The New York Times/1867/11/27/Washington. Reports of the Judiciary Committee on Impeachment
Reports of the Judiciary Committee on Impeachment.
A Majority in Favor of Bringing the President to Trial.
Two Minority Reports Recommend that the Subject be Dropped.
Second Day's Session of the Fortieth Congress.
Special Dispatches to the New-York Times.Edit
Washington, Monday, Nov. 25.
THE IMPEACHMENT REPORT.Edit
The impeachment agony is over, so far as the presentation of the case is concerned. The Committee reported this afternoon, and the result was what I said it would be two or three days ago, to wit: a majority report for impeachment. Mr. Wilson, the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, dissented, and presented a minority report in behalf of himself and Mr. Woodbridge, with which Mr. Marshall announced that he and his Democratic colleague Mr. Eldridge, agreed to in the main, though they begged leave to present some separate views upon the subject. The fact that the majority would report for impeachment came to be pretty generally known by this morning, although many were doubtful until Mr. Boutwell arose in his seat with the evidence and report in his hands. When the report went up to the Clerk's desk, it was generally supposed that it would receive the usual order to be laid upon the table and printed, but Mr. Eliot, of Massachusetts, called for the reading of it, and, it being within the power of any member to demand it, Mr. Clerk McPherson began to read. After reading for about half an hour, with Mr. Williams, of Pennsylvania, who wrote the report, standing by his side and acting as prompter, the House concluded to shorten the matter and resolved to have only the conclusions read, which was done, and the report was soon finished with the resolution, which recommends that the President be impeached of high crimes and misdemeanors. The reading of the report would have occupied five hours, and it will fill twelve columns of the Times. Mr. Wilson then followed with the report of the minority, briefly stating its purport, and ending with a resolution that the Judiciary Committee be discharged from the further consideration of the subject, and that the report and evidence be laid upon the table. Mr. Boutwell then moved that the consideration of the reports be postponed until Wednesday, the 4th of December next, which was agreed to. When the reading of Mr. Boutwell's report was concluded, a burst of mingled applause and hisses broke forth from both the floor and galleries, the latter apparently predominating. It was sharply rebuked by the Speaker and was not repeated when Mr. Wilson presented the minority report. It is not at all likely that these reports, being so voluminous, will ever get before the country in full, and the public mind will therefore be but little the wiser for the patient labors of the Committee.
COMMITTEES OF THE HOUSE.Edit
The Speaker announced the committees to-day, and next to the report of the Judiciary Committee, the list excited the most curiosity and comment. The greatest interest seemed to centre in the Ways and Means Committee, and the announcement of Gen. Schench, of Ohio, as Chairman, took everybody by surprise, even that gentleman himself. The place had been generally assigned either to Mr. Garfield or Mr. Hooper, but the Speaker concluded to just transpose Gens. Garfield and Schench, putting the former at the head of Military Affairs, and the latter at the head of Ways and Means. The Committee, as constituted, is generally accepted as an able one. The new members, Messrs. Griswold of New-York, Niblack of Indiana, and Maynard of Tennessee, added strength to it. Looked at in a financial light, it can hardly be said to be a High Tariff Committee, though its new chairman is a high tariff man. There are four positive tariff men, four with free trade inclinations, and one doubtful. It is perhaps as fair a reflection of the feeling and interests on that subject as could be made on the currency question. The Committee is decidedly anti-contraction. The Appropriations Committee is a very strong one, though with some very diverse elements in it. What with Stevens, Washburne, Blaine, Butler and Spalding in one Committee, the forcible, vigorous and irascible elements will be well represented. It is regarded as well made in the interest of rigid economy—the only two men with predilections for loose expenditures being Stevens and Butler. As to banking and currency, the Committee may be said to be strengthened by the addition of Messrs. Judd, of Illinois, and Barnes, of New-York. The bank interest has a majority of the Committee, although the anti-contraction element is strongly represented. The retention of Mr. Pomeroy as Chairman will be very satisfactory to business men and the banking interests of the country. The other Committees are generally conceded to be well made up, although there is of course some dissatisfaction, where there is so many members of long service in the House and all entitled to promotion. The Speaker has had a very difficult and delicate task, and has accomplished it as thoroughly and as impartially as possible under peculiar circumstances.
The House exhibits at the outset a gratifying sense of the necessity for economy in the public expenditure. One of the means of lavish expenditure has been the authorization of so many investigations by select and regular Committees, whereby very large expenditures have been necessitated for witnesses, clerical services and mileage. Judge Spalding of Ohio, therefore, to-day offered a resolution declaring that hereafter no Committee pursuing an investigation should send for persons and papers unless specially authorized by the House. The resolution was adopted. Subsequently Mr. Pike, the new Chairman of the Committee on Naval Affairs, offered a resolution declaring it to be the sense of the House that there was no necessity for proceeding further with the construction of ships of war. The House promptly adopted this also.
THE SOUTH CAROLINA CONVENTION.Edit
The successful ticket to represent Charleston in the State Convention was composed as follows: Frederick A. Sawyer, Collector of Internal Revenue; Christopher C. Bowen, Albert G. Mackey, Collector of Customs, and Gilbert Pillsbury—white; Rev. Richard H. Cain, Francis L. Cardozo, Alonzo J. Rausier, Robert C. Delarge and Wm. McKinley—colored.
MORE OF THE SPURIOUS SEVEN-THIRTIES.Edit
Col. Wood, Chief of the Detective Division of the Treasury Department, has secured the three electrotype plates from which the spurious seven-thirty notes were printed. They are near fac similes of the original engraving as it is possible to make electrotypes under the circumstances that must have attended their preparation, and inspection shows that they had been defaced by scratching and battering so that they could not be used, but there is ample and unquestionable evidence that they are the identical plates from which the spurious notes are printed. These plates have undoubtedly been electrotyped from lead impressions taken of the original engraved plates. The pressure of the roller forces the lead into all the minutest cuts and marks of the engraved plate, and produces a negative, from which, by the ordinary process of electrotyping, a fac simile of the original plate can easily be produced. Such impressions could be obtained by any plate printer engaged upon the work, by pressing sheets of lead the size of the notes, and seizing an opportunity to take an impression just as if it were on paper. The peculiar process of rolling does not, on account of the yielding and spreading of the lead, always leave upon the sheet lead in the same impression as upon paper, but it is, in general appearance, so nearly the same in every particular as to deceive the most experienced experts. The electrotype plates of the $20 and $100 notes, and those of the face, tint and back of the $1,000 Seven-thirties, are now in the possession of the Secret Service Division of the Treasury Department. It has been definitely ascertained that only $180,000 of the spurious Seven-thirties were put in circulation, and the rest that were printed were destroyed; so that holders of Seven-thirty Notes who had them in their possession previous to August, 1867, may be sure that they are genuine, as the spurious issue was not put out until afterward—as nearly as can be ascertained, between the 15th and 20th of September.
