Imágenes de páginas

meeting, the official reports to the annual meeting held December 31st showed a net gain in membership of twenty-nine; a small balance in the treasury and an increased attendance in the Sunday school.

ITS PASTORS. Its first pastor, the Rev. George R. Wallace came first to the church, as the State Evangelist of the Congregational Conference of Illinois but was afterwards regularly elected and the church, which had organized with a charter membership of forty-four had more than doubled at the close of his ministry. Mr. Wallace, after serving for seven years as assistant to Dr. Frank W. Gunsaulus, minister of Central Church, Chicago, became pastor of the First Congregational Church of Toledo, Ohio.

The Rev. John C. Gibson, was pastor at the time the church burned and during its rebuilding. It has been said by one who knew him well and who is well able to judge of his ability and worth, that he was "an Englishman, without an "h" in his system but superlatively the right man in the right place”.

The Rev. F. E. Hall was pastor from November 1, 1891 to Dec. 31, 1894, but three years and four months, yet during his ministry one hundred and seventy-six persons were added to the membership of the church, and the official record of the meeting, at which his resignation was accepted, testifies that “through his efforts the church has been placed on a solid financial basis and in a healthy spiritual and growing condition". In the last publication of the Congregational year Book his address is given as Sylvia, Kansas.

The Rev. E. E. Frame who at the request of the Illinois Home Missionary Society resigned to accept the pastorate of Plymouth Congregational Church at Champaign had served eight years. The longest ministry in the history of the church.

During his stay one hundred and forty-two names were added to its rolls and extensive improvements were made to its property.

The material for this sketch was gleaned from many sources: From the well kept records of First and Plymouth churches; a sermon by the Rev. R. O. Post, D. D., delivered on the Twentieth Anniversary of the founding of First Church; the history of Sangamon County, by Joseph_Wallace, M. A., until his death an honored member of the Sangamon County Bar; from Power's history of Sangamon County and from files of the Illinois State Journal and the Illinois State Register, in the Illinois State Historical Library.


By LOUIS MARTIN SEARS, Purdue University The gravity of the political situation in 1860 subordinated personalities to issues. With the Union in peril, its friends, however various their opinion on other points, found a common ground for action. Thus Douglas men and Bell-Everett men had more in common than in opposition, and if fusion of their forces here and there could insure victory for Union, that fusion was a logical development. Such a movement in New York, details of which are preserved among the Bell Papers, constitutes, in fact, one of the striking features of the cam. paign.

Among the letters illustrative of this fusion, a communication from August Belmont, one of the Douglas managers in New York, to Blanton Duncan, a Bell man of Louisville, speaking with warmest approval of a similar movement in Kentucky, adds that "I was particularly delighted to see the 'entente cordiale of your friends & ours, and I have no doubt but what every effort will be made by the Douglas men in our State, in order to bring about a complete union with the Bell & Everett men in our State. My impression is that this will be carried into effect and that by only running one ticket we shall be able to carry the State for Douglas."

Continuing, Belmont presents his correspondent with a sketch of New York politics at the moment. There is a discouraging apathy among merchants not yet awake to the dangers threatened by Lincoln's election. Feeling is improving, however, with good hope of success Up State and in the west. But funds are still needed to combat office holders and merchants in the southern part of the State, and help from outside would be most welcome, for "This State must be the battle ground of the Presidential campaign-If we can carry New York the defeat of Lincoln is certain, and either your ticket or ours must be successful.-I for my part shall be

[ocr errors]

satisfied with either result. Every Union man throughout the extent of our Republic must be deeply interested in the success of the Douglas ticket in our State and should contribute largely to that result.”1

So far as the Bell Papers are concerned, the Douglas share in the fusion is attested by the solitary epistle just cited. On the Bell-Everett side the record is more voluminous, but is all from the pen of one correspondent, Washington Hunt, a New York congressman devoted to the cause. The party chief is warned as early as May 24th that affairs are moving badly. Much to the chagrin of the Whigs, the “Buffalo Commercial Advertiser" has just gone over to Lincoln, apparently without consultation with its former friends. And the blow was the more severe because of a dearth of presses still supporting the Bell ticket. “We have but one or two remaining (& those obs cure weeklies) West of the Hudson River. We had an organ at Albany but it has been bought by the Republicans. In New York City we have nothing but the Express, which at last is coming into the field with some spirit.” Nor can compensation for these losses be anticipated from Seward men, for wbile they are undeniably disgruntled by the choice at Chicago they will support Lincoln in the expectation of controlling his Administration. It is a dark picture but "We have realities to deal with and must look them in the face, as they are.” 2

