The Impeachment of Andrew Johnson
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News Article
Harper's Weekly, April 18, 1868 page 244

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Our engravings, illustrative of the great trial now going on at Washington, embrace portraits of three of the President’s counsel; the Senate in Consultation in the Ladies’ Parlor, adjoining the Senate Chamber; and a View of the Ladies’ Gallery.

The counsel of the President consist of Messrs. Henry Stanbery, Benjamin R. Curtis, William M. Evarts, T.A.R. Nelson, and Mr. Groesbeck, the latter of whom has been added since the commencement of the trial, in place of Judge Black, who declined to serve. Mr. Stanbery’s early career was confined to Ohio, and little was known of him until his appointment as Attorney-General by President Johnson. His success in that position was not great, and it was generally conceded that his opinions were marked more by partisan feeling than legal ability. He resigned his position as Attorney-General to defend the President.

Mr. Curtis is a native and resident of Massachusetts, where he has filled several legal positions; and he has much local reputation as a lawyer.

Mr. Evarts, who is doubtless the ablest lawyer retained on the President’s side, has never held political office, but has devoted himself entirely to the practice of his profession, and is at the present time at the head of the bar of New York. At the same time he was not without political aspirations; and, as an orator, scholar, and public character generally, has been in a quiet way an influential and powerful member of the Republican Party, though not a popular one with the masses. He was at one time an aspirant for the United States Senatorship from New York. He was also an aspirant and a formidable rival of Mr. Secretary Chase for the Chief Justiceship of the United States. So that, although his is neither an ex-judge, nor even an "honorable," he attracts deserved attention from his generally high position and his especial eminence as a great criminal lawyer. In person he is thin, wiry, and cadaverous. He has a clear, sharp, ringing voice, though it is not powerful or musical. His action is sparing but effective. In making his points he is lucid, precise, and cogent, seldom rhetorical or ornamental. He has an easy, colloquial way; he is never in haste, and never hesitates. He is an excellent extempore speaker, a sound commercial lawyer, and an advocate of great genius and resource.

During the progress of the trial the galleries of the Senate have presented a more brilliant appearance than has been known for many years. The most lovely as well as the most distinguished ladies of Washington have been in daily attendance, and the gallery devoted to them has presented the appearance of our sketch.

The opening speech on the part of the Managers was made by General B.F. Butler on October 30. He very learnedly discussed the right of the Senate as at present constituted to try the impeachment; the right of Senator Wade to participate; and quoted largely from the precedents. On the same day documentary evidence was introduced intended to answer any plea that Mr. Johnson is not President, but Vice-President, and therefore not liable to trial by the Senate as organized, and that Mr. Stanton was not appointed Secretary of War for the existing term. The first of these documents was the certified oath of office taken by Mr. Johnson to "faithfully execute the office of President of the United States." Subsequently witnesses were examined to prove that the President had signed commissions altered from the old printed form in order that they might confirm to the Tenure-of-Office Bill, thereby recognizing its validity. It was also shown by several witnesses that General Thomas, after being refused possession of the War Office, announced his intention to take possession of the War Office by force. A large number of witnesses, principally reporters, were examined, to prove the accuracy of the reports of the speeches of the President, made in 1866. It was shown that one of these, which was most abusive of Congress, was corrected before going to the printers by the President’s private secretary. The President in his answer to the charges says that he suspended Mr. Stanton indefinitely as authorized by the Constitution, and not in compliance with any requirements of the Tenure-of-Office Bill, thereby recognizing its validity. In refutation of this the Managers introduced a letter from the President notifying Secretary M’Culloch of the suspension of Mr. Stanton in compliance with the requirements of this very Act.

April 18, 1868 page 244

April 18, 1868 page 244

April 18, 1868 page 244

April 18, 1868 page 244

April 18, 1868 page 248

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