FOREIGN POSTAL SERVICE.Edit
The Postmaster-General has accepted tenders for the mail steamship service from New-York to the United Kingdom, during the year 1868, from the Hamburgh American Packet Company, the North German Lloyd, and the New-York, Liverpool and Philadelphia Steamship Company respectively, at a compensation of fifteen cents per ounce, about five cents per single rate for letter mail, and six cents per pound for printed matter, &c. The regular days for sailing from New-York being Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday of each week. The compensations to be paid is considerably less than the amount of sea postage on the mails transported, thus affecting a great saving to the department on the cost of Trans-Atlantic Mail service, and securing a nett postal revenue therefrom. Heretofore this service has been maintained at a heavy cost to the Department. The steamships accepted for the mail service are all fast and of the first class in all respects, securing to the public a regular tri-weekly mail service to Great Britain and the Continent of Europe. It is anticipated that arrangements will be made to dispatch an additional weekly mail by the Cunard Line, which will give four mails a week on and after the 1st of January, 1868.
ADVICES FROM MEXICO.Edit
Mr. Plumb writes from Mexico that the letter which Capt. Roe, of the Tacony, addressed to the President, requesting the delivery of Maximilian's remains to Admiral Tegethof, was never received by the President. The remains are now given up on the application of the Imperial family of Austria. The Prince Salm Salm has been released at the request of the Secretary of State, made in consideration of his gallant services in our late civil war. Mr. Eloin, Maximilian's private secretary, has been released at the request of the Secretary of State, through the good offices of the United States rendered to the Belgian Government.
MR. ASHLEY'S TESTIMONY.Edit
Representative Ashley was before the Judiciary Committee on Saturday, and testified in answer to questions by Messrs. Eldridge and Marshall, that he had produced before the Committee all the evidence which he considered legal or valid on the question of Impeachment. He admitted having had numerous conferences with Conover alias Dunham, while the latter was in jail in Washington under conviction for perjury; that those conferences were for the purpose of obtaining some letters which Conover asserted were in existence implicating President Johnson in the guilty knowledge of the conspiracy to assassinate President Lincoln, but that he could get no such letters, and that all Conover's statements were so vague and unreliable that he, Ashley, would not present them before the Committee.
HON. ROBT. J. WALKER ON THE FINANCES.Edit
Hon. Robt. J. Walker, the former Secretary of the Treasury, is preparing at the request of his friends, an elaborate letter upon the national finances. The letter, it is understood, embraces the following points:
First, The immediate resumption of specie payments, to be effected by a foreign loan, as proposed by him in 1864. This he believes can be obtained at par in gold, 6 per cent.
Second—An immediate restoration of the Union and the reduction of our expenditures to a peace basis.
Third—The immediate abolition of our whole internal system of taxation, including the income tax, the tax on sales and stamp tax, and excepting the excise on wines, fermented and spiritous liquors, and tobacco. He would still further reduce the taxes by taking off the duties on sugar, tea and coffee.
Fourth—The national banking system should be sustained and improved by repealing the monopoly clause, and leaving all perfectly free to establish banks who will comply with the law of Congress, thus giving all sections of the country as large an amount of substantial circulating medium as their interests require.
INDIAN CONTRACTS AWARDED.Edit
The Acting Commissioner of Indian Affairs has awarded the contract for furnishing goods to the Indians, the bids for which were opened a few days since as follows:
First class, blankets; second class, cloths, and third class, dry goods, to Randolph F. Radebaugh, of New-York; fourth class, hardwares, to Poultney & Trimble, of Baltimore.
THE CASE OF HINE & SPEAR.Edit
Hine & Spear, who brought the numerous actions against Cook & Sherwood in the New-York Courts for money claimed to be due colored substitutes in Charleston and Savannah, were brought here on Saturday in charge of the Sheriff of Steuben County, on a requisition from Gov. Fenton, based upon twenty-eight indictments for forging found at the late Oyer and Terminer. They were discharged to-day by Judge Fisher, on account of some technical error in the requisition. Subsequently R. T. Merrick, as counsel for the State of New-York, procured an order for their rearrest, to await a new requisition from Gov. Fenton. Spear has since been arrested, but Deputy Marshal Phillips has been unable to find Hine, and it is supposed he has fled the city.
Mrs. Lander appeared before a crowded and enthusiastic house here to-night in the character of Elizabeth.
Among the arrivals in the city are Hon. Columbus Delano, who contests the seat of Mr. Morgan, of Ohio, and Mark Twain, the humorist.
The Majority Report.Edit
Washington, Monday, Nov. 25
The Committee on the Judiciary, to whom was referred the resolution of the 7th of March last, authorizing them to inquire into the official conduct of Andrew Johnson, Vice-President of the United States, discharging the present 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 or corrupt the Government of the United States, or any department or officer thereof; and whether the said Andrew Johnson has been guilty of any act, or has conspired with others to do acts which, in the contemplation of the Constitution, are high crimes and misdemeanors, requiring the interposition of the constitutional power of this House, respectfully report that in the performance of the important task assigned to them they have spared no pains to make their investigation as complete as possible, not only by the explorations of the public archives; but in following every indication that seemed to promise any additional light upon the great subject of inquiry, and they submit herewith the result of that portion of their labors in the voluminous exhibit that accompanies this report. In order, however, to direct the attention of the House to such portions of the somewhat heterogeneous mass of testimony, which they have been compelled to present without the order or arrangement that might have facilitated the examination as are regarded by them as most material to the issue, they will now proceed to state, as briefly as possible, the leading facts which they suppose the inquiry has developed beyond dispute, along with their own conclusions therefrom, and the reasons by which they have been influenced in reaching them. In so doing they must be allowed the indulgence which a comprehensive scrutiny, running over a two years' administration of the affairs of a great Government, through an unexampled crisis of the State, and involving the very highest matters that can engage the attention of a free people, would serve to necessitate, and must at all events excuse. The charges made, and to which the investigations of the Committee have been especially directed, are usurpation of power and violation of law in the corrupt abuse of appointing, pardoning and veto powers; in the corrupt interference in elections, and generally in the commission of acts amounting to high crimes and misdemeanors under the Constitution, and upon this recital it was charged with the most general duty of inquiring into the official conduct of the President of the United States, and of reporting "whether he had been guilty of any acts which were designed or calculated to overthrow, subvert or corrupt the Government of the United States, or which in contemplation of the Constitution would constitute a high crime or misdemeanor requiring the interposition of the Constitutional power of the House." It will be observed that the great salient point of accusation standing out in the foreground, and challenging the attention of the country, is usurpation of power, which involves, of course, a violation of law, and here it may be remarked that perhaps every great abuse, every flagrant departure from the well-settled principles of the Government, which has been brought home to its present administration, whether discovering itself in special infractions of the statutes or in the profligate use of the high powers conferred by the Constitution on the President, or revealing itself more manifestly in the systematic attempt to seize upon its sovereignty and disparage and supersede the great council to