As the adventurers looked from the glass ports they saw
The bill was promptly passed in both Houses over the President's veto and became a law.
As pertinent and incident to the history of this controversy, is the communication of the President notifying the Senate of the suspension of Mr. Stanton, Aug. 12, 1867. The President said:
The Tenure-of-Office Act did not pass without notice. Like other acts, it was sent to the President for approval. As is my custom I submitted it to the consideration of my Cabinet for their advice whether I should approve it or not. I was a grave question of constitutional law, in which I would of course rely mostly upon the opinion of the Attorney General, and of Mr. Stanton, who had once been Attorney General. EVERY MEMBER OF MY CABINET ADVISED ME THAT THE PROPOSED LAW WAS UNCONSTITUTIONAL. All spoke without doubt or reservation; but MR. STANTON'S CONDEMNATION OF THE LAW WAS THE MOST ELABORATE AND EMPHATIC. He referred to the Constitutional provisions, the debates in Congress, especially to the speech of Mr. Buchanan when a Senator, to the decisions of the Supreme Court, and to the usage from the beginning of the Government through every successive administration, all concurring to establish the right of removal as vested in the President. To all these he added the weight of his own deliberate judgment, and advised me that it was my duty to defend the power of the President from usurpation and veto the law.
During the recess of Congress in the Summer of 1867, the President suspended Mr. Stanton from the War Office and appointed Gen. Grant Secretary of War ad interim. Gen. Grant was then understood as supporting the President in his controversy with Mr. Stanton, and promptly accepted the appointment, holding it until the following December, when the change was duly reported to the Senate. The Senate refused to sanction Mr. Stanton's suspension, and he consequently resumed his position of Secretary of War and retained it until the close of the Impeachment trial--the Senate then, in effect, by rejecting the Impeachment, declaring that the President had the right to remove him.
Very naturally, after Mr. Stanton's restoration to the War Office by the refusal of the Senate to sanction his suspension, the relations between himself and the President were embittered and many efforts were made by mutual friends to induce Mr. Stanton to resign. Conspicuous among these were Gen. Grant, the General of the Army, and Gen. Sherman, the next in rank, as shown in the following note from Gen. Sherman to the President; but a few weeks before the crisis came. It explains itself, as showing the relations then subsisting between the parties mentioned:
332 K St., Washington, Jan, 18th.
I regretted, this morning, to say that I had agreed to go down to Annapolis, to spend Monday with Admiral Porter. Gen. Grant has to leave for Richmond on Monday morning at 6 o'clock. At a conversation with the General, after an interview wherein I offered to go with him on Monday morning to Mr. Stanton and say it was our joint opinion that he should resign, it was found impossible by reason of his going to Richmond and my going to Annapolis. The General proposed this course. He will tell you to-morrow and offer to go to Mr. Stanton to say that for the good of the service of the country he ought to resign--this on Sunday. On Monday, I will call on you, and if you think it necessary, I will do the same--call on Mr. Stanton and tell him he should resign. If he will not, then it will be time to consider ulterior measures. In the meantime, it also happens that no necessity exists for precipitating measures.
On Saturday, February 23, 1868, the day following the removal of Mr. Stanton, Mr. Johnson sent to the Senate the name of Mr. Thomas Ewing, senior, of Ohio, as his successor. The Senate had adjourned for the day when the President's Secretary reached the Capitol, between 12 and 1 o'clock, but the nomination was formally communicated on the following Monday. Of this nomination, Mr. Blaine has written, that "no name could have given better assurance of good intentions and upright conduct than that of Mr. Ewing. He was a man of lofty character, of great eminence in his profession of the law, and with wide and varied experience in public life. He had held high rank as a Senator in the Augustan period of the Senate's learning and eloquence, and he had been one of the ablest members of the distinguished Cabinets organized by the only two Presidents elected by the Whig Party. He had reached the ripe age of seventy-eight years, but still in complete possession of all his splendid faculties. He had voted for Mr. Lincoln at both elections, had been a warm supporter of the contest for the Union, and was represented by his own blood on many of the great battlefields of the war."