" BEN WADE will be President in a fortnight from today." While Andrew Johnson would be allowed several days to prepare his defense, "the trial, once begun, will be speedily ended." Such were the hopeful words of the Independent's Washington correspondent at the outset, and such was the full expectation of the Radicals. When the Senate was debating its resolution of February 21, the hitherto Radical Fessenden warned his colleagues that they were proposing "a very unwise resolution," an open bid to the House to impeach, refused to vote for it, and wrote home that his friends were "acting like fools, and hurrying us to destruction."1
The haste of the impeaching members, both in House and Senate, was in line with Fessenden's words. On February 25, immediately after Stevens and Bingham had given notice of the impeachment, the Senate appointed a committee of seven to draft rules for the trial. On February 26, Senators Howard and Edmunds, two Radical members of this committee, called on Chief Justice Chase to inform him that their committee was preparing rules for the procedure of the trial, and invited suggestions from him; indeed, they would be pleased to have him attend their sessions. They also asked Chase if he considered that he had a right to vote in the Senate court about to be organized. He said he had not thought much about it, but supposed that he would be a member of the court and as such would have a right to vote although, as he was replacing the Vice President in ordinary impeachment trials, his vote might be limited to deciding a tie. The two Radicals let him know that they denied his right to vote in any case.
After carefully examining impeachment precedents, the Chief Justice formed the definite opinion that, until the Senate should be organized as a court of impeachment, it had no right to take any action relative thereto other than to receive the notice from the House. On the 27th he wrote Howard this conclusion, but received no response.2 The Senate majority pressed forward, determined to expedite the proceedings. Overriding the objections of the Democrats, they prepared and adopted twenty-five rules to govern all possible crises of pro-