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History of the Impeachment of Andrew Johnson, President of the United States by Edumud G. Ross

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constitutional ostracism from office had been seriously
entertained, much less attempted.

But it had now come. The active, intense interest of the country
was aroused, and everywhere the division among the people was
sharply defined and keen, though the numerical preponderance, it
cannot be denied, was largely against the President and insistent
upon his removal.

The dominant party of the country was aroused and active for the
deposition of the President. Public meetings were held throughout
the North and resolutions adopted and forwarded to Senators
demanding that Mr. Johnson be promptly expelled from office by
the Senate--and it had become apparent, long before the taking of
the vote, that absolute, swift, and ignominious expulsion from
office awaited every Republican Senator who should dare to
disregard that demand.

Under these conditions it was but natural that during the
trial, and especially as the close approached, the streets of
Washington and the lobbies of the Capitol were thronged from day
to day with interested spectators from every section of the
Union, or that Senators were beleaguered day and night, by
interested constituents, for some word of encouragement that a
change was about to come of that day's proceeding, and with
threats of popular vengeance upon the failure of any Republican
Senator to second that demand.

In view of this intensity of public interest it was as a matter
of course that the coming of the day when the great controversy
was expected to be brought to a close by the deposition of Mr.
Johnson and the seating of a new incumbent in the Presidential
chair, brought to the Capitol an additional throng which long
before the hour for the assembling of the Senate filled all the
available space in the vast building, to witness the culmination
of the great political trial of the age.

Upon the closing of the hearing--even prior thereto, and again
during the few days of recess that followed, the Senate had been
carefully polled, and the prospective vote of every member from
whom it was possible to procure a committal, ascertained and
registered in many a private memoranda. There were fifty-four
members--all present. According to these memoranda, the vote
would stand eighteen for acquittal, thirty-five for
conviction--one less than the number required by the Constitution
to convict. What that one vote would be, and could it be had,
were anxious queries, of one to another, especially among those
who had set on foot the impeachment enterprise and staked their
future control of the government upon its success. Given for
conviction and upon sufficient proofs, the President MUST step
down and out of his place, the highest and most honorable and
honoring in dignity and sacredness of trust in the constitution
of human government, a disgraced man and a political pariah. If
so cast upon insufficient proofs or from partisan considerations,
the office of President of the United States would be
degraded--cease to be a coordinate branch of the Government, and
ever after subordinated to the legislative will. It would have
practically revolutionized our splendid political fabric into a
partisan Congressional autocracy. Apolitical tragedy was

On the other hand, that vote properly given for acquittal, would
at once free the Presidential office from imputed dishonor and
strengthen our triple organization and distribution of powers and
responsibilities. It would preserve the even tenor and courses of
administration, and effectively impress upon the world a
conviction of the strength and grandeur of Republican
institutions in the hands of a free and enlightened people.

The occasion was sublimely and intensely dramatic. The President
of the United States was on trial. The Chief Justice of the
Supreme Court was presiding over the deliberations of the Senate
sitting for the trial of the great cause. The board of management
conducting the prosecution brought by the House of
Representatives was a body of able and illustrious politicians
and statesmen. The President's counsel, comprising jurists among
the most eminent of the country, had summed up for the defense
and were awaiting final judgment. The Senate, transformed for the
occasion into an extraordinary judicial tribunal, the highest
known to our laws, the Senators at once judges and jurors with
power to enforce testimony and sworn to hear all the facts
bearing upon the case, was about to pronounce that judgment.

The organization of the court had been severely Democratic. There
were none of the usual accompaniments of royalty or exclusivism
considered essential under aristocratic forms to impress the
people with the dignity and gravity of a great occasion. None of
these were necessary, for every spectator was an intensely
interested witness to the proceeding, who must bear each for
himself, the public consequences of the verdict, whatever they
might be, equally with every member of the court.

The venerable Chief Justice, who had so ably and impartially
presided through the many tedious weeks of the trial now about to
close, was in his place and called the Senate to order.

The impressive dignity of the occasion was such that there was
little need of the admonition of the Chief Justice to abstention
from conversation on the part of the audience during the
proceeding. No one there present, whether friend or opponent of
the President, could have failed to be impressed with the
tremendous consequences of the possible result of the prosecution
about to be reached. The balances were apparently at a poise. It
was plain that a single vote would be sufficient to turn the
scales either way--to evict the President from his great office
to go the balance of his life's journey with the brand of infamy
upon his brow, or be relieved at once from the obloquy the
inquisitors had sought to put upon him--and more than all else,
to keep the honorable roll of American Presidents unsmirched
before the world, despite the action of the House.

The first vote was on the Eleventh and last Article of the
Impeachment. Senators voted in alphabetical order, and each arose
and stood at his desk as his name was called by the Chief Clerk.
To each the Chief Justice propounded the solemn
interrogatory--"Mr. Senator--, how say you--is the
respondent, Andrew Johnson, President of the United States,
guilty or not guilty of a high misdemeanor as charged in this

Mr. Fessenden, of Maine, was the first of Republican Senators to
vote "Not Guilty." He had long been a safe and trusted leader in
the Senate, and had the unquestioning confidence of his partisan
colleagues, while his long experience in public life, and his
great ability as a legislator, and more especially his exalted
personal character, had won for him the admiration of all his
associates regardless of political affiliations. Being the first
of the dissenting Republicans to vote, the influence of his
action was feared by the impeachers, and most strenuous efforts
had been made to induce him to retract the position he had taken
to vote against conviction. But being moved on this occasion, as
he had always been on others, to act upon his own judgment and
conviction, though foreseeing that this vote would probably end a
long career of conspicuous public usefulness, there was no sign
of hesitancy or weakness as he pronounced his verdict.

Mr. Fowler, of Tennessee, was the next Republican to vote "Not
Guilty." He had entered the Senate but two years before, and was
therefore one of the youngest Senators, with the promise of a
life of political usefulness before him. Though from the same
State as the President, they were at political variance, and
there was but little in common between them in other respects. A
radical partisan in all measures where radical action seemed to
be called for, he was for the time being sitting in a judicial
capacity and under an oath to do justice to the accused according
to the law and the evidence. As in his judgment the evidence did
not sustain the charge against the President such was his

Mr. Grimes, of Iowa, was the third anti-impeaching Republican to
vote. He had for many years been a conspicuous and deservedly
influential member of the Senate. For some days prior to the
taking of the vote he had been stricken with what afterwards
proved a fatal illness. The scene presented as he rose to his
feet supported on the arms of his colleagues, was grandly heroic,
and one never before witnessed in a legislative chamber. Though
realizing the danger he thus incurred, and conscious of the
political doom that would follow his vote, and having little
sympathy with the policies pursued by the President, he had
permitted himself to be borne to the Senate chamber that he might
contribute to save his country from what he deemed the stain of a
partisan and unsustained impeachment of its Chief Magistrate. Men
often perform, in the excitement and glamour of battle, great
deeds of valor and self sacrifice that live after them and link
their names with the honorable history of great events, but to
deliberately face at once inevitable political as well as
physical death in the council hall, and in the absence of
charging squadrons; and shot and shell, and of the glamor of
military heroism, is to illustrate the grandest phase of human
courage and devotion to convictions. That was the part performed
by Mr. Grimes on that occasion. His vote of "Not Guilty" was the
last, the bravest, the grandest, and the most patriotic public
act of his life.

Mr. Henderson of Missouri, was the fourth Republican Senator to
vote against the impeachment. A gentleman of rare industry and
ability, and a careful, conscientious legislator, he had been
identified with the legislation of the time and had reached a
position of deserved prominence and influence. But he was learned
in the law, and regardful of his position as a just and
discriminating judge. Though then a young man with a brilliant
future before him, he had sworn to do justice to Andrew Johnson
"according to the Constitution and law," and his verdict of "Not
Guilty" was given with the same deliberate emphasis that
characterized all his utterances on the floor of the Senate.

Mr. Ross, of Kansas, was the fifth Republican Senator to vote
"Not Guilty." Representing an intensely Radical
constituency--entering the Senate but a few months after the
close of a three years enlistment in the Union Army and not
unnaturally imbued with the extreme partisan views and prejudices
against Mr. Johnson then prevailing--his predilections were
sharply against the President, and his vote was counted upon
accordingly. But he had sworn to judge the defendant not by his
political or personal prejudices, but by the facts elicited in
the investigation. In his judgment those facts did not sustain
the charge.

Mr. Trumbull, of Illinois, was the sixth Republican Senator to
vote against the Impeachment. He had been many years in the
Senate. In all ways a safe legislator and counsellor, he had
attained a position of conspicuous usefulness. But he did not
belong to the legislative autocracy which then assumed to rule
the two Houses of Congress. To him the Impeachment was a question
of proof of charges brought, and not of party politics or
policies. He was one of the great lawyers of the body, and
believed that law was the essence of justice and not an engine of
wrong, or an instrumentality for the satisfaction of partisan
vengeance. He had no especial friendship for Mr. Johnson, but to
him the differences between the President and Congress did not
comprise an impeachable offense. A profound lawyer and clear
headed politician and statesman,, his known opposition naturally
tended to strengthen his colleagues in that behalf.

Mr. Van Winkle, of West Virginia, was the seventh and last
Republican Senator to vote against the Impeachment. Methodical
and deliberate, he was not hasty in reaching the conclusion he
did, but after giving the subject and the testimony most careful
and thorough investigation, he was forced to the conclusion that
the accusation brought by the House of Representatives had not
been sustained, and had the courage of an American Senator to
vote according to his conclusions.

The responses were as follows:

Guilty--Anthony, Cameron, Cattell, Cole, Chandler, Conkling,
Conness, Corbett, Cragin, Drake, Edmunds, Ferry, Frelinghuysen,
Harlan, Howard, Howe, Morgan, Morton, Morrill of Maine, Morrill
of Vermont, Nye, Patterson of New Hampshire, Pomeroy, Ramsay,
Sherman, Sprague, Stewart, Sumner, Tipton, Thayer, Wade,
Williams, Wilson, Willey, Yates.

Not Guilty--Bayard, Buckalew, Davis, Dixon, Doolittle, Fessenden,
Fowler, Grimes, Henderson, Hendricks, Johnson, McCreery, Norton,
Patterson of Tennessee, Ross, Saulsbury, Trumbull, Van Winkle,

Not Guilty--19. Guilty--35--one vote less than a Constitutional



The defeat of the Eleventh Article was the second official
set-back to the Impeachment movement--the first being the
practical abandonment of the First Article by the change in the
order of voting.

