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vation of their liberty, but the reiteration of the former bold stand for peace, for which the masses in Illinois in their expression at the polls had showu no relish, was shrewdly avoided. This was regarded as a McClellen triumph, and a rebuke to the peace-onany-term's party. But the peace faction against which the tide was thus strongly setting, was not to be squelched without making an effort. With the view to influence the approaching State convention, a mass meeting to the number of perhaps 20,000 assembled at Peoria, August the 3d, under the management of the lead. ing peace men of the State. The meeting was also said to have been called by “a secret organization whose members acted with the Democratic party. "*General Singleton, author of the 23d declaration of the 17th of June, 1863, presided ; and Amos Green, Grand Commander of the Order of American Knights in Illinois, who, subsequently, in the trial of the Camp Douglas conspirators at Cincinnati, turned state's evidence, H. M. Vandeveer, W. W. O'Brien and others, reported a series of resolutions, in the 2d of which they "declare that the coercion and subjugation of sovereign States was never contemplated as possible or authorized by the constitution, but was pronounced by its makers an act of suicidal folly. But whatever may be the theory of constitutional power, war, as a means of restoring the Union, has proved a fail. ure and a delusion," etc.; and in the 3d, "that the repeal and revocation of all unconstitutional edicts and pretended laws, an armistice, and a national convention for the peaceful adjustment of our troubles, are the only means of saving our nation from unlimited calamity and ruin."*
In the meantime another Democratic mass convention had been called to assemble at the capital. The Peoria meeting, doubtless fearing that the policy to harmonize all the discordant elements manifest in the party would there prevail, now resolved to then re-assemble at Springfield, being the 18th of August fol. lowing, and stamp that meeting, also, with their character. Accordingly, upon that occasion, General Singleton claimed that the Springfield meeting, which was very largely attended, was but a continuation of the Peoria meeting ; that the officers were already chosen, and nothing remained to be done but for him as president to call the multitude to order, listen to the speaking, and pass the Peoria peace resolutions. But his assumptions met with earnest protest; however, for the sake of harmony, it was agreed in cau. cus that Singleton should preside, that the Peoria resolutions should be reported stripped of two objectionable clauses, and in addition to pledge the party to the Chicago nominees. This was strenuously opposed by the ultra peace faction, who declared they would appeal to the people. The meeting was forthwith called to order, General Singleton became chairman and addressed the masses in a forcible and able speech. He was followed by Henry Clay Dean, of Iowa, in an eloquent effort. The Peoria resolutions unchanged' were then offered for adoption, as also those of June 17th, 1863, and by the chair declared passed. The caucus resolu. tion pledging the efficient support of the Illinois Democracy to the Chicago nominee for president, whoever he might be, was then
*See correspondence Chicago Times. *See Illinois Register, Aug. 5th, 1864
offered. It was sharply attacked and laid on the table. Next the Peoria and 17th of June resolutions were offered for adoption at stand No. 2, and there, also, declared passed. The resolution pledging unconditional support to the Chicago nominees was now again offered. A bitter debate, not unmixed with gross personalities, was instantly aroused, resulting this time in the adoption of the resolution. And now the cloven foot having been revealed to the multitude, when the latter resolution was again moved at stand No. 1, amidst much confusion and opposition it was there, also, vociferously adopted. The presiding officer, who had been assailed as a disorganizer, thereupon retired from the meeting in disgust.*
Thus this meeting, after adopting the Peoria and 17th of June resolutions, demanding an armistice, pronouncing the war for the Union a failure and unconstitutional, and proposing an almost unconditional peace with defiant rebels, in the next breath pledged themselves in advance to support a war Democrat for the presidency. But this glaring inconsistency only indicated after all that many of the democratic leaders, in their ardent and ultra opposition to the war for the Union, bad been really less disloyal in their true feelings and sentiments than partisan and factious. They were anti-war men because it was not, as they thought, the war of their party. They did not love the Union less, but office more. The partisan strife for place, power and position is a terrible thing in our country, and not at all on the wane.
Nor was this meeting more inconsistent than the Chicago Democratic national convention of 1864, which met a few days later, in the adoption of their platform and the choice of a candidate to be placed upon it.
The 20 resolution declared it as the sense of the American people "that after four years of failure to restore the Union by the experiment of war, during which, under the pretense of military necessity or power higher than the constitution, the constitution itself has been disregarded in every part, and the public liberty and private rights aliko trodden down, and the material prosperity of the country essentially impaired ; justice, humanity, liberty and the public welfare demand that immediate efforts be made for the cessation of hostilities, with a view to an ultimate convention of the States or other peaceable means to the end that at the earliest practicable moment peace may be restored on the basis of the Federal Union of the Siates. To which the distinguised military chieftain, Gen. McClellen, a strong war Democrat, who had dispersed the Maryland Democratic legislature at the point of the bayonet, replied in his letter of accepance :
“But the Union must be preserved at all bazards. I could not look in the face of my gallant comrades of the army and navy, who survived so many bloody battles, and tell them that their labors and the sacrifice of so many of our slain and wounded brethren have been in vain."
