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out the concurrence of two-thirds of the second charge, that the President made members present. Judgment in cases of peace, whereas that power belongs to impeachment shall not extend further than Congress, is more definite, but if we are to removal from office, and disqualification not greatly mistaken, he made it under the to hold and enjoy any office of honour, trust, provisions of an Act intended, no doubt, to or profit under the United States, but the arm Mr. Lincoln, but still operative under party convicted shall, nevertheless, be liable bis successor. The third charge, about and subject to indictment, trial, judgment, the disposition of prizes, seems stronger, the and punishment, according to law.” It is prizes having been frequently returned by at other points that the difficulties begin to the President's own order to their original arise so thickly. Is the President to be tried owners; but here the power of pardon may as President or to be deposed first ? The be pleaded with effect. The only charge words of the Consti ution direct that an which to us, as outside observers, seems impeached officer shall be removed from tenable, is that the President has been office on impeachment for and conviction guilty of a “high misdemeanour” in breakof " such and such offences, and it is almost ing the solemnly pledged faith of the Union certain that the two words are to be read to the negro troops — a charge on which together. Yet how try Mr. Johnson while there would, we believe, be irresistible Chief Magistrate of the Republic, the actual evidence. Impeachment, however, in any master of the most important witnesses - shape is surrounded with difficulties, and the Secretaries of State ?
the Liberals will, we believe, in the end be Then there must be an accusation, and driven back upon a constitutional amendthere are limits to accusations. Impeach- ment. It is quite practicable, if two-thirds ment is only possible for “ treason, bribery, of both Houses and three-fourths of the or other high crimes and misdemeanours,” States can be made to agree, to pass a and it is not settled what those "other high constitutional amendment declaring that crimes ” include. No charge of bribery is Congress shall have the power on a twocontemplated, and treason is defined in the thirds' vote to order that there shall be a Constitution as “ levying war against the new Presidential election for the remainUnited States, or adhering to their enemies, der of any term. This would not be a giving them aid and comfort,” and the removal of the President, but would compel Southerners are not now, technically, at all him to submit his claim to continue in events, “ enemies" of the Union. The office to the people, who, if they agree with President's legal powers are so very large him, will simply reappoint. It would therethat it will be difficult to prove that he has fore remove the objection that the President exceeded them, even in making appoint- was intended to represent the nation, and
or granting pardons, and whatever not Congress. That amendment, morethe charge, it is indispensable that it should over, besides meeting the existing difficulty, be clearly made out. His attack on Con- would bave this further advantage, that it gress as a body “on the verge of the would definitively replace the sovereign Government” might indeed furnish moral power in the Representative Body whenground for an impeachment, for it was in ever the latter is strongly in accord with tended to deprive Congress of its legal the general sentiment of the nation, and so authority, but a President's speech must be abolish the greatest evil inherent in Presiin the nature of things privileged, and to dential as opposed to Parliamentary governtry a ruler for a speech would in any case ment. The power is one wbich it would be contrary to all American instincts. on ordinary occasions be impossible to use, General Butler thinks a case can be made but which would remain as the strongest out of consistent attacks on the Constitu- popular weapon in the legal arsenal, to be tion in making appointments
, Mr. Johnson drawn forth only when the nation was subbeing accustomed to appoint a man on the stantially unanimous and the President last day of the session, and when the Sen- unendurably out of accord with its opinate refuses the nomination to reappoint him ions. A stronger defence against tyranny next day ad interim; but to make the Sen- it would be impossible to frame, or one ate remove a President for an attack on its which could be less perverted by profesown power, is to make it prosecutor and sional politicians. To pass such an amendjudge at once. Besides, though he has ment would be difficult, for it would require overstepped the meaning of the Constitu- the votes of twenty-seven out of the thirtytion, he has not even strained its words, and six States, and the North can rely implicitly the Constitution is always interpreted like only on twenty-three or four; but to gain a text or a penal law. General Butler's the other three will, we fear, be an easier
