Andrew Johnson: A Study in Courage

By Lloyd Paul Stryker | Go to book overview
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LXXIII
CURTIS OPENS FOR THE DEFENSE

WHEN the court reconvened on Thursday, April 9th, the managers had two more witnesses. Wood of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, made this thrilling contribution: In September, 1866, a few days after the President returned from his "Swing Around the Circle," Wood had called on him to present "testimonials for employment in the government service."1 The conversation had drifted on to the political sentiments of the applicant. He stated that he was "a Union man, a loyal man, and in favor of the Administration," and that he had "confidence in Congress and the Chief Executive." The President had then asked him whether he "knew of any differences" between that same Chief Executive and Congress. Wood knew, he said, of "some differences on minor points," to which the President replied: "They are not minor points."2 Surely this was proof that Andrew Johnson was a Nero or at least a Cromwell!

On cross-examination Stanbery brought out that Wood had first confided this great story to a man named Koppel.3 "Who is Mr. Koppel?" inquired Butler on the re-direct examination. "Mr. Koppel," answered Wood, "is an acquaintance of mine on the avenue--a merchant." "What sort of merchandise, please?" pressed Butler, and Wood answered: "He is a manufacturer of garments,--a tailor." This produced the laughter Butler hoped for.4

The managers were about ready to cease firing, but there was still one high percussion shell within their caisson: Foster Blodgett of Georgia. On January 3rd, 1868, the President had suspended him from the postmastership of Augusta!5 And now Butler is declaring: "We close here."6

The prosecution's case had been completed! Twenty-five wit

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