During the autumn of '64 a onnspiracy was detected at Chicago, which had for its object the liberation of the prisoners at Camp Douglas, the burning of the city, and the inauguration of rebellion in the north. Gen. Sweet, who had charge of the camp at the time, first had his suspicions of danger aroused by a number of enigmatically worded letters which passed through the Camp postoffice.
From subsequent developments he became convinced it was the intention of the conspirators to carry out their nefarious designs during the session of the National Democratic Convention in August, but before the time arrived defensive measures were instituted, and the leaders deemed it best to postpone the consummation of their object till the presidential election. They were, however, again destined to be foiled. On the 2d of November, a citizen of St. Louis, an avowed secessionist. but in reality a government detectivé, followed a criminal from that city to Springfield, and thence to Chicago. Here, while on the alert for the fugitive, he met a former acquaintance, & member of the order of American Knights, from whom he learned that the rebel
*See Illinois Register, Aug. 19th, 1864.
Marmaduke was in the city. After a short interview he met Dr. Edwards, a citizen of Chicago and a rebel sympathizer, who asked him if he knew Southern soldiers were in town. The detective answering in the negative, his interlocutor further informed him that Marmaduke was stopping at his house under the assumed name of Burling, and mentioned as a “good joke that he had a British passport made out under the same cogpomen by the American Consul. The detective, in his report to the Provost Marshal General of Mo., says: "The same evening I again met with Dr. Edwards on the street going to my hotel. He said Marmaduke desired to see me and I accompanied hii
to his house. There in the course of a long conversation Marmaduke told me tbat he and several officers were in Chicago to operate with other parties in releasing the prisoners of Camp Douglas, and in inaugurating a rebellion in the north. He suid the movement was under the auspices of the American Knights and was to begin opeo rations on the day of the election. The detective immediately called on Col. Sweet and cominunicated to bim the startling intelligence, and ine latter telegraphed for troops. There were in the camp 8,000 prisoners, among whom were Morgan's freebooters, Texas Rangers and others precocious, dariug and ready for reckless adventure. To guard the large force there were only 700 effective men, and the commandant felt as though there was a mine b-neath him, and only 70 hours remained in which to prevent its being sprung with disusi rous consequences to the garrison and adjacent city. Disclosures soon reached him from other sources whereby he learned the full particulars of the gigantic scheme. The blow was to be struck on the 8th of November, and Camp Douglas was the first objective point. The 8.000 prisoners when liberated were to be joined by the 5,000 knights of Chicago, making a nucleus of 13,000 about which wonld gather Canadian refugees, bush whackers from: Mo., prisoners from other Camps, and members of the same' order in other localities. The city of Chicago was first to be sacked and burned, after which a similar fate was to be meted out to the other cities of the north. A general uprising of the traasonable element in the loyal States was to follow, and simultaneously Hood was to move on Nashville, Buckner on Louisville, and Price on St. Louis.
It must not be supposed these seemingly extravagant arrangements were without some prospect of success. Investigations before military commissions in different parts of the west indicated the existence of treasonable societies of almost fabulous ex. tent. A report of the Judge Advocate General of the U.S. disclosed "the existence of a military organization having its commander-in-chief, general and subordinate officers, and 500,000 enrolled members, all bound by a blind obedience to their superiors, and pledged to take up arms against any power sound waging war against a people endeavoring to establish a government of their own choice."
Col. Sweet duly apprised the police of Chicago of the presence of the conspirators, and at 2 o'clock in the morning preceding the election, made a descent on their respective places of lodging. Among the arrests were the rebel officers Grenfell, Morgan, Adjutant General Marmaduke, brother of the general, Cantrell, of Morgan's command, Buckner Mo treasurer of the Sons of Liberty, Charles Walsh, a member of the order were also arrested. In the house of the latter were found two cart loads of loaded pistols, and in another part of the city two boxes of guns. The startling intelligence of the arrests spread with lightning rapidity, and as the sun rose up from the bosom of the lake and looked down on the iniles oť palatial residences, stores and well-filled houses marked out for rapine and burning their inhabitants were in arms, patrols wero marching and countermarching through the entire city which presented the appearance of an extended military encampment. Thus in one short hour the scheme which was to transfer the theatre of the war to the free states, and apply the torch to nortbern cities, collapsed and its reckless projectors were in the custody of the officers in the narrow cells of a prison.
Early in January, 1865, Gen. Hooker, commandant of the Northwestern Depariment, convened a court martial in Cincinnati to try the leaders of the conspiracy. They were cbarged with violating the laws of war by aitempting to release the prisoners confined at Camp Douglas, and conspiring to lay waste the city of Chicago. The trial lasted till April, when Walsh was sentenced to three years' imprisonment in the penitentiary, Grenfell to be hung. Rafael Semmes, captured after the first arrests, to two years imprisonment. Of the other prisoners one committed suicide by shooting himself. one escaped from custody and the remainder were acquitted. After remaininig in prison 9 months all the convicts except Grenfell, whose sentence was commuted to imprisonment for life, were pardoned.
