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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 1} 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 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 themselves 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
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; Mr. Ashmun, President of the Convention, 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 Chicagoto 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, but appropriate to the important matter which they have in hand, that they should come in person, and present to you the authentic evidence 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. Sir, at your convenience we shall be glad to
receive from you such a response as it 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 thus replied:
“ Mr. Chairman and Gentlemen of the CommitteeI 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 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 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 eyeing Mr. Lincoln's lofty form with a mixture of admiration and very likely 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 Illinois. 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, 1800. 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 your 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 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,
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. Hon. George Asrimus,
President of the Republican Convention. Mr. Lincoln's nomination proved universally acceptable to the Republican party. They recognized in him a man of firm principles, of ardent love for freedom,