« PreviousContinue »
a scrap of paper, “Mr. Lincoln: You are nominated on the third ballot," and a boy rap with the message to Mr. Lincoln. He looked at it in silence amid the shouts of those around him, then rising and putting it in his pocket he said quietly, “There's a little woman down at our house would like to hear this-I'll go down and tell her.”
Next day there arrived at Springfield the committee appointed by the Convention to inform Mr. Lincoln officially of his nomination; Mr. Ashmun, President of the Convention, addressing Mr. Lincoln, said:
“I have, sir, the honor, in behalf of the gentlemen who are present—a Committee appointed by the Republican Convention recently assembled at Chicago to discharge a most pleasant duty. We have come, sir, under a vote of instructions to that Committee, to notify you that you have been selected by the Convention of the Republicans at Chicago for President of the United States. They instruct us, sir, to notify you of that selection, and that Committee deem it not only respectful to yourself, but appropriate to the important matter which they have in hand, that they should come in person, and present to you the authentic evidence of the action of that Convention; and, sir, without any phrase which shall either be considered personally plauditory to yourself, or which shall have any reference to the principles involved in the questions which are connected with your nomination, I desire to present to you the letter which has been prepared, and which informs you of your nomination, and with it the platform resolutions and sentiments which the Convention adopted. Sir, at your convenience we shall be glad to
LIFE OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN.
receive from you such a response as it may be your pleasure to give us.”
Mr. Lincoln listened to this address with a degree of grave dignity that almost wore the appearance of sadness, and after a brief pause, in which he seemed to be pondering the momentous responsibilities of his position, he thus replied:
“ Mr. Chairman and Gentlemen of the CommitteeI tender to you, and through you to the Republican National Convention, and all the people represented in it, my profoundest thanks for the high honor done me, which you now formally announce. Deeply, and even painfully sensible of the great responsibility which is inseparable from this high honor—a responsibility which I could almost wish had fallen upon some one of the far more eminent men and experienced statesmen whose distinguished names were before the Convention, I shall, by your leave, consider more fully the resolutions of the Convention, denominated the platform, and without any unnecessary or unreasonable delay, respond to you, Mr. Chairman, in writing, not doubting that the platform will be found satisfactory, and the nomination gratefully accepted.
"And now I will not longer defer the pleasure of taking you, and each of you, by the hand”
Tall Judge Kelly, of Pennsylvania, who was one of the Committee, and who is himself a great many feet high, had meanwhile been eyeing Mr. Lincoln's lofty form with a mixture of admiration and very likely jealousy; this had not escaped Mr. Lincoln, and as he shook hands with the judge he inquired, “What is your height?”
"Six feet three; what is yours, Mr. Lincoln ?" “Six feet four.”
Then,” said the judge, “Pennsylvania bows to Illinois. My dear man, for years my heart has been aching for a President that I could look up to, and I've found him at last in the land where we thought there were none but little giants.”
Mr. Lincoln's formal reply to the official announcement of his nomination, was as follows:
SPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS, May 23, 1860. SIR-I accept the nomination tendered me by the Convention over which you presided, of which I am formally apprised in a 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 it, or 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 people of the nation, to the inviolability of the Constitution, and 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. Hon. GEORGE Asamun,
President of the Republican Convention. Mr. Lincoln's nomination proyed universally acceptable to the Republican party. They recognized in him a man of firm principles, of ardent love for freedom,
very different from what was anticipated by the great body of the people is unquestionably true.
Few men of any party then understood the secret influences that were conspiring against the peace and integrity of the Union, and fewer still were willing to believe any considerable portion of the people capable of so gigantic a crime as the attempted overthrow of the great Republic of the world, either to revenge a party defeat or to perpetuate the slavery of the negro race. No man can justly be held responsible even for the consequences of his own action, any farther than, in the exercise of a just and fair judgment, he can foresee them. In electing Mr. Lincoln to the Presidency, the American people intended to erect a permanent bulwark against the territorial extension of slavery, and the perpetuation of its political power. If they had foreseen the madness of its defenders, they might have shrunk from the dreadful ordeal through which that madness has compelled the nation to pass, but in this, as in all the af fairs of human life, ignorance of the future often proves the basis and guarantee of its wise development: and we believe that even now, with their experience, through three of the stormiest and most terrible years this nation has ever seen, of the sagacity, integrity, and unswerving patriotism with which President Lincoln has performed the duties of his high office, and with their clearer perception of the ultimate issue of that great contest between freedom and slavery, which the progress of events had rendered inevitable, the people look back with entire satisfaction upon the vote which, in 1860, made Mr. Lincoln President of the United States.