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[The following from a letter written at Social Circle, Georgia, on the 18th April, is still farther illustrative :]
SOCIAL CIRCLE, GA., April 18th. We have had warm times among the delegates to the Convention since our stop here. A conversation commenced at the dinner table about Douglas. There was a delegate from Indiana and an outsider from Kentucky, sitting very near a couple of Mississippians, delegates, friends of Jeff. Davis, and fire-eaters," as we term them. private whisky was passed, and the Mississippians drank to health of the nominee." The question was asked whether that included Douglas. Mississippi said he did not consider him in the ring at all. He [Douglas] had no chance of being the nominee, and therefore, when he drank to the health of the nominee it did not include him. The Douglas man thought Donglas should be included, and proceeded to say that if he was nominated he must have the support of the entire Democratic party. A man could not go into a Convention and then bolt the nominee if not pleased with him-not at all, certainly not with honor. Now, the Mississippians do intend to bolt Douglas if he is nominated, and hence they were touched, and took fire. The controversy ran high. The Indianian was asked what he meant by Southern fanatics and fire-eaters "— —an expression he had used-and be said, such men as Jeff. Davis." This was touching the Mississippians on a tender point. They demanded very explicitly to know in what respect Davis was fanatical-and the specifications were rather vague. Mississippi wanted to know whether Davis had ever demanded any thing but the rights of the South, and if so, what?———— and said that certain allegations made against the conservatism of Davis were mere falsehoods. Indiana claimed the same right to criticise Davis that Mississippi had to criticise Douglas. Mississippi denied that. "Davis was a patriot, and Douglas was a traitor, d-d little better than Seward-that was the difference." Indiana talked about fighting the battles of the South in the North, and all that sort of thing. Mississippi did not thank the Northern Democracy for doing any such thing. The South was able to fight her own battles, and to protect her rights. She could do this out of the Union, if not in it. Indiana talked about returning fugitive slaves, and Mississippi laughed scornfully. And as the parties had to either bet or fight, a bet of one thousand dollars was made on the spot. The Mississippian bet that Douglas would not receive the electoral vote of that State if he were nominated. The Foglasite bet that he would. If Douglas is not nominated at Charles on, the stakes are, of course, to be withdrawn.* feeling excited by this controversy, was warm and general. The delegates who did not mix in, shook their heads and talked of stormy times ahead, and the peril in which the party would be placed. It was manifest that if the Mississippian and the Indianian were joint representa tive men of their sections, there was little chance for the nomination of a candidate who could, by any possibility, be elected, or of the con
* This bet was withdrawn at the solicitation of mutual friends from Kentucky.
struction of a platform that would be even superficially satisfactory. The Mississippians understood themselves to be of the class that dictates doctrine to the Democratic party, and talked as if the party was their property, peculiar," at that, and rather a worn out old nigger, welcome to die. Indiana talked of love for the party, and devotion to it, and a determination to support the nominee, whoever he might be. Mississippi talked of principle, and "damn the party," if it was not placed squarely upon principle. In other words, if the party was not to serve the South, its mission was accomplished. My Indiana friend, was, I think, astonished to find a real live specimen of fire-eater-and was rather embarrassed by his discovery.
