Andrew Johnson: A Study in Courage

By Lloyd Paul Stryker | Go to book overview

LXV
PREPARATIONS FOR THE TRIAL

THE House on Monday, March 2nd, chose seven of its members as a Board of Managers to conduct their case before the Senate. These proven enemies of Johnson were selected: John A. Bingham, George S. Boutwell, James F. Wilson, Benjamin F. Butler, Thomas Williams, Thaddeus Stevens and John A. Logan.1 They craved the limelight of the country. They planned to dazzle their contemporaries with a radiance that would shine on down to posterity. "They have read," said Welles, "Macaulay's interesting history of the trial of Warren Hastings and flatter themselves they are to be the Burkes and Sheridans of some future historian."2 With Macaulay they had wandered through the "spacious provinces of Aurungabad and Bejapoor."3 They had watched the "bands of fierce horsemen of Mysore . prowling among the tulip trees,"4 and had seen how "in the bazaars, the muslins of Bengal and sabres of Oude were mingled with the jewels of Golconda and the shawls of Cashmere."5

These latter-day Sheridans and Burkes had observed how the greatest orator of the British empire had prepared himself for that prosecution and had stored his mind with knowledge of the "burning sun, the strange vegetation of the palm and cocoa tree . . . the rich tracery of the mosque where the imaum prays with his face to Mecca, the drums and banners and gaudy idols. . . . The black faces, the long beards . . . the turbans and the flowing robes, the spears and the silver maces, the elephants with their canopies of state, the gorgeous palanquin of the prince and the closed litter of the noble lady." They had learned with admiration how Edmund Burke had made these things as familiar to him as his own England,6 and although they lacked this gorgeous background for their prosecution, they were hoping to achieve a fame

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