The vote had been taken on what its friends seemed to consider
its strongest proposition; the Eleventh Article having been so
framed as to group the substance, practically, of all the pending
ten Articles. The impeachers had staked their cause upon that
Article, and lost. They seemed not to have contemplated the
possibility of its defeat. So confident were they of its success,
in which event it would be immaterial what became of the other
Articles, that they apparently had agreed upon no order of
procedure after that should have been defeated. They were in the
condition of a flock of game into which the sportsman had fired a
shot and broken its ranks. They were dazed, and for a moment
seemed not to know what next to do, or which way to turn. They
did not dare now go back to the fated First Article, according to
the program agreed upon, as Mr. Sherman and Mr. Howe had
demonstrated its weakness, and they were fearful of going to the
Second or Third, as in the then temper of the anti-impeachers it
was manifest there would be little hope for either of them, and
the other eight had been already beaten without a vote, at the
conference previously held, and by Republican commitals.

The Chief Justice ordered the reading of the First Article,
according to the order agreed upon, but before that could begin,
apparently to gain time for recovery, Mr. Williams moved that the
Senate take a recess of fifteen minutes, but the motion was not
agreed to.

The Chief Justice again ordered the reading of the First Article,
but again, before the clerk could begin the reading, Mr. Williams
intervened to move an adjournment to Tuesday, the 26th day of the

After numerous conflicting motions relating to the date of the
proposed reassembling, and several roll calls thereon, the
anti-impeachers generally insisting on proceeding at once to vote
on the other articles of impeachment, the motion of Mr. Williams
to adjourn to June 26th, prevailed.

Of course the purpose, and the only purpose then apparent, of
that adjournment, was to gain time, apparently in the hope of
more favorable developments in the next ten days.

The supposably strongest count of the indictment having been
beaten, it was apparent that it would be folly to hazard a vote
on any other at that time. There was a possibility that changes
might occur in the personnel of the Senate in the interim. As but
one article had been put to vote, and as that was beaten by the
lack of a single vote, there seemed a further possibility that
influences could be brought to bear, through the industry of the
House, as was very soon after developed, to secure the support of
an anti-impeaching Senator on at least one of the articles of
impeachment yet to be voted upon. A vacancy in the ranks of the
anti-impeaching Republicans to be filled by an impeaching
appointee might happen. Many contingencies were possible during
the next ten days for a reversal of the action of the Senate just
had. At all events, everything would be hazarded by permitting
further immediate action, while the situation could be rendered
no worse by delay, and time and other mollifying conditions and
influences might bring changes more promising of success.

The anti-impeachment Republicans had not long to wait for the
development of the purpose of the recess, at least so far its
supporters in the House were concerned. Immediately upon the
adjournment of the Senate, the House re-assembled, and the
following proceeding was had:

Mr. Bingham: I have been directed by the Managers on the part of
the House of Representatives, in the matter of the Impeachment of
Andrew Johnson, to report the following preamble and resolutions
for consideration at this time:

Whereas, information has come to the Managers which seems to them
to furnish probable cause to believe that improper or corrupt
means have been used to influence the determination of the Senate
upon the Articles of Impeachment submitted to the Senate by the
House of Representatives against the President of the United
States; therefore.

Be it Resolved, That for the further and more efficient
prosecution of the Impeachment of the President, the Managers be
directed and instructed to summon and examine witnesses under
oath, to send for persons and papers, and employ a stenographer,
and appoint sub-committee to take testimony; the expense thereof
to be paid from the Contingent Fund of the House.

This resolution was immediately and without debate adopted by a
vote of 88 to 14. It would be stating it mildly to say that the
House was in a tumult. The Republican leaders were wild with
rage. They had selected for the first vote what they deemed the
strongest point in their indictment, and lost; and their
vengeance now turned upon those Republican Senators who had
failed to support them. Hence the adjournment of the Senate for
ten days to afford them time to discipline the recusants and
force an additional vote for conviction on the next ballot.

The conspicuous indelicacy of this move was two-fold: 1st, in
that the House proposed to investigate the action of a
co-ordinate branch of Congress: and 2nd, that the trial not being
concluded, it had to a pointed degree the appearance of an
attempt to intimidate Senators who had voted against conviction
into changing their votes at the next ballot in fear of an
inquisition for alleged corruption. In that sense it was an act
of intimidation--a warning. It was an ill-disguised threat and a
most unseemly proceeding--yet there was not one among the
supporters of the Impeachment to condemn it, and few who failed
openly to justify it. Partisan rancor and personal and political
hostility to the President had reached a point that condoned this
indelicacy of the House towards the Senate, and justified the
public assault upon the dissenting Republican Senators, and the
insult to the Senate itself.

The demand for adjournment and delay seemed to have been
understood by the impeaching majority of the Senate, and was of
course promptly granted and further voting postponed, and the
Senate adjourned to May 26th.

The next ten day were days of unrest--of anxiety to all who were
involved or in any way interested in the impeachment proceeding.
While the result of the 16th gave hope and comfort to the
opponents of impeachment, it caused little or no perceptible
discouragement to its more radical friends. They were more active
and persistent than ever. The footsteps of the anti-impeaching
Republicans were dogged from the day's beginning to its end and
far into the night, with entreaties, considerations and threats,
in the hope of securing a reversal of the result of the 16th. The
partisan press of the States represented by the anti-impeaching
Republicans came daily filled with vigorous animadversions upon
their action, and not a few threats of violence upon their return
to their constituents. But it was in vain.

The Senate reassembled on the 26th of May to complete the vote on
the articles of impeachment. After the usual preliminary
proceedings, Mr. Williams moved to begin the voting on the Second
Article, which was had with the same result as on the 11th--and
then the Third, and still with the same result. It then became
manifest that it was useless to go farther, as all the balance
had been rendered certain of defeat, and by still more decisive
votes--a considerable number of those so far voting for
impeachment having committed themselves in the previous
conference against all the balance. So, to save themselves from
being forced to vote against impeachment on any of the articles,
there was a unanimous vote of the impeachers to abandon the case
and adjourn--and with it went glimmering the visions of office,
and spoils, and the riotous assaults on the public treasury that
had for months been organizing for the day when Mr. Johnson
should be put out and Mr. Wade put in, with the political board
clear for a NEW DEAL.

An analysis of the Eleventh, Article shows. that it comprised
four distinct counts, or accusations.

First--That Mr. Johnson had said that the Thirty-Ninth Congress
was not a Congress of the United States, but a Congress of only
part of the States, and therefore had no power to propose
amendments the Constitution.

The latter clause of this accusation was the only portion of the
first count that received any consideration during the trial, and
the only testimony brought in its support was the Parsons-Johnson
telegraphic correspondence set out in Interrogatory No. 5.

In that dispatch, referring to then pending Constitutional
amendment (the 14th) Mr. Johnson referred to Congress as "a set
of individuals." Mr. Manager Boutwell declared this expression to
be "the gist of the offense of this particular telegraphic

Counsel for defense objected to this testimony, but it was
received by a vote of yeas twenty-seven, nays seventeen.

As the Fourteenth Amendment was not declared adopted or a part of
the Constitution for more than a year after the transmission of
that dispatch, and as the Constitution of the United States
prohibits any abridgment of the freedom of speech, and as this
remark was unaccompanied by any act in violation of law, it is
difficult to see how it could be construed into an impeachable
offense. Moreover, saying nothing of the good taste or propriety
of that dispatch, Mr. Johnson was opposed to the proposed
amendment, and had the same right to oppose it, or to
characterize it or the members of Congress favoring it, as had
any private citizen, or as had the members of Congress to
characterize his action in the premises, without being called to
account therefor.

The second count of that article was:

Violation of the Tenure-of-Office Act of March 2nd, 1867, in
seeking to prevent the resumption by Mr. Stanton of the office of
Secretary of War.

This clause had been very effectually disposed of by Messrs.
Sherman and Howe several days before the vote was taken on the
Eleventh Article, when they pointed out the fact that the
language cage of the first section of the Tenure-of-Office Act
clearly excepted, and was intended by the Senate, to except Mr.
Stanton and all other persons then in Mr. Johnson's Cabinet who
had been originally appointed by Mr. Lincoln and were still
holding over under Mr. Johnson without having been
recommissioned by him; and that Mr. Johnson had therefore the
legal right and power to remove them at his pleasure.

And so convincing had been the argument of those gentlemen at
that time, that there was unanimous consent on the pro-
impeachment side of the Senate, on two different occasions, to
set aside the First Article, of which the alleged unlawful
attempt to remove Mr. Stanton was practically the principal
accusation. Not illogically, that unanimous consent to abandon
the First article by thus setting it aside, and afterwards
refusing to put it to a vote, may be said to have been equivalent
to a vote of its insufficiency.

It is pertinent to suggest here that the President believed the
Tenure-of-Office Act to be unconstitutional, as it was clearly an
attempted abridgment of his power over his Cabinet which had
never before been questioned by Congress. The only method left
him for the determination of that question was in the course he
took, except by an agreed case, but it is manifest from the
record that no such agreement could be had, as an effort thereto
was made in the Thomas case in the District Court, but failed,
the prosecution withdrawing the case at the point where that
purpose of the President became manifest.

The third count was:

Attempting to prevent the execution of the Army appropriation Act
of March 2nd, 1867.

The means specified in this alleged attempt was the appointment
of Mr. Edward Cooper to be Assistant Secretary of the Treasury,
with power to draw warrants on the Treasury without the consent
of the Secretary--the purpose being to show that, with General
Thomas acting as Secretary of War, and Mr. Cooper as Assistant
Secretary of the Treasury to honor General Thomas' drafts, and
thus, in control of expenditures for the support of the Army, a
conspiracy was sought to be proven whereby the President intended
and expected to defeat the Reconstruction Acts of Congress by
preventing the use of the Army for its enforcement.

Mr. Johnson, of the Court, asked this question:

The Managers are requested to say whether they propose to show
whether Mr. Cooper was appointed by the President in November,
1867, as a means to obtain unlawful possession of the public
money, other than by the fact of the appointment itself?

Mr. Manager Butler answered:

We certainly do.