I have dwelt on this scene thus fully, because it is a preliminary symptom of the Charleston Convention, and is, indeed, the history of the Convention in miniature and wanting the climax. While the war went on, the Kentucky delegation, quiet, substantial gentlemen, who don't want office, and would not have it, stood back, and talked in business-like style of the great merits as a man and availability as a candidate, of their friend, the Hon. James Guthrie. The Mississippians have the Freeport speech of Douglas with them, and intend to bombard him in the Convention with ammunition drawn from it. The extract upon which they depend most, is that in which he said “ no matter what may be the decision of the Supreme Court," the people of a Territory could abolish slavery while in a territorial condition. They will use this remorselessly. However great may be the weight of the Douglas men in the Convention, he will be assailed most bitterly. The fight against him involves, for a very large class of Southern politiciansindeed, the most influential class of the time-the issues of life, and those Southern men have a great advantage over the Douglas men in the fact that they are sincere. They have principles. They stand upon convictions, and will fight until from their bones the flesh be backed. The Douglas men are not so stiff in their backs nor so strong in the faith. In a conversation with an Alabama delegate to-day, I told him I presumed the South would have to put up with another platform capable of a double construction; he declared that impossible. I inquired Don't you see the Douglas delegates don't agree with you, and can't and won't agree with you? Do you not know that if they went home to make a fight on the platform you insist they shall place themselves upon, they would be beaten in every Northern State and every Northern township, and that the majority against them in all the Northern States would only be counted by tens of thousands?" "sound
No, he did not know any such thing. Mayor Wood was a man, " and had carried the city of New York. He was as sound as any Southern man. Connecticut would have been carried by the D. mociaey if there had not been so much pandering to Douglasism. The way to fight a battle was to fight it on principle. If the North was not willing to stand squarely up for the Constitution with the South, it was high time the fact were known. This campaign was the test campaign. It must be fought on principle. There must be no Douglas dodges— no double constructions-no janus-faced lying resolutions—no doubletongued and doubly damned trifling with the people. The people were
entitled to a fair fight, and must have it. What was the Democratic party for if it was not for the vindication of the great constitutional principles upon which our governmental fabric rests? I stated I had for some time strongly suspected that the Democratic party was an organization for the purpose of obtaining federal offices-in other words, a political corporation-like a great lottery company-for the distribution of the spoils. I thought that I could safely speak for the party in the North, in that respect. He repudiated, with indignation-obviously sincere, too-all idea of the spoils. He was for Southern principle; and if the Democratic party was not for them it was against them-and if it was a spoils party, the sooner it was destroyed and sent to the devil, the better. As for the popular sovereignty doctrine, it was as bad as Sewardism; it was the real practical Black Republicanism doctrine; it was the veritable "short cut"-as Gov. Wise said in his Donnelly letter" to all the ends of Black Republicanism." "If the Republican party leaders had half sense (he said), they would adopt the Squatter Sovereignty platform at Chicago. It was the Chicago, not the Charles
I thought so too, but the difficulty was, the Republican leaders hadn't half sense, and couldn't see their game. His confidence in their political sagacity was far greater than mine.
The chances of Mr. Douglas for the Charleston nomination, were next in order. I spoke of the great pressure that would be brought to bear from the North, for Douglas. He said the nomination of Douglas was not a possibility. He put the case in this way: The North has had two Presidents. The South is willing, so far as she is concerned, that she shall have another one. But the South will not allow the Northern man, who, of all men claiming to belong to the Democratic party, is most obnoxious, to be the candidate. The South has to perform the principal part in the election of the President; and her feelings must be respected. The nomination of Douglas would be an insult to her, which she must resent by defeating him at all hazards. And here our coversation subsided into observations concerning cypress swamps, the inky Edisto river-a ditch fifty yards wide, filled with black water-the lofty cypress, trees-the yellow pines-the live oaks-the Spanish moss making the wilderness venerable--the white sand-the red clay, etc., etc.
PLACES, PERSONS AND POLITICS IN CHARLESTON BEFORE THE CONVENTION.
There was in Charleston, as usual in such cases, much that was important in the business preliminary to the Convention, and there are many places in the city intensified with the Convention in interest. Among those places, perhaps the most interesting are Institute Hall, where the Convention was held, and Hibernia Hall, which was the Douglas head-quarters.
CHARLESTON, April 20th.
The Institute Hall where the Convention is to be held, will contain about three thousand people. The floor is perfectly level, and the seats
are all old-fashioned, wooden-bottomed chairs, which have been independent of each other heretofore, but which are now being screwed by the half-dozen to pine planks placed across the bottom. There is a good deal of gaudy and unceuth ornamentation about the hall. The frescoing is mere daubing. The principal effort in art is immediately over the stage. Three highly colored but very improperly dressed females are there engaged. One seems to be contemplating matters and things in general. Another is mixing colors with the apparent intention of painting something. The other is pointing with what seems to be a common bowie-knife, to a globe. The point of the dagger is plunged into the Black Sea. It may be held to be according to the proprieties, that the continent which is outlined most conspicuously on this globe is marked "Africa." There are rooms behind the stage, and two private boxes above it.
