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ion of the delegates from Pennsylvania and New York, Mr. Clay could not carry either of those States, and without them he could not be elected.» Mr. Weed makes no mention of the plan which was arranged for preventing Clay's success, but he has always been suspected of having intimate knowledge of it, if he was not its author. It was proposed to the convention by a member of the Massachusetts delegation, in the form of a rule directing each delegation to take informal ballots as to candidates until a majority should be recorded for some one candidate, upon which a report of the result should be made to the convention, and the vote of the majority of each delegation should be reported as the vote of that State. This was the origin of the «unit rule,» which has since been used in Democratic conventions in conjunction with the «two-thirds rule.» The effect of this rule was the defeat of Clay and the nomination of Harrison. Weed admits a bargain in favor of Harrison with the friends both of Webster and of Scott, and says the «final vote was intentionally delayed by the friends of the stronger candidate [Harrison] for twenty-four hours » in order to placate the angry friends of Clay, « whose disappointment and vexation found excited expression.» Greeley makes frank admission, in his «Recollections of a Busy Life,» as to the plot, by saying that the parties to it, chiefly Weed, "judged that he [Clay] could not be chosen, if nominated, while another could be, and acted accordingly," adding, "If politics do not meditate the achievement of beneficent ends, through the choice and use of the safest and most effective means, I wholly misapprehend them.>> This somewhat Jesuitical view did not strike Clay and his friends as an adequate justification of the methods by which an admitted majority of the convention had been prevented from expressing its will. John Tyler of Virginia, one of Clay's most ardent friends in the convention, was so overcome with grief at Harrison's nomination that he shed tears; and after several unavailing efforts to get some one else to take the nomination for Vice-President, Tyler was named for it, his tears having convinced the convention that the placing of so devoted a friend of Clay on the ticket would go far to heal the wounds that the methods of the convention had caused. Clay's rage at the outcome was unbounded. He had been assuming in the Senate a lofty indifference to the Presidency, his famous saying, "I would rather be right than be President,» having been made public only a short time before the convention met. There was

nobody in the Senate at that time of sufficiently nimble wit to think of the biting retort which Speaker Reed, many years later, made to a congressman who, for the thousandth time, was strutting about in Clay's cast-off garments, «Don't give yourself the slightest uneasiness; you'll never be either.»> But Clay had given himself great uneasiness, for he was most desirous of the nomination. He had been a candidate eight years earlier, when he had no chance of election, and he believed firmly now that if nominated he could be elected. When the news from Harrisburg reached him in Washington he lost all control of himself. «He had been drinking heavily in the excitement of expectation,» says Henry A. Wise, who was with him. «He rose from his chair, and, walking backward and forward rapidly, lifting his feet like a horse stringhalted in both legs, stamped his steps upon the floor, exclaiming, My friends are not worth the powder and shot it would take to kill them. It is a diabolical intrigue, I know now, which has betrayed me. I am the most unfortunate man in the history of partiesalways run by my friends when sure to be defeated, and now betrayed for a nomination when I, or any one, would be sure of an election.>>>

This view of his own fate was confirmed strangely by subsequent events. He was nominated unanimously by the Whigs in 1844, and defeated at the polls, and was again a candidate for the nomination in 1848, failing to secure it, though his party was successful in the election which followed. He took both defeats very much to heart, saying of the first, in a letter to a friend: «The late blow that has fallen upon our country is very heavy. I hope that she may recover from it, but I confess that the prospect is dark and discouraging.» In regard to the second, he refused to support General Taylor, who had been nominated in preference to himself, saying: «Magnanimity is a noble virtue, and I have always endeavored to practise it; but it has its limits, and the line of demarcation between it and meanness is not always discernible. . . . I think my friends ought to leave me quiet and undisturbed in my retirement. My race is run. During the short time that remains to me in this world I desire to preserve untarnished that character which so many have done me the honor to respect and esteem.»


