Page images
PDF
EPUB

Republican National Convention.

The Ballot.

Mr. Lincoln Nominated.

on the slavery question, and the great party would thus be disrupted. Another convention, claiming to represent, in a peculiarly individual manner, the party in favor of the Constitution and the Union, had met at Baltimore and put in nomination John Bell, of Tennessee, and Edward Everett, of Massachusetts.

The aspect seemed favorable for the election of the Republican candidates, and that convention, on the morning of the 18th of May—one day having been spent in organizing and another in the adoption of a platform of principles—amid the intense excitement of the twelve thousand people inside of the “Wigwam" (as the building was styled in which the body was in session), voted to proceed at once to ballot for a candidate for President of the United States.

Seven names were formally presented in the following order: William H Seward, of New York; Abraham Lincoln, of Illinois ; William L. Dayton, of New Jersey; Simon Cameron, of Pennsylvania; Salmon P. Chase, of Ohio; Edward Bates, of Missouri; and John McLean, of Ohio.

On the first ballot Mr. Seward received 173 votes, Mr. Lincoln 102, Mr. Cameron 50, Mr. Chase 49, Mr. Bates 48, Mr. Dayton 14, Mr. McLean 12, and there were 16 votes scattered among candidates not put in nomination. For a choice, 233 votes were required.

On the second ballot (Mr. Cameron's name having been withdrawn) the vote for the several candidates was as follows: Mr. Seward 184, Mr. Lincoln 181, Mr. Chase 42, Mr. Bates 35, Mr. Dayton 10, Mr. McLean 8, scattering 4.

The third ballot was immediately taken, and, when the call of the roll was ended, the footings were as follows: For Mr. Lincoln 231, Mr. Seward 180, Mr. Chase 24, Mr. Bates, 22, all others 7. Immediately before the result was announced, four Obio delegates changed their votes to Mr. Lincoln, giv. ing him a majority.

The scene which followed—the wild, almost delirious out

Wild Applause.

The Committee.

The Response.

burst of applause within and without the building, the congratulations, the band-shakings, the various manifestations of joy, continued with scarcely any interruption for some threequarters of an hour—was probably never before witnessed in a popular assembly.

The nomination having been made unanimous, the ticket was completed by the selection of Senator Hannibal Hamlin, of Maine, as Vice-President.

The country tben felt that the right man had for once been put in the right place. As a man of the people, in cordial sympathy with the masses, Mr. Lincoln enjoyed the unhesitating confidence of the sincere friends of free labor, regardless of party distinctions. His tried integrity and incorruptible honesty gave promise of a return to the better days of the republic. Every man, laboring for the advancement of his fellow, knew that in him humanity, irrespective of race or condition, bad a tried and trusty friend.

The committee, appointed to apprise him of his nomination, found him at his home, in Springfield, a frame two-storied house, apparently about thirty-five or forty feet square, standing at the corner of two streets. After entering the parlor, which was very plainly furnished, though in good taste, a brief address was made by the chairman of the convention, upon the utterance of the first sentence of which a smile played round Mr. Lincoln's large, firm-set mouth, his eyes lit up, and bis face conveyed to those who then for the first time met bir, an impression of that sincere, loving nature which those who had known him long and well had learned in some measure to comprehend and revere.

In response to this address, Mr. Lincoln said :

“MR. CHAIRMAN AND GENTLEMEN OF THE COMMITTEE : I tender to you, and through you to the Republican National Convention, and all the people represented in it, my profoundest thanks for the high honor done me, which you now

The Response.

The Nomination Accepted.

Platform Approved

formally announce. Deeply, and even painfully sensible of the great responsibility which is inseparable from this high honor—a responsibility which I could almost wish had fallen upon some one of the far more eminent men 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 and unreasonable 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."

In reply to the formal letter of the President of the Convention, apprising him of the nomination, Mr. Lincoln addressed the following:

Springfield, Ilinois, May 23d, 1860. “ Hon. GEORGE ASHMAN, President of the Republican Na

tional Convention. “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 repre. sented in the Convention; to the rights of all the States and Territories, and people of the nation ; to the inviolability of the Constitution, and the perpetual union, harmony and prosperity of all, I am most bappy to co-operate for the practical success of the principles declared by the Convention, "Your obliged friend and fellow-citizen,

A BRAHAM LINCOLN."

Elected President.

The Electoral Vote.

The coming Storm.

The breach in the Democratic party, threatened at Charleston, was subsequently effected by the nomination of Stephen A. Douglas and Herschel V. Johnson, of Georgia, by one wing, and of John C. Breckinridge, of Kentucky, and Joseph Lane, of Oregon, by the other.

Although the election of Mr. Lincoln was, under the cir cumstances, almost a foregone conclusion, yet the canvass which ensued was acrimonious and vindictive in the extreme, the choicest selections from the rank Billingsgate vocabularies being lavished on the head of Mr. Linclon and his supporters.

On the 6th of November, 1860, Mr. Lincoln received 1,866,452 votes, securing the electoral votes of the States of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, California, Oregon, and four votes of New Jersey, 180 in all ; Douglas, 1,375,157 votes, and the electoral votes of Missouri, and three of New Jersey, 12 in all; Breckenridge, 847,953, and the votes of Maryland, Delaware, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Texas, 72 in all; and Bell, 590,631, and the votes of Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee, 39 in all.

And now was to be tested whether words were to ripen into deeds—whether threats would be reduced to practicewhether, indeed, there were madness enough in any State or States to attempt the life of the republic. Unfortunately, a short space of time elapsed before all doubts were at an end. Men were to be found—not confined to a single State, but representatives of nearly, if not quite all—not to be counted by scores or hundreds even, but by thousands, and soon by tens of thousands—ready to lay their unhallowed hands upon the Union, the ark of our nation's glory and strength.

To South Carolina belongs the bold, bad eminence of taking the initiation in this conspiracy against the interests of humanity. While this State-doomed forever after to an President Buchanan’s Pusillanimity. South Carolina Secedes. Attempts at Compromise. ignominy from which centuries of unquestioned loyalty cannot sree her—was taking the requisite steps toward secession, the then President, James Buchanan, with a pusillanimity to use no stronger term—which modern history certainly has never paralleled, in his annual message, after having urged the unconstitutionality of the proceeding, gave explicit notification that he had no constitutional power to prevent the proposed measures being hastened to successful completion. Neither, though appealed to, at a still earlier day, by the veteran chief of the army, to occupy and hold the United States on the Southern coast, could he find any warrant for protecting and defending the national property.

Surely nothing more could the conspirators have desired. On the 20th of December, 1860, South Carolina claims to secede — Government forts and arsenals are seized, and placed under the protection of the flag of the State. Georgia's Governor lays band on the United States forts on the coast of that State, on the 3d of January, 1861; as did the Executive of Alabama on the following day.

Events of a startling nature follow in rapid succession. On the 9th of January, hostile shots are fired upon a vessel bringing tardy reinforcements to Fort Sumter, and Mississippi assumes to put herself out of the Union. Alabama, Florida, and Georgia are not laggard ; nor are Texas and Louisiana found wanting. Cabinet officers from the slave States either resigned, after having aided the fell work to their utmost, or remained only to basten its consummation. A new constitution, " temporary" in its nature, was declared by delegates from the seven States then in rebellion, and a President and Vice-President appointed.

Meanwhile a convention, composed of delegates from most of the Free States, and from all the border Slave States, was striving, at Washington, to heal existing difficulties by com. promise. Of its members some were acting in good faith, others were using it as a breakwater for the States already

« PreviousContinue »