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change whatever in his conditions from those first offered, and that the letter of Clay and Holcombe left him in a false position. Nothing appears in the correspondence, thus far published, to show that Mr. Greeley ever communicated to the commissioners the President's original conditions for a safeconduct and an interview.
In order to place himself in a just position before the country, Mr. Lincoln applied to Mr. Greeley for permission to publish the entire correspondence, omitting certain unessential passages
in Mr. Greeley's letters, which represented the country as being on the verge of destruction, intimated the possibility of a northern insurrection, and alluded to the importance of affecting favorably the North Carolina election. Mr. Greeley refused to have the correspondence published, unless these passages,
which Mr. Lincoln thought would have a mischievous effect upon the public mind, should be retained. For the sake of the country and its cause, Mr. Lincoln submitted; but, determined to stand right in history, he sent a note to Henry J. Raymond, editor of the New York Times, under date of August 15, 1864, as follows:
“MY DEAR SIR:- I have proposed to Mr. Greeley that the Niagara correspondence be published, suppressing only the parts of his letters over which the red pencil is drawn in the copy which I herewith send. He declines giving his consent to the publication of his letters, unless these parts be published with the rest. I have concluded that it is better for me to submit, for the time, to the consequences of the false position in which I consider he has placed me, than to subject the country to the consequences of publishing these discouraging and injurious parts. I send you this, and the accompanying copy, not for publication, but merely to explain to you, and that you preserve them until their proper time shall come.
66 ABRAHAM LINCOLN.
So Mr. Lincoln went through the canvass with the imputation resting upon him of having pursued a vacillating course with the unaccredited and irresponsible commissioners, and of repelling negotiations for peace. All the capital that could be made against him from the materials furnished by the affair, was assiduously used by the opposition and by the rebels themselves,
The time for holding the National Democratic Convention came at last. Still the fortunes of the military campaign were undecided ; and the country was groaning under efforts to furnish men for the reinforcement of the armies. But the President found aid in unexpected quarters. By the direction of that Providence in which he so implicitly believed, every treasonable and personally inimical element in the nation became his ally. Mr. Vallandigham had returned to the country before his time; and the President permitted him to remain, unmolested. He became one of the pets of his party; and, attending the Chicago Convention as a delegate, was chosen chairman of the committee on resolutions. Goyernor Seymour of New York, his sympathizing friend, was the president of the convention. Congressman Long of Ohio was also there, with a full representation of all those who had, from the first, opposed the war, and sympathized with the rebellion. The platform adopted was composed largely of negations, touching the policy of the administration; but one thing it distinctly demanded, viz: “a cessation of hostilities." The candidates nominated were General George B. McClellan for President, and George H. Pendleton of Ohio for Vice-President. General McClellan was nominally a war democrat, and Mr. Pendleton really a peace democrat. Both wings of the party were thus accommodated, while the platform was all that the most extreme of peace men could ask. But the convention did not dissolve; it adjourned, “subject to be called at any time and place that the executive national committee shall designate.” The act was a threat, and betrayed the entertainment of possibilities and incidental purposes not entirely creditable to the patriotism of the convention. Mr. Vallandigham's tongue was busy, in and out of the convention. He was treated as a man who had
. suffered persecution for the sake of democratic truth. He moved that the nomination of McClellan be made unanimous. He was active in all the affairs of the occasion, and he did
more than any other man to destroy the prospects of the democratic party.
The spirit manifested by the demagogues who managed this convention, was not the spirit of the people, and not the spirit of the democratic masses. The majority of the democratic party had supported the war. Many of the best officers in the army were democrats, thoroughly devoted to the destruction of the rebellion by military means.
The voice of the convention was, that all that had been expended in the war, of life and treasure, should be declared a waste. The best illustration of the spirit of the convention was found in the fact that, when it was announced that Fort Morgan had surrendered, the news fell upon it like a pall. It awoke no cheers; and was so evidently unwelcome intelligence, although a great national success, that the masses of the party were disgusted.
Whatever may have been the acts, intentions and spirit of the convention, this one thing was certain: that, from the time of its adjournment, no sensible politician had any doubt of the overwhelming triumph of the administration in the election. The cloud was lifted from the republican party at once; and the democratic leaders themselves, though they relaxed no effort, confessed that they were beaten, almost from the start.
