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or from personal considerations, does not appear. He withdrew his name from the list of candidates before the people in September, after it became evident to everybody that his position was a damage to the national cause, administering a parting thrust at Mr. Lincoln in the words: “In respect to Mr. Lincoln, I continue to hold exactly the sentiments contained in my letter of acceptance. I consider that his administration has been politically and financially a failure, and that its necessary continuance is a cause of regret for the country." General Fremont, an old favorite of the republican party, and a man who virtually claimed to be a better republican than the majority of his party, said this, and said it with a purpose, or, wantonly, without a purpose, when he knew that the alternative of Mr. Lincoln's election was the election of General McClellan, on a peace platform, supported by such patriots as Fernando Wood and Clement L. Vallandigham.
Four days before the date appointed for the assembling of the Baltimore Convention, a meeting was held in New York to do honor to General Grant. The General had not then concluded the war, and had not, in fact, met with decisive successes with the army of the Potomac. There was no special occasion for the meeting, except to influence the Baltimore Convention in the selection of a candidate. To cover their real intent, they invited Mr. Lincoln to attend; and he sent the following letter in response:
“Gentlemen-Your letter inviting me to be present at a mass meeting of the loyal citizens, to be held at New York on the fourth,inst., for the purpose of expressing gratitude to Lieutenant-general Grant for his signal services, was received yesterday. It is impossible for me to attend. I approve, nevertheless, whatever may tend to strengthen and sustain General Grant and the noble armies now under his direction. My previous high estimate of General Grant has been maintained and heightened by what has occurred in the remarkable campaign he is now conducting; while the magnitude and difficulty of the task before him does not prove less than I expected. He and his brave soldiers are now in the midst of their great trial; and I trust that, at your meeting, you will so shape your good words that they may turn to men. and guns moving to his and their support.
* Yours truly,
The cordial tone of the President toward the General, effectually neutralized the object of the meeting; and, when the Baltimore Convention met, on the eighth of June, there was no name but that of the President that found adherents. Many of the delegates had come instructed to vote for him, from the conventions which sent them. Rev. Robert J. Breckinridge of Kentucky, a stern and eloquent old Unionist, was chosen temporary chairman; and Hon. William Dennison of Ohio was elected to be the permanent president of the convention. On the following day, Mr. Henry J. Raymond of New York, as chairman of the committee on resolutions, presented the platform, which was adopted with warm approval, and with entire unanimity. It pledged the convention, and those it represented, to aid the government in quelling by force of arms the rebellion then raging against its authority; approved the determination of the government not to compromise with rebels in arms; indorsed the acts and proclamations against slavery, and advocated a constitutional amendment abolishing it; returned thanks to the soldiers of the Union armies, and declared that the nation owed a permanent provision for those disabled by the war; approved of the administration of Mr. Lincoln and the acts and measures which he had adopted for the preservation of the nation against its open and secret foes; 'declared that the government owed protection to all its soldiers, without distinction of color; affirmed that the national faith, pledged for the redemption of the public debt, must be kept inviolate; and expressed approval of the position taken by the government that the people of the United States can never regard with indifference the attempt of any European power to overthrow by force, or to supplant by fraud, the institutions of any republican government on the Western Continent.
After the adoption of the resolutions, came the ballot for a presidential candidate. At the first ballot, every vote was given for Mr. Lincoln, except the twenty-two from Missouri which, under instructions, were given for General Grant; but the nomination was made unanimous on the motion of one of
the Missouri delegates. Mr. Hamlin, the incumbent of the vice-presidential office, though an able and excellent man, was, from motives of policy, not regarded by many as the best candidate for that office; and Andrew Johnson of Tennessee received the nomination.
A single resolution in the platform, to which no allusion is made in the foregoing summary of its leading features, covertly demanded a change in the cabinet.
