The Age of Hate: Andrew Johnson and the Radicals

By George Fort Milton | Go to book overview

XXIV. SOUND AND FURY

A TRUE picture of the trial requires the depiction of a shabby episode in which Ben Butler held the center of the stage. In the midst of the introduction of defense testimony, Stanbery, the President's counsel-in-chief, had been taken ill. His services had been of inestimable value in the trial; by virtue of his labors as Attorney-General, he was intimately acquainted with the details of the President's defense; he knew the pertinent documents, he had examined the witnesses, he had directed the cross-examination. When illness forced his absence, the remaining counsel were embarrassed. Although Evarts took up the burden, he was anxious for Stanbery's return to complete all details of defense. But the Ohio advocate's recuperation was very slow. "We have reached a point," Evarts therefore told the Court on April 16, "at which it will be convenient to us that we should not be required to produce more evidence today."

This request produced a violent outburst from Ben Butler. "The case must go through," he shouted. "The whole legislation of this country is stopping. . . . Larger, higher, greater interests are at stake than any such questions of ceremony. . . . The interests of the people are greater than the interests of any one individual."

Butler proceeded to wave the Bloody Shirt. "Gentlemen of the Senate," he shouted, "this is the closing up of a war wherein 300,000 men laid down their lives to save the country. In one day we sacrificed them by tens and twenties of thousands on the field of battle, and shall the country wait now in its march to safety because of the sickness of one man?" He declared that he held in his hand "testimony of what is going on this day and this hour in the South." When Curtis and Evarts objected to the relevancy of its introduction, he replied grossly that "the relevancy of it is this, that while we are waiting for the Attorney-General to get well, and you are asked to delay this trial for that reason, numbers of our fellow citizens are being murdered day by day. There is not a man here who does not know that the moment justice is done on this great criminal, these murders will cease. . . . We are asked

-566-

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The Age of Hate: Andrew Johnson and the Radicals
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations viii
  • Acknowledgment ix
  • I. War-Time Washington 1
  • Ii. Plot and Counterplot 16
  • III- the National Union Convention 37
  • Iv. the Bound Boy of Raleigh 59
  • V. the Tailor-Politician 74
  • Vt. "In the Furnace of Treason" 98
  • Vii. on the Ticket with Lincoln 120
  • Ix. President Andrew Johnson 160
  • X. the Trial of Mrs. Surratt 190
  • Xi. the Lull Before the Storm 213
  • Xii. Charles Sumner Declares War 236
  • Xiii. the Triumph of Caliban 262
  • Xiv. Victory at Any Price 293
  • Xv. a Marplot in the Cabinet 320
  • Xvi. the Swing Around the Circle 344
  • Xvii. Bayonet Rule by Act Of Congress 370
  • Xix. Johnson Crosses the Rubicon 426
  • Xx. General Grant Breaks His Word 457
  • Xxi. the Impeachment of The President 486
  • Xxii. Preparing for the Trial 515
  • Xxiii. Impartial Court Or Political Inquest? 541
  • Xxiv. Sound and Fury 566
  • Xxvii. Last Months in the White House 633
  • Xviii. the Tennessee Epilogue 654
  • Appendix - Authorities Consulted and Cited In This Volume 677
  • Notes 685
  • Index 755
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