Andrew Johnson: A Study in Courage

By Lloyd Paul Stryker | Go to book overview

LXXIX
THE CONSPIRACY ASSUMES ITS MOST DISGRACEFUL PHASE

THE hopes of the President's supporters were now rising. The defeat of the conspiracy in many quarters was openly predicted.1 Six days before, Seward had wagered a basket of champagne on an acquittal,2--but Secretary Browning declined the wager.3

As the judgment day approached, with a frenzy of dishonor the scoundrels who had brought their country to this pass, joined now in one last demoniacal attempt to corrupt the High Court of Impeachment. In aid of his political confederates, Horace Greeley opened every stop in his siren-voiced steam piano of abuse. "To remand the American Republic to the custody of Andrew Johnson," shrieked the New York Tribune on May 6th, "and to give him, in addition to the impulses of his own disloyal nature, the triumph of an acquittal would be to commit an act of treason only equalled by that of Benedict Arnold. We have no fear that this will be done. We shall do no Senator, in whom we have confidence, the injustice to believe that he is base enough to court dishonor, or stolid enough to feet that he can make himself the defender and apologist of Andrew Johnson, without standing in history as the partner of his crimes."4

And in his editorial of the next day, Greeley declared: "A verdict may be rendered at any hour, although it is not expected for a few days. . . . The Republican party has taken the responsibility of Impeachment. . . . To presume that any Republican will deliberately vote to acquit Mr. Johnson is to assume that his course hitherto has been a fraud. . . . If it were wise to assail Mr. Johnson for his policy, it is just to punish him. His impeachment is the logical consequence of Republicanism, and no Republican can vote against it without making himself infamous. The only

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