Mr. Butler read the law on this subject, passed March 2nd, 1867,
as follows:

That the Secretary of the Treasury shall have power, by
appointment under his hand and official seal, to delegate to one
of the Assistant Secretaries of the Treasury authority to sign in
his stead all warrants for the payment of money into the public
Treasury and all warrants for the disbursments from the public
Treasury of money certified by the accounting officers of the
Treasury to be due upon accounts duly audited and settle by them;
and such warrants signed shall be in all cases of the same
validity as if they had been signed by the Secretary of the
Treasury himself.

Mr. William E. Chandler, who had been Assistant Secretary of the
Treasury, was on the witness stand, called by the prosecution.
Mr. Butler asked whether it was the practice of the Assistant
Secretary to act as Secretary in case of removal of the

Answer: I am not certain that it is, without his appointment as
Acting Secretary by the President.

Mr. Fessenden, of the Court, propounded this interrogatory?

1st--Has it been the practice, since the passage of the law, for
an Assistant Secretary to sign warrants unless especially
appointed and authorized by the Secretary of the Treasury?

2nd--Has any Assistant Secretary been authorized to sign any
warrants except such as are specified in the Act?

The witness answered as to the first:

It has not been the practice for any Assistant Secretary since
the passage of the Act to sign warrants except upon an
appointment by the Secretary for that purpose in accordance with
the provisions of the Act. Immediately upon the passage of the
Act, the Secretary authorized one of his Assistant Secretaries to
sign warrants of the character described in the Act, and they
have been customarily signed by that Assistant Secretary in all
cases since that time.

As to the second question the answer was:

No Assistant Secretary has been authorized to sign warrants
except such as are specified in this Act, unless when acting as

That disposed of the third count in the Eleventh Article, and the
testimony was rejected by a vote of yeas 22, nays 27.

These answers to tire interrogatories seemed to prove the reverse
of what the Prosecution had expected. The accusation of the Third
count was not sustained.

As to the Fourth count of the Eleventh Article, that Mr. Johnson
sought to prevent the execution of the "Act to provide for the
more efficient government of the rebel States," passed March 2nd,
1867, by the removal of Mr. Stanton from the War Office, the
proceedings of the trial disclose no testimony of a sufficiently
direct character for specification, except, possibly, a number of
speeches delivered at different points by Mr. Johnson, which are
set out in the Tenth Article of the Impeachment. As that Article
was by unanimous consent abandoned and never put to vote, all its
allegations logically fell as unproven.

There was, therefore, no force and little coherency in the
Eleventh Article. It fell of its own weight. Every one of its
several averments had been disproven, or at least not proven. It
was to a good degree a summing up--an aggregation, of the entire
bill of indictment on the several distinct forms of offenses
charged--a crystallization of the whole.

The entire impeachment scheme was in reality beaten by the vote
on that Article, and the adjournment of ten days then taken could
have been only in the hope on the part of the majority that
ultimate success on some one of the remaining Articles could be
made possible, in some way, legitimate or otherwise, in part by
the importunate throng of visitors to the Capitol who were
vociferously and vindictively urging Mr. Johnson's removal
largely for reasons personal to themselves--but more especially
through the efforts of the House of Representatives to discipline
one or more of the anti-impeaching Republicans of the Senate.

The allegation of the Second Article, put to vote on the 26th,
and beaten by the same vote as was the Eleventh, was a corollary
of the First-violation of the Tenure-of-Office Act in the
appointment of General Thomas as Secretary of War ad interim,
declaration ever made in the Senate that an ad interim or merely
temporary appointment to fill a vacancy, required confirmation by
that body. The power to make such an appointment is so clearly
possessed by the President without consultation of the Senate-had
been so uniformly exercised by every preceding President without
question, that argument on that point would be superfluous.

In reality the essence of the Second Article, as of the First,
was the removal of Mr. Stanton. If the President could remove him
without the consent of the Senate, which was clearly established
in the debate in the conference by Messrs. Sherman and Howe, the
way was clear for the appointment of an act interim Secretary, to
the end that the office be filled until such time as the
President would be prepared to refill the place with a Secretary
on consultation with the Senate. That was the very thing he
attempted to do on the 22nd of February, the day after Mr.
Stanton's removal, when he sent to the Senate the nomination of
Thomas Ewing, Senior, to be Secretary of War, for the action of
that body.

The Third Article was so closely analagous to the Second, that an
analysis of it would be in the nature of repetition. If there
were any distinctions between them, they were so finely drawn
that they amounted simply to a distinction without a
difference--a characteristic, indeed, of a large part of the
eleven Articles of Impeachment--a characteristic so conspicuous
that it was not deemed worth while by the majority to go further
in their submission to the Court.

These three Articles--the Second, Third and Eleventh--being the
only Articles of the entire list of eleven put to a vote, and
having been taken up and passed upon out of their numerical but
in the order of their supposed availability--must therefore be
regarded as confessedly the strongest and most likely of the
entire list to command the support of the Senate. They were
selected and set out. for the test. That selection was equivalent
to saying, "we put the Impeachment cause to test on these three
Articles. If they fail, we have nothing more to offer."

They were put to test and failed. They failed because of their
innate weakness. Failed because they proved nothing. Failed
because not a single allegation of the entire indictment was or
could be proven or tortured into all impeachable offense. Not a
remark made by the President or an act performed in all the long
and bitter controversy that. had subsisted between himself and
Congress could be brought nearer to the impeachment mark, in
fact, few if any of them so near, as had been the every day rule
in the House of Representatives during the previous two years in
their treatment of the President. Yet nobody thought of
impeaching members of the House for their every day personal
vituperations against him.

Bill after bill had been offered in Congress, and law after law
enacted, with apparently the sole purpose of hampering the
Constitutional authority apparently functions of the
President--even the assumption of Executive powers and judicial
functions by Congress--the not remote purpose of which seemed to
be his entrapment into some measure of resistance upon which
could be based an indictment. The House seemed to be literally
"lying in wait" for him, with traps set on every side for his

At last, after two years of this sort of scheming and impatient
and anxious waiting, the opportunity seemed to have offered in
the alleged violation of the Tenure-of-Office Act. The fosterers
of the impeachment crusade, weary with their long vigil and
growing desperate with every additional day's delay, clutched at
the new turn of affairs like a drowning man at a floating straw,
and with the avidity of a starved gudgeon at a painted fly.

It was not strange that this sort of diplomacy, developed and
exposed as it was in the Senate, in spite of the unfair and
partisan maneuvering of the prosecution to prevent it, should
have reacted, and contributed to turn against the impeachment
movement gentlemen who entered upon the investigation under oath
to give Mr. Johnson a fair, non-partisan trial. The only surprise
was that, after the exposure of the malignant partisan spirit
that sat in judgment upon Mr. Johnson, and the utter and
absolute failure to prove any violation of law on his part, but
on the contrary, a determination to preserve from infringement
the functions of his office and prevent a revolution from
fundamental political forms by the absorption of the Executive
authority by the legislative branch of the government--that even
a majority, and more especially, that nearly two-thirds of the
Senate, could have been found at the close in support of the

This record will serve to explain the omission to vote on the
First Article--Messrs. Sherman and Howe being precluded from
supporting it in consequence of the position taken by them in the
controversy between the two Houses of Congress over the first
section of the Tenure-of-Office Bill while that bill was pending,
and to avoid defeat on the first vote taken, which was inevitable
on that Article--and also to explain, so far as any explanation
is possible, the zig-zag method of conducting the
ballot--skipping all the first ten Articles and going down to the
bottom of the list for the first vote, with the promise of then
going back to the first Article and continuing to the end. but,
instead, skipping that for the second time, and starting in again
on the Second and then the Third.

Of course, the natural effect of this battle-dore and shuttle-
cock method of treating so grave a matter as an impeachment of
the President of the United States, added to the effect of the
manifest unfairness of the majority in their treatment of
testimony offered in the President's defense--was to disgust some
who doubtless entered upon the trial honestly inclined to vote
for Andrew Johnson's impeachment, but wanted it done fairly and
openly, without any suppression of pertinent testimony or
juggling for a verdict--and amusing to others, who viewed it as
proof of weakness in the indictment, and of misgiving as to the
result on the part of its supporters.

To still others it was more than that. It was not only an
indication of weakness, but of a determination to take every
possible advantage, fair and unfair, to save votes for
conviction. The impeachers not unnaturally feared the effect of
the defeat of the First Article by the nay votes of Messrs.
Sherman and Howe, and probably other Republicans, which was
certain to follow the submission of that Article to a vote. Its
only allegation was the unlawful removal of Mr. Stanton from the
office of Secretary of War in violation of the Tenure-of-Office
Act. That alleged offense was repeated in varied but more or less
specific forms, in every succeeding Article of the Impeachment
except the Tenth, and constituted the sum and substance--the
gravamen--of the entire indictment. It was the basis upon which
the impeachment super-structure had been erected. Without that
Article there was not only no foundation, but no coherence in the
recital of Mr. Johnson's alleged offenses, and when that fell by
its abandonment, the entire impeachment scheme fell with it--as,
if there were nothing in the First Article on which to hang an
impeachment, there could be nothing in those that followed and
were but an amplification--a mere exploitation--of the First.

In substantiation of this view of the First Article, the
declaration of Mr. Boutwell to that effect is here inserted. Mr.
Boutwell was chairman of the committee of the House appointed to
prepare the Articles of Impeachment upon which Mr. Johnson was
tried. On his report of these Articles to the House he said,
after speaking particularly of the Tenth Article:

The other Articles are based upon facts which are of public
knowledge, growing out of the attempt of the President to remove
Secretary Stanton from the office of Secretary for the Department
of War.

That is, that the basis of the entire accusation was the alleged
violation of the Tenure-of-Office Act in the removal of Mr.
Stanton, as recited in the First Article.

So, after taking the vote on the Second and Third Articles and
their defeat by the same vote as that on the Eleventh, it became
manifest that further effort to the impeachment of the president
on any of the remaining eight Articles would be useless, and Mr.
Williams moved that the Senate, sitting as a Court of
Impeachment, adjourn sine die, which motion was carried by the
following vote:

Yeas--Anthony, Cameron, Cattell, Chandler, Cole, Conkling
Corbett, Cragin, Drake, Edmunds, Ferry, Frelinghuysen, Harlan,
Howard, Morgan, Morrill of Maine, Morrill of Vermont, Morton,
Nye, Patterson of New Hampshire, Pomeroy, Ramsay, Sherman,
Sprague, Stewart, Sumner, Thayer, Tipton, Van Winkle, Wade.
Willey, Williams, Wilson, Yates--34.