task than to manage the impeachment of | not unlikely to produce another reaction in the legal head of thirty millions of men. the opposite direction. At least if it be true, They were gained for the amendment abol- as the generally well-informed and sagacious ishing slavery. Should Mr. Johnson, mis- correspondent of the Daily News seems to led by passion, or ignorance, or an immov- think, that the Radicals will really on very able conviction of duty, attempt any overt slender grounds impeach the President, act against Congress, then, of course, im- simply in order to get rid of one who thwarts peachment would be easy, but if he confines their policy, and that in so doing they will himself to his legal power, paralyzes busi- be following the lead of such men as General ness, recognizes the old legislatures in the Butler and Mr. Stephens, we think they are South, and steadily vetoes Northern bills, in far greater danger of shooting an arrow impeachment will, we fear, be a dangerous that will return into their own breast than process, even in the hands of the stern men of attaining their purpose. Nothing is more to whom the elections will entrust the remarkable about the Northern Americans representative power. We do not mean than what we have been frequently tempted dangerous in the sense that they may paradoxically to call their insane. moderaexcite the President to armed resistance. tion. Nothing disgusts them so much as That is the fancy of men accustomed to pushing anything too far in action. Violent consider armies machines. The first order as was the language frequently used during to the army to act against Congress would the war, scarcely any immoderate act was bring Mr. Johnson within the strict letter sanctioned by public opinion throughout it, of the law, and the matter would then be and nothing gave greater general satisfaction very speedily decided. The South cannot than the excessive leniency with which the conquer the North, and the South alone South was treated by Mr. Lincoln on their would be behind the President, who would submission. Mr. Lincoln understood his own in a week find himself without a Northern people well when he told General Sherman officer of mark, with his scattered army that as President he must of course press for resolved not to fire upon the people, and a the active pursuit of Mr. Jefferson Davis, but quarter of a million militiamen who have that if it should somehow happen that Mr. seen service advancing amid enthusiastic Davis escaped, he should certainly not feel approval straight on Washington. But sorry to be relieved from a great difficulty. there would be danger of re-animating the He knew perfectly well that there was a Democratic party, of creating the sympathy constitutional and political danger in not which always follows any neglect of the inflicting a very heavy punishment on the true principles of justice, and of alarming leaders of secession, and yet an excessive every State in the Union with the spectacle disinclination in the North to inflict it. of a central power which to secure a politi- This was the temper in which Mr. Johnson's cal end would strain the ordinary law. Of accession found the United States. Had he all solutions of the question, the best would shown himself thoroughly anxious to reap be the voluntary resignation of the Presi- all possible results from the war, to keep dent; the next best, his enforced resigna- faith with the loyal population of the South, tion under a constitutional amendment; and to protect the North against a similar the next his submission; and the worst, his catastrophe in future, no leniency towards removal under a sentence which large sec- the South, however great beyond the limit tions of the people would undoubtedly of these reserves, would have been received consider unjust. The South would then without real approbation and cordial supseem to be headed by the legal chief of the port. But Mr. Johnson, himself a SouthernUnion, the North only by the creature of er and full of caste prejudices, did not obthe representative bodies.
serve these limits. He showed himself eager to contest even the very lenient terms imposed by Congress, and thoroughly bent
on throwing away the practical fruits of so From the Economist, Oct. 20. much terrible effort. Nay, he went further, THE PROPOSED IMPEACHMENT OF THE and engaged in a vulgar and fierce crusade PRESIDENT.
against the leading party in the lawful legis
lation of the country. He showed himself We fear that the Radical party in America immoderate on the side of former rebels, inhave not sufficiently taken warning by the toxicated against the loyalists of the late reaction which Mr. Johnson has excited in struggle, an I, worst of all, intoxicated his attempt to carry his policy with so vio- against the leaders of the very party which lent and high a hand, and are themselves I had carried the war to a successful issue. The American people were very naturally an incident of constitutional arrangements deeply disgusted, and the recent elections which must be judged on their own general in Pennsylvania and New England show, merits, and could not be overruled to meet we believe, that the policy paraded by the a special difficulty without disastrous results. President has not the vestige of a chance of Thus, as we believe, the Northern people support by the people of the North.
view the case ; and if Mr. Jobnson be imBut now at the critical moment, when the peached, they will look very narrowly indeed Radical leaders might secure the triumph at the alleged illegalities imputed to him, of their policy by opposing a firm and dig- and see if they be illegalities in the broad nified front to the President's rant and folly, sense, implying contempt for the limits imthey seem to be contemplating the only act posed by the constitution on his powers, which could well forfeit them the favour of and a desire to usurp fresh powers, or only the country, an impeachment on insuffi- technical illegalities into which, if he has cient grounds. No doubt it is a great mis- fallen at all, he has fallen without any usurpfortune that a man never elected for, and sing intention. never intended to occupy, the post of Pres. Now, we are told expressly the grounds ident, and absolutely unfit for it, should not i on which it is supposed that a case can be be constitutionally removable by the mere i made out against Mr. Johnson, and we vote of both Houses of Congress. It would i must say they seem to us of the flimsiest be an admirable thing for the American and most inadequate nature.