So far there is discouragement but no hint of fusion. But the difficulties in the way of a third party proved so great that some way of escape seemed imperative, and early in June the situation was presented to Bell as one requiring careful examination. “When the right time comes we must consider whether it is best to join terms with the democrats in this State, on a joint Electoral ticket. It is a delicate matter. Before coming to any decision in my own mind I intend to lay the whole ground before you and ask your opinion in perfect confidence. My instincts are rather in favor of doing whatever is fair and honorable to carry the election to the House of Representatives, and we may need to consider the question and decide with reference to that problem.

2 John Bell Papers, Library of Congress. August Belmont to Blanton Duncan. New York, August 9, 1860.

'I Washington Hunt to Bell. Lockport, N. Y., May 24, 1860.

"If New York could give you a part of her electoral vote that would at least defeat the Chicago nominations.":

Some such agreement being indispensable if Bell were to secure any votes whatever from New York, his managers consented to an arrangement which Hunt describes in a letter of considerable interest.

“Our friends insisted that I must be in the neighborhood to aid in forming an Union Electoral ticket in this state. You will have seen what was done. We had some difficulties on incidental points of detail, but they were happily overcome. We had united on one ticket containing 10 stedfast friends of B. & E. and 25 friends of Douglas. We would had (sic) 12 or 13 of our men, but it was found impossible to get rid of the personal claims of democratic candidates, resolutely urged by their dele gates. But the ticket as made was finally agreed to on both sides with intense enthusiasm and satisfaction. I was strongly urged all round to consent to serve on the ticket as one of the electors at large. But on full reflection I decided that I can render better service in my present position as an outside volunteer or if you please a 'high private in the ranks. Our friends feel confidant (sic) of our ability to elect this ticket. We mean to do it. Of course it is to be a tremendous and trying contest. My own condition during the fight will not be an enviable one. It seems to be ordained that I must face 'wild beasts' on every side. But for the sake of the cause I am prepared to meet them in the spirit of bold and knightly defiance.

“Matters are in good train for bringing in the bulk of the Breckinridge interest. If we succeed in covering this exposed point, we will feel invincible.

“Some of the leading Douglas men have said to me in confidence that if we succeed, & it shall appear that the whole College of N. Y. is necessary & sufficient to elect you their men will vote for you rather than send the election to the H. of Reps. In reply, I have said to them in confidence that they ought to do it, and in that event that you will not fail to appreciate their patriotism and to exhibit your proverbial sense of justice. I deem it my duty to inform you of these things at this early stage. You need make no answer to the suggestion,

• John Bell Papers, Library of Congress. Washington Hunt to John Bell. Lockport, N. Y., June , 1860.

but in the course of human events I may have to ask you to remember it.

"The Douglas leaders here well understand & assert that instead of our selling you to them they are helping us, & really supporting your election, which they greatly prefer either to Lincoln or Breckinridge.

“At Jersey City, I met friends from all parts of N. J. They have a perfect understanding with the democrats, to be demonstrated in the sequel, & you may put it down as a sure State anti Lincoln."4

The final communication of the series is a post mortem. In the first shock of defeat, Hunt was too heavy of heart to write. But before the month was ended he summed up his impressions. "I hoped for a more favorable termination of the contest, but from the first I falt that there was much danger of the precise result which has happened. It appeared to me that the last and only possible chance for preventing a purely sectional triumph was to be found in an union of the national men, of all shades, here in New York. We tried the experiment under many difficulties and disadvantages. It proved unavailing. I might weary you with a detail of the causes of our failure, but it would be an unnecessary infliction. The divisions and distractions in the democratic party were a source of serious difficulty.

"Then a portion of the old Whigs, who are still inclined to be national could not be induced to cooperate heartily with the democrats. They could not be made to realize the full dangers to the country from a sectional election. But the great and controlling cause must be found in the fact that a majority of our people in the interior have become thoroughly distempered with an anti-slavery and sectional fanaticism. This slavery question has taken complete possession of their minds to the exclusion of all those rational and enlarged considerations which dictate the cultivation of harmony and union between the sections. We made every possible effort, and while the majority against us in the State is nearly 50,000, you will see that the Union ticket received over 300,000 votes."

[ocr errors]

Washington Hunt to John Bell.

• John Bell Papers, Library of Congress. Newburgh, Aug. 19, 1860.

« AnteriorContinuar »