On the twenty-third of September, Mr. Blair retired from the cabinet, in consequence of an intimation from the President that his retirement would be a relief to him. It will be remembered that the Baltimore platform contained a resolution which was intended to indicate a desire on the part of the convention that Mr. Blair should leave the cabinet; but Mr. Lincoln did not, probably, have any reference to this resolution in his action. Mr. Blair had made an excellent Postmastergeneral-one of the very best who had administered the affairs of his department; and it was Mr. Lincoln's policy to adhere to his friends, and especially to those who did their duty. But there was a difficulty between Mr. Blair and Henry Winter Davis of Maryland, which, in Mr. Lincoln's judgment, endangered the adoption of the free state constitution in that commonwealth. He could solve the difficulty, and help the cause, by permitting Mr. Blair, whose resignation had been in his hands for months, to retire. The President and the Secretary parted excellent friends; and Mr. Lincoln showed his good will toward the retiring officer, by appointing to his place ex-Governor William Dennison of Ohio, one of Mr. Blair's most intimate personal and family friends.
A few days before this change in the cabinet, Mr. Lincoln wrote a letter to a convention of the friends of the new constitution in Maryland, held in Baltimore on the eighteenth of September, in which he expressed his earnest solicitude for its adoption. “It needs not be a secret,” said he, “and I presume it is no secret, that I wish success to this provision.” (The provision extinguishing slavery). “I desire it on every consideration. I wish to see all men free. I wish the national prosperity of the already free, which I feel sure the extinction of slavery would bring.” The event he so much desired was consummated by a popular vote, on the eighth and ninth of October; and the President was serenaded by the loyal Marylanders in Washington, as an expression of their satisfaction and their congratulations. Mr. Lincoln responded with a speech. An extract will show something of the subjects of public discussion at the time, as well as reveal the President's relation to them:
- Something said by the Secretary of State, in his recent speech at Auburn, has been construed by some into a threat that, if I shall be beaten at the election, I will, between then and the constitutional end of my term, do what I may be able, to ruin the government. Others regard the fact that the Chicago Convention adjourned not sine die, but to meet again, if called to do so by a particular individual, as the intimation of a purpose that, if their nominee shall be elected, he will at once seize control of the government. I hope the good people will permit themselves to suffer no uneasiness on either point. I am struggling to maintain the government, not to overthrow it. I am struggling specially to prevent others from overthrowing it. I, therefore, say that, if I live, I shall remain President until the fourth of next March, and that whoever shall be constitutionally elected in November shall be duly installed as President on the fourth of March; and, in the interval,
shall do my utmost that whoever is to hold the helm for the next royage, shall start with the best possible chance of saying the ship.”
The October elections indicated the inevitable result of the presidential canvass; and the successful movements of the armies confirmed the prospects of Mr. Lincoln's signal triumph. The efforts of the rebels south of the Union lines, and over the Canada boundary, to assist the peace party, and furnish capital for its operations, aided by organizations of disloyal elements within the loyal states, not only failed of their object, but helped to rally the popular feeling to the side of the administration.
An unpleasant incident of the canvass was the result of an interview between Mr. Lincoln and a committee of the opposition party in Tennessee. Andrew Johnson, the present President of the United States, was then military governor of that state; and under his sanction a convention was called, to reorganize the state, that it might take a part in the presidential election. This convention prescribed the form of an oath, that the body deemed proper for those to take who desired to vote. Governor Johnson ordered the election to be held, in accordance with the plan of the convention; and adopted its oath. The oath was one which no heartily loyal man would refuse to take, unless he should object to the following clause: “I will cordially oppose all armistices and negotiations for peace with rebels in arms, until the Constitution of the United States, and all laws and proclamations made in pursuance thereof, shall be established over all the people of every state and territory, embraced within the national Union.” No man, of course, who heartily believed in the peace doctrine of the Chicago platform could take the oath; and there were evidently many men in Tennessee who would not subscribe to another clause--men who could not heartily say: “I sincerely rejoice in the triumph of the armies and navies of the United States."
Against this oath, a committee of General McClellan's friends protested; and they bore their protest to the President. Mr. Lincoln did not receive the paper good-naturedly. He undoubtedly regarded it as an attempt to get him into difficulty, and to make political capital against him. He had no