« AnteriorContinuar »
burst of applause within and without the building, the congratulations, the hand-shakings, the various manifestations of joy, continued with scarcely any interruption for some threequarters of an hour—was probably never before witnessed in a popular assembly.
The nomination having been made unanimous, the ticket was completed by the selection of Senator Hannibal Hamlin, of Maine, as Vice-President.
The country then felt that the right man had for once been put in the right place. As a man of the people, in cordial sympathy with the masses, Mr. Lincoln enjoyed the unhesitating confidence of the sincere friends of free labor, regardless of party distinctions. His tried integrity and incorruptible honesty gave promise of a return to the better days of the republic. Every man, laboring for the advancement of his fellow, knew that in him humanity, irrespective of race or condition, bad a tried and trusty friend.
The committee, appointed to apprise him of his nomination, found him at his home, in Springfield, a frame two-storied house, apparently about thirty-five or forty feet square, standing at the corner of two streets. After entering the parlor, which was very plainly furnished, though in good taste, a brief address was made by the chairman of the convention, upon the utterance of the first sentence of which a smile played round Mr. Lincoln's large, firm-set mouth, his eyes lit up, and his face conveyed to those who then for the first time met hirn, an impression of that sincere, loving nature which those who had known bim long and well had learned in some measure to comprehend and revere.
In response to this address, Mr. Lincoln said :
“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 honor done me, which you now
• The Nomination Accepted.
formally announce. Deeply, and even painfully sensible of the great responsibility which is inseparable from this high honor—a responsibility 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 unnecessary and unreasonable delay, respond to you, Mr. Chairman, in writing, pot 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.”
In reply to the formal letter of the President of the Convention, apprising him of the nomination, Mr. Lincoln addressed the following:
“Springfield, Illinois, May 23d, 1860. “Hon. GEORGE ASHMAN, President of the Republican Na
tional Convention. “SIR: I accept the nomination tendered me by the Convention over which you presided, and of which I am formally apprised in the letter of yourself and others, acting as a Committee of the Convention for that purpose.
“The declaration of principles and sentiments, which accompanies your letter, meets my approval; and it shall be my care not to violate, or disregard it, in any part.
“ Imploring the assistance of Divine Providence, 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 co-operate for the practical success of the principles declared by the Convention, “Your obliged friend and fellow-citizen,
The Electoral Vote.
The coming Storm.
The breach in the Democratic party, threatened at Charleston, was subsequently effected by the nomination of Stephen A. Douglas and Herschel V. Johnson, of Georgia, by one wing, and of John C. Breckinridge, of Kentucky, and Joseph Lane, of Oregon, by the other.
Although the election of Mr. Lincoln was, under the circumstances, almost a foregone conclusion, yet the canvass which ensued was acrimonious and vindictive in the extreme, the choicest selections from the rank Billingsgate vocabularies being lavished on the head of Mr. Linclon and his supporters.
On the 6th of November, 1860, Mr. Lincoln received 1,866,452 votes, securing the electoral votes of the States of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, IŅdiana, Illinois, Michigan, Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, California, Oregon, and four votes of New Jersey, 180 in alt; Douglas, 1,375,157 votes, and the electoral votes of Missouri, and three of New Jersey, 12 in all; Breckenridge, 847,953, and the votes of Maryland, Delaware; North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Texas, 72 in all; and Bell, 590,631, and the votes of Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee, 39 in all.
And now was to be tested whether words were to ripen into deeds—whether threats would be reduced to practicewhether, indeed, there were madness enough in any State or States to attempt the life of the republic. Unfortunately, a short space of time elapsed before all doubts were at an end. Men were to be found—not confined to a single State, but representatives of nearly, if not quite all—not to be counted by scores or hundreds even, but by thousands, and soon by tens of thousands ready to lay their unballowed hands upon the Union, the ark of our nation's glory and strength.
To South Carolina belongs the bold, bad eminence of taking the initiation in this conspiracy against the interests of humanity. While this State-doomed forever after to an
President Buchanan's Pusillanimity. South Carolina Secedes. Attempts at Compromise.
ignominy from which centuries of unquestioned loyalty cannot free her—was taking the requisite steps toward secession, the then President, James Buchanan, with a pusillanimity to use no stronger term—which modern history certainly has never paralleled, in his annual message, after having urged the unconstitutionality of the proceeding, gave explicit notification that he had no constitutional power to prevent the proposed measures being bastened to successful completion. Neither, though appealed to, at a still earlier day, by tbe veteran chief of the army, to occupy and hold the United States on the Southern coast, could he find any warrant for protecting and defending the national property.
Surely nothing more could the conspirators have desired. On the 20th of December, 1860, South Carolina claims to secede — Government forts and arsenals are seized, and placed under the protection of the flag of the State. Georgia's Governor lays hand on the United States forts on the coast of that State, on the 3d of January, 1861; as did the Executive of Alabama on the following day.
Events of a startling nature follow in rapid succession. On the 9th of January, hostile shots are fired upon a vessel bringing tardy reinforcements to Fort Sumter, and Mississippi assumes to put herself out of the Union. Alabama, Florida, and Georgia are not laggard ; nor are Texas and Louisiana found wanting. Cabinet officers from the slave States either resigned, after having aided the fell work to their utmost, or remained only to hasten its consummation. A new constitution, “temporary” in its nature, was declared by delegates from the seven States then in rebellion, and a President and Vice-President appointed.
Meanwbile a convention, composed of delegates from most of the Free States, and from all the border Slave States, was striving, at Washington, to heal existing difficulties by compromise. Of its members some were acting in good faith, others were using it as a breakwater for the States already
Constitutional Amendment Proposed.
Davis defines the Rebel position.
in overt rebellion. A series of resolutions, however, aiming at peace on the basis of a preserved Union was agreed to by a majority, and the body adjourned on the 1st of Marcb.
On the 11th of February, moreover, the National House of Representatives unanimously adopted a resolution-shortly afterward concurred in by the Senate--providing for an amendment to the Constitution, forever probibiting any Congressional legislation interfering' with slavery in any State. Some there were, too, who were willing to concede almost every thing and surrender the long mooted question of slavery in the territories by the adoption of the so-called Crittenden resolutions, which were killed in cold blood by Southern Senators.
But no concession, short of actual national degradation, would satisfy the recusants. Jefferson Davis, the head of the “ Confederacy," on placing bimself at the head of the rebellion, at Montgomery, Alabama, February 18th, modestly defined the position of himself and his co-conspirators thus:
“If a just perception of neutral interest shall permit us peaceably to pursue our separate political career, my most earnest desire will have been fulfilled. But if this be denied us, and the integrity of our territory and jurisdiction be assailed, it will but remain for us with firm resolve to appeal to arms, and invoke the blessing of Providence on a just cause."
This was at once clinched by a recommendation that “a well-instructed, disciplined army, more numerous than would usually be required, on a peace establishment,” should be at once organized and put in training for the emergency.