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object of this exception, he said, was evident. The Cabinet officers were to be "the immediate confidential assistants of the President, for whose acts he was to be responsible, and in whom he was expected to repose the gravest honor, trust, and confidence; therefore it was that this act has connected the tenure of office of these officers with that of the President by whom they were appointed." Mr. Curtis gave a new interpretation to that clause in the Constitution which prescribes that the President "may require the opinion, in writing, of the principal officer in each of the executive departments upon any subject relating to the duties of their several offices." He understood that the word "their" included the President, so that he might call upon Cabinet officers for advice "relating to the duties of the office of these principal officers, or relating to the duties of the President himself." This, at least, he affirmed, had been the practical interpretation put upon this clause from the beginning. To confirm his position as to the intent of the Tenureof-Office Act in this respect, Mr. Curtis quoted from speeches made in both houses at the time when the act was passed. Thus, Senator Sherman said that the act, as passed
"Would not prevent the present President from removing the Secretary of War, the Secretary of the Navy, or the Secretary of State; and, if I supposed that either of these gentlemen was so wanting in manhood, in honor, as to hold his place after the politest intimation from the President of the United States that his services were no longer needed, I certainly, as a Senator, would consent to his removal at any time, and so would we all."
Mr. Curtis proceeded to argue that there was really no removal of Mr. Stanton; he still held his place, and so there was "no case of removal within the statute, and, therefore, no case of violation by removal." But, if the Senate should hold that the order for removal was, in effect, a removal, then, unless the Tenure-of-Office Act gave Mr. Stanton a tenure of office, this removal would not have been contrary to the provisions of this act. He proceeded to argue that there was room for grave doubt whether Mr. Stanton's case came within the provisions of the Tenure-of-Office Act, and that the President, upon due consideration, and having taken the best advice within his power, considering that it did not, and acting accordingly, did not, even if he was mistaken, commit an act "so willful and wrong that it can be justly and properly, and for the purposes of this prosecution, termed a high misdemeanor." He argued at length that the view of the President was the correct one, and that "the Senate had nothing whatever to do with the removal of Mr. Stanton, whether the Senate was in session or not."
Mr. Curtis then went on to urge that the President, being sworn to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, must carry out any law, even though passed over his veto, except in cases where a law which he believed to be unconstitutional has cut off a power confided to him, and in regard to which he alone could make an
issue which would bring the matter before a court, so as to cause "a judicial decision to come between the two branches of the Government, to see which of them is right." This, said he, is what the President has done. This argument, in effect, was an answer to the first eight articles of impeachment.
The ninth article, charging the President with endeavoring to induce General Emory to violate the law by receiving orders directly from him, was very briefly touched upon, it being maintained that, as shown by the evidence, "the reason why the President sent for General Emory was not that he might endeavor to seduce that distinguished officer from his allegiance to the laws and Constitution of his country, but because he wished to obtain information about military movements which might require his personal attention."
A to the tenth article, based upon the President's speeches, it was averred that they were in no way in violation of the Constitution, or of any law existing at the time when they were made, and were not, therefore, impeachable offenses.
The reply to the eleventh article was very brief. The managers bad "compounded it of the materials which they had previously worked up into others," and it "contained nothing new that needed notice." Mr. Curtis concluded his speech by saying that-
"This trial is and will be the most conspicuous instance that has ever been, or even can be expected to be found, of American justice or of American injustice; of that justice which is the great policy of all civilized States; of that injustice which is certain to be condemned, which makes even the wisest man mad, and which, in the fixed and unalterable order of God's providence, is sure to return and plague the inventor."
At the close of this opening speech for the defense, General Lorenzo Thomas was brought forward as a witness. His testimony, elicited upon examination and cross-examination, was to the effect that, having received the order appointing him Secretary of War ad interim, he presented it to Mr. Stanton, who asked, "Do you wish me to vacate the office at once, or will you give me time to get my private property together?" to which Thomas replied, "Act your pleasure." Afterward Stanton said, "I do n't know whether I will obey your instructions." Subsequently Thomas said that he should issue orders as Secretary of War. Stanton said he should not do so, and afterward gave him a written direction, not to issue any order except as Adjutant-General. During the examination of General Thomas a question came up which, in many ways, recurred upon the trial. He was asked to tell what occurred, at an interview between himself and the Fresident. Objection was made by Mr. Butler, and the point was argued. The question was submitted to the Senate, which decided, by a vote of 42 to 10, that it was admissible. The testimony of General Thomas, from this point, took a wide range, and, being
mainly given in response to questions of counsel, was, apparently, somewhat contradictory. The substance was that he was recognized by the President as Secretary of War; that, since the impeachment, he had acted as such only in attending Cabinet meetings, but had given no orders; that, when he reported to the President that Mr. Stanton would not vacate the War Department, the President directed him to "take possession of the office;" that, without orders from the President, he had intended to do this by force, if necessary; that, finding that this course might involve bloodshed, he had abandoned this purpose, but that, after this, he had, in several cases, affirmed his purpose to do so, but that these declarations were "merely boast and brag." On the following day General Thomas was recalled-as a witness, to enable him to correct certain points in his testimony. The first was the date of an unimportant transaction; he had given it as taking place on the 21st of February, whereas it should have been the 22d. The second was that the words of the President were that he should "take charge,' not "take possession" of the War Department. In explanation of the fact that he had repeatedly sworn to the words "take possession," he said that these were "put into his mouth." Finally, General Thomas, in reply to a direct question from Mr. Butler, said that his testimony on these points was "all wrong."
