BATTLE WITH SLAVERY
This is one of the last great battles with slavery. Driven from these legislative Chambers; driven from the field of war, this monstrous power has found a refuge in the Executive Mansion, where, in utter disregard of the Constitution and laws, it seeks to exercise its ancient far-reaching sway. All this is very plain. Nobody can question it. Andrew Johnson is the impersonation of the tyrannical Slave Power. In him it lives again. He is the lineal ancestor of John C. Calhoun and Jefferson Davis. And he gathers about him the same supporters. Original partisans of slavery North and South; habitual compromisers of great principles; maligners of the Declaration of Independence politicians without heart; lawyers, for whom a technicality is everything, and a promiscuous company who at every stage of the battle have set their faces against Equal Rights; --these are his allies. It is the old troop of slavery, with a few recruits, ready as of old for violence --cunning in device and heartless in quibble. With the President at their head, they are now entrenched in the Executive Mansion.
Not to dislodge them is to leave this country a prey to one of the most hateful tyrannies of history. Especially is it to surrender the Unionists of the rebel States to violence and bloodshed. Not a month, not a week, not a day should be lost. The safety of the Republic requires action at once. The lives of innocent men must be rescued from sacrifice.
I would not in this judgment depart from that moderation which belongs to the occasion; but God forbid that, when called to deal with so great an offender, I should affect a coldness which I cannot feel. Slavery has been our worst enemy, murdering our children, filling our homes with mourning, and darkening the land with tragedy; and now it rears its crest anew with Andrew Johnson as its representative. Through him it assumes once more to rule the Republic and to impose its cruel law. The enormity of his conduct is aggravated by his barefaced treachery. He once declared himself the Moses of the colored race. Behold him now the Pharaoh. With such treachery in such a cause there can be no parley. Every sentiment, every conviction, every vow against slavery must now be directed against him. Pharaoh is at the bar of the Senate for judgment.
The formal accusation is founded on certain recent
transgressions, enumerated in articles of impeachment, but it is wrong
to suppose that this is the whole case. It is very wrong to try this
impeachment merely on these articles. It is unpardonable to higgle
over words and phrases when for more than two years the tyrannical pretensions
of this offender, now in evidence before the Senate, as I shall show, have
been manifest in their terrible, heartrending consequences.