1867 · [Washington, D.C.]
When he wrote this letter, bitterly critical of President Johnson, Republican Congressman Wilson of Iowa was Chair of the House Judiciary Committee. "He used fully his strategic position as chairman to forward abolition and the Union program. War measures that he fathered included the article prohibiting the use of troops in the return of fugitive slaves, enfranchisement of negroes in the District of Columbia...[H]e introduced the original resolution for an abolition Amendment. During the turmoil of Reconstruction he was one of the ablest leaders among the legalistic Radicals." The influential Wilson, despite his dislike of Johnson, had originally opposed calls to impeach him; he voted "against the original impeachment charges, giving an elaborate argument that was sustained by the House." [DAB] He argued that impeachment could only be pursued for a violation of a specific law. But when Johnson fired War Secretary Edwin Stanton in violation of the Tenure of Office Act [a statute of doubtful constitutionality], Wilson agreed to the impeachment. He helped to draw up the Articles of Impeachment and served as one of the two trial managers of the proceedings.
Maurice Wakeman is listed in 1870 Federal Census as a 65-year-old farmer and resident of Fairfield, Connecticut, with a post office in Southport. (Inventory #: 26173)