Andrew Johnson: A Study in Courage

By Lloyd Paul Stryker | Go to book overview

LXVII
THE TRIAL BEGINS

FRIDAY, the 13th, the great day, dawned--the real beginning of the trial. Never before had there been such demand for attendance at the Senate. There was everywhere a struggle for the tickets of admission. Ladies of wealth and fashion were importunate in their applications to the Senators and Representatives. At nearly midnight of the previous day one of the Senators was aroused from his bed. A fair visitor had not hesitated to intrude with her demand. Less than half-dressed, he descended from his bed chamber and inquired whether some sudden death in the family was responsible for her late call. No, what she wanted was a ticket for the trial! He had none left, he said. But it was not until he promised somehow to procure one and send it to her residence that she consented finally to take her leave.1

The court was not scheduled to sit till one, but by eleven o'clock the galleries began to fill; the ticket system, however, prevented all disorder. There was no queen there, nor were there any "fair-haired young daughters of the House of Brunswick." There was there no historian of the Roman empire thinking of the "days when Cicero pleaded the cause of Sicily against Verres." There were no dukes or duchesses, no Prince of Wales, nor were the "gray old walls hung with scarlet."2 The pageantry of the Warren Hastings trial was absent, but it was the most brilliant scene that the capital of the new Republic could present.

In the gallery of the diplomats there sat DeBerthemy, Louis Napoleon's ambassador; Baron Gerolt, the Minister from Prussia, dreaming perhaps of that day when King William's soldiers would sweep through Sedan and Metz and the last of the Bonapartes would be humbled. There sat Rangabe, the Minister for Greece, and Blacque-Bey from Turkey. Cerruti, from the land of

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