Franklin Repository: March 04, 1868Go To Page : 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |
(Column 01)Summary: The editor maps out the prime reasons why the impeachment of President Johnson was justified and inevitable. Johnson violated the Tenure of Office Act by removing Stanton from the War Department and the Senate impeached Johnson as a result. The paper predicts that although public opinion could swing the verdict, both Congress and the public know Johnson should be impeached.
Full Text of Article:The Repository and the President
The President of the United States is now arraigned before the Senate on trial for alleged high crimes and misdemeanors. Because a President has never before been impeached in the history of our government, many people are slow to accept the proceeding as likely to depose the Chief Magistrate of the nation.
Of course Senators are reticent on the subject, and no one can speak for them, but there are circumstances surrounding the case from which the result may by conjectured with reasonable certainty. While Senators will not declare in advance how their verdict will be made up, we may with propriety consider the facts likely to control their decision.
The first step towards impeachment, although an indirect one, was taken in the Senate. When the President notified the Senate that he had "removed" Mr. Stanton, the Senate, by a united Republican vote, officially notified the President, Mr. Stanton and Gen. Thomas that the act was unlawful, and in obedience to that notification, Mr. Stanton refused to surrender the Department of War. The Senate thus initiated impeachment by its solemn, official declaration that the act of the President was without authority of law, and, of necessity, an act of usurpation. The language used by the Senate was as follows:
"Resolved, That under the constitution and laws of the United States, the President has no power to remove the Secretary of War, and designate any other officer to perform the duties of that office."
Such was the decision of the same Senators who are to sit as jurors to decide whether he has been guilty of usurpation. The resolution was not passed in haste or without careful reflection. It was well considered, and passed with a full appreciation of the momentous nature of the proceedings.
Following the action of the Senate was the action of the House, in adopting a resolution impeaching the President by a solid Republican vote. Thus have the Republicans of both branches of Congress unanimously expressed their convictions as to the lawlessness of the Executive, and every Republican vote in the Senate cast to acquit the President, must be in violation of a positive record already made. We do not say that because Senators so voted, they must necessarily declare the President guilty. If they believe that the first vote was wrong, they should vote to acquit him; but in view of all the facts, we do not consider any such changes in the convictions of Senators as probable.
While the law and the facts will doubtless control the verdict in this case, in a grave national trial, involving the removal of the President, the tone of public sentiment will have great if not controlling weight. The people in this government, after all, are the sovereigns of the Republic, and they revise either directly or indirectly the decisions of all tribunals known to the law. If the movement to impeach Andrew Johnson had met the decided and positive disapprobation of the people, it would have failed; but the public expression from all classes and interests, outside of mere politicians, have been in earnest accord with impeachment. This sentiment would not be sufficient to convict the President wrongfully, but it will strengthen the impeaching power to deal with his usurpations justly.
Looking over the whole ground calmly, we believe that impeachment will be successful, and that after a patient and impartial trial, Andrew Johnson will be deposed from the Presidency, and disqualified for holding any office of honor or profit in the United States.
(Column 01)Summary: The paper publicly admits its role in getting Johnson nominated Vice President and regrets its decision. The article describes Johnson's offensive actions as both Vice President and President and calls again for his impeachment. The editors urge the public not to be deceived by Democratic defenders of Johnson.
Full Text of Article:S. P. Q. A.
The chief editor of this journal was one of the Delegates at large from Pennsylvania in the convention that nominated Andrew Johnson for Vice President; and alike in these columns and by his vote and efforts at Baltimore, he earnestly urged Mr. Johnson for the Vice Presidency. When he was to be inaugurated as the second officer of the government, he came a reeling, maudlin drunkard, and, after the most humiliating exhibition of his debauchery in the Senate, he was hurried away by some friends. He never afterwards appeared in the Senate to take the Vice President's chair, for the reason that his presence there would have led to his censure if not his expulsion from office.
We held then, as we hold now, that there are occasions when party interests fade in utter insignificance before the great interests of the nation. We had been the earnest personal and political friend of Andrew Johnson, and had borne some humble part in effecting his nomination and thereby in effecting his election to the high position he disgraced when on the very threshold of its honors and duties. Every party interest and personal inclination would have shielded him, but every public interest demanded his censure and removal. In THE REPOSITORY of March 15th, 1865, we expressed our convictions of duty in the plainest terms in the leading article in the paper, and although gravely censured by enthusiastic and ambitious politicians, we never had reason to regret that the occasion had been met by the vindication of the truth and a demand for the just consequences of the wrong.
Soon after Mr. Johnson became President, and, while we joined in the prevailing sentiment to sustain him, we did not in any degree recede from our position, nor did we ever approach him until he twice requested a personal interview.--Some six months after his accession to the Presidency, in obedience to his invitation, we had a conference with him, and again incurred the displeasure of those who love to bask in the sunshine of power, even at the cost of principle, by declaring that he was "not insensible to the flattering ap"proval of his administration by the "Democratic party," and that where in his record "the nation shall see that "'treason is the greatest of crimes and "must be punished,' is not to my mind apparent."
