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CHAPTER VII. The Presidental Canvass of 1864 concluded.—Spirit of the Opposi.
tion.—The North-western Conspiracy.-The Issue Concerning the Habeas Corpus and Military Arrests.-Letters of Mr. Lincoln on these Subjects.-Efforts of the Rebel Cabal in Canada to influence the Election. The State Elections of September and October.-The Voice of the Soldiers.- The Presidential Vote.-The President's Gratitude to the Army and Navy.-Maryland a Free State.—Mr. Lincoln's Speech to Marylanders.—Cipher Dispatches, and Schemes of the Canadian Cabal.-Affairs in Tennessee.--The Canvass in New York.
THE actual opening of the Presidential canvass was marked by the subsidence of all opposition to Mr. Lincoln within the Republican Union party. Those who had reluctantly come into his support, did not covet the position of leaders without any following. Those who had tested the futile scheme for bringing about his withdrawal, speedily learned that the people had no inclination for such trilling. Gen. Fremont, who had begged an instantaneous acceptance of his resignation as a Major-General, that he might use the more freedom in the letter of acceptance, which he was in haste to write, now (not too graciously) recalled that acceptance. Mr. Chase, hitherto, silently awaiting the turn of eyents, no longer hesitated to take the stump for Lincoln and Johnson. Radicals and Conservatives heartily united in the common cause, and all minor divi. sions were forgotten.
The Democratic National Convention, in its platform, as well as in its nominations, had shown a singular misapprehension of the strong current of loyal opinion. It pronounced the fatal words, " four years of failure to restore the Union by the experiment of war,” which vexed the ears of the heroic soldiers and of the faithful citizens alike. More untimely and infatuated still, was the “demand that immediate efforts be made for the cessation of hostilities," at
the moment when our brave soldiers were entering Atlanta. Recreant leaders sealed the doom of their party on the moment of these strange utterances. Vain was McClellan's attempted change of base, in his letter of acceptance. Unavailing was Pendleton's abstinence of speech. There was nothing in the record of either, to their misfortune, that neutralized the effect of these significant words.
If by these grave mistakes, the Opposition had thrown itself into a hopelessly defensive attitude, scarcely less maladroit were its aggressive attempts. Issues were raised, so transparently false, as to offend the plainest common sense. Arbitrary arrests, interference with liberty of speech, ambitious despotism, and a general infraction of the Constitution, were resolutely charged upon Mr. Lincoln's administration. The people were told that their rights were recklessly trampled under foot. In fact, the Chicago Democratic platform-in anti-climatic eagerness-averred that “the Constitution itself has been disregarded in every part, and public liberty and private right alike trodden down, and the material prosperity of the country essentially impaired.” By a curious infelicity, complaint was made of an alleged “ direct interference of the military authority of the United States in the recent elections held in Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, and Delaware,” coupled with a threat of resistance by force of arms. Was it supposed that the people had so soon forgotten the military interference of the Opposition candidate, in arresting a whole legislature in Maryland, and forcibly preventing the intended steps toward
secession "? Or that this action—the brightest in his career -was heartily approved by public opinion throughout the country? To deny the right of preventing the consummation of plotted treason, was only to claim immunity for treason, , itself. And such was, throughout, the spirit of this platform.
It lamented restraints upon the liberties of traitors and their abettors; it arraigned the exercise of the war power, in meeting a war begun by rebels; it denounced the refusal of “the right of asylum” to a foreign slave-pirate ; it grew indignant at “the employment of unusual test oaths,” from which no loyal nerve ever suffered a twingle ; and grieved over the strangely asserted
“ denial of the right of the people to bear arms "-meaning the refusal of permission to a secret order of conspirators in Indiana, and elsewhere, which had already been exposed, to arm and organize in private for the direct coöperation with the Southern Rebel forces.*
It is not surprising that Thompson and Sanders, those arch Rebels “in the confidential employment” of Jefferson Davis in Canada, promptly telegraphed their agent in Halifax, on the conclusion of this Chicago conclave, in the following terms: “Platform and Vice President satisfactory; speeches very satisfactory.” Subsequent disclosures throw a lurid glare over these historic words. Humiliating enough it certainly was, for men not utterly lost to all sense of loyalty, and to all love of country, to receive such an indorsement from known traitors ; but from traitors plotting the unparalleled iniquities which time was erelong to reveal, what could be more lastingly iniquitous than this approbation? In this view, some of the “ very satisfactory” speeches become too strangely significant to be passed over as they might otherwise deserve. The reports to be quoted from appeared in the Chicago Times, a party organ of the opposition, and the speeches were made by delegates, either actually in the Convention, or at popular meetings outside, on that occasion.
