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President Andrew Johnson, Reply to a Delegation of Southern Refugees, Washington D.C., April 24, 1865

Andrew Johnson
On April 24, 1865, a sizable delegation of refugees who had been forced to flee from Confederate States due to their Unionist or abolitionist beliefs met with President Johnson. Johnson, who had himself suffered throughout the war from similar attitudes, welcomed the visit. Hinting that they felt their fellow Southerner would be more forceful than perhaps President Lincoln would have been, Judge John Curtiss Underwood had represented the refugees with a strong statement begging that the Government to pursue, punish, and restrict those who had rebelled in all their states, so that refugees could return home and participate in state affairs without fear for their lives. President Johnson made a lengthy reply that laid out his current ideas on amnesty and retribution, while counselling that progress must be made "temperately and dispassionately." (By John Osborne)