Proceedings in the House of Representatives on the Impeachment Question

January 9, 1867

Summary

Different propositions are being sent to the Reconstruction Committee of Congress, including one of the impeachment of Johnson. They do not discuss it, as the choose to follow the proposition about reorganizing civil governments in the previous confederate states.

Transcription

Proceedings in the House of Representatives on the Impeachment Question. Whoever will take the troube to read the following interesting report of the proceedings of the House of Representatives on Monday on the question of impeaching the President, will be satisfied that there is no danger of any such movement. Mr, Speaker Colfax tried his best to save his Radical friends from a vote on the ques tion; but could not. They avoided the difficulty of referring the matter to a committee: Mr. Loan, of Missouri offered the following resolution, upon which he demanded the previous question: Resolved, That, for the purpose of securing the fruits of the victories gained on the part of the Republic during the late war, waged by rebels and traitors against the life of the nation, and of giving effect to the will of the people, as expressed at the polls during the recent elections, by majorities numbering in the aggregate more than 400,000 votes, it is the imperative duty of the Thirty-ninth Congress to take, without delay, such action as will accomplish the following objects: First, The impeachment of the officer now exercising the functions pertaining to the office of the President of the United States of America, and his removal from said office, upon his conviction, in due form of law, of the high crimes and misdemeanors of which he is manifestly and notoriously guilty, and which render it unsafe longer to permit him to exercise the powers he has unlawfully assumed. Second, To provide for the faithful and efficient administration of the Executive department of the Government, within the limits prescribed by law. Third, To prescribe effective means to immediately reorganize the civil governments in those States lately in rebellion, excepting Tennessee, and for restoring them to their practical relations with the Government, upon a basis of loyalty and justice: and to his end, Fourth, To secure, by the direct intervention of Federal authority, the right of franchise alike, without regard to color, to all classes of loyal citizens residing within those sections of the Republic which were lately in rebellion. Mr. Eldridge, of Wisconsi, inquired whether it had been determined at the caucus on Saturday night that this resolution should be sent to the Committee on the Judiciary without debate [Laughter]. The Speaker said that was not a parliamentary question. [Laughter.] Mr. Hill, of Indiana, rose to a point of order--that the resolution should go to the Committee on Reconstruction. The Speaker decided the point of order well take, because the third clause of the resolution contained a proposition to "reorganize civil governments in the States lately in rebellion, " &e.; and he therefore declared the resolution to he referred to the Joint Committee on Reconstruction. Mr. Loan rose to a point of order--that there were four propositions in the resolution, and that only one of them, the third, should go to the Reconstruction Committee The Speaker overruled the point of order. Mr. Loan asked leave to withdraw the third proposition. Mr. Ward, of New York, objected; and The Speaker again declared the resolution referred to the Committee on Reconstruction. Mr. Kelso, of Missouri, offered a resolution in the same language as that previously offered by Mr. Loan, except that the third clause was omitted. The Clerk read it, amid much laughter, to the end of the Mr. Washburne, of Illinois, rose to a point of order, and inquired whether this was not the same document that had just been sent to the Committee on Reconstruction. [Laughter]. The Speaker said he was informed by the Clerk that it was not. Mr. Davis, of New York, moved to lay the resolution on the table. On his mo tion the yeas and nays were demanded and ordered, and it was lost--yeas, 40; noes, 103. The Speaker then announced that the morning hour having expired, the resolution would go over until next Monday. Mr. Ashley, of Ohio, rose to a question of privilege, and said: I rise, sir, to perform a painful duty, but a duty, nevertheless, which I deem imperative upon me--a duty which I think cannot be further postponed, and which cannot, without criminality on our part, be longer neglected. I had hoped, sir, that this duty would have devolved upon an older and more experienced member of this House than myself. Prior to our adjournment I asked a number of gentlemen to introduce a resolution, which I afterwards offered, and on which I failed to obtain a suspension of the rules. Confident that the loyal people of this country demand at our hands the action provided for in the proposition that I am now about to submit--Mr. Finch, of Ohio, rose to a question of order--that there was no question before the House. The Speaker decided the point of order to be well taken, and said that if it were insisted upon the gentleman from Ohio [Mr. Ashley] could not be permitted to proceed Mr. Finch insisted upon the point of order. Mr. Ashley.