The President's Last Talk
June 8, 1866
Johnson announces the only way the Union can be restored is if the North and South can end strife, let peace do the repairing, and avoid reopening the wounds of war.
In the columns of the Dispatch will be found the speech of President JOHNSON before the Ladies' National Fair for the benefit of the Home for Soldiers and Sailors, delivered on Wednesday night. In this speech the President adheres to the broad and comprehensive platform which he laid down at the beginning of the present session of Congress. In his strong and practical language he plainly tells the people the only way in which the Union can be restored : Not by re-openlng the wounds of war and making them bleed afresh; but the strife being ended, consider peace restored, and "let peace do its work." He even went so far as to declare sentiments which, to the Scribes and Pharisees, will be regarded as decidedly disloyal. "He trusted that the asylum which it was proposed to establish might be extensive enough to bless all orphans. We should not inquire what made them orphans. Charity doth not thus behave." The President, who seemed not to be studying to please the Republican philanthropist, continued to express the sentiments which emanate from the charity he has learned, and concluded with the fortowing truly patriotic and national expression of feeling: "Let us consult our hearts, free from anger, which has existed in them too long. Let the breach be healed, and let difficulties bo done away, that we may be a great and happy people." It is not surprising that these sentiments were warmly applauded. They must have found a response in any heart not as hard as granite. Besides, there were a great many ladies present, and they are never strangers to generous emotions-always excepting the strong-minded blue stockings of the extreme north, and a goodly potion of the sisterhood of "schoolmarms," whose tastes and feelings have been so sadly perverted. The President, in this last quotation, presents the only mode of reconstruction In a nutshell. The Union can be restored in no other way. Dismiss anger, restore equality, cease denunciation, and "let peace do its work."
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“The President's Last Talk,” Reconstructing Virginia, accessed September 20, 2017, https://reconstructingvirginia.richmond.edu/items/show/205.