which that sovereignty has been intrusted in reference to the one great purpose of reconstructing the shattered Governments of the rebel States in accordance with his own wishes in the interest of the great criminals who carried them into the rebellion, and in such a way as to deprive the people of the loyal States of all chances of indemnity for the past and security for the future by pardoning their officers, and restoring their lands and bringing them back to their hearths unrepentant, and their hands yet red with the blood of our people, into a condition where they could once more embarrass and defy, if not absolutely rule, the Government which they had vainly endeavored to destroy. It is around this point, and as auxiliary to that great central idea, that all the special acts of mal-administration we have witnessed, will be found to gravitate and revolve, and it is to this point, therefore, as the great master-key which unlocks and interprets all of them, that the attention of the House will first be directed. It is a fact of history that the obstinate and protracted struggle between the Executive and Legislative departments, arising out of the claim of more than kingly power on the one hand, and as strongly maintained by the operators of the first rights of sovereignty, lodged with it by the people, on the other, which has convulsed this nation for the last two years, and presented a spectacle that has no example here, and none in England since the era of the Stuarts, began with the advent of the present Chief Magistrate. The catastrophe that lightened him to his place while it smote the heart of the nation with grief and horror, was the last expiring armed effort of the insurrection. The capital of the rebel Government had fallen; its chiefs were fugitives; its flag was in the dust; the strife of arms had ceased; the hosts that had been gathered for the overthrow of this nation had either melted away in defeat or disaster or passed under the conquering hand of the Republic. The extraordinary mission of the Executive was fulfilled, although, as the Commander-in-Chief, he might possibly treat with belligerents in arms; the cessation of the war in the overthrow of the rebellion, and the unconditional surrender of the armies, had determined that power. To hold the conquered territory within our military grasp until the sovereign power of the nation, vesting in the Representatives the same power which had girt the sword upon the thigh of the Executive, and placed the resources of the country, in men and money, at his command, should be ready to declare its will in relation to the rebels it had conquered, was all that remained for him to do. But the duties of the sovereign were not at an end. An extent of territory of almost continental dimensions, desolated by war, but still swarming with millions of people, was at our feet awaiting the sentence which it had deserved. The local Governments swept away as they had been, in the opinion of the President himself, by the whirlwind of the rebellion, were in ruin, while communities were anarchy, the courts outlawed, the social tie dissolved, a system of pretended laws existing in deadly conflict with the law of the Conqueror. A people subdued, but sullen and full of hate, and hostile as ever to the power that had overthrown them; a loyal element asking for protection, a new and anomalous relation without a parallel in history, about which the wisest of statesmen might well hesitate and differ, superinduced fratricidal strife that had ruptured the original ties and placed its objects in the condition of public enemies, a large army to be disbanded, and such indulgence extended, such punishment inflicted, and such securities demanded for the future as the interests of peace and justice might require. Never in the history of this or any other State have questions more numerous and vital, more delicate or difficult, requiring graver deliberation or involving the exercise of higher governmental powers, resented themselves for the consideration of a people, and never was a Congress convoked in a more serious crisis of a State. The duties and responsibilities of the men who formed and organized the Union of these States, and of those who assembled here in 1861 to consult upon and provide the means for suppressing this great rebellion, were as nothing in the comparison, and demanded certainly no higher sagacity and no broader wisdom than the task of bringing back the dismembered States, and re-fusing those jarring and discordant elements into one harmonious whole. For this great work the supreme Executive of the nation, even though he had been endowed by nature with the very highest of organizing faculties, was obviously unfitted by the very nature of his office. If Mr. Lincoln had survived, it is not to be doubted from his habitual deference to the public will, that, although a citizen of a loyal State, and enjoying the public confidence in the highest possible degree, he would have felt it to be his duty to convoke the representatives of the people to lay down the sword in their presence, and to refer it to their enlightened and patriotic judgment to decide what was to be done with the territories and people that had been brought under the authority of the Government by our arms. The bloody hand of treason unfortunately hurried him away in the very hour of the nation's triumph. But if these were reasons which could have made this duty an imperative one with him, how powerfully reinforced by the double effect of the tragedy that not only deprived the nation of its trusted head, but cast the reins of government upon a successor. The new President was himself in the doubtful and delicate position of a citizen of one of the revolting States which were to be summoned for judgment before the bar of the American people. It was, perhaps, but natural that he should sympathize with the communities from which he had mainly differed only on prudential reasons, or in other words as to the wisdom of the revolt at the particular juncture of affairs. If other arguments had not sufficed to convince him of the necessity of referring all these great questions to the only tribunal on earth that had the power to decide them, it ought to have been sufficient that he owed alike his honors and his accidental powers to the generous confidence of the loyal States. He expected, of course, that they would insist, as they had a right to do, upon such conditions as would secure them, if not indemnity for the past, at least the amplest securities for the future. Instead, therefore, of convoking the Congress of the States to deliberate upon the condition of the country, he seems to have made up his mind to undertake that mighty task himself, to forestall the judgment and the wishes of the loyal peole, and neutralize the power to undo his work by bringing in the rebel States themselves to participate in the deliberations upon any and all questions which might be left for settlement. To effect this object he issues his Imperial proclamation, beginning with that of the 29th of May, in virtue, as he says, of his double authority as President of the United States and Commander-in-Chief of the armies, declaring the governments of these States to have perished; creating, under the denomination of Provisional Governors, civil officers unknown to the law; appointing to these offices men who were notoriously disqualified by reason of their participation in the rebellion from holding any office under this Government, and yet allowed to hold the same and perform the duties thereof at salaries fixed by himself, and paid out of the contingent fund of one of the departments in clear violation of the Acts of July 2, 1862, and of Feb. 9, 1863. Declaring moreover at the same time that the Government of these States had been destroyed, he assumes it to be his individual right, as being himself the State, rather the United States, to execute the guardiancy of the Constitution by providing them with new heads, and accordingly directing his pretended Governors to order Conventions of such of the people as it was his pleasure to indicate to make his Constitutions for them, on such terms and with such provisions as were agreeable to himself. Unprovided, however, of course, in the absence of Congress, with the necessary resources to meet the expenses of these organizations, he not only directs the payment of a portion of them out of the contingent fund of the War Department, but with a boldness unequaled even by Charles I., when he undertook to reign without a Parliament, provides for a deficit by authorizing the seizure of property and the appropriation of moneys belonging to the Government and directing his endeavors to levy taxes for the same purpose from the subject people.