--Then, sir, on my responsibility as a Representative of this House, and in the presence and before the American people, I charge Andrew Johnson, Vice-President, and acting President of the United States, with the commission of high crimes and misdemeanors; and I now propose a resolution. [Applause in the gallery]. Mr. Ashley then presented a preamble and resolution, as follows, and demanded the previous question upon its passage: I do impeach Andrew Johnson, VicePresident and acting President of the United States, of high crimes and misdemeanors. I charge him with the unsurpation of power in violation of law, in that he corruptly used the appointing power; in that he has corruptly used the pardoning power; in that he has corruptly used the veto power; in that he has corruptly disposed of the public property of the United States; in that he has corruptly interfered in elections; and committed acts, and conspired with others to commit acts, which in contemplation of the Constitution, are high crimes and misdemeanors; therefore be it Resolved, That the Committee on the Judiciary be, and they are hereby authorized to inquire into the official conduct of Andrew Johnson, Vice-President of the United States, discharging the powers and duties of the office of President of the United States; and to report to this House whether, in their opinion, the said Andrew Johnson, while in said office, has been guilty of acts which were designed or calculated to overthrow, subvert, or corrupt the Government of the United States, or any department or any officer thereof; and whether the said Andrew Johnson has been guilty of any act, or has conspired with others to do acts, which, in contemplation of the Constitution, are high crimes and misdemeanors, requiring the interposition of the constitutional power of this House; and that the said committee have power to send for persons and papers, and to administer the customary oath to witnesses. Mr. Spalding, of Ohio, moved to lay the resolution upon the table; and on that motion. Mr. Finch, oh Ohio, demanded the yeas and nays. The motion was lost--yeas, 89; nays, 105. The Speaker then stated the question to be upon seconding the demand for the previous question. Mr. Bingham, of Ohio, inquired whether, if that demand were not seconded, it would he in order to move to refer the resolution to the Committee on the Judiciary. The Speaker said that it would. Mr. Bingham.--Then I hope the demand will not he seconded. The preamble and resolutions were then adopted by the following vote: Yeas--Messrs. Alley, Allison, Ames, Arnell, D. R. Ashley, J. M. Ashley, Baker, Baldwin, Banks, Barker, Baxter, Beaman, Benjamin, Bidwell, Bingham, Blaine, Boutwell, Brandegee, Bromwell, Broomall, Buckland, Bundy, Chanler, R. W. Clarke, Sidney Clarke, Cobb, Cook, Cullom, Culver, Darling, Defrees, Delano, Deming, Dixon, Donnally, Driggs, Eckley, Farnsworth, Farquhar, Ferry, Garfield, Grinnell, A. C. Harding, Hart, Hays, Henderson, Higby, Hill, Holmes, Hooper, C. D. Hubbard, J. II. Hubbard, Ingersoll Jenekus, Julian, Kasson, Kelley, Kelso, Ketcham, Kuykendall, G. V. Lawrence, William Lawrence, Loan, Longyear, Lynch, Marston, Marvin, Maynard, McClurg, McKee, McRuer, Mercur, Miller, Morehead, Morrill, Moulton, Myers, O'Neill, Orth, Paine, Patterson, Perham, Pike, Price, William II. Randall, A. H. Rice, J. H. Rice, Sawyer, Schenck, Scofield, Starr, Stevens, Stokes, Thayer, John L. Thomas, Trowbridge, Upson, Van Aernam, H. Ward, Warner, E. B. Washburne, H. D. Washburne, Welker, Wentworth, Williams, J. F. Wilson, S. F. Wilson, and Win-dom--108. Nays--Messrs. Ancona, Bergen, Campbell, Cooper, Davis, Dawson, Dodge, Eldridge, Finck, Glossbrenner, A. Harding, Hawkins, Hise, Hogan, Hubbell, Humphrey, Hunter, Kerr, Latham, Leftwitch, McCullough, Niblack, Nicholson, Noell, Phelps, S. J. Randall, Raymond, Ritter, Ross, Spalding, Strouse, Taber, N. G. Taylor, Nelson Taylor, Trimble, A. H. Ward, Whaley, and Winfield--38. Absent and not voting: Anderson,Blow, Boyer, Conkling, Dawes, Denison, Dumont, Eggleston, Eliot, Goodyear, Griswold, Dale, Harris, Hotchkiss, A. W. Hubbard, D. Hubbard, E. N. Hubbell, Hulburd, Johnson, Jones, Koontz, Laflin, I,e Blond, Marshall, Mclndoe, Morris, Newell, Plants, Pomeroy, Radford, Rogers, Rollins, Rousseau, Shanklin, Shel. labarger, Sitgreaves, Sloan, Stillwell, Francis Thomas, Thornton, Burt Van Horn, R. T. Van Horn, W. B. Washburne, Woolbridge, and Wright--45.
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“Proceedings in the House of Representatives on the Impeachment Question,” Reconstructing Virginia, accessed November 26, 2022, https://reconstructingvirginia.richmond.edu/items/show/487.