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violent opposition came from those who had been most persistent and most clamorous in their exactions. And as it was unavoidable that, in wielding so terrible and so
of active and ambitious men should be disappointed in their expectations of position and personal gain, the renomination of Mr. Lincoln was sure to be contested by a powerful and organized effort.
At the very outset this movement acquired consistency and strength by bringing forward the Hon. S. P. Chase, Secretary of the Treasury, a man of great political boldness and experience, and who had prepared the way for such a step by a careful dispensation of the vast patronage of his department, as the rival candidate. But it was instinctively felt that this effort lacked the sympathy and support of the great mass of the people, and it ended in the withdrawal of his name as a candidate by Mr. Chase himself.
The National Committee of the Union Republican party had called their convention, to be held at Baltimore, on the 8th of June. This step had been taken from a conviction of the wisdom of terminating as speedily as possible all controversy concerning candidates in the ranks of Union men; and it was denounced with the greatest vehemence by those who opposed Mr. Lincoln's nomination, and desired more time to infuse their hostility into the public mind. Failing to secure a postponement of the convention, they next sought to overawe and dictate its action by a display of power, and the following call was accordingly issued about the 1st of May, for a convention to be held at Cleveland, Ohio, on the 31st day. of that month :
TO THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES. After having labored ineffectually to defer, as far as was in our power, the critical moment when the attention of the people must inevitably be fixed upon the selection of a candidate for the chief magistracy of the country; after having interrogated our conscience and consulted our duty as citizens, obeying at once the seutiment of a mature conviction and a profound affection for the common country, we feel ourselves impelled,
on our own responsibility, to declare to the people that the time has come for all independent inen, jealous of their liberties and of the national greatness, to confer together, and unite to resist the swelling invasion of an open, shameless, and unrestrained patronage, which threatens to ingulf under its destructive wave the rights of the people, the liberty and dignity of the nation.
Deeply impressed with the conviction that, in a time of revolution, when the public attention is turned exclusively to the success of arinies, and is cousegnently less vigilant of the public liberties, the patronage derived from the organization of an army of a million of men, and an administration of affairs which seeks to control the remotest parts of the country in favor of its supreme chief, constitute å danger seriously threatening the stability of republican institutions, we declare that the principle of one term, which has now acquired nearly the force of law by the consecration of time, ought to be inflexibly adhered to in the approaching election.
We further declare, that we do not recognize in the Baltimore Convention the essential conditions of a truly National Convention. Its proximity to the centre of all the interested influences of the administration, its distance froin the centre of the country, its mode of convocation, the corrupting practices to which it has been and inevitably will be subjected, do not permit the people to assemble there with any expectation of being able to deliberate at full liberty. Convinced as we are that, in presence of the critical circumstances in which the nation is placed, it is only in the energy and good sense of the people that the general safety can be found ; satisfied that the only way to consult it is to indicate a central position, to which every one may go without too much expenditure of means and time, and where the assembled people, far from all administrative influence, may consult freely and deliberato peaceably, with the presence of the greatest possible number of men, whose known principles guarantee their sincere and enlightened devotion to the rights of the people and to the preservation of the true basis of republican government, -we earnestly invite our fellow-citizens to unite at Cleveland, Olio, on Tuesday, May 31, current, for consultation and concert of action in respect to the approaching Presidential election.
Two other calls were issued after this, prominent among the signers of which were some of the Germans of Missouri and some of the old Radical Abolitionists of the East.
The convention thus summoned met at the appointed time, about one hundred and fifty in number. No call had ever been put forward for the election of delegates to it, and no one could tell whether its members represented
any constituency other than themselves. They came from fifteen different States and the District of Columbia, but every one knew that at the East the movement had no strength whatever. An effort was made by some of them to bring forward the name of General Grant as a candidate, but the friends of Fremont formed altogether too large a majority for that.
General John Cochrane, of New York, was chosen to preside over the convention. In the afternoon the platform was presented, consisting of thirteen brief resolutions, favoring the suppression of the rebellion, the preservation of the habeas corpus, of the right of asylum, and the Monroe doctrine, recommending amendments of the Constitution to prevent the re-establishment of slavery, and to provide for the election of President and VicePresident for a single term only, and by the direct vote of the people, and also urging the confiscation of the lands of the rebels and their distribution among the sol diers and actual settlers.