The further reading of the report was dispensed with, excepting the conclusion, as follows:
In accordance with the testimony herewith submitted, and the view of the law herein presented, the Committee are of opinion that Andrew Johnson, President of the United States, is guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors, requiring the interposition of the constitutional powers of the House. In that, upon the final surrender of the rebel armies and the overthrow of the rebel Government, the said Andrew Johnson, President of the United States, neglected to convene the Congress of the United States; that, by its aid and authority, legal and constitutional measures might have been adopted for the organization of loyal and constitutional Governments in the States then actually in rebellion. In that, in the proclamation to the people of North Carolina, of the 29th day of May, 1865, he assumed that he had authority to decide whether the Government of North Carolina, and whether any other Government that might be set up therein, was republican in form, and that in his office of President it was his duty and within his power to guarantee to said people a republican form of government, contrary to the Constitution which provides that the United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a republican form of government, contrary also to a deliberate opinion of the Supreme Court, which declared that Congress is vested exclusively with the power to decide whether the government of a State is republican or not. In that he did thereafter recognize and treat a plan of government set up in North Carolina under, and in conformity to his own advice and direction as republican in form and entirely restored to its functions as a State, notwithstanding Congress is the branch of the Government in which by the Constitution, such power is exclusively vested, and notwithstanding Congress did refuse to recognize such government as a legitimate government, or as a government republican in form; in that by a public proclamation and otherwise, he did, in the year 1965, invite, solicit and convene in certain other States, then recently in rebellion, Conventions of persons, many of whom were known traitors, who had been organized in an attempt to overthrow the Government of the United States, and urged and directed such Conventions to frame Constitutions for such States; in that he thereupon assumed to accept, ratify and confirm, certain so-called Constitutions, framed by such illegal and treasonable assemblages of persons, which Constitutions were never submitted to the people of the respective States, nor ratified and confirmed by the United States—thus usurping and exercising powers vested by the Constitution in the Congress of the United States exclusively; in that he pardoned large numbers of public and notorious traitors with the design of receiving from them aid in such Conventions, called by his advice and direction, for the purpose of organizing and setting up such illegal governments in the States thus recently in rebellion prior to the annual meeting of Congress, with the intent thus to constrain Congress to accept, ratify and confirm such illegal and unconstitutional proceedings; in that he did within and for the States recently in rebellion create and establish, as a civil officer, the office of Provisional Governor so-called—an office unknown to the Constitution or laws of the land; in that he appointed to such office so created in said States respectively, men who were public and notorious traitors, he well knowing that they had been engaged in open, persistent and formidable efforts for the overthrow of the Government of the United States, and well knowing also that these men could not enter upon the duties of said office without committing the cirme of perjury, or in manifest violation of the laws of the country; in that he directed the Secretary of State to promise payment of money to said persons so illegally appointed as salary or compensation for services to be performed in said office so illegally created, contrary to the provision of the law of the United States, approved Feb. 4, 1863, entitled, "An act making appropriations for the support of the army for the year ending the 30th day of June, 1864, and for a deficiency for the signal service for the year ending June 30, 1863."
In that he directed the Secretary of War to pay moneys to said persons for service performed in said office so illegally created, which moneys were so paid under his direction without authority of law, contrary to law, and in violation of the Constitution of the United States; in that he deliberately dispensed with and suspended the operation of a provision of a law of the United States, passed on the 2d of July, 1862, entitled "An act to prescribe an oath of office, and for other purposes;" in that he appointed to offices created by the laws of the United States persons who, as was well known to him, had been engaged in the rebellion, who were guilty of the crime of treason, and who could not, without committing the crime of perjury, or otherwise violating criminally the said act of July 2, 1862, enter upon the duties thereof; in that, without authority of law, and contrary to law, he used and applied property taken from the enemy in time of war, for the payment of the expense and the support of the said illegal and unconstitutional Governments so set up in the said States recently in rebellion, and for a like purpose, and in violation of the Constitution and of his oath of office, he authorized and permitted a levy of taxes upon the people of said States, thus usurping and exercizing a power which, by the Constitution is vested exclusively in the Congress of the United States; all of which acts was a usurpation of powers contrary to the laws and Constitution of the United States, and in violation of his oath of office as President of the United States. In that the said Andrew Johnson, President of the United States, has, in messages to Congress and otherwise, publicly denied substantially the right of Congress to provide for the pacification, government and restoration of said State to the Union; and in like manner he has asserted his exclusive right to provide Governments therefor, and to accept and proclaim the restoration of said States to the Union. All of which is in derogation of the rightful authority of Congress, and calculated to subvert the Government of the United States. In that, in accordance with said declaration, he has vetoed various bills passed by Congress for the pacification of the States recently in rebellion and their speedy restoration to the Union, and upon the ground and for the reason that the States had been restored to their places in the Union by his aforesaid illegal and unconstitutional proceedings, thus so interposing, and using a constitutional power of the office he held so as to prevent the restoration of the Union upon a Constitutional basis. In that he has exercised the power of removals from, and appointments to office, for the purpose of maintaining effectually his aforesaid usurpation, and for the purpose of securing the recognition by Congress of the State Governments, so illegally and unconstitutionally set up in the States recently in rebellion, such removals and appointments having been attended and followed with great injury to the public service and with enormous losses to the public revenue. In that, in the exercise of the pardoning power, he issued an order for the restoration of one hundred and ninety-three men belonging to West Virginia, who, upon the records of the War Department, were marked as deserters from the army in time of war, and this, upon the representation of private and interested persons, and without the previous investigation by an officer of the War Department, for the sole purpose of enabling such persons to vote in an election then pending in said State, and with the expectation that they would so vote as to support him in his aforesiad unconstitutional proceedings. He then well knew that the men so restored, and by virtue of such restoration, would be entitled to a large sum of money from the Treasury of the United States. In that by his message to the House of Representatives on the 22d of June, 1866, and other public and private means, he has attempted to prevent the ratification of an amendment to the Constitution of the United States, proposed to the several States by the Houses of Congress. Agreeably to the Constitution of the United States, although such proposed amendment provided among other things for the validity of the public debt, of the United States, rendered the payment of any claim for slaves emancipated, or of any debt incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States impossible, either by the Government of the United States or by any of the States recently in rebellion. He well knowing that the provisions inserted under and by his dictation in the said illegal Constitutions for said States, were wholly inadequate to protect the loyal people of the United States against the payment of claims on account of debts incurred by such States in aid of rebellion, thus rendering it practicable and easy for those in authority in the aforesaid illegal and unconstitutional Governments thus set up to tax and oppress the loyal people of such States for the benefit of those who have been engaged in the attempt to overthrow the Government of the United States; in