« PreviousContinue »
John M. Reed, of Pennsylvania.
Whole number of votes cast, 465; necessary to a choice, 233.
The Convention proceeded to a second ballot. Every man was fiercely enlisted in the struggle. The partisans of the various candidates were strung up to such a pitch of excitement as to render them incapable of patience, and the cries of "Call the roll" were fairly hissed through their teeth. The first gain for Lincoln was in New Hampshire. The Chase and the Fremont vote from that State were given him. His next gain was the whole vote of Vermont. This was a blighting blow upon the Seward interest. The New Yorkers started as if an Orsini bomb had exploded. And presently the Cameron vote of Pennsylvania was thrown for Lincoln, increasing his strength fortyfour votes. The fate of the day was now determined. New York saw "checkmate" next move, and sullenly proceeded with the game, assuming unconsciousness of her inevitable doom. On this ballot Lincoln gained seventy-nine votes! Seward had 184 votes; Lincoln 181.
District of Columbia..
(Great confusion while the ballot was being counted.) The Secretary announced the result of the second ballot as follows:
For William H. Seward of New York, 184 votes. [Applause.] For Abraham Lincoln of Illinois, 181 votes. [Tremendous applause, checked by the Speaker.]
For Edward Bates of Missouri, 35 votes.
For Simon Cameron of Pennsylvania, 2 votes.
For John McLean of Ohio, 8 votes.
For Salmon P. Chase of Ohio, 42 votes.
For William L. Dayton of New Jersey, 10 votes.
For Cassius M. Clay of Kentucky, 2 votes.
Whole number of votes cast, 465; necessary to a choice, 233.
It now dawned upon the multitude, that the presumption entertained the night before, that the Seward men would have every thing their own way, was a mistake. Even persons unused to making the calculations and considering the combinations attendant upon such scenes, could not fail to observe that while the strength of Seward and Lincoln was almost even at the moment, the reserved votes, by which the contest must be decided, were inclined to the latter. There, for instance, was the Bates vote, thirty-five; the McLean vote, eight; the Dayton vote, ten-all impending for Lincoln-and forty-two Chase votes, the greater part going the same way.
While this ballot was taken amid excitement that tested the nerves, the fatal defection from Seward in New England still further appeared -four votes going over from Seward to Lincoln in Massachusetts. The latter received four additional votes from Pennsylvania and fifteen additional votes from Ohio. It was whispered about-" Lincoln's the coming man-will be nominated this ballot." When the roll of States and Territories had been called, I had ceased to give attention to any votes but those for Lincoln, and had his vote added up as it was given. The number of votes necessary to a choice were two hundred and thirty-three, and I saw under my pencil as the Lincoln column was completed, the figures 231-one vote and a half to give him the nomination. In a moment the fact was whispered about. A hundred pencils had told the same story. The news went over the house wonderfully, and there was a pause. There are always men anxious to distinguish themselves on such occasions. There is nothing that politicians like better than a crisis. I looked up to see who would be the man to give the decisive vote. The man for the crisis in the Cincinnati Convention-all will remember-was Col. Preston of Kentucky. He broke the Douglas line and precipitated the nomination of Buchanan, and was rewarded with a foreign mission. In about ten ticks of a watch, Cartter of Ohio was up. I had imagined Ohio would be slippery enough for the crisis. And sure enough! Every eye was on Cartter, and every body who understood the matter at all, knew what he was about to do. He is a large man with rather striking features, a shock of bristling black hair, large and shining eyes, and is terribly marked with the small-pox. He has also an imped ment in his speech, which amounts to a stutter; and his selection as chairman of the Ohio delegation was, considering its condition, altogether appropriate. He had been quite noisy during the sessions of the Convention, but had never commanded, when mounting his chair, such attention as now. He said, "I rise (eb), Mr. Chairman (eh), to announce the change of four votes of Ohio from Mr. Chase to Mr. Lincoln." The deed was done. There was a moment's silence. The nerves of the thousands, which through the hours of suspense had been subjected to terrible tension, relaxed, and as deep breaths of relief were taken, there was a noise in the wigwam like the rush of a great wind, in the van of a storm-and in another breath, the storm was there. There were thousands cheering with the energy of insanity.
A man who had been on the roof, and was engaged in communicating the results of the ballotings to the mighty mass of outsiders, now demanded by gestures at the sky-light over the stage, to know what had happened. One of the Secretaries, with a tally sheet in his hands, shouted-" Fire the Salute! Abe Lincoln is nominated!" As the cheering inside the wigwam subsided, we could hear that outside, where the news of the nomination had just been announced. And the roar, like the breaking up of the fountains of the great deep that was heard, gave a new impulse to the enthusiasm inside. Then the thunder of the salute rose above the din, and the shouting was repeated with such tremendous fury that some discharges of the cannon were absolutely not
heard by those on the stage. Puffs of smoke, drifting by the open doors, and the smell of gunpowder, told what was going on.
