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tongues and kindreds. Nor should this lead to a war upon property or the owners of property. Property is the fruit of labor, property is desirable, is a positive good in the world. That some should be rich shows that others may become rich, and, hence, is just encouragement to industry and enterprise. Let not him who is houseless pull down the house of another, but let him labor diligently and build one for himself, thus by example asserting that his own shall be safe from violence when built.
The politicians who opposed Mr. Lincoln, whether from pure motives or from motives not so pure, met with one common fate: they were almost universally beaten in their own districts by men who, whatever their other incentives, were sufficiently adroit to perceive the sign in which they should conquer. It gave a man all this year a quite unfair advantage in his district to be known as a friend of the President, when his opponent was not equally outspoken; and many of the most radical politicians, seeing in which direction their advantage lay, suddenly turned upon their opponents and vanquished them in the President's name. General Lane, for example, who had been engaged in a bitter controversy with Pomeroy in regard to local interests in Kansas, saw his opportunity in the anti-Lincoln circular of his colleague; and although before this it would have been hard to say which of the two had been most free in his criticisms of the President, General Lane instantly trimmed his sails to catch the favoring breeze and elected himself and a full list of delegates to the Baltimore convention, whom he called, in his characteristic language, "all vindictive friends of the President." Other members of Congress, equally radical and more sincere and honest, made haste to range themselves on the side of the President against those with whom they had been more intimately associated. William D. Kelley of Philadelphia publicly proclaimed him "the wisest radical of us all "; Mr. Ashley of Ohio, to whom one of his abolitionist constituents had objected that he wanted no more of a President who had not crushed a rebellion in four years, replied that this was unreasonable, as the Lord had not crushed the devil in a much longer time.
As the day for the meeting at Baltimore drew near, and its unanimous verdict became more and more evident, the President was besieged from every quarter of the Union with solicitations to make known his wishes in regard to the work of the convention. To all such inquiries he returned an energetic refusal to give any word of counsel or to express any personal desire. During a few days preceding the convention a great many delegates took the road to Washington, either to get some intimation of the President's wishes or
to impress their own faces and names on his expectant mind. They were all welcomed with genial and cordial courtesy, but received not the slightest intimation of what would be agreeable to him. The most powerful politicians from New York and Pennsylvania were listened to with no more confidential consideration than the shy and awkward representatives of the rebellious States, who had elected themselves in sutlers' tents and in the shadow of department headquarters. "What is that crowd of people in the hall ?" he said one day to his secretary. "It is a delegation from South Carolina. They are a swindle." "Let them in," said Lincoln; "they will not swindle me."
When at last the convention came together, on the 7th of June, 1864, it had less to do than any other convention in our political history. The delegates were bound by a peremptory mandate. Mr. Forney, in an article printed the day before the meeting,1 put forth with unusual candor the attitude of the convention towards its constituents. The permanent policy of the Republican party of the nation was already absolutely established by the acts of the President and accepted and ratified by Congress and the people.
For this reason [said Mr. Forney] it is less important as a political body, as it cannot originate but will simply republish a policy. Yet for this reason it is transcendently the more imposing in its expression of the national will. Nor has the convention a candidate to choose. Choice is forbidden it by the previous action of the people. It is a body which almost beyond parallel is directly responsible to the people, and little more than the instrument of their will. Mr. Lincoln is already renominated, and the convention will but formally announce the decision of the people. If this absence of independence lessens the mere political interest of the convention in one respect, the fact that it will thoroughly and unquestionably obey national instructions gives it higher importance.
These words represented the well-nigh universal sentiment among Republicans. There were, of course, those to whom such a sentiment was not agreeable. Horace Greeley found it hard to accept an opinion which ran counter to his personal views. In an article of the same date as that last quoted, although he admitted the predestined action of the convention, he still protested vehemently against the impolicy of such action. He quoted the message sent by Mr. Lincoln to Governor Seymour in the dark winter of 1862-63, "that if he wants to be President of the United
States, he must take care that there shall be a United States."
