to change the course of his involuntary voyage. Over and
What shall I say of this man? He is no theoriest; he is no reformer; I have looked over his life. He has ever walked in beaten paths, and by the light of, the Constitution. The mariner, tempest-tossed in mid-sea, does not more certainly turn to his star for guidance than does this man in trial and difficulty to the star of the Constitution. He loves the Constitution. It has been the study of his life. He is not learned and scholarly like many of you; he is not a man of many ideas or of much speculation but by a law of the mind he is only the truer to that he does know. He is a patriot, second to no one of you in the measure of his patriotism. He loves his country; he may be full of error; I will not canvass now his views; but he loves his country; he has the courage to defend it, and I believe to die for it if need be. His courage and patriotism are not without illustration. My colleague (Mr. Nelson) referred the other day to the scenes which occurred in this Chamber when he alone of twenty-two Senators remained; even his State seceded, but he remained. That was a trial of his patriotism, of which many of you, by reason of your locality and of your life-long associations, know nothing. How his voice rang out in this hall in the hour of alarm for the good cause, and in denunciation of the rebellion! But he did not remain here; it was a pleasant, honorable, safe, and easy position; but he was wanted for a more difficult and arduous and perilous service. He faltered not, but entered upon it. That was a trial of his courage and patriotism of which some of you who now sit in judgment on more than his life, know nothing. I have, often thought that those who, dwelt at the North, safely distant from the collisions and strifes of the war, knew little of its actual, trying dangers. We who lived on the border know more. Our horizon was always red with flame; and it sometimes burned so near us that we could feel its heat upon the outstretched hand. But he was wanted for a greater peril, and went into the very furnace of the war, and there served his country long and well. Who of you have done more? Not one. * * * It seems cruel, Senators, that he should be dragged here as a criminal, or that any one who served his country and bore himself well and bravely through that trying ordeal, should be condemned upon miserable technicalities.
If he has committed any gross crime, shocking alike and indiscriminately the entire public mind, then condemn him; but he has rendered services to the country that entitle him to kind and respectful consideration. He has precedents for everything he has done, and what excellent precedents! The voices of the great dead come to us from the grave sanctioning his course. All our past history approves it. How can you single out this man, now in this condition of things, and brand him before the world, put your brand of infamy upon him because he made an ad interim appointment for a day, and possible may have made a mistake in attempting to remove Stanton? I can at a glance put my eye on Senators here who would not endure the position he occupied. You do not think it is right yourselves. You framed this civil tenure law to give each President his own Cabinet, and yet his whole crime is that he wants harmony and peace in his.
Senators, I will not go on. There is a great deal that is crowding on my tongue for utterance, but it is not from my head; it is rather from my heart; and it would be but a repetition of the vain things 1 have been saying the past half hour But I do hope you will not drive the President out and take possession of his office. I hope this, not merely as counsel for Andrew Johnson, for Andrew Johnson's administration is to me but as a moment, and himself as nothing in comparison with the possible consequences of such an act. No good can come of it, Senators, and how much will the heart of the nation be refreshed if at last the Senate of the United States can, in its judgment upon this case, maintain its ancient dignity and high character in the midst of storms, and passion, and strife.
A somewhat startling incident, which for the moment threatened unpleasant results, occurred in the course of the trial. In his opening speech for the prosecution, Mr. Manager Boutwell used this language, speaking of the President:
The President is a man of strong will, of violent passions, of unlimited ambition, with capacity to employ and use timid men, adhesive, subservient men, and corrupt men, as the instruments of his designs. It is the truth of history that he has injured every person with whom he has had confidential relations, and many have escaped ruin only by withdrawing from his society altogether. He has one rule of his life: he attempts to use every man of power, capacity, or influence within his reach. Succeeding in his attempts, they are in time, and usually in a short time, utterly ruined. If the considerate flee from him, if the brave and patriotic resist his schemes or expose his plans, he attacks them with all the energy and patronage of his office, and pursues them with all the violence of his personal hatred. He attacks to destroy all who will not become his instruments, and all who become his instruments are destroyed in the use. He spares no one. * * * Already this purpose of his life is illustrated in the treatment of a gentleman who was of counsel for the respondent, but who has never appeared in his behalf.
The last paragraph of the above quotation manifestly referred to a disagrement between the President and Judge Black, which led to the retirement of that gentleman from the Management of the Defense of the President, a few days prior to the beginning of the trial.
To this criticism of the President, Judge Nelson, of Counsel for Defense, responded a few days later, with the following statement:
It is to me, Senators, a source of much embarassment how to speak in reply to the accusation which has thus been preferred against the President of the United States. * **