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

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Harper's Weekly, June 13, 1868, page 370

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The papers report that Senators Wade, Chandler, Cattell, and some others left a caucus of their party brethren because six of the Republican Senators who voted for the acquittal of the President were present.

Surely these Senators and the sensible men of the party ought to ask themselves whether this policy is wise. Suppose that its logic had prevailed at Chicago. Suppose that Mr. Wade had been nominated for President and General Butler for Vice-President, with the understanding that Mr. Stevens was to be Secretary of the Treasury, Senator Chandler Secretary of War, and that the other offices were to be filled in the same manner. Suppose, further, that Senators Fessenden, Trumbull, and Grimes had been denounced in the platform as "infamous," and solemnly expelled, so far as they could be, from the fellowship of the party, would the Republican prospect of success in the Presidential election be more or less promising?

It seems to us after the National convention of the party has deliberately refused to repudiate the Senators in question, that Mr. Wade and Mr. Chandler and Mr. Cattell have no right, as party men, to refuse them the party fellowship; and should their conduct be widely followed, should the Senators who honestly voted for acquittal upon the evidence, and those who maintain the duty of conscientious public action as paramount to obedience to certain party associates be thrust from party sympathy, what can possibly be gained but a reduced vote and an imperiled success?

Mr. Thaddeus Stevens said, upon the floor of the House, as reported, that he did not think a little perjury would hurt the Senators. Is, then, a little perjury in the discharge of public duty to be also a party test; and must all who are unwilling to perjure themselves a little prepare to depart from the Republican fellowship?

This seems to us mere childish folly. Mr. Wade is a stern and stanch Republican, whose position has never been obscure, and whose speech in the very beginning of the rebel tempest in Congress in the winter of 1860-61 was a calm and brave assertion of the principles that the war maintained. Such services are not to be forgotten. But the cause demands every kind of service. If Mr. Chase is unwilling, from whatever reason, longer to act with the great party with which his name is most honorably identified, let us hope that Mr. Wade will not yield to any impulse, however natural and pardonable it may seem, which will make his political associates regret his action. The cause of true liberty and civilization in this country is now intrusted to the Republican party and its candidates. Whoever will support them is not to be repelled because of differences upon points not vital, and which the national party authority has refused to adopt as articles of party faith. We gladly record that this truth was recognized by the great ratification meeting at the Cooper Institute in New York by the omission from the resolutions of all denunciation of the dissenting Senators.

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