A delegate-certainly not a “Senator " in Congress, as the reporter intimated; can it have been the identical Samuel 8. Cox, of Ohio, who, two years before, when greatly in need of Republican votes to secure his election to Congress, called on his auditors in a strongly loyal county to give "three cheers for Abraham Lincoln”? A delegate to the Chicago Democratic National Convention was thus reported by the party organ on that occasion :
Senator Cox being introduced, said he did not want to use any harsh language toward Old Abe (cries of "give it to him"]. He had attempted in his own city, a few weeks since, to show, in a very quiet way, that Abraham Lincoln had deluged the country with blood, created a debt of four thou.
* For the Chicago Democratic Platform, entire, see page 578.
sand millions of dollars, sacrificed two millions of human lives, and filled the land with grief and mourning.
For less offenses than Mr. Lincoln had been guilty of, the English people had chopped off the head of the first Charles. In his opinion, Lincoln and Davis ought to be brought to the same block together. The other day they arrested a friend of his, a member of Congress from Missouri, for saying, in private conversation, that Lincoln was no better than Jeff. Davis. He was ready to say the same here now in Chicago.
Another Democratic orator and delegate, H. Clay Dean, of Iowa, is represented as follows in the same journal's report:
He said in the presence of the force of Camp Douglas, and all the satraps of Lincoln, that the American people were ruled by felons. Lincoln had never turned a dishonest man out of office or kept an honest one in. (A voice—" What have you to say of Jeff. Davis ?''] I have nothing to say about him. Lincoln is engaged in a controversy with him, and I never interfere between black dogs. * * * *
And still the monster usurper wanted more men for his slaughter-pens. [Loud cries of “he shan't have more.”] The careful husbandman, in deadening the forest, was always careful in preserving the young growth of timber; and in selecting his swine for the slaughter, he preserved the younger ones for future use. But the tyrant and despot who ruled this people to destruction paid no regard to age or condition. He desired to double the widowhood and duplicate the orphans. He blushed that such a felon should occupy the highest place in the gift of the people. Perjury and larceny were written over him as often as was “one dollar ” on the one dollar bills of the Bank of the State of Indiana. [Cries of " the old villain."]
Ever since the usurper, traitor and tyrant had occupied the Presidential chair, the Republican party had shouted war to the knife, and the knife to the hilt. Blood had flowed in torrents, and yet the thirst of the old monster was not quenched. His cry was for more blood.
A delegate named Benjamin Allen, of New York, is reported in the same journal, to have said :
The people will soon rise, and if they can not put Lincoln out of power by the ballot they will by the bullet. [Lcud cheers.]
These examples will suffice to show the spirit of the speeches made at the Chicago Democratic Convention, which were so “very satisfactory” to the men “in the confidential employment” of the “Confederate Government." Such was, to a great extent, the character of the opposition made to Mr. Lincoln, during the canvass of 1864. That “ Confederate" funds were used in sustaining the secret organization which sc largely influenced this convention, or that these conspirators were in constant communication and full accord with those malignants who were already hatching their terrible brood of crimes, across the Canada border, has since been placed beyond reasonable doubt.
The exposure of the "privy conspiracy and rebellion ” in Indiana, and the trial of some of the leaders concerned therein, was not without effect upon the canvass. At first incredulous, the whole country was speedily startled by damning proofs of the reality of this treasonable secret order, and of the existence of designs even more reckless and wicked than were originally surmised. In an elaborate report, made on the 8th of October, Judge Advocate General Holt stated at length the purposes of this infamous order, as thus far shown by undoubted testimony, under the following heads : · 1. Aiding soldiers to desert, and harboring and protecting deserters.
2. Discouraging enlistments, and resisting the draft.
4. Communicating with and giving intelligence to the enemy.
5. Aiding the enemy by recruiting for them, or assisting them to recruit, within our lines.
6. Furnishing the Rebels with arms, ammunition, etc.
9. Destruction of private property and persecution of Union men. · 10. Assassination and murder.
11. Establishment of a North-western Confederacy. In concluding his report, Judge Holt said: