Andrew Johnson: A Study in Courage

By Lloyd Paul Stryker | Go to book overview

LXXXII
FULL ACQUITTAL AT LAST. THE CONSPIRACY IS BROKEN

BUTLER did not attend the National Convention; he had work to do in Washington. Immediately after the vote on the eleventh article he began again his efforts to intimidate the Senators, and a veritable inquisition into their private affairs was instituted. But Ross was the centre of attack. It was claimed that he had been "pledged" to vote for a conviction, but that he had broken his promise. "The managers," our diarist wrote on May 19th, "are sitting as a committee to investigate the Senators under the authority of the House, and Butler, vile and unscrupulous, is calling men before him and compelling them to disclose their private affairs. Last night he spent several hours at Jay Cooke's bank, overhauling private accounts. These outrages are tamely submitted to, and are justified and upheld by Radical legislators, patriots and statesmen. Heaven save the mark!"1

Butler's tools pushed their researches everywhere. They raided the telegraph offices of Baltimore and Washington. All dispatches to or from these cities during the four days before May 16th were confiscated!2 The headquarters of the inquisition were in the basement of the Capitol. Characteristic of all revolutions, there was a tame submission to outrage, an indifference to villainy.3

The Senate, too, was aflame with zeal. The Chamber was scarcely cleared after the vote upon the eleventh article before a legislative session had begun. The House bill to admit the Carolinas, Alabama, Georgia and Louisiana must be passed "within the next three or four days," declared Senator Wilson.4 Let it be "before the sun goes down," responded Nye.5 Some one raised the question whether the Senators from these states who had neither participated in the trial nor heard the evidence

-729-

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