The International Workingmen's Association 1865

Address from the Working Men's International Association to President Johnson

Written: between May 2 and 9, 1865;
First published: in The Bee-Hive Newspaper, No. 188, May 20, 1865

To Andrew Johnson, President of the United States


The demon of the "peculiar institution"," for the supremacy of which the South rose in arms, would not allow his worshippers to honourably succumb in the open field. What he had begun in treason, he must needs end in infamy. As Philip II's war for the Inquisition bred a Gerard, thus Jefferson Davis's pro-slavery war a Booth.

It is not our part to call words of sorrow and horror, while the heart of two worlds heaves with emotion. Even the sycophants who, year after year, and day by day, stick to their Sisyphus work of morally assassinating Abraham Lincoln, and the great Republic he headed, stand now aghast at this universal outburst of popular feeling, and rival with each other to strew rhetorical flowers on his open grave. They have now at last found out that he was a man, neither to be browbeaten by adversity, nor intoxicated by success, inflexibly pressing on to his great goal, never compromising it by blind haste, slowly maturing his steps, never retracing them, carried away by no surge of popular favour, disheartened by no slackening of the popular pulse, tempering stern acts by the gleams of a kind heart, illuminating scenes dark with passion by the smile of humour, doing his titanic work as humbly and homely as Heaven-born rulers do little things with the grandiloquence of pomp and state; in one word, one of the rare men who succeed in becoming great, without ceasing to be good. Such, indeed, was the modesty of this great and good man, that the world only discovered him a hero after he had fallen a martyr.

To be singled out by the side of such a chief, the second victim to the infernal gods of slavery, was an honour due to Mr. Seward. Had he not, at a time of general hesitation, the sagacity to foresee and the manliness to foretell "the irrepressible conflict"? Did he not, in the darkest hours of that conflict, prove true to the Roman duty to never despair of the Republic and its stars? We earnestly hope that he and his son will be restored to health, public activity, and well-deserved honours within much less than "90 days"."

After a tremendous civil war, but which, if we consider its vast dimensions, and its broad scope, and compare it to the Old World's 100 years' wars, and 30 years wars, and 23 years' wars, can hardly be said to have lasted 90 days. Yours, Sir, has become the task to uproot by the law what has been felled by the sword, to preside over the arduous work of political reconstruction and social regeneration. A profound sense of your great mission will save you from any compromise with stern duties. You will never forget that to initiate the new era of the emancipation of labour, the American people devolved the responsibilities of leadership upon two men of labour--the one Abraham Lincoln, the other Andrew Johnson.

Signed, on behalf of the International Working Men's Association, London, May 13th, 1865, by the Central Council--

Charles Kaub, Edward Coulson, F. Lessner, Carl Pfander, N. P. Hansen, Karl Schapper, William Dell, George Lochner, George Eccarius, John Osborne, P. Petersen, A. Janks, H. Klimosch, John Weston, H. Bolleter, B. Lucraft, J. Buckley, Peter Fox, N. Salvatella, George Howell, Bordage, A. Valltier, Robert Shaw, J. H. Longmaid, W. Morgan, G. W. Wheeler, J. D. Nieass, W. C. Worley, D. Stainsby, F. de Lassassie, J. Carter, Emile Holtorp, Secretary for Poland; Carl Marx, Secretary for Germany; H. Jung, Secretary for Switzerland; E. Dupont, Secretary for France; J. Whitlock, Financial Secretary; G. Odger, President; W. R. Cremer, Hen. Gen. Secretary.