Lieutenant-General Sherman was then called as a witness. After some unimportant questions, he was asked in reference to an interview between himself and the President which took place on the 14th of January: "At that interview what conversation took place between the President and you in reference to the removal of Mr. Stanton?" To this question objection was made by Mr. Butler, and the point was elaborately argued. The Chief Justice decided that the question was admissible within the vote of the Senate of the previous day; the question then was as to the admissibility of evidence as to a conversation between the President and General Thomas; the present question was as to a conversation between the President and General Sherman. "Both questions," said the Chief Justice, "are asked for the purpose of procuring the intent of the President in the attempt to remove Mr. Stanton." The question being submitted to the Senate, it was decided, by a vote of 28 to 23, that it should not be admitted. The examination of General Sherman was continued, the question of the conversation aforesaid being frequently brought forward, and as often ruled out by the Senate. The only important fact elicited was that the President had twice, on the 25th and 30th of January, tendered to General Sherman the office of Secretary of War ad interim.
On Monday, April 13th, after transactions of minor importance, the general matter of the conversations between the President and General Sherman again came up, upon a question propounded by Senator Johnson-"When the President tendered to you the office of Secretary of War ad interim, did he, at the very time of making
such tender, state to you what his purpose in so doing was?" This was admitted by the Senate, by a vote of 26 to 22. Senator Johnson then added to his question, "If he did, what did he state his purpose was?" This was admitted, by a vote of 25 to 26. The testimony of General Sherman, relating to several interviews, was to the effect that the President said that the relations between himself and Mr. Stanton were such that he could not execute the office of President without making provision to appoint a Secretary of War ad interim, and he offered that office to him (General Sherman), but did not state that his purpose was to bring the matter directly into the courts. Sherman said that, if Mr. Stanton would retire, he might, although against his own wishes, undertake to administer the office ad interim, but asked what would be done in case Mr. Stanton would not yield. To this the President replied, "He will make no opposition; you present the order, and he will retire. I know him better than you do; he is cowardly." General Sherman asked time for reflection, and then gave a written answer, declining to accept the appointment, but stated that his reasons were mostly of a personal nature.
On the 14th the Senate adjourned, on account of the sudden illness of Mr. Stanbery. It re-assembled on the 15th, but the proceedings touched wholly upon formal points of procedure and the introduction of unimportant documentary evidence. On the 16th Mr. Sumner moved that all evidence not trivial or obviously irrelevant shall be admitted, the Senate to judge of its value. This was negatived by a vote of 23 to 11.
The 17th was mainly taken up by testimony as to the reliability of the reports of the President's speeches. Mr. Welles, Secretary of the Navy, was then called to testify to certain proceedings in Cabinet Council at the time of the appointment of General Thomas. This was objected to. The Chief Justice decided that it was admissible, and his decision was sustained by a vote of 26 to 23 The defense then endeavored to introduce several members of the Cabinet, to show that, at meetings previous to the removal of Mr. Stanton, it was considered whether it was not desirable to obtain a judicial determination of the unconstitutionality of the Tenure-ofOffice Act. This question was raised in several shapes, and its admission, after thorough argument on both sides, as often refused, in the last instance by a decisive vote of 30 to 19. The defense considered this testimony of the utmost importance, as going to show that the President had acted upon the counsel of his constitutional advisers, while the prosecution claimed that he could not plead in justification of a violation of the law that he had been advised by his cabinet, or any one else, that the law was unconstitutional. His duty was to execute the laws, and, if he failed to do this, or violated them, he did so at his own risk of the consequences. With the refusal of this testimony, the case, except the final summings up and the verdict of the Senate, was virtually closed.
The case had been so fully set forth in the opening speeches of Messrs. Butler and Curtis, and in the arguments which came up upon points of testimony, that there remained little for the other counsel except to restate what had before been said.
After the evidence had been closed the case was summed up, on the part of the managers by Messrs. Boutwell, Williams, Stevens, and Bingham in oral arguments, and Mr. Logan, who filed a written argument, and on the part of the President by Messrs. Nelson, Groesbeck, Stanbery, and Evarts. Many of these speeches were distinguished by great brilliancy and power, but, as no new points were presented, we omit any summary.
The Court decided to take a vote upon the articles on Tuesday, the 12th of May, at 12 o'clock, M. A secret session was held on Monday, during which several Senators made short speeches, giving the grounds upon which they expected to cast their votes. On Tuesday the Court agreed to postpone the vote until Saturday, the 16th. Upon that day, at 12 o'clock, a vote was taken upon the eleventh article, it having been determined to vote on that article first. The vote resulted in 35 votes for conviction, and 19 for acquittal. The question being put to each 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 the article?"those who responded guilty were Senators Anthony, Cameron, Cattell, Chandler, Cole, Conkling, Conness, Corbett, Cragin, Drake, Edmunds, Ferry, Frelinghuysen, Harlan, Howard, Howe, Morgan, Morrill, of Vermont, Morrill, of Maine, O. P. Morton, Nye, Patterson, N. H. Pomeroy, Sherman, Sprague, Stewart, Sumner, Thayer, Tipton, Wade, Willey, Williams, Wilson, and Yates.
Those who responded not guilty were Senator Bayard, Buckalew, Davis, Dixon, Doolittle, Fessenden, Fowler, Grimes, Henderson, Hendricks, Johnson, M'Creery, Norton, Patterson, of Tennessee, Ross, Saulsbury, Trumbull, Van Winkle, and Vickers.
The Constitution requiring a vote of two-thirds to convict, the President was acquitted on this article. After taking this vote the Court adjourned until Tuesday, May 26th, when votes were taken upon the second and third articles, with precisely the same result as on the eleventh, the vote in each case standing 35 for conviction and 19 for acquittal. A verdict of acquittal on the second, third, and eleventh articles was then ordered to be entered on the record, and, without voting on the other articles, the Court adjourned sine die. So the trial was ended, and the President acquitted.