The Hall is situated on the principal thoroughfare and near the business centre of the city. The Hibernian Hall-the Douglas head-quarters is situated on the same street, a square and a half distant. This building has two large halls, and is two stories in height. The first floor is divided into two small rooms and one spacious hall, where a gigantic bard of Erin is holding a harp, such as was heard in Tara's Halls before the soul of music fled. The smaller rooms are furnished with long tables, plenty of chairs and writing materials, and a large supply of Sheahan's Life of Stephen A. Douglas. The second floor is ' one large hall, and is full of cots for the Northwestern delegations. There are several hundreds of them, with white spreads and pillows. They are arranged in rows and sections, numbered and marked for the different States.
The Douglas men are to be found for the most part at the Mills House." The fire-eaters congregate at the " Charleston." The spacious passages and public rooms about these houses are already swarming with politicians. It must be admitted that the Southerners have the advantage in personal appearance. The strong men of the South are here in force, as they always are upon such occasions. There is sufficient wisdom among the oligarchy to be represented in Congress and Conventions by men of experience and intellect, and they attain weighty advantages in this way.
The arrival at the Charleston Hotel to-day, is that of the Hon. W. L. Yancey of Alabama, the prince of the fire-eaters. He is the man said to be charged with a three days' speech against Douglas. He is a compact, middle-sized man, straight limbed, with a square built head and face, and an eye full of expression. He is mild and bland in manner as Fernando Wood, and has an air of perfect sincerity which Wood has not. No one would be likely to point him out in a group of gentlemen as the redoubtable Yancey, who proposes according to common report to precipitate the cotton States into a revolution, dissolve the Union and build up a Southern empire. The strong point made against him by the Douglasites is that he is a disunionist. It will not frighten him, nor his Southern friends, however, to apply that epithet to him. I very much doubt whether the Douglas men have a leader competent to cope with him in the coming fight. It is quite clear that while the North
may be strongest in votes here, and the most noisy, the South will have the intellect and the pluck to make its points. I do not think any im. portation of Douglas men can prevent the Convention from " wearing a southern aspect," as the Mercury, of this city, said it must. Prominent in the crowd at the Mills House, is the burly form of the farfamed Geo. N Sonders, New York navy agent. The politicians here are fond of inquiring whether he feels comfortable about the neck, it being rumored that the President is about to remove him for his audacity in coming down here as a Douglas man.
There are a great many men of distinguished personal appearance to be seen about the hotels, as usual during National Conventions, speakership contests, and other times of extraordinary commotion among politicians. A large number have the general characteristics of first class gamblers, and the probability is, there are keepers of the playful animal known as ye tiger" to be found in this vicinity. There are great portly fellows, with protuberant stomachs and puffy cheeks, red foreheads, hair thin and grizzly, dressed in glossy black and fine linen, with the latest style of stove-pipe hats, and ponderous gold-headed canesperspiring and smoking, and engaged in mysterious conversations, concerning caucus stratagems, of intense interest to themselves. Every body is talking about the Convention, and prophesying and wondering as to its action. The Douglasites claim prodigious things. The ultra Southern men sneer at the idea of Douglas's nomination, and inquire― "Where was he two years ago?"—and answer the question themselves -Caucusing with Seward-leagued with the Black Republicans against a Democratic Administration." They say his pretenses in the Lecompton rebellion were false, and that his subsequent talk proves them to be so. They say his line of policy then, if honestly followed, would have carried him where John W. Forney is now-into the ranks of the Republican party. The Douglas men generally respond by speaking of their champion facing dreadful mobs of Black Republicans, and gazing into the mouths of pistols, in defense of the rights of the South. They inquire further, whether Illinois has not always been true to the Democratic party. I heard this question put to a fire-eater, and he said, "Did'nt Illinois elect a Black Republican Governor?" "Who was Bissell?" The response of the Douglas man was, that Bissell was not not elected by a majority vote. The Southern rejoinder was: "Did Douglas have a majority of the popular vote in his Senatorial contest with Lincoln?" And the Douglasite come back with a broadside, directed at the Danites, or Administration men, who gave Lincoln aid and comfort. And so the battle rages along the whole line.
The Douglas men came down here from their head-quarters in Washington, where whisky flows like a river.
Like some vast river of unfailing source;
-they were full of enthusiasm-rampant and riotous-hot as monkeys"-and proclaim that the universal world is for the Little Giant. They have a desperate fight before them, and are brim full of the sound and fury of boastfulness.