than as “perpetual.” In Utah, as the exponent of the military power of the Government, he was intrusted with the execution of its orders; its honor and dignity were in his custody; its welfare was the constant motive of his acts; and in his hands the mere symbols of its power had triumphed over the causeless rebellion of that disaffected yet dependent population. But his life had not been passed altogether in the service of the  United States. He had been the soldier of Anglo-Saxon freedom, the cabinet officer of a constitutional and independent republic, and a planter who had earned his bread in the sweat of his brow. He understood the delicate and complicated mechanism of our Government; and, much as he desired to see its hands strengthened within its legitimate sphere, he knew that the sovereignty of the States was the palladium of our liberties, and was to be respected and defended with jealous care. It is true that he thought that the rights of the States could be better secured by many concessions even than by arms; but he had no doubts as to which party was the aggressor, and his convictions, as well as his sympathies, were with his own State and section. Moreover, he had learned from the patriots of 1776 the inherent right of every people to select their own form of government, and to maintain their independence by revolution. General Johnston's views in regard to slavery were those generally held in the South, where he was born and brought up, and with whose social structure he had been identified. Right or wrong, they were the beliefs of eight millions of people, who have shown as high traits, as pure a morality, as lofty a courage, and as intelligent a statesmanship, as any who ever lived. With no great respect for political abstractions, and perceiving clearly the differences that mark race and condition, he rejected with intellectual scorn the generalizations which overlook all existing facts, and confound all the relations of life. He recognized our common humanity, no man more distinctly; and acted upon it, no man no more fully. But he could not ignore that the manifest inferiority of the negro fitted him for the place he held, and that time alone could fit him for any other. The slaves had been bought with a price, under the strongest legal sanctions, and all arguments for their forcible emancipation applied equally well to the confiscation of every other species of wealth or property. The destructive consequences of the abolition of slavery had been proved in the West Indies, and were as certain as any future event could be. Hence he shared the resentment, though not the expression of it, universal in the South, against the domineering philanthropy that assailed its institutions. His views in regard to the nature and polity of the United States Government, on the whole, fairly represented the ideas of the army-officers as a class, but enlarged and modified by a wider experience. If they could be summed up in a single word, it would be-conservative. General Johnston had been so long the stanch soldier of the United States that he was unwilling to contemplate the picture of its majestic fabric shattered and in ruins. If the States were to be severed, it mattered little to him under what class of rights the act was to be consummated. Whether called secession, or revolution, or rebellion, it was the prostration of that governmental ideal for whose exaltation  his life had been spent. Like Mr. Madison, he had “veiled” the possibility, but the rude hand of fanaticism had rent the veil asunder. Ah! was it wise for the mighty North to force such faithful servants, such loyal hearts as this, as Jackson, as Lee, into resistance and the final argument of the battle-field. Lip-service and the hireling sword are everywhere at the command of power; but men like these, at their need, the generations must wait for. They are the product of wisdom, and justice, and beneficence, in the country which possesses them. Besotted is the people who believe that their place can be supplied by able adventurers. The splendid military genius of Hannibal could not sustain itself with mercenary spears against the moderate talents of Fabius and the unequal inspiration of Scipio, animated by patriotic fervor. But, devoted as General Johnston was to the Union, he could not forget that he was also the citizen of a State. To Texas he had sworn allegiance; his estate and his best years had been spent in shielding her; he had aided to merge her autonomy and to limit her independent sovereignty by annexation, and he knew that when she entered the Union it was by treaty, as an equal, and that the Constitution was the bond to which she had consented. She had performed her covenant faithfully; it was the North by which it had been trampled into the dust. She had, therefore, the right to renounce the broken contract, or to try to enforce it, as she deemed most expedient. If she elected to secure her liberties by withdrawing from a Union in which they were assailed, her action would be justified by either the letter of the bond, or by the “inalienable right,” as the Declaration of Independence has it, of a people to choose their own form of government. It was an act of sovereignty, for which the State was responsible to whatever other community should choose to dispute it; but not. to its own citizens, who were bound to adhere to it the more closely the more it was endangered. Now, though General Johnston was satisfied that Texas and the other Southern States had ample grounds for resistance or withdrawal, and the right to take the extremest measures to secure themselves, he did not believe the means adopted were wise or expedient. His mind was too sternly practical to allow him to suppose, when the clearest guarantees of the Constitution had failed to restrain partisan zeal and the lust of dominion, that these passions would be arrested now by the assertion of a disputed right. He was sure that peaceable secession was impossible, and therefore thought that it was a remedy to be tried only when all others had been exhausted, and not until every effort at conciliation had failed, and every sacrifice had been made to preserve the Union. Nor was he without hopes that, if an interval were left for returning reason to resume its sway, fanaticism might be dethroned, and the people would demand equity and peace. But, if resistance was to be made, he thought it should be attempted on no doubtful issue,  but only after radical tactics had fully laid bare the purposes of that party. Such delay would unite the South, justify its action, and give the opportunity for cooperation, organization, and the accumulation of adequate means of defense. Delusive as were these hopes, they were those of a patriot, and had much to do in shaping General Johnstones conduct in the opening of the war. He knew that no man's voice or influence could control the tempest of human passions which was driving the republic on the breakers; yet such was his faith in its destiny that he could still trust that a good Providence would rescue it, even if by a miracle. In such a state of affairs, there was nothing left for a man in his position but to drift, standing at his post. His temper was of a cast so cheerful, his philosophy so bracing, and his code of duty so exacting, that he felt able to perform the minutest detail of service required of him with perfect fidelity of spirit and unshaken by the tumult, until a conflict of duties should arise. He would not anticipate the painful hour, for “sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof;” but, when the moment for decision came, he would obey that conscience which had been his constant monitor. When Texas seceded, the alternative was presented him. On one side was the grand nationality, whose flag he had borne, whose authority he had upheld, to whose glory he had consecrated his career, and in whose service were embarked all his plans for power, prosperity, and worldly advancement. On the other were his feeble State and her concurring sisters, as yet not united even in a defensive league, rent by faction, unprepared for war, and making no definite call upon his services. Had he listened to the voice of ambition, the tempter would have told him that, in the United States Army, he stood at the head of the list of active officers, and that above him were none except those whom age or meagre ability excluded from rivalry, and that the large resources and commanding position of the established Government offered every advantage a soldier could wish, while its rewards would accord with its imperial designs. Whatever others may have thought, he was not deceived as to the comparative strength of the opponents. He knew the facts only too well. When, therefore, he made his choice, it was the easy triumph of duty over interest, and of affection for his own people over all the allurements that ambition can hold out. Until Texas seceded he went forward unswervingly in the service of his employer the General Government; but, when that event presented a definite issue, he promptly took his choice of evils. The United States Army was no longer the place for him, when, at any moment, he might be called upon to aid in the work of subjugation. He had resolved never to lift his hand against “his people ;” and, since Texas had left the Union, in the army he could not remain. He therefore  resigned. Still, as secession was not war, and Texas ardently desired peace, he indulged the hope that the mercy which had so often saved the country from the consequences of its own sins and follies might even yet avert impending disasters. In this event he would retire to some small farm, near Los Angeles, California, and, among congenial friends, far from the strife of faction, would pass the evening of his days in tranquillity. His age and services might claim exemption from contests for which he had no heart; and, in the balmy air of that garden of the West, he would nurture his children in scenes unvisited by civil discord. He tendered his resignation, and asked that a successor might be sent to relieve him. He was very anxious to fulfill strictly and satisfactorily the trust committed to him, and to be relieved from it before the jar of civil war should complicate his position. Lest the knowledge of his resignation might weaken the moral hold he had over the soldiers, or promote disaffection and a revolutionary spirit among the numerous Southerners resident in California, he kept the fact concealed. His adjutant-general (Major Mackall) and Mrs. Johnston were aware of the fact, which he also communicated to Dr. Griffin, and Mr. and Mrs. H. P. Hepburn, his kinsfolk, under the seal of secrecy. This was so well observed that San Francisco was taken by surprise when his resignation was announced a fortnight later. About this time, General Johnston was told, by some Republicans of San Francisco, that a plot existed to seize Alcatraz, the fortress which commands the entrance to the bay and harbor of that key of California, in order to set up a Pacific republic. General Johnston replied that he hoped they were mistaken, but that precautions would be taken to prevent the success of such an enterprise. He proceeded quietly to remove several thousand stand of arms from the arsenal at Benicia, where they were exposed, to Alcatraz, which was virtually impregnable, and informed the Governor that, in case of any outbreak or insurrection, they could be employed by the militia to repress it. He also took other measures to insure peace. The writer does not believe that any plot or design was made by the Southerners, or others in California, to take the State out of the Union; but there is no doubt that, if the large element of restless and revolutionary men on that coast had imagined they would receive the aid or countenance of the military commander in such an undertaking, they had the hardihood to make the attempt. A friend, long domiciled there, who would have known if anybody in that country knew, told the writer that there were prominent men in California who wished such a result, and, knowing his long intimacy, asked him to sound General Johnston as to the feasibility of a Pacific republic, and as to his wishes and intentions. “But,” said he, “I did not dare to approach him on the subject, He told me, however, of his  own accord, that as long as he held his commission he would maintain the authority of the United States to the last extremity; and we knew he would do it.” While he was waiting, in suspense and much inward sorrow, the action of the authorities at Washington, General E. V. Sumner suddenly arrived unannounced at San Francisco, with orders to supersede him in the command of the department. As the circumstances of General Sumner's arrival have been greatly falsified by some of the baser sort of party journals, and the more careless sort of partisan histories, it is necessary to mention them here with more detail than would otherwise be called for. General Sumner sailed from New York about the 1st of April, secretly, and perhaps, as was stated at the time, under an assumed name. His name was not in the list of passengers forwarded by the Pony Express, which reached San Francisco a week in advance of the steamer. He had hardly taken command, before the Administration organs from ocean to ocean began to hint darkly of a deep-laid conspiracy nipped in the bud by this wonderful coup-d‘état. With that fertility of fancy which characterizes a certain class of journalists, the story grew by embellishment. This was the manner, as published by one of them:
There came one day to our good President a message that caused his cheek to pale, and his great heart to beat quick with apprehension. This was the message-short, as it was ominous-“There is treason on Alcatraz!” Alcatraz is the name of the island and fort, etc.Then follows a long description of the situation, with full details of an imaginary plot, evidently evolved from the inner consciousness of this political romancer :
To insure the success of the scheme, Albert Sidney Johnston was placed in command at Fort Alcatraz. It was arranged that the leaders in San Francisco, with a force of picked men sufficient for the purpose, should surprise and capture the fort. The details were all arranged. They were waiting only for orders from the rebel government to strike the fatal blow. The birds of the air carried whisperings of this treason to loyal ears, etc.General Sumner's secret appointment and transit are then given, with this denoument:
The eager thousands who thronged the streets hardly noticed the momentary pause of the steamer when passing Fort Alcatraz, nor did they note the little boat that shot out from her side toward the island; yet that tiny boat bore more to them “than Caesar and his fortunes.” It bore General Sumner, who, in a few minutes, stood before the commander, and, as his superior in rank, and under special orders from the President, assumed command of Fort Alcatraz. California was saved to the Union. This is a pretty fair sample of a story that has since been frequently reproduced with variations in Northern prints. On its face it bears the marks of a mythical origin — signs of improbability-circumstantial details, resting on the evidence of “the birds of the air” --a metaphor, probably, for that vile brood of troubled times, the paid informers. It would not be worth while to notice such a rumor, had it not been suggested by the conduct of the Administration, and, most probably, from its source and prevalence, by official inspiration. The truth was, that General Sumner landed at the wharf with the other passengers, and did not see General Johnston till the next day at noon. When the command was turned over to him, he expressed an approval of all his predecessor's acts, and much gratification at the condition of the department, also asking his advice as to future arrangements, the disposition of troops, etc. He stated that he would make a favorable report to the War Department. The following extract from his report of April 28, 1861, to the adjutant-general, gives all that he says in regard to General Johnston; but, in so far as it goes, it confirms what has been said:
I have the honor to report that I arrived here on the 24th inst., and on the 25th relieved General Johnston in command of this department. My departure from New York was not known here till the night before my arrival. It gives me pleasure to state that the command was turned over to me in good order. General Johnston had forwarded his resignation before I arrived, but he continued to hold the command, and was carrying out the orders of the Government.Having applied for information on this topic to General Buell, who was Sumner's chief of staff, in California, he replied, in a letter of April 2, 1873:
I did not accompany General Sumner to California in the spring of 1861, and was not there when your father turned over the command to him. I arrived, however, very soon after. I do remember that a report had some currency about that time to the effect that your father desired, or had it in contemplation, to surrender California to the cause of the Southern Confederacy. Those were days of a good deal of distrust and bitterness; but I do not believe that any well-informed person ever gave credence to the report. For, besides the intrinsic absurdity of such a proposition, and its utter inconsistency with your father's character, there was no foundation whatever for such a report. No man who knew your father well could ever believe him capable of a base action.This slander having been lately revived in California, possibly for some political motive, has called forth a letter from Governor Downey. The article from the Los Angeles Express and the reply of Governor Downey are here given.  All old residents of the Pacific coast know that at the time of the breaking out of the rebellion a plot was formed by A. S. Johnston, then the military commander of this department, in connection with a number of prominent leaders (some of whom are still prominent in that party), to seize the United States Arsenal, distribute the arms to their partisans, and hand the State of California over to the Southern Confederacy. Unfortunately for the success of this precious scheme, it by some means leaked out, and the Government at Washington, comprehending the danger, lost no time in dispatching General Sumner to supersede Johnston, and save the State to the Union. General Sumner arrived here incognito, and immediately proceeded to Benicia, where he presented the order assigning him to the command, and demanded possession of the department. Sumner's appearance was like a thunder-clap to the conspirators, who had not anticipated such prompt action, and were not prepared to resist, so there was nothing for Johnston to do but submit, and turn over the command to Sumner, which he did, and himself left a few days after for the South, where he fell on the field of Shiloh.
This chapter having been submitted by letter to General W. W. Mackall, Assistant Adjutant-General of the Department of California in 1861, he replied January 7, 1876. The following is an extract from the letter of General Mackall:
That your father exercised his command honestly for the Government he served in California is thoroughly known to me; but, as a matter of course, my evidence can have no weight with those inclined to doubt it. When Texas seceded, he told me that he had sent in his resignation. I was surprised, and said, “I always thought you were a Kentuckian.” He replied, “I adopted Texas, and its people have been my fast friends and are entitled to my best services.” In reply, some days after, to a remark of mine (not, however, in reference to himself), that I thought an officer inexcusable in negotiating with another government for position, while holding a United States commission, he said, “Major, I assure you that I have never written one word to any one on such a subject.” The morning General Sumner arrived, General Johnston and I were in the office with some other officers, when my clerk announced Sumner's arrival. General Johnston turned to me and, smiling, said, “Major, you and I know how welcome he is.” Neither of us suspected that it had any other significance than the natural answer to his resignation, or a command given to Sumner on his promotion. I am satisfied that no officer, Northern or Southern, had up to this time thought that General Johnston would act otherwise than as a gentleman true to his trust. Nor do I believe that he, much as his character commanded the respect of all, had he attempted to make use of his position to injure the Government he then served, could have called to his side a single Southern officer. Sure am I that none of those who afterward, with great sorrow, felt themselves obliged to leave the service and go to the defense of their own people, for whom many of them gave up their lives, would have been found among the number. The only complaint I ever heard from General Sumner as to the condition of the command as he received it was, that he was not assured of the loyalty of the commander of Alcatraz Island, I do not remember  whether or no he superseded him. This, however, is known, that the officer continued to serve the United States during the war; and so Sumner must have learned that, even in this instance, General Johnston had been true. General Johnston, however, had acted from no special knowledge of the officer's politics, but from his own honest instincts, which brought the conviction that a gentleman would not accept a trust which he might be induced to betray.The meeting was cordial on both sides. Whomsoever else that bluff soldier might suspect, he knew that the man before him was the model of spotless integrity. General Johnston mentioned the facts of his resignation to General Sumner, who then said: “General, I wish you would reconsider and recall your resignation. General Scott bade me --say to you that he wished you for active service, and that you should be only second to himself.” General Johnston replied, “I thank General Scott for his opinion of me, but nothing can change my determination.” When General Johnston learned how his successor had been sent forward, and the inference thus suggested to the public mind, together with the version of his conduct which had been put forth by the Administration press for some weeks previous, he felt the deepest indignation. To the officers who informed him of General Sumner's arrival, he had said with emotion at the weight of care which had been lifted from his shoulders, “Then am I doubly relieved.” But, after he had so guarded his action as to keep his fair fame spotless, at the expense of feeling and interest, the iniquity of this insidious blow rankled in his bosom. Whether it was the fabrication of some malignant slanderer, or a nightmare conjured up from the tangled designs of the cabinet, he scorned the imputation upon him of conspiracy or infidelity to his duty as a United States officer. He said once and again to friends, “If I had proved faithless here, how could my own people ever trust me?” Colonel Munford, on his staff during the civil war, made the following statement in his public address at Memphis, on General Johnston:
When his resignation of command in the army of the United States was sent from California, he kept his purpose and action a profound secret. I heard him say that he believed if he had tried he could have brought nearly or quite his entire command with him, and, remarking that we needed them very much, I asked him if he did not regret not having done so. “No sir,” he replied. That army was not mine; it belonged, with all its appointments, to the Government of the United States. My position was a trust which for myself I could relinquish, but only on condition of handing over, to those for whom I held, whatever was in my hands. I waited till I had cause to know my resignation had been received in Washington, turned over the entire command to the next ranking officer, mounted my horse and started across the Plains.Colonel Thomas F. McKinney, his old friend, wrote in 1872, in regard to General Johnston:  One thing is very clear from what he said as he passed through Texas, that the war between the North and South distressed him exceedingly. The whole proceeding was at once imbecile and insulting. Had the suspicion been correct, and General Johnston the arch-conspirator he was represented to be, no man who knows the boldness and decision of his character can doubt that he would have solved the problem of a Pacific republic promptly enough, by clapping his successor in irons, and turning the guns of Alcatraz upon San Francisco. As his correspondence will show, however, he was still hoping for a peaceable solution of the question, and was alternately swayed with grief at the condition of affairs and satisfaction at the Union feeling in San Francisco. The only effect upon him was to revolt his whole soul against those who had assailed his honor. His friends on the Atlantic coast, without fully comprehending the force of the thrust made at him, tried to wipe out or repair the injury as far as possible. General Scott, as soon as he heard what had been done, sent him the strongest assurances of friendship. A cadetship at the Military Academy for his son was forwarded on the 19th of April, probably through General Scott's instrumentality; and other evidences were offered of a desire to employ him in high position, which were communicated to him through various channels more or less direct. The Hon. Montgomery Blair, Mr. Lincoln's Postmaster-General, in a letter to the writer, shows that, at a later date, when opportunity for investigation and a correct knowledge of the facts had been afforded, the Administration entertained no such view of conspiracy as the loyal press had disseminated. Mr. Blair says:
There is a fact in regard to your father that I ought to mention. When General Ord came here from San Francisco, he called on me, and stated that great injury had been done your father by the manner in which he had been superseded, that he was opposed to the secession movement altogether, and that he had often heard him check persons using secession talk in his presence, telling them that it was not respectful to him, as a United States officer. This statement was substantiated by a letter of yours which had been intercepted and given to me. I immediately told Mr. Lincoln the facts, and recommended him to send your father a major-general's commission, and he at once executed the commission. I had it forwarded to your father at San Francisco. But a few days afterward I learned that he had started for Texas, and I directed the postmaster to retain the package for cancellation.This must have been early in July. So far as his merely personal attitude was concerned, the assurances he received of the disposition of the President and cabinet toward him might have been accepted as satisfactory, though it is not probable that he ever would have resumed his sword, under any circumstances,  under the orders of an Administration that had touched his honor so nearly. But the allurements held out to him had no weight in altering a resolution formed on entirely different grounds. From the moment Texas seceded, his purpose was fixed, no longer to bear arms for a Government of which she was not a member. General Johnston was now again a private citizen. He left San Francisco on the 28th of April, and proceeded to Los Angeles, where he became the guest of his brother-in-law, Dr. John S. Griffin. He had made comparatively few acquaintances in California; but, as soon as he ceased to wear the uniform of the United States, numbers flocked to him for advice as to what should be done in such a crisis. His habitual reply was:
If you sympathize with either side, and feel the call of duty to take part in a sectional war, go home, and fight there if necessary. But here there should be peace. Strife here would be civil war — not North against South-but neighbor against neighbor; and no one can imagine the horrors that would ensue.The writer does not think he is claiming too much when he says that the exemption of the Pacific coast from the calamities of civil war, and, in great measure, subsequently, from the bitterness engendered elsewhere thereby, was due to General Johnston, perhaps, more than to any other man, by reason of his firm and unshaken attitude as a commander until relieved, and afterward by his counsels as a private citizen. About the first of May, the writer, hearing that it was probable that General Johnston would be arrested if he returned to the United States by the way of New York, determined to apprise him of his danger. Knowing that all letters were liable to official scrutiny, he engaged a midshipman, who had lately resigned and was highly recommended, to bear advices to General Johnston. The messenger, with excellent intentions, was so indiscreet as to confide his letters to a United States consul in the West Indies, and to land in New York, where he was arrested. This is the intercepted letter alluded to by Mr. Blair. As General Johnston knew nothing of this attempt to warn him, it did not influence his movements. It is mentioned now only because it was proclaimed at the time as another link in the grand chain of conspiracy which was erroneously assumed by the excited imagination of the North to encircle the Confederate States. With fair opportunities of knowing the details of the secession movement, the writer does not hesitate to say that its most salient characteristics were spontaneous enthusiasm and reckless confidence. The revolution was essentially popular; and a martial democracy, in which public measures had always been settled by oral discussion, was not apt to practise any concealment of conduct or opinion. In fact, as  the entire State action claimed to be based on legal right, all mystery was repudiated as savoring of intrigue, and much force was spent in vehement assertion that might better have been put into preparation for the conflict. Conspiracy is alien to the genius of a free people. It requires generations of despotism to train men to the secrecy, perfect organization, and implicit obedience, necessary to success in it. There were no materials for this sort of work in the South; and, indeed, the education that supplies them unfits a people for the liberty it seeks through them. It would, nevertheless, be well for Americans of all sections if the spirit of self-restraint were cultivated more, and if a greater reserve were studied to replace the unbridled expression of thought and feeling that is becoming so marked a national trait. In a letter written January 17, 1861, from San Francisco to the writer, General Johnston, after describing the rough voyage by which he and his family reached their destination on the 14th of January, says:
When we get to our new home and look around a little, I shall be able to give you some account of California affairs. I think the public sentiment here is decidedly in favor of the maintenance of the Union. Again:The following letter, addressed to Major Porter by an officer, then and since very prominent in the United States Army, needs no comment:
The following letter to Major Fitz-John Porter, though in parts nearly identical with that just given, is inserted as corroborative of General Johnston's perfect frankness of dealing. While his son was acting with those in the South who were readiest to meet the issue of war, his late adjutant-general and trusted friend, looking at affairs from a Northern point of view, was gradually yielding his conservative views and entering with zeal into the idea of coercing the South. General  Johnston, agreeing with neither, did not resent in those he loved that liberty of thought and action which he claimed for himself as his dearest right:
You had, perhaps, better let the announcement of my resignation come from the department.
 General Johnston's resignation was accepted on the 6th of May, to take effect on the 3d instant. From his sister-in-law, Mrs. Eliza Gilpin, already mentioned as the widow of his brother, Josiah Stoddard Johnston, he received a letter, dated at Philadelphia, April 15th, breathing the excited feeling of devotion to the Union just then newly aroused by the fall of Fort Sumter. The following extract, however, contains all that is essential to this memoir:
The following was General Johnston's reply:
It is a pleasant thought, now that death has reunited these kindred and exalted spirits, to remember that, though differing so widely, the affection of a lifetime was not imbittered even by the events of the civil war. This venerable lady cherished a tender, sisterly recollection for the memory of the soldier to whose martial virtues her benign influence had early imparted some of the grace of her own refined and elegant character. In a letter to the writer, dated July 12, 1861, she says:
I truly grieve for the necessity of your father's resignation. Still, I cannot blame him. He has always been the soul of honor; and so he will be, in my estimation, while I live.Years afterward these sentiments were reiterated by the trembling hand of age.