The moment that half a dozen men who were on their chairs making motions at the President could be heard, they changed the votes of their States to Mr. Lincoln. This was a mere formality, and was a cheap way for men to distinguish themselves. The proper and orderly proceeding would have been to annouce the vote, and then for a motion to come from New York to make the nomination unanimous. York was prepared to make this motion, but not out of order. souri, Iowa, Kentucky, Minnesota, Virginia, California, Texas, District of Columbia, Kansas, Nebraska and Oregon, insisted upon casting unanimous votes for Old Abe Lincoln before the vote was declared.
While these votes were being given, the applause continued, and a photograph of Abe Lincoln which had hung in one of the side rooms was brought in, and held up before the surging and screaming masses. The places of the various delegations were indicated by staffs, to which were attached the names of the States, printed in large black letters on pasteboard. As the Lincoln enthusiasm increased, delegates tore these standards of the States from their places and swung them about their heads. A rush was made to get the New York standard and swing it with the rest, but the New Yorkers would not allow it to be moved, and were wrathful at the suggestion.
When the vote was declared, Mr. Evarts, the New York spokesman, mounted the Secretaries' table and handsomely and impressively expressed his grief at the failure of the Convention to nominate Sewardand in melancholy tones, moved that the nomination be made unani
Mr. Andrew of Massachusetts seconded the motion in a speech, in which his vanity as a citizen of the commonwealth of Massachusetts was ventilated, and he said it had not been for old Massachusetts to strike down William Henry Seward, concluding by a promise to give the nominee of that Convention one hundred thousand majority.
Carl Schurz, on behalf of Wisconsin, again seconded the motion, but not so effectively in his speech as his reputation as an orator would have warranted us in expecting. There was a little clap-trap and something of anti-climax in shouting "Lincoln and victory," and talking of "defying the whole slave power and the whole vassalage of hell."
M. Blair of Michigan made the speech of the hour. He said:
Michigan, from first to last, has cast her vote for the great Statesman of New York. She has nothing to take back. She has not sent me forward to worship the rising sun, but she has put me forward to say that, at your behests here to-day, she lays down her first, best loved candidate to take up yours, with some beating of the heart, with some quivering in the veins [much applause]; but she does not fear that the fame of Seward will suffer, for she knows that his fame is a portion of the history of the American Union; it will be written, and read, and beloved long after the temporary excitement of this day has passed away, and when Presidents themselves are forgotten in the oblivion which comes over all temporal things. We stand by him still.
have followed him with an eye single and with unwavering faith in times past. We martial now behind him in the grand column which shall go out to battle for Lincoln.'
After a rather dull speech from Mr. Browning of Illinois, responding in behalf of Lincoln, the nomination was made unanimous, and the Convention adjourned for dinner. The town was full of the news of Lincoln's nomination, and could hardly contain itself. There were bands of music playing, and processions marching, and joyous cries heard on every hand, from the army of trumpeters for Lincoln of Illinois, and the thousands who are always enthusiastic on the winning side. But hundreds of men who had been in the wigwam were so prostrated by the excitement they had endured, and their exertions in shrieking for Seward or Lincoln, that they were hardly able to walk to their hotels. There were men who had not tasted liquor, who staggered about like drunkards, unable to manage themselves. The Seward men were terribly stricken down. They were mortified beyond all expression, and walked thoughtfully and silently away from the slaughterhouse, more ashamed than embittered. They acquiesced in the nomination, but did not pretend to be pleased with it; and the tone of their conversations, as to the prospect of electing the candidate, was not hopeful. It was their funeral, and they would not make merry.
A Lincoln man who could hardly believe that the "Old Abe" of his adoration was really the Republican nominee for the Presidency, took a chair at the dinner-table at the Tremont House, and began talking to those around him, with none of whom he was acquainted, of the greatness of the events of the day. One of his expressions was, "Talk of your money and bring on your bullies with you!-the immortal principles of the everlasting people are with Abe Lincoln, of the people, by." "Abe Lincoln has no money and no bullies, but he has the people by -.' A servant approached the eloquent patriot and asked what he would have to eat. Being thus recalled to temporal things he glared scornfully at the servant and roared out, "Go to the devilwhat do I want to eat for? Abe Lincoln is nominated, G— d— it ; and I'm going to live on air-the air of Liberty by." But in a moment be inquired for the bill of fare, and then ordered "a great deal of every thing"-saying if he must eat he might as well eat "the whole bill." He swore he felt as if he could " devour and digest an Illinois prairie." And this was one of thousands.
During the dinner recess a caucus of the Presidents of delegations was held, and New York, though requested to do so, would not name a candidate for the Vice-Presidency. After dinner we had the last act in the drama.
The nomination of Vice-President was not particularly exciting. Cassius M. Clay was the only competitor of Hamlin, who made any show in the race; and the outside pressure was for him. At one time a thousand voices called " Clay Clay!" to the Convention. If the multitude could have had their way, Mr. Clay would have been put on the ticket by acclamation. But it was stated that Mr. Hamlin was a good friend of Mr, Seward. He was geographically distant from Lin