We could wish [said Greeley] the Presidency utterly forgotten or ignored for the next two months, 1 Philadelphia "Press," June 6.
while every impulse, every effort of the loyal millions should be directed towards the overthrow of the armed hosts of the rebellion. That effected, or its speedy accomplishment proved impossible, we should be ready to enter clear-sightedly on the Presidential canvass. Now we are not. We feel that the expected nomination, if made at this time, exposes the Union party to a dangerous "flank movement "— possibly a successful one.
Among the Democratic newspapers a still
more blind and obstinate disinclination to accept the existing facts is seen up to the hour of the meeting of the convention. They still insisted that the nomination of Lincoln was in the highest degree doubtful; some pretended. that the delegates were equally divided between Lincoln and Grant; others insisted that the nomination of Frémont at Cleveland had electrified the country and would probably carry the convention by storm.
The convention was opened by a brief speech from Senator Morgan of New York, who was chairman of the executive committee. It contained one significant sentence. He said the party of which they were the delegates and honored representatives would fall short of accomplishing its great mission unless among its other resolves it should declare for such amendment of the Constitution as would positively prohibit African slavery in the United States. The sentence was greeted with prolonged applause, which burst at last into three cheers, in the midst of which Governor Morgan announced the choice by the National Committee of Robert J. Breckinridge of Kentucky as temporary chairman of the convention. The venerable Kentuckian on taking the chair made a speech which, though entirely extemporaneous, was delivered with great ease and dignity, and profoundly impressed his
Disregarding the etiquette which assumes that a convention is a deliberative assembly and that its choice cannot be foretold until it is made, he calmly took it for granted at the very beginning of his remarks that the Union candidate for the Presidency was already nominated, and as soon as the tumultuous cheers which greeted his mention of the name of Abraham Lincoln had died away he turned at once to the discussion of what he considered the real business of the day — the declaration of principles. Coming from a section of the country where the Constitution had been especially reverenced in words and vehemently assailed in action, he declared that with all the outcry about our violations of the Constitution this present living generation and this present Union party are more thoroughly devoted to that Constitution than any generation that ever lived under it; but he contended also that
sacred as was the Constitution the nation was not its slave.
We ought to have it distinctly understood by friends and enemies that while we love that instrument, while we will maintain it, and will with undoubted certainty put to death friend or foe who undertakes to trample it under foot; yet, beyond a doubt, we will reserve the right to alter it to suit ourselves from time to time and from generation to generation.
This speech was full of brief and powerful apothegms, some of which were startling as coming from an aged theologian of an aspect. equally strong and benignant.
The only enduring, the only imperishable cement of all free institutions [he said], has been the blood of traitors. . . . It is a fearful truth, but we had as well avow it at once; and every blow you strike, and every rebel you kill, every battle you win, dreadful as it is to do it, you are adding, it may be a year, it may be ten years, it may be a century, it may be ten centuries, to the life of the Government and the freedom of your children.1
Though presiding over a political convention, he declared himself absolutely detached from politics. "As an Abolition party, as a Republican party, as a Whig party, as a Democratic party, as an American party, I will not follow you one foot. As a Union party I will follow you to the ends of the earth, and to the gates of death." He echoed the brief speech in which Governor Morgan had struck the keynote. He said:
I unite myself with those who believe that slavery is contrary to the brightest interests of all men and of all governments, contrary to the spirit of the Christian religion, and incompatible with the natural rights of man. I join myself with those who say, Away with it forever; and I fervently pray God that the day may come when throughout the whole land every man may be as free as you are, and as capable of enjoying regulated liberty. . . [ know very well that the sentiments which I am uttering will cause me great odium in the State in which I was born, which I love, where the bones of two generations of my ancestors and some of my children are, and where very soon I shall lay my own. . . . But we have put our faces towards the way in which we intend to go, and we will go
in it to the end.
In the evening the permanent organization of the convention was effected, William Dennison of Ohio being made chairman. He, also, in a brief and eloquent speech took for granted the unanimous nomination for the Presidency of the United States " of the wise and good man whose unselfish devotion to the country, in the administration of the Government, has secured to him not only the admiration but the warmest affection of every friend of constitutional liberty"; and 1 McPherson, "History of the Rebellion," p. 404.
There were in fact but three tasks before the convention. The first was to settle the status of contesting delegations from the States and Territories; the second, to agree upon the usual platform; and the third, to nominate a candidate for the Vice-Presidency. All of these questions were handled skillfully, and with a spirit of moderation which led to the most successful result in the canvass.
There were no questions of consequence in regard to the delegations of any of the Northern States, nor did any questions arise in regard to those from Kentucky and West Virginia, Delaware and Maryland. There were two delegations from Missouri, both making special claims of loyalty and of regularity of election. The committee on credentials decided that those styling themselves the "Radical Union" delegates should be awarded the seats. As this was the only delegation which had presented itself opposed to the nomination of Lincoln, and as a large majority, not only of the convention, but of the committee on credentials, were of the contrary opinion, their action in admitting the recalcitrant Missourians was sagacious. It quieted at once the beginnings of what might have been a dangerous schism. The question as to admitting the delegates from Tennessee also raised some discussion, but was decided in their favor by more than a two-thirds vote. The delegates from Louisiana and Arkansas were also admitted by a vote nearly as large. The delegates from Nevada, Colorado, and Nebraska were admitted with the right to vote; those from the States of Virginia and Florida, and the remaining Territories, were admitted to the privileges of the floor without the right to vote; and those from South Carolina were rejected altogether.
The same wise spirit of compromise was shown in the platform, reported by Henry J. Raymond of New York. The first resolution declared it the highest duty of every citizen to maintain the integrity of the Union and to quell the rebellion by force of arms; the second approved the determination of the Government to enter into no compromise with the rebels; the third, while approving all the acts hitherto done against slavery, declared in favor of an
amendment to the Constitution terminating and forever prohibiting the existence of slavery in the United States. This resolution was received with an outburst of spontaneous and thunderous applause. The fourth resolution gave thanks to the soldiers and sailors; the fifth applauded the practical wisdom, unselfish patriotism, and unswerving fidelity with which Abraham Lincoln had discharged, under circumstances of unparalleled difficulty, the great duties and responsibilities of the Presidential office, and it enumerated and approved the acts of his Administration. The sixth resolution was of sufficient significance. to be given entire :
eral welfare that harmony should prevail in the Resolved, That we deem it essential to the gennational councils, and we regard as worthy of public confidence and official trust those only who cordially indorse the principles proclaimed in these resolutions and which should characterize the administration of the Government.
This resolution, like the admission of the Missouri radicals, was intended in general to win the support and heal the dissatisfaction of the so-called radicals throughout the Union. Its specific meaning, however, was not entirely clear. There were not many of the delegates who voted for it who would have agreed upon all the details of a scheme for reorganizing the Cabinet. If measures for ostracizing all the objectionable members of the Government had been set on foot in the hall of the convention, it is probable that the name of every member of the Cabinet would have been found on some of the shells. It is altogether likely, however, that the name of the Postmaster-General would have occurred more frequently than that of any other minister. The controversy between his brother and the radicals of Missouri, in which he had, in accordance with his habit and temperament, taken an energetic part, had embittered against him the feelings of the radical Republicans, not only in the West but throughout the North, and his habit of candid and trenchant criticism had raised for him enemies in all political circles.
