"The Culprits," Chicago Tribune, February 23, 1866, p. 2.
John Osborne, Dickinson College
The following text is presented here in complete form, as it originally appeared in print. Spelling and typographical errors have been preserved as in the original.
The future recorder of the President's apostacy will not fail to hold up to the reprobation of mankind those heartless and unscrupulous men, who, while pretending to be Republicans, have by their tacit or active assent, or by their slow and reluctant dissent, enticed Mr. Johnson to a course that blasts his fame, and seriously disturbs the tranquillity of the Union.
Mr. Doolittle of Wisconsin, Mr. Raymond of New York, Mr. Cowan of Pennsylvania, Mr. Dixon of Connecticut, Mr. Reverdy Johnson of Maryland, and others of the same ilk, are those to whose counsel the President lent his ears, probably with the impression that these puny men are the exponents of the feelings of this mighty people. At the same time a certain class of journalists, whose great opportunities should have been nobly employed arresting Mr. Johnson in his fatal course, were so much biased in favor of these perfidious counsellors and so much intimidated by the frowns of the President, that, instead of leaders, they degenerated into smotherers of public opinion, until now, when their great pusillanimous course has resulted in a great and palpable nation disaster, they begin to see the follies of their ways, and desperately endeavor to mend them.
Though their engines have been kept back until the flames have spread far and wide, and threaten to consume years of national prosperity, we hail their arrival, however tardy with unmixed satisfaction, and feel grateful for any support of the good cause from whatever quarter it may come. At the same time, those false, fickle, and untrustworthy Presidential counsellors and guides of public opinion, will be justly arrigned by the future historian of this new calamity as the culprits who, nursed like vipers in the bosum of the Republican party, poured their poison into the President's ears, and thus compassed the ruin of his administration.
The aims of the Copperheads and rebels may be at least baffled by the constant vigilance which their open and avowed hostility imposes upon the lovers of the Union and of freedom. But the stealthy and treacherous machinations of the Iscariots in our own ranks defy all precautions and constitute, in fact, a second edition of the ignominious part played formerly by Northern doughfaces in goading on the South to rebellion, disunion and civil war.
Mr. Johnson, misled by the Dixons & Doolittles of the East and West, and flattered no doubt by the stupendous and consequential nonentities of Senator Morgan, and by the joyous barkings of glib little Raymond, and his poor Southern white man's heart still more rejoiced by the applause of venerable fossils of the "old blood" like Reverdy Johnson, with the bewitching smiles of the Tennessee slaveholders gleaming in the distance, while many so-called Republican sneered at the "Radicals," who denounced the swindle and werre constantly throwing excuses in the path of the President - who can wonder, that with no strong convictions or great genius to support and inspire his mind, Mr. Johnson fell at last, and yielding to the evil spirit, scaled with his veto alike the fate of the Freedmen and the peace of his country. Mr. Seward, too, is staking his reputation upon his support of the President and threatening the Republican party with dissolution, unless they desert their principles and go over to the ranks of the enemy.
All attempts, however, to distract the Republican party, whether intigated by Mr. Johnson and his satellites, or supported by Mr. Seward and his personal followers, are doomed to perish in a miserable grave, which will bury the reputations of the great or small politicians who are so bent on digging it, while the Republican party will survive in all the glory of its indestructible principles, and will only gather new vitality from this secession of all the elements of disease that of late constituted its most salient weakness.