« AnteriorContinuar »
LIFE OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN.
41 speeches all over the State, and everywhere his strong arguments, his forcible language, and his homely way of presenting the great issues, so as to bring them home to the hearts of the people, had a powerful effect. The whole State fairly boiled with the excitement of the contest. Nor this alone, for all over the country the eyes of the people were turned to Illinois as the great battle-ground, and the earnest wishes of almost all who loved freedom followed Mr. Lincoln throughout all the heated struggle. He had, however, other opposition besides that of his political opponents. The action of Judge Douglas on the Lecompton Constitution, and the bitter hostility of the southern wing of the Democratic party towards him, had led very many Republicans, and some of high consideration and influence in other States, to favor his return to the Senate. They deemed this due to the zeal and efficiency with which he had resisted the attempt to force slavery into Kansas against the will of the people, and as important in encouraging other Democratic leaders to imitate the example of Douglas in throwing off the yoke of the slaveholding aristocracy. This feeling proved to be of a good deal of weight against Mr. Lincoln in the canvas.
Then, again, the State had been so unfairly districted, that the odds were very heavily against the Republi. cans, and thus it came about that although on the popular vote Douglas was beaten by more than five thousand votes, he was enabled to carry off the substantial prize of victory by his majority in the Legislature. We say the “substantial prize of victory," and so it was thought to be at the time. But later events showed that the battle which was then fought was after all but the precursor of the Presidential contest, and
that it insured to Mr. Lincoln the victory in that more important struggle.
Between the close of this Senatorial contest and the opening of the Presidential campaign, Mr. Lincoln made several visits to other States. In the following year he took an active part in the political campaign in Ohio, still following up his old opponent, who had but recently contributed to Harper's Magazine his famous article on Slavery and the Constitution. He also visited Kansas, and was received with unbounded enthusiasm by the people of that State, whose battle he had fought so well, and in February, 1860, he visited New York, and there made a speech on National Politics before the Young Men's Republican Club at Cooper Institute, the effect of which was to make him better known and still more highly esteemed in New York, where his contest with Douglas had already made him many friends. Indeed, we think we hardly state it too strongly when we say, that their joint effect was to make Mr. Lincoln decidedly the second choice of the great body of the Republicans of New York, as the candidate of the Republican party for the campaign of 1860.
It was, doubtless, during this visit of Mr. Lincoln to New York that the following incident occurred, which is thus narrated by a teacher at the Five Points House of Industry: “Our Sunday School in the Five Points was assembled, one Sabbath morning, when I noticed a tall, remarkable looking man enter the room and take a seat among us. He listened with fixed attention to our exercises, and his countenance expressed such genuine interest that I approached him and suggested.
LIFE OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN.
that he might be willing to say something to the children. He accepted the invitation with evident pleasure; and coming forward began a simple address, which at once fascinated every little hearer and hushed the room into silence. His language was strikingly beautiful, and his tones musical with intensest feeling. The little faces around him would droop into sad conviction as he uttered sentences of warning, and would brighten into sunshine as he spoke cheerful words of promise. Once or twice he attempted to close his remarks, but the imperative shout of 'Go on! 'Oh, do go on!' would compel him to resume. As I looked upon the gaunt and sinewy frame of the stranger, and marked his powerful head and determined features, now touched into softness by the impressions of the moment, I felt an irrepressible curiosity to learn something more about him, and when he was quietly leaving the room I begged to know his name. He courteously replied, • It is Abraham Lincoln, from Illinois.'”
The Republican National Convention of 1860, met on the 16th of May; at Chicago, in an immense building which the people of Chicago had put up for the purpose, called the Wigwam. There were 465 Delegates. The city was filled with earnest men, who had come there to press the claims of their favorite candidates, and the halls and corridors of all the hotels swarmed, and buzzed with an eager crowd, in and out of which darted or pushed or wormed their way the various leaders of party politics. Mr. Chase, Mr. Bates, and Mr. Cameron were spoken of and pressed somewhat as · candidates, but from the first it was evident that the contest lay between Mr. Seward and Mr. Lincoln. .
Judge Wilmot, of Pennsylvania, was chosen temporary Chairman of the Convention, and in the afternoon of the first day a permanent organization was effected by the choice of George Ashmun, of Massachusetts, as President, with 27 Vice-Presidents and 25 Secretaries. On Thursday, the 17th, the Committee on Resolutions reported the platform, which was enthusiastically adopted. A motion was made to proceed to the nomination at once, and if that had been done the result of the Convention might have proved very different, as at that time it was thought that Mr. Seward's chances were the best. But an adjournment was taken till the morning, and during the night the combinations were made which resulted in the nomination of Mr. Lincoln. The excitement of the Convention and of the audience on 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 1734 votes to 102 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 Vermont was called, that “ Vermont casts her ten votes for the young giant of the West, Abraham Lincoln.” On the second ballot, Mr. Seward had 1841 to 181 for Mr. Lincoln, and on the third ballot Mr. Lincoln received 230 votes, being within 14 of a majority. The vote was not announced, but so many everywhere had kept the count that it was
LIFE OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN.
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 boiled over 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 them. selves hoarse, while on the wings of electricity sped in every direction 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 354 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 Convention adjourned till the afternoon, when they completed their work by nominating Hannibal Hamlin for Vice-President.
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