Andrew Johnson: A Study in Courage

By Lloyd Paul Stryker | Go to book overview

LII
THE 40TH CONGRESS BEGINS WORK ON IMPEACHMENT

WADE declared the Senate of the 39th Congress adjourned sine die, and without leaving the chair proceeded to organize the Senate of the 40th. Speaker Colfax in the House took up the same work for that body.1

Numerous new faces now appeared. In the Senate, Simon Cameron returned from Pennsylvania in place of Cowan. Roscoe Conkling from Utica appeared to represent New York instead of Ira Harris. Oliver P. Morton, the former war governor of Indiana, was there in place of Lane. From Iowa came James Harlan, to renew in the Senate the hostility he had shown Johnson in the Cabinet and at Philadelphia. Drake from Missouri, Cole from California and Corbett from Oregon were the other new members of the upper chamber.

In the House the most conspicuous of the new members was Benjamin F. Butler of Massachusetts. The Radicals were counting strongly upon his peculiar gifts,--not the least of which was his ability to act on any question without restraint of conscientious scruple.2 In the Senate the Republicans had ten more than a majority of two-thirds and in the House nineteen in excess of that much valued margin.

Welles went over to see the new Senators sworn in. "I could not respect the body or many of its members," he wrote, "they are in their intense faction hate of Southern whites and zeal for the negro determined to pull down the pillars of the Republic."3

In the House, the Democrats protested in writing against the election of a Speaker in the absence of the Representatives from seventeen states, seven of which were from the North. Of course, the protest was ignored. Under the rules, clerk Edward McPherson refused even to submit the paper for consideration, and so

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