The Impeachment-The Course which will be Pursued by the Counsel of the President

April 18, 1868


Johnson and his counsel work to build an argument against the articles of impeachment. Their three main points include that the charges against Johnson are unjustified, the court is not the tribunal that the Constitution had expected as ten States remain unrepresented, and the questionable competency of certain court members.


The Impeachment-The Course which will be Pursued by the Counsel of the President-Probably a Protracted Trial-Senator Saulsberry Tempted-The Object in View-The Tempter "Ordered On"-The Tennessee Contested Case-An Incident in the Career of Butler, of Tennessee. Washington, March 16.-The counsel of the President are busily engaged in the preparation of his answer to the articles of impeachment, and it is understood from what may be regarded as good authority that they will present first a general demurrer, in which it will be denied that charges as presented furnish justifiable grounds for an impeachment. This demurrer will apply particularly to the tenth article, which embraces extracts from speeches, denying that the words are sufficient in substance-even if the article was not defective in form. The counsel will next present an objection to the court as not being the tribunal contemplated by the Constitution-there being ten States unrepresented, and consequently twenty of the constitutional judges excluded from the court. The third objection will be to the competency of certain members of the court in consequence of a direct interest in the result of the trial (Wade's case), or their having disqualified themselves by forming and expressing in advance opinions which prevent them from being impartial bulges. After these objections will come the general denial of " Not guilty," followed by a confession and justification of the main facts charged. Such is underwood to be the line of proceeding marked out by Mr. Stanbery, the leading counsel in the case, and the impression prevails among the friends of the President that the trial will be protracted, in spite of the efforts of the prosecution to rush it through to a judgment. When it comes to the introduction of evidence, it will be out of the power of the managers to control matters, and the investigation may become interminable, as suggested by Mr. Stanbery on Friday last. The article involving extracts from the President's western speeches may involve the necessity of bringing to Washington a thousand witnesses, not only to prove what the President did say and how he said it, but also to prove the provocation given the President by Radical politicians who had assembled, particularly at Cleveland, Ohio, for the purpose of insulting Mr. Johnson. This tenth article opens a wide field for examination, and, when once opened, who can say when it will be closed? I sent you yesterday a brief notice of the "spy" system, which has been again introduced here ; but this perhaps is even less infamous than other tactics adopted by the impeachers to secure the conviction of Andrew Johnson, and thus usurp and seize upon the Executive power of the Federal Government. It is indeed mortifying to witness the schemes resorted to by the Radicals to secure their ends. I am authorized to allude to an incident which occurred a few days since, and which illustrates the depth of moral and political degradation which has been reached by the present dominant party in Congress. An entire and total stranger to the Hon. Williard Saulsbury, Democratic senator from Delaware, entered that gentleman's room on Friday morning last, and after stating that he had a very superior article of brandy, begged to be allowed the honor of presenting that Senator with a ease of it. The infamous movement was at once perceived by Mr. Saulsbury, who promptly ordered the wretched tool of the impeachers out of his presence. The unfortunate weakness of this senator was attempted to be used to deprive the Senate of a vote known to be against the Jacobins, and this creature had no doubt been employed to tempt his well known appetite for intoxicating drinks, and by placing him under the influence of brandy, probably drugged, to keep him from his seat in the Senate. These facts are stated by Senator Saulsbury himself, who declares that he never saw or heard of the individual proposing to present him with a case of brandy before or since this transaction. It is very evident that strangers in Washington have become wonderfully liberal of late, thus to donate cases ot brandy, or that there is good reason to suspect a damning plot against the senator from Delaware, with a view of having him expelled from the Senate, and thus reduce the Conservative vote. No friend of Mr. Saulsbury here questions the fact that there was a plot laid by the impeachment schemers. In the contested election case of Powell vs. Butler, some important facts were suppressed in the report of the committee. Butler, to whom the Radicals assigned the seat, because now himself a Radical, was proven to have procured assassination and murder. He gave one Lafayette Jones a pair of boots for killing a Union citizen by the name of Waugh, and also offered one Ellis a suit of clothes to pass through the lines and assassinate one McQueen. Ellis attempted it but failed, aud Congress relieves Butler of all political disability by special legislation. E.
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Mallory Haskins




“The Impeachment-The Course which will be Pursued by the Counsel of the President,” Reconstructing Virginia, accessed May 20, 2022,