« PreviousContinue »
honest-hearted man did not exist." And he concludes: “A man of higher integrity of purpose than Andrew Johnson never sat in the Presidential chair.”
Among English authors on political topics, who, by the way, seem to know more about American politics than we do ourselves, Mr. Mackay, speaking of Johnson's effort to restore the Union, as early as 1866 writes of him as follows:
“If such a Union is to be the result, it will be the imperishable glory of Mr. Johnson, and his undying claim to the gratitude of his country, that he was sagacious enough to see the right course and bold enough to follow it. Among all the statesmen of his age, he stands pre-emninent.”
“There is not a public man in Europe, unless it be the Emperor Napoleon, who does not appear dwarfed when placed in comparison with him.” (This was before Sedan.) “Greater in his task than was that of Washington, brighter will be his place in history, if he perform it.”
I have thus endeavored to place berore you the salient features of this great assize, in its origin and progress the most important in the annals of American jurisprudence, in its results quite fruitless, 'save in the mere fact that one vote saved the President from destruction and the Fortieth Congress from infamy.
It is again in order for me to ask, though I can scarce hope to receive, your pardon for spending so much of your vacation in this discussion.
Conscious of the fact that this review has failed to include many of the most interesting points of the case, a failure in which I am consoled by the reflection that your patience must already have suffered beyond limit, I conclude with one of Mr. Evarts' sentences :
"I do not hesitate to say that this trial—to be in our annals the most conspicious that our history will present, to be scrutinized by more scholars at home and abroad, to be preserved in more libraries; to be judged of as a national trait, a national scale, a national criterion forever-presents an unexampled spectacle of a prosecution that overreaches judgment from the very beginning and inveighs and selects and impugns and oppresses, as if already convicted, at every stage, the victim they pursue.'
Do you ask what became of the two distinguished men who were the real plaintiff and defendant?
Broken in health and keenly disappointed by the failure of the impeachment, Edwin M. Stanton resigned the War Office and retired to private life. On the 20th of December, 1869, his appointment by President Grant as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States came too late. The hand of death was already upon him, and on the 24th of that month he sank into the grave.
Andrew Johnson, finishing his term, went back to the little village of Greeneville, Tennessee, and was there found one evening by a newspaper man in his shirt-sleeves hoeing potatoes. And in the interview which the enterprising Mr. Smailey had with him on that occasion he indulged in some racy comments upon the enemies he had left in Washington.
Nursing his hatred of General Grant, whom he called "that little fellow Grant," he was, in 1875, elected to the United States Senate, where he made a bitter speech against the General, whom he denounced as "the greatest liar in America."
While on a visit to his daughter in Carter county, Tennessee, he was stricken with paralysis, July 30, 1875, and died the following day. His grave at Greeneville is marked by a simple monument, dedicated with eloquent eulogy by Senator Fowler.
The time may come when a closer bond of union between the States than that established by the reconstruction laws will do exact justice to his memory.
“Proceedings in the Trial of Andrew Johnson.” Rives & Bailey.
Washington, D. C. 1868. “Twenty Years of Congress." James G. Blaine. “Reconstruction and the Constitution.” John W. Burgess. 1902. “The Fortnightly Review," Vol. 4, p. 477. Charles Mackay. “Magazine of American History,” Vol. 20, p. 39. C. K. Tuckerman. Id.,
25, p. 47. Charles Aldrich. "The Nation," Vol. 2, p. 422.
3, p. 310 (1866). Editorial. Id.,
6, p. 184 (1868). “Scribner's Magazine,” Vol. 11, p. 519. E. G. Ross. “North American Review," Vol. 102, p. 256. Editorial. “Lippincott's," Vol. 63, p. 512. Burr. “The Independent,” Vol. 52, p. 2152. E. V. Smalley. “North American Review," Vol. 145, p. 69. George Baber. "The Century Magazine,” Vol. 32, p. 577. “McClure's Magazine,” Vol. 14, p. 171. George . Boutwell. “Galaxy," Vol. 13, pp. 521, 663. Gid. Welles. “Messages and Papers of the Presidents," Vol. 6. 1861-1869. “Butler's Book,” pp. 926 et seq.