THE Democratic convention of 1844 is memorable for several reasons. It was the first con


vention to develop a «dark horse,» the first to bring about a nomination by means of a << stampede," and the first to have its proceed ings reported by telegraph. Van Buren, who had been President, and had been defeated in 1840 by Harrison, was the leading candidate, and had a majority of twentysix in the convention. An attempt to defeat the two-thirds rule failed, and from that moment Van Buren's prospects became hopeless. Eight ballots were taken without result, and a great deal of bad feeling was springing up between the supporters of Van Buren and his chief competitor, General Cass. On the eighth ballot forty-four votes were cast for James K. Polk, who had been mentioned modestly up to that time as a possible nominee for Vice-President. His name came before the convention at the moment when the warfare between the rival factions was at its hottest point. A New York delegate had just charged that somebody, name not mentioned, had «<thrown a firebrand into the party,» and was, in fact a «Nero who has come among us, and is now probably fiddling while Rome is falling. Several voices shouted, "John Tyler, and another cried, «We have three Neros.» Great uproar followed, and when the man who had made the original charge left the hall he was accused of throwing a firebrand, and then meanly skulking from the room.» A storm of hisses and groans followed, with earnest demands from time to time for the name of the fiddling Nero. In the midst of the din a delegate from New Hampshire arose, and begged to appear before the convention as the apostle of harmony.» His State had presented to the convention the name of its << favorite son,» but in the interest of harmony she withdrew it and presented that of James K. Polk. A delegate from Maryland, in a voice trembling with emotion, said that one million people are looking with anxiety to this convention, and if their voices could be concentrated they would demand a nomination irrespective of party faction.» Therefore, Maryland would cast her vote for James K. Polk. The «stampede » now began to move. An editor from Ohio, who was a delegate, said that he was ready to make any sacrifice for union and harmony; that he was a friend of Texas [the annexation of Texas was the «firebrand » alluded to], and that, «should the convention give Ohio a candidate in favor of this object, he would pledge that the Lone Star should be blazoned on the Democratic standard in Ohio, and they would lead on to certain victory.» (Tremendous cheering.)

The ninth ballot was begun while the con


vention was at this pitch of harmony and enthusiasm. State after State gave its solid vote to Polk. The New York delegation retired for consultation. While they were out the ballot proceeded till Virginia was reached. The chairman said that Virginia resigned her first choice, Mr. Van Buren, «with a bleeding heart,» but that her chief desire was to «defeat that apostate, Henry Clay, with a tail twenty years long, and a pack of hungry expectants of twenty years' standing dragging after it; to defeat that man Virginia yields, and places her heart upon the altar of her country and her principles.» This remarkable specimen of convention oratory-which finds an echo in much of the latter-day contribution to that portion of our political literaturehit the New York delegation square in the face as it returned to the hall with one Benjamin F. Butler in its front. Mr. Butler at once "responded with all his heart» to the noble words of the gentleman from Virginia, and, acting in accordance with a private letter from Mr. Van Buren, took the «responsibility of withdrawing that honored name in the best interests of the Democratic party.» He begged leave to add that it had been his privilege recently to spend « some happy days under the same roof with the venerable patriot, Jackson, at the Hermitage,» where he had found him «with one eye intent on his final home, to which he was doubtless rapidly gliding, and with the other fixed on his country and her hopes of prosperity.» While occupying this trying position, the venerable Jackson had conveyed to Mr. Butler the fact that Van Buren was his «first choice,» and that he viewed the possible failure to nominate him with «despondency »; still, Mr. Butler had received a letter from him since the convention had been in session, containing a postscript with this pious message to the delegates: «May God bless you, my dear friends, and may He guide all the deliberations of the convention, leading them in union and harmony to act for the best interests of my beloved country.» That completed the work. The «stampede » went on till every vote was recorded for Polk, and the first «dark horse » crossed the line a winner, amid «indescribable enthusiasm.» That there was a carefully laid plot behind this «spontaneous >> movement was quite generally suspected. In commenting upon the outcome, the New York «Evening Post,» which supported Polk's candidacy later, said: «We believe that if the secret history of the convention, from the adoption of the two-thirds rule through its various proceedings, could be written, a large

number of the delegates would stand disgraced in the eyes of their constituents.»>



WEBSTER was an avowed candidate for the Presidency for twelve years or more, but though he sought the nomination from four successive Whig conventions, he was balloted for in only two, and the highest number of votes that he ever received was only one ninth of the total cast. He fell a victim each time to what, in the bitterness of his defeat in 1848, he called the sagacious, far-seeing doctrine of availability.» Thurlow Weed had from the beginning told him, with great frankness, that this was his most serious enemy. Mr. Weed says that he called on Webster at Washington in the spring of 1839, and that Webster said to him, «I think I shall be the Whig candidate.» Weed expressed doubt, and when Webster asked who would be the candidate, replied, "It looks to me like Harrison.» Whereupon Webster exclaimed: «You are misinformed. The party will choose a man with larger civic experience, who is better adapted to the place.» To this Weed replied that the real question was, << Who will poll the most votes?» He then asked Webster if he would consent to be the nominee for Vice-President on the ticket with Harrison, but «Webster would not listen to this.» Eight years later Weed records that he again visited Webster, this time at Marshfield, when the latter greeted him with the inquiry: «Well, how do things look now? I suppose the question still is, Who will poll the most votes?>» «Yes,» replied Weed, "and that man is General Taylor, who will be the next President.» Webster broke out in contemptuous surprise: « Why, Taylor is an illiterate frontier colonel, who has n't voted for forty years!» Weed insisted that Taylor was the man, and again asked Webster to take second place, but Webster again refused, saying: «I shall remain in the field as a candidate for President. I am not a candidate for any other place.»

Both Harrison and Taylor were elected, the result giving very strong evidence that Mr. Weed's faith in the popular strength of availability was «well grounded.» Mr. Webster's contempt for both men was openly displayed, but he consented to accept the position of Secretary of State under the former, and composed for him an inaugural address, which Harrison declined to use, saying that the people would know it was not his, but

Webster's, and he thought it best to give them the one which he had prepared himself. He submitted this to Webster for revision. It had a great deal in it about the Roman republic and proconsuls, and Webster spent nearly an entire day over it. His friend Peter Harvey says in his «Reminiscences >> that when Webster returned to his home, late for dinner, his wife, struck with his worried and tired look, said she hoped nothing had happened, and that Webster replied: « You would think something had happened if you knew what I have done. I have killed seventeen proconsuls as dead as smelts, every one of them!» His opinion of Taylor was no more complimentary, for he spoke of his nomination in a public speech soon after it was announced as one «not fit to be made.» Yet, as Mr. Weed points out, if Webster had humbled his pride and had accepted second place with either of these two men, he would have realized his cherished desire of being President, for each died before the expiration of his term.

Webster's final appearance as a candidate was in 1852. His spokesman in the convention was Rufus Choate, who made a most eloquent speech in support of his candidacy, and did all that could be done to secure his nomination. Yet his highest vote was only 32 in a total of 293. The faithful Peter Harvey, who was at the convention, which sat in Baltimore, went directly to Webster's house in Washington after Scott had been nominated. Webster met him at the door «with an expression of grief,» but said not a word as to the result, merely asking for Mr. Choate. The latter arrived later, and the family sat down to tea. Still not a word was uttered by any one about the convention. Webster and Choate were closeted for an hour or so afterward, and then Choate departed for Boston. Harvey met him there a few days later, when Choate spoke of the interview as one of the most affecting he had ever had, saying that the appearance of the family and everything about the house seemed to remind him of scenes he had witnessed in families which had lost a beloved member, and adding, «and that sad meal which we partook with Mr. and Mrs. Webster reminded me of the first meal after the return from the grave, when the full force of the bereavement seems to be realized.» Upon this funereal household, in the very depths of its gloom, there came strains of jubilant music, and the shouting of an enthusiastic crowd of Washington Whigs, who, in celebrating Scott's nomination, conceived the notion of including Mr.