that he has made official and other public declarations and statements calculated and designated to injure and impair the credit of the United States, to encourage persons recently engaged in rebellion against its authority, to obstruct, and resist the organization of the rebel States so-called upon a Republican basis, and calculated and designed also to deprive the Congress of the United States of the confidence of the people, as well in its patriotism as in its constitutional right to exist and to act as the department of the Government which, under the Constitution, possesses exclusive legislative powers, and all this with the intent of rendering Congress incapable of resisting either his said usurpations of power, or of providing and enforcing measures necessary for the pacification and restoration of the Union; and that in all this he has exercised the veto power, the power of the removal and appointment, the pardoning power, and other constitutional powers of his office for the purpose of delaying, hindering, obstructing and preventing the restoration of the Union by constitutional means; and for the further purpose of alienating from the Government and laws of the States those persons who had been engaged in the rebellion, and who without aid, comfort and encouragement thus by him given to them, would have resumed in good faith their allegiance to the Constitution, and all with the expectation of conciliating them to himself personally, and he might thereby finally prevent the restoration of the Union upon the basis of the laws passed by Congress, and further, that the said Andrew Johnson, President of the United States, transferred and surrendered and authorized and directed the transfer and surrender of railway property of the value of many millions of dollars to persons who had been engaged in the Rebellion, or to corporations owned wholly or in part by such persons, he well knowing that in some instances the railways had been constructed by the United States; that in others railways and railway property had been captured from the enemy in war, and afterward repaired at great cost by the United States, such transfer and surrender being made without authority of law and in violation of law. In that he directed and authorized the sale of large quantities of railway rolling stock and other railway property of the value of many millions of dollars, the property of the United States, by purchase and construction, to corporations and parties then known to him to be unable to pay their debts then matured and due; and thus without exacting from said corporations and parties any security whatever in that he directed and ordered subordinate officers of the Government to postpone and delay the collection of monies due and payable to the United States on account of such sales. In apparent conformity to an order previously made by him that the interest upon certain bonds issued or guaranteed by the State of Tennessee in aid of certain railways then due and upaid for a period of four years or more, should be first paid out of the earnings of the roads in whose behalf said bonds were so issued or guaranteed, in that, in conformity to such order and direction, the collection of moneys payable and then due to the United States was delayed and postponed, and the interest on such bonds, of which he himself was a large holder, was paid according to the terms of his own order, thus corruptly using his office to defraud and wrong the people of the United States, and for his own personal advantage. In that, he has not only restored to claimants thereof large amounts of cotton and other abandoned property that had been seized and taken by the agents of the Treasury, in conformity to law, but has paid and directed the payment of the actual proceeds of sales made thereof, and this in violation of a law of the United States, which orders and requires the payment into the Treasury of the United States of all moneys received from such sales, and provides for loyal claimants a sufficient and easy remedy in the Court of Claims, and in manifest violation also of the spirit and meaning of the Constitution, wherein it is declared that no money shall be drawn from the Treasury but in conformance of appropriations made by law.
And further, in that the said Andrew Johnson, President of the United States, authorized the use of the army of the United States for dispersion of a peaceful and lawful assemblage of citizens of Louisiana, and this by virtue of a dispatch addressed to a person who was not an officer of the army, but who was a public and notorious traitor—and all with the intent to deprive the loyal people of Louisiana of every opportunity to frame a State Government, republican in form; and with the intent, further, to continue in places of trust and emolument persons who had engaged in an attempt to overthrow the Government of the United States, expecting thus to conciliate such persons to himself and secure their aid in support of his aforesaid unconstitutional designs. All of which omissions of duty, usurpations of power, violations of his oath of office, of the laws and of the Constitution of the United States, by the said Andrew Johnson, President of the United States, have retarded the public prosperity, lessened the public revenues, disordered the business and finances of the country, encouraged insubordination in the people of the States recently in rebellion, fostered sentiments of hostility between different classes of citizens, revived and kept alive the spirit of the rebellion, humiliated the nation, dishonored republican institutions, obstucted the restoration of said States to the Union; and delayed and postponed the peaceful and fraternal reorganization of the Government of the United States. The Committee, therefore, report the accompanying resolution and recommend its passage.
- GEO. S. BOUTWELL,
- FRANCIS THOMAS,
- THOMAS WILLIAMS,
- WILLIAM LAWRENCE,
- JOHN C. CHURCHILL.
RESOLUTION PROVIDING FOR THE IMPEACHMENT OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.Edit
Resolved, That Andrew Johnson, President of the United States, be impeached of high crimes and misdemeanors.
Views of Messrs. Wilson and Woodbridge.Edit
Representatives James F. Wilson and Frederick E. Woodbridge handed in a report dissenting from the conclusions arrived at by a majority of the Committee. They say on the 3d day of June, 1867, it was declared by a solemn vote in the Committee that, from the testimony then before them, it did not appear that the President of the United States was guilty of such high crimes and misdemeanors as called an exercise of the impeaching power of this House. The vote stood yeas 5, nays 4. On the 21st inst. this action of the Committee was reversed, and a vote of five to four declared in favor of reconsidering to the House an impeachment of the President. Forty-eight hours have not yet elapsed since we were informed of the character of the report which represents this changed attitude of the Committee. The recentness of this event compels a general treatment of some features of the case as it is presented by the majority, which, otherwise would have been treated in more detail. The report of the majority resolves all presumptions against the President, closes the doors against all doubts, affirms facts as established by the testimony in support of which there is not a particle of evidence before us, which would be received by any Court in the land. We dissent from all of this, and from the temper and spirit of the report. The cool and unbiased judgment of the future, when the excitement in the midst of which we live, shall have passed away, will not fail to discover that the political bitterness of the present time, has, in no inconsiderable degree, given tone to the document which we decline to approve. Dissenting as we do from the report of the Committee, both as to the law of the case, and the conclusions drawn from the facts developed by the testimony, a due regard for the body, which imposed on us the high and transcendently important duty involved in an investigation of the charges preferred against the President, impels us to present at length our views of the subject which has been committed to us by a most solemn vote of the House of Representatives. In approaching this duty, we feel that the spirit of the partisan should be laid aside, and that the interests of the Republic, as they are measured by its Constitution and laws alone, shall guide us, and we most deeply regret that in this regard we cannot approve the report of the majority of the Committee. While we would not charge them with a design to set the part of partisans in this grave proceeding, we nevertheless feel pained by the tone, temper and spirit of their report. But regrets will not answer the demands of the present grave and commanding occasion, and we therefore respond to them by presenting to the House the results of a careful, deliberate, and, as we hope, a conscientious investigation of the case before us.
Messrs. Wilson and Woodbridge then proceeded to discuss the Constitutional question, with regard to impeachment, etc., showing by reference to legal authorities that an impeachment cannot be supported by any act which falls short of an indictable crime or misdemeanor. English precedents are referred to at length, and copious extracts are made from the testimony of the Committee, in order to refute the reasoning and conclusion of the majority.
