Page:Essays on the Civil War and Reconstruction.djvu/290
THE IMPEACHMENT AND
The questions, therefore, to which our attention will be confined are such as arose in connection with the removal of Stanton and the appointment of Thomas, and the relation of these acts to the constitution and the laws. What these questions were will appear from the President's formal reply to the articles presented by the House. To the first article the response  was substantially as follows: Stanton was appointed by Lincoln, and commissioned, under the act of 1789 establishing the War Department, to hold his office during the pleasure of the President. For the conduct of this department the President, as chief executive, is, under the constitution, responsible. A sense of this responsibility contributed to the conviction in the mind of the President, in August, 1867, that Stanton should no longer continue in the office. An additional ground for this conviction was the fact that the relations between Stanton and the President no longer permitted the latter to resort to the secretary for advice, as was his constitutional right. He had accordingly suspended Stanton from office, not under the Tenure-of-Office Act, till the next meeting of the Senate (and now is revealed the true bearing of the President's silence, before mentioned, in respect to his authority for the suspension), but indefinitely, and at the pleasure of the President, under the belief that the power of removal confided to the executive by the con-
- Trial, p. 12.