Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

the morning of Friday was intense. The Illinoisans had turned out in great numbers, zealous for Lincoln; and though the other States, near and far, had sent many men who were equally zealous for Mr. Seward, it was quite clear that Mr. Lincoln's supporters were in the majority in the audience. The first ballot gave Mr. Seward one hundred and seventy-three and a half votes to one hundred and two for Mr. Lincoln, the rest being scattered. On the second ballot the first indication of the result was felt, when the chairman of the Vermont delegation, which had been divided on the previous ballot, announced, when the name of that State was called, that “ Vermont casts her ten votes for the young giant of the West, Abraham Lincoln." On the second ballot, Mr. Seward had one hundred and eighty-four and a half to one hundred and eighty-one for Mr. Lincoln, and on the third ballot Mr. Lincoln received two hundred and thirty votes, being within one and a half of a majority. The vote was not announced, but so many everywhere had kept the count that it was known throughout the Convention at once. Mr. Carter, of Ohio, rose and announced a change in the vote of the Ohio delegation of four votes in favor of Mr. Lincoln, and the Convention at once burst into a state of the wildest excitement. The cheers of the audience within were answered by those of a yet larger crowd without, to whom the result was announced. Cannon roared, and bands played, and banners waved, and the excited Republicans of Chicago cheered themselves hoarse, while on the wings of electricity sped all over the country the news of Mr. Lincoln's nomination, to be greeted everywhere with similar demonstrations. It was long before the Convention could calm itself enough to proceed to business. When it did, other States changed their votes in favor of the successful nominee, until it was announced, as the result of the third ballot, that . Abraham Lincoln, of Illinois, had received three hundred and fifty-four votes, and was nominated by the Republican party for the office of President of the United States. The nomination was then, on the motion of Mr. Evarts, of New York, made unanimous, and the Conven. tion adjourned till the afternoon, when they completed their work by nominating Hannibal Hamlin for VicePresident.

Mr. Lincoln was at Springfield at the time. He had been in the telegraph-office during the casting of the first and second ballots, but then left, and went over to the office of the State Journal, where he was sitting conversing with friends while the third ballot was being taken. In a few moments came across the wires the announcement of the result. The Superintendent of the Telegraph Company, who was present, wrote on a scrap of paper, “Mr. Lincoln : You are nominated on the third ballot," and a boy ran 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. They waited upon him at his residence, and Mr. Ashmun, President of the Conven tion, 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, bat appropriate to the important matter which they have in hand, that thoy should come in person, and present to you the authentic evidenee 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. Sır at your convenience we shall be glad to receive from you such a ro. sponse as 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 replied :

MR. CHAIRMAN AND GENTLEMEN OF THE COMMITTEE:-I tender to you, and through you to the Republican National Convention, and all the people represented in it, my profoundest thanks for the high houor done me, which you now formally announce. Deeply, and even painfully sensible of the great responsibility which is inseparable from this high honorresponsibility 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 eying Mr. Lincoln's lofty form with a mixture of admiration, and possibly 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 Illi nois. 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 jonr 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 Provi. dence, 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 cooperate 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 proved universally acceptable to the Republican party. Its members recognized in him a man of firm principles, of ardent love for freedom, of strict integrity and truth, and they went into the political contest with a zeal and enthusiasm which was the guarantee of victory ; while the doubt and uncertainty, the divided counsels and wavering purposes of their opponents were the sure precursors of defeat.

His nomination was the signal to the leaders of the slaveholders' party for pressing upon the Democratic Convention their most ultra views, that by the division of the Democratic forces the victory of Mr. Lincoln might be assured, and the pretext afforded them for carrying into execution the plot against the liberties of the country which they had been for so many years maturing. That they would dare to carry their threat of rebellion into execution, was not believed at the North. If it had been, while it might have frightened away some votes from Mr. Lincoln, it would have brought him substantial accessions from the ranks of those who, though following the Democratic banner, had not learned to disregard the good old doctrine that the majority must rule, and who would have rushed to its rescue, if they had believed that it was really threatened. The vote which he received on November 6, 1860, was that of a solid phalanx of earnest men, who had resolved that freedom should henceforth be national, and that slavery should remain as the framers of the Constitution intended that it should remain.

CHAPTER IV.

FROM THE ELECTION, NOV. 6, 1860, TO THE INAUGURATION,

MARCH 4, 1861.

OESSION

THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION.-SECESSION OF SOUTI CAROLINA.-FORMATION OF THE REBEL CONFEDERACY.—THE OBJECTS OF SECESSION.-SE

COVEMENTS IN WASHINGTON.-DEBATES IN CONGRESS.–TAE CRITTENDEN RESOLUTIONS.—CoxqiLIATORY ACTION OF CONGRESS.—THE PEACE CONFERENCE.—ACTION OF CONGRESS.—THE SECESSION MoveMENT UNCHECKED.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN was elected to be President of the United States on the sixth day of November, 1860. The preliminary canvass had not been marked by any very extraordinary features. Party lines were a good deal broken up, and four presidential candidates were in the field ; but this departure from the ordinary course of party contests had occurred more than once in the previous political history of the country. Mr. Lincoln was put in nomination by the Republican party, and represented in his life and opinions the precise aim and object for which that party had been formed. He was a native of a slaveholding State ; and while he had been opposed to slavery, he had regarded it as a local institution, the creature of local laws, with which the National Government of the United States had nothing whatever to do. But, in common with all observant public men, he had watched with distrust and apprehension the advance of slavery, as an element of political power, towards ascendency in the Government of the nation, and had cordially co-operated with those who thought it absolutely necessary for the future well-being of the country that this advance should be checked. He had, therefore, opposed very strenuously the extension of slavery into the Territories, and had asserted the right and the duty of Congress to exclude it by positive legislation there. from.

« AnteriorContinuar »