They conclude as follows: A great deal of the matter contained in the volume of testimony reported to the House is of no value whatever. Much of it is more hearsay, opinions of witnesses, and no little amount of it is utterly irrelevant to the case; comparatively a small amount of it could be used on a trial of this case before the Senate. All of the testimony relating to the failure to try and admission to bail of Jefferson Davis, the assassination of President Lincoln, the Diary of J. Wilkes Booth, his place of burial, the practice of pardon brokerage, the alleged correspondence of the President with Jefferson Davis may be interesting to a reader, but is not of the slightest importance so far as a determination of the case is concerned. Still, much of this irrelevant matter has been interwoven into the majority report, and has served to heighten its color and to deep its tone. Strike out the stage effect of this irrelevant matter, and the prominence given to the Tudors, the Stuarts and Michael Burns, and much of the play will disappear. Settle down upon the real evidence in the case, that which will establish, in view of the attending circumstances, a substantial crime, by making plain the elements which constitute it, and the case in many respects dwarfs into a political contest. In approaching a conclusion, we do not fail to recognize the standpoints from which this case can be reviewed—the legal and the political. Viewing it from the latter, the case is a success. The President has disappointed the hopes and expectations of those who placed him in power; he has betrayed their confidence and joined hands with their enemies; he has proved false to the express and implied conditions which underlie his elevation to power, and in our view of the case deserves censure and condemnation of every well-disposed citizen of the Republic. While we acquit him of impeachable crimes, we pronounce him guilty of many wrongs. His contest with Congress has delayed reconstruction and inflicted vast injury upon the people of the rebel States. He has been blind to the necessities of the times and to the demands of a progressive civilization, enveloped in the darkness of the past, and seems not to have detected the dawning brightness of the future. Incapable of appreciating the grand changes which the past six years have wrought, he seeks to measure the great events which surround him by the narrow rules which adjusted public affairs before the rebellion, and its legitimate consequences destroyed them and established others. Judge him politically, condemn him, but the day of political impeachments must be a sad one for the country. Political unfitness and incapacity must be tried at the ballot-box, not in the high Court of impeachment. A contrary rule might leave to Congress but little time for other business than the trial of impeachments. But we are not now dealing with political offences. Crimes and misdemeanors are now demanding our attention. Do these within the meaning of the Constitution appear? Rest the case upon political offences, and we are prepared to pronounce against the President, for such offences are numerous and grave. If Mexican experience is desired we have no difficulty, for there almost every election is productive of a revolution. If the people of this Republic desire such a result, we have not yet been able to discover it, nor would we favor it if its presence were manifest; while we condemn and censure the political conduct of the President, and judge him unwise in the use of his discretionary powers, and appeal to the people of the Republic to sustain us, we still affirm that the conclusion at which we have arrived is correct. We, therefore, delcare that the case before us presented by the testimony, and measured by the law, does not declare such high crimes and misdemeanors within the meaning of the Constitution as require "the interposition of the Constitutional power of this House," and recommend the adoption of the following resolution:
Resolved, That the Committee on the Judiciary be discharged from the further consideration of the proposed impeachment of the President of the United States, and that the subject be laid upon the table.
- JAMES F. WILSON,
- FREDERICK C. WOODBRIDGE.
Views of Messrs. Marshall and Eldridge.Edit
The undersigned, agreeing with our associates of the minority of the Committee in their views of the law, and in the conclusions that the evidence before the Committee presents no case for the impeachment of the President, might, if they had stopped there, been content simply to have joined in the report which they have submitted; but as they, as well as the majority, have felt it their duty to go further, and express their censure and condemnation of the President, we feel that it is due to ourselves and to the position we occupy to present, as briefly as possible, a few additional remarks for the consideration of the House and of the country, having determined that the evidence does not show that the President has been guilty of any act or crime for which, under our Constitution and laws, he can or ought to be impeached. This conclusion, as it seems to us, is the determination of the whole question submitted by the House to the Committee. It is the commission by the President of an impeachable offence only that can subject him to our official jurisdiction, or justify us as a Committee of the House of Representatives, or even the House itself, as such challenging his official acts. As the report of the majority does not charge the President with any act recognizable by any statute or law of the land as a crime or misdemeanor, we can but regard the charges preferred as a political or partisan demonstration, tended and intended to bring him into odium and contempt among the people, as an unjustifiable attempt to excite their suspicions. "Spargese voces in volgarer ambigues." We utterly deny the right of the Committee or any member thereof, as such, to do this. As citizens, as politicians, we may criticize, find fault with and condemn the entire administration of the President; but as a Committee of this House, considering the charge referred to it as members of Congress acting officially, we have no such right, power or jurisdiction. The Executive is one of the considerate departments of this Government, invested with certain defined Constitutional powers and prerogatives over which the Legislature has no control, and with the Constitutional exercise of which the Legislative Department has no right to interfere. The original source of all executive and legislative power is the same—the people. The warrant and measure of those powers is the same—the Constitution. In his constitutional and legislative sphere, in the exercise and conduct of his department, the President is as free to act and as independent as Congress. While acting within the bounds prescribed for it by the Constitution, he is no more accountable or responsible to Congress than Congress is to him. Congress has no more authority to censure and condemn him than he has to censure and condemn Congress. His discretion, exercised within the bounds of the Constitution, is no more subject to the animadversion or reproof of Congress than are the Constitutional and discretionary acts of Congress to him. Neither Congress nor the President has any power or authority not derived from and found in the Constitution. The only question with reference to which the Committee were authorized to inquire was, whether the charges against the President were true, and constitute an offence or offences subjecting him to impeachment. Certainly if this is not the only question referred to the Committee, it is the only one which the Committee as such can investigate. The political purpose of the acts of the President has not for one moment engaged the attention of the Committee. We most certainly—having no other motive or interest than to serve our country and our duty in the matter referred to us—have never once in the taking of testimony, or the examination of witnesses, supposed that any question other than the impeachment was properly before us. The impeachment of the President, the chief officer of this great Republic, the bare inquiry with a view to ascertain whether he had committed any offence for which he ought, or might be put upon trial before the most august tribunal of the world, impressed us from the beginning with most solemn awe. We endeavored in the investigation to exclude from our minds every question of mere politics, and as far as possible to be uninfluenced by party bias. We were admonished that in some sense the nation, the people, in the person of their Executive Head, were on trail before the world, and that personal animosity and party politics should be inflexible and scrupulously forgotten and ignored. For any cause to have shrunk from a full and careful investigation of the great question of impeachment was cowardice; to have pursued it in the spirit of party; to have degraded it into a mere investigation of political policy with reference to party "success" would have been meanness, and disgraced the nation itself by scandalizing the nation's constitutional head. We repeat, therefore, that the investigation of the Committee was, as far as we took part in it, with the sole view to ascertain whether the President, under the charge preferred against him, was guilty of any impeachable offence. Not only so, but with the belief that it was the only question we were authorized or expected to inquire into. Not a witness was called or examined with any view to providing a case for merely censuring or condemning the political action of the President. No suggestion was made or intimation given by the majority of the Committee, until the resolution of censure was offered, that there was any purpose of considering, as a Committee, any but the question of impeachment, nor was