The Impeachment of Andrew Johnson
»Impeachment, Trial, and Acquittal

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Harper's Weekly, May 30, 1868, page 339

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We are very glad to record that there are many of the most influential of the Republican journals which refused to join in the effort at partisan dictation of the verdict in the Impeachment trial.

The Providence Journal, speaking for the Rhode Island Senators, said, "They will alike scorn with indignation the base imputation implied in the telegram quoted above (General Schenck’s) that they are capable of prostituting the ‘impartial justice’ to which they are solemnly pledged, under any amount of pressure from ‘resolution, letter, and delegations."

The Chicago Tribune declared with perfect truth: "A party can always afford to take the consequences of the conscientious performance of a judicial duty."

The Boston Advertiser said of Mr. Fessenden: "We are bound to concede his right to judge for himself, and to respect his exercise of the right."

The Hartford Courant, edited by Ex-Governor Hawley, one of the truest of Republicans, said: "When such lawyers, men of honor, and sound Republicans as Trumbull and Fessenden, pronounce against the articles as they are drafted, and under a law whose construction admits of doubt, we are not going to join in denouncing them as apostates and traitors."

The Chicago Post remarks: "The effect of his impeachment and disposal, if secured by partisan effort, would be a graver calamity than any that he can inflict. No man can calculate the consequences of such a blow at the permanence of our institutions."

The Bridgeport (Connecticut) Standard says: "Not only are we prepared to receive with entire equanimity that verdict whatever it may be, but we trust that when it is recorded, for the instruction and guidance of the nation in future years, the record may be an everlasting witness that full and impartial justice has been done."

The Cincinnati Commercial also very truly remarks: " The Republican party is strong; but it can not afford to drive out as traitors all who disagree with the opinions that are most noisily expressed by the most excitable of its members."

It is a matter of congratulation also, that the Union League Club of New York again exposed themselves to the peril of public denunciation by Mr. Greeley as "blockheads and dunces," by refusing to pass resolutions stigmatizing eminent Republican Senators as Benedict Arnolds and Judas Iscariots because they faithfully observed their oath as judges. The President, John Jay, in a speech admirable for its wisdom and temper and very pregnant allusion, remarked that "those, who, during the thirty years’ anti-Slavery struggle, have contended with Milton for ‘the right to know, to utter, and to argue freely above all liberties,’ are not likely to deny to others, especially when acting under the sanction of an oath, an equal freedom."

These are all indications that the sober sense of the party condemns not only as flagrant offense against common decency, but as a serious blunder in party tactics, such attempts as that of General Schenck’s telegram of the New York Tribune, and of Mr. Charles S. Spencer’s resolutions to overawe the Senate of the United States in the discharge of a judicial duty.

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