Page images
PDF
EPUB

those sophistical contrivances wherewith we are so industriously plied and belabored--contrivances such as groping for some middle ground between the right and the wrong, vain as the search for a man who should be neither a living man nor a dead man-such as a policy of “don't care" on a question about which all true men do care-such as Union appeals, beseeching true Union men to yield to Disunionists, reversing the Divine rule, and calling, not the sinners, but the righteous to repentance-such as invocations of Washington, imploring men to unsay what Washington said, and undo what Washington did. Neither let us be slandered from our duty by false accusations against us, nor frightened from by menaces of destruction to the Government, nor of dungeons to ourselves. Let us have faith that right makes might; and in that faith, let us, to the end, dare to do our duty, as we understand it.

This is the last of the great speeches of Mr. Lincoln, of which there is any complete report. It forms a brilliant close to this period of his life, and a fitting prelude to that on which he is believed to be about to enter.

It was during this visit to New York that the following incident occurred, as related by a teacher in the Five Points House of Industry, in that city:

Our Sunday-school in the Five Points was assembled, one Sabbath morning, a few months since, when I noticed a tall, and remarkable-looking man enter the room and take a seat among us. He listened with fixed attention to our exercises, and his countenance manifested such genuine interest, that I approached him and suggested that he might be willing to say something to the children. He accepted the invitation with evident pleasure, and coming forward began a simple address, which at once fascinated every little hearer, and hushed the room into silence. His language was strikingly beautiful, and his tones musical with intensest feeling. The little faces around would droop into sad conviction as he uttered sentences of warning, and would brighten into sunshine as he spoke cheerful words of promise. Once or twice he attempted to close his remarks, but the imperative shout of “Go on!” “Oh, do go on!” would compel him to resume.

As I looked upon the gaunt and sinewy frame of the stranger, and marked his powerful head and determined features, now touched into softness by the impressions of the moment, I felt an irrepressible curiosity to learn something more about him, and when he was quietly leaving the room, I begged to know his name. He courteously replied, " It is Abra’m Lincoln, from Illinois !”

CHAPTER XIII.

MR. LINCOLN'S NOMINATION FOR THE PRESIDENCY.

CONCLUSION.

The Republican National Convention at Chicago.—The Charleston Ex

plosion.--"Constitutional Union " Nominations.—Distinguished Candidates among the Republicans.—The Platform.—The Balloting3.Mr. Lincoln Nominated. Unparalleled Enthusiasm.—The Ticket Completed with the name of Senator Hamlin.-Its Reception by the Country.-Mr. Lincoln's Letter of Acceptance.

[ocr errors]

The doings of the Republican National Convention, which met at Chicago on the 16th of May, 1860, are too fresh in public recollection to be recapitulated or dwelt upon here. At the date of its assembling, the great quadrennial convention of the Democratic party had been held at Charleston, and, after nearly two weeks' session, had adjourned without any agreement upon either platform or candidates. Douglas, with his Freeport record, which had become necessary in order to accomplish his temporary purpose, had proved an irreconcilably disturbing element in that convention. The nomination of Douglas by a united Democracy had been demonstrated to be impossible, and the only alternative of his withdrawal or an incurable disruption was presented. Subsequently, a " Constitutional Union" Convention had assembled at Balti. more and nominated a Presidential ticket, with no other definitely avowed object than that professed in common by all citizens, everywhere, of supporting the Constitution and the Union. All eyes were now turned toward Chicago, as the point at which the problem of the next Presidency was to be definitely solved.

Before the Republican National Convention met, the names

[ocr errors]

of many distinguished statesmen had been proposed for the first place on the Presidential ticket, and their merits and availability had been extensively discussed. In this preliminary canvassing there had been no bitterness or unseemly personalities. There was a general indication of barmony in ultimate action, and of unbroken union upon whatever ticket should be selected.

The first day of the convention was spent in organizing, and on the second day the committee, selected for that purpose, reported a platform of principles which was unanimously adopted, and has been strongly approved by the people.

On the morning of the 18th, amid the most intense though subdued excitement of the twelve thousand people inside of the “ Wigwam" in which the convention was held, and amid the anxious solicitude and suspense of the still greater numbers outside who could not gain admission, it was 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.

Loud and long-continued applause greeted the first two of these names, in particular, between which it was soon appa rent that the chief contest was to be.

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,

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

all others 7. Immediately, before the result was announced, four Ohio delegates changed their votes to Mr. Lincoln, giving him a majority

The scene which followed the wild manifestations of approval and delight, within and without the hall, prolonged uninterruptedly for twenty minutes, and renewed again and again for a half-hour longer—no words can describe. Never before was there a popular assembly of any sort, probably, so stirred with a contagious and all-pervading enthusiasm. The nomination was made unanimous, on motion of Mr. Evarts, of New York, who had presented the name of Mr. Seward, and speedily, on the wings of lightning, the news of the great event was spread to all parts of the land. Subsequently, with like heartiness and unanimity, the ticket was completed by the nomination, on the second ballot, of Senator HANNIBAL HAMLIN, of Maine, for Vice President.

These demonstrations at Chicago were but a representation of the common sentiments of the masses of the Republican party, and of thousands among the people, not before included in its ranks, in the country at large. From that day to the present, the wisdom of the nomination of Abraham Lincoln for the highest place in the American Government has been more and more confirmed. As a man of the people, in cordial sympathy with the masses, he has the undoubting confidence of the sincere friends of free labor, regardless of party distinctions. As a man of sterling integrity and incorruptible honesty, he is felt to be a suitable agent for upholding the Federal Government in its present days of trial. As a man of surpassing ability, and of sound principles, after the earliest and best standards in our political history, his election has given to the country an administration creditable to our Republican polity, and it will result in the complete removal of the great disquieting element in our National affairs, which has caused a gigantic civil war.

The brief letter of Mr. Lincoln, in acceptance of the Presidential nomination, is subjoined:

SPRINGFIELD, ILL., May 23, 1860. tlon. GEO. ASIMUN,

President of the Republican National 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, nor 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,

ABRAHAM LINCOLN. The popular favor with which the nomination of Mr. Lincoln was first received was strengthened by the spirited canvass which followed. 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 and Oregon, seventeen States, were cast for Lincoln and Hamlin. The votes of Maryland, Delaware, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas and Texas, eleven States, were cast for Breckinridge and Lane. The votes of Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee were cast for Bell and Everett. The electoral vote of Missouri was given for Douglas and Johnson. The vote of New Jersey was divided, four being given for Lincoln and three for Douglas.

The aggregate electoral vote for each Presidential candidate, as found by the official canvass in joint session of the two Houses of Congress, on the 13th day of February, 1861, was as follows: For Abraham Lincoln, 180; for John C. Breckinridge, 72; for John Bell, 39; and for Stephen A. Douglas,

17

« PreviousContinue »