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tinct and successive schisms), and of Anti-Slavery Americans. It had also recruits in fact and in expectancy from the conservative Americans and the old-line Whigs. To consolidate these groups, not yet used to working together, and to gain further accessions, Mr. Seward did not seem to a majority of the delegates to be the most promising candidate that could be found. He had been long a public man, writing and speaking much, from the days of his epistolary controversy with the Governor of Virginia onward, and had placed himself among the foremost of those called radicals. Old prejudices thus engendered had been persistently nursed, and were not to be at once overcome. “Americans” complained that he was on too cordial terms with Archbishop Hughes, and alleged that he had made unallowable submissions to foreign and Roman Catholic influences. His course on other questions Anti-Masonry and Anti-rentism in particular — as well as his ultra position in regard to slavery, had alienated from him a portion of his late party in his own State. The division into Seward Whigs and Fillmore Whigs, with the consequent prolonged altercations, had left antagonisms somewhat allayed, but not extinguished. There were objections, also, to certain New York political methods, and to what was deemed an unseemly lobbyism at Albany, assumed by some (however unjustly) to be in danger of finding shelter or toleration at Washington, should Mr. Seward become President.
Certain States that must be carried in order to succeed in November were declared by men entitled to be heard as almost sure to be lost with Mr. Seward as the candidate. This was especially true of Pennsylvania and Indiana, whose State officers were to be chosen in October, and each of which had gone Democratic in that month in 1856, with fatal effect. Pennsylvania intended to give Mr. Cameron merely a complimentary vote, a large majority of the delegates looking elsewhere than to Mr. Seward for their real choice. New Jersey, another of the doubtful States, named Mr. Dayton under like circumstances; while Indiana, at one time counted upon for Judge Bates, had early decided to support Lincoln from the first. This happened quite naturally. In Indiana Lincoln was not only well known to members of the bar and largely to the people, but he had served in Congress with Caleb B. Smith, a leading delegate from that State, and was personally on quite friendly terms with him. Mr. Smith had been originally in favor of Lincoln's nomination, though not openly committed before going to Chicago. Indiana was only less zealous in that behalf than Illinois. This fact had its influence with Pennsylvania. In the eastern part of that State, especially in Philadelphia, there was a preference for Judge McLean. There the American and Conservative influences, which it was a special object to unite on Andrew G. Curtin, already nominated for Governor, were strongly opposed to Mr. Seward. The pressure from this quarter — Mr. Curtin himself being present at Chicago and very active — was a potent one in constraining other States. Western Pennsylvania was more inclined to Mr. Seward or Mr. Wade, in sympathy with Northern Ohio. The eastern delegates nearly carried their point of naming Judge Bates, at a private consultation, as Pennsylvania's
second choice; but the western members of the delegation concentrated on Lincoln, who had a small majority over Judge Bates. It came to be understood in good time that there were delegates from Massachusetts, Maine and Vermont, who, not unfriendly to Seward, would humor the Pennsylvanians by going over to Lincoln, but not to McLean or Bates.
When, on the second roll-call of States in convention, the chairman of the Pennsylvania delegation responded for his State,“ Pennsylvania casts fifty-four votes for Abraham Lincoln of Illinois,” the effect was electric. A new outburst of noisy demonstration followed. Other States fell in line, more or less unitedly, until at the close Lincoln had only three or four votes less than Seward. The way of concentrating opposition to the latter had been found.
One other circumstance is not to be forgotten. As against Douglas, the canvass of 1858 had shown that Lincoln could carry Illinois, strongly Democratic of old and now a close State at best; but whether another candidate could do so in the present canvass was doubt ful. The doubt was not diminished by what had happened three weeks before at the Charleston Democratic National Convention. No one carefully considering the matter can fail to discern that during the past six years, in his speeches, in his debates with Douglas, and by his personal efforts, Lincoln had done more effective work towards bringing what remained of the old Whig party and all the other elements of opposition into the Republican organization, and in concentrating its purposes on what was fundamental in its origin, than any or all of his competitors at the Chicago Convention. He was naturally and rightfully its choice. His nomination consolidated and saved the Republican party.
To Lincoln himself, quietly waiting at Springfield, the event was not altogether a surprise. The first vote confirmed his previous impression that the choice lay between Mr. Seward and himself. The second ballot he construed as pretty surely indicating what the third speedily settled. Pending the latter, he had stepped into the Journal office, where many were now anxiously expecting the next words from the Convention. A friend brought him, in a few moments, a written message, and called for three cheers for the next President. With manifest emotion he stood silent for a brief time, then withdrew through the midst of cheering crowds to take the news, he said, to "a little woman down at the house." It was the loyal impulse of a loving heart.
The town grew more and more exultant as the news rapidly spread. A hundred guns were fired with zealous promptitude. A ratification mass meeting, with bonfires and illuminations, was extemporized in the evening, and the multitude on its adjournment moved to the house of the nominee, who there spoke a few words in response to congratulations and cheers, and invited in all who could find room. Coming and going until after midnight, all found an opportunity to press the hand which was ever after to be so busy and often sorely weary.
On Saturday a committee of one from each State, on behalf of the Convention, and accompanied by its presiding officer, met Lincoln in the same house, where all had been so quiet when this week began, to give him formal notice of his nomination. He replied to Mr. Ashmun's brief address in tones of voice more than yesterday of the minor, melancholy kind peculiar to his darker moods.
Deeply and even painfully sensible of the great responsibility which I could almost wish had fallen upon some one of the far more eminent and experienced statesmen whose distinguished names were before the Convention, I shall, by your leave, consider more fully the resolutions of the Convention, denominated the platform, and, without unnecessary delay, respond to you, Mr. Chairman, in writing, not doubting that the platform will be found satisfactory, and the nomination gratefully accepted. And now I will not longer defer the pleasure of taking you, and each of you, by the hand.
His letter of acceptance had a brevity which has gone out of fashion with nominees in these latter days:
SiR-1 a hich you of yourse
SPRINGFIELD, ILL., May 23, 1860. Hon. Geo. Ashmun, President of the Republican National
SIR-I accept the nomination tendered me by the Convention over which you presided, and of which I am formally apprised in the letter of yourself and others, acting as a committee of the Convention for that purpose.
The declaration of principles and sentiments which accompanies your letter meets my approval, and it shall be my care not to violate or disregard it in any part.
Imploring the assistance of Divine Providence, and with due regard to the views and feelings of all who were represented in the Convention; to the rights of all the States and Territories and the people of the nation ; to the inviolability of the Constitution, and to the perpetual union, harmony and prosperity of all, I am most happy to co-operate for the practical success of the principles declared by the Convention. Your obliged friend and fellow-citizen,