Impeachment Skullduggery (1868 Version)

The following article appeared in the May 26, 1868 issue of the Alexandria Gazette.

The Investigation

Gen. Butler‘s report of the investigation by the Managers of Impeachment into the influences used upon Senators during the impeachment trial, was presented to the House yesterday. The report was made “for the purpose” of showing the House the necessity of adopting stringent measures to force Woolley, to answer the questions put to him by the committee.” The report takes as its basis the testimony of Thurlow Weed. Mr.Weed states that the first proposition was made to him by a man named Adams, who was introduced to him by Mr. Smythe, the Collector of Customs at New York. Mr. Weed did not like the looks of Adams, and so advised Smythe. About a week subsequent to this, Mr. Wood testifies, a meeting was held at his own room in the Astor House, New York, at which there were present besides Mr. Weed, Mr. Woolley, and “a Kentucky gentleman, with Kentucky habits,” Mr. Smythe, the New York Collector, and Sheridan Shook, an Internal Revenue Collector of New York. At this meeting a project of buying the votes of Senators was discussed, and it was proposed to raise $30,000 for the purpose of purchasing votes for the acquittal of the President, of three Senators. The names of these Senators, whom it was thought might be bought at so low a price, was given by Mr. Weed, but for the present withheld by the committee. [The names of two of” them are said to be Messrs. Pomeroy and Nye.] Mr. Weed does not tell what he thought of this proposal.

Woolley, it is said, was familiar with the President’s counsel, and was in constant.consultation with Cooper, the President’s former Private Secretary, and at present at the Treasury Department; with W. W. Worden, known as ”Data,” of the Baltimore Sun, and during the past month has been constantly in Washington. It is in relation to the disposal of twenty thousand dollars, placed in his’ hands, that Woolley has refused to testify., and for which the committee ask that he shall be arrested and brought before the House for contempt. After his last .examination Woolley sent a certificate of a physician, stating that he was sick and confined to his bed. The same night he took the train to New York, from whence he sent’a telegram to the committee. His friends now say that he is in Washington again.

The telegraphic dispatches form a considerable part of the evidence. The dispatches passed principally between Woolley and his confreres in New York, and relate to the placing of the money at his disposal, to the prospects of acquittal, and are sometimes demands upon Weed or Shook, or an “Albany party” whom Mr. Weed states is one Hastings, employed on Weed’s paper in New York as an editor -to come on to Washington and assist in the negotiations.

In one point only does Mr. Weed appear to have hesitated to tell all he knew. One of the dispatches sent by Woolley nearly all of whose dispatches, by the way, were signed Hooker – to Weed, reads thus; “He will do it. Send on the Albany party if he means business.”

Mr. Weed remembered the dispatch; had ao doubt it referred to the impeachment business; knew who the Albany party was, but was ignorant as to the first part of the dispatch. He professed neither to know who “he” was, nor what “he” was willing to do.

The resolution requiring that Woolley be brought before the bar of tho House for contempt was passed.

After the report, of which the above is a brief abstract, was read, Mr. Brooks energetically denounced the wholesale seizure of private telegrams. He remarked that none of the persons implicated by the report were of the Democratic party, except Woolley. Gen. Adams had never been in the Confederate army, and was, he believed, a Republican.

Mr. Butler made a lame reply, failing to give the names of the Senators inculpated, but not denying that they were Messrs. Pomeroy and Nye ; denying, however, the published account of Col. Cooper’s testimony, but not stating what it was, and complaining that the witnesses had revealed the evidence given by them before the committee.

Mr. Eldridge put several troublesome questions to Butler, which disconcerted him in no light degree; and when the latter was explaining that the committee propose to publish only a part of the private telegrams they had read and inspected, Mr. Brooks asked him if he had copies of the telegrams of Mr. Geo. Wilkes, and the Rev. Theodore Tilton!

Mr. Butler was proceeding to gloss over the fact that this investigation by a secret inquisition was conducted by members of one party altogether, but there was one Republican in the House whose manhood revolted at this infamy. Dr. Baker denounced, as a violation of public justice, that a committee appointed to investigate a matter of great public concern should be composed entirely of the members of one party. If he had to stand alone among the Republicans, he should protest against this injustice. Dr. Baker spoke only two or three minutes, and was interrupted by Butler, who feebly attempted to reply. Mr. Baker declared that he “desired to lift this matter above party.”

Washington, May 25. – In accordance with the resolution adopted by the House this afternoon, a writ was issued by the Speaker for the arrest of C. W. Woolley, for alleged contempt in refusing to answer questions put by the mangers of impeachment. The writ was.placed in the hands of the sergeant-at-arms shortly after the adjournment of the House, and served upon Mr. Woolley tonight.

The attorneys of the respondent are now preparing an answer-to be presented to the House tomorrow, in which Mr. Woolley’s testimony before the managers is recited at length, and charges made against Manager Butler for indecent and indecorous conduct in the course of the examination of the witnesses.

The testimony of the witness, as related in his answer, varies materially from the version given of it in the report by Gen. Butler.

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