--Andrew Johnson has fully justified the apprehensions we expressed when he was inaugurated Vice President. That all may be reminded of the bold and earnest stand this journal took to correct palpable evils within its own party, we republish in to-day's paper the article of March, 1865. It was republished in triumph by the Democratic journals throughout the country, although it told no truth that was not known to every intelligent citizen.
The crime of Andrew Johnson at that time was not against a political party, but against a common country--a blot upon our common nationality. Now he has repeated the offence, only in a graver form--an offence so monstrous that drunkenness would be a charitable excuse for it. He assails the laws of the land; assumes to be superior to, and in no way bound by them; and his offence is a crime against every citizen of the republic. Cunning attorneys may quibble as they can, but he has thrown off all disguise and stands before the world as a reckless usurper.
Yet partizan journals sustain him, and cry revolution to divert the people from his crimes. If he had committed the same offences in the interest of the Republican party, there is not a Democratic journal that would not demand his impeachment; but as his offence was in the interest of treason, every sophistry is called into requisition by Democratic journals to defend him. When he wronged the nation as a representative of the Republican party, we condemned him, and now when he has defied the constitution and the laws, and periled the peace and safety of the country by his madness, we can consistently join in the general demand for his expulsion from the high office he has so shamefully dishonored.
(Column 03)Summary: The paper rejoices at Johnson's impending impeachment trial. The editors admit that the Democrats will use every legal means to acquit him, but felt confident that the Republicans had justice on their side and that both public opinion and history would vindicate their actions.
Full Text of Article:[No Title]
Andrew Johnson is to be removed from office at last, by the mode provided in the Constitution for just such men as he. He has been no doubt before this sheet is circulated summoned before the bar of the Senate, and there is no appreciable probability that he can escape conviction.--True he is to be defended by able and ingenious counsel. Jeremiah Black and O'Connor, among the chosen few.--Shrewd lawyers, to catch on technicalities and to mystify the law by a thousand wily ways. Heaven pity the ordinary jury before which such men should argue an important political case. They would soon become entangled in such a maze of points, doubts, decisions, and inferences, that they would have to summon the shade of Webster from the other world to unravel the tangle. But in this trial fortunately, the children of darkness are not wiser than the children of light. The men who compose the United States Senate are conversant with the law of the land. Dark and well thrown will be the cloud of legal dust their eyes cannot penetrate. The light from the lanterns of the advocates of the stern Diogenes of the White House will do well to pale and overcome the gleam from the small candles of ordinary minds, but when it mingles its rays with those brighter sun beams of intellect, which will play round the Senate chamber, where that trial is held, the lantern light will be scarcely noticeable. No legal necromancy can save Johnson now. In the natural course of legal proceeding, after judgment usually comes execution. But some persons think when the law comes to be executed on Andrew Johnson, the would-be executive, judiciary and legislature, that the Democratic party will veto it. We know that it will be a bitter pill for some of their leaders, both North and South of the Potomac, but what will they do to avoid it. They have had to swallow more than one dose of wholesome medicine prescribed by the Constitution of the land since 1861, and they will swallow this though they may make wry faces at it now.--Congress have right and justice on their side and the people of the North of both parties know it. The people of America are too honest and intelligent to be led as a mass into what they know to be lawlessness, by the leaders of any party. As in '61, so now, the rank and file of the Democratic party will not as a mass take up arms to fight for treason and against law. To vote for Sharswood at the last election, and to rise in arms against the United States government now; to fight with Lee and Beauregard, and Johnson, and Jeff Davis, against the United States army under Grant, and Sheridan, and Sherman, and Geo. H. Thomas, and Meade, and Burnside and Geary, and a host of loyal Generals sustained by all the loyal people in the country, are different affairs. However evil disposed, men will hesitate long before they will enter such a contest with the chances so fearfully against them. Before they raise badly armed and undisciplined mobs without munitions of war to a great extent, and entirely without artillery, unless indeed it be Swann's three light batteries, to fight the legal governmental armies under the leaders who crushed the last rebellion, supported by a people like those of America, men will consider, and waver, and stop. No danger of violence assuming alarming proportions now. The day for that has gone by. Congress has been driven to the wall, and then has stood up nobly in the struggle. This government has ever shown itself to be in a crisis the strongest in the world, and it will not be overthrown and crushed by a little ground swell of treason. The decision of Congress has saved us from national ruin. When this scene in the Republican drama has been enacted, the wisdom of the old couplet will be again vindicated.
"Gently, softly, touch a nettle,
And it stings you for your pains.
Grasp it with hand of mettle,
And it soft as silk remains."
(Column 03)Summary: The paper ridicules Johnson for following the provisions of the Confederate constitution rather than the United States one. Wryly asks Democratic newspapers to alert him to the situation.
