Instead of cooperating with Congress, by execution of laws passed by it, he has thwarted and delayed their execution, and sought to bring the laws and the legislative power into contempt. Armed by the Constitution and the laws, with vast powers, he has neglected to protect loyal people in the rebel States, so that assassination is organized all over those States, as a political power to murder, banish and maltreat loyal people, and to destroy their property. All these he might have ascribed to alleged want of power, or to difference of opinion in questions of policy, and for these reasons no such charges were exhibited against him, though they affected the peace and safety of the nation. When he adds to those political offenses the willful violations of of a law by the appointment of a high officer during the session of the Senate, and without its consent, and with the palpable purpose to gain possession of the Department of War, for an indefinite time, a case is made not only within the express language of the law a high misdemeanor, but one which includes all the elements of a crime, to wit: a violation of express law, willfully and deliberately done with the intent to subvert the constitutional power of the Senate, and having the evil effect of placing in the hands of the President unlimited power over all the officers of the Government.
This I understand to be the substance of the eleventh article. It contains many allegations which I regard in the nature of the inducement, but it includes within it the charge of the willful violation of law more specifically set out in the second, third, seventh, and eighth articles, and I shall therefore vote for it.
The power of impeachment of all the officers of the Government, vested in the Senate of the United States, is the highest trust reposed in any branch of our Government. Its exercise is indispensable at times to the safety of the nation, while its abuse, especially under political excitement, would subordinate the executive and the judiciary to the legislative department. The guards against such a result are in the love of justice inherent in the people who would not tolerate an abuse of power, and also in the solemn appeal each of us have made to Almighty God to do impartial justice in this cause. We dare not for any human consideration disregard this oath, but guided by conscience and reason will, no doubt, each for himself, render his verdict upon these charges according to the law and the testimony, and without bias from personal, political, or popular influence. This done we may disregard personal consequences and leave our judgment and conduct in this great historical trial to the test of time.