« PreviousContinue »
forecasting the great struggle with the slave power, and predicting the ultimate triumph of freedom.
In the interests of historical research and truth, this meeting was called, and this book, its proceedings, is published.
In the arrangement of the program of the meeting the speakers, as far as possible, were selected from the members of the convention, and on account of their identification with and special knowledge of the subject treated by them.
The society is indebted to the S. S. McClure Company and to the Century Company for the permission to use several pictures of the participants in the convention, to the New York Evening Post for copy of letter of John H. Bryant, to the Ohio Archæological and Historical Society for copy of telegrams, to the Chicago Historical Society for the use of their newspaper files; also to Mr. Dwight E. Frink for a drawing of Major's hall, and to the committee of arrangements for the means with which to publish this book.
E. M. PRINCE, Secretary.
Committee on Publication.
Bloomington, I11., Newspaper Accounts of Meeting of May 29, 1900.
REPUBLICAN STATE CONVENTION. Back through the changing years, delving in the records of many decades, the McLean County Historical Society has secured data of one of the most interesting events in the early political history of Illinois. After months of research and tireless endeavor, the results are seen in an anniversary celebration today of the first state convention of the Republican party in Illinois. Out of the agitation against slavery the Republican party was born, gathering to its ranks men from all parties who were moved by the single impulse, the freedom of the black man.
It is the story of the events that led up to the first convention of the new party in Illinois and a recital of the proceedings of that famous gathering held in May, 1856, in Major's hall of this city. Then it was that the famous "Lost Speech” of Abraham Lincoln was delivered, the speech which was so enthralling in its eloquence that the reporters sat with pencils in hand, forgetful of their duties, and failing to take notes.
But the speakers of the celebration can best tell the story of that gathering. They met this afternoon in the Unitarian church a little band of gray headed men, and an audience that filled every seat, listened with the most intense interest to their story of the days before the war. Passion ran high in those days, and friends became enemies in arguing the momentous question of slavery. Parties crumbled to dust in the mighty crucible of public opinion. Neighbors became antagonized and many were martyred on the anti-slavery cross. The feeling grew hotter until cooled by the blood of the thousands in the great Civil War that followed. Every speaker told a tale of thrilling interest and the student of early politics found a mine rich in information. The pages of history could not be made more attractive.—Bulletin (Bloomington, Ill.), May 29, 1900.
FOUNDING OF A PARTY.
The Major Hall Convention-The Birth of the Republican Organization in This City is Commemorated in a Fitting Manner-Social Reunion of Delegates- Associates of Abraham Lincoln Review the Work of
a Political Gathering Held Forty-Four Years Ago. Forty-four years ago yesterday was held in Bloomington a convention that is not only historic, but which helped to make the United States what it is today. At that time was born the great Republican party in Illinois, the party that has given a Lincoln, a Grant, a Logan, and a hundred other great names to liistoryand to the world; a party which has caused the curse of slavery to be wiped off the face of our country and which has scored its triumphs on every page of history for nearly half a century.
It was in commemoration of this event that the McLean County Historical Society decided to hold a special meeting. Preparations have been going on for the past month and the result was yesterday made public at a meeting at the Unitarian church, which was attended by many of the delegates to this old time convention. The attendance was quite large, the majority being gray haired men and women, as was natural considering that the event to be celebrated took place forty-four years ago.
The building was well filled with people from abroad, with Bloomingtonians and with those from the more immediate vicinity. Outside the rain fell, the lightning flashed and the thunder's reverberations were often heard, but inside the church the people sat with bated breath and noiseless attention, while they listened to the aged speakers as they told of the trials and trouble of the beginning of the Republican party.Pantagraph (Bloomington, Ill.), May 30, 1900.