Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

waved his tally-sheet towards the skylight and CHAP. XV. shouted a name,- and then the boom of a cannon on the roof of the wigwam announced the nomination to the crowds in the streets, where shouts and salutes took up and spread the news. In the convention the Lincoln river now became an inundation. Amid the wildest hurrahs, delegation after delegation changed its vote to the victor.

A graceful custom prevails in orderly American conventions, that the chairman of the vanquished delegation is first to greet the nominee with a short address of party fealty and promise of party support. Mr. Evarts, the spokesman for New York, essayed promptly to perform this courteous office, but was delayed a while by the enthusiasm and confusion. The din at length subsided, and the presiding officer announced that on the third ballot Abraham Lincoln, of Illinois, received 364 votes, and "is selected as your candidate for President of the United States." Then Mr. Evarts, in a voice of unconcealed emotion, but with admirable dignity and touching eloquence, speaking for Seward and for New York, moved to make the nomination unanimous.

The interest in a National Convention usually ceases with the announcement of the principal nomination. It was only afterwards that the delegates realized how fortunate a selection they made by adding Hannibal Hamlin, of Maine, to the ticket as candidate for Vice-President. Mr. Hamlin was already distinguished in public service. He was born in 1809, and became a lawyer by profession. He served many years in the Maine Legislature and four years as a Representative in Congress.

CHAP. XV. In 1848 he was chosen to fill a vacancy in the United States Senate, and in 1851 was reëlected for a full term. When in 1856 the Cincinnati Convention indorsed the repeal of the Missouri Compromise, which he had opposed, Mr. Hamlin formally withdrew from the Democratic party. In November of that year the Republicans elected him Governor of Maine, and in January, 1857, reelected him United States Senator.

For the moment the chief self-congratulation of the convention was that by the nomination of Lincoln it had secured the doubtful vote of the conservative States. Or rather, perhaps, might it be said that it was hardly the work of the delegates-it was the concurrent product of popular wisdom. Political evolution had with scientific precision wrought "the survival of the fittest." The delegates leaving Chicago on the various homeward-bound railroad trains that night, saw that already the enthusiasm of the convention was transferred from the wigwam to the country. "At every station where there was a village, until after 2 o'clock, there were tar-barrels burning, drums beating, boys carrying rails, and guns great and small banging away. The weary passengers were allowed no rest, but plagued by the thundering of the cannon, the clamor of drums, the glare of bonfires, and the whooping of boys, who were delighted with the idea of a candidate for the Presidency who thirty years before split rails on the Sangamon River-classic stream now and for evermore 1860, p. 154. and whose neighbors named him 'honest.'"

Halstead, "Conventions of

CHAPTER XVI

LINCOLN ELECTED

THO

HUS the Presidential canvass in the United CHAP. XVI. States for the year 1860 began with the very unusual condition of four considerable parties, and four different tickets for President and VicePresident. In the order of popular strength, as afterwards shown, they were:

First. The Republican party, which at the Chicago Convention had nominated as its candidate for President, Abraham Lincoln, of Illinois, and for Vice-President, Hannibal Hamlin, of Maine. Its animating spirit was a belief and declaration that the institution of slavery was wrong in morals and detrimental to society; its avowed policy was to restrict slavery to its present limits in the States where it existed by virtue of local constitutions and laws.

Second. The Douglas wing of the Democratic party, which at Baltimore nominated Stephen A. Douglas, of Illinois, for President, and whose candidate for Vice-President was Herschel V. Johnson, of Georgia.1 It declared indifference as

1 Benjamin Fitzpatrick, of Ala- nomination, and the National bama, had been nominated at Committee substituted the name Baltimore, but he declined the of Herschel V. Johnson.

CHAP. XVI. to the moral right or wrong of slavery, and indifference to its restriction or extension. Its avowed policy was to permit the people of a Territory to decide whether they would prevent or establish slavery, and it further proposed to abide by the decisions of the Supreme Court on all questions of constitutional law growing out of it.

Third. The Buchanan wing of the Democratic party, which at Baltimore nominated John C. Breckinridge, of Kentucky, for President, and Joseph Lane, of Oregon, for Vice-President. Its animating spirit was a belief and declaration that slavery was morally right and politically beneficial; its avowed policy was the extension of slavery into the Territories, and the creation of new slave States, whereby it might protect and perpetuate itself by a preponderance, or at least a constant equality, of political power, especially in the Senate of the United States. As one means to this end, it proposed the immediate acquisition of the island of Cuba.

Fourth. The Constitutional Union party, which in its convention at Baltimore nominated John Bell, of Tennessee, for President, and Edward Everett, of Massachusetts, for Vice-President. It professed to ignore the question of slavery, and declared that it would recognize no political principle other than "the Constitution of the Country, the Union of the States, and the enforcement of the Laws."

The first, most striking feature of the four-sided Presidential canvass which now began, was the personal pledge by every one of the candidates of devotion to the Union. Each of the factions was

in some form charging disunion motives or tend- CHAP. XVL encies upon part or all of the others; but each indignantly denied the allegation as to itself. To leave no possible doubt, the written letters of acceptance of each of the candidates emphasized the point. Lincoln invoked "the inviolability of the Constitution, and the perpetual union, harmony, and prosperity of all." Douglas made his pledge broad and full. "The Federal Union," wrote he, "must be preserved. The Constitution must be maintained inviolate in all its parts. Every right guaranteed by the Constitution must be protected by law in all cases where legislation is necessary to its enjoyment. The judicial authority, as provided in the Constitution, must be sustained, and its decisions implicitly obeyed and faithfully executed. The laws must be administered, and the constituted authorities upheld, and all unlawful resistance to these things must be put down with firmness, impartiality, and fidelity." "The Constitution and the equality of the States," wrote Breckinridge, "these are symbols of everlasting union. Let these be the rallying cries of the people." Bell declared that, if elected, all his ability, strength of will, and official influence should be employed "for the maintenance of the Constitution and the Union against all opposing influences and tendencies." Even President Buchanan, in a little campaign speech from the portico of the Executive mansion, hastened to purge himself of the imputation of suspicion or fear on this point. He declared that neither of the Democratic conventions was "regular," and that therefore every Democrat was at liberty to vote as he thought

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »