ORIGINAL MANUSCRIPT POEM MOCKING ANDREW JOHNSON, MOUNTED WITH SMALL BLACK AND WHITE LITHOGRAPH BUST PORTRAITS OF JOHNSON AND ULYSSES S. GRANT. "SHINE ON O' SUN, AND SPEED THE TIME, WHEN JOHNSON WITH HIS EYES AND I'S, SHALL SEE HIS DIXIE'S SUNNY CLIME, AND SAY 'I AND MY POLICIES HAVE COME TO GRIEF, AND WORST OF ALL I AND THE CIRCLES I SWING AROUND ARE NARROWED IN & SHRINKING SMALL HERE ON MY PRIVATE DIXIE GROUND "STAY NOT, O! MOON, BUT WAX AND WANE, TILL AT THE WHITE-HOUSE GRANT SHALL GRANT, A GLAD RELIEF FROM A.J.'S STRAIN OF VETO-POWER, STATECRAFT & CAN'T. "HASTE, HASTE, THE DAY WHEN A.J. GOES HIS HOME IN TENNESSEE TO SEE; 'TIS THEN HE'LL LEARN THAT MORE HE KNOWS THAN SCHOOLS DO OF GEOMETRY. "NO SCHOOL OR COLLEGE EVER FOUND THAT CIRCLES HAVE AN END; AN END; SAD END TO THOSE A.J. SWUNG ROUND, HE FINDS; LET SCHOOLS THEIR ERROR MEND! "YET OTHER LOVE HE'LL ALSO FIND HIS LATE CAREER HATH TAUGHT, -WELL TAUGHT THAT CRAFT IS WEAK, AND ERROR BLIND, FIGHTING 'GAINST RIGHT AVAILETH NOUGHT. "HO! WHEELS OF TIME, HO! ROLLING STARS ROLL OFF A.J., AND GRANT ROLL ON; -THE PEACE-MAN GRANT, THOUGH SON OF MARS, WHO HELPED TO MARCH JOHN BROWN'S SOUL ON! "JOY, NORTH & SOUTH! JOY LAND & SEA! WHEN ON THE FOURTH OF MARCH, SHALL MARCH THE STURDY SONS OF LIBERTY BENEATH HER OLD TRIUMPHAL ARCH; AND GRANT, THE SOLDIER MAGISTRATE, SHALL RULE THE LAND, MAKE STRIFE TO CEASE, AND HOLDING WELL THE HELM OF STATE, SHALL FIRMLY SAY, "LET US HAVE PEACE" .
[n.p. 1868 or early 1869]. Manuscript poem in verse. 7-7/8" x 14-3/4". Nine verses. Entirely in ink script on blue paper. A few words crossed out and changed. Matted with two bookplate engravings of Presidents Grant and Johnson by H.W. Smith. Each bust engraving with facsimile signature beneath the portrait and imprint of "H.W. Smith NY." Very Good.
A diligent search has failed to uncover any record of this poetic attack on President Andrew Johnson-- manuscript or printed-- and the author's celebration of the impending Grant presidency. The untitled poem mocks the disastrous "Swing Around the Circle" during the 1866 mid-term election campaign, when Johnson managed to alienate northern voters beyond repair.
President Johnson had sought to reverse the results of the War by advocating an immediate restoration of the rebellious States to the Union. Lincoln had placed him on the 1864 ticket because Johnson courageously supported the Union throughout Tennessee; and Lincoln needed to win the Border States in order to prevail. A War Democrat, Johnson never shed his State Rights ideology. Lacking moral objections to slavery, he opposed secession from a visceral hatred of the plantation aristocracy. Once that class had been humbled, he saw no obstacle to restoring the rebel States to power, pardoning former Confederates en masse, and leaving the freed slaves vulnerable to the white majority. A stubborn man, he refused to compromise with a Congress which fiercely opposed him. The clash led Johnson to veto legislation and to articulate a view of the Union that had become odious in the North. Johnson's wild "Swing Around the Circle" paved the way to Republican Reconstruction and the impeachment. Item #38593