His real people if they had some means of removing crime is hearty sympathy, with the old an incompetent President instead of suffer- Southern régime, and his wish to restore it ing from his incompetence for at least four without any reference to the welfare either years. But unfortunately this is not so. of the negroes who have been loyal, or of The only ground for removing him is lunacy, the Northern States who have sacrificed so imbecility, or illegal conduct ; and illegal much to upset it. But that is not constituconduct in a matter of such moment as the tionally a crime at all. The crimes of which constitutional removal of a President, must he is accused are these. First, — and this of course be clear, flagrant, and of a charac- the lawyers consider the clearest point ter to render it clear that the laws are not against him, - he has encroached on the safe under bis administration. To remove Senate's right to revise and confirm official a President for an illegality which was a appointments, after a manner of his own. matter of difficult discussion, and decided By the second section of the Constitution, by subtle lawyers with hesitation after all, the President “ shall nominate, and by and would be to weaken the Presidential power with the advice of the Senate, shall apfor the future in a manner which the Amer-point Ambassadors, other public Ministers ican people, who are proud of their strong and Consuls, Judges of the Supreme Court, executive, would never countenance. They and all other officers of the United States would clearly demand evidence either that whose appointments are not herein otherthe President intended to break the law, or, wise provided for.” Again, “ The Presiat least, that he did not care in the heat of dent shall have puwer to fill up all vacancies his political passions, whether he observed that may happen during the recess of the the law or not. If Mr. Johnson was to Senate by granting commissions which shall attempt to ignore Congress, and recognise a expire at the end of their next session." bogus-Congress elected by the South with a Now Mr. Johnson_bas actually worked few additions of Northern democratic dep- these powers in the following certainly uties and senators, then no doubt impeach- irregular way. The President has always ment would fall upon Mr. Johnson as cer- exercised — by what constitutional clause tainly and as swiftly as if he had been all we cannot make out — the right of disalong an ally of the rebellion. But to im- missing from office without reason assigned, peach him on doubtful and questionable as well as appointing to it, and there can legal niceties would, we feel sure, be a gross be no doubt that this has been always suppolitical blunder. The North would be posed to be a Presidential right. In this glad enough to be rid of Mr. Johnson legally custom he has dismissed freely during the if it could, but not at the risk of crippling adjournment of the Senate, and used this its executive ever after. Mr. Johnson can- power to fill up the vacancies thus made not rule beyond March, 1869, and cannot as follows :-(we quote from the letter of do very much mischief between this and the correspondent of the Daily News) :then, except by open defiance of the law, in “ In these [vacancies] he places men who which case he would be at once removed. under the constitution hold their offices At all events, what mischief he may do is until the close of the next session of Congress, the legal supposition clearly being give the President the power of dismissing that by that time the Senate would either office-holders for their party politics at all. have confirmed him or the President would The only clause under which, as far as we have found another man for the place whom can make out, he has a right to dismiss, is it would confirm. But the practice Mr. that which gives him power to see " that Johnson has pursued since his breach with all laws be faithfully executed,” under Congress has been to dismiss functionaries which he would probably have the right to for refusing to support bis policy, and to dismiss for either incompetence or idleness send in a new name on the last day of the or dishonesty, but we should say certainly session. The Senate refuses to confirm, not for political opinion. The Presidential and he then re-appoints the same man to powers in relation to office-bolders have althe office after the Senate adjourns, and ways been very freely construed, and very the commission is good until the close of freely used in the United States, and if the next session, and so on. In fact, the Mr. Johnson has kept, as appears pretty proceeding amounts to a complete nullifi- certain, within the mere letter of the law, cation of the section of the Constitution it would be starting quite a new policy to which requires the concurrence of the Sen- punish him for breaking its spirit, since he ate in appointments, a section which was is almost certainly by no means the first obviously intended to prevent the Presi- offender in this respect. dent from doing what Mr. John
But if this ground for impeachment doing, filling the public service with persons seems very much strained, as we think it entirely dependent upon him. He has does, the other two will have no chance actually, since Congress adjourned, re-ap- whatever. It is said that Congress, having pointed to office thirty persons whom the the right to declare war, has also the right Senate rejected; and hundreds of employés to conclude peace, and that the President are dismissed now every day, whose suc- proclaimed peace without consulting it. cessors are appointed by the President, and But, in fact, it was not like the case of will hold office without the consent of the “ concluding peace” with a foreign nation. Senate until the close of the next session. There was no conclusion of peace. The Considering the enormous patronage which rebellion ceased, and Mr. Johnson chose a the war has thrown into the President's moment when he intimated his belief that hands, there can be no question that this is it had ceased, and if he were wrong, the a most alarming and dangerous usurpation. courts of law, if consulted, might overrule That it is an usurpation there is little doubt his decision as that of any other private amongst lawyers. When the Senate meets person. He might have been in error, but next December, there will probably be he could scarcely be supposed to have inhardly a man left in the public service with fringed the prerogative of Congress in prowhose appointment it has anything to do; claiming the opinion of the executive that and yet nothing is elearer than that the the war-powers had ceased. The last charge Constitution intended that it should judge