there then, as we understood it, any purpose of reporting such resolutions in the House for its official action. We think, therefore, that we are warranted in saying that although much testimony irrelevant, illegal and experimental was taken, much that had no bearing upon the question of impeachment, and much more that was not testimony in any case or for any purpose, that none was taken with any view except the impeachment, hence we insist that, if the Committee had the right of jurisdiction, which we deny, to inquire into the political discretionary power of the President, with a view to his condemnation, that it has not in any legitimate and proper manner investigated, or attempted to consider that subject. We do not impugn the personal motives of any member of the Committee who differs with us. Our intercourse upon the Committee has been pleasant, and the courtesy with which we have been treated, uniform and uninterrupted. We entertain none but the most kindly feelings toward every member, but candor and a sense of duty compel us to declare that we can find no warrant or excuse for this traveling outside or beyond the subject and condemn the President, except in the prejuduce and zeal of overheated partyism. The President needs and can ask no defence from us upon party grounds, or upon any other than those which spring from official obligations and duty. He was not the President of our choice was not elected by our votes; nor is it necessary that we should agree with him, or justify, or approve, all he has done; neither do we feel called upon to review all the great mass of testimony taken by the Committee to show that his censure and condemnation are not warranted by it, though taken as it has been and unchallenged as it was; in that regard all do not, however, believe the unbiased, the unprejudiced mind will be able in the testimony to discover any just or reasonable cause for condemning or impugning the motives by which he was actuated. Indeed, differing with him in opinion as we have, as to the policy and propriety of many things he has done, and many more that he has left undone, we feel compelled to declare that the proofs before us will not warrant a charge that he was in any instance controlled by motives other than pure and patriotic. His greatest offence we apprehend will be found to be that he has not been able to follow those who elected him to his office, in their mad assaults upon and departure from the constitutional government of the fathers of the Republic, and that standing where most of his party professed to stand when they elevated him to his present exalted position, he has dared to differ with the majority of Congress upon great and vital questions. He has believed in the continuing and binding obligations of the Constitution; that the suppression of the rebellion against the Union was the preservation of the Union and States comprising it, and that when the rebellion was put down the States were all equally entitled to representation in the Congress of the United States. Planting himself firmly and immovably upon this position, he has incurred the fierce and malignant hatred and opposition of all those who claim, by virtue of the alleged conquest of the territory and the subjugation of the people of the lately rebellious States, the power and right to dictate to them the Constitution and laws they shall live under, and the liberties they shall be permitted to enjoy. In this difference between Congress and the President, and the desire of each for the adoption by the country of their respective views, is, we suspect, to be found not only the cause for the movement to impeach the President, but of his censure and condemnation. Out of it has grown the embittered feelings and violent hatred of the President by his former friends. The majority of Congress and of the Committee have entertained and been prepared to declare at all times in Congress and out of it, even more strongly than is expressed in their report, this same censure and condemnation. This opinion was not formed upon any testinomy taken before the Committee, or upon any facts elicited by its investigation. It was a political opinion growing out of a difference of views upon political questions. It was the opinion with which the majority of the Committee entered upon the investigation. It was that which inspired and stimulated all its inquiries and examinations. But, notwithstanding these preëxisting opinions and prejudices, the minority of the Committee have been compelled to find, after the fullest consideration, and great protracted deliberation, that the President had committed no offence for which, under our laws he can or ought to be impeached, and hence none, as we insist, subjecting him to the official jurisdiction of the Committee of the House. The censure and condemnation of the President, either by the majority or minority, is without our jurisdiction, not justified by the facts, unbecoming one department of the Government toward another, and calculated to bring reproach upon the Committee, the House, and the Nation. We cannot ignore the fact that time has been spent and testimony taken by the Committee in endeavoring to ascertain if the President, in his official capacity, has spoken censoriously and condemnatory of Congress. With a view to his impeachment therefore, can it be now becoming in a Committee of this House, or in the house itself, to go beyond its jurisdiction, and censure and condemn the President, than for him to censure and condemn Congress? Is not the impropriety of the one as apparent as the other? If one is impeachable, is not the other wrong? What would be thought of the Supreme Court, if after having been compelled in a case properly pending before it, to decide an act of Congress constitutional, it should, because it did not agree to the propriety or policy of the enactment, declare its severe censure and condemnation of the Congress for having passed it—who would hesitate to pronounce this an unjustifiable and even unwarrantable interference with the rights and duties of Congress by the Supreme Court, calculated to disturb the harmony of our governmental system, and to bring into unhappy, if not fatal collision the coördinate departments? Like this attempt to reprove or censure the President for acts or wrongs not amounting to offences, subjecting him to the legal jurisdiction of the House of Representatives, such an act would be sheer impudence; an act on the part of the Court justly meriting obloquy and reproach. Such interference by one department of the Government with the others, without authority of law, must, and will most assuredly break off that comity which should at all times characterize their relations in intercourse. The end can not but be foreseen—the antagonism will ultimately produce enmity and open hostility and aggression which must result in the destruction of one or more departments, and as a consequence destroy one system of government altogether. With all due respect to the majority of the Committee, we cannot regard the charges made against the President as a serious attempt to procure his impeachment without dwelling upon their utter failure to point to the commission of a single act that is recognized by the laws of our country as a high crime or misdemeanor. The inconsistency of the majority cannot fail to challenge the attention of the country. Acts for which Mr. Lincoln was clamorously applauded are deemed high crimes in Mr. Johnson. For every act so gravely condemned the President had the sanction and approval of his Cabinet, and yet, while he is arraigned before the world as a criminal of the deepest dye, they are not only not impeached, but are recognized as special favorites of the party for impeachment. The latter have even gone so far as to unite in the passage of an extraordinary and unprecedented law to prevent the President from removing these officers from the places which they held. Mr. Stanton, the late Secretary of War gave his emphatic approval of the acts for which the President is arraigned, and yet the Ex-Secretary is a favorite and popular martyr, and the whole country is vexed with clamors for his restoration to power and place. The President is held criminally responsible for the acts of subordinates, of which he did not even have the slightest notice or knowledge; and yet those bringing him to trial enact a statute depriving him of all control over these same subordinates, and they are deemed worthy of the especial protection of Congress. The President has used every means within his power to bring the great State prisoner, Jefferson Davis, to a speedy trial, and yet he has been denounced throughout the land for procrastination and preventing the trial, while the judges and prosecuting officers having control of the matter have been deemed worthy of the most honored plaudits. Were ever inconsistencies more glaring and unexplicable than these? And can we possibly be mistaken when we assert that, however honest he may be, the majority of the Committee, the verdict of the country and of posterity will be that the crime of the President consists not in violations, but in refusals to violate the laws; in being unable to keep pace with the "party of progress," in their rapidly advancing movements, or to step "outside and above" the Constitution in the administration of the Government. In preferring the Constitution of his country to the dictation of an unscrupulous partisan cabal, in bravely daring to meet the maledictions of those who have aimed at the accomplishment of a most wicked and dangerous revolution, rather than to encounter the reproach of his own conscience and the curses of posterity through all time. If the subject were not too grave and serious a one for mirth, some of the grounds of impeachment presented by the majority would certainly be sufficiently amusing. The President is gravely