Page images

strengthen them in the faith that yours is the constitutional party of the country, and the only constitutional party ; that you are actuated by principle, and that you will be guided by the light and by the example of the fathers of the republic. [Renewed cheers].

Fortunately you are not required to enunciate new and untried principles of government. This has been well and wisely done by the statesmen of the revolution. [Applause.] Stand where they stood, avowing and maintaining the like objects and doctrines; then will the end sought be accomplished ; the constitution and the Union be preserved; and the government be administered by patriots and statesmen.

For temporary President, I now nominate Hon. David Wilmot, of Pennsylvania. [Great and prolonged applause.]

The nomination was acceded to by the unanimous voice of the Convention, and the Chairman appointed Hon. Wm. L. MARSHALL, of Maryland, and Hon. C. F. CLEVELAND, of Connecticut, to conduct the temporary President to the Chair.

The appearance of Mr. Wilmot was made the opportunity for loud and prolonged manifestations of applause.

In introducing the temporary President to the Convention Gov. CLEVELAND said:

GENTLEMEN OF THE CONVENTION: I have now the high honor of introducing to the Convention a gentleman whose name is known to every lover of liberty throughout this land, the Hon. DaVID WILMOT, of Pennsylvania—a man who dares to do the right, regardless of consequences. With such men for our leaders and spokesmen, there is no such word as fail. [Loud cheers.]

On taking the Chair, Mr. Wilmor said:

I have no words in which properly to express my sense of honor—and the undeserved one, I think it is—of being called upon to preside temporarily over the deliberations of this Convention. I shall not attempt a task which I feel inade

quate to perform. Be sure, gentlemen, that I am not insensible to this high and undeserved honor. I shall carry the recollection of it, and of your manifestation of partiality, with me until the day of my death. It is not necessary for me, gentlemen, delegates, to remind you of the importance of the occasion that has called this assemblage together; nor of the high duties which devolve upon you.

A great sectional and aristocratic party, or interest, has for years dominated with a high hand over the political affairs of this country. That interest has wrested, and is now wresting, all the great powers of this government to the one object of the extension and nationalization of slavery. It is our purpose, gentlemen, it is the mission of the Republican party and the basis of its organization, to resist this policy of a sectional interest. It is our mission to restore this government to its original policy, and place it again in that rank upon which our fathers organized and brought it into existence. It is our purpose and our policy to resist these new constitutional dogmas that slavery exists by virtue of the constitution wherever the banner of this Union floats. It is our purpose to restore the constitution to its original meaning ; to give to it its true interpretation; to read that instrument as our fathers read it. [Applause ] That instrument was not ordained and established for the purpose of intrenching slavery within the limits of this country; it was not ordained and established for the purpose of giving high guarantees and securities to that institution. Our fathers regarded slavery as a blot upon this country. They went down into their graves with the earnest hope and confident belief that but a few more years and that blot would be extinguished from our land. [Much applause.] This was the faith in which they died. [Applause.] Had the proposition been presented to them in the early conflicts of the revolution, or outside of that grand movement, that they were called upon to endure the hazards, trials and sacrifices of that long and perilous contest for the purpose of establishing on this continent a great slave empire, not one of them would have drawn his sword in such a cause. [Great

applause ] No, citizens! This republic was established for the purpose of securing the guarantees of liberty, of justice and of righteousness to the people and to their posterity. That was the great object with which the revolution was fought, these were the purposes for which the union and constitution were formed. Slavery is sectional. Liberty national. [Immense applause.] Fellow citizens: need I remind this intelligent and vast audience— need I call to mind to the intelligent gentlemen who represent the various states represented upon this floor- manifestations of lawless violence, of tyranny

such as the world never saw in a civilized and Christian land that is manifested by this spirit of slavery. Whose rights are secure where slavery has the power to trample them under foot? Who to-day is not more free to utter his opinions within the empire of Russia, or under the shadow of the despotism of Austria than he is within the limits of the slave states of this Republic? Will their tyranny be confined to those states when they have the power to enforce it upon us? [Voices—“No! never !”] We owe the liberty which we to-day enjoy in the free states, to the absence of slavery. And, fellow citizens, shall we, in building up this great empire of ours, in fulfilling that high and sacred trust imposed upon us by our fathers — shall we support this blighting, this demoralizing institution throughout the vast extent of our borders ? (Voices, loudly—“No!”] Or shall we preserve this land as a free land to our posterity forever? These are the principles for which the Republican party is struggling. Fellow citizens, the safety of our liberty, the security of all we hold valuable, demands that we should take possession of this government and administer it upon those broad constitutional doctrines that were recognized for the first sixty years of the existence of our government — that were recognized by Washington, by Jefferson, by Adams, by Madison, by Monroe, by Adams the younger, by Jackson, by Van Buren, even down to the time of Polk, when this new dogma was started that the constitution was established to guarantee to slavery perpetual existence and unlimited empire. Invoking, fellow

citizens, a spirit of patriotism and harmony, and trusting that that spirit will guide us to a fortunate result in our deliberations, I will now enter upon the discharge of the duties which have been assigned to me. [Great applause.]

Hon. THOMAS SPOONER, of Ohio, moved that Frederick Hassaurek, of Ohio, Theodore M. Pomeroy, of New York, and Henry T. Blow, of Missouri, be elected temporary Secretaries.

The motion was carried unanimously.

The PRESIDENT then introduced the Rev. Z. H. HUMPHREY, Pastor of the First Presbyterian Church, of Chicago, who addressed the Throne of Grace in the following prayer:

Oh, Lord God! Thou art great and greatly to be praised. We come before Thy Throne to worship and also to learn Thy will. We invoke Thy presence and Thy blessing, as we gather beneath this roof to-day. We praise Thee for what Thou art, and for what Thou hast done for us. Verily, “our lines have fallen to us in pleasant places, and we have a goodly heritage.” Thou hast strengthened the bars of our gates, and placed our children within them. Thou hast made peace in our borders, and filled us with the finest of the wheat. Thou hast not dealt so by any nation. As for Thy judgments we have not known them; and yet we confess that we have deserved to suffer for we have sinned against Thee. We entreat Thy forgiveness for all our transgressions, and Thy protection from all consequences of sin. We

We pray for our common country. We ask that Thou wilt deliver us from all the evil to which we are exposed, and that Thou wilt make us to shake off and put away all those evils which we are too apt to cherish. Wilt Thou bless our rulers, and teach them to govern in the fear of God, and in the love of man. Wilt Thou deliver us from corruption, from oppression and from selfish ambition. Show us Thy way of rescuing the oppressed from the house of bondage, and of making this country truly and consistently free. We crave Thy blessing upon this convention, and pray that Thou wilt enable all those who are

here gathered to act, amid the excitements of the hour, as feeling their responsibility to their fellow men, and as knowing that they will one day stand before Thee. Wilt Thou bless us in all that we do? Wilt Thou rule amid all the conflicts of opinion and the strifes of parties; and may the issue be for Thy glory, and for our good. May there be no strife, but that of brethren loving, while yet in opinion disagreeing. Let not the ploughshare of division be permanently driven through our fair land. May we live as a Christian country; and though we put not our trust in princes, may we be that happy land whose God is the Lord, which we ask through Jesus Christ, our Saviour: Amen!

Mr. NORMAN B. JUDD, of Illinois, moved that a committee, consisting of one delegate from each state and territory repre. sented in the Convention, or selected by the delegates thereof, who should report officers to the Convention for its permanent organization.

The motion was carried.

Mr. JUDD moved that the roll of both states be now called for the purpose of selecting the committee.

The motion was carried.

The states were then called, and the committee constituted as follows:

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »