29 SEPTEMBER 1866, Page 6


JF result be the test of oratory, as the Greeks affirmed, Mr. Johnson is an almost matchless orator. He has rebuilt the Republican party of America. Until the President left Washington to "stump the Union" that party laboured under one disadvantage which might, had it not been removed, have paralyzed all its efforts. The rank and file could scarcely credit the danger their leaders saw. The slow-minded, steady- headed freeholders, with whom the sovereignty of the Union ultimately rests, could not bring themselves to believe that a President who in the dark hour of the Union had been faith- ful even unto slaying, really intended to fling away the whole result of the war, meant that their children's deaths should be without-profit, intended to drive the State chariot into the old rut, and trust the reins to the old charioteers. They thought his opponents were romancing, or rather imagined that they and the President were quarrelling as to two modes of reaching one and the same end. Even after they had be- come suspicious, they were far from being convinced. If the President meant what Mr. Stevens said he meant, and if he said the things the Tribune reported him to say, and if he had. devised the projects his own papers attributed to him, then indeed it would be needful to resist, but where was the proof of all this'? The speeches of his enemies ? Americans habitually expect orators to exaggerate. The articles of his opponents ? Americans have less confidence in newspapers. than any population which reads them; less even than Italians, who consider that a statement made in a journal has necessarily a meaning other than the one upon its face: The threats of his friends-? they have fallen somewhat dead, from a local reason. Before the war the great Southern weapon in internal polities was the menace oft force, " show- ing the- whip," as they said, and the-quiet farmers thought tha nes threats only a revival of the old' policy, and set them down as mere words. .The- President's journey has waked them out of their hopeful delusion. There is no- further possibility oU doubt for- them. Mr. Johnson himself, an in- dividnal and -notr an abstraction, has been among them, slang- ing his enemies; accusing Republicans of treachery, affirming State rights, above all, denounoing-Gongr ess as a body hostile to the Government; a mere clog upon its-action. Americans- like none of these things, neither the violence of tone, nor the fervour for State rights; nor the intense antipathy for the representatives of the people. In this country the secret sympathy for the. South blinds. readers to the feet that it is. the contest- of 1848-which is renewing itself in Washington, that the Person is fighting the Parliament, that if the Pre- sident wins Mr. Johnson will dictate- the policy of the Union, and not the Representatives of the. people; bat the Northerners- are not blind. They see tyranny in the President's speeches as -well as Southern sympathies, and, awaked. at last from their -dream as to Mr. Johnson's motives, they have resolved upon resistance. The •election- for Maine shows hovr completely the President has failed. The State is full of officials, for. it contains the Customs' line; the Demo- erotic party has the strong cohesion of a party always more or' less hopeless, patronage has been unscrupulously exerted, and-though no Democrat expected a victory, it-was anticipated that "the policy" would have reduted. the Republican host by many thousand votes. It has increased them by seven thousand. The effect throughout the Union has been im- mense, for the politicians see that the freeholders; whose views they can never exactly catch in anticipation, are dead against -reconstruction on the President's plan. The Irish vote, which was considered secure, has been thrown on the- other side. The New York Heralcli which is not only friendly to the South, but habitually-supports-the President of the day as the real depositary of power, is shrinking from Mr. John- son, and the Liberal journals write as if a heavy burden had at last been removed from their minds.

The nature of that burden is at last patent to all the world which does not pin its faith implicitly on the Times. We have repeatedly pointed out, amidst some distrust from men otherwise completely in accord with us upon American politics, that Mr. Johnson's plan, the plan to which he would be driven, was to set up a rival Congress, composed of the Democrats plus the representatives of the South admitted by his sole fiat. Armed with all executive power and backed by such a House, he would be- master of the Union, could carry out any policy he pleased, or by plunging into a foreign war compel opposing parties t&. reunite in support of the national safety or honour in the- field. The New York Times, his warmest and most sensible supporter, now avows openly that this was his design, and calls. upon all true lovers of their country to avert the danger by submitting at once and frankly to the President's plan. The revelation is so remarkable, the design in its revolutionary energy and legal acuteness so able, that we quote it in Mr. Raymond's own words :—" By law, Congress [the House] consists of 241 members ; and by law, also, a majority of the whole number, or 121 members, constitute a quorum. Sup- pose that members elected from the Southern States should meet in December, 1867, and be enough, added to Northern members who believe in their right to representation, and who. would meet with them to constitute a quorum ; and suppose the Northern members who do not believe the South entitled to representation, and who would not meet with them, should meet by themselves, constituting less than a quorum of the whole number. The President will be under the necessity of recognizing one or the other of these bodies as the valid, con- stitutional House of Representatives. He must- send his message to the one or the other. He must sign bills passed

by-the one or the- other. He must treat one or the other as a branch of Congress, clothed with the power of making laws, and the other as having no such authority. And, under the circumstances assumed, there can be very little doubt, in view of his known opinions on the subject, that President Johnson

will recognize the numerical quorum—the body which contains a majority of all the members—as the only body authorized

by the-Constitution to make laws for the United States. He williprohably send his message to that body ; he will sign the bills they pass if concurred in by the Senate, and he will not

recognize the acts-of the other 94 valid in any respect. The Senate, on the contrary, will recognize a majority of members frail:nail-the States but ten, even if they are a-minority of the whole; as the real Congress, and as clothed with all the powers of legislation." In, other words, the President would

be absolute, and the results of the war would- in-a few weeks be totally effaced, the constitutional amendment prohibiting slavery perhaps 'openly repealed; and at all events nullified by State laws. The Liberal leaders, aware of this plan, have hoped that itmight Beresisted lrythe diffieultyof -creating a newSenate, the-existing‘one being even more tmstworthy than.the House, but thii--confidence is buts delusion. If the South has a right to

seat its representatives unconditionally, much more has it a right to seat its senators, and supported by his House of

