Washington Letter

May 1, 1868


What seemed as a certain impeachment for Andrew Johnson is now losing support as little evidence has surfaced.


WASHINGTON LETTER Correspondence of the Richmond Dispatch The force of Mr. Evart's Arguments Signs of the Reaction- The Friends of the President Gathering Renewed Hope. Washington, April 29,1868. Mr. Evarts is carrying more and more conviction into the minds of those who doubt the removal from office of President Johnson. His solid arguments are frightening the impeachment Radicals sorely; and as he will not conclude until to-morrow, it is very fair to presume that the consternation which is so plainly visible in the camp will yet grow greater. Whatever the end is to be, it is absolutely certain that the firm statements of law and facts which have been set up by the defense since their closing arguments commenced must be overthrown by abler legal doctrines and statements of constitutional law, and by reliable disputations of the facts alleged by the defense, before a sufficient number of Republican senators will be brought to adopt the impeachment scheme of the majority of the members of the House of Representatives. For a time it looked as if the Managers had everything their own way ; but the bombast and fury of Butler, so prominent in the early stages of the trial, have not affected settled, sound lawyers in the Senate a lot: and the devout attention which has been given by them to the arguments of the President's counsel is anything but pleasing to the impeachment men. -The remarks of Messrs. Nelson and Butler yesterday touching the Alta Vela case', which led to deservedly bitter language on the part of the last-mentioned gentleman, has been the subject of considerable comment to-day since Mr. Nelson presented the letter alluded to by him in his original speech; and it has not placed Mr. Manager in any better light. He failed to counteract the influence of Mr. Nelson's point, and has lessened more than over his cause as far as borne upon by that circumstance. It is not safe yet to hazard any speculations on the result of the impeachment trial, as sufficient evidences have no where presented themselves by which to judge intelligently either one way or the other; but the feeling is that a reaction has commenced, and that idea is spreading: Senators, are, if possible, more than ever judicious in their conversation touching any point, or speech, or circumstance, attending the great case. It has become more absorbing than ever, and other business is unthought of. The hopes of the President's friends are based upon the unanswerable defense set up by his counsel, and there they will rest until the very last word shall be spoken in the trial.
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Joshua Hurlburt




“Washington Letter,” Reconstructing Virginia, accessed July 4, 2022, https://reconstructingvirginia.richmond.edu/items/show/1015.