1865-1869—ADMINISTRATION OF GOV. OGLESBY.
Republican and Democratic State Conventions of 1864—Lives and
Character of Oglesby and Bro88—Prosperity and Condition of the State during the Rebellion—Legislation, Political and Special, in 1865--7-Board of Equalization established — Location of Agricultural College-Illinois Capitals and their removals-History of the Penitentiary.
The Republican, or Union State Convention of 1864, was held at Springfield, May 25th. A. J. Kuykendall, of Johnson, was chosen to preside. For Governor four names were proposed. On the first or informal ballot, Allen C. Fuller, of Boone, received 220 votes; Richard J. Oglesby, of Macon, 283; Jesse K. Dubois, of Sangamon, 103; and John M. Palmer, of Macoupin, 75. On the next ballot Oglesby was nominated, receiving 358 out of 681 votes cast. William Bross, of Cook, was nominated for lieutenant governor; Sharon Tyndale, of St. Clair, for Secretary of State; 0. H. Miner, of Sangamon, for Auditor ; James H. Beveridge, of DeKalb, for Treasurer; Newton Bateman, of Morgan, for Superintendent of Public Instruction ; S. W. Moulton, of Shelby, for Congressman for the State-at-large. Thus far all was harmony, but now came trouble. The committee on platform gave the national administration but a quasi endorsement, saying that the president's “war measures were planned with an honest purpose; that it was not necessary to approve of every act of the administration to enable them to say Mr. Lincoln was an honest man and prudent statesman; and that in the main the acts of the administration bad been highly conducive in suppressing the existing rebellion, and should Mr. Lincolu receive the nomination of the Baltimore convention they would give him their earnest sup
This resolution excited intense opposition and was laid on the table. A new committee was appointed and in the evening a new set of resolutions were reported and adopted after a protracted sitting. The administration was strongly indorsed, and the dele. gates to the Baltimore convention instructed to use all honorable
*See Minois State Register, May 28th, 1864.
means to secure the re-nomination of Mr. Lincoln for the presi. dency; a determination was expressed to prosecute the war until the cause of the Union triumphed; slavery was charged as the cause of the rebellion; they breathed the sentiments of a genuine patriotism and noble sympathy for the soldiers; extended thanks to the governor and all the State officials; indorsed the 13th amend. ment abolishing slavery; and asserted the Monroe doctrine-that it was the duty of the Ú. S. to reinstate republican institutions on the continent of America, which looked to the French operations in Mexico.
The Democratic State Convention of 1864 also met at Springfield, but not till September 6th. The Hon. S. S. Hayes, of Cook, presided. The Chicago national democratic platform was adopted. James C. Robinson, of Clark, was nominated for Governor; S. Corning Judd, of Fulton, for Lieutenant Governor; John Hise, of LaSalle, for Auditor; Alexander Starne, of Pike, for Treasurer; William A. Turney, of Morgan, for Secretary of State; John P. Brooks, for Superintendent of Public Instruction, and James C. Allen, of Crawford, for Congressman for the State-at-large.
The election in November, 1864, resulted in favor of the republicans on the State ticket by an average majority exceeding 31,000 votes. The estimated gain of the republican vote on 1862 was over 69,000. The Legislature was republican, as follows: Senate 14 republicans to 11 democrats; House 51 republicans to 34 democrats; Union majority on joint ballot 20. Eleven out of the 14 congressmeu elected were also republicans.
Richard J. Oglesby was born July 25th, 1824, in Oldham county, Kentucky. Bereft of parents at the tender age of eight, his early education was neglected. When 12 years old he removed with an uncle to Decatur. He was subsequently apprentieed to the carpenter's trade, worked occasionally at farming, studied law, essayed to practice it at Sullivan, this State, returned to Decatur, volunteered in the Mexican war, was elected 1st Lieut. Co. “C," 4th Illinois regiment, and participated in the battle of Cerro Gordo. On his return he sought to perfect his law studies by attending the lectures at Louisville, took the gold fever then raging and crossed the plains to California, returned, and, in 1852, first appeared in politics as a Scott elector. Later he visited Europe and the Holy Land, returned, and, in 1858, offered for congress, but was beaten by the same competitor he had for governor in 1864. In 1860 he was elected a State Senator, but the following spring when the rebellion broke out, his ardent nature quickly responded to the demands of patriotism, and, as colonel of the 8th regiment, he tendered it as the second raised by the State for that conflict. He was shortly entrusted with important commands, and fora time stationed at Bird's Point and Cairo. At Fort Donelson his brigade was in the van, and, on the morning of the last day, the first to be attacked by the enemy, resulting in the loss of 500 men before reinforcements came to his support. At Corinth his and Hackleman's brigades held the rebels at bay during a large part of the afternoon; but in a daring charge the latter was killed, and Oglesby dangerously wounded in the left lung was borne from the field in expectation of immediate dissolution. On his re. covery he was promoted for gallantry to a major generalship,