They accused him of treason in contenancing an assault upon the Union
, although they were at the time engaged in laying the foundation of a movement looking to its ultimate overthrow.
The outcome of this undertaking was one of the most thrilling scenes ever witnessed in the American Congress; or, for that matter, in any other deliberative assembly.
Preparations for the affair were made with great elaborateness.
The galleries were filled with the friends, male and female, of pro-slavery Congressmen.
The beauty and chivalry of the South
They had come to witness the abasement of the great enemy of their most cherished institution.
They were to see him driven from the nation's council chamber, a crushed and dishonored man. Not one friendly face looked down upon him as he sat coolly awaiting the attack, and upon the floor about him were few of his colleagues that gave him their sympathies.
The two most eloquent Congressmen from the South
were selected to lead the prosecution.
One was the celebrated Henry A. Wise
, of Virginia
; the other “Tom” Marshall
, of Kentucky
The latter opened the proceedings by offering a resolution charging Mr. Adams
with treasonable conduct and directing his expulsion.
He supported it with a speech of much ingenuity.
followed in a fiery diatribe.
Both speakers imprudently indulged in personal allusions of a somewhat scandalous nature, thus laying themselves open, with episodes in their careers of questionable propriety, to retaliation from a man who thoroughly knew their records.