Representatives Mr. Joimson would not scruple to consider the

senators of the South as the only Senate. It is in the Lower House that the battle must be fought, the point being to make

sure-that among the representatives returned for next session there 'shall be at least 121 steady Liberals, men who can neither be frightened, nor cajoled, nor bribed. The Presi- dent's-speeches have made this result a political certainty, and the gmnd plan which was to combine- the maximum of revo- lutionary vigour with the minimum of constitutional disturb- ances -will therefore, we feel assured, break down. To make

it emceed the 'Southerners need the-aid' of at least fifty Demo- cratsetrong'enough te ran-so fearful a risk, and it is now the

belief 'of the North that unless some unexpected and almost impossible ohangepasses over the political world, the fifty votes will not be obtained. Should they be nothing, we believe, could avert the renewal of aivil war. The old Congress-would be cora- penal by the mere logic of its position to impeach the President, and the States which support it, and which contain nine- tenths of the wealth, four-fifths of the population, and all the emigrants of the Union, would march their armies of militia to its defence. The notion that the President could rely on the regular- army is, we believe, without foundation. The existing army is Northern, and though no doubt he could collect a new one, that would be merely a renewal of the struggle between North and South, with the President openly committed to the Southern side. Mr. Hamlin, just returned to the Senate again, would doubtless be the Northern President

ad interim, and the war would renew itself under its old con-

ditions. In all probability, however, the President's speeches have averted this terrible collision, by placing the victory of his opponents beyond all doubt or cavil. If they have the quorum, and not he, Mr. Johnson must either submit or appeal openly to revolutionary-means.

Which course will- he pursue ? To do neither is to abdicate, for the Senate in America is when resolved master of the executive power, can, for example, refuse to confirm all the

President's new appointments, and so replace the dismissed employe's, while the two Houses can pass any law over the

President's head. The balance of power so carefully, and on the whole so successfully, arranged by the framers of the Consti- tution, vrill be at an end, and Congress will be in all but name a Convention, invested, so long as it is in fair accord with the majority-of electors, with irresistible power. That position, again, could last only until March, 1869, when the new Presi- dent comes into power, and the interval would be one of unremitting activity in support of the policy the President so

detests. He would be a nullity till he disappeared. His only alternatives' are to declare any Congress without the South an illegal body, whether it contains a quorum or not, which is war simply ; or to accept the situation, declare, as he has declared, that the people are his ultimate masters, and follow unhesitatingly-the policy of the North. On this side his con- stant assertion that the people is Sovereign gives him a decent loophole, and if he employs it the Liberals will no doubt prefer a reluctant agent to a renewal of civil war. Were we writing of any other man of Mr. Johnson's ideas, a man, for instance, like Mr. Buchanan or Mr. Pierce, not to mention Mr. Stephens, we should incline to the conviction that this would be his ulti- mate course. Any statesman would take it, and almost any politician in the North. But there is an element in Mr. Johnson's mind which acts- as a disturbing force of almost incalculable power, and that is his political ignorance. He does not know the North, does not comprehend its feelings, does not follow its train of reasoning, never sees clearly what the effect of. any given course will be upon its mind. He may believe that the hour for submission has passed, or that the vote at the polls does not express the true feeling of the nation,—Englishmen constantly make that mistake,—that his own party is strong enough to paralyze his opponents, or indeed anything, and any one of these delusions may in- duce him to take steps which cannot be recalled. The balance of probabilities is that he will yield to the popular vote, but it is a balance made almost all by the impossibility of reckoning up that unknown quantity—the depth of the President's ignorance of the people whom he governs.

There-is one other conceivable solution to this imbroglio which we mention with reluctance, and only to- exhaust the possible contingencies. The President, convinced that his policy is lost, may plunge into foreign war. The French troops-are to be withdrawn from Mexico in October, and it is possible, and indeed easy, for Mr. Johnson to declare the evacuation too slow, or to espouse Juarez' cause too openly,,or to pass some insult upon the French army which Napoleon could neither tolerate nor conceal. This is possible; of its probability, we do not affect even to form an opinion. The data are all wanting. We do not know whether Mr. John- son is capable of such a course, whether he could irretrievably commit the country without the-consent of the Senate, whe- ther foreign war would suspend the internal conflict, or whether the people could be deluded into a war to secure what must shortly be obtained by peace. We simply men, tion the possibility, as one deserving of recollection by any one who takes the trouble deliberately to forecast American politics.