James O. Broadhead Meets with President Andrew Johnson
August 22, 1866

In 1866, James O. Broadhead and other Missouri conservatives met with President Andrew Johnson to protest against Radical Reconstruction.

Visit of Delegations from the Philadelphia Convention to the President and General Grant—Political Condition of Missouri—Reply of the President

On Monday several State delegations from the Philadelphia Convention called on the President, among them a delegation from Illinois, who were introduced by Hon. O. H. Browning; a delegation from Indiana, one from Michigan, one from Tennessee, one from South Carolina, and one from Missouri. The latter delegation also called on General Grant and paid their respects to him, many of them being personally acquainted with the General.

The correspondent of the Baltimore Sun says

The Missouri delegation, headed by its chairman, Bart Able, Esq, of St. Louis, waited upon the President and were received by him in his usual audience room. The members of the delegation present numbered one major general, Morgan L. Smith, three brigadier generals, seven colonels, all of whom had seen service, and also a number of the wealthiest and most influential citizens of Missouri, Charles M. Elleard, Charles J. Manes, ex Governor King, etc. The delegation was introduced by the Hon. John Hogan, of Missouri, and Col. James O. Broadhead, stepping forward, said:

It gives me great pleasure to congratulate you on the important events which have recently taken place in Philadelphia, and I am happy to be able to say that the hearts of the people of our State are in perfect accord with that movement, and fully sustain your national and patriotic policy. But Missouri today does not possess a republican form of government, and although we are not here today to ask any action on the part of yourself or any other branch of the Government, the day may come when it will be necessary for us to fall back upon the General Government and ask it to guarantee to us a republican form of government, for we are now subjected to the tyranny of a party that has deprived our people of both religious and civil liberty.

I will now present you, Mr. President, these papers, containing a brief statement of the condition of affairs in Missouri, and which I hope you will examine at your leisure. We feel it important that you should know, and that the country should know, our true condition.

Ex Governor Austin O. King then said: “Mr. President, we would also call your attention to the fact that the offices at the disposal of the Federal Government are now in the hands of the enemies of the Conservative Union men of the State. I might refer to particular names, but we would now simply ask you to look into the matter with such attention to it as it deserves and with reference to a change therein. We feel that the Federal offices in our State have been accidentally or otherwise so filled as to put great power into the hands of those who are the greatest obstacles to the restoration of order and liberty in the State. We would not ask action in this matter, but that it is necessary to have a change in this for the good of the people, and to enable them, in accordance with their desires, to sustain this Administration, the greatest obstacle to their doing so being those holding Federal offices, who are even now using all their influence against the restoration of harmony in the State. I presume not to know how you feel in this matter, but the New Hampshire delegation have spoken at length upon it, and I would not have referred to it only that in Missouri we are more peculiarly situated than are the people of any other State in the Union. Our people feel oppressed and borne down by the bayonet, and are threatened by it, and unless some steps are taken to relieve us from the Military Governor of that department, our people must continue powerless; but if some demonstration were made, some show of protection by the General Government, some assurance that it will protect them in all their rights, they would go fearlessly to the polls and cast their votes for the Union. We do not ask that any man shall vote who cannot take the oath of loyalty; on the country, we have always [illegible] it, and insisted that they must take the test-oath or not present themselves to vote at all. But I say that such is the state of feeling among the people, unless they can have some assurance of being protected by the Federal Government, there are thousands who will not go to the polls, although they could conscientiously go. The late proclamation of the Governor of the State is not only an additional source of intimidation, but we think that there might be means, through the military commander of that department, to restore peace and order. But while the Governor rules, every step he takes is calculated to set us back. Three fourths of the loyal men of the State are now disfranchised under the government they have. If we can in any manner gain the assurance of the General Government that it will stand by the people, our success is certain. In the absence of that, I have no guaranty that a single man will come forward to the support of your administration. In speaking of appointments, I know there may have been circumstances under which certain questionable appointments and removals were inevitable, but in the future those circumstances can have no control.”

The President, in answer, said: We will try to perform everything that depends upon us here, and I think you will find the protection of the Government, as far as compatible, afforded to you. Gen. Hancock will be upon the ground, and give you every possible assistance within the legitimate sphere at his duties.

Ex-Governor King remarked: We should like it if he could be put in the foreground.

To this the President replied: He is commandant of the department.

Col. Broadhead then advanced and said: I am instructed to present to you this paper, which recommends a successor to the present incumbent of the War Office. It is said that certain changes are about to be made, and we take great pleasure in presenting the name of General Blair for the position. I may add that it is endorsed by every member of the delegation from Illinois, with one or two exceptions.

The President merely bowed, and taking the papers handed him, the delegation retired.


The National Intelligencer, August 22, 1866