The seventh resolution claimed for the colored troops the full protection of the laws of war. The eighth declared that foreign emigration should be fostered and encouraged. The ninth spoke in favor of the speedy construction of a railroad to the Pacific coast. The tenth declared that the national faith pledged for the redemption of the public debt must be kept inviolate; and the eleventh declared against the efforts of any European power to establish monarchical governments sustained by foreign military forces in near proximity to the United States.
also a citizen of a border slaveholding State, and had rendered distinguished services to the Union cause. At the first show of hands it was at once evident that the Tennesseean was
stronger than the New Yorker, receiving four more votes than Mr. Dickinson even in the New York delegation. When the votes on the first ballot were counted it was found that Mr. Johnson had received 200, Mr. Hamlin 150, Mr. Dickinson 108; but before the result was announced almost the whole convention turned their votes to Johnson, and on motion of Mr. Tremain of New York his nomination was declared unanimous. The work was quickly done. Mr. Lincoln, walking over to the War Department in the afternoon as usual for military news, received the dispatch announcing the nomination of Andrew Johnson before he was informed of his own. The telegram containing the news of his own nomination had gone to the White House a few minutes before.
In the evening the National Grand Council of the Union League came together. A large proportion of the members had participated in the National Convention, and their action was therefore a foregone conclusion. They adopted a platform similar to that of the convention, with the exception that they declared, as the Cleveland people had done, in favor of the confiscation of the property of rebels. They heartily approved and indorsed the nominations already made, and passed a resolution to the effect that as Lincoln and Johnson were the only candidates who could hope to be elected as loyal men, they regarded it as the imperative duty of the Union League to do all that lay in its power to secure their election. They also earnestly approved and indorsed the platform and principles adopted by the convention, and pledged themselves, as individuals and as members of the League, to do all in their power to elect the candidates. The seal of secrecy was removed from this action and a copy of the resolution transmitted to the President by W. R. Erwin, the Grand Recording Secretary.1
A committee, headed by Governor Dennison, came on the next day 2 to notify the President of his nomination.
I need not say to you, sir [said Mr. Dennison], that the convention, in thus unanimously nominating you for reelection, but gives utterance to the almost universal voice of the loyal people of the country. To doubt of your triumphant election would be little short of abandoning the hope of the final suppression of the rebellion and the restoration of the authority of the Government over the insurgent States.
The President answered:
I will neither conceal my gratification nor restrain the expression of my gratitude that the Union people, VOL. XXXVIII.— 54. '
through their convention, in the continued effort to save and advance the nation, have deemed me not unworthy to remain in my present position. I know no reason to doubt that I shall accept the
nomination tendered; and yet perhaps I should not what is called the platform. I will say now, however, declare definitely before reading and considering approve the declaration in favor of so amending the Constitution as to prohibit slavery throughout the nation. When the people in revolt, with a hundred days of explicit notice that they could within those days resume their allegiance without the overthrow of their institutions and that they could amendment to the Constitution as is now proposed became a fitting and necessary conclusion to the final success of the Union cause. Such alone can meet and cover all cavils. Now the unconditional Union men, North and South, perceive its importance and embrace it. In the joint names of Liberty and Union, let us labor to give it legal form and practical effect.
not so resume it afterwards, elected to stand out, such
On the same day a committee of the Union of the action taken the night before. The League presented themselves to inform him President answered them more informally, saying that he did not allow himself to suphad concluded that he was either the greatest pose that either the convention or the League or the best man in America, but rather that
they had decided that it was not best "to swap the throngs of shouting and congratulating horses while swimming the stream." All day delegates filled all the approaches to the Executive Mansion. In a brief speech at night, in answer to a serenade from citizens of Ohio,
the President said:
What we want, more than Baltimore conventions or Presidential elections, is success under General Grant. I propose that you constantly bear in mind that the support you owe to the brave officers and soldiers in the field is of the very first importance, and we should therefore bend all our energies to that point.
He then proposed three cheers for General Grant and the officers and soldiers with him, and, swinging his own hat, led off in the cheering.
The more formal notification of the convention was made in a letter written by George William Curtis of New York, in which he paraphrased the platform and expressed the sentiment of the convention and of the people of the country with his usual elegance and force.
They have watched your official course, therefore, with unflagging attention; and amid the bitter taunts of eager friends and the fierce denunciation of enemies, now moving too fast for some, now too slowly for others, they have seen you throughout this tremendous contest patient, sagacious, faithful, just; leaning upon the heart of the great mass of the people, and satisfied to be moved by 1 MS. 2 Thursday, June 9.