Webster in their round of visits. They gathered under his windows, and demanded a speech, and would take no refusal, though told repeatedly that he was not well, and had retired for the night. He appeared finally with great reluctance, and in a brief speech, which contained no mention of Scott, said: «Of one thing, gentlemen, I can assure you: that no one amongst you will enjoy a sounder night's sleep than I shall. I shall rise in the morning, God willing, to the performance of my duty with the lark, and though I cannot equal him in sweetness of song, he will not greet the purpling east more joyous and jocund than I.»

He left Washington soon afterward for Marshfield, where a few weeks later he died. Harvey records that he was unable to reconcile himself to Scott's nomination, saying only a few days before his death that Scott, if elected, << would be a mere tool in the hands of the New York Whig regency, headed by William H. Seward»; and adding, «if I had a vote, I should cast it for General Pierce.» His fall was due to himself. He had sought to meet Weed's test of « availability» by abandoning his championship of human freedom, and becoming, not merely the apologist for, but the defender of, slavery. «His character," says Goldwin Smith, in his «Political History of the United States,» «to which the friends of freedom in the North had long looked up, fell with a crash like that of a mighty tree, of a lofty pillar, of a rock that for ages had breasted the waves. Some minds, willing to be misled, he still drew after him, but the best of his friends turned from him, and his life ended in gloom.»


THE Conventions of 1860 brought keen personal disappointment to men in both parties. Douglas, after many years of eager pursuit of the Democratic nomination, succeeded in getting it from only one wing of his party, and under circumstances which made it virtually worthless. Seward, supported by as able and powerful a body of followers as ever candidate had before or has had since, failed to get the Republican nomination when it seemed safe within his grasp. Thurlow Weed found himself, in the Republican convention, in the same condition to which his adroit leadership had brought Clay's friend Tyler in the Whig convention just twenty years earlier; for he says, in his « Autobiography,» that when Seward's defeat came he was completely unnerved,» and «even shed tears.»


George William Curtis, whose eloquent plea against striking from the platform the opening words of the Declaration of Independence had taken the convention by storm, carrying away all opposition like chaff, was scarcely less dejected than Weed, his sad appearance prompting his distinguished colleague and fellow-worker, William M. Evarts, to say, as he slipped his hand through his arm while leaving the convention hall, « Well, Curtis, at least we saved the Declaration of Independence.» Seward was more philosophical than his friends. He sat calmly in his library in Auburn, awaiting the news from the convention. His neighbors were assembled in the village telegraph office, confidently expecting his nomination. When the news of Lincoln's came instead, not one of them had the heart to take it to him. His son, in his «Memoir » of his father, says he knew by their failure to bring good news, that « there was no news that friends would love to bring.» Later, when some one mustered courage to visit him, he was told that no Republican could be found in Auburn who felt like writing the customary paragraph in the evening paper announcing and opposing the nomination. He smiled, and, taking up a pen, wrote a few lines commending the platform, and saying that «no truer or firmer defenders of the Republican faith could have been found in the Union than the distinguished and esteemed citizens upon whom the honors of the nomination have fallen.» In a letter to Weed, written on the same day, he said: "I wish that I was sure that your sense of the disappointment is as light as my own.»>

There were several manifestations of grim humor about the Democratic convention which had so much difficulty in getting a ticket into the field. When it first met in Charleston, S. C., the Northern delegates received a disagreeable intimation of the way in which their party had come under the domination of the slave power. It is recorded, in Garrison's «Life,» written by his sons, that when they tried to march through the streets at night with a military band at their head, which they had brought from New York, they were told that they came under the municipal law of slavery, which forbade band-playing after ten o'clock at night in the streets, since the drums might be mistaken for the dread alarmsignal of a slave uprising. Later, when the adjourned convention reassembled in Baltimore, the temporary flooring above the parquet of the theater in which the sessions were held gave way in the center, and the delegates found themselves sliding down the shelving