The words, “We deem it essential to the general welfare that harmony should prevail in our national councils, and we regard as worthy of confidence and official trust those only who cordially indorse the principles proclaimed in these resolutions," were intended as an intimation that the convention would like to have the President dismiss the Postmaster-general, Montgomery Blair. The resolution was probably a concession to the Loyal Leagues, which, originally friendly to the nomination of Mr. Chase, took up the differences which were understood to exist between these two members of the cabinet, and demanded that Mr. Blair should retire. A committee consisting of John M. Ashley, John Covode and George S. Boutwell, waited upon the President, on one occasion, to urge Mr. Blair's dismissal; and on that occasion Mr. Lincoln said that, if he should be re-elected, he should probably make some changes in his cabinet-a reply which they took as an assent to their request, and so reported to the body that sent them. When the resolution in question appeared in the platform, Mr. Blair, understanding it, placed his resignation in the hands of the President, who delayed his acceptance of it until circumstances rendered the step desirable.
Washington was but a short distance from Baltimore; and Governor Dennison, the president of the convention, waited upon Mr. Lincoln, accompanied by a committee, to inform him of his nomination. After receiving the formal address of that gentleman, with a copy of the resolutions which had been adopted, Mr. Lincoln said:
“Having served four years in the depths of a great and yet unended national peril, I can view this call to a second term in nowise more flat
tering to myself than as an expression of the public judgment that I may better finish a difficult work, in which I have labored from the first, than could any one less severely schooled to the task. In this view, and with assured reliance on that Almighty Ruler who has so graciously sustained us thus far, and with increased gratitude to the generous people for their continued confidence, I accept the renewed trust, with its yet onerous and perplexing duties and responsibilities.”
During the same day, the President was waited upon by a committee of the Union League, which came with a tender of the congratulations, and a pledge of the confidence and support, of that organization; and, in the evening, by the Ohio delegation in the convention. To both these deputations he addressed brief remarks, in the spirit of those quoted as addressed to the committee of the convention. Some days subsequently, he received the formal notification, by letter, of his nomination, to which, on the twenty-seventh of June, he replied as follows:
“Gentlemen :-Your letter of the fourteenth inst., formally notifying me that I have been nominated by the convention you represent for the Presidency of the United States, for four years from the fourth of March next, has been received. The nomination is gratefully accepted, as the resolutions of the convention, called the platform, are heartily approved. While the resolution in regard to the supplanting of republican governments upon the Western Continent is fully concurred in, there might be misunderstanding were I not to say that the position of the government in relation to the action of France in Mexico, as assumed through the State Department, and indorsed by the convention among the measures and acts of the Executive, will be faithfully maintained so long as the state of facts shall leave that position pertinent and applicable. I am especially gratified that the soldier and seaman were not forgotten by the convention, as they forever must and will be remembered by the grateful country, for whose salvation they devote their lives,
“Thanking you for the kind and complimentary terms in which you have communicated the nomination and other proceedings of the convention, I subscribe myself, 6 Your obedient servant,
6 ABRAHAM LINCOLN.”
I was still more than two months before the assembling of the Democratic Convention, announced to be held at Chicago on the twenty-ninth of August. This convention had been deferred, with the confident expectation, if not the hope, that the events of the war would prepare the people to accept a peace policy, and leave the party free to take direct issue with the administration. During this interval, a peculiar change came over the spirit of the friends of Mr. Lincoln. Opening the campaign with perfect confidence concerning the results, a feeling of distrust and doubt crept over them; and, without any apparent cause, the thought became prevalent that a mistake had been made in the nomination. This arose partly from the consciousness that the country was really tired of a war of which they saw neither the end nor the signs of its approach; and partly from the uncertainty which prevailed concerning the action of the Democratic Convention, which was pretty sure to be based upon the results of military movements in progress, and of dubious issue. It was one of those strange and unaccountable contagions of public feeling and opinion which start, no man knows where; lead, no man knows whither; and die, at last, by no man's hand. Men did not catch it from newspapers, did not contract it from speeches, did not imbibe or absorb it in facts; but, simultaneously and universally, the friends of the administration were affected with a distrust of the future and a doubt of the wisdom of their choice.
There were still divisions in their ranks, but these were not formidable. Occasion was taken by the opposition press to magnify every mistake of the President and to condemn every doubtful measure. One Arguelles, convicted in Cuba of selling part of a cargo of negroes, illicitly landed, which, as an officer of the Spanish army, he had captured, was permitted to be taken from New York, and carried back to the island. This act a thoroughly righteous one in the light of humanity and justice—was regarded by the opposition as a denial of the right of asylum; and a good deal of disturbance was created by it.
Early in July, Congress completed its action upon a plan of reconstruction, which it embodied in an elaborate bill. In