arraigned for arraying himself against the loyal people of the country in vetoing the miscalled Reconstruction Acts of Congress, when, without dwelling upon the constitutional right and duty of the President in the premises, Congress itself has for these same acts received the most withering and indignant condemnation and rebuke of the entire people from Maine to California. The impeachers, forgetting that they have been themselves impeached, and that the verdict of the tribunal of the last resort has already been rendered against them, still persist in trifling with the peace, safety and prosperity of the country, by precipitating upon this dangerous question at a time so critical as this. It is wicked thus to trifle with the most vital interests of the nation and to disregard the voice of a great people when spoken, as in this case, so emphatically in favor of the preservation of our Constututional form of government, and the rights and liberties established by our Revolutionary fathers. We will not attempt to add anything to the able, and, as we believe, unanswerable argument just presented by the Chairman of our Committee upon the law of impeachment. Had not experience taught us the wonderful diversity of human judgments and conclustions we should find it difficult to believe that there could upon the questions submitted to us, possibly be two opinions among candid and intelligemt men. Blind bigotry and unbridled partisan rage, it is true, can see crime in the most meritorious actions; and men governed by the unhallowed passions do not hesitate to drag to the stake or the torture of the Inquisition all who will not conform to their wretched creeds and miserable dogmas. They substantiate their own crude and often crazy theories, for truth and justice and under pain of severest penalties demand of all men to bow down and worship the idol they have erected. That their own judgment may be fallible, or that other men differing from them may be equally wise and honest with thousands, never occurs to their minds, and they will without hesitation question the justice even of the Almighty if the ways of Providence do not conform to their own crude theories. This class of men has constituted a considerable portion of mankind in all ages, and in none have they been more numerous than in our own. They have furnished the bigots and persecutors of all times, and their pathway through the long line of history, from its earliest date to the present time, has been marked with carnage and desolation. With such men no argument, based upon the Constitution and established laws, can have any ability; they live and breathe in a purer and higher atmosphere outside of the Constitution and above the laws. They are too pure and immaculate to be fettered by the restraints of constitutions or written laws. They are law unto themselves, and both men and Gods must conform to their views and theories, or receive their bitterest maledictions. But our people will never submit to have their Chief Magistrate arraigned for trial for offences unknown to the laws, and which exist only in the excited brains of her political enemies. It would be a precedent disastrous in its consequences and subversive of our political institutions. We cannot doubt that the evidence herewith, this day admitted, will be received with a universal burst of indignation by the American people. If they retain any fast pride in their country and its institutions they will blush to find that the chief officer of their Government has for ten months been subjected to the scrutiny of a secret Star Chamber inquisition, unparalleled in its character in the annals of civilization. A drag net has been put out ot catch every malicious whisper throughout the land, and all the vile vermin who had gossip or slander to retail, hearsay or otherwise, have been permitted to appear and place it upon record for the delectation of mankind. Spies have been sent all over the land to find something that might blacken the name and character of the chief-magistrate of our country; unwhipped knaves have given information of fabulous letters and documents that, like the ignis fatuus, eternally eluded the grasp of their pursuers, and the chase resulted only in aiding the depletion of the public Treasury. That notorious character, Gen. L. C. Baker, chief of the detective force, once had the effrontery to insult the American people by placing his spies within the very walls of the Executive Mansion. The privacy of the President's home, his private life and habits, and most secret thoughts have not been deemed sacred or exempt from invasion. The members of his household have been examined, and the chief prosecutory has not hesitated to dive into loathsome dungeons and consort with convicted felons for the purpose of accomplishing the object of arraigning the President on a charge of infamous crime. When we consider all these facts, and that the investigation has been a secret ex-parte one; that it has been so persistent and untiring, and carried on at at time of most unparalleled party excitement; when the masses of the dominant party were lashed into a wild frenzy, and led to believe that the President was guilty of treason; when thousands all over the land thought that it would be a righteous act to get him out of the way by any means, fair or foul, and when he has been hunted down by partisan malice, as no man was ever hunted down before, it is really wonderful that so little has been elicited that tends in the slightest to tarnish the fair fame of the President. The American people ought to congratulate themselves for the sake of the reputation of their country, that the failure has been so emphatic and so complete. In what we have said of the character of evidence taken before us, and the means taken to procure it, we must not be understood as reflecting upon the action of the Committee or any member thereof. Such an interpretation of our remarks would do great injustice to us and to them. Whether such latitude should have been given in the examination of witnesses we will not now inquire. In an examination before a Committee it would be difficult and perhaps impossible to confine the evidence to such as would be allowed admissable before a court of justice. Indeed it may be questioned whether it would be proper to so restrict it, and it was perhaps better, even for the President, that those who were managing the prosecution for the outside, were permitted to present anything that they might call corroborative evidence, as the world can thus the better comprehend how utterly destitute of foundation is all this clamor that has been raised against him. The first witness examined was Gen. Lafayette C. Baker, late Chief of the Detective Police, and although examined on oath time and again, and on various occasions, it is doubtful whether he has in any one thing told the truth, even by accident. In every important statement he is contradicted by witnesses of unquestionable credibility, and there can be no doubt that to his many previous outrages, entitling him to an unenviable immortality, he has added that of willful and deliberate perjury; and we are glad to know that no one member of the Committee deems any statement made by him as worhty of the slightest credit. What a blush of shame will tinge the cheek of the American student in future years when he reads that this miserable wretch, for years held, as it were, in the hollow of his hand the liberties of the American people; that clothed with power by a reckless administration and with his hordes of unprincipled tools and spies penetrating the land everywhere with uncounted thousands of the peoples money placed in his hands for his vile purposes; that that creature not only had the power to arrest without crime or writ and imprison without limit any citizen of the Republic; but that he actually did so arrest thousands all over the land, and filled the prisons all over the country with the victims of his malice, or that of his master, this whole system, such an outrage against the Constitution and every principle of free government, so anti-American and anti-Republican with its originator, and supporter, thank God, has been damned to eternal infamy, and it is pleasant to reflect that not only the system but its scrupulous agent will go down to posterity loaded with infamy and followed by the curses of millions. It sometimes happens that the administration of the most dangerous usurpation is placed in the hands of men so respectable for character and talent as to disarm suspicion, and conciliate even those whose liberties are endangered. We have reason to be thankful to an over kind and merciful Providence that this worst feature of the worst of despotism, when the attempt was made in an unhappy hour to transplant it to our own free American soil, was placed for its administration in the hands of a class of men so destitute of manhood and character as to deserve the undying scorn and indignation of the entire people; and as these infamous outrages were not sanctioned by any precedent in our own country, it is hoped and believed that they will never throughout all time be deemed worthy of imitation. It is not our purpose now to attempt an analysis or discussion of evidence taken before us, or to point out the gross absurdity and inconsistency of a very large portion of it. It will be read and considered by the American people, and we cannot doubt what their verdict will be when those who have been attempting to load with disgrace and infamy the Chief Magistrate of our country, shall stand pillowed in the undying scorn and indignation of a great people. He, after passing through this fiery ordeal, we have no hesitation in predicting, will have and retain all over the land, even to a greater extent than heretofore, the respect and confidence of his countrymen.
- S. A. MARSHALL,
- CHAS. A. ELDRIDGE.