Nays--Bayard, Buckalew, Davis, Dixon, Doolittle, Fowler,
Henderson, Hendricks, Johnson, McCreery, Norton, Patterson of
Tennessee, Ross, Saulsbury, Trumbull, Vickers--16.

Every Senator present who had voted for conviction voted to
abandon the prosecution and end the trial, and every Senator
present who had voted against conviction, voted to continue and
go through the indictment.

Of course, it was useless to go farther with any hope of success,
as, it will be seen by this record, all the remaining Articles
were dead, beaten in caucus before the voting commenced, and by
the professed friends and leaders of the movement.

Possibly it was the anticipation of this effect of the
abandonment of the First Article, that was the "sickness" to
which Mr. Edmunds, at the outset of the voting, ten days before,
ascribed the peculiar order of taking the vote.

It is not intended to aver that there was any privity or concert
in this particular manipulation--yet it is suggestive. The
Impeachment had been dragging since the 22nd of February, to May
26th--more than three months,--and had been everywhere the
engrossing topic of the time. It was becoming tiresome-not only
to the Senate, but to the general public.

Notwithstanding the City of Washington was still filled with
people who had been waiting weary weeks and months for the
deposition of Mr. Johnson and the accession of Mr. Wade to the
Presidency, for the fulfillment of pledges of appointment based
thereon, and who were still importunate for impeachment, the
business element of the country at large was tiring of it and its
depressing effect upon the commercial activities. Even Senators
and Congressmen were being moved to a sense of the obstructive
and somewhat ridiculous phases the impeachment movement was
beginning to take on--and not a few of those who in its earlier
stages had honestly favored the movement, inside as well as
outside the membership of both Houses of Congress, had begun to
realize the actual nature and purposes, as also the shallowness
of the impeachment movement that from whatever motives it had
originated, it had degenerated very much into a game of personal
ambition--of vindictiveness--and office getting and spoils--and
practically nothing higher.

While some of its supporters who had manifestly entered upon the
trial with a determination to convict, were still insistent for
further prosecution had there been a shadow of ultimate success,
there were others who had begun to realize, weeks before the end
came, the awkwardness of the predicament in which they had
allowed themselves and their party to be placed, and desired to
abandon the enterprise.

The strain was becoming too great--there was certain to be a
recoil sooner or later. The foundations of the Impeachment were
shown to be too slender. There was a future ahead that must be
faced, but Senators must preserve their consistency. They could
not go before their pro-impeachment constituencies with a record
indicating any degree of weakening in the impeachment crusade.
They had insisted for months that Mr. Johnson must be removed,
and it would be politically inexpedient to retract.

But they wanted somebody to "help them let go."

So the plan of "desultory" procedure herein outlined seems to
have "happened"--whether by design or otherwise, is
immaterial--and that plan was made easy by the concerted
abandonment of the head and front of the indictment--the First
Article--which was side-tracked and logically carried with it all
that followed, as would manifestly have been the result if the
voting had begun on that Article.

While, to degree, the turmoils and bitterness of that time have
passed out of public mind, there are still many living who retain
a keen remembrance of the struggle and the enmities it produced.
There were during the trial many thousands of men in the City of
Washington awaiting the Impeachment and removal of the President
for the fulfillment of pledges of official appointment based
thereon, and their numbers increased as the trial progressed.

These anticipated beneficiaries were naturally not idle in
efforts to the stimulation of zeal in the cause of Impeachment,
and Senators were importuned at all seasonable and unseasonable
hours in behalf of immediate and positive action. The lively
anxiety, even anxious haste, of these patriots for their earliest
possible entry upon the service of the Government, was emphasized
on every corner and at every place of gathering, day and night,
and the lobbies of the Capitol were thronged by them during the
sessions of the Senate. No opportunity for a word with a Senator
in behalf of the immediate deposition of the President, nor any
appliance that seemed to promise a successful overture, was
overlooked or forgotten.

When these seemed to fail of the desired effect, more direct and,
it was hoped, more effective methods were resorted to. The
beleaguered Senator was reminded that the applicant represented
the united sentiment of the people of the State from which he
held his Senatorial seat--that they demanded Mr. Johnson's
conviction and removal--that that demand could not be safely
denied, trifled with, or delayed; and that if money was wanted,
to use the language of a notorious inquisitor of the House, Mr.
Butler, speaking of the possibility of securing a designated vote
for Impeachment "tell the d----d scoundrel that if he wants
money, there is a bushel of it here to be had!" Mr. Butler's
message was delivered.

So desperate were the inquisitors, and so close the certainty of
the vote, that even a project of kidnapping a Senator under the
pretense of taking a trip to Baltimore for much needed rest,
where, if the terms to be there proffered were refused, a vacancy
was to be created--by assassination, if necessary--then a recess
of the Senate to afford time for the appointment by the Governor
of that Senator's State of a successor who would vote for the
Impeachment, of the President--was entered upon and its
execution attempted. But the trip to Baltimore for "rest" was
not taken.

These are not pleasant facts to contemplate, but they somewhat
conspicuously characterized the conditions of that time, and
illustrate the real nature of the impeachment scheme. They boded
the control of the Government by the worst element of American
politics. It is unnecessary to say here what that control would
have involved. During all the previous history of the
Government--its wars and political turmoils--the
Democratic-Republican forms that characterize its administrations
have never faced so insidious or threatening a danger as during
that hour. It was a crucial test, and the result a magnificent
vindication of the wisdom and patriotism of the founders of our
composite form of Government. Its results have but strengthened
those forms and broadened the scope of the beneficent political.
institutions that have grown up under and characterize its

It was a test such as probably no other form of Government on
earth could have successfully passed, and it is to be hoped that
its like may never return.


The weakest point in the entire record of the Prosecution of
President Johnson, from the indictment by the House of
Representatives to the finish in the Senate, (except the Bill of
Impeachment itself, was the refusal of the more than
Republican majority of the Senate to permit the reception of
testimony in his behalf. That majority naturally gave them
absolute control of the proceedings, and they should have
realized from the outset that they could not afford to give it
the least tinge of partisan bias.

It is therefore not material to discuss in detail the instances
of the two interrogatories put by counsel for the Prosecution and
rejected, Nos. 4 and 28, because it was shown that their answer
would prove nothing against the President, but rather to his
vindication, and their rejection could not have occurred but for
the intervention of many more nay Republican than Democratic
votes--but will pass to the analyzation of the votes on the
twelve interrogatories propounded by counsel for Defense and
rejected, which rejections could not have occurred but by the
intervention of a large preponderance, in every instance, of the
Republican votes cast thereon, and many of them by a unanimous
Republican vote.

Without doubt, many of these votes on the admissibility of
testimony were governed by, the usual rules prevailing in the
courts, but it was deemed by others that every question not
manifestly frivolous, or not pertinent, should be permitted
answer without objection, regardless of such rules--that the
Senate sitting for the trial of an Impeachment of the President
of the United States--the occasion a great State Trial--should
not be trammeled or belittled by the technicalities common to
ordinary court practice--that the Senate was composed supposedly
of gentlemen and lawyers of high standing in their profession and
familiar with public affairs and public law--that they were
sitting in a semi-judicial capacity--not merely as Senators or
jurors, but, judges also--judges of fact as well as of law--and
constituted the highest trial body known to our laws--a tribunal
from which there was no appeal--that each of its members had
taken a solemn oath to "do impartial justice" in this cause,
absolutely unswerved by partisan or personal considerations, and
that as such each member had not only the right, but it was his
duty under his oath, as well, to hermit no obstacle or condition
to unnecessarily keep from him a knowledge of all available facts
pertinent to the cause, no matter on which side they might
weigh--to help or to hurt. That the body, each member for
himself, was the proper party to determine the admissibility of
testimony, as Mr. Manager Boutwell had declared in his opening
argument, "AFTER HE HAD HEARD IT,"and knew its trend an purport.
Every member of that body had the right to know all the witness
knew about the case, and, moreover, the witnesses were brought
for the purpose, and for the sole purpose, of telling what they

The same assurance of absolute fairness as that of Mr. Boutwell,
was also given by Mr. Bingham, another of the Managers of the
Prosecution on the part of the House, in his opening plea before
the Senate: "It is," said he, "certainly very competent for the
Senate, as it is competent for any court of justice in the trial
of cases where questions of doubt arise, to HEAR THE EVIDENCE,
and, where they themselves are the judges of both the law and the
any of it be incompetent. * * * Under the Plea of Not Guilty, as
provided in the rules, every conceivable defense that the accused
party could make to the Articles here preferred, can be

Mr. Manager Butler also said, on the same occasion: "Upon this so
great trial, I pray let us not belittle ourselves with the
analyses of the common law courts, or the criminal courts,
because nothing is so dangerous to mislead us."

These and other like assurances were given of the widest
reasonable latitude in the reception of testimony in the trial
then opening. There was thus every reason to expect that Mr.
Johnson would have a fair trial. But no sooner had the
Prosecution completed its examination of witnesses, in which but
seven interrogatories had been objected to of the long list
proffered by the Prosecution, than a different rule seemed to
have been established for the treatment of proffered testimony,
and a large mass of relevant and valuable testimony in behalf of
the President was ruled out on objection of the Prosecution, as
inadmissible, and, as a rule that, had very few exceptions, on
partisan divisions of the Senate.

Of course it will not be admitted, nor is it here charged, that
these refusals to hear testimony were because of any fear that
the answers would have any improper force or effect upon the
Senate. Nor will it signify to say that the President's attorneys
could not have proved what they offered to prove. They hail the
right to an opportunity to so prove, and the denial of that right
and opportunity was not only a denial of a manifest right of the
attorneys, but especially in this case, a more flagrant denial of
the rights of the accused, and not only that, but they amounted
to an impugnment of the discretion of the Senate.

It is conspicuous, too, that while the defense objected to but
seven of the interrogatories submitted by the Prosecution, and
five of them were permitted answer by the vote of the Senate;
twenty-one of the proffers of testimony by the defense were
objected to by the prosecution and but nine of them permitted
answer: and that condition was aggravated by the fact that the
numerical strength of the majority party in the Senate was
sufficient to determine absolutely the disposition of every
question, and they could therefore afford to be strictly fair to
the accused, and by the further fact that the objections to
testimony offered in behalf of the defense were as three to one
of the objections to testimony offered in behalf of the

These denials of testimony in behalf of the defense were
unfortunate. That practice lowered the dignity of the occasion
and of the proceeding, as they could but have given ground for
criticism of partisan bias and a vindictive judgment in case of
successful impeachment. Most, if not all these rejected
interrogatories implied important information in possession of
the witnesses which the Senate had a right to, and which the
party offering had the right to have produced. Moreover, it was
the right and the duty of the Senate to know what the witness was
presumed to know, and then to judge, each Senator for himself, of
the relevancy of the testimony.

As stated, the principal averment against the President, was his
alleged violation of the Tenure-of-Office Act in the removal of
Mr. Stanton from the office of Secretary of War, presented in
various phases throughout the Articles of Impeachment.

In illustration of the treatment of testimony offered in the
President's behalf by a majority of the Republican Senators, the
record shows that on the eighth disputed interrogatory, the
second put by the defense, General Sherman being on the witness
stand:--Defense asked as to a certain conversation relating to
that removal, had between the General and the President at an
interview specified. The prosecution objected to the question
being answered, and a vote of the Senate was demanded. The vote
was--for receiving the testimony, 23; against receiving it, 28.
Of the latter number, twenty-seven, all Republicans, voted at the
close of the trial to convict the President of violating the
Tenure-of-Office Act, in the removal of Mr. Stanton, after
refusing to hear testimony in his behalf on that charge.

The next interrogatory, No. 9, was "when the President asked the
witness (Gen. Sherman,) to accept the War Office, was anything
further said in reference to it?" This was objected to by the
prosecution, and the vote thereon was 23 to 29. Twenty-eight of
the twenty-nine gentlemen thus refusing answer to this question,
afterwards voting to convict the President, after refusing to
bear the testimony of a very important witness in his behalf,
which his counsel proposed to produce and tried in vain to get
before the Senate.

On the tenth interrogatory, by Defense, "whether the President
had stated to the witness, (General Sherman), his object in
asking him to accept the War Office," the vote was 7 to 44
against receiving it, and thirty-one of the gentlemen voting not
to hear this testimony, at the close of the hearing voted to
convict Mr. Johnson of a high misdemeanor in office in the
removal of Mr. Stanton, after refusing to hear his defense.

The next, No. 11, was as to the President's attempt to get a case
before the Supreme Court for a judicial determination of Mr.
Stanton's right to retain the War Office against the President's
wish. This testimony was refused by a vote of 25 to 27--every nay
vote being cast by a Republican, every one of whom at the close
of the trial, voting in effect to convict Mr. Johnson of a high
misdemeanor in office in seeking resort to the courts to test the
legality of an act of Congress passed for the practically sole
purpose of restricting an executive function never before

The next interrogatory, No. 12, was whether the witness, (General
Sherman, had formed an opinion whether the good of the service
required a Secretary of War other than Mr. Stanton. It was well
understood that General Sherman believed that for the good of the
service Mr. Stanton ought to retire, and as the Chief Officer of
the Army his opinion was certainly entitled to weight, and the
President had a right to the benefit of his judgment. This
interrogatory was objected to by the Prosecution, and was
rejected by a vote of 18 to 35--thirty-one of the thirty-five
being Republicans, who at the close of the trial voted to convict
Mr. Johnson of a high misdemeanor in the removal of Mr. Stanton,
after refusing him the benefit of the opinion of the Chief
Officer of the Army on a question affecting the military service,
and to which he was in all fairness clearly entitled.

No. 13, General Sherman was asked whether he had advised, the
President to appoint a successor to Mr. Stanton. (It was well
understood that he had.) Answer to this was refused, 18 to
32--thirty of the latter, all Republicans, voting at the close of
the trial to convict Mr. Johnson, after refusing to hear this
important testimony in his behalf. No. 16. The answer to the last
interrogatory, ("if he did, state what his purpose was,") was
received by a majority of one, 26 to 25--every nay vote being a
Republican, and constituting a majority of the Republicans of the

No. 21. Mr. O. E. Perrin on the stand, was asked as to the
President's statement that Mr. Stanton would relinquish the
office at once to General Thomas--"that it was only a temporary
arrangement"--that he would "send to the Senate at once the name
of a good man," (which he did). This testimony was rejected by a
vote of 9 to 37--thirty of the latter number being Republicans
who at the close of the trial voted to convict Mr. Johnson of a
high misdemeanor in sending to the Senate the name of Thomas
Ewing, Senior, for appointment as Secretary of War, vice Stanton
removed in assumed violation of the Tenure-of-Office Act.

The next offer of testimony to be rejected was No. 23--Mr. Gideon
Welles, Secretary of the Navy, on the stand, to prove that the
Cabinet had advised the President to veto the Tenure-of-Office
Bill as unconstitutional. The Chief Justice ruled the testimony
admissible for the purpose of showing the intent with which the
President had acted in the transaction. Prosecution objected, and
by a vote of 20 to 29, the decision of the Chief Justice was
overruled. No answer to this interrogatory was permitted, every
vote to refuse this testimony being cast by a Republican, every
one of whom, at the close of the trial, voting to convict and
remove Mr. Johnson for alleged violation of a law which he
believed to be unconstitutional--which he was advised by the head
of the Law Department of the Government was unconstitutional and
therefore not a law which he had sworn to execute, and the
constitutionality of which he had endeavored to get before the
courts for adjudication--those 29 Republicans so voting after
having refused to hear testimony in his defense on these
identical points.

The next disputed interrogatory was No. 24--that Mr. Johnson's
Cabinet had advised him that the Secretaries who had been
appointed by Mr. Lincoln and still holding, (Mr. Stanton, Mr.
Seward, and Mr. Welles,) were removable by the President,
notwithstanding the assumed restriction of the Tenure-of-Office
Act. The Chief Justice ruled this testimony to be admissible.
Objection was made by the Prosecution, and a vote taken, and the
interrogatory was rejected--22 to 26--every nay vote being a
Republican, every one of whom at the close of the trial, voting
to convict and remove Mr. Johnson from office, after having
refused to hear this very important testimony in his behalf.

Defense next offered to prove (No. 25) that it was determined by
the President, with the concurrence of the Cabinet, that an
agreed case for the determination of the constitutionality of the
Tenure-of-Office Act should be made. This testimony was objected
to, and a vote taken, which was 19 to 30. Every one of the
gentlemen voting to reject this testimony, Mr. Johnson's right to
which cannot with any possible showing of fairness be
successfully disputed, were Republicans, and after so voting, at
the close of the trial, declared by their several verdicts that
he had been fairly proven guilty of a high misdemeanor in office,
by violation of the Tenure-of-Office Act in seeking a judicial
determination of the validity of a disputed Act of Congress, and
should be expelled from office.

No. 26, was as to any suggestion by the President of the
employment of force for the vacation of any office, (relating of
course, to the War Office.) Mr. Johnson had been charged with
seeking the removal of Mr. Stanton by force, should he resist.
Knowing perfectly that the answer would be in the negative, the
Senate refused to permit answer to this interrogatory, by a vote
of 18 to 26, every one of the twenty-six gentlemen at the
close of the trial in effect voting that the President was guilty
as charged, of seeking to remove Mr. Stanton by violence, after
refusing to hear either his denial or witnesses in his behalf on
that point.

No. 27. Defense proposed to prove that the Cabinet had advised
the President that the Tenure-of-Office Act did not prevent the
removal of those members who had been originally appointed by Mr.
Lincoln. This testimony, which, if permitted answer, would, in
the minds of unprejudiced people, have at once set aside the
entire impeachment scheme, was not permitted answer. The vote was
20 to 26--every one of the twenty-six gentlemen who voted to
reject that most important and conclusive testimony in Mr.
Johnson's behalf, at the close of the examination voting to
convict him of a high misdemeanor in office by violating the
Tenure-of-Office Act in removing Mr. Stanton from the office of
Secretary of War--after refusing this offer to prove by his
Cabinet advisers; the witness himself, (Mr. Welles, and his
testimony, if received, was to be followed by that of Mr. Seward
and Mr. Stanton, all of whom had been appointed by Mr. Lincoln
and not re-appointed by Mr. Johnson,) that that act did not apply
to or protect them against removal at the pleasure of the
President. So that on eighteen of these twenty-one disputed
interrogatories put in behalf of the Defense, a majority of the
Republicans of the Senate refused in every instance to hear
testimony, after having sworn to give Mr. Johnson a fair and
impartial trial.

But the most flagrant case of unfairness to the defendant in this
examination of witnesses occurred in the treatment of
interrogatory No. 3, put by the prosecution, in their
introduction of a letter from the President to General Grant,
purporting to enclose letters from different members of the
Cabinet in substantiation of the position of the President in the
controversy then pending between Gen. Grant and himself. These
letters were enclosed with, and specifically referred to and made
a part of the President's communication, and were necessary to a
correct apprehension of the controversy, from the President's or
any other standpoint.

Being so enclosed and referred to in the letter transmitting and
enclosing them, they became quite as much a part of the
President's communication as his own letter which enclosed them.
Counsel for Defense objected to the introduction of the
President's letter without the enclosures, but the objection was
not sustained and the letters were not permitted to be
introduced, but the letter enclosing and referring to them was.
The vote on the production of the enclosures was, yeas 20, nays
29--twenty-eight of the thirty-eight Republicans present, voting
to exclude this essential testimony in the President's behalf,
and twenty-seven of the number afterwards voted to convict him of
a high misdemeanor in office in removing Mr. Stanton from the War
Office, after refusing him the benefit of the testimony of his
Constitutional Cabinet advisers in this important matter.

It is possible that under other conditions this proceeding might
have been legitimate and proper; but Mr. Johnson was on trial
under grave charges, before the highest, and supposably fairest
tribunal on earth, and had a right to the benefit of the
testimony of his cabinet, in full, and more especially when that
testimony was presented in a distorted and garbled shape by his
accusers. Moreover, every member of the Court had the right to
know what was in those letters, if any part of the correspondence
was to be received. But whether or not Mr. Johnson had the right
to the testimony in his behalf which it was claimed these
enclosures contained, he certainly had the right to resist the
introduction of mutilated testimony against him. The purpose of
the trial was to ascertain the facts in the case--all the facts
bearing on either side. The Court was sitting and the witnesses
were called for that purpose, and no other.

This record shows, that in but three instances out of twenty-one,
did a majority of the Republicans of the Senate vote to receive
testimony offered in the President's behalf--that on one
interrogatory there was an equal division--that on seventeen of
the twenty-one interrogatories put by the Defense, a majority of
the Republicans voted to exclude testimony, in several cases by a
two-thirds vote--and that but nine of the twenty-one
interrogatories put in behalf of the President were by Republican
votes permitted to be answered--also that, as a rule which had
very rare exceptions, such interrogatories in behalf of the
President as were permitted answer, were so permitted by very
close majorities.

It is undoubted that every Republican member of the Senate
entered upon that trial in the expectation that the allegations
of the Prosecution would be sustained, but it was also expected
that a fair, free, full, open investigation of all the charges
preferred would be had, and that all the information possible to
be obtained bearing upon the case, pro and con, would be admitted
to testimony--but that expectation was not realized.

To sum up this feature of the proceeding--the Republican majority
of the Senate placed themselves and their party in the attitude
of prosecutors in the case--instead of judges sworn to give the
President an impartial trial and judgment that their course had
the appearance, at least, of a conspiracy to evict the President
for purely partisan purposes, regardless of testimony or the
facts of the case-that public animosity against Mr. Johnson had
been manufactured throughout the North by wild and vicious
misrepresentations for partisan effect--that practically the
entire Republican Party machinery throughout the country was bent
to the work of prosecution. The party cry was "Crucify him!"
"Convict him anyway, and try him afterwards!" With rare
exceptions, the Republican Party of the country, press and
people, were a unit in this insensate cry.

They were ready to strike, but not to hear.

There can be but one conclusion from these premises, established
by the record of the trial--that the entire proceeding, from its
inception in the House of Representatives to its conclusion in
the Senate, was a thoroughly partisan prosecution on the part of
the majority in both Houses, and that the country was saved from
the shameful spectacle, and the dangerous consequences of such a
proceeding, by the intervention and self-sacrifice of a few
gentlemen who proposed to respect the obligation of their oath,
and give Mr. Johnson, so far as in their power, a fair trial and
judgment--and not having had such a trial--to give him the
benefit of what he claimed he could prove in his own behalf and
was not permitted to--and a verdict of "Not Guilty," regardless
of consequences to themselves.

What every member of the Court had sworn to do was "impartial
justice" to Andrew Johnson, and nothing less. The Counsel on
neither side had taken that oath, but the Court had; and its
performance of that oath was impossible without possession of all
the information relating to and bearing upon the case that it was
reasonably possible to obtain. That is the essential ingredient
and characteristic of a fair trial.

SENATE, as the official record of the trial clearly establishes.
It was an ill-disguised and malevolent partisan prosecution.


The power conferred by the Constitution upon Congress to impeach
and remove the President for cause, is unquestionably a wise
provision. The natural tendency of the most patriotic of men, in
the exercise of power in great public emergencies, is to overstep
the line of absolute safety, in the conscientious conviction that
a departure from strict constitutional or legal limitations is
demanded by the public welfare.

The danger in such departures, even upon apparent necessity, if
condoned or permitted by public judgment is in the establishment
of precedents whereby greater and more dangerous infractions of
organic law may be invited, tolerated, and justified, till
government takes on a form of absolutism in one form or another,
fatal to free institutions, fatal to a government of law, and
fatal to popular liberty.

On the other hand, a too ready resort to the power of impeachment
as a remedial agent--the deposition of a public officer in the
absence of proof of the most positive and convincing character of
the impeachability of the offense alledged, naturally tends to
the other extreme, till public officers may become by common
consent removable by impeachment upon insufficient though popular
charges--even upon partisan differences and on sharply contested
questions of public administration.

The power of impeachment and removal becomes, therefore, a
two-edged sword, which must be handled with consummate judgment
and skill, and resort thereto had only in the gravest emergencies
and for causes so clearly manifest as to preclude the possibility
of partisan divisions or partisan judgments thereon. Otherwise,
too ready resort to impeachment must inevitably establish and
bring into common use a new and dangerous remedy for the cure of
assumed political ills which have their origin only in partisan
differences as to methods of administration. It would become an
engine of partisan intolerance for the punishment and ostracism
of political opponents, under the operation of which the great
office of Chief Magistrate must inevitably lose its dignity, and
decline from its Constitutional rank as a co-ordinate department
of the Government, and its occupant no longer the political head
and Chief Executive of the Nation, except in name.

It was in that sense, and to a pointed degree, that in the
impeachment and trial of Andrew Johnson the quality of
coordination of the three great Departments of Government--the
Executive, Legislative, and Judicial--was directly involved--the
House of Representatives as prosecutor--the President as
defendant--the Senate sitting as the trial court in which the
Chief Justice represented the judicial department as presiding

The anomaly of the situation was increased and its gravity
intensified, by the fact that the President pro tempore of the
Senate, who stood first in the line of succession to the
Presidency in case of conviction, was permitted, in a measure,
indeed, forced by his pro-impeachment colleagues, on a partisan
division of the Senate, to sit and vote as such President pro
tempore for the impeachment and removal of the President whom he
was to succeed.

These facts of condition attending and characterizing the trial
of President Johnson, pointedly accentuate the danger to our
composite form of government which the country then faced. That
danger, as it had found frequent illustration in the debates in
the House of Representatives on the several propositions for the
President's impeachment preceding the bringing of the indictment,
lay in the claim of superiority of political function for the
Legislative branch over the Executive. The quality of
co-ordination of these departments was repeatedly and
emphatically denied by conspicuous and influential members of
that body during the initial proceedings of the impeachment
movement, and even on the floor of the Senate by the managers of
the impeachment. To illustrate:

Mr. Bingham, in the House, Feb. 22nd, 1868, announced the
extraordinary doctrine that "there is no power to review the
action of Congress." Again, speaking of the action of the Senate
on the 21st of February, on the President's message announcing
the removal of Mr. Stanton, he said: "Neither the Supreme Court
nor any other Court can question or review this judgment of the

The declaration was made by Messrs. Stevens and Boutwell in the
House, that the Senate was its own judge of the validity of its
own acts.

Mr. Butler, in his opening speech to the Senate, at the beginning
of the trial, used this language:

A Constitutional tribunal solely, you are bound by no law, either
Statute or Common, which may limit your constitutional
prerogative. You consult no precedents save those of the law and
custom of parliamentary bodies. You are a law unto yourselves,
bound only by the natural principles of equity and justice, and
salus populi suprema est lex.

Feb. 24, 1868, Mr. Stevens said in the House:

Neither the Executive nor the Judiciary had any right to
interfere with it (Reconstruction) except so far as was necessary
to control it by military rule until the sovereign power of the
Nation had provided for its civil administration. NO POWER BUT
rebel States), should be admitted to the Union as States and
entitled to the privileges of the Constitution of the United
States." * * * "I trust that when we come to vote upon this
question we shall remember that although it is the duty of the
President to see that the laws be executed, THE SOVEREIGN POWER

Mr. Butler, the leading spirit of the impeachment enterprise,
went so far as to make the revolutionary suggestion of the
abrogation of the Presidential office in the event of final
failure to convict the President--set out in the 8th Chapter.

Mr. Sumner insisted that in no judicial sense was the Senate a
Court, and therefore not bound by the rules of judicial

If the Senate is a Court bound to judicial forms on the expulsion
of the President, must it not be the same in the expulsion of a
Senator? But nobody attributes to it any such strictures in the
latter case. * * In the case of Blount, which is the first in our
history, the expulsion was on the report of a committee declaring
him guilty of a high misdemeanor. At least one Senator has been
expelled on simple formal motion. Others have been expelled
without any formal allegations or formal proofs. * * * The
Constitution provides that "Each House shall determine its rules
of proceeding." The Senate on the expulsion of its own members
has already done. this practically and set an example of
simplicity. But it has the same power over its rules of
proceeding" on the expulsion of the President, and there can be
no reason for simplicity in the one case not equally applicable
in the other. Technicality is as little consonant with the one as
with the other. Each has for its object the PUBLIC SAFETY. For
this a Senator is expelled; for this, also, the President is
expelled. Salus Populi Suprema Lex. The proceedings in each case
must be in subordination to this rule."

Thus, Mr. Sumner would have removed the President by an ordinary
concurrent resolution of Congress.

The purpose of all this was apparent--that the President was in
effect, to be tried and judged before a Court of Public Opinion,
and not before the Senate sitting as a High Court of Impeachment,
but BY the Senate sitting in its legislative capacity--to create
the impression in the minds of Senators that in this high
judicial procedure they were still acting as a legislative
body--simply as Senators, and not in a judicial capacity, as
judges and jurors, and therefore not bound specifically by their
oaths as such, to convict only for crime denounced by the law, or
for manifest high political misdemeanors, but could take
cognizance of and convict on alleged partisan offenses and
allegations based on differences of opinion and partisan
prejudices and partisan predilections--that it was not essential
that the judgment of Senators should be confined to the specific
allegations of the indictment, but that the whole range of
alleged political and partisan misdemeanors and delinquencies
could be taken into account in seeking a pretext for Mr.
Johnson's conviction.

The superiority of the Legislative branch was thus openly.
advocated and insisted, and uncontroverted by any Republican
supporting the impeachment. Mr. Johnson, according to these oft
repeated declarations, was to be tried and convicted, not
necessarily for any specific violation of law, or of the
Constitution, but by prevailing public opinion--public clamor-in
a word, on administrative differences subsisting between the
President and the leaders of the dominant party in and out of
Congress, and that public opinion, as concurrent developments
fully establish, was industriously manufactured throughout the
North, on the demand of leaders of the impeachment movement in
the House, through the instrumentality of a partisan press and
partisan public meetings, and in turn reflected back upon the
Senate, in the form of resolutions denunciatory of the President
and demanding his impeachment and removal.

That was in fact, and in a large sense, the incentive to the
impeachment movement, and it was--not confined to a faction, but
characterized the dominant portion of the political party then in
the ascendancy in and out of Congress.

In this state of facts lay largely the vice of the impeachment
movement, and it illustrated to a startling degree the danger in
the departure from established forms of judicial procedure in
such cases.

It became apparent, long before the close, that it was but little
if anything more than a partisan prosecution--and that fact
became more generally and firmly fixed, from day to day, as the
trial approached conclusion.

In that state of facts, again, and in that sense, the impeachment
of the President, was an assault upon the principle of
coordination that underlies our political system and thus a
menace to our established political forms, as, if successful, it
would, logically, have been the practical destruction of the
Executive Department--and, in view of previous legislation out of
which the impeachment movement had to a degree arisen, and of
declarations in the House and Senate quoted in this connection,
the final and logical result of conviction would have been the
absorption of the Executive functions of the Government by the
Legislative Department, and the consequent declension of that
Department to a mere bureau for the registration of the decrees
of the Legislature.

Conscious of the natural tendency to infringement by a given
Department of the Government upon the functions of its
coordinates, the framers of the Constitution wisely defined the
respective spheres of the several departments, and those
definitions constitute unmistakable admonition to each as to
trespass by either upon the political territory of its

As John C. Calhoun wrote, in the early days of the Republic:

"The Constitution has not only made a general delegation of the
legislative power to one branch of the Government, of the
executive to another, and of the judicial to the third, but it
has specifically defined the general powers and duties of each of
those departments. This is essential to peace and safety in any
Government, and especially in one clothed only with specific
power for national purposes and erected in the midst of numerous
State Governments retaining exclusive control of their local
concerns.* * * Were there no power to interpret, pronounce and
execute the law, the Government would perish through its own
imbecility, as was the case with the Articles of Confederation;
or other powers must be assumed by the legislative body, to the
destruction of liberty." Again, as was eloquently and forcefully
said by Daniel Webster in the U. S. Senate in 1834:

"The first object of a free people is the preservation of their
liberty, and liberty is only to be preserved by maintaining
constitutional restraints and just division of political power.
Nothing is more deceptive or more dangerous than the pretense of
a desire to simplify government. The simplest governments are
despotisms; the next simplest, limited monarchies; but all
republics, all governments of law, must impose numerous
limitations and qualifications of authority and give many
positive and many qualified rights. In other words, they must be
subject to rule and regulation. This is the very essence of free
political institutions. The spirit of liberty is, indeed, a bold
and fearless spirit; but it is also a sharp-sighted spirit: it is
a cautious, sagacious, discriminating, far-seeing intelligence;
it is jealous of encroachment, jealous of power, jealous of man.
It demands checks; it seeks for guards; it insists on securities;
it entrenches itself behind strong defenses, and fortifies itself
with all possible care against the assaults of ambition and
passion. It does not trust the amiable weaknesses of human
nature, and, therefore, it will not permit power to overstep its
prescribed limits, though benevolence, good intent, and patriotic
purpose come along with it. Neither does it satisfy itself with
flashy and temporary resistance to illegal authority. Far
otherwise. It seeks for duration and permanence; it looks before
and after; and, building on the experience of ages which are
past, it labors diligently for the benefit of ages to come. This
is the nature of constitutional liberty; and this is our liberty,
if we will rightly understand and preserve it. Every free
government is necessarily complicated, because all such
governments establish restraints, as well on the power of
government itself as on that of individuals. If we will abolish
the distinction of branches, and have but one branch; if we will
abolish jury trials, and leave all to the judge; if we will then
ordain that the legislator shall himself be that judge; and if we
will place the executive power in the same hands, we may readily
simplify government. We may easily bring it to the simplest of
all possible forms, a pure despotism. But a separation of
departments, so far as practicable, and the preservation of clear
lines of division between them, is the fundamental idea in the
creation of all our constitutions; and, doubtless, the
continuance of regulated liberty depends on maintaining these

Each department is supreme within its own constitutionally
prescribed limits, and the Supreme Court is made the umpire for
the definition of the limits and the protection of the rights of
all. Neither Congress, nor the Executive, are authorized to
determine the constitutionality and therefore the validity of
their acts, or the limits of their jurisdiction under the
Constitution, but the Supreme Court is so authorized, and it is
the umpire before which all differences in that regard must be
determined. It is the tribunal of last resort, save the people
themselves, before whom both Senate and House, and the Executive,
must bow, and its decision is final in the interpretation of the

A due regard, therefore, for the interpretation of law and the
division of powers thus established, constitutes the great
safeguard upon which the harmonious and successful operation of
our political system depends. On its religious observance rests,
primarily, the preservation of our free institutions and the
perpetuation of our peculiar system of popular government. That
quality of co-ordination--of the equality of the several
Departments as adjusted by the Organic Act--constitutes the
balance wheel of our political system.

The logical effect of the doctrines promulgated by the House of
Representatives in that regard, and re-echoed on the floor of the
Senate, in the press and on the stump throughout the North, were
therefore not only revolutionary, but destructive. To have
removed the President upon accusations in reality based upon
partisan and personal--not amounting even to substantial
political differences--would have been the establishment of a
precedent of the most dangerous character.

In a large sense, the American system of politics and of
government was on trial, quite as much as was Andrew Johnson. The
extreme element of American politics was in absolute control in
the House of Representatives, and practically so, in the Senate.
The impeachment and removal of the President on unsubstantiated,
or even remotely doubtful charges, simply: because of a
disagreement between himself and Congress as to the method of
treating a great public emergency, would have introduced a new
and destructive practice into our political system.

Logically, the introduction of such a practice on that occasion
would have been construed as a precedent for the treatment of
future public emergencies. Thus, it would have tended to disturb
the now perfect adjustment of the balance of powers between the
co-ordinate branches. That quality of absolute supremacy of the
several departments in their respective spheres, or functions,
and of co-ordination or equality in their relations to each
other, established by the Constitution as a guarantee of the
perpetuity of our political system, would have been endangered,
and the result could not have been otherwise than disaster in the

Logically, the Presidency would in time have been. degraded to
the position of a mere department for the execution of the
decrees of the legislative branch. Not illogically, the Supreme
Court would have been the next object of attack, and the
legislature have become, by this unconstitutional absorption of
the powers of Government, the sole, controlling force--in short
the Government.

That would, in time, by equally logical sequence, have been the
natural, inevitable result--and the end. The wreckage of the
Great Republic of the age would have been strown upon the sands
of the political seashore--relics of the disregard of the checks
and balances established by the wisdom of its framers, in the
fundamental law--and all for the satisfaction of personal
ambitions and the hates of factional animosities.

History affords too many illustrations of that tendency to
decadence and disruption from disregard of the proper and
necessary checks and balances in the distribution and
equalization of the powers of government, to permit us to doubt
what the final end would have been had the President been removed
on the unsubstantiated accusation preferred by the House of
Representatives, Our peculiar system of political government--a
Democratic Republic--passed the danger point of its history in
that hour.

It was indeed a narrow escape. The history of civilization
records no precisely similar condition. The country then passed
the most threatening period of its history--but passed it safely.
The result was the highest possible testimonial to the strength
and endurance of properly adjusted Democratic institutions that
history records.

It emphasized not only the capacity of the American people for
intelligent and orderly self-government, but also the strength
and endurance of our popular forms. It was a profound surprise to
those habituated to different political conditions. They had
witnessed with astonishment the quiet disbandment of millions of
men but as yesterday engaged in mortal strife--the vast armies as
peacefully returning to former vocations as though from a great
parade--and now, from a state of civil convulsion that in many
another nation would have produced armed collision and public
disorder, they saw an entire people quietly accepting the verdict
of the highest authoritive body of the land, and practically
dismissing the subject from thought. It was a splendid world-wide
tribute to the strength and endurance of our system of popular

Yet the conclusion must not be deduced that the power of
impeachment is not a wise provision of our Constitution, nor in
any sense inconsistent with our popular forms. Conditions may,
and are not unlikely to arise, some day, when the exercise of the
power to impeach and remove the President may be quite as
essential to the preservation of our political system as it
threatened to become in this instance destructive of that system.
Should that day ever come, it is to be hoped that the remedy of
impeachment, as established by the Constitution, may be as
patriotically, as fearlessly, and as unselfishly applied as it
was on this occasion rejected.


Copy of letter addressed to each of the members of the Cabinet
present at the conversation between the President and General
Grant on the 14th of January, 1868, and the answers thereto:

Executive Mansion,
Washington, D. C., February 5, 1868.

Sir:--The Chronicle of this morning contains a correspondence
between the President and General Grant, reported from the War
Department, in answer to a resolution of the House of
Representatives. I beg to call your attention to that
correspondence, and especially to that part of it which refers to
the conversation between the President and General Grant, at the
Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, the 14th of January, and to request
you to state what was said in that conversation.

Very respectfully yours,
Andrew Johnson.

Washington, D. C., February 5, 1868.

Sir:---Your note of this date was handed to me this evening. My
recollection of the conversation at the Cabinet meeting on
Tuesday, the 14th of January, corresponds with your statement of
it in the letter of the 31st ultimo, in the published
correspondence. The three points specified in that letter, giving
your recollection of the conversation, are correctly stated.

Very respectfully,
Gideon Welles.

To the President.

Treasury Department, February 6, 1868.

Sir:--I have received your note of the 5th instant, calling my
attention to the correspondence between youself and General
Grant, as published in the Chronicle of yesterday, especially to
that part of it which relates to what occurred at the Cabinet
meeting on Tuesday the 14th ultimo, and requesting me to state
what was said in the conversation referred to.

I cannot undertake to state the precise language used, but I have
no hesitation in saying that your account of that conversation.
as given in your letter to General Grant under date of the 31st
ultimo. substantially and in all important particulars accords
with my recollection of it.

With great respect, your obedient servant.
Hugh McCulloch.
To the President.

Post Office Department
Washington, February 6, 1868.

