West Minot, Maine: 1867 [Jany 18th]. 3, [1 blank] pp on a lightly lined , folded sheet of stationery. Old folds, Very Good.
This incisive Letter brilliantly expresses Republican anger at President Johnson and the erstwhile Rebels. Lowell and Burpee had been Whig colleagues in the 1854 Maine Legislature. After the dissolution of the Whig Party in the late 1850s they joined the new Republican Party. Lowell's Letter perfectly mirrors the betrayal Republicans experienced after Johnson became the Nation's "accidental president." A loyal, brave Border State man, Johnson opposed Slavery only because he hated the pretensions of the planter class. After the War, he opposed citizenship and civil rights for the freedmen, and attracted the support of former rebels and Copperheads. Lowell and other Republicans were furious.
After some introductory remarks Lowell writes, "I feel, Sir, as the republican party in general must grant mortification in the course of Johnson. He is a base man -- false to his oft expressed opinions of treachery & treason, & the punishment due such crimes-- false to the men who gave him his plan & to whom he owes all that now give him power & influence- now binds all that influence to bolster up the Rebels in their defiance of the government. How easy all the sequels of the war could have been settled after the surrender of Lee. The Rebels would have yielded to any terms to serve their needs; for indeed they expected punishment, & many of them fled & were fleeing the country, to rid themselves of acknowledged penalties. But who among them all, have been punished, or ever will be? It is now with them an honor to have been engaged in the rebellion & the bravest of them pardoned by the accidental Prest...
Those Rebels sought "to destroy the only government that had nurtured them, & had never oppressed them by any Congressional act-- always shared largely & far above their fair proportion of the offices in the nation & in laws that in fact were oppressive to the north & unjust in their demands upon us. Yet, we were willing to wait their repeal that we believed 'the sober, second thought' would produce. They all the while demanding more rigorous enactments until we began to feel our rights & our manhood. They, as often before, exercising threats of disunion, not finding us as often before, so flexible & easy to be entreated, arraigned themselves in battle array- believing still, they should bring us to terms & if fight we would, one southern man would be able to whip three Yankees & they to come off conquerors in the end. But how mistaken! With all their pertinacity & barbarity they were obliged to lay down their arms at the feet of Gen. Grant & his hosts. Now, Sir, until they shall acknowledge the authority of the government & submit to equal rights let them remain outside of the Union. . ." Item #39092