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