The President desires Amendments to the Freedmen's bill

February 16, 1866


Conservatives call for the impeachment of President Johnson as Congressional decisions regarding the Freedmen's Bureau come to light.


The President is, as I learn to-day from an authentic source, decidedly in favor of the Freedmen's Bureau Institution, and only desired some amendments to the bill before him, which will be readily adopted by the House, and probably by the Senate. The President and Congress travel on the same road so far, and have not come to the fork whence they may part. The President will not assent to any laws for forcing negro suffrage upon the States, nor even upon this District. There may be a split on that question, but it is doubtful whether it will ever be made. If Congress have the two-thirds power on the subject, they will not care for the President's co-operation and will only use him as a very useful and important power for bestowing offices, all of which they are assured in any event. Some of the members, and probably a majority, unite in censuring the President for what he has already done towards restoration of the rebel States, and may find in it ground enough for quarrel, and even impeachment. But some members have declared already that the President's conduct hitherto would be overlooked, though not justified, if he would give full swing to Congress hereafrer. But in a leading speech in the Senate yesterday it was argued that they power of the President in regard to the reconstruction of the rebel States was ended, and the subject rested with Congress, which must act regardless of the President. This brings the whole matter to the two-thirds power. If Congress have that, as is possible, the President must "get out of the way," not they out of his.
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Justin Barlow




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