they grow to a large size, but nothing like these. They
Gen. Logan, one of the managers, appeared for the prosecution, upon the close of the examination of witnesses. The following is a brief extract from his very long and labored argument, and relates to the Tenure-of-Office Act:
It is a new method of ascertaining the meaning of a law, plain upon its face, by resorting to legislative discussions, and giving in evidence opinions affected by the law. As a matter of fact; it is well known the act was intended to prevent the very thing Mr. Johnson attempted in the matter of Mr. Stanton's removal. I think this manner of defense will not avail before the Senate. The law must govern in its natural and plain intendment, and will not be frittered away by extraneous interpretation. The President in his veto message admits substantially this construction.
The proviso does not change the general provisions of the Act, except by giving a more definite limit to the tenure-of-office, but the last paragraph of the Act puts the whole question back into the hands of the Senate according to the general intention of the Act, and provides that even the Secretaries are subject to removal by and with the advice and consent of the Senate.
The Act first provides that all persons holding civil offices at the date of its passage appointed by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall only be removed in the same manner. This applies to the Secretary of War. This proviso merely gives a tenure running with the term of the President and one month thereafter, subject to removal by and with the advice and consent of the Senate. The law clearly gives Mr. Stanton a right to the office from the 4th of March, 1865, till one month after the 4th of March, 1869, and he can only be disturbed in that tenure by the President by and with the advice and consent of the Senate.
Yet, although Mr. Stanton was appointed by Mr. Lincoln in his first term, when there was no tenure-of-office fixed by law, and continued by Mr. Lincoln in his second term, it is argued that his term expired one month after the passage of the Tenure-of-Office Act, March 2nd, 1867, for the reason that Mr. Lincoln's term expired at his death. This is false reasoning; the Constitution fixed the term of the President at four years, and by law the commencement of his term is the 4th of March. Will it be said that when Mr. Johnson is deposed by a verdict of the Senate, that the officer who will succeed him will serve for four years? Certainly not. Why? Because he will have no Presidential term, and will be merely serving out a part of the unexpired term of Mr. Lincoln, and will go out of office on the 4th of March, 1869, at the time Mr. Lincoln would have retired by expiration of his term, had he lived. * **
The only question, then, which remains, is simply this: Has the accused violated that (Tenure-of-Office) Act? No one knows better than this accused the history of, and the purpose to be secured by, that Act. It was ably and exhaustively discussed on both sides, in all aspects. In the debates of Congress it was subsequently reviewed and closely analyzed in a Veto Message of the respondent. No portion of that Act escaped his remark, and no practical application which has been made of it since did he fail to anticipate. He knew before he attempted its violation that more than three-fourths of the Representatives of the people in Congress assembled had set their seal of disapprobation upon the reasons given in the Veto Message and had enacted the law by more than the constitutional number of votes required. Nay, more; he was repeatedly warned, by investigations made looking toward just such a proceeding as now being witnessed in this court, that the people had instructed their Representatives to tolerate no violation of the laws constitutionally enacted.
Mr. Groesbeck, in behalf of the defense, said in closing his argument:
What is to be your judgment, Senators, in this case? Removal from office and perpetual disqualification? If the President has committed that for which he should be ejected from office it were judicial mockery to stop short of the largest disqualifications you can impose. It will be a heavy judgment. What is his crime in its moral aspects, to merit such a judgment? Let us look to it.