sides of a pit into a human maelstrom, from which they were extricated with much difficulty. This the opposition press of the time commented upon as an ominous sign of the forthcoming dropping out of the bottom of the party. In the same sessions at Baltimore Benjamin F. Butler of Massachusetts made a charge that forged tickets of admission had been issued, two of which he exhibited, and declared: «We are overwhelmed with outsiders. I do not propose to sit here under this fraud.» The redoubtable Isaiah Rynders asked Mr. Butler, with much eagerness, where he got the tickets, saying he was anxious to get some of his friends into the convention. Before this question was disposed of it caused a violent altercation between a Mr. Randall and another Pennsylvania delegate, in which the «lie was exchanged with great force and freedom, and after adjournment Randall's son struck his father's opponent a «staggering blow between the eyes,» and the latter responded by "getting one in on young Randall's ear, leveling him to the ground.>>

LINCOLN'S CONFIDENCE OF RENOMINATION. THERE was little of special interest in the conventions of 1864 and 1868. The Democrats were without hope, and the Republican candidates, Lincoln and Grant, were virtually unopposed in the conventions which nominated them. Lincoln was so thoroughly assured of his renomination that he went about his duties as usual, not giving the slightest indication to his associates that he was aware that a convention was in session. He was engaged at the War Department in telegraphic communication with General Grant, who was then in front of Richmond, and the first news which he received from the convention was the announcement that Andrew Johnson had been nominated for Vice-President. «This is strange," he said reflectively, as recorded by Lamon in his «Recollections.» «I thought it was usual to nominate the candidate for President first.» His informant was astonished. Mr. President,» said he, «have you not heard of your own nomination?, It was telegraphed to you at the White House two hours ago."


PROBABLY no more grievously disappointed men ever left a convention than the Adams contingent of the Liberal movement of 1872. They had gone to the Cincinnati convention, which was really nothing but a national massmeeting, confident of their ability to nominate

Charles Francis Adams for the Presidency. Their chances of doing this had been injured seriously by the publication, a few days before the convention met, of a private letter from Mr. Adams, in which he expressed his indifference to the nomination, and said that if he was expected to give any pledges or assurances of his own honesty "you will please to draw me out of that crowd.» The phrase « that crowd » was regarded as somewhat contemptuous, and was used with great effect by the Republican party press to injure the movement. It undoubtedly brought about the defeat of Mr. Adams, though I am assured by Mr. Schurz, who presided over the convention, that the supporters of Mr. Adams felt so confident of his nomination on the sixth, or final, ballot that they refrained from making special effort to secure it. They were dumfounded when, instead of going for Adams, the convention was « stampeded » for Greeley. There have been many accounts given of their feelings when they realized what had happened, but I do not remember ever having seen in print the explanation of their situation which was given by Mr. Isaac H. Bromley, who was an Adams delegate from Connecticut. Mr. Bromley was sitting with the other dejected ones, and was asked what he was going to do next. Heaving a sigh, he said, "I think I will go over and see the other Mammoth Cave in Kentucky.>>


NEXT to Clay, Blaine was a Presidential candidate for a longer period than any other man in our history. His name was before the conventions of 1876, 1880, 1884, 1888, and 1892, a period of nearly twenty years. He failed of a nomination in four conventions, and was nominated in one, only to be defeated at the polls. Until the last trial he maintained his courage, and if he felt bitterness toward his successful rivals he kept it from the public observation. When, in 1876, he came within a few votes of a nomination only to see the prize captured by Hayes, he did not sulk for a moment, but at once sent a telegraphic message to the nominee, offering his « sincerest congratulations,» and saying it << will be alike my highest pleasure, as well as my first political duty, to do the utmost in my power to promote your election.» He was equally prompt and cordial when Garfield was nominated in 1880, and when Harrison was made the candidate in 1888 he telegraphed from Scotland his hearty congratulations,» predicting for his campaign the «triumphant en

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