against him is, that Congress has, by the of the fitness of every employé before he constitution, "power to make rules conwas settled in his place, except such as cerning captures by land and water,” and were unavoidably appointed to accidental that Mr. Johnson has not referred these vacancies occurring during the vacation." questions of prize-money to Congress, but No doubt that is in spirit a real straining of dealt with them by his own authority. the constitutional provision. If Mr. John- Even the lawyers who urge this, evidently son had done this in a few cases only, there hold it as a very questionable point indeed would probably be plenty of precedent for whether this is an illegality, so we need not it; but in doing it systematically, he has no discuss it here. It is clear, as we said bedoubt shown a wish to free himself from fore, that the removal of a President for the restraint of the Senate in the choice of illegal conduct must be based on clear and his office-holders. Still we should think flagrant violation of the laws, and not on a his conduct quite within the letter of the very questionable and doubtful interpretalaw, and party policy has always been tion of it. recognised in America as so legitimate a On the whole, there seems to us absoprinciple of action, even in the appoint- lutely no evidence that Mr. Johnson has ment of office-holders, that it would be very intended to violate the law. Violent in his strong indeed to find a President guilty of passions, he has used all the power which an offence against the law for merely obey- he believed himself to possess on behalf of ing its letter and not its spirit. We doubt his own friends, but that is all; and we are whether the spirit of the Constitution would / very much mistaken if the people of the North will not strongly object to set so im- best interests of the State demanded that portant a precedent as the impeachment of a President who could so degrade his high à President on so weak a case as this, - office should be placed under the most strinwhether, indeed, they will not be tempted gent and effective control. That his interto withdraw their confidence from the party ference in the elections bas been attended which proposes so dangerous a precedent with the worst results is admitted by his for the future.
own adherents ; but we incline to think that even without his intervention the Radical party would have proved substantially
successful. There is no doubt that in many From the London Review, 20 Oct. of the large towns, and especially in trading THE SITUATION IN AMERICA. towns like New York, there was a large
party, possibly a majority, in favour of reTHERE seems no reason to doubt that the ceiving the late Confederate States into result of the elections now going on in the the Union on the easiest possible terms. In United States will be adverse to President these places the interests of trade are paraJohnson and his policy. For this he has in mount to all others, while from tolerably great part to blame bimself. His speeches, obvious causes the unfortunate negro is in and indeed his whole bearing and conduct them rather an object of aversion than of during his recent progress through the care. But the whole course of events, States, were an outrage upon political de- since the first election of Mr. President cency, and a direct defiance to public opin- Lincoln, has proved conclusively that the ion in the North. Had he adopted a concili- political destinies of the North are in the ary tone — had he contented himself with bands not of the traders of the East, but of advocating a generous policy towards the the agriculturists of the West. It was to South, and with insisting upon the advantage the unthinching pertinacity of the latter that of restoring the Union at the earliest possi- the prosecution of the war under most adble period — had he shown the slightest verse circumstances was mainly due; and wish to secure for the conquerors in the late they have a just conviction that to them civil war the legitimate fruits of their vic- more than to any one else its successful tertory in the final settlement of the negro mination is owing. To attain this end they question, it is not impossible that he would made the severest sacrifices, and strained have rallied around him a majority of mod- their energies to the utmost. They have, erate men whom the violence and intemper- therefore, every motive and
incentive ance of the Radical leaders had disgusted to take good care that their victory over and alienated. Instead of doing this, how the slaveholding aristocracy of the South ever, be appeared with scarcely any disguise shall be complete and final. For these, the as the advocate and champion of the South. inhabitants of newly-settled territory – Instead of soothing, he exasperated party igrants either from Europe or from other feeling; and he impressed the Northern portions of the Union — the doctrine of people with a conviction that, while he cared State rights bas little or no value. They little or nothing for their interests or wishes, are citizens not of a State, but of the Unithe sympathized keenly with the feelings and ed States; and although they are undoubtprejudices of those who were lately their edly not without local attachments. they are enemies, and whom they have not yet learnt strictly subservient to a larger patriotism. to regard as friends. By his obstinate ad- They do not want to restore the old Union, herence to the old doctrines of State rights, but to found a new country, and hence, he gave rise to a natural and, indeed, a while they are impervious to most of the well-founded impression, that it was the arguments of the democratic or “ Stateobject, and would be the effect, of his policy rights party, they are firmly convinced of to restore a condition of things which had al- the importance of extirpating every element ways been a fertile source of weakness, and of future dissension, and of depriving those to frustrate the ardent desire of the North- who were but recently in rebellion, of any ern people to consolidate the Union into a means of asserting a quasi-independence. nation. By the outrageous coarseness of It is not likely that men with these views his language, by the violence of his invec- would have listened favourably to a propotives against those who differed from him, sition to readmit the South to the Union, on and by the intolerable egotism in which he terms which amounted to little more than seemed steeped, he threw the worst of his promising to behave well for the future. opponents into the shade, and convinced all Although they mizht not be disposed to inthe respectable portions of society that the sist upon the adoption of negro suffrage