The platform having been adopted, the convention proceeded to nominate General Fremont for President by acclamation. General Cochrane was nominated for VicePresident. The title of “The Radical Democracy'; was chosen for the supporters of the ticket, a National Committee was appointed, and the convention adjourned.
General Fremont's letter of acceptance was dated June 4th. Its main scope was an attack upon Mr. Lincoln for unfaithfulness to the principles he was elected to defend, and upon his Administration for incapacity and selfishness, and for what the writer called its disregard of constitutional rights, its violation of personal liberty and the liberty of the press, and, as a crowning shame, its abandonment of the right of asylum, dear to all free nations abroad."
The platform he approved, with the exception of the proposed confiscation. He intimated that if the Balti. more Convention would nominate any one but Mr. Lin coln he would not stand in the way of a union of all upon that nominee; but said, “If Mr. Lincoln be renominated,
as I believe it would be fatal to the country to indorse a policy and renew a power which has cost us the lives of thousands of men and needlessly put the country on the road to bankruptcy, there will remain no alternative but to organize against him every element of conscientious opposition, with the view to prevent the misfortune of his re-election.” And he accepted the nomination, and announced that he had resigned his commission in the army.
The convention, the nomination, and the letter of acceptance, fell dead upon the popular feeling. The time had been when Fremont's name had power, especially with the young men of the country. Many had felt that he had received less than he deserved at the hands of the Administration, and that if the opportunity had been afforded he would have rendered to the country distinguished and valuable service. But the position which he had here taken at once separated him from those who had been his truest friends, whose feelings were accurately expressed by Governor Morton, of Indiana, in a speech at Indianapolis on the 12th of June, when he said: “I carried the standard of General Fremont to the best of my poor ability through the canvass' of 1856, and I have since endeavored to sustain him, not only as a politician, but as a military chieftain, and never until I read this letter did I have occasion to regret what I have done. It has been read with joy by his enemies and with pain by his friends, and, omitting one or two sentences, there is nothing in it that might not have been written or subscribed without inconsistency by Mr. Vallandigham."
The next form which the effort to prevent Mr. Lincoln's nomination and election took, was an effort to bring forward General Grant as a candidate. A meeting had been called for the 4th of June, in New York, ostensibly io express the gratitude of the nation to him and the soldiers under his command, for their labors and successes. As a matter of course the meeting was large and enthusiastic. President Lincoln wrote the following letter in answer to an invitation to attend :
EXECUTIVE MANBION, WASHINGTON, June 8, 1864. Hon. F. A. CONKLING and others :
GENTLEMEN :-Your letter, inviting me to be present at a mass meeting of loyal citizens, to be held at New York, on the 4th instant, for the purpose of expressing gratitude to Lieutenant-General Grant for his signal services, was received yesterday. It is impossible for me to attend. I approve, nevertheless, of whatever may tend to strengthen and sustain General Grant and the noble armies now under his direction. My previous high estimate of General Grant has been maintained and heightened by what has occurred in the remarkable campaign he is now conducting, while the magnitude and difficulty of the task before hiin does not prove less than I expected. He and his brave soldiers are now in the midst of their great trial, and I trust that it your meeting you will so shape your good words that they inay turn to men and guns, moving to his and their support.
Whatever political purposes prompted the call for this meeting, they were entirely overborne by the simple but resistless appeal, made by the President in this letter, to the patriotism of the country. Its effect was to stimulate instantly and largely the effort to fill up the ranks of the army, and thus aid General Grant in the great campaign by which he hoped to end the war. In a private letter to a personal friend, however, General Grant put a decisive check upon all these attempts of politicians to make his name the occasion of division among Union men, by peremptorily refusing to allow himself to be made a candidate, and by reiterating in still more emphatic and hopeful terms the President's appeal to the people for aid and support.
None of these schemes of ambitious aspirants to political leadership had any effect upon the settled sentiment and purpose of the great body of the people. They appreciated the importance of continuing the administration of the government in the same channel, and saw clearly enough that nothing would more thoroughly impress upon the rebels and the world the determination of the people to preserve the Union at all hazards, and at whatever cost, than the indorsement by a popular vote, in spite of all mistakes and defects of policy, of the