Sir:--I am in receipt of your letter of the 5th of February,
calling my attention to the correspondence published in the
Chronicle between the President and General Grant, and especially
to that part of it which refers to the conversation between the
President and General Grant at the Cabinet meeting on Tuesday,
the 14th of January, with a request that I state what was said in
that conversation. In reply, I have the honor to state that I
have read carefully the correspondence in question, and
particularly the letter of the President to General Grant, dated
January 31, 1868. The following extract from your letter of the
31st January to General Grant is, according to my recollection, a
correct statement of the conversation that took place between the
President and General Grant at the Cabinet meeting on the 14th of
January last. In the presence of the Cabinet the President asked
General Grant whether, "in conversation which took place after
his appointment as Secretary of War ad interim, he did not agree
either to remain at the head of the War Department and abide any
judicial proceedings that might follow the non-concurrence by the
Senate in Mr. Stanton's suspension, or, should he wish not to
become involved in such a controversy, to put the President in
the same position with respect to the office as he occupied
previous to General Grant's appointment by returning it to the
President in time to anticipate such action by the Senate." This
General Grant admitted.

The President then asked General Grant if, at the conference on
the preceding Saturday, he had not, to avoid misunderstanding,
requested General Grant to state what he intended to do; and
further, if in reply to that inquiry he (General Grant) had not
referred to their former conversations, saying that from them the
President understood his position, and that his (General
Grant's) action would be consistent with the understanding which
had been reached. To these questions General Grant replied in the

The President asked General Grant if, at the conclusion of their
interview on Saturday, it was not understood that they were to
have another conference on Monday, before final action by the
Senate in the case of Mr. Stanton.

General Grant replied that such was the understanding, but that
he did not suppose the Senate would act so soon; that on Monday
he had been engaged in a conference with General Sherman, and was
occupied with "many little matters," and asked if General Sherman
had not called on that day.

I take this mode of complying with the request contained in the
President dent's letter to me, because my attention had been
called to the subject before, when the conversation between the
President and General Grant was under consideration.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Alexander W. Randall, Postmaster General.
To the President.

Department of the Interior,
Washington, D. C., February 6, 1868.

Sir:--I am in receipt of yours of yesterday, calling my attention
to a correspondence between yourself and General Grant, published
in the Chronicle newspaper, and especially to that part of said
correspondence "which refers to the conversation between the
President and General Grant at the Cabinet meeting on Tuesday,
the 14th of January," and requesting me "to state what was said
in that conversation."

In reply, I submit the following statement: At the Cabinet
meeting on Tuesday, the 14th of January, 1868, General Grant
appeared and took his accustomed seat at the board. When he had
been reached in the order of business the President asked him, as
usual, if he had anything to present?

In reply, the General, after referring to a note which he had
that morning addressed to the President, inclosing a copy of the
resolution of the Senate refusing to concur in the reasons for
the suspension of Mr. Stanton, proceeded to say that he regarded
his duties as Secretary of War ad interim terminated by that
resolution, and that he could not lawfully exercise such duties
for a moment after the adoption of the resolution by the Senate.
That the resolution reached him last night, and that this morning
he had gone to the War Department, entered the Secretary's room,
bolted one door on the inside, locked the other on the outside,
delivered the key to the Adjutant General, and proceeded to the
headquarters of the Army, and addressed the note above mentioned
to the President, informing him that he (General Grant) was no
longer Secretary of War ad interim.

The President expressed great surprise at the course which
General Grant had thought proper to pursue, and, addressing
himself to the General, proceeded to say, in substance, that he
had anticipated such action on the part of the Senate, and being
very desirous to have the constitutionality of the
Tenure-of-Office bill tested, and his right to suspend or remove
a member of the Cabinet decided by the judicial tribunals of the
country, he had some time ago, and shortly after General Grant's
appointment as Secretary of War ad interim, asked the General
what his action would be in the event that the Senate should
refuse to concur in the suspension of Mr. Stanton, and that the
General had agreed either to remain at the head of the War
Department till a decision could be obtained from the court or
resign the office in the hands of the President before the case
was acted upon by the Senate, so as to place the President in the
same situation he occupied at the time of his (Grant's)

The President further said that the conversation was renewed on
the preceding Sunday, at which time he asked the General what he
intended to do if the Senate should undertake to reinstate Mr.
Stanton; in reply to which the General referred to their former
conversation upon the same subject, and said. "You understand my
position, and my conduct will be conformable to that
understanding:" that he (the General) then expressed a repugnance
to being made a party to a judicial proceeding, saying that he
would expose himself to fine and imprisonment by doing so, as his
continuing to discharge the duties of Secretary of War ad
interim, after the Senate should have refused to concur in the
suspension of Mr. Stanton would be a violation of the
Tenure-of-Office bill. That in reply to this he (the President)
informed General Grant he had not suspended Mr. Stanton under the
Tenure-of-Office bill, but by virtue of the powers conferred on
him by the Constitution: and that, as to the fine and
imprisonment, he (the President) would pay whatever fine was
imposed and submit to whatever imprisonment might be adjudged
against him (the General.) That they continued the conversation
for some time, discussing the law at length, and that they
finally separated without having reached a definite conclusion,
and with the understanding that the General would see the
President again on Monday.

In reply, General Grant admitted that the conversation had
occurred, and said that at the first conversation he had given it
as his opinion to the President that in the event of
non-concurrence by the Senate in the action of the President in
respect to the Secretary of War the question would have to be
decided by the court; that Mr. Stanton would have to appeal to
the court to reinstate him in office; that he would remain in
till they could be displaced and the outs put in by legal
proceeding; and that he then thought so, and had agreed that if
he should change his mind he would notify the President in time
to enable him to make another appointment, but that at the time
of the first conversation he had not looked very closely into the
law; that it had recently been discussed by the newspapers, and
that this had induced him to examine it more carefully, and that
he had come to the conclusion that if the Senate should refuse to
concur in the, suspension Mr. Stanton would thereby be
reinstated. and that he (Grant) could not continue thereafter to
act as Secretary of War ad interim, without subjecting himself to
fine and imprisonment; and that he came over on Saturday to
inform the President of this change in his views, and did so
inform him, that the President replied that he had not suspended
Mr Stanton under the Tenure-of-Office bill, but under the
Constitution, and appointed him (Grant) by virtue of the
authority derived from the Constitution, &c.; that they continued
to discuss the matter some time, and finally he left without any
conclusion having been reached, expecting to see the President
again on Monday. He then proceeded to explain why he had not
called on the President on Monday, saying that he had had a long
interview with General Sherman; that various little matters had
occupied his time till it was late, and that he did not think the
Senate would act so soon, and asked, "did not General Sherman
call on you on Monday?"

I do not know what passed between the President and General Grant
on Saturday, except as I learned it from the conversation between
them at the Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, and the foregoing is
substantially what then occurred. The precise words used on the
occasion are not, of course, given exactly in the order in which
they were spoken, but the ideas expressed and the facts stated
are faithfully preserved and presented. I have the honor to be,
sir, with great respect, your obedient servant.

O. H. Browning.
The President.

Department of State, Washington,
February 6, 1868.

Sir: The meeting to which you refer in your letter was a regular
Cabinet meeting. While the members were assembling, and before
the President had entered the Council Chamber, General Grant, on
coming in, said to me that he was in attendance there, not as a
member of the Cabinet, but upon invitation, and I replied by the
inquiry whether there was a change in the War Department. After
the President had taken his seat business went on in the usual
way of hearing matters submitted by the several secretaries. When
the time came for the Secretary of War General Grant said that he
was now there not as Secretary of War, but upon the President's
invitation, that he had retired from the War Department. A Blight
difference then appeared about the supposed invitation, General
Grant saying that the officer who had borne his letter to the
President that morning, announcing his retirement from the War
Department, had told him that the President desired to see him at
the Cabinet, to which the President answered, that when General
Grant's communication was delivered to him the President simply
replied that he supposed General Grant would be very soon at the
Cabinet meeting. I regarded the conversation thus begun as an
incidental one. It went on quite informally, and consisted of a
statement, on your part, of your views in regard to the
understanding of the tenure upon which General Grant had assented
to hold the War Department ad interim, and of his replies by way
of answer and explanation. It was respectful and courteous on
both sides. Being in this conversational form, its details could
only have been preserved by verbatim report. So far as I know, no
such report was made at the time. I can give only the general
effect of the conversation.

Certainly you stated that although you had reported the reasons
for Mr. Stanton's suspension to the Senate, you nevertheless held
that he would not be entitled to resume the office of Secretary
of War, even if the Senate should disapprove of his suspension.
and that you had proposed to have the question tested by judicial
process, to be applied to the person who should be the incumbent
of the Department, under your designation of Secretary of War ad
interim in the place of Mr. Stanton. You contended that this was
well understood between yourself and Gen. Grant; that when he
entered the War Department as Secretary ad interim he expressed
his concurrence in a belief that the question of Mr. Stanton's
restoration would be a question for the courts; that in a
subsequent conversation with General Grant you had adverted to
the understanding thus had, and that General Grant expressed his
concurrence in it: that at some conversation which had been
previously held General Grant said he still adhered to the same
construction of the law, but said if he should change his opinion
he would give you seasonable notice of it, so that you should in
any case, be placed in the same position in regard to the War
Department that you were while General Grant held it ad interim.
I did not understand General Grant as denying, nor as explicitly
admitting, these statements in the form and full extent to which
you made them. The admission of them was rather indirect and
circumstantial. though I did not understand it to be an evasive
one. He said that, reasoning from what occurred in the case of
the police in Maryland, which he regarded as a parallel one, he
was of opinion, and so assured you, that it would be his right
and duty, under your instructions, to hold the War Office after
the Senate should disapprove of Mr. Stanton's suspension until
the question should be decided upon by the courts; that he
remained until very recently of that opinion, and that on the
Saturday before the Cabinet meeting a conversation was held
between yourself and him in which the subject was generally

General Grant's statement was, that in that conversation he had
stated to you the legal difficulties which might arise, involving
fine and imprisonment under the civil tenure bill, and that he
did not care to subject himself to those penalties; that you
replied to this remark, that you regarded the civil tenure bill
as unconstitutional. and did not think its penalties were to be
feared, or that you would voluntarily assume them; and you
insisted that General Grant should either retain the office until
relieved by yourself according to what you claimed was the
original understanding, between yourself and him, or, by
seasonable notice of change of purpose on his part, put you in
the same situation which you would be if he adhered. You claimed
that General Grant finally said in that Saturday's conversation
that you understood his views, and his proceedings thereafter
would be consistent with what had been so understood. General
Grant did not controvert nor can I say that he admitted this last
statement. Certainly General Grant did not at any time in the
Cabinet meeting insist that he had in the Saturday's conversation
either distinctly or finally advised you of his determination to
retire from the charge of the War Department otherwise than under

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