Full Text of Article:
THE President is not entirely without the shadow of constitutional warrant for the removal of Mr. Stanton. He has during the last two years, been so wholly devoted to the advancement of traitors and the defence of treason, that he has naturally enough adopted the fundamental law of the traitor's confederacy as his guide. In the Jeff Davis constitution of the so called confederacy, this provision is found:
"The principal officers in each of the Executive departments, and all persons connected with the diplomatic service, may be removed from office at the pleasure of the President."
Mr. Johnson is therefore clearly within one constitution in his removal of Mr. Stanton, but unfortunately he is President of our government and the constitution he accepts belongs to another government that now exists only in its bloody and blotted history. Will not the National Intelligencer, the Age, or the Spirit explain to Mr. Johnson that he is either President of the wrong government or has got hold of the wrong constitution? He may take his choice, but we insist that he shall not run both as President of the United States.
Lecture for the Freedmen's School
(Column 01)Summary: A. K. M'Clure will deliver a lecture in Repository Hall on "Life in the Rocky Mountains." The proceeds will go to benefit the Freedmen's School of Chambersburg. "The Freedmen's School of Chambersburg has been maintained thus far almost wholly by the generous citizens who conduct it, and the vast good it has effected should commend it to the liberal support of the public."Railroad Meeting
(Names in announcement: A. K. M'Clure)
(Column 01)Summary: The citizens of Washington and Quincy townships met at Waynesboro to take action in behalf of the proposed railroad from Scotland to the Maryland line via Quincy and Waynesboro. Col. George B. Weistling of the Mt. Alto Iron Works delivered an address. "He showed conclusively that the project is a feasible one, and that the road can easily be constructed if citizens along the line will promptly give their aid in securing the necessary amount of stock subscriptions to secure the completion of the work, which he estimates at not more than $300,000." He estimated that the people of Waynesboro, Washington, and Quincy would be called upon to raise no more than $150,000.Sudden Deaths
(Names in announcement: Col. George B. Weistling)
(Column 01)Summary: Mrs. Fanny C. Frey of Upton, Franklin County, died suddenly in Carlisle on February 24th of pulmonary consumption. She had been visiting friends in Chester County, but her health deteriorated quickly and had to be taken off the train at Carlisle before reaching home. Mary Clarkson, "an aged and highly esteemed lady," died at her residence in Mercersburg on February 22nd.Musical
(Names in announcement: Fanny C. Frey, Mary Clarkson)
(Column 01)Summary: The paper reports that Prof. Alexander Wolowski, "the eminent pianist and vocalist," has been a great success as a teacher in Chambersburg. His classes are popular and fill up quickly.Market House and Steam Engine
(Names in announcement: Alexander Wolowski)
(Column 02)Summary: The Town Council will allow the citizens of Chambersburg to vote on whether or not to build a new market house and purchase a new steam engine.Young Men's Christian Association
(Column 02)Summary: A meeting will be held in the basement of the Methodist church to discuss formation of a Young Men's Christian Association in Chambersburg.Guilford Township
(Column 02)Summary: The Republican voters of Guilford will meet at Lesher's School House to decide upon a township ticket for upcoming elections.Political
(Column 02)Summary: The "friends of Grant and Curtin" will meet in the town of Scotland on March 7th to make preparations for spring campaigning.Married
(Column 03)Summary: John Robert Hodgson and Miss Mary Susan Shearer, daughter of L. V. Shearer, all of Virginia, were married in Chambersburg on February 27th at the home of the bride's uncle by the Rev. Irving Magee.Married
(Names in announcement: John Robert Hodgson, Mary Susan Shearer, L. V. Shearer, Rev. Irving Magee)
(Column 03)Summary: John W. Elder and Miss Clara Huber, both of Chambersburg, were married in Shippensburg on March 2nd by the Rev. J. Hassler.Married
(Names in announcement: John W. Elder, Clara Huber, Rev. J. Hassler)
(Column 03)Summary: Samuel Holler and Miss Barbara Crider, both of St. Thomas, were married at the Union Hotel on February 27th by the Rev. James M. Bishop.Married
(Names in announcement: Samuel Holler, Barbara Crider, Rev. James M. Bishop)
(Column 03)Summary: Sidney Gledhile of Chambersburg and Miss Kate Yockey of Newville were married on February 20th by the Rev. F. Dyson.Died
(Names in announcement: Sidney Gledhile, Kate Yockey, Rev. F. Dyson)
(Column 03)Summary: Mary Ann Lowry, infant daughter of D. M. and Mary Ann Lowry, died in Quincy on February 25th. She was one month old.Died
(Names in announcement: Mary Ann Lowry, D. M. Lowry)
(Column 03)Summary: Mrs. Frances Frey, wife of George Frey and daughter of George Cook of Upton, died in Carlisle on February 24th. She was 23 years old.Died
(Names in announcement: Frances Frey, George Frey, George Cook)
(Column 03)Summary: George Bartle died near Greencastle on February 20th. He was 83 years old.Died
(Names in announcement: George Bartle)
(Column 03)Summary: Curtis Fortna died at his residence in Letterkenny on February 24th. He was 59 years old.
(Names in announcement: Curtis Fortna)